The 5 Negative Types of People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

I have read countless books on self-actualization, self-realization and spiritual awareness. I have done hundreds of hours of yoga, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation. I have worked with therapists, energy workers, acupuncturists and a million body workers. All of this has been helpful, even critical, to my recovery.

One of the primary spiritual premises I have heard is that the universe will give me exactly what I need. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

In my early years of recovery, I thought that had something to do with the physical world. Of course, as a trauma survivor, it was pretty hard to believe. Actually, I didn’t believe it. Or at least, I didn’t believe it applied to me.

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4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After Trauma

When children, teens, and young adults experience trauma, life feels different for them. Seeing someone get injured, or being the target of violence, can be a life-altering experience, even for adults.

It's no wonder then that a threatening event or overwhelming experience may greatly affect how a child perceives the world around them. It may also impact their development and personality.

There are several ways parents can learn to help children heal after trauma. Here are four tips parents can try that should help.

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An Open Letter to Those Defending Woody Allen

When I read the article by Dylan Farrow, I was shocked by her bravery, honesty and resiliency.

I was surprised by how she was willing to stand up against someone who is revered by our society as a talented artist.

However, I was more shocked by those who are willing to defend Woody Allen, a man who has been accused of child sexual abuse by one adopted daughter and married the other one [Ed. - Allen was never Soon-Yi Previn's father, adopted or otherwise, according to both Allen and Previn.]. The myriad reasons for this defense show a complete lack of understanding for the complex trauma of a child sex abuse victim.

Let’s discuss some of those reasons...

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Navigating Relationships & Abandonment Fears: Losing Others, Losing Me

As I have struggled through some very dark days of trauma recovery, I have come to understand some universal laws that have helped make sense of my chaotic life. The most basic law is that the inner child will recreate the challenges of the childhood until the challenges are resolved. To the inner child, the perception of resolution may be very different from the adult’s logical brain.

But I have learned that the resolution can come in many forms.

For a sexual violence survivor, this law holds no more true than when navigating adult intimate relationships. Sometimes, this law is referred to as “women will always marry their father.”

But it manifests in other ways too. It would be easy to address if it weren't happening unconsciously. Unfortunately, we rarely know we are recreating our childhood. In the case of memory repression, it is worse because we don’t remember the events we are recreating. Sounds like a losing battle, doesn’t it?

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Helping Kids with Trauma Succeed At School

Those early school years, when children ages 6 to 12 are transitioning from a caregiving environment to an educational environment, are challenging from a child development standpoint.

Children are learning academic skills, socialization (how to get along with others), and structure and boundaries (how to follow rules). Perhaps for the first time, they are also being influenced by adults other than their own parents.

Primary or elementary school is a time to find out how people are different in so many ways: race, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities, culture, upbringing, values, etc.

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Introducing After Trauma

There is a growing need for people to better understand the intricacies of trauma, trauma recovery, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and its treatment. As our understanding and research into trauma grows, it’s hard to put to rest old beliefs about trauma.

What we need is more information about trauma. And who better to help us learn more about trauma than a professional who helps people with it everyday?

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How Trauma Transforms & What You Can Do to Help

I can recall sitting in my "psychology of personality" course as a college sophomore, a few years ago or so, and asking the professor if certain hardships have a tendency to change someone. (I usually come from the school of thought that we all encompass an underlying essence that remains the same, but I’m using ‘change’ here to imply an outwardly drastic difference in character.) He adamantly nodded, and then went onto explain how being immersed in intense family conflict can induce an aftermath of psychological effects.

I remember asking the question since, at that time, I knew someone who appeared as a stranger to me. This person’s inner light seemed dimmer than what it once was. It was difficult for me to grasp.

However, I was aware that this individual had endured recent traumatic experiences. From then on, I always wondered whether particular traumas or stressors could pave the way to an overt transformation.

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I Forgot What? Healing Through Memories

A couple of weeks ago, my external life took a back seat to my internal life. Although my external life is pretty good these days, my internal life is pretty ugly. It is a series of traumatic experiences with emotions to match.

When it is time to pay attention to the internal life, it means my childhood memories are coming back.

And I had better pay attention. I had better be ready for some depression, some sadness, some anger that rivals a toddler’s tantrums, some anxiety and some intense exhaustion. Needless to say, the external life starts to slow down a bit.

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The Disturbing Discrepancy & Double Standard Between Mental Illness & Other Health Concerns

It would seem that the subject of mental illness has, at long last, captured the attention of the American public. Why, you may ask, is this so?

Perhaps it is the fact that when mind-boggling mass murders occur in such ordinary towns as Newtown, Conn. or Aurora, Colo., we are inundated with stories about the suspected mental state of the perpetrators.

Although the aforementioned individuals may suffer, or may have suffered, from any number of debilitating mental illnesses, the vast majority of the mentally ill are not violent. Unfortunately, their stories, and their daily struggles merely to survive, rarely make the 6 o'clock news.

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Anxiety and Panic

Have Trauma, Will Hover at the Beach

‘Vacation’ is a funny word for a single mother of young children.

Before having children, the term 'vacation' would invoke a feeling of relaxation, but it doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

Now it means I will move my exhausted self and young children to a different place, so I can do the same activities with the same unrealistic schedule. Nonetheless, we go to the beach every year.

I pick the beach because it is the least painful of the options. I live within a few hours of numerous beaches so there are no long trips or plane tickets. I don’t have to drag them (and more importantly their stuff) all over a city while trying to keep their attention at tourist attractions that may or may not be age-appropriate. And to be fair, they love the beach. They start to jump up and down the minute they see the ocean and the sand.

I know this will sound un-American, but I don't like the beach.

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