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Transcript of Healthy Relationships
1. Make contact. When you find out that someone you know is going through a crisis and you want to support them, make contact. Call, email, offer to visit. People in crisis often feel alone and alienated and appreciate when others reach out to them.
2. Listen to the story. At the beginning stages of a crisis, everyone needs to tell their story in their own time. Telling the story is one of the cornerstones of psychological treatment for trauma. The job of the friend is to listen. Communicate concern and understanding by repeating the sequence of events and asking for clarification when you need it. You might say any of the following: “Would you like to tell me what happened?” “You must be so angry!” “I’m so sorry to hear this.” “How are you feeling?”
3. Be there emotionally. Think of yourself as a vessel filled with love and support that you are offering out. Recognize any feelings that you might have about the situation and try to not have them interfere with your ability to show up for your friend. Keep your personal stories to yourself, along with any judgments or criticisms you might have.
4. You probably don’t know how your friend feels. Be careful about saying, “I know how you feel.” Even if you may have shared some similar experiences, all of our experiences are different depending on our background, our personality, and our social location. Allow your friend the ability to describe and understand their own unique experience.
5. Don’t push. Rather than insisting on a course of action, offer your friend some options to select from. Even simple ones matter, as in, “Would you like to go now or later?”
6. Help make decisions. On the other hand, you might notice that your friend is easily confused and has difficulty making even small decisions. In this case, you might consider stepping in by preparing a plate of food and offering it or saying, “I think we should….now. Let’s do it together.” Ensure that all your interactions happen with consent.
7. Offer practical help. Suggest tasks you might take on such as making calls or doing errands. Be observant to see what is needed, and ask if you can assist. Especially focus on what children involved may require.
8.Bring food. Eating is one of the first things to go in a crisis (along with sleep). Have nourishing food available so that your friend is more likely to continue eating regular meals.
9. Know that emotion comes in waves. There are no rules about how people should react to crises. Your friend may feel numb, intensely emotional, or anywhere in between. All reactions are valid and understandable, even laughter. Emotions often appear in waves – they come and go. Be there as a support no matter what your friend is feeling.
10. Let your friend cry. Recognize if you are uncomfortable with the level of your friend’s emotions. Take a breath, and fill your vessel with love and support. Try to be with the emotions without stifling them. Your friend will eventually stop crying.
11. Be a buddy. I once read a book on breakups that suggested recruiting a “breakup buddy,” a friend who could be called on night and day in those difficult first days. Offer to be a support if you are able to be buddy to your friend, someone who they can call any time.
12. Be aware of your triggers. A crisis is an emotional and stressful time for everyone, making it more likely that people will push each other’s buttons. If you feel irritated, take a breath and try not to react. Don’t add fuel to the fire if you can help it.
13. Get professional help on board. If your friend is suicidal or highly irrational, don’t hesitate to suggest professional help.
14. Rally support. If you know other people who might like to support your friend, contact them with your friend's permission to let them know what happened.
15. Be patient. Your friend may need to tell the story many times or may still be emotional weeks (even after you assume would have begun to move on). Respect that everyone’s process is unique. If you perceive that your friend might need more or additional support, connect with a your support team and/or look for other resources.
16. Encourage basic functioning. In the first few days of a crisis, even the most minimal functioning may seem impossible. Be very gentle in encouraging your friend to take a shower, change clothes, eat meals, and spend some time outside If you know of self-care activities your friend enjoys, such as yoga or going to the gym, suggest these as well, being careful not to sound pushy and being considerate of their triggers, it may be important to offer modifications.
17. Know that nighttime is often the hardest time for people in crisis. Call in the evening to check in. Communicate empathy regarding how difficult a time it is. Help your friend figure out a nighttime routine that is comforting.
18. Support friends to make healthy decisions around consumption. Some people may increase or decrease their consumption, or more, when going through a difficult time. Your friend will need to find their own way. You can be the voice of wisdom by suggesting moderation.
19. Take care of yourself. People can easily become depleted while supporting someone through a crisis. Pay some attention to your own needs so you can be replenished. Take breaks, breathe, and get support for yourself.
20. Check in over time. Often, at the beginning of a crisis, many people are available to help and support. Over time, people tend to forget and return to the rhythm of their lives. Keep your friend in the forefront of your mind, and check in in the weeks or months ahead.
Remember that a crisis is a tender time for everyone. If your intention to support is clear, but you don’t get it completely right, be very forgiving of yourself. Showing up with a loving, open heart is by far the best medicine.
"I am made of stardust."
Dates, Loves, Sweeties
Without justice there can be no love.
Stop hiding behind your intellect.
10 Things Us Queers (And the Rest of Y’all) Can Do Today to Grow A Little
by Mia McKenzie
Accept that racism/sexism/heterosexism/transphobia/ableism and all sorts of other really effed up stuff exists in the world.
Embrace your wrongness.
Give up being right.
Take an emotional risk.
Hold hands with someone.
Create a boundary/respect a boundary
Separate what happened from your story about what happened.
Check your ego.
Say you’re sorry.
Activity: In groups or in pairs create an image of a practice self care and a way to grow.
Activity: Without sound, demonstrate the
traits that make friends awesome or difficult.
1. Brainstorm types of violence.
2. Safety planning in & out of relationship.
3. Anonymous questions.
Family, Fr-amily, Chosen Family
Stages Of Acceptance
Grief — You may feel as if you are mourning a loss, because the news will force you to let go of certain expectations and wishes you may have for your child (such as the loss of your dream that your child will have a ‘normal’ family life in the future).
Denial — This reaction is your way of protecting yourself from information that feels painful or threatening. (examples of denial expression: “No child of mine is gay.” “You’re only going through a phase, it’ll pass.”)
Guilt — You may be blaming yourself for doing something wrong, which ‘turned’ your child. (I will later address why there is no reason to blame yourself.)
Decision-making — Once you’ve had some time to let the emotions settle, you can think more rationally about how to proceed with this knowledge of your child’s gender or sexual identity. Some parents decide to become opponents, and enable the news of their child’s sexuality to become the source of much conflict and despair. Hopefully, however, you will fall into the category of parents who decide to support their child and maintain a close relationship.
Acceptance — Some parents are so accepting that they become passionate advocates of gay rights. Others aren’t as zealous but are able to come to peace with, and even embrace, their child’s sexual identity (such as by welcoming his/her partner at family functions). Hopefully you will find yourself on the spectrum of acceptance eventually, if you aren’t quite there yet.
Activity: What are the things you want to communicate to families when their children are telling them about their gender and sexuality?
1. Intro/Check In 15 min
2. Self Care/Love 15 min
3. Friendship 15 min
4. Dates & Sweeties 15 min
5. Family 15 min
Speak For Yourself
Check & Be Checked
One Voice At A Time