I Offer You

I cannot take away what you may have suffered in life. I am helpless in that.   I can offer love for another human who is suffering.  I can offer understanding, compassion, my heart, my faith and sometimes my tears.   Most importantly I can give you a place to share your thoughts and stories, triumphs and what you surely see as failures.  Healing, that arduous journey we embark on often feels like one step forward, three steps back.  I assure you my friend, if you are looking forward and doing the work peace  and a stillness in your heart that you likely have never felt, will find you.  start talking, never stop.

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How Do You Handle Mothers Day?

Wishful ThinkingMother’s Day

For many, Mother’s Day is a time to remember and reflect on fond memories of values and lessons learned from our mothers.  The day is filled with loving cards, brunches, flowers, gifts and family time. The media floods the airways with commercials depicting tender moments between a mother and child. This is a day to honor mother.

Roughly 30 percent of the population is survivors of child abuse.  They will not have these tender feelings.  Many have just the opposite of the memories in the media.  Once again we will be faced with trying to forget painful memories of abuse endured.

Survivors long for a loving and tender relationship with their own mother, even while knowing that their relationship may never be that way. This makes it especially painful for the survivor on this day.

They may remember those moments when they made a special project at school, brought it home proudly and like me, It was tossed into the fireplace and burned.  Naively children persist in the vision of going home and presenting their gift to their mother and getting a hug.

Their dreams get shattered

The abuse goes on.

They, we, I persist in the hope that Mom will come through and love me.

Mother’s Day can stir all those conflicting feelings and memories up.  .

Do I send a card?  Do I send flowers?  Should I send a gift?  Is there anything I can send that will make this better?

Choosing a card!  Oh My!   I read the cards of how the mother was so emotionally supportive.  Not that one.

I read the cards with happy childhood memories.  Not that one either.

My mother has been proud of me once in my adult life, maybe in my whole life!  I graduated from college at 52 years old.  She didn’t tell me, but I found out she bragged about it to her club friends.  She told me she loved me once when I was in my 40’s.  Those are the words that I would cling to then, and still do.

I wanted her to be proud of me. I wanted her to gently caress my hair as we talked and giggled. I longed for her love.

Some years I send only a card.  Some years I send flowers.  This year I had my picture taken for the first time in years and had it framed.  I planned to send it to her as a Mother’s Day gift.   Today is Tuesday.  The card I finally picked out, which is nice but didn’t feel like a lie, is still in the big envelope with the framed photo.

I haven’t mailed it.  She will probably get it a month from now when I have decided it’s OK to mail.  When I do mail it I hope that I never hear what she has done with it.  I would like to think that it goes on the wall or the shelf in her living room but it is far more likely that it will end up in a box somewhere.

We have every right to protect themselves from any further abusive remarks or actions. I guess this is how I do it.  I buy a card every year; mail it late, call at the last minute all in what is an effort to protect myself.

I hope you all allowed yourself to be pampered on this day. If you are not a mother, pamper yourself anyway. Spend time taking care of yourself. Treat yourself to a manicure or massage. Splurge on yourself, for you certainly deserve it!

Mothers Day

Anyone else feel a little sad on Mothers Day?  Anyone feeling little left out, a little conflicted? I agonize over a card as soon as they hit the stores.  I want to buy one.  I  want to participate in that ritual where everyone sends flowery loving cards with poem that declare that this is the best mother and how she is so loved.

I won’t buy that card.  Every year it is the same.  Look for a card that doesn’t compromise MY integrity.

Some years I just send flowers and call it a day.  Sometimes it’s just a card.  It is always more than she deserves.  Mothers Day is Sunday!  I haven’t gotten a card for her yet.  I have framed a photo to send and I am not sure that it will be a wanted gift in its glossy black frame.  I had my photo taken for my book cover and since its the first professional picture I’ve had taken in a while I am sending her one.

Just want to share that you are not alone out there with this.  Many of us doing the same thing… We are still more concerned about their feelings than our own.  Survivors and very good people.   XOXO  Annie

 

Spring Cleaning….

Ah spring… cleaning out my closets.  Getting rid of old things I don’t need any more and packing other things away in case I need them later.  Smiling at things I forgot and am glad to find again.  Sweeping winter cobwebs out of the corners of the ceiling in the spare room I moan that they are hard to see until the light comes in this time of year.  I hate spiders and seem to have a lot of them every spring!

Sounds  a little like the therapy of my past.  I was musing today that therapy, counseling, life teaching, whatever you call it, is a little like spring cleaning.

Take out a memory I don’t need anymore.  Shake it out in the daylight, blow the dust off of it and decide to keep it, throw it out, maybe examine it, put it away and decide what to do with it tomorrow.  It might have to be taken out again later, when it feels safer, when there is help to examine it.  Just like some boxes are too heavy to carry alone, so are some memories. Until then, leave it in the box.  Back in the dark closet.

Cobwebs?  Those would be the memories that elude some survivors.  The ones we dream about and can’t recall, the ones that cause us to wake in a cold sweat… Almost a memory…  they come and go until we have enough light to sweep them away.

It’s a chore.  You may find that the old box comes out more than once before you are really done with it….   That’s OK…  One day it will just be some old box full of stuff that used to matter.  You will have new boxes, full of good things.  Keep those.

 

Entertainment?

I have never gone after a movie before.  Today, it all changed.  I acutally wondered what i would write about today and struggled.  then out of the blue…  there it was… Entertainment.

There is a new movie out.  A Comedy.  No surprise there.  I find the subject matter shocking!  Normally, my simple way to object is to simply not watch, read or listen to it if I find it offensive. I don’t spend my money there.

“That’s My Boy”   A comedy about a thirteen year old who is seduced by his teacher who becomes pregnant.  High fives all around…..

This is not comedy.  This is a slap in the face to all survivors, male and female, of sexual abuse as children.  I try to be open-minded about life and the crass, mindless media that we are bombarded with.  I try to ignore the absurdities.  This goes to far.  Why is this tragedy that is afflicted on children funny?

Check it out….  I hope this gets talked about A LOT!  It’s about MONEY!  Do we really want to spend money promoting something that ruins lives?  Every ticket that is purchased to see this movie is a proclamation that sexual abuse of a child is a joke to laugh about.

“When survivors are bombarded with memories and painful feelings, and are engaged in a struggle to heal, they often lose the capacity (temporarily) to respond to situations appropriately.  Their emotional reactions are often overblown because the line between present hurts and old injuries disappears. They lose their sense of perspective and patience.  It’s like an old Plymouth with worn-out shocks; every minor bump in the road sends everyone in the car bouncing up and down.”  Allies in Healing by Laura Davis

This was posted on my Facebook page today.  It’s so very true.  I wanted to share it here.  I hope you feel the same.