Trigger Points: Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

Originally published on  on Oct 21, 2015 By Christine Cissy White

Trigger Points Childhood Abuse Survivors Experiences of Parenting

This is the first book FOR and BY survivors of childhood abuse geared specifically towards the experiences of parenting.



It includes essays from over twenty men and women survivor parents with children of all ages.

It’s the heart-brain child of Dawn White Daum and Joyelle Brandt who met in September of 2014 after Dawn wrote about raising a daughter as a survivor in Scary Mommy entitled Raising a Girl as a Survivor (

They had not met or been friends but found each other through words.

Words shared that made them feel less alone.

Glorious words.

They joined forces to create a book.

Dawn and Joyelle had each done, as I have done, as others are doing ALL THE TIME, searched bookstores and online for topics such as:

“parenting as a survivor”
“parent triggers”
“support for parents who had abusive childhoods”
“break-the-cycle parenting”

And found NOTHING.

Maybe a chapter here and there. Maybe a mention in a larger book. Maybe a clinical book. But nothing to and for and by other parent survivors.

There is next to nothing at all anywhere that is honest, practical and helpful. Even less that is memoir, written, produced and made for and by other survivor parents. And practical.

That’s changing.

Now, there will be a book to take to bed, to therapy or to share with a lover or partner. Now, survivors who parent will feel less alone.

This is a triumph over shame too because all of us have joined together and we aren’t writing with distance or hiding behind titles or professional labels but speaking openly and honestly as parents in this situation.

Here’s how it is for me.

We share.

We tell. We tell the truth.

Even though it’s about two vulnerable topics.

  1. Parenting.
  2. Childhood abuse and how it impacts us.

We share about parenting without a road map or a default setting we can lean into, rely on and know is guiding us well.

We share about creating new patterns, traditions and ways of being, responding, emoting and interacting.

We share about the wonderful work that is also difficult and exhausting at times – for all parents – and even more so for survivor parents.

So it’s nice to know others have been there or “get it” and can say, “me too.”

Dawn and Joyelle reached out and made a book out of what they wanted, needed, craved and deserved. In the process they found others.


In the process they helped create community too online (…ntsAnthology?fref=ts)

Just this week parents have been talking about if, when and how to share being a survivor of abuse. What’s age appropriate? What’s necessary? What’s a dodge? What’s a lie? What’s helpful or hurtful? What does our particular child need?

That’s not easy. Not intuitive. But it’s important. Relevant.

There aren’t a million articles on if-when and how to tell your child Mommy has PTSD or Grampy isn’t safe and countless other important topics. There are more resources for talking to your child about terrorism than a parents trauma history even though poses more actual consequences for our kids in day to day life.

So here, we join our voices, speaking for ourselves and also collectively. Here, we also listen to each other. Bearing witness. Honoring. Nodding. Knowing what it takes.

I believe we break the cycle of abuse, in part, by breaking silence. Having safe places to explore the if, when and how, the what happened when I did (or didn’t) share and what I learned, know, wish and can say…

That sort of thing. And the countless other things too…

  • fears of pregnancy, our own body, repeating the cycle, passing on crazy, the impact of going off drugs while pregnant or deciding to stay on drugs because the risk of depression with PTSD is too great, or co-sleeping, breastfeeding, discipline, boundaries, managing self care, if and when and how to tell our children about our history, their extended family and the consequences of doing or failing to do so.

Important stuff.

  • Attachment parenting, healthy boundaries, understanding feelings, attunement, learning the difference between symptoms and feelings, learning how to nurture without overcompensating or while dealing with health problems or anxiety, keeping unsafe relatives at out of contact, etc.
  • Crucial stuff.
  • This is a book about break-the-cycle parenting and it honors the journey, the process, the challenges as well as sweet moments of love, savoring safety and joy and health and love. Where we can share what goes well, what is easier than expected and more rewarding than we’ve every dreamed. The miracle moments and full-hearted love.

The celebratory stuff.

And the practical stuff too. Websites, tips, helpful advice as well.

Plus more community. The sharing of names of others who are parenting, writing, advocating and doing this work too.

There’s joy, power and strength without avoiding the pain or triggers. The sad and hard stuff is here too. Not doing as well as we’d like or the bittersweet realization that it really wasn’t our fault and that children really are vulnerable, dependent and helpless. Even if we know that in our mind it’s felt differently when seen, by us, as parents to innocent and tender beings of our own.

How intense the pressure can be to parent well because we know the lifelong difference it can make. How that knowledge is wonderful.

And terrifying.

The ache to for what we didn’t have in our childhoods so we could have provided more if it for our children from their very beginning.

And also gratitude for all we have learned and do give and how we are able to love, securely.

This is one book with ALL OF THIS ALL IN ONE PLACE!

These two ferocious women started something amazing.

It’s astounding how little we have had until now.

I hope it’s the first of countless other books and resources or that the resources that already exist are now culled and collected so that they can be found, used and get into the hands of those that need them.



I’m so proud to be a part of this book, a part of theTrigger Points Anthology community too.

I’m hopeful that other parents doing the sacred work of parenting and healing (at the same time) find this as the solace I do.

Perhaps professionals will be able to offer it to those they work with as well to help remind people how so very NOT ALONE they are despite how little talk there still is openly about the concerns many of us break-the-cycle parents have.

I know this sounds like a hard sell from me. I got $20. for my essay and get nothing no matter what the sales. And considering most places pay writers NOTHING that’s pretty impressive of these women too to pay contributors.

But that’s not why they did it – to make money. And yet, I hope they sell millions and get rich because they are giving the world a gift that is so long overdue and needed.

And I got to have a small part in that and of that. I get to help others feel less alone, to help others shake off shame like a dog getting out of the tub. And it’s an honor and I’m thrilled.

I’ve paid therapists to listen, to honor and to hear. It has cost $25 to $150 each 50-min hour. I regret nothing done for my healing and that helps my parenting. But this is a resource people can own and have and refer to. This lets others survivors get to hear other survivors which doesn’t happen in therapy.

It’s a treasure and a gem.

So I just had to share about it here with others so deeply concerned about adverse childhood experiences and their lifelong impact on adults and future generations – both personally and professionally.

It’s available next month, right before Thanksgiving and for so many of us that stretch from Thanksgiving through the New Year can be difficult, brutal and emotional. So this is a perfectly time release and gift.

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