How to Overcome Family Trauma and Forgive
A primary education on “trauma” is essential in understanding how to overcome family trauma. An extremely distressing or disturbing experience describes the word trauma. Individual trauma and family traumas have separate meanings. Therefore, using the correct words to describe the negative experiences that cause us to be traumatized is essential. Education is the initial factor in breaking down and understanding family trauma. Forgiveness is another learning experience to explore and utilize for personal growth.
What is Family Trauma?
Sudden, unpredictable, life-threatening, and uncontrollable experiences are all descriptors of trauma. When trauma enters the family unit, significant physical, emotional, and psychological damage is done to each family member. Learning how to overcome family trauma is a personal journey in acceptance.
Many situations are considered traumatic. When an individual experiences trauma, it affects the family. Every family member interprets and processes the trauma to the best of their ability when it happens. Victims of trauma wonder how to overcome family trauma when they have lost all sense of safety and ability to cope. The following list is common traumatic family trauma situations.
- Abuse (physical, emotional, or financial)
- Physical or sexual assault
- Car accident
- Natural disaster
- Death of a loved one
- Severe illness
- Physical injury
- Parental abandonment
- Witnessing a crime, accident, or death
Family trauma elicits a sense of complete devastation and total loss of control. There is no longer a concept of a safe harbor. These negative experiences often happen so quickly that the brain cannot process reality. These experiences can cause life-long psychological struggles and affect every decision made throughout one’s lifetime. Again, we ask how to overcome family trauma to begin to live a purposeful life, with the trauma resolved.
The Effects of Family Trauma
The amygdala is activated when traumatic experiences occur. In other words, an alarm is sent throughout the body to prepare for defense mode. The sympathetic nervous system is set into motion and releases adrenaline, noradrenaline, and stress hormones. The fight-flight-or freeze response is initiated almost immediately. The initial emotions of fear, anxiety, shock, anger, and aggression are experienced. The trauma ends, but the distressing emotions and feelings remain and make us wonder how to overcome family trauma.
Each relationship within the family unit is tested. Expectations interfere with reality. The emotional damage from the trauma causes a lack of empathy, consideration, and compassion. Parents are affected and do not understand how to overcome family trauma. Children look to their parents or siblings for comfort, but each family member suffers a different emotion, feeling, and fear. Blame and anger are difficult to resolve.
Without immediate professional help, the family unit dissolves, as each relationship festers as if still in the moment of the trauma. They cannot move on to the future. Every thought revolves around the experience and how devastating it was for them. With professional help, the family can learn how to overcome family trauma. If it takes years for the family to realize they need help, it can cause years of unhappiness and dysfunctional relationships.
Treatment for Learning How to Overcome Family Trauma
Fortunately, treatment for traumatic family events has been formulated through much research by mental health professionals. As a result, short and long-term therapy is available and surprisingly effective. While some components of treatment are individualized, the family, as a unit, must recognize the importance of healthy lifestyle changes in learning how to overcome family trauma. Self-care is imperative to bring self-confidence, awareness, and the feeling of self-love to the forefront.
Psychotherapy builds resilience and addresses the many unresolved feelings and emotions from the trauma. Identifying triggers surrounding the trauma is essential, as initiating positive coping skills to deal with them. Professional diagnosis of any mental illness present is validating. Exposure therapy and cognitive reappraisal therapy are both perfect for trauma. As the family initiates these recovery components, they can learn how to overcome family trauma and begin accepting the past.
How to Overcome Family Trauma and Forgive
Once trauma has been processed with the help of therapy, healing can begin. Through hard work and understanding, the family members associate with survival instead of victimization. With time, positive psychological changes can occur. Furthermore, as the family learns how to overcome family trauma, they can begin to explore the capacity to forgive each other.
Letting go of negativity and unrealistic or even childish expectations is possible. Unfortunately, many families wait so long to process the trauma properly that their relationships become damaged, and resentments build. In other words, family members put up self-defensive walls and isolated themselves from each other. Learning how to overcome family trauma and the freedom that can be felt from forgiveness is a gift one gives to themself.
Forgiveness can be highly spiritual and a psychological benefit. Forgiveness leaves room for positivity and healing while diminishing negativity. Conversely, those unable to forgive family members are likely to remain bitter and hostile. Incorporating forgiveness into therapy in learning how to overcome family trauma allows for more positivity and the release of negative emotions and feelings.
Learn How to Overcome Family Trauma in Athens, GA
We understand that healing takes time. Our professional staff is trained in trauma-related therapies and understands how difficult it is to learn how to forgive. Retreat of Atlanta can stIn conclusion, surviving trauma is complex, but we feel confident we can help you learn how to process these difficult emotions. Contact us today.