Thursday, August 29, 2013

Is Your Trauma Therapist/Counselor Qualified?

If you are an incest survivor, a sibling abuse survivor or a survivor of any form of child abuse and you decide to seek professional help, please make sure that your therapist or counselor is qualified and properly trained to work with you. Ask to see their certificate or license whichever is required for their particular field of work. Also some therapists and counselors are not trained specifically for trauma victims or for PTSD. Be sure that the person that you are working with is someone who is trustworthy.

With availability of the internet, not everyone that you meet is who they say they are. Don't assume just because someone asks you to let them do EMDR or some other new form of therapy with them that they are fully trained. The internet makes it easy for all of us to reach out to each other and to receive support and compassion from other survivors. Sadly, there are some people out there too that will take advantage of our goodness and our woundedness. Don't assume that someone has received training just because they sound knowledgeable.  Don't let someone manipulate you and guide you in a direction that may harm you. Pay attention to what your gut/intuition tells you about a person. Ask someone else that you trust what they think about this person. Listen to what this person tells you about themselves. Don't minimize what your inner voice is telling you. Trust it.

Not all people who trick you are evil. Some are misguided themselves. Others are self-centered and don't care how their actions may hurt others. Some act out of their own woundedness. None of that really matters and I don't mean them as excuses for what they do. It saddens me that they act out of that place in themselves but I have learned from my own experiences and my own healing that I don't have to let another person fool me because of their woundedness. I can pay attention to my boundaries and enforce them when needed. I can remove myself from that person's presence, even online. I don't have to let another person use me just because I feel sad for them. Today, as a survivor/thriver, I can protect myself. I can also learn from my past mistakes and grow past them.

Sometimes because I look for the good in people, I will miss or choose to ignore my inner voice that says something isn't quite right with this scenario or with what this person is telling me. Each time that I have ignored that voice, I have later learned that I should have paid attention to it. People sometimes disappoint me. Sometimes, I get used even. I am still learning in this area. I won't let a few disappointments keep me from looking for and seeing the good in others. I will be more cautious. That is all I can do. I can also share what I have learned here with my friends.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Quality of Relationship More Important Than Length Of Time

Happy 41st Anniversary, Daniel

I want to start out this post by sharing a quote from a friend of mine about relationships and marriage that I read on Saturday and liked so well that I requested the use of it in this post to my dear, sweet husband for our 41st wedding anniversary. Here is the quote:

"It is not how long you have been in your relationship or marriage that matters but how well. It is time to pause and think. How has this relationship affected your well being? Our well being is an important aspect of our lives that we must take serious. If our relationships affect our well being positively, we are bound to live life to the fullest..." Ebele Solu

Thank you Ebele for allowing me to use your words. As I get older, time seems to be going by so much faster. I sometimes struggle to keep up. Most times, I don't worry about it as I sit here in the safe home that Daniel and I created together and I love our life together. As I know I have said many times before on here as I have shared my healing journey, life hasn't always been easy on me or on our marriage. Our marriage has lasted thru all of the times of struggle, not only because we love each other, but also because we are friends. If we didn't like each other we probably would have given up when the struggles got near impossible. Daniel's love, strength and patience have gotten me through so many dark times. Living with an incest survivor is never easy, on so many levels, even one who is healing. Before and during the initial stages of healing, I was so angry, even rageful like my dad. I was in so much emotional pain that I didn't have an outlet for, that it came out as rage most often. I was so full of fears that I had to work at facing and cutting down to size. Daniel had to live with all of that pain while I healed it and learned to control, not him as I had done in earlier years, but my reactions to my fears. As you have read in my recent blog post after the fears that came up during our trip to and from Gettysburg, some of those fears are still with me and occasionally come up to be acknowledged and worked thru. 

You may look at what I just wrote and ask how can she call her marriage a good one? How has it survived all of that pain, anger and fears. My answer would be that we have survived as a couple partly because of God's Grace, I do believe that, partly because we are both very stubborn individuals who refuse to give up on our marriage or ourselves but mostly because we do love each other. My definition of true love is wanting what is best for the other person. Sometimes that love requires sacrifice and other times compromise. We have both done our share of those over the years. One very basic fact is that we trust each other. With that trust in place, there is no place for jealousy which I see doing so much harm in many relationships today. If you trust someone, there is no room or need for jealousy. Trust is a very big issue for me as an incest survivor. If I didn't trust Daniel I would not be married to him. It is that simple. He is a good man. I have seen that over and over throughout our years together. He cares about me, our marriage, our family and other people. He has a kindness that I have learned from. 

Kindness wasn't taught in my childhood home. Control, bullying, rage, fear were constants in my childhood. My parents were married for just over 30 years when they were divorced. Even though I had wanted my mom to leave my dad for most of my childhood, when the divorce was final, I cried. It meant the end of a dream that at some future date my parents would love each other and we would come together as a healthy, loving family. The divorce put an end to that fairy tale that my inner child held on to. Their marriage with 30 years had very little quality to it. Theirs was a marriage of domestic violence and the secret of incest. 

My grandparents had a long marriage that only ended with the death of my grandfather. My dad's alcoholism was passed down to him by his dad who got it from his dad most probably. The rage was also passed down from generation to generation. So was domestic violence within the marriages. These are my examples of length of time not being as important as quality in marriages and relationships. These examples of my childhood are why I am willing to continue to work on my marriage with the help of my husband Daniel.

I love you more today than I ever have, Daniel, simply because you are who you are and because you have stayed by my side and given me the space to do my healing. I hope that you agree with me when I say that our marriage is better than it has ever been. To get here today has been a mutual effort. I couldn't have gotten when I am today without your love and support. I would not have the full life that I do today without you in it. You have allowed me the space and time to grow into who I am today. You have loved me since before I could tell you the source of my pain. You have seen me thru the Hell of denial of the incest and the days of healing which in their own way were Hell too. Today I feel joy and peace. Laughter often rings through our home. You play a big part in all of that for me. 

I love you with all my heart, Daniel.
Happy Anniversary, Honey.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shards of Glass Book Review

I want to start this review of the book Shards of Glass, written by CW Seymore with a quote from another incest survivor that I also have read and admired, Ms Iyanla Vanzant:

"You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You will find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them."

Because of a question from a close friend - "Were you ever raped?" and her immediate reply "No - just molested" - CW Seymore started down a dark and painful road that she had never expected to have to travel, a road that lead her to healing from child abuse - physical, mental and sexual abuse including the of rape of a stranger.

A friend asked me if I "liked" reading Shards of Glass. In reading a memoir about child abuse in all of its horrible forms, how can a person "like" this book. "Like" is the wrong word. CW Seymore shows her reader exactly what she experienced and felt as an abused child whose father seemed to hate her. The horrors of child abuse are not things to be liked. This book is not an easy read. Shards of Glass is real, honest and revealing. To borrow a word from the chapters of Ms Seymore's book, you find snapshots of reality in the life of a child growing up in a very dysfunctional family.

I felt Ms Seymore's pain and her anger as she shares her childhood memories. I believe that many survivors will see parts of their stories in the pages of Shards of Glass. Thru the writing of this book, CW Seymore has added to the ripple effect caused by so many survivors who are now finding their voices to say, "The silence is broken. We will speak out and we will heal, first ourselves and then the world. We are no longer victims of abuse. We are survivors and proud of it. Either help us or get out of our way."

This is the first of a series of books to be written by CW Seymore. I plan to be in line to read everyone of them as they are written and published. I hope you will join me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Forgiveness, Lies And Trust

Hi, it is Saturday and I am cleaning house. Actually I am taking a lunch break right now and wanted to write down and share a few thoughts going thru my head from a number of conversations I have been in this week. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Forgiveness is not a one-time thing. You have to do it over and over as issues come up, your pain is felt and you have reached the stage of taking back your power from your abusers. Forgiveness isn't about the abusers. With forgiveness, I reclaim my personal power to not be hurt or controlled by another person thru their manipulation of my feelings, mind or body. My abusers may never know that I forgave them. I don't have to confront them or even tell them that I forgave them. Little things are easy to forgive. Big things take longer and some may never be forgiveness. That is my choice to make. I believe that it is okay to not choose to forgive some things if you don't want to or can't. I refuse to carry around guilt if I don't forgive and no one else has the right to guilt me with their thoughs on forgiveness. Sharing your thoughts on forgiveness is different than guilting me because I am not really or willing to forgive. Most people know the difference.

2. Lies are the hardest thing for me to forgive and I may never trust you again, depending upon the size of your lies and the depth of the hurt they inflicted upon me. Again, even if I forgive you, I may not tell you because I don't want you to think that I am inviting you back into my life. I am not. I won't give you the chance to hurt me again.

3. Trust doesn't come easily to an incest survivor. We were told too many lies as children and expected to keep too many dark secrets that no child should ever have to endure the pain from. Trust builds slowly but can be torn away in just a second. If you hurt me badly, don't expect me to talk to you about it. Chances are I don't trust you enough to be around you again, much less be vulnerable enough to talk to you and possibly be manipulated by you again. I won't open myself up to that. You may think that is not fair but was it fair to tell me lies that hurt me deeply when I found out about them. Everyone may not understand my reasoning but most survivors who were abused during their childhoods by those who should have protected them will understand, I think. I may one day forgive you but I will probably never trust you with my friendship again.

Now I need to get busy with some house work. I hope that you are all having a glorious Saturday. I am going to turn on some music and sing while I work. That always lifts my mood.