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  1. I'm no longer your victim as I've shed the chains you attempted to wrap so tightly.

  2. Hi Colette welcome to AS. Glad you're here. Please don't live in silence. Tell the people you trust so you can get the support and help you need. There is great healing in truth. Praying! Elle
  3. This man is dangerous. He's already proven that to you time and again. You were raped, and i'm so sorry that happened to you. You deserve better. Get as far away from him as possible and protect yourself. PLEASE PLEASE turn the setting on your phone regarding the camera GPS location to "off" so he can't see where any of your pictures were taken. If you don't know how to do this, send me a PM and i'll walk you through it. As stated above, report him and the offense. This will only get worse in time, and who knows what he's capable of dong next. Please get out....
  4. Hi K The whole mentality of "everything is fine now" is SO wrong! Everything is NOT fine.You were violated and that type of violence has lasting effects. I hope you're working with a therapist on this. It's so important to get the help you need early on. Stay strong and keep reaching out. You're not alone. Elle
  5. Hi Bear so glad you're reaching out for help and welcome to AS!! This is a great place for support and healing. It's so important for you to work with a good therapist on dealing with the aftermath of this. I hope you're doing that or plan to in the future. There is hope. There is recovery. Be encouraged that you're no longer alone. Elle
  6. Hi Seraphim WARNING: POSSIBLE TRIGGER Yes, I hear and agree with what you are saying. I've done a tremendous amount of international travel - much of which has been to Cambodia - and have seen first hand the crimes against girls as young as 4. It is simply disgusting and sickens me. I am a volunteer for Traffick 911 - an organization whose focus is on the prevention, awareness, and plight to end human trafficking. I've walked the streets of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Kampong Cham and seen the Western men (perps) trolling the streets looking for trafficked girls. I simply wanted to walk up and smack them. My heart just broke so see the girls lined up on the street, displaying their private parts, waiting for the next perp. Their eyes were hallow and simply had no hope in their faces whatsoever. What many people don't realize, is that the average life span of a trafficked girl or boy is SEVEN years once they have been picked up. It's simply mind-boggling to me that this continue to occur in today's society. But it is, unfortunately, reality. I could go on and on about this, but please know that your voice is being heard and there are other's who share in your plight to fight for justice. I'm returning to Cambodia this July and will be working with national organizations to aid awareness. Elle
  7. Welcome to AS Cassie. I'm sorry for what you experienced; however I'm elated that you got the help you needed early on to deal with the trauma. What a wonderful witness you are to your daughters!!! Blessings...
  8. You never have to scream it to people who are listening. For those who are not listening, no amount of volume will make them hear you. Focus on those who care... Hugs
  9. My heart has been heavy since my last post in which I committed to opening up and dissecting my life for any and all to see. There were a few (well, more than a few) moments when I thought to myself, “Are you nuts?” It’s possible and completely subjective. Honestly, I’m scared. Being vulnerable is, by far, not one of my strengths. There are some incredibly painful experiences in my past which I’m not too eager to revisit, but I’m committed to the road for which I’m being lead, and this is part of the journey. When I initially sat down at the computer this morning, I began with the title, “Freeze, Flight, or Fight.” As soon as those words hit the screen, I felt an overwhelming sense of fear take hold. Immediately, I removed myself from the situation. I went inside and began preparing the spaghetti sauce for tonight’s lasagna, checked to see if I had any “Words with Friends” to play on my iPhone, texted a few folks, checked the laundry in the dryer that’s been sitting there for two days (as if another two or three hours is going to matter), and then I headed toward the back porch and began stocking the recently purchased Diet Pepsi’s into the outdoor mini-fridge. About half way through the Pepsi pile, I realized what I was doing. I had taken flight. I didn’t want to dive into today’s thoughts; so instead, I opted to create a diversion…admittedly, several of them. I immediately stopped what I was doing, went into my husband’s home office and proceeded to get down on my knees in front of him and ask for a big honey hug. You might be asking yourself, “On your knees?” Well, I’ve learned in the past year that when I physically get down on my knees assuming a position of vulnerability and submission and allow him to wrap his arms around me, I succumb to a sense of overwhelming peace. I am allowing him to comfort and reassure me. I’m not talking about submission in the sense of superiority; rather I am reaching out to the Earthly man who loves me more than anyone and allowing him to exercise his role as protector, provider, comforter, and encourager. Not only does it feed me, it nourishes him by allowing him to serve in a manner for which he was designed to by God. I was now ready to face me. Based on what I know today, I exhibit two major behavioral flaws; fear of vulnerability and stuffing and/or masking my emotions. Trust me when I say there are many more flaws than that, but we have to start somewhere. I have always viewed vulnerability as a weakness and weakness resulted in being a victim; therefore, I must not allow vulnerability in my life. Am I hitting a nerve yet? Maybe so, but what I have come to understand is by being vulnerable you not only open yourself up to hurt, you also open yourself up to love. Somewhat of an oxymoron if you ask me. But in order to heal, you must allow yourself to feel – that’s where stuffing my emotions comes into play. I cannot heal from the wounds of my life unless I am willing to feel the pain resulting from those injuries. It’s a vicious cycle. I just caught myself checking “Words with Friends” again. “Don’t run, Elle. Stay in the moment!” April 2011, I began working with a phenomenal therapist named Diane. There’s been more “ah-ha” moments in the past several weeks than I can begin to explain. In one of our sessions, Diane asked me to recall my first memory when I experienced fear and vulnerability. I had to think about it for a moment… “I must have been around four, maybe five years old. My parents had taken my brother and me to some friends of theirs’ home in the Indiana farmlands and left us in the care of an older child while the adults went out for dinner. This was not uncommon practice in the late 60’s. I don’t recall who these people were, but it was not an uncomfortable environment as there were other kids there to play with. As the sun set and the dark of night fell upon the house, a very loud knock coming from the front door rattled the small house. I could hear a man yelling on the other side of the door at us to let him in. I now recognize that he was intoxicated, but up to that point in my life, I had never witnessed anyone in a drunken state. My parents were never much to partake in alcoholic beverages, even to this day, so intoxication was not a state of being I was familiar with. We gathered together and crouched down behind a large chair as to not be seen through the window. I can remember shaking with fear just wishing he would stop. As his patience grew thinner, the banging grew fiercer, and the yelling escalated. It seemed to go on forever. In my little girl voice I can remember thinking, “Daddy where are you? Please come back. I’m scared. Daddy? Oh, please Daddy…I need you.” My thoughts went unanswered and little Elle remained frozen in fear. Eventually, the man exhausted all of his attempts at entry and decidedly left. While the incident may have been over, the fear remained at the forefront of my mind. To this day, I can still feel the fear of that fateful night. Who was he and what did he want? That remains unknown. But what I do know is that my first memory of fear and vulnerability was met with having to self-protect, self-comfort, and swallow the fearful tears that so desperately wanted to flow. Inside was a little girl who wanted to scream, “Go away and leave us alone!” but the undeniable terror that he could possibly unearth our miniscule hiding place was more than enough power to shatter the innate desire to fight. Instead, I internalized my fear and remained frozen. It was at that moment the critical, fear of vulnerability; behavioral flaw set itself in stone and continues to plague me to this day. As Diane and I processed through this event, it became clear to me how a single moment in one’s life can set in motion an emotional and physical response to life’s tragic events, no matter their significance. I challenge readers who are struggling with the fear of vulnerability or stuffing emotions to examine their first memory of such experience. You may be surprised at what you find. As for today, it has taken me four hours, two loads of laundry, five stirrings of the spaghetti sauce pot, four glances at my iPhone, three trips to the bathroom to address the over consumption of Diet Pepsi, and eight cigarettes to get through this first look back…but I did it. And for that, I am proud. The journey continues…and I am not alone.
  10. Do we really have character flaws? I don’t think so. I prefer to coin them as behavioral flaws. Specifically, learned behaviors. Generally speaking, some of our behaviors are developed by mirroring what we witness in our youth, and others we develop when faced with various circumstances throughout life in an attempt to self-protect. As defined by Wikipedia, a character flaw is, “the creation and criticism of fictional works, a character flaw is a limitation, imperfection, problem, phobia, or deficiency present in a character who may be otherwise very functional. The flaw can be a problem that directly affects the character’s actions and abilities, such as a violent temper. Alternatively, it can be a simple foible or personality defect, which affects the character’s motives and social interactions, but little else.” On the other end of the spectrum, a behavioral flaw (abnormality) is defined as, ” in the vivid sense of something deviating from the normal or differing from the typical (such as an aberration), is a subjectively defined behavioral characteristic, assigned to those with rare or dysfunctional conditions.” I don’t know about you, but my life is plagued with bouts of dysfunction and trauma. The controversial word for me is “fictional.” Life is not fictional. I am not fictional. I am real. I am alive. I am living, and I am struggling. Not every day mind you, but life is a struggle. I believe the ultimate goal would be to find ourselves full of peace and contentment as evening’s slumberous escape approaches. No, if I were fictional, that which I could create, the story of my life would read very differently. I guess it would be the “white picket fence” version. But that’s not reality, is it? White picket fence lives are anything but normal. I would gander to say you could spend a lifetime searching for a bona fide example of such only to find your efforts were merely in vain. If white picket fence lives were reality, there would be no Hollywood. Seriously, how exciting would a movie be if it were sappy sweet and had no conflict? No romantic ending or tragedy to triumph? Unfortunately, that would be a rather boring cinematic experience. Yet when we find ourselves in the midst of real-life tragedy, triumph is the least of our immediate focus. I would consider survival to be at the forefront of our thoughts, and it is amid the survival mode that our behavioral flaws generally cement themselves to the very core of our being. In March of 2010, I came to realize that I’m up to my neck in concrete, aka behavioral flaws. Shall I continue to sink, or will I identify a giant sledge hammer and begin to break down this solid wall of cement that has fictitiously protected me for so long? In the coming weeks, months, years….whatever it takes, I’ve decided to filet myself to you, the reader, as my emotional journey toward identifying, admitting, and addressing my behavioral flaws unfold. Several of my very personal, life issues will be gut-wrenching to revisit, but I realize there is no way to truly move forward in becoming the woman God intends for me to be unless I am willing to do the work. If you are a woman who has been a victim of parental abandonment and struggle with abandonment issues and/or self-worth, survived molestation by a family member or church leader, domestic violence, rape, divorce, undergone an abortion, continually find yourself emotionally detached and afraid of being hurt, been promiscuous, lived a life full of lies and deceit in an attempt to garner love, been involved with a married man, suffered addiction to mask your feelings, denied yourself the right to feel by stuffing with food, cigarettes, or alcohol, or you find yourself in a constant state of trying to control nearly every essence of your out-of-control life, then we have something in common. Yes, I’ve survived every one of these tragedies, lifestyles, and deplorable choices and am now faced with the daunting task of dealing with the behavioral flaws that have followed in my effort to self-protect. What a mess, huh? But the way I look at it, I can choose to dive in and do the work by dealing with the subconscious, negative behaviors that adversely effect my life, or I can continue to swim in a cesspool of fear and disconnect that prevent me from living the abundant life God has given me. With great trepidation and a slice of optimistic anticipation, I am choosing to dive in. I’m not sure I’m ready to swing a sledge hammer just yet, but the pointed end of a pick ax is a start. I invite you to share in my journey, and maybe you, too, will begin to identify then chip away at some of your self-protective, yet fictitious walls. The Good News is, You’re Not Alone
  11. Hi Jenny I'm so glad you're here. AS is simply wonderful - a place for healing, sharing, support, compassion, understanding, and then some. I hope you're able to get in with a therapist soon too. I know it was critical for me and my healing. Please know that healing can be found. It takes commitment and work, but it's so worth it. Welcome again, Jenny. Elle
  12. Welcome to AS! So glad you're here. There is an area on the site that is targeted for male survivors. If you click on "forums" and scroll down, you'll see "Survivor Connections." Inside of that forumn, you'll see an area that is specific to you. I hope you find the help and support you're looking for. Again, welcome to AS! Elle
  13. Hi Min Welcome to AS! You'll find a wealth of resources here and people who genuinely care about you. It may be difficult to trust at first, but in time I hope you find a couple women to relate to that you are confident in sharing your pain. Please be encouraged to stop blaming yourself in any way. You were the victim. You were afraid. You may have been ashamed and lacking in a person you felt safe sharing with at the time. Regardless, it is NOT YOUR FAULT! It's my hope and prayer that those words will sink in to the very core and essence of your being. The journey is long, but the backside of recovery is oh, so sweet. Again, welcome! Elle
  14. Hi BCR I'm so sorry for your pain and rejection of your mother. I was molested by my brother as well, but never told anyone till many years later. Your mother's response to you was just wrong, but I hope you realize that speaking the truth to her is part of the healing process. Props to you for having clear boundaries in not going to his wedding. That took a lot of courage. How people respond to you and the things you tell them is not on you. It's not your responsibility. Your job is to focus on you, get the help you need, identify ways the abuse has possibly catapulted your life in undesirable ways, and begin the healing process that will get you pointed in positive directions. While we may be strangers, we have much more in common than you know. Elle
  15. Hi Rachel Welcome to AS. So glad you're here! You are not alone in your pain, guilt, shame, fear, you name it. We are all on a survivor's journey. Some of us farther along than others, some still swimming in a cesspool of negativity. I hope you'll be able to find the peace you deserve and long for. ...here to listen. Elle
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