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 ...
"little" gains

LIFE’S “LITTLE” GAINS

LIFE’S “LITTLE” GAINS   Can you name one of life’s “little” gains that occurred this month? Do you tend to mainly see the big changes or large gains in your life? If you are in therapy or a support group, do you focus on not achieving the big goals in your life? Are you frustrated that you did not land your dream job or meet your perfect mate? Life’s “little” gains may be easily overlooked. It is human to look forward to reaching that next goal of importance in your life. The road to reaching your dreams may contain a multitude of “little” gains that we blow off as not being important enough. I, as a life coach, challenge you to be aware of your life’s “little” gains! “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu Maybe you work with a coworker who you dislike or she/he dislikes you. You find common ground one day and the work environment improves for both of you. I would label that as a “little” gain for both of you. ...
maneuvering bumps and stress on road

HOW to MANEUVER the BUMPS and STRESS on the ROAD OF LIFE

HOW to MANEUVER the BUMPS and STRESS on the ROAD OF LIFE   Sometimes life becomes too demanding. It may be hard to know how to maneuver the bumps and stress on the road of life. Life may include: busy schedules, finding or making time to implement the desired improvements or goals, family obligations, health concerns of others and/or yourself, keeping true to an exercise routine, making time for prayer or meditation, and other variables. It may seem overwhelming. If we do not step back and relax for a moment (or moments), illness may appear. Our bodies know we need to slow down. Sickness may force us to do so. Emotions may fluctuate. The inner balance one has may be strongly challenged daily. How long does it take you to notice the signs of overload and/or stress? As a survivor of abuse and trauma, do you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Do PTSD symptoms reactivate if you do not sleep enough or are too stressed? How do you take care of yourself while handling the demands of life filled with busy-ness and stress? Maybe you have been able to make a life for yourself that is balanced 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, ...
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 ...
single moment of joy

A SINGLE MOMENT of JOY

A SINGLE MOMENT OF JOY   As I write this, the weather is sunny and warm. Tomorrow winter returns. A single day of warmth in the midst of a cold winter can remind us that spring will arrive. In the same way, a single moment of joy in the midst of a bad day, or deep sadness, or seemingly never-ending grief, or general malaise may remind us that goodness exists and that more joy is to come. Today I attended a workshop. During the break, a familiar face appeared next to mine. I do not know this person well; but, we keep seeing each other in various places around town. I was given the opportunity to listen to a small snapshot of her recent life story. It contained loss. The particulars are not important for this post. She shared a small glimpse into her journey of faith. As she mentioned the subject of joy, tears welled up in my eyes. Her eyes then shared tears also. Joy! Joy is such an intense emotion … such a glorious feeling that defies definition. Joy exists! There were times in my past when I did not know if I would ever feel joy ...
new beginning 2016

A NEW BEGINNING

A NEW BEGINNING   Today is the final day of 2015. Will you spend this evening looking back at the previous year or years? Are you willing to let go of what was? Are you willing to not dwell on what wasn’t?  Isn’t it interesting how many of us make resolutions for the upcoming year? In reality, each day is a new beginning. As a culture, a new year does represent a new beginning for each of us. It is the time to reflect on the past year and to make plans for the future. How will you make 2016 better?  Do you want your life to be different in 2016? What are your dreams and desires for this brand new year? Have you repeatedly attempted to change the same problems? Are you stuck? Does fear holds you back from making real change occur in your life or within yourself? A friend sent me an e-mail that contained a quotation that may be attributed to Thomas Jefferson. I had never heard of it. Since then, I have seen the quotation in several places. It is funny how that works. Synchronicity, I wonder. “If you want something you've never had, you ...
single life after domestic violence or abuse or torture

SINGLE LIFE as a SURVIVOR of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and OTHER FORMS of ABUSE or TORTURE

SINGLE LIFE as a SURVIVOR of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and OTHER FORMS of ABUSE or TORTURE   Are you now living the single life as a survivor of domestic violence and/or other forms of abuse or torture? How do you view the single life? Are you afraid to enter into a romantic, loving relationship with someone? Are you jumping from one romantic relationship to another (even though these relationships are not healthy ones for you)? Are you afraid to be alone? What are your fears? This topic was brought to mind because of the deep loneliness I feel at times. A friend and spiritual mentor sent me a few quotations on loneliness in response to an e-mail I sent her. These quotations were: “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” – Maya Angelou “The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.” – Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven “There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense, and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so ...
freedom after speaking of abuse and/or torture

FREEDOM TO SPEAK OF THE ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE

FREEDOM TO SPEAK OF THE ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE   When was the first time you felt the freedom to speak of the incest, rape, abuse and/or torture you experienced? Did you always recall the abuse or did you put it aside, repress it, or deny it until you were forced to face the truth or until you were safe and strong enough to do so? If you always remembered the abuse or are in a current abusive domestic violence relationship or relationship with abuse of any kind, sharing your story with someone is the first step to healing. To those, like me, who repressed our pasts (of sexual abuse, incest, human trafficking, physical abuse, ritual abuse, and/or torture); we had to awaken to ourselves. Individuals have asked me how I can be so open with my life’s story. Some have questioned the relief I feel after sharing my extensive history of abuse, incest, and torture. This post will begin to answer those inquiries. At age 45, I began to recover bits and pieces of my gruesome past. These memories arrived almost always when I was alone. Fortunately, I was in therapy at the time I started letting the abuse return ...

WHY DO WE LOVE THE PERPETRATOR? HOW CAN WE LOVE THE ABUSER?

WHY DO WE LOVE THE PERPETRATOR? HOW CAN WE LOVE THE ABUSER? Initially I fell in love with the idea of love – the romantic Prince Charming who rescues me, the modern day abused Cinderella. At the age of 20, Tom M. (also at the age of 20) initially filled the boxes that needed to be checked for me (also at the age of 20): Roses Poetry Gazing into each other’s eyes Wanting to spend all his time with me (a red flag I did not recognize) Dinner and wine And More … Oh, I so wanted to be loved and to love. My family-of-origin could not receive love from me. How can you honestly receive love from an object you abuse and torture? You see, no one wanted my gift of love; and, I was a child filled with the yearning to love and be loved. The quote below intrigues me: “There is yet another illusion, that it is important to be respectable, to be loved and appreciated, to be important. Many say we have a natural urge to be loved and appreciated, to belong. That’s false. Drop this illusion and you will find happiness. We have a natural urge ...