Articles, Posts and Videos

Articles, Posts and Videos

Understanding Relational Trauma

10 Surprising Facts About Rejection
Guy Winch Ph.D.
We know that rejection really hurts, but it can also inflict damage to our psychological well-being that goes well beyond mere emotional pain.

Rethinking Infidelity—a TED talk for anyone who has ever loved 
Esther Perel
Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic. (21 minutes)

The Real Reason Why We Love Bad Boys, Toxic Partners and Emotionally Unavailable Men
Shaida Arabi, MA
“Our brains can be rewired to fixate on people who aren’t good for us….We can become addicted to the highs and lows of dangerous romantic relationships in a way that makes a break-up from a toxic person similar to rehab from a destructive drug addiction.”

Feeling Betrayed: Emotions, Archetypes and Recovery, 1 & 2
Brian Collinson
“We humans are social animals. Our evolutionary past centers around life in small, close groups. It is in our nature to form close bonds… attachment bonds, with those people who are closest to us. When those bonds are most crucial to us, when we trust them, and that trust is flagrantly broken, our reaction is most often intense grief and despair.”   “To deal with betrayal is often to be in the realm of shadow….I may be taken past sunshine illusions, and realize how my denial, my complexes, my deep childhood yearning to be loved at any cost, may have all helped to set the stage for the devastation of betrayal.”

The Ultimate Pain: Recovering from Trauma
Elisabeth Corey
“But the shame is worse for the perpetrators. They took their own victim shame and tried to place it with someone else. They unconsciously thought that would be easier than feeling it. But the shame multiplied. And now the pain is worse.”

Trauma Survivors and Thrivers: Life After the Veil Has Lifted
Deanna Doss Shrodes
A personal story confirming  “…once you encounter trauma, it’s like a veil is lifted from your eyes whereby you see the world differently…”

The Trauma of Being Alive
Mark Epstein
“Trauma never goes away completely…It changes perhaps, softens some with time, but never completely goes away.”

The 5 Stages of Emotional Triage for the Divorced, Betrayed, Broken-Hearted, and Discarded
Dr. Andra Brosh
“When it comes to abrupt endings related to love, the experience is very similar to being the victim of a blunt force trauma. The symptoms are the same, and your functioning drops to the level of someone who needs to be hospitalized and treated for injuries.”

Why the Pain of a Broken Heart Mimics a Heart Attack
Rita Watson MPH
“The research shows that heart break registers in the same areas of the brain as physical pain.”

The Science of Heartbreak on The Science of Heartbreak website:

The Worst Kind Of Betrayal
Lissa Rankin M.D
“If I had to choose the form of betrayal that emerged most frequently from my research and that was the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection, I would say disengagement….”

Understanding Relationship, Sexual, and Intimate Betrayal as Trauma (PTSD)
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
“…their trust and belief in the person closest to them has been shattered. For a healthy, attached, primary partner, the experience of profound and/or unexpected betrayal can be incredibly traumatic.”

Why the Pain of Romantic Rejection Feels Like a Punch in the Gut
Alice Park
“Researchers have recently found that emotional pain—feeling either rejected or sad, or grieving over a lost loved one—can tap into the same nerve networks that give pain its negative tinge.

Betrayal – The Wound that Will Not Heal for Women
Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A.
“When as cared about and safe as you thought you were is as uncared about and unsafe as you turn out to be you can never completely forgive or forget.”

Death of a Relationship
Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC
An index of sites devoted to the loss of a relationship.

Emotional/Domestic Abuse/PTSD

Are You Emotionally Abusive?
Steven Stosny
Take the quiz (for men and women). “There is no faster way to destroy trust and intimacy than through emotional abuse. The real issue is that most of us are unaware we are doing it – it’s an unconscious act….anyone can become emotionally abusive in an intimate relationship.” 

Why Women Stay: The Paradox of Abusive Relationships
Eliana Dockterman
“…the first step in any abusive relationship is to seduce the victim and make them feel like they are the ones in control…Predators build up the victim’s self…”

5 Signs You’re Being Manipulated
Sara Staggs, LICSW, MPH
“’Manipulative’ is a dirty label assigned to clients. I’ve heard it from bosses and colleagues, read it on charts. However it’s also a very real thing many of us have experienced in our workplaces, classrooms, friendships and dating lives.”

Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?
Dr. Craig Malkin
“The reality is the abused, like my client, aren’t always fragile or powerless. They come from all walks of life—rich, poor, strong, weak—and from both genders, female and male.”

TED Talk: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave 
Leslie Morgan Steiner
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.


A Revolutionary Approach to Treating PTSD
Jeneen Interlandi
“Acknowledging and reflecting the protagonist’s emotions like this—what van der Kolk calls “witnessing” them—is a central part of the exercise, meant to instill a sense of validation and security in the patient.”

3 Lessons PTSD Treatment Teaches About Stress Management
Julian Ford Ph.D.
“Chronic stress, like PTSD, can make anyone feel like they’re going crazy,..”

Confronting Good and Evil

Great Betrayals
Anna Fels, MD
“…it is the betrayal of relationship trust caused by consistent lying, rather than any specific sexual act, that both defines infidelity and causes the deepest pain to the betrayed partner.”

Bearing Witness to Suffering and Recovery
Sandra L. Brown, MA
If I have learned anything from thousands of hours of this work and a God that is my wing-Man, it is that I am not only bearing witness to suffering but to the dawn that breaks afterwards. Suffering is not the end of the story. It’s the introduction, it’s the fore word, it’s the prelude, it’s the chapter titles, but it is not the conclusion. Holiness trumps pathology. Light makes darkness recede.

Deliver Us: thoughts on evil and psychotherapy
Martha Crawford, LCSW
“Love is a lovely and powerful thing, but it’s easy, pleasant for most of us to think about. Evil we push from our minds, ignore, repress, avoid, minimize, deny and rationalize. We see it as unfathomable, inhuman, repugnant. We don’t want to understand it at all. We don’t even want to be able to understand it.”

Masks of Sanity: Detecting Disguised Personality Disorders
Stephen Diamond, PhD
“I would argue that antisocial personality disorder represents pathological narcissism in its most extreme and destructive form…. deceitful, manipulative, destructive and aggressive behavior serves the subconscious purpose of causing others to experience the same feelings of fear, rejection, victimization, hurt, terror, abandonment and betrayal as did the perpetrator during his or her own childhood.”

What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted? Soul Loss and Recovery
Ishtar Dingir
A Shamanic perspective. “What are the symptoms of soul loss? “On a visceral level, we all know how soul loss comes about. We suffer pain or trauma or abuse, we are overwhelmed by grief or guilt or shame, and part of us goes away because it doesn’t want to stay in a world that seems so harsh and cruel.”

Healing and Transformation

For the Overwhelmed, Physical Sensations Can Soothe
Betsy Polatin, Alexander Technique Teacher
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there is “too much” to handle…. Training yourself to become aware of your body’s sensations during these moments can reduce stress and teach you how your body can lead you back to mental and physical equilibrium. – 

Why Shame Is Triggered Just When You Start To Feel Good
Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D.
“Understanding shameful flashbacks to trauma…part of what evokes shame is that it was an experience that feels unresolved, and is shrouded in secrecy and torment….Do not lose sight of the limited outlets you had at the time to cry for help and express your pain and anger..”

How to Heal What Medicine Can’t Fix: A Broken Heart
Michele Wroblewski
“Trauma changes you. When it comes to those who have experienced trauma of any kind versus those who have not, I would describe it as, “life behind the veil.” I just want the pain to go away. I wouldn’t wish any of this on my worst enemy!”

Why Should We Dance?
Christina Devereaux Ph.D, BC-DMT
“…participation in dance/movement therapy may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system and improve psychological distress. Studies have shown that dance, in particular, can decrease anxiety and boost mood more than other physical outlets…”

Can I Get Over an Affair?
Tammy Nelson, PhD
“It is possible to move on and rebuild after infidelity.” Three distinct phases of recovery from an affair: the crisis phase, the understanding (or insight) phase, and the vision phase discussed.

Uncommon Advice to Heal a Broken Heart
Susan Piver
“Heartbreak from lost love is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. The pain takes you by complete surprise and it is simply not possible to move on.”

Why Sex is Sacred?
Deborah Anapol Ph.D.
“In the pre-Christian view, sex is sacred simply because it’s part of life. In the Christian view sex must be shown to be deserving of reverence. No problem!”

What’s so great about great sex?
Bettina Arnd
“What does it take to make sex more than merely functional or even satisfying but truly memorable and extraordinary?”

Grateful for this Broken Heart
Lawrence Grecco
“At some points during each day I’m grateful for this pain because it’s fast becoming one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.”

Your Broken Heart
Veenaa Saynana, Laughing Dolphin
“Your broken heart is a call for help.” 

Dark Night: The Breakdown of the Mythology of Me
Jeannie Zandi
“Few issues can be brought to psychotherapy that better straddle the worlds of spiritual teachings and psychology than the dark night of the soul.”

Why Lying Broken in a Pile on your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea
Julie (JC) Peters
“You know that feeling when you have just gone through a breakup, or lost your job, and everything is terrible and terrifying and you don’t know what to do, and you find yourself crying in a pile on your bedroom floor…”

The Treasure at the Heart of Pain
Gail Brenner, PhD
Not to wallow in it. Not to feed the drama. But to face what you have been running from—the experience of emotional pain that seems to have taken up residence inside of you.”

Traumatizing Narcissism

I have selected narcissism articles to offer a broader understanding of how to recognize this potentially abusive personality pattern. We all have narcissistic wounding, it is a matter of degree.  The more we can recognize these tendencies in ourselves or others, the more likely we can protect ourselves from harm, or from harming others.

For more on my understanding of how narcissism can show up in an intimate relationship, sign up for our mailing list to download the free eBook: Notes on Narcissism  

Silent Treatment: Preferred Weapon of People with Narcissism
Andrea Schneider, LCSW

5 Signs You’re Experiencing Narcissistic Whiplash
Stepping into the Sun
Everyone would lose a match against my ex-husband…. It was always a nasty show. He wasn’t satisfied until the other person was cut to ribbons. But then, per the narcissistic attitude, he’d be the one to build them up one last time. Make sure his targets were whole again when he left them so he could come back and do it all over again.”

Eroticized Dominance – Emotional Grooming, Predatory Behaviors As Cultural Norms? 
Athena Staik, Ph.D.
“In a cultural context that relegates empathy, vulnerability and emotional closeness as weakness or “girly,” and emotions of pain, hurt or fear as signs of inferiority or defect, especially for men… is it any wonder why so many couples get tripped up in their attempts to create vibrant, mutually enriching relationships?”

How to Spot a Narcissist
Samuel López de Victoria, Ph.D.
“No matter how socially skilled an extreme narcissist is, he has a major attachment dysfunction. The extreme narcissist is frozen in childhood. He became emotionally stuck at the time of his major trauma of separation/attachment.

Hot to Help
Daniel Goleman
“When can empathy move us to action? Those who fall within psychology’s “Dark Triad”—narcissists, Machiavellians, and sociopaths—can actually put cognitive empathy to use in hurting people”

The Vampire’s Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out
Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.
“So how do the narcissist’s victims (more commonly women than men) get emotionally entangled with such difficult individuals in the first place?”

OMG, Could I Be a Narcissist?
“There are many different types of narcissists, and honestly more categories being created every day. To some extent narcissism is to 2014 what ADHD was to 1984.”

Sex After the Psychopath: Healing from Physical Manipulation
“I strongly believe that the emotional attachment that forms during intercourse (with a deceptive/psychopathic partner) is rape. We are unknowingly forming a chemical bond with a con artist. Our consent is based on a lie….You were tricked into feeling these overwhelmingly strong emotions.”

You Think that You are So Special
This is a classic post. Recommended reading for anyone who has survived an abusive or destructive relationship. You may be all too familiar with these scenarios.