Psycho-Babble Grief Thread 827414

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Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?

Posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:09:19

Hi: Does anybody have any reading materials (articles, books, weblinks) one could point me to on a child's/adolescent's loss of a parent and the effects into adulthood? I lost my father traumatically at 15 and it seems to have caused a lot of damage to me over the years (I'm a male in my early forties now). I don't really have flashbacks ala the far end of the PTSD spectrum, but think I internalized the idea that doom is always waiting around the corner. Some other traumatic stuff just intensified this way of understanding the world. I catastrophize quite a bit and I'm trying to pull it apart now and could use some guidance. I read something about children in the Holocaust (obviously a much worse situation than mine), but it resonated. Thanks, Nomad

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?

Posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:13:47

In reply to Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?, posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:09:19

Should clarify what I read about was child/adolescent survivors of the Holocaust whose parents didn't make it and how they were damaged far into adulthood and even their senior years. Doom around the corner, lack of hope, and disbelief in a benevolent or even just neutral world. Again, much worse situation than mine, but it clicked.
-Nomad

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood? nomadjones

Posted by Sigismund on May 6, 2008, at 19:35:27

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?, posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:13:47

>Doom around the corner, lack of hope, and disbelief in a benevolent or even just neutral world. Again, much worse situation than mine, but it clicked.

I really can't be of much help you, because that's the way it seems to me too.
I don't mean there is no good in the world, just that it seems crazy to believe in a benevolent one.

But since you mention children and the Holocaust, a special mention should be made of the Warsaw pediatrician and Director of the Warsaw orphans home, Janusz Korczak, who preferred to stay with the children rather than plead with the Nazis, and went to his death holding the hands of the children, at least metaphorically.

And I suppose for me such actions redeem this world, as far as it is possible.

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo

Posted by nomadjones on May 7, 2008, at 20:36:55

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood? nomadjones, posted by Sigismund on May 6, 2008, at 19:35:27

Sigismund:
Thank you for your kind response, even if you don't have "the answer." It is comforting that others understand where I'm coming from. My wife, raised in the West for generations, has no idea why I can't see the glass, much less a glass half full.
I looked up Korczak - he was quite a man. He showed what he was made of when put to the ultimate test.
I probably read too much about the Holocaust and the Gulag. These are extreme situations where when one's actions don't ultimately change the outcome (other than the possibility of making a brave last stand). Here's a link that resonated with me:
http://www.shoaheducation.com/newber2.html
I'm trying to accept that the universe (at least in the West in the early 21st century) doesn't care about me one way or another (i.e., is neutral) and that I'm not a magnet for bad things happening. It's difficult to change a viewpoint that has helped me explain away so much trauma & bad luck up until now, particularly at vulnerable ages.
I should be more grateful (and have been encouraged to keep track of what I'm grateful for), but I'm constantly worried about bad things happening and losing what I have now.
I wish you peace, Nomad

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo nomadjones

Posted by Sigismund on May 8, 2008, at 3:01:43

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo, posted by nomadjones on May 7, 2008, at 20:36:55

>I probably read too much about the Holocaust and the Gulag

For perhaps twenty years I read one book after another on Germany and the USSR in this period.
Even in my interminable therapy I spent all this time paying to talk about Hitler and Stalin.
I only felt it made sense to know about these things, and perhaps too, needed to find something to mourn over.
I don't really know why, but suppose it resonated with how I felt inside.
These days I pay attention to politics to get my quota of whatever it is.

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood? nomadjones

Posted by zenhussy on May 8, 2008, at 14:42:07

In reply to Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?, posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:09:19

by Maxine Harris--The Loss That is Forever...the lifelong impact of the early death of a mother or father 1995 Plume Pub. div. of Penguin Books

by John Bowlby--Loss--Sadness and Depression..Vol. III of Bowlby's Attachment and Loss Trilogy 1980 Basic Books div. of Perseus Books

the first is written for the masses and an easy read. the second isn't as easily readable but contains good information throughout.

it has been rather challenging to find "good" resources about the topic of adolescent loss of a parent or even early childhood loss of a parent.

hope these are helpful even if just to give you another direction to explore.

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo

Posted by nomadjones on May 9, 2008, at 8:49:31

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood? nomadjones, posted by zenhussy on May 8, 2008, at 14:42:07

Zenhussy:

Thanks a lot for the great recommendations! I picked up "The Loss That is Forever" last night and have only begun reading it, but was quite struck with how she says that in a child's universe, losing one parent is like losing half the world and is a catastrophe (subjectively to the child's psychology - no actual comparison intended) on the scale of war and genocide. As mentioned above, I read a lot (probably too much) about the Holocaust and the Gulag. This paragraph from the book was spot on, having lost my father at 15 traumatically: "For one man whose father died when he was 15, the Holocaust has become the standard against which all other tragedies are measured... As an adult he has often wondered why the Holocaust has such a strong reference for him, since no one in his family was touched by its devastation. It has become a very personal image, an image of total loss and total catastrophe against which all other events must now be judged, an image that resonates with his own experience of the premature death of his father." I look forward to learning more about myself from the book and hopefully beginning to heal some old deep wounds.

In case anyone else is following this thread or finds it in the future, Zenhussy's recommendations led me to a couple of other books I have not read yet. "Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent" by Donna Schuurman is on the subject of childhood grief and its effects into adulthood. For women, there is "Motherless Daughters" by Hope Edelman.

I wish you all peace, Nomad

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo

Posted by AbbieNormal on May 11, 2008, at 6:43:41

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo, posted by nomadjones on May 9, 2008, at 8:49:31

"Longing for Dad: Father Loss and Its Impact"
by Beth Erickson

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo

Posted by nomadjones on May 13, 2008, at 19:28:12

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthoo, posted by AbbieNormal on May 11, 2008, at 6:43:41

AbbieNormal:

Thanks very much for the book suggestion; I will check it out. In contrast to some of the other books, it appears to take a "self-help" approach which may be helpful.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond,
Nomad

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?

Posted by calamityjane on June 6, 2008, at 12:10:53

In reply to Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?, posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:09:19

Yes, I have read the same thing. The traumatic loss of a parent during a person's childhood has devastating effects on the child's adult life. I have a text book that does indeed compare the loss to being the same amount of emotional damage that would be brought on by an intense stay in a concentration camp. There is a chart in a book I have that does comparisons, to give the caretaker a sense of what the person is going through.

The book listed suicide of a spouse as being the same thing as being sexually molested every day of a person's childhood. Food for thought....


> Hi: Does anybody have any reading materials (articles, books, weblinks) one could point me to on a child's/adolescent's loss of a parent and the effects into adulthood? I lost my father traumatically at 15 and it seems to have caused a lot of damage to me over the years (I'm a male in my early forties now). I don't really have flashbacks ala the far end of the PTSD spectrum, but think I internalized the idea that doom is always waiting around the corner. Some other traumatic stuff just intensified this way of understanding the world. I catastrophize quite a bit and I'm trying to pull it apart now and could use some guidance. I read something about children in the Holocaust (obviously a much worse situation than mine), but it resonated. Thanks, Nomad

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?

Posted by codybug on August 7, 2008, at 18:57:20

In reply to Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?, posted by nomadjones on May 5, 2008, at 20:09:19

> Hi: Does anybody have any reading materials (articles, books, weblinks) one could point me to on a child's/adolescent's loss of a parent and the effects into adulthood? I lost my father traumatically at 15 and it seems to have caused a lot of damage to me over the years (I'm a male in my early forties now). I don't really have flashbacks ala the far end of the PTSD spectrum, but think I internalized the idea that doom is always waiting around the corner. Some other traumatic stuff just intensified this way of understanding the world. I catastrophize quite a bit and I'm trying to pull it apart now and could use some guidance. I read something about children in the Holocaust (obviously a much worse situation than mine), but it resonated. Thanks, Nomad
Nomad, your post really hit home for me. I too lost my dad when I was 15. I was shocked and devastated. His death seemed to be the catalyst for things going bad after that. A sort of snowball effect. I am now 39 and am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. The few times my life has been going well I start to get nervous and think, okay something bad is going to happen soon. I often wonder if my dad were still alive how different would my life have been. I have written down the books that you and the other posters have suggested. I am wanting to work through this and heal and not carry it around anymore. Thankyou for bringing this subject up. It's something that's not talked about much but I think that it's something that a significant number of adolescents go through whether it's from the death of a parent or abandonment of a parent. I wish you the best and hope for healing in your life. Codybug

 

Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood? codybug

Posted by liz_1999 on November 20, 2008, at 12:26:17

In reply to Re: Adolescent Loss of Parent: Effects in Adulthood?, posted by codybug on August 7, 2008, at 18:57:20

Hello, I came accross this thread whilst searching also for information of the loss of a parent when a teenager. I lost my mum when I was 13 (10 years ago) and have had very little psychological help or support, even from family who I don't feel I have any connection to because of lack of thier understanding of me.

Basically i'm looking into this because I think it's affecting, and will affect my adult life, and in the hope of learning what ways it is affecting me now and in the future, so I can learn to work around these things. I notice you are much older, and this has surprised me, and got me thinkin that if I dont work on through this now, it will only get more difficult.
I am constantly questioning everything, I often feel depressed and suicidal but this passes fairly quickly, I have an uncontrollable rage that will appear in the most unlikely of situations, at the smallest thing. I am convinced every decision I make is wrong, and I am convinced that i'm not worthy of anything, and I find it incredibly hard to get close to people, and my emotions seem to go to the extremes, which makes relationships and the suchlike very difficult. The few people I am very close to, learn to live with my "outbursts" but I dont like them experiencing that, and they have no idea about the other problems I experience. To them, I am confident, friendly, kind and generous, although to myself it is a constant battle to "appear" this "normal" way.
It all culminates into the fact that I constantly feel vulnerable, and judged, and unable to really relax, that my personality is not "normal" and that the things I think in my head are unhealthy.

I wonder if anyones got anything to say, or has had a similar experience. I have read countless accounts of deaths of teenagers from terminal illnesses, but this doesnt help me much, since my mum died, very suddenly, in the middle of the night, no-one had any idea whatsoever it was to come. I feel quite detached from this subject - like its not actually me it happened to.

Anyway this is getting long so I wont continue, but if anyone has anything to say, please do.

Thanks


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