Gentle Recovery

Hope and Inspiration for Overcoming the Damaging Effects of Child Abuse and Rape

Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 14, 2009

“Love is not a feeling. It’s a behaviour.” Oprah Winfrey

‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he beat me and called me filthy names. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he locked me alone in the car for hours in the worst part of town. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he shoved his fist in my face and forced me to eat even when I kept throwing up. ‘I love you,’ my father said. Then he held me down on the bed…….

‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he punched me so hard, my spleen ruptured. ‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he held me down and did what he wanted. ‘I love you,’ the rapist said. Then he locked me in a cold dark room and wouldn’t let me go.

‘I love you,’ God said. Then He patiently waited until I was ready to trust Him. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He broke the hold of the drug addiction. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He calmed my anger and hatred. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He healed my heart with His gentle touch. ‘I love you,’ God said. Then He freed me from the shame and fear.

Just because someone claims they love you, doesn’t mean they really do. I think the wires in my head got all mixed up when I was a kid. I thought what happened was normal, that everyone lived on edge, fighting to avoid getting beaten, living like someone in a war zone, in chaos, tension and confusion. I believed whatever happened was because something was wrong with me. I didn’t know what was being done was wrong. I didn’t know they had no right to do what they did. All I knew was it made me crazy. It made me want to punish myself in ways that nearly killed me. It pushed me over the edge, making me act impulsively, full of anger and not caring what happened.

But then I learned love doesn’t hurt. I learned it’s patient, kind and forgiving. I learned it’s not jealous or full of pride or resentful or rude or demanding of its own way.

I never knew. No one had told me or showed me the truth about love. I figured it out as I went, but I had figured it out all wrong. Then God touched me and He showed me. He brought safe people into my life, but I resisted them, pushing them away, still needing to hide, afraid of getting hurt, not trusting. It took so long. But then I got it.

When love is real, not only does it not hurt, but it’s like a balm that feels soothing on the inside and brings amazing healing and relief. I learned love doesn’t keep a list of wrongs, so I chose to forgive and move forward. I want to shine so others can feel the touch of love from me. I want my life to reflect the truth of what love really is and find healing and freedom in their lives.


Posted in child abuse, drugs, faith, freedom, God, healing, love, rape, recovery, truth, women | 4 Comments »

Overcoming Hatred

Posted by A Write to my Voice on May 1, 2009

“Hatred can be overcome only by love.” Mahatma Ghandi

For years I walked around with so much hate and anger in me. I hated what my parents did to me. I hated the way they shamed me, beat me, made me feel less than human. And I hated the system that claimed they could help me. They were like my parents,- shaming, punishing, bullying.

I was arrested for drug possession. My social worker convinced the judge to let me do the time on a locked pysch ward instead of prison. Being on that ward,- that place of misery pushed me further into myself and broke me even more. Their methods of forcing me to conform were brutal. The chemical and physical restrains took away any shred of dignity I may have had. My brain became dull from the medications, the fight in me subdued, but the hatred grew. Hatred for them, for me, and for everyone who had hurt me.

One time they strapped me to a bed by my arms and legs for some minor infraction. They kept me there for two days like a chained animal, allowing me up only to go to the washroom. At mealtimes, they wouldn’t untie my arms. A staff came in to feed me. Humiliated; I refused to eat. I hated them. I despised them. My anger grew. I wanted to hurt them, punish them in some way like they were doing to me.

Instead, I cut into my flesh, trying to rip myself apart, desperate to pull out the bad, the part of me everyone kept telling me was horrible and wrong. Scars formed on my body, but I didn’t care, because they were already in my heart and soul and mind.

Hatred and anger became a way of life. It drove me. It fueled the fight in me. I turned on myself with a vengeance. My arms were full of bruises and marks from biting myself and cutting my skin open. The blood oozing out was my salvation, the thing that released the building tension inside me. My blood, a proof of life, that I was still alive.

Blood? That’s what finally turned my life around. The blood. His blood. The blood He shed for me so I wouldn’t have to hurt myself anymore. Like me, He too was beaten, shamed, ridiculed. He never opened his mouth. He never fought back. That amazed me. How could He not? They laughed at Him, mocked Him, and He said nothing, nothing except, “Father, forgive them….”

Hearing that, my anger began to subside. Thoughts of revenge slowly became thoughts of forgiveness. It’s hard to forgive, to let go of the brutality of what some people did – but to not forgive is worse.

I want my life to reflect His love. He loved me when I couldn’t love myself. He loved me when I was wild, out of control and bent on self-destruction. I don’t fully get how He did that, but I am so grateful for the gentleness of His love that broke the chains that kept me stuck.

Posted in anger, child abuse, christian, cutting, faith, God, hatred, healing, Jesus, mental health, rage, rape, recovery, self-injury, shame | 10 Comments »

Real Strength

Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 28, 2009

“It is the support and care and love you give yourself that gives you the real strength to care for and love others.” Oprah Winfrey

I want to make a difference. I want to impact others in positive ways. I know it has to start with me. – Taking care of myself, honoring the life God blessed me with; embracing all of who I am; the good, the bad and the ugly. Accepting me just as I am. That is a tough thing to do some days. For years I berated myself for not being good enough. I did to myself what those who hurt me, did to me. I called myself names when I couldn’t do something. I hurt myself to try to stop being afraid or when I felt vulnerable and weak. I refused to eat and threw up when I did because I believed I had no right to exist. That’s what I was told. That’s what I accepted.

The cult of deception: – lies I believed. Lies that almost destroyed me. Lies that kept me in a cycle of pain. I lived my life based on those lies. The lies made me sick. I had persistent panic attacks. Simply walking down the street triggered them. My stomach hurt. I felt dizzy, lightheaded. My perceptions became distorted and my heart raced. I felt like I was losing control and was powerless to stop it. I obsessed about the fear of being seen. Being seen meant getting hurt – I spent a lifetime hiding.

But amazingly God touched me. Broke the curse of deception. Cut the cords of despair. Filled me with a joy that bubbled and overflowed. The self-destructive behaviours continued. My need to hide persisted, except now I felt I wasn’t alone in the dance anymore.

I started reading the Bible. I discovered its power of truth was able to dispel the darkness. I read and reread and learned I was made in His image. I found out I was the apple of His eye. I learned He wanted to set me free.

I moved with caution, but at least I moved. For every two steps forward I was thrown one back. I became frustrated, angry, overwhelmed. But I sensed His Spirit whispering encouragement, prodding me to keep taking a step, then another, and then another.

His touch empowered me. He poured His love into my broken spirit. Somehow His gentleness made a difference. There were days I was so consumed with self-hate that I raised my fist in the air and screamed at Him, daring Him to kill me. Amazingly, instead, He whispered words of peace. The presence of His love walked me through the lies and the pain – He taught me new ways to cope – running, nature, friends, His Word.

I want to partner with Him to help others find freedom. I live with tremendous gratitude.

Posted in christian, deception, depression, empower, God, healing, lies, life, Oprah, peace, recovery, spirit | 5 Comments »

The Impact of Kindness

Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 20, 2009

“Forget injuries. Never forget kindness.” Chinese Proverb

An act of kindness never goes without it having some impact on the recipient. During those years I lived on the street, there were a number of people who reached out to me and whose thoughtful actions, I have never forgotten.

One such person was a bank manager. I walked into a Royal Bank, completely stoned and asked to speak to the manager. He came out of his office dressed in a three piece suit, looking so professional. I, on the other hand, wore tattered faded jeans and a short sleeve tee, extremely thin, dark track marks from the needles running along the inside of my arms, the pupils in my eyes wide, like green smarties. Regardless of what he saw when he looked at me, this man treated me with respect. Ushering me into his office, he asked how he could help me. Feeling a bit sheepish, I asked for a $100 loan.

I can still see him, – standing up, reaching into his pocket, pulling out his wallet and handing me the money. I promised to pay him back and I did. When I got my cheque, I went back to see him and paid him the $100.
That became a monthly ritual for the two of us. Mid-month, I went to see him, asked for a loan and just as he did that first time, he always handed me the money, no questions asked. At the beginning of every month, I went to pay him back until I ended up in the hospital. I never saw him again after that.

I don’t know why he did what he did, but I have never forgotten his act of kindness, his generosity or his acceptance. He impacted me and helped to shape who I am today.

God’s angels. I want to be like that bank manager. He taught me a valuable lesson. In my world, at that time, I had experienced no kindness, only brutality. It was not the $100 he gave me, but the lesson, – that every human being has worth. I have never forgotten him nor his act of kindness.

I want to be like that bank manger to whoever is put along my path. I want to convey what he had shown me; – each person has worth. We are all made in God’s image. I have learned that just simply by looking at someone’s outward appearance, we don’t know what has happened or is happening in their lives. To walk in gentleness, to move in love and be His vessel to bring about peace and healing is my deepest longing.

Posted in faith, God, healing, kindness, respect | 6 Comments »

In the Eye of Deception

Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 14, 2009

Soon to be Pubished: Book – In the Eye of Deception

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Raised in a middle-class family, from the outside everything looked good, but inside our home, I lived in fear and terror from the volatile rages of my father, and from the constant criticisms and name calling of my mother. As a young girl, I learned to hide and to feel ashamed of who I was. I came to believe I had no right to exist. Turning to self-destructive coping behaviours; a fourteen year drug addiction, an eating disorder and self-mutilation, I sought to punish myself for just being alive. In my late teens, I was pulled into a cult where I was confined for six months and raped.

This is a story of coming to faith in God but continuing to live less than a victorious Christian. It is a story about becoming whole through facing the pain of child abuse, confinement and rape and learning to trust God to provide freedom from the crippling effects of shame and fear.

This book is one of hope and faith. The message is clear, – no darkness is so black, no valley so deep, God cannot redeem it for His glory.

Posted in abuse, addictions, christian, courage, faith, God, healing, recovery | Leave a Comment »

I Keep My Ideals

Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 14, 2009

“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

For too many years I lived with anger, hating those who hurt me and wanting revenge. The rage burned inside me. I took it out on myself, numbing out with anything destructive I could think of. I believed I had no right to exist, no right to life. One amazing day, God touched me. He broke the chains. He poured out His love. I stopped hating. I couldn’t anymore. His love was too great. I learned to forgive. It wasn’t easy. A part of me still wanted to punish those who hurt me so bad. And then I began to realize, at some point in their lives, they too were hurt. Someone did to them what they had done to me. Maybe it was done in different ways, but they were victims too. I want to strive to be part of the solution of healing.
There are days I am consumed by what happened. It makes me want to hide, to disappear and I have to remind myself, what happened does not define who I am. And just maybe what they did to me, doesn’t define who they really are too.

Posted in addictions, christian, eating disorder, faith, God, healing, recovery | 2 Comments »

The Secret of Redemption

Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 6, 2009

“In remembrance is the secret of redemption.” Jewish Saying

It’s so hard to reflect back to the pain of what happened, but there is also healing in looking at those things that shaped us and made us who we are today. In writing my story, “In the Eye of Deception,” there were times I felt like it was happening all over again. The memory clips screamed at me, the sounds, the intense feelings, and even the shame and fear hit me so hard that I thought I would become consumed in them. Yet, as I wrote, God took the healing to a whole new level. He led some wonderful people into my life who I was able to share the pain with, and who could handle my inability to talk during those times the memories overwhelmed me. They offered support and friendship on such a deep level that I still marvel how awesome God is in giving us what we need. My faith is my anchor. It is my strength to move forward. It gives me the courage to look head on what happened and not turn away. It is my hope and prayer that I can use all that I lived through to touch someone else on their journey to healing and recovery. There is something else in remembrance – deep gratitude. My heart swells with thankfulness to a God who reached through the layers of pain and drew me out of deep darkness into His marvelous light.

Posted in courage, darkness, faith, God, healing, recovery, remembrance, strength | 6 Comments »

Comfort in Writing

Posted by A Write to my Voice on January 16, 2009

“When I write I can shake off all my care.” Anne Frank; diary entry April 4, 1944

I know the comfort of getting lost in writing. I escape to another world as I develop characters and stories beyond where I live. When I write, I am in control. I can create scenerios and endings that excite and inspire me.
I loose myself for hours when I write. Maybe because I never had my voice, never allowed to speak out the brutality of what was being done to me – writing is my voice. Writing gives me a platform to speak, to own my thoughts, to share my heart, to determine what I want, what I need, who I am.
I write for me. I write from my heart. I close my eyes and in my spirit, I see beyond the present and move past all the limitations and restrictions of my own life. When I write, I’m free.

Writing is a source of joy for me, like music in my soul, playing tunes that amazingly transports me to place of peace and contentment.

Posted in healing, recovery, writing | Leave a Comment »

The Power of a Smile

Posted by A Write to my Voice on January 10, 2009

“Everytime you smile at someone it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. Peace begins with a smile.” Mother Theresa

It’s such a small thing, totally free and extremely powerful. God gave each of us the ability to impact another human being with something that costs us nothing but will reap tons of benefit for us and to whomever we choose to share a “smile” with.

Posted in christian, healing, recovery, writing | Leave a Comment »

The Small Voice Inside

Posted by A Write to my Voice on January 9, 2009

I have discovered how important it is to be still and listen to that quiet voice inside us. That voice will never steer us wrong. The outside of a person or group can have all the appearance of being good, or right but it can be so wrong.

Many deceptive people have learned to talk the right things. Think of Jim Jones the cult leader who led so many to die by their own hand. When he started out, he spoke of doing God’s work, embracing all people regardless of color…… And yet, he had no idea what truth was. He built an empire to himself, participated in horrible acts of abuse of some of his followers, especially children and became nothing more then a mad man leading people who hungered for truth.

Posted in christian, deception, healing, recovery, religion | 1 Comment »