Stopping the Cycle Matters, and It’s Hard

For those who are taking on the life’s work of recovering from any kind of childhood abuse, what you are doing really, really matters. You are blocking the spread of abuse with your own body and heart.

It takes an enormous effort to put something positive out into the world, or to pass something better on to your own or others’ children, when you weren’t even given enough resources yourself to begin with.

Being the one to stop the damage from propagating further means you are spending energy repairing your own injuries while also spending energy moving forward and putting good into the world. You are working twice as hard with fewer resources and while healing from your injuries. In a way, you are repairing the past, present, and future all at once.

No wonder changing the world is so exhausting!

G’mar Tov

For those who observe Yom Kippur, may you have an easy fast.

Click through for a thread from Rabbi Ruti Regan in Bethesda, MD:

 

 

Trauma Survivors and Assault in the News

If you are a survivor of abuse or assault, it may at times be very difficult dealing with the news cycle on a day-to-day basis. Not only may we hear and read about details of experiences that mirror our own, we also hear a great deal of public discourse around those kinds of traumatic and personal events. In some ways this may be even worse.

Hearing public figures and people in authority expressing doubt, denial, and minimization of survivors’ experiences is often a rerun of the kinds of responses we may have experienced ourselves when we tried to tell parents, friends, family members, or others we hoped would help us. People in our present lives may also be expressing disbelief or minimization about other survivors’ accounts in a way that re-opens our own past wounds and invalidates our experiences.

The lack of support or even belief around assault is in some ways as injurious to survivors as the actual assault was. The underlying message we may internalize is “I’m not important enough to protect or believe.”

You may find you are having trauma symptoms without recognizing them for what they are. It’s common to see increased insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, depression and anxiety symptoms generally (OCD, GAD, panic, etc.), irritability, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and so forth. Always pay attention to an increase in your symptoms–it’s a sign that whatever the reason, you need to make sure you are giving yourself more support, flexibility, and care.

What can I do?

Limit your exposure to triggering material: we certainly want to be informed about the world around us, but it’s easy to get sucked into obsessively monitoring the radio, social media, or TV for news that goes over and over the same points. If you need to, give yourself a specific window of time to take in the material. But make it short, and recognize that you may need to account for how it may affect your functioning afterwards. If others insist on discussing it, it is okay to say you need to not hear about it for a while.

Be around supportive others: if you have friends or family who are especially minimizing, it will be harmful for you to be around them all the time with no validating voices to neutralize them. Spend some time in person, on the phone, or even online with people you know are supportive and trustworthy. Maybe friends, your therapist, a relative, or your clergy. (If no one you know is available when you really need to talk, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline [800-656-4673].) For those lucky folks who have a pet, hug an animal companion. They are often our most ardent and nonjudgmental supporters!

Take care of yourself. If you tend to dissociate from your symptoms, you may not even realize how stressed you are feeling. Re-visit how to do self-care if you have allowed it to slide a bit. If you have worked on your recovery before, now is a good time to re-visit interventions that have worked for you before. If you have not worked on your recovery, now is the time to start!

For a general overview of how PTSD affects survivors of sexual assault, here is a short article.

 

Segregation In Living Memory

The experiences of Soledad O’Brien and Ruby Bridges remind us how shallow the skin of time in “post-racial” America really is. And how vigilant we need to be in order to avoid sliding back instead of continuing our hard-won progress.

Dare to Dream

Dare to Dream…by Stacey Murrell

When I was a little girl I did not have the luxury of dreaming. Life required my constant attention if my family and I were to survive. It wasn’t until I went to junior high school and began to take field trips outside of my community that I dreamt of becoming a News Anchor. I could envision myself on television sitting behind the desk and delivering powerful stories that would change people’s lives. They would see me as a compassionate change agent that would “get it done”. They would feel so connected that they would want to reach into the television and give me a hug, knowing I would return the love.

Today as a woman, I AM…a compassionate change agent who gets it done! I am a survivor. I am a nurse. I am a speaker. I am a teacher. I am a writer. I am an encourager.  I am a professional. I am an overcomer with scars both physical and emotional that prove I have survived. I am things that I don’t even know that I am because I choose to believe that I am everything that God says I am.

It’s hard at times to always look upward. The very life can get sucked out of you. I have learned that I do not want the attention of a worldwide news anchor but rather the satisfaction of knowing that through speaking, writing, encouraging and developing others, I am indeed sitting at the desk of my own life with God as my audience of one. If He is pleased than my work, whatever it is, is good!

Take 10 seconds and close your eyes. Envision where you want to be. Take a mental snapshot and frame it on your heart. There is always hope!

 

You can reach Stacey at MasterThePieces@gmail.com or (716) MASTR-PC [716-627-772]