Meet the Trigger Points Contributors

Trigger Points Editor and Contributor: Dawn Daum

Introducing Trigger Points Editor & Contributor Dawn Daum, author of Raising a Girl as a Survivor and Permission to Love.

me1

“After my failed search for stories on what it’s like to live and experience motherhood as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I was reminded how quiet survivors are. I know the role that shame has in keeping it that way, but a discussion on the effects of the abuse that resurface, or suddenly arise, when we become mothers is something we need to talk about. It’s vital to our ability to raise healthy girls.”

Raising a Girl as a Survivor

Dawn Daum

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

How little I actually realized about what it means to be a parent, before I actually had kids. I was very naïve in how I believed I would accomplish “giving my kids the life I never had.” My kids having a “normal” childhood was a picture in my head of a nice house, not having to say no and  lots of love. I had no idea that just because I loved them didn’t mean I would know what the hell I was doing.

I was clueless on the level of conscious availability it takes to raise healthy kids. My daughter is 6 and my son is 3, being Mom means everything I do, say, react to and choose to make important or un-important in my life spills over in to their lives. I never in a million years thought I would matter that much.

2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.

My daughter was chosen for student of the month last October. That month students were chosen based on the character trait pride. I was ridiculously proud of her. It made me step back and acknowledge that even though my journey through motherhood hits some pretty rough roads sometimes, I am in fact getting it right along the way. My daughter takes pride in who she is, how she treats others and what she creates. I didn’t know what that felt like until I was well in to my 20’s.

3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?

The actual act of writing out my experiences as a parent who experienced childhood abuse was not difficult. The tough part has been keeping eye contact when speaking about it. When I start to feel the sting of vulnerability, and I notice I’m looking anywhere but at the person I am speaking to, I remind myself that it’s shame I’m feeling, not disgust I am projecting. A mantra of sorts that I have held on to is for every time I keep eye contact while talking about my experiences as a parent and survivor, I am strengthening a mental muscle that will eventually defeat the shame.

4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?

In what way hasn’t it?!! I mean every day I am working on using this tool we have created as a catalyst for conversation and change. And when I’m not jotting down one more thing to do, I’m starting another list of things to consider doing. It is hard work but it doesn’t feel like work I have to do, instead like work I want to do. My life has veered so far off the “map” I created in my head because of this project; for that I am so grateful.

5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

To slow the hell down. Breastfeeding was my first lesson. For the first time, I had to just sit still. I couldn’t rush the moment. I couldn’t think up a new task to take up time and busy my mind. I had to just sit down; slow down. Now that I have a preschooler and first grader on my hands and I’m back to working full time, time is FLYING! I can’t give all of my time to my children, but I understand the importance of giving all of me to them when I have the time.

6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?

I love listening to music that moves me. I love getting together with friends to play poker and catch up with each other. I love sometimes deep and sometimes just plain ridiculous conversations with my girls. And I absolutely love sharing a good bottle of red wine with my husband, with phones out of arms length and the tv OFF!

Until I became a parent, I was able to drown out the flashbacks I had experienced throughout my adult life. When I became a mom, I could no longer do that. I couldn’t get away from the triggers, because my children had become the source of them. I started to live in an on again, off again state of panic. I suddenly had no control over the way my body reacted to the very people I loved the most in this world. I couldn’t understand why I always wanted to run away from my children, instead of towards them.

Permission to Love

Dawn Daum

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

Bio:

Dawn Daum is a thirty-something wife, Momma to two, survivor and student of life. She spends her work week as a mental health care manager, helping others put and keep pieces of their lives together. Dawn is currently working on her first novel and recently published Trigger Points: Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting, which she co-edited with Joyelle Brandt. Her work has been featured on Huff Post Parents, Huff Post Comedy, The Indie Chicks, Elephant Journal and Scary Mommy.

Website: W.T.F. words thought feelings
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordsthoughtsfeelings
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TDawn81


book cover

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available for Kindle and paperback. Click the link to get your copy today!!

Trigger Points Anthology paperback

Trigger Points Anthology for Kindle

Become a member of the supportive Trigger Points community on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other parenting survivors.

 

Meet the Trigger Points Contributors

Trigger Points Contributor: Christine Cissy White

Introducing Trigger Points Contributor Christine Cissy White, author of Little Girl Riding Shotgun in My Psyche.

cissy white

1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

How satisfying it was to be able to meet the needs of my daughter and that I’d want to do so even at 3 a.m. when she was crying. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t exhausted and tired as hell. But I’d worried so much about what I might be lousy at or unable to do well. I had failed to predict how easy some of it would be, how natural and rewarding it could and did feel.
2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.

It’s when my daughter is soothing or attending to a younger child, especially my cousin’s son. She talks in a sing song voice or takes his hand and is loving, attentive and responsible. Sometimes I’ll catch her repeating things I say. I love that. And I hope it means she’s that gentle, patient and tender with herself when she’s needy or fearful. Plus, when she was a toddler she’d say, “I can do it myself. With help.” She saw no contradiction in being independent and asking for help. It took me much longer to learn this.

3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?

It was hard to write an essay that is honest, respects the privacy of my kid but where I tell the truth about how challenging aspects of parenting have been. And to focus in on only one aspect. Also, my kid is now 13 and so knowing this would get published was another factor in my having a direct conversation about being a survivor, what that means and finding the right time, place and space to say that. Now that my story can be found on a Google search that reality couldn’t be pushed back any more. The strength I drew from is my firm belief that children feel more than they know. Adding facts, age appropriate and specific to the kid and  trusting my instincts in my own parenting are balanced  with the need for breaking silence in a bigger way so that parenting is easier for others who are also survivors.

4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?

Absolutely. It has put me in touch with SO MANY others. I had not known any other survivor parent writers who were “out” and when I saw Dawn’s article and heard about this project I was literally overjoyed. It’s been a part of an amazing survivor community explosion and it’s wonderful. Game changing. Liberating. Powerful.

5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

I’m a mother and the way I became one is through adoption. Adoption means there was a loss for the child. At least one. Of first family, maybe first culture too. I don’t want to minimize any of that. It’s big. But as a parent, what I love about adoption is that I don’t go into my relationship with my daughter presuming to know who or how she is or assuming x, y or z trait is from this person or that. It’s her. She’s her. It allows me to know and love her as she unfolds. And honestly, I think I’d love better if I did this more in all of my relationships. Sometimes I remember. Other times I do not.

6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?

Write. Drink iced coffee. Chew gum. Lean into warm towels just out of the dryer. Read or hear poetry or Moth or TedTalks. Spend time with the people in my inner circle. Preferably sharing a meal or sitting under a blanket or by a fire with dog or cats close.

“The little girl I was wasn’t as confident as my own child is now. Sometimes I watch, stare and marvel.

Sometimes I worry I am parenting to my voids rather than her gifts.

How can I keep my distorted old beliefs from seeping through my floor boards where my daughter’s bare feet cross?”

Little Girl Riding Shotgun in My Psyche

Christine Cissy White

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

 

Bio:

Christine “Cissy” White knows blogs, speaks and consults about the healing power of writing, the lifelong impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, and how breaking the silence helps break the cycle of violence. She’s been published in The Boston Globe, Ms. Magazine online, Spirituality & Health and To Write Love on Her Arms. She’s a columnist at Elephant Journal who is co-authoring the book, “Your Childhood is Making You Fat, Sick and Dead: Write to Heal” with Nancy Slonim Aronie. She facilitates free-writing groups at The Heal Write Now Center in Weymouth, MA. Daily joys are mothering, friendship, poetry, hand-holding and time in nature and with pets. 
Website: www.healwritenow.com
Twitter: @healwritenow


 

book cover

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available for Kindle and paperback. Click the link to get your copy today!!

Trigger Points Anthology paperback

Trigger Points Anthology for Kindle

Become a member of the supportive Trigger Points community on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other parenting survivors.

Meet the Trigger Points Contributors

Trigger Points Contributor Jodie Ortega

Introducing Trigger Points Contributor Jodie Ortega, author of Thank You.

jodie ortega

1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

My abuse started when I was four years old so my perception of love and reality was distorted along with the physiology of my brain which was heavily impacted due to the abuse.  In the months leading up to the birth of my child, I was indeed very excited for the next chapter, but was also terrified because of the firm belief that I might not have the capacity to unconditionally love my baby as I had not experienced a similar love in my childhood.

2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.

Upon returning from therapy one evening, my child asked where I went. “Mama went to therapy.  She needs help healing.”  His response, “Well, to me you are perfect.”

3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What Strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?

I initially had the fear that people were going to judge me as a parent, but I pretty much told ‘Fear’ to get lost.

4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?

It has introduced me to another division of this post trauma club.  I knew I wasn’t the only one that had difficulty parenting as a survivor, and it’s wonderful to establish friendships and be able to talk about certain issues that I usually reserve for others that “get it”.

5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

My child has taught me that four year old Jodie couldn’t have done anything to prevent being sexually abused, and that her memory needs to honoured for her bravery.   Continuing to live my life helping other fellow survivors is one the greatest gifts I can give my child and the greatest insult I can give to my grandfather.

6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?

I love sharing my stories of survival to those that need the inspiration.

Just like every cliché

Loving you was instant and true

But I quickly realized I had to practice

Self love in order to properly love you

Thank You

Jodie Ortega

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

Bio:

Jodie Ortega is a Hip Hop dancer turned advocate, spoken word artist, and TEDx Speaker (Take that, PTSD!).  She has been able to flip the narrative of victim hood into a unique brand of storytelling, combining the arts with the celebration of surviving, thriving, and everything in between.  Her work has been recognized by Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and her TEDx talk has caught the attention of UN Women, Greater Los Angeles Chapter.  To date, Jodie has publicly broken her silence in Vancouver, Toronto and San Francisco. Jodie is excitedly preparing for the Love Your Body Summit in Port Moody, Canada on February 6, 2016.  She will be sharing her story and facilitating a slam poetry workshop at a day that is dedicated to empowering girls and women to love their bodies.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dontrunbabygirl

Instagram: https://twitter.com/dontrunbabygirl


 

book cover

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available for Kindle and paperback. Click the link to get your copy today!!

Trigger Points Anthology paperback

Trigger Points Anthology for Kindle

Become a member of the supportive Trigger Points community on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other parenting survivors.

Meet the Trigger Points Contributors

Trigger Points Contributor: Jessica Malionek

Introducing Trigger Points Contributor Jessica Malionek, author of Fear. My Constant Companion.

jessica Malionek

1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?

When my children were infants, it was so easy for me to give myself wholly to their care and to love them unconditionally. I think I was filling them up with the mother I longed for. My love for them was my sustenance and it nurtured me right along with them. The problem, as they got older, was that I couldn’t sustain this self-negating relationship with myself. I was exhausted and resentful and so far from myself which was profoundly confusing because I was working so damn hard to be the best mother I could possibly be. I had to let go of my old beliefs to see that reacting to my mother’s bad mothering didn’t make me a “good” mother. Instead, I had recreated my childhood family-system; sacrificing my needs and my voice for others’ needs. (Which is one of my triggers by-the-way!) As a child, I was told that if I took care of myself I was selfish and bad. I thought that being a loving and attentive mother meant that I had to let go of myself as an individual and give myself over to my children’s care and development completely. I have learned that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

What has surprised me the most about parenting is that I have to deeply and openheartedly care for and love myself first. By doing this, I model being a healthy adult and woman. By caring for and about myself, I teach my children on a fundamental level that they matter. Their voices matter, their opinions matter, their beliefs matter. They just matter! They know this because they see that I feel that way about myself. When I shifted, they shifted and it’s so exciting to see their relationships with themselves and each other changing as I change. It’s been a huge, surprising, gift.

2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.

Truthfully, every single day. The good days. The bad days. The in between days. Because I have my eyes open and my heart open and I’m so proud of that. I know I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to be real.

3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?

I had no fear about contributing. Which is ironic because my essay is about fear. When the project was mentioned to me I jumped. That’s what I do. I follow my heart and leap first. Usually, when I’m free falling I start looking for the ripcord and parachute. After I’ve done something that makes me feel good and happy and proud I start to second guess and feel self-doubt. So the contributing wasn’t hard. The month before the release was hard. When the release date was given, I started getting nervous and afraid. I felt afraid because I had contributed to something that wasn’t my own. It was a powerless feeling. (Another trigger!) I was a part of something and I didn’t completely know what it was or what it would become. As I saw the unfolding — the book cover, the correspondence between authors and I started feeling a connection to the project and the people who were a part of it, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I was overcome with pride and deep joy. Sometimes when I think about it, I feel like my heart could just burst wide open. There is so much hope in people lifting the blanket of shame together. I’m honored to be a part of it.

4. Do you believe participating in this project has changed you in any way? If so, how?

Absolutely. Through this project I keep seeing that fellow survivors who have shared their stories are some of the most mindful, loving, attentive, honest and real parents out there. They are willing to dig through their own pain and examine themselves over and over again instead of ignoring or disowning the past because they love their children. I think initially all of this work, risking and bravery comes from a place of unconditional love for our children. Our children make us brave. When it gets hard we work harder. We reach out. We ask for help. We believe that we can be more than any suffering we endured, because we have already survived the worst. Now we get to create our own futures. Seeing other survivors embrace their future makes me feel empowered and helps me to continue my own work.

5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

You will stand up when you are ready to stand. You will walk when you are ready to walk. You will run when you are ready to run. You will talk when you are ready to talk. I can support, love and encourage with all of my might, but we do things when we are ready, when we are capable and when we feel safe enough to try. And, when you’re learning to ride a bike, you’ll fall down. You will. But then you’ll get back on and give it another go. We are all imperfect and that’s not just okay, it’s a good thing.

6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?

I train for Ironman triathlons. Although sometimes that’s more about showing up than loving it; I do love to race! The training takes work, time and sacrifice but I think most things in life that matter to us do.

“When my now nine-year-old son was three years old he would refuse to go to his room for a timeout. I would wail, “How do I get my child to listen to me?” “How do I get him to do what I want him to do if he doesn’t want to?” I wondered — Is it okay for me to make him do what I want him to do or is that a breach of trust and boundaries? Do I need to honor his experience and accept that he doesn’t want to listen to me? What is right? What is the answer? Fear drained me, leaving me in a pile on the floor with my son sobbing. Two frightened, motherless children in a heap of fear and confusion.”

Fear. My Constant Companion.

Jessica Malionek

Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors of Experiences of Parenting

Bio:

Jessica Malionek is a wife, mother of three, friend, Ironman triathlete, and of late, a slayer of demons —  leaping into life and letting go of unhealthy belief systems and inauthentic thoughts about herself. Jessica is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse; through her writing and blog, she’s learning to let go of shame and fear. Jessica has her Master’s of Fine Arts in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University of Southern California. She’s learning to be seen. She hopes that her work and daily living will inspire others to be brave and to embrace their true, authentic selves.

Website:http://thecounterstool.me

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thecounterstool

Twitter: @TheCounterStool

Instagram: The Counter Stool


book cover

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available for Kindle and paperback. Click the link to get your copy today!!

Trigger Points Anthology paperback

Trigger Points Anthology for Kindle

Become a member of the supportive Trigger Points community on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other parenting survivors.

Meet the Trigger Points Contributors

Trigger Points Contributor: Keri-Anne Livingstone

Introducing Trigger Points Contributor Keri-Anne Livingstone, author of The Beautiful Thing About Triggers.

Keri-Anne Livingstone

1. What was the most surprising thing about becoming a parent?
That being honest with my kids from the beginning about my own shortcomings, frustrations and admitting mistakes would dissolve walls of confusion, create a connection between us that blew me away (considering their age) and bring forth in them their natural ability to empathize and feel compassion. I realized growing up how many times there was mysterious energy around the truth that was NOT being said and in that space I was led to fill in the gaps myself – usually making it about something I had done. I didn’t want this for my kids. I wanted them to never wonder or manifest a story that doubted their worthiness or value.
2. Tell us about one of your proudest parenting moments.
My son (5 at the time) was acting out in school and his PE teacher (not thinking) told him that he should be “ashamed of himself”. She didn’t realize that the words she heard so often and uses now are heard by children that understand what those emotions mean. At first I was a total Momma Bear and wanted to rip her face off for allowing doubt into my child having him tell me that it means he shouldn’t like himself for what he did.
Being an emotional empowerment coach I had to practice what I preach, so I felt all the feelings I had and let them move through me – anger, sadness, guilt and hurt until I felt clear enough to approach the teacher.
The next day I spoke to her directly only to discover that she saw NO ISSUE with the words she used. I was her wake up call. And I spoke from my heart. My open, raw and vulnerable heart. I went into the fight armourless and shared with her what it was like to hear my sons confusion. For her to know what those words do to people and that I was sorry she experienced them as a child. I told her that she didn’t deserve to hear them either. She was older and felt genuinely confused by the confrontation which I had a deep compassion for. I told her that she needed to apologize to my son for her words.
A few weeks went by and she hadn’t apologized. I heard her mom was ill so I let the time slide a bit as part of me wanted to go right back to her and be angry. But I held out and had faith it would happen.
Sure enough, three weeks later she showed up at his classroom door and called him out into her office (which of course made him think he was in trouble). She sat him down and told him how sorry she was. She told him that she would never use those words again to him or any other child. And he forgave her. The connection between them (and her and I) is palpable.
I was proud that I was able to move through that experience with full vulnerability I not only gave my son a gift learning that he is worthy of an adults apology but that there is strength in admitting your mistakes and that it is never too late to make things right.  I see also that  gave her the opportunity to learn from a five year old boy about how worthy she was of forgiveness.
3. Was it difficult for you to participate in this project? What strength did you pull from to get past the fear and contribute?
Not at all. I found strength in the project itself and to stand with other survivors. Our willingness speaks of the time we live in. NO more hiding. We are worthy and deserve to tell our stories and connect to those who have experienced something similar.
4. Do you believe participating in the project has changed you in any way? If so, how?
Of course. How could it not. I think anytime I step into a place where I am revealing an intimate story, an idea or a piece of my heart it strengthens me and provides a feeling of self love in doing it. Showing up for myself and showing up for others. Nothing feels more purposeful or connecting and I think that’s what we are here to do in life. To be the fullest, most authentic expression of ourselves in the world. The book embodies this from front to back.
5. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
They show me when I’m not being true to myself. When I’m not behaving in a way that honours my soul or true nature they are out of sorts. They are the angelic button-pushers in my life to show me when I need to surrender to resistance, to slow down, tune in and speak up what I’m experiencing. This usually results in me sitting down on the floor. LOL. That’s when they know it’s time for us to clear the air with the truth, admit how we are feeling and what’s going on for both of us, cry (if we aren’t already..lol) and hug it out so we can move forward feeling more connected than not.
6. When you are not writing or parenting, what do you love to do?
I have taken up painting where I work on a “living canvas” that is just for me to play on. Where it is NEVER done. I just keep painting over it again and again. Taking pictures of images I like along the way but then letting it change again and again. There’s something in there about letting change happen and becoming in better relationship with it. To let go and allow my attachments to things (or images) be less and less. To sit with my intention and be fulfilled by that and inspired to see what else I can create and try.
If Triggers had a slogan it would be… May all that isn’t you, fall away. And in feeling it, you are healed.
So let them serve, liberate and free you on your journey.
The Beautiful Thing About Triggers
Keri-Anne Livingstone
Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting
Bio:
 
After an epic journey of “unsolicited” change, Keri-Anne transformed her disconnected and robotic life from existing to LIVING by pursuing one unconventional concept – DARING TO SUCK. 
 
By daring to tune in and speak up for her desires, she transcended the bullshit (roles, rules, expectations) in her life,  reconnected to her heart, put both hands back on the wheel and came ALIVE again. She demonstrates the power of living an authentic, open-hearted life and the limitless impact it has on the world. 
 
She serves the world as an Empowerment Coach, Impassioned Speaker and “Edu-tainer” facilitating and inspiring re-connection, healing, self acceptance and authentic liberation for those seeking freedom and full expression in their life and business. The ripple effect is real and Keri-Anne is here to help you make waves! 
 

book cover

The Trigger Points Anthology is now available for Kindle and paperback. Click the link to get your copy today!!

Trigger Points Anthology paperback

Trigger Points Anthology for Kindle

Become a member of the supportive Trigger Points community on Facebook and Twitter to connect with other parenting survivors.