As a survivor of family-controlled child sex abuse and trafficking, I spent the first half of my life running an exhausting marathon obstacle course. I was pushing my way through life like I was at war every day, always waiting for the next shoe to drop, always expecting the next horrible thing to happen to me. I was living a life full of abusive relationships, emotional swings and fear-based decisions. I was sure that inner peace was just not possible for me.
But eight years ago, my twins were born. Almost instantly, I realized that my recovery could no longer be avoided. For the safety of my twins, and my own peace, I knew I had to muster the courage to face the shadows. I had to bring the darkness to the light. I had to commit to transform even though it terrified me.
The past eight years have been hard, but I have to admit, they would have been impossible without my recovery. I know that. Through my recovery, I have relieved myself of the constant inner turmoil that ruled my outer life. I have gained the ability to experience a peaceful presence that I never thought possible. Most importantly, I have stopped the manifestations of trauma that haunted my family for generations. I know that cycle is stopped and that adds to my peace.
I have transformed myself. Now let me help you bring your darkness in to the light.
Let me show you how to leave the past behind and find the peace you are so desperately searching for.
Let me help you find your own gift that lives below the years of pain.
It is possible. It is not easy. It takes strength and courage. It takes commitment to awareness. But it is possible.
Let’s start now.
3 Steps to Overcoming the Awareness Challenge
Sign up to receive updates from the blog and get my FREE eBOOK. Begin taking steps today!
You have Successfully Subscribed!
Ways that I can support you in our work together...
When we can calm our own inner waters, we can reflect the storms of the world differently. Our inner world reflects our outer world. Our outer world guides us to our next inner journey. When our waters become still, our path appears before us. Clarity comes, but only once we can find the peace to see it.
As parents and survivors of trauma, we want to stop the cycle of abuse. But there is deeper work to be done. Uncovering our inner beliefs and shining a light on our shadow world can bring a new legacy of light to our family. Our children can learn from our example and adopt a new way of living.
I am dedicated to spreading awareness of the horrors of child abuse and trafficking. I do this by shining a light on today’s abuses and the effects on victims. Being trauma-informed requires that organizations and media partner with survivors. I can work with you to end violence through awareness.
Sometimes I give in to my inner child and check up on the old family members. Social media allows for such things, and I am not sure if that is good or bad. And the decision to check up on them (although very infrequently) comes with a ton of self-ridicule. “Why do you need to do that? They are scumbags and abusers. Who cares what they are doing?” And that is true, but it doesn’t help to tell myself that. It is natural and normal for me to wonder. It takes a long time to break the connection to people we grow up with. That said, there is never an inkling that I should get in touch with them. That longing is long gone. But what I saw was an attempt to make me angry. I saw several blatant, expensive and planned scenarios that were arranged to upset me. My immediate reaction was, “of course they did that”. And I heard my inner parts begin to chatter. They were angry. They were agitated. They were frustrated. But I just went with it. I stayed aware and I let them chatter. I wasn’t sure where it was going, but an hour later, I was hit with a moment of clarity. I was in the grocery store. I don’t know why my moments of clarity always come in grocery stores. I actually burst out laughing in aisle 5. In that moment, I figured out something so important. In my recovery, I have been focused on letting go of the ties to my family, of their power over me. I have always considered them... read more
I love the Olympics. Other than the World Cup, it is the only sporting event I watch. I am fascinated by international sporting events. I think we should resolve all of our conflicts in this manner. Of course, we would have to even the playing field with some proper coaching and training for all. But I digress. This morning, I saw a video in my Facebook newsfeed. As usual, Facebook always seems to know what I need to see. Or is that the universe? I’m not sure. But this video touched me in a deep way. While Gabriella’s perseverance and determination was admirable on so many levels, that isn’t what impacted me most. It was the support. I watched the Olympic officials off to the side as they followed her (later learning that one was a doctor watching her for signs of health risks). And I watched them waiting at the finish line. And I knew she would be okay. Many of us on this recovery journey are exhausted. I often feel like Gabriella on the inside, even when I don’t look like it on the outside. Honestly, I probably do look like it on the outside. I am just fooling myself. But I have come to a realization lately. Similar to most of the emotions I feel, it isn’t that I feel this way. It is my inner parts who feel this way. While our inner parts may feel like formidable opponents in our trauma recovery journey, in reality, they are overwhelmed. They are young. And they are always handling more difficult circumstances than their age allows. Yes. ... read more
When I was growing up, there were many phrases I didn’t want to hear. “Wait until your father gets home.” “Don’t make things up.” “You made another mistake.” In a normal family, these statements might be bad (and certainly not good parenting), but not necessarily abusive (although maybe). But in my family, they meant trauma. Traumatic experiences were coming, and I had to brace myself, dissociate, run or hide. These statements brought up all my adrenaline-fueled reactions to a ridiculously bad childhood. That said, there is a statement that beats them all. One phrase had both immediate traumatic implications and a huge long-term impact. And unfortunately, it was used often. That phrase was, “You owe me.” Of course, that doesn’t sound like something a parent should say to a child. But I didn’t live with real parents. My parents were quick to remind me of the things they did for me. They wanted to be acknowledged and revered for those few moments when they did something for me. They wanted my undying gratitude for their moments of helpfulness. But most importantly, they wanted to hold it over my head, so they could use it as an excuse for their future abusive behavior. And they did use it that way. When this phrase was used, I was unable to process their abuse as entirely bad. I had to see it as something different. It was “an eye for an eye”. It was my payment for their protection, financial support or moment of helpfulness. It was what I had to do to continue to expect my parents to do things for... read more
As a trauma survivor, I have spent the majority of my life in my head. My body was not a safe place to reside. It held all the emotions and pain of my childhood. It held all the reminders of my past trauma. So I dissociated and stayed in my head. It was safe in my head. I could make up whatever I wanted in my head. Honestly, it is the way many people live their lives. We live in a reality we have created in our heads because it is a safer reality. But the body is always reminding us of the truth we are ignoring. We can’t ignore the body. While we can dissociate, we can’t stop the damage to the body. The pain and illness will be there until we make the journey to the truth. It helps to know this as I interact with survivors all over the world. Some don’t like what I have to say. Some think I am too quick to embrace the anger, rage and grief from the past. Some think I encourage people to live in the past and to not “move on”, even to remain a victim. Some think it is possible to recover while staying in the head. But unfortunately, they are listening to their inner defenders. I have heard phrases like: “I have decided to forgive my abusers, so I am done with my recovery.” “I have decided to be happy, so I don’t feel sad anymore.” “I have decided not to live in the past anymore, so I am starting over.” Let me be clear. There... read more
Like all survivors, I have good days and I have bad days. Unlike popular opinion regarding emotions and moods, PTSD isn’t always something I can control with my thinking. My inner parts believe they are living in the past and they are sharing those past emotions with me. When that happens, I have a choice. I can choose to validate my inner parts by acknowledging that I feel like crap. Or I can ignore it, shove it back down, numb it out or any of the methods encouraged by society. And while being happy at all costs makes the rest of the world comfortable, I am done making everyone else comfortable at my expense. So I have bad days. I have days when I feel hopeless about the future. I don’t feel this way because there is any significant problem with today. I feel this way because I felt hopeless during my trauma. And that feeling was completely justified. It was truly hopeless. I have days when I feel so anxious and agitated I can barely stand the presence of another adult human being, let alone my children. I don’t feel this way because my current life is agitating me. I feel this way because I am still angry about the past. I am angry with the perpetrators and I am still working through it. I am angry with myself because I am still blaming myself for something. And it doesn’t mean I haven’t worked with my anger yet. It means I am not done. I have days when I feel undeserving of anything good. I feel no matter... read more
I often write about trauma recovery as a process or steps. I do this for many reasons. First, I have always loved making a confusing thing more understandable. I think this is a gift that I was supposed to bring to the world in one form or another. Second, it is a defense mechanism. Let’s face it. Trauma recovery is messy. It doesn’t make a lot of sense except in hindsight. And I love to be in my brain. It feels safe. It feels controllable. It feels less scary. And even though I may be fooling myself, it helps a little. Third, it appeals to your defense mechanisms. I love that I can make you feel a little safe too. And if we create a community of momentary relief from the trauma recovery process, we should do that. But today, I wanted to do something a little different. Today I am going to get super-real. I am going to discuss what the real process looks like because we all know it doesn’t come in 4, 5, 6 or even 7 steps. It looks more like a child’s finger painting project with a dot at the end (or realistically there may be no dot at the end but we will hope). It doesn’t make sense. We can’t control it. It never feels safe. And we just want the whole thing to be over. So here is a realistic account of what trauma (and in my case, memory) recovery looks like: I have an energetic or physical release somewhere in my body. I get the sense that something isn’t quite right.... read more