Sex...yes sex, lets talk about it in today's post. Are you ashamed of the word? Can you say it in conversation without blushing or worrying about saying it?
Have you talked to your children about sex? Have you talked about private areas that adults are other children shouldn't ever touch? Let's talk about sex.
We never, ever talked about sex in our home, growing up, or at least not as general conversation. Everything I knew about sex, I knew at a very young age--either because of the sexual abuse at the hand of my bio-father or because of what I heard at school. We couldn't talk about it, it was a bad word, a hush-hush word if you will.
We didn't watch anything other than rated G movies till I was 16. My mother once said, after everything was out, she tried so hard to protect us from the outside world, but failed to protect us from the inside.
So I want to challenge all of you that have children or if you hve children in your world.....SEX is one 3 letter word that you need to discuss. This is a conversation that could mean life or death to the children in your life.
Being ashamed Of our bodies, ashamed of sex....will get us or our future generation nowhere but in trouble.
So...I sometimes wonder if I would have spoke up sooner about the abuse ...had I been taught, had I been talked to?? Who knows and it doesn't matter now, but what does matter is changing history for those I care about and that includes all of you and your children!
The next several posts we will discuss the signs of child sexual abuse...some signs are very early signs. Please read all the posts am take heed, you can help us stop child sexual abuse!!!
Children often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. There may be many reasons for changes in their behaviour, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to call for help or advice.
What to watch out for in children:
•Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
•Nightmares, sleeping problems
•Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
•Becoming unusually secretive
•Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
•Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
•Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
We will dive into these and share more in the next few posts...stay tuned.
Praying for lives to be changed, with love,
A Buick? How about a Mack Truck?
Oh yes, strength....easy to seem strong on the outside....easy to be who you want to portray from outside...but inside there are days when I am just mush.
There are times when a day is, for some unknown reason, hard, full of anxiety, and fear. These types of days are few and far between, but they somewhat snap me into reality...that my abuser, rapist, father(or speed donor if you will), is living in society, less than an hour away.
Yes, it's a real worry and a real threat, to some extent. But i hope that since there is a life time restraining order all will be fine....but I remind myself,curiosity did kill the cat.
To go back a bit....when he first got out of prison, I would have anxiety attacks driving down the road...I would pull over talk myself off the ledge, persay....and them continue on. Phew!
Recently in talking to other survivors and a couple of parents, just starting the prosecution phase....I realized these reactions are normal. The anxiety other survivors have gone through arevery similar to me. Myself talk during these time would be that I didn't want anyone to see be vulnerable, to see me weak, or see me breakdown.
During these conversations with others, I am a big talker, what I have been through , what worked for me, how I handle today.
Yesterday I realized...there is anxiety still there, maybe covered up with a busy life...maybe hidden so only some can see, or maybe worn on sleeve, more than I realize.
Yesterday while chasing an eagle down the freeway, I was with Aaron and mentioned if I knew what car my abuser was driving these days. Didn't think much about it at first, was slightly giggling, because up until 6 months ago I could have told you the car he was driving. But right now that he mentioned it, I didn't.
Felt slightly out of control, I didn't know, if he was stalking again, what if he was behind us right then, what-if, what-if, what-if....
He proceeded to tell me a car has been around more than he cared to admit and it might be nothing, but noticeably visible...not a car he recognizes and didn't recognize the person in the drivers seat.
It has been 7 years since he was set free, And the 11 yeara he served, dont know i others would recognize him. There is a plan, we know what to do if he is seen around again--but REALITY, set in.
Reality.... my life is forward moving, that I don't dwell on the fact he's alive, anymore. I don't dwell on the fact that he lives fairly close.....but the reality of those things hit me like a brick.
The harsh reminder...the pain and fear is buried deep within me....but it's there...and the ability to be stirred from sleep - is more apparent than I know---reality, brokenness is never fully healed.
For all you survivors out there, you deserve to have a good life, you deserve to be successful, prosper, have families, etc. Yes we are broken deep within us, our childhoods were stripped, our spirit diminished, and the scars run deep.
But we are SURVIVORS....and no matter what we will persevere...
Think about these things... Think about what you have been through...and then think about what you are going to do to assure this doesn't happen to another child again.
Praying for lives to be changed.
I realized today, at 5,000 feet elevation the sun shining, the snow crisp, and two very happy children.....that I am not afraid of hell, as they say, been there done that--I survived hell and I have now created a safe haven here on earth.
When I talk about hell, I am not talking about fire and brimstone - the devil and fire, but talking about fear and the pain and the horrific actions 24 hours. I would cry myself to sleep begging God to bring back my real father. Take this devil away -- I would beg and beg -- all night. If I closed my eyes he would come in, if I stayed awake he would leave me alone. But God....why, why would you allow this to happen! I couldn't figure it out...I would beg and beg...I was a child, why didn't God listen to me?? Why didn't he do something to stop this hell from happening?
I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't help! I still, some days question why a child should have to suffer. I talk to survivors now, children, adults, parents of children who have suffered the same pain as me....and I still can't help but wonder why the prayers aren't answered....why children don't get a childhood. I will probably never understand. The pain that these children carry to their teenage years, into their adult years--- why!
I have always had a lot of faith, but this is one thing that I can't seem to let go of. And because of that I steer away, I separate myself, and I wonder and I question. I know that I wouldn't be who I am today if my history wasn't as it was, but I will still always question why, if there is a God that he didn't stop my biological father, why didn't he stop Joseph Duncan from raping children and ultimately murdering members of the Groene family. I would cry and plea until there were no more tears.
I would mention in youth group or girls’ bible study "a father that had a different kind of love for me" and nothing happened, nothing changed. The fear, the crippling silence would continue....silence was inflicted on me by the ultimate power - the power of fear and worry and the unknown. Hell, hell between the walls of the dwelling where we lived....hell in the basement, hell in the bedroom, hell through the holes he drilled in the bathroom door, hell in the living room, hell in the van that we drove, hell in the woods nearby, hell everywhere.
After my father was finally held accountable for his actions, I wondered -- did you finally answer my prayers and why did you wait till I was 21 to make him pay, to stop the fear, to stop the tears, to stop the worry....why, why, why??
Somehow I survived, the internal strength brought me through -- where ever that strenth came from...I survived and I guess if there is a God and that strength came from him/her - then I owe a thank you.
I still don't know the answer and I have always said everything happens for some reason...but I sure as hell have no idea what the reason could be for a child to have to suffer the most horrific childhoods ever. The whys behind murders of good / wonderful people.....why it seems that the bad people always make it on to the next day -- I will never understand -- and none of us will ever know the whys?
My faith was questioned then...and I revert to those questions time and again. When I talk to families or parents or children that are going through or have been through something similar I again, beg and plea and cry and wonder -- WHY. If there is a God....WHY?
I am not contradicting anything here....I have forgiven him -- not for him for my healing. But the daily reminders are there....the flashes, the memories, hell just looking in the mirror sometimes....the genetic pollutant that I have no choice against -- is there and that will never ever go away. He was blessed with 2 children -- and his took liberties with us that no human should be allowed to ever do to a child of any age!
Stand strong for our children and let's stop the violence, let's stop stripping children from their lives, WE need to make a difference. And we can make a difference....I do believe there is a God...and one day I hope I get the chance to ask him WHY -- and hope that I can get an answer not just for me...but for the 3.3 million children that are abused each and every year and for the 5 children we lose daily to abuse related deaths.....I just want an answer.
In the meantime.....protect the children--change the laws, make a difference - today, don't wait for someone else to teach your children, don't sit around and wait for someone else to make a difference....stand tall even if you have to stand alone.
Praying for lives to be changed.
Thanks to Erin Soper for this picture!
As a child my vision was tainted and blurry. The sights ahead me...foggy, sad, and miserable at times. If I did what he demanded, if I gave in, if I was obedient...those that I loved would be safe....and maybe he would finally love me as his daughter, not his lover.
My eight year old eyes saw visions of twenty something....they saw things that a young child should never see. Through my eyes, this life that I was in, was hell on earth....fire and brimstone, fear and pain, hatred and a sick kind of love.
Through my eyes- a fathers love was something different, not protective, safe, endearing, positive, but the opposite....Scary, evil, morbid, violent, manipulative, and so much more.
Through my eyes the maturing years got harder and more painful, was I ever going to see what I should see? Will I ever have the view of life through rose colored glasses, would this hell on earth ever change?!?!
It got worse before it got better. The pain continued into high school. Try going through what was going on behind the door of my house and then up and move to a new state in the ninth grade and start high school with people that had been together, most since they were small. Didn't quite fit in, couldn't find a niche....through my eyes I was a freak, even though there was nothing outwardly to show. Didn't want anyone to know, so I hid. Sat with the less popular, engulfed myself in scouts (great thing by the way), and through my eyes...I was fakin' it till I made it. No dances, no social functions, no sporting events-through my eyes he was everywhere--my father-the rapist the liar, the stalker...only through my eyes...no one had any idea.
As the abuse came to a close, as police, detectives, judges, lawyers, counselors all came into the picture....as I stood in front of the judge with my abuser (in shackles and an orange suit) staring me down with laser eyes of hatred and violence--and I spoke these words: "Sir he had no mercy on us, please have no mercy on him,"
The judge looked at me with pain and tears in his eyes...he whispered "it's going to be okay"....
That judge then ruled and exceptional sentence, 17.5 years, this bastard was finally going to somewhat pay for what he took: our innocence, our childhood, our lives as we knew them then.
But one thing that hit me at that moment was, through my eyes...the world was different. All of those people involved: police, my family, judges, lawyers, social workers, counselors...renewed my sight, gave me vision to a new life and a new hope.
I swore that day through my eyes I wouldnt miss anything. The beauty of the clouds, the sky, the clouds, people, life....any of God's creations. Through my eyes I wasn't ever going to miss something....not smell a flower or stop and take a picture, or think about and talk to some random person on the street.
I wanted to always see through the eyes of a child...something I couldn't do growing up. I wanted to see through skin color, sexuality, the past, people's pain, I wante to always see waits in all things.
I swore that my children one day would experience and try everything. That they would see through my eyes to capture the passion in the world around them and the people.
Some might wonder why I do crazy stuff, why I am constantly posting photos or quotes.....I want you to be able to see through my eyes--just a little to know what it's like to be renewed in the world around you and this crazy journey we call life.
One thing I know is with every bone in my body, with every ounce of my being -- I want to assure that all children in my world - experience an amazing adventure and no one or nothing (that I can control) will change that.
I have talked to several lately, that their children have been abused by a trusted person.....DO NOT stop fighting, get your children out of that situation, no matter what you have to do....through their eyes-you are their lifeline...don't let them down!
So....through my eyes....this is my life, it's crazy, wacky, and fun---and now I am enjoying it as much as I can...
To the year of forty, through my eyes!
Love you all, praying for lives to be changed.
Do you allow anyone to hold keys to your heart? There are sayings about who holds the key to your heart, and allowing a person or people into your heart after your heart has been broke, after your safety has been joepardized, after love has been lost.....is not an easy feat.
We all have relationships in our lives; family, friends, friends you are closer to than others, co-workers, church people, clubs, socio-economic groups, racial groups, etc..... We all have multiple people in our lives.
Allowing people the keys to your heart after feeling pain, hurt, anger, loss, abandonment, betrayal, or anything else...is not an easy thing.
The feelings that we just me turned can fill up the key hole on your heart, so that no one, anyone, can hold a key to it.
I think that we all have multiple keys to our hearts. Our partner if we have one will hold a different key than a best friend would hold, and thy being different than the key that a family member holds.
It took me a long time to empty my key lock. Took a long time of soul searching and reliving I years of anise for me to be able to allow myself to give my keys away.
When I came to the realization that the words and actions of my abuser-were just that, words and actions---those things do not and will not define me. I deserve, as everyone else does, to have healthy-great relationships and I am allowed to be loved.
I realized its okay tourist, not everyone is like my sperm donor. Not everyone is out for their own purpose and for their own needs. People really do care and its okay to let them care about me.
I realized I am worthwhile, I am smart, I am worthy of others love and companionship, I am worthy of others time. I can allow people in my life and to be able to deeply connect with them because I am safe.
Not anyone person in my life, fills the key lock fully, it's like the keys are a puzzle...it takes many people and many keys to complete - this thing we call life.
It takes love, companionship, care, sentiment, time, Emotion, and many other qualities from many to make a full and complete life.
Something else I had to come to realization about, during the healing process, is my happiness is mine to own. I love to do for people, one of my passions, but if they don't react or seem as appreciative as I think they should, I realized, I am happy because I did what I felt right, and in te end that is what matters. I am in charge of my own happiness.
So to you all who are struggling--search deeps and see if you are allowing anyone to hold the keys to your heart. You are worthy of love, companionship, and care. So open that lock up and let those whom are important fill up the hole.
And rembwr friendships and relationships go both ways, foster them, care back, love first, do first, be who you want those in your life to be to you.
Praying for lives to be changed.
So...measuring up....no I didn't say measuring cup, I said measuring up. This is a tough topic, was actually talking to a good friend tonight about measuring up.
As survivors of child sexual abuse, expecially at the hands of a parent, you really feel like you are never good enough. They want you to feel inferior to them and will tell you things like you aren't worthy of someone to love you, you will never be skinny enough, you will never get married, you are ugy to everyone, but me.
It is amazing how these thoughts, the words that are spoken by those that are suppose to protest us, by those that are our parents, our supporters, our protection...but they are hurting us behind closed doors...they are hurting us not only with their hands and other parts of their body, but with their words--words that pierce and stay and hurt and continue to rise up and taken control of our minds and our hearts as the days go on.
My abuser did. He told me I was fat, I wasn't going to amount to anything, that he was the only person that could ever love me, that I was broken and no one would want me to now -- and the list goes on to the negative nasty things that he would say.
Words that pierce and continue to pierce over and over and over again as the years go on.
But in reality those words that your offender said, those words that a parent or someone you care about said to you, really mean nothing but a way for them to control you. And as you continue on in your life and allowing the words that were said back then or yesterday or whenever to impact your daily movement, your daily actions, your daily thoughts....your happiness or your sadness -- is a disservice to you as a person.
Those controlling statements, thoughts, and words -- saying you don't measure up are so wrong. You can overcome those words....those words that make you feel anything other than great. Because they came from places that were dark and unhealthy.
Remembering that you are amazing, you are worthy of love and especially loving yourself...
Sometimes life throws us curves that we aren't planning on -- no one plans on the negative, nasty, uncomfortable, stuff that happens....but its life....taking what happens to us and controlling how we allow those things to impact our lives, day in and day out....is what we can control.....HOW WILL YOU USE WHAT HAS HAPPENED - to impact in a good way.
You can now control it all.....you have the power and you are worth.
YOU MEASURE UP!!
Praying for lives to be changed.
Over a year ago I started this blog, there is a mentor in my life that pushed me to what I thought my limits were, she would tell me over and over that I had a story to share and people to impact. All I could think as I heard this time and time again, was I am broken. How can I help anyone? I am broken!! And to be very candid -- there are days that I still feel very broken, feel very alone, feel very lost.
There are days when I question my self-worth, when I question what my value is,, where I question what my mission here is on this planet. There are times I say to God -- "how did you allow what happened to me....to a child???"
OH yes I have the poor me times, sometimes often. Sometimes just wondering how I am going to make it through to the next day.
After the talk with my mentor.....I remember thinking for hours how unfair it was that I was broken and it wasn't my fault....I played the poor me, I thought about how lonely I was, even through I was around people all the time I thought about what life had done to me.
Then a another key person in my life said....."life didn't do anything to you....he did--What are you going to do about it?"
Those words went straight to my heart. She was right, life hadn't done anything to me, God hadn't done anything to me. HE had done it all. What was I going to do with this experience now that it was over? What was I going to do with my broken self so that I could heal and help others during their journey?
Well here we are a year and half later. I am definitely in a better space, but there are days. My stuff is difficult for me and your stuff is difficult to you. When you face a trauma, abuse, breakup, or other major thing in your life -- it will impact each of us differently.
I am just rambling on here....but I guess what I want you to know is whatever you are going through, whatever the season you are in, whatever the moment you are feeling, whatever pain, happiness, life moments -- they are yours - take them as a gift - no matter how difficult and use them to help yourself and others.
This thing called life isn't easy, isn't always peachy and fun, and by no means simple.....but it sure is an adventure and one heck of a ride.
What are you going to do with what you have been handed today? What are you doing with the past? What are you doing with your future -- and WHOM WILL YOU HELP when its all said and done?
Praying for lives to be changed....
with love, -P
Emotions are funny thing. They can completely catch you off guard, when you least expect it -- emotions can come out of nowhere. Could be feelings about past events or about something currently going on. Could be emotions about a person that you care about, someone that you hate, or someone that has done you wrong. Any event, person, or thing can trigger emotions in us, when we least expect them.
When we are passionate - emotions can get the better of us. We can be passionate about a person we love and/or care about, our children, our family, our friends, work, school, or just life in general. What we do with those emotions, though is completely and utterly up to us.
I will be honest this isn't an easy thing for me. Emotions come and go about all types of topics...and making a concious decision on which emotion wave I am going to ride is tough. There are times I am overwhelmed with gladness -- those are pretty easy times to ride, but there are times when I am overcome with sadness or worry or heartache. Those are the times I need to do better at making a concious decision of what emotional wave I want to ride.
People that you love and care about - can easily draw out in you many emotions, but how they impact you - is totally your decision and we own how we allow those emotions to impact us.
That of course is easier said than done. So how do we get there, how do we decide what we allow to impact us versus what we keep out of heads and our hearts? Good question, I am sure there is some doctoral thesis written up on how to not allow your emotions to get the better of you.
What I have found is I have to first acknowledge the emotion that I am experieincing and then I ask myself if what this is about is going to impact me in 10 minutes? 10 days? 10 years? If the answer is no to all of the above, I have to release that emotion from my head. And yes this too is easier said than done. The emotion of fear for instance -- it might be done with and over with and rationally we know that there is no longer anything to fear, but the emotion is still real and alive in our heads.
How about the emotion of love? You can tell your head that you can't feel that emotion, but your heart has other ideas. When it comes to your children, no matter what they have done - your head might say you need to walk away, but no matter what your heart won't allow you to do that. Loving someone at one time, but now having moved on - your head knows your doing the right thing, but does that stop your heart from feeling the emotion of love towards that person.
What about your abuser, the teacher that told you-you would amount to nothing, the boss that belittled you in front of a crowd, the friend that took advantage of you, the person that never tells you that they care or that you are loved -- all of these emotions are real -- they are alive, but won't help you get through your days -- they will actually impact your ability to love, to care, to work, to be productive in your future.
Select the wave that you want to ride, pick the waves that are going to help take you to the top and make you a better person and even more so impacting those around you in a good and positive way.
This thing called life is by no means easy -- trust me....but with tools and others sharing their experiences -- we can make it through. Thank you to all of you who have emailed -- I have learned so much from each and every one of you!
We are in this together!
Praying for lives to be changed
Have you ever been tired? So tired that you can't think straight, so tired that the thoughts are running so fast through your head that your not even sure what is right versus what is wrong?Have you been so tired of life -- you are not sure how to keep going on or why?
I can think of times I was so tired of the politics and pain at work, I wanted to completely shut down. There were times in life, where I needed to find some reason to go on. There have been times when I have been so emotionally tired and so alone. A friend once told me you can only be strong so long before it tears you apart. I have been so mentally exahusted with worry and grief.
Tired...comes in so many shapes and sizes. Life isn't fair -- never has been. I was an infant when this man first molested me, same as my brother....LIfe isn't fair. My brother lived on the streets, dealt and did drugs....Life isn't fair. Friends have passed away, way earlier then they should....Life isn't fair. Other friends have lost their children way too soon....Life isn't fair. Another lost the love of her life-way too soon....Life isn't fair. Some are financially strapped, down in the dumps, lost their jobs, received medical news that no one wants to stomach....Life isn't fair. The overwhelming reality of life not being fair....tires us.
In the seventh grade I actually contemplated suicide. I wrote about and now realize I was really hoping that someone would read it and catch on to the horrible things that my bio-father was doing to me. It worked -- well kind of. My mother found my youth group journal about me wanting to commit suicide, but I never wrote about the whys. She was devastated.
She came to my school in Germany at the time and pulled me out of class. She demanded to know why I would say such things and why would I ever even think that way. There she was staring at me in the face -- I was tired -- but I couldn't hurt her. I knew that if she knew the real reasons, she would have a complete meltdown. I knew that this news would be news that no one could ever take. I made up excuses and made it out that it was all me and I just wanted to attention. I was grounded for a week....Life isn't fair.
Who knew that it was going to be another 6 years before anything would finally be said. I would have never guessed. Tired. I was too much of a chicken to actually do any harm to myself. I remember thinking I can't leave my brother and my mother to this monster.
What's my point tonight....really I am not sure -- I guess I keep thinking that someone out there has it way worse than me, their story is devastating -- they are hurting -- they are lost.
That is what keeps me going a lot of times.....yeah this moment sucks, I am feeling really alone right now, I am feeling very overwhelmed right now, I am not sure how I am going to get up and make it through tomorrow --- and I stop and reality check myself....someone somewhere is hurting deeply -- and have no ability to change their situation...what am I complaining about.
So to you tonight whatever it may be -- how bad is it? Sure I always say -- each of us have our own "stuff" that can be equally as bad to us as a death in the family or a diagnosis of cancer.....but in reality -- will it matter in 10 min, 10 days, 10 years? Is it life or death? And then... what is my plan to get through another, yet paintful, season. So tonight as I contemplate how tired I am, how I feel a bit lost, and a bit alone.....you fight too -- this too shall pass.
You too will make it through. Only rainbows after rain.
Night friends, praying for lives to be changed.
Love getting your emails and/or comments ...
"Only rainbows after rain
The sun will always come again.
Its a circle, circling,
Around again, it comes around again" -Andy Grammer