Archive for #childhoodabuse

POP A PILL OR GROW A POTATO?

Posted in emotional health, mental health, recovery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Karen unrue

food_pills_finlay

Ever see those sci fi movies where no one eats food anymore –

they all pop pills instead?

Its sort of happened already

dont you think?

I mean

WHEN DID YOU LAST GROW A POTATO?

We all eat crisps and french fries

but I have never planted a potato

or dug one out of the soil.

Are you kidding?

Why would I?

sounds far too much like hard work!

Someone else does that for me!

potato-picker-ngv

As a result –

The source of my nutrition

is as far removed from my everyday experience

as Jupiter!

It may be easier but it sure aint healthier!

 

We do the same when it comes to feeding our souls.

We may lack nutrients

from emotional malnutrition

in our childhoods,

or because of toxic relationships later on.

So what do we do?

Go organic?

Get our hands dirty in the hard work of growing our own?

NO

We go to our local pharmaceutical supermarket –

the doctor –

and try to get our emotional nutrition in a pill.

hirst_pharmaceuticals

PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME –

I am an advocate

of anti-depressants and mood stabilisers –

when they are needed.

I have used them myself

and I still take Prozac today.

 

What I’m talking about here is

stuff like –

silencing

the critical voice in our head

borne out of abusive

or unhealthy

relationships.

And

replacing it

with a

Barry White

type

voice of loving encouragement

and affirmation.

barry white

Breaking habitual negative and anxious thought patterns

and learning

to make

more positive,

confident

habitual thought patterns

that enable you

to live a life without fear.

A life you love living.

Unknown

Yes it’s hard work!

Learning to live free from anxiety

by re-sculpting my plastic brain –

re-shaping my neural pathways,

has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.

And it took time.

But let me tell you –

IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE !

 

So get out your gardening gloves!

Over the next few posts

I’m going to teach you

how to grow a potato!

SIGN POTATOES

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Posted in our thought lives with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by Karen unrue

drawings_and_paintings-brains-brains01

I thought my brain was a stone,

set hard.

I thought I was stuck with it

just the way it is.

But hey –

guess what?

Its plastic,

malleable,

and I can,

with time

and patience

make it a shape

that serves me better.

I can streamline it,

make it aerodynamic

so it flies

faster,

safer,

to destinations of my choosing.

Jet-plane-in-flight231

I’m not stuck with it

just the way it is.

Ok!

What am I talking about?

Well,

Our thought lives

determine our behaviour.

Right?

It is our

habitual

negative,

thought patterns

that make our lives

anxious

and scary.

self-portrait-or-desperate-man-gustave-courbet

It was always assumed

that

we are hardwired

from birth.

But now,

neuroscience tells us

we are not

and that we can

Sculpt

our neural pathways,

our thought lives,

into shapes

and patterns

that serve us better

that make life

more enjoyable.

Malvina Hoffman 1885-1966 - American sculptor - Tutt'Art@ (24)

“THIS IS JUST THE WAY I AM!”

is not a painful

frustrating,

truth

you have to live with anymore.

you can change who you are

by changing how you think!!

You are not just human beings –

you are human becomings!!

You can become who you want to be.

This is not a glib “power of positive thinking” motivational speech.

This is science

and psychology

and it can change your life –

It changed mine.

In my next post I’ll talk about how how to start this process, and how to keep going until your life is less anxious and negative, better, easier, and happier.

I am talking from personal experience here

and

It can be done!!!!

hope

HUNGRY ?

Posted in feeding the hungry child, learning to love yourself again with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by Karen unrue

sap_605x300_baby_012

Parents are supposed to feed their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children eat healthy food.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates a physical effect.

It impacts how healthy you are

as an adult.

This is isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have vitamin deficiencies,

an underdeveloped immune system,

fatigue,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a nutritionist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her supplements,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There is no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry!

gustav klimmt

gustav klimmt

Parents are supposed to love their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children are nurtured and validated.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates emotional effects.

It impacts how whole you are

as an adult.

This isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have emotional deficiencies,

an underdeveloped sense of self,

insecurities,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a therapist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her prescription,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There should be no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry.

 

A therapist is really just an emotional nutritionist !!!!!

It is only ignorance in our society that tells us there is any stigma attached to addressing the mental/emotional needs that arise out of lack in our childhoods.

DONT BUY INTO THAT LIE !

FIND OUT HOW TO FEED YOURSELF NOW !

food

Are you aware of any consequences in your adult life of a lack of validation or nurturing in your early years?

Please share the ways you have discovered to feed and nurture yourself now – it will help others in the same boat.

BITE THE SNAKE

Posted in bite the snake with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by Karen unrue

EXCITING NEWS!!

I have written a book!

BITE_THE_SNAKE

“How to extract the poison from your past and enjoy playing in the present”

Click here to sign up for updates about Bite the Snake

It is my passion in life
to work with people
that life has trampled on.
Whatever big boot
it was that
squashed the self-belief out of them –
damaged childhood,
domestic abuse,
bullying –
I consider it a privilege
when I can help them
understand,
through the work I do,
that they did not deserve
the treatment they received,
and show them how
to regain
their self-worth
and learn to
love themselves again.

loving herself 2

I speak out of my own experience.
After a “big boot”
crushed me underfoot
I had to learn
to live again,
believe again –
that I was worth loving.
Trust again –
that I had value.

I wish I had had a book
like this to read
when I was
trying
to figure it all out.
I am so happy
that I have been able
to write this
and help others on their way.

smiling hand

THE SURPRISE PARTY

Posted in THE SURPRISE OF RECOVERY with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Karen unrue
painting by Fahad Hassain

painting by Fahad Hossain

Have you ever had a birthday
when no one remembered ?
A birthday when no one rang
to wish you “Happy Birthday”,
no one at work brought in a card,
and only acquaintances,
and your boss said anything at all?

It sucks right !?
It makes you feel
alone,
unloved,
unhappy,
it can even make you wonder
what life is all about.
Make you
doubt yourself,
doubt your self-worth,
doubt the people you thought were friends,
doubt your judgement.
At its worst
it can even make you feel
depressed,
despairing.

BUT THEN

You arrive home,
the windows are dark,
the house is silent.
You put your key in the front door –
and the moment you walk in
the house lights up like a firework!
A crowd of people
are cheering
and shouting out
“SURPRISE!!!”
as they
jump up and down,
throw streamers
and set off party poppers,
and then they –
run at you,
hug you,
kiss you
with big smiles on their faces.

surprise party 1

Suddenly the sadness is gone.
You know you are
loved,
valued,
cared about.
Loneliness leaves,
self doubt is dispelled,
despair dissipates.
The present,
and the future, look
BRIGHT.

HEALING
is often like this too!

It can seem far away,
even impossible.
We can be filled
with the feeling
that we will never recover.
Pain,
depression,
despair,
self-doubt,
self-loathing,
loneliness,
seem to be our only companions.

depression

I have been there.
I know that feeling.
I wanted to –
give up,
let go,
stop fighting for survival.
stop hoping for a better day to come.
I even contemplated
suicide
at times.

BUT THEN – out of the blue –

RECOVERY SURPRISED ME!!!

Hope lit up the room
and threw party poppers.
Joy ran at me and held me
in a welcoming embrace.
The present
was not so scary,
and the future not so dark.

drawing by holymoocow

drawing by holymoocow

Here’s the thing!!
If I had given in
to the feelings of despair –
NOT kept hoping
for a better day,
If I had given up
and checked out –
even just the day before –

I WOULD HAVE MISSED THE PARTY!

I met a young woman,
in the clinic in Cape Town,
who is 29 years old.
She became a heroin addict
at a very young age
during a time of trauma and abandonment.
She is beautiful,
both inside and out.
When I met her
it was her 21st time in a rehab clinic!!!
SHE REFUSES TO GIVE UP!!
She believes that one day
she will get clean
and stay clean.
And do you know what?
I believe she will too!
I believe she will one day soon
attend her own
SURPRISE PARTY!

drug-rehab-center

The damage
done to me by my loving
but unwitting parents
during my childhood.
The damage
done to me
by an abusive husband
over 10 years
during my twenties.
It has taken until
the age of 54
for me to be really free of it.

THAT’S A LONG TIME!

That’s 24 years!

But if I had given up,
checked out,
at the times I was tempted to
during those years
I would have missed
THE SURPRISE PARTY
of recovery
that eventually came.

So I urge anyone reading this –
If you are tempted
to give in
or
give up.
DON’T !
Keep on keeping on.
Look for people to –
support you,
walk with you,
give you hope,
pick you up when you fall down –
but
KEEP GOING!

Your SURPRISE PARTY
Could be just around the corner!!!

hope

Please know that you can chat to me about any aspect of recovery you like – if I don’t know the answer I will find out for you
DON’T WALK ALONE!

————————————————————————————–

TALKING OF WALKING – IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF YOU COULD CHECK OUT THE DONATE PAGE BELOW AND SPONSOR ME IN A WALK I AM DOING FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY I WORK FOR – THANKS

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL

Posted in dry days. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Karen unrue

IMG_2701

During these hot summer months
It’s important
to keep hydrated.
When you travel
on the London underground
you hear regularly
over the platform
loudspeakers –

“IN THIS HOT WEATHER PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER WITH THEM.”

Its good advice.

Do you know what else is
good advice?
Always carry with you
something you can read,
listen to,
or just glance at,
to remind yourself that you’re going to be ok!
That you are strong even though you feel weak.
That you are acceptable,
good enough,
someone of value,
and lovable.
That there is
HOPE,
and to not give up
or hang your head.
That in this moment you are in –
YOU ARE SAFE
and even if it feels like a storm is raging
KNOW
it will grow calm –
over time –
and you will find –
A QUIET PLACE AGAIN.

THIS IS HYDRATION FOR YOUR SPIRIT –

This is –

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL!!!!!!!

SILENCING LORD HAW HAW

Posted in Silencing Lord Haw Haw with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2013 by Karen unrue

joyce 0001

Lord Haw Haw, real name, William Joyce, was a British citizen who, during world war 2 defected to Germany and worked for the Nazi’s against the British people by broadcasting on Hamburg radio’s nightly broadcasts of “Germany Calling”.
He used an exaggerated English aristocratic accent to broadcast lies and half- truths designed to unnerve the British people, as well as to try and confuse them and lower their morale.

All of us, to a greater or lesser extent, have our own Lord Haw Haw.

We hear the voices of those who should have been allies in our lives but who, instead, spoke words daily that unnerved us and lowered our self-belief.

We no longer hear them as loudly as on the day they were said, or hear the voices that originally spoke the words.
Most of the time we are hardly aware of them.
It’s a dull muttering like a radio left on in the background.
Its known in the trade as “self-talk”, or “inner dialogue” and everyone experiences it.

radio

Some have been luckier than others and have had far more encouraging and nurturing words spoken to them than unnerving, undermining ones. So they’re self-talk is more positive than negative.
But those of us who have heard Lord Haw Haw daily will have a negative broadcast playing in our heads that effects our thinking and behaviour.
That’s because our “inner dialogue” is closely linked to the “BOTTOM LINE” that I talk about in an earlier post. Our “inner dialogue” reflects the fundamental beliefs we hold about ourselves. It’s the chatter in our heads resulting from the opinions that others have stated about us and that we have believed to be true.
There are times when the volume increases on our inner dialogue – its when we attempt to move out of our comfort zone – that safe little circle we have chalked around ourselves, the limits in which we choose to live based on our self-belief or lack of it.

chalk circle

For instance –
A woman on her way to an interview for a job she really wants will hear:-

“Oh God, there will be others there far more qualified than I am.”
“What am I doing? I’m not good enough for this job”
“They will see through me straight away”
“I should just stay a secretary, that’s what I’m good at.”

Sound familiar?

or

you receive an invitation to your 15 year school reunion – your self-talk will be loud then:-

“I can’t go, everyone will have done so much more with their lives than me.”
“I’ve put on weight, people will judge me.”
“no one will want to talk to me”
“I will feel awkward – it will be awful.”

person in despair

There are a million other examples I could give –
But you get the point.

So how do we silence Lord Haw Haw?
How do we turn the radio off?
Or change the station we are listening to?

The first thing to do is to keep a notebook and pen handy and jot down your self-talk when you become aware of it. Over time this will give you insight into the kind of distorted perspectives you have carried from your early years into adulthood.
Also keep note of the kind of behaviours that your self-talk tries to talk you out of doing.

Unknown

For instance:-

Going to parties/activities that you are invited to.
Doing higher education classes or going for promotion.
Approaching a girl/boy you like and asking them out for coffee.
Trying something different in your life – an activity or interest.

By gaining this insight it will help clarify what kind of thinking clouds your judgement of yourself and of the world, and prevents you from living an authentic, free life.
The kind of life you really want to live.

life of freedom

In my next post I will show you a list of several kinds of distorted perspectives and you will be able to see which of these fits your self-talk.
I will then show you practical techniques you can use, not only to identify your distorted thinking patterns in certain life scenarios, but to gain a more rational perspective in the areas where your self-talk clouds your vision. These will enable you to begin to minimise your negative self-talk.

In other words it will help you to begin –

SILENCING LORD HAW HAW

After all, lets not forget that he was hanged for treason in 1946.

THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN

Posted in THE LOVELY YOUNG MAN with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by Karen unrue

young man 2

A lovely young man
came to see me.
A good looking
young man,
28 years old,
with a good job,
and his own flat.
I was
a mentor
in a
mental health charity.
HE WAS TROUBLED.

depression

Recently, his
ANXIETIES
had spiralled into
DEPRESSION.
He didn’t understand
what was wrong.
He’d always found
relationships
difficult, he said,
even with family.
But lately his friendships
had become increasingly
strained.
Then his girlfriend
had left him
and now he was
on medication.

help_pills_c
He said,

“It isn’t that life is hard, it’s that I FIND LIFE HARD!
And I don’t know why”.

Early on
In our sessions
I asked him
a question –

WHAT IS YOUR BOTTOM LINE?

I explained
I wasn’t talking about
the Visible Panty Line
that expensive underwear adverts
promise to eradicate.

NO!

In this instance –

The BOTTOM LINE is the description of yourself that you believe to be 100%
TRUE.

It is indicated in how
you complete the sentence –
I AM…….
when no one is listening.
When its
just you
in
quiet solitude,
being brutally honest
with yourself.

who am i

The lovely young man
thought about it
a while,
then
admitted to me
his
BOTTOM LINE
was
I AM … NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
I AM … TO BLAME.

Peoples underlying beliefs about themselves will always impact their thinking and then their behaviour.

I explained this to him and that his BOTTOM LINE was influencing everything in his life, including his relationships, and that only when he changed his beliefs about himself would “living life” become easier for him.

“But how do I do THAT?” He gasped

I said,
“It is possible.
I know because I have done it,
and I will show you how”.

I told him –
Your BOTTOM LINE is a label you wear.
A label you have allowed to define you because you believe it to be true.

So we talked about labels and how we acquire them.
How when we come into this world our label is blank –
blank labels
we have no opinion of who we are – not good or bad.
And that the opinion we will eventually have of ourselves,
our BOTTOM LINE,
will develop over time –
AS OTHER PEOPLE WRITE ON OUR LABEL.

handwriting

What people write on a child’s label varies.
It depends on the environment in which they are raised.

A healthy environment label will most likely say –
“you are lovable,
interesting,
fun to be with,
and you can do anything you put your mind to”

An unhealthy environment label will most likely say –
“you are a nuisance,
stupid,
in the way,
and you will never amount to anything.”

dysfunctional

Yes, it’s a genetic lottery.
We have no say about
the families
we are born into.
And the kids in
unhealthy families
have an
uphill battle.
But even kids
in nurturing families
are spoken to
carelessly
or unkindly
at times.

NO ONE IS IMMUNE.

I explained that children have what child psychologist’s call
CONCRETE THINKING.
This means that children (up to 14 or15) take personally everything that is said to them,
and believe it to be FACT.

They don’t have the capacity, as adults do, to take into consideration the
circumstances or the mood of the person speaking.
Adults can differentiate between the truth and an opinion.
They know that an opinion is often rooted in some issue that the person voicing it is having, and can, therefore, disregard it.

Children can’t do that.
To a child
ugly things aren’t said because –

“mum is having a bad day”,

mum pulling her hair out

or “dad has money worries and is short-tempered”.

finances

NO

To a child –
Ugly things are said
Because
THEY ARE TRUE.

BUT,
I explained to him
WHAT IS ACTUALLY TRUE
is that the ugly things
that are said to us
as children
are NOT facts
but
OPINIONS.

OPINIONS VOICED OUT OF ISSUES THAT THE PERSON SPEAKING IS HAVING AT THE TIME.

The lovely young man
suddenly
straightened up
in his chair.
There was a
light in his eyes.
He had heard
something
that
resonated.

He recounted that one night
when he was
seven years old
he’d been put to bed
by his mother.
She then went downstairs
and soon he could hear
her and his father arguing
in the lounge below his bedroom.

bth_couple-fighting_zpsaf14a3e4

This was nothing new – they argued quite a lot.
But this one escalated
to such decibels
and went on for so long
that he became alarmed –
and then frightened.
He crept downstairs in his pyjamas
and stood in the hall next to the
closed living room door.
SUDDENLY
his mother burst out of the room.
She saw him,
pointed her finger at him
and said,

pointing

“ITS YOUR FAULT I’M STUCK IN THIS GOD-AWFUL MARRIAGE.
IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU I COULD LEAVE AND HAVE A BETTER LIFE.
ITS YOUR FAULT I’M STUCK HERE AND UNHAPPY”

She then stormed upstairs
leaving him standing alone
UNDER THE WEIGHT OF HER WORDS.

The lovely young man
then told me
that from that moment on
he felt responsible
for his mother’s
happiness.
He tried hard
to be good,
to be funny,
to be there
for her.
And felt guilty
when she was unhappy.
It was his fault.
SHE HAD SAID SO.

He said that with every relationship that mattered to him from then on
he felt he had to make sure the other person was always alright.
Their happiness
was his responsibility.
It was a joke at first.
They teased him a bit,
said he should “chill”.
He tried to stop
trying so hard.
But lately things only got worse.
And one by one
his friends fell away.
Then his girlfriend
said she felt smothered
and walked away too.

girlfreind leaving

“BUT IF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS TRUE” he said excitedly,
“Then my mother wasn’t speaking A FACT ABOUT ME! Was she?
She was just VOICING AN OPINION out of the anger she was feeling!”

He took a deep breath as the reality sank in,

“And so THE TRUTH IS “ he continued,
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for other people’s happiness – am I !!”

I smiled, and said, “THAT’S RIGHT”.

And he smiled too.

smile

Over the weeks we worked on erasing the opinions he had worn as the truth.
He gradually wrote his own label.
Redefining himself
and learning to
live his life FREE from
THE WEIGHT OF HIS MOTHER’S WORDS.

It wasn’t easy,
but with hard work
and perseverance
he began
breaking the habits
of thinking
and behaviour
that had caused
him to
“find life hard.”

The lovely young man,
a couple of years
after our sessions had ended,
spotted me in a restaurant.
He came over.
He was smiling.
He told me how well his life was going
Then took me to his table
and introduced me to his girlfriend.

I must say –
they both looked
VERY HAPPY INDEED.

_smitten__couple_in_love_figurative__figurative__08959ab3929e456a74457a4d6210735a

Have any of the labels you have been given created problems for you?

If you look back with an adults eye can you see that most likely they were not facts but opinions?

what are some of the opinions you have believed to be facts?

I will discuss in more depth some of the techniques for working yourself free from damaging opinions in my next post.

Do you have any questions you would like me to try and answer?

I would be happy to give it my best shot !

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