Recovering from a Toxic Childhood? 4 Ways to Be Conscious of Triggers and Disarm Them

Behaviors learned in childhood are hard to unlearn, especially if they’re largely unconscious defense mechanisms formed in response to a toxic environment. This is a problem all unloved daughters struggle with and one measure of how far you’ve come on the road is healing is how well or badly you do in situations which vividly recall the past. Yes, we are talking what people refer to as triggers.

The problem is that these old default positions...


A Valentine’s Day Letter to My Younger Self

Last night, I asked readers on my Facebook page to write their younger selves letters as part of a self-compassion exercise for Valentine’s Day; you may want to do this too, using cool recall.  I’m writing my fifteen-year-old self; it is 1964, just months after President Kennedy was assassinated. I have suffered enormous losses myself; both my father and grandfather, the two people who I knew loved me, died in the first six months...

Anxious behavior

What a Narcissist Means by Saying “I Love You”

Even now, three years later, I can’t believe how clueless I was. It was like I was blindfolded because I misunderstood every single gesture, every word, every act. He had a script in his hands and I had another and I didn’t know it. – “Marcy,” 42
In retrospect, almost everyone says that the beginning was too good to be true; that’s the thing about recovering from a run-in with a narcissist. There’s 20/20 hindsight that...


Unloved Daughters: Why Going No Contact Doesn’t Heal You

"It’s been two years since I decided I had to cut ties with my mother. It was painful and awful especially since my dad felt that if I wasn’t going to talk to her, I couldn’t talk to him. I thought I was doing fine until, out of the blue, my mother called me. I melted and went over last weekend, only to face a storm of anger and criticisms. I left, broken, and back to square one. Now what do I do?”


Toxic Childhood? 5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Healing in 2019

I’m a great believer in fresh starts, especially if you’re a work-in-progress and healing from childhood wounds and you’re feeling stuck, as everyone does now and again. To that end, I look to the start of a new month as a blank page, the start of a new season which always has a different kind of energy, and, of course, the biggest start-your-engines of them all, the New Year. But I’m not talking traditional resolutions...


5 Gifts Every Unloved Daughter Should Give Herself

I got a message from a reader the other day who asked a poignant question: “I have been eyeing a ring because I want to celebrate how much I’ve healed. I think looking down at it will remind me of my progress. Is it weird or somehow selfish of me to gift myself? My husband and two kids will give me presents for Christmas, after all. Why does the idea of buying this ring make...