Thursday, January 24, 2008

Survivors Can Thrive!: I've Created a "Survivor Needs" Meme

Marj from "Survivors Can Thrive" threw
the ball to Megan Bayless from "Imaginif..."

Asked her to play in the "Survivor's Needs" meme.
Then Megan threw the ball to me.
Now I'm throwing it to you!
Catch it if you can!

Can't help wondering...what you're wondering about? When Megan made me "it" I didn't even know what a Meme was! I also wasn't sure I wanted to play! Well, play I did, and learned what others already know...playing a Meme is a bit like playing Chess. You can learn the moves and play it light for fun...or play it as though your life depends on it... As a survivor I know two things about playing hard ball with my past. One is that sometimes it hurts to play. The other is that it always leaves me feeling lighter and stronger.

The Way to Play Marj’s Meme.

1. Please link back to Marj's post so people can see the origins of the meme, get ideas for their own self-care list, see who’s already been tagged, and maybe we can track how far this meme goes.

2. List 25 needs. and five wants. Try to restrict your needs list to things that have to do with being a survivor of some sort of abuse, assault, etc.

3. List 5 wants. Your wants list can be anything you want!

4. Use this list to remind yourself to get your needs met in this New Year.

5. Pass on the meme and tag five people to play the meme with you.

So, Here's my Survivor's Needs Meme...

My 25 Needs. As a Survivor of Child Sexual Assault and a Survivor of Other Physical, Emotional, Psychological Abuse and Neglect Throughout my Childhood and Beyond, and also as a Survivor of Perpetrating Abuse and Neglect on My Children:

1. I need release from having fear as my constant companion, day and night, as it's been since my very early childhood.
2. I need to be free to do whatever necessary to feel safe in my home, in my mind, and around people who are not threatening to me.
3. I need to be free to do whatever necessary to minimize stress in my life, in order to maximize the conditions conducive to maintaining the level of mental health I have achieved.
4. I need to be free to stop participating in my own use, abuse and neglect.
5. I need to learn saying NO is healthy and appropriate, and act accordingly.
6. I need release from the lingering sense of guilt and shame that as a child I somehow caused adults to abuse and neglect me.
7. I need to be free to feel what I know to be true…no child causes the bad behaviors of adults; no child deserves the terrible things some adults, including me, do to innocent children.
8. I need release from the lingering guilt and shame over failing my own children as a parent in so many ways, and in failing to break the cycle of abuse and neglect of generations that came before us.
9. I need to be free to feel pride about the many good things I did for my children that continue on as good things in the lives of some of my grandchildren.
10. I need to be free to feel the forgiveness my children have given me for lacking the necessary awareness, skills, knowledge, and strength to fully protect them from myself.
11. I need to feel responsible for my failures as a parent, but not accept blame for other's failures and inappropriate behaviors towards my children.
12. I need to be free to feel good about the many ways I did protect my children from others and myself who would have harmed them.
13. I need release from guilt and shame that I'm not doing enough to protect other children from abuse and neglect.
14. I need to be free to feel pride over what I have done for other children.
15. I need to be free from guilt and shame that I don't try harder to accomplish a goal I believe may help some children.
16. I need to feel so safe in ways I can't even imagine that I feel free to develop trusting relationships.
17. I need to be free to do whatever necessary to feel safe without feeling I'm being selfish.
18. I need to feel loved in spite of my negative experiences and imperfections as a child and an adult, not feel that no one could love me or even like me if he or she knew all about me.
19. I need continued personal acceptance of my own responsibility for doing the best I can with what each day contains.
20. I need to be free to continue doing everything possible to open the discussion of child abuse and neglect to the children who are abused and neglected, and to the adults who abuse and neglect children. Professionals need to listen to both voices. Truth, like a diamond, has many faces.
21. I need to believe that although I was injured and remain scarred as a result, I am not "less than" or "damaged goods."
22. I need my acceptance of myself as developmentally challenged in early life through no fault of my own. Although I can never be whatever I might have been in other circumstances, I have many gifts and talents to use to accomplish my goals as I am.
23. I need others to understand that I am not all black or all white, not all good, nor all evil. That does not mean I think being human is an excuse for child abuse and neglect. There are no excuses, in my opinion. But there are reasons that can and must be addressed.
24. I need someone to believe that I would do or give anything to have lived a different life. I didn't grow up dreaming of abusing and neglecting my children as a goal, watching as the cycle continued on to my grandchildren. I don't believe anyone does.
25. I need you to know after a lifetime of change, I am what I am, was what I was, and will be what I will, with or without your judgment, with or without your sincere acceptance, with or without your empathic understand. It is the children who are abused and neglected and their perpetrators who need your support for change, now.

1. I want to use my education and passion to increase awareness of child abuse and neglect issues to spur others to fight for changes I believe are possible. I want millions of people to unite for children's rights as some have for other oppressed peoples.
2. I want more people to do whatever necessary to become better educated so they understand that child abuse and neglect will not ever be stopped by locking up perpetrators. Yes, those who abuse and neglect children should be identified, held responsible, treated, educated, punished, and monitored, as needed, and in some cases even locked up for a lifetime. But we need to replace failing systems with new and creative solutions to this global problem if children will ever have the childhoods they deserve and need in which to thrive and become healthy adults who would never, even accidentally or out of ignorance, abuse or neglect a child.
3. I want to pursue my lifelong dream for which I prepared by investing many years of my time, and many thousands of your tax dollars in student loans that may never get repaid, (but I assure you, aren't in default!) All of that together hasn't been enough to overcome such low self-esteem that in spite of excellent training, writing and illustrating picture books for abused and neglected children seems still beyond my abilities.
4. I want to wake up feeling glad to be alive and eager to live each new day, not wake up feeling soul weary, not wishing I was dead, not dreading whatever the day might bring.
5. I want my mental health medications and support systems to continue working as well as, or better than, they have for fifteen years now, so that I can continue to be "high functioning" on behalf of children everywhere. for

Blogs I Tagged:

Cerebral Mum
The OTHER Mother
Reflections of a Foster Youth
Sunshine Girl on a Rainy Day – Lisa
Child Care Gone Wrong Jumping in Puddles at Life Spacing

...and one for good measure...
She Knows Message Board

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee


Kate said...

Hi Marj-

I am afraid that I no longer write Babylune and can no longer vouch for what happens to the integrity or accuracy of its content. If you want to remove the link to protect your readers from any changed that *could be* made, I understand.

I am sorry I can't participate in the meme.

Megan Bayliss said...

A great list of 25 needs. You have done well with playing the two recent memes Nancy.

I wonder why Kate isn't at Babylune any more - one of my wants is always for more information.

Spilling Ink said...

Hello, Child Person.
I read a bit in here earlier, but did not have time to write a comment just then. I just had to come back and tell you what some of my perceptions were and I hope that is okay. I know guilt, and I see you do, too. It's heavy and it hurts. My son was molested by an ex and I have spent a very long time beating myself up for it for being such a mess back then and being unable to figure out what was wrong. I was missing a big part of the whole picture when I was judging myself and taking the blame (the way my parents taught me to). I did eventually find out and put a stop to it. Yes, damages were done. I can't take that away, but I did something about it and I didn't blame or shame my poor son for what happened to him like my mother did to me. Maybe that moment is when real change began for the future course of those who come after me. I also blew the whistle on my family of origin after that. My mother told me I should be ashamed of myself. Do you know what a power house you are, dear Child Person? YOU DID SOMETHING. You changed and grew. That's amazing. What I would give for a parent who would say, "The stuff that happened in our house was wrong and I really regret that that happened to you. It happened and it shouldn't have." I don't know exactly what you may have said to your kids about it all, but you SEE. You were the strong one; the one who became wise over countless generations that came before you, YOU somehow found a way to be able to see. And now you are showing others. Can you identify, not with the parents who taught you that you are worthless, but with the wounded and healing children, of which you are one? You deserve so much love and compassion from yourself. Don't beat yourself up anymore. Please. PEOPLE LIKE YOU CHANGE THE WORLD.