To Trust is to Heal

To Trust is to Heal

As I continue my journey in conscious parenting, I have noticed a trend. I probably noticed it before, but didn’t have the time or energy to think about it much. But now that my kids are older and more individual and more vocal and well, more everything, it is getting more obvious. And frankly, there doesn’t seem to be very much support in our house. This isn’t surprising to me. Throughout my life, I have felt invalidated and unsupported. It started in my childhood when I tried to get help and it wasn’t there. When I would speak up, I was told to stop making things up, stop lying, stop trying to get attention. I was told that I was not worthy, beautiful or intelligent. I was told that nobody loved me. As I approached desperation, I realized that I would have to give up on my dreams of being helped and repress the traumatic memories, so that I could stay alive. This was a critically important step in my survival, but with it, came a darker side, a big compromise. I had to invalidate an entire part of myself. I had to pretend that my inner child, the part holding on to the pain and trauma, did not exist. When I would get a flashback, I would have to explain it away with a justification. “I must have watched a movie about that.” “I must have dreamt that.” “None of that is real.” “I don’t know why I have so much anxiety. I must have trouble tolerating life, since nobody else seems to have this problem.” And so...
Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey

Children have opinions. This is not a surprising statement for anyone who has raised a child past the age of 18 months. Children know what they want and they expect to get it. If they don’t get it, they will let you know their disappointment. Of course, this can be the hard part for parents. Words like “unfair”, “worst mother ever” and “I hate you” may be used at will. As parents, it is our job to remain calm, which is very difficult with or without a trauma background. During my eight years as a parent, I have learned that children live in a black and white world. All dragons are bad. All candy is good. Every day is the best day ever, unless one little (very little) thing goes wrong. Then, it is the worst day ever. Every person wearing white is a good guy. Every person wearing black is a bad guy. You get my point. There is no grey area. Some ideas don’t register. The concept that people are both bad and good is particularly challenging. As is the concept that loving another person might mean walking away from them. I do know that as they grow older, they will learn the art of discernment. To their dismay, they will learn that things aren’t so simple. They will understand that not only is there grey, but that it comes in many shades. I look forward to teaching them about some of the complex concepts related to self discovery, but I am not a fool. I know those concepts must be experienced in their own time, and...
Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough

When I write and speak about child sex trafficking and abuse, I am encouraged by the support from most people who hear my story or read my blog. Most people understand that children are victims and do not have the power to stop the abuse that is controlling their lives. Most people understand that the brainwashing and shame transference in these situations runs very deep and can keep a child victim from speaking up for many years, or at all. Most people understand that children are afraid in these abusive environments. And I am grateful for this. But during the past two weeks, I have been discouraged and disappointed by the victim-blaming associated with three different attacks on adult women, some of whom were rich and famous adult women. The difference in our support of child victims compared with adult victims of abusive behavior continues to perpetuate a culture of oppression in which victim-blaming is acceptable. It started when nude photos of several famous actresses were leaked on the internet. The backlash of slut-shaming that ensued showed how our society instantly blamed these actresses for the release of these photos. There was a general assumption that they should not take nude photos if they don’t want them leaked. I was appalled by these opinions. Instead of naming the oppressor as a sex offender, we choose to assert that these women got what they deserved for taking private pictures of their private bodies. This assertion is another version of rape apology. As a society, we are quick to assume that women are raped because they walk alone when they should...
Not About The Now

Not About The Now

I love vacations. I know this is not a particularly startling revelation. But I think that I like them more than the average person. I have perfected my escape-artist defense mechanism and there is nothing better than physically leaving home to appease an escape artist. If I did not have children, I would probably take a traveling job. That way, I would always be somewhere new. Nobody could ever find me. I wouldn’t even be able to find myself. That being said, I am completely aware that “I cannot run from myself”. I tried before I started recovery, but it never worked. Now that I have miraculously lived in the same city for 20 years, vacations are my way of escaping for a week. And I usually need it. So last week, I packed up and went to the beach with my kids. I was much more excited than normal for this vacation. I was intent on relaxing. I was sure I would be able to set aside the recovery work and daily tasks that make life more challenging when I am at home. I wasn’t fooling myself. I knew I was still a mom. I knew I was still doing the “mom” tasks and those are not small. But I was excited for the change nonetheless. But soon after arriving, I discovered myself was following me. For most of the week, I was followed by a sense of impending doom. I was positive that the other shoe was soon to drop. I worried … all week. I worried about everything from gum disease to melanoma to a flat...