The Shame Cycle

Naming, blaming, and the uncluttered subconscious

We are heading into our second week discussing how trauma transforms our brains. I originally intended this to be a four-part series, but during our discussion last week, I realized that there is another segment of this discussion that needs to be addressed: naming versus blaming. Last week we talked about how we get trapped …

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How we get trapped in toxic circumstances

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to dive deep into how trauma transforms our brains, and why it’s important for us to understand it in order to heal. This is the first in a four-part series on trauma and the brain. The human brain is very much like a computer. It does what we …

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Live a life without shame

What would a world without shame look like? There’s no way of knowing for sure, of course, because shame currently permeates every level of our culture. If you look at every instance of human suffering – big and small – at the root of it is not anger, not sadness, not envy, not even fear. …

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Stepping beyond a warrior mindset

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word “fight.” We fight for a cause. We fight for a marriage. We fight against darkness, or as some religions call it, “the enemy.” The angry cousin of fighting, of course, is “attack.” Our way of life is under attack. Our rights are under attack. Our freedoms …

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Relational Shame Cycles

I talk a lot in Redefining Love about the Three Pillars of Boundaries, Accountability, and Grace. As a review, these three principals must be in balance both internally, towards self, and externally, towards others in order to maintain peace in your complex relationships. So the key is to learn to identify which of the Three …

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Managing anger and other big feelings

There are a lot of big feelings flying around out there lately. Understandably so. Our consciousness is overstimulated with local, national, and worldwide news that has all our systems on high alert. It’s crucial that we understand how our body is designed to respond to our circumstances, so we can be healthy and regulated as …

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Exploring the reality of choice

Trauma is tricky because it makes us believe that we don’t have a choice – a choice about our relationships, our emotions, and our reactions. The truth is, unless we are physically held captive,* we do have choices. A huge part of healing is learning to recognize our choices, and trusting ourselves to change course …

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Is It Just Me? Why Is Adult Friendship So Hard?

We are all so busy. And our kids are so busy. And marriage takes work. And work takes work. And somebody in the house is always sick. And when we’re not sick we’re running in a million directions. And sometimes we just need to eat a meal at home. And sometimes we need to just …

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Why “forgive and forget” is a toxic phrase.

Like everything else in Redefining Love, forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others are inseparable. You can’t have one without working on the other. Feeling unforgiving towards others creates shame. Why? The standard definition of love is “strong feelings of warmth and affection,” while culture also mandates that we “forgive and forget.” When we aren’t …

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Emotions are the brain’s dashboard

Strong emotions aren’t the bad guy. We all have them, and they serve an important purpose. All of our emotions, including those considered “negative,” are there to communicate messages we need about the world. Emotions are our nervous system’s way of telling our bodies how to react. Joy tells us that this is a circumstance …

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