August 13, 2019

Releasing the Shame in Trauma - Part 2

This week, Janine Naus, helps you understand why you feel you’re not good enough and how to turn down the volume of shameful thoughts.

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Why Do I Never Feel That I’m Good Enough?

Welcome back to this blog dedicated to Shame. If you missed the first blog in the series, we talked about shame and the impact it has on self-care. Now that you understand the importance of putting yourself first and you’ve had some time to process and maybe even taken new steps towards your self-care practice, I want to cover a common challenge trauma survivors face - the feeling of never being good enough.

“I am never good enough”

Sound familiar? Are these words that clutter your brain and diminish your power with self-doubt or uncertainty? This negative self-talk and the feeling associated makes you question whether you have what it takes to reach your life goals and desires. As trauma survivors, we’ve all been there.

We’ve all experienced intense feelings of inadequacy and diminished self worth. It can feel like a big wall stopping us from where we want to go.

We need to get to the bottom of this in order to help you move out of this negative space. We need to ask the WHY questions...Why are you not good enough? Or better worded, why do you think you’re not good enough?

Here’s a strategy I use with my clients when they are in this dark place. Think of what it is you believe you’re not good enough to do. Become aware of the specific words you are using to tell yourself you are not good enough. Identify what words that you use to hold yourself back from joy and fulfillment. I’d like you to give those words - those thoughts - a name. I call them “shame gremlins.” Now, picture this gremlin as a ridiculous and fictitious character in a movie you are watching. Hear this ridiculous and fictitious shame gremlin speak the words that hold you back. Words like “you’re not confident enough,” “remember what happened last time you tried this” and “I’m not that kind of person.” When you can see and hear how ridiculous and obvious this imaginary shame gremlin looks and sounds, as if you are watching a movie, it can really help to diffuse the moment. The next time one of your shame gremlins pop up, you can just see them for what they are - ridiculous and fictitious...an imagined annoyance. As a matter of fact, you can tell those ridiculous and fictitious gremlins that they are not being helpful. They aren’t useful, so you don’t need them showing up anymore.

Our shame gremlins remind us of childhood traumas, past failures and those limiting beliefs that we were once taught by those around us. But imagine what could happen for you when you quiet down your gremlins, turn down their volume and power ourselves up? That is the journey you need to embark on now.

When Do You Feel Not Good Enough?

This feeling and statement comes from your unconscious ego, which manifests from not feeling worthy. This feeling can come up when something good is happening, is about to happen, or may happen...or conversely, when something bad is happening, is about to happen, or may happen. Notice that it is tied to feelings of good and bad. This is about what you believe you deserve. You do not believe that you are worthy of being, having or doing something good, because you do not believe you are good enough.

How To Start Feeling Good Enough


Again, I’d like you to try a WHY exercise to help you in the moment. Ask yourself, is this really true? For example, let’s say your shame gremlin is telling you that you are the worst mom in the world. Ask yourself, am I really the worst mom in the world? If possible, if you are in a room by yourself, ask yourself this question out loud. By doing this it will help you see that it is not true. Invalidating these shame gremlins is really important in your process to stop them in their tracks. Maybe they are saying that you could never have a loving relationship. Is that true? Never? With all of the people on this planet, is it IMPOSSIBLE? No, in fact, you can take steps that will make it very probable. What would those steps look like? What could you get started on today? Do you see how asking yourself this question takes you down a different, and more hopeful path? Try using this simple and quick strategy to eradicate those false beliefs that you’re not good enough. This will also help you to let go of unhelpful, false thoughts that do not serve you.

The Power Our Thoughts Hold


Our thoughts hold our power. That power is evident when we choose to give power to positive or negative beliefs. The more we hold onto our thoughts, the truer they feel to us, because we become so accustomed to thinking these thoughts that they actually begin to feel real. It is just as easy to give our attention and focus to positive thoughts, and the same principle applies. The more you hold onto positive thoughts, the truer they’ll feel. That’s why I encourage you to use the strategies above to move from a negative thought to a more positive and hopeful thought. Keep doing that and soon these more positive thoughts will feel real to you. I also suggest that you practice witnessing your thoughts and choosing whether to believe them.

Next Time
Everyone, at some point, has not felt good enough. Remember you are not your thoughts. You can change your thoughts and your beliefs. Next time, we take a deeper dive into what shame is, what it can do to us and how we can heal from it.

Shame can hold you back from a life you love. In my Stop Suffering Now group program, we focus on helping you to move through grief to a place of hope where you can feel excited for the future and learn to trust people (and yourself) once again.

Get on my calendar to schedule your free 30-minute Healing Discovery Session call.

Read Part 1


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Janine Naus is an internationally recognized Grief and Trauma Relief Specialist, Certified Life, Spiritual and Energetic Coach, a Certified Calm, Accepting, Resilient & Empathetic (CARE) Trauma Practitioner and a #1 International Best Selling Author. Janine works with women who are suffering and stuck in grief due to trauma and supports them on their journey to a fulfilling and joyful life.

Janine’s clients benefit from her decades of experience, her broad range of coaching and support tools and her empathetic nature. Her blog posts have garnered thousands of dedicated followers and is a sought after expert on trauma. Janine lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

August 6, 2019

Releasing the Shame in Trauma - Part 1

In week one of this four-week series, Janine Naus, explains how shame can hold us back. She also shares how putting yourself first can create a happier life, through the art of self-care.

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Thank you for joining me for this life changing blog series. I’m Janine Naus and I am a Grief and Trauma Relief Spiritual Life Coach. I support women in grief due to trauma so they can stop suffering and be able to more easily navigate their healing process. In this blog series, we will explore shame and its effect on our lives. As a trauma survivor myself, feeling shame has played a huge role throughout my life. Unfortunately, we often don’t talk about shame which is one of the main reasons it festers and grows. Since overcoming my feelings of shame I’ve made it my mission and passion in life to help others stop suffering. I give you the tools and support you need so you can begin to move towards living a life of joy and peace.
Throughout this blog series, we’ll talk about shame, how it impacts our world and how we can use it to transform our lives. So let’s go ahead and start:
How Does Shame Impact Self-Care?
Trauma survivors are all too familiar with feelings of shame. If we want to take steps where we practice self-care, we must move away from shame and towards self-love. Those who routinely perform self-care also feel worthy and valuable. This means self-care and self-worth are intricately connected.
What is Self-Care?

Self-care is exactly what it sounds like - taking care of yourself. This can and does mean different things to different people.  I break down self-care into two categories, primary and secondary. Within primary would be basic hygiene and life maintenance. For example: 

      Bathing,
      Washing your hair,
      Brushing your teeth,
      Getting restorative sleep,
      Nourishing your body,
      Incorporating fitness into your life,
      Attending regular doctor visits, and
      Keeping your home and belongings clean and in good repair, etc.  

The secondary category would include things like:
 
      Self-soothing rituals such as journaling or meditating,
      Creating time for rest and reflection,
      Taking time off for vacation, as well as other self-care activities like massages, manicures, reiki, etc. 

For many survivors, self-care falls by the wayside because of how well you care for yourself is largely determined by your health and mental well-being. When stuck in the cycle of shame, our health and well-being suffer dramatically. Conversely, when you’re ready to stop suffering and start living a life of fulfillment, clarity, ease, gratitude and joy, you are inherently committing to self-care. If feelings of shame overcome us, we don’t feel like taking care of ourselves, so how do we move out of this cycle?

How To Put Yourself First

Put the oxygen mask on yourself first – then you can help others.” When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant provides this safety warning before each flight. What a great metaphor for self-care!

It's in a woman’s nature to take care of others, to be selfless, to give. If we get so busy putting others first then we’ll forget about ourselves. In fact, caring for you is essential when healing from trauma. You are your own healer. Until we take self-care seriously, we’re unable to take care of others.



The first step is in understanding that performing self-care will help us move through shame. It is essential to perform self-care, even if you don’t feel like it or don’t feel that you deserve it or it makes you feel ‘selfish’ when it comes to self-care. Remember that giving yourself time for self-care isn’t selfish - it's an act of self-love. You are responsible for your life and taking care of yourself.

When you are in your flow, you’re in your ‘now’ moment, which is your authentic self. This happens when you put yourself first, activating energies of self-love, self-appreciation and honoring yourself.

Know that it is possible to move through and overcome your feelings of shame. 

There are 4 steps that will help you to move through shame and build your resilience:  

1.     Practice self-care
2.     Understand what triggers feelings of shame for you
3.     Develop positive strategies for processing and coping with triggers
4.     Don’t allow shame to flourish by keeping secrets - share your story with a trusted person in a safe environment

The last point really resonates with me. Shame grows with secrets, silence and judgment.  And according to vulnerability researcher and author of 5 New York Times Bestsellers, Dr. BrenĂ© Brown, empathy is shame’s antidote. One strategy you can use to increase empathy is to treat yourself like you’d treat someone you love. Be aware of how you treat yourself and make the positive switch in your everyday life.

What Happens Next?

Well, in the next blog in this series about shame, we’ll look at how shame can make us feel like we’re not good enough in life.  See you there!


Shame is just one of the topics covered in my Stop Suffering Now group program.  If you’re ready to stop suffering now and start feeling relief, I invite you to a complimentary 30-minute call to see if Stop Suffering Now is the right next step for you. 




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Janine Naus is an internationally recognized Grief and Trauma Relief Specialist, Certified Life, Spiritual and Energetic Coach, a Certified Calm, Accepting, Resilient & Empathetic (CARE) Trauma Practitioner and a #1 International Best Selling Author. Janine works with women who are suffering and stuck in grief due to trauma and supports them on their journey to a fulfilling and joyful life.

Janine’s clients benefit from her decades of experience, her broad range of coaching and support tools and her empathetic nature. Her blog posts have garnered thousands of dedicated followers and is a sought after expert on trauma. Janine lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

July 23, 2019

2 Ways to Make Healing Easier

This week, Rick concludes his series by sharing the two things he did that made healing so so much easier. It's probably not what you think it is!
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The following is adapted from Resilient People, Rick's inspiring story of his journey through the recovery process.
For many survivors of abuse, healing is difficult because it means confronting your trauma. I know I didn’t want to look inside at the abuse I suffered as a child, so I can understand the fear people have that they might discover something horrible.
Quite frankly, you probably will discover something horrible. Abuse is horrible!
The healing trajectory is challenging, because it involves bringing up repressed memories that were repressed for a reason: it’s how we survived as children.
Some people start this road to healing but then run away. They choose the bottle, or drugs, or illicit relationships. In my own healing process, there were many times I wanted to bail out. My attitude was, “Screw this. I’m going to keep drinking and numbing. I’ve made it this far." But you know what? It wasn't a great life.
That’s why a commitment to healing is important. If you want to be successful in your healing, you must make a personal commitment to see the journey through.
Yes, healing can be difficult. But I want to make you a promise: if you were abused—no matter what happened, no matter how horrific—I want you to know you can heal. You can live a fabulous, productive, joyful life and fulfill your dreams. In this article, I’ll show you two keys that will set you up to succeed as you start down this road to healing.

#1: Community Is Key

If and when you hit a wall in your healing, you may conclude that you just can't go any further. That's where empathy, support, and love from others is crucial.
Encouraging voices around you—especially from those that have been through a similar process—will tell you that you are doing it. When you’ve hit a painful point, they’ll remind you that you can move through the pain. Beyond that, there will be joy.
If you can find loving and empathetic people to coach you through the process, you will come to understand that the experience of abuse was not your fault. You did nothing wrong. It's the caregiver’s responsibility to protect the child, no matter what.
The group I chose to share my story with at ManKind Project made me realize I wasn't alone. For so long, I had tried to look and act normal, believing all the time that I was the opposite of normal. I’d never talked about my experience with abuse.
In ManKind I listened to other men’s stories of abuse and saw them listen to my story with understanding. Suddenly, I wasn’t isolated anymore. I could be myself.
I can’t say how powerful that was, to realize I wasn’t alone.
The community I found at ManKind meetings held me accountable to the goals and commitments I’d made. When I broke a commitment, they would ask me, “So what was more important than the agreement?” We’d explore that. What was the impact of that decision, on me, on my loved ones? That was a challenging but loving process.
Sometimes, I would have to say, “Guys, I can’t do any more tonight. I’m exhausted.” There was no criticism in those moments—but I still had to return to the work the following week. These friends were determined to see me through the low points until I was living a full and productive life. They cared that much about me and my healing.
There’s wonder and beauty in a community of people committed to healing. It’s magic. However, don’t be discouraged if you don’t find this empathetic community right away. It took me years before I found my friends at ManKind Project. It also may take you some time to find a safe, empathetic community—but keep looking until you find it.
It’s critical to find the right place to share your story.

#2: Surrender to the Unknown

When you begin this process, there’s an unknown; you’re not exactly sure what happened or what you’ll find. Moving forward into that unknown can be frightening.
Abuse survivors spend most of their lives trying to control. We controlled our emotions, our thoughts, and everything else. Maintaining control is how we stayed alive.
Unfortunately, those habits of control also left a lot of us messed up. We repressed, buried, self-sabotaged, and brought dysfunction into our relationships.
Healing requires letting go of some of those bad habits, so that we can replace them with healthy choices and positive truths. There’s a surrender involved.
For me, that meant surrendering to a higher power. For others, that simply means you surrender to the process. If you choose to work with a therapist or a group like ManKind Project, you will have to choose to follow their recommended process towards healing.
In ManKind, that meant agreeing to confidentiality, going on the Warrior Weekend, allowing the other men to check-in with me and hold me accountable, and showing up to meetings. Twelve-step programs also have their own process.
Once you find a safe, empathetic environment where you can pursue healing, let your walls come down. Allow yourself to move towards the unknown.
Surrender control, so that you can heal and ultimately live a joyful life.
For more advice on healing from abuse, you can find Resilient People on Amazon.


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Rick Huttner is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse who now works passionately to spread the message that all abuse survivors can heal. His own healing process began after decades of alcohol abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and a volatile career—all of which were influenced by the buried pain of his childhood trauma. Finally unburdened by his past, Rick now lives a joyful, productive, loving life. He founded the Resilient People initiative to help other abuse survivors, and he regularly shares his story at speaking engagements and abuse-awareness workshops. He can be booked through his website, www.resilientpeople.us.

July 16, 2019

The Critical First Step to Heal from Abuse

This week, Rick shares about his experience being totally stuck and convinced he'd never heal and the most critical first step he took that changed everything.
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The following is adapted from Resilient People, Rick's inspiring story of his journey through the recovery process.
When you’re an abuse survivor, healing can seem like some far-away dream that’s possible for others, but not for you. For so long, I believed I would never heal.
In fact, I didn’t even have “healing” as a concept in my mind. I thought, “This is the way I am, and this is the way I’ll always be.” When my self-destructive lifestyle finally took me to rock bottom, I had to conclude that something was not right. The pain got so severe that my choices seemed to be either suicide or do something very, very different.

Here’s what I discovered in that lowly place: the only obstacle to healing—both yours and mine— is the mind. I believed that I was stuck, and so I remained stuck.
People who have experienced abuse may have a mentality that expects the worst. I know I did. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop—and it always did.
Your life can move in a better direction when you shift that mindset to one of resiliency and tell yourself, “I can and will heal. I don't know how, but I will begin this journey.”
That was the critical first step: opening myself up to the idea that I could be healed.
When I did that, positive messages and strategies started coming in my direction, and for once, I didn’t reject them. Instead, I started to listen closely and bring them in.
When you make a commitment to heal, you open yourself up to good gifts from within. Instead of saying, “This is horrible,” you look around and say, “This is beautiful.”
Your heart becomes more open to acts of kindness and compassion. That sets you up for a wonderful exchange, because when you extend kindness, you experience kindness in return. More and more good will begin to flow towards you.
This is a choice you must make; you must genuinely commit yourself to do the hard work of healing. However, it’s not a choice you need to make alone.

Deep inside each one of us, there is a spark that will always be connected to goodness and truth. Some people call this the Holy Spirit; some people call it a Divine Presence; some people recognize the spark simply as an innate desire to heal and love.
It is this spark which makes us resilient, which makes it possible for us to heal.
There’s the story of a Rwandan orphan, Justus Uwayesu, who lived in a garbage dump in Kigali. He scrounged for food and slept with three other children in a burned-out car.
When he encountered an aid worker at age nine, he hadn’t bathed for a year. The other children she approached scattered, but Justus stood his ground and told her he wanted to go to school. She was able to help him. Years later, his story was published in The New York Times after he got a full-tuition scholarship to attend Harvard. The Times wrote, “He is an example of the potential buried even in humanity’s most hopeless haunts, and a sobering reminder of how seldom it is mined.”
That’s resilience. Your mind may dwell in the equivalent of a garbage dump. That’s certainly where mine used to be, but it doesn’t have to stay there. This young boy Justus listened to the spark inside of him—the spark of hope and of his potential.
That spark is always waiting for us to listen. When we do, it becomes possible to relearn the truth of who we are: we were created by a bountiful and giving Divine presence, and we each carry the Divine within us. When I began to listen to that spark, I was able to wake up to wonder and beauty. It had always surrounded me, but I’d never seen it.
Listen to that spark: you have the power within you to heal. You did nothing wrong. You were innocent. You were a loving, beautiful, trusting child. That trust was shattered, and that was not your fault. Know that you are resilient, and that you have the power to heal.
Maybe that feels hard to believe. I’ve listened to plenty of people who don't know there's a way out—but that’s why I want to share my story with you. I came from horrible abuse, yet I healed. I'm now living a productive life in a fabulous relationship. Rather than expecting bad to flood my way, I expect good things. A sign hanging in my office reads, “Nothing without joy.” It reminds me that it is my divine right to have joy in my life.
Of course, it took me a long time before I believed that. But I got there, and so can you.



For more advice on healing from abuse, you can find Resilient People on Amazon.

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Rick Huttner is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse who now works passionately to spread the message that all abuse survivors can heal. His own healing process began after decades of alcohol abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and a volatile career—all of which were influenced by the buried pain of his childhood trauma. Finally unburdened by his past, Rick now lives a joyful, productive, loving life. He founded the Resilient People initiative to help other abuse survivors, and he regularly shares his story at speaking engagements and abuse-awareness workshops. He can be booked through his website, www.resilientpeople.us.

July 9, 2019

The 3 Phases of Healing from Abuse

This week, Rick explores some of the phases that often characterize a journey from abuse towards healing.
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The following is adapted from Resilient People, Rick's inspiring story of his journey through the recovery process. 
As an abuse survivor, I can tell you this for sure: there’s no magical plan that, if you follow all the steps, will lead to total healing. No person’s healing process is the same. It’s a complex journey that can’t be simplified like that. However, there are certain phases that often characterize a journey from abuse towards healing.
The organization Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) identifies three general phases of the healing journey: Remembering, Mourning, and Healing. I prefer to think of those phases as “Awareness, Understanding, and Recovery.” Regardless of what words you use, these phases outline a trajectory that often occurs.

You can think of these phases as a map to help you move forward in your healing journey. The route you take and the scenery you discover will be unique to you, but knowing these phases may help you plot a route to your desired destination.
One thing I will tell you: your healing trajectory can begin the moment you decide you want to be healed. With that said, let’s jump into the first phase.

Phase 1: Remembering/Awareness

If you want to heal, you first have to recognize that the abuse happened. For myself and others, that’s no easy thing. This stage is often said to be the most difficult.
Memories of abuse may be driven deep into the subconscious mind, and it’s going to take time and work to bring those wounds into conscious awareness. Until they are, a person may experience repeated failed relationships, addictions, or other destructive patterns of behavior. That’s how my life played out before I started this phase.  
So what forces us awake? Often, we have to be triggered by a “rock bottom” experience before we’re ready to face the pain in our past. The ASCA calls this “a breakthrough crisis,” which is a helpful way of thinking about it: yes, it’s a crisis—but it’s going to help lead you to a breakthrough. That crisis might be going to jail, or getting divorced, or suffering a financial failure. Abuse survivors may require a significant wake-up call before they’re ready to figure out why they keep sabotaging themselves.
At that point, a person might be willing to dig up some of the buried memories.
You can’t heal if you keep running from the pain; you have to make the choice to face it. How you do so is up to you, and what comes next will be unique for everyone. But you’ve got to start with making yourself aware that it happened. Once you acknowledge your experience of abuse to yourself and someone else—then, healing can begin.

Phase 2: Mourning/Understanding

Maybe you’ve finally become aware of the abuse in your past, or maybe you’ve always known it was there. It’s possible that your memories of abuse have always been right in the forefront of your mind. The next phase abuse survivors usually experience in a healing trajectory is understanding. You acknowledge that it happened, then take steps to understand the knowledge of the abuse and the ways it impacts you now.
Imagine a female college student got drunk at a party and then was sexually assaulted. There will be layers of that experience that she’ll need to try to understand.
She may struggle with numerous questions about even her own actions: “Why did I go to the party? Why did I drink? Was that stupid? Am I to blame?”
The short answer to that last question is always no. However, it often takes a long time for an abuse survivor to understand this. A survivor may need help from a therapist or mentor to work through the complex feelings associated with abuse.
She’ll also need to sort through her emotions about the perpetrators. She might be feeling anger, fear, desire for justice, or any number of emotions.
What was her experience after the assault? Did she conceal it? How did that affect her relationships? Did she try to report it? How did people respond? Was she made to feel victimized again? All of these complications need to be addressed (with professional help, if possible) before the survivor reaches a freeing level of understanding.
This second phase of healing involves more than just understanding the knowledge about the abuse itself; it also involves understanding how the abuse continues to affect you. The ASCA calls this stage “Mourning,” because there’s tremendous sadness in recognizing all the aspects of life that were stolen from you by abuse.
Facing the trauma and pain is not easy. However, pursuing understanding is an important phase most people need to experience in the healing trajectory.

Phase 3: Healing/Recovery

The third phase in the healing trajectory is exactly that: healing! You won’t get there by making the mistake I did for so long—you can’t look outside of yourself to be healed.
You have to look inside to be healed. It’s a challenging thing to do, but on the other side of the long journey, you will be free. You can live a joyful, productive, fulfilling life. You will no longer be burdened by the negative thoughts that hold you back. You can embrace each day, and expect good to flow your way, rather than bad.
You will also be a more compassionate, loving human being. Read these statements from the ASCA about what healing can look like, in this third phase. These sentences describe profound liberty and beauty. I can relate to each of these statements—this is the kind of freedom that awaits you on the other side of facing your pain.
I am entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches.
I am strengthening the healthy parts of myself, adding to my self-esteem.
I can make necessary changes in my behavior and relationships at home and work.
I have resolved the abuse with my offenders to the extent that is acceptable to me.
I hold my own meaning about the abuse that releases me from the legacy of the past.
I see myself as a thriver in all aspects of life - love, work, parenting, and play.
I am resolved in the reunion of my new self and eternal soul.
What an incredibly beautiful experience to be living out that healed reality. The journey isn’t easy, and I can’t promise what it will look like for you. But having started this journey myself, I can tell with you certainty that the effort is absolutely worth it.

For more advice on healing from abuse, you can find Resilient People on Amazon.

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Rick Huttner is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse who now works passionately to spread the message that all abuse survivors can heal. His own healing process began after decades of alcohol abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and a volatile career—all of which were influenced by the buried pain of his childhood trauma. Finally unburdened by his past, Rick now lives a joyful, productive, loving life. He founded the Resilient People initiative to help other abuse survivors, and he regularly shares his story at speaking engagements and abuse-awareness workshops. He can be booked through his website, www.resilientpeople.us.

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