Category Archives: Blogs
“When the family energy is focused on the problem of the adult rather than on the needs of the children, the results for the children are the state of not knowing they come first, the state of believing that they have to fix the situation, and the state of believing that life is about surviving instead of enjoying and that the meaning of life is to get through the struggle of life.” Cathleen Brooks
1. Child Abuse Survivors: “Powerlessness”
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this subject of late. I won’t get into any of the details of why, but suffice it to say, I’ve had a number of conversations and seen stories of people who find themselves in situations, as adults, that from the outside seem easily changeable, yet they don’t do anything to try and change things.
I’m sure you’ve all seen similar stories, whether it be the abused wife who won’t leave, the disgruntled employee who never looks for another job, or the kid who gets bullied even into adulthood. I’ve always considered these situations to be a product of fear, afraid of what worse things might happen as opposed to the hell you know and live with. Lately, however, I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t something deeper behind that fear, especially when it comes to survivors of child abuse. What I see when I dig into that fear motivation, is powerlessness.
Yes, there’s fear of the unknown in changing all of those situations I listed, and many more specific situations that I know we can all relate to, but a big part of that fear seems to come from not having any sense that we actually have the power to say no, or to remove ourselves from a situation. As children, of course, we were taught exactly that. All the while I was being abused as a child, I didn’t have the power to say no, or to remove myself. It was taken away from me, and even now, as an adult, I recognize that there are times I look at circumstances that I could change, but fall right back into feeling like I don’t have the power to do so.
Being ignored is the cruelest way to make a point……to flaunt control…..to wield power. Not acknowledging a person can create a hurt so deep – it’s the harshest thing someone can do to another…especially if that person claims to care.
My father used to ignore me….refusing to talk or acknowledge my presence. His silence would go on for days…sometimes weeks… shutting me out of his world….closing the door….denying me access to him. He wanted to teach me a lesson….that he was right….I was wrong…he was good….I was bad. It was his way to force me to do whatever he wanted.
He had hurt me many times with his words and his fists – yet to be locked out of his world tore at me. It made me crazy…and desperate to make things right. I ended up doing whatever he wanted….anything just to have him acknowledge me again.
Ever since I could think, he taught me ‘that without him…I was nothing’ and even though he beat me…called me awful names…broke my spirit – I believed I needed him to live…to breathe…to exist. I needed him to survive.
Something has changed since I wrote my story…and told the truth of what happened. Writing…voicing what I had never been able to say….changed something in me. It gave me an inner strength…a courage I didn’t have before. I’m not afraid anymore and I’m not a child.
3. Blooming Lotus: “Need for Therapy in Early Stages of Healing From Child Abuse”
Child abuse survivors need therapy. Period. It does not matter if the abuse happened one time or was ongoing throughout your childhood. Healing from child abuse is extremely difficult, and you need a qualified therapist to help you through it.
I was determined not to enter into therapy when I first started having flashbacks about the child abuse. I was in the process of trying to adopt a child, and I feared that I would be “disqualified” if I was in therapy because I would be seen as “crazy.” (As it turns out, therapy is highly encouraged for hopeful adoptive parents and will not be held against you. You just need to have your therapist write a letter stating that your reason for seeking therapy will not negatively affect your ability to parent a child.)
I decided that I was going to do the healing work myself. The problem was that every resource I turned to began with, “Find a good therapist.” There is a very good reason for this advice …you need to work with a qualified therapist with experience working with people who have been abused because trying to do it yourself is simply too hard. If it was possible to heal through sheer force of will, then I would have done it.
If you try to heal from the child abuse yourself, you will find yourself in over your head. When you first come to terms with the reality that you were abused, you will go through a “breakthrough crisis.” For me, this felt like a pressure cooker of emotions had the lid blown off of it, and my emotions had exploded all over me. For six weeks, I truly did not know from minute to minute if I was going to survive it. Nevertheless, I was hell-bent on healing myself. I changed my mind after finding myself lying on the floor, shaking, crying, hyperventilating, and trying to decide on the best way to commit suicide. At this point, I realized that anything would be better than this and decided to enter therapy.
We don’t want to feel helpless, so we use fear, anger, addiction, or unbridled sexuality to block out our helpless feelings. The fact is that if we cannot openly face our feeling of helplessness, we cannot receive help. It is important that we accept our helplessness, taking it to God and allowing Him to be strong where we are weak. When we let Him be God, we receive continuous healing for our woundedness. But when we hide our pain, helplessness, and insecurity, we find ourselves at the mercy of our narcissistic, wounded false self with its insatiable craving for validation and anesthesia. David F. Allen, Shattering the Gods Withi
1. Journey of recovery…search for serenity: “Unconditional Love…”:
“H came for a visit. To protect her privacy I am not going into the details of her life at this point…I will say she is living in a complicated and complex situation. It is not what I planned for her, not what I envisioned… BUT, we had a great visit. lol”
“I think the reason for the good visit was that we both are able to, at this point, for today, meet each other where we are at with no expectations that we will change the other or win them over to our way of thinking. Once I was able to lay down my idea of how she *should* live her life and I could make my way toward a faith filled position of trusting my Higher Power to hang onto her and keep her in His palm, of acceptance of what is, I was able to see my girl again. Really see her. Ours lives simply are what they are.”
“I got really lost in her addiction. In the idea that one of *my* kids is an addict. I was shocked for a long time…years. I would ask myself, “How did we get here?” When I looked at her all I saw was “my daughter the addict.” It was like I had to look long and hard at the outcome of her young life…some weird form of facing my deepest fear. In doing that though, I lost sight of the little girl that I raised. I was so focused on seeing what was or is, that I forgot about the good stuff, the dry sense of humor that would unexpectedly crack us all up. Or the wise insights she would share even as a little girl that would leave us all shaking our heads and wondering how she got so smart.”
“As I have fearfully and timidly taken steps toward letting go of her and letting her choices be her’s along with the consequences of those choices, as I have watched her navigate her life on her terms….I have begun to see her again. To really see her, as an autonomous being…not an extension of myself. To hear her voice. To see her worth. I knew those things were there….but it was always with the exception of “when she is clean and sober, or when she is in recovery. The truth of the matter is that whether those things are taking place or not, she is still beautiful both inside and out, she still holds all the worth of any other human being.”
2. An Addict in our Son’s Bedroom: “Cautious Update”
“I am not a superstitious person but I almost hate to talk about how he is doing in fear of jinxing his progress. He has a job, don’t know how long it will last it is dependent upon the company’s production and orders. He spoke to his mom and I when we got home about budgeting, he brought up the subject. He has formulated a budget for his check, ON PAPER.”
“He ask us about going back to school. He has become aware both of his sisters are in school, his girlfriend is in school to become a nurse and 3 out of 4 first cousins are working on their BA or MA. He said to us,”Everyone is moving forward and leaving me behind, I don’t want to be left behind. What would it take for me to go back to school.” Our response was, “Son, if you want it bad enough you will figure that out and make it happen.”
“We have been taking him and his girlfriend out to dinner with us on Friday Date Night. It is really great to actually have conversations with him and her. We have noticed there is a sharpness in his wit returning and his voice does not have the druggie sound, you all know that that sound. He seems to enjoy being around family now. Mom and dad know it may take a little while before some in the family accepts him and we reminded him that it takes the two “P’s”, patience and persistence.”
3. Loving an Addict: Don’t Give Up Hope
“I felt compelled to write tonight, while crying. Maybe it is because the Stand Up 2 Cancer Show is on and it is touching my heart, but the tears are more likely tears of joy and relief. I just spoke to Bryan.”
“It was a wonderful call. We talked about how well he is doing and feeling. He talked about the fact that one-year clean is coming up soon (October 29) and he is excited about the thought of being off drugs for a year! We talked about the upcoming holidays and how we can get together and what my family is planning and he sounded excited that we are making a plan to be with him.”
“I know the day in and day out feelings that include:
1. What drama will my addict bring to my life today;
2. Will he survive another day;
3. Will he be arrested and if so, will I actually be relieved;
4. What has he stolen; will he ever take responsibility for his life;
5. What did I do wrong as a Mom;
6. Is it my fault?
7. Will we ever get our life back?”
“Regardless of what you are feeling tonight (and some of the above are simply not right…but we feel these things anyway (like 5 & 6 especially), don’t give up Hope! Please Please Please don’t give up Hope!”
“I’m crying tonight, because of the amazing joy I feel about my son and his life choices, a mere 10 months after his near death experience. Don’t give up Hope, because your son or daughter can get here to. Don’t give up hope, especially for yourself because you can feel better about your life, your family, and your beliefs regardless of what happens with your addict.”
“Don’t give up HOPE!”