Too Often Victims Focus Most on the Horrors They Have Experienced.
The recent mass shootings have brought everyone’s attention to, and created some understanding of, the suffering of victims.
Life isn’t Fair! Sometimes really bad things happen to good people. Sometimes really bad people get away with their crimes. We never know what will happen next–and that is just plain scary but that is reality.
It has been my life experience that an evil person, or people, who are determined to create suffering and destroy others will find a way to do that; whether that is with rape, torture, religious fanaticism, a gun, a knife, psychological terrorism, all the way up to bombs and chemical warfare.
If one weapon is unavailable they will find and use another. There will always be evil perpetrators choosing to destroy others.
But unless you died from their actions (and if you’re reading this you didn’t) I believe there is a way for you to counter the abuse, and tragedy.
One thing we can do is be aware of the actions and possible intentions of the people around us.
Learn to trust your instincts about being in danger.
Denying the perpetrator a target is one of the tactics frequently stressed in my Marital Arts training.
Be willing to report possible danger to someone who will take it seriously.
We must be watching out for our fellow brothers and sisters. Yes, we can choose to be our “brother’s keeper”.
Never be a bully because too often the bullied ones eventually “Go Postal” and go on a killing spree.
Never Participate in Victim Blaming or Victim Shaming! We Don’t Need Victims Becoming Perpetrators Because They Can’t Handle The Unmerited Shame Being Placed On Them!
We can’t change what has already happened. We can’t control the future, or anyone else. The only control we really have is our own minds, and what we choose to focus on, and how we choose to respond to the events and circumstances in our lives.
Tragedies and Suffering Also Create Heroes!
You could decide that your suffering and adversity are the training ground for you to become a True Warrior. It will prepare you to “fight the good fight” for what it right and noble.
I’m talking about the opposite of a powermonger and warmonger- the perpetrators who start wars. Their wars are domestic- in our homes, and in our communities with riots, gangs and mass murder which create division, strife, mass chaos, and suffering.
A True Warrior is a protector and champion of the weak, the broken, and the suffering.
Rise Up Against the Evil that was Done to You and be a True Warrior!
Let your suffering have a purpose in making you indomitable, and unstoppable, as a force for good. Make yourself into the antithesis of all the perpetrators characteristics and what they stand for.
We can allow our circumstances to shape us into someone magnificent or we can let them break us.
Many of the amazing people who have done the most to create a better life for themselves and others have experienced tremendous difficulties and tragedies. Instead of letting life break them, they used the adversity as a catalyst for greatness.
How Do We Overcome The Effects of Violence and Counter the Tragedy?
We can train our minds to focus on the present moment in mindfulness, focused on how our bodies feel in the present time-not on the past trauma.
We can visualize a better life and set goals and take actions to create that life.
We must learn to focus on and store the good times, like treasures that we can keep to recall when our minds want to go back and ruminate on the painful experiences of our life.
How often do you stay stuck fuming over getting cut off in traffic, or an insult, or some other negative experience and let it ruin your whole day?
Do you let the memories of your trauma dominate your thoughts?
Do you have practices that bring you into the present time and get you out of negative habits of thought?
Do you let yourself enjoy the reverie of rehearsing a beautiful memory repeatedly-ever?
Why do we allow our minds to be dominated by the difficult instead of celebrating the sublime?
I know you have moments of wonder in your life. Store them, savor them, and keep them alive instead of the pain.
Many victims develop Post Traumatic Stress after surviving an incident like a mass shooting or tragedy. This usually happens within the first 2 weeks after the trauma.
Women are twice as likely to develop Post Traumatic Stress than men– according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs.
If you suffer from Post Traumatic Stress your mind quickly activates the neural pathways associated with past trauma and stress. You are also much quicker to be stimulated into a sympathetic nervous system response-“fight or flight” than someone without PTS.
You can learn techniques to get you out of “fight or flight” quickly. There are resources here on my website for you!
It is possible to create new pathways by forming new habits of thought. You can rewire your brain to find the good in your life with effort.
Your Perspective is the Most Powerful Tool You Have to Own Your Life and Find Joy.
My Life Has Been Action Packed and Fraught with Adversity.
I had a massage therapist who worked on me for years and he heard a lot of details of my enormous, ongoing difficulties.
One day he said, “Phoenix, I think it might be easier if you looked at your life as an action, adventure movie, or maybe a suspense thriller novel. It would probably feel less obnoxious, and a little more entertaining!”
You can feel like your life is unbearably difficult and painful, and then you suddenly see something that stops you cold and you realize, “I really have small problems compared to that.”
I’ll give you an example:
Perspective on a Man with No Arms Or Legs:
l will never forget the image of a man I saw while I was touring in Mexico. We were on a bus tour of the city, and one of the stops was at a beautiful, ornate church.
All of the wealthy tourists got off the bus and directly in front of us was a man. He was propped up on a skateboard. He had no legs, and just stubs for arms. His torso wasn’t all there and appeared to begin just below the navel. He appeared to be in his thirties.
I remember wondering, how could that man even go to the bathroom? It didn’t look like all of his organs were there.
I’m guessing someone put him there on the skateboard all day–everyday. Beside him was a can where you could put money.
I was stunned! Of course I donated, and I said a silent prayer of gratitude for all my blessings, and I prayed for a blessing on him.
I have thought about him for a long time and frankly, I wondered why he chose to live. He must be a very courageous man. I wish I could have learned more about him, but I don’t speak Spanish and the tour had only a brief stop there.
That is an image that will always bring perspective to my life!
When things feel too difficult find a way to shift your perspective.
You might want to read uplifting quotes, or biographies of people who have overcome great difficulty. Let their stories inspire you.
If anyone else can overcome the seemingly impossible, you can find your own way too.
You will never completely forget the trauma, but find ways to divert your attention so that you don’t spend the majority of your time in your head thinking about your suffering.
I am not saying you should be in denial about the situation, just don’t keep going back like a dog to it’s vomit. That is not where you want to live!
Write your victory story and refer to it often. Even if it is just the victory story that you hope to live soon.
Make a list of some things that are good in your life, or maybe even really great. Read it out loud when you feel overwhelmed.
Determine what your legacy of contribution will be instead of your story only being about victimization. Begin building it one day at a time.
Giving service to others may help bring perspective, or it may remind you that the world is all about suffering. If it feels good to serve– do it.
I recommend volunteering at a domestic violence or homeless shelter.
Or call a friend who is struggling and lend a listening ear. That will give your own problems a perspective in a hurry.
–Phoenix Alexander (Fellow Survivor)
When Did the Abuse Begin?
Warning: Graphic Content of Sexual Abuse
As I have contemplated when my trauma began, I have to go back many decades. I have experienced so many different kinds of abuse and trauma that as I reflect back it is hard to fathom that I could have made it as far as I have in my healing with all I had to overcome.
Sadly this is a common thing for a victim of childhood abuse to experience many forms of assault and abuse as they grow up. The characteristics that are groomed into a victim by their perpetrators are easily recognized by other perpetrators and make them an easy target for other predators.
You are tested by predators and if you pass the “compliance, fear, and silence tests” you may never break free of perpetrator after perpetrator.
This is not my first abuse incident but it is a very significant one.
As a young child of just under 4 years old, I had a terrifying experience of being sexually abused by a neighborhood boy who was hired to babysit my older sister and me. I vividly remember it 5 decades later! It was horrifying to both of us.
My sister and I are 16 months apart in age. He assaulted both of us. He was 12 years old. He made us so scared that neither of would tell on him–never! He told us that we were bad and that if we told our parents they would be so angry with us they would hurt us. He said my dad would kill me if I told him because my dad didn’t want bad girls. I believed him! I was already terrified of my father’s anger. It was not a stretch in my mind that he would actually kill me.
I vividly remember many times growing up, especially during my teen years, that my mother said to me “Don’t make your father angry, his hands should be registered as lethal weapons. He could kill someone with his bare hands”– ironic since he was not a Martial Artist. I was terrified of my father! He is dead now. He died at my age in a car accident.
My sister and I have talked about the assault by the babysitter for years now and how it impacted our feelings and created even more fear, betrayal, and difficulty trusting. In fact, we discussed it the day I contemplated writing this article and we agreed it was too significant to leave out. When we recalled the babysitter abuse the next sentence for both of us was about the masturbating relative that came next. Each of us has been victimized more after this experience.
My mother kept pictures of the babysitter perpetrator around for decades. I believe she had an idea that something terrible had happened because my sister told her that we couldn’t live with Jesus because we were bad. Mother never inquired to see what happened or why we believed we weren’t good enough to live with Jesus.
I was so anxious and afraid after the assault I couldn’t sleep for naps or at night. My mother would lay in bed beside me and restrain my hands so I wouldn’t wiggle and would eventually fall asleep.
Shortly after that assault, my parents willfully and intentionally moved a relative into our home who had already been arrested for exhibitionism to minors. He masturbated with the bedroom door open, in the room he stayed in, every night in front of my sister and I. This went on for months. He made sure we could never get away from him exposing his erect genitals to us. Incestuous exhibitionism is deeply disturbing!
My parents were totally unconcerned about the effect this had on us. This same relative was later arrested for driving in his Semi Truck naked through several states. (When we were teenagers, mother told us about his arrest for exhibitionism before he moved in with us as young children.)
Around the time of the assault by the babysitter, my sister tried hard to save us. She took me with her and we ran away together–Seriously! But we were found at a corner store and they asked my sister who our daddy was and we got taken back home. It was deeply impressed on us that we had better learn to cope because there was no getting away!
There was an incident when this same relative perpetrator spilled pornographic Poloroid pictures all over in the parking lot, in a drunken disturbance, while my sister was competing in a beauty pageant that he had come to watch. EEEEEW! There my mother referred to his arrest again. She had no problem with his behavior and had knowingly exposed us to a man who loved to expose himself. Thanks Mom!
I have no action plan on this one, no brilliant essay on how to overcome– just dumbstruck at my parents collusion with a known perpetrator and the abuse we experienced, and how it set us up for many more victimization experiences.
Do More Than Just Speak Your Truth…
This post is about assault– physical assault and rape– a prominent problem creating enormous pain in the victims.
I see many movements currently to expose perpetrators and hopefully make them accountable. I see many victims rising up and giving their betrayal a voice and a name–their perpetrator.
I applaud the victim’s courage in taking these steps. I want to point out that this is a beginning step!
I have seen many victims who never get past this beginning step of publicly baring their pain. For the rest of their lives they are immobilized in the pain, betrayal, fear, victimization and perpetual public baring of their pain.
That means the perpetrator won! They own your life. You are left in a civil war with your own body because it was the instrument of your betrayal, and you feel at war with the world at large because it is an unsafe place to be.
As long as you live your life as a “Walking Witness” against your perpetrators your healing will be limited, if it’s even possible. Your body may even continue to hold onto the injuries, and trauma cellular memories may continually surface, recreating the initial injury and suffering– until you learn skills to let it go!
Is It Wrong Not to Speak Your Truth Publicly?
No! It is not a requirement for healing. You can do your healing privately.
I know of several instances when the victims chose not to expose their perpetrators because they did not want to go through the public scrutiny and judgment that goes on in the public sector, and the media “feeding frenzy” that often happens to a victim.
They didn’t want to risk their lives or their safety, or the safety of their family.
It often feels like the victim is victimized twice, first by the initial assault and then secondly by everyone’s opinion about the legitimacy of their story. Some victims opt out of the second public victimization.
I will share a few examples.
Even though a rape victim is supposed to have their name kept private, sometimes it is not. Some people don’t want to go get a rape kit done and be interviewed and put through the pain of telling their story repeatedly to various agencies and people.
A client told me about a co-worker who she ran into several months after the co-worker was terminated from where they both worked. She told my client her story when my client point-blank asked her if she had been raped because she seemed so traumatized prior to being firing.
The co-worker said she had been drinking and was very drunk but did the responsible thing by calling for a ride from a professional driving company. It was a prominent driving company which she named to my client, but I will not name here because it would be ‘hearsay.”
The co-worker was told by the driver, “I am worried for your safety, you are too drunk. (As if he was some chivalrous knight trying to save her.) Let me help you to your door.” She said, “No I’m fine, I can make it myself.” But he insisted and she could not really resist it.
He walked her to her door and when she opened it, he forced his way in and proceeded to rape her repeatedly for several hours! Then he left.
Now what was she supposed to do? Call a lift to go to the hospital?– because that story ended very badly. Should she file rape charges against the driver or the company who hired the driver?
She feared that because of the clout of the company she would lose the case and then be a public spectacle anyway.
She opted not to get a rape kit done. She opted to try to heal on her own terms. She lost her job because she didn’t want to tell her co-workers or boss what happened and she had trouble keeping herself together at work and was terminated. Fortunately, she didn’t kill herself. She went for counseling.
Her counselor told her that if she didn’t make a report the she was personally responsible for the rape of the next victim of the driver.
Wrong! The driver is responsible for his own behavior. She is responsible to do her own healing, even if she choses to do that privately.
The counselor does not get to decide what is right for that victim. The last thing a victim needs is judgment and blame from a counselor.
Is it wrong not to make the perpetrator suffer? No!
You have the right to choose your own path to healing, public or private!
Another woman I know was a victim of such heinous childhood abuse that she has spent her entire life trying to heal. She was horrifically abused; including incest, torture, rape, psychological and spiritual abuse, by a powerful , organized group of perpetrators who successfully supported each other’s crimes for decades.
Some days this woman counts herself lucky to have escaped the experiences alive, and some days she says, “The lucky ones died! This woman has spent years in a private hell of agony.
She went for counseling to heal. Her counselor, although he claimed to have worked with many clients just like her, became voyeuristic in his demands to know every detail of her horrifying experiences.
He did not have any suggestions for her healing, but instead continued to prod and dig up her pain. He was obnoxiously incredulous that she could have survived such experiences without multiple psychotic breaks, heavy medication, or attempted suicides. This woman is so strong she has not had any of those things.
She felt betrayed by the demands of her counselor and frustrated with no results. She left counseling to try other options for healing.
She recently in a random experience, had the opportunity to talk with a Federal Investigator about her experiences. He suggested that all he needed was some names to begin an investigation, and hopefully get a conviction with some of her perpetrators.
He said he had recently been successful in bringing a case to prosecution that resulted in an 80 year old man being sentenced to multiple life sentences.
She Considered All of The Aspects of the Possibility of a Shot at Justice.
Is there any “Witness Protection” plan that could actually keep her safe when she didn’t know all of the people who were in the organization that victimized her?
Did she want to have to leave her friends and job to relocate to who knows where?
Would her friends or family actually be safe once she began testifying in a very high profile case?
Did she want to re-live the details of the life she has spent decades trying to climb out of?
Did she want to be “That girl” that everyone was focused on debating whether they believed her or not?
Would she actually get justice and a conviction?
Would a conviction be worth the price she paid to tell her story?
Or would the perpetrators once again, walk free?
In the end she concluded that nothing was worth the price she would pay to try to get a questionable conviction.
She chose privacy, and safety. I think that takes tremendous courage!
Is healing possible if you don’t turn to the law for justice?
Can you heal if you do turn to the law and there is no justice?
What can you do to heal whether you chose to give your pain a public voice or not?
Decide that the perpetrators have taken enough from you and you aren’t going to give them your body, the rest of your life, or your happiness.
Always think of your own safety first in every circumstances. Risking your life or safety is not a great option!
If you don’t find a supportive counselor-Don’t Give Up!
Believe that forgiving your perpetrators is a personal choice that is possible and that rather than “letting your perpetrator’s get away with it” is a choice that truly liberates the victim and is a step toward healing.
Never let anyone shame you–friends, family, clergy, etc. for how, when, or even if you choose to forgive the perpetrators.
Learn life skills and coping strategies to re-claim or perhaps claim for the first time ever your own life.
Believe that you can heal and live a satisfying life, regardless of the amount of trauma you have survived.
Learn the perspectives that will take you out of viewing yourself as a victim and Claim Your Own Honor as a Victor!
Be an advocate for other survivors. Support those are also wounded.
Follow me on this blog for serious tools to heal from a fellow survivor.
Attend a Live Seminar where you will engage your mind, body and spirit to reclaim and heal your life, taught by a true survivor.
I recently had a discussion with a friend about “Karma.” She expressed that she believed that as she did good things that good things would happen to her.
I said, I have never seen Karma work that way in my life. I have done kind, good things and have experienced horror, violence and abuse and some serious ingratitude from others.
It’s not an eye for an eye kind of thing for me.
How I view Karma is that as I heal from the experiences that others perpetrated on me, I become a better person.
This allows me to grow and experience different and better experiences than I would have if I had not been compelled to grow because of the trauma.
In this way, I have experienced good from every hateful, horrifying, abusive experience in my life.
This is my hope for you—Heal.
Maintain Situational Awareness:
I want to talk about why victims have a hard time maintaining situational awareness.
A person who has already been victimized in life may suffer many more attacks. Why?
They learn to tune out of their bodies and their environments because of FEAR!
They shut off from their feelings and observations, because they don’t want to feel or remember what happened, and they don’t want to see the next assault coming.
This has to be turned around. As a survivor you will have to work even harder to stay in an alert state when you are going about your daily life.
And you will have to try not to “freeze in fear” if an attack is imminent.
If you have mentally rehearsed “What If” scenarios it will help you to defend yourself better. Imagine “What if I had to defend myself in______ situation. What would I do? Where is the exit? Is there anyone to help? Are there any witnesses. ETC.
One of the most powerful things I have ever done is to get appropriate training to use weapons safely and skillfully…(Asp, My Hands, Pepper Spray, Escrima Stick, etc.)
So I know I have the best chance of never being victimized again.
Play the “Identification Game”.
I want to introduce a little “game” I used to play with my kids which you can do for yourself too.
Look at a person in a public place you have never seen before for just a few seconds, then look away and describe to someone with you (or just go over in your mind):
What were they wearing?
Guess their age,
Or any other identifying details about them
As you learn to do this you train your mind to gather details that may help you to describe a potential assailant to the police.
It will also help keep your mind focused on your environment maintaining situational awareness.
You cannot afford to walk around in a state of oblivion. You must be aware of your environment at all times.
Color Code Of Mental Awareness:
You must always be in a state of situational awareness because you may need it any time!
Subway Sandwiches with Vagrants:
My sister had come to Seattle for a convention and I went to stay with her overnight at the hotel where she was staying.
It just a little after 6 pm and to our surprise all the restaurants nearby were closed. The hotel restaurant was ridiculously expensive so we decided to go for a walk to find a place to eat.
We walked about 12 blocks and found a Subway sandwich shop very close to Pike Place Market– which was also closed already. As we went in the door there was a group of 5 vagrant men loitering at the entrance and looking like trouble. But we were hungry so we pressed on.
We went in and ordered our sandwiches. There was only 1 young employee working out front. We were the only customers in the restaurant.
As we sat down to eat, one of the vagrants came in and came directly over to our table and just stood there with his head down, not meeting my gaze- only a foot from me. All of his buddies were watching from outside to see what we did. They had sent him in to harass us.
In karate we are taught never to let anyone in your 3 foot radius circle because you have no reaction time if you have to defend yourself against an attack.
I stood up put my hands out in front of me like “Stop” and said, “You need to leave us alone right now!”
I looked at my sister and said, “Get up we are leaving– Now!”
She grabbed her sandwich and we headed out the door. As we left I looked directly at each of the men, so they knew I could identify them, and I said, “Leave us alone!”
Remember there are 5 of them and 2 of us women—both unarmed. We have only our wits about us, no weapons.
I started walking very fast in the direction back to the hotel. Usually I am not able to walk very fast and I get teased about it– but not this time.
My sister said to me, “Wow, this Karate “Inner Warrior” thing is really working for you. I’ve never seen you like this. You are such a Bitch!” (In a good, tough, sort of way.)
Just then we heard a man yell out to us from the entrance to an alley. We looked over and saw a man about 6’5” and very muscular and he said, “Hey ladies, looks like you’re having some trouble, why don’t you come over here?” Right! Like we are going to go over to an alley so we can get “help” from him!
My sister, who has terrible trouble setting boundaries, looked directly at him, put her hand out, like she had seen me do, and said, “We’re good!” Amazingly he also left us alone.
We walked very quickly back to her hotel and when we got inside she finally felt the effects of the adrenaline dump, and I had to talk to her about how to get out of that state and back to normal.
Take Away Points:
Look your potential assailants directly in the eye with the most fierceness you can muster. Look fierce, sound fierce. It may save your life!
Try not to go into a building where you are alone with only the employee.
Don’t keep your back to the door. Keep your eyes where you can see potential danger.
Use your words and body to convey you are not going down without a fight.
Effects of Adrenaline:
After an adrenaline dump you may: vomit, urinate, defecate, shake or cry uncontrollably.
Do some deep breathing from your belly filling the lowest part first, not from high in your chest.
Hold Acupoints for Calmness, on the Chest and forehead. See Acupressure for Emotional Healing Video
If Your Feel Threatened Set Boundaries with Your Voice and Your Body!
Stand up and set a boundary with your hand in front; palm out, like a stop gesture, and with a loud voice, and your fiercest face say,
“Don’t come any closer, I will consider it an attack.”
If they mean no harm they will back away—usually with an apology if not– Prepare to engage.
My hope is that you are here to gain the skills and awareness you need BEFORE you are attacked.
Harassment at the University:
When I was a vocal performance major at Idaho State University, I had a vocal scholarship. Unfortunately, my voice professor was very inappropriate with me.
He sexually harassed me through several semesters. It got so bad that I felt like I was going to have a breakdown. I eventually left the university and my scholarship rather than tolerate anymore touching and harassment by him.
He made comments about how my body looked and that he was “No Spring Chicken, but if he was he would be all over me.” He commented that some days my stomach was bigger than other days.
He watched me in public and told me, “Don’t hold hands with your dates and definitely don’t kiss them because you will get sick and not be able to sing”–as if he owned me and could dictate my behavior. (Stalker behavior)
He was very explicit. One day he said to me, ”I thought I should let you know I’ve had a vasectomy. So if you want to……(you know)…we’ll you don’t to worry, you won’t get pregnant” And there it was. He was trying to seduce me! He was married!, and in his late 40’s, and I was 19!
This abuse of power, through his age and position, are classic predatory behaviors.
He was in control of whether or not I had enough money to pay for my college. I was on a scholarship that he could pull away if I didn’t cooperate.
Then it got worse, he started finding creative ways to touch me sexually.
He began showing me various “breathing exercises to strengthen my breath capacity and make me a better singer”.
One day in my private voice lesson, (They were always private) he said, “I want you to really focus here and breathe from here”, and he touched my breasts! I thought, nobody breathes with their boobs, and I started getting really scared to be alone with him. I moved his hands but I was pretty shocked.
I talked to my mom about it and she said, “He’s in charge of your scholarship, and I’m not going to pay for college! So don’t cause a problem and lose your scholarship!” OK. There would be no parental support, emotionally or financially if I just said no.
Things were getting progressively worse and one day when I went in for my private voice lesson he said,“ Today I’m going to teach you a new exercise. I need you to lay on the floor.” I immediately remembered the theme of our last “breathing exercise.”
Oh, I don’t think so. But he insisted, “I’m going to teach you a new resistance exercise.” I thought, Like hell you are, and I wouldn’t lay down.
So he explains, “It’s going to strengthen your diaphragm.” Now I thought, exactly what is he talking about? He says “I’m going to have you lay on the floor and I’m going to push this heavy dictionary into your diaphragm, and you are going to push back with your diaphragm and the resistance will strengthen the muscles– and help you be a better singer!”
And I was having that bad feeling… like I always get just before I get assaulted.
And then I hear my mom’s voice in my head saying, “Don’t do do anything to lose your scholarship! So I laid on the floor…
He is immediately on top of me. He jumps on my hips and is grinding into me and pushing more than the dictionary into me!
And I’m really scared. And he’s pushing and I’m resisting …And then…
He pushed too hard! And I passed gas! I was mortified. But that ruined everything for him. His little fantasy went awry. The mood was spoiled and he got off of me. But he didn’t get to “get off on me” that day.
Luckily I was saved by a body function. Even though I was terribly embarrased, I shudder to think what he would have done without that involuntary action.
I made sure I was never alone with him after that. I brought a friend into every lesson I had with him after that.
I never reported it because my mother told me not to and I was more afraid of my mother than I was of my professor.
Shortly after that I left the University so I didn’t have to deal with him anymore. In fact, I left the state.
After I left I learned he had been dismissed from the University also. It seems I was not his only victim.
Take Away Points:
Predators go where they have an imbalance of power and you are likely to submit to their behavior.
Don’t feel trapped believing that continuing in an abusive situation is really your only, or your best option. You deserve more, but you can’t get more until you make a change!
Some people suggest that not following the “fantasy script” of your attacker can save you from assault. You can vomit, urinate or defecate in an attempted rape. It might happen involuntarily because fear dumps chemicals into your body that may cause these reactions. It happened for me organically.
Learn Basic Self-Defense skills including setting boundaries with your voice and your body!
If you are being sexually harassed, talk to someone who will support you and take you seriously. If the first or even second person doesn’t support you, keep talking until you find someone who will.
My harassment incident happened before Anita Hill testified before the Senate about her experience with sexual harassment in the workplace, bringing sexual harassment more into public awareness. Even at the hearings she was challenged and treated as if her claims were untrue– but her voice made a difference and laws were passed to help stop sexual harassment.
Now more than ever before people-both men and women, are coming forward to bring abusers into accountability. Now is a good time to speak your truth.
Be prepared for the possibility that your perpetrator may never face appropriate consequences for what they did to destroy your trust, create fear, and make your life far more difficult.
Sometimes the best you will get is to pick yourself up and move out of the situation.
Use your own tenacity and willpower to create a better life for yourself.
Be an advocate for trauma survivors.
More Violence I Have Put Behind Me:
In another violent incident my partner started pushing me down the hallway with his stomach, causing me to stumble backwards, because if he used his hands, it would clearly be assault.
I told him to stop and he wouldn’t. I said I would call the police and he said “Go for it!” So I did. He ripped the phone out of the wall while I was talking to 911, so they sent an officer.
He left before the police could arrive and slammed my solid oak, double front door, with such force, it jammed the side that usually opens on the outside of the other door. Now it could not be opened or shut!
When the police finally arrived 50 minutes later, the officer couldn’t get in through the front door. So I had to let him in through the garage. He kept saying, “You’re not going to shoot me right?”
After he came in and saw the phone ripped out, and the front door damaged to the point it could not be opened from the force of his slamming it, the officer asked me, “Are you the kind of woman who incites a man?!”
Not are you okay? Are your children okay? No–he insults me by inferring that I must be the problem here!
The officer did not look for him or arrest him for assault. He said that since he had not hit me, he would not arrest him. He minimized him shoving me down the hall and breaking the front door and ripping the phone out of the wall when I called the police!
I realized the police could not be counted on to help if you need it in domestic violence situations!
I Jumped in the Truck:
This is the follow-up to being hit in a kill point by my partner in karate, and the police not helping.
My partner had pummeled me in the brainstem area at karate! Fortunately my training helmet stayed in place, otherwise I would have brain damage or he would have killed me in front of my children and the instructor.
HE WAS IMMEDIATELY KICKED OUT OF THE SCHOOL. HE WAS HITTING ME WHILE EVERYONE, INCLUDING ME, WAS YELLING FOR HIM TO STOP.
I was in the process of getting him served for a No- Contact Order, but he kept dodging service and wouldn’t say where he was staying.
Unfortunately, he had a key to my home and had taken my home security remote. He also had his Escrima Stick from Karate and knew how to use deadly force with it. I needed to get the remote and the key so I could be safe in my own home.
He had a violent temper, and had ripped a door off the hinges, in a fit of anger in a previous incident. I reported this, and his Anger Management Counselor minimized that incident! Everyone I turned to had minimized his behavior until he tried to kill me in karate.
All he needed was a way to be stealthy in his entrance to my home to be lethal and finish what he had started in Karate. I was terrified of what he was capable of!
I told him to meet me in a public place to get the home security remote. He said he would meet me at a grocery store by my home– at a set time. I went there and waited a half hour then came back home.
He was parked in front of my house when I got home. I was afraid because he defied the public meeting, where I would have witnesses if he attacked me again.
I walked up cautiously to his small truck and asked him to give me the remote and the key. He refused. I asked again.
He said NO! Then he suddenly accelerated, and tried to run over my feet! So I jumped into the back of his pickup bed!
I have no idea how I reacted that fast! I have very short legs, but I am fast under fire. I was in the back of his truck yelling for him to stop and I was attracting attention– people were looking at us.
A Side Note About Adrenaline: Some people when they are in an adrenaline state get tunnel vision and can’t see much in the periphery. I am just the opposite. I have been in a state of fight or flight, while being threatened or assaulted so many times that my senses are heightened, and I see very clearly in my periphery.
I could see people up and down the road watching us. I told him “People are watching, I have witnesses.”
So he stopped driving and I jumped out of the truck. He said he wanted to talk-again. So I went back to the window but stood on a curb between me and the truck, making it harder for him to try to run over my feet again.
I was determined to get that remote so he couldn’t sneak back in at night and hurt or kill me.
While we were talking, I saw the remote was hanging on his key ring in the ignition. So I quickly reached in the window and grabbed the keys out of the ignition and ran like hell for my front door!
He was in hot pursuit running after me, but I had a head start. I got in the house and locked the door. I got the remote off his key ring and the key to my house.
I told him to stay back from the house or I would call the police–Again! (Like that would do any good!)
He yelled that he wanted his keys back and I tossed them out and he left.
I Was Victorious! I got my remote, and the key to my house, and I proceeded with a No Contact Order.
And he seemed like such a nice man at church!
Take Away Points:
You may have to defend your life– even against people you love and trust. This could include a partner- man or woman, a child, a parent etc.
The police may not respond quickly. You better know how to take care of yourself.
Don’t expect that the police will be helpful in a domestic violence situation.
Just choose to live and deal with the consequences as they arise.
Learn Self-Defense Skills, because your fighting spirit and situational awareness may save your life.
Document Violent Behavior- with pictures, and videos. Tell people about what you are experiencing. You will need it later.
Establish a “Safe Plan” for your escape, with money, identification, etc. in case you have to flee suddenly. Figure out where you will go.
Figure out trusted “Safety Helpers” who will give you a place to stay or will be witnesses for you.
Learn how to recognize violent, predatory people before you become entangled in a relationship.
I recommend the book, “The Gift Of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker to help you recognize predators and be safe.
Reclaim your life! They have taken enough from you. Don’t give them any more.
Use the resources here to begin integrating your mind and body for true healing.
Attend one of my Victim Into Victor Seminars to integrate your mind, body, and spirit back together again.
I Will Teach You How To:
Get in touch with your fighting spirit,
How to own AND FULLY INHABIT your body again,
How to use your voice and body to set boundaries,
How to use acupressure to heal,
Healing Mindfulness Practices,
Qigong –an ancient practice for wellness and healing
How to use your breath to get out of fight or flight and to reverse illness
How to Reclaim Your Life and happiness and so much more!
A Very Serious Problem In Our Society Today is Domestic Violence!
Warning: This post is not pretty and outlines some real abuse that I have actually experienced. This post is PG-13 and may contain information that is not suitable for all audiences, but is specifically suitable for survivors of Domestic Violence!
I have lived through too many experiences in this arena of trauma.
Emotional Abuse can lead to Physical Violence. It’s a test!
85% of women murdered, are killed by their husband or boyfriend.
Emotional abuse is just as damaging, and in my experience can last just as long, if not longer than the physical damage caused by the assault.
Don’t ever assume that if you are being emotionally abused that’s where it ends. It usually doesn’t. In my experience it has always escalated to threats of violence or actual assault.
You have to stop it when it is just emotional abuse, because it is wrong and if you enable it to continue, you may pay for it with your life!
I want to outline some insidious abuse I have experienced, that may not be as obvious as the overt threats against my life.
I have been abused in some really crafty ways to make me question my own reasoning. The psychological term for this is “Gaslighting”.
This term is from a technique used in a movie from the 1930’s in which a manipulative husband does things to make his wife question her own reasoning and sanity, including adjusting the flame on a gas lamp and slowly dimming it over time.
Gaslighting is used by manipulators and abusers to gain control over their victims. It gets the victim and others to question their accurate perceptions, to the point they may think they are going crazy. Or the victims and outsiders buy into the abuser’s tactics as being ok, when they are deeply destructive and abusive.
Gaslighting is often used by narcissists and psychopaths.
Spooning: One of my partners did this, he laid beside me and acted like he was spooning with me but as soon as he got close he started kicking me hard on my legs. When I pulled away and told him to stop kicking me, he said ”I didn’t kick you! Your’e crazy.” He vehemently denied kicking me, but he absolutely did kick me!
Another partner who knew that I startled very easily because of my previous experiences with my life being threatened. So he repeatedly snuck up on me and then pretended to be affectionate. This is manipulative gaslighting– spinning it to look affectionate.
When I was cooking and had the fan on with sizzling food, so I couldn’t hear him well, he would quietly sneak up and kiss me on the back of the neck, which always startled me and made me feel alarmed. It usually made me scream in fear.
Then he would laugh at me and say “Why do you act that way, I am only trying to love you?” I said “If you are genuinely trying to show love, then don’t sneak up and startle me to do it. Do it when you are facing me, and I can respond back with love– not fear.
He continued to do it more than 20 times in various situations.
He always approached from behind, scared me, kissed me, or touched me and laughed when I was startled.
He actually accused me of being insensitive to his loving advances.
This became such an intense situation that I always had to hold back from defending myself with a punch or kick to him.
I was afraid that he would instigate a situation where I defended myself, not realizing it was him coming up on me, and then he would say I assaulted him when he was kissing me. Then I would be charged with Domestic Violence.
I called an attorney to ask if I could be charged under those circumstances. He said it “Yeah, it could happen, it depends on the judge. “
I talked to my Karate instructor about what I could do. My partner was systematically desensitizing me to react to someone in my space coming up on my body, without my permission.
This is dangerous to me. I need to react with appropriate force when I am in danger not hold back to check and see if it’s my partner manipulating me.
I made him sign a statement that I had asked him more than 20 times not to sneak up on me and touch or kiss me, and that if I defended myself by hitting him, when he intentionally startled me—that he would not prosecute.
Then my karate instructor said: “Ok, here’s what you do the next time he sneaks in and kisses your neck from behind, just drop into a horse stance and grab him in the genitals. Squeeze hard enough to hurt and then tell him “I was just showing you I love you, with a little squeeze.”
I only needed to do it once!
That did not stop him! Later he escalated to pummeling me in the brainstem area at karate– because I had blocked his way of intimidating and controlling me.
He easily could have killed me if my soft foam helmet had moved. He was immediately kicked out of the karate school.
Never assume it stops with emotional abuse!
This same partner knew that I had been hit by other vehicles in Motor Vehicle accidents 10 times! I had some serious injuries. I don’t like anyone messing with my safety while I am in a car.
So he would intentionally drive recklessly to the point I felt my life was endangered.
I have jumped out of his moving truck because I felt I had a better chance at safety jumping out of the vehicle than staying in it!
Amazingly–I was not hurt jumping out of his moving truck!
Never underestimate your fighting spirit and what you can do when your safety is being threatened!
If any of you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, get out! Your life and your kid’s lives may depend on it. The aftermath may be too much.
Don’t turn the other cheek to an abuser– Just Get Out!
Take Away Points:
Do not accept or enable emotional abuse.
Don’t believe it will stop there, assume it is likely to escalate into violence.
Believe that you are worth more than to be manipulated and abused.
Look for resources to get out of an abusive relationship safely.
Make a plan for your safe emergency exit, with money, clothes, important documents and an emergency place to stay when you feel your safety is threatened.
Tell someone what is going on so they know to look for you in the worst case scenario.
Try something like this:
“I know you have controlled me with this behavior in the past, but I want you to know it’s not going to work anymore.
“You’re not going to get what you want from me by acting like this.”
“When you’re willing to treat me respectfully I will talk to you about this, until then I am gone.” Take yourself away for a while.
This Is An Excerpt from: The Way of the Phoenix: A Personal Development Show by Phoenix Alexander. The Episode is: “Turn Trauma Into Triumph” (Part 3)
Watch for the full show in the upcoming months.
Sometimes when we have been involved in caustic relationships, or we are overwhelmed by the attitudes and behaviors of those around us, we forget what our natural emotional rights are. This is an Emotional Right discussed in “Turning Trials Into Triumphs The Way Of The Phoenix.” By Phoenix Alexander
What Is PTSD Really?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a diagnosis that is given to a person after an extremely traumatic event or series of events. There are some classic symptoms that go with the territory after a horrifying event.
One is said to have PTSD if they have several symptoms that last for more than one month after the event. The hallmark characteristic is an exaggerated startle response.
A PTSD sufferer feels unduly alarmed or frightened when someone unexpectedly enters a room, or a loud noise suddenly sounds. They may jump, scream or fall to the floor for cover in their startle response. Sometimes they come out punching to defend themselves.
The PTSD sufferer also has intrusive flashbacks or memories of the event that invade other areas of their lives. They usually have terrible nightmares that include memories and elements of the traumatic events.
Most PTSD sufferers will do nearly anything to avoid situations that remind them of their trauma including the sounds, tastes, smells, or any other similarities.
I’d like to help dispel some of the stigma and offer hope to other PTSD sufferers.
I can’t speak for everyone who has PTSD, but the tips I will share on this website are from my own experience of coping with trauma and working with other survivors diagnosed with PTSD.
PTSD Coping Tip #1
Be Gentle: If you know a person who has PTSD (or has had traumatic events that might predispose them to it) be gentle with them.
That should seem obvious but is not to some people. A PTSD survivor may appear to be very tough– maybe even unapproachable, but inside there is a “deer in the headlights” part of their personality.
Don’t yell at them unless they are in grave immediate danger—which they will probably already be acutely aware of.
Be gentle with your touch. Show them what nurturing touch is like. They may never have had appropriate gentle, nurturing touch.
Be aware they may be emotionally and physically defensive. Do your part to de-escalate situations with them.