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What is Family Drama Trauma Anyway?

If you ask 100 people, what is family drama trauma anyway? You are likely to get about 100 different opinions and responses.

To clarify, I use this term simply referring to our family of origin, the family environment in which we were raised, the parenting styles employed by our parents, interactions with extended family, as well as the conditions both inside the family and outside of the family that we were exposed to (think values, culture, tradition, religion, society, social economic status, nation-state, rural versus municipal, etc. etc.). I also believe that every parent does the best they can, given the hand they are dealt.

If my family of origin has high levels of conflict, I am likely to experience fear, worry, anxiousness,....

Like anything else in life, we can put family drama trauma on a continuum, perhaps from mild to turbulent. One of the largest factors correlated with childhood happiness and upbringing, is the level of conflict the child is exposed to. For example, if my family of origin has high levels of conflict, I am likely to experience fear, worry, anxiousness, nerves, avoidant or anxious attachment styles, perhaps even disorganized attachment styles, I may learn to become very independent, and struggle to learn to trust others and become interdependent.

I also want to be careful to ensure that people do not feel like I am blaming the parents. Unfortunately, most of us learn our parenting, interaction, and behavioural and emotional regulation skills directly or indirectly from our parents, by either showing us what to do or not to do. This can be a long and difficult process, especially since it took years for us to develop these negative interaction patterns, it will take time to develop new and positive interaction styles. And often times, it is not something that we can simply do on our own. It is vastly easier when they have positive role models, people to talk to, and positive supports that we can turn to when we’re feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and stressed out (Essentially: It takes a village!!).

Overcoming family drama trauma isn’t just about shedding old negative behavioural patterns, but also about developing new positive behavioural patterns. It can take a long, drawn-out effort, one that will have many wins and learning opportunities along the way. However, even if we feel like there might be some setbacks, or everything does not go according to plan, it is important to remain steadfast in a belief for change, and practice the behaviours that we value to see those positive outcomes realized.

As we said on the farm, if nothing is going according to plan, change or plan to incorporate those mishaps and then everything is going according to plan.

Come heal, grow and create together


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