Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hot buttons

I go along for quite a while then out of the blue someone lands on a hot button.  I can go from cool to white hot in about 10 seconds or less.  Heaven help the person that stepped on the hot button.  I go along thinking I have myself under-control, then I am rudely reminded just how precarious that hold is.  I work hard to keep myself and my thoughts in my domain and by my terms.  I am discouraged when I slip up and let my feelings take the driver seat.  Then I remind myself that I am oh so human.  It is the inhuman that are untouched and unaffected by emotions, tragic events, and life experiences.  I pondered this last few weeks that we are all born vulnerable.  Without proper care, an infant cannot survive on their own.  Meeting needs for food, shelter and human interaction are basic needs.  Infants cry to get them.  Denied over years, eventually a child stops crying for what they need.  Eventually, a child can be brutally trained to want nothing, hope for nothing, expect nothing except more hardship.  My counselor and I had a conversation how adults will dissociate temporarily when an emergency occurs then fall apart when the event is all over.  He expressed that he didn't know why some children stay dissociated.  I pointed out that on Monday I was going to go hungry at breakfast, and the same thing will happen on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  When was the emergency going to end?  I behave like a refugee, I hide food in my drawers at work, I hide it in cupboards at home.  I stash and hide food just in case.  One janitor pointed out that I could be locked in my office for a week and still survive.  Hot buttons remain, because when does injustice and cruelty end?  I'm writing this now to not say I was justified in being upset by someone's comment but to accept that such comments still upset me for a reason.  Somethings simply linger on much longer than we expect and accepting ourselves is kind and compassionate.  Doesn't stop me from trying to improve, just not beating myself to be reminded that some subjects are best left alone. 

Perspective can change but somethings remain the same. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Keep your best friend with you

I first read this maybe 20 years ago....I'm glad Judy found it again and shared it on Facebook....

(found a link to another similar version

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. 

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble... At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up. 'The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked.
'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.
When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'
'Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'

~Wendy Wendt & The Low Riders~

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Value of Self

Warrior's Landing shared this video on Facebook.  My sister shared it so I could see it.  For too long, I surrounded myself with people that saw my value as to what I could do for them.

Counseling helped me to change my assessment of my value.  I struggled with this concept for a long time.  It is hard to see value in ones self when the first care givers saw no value.  I internalized their perception of me.  I had to break through several barriers in my thinking.  I first tackled my parents are right.  My parents were wrong.  I then tackled the hurdle that I am what I can do for others.  Then I worked through that I have intrinsic value simply because I exist.

The movie the Prince and the Pauper illustrated how we perceive our own value by those we surround ourselves.  In the slums, the prince was another bum.  In the palace, he was once again heir to the king.  Do we see ourselves as a bum or royalty?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Healing is messy

I follow a couple of PTSD facebook pages.  This poem showed up.  I am looking up the author and hopefully I'll find a link back to the correct page. 

As you heal,
as you remember your true nature
(vast and powerful and present and free),
as you shed layers of the conditioned self,
as you awaken from the dream
of shame and self-abandonment,
you may find yourself weeping. Shaking. Raging.
Weep, friend. Rage.
Cry all the tears you never let yourself cry before.
The body needs to weep sometimes.
To release pent-up energies.
You need to grieve all the lives you longed to live,
all the lives that were never going to be lived,
so that you can return to this life,
and this body, and this moment.
Forget your image. You need to roar for your life now.
Sometimes healing is not pretty.
It's a death. It's a rebirth.
It's a letting-go and a coming-alive.
We weep. We shake. We shudder. We scream.
We feel 'worse than ever'. We make a mess.
We touch a despair and a doubt we never knew possible.
But we come to trust the process.
And we come to trust that these ‘dark’ feelings need to be felt.
And want to be felt.
And have been longing to be felt since we were very very young.
There is nothing wrong with you,
even if the mind says,
"There’s something wrong with me".
(And there's nothing wrong with you
for having that thought either).
Trust. And trust that sometimes
you need to doubt. And forget. And resist.
Yes, trust that you will resist your healing sometimes.
And you can celebrate your resistance now!
You can celebrate all of yourself now.
As you weep. As you shake.
As you roar like a lion.
As you beg God for mercy.
As you touch the Ground again.
Yes, you are a mess.
Yes, you are healing in your own original way.
~Jeff Foster~

Monday, May 7, 2018

Powerfully Nice

I am a member of Linked In.  This link might not work if you are not a member (basic membership is free.)

Fran Hauser

She is talking mostly to women that tend to start people pleasing in their preteens and sometimes do not get past this to take their place as leaders.  Fran calls people pleasing a disease, after years of counseling I agree.  People pleasing implies setting aside your own values and standards to please someone else.  In the article, she points out the double standard held for women that if they speak up they are overbearing and bitchy.  One of the examples she shares is Ana:

I recently spoke about this with Anna Chavez, the author, speaker, attorney, and former CEO of The Girl Scouts of the USA. As a strong, successful woman of color, Anna felt throughout her career that she was unfairly labeled as angry or aggressive when she simply voiced her opinion at work. Yet she also had to fight to be taken seriously — an almost impossible balancing act to pull off.

Anna told me about one situation early in her career. It was the first time she was sent out to represent a federal agency in an enforcement hearing. She was barely two years out of law school and looked young for her age. She walked into the hearing room in Aurora, Colorado, and found several men already seated at the conference table. One of the officials looked at Anna and asked her if she knew when the hearing officer would be arriving because he and his corporate colleagues were very busy and needed to get back to their office. He assumed that she was a secretary or paralegal. Anna paused and said, “Well, you're lucky. The hearing officer is here and I am ready to start the proceedings.”
All of the men were shocked that Anna would be determining the outcome of this federal hearing, and throughout the proceedings Anna found herself trying to prove her gravitas to these men while still coming across as likeable. In the years since then, Anna has learned to stay true to herself by focusing on the good she was trying to do through her job and always trying to act as a model to others by treating them in the way she wanted to be treated. It may sound like a cliché, but this focusing inward helped her display a quiet confidence that strikes that difficult balance between strong and kind, assertive and empathetic.

To me, Anna is living proof that we don’t have to give up our niceness in order to be powerful. We can make room for others and take up an appropriate amount of space for ourselves. It doesn’t diminish anyone else for you to stand up straight and speak with authority. In fact, it’s a gift to other women to take the space and air time that you need because the more women stop camouflaging themselves, the more we lead the way for every woman and girl to be as powerful as they can be.
 Men sometimes face similar challenges on how to be powerful without being overbearing or a jerk.  I pay attention to people around me.  I have seen people in positions of authority that learned that the best way to lead is to serve.  The thing people look for is someone that knows where they are going and encourage others to come along. 

Part of my path to healing is to stop hiding behind old ways of groveling to please others and recognize I enjoy helping others and can do this without losing myself. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

New appreciation

I have a new appreciation for my counselor.  He would give me reading assignments or movies to watch as I learned and grew.  Now I am on my own.  I am trying to find a good book about resilience.  So far I started 3 different ones.  I am frustrated because in there attempt to be clever, get the readers attention, or just the way they write the authors seem to be making things harder not easier to understand. 

One book claimed that you can raise a trauma free child, in the introduction they clarified that no one can avoid trauma.  It is difficult for me to keep reading when they start out misleading me by giving a title that isn't true.  The second challenge with the book is they assume the parents are emotionally healthy and know what resilience is.  The reason I am messed up is because of my parents.  Shaking my head over the double barrel gaffe before they get out of the introduction.  I'll use summer time to buckle down and read it. 

The next one starts out stating that you need to tell the truth and that will solve everything.  Great, rule #1 stop lying especially to yourself.  Then he goes on to explain how the brain rearranges information to make life more comfortable. Basically saying that the brain won't tell the truth if it had to.  It rearranges thing for our comfort.  Really....I am sorting out that the difference between lying and the what the brain does is that one is done intentionally with the intent of manipulating the other person.  The brain is trying to be kind and ease distress.  This book is a bit unsettling...another one for summer reading to mull over the points and figure out if it is worth  wading through the confusion the writer created. 

The third seems fairly reasonable, but after the first two I'm frustrated.  This is the best of the bunch so far.  I'll finish this one first then go back and tackle the other two.  Before, my counselor read the books then suggested the one that would be best, now I do the sorting, it takes time and effort.  Fortunately, my counselor trained me well and I know how to tell which is healthy and which doesn't help much.  That is a challenge for a person raised in an abusive environment.  Figuring out what healthy looks like, acts like, and feels like is a bit hard.  A little like trying to explain what salt tastes like without saying it is salty. 

Trying to figure out which is trash and needs to go here.