All posts by Wolf

Internal Family Systems (IFS) – What it is and how it works

IFS is a trauma healing method developed by family therapist Richard Schwartz, PhD. According to Internal Family Systems, everyone has multiple 'personalities', referred to as 'parts', that live inside their psyche, and that have their own thoughts, feelings and needs. Let's imagine them like children passengers on a bus. There is also the Self, which is like the driver of the bus. In IFS, all parts are welcome and valid, and none are considered bad. This is because all of them are only trying to help in the best way they know how. Self-leadership "Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of ...

The benefits of very low contact with parents

I've been very low contact with my parents for quite some time now, several months. We're mostly limited to the occasional email. This has been so very helpful for my mental health! I have my email set up so that my parents emails get filtered into their own folder that doesn't get checked automatically when I check the rest of my mail, so I don't ever get notified about anything they send me, and I have to manually go in there to see what they've sent, if anything. This makes it very easy to ignore them entirely for as long as ...

Gray Rock

Certain people, particularly narcissists, feed off of your emotional reactions to things. The best way to not 'feed' them is to avoid them entirely, but that's not always possible. So, what do you do when you happen to be around one of these vampires? Be as boring as possible. Be a gray rock. I hate dishonesty, but in some cases, with certain people, it may actually be safer not to be honest. If expressing your true opinions and feelings around a person makes you feel unsafe in any way, avoid that person like the plague. If that's not possible (yet), then ...

Forgiveness

Have you ever tried to tell someone about an abusive person in your past, and they said you should forgive them and move on? How did that make you feel? I get angry when people suggest things like that, as if I can just flip a switch and forgive them and suddenly that makes everything okay. It does not. There's no off-switch for trauma. Wouldn't it be nice if there was? I'm going to go all analytical here about the concept of Forgiveness, starting with the dictionary definition of the word: Definition of forgive, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: transitive verb to cease ...

Anger is a useful emotion

Have you ever heard people say anger is bad and that you should try to "let it go"? Anger has a bit of a bad reputation, but I believe there's no such thing as a bad emotion. They all have a purpose, and anger is no exception. As with all emotions, it can be used in productive ways, or in unproductive ways. What can we learn from anger? Notice what kinds of things make you angry. As one example, I'm 100% guaranteed to get angry when people hurt children and animals. This tells me that I value children and animals and that ...

How I manage my Emotional Flashbacks

What is an emotional flashback? Pete Walker describes it like this: "Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions ('amygdala hijackings') to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair - or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair. Emotional flashbacks are especially painful because the inner critic typically overlays them with toxic shame, inhibiting the individual from seeking comfort and support, isolating him in an overwhelming and humiliating sense of defectiveness." It's kind of like being stuck in a dark tunnel. I can't see who I am anymore, ...

My Inner Emptiness is a Narcissist Magnet

This was written by my awesome friend Kait. I was asked a particularly interesting question. Thankfully, I knew the answer right away. The question being, “What made you so susceptible to narcissists?”. I can safely say that I have welcomed four into my life with open arms; a best friend, a lover, a pedophile and someone I considered a life partner for five and a half years. Something all of these people shared in common is yes, they really do look for kind people. In terms more in depth, they look for people who have the capacity to give and give ...

Child Abuse and Emotional Neglect

Hitting Children I've pretty much always believed that hitting kids is abuse and can't possibly be good for them in any way. It doesn't teach them right from wrong or whatever, it only teaches them to fear their parents. I used to think that my parents were pretty good because they didn't hit me. Except for that one time my dad hit me when I didn't do some or other thing he asked me to do immediately. I don't remember what I did, or what he wanted me to do. I only remember the look on his face, and how angry I ...

A Basic Guide To Feeling Words

When I first started journaling, I was just writing short snippets about what happened that day, so that I could read it later in order to trigger my memories of that day. This was great for remembering stuff, but what really made a big difference was when I started making a point of journaling about how I felt every day. Like I'd still write what happened, but I'd also write things like "I felt (feeling word) when that happened". Practicing putting my feelings into words regularly helped a lot to make get better at it, and to feel better in general. ...

Arguing on the internet is not worth the cost to your mental health

I checked the post history of a Reddit user who said they were feeling very triggered lately... and their post history was full of them arguing with various people in political subreddits. I thought: "well, that's certainly not helping!" Getting involved in internet arguments is really really bad for your mental health! Arguing is a trap - don't fall in it. 99% of the time people won't change their minds anyway. I mean, have you ever seen it happen? I haven't, and I was the admin of a forum for 16 years. In over 500k posts and thousands of dramatic arguments, ...