The Gift of Choice.

Within all of us is the same personal attribute; it was given to each of us at birth… it is the gift of Choice. You don’t have to leave the house or go “on line” to acquire it. It is a gift we give ourselves, but often we are afraid to unwrap it.  Often, it lies unused and unopened. Today, is the day to choose a better life for yourself. 

If there is any dysfunction within your immediate living situation… be it with yourself or a loved one…it is time to remove yourself from that dysfunction.  If you are a minor, then find a trusted relative, pastor, or teacher/coach that you can talk with and give you the help you need.  If you are an adult and are being abused… in any fashion… then it is not healthy and destructive to your being. It can no longer be kept a “secret.”  In the mere admission that you “need help,”  you have made a positive choice.  If you are the one causing the dysfunction to either yourself or to others…today, it stops.  It’s a matter of choice and available to all of us…anywhere.

No more excuses, no more alibis, no more whining.  Choose a better life for yourself or a loved one.  This will be your favorite gift.  Ever.

This Must Be Heaven

A few years ago, I had a lifelong dream come true.  For myself, the ocean has always been at the core of my heart and soul.  As a child, I yearned to be “clean” from the abuse going on within my home. Years later, as an adult, I learned that at God’s Ocean I always felt washed and renewed from the inside… out… each and every time I visited this magical place. It became my church, so to speak.

I smile a great deal; everyone tells me that.  So, when folks from all walks of life, (including one of my own children), started telling me that my ever present smile reminded them of a Dolphin… I took it as the greatest of compliments.  “Perma Grin” is not such a bad place to be in your heart.  When I got in the water with these magnificent creatures, recently…I am quite sure they were welcoming me home.  Afterall, we were kindred spirits.

I visit my own Georgia Atlantic Coast, Tybee Island, as often as possible. Yes, it  would be daily, but life gets in the way with obligations and “must do-s.”  Often, I am able to actually swim with the untamed dolphins only an arm’s length away. They really do seem to be welcoming me.  It becomes more and more apparent that one day I will indeed become one with the ocean.  Happily, I am working towards a time when that dream becomes a reality.  Here’s grinning at you, Kids!

Happy Independence Day and all the Blessings that brings.

Been abused? Then don’t pass it on!

At one particular meeting I was asked,  if I actually believe that someone who had been abused … could really heal. This person had been verbally abused for years; first by a parent (now dead) and more recently by her husband from whom she is now divorced.  When this question was asked of me … it was asked sarcastically and with a great deal of anger.

I knew this woman’s children and all of them were now wearing the “scars” of their mother’s own  experienced abuse.  Nothing they did was ever right; yet, she was not a good role model for them herself… according to her actions and practices.  They were worthless and useless; yet, there was little positive reinforcement and direction in their lives or lessons on how to be “better.”  Children of all ages need direction.

The children were told over and over how abusive and contolling their father was; yet, it was in their father’s care they remained… when she left their home.  She complained about her life, put down others, pointed fingers, and was negative…at everything in her life…past and present.  What was evident was that she was so close to the situation that she honestly didn’t see herself as being the “new” abuser to her own children and those around her
Abuse, even verbal abuse, takes on a life of its own.

If you have been the recipient of constant verbal negativity, ( or perhaps just sometimes)—and you choose to pass it on—you are perpetuating the hurt and abuse that you yourself have experienced. How does that make you any better or different from your own abuser? If you have been the recipient of Verbal or Emotional Abuse…it is never ok to pass it along.

My answer is clear; I do believe you can heal from abuse. However, you don’t heal when you become the new statistic and now you yourself are the abuser. It’s up to you.


With the start of the new school year around the world, it is wise for us to be vigilant regarding our youth; this includes children everywhere,  in every country. As responsible adults we can no longer be silent, but rather must become activists in the welfare and care of the next generation.  Child Abuse is everywhere and knows no barriers in Nationality, Race, Ethnicity, or Economic status. There can always be a way out and a solution to all problems even this one. We need to bear this in mind when it comes to this particular societal ill. Be Aware and don’t look the other way and leave it to someone else to cure.

I take great pride in being an American. It has been very clear to me for a long, long time that had I not been an Abused Child, here in America, I might not have survived.  How is that possible, you might wonder.  To me, it’s very clear.  In our great country, when something bad, unwarranted, or untimely happens to us as individuals, we have the opportunity to seek healing when it ends. It always ends, one way or the other.

For me, the initial healing was to get out of my abusive home and get an education.  Our country allowed me, even as a minor, many opportunities to borrow monies to do so through low-interest government loans. I took advantage of that and received an excellent education that has allowed me to earn a good living.  That is not the case in all countries.

In the years within my classroom teaching, I never once censored what I said.  If I was asked a question, I answered professionally, but always with honesty.  In our country, we have the Freedom of Speech and I cherish that. It has allowed me to write SPIRIT UNBROKEN to help other abuse victims.

In America, we have also the freedom of “choice.”  If we don’t like something than we can strive to change it.   That goes with our own lives too; it matters little what the challenge.  I am working with all my God-given abilities to change the statistics on the silent epidemic of  CHILDHOOD ABUSE.  The more it is spoken and written about the greater odds of educating and enlightening.  In America alone 1 of every 4 girls and 1 of every 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18.

This land is really a land of opportunity in all venues. I embrace my life knowing that I am free to become whatever I choose for myself.  I have always known there was and is a way to put bad things aside , but we have to actively do it! As Americans we can either passively sit and wait for everything to be perfect in our individual lives and things to come to us without exerting any effort… or we can make every effort to improve not only our own lives, but those around us.

I “get” Dr. Matin Luther King’s “I HAVE A DREAM” speech…I always have.  My own dream is that one day all children will grow up in safety here in our country and Child Abuse will be a thing of the past.  Follow your dreams.  In America we can do that with hard work and dedication.     sue

Siblings…not so much!

     There have been numerous times over the years, when I have actually felt shortchanged (for lack of a better word) for not having  any brothers and sisters of my own.  Sure, I had friends, but it’s not the same as a sibling. 

     Selfishly, perhaps I wanted and needed someone to not only share my hard times while I was growing up, but also to celebrate and rejoice in the wonders of LIFE as I’ve come to know them. I have always felt alone in that regard. Even though my husband and I are extremely close and share more than I ever thought possible, he only “knows” of my past, he did not experience it himself or know me during those formative years. He’s not someone with a common history.  

     But what I suddenly realized not too long ago, while stepping back and observing friends and family, is that sometimes having a sibling(s) is difficult itself… and often produces its own aloneness.  As we get older, there are times where brothers and sisters don’t view life and the world in the same way.  The closeness that was present during youth is now divided by ever present differences in lifestyles, physical distances, and personal agendas with negative choices.  The common history of innocence during childhood is often tarnished with individual anger, resentments, and egos in adulthood.

      From an outsider’s view, mine in this case, it is baffling. I would have done anything for a brother or sister when I was growing up; I wish I was so blessed now.  Should not every effort be made to heal any rift between siblings, even if it’s minor?   Or, actual candid discussion, with  gut level honesty, as to why an event or words played out between siblings the way it did would be a good place to start.  To think or believe that issues go away and are forgotten down the road and time heals all wounds, as the cliche goes, is ridiculous to me.

      It is the same as putting a band-aid on a cut that really needs ten stitches.  It will indeed heal, after a time, but the scar will be ever present as a constant nagging reminder, and the duration of healing time will be lengthy.  It also appears counterproductive not to discuss things immediately, and come to common agreement, as  experience shows that negative behavior surfaces repeatedly unless clear feelings of disapproval are made known immediately.  

     Those expressions and sentiments e.g. You are too sensitive, Just forget about it, and You took it the wrong way,  are merely avoidance statements.  It’s much more difficult to address something head on and clear the air, but ultimately more positive for both involved parties. Issues need resolution and closure. And, there should never be any choosing sides between siblings if you are a parent or another sibling.      There is no easy way to have a family, but it beats having none.  But…if a sibling has consistantly caused you and your family nothing but heartache…perhaps, a “time out” is in order!


Individual Tests/Challenges Make Us Stronger

In light of all that is going on in the modern world: Civil War and genocide in a number of countries, starvation and health epidemics in many others, acts of Nature with grand scale destruction and loss of homes and lives right here in America, and the never ending issue of AIDS and other life threatening illness i.e. cancer…all over the world…we still find time to ask, “Why me?” in regard to our individual Child Abuse. I’m pretty sure I know an answer that might make the abused look at his own abuse in a new light.   It is important to remember that during each of our stays here on Earth, we are constantly tested and challenged.  Abuse, of any type, is a test or challenge even though unwelcome.   Childhood abuse is not a disease for which there is no cure.  Rather, it calls for recognition and active participation in healing.  If we continue our own lives in any sort of dysfunction: excessive eating/ drinking or drug abuse, anxiety or depression, abuse of others, in any form…we continue the abuse and our abuser(s) win!   Instead think: “Why not me?”  We are still whole and alive, we are capable of healing and moving forward, we give ourselves honor and integrity, and most importantly… we are not defined by what has been done to us. Rather, we are what we have chosen to do for ourselves. The dysfunction need not be perpetuated to another generation… in any form.  I believe it was meant to stop with us. 

The Gift

There is a moment suspended in time…when someone who has a personal on-going challenge, even abuse…realizes that no matter how difficult their own personal challenge/test might have been, or currently is, there is always someone who has had it worse… or is suffering more, right now. 

I find it empowering in healing. Many who suffer, do it with a quiet dignity and are role models for all of us to emulate.  Within the last year, Randy Pausch, a college professor in Pennsylania passed away from Cancer.  His book, The Last Lecture, is a lesson in dignity and grace. It is about embracing what we have been GIVEN in life, rather than focusing on what has been TAKEN from us.  

Whereas we are all aware that Childhood Abuse robs us of innocence and leaves gaping wounds in self-esteem and self-worth…we must also come to grips with the fact that when we are adolescents and  adults, we are not terminally ill like Randy, but rather curable.  However, for some of us…it is easier to place blame on our personal misery and failure as to what has been “done to us.”  Thought provoking would be to think on:  Does doing this wallowing make us feel better.  Has anyone ever felt better during the “Woe is me” trip…ever?  I believe not. For myself, not feeling angry or sad towards my abuser(s) was the best medicine. 

For Randy Pausch not feeling angry or sad that he was terminal, and would soon die…allowed him to live every day until the end in full and complete joy.  Being happy is a gift we give to ourselves; it is yours if you unwrap it.  It is the holiday gift we often overlook.  Let the new year begin. 


What constitutes abuse?

If the physical action or spoken words are consistently/constantly  directed  in a hurtful, negative manner and are damaging to the receiver that is abuse. 

 However, be careful. 

 I am often asked , especially by adolescents, if a parent being overly critical is considered “abuse.”  If a parent repeatedly calls you something unfounded, such as, “You’re a waste of space on this Earth and no one will ever love you.”   Yes, I believe that’s verbally abusive.  Those kind of words lower self esteem and self worth.  However, if a parent says:  “You are wasting your time, and much of your life, with your friends who always get into trouble and also, they don’t seem to care very much if you get into trouble with them,”  then that’s responsible parenting and setting boundaries.  In fact, that’s what parents should do.  There are always back walls and guidelines for parents/guardians or they are not “parenting” but rather just existing in a safe and comfortable environment.  Parenting is the toughest of all jobs.

     Also, if you are physically hit by someone who “loves” you… it “might be” abuse.  If it happens more than once … it is abuse.  If you are hit often, for no apparent reason, by the same person… it is without a doubt physical abuse and it needs to be reported.  Adolescent or adult, constant words of negativity or continual physical punishment to your body by another person is… NEVER ok.    Do not mistake this for love.         Sue