Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Starting Counseling

When I started counseling, I really had no idea what to expect.  I figured we would go as a couple to a marriage counselor to help us figure out what happened to our communication between when we got engaged to when our kids started moving out.  I think back and chuckle at my own naive expectations.  We would talk to a marriage counselor and in a few weeks everything would be rainbows and roses.  Yup, I started with marriage counseling with no idea that I would be told that I was the problem.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  I have since learned that counselors will say things or have you do things that seem totally off the wall and unrelated to what you are doing.  But your reaction tells them a lot about how you function emotionally.  This is where things fall apart for me.  I didn't know I was a multiple personality when I started marriage counseling.  I gave no emotional indication that I was in serious trouble. 

Within the first month of going to counseling, KavinCoach suggested I also start group therapy for me.  I had told him about one of my reoccurring nightmares and he recognized the information as an indication that I was sexually abused.  From all indications by my behavior, he thought I was already healing from it.  He recommended group therapy to kind of help take some of the steps I needed while he focused on marriage counseling with my husband and I.  (I later learned that the particular group I was in had some major problems.  Being so damaged myself, I didn't recognize the symptoms of an unhealthy environment.  The group leaders were later changed.)  In retrospect, it turned out to be a good thing for ferreting out my fairly odd reaction to certain situations.  One of the things the group leaders tried to do was to demonstrate ways that we are challenged as we move through life.  They had kind of an obstacle course across the room and they were having us go through the obstacles blinded folded while someone else gave instructions.  First mistake was telling me I had to participate.  Second mistake was blind folding me.  Third mistake was at the time no one, including myself, realized how deaf I was.  Fourth, while I was trying to walk across the room one of the counselor stood in front of me contradicting the instructions given to me by my partner that was trying to help me by telling me where to step.  Blind folded and disoriented, I froze.  The leader that had being contradicting the instructions chided me for not moving.  I switched from compliant Marie to violent Maria in a heart beat.  I reached out and grabbed the counselor by the shoulders and shoved her out of the way.  (I was very proud of myself for not turning on her and tearing her apart.)  Marie took back over control and finished the task.  Task completed.  Rage once again totally controlled.  Leader of the group shocked by my violence.  Shoot, I thought I just did what needed to be done to get the tasked completed.  I moved her.  I didn't turn on her or do anything else.  At my next session, I erupted over the incident to KavinCoach.  I suspect he may have already heard the other counselors version of the incident since they work together and there were 2 days in between.  He was totally unsurprised when I told him about the fiasco.  At the end of me telling him about this horrible experience.  I got no sympathy.  He just simple said, "Why didn't you take the blindfold off and say you couldn't do it?"  I stared at him as if he were an alien from another planet.  I stammered, "That was a choice?....but they told me I had to do it."  I was so confused by his total lack of sympathy or any understanding of how totally what he suggested would not occur to me.  I felt unheard.  I felt totally at a loss as to why any of this crap was happening.  Then I shut down completely on the inside.  I finished out the session feeling like, "What had I gotten myself into?"  I thought all week.  How was I going to get through to KavinCoach that what he suggested simply never occurred to me.  The following week I started our session out with a revisit about the situation from group therapy.  I told him, "I would no more think of taking off the blindfold and not completing the task, then you would think of stripping naked right now and going for a 2 mile run down the street."  He paused for a moment.  He agreed that he wouldn't think of doing that. 

There were many times during those first months that I felt like counseling and living was an alien world.  I didn't get it.  My husband and KavinCoach would talk and I would listen and I felt puzzled most of the time.  My bewilderment kept increasing.  Since I didn't know about Marie and Maria, and they didn't come out during the counseling sessions with KavinCoach I felt like the world was spinning but somehow I got left behind.  The challenge became...could I explain in a way that KavinCoach understood... what was happening on the inside.  Later, I realized that after the group therapy KavinCoach knew more about me than I knew about myself and the real work began.  I feel deep sympathy for any multiple personality, someone who has DID, tries to explain to someone else what is happening on the inside.  Going alone I was in group therapy with me, Marie, Maria, Ruthy and later Sammy.  Eventually Marie and Maria started talking in therapy sessions too.  I sometimes could sense KavinCoaches frustration if part way through I would switch and he would be explaining the same thing all over again.  Some things I eventually stopped trying to communicate because no matter how I worded it, I just couldn't get some of the concepts across as how it happened when one of the others that were inside of me would simply take over.  Marriage counseling got lost in the shuffle of who was talking to the counselor.  KavinCoach related until I could stay as just one person there was no way to work on my marriage.  Now I am just one person and I am still working on my marriage.  After integration, I finally understood that multiple personalities was a survival tactic for extreme trauma.  Integration changed my entire way I function.  Now, I am learning how to live. 

Monday, January 30, 2012


There are blogs I follow that I can't comment on because my computer won't let me.  Computers can drive me crazy.  I fixed them for 14 years and I finally admitted defeat.  Some people set their blogs to only allow people that log into certain types of accounts.  I don't always have one of those types. No twitter. No Wordpress.  Sorry I am not commenting but I am not allowed.  To prevent spammers, I ask that you type in a code.  So far, I have never had any spam.  I like not getting spam.  I apologize if the computer is nasty about letting you comment.  A few people offered to write post for me but that's ok.  I consider my blog my own work and thoughts learned from others but it is not a burden (one commenter called it a burden not me) that anyone needs to help me do.  From my blog, I have found friends that I have never met and some that I have, both have enriched my life. I check regularly for comments to make sure each voice gets heard.  Occasionally, someone sends me a message with *DO NOT POST* because they want to comment just to me.  No problem.  Sometimes Blogspot is finicky.  If there is no comment box, you can try clicking on a reply for another comment then scroll down and you will find the 'add comment' button.  What glitch is at work that causes this...I don't know.  It's a computer.  Here's a link to Murphy's Laws on computers:
I had my own saying:

O'Toole's Corilary - Murphy was an optimist.
Hmmm...Let's see about this.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How to Change

 The first step to change is recognizing you don't like where you are.  I was spiraling down into a darker and darker place.  I hit bottom.  Started counseling.  Got the shock of my life to find out that 'bottom' was just a ledge on the way down.  Something I did not understand with counseling that things would get worse first.  I had to recognize and accept that the things done to me were evil and not my choice.  Next was turning my life around to head back out of the pit of misery I lived in.  I am still surprised at some of things that helped most were the easiest to do. 
 mulderfan's comment on yesterday's post gave it one way.

mulderfan said...
As a Buddhist, I am taught to reach out and help the person right in front of me. How different the world would be if we all did even one act of kindness each and everyday.

Here is a poem I wrote to illustrate the power of one.
"Let your voice speak.
One voice becomes a hundred.
A hundred becomes a thousand.
A thousand becomes a million.
A million becomes the world."

KavinCoach had me do a 5/50 project.  Do an act of kindness that doesn't take more than 5 minutes or cost more than 50 cents every day.  At the end of the day, write down what you did.  He had me do this for a week.  The next session he asked me what I learned.  I answered..."I need to do more to help others."   ....Fail.... The correct answer was every time I did something kind by writing it down I could say to myself, "I am a kind person when I __________."  Getting the message through to me that I was what I defined myself to be and not what my past said I was, simple yet difficult.  Now I keep doing things that take less than 5 minutes and cost less than 50 cents.  Steps of change sometimes feel small at the time but the impact is amazing when the change continues.  Changing a life is a bit like turning an aircraft carrier.  The rudder is small in comparison to the size but with steady pressure the change will happen.  When ever I tried a quick fix major change, I would find my life right back where I started.  Slow steady commitment to a better life took time and relearning how to live.  The first step was recognizing that I didn't want to be where I was and change was possible. 

Evil wears a Mask of good...

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
Little evil would be done in the world if evil never could be done in the name of good.

This quote had me thinking for days as to what I wanted to write with it.  One of my fellow students at university emailed me once with the question, "Do you believe in evil?" 
I shot back, "Do you actually want to know?" 
"Yes," was his brief reply.
"If you have ever met true evil, you never forget that it exists."

My memories of my childhood were almost completely gone.  There were only blips here and there.  I knew in high school that I didn't have any memories of my childhood.  However, I knew that evil existed in the world.  The return of some of my memories were the key behind why I knew it.  I remembered the way evil was masked as being a good thing to do.  You want to be part of the crowd so laugh at this fat person.  You want to be accepted so hit those that are weaker than you.  Train a child so spank them until they can't sit down.  You want to be loved so allow yourself to be molested.  You want to live so don't tell the secret.  I heard the scriptures used to reinforce that evil was good. "Spare the rod and spoil the child."  Barbaric acts have been done in the name of this one verse.  On a more global realm, there is the Spanish Inquisition, Salem witch trials, Jonestown, Holocaust, and this is just the tip of the iceberg; many things lie hidden.  Some dirt is dug up on a person that appears good and I am asked if I am surprised.  Before I remembered my childhood I was always shocked by my cynical, "NO."  The pedophile in our neighborhood was a "pillar of goodness" in our area.  He worked so well with children.  Adults didn't seem to see what kind of monster he really was.  Even when he was sent to prison, people bleated the poor man was framed.  I have seen evil things happen that I was told was for good purposes.  Star Trek actually had an episode of 2 captains fighting each other.  The fight was evenly matched finally they stopped the battle and the last 5 minutes was between the alien beings and the two captains.  The aliens pointed out that the both fought with the same determination to win.  Captain Kirk pointed out the difference in motivation.  The other captain fought to take control and conquer another ship.  Captain Kirk fought to protect his people and journey on safely.  A paradox and confusion used to twist and bewilder what are you doing and what is your motivation.  Teaching a child is good.  Beating them to do it isn't.  Each person is presented with hundreds of choices every day.  Some times these choices seem non-consequential but they build a point of view as to what is good and what is evil.  Some people go so far to say that there is no such thing as evil.  Yet, as a teenager I helped donate to an organization that sent ship loads of food to starving people in Africa, the government kept it in the docks until it rotted then dumped it in the ocean.  I was appalled at the evil perpetrated.  I had no direct knowledge of why any government would do something so appalling.  The government in charge said it was for the 'good' of the people.  I can not stop the horrors that happen around the world, I can make a difference in my own little world and how I treat the people I encounter everyday. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

How do I know I am stressed?

Instructions for Stress Diet
1/2 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
8 oz. skim milk

4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast
1 cup steamed spinach
1 cup herb tea
1 Oreo cookie

The rest of Oreos in the package
2 pints Rocky Road ice cream, nuts, cherries and whipped cream
1 jar hot fudge sauce

2 loaves garlic bread
4 cans or 1 large pitcher Coke
1 large sausage, mushroom and cheese pizza
3 Snickers bars

Entire frozen Sara Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from freezer)

1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the diet soda cancels out the calories in the candy bar.
3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you do not eat more than they do.
4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER counts, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.
5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
6. Movie related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel. (Examples: Milk Duds, buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots and Tootsie Rolls.)
7. Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
8. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something.
9. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. (Examples: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and mashed potatoes.)
10. Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.
11. Anything consumed while standing has no calories. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
12. Anything consumed from someone else's plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to his/her plate. (We ALL know how calories like to cling!)
Remember, "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts."
This is just a joke, folks!
 Found at http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/bljoke3.htm

For some people this is a joke.  I first received it in an email years ago.  But today it was NOT funny.  I just finished off the Christmas fudge, most of a bag of popcorn and a half a bag of M&Ms (not a small bag either.)  So what do I have to be stressed about....Didn't actually matter.  My body seemed to be looking for a place to happen.  This time work provided it with a battle royal with a computer and video and deadlines.  I was very proud of myself.  I went home without solving it.  It wasn't my problem in the first place and if they had told me a week ago what needed to be done I would have been glad to finish.  They had known about the project for over 3 weeks without telling me or giving me all the information..... Tension shot Up - Stress Splat - Depression to stop the frustration.  The jittery nerves actually feel better after being soothed by chocolate.  The body is so self-destructive.  That is the final verdict...I am blaming my body.  :)  Hope you all have a stress free weekend. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Laughter can hide a world of pain

Charlie Chaplin
A day without laughter is a day wasted.

Depressed and don't know it....This was the verdict given to me by the medical doctors after 5 days of testing my brain to see why I flaked out 2 to 3 times a week.  I screamed back that I would know if I was depressed.  I laughed everyday.  The world is funny.  My favorite part of newspaper was the comic strips.  When I read Reader's Digest, I read all the jokes first.  I loved the song from Mary Poppins, "I Love to Laugh."  How could I be depressed when I was laughing?  Just how is that possible?  KavinCoach finally explained to me that laughter didn't mean I wasn't depressed.  He did agree with me that the world is funny sometimes.  He saw past my laughter to all the things I hid away.  I wasn't allowed to be sad.  I had so much to be grateful for how could I possibly be sad.  I still can hear my mother chiding me for feeling sad.  Obediently, I would smile then find something to laugh about.  See...isn't that better?  No.  I really needed to be sad.  Something sad happened but it was bad to be sad so I hid it behind my laughter.  KavinCoach taught me how to find it.  He helped me look at all the sad pieces from years of hiding my pain and sorrow.  Little girls that aren't allowed to be sad, grow up to be women that bury their pain and hide it behind a bright smile and a ready laugh.  The world is still funny.  I still love to laugh.  I finally learned that allowing myself to feel the sadness does not dim the happiness.  Like the dark areas of the photograph it adds richness and depth. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Striking a chord

I follow several blogs and lately I haven't.  A lot of low level rumblings set off from feeling happy.  Read it right.  Happy scares the bajeebers out of me.  Don't get me wrong....I really like it.  Over at Elle's blog her post reminded me of why Happy is scary.


I found sub floors below the garage.  My counselor let me know that I was really messed up.  I finally called myself a 10 per center.  Only 10% of the people seeking counseling are as crazy as I am.  But when you are raised in insanity, craziness = survival.  Now, I am out of insanity and I can let go of the craziness.  Hard to let go of what I know.  PTSD is a living hell that I know the rules and how to live.  Real world, with kind people, and sensible thinking seem just weird sometimes. 

My first comment that I deleted because I realized it was about me and not my friend.  Happiness, good times, comfort, peace are a foreign world that I find a little disturbing sometimes.  I am enthusiastically trying to get the hang of staying happy but the fear still lingers.  Some day even that fear will subside into the mist of my past.   If you are going through hell, keep going......Never stop.......
Quote originally from Winston Churchill...He knew a bit about hell too. 

Logic and Reason

Galileo Galilei
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forget their use.

I struggle with feeling emotions. I use logic and reason to sort out how I feel about things. I am also aware that my childhood has put a spin on things that I view many of life challenges a little differently.  I loved school because there were set rules that generally stayed the same.  I loved math because the rules worked.  If they didn't work, another rule was created.  Learn the rules and you could answer the questions.  I memorized many rules and did well on math tests.  Life doesn't always fit the rules.  As soon as a rule is made, someone finds an exception.  Life at times defies all logic.  That is were faith resides.  If things were always logical there would be no need for faith.  I also believe faith without thinking things through can be equally ill-advised. 

Depression is considered feeling bad.  A bad emotion.  A bad place to be.  Logically stopping the depression seems like a great idea. Lately however, I am recognizing that if it weren't for depression, I would be in anger management.  I lacked life skills, so to stop the anger, I depressed that emotion along with all the others.  Stop the depression and the anger rises to uncomfortable levels.  Kind of like a swarm of bees on the inside waiting to burst out.  Depression like cold weather slows everything way down.  Calms me on the inside and keeps my rage under control.  Counseling is teaching me more effective ways to address all my emotions.  KavinCoach was amazed by my logical and methodical way I would approach a discussion about emotions.  I am sure he some times enjoyed watching me puzzle out illogical emotions with reason.  I finally found the key I was looking for.  Emotions on the surface appear to be just there without reason.  When you slow down the thought process, dig a little deeper, surprisingly there can be a logical connect between past events and current reactions.  I was chastised recently for continuing to review my past.  The person felt that I needed to move on because I couldn't change it.  I was puzzled.  I didn't believe reviewing my past would mysteriously unlock away to change it.  I study my past to give me clues as why I react emotionally the way I do now.  If I can follow the connect, resolving the past issue allows me to lessen the emotional charge now. 

Another emotion considered bad is fear.  Some people go so far as to say it is of the devil.  I am well acquainted with fear.  However, I think fear would be a lousy tool for the devil to use.  More people are driven to their knees in fear than rejoicing any day.  In Christ time, 10 lepers came begging to be healed, only one of the 10 came back and thanked him.  I love the quote, "If you can't stand it, try your knees."  Know any one that made a deal with God when they felt very afraid and wanted out of a mess?  To me better tools would be something like complacency, self-satisfied, business, to me are far more likely to keep me from talking with God.  I am noticing as my anxiety goes up so do the number of prayers I say.
My thoughts twist around like a serpentine design. I find patterns in my past the help me recognize the same patterns in my present.  Without logic and reason, I feel condemned to repeat the patterns.  God blessed me with intelligence that I can learn from my past and create a brighter more interesting future.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Teach Our Daughters

I can't find the original source.  I tried Mr. Google but I just got other blogs and more facebook links.  I love the picture and the thought.  I guess the picture had a strong pull since this is about the age I split from trauma the first time.  I didn't teach my daughters because I didn't know.  I hope my granddaughters will learn the difference and my grandsons grow-up to be the kind of man that knows the value of the women in their lives. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feeling is part of living

‎"Some people think that to be strong is to never feel pain. In reality, the strongest people are the ones who feel it, understand it, and accept it." ~ Unknown

One of the things I learned was the part of living is feeling.  In a photography class several years ago before I integrated, I was challenged to take pictures every day.  When we had over 500 pictures to choose from, we were assigned to create a sequence of pictures that go together.  I struggled and struggled.  How did one decide how to put which picture next to another?  I asked the professor.  His reply, "Go with what you feel."  RIGHT..... I had a problem...I didn't feel.  One of the interesting things about being a multiple personality is that feelings can be assigned to one alter (alter is a clinical name for one of the personalities, I preferred parts of myself since all the parts were still me they weren't alternatives to me) or divided between several alters.  The personality taking the class didn't feel any emotions.  I asked the professor to give me some extra time.  I met with him in his studio.  I had a huge stack of my pictures.  I then explained to him that I struggled with feeling how the pictures could go together.  I then explained my difficulty feeling emotions.  He told me that he thought that would be great to feel no emotional pain.  I knew he had two teenage daughters.  I said, "OK, imagine for a moment a few years from now.  Your daughter is getting married and you really like the guy she is marrying.  You are so happy for her....but you can't tell her because the emotion is blocked."  He thought for a moment.  He agreed that not being able to feel was not good.  He then showed me how to take the pictures and work through ways to show that pictures link together, same color, similar shape, same subject different perspective, and many other ways to link photographs together.  As I learned to sequence I also learned to access my emotions.  My final book was a series of pictures of my kids and grandkids with all my emotions involved.  Photography became my place to experiment with how I felt that was a relatively safe environment.  If you don't feel anything, it is hard to express connection to anything.  The essence of interpersonal relationships is about what you feel.  My counselors are always pushing me to connect with what I feel.  I learned the hard way that just because I can't express an emotion doesn't mean I can't feel it.  I now enjoy a full array of emotions.  Emotions can be very tiring.  I retreat for a time.  Then I am ready to go again and enjoy connecting with emotions and people.  To feel is to live and to live is to feel.  I am thankful for the teaching from my two counselors that opened up my heart to expressing how I feel.  I am happier than I ever imagined possible.  I also can feel hurt.  I can also feel peace.  I can also feel bored.  I can also feel bewildered.  I can also feel love and share it.  Emotions are amazing things. 

Laurel posted a link to another perspective on the same theme.





Beautiful sound

Complete peace

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Oh MY!

Friday was a totally awesome great day and I ate twice as many sweets as usual.  I am not supposed to have any but feeling deprived leads to binge eating.  So I try to have one small piece of chocolate at lunch time and one after dinner.  I knew that when I was stressed I tended to gravitate to certain comfort foods.  I couldn't believe that when I was feeling so good inside I my eating was way out of control.  What gives?  It didn't take me long to remember that as a 5 year old I went with my mother to the doctor's office while she had allergy tests every week.  If I was good, we would stop for ice cream at 31 Flavors on the way home.  I always wanted the same thing, plain old chocolate.  With all the varieties to choose from I only wanted one kind.  (At age 5, I knew exactly what I wanted.)  Immediately, I realized that I was still eating for emotional reasons.  I was eating all the sweets because I was feeling good and wanted to reward myself.  I thought this through recognized the source of the behavior and yesterday I went back to a better diet and what was healthy for me instead of feeding my emotions.  That was an interesting lesson, doesn't matter if the emotions are stressful or delightful my reaction either way is self medicating with food.  I knew that after a rough counseling session or some other high stress situation that I used food to comfort myself.  It is a new lesson to clearly understand that I also use food to reward myself.  Recognizing the pattern of what I did helped me to change my behavior.  When I started to reach for the chocolate bar at the store today,  I pulled my hand away and reminded myself that I don't have to have plain, old chocolate to know that life is good.  I can use flowers or positive self talk or some other reward that feels good without adding sugar and calories that in the long run I feel worse because I beat myself up for not eating properly.  Aging and health problems, AKA self neglect, requires me to pay attention to what I eat.  A childhood history of food deprivation and using food to reward and punish set me up to a life time of struggle.  I feel much better about my choices in eating today.  I learned something new, just because I am feeling positive and happy that doesn't translate to taking care of myself in a healthy way.  Oh my, I come a long way.  I didn't need a counseling session to figure out what I was doing or to create a new solution to an old problem.  This feels very good.  :)

The Rules of Eating Chocolate 
If you've got melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices & strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car.

The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

Diet tip: Eat a chocolate bar before each meal. It'll take the edge off your appetite and you'll eat less.

If I eat equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate, is that a balanced diet? Don't they actually counteract each other?

Money talks. Chocolate sings.

Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

Q: Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous?

A: Because no one wants to quit.

Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done.

A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn't that handy?

If you can't eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can't eat all your chocolate, what's wrong with you?


First read in an email, found tonight on the internet at:
I love Google searches.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Feeling Whole

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Many people experience that feeling of being detacheted from some hurtful event.  They are told they are in shock.  Or they are just trying to get things done during times of stress.  Something as simple as a long drive, people zone out then realize the long trip felt much shorter.  The sensation may last a few hours or a few days.  Then there are others that talk about feeling detached for weeks at a time.  Often the diagnosis is depression.  However, as you move accross the contimuum of reactions you reach PTSD and then more and more severe reactions until you reach where I lived for over 45 years severe dissociation with multiple personalities living in one body to survive.  I split off a part of myself to survive extreme conditions as a child.  I didn't put the pieces together again until I was over 50 then there was learning how to function and live and process memories and...and....and...after more than 8 years of counseling I finally feel whole.  It is an amazing feeling.  I am savoring the feeling of connection with myself.  When you can't connect with yourself, it is very difficult to connect with someone else.  Each one of my parts were vital to my survival.  I am thankful that my counselor encouraged me to seek healthy relationship with myself.  KavinCoach taught me that until I felt whole with myself I wouldn't feel connected to others.  I now know what he means.  It wasn't that I didn't want to.  I had know idea what it felt like.  It feels delicious.  I am savoring the sweet feeling.  I know that this sweetness will change as other problems and life crowd in.  I think for a day or two I am just going to savor feeling whole. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thinking Habits

The brain is a marvelous mystery that we take around everywhere.  Cliches like, "You are what you think." "If you can dream it, you can do it."  Can do attitude comes from my mind.  The flip side is the Can't do attitude comes from my mind, too.  The groove can turn into a rut.  The one track mind can run you right into the ground.  Whether you can or whether you can't, it is true.  Today, I had a session with NewCounselor asked me to do an honest assesment of myself and how I am thinking.  The crux: have I forgiven myself for my past?  I was exhausted after a week of exploring exactly how I felt about my past.  I needed to see if my habit of thinking badly was just that a habit.  My sister always reminds me that first person you have to stop lying to is yourself.  I also need to get past the glitch in thinking that keeps me stuck in yesteryear.  I have worked hard and long on becoming healthier.  Have I updated my selfimage?  Or am I like the 80 lb anorexic that looks like a skeleton but still see themself as fat?  Am I the one distorting my own image?  You know it is a very peaceful place when you make peace with yourself.  I am thankful to know that I am at peace with myself.  I learned this week that peace is not perfection.  I still have things I want to improve about myself. It also doesn't mean I am not grieving about past events.  However, for the first time in my life, I feel like I am building on a solid foundation.  That from here on out my past is a storehouse of experiences to learn from not who I am.  Everyday when I wake up, I decide who I am and what I will do with my life.

My sisters blog: http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/chapter-9/

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What I didn't learn...

Could fill volumes.  The list of 50 things you don't learn at school is a mixed bag.  But you are really up a creek with out a paddle if you don't learn it at home or anywhere else either.  My view of counseling was a 8 year course on living.  Class (sessions) meet once a week, reading and writing assignments, some classes are a walk into hell only to be reminded that this is my past.  Great.  (Read with much sarcasm.)  Each session has varying degrees of discomfort.  Some sessions I come home, curl up in the fetal position on the couch, and don't get up until sometime the next day.  Other sessions require comfort food like Cold Stone Creamery German Chocolate Cake ice cream.  I some times think of counseling as overhauling an engine while you are driving the car.  Or I one time joked that it is more like open heart surgery without anesthesia, wide awake and the pain is intense.  I was taught that getting counseling was a sign that you are weak, lazy or too stupid to deal with life yourself.  After going, counseling is for courageous, intelligent, hard working people that are willing to face their worse nightmares week after week after week.  List of things I didn't learn well surpasses 50.  What I did learn in school, sometimes adults are reasonable and fair.  Hard work can bring positive results.  Listening to criticism and learning from it can raise your grade.  Praise can be given for what I did.  What I learned in counseling could fill volumes.  I started printing out just the emails I wrote and have filled 2 binders and working on a third.  I am still learning.  This week I have looked at where I came from, where in my progress I am right now, and where will that lead me.  My past does not define me but my decisions are rooted there.  I am choosing another path than the one I was placed on as a child.  I choosing to live truthfully and abundantly.  To me abundant living is not about the dollars in your bank account, it reflects the richness of your life and the relationships in it. 

Things not learned at school

50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School


Interesting set of things not learned...some of them for some people are never learned.
Some I agree with...some I don't...some you wish you could say "Duh".

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today I spent the day with family instead of working.  The USA has a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.  His 17 minute speech "I have a Dream" in Washington DC occurred when I was only 6 years old.  By the time I was a teenager his Dream was being talked about and studied.  It is interesting how something taking less than 20 minutes can have such an impact.  His ideas and beliefs were not just things he said but something he lived and died for.  I believe it a particularly sad irony that this man that believed in nonviolence was killed so violently.  I read several books on racial prejudice and the problems surrounding judging people by the color of their skin because of my interest in Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Read more: Martin Luther King, Jr., Quotations — Infoplease.com

I wanted my children to learn what Dr. King taught.  I decided that I achieved that dream when my son was playing ball as a 10 year old and pointed out his coach to me as the guy in the blue shirt with no mention of the color of his skin. 

Some of his quotes:
"I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of the ultimate reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jr. 
I have lived in the darkness of violence.  Like a single candle in a dark room love drives out what hate can never stamp out.  I honor Martin Luther King, Jr. as being a hero and a chain breaker.  His life was not perfect.  Plenty of people will point out his imperfections.  However, he set in motion a belief that his dream is possible.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Forgiving Self

Any of my readers that have followed my blog know that I keep coming back to the subject of forgiveness.  Talking to NewCounselor this week I understood why.  I have a 3 inch binder filled with speeches, blog posts, and thoughts on forgiveness.  I am also reading a book Forgiveness is a Choice.  I continue to study this concept because the person I want to forgive most is myself.  Regret, shame, sorrow, are all feelings that I experience now that I am connected to my emotions.  My past, I can not change but I feel sad at what happened to me and things that I did.  I went with the theory that if I learn to forgive others I could learn to forgive myself.  Principles that apply to others also apply to myself.  One of the things that I learned about forgiving others is forgiveness and trust are separate.  I can forgive someone without trusting them.  I am starting to see that the same can apply to me.  I believe that learning to trust myself will be a challenge since this is something that builds with positive experiences.  To have these experiences, I will need to put myself in situations that can trigger negative reactions.  WOW.  A gate way to a whole new adventure.

 Torn emotions.  This weekend on the day my friend celebrated being cancer free, another friend announced the death of her sister to cancer.  The next day family came to visit from out of state.  The kids and their children gathered at our house to share food and happy chatter.  Happy, sad, joyful, mourning crashed together each demanding their time.  Hitting overload.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A clean slate?

So long as you have courage and a sense of humor, it is never too late to start life afresh.
 Freeman Dyson

I first read it and I thought yea, start fresh.  Clean the slate.  Make my life be what ever I want it to be.  Then I remembered how many times I have done that.  When I started high school, I decided to start fresh.  I went from a C student to an A student.  When I started college, I started fresh again.  Changed my friends and became very intense engineering student.  When I married, I started fresh again moving from friends and eventually family to grow our own little family.  Each time we moved I felt it was an opportunity to start over fresh.  This is what I learned.  I always take me with me.  No matter where I go there I am with all my baggage.  I still had to deal with me.  Counseling stopped me from looking for a fresh start and turned me around to look at myself and my past.  No wonder I was on the run. 

I don't learn life lessons from theory, I need concrete examples.....I realized that all around me were different lessons.  In grade school, I liked staying after school to help the teacher by cleaning the chalk boards.  I wanted to do a really good job and used water to get all the dust off.  The teacher kindly explained to me that what I did wasn't helpful.  In order for the chalk to work properly, it needed a base of dust.  She taught me to spread chalk all over the board then just erase away the extra.  In college painting class, I learned that before I could paint a picture I needed to cover the canvas with gesso or some other base coat before I could paint.  In building a house, I need a foundation first.  I learned that a clean slate is not helpful.  I also figured out that if I left all those experiences behind I would simply make the same mistakes over again.  Now, I am looking over the mess.  I learned that you never know what is hurtful to someone else, stay aware of other's feelings.  I learned that name calling hurts.  I learned that saying, "I love you" without backing it up with action doesn't mean a whole lot.  I learned that fear can take away the pleasure of living.  I learned many lessons.  If I wash it all away, I just need to learn it again.  I do highly recommend courage and a sense of humor especially when facing yourself.  However, why reinvent the wheel when you already have one.  Learning from my life I can become the person I always dreamed I could be.  I have the raw materials and experiences and determination to start from right here and be the best me possible.

From Mulderfan
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."(E.E. Cummings)


Friday, January 13, 2012

When do you stop?

Jean-Jacques RousseauMan is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.

When do you stop living in terror? When do you stop denying your sorrow?  When do you stop saying everything's fine?  When do you stop living your life as a shadow?  When do you stop lying to yourself? 

My daughter is one of my greatest supports to become a healthier me.  Tonight she shared a post that she wanted to give specifically to me but didn't want to make it pointed.  I caught the point and took the time to read someone else's story of courage to say, "I am not doing well, I need help."  It is a little long and could be triggering for people that have experienced eating disorders or mental hospitals.  Momastery shares her decision to Stop and say she needed help. 


I went to a dozen different medical doctors asking about non specific symptoms and argued when they said I was depressed.  I remember shouting at one doctor, "If it is all in my head, why does my body hurt so much?"  He didn't explain the mind body connection and how what you feel hurts your body.  He didn't talk to me in a way I could understand...or was it no matter what he said, I didn't want the stigma of depression.  That I didn't have enough faith and intelligence to solve this myself.  Such lies and garbage were taught and I believed it.  I just needed to pull myself up by my boot straps... I just needed to get organized... I just needed more faith... I just needed to try harder... I just needed........  I needed to say stop.  I was in marriage counseling to solve why I couldn't communicate.  KavinCoach taught me that the first thing I needed to do was Stop lying to myself... Stop running from the truth... Stop looking for answers outside of myself... Stop and take a long hard look at myself.  Sometimes you just need to STOP. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Walking a Fine Line

Over a year ago, my counselor moved and I was introduced to NewCounselor by KavinCoach.  When I was asked which kind of abuse did I experience, I joked that I had clean sweep, experienced them all.  New experiences terrify me because I don't know what might set off my triggers long buried; my own personal mine field.  I tread the same paths as I learn to avoid certain things.  Kind of like having your own narrow diet and saying you are not allergic to anything because you avoid eating everything you are allergic to.  Troubling my mind is the ever echoing, "Raise up a child in a way they should go and they will not depart from it when they are old."  The news articles explaining that this vicious criminals did terrible things because he had a terrible childhood.  I sometimes feel haunted by my violent past.

Many actions tread a fine line between living and abusing.  One of the comments on physical abuse was about tickling.  Tickling can be a mutually fun activity.  I love it when my grandson tickles my knee.  He loves to be tickled back, gently.  Teasing can be fun and enjoyable to both parties but when does it cross the line to bullying and cruelty?  Pet names and nick names can be terms of endearment but when does name calling and taunting become destructive force of verbal abuse?  I was raised in violence and abuse.  I have an absolutely awesome temper.  I thought KavinCoach was out of his mind when he explained that he was purposely trying to piss me off.  I keep a tight control on that part of myself because I am aware of being able to rage out of control.  Part of that regime is extreme sleep deprivation.  KavinCoach pointed out that over tired most people are cranky.  I suggested he tried going way beyond cranky.  Miss enough sleep and you are too exhausted to do anything, kind of like just being this side of comatose.  Why am I afraid of my own temper?  I have first hand experience of its destructive power.  For years, I compared my temper to other family members and smugly felt that I was very mellow.  However, I was disillusioned when my brother brought home a dog when I was a teenager without telling our parents.  The dog started whimpering in the night.  In a very short time, I was ready to kill the dog and my brother in no particular order.  I shut myself in my room and shook from the shear power of rage that almost overwhelmed me.  I encountered the same rage when I was a new mother.  My children all know that I loved them when they were born and like them when they were a year old.  Watching my grandchildren I chuckle with relief over some of their antics.  Not appreciated by my children.  I try to explain that it is such a relief that many things they did to me were not about me.  I wish I had realized that when my kids were small; they would have had a happier childhood.  Teenage years is a time in your life that people experiment with "how far is too far to go."  Now, I am over 50.  I didn't have time to do that type of experimenting as a teenager.  Behaving like a teenager in your 50s is not...OK.  I joke that if I didn't have a first childhood...Is it all right to go for a second one?

I was devastated when KavinCoach pointed out to me that some of my behaviors were abusive.  It was like being swallowed by the darkness of my past....how do I escape repeating it?  Mild to me may still be way over the line of acceptable.  I better understood my strange position when I had a boss that tried to get me fired.  What he did to me felt like the bites of a mosquito.  Annoying but not enough to push me out of my job.  I talked with one of my coworkers and listened to her rage about how abusive he was.  I knew he was annoying but abusive?  He hadn't done anything that came close to being illegal.  KavinCoach pointed out that there wasn't a thing he could do to me that I hadn't experienced already with a lot more viciousness than he seemed willing to do.  With a lot of coaching from KavinCoach, I actually started putting into practice things I needed to learn to function in today's world.  Kind of like desensitizing me to rudeness.  Another way of looking at it would be that KavinCoach presented my nasty boss as an over rambunctious puppy, after being mauled by a grizzly in my childhood the puppy was fairly harmless.  I started to learn how to react without curling up in a ball in the fetal position.  I am learning.  Unfortunately, I am still haunted by my past.  It does not define me, but it does serve as a horrifying reminder that crossing the line into abuse is sometimes easier than you think.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where's your focus?

Too often as I reflect at New Years the focus is only on the things that I need to improve.  In time, that's all I see, what's wrong.

Which do you see?
Do you see the beautiful tulip or the broken leaf?  No optical illusion just which do you see?  In counseling I paid a lot of money to fix the broken places.  When I started I didn't realize, I was shattered.  The pieces are going back together.  I sometimes think about just quitting now and not look at what's left.  I cut my foot open when I was a kid, the nurse had to scrub it clean before putting on the bandage.  My recovery is coming along quite nicely.  I don't want to mess things up now by not completing the process.  Small fragments left behind will fester and eventually create more pain.  One of the blogs I read said that life is like climbing Mount Everest.  Quitting now seems like getting just a few hundred yards from the top then going home before completing.  Feeling really tired tonight. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spiritual Abuse

 ***** Reading this may be offensive or triggering for some readers***** 
Continue on at your own risk.

I saved the hardest for last.  Hardest because in my opinion this pain and hurt goes beyond the grave.  In my house I have a poster...
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience" is generally credited to Pierre Teilhard De Chardin.
The pain of abuse hurts body, mind, heart and spirit.  The body heals itself, sometimes scarred but the healing happens.  The mind can be retaught to new paths of thinking.  The heart is stubborn but can with time regenerate itself.  The spirit is eternal...the grief of the spirit knows no bounds.  I remember a conversation with KavinCoach.  We were discussing the dark times of my childhood.  In our discussion we touched on death.  KavinCoach noted my total lack of fear of dying.  He asked me about it.  I half smiled, "They can only kill me once."  The darkest terrors of my nights conjure up the dedicated pursuit by my sick neighbor to break my spirit.  Sexual abuse was one of his most destructive methods.  Instead, I split.  Compartmentalization to the extreme.  I divided to survive.  

I once heard somewhere, "War is hell.  To make it truly despicable, add religion."  Through out history, I could point out horrendous events done in the name of someone's god or belief that they are god.  (Egyptian ancient history is fascinating.)  In my life time, one of the worse events of 'religious hysteria' was Jonestown.  People still use the phrase, "Don't drink the kool-ade."  Other newsworthy disasters have pointed the harsh light on compounds where parents in religious fervor abuse their own children to meet some extreme notion of what "god" wants them to do.  People shake their heads and think it is just a few isolated events.  I know from my own experience that events may not be so isolated.  I also know that many people that have suffered abuse have been ostracized by religious groups.  In my case, the abuser was a fine upstanding religious man.  In milder forms it can be just as disheartening.  I remember in high school making a commitment not to do homework on the Sabbath.  I also remember being punished for not doing my homework on the Sabbath.  In my senior year in high school my friends decided to save me from my religion.  Mine was different than theirs.  They were shocked when I changed friends to someone that would allow me to embrace my own beliefs.  The people at church saw me as 'wild' and 'not good enough' for their group.  That was ok.  I had my belief in Christ as my Savior that rather than being pushed away was strengthened by the stresses to push me away.  KavinCoach and I had several discussions on my belief in Christ and how that belief was part of my survival.  My way of thinking when I was suicidal, "How does one explain to Christ that Earth life is too tough?"  God is my strength but I wasn't protected.  God shares His peace but His way isn't comfortable.  Spiritual abuse to me is an attack by others to show to you that you are unacceptable to God.  What greater pain can be caused than to tell someone that they are not good enough to approach their Heavenly Father.  I have never found a painting of Christ that matches my image of Him.   My thoughts.... As a young child, I was dragged to the very depths of a filthy river.  Left to drown and never be heard from again.  I barely had strength to look up.  That's all it took.  Gentle hands pulled me to shore.  In my fear, I pulled away to the very edge of destruction.  He sat still and waited for the fear to fade.  He never rushed me.  He waited until I was willing to come to Him.  He cleaned my wounds. He bound up my heart.  He taught me line upon line that He loved me and wanted to take me home to Heavenly Father.  No matter what happened to me that thread of faith kept me bound to Him.   

Monday, January 9, 2012

Self Abuse

 Rowe's Rule: the odds are five to six that the light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming train.
Paul Dickson

 ***** Reading this may be offensive or triggering for some readers***** 
Continue on at your own risk.

I talk a lot on this blog about self-care.  The reason I know it is so important because self abuse is also part of my life.   When I was about 13 years old, my grandmother came to live with us.  She was shipped out by my Aunt.  My grandmother was not a happy person.  She stood 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed less than 80 lbs. (metric works out to be 1.52 m and 36 kg)  My mother cruelly fattened her up to 90 lbs. (Please note that this needs to be written in sarcasm font.) I watched my grandmother feed the dog her steak.  Hide it in her napkin to be thrown away.  Chew on it 3 or 4 times then spit it out saying it had gristle in it.  My grandmother was an anorexic before it became popular.  She terrified me; she was a walking skeleton.  I knew something was very wrong but no one discussed her bizarre behavior.  My mother insisted taking care of her in our home.  Because I didn't do what she did, I thought I was above all that.  (Have you ever noticed that when you start feeling superior, you often get a rude awakening?)  Counseling opened my eyes to how I treated myself.  My childhood training of abuse without leaving a mark slowly opened my eyes to the times I would burn myself in the shower.  Knowingly eat things that made me sick.  Then during counseling my stress would spike so high that other more dangerous forms of self hurt were considered.  Why?  Hadn't I been hurt enough?  One of the cruelties of human behavior is the desire to keep things the same.  If my abuser wasn't around to hurt me, then I had to do it myself.  Another occurrence was the outer pain gave meaning to my inner anguish.  It was my proof that I was hurting.  I seem to be saying, see how much I hurt now that I have scars to show it?  There is a long history of people self punishing.  People are now more familiar with cutting, purging, self mutilating, and other ways of harming ones self.  Those that don't suffer from this shake their heads and feel baffled by this type of behavior.  I challenge you to look at it from another perspective.  How many people eat until they feel uncomfortable?  How many people use alcohol or drugs to numb there pain?  I remember reading an entire book that discusses self defeating behaviors of all kinds.  Many people will recognize the 'tapes' that play in their head that sounds just like the critical parent or teacher from their own childhood telling themself that they are stupid, not good enough, fat, and other cruel comments regurgitated straight out of their own memories.  I am deeply humbled by the challenge I face to be kind to myself.  I sometimes struggle with this daily.  Sometimes I will go weeks and then realize I am neglecting my health or refusing to chose to take care of my body.  I was well trained in self neglect.  I was taught that I didn't deserve what I needed.  I spiraled deeper and deeper into despair.  Suicidal thoughts and eventual suicide are the ultimate in self abuse.  What leads a person to this state of emotional trauma can be many different ways; however, often the path is strewn with abuse from others.  Self abuse is one of the hardest to heal.  I can escape my abusers but I can't escape myself.  Early in my counseling after I found out that I functioned as a multiple personality, I decided to get better for myself.  This blog is me sharing my epic adventure to learn to care for myself.  A daily struggle to wake up, take my medication, eat a good breakfast, care for my body, drive safely to work, take care of myself while meeting the demands of my job, ... learning to take care of myself consumes many of my waking thoughts.  Changing the unhealthy habits of a life time is an up hill struggle.  I am making progress, mostly.  I will not eat the rest of the fudge before going to sleep tonight.  I really shouldn't tempt myself....  The scripture I changed to "Love thy neighbor, AS THYSELF." Mark 12:31

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sexual Abuse

 ***** Reading this may be offensive or triggering for some readers***** 
Continue on at your own risk.

I put sexual abuse in a class of its own.  True it is a form of physical abuse but it is also an emotional abuse.  The combination of these two leaves long lasting scars.

I wish at times the power of complete dissociation were still available to me.  It is not.  I am going to do the best I can to share some of the results I and others have suffered from the decision of others to sexually molest or rape children.  In my opinion, children are not capable of consensual sex.  To consent one must understand the far reaching consequences of a choice.  A neglected child is starving for attention.  Unfortunately, there are individuals that will take advantage of a child's desire for attention and twist this natural desire to their own perverted wishes.  First and foremost the child becomes an object.  A thing to satisfy a lust for domination and control.  This type of treatment teaches a child that they are less than a second class citizen.  They are not even a person at all but a thing to be used and manipulated as the other person wants.  Tragically a child is also of the mind set that everything is their fault and a pedophile will push that concept.  A sick, cruel attack blaming the child and telling them it is their fault they were too pretty, too bad, too...whatever twisted logic that can be used to blame the child.  This deliberate twisting of natural tendencies is so cruel.  Boys and girls are molested.  The statistics are too sketchy to even guess at the actual numbers.  To me, sexual abuse encompasses both physically touching the child's genitals and breast to sexual stimulate the perpetrator or the victim and showing and sharing sexual content that is not appropriate for the age of the child.  The full penetration of child, rape or sodomy, invades the most basic boundary, your skin.  When this most basic boundary is violated, how can a child believe that they have a right to any other boundary?   Like physical abuse, a child may forget the incident but the body does not. The more frequently and longer the child is molested the deeper the emotional scarring.  However, like a balloon being poked with a pin one incident can be enough to cause extensive damage.  When the perpetrator is a care giver for the child, the emotional betrayal is as damaging or worse than the physical hurt.  The consequences for the child can last well into the adult years.    

If you would like further information please follow the links below:

A wall of silence, fear, and shame surrounds sexual abuse.  When I chose to start speaking up, a person asked me how I could admit to being sexual abused.  Even as an adult, I was being treated as if I had done something wrong.  These websites both share some statistics but readily admit that this type of abuse is under reported.  Victims have been called liars, threatened, ostracized, and blamed.  The confusion and fear mingled with feelings not understood become a child's legacy into adulthood.  The challenge of the victim is to survive.  The challenge of the survivor is to learn to thrive. 

Signs to watch for:  long periods of time with an adult and child alone, a child sharing information or behaviors that seem far advanced to the age of the child, changes in personality, severe nightmares, secretive behavior, fear of a person or place are a few clues.

Several years ago my mother finally gave me my baby book that she recorded events up through first grade.  In kindergarten, she wrote about my change in behavior to moody and not as care free.  The whole thing was dismissed as 'girls are so emotional.'  Sexual abuse is now getting more attention.   A new tragedy is the 'witch hunts' for perpetrators from recovered memories.  Unfortunately, recovered memories are not always accurate.  Sometimes the child will blame someone innocent because they fear or love of the one molesting them.  Proof is difficult.  If you are aware of a child being sexually molested please get involved and get them help.  If you are a survivor, do not give up hope, healing is possible.  Also, if the perpetrator is still in your life, do not leave your children with them.  Rarely will a perpetrator change without outside interference.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Emotional/verbal Abuse

***** Reading this may be offensive or triggering for some readers***** 
Continue on at your own risk.

Sticks and Stones may break my bones...
But names can scar forever.

Not quite what you remember from the childhood taunts?

mulderfan posted on her blog information she found on upsi's blog.  
I admire both of these women.  They have done so much to open my eyes to emotional abuse and how it continues into adult years.  Check out this list.  I'll wait for you to come back:
If you read through this list, almost every single one of them could be classified as emotional abuse.  I include verbal abuse with emotional abuse since most verbal abuse fits in this category.  Verbal and emotional abuse are not illegal.  Some schools are attempting to outlaw cyber bulling and putting no bully rules in place.  Some how I don't think they will meet with much success.

I spent years talking with my counselor about all the different ways emotional abuse destroys a person.  When he finally got me to talk about my childhood, I started remembering more and more with most of it varying degrees of emotional abuse.  Toxic Parents was the book used to pry open my memories.  I actually did remember more of this information since it started in early childhood and continued through to now; I'm over 50 years old.  It was a pain that just kept coming.  

Name calling was a part of my growing up and being reminded of it in my adult life.  My counselor asked me why I didn't tell my parents.  I shrugged, "They called me the same names."  Ding-a-ling...Ghost...Light's are on but nobody's home... (actually this one is probably the perfect description of dissociation at an extreme level.  Instead of getting me help, they made fun of me.)  I was the but of many jokes.  Laughed at....ridiculed... most people can relate to these things.  

I am going to share about a particularly cruel behavior that I unfortunately used also.  The older I got the more I started realizing it didn't make sense but I didn't know how to change what I didn't understand myself.  My mother was the emotional drama queen of our family.  In the strange way that can sometimes happen in a family, my mother controlled me when she felt she couldn't control herself.  I was not allowed to have emotions.  People wonder how is this possible to do to a child?  Adults it is difficult...but a child...that is another story.  If I cried, I was told that if I didn't stop crying I would be given something to cry about.  This meant another spanking.  A threat of violence is a fairly good deterrent for crying.  If I was bored, I would be told that only stupid people are bored and be given more work to do.  Now, here is where it gets really weird, if I was happy, I would be told how miserable someone else was.  If I was excited, I was put down until I stopped.  It did not matter what emotion I felt, it would be stopped.  My pedophile neighbor completed my training.  My pain was his pleasure.  The only way to stop him enjoying what he did to me was to stop feeling pain.  No pain, no pleasure, no happiness, no sorrow, no feeling.  One of my personalities could completely and totally disconnect from all my emotions and pain.  A story to demonstrate how completely I could do this I broke my arm a few years after I started counseling.  At the time, I was aware of all the personalities but not integrated yet.  When I went to get my arm x-rayed, the technician apologized that I would need to straighten out my arm for one of the pictures.  I told her.  OK.  Just give me a second.  At this point in my progress, I was able to switch personalities at will.  I focused and switched to Marie.  I straightened out my arm and they took the x-rays.  Marie left as soon as the pictures were done.  The pain rushing through my body was excruciating.  But the pictures were done and it showed that I had a broken elbow.  Emotion and pain were totally disconnected during Marie's presence.  Another time during the semester after I integrated, I took a photography class of taking a photos everyday.  When we had enough photos, several hundred, we started creating sequences of pictures.  I struggled.  I didn't get it.  I asked the professor...his reply, "Just put them together how you feel."  Crap.  Integration did not include knowing or identifying what emotions meant.  Integration did not fix being in touch with my emotions.  I met with the professor with a stack of my pictures and explained my 'handicap.'  His comment was that he thought that would be really nice to not feel negative emotions.  To share with him how not cool it is, I said, "You have daughters, imagine being at their wedding and being very happy for them, only you can't tell them."  He considered that and agreed that not feeling was a 'handicap.'  He then proceeded to show me how I could put a sequence together without using emotion.  As the class progressed, so did my ability to feel.  I was very excited the first time I identified a shared emotion.  The emotion...boredom.  It is a terrible feeling and I better understand why the sign language jester looks like you are picking your nose.  It was awful.  But it felt so good to feel, identify, and accept one of the forbidden emotions.  

KavinCoach recognized how severe my problem with emotions early in the counseling.  Five months after starting counseling my mother-in-law died.  I went to our appointment the next day as usual.  I made sure that the kids were with my husband so he wasn't alone.  At the beginning of the appointment, I stated why I was alone.  I had other things to talk about.  KavinCoach stopped me.  He asked, "How do you feel about it?"  My face spoke volumes.  I was clearly puzzled by the question.  He then probed, "Are you happy?" Immediately, I answered, "No."  He asked, "Are you sad?"  Again I said, "No."  Then he asked the six million dollar question, "Do you feel anything at all?"  I shrugged, "No, why should I, she's not my mother."  I don't think we ever did talk about what I wanted to talk about that session.  He was working hard at trying to get me to feel anything.  Over the next several months he would attempt to get me angry...over and over again he failed.  One time he was finally getting me upset when suddenly the emotion vanished....KavinCoach stopped mid sentence.  He asked, "Where did it go?"  Me..."Where did what go?"  KC..."You were getting angry."  Me..."Yes."  KC..."What happened to it?"  Me..."I don't know."  He observed that the angrer wasn't being repressed because that shows in the tension in your face.  He marveled that the emotion was completely gone.  Some months later, I walked into a session, "KC, I found it."  All those years of emotions, anger, hurt, fear, happy, depressed, terrified, more anger.... were perfectly preserved in a boiling pool buried deep in myself.  I spent years allowing those emotions to finally see the light of day.  Bruises heal, bones mend, dead emotions take your life.  I felt that I may be breathing and acting like I was living but I wasn't alive until I could feel.  I am thankful to KavinCoach teaching me how to feel my own emotions.  I cried with my daughters. I shared with adult children their joy of babies coming into our world.  I felt angry when I was hurt.  I felt frustration at my job.  I felt peaceful pleasure.  Please, don't take my emotions away, for this is the essence of living. 

 Link to information on emotion abuse in relation to domestic abuse:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Physical Abuse

  ***** Reading this may be offensive or triggering for some readers***** 
Continue on at your own risk.

It's been a while since I have dreaded writing a post.  Why continue?  One of the first things KavinCoach taught me to do was to remember enough that my body memories make sense.  He explained, if I don't know what happened, I don't know what I am fighting.  If you don't recognize abusive behavior, how do you stop it?

Books on physical abuse were assigned to me to see how I would react reading about abuse since I had no memories of my own.  The first book I read was A Child Called It.  (Listed in my resource books.)  I read the entire book before my next appointment.  When KavinCoach asked me what I thought...I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Bad things happen to kids, what do you want me to learn from it?"  A Child Called It is a book written by Dave Plezer, an abuse survivor in the 1970's, when reporting child abuse was still rare.  KavinCoach watched my total lack of reaction to a description of brutal beatings, starvation, stabbing, and other acts of physical violence done to Dave Pelzer.  Most people are aware of the very noticeable bruises, broken bones, and belt marks.  There are other more subtle ways of physically abusing a child... spankings, punched in areas of the body not seen, hits in the head where hair covers the bumps and bruises, grabbing and twisting arms, pulling hair, then there was the realm that I existed in that would be classified as torture that never leaves a mark.  Unseen pinches.  Pokes. .... the list goes on and on and on and on....... Unfortunately, many places require pictures of the bruises to prosecute.  Most kids are too terrified to show.  Or they looked at the bruises on my legs and my mother told everybody how clumsy I was.  Along with the abuse, the world was told, it was my fault.  Kids believe that what happens to them is their fault.  The body heals....memories fade....years later someone grabs an adult in just the right place and they freak out.  This happened to me the first year I was working at the University.  I was working in the computer labs.  One of the students thought it would be funny to startle me by grabbing me from behind.  He grabbed my wrist.  I froze.........an eruption of rage so powerful that in that moment I felt I was capable of killing this idiot student.  I froze to keep myself from acting on the thoughts screaming in my head.  I was breathing heavily.  I had to go to my office to be alone for awhile to finally contain the massive reaction.  Nothing in my memories at the time gave me a clue why I had such a massive reaction.  My mind didn't remember being bound but my body did.  I spent the next several years learning to wear bracelets and anklets to teach my body to stop reacting so extremely.  (This process is called desensitization. http://www.pe2000.com/desens-what.htm) Over the first few months I learned a lot about body memories, physical violence, and my childhood.  The bruises are all gone.  The scars are mostly invisible.  My body never forgot.  Only my mind did.  I stumbled on problems at doctors appointments as they poked and prodded me for examinations.  What I thought were bizarre reactions that had no basis in reality, I finally learned were body memories from a bizarre childhood.  The abuse I experienced was not as obvious as A Child Called It.  However, I still had to recognize, acknowledge and accept what happened to me.  Some would ask, what did you do wrong to be treated like this....I was born.  People look for a cause and effect.  Many, many children are brutalized for no other reason than the adults in their life can.  Stiffer laws are stopping some.  Taking kids out of brutal homes.  Trying to give them a chance to see that life does not have to hurt.

I had a friend that one of her kids was learning about physical abuse at school.  She had been beaten as a child herself.  When she back handed him for sassing her, he told her not to abuse him.  She went postal and doubled up her fist and beat him with a volley of punches.  Then she panted, "Now, you have been abused."  I feel deeply saddened that this woman did not recognize that even though she hit her children less than she was hit, what she did, still wasn't OK.  Brutality does breed brutality if the person chooses not to change.

There was another woman that told the world how rotten her husband was.  But she was the one that gave me a fat lip when I tried to bring the children in out of the snow.  She was using the kids as pawns in a terrible argument with her husband.  Children are human beings that deserve respect and protection.  

In the United States, it is now required by law to report child abuse.  Unfortunately, in parts of the world, a child belongs to the adults like a piece of property and treated as they wish.  Children die from the physical abuse they suffer.  Adults live in fear barely able to live as the results of brutal childhoods.  I am not the only one that has suffered from physical abuse.  I can't stop the world but I can open up and share that just because I had a brutal childhood that does not mean I have to become a brutal adult.  At some point, every person, makes a decision.  I chose to stop the violence in my home.  I wasn't perfect.  I realized that I had made an improvement when my daughter read the book A Child Called It.  She couldn't finish reading it because she could not imagine any one doing those things to another human being.

Those affected - gender, economic background, race, religion, nothing seems to be an indicator...it can happen anywhere to anyone... I was raised in a 'good' neighborhood.

Signs to look for:
Bruises and other injuries in different stages of healing
Frequent visits to ER
Intense fear of the child around certain people
Remember, not all the symptoms will be present and sometimes the child will protect the guilty adults.
This is a web page with an extensive listing of signs of abuse: