Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Love Yourself And You Will Teach Those Around You To Do The Same

These words are a comment that I posted when I shared a picture from a friend on Facebook. I have so many friends on Facebook and Twitter who, with their shares of words, poetry and photos, inspire me to think and to be a better person. Who inspired you today? Who has been inspired by you today?

Love yourself and it won't matter if others love you or not.

Know you are worthy of love whether another person gives it or not.

Your happiness comes from you, not from anyone else.

I didn't always know these things and I certainly wasn't taught this by my parents. If I loved myself and knew my own self worth, I wouldn't as been as easily controlled like they both wanted me to be. I wouldn't have been sexually abused as a child if I had known these things. Why, you ask? Because if I had loved myself and felt my own self worth, I would have been a child who would have told and rarely are children who are strong enough to tell someone abused. Abusers don't violate children who are likely to tell.

Now I have to get off the computer. My son is due to visit soon from his home across town before he goes to work. His sister, my daughter, is here visiting from Idaho for the week and my husband and I are taking them out to lunch later so we can all spend quality time together.

Have a glorious day and week and life, if you want to. Remember, you are in control of your happiness. Loving yourself makes all the difference to you and to those around you. Love yourself and you will teach those around you to do the same.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Loving Yourself Means Letting Go Of Negative Labels

Many of us were labeled as children. Family systems have a label for every member. Labels like Family Hero, Scapegoat, Peacemaker, Black Sheep. Some of those labels can be good and some of them not. Either way, you don't have to continue being that label unless you want to.

I was the Family Hero. The recognition that goes with being the family hero felt good but the pressure to be perfect and to take care of everyone to the exclusion of myself did not. Sometimes people still look to me to fix things. Sometimes I can but sometimes I can't. When I can't, that doesn't make me irresponsible or bad, like it felt when I was a child and even young adult. I have worked to let go of the perfectionism and its resulting pressure to be someone that I am not.

Many survivors are made into the Family Scapegoat and the dysfunctional family will do its best to keep that person stuck there because then they can blame everything that goes wrong with the family on that person. This is especially true if that survivor suddenly starts to tell the family secrets such as incest. Many survivors and their stories are discounted because, according to the family, that person has always been sick, or a liar,  just no good, or some other negative label to takes the focus away from the family system and its dysfunction.

As a survivor, you can make the decision for yourself to not be labeled any more. You can stop believing the family &/or the abusers who want you to stay labeled. Stop believing that you are a Scapegoat, Black Sheep, or even Family Hero. You are what you believe about yourself.

Part of learning to love yourself is to let go of all of the negative beliefs - your family's and your own. You can become who you want to be. You have survived the worst that life has to give. That makes you strong. Start out by forgiving yourself for believing the lies. Look at who you are without the labels. If you don't know who you are, explore. Find out what you like and don't like. Sit with your feelings and learn to recognise them without the drama that dysfunctional families often create. Life is a journey. Decide what direction you want to go in rather than the direction that your family is wanting you to go in. Realize that you can make decisions for yourself. You have the right to make choices on your own rather than being controlled by someone else's behavior.  You are a suvivor so act like one.

It is okay to be timid and shy and even unsure of yourself. Making choices and guiding your own life may be new to you. You are allowed to make mistakes and detours along the way. Mistakes are just lessons waiting to be learned. Mistakes don't make you a bad person. They show you what is important and what is not. Mistakes challenge you to look at life and yourself in a new way which is growth.

Being you shouldn't hurt. Most of the survivors that I have been blessed to meet are strong, caring, kind people because they know what it is like to be controlled and hurt by someone else. You can't wish away the hurt but you can become a better you because of it. Use your strength to grow healthier, to help other survivors, to be a better person than those people who want to hold you down. Move forward even it is is just one step at a time. Reach out when you are hurting. There are plenty of other survivors who care and will be there for you if you let them. No one has to deal with child sexual abuse alone. Sending love and blessings to each of you who read this today. Be a friend to yourself first. Love yourself. When you change yourself, you change the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Are The Effects Of Incest A Life Sentence For A Survivor?

Sharing some more of my Tweets on Twitter from several weeks ago. Tell me what you think.

The sad fact of my life is that at age 60, my abusers are all dead but the effects of incest live on in me.

I have done many years of healing work and am in a good to great spot most of the time with my incest issues behind me.

Even with healing, sometimes an issue will pop up and catch me by surprise and I find more grieving to do.

More grieving, more healing, more anger and fear to feel and then let go of because of the incest in my childhood.

A Survivor's work is never done, at least in my experience. Joy and peace do exist and I enjoy them when they are here.

And I still have those moments of fear come up when something triggers a memory or a feeling from my inner child.

I live with hope and laughter in my life and I still am a work in progress.

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. He died January 6, 2000. Because of the length of time that he sexually abused me, I count him as my main abuser and most of the issues that I have worked on came from the abuse done by him.

My dad was born in 1931 as the 3rd oldest of what would become a family with 12 kids. He quit school in 5th grade when he went to work in the fields with his dad to help feed their family. I don't know if he had been a good student or not. When I was older, I realized that he could barely read or write. He could write his name. As for his intelligence, I don't think he was very smart. He came from a family with alcoholism and codependency in it just as I did. My grandfather when I was older would start drinking on Friday evening as fast as he could cash his pay check and get to the store to buy beer. When I was growing up, we spent lots of weekends at their house. I was always afraid of my grandfather because he was loud, a big man and a mean drunk. He would drink all weekend. On Sundays, he would drive back to town to buy more beer even though it was against the law back then to sell alcohol on Sundays. You did not want to ride with my grandfather when he was drinking. I rode with him one time with my siblings.  I cannot understand how he was never in an accident or stopped by a policeman for drunk driving. He was all over the road. Whatever direction he looked, the car went. That was before you had seat beats in cars. He never drove over 40 miles per hour. Neither did my dad. This was also before you had interstate highways.

None of this is told to you as an excuse for my dad's behavior but to give you a little bit of background to his life and mine. I can feel sad for the child that he was and I can see where some of his patterns of behavior came from. I can see why he grew up into a frightened man who felt that he had to control everyone around him to feel safe. I did the same thing until I realized that control didn't make me safe or make me happy. For awhile, I copied what I saw as a child. You have to have awareness of behaviors before you can change them. My dad never saw that he needed to change anything. I have learned that control hides fear - lots of fear.

When you face your fear, you can give up the need to control. Letting go of fear makes room for you to start to heal.