April Is Childhood Abuse Prevention Month ~ A Deep Share Of My Story ~ We Just Want To Be Believed & Heard . . .

April Is Childhood Abuse Prevention Month ~ A Deep Share Of My Story ~ We Just Want To Be Believed & Heard . . .

Yes, I am a childhood sex, trauma, and abuse SURVIVOR . . . .

 

“According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, it’s estimated that 679,000 children were victims of child abuse and out of that number, 1,484 children died as a result in fiscal year 2013.”
“In 1983, April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month as part of an educational platform, and in trying to highlight the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse across the globe.”

And it has taken me many years to be able to share this. Taken many years to learn it was not my fault that these disgusting things happened to me. Many years I felt shame, broken, and spiritually trained. That ugly past haunting me until this day. Even after much therapy, overcoming, journaling, healing, walking through all the pain and hurt, today it still haunts my dreams into nightmares.

My psychiatrist tells me this is called, PTSD.  “Just another damn label to place on my back.”
And this was some of the underlying issues of why I got tangled up in addicted gambling. I used it to hide and escape those ugly feelings, hauntings and old pain. So desperate to not remember or feel anything ever AGAIN! When we turn to, and use any addiction to mask how we feel about our past, the damage is that then you don’t feel anything at all except hopelessness.

But why now? Why after all the years of recovery work, the hard inner work that I have done, and for my recovery from addicted gambling and alcohol abuse, why is this still taunting me? Childhood abuse is tough enough to have to accept, why was I chosen as to have my innocence been taken away from me as a little girl? Your left feeling confused, dirty, shamed, broken, hopeless, left in a dark black whole of non understanding of what is happening to me by my abusers, yes there was more than one. Sadly a man in our extended family, and a family friend of my parents. Then you go into the, “WHY ME GOD PHASE.”
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Why God would you have this happen to me? When you get to an age where you find out that what happened to as a little girl was wrong. That it was inappropriate, and men disgusted me. They are sick human beings that shouldn’t be walking the face of this earth!!! Then something happens even more traumatic, all those prayers you prayed to God, to make him die so this boy would not ever lay a hand on me again DIES.   WTF?

He was only 19 years old. A friend’s son of my parents. They found him in his room face down in a pool of blood after he hit his head/temple, he was knocked out when this happened and landed face down. He choked on his own blood and died. I was stunned and shocked all at the same time! So I told GOD that I didn’t really mean it!! I really didn’t want him to die, just not to do those things to me anymore!!!
I just couldn’t process all of it. I felt sick to my stomach that I made this happen. More TRAUMA & Confusion.

Then when the sex abuse stopped? I began a cycle of dissociation. In my teen years I remember hiding in my room a LOT. And when I was around others? I would have a beautiful mask of happiness and comedy about me. No one knew what was bubbling way down below in my soul. They couldn’t see that big black empty hole inside me. Shit, even I had stuffed all this away so deep that at times I would even fool myself that I was happy, healthy and normal.

“Childhood sex abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal process of reporting can be difficult. The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive professional help. The long-term emotional damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.

Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger. When sexual abuse has occurred, a child can develop many distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors.”

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I’ve never felt normal since this happened to me. This carried into my adulthood. I feel it changed the way I looked at men, my relationships in my earlier years with men, and never feeling good enough. I deemed to gravitate toward men who abused me, I feel it made me more promiscuous at an earlier age. I was also looking for fatherly unconditional love I never got from my own father and also my mother. This also played a part in my relationship choices. Then through my teen years my parents were very heavy-handed when it came to discipline. My father would use a belt, buckle and all, and mom, well anything around her was a potential weapon! Wooden spoon, broom, rake, anything depending on the area of the house we were in.

But as I got older, early and late teens, my parents would use verbal abuse. My parents began the cycle of judging us by the friends we had, hung around with, and how they dressed. My father would also say many hurt full things to me. He had called me a drug addict, pill popper, just because he may have seen one of my friends smoking a cigarette. He even called me a hooker just because he seen the way few of my friends dressed. I just didn’t get why he would say these hurtful things to me? I wasn’t dressed that way. They were so judgmental. At times I couldn’t believe these two people were MY Parents! It got worse. When I got about 30, is when I sought help for the first time for sexual abuse. The therapist I was seeing at the time told me that I would, at some point, would have to tell my parents what happened to me a little girl. I felt sick.
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WHY? Because all those years ago I remember all the lies I was told by my molesters. And I can tell you the biggest fear a child, or even now as an adult, telling someone opens that door to them “Not Believing that this happened to ME and I was telling lies.” It’s what my abusers told me if I told anyone about what he did to me. No will believe you!

So when I got the nerve to finally tell my mom over the phone, I was 31 years old, living in So. Oregon, married to my husband now, and when I told my mom? She freaked!! She went on the defensive as if I was questioning her parental skills. She told me she’d have known if that was happening to me, or to anyone of her kids. I was never trusted again. SO, again, another bitch slap to my face, as all the hurt and pain came rushing back through me like a flood of poison. My own mother didn’t believe me, nor my father when she told him. It was like being abused all over again. Needless to say, our relationship became strained for a few years. And I went on a very painful journey of addicted gambling for over 11 years. Why didn’t they understand this?

That’s when I went searching for something to help escape this pain! I was never a drug user, drugs didn’t do anything for me, and I never really drank a lot, so gambling addiction for me fit the bill! I did however lean toward alcohol the last few years before entering treatment for compulsive addicted gambling. We look for anything to just get rid of the pain and the hurt if you never address the issues. All of this left huge scars inside me. Endless on and off therapy, then Mental/Emotional disorders began to appear. Today I battle daily challenges with Bipolar Manic Depression, Agoraphobia with panic, pain with my depression, mild mania, and now having problems with PTSD again.

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I had went undiagnosed for years. And the gambling addiction is what finally brought many of the disorders I was suffering from to light. But I’m still in care of a psychiatrist and on meds. I do this for myself, but for others around me. WHY? Because I don’t want to be another statistic. Another person fallen through the cracks of our mental health system. I don’t want to be suicidal ever again. I don’t want to hurt the people I love who support me. Yes, I do this for myself, but also for the people I care for as well. 2 failed suicide attempts were enough for me. I have to much work to do to help others who may suffer the same, maybe in recovery from addictions, and to continue to raise awareness of childhood abuse and sex abuse.

It’s time the public hear our many voices of childhood abuse. It’s time to educate, inform, and SHATTER THE STIGMA around all these important issues many battle with on a daily basis. Don’t feel sorry for me, I don’t. I am not my illness, I am not a victim, as hurt and pain does not rule my world. “Child Abuse and Sex Abuse” should not be happening in our world today! We were abused, so don’t accuse! I am a Survivor!

National Child Abuse Hotline ~  1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
National Child Sexual Abuse Hotline ~ 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (866-367-5444)

“I am a face and voice of Childhood Abuse in Healing and in Recovery!”


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Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Advocate

 

 

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Today Is Double Guest Blog Post Thursday! Meet A Few Of My New Recovery Friends…

Welcome & Thanks For Visiting Today,

 

You all are in for an awesome treat as I have TWO Special Guests for ‘Double Guest Thursday”!
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My first blog ‘Guest Spotlight’ is a new friend I met on Twitter recently. She does amazing work to help others! We have a little in common as she helps teach, and mentor parents, single moms, and many more. She has had a rough childhood like many of us out here, and she is determined to help be the “Solution & Break The Cycle”….
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Many were raised to not speak of family problems outside our homes. Loads of deep, dark family secrets can destroy families, and not to mention the impact it has on the children.  It’s what happened to me. Some of us use addictions, or many other unhealthy habits and behaviors we learn from an unhealthy family dynamic, addiction, or other things that we need to change and interrupt so it’s not passed down to the next generation of our families. That’s just the tip of the iceberg that my caring friend ‘Athena Morberg’ tries to accomplish in a safe and caring enviroment. Her is a more about her, and how she helps others…

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About Athena

Athena-Moberg-Logo“Helping parents. Changing lives.”

 

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Hi I’m Athena!
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I am an aspiring entrepreneur who is passionate about helping other single moms get FREE from limiting beliefs so they can build a business and life they enjoy while spending more time with their children.
I was a single mom for 17 years and I struggled almost every step of the way.
 
Back in the 90′s when I was a teenager raising my son, I didn’t have a CLUE and I definitely didn’t receive a lot of family support.
 
Looking back, I remember a couple of things very vividly:
 
1) I didn’t have the best example set for me through my immediate family {multiple divorces, drugs, alcohol, ongoing abuse in many areas, neglect, multiple step parents, etc…}
 
2) I was determined to break the cycle for my child someday!  
 
I also knew I lacked the valuable-life-changing resources I needed to be a great role model for my son… and that overwhelmed me… literally almost every day. {really}

WE  NEVER  “ARRIVE”
 
Fast forward and here I am with my very own website, podcast & internet radio show.  I mean…really?   {pinch me}
 
If I could talk to the 19-year-old Athena right now, I would tell her a lot of things…
 
Mostly, it would be on the topics of parenting, having faith, {those not-often-talked-about struggles in life} and I would definitely mention business, now that I have been in it for 21 years.  
 
I would say, “Athena, build a business for yourself – sooner rather than later…  now rather than years from now.”
 
“Find what you’re passionate about and find a way to do that. It will be a great example. And whatever you do…don’t give up!“.
 
Since I have been doing this for a couple of decades now, I have made thousands of mistakes, maybe more. The best part?  I am so happy to be able to share my 21 years of first-hand knowledge and experience with YOU: a fellow traveler… a mom just like me.  A powerful, amazing woman with the capacity to love greatly and make a huge impact in the life of your child.   Yes, you.    “But Athena, you don’t understand my upbringing… I’m not equipped to be amazing…”    Yes.  You.  Are.   It doesn’t matter if you had dysfunction and poor role models growing up.  It doesn’t matter if you had no role model. The level of dysfunction you experienced in your life is insignificant at this moment.  {Believe me, if you wanna talk about dysfunction and ridiculousness I could make your head spin…we could probably share stories for days.}  
 
What matters in NOW.  Right now.  You have taken the first step to secure that your child gets the life he or she deserves, otherwise you wouldn’t be here on this website right now reading about how I can help you.  You have made a conscious choice to break the cycle and raise an incredible man or woman.  Good job mom! 
 
That is why I am here.  That is why I exist.  That is my purpose!  I am so passionate about helping YOU with your journey and I can’t wait to see a difference in your life and in the life of your child.  I finally found a way to do this for a living and I count my blessings more times than I can mention.
 
I consider it a privilege to work with single moms just like you. I want to stand beside you as you overcome your past struggles, hurts and disappointments.  I will be with you when you become the most amazing role model you can be.  The role model you were created to be.

Oh, by the way, I get it… you’re not really here for you… in fact you rarely do anything for  “you” , am I right?  You’re here for your kids.  I get it.  Been there.  And I also want you to know – that is more than ok, in fact it is fantastic!  I am so proud of you.  You are here because they deserve a chance.  Perhaps a chance that you were never given.  A chance at a healthy life and a bright future. Bravo mom!  This is a turning point for you, this is where your journey gets good.
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*Here is a little more from her clients she has helped in changing lives*

what others are saying about athena

Athena-Moberg-Logo“Helping parents. Changing lives.”

 

“Athena’s obvious passion is encouraging single moms by helping them overcome their circumstances & build healthy, abundant lives for themselves and their families.”

 “I plan to continue with Athena, as I know she will be a large part of making my dreams come true.”

 “Athena’s enthusiastic and honest style puts me at ease every time I connect with her.”

I know for a fact, without Athena’s help in the beginning, I would not be where I am today.”

Athena’s energy, excitement, and ideas spurred me along”!

Athena is so encouraging.”

I always feel like Athena understands the vision I have for my life and my business. I have the utmost confidence that when she says she will do something, it will be done with perfection.”

As a business and personal development coach, Athena is improving our local economy, one business at a time.”

“Athena’s honest observation of my situation truly was spot on. Since our session, I’ve prayed wholeheartedly for God’s direction in my work life and my personal life.  For too long now, I’ve been stuck in a rut, with no knowledge or courage to get out.  Things are now starting to move and change.  I know life is going to pick up as I start being more aware of the opportunities that are coming my way!”

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In life we always need to remember it’s not about ‘Perfection,’ it’s about being a ‘Work In Progress’! So I encourage you to visit her helpful website if you have had a hard childhood, trauma, or just need help being a better parent, single or not. If your past trauma is knocking on your door? Then go see how Athena can help. I myself am a childhood sex abuse survivor, and went through things no little girl should ever go through by two family friends of my fathers. And it did come back to haunt me in my late 30’s through my mid 40’s.
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I wish I had known proper ways to process all of it when it did come back and bothered me. I got  tangled into an addicted gambling addiction and alcohol to try to ‘escape’ all those horrible memories. I used them both to cope, and that led to 2 failed attempted suicides. I felt it was MY fault for what happened to me some how. Not knowing any better that it wasn’t. My point is that we need to get help and process what we have been through in a healthy way. It’s why I share my story, and to let others have a voice, and know they are HEARD! I feel Athena does this a well through her helpful website!

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SUCCESS: you will never-ever forget this feeling

I have successfully transformed my parenting style and my lifestyle by focusing on the foundational principles I’ve learned in the bible. I have developed a specific method for my mentoring and coaching which focuses on 5 specific areas. I call it The ALOHA Method. Not because I live in Hawaii : ) ALOHA is an acronym for 5 areas of your parenting journey. It is powerful when implemented and has forever changed the lives of many parents & children. 
The lives of single mothers and their children have literally been transformed. Really.
I have not always lived this blessed-abundant life in Hawaii; my childhood and upbringing could make your head spin… To say I have an “underdog to overcomer” story would be an understatement. 
My testimony has encouraged thousands of women and given them hope during times of great discouragement and I am ready to encourage you….
Your can find, and connect with Athena Moberg on her website  http://athenamoberg.com and these other wonderful links!
http://about.me/AthenaMoberg/   Google+   Twitter   Pinterest   Instagram  and  Facebook ….
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My next guest is an interactive site all about ‘Shattering The Stigma About Addictions’ and raising awareness that ‘Addiction Is A Real Disease!
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We all know that stigma around those of us in recovery is still out there! So I wanted to help and share this important message from my new friends of, ‘The Truth About Addiction” http://thetruthaboutaddiction.org/end-the-stigma/
That addictions of all kinds are NOT a personal choice, but real diseases. Here is a little more about my recovery friends, and how you can help by  “Signing The Wall.”
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About and Contact Info

The truth about addiction is a community created to end the stigma against addiction and alcoholism.

TTAA  is a community of people united to show the world that addiction is a disease. When we speak of addiction, we refer to anyone who was or is addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, relationships, gambling, shopping, love, sex, etc. Our sole purpose is to end the addiction stigma. We do not speak for any organization, diagnose or treat any illness, or recommend any treatment program. The truth is, addiction is a disease, not a choice or a crime. It’s a chronic, fatal illness affecting more than 23 million Americans. We stand together in peace and serenity, united in the knowledge that we suffer from a disease.

For more information, please email thetruthaboutaddiction@gmail.com
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Sign the Wall to End the Stigma

Please join our mission to end the stigma against addiction and alcoholism. Our goal is to have one million people sign our wall. Together we can show others that we are suffering from a disease, not a choice or a crime.

To participate, please fill out the contact form below or email your name and location and you will be added to our wall.

Addiction is a Disease

No matter what it is you’re addicted to – drugs, alcohol, food, etc. – you are suffering from a disease, not something to be ashamed of!

  • Addiction is a chronic illness that is fatal if left untreated.
  • No one wants to be a drug addict or alcoholic when they grow up.
  • It’s not a choice. It’s a disease.
  • Drugs and alcohol (or food, money, relationships, etc.) are solutions to the problem, not the problem. They are what we use to ease the symptoms of our disease.
  • Addiction begins long before drug and alcohol use.
Want to submit your thoughts? Email thetruthaboutaddiction@gmail.com.
*SO PLEASE, if you our you know someone who has been touched by ADDICTION, then please visit their website today and SIGN THE WALL in that persons HONOR.*
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Together we can save & change lives one signature at a time!
I want to THANK both “Athena Moberg & The Truth About Addiction” for letting me ‘Share’ them with all of you today!
I’m a firm believer that we can’t have too much information and help at our disposal to guide us through a beautiful Life!
And since I have daily challenges being in recovery for a bit over 7yrs, living with mental illness, and learned to work through my own childhood traumatic past,I will continue to share my progress so others may know the is always  HOPE* with a little faith on the other side of despair…

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GOD BLESS ALL!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


AND STIGMA! …