Following is an excerpt from my book, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story. The posting has appeared more than once because it is timeless and generates overwhelming response based on my blog statistics. It is always time to be reminded again that the journey of healing from the experience of severe trauma comes gradually and often requires lifetime discipline. For those who seem to do the best with the process of healing, the use of “Me and I” is virtually eliminated from thought and conversation. Making a difference for others each day appears to distance the pain of a traumatic experience better than any other cognitive treatment, including medications. I would not suggest here to change anything that has been recommended for treatment by a mental health professional. That’s not my job nor do my qualifications stand up as a psychotherapist. My experience is from my own life and the observation of others who seem to do much better with their own mental health and positive disposition by helping others each day. Try focusing on helping someone or a favorite social cause each day and see how it feels. There is much joy in helping others achieve their dreams and feel hopeful in life.
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story
The Me, I Culture
In a toxic family where PTSD symptoms persist as a result of prolonged abuse and trauma, there is no real family unit. In this environment there is the perception that no one has your back. You are basically alone protecting and defending your turf and position. There is a high level of anxiety and insecurity that grows out of a motivation to survive rather than growing and thriving together as a team with common goals and parental leadership.
I learned something highly important very early in my professional life that was not translated to interactions with family members until many years later. While learning and getting some good coaching in the sales business, the word “I” was considered poison in verbal and written communications. My early career mentors and bosses jumped on me often for using the word “I” as a team member and in working with customers. It was clear from the start that the word “we” carried so much more weight and generated significant positive response once it became a habit to avoid using “I” to reference almost anything. When using “I” it was deliberate and most appropriate at all times. My world changed very quickly in terms of leadership qualities and success in selling once “we” became my favorite word.
In all the years of fighting and arguing with family members and in trying to make my marriage work, including relationships with children, it has been a relatively recent discovery that “we” is most definitely appropriate in building strong relationships at the personal level, especially with family members. It is most noted that when family members focus on themselves in solving problems, nothing constructive ever happens. All my siblings, including parents, and myself have not been team players for most of our lives. I hear the word “I” and “me” far too often, still to this day. It is my sincere opinion that the sooner all of us make the family relationship bigger than ourselves, we will all be on the road to healing and recovery in a more expedient manner. It is so much easier to communicate with people in general when “we” is in context at all times. We are making good progress and in writing this story, it is beginning to become apparent that my brothers and sister think about the value of “we” more now than ever. I definitely dislike hearing the use of “I” most of the time. The reality is that for most things in life it is “we” who develop unconditional love together as a family unit. Unconditional love is not possible in the context of “I.”