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 ...
spiritual sweet spot

SPIRITUAL SWEET SPOT

SPIRITUAL SWEET SPOT   When is the last time you felt a connection with someone on a deep, ethereal level – on an interior heart level – spiritual as some choose to label it? I like the term spiritual sweet spot. Take a moment, if time allows … Breathe … naturally … relax … Center yourself. Think of a spiritual sweet spot. Close your eyes, if it helps. Breathe … just be ... If you recalled a memory of connection with a person on that deep level, how did you feel as you remembered? How do you feel now? In the case where nothing came to mind or thoughts would not quiet, no worries. Try it another time, if you desire. I experienced a spiritual sweet spot recently. One of the qualities of a spiritual sweet spot is that it usually occurs without warning. One normally cannot create the spiritual sweet spot or forecast it. Part of my working landscape includes a job at a coffee shop. This job gives me the opportunity for connection with coworkers and customers of various ages. I like my customers and the feeling is mutual. The coffee shop is quite busy so my conversations ...
just plain tired

JUST PLAIN TIRED!

JUST PLAIN TIRED   Are you just plain tired? That sentence sounds like a line from a commercial. There are times though when tiredness, lack of energy, inertia, and fatigue settles upon one’s body, mind, heart, and/or spirit. How do you cope when your body is physically worn? Do you allow your body to rest more? Are you compelled to stick to an exercise routine? Is your job physically challenging? Does your financial situation allow you the only option of continuing to push your body past its healthy limits? What is your personal response to mental fatigue? Are thoughts of problems and relationships issues roaming in your mind constantly? Rumination happens. It is unhealthy. People ruminate. It is common according to this article in the BBC Magazine titled, “Rumination: The danger of dwelling”. (Read: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24444431.) When you are emotionally tired, what are the symptoms? Do you cry more than usual? Do you find yourself often holding back tears? Is stoicism and lack of emotion signs? Are you short-tempered with strangers, acquaintances, and/or loved ones? Food may be a symptom. Eating more than needed, making unhealthy choices, or not eating much at all may occur. The song “Under Pressure” played as ...
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, ...
adventure: leaving your comfort zone

ADVENTURE: LEAVING YOUR COMFORT ZONE

ADVENTURE: LEAVING YOUR COMFORT ZONE   Adventure, which requires you to leave your comfort zone, may be easy or difficult for you. How do you definite adventure? One of Mirriam Webster’s definitions for adventure is “an exciting or remarkable experience”.  Adventure can come in small or grand sizes. It can include newness, experiencing something different, or leaving your comfort zone. Many people live in their comfort zones with no desire to experience new people, places or things. Life though often and eventually brings change. These changes may include life bigger transitions such as death, illness, loss of job, etc. These experiences force individuals out of their comfort zones. My recommendation or suggestion is to leave one’s comfort zone willingly in small or even bigger ways. This free choice exercises a muscle-of-sorts – an “I am flexible” muscle. Think for a minute or two or three. What would be an adventure for you?  If you are accustomed to leaving your comfort zone, you may choose larger types of life situations as adventurous. If leaving your safety zone scares you; doing so in small ways may fit the bill. I recently received a henna tattoo on my forearm. It was a mini-adventure ...
synchronicity

SYNCHRONICITY: MOMENTS to PONDER

SYNCHRONICITY: MOMENTS to PONDER   Synchronicity offers us moments to ponder. Synchronicity is defined in the Webster Dictionary as: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung. A few links that may be of interest to you on this subject are: http://www.voidspace.org.uk/psychology/jung_synchronicity.shtml  “Jung and Synchronicity – The Mystery of Chance” http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_synchronicity03.htm  “The Philosophical Concept of Synchronicity” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BX_nMwYa-nw  “Carl Jung – Synchronicity” Recently an old childhood friend had been in my thoughts for a few months. Reminders of her and our friendship kept popping into my mind. I used Google to find her. One day, I sent her an e-mail. She responded immediately. Later that week, we connected twice via telephone. We had lost touch somewhere around 2000. There was much to share between two old friends. I told her my story … of the abuse in my past (in both my childhood and my marriage) … of becoming a protective parent to protect my daughter … of my trial and ...
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 ...
joy and freedom

JOY and FREEDOM

JOY AND FREEDOM   Joy and freedom is a glorious topic for a blog post! When one has survived the horrors of abuse and torture, freedom is especially precious. Sometimes human beings can take freedom for granted as well as joy. Recently I had an extremely short chance encounter with my former defense attorney, Alan Rosenfeld. Alan Rosenfeld with my former public defense attorney successful defended me when I was charged with custodial interference. I was a protective parent who attempted to keep my daughter, Megan, safe from further abuse from her father and others. The jury trial ended in a hung jury. Charges were eventually dismissed. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Alan Rosenfeld as an attorney and as a man. His continued commitment to help battered women and their children is remarkable. (Alan’s website is: http://alanrosenfeld.com/) Later that day I had a phone conversation with a dear friend. As we shared our lives, I was sitting on a bench by a creek. It was quiet around me except for the sounds of the ducks walking on the thin ice. Day ended and evening began. As I walked, I saw the Christmas lights in the park as ...
holiday life coach

HOLIDAY LIFE COACH

 HOLIDAY LIFE COACH   Let me be your holiday life coach! It would be a privilege! The holidays are approaching. Whether you view the holidays through a religious, spiritual, or secular lens, this time of year most likely contains extra stress. This season is stressful for those who are survivors of abuse and trauma or not. Not many are immune to the extra pressures. If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or childhood trauma of any type, you may experience more challenges. If the abuser was a family member, seeing the perpetrator at family gatherings may be triggering. Many survivors no longer have the abuse/perpetrator in their lives at all. This physical detachment from the abuser may cause ripple effects. The possibility exists that you are ostracized (overtly or covertly) by other family members. Maybe you now feel family-less. Some survivors of childhood abuse are labeled mentally ill especially by the abuser. If you do not accept the perpetrator’s view (and others related to the abuser), you quite likely feel the added pressure of not being believed. "They are committing the greatest indignity human beings can inflict on one another: telling people who have suffered excruciating pain and ...
gratitude challenge

GRATITUDE CHALLENGE

 GRATITUDE CHALLENGE   October has arrived! Autumn is here. Thanksgiving will arrive in six weeks! Readers may remember that this time of year brings gratitude to my mind. I am offering my readers a chance to participate in a gratitude challenge. Megan (my daughter) and I used to keep a blank piece of paper on the refrigerator starting in October. This paper became our gratitude list. Whenever the mood struck, one of us would write something that caused us to be grateful. (See my blog post: http://roadtofreedomandpeace.com/gratitude/.) I removed the list after Thanksgiving. The lists were kept to glance at each year. Unfortunately, the sheets of papers were left in my former apartment in Germany when I left abruptly to protect Megan. The lists and memories remain in my heart though. Gratitude exists in my heart! The gratitude challenge is quite simple. Make a gratitude list of your own this October and November. Maybe you will even choose to keep two separate lists. A community or family list could be on the fridge and a personal list could be kept by your bedside (or in another safe place). Make sure the list is where it can be seen or where ...