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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 


Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.


Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.


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Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.



There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 



On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!








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Entries in Dad (2)



I intended to visit my dad's grave (for the first time) on Veteran's Day, but somehow the holiday came upon me quicker than I'd expected. Well, it's been 11 years since he died so I decided I could wait until next year. But I'd mentioned it to one of my sons who had also forgotten the holiday but wanted very much to visit his grandpa's grave. Now that I had someone to take me I began to feel much trepidation. Would the whole family end up going and would I embarrass myself by falling apart? I got tears in my eyes just imagining seeing the reality of the headstone.

Fortunately the things I dread most usually end up not playing out as I've imagined. Only two of my sons went with me as everyone else is sick. I figured I could handle it if I fell apart in front of two of them. What I didn't give much thought to was the weather. We couldn't have picked a much worse day for tramping through a cemetery. The grass wasn't just wet, it was buried under a couple inches of water. Dad's grave was located in the farthest row of his section. We walked and walked and walked, slipping and nearly falling in the slick grass. Just the effort of trying not to lose my balance while peering down at names made the whole experience rather anti-climatic. By the time we found the right spot the three of us were chilled to the bone, our feet soaking wet. I'd forgotten my camera, of course, but took some photos with my phone (only one turned out.)

We spent more time finding the grave than we did visiting it. That was fine by me; I've never been one to talk to the departed. I think I needed to see Dad's final resting place to get a sense of closure. The three of us were happy to see that his nickname had been included on his headstone. We exclaimed over that, chatted briefly, then started on our perilous journey back towards the car.

On the way home my sons reminisced about their grandpa, laughing at his humorous ways, getting misty-eyed when they recalled watching football with him when they were little.

"Your dad was a good man," one of them said. "You were so lucky to have him for a father."

His words saddened me because my sons grew up without a father. I know they would have dearly loved to have had someone like my dad to fill that role. But his words also gave me a deep sense of gratitude. My dad is one of the few treasures from a nightmarish childhood that no one was able to steal from me. Though I was robbed of his presence in my life for 8 years, his memory burned strong. Dad was the first person who ever loved me and my heart, so bruised and broken by years of abuse, remembered during those years what it felt like to be loved so fiercely and unconditionally. Without the remembrance of his love I don't know that I could have gotten through the rest of my childhood. I think I very well might have simply given up.

I remember how Dad could cause an entire room to howl with laughter simply by the way he entered it (and without having to say a word.)

I remember the early years of my childhood when love was something that felt safe and good.

Remembering is both pleasurable and painful, but mostly it brings me joy to remember my father. He taught me more than he ever knew just by being who he was; the memory of everything that he said and was and exemplified fed me during the famine years to come.

I'm glad to have visited his grave, it was something I needed to do for myself, and out of respect for my dad. I didn't lose my composure after all because I know that some day we will be reunited and no one will ever be able to separate us again.

(PS: I'm still smoke free!)


While I Was Gone

When I returned to my dad at the age of fifteen, I did so with something of the mentality of a child who has been kidnapped and held hostage. To be reunited with the one my heart loved best had been the gist and shape of my dreams for all of those years; now here I was restored to him, feeling vaguely suspicious.

This was, after all, an exclusively male household. There was about my dad's apartment a foreignness which was manifest mostly in the lack of womanly touches. No curtains graced the kitchen window, no dish towel patterned in flowers or cheery cows hung from the handle of the fridge. A general messiness gave the rooms an air of forlornness,  yet I found a certain beauty in Dad's art work taped to the walls in slapdash fashion in the least likely of places, and in all the accouterments of his artist self: bunches of paint brushes gracing old coffee cans, bouquet like; canvasses stacked in corners in various degrees of completion. Did the mere sight of little nubs of charcoal, or the smell of turpentine take me back to those earlier years spent as the apple of my father's eye? I don't remember now if this is true, but I have to think that something within my well protected memory was aroused by the sight and smells of my father's craft.

In the low built-in cupboard which ran the length of one living room wall, beneath the long windows, I nosed around looking for clues to the lives and personalities of my long lost family.

Everything but the kitchen sink could be found in that cupboard, for it was the equivalent of a huge junk drawer, holding the accumulated detritus of their years together. I waded through piles of old (and unopened) bills; stray socks; crumpled up napkins; discarded pads of my father's endless doodlings; tattered and creased Playboys (which I hid in my room to peruse in private, wondering at the beauty of such bodies, wondering when mine would ever measure up to such female perfection.)

I did my digging when my dad and brothers were out, thinking to puzzle together from all of these sifted clues the mystery of those longs years lived without me: the only daughter, only sister. I read (shamelessly!) notes to one of my brothers from his steady girlfriend, notes written with all the passion of a first love imploring him to open up his heart, to confide in her, to speak more spontaneously of his love. Digging through discarded issues of TV guide, whose covers featured Goldie Hawn (back when she became famous in the silly weekly show Laugh-in), and The Monkees, I found grocery receipts from five years ago (I would have been 10, and no longer a virgin), the box from a fried chicken TV dinner, black and white photos of people I'd never seen before in my life.

There was nothing for me in that cupboard, not really. What had I hoped to find? Some evidence maybe that I had been missed? Photos of me before my banishment? Locks of my thick hair? Perhaps an old sweater, a favorite of mine whose absence I'd overlooked in the greater drama of being wrenched from my family? I suppose in some melodramatic corner of my soul I longed to stumble upon a journal of my dad's in which with great pathos he poured his heart out, grieving his lost daughter. The pages would be ripply from where his masculine tears had fallen, and some words would be runny or totally illegible. No such journal was forthcoming, of course. My dad was one to express himself either through the safe cover of verbal humor, or on mute canvasses awaiting his inspiration.

I studied my dad and brothers covertly, wondering at their ease with one another. The suburban home to which I'd been banished had not contained nor encouraged such bantering! I distrusted it even while admiring its naturalness. But beneath the casual jibes and teasings, who were these men? Who were they in themselves and, most importantly, who were they to me? A heavy sense of self-consciousness washed over me at odd moments. I'd come back to my father, but I'd come back to him with an otherness about me. True, his blood flowed in my veins--but my stepfather had known an intimacy with me which cut to the quick: not simply the intimacy of naked flesh but also of abuser to victim. What had my father to offer me that could compete with my (hated) fusion to my abuser?

I studied him and wondered what about him had caused my mother to forbid the continuation of our relationship for 8 years. What had he done to so insult her that she felt the need to punish him in this manner? Or was I the one being punished? And did he ever balk at her stubborness, ever threaten horrible things in a feverish attempt to change her mind? My dad wasn't one to let himself be pushed around; I have to think he fought for me behind the scenes. I watched him, wondering if my otherliness was something he sensed, maybe without realizing just what it was that was a bit off putting about me. Did he sense on some primal level that his enemy had stormed his daughter's gates, so to speak, had raped and pillaged and restored her to him a battered, sorry replica of her former self?

I wonder if, instinctively, my father pulled away from me just a little, exultant to have me back in his life but at the same time leery of my stepdad's influence during my missing years.

I see my father back then in his favorite trench coat, his bow legs giving him a rather comic look. He tells me my eyes are huge, as big as headlights. He tells me I'm pretty. My hands are soft, I have a nice smile. But does he see beneath any of this? Does he have even the slightest clue as to who I am beneath my surface self?

Does he?