It’s not trauma-informed if it’s not informed by trauma survivors.
I say this as a trauma survivor but even more as someone who has worked at a shelter for homeless families at a time when my own father was homeless.
I saw class differences cause clashes that went beyond clumsy and awkward moments. People were hurt and dis-empowered at times by the very staffers working hard, and for low pay, to help.
I was in college, and with only that as a qualification, told, during my first interview, that part of my job (which I did get) was to “model” healthy child-parent interactions for the mothers who had children.
This, even at the time, troubled me.
“I don’t have kids though, ” I said sure there was a mistake.
It was assumed my manner with the children, patience or whatever, would be good and better and something to emulate – because I was middle class.
Being middle class does not automatically make someone a better person or parent. I didn’t share that I had an abuse history, a homeless father and was the first in my family going to college.
I didn’t share how I related more with the residents than the staff.
I worked at the shelter for two years.
Before I left, I ended up interviewing them all for a social psych class. Talking to both long-time staff and residents of six months.
I noticed that what we think will help people doesn’t necessarily help people.
I saw how infrequently people who are supposedly being served are never even asked, “What do you need or need?” by those giving what they consider to be help.
It’s decades later I am thrilled to group manage Parenting with ACEs at AcesConnection.com.
There are conversations between and with all of us willing to consider and examine and discuss from so many varied view points.
Those of us with lived experiences. Those of us working as change agents. Parents. Survivors. Professionals. Many of us are who are some or all of these things.
Not only am I “allowed” to share about survivor-led programs and initiatives but I can celebrate them.
So today, I’m going to share a few survivor-led resources.
Beating Trauma with Elisabeth Corey, Survivor & MSW
She offers online support to survivors whether in awareness raising groups or email classes for those of us doing what I call break-the-cycle parenting. She keeps her prices reasonable and has free resources, quotes and discussions on her Facebook page regularly.
Trigger Points Anthology – Joyelle Brandt and Dawn Daum
These two silence breakers are movers and shakers. They met online and wanted to fill the void about how the heck we parents with an abuse history are supposed to do this parenting with a history of trauma and attend to the needs of our children and our own healing at the same time. Or just be able to acknowledge and discuss our daily issues, concerns or struggles – AND moments of celebration.
They edited an anthology. They created an online community. They have a website and are always working to reach out. Right now, they are having a Fathering as a Survivor Interview series to make sure men are included in conversations about parenting with an abuse history. IMPORTANT WORK!
#FacesOfPTSD, a social media campaign (disclosure: I’m a part of it)
We hope to make it so that images of women come up on Google (Bing or Yahoo) when PTSD is searched. Women get PTSD twice as often as men. We are sharing as many pictures of women with PTSD as possible so that this changes and asking others who are willing to do the same. We are also asking all of those with websites and blogs to update images used, to include women. And we are all writing articles, making videos, creating songs and sharing pictures to make a change.
These are just a few. There are many.
Do you know of any survivor-led resources or initiatives, tools or programs that are interesting or effective?
Please let me know and I’ll link to them and add them to the resources here for those of us Parenting with ACEs or interested in this topic.
You Matter Mantras
- Trauma sucks. You don't.
- Write to express not to impress.
- It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
- Breathing isn't optional.