|Posted on January 26, 2011 at 1:41 PM||comments (0)|
Since my first book was released last January I have been very busy with a support group that I started on Facebook. The group is for survivors of any kind of abuse and I was shocked at how quickly it grew to over 100 members. We have kept the group private for the safety of it's members and I have a wonderful team of officers and admins helping out.
It is very gratifying to be able to help others who are not as far along on their healing path. Most of what I do in the group is to teach the members about the law of attraction and how to change their energy to change their lives. Most have never heard of it and by learning what I have learned since watching The Secret, they are slowly turning things around!
If you or anyone you know is in need of support due to abuse, please look us up on Facebook and send a request to join. Shadows of the Mind group.
|Posted on September 9, 2010 at 2:44 PM||comments (0)|
With all the recent losses in my Facebook survivor groups, I thought it was a good time to talk about grieving, which so many are afraid of. The reality is that when we are able to give ourselves permission to grieve and be with sadness it gives us the opportunity to begin healing.
Change is inevitable and there is nothing we can do to stop it, every minute of every day. Sometimes it seems like we are losing everything when things change. When we understand that this is all part of our daily living, and that there will not only be losses, but gains as well, we are more readily able to accept change and deal with whatever happens. To expect things to always stay the same is simply irrational.
When we lose something or somebody that we love, we need to take time for ourselves and truly feel what we are experiencing. At the time it may seem like it will push us deeper into sadness, by giving ourselves time to be with whatever has changed, it creates space for healing.
The act of grieving is a natural process, which allows us to go through all of the emotions are present in our every day life. Sometimes it seems easier to involve ourselves in things that take our minds off the sadness, but this will only make the healing longer and more difficult. It may be necessary for a short period of time until we are able to be alone in a safe environment however.
If we don't listen to where we are in the moment, the feelings only grow stronger and our feelings will manifest themselves in stronger, less comfortable ways, like self harming or self destructive behaviours. When we can consciously acknowledge these feelings, we are more able to soothe them. In doing so, we are more open to our natural healing ability.
Grieving isn't a process that keeps us in thoughts of fear and sadness. We may feel despondent at the time, but by expressing them and coping with the true feelings, we face the pain head on. When we can accept and deal with the loss fully, we can then continue our life's journey with a more positive and accepting outlook. This makes it easier to see that grief is temporary and just like moments of happiness, it will pass.
Just give it the time it deserves.
|Posted on June 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM||comments (0)|
In working with other survivors I have met some young women that are desperately trying to be heard through self harming. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend some time chatting with some of them and learn more about why they cut themselves. Rather than try to explain it here, you can get more information on this site.
One of the young woman that I met has become a very close friend and I love her dearly, even though we haven't actually met in person. When I met her online she was in a very bad place in her life and had gone back to cutting herself. After a very short time I saw her get out of an abusive situation, move to a new state for a fresh start and go to a hospital for treatment. As soon as she got out she started working on a website to help others understand what cutting is about and how it affects the people who do it.
This cutting is a sign of emotional pain, more often than not from some kind of abuse. It is something that can be recognized if you are looking. It is mostly done on the arms, so if you notice a number of cuts (they do try to hide them), please pay attention. They need your help and don't know how to ask, so offer it.
For someone who is cutting call, 1800 DONT CUT
|Posted on June 14, 2010 at 1:59 PM||comments (0)|
Wow, in mentoring other women that have been victims of abuse, I can't believe the number of young women that I come across that are actually attempting suicide. Sadly, some of them even succeed.
Even being aware if the statistics that say that 1 in 4 women is sexually abused, it boggles my mind that there are so many and I have to think that the statistics are actually much higher.
When I talk to these women that are feeling suicidal and they tell me their stories, I can't say that I blame them for wanting out, but at the same time I know that there is healing for them. The horrors bestowed on these women by sick, evil men still shocks me. How could any human being with even a shred of decency treat another human with such carelessness? They must now know the damage they cause, or care. Purely selfish in their actions, they just go along and do what they want with helpless children.
I also have to wonder where these young girls get the pills that they use to try and end their lives. It is unfortunate that we seem to be living in an age where it is imperative that adults lock up their medication. I can only assume that is where the pills come from.
There has to be a better way to reach these young women and teach them other ways to deal with their pain. Cutting themselves to release the pain, swallowing pills. Are these the only ways they know? It appears to me that it is, but with some I have been able to show them other ways.
The most effective ways I have found start with talking about what has happened to them. They have kept the secret so long, but when I talk to other young women that they are friends with, I find that they have common experiences. They are so afraid of being rejected by their friends that they keep it inside, not knowing that their friend would totally relate to what they are feeling.
The next thing I try to teach them is to write out their feelings. These writings are not for showing to anyone, just to express what they are and get them out so that they don't keep them bottled up. It has worked wonders for me and the ones that actually try it say that it helps them too.
We must be aware of the behaviours of the young girls around us, before they get to the point of suicide. Keep medications locked up. Look for cuts or scars on their bodies, particularly their arms and legs and if you even suspect abuse, talk to them. If you don't know how to talk to them, email me and I will try to help you find the words, or get them to a professional. So many lives are being lost unnecessarily, if they only knew how to deal with the abuse and heal from it they would see that life can be happy.
For a list of after effects to watch for see blog post "list of after effects for survivors"
|Posted on May 18, 2010 at 2:06 PM||comments (3)|
Below is a list of effects that we suffer from as survivors of sexual abuse. Recognizing these effects in myself helped me to negate them on my road to healing. Although I didn't suffer from all of them, I wanted to include them all for others. These are very similar to the effects in adult children of alcoholic parents. I hope you find the list helpful.
Effects of Sexual Abuse
-afraid to remove clothes when appropriate (bathing, swimming, sleeping)
-alcohol abuse or total abstinence
-anger issues, fear of expressing, fear of rage
-attempts to be invisible
-carrying secret, urge to tell
-creation of fantasy world, life, friends
-crying for no apparent reason
-dislike of water on face
-extreme control of thoughts
-extreme risk taker, or unable to take risks
-fear of the dark
-fear of losing control
-fear of nobody listening
-fear of rejection, abandonment
-fear of sleeping alone
-feeling crazy, different, unreal
-feelings of suffocation
-'female' problems, vaginal infections
-headaches, arthritis, joint pain
-hiding, clinging, cowering
-inability to deal with crisis, shutdown
-inability to trust (not safe), total trust, poor judgement
-inappropriate attire - baggy clothes
-instinct to know others wants and needs
-intense anger towards whole gender or race of abuser
-lack of ability to set limits
-lack of sense of humor, seriousness
-low self esteem
-low self worth
-magnification of stressful situations
-need to be perfect, or bad
-nightmares or terrors, particularly of being chased, trapped, threatened
-no sense of rights or personal power
-over reacting when startled
-people or places blocked from memory
-periods of life blocked, lack of memory
-physical pain associated with sex
-poor body image, not taking care of body
-relationships are trade offs
-sensitive gag reflex, swallowing
-separating from self (splitting)
-serious need for privacy using washroom
-uncomfortable accepting favors, love, gifts
-victim pattern, especially with sex
-weight loss or gain to change body and avoid sexual attention
|Posted on May 12, 2010 at 3:07 PM||comments (0)|
One of the things I learned on my path of healing is that in many cases the child’s emotional development is arrested at the time of the abuse. Most of us do not develop emotionally past that age, which causes many issues for us as adults. I still find it very difficult sometimes to react appropriately to emotional situations, particularly involving sex and romantic love. I also struggle with having my own needs fulfilled. I was taught as a child that my needs didn’t matter, only the needs of my abuser. I was there for his pleasure and nothing else.
When it comes to emotional situations I need to examine it intellectually and put my emotions aside. Sometimes I need to discuss it with close friends to figure out if my emotional reaction is due to abuse, or due to the fact that I am being disrespected, treated unfairly, or abused further. It's a very touchy thing and there are times that I just react emotionally and my rage comes bubbling to the surface. At those times I have been mean to people that I care about and afterwards, when my emotions have calmed and I am able to think rationally. That used to bring on feelings of guilt, for having lost control of myself, but with time and practice I have been able to keep those feelings to a minimum. Through using my mental faculties, rather than emotions, I have also become better at asking for what I need and knowing what those needs are.
Three great books that helped me deal with these situations are
Gifts from Eykis: A Story of Self Discovery by Wayne Dyer
Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart by Tara Bennett-Goleman
The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns
|Posted on May 3, 2010 at 2:21 PM||comments (2)|
Before I began healing from childhood abuse, I was always in emotional pain. I felt guilt and shame for what had happened to me and thought that somehow I had brought it on myself. As an adult many years later, I see how silly that sounds, but at the time I thought it was my fault that someone had abused me.
As I grew into adulthood I was involved in a number of abusive relationships, with men that only help to reinforce my thinking that it was my fault. I pushed their buttons, or pissed them off, so they hit me. It never occurred to me that their problem was exactly that, THEIR problem and not mine. It didn't matter what I did or didn't do, I would be abused anyway.
As I learned that it wasn't my fault, but the fault of some sick individuals in my life, I began to let go of my pain. It was a long process and I held onto it like a warm blanket keeping me safe and warm. "What would happen if I let go of the pain, who would I be, what would I do?", I constantly asked myself. I had known the pain for as long as I could remember and even though my therapist and others told me it was time to let it go, I just couldn't. That was who I was, I had identified so closely with it that it had become my comfort. Without it I would be bare and vulnerable, leaving myself open to more abuse and more pain.
As it turned out, that wasn't true. It took courage to let it go, but once I did, I finally felt free and alive. What had happened in my past was over, it couldn't hurt me anymore. Those people that had abused me were no longer a part of my life and I was safe from them, so why did I need to hold on to the pain they had caused?
I read an amazing book called “Emotional Alchemy – How the Mind Can Heal the Heart” by Tara Bennett-Goleman. I learned about something called is called a “schema” or pattern of behavior that I carried throughout my life. We all have at least one, some of us more and they determine how we react in certain situations. Most of them begin in childhood, where they serve to protect us, but as we grow into adulthood they are no longer appropriate. The pain that I was holding onto was just a schema and since it no longer served a purpose in my adult life, I made a choice to release it. Letting go is a clear choice. We can choose to hold on and live in pain, or we can choose to let go of the pain and be happy.
The best way I found to let go of it was to focus on the good things in my life at the time. Life wasn't perfect, but it was sure better than it had been and I had so many things to be thankful for. I had a roof over my head, good food, decent clothing and could take care of myself. We all have things to be grateful for, but sometimes we spend so much time focusing on what we don't have that we forget about what we do have. Since I chose to focus on the good and let go of the bad my life has changed and I am much happier.
If you have any questions about this post that you do not want to post publicly, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or if there is a particular area of abuse or healing that you would like to hear from me about.
|Posted on March 2, 2010 at 12:50 PM||comments (3)|
I have met the most wonderful people since my book was released. Recently I met this amazing woman online and I am very impressed with the work she is doing for her healing. Check out her poetry here
The more we talk about this subject and raise awareness, the more we can all heal together. Great work Kate, keep it up! You are definitely an inspiration to us all xoxoxoxo