Boston’s architect of community well-being: Pediatrician Renée Boynton-Jarrett

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Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett

The Aces movement is filled with pioneers. There are physicians, professors and researchers who treat, teach and study. There are leaders of non-profits who partner with individuals, neighborhoods and organizations. Volunteers who give time. Experts who draw on wisdom gained in academia, clinical practice, community work and personal experience.

But rarely does one person do all of these things while parenting three children under the age of thirteen.

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Trigger Points — finally, a parenting book for moms and dads who survived child abuse

 AtriggerpointsTrigger Points is the first book written, edited, published by survivors of childhood abuse geared towards parents who are survivors.
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THE FIRST!  THE ONLY!
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It includes essays from more than 20 men and women survivor parents with children of all ages, as well as resources, journal prompts and ways to join a survivor parent community.
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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.
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They had not met or been friends but found each other through words.
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Words shared that made them feel less alone. Glorious words.
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Dawn and Joyelle had each done, as I have done, as others are doing ALL THE TIME – sought out resources and researcg,
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I’ve ached for information and support on topics such as:
  • parenting as a survivor
  • parent triggers
  • break-the-cycle parenting
  • support for parents who had abusive childhoods
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And found NOTHING.
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O.K., yes, maybe a chapter here and there or some mention or a study. Maybe a mention in a larger book.
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But nothing to and for and by other parent survivors that is practical and hopeful.

Break-the-Cycle Parenting: In the Trenches

“I trust you to curl my hair,” I said to my twelve-year old as she came at my sizable forehead with a hot electrical appliance.

“And that’s sayinGiraffesg something,” I added, “Because those things can hurt and I can count the people I trust on one hand.”

Dang it, I overshared. It wasn’t the first time – but it’s something I rarely do with my daughter.

Tween parenting is so different. By the time I figure it out my daughter will be in another stage. She’s nowhere close to being an adult. But she’s not the same bundle of need she was as a baby, toddler or kid either. For years, she needed me to be secure base, taxi driver, entertainment and all all-around anchor and attachment figure. Sometimes it felt we were sharing the same bone marrow. She still needs me but not with the same ferocious intensity.

Sometimes it’s me asking if she wants to play a game or go shopping.

“You trust Heidi to curl your hair,” she said.

“I do,” I said, “Heidi is so fashionable. There are different types of trust for different people. Some you trust to ask money advice, some you can share your feelings with and some even get a key to your house or car.”

She looked puzzled.

“Do you know what I mean?” I asked. “Do you

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Weathered by my high ACE score

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1. We are knee deep in one of the worst winters in history. When the winds pummel my house and the ocean flows through my basement, what am I thinking is: “I’m so glad I have flood insurance.”  What I am feeling is help. I scaredI want my mommy. I need a daddy.

It’s hard to admit as a middle-aged woman (and feminist) how much the idea of rescue appeals. I have decades of experiential knowing that wishing is futile.

I know my craving for the present, stable and loving parents I never had is like wanting to snort, stab a needle, drink too much or inhale food. I know not to dive into the craving but I can’t pretend desire is gone.

It comes and comes back. Always. Even when it goes away it returns. Usually when I’m tired, sick or afraid.

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