Together We Heal

Together We Heal is for any who suffer from the trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse. We are here to provide a safe forum for survivors of abuse to share, learn and heal, give direction to those seeking guidance and to expose sexual predators for what they are and their methods of getting into our lives.


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Healing From Abuse – Roads to Recovery

Today, Joanna and the other good folks at The Good Men Project featured an article we posted on “Roads To Recovery”, therapies for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. If you hadn’t had the chance to read it before, please take this opportunity now. In it, we present everything from traditional to experimental methods. The main purpose is to find one that works for you and to show survivors ways they can move froward in their healing process. Please share with any who might find help and hope.

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/hesaid-healing-from-abuse-roads-to-recovery/


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Learn To Trust Others

Today I am happy to present Part II of Rachel Grant’s discussion of “Trust”. Last week there was an overwhelming response on how she addressed “Trusting Yourself”, and I know this week will be no different as she covers “Trusting Others”. Continue to be inspired by her words. Listen with an open spirit and heart. Thank you Rachel.

The last time I wrote, I shared some thoughts on trusting yourself. Now, let’s turn our attention to trusting others. You may still have some work to do to trust yourself, but there is no time like the present to begin transforming your relationships!

For me, the impact of not trusting others was that I walked around guarded all of the time. It was as if I was operating behind a piece of gauze; I remained fuzzy to others and others remained fuzzy to me. I was never able to experience real connection or intimacy.

To move you along toward breaking out from behind your walls, veils, protections, let’s start by simply exploring what it is you think it means to trust someone in the first place.

To develop an ability to trust others, we must learn how to determine who is trustworthy. One of the biggest mistakes we make when determining who is trustworthy is looking for the qualities in others that we ourselves lack. Consider, for example, that we have a very hard time getting projects done on time. This is a quality that we would say a trustworthy person would possess. So, when working with others on a team, we label the woman who is able to get things done on time as trustworthy. Never mind the fact that she cheats on her taxes. The point is we are so focused on the qualities that we lack that we misjudge the character of another person whenever they possess those qualities.

As a result of abuse, our “trust meter” is a bit off balance. We have it tilted way over to not trusting, trusting too easily, or remain apathetic about it, never really connecting or pushing away others. So, how can we give our trust meter a tune-up and rebalance it?

First, we need to challenge our general understanding of what trust is. Regardless of what you have thought it means, I want you to try on a new understanding of trust.

• Trust is not about judging the character and quality of another person.
• We do not come to trust a person as a whole.
• Rather, we come to trust the person to honor a specific commitment.
• No one is 100 percent trustworthy.

Remember the example of the team member who finishes her work on time, but cheats on her taxes? She is completely trustworthy when it comes to completing tasks on time. She is not trustworthy when it comes to dealing with the IRS. For any given person, there is always some commitment we can trust, but there is always another we cannot. This is why trust is not about judging the character or quality of a person, but rather judging and evaluating the commitments you can trust the person to honor.

When relating to others, we should seek to know the difference between commitments likely to be honored and those that likely will not. We want to understand what sorts of commitments a person follows through on more often than not and hope that these line up with what is important to us. This will vary by person and by commitment.

Our job then is to decide whether or not to trust someone by considering their behavior and speech as signals of their beliefs, values, and intentions, which are all indications of what commitments they are willing to keep, how often, and for how long. Keep in mind that behavior is a much better indicator than what people say.

Let’s bring this all together with a familiar example: the friend who always cancels at the last minute.

You have just begun a new friendship with Greg and he seems like a great guy. Friendly, down-to-earth, smart, and the two of you just seem to click. You have gone out a few times and really enjoyed yourselves, that is, when he manages to show up. Though Greg said he was really looking forward to dinner tonight, he just texted to say he can’t make it. This is about the fifth time this has happened.

Can you trust Greg to keep his commitment to show up for events? Nope.

Can you trust Greg to be present, fun, and enjoyable when you are together? Yes.

Can you trust Greg overall? It depends on what you value more. No one is 100 percent trustworthy, but the scale can tip in one direction or the other. For one person, Greg canceling is in such contradiction to their own values that the scale tips toward untrustworthy. For another person, the quality of the time they have when they are together is more important, and so the scale tips in the other direction toward trustworthy.

Moreover, we must come to understand that trust is not an all-or-nothing deal. We can trust someone in a few minor ways and still enjoy them. We may have others in our lives who we trust more deeply and for a greater number of things. It is important to move away from the trap of thinking that each person in our life must be trusted at the same level.

Once we have developed a healthy trust meter, we will be able to determine where someone falls on this spectrum based on which commitments we come to believe they will keep and relate to them accordingly.

Oh, and the bad news is…
In case you missed it, there is no such thing as a 100 percent trustworthy person, which means there is no guarantee that people will not let us down, hurt us, or behave terribly.

But, the good news is…
We do not have to judge the person as a whole and give them a badge of trustworthy honor. Instead, we can prioritize our beliefs, values, and intentions, and judge to see if the person can commit to those things.

You see, trusting another person is not about saying “You’re good, you’re safe”—it is about saying “I know that, in these areas, I can count on you, and I acknowledge and understand the areas where I can’t.” If we continue striving to prove that someone is “good,” then, as soon as they show a flaw, we will cut them off, deem them untrustworthy, and continue our cycle of being closed off and disconnected.

By the way, this also applies when thinking about our own commitments and trustworthiness!

REFLECTION
1. On a scale of 1-10 (1 never; 10 too easily), how would you rate your willingness to trust others?
2. What has been the impact on your life of not being able to trust others?
3. I can trust myself if I keep my commitments to …. even if I am unable to commit in other ways.
4. I can trust a person if they keep their commitments to …. even if they are unable to commit in other ways.

Next week Rachel will conclude her 3 Part Series with insight on the issue of “Abandonment”.

Rachel Grant is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching and is a Trauma Recovery & Relationship Coach. She is also the author of BeyondSurviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse. With her support, clients learn to identify and break patterns of thought and behavior that keep them from recovering from past sexual abuse or making changes in their relationships.

Rachel holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. With this training in human behavior and cognitive development, she provides a compassionate and challenging approach for her clients while using coaching as opposed to therapeutic models. Rachel is a member of the International Coach Federation & San Francisco Coaches.

Learn more at http://www.rachelgrantcoaching.com


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Learn To Trust Yourself

I am honored to present the first of three articles from my friend, author and all-around amazing person, Rachel Grant! Rachel will be talking about matters of “Trust” and “Abandonment”. These are topics that all of us as survivors of abuse can benefit. Please be sure to check in over the next three weeks. I promise you, she will provide insight and guidance to help. I know because she has helped me already.

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Learn to Trust Yourself

Many survivors struggle with trust. It is not surprising given that our fundamental trust in another person was shattered as a result of abuse. In fact, it is hard for some survivors to remember ever trusting anyone.

When I first thought about trusting others, I felt a huge knot in my stomach. I did not want to rely on the integrity or character of another person. After all, I had relied on the character of someone, and he abused me. I also had a very hard time believing that people would not always leave, let me down, or harm me. I was in a terrible loop of being out to prove that no one could be trusted, and I was succeeding.
There are a couple of layers involved when we think about trust: defining trust, trusting ourselves, trusting others and determining who is trustworthy, and, the biggie, embracing vulnerability. For today, we’re just going to think about trusting ourselves.

As we think about trust, we often focus on determining if a person is trustworthy or not. To be sure, this is very important. However, trusting yourself is actually the first step! If you do not have the confidence that you can make good decisions, judge others with wisdom and clarity, and set the boundaries that are necessary when others violate your trust, then thinking about trusting others will prove to be an empty and meaningless endeavor.

To begin trusting ourselves, we need to figure out the answer to one very important question:

I do not trust myself because …

Once we identify the beliefs that are holding us back from trusting ourselves, we then need to do the work to challenge these beliefs.

As in all things, start small. Setting a goal that focuses on just one area where you want to begin learning to trust yourself is a good place to begin. I also encourage you to read more about challenging false beliefs directly using a few simple steps.

Too often we strive to be open to others, to trust, but find ourselves pulling away, making a mess of things, or being hurt by our choices. If you find yourself over and over again struggling to trust others, it is possible that your focus needs to be shifted from outward interactions to inward reflection and growth.
Being grounded in who you are, confident in your ability to make good decisions, and able to set and keep boundaries are critical components of trusting others.
Next week, I’ll share with you some thoughts on defining trust in a new light and learning to trust others.

REFLECTION

1. On a scale of 1-10 (1 never; 10 too easily), how would you rate your ability to trust yourself?
2. In what areas of life do you trust yourself to make good choices?
3. In what areas of life do you doubt your ability to make good choices?

Next week Rachel will present Part II – “Learn To Trust Others”

Rachel Grant is the owner and founder of Rachel Grant Coaching and is a Trauma Recovery & Relationship Coach. She is also the author of BeyondSurviving: The Final Stage in Recovery from Sexual Abuse. With her support, clients learn to identify and break patterns of thought and behavior that keep them from recovering from past sexual abuse or making changes in their relationships.

Rachel holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. With this training in human behavior and cognitive development, she provides a compassionate and challenging approach for her clients while using coaching as opposed to therapeutic models. Rachel is a member of the International Coach Federation & San Francisco Coaches.

Learn more at http://www.rachelgrantcoaching.com.


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The Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Kids Consent, Ages 1-21

As I wrote in an earlier column, there is no such thing as a child being too young to talk about sex. It’s all about being age appropriate. Education can help prevent tragedies. Today I am posting an article from my dear friend Joanna Schroeder and her colleagues at The Good Men Project. They are, Julie Gills, Jamie Utt and Alyssa Royse. Every parent should read this article.

http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/


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The new Pope MUST work to Stop and Prevent Child Abuse within his church

Please read and take to heart…how many more children will you allow to be defiled before you take a stand?


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Rape by any other name is still Rape.

I was sitting on the patio having my morning Coca-Cola, when I came across the most disturbing article title, “Is it Rape or Incest? Giving Abuse a Politically Acceptable Name”. I didn’t think I’d ever heard of a politically acceptable name for abuse. Have you?

I was compelled to read on. The author went on to say, “RAPE. In any other realm outside of a family member would be referred to by its justified name, rape. My daughter was raped at age 3. I don’t call it incest, I call it what it is, rape. Because it was done by a very trusted family member doesn’t change what happened. The act is the same. Whether it was a family member or complete stranger, rape is still rape. Being raped by someone in your family doesn’t make it less of a crime.”

Being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this got me to thinking about the other monikers associated with—any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person—as defined by Webster’s as Rape. Some of the names we associate with it are, “Date-Rape”, “Molestation”, “Statutory Rape”, “Despoilment”, and I even used one when describing what happened to me as a little boy, “Abuse”.

What makes us want to alter the name depending on the circumstances of the act? Is it to make us, as the victims of crime, feel less ashamed or dirty? Good luck with that. I can tell you that won’t work. Is it to make us as individuals feel less threatened as we consider “what happens elsewhere, NIMBY”? Or is it to make us as a society feel less of a failure for not protecting our most precious resource, our children.

Whatever the rationale, none of it matters because none of it works or is justified. As the author of the article and I discussed on her blog, Rape is Rape. Period. And just because no penetration occurs, if someone takes away the sexual innocence of a child, it is still and also rape. As I said in response to her post and she agreed, we must quit calling things by what is “socially acceptable” and call a spade a spade. Shouldn’t we cease from labelling these crimes as date-rape, statutory rape or any other watered-down version of the harsh reality? It’s ALL rape. Shouldn’t we do all we can to prevent rape in the first place and to support all survivors of all sorts of this criminal act.

Ah, therein lies the rub. To DO something by its definition requires ACTION. And that’s a tough pill to swallow, especially with our busy schedules. Breakfast and lunches to fix for multiple kids, soccer practices and piano lessons, conference calls to Europe and Asia, and on and on…where on earth will we find the time? Want to know when? When, God forbid, it happens to one of ours. It seems as only then do we realize how important raising awareness is, because “if we had only known; and we sure don’t want anyone else to go through this”. Here’s an idea from a really smart guy. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” – Frederick Douglass said that some time ago, and it’s still true today. Let’s prevent rape before it happens.

Don’t know how? Take a look online and see how many groups out there for survivors of Rape, Domestic Violence, Childhood Sexual Abuse there are…trust me when I say, there is no end to the lists of organizations. Join one and help be a part of the solution.

That’s just one man’s opinion.
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References:

http://www.theemmafoundation.org/1/post/2013/02/is-it-rape-or-incest-giving-abuse-a-politically-acceptable-name.html

Webster’s Dictionary