8 Ways to Help Someone Who’s Sick

Most of my life I’ve been pretty clueless. When someone has revealed that they’re sick or broke or a loved one has just died or their life is otherwise falling apart, I kind of panic. I don’t know what to do. I want to help, but I don’t want to imply that I think theyContinue reading “8 Ways to Help Someone Who’s Sick”

6 Red Flags a Parent Might Be an Abuser

A POST FOR ADULT CHILDREN AND THOSE CONCERNED AN ADULT THEY KNOW MIGHT BE ABUSIVE* For child abuse survivors, it takes years—sometimes decades—to recognize, name, and understand the harm they suffered. There are many reasons for this. For one, many survivors apply the term “trauma bond” to their parent-child dynamic. This term was coined forContinue reading “6 Red Flags a Parent Might Be an Abuser”

Sexual Assault and the Slow Erosion of Self-Efficacy

Impact statements have revealed the many self-defeating, destructive lessons that sexual assault taught me. In the ten years between 16 and 26, I survived four sexual assaults. The assailants were a high school classmate, a man ten years older than I was who hired me as his English tutor, and my own father. At 20,Continue reading “Sexual Assault and the Slow Erosion of Self-Efficacy”

My Thoughts Are Mostly Nonsense

This year a study found that we have around 6,000 thoughts each day. That’s a whole lot of self-talk. Most of us enter into a conversation with ourselves from the moment we acquire language. And this conversation holds the power to shape our beliefs and moods. But the truth is most of us are drivingContinue reading “My Thoughts Are Mostly Nonsense”

Remembrance

In many faith traditions, remembrance is a sacred act. A devotion to God. Buddhism in particular offers a definition of remembrance that echoes this stage in trauma recovery. The Pali term sati can be translated as both mindfulness and memory. The Satipatthana Sutta teaches that sati enables us to see the true relationship between all things. We must awakenContinue reading “Remembrance”

Forgiving My Ex

From an abusive childhood to a dysfunctional first marriage, I’ve had a lot to heal from. Don’t we all. And in the many books I’ve read about healing, experts vary in their emphasis on forgiveness as part of the healing process. Some insist it’s necessary, others that it’s helpful, and a few that you canContinue reading “Forgiving My Ex”

The Healing Grace of Friendship

My father, like most fathers of daughters, had no sense of fairness. On camping trips, he assigned my mother and me to dish duty while he and my brother built fires and checked fuel and lit lanterns. I asked to learn, and he always refused. Maybe he genuinely thought these were skills I’d never need.Continue reading “The Healing Grace of Friendship”

To the Man on the Bus Beside Me

It isn’t you. But it’s not me, either. You saw the way I stiffened when you sat down, didn’t you? You saw me flinch. And now you think it’s because I think I’m too good for you. Or that I think I deserve a seat to myself. Or that I’ve got a chip on myContinue reading “To the Man on the Bus Beside Me”

The Abuser in All of Us

Last night at Elliott Bay Book Company, author Val Brelinski read from her debut novel, The Girl Who Slept with God, and posed an impossible question: Is it possible to love another human being–parents, siblings, children, spouses–and not in some way damage the other person? Or is that part of the nature of intimate relationships?Continue reading “The Abuser in All of Us”