incest and forgiveness

INCEST and FORGIVENESS

 INCEST AND FORGIVENESS (Generational Abuse)   Incest occurred regularly in my home-of-origin. My grandmother and my mother, separately and together, sexually abused me at a very early age. When I was still young, my grandmother had a stroke. She was moved to Texas to live with my aunt and eventually died. My mother continued the abuse, the incest, for years. My siblings were also part of the incest cycle. Incest and forgiveness is an oxymoron-of-sorts in many human beings’ minds. Incest. It seems to be a dirty word that people do not want to acknowledge let alone face. There are many articles and websites on the subject if you look for information on the topic of incest. An insightful one is written in The Atlantic. (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/01/america-has-an-incest-problem/272459/) Incest. Mother upon daughter and grandmother upon granddaughter incest are even harder for people to grasp. Many doubt a mother could sexually abuse or torture her child. The truth is that this type of abuse happens more than we know. It is Mother’s Day as I write this post. Incest and forgiveness …. How does a person forgive a mother who emotionally and sexually abused him or her? How does a survivor forgive a ...
work

WORK ENVIRONMENT

WORK ENVIRONMENT   How many hours a week do you spend at work? Are those hours spent in a healthy work environment? Do you like your job, but dislike your boss’ management style? Recently, I read an article by Andrew Hudson. It is entitled, “Do You Have a Bully for a Boss?” Below is an excerpt from the article by Andrew Hudson. "Do You Have a Bully for a Boss? While often our ideas of bullies are of the schoolyard kind, actually, bully bosses are more common than you think. Their management style is to establish a blanket of fear, intimidation and terror amongst those they manage. They might be screamers. They may be harassers. They are mean and usually loathe to compliment good work but are quick to find errors and to criticize even the slightest mistake. Bully bosses play favorites and pit their employees against each other to create an unhealthy political environment of unwinnable competition. Bully bosses are quick to threaten their employees about being fired. While making ridiculous demands on their employees and offering no clear direction, the work that is produced is never good enough and they do what they can to dampen any type ...
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 ...
wisdom

WISDOM from THOSE WHO HAVE WALKED THROUGH the PAIN

WISDOM from THOSE WHO HAVE WALKED THROUGH the PAIN   Whom do you turn to for wisdom? If you are a survivor of trauma, do you seek support and wisdom from a therapist, other survivors, family, and friends? Each person offers support, guidance and wisdom in different forms and from their own experiences and education. How important is it to you that the person whom you seek wisdom, guidance, and support has walked through the pain of whatever you are experiencing or have experienced? Christina Rasmussen, a woman who lost her husband at an early age, has strong opinions on this subject. She suffered deep grief. Later, she began a career helping others to deal with grief and to rebuild their lives. What a resource! In her blog post, “My Top Ten Grief Resources” Christina Rasmussen writes: “First of all the only people who have important insights are people who have experienced a similar type of loss in their past.” “You don’t just want people who are going through it but people who have gone through it.” “They have wisdom that will be life changing for you.” “I would absolutely stay away from any resource that is centered only around ...
energy

ENERGY

ENERGY   Recently shingles awoke in my body! The most surprising aspect for me was how shingles lowered my energy level. I was so very tired. Although my mind wanted to accomplish a certain goal, even a quite pleasurable activity, my physical body had little power to act. This fatigue of such intensity contrasted with my normal energy levels. As I age, I do notice a lessening of stamina; but, this fatigue was quite different. I have friends of all ages. Elderly friends tell me of tiredness due to illness or aging. This decrease of vitality is life-changing. There are positive aspects as well as many negative ones. To accept with dignity and grace the new limitations on one’s lifestyle is challenging. A person’s gifts modify to fit the situation. Many find new ways to continue to serve others. One younger person I spoke with recently discovered she had thyroid problems. Now that her thyroid issues are being solved, she finds her vim and vigor are so much stronger. As I was discovering how life is as your push yourself to do even the smallest things, she was finding delight in her body’s ability to do so much in one ...
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 ...
loving yourself

LOVING YOURSELF!

LOVING YOURSELF!   Valentine’s Day is this weekend. Loving yourself is not usually connected with that day, although Valentine’s Day is synonymous with love. These days, Valentine’s Day consists of a date night of gigantic proportions for those who are in a committed relationship or not. Some individuals boycott Valentine’s Day with the statement that they do not need a special day to show their love. Children exchange valentines or other little gifts, although some schools are banning candy as an option. Grocery stores have one or two aisles filled with Valentine’s Day candy and gifts. If you are in a relationship with someone, will you celebrate the day as a couple? Will you ignore it? Are you single? Do you feel dread at the prospect of all this “love” around you and all these twosomes (or ads for twosomes)? Whatever your plans are for Valentine’s Day, when is the last time you considered love as a verb, an action word? Do you love yourself? “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Is a well-known Bible passage (Mark 31). The same thought appears in other religious circles as well as the secular world. The golden rule states, “do onto others as you ...
inner discoveries by writing

INNER DISCOVERIES through WRITING

INNER DISCOVERIES through WRITING    It is my pleasure to introduce an online workshop I am offering titled, “Inner Discoveries through Writing”. I have been asked to tell my secrets. People wonder how I survived such a horrendous past of abuse and how did I reach the point where I thrive. I believe each of us have the answers within us and our own secrets that bring us to the road of freedom, peace, and joy! One of my “secrets”, if that is even the correct label, is writing. Writing has been one of the most important tools in my healing process. I process thoughts and feelings slowly. Talking in therapy and with friends definitely help; but, writing takes me to a deeper level and brings thoughts and feelings to the surface that I wasn’t consciously aware needed to be addressed at the moment. By participating in a women’s group in the past and by talking to people affected by any type of trauma or life transition, a discovery I made is that many individuals have a need to share their words on paper with others. This has been my personal experience. Journaling is different for me because I have ...
invisible wall of truth

INVISIBLE WALL of TRUTH

INVISIBLE WALL of TRUTH   Have you ever faced the invisible wall of truth? How many times have you stood on the side of the truth of the abuse you suffered when disbelievers stood on the other side? If/when you have faced the past or present of abuse (including domestic violence), how do you handle the denial of a family member who also suffered from the hands and mind of the same perpetrator? How do you explain or accept that a family of origin member knows she herself was abused, but believes you were not abused by the same family member/perpetrator? What is your response when a person (especially a child) says the abuse did not occur after stating and knowing it did? On a possibly less intense level, what is your reaction when you share your past with someone and the person responds with silence, with less or no communication later, or even states they do not believe the abuse occurred? Do you ever wonder how many individuals who respond with disbelief have a background of abuse not yet acknowledged and faced? (Statistics of childhood sexual abuse are alarming. It is extremely under-reported. Many adults do not face the ...
silence and solitude

SILENCE and SOLITUDE as SELF CARE and SELF COMPASSION

SILENCE and SOLITUDE as SELF CARE and SELF COMPASSION   The past week has been emotionally-charged. My mind and heart seek refuge in silence and solitude. As a survivor of trauma and a life coach for survivors of childhood sexual abuse as well as other forms of abuse and torture, I know to be aware of my past trauma experiences possibly affecting my present daily life. This awareness helps. Retreating into silence and solitude when needed is a form of self care and self compassion. A question I ask myself is, “Would a person who has not suffered serious trauma react similarly?” In other words, is my reaction a “normal” one? As my healing process progressed and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms lessened, I discovered I reacted and acted in a healthier manner. In fact, I handled last week’s emotionally-charged challenges with calmness and finesse. Oh, I was not perfect! That is okay. I am grateful for my reactions and actions to last weeks’ stressors. It shows me how I am thriving! Life’s difficult experiences occurred to those around me. I, as a witness and team member, supported others. My strength and calmness benefitted them. It was a ...