Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

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Remembering?

September 17, 2021

I like to do jigsaw puzzles on my tablet. Just now I was doing one of a deep red rose where the rose is almost the whole picture. I like to do the edges first.

As I was doing the edges, I noticed something didn’t feel quite right. It took me a couple minutes, but I figured it out. This rose has tiny water droplets all over it. In the little pieces, the deep dark red with the moistness of the water looks like inner organs of the body. Like flesh cut open.

When seen as a whole, all you see is a rose with tiny water droplets. But when seen as tiny little pieces, you don’t see a rose. And so the imagination can run wild. And the mind can make connections with memories.

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Obedience – the Key to True Peace!

October 19, 2020

Obedience is key to peace, but obedience to who? Not my abusers! That never brings any true lasting peace. And not to any false gods. That, too, will not bring true lasting peace. There is only One to whom I give my obedience (outside of legitimate civil authorities) and that is the One True God–Creator G-D.

Creator G-D has given me His teachings, His laws, His commands for my benefit. They are there to protect me. When I follow them, I know that I am doing what He knows is best for me. When I obey them, I am keeping myself within His will, His guidance, His protection. I cannot expect Him to watch over me and protect me when I am willfully disobeying His teachings!

In order to obey His teachings, I need to know what they are. To know what they are, I need to read them and study them. I also need to ask Him to show me how to apply them to my life–to give me understanding. He promises to give me wisdom if I will just ask for it.

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Things I Learned in Recovery and Life

July 18, 2020

I have been thinking lately about things I have learned in recovery and life. Some things I learned easily. Some things came very hard and took a long, long time.

I learned so many valuable things from sitting in meetings and listening to others. My sponsors shared things with me, as did my spiritual mentors and spiritual parents. And, of course, just over the hard course of life I learned some things, too.

Yet, I sometimes feel as if I have not learned much at all. I find it is good to take a few minutes every now and then to remember what I have learned and to pay attention to whether or not I am applying it to my life. It seems like there is never ending work I need to do.

Here they are in random order as they came to mind. Some are similar, or are related, in some aspect. Some overlap.

1. I remember one sponsor telling me that what others think about me is none of my business”. I really struggled with that one for a long time. The reality is those who love me the most will accept me as I am and I don’t need to be concerned with what they think. If they are concerned about something they see in me, they will ask about it! Those who are not close to me–well, what they think really just does not matter–hence, it is none of my business!

2. Live and let live. The key behind that one was for me to not be codependent and trying to “fix” others. Each one of us has to live our lives and work our programs ourselves. I cannot work another person’s program for them. I cannot make decisions for them. I really need to remember that. This applies to both recovery programs and dealing with survivor healing.

3. Let go and let God. I cannot be God in another person’s life. I can encourage. I can share truth. I can walk alongside. I can even lovingly challenge. But there are times in life when you just need to let a person go… let them walk in whatever way they are choosing to walk. I have to let go of them and not try to control them. They need to make their own decisions. It goes along with “live and let live”. This was a really key one for me when I was dealing my ex. I also had to let my children go and just trust them into God’s hands.

4. “If the shoe fits, wear it. If it does not fit, don’t put it on.” If I see/hear something that seems to apply to me, own it; but do not own what is not mine. If someone accuses me of something and it is not true, don’t take it on. Just like in number one, don’t worry about what they think. The truth will come out eventually. If it is true, though… be responsible for it.

5. I could not remember this one exactly, but my hubby remembered it: “You would stop worrying about what people think about you if you realized how little they actually do.” In other words, most people just don’t spend that much time thinking about me. They have more important things to do in life.

6. Just because I hear, or read, something that fits me… don’t assume that person is referring to me. It could just be coincidental and, in fact, most likely is. There are so many common experiences in life that it is highly doubtful the person was thinking of me… which goes back to number 5. If the person, by chance, IS referring to me, so what. See number 1 and number 4!

7. Avoid people, places and things that will cause me to stumble. It makes no sense to keep going back to people or places or things that will lead me astray–that will bring me down–that will place me into temptation’s path.

8. Avoid people who are toxic. There are some people who, by their very nature, suck the life out of others. They take and take and take and either refuse, or are simply unable, to give anything back to others. If I cannot avoid having the life sucked out of me by these kinds of people, I should avoid them.

9. Find like-minded people and hang out with them. Stick with the people who will encourage me and help me to stay on the path God has me to walk.

10. True friends will tell you the truth about yourself, even if it means risking your anger and rejection. There is nothing more valuable in a friendship than knowing that the person loves you enough to tell you the truth. It reminds me of Pro 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

11. God does not care how popular I am or how comfortable I am. What He cares about is my heart connection with Him. Oftentimes, what I think is most important–what I am most focused on–is not what God is focused on. He is more interested in refining me than pampering me.

12. It is OK to agree to disagree. There are times when two people will simply not see eye to eye on something. I neither have to convince them that I am right, nor do I have to be convinced that they are right. There is a third alternative… to simply agree to disagree. When I was growing up, there was no third alternative. In fact, to be wrong about something meant that there was something wrong with me.

13. Look for those who I consider to be successful and try to emulate them. I always think of Florence when I think of this principle. She was a woman I knew who lived her life in a way that showed me what living as a true Christian was really all about. She did not live religion. She lived a heart connection to Yeshua/Jesus and it showed. She was “real”. There are others that I have known like that, too.

14. Take whatever you are told about yourself to God and ask if there is any truth in it, even if it is just a grain. It used to always be that, when someone told me something really negative about myself, my first reaction was to get really defensive. Once I calmed down, though, I would ask God to show me if there is any truth in what I was told. I have had times when He showed me that things were true and times when He showed me that it was the other person’s issue, not mine. Or, it was a mix of both.

I find that I can still get a bit defensive at times, but mostly I am able to just think it over and try to dialog about it. Sadly, some people just automatically interpret any kind of dialog as being defensive. It is like, if I don’t just automatically agree with them, they believe that I am “defensive” or “in denial”. That is sad to me. It is in the dialoging that I think both sides can better understand the other. I can understand what they are trying to say they see and they can better understand what it is they really see.

15. Don’t ignore the message just because you don’t like the messenger. That was a big one in recovery. As people from all stages of recovery and life would come in, there would be people there that I just flat out did not like. I doubt that they liked me, either! But I learned to just listen to them anyway. Even the newbies had things to share that helped me.

16. You cannot control what other people think, feel or believe. It is better for me to just work on what I think, feel and believe.

17. You cannot please everyone. There are some who will not like you or get along with you no matter what you do. It is better to just be real and let the chips fall where they may.

18. Love is a choice–not a feeling. Feelings come and go. Choices can remain firmly in place. I can choose to love, regardless of how I feel.

19. Loving someone is worth it, even when it comes at a cost. Yeshua paid a high cost for His love for us. Can we do any less?

20. Love does not mean having no boundaries. Just because we love someone does not mean that we should let them walk all over us. Yes, we can choose to give something of ourselves up, in love, for the sake of another. However, it is a different thing, altogether, to continue to allow someone to abuse us.

21. My life is a gift from God. I need to honor Him, as well as myself, by taking good care of me. That includes taking care of all aspects of me. My body. My mind. My emotions. My spirit. All of me.

22. I have 2 ears, but only 1 mouth. I should strive to listen at least twice as much as I talk.

21. Don’t quit before the miracle comes. I used to hear this in recovery all the time. So many times things look so bleak. Yet, a miracle is just around the corner. We must hang in there, watching for it to happen.

22. Don’t compare my pain to others’ pain. Pain is relative. We can each handle varying types and amounts of pain, but it ALL hurts!

23. Don’t compare what I can do with what others can do. We are all gifted in different ways. Plus, we go through different seasons in our lives. In some seasons we can do more, or different, things than in others.

24. Don’t compare my history with others’ other than for the purposes of finding and giving support. We all have a story. No one’s story is better than, or worse than, another’s. No one’s story is more significant, or less significant, than another’s.

25. People are gifts for a season. I was talking with a therapist many years ago about the people I had lost in my life. They were gone, for one reason or another, and it saddened me. She said that it helped her with those kinds of losses to see those people as gifts for a season. She was not minimizing the losses, just putting them in perspective. I found that really did help me.

26. KISS… Keep It Simple, Silly! Don’t overcomplicate things. Life is complicated enough!

27. It is about progress, not perfection. I will always have areas in which I need improvement. It is not about being perfect, or doing things perfectly. It is about improving, no matter how slowly or how slightly. Just keep improving! Just keep making progress.

28. Healing is a process… a journey. While there are some healing events in life, which I have both experienced and witnessed, most of healing is a journey. It is an awesome life journey filled with experiences that range from the sublime to the crushingly painful. It all moves us forward.

29. Keep very short accounts. In other words, don’t let resentments build. This works two ways. If I have offended someone, I need to accept responsibility, apologize, ask for forgiveness and make amends. If I have been offended by someone else, I need to work through it and either let it go, or lovingly confront that person. I need to forgive them for my own sake. If they admit wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness, I need to give it to them.

30. Forgiveness does not mean throwing out common sense, boundaries or safety. It does not mean allowing someone to continue to abuse me, although I may choose to overlook some bad behavior at times… out of true love. It does not mean being foolish. If someone molests a child and seems to be genuinely remorseful and repentant… I can forgive them… and even support them in their healing. (Yes, even with my history.)  However, for their own sake and for children’s sakes, I will not permit them to be alone with a child.

31. Being able to ask for and give forgiveness, when appropriately done, is a sign of strength, not weakness. I am strong when I can choose to let something go. I am strong when I can choose to not allow it to effect me anymore. (Which is not to be mistaken for ignoring it. See number 30.)

32. Neither speak gossip, nor listen to gossip. Gossip is nothing less than character assassination. If there is a real issue to be resolved, I can offer support and counseling and help. But if that is not what the person wants, I must NOT listen!

33. Anyone who gossips TO me will most likely gossip ABOUT me.

34. Treat others the way I would want to be treated. If I am not sure how to handle something about someone, think about what I would want them to do if the situation were reversed.

35. Treat others the way that I think Yeshua/Jesus would treat them.

I am sure there are many others I will eventually think of, but these are a good start to remind me of the lessons I have learned.

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Forgiving the Unforgivable…Is it Possible? Is it Wise? Is it Safe?

April 10, 2015

There is so much confusion over what forgiveness is and what it is not.

It is NOT forgetting.

It is NOT pretending nothing ever happened.

It is NOT trusting again.

Depending upon the offense and the people involved, it can be possible to rebuild trust (or even build it for the first time). It can also be possible to gain a relationship where the healing goes deeply enough and extensively enough that it really is as if nothing happened. And it can be possible that after time passes, the offense does slip away from at least conscious memory. Yes, those things can be a part of forgiveness, but they do not have to happen in order to forgive. In fact, in many cases it can be downright dangerous for those things to happen.

One of the very best explanations of forgiveness on a human level that I have seen is in the video done by Dr. Stephen Marmer for Prager University. You can find it here:

If you are interested in the transcript, it can be found here:  Marmer on Forgiveness.

Many years ago, I understood that there are two levels of forgiveness, both of which are in the bible. So, yes, this does fit in with biblical forgiveness…another very misunderstood concept. If you have questions about that, please don’t hesitate to contact me, either in the comments or via the contact form, and I will do my best to answer them. For those who are interested, I did run this by a pastor who thought Dr. Marmer was a pastor until he saw that he is a psychiatrist.

Dr. Marmer takes one of my two levels of forgiveness and divides it again into two, making three total levels. I totally agree with him.

I cannot recommend this video enough and I hope it blesses you.

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Continuing to learn about “trauma brain”…

March 17, 2014

I recently started reading again about PTSD and what I call “trauma brain”. The stress of some things in our living situation started to overwhelm me and I really needed to find more support and more information. So, I started searching again and found more information. Actually, there seems to be quite a bit more, but here are some things I am finding.

Apparently, they are now coming up with official labels for “trauma brain”…the brain that has developed in a biologically different way as a result of persistent abuse/trauma in early childhood. I am still learning about the labels and how they are separate and how they overlap with PTSD.

They now have something called Complex PTSD…or C-PTSD. I believe this is a new label because I don’t remember seeing it before. I also saw DTD…Developmental Trauma Disorder. There are several articles that I have not read, yet, but I am going to share them here because a quick perusal indicates that they have some very useful information.

A few years ago I read about the push to put DID under the PTSD category in the DSM. There was quite a debate about it. Clearly the two are connected, but not everyone agreed on putting one under the other. I wonder whatever happened with that. Perhaps, some of these articles hold the answer.

So, here they are, in no particular order…more articles on PTSD in its various forms. I chose the ones that went the most in depth (which is why I have not read all of them yet myself).

Developmental trauma, complex PTSD, and the current proposal of DSM-5 by Vedat Sar

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder by Wikipedia

Reconceptualizing Child Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare  by Ally Jamieson, MSW

Part Four: From care to where? Early brain development susceptible to neglect, abuse – Emotional, physical trauma in childhood can cause delays in brain maturation, say experts by Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun

I have added these links to the Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain page.

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Telling my story…

November 20, 2013

is not easy. Nor is walking out my healing. There are many who would not understand my story. They would think it too fantastic…to unbelievable. They would not want to believe that such things even happen. Funny thing is…some of those same people will read the Old Testament in the bible and not question for a moment the child sacrifices and pagan practices mentioned there. (For those who are upset that I use the word “pagan”, get over it. That word is used in the bible, so if you don’t like it, take it up with G-d. I mean no offense.)

In addition to not being able to fully share my story, there is the fact that I still have to deal with what I dub “trauma” brain and PTSD. I kept thinking I was getting better and then things would happen that would seem to throw me backward. Now, the reality is that I AM better on so many levels. But my other reality, as I have been discovering over the past 6 – 8 years, is that abuse in childhood results in the brain developing differently than the brain of a child who is not abused. I have a whole page dedicated to articles on that topic. Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain  Most of the articles are technical and deal with medical studies. There does not seem to be much in the way of practical information on how to heal from this or live with this. So, I do the best I can.

There are some things I have noticed. One thing is that the PTSD leaves me very vulnerable to “over”reacting to stress. In other words, I cannot handle the same stresses that a non-PTSD person can handle. What might be merely an annoyance or discomfort for someone else can result in my insides shaking like crazy. The intensity can be huge. I also have flashbacks that are sometimes so strong that I want to rock back and forth to deal with all that energy.

It can be very challenging for me to be out and about as I never know what will hit or when. I can be at the store or on the road when, all of a sudden, I just want to be home…NOW. It diminishes over time, that is, until I get hit with some other life event that knocks me for a loop. Then I feel as if I am thrown back to square one. For a long time, I thought I should be able to fix this…I just need enough therapy or counseling. But that won’t fix a biological problem. Even the PTSD has a biological tie-in and is connected to the trauma brain…seeing as how the same things caused both.

Between trauma brain (which affects how memories are stored and retrieved) and PTSD (which leaves me more vulnerable to life’s stresses ), day-to-day living can be very interesting…to say the least. Oh, and did I mention that I am also rather amnesic? Yep, I am missing all but a handful of memories of ten years of my younger sister living with our family and a whole host of other things in my growing up years and some of my adult life. Some of it may be missing due to improper storage or non-storage because of trauma brain. Some of it is repressed. Some of it may be hidden behind the cloud of dissociation.

At least I now know that there is precious little I can do about a lot of this other than to pray and just keep pushing forward, one day at a time. I used to think there was something I was neglecting.

Ever since my son was arrested, I have been struggling a lot more than usual…a lot. I am forgetting things…or as one doctor once told me…I am probably not forgetting them, I am simply not recording them. I find myself oftentimes leaving things unfinished as I get so easily distracted. I cannot focus as well. Food gets burned. I leave things out in recipes (not often, thankfully, as I have really been working on checking my recipes multiple times while cooking).

Even before his arrest, I was noticing flashbacks, but my ability to handle them is diminished. Too much added stress, I think. I see things and can feel the stress inside starting to skyrocket, so instead of going through that door or down that tunnel to see what is there…what memory is trying to surface…I find myself pushing it away.

Anyway, that is life for me right now. Or at least some of it. I feel overwhelmed. I cannot call people I want to call. I am just making it through each day and trying not to feel guilty for not being “better” than I am. Yeah, I know this is not my fault and largely out of my control, but the rest of the world does not understand and that is what makes it hard. I so want to look “normal” to others because I don’t want to have to tell my story to them. But the reality is that, sooner or later, I need to tell at least a part of it. Maybe…just maybe…they will understand.

To all my friends that I am not calling. I am sorry. It is just beyond me right now and has been for quite a while. I was hoping things would calm down by now…but they are not. In fact, the family situation just keeps getting worse and I am fighting against the effects of it.

I don’t have the energy to proofread this. I hope it turned out OK.

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Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In the Brain by Jon Hamilton

November 19, 2013

I just added another article: Childhood Maltreatment Can Leave Scars In The Brain by Jon Hamilton to my Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain page. Again, it is a reminder that maltreatment of any kind can leave lasting effects on the brains and lives of the abused.

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What’s In a Name?

July 31, 2013

My earliest conscious memories regarding my name was of never being allowed to go by a nickname…even to the extent that I was threatened to be in trouble if my mother ever heard someone call me anything other than my full first name. Others did not understand this, nor did I. But it was my reality and the reason for it was more serious than I knew.

I remember coming home in the first grade from school and one of the neighbor girls was teasing me by calling me a shorter name. She wouldn’t stop even when I asked her to. I remember being worried (read that as “scared”) that my mother would hear her. My only consolation was that this girl lived a couple of houses or so before mine and ours was up in the back…behind the main house. Thankfully, my mother did not hear.

As an adult, when I asked my mother about that strict rule, she said something along the lines of wanting to hear my name because she had worked so hard on picking out a nice one. She chose that name and wanted me to be called that name…period. She came across as if she had not been that strict in laying down the rules, but I remember. There is a lot this partial amnesic does not remember, but I remember that. It was programmed into me to NEVER use a nickname. It was not until many years later that I began to understand the truth behind that demand.

I remember struggling as an adult…married with children even…to try to be me. It is like I woke up one day and realized that I did not really know who I was. I did not know what I liked or didn’t like. It was a perm gone awry that turned me onto that. I looked totally different. I got teased a bit for the drastic change, but that is when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I really did not know whether I liked it or not. It wasn’t what I wanted. It was drastically different. But did I actually not like it?

I tried to look at the woman in the mirror as if she was NOT me. Would I like that hair style on THAT woman? I decided I did, but I felt a bit of disconnect between that woman and me. That woman was not what those around me expected to see, which got me thinking. I decided that I wanted to become the woman God created me to be rather than the woman I was pressed into being. All my life I was always being what everyone else wanted, but what did “I” want? What did “I” like? And even more importantly, what did God create me to be? So, I set out on a journey of exploration. I wanted to find out who “I” really was/am. And what a journey it was!

Right there in the very beginning I was hit with a strong realization. I use the word “strong” because it was something that I knew for sure, although I could not have explained why or how I knew it. I just knew very strongly that I would never be able to be the me God created me to be if I went by my birth name. So, I decided I wanted to be called a nickname, which was really just a shortened version of my first name…half of it to be exact.

I knew my parents would not like it, so I started with my husband and those closest to me. I remember that some questioned what I was doing. New hair style, which I openly admitted was not my intention, but reassured them (especially since the hairdresser was a friend) that I did like it. New name. What was up? I just kept to myself what my realizations were and what my goal was.

Once I saw that those around me were willing to really try to remember to call me by my nickname, I asked my parents to do the same. Naturally, they did not like it. Thankfully, I did not see my parents nearly as often as I saw my husband and everyone else. And then I noticed it.

I had started to change internally, even if not all that much externally. I started to feel more freedom to gingerly explore, and my sense of who I was altered. I grew stronger, more confident and had a greater sense of my worth. And then my parents would come over and call me by my full name. Bam! It was like a switch was flipped and I found myself struggling to keep the ground I had gained. This happened over and over until I learned to turn it off.

Although I did not know anything about programming or my cult family heritage at that time, I did understand that there was a definite connection to my full name and being controlled and molded. It was one of the key events of my life as I moved toward freedom. I never went back to my full birth name and now have a completely different name.

So, what’s in a name? I think a lot! My birth names were given by my parents. They had really nice meanings and had programming attached to them. My current names have wonderful meanings and freedom attached to them. They were gifts from my Creator…my heavenly Abba/Father. I am no longer bound to programming or to the former names. When someone from way back calls me by that name, I don’t like it, but the effect is no longer there. It is more of just an annoyance.

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More Resources…

July 31, 2013

I am amazed at how much more information there is out there on how abuse affects the brain than there was only about 10 years ago. Back then you could hardly find anything…or at least anything for the lay person. Now, I see all kinds of articles and studies. There is more understanding of how the brain works and how memory is affected…lots of good information. I hope it helps someone.

I have updated my Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain page once again.  It looks like this will be an ongoing thing as more and more research is done. I hope that I will also see start seeing a lot of articles on successful healing and how the lives of survivors are made better.

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Working through things…

May 27, 2013

I have had to make a very tough decision, but life is what it is.

I will survive. I will continue to find joy in the midst of the grieving…even as things seem to be taking a turn for the worse.

I know the One who turns all things for good…even when it is hard…or even impossible…for me to see it. Actually, I do see some good in this. It is just that I also see a lot of sadness and hurt.

I truly do not believe we have much time left before Messiah returns. This whole situation may become a moot point before we even know it.

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What Is Healing?

March 16, 2013

When I first started out on this last leg of my healing journey…the awareness of DID and the realization of some of what had happened to me (which was an “aha-now I understand” time)…I had an idea in mind of what healing looked like. For me, it meant that my hard work (with G-d’s help) was somehow going to reverse all that had been done to me and there would be a complete merging which I called “integration”. I looked at it like a broken bone or a sickness. I wanted to be restored to the condition prior to the break of illness…or to be made even better. After all, they say a broken bone that heals is stronger in the area of the break and will never break exactly there again. I wanted to be like pre-DID and trauma.

Looking back, I would have to say that I was pretty naive, but not in a bad way. I believed what I needed to believe in order to start the journey and do what needed to be done. There were things I did not yet understand about DID and how abuse affects the brain. There were also implications in my view of healing that I did not fully think through…implications that would later change my view of healing…and again…not in a bad way.

Initially, my goal was simply to work on whatever needed to be worked. If I needed to face a memory…so be it. If I needed to reach out to an insider…so be it. Whether it was writing, listening, sharing, art…I did it. I believed that if I just kept doing what I was doing that integration/merging would occur naturally. It would not have to be forced. And it pretty much did happen that way. As I focused on healing, integration and merging seemed to happen almost seamlessly and without any real effort. Some of it happened in huge chunks during several days I spent with a counselor at her home. I stayed with her twice and through days of prayer and working with insiders massive amounts of integration/merging happened.

Over time, I came to realize that not all of healing is as simple as that. Now, I believe that a huge part of healing is to simply live my life…enjoying it as best I can…and seeing the beauty around me in addition to seeing what is evil in the world. I walk in the Spirit of the Creator, trusting Him to show me whatever I need to see and to help me with whatever I need help with. He has always been my greatest Healer…my best therapist. And He has helped me see that my idea of what healing looks like was very faulty.

I know the Creator can do anything and I believe He could even make it like nothing had happened…but that is not real. Like so many others, I had to come to terms with a childhood I simply never had. It was not just a matter of putting the brain back to how it was originally created. All my childhood experiences shaped and affected my brain. Removing the effects of the negative experiences does not replace them with the positive effects of the good things that never happened!

I also realized that all those things that did happen a part of what make who I am today. And even with all my foibles and what I perceive as “weakness” and “brokenness”, I am a pretty awesome person. I am a walking miracle and I am doing pretty darn good considering all I have been through. So, part of healing is also accepting imperfect functionality.

So…maybe…healing is not about restoration (like a broken leg). Maybe it is more about learning to live as I am and celebrating the me I have become and the me I am becoming. Maybe it is more about giving myself the freedom to enjoy life now…without guilt and with less and less impact coming from the past. It is about accepting imperfect functionality. (What is “perfect”, anyway?) It is about learning not to compare myself to others…not my abilities, my weaknesses or my strengths. Every one of us has abilities of some kind; we just don’t all have the same ones. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths, regardless of how healed or broken we are. It is about not comparing my healing journey to another’s. We all walk on different paths.

I know I still have more to learn, but I carry one thing with me on my learning/healing journey…one very important thing. I know the Creator of all things and I know who I am in my Creator. I know I can trust Him to continue to lead me. Whatever is ahead, He will help me to face it.

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More Articles on the Effects of Trauma on the Body

December 28, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genes and Immune System Shaped by Childhood Poverty, Stress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullying by Childhood Peers Leaves a Trace That Can Change the Expression of a Gene Linked to Mood

 

Increased serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation is associated with bullying victimization and blunted cortisol response to stress in childhood: a longitudinal study of discordant monozygotic twins

 

Factors underlying variable DNA methylation in a human community cohort

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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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Updated Page…

December 3, 2012

I updated my “Abuse and the Brain” page. It is now called “Abuse, Trauma & the Brain” and I added two more articles at the bottom.

These two articles deal with soldiers who have PTSD. Why do some have it and some don’t? They are beginning to study these soldiers lives PRIOR to going into battle to see if there is a clue there. It appears, so far, that it is possible that those who develop PTSD in combat actually already have it. They have had traumatic experiences that caused them to have some symptoms of PTSD prior to the military, symptoms which subsided a bit while in combat, but then came back with a vengeance even worse afterward.

I have to say that my personal experiences seem to bear this out. I have difficulty watching videos that have intense scenes in them. I used to be able to “handle” it when I had to, but it is still there. You would think that, with all the healing I have experienced that it would be better and, in some ways, I so seem to be better able to handle it. However, in some ways it is worse.

I think  my age and the fact that I no longer have the strong young body that could take the stress and bounce back faster is a factor. I simply don’t have as much energy for the “fight”, so I try to be careful about what I expose myself to. A little bit of nervousness (like when I am going to sing) can turn into a raging shakiness that almost incapacitates me. I feel things to the extreme and I believe it is due (at least in large part) to how my brain developed because of all the earlier trauma.

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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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