smidgen of hope

SMIDGEN of HOPE

SMIDGEN of HOPE   What is your definition of hope? Do you even believe in the concept of hope? I know of people who have no belief in hope. Hope to them is foolish. Hope has kept me alive in certain periods of my life. It may also have contributed to my staying in situations for too long. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as: “A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. A person or thing that may help or save someone. Grounds for believing that something good may happen. archaic  A feeling of trust.” -- https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/hope As a child, I hoped the abuse would stop. My goal was to become perfect. Maybe that would prevent the abuse from occurring ever again. I had fantasies of someone saving me … a Prince Charming. The idea of hoping could be considered foolish. Yet fantasies and hope (however childish) of a better life kept me alive through terrible times. As a young adult, the Prince Charming did not come. I fell into a relationship of domestic violence with torture once I left my mother’s house. Leaving the abusive family of origin and moving into a DV (domestic ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
trusting yourself

TRUSTING YOURSELF

TRUSTING YOURSELF   A lesson I was forced to learn late in life was to trust myself. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (including incest and human trafficking), I was not my own person. I did not have a chance to form healthy boundaries. People owned, used, and abused my little body and continued to do so for years. As for my mind, I had contradictory influences forming my intellect as well as my emotional state. On one hand, I received a good education including decent moral teachings during my high school years. On the other hand, I was given messages of my unworthiness and stupidity on a daily basis from my family and other abusers. Along the way though, I learned enough. My instincts became tuned. A skill I used to survive was repressing the memories of the abuse and becoming numb on many levels (including emotionally). My many years of living with my former husband (perpetrator of abuse, torture and brainwashing) enforced my low self-esteem and self-worth. I was a capable, intelligent woman (although I barely realized it). The few jobs I had proved that point. On many levels, I was average. When my daughter was born, ...
freedom from triggers

FREEDOM from TRIGGERS

FREEDOM from TRIGGERS   As I am writing this post, it is Easter Sunday in the Christian calendar. This post on freedom from triggers may be triggering for some individuals, especially spiritual abuse and extreme abuse survivors. Please take care of yourself and use your discretion. The path to freedom for domestic violence survivors as well as other trauma survivors may begin with the actual physical freedom one experiences when the victim no longer is in the environment with the abuser/perpetrator.   Leaving the abusive situation means no longer having physical, sexual, emotional, spiritual abuse and/or torture perpetrated upon them. Freedom from triggers make take more healing and more time. Many survivors suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This may include flashbacks or other emotional distress due to triggers. Triggers may include persons, places, things, smells, touch … anything that brings memories of the abuse to mind and causes angst.  Some triggers may only cause mild anxiety. Others are seemingly more powerful. Anyone, not only abuse survivors, can incur PTSD due to a trauma. In the 1970’s, Jesus Christ Superstar (the play and the album) debuted. I owned the album and enjoyed listening to the music. Fast forward almost three ...
beauty of oneself

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!   As a child or an adult, rape, abuse, and/or torture can cause a person to turn off emotionally and physically. Victims may numb their feelings and ignore their bodies. The belief that “you are beautiful!” is non-existent for a survivor initially. (Unwarranted) shame, guilty, and possibly shock is palpable. Survivors of repeated abuse learn how to shut down their emotions and physical aspects almost completely. Pain (of the physical, sexual and/or emotional type) has to be endured. You learn to close down in order to survive. For some survivors it may take a long time to let themselves feel the deep intense emotions -both unpleasant and pleasant ones.  A person may become lost inside oneself. How do you find yourself again? When a person learns how to ignore physical and sexual pain, the individual may also turn off the pleasurable aspects of one’s body. It took me a long time to realize how high my pain tolerance was. Years ago during a short medical procedure, the doctor did not numb the region. The medical assistant or nurse was appalled, but she had no control. For me, the procedure was painful; and, I tolerated it. Pain was normal ...
awareness and acceptance

CHANGE via AWARENESS and MINDFULNESS

CHANGE via AWARENESS and MINDFULNESS   Awareness and mindfulness may be the first steps to actual change. My friend’s daughter is in fourth or fifth grade. Her class has a special project for the month of February which has the option of including the entire family. The focus is on health. A one-page form for each person is available to allow them to see their progress as they check off each item successfully completed. The items include: Four to five servings of fruits and vegetables Two hours or less of TV daily One hour of exercise daily No sugary drinks What a good idea! Whether a person checks off one or none of the boxes each day, attention is brought to the subject. Conversations are started. My friend and I talked about which goals are the easiest or hardest to reach. This school project happens to coincide with a few weeks of the Christian Lenten season. Many Catholics “give up” something for Lent. Others choose to “do something” during Lent. In either case, Lent and the school project both provide venues to notice our behaviors and to improve our actions or thoughts. To notice our defects of character or our ...