July 30, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: One Man's Journey Out of the Darkness of Sexual Abuse

This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to author and Beyond Survivor, Duane Katene. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Duane about his efforts in Australia to raise awareness about the occurrence and prevention of abuse and the desperate need for services. I also learned more about his book, Neon Signs, the story of the of a male sexual abuse survivor. I am so honored to have Duane joining us. It is men like Duane who are willing to tell their story that empowers more and more men to speak up about the abuse they experienced.

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My name is Duane Katene. I am a husband and father from the Gold Coast, in the state of Queensland, Australia. I am also a childhood sexual abuse survivor. The first instances of sexual abuse happened in 1991. I was twelve years old. The perpetrator was a trusted family friend. He was a few years older than me.

During my high school years, I remember feeling lonely. I didn’t have a constant peer group. I would float from group to group. I felt different from all my other peers. I used to hang out in the school library. I just didn’t feel that I belonged. When I did hang out with my peers, it was with girls rather than with boys. I hated boys. I was being sexually abused by one of them. They had become a threat. This impacted greatly my own identity, because I wasn’t developing as other males were. Instead, I was developing a deformed male identity.  

In 1995, during my last year of high school, my perpetrator moved away. By then the damage had been done. I had been sexually abused during a time where my sexual, mental, emotional, social and physical identities were being formed. After he moved away, I didn’t tell my parents what had happened because I was ashamed. Instead in 1996, I moved away from the Gold Coast to attend university in Toowoomba, about three hours away in the same state.

I studied a Bachelor of Business at first and changed to a Bachelor of Psychology in 1997. However by the end of 1997, I had completely stopped functioning. I couldn’t study. I couldn’t maintain friendships. I had lost control of my life and with my family’s support I left university and returned back to the Gold Coast, despite what it represented, yet I didn’t have any other choice. I needed my family.

In the beginning of 1998, I finally told my family what had happened to me. That was a painful time. I saw a psychologist for the rest of the year, because I couldn’t maintain employment and I couldn’t return to study. For me, my life had come to a standstill. I could only manage the basic things in life and anything else I couldn’t cope with at all. 

That year, was a dark year. The worst year I have ever been through. I was horrible to live with since I couldn’t function very well. I hated myself and I hated everyone around me. I had no self-confidence. I had no sense of identity. I struggled with having nothing in my life; no job, no direction, nothing. I felt like I was a dark pulp of misery and anger. The only thing I looked forward to was writing. I loved writing fantasy stories. Writing was one of the things that kept me from going under, that, and my religion. 

My sessions with the psychologist also helped me to slowly improve along with my love of writing and my beliefs as a Christian. Then in 1999, I returned to full time study in Psychology at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. Throughout much of 1999, I continued to grow stronger and to take on more responsibility. By the end of the year, I decided to serve a two year proselyting mission for my church. I was sent to Japan on the 4th of July, 2000.

About mid-way through 2002, I returned back to Australia, enrolled back into Griffith University and met my soon to be wife, Jodie, in December of that year. 

As soon as I met Jodie, I felt a strong attraction towards her. She was beautiful and funny and made me feel confident and comfortable about myself. She was also very accepting and understanding and by the end of the conference, I knew, she was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Although at that time, I didn’t realize the impact the sexually abuse would have on developing the needed relationship I necessary for us to marry. At that time, I was just smitten and didn’t see the problems that would arise.

We dated for most of the summer of 2002 and continued into 2003. As we developed a deeper relationship, I became fearful of being that close with someone and broke up with Jodie. I began to retreat into myself and felt fearful of Jodie learning about the sexual abuse I experienced. I was also fearful of her reaction.  

Fortunately with the encouragement and support of my family, I reconciled with Jodie and explained to her about what had happened to me. To my astonishment, Jodie reacted in a sensitive way. She didn’t recoil away from me in horror as I thought she would. Instead, she explained to me that she had a few friends that had been sexually abused. With my fears alleviated and through Jodie’s unconditional love, acceptance and understanding, we continued our courtship throughout 2003. Then on the 29th November 2003, a few weeks after our graduations, we were married. 

In the beginning of 2004, I found work part time as an English Language Teacher on the Gold Coast and Jodie worked in customer service until she became pregnant later in the year. It was a planned pregnancy, yet I struggled with feelings of not being able to perform as a father. I also thought that I would somehow pass my own ‘hang ups’ onto my child. However what I feared the most was having a boy. 

Another challenge I was experiencing was getting my driver’s license. I hadn’t been able to get one before because I just didn’t have the confidence. However now that Jodie was pregnant, I had no choice but go for it and it was a massive challenge for me, especially because my instructor was a male. All up, I failed four times and passed on the fifth time, yet I was able to work through more of my deeper issues with being in trusting situations with other males.

On the 3rd May 2005, we became proud parents of a baby girl. I loved her from the start and, my fears were alleviated. In 2006 we moved to Brisbane after I secured full time work as an English Language Teacher, and by the end of that year, I had become an Assistant Manager.

In the beginning of 2007, I decided to study a Master of Education, majoring in teaching English to overseas students. This increased my stress levels. However we needed the added income that having a Master degree would bring. 

On the 24th June 2007, our second daughter was born and the darkness of the sexual abuse I had experienced began to return due to the stressors I was experiencing. I was now a husband, a father of two daughters, in a job that I hated and I was studying a Master in Education which I also hated. 

It was from here on in that I began to battle with an eating disorder, over-exercising, suicide ideation and other things I felt were attributed to the sexual abuse I had suffered. By the end of 2007, I was mentally and emotionally tired. I withdrew from the Masters course and began to look for another job.

At the beginning of 2008, I found a job as a Manager of the Student Services within a university still in Brisbane. Through the love of my wife and my daughters, I did overcome those things I felt were attributed to the sexual abuse. However, the stress I felt with my new job was too much so I found a job in the same role at a university on the Gold Coast.

In 2009, we returned to the Gold Coast and we moved with our two daughters near the university where I worked. However, a few months later in May, I was fired from my job and I began to return back to my old vices. Tired with working, I decided to enroll into a Master of Education (primary school) in June, though by September I withdrew from the course. I saw a psychologist for the rest of that year.

In January 2010, I enrolled into a Postgraduate of Counseling. I lasted a week. After that, I enrolled into a Master of Social Work; however by April of 2010, I was done. I found work a few months later within the Queensland government as a Child Welfare Officer just in time to welcome our third daughter.


Working as a Child Welfare Officer was a positive experience at first. However gradually the job didn’t work out, and towards the end of the year, I felt that I wanted to return to university and to become professionally trained as a writer. So in the beginning of 2011, I enrolled into a Master of Arts/Media. It was because of this, I decided to write about my experiences as an adult recovering from childhood sexual abuse. 

From the start, I wanted to write a novel that expressed the darkness that sexual abuse brings and also showed what the long term consequences of sexually abuse look like in everyday life. I wanted this expressed not only in narrative form, but in poetry and short stories. The goal would be to bring awareness of sexual abuse to the community and to acknowledge the struggles of those of us who have been sexually abused. Neon Signs was the result. 

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Check back next week when Duane will tell us more about Neon Signs and shares some excerpts from the novel.


Duane Katene, now 35 years old, was born in New Zealand and moved to Gold Coast, Australia when he was eight years old. He is happily married to his wife Jodie and they have three beautiful daughters, Armarna ((8), Grace (6) and Arden (2). He has a Bachelor of Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Arts/Media from Griffith University. He has worked in Education, Management and Child Welfare, and is currently working as a Social Worker for a foster care agency. He spends the rest of his time writing and taking care of his daughters. He is the author of two eBooks: Neon Signs and Fury’s Daughter. His ambition in life is to raise awareness and understanding of male sexual abuse, to become a spokesperson for male sexual abuse, and to become a resource for survivors and those who love them. 

Visit http://www.duanekatene.com/ to learn more and order your copy of Neon Signs.

July 23, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Shards of Glass -- Part 3

This is the final installment from CW Seymore, author of Shards of Glass. It has been a real gift to have her on to share her story. Be sure to get your copy of her book, coming out this week! www.shardsofglasscwseymore.com

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To conclude with just a portion of my story being told, it is vitally important that I share what I believe to be at the root of all the abuse my family and I suffered and endured. It is a concept that is near and dear to my heart and one that I feel is also at the very core of abuse throughout the world today.

Why do people abuse? I am quite certain nobody wakes up one day and just decides to become an abuser, causing violence and harm to another. Violence is LEARNED behavior! Does that mean that all those who were abused are predisposed with this tendency or is it something they are conditioned to do  through their own personal experiences of abuse?

I do not claim to be an expert by any means or claim to have all the answers, but I am an expert on my own pain, and as a result, I have my own thoughts and opinions as to why abuse is such a major epidemic throughout society. I must first start off by saying that I do not believe all abusers abuse or that they will become abusers. I don’t believe in stereotyping who is more capable of greater harm, men or women, and to what to degree. I DO believe though, that it is the direct result of what was witnessed in the family home environment, a learned way of coping and solving problems. It is what many witnessed and were exposed to in their childhood homes, and that abuse quite often enters the adulthood of that person repeating or reenacting what they were exposed to--either displaying those actions in the home or in society at large! 

To put it simply, children learn what they LIVE! Children learn to abuse and to expect abuse from role models such as the parents, guardians or protectors, and from what they observed and received.

I am the product of this Generational Abuse! Thus the learned behavior is passed down from generation to generation creating a cycle of abuse for future generations.

My parents were BOTH abused. My father was the product of neglect, abandonment, molestation and witness to DV (Domestic Violence). These behaviors later manifested themselves in my family where I too was a victim, tortured physically, mentally and sexually as a result of his learned behaviors. 

My mother was severely battered all throughout my childhood and barely escaped her tortured marriage. Just witnessing this level of violence and intense abuse have contributed to being diagnosed with several different cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, not to mention the physical and sexual abuse.

My mother was a victim of severe childhood abuse and neglect by her father, and was also molested at an early age by a family friend. Surprisingly, she did not abuse any of us, but she did acquire the abandonment and disassociation from childhood to be a mother who was protecting and providing for us but was not overly loving or nurturing. 

This is something I crave today in my adult life, because it was something so void in my childhood. I have always longed to have a mother who will embrace me tenderly and with overwhelming love, but she only shows it through actions or advice and not in the tender ways that I so badly crave, being starved by it as a child.

My father witnessed years of domestic violence, was abandoned and neglected and his parents were both alcoholics. He was molested at an early age and ignored or overlooked in his childhood. He was never shown love, or that he was special or valued as a child. This neglect and abandonment turned into rage within him and when he started his own family and the pressures of life set in, he unleashed! I have shared bits and pieces of his wrath and insane coping skills in the past two blogs and in my book, “Shards of Glass”.

In understanding what both my parents endured in their childhoods, it has given me a deeper understanding into my own. They were both broken parents lacking essential skills needed to raise their own family. They both brought the ugly from their pasts into our present and drastically affected the lives of four little kids. 

Was it their fault? Some would argue yes, they are responsible, but I choose to go a different route in my understanding of all this. My parents were both so badly hurt and damaged as children that they had no idea how to function “normally” and bring healthy patterns or coping skills into their adult lives, and the lives of their children.  I choose to have compassion and empathy towards my father. He is still very much responsible for his actions and the permanent trauma he caused, but through understanding his past, it enabled me to have sympathy in forgiving him and ultimately healing in my life.

I believe that we must conquer the symptom of generational abuse to win the battle against the present abuse being suffered by millions today! I have read many articles on all forms of abuse but rarely is it mentioned that abusers where witnesses to or direct objects of abuse themselves.

Understanding my abusers abuse, how he suffered as a child, helped me to have compassion and understanding resulting in forgiveness!

My sisters and I have all chosen to end the cycle of abuse! We have all taken active steps in recovery from the insane abuse suffered. I knew that I could not have kids, because I knew what was in me--intense anger, rage and very unhealthy coping skills. I did not want to hurt an innocent person so I chose this path. The sister, who was abused as I was, only had one child and she never abused him; and my other sister has chosen to not have children as well. Unfortunately, my brother never had that option, being killed when he was only 28.

In “Shards of Glass,” I mention this topic and share “snap shots” of all the abuse endured in my childhood and the lasting effects that I struggled with well into adulthood. We need to stop this vicious cycle and end the violence TODAY! I know for myself and my siblings we did stop the Legacy of Violence. It ends here with us!

My greatest of all hopes in sharing my story is that it will affect and touch the lives of others; that pieces of my story will resonate in the hearts and minds of the readers and that they will understand that they are not alone; that there is hope after abuse, and that healing is attainable.  If my story and book touches one life and offers that to another, then my memoir will have done its job and fulfilled its purpose in making the world a better place!

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If you've been touched by CW's story, be sure to leave a comment below!

CW Seymore lives quietly in Florida working with area youth and is available for guest speaking engagements via website and email. Please visit shardsofglasssecwseymore.com for inspirational quotes, blogs, helpful resources, and links in aiding the recovery of the abused.
This photo was graciously authorized for my inclusion in the book by D. Sharon Pruitt. This picture most accurately depicts the horror I often felt as a child. This journey has been tremendously difficult! Recalling the past and reliving the intense fear and pain associated with each memory was emotionally draining awakening my many "Triggers" and sending them into overdrive causing severe panic attacks, anger and intense anxiety. This book is healing for me ending the silence and one step closer to my Higher Calling the Lord has planned for my life. My greatest of all hope, is that these stories and vivid accounts will help other Survivors find hope, healing and comfort in knowing they are not alone! This book is for all those who have suffered in silence at the hands of a Guardian or Protector where Domestic Abuse; extreme Physical Abuse; Verbal Degradation; Mental Anguish, Rape and Sexual Molestation resided. CW Seymore has written Shards of Glass under a pen name to protect her family. 

Please visit http://www.shardsofglasscwseymore.com to learn more or get your copy of her book.

July 16, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Shards of Glass - Part 2

This week, CW Seymore, author of Shards of Glass continues her story of hope and healing...

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I will now dive just a bit deeper into my childhood story of abuse by beginning with my first eye witnessed account of domestic violence that was soon to be an everyday occurrence when I was only four years old. I was watching television in the living room and heard my parents arguing in the adjacent kitchen. Suddenly, there was this loud popping noise and I heard my mother scream out and when I turned my head, to my horror, the entire kitchen floor was filled with blood. I remember thinking that my father had just killed my mother because of the large amount of blood. What I did not know then was that he had broken her nose, but the puddle of blood is still an image etched in my mind.

My father loved to inflict physical abuse on my Mother, my sister and I, whereas he never touched my other sister and brother. Hardly ever yelled at them and I don’t remember them ever getting into any kind of trouble. My father’s beatings were so relentless that they often left each of us with the inability to move or walk. We would have massive bruises, welts, cuts, and occasionally cracked or broken bones. He had no shut off valve and his fits of rage were always escalated by alcohol.

He almost always used objects in his abuse. They were usually anything that was in close proximity to the altercation. He would use his hands; fists; feet; boots; stick; belt; broom; chunk of wood; truck or gun. I once read in an online article somewhere that one single act of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse on a child is enough to cause long-term trauma and do permanent psychological damage. I experienced fourteen years of sustained long-term abuse. There is significant physical harm in the use of objects because the abuser is unaware of the force of the blow he is inflicting. The abuse can last for longer periods because the impact is not hurting the attacker! I had many non-accidental injuries growing up, and I often wonder why nobody ever noticed or spoke out about them, especially the teachers at school. That is a whole other subject in and of itself. Nobody ever intervened and most everyone knew, including my grandparents and extended family.

Another object he used to inflict permanent emotional distress and absolute panic was his shotgun. When my mother, Marie, or I darted for that door and started running, sometimes the asshole was lazy and did not give chase. He would just grab the shotgun, which was usually loaded by the front door, and start shooting toward us. Of course your back was turned in the other direction, so you only knew that you were the object of target practice when you heard the shots being fired! There is no greater source of anxiety than having a gun pointed at you—as I saw him do to my mother on several occasions—or when you are running for your life with your back turned and hearing buckshot’s whizzing past your ears and hitting those objects that you’re passing by.

One of his favorite objects to use was his frigging truck. When the gun was not loaded and he did not feel like chasing after us because we had a substantial lead, he would just jump in his truck and try to run us down, revving his engine and coming up to only a few feet away from us! I cannot recall the countless times I would be downtown and he would try to catch me, and I would start running up the hill toward the house and he would be revving that damn engine again. He was only about three feet away from me, close enough that I could see the headlights out of the corner of my eye. I knew I could not slip or fall then. If I did he would not have the reaction time to slam on the brakes, and I always feared he would run me over, so I was forced to run as fast as I could out of fear and pure adrenaline, despite being utterly exhausted. I would dart left and then right, up embankments and through bushes and brush, and he would be right behind me, never taking me out of his sights. It was a mile run, all uphill, and by the time I reached a place where I could safely get out of his path and where the truck could not go, I would be hyperventilating. I would fall to the ground and lie there on the verge of passing out from sheer panic and exhaustion until I regained my breath! A lot of these occurrences happened when he had been drinking or was drunk and in one of the lunatic moods where he had no perception as to how close he was or how fast he was pushing you to run. As I lay on the ground, I would be relieved that I had survived another one of his games, but I would cry, out of panic and fear, and feel so very alone, helpless to change my life.

These are the games I played with my father while growing up. “Do you wanna play?”

These are only a few “snap shots” into the physical, emotional and psychological games my father liked to play. There are many more instances listed in my book. There were countless sleepless nights. Nights spent in hiding outside in the woods, the cornfield, behind a building or under a pile of brush. Where I was alone, terrified and felt utter despair. In those times of trauma and fear so incomprehensible while hiding my constant prayer would be, “Please Lord, don’t let him find me, Please Lord don’t let him find me.” This was my childhood national anthem. On those nights I would try to figure out why my father hated me so much, praying to God, “What did I ever do to deserve all of this?” “Where are you Lord?” “Does anybody care?” I would secretly wonder to myself whether this cycle would ever end and whether I would survive my childhood.

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Check back next week for more from CW!

CW Seymore lives quietly in Florida working with area youth and is available for guest speaking engagements via website and email. Please visit shardsofglasssecwseymore.com for inspirational quotes, blogs, helpful resources, and links in aiding the recovery of the abused.
This photo was graciously authorized for my inclusion in the book by D. Sharon Pruitt. This picture most accurately depicts the horror I often felt as a child. This journey has been tremendously difficult! Recalling the past and reliving the intense fear and pain associated with each memory was emotionally draining awakening my many "Triggers" and sending them into overdrive causing severe panic attacks, anger and intense anxiety. This book is healing for me ending the silence and one step closer to my Higher Calling the Lord has planned for my life. My greatest of all hope, is that these stories and vivid accounts will help other Survivors find hope, healing and comfort in knowing they are not alone! This book is for all those who have suffered in silence at the hands of a Guardian or Protector where Domestic Abuse; extreme Physical Abuse; Verbal Degradation; Mental Anguish, Rape and Sexual Molestation resided. CW Seymore has written Shards of Glass under a pen name to protect her family. 

Please visit http://www.shardsofglasscwseymore.com to learn more or get your copy of her book.

July 10, 2013

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Shards of Glass - Part 1

This week, I am pleased to introduce you to CW Seymore, author of Shards of Glass. For the next three weeks, she will be sharing her story in her continued effort to end the silence and step closer to her higher purpose. She is an inspiration and hopes that her stories will help others to find hope, healing and comfort in knowing they are not alone!

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My story begins and ends like so many other survivors of abuse. It began at the age of four when I first witnessed the horrors my father would soon display. I witnessed Domestic Violence so horrific and traumatizing that, if that was all that I experienced in my childhood, it would have been enough to send me to the 13th floor in a round padded room! Unfortunately that would NOT be all that I experienced!

I am the Adult Survivor of witnessing Domestic Violence; extreme Physical abuse; Mental and Emotional abuse; Molestation; Rape; and to top it all off – I am also the “Adult Survivor of an Alcoholic,” which brings a whole new slew of issues in and of itself to deal and cope with! 

All these gruesome acts, I experienced by the age of sixteen years old and continued until I was nineteen leaving and moving out of state. These should have been the best times of my life, laying the foundation for love, security, safety, endless imagination and empowerment, but they were none of those things. My childhood was spent in severe fear, anxiety, panic, rage, turmoil, pain, trauma, emptiness, loneliness, frustration and utter despair, spanning fifteen years and carrying on far into my adult life and perhaps will linger, until my dying breath.

The title for my book “Shards of Glass” was born out of my experiences as I a five years old, when I received the first of many battle scars in my youth, this one would be visible though, while most, are all internal scars, some too deep for words. 

I was sitting at the table drinking a glass of chocolate milk, when my father said, “Don’t you dare spill that glass of milk!” As you can obviously conclude, I failed at his request, spilling the entire glass all over the kitchen table and floor. I immediately dashed underneath the kitchen table out from under his anger, or so I thought. Out of rage at my innocent “mistake” he picked up the empty glass and slammed it to the floor, with glass shattering everywhere. One of those shards hit their mark that day, cutting my upper thigh to the bone. I would be rushed to the emergency room and would receive over 33 stitches, leaving a gaping scar on my thigh, noticeable to others and a constant, eternal reminder of the violence I experienced in my youth.

I am not going to divulge my entire story and all the individual acts of violence and horror. Those are in my book for you to experience and learn from. I am sharing today bits and pieces of my story to hopefully connect with you and to let you know that there is Hope and Healing after a traumatic childhood. You do have a Future! There is forgiveness and normalcy after extensive, horrific abuse. You can overcome, heal, change and Thrive again! The trauma from my youth left me battered, shattered, broken and struggling to survive in the adult world. The emotional and psychological scars of abandonment, rejection, co-dependency, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, rage, relational issues and low self-esteem are all issues I sometimes struggle with today. 

As a result of those struggles from my abuse, I was fortunate enough to enter counseling when I was only nineteen years old. I talked and shared with amazing therapists that not only listened, but gave me powerful tools in recognizing the negative patterns of behavior learned in my youth. They forced me to look deep within and take an honest inventory, literally having to unlearn everything from my past. I cope much better now, and thrive more often than not. I have learned not to stay stuck for long, and to immediately notice when those old patterns of thinking and relating start to surface. I am blessed beyond measure, that the Lord led me to such wonderful, Godly, empowering counselors who truly wanted my healing and not just a paycheck.

My book, Shards of Glass was a project I started this January. The book only took me three weeks to write and it came about through the following excerpt from my book. Please enjoy and I look forward to sharing more.


PREFACE

This project all started when a dear old friend of mine asked the question: Were you ever raped? My snap, kneejerk reply was “NO—just molested.” Like that was OK? We later joked about my casual response. I had been so numb to what I experienced in my childhood that my response was callous and unemotional. While I had shared with my close friends snapshots of my past and certain stories or memories that had come to mind, none of those friends had ever directly asked me that question before. I remember driving home from her house, which was a good hour-and-a-half drive. My mind raced into the wee hours of the night. I was molested but had I been raped?

Marivel had once been a dear friend, but I had not been actively in her life, as a close friend, for over three years. On the night of that infamous question, I had paid her a surprise visit with a Christmas gift for her children. She and I had originally met through working together. We soon formed a deep friendship that later crumbled, compliments of my childhood, suppressed emotions, and my ingrained and insane coping skills. Three years later, almost to the day, and after dedicated prayers to the Lord for reconciliation, we reconnected, and our friendship was restored!

Based upon memories and dreams I have had over the years, I found myself finally having the courage to answer Marivel’s question that had been asked in our conversation and a few weeks later via a text message. I described those memories and visions that have haunted me for so many years for the very first time to anyone. I explained to her that I knew I had been molested at a very young age and also raped when I was in my teens, but at the time I could not recall by whom. Her later reaction to my response was not what I had hoped for; it scared her away once again. It was not what I shared that pushed her back; it was because she felt so bad about it. When she pulled away again though, I was left with one of my most dreaded emotions: rejection. I felt she had abandoned me because of what I had shared and that she thought I was some weird, messed-up person. I was angry because I finally thought I had shared the right visions from my dreams and memories and had now been rejected for it. I had kept quiet about these visions and memories for years—not wanting to remember, forcing the images back down deep within and only recalling “snapshots.”

The next few weeks were some of my darkest. As I sat home alone in my apartment, with no direction and feeling no purpose I became desperate. At that point, I had been unemployed for two months and had nothing but time on my hands to sit and dwell over my current circumstances and the question Marivel had asked me. Recalling my past had triggered my every emotion. I was on my knees praying to God for deliverance, direction, strength, peace, healing, and reconciliation with friends—basically for anything and everything during this time. I was broken and at the end of my rope. I spent those weeks doing some heavy soul searching and being as honest with myself as I have ever been. My previous employer was fighting me on unemployment. I had no money, saw no future, depressed, lonely, having no friends in arms’ reach. It was a desperate state of being, I’ll tell you. But God was there in the midst of it all, and He answered yet again: I received my unemployment, and they paid me retroactively, which relieved a lot of stress and financial concerns. I did not know at the time that God was also about to answer a few other requests and send me on a journey of blind faith. During that time the Lord showed me more love and peace than I had ever known!

Three days later, I went to a baby shower close to where Marivel lived, so I decided that I was going to try one last time to reconnect with her and gain some understanding as to why she had pushed me away again. I wanted to tell her that I was not the same person she knew a few years earlier and that I had changed and learned healthier methods for coping with my emotions and triggers from the past. I remember pulling up to her house and just sitting in the driveway and praying. When I walked up to her door, I prayed again, “Lord, please prepare her heart for what I have to say, please let her accept me for who I am.” When she opened the door, I was so nervous that I was shaking. I thought she would slam the door in my face and tell me to leave but to my surprise she welcomed me with a smile and we picked back up where we’d left off three years prior again. We laughed, cried, and drank a glass of wine. She wanted to know more about my childhood, so I told her story after story of the horrific pain and anguish I went through. I shared with her everything I could remember at the time. She was deeply moved and said to me, “You need to write a book.” I told her my story is like so many others; it’s not that different, who would read it? Her reply was, “I would and so would many others.” She then said something that changed my whole perspective. She said, “I have never known anyone with a story like yours. I have never had anyone share what you have shared with me. You read about similar struggles or see movies about them, but seldom do you personally know someone or are friends with someone with this kind of horrifying story.”

That night, she was not the first person who ever suggested to me that I should write a book, but she will be the last! I have known for years that the story of my childhood needed to be used somehow to help others. I have felt something in my spirit that said I needed to write a book. When those thoughts would come to the forefront, I would just dismiss them and go back on about my life. When Marivel said it that night, after three years of no friendship and hardly any contact, it struck a deep nerve. I know it was the Lord’s gentle nudge and a confirmation of what I already knew in my heart I had to do. The Lord does answer prayers, so be careful what you pray for.

I was only praying for reconciliation in our friendship, not to write a damn book!

After that conversation, I knew completely how the Lord had used her in my life. I was encouraged, on January 28, 2013, to officially post on my Facebook page, “I am going to write a book! Detailing things from my traumatic childhood! After years of knowing I should do this, and after the wise words of a dear friend and much prayer, I will start this journey and trust that God will use it for HIS purpose and the healing of others!”

This book is a journey into my world. Through the terrified eyes of a child, I will share the pain and torment inflicted on my family and me by my father. Nobody was left unscathed. My research for this book comes from the countless books I have read on the subject, endless counseling sessions, and my best recollections of childhood. The events that happened in my childhood coupled with the tragedies that my family experienced have made me an expert on my pain and the struggles that I have carried with me for years.

After leaving my friend’s house that night of the “question”, I started re-examining all the details, recalling every moment, every vision. I wished I would have told her more accurately the truth that night, but I did not really know for sure myself and I was scared to give life to my memories. Speaking them or writing them makes it real! Was what I shared with her really the truth or my vibrant imagination? I started to try to remember and recount if it was my father or someone else who had ever raped me. I know I was molested, severely abused physically, and mentally tormented by him. Some of these memories, I know without any doubt, happened. Those memories are so vivid I feel like I am right there and it is happening all over again. I can see the images; I recognize the surroundings and hear the words and feel the physical pain. There are some thoughts that only come in snapshots or flashbacks. I recall all of my dreams. They are graphic and have lots of detail. Those dreams wake me up from a deep sleep and in a cold sweat even today. When I awake, I am overwhelmed with relief when I realize it was only in my dreams and not actually happening again. Dreaming those dreams helps me put the pieces of the puzzle together. Even as I write these words, though, I am still unsure. I hope that through the course of this journey, I will find that the account I gave her was what actually happened. Better still would be that my father will eventually admit to all that he did, and that in doing so, he will fill in the empty gaps that self-preservation just will not allow me to remember completely. But that one question, “Were you raped?” still resounds in my thoughts and has sent my memories into overdrive. I am so frustrated because I know what I know, but at the same time, I do not know. I think it happened, have the images that prove it did, but I do not have the 100 percent cognitive recollection to substantiate it. Was I just dreaming it, or did it really happen?

I trust Marivel was right, and that this is something people will identify with, be moved, touched, and healed by through the reading of it. I do not write this out of anger or to hurt my father, to disgrace his name, or to get back at him. I have sincerely made my peace and have forgiven him for the past because I have come to realize that he too was a victim of generational abuse, and his actions were a direct reaction to things he experienced himself as a child. That does not dismiss what he did and how he emotionally, physically, and permanently altered the childhoods of four little children.

I do not write this for fame or fortune. I write this to be obedient to the Lord and what I know to be His inner voice in my spirit. I write this because as I was figuring out who I was and why I acted, felt, and thought the way I did, it was so comforting and reassuring to read my struggles in someone else’s book and know that I am not alone. That yes, others out there have experienced the same or very similar experiences and have overcome all the illness that comes with being an adult survivor of witnessing domestic violence, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. I write this to be a legacy as I have no kids of my own, nor do I think I ever will. I write this to finally share that inner horror that I have been held a prisoner in for so very long. I write this to end the cycle in our family of abuse and destructiveness. I write this for my healing and to have no secrets anymore! I write this to be used by someone else to experience freedom and peace. This book is not a self-help book with intellectual facts and studies on the effects of child abuse. I am not a professional writer, nor do I claim to be an expert on abuse, stolen innocence, fear, or trauma. This is simply a memoir of my childhood and most importantly my past—what I endured, how I tried to cope, how I failed, but most importantly that I survived and how the Lord is continuing to heal me day by day. The day this is published will be the day my life is, once again, forever altered!


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Check back next week for more from CW!

CW Seymore lives quietly in Florida working with area youth and is available for guest speaking engagements via website and email. Please visit shardsofglasssecwseymore.com for inspirational quotes, blogs, helpful resources, and links in aiding the recovery of the abused.
This photo was graciously authorized for my inclusion in the book by D. Sharon Pruitt. This picture most accurately depicts the horror I often felt as a child. This journey has been tremendously difficult! Recalling the past and reliving the intense fear and pain associated with each memory was emotionally draining awakening my many "Triggers" and sending them into overdrive causing severe panic attacks, anger and intense anxiety. This book is healing for me ending the silence and one step closer to my Higher Calling the Lord has planned for my life. My greatest of all hope, is that these stories and vivid accounts will help other Survivors find hope, healing and comfort in knowing they are not alone! This book is for all those who have suffered in silence at the hands of a Guardian or Protector where Domestic Abuse; extreme Physical Abuse; Verbal Degradation; Mental Anguish, Rape and Sexual Molestation resided. CW Seymore has written Shards of Glass under a pen name to protect her family. 

Please visit http://www.shardsofglasscwseymore.com to learn more or get your copy of her book.

July 3, 2013

Shocking! The Real Purpose of Your Life!

"They made you miss everything!"



This brief video captures so many beautiful ideas and is a brilliant reminder that the "end goal, finish line, bottom line" are not where our attention should be if we want to experience the moments of our lives that are the most meaningful and remembering-full. The "end" is constantly moving, so let's not drive ourselves batty chasing a moving target.

Live your purpose, live your dream -- don't pursue it!

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Sign up for my free guide so you can stop spinning your wheels and instead navigate your way through each stage of recovery with ease and clarity. Get the support you need today

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