Some acronyms become all too well-known. I’m thinking now of PTSD. Having to kill in combat and being in constant danger of being killed or wounded oneself leaves a psychological scar on surviving warriors that may never go away. More than 20 U.S. veterans a day now take their own lives. Frequently, recurring nightmares and daytime paranoia, among the symptoms of PTSD, are driving factors. Talk therapies and drugs can sometimes soften these symptoms, but complete cures seem few and far between.
Another fraught area is the marriages of so-called children of divorce. According to a recent article in THE ATLANTIC (“How Successful Are the Marriages of People with Divorced Parents?” By Joe Pinsker, May 30, 2019), not very. Pinsker writes, “Researchers have been aware of the connection between a parent’s divorce and a child’s divorce for nearly a century, says Nicholas Wolfinger, a sociologist at the University of Utah. Further, as Wolfinger found after he started studying the subject in the 1990s, people with divorced parents are disproportionately likely to marry other people with divorced parents—and couples in which both partners are children of divorce are more likely to get divorced than couples in which just one person is.”
To be sure, there are certainly cases where children go successfully against what they have seen at home. Having grown up in an atmosphere of constant argument, for example, they make a dedicated effort as spouses or parents to keeping their voices down, learning to settle differences with other family members in a fair and rational way, and never ever hitting. Pinsker even begins his article by citing such a case. Yet like salmon, such individuals must learn to swim upstream. It takes a lot of disciple, something like a lifelong diet for persons with a tendency to overeat.
Being wise means making decisions which, over time, prove beneficial to oneself, others, and—to the extent possible—the widest possible environment. Making such decisions more often than not is the one life vaccination that can help us overcome the bad experiences we have had and to provide positive examples to those around us that can help them live good, productive, satisfying lives that positively impact others.