How Childhood Trauma Affects Relationships and Parenting

What has happened to me when I was young?
What is trauma?
What are the symptoms and consequences of trauma?
These were just some of the questions posed before the audience, mostly parents, during the recent talk of visiting psychotraumatic therapist Christine Foong-Wong. It was both scary and enlightening at the same time. One blog post is not enough to cover everything so let me just share with you some eye-openers for me.

I was privileged to be invited to an exclusive talk by psychotrauma therapist Christine Foong-Wong, organized by Spectrum Education Manila and my friends Jen, Kris, and Tin. The venue is at the new Baron 3 Gardens condo in San Juan, just a few blocks away from our place so J and I took the opportunity to attend in the hopes of getting insights about our own traumas and our parenting. 

Christine Foong-Wong is a Psychotrauma Therapist and her qualifications make her a leading authority in this field. She intensively trained in Europe, with over 15 years of coaching and training experience in the areas of relationship, family, career, money and deep emotional coaching, training and workshops. The talk was more like a primer or a preview to her main workshop this coming Saturday, June 27.

First, what is trauma?
"Trauma is a vital experience of discrepancy between threatening situational factors and the individual’s coping capacities, that is associated with emotions of helplessness and the lacking of any protection thus creating a permanent instability of the self concept and the conception of the world.” - Fischer and Riedesser, 1999, S.79
Trauma is an injury of the physical body, psyche, or social relationship with others.

We all have our own family problems, rooted from different sources. Christine said that "negative emotions are old emotions." Kung sa Tagalog, may pinag-huhugutan. And it's true.

Traumas are multi-generational, so the effects of whatever happened to our grannies and parents, can be passed on to us and our kids. Our childhood traumas may come from unresolved issues of our parents.  For example, when parents quarrel or fight, kids see or hear them and the child's world is "gone", like they feel helpless, or feel it's their fault.

As we grow into adults, how we cope and process situations differ from each other.  It affects the way we behave, how we handle our relationships, our business, and for parents like me, it directly impacts the way we raise our children. Sometimes, parents say we want, or don't want, to raise our kids just like how we were raised. That statement now carries a deeper meaning for me, and scarier too!

During the partner exercises, I realized that my tendency to "escape" from impending and existing conflicts or problems is rooted from my own experience/trauma as a child. I avoid confrontation and tend to shut down. I can't verbalize my feelings. I escape by focusing on a task or work, or other activities that will distract me from the harsh realities.  J is the opposite, and will face challenges head on and openly talk about it.

"The most significant consequence of a trauma is the splitting of the personality and an inability to manage bonding relations without stress."

There were times when I cannot control or discipline my children's misbehaviors, and I wanted to run out of the room and leave them. I ended up shouting at them, or spanking them, and telling them I give up. At one time, when I was completely ignoring my girl, she got so frustrated that she shouted back and said "you never listen!" It hit me so hard. I didn't know what to say and just hugged her.

As a homeschooling mom, I'm afraid I've already caused a lot of trauma for my boy based on my attitude towards teaching him, and how I deal with our day-to-day challenges. I need to organize myself first. I am trying to mellow down and be more conscious of how I talk to my kids now. Parenting is a never-ending work in progress.

"If parents want to support their confused children, they have to look at their own trauma or they will further traumatise their children."

Some of the consequences of a trauma are: 
  • Depression
  • Extreme anxiety, panic attack
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, sadness
  • Numbing of all feelings
  • Dissociation - manifested unconsciously through addiction like Facebook, shopping, drugs, smoking and alcohol
  • Personality disorder
  • Losing bonding capacities with family members

This is just the tip of uncovering childhood trauma. My friend Tin and her husband Harvey were able to attend Christine's workshop in Singapore a few weeks ago and they swore how life-changing it was for them as individuals and as parents.

Take advantage of this one-day-only workshop with Christine. Learn about what's behind a problem and find lasting solutions through the workshop. Visit Spectrum Education Manila on Facebook and reserve your slots now!

Christine Foong - Wong, Psychotrauma Therapist
June 27, 2015 - 12:30 pm
Ortigas Foundation Library
Ortigas Building, Ortigas Ave. corner Meralco Ave., Pasig City.
Workshop promo price: Buy 1, Get 1 Ticket for PhP 8,000 (for 2 pax)

Click and SIGN UP HERE before June 27!
To all my readers and friends, you get P1,500 OFF from the ticket price! Simply enter @mymomfriday as your Discount Code in the form.

More about Christine's work at System of the Heart on Facebook and www.rhemaworks.com.

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