The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Fresh Start With Sallie Felton

Tomorrow, I'll be a guest on A Fresh Start With Sallie Felton which broadcast live from Seattle, Washington on Contact Radio 106.9 FM HD Channel 3.

We will be discussing Family Estrangement, Reconciliation, Healing, and Forgiveness.

To listen LIVE via the web, visit: Contact Radio. From the home page, click on the "LISTEN NOW" button in the upper left hand column.

Wednesday April 1st:
12 - 1 PM Pacific Time
1 - 2 PM Rocky Mountain Time
2-3 PM Central Time
3-4 PM Eastern Time

Should you wish to listen later; the show will be available in the archives.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Filling the Void

As an abused child and later as an adult, I spent most of my life navigating a relationship with my mother, waiting for the day she would love and nurture me. Even after our estrangement, I lived with the hopeful longing that she would open her arms and be my mother.

There was a "void" in my heart where a mother should be. After time, I stopped longing for "my" mother and began to long for "a" mother.

As more time passed, I realized that the only person who could love me the way I wanted to be loved - was me.

The void I was feeling was more than just the absence of my mother, it was also the absence of my own internal mother.

No parent can do a perfect job; therefore, everyone needs to learn to parent certain parts of themselves. The difference for me was, whereas most people have much of their internal parent placed within them by the loving actions of their own parent, an abuse survivor, needs to internalize a parent largely on their own.

Looking inward rather than outward helped to fill the void. By the time I did reconcile with my mother, I no longer needed the nurturing she couldn't provide. For the first time in my life, I was able to stand before her - no longer a damaged child - but rather a strong, confident, quietly powerful woman!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Progress vs. Pain Free

When it comes to healing from childhood abuse and/or family estrangement, it was hard for me to recognize my progress, especially when I was still in pain.

Sometimes, I'd feel triggered by a certain event and I'd despair, "Will I ever heal? Will I always be in pain?" It didn't dawn on me that I viewed healing as all or nothing. As long as I experienced any pain I failed to notice my progress.

Many years ago, after a period of hopelessness, I realized that I was indeed making progress. I could measure my progress in terms of years. Where am I compared to fifteen years ago?...Five years ago?...and one year ago? The answer, of course, was: "In a much better place."

I could see that each time I "hit" a patch of pain, I was healing at a deeper level. Sometimes, my feelings may have been the same, but I was not the same!

When I began to focus on my progress vs. being pain free, it restored my energy and gave me renewed hope!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse

The March edition of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is up at My Clouds, My Storms and Multiple Personality Disorder.

The theme for this month's carnival is "Telling the Secret." What a great topic!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two New Support Groups

Both are Ning social networking groups. One is a new support group for people dealing with family estrangement and the other is for abuse survivors.

A few months ago, Mike McBride of Child Abuse Survivor, started a new online support group called, Child Abuse Survivors. This is an active group of people with a membership that has already grown to over 165 individuals. Great job Mike!

Estrangement resources are often difficult to find. There is a new online support group called Estranged Stories, where individuals can share their stories and help one another deal with this devastating loss. At this point, the active membership is predominately made up of parents who are estranged from adult children.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Family of Choice / Second Chance Family

A friend of mine sent me a video today that touched my heart. It reminded me of "rebuilding families."

A huge part of recovering from family estrangement is building a "Family of Choice." Or, as Mark Sichel calls it, a "Second Chance Family."

Family cut-offs are huge losses. Even if our relationship(s) was stressful, there is no way around mourning this sort of "death:" our history... what could have been... what should have been... and what was not.

We mourn as we rebuild until the rebuilding out-weighs the mourning.

After my family estrangement, I began to fill my Holidays and other family traditions with my new "family" of choice." Once I'd healed enough to be emotionally present with my new "family," I relished in the experience of walking amongst these people and feeling love in the air.

Given my personal experience, videos about animals creating inter-species relationships/family groups intrigue me: