Dismantling Stone Walls Created by Abuse

Published On: September 1st, 2022

Survivors of abuse and trauma often create internal “walls” to protect themselves.  These walls can seemingly keep out the pain, but they also prevent joy and love from coming in.  We thank Guest Thriver Lianne Hofer for sharing her story of dismantling her stone wall. 

It’s forums like this, the Survivors to Thrivers Community, that ultimately allow us to change the narrative and give us a voice. It is my thought that using our voices (when we are comfortable) we can make small changes that lead to bigger steps for sexual abuse to be addressed in a supportive, loving and caring manner.  


This article is one story among far too many. This story is mine. I share it to offer hope.  

Guest Thriver: Lianne Hofer

I don’t remember when the sexual abuse started, I do know I was extremely young. I do remember when it ended, I was 16 years old. My abuser was someone who was in a role to be my biggest protector, instead they used that role quite differently.  


Living with this trauma day in day out for all my life to this point, I had enough. I opened up to a teacher in high school. This is a marked point as teachers are required to notify authorities when they suspect or know of abuse. I will be forever grateful as it started my healing journey.  


This healing work will always be a part of my life. It’s been a journey, sometimes difficult, sometimes not so hard, always worth it no matter how small the progress. This healing work has been personal. It’s been supported. It’s been mainstream and very off the beaten path. Trying many different modalities and mixing it up has been a trial and error process.


Today I look back and realize how far I have come. Staying focused on improving my life and my relationships kept me on task. I have found some interesting ways to work through the pain and trauma. Today, there is still work to do. That doesn’t seem to stop. It’s like a video game; always another level to explore.  

Level One – Recognizing the Wall

Let’s start with the beginning of this healing. The abuser was no longer in the home. My mom was informed of me telling the teacher which made my mother finally address what had been going on under her nose and she had to do something. So, we started where most of us would. Therapy.

  • The bad news was I had built walls, so tall and thick, I could not get out and I was not letting anyone in. This was my protection; it was what kept me going all those years.
  • Even these early attempts in therapy made progress. The small chips in the Stone surrounding me made some micro cracks allowing the next steps to work on emerge.
  • Looking back, I wasn’t quite ready to actually do the work, the abuse had to and did finally end. That I was grateful for.
Level Two – Wanting to Heal

After college I tried therapy again. This round was similar, no real progress.  No one was getting in because I wasn’t ready to really deal with the difficult steps of healing. The difference was this time, I WANTED to start the healing process. Those appointments were scheduled because I wanted to try again. The DESIRE to start healing was the key. Small moves. They add up.

control your mindsets
Level Three – Allowing Boulders to Come Down

Years later, when I met my husband, we talked about it. It was a lot to share and he has been incredibly understanding and supportive for whatever I needed. He suggested after a while I try therapy again.

  • This time, there was progress. I found a therapist I was super comfortable with, someone I could talk to and felt she had my best interest at heart.
  • Having support from my family coupled with a trusted therapist was a big part of the healing process.
  • Some walls were getting taken down, one boulder at a time.
Level Four – Healing Physically Part One

I discovered in physical therapy I was holding trauma in my body. In my first few sessions, I cried. A lot. Fortunately, the therapist was insightful and knew why. He gently recommended allowing the tears to flow, and flow they did. When I left physical therapy, I knew changes had happened and it felt good. This was a new feeling. In hindsight, it was the crack that made me feel safe to be in my body again. What a gift! More boulders removed.  

Level Five – Healing Physically Part Two

One day at a spa visit, I ended up in a Reiki session. This was one of those alternative modalities that shook those stone walls I carried with me. During this session the floodgates opened. It was like the dam opened up and the tears flowed like a tsunami. (Ugly cry anyone? I didn’t know I could generate that much snot!!) There was no stopping it. Using a whole box of tissues in that session, I knew I found a new path to explore. I saw the Reiki practitioner for years. She allowed me the space to find what I needed. Combined with therapy, these sessions were highly valuable for me. More boulders removed.   

Level Six – Embracing Self-Help

I became an entrepreneur and along with it, began my self-help journey in earnest. I started reading books. Loads of books.  Learning about business and myself. The books that were about self-help and growth became increasingly interesting. I read like crazy. I found The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Energy Bus by John Gordon great books to start with. Awakening the Light by Tambry Harris is also a wonderful tool to begin your self-care journey.  Applying the teachings was fascinating. More growth, more boulders removed.

Level Seven – Engaging Forgiveness

One author, Sue Morter (link to Drsuemorter.com), speaks about the “bus stop conversation.” The idea she shares rocked my world AND I was ready for the message. She speaks of when our souls come to our body here on Earth, they are on a journey.

  • We have stops along the way and our souls have conversations with other souls about how we can support each other in the lifetime here.
  • If I look at it this way, I must have asked to learn something in this lifetime and my abuser agreed to it. Wow. That gave me a huge pause. This shifted my thinking. It gave me a different way of looking at this; allowed me to process in a unique way and allowed me to forgive myself first and, yes, him (at least some initially).
  • I found forgiveness for my mom, when in the past I thought, “how could she not know and why didn’t she do something?”
  • Releasing this anger has been one of the most freeing choices I have made. This outlook in no way condones his behavior. He is responsible for the actions he made.
  • This revolutionary idea allows me to process, forgive and heal. Many boulders removed.
Level …

I am not finished. There will always be a new level to explore. There are many modalities out there and new thought leaders emerging. Look at how popular Gabby Bernstein is! (link to GabbyBernstein.com) She is all about self-help and her website has loads of free resources. Her IG has short inspirational messages about trauma and her books are also easy to read and apply exercises.

Self-help isn’t about doing it alone. It’s choosing what you want to try next. Places like here, with Tambry and Survivors to Thrivers, provide us community. Knowing we are not alone is essential. There are so many of us and when we are ready to gather, we can.

One thing I learned was to push a tiny bit and see how it feels. Huge steps can be rough to fall from. Small stumbles give space for recovery and reflection. I’ll continue to take small steps. Maybe not every day, but today, and most days.

There don’t seem to be too many boulders in the way anymore. There is still some rubble to clear as those walls were pretty tall, thick and layered. Who knows…maybe there is another wall I have yet to find?

Oh, and remember that teacher? She and I reconnected recently and caught up on life. She’s retired now. I was grateful to share how much I appreciate her. Come to find out, she was an angel for many of her students. Yup, not apologizing for the love pouring out of my eyes right now…. boulders obliterated.

Now for some ground clearing and reworking the ground where the boulders, rocks and pebbles landed…

It is my greatest wish that each of us find our way to remove our boulders and rocks. This path for healing is a personal journey and in community, this journey is supported. Tune into communities like Survivors to Thrivers for support.

Together on the journey, Lianne

We thank Lianne for her reflection on her healing journey of steps through various levels.  I encourage you to begin to think about what level you may be and if any of Lianne’s steps would be helpful as a way to begin to move into your recovery.  On the fifteenth of this month, we will be sharing ideas around how to begin to dismantle your stone wall.   Here’s to growing toward Thriving, Tambry 


About Lianne 


Lianne Hofer made a decision at the tender age of 4 to be happy. This decision has led to features in print and radio shows, on television and as a speaker in her community and internationally. Sharing her ability to find happiness in the everyday and to live with a clutter-free life, she inspires her audiences to laugh, feel and take away tools to enjoy life a little more each day. Her latest project was contributing as an award winning, international best-selling author in the series, Navigating the Clickety Clack, How to remain peaceful in a seemingly toxic world, volume 3. She can be contacted at LianneHofer.com.   

Talk To Tambry

I am glad you have taken the time to engage with this blog.  Sometimes it is helpful to process new insights that emerge.  If you would appreciate brief time with a someone who understands, our Talk to Tambry offering is for you.  For 30 minutes, you can receive support from Tambry who is a certified life coach, spiritual director and a survivor who has been on the journey as well.  This is offered at a reduced rate of $50.

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