How PTSD Affects Family Members

As a society, we are finally realizing that trauma survivors need help. I’m glad to say that help is more forthcoming and that the medical and mental health professions are taking trauma more seriously. However, we often don’t see the subtleties, or the less obvious. What I’m addressing here are the secondary effects of trauma on…

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The Trauma of Racism

I grew up as a Chinese-American in NYC, starting in the late ’40s. It was the time after WWII where Americans were still smarting from the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor. One of the first stereotypes I faced is that all Asians look alike – “Jap” is what they hurtled at me! Then, in the…

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The Terrifying Impact of Verbal and Emotional Abuse

Harsh words can kill your soul. It killed mine! The rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a boldfaced lie. It also discounts the impact of emotional abuse, minimizing its harmful effects on the victim. My dear friend and cohort, Adele, sent me a video link (now…

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Child Sexual Abuse: My Story, Part 2

I had already been through years of my own therapy as well as therapy training. I had already worked through issues of physical and emotional abuse, the trauma of escaping from Communist China, racism, pre-cancerous malignancy, and two childhood respiratory illness in which I nearly died. One more thing was almost more than I could…

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Child Sexual Abuse: My Story, Part 1

Child sexual abuse, or incest, is one of the most insidious types of violence perpetrated on innocent children. Sadly, the statistics bear this out: * One in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. 82% of all victims under…

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Bankruptcy as Trauma (and a Healing Meditation)

I’m feeling very grateful that my family and I are together, live in a lovely home, and are able to put food on the table. This wasn’t always the case in my family of origin. People don’t necessarily think of going through bankruptcy as trauma. But, not understanding U.S. laws, my parents didn’t even know they could…

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Vulnerability Can Overcome Trauma

A trauma survivor’s first reaction is self-preservation — to defend, to hide, to spend whatever remaining energy they have in order to control. Self-preservation is primary, even if it means they close off thoughts, emotions, and eventually isolate themselves from family and friends. A survivor — unfortunately, yet understandably — becomes someone who lives in…

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