Dealing with Family Traumas

Life is not always about the big happy moments. Those are usually rare. Instead, it is about the…
parents and children trying to deal with family trauma
Life is not always about the big happy moments. Those are usually rare. Instead, it is about the small moments that we deal with in our day to day lives. Sometimes it takes tragedies to teach us and make us realize that no moment in life is insignificant. All we need to do is appreciate these precious moments, whether happy or sad, value and make the most of them.

Tragedies are a part of our lives and occur every moment, either in our country or overseas, in our neighborhood, or in our family. The most traumatic times in a family are on losing a member, or when a family member unexpectedly suffers a great loss.

When we hear about tragedies where people have been hurt or killed, we experience many strong emotions that seem overwhelming; as such incidents refresh our own similar personal experiences. That is the reason why the recent Tsunami in Japan touched our hearts, bringing out our sympathies for the affected families.

Some of the feelings we may experience after undergoing a tragedy or hearing about them are as under-

·Shock and Disbelief – The immediate feeling that “This can’t be real- it cannot be happening to me”. Denial and disbelief are the immediate ways to cope with the tragedy, once you hear about it.

·Scared – Feeling scared or afraid for your safety is a normal reaction to the news of a tragedy.

·Numbness and Confusion – You may feel a ‘nothing’ or numb feeling, as the tragedy was so shocking that you feel none of your emotions are working at all.

·Anger – The feeling of anger is a natural emotion at the time of a traumatic experience.

·Sadness – The pain and destruction caused due to tragedies can leave us feeling upset for those who are suffering.

It is normal to undergo a range of emotions after a tragedy, but learning to deal with family traumas and accept the emotions is the key factor. Listen to your feelings and intuitions about what you need.

Mentioned below are ways you can cope with your feelings and deal with the family traumas.

1.Talk and Express Yourself

Nothing can help you better than talking to your family and friends. Encourage family members to describe what they saw, heard, thought, and felt.  Besides talking, try diverting your mind and expressing yourself by playing some music, walking, going for a run, meditating, writing a dairy, painting, or doing things that calm and soothe you out.

2.Think Positive

Remain positive and remind yourself of all the good things that are happening in the world, and all the people who are working for a good cause. Thank the Almighty that you and your family are safe.

3.Take Time

Take things slowly. If you find you are worried about the future, try and take each day as it comes. Plan for each day and try not to look too far ahead. Be flexible with chores and roles within your family. Allow time to be a healer for you, as well as your family. Think of healing as a family issue, not an individual one.

4.Come Together

Dealing with family traumas is not easy, and these are the times when you should get together with your friends and family. You could try giving a hug to a friend or family member when you are feeling distressed, which will make a big difference. Take out time to do fun things, and after a while concentrate on how each person has changed or grown.

5.Be Sensitive and Tolerant

Remember, if you are feeling strong emotions, it is likely others in your family are also feeling the same way. Remain sensitive and tolerant when you are talking to your family, as they may be dealing with the trauma themselves. Thus, try to set a good example and remain positive, as you cannot control how others react, but you can control how you act.


6.Look After Yourself

When you are undergoing stress and trauma, it is easy to let things slip, thus take care of yourself by eating a healthy diet, regularly exercising, and keep your everyday normal routines.

7.Seek Support

Sometimes it helps to talk to others who have been through similar painful experiences and somehow managed. Ask them how they rebuilt their hopes, what thoughts and strategies helped them get through while dealing with family traumas.

Traumatic events extend beyond the everyday stress people experience; therefore it is important to understand the various circumstances different people find themselves in. By helping and supporting people, as they go through the stress and trauma will positively influence their healing and recovery process.

While dealing with family traumas, if you have experienced a painful time, you will suffer for a while, but it is possible to recover, build coping skill, and bring happiness back to your life.

Please do share your views and experiences if and how you have dealt with family traumas in your life.


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Disclaimer: We're not offering any medical advice here. These ideas are for educational and entertainment purposes only. Always seek a professional medical opinion from a physician of your choosing before making any medical decision. The information provided here is not intended to be a substitute to the advice given by your physician or another healthcare professional.

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  1. Hi harleena,
    I liked your post because i myself faced it…few days back i lost my younger brother and it was hard to live for me. But gradually i understand that being destressed wont change anything but yes being positive and happy i can change few things for me n my family. Even today i cant forget him but i engage myself in activities i liked the most so that i can deal with it , moreover trying to make a smiling environment in my house for others to lessen their pain.but thanks its still supporting and helpful to me.

  2. Thanks for this harleena, deaths happen and they can be hurt for us to deal with emotionally….

    1. Hi Fazal – nice to have you back after a long time 🙂

      Yes indeed, deaths happen and they are always hard to cope with. I guess dealing with family traumas is never easy for anyone – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Hey Harleen,

    I so loved this. After my grandma passed away; it was like a state of shock for a long time. Though it wasn’t unexpected (she had paralysis for over two years) but yes, it was the first time we saw death in the family and it was terrible.

    What really worked is staying together as one whole unit. We made it a point to be together for at least two weeks after that. Helped us gather the pieces. It apins me to even talk about the incident now; but family support is probably the first thing that can get you over any tragedy, almost like a healing process all in itself.

    I somehow find it very difficult to express myself after a tragedy. I tend to withdraw and keep to myself for quite some time. Though usually I am a person who likes being around people; after a sudden blow I like keeping to myself and I get extremely closed. This is one thing which worries my family to quite a large extent. They think my closing up is unhealthy and I need to be more open; but it is something which I can’t get around to doing.

    After I lost a close friend to a terrible accident, I was in a state of shock for over two months and it influenced by other areas terribly. It took a lot of courage to get over that.

    1. Glad you could resonate with the post Hajra!

      Loses are always terrible and the toughest to cope with, and if they are within your family it becomes more difficult to deal with them. Just as in the case of your grandmother, even though you knew she had paralysis and saw her suffer daily- you certainly didn’t expect her to pass away.

      Support from family and friends is the key during such traumas, something that people give each other this end a great deal. And that is mainly so that the grieving family can overcome the loss soon enough. It does work wonders with people around you as they take care of everything, and are always there for any kind of help.

      I guess I am a lot like you and go into my own shell when such tragedy’s occur, the worst of course being the loss of my mother. It was almost a part of me had gone, though now after that major loss, nothing seems to affect me to that degree. Even though there are other loses in the extended family, but I have learnt to deal with them now.

      You should let out or talk to a few friends or family about how or what you feel, or have some medium to let out your feelings at such times. I know how difficult it can be, but if you don’t, you may be damaging yourself internally without really knowing it.

      Getting over loses is not easy, though we ourselves have to learn to deal with it and overcome it by moving on.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

      1. I think for me it takes times; I need a withdrawal period and then when I feel I am over the initial shock, I slowly get back to being my usual self. Yes, but the withdrawal period is very painful for people around me!

        1. Happens with the best of us Hajra! Loses are never easy, and each one of us have our own ways of dealing with them. But with family or friends around, things do get a little easier.

          Thanks for adding to the conversation. 🙂

  4. This is a tough subject.

    Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death, and even though it’s been years, it still feels fresh to me sometimes. We are also approaching the one-year anniversary of my husband’s grandmother’s death. It’s so hard to lose the ones you love during what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

    I think your advice to take care of yourself is especially important. That’s where I usually fall the hardest when things get rough.

    1. Welcome to the blog Amelia!

      Yes indeed, overcoming loses is something that is the hardest part to deal with, as I too have a tough time coming to terms with it. I lost my mother a few years back and the memories remain ever so fresh in my mind. I guess certain loses you can’t just let go and have to just come to live with the fact that they are gone and accept it.

      In such cases we do need to take care of ourselves, hold strong, and learn from such loses. I think it does bring the family much closer to each other, as the realization does seep in somewhere that we all too have limited time with each other, so make the most of it and live life to the fullest.

      Thanks for stopping-by. 🙂

  5. Most of the people I know who need to deal with their traumas are having a problem in handling their lives. That’s why it is very important for them to seek support from others, especially their loved ones. And the most important thing I guess is for them to have that courage to fight with their traumas. They need to encourage themselves that they could still spend their lives happily.

    1. I wonder if that is the case Audrey!

      I have seen most people come out of their traumatic lives, and get more positive and grateful for the lives or second chance that they are given. I guess you mean to say that some people are not able to deal with their traumatic lives?

      Yes, the support of family and friends is always needed, as they do give you the strength and courage that is needed to pull you through such trying times.

      Thanks for stopping-by. 🙂

      1. Ah sorry, what I meant is that they having trouble with their lives because they don’t know how to move on with their lives. Luckily for most people, they were able to cope up with these traumas because of the help of others and of course by helping themselves too.

        1. Not a problem Audrey, I understood what you meant, and yes help and support of others is needed, but you can’t get better without helping you own-self.

  6. Trauma certainly will happen, that’s for sure. But it’s definitely great to have a strong family support system that will be able to weather the storm. You’ve listed awesome pointers here Harleena, that will certainly get any family through the rough times. Being sensitive, communication, and positive thinking are definitely key tools to carry us through. I just really loved this post, my friend. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    1. Glad you liked the post and could find meaning in it Deeone!

      Yes you are so right there Deeone- family support is what pulls you through the rough weather, especially the times when traumas occur, or sometimes its those very close friends whom you can trust and rely on.

      Thanks for stopping-by to comment 🙂

  7. just like my teacher told me in high school trauma is just a test to make you stronger, it can break you it you let it, or it can make you stronger if you use it for your own advantage. sad to say that most of us do choose the first choice.

    nice blog
    I am a new follower please follow back.

    and hope to read more on stress and things like that.

  8. @strawberry Princess Glad you liked the post, and thanks for stopping by to comment. Traumas do make us stronger, provided we are ready to learn from our experiences.

  9. Trauma in life is inevitable as you say, and never easy to negotiate through. However, if you can come out a stronger person, a more compassionate person, then something valuable has come out of the distress.

  10. @S. Brown Thanks for stopping by to leave your comments S.Brown.
    Yes, each tragedy or trauma we undergo, does change and make us a much stronger and compassionate person. Each day we thank the good Lord for the new life he has given us, and we tend to knit closer to our families or loved ones.

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