Wednesday Evening Open House for Individuals or Group Studio Visits


Support Activities Developed by:
Michael C. Irving, Ph.D., Sculptor/Coach and Counselor

Having, maintaining and managing boundaries is a normal and often spontanious human activity that survivors of abuse can have difficulty with. Boundaries are about your relationship with distance, time, space, emotions and thoughts.

Having conscious boundaries is being able to know and decide when, where and with whom you merge. It is also being able to determine and vary the degree of limits you establish. Not being able to stand up for yourself, say no or refuse to give over something you don’t want to, are all boundary issues.

What Am I Who Am I

I started off in God's eyes as a gift of love
between woman and man
A little girl was born, but not for love
Born from a long life of hatred to come
I longed to hear the words and feel love
But my love was ugly love.
This little girl confused but what can I do
This little girl couldn't understand why
No pretty clothes but dirty clothes
No pretty hair but strangly hair
This little girl could never smile
Little girls should be happy and full of life
Her touches were so confusing they should be gentle and caring
Feeling full of joy and happiness
Her touches were of pain and shame
Mommy's should touch and feel with care and
compassion with love for this child.
But mine felt for enjoyment and what shame do I feel
What did I do
Daddy should protect his precious little girl
But mine stared and watched
Who am I
What am I
I don't know
Not a little girl
Nobody, just an empty little girl
I don't know














Driving Out the Dark

This jungle that is my spirit
With its wild dense foliage
Has long obscured the havoc
The savage destruction which they had wrought.
I couldn't see the Jungle for the trees
But slowly, treacherously
Not unpainfully,
I made my way through the near impenetrable undergrowth
To search for, collect and remove what was left;
What does not belong;
In this way I hope for it to inevitably flourish in health.
To obliterate the damage and have it grow as was meant
I will drive out the dark and lurking presence
Who seeks to hide from me behind bushes and trees
I will evict them from the jungle
And will be free of their poison
I will finally be free.


These eyes which look out of my face, which have seen much, are the only part of me which exists in this world. The rest of me, in my entirety, languishes in another galaxy. However full and rich that place may be, it has been so very solitary, unshared.














I am safe on my island
Mist swirls about me
Obscuring sounds, hiding threats
In the foggy abyss at my feet
Distant surf roars and dies on the rocks
The high rope bridge sways before me
Wooden slats creak and protest
Who comes ? Who dares invade my sanctuary ?
An apparition lumbers toward me in silence
Hands bloody the ropes
Shredded clothing dangles
A white beacon sweeps across his face
It is the prodigal me
A weary traveller stares me down
With loathing, I embrace myself















The hidden fertile body
buried deep and thick
in the mud - emotions gone

Up from the warm water
My spirit rises to create
a safe home

Ann Marie














Abuse Destroys Boundaries

During child abuse boundaries are totally ignored, violated and shattered.  To survive abuse you had to dissociate from any sense of boundary. As the deadening response to abuse became habitual you missed out on developing the inner sense of boundaries. You did not pick up the lessons that healthy role models in your world displayed.

Part of the healing and coping process for survivors of abuse is to reconnect with the inner sense of boundary. To learn ways to give yourself boundaries and let others know what your boundaries are is a difficult but vital task.




To have good boundaries, you have to identify them and think about what they are:

PHYSICAL DISTANCE: Physical distance refers to the space that you have around yourself and others; for example, being too close or too far away.

EMOTIONS:  Having difficulty with emotional boundaries means not being able to distinguish between your feelings and others’ feelings, or merging with someone’s emotional energy.

TIME:   Problems with boundaries over time means not distinguishing between present, past and future. It is feeling yesterday's traumas as occurring in the here and now, or being absorbed in the dread or fear that something terrible is going to occur.

SPACE:  Issues with space means not knowing that the place you are in is not somewhere else; for example, your home feels like the place where you were abused.

THOUGHTS:  Having what others think dramatically affect you, is an example of not having healthy boundaries between you and them.




    • Remember the best time to gain control of panic, anger or fear is early, before it gets really going!!
    • Consciously think about how you feel and what you need to say.
    • Visualize a barrier around negative emotions.
    • See a barrier or wall between you and what you want to keep out.
    • Visualize a protective bubble around you
    • Image or even verbalize that you now have control over your body, boundaries and the abuser.
    • Assert boundaries out loud to your abuser (without them there)
    • Visualize yourself as strong and empowered.
    • Trust your gut feeling and inner voice.
    • Practice saying no assertively, but not aggressively.
    • Tell people what your limits are.
    • Visualize that you are surrounded in healing white light.
    • Tell yourself that you are worthwhile.
    • Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself and approve of who you are.
    • Banish guilt.




    • Hold your belly in or hold a set of your muscles taut.
    • Feel a wall or bubble around yourself that keeps out what you want.
    • Feel your energy or sense of strength.
    • Feel yourself being tall or getting taller.
    • Cross your arms or legs.
    • Move to a location where you feel stronger or more protected.
    • Experiment with changing your posture to a position where you feel grounded and empowered.
    • Wear clothes or accessories that make you feel better, more protected or stronger.
    • Be aware of colours that give you strength or a sense of confidence.
    • Using your body and no words, practice saying no, don’t mess with me, back off.
    • Use that body sense to say no to what caused the internal memories of old pain.
    • Feel a physical and time distance between yourself and the old hurts.
    • See the distance between you and others.
    • Think about and listen to the distance that feels comfortable between you and others
    • From a physical sense practice not merging with others’ emotions and issues.




Imagine an object or a place where your flashbacks can be stored.

  • Imagine the flashback in a room. Imagine a point far off in the distance. See the room with the flashback moving off to a distant point and getting smaller and smaller as it gets further and further away.
  • Find an actual object for storage. Write down flashbacks or draw flashbacks and put them in the container. They can be taken out at a later date if desired.
  • Make and decorate a container in a meaningful way.
  • Ask someone you see as strong or supportive to give you a container.
  • Imagine a safe person or an imaginary protector who takes care of you, or creates containment of the flashback for you.
  • Find your strongest place inside and provide containment for your inner child.




    • Image a safe place — it can be a real or imaginary place:
      • What do you see — especially colours?
      • What sounds do you hear?
      • What sensations do you feel?
      • What smells do you smell?
      • What people or animals would you want in your safe place?
    • Imagine a protective bubble, wall or boundary around your safe place.
    • Imagine a door or gate with a guard at your safe place
    • Image a lock and key to your safe place and only you can unlock it .
    • You can draw or make a collage that represents your safe place.
    • Choose a souvenir of your safe place — a colour, an object, a song.
    • Keep your image of your safe place so you can come back to it when you need to.
    • Make a relaxation tape of your safe place (This can be combined with breath.




    • Choose a room or a safe area in your house where you can reassure yourself that you are safe. Rearrange the area so that it increases the sense of safety.  Place objects around to assist with the sense of safety.  Adjust the intensity of the lighting or placement of light to help you in knowing you are safe.
    • Have a portable phone to make calls if you need to.
    • Have a list of emergency and support numbers where you can see them or find them easily.
    • Put bells on doors and windows to act as a warning sound.
    • Have comforting objects around, like blankets and soft toys.
    • Have soothing and peaceful music.
    • Use blinds or partitions in a way that helps to make your environment feel safer.
    • Put up pictures or posters that are nurturing, protective, reassuring or empowering.
    • Put up affirmation cards or post-its.
    • Put up positive letters or cards from friends.
    • Put up certificates or awards that make you feel stronger.
    • Make a wrap-around: put affirmations on a T-shirt, pillowcase or blanket and wrap yourself in it.
    • Healing shield: make a shield of images of strength and protection and hang it in a visible place.
    • Wear protection: put on jewelry and clothing that reminds you of safety and protection.
    • Clean clutter and chaos from your house or even just one room.
    • Use a Walkman to feel focused in yourself by creating a private world.
    • Avoid substance abuse.
    • Go to a diner or cafe that feels safe.
    • Create a comfort kit that you can take with you that includes items such as:
      • Phone list.
      • Money for a phone call or emergency.
      • Small teddy bear or toy.
      • Stress ball.
      • Sweet scent.
      • Small jar of lotion.
      • Photo of happy time or friend.
      • Comfort food.
      • Small note pad and pen.
      • Affirmation list.

"Follow Site Web Ring"












It's over
It's done.
And I go on.



















































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*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2004)

*All Rights Reserved
copyright (1991-2012)