QUIZ: What’s your Cycle-breaking Beatitude?

I’m really excited to announce my new gift to you: the “What’s your cycle-breaking Beatitude?” Quiz!

Do you find yourself spinning your wheels in your search for freedom, peace, and creative joy? Take this quiz, and I will send you a FREE PDF chapter from All Things New: Breaking the Cycle & Raising a Joyful Family, custom-chosen based on your individual quiz responses.

If you’re not already an EMC Reader subscriber, you’ll also start receiving Erin’s quarterly newsletter, filled with tips, encouragement, and connection opportunities. 

Do you have any questions for me to answer before you start answering my questions? Comment below!

5 Things I Said I Would Never Do As a Parent

5 things I said I would never do as a scapegoat family trauma survivor trying to break the cycle

and how I overshot on every single one

First

I promised I would never make my kids responsible for a disproportionate amount of the housekeeping. Yes, I gave them chores, but the chores that were more triggering to me (namely, dishes and bathroom cleaning), I kept overwhelmingly to myself. I also cleaned up after messes they made way longer than I should have for their developmental ages.

As a result… I’ve continued my own scapegoat role to a certain extent in my current family, and I’ve trained some humans to be someone’s really crappy future roommates

Two

I promised I would never overshare. I’d never spousify my kids by sharing with them too much of my own childhood trauma and the difficulties that was causing me in my relationships. I’d definitely never use it as an excuse to hurt them. Now, I have apologized to them on occasion by saying, “I’m sorry. This is a way I learned to behave from my own [mother/father] here, and I should not be acting this way, AND it’s not your fault.”

However, I didn’t learn how to model developmentally appropriate emotional connection in relationships in time for them to pick up a good example from me, so I accidentally taught them instead that we don’t talk about our emotional lives. That sucks.

Three

On apologies, I promised I would never NOT apologize to my kids. If I did something wrong, I would own up to it and tell them it wasn’t their fault.

Noble plan, but again, having been a well-trained family scapegoat, I overshot. I apologized to them for things that THEY did, and I made myself the family toilet in this family, too, perpetuating the dynamic that, as long as there’s someone else to do the apologizing, most people can avoid that kind of discomfort.

Four

I promised I’d never make my kids touch anyone. I told them from a very young age, “You don’t have to hug me if you don’t want to. You don’t have to let anyone touch you if you don’t want to be touched.” Hooray for bodily autonomy, right?

Again, I overshot. I didn’t model asking for healthy touch, and so now there’s a disconnect not just emotionally but physically as humans in need of healthy touch.

On that note…

Five

I promised I’d guard my children’s Theology of the Body-based dignity and safety. I’d never sexualize my children the way I had been as a child. I wouldn’t leave explicit material out for my kids to pick up. I wouldn’t make constant dirty jokes, especially not at their expense. I wouldn’t even expose them to the relational chaos so poorly modeled on soap operas. How did I overshoot this one?

I accidentally made sexuality a taboo topic, something we can’t talk about around mom, and for all my Theology of the Body fangirling, I have no idea how to undo that knot.

I went into parenting all hyped up to break the cycle.

Most days, I feel like all I did was tap on the brakes.

Can you relate?

Trauma Survivor Resource Round-up

Letting The Trauma Flow Through

Inclusion does not equal endorsement of concept, source, writer, etc.

Update: My Domestic Church has taken over the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I’ll try linking up there.

Some things just process better if we let them flow through instead of backing up. Maybe it’s time to find your cycle-breaking Beatitude or take Self-Control 101. Image: Unsplash.com
  1. Are highly sensitive and more empathic people more prone to being gaslit/gaslighted?
  2. Could there be a link between ADHD and compulsive overeating?
  3. What does it really mean to turn the other cheek, and should I? (Caveat: I don’t agree with 100% of these ideas. For instance, while my anger might be justified, sharing that anger with people who are not willing to repair their side of relationships has always been a waste of my very valuable energy.)
  4. Feeling like you don’t belong? Louisa Ann Irene Ikena has a piece at Catholic Mom telling you You are SO meant to be here!
  5. What is the effect of stress on the adolescent brain’s triple network? And, erm, what is a triple network?
  6. What to know about eating disorders at midlife and beyond.
  7. Ending with your weekly reminder that All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family is available for purchase. Already read your copy? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (please, leave a review–it takes courage, but it helps the people who need the message find it), and don’t forget to link up with this month’s An Open Book from Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom.

This week’s AV: do a little bit of nature meditation with me. Here’s a video of the header image from Great Falls National Park, just outside of Washington, DC.

Thanks for reading, listening & watching, fellow image-bearers. Now give My Domestic Church a look-see.

Open Book: Book Recs July 2022

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup, shared also at Catholic Mom!

open-book-logo2018

Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl

From Amazon:

A young adult edition of the best-selling classic about the Holocaust and finding meaning in suffering, with a photo insert, a glossary of terms, a chronology of Frankl’s life, and supplementary letters and speeches

Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is a classic work of Holocaust literature that has riveted generations of readers. Like Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl and Elie Wiesel’s Night, Frankl’s masterpiece is a timeless examination of life in the Nazi death camps. At the same time, Frankl’s universal lessons for coping with suffering and finding one’s purpose in life offer an unforgettable message for readers seeking solace and guidance. This young adult edition features the entirety of Frankl’s Holocaust memoir and an abridged version of his writing on psychology, supplemented with photographs, a map of the concentration camps, a glossary of terms, a selection of Frankl’s letters and speeches, and a timeline of his life and of important events in the Holocaust. These supplementary materials vividly bring Frankl’s story to life, serving as valuable teaching and learning tools. A foreword by renowned novelist John Boyne provides a stirring testament to the lasting power of Frankl’s moral vision.

My Thoughts:

Not sure how I ended up with the young adult adaptation from the library, but maybe that was God protecting me. Either way, this was a pretty transformative read. Logotherapy, or the value of finding meaning in one’s life as the key to mental health, is a concept I’ve wanted to explore for quite some time, and this was at last my opportunity. In addition to his description of life (and death) in concentration camps, Frankl makes strong arguments for promoting “mental hygiene” among self and others by searching for the meanings of our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings. 6/5

Time to link up YOUR #OpenBook reviews over at Carolyn’s!

Trauma Survivor Resource Round-up

Trauma Waves, Healing Shores

Inclusion does not equal endorsement of concept, source, writer, etc.

Update: My Domestic Church has taken over the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I’ll try linking up there.

Is your tide coming in or going out? Maybe it’s time to find your cycle-breaking Beatitude or take Self-Control 101. Image: Unsplash.com
  1. Is someone telling you you’re crazy? Are you starting to believe that might be true? Read Gaslighting: Relationship Politics Explained.
  2. Can you be addicted not to a substance but addicted to a behavior?
  3. Virtual treatment for eating disorders shows potential here.
  4. Curious about this: Theology of the Fat Body.
  5. A survivor of sa by a Catholic priest comes home to the Catholic Church.
  6. “But, Erin, I don’t have trauma!” How to tell if you’ve been emotionally abused by your parents.
  7. Ending with your weekly reminder that All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family is available for purchase. Already read your copy? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (please, leave a review–it takes courage, but it helps the people who need the message find it), and don’t forget to link up with this month’s An Open Book from Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom.

This week’s AV: my experience with the overturn of Roe v. Wade

@erinmccolecupp

2 parts mayo, 1 part ea sugar & vinegar; add to shredded cabbage & carrots, top w dried cranberries #chefskiss #fyp #foryoupage #trending #roevwade #potluck #dobbs

♬ original sound – fiona’s gf

Thanks for reading, listening & watching, fellow image-bearers. Now give My Domestic Church a look-see.

Trauma Survivor Resource Round-up

Trauma Time, Healing Hours

Inclusion does not equal endorsement of concept, source, writer, etc.

Update: My Domestic Church has taken over the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I’ll try linking up there.

Where are you in your blooming process? Maybe it’s time to find your cycle-breaking Beatitude or take Self-Control 101. Image: Unsplash.com
  1. There was a recent conference in California that focused on mental health promotion by church leadership.
  2. “Low contact is for when things are going badly, but you hope that with boundaries,  perhaps a relationship is achievable. No contact is actually a loving response. It is for when you accept that the other person is unwilling or unable to change, and therefore,  there is no hope for a healthy relationship because it will never happen.  No contact IS biblical, but the Christian response is to come to this conclusion in prayer. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is an excellent help.” What does the Bible say about going no contact?
  3. Mental health moderates our desires, including the immoderate desire of gluttony.
  4. How can you help a friend with an eating disorder?
  5. Healing trauma from the mother wound.
  6. When is it good to take a child to a therapist?
  7. Ending with your weekly reminder that All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family is available for purchase. Already read your copy? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (please, leave a review–it takes courage, but it helps the people who need the message find it), and don’t forget to link up with this month’s An Open Book from Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom.

This week’s AV: Imagine Dragons’ “No Time for Toxic People.” It’s a beautiful day. Keep it that way.

Thanks for reading, listening & watching, fellow image-bearers. Now give My Domestic Church a look-see.

Trauma Survivor Resource Round-up (Now Catholic-flavored)

Trauma Time, Healing Hours

Inclusion does not equal endorsement of concept, source, writer, etc.

Update: My Domestic Church has taken over the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I’ll try linking up there.

Need more than a sign? Maybe it’s time to find your cycle-breaking Beatitude or take Self-Control 101. Image © Erin McCole Cupp 2022
  1. Scroller, beware: I’m not sure if Christopher West originated this quote or not, but I’ve heard him say on his podcast with his lovely wife Wendy that “The devil doesn’t have his own clay.” I try to use social media, especially Insta, to spread good news. Alas, IG also has a problem with pro-eating disorder accounts.
  2. Catholic Mom’s Louisa Ann Irene Ikena has an inspiring piece for those of us who think that trauma has made our lives shorter and less worth living: 100: My Betty White Decision.
  3. They say every day should be Mother’s Day, right? Well, good, because that means it’s never too late to post Christi Braschler’s Mother’s Day for a Work in Progress. Full disclosure: she mentions my book All Things New.
  4. If you read my last post on niche-ing down, you’ll understand why I’m posting more stuff about eating disorders. The UK is on the path to discovering evidence that calorie count menus may cause more harm than their intended good.
  5. That said, there’s so much overlap between eating disorders and trauma survival that this article feels at home here, too: The Unacknowledged Trauma Epidemic and the long-term public health repercussions of sexual abuse.
  6. Irish Teacher has a piece on The reason behind a child’s behavior won’t make you angry, it will break your heart.
  7. Ending with your weekly reminder that All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family is available for purchase. Already read your copy? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (please, leave a review–it takes courage, but it helps the people who need the message find it), and don’t forget to link up with this month’s An Open Book from Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom.

This week’s AV: shall we talk about Bruno?

Thanks for reading, listening & watching, fellow image-bearers. Now give My Domestic Church a look-see.

[Announcement] This is what “niche down” looks like

The idea that so many people give up social media for Lent can lead to surprising adventures in ministry.

A letter from Erin to the small but mighty Heard Mentality Community:

Lent 2022 was a time of discovery. I started out with big plans and thought that they were plans directly from the heart of God because there were all sorts of “just in time” signs. The biggest was that I got an email about how people give up social media for Lent the Monday before Ash Wednesday—all right after I had decided to encourage people to give up isolation for Lent—all right after I’d been learning more and more about how to use Google Classroom. So I started Heard Mentality and tried to launch a community on Google Classroom.

I do think it was a direction from God, but it didn’t lead where I assumed it would.

As Lent progressed, I felt more “in the weeds” as we’d say when I was waiting tables: too many orders going through my head, too many plates piled on too many trays for me to reasonably carry, and here I was, trying to promote mental health while playing fast & loose with my own.

Again, it was all a direction from God but not the kind I’d expected.

I found myself without the time I needed to create the content to promote the community to grow the platform to serve the people. I thought that I had a job: create a broad, soft place for people to land once I reached them. Alas, I was getting nowhere fast, and the message I was trying to craft was itself falling by the wayside.

So this brand new Heard Mentality community got neglected.

I went seeking counsel from others in ministry. What should I do? How could I manage my time in creating this place for people to land and still keep my own serenity so that I’d be a useful messenger? The answer repeatedly was that I was just doing way too much. I had a metaphorical counter full of raw pies, their crusts wilting in the frenzied heat of all my activity.

And why would I keep making new pies instead of finishing one, just one, I’d already started?

Because when something is finished, it’s available for criticism.

I was hiding from my critics by not giving anyone anything about which to complain. Now, looking back on this with some self-compassion, I get it. As a developmental trauma survivor, I’ve had to deal with a serious affirmation deficit. Trying to avoid more criticisms against my best efforts? Completely understandable. That said, there aren’t many ways we can actually die from disappointment. As long as I’m surrounding myself with enough people who use the truth for the purpose of showering me with love (building each other up through both positive and difficult feedback) instead of for the purpose of making themselves feel a false-better by making me feel less-than, then I have the emotional support to face whatever disappointment may come my way, whether through content creation failures or just the relational failures that are part of being a fallen human.

It was during Passiontide 2022 that I received some very important messages that gave me the direction I believe I need to move forward and get back to creating things that aren’t just there for criticism but are also there to share God’s healing love with those looking for it:

Niche down

This is something heard often in the content creation world. Don’t make your message too broad. It’s easier to reach and cultivate a small audience who is looking for a specific message than it is to reach everyone with everything in a world as informationally noisy as ours. The smaller the message, the sharper the arrow to hit your target. Etcetera. I thought “I’m on a mission to heal trauma with truth” was a small enough message. Um, given how big the trauma in my own life has been, why would I think that’s a small message!?! I spun my wheels a lot, because I was going in too many directions. Yeah, I picked up a generous bucket of skills along the way (took an SEO class for a possible job for which I didn’t even get an interview, learned Google Classroom for a community that I didn’t have time to build, am picking up Adobe Premier for videos I haven’t been able to produce by my original self-imposed deadline…), but what was it all for if it was spent not getting the results I wanted on the schedule I wanted?

It wasn’t all for nothing.

In my creative pursuits as well as just relationships in general, I’ve been living through the story that says, if I made a mistake, it was a waste of time. However, one day during my social media benchmarking time, I came across a TikTok that I’ve since lost, in which the viewer is encouraged to imagine God whispering to her, “It wasn’t all for nothing.” It wasn’t? I didn’t get that job, but now I know SEO tactics to use to reach more people in my ministry. I learned Google Classroom, but I also learned its limitations so that I can make better informed decisions as to what platforms I want to use in the future for community-building. I still have a lot to learn in Premier, but those are not the last videos I plan to create.

Failure-based disappointment and freeze-based regret are equally painful. One is not less painful than the other.

That said, only the first one of those teaches new skills, especially the skill of resilience.

So I’m closing Heard Mentality to niche down and focus on Filled With Good: Theology of the Body for Food Addicts.

I’m afraid. Once I have that course out of beta mode, it could flop. All that time & energy & creativity wasted (my trauma will say). Whatever happens, it won’t be all for nothing. This, Heard Mentality, was not all for nothing. I thank you for your sense of adventure in answering this invitation at the start of Lent 2022. If you don’t already, please say in touch either on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Clubhouse, or even good old email.

Blessings & praise,

Erin C.

Do affirmations sound like 💩? Try this instead.

Can you relate?

All those affirmations we’re supposed to use to heal the emotional abuse that’s been poured into our hearts?

Yeah, they sound like 💩.

I am loved.

💩

I am worthy.

💩

I am beautiful.

💩

Why is the negative so much easier to believe than the positive? I don’t know about you, but somewhere along the way, I picked up the message that, “If it’s about me, it’s only true if it’s bad.”

Who taught me that? Who taught you that?

Who can unteach us? If we had the power to unteach ourselves, it would’ve happened by now.

I know Who can unteach us.

Genesis 1:27 tells us we are made in God’s image. So if God is good things, then we are at least an image of good things. Right?

Actually, right. So, not 💩.

We’re using this method of affirmation in Filled With Good (still in beta version as of this posting–get my newsletter so you can sign up once it’s ready for full launch).

How does it work? You fill in the blank and remind yourself of a time you lived out one of the qualities on the list.

Meanwhile. Try it yourself whenever. Join me on Clubhouse to practice live.

So how’d that work? Easier to believe? Better than 💩?

This Week’s [pretty Catholic] Trauma Survivor Resource Roundup

Making sense of your trauma process (Catholic style)

Inclusion does not equal endorsement of concept, source, writer, etc.

Update: My Domestic Church has taken over the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I’ll try linking up there.

Is the sun finally peeking through? Maybe it’s time to find your cycle-breaking Beatitude or take Self-Control 101. Image © Erin McCole Cupp 2022
  1. Wanna break the cycle of using food for anything other than enjoyable fuel? here are 5 tips for talking to kids about weight and eating.
  2. On a similar note (warning: I’m in the process of niche-ing down to help you all get Filled With Good), here’s a study on the impact of maternal influences on childhood obesity.
  3. Have you shared your story or kept it hidden? Why do survivors stay silent.
  4. I know as Catholics we generally want to be extremely cautious of spiritual practices that involve other gods, however obliquely or well-intentioned it may be. By sharing this article, I’m not promoting yoga, but I’m curious about it–if it’s providing clinically demonstrable healing, is there no way of baptizing it? Another one for the research nerds out there: a recent study on yoga as a therapeutic tool for emotional dysregulation in veterans.
  5. Are you identifying with symptoms of narcissistic abuse but looking back on your life, thinking, “But none of my attachment figures were these big, grandiose show-offs!” Here are 3 ways to spot covert narcissists before they strike.
  6. The myth of survivor solidarity: Why it’s so hard for us to all just get along.
  7. Ending with your weekly reminder that All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family is available for purchase. Already read your copy? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (please, leave a review–it takes courage, but it helps the people who need the message find it), and don’t forget to link up with this month’s An Open Book from Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom.

This week’s AV: It’s harsh out there, especially for survivors of family abuse and dysfunction. Here are some affirmations for you–with love from me.

Thanks for reading, listening & watching, fellow image-bearers. Now give My Domestic Church a look-see.

This Week’s [pretty Catholic] Trauma Survivor Resource Roundup

What do trauma survivors need? This week’s resources, Catholic style

Inclusion does not equal endorsement of concept, source, writer, etc.

Update: My Domestic Church has taken over the weekly 7 Quick Takes. I’ll try linking up there.

Having trouble finding whoooo you want to be? Maybe it’s time to find your cycle-breaking Beatitude or take Self-Control 101. Image © Erin McCole Cupp 2022
  1. I know, it’s the Easter Season, but Single Mom Smiling has a great post on what Jesus saw (and sees) in us in the pre-trauma of Palm Sunday.
  2. You know I’m all about the link between trauma and food addiction. Turns out some people think that the military may be creating a perfect storm for eating disorders.
  3. “If you have an eating disorder, you can get better.”
  4. Did COVID-19 make the world a better place for people with eating disorders?
  5. It’s not what you’re eating. It’s what’s eating your mind: Repetitive negative thinking linked to specific disordered eating behaviors in adolescent girls.
  6. The crossroads of parenting after trauma and contributing to healthy, non-emotional eating in our kids: Tips for Talking to Kids About Weight and Eating.
  7. Ending with your weekly reminder that All Things New: Breaking the Cycle and Raising a Joyful Family is available for purchase. Already read your copy? Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (please, leave a review–it takes courage, but it helps the people who need the message find it), and don’t forget to link up with this month’s An Open Book from Carolyn Astfalk & Catholic Mom.

This week’s AV: Am I going to keep sharing stuff from Cinema Therapy? Ob…viously.

Thanks for reading, listening & watching, fellow image-bearers. Now give My Domestic Church a look-see.