About Ivonne

Author of the book: I Thrive! Healing from child sexual abuse

Radio show with Ivonne as a guest

Radio show with Virginia Colin

Below is embedded the recording of the radio-show Ivonne appeared in on 16 november 2015. Enjoy!

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For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Long term effects of child sexual abuse – CPTSD – Guestblog by Karen Blodgett

This Guestblog by Karen Blodgett about CPTSD is part 3 in a 3 part series

Please check out part 1 and part 2 of her story. In part 1 she outlines her childhood experience of sexual abuse at the hands of a boy 2 years here senior. In part 2 she talks about the hold he had on her throughout her teenage years and what the effects of his manipulations were on her. In this third part she tells about her struggle with CPTSD and offers her help to other survivors.

I thought it was overMe in a Tagul.com word cloud

I remember thinking: ” it’s over!” I had stood my ground and he did not persist, he avoided me as I did him, even when we were in the same room. My victory was sweet but short lived.

My brain chemistry has changed

It wasn’t over, my brain has protected my body for so long, that my brain chemistry has changed causing CPTSD. Shutting off, dissociating has become the norm for me. The last memory of being a child was when I was five years old. The rest of my childhood has been stolen.

Learning to cope

I learn to cope with a lifetime of post-traumatic stress. I live in the same community as him for another year. He parties with our mutual friends. I still keep it all bottled up. I feel very much alone and there’s only two people I even connect with. I know people grossly misjudge me. Also I still think they won’t listen to me, care for or even believe me if I told. I feel like I don’t belong. I turn inward.

Home for Thanksgiving

I go off to college and then come home for Thanksgiving.  I desperately want to connect with my wonderful (yet very reserved) parents. Clearly they have no idea why I am different or why I have been a very moody, distant, and a socially awkward child. I feel guilty at the thought they might blame themselves. I want to get to know them better and that means they would need to get to know me better as well.

My parents figure I am going through puberty

My parents wondered what was wrong with me many times. One case in particular, I was in fifth grade, I cried for almost two weeks. Tears streaming down my face for no appearant reason. They tell me, they were about to seek therapy for me, but the crying stopped. I was 13 years old then. They figured it must have been the hormones of puberty.

Reconnecting with my parents

I reveal the truth to my mother and asked her to tell my father. I thought I would feel better but instead I am deeply saddened. I drop out of college for a month. I am deeply troubled and with my parents help I seek help. They support me through the rest of college, therapy and more.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)

I am diagnosed as having Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD as defined by Dr. Judith Herman) and for the past 25 years, I seek support for this condition everywhere I go. The CPTSD slowly becomes manageable with the therapies and the methods I learn: Relaxation, mindfulness, EBT, listening/problem solving, some neurofeedback, workbooks, exercise and more.

Study and professional life

I earn a B.A. Psychology degree, an M.A. k-12 moderate disabilities with a licence to teach. I teach in Africa for a year and in the US for 3 years in public school. Since then I have worked from California to Africa with most ages and populations of people. Currently I’m looking for a position in which I can help others benefit from my experiences.

My offer is to share my story and help you heal

I am telling my story here and I am sharing what I hope will help other young people. More importantly: I would like to offer understanding and support for others in similar situations. It does not matter how a person comes to be hurt so personally, the emotional scars are similar no matter whether you’re a victim of incest, child sexual abuse, trafficking, kidnapping or child pornography.

I am safe now

I am living my life empowered and know I am safe. I have gained resilience, integrity, and acceptance of many people from all walks of life and cultures. I intend to help others realize this safety and freedom in their own time and place. You too are unique and unique is valuable. It can be very empowering to realize just how valuable you are.

I am ready. Are you?

I’m ready to offer my assistance to anyone working through the issues of child sexual abuse and those who care for them. I’m looking for a position in an organisation that has child sexual abuse or trauma at its focus. I believe that through the benefit of my experiences of healing my own trauma, and the extensive studying I’ve done since, I can offer my expertise in any team working with this issue. You can contact me through my linkedin profile.

Best,
Karen

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Troubled teenager, sexually abused – guestblog by Karen Blodgett

Guestblog by Karen Blodgett: Troubled teenager, sexually abused

Karen posted her story of her childhood here earlier, you can read it if you click on: ‘Unique is valuable’. This is the second part of her story, about her troubled teenager years.

Painting by Karen Blodgett

Did he have a conscience?

Thinking back I see that the abuser did not appear to have a conscience. He never gave any sign that he realized the inappropriate nature of his abuse of me. As for my part: Victims can be dramatic. I have acted out and present myself in less than the favorable light. I was caught in a vicious circle. My nature, my protected environment, and perhaps my personality added up to make me a shy, overly dramatic, vulnerable child. The abuse caused many negative behaviors and affected my choices throughout my teenage years.

Troubled teenager

Children do not think like adults and neither do teenagers. When I turn eleven I think I am very mature. For a few confused years I think, because of everything that happens between us, that I must love the abuser! After all, everything I know about love, sex, relationship and myself, I learned from the him.

Watching Oprah Winfrey

I am watching Oprah and I’m glued to the set during her story about her recovery. I secretly hope someone will ask me. No one does. I allude to it many times, write about it in private and collage about my perception of life. I create a “perfect” girl’s life, but I am troubled. I have a subscription to ‘Seventeen’ at age fifteen. I read ‘Cosmo’ and similar magazines, anywhere I can, in every waiting room. I learn from their articles how I should look and act to be accepted. Meanwhile I go to Planned Parenthood secretly, at age fifteen and get birth control on my own. On the surface I look like a normal teenager, I do well enough in school and have protective parents.

Protecting everyone but me

I spend a lot of my energy hiding the sexual abuse from the community that supports my family. They are wonderful people. I have many  friends who are older than my grade level, I seem wise beyond my years. It is a fairly close-knit community. We spend most of our time together, at home, in school and at most social events. With my silence I protect everyone but myself.

Hoping someone will believe me

I beg my parents to let me switch schools. After a year and a half of constant begging they give in. People at my old school don’t understand and when I meet them again at social occasions, they judge me. I tell a classmate, at the school the abuser attended, that he abused me. I was so hoping she would tell, but she says: ‘There’s no way that he would do such a thing.”  I guess because he’s so popular. It takes another two years before I speak about it again.

Telling him NO!

I am 16 years old and I have a date with a boy I have my very first real crush on. Then the abuser invites himself into my room. Somehow I find the courage to tell him “NO! You are not going to @&*% this up for me!” and some more colorful language that I don’t usually use. I can hardly believe it when he turns around and leaves.

Still I keep the secret

Still I do not tell anyone.  I spend my time studying, doing required sports and hanging out with much older “friends.”  They are a fun wholesome bunch and probably think of me like a little sister.

betrayed, rape, why, hypervigilent, shamed, teenager, confused, ugly, anguished, terrified

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Breaking the abusers power: sharing your story

The abusers weapon is silence

DSC_0027-2Silence is the abusers powerful weapon. When silence is broken by one person, chances are he/she won’t be believed. But you’re not alone! There are many, way too many, people who’ve had similar experiences. Sharing your story is an even more powerful weapon than silence is.

My decision to break my silence

I’ve decided I won’t shut up any longer! Sharing my story has helped me in many ways.
Since I’ve published my blogs and books, my life has changed. I’ve found my way back to -part of- my family. My friends love and support me. Especially when I’m going through a rough patch.

Forgiving the abuser

I’ve also decided to forgive the man who used and abused me. And no, that wasn’t easy!
I hate what he did to me, not who he is. I couldn’t feel any positive energy from holding on, so I let him go. He’s no longer important to me. It feels great to be able to say that.

I strive to prevent and heal

Prevention by sharing your story is important. That way more people will realize why sexual abuse is such a horrible crime. Sharing your story can also be very healing. It helps you to let go of your past. Through my coaching sessions and my book I’ll show you how. Healing is possible. You don’t have a life sentence!

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Self-injury as a result of sexual abuse

Sexual abuse and self-injury

2012-02-04 10.07.30You feel a total lack of power when you’re sexually abused as a child. You have no control over the power an adult, or sometimes an older child, has over you. The perpetrator demands silence and your complete surrender. He/she may use either violence, threats or subtle manipulation to lure you in.

A cry for freedom

Self-injury can be a (desparate) cry for freedom. It’s something only you can control. Sometimes it’s a cry for help: when you cut yourself in obvious places, hoping someone will notice and get help. Sometimes it’s your own, very private, secret. It makes you feel secure being the only one who knows.

Self-injury always has a purpose!

Therapists and social workers often think that to stop self-injury is the first step to take towards healing. I think that self-injury has a purpose, a goal. It is meant to solve a problem. So when you find out what it stands for, you can begin to tackle the problem in a different way.

Less harmful alternatives

Self- injury is harmful, so it might be good to look for other ways to relieve the tension. Ways that won’t be as bad for your health. So ask yourself this question:

What is your purpose in hurting yourself?

  • Punishment? That means pain. There are ways without doing harm to your body: Stick your hands in a bowl filled with icecubes for instance.
  • Feeling alive? Try sports! Like running or riding a bike, anything in moderation.
  • Do you feel like running away from your thoughts, memories or panic-attacks? Try breathing excercises or mindfulness training
  • Are you dissociated? Like you’re out of your body? Focus on every muscle in your body while sitting down.
  • Are you reliving a moment where you don’t want to be? Focus on your surroundings. What color is the chair you’re sitting on, what is the pattern on your shirt?

While experimenting with different solutions to the problem, you will find something that will work for you. A way to break through the cycle of your behavior. A way that will give you peace and clarity to work on the real problem.

When you solve the problem, the self-injury will disappear

You need to find a different way to solve your problems. Because self-injury has a purpose. It’s up to you to find out what. And when you have, the need to harm yourself will eventually disappear.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com