Category Archives: Resources

Frida’s Bookshelf: Trauma and Abuse

I’ve written a bit about abuse and trauma, mostly in the form of facebook posts, waiting for an opportunity to put my ideas together more cohesively.

It’s summer, in the desert, during a pandemic where my most socially responsible behavior is to stay home.

“Those who attempt to describe the atrocities that they have witnessed also risk their own credibility. To speak publicly about one’s knowledge of atrocities is to invite the stigma that attaches to victims... Denial, repression and dissociation operate on a social, as well as an individual level.” ~ Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror ~

~ Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror” Graphic from https://www.facebook.com/traumaandco

Home.

Home.

Home.

Especially for women, home is more than just a place to sleep. It is often community, work, identity, investment. Why then do we insist, even if a breakup is necessary, that it is the victim who must leave? Why not support the victim in removing the perpetrator and protecting the victim? Why is the assumption that it is her move, not his?

(I use gendered pronouns because that is the essential paradigm of abuse, that gender would apply to any victim or perpetrator. It is also my frame of reference, my lived experience. If you need different pronouns, please feel free to substitute your own. )

Victims of domestic violence are told the perpetrator won’t and can’t change and the only recourse is for the victim to leave and it is the victim who must change. DSM diagnoses pathologize victims but not perpetrators. His violence is normal. It is her “willingness” to be a target that is considered sick; that the victim didn’t heed red flags or make better choices, didn’t see the patterns, that victims think of themselves as victims, play the victim (this is a game?), that survivors are superior to victims.

I use the term victim quite intentionally in my writing. There should be no shame in being a victim. It is BY DEFINITION, NOT A CHOICE!  Some victims don’t survive. Making a moral or spiritual distinction further maintains the focus on the victim and not the perpetrators.

BLAMING THE VICTIM FURTHER NORMALIZES AND ENABLES THE PERPETRATOR.

There are many reasons a victim may have to stay. There is often extreme push back on victims who do change. The most dangerous time for a victim of an abusive relationship is during or after she decides to leave. Victims who fight back or push back are often identified as problematic, disruptive, unpleasant or even violent. The prisons are full of victims who fought back.  Victims who kill their abusers routinely get longer prison terms and harsher verdicts than serial abusers who kill their victims.

Why is abuse always put on the abused to stop? Why is it the abused who should leave? (Often sent to spaces called shelters that are abusive, controlling environments that remove the agency of their clients and underpay and over work their staff).

Why is the removal of the victim the explicit solution?

Why do we insist that abusers won’t or can’t change? Why do we not instead, hold them accountable, in community? Why do we continue to present abuse as a personal problem and the personal choice of the victim instead of the systemic issue of power and oppression?

I am not saying we shouldn’t support the victim if they want to leave. I was addressing the mandate that the victim is the one who is told to leave, told it is their responsibility to leave and is told that to get help, sympathy or support, must leave.

Victims are rarely provided with sufficient resources to stay or leave, but the agency should be the victim’s.

There are even programs that refuse to help a victim if they don’t want to leave, especially if they don’t want to break up with the abuser.

There are few if any systems of support to protect the victim and hold the abuser accountable.

Also, the mandate to leave seems to only apply to heteronormative– in form if not in substance– domestic relationships.

People in abusive work situations are told to learn to work with difficult people. Monday morning blues are the generally accepted indicator of how pervasive and normal workplace abuse is.

Children with abusive parents are told that the family unit must be preserved and it is the parents who have to change.

Parents who have abusive children (yes, it happens) are told it’s all their fault (as if there aren’t other systems pressing on children: ex-partners, people in power, media, etc.)

My understanding of abuse and trauma has been empowered and informed by several important books and some articles, that I link to below.

One of the most important books on my shelf is Judith Herman’s Trauma and Recovery.  Herman describes how systemic trauma is, and for women, how abuse, at the earliest age is common and pervasive and that one traumatic experience often puts the victim in positions that are retraumatizing. These are more than just the victim’s patterns. These are social patterns imposed on marginalized people, often in a squirrel’s wheel that can be difficult to escape.

Patricia Evans provides the anatomy of abuse and what the abusers think.  Those books are essential especially for people dealing with gaslighting, moving goal posts, confabulations and false accusations

Red field with one black horizontal line and several vertical lines of different sizes out of the horizontal line. Red, Black and Blue by Emma Rosenthal

Red, Black and Blue by Emma Rosenthal




Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Paperback – July 7, 2015

Cover image of the book Trauma And Recovery, by Judith Herman M.D.

https://amzn.to/3gV3HmE Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Paperback – July 7, 2015

Also available free, in PDF:
https://www.pdfdrive.com/trauma-and-recovery-judith-herman-m-d-e17694190.html





The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition: How to recognize it and how to respond Paperback – January 18, 2010

by Patricia Evans  (Author)


https://amzn.to/3iS5L0t





Denial of Care: DISability, age and the rationing and denial of care

Corona Virus Causes Global Outbreak of Racism

Work in progress. new links added. Most recently added links at top of page.




For my other collection of resources and links related to Covid19:




Links:
WORK IN PROGRESS. NEWER ARTICLES ADDED REGULARLY. MOST RECENTLY ADDED ARTICLES ARE AT THE TOP OF THE LIST:

 



 


  • “When Western health care experts say that this sort of lockdown won’t work, they basically mean it’s never been tried on this scale with this kind of uber-efficient government.” “Considering the underlying distrust, it’s hard for the government to say what many epidemiologists are saying: This outbreak is serious but not catastrophic. Because if the state leveled with the people, it would also have to admit that there is no need for this degree of social control. Fewer than 200 people were reported to have died as of Thursday evening, in a country of nearly 1.4 billion, and there is no indication that we are at the start of a Hollywood disaster-style movie.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/30/opinion/coronavirus-china-epidemic.html


     

  • ‘They yelled Coronavirus’ – East Asian attack victim speaks of fear
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/16/they-yelled-coronavirus-first-british-attack-victim-east-asian-man


Screen Shot 2020-03-28 at 5.36.04 AM

Corona Virus Causes Global Outbreak of Racism

 

Diary of a Staycation: Packing to go home

Diary of a Staycation: Packing to go home: With links to my adventures & accomplishments

I go home today. It’s been an amazing few days, with long periods of necessary solitude  pleasantly interrupted with tea and cake with my airbnb host, Vanessa. Last night localWatts Towers, Watts, Los Angeles, California airbnb host, Leslie also joined us, and we  went out to dinner at Locol a new burger joint in Watts and then we stopped by the Watts Towers.  We are the face of airbnb hosts: elder women on fixed incomes with varying health issues, using home sharing to keep our homes. We are among the many hosts who do this work out of necessity and who also love this work.  We are not reluctant. We are all activists fighting to keep our homes, jobs and community. We have all three been activists all our lives on many fronts. You may recognize Vanessa from the airbnb ad. Her home is gracious and elegant.

The Airbnb I run has 3 active listings, all in my own home. One of the contradictions of this economy is that I was able to qualify for a home loan and very little else, and the home I found that I qualified for, was a very rundown 1014 Craftsman home that needed years of work. So I do have a big house, and I can’t afford a big house. But I qualified for the loan on this very big house. It’s expensive, it’s a lot of work and if I can’t make ends meet my options are to sell and leave. And this is the situation many hosts are in.

Andy, my partner, didn’t join me for my staycation. We thought he might be able to get away at least one night, but he stayed home and took care of guests. People, when they are traveling, when they are away from home in unfamiliar environments  can get very needy. There is a lot of emotional labor in this work.

The purpose of this vacation was to refocus, meditate, write, work on my photography and my photography web page. Living and working in a 24/7/365 business means we never really get a break. I needed to get away and reflect on my life, my work. I am incidentally a business woman. I am essentially an artist and writer.  The craft of writing and art requires solitude, meditation, lots of time where nothing seems to be happening, but there is a deeper process at work. I needed to go and wander the corridors of my own mind and my own heart.

I hope I can bring some of this stillness back to DragonflyHill. I think it would be good for everyone I live and work with. I have a lot of unfinished projects, but I went into this staycation with two clear objectives: Get my photography web page back up. (A change in smugmug formatting had left it in disarray), and finish an article that Xeres Villanueva and I are coauthoring. I did accomplish both these tasks, though some last minute suggestions from Sylvia Posadas, my ever present, online bestie, who lives in Australia and whom I’ve never met, gives us the opportunity to go over it one more time before sharing it with the world. We’ll have it out probably by the end of the weekend.

The photography web page is ready for the world, though I will be adding to it in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Most immediately I will be adding a feature where viewers can purchase my photographs through the web page, and I will be adding images to the “This is Home” series.  Currently the photos of DragonflyHill are listed under commercial photography, and I will also be listing them under fine art photography as well. And as I attach links to this post, I notice a few remaining glitches I need to address, but most importantly, this page is up, and I’m more familiar with the format and will be able to make changes easily. It took me the better part of a day, complete with frustration and just short of meltdowns, to get to this point. I needed the isolation to do this work.

So Andy should be here soon. I’ll brew some tea now, take a shower, get dressed and packed up, and head back into the fray.

DISability Word Matters

EMMA’S LEXICON

This post is under constant construction (and deconstruction) as nuanced language is needed to define experiences and identities as our perceptions shift and change. This is a rewrite of a post from many years ago, for example.)

DISabled (formerly Dis-abled): One who has a non-conforming body or mind, that others are able to dis  without fear of social consequence. she is dis-abled.

DISability (formerly Dis-ability): the ability to be dissed without fear of any social consequence for the offender due to a due to a physical, cognitive or emotional non-conformity. she has a dis-ability.

I capitalize and emphasize “DIS” in order to begin to deconstruct the way we think about DISability. To begin to look at it as something that society imposes on a person or a group of people, not a condition inherent in that person or group. Derivatives would include: DISmiss, DISparage, DISrespect, DIScourage, etc.

ENabled: the opposite of DISabled. Someone who has those qualities, characteristics, identities, capacities that are considered favored and are accommodated without consideration. People who don’t use wheelchairs for example, don’t consider having chairs provided for them at gatherings or events, as a special accommodation to their particular needs. Public staircases, maintained at public expenses, or any other public accommodation that is routinely provided to them without special consideration isn’t considered, is accepted as a norm, while those accommodations for people who are DISabled are seen as burdensome or at best, special and exceptional.

Medical Model of DISabilty—the idea that the person has a condition that needs fixing, changing or curing and that any problem the person has with society is due to their own condition or impairment.

Social model of DISability–  Distinguishes between impairment (the condition) and DISability—social exclusion.  For example, I am totally capable of participating in conferences, classes, and forums,  as a speaker,  an audience member, a student and as one of the organizers. But if there were steps (a social/physical construct) into the facility, I would be prevented from attending. It is not my impairment that would prevent my participation, but rather, the social construct of stairs, a decision that architecture takes priority over diversity.

PWD– Person with a DISability.

PWOD-Person without a DISability. I don’t like the term able bodies, because it implies that dis-ability has to do with impairment, and not social exclusion. It also ignores mental and cognitive dis-abilities.

Acceptable Marginalities: Words and phrases that contribute to the marginalization of PWDs:  Retard Stupid Schizo Crazy Nuts Idiot Dumb Deaf  (turn a deaf ear) Blind (the justices were blind to the issues raised in the case.) Lame

These terms are used quite freely to describe and insult people who are not PWDs. The use of these terms assumes and perpetuates the marginalization and the acceptability of marginalization of PWDs. Example of similar types of marginalizing language are “That’s so gay.” Or the use of the term black, to denote something bad—black magic, black idea, black mood, black humor, black mark, black sheep, as well as the way men will call each other girls or ladies when insinuating that their friends aren’t man enough.  Words matter or we wouldn’t use them.  https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/word-matterswords-matter/

Word Matters/Words Matter:

On ableist language, the words we
use and alternative discourse

First posted on the Facebook page of Radical DISability, expanded and maintained here.
https://www.facebook.com/notes/radical-disability/word-matterswords-matter-on-ableist-language-the-words-we-use-and-alternative-di/1746544745582960

This is a work in progress of a collection of links on ableist language, with the most recent additions on the top of the page.

 Links

Alternative Discourse

When we give up ableist language we leave room for actual analysis and discourse. Ableist language is essentially supremacist, so if we’re really fighting for social justice, stigmatizing people with cognitive, physical or emotional DISabilities not only perpetuates the marginalization of DISfolx, but also obscures the real problem with what every behavior or ideology we’re calling out. For example, when we say “Stupid White Men”, we not only disparage people with cognitive DISabilities, we also give capitalism, imperialism and institutional racism and sexism, a pass. We fail to provide real analysis, and instead resort to lazy name calling. When we CALL IT WHAT IT IS, instead of using ableist slurs, we actually provide the possibility for deconstructing systems of oppression instead of simply rebranding bigotry to fit one’s own entitled supremacy based on superior intellect or ability.

Stay tuned. More to be added in the future!

Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links

Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links

Most recent update:  September 8, 2019

(Work in progress. I especially need links regarding restorative justice. Also, please post your favorite links on this issue. Newest links at the head of each section, by topic.)
Links on the ongoing exploration of cross generational trauma, something that has impacted my lineage and my life tremendously and must inform our activism and policy as we try to create systems of support and determine reparations. Some links posted for future reference. Please feel free to comment on the links and critique their premises. Some basic concepts to consider as we recognize and explore recent evidence that it’s not just socialization and psychological behavior that explains the cross generational transfer, but that the trauma actually is in our DNA.
  1. The wisdom of our ancestors– what has been lost, stolen, forgotten and abandoned– language, customs, wisdom, healing, is also in our DNA. We embody in our cellular memory all the hurt, but also all the love and knowledge of our ancestors.
  2. It stands to reason that it is not just victims who carry the DNA memory, but also the perpetrators. They two carry with them– entitlement, power, abusiveness, violence, guilt. Their inheritance isn’t just the monetary inheritance of centuries of theft and enslavement and exploitation, but the entitlement of and power gained from the abuses inflicted on our ancestors.
  3. That is, power and powerless carry with us, into each subsequent generation this relationship of owner and slave, colonizer and colonized, Abuser and abused, Victimizer and Victim.
  4. I reject the rejection of the term victim. The assertion by many that we choose to be victims, we perpetuate the systemic and cultural tendency to blame the victim, either for their victimization in the first place or in their healing and response afterward. By thinking we, individually can step outside of this history without collective work and collective healing and accountability is to side with oppression and perpetuate abuse. Blaming the victim is the religion of systemic and cross generational trauma. Another term for victim that can be used, is “target” and the term “survivor” is also acceptable, but with the understanding that there is nothing more moral about being a survivor than having not survived. It is NOT a choice. To privilege survivors over those who were massacred is to embrace essential white supremacist ideologies of fitness and worthiness.
  5. I reject the idea that soldiers are victims. Soldiers are perpetrators. If perpetrating violence is traumatic, then that’s easy– stop perpetrating violence.
  6. Trauma is insidious– it can make us lash out at the what triggers us, which may NOT be what caused the trauma or the flashback at all. Like the child who dives under their chair when a plane passes over head, miles from the location of the trauma of war, where passing overhead planes meant the dropping of bombs, those of us in communion, where spaces are actually safe, are not the source of the trauma, just because we are the location of the trigger. It is the work of our PTSD healing to learn to recognize the difference between danger, and the flashbacks that come up when we are safe.
  7. I also want to point out that POST Traumatic Stress Disorder, may not be accurate. Much trauma is not only in the past, the distance past and our DNA, but is ongoing. It is exceedingly difficult to recuperate from ongoing trauma because the wounds are not only fresh, but are constantly being reopened.
  8. Terms like “Children of the Holocaust” and “Post Traumatic Slave Disorder” are headlines here, for the much larger body of work on trauma among Jews and African Americans, respectfully. I use those terms because they also reflect the narrative within those communities, even where the issue of cross generational trauma may be greater than the scope that term may imply.
  9. Too often because of its scope and intensity, 6000 years of who Jews are and what we’ve done and what’s been done to us gets encapsulated in the 6 years of the Shoah, and now in Israel. As if aside from 6 years of being the victims of genocide and 60some years of being the perpetrators, is the sum of all we are. (That’s not the narrative, the narrative is that there is some redemption and deliverance for the years of suffering, via Zionism).
  10. The Shoah (Holocaust) came out of years of abuse and genocide– expulsions, crusades (where many Ashkenazi Jewish towns were massacred by the invading armies on their was to the Holy Land), pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, ghettoization, more expulsions, humiliations, incarcerations, segregation, discrimination, etc. Jewish trauma, specifically in Europe, reaches back hundreds of years. For Jews who were not in Europe, the Shoah impacted them in Northern Africa, and the trauma for non-European Jews was most experienced as colonization in the particular geographies of location. The Holocaust studies on cross generational trauma can inform the larger discussion on cross generational trauma, but it is not an isolated event. That degree of racism doesn’t just pop up like a camping tent and disappear just as quickly. The study of Holocaust survivors and their children is very important to this discussion on cross generational trauma, and it provides a very clear and distinct set of data, but there may also have been a predisposition to those genetic changes and the other changes that were passed on to children, due to the centuries of abuse and a much slower genocide, particularly for European Jews. (And by European Jews I am referring to Jews who were geographically in Europe, which would predominantly be Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, but would also include many North African Jews and Middle Eastern Jews, in Europe.)

Image of a tweet. Text: ash 𓂀 ‏ @mama_ashley_ Follow Follow @mama_ashley_ More I feel like lots of us were raised by parents who experienced trauma as children they never healed from and even though they love us and nurture us we’re left to deal with the every day ways that their trauma affects them and us without fully understanding it 6:21 PM - 17 Apr 2019 1,869 Retweets 8,028 Likes JadennnÜtal💘Grace With Luvӄʏɛ ☾TK Egan°₊·ˈ∗♡ ᵐᵃᵐᵃ ᵏ⁸ ·ˈ( ˃̶᷇ ‧̫ ˂̶᷆ )♡∗ˈ‧₊°˗ˏˋ 𝚂𝙴𝚁𝙴𝙽𝙰 ˎˊ˗J👑🔗 23 replies 1,869 retweets 8,028 likes Reply 23 Retweet 1.9K Liked 8.0K Direct message

Topics:

Children of the Holocaust 

(And other Jewish traumas, but this was the title of the book that started the current discussion on cross-generational trauma)

Post Traumatic Slave Disorder and Cross Generational Trauma in African Americans

“The Truth is that disability has been with us, in us since the beginning of time. Disability has held and kept us. It is in our marrow, in our blood, our sweat and tears. Disability does not make us less than, it makes us who we are. Ableism and anti-Blackness are the enemy. Disability is our kin. While the world has convinced itself and the Black community that disability is a bad word and a bad circumstance. It is neither. Disability and Blackness is pride. Disability and Blackness is innovation. Disability and Blackness is brilliance.

Native Americans: Cellular Memory

Childhood Trauma, particularly ongoing trauma and violence

General Research and Cross Cultural Considerations

Expanded Research: Beyond Jews, African Americans and Native Americans. (New material)

Cambodia:

Responses and Resources for healing:

Restorative Justice

(What it is and what it isn’t)

Meditation and Healing

Bearing Witness

Ancient Wisdom: Culturally Based Healing Modalities

If 30 is the new 20, and 50 is the new 30, is dis-ability the new 65?

Google Demographics and YOU

how accurate is google with your demographic information? on me, it was wrong both in gender and age, making me a man, almost a generation older than i am now. given that there’s not a whole lot age specific in my google searches, and i share a lot of interests with people a whole lot younger than me, i figure it’s my searches on illness and dis-ability that ages me, that puts me in this obsolete demographic. i get how they would mess up on gender, though i’m just as likely to google women’s clothing and housewares as i am to google home repair, organic gardening and television and film action/dramas. i don’t know which gender would get credit for photography, college classes, education and human rights. (except dis-ability rights– ghettoized with geriatrics)

check out how google sees you, and let me know.

http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1121693–here-s-how-to-find-out-what-google-knows-about-you

www.thestar.com

The search engine giant may know less about you than you think. Its ad preferences track your online behaviour, but can it predict your demographics?

Moving Forward

I hadn’t realized it’s been a half a year since I last posted to this blog.   I keep three other blogs, and while I’ve made a few posts on those sites, and I did create a new page: “Resources for Accessibility” to this blog. (see the menu at the top of this page); it’s been a slow year for me as a blogger, and I haven’t made any new posts, here  since December.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on facebook– where, in addition to my private wall, I also have 2 organizational walls– DragonflyHill Urban Farm, and Cafe Intifada, and I’ve started tweeting, too. So, so much social media, and perhaps I haven’t needed to blog as much. Been venting my frustrations there. Regardless,  I do need to come back to bed with frida, not that she missed me. But I hope my readers have.

We’ve also been busy fixing up our home– DragonflyHill Urban Farm, busy with urban farming. I’ve been taking classes in photography and have a very serious and extensive work in progress I’ll be posting to the web sometime soon. And life’s been hard. very hard. We’re coming out of several difficult years and I THINK we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m hoping it’s not the train!!!!

I do expect to be doing a lot more writing in the coming weeks. Some of the topics you might expect to see include:

The Clientization and Infantalization of Dis-ability— the tendency of health care providers, friends, family, co-workers and others, including activists to see PWDs (people with dis-abilities) as clients to be cared for, and not peers to be respected, empowered and nurtured. Along with clientization comes infantilization– seeing PWDs as little children and putting us in our place. (this becomes especially acute for women PWDs, who are apparently expected to be good little girls.)

Emma’s Lexicon: A guide to the terms I use and their meanings, including PWDs. dis-ability, dis-abled, as well as words to address issues of imperialism, colonization, occupation, social justice and radical healing.

Radical Healing:  How to heal in community, how to provide systems of support, how to build community, and at the very least, what NOT to do.  I’m also looking at the role social networking: blogging, Facebook and twitter can have in breaking down the isolation of illness and dis-ability. I’ll also look at how these venues can also be abused by bullies and perpetrators to increase marginalization and victimize targets of abuse.

Resource Pages:  Pages that provide resources on a specific topic.  For example, see our page on Resources for Accessibility. (See links above)  Other pages include resources on Accessible urban farming, healing trauma, etc.

On my other blogs look for posts of essays, stories and poems including much writing on racism, sexism, movement building, infiltrators in the movement, blacklisting,  building community, white supremacy, etc. As well as a variety of resource pages on political figures, issues, etc.

And look forward to my new web page of my photography, something that has been in the works for some time.

To find me on the blogosphere and the rest of the web go to:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/navigating-emmalandia-links-to-emma-rosenthals-web-presence/