Family dysfunction rolls down
from generation to generation,
like a fire in the woods,
taking down everything in its path,
until one person in one generation
has the courage to turn
and face the flames.
That person brings peace
to their ancestors and
spares the children that follow.
8 Things To Remember When Painful Feelings
1) My feelings do pass, move, shift or change
2) I have felt painful emotions before
3) I’m not designed or meant to be happy
all the time
4) I am enough, whatever feelings I’m experiencing
5) Feelings aren’t wrong or right
6) Judging a feeling I am experiencing
can make me feel worse
7) I can surrender & lean into the feeling
8) Feelings are messengers to me
No one tells you this,
but getting into alignment
with your inner being can
sometimes feel like
baptizing a cat.
When people find the courage
to tell you about their pain,
rarely are they looking for advice.
Or at best, rarely.
I believe the reason so many stay silent about their pain is because they don’t have a safe place to talk openly.
Digging at old wounds and bringing them to light is an incredibly vulnerable process.
The last thing someone needs after they’ve had the courage to do this, is for someone else to give them unsolicited advice.
The energy that flows from a vulnerable soul who is sharing about pain is pure and beautiful.
The moment someone gives unsolicited advice traps the energy and pushes more tension back onto the vulnerable.
If you find yourself having a difficult time holding back your advice, take a deep breath and question what it is about their story that causes you to react.
It’s modeled daily for us in our culture where someone is attempting to speak up, and cut off because the other person doesn’t have the space for anyone else’s story.
In multiple occasions I’ve sat before those closest to me and said “If we talk about this I’m going to need you to let me finish without being interrupted, and please do not give me advice.“
It works every time.
We need to do whatever we can to create healthy and safe space for those hurting to be speak up about their pain.
Being silent, and not offering advice, can often bridge the gap between that person and their pain.
For them to know that they’re safe, seen, and that what they shared was so impactful, that no advice is needed.
- Want to be and are attuned to their children’s
emotions: Children feel seen and heard.
- Allow their children to express emotions
and encourage them to do so,
while managing their own emotions
as an adult would.
- See their children as individuals and
autonomous capable creatures.
- Hold realistic age-appropriate expectations of
their children and encourage them
to explore and grow.
- Children feels safe, heard, seen, understood,
respected, encouraged and wanted.
- Do not and cannot attune to their children’s
emotions because they are self-absorbed.
- Guilt their children for having emotions,
punish their children for having emotions
or play the victim.
- See their children as pets, possessions
& prizes, often pit children against siblings
- Hold unrealistic expectations of their children
resulting in shame, frustration, and loss
of self, resulting in dependency issues.
- Reject, withhold, dismiss, and resent
their children for becoming individuals
with their own thought processes.
(Lisa A. Romano)
More than anything, my wish for you is this:
That when your awful darkest days come,
you will know you're not alone.
Pain will tell you to keep quiet,
but that's a lie.
Life is fragile and we all break in different ways.
I hope you know you can be honest.
I hope you know that you can ask for help.
Did you catch that?
It is absolutely positively okay to ask for help.
It simply means you're human.
Love is a constant process of tuning in,
connecting, missing and misreading cues,
disconnecting, repairing, and
finding deeper connection.
It is a dance of meeting and parting
and finding each other again.
Minute to minute and day to day.
(Dr. Sue Johnson)
Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.
You don't lose real friends,
real opportunities or real relationships
when you start standing up for yourself
and setting clear boundaries.
You lose abusers, manipulators, narcissists,
control freaks, attention seekers and
mental-health destroying leeches.
We often disconnect from our bodies to survive
the pain of physical and emotional trauma.
This survival adaption helped us go to school,
work, and "go through the motions" of life.
But living in our heads only takes us so far.
We start to feel something is missing,
run into relationship problems
no amount of analyzing can figure out.
We need to reconnect the mind and body.
For it’s in the body that our history,
intuition, and truth live.
"Healing means becoming someone new."
Sometimes, healing is less about becoming
someone different and instead about making
more room for who you authentically are,
and always have been.
Oftentimes, healing is about unlearning everything
that was forced onto you and reconnecting with
yourself, your voice, and your values.
"If it works for them it should work for me."
What works for them might not work for you,
and that’s okay.
What works for others often won’t work for you,
because you aren’t the same.
You don’t have the same needs and values
and struggles. You are your own person.
There’s no right or wrong,
just what works for and honors you.
"There’s something wrong with you if other people
with your struggles are healing faster."
Healing has no time frame.
It’s individual and not a thing you can compare
because no two people have the exact same history,
resources, and current context.
Healing and progress take however long they take,
and you’re allowed to take your time.
You should take your time.
Building new behaviors will likely
take a long time too.
And that’s okay. It’s normal.
"Healing means you never experience negative
thoughts, hard feelings, or struggle."
Pain and struggle are an inevitable part of being
a human. The work isn’t about reaching some
mythical place of non-struggle.
It’s about learning how to sit with your pain
and carry it, while still caring for yourself and
moving towards what you value.
It’s about learning to slow down, become aware of,
and separate from your thoughts.
It’s about realizing that you have a choice in
how you respond to your thoughts and emotions,
and responding from an informed place of choice
rather than an impulsive place of habit.
It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
FAMILY EMOTIONAL RULES
Other people’s feelings are more
important than your own.
Don’t show any emotions.
Don’t show anger.
That’s only for dad (or mom).
Ignore how you feel.
Don’t trust your emotions or feelings.
Smile and be happy
when you are not.
Rules like these examples are often unspoken
until you break one.
Then you began adapting and shutting down
to stay safe.
How might you notice where you do that
now in your own life?
Don't wish me happiness.
I don't expect to be happy all the time...
It's gotten beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength
and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.
(Anne Morrow Lindbergh)
Forgiveness is always up to you.
The key is to remain authentic
within your own healing process.
No pressure to forgive and no guilt
if you choose not to.
And above all, watch with glittering eyes
the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always
hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe in magic
will never find it.
Go for a walk every single day.
You need the fresh air,
you need the sun,
you need to move your body,
and you need time away
from the screen.
Walk every single day.
My sweet darling,
all these tears,
the pain in your heart,
do not fight it anymore,
it is a gift, you see, to feel this much
and even though it’s hard
it means you’re alive
with each of these tearful breaths gasped
your soul awakens,
more alive in the pain
than you were in the numb,
you are coming back to me now, my love,
lucid in this darkness -
so cry aloud,
and I will be here waiting
to catch you
when the waking up is done.
Never apologize for who you are.
Your personality should never be shrouded
by what others expect of you.
Be shamelessly, unapologetically YOU.
You will find the world rallies behind those
who carve roads of their own.
Six year olds laugh
an average of 300
times a day.
Adults only laugh
15-100 times a day.
Be six again.
It has been a hard winter.
COVID rocked many of us to the core.
This winter broke my heart many times into a million pieces.
Yet, despite the pain, I consciously tried to find laughter every day.
I am a trauma therapist, and I am sure some people think I should be a super serious person.
However, I am a person that tries to find the humor in life, even when things that are not so “funny.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am not always a light and upbeat person and this year, I cried more than I have in 2 decades since 9/11.
As a result, laughter was a resource that carried me through the tough minutes, hours, and months.
Scientifically, we know when we laugh in times of stress, it can build our resiliency.
So be six. Laugh as much as you can.
Life isn't always funny, but laughter can help get you through a lot of challenging moments.
Unresolved trauma can look like:
- Lacking intimacy and availability;
relationships that never work out
- Feeling as though you have never or
will never reach your potential
- Frequently talking to or thinking
about yourself in a critical way
- Using sex, alcohol, drugs, exercise,
food or relationships to self-harm
- Being trapped by shame, guilt and
feeling that you are underserving
- Dissociation, self-abandonment,
people-pleasing or codependency
- Playing small (not going after what
you want) or down-playing your success
- Struggling to articulate your needs
and set or uphold boundaries
- Living in a state of hypervigilance and anxiety
- Having an internalised sense of inferiority
and lack of self-belief
- Finding it difficult to listen to your
mind/body and trust your intuition
- Feeling depressed, lonely, numb,
like a child, without hope, unable to cope
- Staying with what’s familiar to you
even though it is not serving you
- Perfectionism, over-working, unable to sit
with your thoughts, insomnia
Self-care can be grueling, necessary work.
It can mean processing trauma that
leaves you exhausted and raw.
It can mean staring down
your fears in the night.
It can mean forcing yourself
to ask for help.
Be proud of tending to yourself
even when it’s hard and scary.
When we accept ourselves
as we are,
we aren't "settling" or
"keeping the problem in place."
We're showing love and
compassion for ourselves -
for our feelings, our situation,
and our history.
EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a wonderful and very effective alternative treatment for physical and emotional pain and stress.
The good thing is that it always starts with sensing and acknowledging the real feelings, what we see as the essential condition for true holistic healing.
I (Alex) had an EFT-Therapist for several years, which has helped me a lot regarding the healing of my trauma, and we have now rediscovered it as a helpful & relaxing tool during this challenging time.
It soothes the nervous system faster than any other method that we know.
We use the app "The Tapping Solution" by Nick Ortner now.
It offers a great collection of short guided sessions (about 15 minutes) on many different themes, symptoms, and anxieties.
It's totally easy to follow, so if you don't know it yet and resonate, just try it out...
May it bring you peace, safety, and healing, too! ❤️
If you surround yourself with clowns,
don't be surprised when your life
resembles a circus.
Don’t listen to those people who suggest
you should be ‘over it’ by now.
The people who squawk the loudest
about such things have almost
never had to get over anything.
Or at least not anything that was genuinely,
mind..soul-crushingly life altering.
5 Things Your Inner Child Needs To Hear:
"You are loved just as you are without
the need to please or perform"
"I know we had to betray ourselves
in the past as a way to cope + now
I will protect our limits + keep us safe"
"Our reality is valid even if other people
disagree with our reality or attempt
to deny it out of their own discomfort"
"It’s safe to be seen + heard + express
our gifts to the collective"
"You have every right to be angry + hurt
that your needs weren’t met"
Just to sit, without expectation,
with someone who is in grief
or fear or loneliness or despair,
without trying to fix them in any way,
or manipulate their experience
to match your idea of how it should be;
just to listen, without playing the role of
‘expert’ or ‘enlightened guru’ or
‘the one who knows best’;
just to be totally available
to the one in front of you,
and to walk with them
through the fire,
to hold their hand
when they are broken -
this is how we begin to
heal each other
Beyond our roles, unprotected,
we truly meet.
while I color
outside the lines.
I've never been
very good at
of the box.
What would I
choose for myself
if I had an
of my worth?
(Dr. Alexandra Solomon)
When we can bear the unbearable
when we do what we once believed was impossible
we begin to understand who we really are,
we begin to become free.
The most healing, game-changing moments in my life have always come from doing what I believed I could never do.
We 𝗰𝗮𝗻 change the game.
Break the cycle.
When we realise we have a choice.
When we stop giving our power away.
Because our power is in our ability to realise and actualise our own agency, from within.
To step outside of the constraints of identity, ego and fear and dip our toes into the realm of cosmic limitlessness.
When it all feels too much, when we resist what is happening we disarm our agency - flailing we tumble and fall further and further down.
And trust me, I know it’s hard to actualise empowerment and choice when spinning so quickly downwards.
And there’s nothing wrong with decent, shadow and pain - but we suffer the most, and a lot of the time more than we need to because we have not fostered an inner relationship with our own agency, we have forgotten we have choice.
This is what makes us sovereign and empowers us:
the ability to realise and act upon choice.
When we consciously 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘴𝘦 to enter into the void, to darkness and pain it’s a completely different experience to being swallowed by it unconsciously.
When we realise that on one level we are always choosing our experience, we become empowered to find meaning and acceptance, navigating our suffering wisely with meaning and grace.
We drown and suffocate in suffering when we resist our experience; when we believe we don’t have a choice.
We always have a choice and we are always more powerful than we believe we are.
What if you 𝙘𝙖𝙣 bear this unbearable thing?
What if you actually 𝗖𝗔𝗡 do this impossible thing?
And if that feels too difficult to believe... try saying to yourself ‘𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯’
I would argue 𝘧𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘰𝘮 𝘰𝘧 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 and a safe internal world is what we all really want and it comes from recognising our own abilities to break out of our moulds and conditioning into a state of potential, sovereignty and willingness to be and do all that we have learnt and feel is impossible.