Thursday, October 25, 2012

FORGIVE & YOU CAN BEGIN TO HEAL #incest #child sexual abuse #abuse

This morning I came across a profound statement by P.J. McClure, founder of the MINDSET MAVEN.  McClure mentors executives and business owners on how to live their lives fully while building success. I found Mr. McClure via a Ronae Jull, who writes incredibly helpful articles for people like you and me who are survivors of one kind of abuse or another. Her blog posts can be found under HOPE COACHING.

Now you may well ask what does someone who mentors business men have to offer me, a victim trying to get on my feet again after being abused. Well here's what P.J. McClure wrote:

"Abuse can bring two, very real, psychological tyrants into the victim’s life. Resentment and /or guilt. Both of these serve to restrict and damage our personal movement. No matter how many years have come and gone, the lingering effects of this destructive duo hamper even the strongest person."

Whoa! How true is that? And there's more: 

"Both guilt and resentment have a unique characteristic. They do absolutely NOTHING to the abuser. No matter how much we make ourselves ill with guilt, anger, or depression… it does not exact any measure of justice, revenge, or peace. All it does is make us tired.
We have to break the bondage of abuse and put it to rest for good."
I just bet you can relate to that statement about how it does absolutely nothing to the abuser. How many times have you wished, cried, prayed that your abusers would suddenly see how horrible they have been to you, would realize the harm they've caused, would apologize and set you free from the shame, blame and guilt you were carrying as a result of their actions? I did. I kept hoping my father would somehow wake up and once again become the loving father I should have had and deserved to have. But he never did! He never said he was sorry. He never saw anything wrong with what he was doing. Or if he did, his own needs superseded mine. He found every which way to justify his actions. So expecting him to relent and repent was wishful, useless dreaming on my part. I bet you found the same with your abuser?
But what of the other statement McClure makes that we have to "break the bondage of abuse and put it to rest for good?" The big question, if we want and need to end our suffering, (and who doesn't?) is just how do we do that? How do we stop ourselves from being enslaved by our past, remaining victims of abuse forever, long after the abuse has ended?
I've heard many say that to free themselves, they had to accept first that they themselves were not guilty of any wrong-doing. They had to stop blaming themselves. They had to FORGIVE themselves. This is so true and tantamount to healing and coming out from under at last. But is it enough to fully heal? McClure suggests it's not, and I agree with him. He says you have to FORGIVE the abuser! What, you ask? How can I forgive him/her? Maybe right now you're screaming aloud or silently: "I'll never forgive them for what they did to me!" 
While that's understandable, it most likely means then, that you can never fully heal either. As McClure says:
"First, forgiveness is an inside job. A common misconception is that the offender has to accept your forgiveness. It is possible that the offender doesn’t even realize they have done anything wrong. We cannot accept something we do not see the need for.
All that is required to set you free is offering the forgiveness. By doing so, you release yourself from carrying the pain. Forgiving is not saying what was done is okay or justified. Forgiveness simply means that we aren’t going to carry the burden anymore."

That is profound. I don't even think I'd ever realized until I read his words, that somewhere along the line I had indeed done that, and by doing so, I'd forgiven both myself and my father. After that, it was so much easier to move on, and now, to open up as I have about all of it. 
That leaves only one thing to be addressed: How do we do it? How do we forgive the abuser? McClure says we do it like this:
Finally, forgiveness can be as simple as saying the words, “I forgive you,” or could take time to peel away the layers of pain. Ultimately, our willingness to let the issues go determines how quickly we heal.
Sounds so simple doesn't it. But that's what must be done if you are to heal fully. And you know what? You CAN do it. You can do anything you want, anything you put your mind to. You ARE what you think you are. The adage is true: If you believe, you can achieve. 
Forgive yourselves and forgive your abusers. No, you may never forget, but  you can forgive. And when you forgive, bit by bit you also begin to forget. The memories start fading; the flashbacks decrease; the pain becomes less and you come out from under and land on top. You take back control of your life. You become the one with power. 
Though I'm not a praying person, I'll join McClure in his prayer for you:
"My prayer for all who are in either role, find forgiveness and honor yourself as the gift you are. Shed the burden and allow yourself to be your best."

Friday, October 12, 2012


I hadn't planned to write on this subject today. In fact, I had a whole different blog, already half-written.

But this morning, my heart broke as I  looked at the photo of that beautiful 15-year-old girl, Amanda Todd,  who committed suicide when the bullying and her subsequent pain became too much to bear.

From what I gather from newspaper items and her sad YouTube video that was a cry for help and understanding, when she posted the video, she was  staying strong, struggling to hold onto her self-esteem, fighting as it were, for her life. And in the end, she gave up. How incredibly sad!

How much bullying and abuse can a person take before he/she breaks? How do some survive the taunts, the name-calling, the kicks, the punches, the beatings, the bruises and eventually emerge battered but alive, while others succumb. They just can't take it anymore.

As you know, I've been reading Patricia A. McKnight's "My Justice". While the details of the sexual abuse by her step-father are truly revolting, even more so than my own in a way, it's actually the physical, mental and verbal abuse she suffered that has bothered me even more. Her step-father was an ogre. But to then see her move on to her first real "love",  so happy to be finally away from her abuser, only to find that her first love is even more abusive than the step-father, made my jaw drop. By the time she got away from him, she'd suffered 2 concussions and sustained so much other physical damage that it just boggles my mind to think she's still alive ie. that one of them didn't kill her or she didn't kill herself! How much abuse can a person take? I don't know that I could have withstood what she did.

And as I read the posts made by members of my Facebook group, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER, and indeed the many posts I'm finding on other group pages, I am simultaneously shocked and saddened by what I read, but at the same time, I'm in absolute awe of these brave victims who are now survivors and didn't end their lives despite the horrific abuse so many have experienced. Some of them are "coming out from under" bit by bit. Some are impatient with themselves for not healing faster, but the point is, they ARE healing, however slowly, each time they face the demons, talk about it and don't give in to ending it all. 

If only poor Amanda were older, maybe she would have found the strength to hang on. If only someone had recognized her pain, had truly listened to her and went out of their way to help her, maybe we wouldn't now be reading about her suicide. And yet, like Amanda,   like me and like you who are reading this, so many victims have cried out for help, turned to their parents or a relative, told them the story, only to be disbelieved or ignored. Patricia's mother refused to do anything though she knew all along what was going on.

And when some do finally tell all, like KYLIE DEVI, there is so often more abuse to face: those who ask "How could you tell all that!" "How could you shame our family with your lies!" "Just who are you talking about ... who did this to you?" That last one, in Kylie's case was asked by one of her abusers for heaven's sake!

It's too late for Amanda. Maybe if her parents and others had "filled her bucket of self-esteem" high enough, these bullies wouldn't have worn her down to where she hit rock bottom. If there is any goodness to come from such a sad story, it's that once again the rest of us are reminded of how devastating bullying is, especially to fragile young psyches. But now, what will be done about it? I hope Amanda's story isn't wasted like her life was. R.I.P. Amanda Todd.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


This weekend, we celebrate THANKSGIVING DAY in Canada on Monday, Oct. 8th. Because this day is about being thankful, my post today is short, its message positive. Yes, bad things happened to me over the younger years, but since I left home, life hasn't just been good: it's been great! Getting away, meeting my wonderful husband of over 40 years now, enjoying my beautiful daughters and grand-daughter ... well I have so much to be positive about and thankful for.  I may be aging and my health is failing, but I'm still here, alive and well enough to tell my story and hopefully inspire and encourage others to do the same.

And this past month or so, since starting my book, this blog, my Facebook page OUT FROM UNDER, and more recently, my Facebook group, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER, my life has just become even more fulfilling and fulfilled as I meet other brave men and women like myself, eager to share their stories, to help and comfort each other, and encouraging each other get out from under the hell they've been living in. To them, the members of my page and my group, my subscribers and the followers of this blog, and the writers whose books about abuse that I am reading, I say THANK YOU. Thank you for coming with me on this journey. We come from all walks of life and different parts of the world, but we share similar stories and understand each other best because our experiences though different, are in so many ways, the same. Thank you all for helping me continue to COME OUT FROM UNDER. My little poem comes from my heart and is dedicated to you all.

We live in different worlds 
Our paths are not the same
But together we  have trudged along 
Roads we've paved with shame

We see each other in words
Each face is like our own
Bright smiles that hide the tears
That each of us has known

Like freshly fallen snow
Hides potholes hidden below 
We trip and sometimes fall but
Then pick ourselves up and go

Our battle has been tough
The journey has been long
But when we hold each other's hands
We make each other strong

The more we share our stories
The easier it is to tell
Come out from under with us
And let's close the gates on hell

©  Viga Boland 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012


Today I came across a post in a closed Facebook group devoted to rape and sexual assault where the poster said she'd like to blog about what happened to her, but is hesitant to do so, especially in a public blogging platform like the one I use.

That is, of course, a very valid concern. Before we open up and come out from under, be it to one person or a group, let alone to what could be a world-wide readership, there are many things to consider:

1) Are you truly ready to speak openly about the abuse you suffered? Doing so can be daunting and re-open many wounds.

2) Who will be affected by what you write, even if you keep the real names out of the blog? Who will recognize themselves and may be upset by that? Are you ready to handle how they react and what they might throw back at you?

3) Is your abuser still alive? Nearby? Will he/she deny your accusations and if so, are you ready to stand up to them?

4) Once you blog in a public forum like this, will you invite comments and be prepared to receive both praise and criticism. (Be sure to select option to approve comments before they are posted!)

5) Is your immediate family aware of the abuse, all the details, and are they ready to support you or will they be horrified that you've let the family skeletons out of the closet?

6) What if the family says this will ruin them, cost them their jobs etc? Will that hold you back yet again from telling?

There's so much to think about before you start telling all, especially in public. But while you are busy worrying about everyone else, holding back as you've always done for everyone else's stake, what about YOU? Most likely, like the rest of us, you've kept your secret hidden for years ... how many ... 10, 20 30 and counting. What is it doing to YOU keeping quiet all this time?

When I started this blog, and decided to even write a book about my own sexual abuse, I waited until I'd told my husband and children all about my "sordid" past. Their response to the idea of my making it all public was universal: "You have to do it mom! He had no right to do that to you. He got off scott free and now he's dead; he won't even pay for it, but you've been paying all these years!"

They were right. Their words encouraged me.  They also reminded me of one other thing: all the others out there like me. They felt if I told my story, maybe one other person out there, one other victim of incest or sexual abuse might say "Wow ... this could be my story!" The family said that reading my words might be just what that one person needs to get out and change their lives. All the more, I felt emboldened, ready to do this.

Since I began this blog a couple of months back, I've been shocked, pleasantly, by the number of men and women who have subscribed to my blog and joined my OUT FROM UNDER page at Facebook. Every day, as more join, I am reassured I did the right thing in blogging about my past.

I have also realized how the subject of INCEST is indeed, most likely, the greatest taboo when it comes to child sexual abuse.  Try as I might with my Facebook page, members were, for the most part, reluctant to talk openly about their own abuse in a public forum like Facebook when so many of their family members are also on Facebook and can see what they're written. Thanks to the suggestion of one of my members, I decided to form a private, CLOSED group for those who are wanting and needing to share their stories but only with others like them and in privacy. That group, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER, is now growing quickly. All posts are not visible to anyone but members. And most  importantly to me, they are speaking out and up and other members are consoling, advising, comforting and encouraging them with their own similar experiences.  It's truly beautiful and for me, so personally fulfilling.

I'm going to finish this post about whether we should blog or not, with this wonderful note I got from a friend in England when he realized what I was doing. He wrote:

"Your recent revelations of sexual abuse that you experienced when you were young were heart wrenching to read. Yet the spirit in which you presented spoke of a human being who was not going to live by someone else's terms or behaviour. Because you chose to reveal this on the internet you must know that your inspirational words will have immediately affected and comforted hundreds of thousands of other sufferers, probably still enduring that worst crime that anyone can commit against a defenceless child. Child abuse is probably the last 'taboo' subject and it is due to public and international exposure that the victims may now be protected and helped."

In his closing sentence, he also wrote: "If life was the Olympic Games, you would have a Gold Medal for the Courage Event."

Do you know how good that made me feel to read that? But if I were the person handing out medals for courage at the Olympic Games, I know I wouldn't have enough of them to give to all of you who have withstood years of abuse, shame and blame. That, my dear friends, takes even more courage than writing about it. But, in the end, if you have been able to do that, you have it in you to go one step further to come out from under and write about it, even if you only do it in private, closed groups like my new one, SPEAK OUT FROM UNDER. If you'd like to join us, send a request from the Facebook group page.