Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Posted at Mind Parts Blog

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse (September 2009) has been posted by Paul at his blog MIND PARTS. Here is the blog link: . Thank you Paul for hosting this month's Carnival. I didn't participate this month because it never entered my mind. Being busy with vacation plans, trip and return, I just didn't think about it.

I look forward to reading all of this month's articles. There are a lot of new submitters this month that I haven't met before. I look forward to reading their articles as well as the supporters who submit articles most months. Supporting this Carnival helps to build our online community of survivors and supporters. I hope that you will follow me as I go to MIND PARTS to read this month's Carnival.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vacation Revisited

My husband Daniel and I have been home from our 10-day vacation to visit our daughter and her family for 10 days. We were gone from home from Sunday, September 6 until just before midnight on Tuesday, September 15.

We had a wonderful trip. It was time that we laughed and teased each other. We made a lot of bathroom stops for me and a lot of stops for Daniel to get out and walk so that his leg would stop hurting. Let's face facts here, as much as our daughter doesn't want it to be true, we have gotten older. Daniel just turned 60 years old in August and I have my 58th birthday coming up in December. We are both slowing down a little. Long trips are harder for us to make. Daniel surprised me when he decided to drive to Idaho. He had said no more long trips out West. He got to missing his daughter and grandchildren so much that he decided to make the trip anyway. I am glad that he did.

The visiting with our daughter and her family was not nearly long enough. Half of the trip is spent traveling to and from the houses. We live in Arkansas and she lives in Idaho---two and a half days of travel and 2 nights in motels along the way.

My daughter and I both took pictures galore of everything that we did together. I have over 200 pictures of my own to look at and our daughter is sending me copies of hers as well which is another 200 pictures. If I had the know-how, I would post some of the pictures on here but I don't. I have pictures of our daugher and her husband whom we also love very much, even though he has no clue as to why we should love him. He does his best to take care of our daughter and grandchildren.

I have so many pictures of our beautiful and talented grandchildren ages 3, 5, 7, and 9 years old. The 3-year-old wasn't talking the last time that we saw him. He is not only talking but he is also very polite in saying "Thank You." and "I love you." Daniel teased him about his middle name also being Daniel. They both loved it.

The 5-year-old is in kindergarten and loved it that we would come to her school with her mom and little brother to pick her up at noon every day. It has been about 2 years now since she last cut her hair. For about 2 years before that, her mom had to hide the scissors from her. She still managed to find her older sister's school scissors and cut her hair shorter and shorter about 3 times. I bought her hats to wear until the hair could grow back out the last time that she cut it so short that people didn't know if she was a boy or girl. She loved the hats. It was nice to have a half day of time with the two youngest grandchildren before the oldest two would get home from school.

Our 7-year-old grandson was a joy to be with for the first time since he was about 2 years old. He was a happy little boy so full of energy and happiness. He has not been a happy child since his first vaccination shots when he was about two years old. The so-called experts can't decide what label to put on him for school. Right now we are back to saying he is ADHD. Last year, he was placed on medication for ADHD at the insistence of his teachers and school. Over the summer, he was taken off the medications because my daughter and son-in-law didn't like the effect that they had on his personality. Recently he was diagnosed as having anxiety disorder and is currently on medication for that. He doesn't appear to be drugged like he was with the ADHD medicines. He is very active and talkative and what he says makes sense. He seems happy. Grandma's only problem is that he talks so fast that I have to really, really listen to catch everything that he says. He is happy. That seems almost like a miracle. It is such a difference in how he was last year. Thank you God.

Our 9-year-old granddaughter is so smart and fun to be around. She questions life and everyone who is around her. She is the oldest and right now, according to her, is tired of being the oldest sister. Being an oldest sister myself, I know about the responsibilities that sometimes go with being the oldest of the kids. I told her that there will be times when she is glad that she is the oldest. It has its advantages as well as disadvantages just like all the other positions in a family. This grandchild is at the top of her class and has been since 1st grade. She got to dance with her grandfather at a Civil War style dance during our vacation and they both loved it. She will be our fashion expert in the family. She loves anything to do with Hannah Montana.

I hope that our daughter knows how much we love her and miss her and how much these trips mean to us. Both of us share a love of photography and travel. Her daddy is the one who suffers from empty nest syndrone. I know how important it is to be able to let go of your children and let them grow into the adults that they are supposed to be. Because of my own childhood of being smothered by a demanding, controlling father and a codependent mother, I was able to let go easier than Daniel. That doesn't mean that I don't love my children. I do, very much. I enjoy seeing the adults that they have become even when occasionally we don't agree about somethings.

On our way home from Idaho, we went through Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. If you are traveling by car, in the near future, stay away from I-40 as much as possible. Our country's tax money is being put to good use in reconstruction of I-40 at least every 20 miles it seemed on our trip home. I have never seen so much road construction going on before. If you ever travel though Utah, plan to visit Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah. It is absolutely gorgeous. We are already talking about maybe meeting our daughter and her family there and camping out sometime next summer, money and time permitting. The kids would love it. I love the reds and browns and yellows of the rock formations.

Enough of me talking about our vacation. We are back home, house cleaned, packing undone, clothes washed, mail sorted through, bills paid, and mind and body mostly rested from the trip home. I missed you all while I was gone and am glad to be back in my own space and time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Wake Up Call And A Committment To Myself

One of my favorite Aussie bloggers, Craig Harper, wrote a recent article that he called "Clarity and Certainty" on his blog RENOVATE YOUR LIFE. You can find the article at the following link:

One of the comments that you will read at the end of his article is mine. I want you to be aware of what I wrote so I am writing it here in its entirety.

"You have described quite well what the first 38 years of my life was like. I was a people pleaser and was on automatic control most of time so that I did not have to feel the pain from my childhood of incest abuse. At 38, I got into several 12-Step programs that helped me to wake up to what my life had become and these programs finally gave me a direction.

Even in these programs, I daily saw people who said they were working their programs but who were really still on automatic control and staying stuck in their pain. It is easy to get stuck in blaming others for how your life is going. As long as you are blaming others, you still haven't taken control of your own life.

Recently I have found myself back on automatic control where my body is concerned. I woke up over a year ago and started looking at my health problems. I am overweight and a diabetic. My A1C tests say that my blood sugar is good to great even with the extra weight that I am carrying.

Because of an earlier article of yours last month or maybe early in September, as well as my yearly physical and those test results, I have decided it is time to wake up and take control back of my body. This article is very timely for me.

If I lived in Australia, I would somehow find the money to sign up in one of your gyms. Instead I am going to start using my exercise machines here in my own home while I look for a gym that I can afford to join and feel comfortable in. I will turn 58 in December so I need a place that isn't all 20-year-olds with great looking bodies.

Well, by voicing this here on your blog, I have finally made the committment, that I have been playing with, out loud, in front of others. I think that I will now go to my own blog and say the same thing and make myself accountable to others who are following my journey.
Thanks, Craig
Patricia from Arkansas, USA
Also known as Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker"

Now you know the truth. I am making this committment to myself, in front of all of you, my readers. I have been struggling with this for awhile without really making the committment to do anything. Now, since you know my secret, I have to do something. I can't continue on cruise control. I looked at pictures of myself during our vacation last week and I really don't like the way that I look. The weight has slowly crept on to my body over the past 2 years. It hinders my ability to be as active as I want to be in my life.

We did a lot of walking during our vacation, my shins got so sore for about 4 days that it hurt to walk so we didn't spend as much time exploring Mesa Verde National Park as we had planned to do. When we were in Salt Lake City if I walked uphill much, my chest would start to hurt around my heart and I would start to gasp for breath and would have to sit down for awhile. I hate that. It meant that I missed time with my family.

I didn't tell anyone why I had to keep sitting down. My doctor says my heart sounds good. I had a yearly physical just before we left on vacation but didn't get the results until we got home. The doctor told me to lose 6-8 pounds because my liver function was a little elevated. I don't know what that means exactly. The 12-Step programs that I have participated in included Open A.A. meetings because I am not an alcoholic. The liver problem is not from alcohol consumption. I rarely drink even socially because of the alcoholic gene that I carry from my father and grandfather. As a child, I saw how destructive alcoholism can be so I choose not to drink. I am guessing and will ask the doctor if the liver problem has to do more with medications for headaches and migraines that I have had the past few years.

I ask for your love, prayers and support on this part of my journey and I thank you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Recovery Validated

Hi. I am back from our 10 day vacation to visit our daughter and her family. I will write more in a future article. I just have a short amount of time to post this article since I have a neice and her family arriving around 8:00 tonight from Texas for a short visit. I read this while on our vacation and liked what it said.

Daybreak, Meditations For Women Survivors Of Sexual Abuse written by Maureen Brady, HarperCollins ed., Hazelden Meditation Series, 1991, September 8 page:

No matter how great or small I think are the strides I have made in my recovery, they are made apparent and validated each time I pass my hope on to others.

Incest survivors experiences, and the gigantic long-term effects of those experiences, have long been denied and silenced in our culture, even in psychological circles. Few hands were there to reach out to us. Even when we found the courage to speak, we might have met with an antagonistic response. Still, we are fortunate to be living now in a time when large numbers of incest survivors are speaking up and documenting their experiences.

As I benefit from being heard by others, I begin to recognise my responsibility to share my experience and hope with those who are even newer to breaking silence than I am. I will receive the gift of hearing my own hope spoken aloud. To others I will give the gift of connection, of knowing we do not have to do this alone. I will be part of the growing volume of voices that may save some child in the future from being abused."

This states why I write about my own incest experiences, why I am revisiting all the pain from my past. We, as survivors, have to reach out and help each other. We all benefit from the support.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Traveling, Family And Adventure

My husband Daniel and I are taking some time off and traveling to Boise, Idaho to visit some family members for a few days. If I get some time, I may post an article while we are gone using my daughter's computer but if you don't hear from me for a few days, I will let you know when we get back home. I haven't deserted my blog. I am just taking a short break to enjoy family and traveling with Daniel.

Traveling with Daniel is an experience all by itself. He loves to see as much as he can possibly squeeze into one day every day that we are on the road. He is an adventure loving Leo who works hard and plays hard. We do marathon driving each day---10 to 16 hours usually. I love driving through Oklahoma when we go out west. They have the greatest gift shops along the way. I have wonderful gifts and tee-shirts that people always ask me where I got them. My usual answer is in Oklahoma. It is a beautiful state with lots of history. We will spend some time exploring Salt Lake City, Utah with our daughter and her family for part of this trip.

We are coming back a different route so that Daniel doesn't get bored with the same scenery. We will come back through Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. There are some cliff dwellings in southwest Colorado that Daniel wants to see. I enjoy those kind of things too. The last time that Daniel was out that way, he wasn't able to see the cliff dwellings because of a wild fire in the area.

Thanks to all of my new subscribers and commenters on this blog. I truly appreciate your reading and participating in the discussions on this blog. I send love and blessings to all of you for your continued input and encouragement.
Thank you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Out Of My Comfort Zone---The Third Floor Window

In my previous article, I stated that several things had taken me out of my comfort zone this past week. Well, another of those things was reading the book of an internet friend of mine---Colleen Spiro.

I met Colleen through her blog "Surviving By Grace". ( ). Colleen and I are about the same age, married, and have grown children. We are both also incest survivors and write about our experiences on our blogs so that we can help ourselves and also reach out and help other survivors by letting them know that they are not alone.

I have been told a number of times over the years that I should write a book about my experiences. Colleen has done just that in 2008. I haven't yet but after reading Colleen's book "The Third Floor Window" I am determined to write one also. It also helps that I have been getting nudges from other people (Slade, Corinne and Sherryl) in the past year to do the same thing and while reading Colleen's book, I ran across, not one, but two books on writing your memoirs. For the first time ever, writing a book of my own seems like a distinct possibility. Did I just make another committment? My week has been full of those. Do they all have to hit me at the same time?

First of all, I want to thank Colleen for writing her book. When I first started looking at my incest issues there weren't many books on the subject around. There were even fewer that were written by people like me that didn't have degrees in psychology or some related field that were actually survivors of incest or childhood abuse. Now, finally people like Colleen are beginning to write their stories. In writing her story, I felt like Colleen had written my story. I was surprised at the similiarities between us.

One of the first pages in Colleen's book, she calls "Telling My Story." On this page, she says the following: "For years I have been silent. For years I have kept the secret of my childhood. But now I feel it is time. It is time to tell my story. A story that is unique because I am unique. And yet I think, in many ways, it is every survivor's story."

In reading page after page, I found that Colleen was indeed telling my story in such a simple, straight forward way that I really appreciate. Incest was a word, that like Colleen, I had trouble with in the beginning. Incest seemed like such a nasty, secretive word. It is. Like Colleen, for many years I was silent and endured the pain without understanding why incest picked me out. I now understand that men who rape little girls do so because they can. They do so for the control that it gives them over another person. A child is small enough that people ignore them, sometimes, even when the signs of abuse are very apparent. Many who choose not to see do so because of their own abuse issues or their own low self-worth. Many people are just afraid.

Colleen writes about the effect of questions from other people:
"Why can't you just forget about it and put it in the past? Why are you whining about something that happened so long ago? Everybody has problems. Get over it."

People often don't understand that for an incest survivor just getting over it isn't an option. The pain of betrayal and being controlled and lied to and misused by an authority figure in your life just goes too deep for recovery to be so easy or fast. For most of us, treatment and recovery takes many years, usually a lifetime.

Colleen explains very well why I write about my incest issues on my blog. She says, "I have a deep need to find meaning in my suffering. I know about redemptive suffering, how God can transform suffering into eternity, into glory, into something good. Seems kind of pie in the sky though unless I can translate it into my everyday life."

Colleen goes on to say, "I am driven by the feeling that if one person is helped by my suffering, if one victim is helped by my telling my story, then it might all seem worth it. My telling of the story which is so hard to do might be worth the effort and the fear and the shame I feel at times. And then if it helped one person, maybe it will help another and another and another... and why should I stop? I feel better knowing my pain helps ease another's pain. It is like balm for my wounds."

Amen to that Colleen. That is exactly why I write about my own experiences. Nobody helped me until years afterwards. I don't want anybody else to feel as alone as I did in this journey.

Colleen grew up in a small town in New England. I grew up in small towns scattered all across northern Louisiana yet our stories seem the same in so many other ways.

People always ask why you didn't tell. It is easier to ask that question than it is to answer. I always felt that the person asking was already judging me, looking for some fault in me that caused the abuse to happen to me. In her book, Colleen does an excellent job of answering this question. Thank you Colleen.

I have never heard anybody else talk about how they had a problem picking out Father's Day and Mother's Day cards because they didn't fit her family. I have felt that way for many years.
Again, Colleen describes my family when she said, "Dad was the one with the power. To me, he was the ultimate authority. I saw that he made all of the major decisions, such as where we lived and what car we owned. He made the rules and he was the one who disciplined me when I broke them. He made the money so he was the one to give Mom money when she needed it. When I was a little girl, Mom didn't drive so he was the one to drive us places when we asked him."

Next Colleen says, "Dad was king of our little kingdom. He had all of the control. His word was law. So when Dad told me not to tell anyone, I knew I had better obey."

This was my family. My dad was the dictator. I compared him to Hitler.

My mom learned to drive sometime in my early teens. Colleen could have been describing my mother learning to drive with us in the truck. Dad shouting at every mistake that Mom made, us kids sitting in the truck terrified to say anything or to even breathe too loudly. I didn't learn to drive until I was in my 40's because of all of those old terrors that I had to overcome from those long ago driving lessons.

Colleen mentions that she read an article online about a survey that was done on college students in which they were asked about the effects of sexual abuse on their lives. The majority denied that they had any problems. My immediate response was to say that they were in denial. As a college student and for many years after, I was in denial of my own issues and the effects that were bothering me. I would bet if those same college students were asked to do the survey when they were older, in their 30's or 40's, their answers would be more honest.

I finished reading Colleen's book several nights ago. I couldn't write any sooner than today about the experience. It is a book that I hope that each of you who are reading this article will go and buy. "The Third Floor Window" isn't an easy read. It is a must read if you want to understand incest and what effects it has upon its victims. Colleen shows how she went from being a victim to a survivor.

I am still processing the emotions that reading "The Third Floor Window" has brought up for me. I don't have the words to tell you everything that I am feeling about this book. Feeling is good. It is still sometimes a jumble of emotions that I don't always know what to do with or how to feel about. This is an area that I am still in grade school learning how to do. I ate lots of things that I shouldn't when reading this book because eating gives me comfort when I am distressed. One of these days, I will learn better ways of dealing with these feelings, but not today. That is one more thing that Colleen's book gave me---hope that someday all of the pain will stop or at least be at manageable levels.

I hope you will click on the following link and go to the blog "Heartfelt Heartlook" to read the review that she wrote about "The Third Floor Window":
Heartfelt and I write from different views of the book.

Colleen, thank you for the courage that you had to break the silence in the form of writing your book.