Rachel Grant Coaching

August 26, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Anxiety-Part 2

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie shares with us how she has dealt with anxiety.

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I woke up yesterday feeling anxious, knots in my stomach, a feeling of impending doom. This is not normal for me, as, since completing my self-enforced program of recovery many years ago, I’ve pretty much been the happiest person I know. I’ve had moments of stress, for the most part something that never transpired, which is what usually happens.  But, I’ve learned enough tools to counteract these happenings, which means they never get out of hand. Most of the time it is about a family member, especially my children. As a single mom, I’ve had to do the best I could with all of my shortcomings. I must have done something right as my four children are four of the most wonderful people I know and if I weren’t already their mother I would sure have wanted them in my life.

Taken unawares, I tried to head off any emotional turmoil that used to accompany my anxiety. Before I did anything, I checked my HALT, Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. If any of these need to be addressed, I took care of them immediately. This usually gives me a clear vision of not only what’s bothering me but also what solution I need to take. I’m convinced that half of the suicides in the world occurred when the victim needed a good night’s sleep. This time I didn’t seem to have any needs in those four areas. I tried to list any events coming up that might be difficult for me to face, followed by possible solutions.  I recalled certain anniversary dates that always brought some disturbance in my life. Today didn’t mark the anniversary of any of these. I spent more time than I would like to admit trying to figure out why I was feeling so down. I was having the normal amount of concern about any family member having financial worries, no one had any serious injury or illness, and I had no important happening coming up that would cause me anxiety.

I finally managed to pull out the guilty culprit and immediately resolved the problem. It dawned on me that since I’d had major surgery 3 weeks earlier, several changes had come in to my life. I was not able to take my early morning 30-minute walk with my Golden Retriever, Guinevere. As we are all aware, exercise is a good antidote for anxiety. Therefore, I knew that was part of it. Then I realized the other problem. Used to normally saying my morning prayers while I walked, I had gotten out of the habit of saying my prayers. I couldn’t seem to find the right time to work them in. I was ashamed. God always had time to work in any of my requests no matter what. My relationship with God is very personal and talking to My God on a daily basis always resolved things I didn’t even know were bothering me. I immediately poured myself a cup of coffee, coaxed Guinevere to go do her business on our south lawn and sat down on the porch swing. Since I normally follow these prayers with a daily rosary for my son who is in Afghanistan I went upstairs to the library, Guin now having finished her business, and sat in my favorite recliner that looked north towards Sedona and its red rocks. Then I said my rosary. After that, my anxiety was gone.

This may not seem like any big deal but I had learned early in my recovery a couple of very important rules. I always start my day by numerating my blessings.  They seem to double after that and keeping an open line to my Maker and his Mother always blows the cobwebs out of my mind bringing me to a place of peace. So far, since recovery, I haven’t stumbled across any hardship that I couldn’t handle. I’ve even been known to take a walk and have my own
therapy session. You know….what is bothering you? Is it really that important in the grand scheme of things? What do you think is the best way to deal with it?

There are few problems you can’t handle yourself once you’ve gone through recovery. I can still remember how terrifying anxiety is. I’ve had some dark moments in my life where I didn’t think I was going to survive, was actually worried that I might survive. It is almost like walking through a long dark tunnel; you can’t see where you are, you don’t know what your problem is, no one is with you and the aloneness is suffocating you. The anxiety is so great you can’t seem to even find the courage to begin resolving it.  I have a few ground rules I try to keep in mind. They might work for you as well.


  • Identify your problem, no matter how small they may seem. Sometimes this means taking out pen and paper and numbering the possibilities. It’s amazing how clarifying it is when you realize that there really are lions and tigers and bears under your bed! Oh my! And don’t try to hide or deny your problem. There is at least one other who knows what the problem is, God. You can run but you can’t hide.
  • Have a talk with God. He always understands and he’s endlessly patient with me while I try to sift through the solutions until I find one that works.
  • Watch HALT. It really works.
  • Take a walk or do some kind of physical activity. It releases those endorphins.
  • Eat healthy – junk food really isn’t food, it’s just something to put in your stomach. If you don’t believe in the power of healthy eating, try eating junk food for a week and then nutritious food for another week. You’ll see the difference.
  • Get your mind off the problem for a while: read a good book, go to a movie, take a hike, have a picnic with a friend etc.
  • Keep a positive frame of mind. The only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.

If you haven’t gone through recovery yet, get started. Buy a copy of REPAIR Your Life and begin working that program. Follow it up with It’s Your Choice! Decisions that Will Change Your Life.  Both books have their own book page on our website.

Good luck! Email me at Margie@thelamplighters.org if I can answer any questions or help in any way.  




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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.
Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.


August 19, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Anxiety-Part 1

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie shares with us how she has dealt with anxiety.

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A long forgotten memory crept up unawares this afternoon. I don’t know what set off the plunge into anxiety that followed. Shadows, ones I had put to bed years ago and thought never to visit again, paraded in front of me. Just for that moment I was terrified. I swiftly pulled back and looked at the happening through an objective mind, a defense mechanism learned in recovery.
 

Before recovery my life was a semblance of the main character in the film, "Looking For Mr. Goodbar". By day I was a single mother, raising four children that I adored. I was Team Mother for my son’s Pop Warner Football Team, I was active in PTA, I had meetings with my children’s teachers, I hosted my daughters’ slumber parties (and one time for my son and all of his Pop Warner Football Team), cleaned the house, did the laundry, disciplined my kids, helped them with homework, cooked dinner and went to mass on Sundays.
 

By night, especially on the weekends, I attended singles parties and organizations, looking for the perfect mate, sleeping indiscriminately with whoever turned me on at the moment, always ending up with carbon copies of my first two husbands, both alcoholics, the second one abusive and unfaithful (and proud of it). I wouldn’t date anyone unless they smoked, drank and were controlling, preferably older men. If they were kind and sensitive I avoided them with a marked aversion.
 

I lived on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. Sometimes they worked. But sometimes I fell into that deep pit of hell, the one where terrible things happened to me, if only I could remember what they were. In moments of complete insecurity I landed in the pit called anxiety. It always started the same way, an overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear with only doubt as to its source. It didn’t matter. I hadn’t a clue where it had come from, was afraid to even try to find it. I might have to face it if I did and if I knew nothing I at least knew that I was incapable of dealing with these enormous fears. My heart palpitated wildly; I was brittle with tension; my mouth became dry. A terrible sense of foreboding seemed to cover my body like The Blob in the movie of the same name.
 

My weapons to fight this off were all made of flimsy stuff: chain smoke while shaking with continual tremors, a swift shot of brandy, maybe two, pacing back and forth hoping the children wouldn’t find me like this. Then there was always sex.  Eventually the anxiety stopped but not without leaving behind its deadly message. There is a way out of this. You can always take your life. Then it will be all over.
 

Many failed suicide attempts followed this dreary pattern of my life. I had been in Psychiatric Wards twice when in my early twenties and did not want to go there again. I had children to raise. Their father was in an alcoholic institution. Who would raise them if I weren’t here? Somehow I cheated death. Somehow I pulled out of the attacks and went on, one foot in front of another.
 

Once I entered recovery and moved forward across that bridge, I had anxiety attacks so much worse than any I’d had before. But then I was living with my third abuser, one who was a sadist, one my therapist said I would never survive. I was also going back in time and seeing the enormity of the betrayal my father visited upon me. The long forgotten memories began to surface bringing with them an agonizing truth.  The reality of what my father, who I adored, had done to me was like the piercing of an ice pick into my heart.
 

I was painstakingly able to discover that I was not to blame. It had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with my father’s patriarchal beliefs. “They do it in the Appalachian District all the time,” he said when first telling me of the horror he had done. It was like finding out that your husband was Jack the Ripper. It wasn’t just my father’s sexual abuse, it was his physical abuse. The violence of his beatings, the cruelty of his punishments, all worked together to put me into a hell I lived with for decades. I kept putting one foot in front of another; working the program I later called REPAIR. After five long years I was now strong, spiritual, and capable of handling any problems that came my way. I had confidence, something I had never had before. I was able to rid myself of the shame I had carried for so long, shame not only of what my father had done that I thought was my fault, but the shame I had added to it by my promiscuity. I rid myself of my abuser and even the lingering memories of my life with him became more and more shadowed as the years went by. After recovery I had a sign on my desk that read, “If I’d have known life was going to turn out this great I would have started it sooner.
 

Today, I can remember what those anxiety attacks were like without being dragged down by the tremendous weight of them . If any of you reading this article is plagued by anxiety attacks I urge you, no I beg you, to get a copy of the book REPAIR Your Life and begin working the program. That program is the culmination of everything I learned in my own recovery, not only what to do but what not to do. I went down so many wrong roads, wasted money on so many other books and even more money on therapist after therapist, most never even asking me about my childhood. I want everyone who has ever experienced an abusive childhood to be where I am today, the happiest person I know.







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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.

Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.

August 11, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Amnesia and Flashbacks

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. In this post, Margie shares with us her own journey of dealing with lost memories and flashbacks.

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Two of the most troublesome occurrences in the life of a child sexual abuse victim are amnesia and flashbacks. These episodes range from annoying to terrifying. If you have total recall of your abuse, the constant flashbacks not only interrupt your day and maybe your nights, they force you to remember what happened to you on a regular basis, something you want no reminder of. This often brings a high level of hyper-vigilance. In my case, my father raped me when I was thirteen while I lay on the bottom bunk bed. My screaming and sobbing eventually caused my mother, who was a heavy sleeper, to awaken and come to my bedroom. By that time, my father had pulled away and was watching from the sidelines. Despite my hysterical sobs and broken attempts to try to tell her what had happened she told me I had had a nightmare. I continued to entreat her. “No, Mama, something was on top of me and they did something that was so bad and it hurt, please help me, Mama”.  She refused to believe me, but kept repeating that I’d had a nightmare. I never called for her again.
 

I suffered with nightmares for the next twenty-five years. No matter whom I was with, no matter where I lived, I woke up several times a year screaming hysterically for help, clawing at whomever I was with as I tried to fight them off. For hours, I babbled incessantly. I was being crushed to death, someone or something was on top of me and it hurt. The nightmares stopped when my father died. At the time, I didn’t connect it with my nightmares. It was only later, when I was in recovery that I tied the two together.
 

Because of the suppression of my memories, I developed amnesia. Large parts of my teen years were lost. When asked about my growing up years I had a standard answer, one I truly believed on a conscious level. “I had a happy Catholic childhood; we grew up in the Midwest and played in the snow and ice skated, went Christmas caroling in the snow, grew our own vegetables in the garden, went prairie dog hunting with our 22s, climbed trees, and swam in rivers. I had a litany of “happy Catholic childhood” that I spewed out repeatedly to anyone who asked me about my growing up years.
 

I literally had amnesia. But the truth shadowed my days. I felt as if I had a locked room inside of me. If I ever opened it, something terrible would happen to me. I heard a child screaming inside of me and did everything I could to avoid her. I thought everyone had a screaming child inside of him or her. I smoked incessantly, slept with any man who was interested in me, mostly unhealthy choices, tried several times to commit suicide, was in a Psychiatric Ward twice, was co-dependent, was on an emotional roller coaster and had low self- esteem.

One day I was in a department store and saw a woman on the other side of the floor where I was looking at clothes. I felt immediate envy. Why couldn’t I look like her? Why did I have to be ugly with an ugly body? Now despondent, I continued shopping. Time passed and after making my purchases, I headed for the door when I again saw the woman I envied. I stopped for a moment, yearning covering me like a blanket. I raised my hand to scratch my face. So did the other woman. I raised my arm to transfer my packages to my other arm. So did the other woman. Confused, I walked towards her. I was looking in a mirror. Even then, I reached out to touch this woman, to raise my arms, turn my head, and then touch her again. Instead of having a moment of truth, I walked out in confusion. Why did I look like that woman in the mirror?
 

When I was 45 and married to my third abuser, who was both sadistic and a sex addict, he began raping me about two years into the marriage. When I fought back or protested, he said he was my husband and he had a right to rape me. I remember cowering in a locked bathroom one time and he broke the door down to get to me. Something was happening to me that was terrifying. I was beginning to have flashbacks to another time, to someone else raping me. The flashbacks became more and more frequent, more intense and more realistic. By now, I was in recovery, and had come to realize that when my Dad told me in my mid-thirties that we had had an incestuous relationship when I was a young girl, he was telling the truth. That locked room in my mind began to open; all the ghosts spilled out. With absolute clarity, I saw the truth.

Eventually, five years after I started recovery, I ended my relationship with my husband, finished my years of Twelve Step work, and came to the end of my sorrow. My flashbacks ceased.  I have been the happiest person I know ever since. I have never once felt the need for a therapist.
 

This is my story. What is yours? If it stays in that locked room in your mind you will continue to have flashbacks. If you don’t remember what happened to you but have the profile of a child sexual abuse victim, then it’s time to look at that reality. It is not necessary that you remember exactly what happened. Some of these characteristics are: people pleasing and rescuing at an early age, insomnia, excessive need to control, obsessive compulsive behavior patterns, are needy, have low self- esteem, are suicidal, have weak boundaries (especially with members of the opposite sex), make unhealthy choices,  have neurotic tendencies, have addictions ─drugs, alcohol, sex, food, relationships─have an eating disorder, chronic illness, emotional extremes of highs and lows and suffer severe depression.

It is time for you to begin a recovery program. If you even have half of these characteristics, they are your inner voices trying to tell you that you suffered severely at a young age and you must start to Repair the damage. Step one, sit down and write your story, Step two, join a Co-Dependency 12 step group. The numbers are in the phone directory; give it at least six meetings. Something magical happens by then. Step three – get a copy of REPAIR Your Life and begin working that program. Information regarding it is on our website at www.thelamplighters.org and also on amazon.com. Step four – check our website under Chapter Locations to see if there is a chapter near you. If not, you may one day want to start a chapter yourself.

It is never too late. Get started.






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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.

Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.

August 6, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Addictions

This week, we continue our series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. Margie shares with us what it finally took for her to enter into a recovery program.

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Our friend Webster defines “addiction” as “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”
 

The number of different addictions (which today includes the title of compulsive obsession behaviors) seems to be growing at a rapid rate. The ones that normally came to mind used to be alcohol, nicotine or heroin. Today we also know that candy, food in general, gambling, shopping, the Internet, video games, exercise, pain medication, meth, sex, addiction to addiction treatment, methamphetamine and even people addiction are all serious problems. Some, like gambling, shopping, eating and computers are compulsive behaviors. These seem perfectly normal and one wonders how it can become an addiction. Shopping for example; what is wrong with that? It’s a perfectly healthy activity isn’t it? And what’s wrong with eating candy? Other than having a high dentist bill……and maybe as you get older the worry about diabetes. But life is so short. Don’t we all deserve a few rewards, especially for all we’ve been through?
 

A saying from my childhood comes to mind, All things in moderation. At the time I figured it had nothing to do with me; it applied to old people. But as I find myself moving closer to that age group I realize it makes perfect sense.

How do we become addicted to things potentially harmful to us? What started

out as our first drink rapidly becomes alcoholism. Eating more than we should adds pound after pound until we are overweight. Being simply overweight can become obesity in time. We love to go shopping. What’s the harm in that? Are we deeply in debt? Have we become compulsive about shopping? Do we find that instead of merely taking care of our needs, we are indulging ourselves in our wants? When something, sex for example, becomes a craving it is time to take stock of where our life is going. Cutting is one of the most dangerous of addictions. When we have rooms in our mind with painful memories and we can’t seem to lock the door on them we need something to keep ourselves from entering that room. Even something like cutting takes us away from whatever is the real problem. It blocks the truth.

Those of us who were abused as children find that the bad memories are so painful that we must do something to distract ourselves from them. This is an unconscious decision. The rule of thumb is that anything we are doing that is for the purpose of not facing unpleasant things is not a good idea. If it hasn’t already, it will soon become something that has painful repercussions. 


In my REPAIR program I liken these painful memories to a physical wound. But what happens to a wound that becomes infected and is not treated? The infection begins spreading throughout our body. In the case of child abuse that has gone untreated we want nothing more than to remove these memories and the only way we know how is to become addicted to something that is powerful enough to keep the memories at bay. 


Eventually a painful price must be paid for addiction to a substance or an activity. I watched the father of my children die from cirrhosis of the liver. Before beginning recovery I attempted suicide, more than once. My addiction to my abuser, my addiction to sex, and my addiction to cigarettes were symptoms of a much deeper problem. The day I realized that my addictions were not treating the cause of my depression started out with an innocent trip to the pharmacy. As I waited for my sleeping pills and my anti-depressants I saw a pile of brochures about different pharmaceutical products sitting on the counter. The words on the front of the brochure, Losing your freedom of choice is a bitter pill to swallow leapt out at me. I felt as if I’d been rammed in my gut by a two by four and grabbed the brochure as I struggled to hide my tears. I hurried home and scotch taped it to my mirror. I read it over and over and thought about how my abuser was controlling what I wore, who I spoke with on the phone, where I went and most of my daily activities. Knowing that he may even control what I taped to my mirror, I began sobbing. It was my moment of truth. I simply had not seen how my addictions ruled my life and were heading me towards a cliff.


A few days later, after a visit to my family doctor where he said he would no longer accept my response to his continued question about whether my father had sexually abused me, I entered recovery.





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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi- generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.

Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.

July 29, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Abandonment

This week, I am super excited to begin a series written by Margie McKinnon, founder of The Lamplighters. Over the course of the next few weeks, Margie is going to be sharing with us her perspective on a variety of topics that are key for any survivor of abuse. I know you are going to be touch, inspired, and supported by her amazing words and wisdom.

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I need only close my eyes to relive the years when I had abandonment issues as the result of incest. If I let it, it would all come rushing back, covering me with fear and anxiety, spiraling me into a world of suicide attempts, poor choices, an inability to set boundaries, severe depression, low self-esteem, manic-depressive behavior and all of the other behavior patterns that are waiting for one who is sexually abused as a child.

It didn’t take much to set it off. The feeling that I was isolated, almost quarantined, and desperately needed someone to rescue me from the consequences of my own actions rolled over me with crushing finality year after year. There was no way out. I’d grab a cigarette and begin chain smoking, used alcohol till I was too drunk to feel the abandonment, or worse, use sex as a way to numb myself from the feeling of helplessness and the apprehensive uneasiness that seemed to smother me. Eventually it would go away and I seemed to stabilize. I say, “seemed” because stability was never really mine. All I had done was managed to “act” as if everything in my world was going well. Only that deep inner part of me, where, in the depths of the night, I could not deny the truth, knew the real story.
 

I am a very fortunate woman. I say fortunate because had I not married my
third abuser, a man so evil, so sadistic that my therapist said I would not survive living with him, I would not today be healed, a woman who makes only healthy choices. I like to think that God sent me an alcoholic in my early years in hopes that I would get it. When that didn’t work, he sent a second alcoholic who cheated on me, beat me up and tormented me with constant intimidation. Surely, she’ll get it this time. I still didn’t. The next 15 years I roamed from man to man always in hopes of finding someone who would rescue me.
 

I found him. He was the most wonderful man I’d ever known; one who treated me like a queen. We became engaged and since he was my daughter’s father-in-law, we already had a grandchild together. He was a very handsome man with a high powered job where he made good money. He adored my kids. We bought a beautiful showplace of a home. All was rosy and filled with joy. Finally, I had my Prince Charming. There was a down side. One day, while we were talking, he said something bad must have happened to me when I was a child. That was the only way I would have wound up with so many abusers. I became terrified. My father had told me when I was in my mid-thirties about our incestuous relationship, something that caused such horror in me that I refused to believe him. I remembered the first time but my mother had told me it was just a nightmare. Now, here was this man of my dreams trying to dredge up something so ugly that I wanted nothing to do with it. I tried to give him his ring back, saying I couldn’t marry him. He refused to take it. He said the only way he would leave me was through death.
 

A few months later, he was dead of lung cancer. I thought the grief would tear my mind in two. It didn’t. Within a month I was, not only in bed with a man I barely knew, but had let him move in with me. God had finally decided that he would send the worst of the worst into my life and then I would get it. Two years later, almost beside myself with despair and suicide attempts, I could no longer deal with the torment of my third abuser. His continual rapes, his mental abuse, his constant control over everything I did, what I wore, who I was allowed to speak with on the phone, his continual jealousy over the most minor infractions, the realization that he was cheating on me, and especially his continual hounding about my former sexual sins began wearing me down. He had found the journal I had been keeping for years along with love letters and cards I had received from many different men. He had a powerful weapon. If I protested, he threatened to leave me. Abandonment issues swirled around me bringing acute anxiety so bad that I began displaying what I later found out was what happens to people coming down off heroin. Constant tremors, dry heaves and vomiting, and an inability to talk straight caused me to do whatever he wanted.
 

I went to my family doctor for sleeping pills and anti-depressants. He had known me for years and he asked me once again if my father had ever sexually abused me. Again, as I had responded many times before, the answer was no. This time my doctor said he wasn’t going to buy it. He gave me the name of a therapist who was a specialist in child sexual abuse and told me to get started. That was the beginning of my recovery. I’d finally gotten it. Two more years of horror awaited me, along with time spent in a woman’s shelter, more failed suicide attempts, severe anxiety and abandonment issues whenever I tried to say no to my abuser.
 

I initiated a program of my own, creating what was later compiled in a book called Repair Your Life. Diligently, I began to fight back. The anxiety and feeling of abandonment began to diminish. Before I was able to rid myself of my abuser I had to find the real me. I had to go back in time, rid myself of all the ugliness that had happened when I was a young girl and replace it with only good stuff. It wasn’t easy. There were times when I thought I didn’t have the courage to keep going across what I was beginning to call the bridge of recovery. But the thought that maybe, just maybe, one day there would be no more abandonment issues, no more severe anxiety, kept me going.
 

Today, I’m happily married to another really good guy. I have had no feelings of abandonment since I completed recovery. Today I make only healthy choices.
 

You can too. Get a copy of Repair Your Life and begin working the program. Eventually, once you complete Repairing yourself, you too, will never feel the agony of abandonment again.



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Marjorie McKinnon is an incest survivor who ran away from home at the age of 18 after five years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father. She spent the next 27 years going from one abuser to another until in her mid-forties, while married to her third domestic violence abuser, she entered a program for recovery of her own devising that she later called REPAIR. During recovery, she found out that her two older daughters had been sexually abused by her second husband. Her youngest daughter was raped at gunpoint by a masked bandit when she was 17. This accents the reality that child sexual abuse and incest is a multi-generational problem.  Children of an untreated incest survivor stand a five times greater chance of being sexually molested themselves.

Marjorie is the author of fourteen books and four volumes of poetry.  Her memoir, I Never Heard A Robin Sing is currently in Kindle version on amazon.com. Six of her books have been published by Loving Healing Press: REPAIR Your Life: A Program for Recovery from Incest & Child Sexual Abuse, REPAIR For Kids, REPAIR For Toddlers, REPAIR For Teens, The REPAIR Your Life Workbook and It’s Your Choice! Decisions That Will Change Your Life.  All are available through any major on line book distributor.  Six of these books are in 101 libraries throughout the world.  She also has five novels and two other non-fictions that are available as Kindles on amazon.com. She is the founder of The Lamplighter Movement, a rapidly growing international movement for recovery from incest and child sexual abuse that emphasizes the importance of REPAIRing the damage. There are currently 82 Lamplighter chapters in ten countries. Two of these are in women’s prisons, a project near and dear to Marjorie’s heart. She is working to get chapters in all of the women’s prisons in the US. The Lamplighter Movement website is at http://www.thelamplighters.org.  Marjorie’s writer’s website is at
http://www.marjoriewrites.thelamplighters.org/index.html.

Marjorie and her husband, Tom, were both McKinnons when they met on a genealogy website. After a 16 month long distance courtship they were married in the year 2000 in Melrose, Scotland, taking their final vows in the ruins of Melrose Abbey.  Tom is the illustrator of her children’s REPAIR books. They live in the Sedona, AZ area along with their Golden Retriever, Guinevere.



Resources, personal stories, communication techniques, and strategies for survivors of sexual abuse who are ready to break free from the past and return to their genuine self.