Small Circles

rape-survivor

I had an experience last April that I haven’t talked about yet. My friend, Moira Finley, has this amazing idea that churches should find a place to name and honor the strength of survivors of sexual abuse and assault. At first read, this would seem like a no brainer. Churches are supposed to welcome people, you know, like Jesus did. Many churches work very hard to be inclusive of everyone and make that incredibly difficult balance work. Some churches want to include everyone, but get hung up on one particular group, like welcoming offenders of sexual assault, but not making a whole lot of space for survivors. Other churches have a whole lot of talk about welcoming people, but once you look beyond their welcome mat, it is easy to see they only want people who look and love like they do, which is a nice way of saying they only want people who believe in their particular brand of hate.

Moira has this idea, revolutionary as it is, that churches can welcome and hold space for survivors of sexual assault and rape. She created this amazing liturgy which you can find at breakthesilencesunday.org. You can also read her blog and wait for the 2017 resources, which will be written soon.

My seminary, Eden Theological Seminary, held what I think was the very first Break The Silence Sunday service. It was held on a Thursday. I was fortunate enough to go. I wanted to go in part because I was so proud of the work they were doing in including survivors in this revolutionary way. I wanted to be a part of that. I also wanted to go to make sure they were handling the concerns of survivors and educating new pastors about survivors in a respectful way. They did great, if you were wondering.


break-the-silence-sunday

At the service, I wore this button for the first, and only time. I have it on my purse every day and sometimes I think people see it, and sometimes I want them to see it. Sometimes I don’t think people see it, and sometimes I don’t want them to see it.

rape-survivor

Whether I want people to see the button or not, and whether I want people to know I’m a survivor or not, I am. I can’t, and won’t deny it. Sometimes I tell the story and remove it from myself. I let people infer whatever details they want, or don’t want, to know. If asked, I’ll say more. Usually when I separate what I survived from my self, I am disappointed in what I’ve said. It is part of my story, not all of it of course, but it is a large part of who I am.

For myself and most of the survivors I know, this election period has been intense. It has been a soul crushing reminder of exactly why not everyone tells their stories of rape and abuse. Society as a whole does not want to know. It is too painful, too scandalous, too real, too raw, too much.

People are angry. Angry at survivors for speaking. Survivors are angry. Angry for being reminded again that we are just supposed to take it. We are supposed to let anyone who wants to abuse us and just smile and keep taking whatever shit anyone throws at us.

Well, that plan isn’t working so well. Survivors are talking. Jennifer’s last post spoke to that. It spoke of the anger and how many people are people are tired of taking the abuse. Survivors are done. We are tired. We are hoarse from silencing our screams. But we have successfully been unable to answer the question of now what. We’re done. We’re tired. But now what?

We have seen in the news some of the now what’s even if we couldn’t quite identify them. Women are sharing their stories. Twitter exploded with stories of how women are raped and abused, groped, fondled, harassed, cat called, dismissed.

Survivors are doing their part. We are speaking up. We are also doing our very best to live in a world that doesn’t want to hear us. Advocates are doing their part. They are listening and giving survivors a place to speak. They are educating young people, and old, what can be done to stop rape. Men are speaking about the toxic masculinity that crushes us all.

Conversations are being had. Some people are listening. Some are not. I don’t think that the world is worse than it used to be. I think we have access to far more information that anyone ever imagined.

I do not know what now. I do not think there will be one event we can point to and say this is the now what. Each day, we all make a choice as to what will be the now what. I hope we are on the gaining edge in which we can end rape, hate, violence, and all the other things so many of us are fighting to stop. It must change. The world just cannot take the cries of agony from so many.

So, I leave you with old words presented in a new way. It may not seem like it, but the world has already changed. Let’s keep it swinging in the direction of change, even if it is just in small circles.

In Remembrance of Tim

Tim picture

My uncle has died. Tim Lawrence, date of birth June 5, 1968; date of death January 8, 2016. Length of life: much, much too short.

This post will be honest, potentially shocking, and I hope, not harmful to any survivors who will read it. It may be triggering, as all posts on this blog have the potential to be.

Writing about someone’s death is always difficult. I have not known what to say about Tim. And there are things I know I am not supposed to say. Things confided to me by him that shattered my heart when I learned them. He knew about my blog, and he said that he wanted to read it, but it was just too hard.

“One of the horrifying things I discovered as I grew more and more comfortable sharing my history was that an unfortunately large number of people also had similar experiences. It is a brotherhood and sisterhood that no one wants to belong to but which has an uncountable number of members.” Callen Harty, Empty Playground: A Survivor’s Story.

Then this morning, in my Instagram feed, this amazing painting showed up. I immediately liked the painting, but then I read the caption. The caption said, “Ladies and gentlemen: My new friend Tim. This one is mine and named Tim in honor of a friend gone from this earth too soon.” (Quote and painting used with permission.)

Tim Painting

I knew it was time to write about Tim. The painting was done by my friend, Stacey Oldfield. I have known Stacey for as long as I can remember. When we were little, there was almost an alarming resemblance between us. Tim lived in my grandparents’ house two doors down from my house and Stacey lived across the street from my grandparents. So, she too, probably has known my uncle for as long as she can remember.

When I was first born, apparently, we did not live down the street from my grandparents. Tim used to love to tell the story of being able to ride his bike to my parents’ house to see me after I was born He was so proud of that. He was proud that he got to see me, his first niece, and he was proud of the independence he had riding his bike all that way. It was probably no more than 10 blocks, but it was a big deal for him in many ways.

Tim grew up in a house filled with pain. It was a house of smoke and mirrors. What people on the outside saw was either a trick or something disproportionate to the reality hidden behind the front door.

And that is exactly what the ringleaders, my father and grandparents, wanted people to see. Everyone in those two houses were conditioned to be quiet, to hide pain, and to make everything look like it was okay. I do not know for certain that my grandparents were child molesters. I do know that they encouraged silence and always stood with my father.

All of the kids raised between those two houses are talented. We are smart, we are funny, we are creative, and we can keep secrets. We were a child molester’s dream.

Until we were unable to keep the secrets anymore. Then we became the child molester’s nightmare.

Tim suffered from depression, anxiety, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and unresolved trauma. And yet, he always tried so hard to be positive. He tried to let the people he loved know that he loved them. He wasn’t perfect, but he was kind and thoughtful, even if he sometimes lacked follow through.

He struggled so hard to overcome the messages of worthlessness he received from far too many people. I don’t know the kind of things my father might have said to him in person, but I know what my father said behind Tim’s back. Since my father didn’t shy away from telling people what he thought of them, I can only begin to imagine the types of hurtful, horrible things my father said to Tim’s face.

Tim tried to outlive the pain and shame that were laid at his feet. Those things never belonged to him, but were put on him by someone else. He couldn’t shake the terror, the fear, the desperation of trying to keep someone else’s secret.

And he wasn’t alone in that, but the isolation was too much. It is hard to name our darkest shame because we fear no one will believe us. We struggle to name the unthinkable, and all the while, we’re struggling against the voices in our head that tell us we’re just a piece of shit no one cares about and won’t listen to anyway. It is an astronomically hard battle.

And some of us never win it.

Tim fought as hard as he could to overcome all that held him back, but it was too much for him. I hope in death he is released from the hell he lived through on earth. I hope he is calm and at peace. Even more than that, though, I hope he is free.

Does Sharing Your Story Really Matter Revisited

After three months of living with her story out in the public, Pam sent us this and asked us to post it. In case you’ve ever wondered if sharing your story mattered, we’d like to assure that it does.

It matters because you matter.

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Does Sharing Your Story Really Matter?

I am so glad that Jackie wrote “Does Sharing Your Story Really Matter?”

It’s been three months since I shared my story. When I wrote it, I was only writing it to journal thoughts that I didn’t want to bottle up. I shared it with a friend – we share writings back and forth. I remember him saying “this needs a broader readership.” I thought, “are you kidding me?” My second thought, shortly after though was about how many people have suffered this abuse and who still live in their silence and completely undeserved shame. It almost ended up on a well-read blog that deals with lots of important topics. I’m glad now, that it didn’t end up there. The reason it didn’t end up there is because I also sent it to Jackie for “Learninghope.” It belongs on learninghope.org. How Jackie and I know each other and became friends is a pretty amazing story in itself. That’s perhaps a story for another time.

In the first 10 days, Jackie updated me with the number of times my story had been read and shared. I was floored. As a former Wisconsin resident, my visual comparison was having Lambeau Field full of people listening to me. To Me. Since the story has come out, many people have shared their own stories with me – strangers and people I know. No more silence for us.

The story was also picked up by several organizations that are well known for helping survivors and educating people about abuse. My national church denomination (ELCA) picked up the story, edited it for length and republished it for their print and online publications. http://elca.org/Living-Lutheran/Stories/2015/08/150819-On-forgiveness-and-sex-abuse Our national denominational education for pastors about issues of abuse and boundaries will be including my story as part of their training events.

In giving permission for publication in “THE LUTHERAN,” I was given the choice by the editor whether to publish anonymously or to use my name. That was sort of a heart-stopping decision, and yet, I knew what I needed to do. The story needed to be grounded in a real person with a real name. In the weeks between making the decision to allow my full name, and the publication date of “THE LUTHERAN” I knew I needed to prepare some family members for this to be in print and nationally distributed. There were people that I didn’t want to feel guilty about not protecting me. This was a very tense time for me to say the least. I worried about crank calls and worried what would happen if my abuser found out. I had no idea what to expect. But I am in a well-supported time and place in my life, so I started contacting a few family members.

What I discovered is that among my childhood circle of family and extended family, I was by no means the only victim. I was surrounded by other children who were also being abused – by a variety of abusers. But we never talked to each other because of our shame, or because of threats. None of us knew what the others were going through. At least one of the people I didn’t want to feel guilty for not protecting me, was abusing another little girl. To think about that makes me feel ill. I think about all those little kids feeling like they were the only one in the world going through something so literally unspeakable.

Does Sharing Your Story Really Matter? I’ve learned some very basic things about this question in these three months.

· The most basic thing is that the answer is a resounding “yes!” Tell your story and keep telling your story until you believe that you are worthy of genuine love. You were not at fault.

· The people I was trying to protect by not telling my story all those years – did not need to be protected. I did. The other children did.

· A very important thing I learned was, even though the number of people who have read my story is staggering to me, the most significant sharing has happened among my family and close friends who found their real voice because I used mine. In connecting with other survivors who are also in strong, healthy adult relationships, we celebrate our strength together and vow to break the cycle of silence, shame and abuse. We won’t participate in poisonous relationship anymore. You don’t need thousands of people to know your story. Your story matters because you matter.

· Remember the statistics. Learning hope has specific stats posted. I tend to generalize and think if there are 8-10 people in a room, there are probably several survivors. It’s an epidemic that no one has wanted to talk about. What the telling of my story accomplished was to get a whole lot of people to read and talk about “the elephant in the living room”.

· I told so I could heal. My story ended up helping others. So can yours.

Unexpected Sighting

Let me preface this by saying I’m sorry. I’m not writing this to scare you, but it is my guess it will. I shouldn’t have to write this post, and you shouldn’t have to worry about it.

But I have to write it and you now have to worry, if you weren’t already worried.

My friend recently went to a movie. It was one of those movies geared toward kids, with some humor thrown in for the adults who need to go with them. Just because the movie was geared toward kids doesn’t mean adults can’t go and enjoy it, but sometimes, there is something more sinister going on.

My friend is a survivor of sexual abuse. As she was getting her tickets, she thought she saw a man who looked like her abuser. She shook it off because she thought it was unlikely that her abuser would be at this particular movie; a kids’ movie. She and her boyfriend found their seats and a few minutes later, someone sat down behind them. She got that feeling-that creepy, something isn’t right feeling. She glanced over her shoulder, and there was her abuser. He was with his wife and step-daughter. At least he wasn’t there just by himself, but he was still there.

My friend got up and walked out of the theater. Her boyfriend, not knowing what was going on, followed. She told him who was sitting behind her and then they talked about whether or not they should stay.

She ultimately decided to stay. They watched the movie, and then on the way out, she went to the bathroom. Her abuser’s wife and step-daughter were in the bathroom. If they recognized her, they didn’t say anything.

I absolutely could not have stayed in the theater. This isn’t about judging my friend for her choice. I would like to think I would have had enough courage to announce to the crowded theater of kids and parents that there was a convicted sex offender in their midst. I’m not sure I could have done that.

I don’t want you to never take your child to a movie again. Or a park, or, church, or school, camp, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, daycare… I hope you get my point that predators are EVERYWHERE. We cannot assume that they are cowering in the shadows. They are bold and brash and looking for an opportunity to abuse kids.

The very best we can do for our kids is talk to them about staying safe. Teach them about safe touch. Teach them to say no. Tell them they can tell you anything and you will believe them and do everything you can to keep them safe. Teach them that secrets aren’t something to keep and that even if someone touches them inappropriately and threatens to hurt you, that it’s just a threat to keep them quiet. Tell them how much you love them and how important they are. Go with them to movies, and the bathroom.

You cannot keep your kids home so they never experience danger. That kind of defeats the point of having them and wanting them to be independent people.

Above all, teach them to be smart and pay attention. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Tell them it is okay to say that something doesn’t feel right and to get out of that situation.

Sex offenders are everywhere. Kids are everywhere. Even if they are never abused, and I hope beyond hope that they aren’t, they will encounter them. Give them the tools to keep themselves safe. This is the only way we can stop the epidemic of sexual abuse.

This story was used with permission of my friend. No one has been named to protect her privacy. If it weren’t for that, please know I would have named the abuser.

Does Sharing Your Story Really Matter?

As survivors, and people who try to exist in a culture that tells us to speak up and be quiet all at the same time, I often wonder if posting on facebook and writing blog posts really matters. Am I just writing into the din, with no real change in the ripple in the universe? Maybe I am. Jennifer and I decided when we started this joint project that we would not let the numbers of who looked at our posts, how many re-shares we got, how many likes or unlikes we got and all the other statistical information control our thoughts about what we do. We post because we feel it is necessary. We hope that what we write and share brings light and hope to someone in the world who is struggling.

We have been in that place of so alone. We have felt unheard. We have wondered if anyone else out there in the vast wide world was feeling the pain we were.

Let me remind you. You are not alone and it is not your fault.

As I have tried to state as strongly as I know how, it isn’t about the numbers. It’s about sharing our stories, our pain, and our triumphs because we want everyone to know they are not alone. We want to be a beacon of light in the darkness, and know that we will probably never know who reads our posts and if it offers hope.

Does Sharing Your Story Really Matter?

We recently posted Pam’s Story to our story wall. Whenever we post a story, I try to communicate with the person who shared it with us. It is scary to put your deepest hurts out in the world. I try to check in and see how the person is doing, but I also try to keep them apprised of the statistics we get back from wordpress about what countries have looked at the site in the last twenty-four hours. Through facebook, we are also able to boost a post and see how many people have viewed the post.

I am writing this all at Pam’s request. She took a tremendous risk to share her story, as does every survivor who shares their story here or any where.

People saw her story. There is no doubt in my mind that it brought and will continue to bring healing to people who read it.

So, since the numbers are not the driving force of this work, but they are interesting, and overwhelming, here’s a synopsis of the numbers on Pam’s story. We did pay to boost the post on facebook. That garnered 10 shares, one of which was in South Africa. At the present moment, 59,648 people saw her post through facebook. It was shared by at least two other sexual abuse survivor resource groups. This site has been seen in the last twenty-four hours by people in The United States, China, France, The European Union, Israel, Viet Nam, Thailand, India, and The Netherlands. Yes, I know. Some of those are spam hits, but some aren’t. There are real people behind those searches who found our little website.

I hope they were comforted by what they found here. I hope they found courage in the stories of people who have given us the honor of sharing their very personal pain and strength. Most of all, I hope they were reminded that they are not alone.

Just in case you’ve ever wondered if your story matters, let me assure you it does. Any time you share your story, you are helping other people. But perhaps the most important person you are helping is you. Sharing your story is important because it’s your story. You survived. And we hope, beyond anything, that you are healing, and that you know you are not alone.

Your story matters because you matter.

Soar

This morning, while sleeping and waking, I had “Radio Flyer” playing on the television. Do you remember that movie? It came out in 1992 and I probably saw it in college.

The basic story is about two young brothers, their dog, their turtle, their mom who works nights, and their alcoholic abusive father. The boys play and explore in the neighborhood around them. They are typical kids, trying desperately to avoid their father and the beatings he constantly instills on the youngest boy.

The movie is full of a lot of pain. It is heartbreaking to watch and know that the little boy cannot protect himself. And that isn’t his job. He needs to be a child and not worry about needing protection, but that isn’t his reality. His reality is that his father brutally beats him because he can. The father is like most abusers and manipulators. He knows who he can attack and encounter the least resistance.

The other side of the movie is the plan the boys put together to get away. It is the hope of getting away that keeps them going. The escape is not one people in abusive situations usually have, but if you haven’t seen the movie, please watch it. You have permission to fast forward through the tough parts. Get enough of the story to get to the end. Watch it. Let it sink in.

And don’t give up.

Hope is a scary and tricky thing. It can mislead us and disappoint us. It can take us places we never expected to go. It can lead us into new territory, which is not always comfortable. It can make us grow. It can make us cautious. It can also set us free.

Hope is something we know, but don’t know. It is something we understand, that also perplexes us. Jennifer and I spent a lot of time trying to come up with the name for our site. Learninghope embodies this spirit. We know hope, but sometimes it eludes us. In those times, we must work to relearn it. Some circumstances have caused us to lose hope, but I hope, you keep striving to learn it. The concept of learninghope is a little peculiar, as is the journey to get to hope. Sometimes we have to learn to create hope when it seems there is none.

I hoped that the little boys in “Radio Flyer” got away. I hoped that they never had to be abused again.

I hope that for every person who feels trapped. I hope you have at least one person who listens to you and helps nurture your dreams. I hope you not only learn to fly, but I hope you learn to soar.

Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Prevention Month 2015

 

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Prevention Month. Here are some pictures to encourage you through the month. Please feel free to share them!

 

breathing

 

only one

 

survivor

Moving Toward The Wrong Goal

Last fall, I took a part time, or what I thought would be a part time, job. I was told that the job would be ten to twenty hours a week. Starting a few weeks before Black Friday made this far from true. The job required that I go into stores and assemble new displays, count types of software present in the store, audit displays, talk to employees about specific types of software, and sometimes updating demos on computers on display in certain stores.

My house is basically in the middle of the territory I was supposed to cover. My drive from my house to the first store in which I was to work for the day and my drive from the last store to my house was considered my commute and not time for which I was paid. Sometimes that was reasonable, but sometimes it did not work out in my favor. I was putting huge amounts of miles on my car, sometimes working for a few hours a day, sometimes working for twelve hours a day.

Shortly after starting the job, I put in my two weeks notice. It was too much. Too much driving, too much sitting at the computer printing off instructions, running to the store to buy ink, not having all the pieces I needed to complete the job, just too much. My manager called me and said he hoped he could convince me to stay. He said I was doing a good job and that no one had complained about the work that I had done. I’m still not sure why anyone would have complained, but I guess that’s beside the point. I agreed to stay on and try to manage the work differently. I thought the problem was me.

I am extremely privileged to have a supportive husband who makes enough money that I really do not have to work outside of our home. Jeff is so loving and supportive and he really just wants me to follow my dreams. His support is more than I ever dreamed.

I wasn’t writing here anymore. I wasn’t working as hard on the facebook page that Jennifer and I maintain. I was putting all my energy into driving hundreds of miles, for a small amount of money. Money isn’t the most important thing in life, and while most people could always use more, I wasn’t able to focus on what really matters in my life. I would think of ideas to write about during my drives, but would not write them down, and didn’t have the energy to write about them even if I remembered by the time I got home.

I continued to work and sometimes was assigned more territory because other people quit. I have worked for another company to help set displays and redo aisles of product. In this job, I don’t work as much, I usually get more mileage, and I get to chose which jobs I take. I didn’t have a choice in this second position I was working. I think part of that was that my manager was trying to give me more work, but also other people quit and he didn’t have a choice.

The last job I did was supposed to take two hours and ten minutes. It took me five hours. I wasn’t moving slowly. I cannot say what took so much extra time, except that I spent a lot of time looking for pieces of the display I needed, finding shelves, getting labels printed, and trying to make pieces fit on a display that were not really the right size.

The day before, I had done a similar job. Part of the job required me to assemble a stand for a vacuum. The display required six stands. Each box I opened contained a screwdriver. That may sound like a normal thing, but I think I was struck by the amount of waste. I was required to carry a screwdriver with1 me as part of my work tool kit. But I acquired six new screw drivers in one setting. The screwdrivers smelled so strongly of chemicals that my hands still had the chemical smell on them hours later, even though I had washed my hands several times.

In our lives at home, Jeff and I try to use minimal chemicals. Even in the garden, we use as little as possible and try to search out natural ways so we don’t have to spray heavy chemicals on what we’re going to eat and share with others. I struggled to get my mind around the absurdity of the waste and whatever chemicals were on the screwdriver handle.

I was missing the point. I was spending so much time and energy working for this company that I didn’t have any energy to write, or read, or make dinner, or do the things that are important to me. I quit after the five our job. I’ve never just quit on the spot, but I knew it was not going to get any better. It would be a few weeks of not much work, then I would be slammed. I’m sure for some people this job is totally fine, but it was not fine for me. It was not fine at all.

I need to get back to writing. I need to get back to putting energy in advocating for survivors of sexual abuse. I may never make much money doing this, but it is my passion to help survivors find their voices. I was working toward the wrong goal, and I am truly grateful for Jeff’s support and help to get me refocused on what matters in our lives.

Have you ever worked toward something that took you further and further away from your real goal? It may have seemed like it would help you reach a goal at the beginning, but took you in a completely different direction. I’d love to hear your stories about what took you away from your goal and how you get back on track.

Dealing With Stuff

Jeff and I have been cleaning out stuff from our house. His stuff, my stuff, our stuff, our parents’ stuff, our grandparents’ stuff. We have too much stuff!

I don’t think we are alone in this phenomenon, but when we started, we couldn’t even start well because there was no where to start. Pick something up, attempt to start a pile, and there’s no where to put it! This is a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

It is starting to get better. We are making progress, and passing our stuff on to other people so they can have enough stuff after a house fire, for example, or continue the trend of too much stuff.

Generational stuff is hard. We hold onto it because it means something to us. Or it meant something to someone else. Or it might have meant something to someone else. Or it might mean something to someone else.

Or we just don’t know where to begin.

And in many cases, we can’t or don’t ask. We assume someone else will want it. The question is never asked, or it isn’t asked at an appropriate time. We hold on to it, assuming the person we have decided will want it will actually want it. Perhaps they do. Very often though, I think they don’t want it and when it is given to them, often with great ceremony and circumstance, they are put in an awkward situation. They might not even want the thing we have been saving for them.

Physical stuff and emotional stuff is very similar in this regard. Emotional stuff is much more complicated than physical stuff. For one thing, you can’t see it, so you may not be able to choose whether or not you want it because you can’t see it. It plays out in our interactions with each other, but it is harder to name and experience fully. It is harder to say, “I don’t want that emotional feeling” than it is to say, “I don’t want that old couch. I think it’s ugly and it smells funny.” Emotions and thoughts don’t always play themselves out that easily. “I don’t want your deflective humor because it hurts me when you mask your pain as funny.” It’s not that simple, and most people are not in a place when the emotion or thoughts are pushed on them that they can fully figure it out.

And emotional stuff is not to be talked about. We don’t ask questions, we don’t say in general conversation, “How’s that affecting you?” “If you had a choice, would you have taken the emotional leftovers from your father who didn’t know what it was like to be loved?”

I think most of us would answer no. Hell no! But emotions aren’t like a pair of shoes. We can’t try them on for size before we take them home. There is no test drive or period of time in which we can return the emotions. We can work through them, and learn to keep what benefits our souls, but it is a long, exhausting process. And while we are learning to deal with them, we must be careful not to pass on the emotional garbage we are carrying to other people.

There’s a lot of stuff that straddles that physical and emotional line. When my father got out of prison, he met with my mother to give her a jewelry box he’d made in prison for me. It was made out of gum wrappers. The idea was kind of cool, but she didn’t ask if I wanted it. I don’t believe that she even told me about it before she gave it to me one weekend when I was home. I took it, because of course, that’s what you’re supposed to do. I put it in the back seat of my car and drove two hours back to school. It was kind of like having a rabid animal in the back seat. Of course it didn’t physically attack me, but it accosted me emotionally the entire drive.

There was no way I could keep it. I called my friend Katie during the drive and asked her if she had a big garbage bag I could throw something in when I got back to town. She said she did, so I went right over there instead of going back to my dorm. She opened the door and had the garbage bag all ready. I dropped it in and she tied it up. Then I just sobbed.

I had already taken too much of my father’s emotional stuff (and physical stuff in his abuse of me.) I couldn’t take anymore of his physical stuff.

How has someone else’s physical or emotional stuff left you stuck and what are some helpful ways that you learned to deal with it?