The Tale & Healing from Sexual Abuse

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Last night I watched The Tale, a new movie on HBO based on true events of the director Jennifer Fox’s life. She was sexually abused by her running coach at thirteen.

Usually I opt out of watching these movies because they do trigger me. For anyone reading if you watch the movie, know that you might be triggered.

There are some graphic scenes that made me sick to my stomach.

I saw myself in the main character. She resonated with me in her journey of discovering that she was sexually abused and accepting it.

I don’t know about every woman but I do know that for years I couldn’t accept the truth. It was a slow agonizing process to realize that my father wanted to have sex with me.

Even as I type these words I feel sick to my stomach.

Watching The Tale last night only magnified my feelings around sexual trauma.

I was very promiscuous in my twenties. I experimented with women. I experimented with polyamory relationships. I have wondered if my experimenting had anything to do with the trauma around intimacy.

In the film, the perpetrator tells the victim it was her. He was in his forties and she was a thirteen year old girl. It was her fault that it happened.

I remember many times my father saying the exact same words.

It was my fault. I wanted it. 

The journey of sharing my story has been a slow process.

I have held shame around it as if I was the cause of all the abuse.

I know now that it isn’t the case.

I felt an obligation to protect my parents. I shouldn’t talk badly about them. 

Or talk about what happened.

If you ever find yourself saying shouldn’t remove it from the sentence immediately.

It only brings guilt.

I lived with another family at sixteen.

In the film the main character idolizes two adults who become like her family.

I remember idolizing this family as well.

They adopted me and I moved in with them.

As the adopted father and I grew closer I remember several conversations of him sharing that if he had met me years before his wife we would be together.

I was sitting at the kitchen table doing my homework.

I remember thinking, “Oh no. This can’t be happening again.”.

It was a scary life for me as a budding teenager.

I know that many times I thought I should try dating women because then I’d be safe.

I wasn’t particularly sexually attracted to them as I was emotionally.

I wanted to feel safe.

They made me feel safe.

The Tale shows that a young girl wants to feel special especially by her family.

To feel safe. And loved.

We all do.

The main character freed herself in her own way by speaking her truth.

But remember this is based on the director’s life.

I admire Jennifer Fox for taking her pain and creating a powerful message with it.

I am just starting to really talk about the years of trauma I experienced.

Thank you Jennifer for being a voice for us. For giving us perspective into your journey.

I look forward to taking my story and impacting millions of women with it.

 

For the Sexually Abused Woman

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My father reached out to me to congratulate me on my pregnancy. He also mentioned a message of now I will never be alone.

I couldn’t help but to reply that yes, I will never be alone because I don’t abuse people.

We don’t speak.

He knows I don’t want to have a relationship with him yet he oversteps my boundaries.

He has never taken responsibility for his acts of sexual abuse to me.

He has never changed, grown, gotten help or acknowledged the damage he has inflicted on his family.

And even if he did, it wouldn’t change anything.

I could never trust him.

For years he made me feel that it was my fault for his sexual advances. That I asked for it.

As I embrace motherhood I can’t imagine my child ever experiencing what I went through.

The inhumane treatment I experienced.

There was a moment that I thought my parents would kill me.

A memory of my Mother stuffing a towel in my mouth so that the neighbors wouldn’t hear my screams while my Father beat me on the floor.

This is only one of the many violent memories I have been healing from in therapy.

There was a time that I felt guilty for not wanting a relationship with him. He drilled this belief in us that no matter what happened we were family always.

So he could treat us any way and we still had to love him in the end.

I wonder why life still gives him and people like him a chance to live.

For the women who have been sexually abused and abused… you have every right to speak up. To say something. To feel angry. To feel complete utter rage.

I got to say what I wanted to always say to him today.
That he is a sick man.

And one that will never get my pardons.

I refuse to play in a relationship that is built on the past is the past and let’s move on. On an idea of false happiness.

He still treats my Mother will little to no respect. He preys on young women. He is abusive towards everyone. And this year he spent his birthday alone. With no one by his side.

Karma = action = consequence.

We have no obligation to the people who violate us regardless of the title “family”.

I have grown immensely over the years into a pretty phenomenal and healthy woman. I had to save myself during moments when I wanted to end my own life.

I am still decompressing the years of violence and abuse in therapy. I still have moments of PTSD and triggers. My therapist and I have done serious work to get me to where I am now. And I am super proud of myself.

My friends who suffer from trauma, you can’t change what happened to you.

But you can change how you live with it and how those people live inside of you.

They don’t get to have your power.

They get to hear your voice.

You get to be here.

You belong.

When Your Family Hurts You & It’s Time to Let Go

“At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.”

Blood is thicker than water or so they say.  All my life I’ve been taught that no matter what happens you will always have your family and to never turn your back on your own blood.

However, what if the people we call “family” end up hurting us more than loving us? Do we hold on and forget our feelings? Or do we let go and realize that sometimes we have to love even our family at a distance?

Recently, my brother who I haven’t spoken to in two years (of his own doing) sent me a series of hateful text messages. Mind you, the last memory I have with him is hugging and wishing him a safe deployment.

Upon his arrival home from Iraq, he dropped off the grid with his wife and isolated himself from me and all of our close cousins. We tried numerous times to contact and connect with him but he was adamant on cutting ties with all of us.  We had no idea why and couldn’t understand what could have possibly happened. So you can imagine when I woke up to hateful text messages two days before my birthday, I was in shock, appalled and hurt.

These messages were filled with hate, anger and curse words calling me every name under the sun and disowning me as a sister. I couldn’t believe he was okay with talking not just to his sister but a woman in such an abusive way. It was a wake up call about the relationship I have and tolerate from my parents and brother.

Through some sleepless nights of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I realized I had to let go and really say goodbye. It’s never an easy decision to close the door between you and your own blood. In the end, I realized the only person who I could change is me and that my family had been only bringing me unhappiness and toxicity.

I couldn’t allow them to drag me into their own dysfunction and abuse again. I had to reclaim my power as a person with feelings and boundaries.

Often times in situations with family, we tend to feel guilty or shame if we decide to cut ties or lessen communication. However, if the relationship is becoming extremely unhealthy, abusive or toxic it is necessary to place some space between you and them for your own well-being. Someone once told me that sometimes you have to teach people how you want to be treated.

If you are in a similar predicament with family or close loved one, here are some tips to help you cope with the loss of saying goodbye:

1. Set boundaries- I have always had trouble expressing my boundaries with my family. I always feel like they never understand my perspective. However through the years I have learned boundaries aren’t for them, they are for me. Whether they choose to listen or respect my concerns is on them, I know I have voiced it. I can then decide how to move forward with the relationship and evaluate whether it is healthy to be in communication or not.

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your family and express them many times if need be. If they aren’t listening or understanding your concerns then you may have to reassess what type of family dynamic is healthy for you.

2. The Funeral- This is an intense and powerful exercise if you are faced with the decision of possibly saying goodbye to your family or cutting all ties.

Write down letters to the family members who have hurt you. Make sure you to do this in a quiet and undisturbed space where you are most clear and at ease. Write from the heart and don’t be afraid to share how you feel. These letters won’t actually be read by those family members.

Imagine that they have passed and you are attending their funeral. What would you want to say to them? After you finish writing your letters, burn them and find a place to hold a memorial or ceremony with their “ashes”.

3. Release Guilt & Blame- If you are feeling guilty about putting space between you and your family, don’t. You are a person with feelings and don’t deserve to be treated less than. Don’t blame yourself or start thinking if you were a certain way or behaved differently perhaps they wouldn’t be the way they are. You are not in the wrong. Whenever anyone treats with you disrespect or abuse, you are never in the wrong. Let go of your guilt and don’t blame yourself for their actions or dysfunction.

Lastly, love yourself and start the journey to heal from the wounds of the past. You deserve it. You are stronger and braver than you know and no one can take away your power unless you give it to them. Trust in your decision to take your space and love your family from a distance. You are giving yourself the best gift of all, true self-love.

How to Heal from a Breakup

heartbreakYou are probably reading this because like me you’ve experienced some form of loss or heartbreak either in the past or right now. Heartbreak doesn’t have to just come from intimate partners but from our parents, friends, pets, etc. Loss is loss even if it’s not romantic. I’ve written about this many times before but working as a psychic medium and from general experience I have spoken with so many people who have lost someone or something including myself.

Breakups are like a shock to the system. Our worlds are turned upside down and it’s almost as if we have been knocked down to rock bottom. Sometimes there are warning signs and we may expect it to end soon and other times we are completely blind-sided. In my case with my own recent breakup, it was a mixture of both. We had our flare-ups and there were definitely issues of concern but I didn’t think it was impossible to work through. However in the end, those issues became larger and larger and eventually led to an abrupt ending which left me wondering if it had been all my fault.

Not only did it bring a variety of mixed emotions but the pain that remained was the worst most gut-wrenching feeling ever. I wondered if I’d be able to breathe again or if I could just get through one work day without taking bathroom breaks to cry.  Let me tell you that tissue box became my best friend! Most days were a roller coaster of emotions for me. In just 5 minutes I would feel angry, sad, destroyed, happy, hopeful, angry, relieved and then hopeful all over again and that cycle would repeat all day.

After enough days of crying myself to sleep, loss of appetite and lack of motivation to do anything I finally came to terms that I needed to start taking care of myself. I had to accept it was over and there weren’t going to be any second chances, not because I wanted one but because I realized I didn’t want that relationship anymore.

After seeing someone you loved so deeply walk away from you and give up fighting for something they once believed in, you sort of have to just accept things and let it go. I couldn’t force it and I wasn’t going to prove that I was worth it, that we were worth it.

I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and I’m definitely not a weak person by nature so I decided I would start the healing process and force myself to move on and let that relationship go.

I found in the process people were so quick to tell me: 1. You’re strong, you’ll get through this, 2. Time heals all wounds (my personal not favorite), 3. You’ll get over it, something better is to come. There were so many cliche responses and so many of them that just didn’t help in my healing process. I personally feel the last thing someone wants to hear is any of those. When you’re hurting, you’re hurting and time nor space nor a million affirmations are going are going to heal you, at least not right away.

So how did I move on? And more importantly, how we can move on from a break up? How can we heal from the loss of someone we shared a life with? Will the pain ever subside and just plain go away?

Here are some ways that helped me and I hope they help you in your journey towards healing and happiness.

1. Create a strong support group.

The biggest thing for me was having strong reliable friends and family to be there whether it was just to listen to me rant or have a fun outing to take my mind off everything.  I can’t be more grateful for everyone who picked me up and reminded me of who I really am and what I’m worthy and deserving of.   Having a strong support network is a top priority in the healing process. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help or just some relationship advice. They will be your backbone and your foundation when you feel like you’re losing sight of the bigger picture.

2. Find a confidant, mentor or therapist to guide you.

After breakups, our emotional state is so raw. We are wounded and sometimes need someone who is a neutral party to guide us on our way to recovery. I have an amazing therapist who helped me connect with my emotions in a positive way and understand that relationship and breakup in a wiser perspective. If you aren’t someone who does therapy, then find a teacher/coach/confidant or mentor who can push  and encourage you along your path. It seriously is some of the best medicine emotionally and mentally! I always leave my session feeling lighter and happier and more confident in my life decisions.

3. Focus on physical and mental health.

After we ended, I decided to focus and channel all my energy on running my first half marathon race. I’m definitely no experienced runner but physical health has always been important to me so what better way to channel all those mixed emotions than get in shape and focus on an end goal. You may not want to run a half marathon but perhaps there are physical fitness goals you’ve been wanting to work on. Get a fitness coach or attend a class and set a goal to those pounds you’ve been wanting to shed or just get back into shape and feel good about yourself again! Not only is physical fitness healthy but it makes us feel good about yourself and releases that emotional distress you’re going through.

It’s important to have a mind-body connection and  feel overall balanced in every aspect of our life, so don’t forget your mental and emotional health. Every week focus on short-term goals by exercising x amount of times, eating healthier and making yourself happier by doing something nice for yourself. Writing helped me a lot to connect to my emotions as well as meditation. I also purchased books on grief and healing from a breakup to connect to other people stories and help me in my own.

4. Do what you always wanted to do but never did in that relationship.

Often times, people say they lost themselves in their relationship or compromised so much of their own interests and happiness for the sake of their partner’s. Well you’re single now and it’s all about you! Make a list of all of the things you wanted to do but couldn’t do or didn’t when you were in the relationship and make it a goal to do some of them now! We don’t always need our partners to share experiences with. Reach out to friends and family and ask them to join you in any adventure whether its simply to check out a new restaurant you’ve been dying to try or catch a movie.

5. Disconnect from any social media with your ex. 

Some people remain friends with their exes on social media after their breakups which I personally never understand why. Its like opening an fresh wound over and over again and not letting it heal properly. Social media can be difficult to disconnect from because it’s the last thing that keeps that person alive and fresh in our memory and its also a way for us to still be close to him/her but let’s face it, it really ends up doing more harm than good. Unless you are able to be acquaintances or friends right away, it’s best to cut the cord until you and the person are on the same page emotionally.

6. Put any reminders of them away.

It’s hard to box away sentimental things connected to our exes but for the time being while you are healing it’s often said to put away any reminders. I’m not saying burn it or throw away the items but simply just put it all in a box and come back to it another time when you’re in a stronger place and no longer have an emotional attachment to the items. When you are able to look back at the relationship and have a neutral feeling or sense of gratitude and acceptance then you’ve made great progress.

7. Self-talks. 

You may look back and realized you made a huge mistake or think it was all your fault. However, remind yourself of all the reasons why the relationship wasn’t right for you and what wasn’t working in it. Make a list of all the positives and the negatives and remind yourself every day the reasons why it didn’t or couldn’t work.

I constantly had these inner dialogues with myself and went through a cycle of thoughts of everything I had loved about the relationship to then everything that wasn’t right for me and eventually it really push me to move on and reinforced so many things for me. I still experienced a variety of mixed emotions but In the end, I came to a place of acceptance, peace and understanding that it wasn’t the right relationship for me.

Self-talks will be a huge part of the healing process and honestly are dynamic moving forward. You will always value something about that person and the relationship but also remember the things you were looking for that were unfulfilled and what you’d like in the future with someone new.

8. Love yourself.

Lastly, always remember to love yourself. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up after a break up. Go through all the qualities you love about yourself and that you offer in a relationship. Be around people who also love and adore you. Be compassionate and forgiving of yourself and any mistakes you made in that relationship. Be open to experiencing love from the world through new friendships, opportunities and experiences.

One of my favorite quotes that I will leave with you.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”

 

 

 

Breaking out of our Comfort Zone & Fears

freedom  Regardless of where we are at in life, there is always an aspect that we are extremely comfortable in whether it’s a relationship, career, location, dietary habits, etc. The reasons behind this may be because we are truly happy with being comfortable, safety, stability or whatever else drives us to be there in that place of comfort.

Is comfort necessarily a bad thing? No. However it is when you are no longer growing, when you remain stagnant in this place, your “comfort zone”.  Some of us grow accustomed to the predictable, the known and unwavering energy that this has provided. So then what happens? What if we are miserable yet comfortable in the misery? This can relate to many things, i.e. career choice/fear of relationships/fear of leaving a relationship, location, health habits, exercise, spiritual choices.

Are we really creatures of habit? Perhaps. I’d like to think we are capable of so much more though. All my life I have been trying to break past that mold of comfort. Lately I have hit a wall in some areas and know that in order for me to step into my true power I must let go of some things, including those I surround myself with. It’s hard to leave that place that served to be a source of something stable or comfort for so long.

I recently read somewhere that behind all of our fears is love. Love is limitless. Now this has nothing to do with romantic love, this is just love for life, love for yourself, for what makes you happy and for those you care about. So if we could somehow channel this love into our lives more I think we could break past the molds we create, the prisons we live in and the burdens we carry all out of comfort.

So what’s it going to be? How has this first month of 2014 treated you? Have you shown up for yourself and your success? What steps are you taking to break out of that comfort zone? We truly are capable of so much more than where we are standing. I’ve manage to channel a lifetime of abuse into a successful career and used it as my motivation to help others.

Perhaps you can also channel your experiences, your place of comfort or discomfort and excel beyond your own expectations. I’m not saying we all need to be like me. I’m only encouraging you to consider your options. Looking at your life right now, what are you comfortable yet uncomfortable with in your life? What can you do today, at this very moment to make changes to break out of that mold?

Every tiny step counts. Whatever we can do to start activating the energy to move is when we begin to grow and to move outside of our comfort zone into the new path for our life. Yes, it can be scary but I swear it’s worth it and never  ever once think it’s too late.

 

 

Master Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality

mariannewilliamsonq2Buddha once said your thoughts become your reality. Once we change our thoughts and way of thinking can we begin to change our reality.

Spiritual authors and leaders have shared this ancient-rooted philosophy with us. Books like The Secret and How to Heal Your Life emphasize the importance of changing our thoughts by using affirmations, gratitude and various exercises to begin the process of manifesting the life we so want and desire.

With any new habit it takes discipline, focus and commitment. For example, you don’t see results from physical exercise or changing your diet unless you commit to a consistent and frequent routine or practice. This is the same with our minds. For us to learn how to change our realities and master a new way to be, we must become aware of how we think and what we focus all of our thoughts on.

Positive thoughts bring about positive experiences and negative thoughts only bring negative experiences. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of how negative our thought process is. It takes a lot of mind concentration and awareness to change our thoughts from negative to positive.

Optimism, passion, self-affirmations and gratitude will help to change the way you think. It may be useful to keep a gratitude journal or repeat affirmations throughout your day to maintain a new attitude and way of thinking.

You can also master a new reality and way of being by taking action. Ask yourself what you would like change or manifest in your life. Then see what possible solutions arise and focus your energy on making those solutions a part of your reality.  What baby steps can you take right now to start making those goals an actual reality?

Commit to changing your thought process and begin to see the results manifest soon after! Gratitude and love go a long way in the manifesting process and in our discover to true happiness.

Suicide Prevention: Being the Light for Others

suicideprevention“Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live.” – Charles Caleb Colton

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a person dies by suicide about every 14 minutes in the United States. Just recently a famous country music star Mindy McCready shot and killed herself days after posting a video on suicide prevention to fans.  Suicide isn’t an easy topic to discuss and especially in our society, a very isolated topic of discussion.

Often times when people hear of someone attempting or committing suicide, they are at a loss for words. Our minds enter a slight state of shock processing how could someone possibly want to take their own life. We don’t really know what to say or fear that we may say the wrong thing.

I know because it happened to me. My mother has suffered with clinical depression and schizophrenia for as long as I can remember. In the past 6 months she has attempted suicide twice, first time by overdose and the second by razor and recently almost succeeded.

I have shared this story with some people and usually the responses are the same, “Wow. I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say, I’m at a loss for words.” It’s something I’ve decided to share openly today because in a sense not only do I want to honor my mother but I want to bring awareness to such a sensitive topic.

Being the loved one of someone who has a mental illness and has been committed several times for suicide is difficult to say the least. There are moments when I don’t even know what to say or process how I’m feeling. I have to experience my emotions in bits and pieces at times because it’s so intense.

Sometimes people assume that once someone is on medication that they instantly are better. Medication is not like a magic pill that fixes someone instantly. It takes time and proper treatment for people with psychiatric illnesses to show improvement.

Tips on how to help your loved one:

1. Show Love & Support

2. Show kindness & be patient

3. Remind them they have a purpose and of their accomplishments

4. Bring them something to cheer them up, i.e. favorite food/item/flower

5. Encourage them to follow up with treatment

 

It will only take time before you start to see any results with their emotional and mental state.

If you are a friend of someone whose loved one is ill and has attempted suicide, one of the best things you can do is listen and ask how you can help. Sometimes just a conversation can help heal a lot of the pain surrounding the experience.

If you aren’t sure about reaching out to your friends or family about your loved one who has attempted or committed suicide, don’t hesitate any longer. Reach out and build a support system for yourself. Seek therapy if necessary. Go out and bring positive experiences into your life. It will be too easy to fall into a rut and stay emotionally isolated from those around you.

Take one day at a time, be easy on yourself and on your loved one.  Be the light for that person and remind them that someone out there cares and loves them and that person is you.