3 metaphors for healing cultural and personal trauma (CPTSD) (CPTSR)


You deserve to swim fast, fly free, run like Secretariat and enjoy your treasure every single day of your life! So many metaphors, so little time! 


When I first started the Joy-Based Living conversation and community, I saw us cleaning ourselves and each other of cultural wounds (shame, abandonment, betrayal) the way we would clean oil off of a penguin or a seagull.

We set ourselves free to swim or to fly again. Or faster. Or better.

We all have been wounded. We all have wounded ourselves and others. The 3 wounds occur in every culture and I haven’t met anyone who’s escaped from experiencing any one of them – or delivering any one of them (consciously or unconsciously)!

To heal these wounds, and to stop ourselves from accidentally wounding others, we take 3 “vitamins.” These vitamins can be described as healing fields:

  • honor (to heal shame),
  • commitment (to heal abandonment) and
  • loyalty (to heal betrayal).
  • (credit to Dr. Mario Martinez for discovering and sharing these wounds and healing fields! Bravo and Huzzah!)

While the wounds require our embodied awareness and our active rejection (THE WOUNDS AREN’T JUST IN THE HEAD, THEY ARE STORED IN THE BODY) (ACTIVE REJECTION, as in NO I DON’T WANT THAT ANY MORE), the healing balms require deliberate, conscientious and repetitive practice. That’s our JBL workout which we do every single day. Like brushing our teeth or taking a shower.


A metaphor of horse blinders came up in response to the more specific nature of CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (it’s not a disorder, but rather it is a RESPONSE to extreme stress, so a few of us have started to call it CPTS-R.)).  These horse blinders are woven with layers of protective denial due to trauma bonding and toxic loyalty. Denial  that there is even a wound or a problem.

A CPTSD (or CPTS-R) traumatized person will (consciously or unconsciously) insist on an agreed upon consensus that they “sense” a monster in the room and they (directly or indirectly) let us know they are feeling afraid/disturbed/concerned/hurt but they insist (verbally or nonverbally) we all have to pretend that they don’t sense it and that it’s not really happening. Hope that makes sense.

How many times does a bubble of denial need to be burst? Depends on how much permission is granted to pop it.


Let’s now make a bridge to our JBL treasure map. THE TREASURE IS YOU!

As you navigate forward in healing, layers of denial decrease. The blinders come off or at least get holes in them! Simultaneously, the quality and quantity of meaningful conversation and groundedness in ones-own-truth increases. You continue to grow, and as you do, you commit to meaningful projects and even increased financial rewards because you’re doing what you love to do and you’re not sabotaging yourself anymore.

Because of the culture-of-denial which we live in, it helps to have comrades, other journeyers who we can talk to to grow with us and to validate our reality and our experience.

At this stage – because we are o’so’imperfect human beings – we can – and do – fall back into denial. But this time, because of our healing practices – our daily workout – our vitamins – we don’t usually choose thick leather blinders. Instead, WE CREATE FOG. And then WE REMOVE THE FOG through awareness, acceptance and articulation of what we’re up to (sometimes we do this on our own and sometimes it helps to have a meaningful and honest conversation).

You deserve to swim fast, fly free, run like Secretariat and enjoy your treasure every single day of your life!

JBL Treasure Map - 11-08-18

Much love,

Happy D!

ps. If you would like additional support in the form of a personal “workout”, I created 12 Practices just for you. It’s an e-book with a journal and supplementary videos. You got this!

And… I just created this appetizer audio and visual program called Bring It On: Exchange Toxic Shame for Healthy Self Connection! It’s a sneak peak into a JBL workout. This program can help you get a really true experience of a “Tell Me More” worksheet. We remove inner “fog” through awareness, acceptance and articulation. It’s more than an hour of audio which is reinforced visually in a follow-along worksheet, O YEAH! I wish every therapist and client had this tool in their pocket. It’s AWESOME!!

Cover for Bring It On - Exchange Toxic Shame for Healthy Self Connection

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