Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Characteristics of Victims + Offenders in Domestic Abuse via Tolson4TEARS*

*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted

By looking at this picture, no one would ever know that I was in a marriage fraught with domestic violence  I was so familiar with abusive relationships that I did not know what a healthy relationship was like. In therapy sessions during my twenties, I learned that "People often seek a life partner who serves to resolve issues of the past.” The implication was that I had done so by marrying a man who preyed on my vulnerabilities, repeating what I had experienced as a child via my father, my stepfather, and my older brother. I responded to my therapist's comment by saying that I was not looking for a mate who abused me! My therapist said, “No, not consciously. We sometimes operate on an unconscious level, which may lead to repetition of unhealthy patterns." She encouraged me to become more aware of patterns that pertained to my husband and family. "It’s not unusual to do things as we saw them done.”


Lynn C. Tolson
When we examine our motives, we make better choices. This illustrates why it is important to understand the dynamics of dysfunction: "If I know why I did what I did, I might do it better next time.” Realizing the characteristics of victims and offenders helps in determining whether it's an unhealthy relationship. You can't see the physical evidence of me as victim in this picture, but you can sense the traits that led me to perpetuate the roles. 

(victims and offenders may have some and/or not have all of these characteristics)

VICTIM

Loyal

Socially isolated

Low self esteem

Believes traditional stereotypes

Often compliant with trivial demands

Suffers from guilt, denies terror and anger

Convinced she is responsible for the abuse

Believes all the myths about domestic violence

May have witnessed or experienced abuse as a child

Attempts to manipulate the environment to maintain safety


OFFENDER

Emotionally dependent

Abused as children (typically)

Loses temper frequently and early

Displays unusual amount of jealousy

Has weapons & threatens to use them

Contradictory, unpredictable personality

Has limited capacity for delayed gratification

Drinks alcohol excessively (and/or other substance)

Commits acts of violence against people, pets, and objects


compiled by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tolson 4 TEARS* On The Topic of Memory

Tolson 4 TEARS* Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide
so no shed tear is wasted

Blocked memory is a method of coping with the incomprehensible. My father had committed acts of violence upon me before I was a teen, all the while telling me, “You will remember...Nothing.” But my mind took pictures with photographic precision. I remembered what he’d done and how he had reasoned that it was my duty as his daughter.

When I was twelve, my brother raped me. He also used that phrase, telling me, “You will remember…. Nothing.” (How did he learn that phrase? Had our father used it with him?) What rationalization did my brother have? None!  My brother committed a calculated crime of unspeakable betrayal upon my mind, body, and soul.

While others my age were training their brains to pass a test, score a goal, or learn a foreign language, I practiced forgetting, willing my mind to zoom in on one event (my father) and zoom out on another (my brother). There was no clear focus; multiple transposed images soaked in a solution too corrosive for my brain to process.
But nightmares would awaken me with their shrewd yet senseless messages; the nightmares lingered long into the days. The images did not fade; they developed into flashbacks. What were they telling me? The nightmare-images-flashbacks cycle was more than I could handle, and I attempted suicide at age 25.

Even then, I trained myself to forget. At age 43, the memories suddenly re-surfaced with a photographic clarity that could no longer be denied or dismissed. It was time to tell my self what my brother had done to me thirty years prior. It was time to release my memories from the prison of forced amnesia and feel the freedom of truth, that leads to peace of mind. 

Memories are not chronological, linear, or mathematical. They advance, retreat, and erase themselves according to the quantity/quality of the information the individual can manage at the time.
Anna Freud wrote: “Human beings are acquainted with only a fragment of their own inner life, and know nothing about a great many feelings and thoughts which go on within them, that is to say, all these things happen unconsciously without their awareness…. The importance of any event is by no means a guarantee of its permanence in our memory; indeed, on the contrary, it is just the most significant impressions that regularly escape recollection.” Anna Freud, Psychoanalysis for Teachers and Parents: Introductory Lectures (New York: Norton, 1935), pp. 65-66


Completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story


Friday, June 12, 2015

Tolson 4 TEARS* Reviews "Miss America By Day"

Marilyn Van Derbur, a native of Colorado, is one of four daughters of a prominent Denver businessman (he is deceased). Both parents were active volunteers, donating time and money to culture and civic organizations. Marilyn's mother would often state that she had the "perfect marriage" and Marilyn was told that she was "blessed by being born into a perfect family." Marilyn's life appeared to be perfect, as depicted by the smiles in the pictures she shares throughout the book. Marilyn was crowned Miss America while she was attending the University of Colorado in 1958. When she graduated (with honors) Marilyn was a guest host on Candid Camera and a panelist on To Tell the Truth, as well as in commercials. She also waved to the public while in the Cotton Bowl and Thanksgiving Day Parades. She chose motivational speaking as her career, and was named the "Outstanding Woman Speaker in America" and was inducted to the "Colorado Woman's Hall of Fame." Indeed, anyone reading her story might experience a twinge of envy for all the fame and fortune that seemed to come to her so easily and effortlessly.
Except...Marilyn suffered from physical symptoms including insomnia, tics, ulcers, and panic attacks. When her body and mind rebelled against the constant travel, she experienced full body paralysis, yet doctors found no organic cause. What else might Marilyn be rebelling against? She had to search her mind and spirit to find the answers.
One of Marilyn's earliest memories is of her mother reading the Bible before bed. Memories that came next had been repressed for decades. Marilyn writes, "I had never prayed. I didn't want a more powerful father and I knew, deep inside, that the Father my mother was praying to when I was a child wasn't protecting me." However, when her story went public via the Denver media and People magazine, she asked of a Higher Power: "I want to help...If you show me the way ...I will do whatever you ask me to do." Thus began the next chapter of Marilyn's life.

Not only does she educate with this book and her speeches, she also helps victims become survivors by sharing her healing journey. Throughout the book, Marilyn also shares with the reader her relationships with her husband and daughter, and the reader relishes in the emotional relief their unconditional love offers Marilyn.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson @lynntolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story 

*Tolson4TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide


Marilyn Van Derbur was interviewed by coach Rachel Grant @coachRachelG and you can hear the archived interview on Beyond Surviving Radio (see below). Rachel Grant is a sexual abuse recovery coach at Rachel Grant Coaching


Check Out Self Help Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Conversations That Heal on BlogTalkRadio


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tolson 4 TEARS* on Children Witnessing Domestic Violence

What is considered violence? What do parents teach their children? John Bradshaw, author of "Homecoming" and "Creating Love " says: "I consider anything that violates a person's sense of self to be violence. Such action may not be directly physical or sexual, although it quite often is. Violence occurs when a more powerful and knowledgeable person destroys the freedom of a less powerful person for whom he or she is significant." Bradshaw also writes that "Anyone who witnesses violence is a victim of violence." Do you think children under 5 are not traumatized by seeing violence? Can a 4 year old girl really erase this scene as if it never happened? Here is an excerpt from "Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story." 


***My father opened a kitchen drawer and pulled out a knife. That’s the knife my mother used to cut bones from chicken. He was holding the knife over his head with the sharp blade aimed at my mother. She looked so small compared to his large body, and his rage was larger than life. My father noticed me long enough to stop killing my mother.*** 


Be aware that when you fight in front of your children, you are degrading their sense of self, developing their perspective of an unsafe world, and diminishing their respect for you. It takes decades of affirmations, meditations, medications, and celebrations to dry the tears of children whose parents fought while swearing to one another "one day you'll be the death of me." Whose fault is it when one of the parents commits suicide the night after a fight? Who takes on the responsiblity as surely as if it was a homicide? Children typically take on the blame for what is broken, for what they cannot fix. It takes forever and a day to undo the damage done to a child who witnesses the violence of parents who verbally, physically, mentally, and emotionally abuse each other. Be careful of what you allow children to witness, because all the time in the world does not heal all wounds.

Jerome Elam @JeromeElam is an advocate for children's rights, and writes for the Washington Times Communities. You can read his article titled Children of Domestic Violence: A black and blue fairy tale, which combines his personal experience with professional knowledge. He writes poignantly: "My father’s violent behavior seemed so unpredictable at first, a random explosion of anger that would fill the room with a fear that would suck all the oxygen from a room as I struggled to breathe." Sometimes children are waiting to exhale their entire lives.




Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
*Tolson 4 TEARS Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tolson 4 TEARS* on Surviving Child Abuse

What is it like to be a survivor of child abuse? How does a victim L-I-V-E after being in the heavy cauldron of verbal, emotional, mental, physical, psychological, religious, and sexual abuse? The steam of putrid abuse is so hot it burns the skin and melts the mind into a pile of lifeless ashes. How does a child teach him/herself to rise up and carry on after being sexually assaulted by family members or other trusted adults?


What if the mix of nature versus nurture or neglect is toxic, like poison boiling over, and the family that was supposed to protect her is spewing witch's stews of evil? There is no life juice; to L-I-V-E daily in that environment is like drinking from a bottle with a skull and crossbones on it, taunting, teasing, tempting suicide as a remedy. She doesn't live; she exists in a context where she is scared-to-death of the world at large.


Surviving means standing over the cauldron with a big stick of strength, stirring the pot despite the acrid fumes that choke the breath. It takes mighty courage to dredge up the heavy dark scum. Recovering means turning the brew upside down and inside out to see it for what it is: LIES! The ladle is heavy with betrayal and deceit. Stir the pot, sift through the garbage and discard the vile crud that drained your power!


When truth and clarity come into focus, your healing can begin. Take back your power by straining your truth from their lies.


Thriving means educating, empowering, and enlightening your S-E-L-F. You were designed to L-I-V-E. You were created to breathe in the fragrance of connection, to cultivate clarity of thought, to sow seeds of integrity, to reap relationships of L-O-V-E. To thrive means to embrace a love-of-life perspective.




I have laughed, lived, loved and lost.
I have cried, mourned, and grieved
hoped, prayed and healed.
I have found strength and true beauty. 
I am a SURVIVOR


Post completed by Lynn C. Tolson,  Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide,
 so no shed tear is wasted




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tolson 4 TEARS* Reviews "Beyond Survivor"

Beyond Survivor: Rising From the Ashes of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Jan Frayne

Often it takes a lifetime to process the agonizing reality of child abuse and its long-term effects on the victim. Jan L. Frayne, a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse, has revealed his secrets in a generous effort to raise awareness of child abuse, to reduce the stigma associated with sexual abuse, and to increase hope for survivors.

Mr. Frayne has taken on this monumental task though his writing, which tell the story in prose and poetry. A reader will hear the angst of a victim as he processes the torment of abuse and the suffering of survivors. His voice speaks for the millions of other boys who cannot find the words to tell of their secret pain.

The poetry is gifted yet not esoteric; it is expressive but not graphic. The raw honesty and emotional content of Frayne's writing makes it relatable to survivors and readable to anyone interested in the plague upon our planet, which is the prevalence of pedophiles and perpetrators who prey upon children. We should all be interested in protecting our children!

Mr. Frayne offers us a perspective on the plight of male victims/survivors of child abuse. This is a necessary element in eradicating the plague so that our children can grow up with a sense of safety, and can mature to reach their full potential. Thank you Jan for having the courage to use your talent for writing in a way that is meaningful to society.

Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story
*Tolson 4 TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide, so no shed tear is wasted.


 You can also go to Frayne's "Wounded Warrior" blog. Twitter @Beyond_Survivor
UK Amazon

If I Died
If I died tonight,
Would you hold my hand
Would you stay beside me
And walk me from this land
Put your arms around me
And never let me go
Share with me your strength
For I have none of my own
The pain is too much to bear
I can't seem to carry on
My heart now lies shattered
The dreams are now all gone
The feelings were always buried
Deep inside my soul
Slowly they destroyed me
Because I wouldn't let them show
Now I lay here resting
My time on Earth is done
Nothing left to fight for
No where left to run
Put your hand in mine
As I take my final breath
My soul has at last found peace
There awaiting me in Death