12 January 2019


  • Can I get an outline, or a short biography of your life, with which I can introduce you? (A brief history of your family of origin, where and how you grew up, what your mother and father and siblings were like.) –I had an extremely hard life – the worst of it before my 50’s – I always knew that I was not wanted by many who should have loved me, especially my mother – even from before birth when mother and her mother tried to abort me – grew up in Rhodesia/now Zimbabwe – parents divorced after three children – two girls first and then a boy.


  • Mother (British/Afrikaans) –severely child abused – became a cruel abuser – temporal lobe epileptic –violent outbursts – in and out of foster care, hospitals and a mental institute – shock treatment, etc. – (as children we were in and out of children’s homes and foster care) – Mother fell pregnant with me at the age of 15 – married my dad at the age of 16 – divorced by the age of 19. Mother later married an abuser and child molester/child rapist… (as children, our lives went from bad to worse to totally unbearable by the time we were adolescents. Other abusers and incidents of abuse in my childhood and adulthood, and my two marriages – I am currently single and intend to keep it that way due to lack of trust).


  • Father (Greek, Cypriot)–Gentle, kind man who I have always loved and believed in.  He suffered a lot in his childhood… orphaned and working very young.


  • Sibling sister –Beautiful heart… very loved – only 11 months younger than me.  I am in constant mourning without her (she’s on the other side of the world), but in contact daily which helps.


  • Sibling brother –two years younger than me – epileptic – homosexual – most beautiful soul – very loved – died in his sleep after a seizure in 2005.


  • Step brother and sister on my Greek side…I love them like my own.


  • What is your current age? – 62 years.


  • What year were you born and where have you lived? –1956 – Rhodesia/now Zimbabwe (all over… mother moved us practically every 6 months to 1 year).


  • What were the most important things you learned during your childhood and earlier years that helped you later in life? –To never end up like our mother and abusers – to love ALL – compassion – empathy – intuition – to NEVER-EVER GIVE UP – to LIVE in-spite of all the horrors that stayed!


  • What were some challenges or disabilities you experienced and what did you gain or benefit from living with and through these? –Huge struggle throughout my life as a result of child abuses, i.e.  Dissociative Identity Disorder – Severe PTSD and Multiple Complex PTSD – agoraphobia – lack of confidence – low self-esteem – loss of memory and courageous voice – lack of trust – perception problems – warped world view – etc.


  • What were your biggest failures/mistakes in life, and what did you learn from them? –I’m struggling with this one, because marrying abusers for instance (marrying a partner for punishment), is often normal for a child abuse victim.  I did not choose to fail in my marriages, and I did not choose to make mistakes.  I can’t think of anything I deliberately chose to do that would have caused the failure or mistakes I experienced.  I always, ALWAYS tried to do the right thing.  I learned from and continue to learn from all that goes wrong in my life.


  • Where is your favorite place you have ever been and why? –A holiday gift trip to Israel, awarded to me as a result of my Logotherapy examination presentation.  I felt totally free of any struggles and totally accepted and loved for ME for the first time in my life while on that holiday, among the people/new friends there.  I feel as though I have left a part of my soul behind there and mourn to go back.


  • What is your educational background? –Professional nurse – basic computer trainer and helped develop a basic computer training curriculum for children and adults.  I am now a Logotherapist Clinician and Logotherapy Educator/Administrator.


  • What jobs/employment have you had? –Nursing – computer trainer – Logotherapist – secretary for the Logotherapy institute.


  • Which was the most fulfilling and why? – Logotherapist – because it is a dream come true to be able to use my past experiences and all that I’ve learned to help others to find their healing and the meaning of their lives.  I’ve also developed a gift for interpreting dreams Logotherapeutically and that is a gift I am very grateful for, because it’s helped not only myself but many others too.


  • When you feel frustrated, angry, or out of control, what do you do to quickly and effectively return to your baseline emotion? (How do you, “Self-soothe”?) –In my childhood I used to soothe by biting my fingers really hard – in my 20’s, I soothed by becoming an alcoholic – (stopped alcohol after making a promise to God when I found out I was pregnant with my first child.)  In my 50’s due to transference and counter-transference in therapy, I started to self-injured (bruising), to avoid worse – suicide (I have gotten that under control, even though at times I feel an intense need to do it still and the same with drinking alcohol).  Journaling on my blog, counselling clients, working too hard, gardening and writing poetry, keeps me grounded and safe from my own mind.  Writing helps me to unravel problems and make sense of them.  My creative side was one way to self-soothe as I am very artistic, etc., but I don’t seem to find time for my creativity anymore which is NOT GOOD!


  • What is a long-lasting, sustainable contribution you would like to make that lasts long after you are gone, and who do you want it to affect?My contribution… my absolute openness and honesty, against all the odds, in sharing my story as an adult survivor of child abuse.  I would like what I share to be helpful to child abuse survivors, any abuse victims, perpetrators of abuse, teachers, psychologists, counsellors in general, religious institutions, places of safety, etc. but mostly, I want child abuse to be stopped so that children can be properly and safely loved and protected from harm.


  • What are the principles and core beliefs you base your decisions and your life upon? Are there any principles or core beliefs that you altered/improved over the years, as you grew, progressed, and improved? (Old beliefs that didn’t serve you/were harmful vs. New beliefs which benefited you and those around you a great deal.)– That we are all here for a purpose – a unique purpose for each unique individual on this earth who has ever been and ever will be – and thus, we are all equally important to one another in our own unique way.  We therefore should value each and every person on this earth and believe rather in the goodness of their spirits, than to be looking for the bad and comparing them to ourselves, etc.  My most important core belief is that LOVE is the B-all and End-all of everything… universal love and universal caring for all people and all creation on earth and in the Heavens.  I believe in one God for all who doesn’t have to be my God or your God… but just The God of all… and am very disturbed by the diversity of beliefs that has ripped the whole world apart, dividing and wounding, and continues to do so.  (Old beliefs… that I was a useless nothing… new belief… I have real purpose and am therefore valuable in bringing my learning from life to share with others to help them to believe in themselves and their true purpose also).


  • Do you have a morning routine which you adhere to in order to, “Prime your pump,” and empower yourself to be a better, more grounded, centered, focused version of yourself for the day? I do often wake up and thank God for a new day and new opportunities to learn and grow and do what I came to this world to do… to become the best I can be… to do the best I can do.  But other than that… I would love to go for a walk and exercise and watch the sunrise and breathe fresh air, but agoraphobia and lack of real motivation and fear of the outside world still holds me back.  I am lacking here…


  • What are your favorite 3 quotes and why?


“To Struggle when hope is banished!  To live when life’s salt is gone!  To dwell in a dream that’s vanished!  To endure, and go calmly on!” ~ Ben Jonson (Because this is what I do and how I survive)


“In life the opportunities to address oneself to this or that group of values vary from hour to hour. Sometimes life demands of us the realization of creative values; at other times we feel it necessary to turn to the category of experiential values. At one time we are called upon, as it were, to enrich the world by our actions, another time to enrich ourselves by our experiences. Sometimes the demands of the hour may be fulfilled by an act, at another time by our surrendering to the glory of an experience. Man can be “obligated” to experience joy. In this sense a person sitting in a streetcar who has the opportunity to watch a wonderful sunset, or to breathe in the rich scent of flowering acacias, and who instead goes on reading his newspaper, could at such a moment be accused of being neglectful toward his obligations” (Frankl 1986:45) ~ The Doctor and the Soul  (Because it’s so important to see and feel and acknowledge the beauty available to us and around us… this is how I feed my longing soul and helps me to believe in “something” still, as opposed to “THE NOTHING”)


“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one life the aching,

or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.” ~ Emily Dickinson  (because this is the ultimate purpose of my life)


  • Do you have a book list of your favorite, most helpful books? What are the books on your list and what were the most important points from each one?


Book: Man’s Search for Meaning ~ Viktor Frankl (and all Frankl or Teria Shantall books on Logotherapy)

For the same reasons as this quote in another of Frankl’s books:

“The resources of their noetic dimension are tapped, the defiant power of their spirit is aroused, making them aware that they are not identical with their fears, obsessions, inferiority complexes, depressions, and emotional outbursts.  They see that they are not helpless victims of their biological, psychological, or sociological fate; do not have to remain the way they are; and can stand in any situation” (Taken from: Chapter 4: Viktor E. Frankl and Logotherapy)


Book:  Life’s Meaning in the Face of Suffering ~ Dr Teria Shantall

Frankl quoted Goethe as saying: “If we take a man as he is, we make him worse; if we take him as he ought to be, we help him become it” (Shantall, 2002, p. 19) ~ Life’s Meaning in the Face of Suffering


Book: The Body Never Lies ~ Alice Miller

Clearly shows the devastating effects of child abuse on the adult survivor


Book: The Deepest Well ~ Dr Nadine Burke Harris

She speaks my language, but with words I would not have been able to use as well – like someone has at last put into words so much of what I have learned as an adult survivor of child abuse.


Book: The Prophet ~ Kahlil Gibran

Brings out so much soul-beauty that we all could be living by


Book:  Invisible Heroes ~ (Naparstek)


“I think that heroes are people who do good or necessary things at great personal cost.  Heroism must be judged by the courage and grief required to do what needs doing.  That’s why trauma—that great terrorizer—produces heroes.  No one has to override fear the way a trauma survivor does.

Sometimes the heroism looks like nothing at all.  When a phobic rape survivor makes herself go to an evening PTA meeting, even though her heart is pounding with terror and her body is drenched in sweat—that’s a form of heroism.  When someone has been so traumatized by a recent auto collision that he cannot get behind a wheel of a car without freezing with fear, but he forces himself to breathe and take the wheel and drive to work anyway—that’s heroism, too.  And when a Vietnam veteran with post-traumatic stress forces himself to interview for a job, even though he wants to bolt, and it takes every ounce of will, courage, and determination he’s got to override the intense fear and shame he feels—emotions, by the way, make no sense to him and cause him to question his own sanity—that’s heroism as well.

Post-traumatic stress creates such daunting fear and heart-stopping distress that it produces legions of heroes, whose every day is a test of their mettle, commitment, and courage” (Naparstek, 2006, p.xv)


Book:  The Bible (according to my own personal interpretation, between my Father in Heaven and I), because it is a wonderful guide to TRUE LOVE, life and goodness and it teaches me about Heaven… and I have friends in Heaven.


  • Who were the most important influential people in your life so far? Who do you consider your mentors?  (This can be someone in your life or someone you have never met.)


A tiny handful of people ~ who touched my life deeply when I was a child… letting me know that even in the terrible nightmare of a world where I grew up, there was still real goodness and love to be found… they influenced my life for immense good cutting through all the damage and sorrow to reveal my inner light and allow me to shine even in the darkest of darkness.


Dr Teria Shantall ~ The greatest mentor of my life today ~ If it was not for her absolute and unconditional belief in me, I would NOT be here today.  More healing growth has happened in my life and mind through her influence since my 50’s, than by any other means at any other time of my life.


My biological sister ~ She is an intragyral part of my very soul… she is my true laughter and the very air that I breathe.


My biological brother after his death in 2005 ~ Because he has found a way to let me know that he is with me each and every day.  I feel his love and support and this helps to sustain me.


My Greek stepmother ~ She showed me what a good woman and mother was meant to be.  She taught me about love and I emulated my life on her, so that I would never end up like my own mother.


  • Who or what has been the biggest, most helpful contributors to your life?


I started studying Logotherapy around 2009, in my 50’s.  My life has changed so much since then.  My Logotherapy trainers and Dr Teria Shantall, showed me what I was capable of… the study alone was all I needed to change my entire life around.  I am still on my healing journey, but without Logotherapy, I would not have even known that healing was possible. I’m doing things today that I never believed possible for me.


  • Is there anything I have not asked you that you would like to share that you believe could benefit others?My blog address:


  • What do you believe is the purpose of your life? –To share my life story as openly and honestly as I possibly can to bring, what I am able to give from my experience, to all who are interested in helping people abused as children and adult survivors of child abuse as well as perpetrators, etc.  To do everything in my power to show the world of abused people out there, just how devastating child abuse can be on the entire life of the survivor and most importantly to prove by my own journey, that healing is possible if one is prepared to put in the continuous and often very hard work… to learn to face one’s self in all our weaknesses and to do all we can to help ourselves to transcend what was, to become what we ought to be.  To take back our power.  To protect the children and give them the carefree and happy lives they are mean to have.  TO STOP CHILD ABUSE!


  • What is your main wish/desire for the loved ones in your life? –That our family always stays united.  That my children will always LOVE each other and do their best to stay in contact and be there for each other.


  • If presented with an opportunity to make a truly sustainable and lasting difference in this world, what would this offer look like, and how would you contribute to its advancement?  What are you currently doing to create this reality and manifest its existence into a reality? – I am keeping a blog about my struggles and my healing journey through Logotherapy… I have almost finished writing my biographical book and would love to have help to get it edited and published once it is done. I would also love to have my life-story made into a documentary or film and would be thrilled to be a part of that also (it would take courage for me).  I have written children’s stories and over 1000 poems since I was 12 years old… and 23 metaphorical therapy stories during my therapy journey, which are to be used by therapists to help their clients.  I would love to have all that are suitable, published someday… I am also creating PowerPoint presentations to teach the healing power of Logotherapy and to help educate about the devastating effects of child abuse.  This is my life’s most longed for dream… to have my voice out there and heard… for my silent scream to become the loudest shout, because I only have a writing voice (my speaking voice has little confidence).  Having my works published and out there, is I believe, the purpose of my life so that I can make a difference in this world… so that my life is not wasted.


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