Developmental Traumas: Referral Corner

Our families provide the foundation for our personal and professional lives. When the foundation is shaky, it is only a matter of time before cracks in the façade of growing up in the perfect family begin to appear. You struggle with issues such as perfectionism, control, low self-esteem, self-criticism, shame, guilt, fear of abandonment or relationship difficulties. You wonder why.

As a child, you accepted your family dynamics as normal. It is only later as adults that you and other children of alcoholic (ACOA) or other dysfunctional families (ACDF) realize your family of origin dynamics are negatively impacting your life. You may experience a career or relationship crisis; or you may just become aware over time that something was amiss in your family when you were growing up. Then you wonder what is “normal” and more importantly, can I ever feel “normal.”

First, society became aware that an alcoholic parent could have long-lasting repercussions on all the family members. Then it became clear that other drugs, mental illness, abuse, death, divorce, separation, and other dysfunctional dynamics could have similar impacts on family members, especially impressionable children. Today these are called developmental traumas.

The dysfunctional family dynamics prevent either parent from being available and responsive on a consistent, predictable basis and children unconsciously developed rigid roles in order to cope. These coping patterns that were so essential in your childhood often impede becoming the loving, healthy, productive adult you now strive so hard to be.

There is hope. You are invited to participate in a psycho-educational program that has been helping adults from ACOA/ACDF families to recover, heal, and thrive for over 20 years. PC&CC’s Kathleen Scheg, is offering it Wednesdays from 7:30-9pm, starting Oct. 27 at our Takoma Park office.

Level 1 of the ACOA/ACDF program helps you understand your early survival patterns that may now be interfering with healthy, adult living so that you can consider alternative behaviors. Level 2 focuses on current relationships, including the dynamics of enabling/detaching, co-dependency and communication skills. Level 3 enhances your ability to improve your future relationships through exploration of anger and the concepts of triangling, distancing/pursuing and closeness/emptiness. For more information or to register, please contact Scheg at 202-449-3789 ext. 710.