Three Coping Skills Everyone Can Use–becoming your own thriver!!!

We all have something that has happened to darken our world, even those who are just regular folks and have never experienced any form of abuse or violence, still have something that has invaded their life with a cloud of bad memories. It’s really hard to focus on our present life when we have all of these dark thoughts around us; even sharing online with others and staying in the advocacy mission can keep these memories bouncing around and often they will overpower what is good.

It is painful to acknowledge what happened. To accept the pain and anger, the grieving and sadness is important to fully heal and process what has been buried for so long, but at the same time we have to remain conscious of our present day life in order to find the strength to get through this. I really find it is hardest during the beginning process of this because you have to accept the truth and come out of your dissociation and denial mode of living. There is a lot I’ve learned about living in my present life rather than being sucked into the horrible times of my past. There are many times during the days of being home alone with just my thoughts, when I find myself facing these memories. It’s during all these quiet moments of being alone that I have to work hardest at a practice I’ve been doing for about 12 years, DISTRACTING MY BRAIN FROM THE BAD!!!

The truth is WE CANNOT TAKE AWAY WHAT’S HAPPENED and sometimes it is very difficult to accept; even more so when family and loved ones shut us out, blame us, abandon us and turn away from the pain we carry. We feel as if we are in a cyclone of whirling emotions and don’t know how to stay grounded. It is indeed a tragedy of what’s been taken from you, what’s been lost in your world and the good others invaded. However, the hard part is realizing the world keeps spinning and you must find a way to go on with your life.

Finding ways to GO ON with life, doesn’t mean living in denial nor does it mean you are ignoring what’s happened; it means  YOU ARE NOW IN CONTROL OF WHAT HAPPENS!!! Yes, you have choices and you are in control of how this effects your life.

1) You can whine and wallow in the horrible trauma you’ve suffered and stay in the rut of darkness. However if you choose this place you must realize the world will not stop spinning and others will go on with their life; no one will stay in the dark world and you will find yourself sinking deeper each day.

2) You also may think you have the option to take yourself out of the picture because it is too hard to deal with, but let me assure you; THIS IS NOT AN OPTION!!! If you respond to your pain and allow it to control your world, then you may think the only way to beat this is by harming yourself in some way. YOU MUST NOT ACT ON THESE THOUGHTS!!! Suicide or committing an act of harm in any way is NEVER AN OPTION!!! You leave behind pain for those who love you; your children, their future, your spouse or partner; these are the people who want to be part of your life and want to make fresh happy memories with you, which will ease the pain of your past when you allow them to blossom!!!

(National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; when you need immediate contact with a voice!!! Please Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Do not allow the abusers of your past to have control over your future. Build something better for yourself. Chase the life you were meant to have and replace those bad thoughts with positive, happy, loving memories of your children or what you want to have in your life. No matter how difficult it may get, and it is very difficult at the different stages of acceptance and healing, but never allow yourself to be over powered by these dark memories. Never give in to the thoughts of being overwhelmed, reach out to connect with anyone when these thoughts begin to take control. You may not believe there are people who depend on you to make them complete and happy, but every soul in this world has at least one person who needs them and loves them unconditionally.

There is a lot we fear; a lot we are angry about; a lot of things can set off a feeling of panic, this is now just a part of who we are. No one can erase or change what has happened. Believe me I wish there was a way to make it all just disappear, but there isn’t. None of us can turn back the clock and what would you do if you could? You would still be that same person faced with the same fear, so why be stuck in that time?

It’s important for anyone who struggles with depression, PTSD, flashbacks, or bad dreams and memories to seek out what is good in their life now. A few important things to focus on, which may help you fight through:

1) Are you in a safe environment? Remembering that you are now safe and no longer have to fear another attack is vital. Although you may be dealing with painful memories or flashbacks of what happened, you can always direct your focus and control your thoughts to feel the area of safety around you now.

2) Who are those you can turn to when things feel overwhelming? Creating this list, complete with phone numbers, will give you a quick go to list of someone who can brighten your moment during your time of need. When you build this list take extra time to think of your partner/spouse; determine if you can talk to them about your darkest thoughts. You want to talk and help them understand why you bounce back and forth between happy and depressed times. It makes it easier for them to stick it out and support you or help you through.

3) What are the positives in your life now? You want to think about your life and where you are now. Not only are you safe and loved, but what about your ability to keep food, clothing, shelter, for you and your family. Our world is in economic crisis right now, so if you can manage those three vital parts of surviving you are doing much better than some others in our country. Many are without housing, hungry, out on the streets or living in their cars. Many do not have jobs of any form to keep a steady flow of income to ensure the necessities are being maintained. This is a HUGE POSITIVE for you and should be your main focus, especially if you have children. Also list any other positives about your life right now, such as; your professional success or the fact you have risen above any other person’s expectations. This meaning, you may have been beaten down to believe you had no value, but if you are in a career or professional status of maintaining your survival; then you have risen above what others may have tried to take away from you.

I realize this time of year is difficult for many of you, but if you are not focused on what is good around you now, then your bad thoughts will win control and the depression will become heavy. You must work at being a thriver in society, but that’s OK because everyone has to work at being a thriver. You are no different than anyone else in our society. Sure you have had bad things happen, or have family who continues to be offensive or battering to you, but if you really take control of your thoughts and where you are right now, then you become stronger with each passing moment and you will build your foundation for the life you want to achieve.

My wish for all of you at this time is that you see how truly strong you are. I wish for you to look in the mirror and see an amazing person standing there. A person who has climbed out of the darkest hole to see the brightness shining around them. A person who is stronger than anyone ever believed possible. A person who has overcome the challenges against them and have pulled themselves from the ashes of destruction and built a magnificent blossoming rose in its place. May you find a breath of strength to seek your own life and see your value, absorb the positive around you, and build fresh happy memories to replace the darkness of your past.

May you break out of your cocoon and spread those beautiful wings to fly upward to your new beginning!!!

Patricia A. McKnight

Author: ‘My Justice’

Founder/President: Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery

http://www.butterflydreamsabuserecovery.com

Join me in Survivors World by visiting the website above and completing the membership form. Both men and women who are victims/survivors are welcomed.

© copyrighted All information shared on blogs by Patricia A. McKnight, under the titles of Survivors Justice or Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery are held under copyright protections. Please respect the efforts to bring you this information and all that’s produced to help you succeed.

Thank you

Childhood Lost…..Early Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse!!

This post may seem triggering to some, but please read it and pass it forward as someone may find the information to lead to an early rescue for a child!!! Thank You!!

As I’ve shared there are happy memories of my childhood that I like to visit now and again. My dad swinging me in the backyard; playing football with my brother and the other neighborhood boys; catching bumblebees in a jar; watching my dad drag race in that awesome red convertible; my favorite, sleeping snuggled in tight with my grandma that last night I visited with the McKnight family.

These are the moments I reach for when I want to think about the happy times as a child. Like many millions of others, unfortunately these are the ONLY happy childhood memories.

It’s tragic to say that after that cold February night in 1963, just after turning five, the happy memories came to a sudden dead halt. After the first time he touched me, made me gag on his tongue as he kissed me; trapped me on the couch as I waited for Richie’s head to explode when he forced him to stand on his head in the corner, all of it was gone. It simply vanished. The laughter and joy I knew as an innocent child was gone. I didn’t play like a child anymore, although I tried.

This was the moment of death for that little girl, she disappeared, hid away in the dark shadows of corners and the brutal deviant behavior of the “New Dad”, as Mom had introduced him.

When the two of them married just two weeks after that first attack, my smile still showed to the outside world, but inside there was nothing; a hallow shell of a little girl with “Dancing Blue Eyes”. I’ve quoted the title of a poem written by Mary E. Graziano, created along with a fabulous recreation of watercolor art from Michal Madison.

I can remember the changes I felt. The cheerful child was forever gone. Sure, I still tried to act as a child, but I couldn’t find her spirit. No matter how hard I searched the playful little girl was gone. My childhood was lost and he had replaced her spirit with constant anticipation of the next attack.

Hi acts caused me to fear sleeping in my own bed. He made me dread the walk home from school with Richie at my side, which I always treasured. He made me hate going in to take a bath; standing on a chair to do dishes; riding in the car; even if I was outside trying to play there was the constant preoccupation of waiting to hear him call me inside.

‘Don’t get too occupied with trying to play, you will hear him soon.”

My heart and soul wanted to run, play, ride my new bike, wade through the creek and play with the cat tails growing wild on the bank. I wanted to walk home from school and think about dodging the cracks in the sidewalk.

“Step on a crack – break your mother’s back.” I used to always dodge those cracks; carefully making sure not to hurt my dear mother!!!

This new child was playing very differently now. My barbies and ‘Ken” took turns rubbing naked bodies together. The girl I used to play with next door was banned from being around me because her mother caught me playing with the dolls while visiting in their house one day.

I brought the little boy down the street inside our house to play one afternoon when Mom was home and Grandma Moody, Mom’s mom, was over for a visit and getting a home perm in her hair. The little boy and I went into my room, closed the door, I laid on the bed and pulled down my britches. Then I began to show him this “new way of playing”.

I believe we might have been in there for about thirty minutes before Mom yelled out for us to come out of my room. I couldn’t get the button on my britches fastened up so I pulled my shirt down over it and tried to hide it. Mom asked as we walked out of the room, “Why are your pants undone?” I don’t remember what I gave as an answer, but she let me go and sent us out the door.

That wasn’t enough for this new little girl, so I took him in the back of our house where an old mattress had been put out for trash. Right out in the open I went back to teaching this little boy how to “play”. We weren’t out in the country. There was a house in back of ours and on the one side, but I’m guessing no one saw us. It wasn’t long before the little boy got up and went running away, leaving me there with my britches unfastened and wondering why he ran off so fast.

Walter’s constant sexual stimulation of the little girl caused me to continually engage in self stimulation and misguided behavior with my barbies. Instead of dancing around like a princess, chasing a football with my brother, or wading through the creek; I was involved with educating other children on how I was getting touched and how it felt. I was involved with sexual stimulation that I should not have known anything about. It wasn’t long before there weren’t any neighborhood children who were permitted to hang out with me.

This is the type of childhood change that happens when we are forced to engage in early sexual behaviors. We don’t realize how wrong it is and why should I have? There wasn’t anyone who ever told me any different. No one said, “Trecia Ann what are you doing? Where did you learn this kind of stuff?” Maybe it would have made a huge difference in the next twelve years of my life, perhaps changed the outcome of it all.

This is an example of the early silent signs of sexual abuse in our young children. The children who are too young to verbalize what is happening to them.

Our world is full of sexualized media through commercials, internet and even some of the “Disney” movies have these little silent sexual behaviors and signals. One I remember my own children brining to my attention; the word “Sex” appearing in “The Lion King”.

Our children see us hug, kiss, and may even unexpectedly walk into Mom and Dad’s bedroom, but for most purposes our young children do not automatically know these types of sexual behaviors. These acts have to be shown to them; taught to them in some form by some person.

Our young children, ages one to ten, should not know any of these acts or what these acts are like. They should not know what masturbation feels like or seek out ways to get sexual stimulation. They should not act this out with dolls, stuffed animals or engage other children in these behaviors.

If you see your child stimulating themselves or engaging in other such behaviors, BE VERY CONCERNED!!! Someone has exposed your child or taught them about these feelings of stimulation. Children at these early years inadvertently share these acts publicly in some fashion. You will see them acting out these behaviors in some form. Children can’t help it. It is a natural reaction to seek out the pleasurable sensations, and when they are this young they are too innocent to try and hide if from anyone.

When they demonstrate these acts they are giving you the SILENT WARNING OF ABUSE!!! DON’T IGNORE IT!!! First consider your child’s age. Consider what they might have seen in their environment and then ask a few innocent questions such as these below;

“Where did you learn how to do that? Did someone teach you how to play like that? Did you see it on a television show or a movie? Who were you watching the movie with? Did someone else touch you there like that or did they ask you to touch them there?”

These are just a few examples of some questions you can ask without alarming your child with concern. Don’t go into panic, keep the conversation on their level and in an innocent manner. Don’t make them feel as if they are in trouble for acting this way or for doing something such as touching themselves. You don’t want to show concern, because your child will clam up and dodge showing any future behaviors such as this in any form where they can be caught. You will place misguided blame on them, even if you do not intend to do so. A child will automatically absorb blame if they feel you are not happy in some way.

You can provide the much-needed early intervention and rescue your child from future sexual abuse if you simply watch and listen to how your young children play. If you are aware of these early silent warning signs of abuse, then you can better protect your child.

It is the “innocent” play time that can give you the best insight to what they cannot yet verbalize. This is something that all persons who have contact with young children should watch for within families, amongst friends, in neighborhoods, or children you babysit. You can make a big difference in their world if we simply pay attention to what they cannot yet tell us.

(c)Patricia A. McKnight

Advocate/Author/Speaker/Examiner/Talk Radio Host/Survivor

Please be sure to visit the NEW WEBSITE

http://www.patriciamcknightsjustice.com

 

 

Calling on Your Angels…..A Great Coping Skill!!!

***Warning: May cause triggers, but I’m sure many will find this particular blog uplifting and hopeful in many ways!!!***

This is a lighter side of the blog “He’s Back Again…”, which you will find below. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve been here, somethings been flying around that I couldn’t quite get a grip on, but here it goes anyway.

So, as I shared in the previous mentioned blog, I have been sucked back into the darkness a bit and actually went running to my wonderful therapist Marjorie for some help to get through. She’s been a blessing in my life at giving me coping skills to stay in my present and work through the darkest of moments, so I couldn’t go without her expertise; I just wouldn’t be this far without her in my world.

As I sat in her small, but quaint decorated office, with pictures of Oriental Art placed about and hung on her walls. You can look into these works of art and wonder about those who created them. They tend to pull you into a world of opening up your spirit and touching base with what lies within.

Many times, as survivors of child sexual abuse, we carry a feeling of extreme violation in our hearts. This can only be described as evil but your soul still carries the innocence of a child. There is and will be a life long impact from child sexual abuse. It does rewire your perceptions; re-align your normal behaviors; it will be scorched into your memory never to be forgotten. You will have periods in your life when you feel surrounded by the darkness and you may even feel your life invaded over and over with the fear from these particular events.

“This is normal. You are not insane. You are one of the many who’s lives have been impacted by the very personal violation of child sexual abuse.”

These remembered events are the darkness that hovers around us, it challenges us, cages us. When these events are play out in our heads, we become that panicked child all over again. Often, as we grow older, we are distraught with the ups and downs of re-living these horrific acts. None of us ever forget these moments!!!

A victim who has gone through such attacks will often go through a cycle, which I commonly refer to as the Rollercoaster of Memories. You may have those off and on again reactions that seem to haunt. At time we think we cannot conquer over them, we fear not being able to just live and exist in the present; appreciating all of the small moments of joy that have crossed our paths.

Recently this is what’s been going on in my head. I feel a bit overwhelmed; flashed back into the memory of when stepfather used the shotgun barrel to rape the little girl. My head has been swarming with a vivid motion picture of that horrible night. I’ve questioned, cried, stomped and prayed; all trying to extract the remembered emotions of terror. I have been in the huge spiral of a downward racing coaster.

As a survivor who puts forth a continued effort to help empower others and inspire them to chase after the life of happiness they deserve; this leaves me feeling like much the hypocrite since I couldn’t seem to help myself. However, I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing folks who have showered me with prayers, love, little jokes, and tons of well wishes. Still the Demon would not leave me.

The other evening I did the best I could to help myself break through the dark storm. Going to see Marjorie was the best I could have done for myself, as I said she has played a huge part of where I am today and helping me to gain some sense of peace in my world. She has kept me living in the present and filled my soul with the belief I can indeed help myself, so long as I use the coping skills and truly focus on what I aim to achieve.

“Don’t we all have to do this in some way? Isn’t this a very common place of self-doubt that every human endures at times? Isn’t this the basics of living and achieving? If we do not focus on the end result, on the goal at hand, how will any of us ever battle against what holds us back?”

These past two years, since truly being happy and with finally finding my voice; also relating with so many other amazing advocates and survivors, I have found one common strength between us all.

“We all have a belief in some greater power that has kept us alive and guided us to where we are.”

My particular belief, my hope, my continued strength to battle onward, comes from faith. Faith there is a God and He did not intend for my life to be stripped away by the evil of my parents. I believe the few who have loved me, who now exist as Angels, are still around me and will protect me. This is the power that helps me hang on and move past this dark storm. The aura of stepfather with the gun, the pain of him tearing me apart as I lay there silent on the royal blue quilted bedspread; this is my most darkest haunting and I’m sure you each have your own particular event that seems to never leave.

So what is the amazing coping tool that my dear Marjorie has given me this time? The power, the belief, to CALL ON MY ANGELS!!!

My particular Angels are the three main people in my past who have loved me, but who God has taken.

The first of these is the one I feel closest too, the boy who came to live with us at fourteen and suffered through many of the outbursts of rage from stepfather. His name was John and he did all he could as a young man to try to protect me, show me kindness, and be more of a brother than my real blood brother could have been. He was and always will be the brightest moments of my life from age twelve to twenty-five. He never let me down. He distracted stepfather many times from getting to me with those raging fists. If it weren’t for John, I would have been killed at a very young age.

The second of these Angels is my Grandma Ellen. I remember still the power of that last beautiful hug she gave me. I can still feel her arms wrapping around the small child and letting her know that she meant the world to her. Grandma Ellen was given my baby crib, for why I’m not sure, but she kept it in that old ragged farm house on the top of one of the many mountains of Southern Missouri. The road to her house was a golden red gravel and it went up and down a series of five or six hills to get to her drive way. The farm house was made of old tattered barn wood and the linoleum floors were worn. The last night I spent in that house with her was on my fifth birthday and she still tried to put me in my crib. I remember telling her that I couldn’t fit, even though I was very small, there was no way I could sleep without fearing falling through the bed. It’s a funny pleasant memory that I hang onto and one I use to fill my head when the dark seems to threaten my day.

The next and last of the Angels I treasure is my father. I don’t have many memories of him, but those I have are all pleasant and I know he would have rescued me if he had known that such evil was murdering the little girl he created. He didn’t CHOOSE to leave my life. In fact some of my memories are of him coming to visit after he and mother split up. He’d swing me in the backyard, he’d pick up mother, brother and I to take us for drives in his beautiful red convertible. I’d get to sit on his lap while he drove and he’d work the pedals I couldn’t reach. I got to go watch him drag race and he was a winner with that car. When he’d win I got to keep the trophy, but my collection disappeared when stepfather moved us into the house he wanted.

This is my spiritual coping tool. You see stepfather has me somewhat terrified of even my afterlife. A part of me, no matter how silly I think it is, still believes that somehow he is going to be waiting for me there. He is going to be there and keep me from having peace. In reality I know this is very doubtful, but unfortunately, the fear of having to face him again; the fear of the evil he spoke coming true, this is part of my dark storm.

So now as I chase out the feeling of this demon once again, I know in my heart that these three Angels are fighting with me, circling me, protecting me and they will indeed carry me through to my afterlife. They will get out their powerful swords and conquer the dragon that swoops down to grab me. My Angels will protect me and I know if you think of your Angels, they will swarm in, circle and protect you, carry you through to the life of peace and happiness you deserve.

I hope as you read this you feel the power of connecting with those you’ve lost but who were most special in your life. Feel their love for you. Remember the happy moments spent with them. Allow them into your thoughts and see how they chase away the bad, the evil, the demon can no longer control, there is no space for him now. In this battle you have protectors and those special protectors will never leave you. They are always with you. They will create a castle of safety for you to spread out your wings and fly with them to the magic of your life.

Feel the magic of your Angels!!!

**In closing; if you do believe in the power of spiritual healing, I want to give you the other half of this coping skill. As you bring in your Angels to circle around, think about what power the demon has in your thoughts. Once you’ve got hold of it, throw your arms outward and say to yourself: “Me and my Angels now chase you away. You (say the name) have no more power here. You are banned from this castle and you will not return.** If you are one who believes in the aura of a bad spirit hovering around you. This coping skill gives you control over that aura and you can banish it away whenever you feel its presence. The power and control belong to you, the living, not those who hover around in our thoughts or who make their person felt in our homes. It is our safe castle and we say who crosses over the moat and who is banished to be eaten by the gators below if they return.

This tool has given me a renewed sense of strength. It allows me the power to push away any bad and call my protectors in to circle. Give it a try for you, hope it gives you that same sense of being in control.

Good luck, peace within, always in strength & in spirit!!!