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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Patricia Singleton, Incest Survivor: Using The Past To Brighten The Fu ture


by Cyrus Webb

As we look to 2011 as a year of new beginnings, there are few people that I have met in my life that exemplify what it means to be a survivor like Patricia Singleton. As a child she experienced betrayal that no one should have to endure, but as an adult she is using her life as an incest survivor to not only help others through their journey from abuse but spark a conversation that is long overdue.

I was privileged to have the first radio interview with the Arkansas resident in 2010 (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/show.aspx?userurl=conversationslive&year=2010&month=04&day=29&url=cyrus-webb-presents-the-patricia-singleton-story-o), and as we were making plans for the New Year, I knew we had to share Patricia's story with our magazine audience.In this conversation she talks about the decision to start blogging about her experiences, how that has affected her and what she has to say to those who might feel as though they are suffering with abuse alone.

Patricia, first of all I want to say how much I appreciate what you are doing in giving a voice to abuse survivors worldwide.  Can you tell our readers when you decided to start sharing your story?

Thank you, Cyrus, for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences as an incest survivor.  I first started sharing my story in 12-Step meetings back in January 1989.  I talked and cried and talked some more, breaking the bond of silence created by my abusers.  The flood gates were open.  For more than ten years, when I was talking, I was writing in journals.
 
I have always known that one day I would write about my experiences as an incest survivor.  Why?  Because writing about my experiences, sharing with other survivors was the only way that I could think of to make something good come out of the darkness that was my childhood which was created by the abuse.  I always thought that this writing would be in the form of a published book, and it might still be one of these days.
 
On June 1, 2007, I posted my first blog article on Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker.  A very dear online friend sold me a tutorial that took me through the steps of setting up my blog.  I have now been blogging for about 3 1/2 years. 
 
Through your blog you are able to not only give encouragement but listen to others as well.  What does it feel like to know that your words and your story is sparking a real dialogue?
It is very gratifying and humbling to know that my words can help and encourage other survivors.  Having others leave comments on my blog telling me how much hope they receive from my words makes me feel so good.   Then is when I know that what I do is worth sharing.  When I took my own first steps toward healing, I didn't know how many others were out there in the world feeling just as hurt and just as alone as I did.  Today, because of the internet, no one has to do their healing alone.  My readers inspire me as much as they say I inspire them.  The dialogue, in the form of the comment section, can often give just as much information as the articles themselves.
 
 
We have been hearing alot about people taking their lives after suffering from abuse or even bullying and ridicule.  What would you say to all of us about the importance of us getting to love people for who they are, getting to know them before judging?
My dad was a bully and dictator.  That was how he ran our family.  In trying to understand my dad, I discovered that bullies are frightened, angry children no matter what their biological age.  They feel threatened by anyone who is different than they are.
 
I have learned that it is our differences that make our friendships and other relationships more interesting.  Bullies bully because they are afraid of those differences.  Children who feel loved by their parents don't bully.  Children who love themselves and know that they have value don't bully.  Children who are taught to feel compassion for others do not bully.  When you value yourself, then you value all others too.
 
Expressing compassion to another can sometimes be that one thing that keeps that person from taking their life in an act of desperation.  I believe that it is that deep down feeling of lonliness and helplessness that brings a person to pull the trigger or to down that bottle of pills because they believe that no one cares.  They grow so tired of the struggle.  Letting someone know that you care about them, that you understand how they are feeling can make the difference sometimes in whether they continue or not.  That is why I blog about my incest issues, to let others know that I care.  I am not the only one.  More and more of us are speaking out as survivors.  Giving someone else hope is the most rewarding thing that I can do.
 
Patricia, we talked about the difference about being a victim and a survivor.  How important is it for you to be seen as the latter?
As long as you see yourself as a victim, others will see you as a victim and treat you as a victim.  Victims don't always survive the bullies of life.  We will always attract people into our lives who will treat us the way that we expect to be treated.  People treat us the way that we allow them to treat us.
 
As a survivor, I learned that I didn't deserve to be mistreated by anyone.  I learned to love myself, and in loving myself, I saw myself and the world differently.  In learning to love myself, I was able to learn to love and be loved by others.  That is a major difference between a victim and a survivor.
 
As a survivor, I learned to feel, and in feeling, I worked my way through the pain of being sexually abused as  a child.  As a survivor, I learned that not all of life is painful, lonely, discouraging and rageful.  There is joy and laughter in my life.  Love does exist.  The world can be a safe place to live and to love in.
 
Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have done a lot to get the word out about the seriousness of abuse in the home and beyond.  What have they done for you in getting the word out?
Cyrus, I met you not very long after I started using Twitter and Facebook.  We might not would have met otherwise through our mutual friend.  Not long after I started Tweeting on Twitter and posting my blog articles on Facebook, the number of my subscribers  to my blog more than doubled in a very short time and has continued to grow at a constant rate.  I have met many new friends on Twitter and Facebook.
 
One of the topics that I have found out about on Twitter that I knew very little about is Human Sex Trafficking.  The Industry is second only to Drug Trafficking in the U. S. for the amount of money that it generates.  The average age of a person, usually a girl child, is 12 years old when she is first sold as a sex object in the U. S.
 
Any advice you have for others who have remained silent about their own challenges and abuse and would like to know the best way to move forward with sharing and healing?
If you were abused as a child, please join the rest of us who have left being a victim behind.  Find a safe person that you can tell about your abuse.  If you are in an abusive situation or relationship, leave.  Do what is necessary to take care of yourself and to survive.  Your safety comes first.
 
Find a good therapist who is trained in working with abuse survivors.  If you have addictions, if you are an Adult Child of a Dysfunctional Family like me, find a healthy 12-Step meeting to go to.  Once you are there, talk, talk, talk your way through your pain.  Build yourself a support system.  Allow yourself to feel, to get angry, to cry and to grieve.
 
You can heal.  Know that you deserve to have love and joy in your life.  Know that you are worth it.  Know that everything that I, as a survivor, have done, you can do too.  You aren't alone.
 
Thank you for your time, Patricia.  Please tell our readers where they can go to communicate with you online.
You are very welcome Cyrus.  My blog is called Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker.  You can find it at  http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com.You can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter through my blog.

3 comments:

  1. Cyrus, Even though they are my words, each time that I read them, they still touch my heart. They show me how far I have come from the shy, terrified young girl who left an abusive home at the age of 19. At 19, I was so shy that I couldn't have carried on any of the conversations that you and I have had together. I would have been too scared of saying or doing the wrong thing. I was too afraid that you wouldn't like me if you knew the real me. At the time, I had no opinion except the one that I thought you would want me to have.

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  2. As always, Patricia is fantastic in delivering this message!

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  3. Barbara, thank you. Your support is important to me. Glad we have become friends online.

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