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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September 11, 2014 – Big Changes on a Big Day in Our Collective History

Once again, we were given the honor of speaking out on behalf of both drug addicts and survivors of childhood sexual abuse in recovery. We discuss the struggles of both, the ability to find a healing path and what to do in those moments of feeling “stuck“.

When you have a moment, please take some time to listen in on this invaluable information that I know can help begin a transformative time in your life if you have challenges with one or both.

The dialogue between myself and Misa Leonessa Garavaglia brought up some great points toward finding a healing path. Please do listen and let us know if we can help.

Healing Addiction, Part 1- Addiction and Child Sexual Abuse

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beyondabuseradio/2014/09/12/healing-addiction-part-1-child-sexual-abuse-and-addiction


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The Abused Addict: CSA info too important to miss!

Radio Show Recording with David Pittman and Rachel Grant – January 29th, 2014

The Abused Addict: One Man’s Journey of Recovery from Sexual Abuse

Discovering the Correlation Between Childhood Sexual Abuse and Substance Abuse/Addiction

We cover not only abuse and addiction, but also issues with sexuality, access to counseling, sexual predators grooming kids for abuse, churches that protect sexual predators, creating support groups in your local areas and so much more! Please set aside some time to listen to what I genuinely believe is valuable information for both survivors of childhood sexual abuse and those that love them.

Copyright © 2014 Together We Heal, Inc.


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3 Steps to Let Go of the Pain of Sexual Abuse

This December 18th, at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET, I have the honor of facilitating a free teleseminar with my friend, colleague and fellow advocate, Rachel Grant.

 

Do you feel worthless, undeserving, unfixable, or unlovable? Are you ready to let go of the pain of sexual abuse?

If you are beyond sick and tired of feeling broken and burdened by the past, this 90 minute teleseminar is for you. You will be taught the three steps you need to take in order to let go of the pain of childhood sexual abuse. Rachel will also share with you her secret to becoming a ‘beyond survivor’.

You will learn:

• Why sexual abuse is akin to an unhealed wound and the steps required to healing that wound.
• How your brain processes experiences and how this affects your thinking, feelings, and behavior.
• To challenge the false beliefs that keep you disconnected from your genuine self.
• To develop new ways of thinking in order to shift your focus, listen to yourself, and to use affirmations that really work.
• 3 steps, rooted in science, which will lead you out of the pain of abuse.

 

Sign up for this free teleseminar at:

http://rachelgrantcoaching.com/brokentobeyond

If you are not able to join us live, go ahead and register and you will receive the recording.

This call is perfect for you if:

You are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and are frustrated because it seems nothing you do is helping.

You desire to reconnect to your genuine self in order to move on with your life and be the person you were meant to be.

 

It is my hope and desire for you to be able to make radical and amazing changes as you take back your life and realize your ability to make powerful choices about who you are and how you live.

Please don’t miss the opportunity to join us and gain this invaluable information. As I mentioned, Rachel is not only a colleague, she is also my friend. I know how much she has helped me and I know she can help you too.

 

Register: http://www.rachelgrantcoaching.com/brokentobeyond


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Grooming – How Do Sexual Predators Get Into Our Lives?

After posting my story of childhood sexual abuse, I was asked an important question by a concerned parent. How did this monster get into your life?

The answer is both simple and complex. The easy part is that they don’t have the appearance of a monster. They don’t look like some James Bond or Cartoon character villain, with beady eyes, horns coming out of their heads, or a big neon sign saying, “STAY AWAY, PEDOPHILE HERE!” Sadly, they almost always look like everyone one else. The gentle minister, the encouraging coach, the neighbor always willing to lend a hand or the family member who seems to be there just when you need them.

And this is where the complexity comes in. How do you distinguish genuine care from pure evil? While there are no set in stone answers, there are some clues to look for and ways to evaluate what is going on. And though nothing is fool-proof, I hope it’s at least a start for you to help figure out friend from foe.

One of the most frightening things about pedophiles/sexual predators is that they seem so “normal”. They are notoriously friendly, nice, kind, engaging and like-able. And they target their victims, often insinuating themselves into that child’s life through their family, school, house of worship, sports, and hobbies. But don’t ever forget, pedophiles are professional con-artists and are experts at getting children and families to trust them. They will smile at you, look you right in the eye and make you believe they are trustworthy.

So let’s first define exactly what grooming is and then we will go into the steps involved.

Erika Lyn Smith, of the “Missing And Exploited Children Site”, gives a thorough explanation of what we are talking about.

The act of grooming a child involves spending time, energy, and money to make a child and even the parent or parents feel comfortable with the relationship. Only after a trusting relationship is established will the child predator start to become more intrusive and to test the boundaries of the relationship by pushing limits. These violations may include hugging, kissing, tickling, wrestling, and invading a child’s privacy while showering, dressing or toileting.

Initially a pedophile will begin to violate the physical boundaries, by accidentally touching the child through his or her clothes to see what kind of reaction he or she receives. If a child or parent questions the action the predator will likely back off and regain the trust of the child or parents before proceeding.

By befriending the parent or parents, the pedophile gains the trust of everyone in the family. Children are less likely to tell when the relationship turns sexual if the adult is someone he or she knows personally or is a friend of mom or dads. In addition, mom and dad may be less likely to listen to a child when it involves a good friend of the family.

Single parents, especially mother’s will be looking for a positive male role model if there is no father involved. Single mothers are more likely to accept offers from a child’s coach or school for help when offered. All parents needs to be vigilant when it comes to allowing someone access to his or her child, and question friendships or relationships that take up a lot of a child’s free time.

Signs that a pedophile may be grooming your child include:
• Telling a child, he or she is a “special” friend
• Bringing a child special mementos or gifts
• Talking to a child about adult issues like sex or marriage problems
• Giving a child alcohol, cigarettes or drugs
• Inviting a child to spend the night or go camping

A former F.B.I. agent named Kenneth V. Landing wrote about 5 steps he identified as the general process most sexual predators use in grooming children to be their ext victims. Below you will find this listed.

Stage 1: Identifying a Possible Victim
Although pedophiles differ in their “type” regarding age, appearance and gender, all pedophiles will look for a victim who seems in some way vulnerable.

Stage 2: Collecting Information
The next step is for the pedophile to collect as much information on the targeted victim as possible. This is most commonly done through casual conversations with both the child and the parents or caretaker.

Stage 3: Filling a Need
Once the individual has the information he needs, he then becomes part of the child’s life by filling a need. If the victim is poor, for example, the pedophile will provide him/her with expensive toys. If the victim is lonely, the pedophile will act as a friend.

Stage 4: Lowering Inhibitions
The pedophile will then start to lower the child’s inhibitions concerning sexual matters. He may come up with games or activities that involve getting undressed, make sexual comments or show the child pornographic images or pictures.

Stage 5: Initiating the Abuse
At this final stage, the pedophile begins to sexually abuse the child.

Another technique used by these predators is called the 4 “F’s”.

Friendship, Fantasy, Fear and Force.

“Friendship” is built through nurturing a relationship through bonding. The adult will usually give the child gifts, take them on special outings and show them a lot of attention.

Once a child trusts an adult, the adult can influence the child’s attitude regarding sexual behavior. Grooming may include introducing sexual content to the child as an example of what the perpetrator desires and to give the impression that the depicted acts are acceptable. If the child thinks that sex between children and adults is ok, it’s easier for the pedophile to victimize the child.

Then they will introduce “Fantasy”. They will manipulate the child with a false sense of security. They will pay a lot of attention to the child’s problems and personal matters and offer advice and counseling. They will tell the child how much they love them and that they want to have a long term, loving relationship with them.

Once the child has opened up to the pedophile, they will begin to instill “Fear” by threatening to share the child’s secrets with their classmates or their parents. Sometimes they will even threaten the life or safety of the child or of their family and friends It’s all a manipulation tactic to get the child to do what the pedophile wants them to do.

Ultimately, the pedophile uses “Force” to sexually exploit the child.

While these are by no means the only ways sexual predators work their way into ours and our children’s lives, they are at least a beginning place for parents to be on the lookout. The more information you have and the better educated you become, the more you will be able to best protect your kids.

Knowledge truly is power and we cannot give over our power to these heinous criminals. They will use every trick in the book so you have to know what they’re doing. Even more frightening, pedophiles and sexual predators work together to help each other figure out ways to gain access to our kids. Don’t believe it, read this article about a 170 page, “How To” publication put together by and for adults who prey on innocent children. They are making a concerted effort to help each other so we have to be more vigilant, more active and tireless in our work to combat these predators.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/18124513/underage-grooming-guide

I hope this is a good start on helping you to protect your children. God knows I wish my family had been told this when I was a child. Maybe they would have been able to stop my abuse before it began. So please take a page from our family history book, educate yourselves and talk with your kids.

—–

References:

Kenneth V. Lanning, Special Agent, F.B.I.

Erika Lyn Smith

America’s Most Wanted

WBTV

Copyright © 2013 Together We Heal


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Another Child Commits Suicide After Sexual Assault and Online Humiliation.

Since I know the people reading this blog are folks that care about children, care about survivors of CSA, and want to do something about it. I feel the need to let you know about ANOTHER child who has committed suicide after being sexually assaulted and humiliated online. Read, and do what y’all do best…take action based on what you know is the right thing to do since law enforcement doesn’t have the balls, courage and moral fortitude to do something about it!

It’s up to US; survivors of CSA, loved ones of survivors and others who actually give a damn about children losing their lives. We can no longer depend on the so-called justice system getting justice for these children. Bless you all for doing the right thing!

http://www.examiner.com/article/rehtaeh-parsons-17-kills-herself-after-being-raped-and-bullied


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When It Comes To Love, 3 Is The Magic Number!

I have often wondered why so many things in history, our world and in spirituality seem to revolve around the number three. This is NOT a discussion of theology, simply a series of analogous citations for emphasis. Neither am I a numerologist, I just came to a deeper understanding of human nature through a series of questions that brought me to this conclusion. So with an open spirit, indulge me and I believe you will find some truth of your own.

– God’s attributes are three: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.
– God sent three messengers to Abraham.
– Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
– Jesus Christ was resurrected on the 3rd day.
– The Holy Trinity: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
– In Muslim devotional rites, certain formulas are repeated three times.
– A devout Muslim tries to make a pilgrimage to all three holy cities in Islam: Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.

Moving away from religion we find it’s significance elsewhere in the natural world, science and math, language, even how we quantify our own time and lifespan with the number of three.

– Thought, word, and deed, complete the sum of human capability.
– Three propositions are necessary to complete the simplest form of argument–the major premiss, the minor, and the conclusion.
– Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter–mineral, vegetable, and animal.
– Time is divided into three portions: The past, the present, and the future.
– We designate three phases of our existence: Birth, Life, and Death.

So I found it interesting one day when I learned that a three-legged chair, or stool, is more stable than a four-legged chair. A three-legged chair is guaranteed not to wobble, because the ends of its legs always form a plane. But why is that?

In Geometry, a plane may be considered as an infinite set of points forming a connected flat surface extending infinitely far in all directions. A plane has infinite length and infinite width. I know, I know, boring nerdy stuff, but IMMENSELY important because it deals with love!

In this number we have quite a new set of phenomena. We come to the first geometrical figure. Two straight lines cannot possibly enclose any space, or form a plane figure; neither can two plan surfaces form a solid. Three lines are necessary to form a plan figure; and three dimensions of length, breadth, and height, are necessary to form a solid. Hence three is the symbol of the cube–the simplest form of solid figure. As two is the symbol of the square, or plane contents (x2), so three is the symbol of the cube, or solid contents (x3).

Three, therefore, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.

I tell you this so you will understand there are quantifiable mathematical reasons for the “stability” or “completeness” of the number three, as well as ancient mysticism, spirituality and religion.

So, you ask, who cares? There is a very good reason. Do you want to have a better relationship with your spouse, partner, friends or coworkers? Then understand the importance of three. We are made up of three: our body, mind, and spirit. And without any one of those being whole, we are incomplete.

In our relationships, when we bond with others in all three areas, with these main areas being of common ground and goals, there is a much greater chance of success.

Body – Enjoy similar types of lifestyle, whether it be active or sedentary, staying at home or traveling, going for walks/bike rides or sitting inside watching movies.

Mind – Politically, socially compatible doesn’t mean agreeing on everything or believing exactly the same way, just that if it’s important to one it’s important to the other.

Spirit – Common faith or following. A similar set of values, principles or core belief structure.

When any one of these, or more, are sacrificed for the purpose of being in the company of another, the relationship, no matter how serious, will most likely fail.

In my life there have been moments where I so longed for the affection of another I would sacrifice one of these components. In one instance, I gave up all hope of having a spiritual connection with my girlfriend because she had no belief in a higher power. At no point growing up was she encouraged to seek out a divine of any kind. To the contrary, her mother told her it was for fools. So eventually, this lack of faith became our downfall. It’s in those trying times that we of faith tend to lean most heavily upon it, and when my significant other had none, we had no place to turn for support. The result was an utter collapse.

In another attempt for loving companionship, I gave up all of my own personal goals and ambitions to support hers. I got her though nursing college, had her on her way to a masters program, and then when I expressed my desire, even made plans to move forward with it, she called at 2 a.m. from the hospital she worked and said, “I’m not going to help you get your masters degree. I don’t love you anymore and I want a divorce.” It was clear afterword that she probably never really loved me, just used me to get what she wanted and when I no longer was willing to serve her purpose, I was discarded.

That being said, I’m not saying that opposites can’t attract. I have an amazing example of a lifelong love, 54 years to be exact, of two people who couldn’t have been more different. He was 36, she was 18 when they married. He was a yellow-dog democrat, she a diehard republican. He was career military, having served in the Army Air Corps, then the Air Force through WWII, Korea and as a Civilian Aid stateside during the Vietnam War. She was a bit of a rebel for her day, having had a child out of wedlock before my grandaddy came along. Scandalous for its time!

The end result was a marriage that lasted until my grandaddy passed at the age of 90. While they had their share of arguments, disagreements and outright fights (nothing physical mind you, only verbal), the one constant was their love for each other and all of us kids. Three girls, plus the girl my granny had before, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. We have more now, but that was our family population total at grandaddy’s funeral. And they showed us that love through self-sacrifice, setting an example of a positive work ethic and a never ending reminder to love one another.

The one thing I heard my grandaddy say over and over and over was to make sure to love your brothers and sisters, your cousins, aunts and uncles, and take care of each other, because one day that’s all you’ll have.

And that’s why we have the family bond we do today. And the relationships we have as well. That’s not to say there haven’t been some trial and error along the way. But when we had a misstep, they were right there to help pick us up, dust us off and see us on our way again. As he often said, there’s no harm in failing, only failing to try.

They loved their yard work, they were both up at the crack of dawn and early to bed. While politically polarized, they taught us the ability to debate your position while listening to what the other had to say. They both had a devout belief in an almighty and practiced not with lofty prayers and donations that added wings to church buildings. No, they built their faith within each and every one of the hearts of their children.

That is what I meant about having those THREE COMMON GROUNDS. The REAL stuff. The meat of the relationship. And they had that down pat. They had ideological differences but their ideals were the same. Their main goal was the same—to raise a loving family. And that doesn’t mean we always get along, but in the end, even in moments when we don’t necessarily like each other, we always love each other. And that’s the key.

To have that love, maintain that love and never quit on it. Quitting is easy, fighting for what’s good is challenging. But so worth it.

So work on something we get from a combination of ancient Greek philosophers and William Shakespeare, “Know thyself….and to thine own-self be true, thou canst then not be false to any man.” Once you do this you will find yourself in a position of stability, to truly know and love another. And then don’t quit when it gets tough. Use the example of my grandparents. What they had was solid, real, substantial, complete, and lasted their entire lives. They must have been doing something right!

——————————
References:

The Suda

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

E. W. Bullinger

The Holy Bible

The Quran

The Torah

MSgt. Eddie R. Pittman

Rabbi Dr. Greg Killian


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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