Tag: victim

STORIES OF COURAGE & SURVIVAL– ABUSE — Women of Wisdom Series™

STORIES OF COURAGE & SURVIVAL– ABUSE — Women of Wisdom Series™

abuse
Audubon Socity

As part of The Women of Wisdom Series™, I am introducing three memoirs, each addressing the issue of abuse. Though the stories are different, the message is in many ways the same.  Each memoir sheds light on the impact of abuse on us and provides lessons in survival. The women describe their journeys from a place of strength and courage, characteristics they undoubtedly honed through their difficulties.

These women are people just like you and I and what I love about memoirs. Thanks to modern technology, and the increase of Indy Publishing, we are able to see into the lives of everyday people  It’s so exciting  that women are stepping up, one by one, and sharing their stories. They benefit from the telling, we benefit from the listening.

We all can learn from an author with a compelling story to tell. It doesn’t matter whether or not the book is worthy of a literary award. What matters is what we take away. Memoirs by women over fifty to speak to the courage, fortitude, persistence and enduring love, characteristics that the women of our time, and our generation, exhibit every day . These stories give me courage. The author’s endurance gives me hope. Memoirs help us make sense of our own lives.

Women have suffered enormous wounding at the hands of those who had power over them. I count myself among the survivors and like most women who carry scars, we continue to learn a little more each day how to thrive. Like Kelly Clarkson reminds us, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” … and I might add much, much wiser.

COMING NEXT WEDNESDAY: “Harvesting Wisdom” by author Joan Rough

[tweetthis]Throughout history women have been abused. It has not only made them stronger, but wiser.[/tweetthis]

 

abuseEVER FAITHFUL TO HIS LEAD:  My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse by Kathleen Pooler

Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse is a compelling read written by a strong and courageous woman. Pooler’s story drew me in from page one and held my attention to the end.  She paints a clear  picture of her life as a victim and the inherent quagmire of confusion, denial, hope, despair, anger, self-recrimination, and blame that naturally ensues.  Pooler never wallows in the angst of it all, rather draws her readers into her quest for understanding, truth and freedom from victim-hood.

Women who came of age in the fifties and sixties were taught to be obedient, faithful, caring, helpmates to their spouse – we were taught to be “ever faithful to his lead”. We also were growing day by day in self-awareness and learning to value ourselves as intelligent, creative, capable people.

Breaking free of abusive relationships became, during our generation, more possible and doable than ever before. Kathy Pooler is one such woman and tells her story, in a clear and steady style that co-mingles her challenges with her emerging understanding.

Pooler just touches on the role her roots of faith played in her emancipation.  I’m sure she will have much more to say about this in her next memoir, now in progress.

Connect with Kathleen Pooler.

 

abuse GHOST NO MORE: A True Story of Child Abuse and Rescue by Cee Cee James

Cee Cee James tells a heartbreaking story without a trace of self-pity. The account of her life as a child in a home without love will rock your world and renew your faith in the power of the human spirit to survive.

A little girl, desperate for her mother’s love, Cee Cee James brings us into the day-to-day world of the child victimized by a parent. We experience the workings of the child’s mind struggling to survive emotional and physical abuse.  James reveals through the lens of her story the sad truth that children will suffer enormous abuse at the hands of a parent and still strive to win acceptance, approval and most of all love – even when it is never, ever forthcoming.  It broke my heart to see this little girl take the tiniest hope and run with it, only to see it dashed against the rocks of a woman’s inability to love her child.

As difficult as this book was to read, I could not put it down. The life force in this little girl was so strong and fierce and carried me forward to the end.

MORE BOOKS BY CEE CEE JAMES

 

 

 

 

abuseCONFLICTED HEARTS: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt by D.G. Kaye

A girl’s relationship with her mother lasts a lifetime, but it is often not until we reach midlife that the complexity of a difficult connection comes into focus. What we come to believe about ourselves as adults through our interactions with our mother’s as children, is often not an accurate reflection of who we really are. This conflict, this inner disparity, either drives us toward disintegration or the truth.

D.G. Kaye took on this battle. In her book, Conflicted Hearts, she shares her story as she struggles to come to terms with her challenging and complex relationship with a mother she both loved and despised. It is a journey that all of us can relate to in one way or another. Kaye writes with honesty, candor, humor and courage as she peels back the layers and gains understanding and perspective. In the end we not only learn about the author, we learn about ourselves and may even come to see our own mother/daughter relationship a more clearly.

Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy this journey into one woman’s world. When you put down the book, you will feel as though you’ve gained a friend.

Connect with D.G. Kaye

 

 

 

 

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More Posts of Interest

You Are Not Broken

Mask of Perception – When Things Are Not As They Seem

We Are Not Broken – You Are Not Broken

We Are Not Broken – You Are Not Broken

We Are Not BrokenWelcome to Wisdom Wednesday

Feeling and believing that we are broken or don’t measure up in some way…that we are flawed…inadequate…and in need of fixing…is an illusion. You are not broken. Perfection is a fantasy.  As human beings we have the ability to see, to conceptualize, a more perfect something. It’s an ability that drives us to create and learn and explore. We’ve begun to use this ability to destroy ourselves.

I don’t believe we were born to exploit ourselves or each other, and yet, that is exactly the nature of the life in which we believe ourselves to be trapped. It’s no different from living in a cult. Our culture is a cult. Think of it. Think about how hard it is to go against the norm. We believe in many ways that we are powerless. We are powerless only insofar as we believe we have no choice.

It always comes down to the freedom of choice and seeing our choices clearly. To see them, we must begin to question. We must ask ourselves, and ask often, what do we value? Do our thoughts, beliefs and actions line up? Why do we choose to believe that we are less than?  Why do we choose to believe we need fixing? We are not broken.

 [tweetthis]When we are locked within an illusion, our choices are less visible to us, and we feel powerless. #abuse[/tweetthis]

You are not broken.

We are inundated by messages from a culture that needs us to believe that we are lacking. It wants you to believe you are broken and in need of what they are selling. To the degree that we are buying into what we are being told, we are allowing ourselves to be victimized by the culture we live in. The first step we can make as individuals is to begin to see the illusion, then we can exercise our choice.  Each time we choose to step outside of the illusion and refuse to buy into the mindset that we are lacking, the stronger we become. The stronger we become, the crazier the illusion appears, the easier it is to choose to believe we are not broken.

Life is not easy. In fact, it’s really, really hard sometimes, but one of the biggest deterrents to our sense of well-being is buying into and living within the illusion that we need to be fixed. We create more misery for ourselves by fighting with who and what we are, than any external event that comes into our lives. We are exhausted and without resources to cope with life’s misfortunes.  The mental gymnastics brought on by living within the illusion deplete us and create a life that feels unbearable. 

You are not broken. You, like the rest of us are on a journey of discovery, of learning and growing and exploring. If you are here you are probably on a journey that calls you to dig deeper and to explore what is most essential in life…what is most valuable…what is worth living and dying for. Life itself is the universe’s gift to us. It is up to us value it properly and stop believing that we are broken. 

COMING SOON!!

new eBook/workbook to guide you through the steps necessary to break free from this cycle of illusion and self-condemnation. Be sure to add your name to my mailing and/or stay connected on Facebook/Twitter.

 

 

 

Conscious Aging

Conscious Aging

Watching my parents die was one of the most difficult and painful experiences of my life. It was a modern-day tragedy, their conscious agingsuffering heartbreaking and unnecessary.  I watched, powerless to change a sickness of the mind, a fundamental commitment to their powerlessness.

We are all powerless over death, but we are not powerless over the way in which we approach our death.  As we choose better thoughts and attitudes, we begin to see them come to fruition with each choice we make.

At the time of my parents death, I was only beginning to grasp this concept. The fog was lifting but it was too late for me to help them. I was still in the grip of a lineage of powerlessness, even as I knew in my gut  that there was a different way. We were all products of our upbringing and for some a victim mindset is woven tightly into our DNA, put there before we really even had a choice.

MY HEART ACHED

My heart ached as I watched this mindset play out in two people I was born loving.  I watched in horror as they brought about the very conditions they feared and dreaded the most. They lived their worst nightmare, and lived their dying days watching everything they planned so meticulously to avoid play out just as they had envisioned it.

It wasn’t their physical suffering that was hard to watch minimal compared to many.  No, it was their unspoken belief that they didn’t matter, that only they could save themselves and that ultimately they were not worth anyone’s time.  In the end they lived their last years fighting a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.  Each, in their own way, was unable to break free from the mindset that could not create their way out.

I HAD TO BREAK FREE

It was then that I began to grapple in earnest with my own unanswered questions about life and death.  Untangling the mindset that created a lineage of mental and emotional suffering was my single goal, and I would separate out what was mine and what was theirs.  I had to break free.

I sought then and continue to seek today a deeper, richer understanding of and appreciation for the life/death experience. Traveling from a place of fearing life and death to a radical new place of hope, meaning and purpose has created within me a significant transformation.

If I have a choice, I do not want to die as they died, nor do I want to live as they lived.  I want to believe in possibility and hope as I live and die with strength and courage.  Of course, I have yet to test my new perspective and I do hope I have more time for it to ferment and strengthen, but I have changed.

During my fifth decade, I discovered a deeper connection to myself and to the creation of all things. I am unwilling to name  the source without source. To do so is, for me, too confining, too limiting, and subject to false interpretations. Yet, I feel a powerful presence, an energy upon which love and life and all that is good is founded and sustained. This power lives within us, between us,  around us and before us.  When we open to it, our course becomes clearer.  It is both me and not me. It is both the collective and not the collective.

I will never know what crossed my mother or father’s mind in their last moments. Perhaps they took the hand of their God and were no longer afraid. I hope that was true. Since that time, however, I have vowed not to live an un-lived life and not to die a meaningless death. Conscious aging is my goal and conscious living my ongoing quest.

© Dorothy Sander 2015

 

 

 

How Long Does It Take A Wound to Heal

How Long Does It Take A Wound to Heal

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth 1948 The Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth 1948 The Museum of Modern Art, NYC

The wounds of childhood run deep. They run broad and wide and fester when they do not experience the light of understanding, of compassion, of acknowledgement, of love. Tears may be shed, cries and protests may erupt in the moments during or following an injury, but when unattended, the wound is covered up with ignorance, indifference or cruelty. The injury  is ignored as if it doesn’t exist, as if it never happened. The sands of time, layer upon layer, muffle the sound of the heartbreak, cause the bleeding to disappear from sight, but healing cannot occur. The bleeding and heartbreak continue on out of sight, underneath a layer of scar tissue.

I received a laceration to my hand in an accident, now four years ago, that has a left a scar. Shards of glass from the window beside me, the window I instinctively pressed my hand and arm against to brace myself as the car rolled…and rolled…sliced the tendon between my pinky and ring finger as it shattered against me on impact. Once the car came to a standstill and I found a small portion of my senses I knew I had suffered a serious injury to my hand though I could see nothing but blood. Somehow I knew that beneath the blood my fingers had been rendered useless. I even thought I had lost my pinky. It was instinct, out of sight awareness that led me to this conclusion.

The surgeon craftsman in the trauma center repaired the damage to the best of his ability though he had to be creative with what was left of the sinewy tissue. He enjoyed the challenge. I was grateful for his confidence.  After two hours of surgery, it took twelve weeks of bi-weekly physical therapy and home treatment  to regain some use. It took better than a year for the pain to stop and two years for me to stop being aware of the discomfort of the minor malfunction. This wound, was a simple, fairly obvious wound to attend to and heal, in the overall scheme of things.

The deeper wounds, the ones that are out of sight and remain unattended, discounted by ourselves or overlooked by those who have the power and awareness to help us heal, do not receive the treatment they need, the support of a team of experts, the attention of skilled rehabilitation specialists. We are left to carry them by ourselves, live with them and to attend to them in whatever way we can.

The accident left me with a TBI and PTSD. Both were not diagnosed or attended to in my post-accident medical treatment and it wasn’t until my hand began to heal that it came to my attention that I had been crippled in a far more significant way by the accident. I had not lost my finger but I had lost my life as I knew it,  my sense of security, my ability to trust myself or the world around me. I could not think. I could not remember things for five minutes. I could not plan or execute. I could not leave the house.

In that car, that day, I had been a sitting duck. I was a passenger in the car. I had no control over any part of my life. I was a victim just waiting to be victimized again. And, I was. Thank God. In spite of the pain and anguish I experienced during the years since, it does not compare to the anguish I suffered for a lifetime prior as I lived with buried wounds day in and day out, fighting depression, anxiety, self-doubt, deep, deep despair, fear, insecurity, uncertainty, failure, failure, failure. That accident shook everything loose in one fell swoop. I was turned inside out and upside down, literally and figuratively, my insides poured on the sidewalk to be picked through and inspected.

One by one, piece by piece, bit by bit, day by day I sort through and heal, sort through and heal. If the truth were told I’m still afraid to let go of the deepest numbness that replaced feelings too intense to hold, too lethal to bear. Yet, I know this is the only way to continue healing. One must open up the wound, must shower it with attention, understanding, and above all love, allowing tears to flow, anger to surge so that healing can take place. If we keep the lid on it, it we keep the bandage on the cut it is slower to heal and may never heal at all.

Ripping off the bandage is painful. It is best done with another, with someone who loves us and who can hold space for us. It is not something that can or should be done alone. Allowing love in is part of the healing process. Allowing others to care for us, to hold us and touch our hearts again is what we all long for. It’s what we all require.

So, how long does it take a wound to heal? It takes as long as it takes, but it begins when we take notice of the wound and give it the attention it requires. The healing process moves forward each time we shine the light of truth, understanding, love, acceptance and forgiveness on our hurting places. It ends when we no longer think about it.

A Child without Edges

A Child without Edges

art by Molly Brett
Fairy Artwork by Molly Brett – click on image for more info.

A childhood of abuse or neglect sets the stage for an adult who does not know who they are. Healthy boundaries are either a mystery or non-existent. They are either too rigid or too fluid. When we don’t know who we are, we may unconsciously cling to the rules and belief systems that were imposed on us as children, or we borrowed them from an external belief system such as a religion, a political party, or a social group. It gives us a sense of identity and security. It gives us the edges we are unable to create from within as children.

Or, we may exist without edges and live the life of an emotional and psychological amoeba. In this case, we allow whoever or whatever is in our life at any given moment to take up residence within us. We live in a constant state of reaction to, rather than action toward. Never having learned to validate our own wants, needs and desires, we wander aimlessly through life falling victim over and over again to the whims, desires and manipulations of those who don’t hesitate to tell us what our boundaries should be. The child who is ignored, drowned out, or in any other way taught to ignore her own inner voice and guidance, is a child without edges and a child doomed to suffer as an adult.

These two different reactions to abuse are a match made in heaven. They attract one another like iron to a magnet, perpetuating the chain of abuse in an endless dance. The rigid must constantly remind themselves and all with whom they come in contact, of what they believe and who they are. Beneath this drive is the unconscious fear that without constant feedback and validation they would crumble and disintegrate. It’s a life or death activity that keeps the veneer in place.  What better way to do this than to seek out those with porous boundaries, who are looking for their edges, who are willing to be influenced, and who have learned not to question or challenge?

If, however, we have the opportunity to see, sense or become aware of the ember of our real self that still glows in the recesses of our heart and soul, we can begin the exciting, albeit terrifying journey of self-discovery. We must go back and raise ourselves, give ourselves the adult guidance and structure that allows our inner child to blossom.

We once had our very own responses to life. We once had our own thoughts, our own feelings, our own deep physical and emotional expression of all that we are. We can have it again.

The disassociation I experienced after the accident was the most extreme expression of my own disconnection from myself, though it began much earlier. It is an utterly terrifying feeling to be without boundaries, to feel utterly powerless and helpless. How many children feel this way every day of their lives? How many of these children grow up to be deeply troubled adults?

As a victim of abuse or trauma, finding a connection to oneself is an ongoing challenge, but one that is not only essential but worth the effort. When we heal our own suffering, we stop the cycle. It’s time to stop the cycle of abuse.

In Search of My Edges

Still Learning