By no means, am I claiming to be an expert on suicide or suicide prevention. I can only share from my own personal, direct experience, and maybe that experience will help someone else.
There is always so much that could be said in regards to suicide because, as with all issues, every person has their own reasons, own experiences, own perspective, and own way of handling life’s challenges even among the glaring similarities. That’s why if you are considering suicide, or know someone who is at risk, get help. If it’s an emergency call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
While PTSD is not the only cause of suicide, twenty-two veterans die each day at their own hand. Not only is it already a leading cause, but add into that PTSD caused by other trauma, and you start to notice an even more distinct pattern.
Statistics show approximately 40,000 suicide deaths in the U.S.A. annually, and somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 attempts. SAVE.org states: For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
Prevention, likes all paths to a solution, always comes back to education and awareness, and conscious awareness is the best kind there is.
There is a difference between simple awareness and conscious awareness and it would benefit ALL of US on a much greater scale, if we would get to know that. The thing about conscious awareness is that for some it’s a difficult choice. For me that is why the metaphor of choosing the red pill or the blue, from the movie The Matrix is always so profound.
Many of you already know that I believe (even though I place caution around unconscious belief) the biggest cause of problems in this world comes from some form of abuse, and denial of abuse, as one type of abuse often leads to another, sometimes unnoticed. Face it, doesn’t awareness begin with observation and noticing? This is a big theme in my book, Why Bother? Because Self-Help is Never Stupid.
Survivors, and those in recovery, know the pain and torment that silence on the part of all parties involved has caused. On the other hand silence can be a survival tactic. While breaking silence around so many issues is of critical importance to create awareness, there may be occasion to stop judging silence, particularly your own.
September being suicide prevention month leaves me wondering, if I had spoken up sooner about my sexual abuse, and been dismissed as a kid, the way that I was dismissed as a 30 something adult, and still dismissed at 50 something, would I be alive today?
Sexual abuse started for me, at age 12, and while I put a stop to it around 17, there were additional advances made until I was 20. Having personally experienced multiple types of abuse, repeated sexual abuse has been the most traumatic, the most negatively impactful, and the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to experience in my life. I say that acknowledging that others have had it worse. NO ONE should ever have to go through this.
Sexual abuse is considered immoral, unethical, and criminal for good reason. For the survivor, it’s just not something you ever forget, no matter how far behind you, you put it, or how conscious you become.
Conscious awareness is vitally important to healing, even though the process of awakening can be difficult, it’s not nearly as traumatic as the trauma you experienced in the first place. Practicing and playing in the arena of conscious awareness makes you stronger.
Unconscious people will in one breath claim to be aware of the impacts of trauma, then in the next say something that causes a trigger for those who will never have the trauma erased from their lives. It’s taken me a long time to admit that I attempted suicide, considered it multiple times, and can pinpoint several times when I unconsciously almost killed myself with self-destructive behavior. The first time, I was 14 not knowing that the handful of prescription sleeping pills weren’t strong enough to end my life.
Granted, I ALONE am responsible for the choices I made, no matter what age I was. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t influenced by being a somewhat isolated kid, who was seeking approval, acceptance and love from her much older siblings, and had compounded feelings because of having emotionally unavailable parents. That does not blame them for my poor choices. These are simply the factors that influenced my poor choices when one adult sister handed me a pipe at 12, and another allowed me to the opportunity to use that rolled up bill at 13.
While this might not seem unusual, and while many overcome this with no scars, the fact is that the drug abuse was a set up, and part of the grooming process that lead to years of sexual abuse. Abuse doesn’t stop after the events stop because now you have been programmed to accept abuse.
While some excuse the choice the men who abused me made, because they had abusive backgrounds, I can guarantee you that if I influenced or abused their children, in a similar manner, it would have been a completely different situation. One day a family member from the next generation heard comments being made about expectations placed upon me, and laughed saying “Aunt Martha is held to a different set of standards, I’ve never had to do that.” I was grateful that some finally noticed.
The story, like the denial some live in, runs much deeper than the few facts presented here, and isn’t the point. The point is that now I can see more clearly all the shame, blame, guilt, responsibility, lack of responsibility, desires, conflicting desires, big egos, wounded egos, immorality, conviction, belief, set up, grooming, and many more factors involved that created the unhealthy, unsafe, environment that caused me consider suicide. Not that long ago, my mother said, “but we gave you everything,” as if financial support is the one and only thing that is important. That in itself clued me into the financial abuse because of the constant take-away threats.
Some would say. why do you still try to engage in conversation with them? At this point, I have disengaged, but in pushing the issue as an adult, I gained clarity and closure important to healing. It allowed me to grieve not having a family that was kind, nurturing, loving, supportive, any of those things that we All desire and deserve, even if they see themselves as such. Isn’t it obvious that this world is in desperate need of these elements, and desperate need to step out of denial?
To be perfectly honest, I have a love/hate relationship with humanity and the lack of humanity. It may be a flaw that my heart is not 100% love, but at least I am honest.
In consciously observing the situation, I can see that if I hadn’t been silent about the sexual abuse back then, clearly I would not be on this planet today. I would have allowed the lack of compassion to wound me more deeply. If I have anything to be grateful for, it’s the strength I have gained from conscious awareness, and the ability to walk with integrity.
For some, who have not been able to reach this place of noticing, observation, awareness, conscious understanding, compassion, and knowing, the pain has been too great to bear. It’s sad, because with these elements, I would dare to say that some suicides would have been prevented. It becomes easy to see the prevalence of the attitude society takes against mental and emotional problems. Their ignorance is not bliss.
Like me, it may benefit you to recognize that when every single member of your immediate family, appears to defend a sex offender, it’s really not all about you, or the offender. Much of it is about them, and their inability to recognize their own invisible disability. Remember if we were controlled, manipulated, and abused, there is a good chance they were too. Abuse is a nasty, vicious karmic cycle. Their silence is their coping mechanism.
We live in a mad, pissed-off world of fear. I love the song Mad World so much that I am going to share two versions, lyrics written by Roland Orzabal. Tears For Fears – Mad World Adam Lambert – Mad World
If forgiveness is difficult towards people who don’t support you, who you thought would, remember, they have fear of repercussions they will face at the hands of those who would impose controls upon them. Fear requires coping even if the fear is invisible.
Peter Gabriel — “Don’t Give UP” – gather your strength. The thing is love, support, and compassion may come from where you least expect it. God may have a purpose for you. He/She may want you to join his/her army. I got that message at the very first workshop I attended on conscious awareness in the ‘90’s, but wasn’t ready to fully experience it. Then 10 years ago, after doing some energetic clearing, this message got stronger. This day, I decided to walk to pick up, my daughter from school. Suddenly there was an intensity of energy around me, a smile came to my face, and I started to laugh. This happens when the angels are around me, and I don’t care if anyone is watching. I kept laughing and saying “wow…wow…wow.” I was full of awe and gratitude. Not only was support there, but I was part of the team.
This team saved my life several times. Elton John – Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Many often question, how you know when it’s a divine message and when it’s your head. When you put a little time and effort into clearing the old, unconscious programs, unconscious ways of thinking, and self-defeating believes, your ego steps out of the way, and you just know.
“Sometimes you just don’t know, what you just don’t know until you know it.” ~ me
Knowing it requires a little effort, but don’t give up. Intuitively we discern between ego and the authentic.
Don’t sacrifice yourself because you feel like other people don’t understand. Remember that carbon under pressure becomes a diamond, and when it is unearthed, it can be polished and sparkle with intensity and great value.
Comments are welcome.
When we have been the victim of abuse, we are programmed to believe we are wrong. Typical words are; we asked it, we brought it on ourselves, you get what you deserve, and many more unconscious beliefs downloaded into our subconscious. Chapter 14 in my book; Why Bother? Because Self-Help is Never Stupid is titled, Dysfunction for good reason.
So how do we over-come these beliefs so that we can heal, move on with our lives, even come out of top? We do what Captain Kirk did; we change the programing. In our case, we change the engrained belief programs. Of course, first we have to gain conscious awareness of them.
The song by Nine Inch Nails – “Head Like a Hole” immediately comes to mind. If you wanted to discuss anything emotional my Dad would say, “I think you got a hole in your head.” The lyrics fit this post well. Nine Inch Nails -Head Like A Hole
In my book, Why Bother? Because Self-Help is Never Stupid, Chapter 4, I state:
“When someone has been raised in an abusive situation, they often don’t know any other way, so there is no reference to know that they are being abused. Nor do they recognize that they have been or are being subjected to more than one kind.”
Everyone has a strong desire to be part of a loving family. There is a collective societal belief that family always comes first, family the most important, family will always be there for you. Unfortunately for many survivors, family isn’t there for you, and we continually strive for acceptance that never comes. So how do we let go?
Maybe I’m a little slow, or maybe I just go really far into the depths of space and time for life lessons, but it finally occurred to me that expecting a survivor of sexual abuse, to sit at the family Sunday dinner table, where one of their abuser is still a beloved family member is like asking a veteran with PTSD to continually go back onto the battlefield.
Before running away from home in my 40’s, those Sunday family gatherings felt like going into battle with the Klingons, or the Romulans.
After I opened up, just one time, telling the family about my abuse, no one wanted to hear about it again. This is a complex issue to work through and heal from. They acted like this was normal and I should just get over it, and put it behind me. Reassurance, and support was never offered. That would have been kind and loving.
I always knew that they lived in denial, as did I until I broke the program of denial. While thought, and feeling are quite shallow, denial IS a Supermassive Black Hole — Muse. My father, rather than expressing compassion said, “If you buried it all these years, why would you bring it up now?” He was angry; how dare I shoot a photon torpedo at his superior warbird (that’s a Klingon battleship for those who don’t know). The famous words of both my parents was “keep your mouth shut and keep the peace.” To me their idea of peace is like trying to make peace with the Romulans, and dare I say… operated on warp, warped perspective that is.
Research now says that the effects of repeated, long term abuse on children, and teens, is worse than being raped once. Here is a link to an article by Allan N. Schartz, LCSW, Ph.D; The Deleterious Effects of Child Abuse.
Imagine asking a rape victim, to sit down and have a happy, cordial, loving dinner with their attacker. Imagine intentionally walking up behind a veteran with PTSD and playing a recording of bombs, and gunfire, then laughing about it. That’s how it felt for me. There was no safety zone, and was constantly on red-alert.
Regardless of what firing mechanism was used, I was told how “ridiculous” I was, and how they were just teasing me. Really? Is there any humor in sexual abuse, or any other type of abuse? The teasing was never directly related to the abuse because that was a taboo subject. It was important to lower my expectations of being validated, or encouraged to heal. Suggesting that would be nice was chided by ego. Had I been physically injured, a morsel of concern may possibly be expressed, but only after poking the origin of the pain. So it’s true, I did it to myself, I asked for it by placing myself back in the battle zone.
For way too long, I played into the idea of “you have to, because they are family.” So many times in trying to heal the dysfunction, I would hear, “you’re the one who sounds dysfunctional.” Wow. Talk about listening and responding from ego rather than from compassion.
I tried to get along with them by helping myself, knowing they were not going to support me emotionally, but was told that reading self-help books was stupid. Hence the words in the title; Self-Help is Never Stupid. Because I was constantly trying to look deeper and fix myself, I would get the PeeWee Herman, “I know you are, but what am I routine.” I never said I wasn’t dysfunctional, I was admitting that I was dysfunctional, and I wanted help, I needed help, and I was begging for help, but this wasn’t the Enterprise responding to an S.O.S. either, it was my biological family.
Even though I stuck around, and kept my mouth shut for many years about the sexual abuse, brought it up once and put it away again for another 10 years, I was accused of needing a 100% agreement to get along with them. A peace treaty with the Klingons and Romulans wasn’t going to happen.
My Mother while claiming to have read about the effects of sexual abuse, is clearly clueless, and blames me by saying “why did you go back”? Really? Go back to my sister’s homes who I loved dearly, who I thought loved me, who I thought would never endanger me. Can a pre-teen, teen brain really be expected to compute that both her sisters could possibly have married total creeps, Radiohead – “Creep” and that her family is completely dysfunctional, doesn’t know they are dysfunctional, and wouldn’t admit to it even if they did know it? Really, Mom? Why did I go back? Ignoring the fact that many of the occurrences happened in her home, under her own nose. Of course she can’t comprehend that, how can she since every time I tried to talk about it, she’d say “I can’t listen to this, I’m busy.”
To heal ourselves, we have to take that deep look into space and time, and see that the dysfunction didn’t start with us, recognize the invisible disabilities of the people we are dealing with, and move on using the conscious awareness, integrity and wisdom we have developed on our own.
To me saying “why did you go back,” is no different than asking me “why didn’t you just run away from home.” The question is not asked from a place of trying to understand, it’s asked from a place of ego, accusation, and blame; that somehow I asked for it.” Why did I go back? Like most survivors of incestuous abuse, “you just hope it will never happen again.” We have to stop blaming ourselves.
My mother says “you would never listen.” Interesting because from 13-16, I would beg to go to counseling. Her response was, “settle down, you don’t know what problems are, and you’d better pray to God that you don’t ever find out.” My father’s response was “there’s not a god damn thing wrong with you that a good crack in the ass won’t fix.” Who wasn’t listening? I listened to every single word.
Can we accept and forgive their inability to see? Yes. Do we need to continue to tow that broken ship back to space dock over and over? No.
From Chapter 4 in my book:
“Abuse is not acceptable and has no value in our world if our goal is to achieve inner and outer peace, freedom, and joy.”
We all want to be feel loved by family, but once you come to the realization that this is like the Kobayashi Maru, (the no-win scenario from Star Trek), do as Kirk did; change the program.
Did Kirk cheat? No. He refused to accept defeat. He said “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.” This is what all survivors, and anyone who is suffering must learn to do for their own comfort and safety. This is what we must learn to Transform Being Pissed-off, Numb, in Denial, or Emotional into Peace & Passion; the subtitle of my book.
Like Kirk, we have to make our own rules, change the conditions of what’s testing you, allow yourself to be an original thinker; be in command of the starship that is you.
If others see you as out of control, so what! They only see it that way because they have lost power and control over you.
It’s time to just end the insanity of all war. Stop hurting one another. I’ve laid down my arms. I’ve walked away. I’m not going to defend myself anymore against the claim that I am the one that’s hurting them. I didn’t start it but I am ending it.
For some of you it was a parent who abused you. Don’t force yourself or place yourself in a situation that triggers pain, and knocks you out of balance because of the societal belief that our parents and family love us even if they don’t know how or don’t show it. Their inability to be kind and loving is not our fault.
In Chapter 4; discussing belief about love and abuse: “Oh, they didn’t mean it.” Not meaning it doesn’t excuse it. “Abuse is not kind. Abuse is not compassionate; it’s not conscious.”
In the words of Spock, quoting part of the Prime Directive, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” It’s easy to believe you are the problem when you are one, standing against the many.
As more survivors stand up, we become the many which is the only way we can eradicate abuse and offer reassurance that we can, not only survive, but we can “boldly go, where no man has gone before.” In our case, beyond survival. One by one changing our conditions, changes the conditions for everyone and that is the only way, we survivors, will change the programmed condition of abuse.
If you like what you are reading, don’t forget to buy the book, available here on the website.
R.E.M. – “The Great Beyond” R.E,M. — “The Great Beyond”
Zoe Johnston — Alchemy – This song is about a broken romantic relationship, but the words could fit an abuse survivor’s feelings easily, so I’m including them here. Alchemy – lyrics Zoe Johnston – Alchemy
The expression, “blood is thicker than water,” has come up a lot for me in the past couple weeks. I’ve always found it disturbing, but also know our disturbances are there to show us truth. Disturbances can help us dispel with belief (break the spell of false belief).
Also, haunting me for days, was the song Red Rain – by Peter Gabriel, which became my inspiration, for this post, and to show, yet again, music heals. Once I noticed the connection of these two themes, I yelled “YES, I get it now.” Thank you, divine guidance for the inspiration.
These little disturbances that show up in our lives, offer answers if we are wiling to pay attention. We choose whether or not, and to what depth, we allow conscious awareness to take us.
A common modern (mis)interpretation of the expression, “blood is thicker than water,” is perceived as family ties being stronger than other ties. However, that interpretation is a product of choosing what you want to hear. Personally, it’s an expression that I have found to be a lie. It may not be the same for you, as I have seen blood ties that are strong, but it hasn’t been my experience, nor is it the experience of many victims/survivors of sexual abuse.
The original meanings pertained to comrades on the battlefield. The shared experience of spilling blood, created a bond as deep, or deeper than that of family ties. This meaning in quite a bit different than modern interpretation.
So how do we gain an enlightened, peaceful perspective when we feel betrayed by blood relatives, or when blood choses someone not of true blood (like a non-blood relative) over you? I’ve seen this difficult for some to deal with when there has been a lower level betrayal (like a white lie), but what about when a heinous crime was committed, yet treated with indifference?
In saying YES to awakening (taking the red pill of truth, as referenced in the movie, “The Matrix”), we see blessings where once was despair. We can get over the pain of a family that chose silence and ignorance, instead of integrity, by siding with a sex-offenders (blood or non-blood) rather than their own children or siblings. When we dig deep into truth, appreciation and gratitude flow through us with grace.
It occurs to me that those who are asleep (taken the blue pill), see us as the ones who are unaccepting when we speak up. It’s easier to blame us, or remain in denial, rather than accept the truth of conscious awareness. They view our digging deep to heal, as picking at a wound. I don’t see it that way. I see it as digging for buried treasure in the soul.
Karma is toxic to our enlightenment, expansion, and growth. Remember that with any karma, there is good and bad. Karma is your opponent in the game of breaking out of 3rd dimension. The concept of two angels sitting on your shoulder, one is your authentic self, the other is your ego. Guess what? Both are on your side. The belief that one is good, and the other is evil is a lie. Rather, they have different aspects to show us how to win against the game of Karma.
Karma is self-defeating, but we can choose to break out of karma altogether. Personally, I would never want to come back to inflict abuse on my abusers. Nor, do I want to inflict any more self-abuse as a result of all the guilt, shame, and blame, piled upon me from various sources.
Karma tends to encourage revenge, and the element of revenge is not enlightened. This is why I am having a love affair with integrity. Anyone else want to join me in creating a whole new, thick or thin, comradery of integrity without spilling any blood? That doesn’t mean the offender shouldn’t pay for what they did.
Regardless of the isolation you may feel from breaking off blood ties, integrity offers a greater love, which is how you will win at the game of life.
Victims/survivors of abuse are often led to believe that they asked for what they got. In breaking the victimization program, it became blatantly obvious, to me, there is big time karma asking to be broken, when not just one, but two female members of your family marry sex-offenders.
When I finally spoke up about the abuse when I was in my 30s, my father said, “If you kept your mouth shut all these years, why would you bring it up now?” My mother said, “They just took advantage of a young girl.” Clueless, that’s all I can say.
As more research is done, and as more break their silence, the answer to my father’s question is obvious. The intent of discussing this is so that more will report being sexually, or otherwise abused. Survivors will find strength and courage to heal from their suffering.
My sisters, handled my coming clean in distinctly different ways. One stopped speaking to me altogether. The other one continued to play the nice, saintly one, but now I see that was out of guilt, and the fear of embarrassment that anyone might find out that her husband was an offender. Additionally, she played a role by pretending to be unaware of the what was happening, when I would call out to her, to get him to leave me alone. The more I broke free from the hellish trap, this truth became more evident, particularly since after attempting to have a deeper rapport, she finally set a boundary stating she only wants “shallow details” about my life, while she cried about his mental status. The sex offender is in; I’m out. I am incredibly grateful that I am out!
There are defensive claims that one abuser has atoned, yet there has never been any formal punishment for the man who wore a badge and a uniform, was presented to me as family, as an authority figure, someone I was led to believe I could trust. While not unusual, abuse is NOT normal, nor should it be accepted as such. No justice has been awarded on my behalf, after all, as they said “It was just, Martha.” Ouch. Research show it’s never just one. Justice will have to come in a different form.
I choose the cleansing water of integrity, over toxic blood. That’s why the rain is red, and why the song was haunting me. It was a reminder of both their choices, and mine.
When guilt, and shame related to your abuse show up, recognize that it’s not our fault that all the karmic players are not able to break free from the grips of karma. Embrace that on a deep level. The burden of responsibility belonging to others is way too heavy to carry. Breathe a sigh of release. Appreciate the lightened load.
There is no need to play in the karma of others who are more offended by calling a sex-offender a sex-offender, and less offended by the lifetime of suffering caused by years of molestation and sex-offenses that never should have taken place. The list of symptoms from abuse is a long one. Breaking the karmic cycle sets us free. And…Yes, it’s true, my sister was offended when I called her husband a sex-offender.
Dysfunction and ignorance play on team Karma. Integrity plays for team Consciousness. Be cautious of righteous indignation causing interference. Once Karma fumbles, and is put on defense, you can play offense, since now you are offending people who can’t hold on to the ball of truth. In the game where we side with integrity, there is no need to cheat, and you can’t lose no matter how long the game is played. Why? Because you are still playing the game of life, but those players who were once toxic, have been benched. Now, they are replaced with worthy opponents, who aren’t even opponents. They are people who challenge you to be even better than you already are. These people are your “true blood.” I’ve fulfilled my old contract with team karma. I’m wearing a new jersey.
Enjoy the songs below:
Red Rain – Peter Gabriel
Black Label Society – Blood is Thicker than Water
Never letting me down, the Universe and Pandora, this song showed up right at the end of writing this article: Be Yourself – Audioslave