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Posts Tagged ‘sexual abuse’

The Courage to Heal

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I feel quite fortunate to have had the resources available to me at the time to continue my  recovery  journey for core issues.  Locally,  nothing was available to survivors of very  severe trauma on an in-patient basis.

With the assistance of a great therapist and studying the resources section of the original, ” Courage to Heal” by Laura Bass and Ellen Davis.  I made great headway in locating  a specialized treatment program in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I took a flying leap and went there via Greyhound  Bus.

            It was an incredible program and I can honestly say that it saved me.

It was there I met people , like myself who had survived the most  atrocious  things from all over the  Country and including ,  Canada.

 Other people who also had family members involved in the  Klan of the 60’s, survivors of  Human Trafficking,  Survivors of  Catholic Orphanage abuse by priests and Nuns,  Ritual Abuse by Off-shoot sects of the Mormon Church,  Ritual Abuse by  Jewish Hasidic  Groups,  people who had family members  from the Military.

   I could look into the face of a man whose  Mother tied him up into a chair and left him for hours  because my brothers friends had tied me up and left me on the floor of his bedroom. Alone.   Words didn’t have to be spoken.  I understood.

          The site of the Program was set up as a  Campus.

Mornings started with a walk to the Meeting House and then to the main building for Breakfast and then to Break-up Groups for the Morning, etc

They were big on experiential learning and had a huge  Ropes Course at the back.   They did  workshops on  coping with extreme flashbacks, etc. It was incredible.

Everything was holistic. No Coffee. No Caffeinated Beverages.  vegetarian Meals,  No T.V

It was the opportunity of a life-time and I was so fortunate to have gone there .

   I had  gone to CottonWood de Albquerque  for its programs for surviviors of extreme abuse  but it went under in 1992, however  another facility in Tuscon remained.  I noticed that  there is a Post traumatic stress program but don’t know if it is the same as the one that i attended.

CottonWood De Tuscon

 

 

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Gloria Steinem at a meeting of the Women's Act...

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Had been feeling bummed out the last few days.  Excercise  Helps alot and especially walking the dog.  Cheyenne is such a trooper.

I  got to ” Slut Walk Nashville ” a little early and helped them out with putting things up.   For Nashville’s first walk it was quite big and I understand that most of the  information about it was  from Facebook.  There was allot of powerful  and creative  energy there.  The Band was great and  the Facilitators had  gotten Dolly Parton‘s   sister as  a speaker.  She was actually quite good.

There were many from the  GLBT Community and was super good to be part of an inclusive event and to see many 3rd and 4th wave Feminists.

It was a young crowd.  Lots of Dressing up to make a point. Although in retrospect I think the edgy  concept and  provocativeness of  the  walk would have been best served on an unannounced  march  thru a college campus  before  a major party weekend.

I often have to remind myself that  the Mental Health Community’s  acknowledgment, awareness and subsequent  Therapy  for  “sexual abuse”  did not really arrive until the   1980’s.  Families kept dark secrets.  In the 1960’s there were no Rape and sexual abuse Centers, no crisis lines,  and Domestic Violence was not even in the Vocabulary.  There were no safe houses for women.

I am probably going off topic  however,  I’m thinking of the  new T.V  show about the  Playboy BunniesGloria Steinem was a young journalist back then and had gone under cover at a Playboy party and wrote about it in an important essay.   It goes to say that T.V shows about the 1960’s are not about the  real thing but a romanticized version of it .  Its as if it has been packaged nice and pretty for the next generation and then  re-processed for them.

over and out,

d

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My father had a  private post office box that other members of the family didn’t know about and it was my brothers responsibility to  pick up packages  in the box and bring them home.  He brought me along.

These were pictures of naked children and  also Leather S/ M  photos.

I remember reading the book, ” The Secret Garden” in the old soft back edition . The  book cover had an illustration of a  a sullen little girl standing by  a grey wall & When I looked at it , I  knew that she understood how depressed I  was and this unkempt Garden behind the walls , she turned into a secret hopeful  place.

I still have the book.

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"A little spinner in the Mollohan Mills, ...

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My Great  Uncle David , on my father’s Maternal side was a child laborer  in the  cotton mills  in the early 1900’s in  England.  It’s obvious that I don’t know this as a fact that he was sexually abused –  But  with what I know about him, I do think it is highly likely.

My Father was born in the 1920’s.

My Sister was sexually abused by my Great Uncle David.  She was severely physically abused by my  Father.   Her first Marriage resulted in Domestic Violence and Rape. She has since left some time ago.

My Brother was severely physically abused by my Father. He was also Sexually abused by him too.

I am the youngest  child of 3 siblings.  I was physically abused by my  Father and Brother.  I was also Sexually abused by Both.

My sisters Children grew up in a home with Domestic Violence.

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I am re-reading the above phrase, ” What we thought was normal” and maybe when my brother was younger he did but I think there were times when he knew it wasn’t and then simply didn’t know what to do or stop himself or my father or the  drinking and drugs and I believe that was the same for me.  In the 1960’s there were next to no options.

My earliest Memories.

Dancing the ” Twist” for party friends my parents had in England

The Swing.

Walking around the Garden with an umbrella.

a swinging light from above

and my father , brother and myself down stairs

in a basement.

my brother touching me  while my father shows him and talks to him.

stubbing my toe on my toy.

my brother putting me in a closet

while I cry and bang on the inside of the closet door.

giving  sugar cubes to horses.

sucking on a  sweet  orange with a sugar cube  stuffed in the middle.

sitting on my grandfathers knee

” jiggedy jigg”

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Children of the Night

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I’d wanted to write a bit more on my  healing journey.   After my hospitalization in the early 1990’s  I did finally  begin to get assistance for my sexual abuse .  The truth is :  that alone was only another beginning/

Peeling back the Layers.

Another Doorway.   The only analogy that I can think of is one of  Layers .  I had just started on the first layer of my abuse – what I didn’t understand at the time was that  there were other layers to work through.  In each Layer that I subsequently worked thru the  severity  of the abuse increased until I arrived at the core issues.

Around that same time I joined an Incest Survivors Group at the local Rape and Sexual Abuse Center.  It was the luck of the draw that I happened to be in a group of women , who  ultimately had  stories with some similarity to mine.  We were given the project of the time line and it was  the  hardest thing for me .  I sat struggling with the  time line of my life – and began to panic when i realized that entire years of my life had disappeared from my memory, as if they had been erased or fallen down some  deep rabbit  hole. Shortly after that my Flashbacks began in terrible earnest.  I struggled with learning  how to maintain them.  I struggled with the smells that came back or snap shots.. but i did write, write and write and  write and  had my fair witness :  My therapist.  In addition I was also working … it is fair to say  I did not have much of a life at that time/ but kept on plodding along into the depression ,  feeling somehow that it would get better.

When the Cult Activities that my brother and his friends  began to surface, I thought that I was loosing my mind ! At the time  I was thinking.. Aha! now I have the proof.. that something is really wrong with me ! I had many sleepless nights, waking up screaming, terrified that someone was coming into my room etc…

My calls to  local Crisis lines of that time did not go very well.  One woman laughed,  Another was clearly scared of me etc.. so I stopped calling local Crisis lines and called National hotlines instead. Thank  God for those. One was in Dallas , Tx  and another was  from the Jewish Federation in New York City.. Of course i also have my self to thank as I didn’t give up  and after a while of learning how to manage my own Flashbacks :  I no longer needed the assistance of  Crisis lines  and had my Therapist as a back  up.

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