The Voices Of & For Parenting Surivors

The Stories that Define Us


Today we reached a milestone in the Trigger Points Community. We now have over 1000 followers on Facebook. I can’t even begin to tell you what that means to us. One year after starting this project, we can now unequivocally say that we are not alone.


Being a survivor can be so lonely. Before that fateful moment that I read Dawn’s article Raising a Girl as a Survivor, I felt so alone. Who could I share my stories with? Who could I speak my truth to? I had spent so long swallowing my words that my throat hurt. I knew I couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t keep pretending to be normal. I was just too damn much work. But after a lifetime of lessons I was accustomed to not speaking up. And it has not been easy to start again. My throat was raw and scratchy at first from lack of use. I was afraid, so afraid, of what people would say. Of exposing my raw, vulnerable places.

But over this last year I have turned to you, my Trigger Points community, on the hard days. On the days when this parenting gig has worn me down and abuse triggers have left me feeling broken. And when I turned to you in my broken-ness, you did not mock me, or pity me, or ignore me. You held me up. You said “Me too” and “You will get through this day”. And I knew that I was not alone. I knew that I could speak my stories because I had found my tribe.

As we have approached the release date of November 18th, I have been reeling. I have felt such a range of emotions: pride, fear, love, gratitude, nervousness. While I went through round after round of revisions on the manuscript I felt overwhelmed with anxiety, like I was holding my breath until the final draft was uploaded. I reached out to fellow survivor and Trigger Points contributor, life coach Keri-Anne Livingstone. And she held a space for me to work through all of this. She asked me to make a list of all the things I am saying YES to and all the things I am saying NO to with this work. So I wanted to share that list with you here.

I am saying YES to honesty, integrity, visibility, the power to make positive change, the freedom to be who I truly am in all areas of my life, and owning my story.

I am saying NO to hiding, pretending, fear of my own power, taking on other people’s pain and drama, and doing work that doesn’t fulfill me.

Being part of this community has been the most fulfilling work of my life. I am so humbled and awed by you, my fellow survivors. Together, we are re-writing our stories. Together we are creating a safe space to de-stigmatize these stories. Together, we are breaking the cycle.


The Voices Of & For Parenting Surivors

Anthology submissions update

So our initial deadline has passed, and we want to thank everyone who has sent in their submissions for your bravery and your trust in us. Dawn and I have been looking through the submissions, and we have been talking about our vision for this project as a whole. We have decided on a few changes that we want to make, so here is what we are thinking at this point:

1. We are extending the deadline for submissions to May 31

We are still looking for more diversity in our submissions, and especially would like to see some submissions from Dads. So we are going to keep working to spread the word, and if you can help us with that, please let us know.For those who submitted by the Jan 31 deadline, we will still be getting back to you by March 31 to let you know if your submission will be included.

2. We are widening our criteria for submissions

Initially we had specified that we were looking for survivors of childhood abuse. While that will still remain the main focus, we are now opening the submission process to any parent who is an abuse survivor. Rape and domestic abuse survivors have the same experience of working through triggers while parenting as those who survived childhood abuse, and we believe that their stories are an important part of this project as well.

3. We are now accepting submissions of poetry as well as essays. If you have already submitted an essay, but would like to submit a poem as well, you are more than welcome to do that.

4. We are specifying more details about what we do and do not want in submissions

Our focus for this anthology is on healing from abuse. Our triggers are windows into those places inside us that still need our loving attention. As such, we want the focus to be on the here and now, the issues that come up for you as you parent  your kids. We do not want to focus on any specific details of the abuse itself unless it is directly related to one of those triggers, and is necessary to tell that story.

How can one raise a child without incorporating the ideas that she/he was taught and saw as a child? We all want to break the cycle of abuse, but if we don’t pay attention to the triggers, we miss the clues on how to do that.

What are your triggers?
How do they come up?
What part of you is still hurting, that the trigger is bringing attention to?
How have you or are you healing through parenting?

Thank you to everyone who has been following along as this project develops. It is a big learning curve for both Dawn and I, but then again, we are doing something groundbreaking, so that is bound to be the case. Keep on joining in the conversation, and keep on sharing as much as possible about Trigger Points.

Our Stories Matter.


The Voices Of & For Parenting Surivors

Staring at the Sun

I would like to dedicate this post to all the brave people who are sending in submissions to Trigger Points. Thank you for sharing your stories with us, we are so incredibly grateful to you.


Staring at the sun

When you are small

Your mother tells you

Not to look at the sun


For fear of blindness

Looking back in time

At these hazy memories

Is much the same

One cannot look directly,

One must slide their gaze

Just slightly to the side

Or just below

Much like a giant ball

Of fire in the sky

These memories have

Weight and depth and gravity

And can burn you

If you get too close

So you dance around them

Describe moments in their absence

Instead of presence

Seeking understanding

And some form of acceptance

If only in abstraction

It’s a fine line

This tight-rope walk

Of delving in

But not too far

Digging down

But not too deep

Staring at the sun

With our shades on

–Joyelle Brandt

The Voices Of & For Parenting Surivors

Survivor Songs


Dawn and I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined this little community. And what better way than to say it with music? So we have made a little mixtape list to show our love for all of you here at Trigger Points. Thank you for sharing your stories with us, for liking our posts, for sharing our posts with your friends. We are making a difference here, and we are so excited for all that will come in 2015!

The Trigger Points Official #SurvivorSongs playlist:

Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall

Shake It Out – Florence and the Machine

Brave – Sara Barielles

Brand New Kind of Me – Alicia Keys

Superwoman – Alicia Keys

Warrior – Demi Lovato

Fly – Niki Minaj

Buildings and Bridges – Ani Difranco

Out of Habit (live version) – Ani Difranco

I’m No Herione – Ani Difranco

Break the Cycle – You and Me

Secrets – Mary Lambert

Sum of Our Parts – Mary Lambert

Be OK – Ingrid Michaelson

Read All About It – Emeli Sande

Merry Christmas All! See you in the new year.

Love from Joyelle and Dawn

The Voices Of & For Parenting Surivors

Thank you Huffington Post

We are so thrilled to have been featured on Huffington Post this week, with Dawn’s original piece of writing that started this project.

2014-12-15-raisingagirl-thumbHere is an excerpt from the piece:

“Momma, Can I put on some makeup?”

I tell my daughter she is beautiful without it, but “Sure honey, what’s the harm?”

Internally, I am struggling with ideas of beauty and sexuality and safety and how all of this will play out in her life. I can’t help but want to tell my daughter “no,” she can’t wear makeup; and in the years ahead of her, “no,” she can’t wear anything that sexualizes her in any way. I want to protect her as much as I can against catching the attention of a predator — even knowing that idea is a farce. Makeup and fashion statements have nothing to do with victimization. Predators don’t look for lipstick and short skirts. They look and wait for opportunity, usually within surroundings that are comfortable to a child.

At her age, I became a sexual object to someone. I know enough now to know, it had nothing to do with what I looked like, but more the opportunity given to a man with a sick addiction and no self control. It’s not what the child looks like, but how vulnerable she is.

You can read Dawn’s full post here.