Gratitude

GRATITUDE

GRATITUDE   The past week or two have been rough ones for me ... and, when times get hard, I remember gratitude! We all have difficult days or periods in our life filled with challenges. Survivors of abuse and trauma may sometimes fall into old habits that do not work for us anymore. Or maybe life starts to seem like one big challenge after another when you add the healing journey and the pain that entails. Yet, the healing path also contains joy and freedom. Sometimes we do not notice the positives; or, if we do notice, we push them gently aside as not so important. Also, there are times when dealing with the pain is a positive in itself! Going through the hard times, the pain, and the challenges make us the strong, resilient, compassionate survivors that we are today. The first time I gave serious thought to the subject of gratitude was when I began attending 12 step meetings for my alcohol problem in December, 2002. Gratitude and gratitude lists are important aspects of recovery. Believe me, when your thoughts are concerning your next drink and you are dealing with huge life stresses, gratitude may not be first ...

ACKNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND KNOW YOUR BODY (AS A SURVIVOR OF ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE)

ACKNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND KNOW YOUR BODY (AS A SURVIVOR OF ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE)   Our bodies as victims of rape, incest, domestic violence, abuse and/or torture suffer when the trauma occurs. The trauma affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and often spiritually. Many times, especially if the abuse is repeated, a victim escapes her body and the pain through dissociation. When the incident (or incidences of abuse) ends, the victim can become separate or stay separate from her or his own body. Often times, survivors are not very aware of how their bodies feel at any given point in time. Many survivors treat their physical bodies poorly. Self harm, cutting, alcohol, drugs, and overeating are common. If you ask a survivor where they feel anger, sadness or any emotion in her body, the person may not be in touch enough to answer. Eventually through the survivor’s healing process, the body is acknowledged, experienced, known, and loved. There are many healing modalities. Trauma-based yoga (and yoga in general) has been shown through research to facilitate healing. On September 12, 2015, I attended and presented a workshop entitled, “Survivor’s Resume” at the WINGS Foundation Conference in Denver, Colorado. The WINGS Conference is an ...
survivor's self compassion (after abuse)

SELF COMPASSION: ONE ASPECT OF SELF CARE AFTER SURVIVING ABUSE

SELF COMPASSION ONE ASPECT OF SELF CARE AFTER SURVIVING ABUSE   Self compassion can be a difficult attribute to acquire or regain after surviving any type of abuse – rape, incest, extreme abuse, ritual abuse, domestic violence, etc. Many times the victim has a difficult time not blaming oneself. The blame and shame survivors feel afterwards can cause a toxic poison to run through their lives. How can a survivor care for oneself with gentleness and compassion when one feels such shame, blame, and a sense of deep unworthiness? Acquiring self compassion is a progression. Through the process of healing (whether via therapy, non-invasive neurofeedback, and/or other methods), survivors gradually shed the shame, the blame, and the sense of worthlessness. I know I did. As I healed, I realized how little self compassion I extended toward myself. The perfection part of me demanded more of myself than I did of anyone else. Would I treat a friend through words or actions like I treated myself? Definitely not. As time passes, I am more able to treat myself with the loving care I know I deserve. I can see how much progress I have made in this area in the last ...

SELF CARE: REST AND RECREATION – MAKING TIME FOR FUN

SELF CARE: REST AND RECREATION MAKING TIME FOR FUN!   How do you define “fun” for yourself? How do you enjoy spending your free time? Do you have free time? Do work and home duties fill your life leaving no time to spare? Is self care on your list of priorities? As survivors of abuse, we might have a tendency to neglect the rest and recreation segment of our lives. In general, our society focuses on working hard, making a living, buying material goods, and keeping busy. The state of the U.S. economy has made it a necessity for many people to work more than one job. It can be quite difficult to maintain a balance between work and play. A balance though is needed. It is imperative that we get the proper amount of sleep. Relaxation and recreation are necessary for us to gain and keep a proper perspective on life in general. Today I went to see a movie! Oh, I have plenty of work that needs to be accomplished as well as household chores. I, as many survivors of abuse, tend to push myself too hard. I knew that taking a break would be helpful in more ...

MUSIC

MUSIC & MEMORIES & ADDICTION   “Piano Man” sung by Bill Joel reminds me of my first days of sobriety!! Odd, isn’t it? The song would play in the car as I drove home in Germany. Many times I was driving home from a 12-step meeting. Instead of going to rehab, I chose to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. It worked! Why did that song resonate with me so thoroughly and deeply during those early days of no alcohol? Looking back, I believe I connected with the loneliness of the people in that piano bar. Those people were trying to deaden their collective pain as well as each one’s individual pain.   I never drank more than one drink in a bar alone. My preferred location to drink began at dinner in a restaurant with my daughter and my abusive husband. At the time, I was trying to pretend it was a social drink or two because that is all I would consume in a restaurant. This restaurant dinner was a stalling tactic on my part. Why cook a healthy meal at home if it meant the abuse would begin sooner? Later, I would drink a glass of wine ...