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Tag: stress and trauma

On Facing Difficult Conversations from a Trauma Background

On Facing Difficult Conversations from a Trauma Background

If you’ve been following the Assertive Spirituality Facebook feed closely, you know I had one of those difficult conversations this week. Without sharing personal details about the encounter, I asked for support there. Because no matter how skilled you are and knowledgeable you are about conflict, these things are hard. That is especially true when there is a trauma background involved in the conversation—and there was on both sides of this particular encounter. This week’s long-and-raw but hopefully worth it…

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Toward Healthier Communication Climates; Or, Why We Need to Speak Up

Toward Healthier Communication Climates; Or, Why We Need to Speak Up

As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a culture of what I called Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice, which had some great things about it, but also some toxic side effects. Most notably, I left my childhood with a strong aversion to calling out negative behaviors. I was a little better at speaking up against unhealthy narratives, but still felt awkward and inept at doing so. In this article I’m going to introduce two communication theory concepts…

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On Finding and (Re)building Meaning in the Midst of Outrage Fatigue

On Finding and (Re)building Meaning in the Midst of Outrage Fatigue

Not surprisingly, I had quite a case of Outrage Fatigue/Compassion Fatigue around the time I wrote my initial post on the subject. I think it’s important to acknowledge that, because it’s key to note that no one’s immune from such things, no matter how much you study and teach stress, trauma, and conflict communication, or how often you practice all the stress management tips and tricks in the world. (That said, the current post is long, but will offer you…

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Outrage Fatigue and the Sources of Political Conflict; Or, Why We’re All So Freaking Tired

Outrage Fatigue and the Sources of Political Conflict; Or, Why We’re All So Freaking Tired

As I write this article, I’m tired. (Some call this condition outrage fatigue or compassion fatigue.) I’m tired because it’s been a long week. It’s been a long year. It’s been an extremely long (American) presidency. (Oh, and I know this is a long article. Stick with me—I think you’ll find it worth it, and encouraging, to stay to the end.) It’s felt long, and we’re all tired, because that’s what happens when abusers abuse. It’s what happens with domestic abusers. With…

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In Pursuit of True Civility; or, On Standing Up for the Common Good

In Pursuit of True Civility; or, On Standing Up for the Common Good

There’s been a lot of flap about civility in the news lately, and I’ve seen it mirrored on my news feeds posted by friends, family, and acquaintances. “If we’re to ask for civility for the little guy, then we also need to give it to government employees,” they say. Or “You may not respect the man, but at least respect the office.” As someone who’s been teaching about civility for years, and who’s also been away on a trip until…

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Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

We’ve spent a few weeks discussing the toxic patterns that can be enabled by conflict-avoiding “Christian nice” spiritualities and the ways they can make us sick. It’s high time we discuss what healthier spiritual responses to conflict look like. In this post, I’ll outline what I see as an excellent constructive way to approach conflict in abuse situations by jumping off an excellent reflection by Abbot Tryphon, the leader of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church on…

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How “Christian Nice” Can Literally Make Us Sick

How “Christian Nice” Can Literally Make Us Sick

Now that we’ve dived into a few nuances of the toxic sides of “Christian nice” (see the bottom of this page for the earlier posts), it’s time for us to discuss why the gangrene metaphor I used in that post isn’t so metaphorical. Which is all to say that it’s time to discuss how suppressing our stress and emotions and disagreements literally makes us sick. My Experience and Some Disclaimers Before I dive into the details, let me say I’ve…

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Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Note: This post is an example of me enacting Assertive Spirituality. It is doing so about the recent zero tolerance US immigration policies. If you’re new to this site and want to know what Assertive Spirituality is, check out my part 1 and part 2 of the site’s definition posts. If you want to know what’s going on at the US border, please google major news outlets that fact-check their work and admit to errors when they accidentally commit them….

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The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

Since I wrote my post on the toxicity of “Christian Nice,” two friends in Christian ministry contexts sent me this tips and tricks piece published at Christianity Today. This article, specifically directed at Christian pastors, offers specific conflict confrontation tips to deal with the passive-aggression of “Christian Nice.” Especially since one reader of the previous piece wanted more examples and healthy conflict confrontation tips, I wanted to offer it here, and also put in my two cents, including some cautions….

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The Toxic Spirituality of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice” (Part 1)

The Toxic Spirituality of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice” (Part 1)

Okay, so as I think I’ve said before, I grew up as a pastor’s kid (in church slang, a PK) in the Midwest. I’m not saying my life was the plot of Footloose or anything, but it was a cultural climate that was VERY white, very tribal-Christian, very “Christian-Midwest nice.” It was also pretty patriarchal. And honestly, I think the particular brands of conflict avoidance I’m about to discuss enabled that and other unhealthy societal structures quite a lot. Let…

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The Truths about Stress, Trauma, and Gun Violence

The Truths about Stress, Trauma, and Gun Violence

Note: I originally wrote a shorter version of this article this in February in response to the Parkland school shooting and posted it on Facebook. The arguments about gun violence in the United States still stand, regrettably, so I’m reposting it here. I especially wanted to post this on Memorial Day, since this year more American children died in school shootings than military personnel in active combat zones. This is a major human rights issue we need to keep speaking…

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What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 2

What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 2

Where were we? Okay, so in the first part of this post we had covered the definitions of assertiveness and a bit about the definitions of what assertiveness is and how I see assertiveness to work based on my studies and teaching of stress, trauma, and conflict communication as well as my life experiences. In this part, I’ll be discussing how this applies to spirituality, and what I mean by assertive spirituality. To be honest, I was a little shocked…

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What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 1

What Is Assertive Spirituality? Part 1

“So what does assertive spirituality look like?’ A friend helpfully said when I was telling her about the idea I had for this new blog. “Does it look like a good thwack over the head?” That’s when it occurred to me that I might want to start things by defining assertiveness for my prospective blog readers. So here it is, dear friends: “Assertiveness,” say Gloria J. Galanes & Katherine Adams in Effective Group Communication: Theory and Practice, “refers to communication behavior…

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