My heart is heavy as I begin this blog because I would much rather share a miracle or a synchronistic story of how God showed up in my life this week. But as I reflect upon this, I know that I am sharing a miracle because of what I have survived – and am thriving – and inspiring others to do the same. I have had several situations this month where I needed to speak my truth when there was emotional abuse.
I humbly share this part of my life with you, not for you to feel sorry for me or to blame someone, but to share what I have learned, how I set myself free and how you can set yourself free from abuse. I couldn’t set myself free until I recognized that I was being abused as an adult.
I was sexually abused by a Catholic priest at the age of 12 years old in New York. Fifty years later, I and several other women who were abused by this priest brought it out into the light to the newspaper and TV. At the time, he was the pastor of his church and denied at the pulpit that he even knew us and told the congregation that we were only out for the money. It was devastating and painful. Not only did he deny the abuse that went on for 2 years, but denied knowing us. It was like being doubly traumatized. It was not easy to stand up to the Catholic Church and be seen and heard.
With the grace of God and support from family, I sued the Catholic Church and WON. The abuse of children had to stop and the only way to do that was through the courts. The lies, denial and continuing abuse had to be brought out into the open. There were many years of meetings with bishops and lawyers for it to be settled. It took a tremendous amount of courage to bring it all up again and realize the life-long effects it had on my life.
When you are abused as a child, it sets you up for abuse in later years of your life. It is like you are a sitting duck and “abusers” smell your vulnerability. It may not be sexual abuse again, but could by emotional or psychological abuse in a relationship or job. This kind of abuse be me more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what you think about yourself. It can cripple all you are meant to be as you allow something untrue to define you. The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others.
Some symptoms of emotional abuse are:
Humiliation, degradation, bullying, discounting, negating, judging, criticizing, domination, control, shame, accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings, emotional distancing and the “silent treatment” islolation, emotional abandonment or neglect, codependence and enmeshment.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others? Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you? When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive? Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong?” Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings? Do you feel that the person treats you like a child? Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate? Do you feel you must “get permission” before going somewhere or before making even small decisions? Do they control your spending? Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them? Do they make you feel as though they are always right? Do they remind you of your shortcomings? Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are? Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior? Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true? Do they have trouble apologizing? Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes? Do they call you names or label you? Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness? Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests? Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
As I look back over my life, I see clearly how emotional abuse continued for years because I didn’t recognize it as abuse because it was so familiar. It took me years to leave a marriage, a Christian community and a job that was abusive. Because of ignorance, fear and not believing in myself, I didn’t have a voice to speak my truth.
Today, I am happy to say that I have a voice and can spot abuse immediately and speak up to people who are abusive. I was determined to be healthy and do whatever I needed to do to heal from the abuse. I went into therapy, did energy work, attended support groups, left the church, forgave the abusers, and read books. You name it, I did it and it was worth it because I have been set free to be the woman God created me to be and to live my dream. Today, I help others to set themselves free.
It has taken me years, but I no longer accept unacceptable behaviors or stay in unhealthy relationships or jobs because I love myself enough and know that I deserve to be treated with respect and kindness, and so do you.
I recently came across a couple of quotes that spoke to my heart. “When all things align and power is at hand, your voice comes surely and strong. And you say what you mean, and the things that you say, are heard as your truth.” Author unknown
“Your soul has its own song. All of your life lessons help you get back in touch with the music of your soul. Authentic self-expression brings healing, release, and relief. Remember your song, and you will become magnetic and compelling. You will also find peace within yourself.” Alan Cohen – Wisdom of the Heart
It is good to see the TRUTH of who I am and who I have become. I am a strong, loving, spiritual woman of God who follows her heart and intuition. Today my voice is heard and I sing my song and the music of my soul. It is so empowering to speak up when I need to and stay away from toxic people.
I encourage you to see the truth of who you are and where you have come from.
I am so committed to my spiritual growth of transformation and seeing what needs to be changed in me that I had forgotten how strong I really am. I am wondering if that is true for you also.
I woke up early on Saturday morning and felt like Spirit “hit me between the eyes.” Have you ever felt like this? Spirit was inviting me to examine my motives in regards to sending out my latest blog that I had just finished a few days ago. I had to ask myself the real reason I wrote it and what I hoped to receive. I realized that my motive was because I wanted to receive your approval. I knew I needed to delete the blog and start all over again, which I am now doing.
Have you ever experienced getting 99% positive feedback about something you did, perhaps a project at work or remarks from a teacher or something new that you just tried and the 1% negative remark is what you focused on? It seems absurd, but I bet that many of us have had that experience at one time or another in our lives. Perhaps as a youngster on your report card you got all A’s and one B. Instead of acknowledging the hard work it took to get all A’s your parents wanted to know why you got the one B? I’m wondering if we were being set up to get hooked into behaviors of perfectionism and not being good enough?
I know in my heart of hearts that I am doing my life’s work by living my life to the fullest, being open to receiving more good, trusting God in all my affairs and then sharing how God miraculously and ordinarily shows up in my life. It is my delight and joy to share these blogs every week to inspire you so you can experience God in a deeper way and to know that you are not alone. I am as honest and authentic as I can be, even when or especially when my stuff comes up. I know what I need to write about when I say to God, “You really don’t want me to share this, do you?” The answer is always, “Yes, I do.”
Even though I know in my heart that I am doing God’s will by writing the weekly blogs, I asked myself, “Why was I about to give my power away by wanting and asking for your approval? Because I am human, because I still need healing and transformation? Probably both.
I am grateful to Spirit for “hitting me between the eyes” and revealing to me my real motives for what I was about to send out to you and showing me the truth. Let me explain. I received a comment from a reader of my blogs that was disturbing and I felt angry and hurt by the comment. I started to question myself and what I was doing and, consequently, felt blocked in my writing. I KNOW that it is impossible and unreasonable to think I will please everyone. So, why was I having a hard time with this and allowing this comment to disturb me? Was it like the 99% positive and 1% negative feedback that I was buying into? Instead of being resentful and angry, I am grateful for the negative comment for it brought to light what still needs healing in me. I received a comment from someone else just a few days later that was so loving and uplifting that it brought tears to my eyes. She said, “I love your blogs, your honesty and authenticity and you seem to be so happy.”
Wanting other people’s approval is something that I have been healing from for years, but I guess it is like the onion and you just keep peeling and going deeper until you get to the core – which is God’s love and light. When I know that I am loved unconditionally by God, no matter what I do or don’t do, other people’s opinion or approval of me will not matter. I wish I could say I was there, but I’m not. I am on my way and that is good enough for me today. Because all I have is today, and in this moment, I know I am loved and am happy to be whom and where I am.
Spiritual progress is like a detoxification. Things have to come up in order to be released. Once we have asked to be healed, then our unhealed places are forced to the surface. Our blocks to love are not suppressed or denied, but rather brought into our conscious awareness. Our fearful places have to be revealed before they can be healed.
I reminded myself that I am on an amazing spiritual journey of self-love, self-discovery and self-knowing, which brings me to a question that was asked of me by my friend, Marise, this week that was very profound. The question was: WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW?
I had to really think about the question for a few minutes before my answers came up. For example: I KNEW years ago that I was going to write a book, but I didn’t know WHEN – it was someday. How did I KNOW – because everyone kept telling me, “You have so many faith stories, you have to write a book.” Even though I KNEW it, it took me 30 years to begin it and then 7 years to finish it. It was a process of just taking a step at a time, going backward, moving forward, in spite of the deep fears within.
The other area of my life that came up for me is WHEN I KNEW THAT I KNEW that I would live my life to the fullest, with or without my husband. I remember the exact moment and where I was when I made that commitment to myself. It took me 10 years to leave a marriage that was unhealthy and not life-giving.
As I learn to trust myself, God and my inner-knowing, I don’t think it will take me as long to do or be what I KNOW.
I invite you to think about “WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW?” Ask Spirit to bring to light what you need to know that will help you move forward on your spiritual journey.
Thank you all for remembering my birthday and sending wishes and kind words. I shared last week that my trip to Hana was cancelled and that I trusted there was a reason for it. The reason was revealed because I got sick the night of my birthday and had to rest for a couple of days. I am so grateful that I got sick AFTER my birthday and could celebrate and have fun. It would not have been fun being away sick. Thank you God for closing the door.
I had a glorious birthday and felt so loved and cherished by my family and friends. It started with a text from one of my children wishing me a Happy Birthday and telling me that I was the best mom in the world and the most courageous and inspiring woman he knows. That is the greatest gift a mother could receive from her child and I will cherish it forever. All of my children honored me and sent beautiful gifts and cards that touched my heart deeply, from jewelry to chocolate to money. My friends called and sent gifts that were so thoughtful, like a certificate for Paragliding, a crystal angel, a butterfly bracelet and a lady bug wind chimes. I am so blessed and grateful for the love I received on my birthday.
My day started with my friend, Kerri, giving me a Harmonium energy healing session which was so peaceful and powerful to have this on my birthday. I went to breakfast with Kati at a restaurant overlooking the ocean and then we went to the 4 Seasons Hotel to play and swim. While sitting in the lobby, she read angel cards for me. My friend, Larry, invited me to a dinner celebration at the Palms restaurant which is right on the ocean. I truly felt blessed.
As I took my walk tonight, I reflected upon the wisdom from the angel card reading that I had on my birthday. The first card was to “cut cords from the past.” I had done that already and wondered why this card came up. I think it was a confirmation of what I have been practicing in my life in regards to some of the unhealthy messages I received as a child.
For example: Growing up in an alcoholic home (or any dysfunctional home) there are 3 unspoken rules that you live by. They are: Don’t trust, Don’t talk and Don’t feel. You learn not to trust your own perceptions and intuition because the adults in your life are acting like nothing is wrong in the family. There may be all kinds of problems but nobody talks about them. If you were to bring something up, you might be chastised or laughed at. So, of course, you learned not to trust yourself or talk about what was really going on.
A friend called me this week while I was sick and said, “Can you talk, I am feeling needy.” During the conversation, she said, “I don’t talk about this to anyone.” Thankfully, she had the courage to break that rule and call me and ask for help. I believe we are not meant to walk this journey alone and we need to talk about what’s going on if we are to be healthy and whole. She needed me to listen to her and love her, which is what I did.
I have cut the cords because I no longer play by these rules. Today, I know what my feelings are and when I need to speak up and say my truth. here was a time in my life when confronting another person or speaking my truth really stressed me out. I remember years ago when I spoke up to my boss and how I had to write everything down that I needed to say to her because I was so nervous. Although I may not like speaking up, I do it when I need to and I do it with love. For the past month, I have had the opportunity to speak up to several people who tried to bully me and were verbally abusive.
Living in Maui has helped me to deepen and trust my intuition and what I am to do or not do next in my life. Sometimes, I may disappoint others or make them angry, but I must be true to myself and follow my heart. I pray about everything and know Spirit is leading me on my path. I go inside for my answers rather than looking outside for others to tell me what to do. Sometimes, my decisions don’t make sense logically, but I follow my heart and my gut because it has never taken me down the wrong path. Today, I know I can change my mind (as many times as I need to) when something doesn’t feel right.
I was intrigued when I spotted the bumper sticker on the car in front of me while driving my car into town. It read, SELF-SPONSORED. As a member of a 12 step support group, it is suggested that every person have a sponsor. There is a time when sponsorship is critical to sobriety and I strongly recommended it to all of my clients. In essence, you were accountable to someone who had more experience in the program and more sobriety. It works. So I asked myself, “What did SELF-SPONSORED mean to me?”
Although I have close friends that I share with and run things by, I believe I am becoming SELF-SPONSORED. Rather than being accountable to someone else, I am learning to be accountable to myself-my higher self. If I say I am going to do something or be somewhere, I follow through to the best of my ability. I am responsible for myself in all areas of my life. I am “sponsoring myself” when I trust myself, trust my intuition, believe in myself, affirm myself and take care of my body, mind and spirit. I check in with my body to see how it feels before making decisions and ask my body what it needs in the moment. I follow my heart wherever it leads me. I have learned to say no when I don’t want to do something and I don’t push or “should” on myself anymore. I listen to my body and rest when I need to. It is a new way of life not to push and trust that all things are happening for a reason and that it is all good. My life is peaceful when I allow things to come to me, rather than force or make things happen.
It is my belief that if I am living my life today in love, faith, trust, forgiveness and gratitude that whatever shows up in my life in the future will be for my highest good and I will be taken care of. All I have to do is to be concerned with today and how I am living my life.
I CREATE MY LIFE ONE MOMENT AT A TIME Daily Word
I am created to live life to the fullest in each present moment, and each moment contributes to the substance of my life. The now is filled with amazing opportunities for me to grow and create the life I want. I choose what kind of life I am creating. Listening to a favorite tune, I notices how one note follows the next to create a memorable line of music. Each note and chord occur in the moment, yet they combine to create a complete piece. Similarly, each individual thought, word, and action of my day creates my life. I choose to build my life’s symphony one moment at a time. Every experience is part of the whole. I live an intentional life by keeping my awareness in the NOW.
I woke up this morning and said to God, “It’s the end of the week and I don’t have anything to share in my blog. I heard God say, “Have I ever let you down?” I said, “No God, you haven’t.”
I invited Angela to my home for coffee that afternoon. I sat there with my mouth open as she shared her powerful stories of how God has provided for her over the years. Five years ago, she moved to Maui with her 2 daughters, who were one and fourteen years old. She didn’t know anyone or didn’t have a place to live when she arrived. But, God provided miraculously for her and her children as soon as she got off of the plane. When we started to talk she said, “I think everyone has a book in them and I have been thinking about writing my story.” After listening to her share her stories, I felt excited and knew what I needed to do. I looked her in the eyes and said, “I will help you write your book, I will be your coach.” She smiled and said, “Thank you, I would like that and I will pray about it tonight.”
I met Angela 2 weeks ago when she attended, “Fall in Love with Your Inner Goddess.” She called me the day before the retreat to see if there was still room for her to attend. She said,” I went to the gym today and saw your flyer. I have never done anything like this before.” We still had space for her and she agreed to come.
I know it took a lot of courage for Angela to attend the retreat because she didn’t know me or any of the other women at the retreat. She was quiet, but had a beautiful smile that lit up her whole face. She said she loved the retreat.
I received an email from Angela a few days after the retreat. She wrote, “Pat, I just wanted to share something really awesome. When I saw your books on the table at the retreat, I thought to myself, “This book looks familiar and I wonder if I have it at home?” So after our women’s retreat, I went to my book case and there it was. I am not exactly sure how I got it, however, I have it and I’m reading it. I just think that even before we met we were connecting.
During our time together at my home, Angela remembered where she got my book from. She said, “A week before the retreat, I went to the library and at the front of the library they have books for sale. Your book jumped out at me and I bought it. I don’t always read the books I buy right away, but know that when I do read them, it is what I need to read. I put your book on my book shelf.” She also shared she had a gym membership, but hadn’t used it until the day she saw the flyer. She said, “Something told me I needed to be there because I want to learn how to love myself.” She managed to find a babysitter for her daughter at the last minute. She prayed about it and is excited about me helping her move forward in telling her story of God’s love.
I shared in last week’s blog about the “house swap” to Hana next week. The day after I sent out my blog, I received a call from Carol telling me her landlord was upset about her having friends stay at her place and she was unable to “swap houses.” I felt disappointed, but trusted that God had a better plan and stayed grateful. I remember reading “Disappointments are God’s appointments.”
Kati and I decided to rent a place for two days in Hana. Then, Kati’s landlord asked her to watch their dogs while they were away and would take $200 off her rent. It was the days we were planning on going away. This clearly was a closed door to go to Hana for my birthday. That same day, two other things fell through that I was disappointed about. All of a sudden, it felt like a cloud over my head, my energy was low and I wanted to cry. I knew this was not just about what was going on in my life today. I couldn’t figure out why because I know things happen for a reason and it always works out for my good. As I was driving my car to a breath work session that night, the tears started to flow down my cheeks and it hit me why I felt so low and what this “disappointment” was triggering in me.
For many years of my married life, I didn’t look forward to my birthday because I was often forgotten by my ex-husband. I felt disappointed year after year and it would be the same scenario of tears, hurt, anger and an apology and promise that it wouldn’t happen again. I had forgiven my ex-husband years ago so I was surprised this was coming up now.
What I realized is that I gave my power away for so many years because I expected someone else to make me happy. I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know that I make myself happy and I can be as happy as I want to be. Of course, when others do something nice for me, I appreciate it and it makes me feel loved.
I knew that my breath work session was going to be powerful and I was ready to feel my feelings and release whatever needed to be released so I could live in the present moment and enjoy all the gifts God was giving me. I didn’t want to live in the past and have buried feelings anymore. As I did my breath work, deep sadness came up that I allowed myself to stay in a place where I wasn’t respected and remembered. I needed to forgive myself for giving my power away and expecting others to make me happy.
During the breath work session, I felt God’s love and presence in a deep, profound way. It felt like something was being lifted from my heart. The next day, I felt loved, free, and playful and I knew there was a huge release. As I was walking to my car from the ocean, a woman in a silver convertible car passed me. I said, “I love your car.” Then I noticed her license plate that read, “Happiness.” I said, “I love your license place too.” She yelled to me, “My name is Happy.” Wow, I knew God was speaking to me.
The purpose of our lives is to be HAPPY. I know I am going to have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY and I look forward to sharing it with you next week. When God closes a door, another one is opened. I can’t wait to see how this birthday is going to unfold and I am very excited about it.
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Simply A Woman of Faith
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