Thursday, December 8, 2011

Raging Relapse

3 a m and wide awake with a tight chest, racing thoughts, feelings of hopelessness . . . .

anxiety creeps in and I can no longer sleep or even rest. I walk outside in my bathrobe onto the deck in the chilly night just to try to relax and breathe. I whimper, and pray the best I can to let go of and surrender to LOVE the anxiety that has swept over me . . .

It all began  . . . .

Last night as I told my spouse that I can't live in our current residence any longer !

A series of events preceded this dilemma . . . .

Five years ago my Dad died (yes, my abuser) and mom came to live with us for nearly 2 years until my older brother moved her out for his own ulterior reasons.We lost our home 3 years ago after I left my job due to a harrassing boss; my spouse started a construction company at the same period of time in a sinking economy.

Everything caved in on us all at once !

We moved from 2400 SF into a cozy 500 SF granny flat connected to my nephew's expansive home above us on a lovely hillside overlooking the city. I knew that we wouldn't stay for long, yet 3 years have already passed.

Have I already said that I am a compulsive cleaner and need order to feel peaceful in my environment ???
Living with my spouse, a dog,  a cat my spouse and the property impacted with construction tools I often feel irritable and clostrophobic.

Last night as I drove home I was dreading our conversation, knowing it wouldn't be pleasant.

A little piece of history . . . .

My spouse was raised in Belgium by his grandparents because his parents were both factory workers who didn't own a car so he only saw them on weekends. Needless to say, some unresolved issues . . .

As soon as I shared my frustration, he became defensive. I was too abrupt when I said that I can't stand it anymore and basically said that we HAVE to move ! Things progressed downhill quickly, without going into the ugly details.

I want to preface this confession with the fact that both J and I are a thoughtful and generous couple who work together helping others and making creative projects, the positive aspect of our relationship. He is well loved by everyone we know; and most of the time I feel happy with our marriage. Before our moved, I was able to compartmentalize the STUFF into rooms and the garage and didn't feel overwhelmed.

One major weakness in our relationship is that our communication SUCKS !!!

As soon as I was accused of being selfish regarding details of the changes I want to make, my wounded heart perceived J as being my abusive, controlling, oppressive father who said that I would never make it without him. So the raging wounded child in me started YELLING for 5 minutes . . . .then I caught myself midstream and walked outside . . .

Called my daughter, took a bath and a sleep aid . . .

However . . .  I awakened abruptly at 3 . . .

3 am is the witching hour for me . . . this is the time I was consistently yanked out of bed to be taken to another place of horrors . . .

Whenever I have a disagreement I tend to awaken at 3 am . . . no amount of journaling, therapy, and years of acknowledging and letting go of memories has healed this area completely. Yet, I experience a far less degree of anxiety and don't use anti-anxiety medications any more. Step by step . . .

Knowing full well that the wounded child in me is terrified I am at times unable to console her. No amount of reassurance that she is in a safeplace will lull her into reverie.

Thankfully, the one key mantra for me that is working is that I consciously start thinking about other children that I know who are suffering. When I begin praying for their safety and healing I am able to calm myself better and usually can slumber again.

I know that in time I will learn better to communicate because I already have made improvements. But once PTSD sets in, the road out is very difficult.

In retrospect I could have approached this need in a positive way by suggesting that we set of goal of 6 months, saving enough money for the cost of moving. Instead, I sabotaged myself by making an ultimatum.

I am humbled by my woundedness and pray that I will continue to heal in this area so that I may be a more loving and reasonable partner.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shopping: My Drug of Choice

I'd rather be shopping at Nordstroms !

This statement used to frame my license plate.

When my daughter told me that she would go with me to Nordstroms so that I wouldn't spend so much money, I knew my secret was out !

Raised in a low income home, we had very few essentials; at times we had no hot water or electricity and I didn't even have a pair of shoes when I went to second grade. I felt ashamed and embarrassed !

I always vowed that one day I would have lots of fine things in my life.

I kept my promise to myself. As my first husband became a successful architect my dreams began to be realized.

The problem was that I couldn't say NO to anything I adored ! It didn't matter what it was, I just had to have it at that moment. I often hid purchases in the closet thinking that what my spouse didn't see he wouldn't notice.

When Imelda Marcos was exposed for her obsessive overindulgences, I personally owned over 150 pairs of shoes. I felt slightly embarrassed but still didn't acknowledge that I had a serious spending problem.

I ignored my behavior and so did my spouse; he had his own issues. We maintained an unspoken agreement to remain silent about our self-sabotaging behaviors.

Eventually, the truth was revealed; we were headed for bankruptcy. We blamed it on the economy. The truth is that if I had not spent so much we could have saved for a downturn in the economy.

I still continued my addictive behavior; I refused to acknowledge my destructive habit and kept spending.

When my spouse was offered a lucrative job in Moscow, Russia I soon had more money that I had ever imagined and I spent it on trips, clothes, and gifts. No matter how much he made I managed to spend to the max !

When my first marriage finally dissolved and I left the extravagant lifestyle, reality set in; I couldn't hide my addiction from myself any longer.

I'd like to say that I immediately changed and became frugal; unfortunately, it has taken several years for me to overcome my compulsive behavior.

When I get angry, bored, discouraged, anxious or even excited the first thing I want is a FIX !

My compulsive shopping is no different than using a drug to numb myself from facing uncomfortable situations in my life. I was running away from my own suffering. My childhood was fraught with abuse so I tried to comfort myself and to fill the emptiness. It seemed easier to avoid the source of my pain than to face it. My first instinct was to run !

Over time I began facing my discomfort and noticed that my urge to shop or run away lessened.

Now I hold myself accountable and so does my spouse. Whenever I want to purchase something, I discuss it with him to decide whether or not it is a necessary expenditure.

I rarely shop alone; when I do, I create a list and a price range and stay within a budget. I have started a savings account and am learning to plan for future goals and dreams.

With Christmas arriving, I already feel the excitement of shopping.

Yesterday I went to a mall and purchased items on my list for my grandchildren, keeping within my reasonable limits. As I was leaving I walked through a new store on my way out and noticed lots of things that I would love to wear. The adrenaline began pumping through my entire body. I felt intoxicated, and wanted to spend, spend, spend ! I recognized the self-sabortaging sign and immediately left the store. Calling my daughter in the parking lot, I confessed that I felt like an alcoholic at a bar and had to remove myself from temptation.

When I got home I shared the entire experience with my spouse. He told me how proud he was that I had stayed on my projected course and even spent less than I had originally planned, buying only sale items.

I am encouraged that I am learning to overcome my self-destructive pattern. I know that I am still vulnerable and need to be aware of my feelings so that I don't fall into the same trap again.

I now surrender my uncomfortable moments to God and humbly asking that He fill the empitness with more of Himself.

Shopping till I drop is no longer my slogan !

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Talking with my daughter-in-love about the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner she is hosting for our family, we were discussing details about the food preparation and equipment needed.

I excitedly told her that I planned to prepare a vegetarian dish for my granddaughter and perhaps a cranberry dish as well.

As soon as these words left my lips, her facial expression changed from joyful enthusiasm to discouragement. I suddenly realized that I had said too much and had hurt her feelings; something I would never intentionally want to do.

When she walked out the door heading for work I felt the tension between us and tried to fix it by backtracking, which didn't help alleviate her suffering. After I thought it over for a few minutes I sent her a quick apology via text and mentioned that I didn't mean to take over her dinner plans, only wanted to help, but was just chattering away without thinking; this is my usual style of communication.

I didn't hear back from her for a few hours. During that time I agonized over what I could have done differently; then I went to a very dark place inside myself.

I called my spouse and blubbered that I felt unappreciated and like a second-class citizen ! After all, I was only trying to help!  I mentioned all the things I do for my family and how I always do what they want. I was crying and feeling sorry for myself.

What an overreaction on my part !

After ranting about the situation and feeling like it was irreparable I began to calm down and gain some understanding. I began to remember how I felt the first time I prepared Thanksgiving for my family. I wanted everything perfect ! I created the entire menu for 40 family members including decorations, table settings and name tags. When my cousin arrived and tried to help me with the arrangements I felt resentful rather than thankful for her assistance !

Later when I received a message from my daughter via text, she thanked me for my desire to help and stated kindly that she wanted to prepare all the food as a gift to our family.

Did I ever feel ashamed of myself !

During misunderstandings I often overreact and experience feelings of despair and hopelessness. When these intensely uncomfortable feelings surface I realize now that they are not due to the current conflict but are related to painful experiences during my childhood.

As a child I was a fighter. If dad were drunk I would try to protect my mother during his rampage, even at the early age of three. My family often called me a pest. I would probably have been labeled as having ADHD if the term had been used in the 50's.

Because of the frightening experiences of sexual abuse throughout my childhood I can easily become discouraged and experience a sense of hopelessness. When I recognize what I am doing to myself I sit still and ask God what is really going on with me; the answers come in a quiet and peaceful way.

When in conflict I initially condemn myself for my failings and then feel sorry for myself. I am now learning to hold myself accountable for my part in any miscommunication and forgive myself for my less than perfect reactions.

I am on an enlightening journey and mindful of its wondrously unfolding beauty.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Void

Feeling emptiness and sadness today . . . .

I know the SOURCE of LOVE and am seeking fullness again.

In the past I filled the emptiness with self-sabotaging behavior like shopping, compulsive cleaning, eating, or seeking an inappropriate encounter.

Now I allow myself to experience the emptiness, the void, the hole in my heart.

I don't know if it's because of losses in my life, or unfulfilled dreams; I just feel the tears caught in my throat.

I know this uncomfortable feeling will soon pass and I will again experience the sense of abundance.

Right now I am still.

I KNOW that I am loved no matter what my feelings may express.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mending Fences

Did I ever trespass in other people's gardens !

It wasn't until after I spent what felt like a lifetime of working on my inner healing from childhood sexual abuse that I realized how much harm I had done to others.

At the onset of my discovery at the age of 38 I was horrified, disgusted, terrified and raging.

When I began to follow a 12-Step Program to help cope with the feelings of being overwhelmed and wanting to die I only thought about what evil was done to me and how I would try to make them pay for their crimes.

I spent months in bed, not sleeping, caught in the waves of memories day and night; only able to venture out for therapy. Each session seemed worse than the original abuse as I had to face the demons again. When I felt that I would harm myself my therapist suggested an inhouse facility; I agreed.

It was there that I began the program. At first I had no understanding of even the first step; it was all so foreign to me. Eventually I began to surrender my out-of-control feelings to God as I know Him; trust was a huge issue because I was ritually abused as well in a church environment.

As I moved through the program I stumbled upon the Fourth Step, making a moral inventory of myself. I began to realize that I had buried a lot of things in my past. I felt guilty and ashamed of my behavior and the harm it had caused others in my life.

Initially I resisted the thought of asking forgiveness of anyone; after all I was a victim from a very early age.
I had no sexual boundaries since they were destroyed before I could think.

But as I fearlessly began to look at my shortcomings I also began to acknowledge my part in perpetuating my uncontrolled behavior onto others. I helped destroy my first marriage as well as many close relationships.
I began to recount how many partners I had been with sexually over the years; it was humbling.

As I learned to hold myself responsible for my actions as an adult I began to heal in a beautiful way.

Now I have grown accustomed to examining myself, my motives and my actions. I still ask forgiveness, and know that I am forgiven.

I am adept at mending fences !

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spontaneity Requires Preparation

My spouse and I are talking about opening a restaurant. He is a Belgian pastry chef and an amazing creator of many delectable European dishes. I love creating ambience, entertaining at the piano and singing, and hosting events for family and friends. We are a winning combination :)

It is our passion !

Last night I had a DREAM that we opened  Des Amis.

Jacques was preparing a Flemish dish of mussels when I realized we had no plates or flatware; so off I started for home in my SUV to retrieve the items.

Along the way a few family members and friends wanted to join me to share in the adventure.

By the time I was ready to leave, my car transformed into a motorized rickshaw, and finally a motorless rickshaw as I laboriously peddled everyone uphill in the sand !

I awakened, giggling and telling my husband how happy I was to have a dream that wasn't a NIGHTMARE, and was enjoying the POSITIVE struggle of the experience.

Looking at it now I see that this is a metaphor in my life.

I LOVE spontaneity !  Yet I know that it comes with a price.

Each exciting and wonderful dream I desire requires a labor of love as I just experienced in the preparation and process of slipcovering my sofa.

I first noticed the need for a new slipcover when I saw my original baby pink fading and stained. I researched for fabric as I visualized the end result, then purchased the various items needed to assemble it. With trepidation I carefully began the process of laying out, cutting, and sewing the pieces together, having no pattern and never having done any sewing project on this scale. I had precious little time in the evening to work on this project as I am a full-time nanny for two of my grandkids. Yet I was motivated by my visual image of the cheerful outcome.

The project was far more challenging than I had imagined since I chose fine yellow ticking, a one-way toile with children swinging in the trees etched in soft red on a lovely warm yellow background, an Indian-styled red and white ruffled border, and Victorian red piping finishing off all the edges.

I completed my dream this past week after several months and am thrilled to tell you that it is even more charming here in our cozy cottage than I had ever envisioned !

What I learned is that preparation is the key to creating reality out of my spontaneity :)

I am dreaming, creating, manifesting, and moving in the direction of my heart's desires !

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She Wasn't Loved

I asked my spouse to do something important for me, then found out that he postponed it without letting me know.

He said that he just hadn't had the time to tell me.

I fell apart emotionally and stated that I didn't feel respected, that my needs were a low priority to him.

The conflict escalated as we blamed each other for other situations; I began spinning out of control in despair and confusion.

I eventually apologized for overreacting and he apologized for hurting my feelings.

Today on the road to work I talked outloud to myself the entire scenario.

I discovered the ROOT of my despair was that I didn't feel loved and supported.

Supportive is a word to describe my spouse; he demonstrates his love for me and my family regularly.

The REAL issue is that as a child I wasn't protected or nurtured by my mother.

Mom was busy working to support us because my father didn't, and was very involved in the church.

I received her attention mostly as a performer either playing the piano or singing.

She knowingly turned her back when my father was abusing me.

When I confronted my father and mother in my therapist's office they both denied their parts in my abuse.

I am learning forgiveness yet I still feel discomfort, resentment and guilt when I think of my mom even though I attend to her needs as she is aging and displaying signs of dementia.

I still have this huge hole in me that needs to be filled with LOVE.

Self-love is foreign to me; it is much easier to see the needs of others rather than look inside myself to find out what I need.

I am taking small and awkward steps to love myself by focusing on things that I enjoy just for the sheer pleasure they bring to me.

I am giving myself permission to be creative.

I am completing my first custom-made slipcover and feeling proud of my creative accomplishment, acknowledging its esthetic beauty and experiencing the gratification of the endeavor.

I am choosing to embrace my creative abilities as a priority over focusing on CHORES which will always be there !

In small ways I am learning to love myself and it feels good  :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Boundaries ?

I remember the first time I was confronted with the concept of boundaries.

I didn't understand what this word meant in my turbulent life because my personal boundaries were frequently invaded throughout my childhood and teen years.

I was called, "The Seductress" by a therapist and wanted to attack him in protest !

I didn't know that I was seducing or being seduced by people. This was my unconscious, conditioned modus operandi.

Years later I recognize the tremendous healing in this aspect of my life. I no longer have the desire to seduce or be seduced by anyone.

Now I am working on my need to seek approval.

To please or not to please . . .

Boundary setting is still difficult for me when it comes to desiring to please others. In each situation I look fearlessly at my motives and ask for guidance to make the best decision for myself.

My journey continues to take me to new places within myself where the light needs to shine, to reveal the darkness and to set myself free with God at the helm.

This is my intended course; I embrace it with abandon !

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lost Playtime

Yesterday my spouse teasingly grabbed me in a bear hug and then proceeded to rub his beard on my neck, tickling me.

Unfortunately for him, he didn't get the desired effect he wanted.

I started screaming, feeling tortured !

Between gasps for breath, I yelled, "Let me go or I'll hurt you !

When he relinquished his hold I socked him on the arm, shouting, "Don't ever do that to me again !"

Feeling like a puppet, I haltingly threw my purse over my shoulder, bolted out the front door, and recklessly drove down the winding hillside.

I thought this one was behind me, but obviously not !

Remembering how my father and brother would hold me down against my will and tickle me mercilessly while I writhed and screamed at them to let me go, brought back the feeling of helplessness and rage in a little girl I used to know.

Poor little thing !

Today exhausted, disjointed and discouraged I am trying hard to pick up the pieces with my spouse who can't figure out what happened.

LOVE, be my good parent and console my broken heart.

Friday, September 16, 2011


"Don't tell anyone, they'll think you're crazy."

"If you tell anyone, they'll take you away."

"If you tell, they won't believe you."

"If you say anything, I'll KILL you !"

Oh my heart, when I remember these statements coming from my father's mouth . . .


Now I can't seem to be quiet !

I want to talk about EVERYTHING with EVERYONE . . . .

I discovered painfully that my family and friends don't want the truth. Many have left.

I am an open book.

Sometimes it offends others, but I MUST speak the truth about everything in my life.

So, please don't tell me anything you want to keep a secret . . .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thanks for Everything

"Think positive and all your dreams will come true."

It has always sounded shallow to me, like kissing a rabbit's foot for good luck. 

Being positive for me means being grateful. 

Thanks for everything ! Bible verses memorized as a child remind me to thank God in all situations, the good and the bad.

Washing dishes I felt impatient to continue my slipcover sewing project. I thought about how to be thankful while doing this necessary chore . . .

TONS of thoughts came to my mind !

fresh scent 
dishes, beautiful dishes

just to name a few . . . .

I thought about what being thankful does for my ATTITUDE . . . 

I am positive and encouraged knowing that I am surrendered to the Divine Plan for my life and that everything that happens works for my good.

I understand that some things working in me are spiritual changes, invisible changes . . .

So, thanks for everything, God !!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

No Random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday I was confused and discouraged; I couldn't make up my mind which direction I wanted to go after an early day at work. I had a few options but I really wanted to rest and be refreshed so I thought I would head for one of my favorite beaches.

Along the way I took an alternate route and ended up at a candle shop I had never visited; I even hesitated going inside because I didn't want to spend money. I walked out with 4 tapers.

Next I decided to drive along the coast to view the beach during my journey farther south; when I was approaching the first town, I told myself that I would buy a chai at the local Starbucks if I could find a parking space on the corner. It was right there for me.

I went inside, visited with the sales lady and the barrista and then left heading on foot toward the cliffs to view the sea. While sitting there for a few minutes reading my new ebook, a woman stopped to see it; we visited and then she left. I was getting very warm in the sun so I decided to head for my destination. On the way I stopped to visit with a woman with a Maltese like mine who was talking with the inquisitive woman I had just met. The Maltese mom and I talked for awhile about our personal journeys, and then I headed toward my car.

The radio wasn't working as I started to leave. I noticed several text messages from family and friends saying that we were having a power outage. I made an immediate u-turn at the next corner and proceeded toward my daughter's home to be of any assistance.

Approaching a section of the street in which I would not be able to turn around for another hour, my daughter texted, "Can you get the girls?"

I didn't know that she didn't have them ! I quickly pulled into the right lane and made an immediate right turn at the light. Sitting in my car I waited for another message from my daughter as to where to find them.

Within 5 minutes I made another u-turn to pick up the girls at their nanny's home; my daughter didn't have her address available and couldn't reach her. Imagine how surprised the nanny was when I showed up at her building, never having been there before, and followed my granddaughter's voice to her door !

A 20-minute drive took an hour and a half with the girls patiently talking in the back seat. My five year old granddaughter asked about all the blinking red lights; I explained how we all worked together to help each other safely cross the intersections.

She said, "Alternate."

We found worried parents standing in the driveway with expressions of relief and gratefulness>

Their home was alight with burning candles; I added my tapers.

The evening was spent in quiet and thoughtful conversation.

My journey taught me that nothing I do is random !

God is guiding me, ministering to me and through me even in the midst of confusion and despair.

I am so grateful today.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Confession is good for the heart as well as the soul.

I began my morning having conflict with my partner; I felt discouragement and emotional confusion.

A dear sister asked me if I wanted to clear it up; I said, "Yes."

The three of us talked through the conflict, with my sweet sister as the mediator.

After sharing what was hurting us, we were able to come to a resolution with her patient and objective assistance.

Life is much easier when a friend who expresses unconditional love can put up with your self-inflicted pain, and be an objective advisor to help turn conflict into a learning experience.

Though I am still wounded, I see more clearly the core of insecurity that I've been carrying around since I was a child.

Confessing my part in the conflict enlightened me to see how I helped create it, and also helped me to release it in order to experience forgiveness in both directions.

I know that unforgiveness separates me from realizing the LOVE and PEACE of God in my life.

All I needed was a loving, seeing eye to restore me to a place of harmony.

This is the role of the BODY of Christ.

My hope is that as we become better listeners and seers, we can assist others on the journey toward healing.

Thanks, my sweet sister-in-love !

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anxious Rumination

It's no FUN awakening during the night with a racing mind that can't be turned off !

Anxiety-ridden rumination is another travesty I have experienced from sexual abuse; I wish I could just unplug myself and go back to sleep !

I've always been hypervigilant since I can remember a conscious thought; I would love to be relaxed and casual about my environment but I am programmed to be ready for assault from any angle.

I ask God on a daily basis to reveal all the hidden darkness and woundedness in me, to heal me, cleanse me, cure me and make me more like Jesus. He has a plan that I don't always comprehend . . . again I must surrender to His love and trust His path for me.

It is a humbling and glorious experience all bundled up in this complex and churning mind !

Friday, August 19, 2011


Sexual arousal is torturous pleasure intermingled with guilt, regret, remorse, anger, rage, disgust . . . etc.

If I could experience the moment I would gladly embrace it; but my eternally wounded children invade my mind and thwart my ability to be free . . . one of the greatest casualties of sexual assault.

I am saddened that after years of discovery and recovery I am still instantly yanked back during arousal by the chains of victimization and must fight to enjoy the union of my heart.

I am flawed and loved.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Looking back is often painful as I see how I blindly stumbled through my life unintentionally hurting myself and others.

I am thankful that I am loved and forgiven for such acts.

Each new day I see how I am blessed by those surrounding me; I see God in each act of kindness.

In response I look into the eyes of others to encourage them to receive unconditional love into their hearts and minds.

This is my mission.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


As I struggle to get through the night with a decent amount of sleep, I am constantly reminded of the imprint that my perpetrators have left on my cell memory.

After years of therapy I realize that I am still scarred from my past victimizations and that I am in God's hands to do what He knows is best for me.

When I focus on the needs of others I am able to find rest again.

In my weakness, Christ is made strong in me; I am able to rejoice in my trials knowing that He is glorified in my innermost being.

God's grace is sufficient for me !

Thursday, August 11, 2011

recall of a lifetime

Its been over 23 years since I first awakened from a nightmare and found myself in a new state of reality; my old skin no longer fit. My world was shattered as I relived the horrifying feelings of my intimate parts being invaded by my father.

Today I am thankful that I am MORE THAN A SURVIVOR !

Thanks to faithful friends and therapists I am being transformed daily by the loving hand of God and know that my REDEEMER lives !

As I experience my daily frailties I am reminded that I am weak but HE is strong in me.

The VICTORY is in Jesus and I am blessed beyond all imaginations with new life, new insight, revelations, visions, prophetic dreams, peace and abundant JOY through my trials.

My greatest challenge is to recognize the OLD me and relinquish it into the hands of my LOVING and faithful Lord.

I am surrendered and humbled by my daily journey.