Reblog: How People Use ‘Forgiveness’ To ‘Shame’ Abuse Survivors.

Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD


I see this occurring, all too often.

Religious people, can be the worst for this. I’ve heard many toxic and abusive statements, like ‘God won’t forgive you of your sins, if you don’t forgive your abusers’, ‘all sins are equal’. ‘I’ve forgiven, so should you’. Which is highly abusive to state.

This is all ‘shame-shifting’.

The only person that does need to feel shame, is the abuser. They do need to feel appropriate shame about their actions. They do need to feel remorse about the harm they caused. They need to seek to do what is necessary, to deal with it appropriately. Like be honest and tell the truth. Be honest about their motivations.

And if they did all this, they would not expect or demand anything from the victim. They would know the victim needs to deal with their healing, how the victim needs. They would know the victim…

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Reblog: Pride has gone out the window


I am sure a lot of you know my cat Gizmo, for those of you who don’t this is him

gizmo tumble dryer

On the 15th March (so tuesday) he went missing, weirdly enough we had a cat called Jones, who was also ginger who went missing exactly the same time last year

jones still searching

(This is Jones, easy for some to get confused)

I was worried, Gizmo, is one of those cats that follows my son to school, will come with the dog for a walk and generally always there 5 minutes before meal time. But Giz, came in at around 10.15pm miowing, about what I thought was his dinner.

Turns out I was wrong, his right back leg was badly broken. When I say badly, it was the wrong way round. We hadn’t got insurance for Gizmo, instead we had been putting money aside instead.

Since it was so late, I had to…

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Reblog: Pain News Network: Recovering from Spinal Surgery

Wear, Tear, & Care

Check out my latest column for the Pain News Network!

For those of you playing the home game (i.e. following my blog), I’ve been recuperating from a cervical discectomy and fusion of C4-C5. That was February 19. I’ve been recovering in an amazing fashion, much faster than my first fusion of C5-C6.

IMG_2899 At least I look better than this now. Most cyborg parts have been removed.

Just north of a month later, I also had thoracic injections at T-11 through L-1. I was far more scared of this procedure than the fusion — and I’ve had injections before, so it was nothing new. I knew exactly what was going to happen, but I didn’t know how my body would react. Why? Read on.

My Abbreviated Back Story (No Pun Intended)

My injuries have followed a strange road. When my mom’s car was stopped in traffic in 2004, we…

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The adventures of doggy: Easter

When my brother and I were young, my mother used to hide chocolate eggs for us in the garden (or when the weather was bad, imside). Of course it’s been ages since we did this since we’re all “adults” now (last Easter we convinced her to do it again for me, my brother and my partner, because it’s still fun). But someone in our house is still a bit of a child: Doggy. He’s almost 6 years old and he loves to search for treats.

When he’s asked to go into the corridor, he already knows what’s going to happen. Excitedly he’ll go in there, (watch out for the wagging tail) pretending to be patient. Or maybe he is, because he knows how much fun he’ll have within 10 minutes. Sometimes we’ll check the windows of the door, because no peeking allowed (but he knows that)! Usually he can’t wait that patiently without someone around (he even sits), so I wonder how he keeps himself calm. Maybe he has a mantra for himself or has another way to prepare himself physically and mentally.

When he comes out, he’s a different kind of dog. He’s a serious grown-up dog, a rescue dog with an important goal, a matter of life and death: finding the doggy treats. His tail which is usually low, is now rolled up high. Focus. A few test rounds with his sniffer. And then: action. The sniff sounds he’ll make are extremely loud, like a steam train. He thinks he’s quite good at it. We don’t want to tell him we actually think his nose apparently always has a cold. But he likes it and we like it too and provide him with some mental support, during his search duty (yay, well done, go find the other ones)


[Image of a Jack Russel Terriër dog standing up straight and holding a magnifying glass for one of his eyes].

We do not only have ‘words/commands’ for him so he knows he has to go into the corridor or can start sniffing (as if he needs a word for that). We also have one when he’s finished. Otherwise, he would probably never stop and that would be sad. When he can’t find any (because he already walked past it 10 times), he’ll look up at us. Asking if we are sure that there are still treats. Despite the mental support, we might help him a bit more, with a pointing finger. I’m not sure if he normally understands people pointing around (never payed attention to it), but I always learned animals don’t understand that. Well, Samurai Doggy is in a special focus mode, so he does understand and he will rush towards the area we pointed out.

When he found them all, he’s our hero and gets cuddles and praises. What’s not to like? Treats, cuddles, praises, an audience and an important job to help out your Hippos. Oh and he’ll casually, absolutely not suspicious or obvious, walk around and to some places again. With his nose a tiny bit low and a few licks on areas he found treats. You never know right?

He’s very energetic and also seems to be an intelligent dog. He enjoys mental stimulation. It seems to tire him more than physical (such as running around the forest) and is a nice change.  If you have a dog, maybe you can try this out as well. We break the dog treats in very small pieces, so he won’t have a lot. An idea is to not only hide things on the ground, but also go for higher places (which the dog can still reach). It might take a moment before they grasp this 😉 We once even put one on the automatic vacuum (which is very low) while it was moving. It was a lot of fun, Doggy following the thing (without realizing that!) in a zig-zag pattern. Sometimes going back, because he didn’t quite understand at the beginning. His eyes when he found it were just marvelous!

Photo source

You don’t want to miss this: the largest waterfall in the Netherlands

I love travelling and I’ve also seen this impressive waterfall with my own eyes. Curious because of all the signs reading ‘waterfall’, I wanted to see this. It is one of the best kept secrets in the Netherlands. A lot of people never knew about this place. I just stumbled upon it. The Netherlands and a waterfall, that doesn’t seem right now does it? The Netherlands is supposedly flat…

Well, in case you decide to visit the Netherlands and aren’t only traveling to Amsterdam, I’d like to inform you well. The tourist information offices like to call this ‘The Niagara Falls of the Netherlands’. Here’s the biggest waterfall of the Netherlands, it is located in Loenen and it is man-made and 15 metres high.


[Image of a forest during autumn/fall with a stream of water going down several bumps. Next to it are stairs on both sides.]

It’s probably the most unimpressive waterfall I’ve ever seen and I find it very ugly (probably because it’s more stairs than waterfall). I like the forest better.
False advertising is everywhere and it surely is for this waterfall (it looks kinda impressive and nicd on the photos). Usually there’s hardly any water in it. I’ve heard of (German) tourists visiting this place, thinking it would be an actual waterfall… I feel sorry for them, even though I was a tourist too. But I knew beforehand that (Dutch) tourism advertisors love to exaggerate.

The Netherlands are proud, because it has the same height as the famous waterfalls of Coo, located in Belgium (I’ve been there too). I’m very sorry for the Netherlands, but I found those more impressive. Better luck next time, since the Netherlands truly has some wonderful places as well.

[Image of a waterfall under a bridge]
This is a picture of the waterfalls of Coo.

Morale of the story? Don’t believe everything ‘they’ say immediately, but also keep thinking for yourself.

Photo source 1
Photo source 2

Reblog: Tribute & Prayer To Belgium On March 22nd After Terrorist Attack- poem by Drem


It’s nearing 8AM  EST on March 22, 2016.

Today at 8AM CET in Belgium suicide bombers attacked their airport and subways.

At 9:59 AM EST on September 11, 2011 the first Twin Tower fell by suicide bombers.

The threw this together. It’s my immediate reaction to the Belgian attacks.

To Belgium On March 22, 2016, by Drem

March 22, 2016

“My heart pounds with panic

over my memories being relived.

My heart pounds with sadness

knowing my memories are being lived.

It all comes running back now

as it all comes to you.

The circle of terror is ringing

round my corner once more.

Again the safety of our children

are being threatened by bombs.

More lives are changing

forever scarred.

Fear is a power

that is being propelled.

Time may heal injuries,

but can’t heal witnessing hell.

Those poor crying eyes.

Those poor virgin eyes.

I’ve seen what you’ve seen…

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‘Why didn’t you (just) press charges?’

I’d like to give some attention on my blog (maybe regularly) to some ‘annoying’ statements. Or actually, statements that (maybe) shouldn’t have been made at all. Statements, that when people actually thought about it, they probably would be ashamed. For now, I’d like to start with which I think is one of the worst. I’m always shocked when someone dares to say this to a victim/survivor. In this case it’s about victims/survivors of rape and in this case it’s about the response people (including professionals) give when they know about it. I find it one of the most offensive questions someone can ask me.

‘Why didn’t you just press charges’, may also include ‘If it really happed, you would have’ or ‘it’s your fault if he attacks someone else too, because you didn’t press charges’.

I actually assume I don’t have to explain you guys why this is just awful. But in case someone visits my blog, who doesn’t have experience with traumatized people, I’ll try to explain. I think this is one of the most horrible things you can say, when someone just (or even when you already knew it for a longer time) told you about what happened. It’s an insult. It shows how little you know about how weak the system is and how difficult it is for someone to go through all that. Because (at least in the Netherlands, but I assume everywhere) they treat you as if you’re the culprit. They treat you like you’re lying, that’s according to their protocol. When you say something like this, so inconsiderate, for me it shows that you 1. don’t really care/didn’t really listen. 2. don’t understand at all what’s going on and how tough this must be for the person telling you and how awful that situation must have been 3. you question if that person’s telling the truth, especially when you add the ‘if it was real, you would’ve pressed charges. Why wouldn’t you otherwise?’ And it’s never the victim/survivor’s fault, because even when you press charges the change is very big the culprit will go out free. You can’t just put your frustration on the victim/survivor and blame his/her by saying (to me it kinda feels like a threat actually) that it will be his/her fault when the culprit attacks again. We can’t control other people.
I also think a lot of people want to hold on to their illusions (I mentioned the illusion of safety in a previous blogpost). People don’t really want to think about it, don’t want to imagine it, because it’s too awful. And it could make them realise their illusion of safety isn’t completely correct, because you probably were at the wrong place at the wrong time too. You definetely didn’t plan this. So it could happen to them too, even when that has like a 1% chance, it still breaks their illusion a little bit. But when people are stubborn and just don’t accept this happened to you, don’t want to listen this results in a lot of incomprehension when they respond like this (often people will blame you, because then they have more ‘security’ it won’t happen to them).


[Picture of a woman talking to a police officer behind a desk]

I think every person is allowed to decide for his/herself if he’s willing to go through the fuss of pressing charges. Of course there are advantages and disadvantages for both choices, but I find that there’s hardly any information on the disadvantages of pressing charges. Every website I visit will urge you to go to the police, or urge friends/family to urge the person to go to the police. I really admire it if you could press charges, but I don’t think someone who didn’t is a loser or a liar. It also depends on the situation for example, if you can press charges at all. This, because you need substantial evidence. ‘Just your word’ of people testifying you mentioned these things or even some objects or sperm for example, isn’t substantial enough. It’s incredibly difficult to prove that it was unwillingly and the culprit can talk his way out of almost everything (for example: she likes to be tied down). In the Netherlands for example, you are video-taped when you are being questioned (alone) by the police about what happened. Despite the fact that it’s awful to have to relive everything and the person you’re talking too is trying to find holes in your story, I find the video-taping very  degrading too. They do this, so they can later check your face again when you tell certain things. The party your pressing charges against, is also allowed to watch the video, so they can prepare their story and maybe find ‘weak links’ in your story as well. I find that appalling. And then I’m not talking about the risks/dangers it might involve. And maybe the culprit will spread it’s own story and then in the media or on the streets people will already call you a liar. When that’s not true, that’s such an awful thing to hear. You already didn’t ask for the crime to happen to you anyway!

I think the current system is too much in advantage of the culprits. Of course there are some people who lie this happened, but I think this is so much less than the people who are honest or don’t press charges because the whole process is so degrading and the chances are so slim that it will work. I saw some statistics a couple months ago and they said that it’s thought that 10% of all rapes are being mentioned to the police. 3% of that the police try to investigate (the others already don’t have enough substantial evidence to begin with). 2% of that 3% goes to trial. And then there was again something of 1, 2 or 3% when the culprit is punished. They also said the amount of wrongly accused culprits was 1% or something like that. Wrongly accused could also mean that a higher court said there wasn’t enough evidence, so it didn’t happen. Then, you wrongly accused the culprit (even though most of the time the person doesn’t actually wrongly accuse the culprit).

Ugh, I wanted to tell you more about this, but I can’t right now. It’s making me feel to much disgust and sadness and anger. I thought after so many years walking around thinking this, I might be ready to talk about it. Apparently I’m not (except with my partner). I just hope everyone will realise that pressing charges isn’t always the best thing to do. That’s why the police often advice against it actually. Even physical evidence can still not be enough (sperm doesn’t say if it was rape or willingly) and sometimes video also isn’t. Because you weren’t allowed to video tape it, or you could be playing etc.

I just think it’s nobody’s business why someone does or doesn’t press charges. If you’d like to help someone make up his/her mind, by making a list of the pros and cons for that particular situation, that might be helpful (but you should ask the person first). However, you never do that by saying the quotes I mentioned before. That’s just really insulting and can break each other’s trust.

I find it brave when you press charges, but also when you don’t. But really, it shouldn’t matter what other people think about it.

Photo source