It’s All So Toxic

It’s All So Toxic

Of course, one of the tell-tale signs of depression, and unhealthy responses to trauma, like abuse, is overly black and white thinking. Going to extremes, if you will. So, it’s easy for many of us to fall into these toxic traps. It’s easy to think that we should feel shame about what happened to us, or that we can somehow rid ourselves of that shame, and anger, by simply refusing to do anything but be positive. But neither one of these is real healing. Real healing, like real emotions, and real people, are messier than that.

It’s still worth it though, as are a lot of those messy emotions and people too. If you let yourself get out of the black and white thinking, you just might see that too.

Quick Thought #18 – Sports as an Example of The Lens We See Life Through

Quick Thought #18 – Sports as an Example of The Lens We See Life Through

Just like in sports though, sometimes it’s not about how the world works, or what mistakes we made, it’s about the other team. In our case, it’s the abuser. They did this. Healing is understanding that, and coming to grips with the fact that our lens is wrong. We’re looking at someone else’s actions and choices through a lens that only sees ourselves. We were abused, maybe when we told someone, we weren’t believed, or maybe even as adults, when we share our experiences we make others uncomfortable. But it’s not us. Other people get to make their own choices, have their own reactions, and choose who, and what, to believe.

What we need to do, is start untying other people actions and reactions, from ourselves. The abuser chose to abuse. The people who refused to help, made that choice, and the people who still don’t believe us, have their own reasons for doing that. None of it has anything to do with us, those are other people making their own choices, playing their own game. We can do everything right, live our life to the best of our abilities and still “lose” in these interactions. It happens. It doesn’t lessen us, it shows us who these other people are, and tells us about their agendas.

We learn from that, and move on. We do not blame ourselves for their agendas.

It does take developing a more mature lens to view life through, and that takes time, and work. Are you up for it? Or maybe the better question, are you tired of blaming yourself?

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.

Who Defines You?

Who Defines You?

Yes, I can’t go back to being a child again like I was before the abuse, and none of us can turn back time and do that. That shouldn’t be our definition of “healing”. But, maybe our definition of healing should include having a base, a life, or an identity, that is grounded in what we want from life, as opposed to just rearranging our identify in response to abuse.

Still Here, 2020 Edition

Still Here, 2020 Edition

Recently, a friend on Facebook decided to ask us all to share one thing that happened this year that was a positive, to try and collect any and all good news in one place. It was a good idea, and as I thought about how I would respond to something like that, I thought of some of the good things that have happened this year. I’ve had some pretty nice successes at work. I’ve connected on a deeper level with my wife, and managed to stay connected to a close group of friends and family. Those were good things, but at the end of it all, I kept coming back to something I talked about at the end of 2019 on the Find Your Voice Podcast, and then again on this very blog on January 1 of 2020.

“I’m Still Here”

Daisy Coleman Found Her Voice, But Her Struggle Didn’t Stop

Daisy Coleman Found Her Voice, But Her Struggle Didn’t Stop

Which brings us to Daisy. She did not get her justice from the court system, quite the opposite. But, she did something else that many assume is a sign of “being healed”, she found her voice. She told her story, she had a movie made where she could speak her truth to the whole world. Surely, that is healed, right?

As we now know, that probably wasn’t the case. I assume that many people who watched that documentary went on to become fans of Daisy, admiring her for having the courage to tell her story, happy for her that she was able to overcome, but that had nothing to do with the reality of what surviving actually is.

The coincidence that I spoke of came this morning, when I popped over to Twitter during a quick coffee break, and saw Rachel Denhollander, another survivor who’s made an appearance in a documentary, Athlete A, on her involvement with the Larry Nasser case, talking about this article:

Daisy Coleman’s Death Lays Bare the Myth of ‘Surviving