December 23, 2009
Mini Carnival: Holiday Survival Tips for Survivors
Happy Holidays, all! Stay safe, stay sane!
To All My Poly Pals: by Marj aka Thriver on Polyvore.com
First, I direct you to a list found on Dr. Deb's blog, entitled, "Ten Tips to Keep You in Yuletide Cheer." Especially helpful for dissociative survivors or those with PTSD: "Avoid triggers that set old traumas into motion." Easier said than done, but definitely something to be aware of is her advice to stay in the present. I also like, "Use your senses to find beauty and peace in small moments around you." Especially if you find yourself around your perpetrator or someone toxic or abusive, remind yourself that the beauty and peace you discover with those senses of yours can never be taken away from you.
The next blogger I'm highlighting is new to me. The blog is called Healing Stream for Survivors. The insightful, useful post is called Holiday Tips for Incest Survivors. If you are still in a quandary about whether or not to show up at your family of origin gathering tomorrow or Friday, you may want to check out this post. It gives useful ideas for weighing the pros and cons of attending family of origin gatherings or passing on them. There is one word of caution here, however: Don't spend the holiday alone. I agree. Even if it's simply taking a book to read at a Chinese restaurant or going to see a movie--get out there. Crunch in the snow. Take a drive and look at the Christmas lights. Grab an eggnog latte.
Another blog that is new to me that I am loving is Grace Davis' State of Grace. Her post, An Adult Child Abuse Survivor's Guide to the Holidays makes the point that you don't have to go to any holiday gatherings of your family of origin, but gives many helpful tips for if you do go. As a dissociative, I particularly like her idea about sitting next to the window and looking out. For me, I find looking at falling snow, birds at a feeder, frosted trees, etc. quite grounding. You need to stay grounded so that you can keep yourself safe.
I found Grace Davis through Patricia's blog, Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker. State of Grace was a wonderful resource link Patricia provided in her post entitled, Help Getting Through the Holidays. When you visit Patricia's blog, stay and take a look around. Her two most recent posts are about feelings and the spirit of Christmas. Her post on December 2 talks about shutting down to get through the holidays. I always find something I can relate to at her blog.
Patricia was, actually, the spark that motivated this mini carnival for me. Thanks, Patricia! Her post that I just mentioned also points to Colleen's blog, Surviving by Grace. Her posts, How to Help a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse, and If You Want to Help a Survivor are not exactly holiday tips lists for survivors, but they have some wonderful ideas for how your healthy, non-toxic friends and relatives can be helpful to you during this stressful, often triggering, time. You might just want to copy off these posted ideas and have them in your pocket in the next couple of days as a reminder for you to be assertive and ask supportive loved ones for what you need.
My blogger friend, Clinically Clueless is anything but. She is making her own holiday-time changes and is passing them on to other survivors in her post, Holidays ~ A Time For Change. This is an amazingly helpful, powerful, yet short and succinct list that we can all adopt as we make healthy changes in our lives. I especially like her advice to "make your own family traditions." I started doing this when I was single and on my own and have really enjoyed adopting my own holiday family traditions with my husband and my son. Remember: just because Grandma did it doesn't mean you have to do it...particularly if it is stressful and/or triggering! We have choices now. Let's make them!
Finally, I leave you with Amy's blog Smelling God. Amy is an amazingly prolific Christian writer who has created her own four-part series of posts about getting through the holidays, aptly named "Surviving The Holidays." Part four of four is about finding and celebrating your new beginnings. Part three talks so importantly about breaking the cycle, protecting yourself, saying no and starting your own new traditions. Part two is my favorite and is really the tips list, starting off by saying, "you are enough!" and explaining how to let go of your abuser's brain washing. On the list itself, I really like her advice about copying kids at Christmas. Make a snow angel! She also gives us this gem: "Reclaim their joy and make it your own." Yes! Amy's part one of four explains how to overcome fear and dread, which may really be mounting for some of us as Christmas Day approaches.
My thanks goes out to these helpful bloggers for letting me highlight their holiday posts. Thanks for reading. Won't you stop by their blogs and tell them you appreciate them, too? As always, I appreciate all of you for letting me into your lives. I'm looking forward to continuing our bloggy buddy relationships and survivor solidarity in 2010. If any of you think you may want to host a monthly edition of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse in the New Year, please leave me a comment expressing your willingness to do so. Thanks, in advance!
December 21, 2009
Holiday Survival Tips for Survivors
"gift of gratitude" I put up on the post below. Wow! What a wonderful, supportive group we have here. :)
Now, I'm getting ready to organize a little quick "mini carnival" for The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for December. I don't have any new hosts lined up and I wasn't sure I wanted to tackle a full carnival edition myself. But, then I started seeing some great posts out in the blogosphere that had lists of tips for holiday survival for us survivors. So, on Wednesday--December 23--I'm going to link to some of these holiday tip lists.
So far, I've found very useful lists at the blogs of Colleen, Patricia, Amy, Clueless and Dr. Deb. I also hope to get permission to use the lists from bloggers who are new to me: Healing Stream and Grace Davis.
Nobody has to bother with the Blog Carnival submission form this time. Just let me know if you'd rather NOT have your list included in our mini carnival. And if anyone has other lists they know of out there, please let me know ASAP by leaving a comment. Oh yeah. And if you've already submitted a post that is not a holiday tips list, don't worry. I will save all the other submitted posts for the January carnival. Thanks!
December 14, 2009
The Gift of Gratitude
My holiday wish for you is that the spirit of the season brings you true comfort and joy.
December 08, 2009
The Torture Still Torments
I continue to struggle with the reality of torture in my childhood abuse. At first, I was convinced that the times I was sadistically tortured--when I was nearly suffocated in a plastic shower curtain for instance--was limited to times when my father flew into an uncontrolled rage.
Now I know the truth: Much of the time the torture was systematic and involved mind control and an attempt to completely break my spirit. It often involved forcing a young child into a "choice" situation. Here, I had to "choose" whether to save myself or my twin sister; whether to try to spare my sister pain and torture or allow her to be hurt. Of course, in these scenarios, the real existence of choice didn't exist at all. It was just a mind fuck, and a double, impossible bind.
I have to try and somehow wrap my brain around it, to come to terms with the fact that I was also abused by people outside of my immediate, biological "family." To my knowledge, these were not people involved with the occult or devil worship or any kind of religious-like rituals. Many times, I was "sold" to these individuals in order to perform sexual acts. But, it has recently become revealed to me through retrieved memories, that I was also forced into elaborately set-up torture scenarios (sometimes with my twin, sometimes not).
These scenarios were planned, carried out and viewed by sick individuals who enjoyed seeing a child in mental, emotional and physical anguish. Witnessing my torture is what they got off on. This is how they got their jollies. This is what they threw their heads back and laughed at. This is how they got their enjoyment.
There is still no excuse for it. But, I am really seeing now more clearly how people turn their heads and look the other way. I understand the horrors that people want to deny could ever happen to our children in our culture. No one wants to live in a world where this is even possible.