How Shame Keeps Us Disconnected

How Shame Keeps Us Disconnected

The context for this quote is a handful of stories where someone felt ashamed of an event or something that they’d allowed people to believe about them that wasn’t true. Marisa goes on to talk about how when we have something we won’t discuss, it creates a separation from other people, and that separation can take away from humanness. Our interactions with other people are blocked off. We know we aren’t sharing our whole selves with the people we should be. That block can protect us from potential pain, but it also prevents us from having all the benefits of having close relationships with other humans.

Doesn’t that sound exactly like growing up keeping our abuse secret?

We grow up with shame around something that was never our fault. That shame prevents us from fully connecting with other human beings. That lack of connection harms our mental health as adults. We struggle to heal without one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal as human beings, other people. We keep our secrets and hide our shame, meaning we will never know the healing power of being accepted and loved by those who know our whole selves.

It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things

It’s Been a Rough Week So I’m Reminding Myself of These Things

Even when there are things in the world that I do not have the power to change, I use my own words to remind myself that there are things I CAN do. I can look after the people around me. I can add my voice to support mental health, survivors, and marginalized groups. I can find ways to contribute to making the world a better place in some small ways while also encouraging others to do the same.

This also serves as a great reminder to myself that writing here about these topics is never a waste. I just found some hope by going back and reading what I wrote. Who knows who else might read these words and find a little hope too? That is another small thing I can do that is more useful than wallowing in my anxiety.

The Importance of Just Listening
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The Importance of Just Listening

The people who helped me, and continue to help me, are the ones who will ask me questions and then just listen. They want to hear my story, even though they can’t fix it. They know that they can help by just giving me a space to tell my story, without worrying about the need to fight off their attempts at fixing something that may or may not be relevant at all to my situation. (i.e. I’m glad your cousin felt better after a walk in the forest, but that’s not what is happening here!) 

So please, just listen. Make the space around you, even if it’s virtual, a safe space for your friends and loved ones to tell their stories. Find small ways to help, if you can, but also know that by just listening, just sitting with our stories, you are already helping so much.

Lauren Book on Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Lauren Book on Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Somehow, even though this is from 2016, I hadn’t seen it until last night. It’s a TEDx talk by survivor, and advocate Lauren Book. (https://laurenskids.org)

In it. she shares her own story, and some words about going from victim, to advocate and how we can all advocate for children, but the part that really caught my attention was the beginning, and no not just because she uses an air horn. It’s the description of our responses to trauma, and how they are just part of us, mostly outside of our control, especially as children. Lauren’s freeze response wasn’t just a one-time event either, it went on for years, and was tied to thinking that all of it was her own fault.

If this sound familiar, that’s because it is really common. We just don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about sexual abuse at all, and if we do, this kind of response is usually met with some nasty comments about why we waited to say anything. Those comments simply communicate that the person saying them, knows nothing about the brain and trauma response.

Don’t be that person. Watch and learn a thing or two.

It’s a Good Question – Why Aren’t We Talking More About The Sex Abuse Scandal at Ohio State?
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It’s a Good Question – Why Aren’t We Talking More About The Sex Abuse Scandal at Ohio State?

These men will never get their day in court to read their victim statements, and be cheered on by the public, but given how uncomfortable we are with the subject matter, even if they did, would we welcome it the same way we did during the trial of Larry Nasser? If not, what does that say about us?