Saturday, February 06, 2016


I found this article yesterday about Isabel Laxamana, a thirteen year old girl whose father cut off her hair and filmed her to shame her after he discovered that she had texted inappropriate photos to a boy.  Izzie, after learning the film was sent to her peers at school, wrote notes to loved ones and then killed herself.  Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

The author points out that suicide is an inherently complex issue and no one can say for certain just how much her father's actions contributed to her desperate decision.  But it is certain that shame is devastating, despairing, and destructive.  Dr. BrenĂ© Brown notes out that shame does not change behavior and the author provides historical examples of that.  Truly, Dr. Brown is not remiss in saying that shame is an epidemic, a statement also backed-up by the content of the article.  It is a read that should not be missed.


Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.


I know I am not far enough into the book to make such a recommendation, but I am already thinking that everyone should study shame.  For me, I long for my friends to read it.

One thing about trying to heal is that the message I have heard consistently and repeatedly is that I need to be in community.  That I need friends and family to help me heal and help me deal with living with chronic illness.  This is particularly true, I heard, with PTSD ... having folk to help you understand PTSD and your triggers so that when you are caught in the maelstrom of a trigger then you can have a voice outside all that to help you get through it.

I tried to get friends to read The Courage to Heal with me, to be a part of recovery, but I do not have community in that way.  The thing I am learning in counseling now, which is confusing but also resonates, is that healing happens in relationship because the trauma happened in relationship.  Davis and Bass talk about that, but I didn't get it.  I am beginning to now.  One relationship is being built with the counselor.  I will admit that I become very, very, very frustrated when I get told about needing a support group.  You just cannot manufacture one.  And, I'm learning, you cannot manufacture vulnerable and trusting relationships, authentic relationships.

I have trying to be more ... honest ... here.  Dr. Brown would say more authentic.  I write because that's how I process the world.  I write because I am learning more and more how important it is to have things outside my head.  To not foster secrets.  I write to rehearse what I am learning.  And I write to feel less alone, even though my online rememberer is not one that seems to foster comments or engagement.  Really, even though I can see the page views, I still think of this primarily a private journal.  I feel no less isolated for those views because they are, save for three folk I know, like phantom views.  Just me and my thoughts and the things that fascinate and frighten me.  The quotidian and the questions I have.

As I wrote before, because Facebook is a community, I have written as naked posts there as I have here.  And, as I have said, it guts me when I stand naked without notice.

An example of a post trying to speak about the things in my head these days is below:

I put off watching "Longmire," Season Four, as a treat for later. I am not sure why. I just did. Oh, how I wish I knew Episode Six was about rape. I stopped watching "Downton Abbey" because of Anna's rape and the storyline. I know that denial, that pretending nothing happened is accurate, especially from an historical standpoint, but I just couldn't bear it.

I found this episode to be gut-wrenching and very much a trigger for me. The worst part was something I wonder if others even stopped to consider: Henry tells the woman helping the survivor that there is a sweat for women who had been assaulted. She is dumbfounded that there is a sweat just for that. Almost as if there could not possibly be such a need. All I could think is that there is most likely a need for more than just one regular sweat even in that small community.

I have tried, rather unsuccessfully, to find a sexual abuse support group in Fort Wayne. The only ones I have found are private practice one that cost money. It staggers me that with the reported sexual abuse rate being 1 in 4 females and 1 in 7 males, why there are not as many sexual abuse support groups as there are AA meetings! Not even the local hospitals run sexual abuse support groups, but by golly they run groups for everything else! SIGH.

I have actually wanted to find an Al-Anon group, too, that I could try because more and more I think that it is important to consider what it was like growing up with alcoholics in my family, especially the ones who were violent and angry drunks.  It is not something that my family ever talks about nor something that I thought about until recently in my life (after moving here).  I think the alcoholism is a few (if not dozens) of the puzzle pieces of me.  

One reason I think this is because I saw this al-anon meeting in a fairly realistic movie and one of the speakers talked about how children of alcoholics struggle to learn that they are not responsible for the feelings of others.  Oh, my!  I heard that and literally did not hear anything for the rest of the movie. I just sat there thinking and thinking and thinking.  And at my next counseling appointment, we talked about it a bit ... but I need much, much, much more talking and thinking about it.  Because.  Because do I ever have a problem that ... battle it ... have not a clue how to not be responsible for the feelings of others.  SIGH.

I very, very, very much want to stop feeling responsible for the feelings of others.

And I want to heal.
And build shame resilience.

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