The child effect - ptsd sufferer raising children

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Arnold Morgan

I was surprised to see what was, perhaps, a technically accurate article, I felt it lacked compassion. One of the common symptoms of those of us who were abused (whether physically or emotionally) is an overdeveloped sense of guilt and shame. Someone searching for redemption in an article like this is likely to only end up feeling more of the same… “I have hurt my child (guilt) and this proves that I am defective (shame). My client who sent me this article is coming in soon and I feel certain she will be upset by what she read here. If I am wrong, I will write a retraction later today.


“Someone searching for redemption in an article like this is likely to only end up feeling more of the same”

And those who are seeking to understand, accept, acknowledge, and move forward? Articles are not a one size fit all. Show me an article that will suit every person, every situation? I will then respond, its a lie (being the truth). There is no such thing.

People should read articles and take what helps them, leave the rest. If a person cannot do that, then that is your role as their treating physician — getting them to accept the reality of the world wide web, its correct use, and to not otherwise worry yourself about “what if’s”.

I’m not responsible for a persons outcome after reading my article, just as neither you’re responsible for a trauma patient leaving your office and committing suicide due to falling into severe depression after your session with them.

Where is self responsibility nowadays? People shift straight to blame, someone, anyone, for their actions and choices. Seriously — it has to stop.

I do not often read compassion within cited pieces. I often read facts, figures and outcomes.
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”My client who sent me this article is coming in soon and I feel certain she will be upset by what she read here. If I am wrong, I will write a retraction later today.”

I’m simply baffled by the concept that if someone asks themselves the question “Am I abusing my child?” and the answer is “Yes.” … That being upset about that is somehow an inappropriate or unwanted response!



I am so sorry for not responding to you sooner. I have not looked back at this article for some time now. Your response was so honest, kind, and supportiive. I have not read the article again, but will when I finish writing here.

I do not remember the statistics, but remember being relieved that the people responding were able to say that they had not, could not abuse their children.

I was seeking help from all angles to NOT hurt my kids, but hurt them I did. I am talking about spanking and yelling. Spanking that, on a continuum, crossed the line TOO MANY TIMES. Emotional outbursts that were OUT OF CONTROL. I was telling my therapist this, my husband, friends, mother, and religious leaders. As well as admitting it in a twelve step group, and to my sponsors. Reading child developement books, working on my anger. Maybe those things helped me to not be worse than I WAS as a parent. No one, as it was, was poised to turn me in, or take my children away from me. I never got that feeling. A little further on that continuum, maybe. In a different state, possibly. Powerful religious leaders at that time were still saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” And that state took religion pretty seriously.

I worried that I might have triggered other people reading my response. I just wanted to be honest, to say this is what I carry and hope to God didn’t pass on to my children.That they can forgive me at some point in their lives. Not for me, for themselves.

And I am upset, FridayJones. The shame I feel is caustic, twenty years later. No worries there. As it should be. The only way I sense how to heal in whatever capacity available is to show my underbelly. They still call me Mom. I’d like to deserve that title in some way in the years left to me.

Thank you, again, I know that you are not excusing my failure.

By “spanking” my nine month old, I meant smacking his hand when he reached for the hot coffee cup, the stereo, my glasses. Incessantly. I did NOT turn him over my knee and take off his diaper. BUT it was the beginning of my behavior. If anyone out there is reading this, doing that kind of thing, please get help.

I also don’t mean to imply that twelve step groups, religion, or therapy were just a waste of time. I failed them, they didn’t fail me.


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My 16 year old daughter who is now a self proclaimed transgender person named Jace, blames me for the choices i made because of ptsd to having their own mental healt issues is that abusive? I have had to go no contact becase i cant keep being abused by my children which is learnt behaviour by my ex


I can’t answer whether it is abuse or not, even hearing one side of the story… there are two sides to all stories. I would simply ask you… were you tough on them?


And I am upset, Friday. The shame I feel is caustic, twenty years later.

So much of PTSD has to do with dealing with inappropriate responses; from feeling guilt and shame or taking responsibility over things that were not one’s fault, to kicking into fight or flight or panic attacks or anxiety attacks at innocuous stimuli, blowing up or shutting down in response to stress (stress cup), hypervigilance instead of vigilance, disassociation instead of awareness, countless unhealthy coping mechanisms, the 10 primary cognitive distortions (all or nothing thinking, overgeneralization, mental filter, disqualifying the positive, jumping to conclusions, magnification & minimization, emotional reasoning, should statements, labeling and mislabeling, personalization), et cetera…

PTSD and Trauma creates so many *inappropriate* responses that it shocks me that someone whose job it is to help untangle the appropriate from the inappropriate, would be horrified to the point of chastisement, at the possibility that their client might respond to realizing they’ve been abusing their child by being upset. That’s a good thing to be upset about! Yay appropriate response! It would not be a good thing to feel nothing about, be happy about, feel proud of, find redemption in, etc.

If I’m treating others badly? That’s something I need to recognize is wrong, and needs to stop. That’s something worth getting upset over. That’s a wanted response!

If I’m taking an appropriate/wanted response, and turning it into an unhealthy one? That’s a different issue. Then I need to bring myself back toward midline, or be taught how to. But in order for that to be accomplished there needs to be a recognition of what a normal/healthy/wanted response is. NoNoNo I should never feel bad about anything, never accept my own responsibility, never be to blame for anything, never be upset about anything… Is just as unhealthy and screwed up as the opposite. Just because I am not at fault for situation A, does not mean I am not at fault for situation B. Just because I’ve been hurt, doesn’t make me incapable of hurting others. There will be times where I make mistakes.

How I respond to both sides of the equation are equally important. There times when upset is not just warranted, but right & wanted. Because that’s the rational, healthy, appropriate response.


Drats, no edit. TL;DR I wasn’t talking about feeling bad as punishment. I was talking about trust, really. How can a person be trusted to help me -or anyone- sort out what’s right in my life, if I can do no wrong? If I should never feel bad. Never be upset. Indeed, to find *redemption* in such a clearly wrong thing to do as abusing my child? If their concern isn’t about healthy rational responses, and how to get there, but instead how to avoid upsetting me and how to keep me happy?

Bobby stolp

I work with PTSD every day. The majority of my patients were abused as children and are now parents. After years of cop...
I am a 38 year old single mother of two boys 15 and 9. I have suffered from ptsd my whole life….my father was a veteran , my mother was an unhappy housewife….unfortunately the cycles of abuse are still evident, but I’m working on my children’s lives trying to help them. Unfortunately I do believe as time as come and gone my suffering stays and is so much more evident now:( … Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m coming going. I want so much to help others that have or are experiencing difficult times. But as of late I don’t know how much of me is actually ok or just “taking it to make it”


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on PTSD and parenting. It’s so important to reflect on ourselves and our dealings with our own struggles and to question how they are impacting our children. Stopping the cycle of trauma is possible and people with PTSD can be wonderful parents, providing that as adults, responsible for our own behaviors, we commit to treatment and healing whilst still keeping our families in mind. It can be a difficult balancing act but it takes practice and it takes faith in our Creator.

Tina Hardwick

Not knowing that I was struggling with PTSD I had a complete break down, it was years in the making and it also took my life. So many days I pray that the effects of my PTSD don’t continue to influence my 5 year old but what she had to go through when I was at my worse will make her a stronger more loving woman. I try to remind myself of that when I start to dwell on the bad. I use to feel like because I broke due to PTSD I was less of a person, but now a year later I understand that what I have gone through most couldn’t handle and it’s ok that I broke.Thank you for sharing your heart it reminds me I’m not alone.
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