The Power of Positive Thinking

There used to be a saying, “Life is a bitch and then you die.” What clever devil ever came up with that one?  Let’s put things in perspective (at my age I have a right to do that having seen lots of perspectives) and come up with a different saying. Norman Vincent Peale, wrote in 1952 The Power of Positive Thinking. Becoming the most famous self-help book ever, it revolutionized the problem solving of America. I saw that book in my parent’s library when I was a little girl and since I knew what positive thinking meant and was by nature inclined towards that mental path anyway I made it a part of my daily goals. This worked till I was thirteen and my dad began his five year reign of evil with incest and violence towards me. It’s pretty hard to think positive when you’ve fallen into a black hole and not only don’t know how to get out but how you got there in the first place.

Today, after five years of recovery awhile back I have regained my original philosophy regarding the best way to use your brain. The number of times this has worked for me would be too many to list. Some would say it is only a coincidence when I see myself with my Primary Care physician as he reads the results of my latest blood work, an annual occurrence. But I had pictured all my numbers being normal and with a few little talks with God I was able to achieve this. Not a big deal you say. We all pray and hope that our health numbers are always good. Point taken. But………this happens in my life too many times to be just a coincidence.

Many years ago while I had a decent job making decent wages, as a single mom with four kids there was no savings to put aside. The kids were raised now and on their own. I wanted a home of my own, not just an apartment. Around the corner from where I worked new and beautiful Condos were being built. I stopped in one night, introduced myself to the Sales Manager and started chatting with him. He had been John Wayne’s personal pilot and had lots of stories to tell. I developed the habit of stopping in every night after work to hear more stories. One night I told him I’d like to see the models. He walked me through them, pointing out the living room fireplace, the wet bar, the lovely kitchen with beautifully wood paneled cupboards, the built in refrigerator, the dishwasher, the downstairs bathroom, the waterway off the back patio with swans swimming by, the upstairs bedrooms with mirrored wardrobes and the master bath, the guest bedroom and bath. I was practically salivating. After we exited one of the models, I said that was the one I wanted. He asked if I had the money for the down payment. Nope, I said. Can you afford the payments? Nope I said. He shook his head sadly and in an attempt at humor said, “We only work with customers that have money.” “I know”, my smart mouth replied. “I’ll get it.”

Night after night, week after week, I went to the model condo and pictured where I’d put my baby grand piano, my sofa, my coffee table. I pictured what color I wanted for the master bedroom bedspread. I took time to figure out where every picture went and so on while my new friend just shook his head. One day I ran into an ex-boyfriend (who had quite a bit of money). I told him about the condo and how I had no money to buy it. In no time he gave me the down payment for the condo and made half the payments until I sold it a few years later at a large profit. He said he’d not treated me right while we were together for eight years (he was a nasty alcoholic) and wanted to make it up to me.

Then, I found model homes out at Green River that were being built. One of them overlooked a wilderness park filled with oak and cottonwood trees, meadow grasses, wildflowers splattered everywhere, all of it ending at Green River. I fell in love. Once again, I didn’t have the money for the down payment. Needless to say I did the same positive imaging on it and next thing I knew my step mother died and left me enough money to buy the house (and all the furnishings I needed).

A few years later in my headstrong, vulnerable and perilous way I met my third abuser. As all you who have been there knows the rose colored glasses go on immediately but they don’t last long and by the time I realized his sadistic, violent Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde personality it was too late. I was addicted to the most dangerous man I had ever met, a man who had almost killed someone when he was younger.

Where was my positive imaging then? I had shoved it back into the deepest recesses of my mind and knowing it was committing suicide I married him. Within a year my family doctor, who had been asking me for years if my father had ever raped me, said he would no longer take no for an answer and sent me to a child sexual abuse specialist. My father had told me twice what had happened and I refused to believe it. After all, my mom had said it was only nightmares. I had run away from home at the age of 18 after a beating at my father’s hands that almost killed me. This had lead to failed suicide attempts, time in psychiatric wards, two alcoholic marriages and years of living off anti-depressants and sleeping pills as I roamed from man to man trying to feed my growing sex addiction.

My recovery began five years of hell, starting with therapy, then hypnosis to take me back to what I refused to see. I soon found out from my husband’s sister that he had sexually abused her for ten years while she was growing up and that he had been sexually abusing his teen age daughter for years. He denied it. She followed with a letter describing all he had done to her and that not only had he made her life hell she hated him and wanted him to pay. Copies of the letter were sent to his parents, his other siblings and his ex-wife, the mother of his daughter. His abuse accelerated.

I struggled and struggled, fought back against it, tried to make him leave (it was my dream home after all) only to find out that if he did I began dry heaving, vomiting, sobbing violently, shaking with tremors then begging him to return. I would do anything I groveled if only he would come back. He always did. I spent time in a women’s shelter, learning nothing, filled with despair.  I kept on with my recovery, moving towards the light; I worked a rigorous and honest 12 step program, attending meetings three nights a week; I attended weekly Alternatives to Domestic Violence programs, prayed to God on an almost hourly basis, began writing my memoir, trying to find clues to what had happened, developed my own recovery program called REPAIR which I worked and finally ended my recovery, rid myself of my abuser and after working a six month post recovery program became the happiest person I knew.

I had dreams of one day being a published author, of one day living near Sedona, AZ, of one day starting a group called The Lamplighters, an international movement for recovery from child sexual abuse, of someday being happily married to a healthy mate, of someday selling my program called REPAIR to those who needed the same help I had needed. I came to believe that God had handed me this burden because he knew there were many out there that needed help and that with what I had gone through I could provide it. All of my dreams came true.

Now, of course, you might say, all this was just a coincidence. What I say is it was the power of positive thinking. Try it!  It Works!

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