Friday, January 29, 2010

Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse (January 2010) Has Been Posted

Paul from the blog Mind Parts is the host of this month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse (January 2010). Two of my blog posts have been included in this month's Carnival. To read those posts and the other 28 submissions go to the following link:

My thanks go to Paul for being the host this month and to Marj aka Thriver for creating this Carnival in the first place.
Please follow me to Mind Parts to read all of the posts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love And Incest---My Mother

The Ultimate Betrayal, The Enabling Mother, Incest and Sexual Abuse, by Audrey Ricker, PhD, See Sharp Press, Tucson, Arizona, 2006, page 167:

"This book is about your mother's role in your sexual trauma. But it's also about all of the feelings relating to your abuse, impulses resulting from it, and reactions to it that you weren't expecting."

This area of healing is probably where I have done the least amount of work. Why, because of my fear of seeing my mother for what she was---the parent who did nothing to prevent the incest from happening. As a woman and mother myself, somehow my mother's role in the abuse is worse than the actual physical abuse from my dad.

My mother played the passive role of the parent who enabled the abuser mostly by sending me places with my dad. My mother didn't openly abuse me like my dad did. She just didn't object when he took me places instead of taking my brother with him. She ignored signs that said something was wrong. She ignored my occasional pleas to stay home. I didn't often have enough courage to object. I usually just did what I was told by both of my parents.

As a child, I needed to be able to tell myself that at least one of my parents loved me. Since my dad was the one hurting me with the sexual abuse, my only choice was to believe that my mom loved me no matter what.

As a child, I told myself over and over again, "I know she loves me. She just doesn't know how to show me." You see. My mother was always emotionally unavailable. At some point in my childhood, I quit calling her "Mother" and starting calling her "Mom." She wasn't my mother as much as I wanted her to be. I was hers. I was the one who nurtured her by being sure not to upset her because she had an unspoken rule that said, "Do Not Disturb."

That "Do Not Disturb" rule is one of the reasons that I didn't tell her about the incest when I was a child and young adult. The second reason was my fear of being judged and condemned by her. She would have said I was bad. If she knew about the incest, she couldn't love me. I needed her to love me too much to chance telling her about the abuse. So I kept silent. I didn't disturb the silence of her inner world. She didn't hear my inner screams or feel my inner hurt and rage. She didn't see my outer sadness. She didn't hear my outer sighs which were the only sign of my inner turmoil.

My mother was emotionally unavailable. She was silently angry. She was always lost in her cigarettes, coffee and romance novels. She was passive-aggressive with her anger. She knew how to use silence to let you know that she was angry. If you asked if she was angry, she would deny it. You could see the anger and judgment in her eyes and how she tightly held her body.

I learned to read body language early on to tell if I needed to stay out of the way of either of my parents. This was just one of the lessons that my parents taught me about Life.

The Ultimate Betrayal, The Enabling Mother, Incest and Sexual Abuse is the only book that I have read that goes into detail on the part of the enabling mother and the roles that she played. What I learned from reading this book is that my mother could have been much, much worse that she was. I caught small glimpes of my mother in some of the examples shared in the book but I didn't really find her there as I was afraid that I would. My mother just wasn't there in my life. She was an empty body with no emotional attachments.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Inspiration, Denial And Incest

This post is the result of a comment that I received on my last post "What Childhood Incest Taught Me". You will find the words from the comment here in italics when I quote it.

Warning this comment and post may be triggering.

I came through here looking for something inspirational to read and this is what I've found. I am feeling overwhelmingly sad for whoever this is. That life is one noone would choose to bare or even wish on the worst of people.

For inspirational, you picked the wrong post. And for "whoever this is", that is me. These were the lessons that I learned. I know from other comments and friends that these were also lessons that they learned from their own childhoods of abuse.

For anyone who has read my blog for very long, you know that some of my blog posts are inspirational. Some of my blog posts are about the very real facts, feelings, memories and stages of living with and dealing with the effects of incest. There is nothing inspirational about those posts. Yes, I know that some of them are difficult to read. They are also difficult for me to write even though I am in a better place in my life today. Sometimes I still feel the pain, sadness, anger and hurt of that abuse. Those blog posts I write are for other abuse survivors to let them know what my own experiences have been and to let them know that they are not alone. I have been there. I know it for the hell that it can be, especially when you feel so alone and so sad that you wonder if life is even worth living. I have always managed to take the next step. Sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back. That is the road to recovery. There is nothing easy about it.

For your experiences, all of you, I am truly heartbroken.

Thank you for your compassion and empathy. They are appreciated.

But there is something you each must realize. You each have suffered, in your own time, some of you maybe once or twice, others for years. But those times are not here, those years are not these years.

Part of my comment reply to this comment fits here: My question to you is, "Have you experienced any major trauma or abuse in your life?" It doesn't sound like it. If you haven't, you have no idea what it is like or how difficult it is to get over it.

You have to realize that sometimes life hands us so much... and all the while the world is so cruel. We start to feel like that is all that is ever to be dealt us. But it just isn't. You must each move on. I know you may think that this is impossible. But I know that as you read this those encounters are distant, very real, experiences. Key word being distant.

You have probably never had flashbacks or nightmares or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Soldiers aren't the only ones who get PTSD. Survivors of child abuse and survivors of sexual abuse do too. When those symptoms happen, you are not in control of your feelings or actions. You can be thrown back into "those years". Nobody wants that to happen but it does, sometimes on a daily basis. It takes years of therapy to recover from these. "Key word being distant." There is nothing distant about those years when you are in the middle of a flashback or nightmare. You can tell me they aren't real but when you are in the middle of it, they are very real. Have you ever had a flashback? If not, you don't know what you are talking about.

You are each holding so closely to something that with every single thought of it your heart breaks inside. Why are you choosing to hold on?

Why would anyone choose to hold on to the kind of emotional pain that most people can't even imagine, if they had a choice? Just choosing to be happy sounds like a really good reality but it is very often the road to denial. I did that road for a lot of years. That road that says, "I don't feel anything about the incest. I don't hate my abusers. I don't hate myself. I don't feel anything so I can't be affected by the incest. It doesn't affect my life, my decisions, my children, me. Life is fine. Life is great." The road to denial is a road of lies. I was disconnected from my feelings, from myself. I did hate myself. I did hate my abusers. I was so full of rage, sadness and hurt that I couldn't feel anything else. If you deny any feelings, you deny them all. I had a volcano of fire inside of me that caused headaches, stomach aches and other physical symptoms that shows what I was holding in rather than dealing with. I was taught all of this denial as a child. The denial didn't stop until I got sick and realized that denial didn't work. That is the real world of an incest survivor.

Just letting go of all of the pain isn't really an option until you have worked through all of your issues. Then the letting go is possible. Is it an instant possibility, just in the case of a miracle. I do believe in miracles. I also know that denial is alive and well until I choose to let go of it and face the reality of incest.

You have to realize that you are something amazing on the inside. That the real true parts of us are ones that NO ONE can touch but you.

I can agree with the above statement. On the spiritual level, my Higher Self is untouchable by what happens to my body. The truth is that each of us is a Light to the world. Sometimes that Light does get hidden by the struggles of Life. This isn't something that a child who is being abused or an adult who is still suffering from the abuse is even aware of. On a spiritual level, I can even say that "Yes, I chose this lifetime to learn the lessons that incest teaches me. My parents chose to help teach me those lessons." It has taken me years to reach the level of acceptance that this requires. Most abuse survivors aren't there yet. Do I condemn them as stupid or not whole or anything else derogatory because they aren't at this level of understanding yet? No, not at all. There are still some days that I question the validity of those beliefs and they are my own. Do I expect everyone else to accept and live by those "spiritual" beliefs? Again, no, not at all. Is it ok if you disagree with me? Yes, absolutely. Do I want to hear how you disagree with me? Only if it is offered in a respectful manner.

What happened to you, happened to your body. And you each, understandably, allowed it to alter more than just your body. You let your spirits still feel the pain.

I don't know about you but, yes, I live in a physical world which affects my mental and emotional world. I believe that my spiritual world encompasses all of the others and uses those others to teach its lessons. I eventually see the blessings that come from going through the pain but not until I have worked through the pain.

Again you used the word "let" as if the victim of abuse knows that they have choices. Victims don't know that they have choices. Choices didn't exist for me for many, many years because I believed the lies of the abuser who told me he was in control and that I had to do what he told me to do. I had no choices until I got into a recovery program and learned what choices meant. That is when I learned that I was responsible for my own life and my own choices. That is a very big lesson for survivors. Not everyone learns that lesson.

Just imagine yourself as a light inside a dark cave. No matter how dark it is on the outside, no matter how it may storm, it doesn't change that there is light on the inside. You are safe because you are that light.

As an incest survivor, I didn't learn that the world was a safe place. Yes, I have always been aware of that inner Light. That inner Light is probably the only thing that kept me from splitting into different personalities as some childhood abuse survivors do. My Spirit has always been and will always be safe. My physical world has never felt safe.

You are you at the happiest moments in your life, not the you that always returns home to your pain.

You live in a world of duality---Light and Dark, Love and Fear, Good and Evil, Day and Night, Sad and Happy, Calm and Chaos. You can't have one without the other. Without Sad how would you know what Happy is? Without Evil how would you know what Good is? Without Fear how would you know what Safe is or Love is? Hate isn't the opposite of Love, Fear is. Lack of Love equals Fear. You can't know what the "happiest moments in your life" are unless you know what the worst moments of your life are.

Let it go now. Move on. Decide you have this one life, and no matter what the world will ever throw at you will never matter.

I have discovered that those people who tell me to "Let it go now. Move on." are usually one of two types. They either have never experienced what I have and therefore know nothing about the process that it takes to heal. Or, they have their own abuse issues that they want to stay in denial of. If you see me going through my issues and haven't dealt with your own, then my struggle threatens your denial. That is why you tell me to let it go and to move on so that you don't have to become aware of your own unresolved issues.

I feel sad for those who are still in denial of their own issues. I have little sympathy for those who don't know what they are talking about because they have never experienced what I have. If you haven't been there, you have no idea of what it takes to live my life and to struggle to get better. Don't tell me to get over it. If you have been where I am and were able to let go of your issues by healing them, then tell me how you did it. Share your experiences and what worked. Don't share your denial of your issues. I don't need that. I did that, on my own, years ago and I know that denial just helps you continue to live in the pain. Denial heals nothing. When you are in denial, you aren't happy. You aren't free. The only way to freedom is through the pain, not around it.

You are stronger now than anyone will ever know. You can take this world on and actually live free from your past.

Yes, I am stronger than even I knew that I would ever be. I am more courageous than I ever thought I could be. I am more compassionate that I ever thought possible. I am proud to be the woman that I am today. I am the best parent that I know how to be to my inner child.

I don't live completely free from my past. I don't believe that that is totally possible. I don't know that I would want it to be. My past has formed who I am today. Without that past I would not be stronger, more courageous, compassionate, proud of who I am today. Without my past, I would not be aware of the blessings of my life today. Yes, today, I can take on whatever the world throws at me. This is true because of my past.

Some of you maybe have already found a church. But some of you may feel like there are far too many questions. But all I can say can walk make the decision to just say goodbye to all that stuff you can't bring back or change. And never have to think about it again. The person that hurt you had their free will, and they chose to storm boldly away from what was right, and you suffered. That makes it the fault of no one but them, not you and definitely not God. Choose to forget and start living your life in the light. Remember these bodies die, but we will never die. Where are you headed, and lets make it great! "Love your neighbor as yourself" said someone very special. It's great advice. Good Luck.

The comment about finding a church can be a future post all of its own. I "found a church", but many others, not just survivors, choose differently. I am happy with my church. That is my choice.

I don't blame God for what happened to me. I never have. I know that some survivors do. I did turn my back on God for a few years because I thought He did nothing to stop the abuse. A part of me always felt His presence in my life. That presence is what gave me the strength to survive when many others didn't.

I know that some don't believe in a God who could allow such abuses to happen to a child. Others look to God for grace and love. I believe in free will and that you are each responsible for your own actions. I know that some of the abused go on to abuse the next generation. Most of you don't. Many choose to stop the abuse rather than pass it on to future generations.

Some of you choose to share your own experiences, as I do, by blogging about them online. Others choose to write in private journals. Some of you still continue in the silence because you haven't found your voice yet. It is for other incest and childhood abuse survivors that I write of my experiences. Any time that someone survives abuse in any form and can write about that journey, that is inspirational. It isn't light, funny inspiration. It is sad, thoughtful, sometimes tearful. It is always heartfelt. Sometimes it comes from a deep well of hurt. It is always healing to be able to bring these thoughts and feelings to the surface and share them with others. It can be educational to share with others who have never experienced abuse in their own lives. Without awareness, you can stop nothing.

If you come here looking for happy and joyful and light, sometimes you will find it here. Other times you won't. I won't apologize for my words. This is my life. I share it to give strength and hope to other survivors. I also share it to spread awareness of the evil disease of abuse that lives in this world. I look forward to hearing what you think about this post and any other post that you want to comment on. I reserve the right to agree or disagree with your comments.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Childhood Incest Taught Me

What did incest teach me as a child?

Not to feel.
To disconnect from my body.
To hide in my head, TV and books.
That I had no value other than for sex.
Not to trust anyone, especially adults and myself.
Not to depend upon anyone. They would let me down.
Not to expect anything from anybody.
Rage---my dad's---could lead to violence.
Silence---my mom's---could be used as a powerful weapon.
Children should always do what the adults told them to.
I didn't own the rights to my own body.
Ambivalence of hating and loving at the same time.
To fear people.
To be alone was the only safe place to be.
To not depend on anyone to meet my needs.
To not ask for help in any form.
If I wanted something done, it was better to do it myself or it wouldn't get done.
No matter how much I worked to clean the house, it was never good enough.
Denial of what was really happening in my family.
To take care of my mom's feelings so she didn't have to.
Not hurting others was more important than not being hurt myself.
To fear the unknown.
To fear being abandoned.
To not hear the screams in my head.
To not let others know that I was hurting.
To show that I was being hurt was to bring more attention to myself.
To fear attention from others.
To crave attention from others.
I wasn't lovable.
I was dirty.
I was valueless.
I could die at any time.
I could live to experience more pain.
To have a high pain tolerance level.
Nobody was going to help me.
Nobody was going to ask.
Nobody cared.
Nobody loved me.
That my daddy loved me.
That my mom wouldn't love me if she knew.
Neither would anybody else if they knew the truth about me.
The incest was my fault.
I wanted it to happen.
I deserved what was happening to me.
I didn't have a voice.
I wasn't worth rescuing.
Sex meant love.
Sex was dirty.
Pregnant was a dirty word.
Adultry was a sin.
I was an adultress in my 3 year old mind.
I was a coward.
I could only depend upon myself.
Safety was being alone and out of the house.

Through the incest, these are the things that I learned as a child. My inner child still carries the scars and memories of all of these messages.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ask About Incest If You Suspect It Is Happening

I wanted someone to ask. I needed someone to ask what I didn't have the courage to tell unless someone asked. No one ever did so I continued living in the silence of my own thoughts. As a child, I didn't know what to say, who to tell, or who I could trust. When you don't trust your own parents to keep you safe, who can you trust? I didn't even trust myself.

According to statistics that I found at the Darkness 2 Light blog ( ), "More than 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today." Does that shock you? What does that say about our society? Help me to stop it. If there is a child that you suspect is being abused ask them. They may lie to you out of fear or they may be like I was and be praying that someone will ask. You, as the adult, can open the door to freedom for a child who is being abused.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Awareness Is The Key To Growth

Awareness is the key to growth. In typing the word "awareness", instead I typed "awakeness". What an odd slip of tongue or should I say slip of hand since I was typing instead of speaking? I will need to think about that for awhile.

Where did this idea come from? I was visiting and commenting on one of the blogs that I read written by another abuse survivor who goes by the name of Just Be Real. That is also the title of her blog about her spiritual journey through recovery from sexual abuse. JBR says that her blog is about "Recovery into Greatness!" I really like that. Both of us write from a position of power over our abuse and abusers rather than as a helpless victim that we were as children when the abuse happened.

Another statement that JBR has posted on her blog says, "I WILL STOP GIVING OTHERS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY JOY!" What a great message that is to all survivors and the world. Thanks for sharing that JBR. You are such a brave soul and a bright light to all who visit your blog. Seeing your courage and struggle gives me the courage to continue in my own journey through recovery.

The title of the article that inspired my article is "ADMITTING I AM WEAK". You will find this article at the following site:

My comment to this article was "The awareness that you get from Spirit is such a blessing to your recovery. Until you are aware, you can't change anything. ..."

Awareness is so very important as my above comment states. I believe that my awarenesses come from Spirit, my Higher Self, my Higher Power, God, intuition. Whatever you choose to call it isn't as important as what you do with the awareness. If you don't act on it, nothing happens. If you choose to act on the awareness, your whole view of your world can sometimes change. Some changes are small. Some are huge. Sometimes all you get is a minor shift in attitude.

Like I said in my previous article, sometimes the changes you choose to make can have a ripple effect that goes out from your center and can bring about small or enormous changes in the world and the people around you.

I keep using the word "choose". Such a little word and it can have such a huge effect on your life.

For example: I choose to no longer be a victim.
I choose to take responsibility for my own happiness.
I choose to take responsibility for the choices that I make in my life.
I choose to continue to grow in 2010 and beyond.
I choose to be real in all of my relationships.
I choose to continue to be involved in the community of sexual abuse survivors that I have found online to share my strengths and my weaknesses in order to be real.
I choose to continue to visit and read other blogs and leave comments on those blogs because as survivors we can support each other in our moments of strength and weakness.

Thanks JBR for your inspiration and courage in choosing to be real. It inspires me to do that same. Have a glorious 2010.