“Mama, look at me!” Around the world, children demand to be seen, acknowledged, and celebrated as they express their authentic selves. Over time, they internalize their parents’ warm regard and become their own compassionate witnesses. They continue to reach out to external witnesses as well. Safety: looking inward and outward With healthy socialization, children learn… Read More
Boundaries, Full Self
Say Yes to Your Boundaries
“Name the action, criticize it, and tell them what to do with it.” The WomanStrength instructor makes this three-step model sound easy. “Your hand is on my shoulder. I don’t like it. Take it off.” Her voice is calm, matter-of-fact. One by one we practice around the circle, receiving our neighbor’s hand on our shoulder… Read More
Inner Child Lost -n- Found
Adults and their inner children get separated surprisingly often, sometimes through trauma, and sometimes simply through society’s expectations of adults. The separation can cause intractable distress until the underlying problem is resolved. “I’ve tried everything!” “Don’t leave me!” “See me!” If you find yourself saying any of these phrases on a regular basis, visit the… Read More
Haunted by Shame? Change Your Committee!
“How could I have said that?!” With a hot blush, clenched stomach, wish to disappear, or inner scolding, we all come to recognize our responses to feeling shame. Unlike guilt, which is a negative judgment about an action and is open to amends, shame is a negative judgment about the self and feels permanent. Shame… Read More
Who Owns That Anger?
Anger is often labeled as a negative emotion, and many of us push it away or judge ourselves for not being “enlightened enough” when we feel angry. While anger can do damage when held in or unleashed on another, it can also lead to clarity and strength when handled with care. Between emotion and action… Read More
Choose Your Traditions
The winter holidays can be a difficult time for trauma survivors, whether the trauma was a divorce, car accident, or childhood abuse. In the US, on top of the stresses of winter weather, short days, and taking time for holiday preparations, there is an added pressure and expectation to be happy. “Merry Christmas!” everyone says,… Read More