Vulnerability and Safety in Stage One Recovery

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace and used with permission One might think that the first stage of healing from trauma involves recounting tragic circumstances, but it is actually about creating a safe place with safe people who can help you heal. In the previous post, I described a situation that I had with a counselor who I don't believe understood trauma very well and didn't use an approach that was helpful for me. … [Read more...]

Before Treatment: Unknowingly Trapped in Trauma

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman used with permission from Under Much Grace A previous post noted that problems like a sense of helplessness, shame, guilt, problems with trust, issues with boundaries, and bad dynamics send us into counseling to find help so that we can better manage our lives. In many respects, all people experience these kinds of feelings and struggles, but those who suffered trauma need more help. The nature of the pain we face seems far more complicated than a list of a few traits and patterns. How can things be so simple or at least so simply summarized? … [Read more...]

Trauma: Where it Begins and Where it Can End

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman used with permission from Under Much Grace.Every few months, I read an online discussion that argues that when a person gets out of a traumatic relationship (especially a religious one), there are no guidelines on how to recover. While on one hand, that's true – because we all recover on our on timetable and in our own ways – trauma symptoms that cause problems in your life beyond about six months following the event aren't healthy.Unfortunately, though we may be reasonably healthy, the dynamics of a high demand relationship, religion, or group take a toll on us and cause us to loose the hea … [Read more...]

Part 10 Pendulums and Plumb Lines – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace and used with permission. Like a swinging pendulum, when we exit a group, we can easily get caught up in the drama of life and created excitement, mistaking it for healthy living. (And keep in mind that as dynamic beings, we do swing out to extremes now and then, but we tend not to live in the extreme all of the time.) … [Read more...]

Part 8: Hypervigilance in the Wider World – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman and used with permission from Under Much GraceHigh demand groups manage tension and pain which arise from natural and healthy disagreements and differences by forcing uniformity. Again, we come back to the fact of life that we human beings are very dynamic and diverse, something that a group purports to “correct” for the member, giving the illusion that they've resolved that healthy tension. Anyone who espouses beliefs that are different from the group are discounted or demonized which further galvanizes the control that they hold over a member. In doing so, they force and reinforce the idea that t … [Read more...]

Part 7: Finding a Healthy Locus of Control – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace used with permissionWe've already noted that a person's concept of self suffers while in a high demand group or family, since the member's sense of worth must be derived from the group. Though they may appear to have autonomy, their choices are bound and limited to that which is determined by the group. … [Read more...]

Part 5: Pitfalls in Personal Power – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll imaged by Cindy Kunsman of Under Much Grace used with permission In the previous post, we explored a couple of ways a person can work on their own to develop better Emotional Self-Regulation after exiting or after growing up in a high demand group. Healthy internal dialogue and building self concept provide individuals with a good opportunity to do a great deal of healing and growth on their own.The concept of “Locus of Control” comes from the study of the psychology of personality and is viewed as another important aspect or component of self concept. It refers to the amount of control that a person bel … [Read more...]

Part 3 – Self-Regulation? What? How?: Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceEditor's note: Cindy has oodles of very cute cat and kitten graphics at her site to illustrate her points. You should take a look at them on her site!)How can I possibly know anything about emotional self-regulation? I was faced and am often still faced with the quandary of growing up without it, not really knowing that I lacked it, and then trying to figure out how to develop it. And though trauma therapy helped me make great strides to develop it, I still have my days...The process works out differently for everyone, and some people have less difficulty than others.  This represents what I experienced in my journey … [Read more...]

Bonding and Bondage in Abusive Relationships

by Virginia Knowles cross posted from her blog Watch the ShepherdIn case you're wondering why you can't "just get over it" from a painfully abusive or damaging or destructive relationship: Trauma bonding makes any relationship harder to end, harder to heal, harder to find freedom from through forgiveness, than the loss of a true love. The neural pathways burned into a brain in trauma bonding are laid down in powerful fear/anxiety hormonal rushes leaving even comparatively good memories with the person colored with the stains of those traumatic events. The loss of anyone we have loved -- whether they have treated us very well indeed or in a deplorable manner -- is something that will heal … [Read more...]

The Famous Ones

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsThere are big names out there in the spiritual abuse world.  Big name perpetrators.  Big name authors of blogs and books and Twitter feeds.  Big names whose social media accounts explode regularly over big names.  Big names getting the word out about big names who have committed outrageous acts of abuse.  And, of course, any time those outrageous acts are committed with any hint of ties to churchianity, we recognize them as not just sexual or domestic or physical abuse, but as spiritual abuse. … [Read more...]