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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
taking high road

TAKING HIGH ROAD WHEN STUCK

TAKING HIGH ROAD WHEN STUCK   Taking the high road when stuck may be difficult. It may also the best route to travel. There are periods in our lives when we may be are unable to immediately extricate ourselves from situations which are stressful and not optimal for us. Good reasons may exist to stay put for the time being. Time may be needed to help change the present situation or to find the door to exit. It is important to develop ways and means to deal with rough situations and the stress that is caused. The first example I will explore is a job situation. If the wise decision is to cope with what is occurring at your place of employment for the moment, it helps be present and aware of your current surroundings including your coworkers. I have noticed from my personal experiences that people react quite differently when stuck in a job. Individuals may: Decide to embark on a person work slowdown. (This slowdown may help the person to cope. It also does impact others in the work environment as well as customers.) Become angry at coworkers and customers. Rudeness starts to show where it had not ...
freedom

FREEDOM LIST

 FREEDOM LIST   Today I am introducing the idea of a freedom list. I like gratitude lists, as my readers and friends know. Gratitude brings forth a sense of joy or peace especially in time periods when life seems gloomy and despair is near or here. When I was first in a 12-step program, the idea of a gratitude list was introduced to me. It became a yearly habit each October or November to put a blank piece of paper on the refrigerator. My young daughter, Megan, and I would write whatever either one of us was grateful for on any given day. Some items were funny, some poignant, some unusual, as well as the normal things that evoke thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving, I would remove the list. After several years of gratitude lists, it was interesting to reread the recordings of our gratitude. Growth occurred. No matter what was occurring in our lives, there were always many items on the paper. Gratitude existed. July 4th, Independence Day, always brings to mind my own independence. Thoughts of victims still in domestic violence relationships, incest, or other type of abusive situations weigh heavy on my mind also. My heart goes out to ...
importance of community

IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY

IMPORTANCE of COMMUNITY   As a life coach, broaching the subject of community has value for clients. Where do you rank the importance of community in your life? Are you single? Do you have a significant other? Children? Aging parents? Are you an active member of a church or spiritual group? Do you belong to a meet-up  group in an area of interest to you? At different ages and stages of our lives, community has different meanings and levels of importance. It is valuable to analyze and acknowledge your individual need to belong to a group to give and receive support and love. As individuals, our desires vary. Americans tend to be rugged individualists and quite independent. The idea of doing it myself without help is not a foreign one to most of us. Some cultures tend to value extended families and reaching out for help and support. Where do you fit in? What is good for you? I enjoy television shows, such as “Gilmore Girls”, where families of all types exist and communities are formed. These communities do not only include family members. Who will bring you chicken soup if you are ill? Who do you serve when they ...

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SPOUSAL SEXUAL ABUSE, PARTNER ABUSE, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SPOUSAL SEXUAL ABUSE, PARTNER ABUSE, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE   Many names exist for abuse against another person in a relationship. These titles include: domestic violence, spousal sexual abuse, partner abuse, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and others. Recently several people have brought domestic violence to my attention. I will use domestic violence (DV) as my main label in this article; but, please know that that covers a wide range of abuses – sexual and not. Domestic violence or partner abuse does not have to contain sexual or physical abuse. It can be emotional, mental, and/or spiritual in nature. Power and control is what the abuser seeks. First, a friend forwarded me to a link of Dear Abby’s. She responds to a woman who writes of sexual abuse in her marriage. http://www.kansascity.com/living/advice-columns/article59319388.html  Marital or spousal rape is a subject that is not frequently addressed. Next, I shared my thoughts on domestic abuse (partner abuse) from my own life with someone in a letter. Below is part of what I wrote: “When I was in the abusive situations – both my home of origin and my marriage – I did not have enough time to clear my head ...

THE CONCEPT OF SERVICE

THE CONCEPT OF SERVICE   What is your concept of service? Whether you receive payment or not, "serving" another can still be the main focus of our action or actions. Twelve-step programs focus on recovery, unity, and service. Service in these programs may include attending meetings, being a sponsor, setting up chairs and/or coffee, joining committees, and/or attending the group’s business meetings. When I was unemployed, I chose to volunteer. Volunteering helped me to not isolate as well as helped those I served. One avenue I chose was to prepare and serve food to the working poor and homeless. It was rewarding. Serving others can be a gift to the giver and the receiver. Not all of us choose to delegate a portion of our time in that manner. Life gets busy. Our careers, families, and our personal lives take time and energy. Recently I had the opportunity to help a couple pack their household goods to relocate. It made me realize how much I miss serving/giving in that way. My life has become filled; and, I have neglected that type of service. Service changes my focus. The spotlight is not on me. I put my attention and focus on ...