Once you understand something, it’s hard to stay mad at it.
We all have those things in our relationships … That Thing we can’t get over. Maybe it’s a part of your partners past, or a fight that keeps coming up over and over. Or maybe its that time when things got out of hand, that neither of you are quite over. Maybe it’s that parenting moment you are sure has ruined your kid forever. Maybe you are living with something that is compromising your values, and you don’t know what to do about it.
Once you understand something, it’s hard to stay mad at it.
Has someone figured out a way to get therapy with out talking about our childhoods yet?
In therapy, there are a few different approaches, and sometimes you can deal with an immediate problem at hand without a huge delve into the past. But when you want to more permanently solve a problem, typically, unearthing the cause is necessary. (Disclaimer: it should be said that as a client, you should only undertake to do so with someone you trust and feel completely safe with).
Do the trauma's we experience in childhood actually follow us through adulthood? What qualifies as trauma? What one person of one generation would call a "tough" childhood, we might now call "traumatic". And when it comes to preventative health care - including mental AND physical health - that is a pretty significant distinction.
Education is everything. Knowledge is power. There can be so much freedom and progress in understanding why.
This TED talk reviews the original ACE's Study, its groundbreaking results and encourages all health care practitioners to screen for childhood trauma and how to name those events that shape our length of our lives. Nadine Burke Harris does a great job describing the study, why its important for health care practitioners in particular to think about changing their practices.
Stories of childhood abuse are all around us.
I just finished reading Breaking Away, a memoir of NHL player Patrick O'Sullivan's devastating childhood experience at the hands of his abusive father. I could not put in down. Patrick tells his story in a way that any person who has experienced childhood abuse will instantly recognize: extreme isolation from community, not understanding why others did not help him, being emotionally isolated, being ashamed of the abuse and intuitively knowing to limit the amount you tell others for fear they would be too overwhelmed. Patrick's experience goes one step further in that he also went back to confront the bystanders. I would recommend it to anyone who has experienced childhood abuse, if only to crack the isolation of that experience.
And today, the deeply sad story of harrowing abuse unfolds in Toronto courtrooms as Melonie Biddersingh's father stands accused of extreme abuse and ultimately her murder. Journalist Rosie DiManno's statement in this story, "To the death roll of Randal Dooley and Jeffrey Baldwin, children starved to death and grotesquely mistreated while alive, right in our midst, add now the name of this 17-year-old who lived and died with nobody taking notice" demands that we start paying attention to each other.
The more we understand about what constitutes "trauma", the better choices we'll make, the more we'll know about what to call it when we see it, when to tell someone, when to ask for help, and how to move forward.
For more information, check out Ontario's Association of Children's Aid Societies: http://www.oacas.org, or speak to a trusted friend, counsellor, therapist, clergy person.
Every now and then, I’m really struck by the enormous task our health care providers take on, in the service of the general public, adjudicator’s of sorts, of the physical and emotional lives of their patients and their families.
Patient after patient, day after day, and often with no time to eat, let alone to take ten minutes to reflect on how tough cases are affecting them. I work amongst doctors, nurses and pharmacists, and I also grew up with doctors (my mother is a family physician). Watching my mother totally and completely dedicate her life to her chosen profession was pretty educational; I know from living my childhood that “work-life balance” wasn’t a concept that actually existed for physicians or nurses back when she went to medical school (class of '73). I have witnessed first hand the toll its taken on her, and I’ve seen doctors I work with now, everywhere from being on the verge of tears to the other end of the spectrum, on total emotional lockdown, no doubt a difficult and unfortunately learned skill.
About 7 of my 15 years working in the healthcare system in Ontario, have been in oncology. Sometimes people would say to me, isn't it depressing, working in cancer? For me, it has never been depressing, but incredibly hopeful; however, I know that for many of the oncology professionals I know, it can be in fact, really, really hard a lot of the days.
How exactly are you supposed to do your job efficiently, accurately and with as much compassion as you can if you fall apart every time you lose a patient to cancer?
In Part I of Understanding Anger, we talked about anger as a healthy and normal emotion (at times). We also reviewed how anger unchecked can do a lot of damage in your life: on your physical health, your family and romantic relationships and on the job. We all get angry for different reasons – because we are all very different people, who have different life circumstances.
There is no one size fits all solution, but there are many strategies you can try until you find the one that works for you.
One of the first things to try and figure out, is what is your anger trying to tell you? Is your anger covering up for other feelings such as embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, or vulnerability? It’s hard to have those feelings come to the surface. However, I would invite you to consider one thing: when you let yourself admit that you aren’t perfect, that you are in fact human, you begin to let the walls down that keep people from truly connecting to you. Shame is a loss of connection to people, and specifically, the people you love.
How do we repair this?