Archive for the ‘positive steps’ Category

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Trying times…

March 26, 2020

These are trying times. No doubt about it. They can also be triggering. It is easy to feel trapped rather than restful. To feel fearful and uncertain rather than resting in the Creator. I am sure some of us have programming that can easily get triggered during times such as these.

It is time to make sure we take good care of ourselves. Know your grounding tools. If you have not already, develop your skills to handle being triggered. Learn to recognize when a trigger might be coming on so you can stop it before it takes full hold.

You can do this. We can do this. This is nothing compared to what you have already survived! Reach out to the people in your life you know are safe. It is OK to be nervous. It is not OK to allow fear to run (and ruin) your life.

My prayers are with all survivors, especially during these times. Use this at home time to read and rest and pray and nurture yourself and those around you. It is still allowable to take walks in most places so long as you keep your distance from others. Enjoy the sunshine and the fresh air. Have a balcony or a back yard? Enjoy them! Listen to music. Sing along! This will not last forever!

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What is healing…

December 4, 2012

I am not really sure what healing looks like. I think it is different for each person. After years of looking at it, I still don’t have a solid definition, but I can share with you some things that sure look like healing for me.

Healing Is

Healing is being able to laugh…even in the midst of pain.

Healing is being able to cry…even when others are around.

Healing is being able to somewhat identify what I am feeling,
and hopefully…even being able to have an idea of WHY I am feeling it.

Healing is knowing when I need to decompress,
being able to identify safe places to decompress,
and then…doing it.

Healing is being able to sense whether a person or place is safe
And then being able to keep myself safe.

Healing is being able to find joy in life.

Healing is being able to see good things…even when bad things are happening.

Healing is being able to have gratitude for what I do have
rather than bemoaning what I don’t.

Healing is being able to be productive in some way every day
even if I am the only one who recognizes it.

Healing is being able to take a step forward,
no matter how tiny
and even if it is only in my heart.

Healing is being able to face some aspect of my past…without completely crumbling.

Healing is being able to recognize that some part of my history,
no matter how small or big,
no longer has a hold on me.

Healing is being able to make plans…and know that they might actually happen!

Healing is being able to say that I made it through
another minute,
another day,
another hour,
another week,
another month,
another year,
another anniversary,
another flashback,
another body memory,

Healing is having the freedom to fully unleash my creativity and
sing again,
play music again,
write again,
talk again,
share again.

Healing is being able to give without manipulation
and receive without manipulation
even more importantly… recognizing the difference.

Healing is being to allow myself to truly love
and open myself to the potential for heartache without fear,
knowing that I can rise above anything that happens.

Healing is allowing myself to trust others
and being trustworthy myself.

Healing is giving myself permission to live life to the fullest
without thinking much about healing or hurting or my history.
It is allowing myself to temporarily “forget” that I even have an abusive history.

Healing is knowing that I was a victim who dared to survive
and am now a survivor who dares to thrive.

Healing is being able to put words to my experiences,
words like
“rape”
and “sexual abuse”
and “incest”
and “satanic ritual abuse”.
And healing is to put them without capital letters because
I am bigger and taller and stronger than they are
and I refuse to give them capital letter power in my life.

Healing is being able to cry and know that I am OK
and everything will be alright.

Healing is being able to see my Creator’s love for me
even when I know I don’t deserve it.

Healing is being able to see His hand in my life…even during the most awful of experiences.

Healing is being able to see His protection and how He got me through.

I may think of more things to add to that list. As I do, I may edit

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Being a Warrior and a Survivor…

November 29, 2012

I am a fighter…and I recognize that it is my Creator who gave me that ability to fight.

I am a survivor…and it is my Creator who brought me through all the hell to get to the wonderful place I am today.

I am filled with the Shalom of my Messiah Yeshua and it is His Ruach/Spirit that has helped me all along my healing journey.

I am a warrior, too. So, what is the difference between a fighter and a warrior? I think there is a lot. I started out as a fighter, fighting my way through what was going on in order to survive. I fought to be “sane” (whatever that means). I fought to make it through the day. I fought to stay alive. I fought to hide my true self from everyone around me. I fought to look “normal” so no one would know the truth. I fought and I fought and I fought, but it was a fighting that was based more upon instinctively swinging my “arms” to fend off an enemy.

Over time, though, I became a warrior. I went on the offensive. And that is when things really started to change. That is when the evil I was fighting really started to show itself for what it was…dark and malevolent. It was not that I did not see that before. It was not that I was not doing some warrior fighting before. But there came a time in my life when I had no choice but to come out swinging on the offensive. I had to for the safety of my youngest.

My battle to survive and just make it through life slowly transformed into a battle of fighting back until the fighting back became the main thing. After years of feeling as if I were struggling just to keep my head above water so I could breath, I slipped into years of taking ground. I started to fight for real healing.

There are some who decry the term “survivor”, as if that is somehow less than or as if it somehow holds us back. We must never use that term, but must instead call ourselves “thrivers”…or some other term to define who we are.

But I AM a survivor! I have survived horrendous things and made it out the end! I am PROUD of that. Being a survivor means they did not win! A cancer survivor is one who has conquered cancer. No one would ever think of telling him or her not to use that term! So, why is it not OK for us who have survived extreme abuse?

I am a survivor! I am alive! I am “sane”…well, I guess that may depend upon your definition of “sane”. I am smiling as I write that. I am HERE! I did not die. I did not end up in a mental ward. I did not end up in jail. I did not end up dead. I have a good marriage. I made it out of all the abuse. Yes, it took years to do. Yes, I am still partially amnesic. Yes, I have a lot of healing left to do. But I am ALIVE! I no longer answer to my abusers. Hallelu Yah!

I am both a survivor AND a thriver. You see, I don’t see it as an either/or kind of thing. I am both! And I am grateful. I can see the beauty in life and share it with others. Here is some of that beauty now.

 

 

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Living Life in the Face of Nastiness…

March 30, 2012

There are people in life who are simply nasty. They are mean, disrespectful and really don’t care how what they do affects others. When confronted with such people, we have choices to make. We can either react to them, wherein we lose ourselves by allowing them to control our lives and determine how we will live. Or, we can respond to them, wherein we maintain our own autonomy and integrity and choose how we shall live. I prefer the latter. That is my choice.

When I am confronted by nasty negative people I choose to remember that I, too, have had my “moments” of being nasty or ugly. It may not have been intentional. I may not have even been aware of how I was coming across. Or, I may have realized it as it was happening, but did not know how to “fix” it. Or maybe there was no fix…the damage was already done. Any way you look at it, I have had a negative impact on others at times in my life. So, I believe it is worthwhile to remain humble toward others, recognizing that I am certainly not perfect, either!

I also try to remember that everyone is the way they are for a reason. For good or bad, we have all had negative and positive experiences in life that have helped to shape us into what we are today. Sometimes, the balance between positive and negative was fairly even overall. But for some of us, one heavily outweighed the other.

For those whose positive experiences heavily outweighed the negative it can be difficult to understand those of who whose lives were the opposite. We may fumble where they do not. We may react to things that do not faze them one bit. I think it is good when each person can believe another’s story and try to imagine living in that reality. It can help us to be more empathetic toward others.

For those of us who weigh heavily on the negative, and some even in the extreme, it can be difficult to imagine life without that. We see the way others live and struggle to comprehend how they can do that. It just isn’t even on our radar.

Thankfully, though, there can be some good experiences even in the midst of craziness and evil, that give us some positive skills for life. For me, knowing my Creator made a HUGE difference. It is part of what helped to shape me and, I think, to temper how the abuse affected me.

I still deal with the physical effects of trauma brain and I can still experience flashbacks that are part of PTSD and getting  triggered.  However, I have learned over the years how to cope and work around the aftereffects. I know what I can do and what I cannot do and I no longer feel guilt or shame over what I cannot do…even when others do not understand. It is frustrating at times when people look less favorably upon me for what I cannot do. They cannot comprehend how even the simplest of things can be overwhelming at times. But I have learned to live with that and simply accept that there are things they simply do not know and, even if they did, might not be able to understand.

Life is good…even when it is hard. I am OK with that. My heavenly Abba/Father/true Daddy walks with me. So does my Messiah…Yeshua. Their Ruach/Spirit lives within me and that strengthens and comforts me…especially when life is hard.

I refuse to give up. I refuse to hold grudges. I refuse to not forgive. I choose to walk in freedom with my head held high…even when I am shaking inside.

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Cruelty and Healthy Boundaries…

September 17, 2010

What my mother has done is cruel. I keep trying to empathize and to understand her pain. But not matter how much I empathize…no matter how much I forgive…it still hurts like hell. I am the unwanted daughter. I did not step up to the plate. I did not take over. I stepped out of line. I left. I have no desire to be a princess other than in the One True Creator God’s kingdom.

I will never live up to her expectations. Her expectations (and his) lead to death. I have chosen a different path. If they do not want me…they can forget my son. I was actually willing to let them talk to him on the phone, but if they don’t want me…forget it. That is not being selfish…it is being real. It is not being vindictive…it is setting boundaries…healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are not OK in the cult. My whole life I had no boundaries. I did not know where I ended and other people began. I was trained to be a chameleon…to anticipate others needs/wants. Those in the cult who knew the trigger words and actions could get anything they wanted. NO MORE!!

I was accessed by a “Christian” therapist after we moved here. He had experience with cult clients. Little did I know that he was not only cult himself…but that we had met many years ago. It ends here…and now! I will not kowtow to my parents. I will not kowtow to anyone but my Lord…and He does not ask me to. He lifts my head to look into His eyes so that I can see His healing love.

I hurt. I am angry. I do not deserve to be treated this way. Even IF I had been the worst daughter on the planet…rather than simply and imperfect one…I do not deserve this. I have reached out via email for a year and a half. It has gone nowhere. I tried. My conscience is clear. I have done what I can. It is their loss. They can blame me all they want…but they have a part in this. I am an adult. I will not submit to them or to their control. I will not go back to the way things were.

So I will continue to mourn what was and I will mourn what never was. I will mourn the dream of having a somewhat regular family. I will keep my heart open until there is nothing left…and at that point…I will mourn for what will never be. I have dreams. I have always had dreams. Many of them are just broken dreams…turning to dust beneath my feet. Oh, well.

I have survived. I will survive. Nay…I will thrive! In spite of how hard my life is right now…I have more freedom than I ever did living under their control. The Creator has given me the gift of who I am…all of me. I am His…and no one else’s…no one’s.

I hope we can make peace before she dies…same with him. But if it does not happen…I refuse to beat myself up with guilt that is not mine.

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Anger Is My Ally and Having a Voice

July 15, 2010

I always used to be afraid of anger. Anger could get you in trouble. You weren’t supposed to be angry. So, if you were you darned well better hide it! Ack! So, what to do with anger?

I remember meeting with a therapist right after my separation from my then husband. I had started to see her for other things, but she switched us over to dealing with my marriage (or lack thereof) when I separated. My assignment was to write down all the things I wished I could tell him. Boy was that a tall order…but I did it.

When I brought it in to her she looked at it and then wanted me to read it. I just looked at the list and at her and could not do it. She insisted. I refused. I could not give voice to what I desperately needed to say. She would not let it go…so I got angry and threw it down on the floor. I find that choice interesting. I could have destroyed it or hidden it, but instead I threw it on the floor where I knew she could pick it up…which she did. She then started to read it again…only out loud this time. She gave her voice to what I could not give my voice to.

Listening to her read that list was incredibly hard. I don’t remember much more about that appointment, but I do know two things happened. Her saying out loud what I could not…even though he could not even hear it…was validating. I don’t know that I consciously thought of it that way at that time…but it was. To hear someone else saying what I wished I could say…was hugely validating. She did not think anything was stupid…or exaggerated…or insignificant…or anything else that some people might have tried to do with it. This woman was my voice when I did not have one and she began the process of setting my voice free. There were things on that list that I felt uncertainty or even embarrassment over. Her treating that list as she did took that away.

It was just like during another appointment (or perhaps it was later in the same appointment) when I described something he had done and she said, “So, he raped you.” I just burst into tears when she voiced those four simple words. I had always “felt” the word “rape” regarding those times (it was more than once), but I could never actually attach it. I could never out loud or consciously call it that…for a whole variety of reasons better left for another post…if I remember to do one. (OK…I just went and titled an empty draft to remind me.)

To hear someone describe what happened to me as “rape” was SO validating. I just sat there and wept. She confirmed my reality and she gave me my voice…both in the reading of that list and in calling what he did to me “rape”.

The other thing that happened was that I got in touch with a whole lot of pain and emotions that I had been stuffing through all those years of marriage. I was flooded with a world of hurt as she read everything on that list. Hearing it from her made it even more real. These were not things in my imagination or in my own head. These were real things. Real events. Real feelings.

Anger also started to rise. It had always been there in one form or another, but I always tried hard to not express it. There was one point toward the end when I actually threw some things at my ex. I felt really bad about doing it, but I was desperate to try to do something to hopefully get him to see what he was doing. I was hoping that my taking an action that was so out of character for me would shock him into actually listening to me for a change. It didn’t phase him one bit. I think I just gave him some fuel for the lies he was already telling me about me. Or…maybe it wasn’t all lies? Could it be that I was switching and did not know it? I don’t recall losing time. Any more, though, there are a lot of things I am no longer certain of. I do know that I was reacting to things he was doing…and he did not like it…nor would he acknowledge any responsibility for it. He was manipulative…very manipulative. If I tried to point out that I needed something from him in order to give him what he wanted from me I was accused of trying to blackmail him. He refused to accept the way things work between people. Sadly…everything that he was…he accused me of being.

As I look back on my life with my ex (something I try not to do any more than necessary) I think that my anger did come out in some ways. I would say that I was probably passive aggressive to some degree. I don’t remember it being a conscious thing. It wasn’t like I said to myself, “Self…if he won’t this then I will that.” Oh, no…that would have been SO wrong in my worldview at that time…and it still is. I was a good cult girl and would never consciously stoop to such manipulations. But I think it was slipping out from inside anyway. In fact, it is entirely possible that I was switching without even realizing it…that someone inside was trying to somehow protect me and make things better. But nothing ever got better. It only kept getting worse and worse. There comes a point where you can only stuff for so long before it starts coming out one way or another. One sad thing is that I know my children took some of the brunt…not that I was consciously abusive…but I was harsh at times in my perceived helplessness and frustration.

Anger can be such a powerful emotion. It can give us the energy to make changes that we really need to make. It can help to strengthen our resolve when there are tough things that need doing. It can also be scary. I was always terrified of anger…both the anger of others and of my own. I was always afraid of losing control and I was raised to always be in control. So, I continued to stuff a lot of my anger, although I think I did start expressing it more.

I wasn’t in therapy very long. When I finally got back in many years later, I was still afraid of anger. I was afraid that, if I started to let myself feel it, I would be like a volcano that kept spewing and spewing. I was afraid that I would explode and not be able to regain my illusion of having control over it.

Anger…helpful…scary…necessary…protecting…hurting…punishing. So many things can be involved with anger. I think the biggest thing I learned about anger, though, is that it is typically a cover-up emotion. Anger is not the real issue…it is whatever anger is covering up. The anger indicates some other emotion. It could be fear, for example. I am afraid, but I don’t want to admit I am afraid…do I feel anger. Fear requires acknowledgment of something and possibly having to take action. Anger can be a blind feeling of agitation that does not really require an action…other than to perhaps rage. I feel afraid of abandonment…but instead of acknowledging that and dealing with that…I cover it with anger over something completely unrelated.

Once I read about anger being a cover…I started to look deeper…to look underneath the anger to see if I could figure out what was there.  As I did that, I was able to start taking more control over my life…bit by bit…which made me feel more empowered…and less angry. Anger started to become determination…resolve…energy for the actions I would eventually need to take. Learning that about anger helped me a lot. I learned that anger is my ally. It is my indicator that something is not right…either with me…or with something happening to me or another.

I hope this made sense. I have a lot to do and wanted to get some thoughts out here. So, I have not taken much time to “polish” it up.

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My Place In This World & Coping with Social Situations!

April 6, 2010

I was reminded recently of a Michael W. Smith song called “My Place in This World”. That song has always touched my heart…for I have always struggled to feel as if I really fit in anywhere.

As a daughter of the Most High G-d, I am secure as to my place in my heavenly Abba/Father’s kingdom…of my place in the spiritual realm. Yet…even with that security, there are times when I feel so disconnected from everyone and everything that I even experience some doubts about that. Thankfully, I do regain my perspective and the doubts do pass.

When it comes to this world, though, to the people around me…I rarely feel as if I belong. I almost always feel out of place…as if I am on the outside looking in.

In The Cost of Reality, I share how I used to feel almost all the time. For a huge part of my life I rarely, ever felt comfortable or a real part of a group.  I hated going any place where there were a lot of people I did not know. I was almost panic-stricken the first day of school every year. I was that way with any new place or any new event.

Now I only feel the intensity of it if I get a particular program triggered. However, that does not mean that I feel comfortable around people and social events. I do…but I don’t. I have had to learn how to work my way around these kinds of things. Otherwise, I would be totally isolated.

One thing I do is try to get to events early. When I get there I try to connect with someone who is a part of the event and even offer to help in some way if I am up to it. If nothing else, I learn my way around and help to welcome others that come. By being one of the first ones there, I sort of make myself a part of what is going on. That does not solve it all, but it does make it a whole lot easier.

If I show up after a whole bunch of people are there…I feel lost. Unless I come with another person, or plan to meet another person there, I will typically feel very uncomfortable.  I will be uncertain where to sit…wondering if I am intruding upon some group of friends. I am very aware of cliques.  It seems like, in so many places, you have families and friends who have known one another for a long time. Where do I fit into that?

So…another thing I do is look for someone else who seems to be alone. The other person is usually grateful that I did and we end up having a rather enjoyable time together. I may never see that person again…but for those few hours we enjoyed one another’s company.  I have had many good laughs at tables where none of us women knew anyone else at the table.

I also try to smile a lot at people…just to see how they respond. They ones who light up at my smile, I keep an eye on. If it seems like they are open, I will walk up and talk to them…and find out if they are alone or not. That helps, too.

Sometimes, I just have to focus on what is going on and go through it. If programming is triggered, that is when it is the worst. I just have to accept that I am not in a frame of mind where I can truly trust anyone. I just need to smile, be pleasant and get through it.

Sometimes I experience an impending sense of doom that I cannot connect to any person or place or event. It is just a feeling I walk around with. That, too, makes it difficult in social situations. I keep wondering if I have somehow blown it…somehow said or done something wrong. I have learned that I just have to ride it out if I cannot find a legitimate reason for it.

So, I have all sorts of struggles with social settings…unless I am in the midst of giving it. Yet…I can speak and sing without too much difficulty. Or at least I once could. It has been a long time since I have done it. In fact, since I started realizing the truth about my history and my makeup I have not really pursued it. There is a difference between being up in front of a group and being down within the group. I had a therapist who was the same way. She could teach a class…no problem. But as a student…she was actually rather shy. It is a matter of being in my element.

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Yay! Angela Shelton for MacKenzie Phillips!

September 29, 2009

I am so proud of Angela Shelton! She spoke up for MacKenzie Phillips. MacKenzie has been taking a lot of flack for coming out and talking about how her father raped her over a period of years. See: High on Arrival – MacKenzie Phillips

It is tough enough for those who have been raped and abused to speak out. When it is a parent who does it…it is even harder. Harder for the child to accept it themselves and harder to share it. When that parent is high profile…rich and famous…and even beloved…it becomes even harder! The last thing these victims need is to be ridiculed and their integrity questioned.

So…yay, Angela. Thank you for speaking up. Somebody needed to. People need to wake up.

One of the things, too, that MacKenzie is taking flack for is her use of the term “consensual” once she turned 18.  Well…that is not surprising. When a child is raped by their parent…and that is exactly what it is…rape…the child is in a position of subservience to the parent. It is very difficult for a child to believe that a parent is evil or bad. A child takes on the idea that they have to be somehow at fault…that they somehow enticed or wanted it or???

The child is being groomed to be a “mistress” aka “sex slave” to the parent. This does not suddenly shut off at 18. In the mind of the child, it can seem consensual because of the age…but that does not make it so. Once groomed to be a sex slave, it continues until something happens to break the cycle. That something can come from within the child/now adult…or it can come from without. The parent might suddenly stop or someone else might find out and bring it to a halt. Any way you look at it…it is NOT consensual. It is merely the extension of a relationship that was based in rape and NOT consensual.

If a child is part of a ritual abuse family or group, going beyond 18 can be the norm. Or, even if it stops as a teen, it can be resumed later on as an adult. The child is groomed from an incredibly young age…oftentimes starting in infancy. It is not difficult for the parent (or other adult) to trigger the mental conditioning aka programming to get the person back under their control…and yes…even to the point of having sex with them.

I wish people would stop believing that people just cannot do these kinds of things. They can…and they do! It is time to bring this stuff out of the shadows and stop judging those who are brave enough to bring it into the light.

Go, MacKenzie! Go, Angela!

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Feeling Positive

August 18, 2008

I am approaching a time of year when it is typically more difficult for me, due to being a cult survivor. Yet, I am also growing. Yes, I sense the struggle beginning to take place within. However, this time of year is only one part of my life. It is NOT my whole life! I refuse to let it be my whole life!

I am choosing to make sure that my focus is not so totally on what is starting to happen that I neglect to feel good and positive about other areas of my life. I am moving forward in some areas. That is exciting.

So, regardless of what this time of year brings…I am looking up! I am moving forward. I am not going to let my upcoming struggles keep me in the dark. Even when I find myself reeling under the enormity of things, I will also keep my eyes on the positive steps I am taking in my life!

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It Feels Good!

July 6, 2008

It feels good to move forward…to take positive steps for myself.

It feels good to know that I am growing inside.

It feels good to know that I can set healthy boundaries…and still love the ones I am setting them with.

It also feels good to feel stronger. Each step I take forward makes me stronger. And I know Who it is that helps me do that. I know that I cannot do it on my own.

It feels good to be able to give and receive support.

It feels good to know that I am loved and cared for.

It feels good to be able to love and care for others.

It feels good to be able to keep on facing the past without letting it hold me back from the future.

It feels good to be able to write things that others actually enjoy reading.

In fact, it feels good to be able to write things that I enjoy reading! Like my poetry!

It feels good to know that I am not alone…even though there are times when I still find myself feeling very isolated and alone.

It feels good to know that I do not have to live by feelings even though I am sometimes overwhelmed to the point of feeling incapacitated by them.

I know that all things eventually pass. Life is up and down. There will be good days and bad days. Up days and down days. I won’t have all good days, but neither will I have all bad days!

It feels good to be able to face life, knowing that Yahweh God has all things in His hands. He is allowing things in my life to help me grow strong. He is bringing people into my life to help me…and people for me to help. And that, too, feels really good!

I am grateful for what I have.

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