Life Rafts: Survivor Stories

When we are drowning in a sea of abuse, we need someone to toss us a Life Raft.  Those life rafts may only be a metaphor.  My life rafts are the inspiring stories of people who have survived abuse and gone on to thrive and find joy.

Five survivors’ stories are so compelling that they have become my primary role models ~ I call them my Kitchen Cabinet.

I’ve included Maya Angelou on the Life Raft page because she has been Oprah Winfrey’s primary mentor.  And, I’ve included Elizabeth Gilbert and Sandra Boss because they are my visitors’ favorite Life Rafts.  You can click on the links to read my posts about their stories:

Tina Turner: My Shining Star

Tina TurnerTina Turner is the Chairwoman of my “Kitchen Cabinet” of virtual advisors and mentors.  She is a life raft without equal.

We share a birthday. She is nine years my senior. We both grew up in the St. Louis area. We also share a history of domestic abuse at the hands of very powerful Scorpio men able to negatively impact the trajectory of our careers.

Sense of Humor: Get Yourself Some Madea Going On!

madeaYou may have seen Tyler Perry’s movies.  You probably don’t know that his comedy comes from his efforts to lift himself up from where you are right now.  Madea was his alter-ego who helped him survive, thrive, find joy, and become outrageously wealthy.  See also:

Eve Ensler: Until the Violence Stops

Eve EnslerEve Ensler tells the story of how her father physically, sexually, and emotionally abused her and how these experiences shaped her world view in Insecure at Last: Losing It in Our Security Obsessed World. The central premise of her book is that striving for security does not, in fact, protect us. We must rescue ourselves. Peace will come from securing basic human rights and from making our end goals compassion and honoring all people.


Gloria SteinemSlowly, I discovered I could find mentors, role models, and friends in books. I am indebted to the generosity of authors who shared their stories and became my life rafts. The book that has been my most valuable life raft is Gloria Steinem’s Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem. She has helped me understand and appreciate how the intellectual constructs of researchers like Alice Miller manifest in the reality of our lives. As this web site grows and evolves, I will do a more in-depth explanation of what I have learned from both women.  See also:

Alice Miller: Breaking Down the Wall of Silence

Painting by Alice Miller

Painting by Alice Miller

Alice Miller was born in 1923. She received her PhD from the University of Basle and worked as a psychotherapist in Zurich, Switzerland for 20 years. Since 1980, she has been the intellectual warrior leader for abused children around the world.

Her initial motivation was to understand Adolph Hitler. She believes there is a direct link between child abuse/domestic violence and world peace. To this end, enlightened/helping witnesses are the key.

Maya Angelou: Phenomenal Woman

Maya AngelouI’m a woman phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman, that’s me.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love

Elizabeth Gilbert is the quintessenial role model for leveraging a person’s talents to learn how to survive, thrive, and find joy.  When life handed her the lemons of a bitter divorce, she squeezed those lemons into the stratosphere of best-selling books.

Eat, Pray, Love:  One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia was on the best seller lists for over a year.  She’s been on Oprah, and Julia Roberts will star in the movie.

In true Pretty Woman tradition, she rescued herself before she met the charming Brazilian “prince” Felipe.

Sandra Boss: Abused by “Rockefeller’s” Attorney 

SandraBossTestifiesSandra Mills Boss is from an upper-middle class family here in Seattle.  Her father is a retired Boeing engineer.  She and her twin sister Julia are uber-competitive.  Sandra went to Stanford for undergraduate work and Harvard for her MBA.  She became a high-level executive in the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Company and currently runs their London office.  She makes more in a week than most folks make in a year.  Her annual salary has been reported between $1.2 and $2 million.
She was married to “Clark Rockefeller,” a Bavarian-born brilliant con man named Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter.  He can no longer physically or financially abuse Sandra, but his attorney Jeffrey Denner verbally and emotionally accosted her  in court knowing the cameras were rolling and the sensation of the trial would guarantee it would receive lots of media attention.

Click HERE for Stories of Child Abuse/Neglect/Incest SurvivorsClick HERE for Stories of Domestic Violence/IPV Survivors Click HERE for more of my Book Reviews.

4 responses to “Life Rafts: Survivor Stories

  1. Hi there

    Just found your inspirational web page and thought you might be interested in this book by a friend of mine, Susan Shooter, called “How Survivors of Abuse Relate to God” (Abingdon: Ashgate, 2012). It is a thoughtful description of how a handful of individuals have survived abuse, and is grounded in both biblical and historical perspectives. As with your comments at the top of the page I approached this book with trepidation (I read it in its pre-published thesis form) but found myself absolutely glued to it. At last I have found people out there who are challenging religious stereotypes in a sensible and positive way. Thank you so much.

  2. Adam,

    Bless you. I would be very interested in reviewing Ms. Shooter’s book. If I like it as much as you do, I will be happy to make a recommendation to my readers as well as to key people in her target market.

    Ms. Shooter is very fortunate to have a resourceful friend like you. Her next step is to ask her publisher to send me an advance copy.

    May you be blessed abundantly,
    Anne Caroline

  3. Hi AnneCaroline
    I am Adam’s friend, author of the book he had recommended to you for review.
    My publisher has asked for your address so that a copy can be sent to you.
    Kind regards

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