rediscovering childhood passion

REDISCOVERING a CHILDHOOD PASSION

REDISCOVERING a CHILDHOOD PASSION   Reading was a childhood passion of mine. It was an inexpensive form of entertainment and a way to escape the world of abuse. I read almost any book I could find in my house. As the youngest child in the family, many books were over my head. It did not stop me from reading them! My sister, Linda, belonged to a book club. I enjoyed reading international cookbooks and the classics. Biographies and fiction enthralled me. Years later, I sought out the classics to read them with an adult perspective and understanding. Career counselors and life coaches often ask a client what was his or her childhood passion. What activity did you enjoy as a child? The career counselor or life coach may wonder if a childhood passion might hold a key to a possible career. In my case, reading lends itself to knowledge, insight and enjoyment. I have not found a career of reading! My mother valued reading and education. She was an avid reader who kept a list of all the books she read over the decades. I have many memories of her trying to catch up on a weeks’ worth of newspapers ...
past abuse and health

PAST ABUSE and HEALTH

PAST ABUSE and HEALTH   My mother died two days before reaching the age of 70. Most women on my mother’s side of the family died before the age of 70. Generational abuse ran in my family of origin. Past abuse and health are connected. Studies show that past abuse can affect a survivor’s health years later. The violence, trauma and abuse may have occurred in childhood, adulthood, or both. Alexis Jetter, Jennifer Braunschweiger, Natasha Lunn, Julia Fullerton-Batten wrote an article titled, “A Hidden Cause of Chronic Illness”.  Adult women who have endured and escaped from domestic violence relationships may find themselves dealing with physical issues years later. The article is worth reading and includes the following: “Domestic violence (DV) has an insidiously long half-life. Women who left their abusers five, 10, even 20 years ago and believed they had closed that chapter of their lives now face far higher than normal rates of chronic health problems, including arthritis and hormonal disorders, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, severe headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. As a result, these women spend nearly 20 percent more money on medical care than other women. Annual U.S. medical costs attributable to domestic violence, including years-old ...
trauma moment

ONE TRAUMA MOMENT OF MANY AND ITS IMPACT

ONE TRAUMA MOMENT of MANY and ITS IMPACT   Individuals who suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) have been subjected to trauma of a long duration. As a survivor of decades of abuse and torture, my situation was ongoing and filled with trauma. I will focus on one trauma moment for this post. Before doing so, below is information regarding C-PTSD for those who are interested. Maybe one day, I will devote an entire post to the subject. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs states the following: "What types of trauma are associated with Complex PTSD? During long-term traumas, the victim is generally held in a state of captivity, physically or emotionally, according to Dr. Herman (1). In these situations the victim is under the control of the perpetrator and unable to get away from the danger. Examples of such traumatic situations include: Concentration camps Prisoner of War camps Prostitution brothels Long-term domestic violence Long-term child physical abuse Long-term child sexual abuse Organized child exploitation rings" (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/ptsd-overview/complex-ptsd.asp) Pete Walker writes: "The causes of Cptsd range from severe neglect to monstrous abuse. Many survivors grow up in houses that are not homes – in families that are as loveless ...
PTSD forever?

DOES PTSD LAST FOREVER?

DOES PTSD LAST FOREVER?   PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) … Our society is now familiar with the term. Many people still identify Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with war veterans. More people do also realize and acknowledge that any trauma victim may suffer from PTSD. My readers know that I dealt with Complex PTSD. This was due to the decades of abuse and torture that I endured from birth to almost 47 years of age. Amazingly, I have healed immensely. Pastoral counseling, therapy, NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, a women’s support group (WINGS Foundation) for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and a deep spiritual connection contributed to this healing. Two of my favorite books on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma are: “THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE:  BRAIN, MIND, AND BODY IN THE HEALING OF TRAUMA” by Bessel A. van der Kolk, M.D. and “TRAUMA and RECOVERY: The aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror” by Judith Herman, M.D. Herman’s words on torture, etc. are illuminating. I found this book to be tremendously helpful. In fact, I shared my reflections on parts of Herman’s book on my original website that I wrote before my trial for custodial ...
feelings in the moment

FEELINGS in the MOMENT

FEELINGS in the MOMENT   Children show their feelings in the moment. If they are happy, you see their smiles. If children are sad, they cry. Young children and older ones who are abused often learn to hide their emotions. I know I did. In my abusive family-of-origin, I was often punished if I showed happiness. I learned to hide my emotions – sadness, joy, frustration, etc. When trauma occurs, whether a single incident such as one rape or constant abuse (including sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and spiritual abuse), we often deny the emotions that occur at the time. In long-term abuse, the victims many times choose not to let the pain and hurt show. As adults who have been traumatized, it is not uncommon to minimize the impact of the trauma. Abuse and trauma have a huge impact in our lives. Once a person begins to deal with the trauma – usually with the help of therapy – the victim starts to feel the deep and intense emotions. These feelings include pain, disappointment, despair, fear, and terror (especially if non-state torture was part of the victimization). Survivors may notice where in their bodies they contain the tension. Anxiety, panic, ...
power of love

THE POWER of LOVE

The POWER of LOVE   Where do you seek or find love? Do you believe in the power of Love? Do you still long for the person who abused you to love you? Do you wish the perpetrator would admit the abuse, apologize for it, and then somehow love you in a healthy fashion? If the person who abused or raped or tortured you was a parent or a husband or a sibling, do you cut off all contact and never look back? People often tell me I am strong. They wonder how I survived the abuse in my past. Also, some people wonder why I am not bitter. If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or lived in a dangerous household, then where did you seek love? Where did you find love? When I was initially in counseling with Fr. Marcantonio, he raised this issue indirectly. I was a sweet person as a child and as an adult. Love existed somewhere in my childhood. That love helped to form the child I was and the person I am today. Love existed in my life and always has. The decades of abuse and torture covered most of my ...
journey as a writer

MY JOURNEY as a WRITER

MY JOURNEY as a WRITER   I am a writer! I write blog posts, letters, notes, and pages in journals. As a young girl, I owned a little diary with a lock and a tiny key. This small diary was filled with the minutiae of my days. I did not write of the awfulness in my household. My diary did not contain secrets like a child’s diary in a healthy home may have. The secrets of my life were too big and too scary. I knew the consequences of putting on paper the secrets of the abuse I suffered would lead to more abuse and punishment. I was an obedient little girl. I wanted to be loved by all – even the abusers in my family of origin. The guilt and shame I felt thinking I was bad and somehow deserved the abuse could not be noted in my diary as a little girl. Of course, at that age I did not have much insight into my life yet. I only knew that I kept getting abused and hurt by my family members and others. They told me I was bad and worthless. I believed them. As a girl in ...
triggers - surprise attacks

TRIGGERS: SURPRISE ATTACKS

TRIGGERS: SURPRISE ATTACKS   You are well on your healing road. Life is moving along smoothly or smoothly enough. You, as a survivor of abuse or trauma, most probably have insight regarding what triggers you. One day you realize old behaviors have returned. Maybe you are drinking more alcohol than normal, or you are turning to food or away from food, or you reenact part of the past abuse/torture, or suddenly you have a dream (or dream segment) that contains parts of what occurred during the abuse. Maybe you are irritable and less tolerant than normal. You realize that triggers have attacked you by surprise! What do you do? How do you cope? First, sit and breathe ….. More insight is available! You are growing and healing further. As you sit and breathe, relax. Let go of preconceived notions. In fact, let go of all thoughts for 5 – 10 – 20 minutes. Hear the silence as your noisy thoughts move in and out of your mind as clouds move across the sky. Pay little notice. Sit with yourself, your true inner being. Now, as calmness and clarity becomes prominent, reflect on the last days or weeks. Triggers can be ...
resiliency - life after shock

RESILIENCY: LIFE AFTER SHOCK

RESILIENCY: LIFE AFTER SHOCK   Resiliency. Life after shock is sobering. The shock hits! Bam! What is your personal response? How do you cope? Shocks initiate from diverse occurrences. These can be caused by individual trauma, as well as local, country-wide or global disturbances. A short list of causes of shock is below. There are many, many more. Rape. Loss of a child in a custody battle. A diagnosis of cancer for you or a loved one Unexpected death of a friend or loved one. A wildfire that burns your home. An earthquake that demolishes a city. A gunman that murders individuals in a movie theater or a school. Shootings in your local neighborhood – many of which result in deaths of innocent people including children. An election result that puts a narcissistic person in power who stands for division and hatred. How do you cope when your first hear of the news? What is your behavior the next day? A week later? A month? Years? If you research the topic of resiliency on the Internet, you will find many articles on this topic. My life (as well as others) have consisted of much trauma and moments of shock. There ...
loving connections and loneliness paradox

PARADOX – PART 2

LOVING CONNECTIONS & LONELINESS: A Paradox – Part 2   Loving connections and loneliness forms a paradox for me. No matter how many loving connections I have in my life, I still experiences times of intense, profound, inner loneliness. It is only recently that I have decided to not attempt to run away from the feeling. The thought crossed my mind in the past that maybe I was deficient. Maybe something was wrong with me. I wanted to be loved so badly. I wanted the experience and depth of loneliness to disappear. As a survivor who escaped a domestic violence (DV) relationship of decades, I am able to look back now with distance and further clarity. Being a victim of childhood sexual abuse led me to the DV relationship with my former husband, Tom M. I thought I had found true love. Little did I realize then, I had no real and true idea of love. Love is more than words. From the victim’s standpoint, in reality, it is almost impossible to truly love someone you fear. As the romantic relationship with Tom M. progressed, a part of me knew it was a disaster. I ignored the red flags and ...