Thursday, July 27, 2017

7-28-17 Simple Things

I honestly don't know what to say today. I just feel numb. I would just encourage everyone to enjoy the simple things in life that we experience daily. The warmth of the sun, a cool breeze, the smell of a fresh rainfall, the sound of birds singing. I'm thankful for my family who love me no matter what I say or what I do. For my dogs who love me for no reason at all. For the roof I have over my head at night and for the food I have plenty of. I'm thankful that I have good health insurance that I can afford and for the good doctors that I have been fortunate enough to have.  I'm so thankful that God has given me so many second chances to respond to him and follow his will even though I've been a disobedient child most of my life. I'm thankful that money or possessions are not the most important thing in my life. I haven't been a big family person most of my life but I'm trying to learn how to accept love from other people and my family and not feel guilty or ashamed of my self. I'm trying to share my love the best way that I know how but I fall short sometimes. Life really is all about love and sharing that love. That's all we can really leave to others that really matters. Everything else is meaningless. I want people to remember me as someone who loved and cared for others. That's really all any of us can ask or hope for.

7-27-17 Life

It's been a bittersweet day today. Another death in my circle this week. I am saddened for their families and friends. I'm saddened for the personal loss in my life. I celebrate their lives and the memories they leave to us who remand.

7-27-17 Tricks of the Mind

Last night was a restless night but sleep finally came. It's funny what the mind thinks of when looking at death. I had taken Gismo to the vet earlier in the week and the labs were bad. He had almost zero white or red blood cells left. He was dying and we both knew it. I didn't have the heart to tell Shirley other than he was really sick.Friday came and I had to go to the Raleigh TSA office for some stupid meeting. I don't even remember why now that's how important it was. We went to lunch and all I could think about while sitting there trying to choke down some food was Gismo sitting at home not being able to eat. I prayed that he wouldn't die before I got back to Greensboro. Sunday afternoon he passed away in the arms of two people who loved him dearly. I have a doctor appointment shortly and while I usually look forward to going not today. It's going to be a painful hour as I say goodbye to another friend.I once had an older gentleman tell me that the worst thing about growing old was watching all of your friends die and leave you.I think he may have something there.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

7-26-17 God Grant Me the Serenity to Accept the Things I Cannot Change

It's with a heavy heart that I end this day. My friend is dying and there's nothing I can do but accept it. We spent a lot of time talking about everything. About 3 months ago in a conversation I said Marshall I don't think neither one of us will live to see next year he kinda looked at me and said you might be right. I don't know why I said that it was just a feeling I had. I will miss our conversations. He understood my black humor and would laugh at it. He really didn't need to be working and I told him many times to take his money and run and enjoy life while he could. I talked him into buying a bug out location in the mountains and he did take the family there on weekends and enjoyed it. I feel for his wife who is in poor health herself he was her solid rock just as I am to Shirley. He loved his son and grandson as he spoke of both frequently. He would go see his ailing elderly mother weekly at the rest home and loved and expressed concern for her.He was a good and decent man. We both expressed doubts about God but I believe if there is a heaven he deserves to be allowed to enter. Good-Bye my friend I hope someday we meet up again.

7-26-17 To Know One's Self is to Heal One's Self

11 Ways Child Abuse Survivors Emotionally Self Harm ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

sad woman10-001
There is a fairly good understanding in society about physical self harm – such as cutting, burning etc.
But, there isn’t anywhere near as much insight and understanding, as to all the many ways child abuse survivors – emotionally self harm.
The following are ways survivors of child abuse – harm themselves. Often completely unaware they are self harming. It is often not a deliberate act of self harm.
When considering whether a behaviour or thinking is harmful, it is necessary to look at the result of it. Is there something negative occurring, as a result?  If there is, and the survivor keeps repeating it, then this is emotionally self harmful.
I want to make it clear prior to anyone reading this – there is no judgementabout any of this. I am simply pointing out what I see are understandable – but unhealthy ways child abuse survivors harm themselves. And only in identifying these, can a survivor choose to change and heal.

  1. Self Hatred

    This is a particularly common form of emotional self harm. It understandably results, from being treated badly as a child. When adults have harmed us, especially caregivers – this can result in the survivor hating themselves. They can see themselves as ‘bad’, ‘damaged’, ‘unlovable’.
    The survivor needs to address this, by starting to understand they are worthy of treating themselves with compassion and care. The survivor needs to learn they are worthy of being treated kindly and with dignity. And that starts with self.

  2. Blaming Self For The Abuse

    Again this is common when children have been abused by adults. They often blame the child for the abuse. They can make the child feel the abuse is deserved. This emotional abuse – can continue on in the survivors ‘inner critic voice’ – perpetuating the emotional abuse in childhood. The belief system of the child being the problem and deserving of the abuse, is a typical and very harmful abusive tactic of toxic people.
    Challenging the belief systems and the inner critic, is how the healing of this begins. Until the survivor can accept 100% they were never to blame, the shame of self blame will continue.
  3. Maladaptive Coping

    Survivors of child abuse, understandably cope in many ways. A child does not have the capacity to cope with abuse and trauma, as well as an adult can. This can result in coping which may have been adaptive at the time of being a child. But, when that continues on into adulthood, it is a problem. This can be being continually angry, withdrawing from people and remaining alone. The survivor may use methods to dissociate from their inner pain, such as unhealthy levels of gaming, watching TV etc.
    These need to be addressed in order to reduce them and to find more healthy ways of coping, that lead to a better quality of life.
  4. Drugs & Alcohol

    It is very understandable that survivors of child abuse, would turn to drugsand/or alcohol to cope with the pain and many mental and physical health issues that result. Self medicating is common with child abuse survivors. But, this is dangerous, can lead to death and if the drugs are illegal – this could lead to criminal proceedings and jail/prison.
    Long term use of drugs and alcohol, cause further health issues. Often professional support is required to deal with addiction and substance abuse.
    Failing to seek help, is self harm.
  5. Working Too Hard

    Some child abuse survivors, learn to minimise and avoid their pain, by working too hard. The work fills that void within and helps reduce the emotional pain. However, this means the survivor is not dealing with their trauma. They are avoiding it. Which does not lead to healing. And many survivors who use work as an avoidance method, can fall apart, and no longer maintain their excessive work behaviours.
  6. Exercising Too Hard

    Exercise is good for physical and mental health. That is well known. However, some child abuse survivors exercise in excess. They punish their bodies and themselves, with unhealthy levels of exercise.
    Exercise can be addictive for some survivors. But, this is unhealthy and can cause further physical health issues. Over-exercising can cause heart attacks, muscle damage and other health issues.
    Confronting the addictive nature of over-exercising, and choosing to change to more healthy levels of exercise, is how the survivor will begin to address this.
  7. Sex

    Some child abuse survivors, use sex as a way of dealing with the pain. This can be addictive and it can be harmful and unsafe. If they allow people to treat their bodies in a harmful way, they are self harming. Survivors can also fail to ensure they are safe, and this can lead to being sexually violated.
    Child abuse survivors often seek love and attention, in unhealthy ways. They often are targeted by people who abuse this, and use and abuse the survivor again. This is re-traumatising.
    This is especially common with child sexual abuse survivors. When a child’s body is violated in this heinous way, it can lead to the adult survivor putting themselves in continually traumatic situations, not protecting themselves, and continuing the abuse they endured in childhood. They often do not understand why they do this.
    This requires compassion, and for the survivor to begin to know their body is precious, is not to be used and abused, and that only healthy and appropriate treatment is then considered.
    This may require very sensitive and empathic therapy.
  8. Anger/Rage

    Anger is a necessary emotion for child abuse survivors to feel, as part of their healing. It is necessary to be angry at being a vulnerable child and abused.
    Anger is okay, unless it is being directed at people who are not responsible for the abuse. When survivors are continually angry, they hurt others and they are hurting themselves.
    Learning to control anger and manage it, is vital.
    A survivor is not going to have healthy relationships with others, if they are continually angry. This means the survivor is hurting themselves and unable to form healthy relationships.
    Excessive anger also affects the physical body. There is an increased risk for heart attacks, stokes and other health issues, when a person is consumed with anger to an unhealthy level for longer than is needed for healing.
  9. Being Consumed With Thoughts Of Revenge

    Some survivors of abuse, do have thoughts of wanting revenge, or for the perpetrator to have something happen to them back, so they know how the pain of abuse feels.
    Excessive thoughts about this, and being consumed by this need for revenge, only harms the survivor. It keeps the survivor locked in pain. It keeps the survivor bound emotionally to the perpetrator.
    Understanding that healing is not about the perpetrator at all, but about how the survivor improves their life, is how someone will change this thinking.
  10. Lack Of Self Care & Lack Of Healthy Boundaries

    Child abuse survivors often struggle with self care. This can be physical self care and emotional self care. A lack of healthy diet, exercise, body hygiene, caring for appearance etc.
    Often child abuse survivors often don’t have any self worth, so they don’t care for themselves with love and kindness.
    A lack of healthy emotional boundaries can lead to further abuse and harm. Especially as toxic people sense these soft boundaries, and use them fully for their own toxic needs. And when toxic people are your ‘normal’ from childhood, this is often all the survivor knows. So they continue to engage with toxic people in adulthood.
    Some survivors of child abuse have very strong inflexible emotional boundaries, and these keeps them from forming healthy relationships, and often keeps them stuck in isolation. Missing out on the good that comes from healthy attachment and loving relationships.
    The survivor needs to learn healthy self care, healthy boundaries, and how to implement them.
  11. Using An Identity To Cope & Avoid Dealing With The Trauma 

    All too often I see survivors of child abuse, taking on a persona/identity to cope. This often will be described as a ‘warrior survivor’. This is understandable, but not healthy if the survivor is using this identity as a protection shield, and is failing to process the trauma, failing to grieve the trauma.
    This ‘identity’ can feel like a very strong thought process, yet it often keeps the survivor in a state of avoidance.

In self reflecting and truly looking at all the behaviours and thinking a survivor of child abuse can have, this promotes changes to healthier ways.
A survivors needs to have self compassion and understand, they were doing the best they could within this terrible situation of child abuse.
As the adult we become, we can choose to look at what will help our lives improve. And know we deserve to have good lives.
It takes time and often support, to make these changes. To form healthy and true beliefs. To develop healthier ways to cope and live. I always suggest trauma informed therapy as this can provide the safe place and relationship, within which to process the trauma.
It is possible, and it is my hope for all survivors, to know if they have any form of self harm, they can change and this will promote such healing.
(And please also note, this is not an exhaustive list, there are more ways of self harm).
For more information about child abuse, complex trauma and more, see my Website @
My Website, is supported by many mental health professionals and clinicians.
(This article has been very well received, and I am glad to see many mental health professionals and clinicians sharing this. I received feedback from Natalie Waco, LCSW MSG – “Thank you for this article. Excellent!”).
~ Lilly Hope Lucario

7-26-17 Good Information to Know

How to Recognize and Overcome Childhood Emotional Neglect

Girl walking in the grassBecause it’s mostly silent and invisible, childhood emotional neglect is largely an overlooked phenomenon in psychology. Unlike physical neglect or abuse, where there are signs such as bruises or children coming to school underfed, emotional neglect is difficult to identify as there are frequently no observable signs. More importantly, emotional neglect is generally unrecognized by the child until symptoms begin to appear in adulthood.
Emotional neglect can take many forms, from a parent having unrealistically high expectations or not listening attentively, to invalidating a child’s emotional experiences to the point he or she begins to feel self-doubt. When a parent is not emotionally attuned to a child, there is no mirror held up, no positive reflection being shared with the child. Developing a positive sense of self, then, becomes more challenging for the child.

Symptoms of Emotional Neglect

Symptoms of childhood emotional neglect that show up in adults may include (but are not limited to):
  • “Numbing out” or being cut off from one’s feelings
  • Feeling like there’s something missing, but not being sure what it is
  • Feeling hollow inside
  • Being easily overwhelmed or discouraged
  • Low self-esteem
  • Perfectionism
  • Pronounced sensitivity to rejection
  • Lack of clarity regarding others’ expectations and your own expectations for yourself
While having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you were emotionally neglected, if you identify with more than one symptom, it may be worthwhile to talk with a therapist about the possibility.

What Kinds of Parents Tend to Emotionally Neglect Their Children?

First, let me say most parents are well-intentioned and well-meaning and generally do the best they can. Some may have experienced emotional neglect themselves as children, and therefore may not have a lot to give emotionally. However, there are some parenting styles and characteristics that lend themselves to emotional neglect.
Authoritarian parents want their children to follow the rules, and have little time or inclination for listening to a child’s feelings and needs. As adults, children raised by an authoritative parent may either rebel against authority or perhaps become submissive.
Permissive parents have a laissez-faire attitude about child rearing and may let children pretty much fend for themselves. Children raised by permissive parents may have a tough time setting boundaries and limits for themselves in adulthood.
Parents with narcissistic qualities feel the world revolves around them. It’s typically all about the parent’s needs instead of the child’s. As adults, these children may have difficulty identifying their needs and ensuring that they’re met. They may even feel that they don’t deserve to have their needs met.
Perfectionistic parents tend to believe their children can always do more or better. These are the parents who may complain when a child brings home a report card with all A’s and one B. Children of such parents may grow up to be perfectionists, and set unrealistically high expectations for themselves, resulting in anxiety around feelings of never being good enough.
Absent parents can be removed from a child’s life for a variety of reasons, such as death, illness, divorce, working long hours, or frequent travel for work. Children of absent parents end up raising themselves to a large extent, and if they are the oldest child may also raise their younger siblings. These children tend to be overly responsible, which may carry over to adult life. As children, they seem like little adults, overburdened with worry about their families.

Tips for Recovering from Emotional Neglect

So what can you do if you think you may have been emotionally neglected as a child? Here are some tips:
1. Learn to be aware of positive and negative emotions when you’re experiencing them.
If you’ve spent your adult life being disconnected from your feelings, the first step is to learn to identify positive and negative emotion. It’s important to acknowledge just good and uncomfortable feelings to begin with.
Once you have that down, you can focus on noting subtler nuances of feelings. You may not even have words for how you feel, which is perfectly normal if you didn’t grow up in a home where people talked about their feelings.
2. Identify your needs, and take steps to meet them.
Many adults who experienced emotional neglect as children are often unaware of what they need and typically don’t feel deserving of getting their needs met. Develop your emotional vocabulary by researching emotions and needs online or at the library. Once you know what you need, it’s time to take action.
3. If you believe you don’t deserve to have your needs met, acknowledge the belief and see it as just that—a belief, not a fact.
It can be helpful to begin to deconstruct old beliefs you’ve held for a long time that may no longer hold true. Like everyone else on the planet, you have emotional needs that you deserve to have met, no matter what you experienced in childhood.
4. Be gentle with and take good care of yourself, starting with small steps.
Adults who experienced emotional neglect as children often have difficulty with self-care. Unaware of their feelings and needs, they frequently don’t know where to start. Try treating yourself with the same care and gentleness you would give a child who wasn’t able to take care of themselves. Be tender and compassionate with yourself, especially if you tend to be self-critical or judgmental.
And remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day! This is a process. When you skin your knee, you need to clean out the wound and expose it to the light of day; the same holds true for emotional wounds. Dare to bring the wound out of hiding, give it some light and air, and you’ll be on the road to healing.

© Copyright 2016 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Dhyan Summers, MA, LMFT, therapist in Ashland, Oregon