Thursday, September 9, 2010

Does The Impact Of Psychological Trauma Cross Generations? Dah!

I can't believe I'm reading this! New research? If this is new research then the researchers must have been born and lived their lives in a bubble.

Psychologists have always asked, "Why did you hate your mother?" for a reason. Our parents play an important role in what we turn out to be but it goes into what their lives were all about as well.

This study took a look at families of Holocaust survivors. They took a look at how the DNA could be altered but what they didn't do was understand how living with someone with PTSD changes everything for the people they live with.

I knew what PTSD was when our daughter was growing up. I knew how to smooth things over between my husband and her but there were things she still had no tolerance for and would get very upset. She was raised knowing why he acted the way he did, yet even with that knowledge, it effected her.

My readers know my Dad was a violent alcoholic until I was 13. Living under those conditions of his anger, outbursts and shame of neighbors seeing him stagger up the driveway, left a scar in every member of my family. My Mom ended up bitter toward him. All of it robbed her of the joyful spirit she showed others. She was a generous woman and very loving but even she couldn't forgive him. Many years after he passed away, the pain inside of her came out whenever she talked about my Dad. My brothers carried it all inside of them as well with parts of their soul being eaten away because they were unable to forgive my Dad for his actions. I forgave him. For the most part, I healed. There are still times when what he did and didn't do gather up forces attempting to take over my "bliss" robbing me of hope.

My Dad had a problem with his Dad because he was an alcoholic too and was mean to him. My Dad was the same way with us no matter how much he hated how his own father acted. We paid for how he acted in one way or another and so did our kids. It is generational but not genetic. It is from how each generation treated the next that left the mark.

For many veterans it will be the same story because they don't understand it. Their families don't understand it so they have no way to minimize the damage done. They don't have the tools to deal with the anger and hostility PTSD in the home can cause and this ends up making the living conditions worse. When kids grow up with all that comes with PTSD, it wears on them and can leave scars inside of them that will carry on to the next generation. Knowing what it is, why they act the way they do and what the rest of the family can do about it, will reduce a lot of the damage being done and thus, reduce what the next generation will have to deal with.

What we all go through determines where we are going and the lives of those we take with us on this journey. Each one of us are affected by events in our own lives but those events include the people we live with. If these researchers didn't see the obvious, then what else are they missing?

Does The Impact Of Psychological Trauma Cross Generations?

In groups with high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as the survivors of the Nazi Death Camps, the adjustment problems of their children, the so-called "Second Generation", have received attention by researchers. Studies suggested that some symptoms or personality traits associated with PTSD may be more common in the Second Generation than the general population. It has been assumed that these trans-generational effects reflected the impact of PTSD upon the parent-child relationship rather than a trait passed biologically from parent to child.

However, Dr. Isabelle Mansuy and colleagues provide new evidence in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry that some aspects of the impact of trauma cross generations and are associated with epigenetic changes, i.e., the regulation of the pattern of gene expression, without changing the DNA sequence.
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