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Family History

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Hiawatha922, May 31, 2015.

  1. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    I recently learned some of the details relating to my dad's divorce from his first wife. The divorce occurred in the late 1940s. The basis for the divorce was "cruel and inhuman behavior". He was frequently intoxicated and he was physically abusive. He also destroyed property (furniture and his wife's clothes).

    My dad never disclosed to me (or my siblings) that he had been married to anyone other than my mom. We learned about this from other relatives. We knew, though, that he was an alcoholic because many of his drinking habits and personality characteristics persisted throughout his life. Me and my brother and sister suffered substantially from the fear created by my dad's behaviors. My dad died in 2007.

    I've been thinking about my dad's influence on my own emotions, both reactive (as a response to the way he was) and sort of inherent (genetically and historically shaped by who he was--I wonder what emotions he was struggling with throughout his life).

    This is feeling pretty heavy and sad. It prompts me to wonder about the impact of family history, even portions of history that we may not be fully aware of.

    My parents certainly bring up a variety of mixed emotions for me, as I'm sure many people experience in regard to their parents. It makes sense to me that TMS symptoms would be associated with deeply rooted fears and other emotions, stemming from family history.

    For me, I seem to have a heightened anxiety associated with emotional safety (which is compounded in part by the fact that I am gay). I think this is one of the reasons I'm drawn to meditation and mindfulness practices that assert an experience of safety and protection.
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
  2. Markus

    Markus Guest

    After my Mother passed away in 1998, her sister revealed a couple of things that we never knew about. I'm certain my Mother held that stress her entire life. The one thing we did learn was that she knew her cancer was serious and yet, it wasn't mentioned. She had instructed my father not to worry us with her troubles. What it did was keep from us a chance to really say goodbye. My Mother would have been 85 tomorrow. I believe that shame was a trait handed down to me from my parents. Living through the depression changed a lot of people! And you can't have tms without shame. I mention 85 because THAT generation became REALLY good at stuffing emotions, I believe that breeds shame. Making the chance for tms ripe.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was born in 1930, near the start of the long an hard 1930s Great Depression. My parents divorced when I was seven, because of financial problems.
    Both worked, when they could find jobs, but there was never enough as they reared me and my older brother and sister. The divorce left me with lifelong feelings of insecurity. I am 84 but am in good health, since recovering from back pain I learned was from TMS. I am really a huge success story, becoming an author of more than 50 published books. I never made much money at it, but feel rich in that my books for teens, preteens, and adults have helped some people.

    I learned a lot about myself and my parents and siblings from the Structured Educational Program and journaling. I urge everyone to take the SEP,
    free in the subforum on this web site. It is an amazing process into self-discovery that leads to healing any and all pain.
    IrishSceptic and Markus like this.
  4. Hiawatha922

    Hiawatha922 Peer Supporter

    Thanks for sharing, Markus. I do believe that there is a generational component involved. Suppressing and repressing emotions was very common culturally in the past--and continues, in many ways, today.

    Another thought that I'd like to share relates to my last comment above: I have a "heightened anxiety associated with emotional safety which is compounded by the fact that I am gay".

    I am currently 53 years old and for much of my life (and to this day to a degree) being gay was considered sinful, abhorrent, and a stigma by our culture. Learned survival strategies, in the midst of this unsafe environment, routinely involved suppression and repression. Compartmentalizing foundational parts of my being was commonplace for me.

    It's interesting how these "strategies" seemed to sort of seep over into other parts of my life. Just don't talk about it. Pretend it's not there. Move on. Tough it out. As Markus said above, an environment that becomes ripe for TMS.

    Today, I've come out to friends, family and co-workers. My work involves supporting inclusive learning in a school district, particularly focusing on race, socioeconomics, and sexual identity. However, I am aware of these "threads" connected to my past. Connections to a personal history that involved a high degree of shame.

    I recently came across research demonstrating a connection between states that do not support gay marriage and dramatically higher rates of depression and self-harm among LGBT people (as compared to states that support gay marriage). The likely TMS connections are clear, although thankfully, I live in a state that does support gay marriage. Fostering a sense of safety for ourselves, whatever our circumstances may be, is a big deal.

    Dr. Sarno's identification of childhood experiences and traumas as contributing to TMS makes sense to me. Both in regard to sexual identity and my own family's internal dynamics.
    Last edited: May 31, 2015
    Markus likes this.
  5. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Great to have you Walt and may your good health continue for many a year yet!
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