Monday, April 11

Book Club - Let's Read and Talk About "Invisible Girls" Post By Nicki

Invisible girls has touched us all, but now we have a chance for a virtual book club with girls from all over the globe to share our thoughts and feelings- issue by issue, choosing topics and chapters and dr.P  will be right there with us. This week we'll start discussing Chapter 4… "Finding Your Truth: Facing The Emotional Aftershocks and the Beginning of Healing".  My view of life is that as a survivor I can now determine how I live my life! No matter how hard my day is I always try to remind myself that I'm a survivor and so I can take on anything! Turning my famine into fortune means that I am now calling on the strength that helped me survive to help me heal! How do you turn your famine into fortune? 


Cayleigh said...

I write poetry and sometimes stories. I find that writing is like therapy. It is my way of letting my emotions out and easier to deal. Nicki is completely right. As a survivor, we now determine how we live our life. No one else controls us other than us. We will all heal...I know I am on my way.

Dr Patti said...

Yes there are emotional aftershocks but when you are in control of something the emotions do not control you. so writing the poetry for cayleigh works, i know that irish step dancing works for another one of our gals.... what are other ways you take control of your emotions? did this chapter resonate?

Keesha said...

I have not had a chance to read the book yet. It has not arrived in the mail but I am very excited to read it. I wanted to come onto the blog and see what others were saying though. I used to write a lot of poetry and journal in high school but I just kind of stopped after that. I am not really sure why. I started painting for awhile but then I stopped that too. I suppose I dont think I have the time anymore. I work a full time job I have a 5 month old son, but deep down I know these are excuses. I know I really need to read the book. After 9 years I NEED TO HEAL. I need to live MY life and stop letting him control me.

Anonymous said...

I take control of my emotions in two ways: First, I give myself permission to feel my emotions for a limited amount of time. I vent to a friend, listen to a song that helps me cry, etc. Second, I try to do an "opposite action" (DBT term). Instead of feeling sad, fearful or anxious, for example, I go out with friends, treat myself to a nice cup of tea or coffee, work on homework use distractions. These are all helpful coping skills for me.

Nicky said...

I did a breakdown of how i deal by using the topics in the book: I learned that telling my truth certainly causes backlash but its so important so that others don't forget that many of us suffer and it needs to stop!
After I told that my father was abusing me for became impossible for me to pretend i wasn't hurt and so i tried writing and it helped so i have been doing that since. I've always found it easier to write my thoughts vs speaking them...somehow my fingers produce my thoughts in ways more powerful than my mouth could but after i am done i always read them aloud because that reminds me that i do have a voice and i should use it.
when i told my stepmother about the abuse she made my father leave the house but it was impossible for me to remain in the house and so a few months later i had to was impossible for me to find piece by having to sleep and the same room and worst of all they wanted me to pretend as though it wasn't because he raped me why the entire family fell apart, happily my mind wouldn't allow me to grieve in silence anymore.
Triggers for me come in so many shapes and sizes especially around the time of year when i told;Dr. Patti calls them anniversary triggers..but she has helped me work through them by helping me to focus in on the good things that do exist in my life now and by using the same traits i used to survive the abuse to thrive now..for example-i used to dissociate when my father raped me so now I've learned to translate that into meditation and i go to a happy place.
I used to feel fearful alot but now i am able to remind myself that i did stand up to my abuser and he can no longer hurt me..
the Guilt and Shame i felt at times were made worst by my stepmother and my brothers, this is because my stepmother didnt want my younger brothers to know what truly happened and they kept asking why their father couldn't come home and why we were no longer a family. Of course this made me feel even more like an outsider. Since i have left and i am now with a grandfather who is absolutely amazing i am so much happier because i dont have to deal with the constant comments or hints. I've also come to accept that I didn't ask for him to cut me off for my mother and my siblings and force me to live with him and his wife and kids in isolation...i never asked for everyone to turn a blind eye and when it came time i stood up to him and i'm still standing. I can turn my famine into fortune by slowly but surely learning to love myself and all that i am. I can get through any day that comes my way because i've had worst.

Anonymous said...

To take care of my emotions I sometimes read a favorite book, get comfortable, take my puppy for a walk, and talk to my best friend. These things help me feel alive inside and keep me happy when things are hard. After 7 years I am finally talking the abuse and it is a big relief to me. I was abused for 5 years and when I told my mother she treated it as if it wasn't a big deal, she had been abused too. I spent years believing that it was my fault and that it wasn't a big deal and I shouldn't be upset. For the past months I had been angry and I wanted to get help because I was so depressed all the time and nobody understood me. I wanted a way to feel better. I got on my internet while I was alone and found websites with people going through the same thing as me...I was very confused because the pages said that you should tell someone trusted and that helped towards healing. I had been told by my mother for years if I wanted to tell someone I could tell my husband when I got married. Right now I'm 17, and I felt like I couldn't keep it inside of me any longer. About a month after finding books and survivors stories I finally told my best friend in the middle of a sleepover, she was so shocked she just started crying. That's when I really realized it wasn't my fault and that I wasn't the one to blame for the abuse. I've now told 3 people, one of them told me that it was sad but not a big deal. We aren't friends anymore. Most days are hard and I feel like there isn't any way to get out of my depression but I find that I have support now and I can get out of it. I want to live my life my way. I am not going to be silenced by anyone anymore. I want to be a survivor and not a victim.

Dr Patti said...

Well Anonomous I think the other girls can tell you that sometimes it feels as if you can not tell anyone but then other times when you do tell a dear friend and she understands it feels as if a part of the world you have been carrying on your shoulders has just been lifted. You are telling us here, and there are other girls here around your age and some that have told for longer and they will help you.... I am making sure you have a copy of "Invisible Girls"?? On page 57 I say


The fact that your mother said it was not a big deal - and that she was abused too... Oye Vey! And that when you are married you will tell your husband... Oye Vey again! You need to be comfortable telling way before you are married. Honey, you are 17 now. By the time you are married you will be so beyond your abuse- of course you will let your husband know, but you will have let him know way before you were married, to make sure he is a supportive loving man. !! For example girls now have boyfriends that they may or may not marry, but the good ones stick by their girls when they tell them about abuse... You wrote quite a blog, I am sure there are others to respond xoxo dr. p

Kathi said...

I can SO relate to "anonymous"...when I told my mom and step dad that my dad had been molesting me for years, the only thing my mom said to me at the time was that lots of girls go thru similar situations and that even she had a bad past experience. That was NOTHING compared to what I had been going thru nor what I would continue to go thru for a few more years! But nobody bothered to ask any questions. My mom had a lot of health problems and she also went thru some horrific physical abuse by my dad, which is why they divorced. I somehow had it in my head that my mom just wasn't able to help me. So I never told again until I was married and had kids and my life was so out of control because I had never dealt with anything before. You're doing a great job "anonymous" by not keeping silent. You are a survivor!
Taking control of my emotions is probably one of my biggest struggles. I have a hard time letting myself get to an emotional point. I am a "verbal processor" but when it comes to the abuse I usually bottle it all up for lack of having someone to hear me out. People just don't want to hear about sexual abuse. If I could just go to the beach and cry it out for a few hours, that would be my first pick!

Dr Patti said...

Hi Kathi,
I love that you have found at least a way to release your pain! The beach is such a wonderful place to let it all out- into the air, into the sea. Your mother's reaction to your telling is just awful- I am so sorry... Today is mothers day and I want to wish you a wonderful mothers day! you have learned from your mother what not to do! xxx dr. p

Danielle said...

I just wanted to let you know that I found Invisible Girls at my library, and reading it has been eye opening for me. Even after 2 1/2 years of therapy, I'm still discovering new feelings from reading the book. Garnet's story is so similar to mine, it's scary. It was difficult but helpful to read. I find myself reading 10-20 pages at a time, and then feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, as though I've been awake for 24 hours straight. I don't think it's a bad thing, though. It feels like I'm making progress. I can't remember if I read it on your facebook page or someone else's, but I remember reading that healing from sexual abuse is like being on a spiral slide; you go through the same motions over and over, but you're always in a different place, and with new understanding, as you go through the turns. That's what this book feels like for me. Thank you so much.

Rei Akira said...

I am so new to this. I don't know how to tell my story, to explain it so normal people will understand. I want people to sympathize, but most importantly I want them to help me learn how to forgive my father and embrace him with a heart full of love.

I've never considered what happened to be abuse, or molestation, or incest. Then a few days ago I *finally* had sex, and even though it was pretty awesome the emotional backlash has been huge. All these memories, these feelings from back in high school, the fear, the dark and the waiting...its like it all got imprinted on my mind but I managed to distance myself from it so perfectly I forgot it really happened.

Now I'm reading your book, Dr. P., and even though the stories don't really apply, some of your words on guilt, shame, and healing were so painful it was like being stabbed in the heart incessantly. I still hurt, and it feels like I've run a marathon despite only managing to get through a few pages. It's exhausting. But also strangely exhilarating - like being freed. Frightening yet invigorating.

I've also realized within the past few days that I haven't found very many ways to move on, because I've never faced it. But there are times when I feel so happy, so content, I think nothing in the world could ever upset me. So I'll share those, because hearing about how others feel good always gives me ideas on how to heal as well. Hopefully mine make people smile and nod, or think to try something new.

Being the good friends, or with a group of like-minded, peaceful people for some quality meditation, gives me immense joy.

Reading about other people surviving and thriving under some awful condition makes me feel connected to others and empowered.

Working with things that are soft or beautiful - doing someone's hair, knitting, folding laundry - all make me feel so relaxed and peaceful. As does anything involved with nature. Just climbing a tree in a semi-quiet part of the neighborhood can give me a peace not unlike a deep meditation.

Kissing a nice boy who wants to do nothing more than snuggle, tell me stories, and make me laugh - that makes me feel safe and content.

Live music, weed, and alcohol in the right company (and in moderation, naturally) give me the pleasure of being with a large group of people in which social conversation is either hilarious or passionate, but never dull, and everyone is having a good time.

And writing is my outlet, whereby I can organize my thoughts, spin tales, and swim into the depths of my soul without losing myself in emotions too strong to control.

Thanks for the bath idea - I haven't taken one in years! And I go roller skating sometimes, but some kind of low-partner dancing (like Irish Step?) also sounds like a wonderful outlet! As for the "opposite reaction" idea - I think I'll try that one right now. It sounds like the most perfect way to not lose myself in a sneaky hate spiral.

Thanks for being here, to everyone on this blog. My heart is overflowing, and I'm more grateful than I have words to convey.

Dr Patti said...

wow rei, for someone who is 'new to this' you have done a wonderful job expressing yourself. i can understand the feeling of deep pain and deep joy with release just because you are reading words of other girls who have been through the abuse and come out the other side. girls who have felt the shame and guilt as you have- i love the things you are doing to fullfil yourself- i am going to post some on our facebook page. in the mean time, i hope you contact nicki and become a girlthrive member!

Kirssl03 said...

I just recently opened up about being sexual abused in April. It was hard to do. I was sexually abused by my basketball coach...he was also a mentor to me. Sexual abuse is very confusing. I often have thoughts about weather I wanted it to happen or not. Its hurtful to think that there is even a possibility that I wanted it to happen. I feel like there is no one that has the same situation as me and that no one can relate to me.
....Feeling alone

Erika said...

Dear Kirss103,
First, opening up is a scary thing and took a lot of courage to do it, so be proud of your self!

There are many girls out there who can relate, and you did the first step you told. You reached out here, and thats where you can find support!!! Right here, being a part of girlthrive.

Coaches are people you look up to and respect and it is a very difficult thing when the lines are fuzzy. BUt you looking up to him does not give him any reason or right to touch you. And I can tell you that you were surly confused over his actions towards you and didn't know what to do. Any kid enjoys the attention of a mentor, but you certainly did not want him to touch you. So please don't think of it that way. he took advantage of the role he played in your life.

You are not alone. Reach out whenever you need a shoulder.

Kirssl03 said...

Dear Erika,
Thank you so much for your response. It really means a lot to me to hear from a peer.
You are right, by looking up to him did not give him the right to do the things he did to me. He knew better. I was 14 and he was 39. There is a big age difference there. The lines do become fuzzy when you are involved with someone like that. Its hard not to blame myself even though everyone tells me not to. I am in that process right now of trying to change my perspective and outlook on the overall situation. In time, I hope I do turn my feelings around about it. But blaming is one of the hardest things to not do.
Thanks again,

Rei Akira said...

Dear Kirss103,

It's hard to face your past. Even though I don't know you and will never meet you, I still feel so proud of you! It takes unbelievable strength both to survive the abuse and to overcome the emotional damage that comes with it, as everyone on this site doubtless knows. And this is certainly one of the many places to come to feel less lonely. I'm glad you've found an outlet and a support group (even just one online) to come to for advice.

One thing you said caught my attention, and I want to offer my opinion on top of Erika's. I was in a similar situation with an adult I looked up to and respected, and have literally made myself sick wondering if I'd actually wanted the attentions. The blame is so hard to get away from. It's made more difficult because children and young adults DO want attention from those they admire. (Just think about pop culture.) And once your coach crossed that line with you, it kind of blurred reality. You wanted his attention and approval, because he was your coach. But not the kind of attention he gave. THAT was wrong. If you HAD truly wanted sexual attention, you wouldn't feel so conflicted now. You'd feel accomplished and successful, and would carry that feeling with you for the rest of your life. Instead you feel broken and damaged, because he took advantage of your natural desire for approval. He betrayed the trust you unquestioningly gave.

And I've noticed that the blame is slightly easier to deal with when you accept the fact that you're trying to blame yourself. Simultaneously, understand that this is a normal emotional reaction, and that it in no way means you really were responsible. It is his fault, and one day these emotions will stop being so intense (dear god, I hope so!) and you will naturally stop blaming yourself. But embracing that you feel these things, rather than wrestling with the emotions, can make them easier to overcome/deal with in the long run.

I hope anything I've said touched something in you. I haven't had any professional help, these are just words and techniques I've discovered help me some. Anything to keep moving forward, right? :)

Good luck, and keep trying to heal!

Angel said...

is the book club still on? haven't really kept up with the internet a lots been going on but I'm swimming through it.

I bought a digital version for my kindle and can enlarge the text and keep up with the readings :)

Tasha said...

Is it worth it to pursue prosecuting him? I have thought that it would bring me "fortune" but I'm not sure. What if it brings me a longer famine? I can't stand that he has access to my nieces and nephews and who knows what he's already done. But will my reopening the case against him really do anything? Except retraumatize me?

Rayette said...

I would just like to say that my healing journey is far from over. I told my mom that my dad had sold me for drugs, and she didn't believe me. so I've stopped talking to her. I have a hard time showing my emotions. I write my feeling better than speaking them. I hope this helps. What my father did was very wrong, and there's nothing I can do to change that.

Dr Patti said...

Rayette, as much as you may not feel this.... just the fact that you stopped talking with your mother shows that you are refusing to be treated as a piece of garbage. You are not talking to your mother because you know that she does not respect you. You do need to cut out anyone in your life who does not respect you- I understand that your healing journey has just developed some wings but you are farther than you think! xxx dr. p

katie said...

i was sexally assalted by my brother in law who is a cop it stared when i was 6 and went till i was 12 im now 13 and i finally couldnt take it anymore and told about a year ago it was really hard to deal with and still is i had had a boyfriend for 3 years straight he was amazing and so sweet but i ended up breacking up with a month ago and the hardest part was he said he understud but i just couldnt belive him sometimes it feels like no one can

Dr Patti said...

Katie, I am so sorry that a cop has been your abuser. This is not the first time I have heard this and I am sure unfortunately it won't be the last. You are very very young and you are healing and the abuse has stopped. Please please find your support system. I am also sorry that you can not believe your boyfriend. I understand and I am sure that the many girls on this site understand. I am hoping you have read "Invisible Girls". If not please let me send you a copy, and stay in touch with us on our blog. love xxx dr. p

katie said...

i have a copy but i havent read it yet and i dont know if i will i guess im not ready to move on and i kinda blsme myself and thats probly why it took so long to tell and for a while i guess i really didnt know what he was doing and i hate to think it mighta been something i did but idk and i sometimes i just wonder.........

Dr Patti said...

well Katie, I hope by now you are feeling ready to try to stop blaming yourself. It is not your fault. I know you know that it is not the fault of the other girls you are talking to here, and reading about here. So we are here to tell you it is not your fault either! You can read slowly and put the book down when you feel like it, there is not right or wrong in the way you heal. Just heal! We are rooting for you! xx dr. p

Katie said...

Thanks <3 I think I have started to relies that it's not my fault and he deserved to be punished as time went by we learned he was beating my sister and assaulting her daughter who was 4 at the time when I first learned of it I felt overwhelmed and didn't really know what to do I decide to pretend it never happened and ignor it then 3 weeks before the trial one of my friends was assaulted I was talking to her that's when I reliesed that I couldn't change what had happened and no matter what I did it had changed me I was stronger and a diffract person the best news thou is the day before the trial he plead guilty for 10 years with a chance of parol :)

About "Invisible Girls"

United States
"Invisible Girls" tells the truth about sexual abuse as no other book has! Rather than me telling you how the book is touching girls around the world, I will tell you what they are saying! Now in 2009 we have our new and revised edition of "Invisible Girls" - we have added 100 pages, a chapter about prostituion as sex abuse, a chapter filled with emails recieved over the past 5 years- Please check out our 2nd edition! xo dr. p "Invisible Girls has saved my life. I was afraid that I was the only girl keeping these secrets, and when I read "Invisible Girls" I starting telling about my abuse, and suddenly I knew I could be alright"- Sue 18 years old "Invisible Girls" is short of a miracle- I read it whenever I feel alone. It helps me to deal and grow and go on."- Tamar 17 years old "Until I read "Invisible Girls" I was afraid to tell what happened to me. Now my mum is supportive and I know I can heal" Britney 14 years old