Helpful Hints to Aid in Your Therapy

Positive Attitudes

"I choose to let positive attitudes
lighten my being today."

The abuse* I suffered as a child exposed me
to a very dismal view of life. This and
the burden of keeping the abuse* secret
contributed to my becoming shrouded in
negative attitudes. If I declared all life
to be hellish, what more could disappoint me?
I was in pain and since no one recognized it,
I thought I would betray myself if I left it
even for a moment.

Today I know that even when I am in pain
I can adopt positive attitudes. I can be
grateful to be able to touch my feelings.
I can be grateful that I have friends with
whom to share them. I know that I have been
wounded by my past experiences, but I am not
solely those wounds. I am also the person
who is healing. As I recognize the pain of
the past, I am able to begin to experience
life in a new way. I am able to love myself
and others. I am able to know the abundance
of my spirit and live my days one at a time
with the knowledge that I am cared for.
When I find myself lapsing into the negative,
I have the choice to turn myself around and
alter my experience simply by perceiving things
anew, as if through a different lens.

From Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors
of Sexual Abuse
By Maureen Brady, Copyright 1991
with the following changes:
*The word incest was changed to abuse so as
to include all types of abuse.

Creation

"My body and spirit are part of a larger
creation and my purpose on this planet is to
continue in that blooming."

The birth of each of us was a pure creation.
Those of us who were abused and neglected in
childhood often felt misplaced, as if we were
not meant to be here. Otherwise, why would
we have been treated so badly? But this was
a necessary delusion that helped us survive
until we could see and believe differently.

As I begin to recover, I become responsible
for my place on this planet and the belief
in the dignity of my being. I move toward
fulfilling the purpose that feels right to me.
One step at a time, I empower myself to do
and be all that I am meant to be.

I am a full citizen of the world. I take
part in constructing and creating a healthy
planet. I refrain from using the abuse done
to me as an excuse for acting on destructive
impulses. Instead, I turn to constructive
ones that focus on my healing.

From Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors
of Sexual Abuse
By Maureen Brady, Copyright 1991

Sexuality

"I am entitled to fulfilling my sexuality."

As a survivor of sexual abuse, my responses
to sexual pleasure have been contaminated.
It feels like wires cross in my brain. When
I first became aware that sexual abuse
occurred in my childhood, I felt very
defensive about sexual intimacy and had little
desire to be sexual with anyone. I even
wondered, "Why would anyone ever want to
come close enough to touch another person?
How did this sex stuff ever get started anyway?
And why does it continue?" But as my recovery
progressed, my desire for intimacy and sexual
connection sprouted new life. It was with
fear and trepidation, but I gradually
became sexual again with the guidance of my
abuse* recovery group and therapist.

Today I can enjoy a sexual relationship and
claim my pleasure as my own. I can release
the notion that if I allow myself enjoyment
and fulfillment, I will be handing my power
over to another person. Still, my feelings
vary depending on how vulnerable I feel.
There are times when the voices in my head
try to make me feel as if someone else has
entered the bedroom besides my lover. I am
free to stop at any time during sex to
discuss this and, in a way, expose those
invaders.

From Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors
of Sexual Abuse
By Maureen Brady, Copyright 1991
with the following changes:
*The word incest was changed to abuse so as
to include all types of abuse.

Serenity

THE SEARCH FOR serenity does not lead us to a
state of full-time bliss. The idea that we
should never have a bad day is another of our
unrealistic expectations. No one, no matter
how hard they're "working the program," has a
good day every day. Who knows what the
trigger is? Maybe it's gloomy weather or
hormones or a skipped breakfast. But the fact
is that we all feel down sometimes.

Emotional stability is an important component
of self-esteem. Wild mood swings and chronic
crankiness are symptoms of deeper disorders
that need attention. Often, deeply buried anger
is the wellspring of the attitudinal misery that
is bubbling up. Work with a counselor or
support group can usually relieve such unhappy,
long-term conditions.

But for the ordinary ups and downs of life,
good old-fashioned acceptance is the best
remedy we've got. Even people with naturally
cheerful dispositions and even tempers get up
on the wrong side of the bed once in a while.
While we strive for emotional balance, we
need to remember that stable and static aren't
the same thing; our goal is an acceptable,
comfortable range.

The upside is that bad days are just as fleeting as good days.

An excerpt from the book
Believing in Myself, Daily Meditations
for Healing and Building Self-Esteem
Earnie Larsen & Carol Hegarty





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