I Am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful

Have you ever heard of the Japanese art of Kintsugi? Artists will take a broken piece of pottery and repair it with a special lacquer that is dusted with silver, gold, or platinum. The broken piece becomes even more beautiful as the precious metals gleam through the seams which were once broken. Kintsugi is a celebration of seeing beauty in the flawed, expressing regret when things are wasted, and the acceptance of change. As I spent more and more time in the world of addiction, betrayal trauma, and abuse I began to feel like on big broken mess. There were little pieces of who I was scattered across the floor of my life, and I couldn’t see myself or my beauty anymore. As I have worked on healing the past few years I have allowed God to Kintsugi me back together.

I am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful | muchnessmama.com | Japanese art of Kintsugi | repairing pottery with gold | betrayal trauma healing | addiction recovery

God Uses Broken Things

Not only does God find glory in repairing broken things he actually requires that we be broken before he can use us. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17) God can not use us until our hearts are humble enough to accept his will and instruction. None of us escape trials in this life. We all face things that can leave us feeling cracked and broken. If we allow God into our hearts he will put us back together stronger and more beautiful than we could ever be on our own. As he works in us we can begin to see the beauty in our flaws, refuse to waste our precious time and lives, and accept the changes that are an inevitable part of this mortal experience.

Seeing Beauty in the Flawed

When I was in my twenties I listened to the same radio station every morning on the way to work. They would often have a fun little trivia question with a prize for whoever called in and got it right. One day they asked what is the #1 thing people criticize about themselves that the opposite sex actually finds attractive. All sorts of answers were given. It was fascinating to hear men and women both talk about the little things they loved in their spouse or significant other that they wished that person loved in themselves as well. Answers ranged from a little bit of extra weight to freckles. The correct answer according to some survey somewhere was a gap in the two front teeth. I wonder how many people have spent money on braces trying to remove that gap that others may find incredibly attractive. How many things about myself have I seen as flawed or broken when they were the exact things about me that God could use to bless others? I can’t reach out to someone in my own perfection and be received. It is through our imperfections, our weaknesses, our struggles and our trials that we are able to connect with others. It is our willingness to let others see those cracks that allows us to truly serve them.

Regret in the Wasted

How much time have I wasted over the years trying to put forth a perfect image? How many relationships have fallen by the wayside because neither of us was willing to be vulnerable and form a real intimate connection?  How much money have I wasted on trying to look perfect, have the perfect accessories, or say the perfect thing? How many opportunities to truly serve others have been wasted because of my inability to see the beauty in my brokenness and the value in what I had to give? I don’t want to just float through life unconnected and unfulfilled because I allowed my brokenness to become trash instead of beauty. I want to connect. I want to be used. I want to let the light of Christ shine through me. I can’t do that in broken pieces on the floor. I can only do that through the beautiful glints of gold Christ repairs me with.

Acceptance of Change

Change is inevitable. We all know that, and yet we all fight it. Even when the life we are currently living is broken and ugly we resist change because we fear “what if it gets even worse?!” Well what if it gets better!? I have spent so much time in my marriage walking on eggshells trying to avoid rocking the boat. The biggest change that I have embraced through working my recovery is the need for boundaries. Not only can I embrace change, but I can create it. I can say no more. I can decide what I will and won’t live with. I can open myself up to the threat of more pain because I know that I am strong enough to handle it. I know that I have an amazing support network of women surrounding me and a God standing under me to lift me up. I can embrace the changes in life with not only trust and humility, but with excitement at what the future may hold. Sure I may trip and fall. Sometimes I may even tumble end over end back down that hill. As long as I keep getting back up, patching up each new crack with a little more gold lacquer, I know I’m not only going to survive, but I will thrive!

I Am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful

I am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful | muchnessmama.com | Japanese art of Kintsugi | repairing pottery with gold | betrayal trauma healing | addiction recovery

Yep I crack under the pressure. We all do. There was only one perfect man to ever walk this earth, and even Jesus needed alone time to rest and recuperate. So how do we embrace our own broken beauty? For me it starts with owning my story. Being vulnerable and sharing my heart makes me stronger. As I share my broken parts with others they have so graciously shared theirs with me. I see the beauty and strength in these women. I see their courage and their hearts. I listen to their laughs and see their tears. Every one of them is radiant and beautiful. As I see and embrace the beauty in them it becomes so much easier for me to acknowledge it in myself. It is only in the dark of night that we can see the stars. So it is with us. It is only in the cracks and broken pieces that we can truly see our beauty.

How do you find the beauty in your broken pieces? What has helped you to stop wasting life and embrace change with optimism? Who has inspired you through their broken beauty? Do you have a story of brokenness that you’d like to share as a guest blogger? Come join us in the Muchness Mama’s group on Facebook and let’s chat about it!

Creating and Enforcing Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

To say being married to an addict is difficult would be the understatement of the year. Let’s face it, even without addiction relationships are hard work. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial to finding health and happiness both for the addict and their betrayed spouse. When I first heard the word boundaries I was both empowered and confused. What exactly are boundaries? Are boundaries Christlike? How do I go about setting a boundary? How do I know if my boundaries are healthy?

Creating and Enforcing Healthy Boundaries in Relationships | muchnessmama.com| addiction recovery | betrayal trauma recovery

What are Boundaries

Boundaries allow us to take responsibility for ourselves while not shouldering responsibility for the actions of others. Boundaries are invisible lines that say what we will and won’t tolerate. Boundaries are like the fence that defines our property line. There is a gate and we can let people in when we choose and boot them out if they are disrespecting our wishes. I love what Dr. Cloud, author of Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life, had to say in a recent blog post about boundaries.

Personal boundaries allow you to have ownership over your own thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions, while freeing you from being responsible for anyone else’s. Virtually everyone sets some form of boundaries without thinking about it, but when we consciously define our boundaries, we gain a huge degree of control over our happiness, comfort and the quality of our relationships.

A boundary is a simple statement saying what you will or won’t tolerate and what you will do if that boundary is violated. Remember, a boundary without a consequence is simply a threat. Boundaries are not about controlling the actions of others. Boundaries are about controlling yourself and defining how you will respond to keep yourself safe in unhealthy situations.

Are Boundaries Christlike

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for me when I first learned about boundaries was the feeling that I wasn’t showing Christlike love when I was enforcing them. President Russel M. Nelson said “Real love for the sinner may compel courageous confrontation—not acquiescence! Real love does not support self-destructing behavior.” God himself has given us the perfect example of healthy boundaries, we call them commandments. He does not force any of us to obey, but he does withdraw his spiritual guidance, peace,  and certain blessings when we choose not to follow the requirements he has laid out for us. There are also many examples of healthy boundaries from Jesus Christ’s life here on Earth. Remember the rich young man? Christ told him to sell all that he had and follow him. Christ did not encroach upon the man’s agency, he simply said if you do these things then you will be welcome in my presence and in heaven. Let’s look at the story of the young woman caught in adultery. Christ didn’t tell her accusers that they couldn’t enact justice. He simply reminded them of their own imperfections then allowed them the opportunity to make the right choice. Jesus also took time to care for himself. He had boundaries that said “I need time to commune with my Father” and there are a few different accounts of him going alone into the mountains or wilderness, once for 40 days! If you want to read more about Christ setting boundaries this post from Soul Shepherding is wonderful.

How Do I Set Boundaries

As stated above a boundary without a consequence is simply a threat. Threats are useless. Remember boundaries aren’t about controlling others, they are about controlling yourself. We all set boundaries naturally every day through our choices. We choose not to spend time with someone who is unkind. We choose to rest and engage in self-care rather than accomplishing yet one more to do task on our list. We choose to disengage from emotionally abusive conversations. We choose to speak up when we something unfair happening. When dealing with an addict I’ve found that my boundaries around his addiction need to be very clearly stated. This is the pattern I use for most of my boundaries:

  1. State the action that you can’t tolerate
  2. State how that action makes you feel
  3. State the consequence/boundary you will enact to create safety for yourself

Three Steps for Creating Healthy Boundaries | muchnessmama.com | addiction recovery| betrayal trauma recovery

Here are some examples of some actual boundaries written out by some of my fellow WOPA (wives of porn addict) friends.

  • When you choose to watch pornography I feel betrayed, hurt, and angry. I need to detach from our relationship and sleep separately from you.
  • When you are not actively engaging in recovery work on a daily basis I do not feel safe in our relationship. When I feel unsafe I will need to detach from you emotionally.
  • I can not remain in a marriage with infidelity. If you choose to act out with another woman then I will file for divorce.
  • I can not accept any form of pornography in my home. I will be placing filters/blocks on all electronic devices that are brought into this home. If you do not want filters on your device then it will have to remain outside fo the home. If you can not agree to this then I will enact a physical separation.

Also check out this post from my friend Kate about boundaries. She has a ton of great advice about the nuts and bolts of setting boundaries along with some other great examples.

How do I Know if My Boundaries are Healthy

A healthy boundary is one that keeps you inside your fence and keeps things that will hurt you out. A healthy boundary is about controlling yourself, not others (though it is ok to hope that our boundaries will motivate them to a healthy change). At the Determined to Rise retreat this past September Dr. Sharon Rinearson of Core Relationship Recovery described boundaries as a hedge of thorns. Because fo the thorns people who want to hurt us can’t get in, we will protect ourselves from them. At the same time the thorns keep us inside our safe zone. Sometimes boundaries hurt. Healthy boundaries are hard. When you have been a doormat in your relationship setting healthy boundaries will most often result in resentment, anger, and a lot of push-back from your spouse. Sometimes the addict will even try to set counter boundaries that are meant to control you and your boundaries. Good, this means you’re doing it right! The hardest part of a healthy boundary is continuing to enforce your boundary even when it hurts you. Separation from your spouse isn’t easy, but it is necessary if they are abusing you. A healthy boundary is paradoxically also flexible. If you are setting healthy boundaries then you are able to recognize when they are not working or no longer necessary.

Setting Boundaries Requires Support

Healing from addiction can’t be done in isolation and neither can healing from betrayal trauma. If you had a physical injury you would visit a doctor, go to rehab with a physical therapist, and find others to help and support you through your healing. Emotional injury isn’t any different. You need help and support. A good therapist who is trained in betrayal trauma can be an amazing help in setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. You can find therapists who have been certified in betrayal trauma on the APSATS website. Support groups are another great source of strength. When I initiated a separation from my husband earlier this year I never could have followed through on healthy boundaries without the support of the amazing ladies in my support groups. In person, online, and phone support groups can be found via ARP support, S-Anon, and Betrayal Trauma Recovery. There are also several Facebook groups available for support. For safety and privacy these groups are secret, so you will have to find a person who you know struggles with these issues as well and ask them to have you added. It can also be helpful to reach out to a few people you trust that can support you, even if they haven’t endured this specific trial. I have two amazing friends who have been there to help and support me whenever I need it. I have also had some amazing bishops (religious leader) who have given me strength to create and maintain healthy boundaries. I have also had friends and religious leaders say less than helpful, and sometimes even traumatizing things to me when they hear my story. Prayerfully consider who you will seek support from and it’s ok to set a healthy boundary around who you talk to and what you share with them.

Have you struggled with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries? Where have you found help and support? What are your biggest struggles with boundary setting? What advice would you give to someone who is just learning to set boundaries in an unhealthy relationship? Come join me in the Muchness Mamas Facebook group and let’s talk about it!

Overcoming Fear- I Walked on Fire, I Can do Anything

I have spent way too much time letting fear run my life. Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of losing people, and yes, even fear of success. Why is fear such a powerful force in our lives? To answer that question we have to understand what fear is and where it comes from.

Overcoming Fear I Walked on Fire, I Can do Anything| muchnessmama.com

What is fear?

At the Determined to Rise retreat in Randolph, UT we were given the opportunity to participate in firewalking. I’ll admit I only went to watch. I had absolutely zero intentions to actually participate. What type of crazy person walks on 1200 degree coals?!?! Before we were allowed to move to the fire an amazing instructor spoke to us. He explained how fear is programmed into our brain. Fear is simply put the brain’s way of keeping us alive. Every experience we have is recorded and stored then accessed when we are in a situation so we know if we should fear.

For example a baby is sitting on the floor and is approached by a harmless daddy longlegs spider. The baby laughs. He doesn’t fear that spider. The spider crawls on the baby’s leg. He just giggles because it tickles. He grabs the spider and pops it in his mouth right as mommy walks into the room. Now mommy doesn’t like spiders and she screams “NOOOOOOO!” Well that is a scary noise and baby starts to cry. Mommy runs over and scoops him up and babbles something about that mean old scary spider. You’d better believe that for the rest of his life that baby will now fear spiders. His brain has recorded that experience and now tells him that spiders are scary. That fear overrides reason and logic. The only way for us to get out of that fear is to choose to take control of it.

Fear can be a very real warning of danger, but as often as not fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real. Just like in the story of the spider we often are trained to fear things that hold no real danger to us. Before publishing my post about my husband’s sex addiction I was paralyzed by fear. It took my nearly a year to even write the post and another several days to hit publish. I was afraid others would judge me. I was afraid they would reject me. I was afraid that after sharing my hope it would be dashed by another relapse from my husband. I was afraid that I was a total imposter in the world of healing betrayal trauma, I mean after all what do I know?  Want to know what happened after I published my story. I got messages, lots of them. Every single one of them was from someone who wanted to reach out in support. Not only did my fears not materialize, but the opposite actually came true. I found strength, healing, and support that I didn’t know was possible.

How do You Conquer Fear?

So how did I overcome my fear enough to push that publish button? Conquering fear takes both logical thought and decisive action. Every single one of us has an inner voice that will guide us if we can push through the fear to listen to it. Sometimes it will tell us that the route we are considering is not safe. Our inner voice is very smart after all. Sometimes listening to the fear is the proper choice, as long as we are doing it out of rational thought and not being controlled by the fear. More often though by thinking through things logically we will allow our inner voice to calm the fear and give us the courage to take action. I had to ask myself what if all of these horrible things I am imagining actually come true? What if my husband relapses? Can I live through that? I’ve done it before. What if my friends abandon me? Can I handle that? Well I have two real friends that already know my story and they’ve stuck by me. I also have huge amounts of support in my FB groups of warrior women! Even if the rest of the world turns against me I know I will always have them. What if I get hateful and judgmental comments from the peanut gallery? Well I suppose I’ll live through that too. Not like I’ve never had a bully in my face before. I can survive that too. Not only can I survive all these things, but I can thrive through them! Then, with my inner voice cheering me on, I hit publish, shut down the computer, and went to bed. I wanted to make sure people saw it before I had a chance to back out. That was my decisive action!

We can only conquer fear when our motivation to succeed becomes bigger than our fear. The most important part of conquering fear is knowing your why. What is it in this world that you are willing to fight and sacrifice for? Family? God? Yourself? Find something that gives you the power to keep stepping one foot after the other no matter what obstacles are in your way. Everything starts with why.

I Conquered My Fear

When we got to the fire our instructor told us it was time to set our personal intention if we were going to walk across that fire. He said “Who or what would you be willing to walk across fire for?” He had told us earlier that he usually sees his family. Now maybe this makes me a bad mom or wife, but I can’t honestly say I felt that conviction that they would carry me across that fire. Instead what came instantly to my mind was a vision of myself emotionally healthy, full of confidence and strength. Could I walk through fire to become that woman? Did I believe in her enough? Did I love that woman enough to walk through fire to become her? In that moment I knew my inner voice was telling me that I had to walk. I hesitated a bit. Man this crap was SCARY!! I took off my shoes, squared my shoulders, and got in line. I knew that this challenge was something I had to do in order to propel myself into greater health, strength, and self-love. As I came to the front of the line I said “I am walking tonight because the girl on the other end of this path is worth it!” I raised my hands as a symbol of surrender to the process, and stepped out onto the hot coals with my chin high. I honestly didn’t feel a thing other than a slight crunching under my feet. As I reached the other side I felt a new power and self-confidence. I made a commitment to myself to push through all of the fears that are still holding me back from becoming the person that God created me to be.

COnquering Fear- I walked on fire | muchnessmama.com | listening to my inner voice | finding my strength

I am strong.

I am beautiful.

I am wise.

I am confident.

I am courageous.

I am capable.

I am victorious.

I walked on fire, and I can do anything!

What fears do you need to conquer? Do you know your why? Who or what would you walk through fire for? Come join us in The Muchness Mamas Facebook group and let’s talk about it!

What is Betrayal Trauma?

In my previous post I told you that I have betrayal trauma induced post traumatic stress (PTSD), adrenal fatigue, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some of you may have read that and said “huh? What in the world is betrayal trauma!?” I know that’s what I thought the first time I heard the term. Understanding is the first step to healing, so this post is all about understanding betrayal trauma and it’s affects on the individual and the relationship.

What is Betrayal Trauma? | muchnessmama.com | When you are betrayad by a spouse or caregiver it can leave deep wounds. Did you know that the symptoms of betrayal trauma are the same as the symptoms of PTSD?

Betrayal Trauma Definition

The term betrayal trauma was first introduced by Jennifer Freyd in 1991 at a presentation at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. According to Freyd “Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person’ s trust or well-being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.” (link) So as a wife of a sex addict I experienced trauma when I discovered the ways in which my husband was acting out. When this trauma hit it was a HUGE betrayal because it felt like there was more harm that could come from confronting and standing up to it than there was in putting my head down, walking on eggshells, and trying to maintain the peace. For me personally betrayal trauma has also been sustained by my husband’s anger management problems in our early years as well. Double whammy!

The Affects of Betrayal Trauma

Freyd further tells us that when trauma involves a betrayal we are less likely to be aware of what is occurring or recall the details. Why? Because when we confront the perpetrator it threatens an attachment that we feel is necessary to our survival. Those awesome survival instincts can kick in and literally erase our memory or change it to make the betrayal seem like less of a threat.  I felt like I was all these monkeys combined into one! I refused to hear or see the abuse in my marriage and definitely terrified to say anything about the things I did notice.

What is Betrayal Trauma? | muchnessmama.com | wife of a sex addict | spouse of an addict | PTSD Joao Tzanno

When our conscious mind is protecting us, and our subconscious mind is screaming that everything is not ok it can lead to some pretty severe problems. In a recent study it was shown that ~70% of wives of sex addicts could be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yep, the same thing that military folk come home with is what traumatized wives deal with. Lucky me, I got both! I will say, however, that my trauma from deployment was VERY minimal to the extent that I didn’t even really realize that it existed for a long time. My betrayal trauma due to addiction has been much more in my face and in control of my life. PTSD comes with a lot of really fun symptoms including:

  • Spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events
  • Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or affect (i.e. feeling) of the dream is related to the events
  • Flashbacks or other dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events are recurring
  • Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic events
  • Physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
  • Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders
  • Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
  • Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous”).
  • Persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events
  • Persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  • Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
  • Persistent inability to experience positive emotions
  • Irritable or aggressive behavior
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Problems with concentration
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep

Yeah, that’s a lot. All of these symptoms can also take their toll physically. Adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, joint and/or muscle pain, headaches, weight gain, and even more often manifest themselves when a person is suffering from trauma. “The Body Keeps The Score” is a great book to read if you are more interested in this topic. It’s WAY too much to cover here.

How To Heal From Betrayal Trauma

Quite frequently all these symptoms are lumped into one happy little diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression. Here pop a pill and be on your merry way! While I’m all for medication if and when you need it really healing trauma requires far more than that.

4 Steps for Betrayal Trauma Recovery | muchnessmama.com | you can heal from betrayal trauma, but it requires a lot fo work. Here are 4 important steps to get you started.

First and formost you need to get out of your isolation! That is why I have ripped the curtain off my life and decided to start sharing here, thankfully with my husband’s full support and even cheerleading. You need to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! As I said in my previous post 64% of Christina men admit to at least monthly viewing of pornography. I dont’ think there is a single woman in this world who has not been affected by sex addiction in some way. Whether it’s harassment from schoolmates or coworkers or a deep betrayal of a spouse we’ve all been touched. It is not your fault. You don’t deserve it. You are worthy of love and respect. There are a few different groups out there that you can meet with in person. S-Anon is the partner program to Sexaholics Anonymous. They provide pretty good support, but they follow a codependency model which I believe is very unhealthy, so I would not personally recommend them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers a Spouse and Family Support Group. These meetings are based on some beautiful principles. The leaders, however, are missionaries called by the church. They may or may not have any actual education or experience with trauma. Some meetings can be further re-traumatizing. If your local meeting is not a supportive safe place for you there are many phone meetings to choose from as well. Lifestar and Healing Through Christ are two other groups I am aware of. They both lean towards codependency though, so once again not my highest recommendations. I am also a member of a few different groups on Facebook. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed these groups are secret. If you are interested in learning more about these groups please feel free to contact me. Determined to Rise is also a great resource for connection. I am REALLY looking forward to attending the retreat that they are hosting next month in Utah.

Second, and equally important, is counseling with a qualified therapist. Finding the right therapist can be very difficult. While there are all sorts of certifications you can look for ultimately it all comes down to do they know and understand betrayal trauma. It is also really helpful if they are trained in EMDR and/or neural feedback therapy (more on those in a future post). Both of these help to integrate the mind/body connection and speed up the healing process.  Betrayal Trauma Recovery is an excellent resource for finding a good counselor. They are coaches rather than certified therapists, but they have focused their training on betrayal trauma and most are victims as well. One last note on therapy. NEVER EVER EVER do couples therapy with a man who is still in active addiction. It usually does far more harm than good as it provides a platform for the addict to further abuse you through manipulating and gaslighting both you and the therapist. I would recommend that an addict is working a solid recovery program and attending weekly counseling sessions on their own for at least 3-6 months before you even consider couples therapy. When you do start couples therapy look for a therapist who uses Emotionally Focused Therapy techniques. Addiction is at the root a disease of connection. Learning to reconnect to your own emotions and your spouses in healthy ways is far more important than directly working on any specific marriage issues, especially in the early stages of healing a relationship.

Third, become  a learn it all. No one is ever going to care as much about your healing as you do. Knowledge is power and you need all the power you can get to escape the pit that you find yourself in while dealing with these issues. The first book I would start with is “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse“. If you are dealing with verbal abuse or out of control anger as I was then I would also highly recommend “Why Does He Do That“. For dealing with your own insecurities adn regaining your individuality and muchness anything by Brene Brown is pure gold. I’m currently working through “The Gifts of Imperfection” book via the art journaling class.

Fourth is some solid self-care and self-love work. Self-Care is NOT selfish! You matter. You are important. You can not give to others what you don’t have for yourself. Your capacity to love others, including and even especially your own family, is limited by your ability to love yourself. If you struggle with this I would encourage you to find ten minutes every day where you can just do something you love. Take a walk, do some art, sing in the shower, just do whatever makes you happy. Then look in the mirror and say to yourself “I am a beloved child of God with infinite potential. I am worthy of love. I love you Emily!” Please put your own name in there though. While I do enjoy adoring fans this is about you.

What is Betrayal Trauma | muchnessmama.com | Positive Affirmations | you are beloved | Child of God

Are you or a loved one suffering from Betrayal trauma? What more do you wish you knew about it? I’d love to see you over in my Muchness Mamas group on Facebook where you can discuss this and other topics in a group of supportive and understanding women.

 

Military Suicide- It isn’t Just About War

Lately I have been reflecting on my own military service as well as that of my husband. I joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school and served for eight years. My husband waited a little longer to join, he was a few years out of school, and served for 7.5 years. We met while serving and had our first two children together while on active duty. My husband is now currently serving in the National Guard.

We are both proud of our time in the service. We accomplished difficult things. We deployed to Iraq. We were part of something bigger than ourselves. We were willing to die for our country. This is all well and good, but what you don’t hear from today’s veterans, and what you probably don’t want to hear, is that there is a dark side to service.

The military is one of the most emotionally unwell places that I have ever seen. My time in the service was very dark both emotionally and spiritually. The decisions in my life that I most regret were a result of trying to fit in and be a part of the military culture. It was the polar opposite of the values I had been raised with. The incongruity between my actions and what I knew to be right caused me to struggle with depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.

anxiety, depression, military service, military suicide, suicide,

 

Did you know that roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day? Some articles will try to tell you that this is a trumped-up statistic as the majority of veterans are older. They say these veterans shouldn’t count because their reasons for suicide are the same as any other civilian of that age. Sorry “experts” I don’t buy into that. Military service affects you in a way that never leaves you. It is especially powerful if you have been in active combat. Just because you fight you demons off for years it that doesn’t mean that or that your suicide is now unrelated to those demons.

Why is it that mental issues like depression, anxiety, and even suicide are so common among military members? Well I can’t say it any better than my husband did on a recent Facebook post where he accepted a challenge to do 22 push-ups to raise awareness for veteran suicide:

I wanted to accept this challenge because what I can do to raise awareness is to talk about my experience in the active duty ranks of the military. If we want to see a reduction in suicides, we need to address the culture of the military that pressures service members to be supermen and women without feelings. We need to hold military leaders’ feet to the fire with the claim that they care about families. To the military, caring about families means spending money on them when it should mean creating an environment in which the family member who serves is not destroyed by the pressures of the job. We need to transform the culture that celebrates pornography, promiscuity, and alcoholism into one in which service members can feel it’s normal, okay, and healthy to seek help in overcoming problem behaviors. While service members do have access to chaplains and mental health professionals, they are often called names and counseled that their careers will suffer if they use those resources. Leaders don’t want their people to have problems, be weak, or discuss poor leadership with anyone outside the chain of command.

If you think military suicides are a problem, they are just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem is that the American military is the most mentally unhealthy, destructive place on the planet. Going after suicides can and should only lead to the discovery that the problem is much deeper, much bigger than gets reported in the news. If you want to solve this problem, you have to be committed to going all the way. So called “suicide awareness” campaigns are only a last-ditch effort to prevent the consummation of a tragedy that has been building for months and years in the minds of affected service members. Our young people suddenly leave families and friends, endure the pressures of basic training, and enter a world in which power-hungry, ego-tripping maniacal senior leaders bark orders ad nauseam with no (or feigned) regard for the well-being of their subordinates—to say nothing of the horrors of war many of them experience. After work, these young people live in a world where sex and alcohol are easy to find and seemingly limitless. With young people beginning their lives away from home this way—essentially living like college students with the added dangers of a high-stress job, less supervision, more freedom, and more money to spend—it is no wonder so many of them can’t handle it. I’m proud of my military service and what my brothers and sisters in arms have accomplished for this country, but there is much work to be done. Yes, suicides are a problem, but at the root of that problem is the destructive culture. The problem will continue until the root is cut.

About 3 years into my first enlistment I went to see a counselor to address my depression. I had one appointment. When requesting further appointments I was told I had to schedule them during non-work hours. My command would not excuse my absence from work for a 1 hour counseling appointment. The counselors business hours were the same as my work hours. No more counseling for me. When my husband once sought some anger management classes he was advised against it because it could negatively impact his career. It wasn’t until the cops were called and a judge ordered counseling that they helped him get it. When a young Marine I was in charge of took rat poisoning trying to end his life our Staff Sergeant said “If he really meant it he would have succeeded. Don’t worry about him. I’ll straighten him out.” He was then moved to another direct supervisor because they thought I was babying him by showing concern. I spent many hours sitting and talking with those who had nowhere else to turn with their problems. When I left the Corps a few Marines commented that I should be called Mama Smith instead of SSgt Smith. I was an oddity because of the level of true compassion I learned to show towards my Marines. While my junior Marines appreciated me my superiors didn’t like me at all. “They’re tough, they don’t need you treating them like sissies”. When a fellow Marine asked those sharing his changing area to remove a pornographic poster that was on the wall he was ignored and ridiculed for the rest of his time in the unit. I could go on and on.

The fact is that the Military is a dark place full of unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. If you don’t conform to their beliefs then you are an outcast, often ridiculed and unjustly persecuted. Add in the pressures of war and the effects of PTSD and it’s no surprise that so many veterans, especially those who were raised with much higher moral standards, are struggling with mental illness and suicide.

So what can we do about it. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to influence a culture change. What I can do is support those organizations who try to assist veterans overcome the problems that their service has created. At the top of my list is The Valhalla Project. The Valhalla Project is a 200-acre pilot property in the Ozark mountains with homesteading programs for post-9/11 military veterans. It is a retreat and reintegration facility for post-911 combat veterans and war zone civilian workers transitioning back into the civilian world. They work the land as a form of therapy to help deal with the trauma that they have experienced. One of the best ways to help them is to check out their critical needs wishlist on Amazon and send them a gift. You can also follow them on Facebook to be updated on any needs, and share their message with others. Direct donation via Paypal is also available on their blog.

Here are some other organizations who are fighting the mental health battle against veteran suicide:

Do you know a veteran or are you a veteran with mental health issues related to your service? Do you know of any additional resources for those who want to be part of the solution? Please share your stories and resources in the comments below. 

The 5 Love Languages- Understanding How We Give and Receive Love

Have you ever struggled with feeling like you are loved and appreciated in your marriage, parenthood, friendship, or other relationship? On the flip side have you ever felt like you were showing an overwhelming amount of love only to have someone tell you that they don’t feel appreciated? You might be dealing with a love language barrier. Have you heard of the five love languages before? You can learn all about them in the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, but here’s a little summary for you.

The Five Love Languages | muchnessmama.com | Quality Time | Words of Affirmation | Gifts | Physical Touch | Acts of Service | Relationship advice | marriage | Couples Therapy

A Summary of the Five Love Languages

The love languages are the ways in which we both give and receive love. They are physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. You both receive and give love through these languages. Pretty much everyone has 1-2 dominant languages. Some people speak the same language as they hear, while others speak and hear different languages. If you aren’t sure what your language is check out this quiz.

The Five Love Languages | muchnessmama.com | Quality Time | Words of Affirmation | Gifts | Physical Touch | Acts of Service | Relationship advice | marriage | Couples Therapy

Are You Speaking Your Loved Ones’ Language?

While knowing your own love language can be very insightful, it is also important to know what the dominant language is for those you love. Whether it’s a spouse, friend, or child if you really want to show them the most love possible you have to speak their language. What is an amazing gesture for you may fall flat if you do the same for a spouse. By not speaking in their language, or worse by punishing in their language, you can really inhibit their ability to feel loved. For example if you have a child who has the dominant love language of words of affirmation a critical statement can cut them far deeper than it may a different child. If your spouse’s love language is acts of service and you are constantly asking them to serve you without returning the favor then their love bank will go into the negative pretty quickly.

The Five Love Languages | muchnessmama.com | Quality Time | Words of Affirmation | Gifts | Physical Touch | Acts of Service | Relationship advice | marriage | Work Relationships

Can You Hear What Others Are Saying?

Even more important than learning to speak another language is learning to hear the language that they are speaking. As an acts of service person it is sometimes hard to feel love from my kids. I mean come on, how often do small children spontaneously clean the bathroom or fold the laundry? I need to learn to hear in the way that they do say I Love you to me. The hugs and kisses, the weeds (flowers) brought in from outside, the pictures they draw just for me. I have the choice to sit here and feel sorry for myself that no one appreciates me because if they did they’d help out with the housework more, or I can choose to feel loved by all the little things my kids do every day that say I love you to me. It’s easy to do with my kids. It’s harder to do with my husband. He’s a grown-up afterall. I should be able to tell him my love language and have him just give me what I want right? Nope. Just like learning Spanish Chinese, Russian or Arabic it takes work to learn to speak a new language, and some languages are harder for us than others. My husband is a words of affirmation adn physical touch kind of guy. I’ve had to learn to accept those things from him as signs of love as well as communicating to him when I really just need a service done for me.

The Five Love Languages | muchnessmama.com | Quality Time | Words of Affirmation | Gifts | Physical Touch | Acts of Service | Relationship advice | marriage | Friendship

Focus on Giving, Not Getting

As a child I was primarily a physical touch speaker adn receiver. I was constantly wanting to be hugged and cuddled. I always wanted to give my friends hugs. I liked to roughhouse. Hubs and I should make a perfect match then, right? Being as we’re both physical touch people. Nope. While discussing love languages a few days ago I had the realization that physical touch is actually second lowest on my list right now. What changed? I realized that it had dropped lower and lower as I felt like physical touch was taken from me rather than freely given. The touches between my husband and I had become focused on him taking what he needed to feel loved, not giving me what I needed. For example he would try to grab me for a big hug and kiss and let’s just hold each other for a few minutes when I was in the middle of cooking dinner and worried that things were going to burn if I didn’t attend to them immediately. I began to resent his physical touch rather than treasuring it. As we have been researching a lot about bonding behaviors he has started using physical touch as a way to give, not just take. Now he does things like give me a massage when my shoulders hurt from carrying a grumpy baby all day, brush my hair, simply sit close enough to touch shoulders at church. By focusing his physical touch on giving not only is he helping me feel more loved and respected, but he’s finding that I am much more ready and willing to speak his love language and engage in nourishing physical touch with him rather than trying to push him away out of irritation. On the flip side I also find that the more I go out of my way to serve my husband (my primary love language, acts of service) he naturally returns the favor. As we’ve each focused more on giving we’ve allowed the other to do the same and we are both finding our love buckets are much fuller than they were when we were both just trying to get what we needed.

The Five Love Languages | muchnessmama.com | Quality Time | Words of Affirmation | Gifts | Physical Touch | Acts of Service | Relationship advice | marriage | Parenting

Learning More About the Five Love Languages

Gary Chapman has written several books about this topic. Start off with the basic book “The Five Love Languages” which will guide you through each language and teach you how you can both give and receive in each language. After that there are several books that are directed at specific audiences such as military, children, singles, men, and teenagers. Dr. Chapman has also written several other great relationship books which you can view here. Don’t forget to check out the official Five Love Languages website and Dr. Chapman’s Facebook page as well.

Do you know what your love language is? How has knowing yours and loved ones love languages helped you or how do you think it can help you in the future? Come join the Muchness Mamas Facebook Community to join in on the conversation.

Weak Things Become Strong

We all have weaknesses. Character flaws, not yet achieved ambitions, desires to do or be better. We also all have strengths. A big part of self-love and self-care is being able to accept our current state of being while still pushing forward to always be better. With that intent we often quite vigorously hunt for our weaknesses, catalog them, make goals for change, collect accountability partners, then proceed to beat ourselves up over our perceived imperfections and lack of acceptable progress. We all know that God can make weak become strong. He can change and refine us to be more than we ever could on our own.

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What if we changed our perspective a bit? Maybe the things we consider weaknesses can actually be our greatest strengths WITHOUT being changed. Maybe with some things exactly who we are is exactly who God wants us to be.

I was first introduced to this idea when I read the book “Parenting the Ephraims Child” by Jaime Theler and Deborah Talmagde. In this book they talk about traits that are often considered weaknesses in children and challenges parents to reframe them and strengths in need of refinement. For example stubbornness is VERY annoying when your 3-year-old won’t stay in their bed. That same trait, however, can lead them to say no when they’re a teen and their friends offer them drugs or alcohol. A child who is very sensitive and always having hurt feelings can become incredibly compassionate and charitable. 

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Take a moment a jot down a list of your perceived weaknesses. If you’re anything like me things like eating healthy, exercise, yelling at the kids, etc. might be on your list. Some things really are just weaknesses that need to be improved on. What things are on your list that maybe could be strengths if just refined a little? I’ll give you one of mine as an example. I am a very easily distracted person. I have a hard time sitting and completing a task all in one go. I’ve started, stopped, and restarted this blog post three times now! I’ve always thought my lack of singular focus was a weakness. Then I started to really think about why I was so distracted. It was because I was acutely aware of what was going on around me. This awareness leads me to notice things that need to be done, and often allows me to bless others. I am aware of the woman sitting on the edge of the room alone who looks like she may need a friend. I’m aware of the person in a wheelchair coming up behind me who may appreciate having a door opened. I am aware that a child is struggling with a task that they haven’t thought to ask for help with. This awareness allows me to bless others. This awareness also made me a really good intelligence analyst in the Marine Corps. My husband really appreciates it when we are watching movies with complicated story lines and I can point out the small details he missed that pull everything together.

God made each of us unique. We all have different talents and abilities. There is no one else on this earth who has the exact same mix of strengths and weaknesses as you. You aren’t a mistake or an accident. He created each of us quite intentionally. I would challenge you to take some time this week and identify those things that you have perceived as weaknesses that could become your greatest strengths. Celebrate who you are instead of comparing to others and wishing that you had their talents. Now take your newfound strengths out into the world for a test drive and let me know how it goes.

Paparazzi accessories $5 "I am Strong" necklace | muchnessmama.com | self-love | self-care

Come join our Muchness Mamas Facebook community and share what weaknesses turned strengths you’ve identified. We’d love to hear your stories of how you have used them to bless yourself and others.

Filling Your Bucket with Drops of Awesome

If you are anything like me then most days you go to bed with with a mountain of regrets and a long list of to-do’s that never got done. It’s a little bit too easy to get lost in the negative self-talk of “I’m a failure!” What if instead every night you focused on counting your drops of awesome?

What are drops of awesome? Well they are all the successes, big and small, that you have every day. Stop to think about it and I bet your list gets pretty long, even longer than the failures. Each positive action is a tiny drop of awesome that you get to put in your Super Mom bucket. I bet you’ll find that you need to upgrade to a bigger bucket once you give yourself permission to recognize and celebrate them. Check out the book by Kathryn Thompson on Amazon.

Drops of awesome | MuchnessMama.com | self-care | self-love | you are enough

 

Collect Your Drops of Awesome

Did your kids get fed today? Drop of awesome!

Did you snuggle a sad child? Drop of awesome!

Did you count to 5 and talk calm when you wanted to yell? Drop of awesome!

Helped a child with a school assignment? Drop of awesome!

Pregnant or breastfeeding? Drop of awesome, or maybe ten!

Created something just for yourself? Drop of awesome!

Mopped the floor, that has been dirty for a week or two? Drop of awesome!

Put on real clothes AND brushed your hair? Drop of awesome!

It would be really easy to look at all these moments and say “Suzie homemaker NEVER feeds her kids cereal!” or “Why should I be proud that I procrastinated the dishes until I ran out and had to use paper plates for the third meal in a row?” or “I’m so selfish for ignoring my kids for 5 minutes!” That kind of negative thinking can not only destroy you, but it makes it even harder to succeed tomorrow. YOU ARE ENOUGH!! 

I am enough | muchnessmama.com | self care | self love | drops of awesome | supermom

Focus on the Positive

I have a challenge for you. Get yourself one of those little click counter things. Every day for the next week after you get it carry it around and give yourself a click each time you collect a drop of awesome. At the end of the day write down a few of them in your journal. At the end of one week I bet you will be amazed at how much focusing on your awesome seriously improved your mood and self worth.

YOU ARE AWESOME!!

Why not start here and now collecting your drops? Head on over to our Facebook Community and wave your brag flag by telling us all about today’s drops of awesome.

You Don’t Have to Enjoy Every Minute of Motherhood

“The time will pass so fast. Just enjoy every minute!”

I call big fat BULL$***!!

You Don't Have to Enjoy Every Minute | muchnessmama.com | motherhood is hard | self-care | self love |

Are you seriously telling me that I should enjoy rinsing poop out of my three-year-old’s underpants? I should be whistling a happy tune while scrubbing the make-up off my walls? I should be in the throes of euphoria while repeating “JUST PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!” for the tenth time when we are now ten minutes late getting out the door? Or do you think I should be laughing through every moment my baby screamed and there was nothing I could do to comfort him?

Nope. I don’t buy it. Life is full of all sorts of emotions, and none of them are bad, shameful, or to be avoided. Stop telling moms to stuff their feelings!

Instead let’s tell moms that it’s ok to feel however you feel, this too will pass, and everything will be ok.

Your nipples hurt every time that little chomper needs to eat and it sucks.

Your baby will stop crying eventually and you are not a failure if you feel like ripping your ears off while you wait.

Your hormones are totally out of whack and your emotions may not make sense, get some drugs if you need them!

Lack of sleep is the pits! Being a Mombie is miserable. It’s ok to take a nap instead of washing the dishes and serve dinner on paper plates.

Just don’t bother repainting the walls, they’ll just color on them again. Sorry, you won’t have anything nice that stays that way until you have no more toddlers.

Waiting it out is sometimes the best you can do. You’re still a rockstar.

Toddlers asking the same question for the ninth time are very annoying. It’s ok to be irritated, just try not to be mean when you tell them to please just stop talking!

You don't Have to Enjoy Every Minute | muchnessmama.com | toddler tantrums | motherhood is hard
Mommy took the bag of marshmallows away after she worked so hard to climb up to where mommy thought they were out of reach.

It’s ok not to worry about the dead cockroach on the floor before taking a picture to show your husband (and all of social media too) just how much your day is totally sucking.

Give yourself permission to hate this moment. Cry through it if you need to. Get out for a bit if that’s what it takes. Go ahead and throw that underwear in the trash because you just can’t handle washing one more pair. Eat some chocolate while hiding in your closet. Then pull up your big girl britches and get back to work. Because it is work. It’s rewarding and fulfilling, but it’s still work. It’s going to be ok.

Feeding your child can become a joyful bonding experience, even if it’s because you switched to a bottle.

Your baby will finally smile with tears in their eyes and completely melt your heart.

Hormones will balance and emotions will stabilize.

You will eventually have more time to sleep than you know what to do with.

Some day you can have white walls and carpet if that’s your desire without danger of markers grape juice destroying them.

You’ll make it. You’ll still be a rockstar. You’ll miss those sticky little monsters, but you won’t miss every single moment, and that’s ok.

What are your favorite, and least favorite, parts of being a mom? Come join the Muchness Mamas Facebook community and let’s chat about it! 

 

Stop Stuffing- There are No Bad Emotions

One of the biggest lies that society tells us is that some emotions are not ok.  We need to just get rid of these so-called bad emotions as soon as possible.

“Don’t cry”

“Don’t let him get to you!”

“Don’t waste your time being angry”

“Just get over it!”

“Toughen up!”

“Choose to be happy!”

There are No "Bad" Emotions | muchnessmama.com | negative emotions | controlling your feelings | stuffing emotions | healthy emotions | emotional health

Believing these lies has turned me into a chronic stuffer. The problem is that stuffed feelings don’t fizzle out. They just grow bigger and bigger until they explode in a big, messy, damaging, chaotic way. I’m walking around like an active volcano. Nobody knows precisely when the top will pop, but we all know it’s going to happen at any time!

Stuffed Emotions Lead to Explosions

In marriage it looks something like this. He didn’t fill the car up with gas on the way home, it’s ok I can do it at this ridiculously inconvenient time and be late to my meeting. (smoke starts leaking a bit) He said something very hurtful. It’s ok I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way I won’t say anything. (maybe the ground gives a little tremble) He didn’t call when he was running late AGAIN. It’s ok we all make mistakes. (smoke is getting a bit heavier now) He spent money we didn’t have on something we didn’t need. It’s ok, he earns the money so he should be able to do what he wants. (now the ground is really shaking). “OH MY GOODNESS WHY DO YOU NEED THE MUSIC SO FLIPPING LOUD. DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT MY EARDRUMS MUCH LESS MY SANITY!!! YOU KNOW I HATE LOUD MUSIC. YOU ARE SO BLEEPING INSENSITIVE. I CAN’T BELIEVE I MARRIED SUCH A SELFISH JERKFACE! WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH. I KNOW YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ME AT ALL. YOU’RE JUST PRETENDING TO LOVE ME SO I WON’T LEAVE YOU!!”

Ok maybe it’s not always quite that dramatic, but you get the point.

Embrace the Negative Emotions

Well what if we learned to embrace those so-called bad emotions? What if as a society we could give each other permission to just feel what we feel without qualifiers or judgment? Research actually shows that there are a lot of negative consequences for stuffing emotions such as emotional pain and isolation, headaches, heart disease and cancer! There are also positive benefits to embracing our negative emotions. People who are able to recognize, communicate and deal with their negative emotions are more resilient in life, overall more positive people, and tend to live longer.

Now embracing negative emotions doesn’t mean that you wallow in self-pity, shame, doubt or fear. What it does mean is that you acknowledge the truth of how you feel, communicate it to others, then use it to propel you into positive solutions.

There are No "Bad" Emotions | muchnessmama.com | negative emotions | controlling your feelings | stuffing emotions | healthy emotions | emotional health
Feelings are natural. What you do with them is a choice. ~Mel Robbins

Recognizing Emotions

The first step in emotional health is being able to recognize what emotions you are feeling. Anger is probably the most easy to identify, but it is usually only a secondary emotion. Anger is usually a result of fear, shame, guilt, disappointment, etc. Being able to recognize the true underlying emotion is crucial to addressing it. In my example above not only was I feeling pent-up emotions from stressors I hadn’t discussed with my husband I was also feeling a deep sense of disrespect and fear. When my needs have been communicated (I REALLY hate loud noise to the point it feels like someone is pounding nails into my brain) and they are going unmet I feel disrespected. In combination with that I have a fear that disrespect=no love and no love means he is going to leave me. By addressing those real emotions I can sidestep the anger and simply talk to him about my hurt and fear.

Give Yourself Permission to Feel How You Feel

Remind yourself that there is no such thing as a wrong or bad emotion. Everyone has them. They are an essential part of our make-up as human beings. They serve an important function in helping us course correct our lives and protect us from dangerous or unhealthy situations. Give yourself permission to lean into the feelings, explore them, and understand them instead of running from them. Seek to understand the deeper emotions and situations that have led you to where you are. Have a good cry. Punch a pillow. Go do some target practice. Go for a walk. Write in your journal. Take time to allow yourself to just feel what you feel and be ok with it.

Communicating Emotions

Next you have to be able to communicate what you are feeling. This is the hard part for us chronic stuffers. By communicating our feelings we are opening ourselves up to all sorts of scary reactions. We may be judged, rejected, dismissed, etc. It is important to have a safe person or people who you can talk to about how you feel without fear of negative fallout. If the person who caused the hurt isn’t safe then reach out to a friend, family member, or support group for help. Even if a person isn’t currently super safe you can create a safe environment for emotional sharing, even if it’s something you’ve never done before. My husband and I were able to do this with a therapist who was trained in emotionally focused therapy. Of course it takes two to tango and sometimes you just have to accept that the person will never be safe and put up your boundaries.

Reframing Negatives Into Positives

Now it’s time to take those uncomfortable feelings and use them to actually help us feel better! All this takes is a little bit fo reframing and focusing on moving forward. Guilt or shame can become compassion and caring as we try to make restitution for our wrongs. Anger can become courage and determination as you work on correcting the injustice that you see. Fear can bring you focus and alertness in dealing with the problems you face. Boredom can lead to periods of creativity. Frustration can propel you to make a change. Jealousy can be turned into admiration and create feelings of respect and friendly competition.

Allow the Good and Bad to Co-exist

The number one thing I am still working on is allowing my negative feelings to coexist with my positive ones. Have you seen the movie Inside Out? If not go watch it now.  I’ll wait…… OK well at least watch this scene:

The thing that makes the memories beautiful is allowing the sadness (and any other bad emotion) we feel to propel us into greater connection. Ultimately the entire purpose of this life is for us to connect intimately with each other. To be part of a family, biological or one you create. We can’t connect without vulnerability. We can’t be known by others unless we know ourselves. We can’t know ourselves if we aren’t willing to feel the full range of emotions that is present in every day.

I would love to hear your thoughts on stuffing, “bad” emotions, and using negative feelings to propel us into positive directions. Comment below or join the community on Facebook.

The Muchness Mama | Slay the jabberwock | Rediscover wonderland | self care | self love