Tag Archives: Family

028 – The Impact of PTSD on the Family


CouplePorblems David Castillo Dominici FDPThe Impact of PTSD on the Family

In this episode we discuss:

  • Secondary traumatization
  • Ways families respond to stress (and Post-Traumatic Stress)
  • Two key areas of stress for the family
  • Resources for the family

The family’s response to increased stress: (In part based on Kerr & Bowen, 1988)

  1. Grow distant from each other
  2. One will take on the traditional role of another member of the family.
  3. An individual may sacrifice themselves for the sake of “peace”
  4. Conflict
  5. Adapt, bond together and grow

Two significant problem areas the anger outbursts and emotional numbing

Anger outbursts 

  • May be verbal or physical
  • Not necessarily directed at spouse or children
  • Aggression may have been adaptive and appropriate during war
  • Fear and guilt both past and present are foundations of anger
  • May lead to the family members developing maladaptive coping skills
  • See more an anger in “Healing The Wounds of War” episodes: 1314, and 15)

Emotional Numbing

  • Isolation for social situations and from family members
  • My become more withdrawn after anger outburst – fear of again losing control
  • Seems unable to experience the good emotions
  • Fears experiencing the “bad” emotions associated with the past
  • May adopt an authoritarian way of dealing with family members

Survivor guilt can make it difficult to connect with family.

Resources for Family Support

  • NAMI.org (National Alliance on Mental Illness: Family-to-Family peer support) This group offers peer support for mental problems of many kinds. They offer a 12 session class at no cost.  It is not necessarily specific to PTSD, but many of the family coping skills needed cross boundaries.  Classes are offered around the country.  Check out their website for more information.
  • MilitaryOnesource.mil (for military members and their families) or you can call 800-342-9647
  • ptsd.va.gov/public/web-resources/web-families.asp (A good place to start for veterans and their family members)

More references

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici on freedigitalphoto.net

Veteran’s Day includes Allies and Families…

Veteran COURAGEToday, November 11, 2013, Veteran’s Day is celebrated in the United States.  This is with the full knowledge that the cost of freedom has been paid by men and women around the globe standing side-by-side with us.  I have served with military service members from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Estonia, El Salvador and Iraq.  We have had many more allies than those listed here!

The Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion reminded us on Sunday in a Veteran’s Day ceremony that it is not only those of us who serve directly in harm’s way that pay a price and shoulder some of the burden.  The family of service members also pay a great price.

So, thank you!  To all our allies, to all our families and to all of my comrades in arms—past, present and future—who have answer the call to do what most cannot or will not.