The conversation in my head tonight is the aftermath of a telephone call with an old friend this afternoon We have been through deep waters together and now we were updating each other on our current lives.
Both of us lived through relationships with sex addicts. Our main experiences were different. Mine was originally from childhood, her’s all from adulthood. The men were out of control, we had that in common.
I’ve spent the evening attempting to find access to books I’ve found helpful over the years and they seem to have disappeared.
One book was the personal story of someone living with a man addicted to pornography. His addiction was a secret but as it grew larger in his life that all changed. It was helpful to hear her findings about the start, the source, and the pathway to deep destructive patterns in a relationship.
That’s where our conversation was today. How does it start? Why does it start? From sources I’ve found, it can start at a very early age if material is available. The reason it will take hold is to fill an emotional need. Loneliness for one. It acts as a pain reliever and it is highly addictive to the unsuspecting.
One book I found helpful in the beginning of my search for help understanding seems to be out of print and I’m sad. I wanted to send the link for this book to my friend.
I can find a link on Amazon for the paperback which is unavailable and it appears a Kindle edition hasn’t been created.
I have other books that address this addiction too but I wanted this one. Oh well, I’ve started reading it again to refresh my memory maybe I can share useful bites with her.
Laurie Hall’s story reveals pornography’s subversive side and offers comfort, encouragement, insight, and a plan of action to women whose husbands are addicted.
There is so much more to think and say but we’ll leave it there for tonight
On a different note . . .
There were no good book suggestions today. Maybe tomorrow.
We have more exciting book suggestions today. Actually, a few were from yesterday but my email is wonky somehow and several did not show up in a timely manner. Better late than never though. Especially since they do have something we want.
BookRunes has the good suggestion for us this time. With an author is new to us. I’m loving her engaging writing style as I read through the sample. The last new author had a story line centered around big gang activity, it sounds like today’s story is in the same vein. Definitely a new twist compared to what we are used to seeing.
What happens when a Christian woman and a mafia boss fall in love? Their passion breeds chaos.
Rosa and Amory have no business getting involved with one another but they also have no choice. Rosa is Amory’s captive bride, kidnapped and forced to marry him as payment for her brother’s debt. All she wants is to live a life free of crime and violence but now she’s shackled to the most dangerous man in New York City. Only God can help her now.
Meanwhile, Amory is looking forward to having a beautiful young bride. But Amory is a mafia underboss and Rosa is a Christian woman. Her faith is standing right between them, and he hates that. The sting of her refusal to marry him runs deep. But something in Amory feels drawn to Rosa, despite their differences. Maybe she is the calm to his storm, maybe he is the chaos she secretly craves. Whatever the case, they’re in it together.
Withered Rose is a Christian story. There is no foul language and no graphic scenes of sex, violence, or gore. However, our characters are members of the mafia which may present an environment some readers consider triggering. Topics such as gang violence, abuse, and distribution of illegal substances will be introduced throughout the book.
Searching for this book there were others by this author. One of them was also a bargain and looked interesting so I think we will go for it too. It is in the same series but set many years later and is a stand alone story. It will be safe to read it without reading the rest of the series first.
Fractured Diamond: A Christian Romantic Suspense Novel (Withered Rose)
Christian Romantic Suspense Standalone Novel
After a vicious attack leaves Brianna Gem paranoid, she decides to hire private security. Little does she know, the man she hires is none other than Bobby Ackard, her high school sweetheart.
It’s been six years since Bobby dumped Brianna—now he’ll be following her around everywhere she goes. Protecting her.
Neither Brianna nor Bobby are kids anymore, but Bobby’s still got those piercing blue eyes and that dangerous smile. Absolutely nothing about him has changed but everything is different about Bri—and how could it not be? The last time Brianna saw her ex, they were madly in love. Then she found herself suddenly abandoned and drowning in rumors about her boyfriend. He was at the center of a police investigation before he dumped her and vanished six years ago. Now he’s back, but with his arrival comes a new load of drama and mystery.
Is it possible that Bobby isn’t the man Brianna thought he was? Could he be tied to the dangerous gangs of New York? Did he have something to do with the attack that led to their reunion?
Maybe Bobby’s untimely return is just a chance encounter. It might even be a gift from God so they can finally clear the air. Brianna has been targeted more than once. Her life could very well be in danger and Bobby could be her saving grace. But as Brianna gets to know him again and begins to peel back the layers covering the secret of his disappearance six years ago, she starts to wonder if their connection is a coincidence or a curse.
Fractured Diamond is a standalone novel that takes place ten years after the Withered Rose trilogy. While some characters from its prequel series do make an appearance throughout the novel, the storyline is unrelated and can be enjoyed without reading Withered Rose.
***WARNING*** Due to gang-related activity, this book is recommended for adult readers
There were other emails with suggestions but nothing showed up that could compare to the books we have already. Mostly same old same old.
I’ve read and enjoyed two books we downloaded the other day, with similar stories, and now I’m looking forward to the two new ones.
I’m also looking forward to book three in the first series to see how it all ends. Book 2 ended with a big cliff hanger.
One thing that stood out starkly for me in the series was this: things that look exciting and pleasurable have an unexpected dark side.
There was a brothel connected to the gang’s very large drug operation. The women were beautiful. The men were distracted with unquenchable lust. They “loved” the same woman but weren’t necessarily aware of the truth of the situation. The unexpected dark side was jealousy, murder, and betrayal. They thought they had it all but there were no winners in this game.
Our body remembers and keeps track. This is a recently acquired piece of information that explains a whole lot of things for me.
Memory suppression is a coping mechanism our minds will use to help us survive life. That has been the truth of my formative years. I have to be intentional about allowing snippets of information to settle in my mind long enough to consider what they might mean. Doing this has been an enlightening experience and explained may things, but it didn’t start happening until I was willing to allow my mind to dwell on the visiting thoughts.
For many decades I refused to entertain the idea of abuse precisely because I had no concrete memories. I suspected but wouldn’t make an accusation I couldn’t prove. A decade or so ago my brother forced me to admit it was true. He used persuasive force so it was all good. I think he remembers more than he was willing to admit. His assertion came out of nowhere although I think he must have been thinking about it for quite some time. It was like he was on a mission to finally talk about it and now was the time.
So back to the body remembering thought. . . It’s kind of funny when I think about it because I have been on a quest for emotional healing for many decades. That would be proof of the body remembers where my mind doesn’t. Subconsciously I knew I had a deep need for healing in my life and over the years I’ve been driven to pursue it relentlessly. The motivation was Iwant to be well.
It’s something how books, conversations, lectures, stories, all sorts of things, cross my path just when I need them.
Like I said the body remembers concept showed up in the last year or so and it was so helpful. I had been paying attention before but now I was more intentional. Besides noticing physical responses, fight or flight, I started thinking more deeply about the reasons and implications of those reactions. I’ve known forever than I don’t have normal reactions or even interpretations to words or situations, but I want to.
The latest idea for me to explore builds on the last one. Your body remembers and is convinced that danger still exists and raises the alarm to protect you. That’s why we are triggered by anything remotely resembling past dangerous situations. I have many triggers and have yet to figure out what is behind most of them. There are so many because the worst of the abuse stretched over a decade and on top of that there were multiple people involved as well as multiple types of abuse. Both emotional and physical. Then there is the complication that the emotional abuse continued on much longer than a decade.
The idea today was that, to get past these reactions we have to face our triggers/fears, convince our internal memory that all is well and the danger is past. And mostly it is, that’s true.
For a while I have been thinking about changing thought patterns by laying down new memories over the old. Creating new neural pathways. I’ve been thinking about facing and figuring out what caused the triggers in order to understand the why of the triggers, by knowing what happened to me. Understanding what is behind the triggers helps us chase away the proverbial bogey man hiding under the bed or in the closet.
I can see now that finding a way to convince my body that the danger is past and I’m safe, is badly needed.
Easier said than done. But worth a try.
Today’s moment of revelation came in the form of a podcast. It was a valuable conversation between professionals, a clinical psychologist and a popular guest with several degrees in the mental health field. These two come at the conversation from different perspectives and it has given me food for thought that will be around for some time to come.
One more much needed building block on the journey.
Here is the link. They had so much more to say that is worth hearing.
Among many others they talked about answering the question – What do you want? a serious question that most of us cannot articulate. Possibly because no one has ever asked us that question. At least not in a serious, really wanting to know, kind of way. It’s usually more like – what do You want? That’s the first thought that popped into my head as I wrote the first question. Sad. Probably heard that version a lot as a kid.
I have to say they covered a lot of ground in the hour long podcast.
Anyway, their enlightening conversation was definitely worth the time.
Until next time
Hope this makes sense, didn’t leave enough time for needed rewrites.
LPC Free books has two suggestions for us, both read and enjoyed several years ago. Stories with substance.
All The Way Home – Ann Tatlock
“Tatlock’s rich descriptions and characterizations are unusually fresh and inventive.”~Publishers Weekly
From a rough section of Los Angeles during the late Depression years, to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s in the South, this novel is a searing portrayal of one family trapped by alcoholism and another living the typical middle class life. A true American story told through the eyes of two girls, best friends, separated by the internment camps of World War II.
Somewhere a Rainbow (Finding Love in the Low Country Book 4)
Brooke Haddon’s future looks gray…After her unfaithful husband is killed in an auto accident, she faces the challenge of rebuilding her life. With most of her money gone, she takes her five-year-old son to the honeymoon cottage on Hilton Head Island where her marriage began. As a single parent, she wonders how she will manage, and once she arrives on the island, she can’t imagine how she’ll be able to repair a cottage as broken down as her life.
When local carpenter Jake Randolph offers to help, Brooke immediately distrusts him. But as the months pass, she begins to think he may be different from the other men she has known. He begins to melt the emotional ice around her heart. Then Jake admits he’s concealing a secret past. Are Brooke’s hopes of a brighter future about to be destroyed. Or is there a rainbow beyond the storms of heartbreak?
1531 Entertainment has interesting bargain suggestions for us. Several authors are new to this site and that’s always something to celebrate. It’s lovely meeting new people.
Woman in Shadow
Award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks combines her expertise as a forensic artist with her talent for crafting a gripping story in this page-turning web of light and shadow.
A woman off the grid.
Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.
A town on fire.
More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.
A growing darkness.
As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.
Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.
Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there.
Further complicating matters is Andrew, her roommate’s distractingly attractive cousin. But Andrew’s father is a Congressman, and Hayden’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?
The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to kill the case—or her. Logic and self-preservation would indicate she should close the case. But how can she, when justice is still just beyond her reach?
Divine: A Novel (A Clean, Contemporary Christian Fiction Story of Life, Loss, Love, Faith, and the Miracle of Resurrection)
With hallmark tenderness and power, #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury weaves a tapestry of life, loss, love, faith—and the miracle of resurrection.
Mary Madison is educated and redeemed, a powerful voice in Washington, D.C. But she also has a past that shamed polite society. A survivor of unspeakable horror, Mary has battled paralyzing fear, faithlessness, addiction, and promiscuity. Yet even in her darkest valley, Mary was sustained from afar, prayed over by a grandmother who clung to the belief that God had special plans for Mary. Now a divine power has set Mary free to bring life-changing hope and love to battered women living in the shadow of the nation’s capital—women like Emma Johnson. A single mother fleeing an abusive relationship, Emma wonders whether there is hope for her and her young daughters. She is desperate, broken, and unloved . . . and tempted to commit the unthinkable. Then Mary introduces Emma to the greatest love of all, greater than any either of them has ever imagined.
I’m going for the first two, only because I have to hold the line, it’s running away on me.
The author of the third book has been a favorite for a very long time and I’m sad to leave her behind.
I hope you find something here appealing to you too.
“Do you wanna be well, really wanna be well?” The Gaither Vocal Band has a song asking this question.
I’m just now realizing it’s a question I have to ask myself, again.
I’ve loved this song since it first came out and I honestly thought my answer to this question was a resounding YES!
I’m having to rethink this position, based on my actions, or rather, lack of them.
My conversation with the dermatologist on Tuesday is the catalyst.
His question “how long have you had this rash on your legs?” started this train of thought. Looking at my answer “12 years,” from his perspective was upsetting. Added to that, my comment regarding much scratching “pain is addictive,” tipped me over the edge. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
I’ve never sought help in regard to this current, and worst, version of the rash. Why is that?
I can get into the weeds pretty quickly if I follow this train of thought too intensely so I won’t go there.
It is true that for many years I have been working on healing from my childhood trauma and the damage it caused. Honestly though, it’s not as simple as I thought.
I think it’s more like a mirrored disco ball. There are many facets and I’ve been honest about some but not others. My behavior shows the truth. No doctor visits in a decade. Never (rarely) leaving my house. Avoiding any gatherings with certain types of people in attendance. (it’s probably more honest to say avoiding gatherings with people in attendance, never mind types.)
Where do I go from here?
I don’t know. For now I think my acknowledgement of the truth is enough. My behavior often changes when my perspective changes.
The song is based on a bible story found in the New Testament, the book of John, chapter 5, verses 1 – 15
I do want to be well, I’m just not so sure about making changes in some areas.
I like interacting with people in this arena. Maybe, along with honesty, interaction here is all that’s needed. I could live with that.
I’m feeling the need to talk. Not sure what about, though.
I had an appointment with a dermatologist yesterday. A few weeks ago I shared about large and longstanding rash on both shins. When my doctor saw it many months ago he referred me to a specialist. When I asked if it would be helpful, he didn’t hold out much hope for clearing it up.
Many times over the course of the year I was tempted to cancel the appointment. My thinking was… what’s the point if all theycan do is give me something to keep it manageable.
Yesterday, I was pleased to discover there is hope for getting rid of it. The dermatologist prescribed a cream that should kill the active agent behind the rash. Suddenly I was happy I hadn’t given in to my negative thinking and cancelled the appointment.
There was a downside to the appointment as well, though. As he examined the worst area the dermatologist made the observation that I scratch a lot. It’s true, I do. Unfortunately, this keeps it alive and spreading. The new areas are the itchiest. Then I admitted I scratched sometimes when it wasn’t even itchy. I commented that the pain inflicted is addictive and the doctor nodded his agreement.
That revealing admission has been both haunting and upsetting. The worst of it is that I’m not really sure why. There must be a deep seated wound underneath the need to feel such pain. Admitting it has triggered a large emotional response in me that I don’t understand.
I’m hoping that, like with every other thought eventually making it’s way to the surface of my mind, with reflection some understanding will break through. The needed knowledge is down there somewhere, it just isn’t able to get through to me until I relax enough to give it permission.
Many years were spent with fingers in my ears. I would say that I was yelling lalalalalalala I can’t hear you, but I don’t think I was. I am pretty sure my feet were planted, my arms were crossed and I refused to listen to one word.
Now after many decades I’m finally listening. It has been a freeing experience and I’m loving life more and more all the time. It doesn’t mean I will ever be healthy or normal. The wounds go too deep for that, but I’m embracing every bit of emotional healing that comes my way.
And now I’m looking forward, hopefully, to rash-less legs with no more itch.
If you can’t remember how do you know it happened? You could be wrong.
I can see how, lacking memories, skeptics might question my claims of child abuse.
I’ve been thinking about this more intensely this weekend. It’s not that I haven’t spent time with it before. I have… decades in fact. Just not intensely.
This is the first time I’ve managed to lay it all out in order.
Just because my mind has refused to remember extreme pain, that doesn’t mean I have no memories of the rest of my life.
As a child, I remember poverty, insecurity and instability with a self-employed father full of brilliant ideas that didn’t always pan out. Highly sociable parents who loved to party and run with the fast crowd. An alcoholic father who was not always a nice, or faithful man. Dad was never alone much either.
Once the line has been crossed from inactive to active it can never be uncrossed. My conscious mind may refuse to remember the painful violations but my body remembers. Going forward, my unconscious thought patterns, reactions, and expectations were shaped by childhood experiences. As a teen, looking back, I recognize thought patterns that could only come from experience. With nothing to compare to, how could I know an inexperienced teen wouldn’t know what I knew. My naivete was in thinking I went in to marriage as a novice.
The most compelling indicator of abuse, though, was triggers.
For many decades, involuntarily, I refused to question anything. Thought patterns, reactions, hints, not even consideration of the to-question-or-not-to question dilemma, none of it. Subconsciously I knew I wouldn’t like the answers inspection would bring and my mind steadfastly refused to go there.
It was many decades before I gave triggers much thought. They were just a normal part of life. That is how it often is for the abused. Only when we see how others live do we recognize that what we live with is abnormal.
In the beginning most triggers seemed to be related to men. They range from a quick shut down, to knee-jerk reactions, to panic attacks. After years of examining root causes and then dealing with them, there were changes. Or, maybe it was whatever was next-in-line showing up.
The most recent episodes have taken me by surprise. With dysfunctional family dynamics there were multiple levels of abuse, much of it emotional. These lessor? triggers are taking their turn at gaining attention.
Reactions provide compelling evidence of abuse but the final nail in solidifying the idea was my brother insisting I admit it happened.
If there is any lingering doubt acesaware.org (Adverse Childhood Experiences) has extensive questionnaires offering insight. They name the minimum number of boxes it takes to assess probability. I passed the exam with flying colors. More than the required number of boxes checked off.
One of their areas of discussion is health issues. Aggravated by unaddressed abuse trauma. Two areas show up for me. Digestive and autoimmune. They have become more pronounced with each passing year.
This has been going on for more than ten years. I have a specialist appointment in a few weeks but it doesn’t look like there is any cure. This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve had skin issues most of my life, if it leaves one area it pops up in another. Why fight it?
There is no room left for doubt about what happened to me.
One more note: the As a child, .. paragraph above provided ample reasons for the checked off boxes on one of the questionnaire pages.
If you suspect you may be a victim check out acesaware.org , it is sponsored by California health and has a wealth of information and helpful tools available to everyone.
Trigger alert. Don’t read this if you are easily triggered or distressed with abuse stories. For sure don’t read this if my story distresses you. (family, friends.) I do promise there will be no explicit details. Generalities are bad enough.
Why now? you ask… It’s time.
If you are a praying person, I would appreciate your prayers. This is going to cost me, big time. It has to happen sometime and it feels like the time is now so I’ll carry on.
Why even do this?… It will be cathartic.
Advance warning – I do plan to end on a positive note. Something healing happened this week and I will share what that was.
Most of my life has been intentionally lived as if my past never happened. Parts of my adult life have been lived as a public figure, no one connected with me knew my background. It was all a secret.
There are two reasons for not speaking up sooner. One was that I had deeply repressed memories (still do) and wouldn’t admit to my suspicions without proof. My brother made me admit the abuse about 15 years ago when I was no longer a young woman.
The second reason (excuse) was tied up in protecting the reputation of the abuser. My outlook on that aspect has changed and protecting him no longer seems as important. I guess I was reluctant for family reasons too. None of that seems as important now either..
The reason for the abuse and the form it took is complex. I’m fairly certain there was abuse in Dad’s background which would explain why his alcoholism was firmly established by mid teens. It would also explain the sex addiction which probably started in early to mid teens as well.
An unplanned pregnancy (me) with unwanted responsibilities and lifestyle changes added rage to the mix.
Double addictions along with rage brought variety to the abuse. Selfish, immature, vindictive traits, didn’t help either.
So, all of that to say the abuse started early and took different forms depending on mood and availability. As the years went by access became more readily available. Mom had a job and also spent significant time in hospital fighting cancer. The last two years with him were the worst.
Dad was an extrovert and there were always visitors on the property. He was not adverse to sharing with his friends. As the abuse progressed I was groomed and trafficked. Money was a big draw. He was always in need of another bottle of whiskey. He was proud of his grooming.
My brothers and I were rescued as I turned twelve. Mom had to spend another stint in hospital and we were sent to stay with my grandmother. She insisted.
The door in my mind was slammed shut on all of the repressed memories. The experiences endured were unpleasant and as a teen there was not a speck of me wanting to be sexually active with boys. I’m grateful.
There were little clues in some of my irrational responses and thought patterns back then that might have been a tip-off if I had been willing to examine them.
Over the years prayer has been a very important part of my healing journey. I keep asking God to heal the exposed broken places that I have no idea how to fix or move past. He has been healing me incrementally for years, and friends and family are noticing the difference.
The positive note to end this post is about one of those healing times.
One of the aspects of intimacy, the experts say, is the connection formed in that moment. Casual or serious makes no difference.
I know it’s true. The relationship changes once that bridge has been crossed. The connection with your first is probably the strongest. Dad was my first and there were many more after him.
The last while I have been allowing myself to relax and let memories resurface if they want to. Sometimes it’s been emotions, sometimes bits of memories. There has been a heavy sense of connection to Dad.
This week in answer to prayer that connection with him has been broken. It’s gone, for him and all the other men he allowed in my life. I felt the emotion drain out of me and now I feel nothing for him.
I’ve let go of anger, I’ve forgiven him, the connection has been broken, and now the secret has been revealed.
There will still be triggers, more healing needed, and more issues to be faced. In the aftermath there will be a price to pay for sharing this story. It’s part of the deal.
Despite all of that I’m celebrating, in a numb kind of way. The secret is out. Another hurdle in the healing journey has been crossed.
Enjoyed and current read are both in the same series.
Not Until Forever: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 1)
As she focuses on her career, Sophie doesn’t let herself think about what she gave up when she declined Spencer’s proposal five years ago. So when she’s called home to say goodbye to her dying grandmother, she goes out of her way to avoid seeing him. Of course, that means he’s the first person she runs into. Much as she fights against it, being near him stirs up old feelings and makes her question old decisions.
Leaving college to help on the family orchard cost Spencer the woman he loved. But he couldn’t turn his back on his family. Now that Sophie’s back in town, Spencer’s determined to protect his heart. Only he senses something new in Sophie—something that makes him think maybe they could have a second chance. But when his family needs him again, he feels like he’s repeating the past. Only this time, he’s not sure what choice he should make.
Book one was a pleasurable read and I am looking forward to more enjoyment as I finish Book 5. Those in between these two have been previously read and enjoyed.
Not Until Christmas Morning: A Christian Romance (Hope Springs Book 5)
Leah has always been a fixer. That’s why she decided to foster a troubled teen. And it’s why she’s determined to give him the perfect Christmas. It might also be why she feels compelled to reach out to her grinchy, reclusive neighbor Austin. But she’ll have to be careful that reaching out doesn’t turn into something more—she’s been hurt by crossing the line from friendship to romance once, and she’s not willing to let it happen again.
After losing his leg, his friend, and his faith in Afghanistan, Austin figures he’s about as broken as they come. Hope Springs is simply a stopping point—a place to rehabilitate his leg, get over the burden of his PTSD, and get back into shape to redeploy. He has no desire to get to know anyone while he’s here, least of all the meddlesome—if sweet—woman next door. But when she calls on him to help her make Christmas special for her foster son, something compels him to relent. Soon, his heart belongs to both of them.
Under consideration for next in line, there are two.
Non fiction – Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition.