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If you’re reeling from the results of this week’s election, please read this.

If you're reeling from the results of this week's election, please read this. | Annie Wright, LMFT | www.anniewright.com

“For the human soul is virtually indestructible, and its ability to rise from the ashes remains as long as the body draws breath.”
– Alice Miller, PhD

Hey my friend.

So I had a totally separate blog post pre-written and scheduled to post this morning.

And then the election happened.

If you're reeling from the results of this week's election, please read this. | Annie Wright, LMFT | www.anniewright.com

If you’re reeling from the results of this week’s election, please read this.

And everything shifted. What I wanted to share with you several weeks ago suddenly doesn’t feel as pressing or urgent.

Instead, the only thing that feels present for me, as I imagine it may for you, is the result of this week’s Presidential election.

I feel shocked. Saddened. Angered. Scared. And also a little helpless. (can you relate?)

I cannot and will not be neutral about President-elect Trump. Some may say it’s not my place as a therapist to be political. But frankly I could not disagree more.

As a psychotherapist, my life’s work is dedicated to undoing and healing the damage of explicit and implicit abuse, neglect, rejection, shaming, blaming, and ostracizing that many of us experienced (whether unintentionally or intentionally) in our families and communities of origin and in our culture collectively.

My life’s work is to help bring relief to those suffering from anxiety, depression, confusion, despair, and grief.

My life’s work is to support people — all people regardless of their race, sex, gender identity, religious affiliation, or abilities — to become more fully who they are and to live their lives in congruence with their authentic selves.

My life’s work is to help create a world where people feel safe to be themselves and to help heal and shift damaging and abusive cultural introjects and systems that lead to individual and collective suffering.

President-elect Trump and his track record of actions so far embodies everything that I work so hard to help people heal and overcome from: The painful collateral damage of narcissism, grandiosity, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, xenophobia, misogyny, divisiveness, bullying, body-shaming, oppression, lies, and on and on the list goes.

Over the last year, what I’ve observed is that his campaign has been particularly triggering for vulnerable minority groups, specifically those denounced for their race, those who are sexual assault and sexual harassment survivors, those who are survivors of sociopathic and narcissistic parents, and frankly anyone who has ever felt and been told that they are “other” and who has felt unsafe for being “other.” 

But now that triggering has amplified manifold for so many more of the people in my personal and professional life.

So many of us are grieving intensely this week, waking up each morning wondering if it was all a dream, if maybe there was some error. So many of us are still in shock and walking around in a surreal daze.

One person this week described it to me as a feeling akin to “a sucker punch to the gut that comes with an unexpected breakup.” Yet another described it as “some bizarre glitch in the Matrix that landed us in an alternate parallel reality.”

If you have felt this way this week, you likely already know that you’re not alone.

And if you’re still in shock and grieving, please know that you get to take ALL THE TIME you need to absorb the enormity of what just happened. You simply cannot rush your own personal process around this to race towards acceptance. (I fully admit I’m not there yet and I have no idea when I will be.)

If you are feeling afraid and frightened, let us remember this: we don’t have a crystal ball.

We don’t know what the coming months will hold for us. It’s normal and natural, I think, for our minds to go to catastrophic thinking, but as hard as it may be, let’s try to reign our fearful thoughts in and come back to present: Feel the ground under your feet, feel the air in your lungs, look around you and notice that you’re safe in the present no matter what imaginary future your thoughts may be concocting.

If you’re having a hard time this week, please take care of yourself in any way that feels good.

Maybe it looks like avoiding social media and watching the news; maybe it looks like eating chocolate cake for breakfast; maybe it looks like gathering in community with your friends and coworkers to express your heartbreak; maybe it looks like going to bed at 8pm. Whatever you need, please take care of you.

Emotional shock and grief consumes physical energy. Be gentle with yourself.

Sometimes my bi-weekly articles to you have answers in them. Tips and tricks and ideas about how to tackle the painful, confusing and challenging stuff of life.

Today, the best I can do is to share with you a roundup of articles — some from me written previously on this blog and also some new ones published recently on other media outlets this week — to help you process the results of this election and to support you in taking good care of yourself.

I’m also providing you with a list of resources that you may want to consider exploring if you feel inclined and called to further explore how you can be an ally in the face of narcissism, sexism, racism, bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, misogyny, divisiveness, bullying, oppression, etc..

I firmly believe that abusiveness thrives and breeds both because of those who explicitly act abusively and because of those who are silently complicit with the abuse. Therefore, one of the greatest strengths we have in the face of abusiveness is the dual-edged weapon of education and vocal criticality.

When we know better, we do better. And when we know what’s healthy and functional versus unhealthy and dysfunctional, we can better call it out and add our voices to the chorus saying, “No, it is NOT okay that you said and did that. I demand something better.” 

Indeed, what I’ve taken heart in this week (and in all the months leading up to this week) is how many of us have seen Trump clearly for who and what he is and denounced him, his words and his actions resoundingly. We have stood up to abuse, to dysfunction, and we have done so together. We are not alone in calling him out.

And this — continued vigilant observation and vocal expression of disagreement — will, I predict, remain incredibly important for us as engaged citizens and whole-hearted humans to continue doing. 

So please, if you feel inclined and called to it, review the list of resources I’ve compiled below both for your own personal support and to strengthen your awareness of key social justice issues threatened by President-elect Trump’s election. I also urge and encourage you to share this article and its links with your friends and family and community members who may be interested in this perspective, too.

My friend, please know that you’re not alone in your hard feelings of grief and shock and fear this week. I’m right there with you.

Really, we are in this together and we will keep putting one foot in front of another until we live in a world that feels safe, accepting, and healthy.

We can intellectually accept President-elect Trump’s win, but we do not have to emotionally accept nor condone his destructive way of being in the world. Nor do we have to accept or condone the destructive behavior of anyone else that may feel legitimized by his ascent to Presidency. Abuse is any form — whether on the playground blacktop or in the Oval Office — is not okay.

And I want to personally commit to you that I will do my part as a psychotherapist, writer, and social justice advocate to continue working for you and everyone else who wants to live in a world that feels safe, healthy, and functional. Will you join me?

So very warmly, Annie

PS: Leave me a message in the comments below to let me know how you’re doing in the wake of this week’s election, what words of support and comfort you might share with someone having a tough time this week, and/or what resources you would add to the social justice list to encourage continued education and conversation in our community. I look forward to hearing from you.

Self-care supports:

A small sampling of social justice resources:

 

*This is an affiliate link and any purchases made through this link will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you).

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  1. Barbara Womack on  

    Thank you for this article.
    As a survivor of an abusive childhood at the hands of narcissistic parents, I have watched the entire election process in a daze of unbelief. I’ve been triggered more times than I can count and have dealt with stuff I thought was long gone. And, now, I find that some sort of “re-incarnation” of my abusive father is running the country! To say I’m shocked, horrified and frightened is an understatement.
    I don’t really know what I can do to affect real change from my small realm of influence. But, I made an effort to step outside my comfort zone, wear my #safetypin and comfort and console my fellow humans. That felt good.
    If nothing else, this shocking turn of events has made me more aware of others and a little more outspoken. That has to be a good thing.
    Again, thank you for your words!

    • Annie on  

      Hi Barbara,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story here. I promise you: You are not alone in being retriggered by the re-appearance of a narcissistic “father figure” at the helm of this country. I join you, too, as do many others I know.

      And I would invite you to consider that you don’t need to know yet what it is you may do to have an impact. I think that the shock and grief many of us may be feeling needs to be fully felt and processed before we can be clear on what we may need and want to do next. In the meantime, deep breaths, one foot in front of the other, five minutes at a time, and take very good care of yourself for whatever comes ahead.

      Sending you a big hug, Annie

  2. Jon F. Gasper on  

    For those living on the right and left coasts of our great nation, Donald Trump is nothing new. Those of us living on the Great Plains have seen immense changes sweeping across this country for decades. For those who see the horizon in all directions, the world is very different. For those who at night gaze upon the majesty of the Milky Way in all directions, the world is very different.
    For those who cannot see and are terrified by the change our election has wrought, rest assured that our country will survive. This nation is built of stronger stuff than Donald Trump.
    For those who do not understand the immense changes that have swept across this great nation, I strongly, strongly recommend you read the following.
    “Red State Blues”
    Austin Texas Chronicle
    March 30, 2007
    http://www.austinchronicle.com/columns/2007-03-30/460781/

    • Annie on  

      Jon, thank you for your comment and for the very true reminder: “This nation is built of stronger stuff than Donald Trump.” I loved reading that.

      Warmly, Annie

  3. Sarah Mitiguy on  

    Right on Annie! Thank you so much for writing such powerful words. I have cried so many tears since Tuesday night, and my stomach has been tied in knots; but the one positive I take away from all of this is that I can no longer live a complacent life. This decision gave me the courage to speak about my own experience as a victim of rape, a secret I have kept for over 20 years. I am determined to be a voice for those who cannot yet speak and to advocate for those that have none. If you need help or support you can find me, I’ll be wearing a safety pin.

    • Annie on  

      Sarah,

      Thank you for your incredible vulnerability and bravery to share your story and name the ways in which this election has impacted you in particular. While I am so sorry you ever had to go through the trauma of rape, I am deeply moved and inspired by your willingness to speak about your experience and use it to help others.

      ” I am determined to be a voice for those who cannot yet speak and to advocate for those that have none. If you need help or support you can find me, I’ll be wearing a safety pin.”

      Right on, sister. Sending you lots of love. Annie

  4. Liz on  

    Thank you so much for this article. I’m Canadian and still reeling from this- thanks for giving the permission to be allowed to not be over it. Your words were what I needed to hear!

    • Annie on  

      Oh Liz, I’m so glad to hear you found some permission from my words. We simply cannot rush our feelings about this elections (or anything else). It makes sense that you would be reeling. I think the better half of the planet still is. You’re not alone. So warmly, Annie

  5. Sheila Wilensky on  

    Good for you Annie! As you know, as much as anyone thinks objectivity is a good thing or as much as someone “tries” to be objective, it’s never entirely possible. Especially about one’s feelings, being authentic is always the way to go!

  6. Karen on  

    Since Hillary has won the popular vote one can write the electors from one’s state and ask them to vote for Hillary. In Pennsylvania all 20 electors are to cast for Trump even though it was very close.
    I am trusting Obama helping Trump realize that he has chosen to be President of the USa and Presidents live in the White House not Trump Towers , get briefings everyday and must make major decisions himself every morning, afternoon and late into the night. There is no Board of Directors to do this for him.

    • Annie on  

      Hi Karen,

      I appreciate your suggestions and certainly hope all of us (including President Obama) will do all we can to aid and heal this major transition.

      Warmly, Annie

  7. David Lustig on  

    Thanks Annie
    Prescient powerful and timely message.
    I will certainly share it widely among my friends.
    Stay well and remember, this too shall pass.

    • Annie on  

      Dear David,

      I take comfort from your words: “Stay well and remember, this too shall pass.”

      Thank you for sharing this with me and the readers of this blog.

      Take very good care. Warmly, Annie

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