Halloween - Holy Days - Mortality

HALLOWEEN AND HOLY DAYS (Meaning for Survivors & Thoughts on Mortality)

HALLOWEEN AND HOLY DAYS (MEANING FOR SURVIVORS & THOUGHTS ON MORTALITY)   Halloween and holy days, such as All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, Day of the Dead, and changing our clocks all occur within the next several days. Halloween has been a topic of conversation lately with a few of my friends. It is a secular holiday now ... one of candy and costumes. As a child, I liked Halloween. It was fun to dress in simple homemade costumes and to be free to roam the neighborhood with my friends. Receiving candy was great! My mother did not make a big amount of money in her job. We did not lack for food. Candy and sweets were limited due to financial constraints. As a kid, owning all that free candy was icing on the cake. In the Catholic calendar, All Saints’ Day is on November 1, 2015, the day after Halloween. All Souls’ Day is on November 2nd. Day of the Dead is also celebrated on November 2, 2015. I use the word “celebrated” because it is a Mexican tradition to celebrate the dead on that day. It is a joyous occasion. The Catholic Church has a tradition of ...
chaos or peace

SURVIVORS OF ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND/OR EXTREME ABUSE: DO YOU SEEK CHAOS OR PEACE?

SURVIVORS OF ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND/OR EXTREME ABUSE: DO YOU SEEK CHAOS OR PEACE?   Ever wonder if you seek chaos unconsciously? Did you grow up in a chaotic household? Were you a child in a home filled with domestic violence? Were you the adult in such a household (or are you now in a domestic violence situation)? Was physical and/or sexual childhood abuse part of your disruptive household? Did you suffer extreme abuse, ritual abuse, and/or torture as a child and/or as an adult? Did you adapt? Did you learn to deal “well” with chaos? Is it what you became accustomed to as a child and/or as an adult? Do you find yourself in a job that is high-paced and contains a sense of urgency? It does not need to be an emergency room-type job. Barista jobs can contain an element of urgency as well as can other types of employment. If you enjoy a fast-paced, multi-tasking job and excel at it, there is no problem. If you suddenly realize that you are exhausted and burnt out from the fast-paced environment with its element of chaos, what do you do? What choices do you have? Do you want to ...

HOW WE ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND OURSELVES AND OTHER HUMAN BEINGS

HOW WE ATTEMPT TO UNDERSTAND OURSELVES AND OTHER HUMAN BEINGS   Do you know what temperament you had as an infant? What time in your life did the physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse you suffered begin? Was the trauma a one-time occurrence, multiple incidences, or nearly daily? Where you in a domestic violence relationship? Are you in one now? Did you suffer extreme abuse, ritual abuse and/or torture? These are all questions that could be pertinent to how we attempt to understand ourselves and other human beings. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Whose definition do you use to definite the words introvert and extrovert? Do you think of yourself as a highly sensitive person? How do you definite highly sensitive? Are you an empath? Are you quiet? Shy? Intuitive? Talkative? Out-going? Do you now suffer from PTSD symptoms or have you in the past? Recently I read a book titled, “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” by Elaine N. Aron. It is an older book. Aron defines the traits of a highly sensitive person (HSP). She also expands on the concept to help HSP cope in the world. I did ...
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 ...
Faith after Spiritual Abuse

SURVIVING SPIRITUAL ABUSE AND THRIVING SPIRITUALLY NOW

SURVIVING SPIRITUAL ABUSE AND THRIVING SPIRITUALLY NOW   I am a survivor of spiritual abuse as well as a life coach for other spiritual abuse survivors. Spiritual abuse has many definitions. Religious abuse falls under spiritual abuse, in my mind. I do not know if all spiritual abuse is religious. Semantics can be a way to get lost and avoid the real issues. I shall avoid that pitfall by voicing my thoughts and sharing my past. Individuals have asked me why I am still a Catholic or if I am still a Catholic. Others wonder why I wander from one type of church or spiritual experience to another. I seek an even deeper relationship with God. That is a given. I was born and raised a Catholic; and, I attended Catholic schools through high school. As I was human trafficked to two Catholic priests (as well as to others) during my childhood, religious and spiritual confusion entered my life at an early age. Of course, I was too young to realize that religious and spiritual abuse was occurring. I was trying to be a good, little, Catholic girl. To grow up in a household of abuse from an early age ...

SELF CARE AND CREATING SPACE

SELF CARE AND CREATING SPACE   When is the last time you created an empty, peaceful space for yourself whether physically or in your mind? As human beings living in a consumer society with an overload of media and activity, it is necessary for us to take a break from the action of the world. This break could be filed under self care. I tend to read books and articles of many types. Spiritually, I enjoy reading books with meaning to me including materials of multiple religious and spiritual views. In this blog, I mention a book with a definite Christian slant. Some of you may scoff at the writing style because of this perspective. Others of you will lean towards it because of the religious view of Christianity. For me, although the author addresses her past of child abuse through the Christian lens, Bonnie Gray speaks to survivors’ hearts when she talks of dealing with her past. Her book, “finding spiritual whitespace: awakening your soul to rest” contains some concrete ideas on how to create space and a thought-provoking section on joy. Bonnie Gray did not face the abuse of her past until she was around 40 years old ...

A LIFE COACH FOR SURVIVORS OF ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE

A LIFE COACH FOR SURVIVORS OF ABUSE AND/OR TORTURE   Recently I have been asked about my role and practice as a trauma and abuse life coach for survivors of abuse and/or torture. The question behind the question is usually related to therapy. Although I am clear in my writings on my website about the differences between life coaching and therapy, I would like to share a few of my thoughts regarding both therapy and life coaching. Therapy has been an important part of my healing process. Three different therapists played major roles in my healing process … three men with various therapy styles and modalities. Looking back, I can see how each one filled an important niche for me at the time. It amazes me how life or providence or serendipity gives you what you need when you keep your eyes and heart open. The therapy process is insight-oriented and tends to look mostly at a person’s past as well as present and future. Life coaching (or my style of life coaching) tends to look at the present and the future. In the following, I shall give a few examples of when or how people choose to begin life ...

MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT MUSINGS (Sleeplessness in Action)

Middle of the Night Musings (Sleeplessness in Action)   It is the middle of the night; and, I cannot sleep once again. No matter how far along in our healing journeys or if one has not even formally traveled on a healing journey, almost all of us have to contend with a night of little sleep or a cluster of nights of little sleep. Insomnia can cause us to google remedies, drink herbal tea, ask friends for suggestions, or maybe go it alone pretending we are fine. Do you fall asleep fast and then wake up only to feel cursed by not falling asleep again? Do you lie in bed not falling asleep until finally dreamland begins for you? What do you do? How do you handle your nights when sleep eludes you? Does this lack of sleep cause you to worry you will not function well the next day? Do you lie in bed worrying about the future? Or is it the past that is running through your mind? Are you spending time considering if you could have handled a situation, no matter how small, from the previous day in a better manner? Are you concerned about a child ...