It's a curious thing to me when I see people who always want comfort and ease. They call it "blessing." They talk about living a prosperous life and they constantly rebuke every from of adversity or uncomfortable circumstance that might make them less than perfectly happy in the present moment.
What they are missing is the bigger blessing- the more important blessing. The lessons, the strength, the growth, The sanctification process. All of this happens through trial, pain, heartache.
If you are in the middle of a storm, seek not to escape it. Seek to learn from it. Consider it joy that you have been given a precious opportunity to grow.
Be brave, my friends, - M
I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. - Louisa May Alcott
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My youngest said something to me today when we were looking at an old YT video (on a channel that I'm locked out of- grrr). She said, "Oh, Mommy! That's you? You used to be pretty!"
Right then it hit me: I haven't been underestimating the effects of my time spent in the dark valley. It's been five years but it looks like more. It feels like more. A lot more.
Stress can take its toll.
I knew it at the time. I could feel it. It may sound funny, but it was like I could feel it at a cellular level- it was effecting me, changing me from the inside.
What's the point, here? Whining? Maybe a little. I mean I earned a bit of a whimper at least, right? More so the point is, if you are walking through the valley- if you are in an emotional storm, or facing a heartbreaking life trial, please remember to take time to care of yourself and your broken heart.
Even when we are hurting, we can eat well (may not a lot, but well); we can sleep as much as possible; we can exercise; we can refrain from unhealthy coping mechanisms. We can take vitamins, drink plenty of water and seek out excellent counseling from a qualified professional.
I'll admit, I did only a few of these. Most days it was only "breathe in, breathe out... survive." Perhaps the results would have been lessened had I taken the advice of my own profession. So, let me end with this fun and oh, so wise saying: Do as I say, not as I do!!
Guard your heart (and your face), my friends, - M
Subscribe to my learning, growing, healing mental health vlog at Can We Talk? or find me @TweetmentPlan.
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This information contains triggers. It will also probably make every parent feel sick to their stomach but you need to know this. The predator grooms their target for abuse. The predator will typically start by making the child- the target- feel special.
The child or teen gets emotional or financial attention. Emotional meaning attention or praise. Financial meaning games, toys, clothing, jewelry, food, etc.
The child – the target- trusts the person- the predator. The child sees this person as a great friend or relative who is really fun and cool and cares for the child. Get this, typically the parents also see this person the same way. The parents usually trust the Predator. Sometimes the parents see this person as a blessing.
After the Predator has established trust with the child and/or family, the predator begins their preliminary sexual behavior by using safe touching (a rub on the shoulder, hugs, sitting close or playful touching like roughhousing).
At this point, no sexual boundary has been broken- or so it seems- because we can’t see the motives behind the generosity and friendliness. When the Predator takes it to the next level- a secret touching game- for example- the child will usually comply because 1) trust has been established and 2) they feel obligated- Remember all the kindness and generosity? Remember this is a really fun, cool person?
Eventually it gets very icky for the child. He or she has a bad feeling about it. The child begins to fully realize this is not right. Here’s the kicker parents. You have to hear this. Because most of us believe that our child would tell us if something every happened. No they won’t. And here is why…
In the child’s mind, they were a willing participant. They complied with requests. They let it go this far. They are to blame. They feel dirty and shameful.
Hear this, parents- this is the hook. They blame themselves. Wrongfully so, yes- but they don’t realize that.
Not only that, the Predator by now has laid a guilt trip on the child. Possibly YOUR child. “No one would understand our special relationship. You don’t want me to get in trouble, do you? Here’s a phone, iPad, new video game.” Or other bribe.
In the child’s mind, they’ve helped create this, they are taking bribes for silence and they are continuing in it. And we haven’t even mentioned the Predator’s threats to harm family or pets if word gets out.
That is why every parent is always shocked- I can’t believe my child didn’t tell me this was going on. And why every parent feels guilty when they find out it has happened to their child. Don’t. Please, if you are or were a victim or you are a parent of a victim, do not own that guilt. That predator knew exactly what they were doing. It’s the rest of us- the innocent children and unsuspecting parents who have no clue and fall victim.
If you suspect that someone is a victim of child abuse, call the child protective services division in your area or call your local police department. You don’t have to have proof- just suspicion.
And, if you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, there is help. There is hope. There is recovery. Contact Victim Witness in your area, they typically are associated with the District Attorney’s Office. Sometimes they are able to pay for counseling services for victims of crime. Or, you can do an internet search for therapists in your area. Be sure to find one with training in sexual abuse. In most states, children aged 12 or 14- depending on where you live- can consent to medical and therapy services without their parent’s permission. This is important for any teen who has a parent that is not safe, or who won’t listen.
This is a tough message. If anything has triggered you, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 RAINN.
Don’t suffer in silence. My friends, above all else guard your heart. So much love to you. Be strong- M
Watch the video version (breathy rant) of this at https://youtu.be/ud5lvzCRKjo
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The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda (or Mel, if you like). I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, mental health vlogger (hey! go subscribe!!) and Child & Family Therapist - not necessarily in that order (well, except the first one). If you want to see my business-y side, check out my super-professional business website.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog