When Triggered Some of Us Become Different People

When Triggered Some of Us Become Different People

As she and her guests shared their stories and the research around how this happens, I kept replacing all of the stories; the pain of giving birth, the struggle to bike up 4,000 feet of incline, and others with trauma and PTSD flashbacks. When we have those kinds of reactions, we become different people. Often we become the child who was being abused instead of the adult we are, and we act accordingly. We lash out, self-protect in unhealthy ways, or try our best to hide from it.

The exact reactions are not the important thing. We need to know that it happens. When in an extreme emotional state, we have the capacity to act like a different person. We all do. The problem comes from the fact that we don’t know that person. We are not good at predicting how we will react. When we are in a cool state, the warm state version of us makes no sense, and how we think we’ll act turns out not to be the reality of what happens at all.

Some Conversations Are Easier Online

Some Conversations Are Easier Online

I have understood this for a long time. I can write here and don’t have to see anyone react immediately when they read it. I can see their reaction when I tell someone about being abused in person. I can watch their facial expressions and body language. I can see every bit of their discomfort, and their signs of dismissal cut me. If you don’t think telling someone in person that you need their help isn’t scary, I can only assume that is because you’ve never done it.

So when you see someone share something on social media about their mental health, and your response is to wonder why they didn’t just talk to you about it, remember how much harder that is. Maybe they aren’t ready yet, or you just haven’t done enough to earn that trust. Consider how many people in your life may be dealing with very difficult things they just haven’t told anyone about yet.

Quick Thought #20 – As a Male Sexual Assault Survivor, I’m Appalled by what the US is Doing to Women

Quick Thought #20 – As a Male Sexual Assault Survivor, I’m Appalled by what the US is Doing to Women

I cannot imagine the kind of harm we are doing to female survivors when we tell them they have to carry their pregnancy to term. That they remain in a condition where they have no choice. States, including my own, that have or are moving toward enacting complete bans on abortion with no exception for rape and incest victims are ripping the choice of how to move forward away, victimizing these survivors a second time. Forcing their own desires on the bodies of women.

If your religion is willing to force the victim of a violent crime to continue to be violated in this way, you need a better religion. You need a better god, and you absolutely need a better heart. You are not righteous, you are an abuser.

Sharing My Own Story With Tiffany Werhner on Moments of Clarity

Sharing My Own Story With Tiffany Werhner on Moments of Clarity

Yesterday, I was a guest again on my friend Tiffany Werhner’s radio show/podcast Moments of Clarity. We chatted about my story of child abuse, dissociation, major depression, and eventually, my experiences with therapy and more. If you are a survivor or know someone who is who could use a reminder that the abuse does not define them, and wasn’t their fault, please share this with them.

It’s OK to Just Enjoy Something For Yourself

It’s OK to Just Enjoy Something For Yourself

I came upon this idea later in life than some of you may have. Thanks to an abusive childhood and a fairly demanding church involvement in my teens and twenties, I was about 30 when I finally gave myself the freedom to take on a hobby just because I enjoyed it.

For me, I grew up never feeling good enough or worthy. I needed someone else to tell me it was OK for me to do something, or heaven forbid to spend money on something just because I liked it.

Grief is Hard, and Long
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Grief is Hard, and Long

Something else interests me about grief though and that is the grief that child abuse survivors have because it’s complicated. We aren’t grieving a person we’ve lost, we’re grieving something we never had. A safe, happy childhood or a loving parental relationship that didn’t exist. The lack of any kind of family bonds as an adult, or the inability to trust anyone. Those are things we can, and should, grieve. Often we aren’t given the chance to do that. Other people expect us to “put it behind us” because it was a long time ago. We may even convince ourselves that the best option is to suck it up and forget it, no reason to think about any of that. But, I think there’s a reason to grieve the things we didn’t have as children. They are very real losses. They have very real impacts on our brains and our emotional well-being. We can’t change it now, but we can allow ourselves the freedom to feel grief over it. It’s part of the process.