Over the past year, many have become aware of just how common trauma really is. That includes sexual trauma, other forms of violence, and abuse (physical, verbal, and emotional.) This is a nation in pain, a culture in crisis. But there's also enormous capacity for healing. Because awareness has increased, there are more safe spaces than possibly ever before. While people can heal without talking to others, healing is more likely when you share. Here are some thoughts on who to talk to, and under what circumstances.
The school year is a grind for many. It's hard to catch your breath, let alone be thoughtful about what you want to create in terms of your relationships. Just get things done, get through it, and look forward to the summer. But what kind of summer? As the school year is winding down and the summer is beginning, there's an opportunity to be mindful, to reflect on where you are with those you love and to make sure you strengthen those bonds. That way, when the madness starts up again, you're feeling grounded, individually and relationally.
Rose McGowan is one of the more polarizing figures within the #MeToo movement. For one thing, she'll call out some of her fellow activists, like Alyssa Milano. Then there's her presentation. She's unpolished, and unapologetic about it. She doesn't always choose to hide her anger, and at times, it's not a choice. It just bursts out. The second episode of her show CITIZEN ROSE just aired, and she continues to emphasize that trauma isn't pretty, and it isn't over. She can't always contain it; nor can she be contained. Continuing to fight while hurt is a truly heroic endeavor, and I'm grateful to her. CITIZEN ROSE is powerful. It's important. But is it recommended viewing for those who've been through trauma? Not necessarily.
Too often, it seems like this dichotomy is presented: We can raise girls who are tame and meek, or they need to be fully empowered and fearless. We don't want to needlessly frighten girls yet in some ways, it's a frightening world in which to grow up female. So how do we walk that line and find that middle ground? How do we help our girls find their confidence and their voices?
Parenting is a triggering experience. When we deal with our kids, we're also interfacing with ourselves as children, and the remnants of how we were parented (for better and for worse.) As parents, we're inundated with tips on how to manage our children's problematic behavior. But the #1 tip doesn't have to do with your kids; it's all about you.
So Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux just announced their split after two and a half years of marriage. As a couples therapist, what I always think when I hear of a short duration like that is that the seeds of discontent were already present by the time of the engagement, and most likely a lot sooner. That's why I'm a proponent of premarital counseling. If you've never heard of it but you're thinking about marriage, planning for it, or just hoping, you might want to read on.
Kids act out sometimes, and they don't always listen; sometimes they'll defy you or lie; depending on their age, they may not show a whole lot of appreciation. That's just misbehavior. Mistreatment is about repetitive patterns of being demeaned, disrespected, dehumanized, and taken advantage of. The reason I said you're "allowing" it--and there's no judgment in that word--is because you're more powerful than you may think. And when children get away with habitually mistreating anyone, including you, they're learning very dangerous lessons. Read on for the most common subconscious reasons that parents don't assert themselves in the ways they need to. It can be with younger children, adolescents, or adult children. I point out these reasons with compassion, but also with a sense of hope: Our subconscious is powerful; making our emotional rationales conscious is even more powerful.
I watched the first episode of the A & E's docuseries "Undercover High" where young adults go undercover in a Kansas high school to let the rest of us know what's changed since we were there. What grabbed me was the behind the scenes afterward featuring two insightful adolescent therapists, Dr. Stacy Kaiser and Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble. I wanted to share what resonated most with me as a therapist and the mother of a future teenager girl (my little one just turned six.) Hope it resonates with you, too.
Recently, in my sessions with couples, I've had the opportunity to explain an important concept we all missed in sex education, and it's an incredibly liberating one: responsive desire. If you or your partner find that you don't tend to want sex but then you enjoy it once you're having it, fear not. It's entirely normal. For women, it's common. Knowing you have responsive desire and adjusting accordingly can really jump-start your sex life. Read on to learn more.
You might want to talk to kids younger than that, based on where your kids are in their development, their personal experiences, and their awareness of current events. But for our purposes, I'm going to focus on children and adolescents, ages nine and up. It might feel like a daunting task, but yes, you do need to talk about what's going on right now, because the younger generation is already either part of the problem or the solution. Here's how to do your level best to make sure your kids are part of the solution.