Showing posts from 2017

Just Say No: Holiday Obligations and How to Break the Cycle

It’s December and we are in full-blown holiday mode. Christmas movies, holiday shopping, endless memes about food and family. Some of the posts on social media are cute; sweet pictures of close knit families coming together to celebrate one of the few times a year they’re able to get together. Couples get engaged. Toddlers meet Santa for the first time. For many people it really is the most wonderful time of the year. For others, it is not. For others are caught in the Cycle of Family Obligations.
This cycle is a quarterly push from family you otherwise don’t hear from who suddenly want to get together. What is their motive behind this push? Hard to say. Some are driven by bragging rights…they want to Facebook about the perfect family they have. Some are lonely and have put very little effort into building relationships so they’re just going to force them. Some are controlling. Some are abusive. Some don’t want to face the truth that they come from a broken family. Each cycle is diffe…

Living in the Gray – You Might Have Depression and Not Know It

It’s the holidays. Everyone around me is buzzing with excitement and all I want to do is crawl into a hole and hide for the next 40 days. My anxiety is so high I can smell colors and taste sound.
I have been studying the field of psychology for almost a decade now. During that time I have watched the availability of information to the public grow and change. However, many mental disorders still remain a mystery to most people. The reason for that is we do a lot of educating about the “symptoms” of different disorders but we don’t do a good job of telling the story of what it’s like to actually live with a mental disorder. It’s time to share.
WebMD lists the symptoms of clinical depression as the following (paraphrased): fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering things, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest in things once found enjoyable, unexplainable aches and pains, feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness, per…

5 Signs You’re in An Abusive Relationship and Don’t Know It

I have been speaking with survivors of domestic violence for a few years now. Often people will say to me, “My situation wasn’t as bad as yours” and they would hang their head in shame. I was shocked. When I inquired further, the most common answer I would get is “my partner never hit me”. This enrages me because I know that we, as a society, have created a culture where abuse is only “valid” if it is physical. Yet psychological research shows that ANY kind of abuse; emotional, psychological, verbal, or financial, all have the same effect on the victim. All abuse causes trauma. Trauma does not need to be scored on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. Trauma stories do not need to be compared to others so that a survivor feels that their story isn’t worthy because “it wasn’t as bad”. Trauma is trauma. A wound is a wound. And if it isn’t cared for properly it will never heal right.

I am writing this for you. If you clicked on my blog something inside you is fearful you may be liv…

The Pathway to Abuse: A Personal Analysis

When people find out that I lived in an abusive relationship for 8 years they are often shocked. I am educated, I have a good career, I have a nice family, and grew up with an upper middle class income. How could such a person fall into such a devastating lifestyle? Why couldn’t I see what was happening to me and just leave? I never know how to answer that question because there isn’t an easy (or logical) explanation. It is hard to describe to someone who has never been in that situation the feelings of fear, guilt, and doubt that keep you locked in place. It has only been recently that I have been able to look back and make sense of the state that I was in and what was going through my mind. Years later it is coming back piece by piece. I blog as a way of capturing it, in the best way I know how.
The control in the relationship begins very early on. You will often hear people say that it was a “whirlwind romance” and that “things got serious quickly”. This was the case in my situation…

Abuse IS Your Business

The statistics are clear: you know someone who is being abused. You may not be best friends. You may not be family. You may only know them by association. A neighbor. A church member. Your kid’s friend’s parent. The abuse may not be physical. But you do know someone who is in an abusive relationship. And it is your business.
Statistics* 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime (it is possible more men experience violence but under report due to shame or disbelief).
20% of teenage girls who have been in a relationship say a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
An abuse victim is 70 times more likely to die AFTER leaving an abusive situation than during.
Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of female homicide and injury related deaths during pregnancy.
2 in 5 gay or bisexual men and 50% of lesbians will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
Women of domestic violence are 8 times more likely t…

5 Things to Remember after Any Mass Shooting

Monday morning I woke up to the news that history had yet again been made with the mass shooting in Las Vegas on 10/1/17. The feelings that came over me were confusing and familiar. I spent most of the day in contemplative silence, trying to make sense of the many thoughts that were running through my mind. I was trying to figure out what to say in response to the shooting. I wanted to choose my words wisely and not act on impulse as so many others were. I lost a lot of respect for a lot of people that day because of things they said. I was not in any way involved with the shooting in Las Vegas and yet its occurrence changed me and my relationship with others in ways that will last forever. Strange how that happens.
Many of Sunday's victims were still passing away as social media lit up with hate and blame. I knew what was to come. The same things that follow all mass shootings. Calls for "gun control" and "take down the terrorists" and "why didn't loca…

Mourning a parent who's still alive

When you have a parent who dies a lot of things happen. There is a funeral, a final goodbye, time with family and friends, remembering the good times you had with that person and a transition into a life without them. But what happens when you're forced to go about this process backwards?

It's a story that is familiar to me. In my time of talking with people from all the walks of life I seem to stumble upon this story over and over. It appears that many people are walking around in life with only one decent relationship with their parent (while many have no relationships at all). It has caused me to wonder why we, as people, don't talk about this more? This isn't exactly a conversation you can have with friends over coffee. This isn't a type of loss that many bloggers or reporters cover. There are very few articles about parental elimination. In my time of internet trolling I have come across only a handful of articles about this topic. They refer to as "ghosti…