Dealing with Family Drama During the Holidays

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You’re heading home for the holidays and cautiously looking forward to spending time with your family. Hoping that maybe this year will be different. Maybe things will go smoothly and you and your family will be able to keep things light and get along. Then while you’re home have a simple conversation with your mom, and before you know it she’s said something that makes you feel like a helpless 5 year old and you want to crawl under your chair. Family drama can involve anything from tense interactions and arguments to navigating a family member’s ongoing drinking problem and hurtful outbursts, to facing the daunting experience of going to spend time with family members who were abusive.

For some people the holidays are a wonderful, uncomplicated time spent with family. However, for many of us, spending extended time with family during the holidays can be complicated; there are some aspects that we enjoy and others that we dread. Much of the conflict and and drama we experience when we return home arises from unresolved issues that began long ago. Our visits home are made more difficult when we haven’t sorted through these complicated dynamics. Continue reading “Dealing with Family Drama During the Holidays”

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Healing Childhood Wounds

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I saw Moonlight last weekend; it is a powerful, poignant, and nuanced movie about Black male development, masculinity, love, and sexuality. One aspect of the movie that moved me to tears was the depiction of the trauma the main character experienced in relationships with his mother and peers and how this trauma influenced him as a child and as an adult. Inspired by Moonlight, this post is dedicated to discussing childhood wounds and providing suggestions for how to heal them.

I was blessed to grow up in a stable, loving family and I still came out of childhood with some wounds. As a kid it felt like my parents were a unit and that I was on the outside of their strong marriage. Also, because my parents were so successful, I believed that they were perfect and that I needed to be perfect in order to be loved. In addition to my experiences at home, I frequently felt like an outsider as one of few black kids at school and didn’t quite fit in with my black friends at church. Loneliness was a frequent companion. As a child and teenager I adapted to this combination of experiences by working to try to get people to like me. I subconsciously felt that I was unlovable and spent a lot of energy trying to do things (giving my time, energy, support) in order to be loved. I guess it’s no surprise that now my job involves spending most of my time helping people to feel better about themselves and to not feel alone. I carried the wounds from my childhood into my young adult years and therapy was what helped me to heal and let go of these wounds. Continue reading “Healing Childhood Wounds”

Black Women and Stress

IMG_0372BeingĀ at the intersection of blackness and womanhood comes with unique stressors and pressures. One important step towards positive mental health is acknowledging the things that make life more difficult for us and then engaging in coping strategies to address this stress. This post will share an overview of unique challengesĀ that black women contend with; many of these topics will be explored in depth in future blog posts. I grouped these stressors into a few common categories and include suggested coping mechanisms. Continue reading “Black Women and Stress”