Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Survivor Manual TV!

I added a tab to the TV page for "Survivor Manual".

There is a video up there of me doing a healing technique with Todd Brazee that is pretty awesome. It may make you cry though, so be warned. It is 25 min long.

Watch it on the Angela Shelton TV tab under "Survivor Manual".

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Clean Up Your Mess!

Part of healing yourself and healing the world is cleaning up your messes.  I'm practicing what I preach.

Thank you to all of you who are signing up:


I keep hearing a lot of great feedback about the 30 Day Journey Daily email.
There is a new newsletter too for the Army of Angels!

Take care of yourself and your surroundings! If I can face it, so can you. Take a deep breath and go one step at a time!  You can do this. 


Report Sexual abuse! Report IT!


Please fill out our ONLINE FORM. You can expose the sexual violence that happened to yourself or a friend or loved one if they are deceased or cannot speak for themselves. You can fill out the form anytime on or before April 29th. Thank you!

This IS NOT an official police report! We are using this form to show the vast numbers and want you to show up in person on Feb 19th and April 29th to your county courthouses!

Go to your country courthouse on Feb. 19th, 2008 for the Victims Rights Rally to launch the Report IT Campaign.

On April 1st, 2008 go to your local Barnes and Noble and meet other survivors when you buy Angela Shelton's book Finding Angela Shelton. Read the book, be inspired, and Report sexual violence that has happened to you or a loved one on our online form and get your friends to do that same. Start conversations! It is very likely that you know someone who has experienced sexual violence.

Go to your country courthouse on Angela Shelton Day, April 29th with everyone else to show that you are not alone!

Contact PAVE to get involved!! http://pavingtheway.net/

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Think You've Had a Bad Day?

I've considered myself to have had a more challenging....well, lets just say rough start to the new year. Now don't worry---The Joy Campaign has been both a great kick in the pants, and a wonderful medicine for trying times. For that I am truly thankful. But the "message" I received this morning was unexpected jolt to reality.

I was pushing my shopping cart down the aisle at the Grocery Market down the street from my home. Most have probably been in the situation I was in themselves at one point. Where you aere making calculations in your head if you can afford everything in your basket, and what you can convince yourself you don't really want or need so you can put it back.

Then on the opposite end of the aisle from me, I saw her. A woman and her young daughter, probably about nine years old. Maybe because I am wired as a human, and that's what we do---or for some other more spiritual reason, I glanced at the woman's face. A fresh and painful looking bruise over her left eye.

Now, I believe it's the victim-mentality that lives in nearly all of us (and if it isn't now, it used to!) that has this dialouge with the logic in your head:

"Well, that doesn't mean she was beat up! She could have been smacked in the face by a door, or maybe has been in an automobile accident."

It was when I eavesdropped on the chatter of the child to her mother, that "its not what it looks like" idea was evicted.

"...When we get away from [Joe] and get our new apartment.."

Saying here that my heart sank just sounds poetic. I wish there was some way I could prove in my writing that my heart truly sank. Of course I fought the natural rescuer tendency in myself to want to approach her and say,

"Ma'am do you need help? Are you okay?

As Angela has shared, by and large we can't "rescue" people. Often it gets messy and people end up feeling violated, even though they so desperately wanted out of the desperate situation they were in in the first place. So, for natural "helpers" and "healers" like myself, it's a discipline in impulse control.

But we can allow our hearts to be broken for the pain of others. For many of us, this isn't far away from the same pain we felt at one point. We can be voices and speak for those that aren't strong enough yet to break their silence.

And when we think we are having a bad day, or "how will I ever get out of this mess?" Realize as I did, that in my case no one has beaten me today, yesterday or this month. I wasn't raped last night in my own bed. I don't have to walk around in public with the badge of others violence against me on my face. Almost more of an insult to my personhood that the first thing people will see of me is "victim".

Countless numbers of men and women woke up this morning not being able to claim that. It is sad that it seems to be a privilege to be a human being and not be victimized or abused. But sometimes that knowledge is the start that is needed to dig out of the pit of despair and that things will never change.

So, I know the next time I get caught in the negativity of a bad day, I am going to remember that anonymous woman and her child in the grocery store.

Break the Silence. Live Joyfully, Love Yourself, Love Others.

Dear Jane,

I got your message and yes, it is okay to be angry. You live in hell, of course you can be angry. There are many in your situation being held in prison by their family - literally. I spoke to another one of them online. But it was her dad poising as her - soooo creepy. He revealed himself pretty early on that it was really him. He's so dumb that he didn't even realize that I figured out I was talking to him and not his daughter. Creep. When you think about it, it makes sense that he was on there pretending to by his young girl and talking to her friends. Gross. Yet another way to control the one you are abusing and get your rocks off talking to their friends! Perps have all kinds of ways to stop an escape. They watch your every move.

You have to be smarter than them.

When your own family abuses you many times (like yourself) you made an agreement that in order to survive you were going to split. The problem is that you can forget that you made that agreement and have a really hard time putting all the pieces of yourself back together. You are not crazy. You abusers are crazy and they try to make you think you are crazy.

As far as getting out goes, you have to save money. It is very good that you got a job. I suggest you have them pay you through paypal and start a new account that no one knows about - don't use the account you already have that they know about! Hide and save your money even if you have to open a safety deposit box somewhere.

Express your anger away from them. Practice sports. Learn to fight. If you express yourself around them they will only put down the fortress walls quicker and heavier. You've got to think ninja-style and be smarter than them in order to escape. You and I both know that if you stay he will get your pregnant and then rape your children. That is the cold hard fact.

Jane History:
If you were following my old blog on angelashelton.com/weblog - this is the girl who we tried to save. http://www.angelashelton.com/weblog/2007/03/16/the-past-two-weeks/
I call her Jane now instead of Katie. So when you see Dear Jane, I am talking to her as well as a few just like her. There are many in this situation - just take the roof off of family courts nationwide and you will find a boatload of horror!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Report IT on Angela Shelton Day - April 29th

Mark these dates down:

Feb 19, 2008
April 1st, 2008
April 29, 2008

Check out these sites:






Kourts for Kids!


Yay!! How many times have I heard about kids and protective mothers being victimized by the system, oh let me count the times! Check out Kourts for Kids. It is a great resource. Save the children!!

Kourts for Kids is a nonprofit organization of volunteers across America, who are working together to find ways to better protect abused children in the family courts. Many people play a role in the protection of abused children -- judges, attorneys, guardians ad litem, social workers, officers of the law, legislators, and advocates. However, sometimes children are not protected due to a lack of knowledge or misinformation, political pressure, or an overload of work. This broken link, which can occur from the time a child discloses abuse to the moment a judge renders a decision, can affect the child for the rest of his or her life. Dedicated to the protection of abused children, Kourts for Kids is going to bat for them by supporting an increase in awareness and education and promoting change within regions where protection can and should be improved.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Joyful Music for a Joyful Life!

What does the soundtrack to your life sound like? I am a big believer that life has a soundtrack. A well-known radio station where I live has a "Rock of the '90's" show each weekday during the noon hour. I have decided that listening to this radio show when I am able to is part of my new routine of Joyful Living.

Perhaps like many of us, the 1990's don't contain many memories that one would desire to recall. My abuse during this period was entrenched and regular at this point. I spent the majority of that time deeply depressed, self-destructive, and actively suicidal---I saw no other way out.

However, what I DO like to recall from that period is the "soundtrack." I am a type of person that takes comfort and finds deep meaning in analysis of song lyrics and music. In fact, I am planning future scholarly research on the effects music has on mood and conduct. What we listen to does "train our brain" and influence us more than we know!

So, as part of "The Joy Campaign" I have created an iTunes play list consisting of songs that arouse joyful feelings within me. Most of them make me want to dance around. That is a way that I express joy all the time. I dance around like a crazy woman! Definitely like nobody is watching!

I want to invite the rest of you who use iTunes and other online music services where music can be shared (and I do mean legally, people!) to do the same. Publish them on iTunes. Mention "The Joy Campaign" and Angela Shelton when you write your description so we can find each others lists. Imagine all the joyful tunes we could compile together?! It's about SPREADING THE JOY! Every person's list will look different. As a form of art, music has different meanings to each person.

Everybody has had that "one song stuck on repeat in your head". I don't think I have had a day alive where I haven't had some song looping through my brain! Make sure it's a song that is going to influence your thoughts and conduct in a positive way. Allow it to be a song that brings a smile to your face and to your heart. Angela has said before, take that love-song that's your absolute favorite and sing it with YOU as the subject!

Can't wait to see how creative you all get, and to see us all sharing the songs that contribute to our joy!

As a starter, here is my JOYFUL PLAY-LIST. You'll have to have iTunes installed to view and preview the music. It can be easily downloaded at www.itunes.com for free!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Women, Sex and Addiction!

Women, Sex and Addiction is one of my all-time favorite books! It's not what you think. Talk about an eye-opener!! Don't let the title scare you - get it, own it!

Charlotte Kasl just read my book! I almost fell over when she contacted me. I love this woman!!! She is a Godsend.

This is what she said:

With relentless honesty, humor and vitality, Angela Shelton combines the voices of other Angela Sheltons to expose the depths of sexual and physical abuse toward women that pervades the America family. Angela Shelton opens the door for countless others to stop denying their pain, tell their stories, and join together in the revolutionary act of getting well and loving themselves. What started as a road trip to interview a cross section of womenall named Angela Sheltonturned into a tsunami of people confronting the horror of abuse. One wonders if we should stop worrying so much about terrorists crossing our borders, and focus on the terrorism that exists on a daily basis in millions of American homes. Read this book and understand why.
--Charlotte Sophia Kasl author of Women, Sex, and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power, If the Buddha Dated, and Many Roads, One Journey, Moving Beyond the Twelve Steps

Check out what volunteers and angels are doing around my book already!http://findingangelashelton.com/ I heard a little birdie say that groups are already starting to form to go meet in person in Barnes and Nobels nationwide to get the book the day it comes out and network with each other. That's awesome! Find a team near you on the team page http://findingangelashelton.com/team.html (just click on your state) and and then I'll show up to come meet you if I'm near there. You all are so awesome! This grassroots movement just shows that you are ready to move forward and you will no matter what. I love it. Sign onto the newsletters to find out more - http://angelashelton.com/newsletter/


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Family Court Crisis

The Center for Judicial Excellence has a new film!
Family Court Crisis: Our Children at Risk

It is a film about the systemic breakdown of our family courts!

Spread the word. People need to know about the truth.

Love Fraud - Beware of Sociopaths

Check this site out! LoveFraud.com
I just met the people who run it and it is a resource site about how to beware of the sociopath with no heart, no conscience, no remorse. Be on the lookout, especially as you begin to get better, heal, and leave abusive situations - learn how to spot a con so you don't repeat patterns!

Love Fraud dot com!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Warrior Mothering

I am on a healing path. I am a mother, and I will put that first. I brought my three year old to Starbuck’s the other day for our “dates.” We go and have coffee, well, I have coffee and he asks for chocolate milk and the biggest cookie there is. We sit and hang out, we talk about colors, Star Wars, the merits of bigger cookies. When I was three I was afraid to walk through our den because I felt embarrassed that my Dad would have a porno on. My child lives in a world that may as well be in another galaxy. I can’t help thinking this as he mows through his cookie. He walks through our living room, same age, same innocence, same vulnerability, and his worst nightmare is broccoli, two nights in a row. “No Bock-EEE!” The contrast is sharp, I see me walking averting my eyes from my father’s perversions and thus learning I had better just avert myself from my rights as a child, and Dylan walks in on the kingpin of all his misery, the green monster known as broccoli. It’s so stark in comparison it’s just about existential. I giggle at the images. I giggle because he is so gorgeous and free, and because he reminds me of who I was, gorgeous but not free. His intense stare awakens the feeling of the wildest freedom in my chest. It’s like he tells me with his green blue stare, YOU ARE FREE, like me, Mama.
I am free, now. In a café, getting him milk, drinking coffee, wiping his sweet mouth thinking of the amazing things that will come from them, the big words, the knock knock jokes already emerging. I feel pride in taking tender care of this delicate flower that is my child, checking with him to be sure he is comfortable, does he need to potty, does he know he is seen, not only seen, but heard, and that he is visible on a soul level? Doe she know I truly SEE him for the gift he is? I practice folding him into me, like a seedling in the garden of his mother, pressing firmly, covering, softly watering, I think of how I could never leave him. I think of his face frozen to the window, his marrow aching with a savage hot grief. His body wracked with searing pain, a child ripped from his mother, in my case, by the mother herself.
Not this child, and not this mother. I see you, Dylan, I see INTO you, around you, I FEEL you, all over, You are so seen, so loved, so known, so precious. I SEE you, you exist to me, you are beautiful, free, and never, never, never invisible, especially the essence of you. Small innocent hands, vanilla skin, wispy blonde hair, blue oceanic eyes, open heart. Your laugh, your tenacity in expressing yourself, anger, joy, love. Those nights I secretly look forward to when I hear Feet on the Hardwood Floor, patter patter, crossing the house, thump thump, over the carpet, on the clock red numbers equals midnight, "Mama, mama, I want Moop." (Moop is milk)
Never invisible, seen, heard, felt, in every direction, on every level. So is my other child.
And the ones inside me, too.
We are coming out of the dark, into the light.....love to all. SES

The Self

A little more, I can't tell you how profound an impact this model has had and has on my life, my relationship to mySELF, my relationships with others, my ability to parent, etc.
All the esoteric branches of the world’s religions teach that there is an untarnished essence within each of us, a Self from which wisdom, healing, and spiritual energy flow. We rarely experience this Self directly because it is obscured by self-protective psychological mechanisms or lost in the fear, pain, and shame of past trauma.


Internal Family Systems Therapy

I wanted to post information regarding IFS, I think it is profound and very helpful in finding your light and working with the inner child/children/parts. I did this for four years with my therapist and the compassion I learned from her with this as a tool is something I am indelibly grateful for. I also recommend reiki, cranio-sacral and massage therapy for connecting with the light within.

An excerpt:

Managers, Firefighters and Exiles

Are there common roles for parts across people? After working with a large number of clients, some patterns began to appear. Most clients had parts that tried to keep them functional and safe -- tried to maintain control of their inner and outer environments by, for example, keeping them from getting too close, or dependent on others, criticizing their appearance or performance to make them look or act better, and focusing on taking care of others' rather than on their own needs. These parts seemed to be in protective, managerial roles and therefore are called the "managers."

Where a person has been hurt, humiliated, frightened or shamed in their past, they will have parts that carry the emotions, memories and sensations from those experiences. Managers often want to keep those feelings out of consciousness and, consequently, try to keep these vulnerable and needy parts locked in inner closets. Those incarcerated parts are known as the "exiles." The third and final group of parts clicks into action whenever one of the exiles is upset to the point that it may flood the person with its extreme feelings or makes the person vulnerable to being hurt again. When that is the case, this third group tries to put out the inner flames of feeling as quickly as possible, which earns them the name "firefighters." They tend to be highly impulsive and drive to find stimulation that will override or dissociate from the exile's feelings. Bingeing on drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or work, are common firefighter activities.

The Self

There is one other key aspect of the IFS Model that also differentiates it from other models. This is the belief that, in addition to these parts, everyone is at their core a Self that contains many crucial leadership qualities like perspective, confidence, compassion and acceptance. Working with hundreds of clients for more than a decade, some of whom were severely abused and show severe symptoms, has convinced me that everyone has this healthy and healing Self despite the fact that many people have very little access to it initially. When working with an individual, the goal of IFS is to differentiate this Self from the parts, thereby releasing its resources, and then in the state of Self, to help parts out of their extreme roles.

I had no clue about the Self until I began this journey almost twenty years ago. Like many other young people in the sixties, I had experimented with meditation for respite from my inner cacophony. From these experiences, I sensed other dimensions of myself, but had no framework to understand them. I was also an athlete and, on the football field and basketball court, had occasionally entered that delicious flow state in which my mind was still and my body could do no wrong. Like most people, however, mostly I was consumed with finding ways to counter the undercurrent of worthlessness that ran through my psyche. I believed the inner voices telling me I was basically lazy, stupid, and selfish. That's who I thought I really was.

I was led to knowledge about the Self less through direct experience than, later as a therapist, through witnessing what happened to my clients as I helped them explore their inner worlds. I had several clients in the early 1980's who began talking about different parts of them as if these "parts" were autonomous voices or subpersonalities. As a family therapist, these inner battles were intriguing to me, and I began asking clients to try to alter them in the same ways I'd been trying to change their family's communication. It seemed that many of them could actually converse with these thoughts and feelings as if they were real personalities. For example, I had a client, Diane, ask her pessimist voice why it always told her she was hopeless. To my amazement, Diane said it answered her. It said that it told her she was hopeless so that she wouldn't take any risks and get hurt. It was trying to protect her.

This seemed like a promising interaction. If this pessimist really had benign intent, then Diane might be able to negotiate a different role for it. Yet Diane was not interested. She was angry at this voice and was telling it to just leave her alone. I asked her why she was so rude to the pessimist, and she went on a long diatribe, describing how that voice had made every step she took in life a major hurdle. It then occurred to me that I was not talking to Diane, but to another part of her that constantly fought with the pessimist. In an earlier conversation, Diane had told me about an ongoing war inside her between one voice that pushed her to achieve and the pessimist who told her it was hopeless. It seemed that the pushing part had jumped in while she was talking to the pessimist.........continued on website.


More explanations:

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is a new form of therapy that is compassionate, inclusive, spiritual, powerfully healing, and deeply respectful of our inner life. For more information, see www.selfleadership.org. This article is a brief introduction to IFS.

IFS recognizes that our psyches are made up of different parts, sometimes called subpersonalities. You can think of them as little people inside us. Each has its own perspective, feelings, memories, goals, and motivations. For example, one part of you might be trying to lose weight and another part might want to eat whatever you want. We all have parts like the inner critic, the abandoned child, the pleaser, the angry part, and the loving caretaker.

IFS has discovered that every part has a positive intent for you, no matter how problematic it might be. For example, Sally has a part that says, “You couldn’t be successful at your ambitious goals. Who do you think you are?” This is hurtful to her and prevents her from taking action in her life, but when she got to know this part in her IFS work, she discovered that it was actually afraid she would be punished if she stuck her neck out, and it was trying to stop her to protect her from that pain.

Bill has a part that is judgmental and competitive with other people in a way that is not consistent with his true values. However, when he really got to know that part, he discovered that it was just trying to help him feel OK about himself in the only way it knew—by feeling superior to others.

When you understand that a part has a positive intent, it doesn’t mean that you give the part power. Sally doesn’t want her part to prevent her from taking action, and Bill doesn’t want his part to act out being judgmental and competitive. However, using the IFS approach, Sally and Bill can relate to their parts with understanding and appreciation while taking the steps to heal them.

This is fundamentally different from the way we ordinarily relate to our parts. Usually when we become aware of a part, the first thing we do is evaluate it. Is it good or bad for us? If we decide it is good, we embrace it and give it power. We act from it. If we decide it is bad, we try to suppress it or get rid of it. We tell it to go away. However, this doesn’t work. You can’t get rid of a part. You can only push it into your unconscious, where it will continue to affect you, but without your awareness.

In IFS, we do something altogether different and radical. We welcome all our parts with curiosity and compassion. We seek to understand them and appreciate their efforts to help us. But we don’t lose sight of the ways they may be causing us problems. We develop a relationship of caring and trust with each part, and then take the steps to release it from its burdens so it can function in a healthy way.

In the IFS system, there are three kinds of parts—managers, firefighters, and exiles. The managers are the parts you usually encounter first in exploring yourself. Their job is to handle the world and protect against the pain of the exiles. Exiles are young child parts that hold pain from the past. (We won’t get into firefighters in this short article.)

For example, John has one manager that tries to know everything about any organization he might work with and tries to do everything perfectly. This is an incredible burden for him and prevents him from being light and flexible in his work life. When he started to get to know this manager part, he learned that it was trying to protect him from being betrayed by people or projects he might put his heart and soul into. He also realized he had another manager part that was very suspicious of people. This part checks out people carefully to see how they might betray him. Both managers are trying to protect John from feeling the pain of an exile part that felt hurt and betrayed, first by his mother and then by an organization he was part of.

In the above example Sally had a manager that said, “Who do you think you are?” Although this message has prevented Sally from taking action as she would like, it is trying to protect Sally from the pain of an exile part who felt crushed and frightened of punishment. It turned out that Sally (and other children) had been punished by the nuns in her Catholic school whenever they became too visible, so from then on in her life, she had a terrified exile and a manager who tried to keep Sally invisible.

Parts take on extreme roles because of what has happened to them in the past. Exiles take on pain and burdens from what they experienced as children (or occasionally at other times). Managers take on extreme roles in order to protect you from the pain of the exiles. IFS has a method of understanding and working with these parts to release the burdens and heal the system, so you can function in healthy ways.


Lorena Ros, an international award-winning photographer from Barcelona, is working on a book about survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

I know Lorena and she is awesome! Her photographs are beautiful. She is looking for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to participate – the book will be a combination of photographs and survivors’ stories. Interested parties can visit her website to learn more: www.lorenaros.com

I have sent her a few of my survivor friends already - and if any of you are near Charleston, she is looking to be there in Feb to photograph more of you!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Fighting for Jessica

I thought many of you may like to see this. This is a story I know well and an example of how you can move on, fight, and take back your Light. Check out her bat!

Fight for Jessica.

New & Improved Survivor Books Reading List

We have a New and Improved Survivor Reading List. Angela and I discussed how the 'Manual' was starting to look a bit cluttered (and I know I have enough of that in my own life, right?). So, I've stream-lined the process where you wont have to keep scrolling through the page to find the Book resources you want. You can check it out here! It's also makes it easier to purchase, let your local bookseller know you are interested in ordering, and to read reviews of the books that may interest you on the journey of healing

We may continue to prune and tidy up with other areas and categories in a similar way as well.

Keep on being your amazing selves and living JOYFUL lives!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

What is Art Therapy and Why is it important to work with an Art Therapist?

What I know about art:
art is fun
art can be messy
art surprises
art tells a story
art can keep a secret
art is curious
art is poignant
art saves lives
What is Art Therapy and why is it important to work with an Art Therapist?
Art therapy is making art with a person who is educated about how art and your psyche relate. Working with a real Art Therapist (there is a master’s degree and nationally recognized credential for this field!) makes a difference. Because art making is so powerfully transformative huge shifts can come very quickly. It is important to know how to contain big feelings as they come up.
You might not know that some materials could be triggering to those of us that are carrying scary memories. [For example, while using clay can be a grounding experience, using red or brown clay could be retraumatizing for a person that has been abused around blood or feces. White or gray clay would make a better choice if you are using clay.]

Some of us need containment, yes, but some of us are so numbed out and our feelings are so shut down that we need help to become MORE expressive.
Q. If I don’t even know what I’m feeling, how can art help me?
A. Some materials can stimulate your creative juices and bring up your energy. With art therapy you might find dreams changing. You might become more aware of your surroundings. You might find your relationship with yourself and your past changing. As you gain more control in your art you may find you gain more control in your life, too.

A good Art Therapist will know what materials and interventions are appropriate for you as you work together.

My personal philosophy about art making is this: I believe that we are all made of the same creative stuff that created the universe. Therefore, when you stimulate creativity in one area of your life (making art, dancing, writing a poem, knitting, etc.) other parts of your creativity are also stimulated. When we do something creative we begin to heal in thousands of unseen ways because we are tapping into that original creative source from which we are made.

There is much more information about Art Therapy out there. Here are some links:
www.arttherapy.org (I regret their “Art Therapist locator” page is not working at the moment)

You may have guessed by now that I am an Art Therapist myself. I live and work in Ann Arbor, MI. Here is my URL: www.artistrees.com Contact me if you have questions!
-All the best,
Susan Boyes, ATR-BC, LMHC
Registered Art Therapist, Board Certified
Licensed Mental Health Counselor