Review of Wrestling Ghosts (Documentary About Breaking the Cycle of Trauma) & Tickets


Cissy's Note: This post below with an offer for some free tickets to see Wrestling Ghosts was shared in the Parenting with ACEs community, thanks to @Charlotte Graham! However, I know many care about parents, parenting with ACEs who are on the main page so I'm sharing here as well with my review of this movie.

I saw it last week and IT IS SO POWERFUL!!!! 

This documentary is so honest, raw, real, and powerful. It made me sad, hopeful, heartbroken, and encouraged all at the same time.

It's going to help parents who are struggling know they are not alone. It's going to help those without ACEs or who work with those Parenting with ACEs to better understand life, struggles, and healing and how they can feel, look, be at home, and outside of office and clinical settings. 

It's going to give general awareness about the ACE study and the @Nadine Burke Harris TedTalk to even more people who will learn about ACEs but it's also a riveting story allowing viewers deep inside the life of one family.

This documentary is painful, truthful, and realistic. It offers a view into how slow, arduous, complicated, necessary, difficult the healing, recovery process can be.

It's going to open up SO many conversations and so much healing for parents and hopefully more insight for those who work with parents. 

I won't give anything away, but I will share that there is one scene when some healer is encouraging the mom to go inside and talk and respond more compassionately to her child self (inner child) who she is judging.

The mom shuts that idea down fast, firm, and hard. She's like, "No. Nope. Can't. No can do," though she says that in her own way. What she feels, at first, is not just a little resistance but a complete and total refusal to go inward. I REMEMBER that exact thing and responded exactly the same way for the exact same reason in my earliest YEARS of healing.  

She said something like, "If I go there - I don't come back. I might not come back," (again, not a direct quote but said in her own words). But that's how I heard and felt the scene. This is not something I've ever heard said or shown so well before. Her utter TERROR of going back there or inside or even having a relationship, at all, with needs made so much sense.

After this scene, I exploded with compassion for the mother, who, I admit, I sometimes judged as I judge myself still, too. It helped me understand my own reactions to myself and other parents, including my own, and that is another gift this movie gives. Healing can feel, and actually be too hard, and can challenge and compromise the way one has functioned in the world and survived. That's real. 

We see, despite ALL the pain in the mom's life, and all that wasn't working in all of her relationships (with self, partner, and her ability to be there for her kids, which she knows and feels terrible about) that her gut response to going inside makes TOTAL and complete sense. It's threatening and we come to learn why. 

As we view, we understand that and also that of course she couldn't stay in that place and also be able to be responsive to needs of all the humans in her life.  But we totally understand why that is her true and genuine response as we learn more about her past, her life, her early trauma and as she heals.

I thought about that one scene for days and days and days and how SO MANY bits of parenting advice skip this entirely and don't understand this fundamental piece that must be addressed or nothing at all gets inside, makes sense, and can be practiced. 

I spoke about that one scene with other survivors because it was so honest. To see something in real time that is rarely acknowledged, spoken, or addressed is amazing.

My hope is that this documentary helps initiate parent-led and parent co-led conversations, growth and healing because that perspective is often missing or marginalized or misunderstood in the trauma-informed and ACEs aware movement.

There are so many other key and pivotal moments and insights which I won't give away.

This movie does such a good job of both SHOWING and TELLING.

It is such a necessary movie and story and a beautiful add to Paper Tigers,  Resilience but what makes it exceptional - is it is from a parent and a parent who learns about ACEs and healing and lets us in her home, heart and healing process.

We needed a movie such as this one (and more from many more parents). This is the start of what I hope is a new trend. I hope this is only the first, the beginning of a bigger, deeper, and wider conversation about break-the-cycle parenting.

It's a one-woman story, and it does not speak for all parents with ACEs but it does offer a parent perspective which has been missing. I did wonder how the heck this mother was able to afford all the modalities and supports she tried (tapping, neurofeedback, support groups, online therapy), as most parents don't have the time or money for all of those. It's not clear what the period of time covered was for this healing journey. I hope this movie helps make some of those modalities (especially neurofeedback) more available and accessible as so many with developmental trauma wounds from childhood might benefit. I'm glad parents will see things such as tapping or online coaching as well as more traditional (medication) approaches (and the mom's honest reactions to them). .  

Also, the footage with Donna Jackson Nakazawa is something I've never seen before and is another gift. I'm glad the filmmakers are making affordable, per person, viewing possible as well as giving away some free tickets. Get one if you can and even better, watch this with a friend, partner, sibling or another survivor. Charlotte: Thank you again for sharing! I'll also make sure to spread the word among survivor-parent led communities and allies. 
@Louise Godbold@Elisabeth Corey@Rene Howitt@Joyelle Brandt@Dawn Daum@CHARLES DANIELS@James Encinas@Byron Hamel@Jocelyn Goldblatt@Melissa Sadin@Julie Beem, @Rebecca Lewis-Pankratz@Lara Kain (ACEs Connection Staff),  @Robin M Cogan, @Sebern Ferry Fisher @Claudia Gold@Donna Jackson Nakazawa@Lisa Frederiksen@Emily Read Daniels @Tina Faber
and the ACEs Connection Staff and the Parenting with ACEs Community@Dawn Daum@Claudia Gold@Donna Jackson Nakazawa@Lisa Frederiksen

Regular Screening Options & Prices 

  • Home Screening DVD: $19.99
    Community Screening DVD: Up to 100 people $200.00
    Community Screening (up to 250 people): $350.00

Original Note from @Charlotte Graham w/ free/discounted option

Hi ACEs Parenting Community!

Wrestling Ghostsa new documentary about breaking the cycle of trauma, will be premiering at  LA Film Festival on September 27th. The Wrestling Ghosts team wants to give away 5 tickets to the ACEs parenting community. We want the film to promote wellness in the ACEs community, and get watched by folks who would really love it. Tickets are first come, first serve; if you'd like to purchase one after the giveaway, try to get them this week; earlybird tickets are only $10!

You can purchase tickets here. And if you're in the Bay Area, we have two other event screenings for you!,

And check out our Wrestling OUR Ghosts outreach campaign: an effort that combines screenings with healing support β€” classes, workshops, articles, video and more. On our website we have a Healing Program, and Ask Kathy!


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