By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Waking up this morning, just two days into the post-election experience, we find great pain, fear, anger and disappointment in our country and in our world.
The bullying, blame and intimidation that was displayed so frequently on the Republican campaign stage has terrified many people who fear that it will grow.
This is not idle speculation or theory. It already has been happening.
We’re hearing and reading reports of cruel incidents that are happening in schools, businesses and on the streets by people who are emboldened -- in the last few days, people in our country have been screamed at, cursed at, called names, derided, mocked, grabbed by the breasts and threatened on social media.
Here are a few of the reports. Caution – before you click, know that many of their stories are ugly and nasty, so know that you have to choice to click away if they are too triggering for you.
The demonstrations by people unhappy and angry with the election results have been also questioned and judged. They are signals of post-election trauma. Many are sincerely terrified, especially those who are “different” – black, Hispanic, LGBT, Jewish, Asian, brown-skinned, belonging to a non-Christian religion, or no religion at all, or immigrants. Some fear more for their personal safety; they wonder if they might soon legally be denied housing or health care because of who they are.
Now, this brings a challenge and an invitation for those of us who are healers and those of us who are not. As a psychotherapist and as a person who believes in the inherent worth and dignity of every human person, I ask you:
What do you have to contribute to the healing of our communities, our nation, our world?
Here are some actions that we can take:
The more that you show up for yourself, the more you will be able to be present to help other people in the most effective way. Truth is, if we are honest with ourselves, we all have an inner “judge,” and we all must consciously and diligently work to acknowledge and work with this part of ourselves so it does not poison our relationships and our own being. Truly, how we respond under adversity says a lot about the nature of our character.
On Election Day night, I posted a message on my Facebook page stating that we, whether we are therapists or not, have much healing work to do.
One of my friends asked, “How?”
Feeling not very much like a guru but knowing some things about personal and social trauma, I replied that “I am hoping that we can all answer it together, bit by bit and peace by peace.”
It’s important to remember three things:
Yet we must find those places where we can feel included, and we must be those people who include.
I belong to a private online group that gives space to share thoughts and feelings about the election. Just today, a woman was seeking advice about how to respond to an incident of name calling. Members offered an amazing amount of feedback on how she might safely proceed.
So, we will continue this work in progress, and we will keep learning how to be loving and caring and respectful and inclusive, even when it is challenging. It is what will save us all.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.
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