WISDOM 2018-05-09T10:32:31+00:00

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A Mindful Step in Healing from Abuse

I was somewhere in South America, traveling on a bright yellow bus, staring out the window lost in thought. What was I doing all by myself on this bus, on this continent, where I didn’t know anyone for thousands of miles? I  had thought that if I just packed up and ran away from my problems, that it would somehow miraculously cure everything. Hindsight is crystal clear,

Why Sexual Assault Survivors Blame Themselves

It’s not your fault. Before I dive into a blog article about sexual assault, I had to say that. You may feel like it’s your fault. Not only is that extremely common; it’s also trying to protect you from your pain, which I’ll discuss in this blog article in a moment. But it can’t be said enough that if you were sexually assaulted, it’s not your fault.

Shaping Our Life’s Story

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if the challenging events in your life never happened to you? Would you be the person you are today?  Would you know your own resiliency and strength if it never happened? Even those events that have occurred in our lives that have been so hard to heal from, to overcome, those moments that feel like we are

There’s No Such Thing as “You Made Your Bed, Now Lie in It”

For many people raised in abusive, neglectful, or dysfunctional families, the message "you made your bed, now lie in it" is a common life philosophy taught and promoted throughout childhood. It’s a message typically passed down from one generation to the next, particularly when there was prior victimization or helplessness. This mindset gets normalized and subsequent generations stop challenging its legitimacy. Instead, the belief is that there

Life After Abuse: Don’t Judge Me

Life after abuse brings many obstacles and challenges. Unfortunately, one of the most difficult things after abuse is dealing with the reactions of those you confide in. Whether you wish to confide in a few select people or you decide to confide in everyone you know, anticipating someone’s response can be terrifying. It is impossible to know how exactly someone will respond when you tell them that

Loving a Trauma Survivor: Understanding Childhood Trauma’s Impact On Relationships

Survivors of childhood trauma deserve all the peace and security that a loving relationship can provide. But a history of abuse or neglect can make trusting another person feel terrifying. Trying to form an intimate relationship may lead to frightening missteps and confusion. How can we better understand the impact of trauma, and help survivors find the love, friendship and support they and their partner deserve? How

For Trauma Survivors, Quiet Moments Can Be Challenging

The quieter moments of healing can be oddly disconcerting. Healing in general isn’t quiet: maybe loud is the wrong word, but intense would be accurate. The feelings that go with healing from trauma loom large. The grief, sadness, sorrow, rage, anger, terror. These feelings take over your mind and your life. I have often compared them to a wild cat: a tiger pacing back and forth in

The Protective Power of “I’m Crazy”

In the last few weeks I lost track of how many times different clients uttered the phrase, “I must be crazy” as a way to make sense out of their symptoms or struggles. It’s so poignantly common for trauma survivors to conclude that something is inherently wrong with them. Personal flaws and shortcomings become the explanation for complicated or troubled relationships, unrealized goals that peers have already

10 Ways to Build a Foundation of Trust with a Trauma Survivor

When it comes to survivors (of all kinds of trauma) it takes more work than usual to build and establish trust, the 10 things listed below are not the only things, just the foundation of trust. When working with survivors, a few things need to be clarified. Unfortunately some of these should be a given such as respect but the are not always. 10 Ways to Build a Foundation

I deserved it: How I blamed myself for my abusive relationship

To be completely transparent this is not the easiest subject for me to write about. I am pushing beyond my edge of comfort, as I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone; that what I am about to share about my story, will resonate with other Rockstars who have survived a myriad the struggle of relationship abuse and pain.  Perhaps I am wrong, maybe it

Emotionally Abusive Relationships

Recently I was sitting in a Starbucks catching up on my e-mail when it became impossible not to overhear the conversation happening in such close proximity at the next table. A young couple was engaged in the seemingly benign task of deciding what kind of coffees to order. What grabbed my attention was the subtle but powerful way in which the husband continually dismissed his wife’s timid

It’s A Body Thing

There’s something the body does that reflects what the nervous system does – a reflex, in response to a trigger. I’d like to explore this with you. When a person encounters a trigger, the body closes. What I seem to be noticing with myself and my clients is a popular trigger called “ALLOWING A PART OF MYSELF TO BE SEEN THAT I WASN’T SURE I WANTED TO SHARE.”

We Are All Doing the Best We Can

The topic of perfectionism has come up quite a bit in my office lately. This idea about wanting to be perfect or get the best score, best grades, or be the best parents runs rampant. We are all trying to win some unnamed race to prove what exactly? That we are “winning” at life? That we are somehow doing “better” than the person sitting next to us?

The Veracity of Hope

People like to put the word ‘hope’ into an imaginary place. A place of dreams and wishes. A place that isn’t ‘real. But nothing, and I mean nothing, could be further from the truth. If hope is anything—it is the absolute inner truth of a human being’s capacity. It is the absolute inner truth of what is possible when we come back into contact with ourselves, with

The One Decision That Saved My Life – Healing From Depression

I spent Halloween ’11 in mental hospital.  Well, technically, it was a “Medical Center for Behavioral Health.” But, because I keep it real, we were all sorts of crazy up in there. The staff even put on horror movies for us on Halloween. They wouldn’t allow me to keep the drawstring of my favorite sweatshirt, but watching endless Freddy Krueger I guess was okay. All that aside,

I AM ENOUGH

Enough. The dictionary defines it as “to the required degree, or extent”. What is the required degree though? The synonyms are varied, and mean different things, not the same thing, and synonyms are meant to mean the same thing. In what world is sufficient or adequate, the same as ample or abundant? It’s no wonder ‘enough’ is the word that tortures us with a belief of lack

How Gratitude Helped Me Heal From Sexual Trauma

I’m not someone who believes that everything happens for a reason or that we need to be grateful for everything. Horrible, tragic, unthinkable things happen to people and children around the world everyday and I don’t believe these things happen for the reasons of teaching us a lesson and making us stronger, better people. We feel comforted knowing why things happen. We search for something good from

Understanding Long Term Trauma (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

In an earlier post on how all trauma is not the same, I talk about how single incident trauma and repeated trauma impact people differently. A single incident of trauma catches us off guard and breaks through our defenses. But when trauma is repeated as it is in child abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, or war, then we don’t wait to get ‘caught off guard’ -- we

How Mindfulness Meditation Changed My Life

When I mention the idea of mindfulness meditation, of consciously sitting with ourselves and observing our own inner world, the usual response I receive is along the lines of: “I like that idea but I can’t do that, I can’t quiet my mind.” Mind racing anxiety plus the common trauma symptom of hypervigilence (aka feeling hyper alert which often leads to jumping at the slightest sound) and

When Your Rapist Goes to Jail

In case you do not know, please learn this: no harm inflicted upon you by another human being is your fault. You do not deserve it and you did nothing to deserve it. It does not reflect who you are; it is only a reflection of that persons lost and darkened soul. You are not nothing; you are everything, more than enough. You deserve love, kindness, respect

The Silver Space

We are all familiar with the space of uncertainty, where nothing is quite decided, it’s neither black nor white- it’s gray. This space is often uncomfortable and confusing. Our natural inclination is to make it stop as quickly as possible, make everything solid, fit in a box, make sense again. But what if we are supposed to truly live in this gray dynamic space? What if this