Personal Growth
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Personal Growth

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

Susan Kuchinskas in her book The chemistry of connection wrote "... loving isn't automatic." John Bowlby, the father of attachment stated that the first three years of life lay the foundation for all of our relationships lifelong. Research also tells us that what the mother experiences during her pregnancy her developing fetus experiences in a sea of chemicals that shape and organize its developing brain and nervous system.

This development continues after the baby is born as it interacts with the mother and its environment. The enormity of the power of this relationship to do harm or good is overwhelming.

 

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

Last night my sister called. It has been months since we talked. Our nephew is getting married and she is concerned about seeing her biological dad, my step dad. She called mom to let her know she didn't think he should go and it was her responsibility to keep him away. Mom told her he has a right to be there. Once again mom disappointed us by taking up for him. She told me that the last time she went to that state she became physically ill. She is afraid it will happen again. After she hung up, I sat emotionally frozen. As I breathed into my emotions and body my bottom trauma drawer opened. As it revealed more unintegrated knowings I wrote them down then feel into an exhausted restless sleep. 

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

I give up! All of my life people have told me that I wanted too much, or thought too much, or felt too much. So, I give in. I say uncle. I am an unreasonable woman. Born from the fires of trauma and forged in the challenges of facing my fears and demons I accept my unreasonableness. 

 

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

Once upon a time we lived and breathed to be in the presence of the other. Passion ignited our intense motivation to fly through the day to get to see each other. On weightless feet I would move through my day yearning for you to drink me up in the depths of your blue eyes. They were my ocean, calm and safe where I could float in peace and tranquility.  

 

 

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

I worked for a state agency in the late 80's and early 90's. I hadn't been there very long when I had 35 court-ordered cases dumped in my lap. I guess that is baptism. I was sitting at my desk in a large room set up with about 7 other desks for other workers in my unit. Not all of them were there but it didn't matter. She bent over me and in a voice everyone could hear stated, "Why didn't you disclose that you were sexually abused as a child?" I was stunned and froze up. I told her that no one had asked me any questions related to that and what difference did it make? My memory becomes foggy after that as to where the conversation went. I think I checked out into feeling shamed in front of my co-workers. She said a few more things then went back to her office.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

The use of "dysfunctional family" has been used for years. I remember feeling somewhat confused and bewildered when I heard the term in relation to my family. Of course, at that time, it was reflected to me that my challenges were related to my denial system. I accepted that to some degree but something still nagged at me. When I learned more about the stress model and connected to my fears I realized that it wasn't only my denial system that caused me to question this term it was a reflection of my experiences and my inner wisdom.

 

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

Recently I was working with parent of a 4 year old who had been sexually abused by another family member devastating them and putting the families in conflict with each other. They both disclosed abuse histories in their childhoods as well. As they were describing how they felt and reacted when their child was tantruming or being defiant I had one of those defining moments. They felt victimized by their child's behavior! It was as though they were putting a perpetrator's mask on their child, triggering their intense feelings of powerlessness from their bottom trauma drawer. Whoa! I thought. I shared my observations and thoughts with them which at first took them aback. As they and I breathed into what I said they begin to make the connection. They saw how their own stress and not their child's behavior was what they needed to calm. Then they could focus on their child's needs and meet them, which would calm their child.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

The more I continue along my journey of life, the more this poem which I wrote who knows when, rings truer and stronger. I've come to realize that all my experiences are wired in my mindbody so they don't go away. I may bury them. I may deny them. I may run and fight them but they are there until I am willing to stand and face them allowing the unexpressed, unprocessed state level feelings to pass through me and become integrated. Then I can give them a voice so the next time that old memory comes knocking it doesn't have the 'charge' that it had when I was in protection mode. Sometimes my protection mode got stuck on when it didn't need to. I'm learning to have compassion for myself and the experiences that conditioned me to believe danger lurked everywhere.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

If we are to deliver on our promise of 'no child left behind' then we need to rethink what we are doing. In order to deliver on this promise we need to integrate knowledge from neuroscience, attachment, cultural conditioning and family systems into the fabric of our educational system. We need to understand ourselves from this context first and then apply it to how to successfully educate our children no matter what educational issues they have. We need to apply this knowledge from a context of intervention and prevention depending on the need. When we have this understanding we will recognize that the challenging behaviors in children are a wail for love and a cry for help. We will understand that their behaviors are communication from a dysregulated brain and nervous system that will interfere in their ability to learn no matter how much they want to do so.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

This would be a good time of the year to begin the process of putting your own self-care on your list. It is a balance between self-care and other-care. We need to rise about the limitations from our intergenerational and cultural beliefs to become a 21st century Woman. Transformation is a process. In an instant world this is difficult. Transformation is a process of taking one small step at a time toward a paradigm shift then taking new actions. The most difficult step is deciding what you want your life to look like (results). This may challenge your deepest unconscious beliefs that have told you over and over that you don't deserve to have what you want or you want too much or no one in this family ever gets what they want. When we realize this and seek to challenge our lives any belief to the contrary gets triggered. These beliefs come from our cellular memory, our child and adult conditioning. These are the definitions from others of who you are and what is possible for you. They were repeated and repeated until you 'believed'. Then you forgot.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

It was a cold, dripping morning as I hurried toward my office when suddenly a shrill high pitched m-e-o-w stopped me in my tracks. I stood quietly and heard it again, then again. I followed the sound to a post where thick ivy spiraled around it. Pulling the ivy back from the bottom of the post, I discovered a small, scraggly, tabby colored kitten looking up at me with sad, scared eyes. It hissed at me as it moved around the post just out of my reach. Even though this was a small town, it was hiding just a few feet from the main road where busy traffic hurried to get to the interstate. Struggling around the post I grabbed the terrified little creature, which was hissing and scratching at its savior. Once I placed it in my arms it became calm and snuggled, burying its head in the crook of my elbow. Not knowing what else to do, I took it to my office.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

The years of research on the brain have taught us that human beings are the most incredible, vulnerable, high maintenance creatures on the planet. It takes years to grow a child into a competent, capable, loving, contributing adult; or not. We know that the human brain has not completed its growth for executive functioning until the 25th year of life. We are more fragile than we realize and more resilient in our ability to grow beyond our traumas. Our basic survival needs for food, shelter, water, some type of medical care and education are minimally met for the most part, at least in the United States. One of the basic building blocks for a humane human is not met well world-wide. Children's emotional needs aren't even on the radar screen. We don't understand the impact of stress, trauma and fear-based parenting practices on the emotionally vulnerable child. I could give you all kinds of statistics but you can look them up; suffice it to say you can check out the news every day and find evidence that we are not doing very well in our relationships; children bullying children; adults bullying adults. In order to connect in relationships we have to be in a calm place so we can feel empathy, compassion, love, and set healthy limits and boundaries.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

As I look at the cursor blinking on my computer screen I find myself holding my breath as I wait for inspiration. Many thoughts get triggered in my mind. I remember to breathe, and breathe and breathe some more. What makes it so difficult to face relationships? Do I think about what relationship I had as a soul before I got born into this world? Do I think about my physical relationship and how I have not always thought of my body as a temple to be lovingly cared for? Do I think about my emotional relationship and how it got suppressed? I continue excavating it like an archeological site finding treasures of wisdom and meaning buried. Do I think about my relationships with others and how my fear keeps me at arm's length?

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

I was scheduled to give a presentation for school counselors on 'Is It A Behavior Problem or Is It Stress?" I had been planning this for about three months with their coordinator. I left early Thursday morning because it is about a seven hour drive from where I live. I wanted to have time to rest up from the drive so I would be fresh and energetic for my Friday afternoon presentation. I was very excited to be able to share my research and experiences about how stress affects children especially their behavior with school counselors. I had been seeing an escalation in behavior problems in children over the last 20 years and the methods I had learned didn't seem to work much or for very long with a growing number of children. I have learned that my experiences are not isolated. School teachers and counselor are challenged as well as parents. Like me they were open to learning new things to see if that would help.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

All of us experience negative thoughts. They creep in when we are afraid that something won't or will happen. They are distracting. They bring doubt and lack of self-confidence to our busy hurrying days. They trigger frustration and irritation that we then share with others. Where do they come from? What can be done about them? Are we doomed?



Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

While the United States was recovering from the Great Depression the events of Pearl Harbor catapulted us into World War II. Business and industry scurried to shift to make the necessary tools for war: airplanes, bombs, etc. But men were needed to use those tools to fight an enemy who swooped down unannounced and devastated Pearl Harbor. Men stepped up to the plate to fight for God, Country and the American way. But with men gone fighting for our freedom who was going to do the work to keep them armed with what they needed?

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

Once upon a time a little girl about age 10 lived with her family. They lived in England in a house made of stone. In order to keep the house warm in the winter they had to use coal. The coal bin was next to the house and the little girl would help her step dad make the fires that kept them all warm in the cold English winters. One morning the house was icy cold when the little girl woke up. The step dad was not at home. So, having watched how to build the fire in the fire place many times she proceeded to do so. When her mother and siblings came downstairs the house was warm. She felt proud of the good thing she had done to help her family. However, her pride and joy turned into confusion and terror. When her step dad got home and learned what she had done he went into a rage. He told her that she could have set the house on fire. He told her she had endangered everyone. He told her he must punish her to make sure she never did anything like that again. She didn't understand.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

Self-development has not been an easy journey. Having accepted culturally and family beliefs about how I should 'get over' things I found myself in conflict when my trauma reactions did not go away. In spite of that I didn't feel damaged or broken; or that I needed 'fixing'. Waves of shame would crash within me when I heard people talk like that about victims of childhood trauma. It invalidated my survivorship and kept me in a victim position because I blindly accepted their voices as the right ones. Later, they became a barrier to moving from victim to survivor to thriver.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

The parched sandy soil of northeast Texas connected me to a lesson in humanity and humility that have been awaiting my awareness. While watering my flowers and shrubs in an attempt to save them from the oppressive summer heat, I was reminded about the challenges I have had for over 20 years working with traumatized children in multiple roles. I know now that I am not alone in these struggles.


Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

"Change is a part of life. You have to take the good with the bad and go on," Momma said. What she did not say is that when life's changes crash in on you, it isn't so easy.

Change can be so intense it shatters your world. You end up feeling helpless, hopeless and powerless. You just can't "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and go on. Hot tears of pain seep from your eyes against your will even though your mother's voice echoes in your head saying "Big girls don't cry." You hang your head in shame as you feel you failed.

Expert Author Deborah Chelette-Wilson

It is interesting how one can use words but never realize their meaning. Having just celebrated our Independence Day, I wondered about the word independence. What does it really mean? I've been told all my life that I'm "independent." It seemed like the context of it was helpful when I was a child because I wanted to be able to do things for myself. Our first experiences of our ability to master our environment, begins when we can say, "Mommy I do peeped all by myself," then run to show what we did and where we did it. Later, we move on to things beyond basic bodily functions to 'I can dress myself, ride a bike without the training wheels,' and so on. But does this really make us "independent"?