Thursday, April 9, 2009

Purpose and Personal Power for Incest Survivors

The past week was rather hectic for me. We had family come to visit for 3 days just before we left Hot Springs for a weekend trip to meet up with friends from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We met them south of Shreveport, Louisiana for a Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana and the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. That is my husband's and son's current hobby. They dress up as soldiers and march and participate in battles from the Civil War. None of us believe in slavery of other human beings. It is a terrible thing that happened and it is a part of the history of the United States in the 1700 and 1800's. I sometimes dress up in period dress as a southern belle and participate in the dances. We meet people from all over the U. S. and sometimes even Europeans who come over to participate in the reenactments. The reenactments are supposed to be a big event in England and Europe right now. It is another way besides video games for men to play war games. Cooking around campfires and sleeping on the ground either in dog tents or under the stars is fun to do occasionally. I would not want to do it all of the time. Actually I have done that as a Union soldier in one of my past lives. I died at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia of a gun wound to the leg. I bled to death, but that is a story for another time.

In the past few weeks because of reading the two Byron Katie books that I mentioned in my previous two articles, I have started to look at any incest issues that I may still have that haven't been addressed. I have also searched out other incest or child abuse survivors online who have blogs. I found one new forum just for child abuse survivors and joined it. I have been reading stories written by other survivors and joined the discusssions that were listed in the forum. I also sent my last article "Incest Is One Of My Stories" ( ) to the April edition of the Child Abuse Carnival which comes out on April 17.

Since I am again working on my issues, I started reading one of the daily meditation books that I have which is written by Maureen Brady and called Daybreak, Meditations For Women Survivors Of Sexual Abuse. It is a wonderfully encouraging and yet realistic look at sexual abuse written by someone who has also survived the abuse. It is a Hazelden Meditation Series book. I want to share the April 6 daily reading with you.

"Purpose April 6
I will take the time to focus on my purpose and realize my path is being guided by my higher power.

We each have a purpose. Mine may sometimes feel elusive but that is not because it has disappeared; it is because I have lost awareness of it. My purpose is guided by a design of which I can see only segments at any one time. I trust I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I do not need to do anything but wait if I cannot see an open door before me.

One of my jobs as an incest survivor is to regain my personal power. My relationship to power was distorted by the perpetrator's abuse of it. When I am living in my past, I become powerless again. I feel weak, prone to victimization, and crumble easily at the thought of needing to take action. But in the present I can learn to come into my power. It is not a power over, in which someone else must be oppressed. It is the power of being present in a relationship of oneness with the universe. It is the power of my faith in the notion that if I seek guidance, I will intuitively know the next right thing to do. It is the power of deeply knowing my spirit is fully entitled to the life I have been given. I do not need to barter for this power by giving up parts of myself."

The above passage was so important to me that when I read it the first time, I put 4 large handwritten stars on the page to call my attention back to the page for any future readings.

Before I got into a recovery program, I knew nothing about personal power. I knew about power over another person. I lived my childhood up until I was 19 under the power of my abusive father and the apathy of my mother who played the role of victim. I knew about abuse of power and I knew about victimhood. To survive, I built walls around the inner person that lived in FEAR. When I first started in a recovery program, I learned how unhealthy walls were for keeping you out but they were also keeping me in as a prisoner of the abuse and all of my fears.

FEAR was the voice in my head that told me that the universe was not a safe place. FEAR was the voice in my head that said to not trust you or myself because you couldn't protect me and neither could I.

The opposite of fear is fearless. Fearless is taking stupid risks that can get you hurt or taken advantage of again. Neither is healthy. I have given away parts of myself because I didn't know that I had the choice to do otherwise.

Personal power means having an opinion without having to weld power over others or without using that opinion and power to hurt others. In the beginning, I did both of those things. I discovered that learning new ways of behaving sometimes means swinging like a pendulum from one extreme of behavior to its far opposite until I find the middle and balance where my actions are no longer extremes. Personal power is about not allowing others to hurt you. It also means not using your power to hurt others. Personal power gives you the freedom to be yourself and also allows others to be themselves. Personal power is not about controlling others. Live and let live is one of the slogans that I learned in Al-Anon that I use today.

For any child abuse survivors who are interested you can find a forum of child abuse survivors at the following link. You have to sign in with an email address and a password.


Marj aka Thriver said...

Good work--going back and working on issues. And thanks for submitting something for next week's carnival (the submissions aren't coming into me right now 'cause I rigged it so they go straight to Mike, the next host). I'm glad you'll be joining us again!

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, I learned to take breaks from working on incest issues so that my batteries can recharge. This work, so far, seems to be more on an internal level. Our work is like peeling the layers of an onion and sometimes it can get just as smelly and tear causing.

Colleen said...

I have Maureen Brady's book too. I have had it for years and I put it away and then I take it out again. And I so agree with your comment about working thru the layers. Blessings.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, I really like the Maureen Brady book too. One day we will reach the last layer of issues.

Just Be Real said...

Thanks for sharing in this post about layers and glad that you are dealing with issues dear one. Peeling off those layers are painful! Blessings!

Patricia Singleton said...

Just Be Real, you are welcome. Yes, peeling away those layers is usually painful and the rewards of doing the peeling away is well worth going through and releasing the pain.

Rainbow said...

thank you for visiting the Haunted House and saying all those nice things bout our poetry...we would like to follow your that ok?

Patricia Singleton said...

Rainbow, you are very welcome. Yes, you may follow my blog. I would be honored to have you all here. The more of us who speak out and support each other, the better we and the world becomes.

Unknown said...

"Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him. (Step #11.)"

The last part of this statement -"as we understood Him" - is enough to damn your soul! God says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5).

This is the exact opposite of "God as we understood Him." All men, according to Romans 1:18-32, are condemned before God, because they rely upon their own understanding (Romans 1:21; Ephesians 4:18), "having their understanding darkened" - and they create - in their own darkened minds - a god of their own making (Romans 1:23).

To encourage people to turn their "lives over to the care of God as we understood Him” is to encourage people to "turn their lives over to a god of their own making" - i.e. according to their own understanding.

This promotes nothing more than spiritual death (Revelation 22:15).

Patricia Singleton said...

Micky, thank you for sharing the quotes from the Bible and your interpretation of those quotes. We will see when we die where we wind up---in Heaven or Hell. That is entirely up to God, not to those who judge us on Earth. One of my favorite quotes is, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."

Anonymous said...

Thank you VERY MUCH for posting this. You said many things very clearly that people coming from similar situations
NEED to hear.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, you are very welcome. I am glad to hear that what I say has value to other survivors. Have a glorious day unless you choose otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I am a 95-year-old mother of five children. My oldest son Troy David Jackosn molested both his younger sisters as a teenager. It was a B'ham police and Midfield police in our area. i hope he did not do this to other girls or women. I pray that he ask God and both his sisters to forgive him of his sins.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, as part of your healing, you and your daughters at some point can choose to forgive your son whether he asks for it or not. Forgiveness is for you, not the other person. I have written several articles on forgiveness when and if you or they are interested in reading them.

My dad never asked for forgiveness. After many years of recovery work on my part, I was able to forgive him. That doesn't mean that what he did was ok, it wasn't. That doesn't mean that I have forgotten what he did, I haven't.

Forgiveness means that he no longer controls my reactions and feelings. Forgiveness means that I no longer carry him around in my mind and body every minute of every day. I was only able to do this after many years of letting go of the rage and hurt that I felt toward him. I didn't think that I would ever be able to forgive him but I did.

Unknown said...

Pat, this is a great article. I don't remember reading this back in 2009. It's so true personal power is not something to treat others badly. Wow so many names here that I remember from the blogs. Sure wonder what happened to them all. Great blogpost my friend. Love you. <3

Patricia Singleton said...

Mary, thank you, my friend. I love you too. I know that several of the people who left comments here are no longer blogging. The others I don't know about. The blogging world has changed a lot since I started back in 2007. I am sure that many of my readers thought that I had quit blogging too over this past year. It just seemed that I had so much going on that finding the time to write a blog article was hard. I love how your writing and art has grown and expanded. You continue to inspire me. <3