“And nothing to look backward to with pride and nothing to look forward to with hope.” — Robert Frost
I am growing from, and getting over my sense of lost pride and lost hope. Often, my life seemed poisoned at the very source. I can’t remember a time of innocence, joy, or confidence in myself or in my relationships with others. I was sexually abused when I was a young child. I know the pain from that abuse and the stress associated with “keeping the secret” made me feel unsure of my boundaries and re framed my view of the future to one of anxiety and dread. But things are in fact beginning to change, as I change.
To go forward, I have had to admit to powerlessness. That has been hard for me to do. I must admit that I am powerless to undo the hurt and abuse in my past. And I have learned that I can’t “go it alone”. I have been alone way too long! I have my “new and improved” Self, the Universe, and my close friends to trust and confer with.
I am overcoming my past and turning toward the future with growing hope and trust. And then the present, like the New Year, becomes filled with promise. For those that know me well, also know that this “re framing” was difficult and can share with me the joy in my ability to change my way of thinking.
“A child miseducated is a child lost.” – John F. Kennedy
So much money is spent on bombs and missiles and so little on education. With so many children in crowded classrooms and old buildings, with ill-trained and ill-paid teachers, it seems easier to destroy life than to nurture and strengthen it. I’ve thought a lot lately about what it was like for me as a child.
“Education” means leading out from … away from ignorance, defenselessness, anxiety and fear. In my childhood, I was educated in an environment which included neglect and abuse.
Childhood especially should be a time of growth and hope. When memories of childhood are tarnished, bitterness and resentment follow, and these in turn can lead to erratic or addictive behavior. I know what it was like to be pushed away, exploited, even seduced and abused. I hated it and it made me distrustful and angry.
Now that I’m on a path of personal growth and allowing more spirituality into my life, I feel the power of “education” as I learn to leave behind the ignorance, fear and pain of my childhood. I have come to feel the joy of nurturing myself and caring deeply for those around me. I want to be concerned with education as a way of overcoming ignorance, mistrust , isolation and fear.
- The Innocence of Children (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Addiction during the holidays: Recovered or not, it’s important to be prepared (psychologytoday.com)
- Morty Lefkoe: Does Anger Make You Uncomfortable? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dealing with Guilt: Part Two (socyberty.com)
“I’d never seen men hold each other. I thought the only thing they were allowed to do was shake hands or fight.” —Rita Mae Brown
Like many men, I grew up without knowing the warmth of lovingly touching one another. Some of us had fathers who trapped themselves in a stereotypical male role, afraid to hold us and show their love for us. We may have learned to be independent, competitive, and even separate. We often fall into awkwardness and isolation. As men especially, we become afraid to reach out, hug, and hold someone of our own sex. So many of us, whether male or female, have lost touch with ourselves and with others. We have been alone far too long.
One result when pursuing personal growth is the awareness and beginning of healthy and proper holding of one another and giving hugs. At first, we may find it embarrassing and keep our distance. As we learn to loosen up and reach out, we look forward to the warmth and strength that comes from giving and receiving a friendly, caring hug. It is good to learn to touch in a fearless and nonsexual way. I am glad to be in touch with other people through hugging and holding.
- Reach Out and Touch Someone (psychologytoday.com)
- “How Does The Military Prove That Someone Is Gay?” (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- Same-sex hand holding (Sshh!) (pinkbananaworld.com)
“The real sin against life is to destroy beauty, even one’s own – even more one’s own, for that has been put in our care, and we are responsible for its well-being.” —Katherine Anne Porter
A good way to start each day is by asking, “What can I do to take care of myself today?” To ask and answer that question is to affirm our belief that we’re worth taking care of. It also requires looking within ourselves with honesty. Is it hard to admit that we’re struggling? Or that we’re feeling sick? Or those feelings as rage, sorrow or fear are predominant? Or that we’re working through issues that may be as difficult as incest, sexual, physical or emotional abuse?
Meeting our needs with gentleness and compassion soften the task of being good to ourselves. It may take a long time of asking, “What can I do to take care of myself today?” before we actually know how to, or want to. But just as a good parent thinks of how to take care of a child, we can learn to do the same for ourselves. Each time we do, we move closer to higher self-esteem.
- Kristen Houghton: How Healthy Is Your Relationship? (huffingtonpost.com)
- A Friend In Need (tomaplomb.blogspot.com)
- Think Bigger (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Boys’ Self-Esteem Problems (thedailybeast.com)
I feel I have a problem with anger. I’m aware of certain acquaintances and friends who identify with anger issues, some of whom are working on anger management with a therapist. Many of us seem to have a problem with anger, often misdirection it and hurting the most innocent and loved people in our life. This anger we feel may have developed as a result of sexual abuse, neglect, or beatings we may have experienced as children which we turned against ourselves or others in a vicious, repetitive cycle.
When I became aware of my problem with anger, I began work with my therapist to create new tools to cope with my feelings appropriately. I needed to talk about all the incidents that still tormented me. I encouraged in my sessions to get angry at those that abused me or those I felt victimized by. I learned that I was likely to go on through life being a victim until I could fight my way through those early situations. It is often necessary to give one’s self permission to vent anger as an affirmation of self-worth, and not a contradiction of all the lessons learned about being tolerant, forgiving and peace-loving.
It is quite possible to, “hate the deed and not the do-er” by separating in one’s mind, the behavior, from the person. We have the right to hate what happened to us; we have the right to be angry at people for their aggressive, hurtful acts, while being ready to forgive them as people who need love just as much as we do. If anger is held back, it will fester and come out in mean and petty ways. Anger starved will rob us of our dignity and tranquility.