This is from “A Warrior’s Garden”:
What if I’d told you that when you are exposed to a traumatic experience or event, if you develop PTSD whether acute or chronic you will renavigate Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development? And your speed and ability to navigate your trauma and move past your diagnosis into your healing phases will be dictated by how quickly you renegotiate those stages.
I am always interested in new ideas about PTSD. Being an educator in the field of special education, I was familiar with Erickson’s Stage Theory. I learned about PTSD after leaving an abusive marriage, and helping my son through what was referred to as PTSD from being raised by a dad who I have come to learn through parenting evaluations, demonstrates all the characteristics of a sociopath.
There is not a quick fix to navigate the stages; just consistency, frequency, and perseverance among those involved in treatment. When reading the chart, I see Brother entering the third stage, “initiative vs guilt- 3-6 year olds”. When I finally left the situation, Brother was 6 years old, but very delayed in social/emotional development. Regular contact continued with the dad for another three years, during which time, Brother would have meltdowns related to having to visit with the dad or in response to things that happened during visits. He was at the tipping point of having a complete breakdown when a judge intervened and required all future visits to be supervised in a center. This was a huge protection, but unfortunately, not enough. Brother ended up having a complete breakdown requiring hospitalization after attempts to self harm.
Visits were put into the hands of the children’s therapists with regard to when the kids were emotionally ready to resume supervised visits. It has been over a year now, and visits for Brother will resume tomorrow. I am thankful that he has been given time to heal a bit before being put back into the situation of navigating a relationship with the dad. There are so many people supporting Brother now, that even if he falls, there is a safety net that is right there.
I can’t help but think of all the kids out there who are navigating Erickson’s Stages after PTSD related to domestic violence and other issues. I ask myself,”What can I do to make a difference?” I think I will start by reading “A Warrior’s Garden”. I have a feeling that some of the ideas can be applied to the children whose lives I touch!