cptsd

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 25Mar2021

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.

Who else needs some flowers? Image via Unsplash.
  1. Most of my own catalog so far is Catholic fiction, so of course I’m going to tout the benefits to spirit and mind (and body) of finding and reading Catholic fiction. Go forth and read!
  2. Is someone’s self-centered behavior impacting your life, but that person doesn’t fit the mold of outgoing, overbearing, and self-aggrandizing? You might be dealing with a collapsed narcissist.
  3. Perfectionism kills more souls than anything. Messing up does not make you a failure.
  4. Andrea Bear is over at Catholic Mom, talking about how our idea of safety isn’t necessarily God’s–and yet we are called to trust him through it all: How to Feel Safe in 2021.
  5. On that note, here’s a quick guide to understanding hypervigilance.
  6. Now that we’re coming up or just passing the one year of COVID anniversary, depending on where you live, you or someone you love may be living with guilt on having transmitted COVID to someone. Here’s an op-ed on how to navigate that experience.
  7. This last one is interesting. I don’t really agree with all the implications of Why Parents and Kids Get Estranged, and I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on that. In my experience and observations, nobody breaks connection with a parent unless there’s no other way to gain health and peace, especially for and with one’s own children. This author’s take is that estrangement is largely a product of an ever-increasing individualism in American culture. I do believe that has a part in the growing numbers of adult children who choose no-contact with their families of origin, and while I’m not a blind proponent of individualism… it does have its mental health benefits and is not 100% toxic to human relationship.

Signing off with another of the many Saint Joseph’s I’m discovering over on my TikTok account. This one’s pretty lighthearted and relatable.

And now go give Kelly and her 7QTs a look see!

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 26Feb2021

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.

I can feel the end of snowy days approaching, so here’s a snowy owl. Image via Unsplash.
  1. Rosemary Bogdan is over at Catholic Mom talking about Human Fears and Mary’s Fiat, which is healing for those of us with post-traumatic anxiety (or anxiety of any kind).
  2. Out of joy? Hope? Wine? Kimberly Lynch is over at Catholic Mom with “They Have No Wine,” a deep look at one of my favorite Bible events, the wedding at Cana.
  3. While I’m working hard to promote real-time interaction with safe, bodily humans to promote both mental and spiritual health… I get it–that scares the crap out of most of us. Heck, a year ago, I wouldn’t have trusted the power of real-time interaction to get me on track to greater peace in my life. So, in the meantime, here’s another Catholic Mom, Michele Faehnle, with Spiritual Health During Difficult Times. Michele includes a “Healing Prayer at Bedtime” that somehow feels both cozy and powerful simultaneously.
  4. Ahhh. the ugly connection between narcissists and the people-pleasers upon whom they prey and/or whom they raise… If you’re up for a dose of ouchy but healing truth, no matter which side of that continuum is yours, give a read: The One Thing a Narcissist and a People Pleaser Have in Common.
  5. Hope in action? Sure! Here’s a South Philadelphia man coping with trauma by helping others.
  6. Something I had to do a few months ago, and it’s articles like this that helped empower me to go with my gut and do right for my heart and mind: 10 Reasons to Fire Your Therapist.
  7. And here’s a simple breakdown of adverse childhood experiences and the power of compassion to heal their effects: Reversing Rough Childhood Effects with Compassion

Signing off with one of the many Saint Joseph’s I’m discovering over on my TikTok account. Seriously, watching men of today be gentle, humble spiritual fathers, even briefly, is so healing and hopeful.

And now go give Kelly and her 7QTs a look see!

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 19Feb2021

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.

Living sunshine poking through the frost Image via Unsplash.
  1. In “Winning the War,” Monica Portogallo is over at Catholic Mom talking about the dangers of enabling. Love it.
  2. Still working on fun? Betsy Kerekes, also at Catholic Mom, shares “5 MORE Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids.”
  3. We’re way ahead of the Feast of the Annunciation, by Margaret Rose Realy has some wonderful things to share about Mary’s fear and faith in “The Virgin and God’s Shadow.”
  4. Kristin Snowden talks about the value of 12 Step Programs for anyone who experiences powerlessness (which, ahem, is all of us).
  5. Dr. Les Carter has a good one on the good stuff, the green flags: The Top 5 Indicators of a Healthy Personality.
  6. I keep having all these people tell me that my forthcoming book for adult survivors of child abuse doesn’t apply to them. “I’m not your target audience,” I hear them say, and then they talk about all these compulsions they have to self-soothe and avoid. (You know who you are, people, and I’m not outing you here.) I’m wondering if those folks could find some clues to the pain behind their pain in The Mighty article on 5 Kinds of Childhood Emotional Abuse We Don’t Talk About.
  7. It’s been a while since I wrote about the work of Leslie Lynch here, but I was introduced to the concept of restorative justice through her novel Unholy Bonds. It’s an amazing idea that addresses crime through relationship rather than simple incarceration. Here’s someone who has pursued restorative justice in her own life as a survivor of violent crime, and how she’s sharing that experience with others: She forgive her rapist, now she helps other survivors of sexual assault heal.

Signing off with how I’m doing Lent and celebrating the Year of St. Joseph over on my TikTok account:

And now go give Kelly and her 7QTs a look see!

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 12Feb2021

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.

Here’s your painful reminder that Lent is upon us. You’re welcome. Image via Unsplash.
  1. I’m over at Catholic Mom talking about God’s expectations of us and dangers of perfectionism.
  2. Cloud & Townsend of Boundaries fame have this great article on their website: When You Rescue an Angry Person, You’ll Only Have to Do It Again.
  3. Lisa Hess is at Catholic Mom with some tips on fostering genuine self-love.
  4. Teri Sinnott talks about Confession as a Gift, also over at Catholic Mom.
  5. If you’re the sort here reading lists of articles for Catholic trauma survivors, dollars to donuts says you have a father wound. Good thing this is the Year of St. Joseph.
  6. The next date for starting a consecration to St. Joseph is February 15, so that might be a good Lenten thing for we father-wounded folks. (That’s on my list of possible Lenten practices. I’ll let you know.)
  7. Narcissists… vampires… of interest to me as both a writer on mental health and an old Buffy fan, Juliet Landau, who played Dru on BTVS, has directed and performed in a film on narcissism called, “A Place Among the Dead.” I’m going to make sure M. S. Ocampo of Catholic Reads knows about this.

And as we head into both Valentine’s Day Weekend and Lent, here’s your reminder that you don’t have to try so hard. You don’t have to bend until you break.

And now go give Kelly and her 7QTs a look see!

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 5Feb2021

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.

Check out the link in #1 below, and hopefully you’ll soon see how the tabernacle can help Catholics de-enmesh from all those people whose emotions we wrongfully take on. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
  1. ICYMI, I’ve been having a great time on TikTok. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy spread the Good News that getting mentally healthy supports and empowers our efforts to get spiritually holy.
  2. Fr. Edward Looney is in the middle of an online novena to Our Lady of Lourdes (Feast Day: February 11). Every day at 7:45amEastern, he posts an interview with a devotee to this title of Our Lady and shares a Rosary with that person, along with novena prayers for the day. I was honored to be part of Day 2 of this novena and shared my Lourdes bath story there. Please join in these prayers for healing of all kinds.
  3. Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (emphasis mine–you don’t need to have had alcoholism in your home to need the freeing message this fellowship provides) has some awesome, brief prayers for the traumatized soul seeking healing. Get them here.
  4. The title says it all: How journals kept by priest accused of pedophilia could help abuse survivors break free. Okay, maybe not all: abuse survivors often ask ourselves questions like, “Did my abuser know that the abuse was horribly wrong?” This insight can give a fuller picture of the truth, including the truth that abuse of others is, IMHO, another type of addiction, a sickness borne of emotional intoxication. ACA (in number 3 above) has taught me that it’s not the substance that’s the problem in the family disease of addiction: it’s the selfishness. [For the record, as a recovering food addict, I’m working at recovering from my own selfishness, so I own it.]
  5. Anxiety, depression, poor sleeping, miserable immune system, desperation to isolate, fear of authority… wondering why you act like an abuse survivor even though you can’t remember a single thing in your life that you could qualify as abuse or trauma? You might be the product of intergenerational trauma.
  6. Virual reality is helping veterans overcome their PTSD: I’m wondering how much this relates to the sensory experience of modalities like EMDR. Gut reaction: EMDR seems way gentler and personalized. Has anybody reading this had experience with using either VR, EMDR, or both? Can you speak to this?
  7. Scapegoating in dysfunctional families–a concise, beginner’s look at the whys and hows, so that if this phenomenon has touched your life in any way (including if you’ve been the Golden Child, which I think is even harder to break free from than the Scapegoat role, because GC comes with perceived benefits), you can approach those wounds for healing.

Finally, since I like to sign off with some audiovisual, Christy Wilkens shared her trauma survivor theme song with me over on Twitter after I shared mine. Hers is way holier than mine. 🙂

And now go give Kelly and her 7QTs a look see!

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 29Jan2021

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.

I’ve been seeing a lot of these little juncos of late, so it seemed fitting to share one here. Image via Unsplash.
  1. Looking for a reliable resource to help you start your day in a place of God’s compassion for you, so that you can go through said day with compassion for self and others? Christine Johnson is over at Catholic Mom with “The Liturgy of the Hours is Evergreen.”
  2. A. K. Frailey writes about pain, isolation, and the reality of shared trauma in “We’re All on the Same Island.”
  3. This one speaks so deeply to how I tend to ruminate morbidly on my failures: “Believing Mercy” by Rose Folsom.
  4. I shared a video last week about gaslighting, or the technique of convincing a person she is the crazy one so you can continue deceiving or otherwise getting away with unhealthy behaviors. Here’s How to Tell If You’re Gaslighting Yourself and What to Do Instead.
  5. There’s a LOT of talk out there about “toxic” people, but if you really want to have good relationships, the only toxic person you can change is you. Am I toxic? 17 Ways to Tell If You’re Toxic (+ How To Stop).
  6. Ah, therapy, therapy, therapy…. that magic tool for fixing your life, right? Or that dreadful channel for trying and failing to find help that actually works? If you have goals and you can quantifiably recognize that those goals aren’t close to being met, it’s a lot easier to cut bait and fish somewhere else. Here’s one on Making Therapy Successful: Setting Goals for Therapy.
  7. If you have noticed that you act traumatized (live with anxiety, depression, OCD, addiction, etc.), but you can’t for the life of you figure out why, since you can’t identify a time you were traumatized, you might be the product of intergenerational trauma.

Thanks, all for the prayers regarding my endometriosis excision surgery. I’m on the mend! I still have to go so slowly through my day, but I have stopped coughing up blood, so that’s pretty sweet. Meanwhile I’ll leave you with a TikTok I made yesterday. This one’s “Weapon of Choice,” about how the lower and higher parts of our brain offer options to tackle the stressors of life. Which weapon will you chose? Which weapon has given you the most heartache? The most peace and joy?

And now go give Kelly and her 7QTs a look see!

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 22Jan2021

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.

Welcome back, Ordinary Time green. Image via Unsplash.
  1. Saying that trauma survivors have trust issues is like saying that cats have motivation issues. In “Why Don’t You Trust Me?” Catholic Mom contributor Lindsey Mitzel sheds good light on how parenthood brings us face to face with how we relate to God in trust — or not.
  2. 11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting in TANGLED: I can’t believe I’m just discovering Cinema Therapy now.

3.I feel like I already shared this one, but if I did, it’s worth a re-share: Addiction and self-criticism sheds light on the self-defeating shame cycle that fuels addiction, isolation, compulsion, and all sorts of maladaptive stuff we bring into our lives.

4. In “Siblings cope with trauma differently,” therapist Annie Wright writes about how the same family can produce drastically different “results” so to speak in the children.

5. Harshly worded but importantly honest, here are some tips on “How to Raise an Abusive Husband.”

6. Are you parenting with codependency? Read this to do a self-check.

7. But before you get too down on yourself for your failures, make sure you read Sarah Reinhard’s “The Reward in the Failure of Raising Saints.” We’re all saints in the making.

If you’ve gotten this far, please pray for me as I recover from another endometriosis laparoscopy. As of this writing, recovery has been bumpy. Here’s a voice I’ve been listening to in this year of St. Joseph to remind me that God makes mistakes into happy accidents.

7QT for Catholic Trauma Survivors 18Dec2020

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.

Advent colors = the colors of a radiant dawn. Coincidence? Prolly not. Image via Unsplash.
  1. Christmas Is Not Supposed to Be Like This. I can’t believe I wrote that six years ago. It’s one of the pieces I’m most honored to have written.
  2. One of the characteristic traits of someone who grew up in a dysfunctional home is a terror of criticism. Christie Ann Lubriand has a piece at Catholic Mom on “How to Handle Criticism as a Christian.”
  3. Another one of those characteristic traits–and this one is even harder for me than taking correction or criticism–is just the simple act of having fun for fun’s sake. Betsy Kerekes at Catholic Mom writes about 5 Ways to Have More Fun with Your Kids.
  4. aNOTHER trait? Difficulty with perfectionism, which translates to irritation at interruptions (::raises hand::). Jennifer Scheueremann writes at Catholic Mom about Being Grateful in Spite of Interruptions.
  5. Wanna know the one quality that would cure narcissism? Dr. Les Carter talks about it here.
  6. Here’s a good one on the dreadful loop (more like a noose) that occurs in the addicted mind, where self-criticism feeds addiction, which feeds self-criticism, which feeds addiction, which feeds
  7. Finally, as we head into a new year, you might be thinking about trying therapy. Last week I shared about firing a new therapist and going back to the old one–and after just one session, I am so grateful I made that choice. But how do you know if a therapist is a right fit for you? Setting therapy goals is a great step.

I believe I’m going to take the next two Fridays off, them being solemnities and all. In the meantime, I’m still doing the “Thanks, But I Have Plans” Advent Calendar on Facebook, Insta and Twitter, choose your poison, while the whole shebang has been sent to my gospel journal subscribers as a printable. I’m also going to put together a “Thanks, But I Have Plans” Twelve Days of Christmas calendar, so if you’d like that in printable form, please subscribe at the old gospel journal prompts page.

So, leaving you with my favorite Christmas song of all time. Every year I try to listen to it on repeat until I can even think of the words without crying. I’m still not there yet this year!

A Holy Advent, Joyous Christmas, and Blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God to you and yours. May these weeks shine light in your darkness. 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 11Dec2020

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.

More Advent light. Image via Unsplash.
  1. In “Three Things to Remember in a Season of Doubt” over at Catholic Mom, Laura Range gives us three simple tips to help us through those times of darkness. I especially like this one, because she promotes the value of phone calls & hearing an actual human voice tell us good news.
  2. On that note, Shelly Henley Kelly also writes over at Catholic Mom about the restorative power of Friendships and how they help us know the unconditional love of God.
  3. There’s something healing that happens inside of me when I read about child abuse survivors seeing justice this side of the veil. That’s why I’m linking “Abuse survivor in ‘Cinderella’ case urges others to speak out.
  4. Staying Strong, Sober and Sane Through the Holidays. If you see addiction wreaking havoc in your life, don’t wait for the New Year. Start today.
  5. On the note of trading the chaos of addiction for serenity, here’s an oldie but goodie about how Mary makes a great model for how to live in the midst of destruction without letting it destroy our souls: Lessons in Marian Silence, Serenity and Surrender.
  6. Need some harsh marriage truth, whether it’s for evaluating the marriage you came from or that comes from you? Debra Doak has it with “If He Has Chin Hair and Chest Hair, He Can Learn to Be a Better Partner.”
  7. Lastly, Dr. Greg Popcak is over at OSV News with a thought-provoking article on how the McCarrick scandal is an opportunity to change toxic culture within our Church: A new opportunity to challenge the triumph of McCarrick Catholicism.

As this week’s send-off, I’ll share that I recently had to fire a therapist. I collected so many red flags in my four sessions with her that I could have made a lovely fascinator with which to adorn my head before the Blessed Sacrament. Instead, I told her it wasn’t working out and made an appointment with my previous therapist, who’s not highly trained in the area I need to explore, but he’s also actually helpful without blowing sunshine up my behind, so that’s where I’m going.

We family dysfunction survivors can have a darned hard time listening to our guts when people in (perceived or legit) authority are behaving in weird/scary/out-of-line ways. The more recovery we do, the more easily we will be able to notice and act healthily when others are acting towards us in unhealthy ways.

Like this:

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 3Dec2020

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.

Advent light. Image via Unsplash.

-1-

Thank you to all the Trauma Gospel Journal Prompt participants. You should have received your thank you gift, The “Thanks, But I Have Plans” Advent Calendar.

What is the “Thanks, But I Have Plans” Advent Calendar?

A little over a year ago, it wasn’t enough for my therapist to tell me that I didn’t have to go anywhere if I didn’t want to or have people in my home who behave in unloving ways. I mean, he’s right, but I didn’t believe him, didn’t think I could say no… until someone in my one support group said, “I invite you to join me spiritually any day that you have a toxic invitation you’re not up for just flat-out refusing.” 

Since then, I’ve gotten much better at releasing the negative voices from my circle. Now I believe my therapist. I can and do say no. But I needed that little — not a push, but a beckoning, an invitation, from that support group member, to help me see my value and the power that God shares with me in choosing who gets space inside my head and heart. I can choose peace and joy for me. I can decline giving others more opportunities to sin against me. Jesus only got crucified the once. 

Now it’s my turn to be that support group person. I’m paying it forward. I’m inviting all and sundry to join me (spiritually and emotionally) whenever you need to tell someone, “Thanks, but I have plans.”  For every day of Advent and the Christmas season, I am inviting you to join me in whatever way will help you grow into seeing that you do have choices. You do have value. You deserve to be cherished in all your relationships. You are desired.
  
If you want the printable calendar, as well as the Twelve Days of Christmas bonus plans, sign up at the old Gospel Journal Prompt page, and said calendar will be delivered right to your inbox within a day or so (do so and you can also get your free copy of the “Get Moving With St. Dominic’s Nine Ways of Prayer” ebook). If printables aren’t your thing, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and you’ll get to say “Thanks, but I have plans,” whenever you need to do so.

And now for six more links that you might find helpful as you integrate your trauma healing work with Catholic spirituality:

2. In “When You’re on the Verge of a Meltdown,” Catholic Mom’s Maria V. Gallagher shares four spiritual tips for dealing with our own emotional overwhelm and outbursts.

3. ‘I couldn’t fix myself’: Bishop Conley opens up about mental health recovery: major mad props to an actual bishop publicly owning his mental health journey.

4. Eleven year-old artist runs therapy class for veterans: this young lady is an inspiration.

5. More from Dr. Ramani, this one on How therapists feel about their narcissistic clients

6. Charlene Bader over at Catholic Mom asks the question, “Are ‘Good Kids’ the Goal of Catholic Parenting?” Great take on that study from a few years ago that put forth that kids raised without religious culture are, in fact, “nicer.”

7. “Peace is not the absence of conflict. We can’t pretend problems don’t exist and call that peace,” Monica Portogallo writes for her Catholic Mom article, “Blessed Are the Peacemakers.” She makes a lot of the points I make in the forthcoming All Things New… speaking of which, I’d better wrap up my final edits on that project soon!

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

BTW, I have a little playlist of self-care songs, and here’s one of them (warning: a little sweary, but here’s my official memento mori farwell to the Month of the Holy Souls). Can you recommend any good songs for the self-care playlist?