Taking Life Back After Sexual Trauma

Taking Life Back After Sexual Trauma

While most of my blogs stay gender-neutral, this writing might have a strong slant toward a female audience.  Sexual abuse affects both genders and needs to be addressed for all children.  That said, it does seem to be more prevalent for little girls.  And the impact it has on girls as a population is devastating.  It shows in the body as chronic illness and pain caused by unexpressed emotions of shame, fear and grief.  It shows in relationship through all forms of domestic violence and codependence.  It shows through wage gaps and unfulfilled purposes and careers.  There is no aspect of life that is not permeated by the effects of sexual abuse. But why?  So many of us leave abusive homes and believe we have escaped our trauma.  I remember leaving for college, and although I didn’t remember my abuse, I was hopeful that things would be different, that I could finally live a happy, undisturbed life.  But as most of you already know, that didn’t happen.  It wasn’t going to happen.  And it doesn’t happen for any of us after a childhood of sexual abuse.  And it doesn’t make sense.  We do everything it takes to stop the cycle.  We work hard.  We do our best to avoid people like our abusers.  We try to make people happy.  We exhaust ourselves trying to make life better. But nothing changes.  We go from one bad relationship to another.  We get mistreated by people constantly.  It seems like the entire universe is against us.  With all our efforts to make our external life the best possible life, we have missed...
Embracing the Resistance

Embracing the Resistance

When we work with inner parts for a while, it becomes obvious that it is about resistance.  Our inner parts share their resistance to life.  That resistance can show up in many ways.  It can be a resistance to work (or doing anything at all).  It can be a resistance to relationships with others.  It can be a resistance to taking risks or living out our purpose (usually one in the same).  The real forward-movement comes when we look at our resistant thoughts, not the positive thoughts. But the mainstream self-help world wants us to believe that our healing and recovery happens when we focus on the positive.  It is definitely more convenient.  It feels a lot better.  If we spend our time inundating our minds with positive thoughts, it is a distraction from the pain we are in.  But it doesn’t work … not really.  The power lies in our ability to accept our shadow self, the inner parts within who don’t believe we could ever be good enough, do well enough or even belong on this planet.  If we don’t allow these parts to express, they will stay just below the surface inundating our everyday lives with resistance to what we want.  And there are no mantras for our conscious mind that will overpower the unconscious.  It will never happen. We may set an intention to write that book we have always wanted to write, but our unconscious is telling us we aren’t good enough to be an author. We may have a mantra to take more risks, but our unconscious is full of warnings about staying...

The Truth about Trafficking

My latest article on The Huffington Post discusses the stereotypes about trafficking as I attempt to raise society’s awareness about the reality behind the scourge.  The image choice is not my preference as it perpetuates the stereotypes. The Huffington Post: The Truth about...

Violence in Childhood

Violence comes in many forms.  And children are exposed to it everyday. This piece I wrote for Ginger Kadlec looks at violence differently. Ginger Kadlec: Violence in...
The Good Life

The Good Life

There’s a popular Zen saying in the self-awareness circles. “Before enlightenment, chop wood carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” As with most Zen concepts, it seems like a simple idea on the surface. And as with most Zen concepts, it isn’t simple. It encapsulates so many challenges in my own life. While I do my best to stay conscious as I move through my life, it is hard work. So, I find myself going through the motions. I wake up every morning and make breakfast for the twins. I make their lunches while they eat their breakfast. I drop them off at school. I write. I pick them up from school. I take them to activities. I make dinner. I put them to bed, clean the kitchen, do laundry and get ready to do it the next day. I find myself asking if this is what life is about. And of course the answer is no. Life is not about what we are doing. Life is about our state of mind while we do it. Life is about our presence, our joy, our recognition of the abundance around us. But as an abuse survivor, most of that perspective was stolen from me at a very young age. It can be very hard to recognize the good when my early life has been filled with so much bad. You may be thinking that doesn’t make sense. My life today, compared with my life as a child, is like heaven on Earth. And intellectually, I understand that. And sometimes, I am lucky enough to understand that at a deeper...