Friday, May 8, 2015

Grief And Letting Go, Feeling What Is

When I wrote my last post here in July 2014, I had no idea it would be so long before I sat down to write again. It has been a difficult year between then and now, May 2015. I have had health issues, nothing life threatening, just energy zapping and time consuming. Often I have thought of something to share with my readers but always got distracted before I could sit down and get the words written here. This was a year of researching health issues, having all kinds of testing done to discover the source of my headaches which still hasn't happened, reading about thyroid issues and educating my doctor.

We have taken more trips than usual to Louisiana and to Texas to visit with family---surgeries, nursing homes and grocery shopping. Family is important. We live 3 and 5 hours away so the trips are a big deal now. As we have gotten older, the trips are harder to make and take longer to recover from than when we were younger. It takes me a week to get over being tired from our trips.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there who are reading this. I am blessed by our two children and their spouses and our 4 grandchildren.

On April 28, one of my best friends died after having two heart attacks the evening before. Her Memorial Service was on Saturday, May 2. The spouse of another dear friend died on April 29 and his funeral was on Monday, May 4. Just yesterday, I found out that a friend that I know only on Facebook also died. I knew he was having some health issues. Some days I cry. Others I don't. Wednesday, May 6 was my best friends 64th birthday. This Mother's Day will be without her presence. I grief for myself and for her husband, children and grandchildren.

I hate grief and it is a natural part of life and of healing from childhood abuse. I hate grief and I am allowing it to ebb and flow through my days right now. I have coping tools that work for me today. I write. I talk to friends. I ask my husband to hold me while I cry. I let the tears flow when they come. I am strong at times and not so strong at others. The first few days after my friend died, I kept thinking of reasons to call her and talk, then I would remember that I couldn't. Yesterday, it only happened once.

Never take another person for granted and think they will be there to talk tomorrow. None of us is promised a tomorrow. At 8:00 p.m. on Monday evening, April 27, my friend and I talked and agreed we would talk the next day when she wasn't so tired. At 9:30 p.m., she had the first of two heart attacks. I visited her at the hospital twice the next day while she was on life support. I held her hand. I told her to hang on that none of us were ready to let her go yet. An hour later, I told her that none of us would ever be ready for her to go but she needed to do what her soul needed for her to do. At 5:30 p.m., April 28, my friend drew her last breath. I will always remember that day because it was the date that our son was due to be born. Birth and death are both important parts of life, so intertwined, both parts of all of our journeys. If you love someone, tell them so, often. Let your actions show that you care. Let your words be kind. Love and take care of yourself too.
Patricia

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Fun And A Blow Out

I got an email today that someone hacked my blog yesterday and changed my password. Well today I got it back under my control. It was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be. I have had that password since I started my blog in June 2007. I was kind of attached to it but now I have a new one and will change it periodically so hopefully this doesn't happen again. I don't see any damage to the blog and I am grateful for that. Thank you, God, for that blessing today. I told my husband about it and he asked why would someone hack my blog and I told him because they can. I don't understand why someone would do it either. 

I have been really busy with our daughter and grandchildren here visiting for almost a month now. We went to Louisiana over the weekend and were on our way to a birthday party for a 4-year-old when we had a blow out on I-20 near Bossier City and Shreveport. The back tire on the driver's side of the truck blew out and the shredding rubber flew under the truck and shredded our spare tire too. We were blessed that Daniel was able to regain control of the truck without flipping it. We were also blessed that family was near by and were able to help Daniel find a spare tire that he could borrow until he could find two new tires.  We made it home around 11:30 Saturday evening. Our grandkids enjoyed the day because their cousin rented a water slide for the birthday party. They barely came in to eat during the day. 

When everyone goes home, I hope to get back into some kind of writing schedule here. Hope everyone is having a great Summer. 
Patricia

Friday, June 27, 2014

Being An Advocate And Speaking Out Does Mean I Am Stuck In Victim Mode

Wow! June is almost over, half a year is almost gone. Where has 2014 gone? So much has been going on in my house and family lately. I intended to write more here but have just been too busy. Our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren came to visit. Our son-in-law flew home earlier in the week but our daughter and grandchildren are here for several more weeks. Daniel has taken them hiking at our favorite camping place in Arkansas. Our daughter texted me not long ago to say they were finished with the hiking and were going swimming now. Thankfully, it is only cloudy there, not raining like it has been here off and on for the afternoon. I was supposed to go with them but woke up with a headache and slightly nauseous this morning so I went back to bed for awhile. I just asked if I should think about cooking Supper and was told no so I am here instead.

Recently a family member that I thought understood about my advocacy work and the meaning behind why I blog unfriended me on Facebook because of all of the articles that I post that were taking over her page. She told me that I seemed to be stuck in victim mode and wasn't living my life, that I was stuck in the past and life was passing me by. I was hurt that this person just doesn't understand and doesn't see the good that comes from my advocacy. 

I was angry for awhile too. Then I let go of it. I am sharing this because I know other survivors have been told to "Get over it; to let it go; to get on with their lives; to just stop talking about it." usually by well meaning people that are in denial of their own pain. It does a job on your self-worth when someone so misunderstands you and your mission, especially when it is someone that you thought understood. 

I want this person and others to know that I do have a life off of the computer. So do most survivors. I share my passion for stopping child abuse because it is important if we are going to save all of the children from being abused. I also share because I felt alone so much of my early years of healing. I want other survivors to know they are not alone. I want them to know that they too can have a great life after abuse and healing. Healing work is hard but not as hard as being abused. We need to raise children who don't need healing. As long as pedophiles and molesters are still hurting children, as long as survivors are still being silent about their abuse because they think they are the only ones, my work will not stop. 

Unfriend me if you want to on Facebook, some already have. That is your choice and I honor that choice. Honor my choice to not stop being an advocate for children and survivors. If you choose to be silent then you are part of the group that allows abuse of children to continue. Hide your eyes and close your ears, just don't expect me to.  Child sexual abuse happens in the silence and will continue to happen as long as we let it. I was a part of that silence for too many years before I knew I had a choice to break my silence and speak out. We all have choices. I hope yours protects a child from sexual abuse. We have to educate everyone. If you don't believe me, just look at the court systems who are releasing offenders back out onto the streets to hurt more children. 
Patricia

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day And Incest

I know that Father's Day, and Mother's Day too, for that matter, can be hard days to get through if you were abused as a child by your parents. You just don't have the good feelings that you would have if your parents were good at their jobs. You can even envy your friends who had good parents. You can take it so far as to resent that your own kids have good parents. No one says feelings have to be rational. They aren't always. 

I decided a long time ago, before my dad died, that I could celebrate the fact that my husband Daniel is a good father to our two children. I could teach my children to honor their father in the way that I can't honor my dad who sexually abused me as a child. 

Daniel is a good dad. He has always played an active part in the lives of our children. He changed diapers and cleaned up messes as well as being there for the good parts of being a dad. I was more the disciplinarian but most moms are. Daniel played with the kids more and made us all laugh. He has always been there for our children and still is today with our children moving into their late 30's. I think he has always tried to be the dad that he didn't have as a child. Daniel's dad was 55 when he was born and health issues prevented him from doing the recreational things that Daniel made sure that he did with our two children when they were growing up. Daniel's dad died shortly after retirement when Daniel was still in high school.

Neither of our grown children have had a chance to wish their dad Happy Father's Day yet because he went to a reenactment this weekend in Mississippi. He will be home around early evening probably. I know he had a good time because he and I have talked briefly a few times since he left but not today. I don't know if he realizes that today is Father's Day. I didn't until sometime Friday afternoon. 

Happy Father's Day, Daniel and to any of my readers who are good dad's to your children.

As I came on Facebook today and also checked my emails, I read other blogger friends' articles about Father's Day and so I am sharing those links with you here. They all talk about the mixed emotions that survivors share about their parents and why Father's Day is difficult for them.
Patricia

Fathers Day! @
http://speak4change.com/blogging/fathers-day/ 

Father's Day - Lessons learned, Love lost, Life Reclaimed @
http://www.mskinnermusic/home/fathers-day-lessons-learned-love-lost-life-reclaimed/ 

When Dad Enables Mom in Emotionally Abusive Family Relationships @
http://emergingfrombroken.com/when-dad-enables-mom-in-emotionally-abusive-family-relationships/ 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Judge Determines That Victim Doesn't Look Like Victim

 Judge Christopher McFadden, a Georgia Court of Appeals judge has overturned a rape verdict because the Downs Syndrome victim didn't act like a victim and the rapist didn't act like he had just committed a violent crime. This is despite his semen found on the victim's sheets and a doctor testifying that she had been raped. The judge ordered a retrial.

I cannot believe the arrogance of this judge to think he knows how a rape victim is going to act, like there is a set way that all of us react. He would surely have called me a liar when I finally started talking about my incest rapes. How does a rape victim act?

What we feel often doesn't show on our faces or by our behavior. Many of us shut down our feelings just to survive. I know that there are differences in being raped violently by a stranger or on a date rape or by a relative who he hates you and takes all of his anger out on you when he rapes you. My rapes weren't violent but I don't know that I was any less frightened by the acts of my dad or my uncle. The if you tell threats were there with me every day. Fear was such a constant in my childhood that I tuned it out most of the time in order to carry on like normal. I wore a mask of shyness and quiet all of the time. My friends at school gave me a surrounding of love that I didn't feel at home.

I feel so sad for the young woman in this case. She will needlessly have to sit in the room with her rapist again because this judge thinks he knows how a rape victim is supposed to react. If I lived in Georgia, I might would have to go to court and protest this judge not doing his job of protecting the victim.  

Here is the link for this article about this case.
Patricia

Judge overturns rape verdict because the victim "didn't behave like a victim" @
http://www.salon.com/2014/03/06/judge_overturns_rape_verdict_because_the_victim_didnt_behave_like_a_victim/ 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Child Abuse And Painful Memories

"Promise me you'll always remember that you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
                          ---Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

Yes, that quote comes from a children's book and it is important for each of us to remember. Those of us who have been abused as children often don't see ourselves, our courage and our strength clearly, as others often see us.

INCEST SURVIVORS UNITED VOICES OF AMERICA on Facebook shared the following statistic. "Every 10 seconds a child is abused." Then they ask us to "STOP CHILD ABUSE."

When a child is abused, especially sexually abused, if they are like me, they have many bad childhood memories to work through and let go of as they heal. I recently ran across an article that I want to share with you about reducing the pain of bad memories. The article is written by Valerie Siebert. I am pleased to finally see more and more information and studies being done on the effects of child abuse. Here is the link to the article. I hope it helps you to let go of any bad memories that you may be holding on to.
Patricia

How to reduce the pain of a bad memory @
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10777758/How-to-reduce-the-pain-of-a-bad-memory.html 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Men Can Be Raped And Be Victims Of Domestic Violence Too

Over the past five years I have been blessed to meet and become friends with a small number of male survivors online. More groups are beginning to be created to work with male survivors too. As we each come together and heal, the world becomes a better place. Our healing affects everyone that we come into contact with. As more of us, male and female, speak out about our abuse, the less others can continue to live in denial that child sexual abuse is still happening at alarming numbers around the world. Statistics show that almost as many little boys as little girls are sexually abused.

I remember how hard it was for me to break my own silence about the incest and the damage it was still causing in my life years after I left my abusive childhood home. For men, this is even harder to do because of what society expects from men. Men are supposed to be the strong ones and not be allowed tears of release that women are encouraged to cry. Men are men and supposed to be the aggressive ones, not women. Men aren't supposed to be victims of rape but guess what, sometimes they are. We need to change these stereo types. They aren't fair to men. We need to all be safe from sexual abuse as children and as adults.

As I run across more articles about male survivors and male abuse, I will be sharing them here to support my male friends who know what it means to be abused. I will do this to educate society just as I have done for female survivors and children ever since I started this blog seven years ago this month.

Here is a blog article about men and rape and a video from YouTube that makes you think a little differently about men being abused by women. Let me know what you think about both of them Please share this article and the two links with your family and friends as a way to educate them about male survivors. If you are one of those who think men can't be abused or men can't be raped, I hope these two links will change your mind.
Patricia

When Men Are Raped @
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/04/male_rape_in_america_a_new_study_reveals_that_men_are_sexually_assaulted.html 

Reaction To Women Abusing Men In Public @
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRCS6GGhIRc