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Brad The Therapist
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience:  10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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I want to be able to help my wife explore what was a trauma

Customer Question

I want to be able to help my wife explore what was a trauma in her childhood, that led her to decide (at around the age of 8 - 10) never to have children. She got pregnant this year, and has been in hospital and on effexor, and receiving psychotherapy (but aimed more at self esteem - which she doesn't have a problem with). As time is moving on and the therapy is not moving to where it could do most good, tackling the issue in her childhood, I would like to learn some methods and exercises to try to help her.

She is the 2nd of 5 children, the rest are all boys, so she was given alot of responsibility for helping raise her brothers. I can explain more in PM.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 1 year ago.

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about the trauma you wife experience as a child. Base on what you have written, and having worked with abused children for 35 years, I know this is a longstanding issues and unresolved can bring prolonged


Psychological distress

Customer:

Please don't answer this question, its written for a psychologist to answer

Bill :

I am happy to opt out if you wish- please wait


 

Customer:

I would simply like to work with a new Expert.

Customer:

Thankyou Bill. Sorry I may have been quick off the mark, but the Just Answer system seems to have changed, and it said you first line was the answer. Yet my question is clearly asking for methods and exercises that might help my wife deal with the trauma. It is not something she remembers, but it has become a foundation stone in her life which is why getting pregnant has made her so ill.


 

Bill :

No problem- Another expert will take this question -


 

Expert:  Bill replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m the moderator for this topic. I am sorry, but It seems that the professional has left this conversation. This happens occasionally, and it's usually because the professional thinks that someone else might be a better match for your question. But don’t worry….. I am working to find a new professional to assist you! Please keep in mind that sometimes finding the right professional can take a little longer than expected. All of our Professionals come on at varying times, so sometimes it’s a bit difficult to predict.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Its ok Camille I can wait

Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Thank you for your patience, your business is very important to us, we are waiting on the Professional with the right expertise to come online. Thank you for your understanding.

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Expert:  RNMAD1 replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I hope I can help you today. I have a lot of personal and professional experience dealing with depression and all the issues connected with it. It sounds as though you are not satisfied with your wifes current treatment. Remember they work for you and there are no stupid questions. Being proactive in your wifes treatment shows you care very much. Isolating a specific incident as a traumatic event in a child's life is very difficult. It is a little easier to look at the big picture and see that a series of events are what has led to this. Maybe your wifes decision at such a young age not to have a baby was the result of her having so much responsibility for her brothers.
Is your wife on any other meds besides the two you mentioned? I will give you an assessment if you could provide me with a list of all her current meds along with supplements. A brief description of her diet and lifestyle also would help.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I prefer to wait for a psychologist to answer (I am not sure if you are, it looks from your profile that you are nurse)?

Expert:  RNMAD1 replied 1 year ago.
Yes I am a nurse.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I would simply like to work with a new Expert.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I hope I can help with your current situation. Please tell me more about your current concerns towards your relationship with your wife. What type of symptoms is she currently experiencing? Have you voiced your concerns to your wife's therapist? What have you done thus far that has not been helpful.

I apologize to bombard you with questions but your response will allow me to best help you in your current situation.

Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think you are trying to read between the lines. Our relationship is good. The problem is the pressure of the time, 2-3 months left in the pregnancy and little or no focus on the trauma of her childhood, which is the source of her having taking a decision not to have a child when she was 8 or 9 years old. Which is not a rational, or reasonable decision, because it was not taken with all the faculties and experience needed. Subsequently, she has grown up and looked at times to avoid certain types of responsability. Her psychiatrists (she spent a month in hospital with 8 ECT sessions) have all said about the trauma being the real issue and not the pregnancy, so while we are able to talk more at the moment about this, I want to help by using therapuetic methods, and/or exercises that might help explore this. She doesn't remember many specific things that led her to take that decision so early, so I can't just talk it out. But want to help advance things along.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. Typically when someone goes through trauma, treatment typically begins with learning coping skills to reduce anxiety when a trigger reminds the person of a trauma. Once the person masters coping skills, the person is encouraged to recount the trauma as much details as possible. While recounting the trauma, coping skills such as deep breathing or other relaxation skills are used to reduce any anxiety. Once the details of the trauma is recounted, treatment is complete where the person accepts that the event occurred and the person is ready to move forward.

Having said all this, I am wondering how your wife is feeling regarding being a mother. What type of emotions is she experiencing? Fear, regret, guilt?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

She has learned the relaxation exercies and confontation of thoughts, but she can't remember the details of the "trauma" it was essentially being given responsibility for helping to bring up her brothers at too early an age, or her perception of the responsibility, the lack of praise from her mother, lost part of her childhood and so on.

About how she feels, she doesn't want to be a mother, as she decided at such an early ager her life has been built on that decision taken at 8 or 9 in turn based on this trauma. So her feelings all revolve around that firm decision she took all that time ago. Even though she can recognise these things it doesn't take away the constant thoughts of not wanting this.

I await your reply and a bit more guidance on the type of questions, and exercises that might help.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
Based on your response, your wife is against having a child because raising a child is reminds her of her traumatic experience. Is that correct? If so, does that make your wife have fear of having children, hence her decision of never having children? Please correct me if this line of logic is incorrect.

Now that your wife is pregnant, how has she been? Is she regretting being pregnant? Does she not want this child?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes thats correct, she is totally rejecting the idea. She blames herself at times for not preventing this (she feels it is something we could have avoided) and other times blames me (when she is having an anxiety attack).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

In other areas of her life she has (with this depression) recognised that she has tried to avoid becoming responsible for other people, its not totally rejecting being responsible, she is generally very responsible, its rejecting being responsible for another person.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
At this point, what is the plan for the pregnancy and the child being born? How do you respond to her anxiety attacks, typically? How do you feel about pregnancy? Again, I apologize for the questions, but these answers will help me formulate suggestions for you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The response to the anxiety attacks is reminders it will pass quickly, reminders about breathing and usually some form of physical contact, holding hand etc.

Plan for the next couple of months we are working out day by day at the moment, as talking too far ahead is too stressful

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The response to the anxiety attacks is reminders it will pass quickly, reminders about breathing and usually some form of physical contact, holding hand etc.

Plan for the next couple of months we are working out day by day at the moment, as talking too far ahead is too stressful.

I felt to a lesser degree the same feeling of not wanting, but despite initial disappointment I have the usual fears, but am ok with this. Although it would be alot easier to be ok, to be looking forward, to be happy if my wife were. I suppose I have blocked off becoming "over the moon happy" due to fear of dividing us more emotionally.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. It seems as though you are committed to raising your child and you are hoping your wife feels the same. The only way for your wife to overcome her anxiety/trauma is to believe that she can raise a child successfully. My suggestion for you is to let your wife know you are there for her and that if she ever wants to talk about the trauma she went through with you, you are available. Your wife seem to have the coping skills to reduce anxiety with your help. She may go through anxiety attacks when recounting her trauma, but she can rely on the coping skills she has.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think its not so much a question of believing she can, she just doesnt want to based on her childhood experiences, was hoping for some other type of exercises or discussion methods to help, but you are basically saying breathing exercises and recounting, and acceptance is the solution. I don't know if thats the case since she built her life around that decision.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
That is correct, coping skills, recounting, and acceptance is the solution. Whenever your wife is recounting, I suggest focusing on the emotions and feelings of the trauma and challenging the distorted thoughts your wife might have regarding the trauma. For example, when she feels guilty regarding the way she parented her younger siblings and feels that she will be a terrible mother, you can challenge her thought about this by stating the fact that she was only a child and she wouldn't have known how to raise a child.

Anther suggestion I have for you is to use "I" statements when she is recounting her trauma. Using the same example above, I suggest responding by "If I was in your shoes, I would feel guilty at first but I believe I didn't have the knowledge to be effective at that age." Hope this helps.
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience: 10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
Brad The Therapist and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't think she feels she will be a terrible mother because she made mistakes, it was more that her mother didn't thank, praise her enough and that she lost her childhood feeling overly responsbile for her brothers.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I don't think she feels she will be a terrible mother because she made mistakes, it was more that her mother didn't thank, praise her enough and that she lost her childhood feeling overly responsbile for her brothers. So your comments are not that useful in helping me probe a bit more.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
I am sorry to hear that. Nevertheless, based on what you have written, it seem as though you are doing everything you need to be doing for your wife.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The situation currently is that she is seeing a talk therapist, who listens but its not cognitive, so there are no exercises to do, and she continues to want to die, her pyschiatrist has said that with the hospitalization and medicine she should be depression free, and that its more a personality disorder - stubornness in refusing to change when confronted with something she doesnt want to do. She is asking me if I am ready for parenthood so that after the child is born she will disappear. I really don't know how to help her. We discuss her feelings but she has forgotten that she told me she wanted to get better, and seems like now she sees only one way out again. She is a stubborn person this can be a good quality to have but in this situation its not. Talking about her childhood doesn't help, she refuses to accept her thinking is not normal, and that as nobody understands its ok. Any suggestions on things I can do on a daily basis to help. We are about 4 or 5 weeks away from birth.

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 1 year ago.
thank you for your contacting me. At this point, I would suggest for your to set up limits and boundaries with your wife. Whenever she speaks negatively about what she will do after the birth of your child, I suggest for you to tell her how you feel when you hear that. If you already do this, how does she respond? If she expresses negative thoughts that are not true, continue to challenge them.

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