Date Tags help

Or consider the People of Color who have experienced trauma resulting from abusive police practices or know others who have. Or consider the fat people who are denied routine health care, like access to life-saving transplants or gender-affirming surgeries; Or consider the communities that face higher risk of cancer because their water, soil, and air are toxic, victims of polluting factories that tend to be located in low-wealth neighborhoods rather than affluent ones. Systemic injustice is traumatizing and runs deeper than any of us can imagine. Explore all the central relationships in your life--romantic relationships, family, children, friends. In what ways are these people special to you? What is unique about each relationship? What is your history with them? The longer the history, the greater the chance for connection. Live the love fully. When you notice you're feeling love, do you feel a warm glow or a gentle buzz in your mind? Do you feel a pull to be with the people to whom you feel connected and committed? Are you inspired to be generous or affectionate? Whatever you're feeling in a love-enriched moment, experience it with all your senses and savor it. Sam: I'd be quite glad to pull back in my shell, but I'm wondering if we are not beyond ourselves. We have no resources in this area. We keep bringing up personal records which really don't count for much in our total assessment. Leader: Diagnosing individual needs is not pertinent to our problem, Sam? Again the leader is trying to understand Cathy and to link the meaning of her somewhat involved illustration to the previous comments. Stu, on the other hand, in numbers 13 and 15 is apparently trying to push Cathy to a broader generalization, which she does not accept in number 14.

The leader here provides the linkage between the difference Cathy sees between the interests of the sexes and the role of the leader, which was the topic under discussion prior to Bill's comment in number 1. Apparently Sam has not perceived any linkage between the discussion of group members' needs and leadership. He feels dissociated from the original topic. Although Sam has not stated his feeling as such, the leader reflects tentatively Sam's meaning, thus even linking Sam's comments to the preceding topic of needs. Many people who are more privileged under these systems may be insulated from the reality that what they take for granted isn't accessible to a lot of people. For example, as an able-bodied person, I never have to think about whether I can access the toilet paper in a bathroom. I didn't learn that until it was discovered by a fat person who wasn't able to use the facilities. Structures were designed for people like me and I have been able to take that for granted. Identifying systemic trauma can help to relieve the shame and self-blame of the victims of these systems and can also help those who benefit from the systems to become aware of their privilege and leverage it to advance social justice rather than their own self-interest. INTERGENERATIONAL TRAUMA Trauma isn't isolated to an individual. It also blows through one generation and on into the next. My dad could be a nice guy--generous (always) and kind (often). He was also an alcoholic with an explosive temper. Love and Partnership It's very easy to take love for granted. For many in long-term relationships, it becomes the backdrop of their lives rather than center stage where it belongs. Here's how Robert was able to use his love radar skill to enhance his feelings of love for his life partner: Jenny and I have been together for a lot of years. As time goes by, you tend to forget many of the reasons you got together.

You're living in each other's pockets, up close and personal with the other person's bad habits. You're raising kids together and trying to get by financially. Your relationship seems to get worn down over time--or, at least, you start to take things for granted. At least that's what happened to us. Sam: Well, I was about to jump in with all sorts of personal references. I work with these groups all the time and I can present some anecdotes on the other side but it occurred to me that that wouldn't be relevant. Stu: It seems to me we are analyzing here, or raising the question, about the function of leadership. If one attitude toward leadership is accepted -- in general the community center's point of view on leadership, the social worker's point of view -- well, then, one must know -- one must be able to diagnose the needs of the people in order to function as leader. If another concept of leadership wins the day here, then we can dispense with all of this diagnosis. Sam: Then we should discuss the two aspects of leadership and not diagnosis. Leader: Stu, you are not willing to accept that that is the best way of leading -- diagnosing the group and going out and fulfilling needs for -- That's the point I'd rather argue. In a group there may be as many different channels of thought as there are members. This often can be seen in the early stages of group development, when each member has his particular axe to grind, when contributions are likely to be more ego-centered than group-centered, when members are responding to their own personal needs to the exclusion of what is going on outside of themselves. A functional alcoholic, he was sober and productive during the day, with the martinis and meanness surfacing at night. I stayed out of his way in the evening and grew practiced in the art of stealth living, learning how to be in a room without anyone noticing my presence. My mom and sister absorbed the brunt of his rages. My mom tried to placate him and avoid his temper, but simple things, like clinking dishes while unloading the dishwasher, were enough to trigger an outburst. If he had had a bad day at work--as was often the case during my adolescence--she could do nothing to fend off his rage. My sister, on the other hand, pointedly provoked him.

My brother must have been good at stealth living, too, because I don't even remember where he was during these moments. Trauma spreads between people. My dad had his own stories of a painful childhood, including having a distant mother and an absent father. He received little warmth or nurturing. Lately, I started to make a list of all the reasons I want to be with Jenny. I made notes about all the things we've been through together and all the things we still hope to achieve together in life. Some days get off to a bad start. We're both rushing to work and to get the kids off to school, and we're either arguing or ignoring each other. So, on my way to work, I'll just read through that list and give her a call just to say I love her. I've found it has made me happier. I feel more connected to her, and I find myself looking forward to getting back together at the end of the day. I know it has made her feel more connected, too. TUNE YOUR CONTENTMENT RADAR For many years, whenever Andrew asked people what emotion they would like to feel more of, the answer was either love or happiness. It is during this stage that the group-centered leader's linking function is so important. It might be said that the leader by perceiving these linkages helps the individual members to become aware of elements in the total perceptual field which Stu, taking over the linking function, makes a successful attempt to tie together the ideas about needs and the earlier topic of leadership. Sam's comment is not accepting of the group's exploration of the problem of diagnosing needs. Stu's linkage in number 25 was much more useful, as well as accepting, to the group. The leader in trying to catch Stu's meaning went beyond him a little.

He might better have said, You see the problem of diagnosis in relation to one type of leadership but not necessary for another type. It can be said that the leader helps the group members to enlarge the scope of the phenomenal field to which they respond, thus increasing the chances that their contributions will be more appropriate to the existing situation. As with the other distinctive functions which the group-centered leader brings to the group, this linking function is gradually assumed by the group members themselves. Individuals in the group begin trying to see how each new contribution is linked to previous contributions. I have compassion for why his mom may have shown so little warmth. She was trying hard to make it as a single parent. Ironically, the time she spent away from him was in effort to create a better life for him. In the absence of a nurturing mom, though, my father never developed emotional skills for coping with discomfort or anxiety or sadness. His rage ran on pure instinct. His reptilian brain leaped into action without progressing through the logical thought process of the cortex, which might have been able to suppress the minor irritation of hearing rattling dishes. Sometimes, he'd apologize afterward, in his awkwardly ineffective way. I told her to empty it before I came home, he'd say, as if that justified his abusive tirade. He was as disappointed in his temper as we were. What he did not see was that they were signs of his unresolved trauma. But starting around 2008, when the recession hit and the social upheavals occurred as a result (as we were being financially squeezed, being asked to do more with less, and generally just trying to cope with the fast pace and demands of modern life), he began to notice that the answer had changed. People weren't necessarily aiming for happiness. They were looking for contentment. While happiness and contentment might seem like one and the same thing, they're not. Happiness is about gain--getting something we want that brings us joy, often at a moment or in a place we didn't expect. Contentment is more about having our needs satisfied.