Wednesday, 20 February 2013

What Works For Me by Elaine Stock @ElaineStock #survivors

Last summer I was contacted by Elaine Stock with a view to submitting a guest article for her blog, Everyone's Story.  The piece I wrote, Beyond Surviving, can be found here.

Elaine is not a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but is a survivor nonetheless. It has become my profound honour to call her a friend and I will be forever grateful to her for asking me to become a small part of her amazing and insightful blog.

Please welcome Elaine to The Wounded Warrior blog.


What Works For Me by Elaine Stock

In a way, I was lucky. For the most part, my mother hid in her bedroom away from me, and my brother. Now, with a little understanding of paranoid-schizophrenia I look at those gray childhood days and doubt that she was also unable to keep holed up from her own demons.

Those unwanted and uninvited visitors robbed the woman from my mother. Hijacked and held ransom—the bounty perhaps the destruction of a family—my mother’s peace and joy vanished. In its place came sadness and fear at unexpected times. Like her crying and mourning over how her parents, when she was a girl, never bought her roller-skates (please note: this is not a verified fact or the bashing of my grandparents, but rather a reflection of my mother’s inner turmoil). Or, the time when a phantom gang of teens was on the rampage and she fetched my brother and I from a neighbor’s so we could sneak back home—running for our lives—before we were caught and killed/maimed/tortured. Or, the stray dog that would surely pounce upon us and shred us to pieces with its huge fangs.

This all took place in the 1960s and 70s, a time before mental illness leapt out of the proverbial storage cabinet, and certainly before present-day improved medications. Yet, I remember my mother’s ventures in and out of psych wards. Her tiny reassurances to me that she didn’t like who or what she was, and how she had to surrender her dreams of becoming a dancer, or even a dietician. She hated her condition and would willingly volunteer for shock-therapy treatments—if only they’d help.

Nothing did help. Family tensions piled high. My brother and I began drifting apart. My father—perhaps to overcompensate for a wife who couldn’t work or to dodge his own troubles—worked. And worked. For many years he worked seven days a week and far more than eight-hour days.

Then, my mother ran away from home to the golden promises of sunny California. I was sixteen. And actually happy—relieved—to know that I’d no longer have to worry about waking up in the morning to discover that my parents’ arguing had resulted in a murder-suicide.

Three weeks after her 46th birthday, my mother died from ovarian cancer. May she be resting in eternal peace, the peace she never enjoyed in her human life.

As a very young child I believed in God. Though my parents never demonstrated outright faith, I just knew there was a God and He loved me. In my high school years I began to follow a gentle tug toward the Christian faith. This leading wasn’t by a specific person or thing, but more like a force whispering in my ear, and heart. In my young twenties I accepted Christ as my Savior.

I’m not writing these words to preach. Nor am I condemning those who believe in other faiths—nor those who do not believe in any God—are doomed. What I am saying is that I believe I managed not to fall prey to a troubling childhood and “crack up” because I held onto God’s hand as He held onto mine.

Oh, I still have my dark times when memories surface and the anguish courses through my blood as if it’s happening all over again. But, I’m managing. And I thank God for His help.

Perhaps, unlike what I said in the beginning, surviving a dysfunctional family has nothing to do with luck, but rather, a blessing. I am forever grateful.



Elaine Stock never expected that a college major in psychology and sociology would walk her through the see-saw industries of food service and the weight-loss business; co-ownership with her husband in piano restoration; and ten years in community leadership. All great fodder for creating contemporary relationship-driven fiction. 
Presently involved in ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), she was a 2011 semi-finalist in the prestigious Genesis Contest in the contemporary fiction division. Elaine's blog, Everyone's Story, offers uplifting encouragement from weekly guests, as well as some of her own personal thoughts. Her first short story was published on Christian Fiction Online Magazine.

With her own childhood void of God, and becoming a Christian first in her twenties, she is targeting her novels to adult audiences with the central theme that God’s unconditional and always-present love is with each one of us, even during tough times.  

Find Elaine at the following links :-


Everyone's Story (blog)  http://elainestock.blogspot.com/


10 comments:

Elaine Stock said...

Jan, thank you for hosting me and offering the opportunity to share these personal thoughts in hope that they may encourage others. I am so grateful that we have met and have become friends. May you continue to be blessed with inner strength and peace as you travel the path you were meant to enjoy.

godsprincess said...

wow thankyou for sharing part of your story!

Connie Almony said...

Elaine, I know others will be inspired by your story. You're a survivor!

Anonymous said...

Elaine,

Thank you for having the courage to share such a personal story. Yes, mental illness is real, and for years was kept hidden, as though those afflicted with it had reason to be ashamed.
I rejoice with you in your triumph over such overwhelming odds and then emerge into the beautiful and productive person that you are.
It is a blessing to be able to respond to your story and to offer encouragement to you to continue your journey toward aelf fulfillment and uplifting others through sharing so many wonderful stories (including mine)on your blog site.

Blessings,
KB Schaller

Nancee said...

I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the realities in this life. I feel like I was raised in a bubble to have survived unscathed when I know so many who have suffered through traumatic childhoods. Thank you, Elaine and Jan for sharing your stories. We all need to be educated regarding these atrocities, in order to prevent them from continuing in other children's lives.

Ian Acheson said...

Thanks Elaine for sharing some of your story. I congratulate you in how you've come to regard it as a blessing. God's hand is so dear in His faithfulness and may you continue to hold onto it joyously.

Many blessings

Ian

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer said...

Amazing Elaine. It's a good testamony and I'm glad you shared it as many others may find comfort.
hugs,
Diana

Elaine Stock said...

Thanks to those you have posted such kind words and encouragement.

Jennifer Slattery said...

Wow, Elaine, what a testimony you have! No wonder you are such a caring and compassionate woman. Often, those who have struggled most are best able to relate with others who struggle. And I imagine you have a rich store of authentic emotion to pour into your novels.

Elaine Stock said...

Thanks, Jennifer. Emotions, yes... and maybe a quacky sense of humor--LOL.

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