Healing from an Abusive Childhood

Hello all, a reader recently pointed out to me that I haven’t written since my visit with the healer Doña Leova. In my response to the comment I realized that I guess I’ve “let it go” since seeing her and haven’t felt the need to write as much. But I wanted to get back to it because I feel like maybe now is exactly the time I should be writing… to share with those who are struggling that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So yes, my visit with Donna was one piece of my healing puzzle, but there are so many more. I wanted to share what inspires me to continue to heal from a verbally and sometimes physically abusive childhood:

  • My first step in healing was to become aware of what was going on and educate myself. These resources helped me. What I learned from these books is that my dad is in complete denial about his problem and therefore feels completely justified in his actions. Therefore, no amount of arguing with him will get him to see the truth, because he is too invested in his own mental image of himself and his own sense of “reality.” So once I confronted him, I felt better about myself and my own sense of power, but it did nothing to make him see the truth. Therefore, I expressed to him in my family intervention for him that if he begins to talk to me in a disrespectful manner, I will not respond to him, and I will leave. I said this several times, very clearly, so that he definitely heard me. And then from that point on, I have stuck to that. I simply get up, and walk away. No conversation needed. The other thing I learned is that anger is a chemical reaction in the brain that one can become addicted to. As is drama. So when I hear him staying things that are pressing my buttons, I take the high route and do not react. I can almost sense that he is looking for a way to elicit a reaciton to get attention. So I simply ignore it, and do not react. This in and of itself has allowed us to get over so much drama in our relationship.
  • My next step was to remove myself from the situation. I moved out. It’s been huge. It’s not the end of it – I am still healing, and he is still doing his thing – but it is an important step in protecting myself on a day to day basis.
  • Finding support was huge. I found a 12 step group called Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA), that has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. The name is a bit limiting because it’s not just for people who grew up with alcoholic parents. It is also for people who grew up with any dysfunction in their homes like verbal abuse, any addictions, perfectionism, criticism, etc. The beauty of this program for me is that it looks at the whole family including several generations and really gives you a chance to look at the big picture. When we do that, we are able to not just heal and forgive ourselves, but we can also choose to put down the baggage of blame and shame that has been passed down from generation to generation. Doing so, helped me understand why my dad ended up the way he did, and it helped me forgive him.
  • Note on forgiveness: it’s not for the other person, it’s for you. It’s a way of putting down that suitcase of issues you’ve been carrying all your life and just letting it go.
  • Meditation is my number one healing tool. I spent a lot of time learning about child brain development and learned that abuse cases the brain to physically be different than that of children who were not abused. Meditation heals that. Physically. It repairs it. And it is never too late to begin. Realizing that and implementing a daily practice of meditation has been THE KEY to my healing.
  • Kundalini Yoga is a tool I also appreciate and use in my daily life. It’s not like most hatha yoga classes you might take in a gym or yoga studio. It includes a lot of cardio and meditation with chanting and mantras to physically break through the energetic barriers in my body that have been keeping the abuse stuck in my system. I feel like it’s really helping me.
  • Going gluten and dairy free has also been a tremendous help for my brain. There’s are a lot of books about the stomach/brain connection and how dairy and gluten can affect thinking and lead to depression. When I am clear, I am stronger and feel more empowered. When I am empowered, an abuser has no way to attack me.

All of these healing approaches have one thing in common: they put the focus on me, and naturally shift the focus off the abuser. As sick as it may sound, my dad was abusing me in order to get attention. It was negative, but still attention, and he is so hurt that this was better than nothing. By changing myself, I have shifted that attention to my own healing, giving him nothing to hang on to, so our relationship has naturally shifted. I personally didn’t want to cut ties with my dad. I want to heal and I want to forgive him. My wish for him is to heal too. Our relationship has transformed in the recent years and I am very thankful for it.

 

 

Healing (continued)

My healing journey continues. I have become very aware of the fear I feel around men in general. A trauma block of sorts. I am going to attend a healing session with this healer:

DOALEOVA-1.jpg picture by robcarris

Doña Leova is a Traditional Healer from the Nahuatl Indian nation of Puebla, Mexico. Her work is based in a cosmology of Healing that is known as the “Tradition of the Grandmothers”….. named because historically, one grandmother would share the practice with one granddaughter who would then go on to become the next practitioner.

Within her Community she is renowned as a Medicine Women and in her tradition a “Limpia” (or inner cleansing) is a form in which using a combination of body-work, massage, prayer and the intention of the healer and the client the echo of old pains, traumas, fears and tendencies that no longer serve the client can be released and cleared. Generally people feel lighter, more balanced, open and profoundly relaxed following a treatment.
Her work is deep…. and filled with Kindness…..
If you have success stories on healing from trauma from verbal abuse, please feel free to share.

 

Been There. Done That. ORG

I just listened to a very inspiring piece on NPR about a rehabilitation program for women who have suffered the trauma of human sexual trafficking, prostitution and associated drug addictions. Wow, this made my heart soar. Thank you Kathryn Griffin-Townsend. Visit: http://wevebeentheredonethat.org.

From their website:

We’ve Been There Done That is a non-profit organization started by Kathryn Griffin-Townsend with a goal to rehabilitate women who have lived through sex trafficking, prostitution, and associated drug addiction.  A former cocaine addict and prostitute, Kathryn Griffin-Townsend credits rehabilitation programs with changing her life.  Kathryn has been featured in The Houston Chronicle, ABC News and most recently, The Steve Wilkos Show for her unabashed, toughlove, tell-it-like-it-is style that strikes a chord with the women she helps.  We’ve Been There Done That has been serving the Houston community for almost a decade, having helped over 1,000 women.  The program not only helps to rehabilitate, but also to reintegrate them into society and has the highest success rate of former prostitues not going back to the life.  The outreach program has garnered so much praise, both locally and nationally, that their resources lag behind the number of women who need help.  To that end, We’ve Been There Done That is always accepting donations to assist.

“Daughters” by John Mayer

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Waking up

I just wanted to share a dream I had a few days ago. It was after reading about Anne Frank at night before sleep, so that was the influence. It was a continuation of a dream pattern I’ve had where I am trying to hide from some danger, and I close myself off in some tight hiding spot. It keep me safe but it also keeps me trapped.  Well I this dream there was another woman with me and 2 young girls. And we were all hiding like Anne from the Nazis.  Well there we were all hidden and therefore imprisoned, and I was even able to lock the door real tight.  But at that moment I realized what was happening.  I felt the stress in me, and I just prayed.  I realized I was dreaming and I prayed to God to help me wake up. And just like that, I did.
 
I realized the meaning of my dream was that instead of facing my daemons in my dreams all I have to do is wake up from the spell we are all under that keeps us trapped in the conflict.. And that I’m waking up for me, but also for all women.  I can keep them safe by waking up.