Ousting the Secret-Teller: Why the Person Who Reports the Abuse Gets Banished

On how the secret-teller who reveals abuse gets pushed or urged out of a group, and how to protect yourself as this happens.  Ousting the Secret-Teller: Why the Person Who Reports the Abuse Gets Banished If you have been abused by a family member, a friend in your close friendship group, a leader or member in your religious group, or a boss or co-worker in a workplace, you have probably experienced the pain of attempting tell or warn others in the group about the behavior of your abuser, only to have the group ice you out, tell you confidently that …

Microfiction: Enthusiastic Consent

In case you were wondering what “enthusiastic consent” looks like. What enthusiastic consent looks like: Ready? In a minute. Yet? Not quite. Yet? Yes! Like this? Or this? Both, and neither. Like this. Like this? Oh yes? And is this the way, or this? Oh, this. Oh, THIS! More? or Less? More! oh, oh. Oops. I meant less. My turn? Please? Of course. Mouth or hands? I like both. Mouth first, I think. Yes. Mmmmph? (Giggles) Yes. And back at you. Mmmmph! Mmmmph! Phew! A break? Sure. Cuddle? Sleep? Or something else. Ice cream. Ice cream? For eat or play? …

On Boundaries: Scripts for Setting Your Material Boundaries

Boundaries: Four Levels and Four Circumstances In the article I published earlier this week on physical boundaries, I went into great detail about the four levels (avoid, ask, tell, and demand) and four circumstances (public, work, and school, friends and family, and intimate relationships) in which we set boundaries. You can read that post here.  What Are Material Boundaries? Material boundaries are the boundaries you set when you invest in other people. Breaking that down a bit further, material boundaries are set when you decide whether or not to lend or give something to someone. The primary currencies involve time, …

On Boundaries: 13 Ways Gaslighting Crosses Boundaries

What is Gaslighting? Gaslighting describes a set of behaviors by people and organizations that cause someone who interacts with them to question their own information, feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. It is usually part of a pattern of abuse. Gaslighting helps abusive people and organizations control their victims by causing them to question their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. in a way that makes them feel “crazy”. The term comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the movie, Boyer’s character attempted to make Bergman’s character think she was “crazy” by turning the gas lights …

Chain of Events: How DBT’s Behavioral Chain Analysis Can Help YOU

How to Do a Behavioral Chain Analysis (The Simple Version) Reminder: A Behavioral Chain Analysis should be done in between crises when you are relatively calm and relax. Each part should be completed in excruciating detail. Lots and lots and lots and lots of detail.

On Boundaries: No Is A Complete Sentence

An important safety note:  Be Cautious using the advice in “No is a complete sentence” in situations of domestic violence or other significantly unsafe situations. Always put your personal safety first.  No Is A Complete Sentence We are trained not to say no to others. Many of us are also trained not to take no for an answer. This can cause significant problems in our relationships as we leap over consent issues in our efforts to get to a yes. No is a complete sentence when you say it to someone else. It is also a complete sentence when someone …

The Shark Cage Metaphor: Spotting Potential Abusers

What is the Shark Cage Metaphor? The Shark Cage Metaphor is the brainchild of Ursula Benstead, a psychologist practicing in Melbourne, Australia.   We often find ways to blame victims for their own abuse, without taking into account the behavior of abusers. The Shark Cage metaphor puts the responsibility for abuse squarely where it belongs while providing survivors and potential victims with tools to build their “shark cages”.  She tells a story to illustrate the idea that goes as follows:  the shark enters the bar Of course, in Ms. Benstead’s example, it’s a pub, because she’s in Australia. The “shark” is …

How To Apologize When It Matters: Own, Apologize, Repair

What Do You Mean, “How to Apologize”? A lot of folks are reading this thinking “don’t I just say ‘I’m sorry’”? Actually, it’s not that simple. We were often taught how to apologize as children by being forced to apologize when we weren’t really sorry. So a lot of us default to grudging words mumbled under our breaths. Some of us default to defensive, half-yelling sarcastic words tossed in anger. But neither of those ways of apologizing serves to preserve and improve relationships. And that’s the goal, right?  “Harm” vs “offend” Offend is a judgment word, and relates to feelings …

Marry, Shag, Kill: A Relationship Metaphor

What is Marry, Shag, Kill, Anyhow? Known under several names, including “Marry, F*ck, Kill”, “Marry, Snog, Kill”, and “Marry, Kiss, Kill”, it is a game meant to rate the relative attractiveness and/or suitability of celebrities or fictional characters. Usually, one person will list three characters (say, Harry Potter, Hermione, and Ron Weasley). You would “force” choose which one you would “marry”, which you would “shag”, and which you would “kill” (or get rid of).