Category Archives: Relationships

How People Heal From Trauma, Thanks to Helpers

heal after trauma with helpers

What happens when children witness disaster in the news, movies, or real life? It’s only natural for them to feel worried, unsafe, and scared. Adults could feel this way too. Children’s television host Fred Rogers explained how his mother taught him to restore his own sense of safety and stability when witnessing a catastrophe:

“Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers…. That’s why I think that if news programs could make a conscious effort of showing rescue teams… anybody who is coming into a place where there’s a tragedy, to be sure to include that. Because if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.”

I can’t stress enough the importance of even one safe relationship in the life of someone who experiences trauma. Continue reading

Mr. Rogers is Right About Growth After Trauma

Fred Rogers

We all long to feel loved and accepted for who we are. To be seen and comforted in our distress feels soothing and deeply affirming. Emotional support like this is a good sign of secure attachment. When you know your wellbeing matters to someone, that’s another mark of secure attachment.

Childhood is a critical time for learning and experiencing secure attachment. Our earliest relationships do a great deal to establish our sense of self and wellbeing. Knowing, “I matter, my needs matter, and my loved ones will help keep me safe” affirms a child’s sense of self-worth.

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Uncomfortable with Compliments? Why Being Able to Take In Kind Words Is So Important

Why Accept Compliments

Many people struggle to take a compliment. It doesn’t matter if the compliment comes from a loved one, a stranger, or a trusted source, like a therapist. The struggle goes much deeper than manners, modesty, or cultural norms.

I’m talking about the inability to accept what therapists call positive affect. The issue for some is about feeling, deep down, that you don’t deserve it, that you can’t believe it, that as a person you are not worthy, and that you can’t allow or take in the experience of feeling good about yourself, or even believing someone else feels good about you either. Continue reading

What to Do About Intimate Partner Violence: Let’s Talk About It

stop domestic violence

Recently we have been working to bring awareness to dating violence and sexual assault prevention. Most people don’t know how terribly common sexual assault is, or what to do about it.

Intimate partner violence may be even more prevalent than sexual assault. Reports show that 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault. But nearly 1 in 4 women have experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner, says the National Domestic Violence Hotline. One in 3 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

Stopping intimate partner violence presents its own set of challenges. Domestic violence often involves a co-dependent relationship and two people with histories of trauma.

But it only takes one well-informed, well-prepared adult in the lives of victims to make the difference between someone staying trapped, and getting help. Continue reading

5 Tips to Managing Holiday Stress at Family Gatherings

Manage holiday stress

Do holiday family gatherings stir up feelings of excitement and dread at the same time? Do you worry about holiday stress ruining your chance to enjoy yourself and your family?

Sometimes, joining family celebrations can trigger mixed feelings. We want to be part of the fun, but we grow more anxious the closer the time comes to join our crowd. Will we be okay, or will our worries come true — that something triggering will happen?

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

Loving a Trauma Survivor: Healing Connections

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? Continue reading