Thursday, May 28, 2015

Choices are more than change

I am continuing on with the Maladaptive schema and the things that my counselor taught me to counter act each one.  There isn't one of them that I can't change when I understand that I have choices.  I need to learn more and work hard but not impossible. 
http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2015/05/maladaptive-schemas.html


10.  ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY  –      The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction.

This is the one that I needed to take a reality check.  Very disappointed when my reality check bounced.  I am teaching myself to look again at my plans and opinions.  I am not entitled to good health, I am not entitled to my mother's love, I am not entitled to many things that I thought I could have.  My counselor spent more than one session bringing my head out of the clouds of "what I wish I could be" and planted them solidly in this is your reality.  Embrace it.  Change it.  But you are not entitled to some of the things I thought I was.  I work hard at making my goals more realistic without loosing my dreams of a better tomorrow.  I think this was the hardest and the easiest to master.  Hardest because I didn't want to let go of the illusion that my mother should love me in a healthy way.  The easiest was once I accepted I was able to shuffle priorities very quickly.  If I start to feel too grand I remember the Dr. Banks tape.  He shared the story of a man that stood in the mental health ward very grand with one hand inside his robe.  He asked the man who he was.   "I, sir, am Napoleon." 
"Who told you were Napoleon?"
"God told me."
From another bunk he heard, "I did not."
There is always someone that thinks they are grander than I am.  I also believe this is where humility steps in and helps out us mere mortals.  I like the quote my daughter in law has at her house.  Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, it is about thinking of yourself less.  


11. INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL / SELF-DISCIPLINE –     Pervasive difficulty or refusal to exercise sufficient self-control and frustration tolerance to achieve one’s personal goals, or to restrain the excessive expression of one’s emotions and impulses.  In its milder form,  patient presents with an exaggerated emphasis on discomfort-avoidance:  avoiding pain, conflict, confrontation, responsibility, or overexertion—at the expense of personal fulfillment, commitment,  or integrity.

I felt I had no control of my actions.  I was steeped in 'have-to', should, 'they-make-me.'  I had to first accept that I did have control of my life before I could learn the self-discipline in other areas of my life.  I believe karate is one of the many things that are teaching my self-discipline.  I grew up with so much discipline I didn't know how to do it for myself.  I believe this is one of the important rolls of a parent is to move from giving orders to giving suggestions to cheering on my children.  I felt they needed to learn these steps a bit at a time.  I am also learning from Team Froglogic to embrace the suck. 
http://www.teamfroglogic.com/navy-seal-blog/embrace-fear-blog-entry-5-mission-4-test-yourself/
As I accepted responsibility of my life I learned that the only was to stop feeling out of control is to take control of things myself.  I also learned that avoidance at all cost would cost me everything.  Embracing integrity goes a long way to sorting out the self-control and the self-discipline. 

12.  SUBJUGATION  –    Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced – – usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment.
This is what made number 11 so difficult.  I didn't think I had control in my life.  I surrendered all my control to someone else.  Taking back my power and learning my rights and responsibilities as a human being went a long ways toward changing this.  When I took back my power, I stopped feeling a need to let others control me.  The left off one of the steps of subjugation to avoid physical beatings, sometimes the implied threat of a beating.  Once I understood my power, I started looking at the people in my life that were putting me in my place and decided I was going to stay put.  It was a process.  My counselor guided me as I stumbled through my taking back my power and decisions I was making.  It didn't happen all at once and every so often I have to check in with myself that I am not giving up too much power again.  I learned that even with my employment I have a certain amount of control and that I function better if I feel I have choices.  In case I haven't mentioned before, I love choices. 

I was a prisoner in my own mind. 











Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I don't watch the show

I don't watch the show 19 children and counting.  I never cared for it.  Too complicated to explain...just bugged me on so many levels.  Now, the news comes out the older brother was molesting the younger sisters....I felt no surprise by the information.  Two bloggers very adequately covered some of my concerns. 

https://trendyand2kids.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/dear-duggars-sincerely-me/

thejoyparadeblog.com/what-does-the-josh-duggar-dialogue-say-to-assault-victims/

The only thing I find I could add to their comments is how often people will accuse victims for being unforgiving because they no longer want to be around the people that harm them.  I am thankful to my counselor that corrected my thinking.  I do not have to love my abusers.  I do not have to associate with my abusers.  I can choose a healthy distance and healthy boundaries because the other person shows repeatedly that they are not healthy.  I believe firmly that forgiveness does not remove consequences.  The neighbor pedophile was sent to prison.  I am glad someone had the courage to stand up to him.  Sadly that person was murdered.  Terrible things happened.  Putting the man in prison stemmed the flow of filth and degradation.  I understand that Heavenly Father will deal justly with that man's after life.  I am still paying the consequences of his actions.  Forgiveness eased my burden but does not lessen his responsibility for his behavior.  I realize this is a hot topic.  I feel it is tragic when a victim is put down or ignored or criticized for wanting to put as much distance as possible between themselves and their abuser.  To me, forgiveness is a gift I give to myself.  Consequences are long reaching and not wished away.  I believe in Christ and His fairness.  There are times when one pays consequences here and now.  Part of repentance is restitution. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Continuing with choices

 Judy's 7- 12 https://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/roots-to-blossom-post-2/

7.  VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS –     Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it.

I still struggle with this one.  When my husband is late for work I imagine he's been in a terrible accident.  Or when I saw a car wreck close to where I knew my daughter-in-law was shopping I was afraid it was her.  This catastrophizing wrecks havoc on my peace of mind.  Fortunately, my counselor had several suggestions to help minimize the harm.  He first taught me to recognize that terrible things have happened in my life and I was unable to stop it.  I am afraid that terrible things will happen again.  He encouraged me to recognize the fear, ask myself a series of questions:
Is this a reasonable fear?
Is this something I can do anything about? 
Is it really the worse thing that ever happened to me? 
The last question is fairly safe for me since really horrible things already happened and I survived those.  He encouraged me to have the attitude toward life, "Bring it on."  I am not quite there but I am starting to reduce some of my anxiety.  I give my husband at least an hour beyond the time he said he would be home before worrying....I call this resetting my 'worrinometer.'   After I was parked, I texted my daughter-in-law about the accident.  She thanked me for letting her know to avoid the traffic jam.  I learned there are many positive things I can do to counter this fear.  My favorite 'go to' solution is prayer.  I might not be able to do anything about a problem but God can. 

8.  ENMESHMENT  /  UNDEVELOPED SELF –      Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development.  Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.

My counselor spent a ton of sessions on teaching me individuation.  He recognized the enmeshment I had with my mother and worked and teaching me to set boundaries so that I knew where she ended and I began.  Needy parents unfortunately will expect their children to fulfill their needs.  My mother wanted to be me and didn't want me to make any of my own decisions.  She said differently but should I foolishly have an independent thought she would squish it immediately.  Counseling was the key for me in understanding and learning new skills.  These are skills that can be learned at anytime in life.  My counselor wanted me to be my own person and when I attempted to shift my enmeshment from my mother to him, he brought me up short and corrected my misconception.  He did not want me dependent on him either.  These lessons were numerous what is a boundary, how to set a boundary, how to protect my boundaries, what rights I have as an individual, and the list goes on and on.  In the process, he was teaching me about how to live my own life.  His most stunning question, "What do you want?" 

9.  FAILURE TO ACHIEVE –      The belief that one has failed,  will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.). 

Hard to unlearn what was hammered into me.  I graduated in the top 5% of my class but I was told that was no big deal.  I did achieve success but I was told it didn't matter.  What I did wasn't important.  I keep evidence.  I keep my diploma on my dresser.  I keep reminders that I succeed many times.  One of the big lessons in individuation was recognizing my successes.  The fish climbing trees quote also applies here.  

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Anonymous

I didn't fail to achieve, I failed to give credit where credit was due...with myself.  I am also learning a new acronym for FAIL
First
Attempt
In
Learning

If you never fail, then you haven't tried anything new.  I love Froglogic encouragement to get out there and fail at something.  Embrace the suck.  Live life. 





Monday, May 25, 2015

More Choices


Continuing to review the list of Early Maladaptive Schemas.  I am exploring and learning how to take back my power, believe in myself, and embrace the future.  

Change your thinking; Change your life is a popular meme. I add more parts....

Change your thinking.
Change your attitude.
Change your actions.
Change your life.
If I think differently but don't do differently I will remain the same place.   



 4.  DEFECTIVENESS / SHAME –     The feeling that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or invalid in important respects; or that one would be unlovable to significant others if exposed.
For this one, my counselor encouraged me to do random acts of kindness with the 5/50 rule.  The kindness can't take more than 5 minutes or cost more than 50 cents.  I was to write down each one I did and the feeling I had afterwards.  Adding one kind action daily started a shift in my thinking.  It took more than a week....but now I try to do that everyday for several years.  Kindness to others does wonders for me.  I also use reframing.  For a more detailed explanation follow the link below:
http://stress.about.com/u/ua/readerresponses/cognitive_reframing.htm
Change my perspective and my whole outlook has changed. 

5.  SOCIAL ISOLATION / ALIENATION –     The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community.
This required a different approach. I changed my job and my friends. I also changed my level of contact with certain people.  I was looking for my 'tribe' in all the wrong places.  I worked hard to feel some level of comfort with other people.  I learned to reach out to others with the guidance of my counselor.  He worked to get me to see that my isolation was my choosing.  I changed.  I learned that I could share my burdens.  I learned that I didn't have to protect the whole world from my past.  During the summer months when I am off work, I choose times to visit family and friends.  I also enjoy my friends online.  I thought at one time that the only way I could function was being a hermit.  I've since learned that I can interact with people by maintaining healthy boundaries.  It is a cool slow process. 

6.  DEPENDENCE / INCOMPETENCE –      Belief that one is unable to handle one’s everyday responsibilities in a competent manner, without considerable help from others.
I was told as a child often how incompetent and stupid I was.  In high school I set out to prove them wrong.  My mother told me after I graduated in the top 5% of my class that I wasn't as smart I just worked harder.  The worked harder sounded like some sort of dirty trick.  Then in my 30's I passed out everyday.  Doctors had no idea what was wrong with me.  It was before PTSD was a diagnosis.  Since I didn't pass out in their office, most doctors didn't believe me.  It is hard to feel competent when you spend most your life on a couch.  I still pass out but not nearly as often.  It reminds me that I have a certain amount of dependency exists but I am not incompetent.  I can do things.  I am really good at some things.  I appreciate this quote:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


Anonymous
I took my life back one moment at a time.  It is possible. 


http://www.monkeymagic.net/2011/08/15/fish-climbing-trees/

Friday, May 22, 2015

What are my choices?

If you read yesterday's post of Maladaptive Schema http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2015/05/maladaptive-schemas.html and find yourself saying, "That is so me." By the end of the list, I felt very discouraged.  I felt like some research wrinkled gnome just wrote out the worst part of my life for the whole world to see.  But that is just it, I can paint on a face and most people don't see anything else.  I felt like I was dying inside and people described me as a happy person.  I groused in counseling as we looked at different cases with this is bad, this is worse and this is about as bad as it gets.  I kept landing in the realm of this is about as bad as it gets.  It just sucks.  I wanted to be special some other way.  My counselor let me grouse and then told me I had options........REALLY?  Can I say I was doubtful?  Huge understatement.  I looked at him like he was the one living in LALA land.  He first asked me who I could change?  Simple answer, myself.  Can you change your past?  Another simple answer, no.  Can you change tomorrow?  It isn't here yet.  He left a long pause.... Then   what    are    you    going   to   do    today?  I don't know.  He then took several years to teach me the options and possibilities open to me.  I figured out they are open to anybody....I thought I would give a few things I learned about each one.  I'll probably stress this over a few days.
From the blog http://www.schematherapy.com/id73.htm

1.  ABANDONMENT /  INSTABILITY –  The perceived instability or unreliability of those available for support and connection.
I can't change my past....my mother did neglect me and my father did leave me to her less than tender mercies.  I first had to stop looking at these to rotting beams for support.  If they didn't support me in the past they are certainly not help me in my future.  I cleared out the foundation in my life and allowed my self to look for more reliable support.  I found it in my counselor, my husband, new friends, my sister once we cleared out a lot of misunderstandings, I rebuilt my life on a different support system.  I have a job that is supportive.  I also found out that when I am in the darkest of holes hitting rock bottom, I found Christ is the rock at the bottom.  I do have a more stable foundation.  I have family and friends that are supportive.  I changed who I was looking for support.  After 10 years of counseling, I am still seeing a counselor.  Making this choice for me is a stabilizing influence.  Do I still expect I am going to be abandoned?  Yes, then I mentally review all those that are supportive of me and remind myself that I have a new perception.  Do I still feel unstable? Sometimes but I know what I need to do, if I can't stand it, try my knees.  God is just a prayer away.  I can also contact my counselor.  Now that I am stronger I am more likely call my husband or sister.  I have a more stable foundation than ever before.  I remind myself, I am a work in progress.

2.  MISTRUST / ABUSE – The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage.
Change my foundation, change my support people and remove my abusers out of my life.  My counselor also spent many sessions helping me sort out when people are being intentionally abusive and those that are just human and do dumb stuff that hurt my feeling....all one of them....naw I have more than one feeling....I still encounter people that are hurtfully, abusive, enjoy humiliating others, will cheat, lie, manipulate or take advantage of me.  I am learning to recognize these people and remind myself that I can protect myself from their behavior.  I have a whole tool box of choices on how to respond to these people.  I still remember the day I was in a session fretting about how I "had" to do something.  I put had in quotes for a reason.  My counselor started looking all around the room, what was he looking for?  He finally had my 100% attention then he stated, "I don't see anyone holding a gun to your head?"  Wow.  Took a bit of thinking to sink in.  Even my nasty boss that was making my life miserable hadn't resorted to holding a gun to my head.  I had death threats as a child.  I am not a child any more.  I am learning a number of skills to protect myself from unpleasant people.

3.  EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION - Expectation that one’s desire for a normal degree of emotional support will not be adequately met by others
I was emotionally starved as a child. I was in the habit of emotionally starving myself. I am no longer a child.  My counselors all worked at teaching me how to nurture and emotionally feed myself.  I learned to clearly state what I needed emotionally.  I learned to ask someone from my new support system.  I learned that many of my emotional needs I can meet myself.  I learned to reach out to others without expecting them to fix me.  I learned to recognize the feelings behind the feelings.  (That is probably a blog post all by itself.)  I am no longer emotionally deprived.  In fact, many days I feel awesome.  I feel so awesome that feeling can flow out to others.  I am no longer and emotionally starved child.  I grew up into an emotional adult that is learning to meet my emotional needs.  



I'll continue these thoughts tomorrow.  Maladaptive Schema sucks but it is not the end of my story.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Maladaptive Schemas

Roots2Blossom is one of the women of courage that I like following her blog.  This post grabbed my attention for several reasons.  One she was diagnosed similar to me. Second, this listed many of the symptoms and thought processes that are part of her challenge, my challenge and my sister commented on the same challenge.  I will add my sister's links since she broke it up into 3 parts.  I will be adding my comments in Pink.  This is to show anyone that wants to take on the list the approaches each of us have to the same information.  I am attempting to emphasize the importance of finding your own path through the labyrinth.  Too many articles start with the heading 'this is the way to heal.'  It is my belief that if we don't look at the problem the same way we are not going to solve it the same way either.  Sharing ideas, theories, possible solutions, gives each person an opportunity to find what works for them.

https://roots2blossom.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/maladaptive-schema-finally-a-name-for-those-diseased-roots/

This is the link to the original article on the Early Maladaptive Schemas http://www.schematherapy.com/id73.htm

Early Maladaptive Schemas
 
1.  ABANDONMENT /  INSTABILITY –  The perceived instability or unreliability of those available for support and connection. I expect people to abandon me and unfortunately my behavior sometimes makes it a self fulfilling prophecy.  I am learning that some relations are relatively stable. 
2.  MISTRUST / ABUSE – The expectation that others will hurt, abuse, humiliate, cheat, lie, manipulate, or take advantage.  This one is huge for me and I don’t see how this can be overcome.  I spent most of my childhood living with abuse hard to believe it won't continue. I still feel startled when someone is kind to me.  Especially if I didn't do anything to 'earn it.'  How sad is that that I feel I have to 'earn' love.    
3.  EMOTIONAL DEPRIVATION –    Expectation that one’s desire for a normal degree of emotional support will not be adequately met by others. I was totally puzzled that I should have any expectation to emotional support.  I didn't understand that this is a basic in any healthy relationship. 
 4.  DEFECTIVENESS / SHAME –     The feeling that one is defective, bad, unwanted, inferior, or invalid in important respects; or that one would be unlovable to significant others if exposed. I used to have this one, but not so much any more.  Like Roots2blossom, I'm improving but I still have a long way to go.  One of the main behaviors of predators is to shift their guilt to their victims.  It is the victims fault they made them angry and they had to beat them. 
5.  SOCIAL ISOLATION / ALIENATION –     The feeling that one is isolated from the rest of the world, different from other people, and/or not part of any group or community.  I have lived my life next to people, not with people. I don’t see how this can be overcome.   One of the first emotional reactions I talked to my counselor about was that I felt like I was on the outside looking in at life.  I felt like I didn't belong anywhere.  On occasion I still struggle with this feeling. 
6.  DEPENDENCE / INCOMPETENCE –      Belief that one is unable to handle one’s everyday responsibilities in a competent manner, without considerable help from others. I don’t believe I could ever live alone, I keep losing jobs, can’t work full time, due to medical or mental illness.  I thought dependeny was how I showed love.  I didn't understand that it was even possible for two independent people to stand together to form a strong and loving bond.  Work in progress on this one.   
 Judy's 7- 12 https://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/roots-to-blossom-post-2/
7.  VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS –     Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it. I always think the worst. In fact I see the worst played out in my mind like a horror movie. I’ve been aware of this and do what I can to counteract it, but nothing has stopped it from happening in the first place.  If DH is home late from work, in my mind I see him mangled on the freeway.  I was raised in the fear that the worst might happen at any moment.  My parents watched the news the plastered the worse from all over the world.  My mother pointed out every disaster and constructed these weird connections until I was quite convinced if I ventured from home horrible things would happen.  Horrible things did happen.  The fear and terror I faced as a child was real.  For me, the terror I live with is it will all happen again.  Hard to shake loose that nagging constant fear.  Counseling helped me to put many of these fears back into perspective of more everyday living.  I am relieved to begin to grasp that my childhood was the exception not the rule. 
8.  ENMESHMENT  /  UNDEVELOPED SELF –      Excessive emotional involvement and closeness with one or more significant others (often parents), at the expense of full individuation or normal social development.  Often experienced as a feeling of emptiness and floundering, having no direction, or in extreme cases questioning one’s existence.  AF raised me as part of him, it was incredibly painful to separate from him. And when I finally did, I found out I was empty inside.  This was so true.  I had no concept of where I ended and my mother began. Fortunately, I can say this in the past tense.  I am still a work in progress but the separation was scary and painful it also gave me the room to grow.  I learned about the value of individuation.  This separateness was something I wanted for my children.  I enjoy them and like to be with them but I am happy to see that they have beautiful complete lives without me, as it should be.    
9.  FAILURE TO ACHIEVE –      The belief that one has failed,  will inevitably fail, or is fundamentally inadequate relative to one’s peers, in areas of achievement (school, career, sports, etc.).  I did fail in school.  I struggled with reading and spelling and yea...junior high was a bit of a disaster.  But between junior high and high school I decided to fight back.  I learned to do well in school.  I worked hard.  I still struggle with feeling like a failure but I have learned to work and work hard with a determination that helped me survive against the odds.   
10.  ENTITLEMENT / GRANDIOSITY  –      The belief that one is superior to other people; entitled to special rights and privileges; or not bound by the rules of reciprocity that guide normal social interaction.  I didn't think this was me.  I thought this is one I missed.  Then there was this little nudge in my mind as I prayed about this post.....'don't you feel entitled to your mother's love?  Didn't you at the grand age of 17 have the grandiose idea that you could win her love if you just did something big enough and important enough?  Didn't you tear into college on a scholarship she arranged to prove how magnificent your are?  What about all the grandiose plans made that would take several life times to accomplish?' ...well sh**** Damn is there not one of these I can skip? Fortunately, my counselor helped me understand that my mother's fears and insecurities are not about me.  I was just a target not the cause.  I am accepting she can not be a mother to me and embrace her fears at the same time.  I am sad for what is lost but I can't fix it.  I don't need to. 
11. INSUFFICIENT SELF-CONTROL / SELF-DISCIPLINE –     Pervasive difficulty or refusal to exercise sufficient self-control and frustration tolerance to achieve one’s personal goals, or to restrain the excessive expression of one’s emotions and impulses.  In its milder form,  patient presents with an exaggerated emphasis on discomfort-avoidance:  avoiding pain, conflict, confrontation, responsibility, or overexertion—at the expense of personal fulfillment, commitment,  or integrity. I would avoid everything if possible  I can resist anything except temptation.  Yea...I hear that chocolate calling my name.  I also learned the habit of avoiding conflict at all cost.  I learned the hard way that the mind set will cost me everything.  I think part of what I like about karate is the emphasis on self control.  I am also learning from Froglogic to embrace the suck.  If I am not uncomfortable I must not be working hard enough. This I am seeing a lot of changes....but I'll still have another piece of chocolate.  :)
12.  SUBJUGATION  –    Excessive surrendering of control to others because one feels coerced – – usually to avoid anger, retaliation, or abandonment. I learned to give up, that I didn’t matter, that nothing really mattered  This was drilled into me both at home and the pedophile.  My counselor chewed me out numerous times for giving away my power.  I was totally stunned; I didn't even know I had any.  Spent many counseling sessions on what rights and responsibilities I had as a human being with power.  It is kind of cool actually.   
13. SELF-SACRIFICE  –      Excessive focus on voluntarily meeting the needs of others in daily situations, at the expense of one’s own gratification.  The most common reasons are:  to prevent causing pain to others;  to avoid guilt from feeling selfish;  or to maintain the connection with others perceived as needy .  Often results from an acute sensitivity to the pain of others.  I was expected as a child to give up everything to meet the needs of my parents.  Then I was taught to give up everything for my children, including my health.  Bad plan.  I believe in self-sacrifice having value but, this is a very big but, it is not always healthy for the other person.  Adding martyr attitude to self-sacrifice is down right scary.  I am learning to choose when I say yes and choose when I say no.  Making myself ill to help someone else just doesn't make sense.  Learning a bit of balance takes time and experience.  I also noticed that human leaches just move on to the next victim if you refuse to hand your life over to them. 
14.  APPROVAL-SEEKING  /  RECOGNITION-SEEKING  –      Excessive emphasis on gaining approval, recognition, or attention from other people, or fitting in, at the expense of developing a secure and true sense of self.  Yes and yes, that is where the self-sacrificing thing comes into lethal play.....sacrificing self to please others is a dangerous road and can be easily twisted out of all proportion. 
15. NEGATIVITY  /  PESSIMISM  –      A pervasive, lifelong focus on the negative aspects of life (pain, death, loss, disappointment, conflict, guilt, resentment, unsolved problems, potential mistakes, betrayal, things that could go wrong, etc.) while minimizing or neglecting the positive or optimistic aspects. Usually includes an exaggerated expectation– in a wide range of work, financial, or interpersonal situations — that things will eventually go seriously wrong, or that aspects of one’s life that seem to be going well will ultimately fall apart. I also apply this to the world at large, that humanity itself is a terrible mistake of nature and that nothing can be done. I can’t save the world, I don’t even want to try any more.  One of the hazards of really bad stuff happening is you see the bad stuff happening everywhere.  I've worked hard to notice the good things in life.  I found gratitude a great antidote, but I need to apply daily to keep me from drowning in negativity.  I am noticing I am getting much better at the gratitude part.  I am starting to recognize the value of fleas in my life.  
16.  EMOTIONAL INHIBITION  –      The excessive inhibition of spontaneous action, feeling, or communication — usually to avoid disapproval by others, feelings of shame, or losing control of one’s impulses. I’m not sure I’ve ever had much of a spontaneous feeling. My feelings were never my own and had to be controlled. I think before I feel. And usually I don’t ever feel.   Feelings....what feelings?  Teaching me to feel was the pet project of my first counselor, he started with anger because it is the easiest to illicit....yea, he had a tough time some sessions.  I could make any emotion disappear.  I still tend to hide my feelings...I'm working on it.  I can usually feel my feelings but I don't always know why they are there.  I learned that is kind of a human thing, feelings are sometimes just there.  Now that I am feeling them I am working at how to express them appropriately.  Not an easy task to learn as an adult when others expect you to act like an adult and I feel more like a 2 year old with an intense desire to lay down and kick my feet and scream....I love art, I can express these outrageous feelings and call it art.  Yea.  More work to do here. 
17.  UNRELENTING STANDARDS /  HYPERCRITICALNESS   –     The underlying belief that one must strive to meet very high internalized standards of behavior and performance, usually to avoid criticism. Typically results in feelings of pressure or difficulty slowing down; and in hypercriticalness toward oneself and others.  Unrelenting standards typically present as:  (a) perfectionism, inordinate attention to detail, or an underestimate of how good one’s own performance is relative to the norm;  (b) rigid rulesand “shoulds” in many areas of life, including unrealistically high moral, ethical, cultural, or religious precepts; or (c) preoccupation with time and efficiency, so that more can be accomplished. This one is huge for me. Goes along with unrealistic expectations and leads to pessimism, reinforces that the world is crap when no one, including myself, measures up to my impossible standards.  Yes, yes, and hell yes.....this stuff was hammered into me. Heavy sigh, I am my own worse enemy...my first counselor talked to me about firing my mean boss the one that expects me to get to work 15 minutes early, stay a half hour late, skip my breaks so I can keep working, I thought about my boss at work and was puzzled, he wasn't like this.  Then my counselor pointed out that I am my own mean boss.  Fire her.  Show myself the same compassion I would show my children or a friend. 
18.  PUNITIVENESS   –    The belief that people should be harshly punished for making mistakes.  Involves the tendency to be angry, intolerant,  punitive, and impatient with those people (including oneself) who do not meet one’s expectations or standards.  Usually includes difficulty forgiving mistakes in oneself or others, because of a reluctance to consider extenuating circumstances, allow for human imperfection, or empathize with feelings. Goes right along with 17. I judge everyone harshly, not humanly.   Clean sweep, I've got them all. The interesting thing about counseling, I learned things about myself that I didn't realize I was doing.  I learned I could override this tendency.  I have to work hard at it but it is possible.  All these are a part of my life.  All these are changeable.  As I learn new ways of living and apply principles of kindness, compassion, understanding, self-control, individuation and the healthy forms of these, I am liking the person I am becoming.  I'm not perfect; I'm human and enjoying it.