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Poverty

Did Childhood PTSD Teach You To FIT Yourself to CRAP?

One of the harmful effects of growing up with abuse and neglect, is that we get ALL too good at fitting ourselves to unacceptable people and situations. Long after normal people would have left the scene, our minds tell us it’s our fault, it’s a unique situation, we should stay and make it work. In …

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Childhood PTSD and BLAME: How Much Is Too Much?

  When we’re talking about abuse and neglect in childhood, there’s no way to avoid placing blame on the parents who perpetrated the abuse or neglect. On some level, even if they had mental health problems or addictions that clouded their awareness, they had to know that what they were doing was wrong. This early …

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CPTSD: Four Discoveries That Revolutionized Treatment

Now that we know adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can cause neurological changes, the old, mostly psychological approaches to treating CPTSD are making way for newer, brain-based treatments that hold promise for millions of survivors. In this video I talk about four discoveries that transformed our old understanding of the problem. I describe more effective strategies …

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The Never-Ending Wreckage of Growing Up Poor

Today you’d probably lump me in with the middle class, but I carry some residue of having grown up poor. I work with people who work hard to help the poor, but have not themselves ever been poor. There are things they don’t understand. People who grew up with money tend to think that poverty is …

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Friends With No Benefits: Why Normal Rules Of Dating Don’t Always Work for People With Childhood PTSD

Here’s what they tell you: Work hard in school. Love yourself. Get enough sleep. Say no to drugs and tobacco. Don’t consume sugary drinks. Use a condom. Don’t let yourself be pressured into sex. Accept your body. Get a career before you have children. Eat five fruits and vegetables a day. Breathe!  Don’t bully. Dream big. …

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Growing Up “Hippie Poor” vs. “Hillbilly Poor”:

Recently I finished J.D. Vance’s excellent Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, a book that’s part sociological analysis about poor white Americans, and part memoir about growing up with a drug-addicted mother and all the crappy crap that goes with that. I come from the opposite corner of the socioeconomic spectrum (well, the …

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Charm School for Feral Girls

One afternoon in the sixth grade, all the girls in my class were sent to the cafeteria for a special, one-time class whose topic was a secret. We’d already had the men-stroo-ation talk, so why the mystery? The lunchroom chairs were arranged in rows. The teacher of the class was the mother of one of our classmates, who stood before …

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Poor Girl’s First Real Job (Ten Things I Learned as an Admin Assistant)

When I was sixteen I interviewed for a job at McDonald’s and didn’t get it. Before that I’d worked as a phone solicitor and before that, a babysitter, yard worker, necklace stringer and flower-seller, and I raised and sold baby rabbits, and made nachos to sell at fairs.  When I was in college I worked …

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Boyfriends Are Poison (and Other Tips for Girls Who Grew Up Poor)

Here’s what they tell you: Work hard in school. Love yourself. Get enough sleep. Say no to drugs and tobacco. Don’t consume sugary drinks. Use a condom. Don’t let yourself be pressured into sex. Accept your body. Get a career before you have children. Eat five fruits and vegetables a day. Breathe!  Don’t bully. Dream big. …

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