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Orlando: Coping with Trauma

  • Posted on June 13, 2016 at 10:11 am

The mass shooting in Orlando, killing at least 50 of our queer brothers and sisters, injuring 53 more is a horrible, unspeakable trauma for the GLBTQI… community.  I want to share some ways to cope with trauma and tragedy that I am doing. * Take care of yourself:  be alone, if that’s what you need, or be with loved ones.  Get hugs, kisses, cry together, hold each other.  Pride celebrations this month, and candle light vigils and prayer services offer community opportunities. *Grieve however you need to.  Be angry.  Be sad.  Withdraw.  Jump into action.  Cry.  Scream.  Sit quietly.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve. *Focus on what helps you.  Today, I am focusing on the individual people who were senselessly murdered, getting to know their names, who they were, what they were known for.  I am holding each one in my heart and mind.  Meditate on them, pray for them, their families and loved ones, for us. *Ignore those infuriating things you can’t do anything about:  the media, the glorification of the shooter, the  manipulations by politicians, the ignorant and cruel comments you may hear on social media or from people around you. *Breathe, deeply.  Focus…

Hopeless in Huntington Woods

  • Posted on March 1, 2016 at 8:45 pm

Dear Christine,  Eight months ago, a girl I loved dumped me.

She was all I ever wanted.

But I wasn’t what she wanted.

I tried not talking to her, dating other girls, having sex with women I barely knew, throwing myself into work and hobbies, etc. etc. I tried being her friend. I tried being her acquaintance. I tried hating her. I tried everything. I still love her, and it kills me that she doesn’t love me, or want me, and has made it clear that it will never change.

I’m a hideous, fat, stupid ******* bytch who no one will love. The only girl who could, who accepted me as I was, didn’t like what she saw.

I’m considering three options:

1) Staying forever single, learning to be OK with that.

2) Try and win her back, someday, somehow.

3) Shutting down completely emotionally.

Hopeless in Huntington Woods

Dear Hopeless, So, it sounds like you’re hurting really badly from this breakup. Guess what? Life isn’t over! It doesn’t end because one person wasn’t ready, willing or able to see the beauty and love that is you and are in you. Everyone’s ideas of who is attractive and who is not, is different. You don’t have to accept that her decision to move on is a judgment on whether or not anyone else will accept you! You do need to reclaim your power, and love yourself, see the beauty, uniqueness, love and quirks that are all yours, and you need to be able to spend time with yourself, appreciating who you really are. Frankly, you deserve someone who loves you for YOU, and if she doesn’t, keep looking! Staying single forever is way too long a time! There’s lots of other potential girlfriends out there, who also have been dumped and don’t want to beg the dumper to take them back. You don’t need her! You need you, including your emotions. See if you can find 5 things about yourself that you like or appreciate, and focus on those. If you can’t think of a single thing you like about yourself, then think about 3 people you like or love (not her for this thought experiment), and then think of 3 characteristics that those people have the you like about them. Guess what? The only way you can recognize those positive traits in others is because you also have them! So, open up to yourself, and start seeing that your ex is but one person in the 6 billion plus here on earth. There has to be AT LEAST one more out there for you! Love you first.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD,
Licensed Psychologist

Dateless in Detroit

  • Posted on November 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Dear Christine, 

I am 28 years old and have never had a date.  There have been a few women I’ve been interested in and when I’ve tried to show my interest, I get rejected.  There is a woman in my office that I’ve been getting close to lately.  I feel like there might be something there but I’m so afraid to let her know how I feel.  I don’t think I could take another rejection and we work for the same company and I don’t want to have to see her every day if I make a fool of myself.

Dateless in Detroit

Dear Dateless,

I’d advise against dating anyone at work.  Why?  It complicates work and relationships and possibly productivity when the relationship succeeds and also when you feel rejected or there’s a break up.  We are around neighbors and colleagues so much of our waking life that we often become interested in people we work with. Whatever happens, it can be negative to others in the office, even when you and she are doing fine. So, if you are truly close to this colleague, take it very, very slowly.

It’s always best to date people who you don’t live with or work with, so there is room to get to know each other and discover if you are truly compatible before expectations begin to develop. Get away from work and find some hobbies and interests that other people share:  skiing (winter is coming), softball, bowling, biking, hiking, helping at a soup kitchen, helping with set design in a local theater:  the list is endless.  If you are participating in something that is meaningful to you that you enjoy whether or not you are single or coupled up, you will meet like-minded folks who may become friends.  If they aren’t dating material, they know lots of people you don’t know and they might be able to help you meet more eligible singles.

The ironic thing with dating is that if you seem desperate, people will reject you and avoid you.  If you are comfortable in your own skin and being with yourself for company, you are more likely to attract others who are interested in getting to know you better.  Make friends with yourself, find things to do that you enjoy that cross your path with others and go out and meet them.  Not everyone you’re attracted to will be a good fit for a relationship with you.  You will have to kiss a lot of frogs, so to speak!  But if you can be comfortable in your own company, with you, that will make you much more attractive to a potential date and it will make the dating process, replete with rejection, more bearable.  Good luck.

Christine Cantrell, PhD,