With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas fast approaching, some may feel like they have hardly had time to recover from being together with family. Not everyone enjoys gathering with family and the holidays feel anything but joyful. Sometimes family can be hard. Past family trauma can truly cause anxiety when we face having to gather. Today we are going to talk about that.
Is it My Family Causing my Feelings of Anxiety?
Does the thought of attending a family gathering set off stress and anxiety for you? Do you find yourself thinking through who all is going to be there and reeling through thoughts leading up to the gathering? Know that you are not alone. It is a common occurrence to feel anxiety leading up to the expectation that you will spend time with family. When family dynamics are dysfunctional or abusive, it is easy to understand why feelings of dread or anxiety may be present. Do you struggle with the preference of not wanting to spend time with your family? Today I encourage you to be gentle on yourself. There may be valid reasons for those feelings. Below are some circumstances that could point to some early childhood trauma.
- Are you immediately defensive at the sight of someone?
- Do you find yourself physically not feeling well when visiting?
- Are you in a distant place when are with this person, removed?
- Do you struggle with feelings of not being good enough or have critical self-thoughts?
- Are you mentally taking notes of everything wrong with everyone during your visit?
- Do you immediately feel like a child again and that someone is trying to control your decisions?
These are only a few examples that could signify that your family has some dysfunction that is still affecting you today. Recognizing a need for change is a wonderful first step. Below we will talk about why you could feel this way around your family.
Why do I Feel This Way Around My Family?
When we are children and growing physically, mentally and emotionally, we need support to do so in a healthy way. When we don’t receive that support in each area of growth, we have gaps in our ability to handle our thoughts, emotions and decisions in a healthy way. Depending on what circumstances we were raised in, we live out different effects of the trauma we experienced. If we never seek help with dealing with the trauma, we often live out the effects of trauma our whole lives. Unresolved trauma can wreck our minds, our bodies, our relationships and our health. Did you know that over 60% of children experience some sort of childhood trauma? Below are examples of unhealthy environments that could have led to childhood trauma.
- Substance or alcohol abuse
- Emotional, verbal or physical abuse
- Name calling, criticism or gaslighting
- Lack of resources for basic needs, moving from place to place
These are not the only circumstances that could have led to dysfunctional family relationships. In households where more than one type of trauma existed, therapy can be a great next step to taking back your life and growing toward what you desire.
How Can I Move Forward?
If you find yourself at a place of being ready to step away from the past and into a future where life doesn’t seem like one long stomachache, read ahead, there is hope and you are not alone. When choosing to change and shape your life into healthier relationships and more joyful environment, change will be necessary. We simply can’t achieve change by doing the same things over and over. Will it be hard? Will it dig up old feelings? Could you be stronger by choosing to face it and make the changes? The answer to all of these is Yes. Below are some suggestions that could help you take one step away from the past and one step closer to the future you envision.
- Identify which of your family members are seeking to become healthy themselves and who isn’t. You can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who isn’t seeking help for themselves.
- Does someone always choose a topic of discussion that makes you uncomfortable? Ask them to stop asking you about the topic. If they refuse, evaluate if you can still spend time with them. A person who respects others, also will respect what their requests.
- Learn to detach from unhealthy situations. Avoid subjects that cause deep emotions. Carry out light and positive conversations.
- Have a planned time for a visit. Know ahead of time your “time to exit topics”. Choose what topics you are willing to discuss and not discuss before arriving. Don’t be afraid to leave, respectfully.
- Decide for yourself what topics in your life are open for discussion and which ones are private.
- Learn to say no, even when it is uncomfortable or unexpected.
- Know that you can not change anyone. They must decide to change themselves.
- It is ok to say no to a family gathering if you are not able to attend knowing that it will be detrimental to your own mental health.
Trying to navigate family gatherings after trauma can be very difficult. Often times, help is needed, and that is ok. If you have tried to take some of the above steps but find that either your relationships are not improving or family continues to not respect your boundaries, it may be time meet with a therapist and let them help you. Understanding boundaries and knowing when to cut ties can be hard. If you would like help in moving forward for you and away from childhood trauma, reach out today. We would love to help you.
Things that we experience in our childhoods can carry over throughout our lives if left unresolved. Could unmet childhood needs be still affecting me, you might wonder? The answer is yes. Unmet childhood needs can mold how we feel, how we think and how we respond to others and participate in our relationships. Would you like to be able to identify if unmet childhood needs are affecting your adult life? Today will talk about what our basic needs are as children as well as how having unmet childhood needs can affect different areas of our lives.
What are Basic Childhood Needs?
Childhood requires some basic needs be met to establish a balanced sense of belonging and to thrive into adulthood. Food, water, shelter, protection and clothing are examples of basic childhood needs. There are also social and emotional needs that each child needs modeled by their parents or guardians. Some of those emotional needs include security, unconditional love, acceptance, emotional coaching, routines, responsibility as well as play time. Do you find yourself thinking you could have unmet childhood needs in some of these areas? Would you like to be able to identify if you have unmet childhood needs? Below, we will take a look at ways to determine if some unmet childhood needs could still be affecting you.
How Does Unmet Physical Needs Affect Me?
When children are raised in households where physical needs are not met such as food, water, shelter, protection and clothing, there are symptoms that can be seen in adults that have not sought help for their behaviors. Some of those signs from unmet physical needs are below.
- Low self esteem
- Eating disorders
- Insecurity in relationships
- Anxiety or mood disorders
- Need to micromanage others
This list is not conclusive, but rather, a few examples of how physical needs not being met in childhood can carry over into adulthood. Do any of these signs seem familiar to you? If you would like help in creating an action plan to take steps to live more successfuly, we are here to help
How Does Unmet Emotional Needs Affect Me?
Like physical needs, emotional childhood needs not being met during childhood often carry into adulthood. Acceptance, approval, unconditional love, emotional coaching and play time are a few examples of these needs. Some of the signs from unmet emotional needs are below.
- Fear of failure
- “Yes” person, fear of saying no
- Affirmation needed from everyone
- Unhealthy relationships
- Substance abuse
Again, this list is not conclusive, but a start at recognizing if you suffer from childhood needs not being met. Often parents will repeat neglectful behaviors, which keeps the cycle of unmet needs continuing generation after generation.
Do today’s topics feel heavy to you, but you don’t know where to start? We are here to help you. Upstate Restorative Counseling provides other services that can help you! We provide assistance with counseling in Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Navigating Life Transitions, Resolving Relationship Issues, and Online Therapy. When you are ready, our team is here to support you.
Is it possible by choosing to be grateful that you could see an improvement in your mental health? If you’re looking to see positive changes in your physical health, read further to get advice from a therapist in Greenville, SC and if being grateful can help you with how you feel and share your emotions.
Gratitude is a characteristic that allows a person to perceive and appreciate the good around them. It opens their eyes and mind to see and feel the meaningful areas of their life. It is choosing a mindset that allows you to look for the good, positive, and meaningful areas of your life instead of focusing only on the hard struggles and what is negative.
Choosing gratitude is a mindset and practice that will help us as we experience life, including the past, hard seasons and challenges of daily living.
There are some wonderful benefits to choosing gratitude. These benefits are good for our bodies, mind, and emotions.
Physically, gratitude can help with:
- Reducing stress and how it manifests itself in our bodies
- Can help to lower blood pressures
- Boosts our immune systems to be stronger
- Can help to improve our quality of sleep
Mentally, gratitude can help with:
- Focusing our mind on a positive experience
- Helping us to look for and experience good
- Start to help us be more present in the moments of our day
- Help to gain momentum in choosing our mindset and not being pulled along by the experiences of the day or the tone set by someone else
Emotionally, gratitude can help with:
- Feeling less sad
- Being able to recognize and appreciate what we do have in our lives instead of focusing on what we feel is missing
- Feeling less worried when you are able to see other concerns have worked out in a positive way previously
- Experiencing more peace during your day
- Feeling Calmer
Choosing to be grateful can start at any time with just one choice.
Choosing today to look for one good thing in your day such as:
- a smile from a stranger
- delicious foods you ate
- a nice text from a friend
- complimenting someone on a task well done today
- a beautiful flower you saw on the way to work
- warm weather for your walk tonight
- enjoying the fall decorations
- and so many more good things that if we can be present for a moment we may see
Once you start to be present and soak in these moments, you will be able to see how choosing gratitude can make a difference in your life in a positive and meaningful way.
How can I choose to practice more gratitude in my day? Here are some suggestions to try:
- Choose each day to see the good around you
- Keep a journal and record each day the good you see. Nothing is too small to record
- Be open to accepting good things. Often, we may love to be a giver, but can have trouble receiving
- Keep margin in your schedule to exhale and slow down a bit
- Be present in the moment
- Look for opportunities to give kindness to others
- Practice saying thank you
- Be mindful of your 5 senses and enjoy how they enhance your life
- Think about others you are grateful for and share that with them
- Take a few moments at the end of each day and think about the good things in this day. How much good can you count?
Choosing to be grateful can be a difficult change for some who have experienced pain, sorrow, and hard seasons in their life. If this is something you are struggling with, our therapists would love to work with you and help you to make positive changes to encourage and support your mental health needs.
Want to learn more about gratitude and how it can help you? Book now with our therapists in Greenville, SC.
If you’re looking for support in understanding and increasing your gratitude this next season, a therapist at Upstate Restorative Counseling can help, Learn more about Upstate Restorative Counseling in Greenville, SC.
Other Services Provided by our Therapists in Greenville, SC
We know that life is hard, you’re not alone in dealing with it. Upstate Restorative Counseling provides other services that can help you! We provide assistance with counseling in Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Navigating Life Transitions, Resolving Relationship Issues, and Online Therapy. When you are ready, our team is here to support you.
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder and can occur when someone has experienced or had exposure to a traumatic event. Often we hear about PTSD from those who have experienced a military trauma, a natural event trauma like a hurricane or flood, or maybe had an experience with violence. While these are some of the situations and experiences where someone may struggle with PTSD there are so many more experiences that can also cause people to struggle with the symptoms of PTSD.
Symptoms that you are struggling with PTSD can affect every part of a person’s life. There are physical, mental, relationship, and emotional symptoms. If you are wondering if you may have PTSD or are struggling with some of these symptoms, we would encourage you to reach out to your family doctor or a therapist to further discuss how you are feeling as some of these symptoms can also be present in other concerns.
What might PTSD feel like physically?
- Easily startled or frightened
- Feeling as if you need to be on guard in all situations
- Looking at circumstances and needing to immediate assess for danger
- Choosing self-destructive behaviors such as possibly over-drinking, driving too fast, taking physical risks that you would not normally take
- Trouble sleeping
- Struggling with flashbacks
- Having nightmares
- Feeling restless and unable to relax
- Feeling irritable
- Unable able to control your anger
- Aggressive behavior
What might PTSD feel like mentally?
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble working through processes to accomplish tasks you are used to doing
- Memory problems
- Trouble staying focused
- Avoiding thinking about the trauma, your life, or what you may need
- Always thinking about what has happened
- Choosing to be quiet and withdraw from talking with others
What might PTSD feel like emotionally?
- Struggling with having negative thoughts about yourself, others, and your circumstances
- Feeling hopeless
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Feeling detached from friends and family
- Lack of interest in activities that you enjoyed before
- Feeling numb
- Difficulty expressing positive emotions
- Overwhelming guilt
- Feeling shame
There is help!
These are a few of the symptoms that can be present when you are struggling with PTSD. No one person is affected with the exact same symptoms and there can be other symptoms that can also be present. These symptoms can also be a result of other physical, mental, and emotional concerns.
When you are struggling with any of these symptoms of PTSD you should not try to walk this journey alone. There are many benefits when working with a therapist who is trained in tools that can help you manage your PTSD. That journey begins with having someone who will listen and respect your story. That is the first step with all of our therapists.
Working with a therapist will also help you to better understand and work through your personal story, the events and trauma that you have experienced. They can help you determine the triggers that you are struggling with. Once those are defined, they can help you to see how your physical body, mind and your emotions react to those triggers. They will provide tools that will help you to manage those triggers and allow you to have control back in how you will react and work through these concerns. Our therapists believe in providing individual tools and plans for each client that meets their needs and will help them to move forward towards the life they want to have.
For more information on the services that our therapists provide for PTSD and trauma please see https://upstaterestorativecounseling.com/trauma-therapy/
Congratulations on taking the first step to a healthier you!! It is a big step to research therapists, choose one who you will think will be a good fit and then schedule the appointment.
Now that you have found a therapist and your appointment is approaching, you may begin to feel a little uncertain or even anxious not knowing how to prepare for that time or what to expect in that first session.
What Should I Do Before My Appointment:
Determine Your Why.
This first session is just the start of working with your therapist. If you are not sure what you want to begin with, it might be helpful to think through some of these questions:
- What is your biggest struggle right now and how is it affecting your daily life?
- Where are you at in your life right now and where do you want to be?
- Is there an event or circumstance that you are struggling to work through?
Complete Initial Paperwork.
Most therapists will have some paperwork they would like you to complete prior to your first session. There will probably be:
- Disclosures to sign giving the therapist consent to meet with you
- Disclosures on confidentiality and what your expectations for your privacy are
- Practices policies of your therapist-this will tell you how they operate like hours, how to reach them, what to do if you need to cancel
- Insurance information if they accept your insurance
- Credit card or payment method for sessions
- Questionnaire that provides you with a place to share why you are seeking a therapist
Depending if the therapist takes your insurance, you will want to verify that and how much your plan will pay towards your sessions. You can call the number on the back of your insurance card, and they should be able to help you.
Now that you have completed the initial paperwork, what can you expect from your first session?
Purpose of the First Session.
The purpose of the first session is for the therapist to get to know the client as a person and to begin to understand what the client wants to get from therapy.
What to Expect from the Therapist.
At the beginning the session, your therapist will review some of the disclosures you signed and make sure they have the needed information to begin. After the paperwork is reviewed, they will ask you to share a little about yourself and why you want to to begin therapy.
Your therapist should be a great listener and be respectful to you and what you are sharing. This is beginning of a therapy relationship, and you will need to be able to share hard emotions and circumstances to move forward in your healing.
Your therapist may take a few notes and ask some questions to make sure they are understanding what you are sharing.
What the Therapist Will Need from You.
- -be open to the therapy process
- -begin to share your story and why you are there
- -ask questions
It is crucial to remember that this first session is just the beginning of getting to know your therapist and them starting to learn about you and your story. Building a relationship takes time and as the relationship and trust develops, you will feel more comfortable sharing more and working on the goals that you want from therapy.
In our practice, our therapists believe it is critical for each client to feel heard and seen in order for them to be able to work together in therapy. They are exceptional listeners and work with their clients on the goals that the client has shared. They treat every client with respect and will work with the client to determine what tools and therapies will best help them reach their goals. They would love to meet with you and see how they can help you on your journey to the life you want. For more information on our therapists, please see https://upstaterestorativecounseling.com/about/
Relationships can be a valuable and enjoyable part of life. But, when past trauma is unresolved it can impact your current relationships in ways that are not healthy. These are not enjoyable and do not help those relationships to thrive. Often when dealing with trauma, trauma therapists are also likely to look at its impact of it on your relationships.
Trauma therapists know that these three foundational areas in relationships can be affected when unresolved trauma exists. These often surround safety, security, and control.
Some of the questions that may be important to a person who is struggling with unresolved trauma when they are thinking about their relationships are:
- Am I physically safe?
- Can I trust you with my emotions?
- Do I feel heard and understood?
- Can I be myself in this relationship?
- Do I feel like I am the one doing all the work?
- When I feel uncertain about the relationship do I feel a need to try to control it?
Often you may know on an intellectual level or feel yourself pulling back from a relationship. Or pushing harder than you normally would. Sometimes your reactions and emotions are more unconscious. You may even be caught off guard by them. Either way, these thoughts, emotions, and actions can make it hard to establish and thrive in your relationships. That is why some of these themes are issues that trauma therapists talk about in sessions.
Some areas where unresolved trauma can present itself in relationships are:
When you struggle with unresolved trauma, you can have a perception that all or most people are unsafe and untrustworthy. That makes it hard to even want to reach out to new people or work on your current relationships. When you have suffered trauma from another person, it can be very hard to try to see that there could be people who are good and want to have a healthy relationship.
Trust can be hard to extend to others. When your trust has been broken or violated, it is not something that you will be able to give to anyone else easily. It may take a long time to try to determine if a person is trustworthy. Or, sometimes the opposite can happen. You may want so badly to have deeper relationships that you give your trust to someone who is not worthy of it.
If there is unresolved trauma, both physical and emotional intimacy can be a struggle. You may want to move to a deeper level in the relationship. But, something may hold you back. Sometimes our bodies can hold on to unresolved trauma. This can cause us to not be able to move in the direction we want.
To self-protect from any further pain or trauma, you may try to control the relationship. By trying to control everything, you may feel like there is more safety and less chance of getting disappointed and hurt. You may try to control the other person, the relationship boundaries, and also the pace of the relationship.
Often someone who is struggling with unresolved trauma will try to manipulate relationships. Sometimes the manipulations may be to get what they want so that they can feel in control and safe. But, it can also come from a place of trying to have a different outcome or type of relationship than what they had from past experiences. They want to have a healthier relationship. Yet, they do not know how or have the tools to work on that. This manipulation can come more from a place of fear than selfishness.
Living with unresolved trauma will affect all aspects of your life. Trying to resolve past experiences and trauma on your own is very difficult. Caring friends and family can be good listeners. But, they can also add to the pain you are already feeling without intending to do so. If you are ready for support,a trauma therapist can help you.
Begin Working With A Trauma Therapist in Greenville, SC
Our trauma therapists would love to help you walk through your unresolved trauma. They have experience with many types of treatments and tools to help you work on your trauma. We would be honored to provide support from our Greenville, SC-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
Start healing from past trauma
Other Services Offered with Upstate Restorative Counseling