Q&A: Can simply having ongoing stress in my life be the main factor in PPD/TMS?

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Here is my question (having not read any books on this subject yet): I have never had psychological therapy of any kind, and for the most part my childhood was fairly normal and not traumatic. I do however have many of those annoying character traits mentioned as pertaining to TMS such as perfectionism, control issues, people-pleasing and being self-critical. I have high standards for myself and others. Without having potential anger issues relating to my childhood, can simply having ongoing stress in my life be the main factor in TMS?

Answer by Dave Clarke, MD

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Dave Clarke, MD

Dave Clarke's Profile Page / Survey Response / Bio Page / Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA) President

Ongoing stress in one's life is entirely capable of causing PPD symptoms even with no childhood issues. However, the personality characteristics described by the questioner usually arise because of family dysfunction when the person was a child. It is common for these early issues not to be recognized as damaging (or even recognized as problems) when the adult remembers their early years. Quite subtle problems in the family are easily capable of causing "perfectionism, control issues, people-pleasing and being self-critical" that the questioner describes. Chapter 3 of my book is devoted to helping people recognize how this happens.


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