A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘pschotherapist’

Trauma Informed Organziations

crystal light

I am currently working on a certification from the University of Buffalo on Trauma Informed Organizations.  I have been studying trauma related materials for a while. It has been fascinating and helpful  healing for me.

What is a Trauma Informed organization? It is an organization that has taught trauma informed care from the person who answers the phone to the CEO. It is the basis for policy and procedures. Trauma informed agencies and organizations are totally aware that every contact with a patient makes a difference in their reaction to the care being offered and also in their ability to get well.

For example, a person with mild PTSD is coming to see a doctor for stomach upset. The admission person snarls at them because they are lacking some information on their admission form. She tosses the clip board at the patient and says snottily, “you need to fill out all of the information!” She is line with several people behind her. (Having people behind you is a big trigger for trauma patients.) The client/patient did not fill out all the information on purpose because she is not ready to share her details yet. She will once she sees the clinician but not with everyone else. It is her right. Her stomach issues are actually a response to the stress from domestic violence, but she is not going to share that easily. A trauma informed organization treats everyone like they have a trauma. The clinician who she eventually works with should request a trauma screen once the patient is comfortable with the plan of care. By doing a root cause analysis, then, and only then, will the real healing begin.

Trust is huge along with safety for someone who is traumatized. Just walking into a new environment is bad enough, let alone in a waiting room with strangers, standing in line  and having to answering questions to someone who does not give a rats-ass about why your there.

Another perfect example of a non-informed practice is the process of getting vitals. This is me: I am sitting way too long in the waiting room. Other patients are called before me. I start to worry why I am not getting called back. Did they forget me? (Blood pressure begins to rise) Finally someone swings the door open, and even though I have been coming to this practice for years, and they all know me, they bark my name from across the room. I get my stuff and in a cadence for jogging, we go back to where all the rooms are. They stop and bark “get on the scale.” I am immediately humiliated. Blood pressure is really rising. Then we trundle off to the little room where she asks questions about meds. She pulls a cuff from the drawer and puts it on over my sweater. The pressure is high.  She sharply asks me why I am there. Of course by this point I am upset.

This is how I dealt with this. I sit near the door so they do not have to yell across the room. I refuse the scale….which used to be a fight. But it is your right and the trauma issues getting weighed causes me…well, they know now not to ask. I tell the doctor because I weigh myself every day. In winter, the clothes you have on can add many pounds.  I make them use the right sized cuff and on my skin. It bothers me that they don’t wipe it down afterwards. Surprisingly since I started doing this my blood pressure readings have been wonderful. When they ask why I am there to see the doctor, I simply and nicely say, “I will tell the doctor” or I say “follow-up.” They have no reason to know. If I need a shot, the doctor has to order it and he will tell them.

Being a trauma informed organization can only improve healthcare across the board. Non-adherence and non-compliance are huge issues. Patients need to want to take their medicine and follow their plan of care to improve their health. Our medical system in the USA is totally reactive. We spend millions on after-the-crisis care. Being trauma informed and using methods such as trauma screenings and motivational interviewing can only improve patient care.

Being trauma informed is for all health organizations. The scenario I described about myself is my GP at a family practice. Even though I work in homecare, being trauma informed can be practiced there as well. It can be used in every environment where there is a community. When we see people who seem out of it, or stand-offish or short tempered, it would be mindful to remember: You do not know the whole story.




2015 New years and dream

Goddess of the garden

Again I am amazed at the amount of stories and bloggers of people who have some form of PTSD and Trauma based issues. And the level of trauma ranges from violence and sexual abuse to anxiety and to incurring self-mutilation. When I first starting this new post, I thought I would focus more on the clinical aspects of trauma inflicted issues but then I thought “who was I to write about things like that?” After spending some time reading other posts I think I will continue to share my journey in the hopes that maybe others can relate. I find in the plethora of blogs out there on the topic there is also a difference in each one. And in my own pursuit I have come across information I did not have. I have felt compassion and understanding and I find this soothing. It is sort of a community. And since I do not see childhood abuse or sexual abuse or domestic abuse going away, I think it is important to talk about it and share.

So in that vein, I am going to share a dream I have had off and on for the last (I sat for about fifteen minutes while writing this and realized the amount of years and was shocked) over twenty-five years. But I must give a brief history for it to make sense. I met my first husband when I was 19. We got married a year and half later. There were signs then that he was violent and a liar and cheat but I did not pay attention. I want to get out of the even more abusive situation at home. I did love him, very much so. He was in a band, had long hair, was over 6 feet and large. He wrote poetry and sometime songs. He wanted to go to Canada with me and start a farm and not be in the military. He was pretty close to being drafted when Vietnam ended. I was a total hippie and the thought of raising plants and animals for a living has never gone away. I would never have raised animals to slaughter, but I love cows and sheep. I grew up on farms of my friends and was no stranger to the hard work that is farm living. But I was young and very healthy and strong back then.

From the day I met him, being unfaithful was going to be a part of my life with him and his friends. His best friend was cheating on his girlfriend and wanted to “date” my best friend, and was hitting on her. That was how he and I met. Once we became a couple, in short order, I realized we had a different meaning of being committed. I never caught him red-handed, so to speak, before we got married. But there were signs. I wanted to be married and on my own so I went onward. But there were a couple of situations where his temper flared, including taking a hammer to the windshield of his van and smashing it right where my face was. This was to be his method of attack in the future. He never hit me directly in the face, but would smash things very close to my face such as the wall or throw something. But, after the home I came out of, violence was nothing new.

What became more pervasive was the onslaught of girlfriends. I will not go into all the details of it right now. In the later years it got so bad that he would pick up women at bars in front of me and go off. Early on I knew something was up and would go through his wallet and find names and phone numbers. I had no shame about going through his wallet either. I knew what he got paid, I knew what he gave me, and I knew how much cash he blew on going out. Early in our marriage, he would explode when confronted on things, and I learned to let it go. But I did not let it go. I brought it all inward. It ate away at me all the time. What self-confidence and self-esteem I had was GONE by the time I was 25. GONE! I remember we both went on medication induced diets and I lost a ton of weight. I was gorgeous and had a body like Marilyn. I attracted a lot of attention. But my head image never changed and I had no realization of being anything but a fat, ugly, unwanted woman. The weight came back incredibly quickly and doubled. He had joined the police department, and the level of ostracization became intense. He quickly gravitated to a couple of women in his class and became too friendly with one in particular. This relation lasted for years. She made it very clear to me that he was involved with her. I was embarrassed and humiliated because everyone in our personal circle knew about it and accepted her and the relationship. She was not the only one, believe me, in the 27 years we were married. He had one affair that lasted nine months before he had to confess because she contracted a STD and he had to tell me. BUT…. I have to explain something that will make sense why I was subjected to this for so long and never got out.

After he became a cop, he changed. I believed in marriage being sacred. My mother instilled abject fear about divorce in me. She said it was the ultimate disgrace and failure on the woman. At the time, I did not know her mother was divorced. I did not find that out until several years after she died. I thought it was my duty to stay and put up with it. In hindsight, I know I was also terrified. And this is what he fed into, as most predators find the Achilles in their victims. He would also become the most violent after I confronted him. One time he got so mad he punched the wall and broke his hand. (served him right) He had to go to the hospital and get it cast.

But he also isolated me. He even admitted he did this when we were going through his divorce. He would do horribly embarrassing things when we were with my friends. And my friends could not stand him. So in short order, the only girlfriends I was allowed to be with were the wives of his friends. I was very blessed that my dearest friend forgave me for the period of time when I did not see her and we have become close again. Other friends did not hang in there. The women who I was in relationship with were very nice, but, I would not befriend them now. There were too many differences, especially with his closest guy friend and his wife. She was a simple woman whose whole world was her family. She had no children of her own, which was horrible for her. But without being condescending, she was also not the brightest woman I have ever met. I have not heard anything from them since the divorce either. The rest of the women were in the same predicament as I. One lady, Linda, had been with her man for ten years. He had another woman, Carol, who he saw every Sunday. He also spent time with her as he pleased leaving Linda crying in the house they shared. We were never sure who he would bring to a party. He cheated on Carol, when he met Linda. One gentleman died “in the saddle” of girlfriend #2. It was such a joke they called her Killer. I am sure his wife laughed all the way to the bank when none of the three girlfriends got anything and he was very rich. There was one guy who kept bringing this woman to our house and events and I made the faux pas of calling her his wife. Nope; girlfriend for over ten years and the wife knew all about it. She preferred to stay home with their children. This list goes on. They all were not cops, but many were. And this is not to say that all cops cheat, but in my permitted circle it was the norm. Most of the women were not highly educated and although some worked, none had management jobs. Some were secretaries, or hygienists or in medical offices. This sounds highly condescending, but they were not interested in anything else. None had outside activities except going to shooting matches with their men. I am serious. Some actually shot. Conversations were about house- hold cleaning products or television. I was even ostracized even within this circle because I believe in gay rights and was called a Feminazi because I was a feminist. It added to the depletion even more of my self-esteem. I had to get out of that circle to figure this out. Many of his circle of friends divorced when the cop husbands retired and they ended up with much younger wives. Very sad. But the real tragedy is what this constant degradation of the wife and the humiliation that goes with being treated that way does to the woman. It strips away every drop of self-esteem you have. Many did not leave because of children, but I found out later, many also were subject to mental and physical abuse. I joined a divorce support group and one of the members turned out to be the wife of a cop I knew only by name. What he did to her was criminal. Being married to a cop has many challenges as the Blue Code protects some and hurts many others.

Now back to my dream. I will preface this also with the facts I am married now to a man that fidelity is not an issue. My husband is the most faithful and loyal person I have ever met. The reoccurring dream is one where I am still married to the ex and he goes through a string of behaviors that flaunt his connection with another woman. The dreams started when I was still married to him. I would wake up crying and humiliated and also very angry. When we divorced, the dreams increased in frequency. I would wake up stressed and upset. Eventually, in the last two years, the dreams would change at the end to me beginning to fight back. There was a couple where I flayed on him. He was a big man so it was futile. It only added to the frustration. More recently, the dream resolves where I am starting to tell him to go f**k himself. Most times I don’t get it out as I become inarticulate and I wake up.

This morning I slept in and the dream came again. Just as I was about to have to face this woman picking up my ex-husband and I to go to some event, yes all three of us in her car carrier truck,…it’s a dream but the other woman always is more macho in activity or had children (we could spent a whole month of that) and I go WHOA…..”you’re an asshole”….and I am about to rip into him and tell him how I feel about this and my current hubby opened the bedroom door to allow our little peanut doggies to wake me up. I was so close.

I have been divorced for 13 years. I have not spoken to him since then. I wrote a letter once but of course never sent it. It helped with some of the anger. The anger I have now is not at him. He was a pathetic jerk and so were his friends. None of them deserve anymore of me. But I am angry and frustrated at myself for not being able to resolve all this in my dream world. It gets to the part where I pull up my big girl panties and I am about to invalidate him and I fail. I am sure there is a whole mess of psychoanalysts who can tell me what this all means. What is very weird is that I have not really talked about much of this period of my life to anyone except in my writing. I think I am still grappling with the humiliation and the fear of retaliation that was so pervasive for almost thirty years of my relationship with this man. He began his isolation and exclusion of me from his life almost from the moment I met him. There is consolation that I am getting closer to speaking up in the dream. In the real world, my self-esteem and self-worth is still pretty fractured. If you couple my childhood years with this period it is 47 years of pure hell. I guess I need to give myself a lot more credit for being able to even have some peace now.

Although I celebrate the New Year on October 31st, I am sending everyone a blessing for the upcoming year of 2015 to be one of great healing and recovery. I hope we all get a bit stronger and fight for help for all the people who are impacted in some manner of trauma to become the Spiritual Warrior they are meant to be. I cannot help but believe there is a reason we all are here. And those who have had some huge battle with the evil of the world, whether it is on a battlefield or in our own homes, we are here to stop it from happening in the future. I really see and feel in my deepest regions of my soul there is goodness and light in everyone and we are not meant to hurt each other. I struggle every day with the whys and what ifs. But the future is where the change can occur, so I wish for it to be a better world for us all.

Bariatric Surgery or BS

I had an interesting experience today and I feel right now, not very pleasant. I am going to share it and I will admit right up front, it is taking a lot balls for me to talk about this. I really want people to comment on what I am about to share. I think the opinions will vary and I am asking for honest feedback. I know I am opening myself to a lot of criticism.
So let me explain. I had a horrible day about three weeks ago. I was so upset and scared and I could not stop crying. Silly thing now, as I have no idea why. Just one of those phases I think. But I got on line and started poking around for support groups. I think at least that was what I was looking for. I love to spend hours on Google searching things out. I start with one thing and go off on a completely different direction. I used to sit and read my home version encyclopedia. I think it is why I am such a master of inane information…
I found this website for a therapist who specializes in people with PTSD, trauma issues, eating disorders, family counseling, anxiety and other problems. She offers help with life balance. I thought humdang! Digging in further into her site she talks about mindful eating and body acceptance. I was so thrilled I sent off an email asking for a session. And much as I think that cognitive based therapy can be dangerous with the wrong therapist, I was willing to try again.
I get there five minute before my appointment. I wait in the waiting area for about 2 minutes. I can hear her talking to someone. I thought, ok she is on the phone, so I knocked to signal I was there. She did not answer. I waited again five more minutes and knocked again. She said she would be right out. Ok. She was with someone so I had no problem. Then she gets me, I sit down and her phone went off. She answered it and left me and went to the waiting room to talk for another ten minutes. It is now a half hour into my appointment time of an hour.
She finally comes in and starts to fire off questions. Of course, she is taking a history which I had expected. Some of her questions were weird and some were pretty probing. But I answered honestly. I think it sort of shocked her. We swing around to talk about my weight issue. I am very uncomfortable talking to anyone about my weight, but hey, that was one of the reasons I was there. However, she went right into something I was not expecting.
She went on the charge of why I should have bariatric surgery. I felt myself flush and I had to hold my anger in. This is the second time a Doctor (she is a PhD doctor) has done this. She knows nothing about me except a brief ten minute interview. I started to explain that my medical issues with Factor V Leiden and Psoriatic Arthritis do not make me a candidate. Matter of fact my two GPs have said not it is not a good idea. She did not know what Factor V Leinden is. My bet is she does not understand that PsA is an autoimmune disease and not osteoarthritis.
She starts to tell me all sorts of things about how when you have the surgery your metabolic rate changes. It is different than dieting because you are not restricting food so that the body goes into shut down and hordes calories. I just shook my head. How is it not restricting calories. It most certainly is because you cannot eat a lot of food without getting violently sick. Talk about Pavlovian training. Eat too much and you will get sick. I did my homework on bariatric surgery along with having several friends who did it. They change the capacity of the stomach by constricting it with a band, stapling it or suturing it or totally by-passing it so food goes right in to the small intestine. Oh my good gracious. How does anyone not see this  to be mutilation of some form? I understand that it has helped many people to lose weight when they could not any other way and that is fine for them. But I told her, not for me. I did not come to her because I was desperate to lose weight. Matter of fact, I was more at peace with myself and my body before I went into all this self-evaluation and discovery. It was peace I was looking for and self-acceptance. I would still be troubled if I was a size 3.
She went on to say how she had the surgery and lost all this weight and so forth and so on. She said I will never lose weight, even forty pounds. I was totally turned off. I became a bit brittle and she felt it. When she asked me why I was pulling away, I said I was not interested in bariatric surgery in any manner. She said she would send me some literature. I said fine. We finished our session with a few other things. She set up another appointment, which I am not sure if I will do.
There is a ton of information out there on these barbaric…oops I mean bariatric processes. They all say the same thing. I understand how losing weight can be life-saving. But I also read about the mortality rate and the long term prognosis of it. There are malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies for sure. Hair loss, anemia, major poop and intestinal issues, blood clots, infections and other ramifications are all in the literature down at the bottom. All say the crappiest statement ever invented about how the cure/medicine comes with issues which the doctor or whomever deems worth the risk…. I paraphrased but it is on most medicines and other medical documentation. I want to change it to … “You feeling lucky?”
So again, in search of trying to better myself, I walked away feeling like a failure and disgrace. I am angry. OHHHHHH am I angry. Why is it we can do all this medical research on obesity and yet not find a cure other than mutilation of the digestive system? I read recently a medical journal article that there may be some connection in a T cell formation that maybe linked to obesity. That same rotten cell also has a lot to do with cancer and can you guess…Psoriatic Arthritis or autoimmune disease. Why can they not figure out that what you put into your mouth couple with the output of energy does not always equate with body mass. Yes, for some it is about what they consume. But if it were totally up to that, then everyone who eats McDonalds would be huge. But they aren’t. Only a select group of people consume food quantities which have an impact on their weight. Try explaining that to some doctors….they will laugh at you. If you are obese, you eat too much. Period! BULLSHIT. I am not going to go into a full rant on this right now.
Although I have a ton more to say on this topic, I am getting very upset. I need to go to bed and I am all cranked. If it were up to me, I would wave a magic wand and make everyone in the whole world obese so they can see that is only a body. We attach so much to image that it makes me crazy. Would we stitch a lung closed so smokers won’t crave cigarettes. Would we suture alcoholics mouths closed so they won’t drink? Would we give women with PMS a frontal lobotomy for depression…..which, by the way IS what they used to do to women and not too long ago. Think of that. I guarantee that someday in the future, they will look back at bariatric surgery as pathetically as primitive brain surgery. Hey, we finally figure out putting mercury in our teeth was pretty stupid.
Tell me what you think.

Trauma induced Obesity…. Really? No Sh*t!

rain clouds'

I actually wrote a whole different blog last night. I decided to sit on and not publish. In the morning, I reread and tweaked it and thought I would send it out anyways later. But in going over my emails, I found this email from a friend and therapist who sent me a blog article. I did not get to read it until later in the day. I had taken a break from work and decided to read through. I sat there at my desk crying.  Fortunately no one was around much. I have a heater fan running so hopefully no one heard me sniffling. I stopped and mopped my face up and decided when I got home to reread the blog and then write. Oh…. I was going to write.

I spent time tonight working on house stuff, laundry and the sorts and just sat down a little while ago to read the blog again. I was actually not thrilled about facing it again. I then went to the site and looked at some of the older posts. It took my breath away. It is so overwhelming to the point it knocked me out of writing what I wanted to. I am just ….and I am not sure the right word is that I am. I am mad because there is so much statistical information out there on trauma induced illness and yet it is so unknown by practicing clinicians. I had written about the ACE study before in my blog. If you have not done an ACE study, do so. And then read the implications. It is enlightening.


But now as the night has progressed and I spent it reading instead of writing, I am going to let the blog speak for itself. It is quite a collection of information. I am going to share the one line that made me cry. And it is terrible. The author is sharing the story of how the doctor who was working in creating an obesity clinic was upset because he was not successful. He went on to dig into many of the (obese) patients’ history and found a resounding amount of them had some form of childhood trauma. That is not what made me cry….it made me slap my head and say out loud, “Really? No shit!” This is right from the Dr.’s story after he had given his results to a body of educated physicians and clinicians.

So, if you were Vincent Felitti, whom would you pick as your first audience to reveal your stunning findings? A group relatively informed about obesity that would greet the new information with extreme interest, praise and applause? Natch. So, in 1990, Felitti flew to Atlanta to give a speech to the members – many of them psychologists and psychiatrists — of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. The audience listened quietly and politely. When he finished, one of the experts stood up and blasted him. “He told me I was naïve to believe my patients, that it was commonly understood by those more familiar with such matters that these patient statements were fabrications to provide a cover explanation for failed lives!”   http://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/

……..A fabrication to cover FAILED Lives?   Oh man did that stick in my craw. Truthfully it makes me furious. So again, because someone is obese (and I hate that word with a passion) the presumption is that (1) they lie and (2) their life is a failure. If you think this is an exaggeration, you are not in the world of being overweight. The reason I was crying is because it happens a lot. To read someone with such credibility admit this was overwhelming to me. It is pervasive in the medical field and I face it every day at my job. That is exactly what people, doctors and other clinicians have projected to me. I have heard other large people tell about me about their discrimination. A person I know just died because they refused to give her a liver transplant because she was overweight. Prime personal example: years ago, I had gone to have some work done up to find out why my a1c had spiked. I had the Chief of the Endocrinology department tell me I was a waste of time, that I would never be able to lose weight or exercise like HE did and so he was going to march me down to bariatric surgery immediately and get me fixed. (I have to breathe deeply every time I think of this) He never looked at my chart. If he had he would have seen my blood sugar had spiked in three months after a life time of low to normal readings. It took me having to read and discover that the prednisone and other drugs they slammed me on for the PsA all raised blood glucose. AND when I went off, it came back down. I went to see a nephrologist after one of my kidneys failed. Again, he never discussed anything but the fact that I was overweight and he wanted to bet me, BET me, that I would NOT be able to lose weight. I think he thought he was challenging me. Again, no one ever told me for a year my right kidney had failed…first concern…and that I had developed stones and they were a by-product of the PsA…it took me eight years to find that out and I should have been medicated then, eight years ago, to reduce the creation of more…which happened. No one can see past the weight. I am a non-person.

That last statement about being a non-person is very telling. I am going to stop tonight and let it just sit out there. I hope you will skim through the blog article: http://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/





Righteous indignation

I have been reading some new blogs. I am impressed with all the people who participate in writing as a form of expression of themselves. I actually started writing as part of my therapy. It has helped a lot. But I am disheartened by the content of so many blogs that I read. They are so many hurt people in this world. My vulnerability is showing and I do not care what people think of that. I have in my soul a place that feels deeply for so many. Maybe it is the Christmas music playing. Maybe it is because it is Charitable Tuesday. Something is weighing on me. This time of year brings out the good and wondrous, but also misery seems to increase. Maybe it is because we want the good at this time of year, the bad seems more heinous.

I like Christmas but I do not like all the commercialism. We have an event here called Roc the Day. It is when there is an all-out campaign to hit people up for money in the county. It is competitive by organization and it is very popular. Our organization had three entrees on the website for donations. I gave to one, but I also give at other times. The thing that bothered me was I overheard our foundation person talking to someone about how successful this is because of Christmas. People are more generous now and so they created this huge marketing plan in an attempt to get more donations. It works. But I do not like the idea of playing people.

And this led me down my path of righteous indignation tonight, especially after reading some blogs. What makes adults play on children, or should I say prey on them. What in the world creates lechery? Why would someone intentionally kill the spirit of a child for their own pleasure? I think part of why I struggle with this is because of my own experience. I will never understand why things occurred in my life; at least not while I am still in this plane of existence. I think it will be clear someday. I hold on to that as a concession. But tonight, it is overwhelming.

We accept that soldiers of war suffer from PTSD. But talking about childhood trauma and sexual abuse is still taboo. PTSD is not talked about or widely known as a medical condition for non-combat women. I think, and this is my personal theory, that it is because it is taken upon by the victim as a badge of shame. That they (we) feel they deserve what happened, or there is something so wrong or broken with them,(us), that they,(me), have a hard time sharing it or even talking about it. I know I do not speak of my childhood experiences with just anyone. And for the most part, I cannot articulate my experiences unless I write. I cannot speak about it. That is why I have such a feeling of companionship from the blogs.

Tonight I read about some pretty sad situations. This is not judgment, it is their story and to say it is anything but that it was sad would be not real. Even though the people have made a success out of their lives, at what cost? I think what potential was lost. I think of that often for myself. What could I have done with my life if I had not escaped by marrying the wrong person at such a young age? What could have become of my children if I had become a mother by marrying someone else? What-if? So many what-ifs? And the answer is “live for today.” Well, in reality, there is no other choice.

But back to my righteous indignation. Why is sexual abuse and child abuse not going way? I do not get this at all. I see parents walking kids to school for fear of them being abducted, yet they have no idea Uncle Ernie is playing “Hide the weenie” with their daughter. They turn a blind eye when their spouse crosses the line or a sibling playing house takes it too far. And why do we punish the victim and not the perpetrator? I know there are answers but why is this still an issue? It needs to stop.

But the thing that is sticking in my craw more tonight is why can’t we fix the adult that has had things happen to them? Why is there no big campaign to raise funds to help women (and men) who suffer from PTSD from childhood abuse? Why is this so difficult to heal from? I read how the past inflictions have made a living hell for so many. They suffer from chronic illnesses, fear and many are unable to work or function in the world as it is. They had the where-for-all to create a little pill to make a man get a stiffy. Really? We can’t fix the thousands of zombie-like adults who traverse this world? We cannot find some way to heal them to live their full potential, with our fear and shame?

I do not find this acceptable. I am angry and want to do something beneficial to change this situation, to help people heal, and become whole. I am so full of regret tonight that I am sitting here crying. I want to have another chance at this. I want to be twenty and able to go to college and train as a psychologist or therapist of some kind. But I am forty years past that and so I must find another way. I really feel I am wasting my existence more now than when I was younger.

My husband and I were talking about Christmas presents tonight. He is upset because I truly have nothing I want as a gift. But there is something I want and that is to find the purpose to my life. I am not sure how this post tonight got to this point, but I let my fingers do the talking. So what started out to be a post to bolster acceptance and power has left me feeling useless and in tears. So I am stopping writing for tonight. That is the first step. I do not need to beat myself up anymore.

Shake, rattle and roll

Have you ever seen an animal run around like crazy or shake its fur in a series of ripples? If you own a cat or dog, you have witness this and maybe did not know what your pet was doing? My cats used to charge around the house and it seemed to be nonsensical when they did it. Our dogs also do the running thing outside. They blast out the door and run as fast as they could until spent. This is called discharge, and it is what healthy animals do to get rid of stress. Animals also shake to rid themselves of pent up energy and often in dispensation of a serious threat. We can and should do the same thing. But we do not and then hold on to the stress which builds into PTSD. Sound simplistic, but I am a firm believer in this process. The book I am reading by Peter Levine goes deep into this and there are many others who follow this process as part of their therapy. But how do you do it and what if the trauma was many years ago. This is the basis of somatic therapies and body work.

For today, I am going to share one of the things I do. I am a work in progress. But I want to see if anyone else does similar things so please share. I got away from working on this and practicing my healing work. It made a difference in how I feel and for the better.

So this morning, and unfortunately it is a rare opportunity, I lay quiet in my bed. The first thing I do is become aware of my surroundings. The house was very quiet. My husband was asleep softly breathing (again, rare as he can snore). The little dogs had already got up to go out and had climbed back in for a few winks and snoozes. The cat was fed and asleep in her room. No one wanted anything from me. This is a crucial feeling. You have to be able to completely relax. If I think someone wants something from me, I do not relax. This is part of my bag that I carry. It is very, very hard for me to completely relax. But if do not, the next step cannot happen.

I then go inward. I feel what it feels like to be me. If you do not mediate or do not understand “go inward”, this can be confusing. I find many teachers of healing arts like yoga and meditation just automatically think everyone knows what this means. So to explain; for me, and that is my only point of reference, it is like a separation of body from mind. Think of having a shell and you are almost a complete separate entity housed within. Be in the darkness and sense the protection of your body housing you. Much like you can sense you outside bubble, your body space, it is a perception. There is no physical line of demarcation, it is all sensed. You are separate floating within this housing vessel called your body.

So once you get that feeling down, take a stroll around your body with your mind. Pain might pop up. Focus on the pain and in your mind, send it energy to feel better. Some say send it love, some say light. Whatever works is what is important. Think of your body as your child and you are a parent sending soothing comfort to your child’s boo-boo. This should dissipate the soreness. Really feel whatever comes up and then let it go. If it seems to get “brighter” with pain, breathe deeply and calm. You are relaxing. When I get a flare when I do this, I send light to it and I focus on the strength of the light, and not the pain.

This, by the way, was not a process I did over night, I have been working on this for years and sometimes it still does not work. When I first started doing this, I used to lay down when no one was around. I had an older dog that would not bother me so I had quiet more often. I would crawl into bed and slap on headphones with music to help calm me. There is a ton of meditation music out there and you can get it right off of YouTube. Whatever sound you use, it has to be something that does not get you charged up. This is preference you will have to discover for yourself.

Back to calming: Once you are totally calm, comforted and peaceful, print it. Print the sensation in your mind. Be aware and feel it deeply and completely. When you feel you are in a place of complete comfort, tell yourself you are safe. Breathe deep and repeat this in your head. “I am safe.” “This is what safe feels like.” If you feel tension somewhere, breathe deep and relax the muscles that are tight. Keep doing this. What you will probably start to feel are twitches. Sometimes it’s your feet. They may want to flex and almost feel like they want to walk or ever better run. Let them. My feet twitch, but they do not run. This is very indicative for me of the trapped sensation I often have. Your hands and fingers may flex. Let them. Whatever twitches involuntarily is great. This is what you want. Notice it, but do not stop it. You are not really meditating and need complete stillness. You are discharging. Your legs may flop, your arms may move. It is all good.

For me, once I really let go of my hypervigilance, I shudder. My shoulders go up in a spasm. First time it happened, it scared me. I felt it come up through my body from my gut and snap. It is very quick. I cannot make it happen or to force it. It is a completely uncontrolled body movement. Once I started doing this, it happened often and it did not take me having to lie down. Watching TV would be enough of a numbing to have it happen. Sitting in my garden chair would be enough. It happened in the dentist chair when I was having a cleaning. I allowed it because I knew it was ok and a good thing. I found that when I am in a state of anxiety it doesn’t happen. That is when I have to really pay attention to calming and centering myself.

The other thing I do and I had no idea what it was for a very long time; I have a low vibration that happens to me. When I say low, I mean it is not very apparent. One could not detect from the outside of me that I am shaking inside. But I feel it. It is a very rapid and quick vibration. I used to think it was the pre-cursor of something bad going to happen. The first time I was aware of it was when I was lying in bed, going through my divorce and a bunch of really life altering things. I thought the bed was shaking. I paid attention to it as it happened more. Now I know it was my systems discharging all on their own. Unless we are really aware of our body, which I was not twelve years ago, this might not even be something we are aware of. Again, it happens totally involuntary. I cannot bring it on. What used to scare me but now it makes me smile.

Think about this: The medical practice when someone has been in or witnessed a trauma is to strap them down, medicate them to calm and not allow them to move. It is the worst thing we can do. In surgical recovery, it is common for people to shake and struggle as they come out of anesthesia. When a child is upset and scared, they will shake when they cry and will continue afterwards to shudder as they calm. If you have ever witness something, or scare yourself, and you find yourself wanting  to “shake it off?” Do so.

There are many ways to discharge energy if you are physically able. Running and repetitive exercise is great. Dancing is also good. This helps dissipate energy and flood your body with “happy hormones.” There are many ways to discharge like drumming or even laughing.

But for some of us, mobility is a big issue. This practice that I mentioned above is for someone who is healing from trauma. Body work has to become part of therapy for anyone who is dealing with trauma. There are many forms of somatic therapy and it is finally becoming acceptable. We are discovering that we do not heal well from cognitive based therapy. We need to engage all our senses. We as patients or clients need to be open to this. The more we are involved with this evolution; the world will have to take notice of evidenced based therapies that diverge from CBT. The body is not separate from the brain. We must heal the whole person.

Curing a hot mess


Tonight while I was eating dinner, I went for a stroll in other blogs. It still amazes me how many people write and even more amazing is how many write about recovery about childhood trauma and abuse. It is seriously a huge body of people who have had some sort of trauma in their childhood. The people on WordPress are only the ones who are brave enough to write about it. It is very comforting to hear how other people deal with things and it offers so much in the way of healing. It is like safe group therapy. Who knew social media would have this offering.

Today was a stressful hot mess. This whole week was bad. I am not sure if it is the impending snow and greyness or the oncoming approach, which gets quicker every year, of the holidays. I knew it was going to be a day for me as it started actually yesterday. I was in a situation that has been building for some time with one of my employees. There has been a lot of conflict building within the agency with her in ability to think before she speaks or in most cases email. I have been putting out fires all due to her lack of filter. Unfortunately, she crossed the line into HIPAA waters and I had to come down very firmly on her. Yesterday at the end of the day, she absolutely refused to follow my directive. Instead of getting into then, I asked she call me in the morning. I did not sleep. She called, and the conversation escalated into an outright refusal to follow a policy. She responded with a comment that she knew would push a huge button with me and it did. But I said I would look into it and take her claim to the next level. When I did, I was told to discipline her. I am not crazy about conflict. But I know insubordination when I hear it.

When I came home early because I was absolutely spent from other issues and this one, I walked into a house with crap on the floor. Not just a little doggie poo, but diarrhea. After cleaning that up, I had to make a phone call that also turned into a nightmare. An hour later, I had reached my boiling point and burst into tears. The tears became screams and sobs. I crawled into bed for a comforting nap only to have a return phone call, not once but twice from the one I initiated. A nap was out. I got up and went to feed the cat only to step into a hair ball mess with my new slippers. Sigh.

But in the middle of all this I discovered two things to relieve myself. One was screaming. It took all the bent up frustration and feeling of being trapped and released it. I have a huge issue with feeling trapped. I have talked about it in other posts. My screams were low guttural howls that released a lot of negative energy when I did it. I cried for a brief time afterwards, much like a child does. And after reading someone else’s post, I realized that is actually what happened.

Because of what happened as a child, I often return to the reaction of the age when I was first exposed to being frustrated and trapped. I hold everything in, because that is what you are told to do. And you keep taking it and taking it, because it is what you are told to do. Then at some point, you explode. But you explode at something that is safe. And then you are labeled as a cry baby because you over react to a stimulus that seems innocuous to others.

After my release, I lay in bed and just thought about stuff. I realized that the employee went for my jugular because I had exposed a vulnerability to her. She knew exactly what to say. She felt trapped and used whatever weapon she had in her arsenal. I am not condoning her behavior; I am trying to reason why it stung me so much. I pride myself on being a fair boss and have always given her the benefit of the doubt. I have gone to bat for her when I have been called on the carpet for her behavior. What really set me off was she betrayed me. I have a huge problem with betrayal. (ya think?)

As I lay there trying to nap, my foot and legs started to cramp. This is an ongoing issue for me. I get so tied up in a knot that my muscles spasm. The one foot became excruciating. I tried something and it worked amazingly. I said in my head that I was feeling trapped because of all the above mentioned things. I said clearly in my head that she was still holding on to my foot and I was allowing it. In my head, I cast her off. In about two seconds, my calf muscle spasmed and I felt something pop and flow and my foot completely relaxed and was fine. I cannot tell you how it actually surprised me. I felt my whole body relax and I smiled.

I read tonight someone’s post about loving her inner child. It hit home. I realized that I again have been neglecting my inner child and actually my whole self. I get on a roll of doing for others and forgetting my needs. As much as that sounds so altruistic, I think women tend to do this naturally. We forget to nurture ourselves. When I do forget, it is my inner child who says ENOUGH! Time to go play. I want to honor her more often because she really got the crappy end of the stick.

And speaking of crap, I am not sure what the animals got into. I think they are feeling neglected too. So tomorrow will be a day of love and cuddles. It is one year ago the little doggies came into our lives. They were scared and very nervous. But it did not take long for them to know how much they are loved. I have been working a lot. We usually spend time together outside in the garden, but I am not going to sit out in the snow and neither are they. But I will pull them close this weekend and my husband and I will celebrate their love for us. I will nurture myself and spend time doing things this weekend that bring pleasure to me and refill my lamp.

B Boy  Princess

Epigenetics meets Akashic Records

Epigenetics describes the study of stable, long-term alterations in the transcriptional potential of a cell. Some of those alterations are heritable. These epigenetic changes may last through cell divisions for the duration of the cell’s life, and may also last for multiple generations even though they do not involve changes in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism. Noted developmental psychologist Erik Erikson used the term epigenetic principle in his book Identity: Youth and Crisis (1968), and used it to encompass the notion that we develop through an unfolding of our personality in predetermined stages, and that our environment and surrounding culture influence how we progress through these stages. This biological unfolding in relation to our socio-cultural settings is done in stages of psychosocial development, where “progress through each stage is in part determined by our success, or lack of success, in all the previous stages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

The above information was found on a Wikipedia site and although I do not always find them a completely reliable resource, for this discussion, it works. I just watched a webinar and this topic came up. I have written about it before. But it coincides with something else I am studying called the Akashic Records.  I thought it was a sign post that this topic is popping up a lot for me. I believe in messages being sent to me that say “Oh girly….you need to pay attention to this.” My love of the mystic at times overpowers the science. I love magic yet I crave the logic and concreteness of science. At times in the past, they have been at opposite sides making a big conflict in me.

So what is Akashic Records? The Akashic Records are a dimension of consciousness that contains a vibrational record of every soul and its journey. This vibrational body of consciousness exists everywhere in its entirety and is completely available at all times and in all places. As such, the Records are an experiential body of knowledge that contains everything that every soul has ever thought, said, and done over the course of its existence, as well as all its future possibilities.

Howe, Linda (2006-05-01). How to Read the Akashic Records: Accessing the Archive of the Soul and Its Journey (p. 3). Sounds True. Kindle Edition.

Sounds very woo-woo. It is. My explanation is truly just that, my explanation. The Akashic Records is the place you go to when you meditate or pray. When you hear that voice in your head and it comes up with something you never thought of….well that is The Masters and Teachers and Loved Ones responding to you. And who are those folks, you ask? They are your spirit guides. Some would call them angels; some refer to them as the voice of God or Devine. Who cares what you call it. I am not big on labels. We all have the ability to access these voices, and many people make money off of “reading” these records. I am not going to comment as I am just learning about “accessing” the Records. But…. The thing that makes the Akashic Records so special is that you can supposedly access your history. Again, I am not going to comment as I have not gotten that far to say yeah or nay. But…. Think about Epigenetics.

I love when woo-woo meets science. So if epigenetics says your have cellular encoding which is passed on from generation, why would you not have an imprint in your subconscious that with work, you can access the memory. I have mentioned before that every cell is basically a little body with a brain and nerve and “skin” sensors. So if you carry markers from your past, it would make sense that you would be influenced or predisposed to reactions from trauma from past lives. I think you would also be predisposed to pleasure. Think about something that a sibling and you have completely different reactions to. For example, everyone in your family loves the water. You grew up on a lake; you never had an incident that would cause you to be fearful like falling in or being held under. You swam like a fish until you were in you late 40’s. Now, you hate the water and have a real fear of it. My guess is in a past life you may have drowned. And the interesting thing is, you may not have become fearful until a certain age and then all of a sudden, you won’t go over your head in water. An explanation could be you drowned when you were 40 in a past life.

So in reference to the idea we develop in stages, is there a possibility of a trauma genetically imprinted from a past generation to demonstrate at the same time in the current host?

And the Akashic Records would correlate with that hypothesis. According to what I am reading by Linda Howe, she says we follow a genetic line from the time we are first created. The ancestry continues for ever. Within each ancestral line we are giving a complex riddle to solve. That riddle is our purpose for being here. Each time we are reborn, the purpose remains until we fulfill it. And the purpose is usually total acceptance, harmony and love….unconditionally all the time. Not too many people actually achieve that type of purpose. No one comes back with total recall from a past life. But there are signs. An example would be, let’s say…… if Jesus was at dinner one night in this time period and some guy came up to him and kissed him. He probably would get a chill up his spin and wonder why that tweaked him so much. But then, he got it right the last time around, so he is probably genetically elsewhere now. The Records are supposedly accessible to help guide. But there is no concrete answers given like, “you are here to create a new medicine that stops cancer.” However, you can get clues to help guide if you ask the right questions. For example, you could ask should I go to Hopkins and study medicine or Harvard to learn to teach. I only wish I had those choices. I am going to explore my thinking more on this as I read.

I know a friend of mine is doing ancestry discovery work on his family. He was able to have tests done that showed genetic markers that placed his lineage to a geographical region. It was funny because before he started all this he felt deeply rooted in a time period and location. It resonated with him. When he first began his work, the indicators were heading to another territory that was not where he thought his family was from. As he kept digging, he ended up where his heart always lived. He is a seasoned meditator and I am sure that have been many conversations from his Masters. He also has many traits that I am sure come from his ancestral line. He is a warrior as have been many of his ancestors. But he also suffers from PTSD and I wonder if he is also genetically predisposed to that as well.

One of the things I have not gotten to in the book is that through working in the Records, you can heal trauma and incidents from your past lives. I am sure that this seems out of the question for some. But then, it is only recently that the field of neuroscience has blended with psychology. So who knows what the future brings. As bizarre as the Akashic Records may seem, these types of questions may someday bring resolve to so many.



Letting it all hang out…..

So much of my writing on this blog has been a bit negative, lately. I thought I would take a different approach tonight and share some thoughts on some if the things I have done to help myself. I believe in GOOD therapy and working with professionals. But the truth is we have to help ourselves. Please understand that I do not have all this working all the time. I am only suggesting things I do to get through.

My number one way to find relief is something we learn as an infant. I cry. I get to the point where I feel things building and building. So instead of releasing a torrent of unintelligible words, I cry. I find a place either in my bedroom or in my chair and I just release. Sometimes my sobs are pretty loud and it is hard to stifle and get relief. So I don’t stifle. The point is to release. There are days when I have built up so much crap, I just let the tears fall. The act of deep breathing when you sob helps to calm. There are chemicals that are flushed out of the system within the tears themselves. “The other chemical found in emotional tears is leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that reduces pain and works to improve mood.” There is also a correlation to hormones produced by women which is why women cry 4 times more than men. Crying is actually very healthy for you. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/crying1.htm

Another favorite way to find relief and this was taught to me by my AAT therapist and is called Reflexercise. It is very simple and can be done and should be done often and anywhere. Basically you drop your head slightly, turn to one direction that is natural, (we all have a direction we turn towards most) and relax your arms and let them drop. Bite your tongue and breathe deep for a while. 30 seconds makes a huge difference. If I am building a stressor up and I am not alone, I bite my tongue, relax my arms in my lap and gently breathe. Just do not close your eyes. No one knows what I am doing and I do it often in meetings. BTW, focusing on this will calm you if someone is in your face.

fall chairs    If I can, the best mood altering thing I do is get outside. I have a chair on my deck facing my garden. This is my sacred space and I spend as much time as I can there. I come home and retreat there immediately. My husband has found this to be really a great thing to do so now we sit together. Usually the dogs are out there and it gets me out of my head and crappy mood. I also end my night out there, especially in the summer. I will sit out there as long as I can even if I am bundled up and under blankets. I have a tree that faces me and has a face on it. We often chat. (seriously, he is very wise) I meditate out there and I often in the warmer weather fall asleep in my chair.   Elgin

Another thing I do is let the Light scrub me up. I stole this process from a book I read and cannot remember the name. Basically it works like many chakra meditations. You calm and ground. When you are ready you “open” the 7th or crown chakra. I envision this light streaming in and once inside, it turns into scrubbing bubbles and I think it all over the interior of my body. It slowly makes it way down and out my feet leaving room inside for clean new Light. This is very nice especially when you are feeling the old oppressor of not being worthy. Out with the old stale crap and in with new bright hope.

In my office I use three incandescent lamps instead of the fluorescent. It creates a calming light that is warmer and does not buzz. I feel less “disturbed” under soft lighting. I have pictures I took of my animals and my favorite spot on the St. Lawrence River. If I turn one way in my chair there is a picture of the spot in the bright sunlight and if I turn the other way there is one at sunset.

There are many things to self-sooth. I am not very good at tapping. I found tapping aggravating and I do not like any percussion like movement on me. It is not hard to figure out why this would be. I did find that stroking my face when I am upset is soothing, but looks utterly ridiculous when done in public.

There are a lot of external resources to help with calming. Music for me is a biggie. I love to sing and when I sing along with my music, the breathing calms me. Singing was a huge part of my life and I know I want to get back into it more. Playing music is also a calming resource. I played recorder for a while. Any hobby helps too. I love to shoot photos. The act of passion when you do something you love is very soothing for the soul.

So there are many more things. But it is somewhat warm outside tonight and my tree, named Elgin in honor of a feathered friend, waits. Soon he will be slumbering and I want to catch up before he leaves….I might be barking up the wrong tree, but he is usually rooted in the process of getting me grounded. TREE talk….(((((smile)))))

Please share your techniques with me.

Sharing dirty little secrets

The following blog  SEX is written by an extremely brave and courageous woman. It is hard to comprehend how she feels unless you have been there. I can imagine how much spirit it took to write this and even more strength to share it. The issue is not the event. It is not the past. It is the present moment and the reaction one has to various stimulus NOW. You cannot erase what happened and so any therapy that makes a person relive the trauma or go over the details of their past are often only re-traumatizing the client or patient. A good therapist gives the patient tools do deal with their trauma and their feelings and reactions in the present moment.
Pat writes about how she interprets sexual feelings now. She knows that any sexual advancement made by an adult to her is taken poorly; she does not enjoy it. She transfers sexual feelings to touch with her own son. Of course she does. It is safe. He is safe to her. She feels it is wrong, and it would be wrong if she were to follow through, which I am sure she didn’t. She loves her son. The problem is that she has attached so much garbage to any intimate relationship that when she feels the physical touch and closeness of a hug from her son, it triggers a response she deems inappropriate. But how would she not when the time and place in her life when she first had sexual relations was when she was a child. There was safety in the body, the smallness of her son. It has nothing to do with intercourse. It was about the intimacy she craves and the safe sensation of being touched by someone who does not want anything from her. THIS is how the cycle of sexual abuse CAN be continued, but Pat knows this is taboo. Instead, she carries so much shame with her. That is the gift that keeps on giving. (sarcasm)
My life is very similar in the sense that I do not like to be touched by anyone. It is extremely difficult for me to relax in any type of physically intimate relationship. My father deemed all women sluts and dirt. The only woman he did not have a comment about was my mother. Their relationship was the strangest growing up. They were never demonstrative. My mother and father never hugged or even sat close. The only kiss I ever saw them give each other was her on his bald head. But I discovered later why she was so Victorian in her manner about sex. My father used to berate me from the time I had boobs that I was a whore, which is incredibly funny since I was anything but promiscuous. There was no healthy sex education growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in white suburbia. Sex was naught and dirty and only “hoods” did that sort of thing.
To be safe and actually unbeknownst to me at the time, the “boyfriends” I had in high school were all gay. They were not out back then, but they were into the arts and gentle young men. I never pushed the issue of sex, and they did not either so it was safe. My best girlfriend was a toucher. She liked to tap on your hand or arm when she was talking to you. Finally one day she asked me why I pulled away every time. I just said I did not like to be touched and she was ok with it and was mindful.
My first sexual encounter as a young woman was disastrous. But I quickly learned that if I got drunk or high, I could relax enough. This became my pattern. My ex-husband was fine with it because I do not think it was ever about intimacy for him. Eventually, sex was the only thing I had to control in my life, so I withheld. He went quickly elsewhere. (Actually he was elsewhere before, during and after our marriage) When we first met, and I felt safe with him, I enjoyed walking hand in hand, cuddles and other intimate gentle touches. That soon turned to grabbing at me, dominating stances like having his arm on my shoulders and slapping my butt. The relationship deteriorated until it became sexually violent and that was when I pulled completely inside and put up the wall. For me, the wall was weight more than anything. I cannot say honestly that I did not want to have a sex and so I was a horrible flirt when out with the girls. But I never went through with anything. For me, it was the need to be desired more than anything.
My relationship with my now husband is platonic. It was established as such and remains. It works for the both of us.
The issue of touch is very touchy (ha ha) for me. The therapy I was in for two years was all touch therapy. It took three months for the therapist to be able to even begin therapy and touch me. The therapy is called Associative Awareness Technique. It is a system that used touch stimulus as part of the therapy in the form of different series of applications such as stroke, tap and pressure in very deliberate patterns and places. The concept is that it helps to deregulate the nervous system from going into flight fright or freeze when touched. It is much more than that and you can read about it here: http://www.rochesterptwellness.com/
As part of my healing process, I also took classes in Spiritual Healing Touch. I really enjoy applying touch therapy. As part of the class, you have to be the client and take turns. It was very hard for me but since I have taken a series of classes with the same girls I have gotten better at receiving. Sometimes it is amazing how I feel afterwards. There are certain partners that I am very comfortable with. I have to completely get out of my head when I am working on someone but because I am the one touching it works. One time they did a group healing on me and I have to say I was shaking I was so frightened. I was on the table and four ladies who I know well all were working on me at once. It was too much and I felt trapped.
The sensation of feeling trapped is very important and I am going to take a moment to explain. Sexual trauma or for that, all physical trauma is based on the premise of being in a situation beyond your control. Having your freedom in some manner removed is what triggers the fight, flight or freeze. You can run away, you can turn and fight for release or you can play dead and freeze, hoping the predatory will pass over you. Being trapped can sometimes not have to have another person physically confining you. You can be trapped mentally and it creates an even more profound sense of helplessness and defeat. This is often the case for people who are in a domestic violence situation. I will write more on this in later blogs. Do not judge, because those chains may be invisible, but trust me they exist.
For a young child, being in a violent home can feel like being trapped. You cannot tell anyone of your situation because that would excommunicate you from your source of survival. Children cannot see that there are alternatives and adult prey on them with that threat. “Tell someone and you will get sent to an orphanage.” “Tell someone and I will really get you the next time.” Children do not have the cognitive ability to see beyond their present moment and they have nothing to compare with.
I am still amazed that there are so many people out there who did not and cannot understand imperfect childhoods. I thought growing up with alcoholics was normal until I became old enough to visit other families whose parents did not get drunk. When and where I grew up, kids were on their own and invisible. Parents disappeared during sleep overs. I always thought they were doing what my folks did and that was sequestering themselves and getting drunk. Parents did not haul their kids everywhere. You walked or rode your bike. It was not until I was preteen that I saw a different structure in family life and once I did, I spent any moment I could out of my house and at my girlfriends. I never had a sleep over at my house. Only once did I have my friends at my house for my fifteenth birthday. My parents and I had moved into a three bedroom apartment and four of my girlfriends and I were in my bedroom listening to music. My father burst through the door, swearing about the “nigger music” we were listening to (it was a folk group) ripped the record off the turntable and smashed it. My friends left in a hurry. Forty years later two of my girlfriends and I got together for a reunion. I told them the whole story and they had no idea that that was what my home life was like. It was one of my dirty little secrets.