Seeds of Hope For Healing

Mar 27th, 2011 | By | Category: All Posts, Guest Blog

by Linda Pittman

“I’m damaged for life”
“My life is ruined”
“I can’t forgive myself”
“No one could ever love me”

Statements without hope. I used to believe those things, once upon a time.

I wanted to hope for a better life, but getting to that better life seemed impossible. I hated my life full of misery. Every relationship was a nightmare and I felt like I was ruined forever. I hated my body, I felt isolated inside as if I could never let anyone get all the way to my heart. I had a constant yearning for what I had lost as a child and no way to get it back. I was needy, so needy it scared me. I didn’t have a clue on how to get there from where I was.

But then I listened. When I listened to other abuse survivors’ stories of their suffering and how they came through, it give me the hope that I too could get better—that I wasn’t sentenced to a life of damage, pain and longing for that something I could not even name.

That little bit of hope was like a seed that was planted in my spirit. Each new survivor who came forward brought food for my little seed. A famous celebrity, a beauty queen, a famous writer—they began to share their stories with the world, one by one. In sharing their stories, sometimes I could relate, sometimes I couldn’t, but they nourished me.

The hope grew so big I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I told my story. First I sent it out like little tentacles, feeling, searching to see if it was safe to risk keeping it out there. When others believed me, my hope grew larger. I found myself in the midst of many others searching and tentatively testing their hope. I was not alone, there were so many like me. I was astounded at their numbers! I actually belonged somewhere. We were like a secret group of gardeners, sharing our gardening tips and tools.

I have been busy tending this garden. My hope has grown into a beautiful and breathtaking flower—its petals formed with each secret shared. It is a unique creation unlike any other flower.

My gardening friends and I are not hopelessly damaged; we are creators of beauty in a world that was once barren. Now, we’re the scatterers of seeds from our beautiful flowers to start new little buds in others. Just like what has been done for us.

Related Posts:
My Fight for Life is Fueled by Hope

Having experienced healing from sexual, physical and verbal abuse, Linda Pittman has found joy in encouraging others in their healing journey and tells people that it’s never too late to start. She’s been married to her husband for twenty-one years and has four adult children.  

           

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25 comments
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  1. Linda,
    Finding hope is so important. I consider it the foundation of the healing process. It starts us moving and keeps us going when the pain tries to overtake us. Thanks for sharing this!
    Christina

  2. This is going to sound like pure wordplay, but…I finally have hope that there IS hope. I don’t exactly feel hope for my own story or my own life or my own self. But I finally believe that hope exists, and if I relax and let go, I will find it. Now taking the steps to actually embrace it are still beyond my reach (so far), but it no longer seems unattainable.

    I still have my walls up. There’s no point denying it. But I’m starting to realize the lies that make up the bricks in that wall, and as uncomfortable and painful as that realization is, it is in fact, hopeful. If I recognize the lies, I can eventually replace them with truth. Once I learn what truth is. :)

  3. Christina, thank you and Bethany for creating OSA a place of sharing the hope that lifts us out of the darkness and pain of abuse. :)

  4. Lisa, it is that hope that keeps us moving forward. The stories of others give us that hope and I know that someday when you are ready, the walls will come down. We uncover the lies here every day on OSA, and it is in the sharing of the truth that we find that hope. I think one of the most important truths you will discover is how beautiful you are and that person has been in there all along. :)

  5. Absolutely beautiful Linda. I am on this journey with you and you’re right. I finally feel like I belong now that I know I’m not alone. I’m in the transition stage and sometimes I feel like the whole world is full of molesters and broken souls. But what you have written here has lifted me up and helped me to see the beauty and that there is hope. I can’t find my hope right now, so I’m going to borrow some of your! Thank you and God bless and happy gardening!

  6. Gabrielle, welcome to the garden, grab a trowel and start planting your seeds.. Yes we do now see all the molesters and broken souls out there. The fact that we actually see them now is proof that we are getting healthier. bless you too and stay with us because it gets better and better.:)

  7. If you enter the world damaged, like I did-I was born w/ a birth defect and it’s been apparent ever since I came into the world-I don’t see why you would expect to become undamaged, but I could be missing something.
    I don’t have 20/20 vision now. I came into the world legally blind, my vision improved after 3 operations but it didn’t become 20/20.

  8. Vicki,
    Not having 20/20 vision doesn’t make a person damaged or mean that you, as a person, are flawed just because your sight is flawed. Abuse tells us that we are not valid as humans and that’s the lie that we need to recognize and debunk.
    Christina

  9. Vicki, there are many people that are born with problems. There are many that work to overcome their obstacles. You are very smart, I can see that in your posts. If you look at yourself as damaged for the rest of your life, you carry a belief that you don’t have to. You may be challenged but you were born with beauty and a good spirit. The people in your life treated you as damaged but you don’t have to accept that label. You can have a happy life with many possibilities if you dare to dream and go after the dream. It is never too late to go after the dream.??

  10. I know other people are born w/ what used to be called handicaps-I have no idea what they call it now-but my sight is so bad I can no longer drive.
    That’s not a bad thing in itself, and not having a Driver’s License is NOT equal to a death sentence. There’s this pack of people who think not having a driver’s license means they may as well be dead. Someone just last night said that very thing.
    But I’m mostly talking about how the only family I have treats me. And I know they’re never going to treat me as anything other than some person they believe is handicapped. I don’t know how to explain it really, b/c it makes me furious that they keep trying to force their own beliefs onto me.
    I have two choices: Listen to what they say or give all of them up. In the first choice, I feel miserable. In the second I’m 100% alone in terms of having a family.
    Either choice is bad IMO. In my not-so-humble opinion.
    Why can’t there be a GOOD choice in these matters?

  11. BTW I wish I could find all those nice photos you guys use when you write a blog. I like the picture of the flowers.

  12. Vicki, so you are telling me on the first choice that listening to your family makes you miserable and the second choice to give them up would make you alone. How about a third choice of getting healthy and having good relationships with new people and having a happier life? beats misery and being alone! BTW my daughter does photograpy and she does some beautiful shots like the flowers..

  13. Before I say this, I want to make it known that I’m not trying to be sarcastic. I’ve been having trouble setting the intended tone I want to convey when I do online writing. Until I get better at it, the only way I know to clarify myself is to say I’m not trying to be sarcastic or disrespectful

    I never think of any other relationship being the same as a family relationship.
    I’m not exactly thrilled about giving up every single family member, especially the one whom I believe cares about me but doesn’t really know how to show it; incidentally I haven’t given him up yet.
    How could he show me how much he cares, if no one’s ever told him how to do it? Well, nobody except me, and he obviously doesn’t believe me. Either he doesn’t believe me or he’s still simply unable to do it.
    I’m at an impasse w/ that one b/c I know that, deep down, he really cares and doesn’t know how to show it. I know it, b/c *I* didn’t know how to either. That’s why I lost one of the only friends who was really a friend.
    I don’t know how much I should take into account that people are human and make mistakes vs. people are being abusive. What I mean is how do I tell the difference between human mistakes and abusive behavior? I mean when it’s not obvious. Somebody being physically abusive would be relatively straightforward as being obvious abuse.
    But even friends say things they don’t mean when they get angry, then later they apologize for it.
    Sometimes it can be confusing to determine which is which.
    Is there a way to tell the difference that I haven’t thought of ?

  14. I just can’t resist putting a quote on here about hope. My daughter’s dad always used to say “As long as there’s life, there’s hope.”
    I didn’t appreciate the true meaning of that phrase until after he was killed. Then I understood that, even if you think your life is going nowhere, you still have hope.
    You’d have to actually experience losing a person to violent death before the statement about hope would take on such a meaning.
    Or I had to.

  15. Vicki, other relationships do not have to take the place of family but rather to enrich our lives.We can survive and enjoy life without our family if necessary. having family for the sake of having someone to call family when they treat you badly is toxic for us. It makes us angry inside because we have expectations that are never met. If someone can’t show love to us it is because they either don’t care or they don’t know how. if they don’t know how and we are valuable to them, then they will be motivated to learn how. It is not our place to teach others how to love us but it is our place to teach others to respect us and to love ourselves. Not having a model for loving others is not necessary for us to want to learn to love and to do that. We can hang with people who demonstrate genuine love to learn from. The desire to change has to be there. Good friends are honest with us even when it is something we would rather not hear. People who insult us and step over our boundaries are abusers. It is up to us to hold those boundaries and to detach from abusive people. We can’t will ot teach others to love us, they either do or they don’t. Anything less is a one-sided relationship that will never fill our needs. A mistake is something that is not deliberate. Anything deliberate that hurts us is abusive. I am sorry that you lost your daughter’s Dad. If you have that hope begin to act on it for yourself. You have a lot that has happened to you that was not fair. If those things happened to me I would be angry and resentful. But anger can motivate me to seek change and to do what I can for myself. how is your book study coming along? I hope you are getting alot out of it. Have you ever tried to see if there aree groups that meet in your area? I think it would help you alot.

  16. [...] Posts: Seeds of Hope for Healing My Fight for Life is Fueled by [...]

  17. The comment that we are like gardeners is so beautifully said; in a way, all human beings are. We are planting seeds, some good, inspiring, seeds that others can use and build on, others (like the purpetrators) unfortunatly bad seeds that create damage and darkness over the field.
    As someone being sexually abused and physically assulted, I have in my few years on earth already had my share of mistrust towards the world, towards men, and also, my share of therapy for it.
    What amazes me though, is the strong support that is here, on these sites and that helps me stay actively involved with my healing proces at home, for I am not yet in a place where I can trust the people around me with my story or feel that I can explane to them that certain aspects of my character are shaped this way, because of the things that have happened to me. But here, I feel comfortable enough to want to garden and plant seeds too, and hopefully, one day I will have reached a certain level of happiness and a feeling of safety and trust! I thank you!

  18. Lady, welcome to the gardening club! I am glad you are here and that you feel supported and cared for. Keep working on uncovering the fears and lies that can keep you stuck. Learning about boundaries will help you in working on trust in your life. There is a wonderful life waiting for you to pull the ribbon and unwrap!

  19. Thanks to all of you so much…..also for me this PLACE has been my first experience to make public my story of INCEST….and with mine surprise I FEEL SAVE between all OF US!!!!It is incredible to hear how many we are in the world ….before each one ISOLATED in their own PAIN and DESPERATION ….but now togheter maybe it will be a little more easy!!! Thanks to exsist to all of you and us!!! love and light!! Roshani

  20. Roshani,
    I am so glad that you feel safe on OSA. There are many people who understand and want to help and support each other in their healing here. i am so glad you us! You are welcome!
    Hugs,
    Linda

  21. Hi,
    I’m new to this website and a little shy. Hopefully I will be able to share
    My story one day. I have had a very difficult few weeks trying
    To process what happened to me as a teenager and child.
    The rage overcomes me at times and scares me so.
    Thank you for allowing me to express. God bless.
    Vera

  22. Vera, welcome to OSA. We are glad to have you! :)

  23. Vera, glad you are here! There is a wealth of support and help here at OSA. Welcome to our garden club! You are starting your journey in healing and each step has a purpose, even your rage. You will find that inside you is a good person and the rage you feel is the young child’s reaction to the horrible experience’s you were subjected to. That was a perfectly natural reaction, except that we had to learn to supress it in our helplessness. You are no longer helpless and the hope of healing is a real and tangible goal! Anger is not all bad, it is a signal that we have had our boundaries breeched and can be used to protect ourselves as well.

  24. I know that i am in the transition stage because I do not trust. I mean how an you tell if a man is being manipulative or not. I had a boyfriend and I still can’t tell if he was a bad person or if I just thought he was a bad person. How can we separate people out and know that they are not abusers but just not good for us i cant tell the difference. Boundaries is something that will help it is something that is really unnatural and the second guessing thing always second guessing myself. I have no idea who i am naturally…i like talking but i would like it is someone responds to me on here too sometimes i just think Im talking to myself or going mad or both. this is tough tough tough. Am i too negative i really dont know how to be…
    I don’t know how much I should take into account that people are human and make mistakes vs. people are being abusive. What I mean is how do I tell the difference between human mistakes and abusive behavior? I mean when it’s not obvious. Somebody being physically abusive would be relatively straightforward as being obvious abuse.
    But even friends say things they don’t mean when they get angry, then later they apologize for it.
    Sometimes it can be confusing to determine which is which.
    Is there a way to tell the difference that I haven’t thought of ? ( I copied Vickys post because i would really Love answers on how to know if someone is being abusive in a way that is impliict because i have become very obsessed with this and i am losing people in my life right left and centre because i simply DONT KNOW

  25. Niamh,
    If you were abused as a child, you did not learn healthy boundaries. Your abusers crossed your boundaries and denied you the right to your boundaries. They can do this by telling you certain behavior is normal or by threats and ignoring your protests . Couple this with caregivers who do not teach you healthy boundaries even if they didn’t know you were being abused, you should have felt safe enough to reveal your abuse to.them. As a child you sensed this and those messages told you you had no right to your body, mind and safety. A child submits then in fear because they reason that submission may make the abuse less painful. All this history makes it difficult for you to recognize safe people and to enforce boundaries with those that are threatening or unsafe. There are a couple of books out there by Cloud and Townsend on boundaries and also on learning to recognize safe people. Therapy is a way to help with the underlying erroneous messages and beliefs that we learn in a situation like this and helps us replace those with healthy and good protective thinking. Certainly there are always people looking to victimize others but learning the tools to help us better recognize them is so very crucial to a victim of childhood abuse. In adult relationships that are also dysfunctional the same dynamic happens and in many instances you are victimized over and over. When the truth is learned and used to heal we become empowered in our relationships with others and we lose the fear of being victimized by others because we can recognize danger. I have found for me that not giving others trust before they have been proven to be trustworthy is the way to keep from being victimized. It takes time to know someone and see them in many different situations to feel safe with them and there is no hurry when you are talking about relationships. Trust is something we need to give out only in little bits until we know we are safe. If someone cannot respect that boundary, then they probably are not safe and their attitude is disrespectful of your feelings. I hope this may give you some ways to sort these things out for you and you will find that wholeness that you are seeking. <3 Linda

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