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Category: Stress and Trauma

The Unhealthy Rhetoric of Spiritual Bypassing

The Unhealthy Rhetoric of Spiritual Bypassing

“Everything happens for a reason.” “She’s in a better place.” Some of us find these kinds of statements helpful, but others of us shudder when we hear them, especially when paired with other spiritual language. In this blog post I plan to unwrap some of the dynamics of why the thing termed spiritual bypassing can be toxic and harmful to a lot of people even when the same techniques and phrases help others. My Background and Standpoint As always, I’ll…

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When Shame–Er, Purity Culture—Becomes a God Term

When Shame–Er, Purity Culture—Becomes a God Term

So this week I had the strange experience of re-reading the book Pure by Linda Kay Klein when an article came out suggesting that Evangelical missionary, martyr, and purity culture icon Jim Elliot seems to have longed for death at the end of his life because of struggle against something unspecified that he deemed a (sexual) sin. Considering Pure is an ethnographic study of the damage and trauma caused by the Evangelical purity culture movement that was in part pioneered…

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How to Respond When the Bullies (Seem to) Win

How to Respond When the Bullies (Seem to) Win

I don’t know about you, but there are times in weeks like this past one when it just feels so much like however much progress we make, like the systems in place are just too flawed, and allow the bad guys—you know, the bullies and abusers—to win much much too often. In today’s piece I want to unwrap some of the dynamics of these issues and how to understand and healthily respond when things seem like this. (This is going…

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When Mortality Rates Are Higher in Conservative States

When Mortality Rates Are Higher in Conservative States

This week a USA Today article about mortality rates being higher in red states popped into my email inbox that would have been useful to speed my way to voting reasonably faster. That is, it would have had I seen it when I was still voting only based on narrowly “pro-life” views as I was conditioned to. I wish I could have seen it back then, but hopefully drawing your attention to it now will help encourage you and/or others…

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QAnon, the Satanic Panic, and Poisoning the Well Against Survivors

QAnon, the Satanic Panic, and Poisoning the Well Against Survivors

Okay, so awhile back I blogged, as part of my series about William Cooper, the conspiracy theorist who popularized the word “sheeple,” about QAnon, who claims Cooper as an inspiration. In that post, I specifically talked about how QAnon, with its horrible SaveTheChildren hashtag, was poisoning the well and distracting from genuine cases of sex trafficking. Well, this week I plan to build on that work and connect it to a similar movement I’ve been seeing with people who are…

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When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

Okay, so I’ll confess I had to go back and read up on Heather Cox Richardson’s latest update when I started seeing memes and posts about GOP immigration nonsense in my feed again. At any rate, it doesn’t actually feel all that new at all. That’s because this rhetoric is old as the fascistic hills. So today I wanted to unwrap a bit more of what happens in general with unhealthy rhetoric that frames “open borders” as a devil term—and…

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The Human Cost of Unhealthy Politics

The Human Cost of Unhealthy Politics

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with a lot of political talk that cast both debating and politics as the types of activities that were presumed to have no cost EXCEPT to the home team. The home team (in this case, conservatives) were clearly the victimized ones. But no one else was likely to be hurt by any of these activities. The kind of “snowflake” rhetoric that’s emerged since then has come out of this attitude I…

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Coping with Ambiguous Loss in an Age of Fascism

Coping with Ambiguous Loss in an Age of Fascism

I’ve been thinking a lot about ambiguous loss lately. And on the heels of a few recent blog posts here looking back at fascistic rhetoric and policies and their negative effects (see here, here, and here), I’ve been thinking about ambiguous loss in those contexts. Hang with me and I’ll try to unwrap what ambiguous loss means, how it can apply to life in an era where fascism is attempting to rise, and how we can all pour our stress…

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Fascistic Rhetoric, Purity Culture, and the Roe V. Wade Overturn

Fascistic Rhetoric, Purity Culture, and the Roe V. Wade Overturn

Like so many of us, I’ve had sooooo many thoughts and feelings since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Especially coming on the tail end of a week in which I was rereading an excellent and excellently accessible book on fascistic rhetoric (How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley), refreshing my mind about how fascistic politicians tend to hearken back to a mythical idealized patriarchal past in order to gain and regain power, it’s been a whole thing to take…

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When LGBTQ+ Identity Becomes a WEC Battleground

When LGBTQ+ Identity Becomes a WEC Battleground

So yeah, in recent months and years, it’s been increasingly clear that the litmus test for whether you were a “real” white Evangelical Christian has surrounded the question of where you stand on the Culture Wars, and has been stunningly similar to the question of what made a “true conservative” in the US. And let’s be clear—the issue this has consolidated around in recent years and decades, beyond the question of whether you support abortion being illegal, is the question…

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Getting Past Cynicism: Why We Need to Organize Like It’s 2017

Getting Past Cynicism: Why We Need to Organize Like It’s 2017

Here in the US, there’s been yet another school shooting. Not long after yet another grocery store shooting (that one caused by a white supremacist). And I have heard sooooo much cynicism this week. This blog post is designed to empathize with those who are cynical but also to call those who are cynical (and others who may be overwhelmed and frozen) toward fighting for change moving forward, however you’re able. See, we need you and your efforts. They matter….

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When Therapy Becomes a Devil Term, Especially in Church

When Therapy Becomes a Devil Term, Especially in Church

So I know so many people who grew up Evangelical who grew up with the overt message that therapy is terrible. I grew up with a more covert stigma about it in my right-leaning moderate neck of the woods, but it was effective all the same with me for a long time. As I’ll explain a bit later, I even see symptoms of this lingering in some progressive Christian spaces. In this piece I’ll unwrap some of this and how…

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The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

Okay, so we all KNOW a bunch of us get annoyed with the phrase “all lives matter”–for good reason– when it’s abused. A lot of us even know a lot of the reasons it bothers us. But com theory and related research can really help us see why it bothers us in a new light, and since that’s what I study and teach, I hope to explore what happens when seemingly good concepts like all lives matter “go bad,” and…

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Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Editor’s Note: This guest blog piece by Matthijs Kronemeijer was written before the recent horrific anti-trans legislation was passed in Texas. This legislation accuses healthy loving parents and caregivers of trans children of child abuse for affirming trans children’s identities and trying to protect them from the disturbingly high suicide rates among trans folx. I hate the fact that I even have to write a note about how much it is NOT ABUSE to affirm children who don’t fit pre-existing…

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Why Christian Nice Gets All Complicit with Bullies

Why Christian Nice Gets All Complicit with Bullies

So as I write this it’s Black History Month. Which has me thinking again about Christian White Person Nice and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s words in “Letter from Birmingham Jail” about how “white moderates” are almost a bigger threat to equity and justice than the extremists are. (I previously talked about this here and here.) In this week’s blog post I’d like to parse some more of this out in terms of communication and conflict theory. So I’ll…

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