THE ‘SIDE EFFECTS’ OF HOFFMAN

As I have already stated, doing the Hoffman Process, literally, saved my life.  Just as my last three posts were titled, it was a huge leap of faith for me.  It was truly an experience like none I had ever had before, nor have I done anything like it since.  I am forever grateful that I was able to find it when I did, that I had a very supportive (soon to be ex) husband and that I had the resources necessary to do it.  My life so completely changed afterwards.  Something very fundamental shifted in me.  It was clearly something that needed to shift.  BH (before Hoffman) I was a very pessimistic person.  Even after having ‘done’ the antidepressant drugs and therapy, there was still something not quite right in me.  It is very difficult to explain how I was different, why I felt so much better, though I will do my best.

When I left to drive back to Chicago, the world seemed somehow brighter.  I felt more alive, like every part of me was happy.  That feeling in itself was odd for someone who had been perpetually depressed and unhappy for most of her life.  Depression is a weird and insidious thing.  It’s not that I had a bad life, quite the opposite, but I never felt that good, let alone great, and certainly not happy.  Okay, maybe on occasion, for a short amount of time, I felt okay, or good enough to keep me going.  Believe me, that is no way to live, and, yet, I know many people do it, day in and day out, for their entire lives.  So, on my drive, I noticed something very strange: no more road rage.  None.  It was all gone, and it stayed gone for a good 9 or 10 years.  Sadly, it has started creeping slowly back in.  It’s not bad, certainly not like it used to be, but I do find myself getting mad at other drivers.  I have to make a real conscious effort to relax and realize that no one is purposely ‘out to get me.’  It was nothing I consciously decided to rid myself of, it just happened as a result of doing the Process.

For years, as long as I can remember, I have always had headaches.  When I was a teenager, I suffered from migraines that appeared every 6 weeks or so.  They did not seem to be connected to my periods, but they did show up just as regularly.  The worst one I ever had lasted 13 days.  Yes, THIRTEEN DAYS!  My (physician) mother finally took me to the doctor to see if there was anything that could help.  The doctor wanted to test my tolerance to pain (clearly I had a lot) and did so by giving me a shot in my hip.  I could tell that the needle was tiny, but it hurt so much that when he told me he could give me another shot that would make my headache go away in 20 minutes, I said, “No way!”  My thinking was I had had the headache for 13 days so it was bound to go away soon, even without a shot.

The really bad thing about my migraines as I got into my late teens and early 20s was how they affected me.  I had blind spots in my eyes and when I would look at a person, I could not see his or her face.  Everyone was headless.  This was a real problem when I was driving.  Not only could I not see people’s faces, now I couldn’t see whole cars.  I would have to pull over, carefully, and call someone to come and get me.  Over time, the migraines eased up a bit, but I still had regular headaches.  I rarely did not have a headache.  There was always pain, but I was so used to it, I mostly ignored it.  I have probably taken enough aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen in my lifetime to kill a herd of elephants.

Very unexpectedly, AH (after Hoffman) my headaches were gone.  Completely!  I had no pain at all in my head anymore.  As far as side effects go, this was a great one.  13 1/2 years later I rarely get headaches, and if I do, it’s because I really have a pain in my head.  All the headaches I suffered for all those years were, apparently, stored and repressed anger, and once I dealt with the underlying causes of that, they had no choice but to disappear.

I always had a potty mouth.  Not horrible, but not so nice, either.  I had read a book by Hugh Prather in the early 90s called “Notes To Myself.”  I do not have the book in front of me, so I cannot quote it exactly; but he said something to the effect of ‘when you swear, all I hear is the swear words and not what you are trying to say.’  At the time I had boyfriend who like to yell and swear and that’s all I could hear.  So, even then I was doing my best to be more conscious of not swearing.  Let’s just say, I wasn’t that successful at it.  AH, though, that all changed.  I was doing something and felt the need to swear.  When I opened my mouth to say, oh, who knows, ‘shit’ or ‘fuck,’ out of my mouth came, ‘oh, bother.’  I just started laughing.  To this day, I rarely swear, and when I do, it is way more effective.  And, really, I think it sounds crass to have every other word come out of your mouth be a swear word.  I will admit, I sometimes do swear when I am alone, especially if I am angry or frustrated at something or someone.  But, like I said, I hardly ever do it in front of anyone.  I have friends who have said they have never heard me swear, and that’s a good thing, I think.

These are just three of the ‘side effects’ I ‘suffered’ as a result of doing the Hoffman Process. All are good and all helped to improve my life, I’d say.  There are so many more, some big, most small, that I wouldn’t even be able to list them.  The entire 10 days was such a life-changing experience.  There are hundreds of Hoffman graduates in the San Diego area, and we have monthly gatherings to continue to work the tools we learned, and to stay connected to each other.  I know Bob Hoffman (founder of the Process) is smiling down on me.

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A LEAP OF FAITH, PART 3

The following is the second half of my Summary of the Process, written on 18 November 2000:

My experience with the Emotional Child/Intellect/Body/Spirit confrontation and Truce was actually fun.  (Again, a lot of what I am writing about here will make no sense in the specifics unless you have done the Hoffman Process.)  All parts of me felt good that they were finally able to have their say, to actually be heard and to know that what each part felt and said was, and is, important.  All parts of me now realize that we all must work together, that no one part has more of an important role than any other, that we must all listen carefully to what is being said, and act accordingly.  The truce was a validation that we will continue to be there for, listen to and work with each other, all our parts, from that day forward. I found the recycling to be useful as a tool to get rid of negative thinking and patterns and to look at those patterns in a new way.  Some of the alternatives that came up seemed a bit silly, but, perhaps, that’s really the point.  In the end, the idea is to eradicate those patterns that impact negatively in my life and if rolling in a field of sunflowers, whether physically or only in my mind, does this, then it must be a good solution. My experience of expressing my vindictiveness and then finding forgiveness had a sense of being free of the need to lash out and try to get back at people for the perceived slights or hurts inflicted upon me.  Again, in the end, I am the only one hurt by carrying a grudge and feeling that sense of superiority or self-righteousness.  It felt good to let go of those feelings and the feeling of trying to show you that I am better because I am paying you back for hurting me, that I’ll show you.  The need to always be “right” has disappeared.  I’ve always felt that people should live and let live, but in reality, I didn’t actually practice it.  I thought people should live and let live, but by my rules, by doing it my way.  Now I feel able to actually practice what I preach, so to speak.

My experience with writing the Positive Letter to my parents isn’t complete yet since I haven’t finished the letter.  With what I’ve written so far and with all of the good thoughts I had surrounding it, though, I feel it’s a good thing to be able to think of both of my parents in positive terms instead of as all negative patterns.  And though at times it has been quite difficult to see, I do know that I did learn the virtues and strengths that I have, even if I don’t always recognize them as such, from them.

I have to say that play day was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  The play session made me want to join, or if none is available, to start my own “Adult-Play Group,” just like those that exist for kids.  All the different games were so much fun and like one of my fellow Hoffmates mentioned, none lasted too long.  We didn’t have time to get bored before we were off to another game and/or adventure.  I especially liked the counting by 4s and then each number was given an animal and we had to find our other members with our eyes closed, of course.  It was all fun, though.  The magic carpet ride to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus was so cool.  It was an affirmation that I am a good and loving person since Santa doesn’t give gifts to bad people.  I don’t honestly remember going to visit Santa as a child, so it was a chance to experience something I wasn’t able to so long ago. It was great.  And so was the birthday party.  Although I do not remember such a large and elaborate party for me, it was a wonderful celebration.  I felt we were celebrating all that we had accomplished thus far in the week.  And to top it all off, we got to put on a play, just like kids love to do.  I don’t think the content of our play would ever show up in a play put on by actual children, but it was fun, nonetheless.  It gave us a chance to work together with each other.  Overall, I thought it was hilarious and showed what we can do when we put our heads, and hearts, together.  All in all, it was one of the best days.  I was truly sorry to see it end.  It felt kind of like when I was little and not wanting to go to bed because I was having way too much fun.

The next day we went back to the ‘hard’ stuff.  My experience with the Dark Side Process left me with a feeling of hope and calm.  And a determination to never let my dark side back into my life.  I know there will be times it’ll creep up on me, but I feel like I’ll be able to zap it and keep it from taking over.

I believe that if I am willing, and I am, to really listen to my spiritual self, I will never be led astray.  I know, without a doubt, that my spiritual side is very powerful.  I know that she has kept me alive for 40 years so that I could get to the place I finally am.  Even when I couldn’t see past the pain, she could.  I know, too, that she is a very loving and giving part of me. As I’ve always been a very visual person myself, I know that she must also be, since, really, we are one and the same.  She has helped me in the last several months, but especially in the last week, visualize my future.  And it looks good!

As I approach the end of the Process and prepare to go fully back into the world I left, I know that I can do it.  I feel so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to grow and experience the last week, however painful and hard it was.  I am excited about what the future holds for me.  I am also a little bit scared.  I’ve got some major stuff to go through with J, but I KNOW I can face whatever comes my way.  I have the tools and the willingness to do it right, to keep the negative love out of my life.  I also know there will be pain and stumbling along the way, but nothing that love and my belief that I’ll come through it can’t handle.  I am free.  I am love, and I am lovable.

 

Okay, back to present day…just typing this out has been eye-opening.  As I said in one of the previous parts of this, I have not read or even looked at this stuff since I finished the Process in November of 2000.   One of the most powerful things that happened at the end of my time in Wisconsin, was opening my eyes and seeing all the past graduates who had come to participate in a particular ceremony we had, and knowing, I mean really knowing, that no matter what, no matter where I went, or what I did, for the rest of my life, I had a community of like-minded people.  And that alone was worth it.

LEAP OF FAITH, PART 2

I wrote the following on 18 November 2000:

Summary of My Process

Before actually beginning, or even being aware that such a possibility existed, my little voice that over the years, I believe, has kept me from doing anything I would truly regret, was once again screaming, and I do mean screaming, at me to listen.  It started in August, and, as usual, at first I discounted what it was saying.  I just couldn’t believe it was true.  However, over the course of a few weeks of really listening to and thinking about what had been said to me, I realized it was right.  A chance rental of the movie “28 Days” got me thinking that rehab was exactly what I needed; something so intense and concentrated that I could not walk away.  I asked my therapist if such a thing existed since I had never heard of it for emotional issues, only chemical ones.  She told me that, yes, she did know of a place called the Hoffman Institute that had a branch in Wisconsin and that she much respected the work that they’ve done.  She got the number and I called that day to have the information sent to me.  It didn’t arrive for a week and a half, which stressed me out since I wanted it instantly.  Once, in my own mind, I’d made the decision that it was for me, I wanted concrete facts in from of me.  I wanted to know when and where and how much.  When I finally received the packet, I glanced over it, and my first thought was, oh, this isn’t me for.  J read it more thoroughly, and later that evening, he told me he thought it was perfect for me.  I re-read it and began to think that maybe he was right.  Still, I had my reservations so I asked Cate the next time I saw her.  She again told me that she thought it would be very good for me.  I thought about it a little more, then made the decision to do it.  I called and made the reservation.  After that, I felt a little scared and a little excited, too.  The next day when Fed-Ex brought my enrollment package, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.  I knew, though, that I had to do it.  I felt, really, as though my life truly did depend on it.  I had made a promise several years earlier to my mother that I would not kill myself, but my spirit (which I know now, saved my life) was dying.  I was dying, and if I didn’t do something drastic, my life would cease to exist in any kind of meaningful way.  The time had come to take real action or I was finished.

A note before I continue — some of what I will be copying won’t make a lot of sense, unless you’ve actually done the Process, but it is more the feeling of what I’m saying than the specifics of what we were doing in the Process.  Also, because I wrote a little over 7 1/2 pages, I will break this into a Part 3.  You have to remember this was 2000, and laptops, if available, were not readily used, so everything was written by hand.  Of course, I still write in my journal by hand – no keeping it on my computer or iPad.  Okay, back to the summary of my Process:

My experiences in the Light Journey, my spirit guide, Child, Intellect and Sanctuary were all so foreign to me.  At the end of the visualization, I was more exhausted than anything else.  I also felt a sense of fullness, that here are parts of me I never even suspected existed, let alone knew of.  I felt as though a lot of missing, very scattered pieces came together at last.  I saw lots of colors swirling around and was amazed at the beauty of it all.  At times it felt awkward as my emotional child has never had that kind of love and attention that my spirit was paying it that day.  After I was able to put those feelings aside, though, I felt very grateful that I could help my emotional child feel loved and whole.  My intellect has done a good, no, make that a great job of helping me deny my true feelings about most everything in my life.  Having to allow my intellect to actually feel was liberating.  It gave me hope.  It made me feel as though I CAN DO IT.  Whatever IT is.  The vision of my sanctuary was very beautiful.  The was a huge hammock that my trinity came together in.  A place where the sun always shines, even as a gentle rain must sometimes fall to water the giant live oaks that support my hammock.  At the end of those visualizations,  I felt relief.

I think some of the most destructive patterns I learned from the major females in my life are self-doubt and never feeling good enough, and a sense that joy and happiness are for other people, not for us, or me. After dis-identifying with those patterns through the exercises we did, I felt a sense of freedom and forgiveness.  And relief that I am not the patterns I learned.  I felt that there is hope.

My experience of using my addictions in the Light also provided hope.  I realized that my addictions were, and still can be if I let them, just ways in which I isolate myself from everyone, including myself.  It has to be a conscious decision, daily really, not to allow it to happen.  In my fantasies, isolation is a wonderful thing, but in reality, it doesn’t really provide anything useful to my spirit or soul.  It actually keeps me from the very things I truly crave: love and a sense that I do belong, that I do, in fact, matter.

The most devastating and destructive patterns I learned from the male presence, or lack thereof, in my life are fear of men, of love, of being abandoned and of commitment.  My experience of dis-identifying with all those patterns through the exercises was similar to that of the female energy.  I also felt a profound sense of relief and lightness.

The compassion session was a sad, but incredibly moving experience.  For as long as I can remember, before this week, I have never viewed death as anything other than freedom from pain and the shitty word we live in, and because of that, it turned out to be harder than I would’ve imagined.  What made it ‘real’ was going to the cemetery and re-living it again there.  That was extremely difficult.  For me, just walking into the cemetery was hard enough, but what we did in the actual exercise was very real and sobering.  I still don’t believe that death is a bad thing, but I can finally see reasons for sticking around now.

Okay, this is where I am going to stop with the summary today.  I have not read this since I left Hoffman and it is kind of hard to take in.  I can see so much more clearly now, and I am able to see just how close to the edge I really was.  Scary!  The good news is I came through it and even now when I start feeling less than good, I have the tools to get myself back to where I need to be, where I prefer to live my life.  I learned so many of those tools at Hoffman, and as I have already said several times, Hoffman truly saved my life.

A LINGERING SADNESS

In the fall of 1973, my mother gathered my (then) 3 brothers together and said, “Since we cannot decide on what kind of car to get, do you think we could decide on what kind of baby?”  (Note – In August of 1972, my mother had married Mark Shriver, who then adopted  me and my 3 brothers.  We had had a VW bus since 1965 (actually, we were on our second one by then) and since we were now 6 people, the bus just wasn’t big enough anymore, and so the need for a new car.  I do not remember what my brothers wanted, but I thought we should get the metallic blue beetle.  Yeah, like that was big enough!  In the end, we got a Dodge Sportsman Van (long before minivans were around) and a Mercedes 450SL.  Clearly, the van was for the kids and the 450SL was for the adults.) I, of course, wanted a girl and my brothers wanted a boy.  As I would be almost 14 years old when the baby was born, I’m not really sure what good a sister would have done me.  Really, I wanted a girl so I could make her little dresses.  I got another brother.  Andrew Mark Shriver was born on 29 April 1974.

When he came home from the hospital, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  My mother had brought home a red baby!  I did not even like him until he was about 3 months old.  Then I fell in love.  He became ‘my baby.’  Although I was not his mother, I did have a huge influence on him, the main thing being I did not ‘allow’ him to have a southern accent.  Oh, no!  Since none of us had been born in Atlanta (me and my brothers in WV, my new father was born in NJ, and my mother in Missouri,) and none of us had southern accents, I decided he would not, could not, have one either.   When he started pre-school and came home saying things like, ‘ya’ll’ and ‘fixin” and ‘cut on the light,’ I knew I had to step in.  I am proud to say that I was quite successful.  So much so, that when he went away to college in Maine, when I went to his graduation, he introduced me to his friends as ‘she’s the reason I don’t have a southern accent.’  No one could believe that he had been born and spent his entire life in Georgia and did not speak like his mouth was full of cotton balls.

We went to the same private school: me, only for my senior year in 1977/78 and Andy, from 4th grade on.  Because there were so many years between us, and even Brian, who was closest in age to him was still 9 years older, most of his friends did not realize Andy had older siblings.  When people saw us together, they just assumed I was his mother, and were always surprised to find out I was his older sister.

In my mind, Andy had it all–he grew up in a family with 2 parents who were not divorced, he was, in essence, an only child, he had every advantage and he was a good kid.  He never did drugs or smoked (I do take credit for this since I told him if he ever smoked cigarettes, I would make him eat them, lit!) and he did well in school.  He went to college and actually graduated in 4 years, like you are supposed to.  After graduation, he went back to Atlanta and got a job.  He had lots of friends and seemed happy, seemed being the operative word.

Pretty much everyone in my immediate family suffers from either depression or has bipolar disorder.  I now know that I spent a good part of my life clinically depressed.  I am the only one who has every gotten help with it.  I have been in therapy various times through my life.  I took antidepressants, which were hateful, but they did what they were meant to do and got my chemicals back in balance.  I asked at the time whether I would ever have to take them again.  My doctor said maybe, but that there was no way to know for sure.  I have read and participated in all kinds of self-help seminars.  I have worked really hard to stick around, which is my way of saying I’ve worked really hard not to kill myself.  The same cannot be said for anyone else in my family.  Is it fun to deal with all the crap?  Ah, no, it’s not.  But there is something in me that makes me have to do it.  Just as after my attack.  Even my therapist said I had a choice to do it or not, but I never felt that I did.  I absolutely had to do it.

Andy was suffering from depression, but he never let anyone know.  He was also suffering from a completely ‘fixable’ heart condition.  Again, he never told anyone.  No one knew that he was, essentially, a ticking time bomb.  And that bomb went off on 14 June 2011.  He died from an aortic aneurism.  I will never forget the call I got telling me that he was dead.  How could this be?  He was 37 years old.  He was my ‘baby.’  And as it turned out, the only ‘baby’ I ever had.

Yesterday was, what should have been, his 40th birthday.  I spent the day feeling pretty crappy.  I was able to work, and while I was working, I could keep my mind off of him.  I worked until about 8:30p, and that’s when I realized that working had kept me from dwelling too much on his not being here.  I miss him more than I can say or even understand.

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MEN SHOULD STAND UP TO RAPISTS

Men Should Stand Up to Rapists, Not Befriend Them

MARCH 11, 2014 BY  LEAVE A COMMENT

Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh Parsons Glen Canning,

Leah Parsons, Rehtaeh Parsons Glen Canning,

Glen Canning says it’s time to stop talking about ending rape and start showing through our actions that we do not stand for sexual violence in our communities

Shame is a powerful weapon.

Shame is what sexual predators rely on. Next to alcohol it’s their preferred WMD. What were you thinking, after all, being alone, dressing like that, drinking too much, trusting too much? You should have known better. You should have known what would happen. It’s the same approach pedophiles use when they tell their victims “we’re only doing what you want.”

I was invited to speak in Ottawa recently and share my thoughts on violence against women and the role men play. There are two things I’ve learned since my daughter, Rehtaeh Parsons, died last April and I began to speak at conferences and meetings. One, the audience will be almost all women, as it was in this case, and two, attempts to hurt and silence me suddenly appear when there’s anything mentioned about Rehtaeh online or in social media. She’s worm food because I’m a failure, according to one person’s post. If I don’t shut up I’ll join her, says another. Some choose words so disgusting I can’t bring myself to repeat them.

You see, according to them, Rehtaeh didn’t die from being raped and bullied, she died because I’m a bad father. I knowingly let her smoke pot, drink vodka, and raised her to be flirtatious and promiscuous. Rehtaeh wasn’t raped because someone raised their sons to be a rapists, she was raped because her father raised her to be raped.

Rapists rely on other men to excuse and justify their crimes against women. Other men who’ll laugh at their jokes, invite them to parties, play sports with them, introduce them to other women.

Almost every time her name is mentioned in the news or in an article those anonymous posters show up with their fake usernames and post all sorts of nonsense, innuendo, lies, misinformation and outright victim blaming. Rarely do they use real names and rarely are they women.

I’m not sure why some people feel a need to weigh in on issues they know little or nothing about. I reply if I can even though it’s almost always futile. Some people just have the wrong information while others are so out to lunch. I’m left wondering if they’ve read anything about this story at all. Patrick Doran of the Edmonton Men’s Movement thinks I’ve been using a “victim-card” to silence critics in the “…years since Rehtaeh’s death.

It hasn’t been a year yet, Patrick.

I try to not to get hooked. I honestly have bigger issues to deal with than a handful of forgettable trolls. It’s the people who say nothing I want to reach, the people who are shocked by this story and don’t know, or don’t realize, they have a part to play. Men mainly. Not the ones trolling rape stories; I’m talking about the good ones. Men with hearts, families, compassion, decency and a sense of virtue.

Rapists rely on other men to excuse and justify their crimes against women. Other men who’ll laugh at their jokes, invite them to parties, play sports with them, introduce them to other women. Men who’ll give them jobs, feed them, and help them blame their victims even if it’s by indifference.

Men, good men, need to stand up and do to rapists and their supporters what we do to child molesters. Imagine the difference it would make if a man who jokes about rape and always doubts victims entered a room to silence, whispers, stares, and looks of disgust from other men. That is what we need to do as men.

We need to take an honest hard look at why we befriend rapists, why we believe them, allow them, tolerate them, and help them get away with the crimes they commit. We should be confronting them, exposing them, shunning them from our homes, families, teams, and places of employment. We need to use our voices to be a part of the solution and not let our silence continue to be part of the problem.

There is a stigma attached to rape. A stigma centuries old, created by devils, used against their victims to hide awful deeds. It’s time to put that stigma where it belongs. There is no difference between a man who rapes and a man who befriends and defends him.

We need to take an honest hard look at why we befriend rapists, why we believe them, allow them, tolerate them, and help them get away with the crimes they commit.

I tried to end my talk in Ottawa on a big note but couldn’t find the right words. The message has been said many times already. It’s time to stop talking and start doing. We’re still in a place where a 16-year-old will write on Rehtaeh’s Facebook page and wonder how she couldn’t have known what happens to girls when they drink around boys. A place where young women ask what they can do to make sure they don’t get raped.

Truth is there’s nothing they can do. Women who don’t smoke pot get raped as do women who don’t drink vodka and women with amazing fathers. I hate to think what some of those posters will say to themselves if someone they love ever gets raped because according to their logic it wasn’t the rapists fault, it’s the fault of the people who love the victim.

Piece originally appeared on Huffington Post 

HAS IT REALLY BEEN A YEAR?

Time flies.  And it seems to fly faster the older we get.  Remember being a kid and the days just dragging by?  Unless, of course, you were waiting for the bell to ring at 3p on the last day of school before summer vacation started!  And the truth is, time flies, whether or not you are having fun.  Well, according to the calendar, it has been a year since my boyfriend of almost 2 years broke up with me and, more or less, broke my heart.  As my heart, and all the rest of me, was still recovering from my encounter with cockroach boy, it was particularly difficult to deal with.  What was very clear to me, almost immediately, was that he had, in fact, done the right thing.  Oh, it’s not that I wanted to be alone.  Actually, I hated it, and, truth be told, still do.  What was right about it was I would have eventually broken up with him.  It probably would have taken me years to realize this because we really did have a great relationship in a lot of ways.  Was it perfect?  No, but it certainly was perfect for me, and I suspect, for him, right up until it wasn’t anymore.  Because of all the intense therapy I had done, and all of the crap from my past that had been dealt with during that therapy, I had grown.  A lot!  So much, in fact, that I had outgrown him.  I truly was no longer the person I had been when we first met.  Is this a bad thing?  No, it’s not.  Do I wish this ‘change’ had never occurred?  A part of me does.  A larger part knows, though, that it was necessary for me to experience and go through what I did to move me along my path.

We were only six months into the relationship when my sexual assault happened.  At the time, I asked him, “Does this mean you aren’t going to like me anymore?”  He told me, “No.  You are precious to me.”  And I believed him, and that belief allowed me to focus on myself and my healing.  No one, least of all me, knew exactly how long that would take.  I probably thought it would take a few weeks or, maybe, a couple of months.  It never occurred to me that it would take as long as it did.  I went to therapy, every Monday, week after week after week, for 13  months, and I hated every minute of it, though I loved my therapist.   It was incredibly hard and physically painful for lot of it.  Through it all, though, I had this amazing, loving, supportive, incredibly encouraging boyfriend.  I cannot imagine how much more difficult it would have been had I not been in this relationship.

When I inquired it he thought the breakup was a delayed reaction to my attack, he said, “No.  Yes.  I don’t know.  All I do know is I’m exhausted from having to deal with it.”  Okay. Well, so was I.  Still am.  Because I am still dealing with it.  Certainly not in the same ways, but the effects are ever-present.  There are certain books I cannot read and movies I cannot see.  Although I am not afraid of it, I do not really walk in the dark anymore.  When a stranger approaches me, especially at night, I wonder if he is going to attack me.  When I get sick, yet again, I curse cockroach boy for the trauma my body has suffered and continues to suffer.  I live with the thought, in the back of my mind, that one day in the not-too-distant-future, he will get out of prison, and though I do not believe he will come after me, who knows what he’ll do?  I certainly never expected to be attacked in the first place. One of the things I do tell myself, and something that allows me to carry on from day-to-day, is because it happened once, there is just no way it could happen again.  Don’t know if this is actually true, but I HAVE to tell myself this or I’m not sure I could go on.  It feels like all of these things are a part of my being now.  Will they fade in time?  Will they go completely away?  I have no idea.  I hope so.

What I was then, and will continue to be is grateful to my ex for sticking around  the way he did.  I know it made all the difference in the world to have him stand beside me, to not walk away.  It wasn’t easy for him, and even though I knew it, at least to a degree, I wish I had been more aware of how it was effecting him.  Would that have made a difference in the end?  No way to know.   All I am really certain of is he was/is a good man, and I miss him.  Still.

 

THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES

The article below showed up on my next door neighbor’s Facebook for some reason and he forwarded it to me.  I have seen this before, or something similar.  I am posting it because every bit of knowledge we have that may prevent assault or rape is a good thing. The very ironic thing is I did everything on the list, and in my particular case, none of it worked.  I remember thinking this as the attack was going on.  It did not make a difference that I fought him, he didn’t let up.  It did not matter that I was screaming, in that the screaming didn’t deter him, but my screaming is what drew the attention of my good Samaritan.  Still, I knew what to do from articles just like this.  And even though it didn’t work as well as I would have liked, it must have worked somewhat since I was not raped.

THROUGH A RAPIST’S EYES
A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid, or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas,or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.

POINTS THAT WE SHOULD REMEMBER:

1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: can’t believe it is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter. Now that you’ve seen their faces and could identify them in a line-up, you lose appeal as a target.

2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell ‘Stop’ or ‘Stay back!’  Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling ‘I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY’ and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh – HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble, and he’s out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

FINALLY, PLEASE REMEMBER THESE AS WELL ….

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans : if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you…. chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping,eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE THE DOOR, LEAVE.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be hiding at the passenger side , peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.   (DO THIS TOO BEFORE GETTING INTO A TAXI CAB.)

b. If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

c. Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.  IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY.   (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs.  (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot.)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ.  RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it’s better safe than sorry.

So please reblog this….your one reblog can help to spread this information.

THIS COULD ACTUALLY SAVE A LIFE.