Tag Archives: toxic moms and PTSD

Toxic Mom Toolkit: Kathy Wants to Know

21 Sep

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I get a lot of letters asking questions. First of all, a person, who is suffering, has to be pretty brave to ask the author of a book for advice. That’s what I always think. So, I do answer and I really try to offer something helpful.

 

Recently, I got a note from a Friend of Ours, Kathy. Here’s what Kathy wanted to know:

 

HI,

 

I’m curious how you got beyond your toxic mom symptoms?

 

I have C-PTSD from my childhood experiences and am looking for a counseling method that will ease the pain, symptoms, triggers, etc.

 

So, I’m looking for ideas, remedies, and a counseling method.

 

It’s been suggested that I do EMDR, but something is holding me back on that.

 

Any advice, suggestions, guidance will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

I have to confess, this note from Kathy, sort of threw me for a loop.

 

Whoever said I’d “gotten beyond my toxic mother symptoms?” was my first thought. Which I took to mean, that whatever trauma, whatever PTSD, whatever emotional hangovers I earned from my childhood, were all taken care of – erased – or healed.

 

I drove up to my cabin thinking about this the whole way. Had I really given the impression that I had it all together? That I am completely healed and have no TM problems? It seemed to me that I confessed regularly to being an odd duck, full of social ticks and issues. Maybe I laugh at myself too much over my fear of doorbells; my dread of all things social? Could it seem that I’m so over it?

 

The truth is, I have done my healing work sufficiently to be able to offer a vocabulary and storytelling to lead others who grew up with super toxic moms – towards healing. Not that I’m so healed. I suffer. I just choose to focus on my own healing work – and to rise above what happened. A big part of my healing work is waving my little lantern over my head, showing others the way.

 

Do I have all the answers? Nope.

 

But I do know that you are not alone in your experiences. I know that we can help each other. I know that storytelling is part of healing.

 

Do I still have C-PTSD? Yep.

 

Do I know exactly what you should do? Nope.

 

Am I more than what happened to me? Yep.

 

 

EMDR? It helped me. I hope it helps you. Sometimes people are resistant to the very thing that will move them away from being stuck in their suffering. You have to ask yourself, if you are resistant without a clear objection, if you just want to stay in the suffering you know.

 

But suffering is like grief. It’s a journey. You’re not supposed to sit in it. I would say, try EMDR once and then think about it.  Then maybe go back for a second session. You control the process. You can start, stop, or rest. You can even heal. But healing rarely happens when we are frozen.

 

I hope this is helpful to Kathy and to you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Toxic Mom Toolkit on the Art of Lies

22 Feb

I’m reading Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolks, The Body Keeps the Score, and wow, is it an eye opener!  I’m having lightbulb moments in every chapter. It’s SO interesting to me that I’m furiously skipping whole big swaths of info on soldiers with PTSD (I can go back) and brain chemistry (I can go back) and just following his trail of crumbs on why I have so often felt lost and frozen.

It also got me thinking a lot about how we accept lies – really, really OLD lies about who we are and how we are. So I’m taking a rainy afternoon to create a little art journal to document the lies I’ve been carrying around. Lies like: I’m bad at math. I AM bad at arithmetic and I know why. My brain was too busy in third grade trying to survive my embattled home life that I had no room for memorizing my times tables. I have however, managed to make a good living (since I was 17) and save a decent amount and create financial security. (So, no, you’re wrong mother, I’m not bad at math.)

If you’ve read or are reading my book, Toxic Mom Toolkit, you know that you’re allowed to do creative things to process your feelings about growing up with a super toxic mom. I think combining scientific reading with art journaling will be transformative. And I wanted to mention it to you in case you have been looking for a creative way to process your feelings, too. 34ba5db3b512b172222c4865bce4080a