For Decades My Life Was Filled With Terror, Violence and Suffering…
(A Survival Story From the Founder)
The truth is often worse than fiction!
I am a survivor of horrific trauma!
From my childhood forward, I was abused in unspeakable ways by multiple perpetrators.
I only share the details that I believe will establish credibility and to help someone else who is struggling to overcome victimization.
See my story underneath the resource for healing found below entitled, “More Trauma”….
I’m going to share some experiences with you, and I am sensitive to the fact that sometimes as survivors we are” triggered” or reminded of our own suffering when we hear the trauma of someone else. I have had this happen to me before.
Below are a few Acupressure Points in the “Emotional First Aid” system used for working with survivors of trauma from our Spokesperson, Phoenix Alexander
If you feel anxious, or triggered while reading this or at any time in your daily life, try holding the points below. Always take care of yourself emotionally!
Bonus: Solar Plexus — Put one hand on the solar plexus; located in the center of your abdomen, just below the ribs and the bottom of the sternum to calm your nervous system down and get out of a fight or flight response.
Disclaimer: Use at your own risk. They may cause more memories that you need to heal to come up for resolution.
Also they may or may not work for you. The author assumes no responsibility for your use of these acupressure points.
These are some very helpful tools you can use any time to immediately change your nervous system state from one of fight or flight to one of rest and restore.
Don’t discount them because it seems simple. They are very effective.
Founder’s Story…More Trauma:
This Story is PG-13 and if you are easily disturbed or offended you should stop reading this now!
This story is a little graphic but I can’t convey the experience effectively without including some of these details.
This is only a portion of the whole story. This is not the worst experience of my life but I think it will give you a feel for some of the trauma I have had to overcome.
For my personal safety, I am not going to tell you who the perpetrator in this story is, or the exact nature of our relationship, but If it had been easy to end the relationship, I would have done it a lot sooner.
I was with a man who turned my life inside out. At first everything seemed fine, I didn’t realize he had a serious personality disorder.
Then he started isolating me from my friends and family and became increasingly controlling and violent.
He demanded to know everyone I talked to and what I talked about. He didn’t want me to expose him. At first I didn’t because I was really afraid– and I felt ashamed for what for what was happening.
I remember….One night we went to a movie and I stopped to talk with one of my friends and he became so enraged that I was talking with anyone, without his permission, that he left me at 1 in the morning in sub zero weather and took the car. I had to find a payphone, try to wake someone else up in the middle of the night to come and get me.
One time he took my face in his hands, like he was being tender but when he took his hands off, I could feel something on my face. When I touched it I realized that he had wiped a huge slimey booger on my face. I started gagging which made him laugh hysterically.
Another time, he laid beside me and started to cuddle but as soon as he got me in his arms, to hold me down– he started kicking me—really hard. I said, “Stop kicking me!” He said”I didn’t kick you! Your’e crazy.” He continued to deny he kicked me trying to make me feel confused and crazy.
One day he handed me a paper bag and said, “Here, I have a present for you.”I was excited and I opened the bag and found my pet turtle in the bag–dead. It had gotten sick and I was giving it medication, but I didn’t know it died. I was shocked and really sad—I loved this pet. And I just stood there, so he grabbed the turtle out of the bag and shoved it toward my face so that I was forced to look my dead pet. I was horrified.
Sometimes, he would start just start raging about anything. And then he’d yell “Hit me!” I’d say “I’m not going to hit you.” So he beat on his own head until he raised big, bruised, lumps. I was afraid he would get me arrested for assault— and he was doing it to himself!
Another time, I started passing a kidney stone and I was in excruciating pain. (If any of you have ever had a kidney stone, you know what I’m talking about.) I asked him to bring me a glass of water–he wouldn’t do it.
The more pain I was in, the more excited he got. He demanded that we have sex—he tried to force me. I resisted– and he was so enraged that he yanked the phone out of the wall and left with it.
He took the car and left me alone. I didn’t have another phone, I had no transportation, I couldn’t walk more than a few steps because of the pain, and I was vomiting profusely. I just laid on the floor and cried. I seriously didn’t know if I was going to live through it.
About 5 hours hours later, I was rescued by someone who followed a hunch that I was in crisis. They came to my apartment and took me to the hospital. I was admitted for dehydration and pain, and multiple kidney stones lodged in the ureter. I was scheduled for surgery– three days later. I was in total agony.
Just minutes before my surgery, he showed up at the hospital acting like he’d done nothing.
I realized I was dealing with a pretty sick person and I was very worried about my safety so I went for counseling. When I told the psychologist the things I just told you, he said “Everyone has to make adjustments early on in a relationship. “ and told me essentially I should just get over it—suck it up!
I could not believe it! I was confused and angry that I could be treated like I was just some piece of meat.
Well, ignoring his behavior just caused him to escalate. He skipped the beatings and went straight for weapons!
“Turning the other cheek” with an abuser is extremely dangerous. He became so violent that he threatened my life several times, and my health was totally compromised. I knew I had to leave!
As Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the Rest of the story….”
Next, he bought a combat knife, but he wasn’t a Veteran, and started carrying it everywhere. He said, ”It’s for just in case”. “ Just in case what?”
Then he showed me the “blood groove”. He said “If the blood groove wasn’t here, it would be harder to pull out the knife but since it’s there, it breaks the suction so I I can stab you repeatedly.”
Now I was terrified, and outraged that the counselors didn’t have him figured out, and I was being told to simply “Adjust to his behavior!”
Anger is an emotion often experienced in betrayal.
One time we got in an argument and I tried to run away from him out of the apartment, because his behavior had become violent .
He literally drug me back into the apartment with his nails digging into my skin and he said, “You will never get away from me! If you try it again, I will kill you! But if for some reason you get away, I will kill your sister!” I believed him! I felt trapped and terrorized.
–And nobody was listening to me!
By then he started talking a lot about murdering me and exactly how he was going to do it. He explained how he would cut me into pieces and how that would feel as he dismembered me-Alive.
He also told me how he was going to put the pieces of me into a dumpster and with blood-lust in his eyes, he told me how my body parts would sound when he threw them in the dumpster.
When I had previously gone for counseling and the therapist told me that everyone has to make “adjustments” to deal with his abuse, I felt betrayed.
After my tormentor had repeatedly threatened my life– and in bloody detail described how he was going to carry it out, I went back to the counselor begging for help– and he totally dismissed what I said!!!
Perhaps it was because he was a counselor from my church and they had a vested interest in keeping the relationship together.
I don’t know if he didn’t believe me or was just too arrogant because he told me to “adjust” the first time I saw him. He seemed more invested staying with his initial counsel than preserving my life!
The second time I went to see him he told me that I should allow that man “To experience the consequences of his actions.” Like what consequences—my death? Unbelievable!
Now I was pissed!
One afternoon while I was walking home from my University campus, I had a stranger pull up beside me and start hitting up on me from his car.
I told him ”I’m not interested in getting together” so he got out of his car and followed me. I hurried into a the Music Department, where I was taking classes and a lot of people knew me, and I stayed there for hours until I thought the stalker was gone.
Later that night, when I walked home to my apartment, as I got through the door, I heard in a loud and unmistakable voice in my mind “There is someone in your home who is going to try to kill you!”
I’d never heard voices before, so I paid attention! I didn’t know where else to go. It was pitch dark in my apartment and I was already inside.
This was before you could call 911 and be connected immediately with the police and long before cell phones. I was on my own! It was terrifying!
I didn’t know who was in my apartment. I figured it was the stalker who had followed me earlier.
I was absolutely terrified and I felt like I was going to pass out. There was a very loud sound in my ears and a buzzing feeling in my head. I was trying desperately not to pass out, because I knew if I did– I would die.
It was totally dark and I heard creaking in the hall and I felt someone coming toward me–And then I recognized him. It was my tormentor.
What happened next was one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced. I was trapped, I knew if I ran he would kill me.
But the same voice that told me someone was going to try to kill me– told me step by step how to stay alive.
I believe it was God’s voice speaking to my mind. My life was spared because I listened to that voice!
After my escape, I got a permanent restraining order against him which I have to this day—for whatever it’s worth.
The cops told me restraining orders are often useless and they find them with the women’s bodies after they have been killed.
I moved to another state and I tried to make a new life for myself. But it was years before I could actually say the words of what happened that night.
It felt like the terror was encapsulated— just frozen in time in my mind and my body. I lived it out at night in my nightmares, and by day in constant fear,.
He stalked me through several states using my church records to locate my address. –Another betrayal.
But every time he got close to getting me again, there was always Divine Intervention– Like the time a friend called and warned me he had seen him in town and to be careful.
Another time the starter on my car died. This starter was only 3 month old and not one shop in town could get a new starter for several weeks. Because my car was in the shop, he couldn’t pinpoint if I was home or not to come, to come and kill me.
There were so many other incidents over the years that happened to keep me safe, but each time he hunted me–I was traumatized again. It was a long, hard, climb out of the hell that man created for me.
It appears that there was absolutely no consequence to him. Even now it looks like his life is just fine.
I had to decide if I was going to live fully– or live half alive the way he left me.
I had to learn how to forgive what seemed unforgivable.
I had to learn to trust after being betrayed by the professionals I turned to for help.
I had to learn to release the trauma trapped in my mind and body.
I am not exactly “normal”, but I have learned how to be exceptionally functional and truly happy.
I am a more than a survivor! I know what it truly means to go….From Victim Into Victor!
—-A Trauma Story from the Founder of: From Victim Into Victor Organization
This site is dedicated to sharing resources to help all victims go from Powerless Victims into Empowered Victors!
Here are some stories of other survivors who are healing their lives.
Hope and Healing:
“My year had not started off in the right direction at all. I had severe pain in my low back, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and headaches. I had many diagnostic tests, lots of pain medications, and many treatments from chiropractic to massage. Nothing was helping! I had to take a leave my manager position and was placed on short term disability by my doctor. I was in constant pain for more than 11 weeks, not working and laying in my bed 95% of the time. Being in all that pain started to affect my whole body. I was having trouble sleeping, my body was always tense and I had no way of feeling relaxed. That was when I was referred to a woman who showed me how to do acupressure techniques to heal and overcome trauma.
I was skeptical, because I has already seen massage therapists, including my mother who has been licensed for over 20 years, and sadly it only gave me a day or two of relief. This massage therapist was different, she showed me points to work on for myself and sent me home with a care sheet to work the points whenever I needed to help calm and heal myself.
Plus I didn’t have to take my clothes off! Why would that be an issue? Well, I was physically, mentally and sexually abused until the age of 5, when I came to live with my aunt and uncle who eventually adopted me. I had a lot of issues while growing up feeling pain, hurt, lost and confused. I ended up seeing a counselor and a shrink, to help me cope with the nightmares, and all the feelings I had. I felt like I was a victim, but I felt I was the one to blame for everything that had happened. I felt ashamed and dirty. How do you begin to talk about what you feel? I don’t even know how to put words to it. I was 12 years old and feeling like I wanted to die, and so lost in the world. To make things even “better” all the shrinks and counselors all told me “they understand and know how I feel.” I would ask them if they went through anything like this and they said “No”. I then would say, ‘then how do you know how I feel?” They would look at me in shock– and that would be the last time I would see them!
As someone who has been hurt—and fine, we can say even “broken, or worthless”, I buried those feelings and wouldn’t talk about it, and placed a smile on my face for 13 years.
That brings me back to the first visit with Phoenix. Her spirit and happiness just radiates off her right within the first 30 seconds of saying “hello”. She explains step by step what she will be doing and what you might feel. As she started working, I began to feel and overwhelming sense of calmness, and a flood of emotions took over my body, and I just cried, and cried. I felt embarrassed for showing emotion, but Phoenix reassured me and I felt SAFE. During all of this from the waist down I had continuous shaking for about 5 minutes. After that, I felt so tired and relaxed that I could fall asleep standing up. I had been having a really hard time sleeping at all because of the pain I’d had for weeks.
That night, once I had gotten home I had uncontrollable tears. I couldn’t stop, I ended up crying myself to sleep, which I had not done in a while because….. I don’t cry because I feel it’s a weakness. That night I had a vivid dream about the time when my birth mom tried to kill me.
I woke up to a text message from the massage therapis asking how I was. Honestly I was a wreck. I couldn’t stop crying. I was feeling lost, sad, hurt, angry, confused and feeling like my life just didn’t matter.
Phoenix called me and helped me understand that my mind and body were finally letting go of the trauma and the memories were working their way up to the surface. I didn’t have to be afraid of the process. Nothing would come up that I couldn’t handle and that it was going to help me heal to just let it come out. Then over the phone she took me through the list of acupressure points that she had given me at our first visit, to help calm me down and to balance and heal my emotions. She walked me through the different points to calm myself. The ones that can send peace through my body are ‘Sea of Tranquility and Sea of Energy”.
As she is taking me through the acupressure points, the day my birth mom tried to kill me kept playing in my head. Phoenix told me I didn’t need to share the thought with her, but face it and make a change. When I faced it (she calls it re-framing), I just ran away. I let that little girl flee and not let it scare her no more! My whole bottom half started shaking and the memory disappeared. Now I can talk and think about the memory without the hurt, pain and emotion that comes along with it. When I think about it, it’s like it never happened to me! And relief has come through my whole body with just one memory being worked through.
When I had to go for an MRI and put in a tiny tube I used the calming acupressure points to keep me from feeling anxious. It helped so much!
Through this process, I truly believe your body is an amazing work of art! By simple placements of your hands on your body you have the power and the control to bring peace, balance, calmness, tranquility and work through painful issues, with spoken words and (your mind imagining a better outcome).
When the body is ready to face the fear, let it happen. It truly knows you and when you are ready!”–Andrea
Escape from Captivity
I know a man who was kidnapped and taken prisoner of war. He was extensively tortured for months. Obviously he is a trauma survivor. Yet this man is very functional. I marvel at his coping skills and asked if he would share with me how he survived this horrific ordeal and what advice he might give other trauma survivors. I want you to hear it straight from him so I’m going to read exactly what he said.
“It’s really difficult to actually tell people what happened-even friends. When a survivor thinks or talks about their experiences it brings them down and makes them feel sad. But it is helpful to be able to talk with some people who can understand the situation and help you feel good about yourself again. It’s easiest for survivors to relate to other people who have gone through something similar. It gives you more hope to see someone else who has gotten through it okay. There is a debate that goes on inside about what you want to do with your life after the problem and you doubt whether you can actually do it.”
“Survivors remember all their trauma. It’s really important to remember that it is over! It’s not happening anymore. It’s also really important to talk care of yourself. Remember that you can’t change the past. It is what it is. Try to focus on the good and positive things you have in your life now. Think about what you want for yourself in the future.”
“It’s really important to face the trauma. You can ignore it, but that doesn’t work. But when you face it you’re going to feel really sad. You wonder” Why am I here? How did this happen? Why did this happen? When you have flashbacks and go back to the hell you endured you feel hurt and angry. You ask yourself “Why am I damaged?”
“You can fight this trauma the way you fought the enemy but the difference is , you’re not going to use bullets, you’ve got to use your brain! And if you think you changed 1% in the war field, you can change 50% here. You’re not going to be fully successful in completely changing, but you can change yourself maybe 50%.”
“One of the things I did to heal was to really feel the pain when it came up. I would make myself a cup of tea or coffee—and just sip it slowly and let the memories come up. I liked to be alone at night and sit watch the moon, especially a full moon, and sip the tea. I put on really sad songs that helped me just feel the sadness. I felt like “if my heart could cry, it would cry.” Then I let myself cry all I want and just let it out.”
‘I would just go down into the memories of the horrors of the war and my torture, and then think about the people who died. I’d go down as far as I can into those memories. Then I’d say to myself ,’Well, I’m alive and I can make changes. I can be with people I love. I can make new friends. I can share feelings with people I care about.
He has this advice for others: “This is life. It’s easy to think about wanting to die, but it’s not worth it! “You can’t ignore the sadness in your body eating you inside out. Beat the sadness and be stronger than it. “Eat it before it eats you.” Everybody can make changes to make their life better. As long as you have a heart, brain and spirit, you can do anything to leave the past and create a future of happiness. Learn from where you lived and create the future. Be proud of yourself! Others will be proud of you too. If you think you cant’ do it, it really means you can! You are thinking about it so you can. You can do anything you think about! You feel like you want to fix everything at once, live better, quit drinking or whatever addiction you have, but you have to do one thing at a time. Thinking about how to make everything better at once will make you crazy. Work out a system to work on one thing at a time like finances, happy relationships, no drinking or pills etc. Progress a little at a time and make incremental changes.
“You have to think about consequences. He says,” In the war I worked as a translator and often 2 people in a dangerous situation were angry and frustrated and yelling at each other. It was my job to tell each of them what the other was saying. It was hard not to get into the same feelings. I wanted to support each side. It was like two rams butting heads.( Sometimes I didn’t want to tell them exactly what the other said because I knew it wouldn’t help.)
I had to learn to stop and be quiet—Not to think. I just stopped and let my mind go and be still for a few seconds. When I am the calm person between them I have ideas come and I can give advice that works. Calmness gives me ideas and they accept it. . I think this technique can help people when you’re flooded with emotions or flashbacks– just stop! Let your mind go. Wait for a few seconds and let ideas come. It changes everything 360 degrees to pause and be still.”
“When you get to the worst place emotionally, you can’t make it better right then. Go calm down, try one thing at a time. It does get better! If the people you care about are unsupportive or seem demanding, when they see your progress they will change with you.”
His victory is: that he is a helpful, compassionate man who makes the lives of the people he cares about much better. He works a fulltime job, he helps his friends and family-a lot. He is happy most of the time, he has meaningful loving relationships with others.
He could be an angry, violent, bitter person because of the experiences of his kidnapping and torture, but he is not. It is a choice! He helped to train soldiers how to survive interrogations and how to escape if taken captive. He made his horror into a way to help others.