Bridging to the Future

Needing a Bridge
Bridge

First a confession. I’ve been selfishly bitter lately. I hid it with intentions of public protection, but really I was wallowing in bitterness to my molester.

The story all started a few weeks ago when I was told that the guy who molested me- who is listed on the Canadian sex offender registry and living under release conditions that prohibit his contact with minors- is now a Counselor. Yes, you read that right. But the info wasn’t quite right- he wasn’t a counselor yet, he was doing a practicum as part of his Masters in Counseling studies. The clinic he was doing the practicum at did a heck of a sales job bragging up how great a guy the rapist is. They bragged about his successful career as a teacher (which he lost due to his crimes), his successful career as a teacher(which he started when he lost his teaching job, and lost when he was convicted and sentenced), and on and on.

For any who’ve read some of my previous posts (like this) this won’t come as a major surprise. I flipped!! I called my brother who’s been with me in this from the start, and over the next few days we called everyone we could think of:
– the police who after a lot of checking said “wish we could stop this cause it’s sick, but he’s not breaking any laws.”
– the counseling clinic who’s owner said “he’s a good guy who served his time, he deserves a second chance, and just wants to help people”
– the university he’s studying at, talked to the dean of the counseling program, who consulted with their lawyer, who then wrote a carefully worded letter saying that they only care about academic performance.

To us, he’s just carrying on his trend of looking for vocations which will put him in one-on-one situations with vulnerable people.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I NEED TO LET IT GO!! I can’t let the bitterness over what happened yesterday ruin my today. And so, as I turn these words over to cyberspace, I turn vengeance over to God. I can’t do anything (legally) about him. And I can’t dwell on it anymore. So now, as I BRIDGE to tomorrow, I need to set boundaries, so that when anyone wants to talk about “him who will no longer be talked about”, I can change the subject of conversation.

So help me God!

Duane

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Are You F’ing Kidding Me?

Some things boggle my mind.  I’m listening to sports talk radio this week- the Jim Rome show- when he reads throught the Penn State Nittany Lions’ list of promotions that are happening this season.  And there, on September 17, it reads “commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of coach Joe Paterno”.  SERIOUSLY????  Where do they have their heads stuck?  Do they read the news?  Do they pay any attention at all to what society thinks of Joe’s reputation?

If you don’t know what I’m writing about, google “Paterno” or “Sandusky”.  In a nutshell, Joe’s employee, Sandusky, abused children in his role with the program for many years.  There are allegations in court documents that suggest Joe Paterno knew of, and HID, these crimes starting way back in 1976.  Ten years after he started at Penn State.  So maybe there celebrating the Fortieth anniversary of him starting his cover up for a pedophile?

What does this tell the victims?  Or other victime of similar crimes who haven’t dared to speak of their horrors yet?  A couple years ago, they took down Paterno’s statue from in front of their stadium, now they’re going to commemorate him.  What they should be doing is building a monument to all the victims of the crimes he covered up, or having a moment of silence before the game for victims of sexual crimes everywhere.  But don’t expect that to happen.  Paterno is their hero, and they will ignore his crimes and those who were hurt by his crimes.

“His crimes?” you ask?  Yes, his crimes.  If anyone knows about crimes against innocent children, and doesn’t stop those crimes, then covering up and allowing the abuse to continue is just as evil as actually doing the abuse.

I don’t seriously expect this little post to make any difference in the grand scheme of things, but I needed to vent, so thanks for the space to do that.

Just my opinion.

Duane

Sitting in S#!t

OK, so this title is not very original- it’s based on a chapter in the book I’m reading (Conversations with a Rattlesnake by Fleury and Barthel). Chapter 9 in that book is titled “Learning to sit with Your Shit”. It’s a fascinating read about a part of emotional healing that I have to really work on.

The idea is to let oneself sit and feel the emotion of what is going on, no matter how shitty (Okay, I’ll try stop using the “s” word now) it is. The concept behind this, and I know it works for me, is that by allowing the emotions to flow, and trying to interact with my own emotions, I can actually deal with and understand what I’m feeling. This tends to- when I remember to use this technique- really help me get all the way through what I’m feeling and why, instead of just quelling it and running from my emotions.

It’s a real STRUGGLE most of the time though. Really, who wants to sit in THAT???
And to be fair, there are many emotions that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have had professionals force me to “sit in it”. There are some things that I definitely shouldn’t process on my own, although that is a smaller and smaller part of my emotional reportoire these days, as I get more and more comfortable with myself.

I’d love to hear anybody else’s experiences with “sitting in it”

Lotsa luv,
Duane

Written in response to today’s daily prompt:Struggle

Brain drugs

Drugs???

No, not the kind I could put into my body. I’m talking about the kind of natural chemicals that my body produces to help me deal with stress, reward me when I’m satisfied, and keep me balanced. GABA, Dopamine, Cortisol, Oxytocin, etc. I’m in the middle of a book “Converstions with a Rattlesnake” about healing from trauma and addictions, and the last chapter I read was a rather overwhelming exploration of how these different chemicals, produced by the human body, interact with each other to affect my mental health and emotional well being.

It fascinates me to see some of the science behind the awesome high that can be had from human interaction. Simply gazing into the eyes of someone who cares about me can flood me with oxytocin. How much more, then, the rush from an embrace, or my favorite- “heart-to-heart” as taught in the Hoffman process.

I wonder, though, how much of what I need could be fullfilled by self love? As a single, divorced dad who doesn’t get to see his kids enough, can I love myself enough to fill the void of human interaction?

I know that there is a relatively intense satisfaction in writing in my gratitude journal. I also know that getting into meaningful, caring conversation online, like here on WordPress can do something for my well being. There’s so much to learn, I’d love to hear about others’ perspectives on this.

Love you all,

Duane

Orderly, Eh?

So todays daily prompt word is “Orderly”.  I’ve never written a post in response to a daily prompt, but since I just wrote a blog on the use of “I” vs. “you”- Language- You vs. I – the idea of order kind of caught my fancy.  See, a lot of my life has not gone according to what many would consider to be good order.  Maybe even disorderly would be a better way to describe a lot of my life.  Now, to be fair, most of the disorder wasn’t created by me, nor would I wish it on anyone.

However, when I own the disorder in my past, I give my life a chance to gain order.  Blaming others for the disorder only helps me to wallow in self pity, whereas owning the fact that this happened, enables me to ponder- now how can I turn the lemons into lemonade, the disorder into order.  I think the disorder from my past has made me a stronger person, and now I can enjoy a more orderly life.

Cheers, Y’all
Orderly

Language- You vs. I

Ah, the power of words.  I, as a graduate of the Hoffman Process, had the use of “I” drilled into me again and again.  I might not be a quick learner, but I do learn.

Huh?  What am I talking about?

Let me explain.  If I am talking abaout the effects of childhood abuse on the brain, I could say “when you have been abused, you tend to have a hard time understanding love”.  But when I say “I was abused, and therefore I have had a hard time understanding love”, and own my own experience, it makes a personal connection with what I am saying.  And isn’t that personal connection what I need most of all?  In order to move from “Post Traumatic Stress” to what Theo Fleury calls “Post Traumatic Growth”,  I need to own where I have been.  I have been through a lot, and I’d like to think I have owned it.

But was that mean in each of our own daily lives?  Well, the same thing can be said for these two statements, both referring to a mistake by one member of a team, as I like to think of my workplace as a team.  “HE forgot the cost of those extra parts” vs. “WE forgot the cost of those extra parts”.  See how easy it is for me to blame some one else for the mistake, versus taking ownership of it as a team, and sharing the blame?  Which way of dealing with my co-workers or children- yes, this can be applied to family life as well- is likely to get a greater positive result going forward?

Just my random OCD musing about grammar, making it onto the web this time instead of just floating around my head.

God Bless Y’all, and may love fill each of OUR lives.

No Pain, No Gain!

Great words from Auguste Rodin-

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely”

Which is, by the way, very good advice for me personally today.  “Why?” you might ask, well I’ll tell you why.  I must throw a word of caution out there first, though.  The first part of this post is much lighter than the second half- that might be a little raw.

So, I met a girl.  Ok, lots of people meet new people on a regular basis.  But this was different, very different, I’m sure.  I mean, who falls in love at first sight anymore these days?  Especially at the relatively mature age of 40?  (I’m still trying to convince myself that it’s OK to not be grown up yet at 40- It is possible to grow physically, get gray hair, but still be a kid, right?)  Well, maybe I didn’t all the way fall in love, but pretty darn close.  And then reality set in.  She said after a weekend’s reflection that she wasn’t ready for me.  Or something to that effect.

So, what do I gain from that experience?  Well, I just so happened to have a call scheduled with my awesome coach (you know who you are, Barbara) for this very morning, and she helped me see that I need to learn to just go with the flow, and not set my expectations on trying to see if every new girl I meet might be the right one.  Great advice- Thanks a lot!  So I try to learn and move on from that.

See?  I told you the first part would be boring!

But then, the harder learning came tonight, as I worked deeper into some of the topics that were discussed this morning, and read part of a book about trauma recovery.  (For those reading this who don’t know, I was molested as a child for a long time by a man who was not family.  Now, I’m trying to use my experiences for the greater good.  My crap was not all bad or wasted if I can help somebody heal from their own garbage or prevent even one other child from being abused.)  I read some very thought provoking stuff tonight.

  1. I learned that while I was being molested, while I knew that I survived by freezing and tuning out what was happening, while my brain left my body temporarily so that I could survive, that survival instinct allowed the abuse to last longer, and the abuser to keep me under his manipulative power long after the abuse stopped.  How?  Well, because my brain “left” while I was being abused, it took a lot of time and effort to peel away the layers and fully understand all that had happened when I started to work on healing.  A survival strategy “split personality”.  What do I gain from knowing that?  As parents, I think if our children suddenly start acting differently, or having memory lapses, that might be a sign that we need to ask some hard questions.
  2. I learned a bit about my personality and how it was formed in early childhood.  My parents loved me, but their lives were very hectic- trying to get a farm and a family started from nothing- way too much to do, way too little time.  I seem to have learned how to get way too attached to any connection I could get, but tune out then already if I wasn’t getting any.  I would alternate back then already between a chatterbox, trying to stay the center of attention, and a recluse, holed up with my toys or a book.  That same silly clash between my type “A” and type “C” personality sides has affected me all the way through life, and it really enabled my abuser.  Still has an impact today on relationships, I know.  So what good does it do me to see this?  Awareness of the clash within is key to being able to moderate my actions.  I won’t pretend to be a psychologist and apply that to child rearing- attachment science is not my field.

There’s so much more I have to learn, but that’s today’s education.  If it meant anything to you, please let me know.  Feel free to share this post if you’d like.

Cheers, Duane

on (over) Reaction

A couple weeks ago, coming out of a downtown office building, I turned to walk down the sidewalk, looked up, and BOOM!  There he was!  The Asshole that messed up my life through ten years of sexual abuse.  In an instant, one beat of my heart, I virtually froze.  No, I didn’t stop moving, but it was like time stood still.  So much flashed through my mind inthe next few minutes as I made my way, numbly, to my truck, that I don’t really know what the sequence of my thoughts was.  I hadn’t seen him in so long, and last time I had seen him, I was expecting to see him- it was in court at his sentencing.

I got to my truck, took a deep breath, and put it all behind me.  Yeah Right!  I guess I thought I did, though.

I made my way home- it was the last stop of my day, and did whatever it was that I did that evening.  The rest of the week was busy- on the road for work, not much time to think.  On Friday, I tripped and fell off the deck of a truck, and hurt my knee.  Greeat way to end a work week!  That weekend I was a mess- my knee hurt like blazes, but most of all, I didn’t know whether to cry or lose my cool on Saturday.  Sunday I got sick, and that seemed to clear it all up.

On Tuesday evening, with a busy trade show coming up, I went for a massage to tune my body up.  Ironically, It was my mind that gained the most.  I have a really awesome therapist who tends to do as much for my mind as she does for my body.  She just knows what to say, and somehow, her touch soothes my energies, and puts everything in balance.  Most importantly, she helped me see that I still have a lot of letting go and forgiving to do.  She suggested to me, that even as I had virtually frozen in that instant- that frozen-ness likely contributed to my fall, and most certainly to my messed up weekend.

I never would have guessed.

So the lesson for me is- “Forgiveness isn’t about setting the forgiven free- It’s about setting myself free from the prison of anger.”

I thought I had done that a long time ago, but I guess it’s an ongoing process.

If you have forgiving to do, may you find the strength to find that freedom, even as I pray I do too.  And if you know how, please share your wisdom!

Lotsa Love to you all,

Duey