Another terrible story of child abuse

I read a terribly sad story this morning about child abuse in Florida. Although the story is seven years old, I had never heard it before today, so I’m putting the link out there for any interested readers.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-girl-in-the-window/750838

My question is was this child born with these malfunctions or were they the result of the neglect of the birth mother? What do you think?

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Auld Lang Syne

Since I was a little girl in the forties, I have wondered what this song meant.  My parents sang it often, not just on New Year’s Eve. I thought it was a German song, because they were both German, but I just found out it is Scottish.

Sir Robert Ayton (1590 – 1638) is credited for writing the words, which were later copied by Robert Burns in a Scots poem. This is the way the song now translates:

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never thought upon,

The flames of love extinguished,

And freely past and gone?

 

Is thy kind heart now grown so cold,

In that loving breast of thine,

That thou canst never once reflect

On old-long-syne?

 

This precious old song always brings tears to my eyes, because it refers to people we have loved in the past and perhaps are not with us anymore.

One of the lines my parents sang was “I’ll take a cup of kindness yet, to the days of auld lang syne.”

Mother told me ‘auld land syne’ meant remember your old friends, and that has been confirmed on the Internet to mean ‘the good old days’. I miss you Mom.

Credit to http://www.journalnow.com

Excuses

I apologize for not writing my blog for several weeks. I’m sorry! Life has gotten in the way of blogging. My husband has been undergoing chemotherapy since September, dealing with it’s endless side-effects and symptoms. Last week we went to the emergency room twice, each visit taking all day, and the hospital is 50 miles away.

The first time we went because Bob’s leg swelled up and he was in terrible pain. The emergency room doctor diagnosed him with a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot).  He gave Bob a shot and two prescriptions. When we left the hospital we stopped at the drug store and were told they didn’t have enough of the pain medication to fill the doctor’s order. We went home and Bob decided to take the weaker pain pills he already had, until the prescription could be filled. The drug store is 25 miles away from our home, so we can’t just run up and get something.

Within three days it became clear these pills weren’t working so we called the doctor’s office and asked for stronger ones. The nurse I talked to on the phone was supposed to send us a pain prescription but told me to take my husband to the hospital by mistake, so we spent the whole day at the hospital again, for no good reason.

That is the pathetic story of why I didn’t have time to write my blog.  I know: excuses, excuses, excuses! Thank goodness Bob’s chemo will be over in a few weeks!

Betty Crocker – The Early Years

When I first got married in 1964, I didn’t have a clue about how to be a housewife. I was still in my last semester of college, and all I knew was what a knife and fork looked like and which appliance was the refrigerator. I did have experience at the sink, washing my hands and getting a drink of water, but as a teenager I had studiously avoided Mom’s kitchen. It really was a studied avoidance, because after dinner, I often gave my mother the excuse that I had to study, so I couldn’t help with the dishes. Unfortunately, it was true. I always had so much homework my eyes fell out every night at 10:00.

But I’m getting behind myself. My husband and I managed to eat out for the first few nights. My mom had given me her Betty Crocker Cookbook and after several days of screw-ups, mishaps, and culinary disasters, I decided to make chicken, mashed potatoes and peas. At least I knew about the three food groups: easy, difficult, and impossible.

Betty’s Cookbook  informed me how to bake the chicken, which turned out to be blackened but edible. It was the mashed potatoes that proved impossible. The recipe said to put the potatoes in a pan with ½ inch of water. Betty forgot to mention that the water needed to cover the potatoes and have an extra ½ inch on top of them.

Anyway, I burned the potatoes. I did cook the canned peas in a small saucepan with water and they turned out fine (1964 was during the pre-microwave period in culinary history). I think my husband was still hungry after dinner, but he didn’t say anything. The next night we went to “Big Boy” for hamburgers and fries.

My history of not-so-good dinners finally changed when I had children and was forced to stay home all day and take care of them. I began to care about cooking. Really, I began to care about eating, and I was serving Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every other night, so I needed to study up on making nutritious, edible and tasty dinners.

A neighbor taught me how to make a delicious pot roast. I’m getting hungry just talking about it. I had finally conquered baked chicken and I understood every step of making creamy mashed potatoes. My girlfriend found a great recipe for spaghetti sauce and I learned how to make that. At that point I was able to boil noodles.

“Mom, I learned to make spaghetti sauce from scratch.”

“Really?” Mother was astounded.

“Yes, it’s delicious.”

“Better than Chef Boy-ar-Dee?” Mom looked incredulous.

“Yes, Mom, even better than Chef Boy-ar-dee.” I remember laughing to myself because Mom thought sauce that came in a can would be better than homemade sauce.

So finally, as National Feast Day comes around again, I think back to Betty Crocker and Chef Boy-ar-dee, and although their food was not nutritious the way we insist our food be now, it was fairly good and kept us from going hungry when Mom was busy.

Chef Boy-ar-dee is a real man from Piacenza, Italy whose name was spelled Hector Boiardi. He had a famous restaurant in NYC and was one of the first chefs to package his ingredients together in a box for sale to the public. People ate it up!

Unfortunately, Betty Crocker is a crock. Yes, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles, but Betty isn’t a real person. She was started by the Washburn Crosby Company in Minneapolis in 1921, invented to give a personal touch to thousands of requests they received about baking. Here are some pictures of Betty during her early years.

Betty Crocker

Mother’s Choice

Our society seems to have an enormous problem with sex. Our children become sexually active at a very early age, TV shows are overrun with sexual content, and marriages are crumbling because of sexual sin.

One of the things that is most prevalent in our ‘over-sexed’ society is sexual abuse of young girls by their father, their mother’s boyfriend or second husband. The men who do this are surely dysfunctional and have no conscience. How do they conclude that having sex with an underage daughter is okay?

This is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a family, signaling the downfall of that family unit. The mother feels betrayed by both her daughter and her husband and then must choose between them. The father’s sin has been found out and he is disgraced and ruined. The daughter is drowning in shame and disgust from the pain and agony of abuse.

I’m glad I never had to choose, but I believe that if your daughter tells you she is being molested by your mate, believe her.

This problem is aggravated by our socio-economic system here in the US. Since women bear the children, they most often win custody of the children in a divorce. Then they must somehow fulfill the duties of nurturing, caring for and providing for these children, and hold down a full time job that often pays next to nothing. I think most of these women feel desperate and if they can find a man who will join them in this difficult situation, they will often marry the first man who comes along or sacrifice marriage for a live-in boyfriend or lover.

It is no wonder that many women can’t handle it when her teenage daughter tells her that Mom’s boyfriend is molesting her. If the mother accepts the accusation and kicks the boyfriend out, how will they survive financially? And how can the mother have any self-respect knowing her new husband/boyfriend is not sexually faithful to her and would rather have sex with her underage daughter than herself. It is much easier to deny it, and, unfortunately, many women do exactly that. They scream at the daughter, telling her she’s “a disgusting liar,” and refuse to believe her.

Trusting and believing your daughter is the right choice in this situation. If you accept your daughter’s accusation, and do something about the abuse, you will save your daughter’s self-esteem and the hurt and shame of further sexual abuse.

You will probably lose your mate, but how can you be happy living with him any more, now that you know he has uncontrollable sexual urges, he’s been unfaithful to you and he’s a liar. Who else has he been with?

Your daughter will always be your daughter,  but your husband may someday be your EX.

If you do not believe and help your daughter you will regret it for the rest of your life. Who else can she turn to? She will soon leave home to escape the abuse, and without a place to sleep, or food to eat, she may accept money for sex in order to live. It’s a lose/lose situation for her.

Mother & Daughters

In my lifetime, I’ve been divorced three times, but I still have a wonderful relationship with my daughters. They are both nurturing and helpful to me, and I love them and care deeply for them. Here is picture of me and my daughters, celebrating Easter many years ago.

Confusion can be an effect of Child Abuse

How well I remember the embarrassing situations of high school. I was often called crazy, scatter-brained and flighty, although I didn’t really think I was any of those things. It was not until I was fifty years old and diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID, (originally known as Multiple Personality Disorder, or MPD) that I realized I surely did deserve these descriptions of myself. I was not only confused, I was thirteen times more confused than normal people, because I had thirteen personalities.

During my therapy, I found that confusion was at the root of creating my alternate  personalities.

The original definition of the word ‘confuse’ means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to multiple personality, one of the major effects of child abuse. If a child is being abused, the confusion can help him/her to believe they are someone else, doing something else, in another place. The confusion becomes an ally for the child so they won’t have to feel the shame, pain, nausea or anguish of the abuse.

Having sex with a child degrades the child to such an extent that the child may create an alternate personality to deal with it. That way he or she can imagine themselves as someone who is not being abused. They can also imagine that their secondary personality is somewhere else, doing something relaxing and fun. The stronger their imagination is, the greater the chance that they will create another personality, or even several, to take the abuse. Their confusion becomes a way out. It is one of the ways I dealt with sexual abuse when I was four years old.

If my mind can jump around from one idea to another, it is not hard to believe I can jump from one personality to another. I’m not sure if sexual abuse causes children to become more creative or if creativity comes to their rescue by inventing an “alter.” What do you think? Have you been abused? Have you been diagnosed with DID?

Film “We Are Mary” documents Multiple Personalitiy Disorder

In Athens Ohio we began our celebration of Mental Illness Awareness Week, (October 6 – 12), with the viewing of a new documentary, We Are Mary! The film is a thesis movie by Julie Wiles for her master’s degree at Ohio University. The film documents Mary Clarise Robinson’s life and mental illness, and is stunning and thought provoking.

Mary’s story is one of sexual abuse throughout her life, beginning with her father and continuing with various perpetrators into middle age. The documentary explains how Mary dealt with the abuse – she formed alternate personalities – more than twenty of them. At the beginning of the movie she says that she lost her original self too early to have any memory of her. That in itself was so painful to hear, and by the end of the film, when Mary’s many personalities had been explained, I was deeply moved.

Mary is now an older woman and she has had years of therapy documenting her many personalities. However, modern technology requires her to say she has Dissociative Identity Disorder not Multiple Personality Disorder. I think this is a big mistake made by modern psychiatrists and I think it needs rectified. If we have multiple personalities, could we please call them multiple personalities?

Julie is quite a colorful character too. She spent almost four years making We Are Mary, and is now back at Ohio University as an instructor. I am proud of Julie and Mary for their devotion to making this film, and their hard work and enthusiasm. Julie did a great job directing the film, giving us all the information in an understandable sequence. The camera work and the sound editing were also sensitive and well done.

Julie Wiles is on Facebook and is planning to polish-up We Are Mary in hopes of entering it  in documentary film festivals around the country and in Europe. She is also seeking donations to continue to show the film to as many people as possible, and spread the word that living with DID is extremely confusing and difficult.

I commend Mary for her bravery in allowing her mental illness to be documented on film. Her reward is that she is now a MOVIE STAR, and is also on Facebook.

Know Someone at Risk for Suicide?

Last week I attended an eye-opening lecture on suicide prevention. Besides learning the awful statistics that there are 104 suicides/day and 18 veterans a day kill themselves, I learned how to talk to someone who may be at risk.

Darcy and Paul Granello, from The Ohio State University Counselor Education Department, gave the program. They very vividly described the pain that a person feels when they are thinking of ending their lives, and point out ways to give that person hope by referring them to a counselor who will listen to their problems and/or a doctor who can prescribe medication. Darcy and Paul have found that once a person gets help for suicidal thoughts, they never talk about it again. They learn to value themselves.

The Granellos talked mainly about teenagers and college age people, since their work is at the college level.

The most important thing I learned was how to talk to someone who may be thinking about killing themselves. First you need to know the signs, such as hearing statements like:

“You’d be better off without me.”

“Maybe I won’t be around.”

“Nothing matters!”

“There’s no end to this pain I feel.”

“It’s no use.”

“Doesn’t it ever get better?”

IF SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO YOU, THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY IS NOTHING. The Granello’s have discovered that if people are thinking of suicide, if they tell someone about their thoughts and that person doesn’t respond at all, SILENCE TELLS THE VICTIM THAT NO ONE CARES. It reinforces the idea that killing themselves is a valid solution to their pain. However, most people find these statements uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, so the Granellos’s suggested the following possibilities:

LISTEN – be open and willing to hear what the person has to say. Questions that show interest may help move the conversation along, but avoid giving advice, making judgments, and offering your solution for the problem. Many times, young people need to be convinced that an adult’s concern is genuine before they’ll open up and talk about their feelings. Listen for feelings behind the words. This works for peers as well.

If you determine that a teen could be at risk, ask directly, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” THIS WILL NOT PUT THE IDEA INTO THE TEEN’S HEAD. The signals that caught your attention were already there. Asking this difficult question will open the door for a dialogue about what is going on and give you a chance to help.

If the teen admits to having thoughts of suicide, it is critical that you stay calm. Hear them out, treat his or her feelings with genuine concern, and take them seriously. Be sure to contact others to help with the problems. Don’t try to handle it alone. Involve parents, counselors, and community resources as needed.

Darcy and Paul’s main point is that suicide is not about death – it is about finding an end to the pain! The Granello’s know that the pain doesn’t end when someone kills themself. It just passes to someone else. The Granello’s son killed himself, and his pain became their pain, and opened the door for years of study on the subject. It was a very inspiring lecture. For more info try:

http://www.siblingsurvivors.com/index.htm

http://www.friendsandfamiliesofsuicide.com/

http://www.parentsofsuicide.com/

Mother arrested for toddlers’ drowning deaths

A young mother has been arrested for felony child abuse near San Diego, California. Her two children, Harley, a 16 month old girl, and Jason, her two-year old brother drowned in a friend’s swimming pool last April. There was a marajuana growing operation going on at the  house where the two toddlers drowned.

Call for justice after mother arrested for toddlers’ drowning deaths.

Protect Our Kids Act

I have always felt patriotic about the USA. I love singing the National Anthem and “America, the Beautiful” sends chills up my spine. As I grew older, however, and followed the works of various presidents, I have become disillusioned about our country. I don’t like the way the government has “secret” organizations that spy on us, and I don’t like the IRS, whose power seems to be omnipotent. Most of all, I do not appreciate the way the Democrats and the Republicans have been at a near standstill for the last few years.

However, in 2012 and 2013 President Obama and Congress have passed the PROTECT OUR KIDS ACT, which creates a national committee to study ways to prevent fatal child mal-treatment. This means they are trying to prevent the deaths of children who are abused.

This particular issue is very close to my heart, since I was abused myself by a live-in babysitter when I was four years old. I know the feeling of helplessness, desperation and terror that a child experiences when they are overpowered and tortured by an adult. It is heart rending to think of a helpless child being killed by their parent or caregiver.

So I am pleased at last with the government of the United States, which is now going to help with this gigantic problem. Here are some statistics about child abuse from Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, an internet watchdog site which is very informative on child abuse.

  • Every 13 seconds a child is abused in the US.
  • Since 1980, physical abuse has increased by 84%.
  • Sexual abuse has increased by 350%.
  • Emotional abuse has increased by 333%.
  • Child neglect has increased by 320%.

The Children’s Advocacy Center released information they collected over the first half of 2013. The Centers, which are in various cities around the country and help citizens stop child abuse, dealt with 150,000 cases of child abuse, and over 100,000 cases were reports of sexual abuse.

THAT MEANS ADULTS ARE HAVING SEX WITH CHILDREN EVERY SINGLE DAY.

These statistics are unbelievable. They demonstrate the moral decline that our nation is experiencing. Immorality has increased and it is having a devastating effect on our children. Do you agree?

I am hoping the PROTECT OUR CHILDREN ACT will root out child abusers and enact tougher penalties on them.

Why Abuse Victims Don’t Leave

People say that children who are abused by their parents or other adults will often seek relationships with others who will abuse them. I don’t understand this syndrome, but I have observed it in my own life.

I was abused by a maid when I was a little girl and my first two marriages were to men who abused me. How can that be? You would think that I would choose someone just the opposite, who would treat me nicely. But no, I chose men who were verbally abusive and one of them also hit me. Why didn’t I see it coming?

On the other hand, child abuse victims sometimes become adult perpetrators. People who have been abused as children often carry their frustrations and pain into their relationships when they become adults.

Leslie Morgan Steiner talks about her marriage to a young man who was abused as a child, and how he slowly seduced her and made her his victim. Her talk, on Ted.com, explains how she got into the abusive marriage and finally got out. It is an eye-opening story of why domestic abuse victims don’t leave. It’s worth the 15 minutes it takes to listen. Here’s the link:

http://on.ted.com/Steiner

Bad Words

Thank you followers for giving me some time off to deal with my husband’s surgery. He was diagnosed with cancer and we have gone through a very stressful time during the last two months. He is doing well, and his surgeon got all the cancer, but he is now taking chemotherapy every two weeks for six months.

I am writing a stream-of-consciousness blog with bad words about what we have been going through since December of last year.

Pain, doctor’s appointments, Cat Scan, sickness, trouble breathing, fatigue, missing work, anxiety, prescriptions, antibiotics, x-rays, diseased tissue, fear, colonoscopy, surgery, tests, cancer, incision, blood, hospital, medicine, blood work, doctor, stress test, ultrasound, discomfort, diet, chemotherapy, nausea, infusion, intravenous, IV drip, cancer center.

There, I’ve got it all out of my system for awhile.

Excuse Me!

Please excuse my absence from writing my blog for the next few weeks. My husband is having surgery next week and, although I trust the Lord for his recovery, I am having trouble concentrating. He is being very brave and we would appreciate your prayers. Thank you, Nancy

Little Hansie

During the late forties, my family was one of the lucky ones who usually took a vacation to the beach every summer. We had several places in New Jersey where we went for a week or two to swim, go to the boardwalk and ride bicycles. Our favorite place at that time was Wildwood-by-the-Sea. We would rent a wood-frame duplex with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room about two or three blocks from the ocean. It wasn’t fancy, but my sister, Gretchen, and I thought it was paradise.

Mother on the boardwalk

Almost every day, we packed up a picnic basket and grabbed the towels, beach blanket, sand buckets and umbrella and hiked a few blocks to the beach. We’d spend most of the day at the beach, enjoying swimming and building sand castles and eating delicious (but sandy) ham sandwiches until we went home for naps in the afternoon. Even our parents took naps, they were so exhausted from taking care of us.

We also usually took a boat into the ocean to go deep sea fishing. My sister and I were too young at first to be trusted with a hook and line when other people were around, but as we grew older we were also allowed to fish.

Summer vacation was a wonderful time for us, and I have dozens of sweet memories of it. But my favorite memory of all is playing “little Hansie.”

This game was played at the beach in the shallow water. My father’s name was Hans Beyerl and he had come to the United States from Germany when he was 19 years old. He still had his German accent. He would take us into the water and he would kneel down and pretend he was our little boy.

My sister and I would hold his hands and when a wave came we would try to help him “jump” the wave. He’d make it over the first few waves, but sometimes he’d let the waves smack him right in the face and we’d squeal and worry he would drown. Then a “big one” would come along and he would go under the water like he was drowning and we would squeal and try to help him up.

“Little Hansie’s drowning,” we would scream and try as hard as we could to lift him up. Sometimes he would come up and sometimes he wouldn’t. Then we would squeal even louder and try harder to lift him up, meanwhile laughing and giggleing, as only children can.

He would always come up drenched in water and looking like he was going to drown at any minute. We would help him up and help him brush off the water, trying to care for little Hansie.

father on the boardwalk

I remember the joy of playing this game, perhaps better than anything else from my childhood. I’m sure we squealed enough to bother a few people trying to relax, but we had such a good time I don’t think anyone was upset about it. And my poor father. We always wondered how he withstood getting salt water all over his face all the time, but he didn’t seem to care. I think he loved this game too!

Do you remember any special games you played at the beach?

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

I don’t think there’s anything that demonstrates love better than bringing Mom breakfast in bed.

I remember a lot of breakfasts in bed for Mother’s day. I have two daughters, both of whom did not inherit my innate dislike of the kitchen and proved to be good cooks. I remember the first breakfast that my oldest daughter fixed for me. I think she was four. She actually was able to fix a reasonable facsimile of breakfast. I was so excited when she came rattling in with a tray filled with coffee, and scrambled eggs and toast. The coffee was lukewarm, the eggs were runny and toast was cold, but my heart was warmed to the point of tears. She went on to study cooking, which is still one of her strong points.

My younger daughter fixed me breakfast in bed also. When she was about five she brought me orange juice, coffee and pancakes. So much love was brought to me that morning. She climbed in bed with me and we cuddled as she helped me eat the food. What a sweet memory.

However, there’s something about the trip from the kitchen to the bedroom that seems to take a long, long time, because the well-meaning breakfast is often lukewarm by the time I taste it. Maybe it just takes me a long time to wake up and prepare to eat, or perhaps there is a mathematical formula:

Complexity of menu x age of child + amount of love needed ÷ distance to bedroom = warmth of breakfast. Do you think Martha Stewart knows the answer?

Both my daughters are grown now and live at the other end of the United States, so I’m pretty sure they won’t be bringing me breakfast in bed. But I know they are thinking of me and by Mother’s Day I’ll have a card, a call or a gift from both of them. I can’t imagine greater love than they have given me.

Have your children given you a special breakfast on Mother’s Day?

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Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them