REPOST: To Come Out of The Shadows: To Be or Not To Be

Originally posted on July 8, 2014. 

My Dear Readers,

Many assume that psychotherapists like myself  can look into a person’s eyes and see the trueness of the individual.  Of course, that is not true.  When a person comes to the therapeutic session, he or she brings their individual truth, or more specifically, what they view to be their truth, with them.

Even without a face-to-face encounter, we can still sense pain and suffering. We can still uncover and discover what lies within the psychological self and work towards recovery.

Where the homicide detective speaks for the dead, the psychotherapist can assist the living to find one’s voice.

Below is such a story…

——————————————————-

Dear Visible Man,

I am a 28 year-old black male, I am educated, and I have an excellent job in corporate America.  And, I have had sex with five different women in the past week.

I am writing because I want to examine my behavior.  I view myself as a product of my environment, meaning I associate with a group of men who, for lack of a better word, chase skirts and keep tabs on the numbers of hits they make.  I have come to seriously question what I am doing.  I know what I am doing is not right and I am playing with the feelings of these women.  I believe I am now at the place in my life in which I want to be in a serious relationship.

I have decided to start attending church again and engaging in activities with other people of my age.  What do you think of my chances of turning this around and finding a good relationship?

Tired of Trolling, Seattle, WA

——————————————————————-

Dear Trolling,

I received your correspondence with great interest, curiosity and a lot of questions.  I sense a combination of fatigue and regret, but what’s missing is a direct sense of shame in your actions and behavior.

I am curious as to why you chose “Trolling” as your signature.  The term trolling can be defined in several ways; such as a means of fishing with a baited line, a person singing in a carefree manner, and finally, a way of provoking others.

Now comes the question (s):

  • Why are you really writing?
  • What is there to gain by staying in the shadows?
  • Are you standing at the crossroads?  If so, will you continue the same behaviors or go in a different direction?

“What do you think my chances of turning this around and finding a good relationship?”

I have two responses.  Indulge me.

Response #1: In a few short terms….

  • POOR
  • Absolutely not!
  • A snowball’s chance in hell

Response #2: You are lying to yourself.

  • You are hiding in the shadows, refusing to reveal your true self .
  • You are conflicted, wanting your cake and seeking to eat it at the same time.
  • You are wounded, yet you are fearful of healing the wound.

Young Man,

Stop trolling. Life is not carefree and most importantly, there is no free lunch.  If you want the meal, prepare to pay for what you eat or in this situation, prepare to pay for your actions.  Use the following model of RACE (responsibility, accountability, consequences and empowerment), come out of the shadows and allow the light to shine upon you. You may find that reality can be empowering.

You seek to place blame for your actions, on your environment (that is, the group of skirt chasers you have aligned yourself with.)  Stop being a victim and take RESPONSIBILITY for your actions.

Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Since you chose this path, why did you seek membership in such an illustrious group of fine young men?
  • What privileges or prestige did they offer you?
  • What are the actions and behaviors of the group that causes you to reject group membership?

You chose to associate with these people because they offered you something you value, and in rejecting that group, you fear that you are losing that privilege and prestige.  Instead, have the willingness to:

  • Prepare for the pressure of the group to force your return.
  • Prepare yourself for the new direction that may be unknown to you.
  • Reinforce and validate yourself as you go alone without the protection and safety of the group.

You have a successful life, a life desired by many, but you want it to be carefree.  As it was stated earlier, there is no free lunch.  Seek ACCOUNTABILITY for actions taken.

Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I want (or need) continuous and meaningless sexual encounters to fulfill me?
  • Do I love me?  If I do love me, then why am I seeking others to fulfill me?
  • Do I truly desire change?  How do I account for my actions?

Be willing to assume accountability for your actions. These are things you will carry as you walk the journey of life, for they cannot be undone. In assuming accountability, have the willingness to:

  • Acknowledge the damage you have done to others and yourself.
  • Take witness to your actions, valuing and validating the experience.
  • Advocate.  Share with others what you have experienced and learned.

You may be successful, but your actions are indicative of an individual who is emotionally wounded and psychologically injured.  Your endless use of sexual encounters attest that you are searching for something. CONSEQUENCES are reactions to what we “do or do not do.”

Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:

  • So in my longing, my search, what have I fulfilled?  What have I found?
  • When I stare into the mirror, what creature do I see?
  • When I go to bed or wake up, whom is the person laying next to me?

Be willing to acknowledge the impact your behaviors may have on others, especially the women who have strong feelings for you.  In understanding the consequences of what was done (or not), live with the knowledge that these women:

  • Will carry a searing wound along with your memory. Their dreams and desires, which included you, will go unrealized and unfulfilled.
  • They will take the awareness of being “played, used, or toyed” into future relationships and in doing so; the innocent will be made to suffer for your behaviors.

EMPOWERMENT is energy, a force that burns and builds from within.  It thrives on the human core values of belief, faith and trust.  Can you look within?

Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I truly seeking change from within or new fertile ground in which to resume old behaviors?
  • Can one who has done bad things transform into doing good?
  • As I turn around to examine the journey so far traveled, what have I learned?

The person who can answer these questions is the one who seeks the answer—you.  Just be aware that:

  • One can run away and yet one cannot hide.. hide from self.
  • As all travelers know…wherever one goes, the baggage is likely to follow.
  • Self is the first person one sees upon awaking and the last one before sleep.

Concluding Words

Young Man, come out of the shadows. As you stated,

“I want to be locked down in a serious relationship.”

Have the willingness to ask yourself the following questions:

  • When you are locked down, whom will you trust to hold the key to your freedom?
  • Under what terms will you be allowed out?
  • Since when does the inmate give the guard the key to his freedom?

Young Man,

In responding to your writing and without knowing who you are and what your experiences have been, I have looked into the psychological self of an individual who has been wounded and who is likely to continue to wound others unless there is an intervention.

The goal of seeking a serious relationship will not remove, seal or help you “forget” the pain that you have been carrying. You, like others, deserve a life without pain and suffering, and given that, bear the responsibility of not creating pain and suffering for others.  I urge you to seek therapeutic assistance.

To achieve a positive outcome in therapy, you must be willing to let go of societal beliefs that seeking therapy is an acknowledgement that you are crazy.  Instead, you can live in the truth that you are struggling on the journey you are traveling and that therapy can be a way of is responding to the wounds that have impacted your life.

Come out of the shadows.  As you stand at your crossroads, I wish you the very best.  Safe journeys.

The Visible Man

Advertisements

REPOST: Being True To Yourself While Balancing Feelings Of Loss During The Holiday Season

Originally posted on December 9, 2013. 

Dear Visible Man,
I recently lost a loved one.  This is my first holiday season without my beloved.  I am not feeling the holiday cheer. I feel like I have to fake the “spirit” i.e. jolliness and laughter.  I don’t want to be a downer and rain on others.  Got any suggestions on getting through this?

Lacking The Spirit,  Seattle, WA

Dear Fellow Traveler,
     This portion of the year is heavy on those of us who have loved ones who are no longer physically among us.  As we enjoy time with the living, we can hold tight to our memories of the deceased. There is plenty of understanding to be had in your journey. But first:
  •  Be kind to the self.
  • Instead of attempting to get “through this,” seek balance in your journey.
  •  Embrace your feelings instead of distancing yourself from your emotions.

      As the holiday season and celebrations approach, you may be consciously or unconsciously preparing the psychological self to react to the grief associated with your loss.  There is the tendency to believe that you are alone, even when you are with others.  Rest assured that many are having the same experiences, but like you, may have chosen not to communicate or share what they are feeling. 

      Grief can be viewed as the deep sorrow that is caused by the loss of a loved one.  In anticipating the grief that is coming, the individual can chose to either react or respond.
     When one reacts, there may be a sense of lack of control.  But, should the individual choose to respond instead, he or she may place the psychological self in a position in which he or she is strategizing and thus able to be empowered.
      So how does one respond to anticipatory grief?
Stay in balance (and in tune) with your emotions.
  • Don’t focus on controlling your emotions or how you feel.  If tears are building within, have the willingness to express them.
  •  Don’t “man up”!  Allow yourself to focus on your human qualities.  Understand there may be feelings of disappointment, frustrations and delays.
  •  Be willing to share feelings of sadness with others.  Instead of seeking ways of distracting yourself from the pain, acknowledge and process it. In sharing with others, you are working to let go of or balance the feelings that are there.
  • Give yourself permission to take a “time out” interacting with or entertaining others.  Be willing to give yourself permission to spend time alone with your thoughts and feelings.

Take care of your (physical) self.

  • Avoid overeating & drinking alcohol as coping mechanisms.
  • Eat and enjoy regular balanced meals.
  • Eat something nutritious before attending a social party.
  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.  Be aware that alcohol, even combined with  snacks, can still be dangerous.
  • Focus on rest (naps) and maintaining regular sleeping patterns.
  • Create a reasonable exercise program.
  • If feeling rushed, stop and breathe deeply and slowly.  Take the breath from down in the diaphragm.  This will allow immediate feelings of relaxation.
 Take care of your (psychological) self. 
  • Pay attention to the psychological self.
  • Spend time alone.  Take time for meditation, massage or relaxation.
  • Spend time with friends in normal settings.
  • If feelings of depression or anxiety are overwhelming, schedule time for counseling and reflection with a counselor or mental health professional.
       In responding, be sure to reflect not only on what was lost, but also the joy that you had from the loving relationship. Please keep in mind the following:

“When you react, the situation has a hold on you.  When you respond, you have empowered yourself to be reflective and seek balance in the situation.”

 We focus on the journey and not the destination.

The Visible Man

REPOST: To Protect And Empower: A Parent’s Guide To Interaction With The Police

Originally posted on February 13, 2015. 

My Dear Readers:

It’s no secret that we live in troubled times.  Police-themed television shows of years past such as Dragnet, CHiPs, S.W.A.T. and others portrayed police officers as a dedicated group of individuals committed to “protect and serve.”  Back then, the police strongly held the public trust.

Today, we see a largely militarized police force.  Their reaction to riots such as the one that occurred at the WHO conference in Seattle, and the aftermath of the grand jury verdict in Ferguson, MO and individual criminal acts like the rape in Oklahoma City and beatings of citizens across the country have beleaguered the police as an institution and as a result, many citizens view them with suspicion and distrust.

In 2002, the US Department of Justice published a survey of 80,000 Americans involved in police directed traffic stops. They found that:

  • In general, 9% of White, 9% of Black and 9% of Latino drivers were stopped
  • Black and Latino drivers were less likely to be issued a simple traffic warming from police and …
  • Black and Latino drivers were more likely to be handcuffed and arrested.

Although in many cases the charges were dismissed, the “record of arrest” is NEVER erased, and therefore follows the individual to his death.

  • Even though the charges may be dismissed, how does one “dismiss” the experience of public humiliation and the traumatic memories that may result?

When it comes to the safety of their children from being stopped, arrested and shot by the police, many of today’s African American parents live in fear.

Below is such a story…..

——————————————————————————————————

Dear Visible Man,

I am the mother of two African-American sons, ages 16 and 12.  I am a faith-based person who has strong belief in my God, whom I accept as my savior.

In January 2015, my 12-year old son became upset after hearing about a story where an elderly black man was thrown against a police car and handcuffed by a white female officer here in Seattle.

The officer alleged that the elderly man had threatened her, but upon further investigation by the Seattle Police Department, it turns out that the police officer had falsified her actions and that the elderly man was innocent.

I am very much concerned with how these stories are impacting my son psychologically.  Between this incident and the events in Ferguson, he is very fearful of the police.

He’s had nightmares of being shot by the police and being left out in the street uncovered.  Now he has recurring dreams of being beaten by the police as he is walking along the street.  Once, he woke up screaming hysterically and would not allow me to leave his side.

He said that in the dreams, I was crying over him.  He is now very hesitant to leave without me.  I have difficulty getting him to go to school.  At night he sweats profusely and has on several occasions, wet the bed.

When we are in the car and he sees the police he becomes anxious, shakes, and slumps so he can’t be seen.  My older son laughs at him, and calls him names, saying that he is weak.  My older son says he isn’t afraid and nothing going to happen to him.

As they get older, they are becoming more involved in activities outside of my home.  I’m not able to be with them all the time, but I still want to protect them.  They are all good boys, but I worry most about my oldest, who can be mouthy when interacting with those in authority. Both of them are very tall for their ages and consequently can be mistaken for being young men instead of little boys.

I have spoken to our pastor, and he has prayed with me.  I have prayed over my sons, placing holy oil on their foreheads, asking God to keep them safe.  I just don’t believe this is enough to protect them. I live in fear that I could lose my children if the police should stop them.

I am scared.  I have one defiant son and the other one is frightened to the point of being paranoid.  Should I limit the information my 12-year is observing when it comes to media and the police?  What do I tell my sons? How do I protect my sons?

Running Scared, Renton, WA

——————————————————————————————————-

My Dear Madam,

I want to thank you for taking the time to openly share your concerns regarding the welfare and safety of your children.  The concerns you have expressed are no doubt shared by countless parents throughout the country.

Indeed, numerous pastors of churches and leaders of faith-based organizations are speaking to their congregations and memberships about these issues. The question at the heart of these discussions is simple: what do we tell our sons?

Let’s begin by clarifying your concerns regarding your sons:

  • The 16 year old is “mouthy” to adult authority. In addition, given the resulting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson he appears not be take the matter of safety seriously as it relates to interacting with the police.  Furthermore, he has made demeaning and unsupportive comments regarding the actions of his younger sibling.

RESPONSE:

Given his age and level of maturity, he is within the middle phase of the developmental stage of adolescent behavior.  Individuals within this phase tend to have the attitude of “living life large” without the concern or personal safety.

Children in this stage of development often have the perception that bad things happen to others and therefore minimize the impact of reality upon themselves. As a result, he has a carefree air and acts with bravado when he envisions his own interactions with police officers.

This combination of immaturity, the nature of the developmental phase and poor conceptualization of fear can be lethal. As an African-American male, this attitude can place your son at risk when he comes in contact with police officers.

  • The 12-year-old has been very focused on the news media regarding the shooting of Michael Brown and now, the recent abusive treatment of the elderly male in Seattle. This has resulted in having an intense fear of the police. He has nightmares, anxious feelings and on occasion, bedwetting.   He is reluctant to attend school and has increased anxiety when he is away from his parent.

RESPONSE

Given his age and level of maturity, he appears to be within the early phase of adolescence.  In repeatedly viewing this media coverage, your son has been over stimulated and negatively impacted, thus culminating in the responses of nightmares, anxious feelings and bedwetting.

Let’s clarify your concern as a parent:

  • As the parent you are “running scare” You are fearful that the police will mistaken your sons for being older than their actual age. As your sons are getting older, they are being involved in more activities where you cannot control their actions or whereabouts.  Your faith has seen you through difficult times, but you are not sure that it will see you through this one.

RESPONSE

It is perceivable that the ongoing media coverage as well as talk within your faith based community has resulted in your own vicarious traumatization. You really are “living in fear.”   Living in this fear has resulted in your own psychological disempowerment.

What do I tell my sons? How do I protect my sons? 

First, I would like to clarify a point of concern. Fear is a normal human emotional response to a given situation We must want to normalize the concept of fear, rather than demonize those who are wise and honest enough to acknowledge what is a very natural and human emotion that is exhibited with in all of us, regardless of gender.  Simply put, fear as an emotion can be utilized to heighten our vigilance in a specific situation.

Second, it is my hope that in reading my response to your concerns that you will be able to transform from living in fear (running scared) to living with fear (achieving empowerment).

Third, you can normalize fear and begin the movement towards living with fear by equipping your sons with training on how to respond when interacting with police officers.  Having such information will serve to empower them as individuals and help them work to be with their fear instead of in their fear.

As your sons are getting older and getting involved in activities outside the home, there is the possibility that they may be a driver or passenger in a vehicle.  In the event of being followed by a police vehicle be aware: the officer may be:

  • Running your license plates for possible warrants and infractions
  • Observing the vehicle for malfunctions and defects
  • Observing for suspicious behaviors
  • Preparing for a possible stop and search of your personal space including your body and personal possessions

As your sons may be involved in community activities and find themselves being observed by a police officer be aware that the officer may be:

  • Questioning whether they are “out of place” or not
  • Scanning them for suspicious behavior
  • Preparing for a possible stop and search of your personal space including your body and personal possessions

Teach your sons that the police are prepared to use deadly force (as in the incident of Michael Brown) or unnecessary physical force (should he or she feel physically threatened (as in the incident of the elderly male in Seattle)

  • Understand that it is the officer’s perception of whether he or she is being physically threatened that counts the most.

Teach your sons that they are not helpless; they can be empowered by following these actions:

  • Use their powers of observations and inform the police officer of their legal status as minors/juveniles
  • Request that their parent or legal guardian be available prior to answering any questions
  • Inform the officer of their intent to remain silent until they have legal representation-and then STOP TALKING
  • Document the incident and any concerns regarding the behaviors in question
    • Date, Time & Location
    • License Plate / Vehicle Number
    • Officer’s Badge Number
    • Legal Organization (City, County, State Patrol)
  • If needed, file a written complaint with:
    • The law enforcement agency’s Internal Affairs Department
    • The Mayor’s Office or County Executive
    • A City Council or County Council Member
    • A State legislator for your district
    • The Governor’s Office

Concluding Words

I recommend that you pursue mental health treatment for your 12-year-old son.  The symptoms that you have indicated—nightmares, anxiety, bedwetting, fear of being without their parent and school avoidance warrant further evaluation by a trained child or adolescent mental health professional.

I would also recommend that you identify an individual who has competency working with ethnic minorities as well as advance training in the field of trauma for your son’s treatment.  I would also encourage open discussion with your son regarding media coverage of police misconduct and abuse.  I would be hesitant to restrict such information, as these are the realities of what can occur when an African-American male interacts with members of law enforcement.

I also recommend that you engage in a serious discussion with your 16-year-old son.  During earlier times, when your 16-year-old was in elementary school, police officers may visited the kids in the classrooms, knew the kids in the neighborhood and may have resided within the community he served.

However, times have changed; it is often the situation that police officers may live in a different community or city, far away from the one the police officer patrols and serves. The consequences of this distance and separation lends to greater fear and tension that the officer may have towards the community he or she is entrusted to “protect and serve.

Our children in general have the responsibility to “protect and empower” themselves.  Specifically, our young people can choose to be dismissive of what is occurring around them in the world of today or they can choose to “Love the Self” by taking steps and adopting specific protocols directed for their protection.

The realities for young black males are sad, bleak and yet true.  Across the United States, members of law enforcement, private security officers or vigilantes kill a black male every 28 hours.

Until change can be effected, the following is evident that one’s protection may be dependent upon one’s complexion. Through no fault of their own, African-American males and other males of color are viewed with suspicion, and even though they are entitled to the conflicting emotions they have about this, they must still abide by the rule of law and respect those who are sworn to enforce the laws of their community.

However, there is a distinct distance between “respect” and “trust” that our children must be taught.  Specifically, respect is a “given” whereas “trust” must be earned.

Give the police officer your respect.  Protect yourself.  Empower yourself.  Have the police officer earn your trust.  Then trust with caution and consistently verify.

To be successful with school and workplace politics: decide after careful consideration who to trust. Then trust with caution and consistently verify.”

-Ten Flashes of Light for the Journey of Life

The Visible Man

Bobbi’s Saga: Letting The Sunlight In

CAUTION: TRIGGER WARNING. Contains descriptions of sexual and physical abuse. Please read at your own discretion.

 “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, one word or one act.  We will focus on transforming our reactions into responses.  Our reactions can be immediate and may place us in danger or at risk; where a response can be a plan that empowers us through the calm, calculated collections of our thoughts and actions.”

 -Dr. Micheal Kane,

Guideposts for Success on the Therapeutic Journey

My Dear Readers,

In our society, a hero is often defined as a person who displays courage and the will to sacrifice themselves for others in the face of danger and adversity.  These heroes are people of distinguished courage or ability, admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities. I believe that this describes Bobbi beautifully.

In her writings, Bobbi offers hope to those who, like her, have been abused and traumatized in horrendous ways.   She has demonstrated the ability to let go of simply being a “survivor of sexual abuse” to becoming a “striver in her life.”  Bobbi has come to session after painful session with the distinct purpose of reclaiming what was wrongfully taken from her: her empowerment. There were times in our sessions where I, as her guide and companion, felt that we had delved enough into her pain and suggested a respite, but Bobbi, undaunted, chose to struggle on.

Bobbi has never quit her journey. She continues to walk the journey of self-discovery, opening her old wounds so her healing can truly begin.   To celebrate Bobbi’s journey, we will explore her feelings regarding reclaiming her life following four years of intense individual psychotherapy. 

Journal Entry 1.29.14 

I had a session with Dr. Kane today.  It was a review of my four years of therapy, and we talked about many things.  We discussed my first visit, and my initial expectation that the pain would go away once I disclosed it to him. I remember asking him each visit when the pain would go away for almost a year and a half.

I remember being finally able to accept his assertion that there will always be a certain level of pain in my life.  I understood that in doing the therapy, the pain would get lighter.  We discussed the differences between being suicidal and not being able to see past the next few moments.  We discussed the fact that I was no longer suicidal and could finally see a future for myself and my family.  I could have a future without pain, shame, guilt and agony.  A future that feels good and I know will get lighter.

The tears still come when I think about the sadness of my abuse.  I felt sad today during the session when talking about my abuse.  When I left the session I could feel the tears, I did not want them to flow.  I did not want to start crying because I wasn’t sure I could stop.

It has now been an hour since my session ended, and the sadness has passed.  I can now see joy, peace, love and the harmony that I have longed for.  I like how I feel now.  I laugh and smile with ease.  We discussed many good things, such as letting go of shame and guilt.  I disclosed secrets in therapy I thought I would never be able to disclose to anyone.  Dr. Kane said that the work was not his rather it was mine.  I disagree with him.  Without Dr. Kane’s insight into trauma, my recovery wouldn’t have been possible.  Dr. Kane also said another therapist could have worked with me.  I certainly don’t believe that.  Dr. Kane was able to help me see the abuse that I endured in a different way, was available to me when I was depressed and suicidal, regardless of the time or day, was honest about the pain never going away, and provided a safe environment for me to describe in detail what happened to me.

The way I see myself has drastically changed with therapy.  I now love myself.  I no longer see myself as a weak, bad, shameful and guilty person.  I am no longer that person who is not worthy of love.  Even though I no longer see myself in all the bad ways, I still do not see myself as a positive influence for others.  I do not see myself as a hero or even the possibility that I could be one.

I recently read Dr. Kane’s last blog entry, The Emotional Pain in Reclaiming One’s Body and Honoring the Therapeutic Work.  This entry used a journal entry where I talked about holding on to the role I felt I had played in my abuse, and the resulting shame I felt because of my body’s involuntary reaction to my abuser.  This was my most shameful secret; a secret that I have now been able to let go. Today, there are no more buried secrets.

After my session today, I had flashbacks to the time where my abuser was grooming me for what he planned to do to me.  I remember how he told me he was going to pee on me.  He told me I was going to grow up and how my body would change.  He talked about how he liked big breasts and told me to keep rubbing so they could become bigger. It was like I was that child again.  I could feel the fear, pain, and terror.  I was questioning if this was right or wrong.  I felt confused about the strange physical feelings I was having when I rubbed my breasts the way my abuser told me to. There was one thing I was not confused about: I knew I was a bad person. He said my mother knew about what we were doing; she just didn’t want to talk about it.  I felt shame, terror, and pain, guilt; feelings that I couldn’t handle at 8 or 9 years old. I didn’t understand depression, either; I just knew after what happened that I wanted to die.

I wonder who reads Dr. Kane’s blogs.  Is it his professional colleagues?  Is it patients? But, then again, why should I be concerned about the blog?  No one knows who Bobbi is.  I will never be questioned about her.  Now that I have no more secrets, I am free.  It is like this huge weight has been lifted off me.  The freedom feels so good.  I am feeling good about my progress in therapy and the disclosures I have made in therapy.

I want these blogs, my words and thoughts to help someone.  No one should have to endure the level of pain and agony I have endured.

 

Concluding Words-Dr. Kane 

When we first started our review of the last four years, Bobbi chuckled about her initial perception of therapy and her intent for the pain to go away.  She believed that all she had to do was tell the therapist her story of abuse and then the pain, the memories and wounds would simply go away.

Bobbi’s attempt to make the pain stop was, in reality, her desire to control and eventually end the memories and the pain they brought with them. It took many months for Bobbi to accept the following:

  • That the pain would never go away. Rather than seek the end of the pain, the goal should be to accept its permanence and focus on making the weight and the intensity of the traumatic experience lighter.
  • In accepting the traumatic memory, we honor the ability of the psychological self to survive and we focus our energies towards thriving in life’s journey.
  • To transform the goal of controlling and ending pain to one of advocacy, balance and calmness for her psychological self.

In Bobbi’s journey, we see the impact of both confirming and contradicting voices; one that lauds her success in achieving her therapeutic goals; the other that simply attributes the accomplishments to the therapist instead of to herself.  Bobbi’s words show that she still has work to do in order to see the ownership of her emotional and psychological recovery as evidence of her now-empowered self, and that the therapist is simply a helper and facilitator in that process.

Although Bobbi has accomplished much in therapy, there may or will be issues associated with her abuse that will remain present.  One such issue is shame.  Before she started therapy, Bobbi steadfastly assumed responsibility for her abuse and maintained her internal shame for the sensations she felt—which were automatic and involuntary physical reactions.  It was that shame and guilt that made her believe that she’d brought the sexual abuse on herself, and thus, that she was a bad person and could never be a good one.

In therapy, Bobbi has taken the first step of accepting that she is not responsible for what happened to her, but she continues to struggle with viewing herself as a good person, let alone as a hero for the progress she has made. She is working to normalize the memories she still has instead of rejecting them, and is now striving to achieve the life she seeks.  She understands that the freedom she has earned is the result of the work she has done, and that it will be an ongoing process.

Bobbi reads all of the entries that are posted in the Bobbi’s Saga section of the Loving Me More website.  Bobbi holds full editorial control, meaning that she can terminate the series at any point.  She faces questions from her family and friends every time we publish an entry, but she has steadfastly insisted that it continue, since she believes that the series may help others.

This is the last episode of Bobbi’s Saga for 2015.  Bobbi and I will be taking a well-deserved hiatus from writing as we both look to continue our individual journeys of self-discovery.  Bobbi’s Saga will return on the first Monday in February 2016 (2.1.2016.)

On behalf of the staff of Loving Me More, Bobbi and myself, we thank you for the support that you, our dear readers, have given us.  We wish you all the very best during the holiday season and the coming year.

Until the next episode of Bobbi’s Saga…the journey continues.

“The path unexplored is the journey denied.”

                                       Dr. Micheal Kane