He survived war and torture; she married him — and his trauma.

Here’s Miguel’s story of survival from the civil war in El Salvador. I always think it’s important to consider how trauma affects others in a family as well so I am grateful that Sandra was willing to talk with me about their marriage, and here is her story, too. Click here, please, to read.

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6 Responses to “He survived war and torture; she married him — and his trauma.”

  1. Carol A. Hand Says:

    Fascinating to hear different perspectives about living with the aftermath of trauma and the long journey toward healing. Such resilience, love and tenacity!

  2. desilef Says:

    When therapy or support or attention is available, there’s rarely much — if any — for the families, and I’ve seen again and again how much they cope with. Sandra is pretty remarkable. Thank you for reading.

    • Carol A. Hand Says:

      I often wonder how helpful therapy really is if it doesn’t help weave supportive community into the mix. We expect individuals to learn how to stand alone, as if it’s their weakness that is somehow the real cause of the lingering effects of trauma.

      • desilef Says:

        I agree completely. A huge component of trauma is isolation. These days I’m doing creative workshops with survivors. They can address their trauma if that’s what comes out, but that’s not the intention. I think some of the therapists were a little suspicious of me to start with but the people have formed friendly bonds with each other in the group. It’s not group therapy. It’s collaborative projects performed with others who’ve been through trauma. The social anxiety is lessened. People are making eye contact and speaking up and laughing. It’s still so little. One man, I wanted to cry, when he said in 6 months in LA he’s eaten every meal alone. So sometimes we share food in the group, but schedules are crazy and too often everyone (including me) is running to next stop. We must reweave community that’s been torn. But how does that happen in a culture that doesn’t value community to begin with? Especially with people coming from cultures where you are in relation to others. It’s very hard.

      • Carol A. Hand Says:

        Bringing people together as you are is a crucial foundation for building a sense of connection and community. People who are alone and suffering realize what is missing. I think building community needs to begin with them. I remember how important it was for men who were caring for older relatives to share their stories with each other and offer advice to each other – a far more helpful resource than workshop information.

  3. desilef Says:

    Thank you. Such a good example. It also honors people’s experience and the hard won knowledge they can now share.

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