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“But, he’s your father.”

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Thank you for the vulnerability in this question.

When I read this, it felt like my brain opened up three pathways of information, because there is a lot of complexity here. I am going to try and share all three.

1). That loop does not always need to be stopped, but instead heard, felt and understood. When we experience trauma from a person (parent or not), our bodies, and minds are trained to protect against them. As they should. So, when you are in the presence of someone who has traumatized you, it is a place to look at that loop, what it represents and find compassion for those memories, that younger version of you, that approach of your mind and body. I know that is not simple, but I think the loop has healing for you, and stopping it is silencing it. More on how to do this in step two.

2). One way to manage this (hearing and pausing the loop) is to invite conscious truth to the moment. That can look like:

                -Taking a quick break and gathering your breath while saying to yourself “I have every right to feel this way, but I am going to need to address this later when there is more time and space.”

                -“This is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. My body and mind are doing what they are meant to do. Now, I will breathe into that thought to find physical relief.”

3). Tell your father what is and what is not open for discussion. Allow him to be responsible for the context of conversation and recognize what is true and right for you. This is not a big ask. This is not throwing something in someones face. This is showing respect to a story that you carry that you didn’t ask for and taking up space so you don’t have to dodge more unnecessary pain.

I have no doubt many people read number three, and said “Nope, I will just stick to one and two.” That’s ok. I know this feels foreign, but please consider how small of a request it is to let a person who has traumatized you know what would help you feel comfortable in their presence. Not…a…big…ask.

As always, it is incredible to see these conversations taking place. Complex trauma is just that: complex. May we all continue to carry on in ways that respects what our minds and bodies are telling us—loops and all.

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