Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ripple Effects Of Kindness, Compassion, And Sympathy

Source: The New International Webster's Standard Dictionary, Trident Reference Publishing, 2006 Edition:

kind adj. benevolent, compassionate, and humane in nature (page 160)

compassion n. concern for the troubles of another; pity; sympathy -compassionate adj.
-compassionately adv. (page 73)

sympathy n. an agreement of feeling; compassion for another's suffering; agreement or accord; support or approval (page 267)

I left a comment on Lance's blog Jungle of Life recently that I wanted to share with all of you. You can find Lance's "Sunday Thought For The Day" on December 27, 2009 at the following link: . Lance's blog articles are always so uplifting to me. He brightens my world which usually needs brightening around the holiday season.

Here is my edited comment:
". . . Compassion is such a great lesson and a great way to move forward as a world. Compassion, like all great teachings, begins with the individual. As one person changes so do all of those around him/her causing a ripple effect around the world one person at a time. . . . Compassion starts with the Self."

The same can be said for kindness and sympathy when you reach out to others. The biggest lesson that I had to learn was that I needed to be kind, compassionate, and sympathetic to myself before I could be that way to you. Those of you who have been abused in your childhood may have never experienced kindness, compassion or sympathy from others so you weren't shown how to exhibit those qualities to yourself or others.

I don't do New Year's Eve Resolutions. I have tried a few times and they just don't work for me. I used to beat myself up for failing at these goals. You see no one ever taught me about goals. Resolutions reminded me of all of the broken promises of growing up in an alcoholic and incestuous home. I knew by the age of 6 that promises would be broken. I never make promises for that reason. This is an area that I can be kind, compassionate, and sympathetic to that little girl who learned the lesson that promises get broken. I can show her that I understand her fears and disappointments from the past. I can also show her that I will do my best to not disappoint her again. I can acknowledge that her fears and disappointments are my fears and disappointments and that together we can overcome them. We can move forward.

I AM going to be more kind, compassionate and sympathetic to myself and others in 2010. Happy, Glorious 2010 to all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Survivors Can Thrive! Mini Carnival: Holiday Survival Tips For Survivors

Marj aka Thriver over at her blog Survivors Can Thrive! posted just before Christmas the following article "Mini Carnival: Holiday Survival Tips for Survivors." None of us had the time to host a full Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse with the Christmas holidays going on in December. At the last minute, Marj decided to post this "Mini Carnival" instead.

Marj attributes me with the "spark that motivated this mini carnival" idea. Marj, I am glad that you used my blog article as inspiration for this. Thanks for being a wonderful host for Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

Follow me to Marj aka Thriver's blog Survivors Can Thrive! to read her "Mini Carnival: Holiday Survivor Tips for Survivors." Here is the link:

Blessings and love to all. Hope you all had a glorious Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Spirit Of Christmas

I wish for each of you a very merry Christmas. Here is an email Christmas story that I love to receive each year because it reminds me of what the Spirit of Christmas should be in all of us. I don't know the original source of this wonderful story. I would thank you if I did. Enjoy and feel free to become this type of giving person if you aren't already.

A Christmas Story
"The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no lights. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. There were no children in his life. His wife was gone.

He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through. Instead of throwing the man out, George, old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the space heater and warm-up.

'Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude,' said the stranger.
'I see you're busy. I'll just go.' 'Not without something hot in your belly,' George turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger.
'It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you're done there's coffee and it's fresh.'

Just at that moment he heard the 'ding' of the driveway bell.
'Excuse me, be right back,' George said. There in the driveway was an old 53 Chevy. Stream was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked.
'Mister can you help me!' said the driver with a deep Spanish accent.
'My wife is with child and my car is broken.'
George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold; the car was dead.
'You ain't going in this thing,' George said as he turned away.
'But mister, Please help....'

The door of the office closed behing George as he went in. George went to the office and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building and opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting.
'Here, you can borrow my truck,' he said. 'She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.' George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night.

George turned and walked back inside the office.
'Glad I loaned em the truck. Their tires were shot too.
'That 'ol truck has brand new tires......' George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was back on the desk, empty with a used coffee cup beside it.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customeres. He discovered the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose of the radiator.
'Well, I can fix this,' he said to himself. So he put on a new one on. 'Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either.' He took the smow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car.

As he was working he heard a shot being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, 'Help me.'
George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. 'Pressure to stop the bleeding,' he thought. The laundry company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound.

'Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin',' he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. 'Something for pain,' George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. 'These ought to work.' He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. 'You hang in there. I'm going to get you an ambulance.' George said, but the phone was dead. 'Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your police car.' He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two way radio. He went back in to find the policeman sitting up.

'Thanks,' said the officer. 'You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.' George sat down beside him. 'I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you.' George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. 'Looks worse than it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with with time you're gonna be right as rain.'

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. 'How do you take it?' he asked.
'None for me,' said the officer.
'Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city.' Then George added: 'Too bad I ain't got no donuts.'
The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. 'Give me all your cash! Do it now!' the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before. 'That's the guy that shot me!' exclaimed the officer. 'Son, why are you doing this?' asked George. 'You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.' The young man was confused. 'Shut up old man, or I'll shot you, too. Now give me the cash!'

The cop was reaching for his gun. 'Put that thing away,' George said to the cop. 'We got one too many in here now.' He turned his attention to the young man. 'Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need the money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now put that pee shooter away.'

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. 'I'm not bery good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,' he went on. 'I've lost my job. My rent is due. My car got repossessed last week...'

George handed the gun to the cop. 'Son, we all got a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.' He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. 'Sometimes we do stupid things.'

George handed the young man a cup of coffee. 'Being stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out.' The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. 'Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer.'
'Shut up and drink your coffee.' the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. 'Chuck! You ok?' one of the cops asked the wounded officer. 'Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?'
'GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?' the other cop asked as he approached the young man. Chuck answered him, 'I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.' George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. 'That guy works here.' the wounded cop continued. 'Yep,' George said. 'Just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.'

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, 'Why?' Chuck just said, 'Merry Christmas, boy. And you too, George, and thanks for everything.'

'Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.' George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go. Something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She siad it would come in handy some day.' The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. 'I can't take this,' said the young man. 'It means something to you.'
'And now it means something to you,' replied George. 'I got memories. That's all I need.'

George reached into the box again. A toy airplane, a racing car and a little metal truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. 'Here's something for that little man of yours.' The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. 'And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that, too. Count it as part of your first week's pay.' George said. "Now git home to your family.'

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. 'I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.'
'Nope. I'm closed Christmas Day,' George said. 'See ya the day after.'

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned.
'Where'd you come from? I thought you left?'
'I have been here. I have always been here,' said the stranger.
'You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?'
'Well, after my wife passed away I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was getting a little chubby.'

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder.
'But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will become a rich man and share his wealth with many people.
That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man.'

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. 'And how do you know all this?' asked the old man. 'Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.' The stranger moved toward the door.

'If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.' George watched as the man's old leather jacket and his torn pants turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

'You see George. It's My birthday. Merry Christmas.' "

Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Are You Feeling?

From Reclaiming Our Days, Meditations for incest survivors, by Helena See, A Fireside Parkside Meditation Book,1993, page for December 1:

" 'Feel the feelings.' 'Release the pain.' What do these mean? How do we do that exactly? We're lucky if we can even identify the feelings we're having, since we're so used to stuffing and ignoring them.

We keep the tears and anguish so bottled up inside that suddenly we can't hold them in any longer. We cry uncontrollably, or rage spontaneously, or tremble in fear, or wake up sweating in the middle of the night, or get hysterical giggles over nothing. These are the body's way of releasing pent-up feelings. We can help stay in balance by letting these out regularly rather than waiting until we explode.

We don't need to be afraid of releasing these feelings. We have so often confused the releasing of the feeling with the feeling itself. But there's a huge difference. The feeling is something we carry with us, that gnaws at our gut. It's always there, sometimes in our awareness. Many times we are only aware of it when it has built up to the exploding point.

Releasing these feelings helps us heal. It's built into our human system as part of the hardware; it's how we work. Release doesn't cause the pain; holding it in causes the pain. Releasing is healing.

I will welcome the healing of my tears, rages, trembles, and laughs."

Learning to recognise what I am feeling has been some of the hardest work that I have done. It isn't finished yet. I still sometimes don't recognise my feelings for what they are. Sometimes I still can't tell you what I am feeling especially in times of stress. Sometimes when I get a headache then I know I am resisting what I am feeling. The headache is my body's way of getting my attention.

Do you always know what you are feeling? Do you know when you are resisting feeling? How do you handle stress? Do you recognise stress in your body? Where do you feel stress?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Help Getting Through The Holidays

I have two lists that I want to share with you in case you are a survivor who has trouble remaining sane as you struggle with getting through the holiday season. The first comes from Colleen whose blog Surviving By Grace is one of my favorite survivor blogs. You will find the list "How to Help A Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse" at the following link:

Stay and spend some time reading some of Colleen's other articles about her courageous journey through breaking her silence about child sexual abuse. You might also be interested in reading the article that I wrote about Colleen's book "The Third Floor Window" and then buying her book to read for yourself. The link for my article is at the following:

You can order Colleen's book through her blog or through I felt like Colleen was telling my story.

The second list that I want to guide you to comes from Grace Davis and her blog which she calls State of Grace. Grace's list is called "An Adult Child Abuse Survivor's Guide to the Holidays". The list starts with a very important suggestion of "DO NOT ABANDON YOURSELF." You will find the rest of the list at the following link:

Be sure to read the comment section too. You will find more additions to the original list in the comment section. Join me in checking out the rest of Grace's blog while you are there.

I appreciate the support of these ladies and their lists. Their suggestions can make for an easier, more joy-filled holiday. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shutting Down To Get Through The Holidays

Thanksgiving and Christmas can bring up many emotions for an incest survivor. Dealing with family members that you may not see other than those two holidays can bring up any unresolved issues and memories of past abuse, especially if the abusers are still alive and at the family activities that most people participate in during these two holidays. Some of us, to be peacemakers during the holidays, pretend that the abuse never happened. You don't want to upset anyone else with your emotional garbage when Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be such happy times. You don't want to be seen as a Scooge because you can't pretend to be happy. You try to let go of your anger, once again, to appear normal. Sometimes you just want to be happy so bad that you pretend that you are for a little while. Holidays are when you miss the most the family that you never had as a child so you pretend.

You don't want everyone else to think you are crazy because you can't stand to be in the same room with the person who raped you. Afterall, all of that was years ago when you were a helpless kid. What most people don't understand is that the second you step into the room with your abuser, especially if it was your parent, you become that helpless kid again. The fear comes back full blown along with the rage that you carry with you as an adult. Both emotions can cause a volatile situation that you don't know how to deal with. You become so scared that you forget that you are now an adult who can protect her/himself. (Yes, incest does happen to little boys too, just not as often.)

Many times, in order to get through the holidays, you just shut down. It doesn't matter how many times that you tell yourself that you won't shut down this time. You still do it when your emotions become overwhelming. Shutting down is an emotional response that your mind uses to protect you until you are strong enough to deal with the situation and people involved. It probably saved your life when you were a child. It kept the body alive until the mind could cope. Sometimes coping is all that you can do to get through this holiday without really going crazy.

What I have just described was how I got through many holidays as a young adult. I don't shut down today. Today I am strong enough and brave enough to face my demons head on. Writing this blog helps me to do that. In remembering, I don't continue on in those old ways. What I accept, I can change. Today, if I find myself starting to shut down, I have another option. I can choose to leave physically. I can choose to feel what I feel. Fear, rage, sadness can all be part of my emotions during a holiday or any other time of the year. So can happiness, joy, peace, excitement, love. All of those are acceptable to me today. Today I can deal with my holiday memories from the past and talk about them with my support system of family and friends. I thank God for each of my support members.

This wasn't the article that I just sat down to write but it is the article that typed itself onto this page. Hopefully it will help someone else get through the upcoming holiday of Christmas by letting you know that you aren't alone with your struggles with family.