7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 7Aug2020

Here’s me, doing my bit to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s…

This Week’s Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

Takes. Best described as quick. Seven of them.

Image via Unsplash
  1. I came across “Abuse or neglect in childhood is linked to fear of self-compassion in young adulthood, study finds,” and found it revealing. It points to a likely explanation as to why once someone tells you her trauma story, it’s usually just the first trauma story that person has to share. The less self-compassion we have, the less we are likely to keep ourselves safe? It rings true in this brain.
  2. Topher Payne fixed Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree so that it’s The Tree Who Set Healthy Boundaries. I’ve always loved Giving Tree as both a simple acknowledgement of the pain that comes from having poor boundaries and as a cautionary tale. Payne’s version makes some pretty warm points.
  3. Another story about people being compassionate and changing the lives of abuse survivors? Yes, please! “Nonprofit helps with healing by transforming rooms of child abuse victims.”
  4. Responding with Tenderness to a Violent World” has a message that family trauma didn’t grow up hearing, but it’s a message we now can choose to seek out and adopt into our own recovery.
  5. Reflecting on ‘Thy Will Be Done’ in Recovery” over at Catholic in Recovery doesn’t just speak to the soul recovering from substance abuse but also to anyone recovering from trauma.
  6. 5 Critical Things to Know About Family Scapegoating Abuse is an introduction to a topic being looked at critically by Rebecca Mandeville.
  7. This Sunday’s gospel journaling page for trauma survivors will come out in a few hours, so please sign up here to get yours free through the end of November, 20202. I also invite you to join in some discussion over on my Broken Grown-up Nation Facebook page.

I kinda want to ask about tenderness here. I have to admit, that’s a word that makes me recoil, though I can’t quite put my finger on why. Is it because I’ve more often used the adjective “tender” to describe steak? Is it because I’ve experienced — and offered others — so little of it thus far in life? Anybody reading have some light to shed on the concept of “tenderness”?

Also, let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

Open Book: Book Recs for August 2020

I’m nose-deep in edits on Broken Grown-ups Guide to Joyful Family Life, but we have had two beach days, which means two beach reads.

One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James & Nancy Rue

Tara Faulkner and Seth Grissom grew up next door to each other in Savannah’s historic district. Their parents are best friends. They finish each other’s sentences all the time. Their fairy-tale wedding is a foregone conclusion . . . until Tara discovers another side to Seth three weeks before the wedding. Reality has crashed in on Tara’s fairy tale—but hope will lead her to a future she couldn’t have planned for herself.

This one is an emotional suspense that will have you laughing, crying, screaming and cheering. I read this in one day, much as I did with All In Good Time. Similar themes. A clean read but for grown-ups only.

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

When the Great Depression takes almost everything they own, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed forests of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as her family struggles with the aftermath of an accident that has left her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.
 
Determined to help her father, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal and, with them, a fresh chance at happiness.
 
Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Lauren Wolk, the Newbery Honor– and Scott O’Dell Award–winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families, set against the rough and ragged beauty of the mountain they all call home.

Loved it. Good, solid YA, clean and challenging.

What are you reading these days? Don’t forget to link up with An Open Book.

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 31Jul2020

Here’s me, doing my bit to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s…

This Week’s Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

Takes. Best described as quick. Seven of them.

Image via Unsplash
  1. Life Giving Wounds: I recently got to have a chat with a woman who participated in one of their online groups for adult children of divorce, and I learned so much. I’m including this link here, because a lot of us Broken Grown-ups are children of divorce, have found ourselves divorcing and wondering how best to serve children who are wounded by that divorce, and so on. Broken Grown-ups who don’t heal often don’t learn how to live the merciful love that is required to enter marriage without deceit, much less that is required to maintain the sanctification the sacrament demands of those who live it. So. Check out Life Giving Wounds.
  2. Show grandparents, the elderly that you care, pope tells young people, by Carol Glatz over at OSV News. See, this one gets tricky when it comes to survivors of family abuse. I gotta be honest here: some of those “abandoned elderly” have kids who don’t want to see them for good and healthy reasons. If your kids make time to visit you and all you do is talk about yourself, that is when you’re not complaining about them… you’re probably lonely for a reason. Yes, Jesus does ask us to visit the sick and imprisoned, but he doesn’t require us to visit those who would only fall into more sin by having their victims be the ones to visit them. Do you think that praying for the repentance of and performing acts of penance on behalf of such elderly people fulfills that divine request to visit?
  3. Zac Efron visited Lourdes? So he did. Why am I putting this on a list of articles for trauma survivors. One: I’m an Our Lady of Lourdes fangirl. Two: there are A LOT of stories that float around about how Our Lady of Lourdes shed God’s healing upon survivors of childhood trauma, concentration camp trauma, PTSD. Three: Hey, if Hollywood here can be touched by Our Lady’s message, then even child abusers can have their hearts turned towards repentance. It’s about hope. All about hope.
  4. The Atlantic has an article on how one school in Oklahoma is meeting traumatized kids’ learning needs. It’s called the ATLAS program. It sounds really nice. I just always get a little wiggy around schools and teachers taking over the parenting rather than taking Mother Theresa’s approach and supporting the parents directly so they can rebuild their families themselves. Help a child in one building, that kid still has to go home to people who aren’t being helped. To be fair, the article says this program is connecting with parents on some level, but is it enough? Time will tell.
  5. I love stories of trauma survivors turning their darkness into light. Here’s another one, this time of a young survivor telling her story so that other children can find Sunflower House (KC MO & KA), a victim advocacy center that softens the landing for victims making their police reports and providing evidence.
  6. This Sunday’s gospel journaling page for trauma survivors will come out in a few hours, so please sign up here to get yours free through the end of November, 20202.
  7. I also invite you to join in some discussion over on my Broken Grown-up Nation Facebook page.

The story about KC’s Sunflower House got me thinking… if you are a trauma survivor, what would have made it easier for you to tell your story? Make your report? Press charges?

Also, let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 24Jul2020

Here’s me, doing my bit to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s…

This Week’s Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

Takes. Best described as quick. Seven of them.

Image via Unsplash
  1. An oldie but goodie: Catholics Are Not Immune to Domestic Violence.
  2. 8 Things to Know About Dating an Abuse Survivor: families come from first dates, one way or another. If you’re a broken grown-up looking to start a family from your single status, this one might be good to read.
  3. How Healthy Is Your Domestic Church, by Dr. Greg Popcak over at OSV News. If you could use a tune-up on making Jesus present in the love between your family members, this quiz might be just the ticket.
  4. Another good one from Dr. Ramani: Did You Receive Inconsistent Treatment from Your Narcissistic Parents? This one breaks down how, when you hear the terms “scapegoat,” “golden child” and even “invisible child” and “handmaid,” why maybe you can’t identify a single one you were at all times in your family. Love Dr. Ramani!
  5. Trying to shake that people-pleasing reflex so many of us picked up in order to survive our families of origin? 10 Steps to Overcoming the Fawn Response has some great pointers.
  6. Hard science time! If Eyes Are the Windows To the Soul, Our Pupils May Reveal PTSD. I mean, it makes sense.
  7. This Sunday’s gospel journaling page for trauma survivors will come out in a few hours, so please sign up here to get yours free through the end of November, 20202. I also invite you to join in some discussion over on my Broken Grown-up Nation Facebook page.

Did any of the above help make sense of any aspect of your experience? That pupil thing really got me thinking. How about you?

Also, let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 17Jul2020

Here’s me, doing my bit to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s…

This Week’s Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

Takes. Best described as quick. Seven of them.

Image via Unsplash
  1. Donna’s Law , just passed in Florida, has removed the statute of limitations entirely for sexual battery of a minor. I’ve long been disgusted when states remove the SOL for cases of institutional abuse (read: abuse by Catholic priests) but keep it in place for abuse by, say, family members. That said, just because you can press charges now, Florida friends, doesn’t mean you are morally obligated to do so. Your abuser is morally obligated to turn him/herself in. It’s not your job to police. You are free to do so, but it’s not your job. Anyone who says, “Well, isn’t it your fault if your abuser abuses someone else, when you didn’t speak up?” It’s not your fault if anyone besides yourself sins. Even your abuser.
  2. Seal of Confessional Vital for Some Survivors of Sexual Abuse.” This one’s from Australia. Food for thought for those who think the Seal of Confession is a harbor for abusers. Maybe it’s an empowerment tool for survivors, a truth-lighting tool for victims taught to think the abuse is their sin.
  3. Have you listed to Dr. Ramani yet? If you’re from a narcissistic family dynamic, do. Here’s her take on The Narcissist and the Golden Child.
  4. Hold up. Maybe you don’t know what the narcissistic family dynamic looks like. Dr. Ramani breaks it down here.
  5. Trauma survivors get a lot of “oh, it wasn’t that bad,” “look on the bright side,” “but it’s your family, they must love you,” and so on. There’s a word for that minimization: it’s called toxic positivity, and fellow Catholic Mom contributor Lisa Hess blogged about it this week–especially in light of how you’re “supposed” to be living your lockdown.
  6. This Sunday’s gospel journaling page for trauma survivors will come out in a few hours, so please sign up here to get yours free through the end of November, 20202.
  7. I also invite you to join in some discussion over on my Broken Grown-up Nation Facebook page.

What are some things you wish the Catholic world would address for the sake of childhood trauma survivors? I’m curious.

Also, let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 10Jul2020

Here’s me, doing my bit to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s this week’s list of…

This Week’s Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

Takes best described as quick, and seven of them.

White Petal by Diane Povey, StockSnap
  1. “Lambeth Child Abuse Survivor Gave Away Compensation “To Give Back the Smiles Taken From Me.” Catholic is our name, and redemptive suffering is our game, but it’s a game we can share with others by other names. Of course, I say that without knowing whether or not the subject of the article is Catholic or not, but whatever faith she practices, she is giving her abuse settlement AWAY to help others.
  2. From Catholic in Recovery, “Encountering Mary’s Motherly Love in Eucharistic Adoration.” Written by a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and recovering addict, this one’s an article on how Mary’s motherly love reaches us no matter how badly we’ve been bruised, whether by others’ or our own choices.
  3. This Sunday’s gospel journaling page for trauma survivors will come out in a few hours, so please sign up here to get yours free through the end of November, 20202.
  4. I also invite you to join in some discussion over on my Broken Grown-up Nation Facebook page.
  5. This week was the Feast of St. Maria Goretti. Here’s a long but good post on “What They Died For,” talking about all the false narratives spun in the popular imagination about why Maria and any number of other virgin martyrs died–and why they actually offered their lives (hint: it’s not for the god of marriage).
  6. Oldie but goodie: St. Maria Goretti and Why We Need Strong Girl Stories.
  7. Finally, OSV was kind enough to run my article on how St. Maria Goretti handled the hardship of missing the sacraments, much like we have been asked to do over these past pandemic months.

How are you holding up these days in your healing journey? It’s been tough here. Let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

7 Quick Takes for Catholic Trauma Survivors

Here’s me, doing my bit to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s this week’s list of…

More Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

There is a LOT of stuff out there for survivors of clerical abuse. That’s a good thing. Just because the abuse you experienced and still suffer from was different from mine doesn’t mean you’re less deserving of help and healing!

Saint Dymphna being beheaded by her father
  1. But statistically there are more survivors of family abuse than survivors of abuse by Catholic priests.
  2. That means we are in a unique position to learn from, support, and pray for each other.
  3. We also walk through the same shadows and suffer many of the same health impairments as we live our adult lives.
  4. There’s a recent study that shows that Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provides better PTSD outcomes for survivors of child sexual abuse, so that’s good news, I hope.
  5. There’s also another wonderful bit on attachment and addiction over at Catholic in Recovery (whom I LOVE).
  6. If you are a trauma survivor of any kind but don’t have much personal experience with being on the crap end of racism (::raises hand::), here’s an article that offers a unique opportunity to method act your way into some empathy for the descendants of enslaved Americans: “What PTSD Tells Us About the History of Slavery.” Your experience might be limited by the color of your skin, but your empathy is only limited by your imagination and your humility.
  7. Finally, here’s a video by Joe Sciambra interviewing Dan Burke about spiritual warfare and childhood trauma. Dan even touches on this week’s gospel’s message, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” #timely

Bonus #8 in progress: I’ve started creating a series of Sunday gospel reflection journal pages for trauma survivors. If you would like to join the beta testing team for those and receive free journaling pages next week through Advent 2020, please sign up here.

Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a single resource for Catholic survivors of family-of-origin based child abuse, sexual or otherwise. That can’t mean that this site is it. Can it? If it is, I feel incredibly unqualified to tackle the task of helping us find each other in communion with Christ’s Body on earth. If you know of some other resource, would you mind commenting with it below?

How are you holding up these days in your healing journey? It’s been tough here. Let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

Seven Quick Takes for Trauma Healing

Hello, there, folks. Long time, no blog. Now that it’s summer and I’m gearing up for edits with Our Sunday Visitor on The Broken Grown-up’s Guide to Joyful Family Life, I’m hoping to get a little more work done in terms of service to fellow Catholics (and, hey, even you non-Catholics) who are working on trauma survivorship.

To that end, it’s my goal (and we know how that goes) to participate weekly in Kelly’s Seven Quick Takes over at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

So here’s my first attempt at sharing seven resources for Catholics recovering from trauma.

Resources for Catholic Trauma Survivors

  1. The Face of Mercy is a new Catholic mental health resource worth checking out. They’re about to launch a class on Catholic ministry in a post-COVID world–worth checking out.
  2. Through Lesley Lynch’s fiction I became a fan of the concept of Restorative Justice. Restorative Justice goes beyond punishment for abusers into amends made to survivors. Here’s an article that shows RJ at work here in the USA.
  3. If you haven’t already, do subscribe to Saint Dymphna’s Playbook, Catholic Mental Health podcast by LMFT and Catholic Hipster, Tommy Tighe.
  4. Since a LOT of us are survivors of families impacted by narcissistic abuse, you might find Dr. Ramani’s videos on narcissism as helpful as I have. Here’s one on The Shame People Feel When They Come From Narcissistic Families.
  5. As many trauma survivors have self-medicated (ineffectively, of course) through addiction, allow me to recommend Catholic in Recovery, where the Twelve Steps and the Sacraments meet in a nice, cozy home complete with virtual holy water fonts right now. You might especially like The Body Keeps the Score: Real Recovery Includes Emotional Healing.
  6. Did you know that there’s this Catholic spiritual ministry to sexual assault survivors? I didn’t. It’s called RISE.
  7. Lastly, Integrity Restored was kind enough to let me blog for them in preparation of the Feast of St. Maria Goretti on July 6. So here’s my article with them, Porn, Addiction, and the Redemption of Alessandro Serenelli.

Bonus #8 in progress: I’m working on creating a series of Sunday gospel reflection journal pages for trauma survivors. If you would like to join the beta testing team for those and receive free journaling pages next week through Advent 2020, please sign up for my newsletter. For doing so, you’ll also get a free copy of Get Moving With St. Dominic’s 9 Ways of Prayer.

eBook: Get Moving With the Nine Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic
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How are you holding up these days in your healing journey? It’s been tough here. Let me know how I may pray for you? Meanwhile, make sure you give Kelly & the SQT crew a look see.

Open Book: Book Recs for February 2020

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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I skipped last month, and I’m late for this month, which pretty much sums up my life in many ways: plenty off-kilter, but filling things in just enough to keep going. Just enough.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

 

try_softer_3dTry Softer by Aundi Kolber is a gentle, faith-friendly synthesis of a number of different approaches to healing from both “Big-T Trauma” (physical, sexual, verbal, & emotional abuse, neglect) as well as “little-t trauma” (experiencing a family environment where your needs for attachment simply were not consistently met). Kolber covers how the brain handles Trauma/trauma, how to approach healing from a place of peace rather than “pushing through” or “white-knuckling it.” She covers boundaries, approaching openness without destroying the self, balancing vulnerability and self-preservation… so much good in this book for ANYBODY facing any emotional disconnect.

I know I need a reread. I had been trying to start an online, real time, videoconferenced book club to go through Try Softer together during Lent. I thought it would help me and give me a place to form community with others in processing through the exercises at the end of each chapter. However, the lack of response to that has given me an opportunity to reexamine my own desire to connect with people, how my own weak boundaries make it easier to share with others but harder to form relationships that are mutual rather than connective… anyway. Lots of stuff. So, no book club, but LOTS of praise for this book. I’d give a sixth star if Amazon would let me. Get your copy, and get to know Aundi.
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How many chances do you give someone to change for the better? That’s the question asked in Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischoff, first in a series (new, I think?) focusing on the Norgaard family, immigrants from Norway. Aven, a workhouse orphan, is very suddenly widowed by her alcoholic husband, and she accepts an offer to come take care of her late husband’s cousins… only to find out that these cousins aren’t children in need of minding–at least, not in age–but are three full-grown men. While that might seem comical at first glance, Aven finds herself unable to avoid confronting the pain her husband’s death left with her, especially in the Norgaard middle son, Thorvald–who has been soothing his isolation as a deaf man by drowning himself in the family’s cider business, and I don’t just mean in the workings and accounting.

In Sons, Bischoff gives us a story of redemption in a place where all our senses tell us there could be none. Highly recommended. Recommended by Carolyn, our Open Book host. A1PlaceHolder

 

A1PlaceHolderWhat are you reading?  Don’t forget to link up YOUR #OpenBook reviews over at Carolyn’s!

Open Book: Book Recs for December 2019

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!

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I realize everyone else is doing Christmas book recommendations, but here I am, being the rebel! Here’s what I’ve been reading:

 

TheHidingPlaceCoverYeah, I’m just now reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the author’s family was involved in the Dutch resistance during WWII and was the hub of hiding places and other survival-related services for their Jewish neighbors as well as others who needed protection from the invading Nazis, such as young men who were in danger of being conscripted for munitions labor. Eventually Corrie and her family were captured, imprisoned, and Corrie and her sister Betsie were shipped off to Ravensbruck, where Betsie succumbed to illness at the cruel treatment. Throughout, ten Boom delivers an indefatigable message of hope in the darkest of the dark places, not just physically but within the human heart.  I had a hard time getting through Eli Weisel’s Night (and still haven’t finished it), but now that I’ve been dosed with the hope and love of the ten Boom family, I think I could retackle Weisel. A1PlaceHolder

 

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The Bride Ships, Book 1: A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund: if you’re looking for a bittersweet romance that’s honest about harsh circumstances but delivers hope and joy along with the heartbreak, A Reluctant Bride might be a good fit for you. Mercy Wilkins is forced out of her home in the London slums and the only baggage she can afford to bring along is her fear of marriage, after the miserable example her parents and others set for her. When she accidentally catches the eye and heart of the ship’s doctor, she has to face her fears and the deepest desires of her heart. Recommended by Carolyn, our Open Book host. A1PlaceHolder

 

GileadCover.jpgRhonda Franklin Ortiz recommended Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. So far, it’s oddly reminiscent of Black Bottle Man without the creepy supernatural factor (so far). It has more of a literary bent than the stuff I’ve been reading lately, which has been good for my mind, frankly. Not that leisure reading is bad, but leisure reading with some complexity to it is good as well. Just a different kind of good. Fathers. Sons. Struggle. Tough farmland with tougher farmers. That’s what I’m getting so far, and I want more. A1PlaceHolder

ParacordCover.jpgFrom the sublime to the ridiculous, Second Shift of Kid and I are working our way through Paracords! by Todd Mikkelsen. I keep trying and utterly failing to do our homeschool Charlotte Mason-style, but the failure comes from having kids who just hate transitions, which makes the whole “many short lessons throughout the day” thing just blow up in my face with alarming consistency. Anyhoo, I have been wanting to add more handicrafts into our day to improve coordination, and I figured paracord might be easier for clumsy hands (ahem, including mine) to manage. I wasn’t wrong! We were able to make a Solomon bar bracelet yesterday and are now planning to make red-and-green collars for our dogs for Christmas. Whee!A1PlaceHolderWhat are you reading?  Don’t forget to link up YOUR #OpenBook reviews over at Carolyn’s!