Saturday, May 28, 2011

You Are Not Alone on Conversations LIVE! on Blog Talk Radio

On May 31 at 7:00 p.m. on Conversations LIVE! on Blog Talk Radio, Cyrus Webb will interview Darlene Ouimet, Brad Rickerby and me in a conversation about the topic "You Are Not Alone."  To use Cyrus's words, "The three discuss with Webb how they are moving beyond their lives as victims and how other individuals who have been abused can do the same."  I don't know exactly what will be talked about because we don't get a list of questions before hand, but I do know that it will be worth listening too.  Darlene and I both have been interviewed by Cyrus before.  This interview will be a first for Brad whom I met sometime in the past few months on Twitter.  I love the fact that you are getting the opinions of 2 men and 2 ladies who live in different parts of the country even - Mississippi, Connecticut, Arkansas and Canada.  I believe now that men are beginning to speak out about their own sexual abuse as children that society will have a more balanced picture of what has been going on for generations right in their own hometowns and right in many of their own families.  Sexual abuse of children has been so deeply hidden as secrets to never be told, but guess what, more and more of us as survivors are beginning to be silent no longer.  I am proud to be a partner in this movement and on this radio program that Cyrus is producing in a few days.

The link to this radio conversation will be as follows:

If you would like to follow any future programs that Cyrus Webb does on Conversations LIVE! Radio you can find him at the following links:

You can also "ENTER THE WORLD OF CYRUS WEBB" at the following link to see what other projects he has going on.  Cyrus is a very busy man.  Thank you Cyrus for the work that you do with your blog, with your radio programs and with your Conversations Live magazine as well.

My friend Darlene Ouimet and I met online over a year ago.  I don't remember how I got introduced to her or her blog Emerging From Broken but I now follow her on Twitter and Facebook as well as on her blog.  Darlene has become an inspiration to me on my road to healing.  Emerging From Broken takes us "from surviving to thriving on the journey to wholeness," to use Darlene's words.  Her blog articles make me think about abuse in slightly different ways that I used to.  Sometimes her blog helps me to find those important "ah-ha" moments that can mean another jump forward in healing because I "got" what she just said and I hadn't gotten that particular aspect before.  Sometimes reading Emerging From Broken brings up almost forgotten memories and cleansing tears.  Sometimes her posts are totally foreign to me because that part of her journey is different or unknown to me.  That is our differences.  But there are many, many more times that we are the same - survivors on the road to recovery from childhood sexual abuse, incest survivors and thrivers.  Darlene is now writing a book about her healing process and I can hardly wait until she gets it published so that I can buy and read it.  You can find Darlene and her blog Emerging From Broken at the following link:

Darlene's most current posts have dealt with the feelings that Mother's Day brings up for many survivors and the lies of our childhood that have us believing that we are bad, damaged or broken.  Some of Darlene's posts are getting over 100 comments.  Thank you, Darlene for your friendship and the healing work that you do through your blog posts.  Over the past year, you have helped me heal issues that I didn't realize were still issues.

Brad Rickerby is a newcomer in my online world.  Brad and I recently made contact on Twitter.  Then I started reading his blog I am a Survivor.  Brad is one of the newcomers beginning to speak out about their own experiences with child sexual abuse from the viewpoint of being male.  Yes, childhood sexual abuse does happen to young boys as well as to little girls.  Society looks at boys differently than girls making it even harder for a man to speak out about their sexual abuse as children.  In speaking out, many are beginning to heal.  I greatly admire Brad's courage in speaking out and wanting to help other survivors in their healing.   When you check out Brad's blog I am a Survivor, you will find that Brad is also a very talented artist and photographer.  Here is Brad's blog I am a Survivor:

In the subtitle part of I am a Survivor's heading you will find Brad's words about why he is blogging about his experiences of child sexual abuse: 

"I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, rape, beatings and torture.  From the age of six to 15 I survived a nightmare.  I intend here to recapture what was taken from me and try to help other survivors along the way." 

Thank you Brad for joining the path that many survivors of child sexual abuse are choosing to take in an effort to stop future generations of our children from being abused like we were.  Speaking out heal us and allows us to help other survivors to heal also.  Brad also has a page where you can join the list of "Survivors Silent No Longer." You will find this list at the following link:

I look forward to getting to know you better Brad as we travel the road to healing from childhood sexual abuse together.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: May Issue Is Posted

The May issue of Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is out at Kate1975's Blog.  Here is the link:

Go by and wish Kate a late birthday as this month is her birthday month.  The topic of this month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is self-care.

So many people take it for granted that everyone is raised to take care of their personal needs.  That is true if they are raised in a healthy family.  For those  who are child abuse survivors, that usually isn't true.  The lies that children who are abused are taught tell them that they have no value to their parents or society.  Victims are taught that their needs are not important.  As adults, they continue to believe that their needs are not important.  They are taught to take care of others' needs and to ignore their own needs.  Many times they are taught to hate their bodies and to ignore even their health.  If they get sick as children, they are ignored or made to feel bad because of their illness.  Some are even punished for daring to get sick.

As survivors, many have to learn the basics of self-care.  Many have fears of doctors and dentists in particular.  As a child a doctor was someone who might ask questions, that might demand answers that the abusers didn't want known.  Dentists are often so frightening because of the survivors fight or flight response that is set off anytime that someone, like a dentist, is right there in their face.  Often because of these fears from childhood, the body is ignored when it first starts to hurt.  Many abuse survivors have a high tolerance for pain.  By the time that they give in to the pain and go to the doctor or the dentist what might have been a minor thing has become a major illness or a major problem with their teeth such as an absess or a rotted tooth.  Self-care isn't taught to child abuse victims.  Self-care is often learned from books or mentors when the victim starts their journey as a survivor.

I hope that you will join me in going to the link to Kate1975's Blog at the following link:

This month you have your choice of 34 blog posts.  I hope that you will take the time to read all of them.  This month, 5 of the submissions are mine.  Please feel free to leave comments and let each blogger know what you think about their blog post.  If you have any blog posts of your own that you would like to submit to the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, the carnival is posted each month.  You can go to Blog Carnival and look for the deadline for posting for Carnival Against Child Abuse and submit your own posts for next month's carnival.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fear---You Might Not Like Me If I Have An Opinion

Remember the feelings of being asked a question and being afraid to answer because you didn't know what the person who asked the question wanted you to say. Any answer you might give could be wrong. The person might not like you if you give an answer different than what they think.
Remember the panic of being asked, "What do you think?"  I remember thinking what does this person want me to say? What am I going to say? Can I get away with not saying anything at all? Do I tell them what I really think and take the chance that the person might not like me? Do I take the chance that what I say could anger this person and make them hate me?

So much fear was involved in the process of answering even simple questions. My mom and dad taught me that my opinion wasn't important and that I shouldn't even have an opinion unless it mirrored what they thought.  So much stress and fear was created because of this belief that you might not like me if I tell you what I really think. The statement, "Who do you think you are?" comes to mind here.  I thought I was nothing, of no importance to anyone.  I didn't know who I was because I was so busy trying to be who I thought you wanted me to be.

When I was a child, I was so rarely asked what I thought about anything. When I was asked, I would usually say that it didn't matter, whatever you wanted to do was okay with me. (A friend tells me that I am still guilty of doing this.  What I told her recently was that if it was something of importance to me then I have an opinion about it.  If it isn't important, then I really don't care where we go eat, for example.) If I said, I didn't know then I was open to ridicule for being stupid if the questioner was my mom or dad. My dad would then fly into a cussing rage. It was better to not give any kind of answer than to give one that might be wrong. 

I learned at an early age that Life wasn't safe if I had an opinion. In my family, as a child, my dad was the only one of us who was allowed to have an opinion about anything. If you didn't agree with him, you better be quiet unless you wanted a verbal lashing from him. With adults, I believe that he loved to argue. If you were a child, you kept queit, to use his words, "if you know what is good for you."

As a Saggitarian, I should have been very outgoing as a child and as an adult. Growing up in an alcoholic home along with being a victim of incest, I learned to curb my natural inclinations at a young age and became very withdrawn and shy.  I rarely laughed out loud or did anything to draw attention to myself.

As an adult who is healing from incest, I have learned that what I think and feel is safe and okay. I am an extrovert rather than the introvert of my childhood.  Today Life is safe for me to speak up about my beliefs and I can defend myself when necessary without reverting back into my shell of silence and safety.

Today if you don't like me because of what I say or think, oh well, that is your problem. I won't shrink away into nonexistance because you don't like what I thought or said. I won't be hurt because I disagree with you or you disagree with me. I honor what is different in each of you and ask that you consider doing the same.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dr. Phil Show on "Forgiving the Unforgivable"

I watched the Dr. Phil Show on Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12 for a show that he called "Forgiving the Unforgivable."  I am going to include a link here for the first of the two shows. 

Warning:  This may be triggering for some survivors.  I sat and ate through the whole show on Wednesday.  I haven't done that in awhile.  The Show triggered feelings that were intense enough for me to numb them with food. 

"Forgiving the Unforgivable" is about two grown daughters, Marita and Katrina, who confront their mother about the part that she didn't play as a parent when the mother's boyfriend, later husband, was sexually abusing her daughters for years in their own bedroom.  I want to share with you the notes that I wrote down from the show.  I think the mother's name was Kathy.  That is what I am going to call her here.

Dr. Phil said to Kathy:  "What he did is different than what you didn't do."

Kathy said, "These are my daughters."
Dr. Phil to Kathy:  "Then act like a mother."

Dr. Phil to Kathy:  When you tell the victim that they should have told about the abuse, you are blaming the victim rather than the abuser.  Never blame the victim for the abuse.

Dr. Phil to the sisters Marita and Katrina:  Sometimes we have to give ourselves what we wanted from our parents.  What we didn't get from our parents, we can give to ourselves. (Reparenting is what this is called by some.)

Kathy at one point called herself "the wife of a sex offender."  She said this would always be her identity.

Kathy asked God's forgiveness in a moment of high drama.  What got to me was that she never once asked her daughters for their forgiveness.  Kathy kept saying over and over that she didn't know the sexual abuse was going on in her own house.  My question is how could she not know when she saw her husband in her daughter's bedroom on top of her daughter one night.  She looked in; he looked up at her; she went on into the kitchen praying to God for help.  She went back to the room; he was gone and her daughters were pretending to be asleep.  She told herself and Dr. Phil that she just didn't know what she was seeing.

I don't understand and neither do her daughters why she didn't go into the bedroom and turn on the light and ask her husband what he was doing.  She didn't ask because she didn't want to know.  She decided that she had imagined that he was in the room laying on top of her daughter, raping her daughter who was just an innocent little girl at the time.  She never asked her daughters or your husband about what she saw, about what he was doing almost nightly to her daughters.  Kathy kept repeating, yelling, that she didn't know what she saw that night.

Finally one of the girls or both, if it said during the Show then I missed it, told someone about what was happening to them.  The husband was arrested and the girls went to live with their father.  In court, Kathy sat behind her husband giving him support during the trial.  The day of the trial, Kathy went to her daughters and demanded that they call their abuser and apologize to him for putting him in jail.  When Marita and Katrina brought this up, Kathy openly denied that she supported a sex offender rather than supporting her hurting daughters.

Kathy cried and yelled at Dr. Phil and her daughters throughout the whole two days taping of this program.  She finally admitted that she was at fault but still never really took responsibility for not protecting her daughters.  Marita thanked her mother for her honesty during the show.  Marita has had counseling or therapy of some kind from the way she talked and handled the whole situation and is probably the older of the two sisters.  She wasn't as actively angry with her mother as Katrina was. 

I never had this kind of conversation with my mother.  When I told my mother about the incest, I asked if she knew about the incest and I asked if she had ever been sexually abused herself as a child.  She said no to both of my questions.  I believe that confronting the silent parent is in some ways harder than confronting the abuser.  At least, it was for me.  I still wanted my mother's love.  I was still, even as an adult, afraid of what my mother would say or do after I told her. 

I think, like Kathy in the Dr. Phil Show, my mother, at least on some level of consciousness, knew that I was being sexually abused.  She had to at least have wondered with as many trips as I was forced to go on with my dad.  I was never asked if I wanted to go.  I was always told by one or both parents that I was going somewhere with my dad at least several times a week from the age of 11 to 17.  My mother never questioned all of the time that I spent with my dad.  She just knew that he wasn't bothering her.  If she had looked at my face, into my sad eyes, she would have seen that something was wrong but she never did.  I look at pictures of myself as a child and see the sad eyes. 

Eyes tell it all.  Take the time today to talk to your children and to look into their eyes.  Are they happy or are they sad?  Be sure to look beyond what you want to see to what is really there.  My mom never did.  I always wished that she would have seen my pain and done something to stop it.  She didn't.

Thanks, Dr. Phil for doing this show.  Thanks to Marita and Katrina for having the courage to do something that I never did in confronting their mother and her lies.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Normal vs. Healthy

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers who may be reading this.  My mother-in-law is the only mother that I have left and she is a blessing to me.  She sent me a note in the mail this week that I really love.  I know that she loves me but she doesn't say it very often.  She ended her note with the following:

"I love you a whole lot, just want you to know.  Mother Lindsay" 

That one little line from her has brightened my week.  I really do appreciate that God blessed me with the mother-in-law that he did.

Normal for me was the overreacting or underreacting to all of the stress and trauma and drama in my life that I caused and others caused.  Normal is not admitting that I am stressed or in pain.  Normal is being afraid and not knowing it.  Normal lives in denial of what really is.

Normal is what we know as children and adults living with abuse.  I don't want to be normal any more.  Normal is living in the patterns of the past and passing them on to my children.

Normal isn't good or even sane sometimes.  Normal is shouting at your children because your parents shouted at you.  Normal is wanting to do better but not being able to because you don't know how to do better.

Healthy is what I strive to be today.  Healthy gives me the ability to no longer be abused or to even attract abusers into my life.  Healthy shows me how to make better choices so that I don't pass the abuse on to my grandchildren.

Healthy means I have self-respect, self-worth, and even self-love.  Healthy means I can nurture and take care of my needs.  Healthy means I know and love who I am at all times. 

The sometimes painful part of healthy means that I can feel all of my emotions, work my way through them and release them, most of the time.  Sometimes, I still find myself numbing out when I feel overwhelmed by the intensity of whatever I am working on. 

Healthy means I do what is best for me.  I don't put everyone else's needs and priorities before my own.  An empty vessel is no good to anyone.

Healthy means I give you back responsibility for your own life rather than trying to control and fix you.  Healthy means I face and take on responsibility for the only life that I can change - mine. 

The above words started out as a comment on the Facebook Fan Page for Empowering Solutions which is written by my friend Susan Kingsley-Smith.