The Healing Power of Sharing

The Healing Power of Sharing

When I first started recovering memories from my abusive childhood, I had no idea what to do with them.  I felt like they were stuck somewhere inside of my body and that’s where they would stay.  I started journaling my memories and found it to be very helpful, but I still felt like something was missing from my healing journey.  I would visit my therapist, look her in the eyes, and tell her that something was very bad.  But I could not say what happened.  I could not verbally recount the events of the memory to another person … even a person I trusted. It was as though a lifetime of shame was stopping my words.  They were stuck in my throat and I could not get them out. But there was something else stopping me besides the shame.  I was absolutely convinced that nobody would believe me.  As a child, I was told by my family that nobody would ever believe me.  This wasn’t a suggestion.  It was repeated thousands of times.  It was brainwashing.  And I had no reason to doubt it. I struggled for a while, but after some time, I was able to tell my therapist about the memories.  I started with a general overview.  “My dad abused me.  My dad sold me.  My mother helped.”  Later, I was able to tell her more of the details.  Then, I was able to tell one other person.  Then, I was able to talk about it in a support group … sometimes.  I found that I was able to tell people that I trusted in environments that...
The Five People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

The Five People I Have Met on My Recovery Journey

I have read countless books on self-actualization, self-realization and spiritual awareness.  I have done hundreds of hours of yoga, pranayama (breathing practices) and meditation.  I have worked with therapists, energy workers, acupuncturists and a million body workers.  All of this has been helpful, even critical, to my recovery. One of the primary spiritual premises I have heard is that the universe will give me exactly what I need.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  In my early years of recovery, I thought that had something to do with the physical world.  Of course, as a trauma survivor, it was pretty hard to believe.  Actually, I didn’t believe it.  Or at least, I didn’t believe it applied to me. Now, I look at it differently.  Now, I know it isn’t about providing me a vehicle when mine breaks down.  It isn’t about making my life more convenient.  It is about providing me with the motivation to change my inner world, because the only way to recover is to change from the inside out. That being said, I hate that.  I hate the pain it causes.  I really dislike looking at my problems from the perspective that I need to make the changes.  It is truly painful.  It is much simpler to blame everyone else, stay angry and play the victim.  Of course, I have realized over time that ignoring the need for change just makes the next lesson a bit more challenging.  I affectionately refer to them as “baseball bats over the head from the universe”. As a child sex abuse survivor, my childhood was full of boundary-less adults.  I learned very...
The Failing of Single Parents

The Failing of Single Parents

When Jared Leto won an Oscar last night, I don’t think anyone was shocked.  However, his undeniably beautiful dedication to his single mother may have been surprising to some.  Why?  In our society, we have a habit of focusing on the damage that single-parented households are causing.  Research has been published that links single mothers to juvenile delinquency and lack of education.  Many articles state that single-parented households are the problem with the world today. It is true that single parents are under-resourced.  Single-parented households struggle with supporting family activities on one income.  Similarly, families with a stay-at-home parent also struggle with one income.  However, there is a difference.  They have free childcare because someone is staying at home.  Even in the case of military families, there is an income for the family even when there is a parent missing from the family.  So, I get it.  It is harder for a single parent.  But we have to understand that the parent, who may have depleted resources, is not creating problems for us to clean up. As single parenting grows with the changes in the definition of family, the children of single parents are reaching adulthood in higher numbers.  Therefore, we are seeing more and more adults, successful adults, who were raised by single parents.  President Obama, President Clinton, Jared Leto and Alicia Keys are examples of adults who were raised by single mothers specifically.  I have heard the justifications.  “These are the exceptions.”  “She had help from her parents, so he wasn’t really fatherless.”  But we will continue to see more and more success stories.  It is inevitable....