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The Effects of Emotional Abuse

What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse is a type of abuse that involves the emotional maltreatment of a child, youth, or adult. Emotional abuse is also termed psychological abuse or mental abuse. It is a form of abuse that affects your psyche - mental and emotional - without the physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is usually done in a very cunning and devious manner, and it may not be obvious to you especially if you had suffered from emotional abuse as a child and or adolescent. Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify due to its subtle nature and may even be looked at as a loving behavior. However, emotional abuse if far from a loving behavior. The abuser acts in a controlling and manipulative manner trying to intimidate, isolate, scare, or threaten the victim. 
Emotional abuse can also look like bullying, passive-aggressive behavior (e.g., backhanded compliments, sulking, refusal to communicate), and negging (dismissive and degrading comments that undermind self-confidence).
Gaslight…

Are You Expecting Too Much From Your Relationships?

Whether it's a friendship, colleague, family member, or intimate partner, no one said that relationships would be easy. I like to look at relationships like the colors of a rainbow. They are all unique and special in their own way. They are all guaranteed flaws, idiosyncrasies, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. As we evolve, so do others. As we deal with our messy stuff, so do they. I think, sometimes, our expectations are high, and we simply think that the other person "knows" or "should" understand. Well, that's not the case, most of the time. Most people are not psychic. ;) Communication is key to understanding. 
I believe we should have expectations, for sure. If you didn't have expectations, you'd simply be a doormat to everyone. We must also have personal boundaries because we need to take care of ourselves. People can forget, get ornery, and lash out, but you have the right to assertively say something to maintain respect for yourself, and f…

Celebrating Father's Day Without A Father

During father's day, the entire world celebrates fathers which is a wonderful thing when you have a father to acknowledge and celebrate, but what if you don't (or didn't).
Were you fatherless? Your father may have not been completely out of your life. Perhaps he was there, but he was an alcoholic and never had the time of day for you. Or he was busy beating your mom (or you) and never took notice of you. Or did your father show up a couple of times a year when he was free from his business trips. Maybe once mom and dad got divorced, he chose to abandon you and you only saw him, sporadically, every now and then, while he started a new family with someone else.
I had a father that was a chronic alcoholic and a wife beater. Growing up in the 60's and 70's, domestic violence/intimate partner violence was a family matter and no one talked about it, but we were definitely "supposed" to respect him out of fear that we'd get beat ourselves. I tried, on-and-off,…

Are You Serving Your Thoughts and Worries or This?

When you're struggling with mental health issues, it's difficult to get out of your head and think about who you're serving. Are you serving your thoughts and your worries - the darkness that keeps you restrained? Or are you serving your presence, inner-state, your divinity? 
When you struggle with mental health issues, you are, typically, caught up in your head most of the time. It's difficult to see this when you're in it. I know I couldn't distinguish the difference when I first started learning how to get present, but if you could just take a few seconds of your time and become present by listening to your breath or focusing on your heart, you'll immediately know or realize a "shift" occurred. This "shift" is a release of tension, even if it was only for a moment, from being in the space of your head to being in your present state of awareness of your entirety. 
When you're in your head, full of thoughts and worries, there is a str…

When Will It Ever Be the "Right" Time?

I pulled out a beautiful wooden box where I stored valuable little trinkets from the back of my closet this weekend. My son gave it to me a few years back as a Christmas present. I stored little photos and charms, and just about anything that was tiny, so that I wouldn't lose them. 
Busyness
But during the past eight years, I've moved three times. Eventually this little wooden box got pushed to the back of my closet. I kept telling myself that I'd eventually move it forward and put it somewhere to display it. That time never seemed to come. I was busy dealing with a difficult relationship. I moved. I went to school to upgrade some courses. I moved again. I pursued my undergraduate degree. I moved again. I was back in school studying graduate courses, but the house was also very small. I seemed to be continuously busy and it was never the right time. 
Is There Ever The Right Time
But, I started to think about "when it would be the "right" time to use the things t…

Middle Aged Women and Their Risk for Suicide

Rates of Suicide Increasing
The mental health toll of the pandemic is only beginning, and we have yet to see the full impact of it. The National Center for Health Statistics recently reported that suicide rates increased by 35% between 1999 to 2018 in the USA alone, and it continues to rise.
Suicide Among Middle Aged Females
Among females, suicide rates were highest amidst 45 to 64 years of age with excessive rates being in urban areas. It's a worrying trend for women, and pinpointing the reasons is challenging because the causes are so complex. Risk factors include mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, substance use problems, and chronic pain. A previous history of childhood abuse or trauma can be a risk factor. Environmental factors such as unemployment, a financial crisis, and a divorce can influence the decision to commit suicide. However, the constant and accumulated stressors of life can be a factor as well; situations, circumstances, hardships, and other probl…

Who Do You Trust To Be Your Mentor?

I follow several people on social media, but when it's time to make a decision to jump into one of their programs (e.g., mentorship . . .), I go with the one that has shown consistency in their behavior (trust) - behavior traits that I'm looking for anyway.
Logical Decision Making
I like to observe, listen, and ask questions from a distance before I jump in and enroll myself into a program because there are so many online. I spent thousand upon thousand of dollars within the past couple of decades; some being worthy of the cost and others not so much. Many get it right with their advertising, promotions, and marketing, but many also don't produce the results!
I check to see how these individuals respond to others, if they respond, if they are the leader of the teams they hold, if they participate (e.g., speak, coach) in their programs, if they are authentic, etc.  Honestly, it takes me a long time to trust others. It is from their actions that I learn to trust them or not, th…

Sexual Trauma Requires Holistic Healing

With sexual trauma from childhood and adolescents, dysfunction is not only physical; it is mental, emotional, spiritual, AND sexual. But the thing with chronic childhood trauma is that it is also developmental; this means that through each developmental stage, the child is affected in a different way. Working with trauma survivors during one particular developmental age, the attention can be focused but with chronic trauma that occurs over one's developmental childhood and adolescent lifespan, healing from the trauma will be long and arduous, as you can only imagine. 
There is a huge gap in the health care system for trauma survivors of sexual abuse and violence and survivors of chronic or cumulative childhood violence. Physical wounds heal. Mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual wounds are not the same. The abuse in embodied in their spirit, their muscles, and and their living cells. 
The Research
During my masters studies, I recognized that when a woman enters the emergency depar…

How Trauma Survivors Struggle With Knowing Their Worth

Knowing Your WorthA WISE PARABLEI'd like to share a parable. Although it has taken on many forms, it still signifies the same meaning - valuing your worth.A dying father called his son to his bedside and presented him with an old pocket watch. The father said, “Your grandfather gave this watch to me. It is over 200 years old. Before I give it to you, I want you to go to the watch shop and tell the owner you want to sell it. Ask him what price he would pay for it.”The son went to the watch shop and then returned to his father’s bedside. He reported, “The watchmaker said he would pay $10 for the watch because it is old and scratched.”The father then said to the son, “Go to the coffee shop and ask the owner if he would be interested in buying the pocket watch and what he would be willing to pay.”The son ran to the coffee shop and quickly returned. He told his father, “The coffee shop owner said he didn’t have much use for an old pocket watch but offered $5 for it.”Finally, the father…

Mental Health During Uncertain Times

Life is scary in uncertain times. People can begin feeling disoriented or dazed. They may have feelings of identity loss. Painful emotions may rise like anger and fear, but also feelings of tension, hostility towards individuals or groups, and fragmentation of self may persist. People may also engage in heightened political behavior or conspiracy theories out of fear. People may feel exhausted or overwhelmed. Anxiety my arise from current situations or from past unresolved issues. Touch Heals
At the same time, some people may become more creative, have heightened energy, or enhance their personal development. Everyone functions differently. However, one thing is certain, because we are having to physically distance ourselves from others, health experts recognize that this is not a natural way of being. When we distance ourselves from others that we love, we begin to lose our connectedness. We may even feel symptoms like stomach aches, fatigue, headaches, or apathy and depression. We …

Demystifying Faith

The Oxford dictionary describes faith as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something; a strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion; or based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof."

In my last blog post I declared that hope comes before faith and no matter how I look at it, if you do not have hope you cannot have faith.
Why? Because faith is a conviction or complete trust or confidence in something. Hope is a feeling or a desire for a certain thing to happen. Lost Faith
Let me explain. Some people profess that we've always had faith - that we've always had belief in something or someone, otherwise we couldn't function. And some may not even be able to get out of bed in the morning or step outside.
But that's the point. When individuals are suicidal or fear struck or have lost complete trust and faith in others including their spiritual conviction (due to a dysfunctional past, for example), they live in a state of survival with a se…

You Need Hope Before Faith

If you are struggling as badly as I once was with depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders or suicidal thoughts, don't feel discouraged on the healing journey. You are on the right track. Keep hope in your heart and faith will enter.
You need to have hope before you have faith. Without hope, there is no faith.
I've heard several influential people on various social media platforms say that you should give up the word hope and instead use the term faith, and that placing too much confidence in hope can't sustain you. No matter how I look at their opinion, without hope, you cannot sustain yourself! Perhaps these people didn't consider the definition of hope, so I'm going to explain and show you that they both have very different meanings. And I want you to always maintain hope when you are struggling.
The Oxford dictionary states that the meaning of hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen; a feeling of trust; wanting something …

You Could Change Someone's Life If You Do This

You Could Change Someone's Life If You Do This
I've been attending weekly calls with Co-Active Training Institute and I'm really leaning into the brilliant conversations - connecting with others - about what is changing within ourselves during this time of the pandemic. 
Interestingly, one of the participants mentioned that she's noticed that because of the social distancing, people were not only distancing their bodily selves, but they were also avoiding eye contact and conversations. However, another participant chimed in and said the absolute opposite. Within her cul de sac, people were coming together. They were physically distancing themselves from one another, but they were also engaging in conversations more than ever. 
As coaches, we're curious to what the reasons may be in others' behaviors and, for sure, it may be dependent on the infrastructure, the location, and the socioeconomic status, for example. None of us really know the true reasons behind thi…

Seeds of Hope

Your job isn't to JUDGE. Your job isn't to figure out if someone deserves something or decide who is right or wrong. Your job is to lift the fallen, restore the broken, and heal the hurting. - Joel Osteen
Such a beautiful quote to read on my Sunday morning worship. I've become very fond of Joel Osteen's positive messages. When I wake in the middle of the night (usually between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. PST), I open up my iPhone and listen to his sermons on YouTube. With so much negative news and heavy energy in the air, I'm making it my practice to worship on a daily basis for at least  1 1/2 hours (or on an average). Whether you worship your God, your Source, or your inner Guidance system - in my mind, it doesn't matter how you choose to name It - what is most vital is that you simply do it; go into worship, prayer, or meditation to stay centered in God's grace.

In today's world, dealing with the COVID19 news, it's easy to get swallowed up by the fear and …

Has COVID-19 Changed Who We Are?

Many people are trying to go about life as though they are not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to carry on with life as though they are wearing shields of armor keeping their heads above the coronavirus and business as usual. We have others that think this pandemic is fake news and it is all a sham. "It's simply the flu," they say while we have health care professionals (RN's that I know) trying to save lives and dying in the meantime. And yet there are others that are fear-struck, hoarding materials such as surgical and N95 masks and toilet paper, as though they are the only one's that want to survive this COVD-19 pandemic and save their families.

Keeping a schedule is important to keep our sanity. I definitely get that. However, I really believe that we need to stop and think about what is going on. Going on as usual is simply a way to keep ourselves in denial. Perhaps, what we need to do is to wake up and recognize what is happening within ourselv…

How Trauma Is Linked to Shame and Disgust

A History of Trauma I've been in the process of healing for many years trying to understand why I do the things I do and why I behave a certain way. I did not have an upbringing of simply getting a slap or a spank here and there; or reprimanded because I came home passed my curfew; or had a parent that was a harsh disciplinary.  I was chronically sexually, emotionally, and mentally abused since I was a small child. After growing up with chronic incest and chronic abuse from family members, I was also sexually assaulted  twice, had several experiences of sexual harassment, was physically assaulted by my father and siblings as a teen, and then went into one relationship of domestic violence. Professionals Just Catching Up Trauma was my life. So, when I began the healing process, I looked at spirituality to guide me, but far too often the terms "let go" and "forgive" were constantly repeated as though it was an easy task. Sure, letting go can be pretty straight f…

Why You Should Understand Your Beliefs

The AHA Moment About Beliefs I had an aha moment many years ago. I was quite young - about 20 years old. I had that young lady attitude, too: everything I stood for was right. I thought to myself, "I wasn't a teenager anymore," so I kind of believed I knew it all. Oh boy, was I wrong.

I was at a party, and this party was quite different from other parties. It was intellectual. We were discussing important things in life like existentialism and other philosophical perspectives. At that time in my life, I had a lot of perspectives, opinions, and beliefs that I stood grounded in, but had no real reasoning for them.

Towards the end of the party, I recall being quite adamant about a topic while having a conversation with someone, probably in their late twenties and someone that had achieved an undergraduate degree. At the end of the conversation, I thought this man was arrogant and obtuse, although I couldn't deny that he was definitely polite.

Whatever we were discussing…

The Importance of Self-Care as Women

Just a reminder to let you know how frigging amazing you are and don't you forget that, because us over-givers tend to do that - forget that we are amazing and we do amazing things.

Most women are nurturers and caregivers by nature. We love to give. We support and encourage. We love to make others happy. Yet, sometimes, many times, we over-give to the point of exhaustion or resentment. We sacrifice our own happiness and even our health and well-being without even realizing it; sometimes until we are laid up in bed or hindered by a chronic illness.

On the flip-side, as nurturers, we have a unique ability to make the world a better place for everyone to live. We empathize and inspire.We understand. We are intuitive by nature. Nevertheless, there are times when we need to schedule time-outs to do some self-careand nurture ourselves.

Foster self-care. Give yourself the energy you need to continue to be a strong, healthy, vibrant, nurturer, connector, teacher, warrior, lover, and/or a lea…

5 Strategies to Support Trauma Survivors

TRAUMA and ISOLATION

There is no single treatment for complex trauma such as PTSD or Complex PTSD, but the cornerstone of treatment is building a collaborative working relationship with the survivor. They need to restore safety and trust in human connection. The major drawbacks to healing from chronic trauma and C-PTSD is isolation. If individuals fear coming forward (due to stigma, minimization of the events, delayed reporting, an oppressive society, self-shame or public shaming) and how they may react to their environment, they are left to figure things out on their own. There are many individuals that never receive formal treatment and, instead, invest in their own methods by trial-and-error. I did because there was nothing out there. Also, anytime I'd go to the doctors office, it was said that "It was all in my head." Back then in the 80's and 90's and early 2000's, no one could see the enduring effects of chronic childhood abuse, repeated sexual assaults…