Thursday, April 9, 2015


Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's time to write about what might be considered one of the most dreaded words in the realm of intimate relationships.  Yes, it's time to write about communication.

Regardless of whether you have significant trauma in your earlier life history living in the world in a healthy way can be challenging.  And communication can often be an aspect of daily life we find challenging.  Even those who hold actual degrees in communications can still struggle with this vital aspect of life.

Communication can be challenging because there is no one single universally accepted style of communication.  Some men are known as 'strong silent types' whose stoicism rarely wavers.  Others feel the need to engage in consistent communication that includes expressions of deeply felt feelings.  And we all swim within a world of social expectations and stereotypes that can color what we say, when, how, to whom and for what purpose.  I tend to find myself not aligning with the typical communication behaviors of most men.  Some of this I attribute to the fact that I am not a heterosexual man.  There are very real distinctions between gay and straight men.  And these distinctions manifest, among other ways, in how we communicate.

When trauma intrudes upon an otherwise well structured and predictable life our way of communicating may drastically change.  We might come to prefer silence because we simply cannot find the words to express what we feel.  Or we might be very aware of what we feel and be able to put words around our feelings but not want to vocalize our feelings because this would somehow make our experience seem more real and thus perhaps more unmanageable.  We may want to cry, isolate ourselves or grieve an identity we now feel lost to us.  Whatever we feel the words might not come easily.

So how can we get beyond trauma?  What can a person do in the realm of communication to move beyond the harm of trauma?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Start a daily journal - Writing about our experience on a consistent basis can help to uncork unsettled aspects of our interior lives.  Eventually, through our determined persistence, we may find ourselves developing a heightened awareness of our interior lives.  Our deepest hurts may become much clearer to us.  Our needs might finally become a lot easier to discern.  It has been my experience that clarity can be a gift of perseverance.
  • Talk to others - We might find ourselves caught up in illusory thinking.  We might imagine few people have the problems we perceive we have.  But then we may discover this is not at all true.  Few problems are that unique.  Yes, there are extraordinarily rare diseases that burden a microscopic sliver of the total population.  And some experiences are very unique to the broader historical circumstances they occur within.  But many problems are not unique.  Sadness, loss, frustrated life ambitions, fear, confusion and unsought obstacles are common elements of the lives of many people.  You are probably not quite as unique as you imagine!
  • Explore other cultures - One of the best ways to more clearly see your own culturally influenced behaviors is to visit a place radically different from what is familiar to you.  When we leave behind all that we know we can somehow stand outside our formative influences and gain that vital thing known as perspective.
  • Educate yourself - Though the human species has lived on Earth for the equivalent of a geological minute there is much we can learn from those who have gone before us.  Read poetry, short stories and historical accounts written by influential thinkers, politicians, activists and the like.  Read through the accumulated wisdom of those who have experienced scenarios similar to your own.


I continue to feel more and more optimistic about my own life.  I completed an eight week long morning outpatient program this morning.  I undertook this program as a way of giving a gift to myself. I wanted to honor the wounded child and the disillusioned, cynical teenager I once was.  I wanted to soothe and heal the burned out adult I once was.  I don't feel burned out now.  I sometimes still feel a bit tired and weary.  But the world outside is awakening.  A lot of time has passed since June, 2013.

My commitment to my journey of personal healing is beginning to produce some substantial benefits. I can only imagine what my life may look like in another year.  And that reminds me of another important activity.  It is time for me to apply my imagination in an active way to consistently begin visualizing a rewarding future life for myself.

Life is good.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!