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About Paulabrave

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    Sibling Sexual Violence Survivor
  • Birthday 02/08/1967

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  1. This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: To help group members identify at least one safe resource or support. Thought for the Day: Learn to control experiences related to your abuse. Safe support groups and individuals are available for help Medical Support Discuss with your doctors various medications that may be helpful in the recovery process. There are medications that can help with anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. Personally monitor your own emotional states and keep your doctors and therapists informed of new experiences or changes. Emotional Support · Primary therapists can be a major source of emotional support. Survivors should be encouraged to choose therapists who are trustworthy, empathic, and consistent. Survivors need to arrange for a backup therapist in case the primary therapist is not available. · Can you identify at least one other person who can be trusted to discuss issues relevant to her abuse history? · Just because someone is a close friend or even a family member does not mean he/she is necessarily a safe person with whom to talk about abuse. Some therapists are also less able to discuss trauma than are others. Survivors need to learn whom they can trust and choose wisely. Empowerment Resources and people to whom survivors are referred should embrace a philosophy of empowerment and encourage survivors to increase control in their lives. Social Support In addition to primary therapists, other sources of potential aid might include: · Spiritual or religious community · Support groups · Online resources and support groups · Helpful individuals · Outpatient mental health services Wellness It is important to take responsibility to optimize your own health and wellness. · Regular preventive care and treatment for any physical health conditions. · Good sleep and hygiene · Learning about proper nutrition and eating habits · Avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs · Regular participation in exercise, relaxation, meditation, yoga, etc. Keeping Safe: Some Reminders: · Choose people you trust with whom to talk about your feelings, trauma, or abuse history. Unhelpful individuals may include those who are critical and unsupportive with respect to abuse and/or mental illness, those who pass judgment, those who do not want to hear or know about your history, and/or those who exploit you sexually, physically, financially, or emotionally. · Avoid dangerous situations, such as walking or driving alone late at night or going to isolated locations. · It is important to learn to control your memories. · It is essential to learn to "Say No" when needed to stay safe. · Avoid using harmful behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, self-mutilation, or suicide attempts to control unpleasant feelings. · Learn to recognize and respond appropriately to your personal signs of stress. · Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them or cope with them safely. · Have clear strategies in place for when you do not feel safe. · Use your list of resources to meet your own needs. The list should minimally include mental health services, rape crisis, emergency hospitals, victim services, and police. · Identify your own ways to stay safe. Try out different safe coping strategies to figure out what things work best for you.
  2. Controlling Trauma-Related Experiences

    This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: To identify at least one positive coping strategy for handling trauma-related experiences. Thought for the Day: Strategies needed by a child may not be useful to an adult. Learn to control experiences related to your abuse What should you do when you encounter uncomfortable, abuse-related experiences? Selecting strategies needs to be done in quiet, relaxed moments, not when actually in a trauma-related situation or when under other stress. The following is a list of strategies that have worked for other survivors to control unwanted body sensations, dissociation, and flashbacks or intrusive memories. Coping Strategies for Trauma-Related Experiences Flashbacks can be very intrusive and disturbing, but you can learn to control their rate and intensity. Floods of memories can be especially painful and should be controlled to the degree possible. Some strategies that have been used successfully include relaxation training, thought stopping, distraction techniques, and engaging in social activities with safe people. Remember that therapy is a safe place to explore memories and their meaning. Carry "safe items" with you. Find things that feel right to you, that ground you and give you comfort. Some people use special stones, squishy rubber balls, crystals, small books, tiny toys, or small puzzle games. An item should be something that soothes and that you can always carry with you. Some people make a safety sack or use a box to contain their safe items. You can make it from a small piece of cloth and piece of string, place your personal safe items in it, and carry it with you. Find items and symbols that ground you in the present, not the past. One person uses chocolate. She loves chocolate and keeps a picture of a Hershey's Kiss with her at all times. She also carries a picture of her beloved cat. When she feels she is losing control, she can focus on these very real images and re-ground herself. Make a list of things you associate with comfort and safety. Write down times, locations, or people that help you feel safe. Expand the list as you get new ideas. Identify and visualize a safe, calm place. Learn to clearly visualize it in your mind. Practice visualizing over time so when you need to use it to help you feel safe, you will know exactly what to do. Imagine a force field around you that no one can penetrate and that shields you from harm. Even the perpetrator cannot penetrate your safe area. This has been found particularly helpful for survivors who have trouble feeling safe at night. Write a statement, saying, or prayer that you find comforting on a piece of paper or card and carry it with you. Read it when you are stress-free and comfortable in order to reinforce its effect on you. Then, when you really need it, read it again! Keep your eyes open and focus on your surroundings. Closing your eyes often increases dissociation and/or allows sensations to overcome you. Identify objects in or describe your environment. Be specific and clear. Some people identify a series of 5 things, counting them on their fingers. Then they identify 4 things, then 3, then 2, then 1. If you are not re-grounded yet, start backward, 1 to 5. For example, I see a chair (1), the chair is brown (2), the wall is smooth (3), I see a corner (4), I smell perfume (5). Place both feet on the ground. Feel the firmness of the ground and your feet against it. Try to focus on being grounded, stable, and safe. Produce physical sensations such as rubbing your hands together, holding your forehead and back of your head between your hands, tapping, or massaging yourself. Wrap yourself in a blanket to feel contained and safe. If you are prone to self-injurious behavior, be sure to be careful not to do anything that will hurt you. Writing in a journal is a good way to begin to put your thoughts together about trauma. Use the same time of day to write and get into a pattern. Do not be surprised if at first nothing comes forth. Be patient and try to be consistent. Writing allows experiences, thoughts, and feelings to emerge over time. Some people use taping with a small recorder first, then writing by hand, or a computer. Use whatever feels most comfortable and is available. Note that you will probably be writing down very personal material. Be sure you have a safe place to keep your writing. Expressive and Artistic Strategies: Draw, paint, play or listen to music, or write poetry. Find pictures that are meaningful to you from magazines, newspapers, or posters and put them together in a pattern to make a collage. You can do collage work about a specific issue, person, or situation. It is an artistic way to express your feelings and experiences. Track your triggers. Identify as clearly as possible the situations, people, etc. that cause you to experience dissociation, body sensations, or self-injury. Identifying what sets you off can help you learn what to avoid. Some examples of triggers identified by survivors include cold, rough walls, odors (certain colognes, musty or sexual smells), certain music or other sounds (a ticking clock, a creaking door), places (certain rooms, buildings) lighting (light/dark), people (appearance or age similar to the perpetrator). Identify a safe person with whom you can talk. This person needs to understand enough about your situation that he or she will be available and will be comfortable with what you want to discuss. Finding the right person is important. Many people are not safe to use for this purpose. Talk with this safe person when you are losing control or feel like hurting yourself or others. If you will be calling the person on the phone, be sure to have the number with you at all times. Keep it in a place where you can easily find it in an emergency. If possible, have a backup person with whom to speak. One person may not always be available. Identify a safe chair where others agree to leave you alone until you regain control. Others should respect your space and agree to let you do your own work as long as you do not hurt yourself or others. Using a rocking chair may be helpful. Strategies to Prevent Self-Injury Try using a rubber band and snap your wrist with it when you feel the need to self-injure. Brush yourself with a toothbrush. Hold ice on your wrist or another part of your body. Injure your favorite stuffed animal or toy before you allow injuring yourself. The injury must be in the same place and the same depth and length as what you feel you need to do to your own body. Many people find they are less willing to hurt their toys than themselves. Not hurting a toy keeps some people from hurting themselves. Try using a red pen or felt marker on your body instead of cutting. Make the line as long as the intended cut. If you find you use this line as a mark where you do actually cut, then this approach is not working. Use another strategy! Combine strategies when you need to. What works for one person may not work for another. Remember that, just as your abuse was very individual, your reaction to it is individual, and your strategies for self-care and safety are also individual. It is important to know in advance what you plan to do to center yourself and/or to keep from self-injuring. You may need to try a variety of strategies before you find one or more that works for you. It is not important that others use the same strategies; what is important is that your strategies work for you. Do not become discouraged if a strategy fails. Keep looking for new strategies to help you gain greater control. Many survivors have experienced so much failure in attempting to gain control over their experiences that they may have given up hope. Thus, they are likely to deny that anything will help. Survivors must believe they can change or there is hope for change before they will be able to change. Survivors should select strategies that will work for them. Some of these strategies may sound strange or irrational, but survivors should try whatever works as long as no one is hurt by the approach. These strategies must be practiced and learned during times of calm and control, not chaos and upset. Practice, practice! Survivors should work with individual therapists to complete the selection and integration of strategies for increased self-control. Coping Strategies for Trauma-Related Experiences Flashbacks can be very intrusive and disturbing, but you can learn to control their rate and intensity. Some ideas include: Carry "safe items" with you. Create a box or bag that contains your safety items and reminders. Find symbols that ground you in the present, not in the past. Make a list of things you associate with comfort and safety. Identify a place where you feel safe and calm. Imagine an impenetrable force field around you. Write down a statement, saying, or prayer that you find comforting. Keep your eyes open and focus on your surroundings. Identify objects in or describe your environment. Place both feet on the ground. Ground yourself with comforting smells like chocolate, orange, mint, etc. Produce physical sensations like rubbing your body, holding your head in your hands, tapping. Wrap yourself safely in a blanket. Write a journal, write poetry, draw, paint, collage, create or listen to music Track your triggers. Identify a safe person with whom you can talk. Identify a safe chair where you can be left alone. Try a rocking chair. Coping Strategies to Prevent Self-Injury Snap your wrist with a rubber band. Brush yourself with a toothbrush. Hold ice on your wrist or another part of your body. Injure your favorite stuffed animal or toy before you allow injuring yourself. Hit or throw a pillow. Try using a red pen or felt marker on your body instead of cutting. Combine strategies when you need to. Try a variety of strategies until you find what works. Talk to someone safe about how you are feeling and what they can do to help.
  3. This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: To help group members identify coping strategies used by abuse survivors. Thought for the Day: People have individual reactions to childhood trauma and abuse. Coping strategies needed by a child may not be useful to an adult. It is important to remember that in order to cope; one must take care of one's physical self. People tend to have more difficulty if they are not eating well or have not had sufficient rest. Trauma and abuse survivors often continue to use coping strategies in adulthood that were useful to them as children even though these strategies are no longer appropriate or helpful. This continued use of inappropriate coping strategies is often one of the effects of abuse. Such strategies may, in fact, be viewed as symptoms of the abuse. For example, a child may hide in a closet, dissociate, or run away to avoid an abusive situation but these behaviors may not be useful for adults. Even though inappropriate in adulthood, an effective childhood coping strategy often becomes a style for dealing with stressful situations. People are more vulnerable during times of illness or stress or when they lack sleep or nutrition. Negative ways of coping with abuse may include such things as minimizing, forgetting, or denying the abuse, drugs and alcohol, avoidance, ”spacing out,” and overeating. A child may have copied strategies from other family members who were either being abused themselves or witnessing abuse. Successful coping may include identifying the memories of abuse while, at the same time, keeping the memories and the feelings they will elicit under control. Thus, identifying ways of maintaining a sense of safety and control becomes important in developing new coping strategies. After first identifying old, ineffective strategies, survivors will need to actively think about and implement new, effective ones for protecting themselves from further abuse or re-victimization. What works for one person may not work for another. Each individual needs to identify or develop strategies that work for them. Find support groups or supportive individuals, especially if family and friends are not as helpful as we would like. We may find it useful to meet regularly with individuals whom they have identified as helpful. Survivors may need help locating appropriate support groups as well as individuals with whom they can speak. Information about local resources may help. Personal, Local, and State Resources The list should minimally include mental health services, rape crisis, emergency hospitals, victim services, and police. My Crisis Resources Police: Fire Department: Suicide Hotline: Poison Control: Crisis Services: My Personal Resources Medical Doctor: Pharmacy: Therapist’s number: Psychiatrist’s number: Clinic or treatment provider’s number: Other Trusted Personal Supports or Resources: Family: Friends: My State Resources United Way: State Coalition against Domestic & Sexual Violence: My Local Resources Domestic and/or Sexual Violence Services: YWCA/YMCA: Religious Organization Charity or Social Services: Online Resources/National Resources Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE National Coalition against Domestic Violence National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) | After Silence online information and support forums for men and women who have experienced sexual assault, abuse, or violence. Pandora’s Aquarium online information and support forums for men and women who have experienced sexual assault, abuse, or violence. Also see Pandora’s Aquarium Forum for public: resources Befrienders Worldwide online hotline referral and support to prevent suicide PsychCentral online support, education, resources for mental health American Foundation for Suicide Prevention resources, support 1-888-333-2377 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 More Resources … The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) The National Center for PTSD Justice Resource Institute (JRI) The Trauma Center is a program of Justice Resource Institute (JRI) American Public Health Association (APHA) World Health Organization (WHO) This list could continue ....
  4. This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: To be able to identify at least one characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociation. Thought for the Day: Trauma and abuse can lead to emotional and physical difficulties. People have individual reactions to childhood trauma and abuse People who have experienced severe trauma and/or repeated trauma, especially during childhood often develop PTSD and dissociative symptoms. Discuss the following descriptions of PTSD, Dissociative Disorders, and the related disorders of Complex PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder. PTSD As described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), "the essential feature of PTSD is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor. . . " The stressor may be the actual or threatened death or serious injury to the self, witnessing such an event happening to others, and or learning about such an event happening to family members or close associates. One characteristic symptom of PTSD is persistent re-experiencing of the event through recollections, reliving, dreams, physiological responses, and/ or dissociative experiences. Other symptoms include persistent avoidance of activities, people, and/or places associated with the event, persistent numbing of thoughts, feelings, and general responsiveness, and persistently heightened arousal, as demonstrated by hyper-vigilance or exaggerated startle response. Symptoms must occur for more than one month and must cause significant distress and impairment to a person's functioning. Dissociative Disorders Dissociative experiences refer to the disruption of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment, functions that are usually integrated. People who have experienced trauma may develop Dissociative Identity Disorder, the primary symptom of which is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states within the same person. In Depersonalization Disorder people experience themselves as detached from their minds and/or bodies as if they were outside observers of themselves. Some people develop Dissociative Amnesia, in which the traumatic event is forgotten, or enter into a Dissociative Fugue, in which whole parts of one's life are forgotten, after they have experienced trauma Complex PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder In her book Trauma and Recovery (1992), Judith Herman proposed the term Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to describe symptoms of people who have been exposed to totalitarian control for prolonged periods of time. Such totalitarian systems can include long-term sexual and physical abuse within the family (page 121). Herman and others also have suggested that prolonged abuse from a very young age is commonly associated with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Characteristics of BPD include pervasive instability in maintaining interpersonal relationships, monitoring self-image, and regulating affects. People with BPD also tend to exhibit highly impulsive behaviors. Common Experiences of Survivors of Childhood Trauma and Abuse Difficulties Regulating Feelings and Behavior Reactions to triggers or situations reminiscent of the original trauma; experiencing dissociation, somatization, etc. when exposed to certain situations or “triggers” Numbing, not feeling anything at all, or greatly diminished feelings in situations where one would normally experience strong feelings Inability to identify or label feelings; not knowing what to call feelings you are having Restricted range of emotions; lack of highs and/or lows people normally experience Avoidance of activities related to the trauma; intentionally staying clear of reminders Flashbacks; intrusive memories with experiences as vivid as the original trauma; it is like being there all over again Distressing dreams about the event; dreams intrude in sleep often or occasionally and are generally very disturbing Difficulty concentrating; easily distracted, space out, or lose contact with what is going on around oneself for a period of time; others may not be aware of this Hyper-vigilance; jumpy, startling easily when surprised or immediately startling wide awake when aroused from sleep Eating difficulties; anorexia, bulimia, overeating, or obesity Sleep difficulties; falling or staying asleep, or sleeping a great deal Strong changes in mood or affect with little apparent cause Explosive or inhibited anger (may alternate) Problems with Consciousness and Perceptions Intrusive memories; reliving traumatic events through intrusive memories and feelings Not being fully "present" in reality; “spacing out,” losing time (dissociation) Thoughts and feelings are disjointed and do not seem to connect (dissociation) You, others, or things around you do not seem real or are distorted; such as alterations in size, appearance, movement, texture, color, etc. (derealization and depersonalization) Having two or more distinct identities or personality states (Dissociative Identity Disorder; formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) Feeling what is happening to your mind or body is not happening to you (Depersonalization Disorder) Amnesia about the traumatic event(s) or about whole phases or years of one's life; may not remember elements of the event or longer time periods (Dissociative Amnesia or Dissociative Fugue) Survivors may also have other psychiatric difficulties (co-morbidity), in addition to reactions to their childhood trauma, and exhibit symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations. Although these may be true symptoms of a different psychiatric disorder (e.g., as in schizophrenia), they may be memories and flashbacks that are incorrectly interpreted.
  5. Caffaro, John V. (2013-08-22). Sibling Abuse Trauma: Assessment and Intervention Strategies for Children, Families, and Adults (Kindle Locations 886-891). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.
  6. This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: To state the connection between abuse histories and current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thought for the Day: The child is not responsible for the abuse. Trauma and abuse can lead to emotional and physical difficulties. Many "effects" of abuse are actually a person's way of coping or dealing with abuse in order to survive. When understood this way, many of a person's "problems" or "symptoms" make sense. "Symptoms" should be reframed or expressed as "coping mechanisms." Survivors should be recognized and honored for what they have done to survive rather than stigmatized and shamed. Coping mechanisms can be understood and validated without condoning those ways of coping that are no longer useful. For instance, substance abuse may have been used to cope with and survive overwhelming feelings, but survivors are encouraged and supported to now find a safer coping mechanism, i.e., one that is not potentially harmful. Physical Effects · Physical injuries: scars, bruises, broken bones, etc. · Long-term effects on genital, urinary and/or GI systems · Long-term health effects (e.g. heart disease, asthma, hypertension) · Gastrointestinal disorders · Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, and obesity often resulting from distortions of body image · Somatization: tightness of throat, pressure on chest, difficulty breathing, chronic pain · Loss of voice, “speechlessness” · Body memories Emotional/Psychological Reactions · Shame and guilt · Anger or difficulty controlling anger (explosive or inhibited anger) · Lowered self esteem · Disturbed image of self and/or body · Denial · Sleep and dream disturbances · Feeling of loss of control · Depression · Anxiety · Passivity Outrage · Irritability Substance and alcohol abuse · Self-harm and/or suicidal ideation · Concentration problems, school or work difficulties Loss of a Sense of Meaning in Life · Loss of sustaining faith, beliefs, and/or values · Over-investment in faith, beliefs, and/or values · Sense of hopelessness · Sense of helplessness · Diminished interest in activities · Lack of initiative or motivation · Feeling very different from others, even feeling non-human or “alien” Impact of Relationships with Others · Isolation/withdrawal · Difficulties forming and maintaining attachments and relationships · Difficulties with trust · Repeated search for a rescuer (may alternate with isolation and withdrawal) · Overly seductive behavior · Compulsive promiscuity · Inhibited sexuality and/or loss of sexuality (may alternate with promiscuity) · Difficulty determining and establishing safety with others · Failure to protect oneself from re-victimization · Engaging in abusive relationships Alterations in Views towards the Perpetrator · Preoccupying feeling and thoughts about the perpetrator · Contradictory feelings and thoughts about the perpetrator (e.g., love versus hate) · Sense of having a special relationship with the perpetrator · Acceptance of the abusive belief system of the perpetrator
  7. Random Sadness

    I am not sure why this happens on an almost daily basis ... but my mind tends to go frequently to random thoughts of sadness and this associates itself with the past CSA. This has gone on most of my life so it seems normal to me yet I wonder if most people wonder around aimlessly sad ... I am taking my depression medication but I can feel the pressure of sadness in my chest and abdomen. Is this normal? Daily thoughts of hopelessness and sadness and it seems to stem back to the abuse ... what is wrong with me? Why can't I just move on? I see my T this week. I don't like talking to my AA sponsor about it because I feel like she is going to lecture me about prayer and meditation ... I hide things from her ... ever since this time she was going to help me with one of my CSA healing projects and she seems more distressed than me that I decided to shut down and not express anything. I am afraid that I freak her out with my CSA crap ... and then I don't even respect my own healing because I call it crap. The look on her face ... it said it all with no words. So I put on the mask like I do at work and I pretend.
  8. Talking and Learning about Trauma and Abuse

    This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: the importance of talking about trauma and abuse. Thought for the Day: Trauma and abuse is common. Talking about abuse can lead to healing. The vividness of persons discussing their abuse histories and their emotional distress may be very intense, painful, and may serve as triggers for some survivors. Survivors are usually impacted strongly by the revelations of other survivors, especially if experiences are similar to their own. There have been positive changes in the social acceptability to disclose and discuss sexual abuse. Today in American society, there is more acceptance of disclosure and more public discussion about trauma and abuse than in the past. It is common to see, hear, and read in the media about abuse. Until fairly recently, trauma and abuse would not have been addressed in these forums because it was not considered an "acceptable" topic for discussion. · Have you seen someone sharing their trauma or abuse experiences on television talk shows or documentaries? · What were your reactions to these shows? · Why would these people share their abuse experiences on television? · How do you think the people felt as they shared their experiences? · Did you believe that the abuse really happened? · What were your thoughts regarding their feelings of guilt, blame, and shame? · Did these people try to disclose the abuse while they were still children? How was it received? · What impact do you think it has for a child who cannot disclose to keep such a secret and to grow up with it? · Why might a child keep a secret about her abuse experience? · Did the people on the video say how long after the abuse they first shared their experience with another person? With whom did they share it? What was the person's reaction? Many factors can influence the decision whether or not to talk, including: Private feelings: Self-blame, embarrassment, shame and/or guilt about the abuse experience; fear of not being believed, fear of threats to the individual or their loved ones from the perpetrator. Threats to family unity and personal future: Fear for the safety of family based on the perpetrator's threats. Fear about what may happen to the perpetrator, and/or fear of family breakup and placement in foster care. Religious influences: Beliefs such as the importance of forgiveness, not wanting to harm others, including a perpetrator, following the Golden Rule, and/or that God, not man, is to judge, can influence a survivor's decision about disclosure. Cultural and social factors: Some cultures are more accepting of disclosure than others. Some may be very punitive and blame the victim. Societal attitudes affect the quality and level of support that survivors can expect to receive.
  9. What is Trauma and Abuse?

    This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objectives: To define different types of trauma, abuse and neglect. To identify how common trauma and abuse is and to discuss myths and misunderstandings about trauma and abuse. Thought for the Day: You deserve to feel and be safe! Trauma and abuse is common. Childhood maltreatment can take many forms and includes neglect and emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of children under the age of 18. All these forms of abuse can have a great impact on how a person feels and acts, both as a child and as an adult. Definition of terms Neglect is the failure, when resources are available, to provide a child with the basic care needed to survive and grow. Neglect is to be distinguished from the failure to provide care because of poverty, a distinction that is sometimes difficult to make. Examples of neglect include: · Depriving a child of food, clothing, or shelter. · Locking a child out of the house and refusing to let him/her in. · Not providing general medical care, e.g., vaccinations, eye wear, dental care. · Failing to supervise a child who is playing out of doors, in the streets, or at home. · Not ensuring a child attends school. Abuse can be defined as: Abuse involves inflicting harm with the risk of long-term effects. Emotional abuse: Using words to belittle or berate, or failure to give positive signs of caring, which may lead to emotional distress. Examples of emotional abuse include: · Calling a child names, such as faggot, queer, fat, ugly. · Telling a child he/she is dumb, useless, or stupid and will never amount to anything. · Telling a child he/she is worthless and should never have been born. · Depriving a child of love or using love to control a child's behavior. · Using a position of power over a child to inflict harm. · Threats to or witnessing the abuse of someone close to the child. · Threats to or witnessing the abuse or serious harm to a pet. Physical abuse: Hitting, striking, or otherwise harming a child in such a way as to create risk of physical damage that may have long-term effects. Examples of physical abuse include: · Leaving marks on the body of a child, e.g., bruises, cuts. · Beating a child with a broomstick, electrical cord, or other implement. · Hitting a child. · Pulling hair, kicking, or throwing a child. · Holding a child by the shoulders and shaking violently back and forth. · Seriously injuring a child, e.g., breaking bones, twisting limbs, damaging joints. · Denying the child medical care for a serious injury. · Witnessing physical abuse to person close to the child. · Being made to watch the physical abuse to a pet. Sexual abuse: Contact or non-contact sexual use of a child. This form of abuse may involve sexual touching, forcing a child to touch an adult in a sexual way, encouraging inappropriate sexual contact with another child or adult, taking sexually oriented pictures, and so forth. Incest is defined as sexual abuse that occurs within the family between persons related by blood, marriage, adoption, stepfamily relationships, or a live-in relationship involving persons within the household. Examples of sexual abuse include: · Touching a child's genitals for the purpose of sexual excitement. · Forcing two children to perform sexual acts. e.g. rub or touch each other's genitals · Taking nude photographs or videos of a child. · Making a child watch pornography. · Engaging in oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a child. · Inserting objects into the child’s body (e.g. vagina, anus, mouth, penis) for the purpose of sexual excitement. · Fondling a child. · Making a child perform oral sexual acts. · Making a child engage in sexual acts with animals. · Being made to witness or participate in the sexual abuse of another child or person. · Drug or alcohol facilitated sexual abuse. Myths about Childhood Abuse Many myths exist regarding childhood trauma and abuse, some of which are listed below. Discuss how such beliefs, when held by the child or significant others, may impact upon the individual: · The child caused the abuse to happen. · The child seduced the adult. · The child acted or looked provocative. · The child deserved the abuse because he/she was “bad” or “stupid,” etc. · The child really wanted the abuse to occur. · Unless there was actual physical contact, there was no abuse. · Unless there was sexual penetration, there was no abuse. · Unless the penis penetrated the vagina, there was no abuse. · Unless there was physical force, there was no abuse. · Unless it hurt, there was no abuse. · It is not abuse to be exposed to adults having sex. · The child could have stopped the abuse if she or he had tried hard enough. · Abuse happens in most if not all families. · If the child felt pleasure, it was not abuse. · If the abuse felt warm and loving, the child must have been encouraging it. · Only men are abusers. · If a woman abuses a boy, it’s not really abuse because she is teaching him about sex. · All abusers are strangers. · Abuse only happens in poor families. Although survivors of abuse may end up believing some myths or fearing that they may be true, leaders need to remind group members that trauma and abuse is never the fault of the child. Other issues related to trauma and abuse not included in the Session 3 Handout should be addressed in group discussion where appropriate, e.g.: Peer exploratory behavior among children of similar ages is generally not considered to be abusive. The beliefs and feelings of each child involved are the determining factors in whether, or how much, harm results from exploratory behavior. Perpetrators often use differences in power to groom and then physically or sexually exploit a child. They also may have other psychopathological reasons for exploitation, e.g., misguided feelings of anger, inadequacy, jealousy, envy, and voyeurism. Contact sexual abuse includes touching, rubbing, insertion of objects, vaginal or anal penetration, oral contact, etc. There may be great differences in the effect of abuse on the individual, both as a child and as an adult. Some factors that impact upon the effects of trauma or abuse include: · Age of the child at the time of the abuse · Duration of the abusive experience · Use of threats, seduction, and/or physical force · Relationship between the perpetrator and child · If abuse is continuing or episodic · If abuse is familial or non-familial · If abuse is conducted by a single or multiple perpetrators · Supports available to the child · Coping abilities of the child The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study: How common is trauma & abuse during childhood? AT LEAST: · One half of children have experienced physical assault. · One in three girls has been sexually abused. · One in five boys has been sexually abused. · One in eight children has been neglected. · One third of children witness violence or victimization of others. · Many children experience more than one type of trauma or abuse, and they are at higher risk for abuse as adults. Sexual abuse in the general population studies has a prevalence rate of 25%, whereas the rate among inpatient and outpatient psychiatric patients is around 40% to 70%, almost twice the rate found in the general population. Sexual abuse may begin at very early ages, with it not being uncommon in children under the age of 5. It may occur only once, or may be ongoing, lasting for many years. Average age of onset is 8; average duration of years is 4. Physical force may or may not be used. Children may be seduced, bribed, and verbally coerced into abusive relationships. Remember that, from a treatment (rather than a legal) perspective, it is the individual's personal experience that determines whether or not a particular situation was abusive for him or her. Also, psychological and physical preparedness rather than chronological age is often more important in the impact of an abusive situation on a child. The above statistics are from the Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse hand out. There are other sources for statistics such as that found in a presentation for the Family Terrorist Act ... (NCANDS), recorded 3,734,012 accounts of child maltreatment, (Neglect, Physical harm, Sexual interaction, and Emotional Abuse by degradation or imposed fear) The news headlines report almost daily some form of vicious attacks, which are most often labeled as Child Abuse or Domestic/Family Violence. Sadly this has been a repetitive human cycle, especially within the secrecy of our home, and more brutally attacking the weaker beings who cannot fight back and are most certainly under the given parental control. According to Department of Health & Human Services, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence have shared publications which confirm this information. However rarely are all of the attacks against children & other persons in our family home ever reported. There are three major areas of maltreatment which are considered to be more detrimental for a child  (78.5%) suffered neglect  (17.6%) suffered physical abuse  (9.1%) suffered sexual abuse . (Keep in mind Molestation rarely leaves any physical signs, unless extreme force is used, and then most children/persons are too terrified and ashamed to report it to someone, even another parent)  Also recorded, 1576 child deaths related to neglect & physical abuse.  Of these recorded offenses, this report revealed Parents are (92%) of these offenders, Strangers was only (3%)
  10. Managing emotional flashbacks

    I started reading this book by Pete Walker, Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving ( I have been in a horrible mental funk the past month. And lately my depressions medicine has been less than effective. I am experience a dark gloom accompanies physical “yuckyness “ in my chest (like a big cauldron of piping hot raw sewage) and the feeling that the vulture is perched in my shoulders again piecing it’s talons into my muscles … sorry for the visuals … I am feeling pretty bleak and I am finding myself clinging to dark visuals to describe my pain … during these times Lord of the Rings is my all-time favorite and I am able to watch and re-watch the movies over and over (or just have them on in the background as I do other things). So I was reading Pete’s book and read this little part about emotional flashbacks and I feel like he hit the nail on the head. As some of you may know I have a form of dyslexia that makes reading painfully slow for me but I am giving it a try … what will make it even slower for me is that I have this desire to validate his references. Such as when he refers to “Goleman’s work” … suddenly my research senses are tingling and I want to divert to research … I am going to try to resist this urge until I have given Pete’s book a fair amount of time. The following is from his book: Managing emotional flashbacks Emotional flashbacks are intensely disturbing regressions to overwhelming feeling-states of your childhood abandonment. When you are stuck in a flashback, fear, shame and/or depression can dominate your experience. These are some common experiences of being in an emotional flashback. You feel little, fragile and helpless. Everything feels too hard. Life is too scary. Being seen feels excruciatingly vulnerable. Your battery seems to be dead. In the worst flashbacks an apocalypse feels like it will imminently be upon you. When you are trapped in a flashback, you are reliving the worst emotional times of your childhood. Everything feels overwhelming and confusing, especially because there are rarely any visual components to a Cptsd flashback. This is because, as Goleman’s work shows, amygdala hijackings are intense reactions in the emotional memory part of the brain that override the rational brain. These reactions occur in the brains of people who have been triggered into a 4F reaction so often, that minor events can now trigger them into a panicky state. The following is a PDF he provides on his website about the 13 steps for managing emotional flashbacks:
  11. Trauma Education

    This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote the article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: Identify one benefit from trauma education. Thought for the Day: Safe support groups and individuals are available for help. Take good care of yourself and don't allow anyone to hurt you This could be a celebration to mark the beginning of recovery from the effects of childhood trauma. Trauma work is often neglected or overlooked in the general population and is particularly so with people who are diagnosed with mental illness. Many people who have survived abuse often have had their experiences go unrecognized, minimalized, denied, or disbelieved. Many consumers in the mental health system have to overcome the double stigma of mental illness and trauma or abuse. Survivors should have the opportunity to learn about trauma and abuse and understand its effects on both childhood and adulthood. The group is an educational rather than a therapeutic model. The purpose is to learn about trauma and abuse rather than to talk about members' own abuse experiences. Individual Goals · Develop one's own resource list · Become aware of one's own triggers and symptoms · Understand many symptoms as coping mechanisms · Improve support system and social relationships · Improve intimate relationships Educational Goals · Staying safe · What is trauma and abuse? · Talking and learning about trauma and abuse · Protecting your safety: Should you disclose? · Reactions of others to disclosure of trauma or abuse · Effects of trauma and abuse on the individual · Learning about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and dissociation · Coping as a child and as an adult: safety issues · Controlling trauma-related experiences · Avoiding re-victimization Important Issues · Do not blame yourself; you are not to blame for your abuse. · Know how to obtain group and individual therapy for further trauma work. · Know who you can talk to or who it is not safe to talk to. · Know your triggers and learn how to control them. · Identify safe people and support. · Know who is available, and when, and have their phone numbers written down. · Take good care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. · Learn what hurts and do not allow anyone to hurt you. · Recognize and avoid dangerous situations. · Learn coping methods that work for you and do not hurt you. · Know where you can obtain support services.
  12. Wow this is so cool! I am very proud of all your accomplishments!
  13. I was rereading the statement the AA speaker said quite a few times because it struck me with a sense of uneasiness … “Victims don’t get to stay sober. There are victims in AA … but if I live as a victim then I don’t get to stay sober” … he did not elaborate on this statement to discuss what the solution was … okay … I am a victim … I have a history of events in my life where I have been a victim … so what do I do with this? … Does this mean I have no opportunity to stay sober because of these events where I have been a victim? I believe the answer is that - We first recognize that we were victims, innocent victims, and then become willing to seek recovery as survivors. I take positive action in my life to heal and seek out ways to keep myself safe. So the point is … instead of continuing to live as a victim, I learn to live as a survivor.
  14. The beginning of trauma and abuse education is safety and providing basic information. You cannot build until you have a firm foundation in safety and basic information to dispel the myths we may have come to believe. It seems like I have been in abuse recovery since I was a teenager and first discovered what was done to me was wrong and should not have happen. It has taken many years to dispel the myths that were passed along to me from my childhood family. CSA is not normal. Childhood trauma should not be minimized as something that just happens so deal with it and move on. Childhood is foundational years in which we build upon the rest of our lives. So what do you do when your foundation was based on abuse and lies that maintained the abuse and silenced you into submission? The foundation must be rebuilt in a safe supportive place where truth is accepted and nurtured. Many people assume that since I have a college education that I have a firm grasp on what are good social boundaries. My university education did not include a course on safety and boundaries for CSA survivors. As a matter of fact there are no such educational courses for CSA survivors in my area. This is something I have had to learn on my own from readings on the internet or with the help of a therapist. Many times my training was by trial and error (numerous errors and tears). As a matter of fact, I have had to learn many life lessons the hard way since I grew up in such an insane household that made it possible for my brother to rape me for several years. It did not happen every day ... sometimes it did happen everyday ... the abuse was unpredictable to me when it would happen but when it did happen ... I mainly just shut down ... I watched the movie "The Color Purple" many times and that is the closest visual comparison I have to what was happening to me ... at the beginning of the movie where she is being raped by either her father. My mother liked this movie and made me watch it many times. When the rapes happen by my brother, I felt like I was absolutely nothing ... I was nobody ... as he did his "deed" to me by music (Ted Nugent and Joe Walsh). Why?????? So he could get his rocks off ... I was a little girl ... not a blow up doll ... I felt so lost in every day life (I still feel this way many times) ... I was put on phenobarbital because I was emotionally disturbed and constantly complaining of head aches and stomach aches ... I tried not to complain too much because my mother would get so mad at me when I said I hurt ... she seemed to be angry most of the time when I was growing up unless she was drinking alcohol ... then she was a comedian and a sexy dancer ... okay ... my childhood home was very messed up. I digress ... So I have been posting some things in my blog lately that have to do with trauma education and safety and this is mainly for me so I can have all my trauma education and safety references all in one place as a quick reference. I hope others find my stuff helpful. I started realizing after I started going to AA meetings to help maintain my sobriety that I needed to brush up on my safety and education because I hear many different points of view about abuse and trauma around these 12 step meetings that I need to distinguish between myths and truths. I also need to remember that just because someone is in recovery for alcoholism and/or addiction does not make them an automatic “safe” person that I can disclose my own abuse history too. I need to use good judgment and I do not have a good foundation in “good judgment”. So, I have to go to the experts for help in this area. I think the suggestions I have been finding on the internet is a good start. There is also a fear I have of sharing “my story” in meetings. How much to share and when? At some point I might be asked to be a speaker and I am realizing that the focus needs to be maintained on alcoholism when I am addressing alcoholics yet much of the pain in my life is related to abuse. One of my ways of coping and escaping was with alcohol and drugs. An AA meetings is not the best forum for full discloser of my CSA history but I think some minimal general references to my abuse history should be included otherwise I will not be talking about me and my experiences. I recently, got to listen to a speaker at an AA meeting that briefly revealed his own CSA history … The following is some quotes from his speech … “I told her about the alcoholic home I was raised in. I told her about being taken hostage at the age of 8. I told her about being tied up and sexually assaulted by men for 3 years. I am not going to tell you all of it because it is just too brutal and this just isn’t the right forum for that” … “I grew up in that alcoholic insanity. It did not make me alcoholic but it did compound the fracture of the broken spirit” “Victims don’t get to stay sober. There are victims in AA … but if I live as a victim then I don’t get to stay sober”. “It did not make me alcoholic but it added to the broken spirit” Perhaps this is the right amount of detail … in a full meeting with people of all backgrounds an experiences ??? I liked how he said that these things did not make him an alcoholic but added to his broken spirit. The CSA definitely broke my spirit long before I started using substance to escape from the pain.
  15. Staying Safe

    This information is adapted from: Understanding and Dealing with Trauma and Abuse ... LISA J NORELLI, MD, is one of the writer's that wrote this article of interest. Her website is located at: Objective: To outline personal safety issues. Thought for the Day: Learning about trauma and abuse is a step toward healing. You deserve to feel and be safe! Trauma from abuse and neglect can be a difficult topic to discuss and is likely to temporarily increase stress. Due to breach of boundaries and trust as children, the issue of staying safety is of paramount importance for abuse survivors to avoid re-victimization. The following are some of the reasons why it is important to think carefully about safety. For some survivors of trauma or abuse, it is difficult to fully take their own safety into consideration. Trauma survivors may: Believe they do not have the right to keep themselves safe. Believe they lack the power to keep themselves safe. Have trouble asserting or speaking up when they do not feel safe. Not understand safe boundaries. Have trouble controlling temper or anger. Place themselves in unsafe situations. Dissociate or just "fade away" during a discussion of abuse that brings up painful memories. Experience miss directed anger at another person as issues are being discussed. Go along with a potentially harmful suggestion at the urging of another, sometimes against the survivor's better judgment. Use drugs, alcohol or engage in other high-risk behavior. Walk or drive alone late at night or go to isolated locations. Being alone with a person or persons he/she does not trust. Continue to be involved with persons who abused them as a child, or stay with an unsafe or abusive person as an adult. Feel they cannot control a situation so avoids going to a place that is actually safe. On the other hand, avoid situations that are actually safe, but feared. Suggestions for Keeping Safe Learn to recognize and listen to your own personal signs of stress/anxiety/fear. It is OK to say "no" in a recovery group or meeting if you do not wish to talk. You don’t have to stay in the recovery group or meeting if you feel uncomfortable; however, try to let the group know if something is uncomfortable in order to allow the group to respond to your individuals' needs. Share/reveal information about your personal experiences, trauma, abuse history, or illness only with those you can trust as you feel comfortable doing so. Know who you can trust. Develop a support system of people you can trust. Know helpful resources. Always be aware of your environment and keep yourself safe. Many of the suggestions for keeping safe are the same regardless of the environment. The important first step in keeping safe is to trust your own awareness of unsafe situations and learn to better identify your "gut" feelings and to use them to keep yourself away from harm. Part of being safe is feeling comfortable enough to talk about one's trauma or abuse history. Do you feel comfortable discussing issues related to your trauma with your therapists or another trusted individual? Having someone safe to discuss trauma issues with is of utmost importance in healing.