Friday, July 23, 2010

July 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse: Independence Posted By Dr. Kathleen Young

When my husband gets home from running work related errands, we are going to drive to Louisiana to visit with his mother and brothers.  Daniel's mother was in the hospital last week with extremely high blood pressure.  She is home and better but we decided to visit her instead of her traveling to our house so that she can visit with our daughter and her four great-grandchildren.  It has been over two years since they have seen each other.

While we are gone, I hope that you will spend some of your time checking out the great articles from the July 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse:  Independence.  Since July 4 is celebrated in the U. S. as our Independence Day, independence is the focus of some of this month's articles.  Three of my own articles are in the Blog Carnival this month.  Here is the link for the Blog Carnival which is being hosted by Dr. Kathleen Young:  Treating Trauma in Chicago.  Thank you Dr. Young.

See you when I get back from Louisiana.  Have a glorious weekend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Reunions, Car Repairs, Truck Stops And Making The Best Out Of A Stressful Situation

Yesterday we were supposed to be going to a Caldwell (my dad's side of the family) Family Reunion and then going on to spend the night at my mother-in-law's house and then on Sunday visiting with the Singleton family (my husband's side of the family).

We left home around 8:00 a.m. going to Mooringsport, LA.  Mooringsport is north of Shreveport, Louisiana.  I have an aunt and uncle who usually host the Caldwell Family Reunion every year that live near Mooringsport.  We haven't been in two years.  Daniel had to work on a parking lot last year so we didn't get to go.  The reunion is usually in April every year.  It was postponed until July this year because of illnesses in the family.  I have an aunt that lives in Missouri and an uncle who lives in North Carolina that were coming to the reunion this year.  They aren't able to make the reunion every year.  The reunion was almost canceled for July because an aunt from Texas died the week before the reunion.  Most of her brothers and sisters went to Dallas, Texas for the funeral.  I wasn't able to go for the funeral because my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were driving to my house from Idaho and they were due in that weekend.

At Prescott, Arkansas we ran into a huge rain storm.  It was raining so hard that everybody reduced their driving speed and some put on their emergency blinkers just to be seen by other cars.  It was still raining this hard when we suddenly noticed the van was overheating.  We pulled off of the side of the interstate to let it cool down.  At this point we thought it was probably a water leak in the radiator or a pump that had gone out.  It was still raining too hard to get out and check the engine.  We let it cool down and tried driving a little further.  We got a few miles down the road and had to pull over again.  By this time our son and daugher-in-law who were driving behind us in their car caught up with us.  Twice more we let the engine cool down and drove a mile closer to the next exit off the interstate.  By this time, my husband was having trouble turning the steering wheel.  My daughter then knew it wasn't the radiator which we had added water to even through it was still raining and we didn't bring any umbrellas with us in the van.  My son and daughter-in-law drove on to the next exit which was only a mile away by this time and found a gas station/truck stop just off of the exit road.  We drove there after letting the engine cool down two more times.

A trucker who was resting at the truck stop offered to fix the van for us if we could drive into Texarkana and buy a new fan belt.  We were blessed that my son and daughter-in-law were with us and able to drive their car into Texarkana which was only about a mile away.  We were at the Mandeville, Arkansas exit on I-30 (I looked it up on a map because I had thought that Mandeville was in Texas but it isn't.).  Texarkana is a twin city with part of it in Arkansas and the other, bigger part in Texas.  They bought the new fan belt.  The trucker worked for about two hours trying to get the fan belt on before he gave up and sent us up the street to a tire store who might have the right tools to put it on.  My daughter and I stayed at the truck stop with my four grandchildren ages 4-10.  We had bathrooms, food, drinks, a table to sit at to watch all of the traffic in and out of the truck stop and a small game room that kept the kids occupied even though they didn't have money to actually play the games.  We also had air conditioned comfort so no one got cranky because of the heat.  I had bought along notebooks and crayons on the trip to help keep the kids occupied too.  We got to the truck stop about 10:00 a.m.

Three different people worked on the van trying to put the fan belt on during the day.  At 2:30 p.m. we bought sandwiches and drinks for lunch for all of us.  Finally we decided that it was time to decide how we were getting home if we couldn't find someone to fix the van.  Daniel, my husband sent our daughter and the three youngest kids in the car with my son and daughter-in-law driving toward home.  About 20 minutes after they left, Daniel got the van fixed and he, our oldest granddaughter, and I were on our way home too.  We called and told the others that we were now following them home.  It was ten minutes till 4:00 p.m. when he finally got the fan belt put on.  We got home around 6:00 p.m.

My daughter posted on her Facebook page that it was a terrible day struck on the road and in the truck stop.  She was worried about how the kids were act and whether we could get her van fixed.  I thought we had a really good day.  Thanks to the games and the crayons and notebooks that I brought, the kids were interested and occupied with only a few minor problems.  Nobody threw any temper tantrums or got hurt.  We weren't struck on the side of the road helpless all day in a monster of a rain storm.  We had food, water, bathrooms and most important on a July day in Arkansas - air conditioning.  I was surrounded by my family and had close-up time with all of them. 

I was sad to miss the Caldwell Reunion.  My brother had to cancel out because he had to work.  My sister was there after driving from Mt. Pleasant, Texas.  I missed visiting with my aunt from Missouri and my uncle from North Carolina and all of the other aunts and uncles from Louisiana and Texas who always come to the reunion.  Usually we have the only remaining great-aunt and great-uncle from my Grandmother Caldwell's side of the family also come to the reunion.  I don't know if either of them made it this year.  They are both in their 80's or 90's.  I missed seeing the family of my aunt who died last week.  They live in the Dallas, Texas area.  The aunt from Missouri has been diagnosed with terminal cancer so this was possibly her last reunion.  A younger cousin who was there has also been diagnosed with cancer so I don't know if I will get to see him again.  I am 58 years old.  All of my aunts and uncles are older than I am.  I was born three days before my dad's youngest sister's birthday.  Dad was the third oldest of 13 kids.  This reunion had all of them there except for the four, counting my Dad, who have already died.  This would probably have been the last time for us to see some of them.  We are at that stage when this generation is beginning to die off.

We were also going to spend the night with my mother-in-law and visit with Daniel's Singleton family today.  Daniel's mother just got out of the hospital on Friday.  She went in the preceding Sunday with extremely high blood pressure.  She was in ICU for most of the week.  She was allergic to most of the blood pressure medicines that they used to try to get her blood pressure down.  Finally Thursday it went down a little.  She hasn't seen our daughter and grandchildren in about 2 years.  They will now come to visit us when she feels better or we may try to go down there next weekend if Daniel isn't working.  We are very glad that she is home and feeling better.  Daniel's mother is 87 years old and in good health except for her blood pressure.

I enjoyed the day spending time with my daughter and grandchildren, son and his wife and of course, with my husband.  A few years ago, I would have been scared and worried about how we were going to get home and if we were going to get the van fixed.  I would have been really angry and disappointed at missing the reunion and visiting with my husband's family.  Yesterday I was able to keep my cool and just take everything as it came.  We did get the van fixed and made it back home okay.  I thank God for all of the things that went right yesterday.  I thank God for each of the person's who tried to fix the van.  I thank God for the truck stop's location and all that it had to offer in the way of comfort and entertainment for the kids.  I thank God that we had the extra money for the repairs.  Thank you God, I had a really good day with the good company of my family around me.  Yesterday was a blessing, not a disaster.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

EFT And Tapping On Memories From Childhood

Reclaiming Our Days, Meditation for incest survivors, Helena See, A Fireside/Parkside Meditation Book, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York, 1993, page for April 1:

" 'There are many ways of crying.'
'Yes.'  My tears were hidden behind my grinning mask face.
'Yes, there are.' "

"We have all spent a lifetime hiding our tears, our fears, our rage, and our pain.  We cover up our feelings from everyone around us and from ourselves.  It feels safe this way.  Safer to hide and be alone with the feelings deep inside.  So many years of fear and abuse taught us it was safer to die alone inside than risk showing ourselves to anyone else.

To heal we must start taking that risk.  It hurts, its terrifying, it requires concentration and effort to show our emotions rather than hide them.  It is a new way of life.  We can start off slowly, making absolutely sure that the person we choose to share our insides with will gently hold them in his or her heart.  Even with a safe person it won't feel safe or easy.  It is a risk, a risk we must take.

We will be surprised to find that a trusted friend is honored to see our pain, to be the recipient of our gift of honesty and openness.  We will find that a new world opens up for both of us, a world of being real, a world of intimacy.  We will find that this is a freer world, a world full of hope.  And we will find that we belong in it.

When I share my inner self I show my friends how much I value them."

In working with my Grief class and my EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) counselor in the past few weeks, I have come to realize that I still am not aware of everything that I feel.  I am not aware of the anger in me except when the volcano in me is erupting and lava is flowing over me and whoever lit the fuse that started the explosion.  Most of the time that person with the match is my husband.  Why?  Because he is a safe person for me to get angry at.  I doubt very much that he appreciates the fact that he is a safe person in my world.  He is the one that gets to see all the many facets of my emotions.

I had my second EFT session on Thursday of this week.  We talked about me having a love/hate relationship with attention from other people.  What came to mind was a memory from the twelfth grade.

My dad controlled all of the money in our family.  He didn't let any of us, including my mother, work.  I never got to work after school or on weekends like so many kids do.  I never learned to handle money as a kid because the only way that I got money if I wanted to buy something was to skip eating lunch at school.  I bought birthday cards for my parents and brother and sister this way.  If I wanted to eat in town, off of the school campus, I would get to eat one day and go without the rest of the week.  This was the 1960's and school lunches were 25 cents a day. 

I didn't wear makeup like the other girls in school because my parents wouldn't buy it for me.  This was another way for my dad to keep me from growing up.  In the twelfth grade, I saved my lunch money for several weeks to buy some eye makeup.  One morning when I got to school, I went into the girl's bathroom and put on my eye makeup.  Nobody said anything about it all day long until I got to my Senior English class.  After the class, my teacher called my name and told me that I looked pretty with my eye makeup on.  I was so pleased with myself and her complement.  I told her thank you and left.  As soon as I got home that day, I washed the makeup off before either of my parents could see me.  I never wore makeup to high school again.

You might ask why when my teacher thought it was so pretty on me?  I loved the attention from the teacher.  I was terrified by the teacher's attention.  One minute I was happy about the attention from my teacher and the next minute I was terrified.  Why?  Because in my life, most of the attention that I got was sexual.  Except for this one day, I did my best to fade into the woodwork.  The only thing that I excelled in was school work.  I made mostly A's and B's with a few C's.  I loved school because it and books were how I escaped my world of abuse.

We discussed this memory and tapped on it on Thursday during my EFT session.  My counselor asked where I felt the terror from that day.  I told him my throat felt like it was closing up with the terror.  We tapped on that fear and releasing it.  Usually it takes more than one round of tapping to remove the memories from my body.  I start out each session feeling the fear in a body part, usually my solar plexus for anger or fear.  This time the fear was in my throat.  We tapped on "All attention is sexual attention."  Then we tapped on "All attention doesn't have to be sexual." 

Next we talked about the volcano of anger and rage that comes up and out all over my husband and me.  We tapped on the volcano inside of me and changed it from being destructive to being constructive.  We tapped on "The volcano inside of me is just energy."  "The energy of the volcano can be turned into a passion for life, for living."  When we finished, I didn't feel dark and heavy any more.  I feel joyful.  I told my counselor that I like the way that I feel after a session.  I left the session smiling and full of joy.

I don't know how much writing I will get done on my blog for the next three weeks.  My daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren are right now driving through Kansas on their way here.  They left Idaho when my son-in-law got off work yesterday afternoon and drove all night.  They will be here in Hot Springs, Arkansas sometime early tomorrow morning (Sunday).  Our son-in-law is flying back home on Monday.  He couldn't get off for more than a few days.  Our daughter and grandchildren will be here visiting for three weeks.  My husband and I are excited to have them visiting.  We only get to see them usually once a year.  Usually we go out to Idaho.  This time they are visiting us so all of the family will get to see them.  Everyone is excited.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dear Seven-Year-Old Patricia - Inner Child Letters Series

Happy 4th of July all my fellow Americans.  Hope you had a glorious weekend of picnics, swimming, fishing, and fireworks.  Here are two past posts that I wrote about my thoughts about independence:

True Independence Comes From In-dependence @

Independence, Not Just For A Day @
Even though I wrote them two years ago, they still hold true for me today.

Next, I want you to go to the blog Emerging From Broken and read Darlene's post from July 3.  You will find it at the following link @
Be sure to read all of the comments too.  Some of them made me cry.  Thank you Darlene for expressing what it feels like to be a child who has been abused and what it feels like to be an adult who has survived that abuse.  It is often a hard road but we can become more than survivors and move into thriving.  The key is learning to love ourselves and letting go of and refusing to believe the lies that we were told as children.

Here is my next installment on the Inner Child Letters Series.  This is the letter to my inner seven year old:

Dear Seven-Year-Old Patricia,
I started to call you Patty but that didn't feel right.  You are maybe the first that was called yourself Patricia.  Like with three-year-old Patty, I don't know what happened to you.  I don't have any memories of abuse.  I have always known that something big happened to you, to us, that year.  I need to say "us" because I need to stop distancing myself from you and from whatever it is that I don't remember.  I am the child that these things happened to and I am the adult looking back trying to remember and, in failing to remember, still knowing that I have amends to make to you and apologies to make for not listening to you and not taking care of you all of these years of our life.  I do love you.  I will take care of you and protect you from all possible hurt as much as I have the ability to. 

I don't know what you are protecting my mind from knowing but I thank you for it.  I know that you did the best that you could as a seven-year-old child to protect yourself from whatever happened.  It hasn't been blocked completely because I have always been aware that something happened, I just don't know what it was.  I know that it was major or the memories wouldn't be blocked.  I can guess that it was possibly more sexual abuse, but it is only a guess.

What I do know from that year is that my maternal grandmother's house burned to the ground.  What I just got was that we were left with my uncle while my parents went to make sure that my grandmother was okay.  This is the uncle that raped me when I was eleven years old.  This was the uncle that took my brother, sister and I to work with him on his garbage route and got my brother and sister so drunk that they both got terribly sick and he thought it was funny.  I didn't drink because I have never liked the taste of beer.  This was sometime around the same time period within a year or so.  Part of me wanted to quit breathing as I typed this.  Another possibly clue but still no memories?

Before I was seven years old, my parents would let me spend a lot of time with my maternal grandmother.  I had a very strong connection to my Grandmother Howe because when I was two years old and got whooping cough, I was taken to stay with her and my Uncle Albert who lived with her at the time.  Until I started to school at age five, I would spend weeks or months at a time with them. After I started to school, I would spend a month or more with them during the summer months.  Then when I was seven, Dad refused to let me stay with them anymore.  That summer was the last time that I got to spend large amounts of time with them.  After that I got to visit with them only when my family went to visit on holidays.  I missed those happy times with them.  I never knew what changed and why I couldn't go to visit them anymore.

Around age seven is when I remember having headaches for the first time.  I remember spending large amounts of time outside by myself.  I remember a very religious aunt telling me that I was going to Hell because I was wearing shorts.  I remember not liking her or her daughter after that summer.

This is just bits and pieces of memories and nothing concrete to say that I was abused, just possibilities. 

Dear Seven-Year-Old Patricia, I hope that you will learn to trust me and will reveal your secrets to me one day.  I know that I can protect you and I will continue to love you no matter what secrets you hide.  Know that I am strong enough to take whatever you want to tell me now and in the future.  I will not allow anyone to ever hurt you again.  I will always listen to whatever you want to say to me.  I will always be here for you.
I love you,
Fifty-Eight-Year-Old Patricia