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Zebra
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Originally Posted By: hollyelise
I don't really know how to describe it, but in the space of a few hours i had many significant realizations, and the result was my fear was gone. I was no longer limited. Boom. Just like that. It was like being unchained and set free.



Originally Posted By: das
You mean- you broke all the shackles on one day in a jiffy and began living life?


It is possible, you see?
This is what I have been trying to tell you. And now two people are telling you it is possible.


Is't that wonderful news?

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That is surely wonderful news.

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Yes, das. That is true. And unfortunately i lost it after a couple of months... but only because some very unusual and challenging things happened following it, that were very rare occurrances. But YES YES YES.... spontaneous healing does happen sometimes, and complete healing happens more often than we realize, and healing CAN occur sometimes without pain. You never know. For me, someone sent me some photographs one day, and they resonated with me and caused insight, and it changed my life that quickly. Any one of us could wake up tomorrow and be free of our personal shackles. Or... maybe it will take a little improvement each day. Either is possible.

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Hi Tami, ...and to others in this thread...

I had to think at length how I wished to respond to your question and comments. Thank you kindly for your sympathy. I do not feel I need sympathy. I�m not saying that with any ill feeling, I just don�t feel I need it, or particularly welcome it. That was the past, and yes, I have a few hangups from it, but my life is not bad. It�s just something that happened... I�ll make it more clear why I feel this way later in this post.

Tami, you suggested an imagery of a tree being pruned in it�s prime. This actually startled me a little and I had a slight aversion to it. I thought about it a long time. I could see plainly, that you meant it in appreciation, and you were very kind to add that we have gone beyond our previous glory. I�m not sure I agree with that, but I appreciate the encouragement.

But back to the imagery... I kept thinking about it. There was some lesson there for me, I knew, because of my reaction. I knew instinctively, it is not an image I wish to accept for myself. And then I remembered when I was seeing a therapist shortly after the mess with my marriage breaking up. She had also given me an image... she had told me that many of the things I experienced were identical to what a few prisoners of war have experienced to break them down and indoctrinate them. Though kindly meant, it stuck in my head for a long time and became something like a badge. You see, as strange as it may seem, it is not at all uncommon for a survivor to take pride in what has happened to them. Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize it�s not healthy to do so. Some survivors will even compete with a sort of �I�ve been through worse than anybody,� kind of argument and pull it out as authority. But they don�t see it�s not actually a distinction you wish to have. It�s like saying, �I�m dying the fastest and in more agony!!!�... well okay then, you win the prize!!! I learned eventually that I don�t wish to compete in such a game, because anyone who plays it, loses.

Back to the imagery to help explain... when the therapist told me I�d been through similar experiences as some prisoners... it shocked me. I could even see it because of the specifics she pointed out. But eventually I saw that the concept and connection did not help me, rather it hindered my healing and encouraged a limited self-image. The imagery she offered was formidable, and it became an excuse. And excuses are very sneaky in everyone�s lives whether you are a survivor or not. We usually don�t recognize them as excuses, but they limit us, and prevent us from going beyond. They sound very reasonable at the time!!! I had a sort of, �I�ve been through too much to ever heal� attitude for a while. I could convince others of it too! And what you believe, you get. This I think, is what Alexandra was trying to say. So eventually I decided to discard the imagery of �being like a prisoner of war survivor,� and it was then that I started to make much better progress in my healing. This is something though, that each person has to decide for themselves when they are ready. You can hint to someone that the option is there, but if you suggest that they can overcome it and they are not ready to hear it, likely they will turn on you with anger. We�ve just seen this.

Anyway, if I may again use myself as an example, there was a point in my path where I had to make a critical choice. Did I want to identify with the trauma experiences and the very notion of being a �survivor� (a term which identifies us as a person IN RELATION to trauma, rather than identifies our own self), or did I actually wish to heal? Because at a certain point in each person�s path, the paths separate! You can either choose to keep identifying yourself in relation to your awful experiences, or you can choose to heal further. I decided I wanted to actually heal... and all the way if I can. This is not the same as denial. You don't forget or bury your feelings, you just change your focus.

Starting on the path where you leave it behind was extremely hard. I had to quit bringing it up and talking about it often. That alone was a challenge for me at first! I counted the HOURS I was successful, I�m not kidding you. It was like breaking an addiction. I had to quit blaming anyone for what happened to me, even my abusers. I had to quit using my unhappy experiences for a reason as to why I got overwhelmed, why I found it hard to do things and found more things scary than before, why I had emotional outbursts, why I treated others badly, or why I couldn�t do anything. I had to take responsibility for it myself in order to be empowered. That�s hard, trust me. So when I see someone who is not able to do it yet, I can feel compassion for them. I know what they are up against. I don�t feel they have failed or done anything wrong, or are less of a person, or don�t have wisdom to offer, they just aren�t at that point in their path yet. Some people never get there... but at any rate it is something they will have to decide for themselves. There is no way to cross the line without voluntarily choosing to do so.

In my life I have been very fortunate to have known quite a few people with severe �handicaps,� and I have learned much from them. I know a woman who has been blind her whole life who not only is one of the best knitters I know, but who also has done things like been a tour guide for sighted people through Europe. Mind you she is COMPLETELY blind. I also had a friend in college who was working on her second masters degree who had somewhat advanced Multiple Sclerosis. She was wheelchair bound and had a prosthetic bladder, etc. and sometimes she could not make class because she felt too ill, but she told me, �You just have to work around your bad days and not let it stop you and not make too many excuses for it.� Long ago my sister had a fianc� who had a brother with very severe birth defects. He was a quadrapelegic who also could not speak. His mother discovered early that they could communicate with eye blinks and they developed a complex method communication. Turns out he�s a genius, and when computer technology advanced, he was able to communicate through computers, became an engineer, and hold a full time job as a designer of engineering parts. Stephen Hawkings is another example we�ve all heard of. I mention this because they, and countless others around us with significant challenges, all hold one thing in common: they never use their handicap as an excuse for why they can�t do things, but instead find ways to do things anyway, despite �logical� reasons why they can�t succeed or should instead stay home and feel sorry for themselves.

So... if someone has been in a wheelchair for a long time (or has any other challenge), telling them you are sorry for them may not always be the most appropriate thing. If you have challenges, and most people have challenges of one sort or another, you can reach a point where drawing attention to loss is ... well, it just get�s old, and it�s not helpful to dwell on it. You want to get to the point where it is NOT the most relevant thing in your life. It�s not always the best thing to encourage self-pity, pity, drama, or belief in limitation.

And having lived through trauma and abuse is really no different. It�s just a handicap of a different sort. I disagree with patience�s assertion that no one ever gets over it. I�ve known many who have gotten well beyond it and thrive, and who have even turned their experiences into valuable experiences and actions that they would not have had without the original hardship. Just ask my friend S, who also has MS by the way, and who said that her rape was the best thing that ever happened to her because of what she learned from it and how it transformed her life! Of course, she�s a little kooky laugh ... but if talked to her, you�d understand what she means. And how far you go in healing has absolutely nothing to do with how awful the trauma was that you experienced, or how prolonged. All of us, actually, probably know survivors who have healed well, and we just don�t know that they are survivors, because they DON�T bring it up often, they don�t carry their anger before them, they don�t obsess, they don�t crusade, they don�t complain or provide excuses as to why they can�t do something, they don't try to attract sympathy, they don�t attack others, etc. It�s just no longer the most significant things in their lives because they successfully worked through what they needed to and succeeded in changing their focus and the meaning of their lives.

Sometimes I have known people upwards of ten years before I learned what they survived. My ex mother in law was an example of that. I knew her 20 years before I knew she was a survivor of incest. Who�d have guessed... no one. She had healed that much and forgiven her abuser. I also think of my friend D... who survived Stalag 17 !!! The camp was nearly as bad as the death camps of WWII. I know from D�s daughter that he woke up screaming every night for many years because his nightmares were so bad. But D did not become hardened by his experiences, and that�s what I loved most about him. He married after the war, a beautiful, deeply loving marriage that lasted over 50 years until his wife died. He raised two beautiful, happy, and brilliant children, one of whom is a close friend of mine now. He and his wife started a preschool that helped abused children adjust to more normal lives. He was loving, and he helped me. And never once did I hear him make an excuse because he�d been through hell. If anything, he felt it gave him greater responsibility to do the right thing and be strong for others. There are many others I could mention, too, who have healed beautifully and moved on.

And if you are a survivor reading this, I would not take as a role model anyone who has not yet healed sufficiently. Find people who ARE doing well, and ask them for guidance, because any one of us can only take you as far as we ourselves have gone. So be sure that we are somewhere where you wish to go, before you heed our advice.

I somewhat regret that I brought up my own personal experiences earlier in this thread, because the result was sympathy. I can only speak for myself, but I am beyond that. I don�t need to be encouraged to feel sorry for myself or use my experiences as excuses... trust me on this... haha... I feel sorry for myself far too often as it is!!! laugh I�m in the �I need a kick in the butt sometimes� stage. laugh laugh laugh laugh I welcome people... when you hear me making an excuse or feeling sorry for myself or dwelling on the past, you can tell me to �get over it.� But that�s just me. I can�t speak for anyone else because other people have different needs at this time.

I have many more thoughts on what has been brought up in this thread, but I want to reiterate one more time... there are definite stages to healing, and what is good advice or help for a person at one stage, may not be good advice for another at a different stage. Please don�t get yourself tied up in a bunch about it when you say the wrong thing, or have the wrong thing said to you. smile That�s going to happen sometimes, that�s just life! We�re not always understood, and none of us is perfect... all of us put our foot in our mouth some times. Only concern yourself when someone is actually unhealthy to be around because they are abusive or so out of balance themselves that it�s pulling you off balance. Yes, there are a few malicious people in the world, but most people aren�t (I don�t know of anyone here who is, though some have taken a beating on their character lately), we just make mistakes, sometimes BIG mistakes, or we're clumsy in what we say or our own shortcomings come out and sometimes we really say the wrong thing and tick someone off and set them spinning. But the idea of being forgiving and understanding of others, is so that we in turn can be forgiven and understood, when we ourselves are not at our best. It helps us all when we don�t make a mountain out of a mole hill, or over react when others are trying to make a mountain out of something.

I would suggest that if anyone wishes to help someone or offer advice, try to take your cue from them as to what they need at this time, or even ask them outright what they need. Sometimes people are in a stage where they have to get it out and rant and be angry and scream about righteousness and injustice, sometimes they need a lot of love and validation, sometimes they need and are ready to hear advice, sometimes not, sometimes they even need a kick in the pants and be told it�s time to get over it and quit making excuses. laugh (me!) Rarely does anyone need to hear there is only one way, or that YOU are the only person who has the right answer, no matter what that way is or how right it is, or have your views forced on them and on others with differing opinions and advice. Everyone here has valuable things to say.

Peace to all.

h

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In the early '80s, I went through a year of therapy myself with a wonderful therapist, and because of his guidance and that of a couple of strong and positive mentors and friends, I released the majority of my past that was interfering with my having the life I wanted. I was thinking about all that last night, in fact, as I read some of the forum posts. So many people are in pain now from things that happened long ago, and yet those things are practically crippling these people in their present lives. And I wondered if most of them are here to find the answers as to how to get past that. Most everyone here is genuinely seeking happiness and peace. And what I discovered for myself (and put into my little self help book that I wrote) is that happiness is actually in us already--we often just don't know how to let it "be" part of us, to let it "out" of its prison of misery.

I especially liked what you just said here Holly about making the choice whether you wanted to be identified with your past trauma or to fully heal. In fact, I liked everything you said and couldn't have put it better myself. What my therapist made me realize was to be caught up in the swamp of my life's past was to live in continued darkness, and he helped me step onto dry land, tilt my face up toward the bright sun, and smile. And when I did that, I connected with the happiness inside me. It was a feeling of freedom and lightness of being I will never forget and that I always carry with me. Your post made me remember that process and be able to savor those moments of reaching clarity and joy all over again.

While our pasts are part of us in whatever way we choose to let them be, the power of the past to affect our present lives can be diminished completely. That's the real choice: Do we want to let ourselves be dominated by the dark thing(s) that happened many years ago, or do we want to live as who we are today, in brightness?

My therapist told me to look at what I wanted for my life and to move toward that. And that's what I've done ever since smile

I have to say I am so proud to be part of bellaonline and to meet all of you. I feel such great love for you all when you share your deepest fears and pain, when you open yourselves up the way you do. I want to hug and smile at each of you, to tell you nobody had the right to do anything bad ever to you, and whatever happened, it wasn't anything you brought on yourself. There's a moment in the book SYBIL when she reaches a key realization about her past, in which her own insane mother abused her horribly to the point that she split into several personalities, and Sybil says "How could she do that to ME?" It is a question that says it all, in my opinion--how could anyone do that to any of YOU? You didn't deserve it--you just happened to be in the wrong place at the proverbial wrong time.

And yet, what Holly says is also so true: There is good in everything bad. In my own situation right now, for example, the illness my husband has been experiencing has had many blessings. Had he not gotten sick, the doctor wouldn't have discovered that my husband had two underlying medical problems that as of yet still had no obvious symptoms. Without surgery to fix these things, my husband would have faced what his doctor called a "fatal event" within the next few months to years. Another blessing: my husband is self-employed. He thought if he went into the hospital, he'd be out of business. But his three wonderful sons have taken on the task, on top of their own full-time jobs and active families, of running my husband's business, and we're still able to pay our bills and keep food on the table.

Everything that happened to me in my strange life has made me who and what I am today, and I am grateful for that and joyful to be here with you all.

Much love,
Barbara

Last edited by Barbara_Sloan; 06/01/07 09:02 PM.
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To all,

I have posted only from my own knowledge and experience on these forums.

Hollyelise contacted me by PM and stated that she was concerned that my post in the Self Development Forum in the 'Self Pity' thread would be harmful to Das and others. It has never been my intention to do anything but support other survivors.

Holly also felt I should have posted my comments privately to Alexandra, and that personal comments should not have been made on the forum. However, I would point out that my post was not the first to become personal. In the post preceeding my response, Alexandra had said this:

Quote:
Sadly - in every sense of the word - I am signing off now.
Both on Forum and through PMs and personal correspondence.

thus ending all communication with me, even though we had been friends, and corresponding since the time when she lived in France. So a private response to her was not possible.

As for being personal, please look at this comment below which was suggesting that I do not want to heal:

Quote:
Try substituting the words 'can't' for 'won't'.
That will describe it better.


This denies all that I have achieved in my life and makes it count for nothing.

So, to all of you who have all the right answers, I bow in homage, and will cease as from now to be a destructive influence on others here.

I wish you all good fortune.

Patience.


Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams


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Patience, clearly you are hurting. I am sorry.

Barbara

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Patience, you are a great source of encouragement for me.

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Das, you are an inspiration as well. I've been meaning to ask you something: What are some of the best things about your life? I'd be honored if you'd share that with us. smile

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Tami S Offline OP
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Hello Everyone,

This has been a huge learning experience for me since my take on all of this has seemed to be a completely different perspective!

However, I can see my words have been misunderstood and I realize I must be more careful to fully explain myself. I've been talking in a way that I would talk to my closest friend, but she speaks my language and knows the history of where I'm coming from. I do apologize for any adverse effects and trust there is a reason for everything.

Those who know me in person know I have a huge heart, but I'm just not one to see victims around me. I see strong and beautiful women who are in the process of recognizing their true value and ability.

Patience, when you shared your story, of course I read what your diagnosis was. You didn't need to remind me. I just didn't SEE it when I thought of you. I didn't define you by it. I only saw your glory. (Perhaps in my optimism, I also misunderstood what you were trying to say). On the other hand, when you said more, you only solidified what I saw.

In all honesty, I did not feel sorry for you either Holly, neither did I feel pity. I truly cared about what happened, but I was conscious of choosing my words so that I didn't dwell on the bad of what happened. Yes, I'm a sensitive person and I felt sadness because something you said hit me close to home personally. However, I then just felt the usual hope of how our past does not determine our future (At least I don't let mine determine my future anymore).

I have a list of hard knocks myself, but very few people know the details. They usually look at me and think I've never experienced anything traumatic. They're very wrong, but it is a testimony to healing when someone thinks my life has been perfect.

I so agree with what Holly says! I am actually thankful for much of what has happened (I can't quite say "all" yet). I would never choose to go through all the pain and suffering again, but I'm thankful for how it has made me grow.

I believe everything happens for some kind of purpose and Holly, I'm glad you shared what you did. Thank you because it touched something in me personally and strengthened my resolve to move ahead.

You know, I hesitated about the tree being pruned comment, but only because I couldn't think of a more beautiful analogy at that moment. I should have fully explained that I was thinking of a tree or vine that gets pruned. After it heals, the glory that is within it comes forth in the form of greater fruit. As it matures, its fruit is even greater. When I was reading other forums, I saw evidence of this fruit and felt blessed. It just seemed like a different kind of expression or your glory. (I'm very sorry that was an awful thought for you, Holly!)

When I spoke of surpassing glory, I didn't mean that your life is that much better now than it was then. I was talking of the inner self. Now that you've pointed it out, I guess that was presumptuous of me. I don't know you enough to know that. I only know I was inspired by what you wrote.

Patience, thank you also for sharing what you did. I haven't read the "self-pity thread" so I don't know what you're referring to. On this thread, I see your words as evidence of how we can make a difference in this world not matter what life has thrown at us.

I have experienced a little of the type of epiphany that Holly shared. I wish mine was as hugely freeing that all the shackles of fear were gone, but most of them are. I DO feel I have a new lease on life. I feel vibrantly alive! I live in expectation of every day. It's like I've been released to be me. It happened when I realized I just had to let all of me come out. Who I've always wanted to be has been there inside of me all along. I've stopped fighting and simply accepted that I have my own glory to share with the world.

Yes, I make mistakes. There are so many things to learn, but even in the learning I'm not stressing about it any more.

Love and Peace to you All!

P.S. Barbara there is so much warmth in your messages above. It is a pleasure to meet you.







Tami is an Executive Leadership and Business Women's Coach. She invites women to use their genius in business in today's wild economy. http://www.UlimateBusinessCamp.com
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