Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

Ambivalence, thy name is mother

April 23, 2014 40 comments

I am feeling… ambivalent. It is my mom’s birthday tomorrow, her 78th. We have been estranged for over a year since my birthday last March. Long story, which I have told elsewhere, but she was given information from an aunt that went a long way to confirming I had been sexually abused by my dad. I waited for her to contact me and she never did. Then, come to find out, she got angry about me not wanting a relationship with her. I know, I know, I got abused and she’s the hurt one eyeroll but I think she’s trying to protect herself. Unfortunately, it’s once again at my expense. But I also get how very difficult it would be to face that the sexual abuse actually happened to me. Continue Reading

Everyone Has Closets

December 10, 2013 28 comments

I just finished watching Ash Beckham’s talk at TEDx and had to share it. I thought this was a wonderful, impassioned plea to treat both ourselves and others with compassion and empathy. I really appreciated how open and honest she was about all of her feelings and thoughts, and in a very self-deprecating manner. Even if you think this isn’t your cup of tea, please trust me and take a sip. You will not regret the time you spend.

A 4-Year-Old Girl Asked A Lesbian If She’s A Boy. She Responded The Awesomest Way Possible.

How do you protect yourself from the hurt?

March 18, 2013 27 comments

Greetings all, sorry I know I have been completely absent as of late. I am still working 10-12 hours a day, six days a week. Should be done in about two weeks which will be nice as I am missing having a life. But I am also very much struggling with being hurt and thought writing might help, so I am going to sneak in a post despite my schedule.

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Rest in Peace

September 3, 2012 18 comments

I found out today that my brother died. At the age of 58, he had a major heart attack and dropped dead in front of his computer. We’ve been estranged for a long time. Not because of any major break or fight, just my wanting distance. He moved out West years ago and lives several thousand miles away, which makes it easier. At one point, the whole family, such as it is, had lost touch with him until my sister got a call that he was in a psychiatric hospital. After close to 30 years of self-medicating, he had a moment of clarity and stopped. Unfortunately, all the things he had been holding at bay with the drinking and drugs came crashing in on him. He was suicidal and his therapist told him either he took himself to inpatient care or he’d do it for him. After that he came back east for a couple of visits. Continue Reading

Learning developmental skills: Identifying and Expressing needs

April 16, 2012 18 comments

This post is a continuation of a series started in But therapy can take us a long way: Learning Developmental Skills Part 1. In this post, I want to talk about learning to identify and express your needs. For most trauma victims, this is most definitely a skipped part of development. Because the caretaker is putting their own needs ahead of the child’s when abusing them, by definition the child’s needs are being overlooked and pushed aside. How do you learn to identify and express something that is not even acknowledged to exist?

A long-term trauma victim often becomes hyper-vigilant. They learn to watch their abuser and observe their behavior in minute detail in the hope of getting some warning before an episode of abuse. So they’re paying a whole lot more attention to the abuser’s feelings and needs than their own. Add to this the fact that many victims of long-term abuse believe and/or are told the abuse is their fault, so they are also watching the abuser for cues about who they need to be and what they need to do to “finally” make the abuser happy with them and stop the abuse. (This serves the function of providing some sense of control in a situation in which you are powerless and have none.) Your own feelings and needs fade to insignificance in the face of needing to survive. Continue Reading


October 28, 2011 7 comments

This is based on a (very long) post I wrote on the psychcafe in response to another member asking about forgiveness.  Forgiveness was something I struggled with for a very long time (I still can!) and I thought some people might find it helpful to read.

Disclaimer/Trigger warning for religious material:  This is very much written from the perspective of my world view as a Christian and I understand that not everyone reading will agree with all the values that I discuss. I am also painfully aware that some people have undergone childhood abuse presented in religious terms and therefore might find this very triggering. But in order to explain what happened I have to refer to those beliefs and how they affected me. All I ask is that you accept that they were my values so this was how I saw it. I think the larger principles about forgiveness translate pretty well across other world views.

Back in 2000, I was still struggling with forgiveness. I had done a lot of trauma work which had finally allowed me to recognize my anger (ok, rage). But as hard as I was working, I couldn’t let go and forgive (I have a strong belief that forgiveness is a necessary thing, although now I believe that it can take a lot of time depending on the severity of wrongdoing, and in some ways is an on going process for the rest of your life.) My husband and I had just taken a really great Sunday school class at our church (best we ever took actually) on parenting. There was one section that addressed the commandment “Honor thy father and mother.” The couple teaching the course (it was a video tape series) talked about everyone being called to obey this commandment. But depending on how we raised our children, we could rob them of the joy of obeying that command. That honoring your mother or father can be a joyful, easy thing to do or it can become an onerous duty. When I heard that, something in me was struck like a bell: “that’s it!! I’ve been robbed of the joy of honoring my parents.” But along with it came the deep sense that in order to be faithful to the call of God on my life, I needed to do just that, honor my mother and father, no matter how impossible it looked from where I was sitting (and it looked utterly impossible from where I was sitting). I didn’t believe that God would give me a commandment and not the resources to obey it (ok, I did struggle with the feeling He was trusting me too much. 🙂 Continue Reading