7 STRANGE WAYS TRAUMA CAN SHOW UP IN YOUR LIFE
Roughly 6 months ago my father died in front of me, now that's some trauma for you.
My father and I did not have a great relationship, in fact, once could say that we had quite a tumultuous one. We were constantly in an argument, voices raised, and it ended with one of us (usually me) crying. All this didn’t mean that I didn’t love my dad. He was my dad, and at the root of everything, I know without a doubt that he loved me.
My dad grew up in a household where his father had served in World War 2 and returned home pretending as if nothing happened.
HE HID HIS TRAUMA FROM HIS FAMILY, MY FAMILY
He has numerous extra marital affairs, sometimes with my grandmother's relatives, while she stayed home looking after their 3 children. His mother, my grandmother, was unable to tell someone else that she “loves them”. His sisters, both mentally disabled, take most of his mother’s attention. He was left to be a lone wolf, and make a name for his family. He was feeling the pressure to escape the life he was dealt with. To top it all off, they were very very poor.
My father didn’t tell me much, but in the year before his death, we grew somewhat closer to each other again, and I was getting to know my father again with a new set of eyes. Eyes that could see he was very much in pain, feeling as if his body and life had mistreated him and that he was meant to suffer through it all. Most likely finding peace dying at an early age, honest I know.
Ironically, if my father was alive and I was sharing this information, he would die. Literally, die.
Here's how his trauma affected his life:
HE COPED WITH STRESS BY SELF-MEDICATING.
It started with cannabis and soon transferred to food. My father was quite overweight (BMI of 61, obesity starts at 30). He would stress eat at all hours of the night. So much so that I would catch him almost sleepwalking at 3am eating raw hotdogs. He couldn’t control himself.
HE HAD BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH TRAUMA THAT HE DIDN'T SLEEP IN A BED.
At the age of 14, I started noticing my father sleeping downstairs, sitting up in his lazy boy. He would fall sleep in a chair (never a recliner) sitting straight up to the tv, and star there through the night and wake up and go to work. This became a habit. And he did this for 16 years following.
HE DENIED THAT ANYTHING WRONG WAS HAPPENING TO HIM.
I don’t know if this was to protect me or if he had a hard time admitting things to himself, but he constantly lied to me about, well everything, but his health in particular. He lived in so much shame surrounding these.
HE HAD MULTIPLE AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS.
There is new research showing the connection between trauma and autoimmune disorders in adults and children.
These seemingly non-connected personality quirks, give us major insight into the sight of someone who had never dealt with the trauma they experience from having absent parents. As ridiculous as it is, it really does come down to it being your parent's fault.
HE KEPT HIS SOCIAL CIRCLE VERY SMALL.
My father cared a lot about what people thought about him. If I spoke too loudly while visiting my grandmother in her nursing home, he would make sure I talk in almost a whisper. Which, inevitable, made me speak louder. The friends he saw on a regular basis were few and few between, regardless of how many people show up at his funeral.
DOCTORS TERRIFIED HIM.
Much like myself, he had a few irrational fears. This fear was big though. He also avoided blood collection clinics and had someone come to his house month to test his blood. In retrospect, I should have seen exactly how sick he truly way.
HE COULD NOT CONTROL HIS TEMPER.
As someone who has learnt to deal with her temper in a similar way, I understand the trouble. When we’re in a reactive state, controlling our emotions (especially anger) becomes a required skill, one that many of us fail to do on a regular basis.
DO YOU HAVE TRAUMA?
Do you have any strange ways trauma shows up in your life? Let us know on TikTok.