12 Signs I Am a Less Traumatized Parent

12 Signs I Am a Less Traumatized Parent

Sometimes I lose perspective. And that might be an understatement. I spend too much time comparing myself to others, and in the world of social media, big houses and perfectly groomed lawns, that takes its toll. In an attempt to remember how far I have come, I decided to look at how much I have grown and changed as a parent in the past eight years. To do that, I looked at the little things, the daily occurrences that don’t seem like they matter, but speak volumes about my recovery work. And honestly, I am pretty impressed with myself. If you are a parent, do this little exercise so you can be impressed with yourself too. 1.  My son stubbed his toe this morning and I didn’t remind him he was running. 2.  I can let my daughter go to a public bathroom by herself. 3.  I don’t have to win every argument even when I “know” I am right. 4.  I can wait for ten entire seconds while my kids try something new before I get involved. 5.  I can share my things now … sometimes. 6.  I breathe every once in a while. 7.  My kids say I yell less. If they say it, it must be true. 8.  My kids can reject my food and I don’t have a temper tantrum. I also don’t make them something else. 9.  I can take my kids to the grocery store and not have a panic attack. (I still hate it though.) 10.  Yesterday, my kids raised their voices and I didn’t. 11.  Last week, I admitted that I...
I Am Not In Charge

I Am Not In Charge

The Battle for Control During my recovery work, I have gone through several phases of perception about control. When I was a kid, it was obvious that I was not in charge. It was very clear. I wanted to be autonomous more than anything in the world. Even as a kid, I would have traded my life of abuse for a life on my own. But that wasn’t my story. So I was not in charge. And I knew it. I tried to take control any way I could. I told people about my abuse. I fought back. I lied to my abusers and others who I viewed as dangerous. I tried to meet my abusers’ needs. And in the end, I dissociated, because nobody could hurt me when I was in my own world. As I grew older, I came to know a different world. When my circle of influence shifted from family to external friends, intimate partners and eventually a spouse, I realized that once again, I was not in charge. I had moved from abuse in the home to abuse outside the home to abuse in the home again. My lack of knowledge in the most basic relational aspects of boundary setting and empathic communication led to an early adulthood of abuse and manipulation. I tried to take control back from these bullies and abusers. I tried to be who people wanted me to be and lost myself in the process. I tried to meet the needs of others to no avail. And when all else failed, I expressed enough rage to push them away. From...
Stop Saving & Start Loving

Stop Saving & Start Loving

We all have that inner child part that is waiting to be rescued. It doesn’t require something awful to happen in our childhoods. At some point in our childhoods, we were not treated fairly and our needs were not met. This is natural. Children are born with needs that are hard for adults to meet. And so, deep inside, there is a part that waits for those needs to be met by others. This insatiable and global desire for a hero to rescue us manifests everywhere. We see it in our movies and books about super heroes of all shapes and sizes. We see it in those co-dependent relationships which never seem to meet our expectations. And we see it in the anti-trafficking movement. So many advocates want to experience a rescue. They want to save a victim from a life of hell. They want to experience the gratitude of the victim when they generously offer to make everything better. I think some advocates believe that maybe, just maybe, if they rescue someone else, they will save themselves. It is a projection that will never be fulfilled. I am often asked by others how they can get through to the victims. Advocates want to know why the victims won’t let themselves be saved or rescued from their painful situation. But I understand something they don’t. There is no quick fix. There is no miracle solution. There is no fairy tale or super hero. The only person who can save that trafficking victim is the victim. (And no, I am not talking about an 8-year-old child. I am talking about...