Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year From Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker

I am hoping that you all had a wonderful Christmas this year. In saying that, I know that for many survivors, Christmas and other holidays are not always happy. Too many memories seem to come up of past childhood holidays that were very unhappy. In my own childhood, holidays meant my dad was off work, which meant more opportunies for drinking, also more opportunities for his little trips to town which meant more sexual abuse events for me to endure.  When my dad got drunk, he was like his dad and got mean.  Not physically mean, usually, but verbally, emotionally mean which can have longer lasting effects upon others than physical abuse where the bruises eventually go away. I don't mean to sound like I am downplaying physical abuse.  I would never do that.  I know that some have died and many have nearly died from physical abuse.  Emotional abuse leaves long lasting scars that may never go away.

This Christmas, I didn't experience any of those memories or thoughts about my childhood. I did share one good memory from when I was about 8 years old with my son-in-law while we were talking about the existence of Santa Claus.  We were at my paternal grandparents' house, spending the night on Christmas Eve.  My dad came from a family of 13 kids.  He was the 3rd from the oldest so I grew up with the younger ones. Around 8:00 p.m. all of the kids were made to go to bed.  I remember being so excited about Santa coming the next morning. I don't think that my dad was the only one of the older siblings who was visiting their parents' house that night. The house was full of kids and adults.  I remember the adults seemed as excited as the kids all were. I rarely slept when we were at my grandparents' house even when it wasn't Christmas because I always got stuck sleeping in the middle of two other kids. I would get too hot to sleep. With the excitement of Christmas, I laid there most of the night listening to the excited talking of the adults in the rest of the house. They got to bed sometime in the early hours of the morning.  The kids started waking up at daylight.  We couldn't open any presents until the grown-ups were awake. I don't remember what I got as a gift from Santa.  I just remember the wonderment of Santa and Christmas.  That is one of the good memories of childhood that I cherish.

This Christmas was full of good memories too.  Around my birthday on December 11, we exchanged Christmas gifts with our son and his wife.  On December 18, Daniel and I got on a bus to go to Boise, Idaho where our daughter and her family live.  Daniel decided that he wanted to spend Christmas with our grandchildren this year.  We have not spent a Christmas with our daughter since her oldest daughter was eight months old.  We have four grandchildren that we wanted to celebrate Christmas with. We had a wonderful week of visiting with them - Christmas shopping after we got to Idaho, going out to eat at a nearby Mall where Daniel loves a chicken dish at a cajun restaurant in their Food Court, a baptism for our middle two grandchildren into the Mormom church, visiting with all of our son-in-law's family that came for the baptism, Christmas Eve dinner with our daughter and her family at our son-in-law's cousins' house.  Best of all was watching our grandchildren open all of their presents Christmas morning.  We drove to the nearby Sawtooth Mountains the day after Christmas to experience the beauty of the mountains and snow.  We saw cross-country skiers, antelope, snow mobilers, and beautiful snow covered mountains. 

Daniel loved the time at our daughter's but hated the two bus trips.  The last one was the worst.  We watched our last bus driver break up a fight and threaten to kick two people off the bus.  We had one young man who was probably on drugs of some kind.  He talked loudly almost non-stop until about 3:00 a.m. when he finally shut up and went to sleep.  No one woke him up at our Ft. Smith, Arkansas stop because we were all tired of his talking and cursing.  He was just loud enough that the bus driver could ignore him.  We left Oklahoma City 45 minutes late and so when we got to Little Rock at 6:40 a.m. on December 30, we had missed our connection to Hot Springs by about 30 minutes.  I called our son and daughter-in-law to let them know that the next bus to Hot Springs was at 7:00 p.m.  Our son was already at work.  Our daughter-in-law came to N. Little Rock to pick us up after I was able to give her the address for the bus station.  An employee of the bus station told us that the bus from Oklahoma City was always late and that we should call for a taxi to take us home.  I told him I would only do that if the bus station was willing to pay the bill.  He said no they wouldn't do that. 

On Monday, I plan to call the bus company and complain.  At two of our transfer points, we were the last ones on the bus and filled it to capacity.  One of those stops there weren't any more passengers waiting to get on the bus.  At the second stop, about 8-10 people were in line behind us and had to wait for the next bus to come along.  All of this may have been because we were traveling for the holidays but I was not impressed by customer service at all or by most of the bus drivers.  Daniel says we won't travel by bus again.  I kept a good mood until we missed our bus in N. Little Rock.  I remained nice to the bus personel but I will make an official complaint.  We had to put gas in our son's car after our daughter-in-law came and got us.  We stopped in Benton, Arkansas at Waffle House on the way home for breakfast.  Instead of getting home around 7:00 a.m., we got home around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.  Our journey was a great experience overall with only minor frustrations along the way. 

I am glad that I had my husband Daniel to experience the adventure with me.  The highlight of the trip was the day after Christmas when our oldest granddaughter posted a comment on her Facebook page saying that our visit was the best Christmas present that she had ever received.  That made our day.

Today is the last day of 2011.  It has been a year of struggle and triumph, tears and joy, awe and wonder. Some experiences I would not want to repeat.  Those hopefully were lessons that I learned so they don't have to be repeated.  They were mostly relationship lessons which can sometimes be the hardest when people get hurt and friendships end. My best friend had a heart attack and I didn't know about it for several weeks because we weren't speaking at the time. That was a first for us. We have never had any major disagreements like this before. I am very glad that she survived and so has our friendship.  It scared us both.  The year ended with our trip to Idaho and back home.  We had a great time.

I want to end this year of 2011 on a good note as I wish all of my readers and friends a very Happy New Year for 2012.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Healing Tools That I Have Learned

Some important healing tools that I have learned and used over the years are as follows:

1. I can't fix someone else's problems but I can listen because sometimes a good listener is all that is needed. Become an active listener instead of planning what you are going to say when the other person shuts up.

2.  If someone else's words upset me or make me angry, I need to look at where my reaction is coming from. What wounded part of me is feeling the anger, hate, fear or confusion? What can I do to change from reacting to acting? My upset is mine, not the other person's.

3.  Don't attack someone else because of what I am feeling.  I sometimes fail miserably at this one.  I have to think and act or not, rather than react to what I feel. I can do a lot of harm if I simply react out of my hurt, anger or fear. I can say I am sorry and make changes in my behavior if need be to make things right.

4.  Look at my own feelings and figure out where they are coming from. What do I still need to heal?  What steps can I take to heal these feelings? My feelings are my responsibility. The other person rarely sets out just to make me upset. What I do with my feelings is my own responsibility. I can choose to heal. I can make the committment to do my own healing work.

5.  Share from my own experiences rather than offering advice.  Advice makes me sound healthier, stronger, wiser - whatever superior word that my ego likes to add to make me appear better.  I am not any of those things.  I am equally wise and unwise, healthy and not so healthy, strong and weak in different areas and at different times.  I don't need to feed my ego to be the person I am or to be the person that I want to become. I am better than I was and I still have a long way to go to be who I want to be. Some days I am healthy and some days I am dysfunctional.  Some days I am a kind person and some days I can be mean and irritable.

6.  When I attack others, I am coming from my own place of woundedness which is something that I don't want to do.  Rather than attack, I try to look at what is going on inside of me.  Again, sometimes I am not so good at doing this one in a healthy manner. Progress is more important than perfection.

7.  My truth is my truth.  It may not be yours. I don't have the right to use my truth as absolute to attack you with.  I don't know your story.  You don't know mine.  Even when you share a part of your story here, it is just a part of your story so I can't and shouldn't make judgments about you or your story.  I ask the same consideration from you about me and my stories. I hope to always treat others with dignity and expect the same from others toward me.

8.  I am just as human, just as fallible as everyone else. Life is a constant journey with many ups and downs.  Many times I fall and have to get back up. It is the getting back up that is most important. Baby steps are better than no steps at all. Holding someone else's hand when I get scared helps. Lending someone else a helping hand helps them but it also helps me to become a better person.  Shared experiences and shared hope make for an easier journey.

9. I may be further along on my healing path than some others but it only takes one trigger to make me feel like that hurting, frightened child again. I have learned to take the time to comfort that child as my parents never did.  Reparenting my inner child has been an important step in healing.

10.  If I leave at the very first sign of trouble, how does anything get resolved.  Running away doesn't help.  It just keeps me in denial that I have a problem.

These healing tools were part of a comment that I left on the blog Emerging From Broken.  Here is a link to the article that I commented on:

What healing tools help you in your life?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas For 2011

I want to wish all of my subscribers Merry Christmas for 2011. I appreciate you reading my blog and also leaving you comments and letting me know what you think and feel after reading my posts.

Christmas can bring on a confusing mixture of thoughts, memories and feelings for survivors. Some Christmases, like this one, are full of joy, excitement and peace with myself and with the world.

Other Christmases can bring memories of the past, from my childhood of incest and emotional abuse.  Christmas, as a child, meant that my dad would be off for a few extra days which meant more drinking in excess.  I can't tell you what year my dad went from being an occasional heavy drinker to being an alcoholic. In my memory, my grandfather was always an alcoholic who was a binge drinker who drank on weekends until he would pass out usually on Saturday night. My dad was very attached to his father so we spent almost every weekend with my grandparents at their house. For me the weekends with my paternal grandparents started around the age of seven. Before that a lot of my time was spent with my maternal grandmother and the uncle that lived with her. For those of you who are new to my blog, these extended visits started when I was two years old and got whooping cough.  I couldn't stay at home because if my baby brother got the disease, he could have died from it. My point in revisiting this is to let you know that the family disease of alcoholism has always been a part of my life and played a big part in my painful memories around Christmas.

My father and grandfather were both mean drunks.  Because of this, many of my Christmases were not filled with happy memories. Some Christmases, those memories come up and are in my face. Those Christmases are sad. I used to try to stuff my way through those days with food.  When that didn't work, I tried to just ignore the feelings.  Neither of those methods of coping worked for me for very long. The feelings were still there. I have learned that I just have to feel what I feel. There is no way around feelings. Letting myself be sad or letting myself be happy is not just ok but is very necessary if I want to be healthy physically and emotionally.

This year, I am happy and excited. My husband and I are going on an adventure. I have never done this before. My husband has, but for shorter distances. As a Saggittarian, I am supposed to be adventurous. As a child that was kept hidden in me as was many other things along with the secret of incest.

We are going to visit our daughter, son-in-law and four grandchildren. We are not driving. We are going by bus which will take two days.  When we get to Boise, our daughter is going to pick us up and take us out for breakfast.  Then we will probably go back to her house and crash from lack of sleep.  I doubt either of us will get much sleep on a moving bus.

We are going from Hot Springs to Little Rock, Arkansas to Kansas City, Missouri to Denver, Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah to Boise, Idaho. We will have many short stops along the way to pick up and let off more passengers. Our longest layover is five hours in Kansas City.

We come back a different way. The route stays the same from Boise to Denver. Rather than going through Kansas and Missouri, we come back through Amarillo, Texas to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Little Rock and then on to Hot Springs in time for an early breakfast and then to crash in our own bed at home. Our longest layover on the return trip is five minutes short of three hours in Salt Lake City.

We get to see our two middle grandchildren being baptised into the Mormon church a day or so before Christmas. Our daughter and son-in-law are excited about that. I am excited for them to be raising their children in the religion of their choice. I didn't have that as a child. Neither of my parents went to church. My son-in-law was raised Mormon, my daughter was raised in the Church of Christ as was my husband. I am happy that they have a church family that they are happy with and that loves them.

This will be the first Christmas that we have spent with our daughter since her oldest daughter was a baby of eight months. Shortly after that Christmas, they moved to Idaho.  Our youngest grandson who just turned six less than a month ago keeps asking his mom if today is the day that grandma and grandpa are coming.  Our oldest grandson will turn ten on the day that we leave Hot Springs.  He will have to wait for us to tell him Happy Birthday when he sees us two days later in person. He was born seven days after my birthday.  Both of our grandsons are Saggittarians like their grandma.

I have my next post already written and scheduled to come out on December 26. Please feel free to post comments but I may be a little slow in getting them published along with my reply.  I will probably have limited access to a computer once I get to my daughter's.  I will have the two days there and two days back on the bus that I won't have access to a computer at all. Thank you all for your patience. With my daughter and grandchildren around, I won't be spending much time on the computer.

Sending love and Christmas blessings to you all. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Below I am sharing some of my blog posts from Christmases past for those of you who weren't here to read them the first time.

Related Articles:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To All @

The Spirit Of Christmas @

Christmas Is Over For 2008 @

Cry When You Need To @

Shutting Down To Get Through The Holidays @

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Attitude Of Gratitude Changes The Way You Feel

This week a friend of mine asked me to be her Gratitude Buddy for the week.  That means that each day we send each other through an email, a list of three things that we are grateful for each day.  I immediately accepted her request to be her Gratitude Buddy. I challenge each of you who reads this to find your own Gratitude Buddy for the week.  You might want to even extend the time for a month or more if you think that you feel better by starting your day with thinking about what you are grateful for.

Here are some of the things that I expressed gratitude for over the past few days:

1. I am grateful for my friendships. They enrich my life.
2. I am grateful to be at a place in my life where I can look at my expectations and let go of them when other people are involved.
3. I am grateful for the best friend that I have in my husband.
4. Today I am grateful for the warmth of the beautiful sunshine outside my window as I sit and type on my computer. The sunshine always cheers me, especially in the cold Winter months.
5. I am grateful for the people in my life who teach me lessons about myself.
6. I am grateful to my guardian angels who protect me and to my guides who do their work even when I get so busy that I forget to ask for their guidance. I ask for a most benevolent outcome for this day.

Feel free to share a few things that you are grateful for here in the comment section of my blog and then go find yourself a Gratitude Buddy to share with.
Merry Christmas to all of my Christian friends here on Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life Is For Living, Loving, Seeking New Adventures, Not For Doing Housework

Thanksgiving has come and gone. November ended yesterday. November was a month of little writing on my part as my regular readers know.  November is usually my busiest month of the year.  My in-laws, who bless my life with their love and presence, come to our house for Thanksgiving. That means lots of cleaning on my part to get ready for 9-12 people to occupy my house for an extended weekend.  The first company usually comes on Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday.  The rest arrive early Thanksgiving morning and they are usually all gone by sometime Saturday or Sunday.  I enjoy the noise and activity in our house when everyone arrives.  I also enjoy the peace and quiet when just Daniel and I are left. This was our first Thanksgiving dinner with our daughter-in-law and son with us.  Last year would have been our first but I had to cancel Thanksgiving at my house because I had pneumonia this time last year.  Our daughter-in-law graciously provided Thanksgiving dinner for my husband last year from the huge meal provided at their deer camp.  I was too sick to cook or want to eat much. Our son and daughter-in-law both like to deer hunt.  They aren't able to this year because a few weeks ago, our son was showing off and fell off of a horse and dislocated his elbow so he is just now able to start using his arm again after many doctor visits and physical therapy.  He just went back to work this week after about a month off. Just because our children grow up doesn't mean that we get to stop worrying about them.

With all of my cleaning activities, I haven't been here much or had the time to keep up with my usual blogs that I read.  I am terribly behind with Facebook and my Twitter accounts.  I even got an email from Facebook this week telling me that I had 90 notifications or comments on there.  That has never happened before. I didn't know that Facebook did that. Apparently they do notice when we aren't active on there.

Those that know me well know that I am not a good housekeeper.  I am not lazy.  There are just so many other things that I would rather be doing than cleaning house.  That is why my November cleaning spree is such a big deal. I know that part of it comes from my childhood of being the child responsible for most of the cleaning that happened in our home. My dad could come in and always find something that wasn't done right (to his way of thinking).  He never complimented. He always tore down with his angry words and sarcasm.

I am a little bit of a pack rat.  Just ask anybody who comes into my home. I have stacks of papers all over the place in the office around my computer and in my bedroom around the book shelves, which I need more of.  I collect papers because some part of me loves knowledge and after 4 or 5 computers crashing over the years and losing everything, I make copies of everything that I want to remember or that I think I might need. 

I also collect books.  Right now I have more books that I have book shelf space for.  I love books and reading.  Books saved my sanity as a child.  As an adult, books have given me my path to healing from incest. Very little of my healing has come about from counseling.  Most of my healing has happened through talking in support groups and to close friends and writing in various notebooks and journals. All of my genealogy research takes up one entire 5 shelf bookcase with books and notebooks of information collected over the past 10 years.

I am a Saggittarian with a birthday coming up within the next few weeks.  That means I am adventurous and can flit from topic to topic in a day, or in a conversation.  A lot of things hold my attention for a short time before I move on to something else. I love people and I love knowledge which may or may not lead me to wisdom.  I love quilting and making my own jewelry.  Housework is not one of those things that holds my focus for very long.  I would rather be on the computer talking to you guys or listening & watching a utube video or a Blog Talk Radio broadcast from one of my many friends online who produce them, for my listening pleasure. I am never bored.  There is too much that I want to see and do.  At almost 60 years old, I don't seem to be slowing down much. 

I need a maid, but then I would have to clean before the maid came so she wouldn't think that I was utterly hopeless at housework.  I can hear my dad's voice shouting and telling me how lazy and how slow I am.  "Grandma was slow but she was old." was one of his favorite sayings that I hated.

I hope that all of my American friends had a glorious Thanksgiving. I hope that the gratitude that you felt at Thanksgiving will continue to color your life as you leave the year 2011 behind in about a month and we all move into 2012.  2012 will be a year of new beginnings for all of us just like every year that came before it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Affirmations And Giving Thanks Each Day

November in the United States is a month of giving thanks that was started by the pilgrims at Jamestown, Virginia.  It is a tradition that continues today.  Thanks giving or giving gratitude shouldn't be related to just one day.  Some of the best years of my life were the years that I kept a gratitude journal in which I would write down at least 5-10 things each day that I was grateful for.  If you start the day by writing down what you are grateful for, your day seems to start out on a positive note.  If you like to write in your gratitude journal the last thing at night, then you go to bed with positive thoughts which can make sleeping better without taking the worries of the day to bed with you to create nightmares.

Over the years I have used affirmations to change my thoughts from being negative to being positive.  Just before starting this post, I went to the right hand column on my blog page and changed the affirmations from October to November Affirmations.  Each month I get these affirmations for the month from my copy of "Daily Word" magazine.  The "Daily Word" is a Unity Publication that you can find information about at the following website if you are interested.

I love the daily affirmations that are written for each day of the month in "Daily Word" magazine.  I started going to a small Unity church about 1996 or 1997 and learning their teachings.  Unity beliefs have an openness that many religions do not have for me on the spiritual level.  It was through this church that I first began to meditate.  Meditation gives me a deeper connection to myself and to God.  I do believe in the interconnectedness of everything and everybody.  I believe that we are One with God and One with each other.

In each copy of "Daily Word", here is what it says under Monthly Affirmations:
     "Affirmations are positive statements of Truth.  By affirming Truth, we are lifted out of false thinking into the consciousness of Spirit.  Each time we pray positively and faithfully, we are calling forth the divine activity that is always within us."

Now to my questions to you:  Do you ever take the time to come to my blog and read the monthly affirmations that I post here each month?  If you do, do these positive thoughts encourage you or lift your spirits?  Do you miss them by not coming to my blog and just reading what the emailed subscriptions send to you?

For those of you who have email subscriptions and receive my posts that way, you can click on the title of the article or you can go to the bottom of the page and click on the blog name Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker and that will take you to my blog.  Then look at the right hand column and find the words "NOVEMBER  AFFIRMATIONS" and read the affirmations that are written below those words.

Here is what you are missing if you don't click and go to my blog for this month:


Inner Peace:
In the Silence, I find peace.

I rest in the awareness of God, and I am guided in right ways.

With gratitude, I accept health and wholeness.

I behold unlimited possibilities, and my prosperity grows.

World Peace:
I contribute to a world where peace prevails.

The affirmations will change again at the beginning of each month.  What else are you missing by not going to my blog's page on ?

Related Articles:

The Secret---Affirmations Change Your Life

Meditations To Heal Your Life

You Had It All The Time

The Secret---Manifesting---Creating What You Want With Your Thoughts And Words

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How To Write A Book - Automatic Author Tutorial - Slade Roberson

A highlight of my day on Thursday, October 20 was an email that I received from my friend Slade Roberson.  Slade emailed me to let me know that I had been picked to receive a free copy of his Automatic Author program along with 2-Author Consultations.  If you are like me have an idea to write your own story for future generations to read, then you can find Slade's Automatic Author Tutorial at the following link:

I have used one of Slade's tutorials in the past that took me step by step through the process of setting up this blog.  Without that tutorial, this blog would not exist.  I am still very limited in the technical skills that I have for using my computer.  That is one of the reasons that you won't find pictures at the head of each of my posts.  One of these days, I will have my daughter-in-law sit down with me and write out step by step how to download pictures on to my blog.  My daughter is the one who posted the picture of my husband and me for my profile picture.

Slade knows that I have recently made the committment to my family and friends telling them that I am going to write a memoir of my experiences with childhood incest and the healing journey that I have been going through for the past 20+ years.  I have already decided that my memory of being what I called a "3-year-old adulteress" is going to be the beginning of my story since it is one of my earliest memories.  I am not sure where my story will go after that.  My earliest memories of the incest happening didn't happen until I was 11 years old.  I still need to decide exactly what I want the focus of my book to be.  Do I just want to write one book like my friend Colleen Spiro has done in her book The Third Floor Window or divide my life up into more than one book as my friend Dan L. Hays has done.  Dan's first book is called Freedom's Just Another Word.  He is currently working on book number two which is due out sometime in 2012.  Reading both of those memoirs has given me much encouragement to write my own.

I have lots of encouragement from you, my readers, my friends and my family to write this book. With Slade's Automatic Author Tutorial, I have no reason to put off writing this book any longer. Now I am going to sit down and start reading the tutorial.

Before I do that, I need to apologize to my readers for not writing much on Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker recently.  I am going through some minor health problems which I hope will be resolved soon.  As minor as they are, my energy levels have been low lately.  I feel just bad enough to not get much done throughout the day. 

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, that needs to change.  Family is coming to our house for Thanksgiving and I have major house cleaning and rearranging to do so that everyone will fit and have room to move around.  I love it when my family and Daniel's come to visit.  It takes a lot of preparation to get ready for them.  We will have about 11 or 12 people in the house for about 3-4 days.  My house is noisy and full of love, disagreements, and compromise as families do when they get together for any period of time. I am blessed with the wonderful mother-in-law and sister-in-law that I dearly love. It is the 3 brothers, of which my husband is the baby of the family, that usually provides the noise.  They are all in their 60's now and losing their hearing so they talk loud because none of them wants to spend the money to get a hearing aid. The youngest of the clan who will be gathering here are two sisters - twin 4-year-old who have me wishing that I had just a little of their energy.  They are sweethearts, who being four like a lot of attention.  They are easy to give it to.  Being around children can keep you young at heart. Being around them also gives me reason to miss my grandchildren who live in Idaho.  They are all growing up so fast. I hope that you are all having a glorious October and enjoying the Fall weather and colors.  Autumn is my favorite time of the year.

Related Articles:

The Most Influencial Person---#4---Birth Of A Dream

Out Of My Comfort Zone---The Third Floor Window

"Freedom's Just Another Word" Book Review

Let's Talk About Spirit Guides Teleconference With Andrea Hess And Slade Roberson

Name It, Claim It, Make It So---Intention To Hear Your Spirit Guides

Monday, October 10, 2011

Healing Is About Love And Compassion

Just because I disagree with someone does not make them my enemy or me theirs, at least not in my mind.  Compassion gives me the ability to look beyond the disagreement to see what issues may be bringing up stuff for the other person. 

Self-compassion also gives me the ability to look and see if I have any issues being brought up by the disagreement. Through compassion, I can see the possible hurts on both sides.  I can choose to forgive myself and the other person and let go of my own hurts and anger, if I have any.  If I hold on to my anger and resentments, they only hurt me.  They don't hurt the other person.  Only their own hurts and resentments can do that to them.  Compassion allows me to send prayers and love to the other person, as I pray for and love myself. 

Healing is about love, first of myself and then of others.  If I try to love others from a place of hurt and anger, it doesn't work.  For me to love others, I have to come from a place of self-love.  Where love exists, hurt and anger can't stay.

Part of self-love is not hurting myself for any reason. I don't own this self-love 100% of the time.  I still sometimes put the needs of others above my own and I still, when really hurting from an issue, overeat.  Right now I am overeating or grazing as my doctor called it because the idea of writing my memoir is scaring my inner children terribly.  The idea of being that vulnerable and putting the secret of incest into book form is terrifying to them.  Because of that fear, I still haven't written the first word even though I have told several people that I would.

Another equally important part of self-love is not allowing others to purposefully hurt me.  Sometimes that means removing myself from that person's presence. 

With today's access to Facebook, Twitter and emails, sometimes removing myself from that person's presence means blocking them from access to me on the internet.  Many more people have access to me on the internet than those that I know personally in my own town.  Some disagreements can be easily settled and friendships remain in tact.  Others turn abusive and those are the ones that I won't stay in.  That doesn't mean that I am judging the other person.  There is a difference between judgment and discernment.  That doesn't mean that I think the other person is mean or crazy.  I just don't have to allow their issues to be transferred on to me and be used to abuse me with. 

Until I forgive a person, that person is still controlling me.  Forgiveness means working my way through any hurt and anger that I hold towards that person. Forgiveness does not mean putting myself back in contact with that person until they have forgiven me and settled their own issues. It does not mean accepting that person back into my life when they are still raging at injustices, imagined and real, that they believe that I have done to them.  Something else I have learned is, if my heart skips a beat every time that I run into this person online, I still have a connection to this person. I still have a fear of being hurt by this person.  I need to pay attention to this fear and work through it for my own well being.

If you are still raging and still blaming, you haven't reached the forgiveness stage.  Forgiveness doesn't blame.  Responsibility and blaming are not the same thing.  Blaming carries shame.  Responsibility does not.  Responsibility is a two way street.  I am responsible for my behavior and you are responsible for yours. Blaming can keep you stuck in anger and hurt.  Responsibility gives you the tools to work through your feelings and gives you the ability to take back your personal power from the abusers. Personal power gives you choices you might not have known that you had when you were stuck being a victim.

Related Posts:

Judgments - Discernments or Prejudice?

Tools Of The Ego

Dialogues With Dignity: Progress Over Perfection

You Deserve Your Own Love Guest Post

Saturday, October 8, 2011

September's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse Is Out

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse - September 2011 Change Edition is out and posted on the From Tracie blog.  I have several of my recent articles posted in it.  This month had the topic of change. Here is the link for that Blog Carnival:

Thank you Tracie for hosting this month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. You will find 15 blog posts included in the Blog Carnival this month.  I hope you will join me in reading all of the posts and leaving comments to let the authors know what you think about their posts.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Humanity Founded Upon Abuse Of Children

When I started using Twitter about two years ago, I met someone who is just as passionate as I am about protecting children from sexual preditors.  On Twitter, my friend calls herself BraveKidsVoices. Quite a few months ago, BraveKidsVoices shared an article with me which you will find at the following link:

Feel free to go and read the entire article for yourself. I warn you that if you are an incest survivor, this article may be triggering for you. That is part of the reason that I have taken so long to write my own blog post about this subject. The reading of this article is very difficult.  I still have not finished reading all of it myself. I will probably do a series of blog posts from this article. 

The title of the article is "The History of Child Abuse" written by Lloyd deMause is found in The Journal of Psychohistory 25 (3) Winter 1998.  BraveKidsVoices asked me to write this post, using this article, about incest as the most prevalent form of child sexual abuse. This post is my attempt to do that. I am not good with numbers - statistics, so much of this post will be direct quotes from Mr. deMause himself. I also think a part of me just does not want to acknowledge that incest is such a huge problem in our society and in the history of our world, it was much worse than today even. That is just so hard for me to take in. I hope that this series of posts will do away with my own denial in this area as well as any that you, as my reader, may be holding on to.  If you are an incest survivor like I am, we are not in a unique position of being just a small number of survivors, the figures from this article tell us that incest has been going on since the beginning of our history and that in many countries in the world, incest is an everyday occurrence for far too many children still today.

My title for this post comes from one of the first few paragraphs in Lloyd deMause's article.  ". . . the history of humanity is founded upon the abuse of children."  Mr. deMause goes on to say, "Just as family therapists today find that child abuse often functions to hold families together as a way of solving their emotional problems, so, too, the routine assault of children has been society's most effective way of maintaining its collective emotional homeostasis.  Most historical families once practiced infanticide, erotic beating and incest."

The conclusions that Lloyd deMause reaches from the many studies that he and his associates have done over the years says, ". . . the history of childhood has been a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken."  Over the centuries, children have been neglected and often treated cruelly by their parents.  Mr. deMause says,  ". . . children have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers."

Even though incest and other forms of child sexual abuse seems to be at epidemic numbers today, according to Mr. deMause - 30% of men and 40% of women have been sexually abused as children.  Mr. deMause's figures say that half of those were sexually abused by family members. 81% of those children were sexually abused before puberty, with 42% of that number being under the age of seven.  These figures came from adults who remembered their abuse in great detail and with great clarity.  These were adults with "conscious memories," not from someone who may have had fragmented, bits and pieces, of memories.  I have solid, detailed memories from the age of 11 - 17, what Mr. deMause's study would count as "conscious memories." Many more survivors would fall into the "fragmented" range of memories which means that they are not included in these statistics. 

Mr. deMause reached the conclusion that "the real sexual abuse rate for America is 60% for girls and 45% for boys, about half of these directly incestuous."

Outside of the United States, these figures are even higher.  Mr. deMause states that the further back into history one goes and the further away from the West that one goes, the worse the incidences of child sexual abuse become.  In many countries in the world, incest is routine among families. Fathers, brothers, uncles and grandfathers molest little girls.  Mothers, aunts, sisters, and grandmothers molest little boys.  India, China, Japan, the Near East and the Far East are just some of the countries that incest is prevalent in today.  Little girls are treated worse than little boys because in many countries, little girls are considered worthless with no value of any kind.  Often the little girls are killed or used as sexual objects by the men in their families.

This information comes from just the first few pages of this 24 page article.  Here is the link again for those of you who are brave enough to go and read more.

If you are like me, you had no idea that incest was so bad throughout history or even in our so-called modern world.  As more of us research and speak out about incest, more people will become aware.  Just becoming aware is a start but don't you dare stop with just awareness.  Do something to protect your children who can't protect themselves from sexual preditors. 

The internet is such a miracles for those of us who grew up before everyone had access to computers.  The internet is increasingly becoming more and more dangerous for our children.  Preditors have discovered the internet too and many use it to reach out to unprotected, unloved, inadequately supervised children.  These preditors reach out with attention to these shy children who are often left at home alone because both parents have to work or have activities that seem to be more important to them than time spent with their children.  Please, as a caring parent, monitor your child's time on the computer. Let your child know that you love them and will do whatever is necessary to protect them from sexual preditors, online and off.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Deserve Your Own Love Guest Post

I was asked last week to submit a guest post for The Wounded Warrior blog which my friend from Twitter JanMetalMan is the owner.  Jan is a male survivor. He calls himself a wounded warrior.  I see myself as a warrior when it comes to reaching out to other survivors and giving others awareness about incest so that we can all give it our best efforts to protect our children from sexual abuse.

I had about a week to decide what I wanted to write the guest post on.  I kept coming back to the topic of self-love.  We are often taught as children that self-love is selfish.  The truth that I have discovered about self-love is that it is the most unselfish act that I can do. Me loving myself and you loving yourself benefits everyone around us.  I can better love you and my family if I love myself first. This has been the most valuable lesson that I have learned in my healing journey. When I love myself, I don't let myself become empty and useless to everyone. I take care of my needs so that I can be a better person and a better friend, partner and parent.

The title of the guest post is "You Deserve Your Own Love." Here is the link:

Thank you Jan for honoring me by asking me to write a guest post on your blog.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carnival Against Child Abuse, August 2011 Is Posted

Thank you Astrid of the blog A Multitude of Musings: Diary of a Person with Dissociative Identity Disorder for hosting the August issue of Carnival Against Child Abuse.  I have to admit that I got really busy this month and forgot to send in any submissions.  I am still going to go and read each of the blog articles that are entered in this month's Carnival.  Most of the submitters this month are new to me.  Welcome to those who are new. I look forward to getting to know you better by reading your blogs.

I hope that you will join me in reading this month's Carnival Against Child Abuse, August 2011 issue at the following link:

I hope that everyone had a glorious Summer.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dialogues With Dignity: Progress Over Perfection

Dialogues With Dignity is described as "A safe and dignified roundtable discussion among trusted friends" on its webpage which you will find posted below.

Progress Over Perfection was the topic of our discussion on Tuesday, August 23 when I was a guest on their show.  The discussion was between my friends Dan Hays, Ellen Brown, Stash Serafin and me, Patricia Singleton.  We discussed such things as letting go of perfectionism which can be shaming when we fail and beat ourselves up for failing. Expections and trying versus doing were among the topics discusses.  I hope that you will join me in listening to this interested conversation between four friends at the following link:

Feel free to leave comments here and at the website. Hope you enjoy the show. I know that I did.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review of No Longer Silent By Author Tammy Gagnon

I just finished reading another survivor's memoir this afternoon.  I could relate to a lot of Tammy Gagnon's life as an incest survivor - the feelings of shame, no self-worth, fear of rejection from her parents especially her mother, anger at her abusers and anyone in authority.  I can understand the need for addictions to numb her feelings.  My addiction is food, even today.  I never did alcohol or drugs because I was too scared of getting caught.   

I can also relate to how Tammy finally had what she calls a "spiritual awakening" where she felt her connection to God, to her angels and finally to herself.  Tammy finally started to heal when she realized that she needed to love herself in order to make any lasting changes. 

The name of the book if any of you  are interested in reading it is No Longer Silent, written by Tammy Gagnon, Printed in the United States of America, 2011. In the Foreword which is written by Patrick B. McGinnis, PhD, he says that No Longer Silent "is a story of victimhood and recovery." 

Dr. McGinnis goes on to say, "A child who is sexually or physically abused suffers extraordinary additional harm.  Children who are traumatized by an form of abuse do not have the cognitive capacity to recognize that this has happened to them because the caretaker is ill or misguided, rather they come to believe that something is wrong with them; that something essential in them is missing, and they are damaged and not good enough. Some children believe they are incomplete and feel as if there is a void at the center of their being." (page 4-5)

I felt the void that Dr. McGinnis speaks about inside of myself until I started to love myself.  Many people, like Tammy, try to feel this void with alcohol, drugs and other people. Some teens have their own children early wanting to believe that a child will love them and fill the void.  Nothing fills the void until you learn to love yourself. Anything else is just a temporary fix.

I read most of the book in one day.  Tammy's book is about incest, domestic violence both physical and emotional, teenage rebellion through alcohol, drugs & running away to escape the pain of her life, having babies when she was too young, wanting to trust someone so badly that she fell for whatever lies the men in her life came up with, being hurt repeatedly by her mother whose love Tammy felt like she never had.

Tammy was taught before the age of six that her family had secrets that she wasn't supposed to tell anyone else because her mother cared more about how the family looked perfect than she did that her own daughter had been raped by her husband's father.  When Tammy tried to talk to her mother several times during her adulthood about the rape by her grandfather when she was six years old, her mother told her to stop exaggerating, that it happened a long time ago.

I want to thank Tammy for writing and sharing her story of incest and domestic violence, rape and abandonment and for sharing her story of therapy and jail time and finally healing through finding herself and loving herself. Tammy didn't want her daughters to repeat the same mistakes that she did so she decided to quit drinking and doing drugs and to be the role model that her daughters needed.  Tammy's story of incest becomes a story of triumph over tragedy instead. Thank you, Tammy for being brave enough to share your story.  You give other survivors hope that they can heal too.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grieving Is A Major Part of Healing From Abuse

To facilitate more healing on my part and sometimes just out of curiosity, I read a lot of blogs every week.  On Twitter, I found a blog article on grieving that is one of the best articles on explaining grief that I have read in a long time.  This article is entitled Grief Has A Mind of Its Own posted on soulseeds: SEED THE CHANGE blog.  The link for this article is here:

This blog article was written by Ian Lawton who calls himself a "Spiritual teacher of inner wisdom, divine love, deeper consciousness, oneness, peace, and abundance."  Thank you Ian for sharing your thoughts on grieving.

Grief is such a big part of healing from childhood abuse.  Every time a loss of any kind happens in your life, you have to grieve the loss.  As a child of incest, I had a lot of grieving to do when I started healing. 

Another new friend that I have recently met through Twitter is Nancy Fox-Kilgore, M. S.   Nancy's blog is called Sibling Abuse & Bullies which you will find at the following link:

Nancy's is a fairly new blog in the healing child abuse community.  I know that Nancy would love it if you would leave a comment on any of her blog articles. I hope that you will encourage her to continue writing and sharing her journey so that others can also start to heal by reading her words.  Nancy is an expert on Bullying and Sibling Abuse.  If you are ever looking for a guest speaker on either of these two topics, Nancy is the person to contact.  Nancy is a national speaker for the United States Department of Justice.  She speaks on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in rape and incest victims.  I wanted to introduce you to Nancy today rather than waiting for you to meet her in my next blog article.  My next blog article that will be posted here on Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker will be a Guest Interview with Nancy Fox-Kilgore.  Look for the post on either the coming Monday or Tuesday.  In the meantime, go to Nancy's blog Sibling Abuse & Bullies and become aquainted with Nancy and her mission to protect children from bullying and sibling abuse.  You will learn some things that you didn't know about the two forms of abuse.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ending Toxic Relationships And Forgiveness

How do you end a toxic relationship?  I know there are many answers to this question.  I have been finding my own answers over the past few weeks.  I sometimes forget that just ignoring a situation or a person doesn't end the relationship when the other person isn't willing to let go or if one of the two of us or both of us hasn't learned whatever the lesson was that we were supposed to learn from each other.

I know that neither of us is all good or all bad.  I don't see things as all or nothing, especially in relationships. If the relationship is toxic, I have played my part in the healthy and in the toxic parts.  I am not perfect.  I make big mistakes when it comes to relationships and feelings.  I am still learning my way with feelings, especially anger.  For the most part, I hope that I am healthy in feeling and dealing with angry situations but I do make mistakes.  I am not always right or always wrong.  Neither is the other person.  I always have room for improvement.  Where anger is concerned, I still don't always recognize what I am feeling and don't always handle anger as well as I wish I would.  I am human.  We all are.

A friend recently told me that I am not responsible for fixing other people and I am not responsible for protecting them either.  I know that I am not responsible for fixing others.  That has been one of my lessons this lifetime. 

Raised in a dysfunctional family with incest and alcoholism, my family role was that of hero and caretaker.  I was the oldest daughter who was expected to do well in school.  My parents had 5th grade and 7th grade educations.  I had to do well in school so that they could feel good about themselves.  I even majored in Special Education in college because it was my mother's dream.  My brother was in Special Education from 3rd grade on.  I think my becoming a Special Education teacher was to ease any guilt that my mother had toward my brother's special needs. I took years to realize that being a Special Education teacher was never my dream. That is why I quit college when my husband graduated. 

Early in my childhood, I became a caretaker of everyone in my family.  At three years old, I took on the job of protecting my mother from her feelings.  At eleven years old, I became a wife to my dad taking care of the house, learning to cook meals, and becoming the sexual substitute for my mom.  My mom unconsciously pushed me into that role.  My dad actively pushed that role on to me.  My feelings were never considered.  My permission was never asked.  I had already learned that their feelings, wants and needs were more important than anything that I wanted or needed.

As an adult, I continued the caretaker role in my marriage and in my friendships.  Anything that I could fix, I did.  Any advice that I could give, I did.  I thought that if I could fix your problems, you would like me and give me value as a woman.  Women were supposed to take care of everything.  We were the nurturers.  If I could fix you, I could feel good about myself.  What I didn't know was that I didn't have the time to look at myself and my own issues if I was busy fixing you and your issues.

12-Step meetings in the 1990's taught me that being a caretaker was not a good thing for you or for me.  What helped me to stop my caretaking was when someone said that when I was fixing you, I was also teaching you that you were too stupid to do it for yourself.  I didn't like that message and didn't know that was what I was saying.  I would never call someone stupid.  I know what that feels like.  My parents both used that word a lot. I am not stupid and neither are you.  Today I recognise a caretaker pretty quickly.  I learned that I don't have to take care of you in order to feel safe in my environment or in order to feel loved. Today I love myself and I feel worthy just by being me.

Today, I rarely give advice because of my caretaker days.  I know that you can find your own answers without my help.  If you ask my opinion, I will give it.  When I give my opinion, that is what it is.  My opinion is my truth as I know it.  I do my best not to be judging when I give you my opinion.  I can't say that I am always successful in not sounding judging.  

Recently a friend asked my opinion about a situation.  She wanted my approval for what she had said to someone else.  I disagreed with her.  I wasn't judging her but she read my comments as judgments.  I do my best to be discerning which is seeing things as they are rather than as telling the person that they are bad.  This person is very sensitive.  She is not bad. I didn't agree with her behavior toward another friend. In stating my feelings and what I think about a situation, I will sometimes trample all over the sensitive person's feelings, not intentionally, but I still do it.  My best friend helps me with this lesson.  She is sensitive when all I want is the truth, even when it is about me. I don't mean to hurt her feelings, but sometimes I do.  Together we are working our way through this lesson. I am far from perfect in this area. I constantly stumble and get up and try again. I am aware of this in myself and I am working on it.  If you are one of those sensitive people that I have done this too, I am sorry.  I am working on doing better. Being aware of how I act and react and changing how I react is my way of taking responsibility for my part in my relationships. 

I have spent the last two weeks working my way through this issue and looking at my part in the relationship disagreement.  This friend blocked me on Facebook and called me a stalker when I went to her husband's Facebook page to ask if she was okay and to let her know that I didn't intend to hurt her and that I was sorry that I did.  For myself, I look for patterns of behavior in myself that I might want to change about myself if they are hurting me or someone else.  I told this person about the possible patterns that I was seeing in her. I have friends who do this for me.  I don't see it as them judging me.  I see if as them helping me with some awareness that I might not have otherwise. I don't want friends who are going to lie to me about my behavior. 

I am not telling you any of this because I want your sympathy. I am sharing with you that this is how I process things for myself.  Because this is the way that I work, I never thought that the other person would see my words as a personal attack.  For that I am sorry.  I don't see these patterns of behavior as character faults in myself or in anyone else.  I just see them as things that I can change for me and you can change for you.  No, I don't see it as my responsibility to tell you about what I see unless you ask me.  If you ask me, I assume that you really want to know.

I have a best friend who will very quickly tell you not to ask Pat unless you want the truth.  I know that most truths are not absolute and that my truth may be different from your truth.  My truth is the only one that I have and yours is the only one that you have.  That is where awareness is key to healing.  If I am not aware of my patterns of behavior, then I cannot change them.  Neither can you.  It was from this space that I shared my opinion with my friend. As much as I didn't mean to hurt this friend, I did. This hurting will make me more careful next time if this situation arises again in my life.

I know that I am not responsible for fixing another person.  I do believe that it is my responsibility to protect those that are weaker than me.  Maybe I am wrong in that belief.  Some people are strong enough to protect themselves.  Others are not.  Maybe this is my belief because I wasn't protected as a child.  Even as a young adult, I didn't have any idea how to protect myself.  Until I did become strong enough to protect myself, people continued to come into my life who abused me.  I can't stand by and watch someone else being bullied.  If that is bad, I am sorry.  I think the strong should protect the weaker ones.  How are you supposed to learn how to be strong unless someone else shows you how?  I only grew strong enough to protect myself because of the human angels that God put into my life at each step of the way that I needed guidance and support.  My life would have been so different if those strong people had not showed me how to protect myself.

Out of my wanting to protect others and to vent some of my own anger over the situation, I went on someone else's blog where this friend had commented about the original situation on my Facebook page.  For that I am sincerely sorry to the owner of the blog and to her readers and commenters.  I should not have said the things that I did that told everyone exactly who I was talking about.  I should have come to my own blog if I was going to put it on a blog at all.  I made a big mistake in judgment in that area.  As I said earlier, I am human and I make mistakes and this was a big mistake on my part.  I am not trying to justify what I did.  I was wrong.  I have no problem accepting responsibility for my part in this whole thing.  I played the game even when I knew that I shouldn't.  I am not a good game player. 

I want the truth, not game playing in my life.  I haven't contacted this person since she called me a stalker.  I let it drop and was processing my part in the whole thing.  I don't want to react in this way again so I have looked at the whole situation and my part in it.  I can't change the other person.  I can change myself. Denial of my mistakes would change anything.  Taking responsibility for my part is all that I can do.

For me, the relationship with this person has become toxic.  I don't like drama.  I know it is a coping mechanism but it is one that I don't want in my life.  I am not saying that the person is toxic.  Our relationship, which we both created together, is toxic to me.  She is free to see it otherwise.

I chose to leave the relationship behind and to work on changing my reactions.  I didn't expect this person to take off her block of me on Facebook but she did this week so that she could send me a two-page expression of regret and blame.  I know where my fault lies in this relationship.  I can honestly say that I forgive the person for what she said.  I wish her well in the future. I can only hope that she will find forgiveness in her heart for me.  As long as either one of us is angry with the other, forgiveness hasn't happened. 

I can forgive without wanting that relationship back. A big part of my decision has to do with trust.  I don't trust her or myself to not re-enact or recreate this whole thing over again at some point if we remain friends. I don't need that in my life.

Over the past few weeks, I have gone into two major bouts of grieving the loss of this friendship.  Possibly for the first time in my life, I actually was able to allow myself to feel the heavy grief for a few days and then to slowly start coming out of it.  In that grief, I was able to look at how much I still want the appoval of my peers, my fellow survivors. I probably lost some of that approval because of my words on the other blog.  At the same time, the people on the other blog saw me at my worst with the mean little girl in control of my words.  I take responsibility for letting that mean little girl take control.  She is the one who feels the hurt and the grief of my childhood and she is the one who carries my anger.  I am not excusing myself for my hurtful words.  I meant them at the time that I wrote them.  I am not asking for approval or condemnation. I know what I did was wrong in identifying her in the way that I did. 

I am not apologizing for my anger.  I have a right to feel what I feel.  So does the other person.  I am sorry that I allowed my anger to hurt another person just because she hurt me. We were both wrong in striking out at each other on someone else's blog.  Her words seem more innocent than mine but they were not.  I knew where her digs were even though others never saw them.

Yesterday or the day before, I received two anonymous comments here on my blog.  Both were from this person.  To me, at this point the anonymity thing felt like a slap in the face to me.  I know who she is and she knows who I am.  I am being curteous here in allowing this person the anonimity of not using her name in my post because this post isn't really about her.  I didn't write this post to place blame. This post is about me attempting to figure out all of my stuff, not hers.  I am sharing this hoping to save someone else the pain that I have experienced with this issue.  I hope by sharing my mistakes with you that I may save you from doing the same thing in your life.  My blog has always been about sharing my journey to healing with you.  Well, the past few weeks have shown me some major areas that I still need to work on.

I am also sharing this so that if you have put me up on a pedestal as an expert or as the perfect way to do healing, please take me off that pedestal.  People keep telling me how I have a large influence upon others in the survivor community.  Well, here is your opportunity to learn from my mistakes and to see that I don't deserve to be put on a pedestal any more than anyone else does.  I teach by sharing my experiences.  Well, some of those experiences have negative consequences. I can't change what happened.  I wish I could but regret doesn't heal anything.

In case this person is reading my blog post, I accept your forgiveness in the manner than it was given by you.  Now, please leave me out of the drama of your life.  I have learned my lessons where you are concerned and I intend to move on.  I hope that you can do the same, just not in my life. I hope that you can one day forgive me for trespasing on your feelings.  Your feelings are just as valid as mine.  I won't invalidate what I feel to make you happy and don't expect you to invalidate your feelings for me.  With that said, I don't want you in my life. Thank you for what you have taught me about myself and what I still need to learn.  I always have the right to approve or not any comments that come here to my blog.  I welcome respectful comments. To save anyone from looking, I did not publish the two comments from this person. They were too personal and too shaming.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blog Carnivals Are Posted For Reading

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse - July 2011 Edition at the From Tracie blog is now posted at the following link:

This month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse had 21 articles submitted. With this carnival, you can submit more than one article at a time.  I usually submit three articles each month.  I have submitted as many as five a few times.  This month we didn't have a specific topic.  It is always good to hear some new voices each month.  I appreciate the courage that it takes to submit one of your blog articles for the first time to a new audience.  I hope that you will join me in going to From Tracie blog to support the bloggers who do submit articles to this very worthwild Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

The Expressive Arts Carnival No. 13: Group Word Cloud is also up and running for July at Mindparts blog.  This month's topic was word clouds done by 11 entries.  Each month Paul from Mindparts blog hosts Expressive Arts Carnival.  The 11 submitters came up with 33 words, to use Paul's words, "to write about someone who has taught you something about healing." using three words along with a color.  Below is the link for Expressive Arts Carnival No. 13.

I want to thank Tracie and Paul for both taking the time and effort to run these two Blog Carnivals.  Both provide very different ways for survivors of child abuse to find to express their feelings and thoughts about their experiences with child abuse and healing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Being A Survivor Means Knowing You Have Choices

As a victim of the family disease of alcoholism and incest, I wasn't given choices as a child.  All of the choices of my childhood were made for me by my parents and my abusers.  I was even told by my parents that the adults had full authority over me as a child.  I was told to mind all adults - to do whatever they said, without question.  This one rule of my parents played a major factor in allowing me to be sexually abused by several adults in my life, one of which was my dad.   

Knowing that I have choices as an adult has created a major division for me between being a victim or being a survivor.  As a survivor, I know that I have choices.  I know that I can make my own decisions.  Right or wrong, they are my decisions to make.

Because it took me so long to learn how to make choices for myself, I place a high value on being able to make my own decisions.  Being able to make my own choices gives me a freedom and a feeling of being in control of my life instead of letting others tell me what to do and what to say.  I never experienced this feeling as a child.

If you would like for me to join your group on Facebook, please ask me instead of just adding my name to your group.  Then it is my choice to accept your invitation or not.  Please don't take away my choice by making it for me.  That is too much like my childhood.  I know that I can always make the choice to leave the group if I want to but it isn't the same as being given the choice in the beginning rather than as an after thought. I thank you for that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Healing From Abuse Means Doing The Work of Healing

Healing from abuse means doing the work of healing, not just talking about the abuse.  Yes, in the beginning of healing, talking about what happened to you is important.  In fact, talking, in itself, is very healing and breaks the bonds of silence that your abusers taught you.  At what point in the journey, do some survivors get stuck in the drama of telling their stories and never move beyond that point?  How do you tell when you are healing from telling your story and when you are just plain stuck?

For me, I told my story over and over for about 10 years but that wasn't all that I was doing.  I was reading books on healing from incest.  I was writing about my own experiences.  I talked to other survivors who were doing their own work.  I went to two different groups for counseling as well as doing individual work with two counselors over that ten year period.  I also had two 12-Step sponsors that gave me personal work to do on healing from incest. 

I did the work of recognizing the lies that my abusers told me. Darlene Ouimet, the owner of Emerging From Broken blog, does the best job of anyone that I know of exposing the lies that many survivors grew up hearing from their abusers.  I will give you a link to Emerging From Broken at the end of this article. 

For many survivors, those abusers were one or both of their parents.  Exposing the lies of your abusers is a very important part of your early recovery.  So is telling your story. Both are healing steps that need to be taken. 

Telling your story does not mean creating drama for yourselves or others.  Some suvivors create drama as a way of recreating what they are used to as children.  This is where exposing the lies of your abusers is so important.  When you see those beliefs as lies, you can begin to choose how you will react to your triggers, how you will react to the people that, on purpose or accidentally, set off those triggers in you. 

I believe that triggers happen to show you where you still need to work on yourselves and the issues behind the triggers.  Triggers don't happen to make you blow up all over someone else.  When you do that, then you become like your abusers and abuse someone else. That is what was done to you as children and it is what you continue to do to others until you learn that you don't have to continue those unhealthy patterns of behavior. 

A pattern happens when you repeat the same behavior over and over.  I have learned to look for patterns in my own behavior.  With awareness of patterns, I can then decide to make changes or stay the same.  If my behavior is hurting me or others, I decide to change.  That in itself is a process that takes time with lots of trial and error and apologies along the way until I change that pattern with a new, healthier pattern.

One example that comes from my own life has to do with anger and rage.  Rage is unheathy anger that grows and grows and gets blow all out of proportion usually because the first signs of anger were ignored, denied or stuffed deep inside.  Rage eventually comes out when the pressure is too great to hold it in any longer.  It comes out, usually on someone that totally doesn't deserve it.  I used to do this all the time.  Anger wasn't allowed in my house except for the rage that my dad carried around so my anger was denied and stuffed with food until the rage came rolling out like hot magma from an out of control volcano damaging everything in its path.

Rage was the first feeling that I learned to deal with because it was so volatile that I could easily see the damage that I was doing with it.  Doing this work isn't a matter of feeling shame for the fact that I couldn't control my rage.  Doing this work is a matter of feeling the feelings without allowing them to hurt myself or someone else. 

Rather than feeling shame when I get a new awareness, I forgive myself for not seeing the pattern sooner, then I set out to change the situation so that I don't continue to hurt myself or someone else.  It isn't enough to feel bad about my behavior.  If I am being hurt or someone else is, then I need to change that behavior.  If I say I am sorry but continue to do the same destructive pattern, then I am not really sorry.  Any behavior that I continue to do, I am getting something out of it or I would quit.  Feeling shame or guilt about a behavior is a sign that change needs to happen.  If I know that my reactions are out of proportion to the situation, it is my responsibility to do something to change my reaction.  If I am looking to create drama, I will find an excuse to do it. 

With healing comes responsibility for my own actions and reactions.  Another person does not trigger me.  My own issues are what trigger me, not what someone else said or did.  Those issues trigger me because I haven't healed that particular issue. It is not anyone else's responsibility to fix me, just as it is not my responsibility to fix anyone else.  The triggers will keep coming until I am healed in that area.  I am not saying that I am at fault or wrong or bad because I am still being triggered.  I am saying that it is my responsibility to heal me so that I am not triggered.  It is my responsibility to do my own work to heal.  If I am refusing to see the awareness that has come into my life because of my triggers then I am still playing victim.  I am still believing my abusers' lies that say that I am not capable of taking care of myself. Or I am still believing the lie that says I am too stupid and that I am worthless and have no value and can't make decisions for my own self. No matter what you said about me or to me, I alone am responsible for what I do with that information.  You do not make me angry.  I choose whether to get angry or not.  My actions are my responsibility.  How I respond to a person or a situation is my responsibility, not yours.  I can't blame you for what I am feeling.  I choose whether I stay stuck in the victim role or I move forward in the survivor role. 

Saying that I never meant to hurt someone doesn't mean a thing if I continue to hurt them.  Feelings are not inappropriate. It is what we do with them that can be inappropriate.  I have no way of knowing what another person is feeling unless they tell me.  What I may see as insensitivity or lack of empathy in another person may not be that at all.  I cannot know or guess what another person is feeling.  What that person may say has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.  I cannot second guess other people unless I am intent on creating drama for myself.  If I want to create drama, drama will find me. When I say someone else is insensitive, I am projecting my own insensitivity onto that person.

I want to heal from incest.  I do not want to be defined by incest.  Incest happened to me but is not who I am.  I am a human being living and growing through my experiences.  Sharing my experiences does not make me better than you or perfect.  I am far from being perfect. I make mistakes. I still sometimes see someone else hurting and out of my feelings of compassion I want to make their way easier.  Sometimes I can help. Sometimes I cannot.  Sometimes I even manage to make situations worse.  Sometimes I play devil's advocate and try to look at the bigger picture.  I don't know where the term "devil's advocate" came from. I don't see it as bad.  I see it as the simple process of stepping back and looking at more than the immediate view or seeing a different view than everyone else is taking.  Being different is not a bad thing.

To use something that I heard earlier today on an interview between Michelle Rosenthal and Susan Kingsley-Smith on the Blog Talk Radio station called Heal My PTSD, you hold the power of your own healing.  You have to do the work if you want to heal.  My question for you is, "Do you want to heal?" or  "Do you want to stay stuck in victim mode and blame everybody else for your life?"  If you want to heal, at some point, you have to move beyond the blaming stage of healing.  In order to heal, at some point in your life, you have to take responsibility for your present and future.  Responsibility for the abuse of your childhood belongs with your abuser. Responsibility for what you do with your adult life belongs with you.

Related Links:

Emerging From Broken blog

Heal My PTSD interview on "Why Don't Survivors Want To Do the Work to Heal PTSD?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guest Blogger Jane Rowan and The River of Forgetting

Hope that all of my American friends had a great 4th of July.  Today I have a special treat for my readers.  I have my first ever Guest Blogger, Jane Rowan author of the book The River of Forgetting here to answer some interview questions about herself and her book.

Thank you Jane for consenting to do this written interview with me so that my readers can learn more about you and your book.  I just finished reading your book a few days ago.  Your book is an amazing tale of recovery from incest through the use of Inner Child work.  Your story shows your courage and stamina in dealing with fragmented memories and frightened inner children. I knew a little bit about your story because of our initial contact on Twitter and on your webpage.  I was curious to understand how a person with only fragmented memories, at best, could go about healing from the wounds of incest.  I have six years of memories of my own incest abuse.

Why I was interested in reading Ms Rowan's book? Because I also have clues that my incest abuse started before the age of three.  I have a very definite clue in that at three years old, I labeled myself an adulteress.  I have no memories to go with that clue showing that I might have been sexually abused early in my childhood.  I was interested to see if Jane ever got her full memories back or had to work on just the clues.  I will soon be starting my own inner child work to see what I can recover.  I know that the memories are there being held somewhere in my child's mind and in my body-memories.  Like for Jane, my memories of this early incest are held by my younger inner children.  Inner child work is often the key to healing from abuse.

Welcome to my written interview with Jane Rowan, author of The River of Forgetting.  Ms Rowan's words are shown in italics.

1.  Can you tell my readers a little about your life before the memories started to surface?

As a science professor, I was busy and successful. I loved teaching.  The politics with some of my colleagues really got to me at times, and I found myself in conflicts fairly often.  Being a strong woman in a male field isn't easy, but my need for control was perhaps a bit excessive. I was divorced, with one grown son, and my father had died just a year before the memories began coming.  I didn't feel defective but my friendships were a bit unsatisfying and I was probably uptight.

2.  What triggered your memories?

Several things, I think.  My father's death was one factor. My son was out of the house, so I had more energy to tend to my own needs. I had been in therapy for a few years, and was thinking of terminating, when my therapist asked, "So what about relationships?"

For some reason, that question about relationships really struck deep, and I admitted I didn't have enough closeness in my life. Then one day when my therapist asked about how my Inner Child was feeling, I found myself in a profound fog, really far out there and lost.  It was dissociation, of course.  Then just a few days later, I literally woke up, first thing in the morning, to the first memory.  It was a very complete sensory memory of sitting on the toilet when I was only three years old, and it hurt to pee; I could see the bathroom and where the door was, and the bathtub and the window.  I didn't know what had happened to make me hurt.  I just knew that my mother's explanation of it was wrong.  That's what started me on the "detective story of the soul" that is my life and my book.

3.  What made you decide to write a memoir?

I'd been keeping a journal for years and years already.  When these memories began to overwhelm me with waves of feelings - doubt, nausea, grief, fear, rage - I needed to write more and more just to stay sane.  After six years of therapy about the abuse, when I saw light and joy coming into my life, I experienced such a wave of gratitude that I wanted to celebrate my work in therapy, the amazing process that it can be, and my therapist's skill and care.

It seemed natural, even mandatory, to write it out and share it.  Of course, as I wrote I experienced the feelings over again and understood more and more, so the book has layers of meaning for me and , hopefully, for the reader.  Readers tell me it takes them inside the therapy process as no other book does, and helps them see from the inside what the transformation can be like.  Although survivors' experiences differ, many of the emotions and reactions are the same.

4.  Give us a brief preview of your book.

My memoir begins at that moment when I woke up one morning with the memory I described to you above.  For the first year, I wrestled with daily doubts that anything could have happened within my loving, eccentric family.  Fortunately, I already was seeing a terrific, empathic therapist who was my lifeline through all of this.  As I delved into my past, I remembered snapshots of childhood memories of boat trips and daily life and endearing oddities, but also my father's affairs and strange things he said about sex. Then a specific body-memory came to me and whirled me into nausea and confusion.  It had no visual components but it was vivid and compelling. I could not have made up a flashback like this.  It was awful.

I found myself incredibly angry at my mother for her passivity that enabled my father to abuse me.  Then as she aged and was dying, I had to decide whether to confront her. Incidents at work brought out my latent anger and I learned to apprciate its positive power.  There was a creepy year in which a stranger sent obscene harassing letters to my workplace, in an intense reminder of the abuse.  Through all these life-events I continued to make sense of my early trauma and to befriend and care for the young self, my inner child, who had lived through and repressed the incest.  Gradually I came to feel love, joy and creativity in ways that were really new in my life.  And writing the book itself brought me to a new level of creative expression, catapulting me into retirement.

Thank you Jane for giving us insights into yourself, your journey through healing the pain of yourself and your inner children and your book.  I appreciate the the fact that you speak out about incest and the issues that go hand in hand with incest.  Gladly I will recommend this book to my friends.  As more of us speak out about our own abuse issues and how we healed ourselves, we give others the courage to start their own healing journeys.

If you are interested in knowing more about Jane Rowan and her book The River of Forgetting, you can go to the links that I will provide below.  The first link that I am sharing was from a radio interview that Jane did sometime last week. I hope that you will take the time to listen to this informative interview.


The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse



Again, thank you Jane for approaching me about this Guest Blogger article.  I appreciate the struggle that you went through to share your story and your book with other survivors of childhood sexual abuse. In sharing our experiences with incest and our healing journey out of incest, we help other survivors to know they are not alone and that they too can heal.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Story Of Incest And Healing - Guest Post At Bongo Is Me Blog

My second guest blog article of the week appeared today at the blog of Bongo Is Me.  Bonnie has put a Trigger Warning on the post.  Apparently it needs one from the comments that I got this morning.  Here is what Bonnie says about my post and me.

"This is the Eleventh in a series of guest posts's about real struggle..real life...real pain...and getting through to the other side....thank you to all my guests for helping me find my voice....
This woman Patricia Singleton writes an amazing blog about her journey through incest and how she survives today..she shares her courageous story here..
I am honored to have her here..Please show Patricia the love and encouragement you have to me..."

Bonnie, thank you so much for asking me to do a guest blog article for you.  I appreciate the opportunity.

The name of my blog article is A Story Of Incest And Healing.  The link to this article is

This is one of the most difficult posts that I have ever written.  According to the first comments on the Bongo Is Me Blog, reading my guest post caused three people to cry.  I cried reading their comments.  The last two blog posts have both been guest blog articles and have been the hardest for me to write.  Both pulled the feelings out of me that I felt on Father's Day.  I felt vulnerable and raw.  Both of those articles are the first time that I have ever recorded in writing the details of my first two remembered experiences  of incest.  Approach both of them with caution if you are an incest survivor. They are not easy reading.

Related Posts:

Guest Post At S.A.S.S.U Sexual Assault Survivors Standing

Today Is Father's Day