I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Grant of Rachel Grant Coaching to discuss The Three Stages of Recovery from Childhood Abuse, her Beyond Surviving program, who inspires her, healing opportunities, and much more.
“Rachel Grant is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching and is a Sexual Abuse Recovery Coach. She is also the author of Beyond Surviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse.
She brings to the table a passionate belief that her clients do not have to remain trapped or confronted daily by the thoughts or behaviors that result from abuse. Through her own journey of recovery from sexual abuse, she has gained insight and understanding about what it takes to overcome abuse. This makes it possible for her to relate to and appreciate your struggles intimately.
Based on her desire to foster community, intimacy, and connection, she has dedicated much of her time to understanding relationships and communication and how they are impacted by abuse. For her, how we are relating to others is crucial to improving the overall quality of our lives. In addition to the lessons she’s learned along the way, she has attended various lectures and trainings to further hone her skills.
Her program, Beyond Surviving, has been specifically designed to change the way we think about and heal from abuse. Based on her educational training, study of neuroscience, and lessons learned from her own journey, she has successfully used this program since 2007 to help her clients break free from the past and move on with their lives.”
I loved connecting with Janyne McConnaughey to discuss being brave, childhood trauma, dissociative coping mechanisms, healing strategies, EMDR therapy, and so much more! Thank you, Janyne, for joining me on the podcast and shining your beautiful light of hope into the world.
“Janyne McConnaughey, Ph.D., retired from a forty-year career in education while healing from the attachment wounding and trauma she experienced as a child. During therapy, she wrote her way to healing and now is redeeming her story by helping others to understand the lifelong effects of childhood trauma and insecure attachment.
Janyne is a frequent guest blogger for the Attachment and Trauma Network, blogs at her own website (Janyne.org), and other organizations addressing trauma and attachment. She accepts a limited number of speaking engagements and can be contacted through her website.
Along with Brave: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, and the companion book, Jeannie’s Brave Childhood: Behavior and Healing through the Lens of Attachment and Trauma, Janyne is working to complete three other books in the BRAVE series. She enjoys living in and exploring the Seattle area with her husband, Scott, children, and grandchildren. Her favorite activity is to follow her GPS to “green spaces” along the coast of Puget Sound.
David Kenney shares his insights on adopting traumatized children, the impact of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), healing avenues, trauma recovery, and much more during our in-depth conversation. Thank you, David, for joining me on-air and helping others along their healing journey.
“David J. Kenney is a seasoned speaker having presented to parent and professional groups at colleges, universities and educational in-services on topics such as healing trauma, stress management, anxiety reduction, helping children with attention deficits, behavior as a language, general parenting and achieving success in our schools.
David has been a school psychologist for over twenty-eight years in a diverse group of educational settings, from rich to poor, from one of the highest ranked schools in the state to one with much less success. He has worked in urban, suburban and rural settings. He currently teaches psychology courses at Lansing Community College.
As an undergraduate student, David was invited to the 1985 National Fairweather conference to present a program he developed using creative writing with chronic, schizophrenic patients. This project was spotlighted in the Detroit Free Press on August 30, 1985. In 1986, David graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Detroit with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and again as a Specialist in School Psychology in 1989. He was liaison to the Michigan State Board of Education from 1995 to 1997 and served as President of the Michigan Association of School Psychologists in 1997-98.
But all achievements pale when compared to raising traumatized children to a healthy maturity. Children wounded by the world have been given little reason to trust it, so there were no guarantees of successful outcomes. Through his committed efforts, Dave and Barb learned strategies to heal harmed children. His expertise and insight has been noted by colleagues, who continue to seek him out for mentoring and training.”
Every Tuesday morning this school year, Sammie and I have visited the kids at Terrace Park Elementary school. Sammie melts my heart as I witness her work her therapy dog magic with these sweet little humans. The idea of helping a child who is experiencing anxiety or feelings of overwhelm touches me on a soul level. I know how much small gestures of kindness and gentle acceptance meant to me as a child. That’s what helped me live through my hell and come out smiling. Sammie is helping me pay it forward with her gentle ways with kids.
Today these kids and the amazing staff at that school made my heart smile . . . and Sammie’s tail wag. A lot!! They gifted us with a new backpack (mine was falling apart and my menopause brain kept forgetting to switch over to another backpack!), bags of dog treats, much needed Dentastix (Sammie has stinky dog breath even though I brush her teeth), toys for Sam, even toys for our puppy Max . . . and noodles!!!
But, the cards. These hand-written thank yous teared me up and, again, had my heart smiling. To know my beautiful dog touches so many lives just by radiating love and giving stinky kisses and sharing hugs (she has started to put her head on a shoulder and push her head against the hugger’s head) . . . is fulfilling in ways I can’t really express in words. It’s like my soul is filled with light.
So I send out a thank you to the awesome staff who welcome us each week with smiles and dog treats in the office before we head upstairs, thank you to the amazing teachers who invite us into their classrooms, thank you to Tricia and Liz for helping me continue to learn the gifts contained in just listening and for offering Sammie a space to shine, thank you Jen Hrovat for introducing us all and giving an adorable hint on the rainbow tennis balls. And THANK YOU to the kids for loving my Sammie girl and brightening our Tuesday mornings.
I love this dog. She’s a therapy dog. She’s The Doodle with the Noodle. She’s sweet. And snuggly. And funny. And overflowing with love. She’s my best friend. And my snuggle buddy. My hiking pal. And my calming presence.
But most of all, she is love. A lot of love in a furry body.
I so enjoyed this amazing conversation with Amit Janco (I found it fascinating to be talking to someone on the other side of the world who was already in tomorrow!), discussing her personal continued healing journey after falling from a bridge, the exciting release of her book (Un)Bound Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond), the healing aspects of nature and art, and so much more. Thank you, Amit, for sharing your brilliant insights (I love your ability to paint a picture with your words) and shining the light of hope.
“Amit Janco is a writer, serial walker, labyrinth designer and yogi who has lived in Bali since 2011. As an artist, Young Living oiler and Narrative Therapy practitioner, she loves to design multi-sensory experiences that inspire creative expression. After falling from a bridge in early 2009, Amitset off, like thousands before her, on a journey of physical healing along the mythical Camino de Santiago. What was slated to be little more than a rehabilitative adventure of walking across the undulating terrain of northern Spain, would become an unexpectedly gratifying, comical, and, at times, emotionally tumultuous odyssey through physical and emotional recovery, into the very heart and soul of her existence. Part memoir and part Camino pilgrimage, Amit’s newly-released book, (Un)Bound, Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond), reveals how a quest for whole healing can unfold in unlikely ways and places.”
I want to share one coping strategy a month. These are strategies I use (or have used) in my own life as I travel the healing journey. I hope they bring you tranquility, as well!
WRITE AN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE PRAYER
Write an unconditional love prayer for one person who has created difficulty in your life. Think only of their needs, pain, and heartache. Do not mention your own. This is about honoring that person’s journey and offering unconditional love in the form of prayer.
I did this in relation to someone I had considered my best friend for almost seven years before she *ghosted me. It was liberating. This prayer helped me to let go.
*Ghosting: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
WARNING: Confessions of a frustrated co-dependent. Things a child, no matter how old, should ever have to go through.
My mother told my sister last week, “Tell Teri to go to hell and I never want to see her again.” Obviously, intoxicated. This was a result of my discovering she was using a younger family member to drive her to the grocery (where there is a liquor store) and I informed that family member’s parent.
Two days ago she advised a family member she would be “drinking herself to death”. Same old story I’ve heard since I was a kid. Drunken slurs told to me as a child like, “Teri, this life does not matter. I want to be with Jesus. I just want to die. Death is beautiful. If you died I would celebrate. How lucky would that be.” A child. Being told by her mother that she would celebrate her child’s death.
I used to wake up and find my mother standing over me with a butcher knife in her hand. Her eyes would be lifeless. As if she was staring through me. I would cry as silently as possible so as not to startle her. My little sister always found her way into my bed and would wrap herself around me. It was a comfort for both of us.
Today I sit here furious. And bitter. And sad.
She is on another “I haven’t eaten in 3 days. I am no longer taking my medications. I am only going to drink until I die” missions.
I called 911 two days ago when she first threatened to kill herself as we cannot get into her secured building. She turned them away. Today I called her doctor and was advised to have the police accompany the paramedics as they will force her to go with them for a psych eval. Her building social worker called to tell me, that even though she had a “huge bottle of vodka” sitting next to her and a glass filled with it, the police left without taking her. And no paramedics were with them.
So I just printed off the “instructions for filing an emergency guardianship” paperwork. It states a physician must appear before the magistrate in a hearing to justify it is necessary to avoid immediate harm to the ward. I cannot get her to a hospital as she refuses transport.
She cannot live on her own, per her doctor’s own words, but I cannot force her to move until she’s no longer competent enough to make the choice. Apparently the police think she’s still competent enough to decide.
Therefore, we sit and wait. For our mother to sober herself up. Or die.
No child should EVER have to go through this hell.
I lost my mind on the social worker. I snapped. I cried. I screamed, “I’m fucking done. Let her die.”
I’ve reached out so many times for help. I just don’t know what to do anymore.
This is the lady I grew up with. A bottle of alcohol always next to her. She would come home from work and pour a drink and sit down to read. I learned early on to lock myself in my room and put my headphones on and escape into my music. If I approached her, she would slur at me, “Can’t I just relax for five minutes? Just leave me alone!” Or, if I approached with happy news, “Mom! Look! I got a 93% on my test.” (A 93 was still an A back in the 70’s) Her response, “A 93? A 93? God gave you a brilliant mind, Teri. And you are wasting it. Why wasn’t it a 100%? You are disappointing God. And me.” And I would turn away, once again, belittled and shamed. Shamed for not being good enough.
She tried to drown me in a bathtub when I was 4, holding my head underwater. She told me I would be happier with Jesus. Until my dad came in and sucker-punched her across the bathroom. She landed between the toilet and cabinet.
She tried to kill my dad with a butcher knife. But, he lifted a chair in time in front of him as protection to have the blade completely penetrate the wood seat. I witnessed her hauled off in handcuffs on that occasion. I was 4 or 5.
She beat my sister relentlessly. She didn’t like her and made it clear. I got to listen to the screams from behind a locked bathroom door where I would hide for hours until it was quiet again.
She told me I was frumpy and ugly and used to show my 7th grade photo to people and laugh about how ugly I was. I had braces and a unibrow and yes, pretty hideous, but really?
When I was in my 20’s (after the bank robberies) I dressed conservatively for business. She would laugh and call me, “Margaret Thatcher” and advise me I needed to brighten myself up so people would think I was happy.
Yet, I have fought and fought and fought for this lady’s love and approval my entire life. All I wanted was for her to love me and accept me.
I know my life motto is #nevergiveup, but damn is this a tough battle to keep fighting. Please pray for strength and answers as we move forward with guardianship. And that I keep my cool and not explode in frustration again. I’m starting to reach the end of my rope with this one.
When interviewing a recent podcast guest, the subject of everyday heroes in a child’s life came up. And their powerful impact of helping build resilience in the lives of vulnerable children.
I had 4. My Grandma Kitty. My 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Corken. And my BFF’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Tonnies.
Today I want to share a story about that teacher. I don’t remember her classroom. Or what she taught me in that classroom. But I do remember her caring about me, asking if I was okay when I would cry in school, holding my hand when we would walk the halls, and inviting me to sit on the front porch of her little white house on Wayside Avenue.
I would walk the 3 blocks, crossing a busy road (in the same crosswalk where I saw a girl get hit by a car and killed a few years later when I was 10 . . . golly, 10 was a rough year!), just to spend time with this gentle soul.
I can’t remember her face. But I remember her heart.
She gave me this ceramic Holly Hobbie heart as a gift. I can’t recall why. My birthday maybe?
It reads “Happiness is having someone to care for”.
She told me to keep my treasures in it. For years it held a hand-written note from her and a key to a small cedar box I kept other notes in. To this day I treasure hand-written notes.
My dad threw something at me in a fit of rage soon after I received my gift. I ducked and it missed me, but shattered my heart. The ceramic one. And in some ways my own.
I cried silently as I glued the pieces back together. Somehow the top piece remained intact. I think it landed on my pillow.
I pulled this out of my memory box today after being reminded of Mrs. Corken during my podcast conversation. So incredibly symbolic of my life.
Jaz told me during our interview that survivors are like Kintsugi bowls . . . their breaks are repaired with gold so the scars make them beautiful. I read upon researching Kintsugi that “your scars and imperfections are your beauty”.
My little ceramic heart, glued back together, yet missing a piece I never found after that violent outburst, represents the beauty of my healing journey. Broken, then mended. Scarred, yet beautiful.
What an absolute joy it was to chat “across the pond” with the beautiful, hilarious, and inspirational Jaz Ampaw-Farr. From her TEDx talk to her international motivational presentations, she is empowering others along their healing journeys. Thank you, Jaz for helping leave this world a better place – from your Tampax donation in the school bathroom to your work in prisons to your ability to make us laugh – your enthusiasm is contagious.
I encourage you to grab your tissues and watch her 11 minute TEDx talk. I promise it will be worth it!
“It would be easy to say, you’ve never met anyone like Jaz before. Her passion for the potential we can uncover in ourselves when we are just 2% braver and her insight into how to remove the barriers that hinder connection between us and those we seek to influence make Jaz one of those people you will never forget.
Jaz’s story is one of growing up in the midst of most appalling abuse, poverty and hardship during which she encountered five adults (and, importantly, one pimp) whose belief in her literally saved her life. She shares her fantastic journey of how saying yes first allowed her to progress from council estate and foster care to advising international governments on education policy.
There are many messages leaders take away from listening to Jaz deliver keynotes across the UK, in the US (where she’s being called ‘The British Oprah’!) and elsewhere. Clearly, the impact that we have to connect and transform lives comes through loud and clear but there is more to it than just that.
Jaz also embodies the idea of bravery and the willingness to be defined by what you’ve tried even if you fail, rather than by what you could have done. Both her (very) brief stint on TV’s The Apprentice, more substantial skills as a presenter on BBC’s Hard Spell Abbey and her career as a stand up comedian are good examples of this. And she shows that a human being can be subject to the worst depravities of her fellow humans and not only survive, but thrive – and do so without anger or bitterness.
It is true, we are more than our stories, and Jaz shares strategies and insights in her work with humour, energy, honesty and an unswerving optimism in people and in authentic connection in particular. Full of practical advice, for leaders from all industries, including the corporate, health and education sectors, her message is neatly summed up in her own words to those five teachers from her past and the title of her best selling book – Because Of You – This Is Me.”
I want to share one coping strategy a month. These are strategies I use (or have used) in my own life as I travel the healing journey. I hope they bring you tranquility, as well!
WRITE LETTERS OF FORGIVENESS
Write letters of forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Then burn them. Set them free. Not for their sake, but for your own. Write a letter to God. To the universe. To fate. Whatever you feel has burdened you with something unbearable. Be honest in your letter. Release the emotions and, just like with the journaling, do not edit yourself. Let it flow. Free it! Free yourself!