Aaron and I co-wrote Write To Be Heard after meeting in the low-residency MFA at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Since he has taken down his website for now, I wanted to make sure this useful piece is readily available: Some time ago, I sent in an early draft of the first book of my Hand of… Continue reading GUEST POST: Sneaky Prose Killers by Aaron D. Gansky
My father was born 118 years ago today. He’s been dead for close to four decades. My research for my trauma memoir, BAGGAGE CLAIM, coupled with the racial (re)awakening after George Floyd’s death, compelled me to take a deeper look at his life as a Jamaican immigrant in the United States. I learned that my… Continue reading My Dad As A White Man
Yesterday was a hard day. I was acquainted with one of the sixty women who came forward about Bill Cosby and have some idea how difficult it was for her and how much it cost her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Before the trial but after a news conference with the other women, I saw her… Continue reading Women and Children First
I am not the same person I was when the pandemic began. I used to be a Catholic. It’s easy to get caught up in your own life and enjoy the music, friendships, serving, and more in a faith community, but when I saw yet another priest caught not only with child porn, but child torture… Continue reading I Am Not Who I Was Pre-Pandemic
As a childhood trauma survivor, I learned some years ago that we often hold our breath. It’s a way of not feeling when so much of what we feel is bad. It’s a way of disconnecting from our body because our bodies were hurt and abused. For me, it was due to incest, terror, humiliation… Continue reading Asphyxiating Toxic Cycles
Is it time to give up all hope that this pandemic and its mandatory pause might help us build a better society? Seems like it. We’re literally coming out of this pandemic guns blazing in the United States. 45 mass shootings in 30 days. Then today, Kenosha and Austin, with Austin mere hours after Ted… Continue reading Traumas Public and Private: What if the Inner Child Grew Up?
The Green Bench Originally published on September 14, 2010 by The Citron Review, nominated for Pushcart, and adapted into an award-winning short film in 2016 by Diane Sherlock Listen to him barking in the night. Fear shifts on the bed next to you, hogging the covers. Stare at the ceiling and wonder what to do. Forget… Continue reading Flash Fiction
On January 6, 2021, Georgia moved us closer to democracy than autocracy. On January 6, 2021, the Confederate flag flew in the United States Capitol. On January 6, 2021, there was an attempted coup to subvert the election certification process in advance of Joe Biden taking office on January 20. Eleven Senators, led by Ted… Continue reading Ignore The Shadow At Your Peril
Every year since 9/11, I’ve paid tribute to these two men who died in the Twin Towers. I nearly skipped this year because I’ve been focused on the numbers of Americans who’ve died in the pandemic. Covid deaths dwarf those lost in the attacks, over 200,000 to date, but that doesn’t negate what happened 19… Continue reading Tragedy upon tragedy
For the past few years, I’ve focused on healing my relationship to money and of course the initial reason is never the reason. Money is a symptom of a self-love/care/esteem issues. It’s meant to flow – currency after all – and we experience problems individually and as a society when it doesn’t. In the drill… Continue reading Mining During A Pandemic
I’ve been thinking about 9/11 and Covid-19 and the difference between the deaths of each of my parents. My father was gone within 24 hours from a heart attack and my mother had a long slow farewell until she died of congestive heart failure and stroke at 90 (my grandmother’s was even longer one at… Continue reading Tragedy, trauma, turning
All over the world, we are seeing what it’s like when people withdraw into their homes. Some are homeschooling and parenting, some working full or part time, some having to do both. Many have lost their jobs. Some are alone, some with roommates they may or may not know well, others with family. An unknown… Continue reading Love – and don’t sideline – one another: CPTSD in the time of SARS-CoV-2
I’m calm. That might be annoying if you’re not during this pandemic. I’m trying to work out why I am and how that can help others who aren’t. First, why am I calm? I grew up with a lot of abuse: incest, ridicule, public humiliation and so on, primarily from my mother. As a result,… Continue reading Maybe my CPTSD can help you in the time of COVID-19
from Jasmin Lee Cori: The message associated with this is “I’m here for you.” When you really take that in, then even in adulthood you will reference Mother as the place you can always come back to for refueling, comfort, or support. When the world beats you down, when your marriage falls apart, when your… Continue reading Part 10. The Genesis of My CPTSD: Mother As Home Base
From Jasmin Lee Cori: With separateness comes danger. In the best of circumstances, Mother is there providing protection. A very young child often senses Mother as all-powerful. She shatters the darkness, shoos away noisy children and barking dogs. If the mother consistently protects the child from intrusive and overwhelming stimuli, the child feels safe. Mother… Continue reading Part 9. The Genesis of My CPTSD: Mother as Protector
This year, I’m including a piece from my co-author for Write To Be Heard, Aaron Gansky on his experience that day: On September 11th, 2001, I was still in college. To save money, I lived at home with my parents, and commuted. I didn’t have class that day, so I took the opportunity to sleep… Continue reading Remembering 9/11
From Jasmin Lee Cori: Here Mother is teacher not simply of some isolated subject but of a much bigger curriculum. She orients the child to successfully living in the world. She teaches her child how to get along with others, how to make good decisions, and how to manage time, meet responsibilities, and pursue goals.… Continue reading Part 8. The Genesis of My CPTSD: Mother as Mentor
Mother As Cheerleader From Jasmin Lee Cori: A mother may have difficulty cheerleading for several reasons. She may be so undermothered and unsupported herself that she doesn’t know about cheerleading, she may be more focused on her own needs for support, she may be unaware of her child’s needs, or she may be threatened by… Continue reading Part 7. The Genesis of my CPTSD: Mother as Cheerleader
Mother as Mirror From Jasmin Lee Cori: A mother’s role in providing reflection is one of her most important. It is how children feel known and come to know themselves. Mirroring happens both verbally and nonverbally, and there are several levels to it. The first is one where children feel contacted, met. When a child… Continue reading Part 6. The Genesis of my CPTSD: Mother as Mirror
Mother As Nurturer From The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori [affiliate link]: Since a child’s first language is touch, much will be communicated by the mother’s holding and handling of the infant as well as by the way she continues to touch her growing child. Does the touch communicate real caring and love,… Continue reading Part 5. The Genesis of my CPTSD: Mother as Nurturer
Mother as Modulator goes hand in hand with the First Responder role, this time, teaching the child emotional regulation that in time becomes self-regulation. From Jasmin Lee Cori: When Mother is modulator, she helps us transition from negative emotional experiences to positive ones. One way she does this is by first empathizing with what is… Continue reading Part 4. The Genesis of my CPTSD: Mother as Modulator
Mother As First Responder From The Emotionally Absent Mother (affiliate link) A very important role that secures Mother in her role as place of attachment is what I call Mother as First Responder. The “first responders” in our modern world are firefighters and police officers, the folks you call when there is an emergency. Imagine… Continue reading Part 3. The Genesis of my C-PTSD: Mother as First Responder
Photo by Emma Frances Logan on Unsplash I realized that stating “The Genesis of CPTSD” in the title for this series was open to misinterpretation. This is very much about how mine started and so I made that adjustment. Your mileage may vary. Mother as Place of Attachment From The Emotionally Absent Mother (affiliate link):… Continue reading Part 2. The Genesis of My C-PTSD – Mother as Place of Attachment
In her book, The Emotionally Absent Mother, Jasmin Lee Cori cites ten faces of a good mother, which I’m considering as I finish writing my trauma memoir. Her list of ten are Source, Place of Attachment, First Responder, Modulator, Nurturer, Mirror, Cheerleader, Mentor, Protector, and Home Base. Unfortunately, my mother – as her mother and… Continue reading Part 1. The Genesis of My C-PTSD – Mother as Source: The Hostile Womb
A simple idea that can lead to big payoffs. Every venue with children needs to be aware of and offer solutions for the fallout from childhood trauma.
Big thanks to Jen Pastiloff and The Manifest-Station for publishing my latest piece, The Inedible Footnote of Child Abuse. Please go pre-order Jen’s book, On Being Human. From Penguin Books: ABOUT ON BEING HUMANAn inspirational memoir about how Jennifer Pastiloff’s years of waitressing taught her to seek out unexpected beauty, how hearing loss taught her to listen fiercely, how… Continue reading New piece up at The Manifest-Station
At the end of the video is a questionnaire, a shortened version of the one on his website. If you have a high ACE score, you’ll score high on this one. But if your ACE score is low, but you still have the nagging sense that something was off, this is useful.
Last week I received the news that a dear friend had a stroke and was not found for days. This morning I learned that she passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon. So, a pause here and hopefully I can resume posting next week. But for now I grieve. If you are so inclined, please pray for… Continue reading A pause
When my kids were little and we went to the local park to play, there were almost always mothers who allowed their children, notably sons, to hit them. Oh, they’re only two or three years old, what’s the harm? The harm is patterns. The harm is not setting boundaries. The harm is allowing bad behavior… Continue reading Breaking Generational Cycles: Stop it!
Many people who were abused as children experience pain symptoms, either acutely or chronically. Most common are headaches and back pain. Now it is suggested that in both cases, patients who experience migraines and/or chronic low back pain be screened for child abuse. My experience with pain as part of the fallout stems from CSA… Continue reading What trauma does to you: pain
Emotions tend to run high around the idea of forgiveness when it comes to child abuse and especially child sexual abuse (CSA). Understandably so. I am not advocating that you forgive your abuser(s), especially if you are in the early stages of coming to terms with what happened to you. There are so many things… Continue reading Breaking Generational Cycles: Forgiveness
We’re always tense, always on guard, those of us with CPTSD. Braced. Tight. Clenched. Muscle armoring goes along with hypervigilance. The body is perpetually preparing for flight, preparing to fight, or stuck in freeze. There’s often pain when the muscles are constantly tensed and overworked. There can also be body imbalances, fibromyalgia, and breathing problems… Continue reading What trauma does to you: Muscle Armoring
Here are 22 components of self-love that was published anonymously in the UK a few years ago. I edited some of the definitions because I don’t believe it’s about worshipping yourself, but rather breaking old trauma patterns and silencing old voices in order to learn how to value your unique self and treat yourself with… Continue reading What is self-love?
Hypervigilance is what it sounds like – a constant scanning of the environment, faces, postures, avenues of escape, and more. It feels like you are in constant danger and you need to plan for escape in case things take a turn for the worse, or the unexpected. It is the feeling of permanently walking on eggshells.… Continue reading What Trauma Does to You: Hypervigilance
This will be painful. These abusive behaviors travel through families until someone makes the decision to feel the pain. That is part of stopping the cycle. You will survive it and a good trauma therapist or group can make it easier to bear. Consult with a psychiatrist about an anti-depressant. I found that bupropion (generic… Continue reading Tips for Breaking Generational Cycles, Part Four
The hippocampus is part of the limbic system. It is roughly the shape of a seahorse and, as with the amygdalae, there is one in each temporal lobe in the middle bottom of the brain and they are about the size of your thumbs. Stress affects the amygdala,the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, often with… Continue reading What Trauma Does To You: The Hippocampus
Look for patterns around ages and dates. From my own experience researching my memoir, things recur on anniversaries, in patterns, at certain times of the year, or at certain ages. I was three when I was molested. My mother was three when her parents divorced and her little sister died and so on. This is… Continue reading Tips for breaking generational cycles, Part Three
Complex PTSD results from prolonged or chronic traumatic exposure as is the case with child abuse. For a child, there’s no viable escape and the people who are supposed to love, protect, and care for the child… don’t. Most child abuse includes just enough carrots – good times – to be utterly confusing. The good… Continue reading Series: What Trauma Does To You, The Amygdala
Changes are high that if you were abused as a child, that person is or was a narcissist. Understand what you’re dealing with in order to to stop the cycle. After you’ve been in therapy and with the advice of a good trauma therapist and your partner on board, tell your children the truth when… Continue reading Tips for breaking generational cycles, Part Two
“As it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.” – Brené Brown That just isn’t true. We can. I am only recently practicing self-compassion, but was taught early in life to be compassionate toward others. I felt it deeply as a child thanks to my parents and… Continue reading Brené Brown is wrong about compassion.
These suggestions are from the perspective of stopping the cycle with the next generation in mind. If you do not have children, these remain useful for your own well-being and those around you. Acknowledge that an unhealthy generational cycle exists. Whoa! You’ve already broken denial!! Celebrate that! Identify the cycle and pay attention that there… Continue reading Tips for breaking generational cycles, Part One
With an exaggerated startle response, if I see someone out of the corner of my eye or someone comes up on me unexpectedly, I jump, sometimes shriek, my heart hammers, and my breathing is rapid and shallow. I feel like I’m jolted into taking flight, and just as fast, I can’t move and freeze. It… Continue reading Series: What trauma does to you – The Exaggerated Startle Reflex
My award-winning short film about a mother coping with the onset of her son’s schizophrenia is back on YouTube and Vimeo. Thank you so much for your support.
The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine is having an excellent free series on the brain and trauma that includes Peter Levine (Walking the Tiger, Healing Trauma, In An Unspoken Voice, and more) and Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score). Replays for the first session are today and tomorrow.… Continue reading This is your brain on trauma
I’ve been in contact with many trauma survivors the past few years as I plumbed the depths of my mother’s sickness. I’ve listened to their stories, told my own, given and received advice. There are things that arrive as healing progresses. Growing up with a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder, meant living with serious issues… Continue reading Series: What trauma does to you
The news out of Alaska shows that the public outrage over Brock Turner’s light sentence (and similar cases) made no difference. It’s like they’re doubling down on letting these creeps off the hook. “Judge Michael Corey accepted the deal, noting the outcome of the case could be described as ‘breathtaking.’” Interesting word choice. Justin Schneider was let… Continue reading Breathtaking
Lawrence Wright notes that we are forgetting pre-9/11 America and the way we were. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning The Looming Tower. It was made into a well-reviewed Hulu series with Jeff Daniels, Bill Camp, and Tahar Rahim, which I have not yet seen. More about the day itself here. Few of the original 2,000 bloggers are… Continue reading Remembering 9/11
I’ve lived and researched and thought about breaking unhealthy generational cycles of sexual abuse in families. Now another wave of abuse in the Catholic Church has surfaced, this time in Pennsylvania (warning: graphic sexual content). I’m a convert (RCIA ’99) and still new to the Church when it came to light in Los Angeles around… Continue reading More generational cycles to break…
When the Trump administration began to separate children from parents at the border, I knew some of those children would be sexually abused. It’s happened. Inevitably. And to a six-year-old girl. Any time you isolate children from the adults who love and protect them, disaster is inevitable. It doesn’t matter if it’s being done by… Continue reading Speak up
Woke up to the sad news that Anthony Bourdain killed himself, also by hanging as Kate Spade, Alexander McQueen, L’Wren Scott, and Robin Williams all did. Another. As a professional reminded me yesterday, it’s not the depression that’s the dangerous point as much as it is that moment on the way back up that they have… Continue reading Another suicide
Another wealthy and famous person is dead from suicide. How much depression or Kate Spade’s mental health played a part is speculative until those closest to her decide whether and how much they want to discuss it. And how much they knew. Someone with depression can be an expert at appearing fine. She was… Continue reading The Link Between Child Abuse, Depression, & Mental Health
Easter reference intended. I finished a draft of my memoir and it’s out to beta readers (think beta testers) until my editor is ready the end of June. Beta readers offer general feedback so you get an idea whether the book works and to what degree. The next phase is rewriting, which I generally enjoy… Continue reading It is finished!
Another predator is exposed. This time it’s Harvey Weinstein. Stars are making statements. Some of these are thoughtful and reflective. Glenn Close says she’d heard the rumors and writes, “Harvey has always been decent to me, but now that the rumors are being substantiated, I feel angry and darkly sad.” Her entire statement is worth reading in… Continue reading What’s brave?
Annual repost and part of Project 2996 Robert Halligan Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 15, 2001. Robert Halligan, Age: 59 Residence: Basking Ridge, NJ Two WTC, 99th Floor Aon Corporation, Vice President SHOPPING ACROSS THE POND To a proud Englishman, America is a country of vexing insufficiencies. Its supermarkets know not of… Continue reading 9/11: 16 years ago. Never Forget: part of Project 2,996
3 years ago. He’s helped so many of us with depression, etc.
The essence of my memoir in poetry. The Rising Phoenix Review Mother of All Bombs Last night’s nightmare ripped my family apart flesh from bone forcing me to choose my life or theirs. Waking up to a family intact I couldn’t shake the feeling that in an instant it could all implode. By Noriko Nakada… Continue reading Mother of All Bombs By Noriko Nakada
Happy to announce that The Green Bench is Short of the Week on the LA Shorts Fest site and a Staff Pick. If you have not had a chance to see it, you’ve got one week before it goes back behind the password curtain! We have more festivals to hear from this year before we make… Continue reading We are Short of the Week!
Really proud to be part of Drunk Monkeys special issue on sexual abuse. They have a link at their site to donate to RAINN. RAINN’s top donors will match your donations up to $40,000. Let’s do some good, people! You will get a sense of my memoir from my piece. I will put the title in… Continue reading Drunk Monkeys special issue