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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.


It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!













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 Healing (71)


Our Precious Selves

I feel the fragility of my 4 year old granddaughter's wrist, see how teeny her body is, and I think: how could anyone abuse someone that little?

I see the relieved smile on her sister's face when I shrug at some blunder she's made--maybe spilling her milk, for instance--and think, how could anyone scream at a child or hit them for being their beautiful clumsy selves?

Some nights I think I hear a child crying. There are 3 kids in this house (ages 4, 6 and 10.) A normal amount of crying goes on, but sometimes when I know for a fact they're all sleeping I still imagine I hear a child crying. Is it the wind? I go to the window, see there is no wind; not a leaf is stirring on the trees which haven't been totally denuded by winter.

Did I dream the sound? Oh but I hadn't fallen asleep yet. What then? Perhaps someone inside of me is crying, or maybe I have the uncanny ability to hear from great distances the sounds of children crying themselves to sleep.

I look at myself in the mirror, at this aging nana-self I don't recognize yet know only too well (and for whom I feel a twinge of admiration for the comfy-cozy look of her), and I think about my little child self. Reflect on what it meant to be her back then, back in 60's suburbia. I wonder how I made it through, how she made it through so much heartbreak and sorrow and eroding disappointment.

At night I lie in bed and discover after awhile that I'm holding my breath. For what? What am I waiting for? Why do I feel as though I tippy-toe through life, afraid to not be careful with each step lest a misstep cause a shift in the earth's  center, setting off an avalanche of disaster. Why? Oh I know why don't I? More to the point, why wouldn't I feel this way?

Sometimes this world will break your heart. You will sigh deep in your spirit over seemingly nothing, but your spirit knows what's what. You will feel at odd moments an overwhelming desire to weep, but you won't know why. You will see a lopsided baby grin and your heart will do a cartwheel of joy, even as a part of you cringes at the thought of what could happen to that baby, to any baby anytime, anywhere.

You will glance out the window at the grey, drizzling sky, and feel a tug of homesickness for some cosmos you once knew, some order in your universe you barely recall, so young were you back then. Or perhaps even your earliest memories are of pure chaos, chaos and evil. You will long for something you've never had, and rue the certainty that you will never find it. Others might, others sometimes do, but that hasn't been your experience.

You will pace at night, trying to outstep your inner demons. You will glare at yourself in the mirror, as if you are the enemy. You will doodle your heart's most treasured dream while having a casual phone conversation, then fiercely scribble it illegible the moment you get off the phone.

You will ping-pong between joy and despair, or maybe numbness and despair.

You will hate your life most of the time, but there are moments you'll reconsider that hatred. Maybe there is good even amongst the bleak and the sorrow and the pain. Maybe. You will stumble across a blog in which the author talks about her own battles with depression and feelings of unworthiness. Her honesty will touch you deeply: how does anyone have the audacity to talk about such things so openly? Your heart will race at the prospect of having struck gold. Here is something, some kind of manna with  which you can feed your starving soul.

You will return to the blog over and over again because it does something to you each time you do.

Sometimes we can help others just by telling the truth. Imagine, if our abusers could wound us so deeply not just by their actions against us, but also  by what those actions taught us about our worth, well can't the opposite be true? Can't the truth go just as deep?

Every time a child is abused, a lie is being perpetuated. Every child deserves love and tenderness. That's a fact.

I didn't deserve the burden of abuse with which I was inflicted as a helpless child. Neither did you. The lies we were fed deformed our self-images, and to make matters worse, in most cases we had no one or nothing to counteract the lies. Nothing to swing the balance back in our favor.

Worthless, is what we heard (even if that word was never spoken.)

Worthy, is how I now contradict that lie. Worthy of love and tenderness and protection and joy at the miracle of one's unique self.

Worthy, is what we all need to accept about ourselves. And we are getting there. Some of us are sprinters, some are plodders, some haven't quite decided to even begin their journey of healing. The choice is ours to turn from the lies of childhood. We must do so deliberately. We must be as deliberate about reclaiming the truth as our abusers were about their systematic destruction of our precious selves.


My Corner of the Blog Sphere

I love my blog. Like me, it's full of imperfections and inconsistencies, but there's a quality about it I admire.

Does it sound like bragging? Imagine: it's taken me decades to arrive at this point in my life where I can boldly announce my enjoyment of something I've put together all by myself.

How do I love my blog? Let me count the ways. I love that it doesn't always strike the same dull tone; there are a variety of expressions, some of them humorous, some thoughtful and wistful. I can take satisfaction even in my whiny posts, for it shows that I am being honest about who I am, and where I am. It means that I am allowing others to see that all is not well with my world, that I too have days when I despair of life, and feel that it is just too much to get through one more day.

I've written much about my family, and this too I love for I can go back and read what was going on within our little clan at any given time. Plus, reading the family posts reminds me all over again how deeply I've been blessed.

Receiving comments about how some word of mine has helped someone else, well, as a writer there is no greater high than that! I want my words to make a difference, otherwise I'd set my blog to private and keep it all to myself.

What I really enjoy is knowing I can make whatever I want of this blog. I can change the theme any old time I want. Maybe I'm tired of this font or that graphic: no problem, I can find something that better pleases me. It's been a long time since I've been involved in any kind of abusive relationship. I cringe to think of how different this blog would be if I were still my younger, messed-up self giving all my power away to a man. He would be looking over my shoulder as I wrote, and so my words would be riddled with evasions and half-truths, that's if I even had the heart to attempt to keep a blog.

This blog is a big part of who I am, it belongs to me. I don't have to answer to anyone for its content. I get to decide everything about it. Oh how delicious it feels to have one area of life where this is so! I'm nearly rubbing my hands together with glee while exclaiming, "All mine, it's all mine!"

I like that I've created a place where my truest self (and selves) can emerge. Where I can go back and read where I was and what I was dealing with 5 years ago, and think, "Thank goodness I've gotten beyond that. I can see some growth and more awareness."

Gradually, as this blog found its rhythm, I began sharing my faith in a loving God. I am especially thankful that I was able to grace myself with the freedom to speak my whole truth. To leave God out of the equation would have been offering my readers a half-truth, at best.

Yes, I love my blog. In spite of the times when I hate my writing, and feel I have nothing of worth to share, there always arises the certainty that here in my little corner of the blog sphere I'm accomplishing something that is making a difference for my selves, and once in a while for another searching, befuddled soul.



Passengers of Life

I live on a main street where traffic never stops. When I sit out on my porch at night, I watch with longing the cars swishing by in the rain. Everyone, it seems, has somewhere to go. Where are they going? I wonder, suddenly wistful.

Buses come by regularly, their length and bulk lending an importance to their otherwise forlorn demeanor. They catch my eye every time and smite my heart with the kind of homesick longing music usually evokes in me. I take in a bus swooshing by in the dark, its lit interior revealing a scraggly handful of passengers; they too are going somewhere, some of them with anticipation but probably, oh probably, most of them with either a sense of dread, or boredom.

I watch the bus, wanting to reach out and touch it (which I could nearly do, as close as my porch is to the street.) For some reason the motion of the bus with its bright lighting, and the seemingly non-changing motley crew of passengers, renders me philosophical. I see the bus as a sort of life metaphor. For aren't we all passengers on this planet, hurtled forward by whoever is at the wheel (I have my own belief about the driver's identity, and no doubt you have your own), sharing space with others, some who are known and dear to us, some total strangers for which we feel either a mild curiosity or a distinct lack of interest.

We hurtle along, each on our own journeys; we may pull the cord at any time and climb from the familiar womb of the bus into the great unknown of a world dull with sorrow and misguided hopes, and the cries of innocents which only a select few (the pure in heart) can hear.

We may choose to stay on the bus indefinitely, riding it back and forth along its route, undecided about our destination, or hesitant, or flat out non-caring. We might indulge in short, general conversation with the bus driver, or most likely we'll fold in on ourselves watching the world go by through the grimy window, while fervently hoping the crazy across the aisle doesn't notice us slumped in the seat, disconnected from human contact.

Do I detect in the buses passing by some allegory to my own human plight? I can't decide just what it is that tugs at my heart as a bus passes and then, gearing down to pick up more passengers, wheezes like an old man with Emphysema.

So this is what I've come to: an old woman sitting on her porch, gazing at buses with longing. Not such a bad existence, really, and only a small part of my daily life. I sit and ponder, forget what I was pondering and then, without warning, here's another bus. One of the passengers, whose features are blurred by the rain specked window, stares at me staring at him. My heart quickens at this unexpected contact. Who is this person? Where is he headed, and what must I look like to him, wrapped in an oversized, plush Buzz Lightyear blanket in a wicker chair on my porch, smoking, with glasses on my head (so I can find them!) and my thick greying hair wild about me like the mental patient I am.

If I were to brave the public transportation system, I would be one of those people perpetually getting on the wrong bus. I can guarantee this. And so it is in my world: I am inevitably turning the wrong corner, making false starts or ending up in the opposite direction of where I meant to go. It's up to me to navigate this world as best I can. While on the bus of life I get to decide where to embark, and where to alight: that's my free will at work. Because my brain's ability to process things is a bit off, I shuffle about wasting time getting lost. But I find my way. Eventually, and sometimes with the help of another (and especially the bus driver), I do find my way. 

There is something endearing in the image of lost souls shuffling about, searching for their true destinations, most willing to lend a hand to a fellow traveler who's gotten turned around. Perhaps this is why the whole bus thing speaks to me. I like to think that on each bus that goes by, at least one person is being reached out to by someone who is a bit further along on his journey; someone who has more traveling experience and can point out pitfalls to avoid, dangerous areas to steer clear of, and the folly of traveling unprepared for any contingency.

I like to think that on this long bus ride of life, we reach out. Not all the time: sometimes we can do no more than tend to our own aching needs, or curl up in a ball and wish the world away. But may we mostly choose to lend a hand, a kind word, a pointing in the right direction to some lonesome soul, weary and frayed about the edges. May we always remember that we were once lonely, confused and scared--and truth be told, sometimes, oh sometimes, we still feel that way more than we'd ever care to admit.




Not Fade Away


We are scared.

We try to hide so no one will see us and decide to get rid of us.

We don’t want to go away.

We don’t deserve to be treated this way but Willie Ray is a bully and the mother doesn’t care, and we have to come out so Debbie can hide.

Now she is watching movies. There is Willie Ray smirking. There is the mother smiling like nothing’s wrong. There is the older brother. He will soon be sent away. She is watching this and plotting. Plotting to get better which means plotting to get rid of us.

We love her more than the mother ever did, but she will get rid of us.

She sees the movies and thinks she is going back in time, but it is always that time for us. Stuck in the Sixties is not a funny phrase. For us it is real. We hear Willie Ray’s voice and we try to tune it out, but no matter who comes out they have to listen and pretend to be obedient or you know what happens.

The mother has a new baby but that doesn’t change anything. In the movies they make she holds and kisses the baby, but sometimes Debbie watches it more than anyone else.

Nobody ever asks us how we are doing. No one notices us or cares if we are blue or angry or lonesome. It is very lonely in here because we don’t all like each other, but I’m not telling who is writing this. Nobody better tell, it’s my secret.

Willie Ray is a bully and the mother prefers bullies to being poor, so she’s not about to make him leave.

There is a cold wind blowing in here and we can’t get warm. Some in here are howling louder than the wind. No one on the outside guesses that we are all grieving for something. We help Debbie act normal and happy, but she’s not. Willie Ray and the mother have their games and their dishonesty, so we can have ours. Ha ha, they can’t control everything, not even Willie Ray with his tattoos and his stupid jokes and the billy club he plunges into us whenever he wants.

Williey Ray is a bastard. We can’t say what the mother is because she’s the mother but she’s not so nice herself, only looks like it from a distance or in movies. You notice her beauty and how kind she seems but it is not kindness to let Willie Ray shove us around all the time. All the livelong day shoving and smirking and shaming. What a stupid stupid man.

We don’t want to fade away like we never existed. It’s not fair.

I know it’s not nice but I wish Debbie will stay all broken so that we never have to leave. We can help her better than anyone so she doesn’t need anyone else but us.

We don’t want to fade away.

This was written by none of your beeswax.



Down through her ancestral line,
stories flowed like a meandering river
of a word of mouth prophecy whispered
woman to woman at river’s edge, long peasant skirts
tucked into waistbands,
the tale uttered against the rhythmical beating
of clothing against rocks.

They swirled between a clan of Irish women
warming chilblain hopes over a peat fire, lips clamped on clay pipes,
stoically waiting for their men to emerge,
hollow-eyed and foreign looking, from the bowels of coal mines.

The prophecy boarded rat and disease infested ships
bound for America, carrying passengers
whose mouths remembered and yearned for
the taste of potatoes,
and eventually trickled down amongst brisk housewives
married to identical houses, impaling loads of wash onto taut umbrella lines,
in the suffocating sameness of suburban back yards.

The chosen one, they intimated
(with eyes quick to note the feared intrusion
of a male clan member)
will one day break the curse of many generations.
Her features will shimmer so bright and pure, that when
you gaze upon her in her full winged glory
you will instantly become your truest self
no longer daughter, wife, mother
or female, even,
but simply and deliciously human.

As the prophecy ebbed and flowed with the
muffled fervency of damned up dreams,
narrators and hearers alike imagined the width and breadth
and toughened texture of the chosen one’s wings,
each one furtively eying their own daughters and sisters
for sign that favor had smiled upon their household.

The scrawny girl of ten heard of the chosen one
from the lips of a bitter great-aunt, who scoffed at the prophecy
but couldn’t resist passing it along as she would any
stray bit of careless gossip.

The girl bent to tie a frayed shoelace, hiding the jolt
of recognition the words sent through her body
like an electrical shock,
cheeks flushed with holy excitement.
She braced herself, knowing from the quickening of blood
thrumming through her veins,
and an oddly sweet taste lingering in her mouth—
as if manna had melted on her tongue—
that it would come down to her:
the only daughter of a cruel man,
her very unworthiness both a proof of the curse
and its ultimate undoing.

And so begins her weekly ritual.
Balanced on a chair in the privacy of her bathroom,
she turns sideways to the mirror and bares a shoulder,
gazing with longing at the reflection of child flesh,
rosy and half-formed.

She squints for telltale nubs, the beginning of wings,
like the precious first glimpse of a baby tooth pushing
through pink swollen gums, or like the bud bumps each spring
on the branches of the dogwood tree gracing her front yard.

The nubs will grow sturdy and knuckle-hard,
snagging the cotton sheets upon which he shoves her down,
roughly dividing her legs to plumb the depths of the river
hidden beneath the surface of her own little terra firma.

Soon she will fly into the night away from
his drab lusts,
the movement of her glorious wings
awakening women everywhere.
They will peek from behind curtains, or stand on porches, shivering.
One by one husbands or boyfriends or children
will call them back to bed,
their voices demanding, wheedling or whiny,
but not before they’ve witnessed the rapture
of the one chosen to guide and illuminate their own easy
flights into their sturdy, intended selves.