Archives

Invisible Scars – Tonya Lee Wins Victory in Child Abuse Case

 

Tonya Lee

http://www.smh.com.au/national/rolf-harris-victim-tonya-lee-cries-with-relief-over-guilty-verdict-20140701-zsso0.html

I have purposefully not titled this with Rolf Harris’s name.  I am happy to publicize his shame and make sure that he gets as much disgust as he once received accolades but I am tired of the story being about the abuser, in that we forget that victims and the cost to their lives.

Rolf Harris was found guilty of indecently assaulting 4 girls between 1968 and 1986.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-01/rolf-harris-guilty-of-indecently-assaulting-four-girls/5542644

His sentencing will occur shortly.

I hope that the court will take into account how, when confronted with these charges, he did not stand up and own his shame.  He did not spare the victims further pain.  He went to the public and counted on their support to convince the legal system that he was innocent.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/rolf-harris-arrest-friends-family-1842521

I would like to also address all those people who weighed in with their support for Rolf Harris.  Based on???  He is an entertainer that they liked?  Did any of them consider the pain their public – in your face – support caused the victims?  Perhaps they should have waited for the facts before jumping in.  I think it would be appropriate for someone to hold those people accountable.  It would be awesome if they could do it for themselves . . . but I have my doubts.

Here is my issue with child abuse.

When the child is missing, their picture is plastered everywhere and people cry in outrage.  When the child is rescued, people weep for the poor kid and what they have been through.  When a predator is caught and we hear that children were abused, we cry foul.  We fight against sexual predators, we don’t want them in our neighbourhoods, we caution our children about them constantly.

But sexual abuse does not go away once the predator is charged and sentenced.  It doesn’t end when the jail term is up.  It doesn’t magically disappear when the child becomes an adult.  But no-one really cares about the adult who was once a child victim.  No-one wants to hear about their continued struggle and we often put them in positions of having to talk about the most horrific thing that ever happened in their life, in order to get the care they need.

Consider the woman who goes to the dentist and explains they need to be put out for work done on their mouth, that they have a fear that goes beyond the normal fear of needles etc.  The dentist will argue with her and try to convince her he can make it painless, he will be gentle, etc.  She tells him again it has nothing to do with pain or needles.  She tries, she is very uncomfortable being in the chair with people standing over her.  He will argue more.  Finally she will have to tell him she was abused when she was a child.  You will be surprised how many dentists ignore that as “get over it, that was over 20 years ago.”  She will then have to try and convince him how bad it was, maybe even giving details.

You would be surprised how many times these issues come up for survivors of abuse.  With doctors, business situations, social events … it is humiliating.  I recently spoke to one woman who had to cancel a required medical procedure because the doctor had no compassion for her when she told him that it was that specific test done a few months earlier that brought back the memories of her abuse.  In her desperation to get this asshole to have compassion for her she told him how the head of the Child Sex Crimes unit had resigned after the case, from the PTSD he suffered dealing with it.  The doctor still refused to alter how they did the test.  It was not his problem.  He told her to decide how important the test was to her.

Families and friends can be just as cruel.  They want the person to get over it.  They don’t want to hear about it, and they hold the person to a level of behaviour that is not fair considering the abuse.  A child who was a victim often goes on to be sexually inappropriate or to struggle with their sexuality.  They may have addiction problems and even difficulties with the law.  We forget that these people will take years to learn to manage their physical, emotional and spiritual reactions to the abuse.  We can understand how, if someone is in an accident they might lose an arm.  We do not expect them to grow a new arm.  At best, they learn to navigate life with a prosthetic arm.  But the reality is there.  They lost an arm.  The impact of that is there.  Sexual Abuse causes a spiritual wounding just as real as a physical one that causes someone to lose an arm.  It is there.  A person can learn to cope but the reality is permanent.

Tonya Lee is who I will focus on when I hear anything about Rolf Harris.  I will do this because she is a survivor whose healing was delayed because there was no justice for her abuse.  She had to carry the secret for years, probably many people would not believe her.  Rolf Harris had a choice, to abuse or not.  He had a choice to stop or not, to not pick other victims.   He had a choice when he committed the acts and he had a choice when the victims came forward to do the right thing, admit his wrong, take his punishment and stop thinking only of himself.  Instead he abused without any compassion for the children crying in pain and fear.  He acted without any consideration for the betrayal to his family, or his fans.  He acted with cowardice, more concerned about his own self than in doing the right thing.  He had choice, then and now.  He has proven who he is.  Now Tonya has some ability to move forward.  She is the face of this.  The tragedy is not that Rolf Harris was/is a pig.  The tragedy is that Tonya Lee was abused and denied justice for this long.

I hope that all of you will consider those in your life who have been abused, as children, now adults … and realize that you can keep them in pain and shame with your actions or lack of compassion or you can open the doors and allow them to heal. It will take time, it will be painful.  Their souls are damaged.  They need unconditional love and support to find a way to move forward and leave the abuse with the abuser.

Please let us start looking at the survivors and putting our efforts into supporting them, and not just for the five minutes they are on the evening news.

Faking Facebook, Faking Life.

 

I saw this video this morning and had to comment.

Social media has become this world where we are virtually attending our high school reunions, except on a much grander scale.  Yet instead of  just one night where we create an illusion to “in your face” to all who scoffed at us or treated us bad in high school, we have every day.  We get to filter what people see and to a large extent, what they think.  Our “profile page” on any available media, becomes this perfect view of who we are and perhaps, more than anything else, it is a sad reflection on our own opinion of ourselves.  We can’t allow ourselves to just be us, we have to present what we think will make others “like” us.

Ahh those elusive “likes” that prove to the world that we have worth.

And then of course the 50 million social media experts who will tell you sneaky ways to get more likes, that have nothing to do with being honest, or improving any business you are trying to promote.  The business (or you) is irrelevant – all hail being “like”ed.

Those perfect pictures, life lived to the fullest, beautiful people everywhere, everything is a success, happy happy happy.  Dozens of people egging you on, cheering, some standing on their chairs clapping … all of them like trained seals .. hoping if they clap for you it will accomplish 2 things … that everyone will think they are “like”ing your activity because that is their life too and the most important one … that you will “like” them in return.

If it was sincere, you would find random things that people with almost no followers at times getting a hit out of the ball park.  We all say or do something brilliant at some time … but no … the popular get more sheep people and it goes on and on.

But the saddest part of this video is not that people do this, it is that as soon as you are honest, or you might actually NEED someone, or God forbid you say something that everyone does not agree with … you are muted in some way.  We are CHOOSING to connect with one another at the most superficial, fake level possible.  We want picture perfect lives that will cause others to envy us so that we can sit alone in our normal lives and feel completely alone because we can never have a real relationship and risk someone finding out the truth.  We are CHOOSING to isolate ourselves and be miserable.

Life is not perfect.  So what.

People are not perfect.  So what.

Relationships are a two way street.  Sometimes you have to give and sometimes you receive.

The packaging of life is irrelevant on any meaningful scale.

Being popular is not listed in any religious text or worthy life pursuit as the key to anything other than the delusion that you are better than someone else. Popular is in this moment, in this arena . . . it does not carry over to another arena.  Think about it.  You may have been wildly popular in high school.  When you got into University did anyone care or even know about it?  Life is the same way.  Screen shots of your update with 1000 “likes” is not a practical way of dealing with the loneliness of having no-one in your life in your twilight years.

The best friend you can have would never blindly “like” everything you say and clap over the fact you had sushi for dinner.

It is in the tough strokes of life that we often make the most meaningful connections and form lasting relationships.  It is in being willing to see and react to the pain of others that we discover our own hearts and our capacity for love.

You can blame Facebook, Google .. any of them for the state we are in but we are the consumers.  They provided a tool and we are the ones using it.  Just as easily as we have used it to create this surface, ridiculously empty illusion of connection, we could use it to bring into our lives more purpose, deeper understanding, and greater friends.

You just have to stop.

Decide what kind of person you want to be and represent that.  Be real.  We are all just real people, flawed and broken, healed and dynamic.  Our super powers are not in being the most beautiful, or having the most expensive house, or traveling and eating incredible food … our super powers in our ability to love ourselves, and one another.  You cannot have one without the other.  So start with yourself.

Be honest.

Make your connections mean something more than just a number that tells you each day your lies are “like”ed.

 

Super Tony The Wonder Boy – He’s Exactly Like Jana.

super tony

  I once had to call a time out in one of the most crucial games for a girls team I was coaching.  There was less than a minute left in the game and we were tied.  The girls raced off the floor to get their instructions.  In the middle of revealing my urgent master plan for us to win,  one of the girls interrupted … “Mrs. Appleford?”

“Yes Jana?”  I admit my voice was probably not warm and inviting.  I had tried to ignore her without success.  She was waving at me and dancing up and down as she bobbed in and around the other players trying to get in my direct line of view.

“Ummmm …. this weekend?  ” every few words ended on an up note like she was asking a question which was exactly why I was trying to ignore her.  It took her forever to get out three words.    “ummmmm?   Like my caaaaat?   she ummm?????   she had kittennnns?”  She was looking around at everyone, aware she was finally the centre of attention.  My mind was racing to connect cat birth and basketball, to find some relevance in the words that were dropping in slow motion all over the gym floor.  Meanwhile my hands were making small circles trying to hurry her along as I scanned to see how many parents were watching and worried that my smile might not be hiding how aggravated I felt .  She ignored my hand movements and went slower.  I started fluttering them faster and faster until I looked like a baby bird about to take off.

“Ya .. and ummm … liiiike ??… she had kittennnns? . . .  and ummm???…. ” she was looking up at the ceiling and twisting the one corner of her jersey as she talked,  “liiiike … 3 kitttttens? . . . and ummm? . . . one of them was blackkkk? … and ummm??? ….  like … one was ummm? . . .  whiiiite?”  Her eyes rolled back off the ceiling to look at all of us standing there, girls sweating profusely, puffing, sucking back water, me with my clipboard and forgotten diagram tucked under my arm, waiting …. I couldn’t fake it any more.

I looked at her shaking my head in disbelief, my hands upturned towards her as if ready to catch any type of meaning.  “and?????” “ya … Hehehehehehehe . . . It was soooo funny …” Jana was laughing like a clapping seal making weird snorty noises.  Everyone else was just blinking . . . and blinking.  “Please God, ” I prayed, “Don’t let anyone ask her about the third kitten.”

That was it.  The buzzer went, timeout was over, the girls had to get back to the game.

All I could do was pray that somehow black and white kittens and the numbers 3 and 1 were code for some complex basketball play and that the other girls would know what it meant, execute it, and we would win the game.

We didn’t.

Tony Abbott is exactly like Jana except without any fluffy baby kittens.  Jana at least had half a chance of winning someone over.  People can be won over if you have enough fluffy baby kittens.

Here he is, the current captain of team Australia, one of the exciting teams that has a shot at the championship and he believes he has the answer for everything, even though he has no idea what the questions are or what anyone else is talking about.  He makes no sense.  And I want to throttle him.

His cat had kittens and everyone else is playing basketball.  He has no idea how completely ridiculous he sounds.

He is the reason mother’s everywhere should stop telling their children that they can grow up to be anything they want to be.

He is the reason why we should stop promoting the idea that everyone who shows up at the game, who sits on the team bench, has to be given a turn to play.  Clearly some people should be birthing kittens instead.

He is the reason everyone who votes should not let the pencil lead be sharper than their grasp of politics, unless they are going to provide said pencil to sane people after idiots are elected so that decent human beings can poke themselves with the pencil in their eyes.  It is far less painful that having to see him on the evening news while visiting Canadia.

He is the reason why speedos should be banned everywhere and proof that men’s brains are not always in their heads and that they can be damaged by wearing bathing attire that is too tight.

Perhaps, if no-one is getting into Australia while he is Prime Minister, no-one should be going out either … as in, HE should not be allowed to leave the country any more.  It is called damage control.

Can we get one of those child harnesses remade to fit him?  I am sure his wife knows how to crochet.  Perhaps she and their women’s church group could make Tony a leash.  It would truly benefit humanity and I am sure they could get more tax breaks.  Tony likes church women who stay home and crochet. Who do you think does his speedos?

I have ruined more than one evening meal spewing my food when he casually announces that he can solve global warming.  Funny how it is always after he has excused himself for a bit and returns looking refreshed with a bit of toilet paper stuck to his shoe.

Super Tony.  According to him, he can save the world from everything.   Jesus said … “the dumb will speak.”

There is a reason for the speedo after all.  The man is not just beefcake in latex.  It goes well with tights and a cape and if people would just get out of his way, he will save us.    He is standing near a telephone booth right now, waving, dancing up and down, bobbing in and out amongst the other people trying to get in your direct line of vision.  He is the great white hope.

Between him and Bindi Irwin .. . they have it all in hand.

You Are A Saint.

Saints

When I was in my early twenties, and speaking at a national forum in Ottawa, an elderly man came up to me afterwards wanting to talk.  I turned and reached out my hand to greet him and before I knew it, he had me in a hug.  “You are a Saint,” he whispered into my ear.  Then he released me and stood back.  There were tears in his eyes.

I was deeply embarrassed and assured him I was certainly NOT a Saint.  I had made so many mistakes in my life.  Newly released from my teenage years,  married and mother of 2 children at that point, I was acutely aware of my shortcomings in the “Saint” department.  I explained to him that I was certainly NOT a “Saint.”

He smiled and patted my hand and said, “You do not understand what a Saint is then.  A Saint is not someone who has never sinned.  A Saint is someone who, having sinned, has done the right thing and used that to go on and do amazing things.  Thank you for being a Saint in so many people’s lives and for inspiring me today.”

It made me seriously question my own ideas because often we require people to be all or nothing.  It reminded me that everyone is a work in progress and that the only thing that really matters is the intent of our hearts and the evidence of that intent.

We have to go forward with love and healing.

We talk about the wars and hate that surrounds our globe.  We wonder how that can be and yet we are not willing to search our own hearts and see how we live our lives steeped and perpetuating hate instead of love and healing.  I cannot believe the amount of hate that is found in family courts, where families battle one another over children, using them as weapons against one another.  Children do not know how to hate.  Children do not hate their parents, strangely not even the ones who are abusing them.  They are taught to hate.

Spreading out you have friends and family of those people in the courts.  If I were supporting my children to say or do unkind things against their ex partners my husband would call me on it immediately.  I would not dare mention it to friends because they too, would say something to me about it being mean, or inappropriate, or making it harder on the kids.  And yet these people do the most horrific things and are supported by their network.  They are spreading hate and teaching it, they are multiplying it across our communities.

Hate has never fixed a single problem anywhere.

It is the mentality that this is a competition, that life is a competition and only one person can be the winner – that focus being on the parents in this situation.  No-one considers that despite which parent “wins,” the child loses.

You can point fingers at other people and talk about what you think they did or didn’t do years ago – you might even be right.  But people change and even criminals are eventually released for time served.  People can choose to not have someone in their life for whatever reason.  BUT when you cross the line and you start inserting yourself into their business and trying to turn other people against them and doing everything you can to make their life miserable, then YOU are the awful person.  I don’t care what you think the other person did.

Those who hold others forever accountable for past misdeeds are seldom perfect themselves.   It becomes apparent as you grow up that the people so anxious to villainize   others either are guilty of the very thing they accuse the other people of or have something they so desperately need to hide, they want to distract you.    No person is all good or all bad.  We are all blendings of strengths and weaknesses.  A grounded person knows this and would never stand before others professing perfection.  It is only the weak who pretend it is even possible and assign themselves to always be the hero.

Years have passed since the gentleman made his comment and more than a reflection on who I am, it has stuck in my mind as a reflection on people.  For some, all there is to life is the competition.  They will get all they can get, climbing over others, denigrating them, using them, lying , stealing … anything to keep up their illusion.  Then there are people who live their lives, many quietly, who have tried and failed, lived and learned, loved and grown.  THOSE are the people I hope to know, to learn from, to have in my life.

I am not threatened or put down by those who choose to attack me, I am sad for them.

Nothing is going to change in this world until human beings change their hearts.  If a glass of water can be rendered life giving or life denying by taping on words like “love” or “hate,” then it matters what we think and do.  If our own bodies do the same, create life affirming or life denying chemistry based on the feelings and thoughts we hold on to, then it matters what we think or do.  This world is created by us – not the governments or the corporations . . . it is by us.  The tragedies and wars exist because of our own individual actions … or our lack of actions. Tidal waves are made up of single drops of water.

We have to choose love and healing.  We have to let go of the past, let go of our need to win.  We have to forgive ourselves and forgive others.  We have to support one another in our individual efforts to heal – not seek to define what that should be for others, what it should look like, or how it is done.  Everyone will have their own unique way.  We need to make sure we are not supporting people in negative ways, enabling them to be cruel or unkind, by our applause or our silence.  We need to especially focus our attention on our children, and teach them a different way of living that allows for good will amongst all of us.

It is not up to the “Saints” to rescue us.  We are all saints.  It is not about being perfect, it is about doing the right thing, ESPECIALLY in the face of failing to do the right thing.  It is up to every one of us.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.  There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.  When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

TFFT If You Don’t Stand For Something, You Stand For Nothing.

not enough to be good

 

 

We have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and our communities to see what is happening around us and to do something about it.  None of us can afford to wait until we are personally impacted by the many tragedies going on in the world today.  If we are not going to act as a world wide community then we are doomed ourselves to stand alone in our own tragedy when it arrives at our door . . . and we have no-one else to blame but ourselves.

 

buried in the sand

 

Surely the internet has opened our eyes to how connected we all are, how what happens on the other side of the world does relate to and impact us.  We can’t simply tell people to “smile and be happy” or turn off the evening news because we find it upsetting.  Saying you don’t know about things is a choice to not care about what is happening to others and believe me, there are people banking on your apathy to allow them to commit even more atrocities.  Wanting to be left alone because all is well in your corner of the room is inexcusable.

 

accepting evil

Never before have we had so much information about what is happening.  We cannot excuse ourselves with “I had no idea.”  If we “have no idea,”  it is because that was our choice and that says more about our character than you can imagine.  Those who will not speak out are as much a part of the problem as those who are perpetuating hate, death and war.  If you fail to stand for humanity, you fail as a human.  There is nothing noble about walking away from this fight for the future of our planet.

Yes there is a ton of information.  Stop crying that you don’t know who to believe or what to believe.  Think about what you are saying.  For years we have surrendered that right to other people.  If our church tells us, if our leaders tell us, if the doctors say …. THINK about it.  For years you have been willing to allow others to decide what is right and you have just blindly accepted it.  We are past that.  YOU have to make that decision. YOU have to take responsibility for truth in your life and the decision of how you will act upon that truth.  If you don’t, then you are again CHOOSING to spread the lies.

Wake up, look around you, read, engage, act.

It is not enough to just worry about your own families, you have to think beyond that scope.  Neither is it okay to ignore your own families.  If you have no compassion for them, who should?  Mend yourself, mend one another, and stand.

Love has the power to overcome everything but it needs committed soldiers who are not afraid to do what is right.

Child Welfare is Broken and It is Killing Our Kids.

Capture

“Let’s teach that loving isn’t always loving. Like when you loved the hamster so much that it died. Some adults do that too. Too much, the wrong way. These are ‘Stay away’ zones on your body. These are ‘Stay away’ people. You don’t have to obey all adults. Not even parents. Disagree respectfully. Run, if you need. Shout, if you need. Adults can be bad too.”   ― Deborah Ainslie, All Flowers Are Not Yellow

The poster obviously refers to the Child Welfare in the US but almost any Social Services Department in the world could have been substituted and it would still be true. It is time for us to stand and say NO MORE.

For years we have asked people to come forward and report suspected child abuse.  We have school programmes where we tell the children they should tell someone.  We have special departments within schools, police, medicine and our courts to deal with the problem and still we do not believe or support those brave enough to come forward.

If you are an adult who tells, even when you leave your name and stand behind what you saw, you can be in trouble in court, labelled a trouble maker or a liar. The court case becomes about you instead of the abuse.

In Canada, when child abuse is reported by another adult and the child is little, Social Services may investigate, but if they do they will say they did not find any real evidence, the parents had a plausible story and the child is too young to be a reliable witness, even though the child may speak of the abuse.  They will close the file. Despite repeated reportings of that same situation over years, Social Services will err on the side of the “plausible explanations” refusing to connect the dots and see a pattern.  Evidently everyone else is lying and only the abusing parent is telling the truth.

If the child is older and speaks out for themselves, they may investigate but again because the parent will have a plausible explanation for it, they will say it is the child’s word against the adults, no real evidence, and children are prone to lies.  They will say they feel the child is currently “safe” and so no need for intervention.  They will close the file.

Once the child is an adult and speaks out to the abuse they suffered they will not investigate anything.  There will be no tangible evidence after all those years and it will be their word against another adults, which means it all comes out in the wash.  They tell people they survived, they are adults, and they should put it behind them and get on with their lives.  Often they will chastise them that they should have spoken up at the time.

I am pretty sure that even a paedophile is capable of coming up with “plausible explanations” when confronted with their crime.  I doubt many of them readily admit to their behaviour just because they are asked.  I am also convinced that when you make an appointment with someone to come and check if there is any drug paraphernalia next Tuesday at 10:00 AM – even a wired junkie knows to hide his stuff.

If we are going to say that a child is capable of  lying about the abuse then why will they not consider that the other children, left in the abusers care, after several days knowing they are going to be interviewed by Social Services, would not also be capable of lying, especially seeing as they are probably also victims?  If a parent can coach a child to report abuse, a parent can coach a child to NOT report abuse.

How is this effective investigating?

How do we miss basic signs, the shy child, the child who is suicidal, who is ashamed of their body, who is not connecting normally with other kids or is overtly sexual? What about the aggressive child, the child whose grades suddenly change, the child that suddenly hates their other parent when there has been nothing to cause the sudden change?  How do we miss parents who never let the child speak for themselves, or speak to people alone?

How do we miss connecting dots, of  behaviour, repeated incidents, aggression, inappropriate boundaries, too much information being shared with children about matters that should not be in front of children?

Why don’t we care?  Why aren’t we holding anyone accountable?  Why don’t we enforce the existing court orders and the counseling that sometimes gets set up?  Why is it ok for parents to lie in family court with little to no consequences?  Why aren’t we even more concerned about finding the truth?

We read of abuses within the system that get caught, a commission is called, findings delivered, recommendations made for changes but there is no evidence of them trickling down into the day to day system to benefit the kids.

Even in Canada, after a recent tragedy and a review where they found that Social Services had failed to follow up and do their job, workers continued with the exact same attitude towards their current cases.

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/touch/story.html?id=9414328

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/System%20failed%20children%20Advocate/9841586/story.html

http://m.calgarysun.com/2011/08/24/grandparents-anxious-for-report-into-childs-death

The police often say they are waiting on Social Services who say they are waiting on the police and when it gets to court the parents are asked why they did not go to the police or Social Services and refuses to accept that neither would do anything.  If you find a police officer who will step up, they are thwarted by Social Services and vica versa.

Is it any wonder that children end up scarred or even dead?  Why do we even bother with a Welfare department with our children when at best they do nothing and at worst their interference makes a situation worse.  Why do we ask children to speak up when we have no intention of listening to them?  Because I can tell you from experience that the courage it takes for a child to speak out against a parent is tremendous.  They often have to talk about things that shame them to the core.  They are scared of their teachers and of Police Officers and lawyers and counselors.  To go through all of that, hanging on to “it’s the right thing to do,” or the idea that they are saving their siblings, is all they have.  To not be believed, to have nothing done, to be sent back to that situation . . . it is abuse in and of itself.

Perhaps there should be a full circle.  Perhaps the very people who made these decisions about these children’s lives should be held accountable.  If something goes wrong, maybe they should be criminally charged – including the judges.  Perhaps at the very least they should have to sit down with these kids once they are adults and deal with the lasting impact their decisions had for their lives.  Celebrate the successes, learn from their mistakes … but for God’s sake we can’t continue on the way things are now.

 

 

We Have Wars Because Parents Teach Hate.

only Love

 

When I was in my early twenties, and speaking at a national forum in Ottawa, an elderly man came up to me afterwards wanting to talk.  I turned and reached out my hand to greet him and before I knew it, he had me in a hug.  “You are a Saint,” he whispered into my ear.  Then he released me and stood back.  There were tears in his eyes.

I was deeply embarrassed and assured him I was certainly NOT a Saint.  I had made so many mistakes in my life.  Newly released from my teenage years,  married and mother of 2 children at that point, I was acutely aware of my shortcomings in the “Saint” department.  I explained to him that I was certainly NOT a “Saint.”

He smiled and patted my hand and said, “You do not understand what a Saint is then.  A Saint is not someone who has never sinned.  A Saint is someone who, having sinned, has done the right thing and used that to go on and do amazing things.  Thank you for being a Saint in so many people’s lives and for inspiring me today.”

It made me seriously question my own ideas because often we require people to be all or nothing.  It reminded me that everyone is a work in progress and that the only thing that really matters is the intent of our hearts and the evidence of that intent.

We have to go forward with love and healing.

We talk about the wars and hate that surrounds our globe.  We wonder how that can be and yet we are not willing to search our own hearts and see how we live our lives steeped and perpetuating hate instead of love and healing.  I cannot believe the amount of hate that is found in family courts, where families battle one another over children, using them as weapons against one another.  Children do not know how to hate.  Children do not hate their parents, strangely not even the ones who are abusing them.  They are taught to hate.

Spreading out you have friends and family of those people in the courts.  If I were supporting my children to say or do unkind things against their ex partners my husband would call me on it immediately.  I would not dare mention it to friends because they too, would say something to me about it being mean, or inappropriate or making it harder on the kids.  And yet these people do the most horrific things and are supported by their network.  They are spreading hate and teaching it, they are multiplying it across our communities.

Hate has never fixed a single problem anywhere.

It is the mentality that this is a competition, that life is a competition and only one person can be the winner – that focus being on the parents in this situation.  No-one considers that despite which parent “wins” the child loses.

You can point fingers at other people and talk about what you think they did or didn’t do years ago – you might even be right.  But people change and even criminals are eventually released for time served.  People can choose to not have someone in their life for whatever reason.  BUT when you cross the line and you start inserting yourself into their business and trying to turn other people against them and doing everything you can to make their life miserable, then YOU are the awful person.  I don’t care what you think the other person did.

The actions of people holding others forever accountable for past misdeeds are not perfect themselves and anyone who believes, as perhaps I once did, that you are all good or all bad, has a lot of growing up to do.  There is no such thing just as a Saint is not a perfect person.  We are all Saints.  We are all Sinners.  Even you.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.  Thee is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.  When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

PAS and Mother’s Day.

PAS

Another good site with discussion and sharing.  http://momsheartsunsilenced.com/

Good parents know that no child hates their parent unless they are taught. Good parents know how to protect a child’s heart and not to poison it with their own hate. That is not love, that is using the child as a weapon because you are inadequate as a human being and need help.

Parents who applaud or encourage a child to say or do mean or hateful things to their other parent are despicable bullying human beings. if you want to know why kids are bullying one another check out these parents.

brainwashing

http://www.brainwashingchildren.com/

I am particularly highlighting one of his posts that may help in your quest to understand if you are a victim of PAS.

Evidence from afar that your child is being brainwashed against you

When you’re the noncustodial parent, days and weeks go by without you being around your child or children. During this time the custodial parent– your ex– who’s hell-bent on sabotaging your relationship with your child has ample opportunity to do so.

There are some strong signs that appear in most brainwashing households. You can’t be there in person to observe all the things said, the lies told, or the subtle put-downs, so you will have to look elsewhere– to the telephone, cellphone, text messages, and emails.

The openness and normalcy of the electronic communications with your child is in most cases directly related to the level of mental abuse taking place in the other house. Evidence that your child is being coached and lied to include:

  • Your child is flat, monotoned, or sad when he or she gets your phone call
  • Your ex is often heard speaking to your child in the background (and your child will frequently cover up the phone with his or  her hand)
  • Your phone calls or texts are not returned
  • Cellphones you buy for your kid are rarely used to call you, but used routinely by your ex to contact your child when he or she is with you
  • No calls on your birthday or Father’s/Mother’s Day, and rarely or never a card or e-card
  • Your child asks you questions inappropriate for their age
  • Your child is used as a messenger by your ex
  • Your child complains about his or her last visit (usually of trivial things)
  • You rarely get a call, email, or text out of the blue from your child
  • Your child claims out of the blue that “I don’t want to see you”
  • Your child seems unable to echo any “I love you’s”
  • Your child echoes the words of your ex (words a child of that age would never use)
  • Your child refers to you by your first name, either to you directly or at home while away from you
  • Your ex refers to you when speaking to your child in the background by your first name
  • Your child will say “Why haven’t you called me” when in fact you’ve tried
  • You rarely get an acknowledgement of any cards of presents sent

How to fight this? The short answer is to call your child on a regular basis (once a week, twice a week, etc), and stick to it. Also send texts and emails, even super short ones, when you think of your child. If you’ve been unable to get through to speak to him or her, make sure you let them know that you’re excited to finally reach them. If you’ve left a voicemail, ask them “So did you get my voicemail?” That way, if they didn’t (as is likely), they’ll realize that you did reach out to connect with them. Older kids will even figure out on their own that a parent is withholding messages from them.

The big picture, of course, is to get the child into counseling. Even call Child Protective Services if your child’s emotionally wrecked. Make sure you document everything– to include tape recording phone calls (if legal in your state), logging all the times you’ve tried to reach your child, etc.

If your child custody decree doesn’t mention anything about telephonic or electronic access, then consider hiring an attorney who can make a “motion to modify” the decree. Some decrees include specific hours whereby your ex must make your child contactable. That way if your ex doesn’t comply, he or she could face the wrath of a judge.

It’s a very difficult thing to have to suffer through month after month after month, with the only let-off being when  you have possession of your child. But hang in there. Keep a steady flow of calls, emails, and texts to your brainwashed child. One day your child will see the “unhappy” parent for who she is, and your consistent actions at reaching out will be rewarded in 95% of cases.

Too Much … When People Break.

too much

You know, we live in a world where people are being pushed to the limits with finances, health issues, child rearing, relationships, world events, wars, natural disasters …. people are suffering.

The worst thing we can do is shut ourselves in , shut-up, and shut the world and people out of our lives. Now more than ever we need to get out of ourselves, to look around at what is going on … to listen with compassion and care to those people who are trying to hang on by the skin of their fingernails …. and to be a moments refuge from an angry winters day.

This is not a time for judgment.

1. Listen to what the person is saying. Hear them. Let them speak. Encourage them to write or to talk or to do whatever they can to get the feelings out. Lets stop isolating ourselves, lets stop judging people who share. These are their feelings, how they see things. They need that validated. You do that by letting them get it out and encouraging them to share. You don’t get to decide if they are right or wrong, or up or down. It doesn’t matter. FEELINGS – they are what they are.

2. Just be with that person. If it is appropriate, touch their shoulder, their hand … HUG them …..for crying out loud, remember hugs?

3. Let them cry if they can and need to. You can cry with them if you like. Sometimes just being able to release, to cry on someone’s shoulder, to feel love and supported…. is all that is needed to keep going another day.

4. Let them know you care. You can say something like, “I care about you, I am sorry you are having such a difficult time. I can see it is really wearing you down. ” You don’t have to provide answers, you don’t have to solve anything.

5. Do not offer them stupid euphemisms like “tomorrow is another day” or “cup half full” stories. This is not the time or place for these.

6. Do not lecture them on what they did wrong to cause this situation. This is not the time or place.

7. Do not lecture them about God and what He would or wouldn’t do in this situation. Two comments. People use this usually to point out what you are doing wrong – they seldom apply it to their own conduct. These phrases are always offered INSTEAD of any actual effort that might be helpful or meaningful. It’s a big cop out. You know what the Saviour would do? He would roll up his sleeves and see what there was that needed to be done. He would put his arms around the person and cry with them. He would encourage them …. help them find a way to get up and keep going. So stop speaking like you are God’s personal representative and that your lack of compassion and harsh judgment has anything to do with “what the Saviour would do.” Second of all, there is a well understood ladder of human needs. It is like a pyramid of requirements for human beings. At the base is food and shelter. If a human being does not have that, they are not really capable of worrying about emotional needs like relationships, and they certainly are not capable of understanding and embracing spiritual things.

Jesus fed the people before he started talking. Think about it.

8. Do not say things like “if there is ever anything I can do to help, just let me know,” especially if you do not mean it – say nothing. Even if you do mean it … don’t say it. Take a moment and look at the situation and offer something concrete that you are actually willing to do. Set the parameters and the time.”Look, I drive downtown everyday because I need my car for work, your work is right on the way, can I pick you up and drive you for the next 4 weeks? You said you will have the down payment for a new car by then and you should be able to get your cast off. ” And then follow through.

9. Don’t give people money unless you are truly prepared to give it to them. When we give money or things to people, with expectations of how they should use it, or when we give money we cannot afford to give, we can actually make the situation worse. Give what you really can, and give it without any strings. If it is paid back bonus .. if not .. and you were prepared for that .. everyone will be fine.

10. Don’t ever assume that because someone is having a hard time that you are somehow better, more loved, more important, smarter, prettier .. whatever … because you aren’t. History has shown time and again that those people most tried and tested are often the people who left this world a better place for all of us. These are the people who changed the world, whom everyone can admire and remember. No-one really talks about the people who partied and shopped while they judged the less fortunate as, “losers who deserved what they got.”

AFTER a person opens up, there is time for action, time to make plans – to deal with what is happening right now and move forward. Blame and Guilt serve no-one .. in fact .. they often are the biggest impediment to dealing with any problem. Help the person to live .. not just survive. The little things mean a lot .. a good meal, good conversation, laughter … all those things that connect us and remind us that we are human and that life can be good. Don’t just tell someone where they need to be and what they have to do .. go with them .. check on them .. encourage them. Help them to find the strength within themselves they will need to make it through .. and ALWAYS be willing to let go of the bike and let them try themselves.

We teach our children what life is really about, not by the words we speak, but by the actions we take on a daily basis. Life will come and go and all the “treasures” we accumulate will eventually be a pile of discarded rubbish. As life strips away all those things we have spent our lives pursuing .. money, possessions, power, position, prestige …we are left raw and naked, standing amongst one another, looking for meaning. We can rage against a world that has taken everything from us or we can be thankful that we finally have one last chance to find our humanity, to connect to the people around us, to love and be loved.

I think the greatest distance measured in our lives, when all is said and done, will be when we come face to face with who we might have been and then reflect up on who we are. As we look at those two dynamics and see the distance between the two – a distance filled with a life of empty pursuits and meaningless “things” … I am sure I will weep.

Beware the Hidden Lies in the Beautiful Ideas.

for a reason

I happen to disagree with this statement.

This is not a criticism on the people who posted the poster from Facebook – Changeyourthoughtstoday, or whoever made the poster, or even Iyanla Vanzant.  It is a criticism of what the quote is saying.

There is a reason why people can react so viscerally to statements like this, that are most often found with religions.  It suggests that we alone are responsible for everything that happens to us.  It suggests that if we are not successful or happy, that we alone are to blame and that people who are successful and happy are better people.  It often shades over into, they are loved more, are stronger, have more faith, etc etc – depending on the agenda of the organization that is promoting the idea.

It does not allow for natural disasters, tragedies, accidents or crime.  It supposes that everything in the world is perfect, kind, balanced and safe, and that by the way we act or think, we create what we get.  So I guess we can stop feeling sorry for the Jewish people, the woman who gets raped, and even children who end up dead.  They created their reality, they drew it to themselves.  This type of thinking, that is easy to tag on to the end to other truths, is dangerous.

It destroys people’s lives and does not empower them, but rather completely defeats them.

There are plenty of people who are criminals who live lives of privilege and never suffer any tragedy in this life.  Are they rewarded because of their “belief” that they are worthy good people while the person who struggles to put food in their mouth, desperately wants a chance to make a better life but lives in a country where politically and financially that is never going to happen, gets what he does because he lacks enough self esteem?  Of course not.

Be careful when you grab hold of all the happy, seemingly positive sayings that are out there.  Just because there is a pretty picture and they are being sold by  people who appear to have chosen a more enlightened path does not mean you set your common sense or discernment down while you have a piece of tofu on your natural grain cracker with your herbal tea.  Think about what you are reading.

Life happens, we don’t have much say about the circumstances we are born into.  We can make the best of those circumstances but you can’t sit in a room looking at mirrors or tarot cards and suddenly be a brain surgeon in a mansion, on the other side of the world . . . no matter how great your self esteem is or how positive you are thinking.  As things happen to us we have the power to decide HOW we face those problems and what their impact is on us.  We can control the way in which we think about them, and use them to empower us instead of defeat us.   However, if you happen to be in the car that the mountain falls on, you are either going to be maimed or killed.  If you are in the bank when some idiot opens fire, you may very well be shot.  If you lose your arm in an accident there is a physical reality to that you will have to learn to live with no matter how positively you adjust your thinking.  You did not draw that to you.  You did not deserve it because you were not on top of your game that day.  It wouldn’t matter if you were on top of your game either because self-esteem does not automatically bullet proof your underwear so that bullets don’t penetrate when someone points a gun at you and pulls the trigger.  THAT is about someone else deciding who they are and taking away any choice you have in that matter.

Knowing who you are and how you think, what you need, where you are going,  is not so everything will be easy and happy.  It is about growing and evolving.  Enlightenment itself is a painful, lonely,  journey.  Knowing who you are often means you walk a path that no-one else will ever understand or validate.  Other people will constantly tell you that you are wrong and they will point to the lack of “success” and “happy trappings” in your life as evidence.

We have too long looked at the wealthy and those who avoid difficulties, as superior in their thinking, their talents, their faith … even when we have proof of how corrupt those illusions can be.  Success, by worldly standards, has little to do with anything God sanctions.  It has even less to do with superior talent or character.  It can … but it quite often does not.

How could a God, who knows and understands the real values of life, ever turn against everything He ever taught and reward man’s divine efforts with temporary things meant only to quell physical appetites, like money, things, success??  The real happiness, the real meaning of life will never be found in these illusions.  They are the lie.

The very men who, the lives, the gurus of everything that pushed us to seek to know ourselves and to believe in something more, are men and women who had the best knowledge of who they were and how the world operates and yet almost without fail, every single one of them was ridiculed and abused, rejected by the world and its success and riches.

Don’t build your spiritual journey, your movement towards light, with lies that only deter us and keep us from ever really seeing what we are meant to see.