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
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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.
Happiness Is Not a Choice There are more clichés about being happy than the hairs on my head. Most of them frustrate me. Some of them even trigger me. They may be well-intentioned, but the result of these “happiness” memes and quotes is to invalidate other emotions. And by now, you know my deep commitment to unconditional emotional expression. So when I read “happiness is a choice”, I typically end up screaming at the computer, “No. It’s not!” Don’t get me wrong. It is possible to stop our thoughts from fueling our emotions. That is absolutely true. But when a feeling comes up in the body (and it comes first contrary to popular opinion), we have a choice. We can shove it back down and defend against it with a mask of happiness. Or we can allow it to flow through like it wants, like it needs, like our inner child needs. One choice denies healing. One choice allows for healing. All that said, I am acutely aware of the self talk created by my feelings from my traumatic past. Realistically, every single person in first world societies has this same self talk, with or without severe trauma. It runs on a continuum. And since my trauma was severe, my self talk is louder and more obvious. You may have guessed what that self talk says. “I’ll be happy when …” I’ll Be Happy When I Get a Break And there is nothing that fuels this self talk more than parenting. I’ll be happy when the kids are sleeping. I’ll be happy when they stop waking up at 6 AM... read more
Hi there. It’s the inner defender here. In reality, I am one of the inner defenders. Some inner defenders don’t like me because my methods draw attention. But I have learned through the years that some things work and some things don’t. And honestly, hiding away or being super nice all the time does absolutely no good. People keep coming around because they can sense weakness. The best approach is to be mean. And here are my reasons why. Being mean gains respect from the mean people. I definitely know how to get nasty. I have learned from the best. And since Elisabeth would never allow this behavior, I just take over and handle it. Since I am uncensored, I can beat almost any bully at their own game. I can be louder and I can use more threatening language. And they respect me. When they respect me, they leave me alone. Even in the case of my abusers, if I was mean to someone they didn’t like, it would almost be a bonding moment. And let’s be real, being nice just gets us hurt. People don’t respect nice people. They see it as a sign of weakness. Nice people don’t get treated nicely. They get bullied. It just doesn’t work. That is why I have to shut down the younger inner children. They are too damned nice to everyone. Being mean distracts people from the blame game. When someone is coming at me because they think I have done something wrong, there is nothing better than a nasty, mean explosion to distract them. The nastier I sound, the... read more
Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies. I love it for a few reasons. Bill Murray is a genius. Don’t argue this point with me. I won’t be nice about it. I love the idea of living life like there is no tomorrow. While in several parts of this movie, he wasn’t authentic to impress the girl, he also uses this opportunity to do whatever he wants with no concern for what people will think of him. I think it would be awesome to be real with no concern for the repercussions, even for one day. And to be honest, on those cringe-worthy days when my parts take over, it would be nice if everyone else forgot about it (just like me). Most importantly, this movie is familiar. Before I found recovery, I didn’t get the sense that anything was different from one day to the next. It was the same thing over and over again. And nothing I did seemed to change that. But maybe, I didn’t want it to. For so many years, I was balancing the desperate need to live a fulfilling life with the desperate need to stay completely safe. My inner child wanted to do amazing things, but my inner defender never wanted to stray from the norm. It felt like I was trapped inside a life that wasn’t mine, but I couldn’t see a way out. There were too many things stopping me. And they were all on the inside. And once again, it all stemmed from my horrific childhood. Of course, I have talked endlessly that the need for safety comes from trauma (and... read more
The Self Blame Last night, I was hit by a car in my dreams. While many dreams can be symbolic, this had been a reality in my life. I was hit by a car while running on a road when I was in 14 years old. Of course, the jerk driving the car tried to make it my fault for being there in the first place. Sound familiar? My inner defender proceeded to take over and rip him to shreds. (I’m a little proud of that one.) But in the dream, my inner parts began to express their theories about why I was hit by a car. They decided I must have been going somewhere I should not have been going. They concluded I must have been going somewhere with someone I should not have been with. They were very clear I was at fault for the accident and it was their job to determine why. Of course, the main reason for this evaluation was to ensure we didn’t do that particular thing again. In the dream, they looked like separate people (this happens in dreams) who were blaming me for the accident. But instead of shrinking under the weight of the accusations, I stood up and explained why that wasn’t how it worked. I told them that bad things happen sometimes. They don’t happen because the person is bad. It is a part of life. Life has both bad and good. Nobody escapes the bad. Although some do seem to get an extra helping of the bad, we are not worse than others. And I explained karma. There is something that is... read more
I have always loved to travel. There are a million reasons for that. The most obvious is escapism. I have been aware of my desire for escape for quite some time. Traveling gives me a feeling of being safe. Nobody knows me. My abusers are far away. My daily routine headaches are far away. It is a completely new existence. I have traveled with abusers before. I lived in other countries with my mother and stepfather. But I had left my father far behind in the U.S. And that was a huge relief. I felt so much safer. There were no weekends or Wednesday evenings of pure hell. And in all honestly, my mother and stepfather were wimps. Since I was a teenager at that point, I could stand up to them. And I did. So this probably reinforced my love of travel. And there were some trips in my late teens and twenties that were certainly revealing. With the constant need for safety and security on hold, I became someone I rarely was … me. And I have to admit, or maybe you guessed, the real me is a bit wide open. I don’t hold back much. If there was a room filled with a thousand people, my goal was to meet most of them. I used to attend international conferences for a volunteer organization. A typical day would consist of breakfast with some Texans and Japanese delegates (an interesting combination), lunch with some Brazilians, dinner with some Estonians, a party where I danced with a large contingent of South Americans (love the Salsa), followed by a late... read more
I have been mistreated. I don’t think anyone would deny that. As a child, I was treated poorly because I didn’t have a choice. I was trapped. I could not escape. As a young adult, I was mistreated because I had been taught I was worthless, so I didn’t know how to kick nasty people out of my life. I kept trying to make them happy like I did in childhood. Now I know better. I don’t allow mistreatment any longer. Even my 9-year-old children know I have boundaries and sort of respect them most of the time. But there is another side to this story. As a survivor of complex trauma, it is easy to focus on all the ways I have been victimized. It is easy to feel like an innocent player in this game of dysfunction. But the reality is different. It is true that as a child, I had no part in it. But as an adult, I was a survivor. And survivor means survival. It means my main goal as a child was to stay alive. And as an adult, the main goal didn’t change. I put all of my energy in to my survival. Granted, it was mainly my inner parts. And with my recent discovery of my dissociative identity disorder, I am aware I didn’t always have control over what they did. That being said, my actions were motivated by one goal … to stay alive. So what did that look like? I didn’t have time for friendship. Don’t get me wrong. I had friends. But I would never contact them. If... read more