Trigger Points — finally, a parenting book for moms and dads who survived child abuse


 Trigger Points is the first book written, edited, and published by survivors of childhood abuse geared towards parents who are survivors.

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It includes essays from more than 20 men and women survivor parents with children of all ages, as well as resources, journal prompts and ways to join a survivor parent community.
It’s the heart-brain child of Dawn White Daum and Joyelle Brandt who met in September of 2014 after Dawn wrote about raising a daughter as a survivor in Scary Mommy entitled Raising a Girl as a Survivor.
They had not met or been friends but found each other through words.
Words shared that made them feel less alone. Glorious words.
Dawn and Joyelle had each done, as I have done, as others are doing ALL THE TIME – sought out resources and researcg,
I’ve ached for information and support on topics such as:
  • parenting as a survivor
  • parent triggers
  • break-the-cycle parenting
  • support for parents who had abusive childhoods
And found NOTHING.
O.K., yes, maybe a chapter here and there or some mention or a study. Maybe a mention in a larger book.
But nothing to and for and by other parent survivors that is practical and hopeful.
Where are the helpful and educational resources? Where’s the well-written memoir in a survivor voice sharing the difficulties survivor parents face?
What exists for people who are parenting now but weren’t parented well?
There’s been so little. Almost nothing.
Luckily, things are changing. And I’m honored to be a part of a groundbreaking book to, for and by survivor who write, edit and publish. There will be a book to take to bed, to therapy or to share with a lover or partner. Parents with an abuse/neglect history will feel less alone and have the chance to connect with others who share the same experiences.

Many of us survivor parents have stopped looking for or asking for resources and are instead creating them. For ourselves and with one another.
This is a triumph over shame. We parent survivors are no longer hiding. We are speaking up and out and for ourselves and to one another. We are speaking about daily parenting not only in therapy or as pathology but just as a part of our lives.
Which is part of the reason Dawn and Joyelle self-published Trigger Points. They wanted creative control and to produce a book they felt would most help other survivors.
Where we share. And tell. And talk about the truth and the challenges we face.
Even though it’s about two vulnerable topics.
  1. Parenting.
  2. Childhood abuse and how it impacts us.
We share about parenting without a road map, without a default setting we can lean into, rely on and be supported by.
We share about creating new patterns, traditions and ways of being, responding, emoting and interacting. And how this is done while breaking the cycle of abuse, neglect and dysfunction.
It’s nice to know others have been there or “get it” and are doing the same work.
These two survivors created the book they wanted, needed, craved and deserved. And in the process they found others.
They helped create community online (…ntsAnthology?fref=ts) which grows daily. A place where parents can talk about if, when and how to share being a survivor of abuse. What’s age appropriate? What’s necessary? What’s helpful or hurtful? It’s not easy or intuitive but it’s important. Relevant.
There aren’t a lot of articles on if-when and how to tell your kid ‘Mommy has PTSD’ or ‘Grampy isn’t safe ‘ and why. In fact, there are more resources for talking to your child about terrorism than a parent’s trauma history….and guess which one is more likely to directly impact a life?
But these are the types of things we wonder about together.
It’s not the past we are obsessed with but the present. And how to raise our children.
With voices joined we speak for and to and with one another. We bear witness, honor, encourage and acknowledge what it takes to be a survivor parent.
We break the cycle of abuse, in part, by breaking silence.
But it’s not only trauma and pain that needs to be shared. There is so much about survivor parenting that is joyful, wonderful and triumphant. These celebratory experiences beg to be shared.
When we give unconditional love.
When we witness our children confident, expressive and feeling safe.
When we learn to provide a secure base and find we are competent, loving and more healed than we had realized.
Too often there is no place for us to speak about our ordinary day to day high or low lives. It’s getting better though.
We are finding, helping and supporting one another.
We share how it feels to learn what we didn’t experience enough of: attachment, atttunement, security and good nutrition.
We discuss effective ways to set boundaries, identify and regulate and talk about emotions or deal with post-traumatic stress symptoms so our children get the parenting they deserve. That we also deserved but didn’t get.

For others so deeply concerned about adverse childhood experiences and their lifelong impact on adults and future generations — both personally and professionally — this is a book you need to know about. It’s available on Amazon now and I for one am glad it’s out before the long stretch between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

May it be the beginning of an explosion of tools for and by and with survivor parents as audience.
Here’s a preview snippet from the essay I contributed.

My cultural pride is shame.

My native tongue is a memory I try to scrape clean so mud doesn’t cake out of my mouth.

My greatest gift of maternal love is to insist she get no heirloom. My gift is to break the cycle.

And what I give her is something I didn’t own as a child.






I am not a child-girl-victim.

I’m a mother-woman-adult.

O.k., I am and will always be both.

P.S. If you know of any resources that might benefit survivor parents please add them to the comments for others to find. Resources for and by survivor parents are most welcome! What works for you? What tools do you use most and what books, articles or practices have been most helpful?

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Written By Sylvia Paull

Trigger Points — finally, a parenting book for moms and dads who survived child abuse was originally published @ ACEs Too High and has been syndicated with permission.


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