Storyteller of personal dysfunctional childhood, mental health practitioner working in pandemic, how coronavirus saved my life, ways to self-heal, healing long covid symptoms, and others sharing their own stories of overcoming adversities such as racism, colorism, assumptions, and much more.
Watch the response of Belinda’s Mother after expressing how her Mother’s abandonment impacted her childhood. Belinda’s response back to her Mother’s disappointing reaction is not to be missed! Bravo Belinda!
This week I had a conversation with my new friend, blogger and author Cherie White, who is an Advocate for Bullied Children and Teenagers.
Cherie’s personal childhood story of being bullied for 6 years after moving to a small town in Tennessee is heartbreakingly powerful. From a slow progression to constant violence. Her mission now is “Exposing Bullies and Liberating Targets to Make The World a Safer Place for All“.
I learned so much about the intimation tactics of bullies. The non-verbal communication tactics of bullies blew my mind! Taking her power back has led to her mission and purpose. Just WOW!
This episode left me speechless. It is not often I meet someone who’s childhood has similarities to mine. Much less someone who is as direct and transparent about the value of having a traumatic childhood , how reframing our conditioned perspective of our painful past is where your power lies and shows our true purpose.
My honest no-holds-barred conversation with Chris Allen, CEO & Co-Founder of Advanced Computing and Technology, Athlete, Father, Husband, former prisoner turned Advocate, about his Journey of Reframing Conditioned Views of Male Strength is a game changer. How beautiful for two people who barely know one another to instantly trust & feel safe in sharing their dysfunctional childhood resulting in seeking love in toxic relationships, multiple sex partners, and choices altering our destiny forever.
Society tells us that men should be “strong”, the head of the family, the one that we can lean on, the one who has all the answers, the one who won’t hurt you, the one who will rescue you. Then women, such as myself, become disappointed when men do not live up to this misguided societal conditioning.
The purpose of today’s episode is to start reframing our misguided conditioned beliefs about male strength.
Thank You Chris Allen for trusting the listeners with your story. Thank you for being honest about your own mistakes you made in past relationships. Thank you Chris for being vulnerable. You are a role model in male vulnerability.
Chris Allen is a role model in Male Vulnerability. Male Vulnerability is the VERY definition of Male Strength.
Why Deciding to Forgive is a Choice You Won’t Regret
Christine Zethraus, PMHNP
Waiting for that apology…
Waiting for that apology or “thing” you believe you need before you can forgive and finally move forward is giving up your control. I waited years for my mother to apologize for her emotional abuse and manipulation. Shocker! She did apologize after my brother died…only to begin her abuse again a few years later. Choosing to forgive is about YOU. The likelihood of that “perfect” moment you can forgive you have in your mind will never happen. Even if it did, you’ll still feel incomplete.
Why would I feel Incomplete after an Apology?
Because no matter how someone explains it, it still hurts. It still does not quite feel right. It still does not justify it. It is simply an external validation giving a false belief to the hurt. A temporary moment that leaves you questioning why you still feel awful, why didn’t the pain go away, or maybe I am a terrible overly sensitive person who just can’t get it together.
Here is My List of 7 Ways I Choose Forgiveness:
1. Write a Letter to Yourself or the Person
Writing a letter to the person you need to forgive is super therapeutic. You don’t need to mail it either. Don’t know where to start? Make a list of the feelings you need to release towards the person then reframe the sentence as “I forgive you Dad for not being emotionally available to me or my needs as a child”.
2. Create Your Own Closure
Closure is Letting Go. Closure is Moving Forward. Talk to trusted people and process how you feel. Walk with it and have gratitude for how the situation made you stronger or more connected to others.
3. Find the Meaning
Was there a lesson somewhere? Did the situation lead you to something greater? Ask the Universe to show you the meaning if you’re not sure.
My own personal meaning for my dysfunctional childhood it to help others heal
4. See a Different Viewpoint
We make assumptions that we have all the facts. When 99% of the time we actually don’t. People who hurt us are people who are hurting themselves.
5. Forgiveness is Yours, not theirs
Your choice to forgive someone has nothing to do with that person. In fact, it’s none of their business. Unless you choose to make it so.
6. Become Curious
Becoming curious about why someone would hurt you help take the emotion out of it. Look at the person’s life and how they possibly ended up where they are Or why they did the hurtful thing they did.
7. Release the “Thing”
Release and accept the thing that you are wanting or feel you need in order to forgive—Will never happen perfectly. Sometimes I write a release mantra and say it out loud several times. It’s pretty powerful.
What does the word Embrace mean to you? I looked up the definition of “Embrace” after a dear friend encouraged me to Embrace my family’s ugly history of owning enslaved men, women, children, and families. How in the world do you embrace something like this? And why?
Spotlighting injustice is my life’s theme. I have always been one to fight for the underdog, vulnerable populations, sidelined groups, and the mistreated. Perhaps this stems from being raised by parents who were cruel at times, emotional abusive, and created a foundation of uncertainty. I was the underdog. I was the mistreated. I was the vulnerable.
According to Meriam-Webster Dictionary.com, Embrace as a verb means “to put one’s arms around and press tightly”, “to surround”, or “to take for one’s own use”. As I am reading the definitions of Embrace—I see the word assimilate. Just as my friend told me he’s had to do his whole life as a black man—Assimilate.
At any moment we can choose a different emotion, a different perspective, a different realization. There are many truths to many things we don’t understand. Sometimes we will never get the clarity or understanding to situations which cause us great pain.
I will never obtain the clarity and understanding from this ugly side of my family’s history. I only cause myself more pain by trying to fill in the answers over and over again. The answers will not be good enough anyway. So what do you do?
Only You create the clarity & understanding for Yourself
Now I create my own clarity and understanding by defining Embrace as surrender and acceptance.
I Embrace–surrender and accept– this ugly side of my family’s history because I am healing this “ancestorial curse” as my insightful friend calls it. I choose to embrace my family’s history because I cannot change the past. I choose to embrace my family’s history because fighting against it only hurts myself and my own healing.
A year ago today, March 01, 2021, my Father died. The Father who exposed me to violence, hatred,racism, chaos, distorted boundaries, and my main example of a Man, died year ago today.
Prior to his death, I had made amends with him, began to unwind his conditioning, and began to see him from a different perspective. I was able to ask him questions from a purely inquisitive state, not from a emotionally wounded child one.
After his death, I found our family’s genealogy book in a box of his. The genealogy book starts in the 1800s. I did not recognize any of the names nor had heard of any of my ancestors listed. I was surprised to discover we came from Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia, and South Carolina.
As I skimmed through this genealogy book, I became horrified. I found an itemized inventory and appraisement of my family’s property such as farm equipment, combs, farm animals, dishes, wagons, etc. Then last on the property lists were the enslaved people my family owned. I placed it back in the box for a year. Until now.
I decided to read my family’s genealogy book again, this time with an open inquisitive mind. This was extremely difficult as one of the enslaved children my ancestors owned had the same name as my daughter for the price of $200. I was horrified again.
Until someone gave me a different perspective.
I am so fortunate to have people in my life who create a safe space for me to ask uncomfortable questions and allow me to discuss topics which may be uncomfortable for them. During a phone call with my close friend, who is an African-American male from the East Coast, I expressed my horror, shock, and disgust about my family’s genealogy book listing the enslaved people they owned. I expressed the need to write about my feelings as a therapeutic release. I was highly emotional and ready to write a blog full of upsetting expression.
My sweet friend’s response to my highly charged emotions and my desire to write an emotional piece on my family owning enslaved people was almost just as shocking as my family’s genealogy book.
His response was….
Excuse me?Embrace the fact my family owned wives, fathers, children, mothers, daughter, sons all while calling the women wenches? Excuse me! Embraceit? No! Never was my immediate response.
However, I calmed down and listened to my trusted friend. A friend who grew up in tough places for a black man on the East Coast where he had to assimilate and codeswitch depending on the environment. A man who is now a leader in educating young adults in the Diversity and Inclusion World. I knew if HE was telling me to embrace the ugly side of my family’s history then this a powerful moment where I can use my voice to help others do the same.
But I didn’t just change my mind instantly. I needed to really figure out what the word “Embrace” meant to me and how choosing this way of looking at my family enslaving people did not include agreeing with it.