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Childhood PTSD or Trauma Effects - Growing Up

Discussion in 'General' started by anthony, May 16, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    I often read in PTSD news stories about studies in regard to genetic defects, childhood issues, teen peer pressure and so forth, and the effects these basic factors can have on our adult lives in conjunction with adult trauma. Does childhood growing up have an impact on adult PTSD, whether trauma happened at childhood or adulthood?

    The study of genetics are still quite newly researched to adult PTSD, though I can see similarities from my own family structure, in that one of my older brothers suffers quite severely from stress, ie. he is easily stressed under normal working conditions. So if he was exposed to trauma, would he be a prime candidate for PTSD? I was always a very layed back person, with very little that ever actually bothered me, but when exposed to the nature of trauma I was, I now have PTSD. Coincidence or fact?

    The funny thing is, is that one of my sisters was in the Navy for the same duration as I was Army, though she doesn't have PTSD as she never physically deployed into a war zone or operational area, only normal ship duties and land based postings. The thing is though, is that she still endured long periods of isolation upon a ship for months on end when sailing, which has been known to cause PTSD in itself. The funnier thing is, is that she is married to someone with PTSD, who got it from the Navy on operational service.

    Anyway, remembering back to growing up, I remember that most of my brothers or sisters if confronted into a hostile situation (fighting) would fight, whether win or lose, where myself, I hated fighting from such a young age, and would generally allow someone to punch me once, and do nothing, but if they continued, then beat the hell our of them. I don't know why, but I would always give people the benefit of the doubt that they just needed to release frustration they had with me, or something like that, instead of actually hurting them myself.

    I say that because in some situations where a person punched me, I would apply that thinking, talk to them and walk away; but sometimes when I knew a situation wasn't going to get any better, then I was left no choice but to fight. I never like fighting as I had done martial arts from such a young age, and knew enough to defend myself quite well, but worse, knew when I saw sheer rage, I always hurt the other person. It was like adrenlin just took over, and I wouldn't stop hurting them until I was pulled off them. This type of aspect within myself is what always made me think, and give people the benefit of the doubt, that maybe I was bit of a smartarse, and did deserve a smack in the mouth for something I said at the time.

    It is this type of childhood reaction and stress, that makes me wonder whether we actually develop early mild symptoms of PTSD from the way in which we grew up. Basically, I left school because of a fight, but not because of the fight itself. It was the fact that I had realised that school yard pressure was not my scene, and I really didn't like the way pecking orders and such silly adolescent tactics where always at play just to go to school and learn. I can't actually remember ever having an actual fight again once leaving school until joining the military, where it is encouraged, but discouraged at the same time. You probably need to be military to understand that logic. (I think I will actually make a post on that aspect later, as it has its own identity for PTSD within military personnel)

    Basically, there is a seven year gap where life simply proceeded along, taking its turns and twists, with no real violence as such. Basically, regardless what type of person you are, 90% of children are exposed to some sort of bullying or violence within their schoolyard days, whether it be provoked or your simply a quiet person, who a bully decides they just don't like you anymore, so they will pick on you. Does this 90% of the population that is exposed to these normal growing peer pressure antics actually begin to form some mild symptoms of PTSD?

    Is it these initial growing up challenges we face, that help decide whether we gain PTSD from later life trauma? I think it most certainly has a role within the overall scheme of things. This is obviously vastly different from actually being abused as a child, as that in itself is more traumatic as such, especially at a younger age where the mind can't fully understand, nor process what actions to take, and especially if that trauma is inflicted by a family member whose role it is to protect us during childhood, at the time in our lives when we are quite weak to the overall impact of the world itself.

    I'm not sure whether an accurate study could be done or not, as people lie, or people don't always tell everything is there is to tell, thus impacts on the results, which could make a conclusion inaccurate from initial perception, but I think our childhood lives certainly play some role in how we garnished PTSD as an adult. Obviously this isn't a direct association with say being raped as an adult, or going to war, or being in a car accident, but reflective off how much trauma we can handle within our lives before our body says, "enough is enough, I'm shutting down and you can have this PTSD stuff."
     
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  3. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    this is me too. I have a hell of a punch when required (have floored a 6ft 3 big built bloke with a single punch), but I tend to take a whole lot of grief until I HAVE to fight back. My older brothers were always "hit first, ask later". They both got expelled from school!

    As for childhood experiences leading to ptsd - no brainer for me really! My father is a very stressed and controlling person who has temper tantrums at any slight change from his routine (I still know exactly what he will be doing, even though I haven't lived under the same roof for over 10 years!). My eldest brother is very laid back (at least, he is these days), and he always got himself out of the house when the shit was flying. My other brother is a psychopath.

    The way things were for me was peacekeeper and general punch bag. I was used to try and get my dad in a better mood, so I got yelled at if he hadn't got cooled off yet. He never hit me though. My psycho brother took all his anger out on me. Most of my childhood was spent trying to keep people happy, cos if I didn't, I had to run like hell, hide or take what was coming. On top of that, my psycho brother was a sadistic bastard. Anyway, there's a lot more to it, but I'm shutting up.


    Can childhood trauma lead to ptsd? Hell yes.
     
  4. PrincessP

    PrincessP New Member

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    My sister was, and is, the scrapper of the family (IMHO). I remember hearing once about how she was at band practice (she was on the rifle squad), and a girl made some comment about her being black. My sister clocked her in the jaw with the butt end of the rifle. When someone attempted to beat me up, a few days later, when they didn't expect it, my sister made the girl run from school all the way home, after showing the girl a knife (or so the urban legend goes... have to ask my sis about that again *lol*). I was the one who didn't like getting into fights, and I never knew why, I just knew that confrontations like that did something to me, and it felt really negative.

    After trying to strangle my dad when I was an early teen, I realized why I kept my anger at bay - because apparently I have a nasty temper. So I got into the habit of internalizing things until either I finally open my mouth and don't make any sense because I'm so angry, or I open my mouth, after living with the negativity for weeks/months, just to find out my perception of what made me so angry was 99.4% wrong.

    I never felt safe at home, so the things that probably should have upset me at school didn't, because anything was better than being hit at home by an alcoholic, or watching him fuel my mother into a rage that she ultimately took out on us either with a spanking or too many restrictions placed on us. I feel like I naturally became a person to keep things bottled up, because of not being able to express a real emotion at home. I mean, if you can't be yourself and still be loved at your own house, who will accept and love you, right? At least that's how my child's mind processed things.

    My sister is beginning to see her own issues when she talks to me and I tell her about mine and what I'm doing to clean them up. My brother is going to make his life harder before it gets any better (IF it ever gets better) because he refuses to acknowledge his own pain, and because of that, he minimizes the pain of everyone around him. In short, he's my half brother - dad adopted him when he was 5 years old. My dad was, to hear my brother tell it, as mean to him as he was to anyone else. In fact, my brother thinks for some reason that he got it worse than anyone else, completely oblivious to the fact that when the worst of it came for me, he no longer lived at home. He was also in the Gulf War. Stationed in Germany when my father got ill (1994), and came home with this incredible attitude that my mom and I were mistreating his father while he was away. None of our relationships have been right since then. But here's the capper - immediately after the funeral, he begins dating my cousin - my first cousin... my father's niece. His sister's daughter. And it's not like we weren't all close, we all grew up together. Now, he's closer to my cousin's immediate family than he is to his own (comes up on weekends sometimes, stays at their house, sometimes we don't even know he's in the area). Over the past few years, he has alienated his oldest children (all from a previous marriage), with the middle child having just moved out of the house, and the oldest one left last year. I don't know what's going on with him, but I know he's toxic and I refuse to get close enough to get infected again. But anyway... he's got some stuff going on and I wonder, at 47 years of age, if he's going to figure it out before he runs anyone else away.

    I also believe that the body just takes in so much and finally it fills up with the accumulation of negative emotions and "pops". Childhood trauma creates PTSD, no doubt about that. If ignored, I believe it manifest in different, ugly ways.
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Yer, serious trauma to a child... most definately. I really wonder though if normal peer pressures help influence the brain as an adult, dependant on how things swung as a child / teen.

    Hey Piglet, do you think your brother who was the abuser, has some form of disorder? Or had some form of disorder / illness from an early age that was never treated, thus he didn't know what was going on within his brain, similar to what we encounter at times? Was he abused enough by your father, or other, to someone garnish some type of mental illness... or even born with such illness?

    Oh, don't get me wrong here... its definately not an excuse for his actions, more just a thought to what is going on with him to perpetuate such actions of violence and hostility at a young age.
     
  6. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Re: my psycho brother. He was three when I arrived, my eldest brother had been at school for a year, so psychobro had all the attention for a while til I came along. There was always a problem. He got seen by an education psychologist when he was 16, after it took 3 male teachers to pin him down when he lost his rag at someone at school. The shrink said he was jealous of my relationship with my eldest brother. Trouble is, I could hang with my eldest brother and I was safe. Any time psychobro came along, trouble arrived with him, cos he always lost it if things didn't go his way. My eldest brother always protected me if he was around to do so. He wasn't around much though.

    I don't think my Dad was abusive towards my brothers. They got a slap on the backside now and again. Mostly though, it was shouting, door slamming and removal of privileges. My eldest brother would just go out and ignore my dad. My mum would then give in to my psychobrother and treat him to cheer him up. I would get to stay with my dad and be good so he would get into a better mood. My dad was never abusive towards me. He threw me across the lounge once, but I was trying to stop him and psychobro from killing each other at the time...Fortunately, I landed on the sofa. The shock of what he'd done was enough for me to get through the door and persuade psychobro to go (I told him he was going to be late for work and money was very important to him) - he was standing in the hall with a loaded rifle pointed at the lounge door. My parents never saw this. My dad was stood shaking with fury and my mum was stood crying with her hands over her face.

    You ask if my brother had/has a disorder. Probably. But a lot of what he did to me was planned - i.e. he chose to behave the way he did. For example, he would play a computer game, stick it on pause, come and get me. Then when I cried out or tried to get help, he would run back to his room and start playing computer game before mum or dad came up the stairs. He would then appear astonished at my accusations, cos he was halfway through his game, so how could he have just been in my room?

    He would also try and get through my barracaded door when my parents were out. He would go away and wait awhile and then throw himself at the door again. I'd have to sit for hours by that door, just in case. This is not the behaviour of a sane individual.

    All the people around him behave in such a way that he doesn't lose his temper. Push the right buttons and he explodes.

    Anyway, this is a long and sad story and if I'm not careful, I will think too much about it for my own good, so time to go.
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Ok, let me put another spin on this. You say what he has done was planned, but because it was planned could still lead him to be sufferering some illness / disorder that caused these events. Is it a likely event that maybe he had something like multiple character disorder, and just didn't know it, and was never treated for it?

    This is what I'm talking about. If he is possibly ill, then it was ignored from a young age, and could have been treatable, possibly still is treatable now. This abuse, could it have actually been stopped before it occurred if treated?

    This would be something similar to how people behave around us with PTSD, so we don't explode. I don't mean to imply he has PTSD, but could he have schizophrenia or multiple characters or something similar? I know he is still a part of your life as such, because you have said that every time you visit your parents, he turns up to make sure your not spilling the beans on him, or something like that. This means that he does have some sort of remorse for what he has done, in that he doesn't want it to come out.

    Is it possible anyone could get a counsellor to see him, or him see a counsellor, for evalution purposes? The reason for all this, is that your the one sufferering now from PTSD because of his actions, though would some resolve from him ackowledging his wrong doings be some sort of resolve for your inner self, feelings and hurt he has put you through?
     
  8. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Not a bloody chance - he's never thought he has a problem - it's always someone else's fault, e.g., he got angry and threw me across a room because I ate the last chocolate biscuit. It was my fault because I should not have eaten the biscuit (apart from the fact that he had eaten the whole pack and I just got one, but that's another issue!). Parents accepted this reason and I get told not to eat the last chocolate biscuit next time and to stay out of his way.

    Yes, it's very likely he's got a personality disorder or something. But basically, he's just a psychopath.


    Don't think he's capable of feeling remorse. I think he's more worried about what he's got to lose - such as free meals when he wants them and a regular free babysitter for his kids - oh, and someone to tell him it's not his fault when he chooses to sulk about something his kids or wife have done.
     
  9. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Can you sense I'm a little angry?!
     
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  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Not really! Can you sense I'm poking around the core of your issues? :)
     
  11. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    No! Really? Hadn't noticed.
     
  12. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    I love sarcasm... I guess many off us here do, considering its one of the core attributes associated to some symptoms with PTSD. He he...

    Its ok though Piglet, I'm only trying to help you, not hurt you, and often we need to be upset a little to get out what we need too, so we can move to the next challenge. A good counsellor are buggers for that... that they suck you in being nice for the first few sessions, then really start prodding and pushing to get everything out of you, so the healing process can truly begin.

    I do only have your best interests at heart.
     
  13. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    That's your excuse and you're sticking with it! :smile:

    Don't know what counsellor you had, but mine has been straight to the point from day 1. Got a right telling off about not taking things seriously enough. My response was that if I took it seriously, I'd probably jump under a train!

    Having done science degrees, I am well aware of the long term effects of stress on the body. If I drop dead from a heart attack before I'm 50, so be it. Maybe I won't bother with a pension after all. There's no way I'm sitting on my arse to get an extra few years sitting on my arse! So there!
     
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