Examples of Forgiveness

Examples of Forgiveness

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching the movie Invictus with my son.  I had seen it before but I had the pleasure of sharing a bit of the story about Nelson Mandela and his journey of forgiveness.  He truly represented what it could mean to be be persecuted and still keep an open heart. My son, who is 9, found the concept to be amazing.  He understands forgiveness for individual acts, but a lifetime of injustice?  We had some amazing conversations throughout the movie.

I love the pause button.  For the purpose of the movie, we could pause and process what the events in the movie were about.  In life, the pause button allows me to simply breath and make space for a new perspective.  I can be literal, metaphorical and filled with gratitude all at once.  yay me.

mandela

Orgasms and Shame during abuse.

Orgasms and Shame during abuse.

42 days of Teresa – day 10

** Warning ** Some of this content is graphic. It may have trigger issues for some. Please read this only if you are in a good place emotionally.

Opening up about my childhood sexual abuse has been a long and healing journey.  Once I got to the point when I didn’t find myself retraumatized when I recounted more raw or graphic details, I felt so free. Free to explore what that next level would look like.  My next level of sharing and pushing the conversations further.  The one topic that has always been commented on the most was the issue of orgasms during abuse or rape.  It was one of the hardest personal revelations that happened for me as I took the time to recount so many memories.  I was strangely surprised when it occurred to me that this had been what I was experiencing all those years ago at such a young age.  It was also apparent that this issue wasn’t commonly discussed even during therapy or online.

What was obvious is, during sexual acts, even those that are against your will, the body will respond the way it’s naturally meant to.  How do victims mention this aspect of their abuse if their intention is to report it and be taken seriously?  It’s bad enough that the legal system is not supportive or willing to hold these predators properly accountable for their crimes but society is quick to turn their back on the victims too.  How can you describe the horror of your abuse if, at the same time, you endured pleasure at the same time?  The shame and guilt that gets tangled in the emotions only adds to the trauma.

I distinctly remember trying to prevent my body from responding.  I was so young and had no words for what was happening to me.  It felt good but I was embarrassed and my dad would either laugh at me or ask me what was wrong.  The more I tried to prevent it, the longer the session of abuse would last.  He always said he wanted to make sure I was happy. I actually managed to disassociate from what was happening.  I could just check out and wait for it to be over.  Thinking back on it now, I recognize that this was the beginning of that high wall I built around my heart.  I systematically shut down so I didn’t have to feel all the emotions of what had happened to me.  It took so, so long for me to be able to break down that wall.

It took a long time to be able to relax and believe that a healthy relationship was what I could be in.  Friends were not made easily as I never felt safe to share anything real about me.  I wan’t interested in sex since I didn’t trust that any guy I’d let near me wouldn’t hurt me or humiliate me.  I could be friendly and social but not intimate.  I just shut right down.  I would panic and leave the situation at the first opportunity.  It took a long time, with a boyfriend that I later married, to allow myself to be intimate and enjoy it. I was so lost because my reflex was to disassociate and just wait for it to be over.  Then I’d feel guilty about that!  It wasn’t easy.  Many years later, I was able to have sex and relax and stay present and share that experience with my partner.  Orgasms during my many years of being abused by my father had to be separated from my experiences in the present day.  To get to a point where there were no flashbacks and emotional backlash took many years.

I’ve been able to overcome it but only through sharing and allowing this process to simply be.  I had to stop judging myself and forgive myself when I didn’t respond the way I wanted to when I was having sex.  I wanted to be “good”.  Mostly I wanted to be happy. I’m able to say that I am.

Love Yourself as much as you Love Others

Love Yourself as much as you Love Others

42 days of Teresa- day 9

Step into your own light as fiercely as you would encourage someone you love to step into theirs.

It sounds simple enough but I find that I fall into the trap of making excuses as to why this is the wrong time, the wrong focus or I’m not ready.  I want to.  I am, finally. Just baby steps.  I’d love to just take that blind leap off the cliff with the understanding that everything will be as it is meant to be.  I know this in my head and heart and strangely it’s not enough.

I am stepping into my own light.  My own truth.  Me.

Forgiving Yourself after Abuse

Forgiving Yourself after Abuse

42 days of Teresa- day 8

I find it so hard when I see or hear of a person that was abused and broken for so long, that they  appear to have lost themselves to the lies told to them, probably for years. When a person loses the capacity to love themselves, that’s where the healing has to begin. A person may be in that beginning for the rest of their lives if they choose to hang on to their past as some sort of definition of who they are in the present. That sort of pain is only healed by the individual. My heart breaks for them too.

My capacity to love is also tempered by my capacity to hold adults accountable for their own behavior now. It’s never too late to be who you always have been. Move forward, love and forgive yourself and you will find a world waiting for you and all that you have to offer. Somewhere it all comes down to love and forgiveness. A person needs to love themselves enough to let old pain go and to find forgiveness for those caused the pain. If, somewhere along your journey you hurt yourself, forgive yourself also. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of people looking for a way to fill the void in their soul without starting with love and forgiveness.

I’m not saying it’s easy. What I’m suggesting is that through forgiveness and gratitude, a solid foundation is created and then anything is possible.  Sometimes it’s about remembering who you really are. You are Love.  Love is never broken.  <3

How may I compromise Myself for You today?

How may I compromise Myself for You today?

42 days of Teresa- day 7

I read this picture of a post today and it got my brain spinning.  It’s not just about how we make decisions so that the guys in our lives happy but how we are socialized to compromise to ensure everyone else around is comfortable.

tinder post compromise

 

It’s more of a self realization type post.  How many decisions do we make because we’re supposed to consider everyone else’s feelings? How about, what will my parents think if I chose to tell them that I actually don’t want to come home for Christmas?   Will the neighbours gossip about me if I don’t pretend to care about their designer handbag and granite counter?  Should I tell that co-worker that their constant complaining about work policies is boring me to tears? Why do I care about that complete fucking stranger that we’ll never see again thinks about my outfit? (Should I go change? ) It’s a good time to realize just how much pressure is on us to compromise and consider others to the point that we don’t even know who we are.

About two years ago I found myself asking where do I fit into my own life? When do I get to be “selfish”. Funny how it’s selfish when a woman makes herself a priority.

I thought I was over this.  Really I did.  Clearly there is still a deep part of me that’s a pleaser.  I don’t want to disappoint anyone.  I allow myself to be manipulated. (at least now I recognize this in the moment)  I found myself in the lane of least resistance in my own life.  I don’t want the argument, the eye roll, the sideways/ passive-aggressive “oh” that is thick with disapproval.  I avoided the confrontation and put myself last. Once I realized that I just threw myself under the bus so that others could feel good about themselves, I got mad at myself.  It was more of a full face palm in my mental dialogue.  How did I allow this to happen….again?!  I’ve found myself doing the full face palm a couple of times this past year.  Now at least I laugh a little at myself.  I cut off the process and, if possible, I cut out the people that can’t recognize how hurtful they are.  If they are not willing to allow me to be who I am without forcing some sort of dialogue where I find myself defending my choices, why keep them around?  

 

Keeping it Simple

Keeping it Simple

42 days of Teresa – day 6

Today was about keeping it simple.  After a busy week, with all kinds of ups and downs, I enjoyed some chill out time.  I spent the day with my kids and otherwise did the minimum amount of adulting possible.  (there is a minimum)  The boys were happy to have only the tiny bit of tasks and structure and the rest of the time was fun time.  Happy weekend.

 

I stopped caring about what you think

I stopped caring about what you think

42 days of Teresa – day 5

I grew up in a household where everything was about how it looked.  The house was to be kept in a way that people could arrive at any moment and all would be presentable, because “what would people think?”  Even our play clothes were always in good repair, no stains and otherwise clean, because “what would people think?”  I had to have good grades, smile, behave as expected in school, at church, with family or out in restaurants because, “what would people think?”  It just didn’t matter that my dad was on a drunken tirade the night before, throwing things, beating us or basically bringing his family to tears.  In the morning, we all got dressed and put on our smiles.  People had to think that all was well.

Once I got to high school age, I saw the true purpose of it all.  It was all an illusion and a game of sorts to ensure attention wasn’t drawn to my father and his horrible behaviour.  Maybe he thought he was fooling everyone.  His police record and multiple jail sentences weren’t exactly secret.  His friends were mostly assholes he found in jail.  Who was he kidding?  I spent my whole life worrying about what people would think of me.  I was always insulted, told I wasn’t enough, told that I couldn’t do anything right right from when I was as young as 4 or 5 years old.  I was always worried I’d say the wrong thing, have the wrong posture, have poor grades, not be fast enough, smart enough. I was told not to embarrass my family (my dad really) or else….   I was made fun of for being too skinny, too smart, for having the good grades, for being too slow, for being ugly by my classmates.  My father was right, I wasn’t good enough.  I had learned to hide myself, my voice and who I really was all the while waiting for the validation that I was finally enough.  It never came….at least not from family.

There was a point I realized that I was looking for my validation from the wrong places.  It took so many years of therapy and self help to start finding myself.  I slowly started to find my voice.  It was there all along.  I was able to start speaking with my own voice and learning not to worry if I was saying the right thing.  I could advocate for myself and be proud of my ability to articulate how I was truly feeling.

Strangely, I have been finding myself considering those that would tell me that I am selfish or inconsiderate.  My decisions should be mine but…..what about what others think? Could you do something else, at least when you’re here or there….or at least when I’m around?  Qualified support.  I didn’t realize that I still kept some people in my life that would put me in a place of considering how I made others look.  What would people think of them based on the perception of me?  I can only smile, even as I watch my relationships evolve right before my eyes.

This year is going to be interesting.

Tears of Transformation

Tears of Transformation

42 days of Teresa- day 4

Allowing myself to observe the waves of overwhelm that would wash over me this past few months has opened a new kind of door.  There is growth, appreciation, heartbreak and a simple knowing that my strength would still be there at the end of this.

I have found myself with tears flowing for what appeared to be “no reason” .  What I finally realized is that when I have let things go that no longer serve me, the space that gets created brings me so much joy.  I now have room for new and better aspects of myself to present themselves.  Personal growth can actually be painful and be absolutely draining.  When I simply allow this process to happen without resisting it or judging myself, I feel the pain and it washes over me and then it leaves me completely.