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

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hope for the Future

As an adult survivor of childhood abuse and as a family estrangement survivor, for years, I wondered if there was hope for my future. Would I ever be at peace with my life?

Gratefully, at fifty-one years old, I can reach back in time and comfort my younger self:

"Yes, Nancy. Stay strong; you will find peace.

It will take a lot of hard work, but the reward will be great!

With the help of therapy and a circle of support, you will break through your self-protective denial about the severity of your abuse. You will feel overwhelming relief when your injuries are validated for the very first time in your life, and gratitude for those who share your burden of pain, anger, and loss. You will be awe-struck when you discover that you dissociate with trance-like states and that your flashbacks, anxiety, fear and hyper-vigilance have a name: PTSD.

At first you will just "skim the surface" of your recovery and think that you are done - ready to move on with your life. You will be devastated when you learn that in reality, these first steps only set the foundation necessary for you delve deeper into the core of your pain.

You will recover in layers - each more painful than the layer before. This will feel like you are not making any progress; however, don't be discouraged. Each layer of recovery is dependent on your prior healing experiences.
At times you will fear that you won't survive the pain. But you will! Remember, you already survived the worst of it. You survived your childhood!

You will understand new concepts intellectually years before they travel the distance from your head to your heart. You will become impatient with yourself, believing your pace is too slow. At times you will be positive that your pain will never go away. It does!
Be gentle with yourself.

You will learn about boundaries in theory, but it will take a decade to learn to effectively set and maintain clear, respectful, boundaries. It will also take years to put down your scapegoat mantle and to place your well-being firmly in your own hands.
The hardest part of your recovery is the desire for instant results, rather than the deep understanding and healing the years will provide.

You will learn to treat yourself different than your mother treated you. You will treat yourself with self-respect, love and compassion.

I know it doesn't seem possible now, but your heart will heal enough to accept estrangement and move on to live the best life possible. You will realize that you have no control over the choices of your family members. Their words, thoughts, and actions have nothing to do with you.

Although your abuse and estrangement will always be a part of you, one day, it will be a distant memory rather than a present reality. The most important part of that memory will not be the abuse and estrangement itself - but rather all that you have learned and accomplished along the way - your strength, courage, compassion and the pride of living a better life in spite of your past."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse - First Call for Submissions

Yay! We're having another edition of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse! I am excited to guest host the February 6th publication!

The Submission Deadline for the up-coming issue is Wednesday, February 4th. Although each edition usually has a specific theme, I thought I would skip the use of a theme for this edition and ask that bloggers in the survivor community submit a post that is relevant to him or her at this point in time. You can choose a post that you already have on your blog, or write a new post for your blog to submit to this edition. Your post should fit into one of the following six categories:

  • Survivor Stories
  • Poetry
  • In the News
  • Healing and Therapy
  • Aftermath
  • Advocacy and Awareness
Please click here to submit an entry.

You don't have to be a survivor to submit a post. If you are a friend, or the loved one of a survivor, please tell us how their recovery has affected you.

If you are unfamiliar with The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, you can check out the December 19th Holiday Edition at Survivors Can Thrive.

Blog Carnivals are publications centered on a specific topic (in this case - child abuse awareness). A community of bloggers band together to submit blog posts relevant to that particular topic. The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse was founded by Marj aka Thriver for the purpose of raising awareness about all forms of child abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and verbal abuse.

Whether you have submitted before, or you are new to The Carnival, we would love to hear from you.

Hopefully, we'll have a great turn-out so we can help Marj keep The Carnival alive for the survivor community!

Many thanks to Marj for founding The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse!