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.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Giving

Whether or not, you live in the U. S. which is celebrating its national holiday of Thanksgiving today, the Fall which is harvest time is a great time of the year to think about what you are grateful for in your life.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two times of the year that I usually spend more time with family. Thanksgiving I spend with my inherited family---my inlaws. I love everyone of them and appreciate that they accepted me into their lives 37 years ago when I married into their family. I especially love and like my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law who I have so much in common with. They bless my life with their love and friendship.

This week I am giving thanks for the many friendships that have blessed my life. Some of those friendships are very old and some are very new. Some are online. The computer has opened up my world to an incredible degree. I have many things to be grateful for in my life. Remembering those people and situations makes my life more joyful. How you choose to live your life really begins with your attitude.

No matter where you live, make sure that you go through today with an attitude of gratitude. Have a glorious day of Thanks Giving. You life will be better for it. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: November, 2009

November 19 was World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. It was also the day that Marj aka Thriver posted the "Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: November, 2009" on her blog Survivors Can Thrive. My previous article "Calm" is featured in this Blog Carnival along with 34 other articles.

Marj aka Thriver is the organizer as well as this month's host for the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I very much appreciate the work and time that Marj puts into running this Blog Carnival.

You can find this month's "Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: November, 2009" at the following link:

I hope that you will follow me to this link and read all of the articles that were submitted this month. If you are an abuse survivor, I warn you that some of the articles may be triggering for you. Marj has the following words at the beginning of the article:

"TRIGGER WARNING Child Abuse is an horrific reality in our world today. Understandably, reading articles about the abuse of children can be triggering. Please take appropriate care while perusing the carnival."

Prevention of child abuse is the topic for this month's Carnival. Thank you Marj for hosting this month's Carnival.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I don't really have a lot to share today. I just wanted to let you know that for the past two weeks I have been in a place of calm. I told my Al-Anon sponsor the same thing in our talk on the phone yesterday. She told me that, knowing me, she knew that I wasn't running away or ignoring any major issues. That acknowledgment by her felt good. I am just in a place of calm, not the calm before the storm that I used to imagine it as, but a place of real calm. No issues are disturbing me right now. It is a time of rest and renewal of my energy and emotional health. Breaks are good for you when you are a survivor. You can't always be working on your issues. There is a whole other world to explore and other people to enjoy contact with. I no longer feel guilty for the breaks that I sometimes take. I deserve the time off to enjoy life. So do you.

During this break, I am still going to my Al-Anon meeting and my Grief class. Even they haven't brought up any issues for me the past two weeks. I know that could change later today or even tomorrow and I could be back in full growth/moving forward mode again. Until then I will enjoy the fiction books that I am reading, the movies that I have been watching and any other type of play that comes my way. Part of my journey means enjoying the breaks when they come along. All of life doesn't have to be hard. Enjoy.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: October 30, 2009 Edition

In The Best Interest: Child Advocacy Law blog is hosting the "Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: October 30, 2009". Lynda L. Hinkle is the author of this blog. Her subtitle says her blog is about "Child Welfare Law And Advocacy, Advancing The Rights Of Children And Giving Children A Greater Voice In The Legal System." Thanks, Lynda for hosting this month's Carnival. I hope that my readers join me in checking out the articles that were submitted for the Carnival Against Child Abuse for this month. The link is following:

My article "Lies Incest Perpretrators Tell Their Victims" is included in the Carnival for October.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Courage Isn't Just About The Big Stuff

Courage isn't just about the big stuff. Some days courage is about doing what is necessary to just get though the day. The comments that you leave here on my blog often speak about how courageous you believe I am. I appreciate the words of encouragement that you leave at the end of my articles. Many of you are just as courageous or even more so with what you deal with daily in your lives. Congratulate yourself for a job well done in overcoming your own childhood abuse in whatever form it takes.

As I visit blogs of other incest survivors, I see more examples of courage. Setting boundaries with family members, saying no to any more abuse, saying yes to spiritual growth, saying yes to change in your life---all of these are daily examples of courage that I see on the survivor blogs that I visit each week.

Some instances of showing courage would be saying no to an abusive relationship, getting a divorce instead of staying because it is more comfortable than facing the unknown, confronting your abuser with what he/she has done and letting them know this behavior is not acceptable, being a parent instead of a friend to your children, sharing your story with others (The first time is the hardest.), setting healthy boundaries when you had no boundaries before. All of these show the courage that each of us is capable of.

The every day kind of courage comes about when you learn to say no instead of stretching yourself to unbearable limits, learning to care for and nurture the lost and hurting inner child, putting your needs first and not feeling guilty so that you aren't an empty vessel that isn't capable of helping anybody, getting counseling for yourself to help you deal with the abuse issues, sharing your childhood story of abuse with a close friend or loved one.

You may not see yourself as being strong or being courageous. If you are working on your abuse issues, you are both. Courage is being afraid and moving forward and making choices anyway. Hugs and blessings to all of you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Daybreak---The End Of Night

From Daybreak, Meditations For Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse, written by Maureen Brady, 1991, February 26 page:

I regret the abuse I suffered, yet I value the way healing from it has deepened me.

All human beings, whether survivors of childhood abuse or not, are confronted with illness, accidents, loss of loved ones, and a whole host of other injuries that hurt us and we wish hadn't happened. Yet don't we learn from these times how to value what we may have taken for granted---good health, for instance? And don't we discover resources that migh have otherwise lain dormant in us?

As I deal with my memories of abuse, I often rail against my lot, wishing this history belonged to someone else, that I could be free from it. But then I wonder, who would this someone else be? I realize how much strength I've observed in myself as I've grappled with my pain. I've found the me who came through. I've found the freedom to leave behind more superficial masks that otherwise might have covered my face for a lifetime."

I find comfort in reading that. Why did I choose to name this article "Daybreak---The End Of Night after reading the above daily meditation? First of all, this book Daybreak, Meditations For Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse brings me much comfort. It gives me hope that one day I may actually leave the darkness of incest---the nighttime of my childhood---behind. If someone else can do this, so can I. So can you.

This meditation reminded me of all of the incest survivor blogs that I read and all of the other survivors who are struggling, as I struggle, to face the hurt and anger and to leave the past behind. Letting go of the pain---the hurt, anger, alienation, betrayal, inner messages of negativity, the isolation, the secrets---I believe that all of this is possible. I also know it isn't as easy as some would like you to believe. Don't you think if it were that easy that more people would instantly do it? Nobody that I know really enjoys being an incest survivor.

If you are an incest survivor or a child abuse survivor, you can look at the right sidebar and find a list of the sites that I frequently read written by other survivors who are in recovery and learning to thrive despite their childhood abuse. Each of these blog writers shares their journey through abuse on their blogs. Learning that you are not the only one makes the journey easier. I appreciate each of these bloggers for the courage that they show me daily. The journey is easier when it is shared. Thank you each and everyone. Have a glorious day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We Are All Vulnerable To Life And Other People

From Awakening, A Daily Guide to Conscious Living, written by Shakti Gawain, Revised Edition, 1991 & 2006, October 3 page:

"We are all vulnerable

Most of us are somewhat afraid of our vulnerability. We have various ways of masking it, hiding it, defending it. The key to intimacy, though, is being able to be vulnerable with another person. To do that, we must first be honest with ourselves about our deepest, most vulnerable feelings. We must learn to care for and protect these feelings, not by closing them off and defending them, but by being able to say honestly what we feel and ask for what we need.

As we learn to use our inner strength to support and express our inner vulnerability instead of to repress it, we begin to feel safer and more comfortable opening up to another person.

I am learning to feel comfortable with my vulnerability."

Being vulnerable enough to ask for help is a biggy for me. You can read my previous article "Dealing With Change" found at for some of those reasons.

Lately, I continue to put myself in a place of being vulnerable to others. I actually do that with everyone of the articles that I write on this blog. I allow myself to be vulnerable when I call my Al-Anon sponsor or my best friend.

I recently started attending a grieving group which gives me plenty of opportunities to be vulnerable with more sharing of my incest story and my recovery experiences. Any time that you are in recovery, you do grieving work. Any time that you go to a counselor or therapist, some, if not most, of the work that you do is grieving work as you learn to face your issues. The homework for our group this week was twofold:
1. Give someone else some of your "experience, strength, and hope" when they ask for your help.
2. Receive help from someone else gracefully.

One very important fact that the class was told last night was that "Help is not help unless the person receiving it perceives it as help." Giving advice, even when it is asked for, isn't always helpful. Most of the time when a person asks for advice, what they really need and want is someone to listen to them as they talk and figure out their own answers.

I know that a lot of my readers come from a childhood of abuse in some form. I am passing my homework assignment along to any of you who are willing to do it this week. Let me know how you did.

In a recent comment, I was asked to share a website with my readers. After looking at the website and emailing back and forth with one of the contributers, I decided to put up a Blog Link with this person, Thomas Dow, and his website. His website is called "Let's Be Present". You can find his site at the following link: . Thomas, like me, is a Lightworker who is reaching out to help others heal from their childhood abuse issues as he works to heal his own issues.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dealing With Change

A blogger friend of mine, Corinne Edwards, whose blog you will find at the following link , recently suggested that I would enjoy reading a new book written by Neale Donald Walsch. The title of the new book is When Everything Changes Change Everything. I finally started reading it last night. As you can tell from my most recent articles, I am involved in change right now.

Mr. Walsch's new book is about 9 changes that he says you all need to make when you are going through changes. These changes can truly change your life. So far, I am reading about the first change.

"Change #1:
Change your decision to 'go it alone'." (page 29)

Mr. Walsch says that most of us tend to isolate when we are having difficulties. I can't speak for you but for me that is so true. I have trouble reaching out and saying that I am having problems and asking for help. A part of me feels ashamed that I am not able to deal with this problem on my own.

Here is what Mr. Walsch says and it makes perfect sense to me.

"The reason that so many of us tend to self-isolate when we are facing big problems---and by the way, have you noticed that almost every really big problem you've ever faced emerged from something that changed?---is that we have never given ourselves permission to be seen as less than perfect, or as someone who does not have it all altogether." (page 29-30)

Does this sound like you? It certainly sounds like me. This is one area that I still have all of the childhood tapes playing in my head.

Mr. Walsch goes on to say, "We've also been taught as children that we should not 'burden others' with our problems. And finally, we've been told that most everything is our own fault anyway, so why would we go to someone else with it? It was made very clear that we made our bed and now we have to lie in it." (page 30)

He goes on to say that none of these things is true and that whoever told you this was wrong about it all. Here is where he really got my attention.

"The need to be 'perfect' and to 'have it all together' is a manifestation of a larger need: the need for approval." (page 30)

I still struggle with this "need for approval". This is where fear of rejection comes into my life. Every time that I write an article on incest or tell a new person or even tell a person who has known me for years but doesn't know that I am an incest survivor, I face my fear of rejection and fear that I will lose your approval and love. This is where I rely upon courage to help me deal with however you react to my article or my disclosure of more information.

Mr. Walsch goes on to say, "People want to help us. They do not feel 'burdened' by doing so. Quite the opposite. They feel uplifted.

Knowing that we've helped others brings us value, skyrocketing our feelings of self-worth. Life suddenly begins to make sense. Or at least to give us, in that moment, a sense of higher purpose." (page 31)

"We're all just running around trying to help somebody. Knowing this should make it easier to accept help---from a professional or from a loved one---when our own need is particularly acute. Why would we make it more difficult for someone to help us when help is exactly what we need, and exactly what others want to give?" (page 31)

I hope that sharing these wise words of Neale Donald Walsch will help you to be able to ask for help the next time that you need it. I know it makes it easier for me. I know that I don't have to try so hard to be perfect and I still find myself doing it in certain areas of my life.
Does any of this ring true for you?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Resistance Is Futile---How Do You Deal With Change?

From Daybreak, Meditations For Women Survivors Of Sexual Abuse, written by Maureen Brady, Page for April 19:

"Letting go is a never-ending process of relating to my resistance.

When I let go of my nearly unrelenting need to control, my belief that I can bend even iron with my will, I am released into serenity and trust in a power greater than myself. Then, almost immediately, I drop the most powerful lesson I have learned and take up my willfulness again. I ask myself in some bewilderment, why would I do this?

To some extent my need to control may have become excessive and obsessive because the loss of control in the sexual abuse was so great that I needed to make up for it. But regardless of my story, it is also a very human characteristic to grasp for control. The way to work with this is through a daily practice of noticing what I am clinging to---a thought, a feeling, a memory, a determination to make a situation come out a certain way---and uncurling my grip as a gesture of release and watching what I am clinging to float away. Releasing my willful attachments creates space and sustenance for my soul."

How often do you resist change? I find myself resisting change just about every time that it comes into my life. I deal better with smaller changes than I do big ones so that is some improvement. I have to remind myself, to use a phrase from Star Trek Next Generation, "Resistance is futile." Resistance just makes change harder and slower but change still moves forward anyway despite my resistance. Often resistance just gives me a headache and it still doesn't stop the change from happening.

Resisting change is very much about the need to control---your environment, other people and their behavior, and your reactions to those people and environments. If you are controlling then you can feel safe. Controlling, as I have said many times before, is just an illusion that you are in control. Life, the Universe, God---these are what are really in control. Your choice is to go with the flow or to resist. Going with the flow doesn't mean that you don't have dreams or make plans for your future. Going with the flow means that you don't resist the change that Life sometimes throws at you when you don't know what the bigger picture is. It means letting go of the need to control what isn't my responsibility in the first place.

You might be interested in reading the article from the blog The Rat Race Trap written by Stephen Mills at the following link: . The article is called "An Optimal Balance to Your Life. Part of my above paragraph came from my comment to Stephen's article about balance.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Relationships And Trust

From Awakening, A Daily Guide to Conscious Living, written by Shakti Gawain, New World Library, Novato, California, 1991, Revised 2006, October 1 page:

"We need relationships

Our primary relationship is with ourselves, and ultimately that's the only one that can provide the foundation for wholeness. That's the place where we need to find integration and balance. And at the same time, we need relationships with other people in order to be happy and fulfilled in life. If we only look for wholeness and completion within ourselves, we disown the part of ourselves that also needs other people.

Human beings are social creatures. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually --- we absolutely need close contact with other people. We need love, support, understanding, recognition, and stimulation reflected to us by others.

I spend time cultivating my relationship with myself and time reaching out to receive what I need from others."

I recently picked this book up at a used book store. Years ago, I read a book by Shakti Gawain and just didn't connect with it at all. I am connecting with what this book has to offer.

As a Saggittarian, my natal chart shows me that this lifetime for me is all about relationships. My major work this lifetime has to do with all kinds of relationships. Maybe that is why the lessons have been so difficult with my parents. We often learn the most from our greatest struggles in life.

As an incest survivor, my early relationships were full of pain (physical and emotional) and betrayal. Trust has been one of my biggest issues that I struggle with. My newest relationship is with my Al-Anon sponsor. God has blessed me by putting this wonderful lady in my life. She has wisdom and years in Al-Anon that I don't have. That doesn't mean that she doesn't have struggles in life. She does. She allows me to see her struggles and that is good. I can see, first hand, how she handles her own struggles in life and therefore, I learn more by her example than by her words. I know that I can trust what she says because I can see her using it herself. When she is in trouble and overwhelmed, what does she do? She calls her sponsor and works her Steps in the program of Al-Anon, things that I am also learning to do.

It isn't easy for me to call another person and admit that I need help and that I don't have all of the answers. It isn't easy for me to show you my vulnerabilities because in the past those vulnerabilities were used to hurt me. It isn't easy for me to say, "I am hurting." In my childhood, I was shamed when I let it be known that I was unhappy, sad, hurting, angry, crying.....

So, how are your relationships going today? I am learning about myself through my relationships. I am learning that I have value. I am learning that I can care about you and not get hurt. I am learning that you have value. I am learning that I learn best by watching other people and seeing what works for them and what doesn't work for them. I am learning to love myself completely as I am. I am learning to love you completely as you are. I don't have to change you and you don't have to change me. As children of God, we are all perfect and that is as it should be. What have your relationships taught you?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Your Outer Conflicts Mirror Your Inner Conflicts

Awakening, A Daily Guide to Conscious Living written by Shakti Gawain, Revised Edition, Nataraj Publishing, a division of New World Library, Novato, California, 1991, 2006, page September 27:

"Outer conflict is a mirror of inner conflict

Most of our conflicts in relationships or in situations in our lives are projections of inner conflicts. People we are in conflict with are usually mirroring some parts of ourselves with which we are uncomfortable or unresolved."

"This situation won't change until we're willing to see the outer conflicts as mirroring our inner conflicts. As we become aware of and accept all aspects of ourselves, outer conflicts melt away.

I am learning to see outer conflict as a mirror of my own inner conflict."

This isn't new information for me. It is just a reminder of what I already knew. My home is a good example of this. I can keep the majority of my house in some kind of order in all areas except my bedroom. My bedroom is almost always a mess. I am organized in most areas of my life except for this one area. I guess this means the day that all of my incest issues are fully resolved (Do you think that will ever happen? I am not sure that it will.), then I will be able to keep my bedroom straightened up and in some kind of order.

My husband prays for that day. I can't blame any of the disorder on him. His side of the bedroom is neat and ordered.

Does it make sense to you that an incest survivor would have a messy bedroom because of the internal mess around sex and sexuality? It makes perfect sense to me. Are there any areas of your life that mirror your internal self?

By the way, this is my 200th article written and posted on my blog. Today is an anniversary for my family also. Twenty-one years ago today, we moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

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.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Out Of My Comfort Zone---Trust

I called my new Al-Anon sponsor for the first time. I walked in the door from shopping, picked up the phone and called her before I could come up with any excuses to not call her. I told her that I called her before I could chicken out again.

Trust is such a difficult issue for me even today. Right now it is even difficult to find the words to express my thoughts on the topic of trust.

In Al-Anon, I used to pre-think what I was going to say when it was my turn instead of listening to what others say on the chosen topic. Recently I called myself on this and as a result I often seem to stumble (at least to me) through what I want to say. I want honesty rather than perfection and approval. This is one way that I am stretching to trust myself and the group. I want what I share to come from my heart rather than from my store of knowledge. I don't want to continue to hide behind my knowledge.

I have to trust that when my sponsor asks me how I am that she really wants to know or she wouldn't ask. My automatic response was that I was doing fine. I know I am lying when I say the word "fine" anywhere in relation to my feelings. I learned in Al-Anon years ago that "fine" means (Pardon the language coming up.)

Fucked up

When I first heard that, I thought how true when I am in the middle of my emotional garbage. So when I tell you that I am doing fine, that is what I mean. When I am working on my incest issues, this is how I really feel when I can admit it to myself. That is the honesty that I want to have with myself and my sponsor---to be able to admit what I am really feeling.

As an incest survivor, for years I used the illusion of control in my life to feel safe. I have to trust my sponsor not to do or say anything that will hurt me. On an intellectual level, I can talk myself into sharing my issues with her. On a feeling level, sharing is more difficult. You would think that writing on this blog would make that easier but it doesn't. Sharing with you is different than sharing with my sponsor on a one-on-one level. Anyone with a therapist probably knows what I am trying to say.

My sponsor has me reading an Al-Anon book called Paths to Recovery - Al-Anon's Steps, Traditions, and Concepts. In working Step One - "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol---that our lives had become unmanageable." - I can easily say that I am powerless over alcohol. I can admit that my life has become unmanageable. Asking for help has been the difficult part for me. When I have to ask for help, that need brings out shame. Some part of me says that I need to be in control all the time, that I should be able to fix my own life, that I should be able to protect myself without help from anyone else. All of those thoughts come from shame and low self-worth. Some part of me equates powerlessness with being out of control.

Am I still talking about trust or has my ego steared me away from what I don't want to talk about. The bottom line is always how much do I trust myself. If I don't trust myself, how can I trust anyone else? I really want to be committed to doing this work rather than going to the kitchen and stuffing myself with food to get back into my comfort zone. I have been overeating this past week instead of facing my feelings head-on. That is something that I very much want to change. I will move forward through this one step at a time.

I hope that what I have written here makes sense. Right now I am too close to the feelings to know if all of the words are what I intend for them to be. Am I making sense to any of you?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Out Of My Comfort Zone---A New Al-Anon Sponsor

I am way out of my comfort zone this week, for several reasons.

First, on Wednesday after the Al-Anon meeting, I asked a lady to be my sponsor. That makes me accountable to her for my behavior and growth. When I asked her was during a hug. I started crying---still don't know what that was about. I told her that I have been meaning to ask her to be my sponsor for awhile. My obstacles to asking her have been my fear of being rejected, fear of being blamed for the incest, and fear of not being worthy of her time. Having a sponsor in Al-Anon means seeing her in person for discussions about my recovery, or lack thereof, while using the 12 Steps of Al-Anon to create growth in my life and talking to her on the phone several days a week besides at Al-Anon meetings. I touched a spark of shame that I didn't know was still there. That spark was about not being worthy of taking up someone else's time. That is my biggest reason for not calling someone else on the phone when I need help. Well, this week, I went out on a limb and asked. It left me feeling vulnerable which is a feeling that I still haven't learn to be ok with. Feeling vulnerable means not feeling safe to me.

My first sponsor was a male friend from Adult Children of Alcoholics. I was told that women should have women sponsors and men should have men sponsors so that no 13th stepping goes on. (I think it is called 13th stepping. I am not sure.) It prevents possible sexual abuse happening between the man and woman. At the time that I picked my male sponsor, I was more afraid of being judged by a woman. Most of the women in my life when I was a child were extremely judgmental. That was my biggest fear from women. At the time, I couldn't face that possibility. He was my sponsor until his wife came along. Then she became my co-sponsor. After her death ( ), I was very angry at God and didn't want another sponsor that could leave and abandon me. After a few months, I asked another lady to be my sponsor. This was only for a short time before I stopped going to Al-Anon.

Asking another person to be my sponsor is a very big step for me because it means that I have to do the First Step and give up control to another person as well as to God. It means that I now have to work all 12 Steps over again with a new person in charge. It is very hard for me to give any control over to another person in my life.

My new sponsor asked me to be sure and share all of the good stuff in my life too if I am going to share all of the garbage that comes along. Knowing me as well as I do, you will be hearing more about this new part of my journey. I made the committment to call my new sponsor every week which I haven't done yet. We did meet at McDonald's earlier in the week for breakfast and our first discussion as sponsor/sponsee.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back To School - Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Is Posted

Hi everyone. The August "Back to School - Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse" has been posted by Enola on her blog and found at the following link:

Twenty-five articles, all written by survivors of some form of child abuse, are included in this month's blog carnival. One of my articles is included in this month's carnival. If you haven't read it already it is called "Why Some People Are Blind To Abuse." You can find my article at the following link:

This month of August is when school starts for most of the school aged children in the United States. For some childhood abuse survivors, this time of children starting back to school brings up abuse issues.

I was the opposite in that going back to school meant freedom from the loneliness of the summer away from my books and teachers that I loved. I was a lonely child and I felt it more in the summer months when I was away from my friends and teachers.

School meant freedom from being in the home where the incest took place. School and books meant freedom to me. I was a B student with a few A's thrown in. Teachers were among the few people that encouraged me to grow, to do better than average. I was blessed with some wonderful teachers.

School was a world where I could pretend that the abuse wasn't happening. School was a place where I could be someone's favorite (teacher's pet) without it being about sex. I loved studying and learning. I was good at learning the teacher's style of doing things and imitating it when it came to writing school papers.

I was adaptable. To a degree, I was also invisible. I dressed in neutral, drab colors and didn't talk much. I spent a lot of time in the library rather than alone out on the school yard as a teenager. I wanted attention and friends and yet was afraid of those same people and attention. I was extremely shy.

I hope that you will join me this week in visiting Enola's blog and reading the articles on the "Back to School - Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Self-worth Means I Love You

Have you ever reached a place in a game where you find yourself falling short of your best game score and you just can't seem to reach a higher score? You keep playing the game over and over and still continue to fall short.

Life can be like your game. You can reach a point where all of the self-improvement techniques don't take you any higher. You have self-improved as much as is humanly possible. You are where you are in life. You can continue to strive to be better, more highly evolved, but in the mean time you are so focused on the future that you miss the present.

Life is going pretty good for you. You are in a good or even great relationsip with yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends. Where are you? Enjoying the benefits of all of your hard work to get where you are today or are you still thinking/feeling that you aren't worthy enough, smart enough, pretty enough??? The list can go on and on. When do you decide that enough is enough?

Life can be glorious when you allow it to be. All of it comes back to you, not the outside you, but the inside you. When are you going to be happy, content, successful enough for you?

It all always comes back to you and how much you love yourself. Today can you look in the mirror and say "I love you." to yourself and mean it? This is where self-worth comes from, not from someone outside of yourself but from you. Until you can love yourself, loving anyone else is impossible. YOU are the most important person in your life.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Case Of The Three-Year-Old Adultress

The following is something that I wrote years ago and a friend found and gave me his copy of it recently. I warn you that it won't be easy to read. It may cause flashbacks. It may make you cry. For that I apologize. It is still difficult for me to read. I wrote this when I was 40 years old which would put the date of writing this as 1991. I didn't write a date on this paper so I don't know the exact date that I wrote it. Here it is in its entirety.

Patricia C. Singleton
"I learned a new word today. That word is adultress---that word is me. I am sitting in church with my grandma and I am three years old.
Today I added a new word to my vocabulary. That word is fornicator---that word is not me. I am sitting in an Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting and I am forty years old.
This year, I am eleven years old. I haven't started to develop into a young woman yet, but it will happen later this year. My periods will start; I will develop breasts; I will grow hair under my arms; and I will grow hair on my pubic area. Before any of this happens, I will become an incest victim.
I don't have any memories of sexual abuse happening before the age of eleven. I remember a weekend of repeatedly being raped by an uncle. I remember the pain, the tears, the pleas for him to stop, the fear and the silence. I remember the sense of betrayal that I felt. I remember wondering what was wrong with me that I had caused him to do this to me. What I don't remember is any blood. This was my first time. I was a virgin.
A few months later, I started working on weekends helping my Daddy at the dairy barn. The first night we had to go to the hay barn to get hay down for the cows to eat the next day. I followed Daddy up the ladder to the loft. He turned his flashlight off. He told me to pull down my pants and to lay across a bale of hay. We were in total darkness. I was scared and disgusted. I knew, without being told, what was going to happen, again. The incest continued to happen an average of two times a week for the next six years. I have many memories from this period of my life---memories that, as an adult, I consciously tried to forget.
Until three years ago, I thought that I had a full memory of the years that the incest was happening. I went to visit an aunt who is a year older than I am. My aunt lives in Dallas, TX. My husband took our children to the Book Depository Museum from which Lee Harvey Oswalt was supposed to have shot President John Kennedy. When my husband walked into my aunt's house, he and our children were talking about the Museum. My husband asked my aunt and I where we were the day the President was shot in 1963. I said that I was in my 7th grade science class. My aunt looked at me and said that she and my grandmother were living with my family at that time. I looked at her and asked her to repeat what she had just said. I was shocked. I remember several times when we were children that she and my grandmother lived with us. I have absolutely no memory of them living with us at that time. I was confused and very frightened. If I didn't remember this, what else did I not remember?
My memories, or lack of those memories, remains a mystery to me. The pieces of the puzzle are slowly falling into place. Three years ago, because of some paintings that I did, a counselor told me that I was probably as young as eight or nine years old when the incest began. Two months ago, while I was sitting in my Incest Survivor Group listening to someone else talking, I suddenly heard a child's voice inside my head. She shouted, "Something happened when you were seven years old!" I still don't know what happened, but I believe my feelings that tell me that something of importance did happen.
Three weeks ago, I told my story for the first time. My story was told to a mixed group of men and women from several different recovery groups. Because I wanted to hear my own story, I taped it. I knew I wouldn't remember half of what I said to the group. I listened to the tape twice alone at home. The third time I played the tape was for my Incest Survivor Group and one of my counselors. Because this was a safe environment, I was able to hear a sentence that I hadn't heard myself say before. What I said was that at a very young age, I had labeled myself as an adultress. As I heard myself say this on the tape, a picture from my past came to mind. I was sitting in church with my grandmother listening to the preacher talk about adultery. I was three years old when I first labeled myself as an adultress. The sexual abuse was already happening in order for me to attach the label of adultress to myself. I don't have any memories of this happening, but why would a three-year-old attach that label to herself unless, in her own mind, it fit the circumstances she was living in?
Two weeks ago, at an ACA meeting, I was talking about labeling myself an adultress at the age of three. A person in the group pointed out that I wasn't married so I couldn't be an adultree at the age of three. That person said the label should have been fornicator instead of adultress.
The Webster's Encyclopedia of Dictionaries gives the two following definitions:
"Adultery---violation of the marriage vows."
"Fornication---sexual intercourse between unmarried persons."
As an Incest Survivor, I am not guilty of being an adultress or a fornicator. I was forced into a sexual relationship that was not of my choosing. I was the victim. I am now a Survivor who refuses to believe the lies she was told as a child. I know that I was not a three-year-old-adultress.
I was a victim of the adults in my life. As an adult, instead of punishing myself for something that was never my fault, I can celebrate each day of my life. I have the new found freedom to experience joy, laughter, and serenity. I can now allow myself to experience all of my emotions, including my fear and anger. As a Survivor, I am learning to take care of myself. As I grow in strength and become more open to life, more memories may surface.
I am learning what courage is. Courage is being afraid and doing the work anyway. Dealing with the pain, fear and anger of recovery takes courage. I don't know where this story will end for me. I do know I am willing to make the journey because in the end, I will be a better person.
Also, by sharing my story with you, I may give you the awareness that the adults in my life didn't have. If you can do something to prevent a child being abused, please do it. A child may not be able to ask for help. They are often afraid to say anything if they have already been betrayed by an adult that they trusted. As an adult, don't be afraid to get involved. If you think something is wrong, please ask the child. As a child, I couldn't tell anyone what my dad was doing. I didn't think anyone would believe me. I often prayed that some caring adult would ask me if something was wrong. Then I could break the code of silence that I was taught by my abusers. Don't ignore the signs of abuse. Protect our children."
Even back in 1991, I knew that I would some day be writing about my abuse in order to help others. This past week, 5 of my email subscribers unsubscribed while I gained at least that many or more new subscribers through the feed readers. I am always sad to see any of my readers leave. I am always pleased to see new readers come along. Thank you to both for joining in on my journey, even if it is for just a short time.
I know that what I am writing about is difficult to read. Without breaking the silence of abuse, nothing and nobody changes. Holding it all inside, silently suffering keeps you a victim. Sharing with others makes this burden easier to bear until it turns itself around and becomes a blessing. You may ask, how does incest become a blessing? The blessing comes from the strength and compassion that I have today that I might not would have if not for my experiences of the past.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Daniel

My biggest supporter in this journey through life had a birthday yesterday on August 4. He turned 60. He can't believe it and neither can I. Both of us wonder where the time went. The person I am talking about is my dear, sweet, very patient husband Daniel.

The "Just for You!" card from American Greetings that I gave Daniel this year said things like,
"I love you because. . .
You believe in me
You're so lovable
You're a romantic at heart
You listen
You make me laugh
You're fun and surprising
You're honest with me"

The card also says,
"You're incredibly sexy
You're hugs are the best
You're the world's greatest kisser"

Those last three made me giggle when I read them. This was such a great card because it says everything that I feel about my husband. Don't you just love greeting cards.

All of those words from the greeting card are so true. Daniel is my husband, my lover and my very best friend in the whole world. He has supported me through all of my many struggles with incest, codependency and the alcoholism issues from my childhood. He has supported me as I struggled to figure out who I am, what I want from Life, what I need from myself and from him in this relationship called marriage, and as I struggled with being a mother while I was learning to mother myself. The years haven't always been good. I haven't always been kind. Some years I was very angry. Often I felt almost lost in the sadness of loss that the inner child felt.

One of the best qualities that Daniel possesses is his wonderful, querky sense of humor that can always cheer me up and remind me that there is joy to be found in Life. Daniel has allowed me the space to grow and to be whatever I have needed to be in order to find out what being me really means. Daniel you hold my heart in your very strong, capable hands and you always will.

Darling, I really do love you with all of my heart.
Happy Birthday Daniel
Your loving wife,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Carnival Against Sexual Violence 74

This Carnival came out on July 15, so I know that I am presenting this to you late. I have been processing more stuff lately and didn't look at it myself until yesterday. Any way, here is the link for this month's Carnival Against Sexual Violence 74:

The Carnival is hosted by Marcella Chester at her blog abyss2hope: A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open. Thanks Marcella for the wonderful job that you do. Now I am going to go and start reading this Carnival's articles. I hope you will do the same.

Enjoy your summer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lies Incest Perpretrators Tell Their Victims

Lies Incest Perpretrators Tell Their Victims:

1. This is your fault. You are bad, therefore it is ok for me to do this to you. You deserve it.

2. No one will believe you. You are just a kid, no one will believe you over an adult. Your mom doesn't want to know.

3. I love you. The only reason that I am doing this to you is because I love you. You are special to me. We have a special bond between us that you can't share with anyone else. They wouldn't believe you if you told them.

4. Your mother doesn't care. She wouldn't stop this if she knew. She doesn't love me the way that you do. She hates sex. I have to get it somewhere. If you say no, then I will have to cheat on your mother with some other woman. You don't want that to happen do you. It would be your fault if we split up.

5. You don't want to hurt your mother by telling her, do you? This is just our little secret. Besides, she wouldn't believe you. She would be jealous if she knew.

6. You seduced me. It is all your fault.

7. You know you wanted it. If you didn't want it, I wouldn't do it.

8. You don't mean it when you say no. I know you love me and you want it as much as I do.

9. You have to do what I say. I am the adult. What you want isn't important. Do what I say or you will get a beating.

10. What women want doesn't matter. I am a man. I am the important one in this family. What I say goes no matter what. Women are trash to be used for sex when the man wants. That is all you are good for.

These were the lies that I was told as a child by my dad. I don't think they are any different than the lies told to other children from abusive homes. As an adult, I no longer believe these lies. As a child, I didn't know that they were lies made up by my dad to keep me under his rule.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July Blog Carnival: aka Freedom to Heal

Mile 191 has hosted the July Blog Carnival: aka Freedom to Heal this month. Freedom to Heal is the topic because of the celebration of July 4 as the Independence Day of the U. S. from England. We each declare our freedom from abuse in different ways. Thank you Mile 191 for hosting this Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for this month. My recent article "Independence Day" was in the Blog Carnival.

You will find the Blog Carnival at the following link: . Mile 191 hosts the carnival at her blog Come Into My Closet. If you are wondering the meaning of Mile 191 here is the article that explains that choice of name: .

Have a glorious day, unless you choose to do otherwise.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blog Link Love

Can you believe that the summer is already half over. Kids go back to school in about six weeks or so depending upon your school system. I am so thankful that my kids are grown and we no longer have to go through that. Daniel is talking about the possibility of flying to Idaho before school starts to visit our daughter, son-in-law and their four kids before they start back to school. I don't envy my daughter trying to get four kids in school.

I have had a quiet week and don't have anything urgent to write about today. I thought I would share some of the blogs that I discovered this week. We have such an amazing amount of writers and knowledge on just about anything you want to look up on the internet these days. It used to be the library that you went to for information. Today it is the worldwide web without having to even leave the comfort of our air conditioned homes.

Here are the blogs that I discovered this week:

The first blog is called Keeping It Real written and hosted by Darren Sproat found at . I read several articles by Darren and his guest authors this week: "Energize your Passion and "Clear Your Limitations" were written by Mr. Sproat. "Healing Tree Grounding Ceremony" and "Spiritual Connection?" were written by a guest author, Frank Dickinson. I liked Darren's site so much that I subscibed to it and look forward to reading more.

The second blog that I ran across this week is called Positively Present written by Dani. The article that I read is "saying no to negativity is as easy as ABC(DE)". I have several negative people in my life, including myself at times. I tend to give in to negativity when I am afraid of circumstances or the people involved. The article gives you ways to deal with negativity when it comes up. The list is called "The ABCDE Disputation Technique (or, 5 Ways to Get Rid of Negativity)". Do yourself a favor and check out the article at the following link: .

The third blog for this week is called The Rat Race Trap and is written by Stephen Mills. This blog is a personal development blog that offers some really sound advise. The articles that I read are "Stop Being the Victim" and "Finding Your True Self". You will find Stephen's blog at the following link: .

The fourth blog is written by Evelyn Lim and called Attraction Mind Map. Evelyn's blog is about "Attract [ing] Abundance With Your Mind" which is the subtitle of her blog. The article that I read is called "Love The Man In The Mirror." To check out this blog, go to the following site: .

The fifth and last blog for this article comes from Another Sober Alcoholic. Even though I am not an alcoholic, I learned in Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics groups that I have some of the characteristics of an alcoholic. I am not an alcoholic only because I choose not to drink. I have too many fears of how I would behave as an alcoholic to ever want to test that alcoholic gene that I carry. You will find this blog at the following link: . Steve seems to have quite a bit of information to offer through the sharing of his own journey of being a recovering alcoholic.

Happy Reading,