-using the word "but" as it can invalidate a sincere apology. (I'm sorry that I...but")
-using the word "if" as it can suggest that a hurt never happened. (I'm sorry if you felt hurt...)
-justifications and explanations as it can muddy up an apology and cause confusion.
-generalizing with vague wording as it can sidestep taking responsibility.
-first listen to the person's hurt and understand it from their perspective. Repeating is a great way to communicate that you understand and can also clear up any misunderstandings. (I heard you say....)
-own up to your wrong doing and assume responsibility.
-be specific in your apology for the action and words that offended the other person.
-make proactive attempts to rectify a conflict if you are in a position to do so by "making up" for the wrong doing.
Having two boys is exhausting! Not only do they have bounds of energy which make it difficult to keep up with, I've noticed that they don't always do what I ask them to do. No surprise there, yet it often catches me by surprise as if they are ALWAYS supposed to be nicely kept, obedient boys. Of course discipline and boundaries are an essential part of parenting, but what doesn't need to be mixed within, is frustration, anger and anxiety.
Operating from a place of calm is often the hardest challenges I face as a parent. I realize that I can often be bound up by my own anxieties and frustrations, which can easily spill into the way I parent. That results in control issues, yelling more than I should, and tearing down with my words as oppose to building up in correction.
Recalibration is something I always have to do--and for me, my faiths acts as that recalibration for me as it allows me to see myself and my kids in a way that allows me to be the best parent I can be.
Simply put, gaslighting is a technique that someone uses that can make you question your perception of reality. It is a form of psychological abuse whether the person intends to do this consciously or unconsciously. As a result, you can leave a conversation second guessing yourself and how you feel. They may say things like, "you're so insensitive," or "it's not that big of a deal," or "how could you think such a thing."
If you have experienced being gaslit, remember that you're not being too sensitive, and that more than likely you've just not felt seen, heard or understood. Remind yourself that you're not overreacting but that more than likely you've been triggered by a wound or a past trauma.
Thank you doesn't suffice but what else can we say as we recognize the tremendous sacrifice made to those who serve our country. If you are a veteran or family member of a veteran, please check out Recovery Resource Council at https://recoverycouncil.org/. They provide fantastic help at no cost to Veterans and they have counselors who are highly trained.
When a dam is breached, there's nothing that can hold back the water. Conflict can resemble a breached dam as tension can escalate rather quickly. Learn personal triggers and communicate to your partner to take a pause before things get out of reach.
What we need is for someone to listen to us, to hear us, and to make us feel that we are understood. And before anyone is willing to allow you to speak into their life, if they don't feel you "get them," all your words will fall to the waist-side. The most effective thing that you can do to help someone who is going through something difficult is to love them. Love is not just to prescribe something, or to tell them what they need to do and not to do, it is simply to be present. It is to have listening ears and a sympathetic heart. Next time, instead of making a statement, ask a question. Because how can you love someone if you don't first know or understand them? Ask questions because that is one tangible way that people can feel loved.
I once read a funny quote that said, "I'd like a blessing that's not in disguise."
It'd be extremely insensitive just to reframe someone's trauma history by saying that "it's a blessing in disguise." But the reality is that those who go through trauma, are forged through a fire that creates such a high level of resilience that it is unmatched to those who have not gone trauma.
While those deep wounds and scars reveal the deep hurts they've endured, it also points to the evidence that they are still alive. It reveals that they made it through. It reveals that they kept fighting. It reveals that they are resilient.
Working through past and current traumas is a hard work. And that is an understatement because you know how painful the sting of abandonment is, or how debilitating abuse and broken relationships can be. But it is a work that is not only necessary to move towards healing, but also a work that will create such a formation of character, that you can be used to help those who went through what you went through.
The most purpose driven people I know, are typically the ones who have been through the most. What a story then, of those who have gone through hell and back, only to come through to the other side to be a light of transformation to those around them.
Kids don't learn from what you say but from what you do. So if you want to teach your kids, show your kids.
Lazy counselors will tell a client what to do, while effective counselors will ask questions to allow the client to come to their own realizations.
This past year, I worked exclusively with Veterans and their family members, joining with Recovery Resource Council and their Veterans department. We all spend at least 1 day out of the year recognizing the sacrifice and commitment of our veterans but we should give honor to their service year round. So many veterans come back from service with a host of injuries: physical, mental and emotional. The physical injuries sustained are a constant reminder to them that they'll never be able to do the things they once did in their youth. The mental and emotional injuries they carry with them everyday. While outwardly they may seem strong and unified, internally that may not always be the case. This doesn't speak to any insufficiency or weakness but rather to the high intense traumas they've faced. Yes they are heroes, but at the end of the day, they are still human.
Veterans even more so have to fight against the stigma of receiving mental health care. But I have seen that once they are able to come into the counseling room, the amount of change, growth and healing are tremendous. Using interventions like EMDR to combat PTSD, I have personally seen the positive impact counseling has made to veterans and their family members.
This memorial day, would you recognize and honor veterans and their family members. Know that when you see a veteran, their challenges run deep into the veins of their every day life. Our freedom came at a price and our veterans are an embodiment of that cost. Thank you for your service.