097 – Addressing Youth and Teen Abusive Relationships: An Interview with Starr Burgess

This week, we are thrilled to welcome Starr Burgess, M.A. LPC. back to Vagina Chronicles Podcast! If you’re a long-time listener, you’ll remember Starr from Episode 19: “Healthy Relationships – How To Tell If You Have One and What To Do If You Don’t.” It was one of our favorite conversations with such an incredibly insightful woman.

We invited Starr back to the show to dig a little deeper into how/when people begin to enter patterns of abuse in relationships… as children and teens.

Starr shares with us the warning signs of early abuse, whether it’s at home or within relationships or peer groups, and what we can do as adults. The main goal here is to develop trust in order to keep the lines of communication open.Starr Burgess

The hope of this episode is for young people to begin to recognize when emotional, verbal, or relational bullying is happening so that they can exercise their right to change their circumstances (as far as it is within their power to do so). If we can help young people to not allow themselves to be caught in the cycles of abuse (self or other) at an early age, the perpetuation of violence may begin to recede.

We hope that you share this episode with anyone in your life that may need to hear this message of self-love, self-reliance, and empowerment.

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Have you noticed controlling or abusive behaviors in your kids or siblings relationships with others? How do you address the threat of those behaviors with the young people in your life? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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088 – Do We Have to Forgive?

 

This week, we are tackling one of the most personal topics out there: forgiveness.

For some, there is a massive cyclone of guilt and shame when it comes to forgiveness. From all directions, we receive messages of how we should be handling our emotions, which ultimately means many of us feel like failures.

The truth is, everyone comes to forgiveness (or not) in their own time, on their own terms. There is no one way to be and there certainly is no one way to feel. Most people mean well with their advice to forgive, but the pressure to make others feel better can be overwhelming if we haven’t yet accepted that the rollercoaster of emotions sometimes lasts 60 seconds and sometimes 30 years.

The one piece of advice that we firmly stand behind is this: forgive yourself. Make right things where you can and fire the judge. Be gentle with yourself. It isn’t easy. But if you can start there, you are on your way to freedom.

Please enjoy this conversation about our feelings on forgiveness.

 

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Have you struggled with the idea of forgiveness? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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074 – How to Identify “Gaslighting” and Reclaim Your Self

 

Photo by nydia hartono

Photo by nydia hartono

Do you ever leave a conversation feeling like you just got hit by a bus or you feel dizzy and confused? As if everything you know to be true has just been brought into question and, sometimes, even negated by someone else? Perhaps someone does this to you often: a partner, family member, boss, or friend? How does this make you feel?

Sometimes this manipulation is deliberate and used as a tool for controlling and manipulating people. It is used by some (if not all) abusers to dominate and degrade their victims. It makes the recipient question their reality, their memories, their sanity.

There is a name for this: gaslighting. From a 1938 stage play called Gas Light, in which the husband attempts to drive his wife crazy by periodically dimming the gas lights, the term describes the experience of many people.

While researching for the show, we had lots of “Aha!” moments about our own interactions, past and present, and realized that, although gaslighting is typically done deliberately, sometimes human beings speak without fully understanding how our words affect others and we unintentionally begin to dance the “Gaslight Tango” with people we love. We think it’s important to recognize the subtle ways that many of us manipulate without malice, but with very real consequences for those we are interacting with.

In this episode, we share the ways in which gaslighters manipulate and how to recognize the signs. We also discuss how you can begin to extricate yourself from an abusive, or potentially abusive, situation and begin to reclaim your power.

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Have you ever experienced gaslighting? What do think about this manipulation tactic? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

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042 – How To Cope With Holiday Loneliness and Triggers

 

The holiday season brings with it a variety of ingrained feelings and behaviors for many people. Some of those emotional responses are quite lovely: Perhaps we’re a little more generous, kinder, more prone to forgive others in the spirit of good will to all (wo)men! Awesome! Good stuff! Keep it coming!

But for many people, rolling out of bed November 1 can be the beginning of two months of dread and/or sadness. Lots of people don’t have family, have estranged family, or are far away from family and friends…it can be a tough time.

For others, the holidays can be a series of triggers, especially from abuse perpetrated by a family member or around the holidays.

Tradition and routine are meant to harken of times past, but sometimes those traditions need to be broken and changed to fit where we are now.

In this episode, we share some tips for getting through the holidays with as much joy as you can muster and, hopefully, a whole lot of peace. From pampering yourself to volunteering to travelling, we offer suggestions on how to make the holiday season a time you can look forward to. Give yourself permission to do it differently this year!

 

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What are some of your tried-and-true strategies for making the holidays your own? Tell us what you think in the Comments below.

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038 – Confronting Domestic Violence

Photo by Run Jane Fox

Photo by Run Jane Fox

In today’s episode, we tackle the topic of domestic violence after the recent highly-publicized case of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his wife in an elevator.

Of course, this situation is not unique to football players, or celebrities, but it has provided yet another opportunity to publicly speak about and bring awareness to the crime of domestic abuse. Too often, we overlook our fellow humans and try to stay out of other people’s business. Why? Maybe it’s because we convince ourselves that we’re wrong about the woman who is constantly injured due to her propensity to “accidents.” Or perhaps we have too much going on in our own lives to worry about others. Maybe we just don’t feel like we have the tools to help someone through a really hard situation.

Whatever the reason, it’s time to stand with those who tell, as well as those who don’t. There are many reasons why women who are abused don’t tell – let’s do our best to overcome some of the fears ourselves, so that others may find the strength and support to change their situation.

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How can we support victims of domestic violence without judgment? Tell us what you think in the Comments below.

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