Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Practice what you preach. Or better yet, don't preach, just practice. Quote of the day.

This is a work in progress and I realized I hadn't really posted what I have been working on for months.  I left a comment over at Suburban Black Sheep that I will copy here. It is in reference to the books I am currently reading on boundaries:

I am actually reading 2 at the same time and both discuss the lack of boundaries by those that do not respect others boundaries.

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend uses Bible scriptures along with their other information. Page 61

Boundaries and Relationships by Charles L. Whitfield, MD. More technical and therapy based but also approaches boundaries more based on relationships.

Both books I am taking with me to counseling sessions to fill in where I am missing information. My first counselor was astounded as to how completely clueless I was about boundaries. I have worked on these books since last July. The first book is more basic, which I needed. It started with what is a boundary. Kind of where I needed to start. 

I did start with what is a boundary and wrote papers on each of the areas.  The areas included skin, words, truth, geographical distance, time, emotional distance, other people, and consequences.  I just reread some of those papers and realized I will probably have to do some heavy editing before posting here.  I understand now that I had no concept of boundaries since from an early age mine were brutally  invaded at the most basic levels over an extended period of time.  I appreciated New Counselor emphasizing that setting and maintaining boundaries is not usually necessary with healthy people since with a healthy person you express a need and they will respect it.   Unhealthy people need boundaries set to help establish how your needs will be met and the consequences that go with the boundaries.  I didn't write a lot in my blog because I am barely starting to grasp what they are saying, let alone how to use them.

I think eventually it comes in the same way as, "I have an attitude and I know how to use it."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day in the United States honors men and women that have fought in wars.  The veterans that come home and those that don't, fighting for causes that they believe are for freedom and protection.  I was a teenager during the protest of the Viet Nam war and thought how silly it was to blame the soldiers for poor choices of our leaders.  If something seems inconsistent I try to find out more.  I have thought and pondered over these issues and raised a family of 6 children.  If anyone has more than one child they will know that World War 3 can be started in your own household.  Horsing around can change to all out war in a flick of wrist.  "MOM - HE/SHE HIT ME."  I also worked at the school where I learned the rule that the teacher sees the second punch.  The start of most arguments started well before they scuffled on the play ground.  Currently in the Middle East a family squabble that has escalated for over 4000 years.  Before counseling I never could make heads or tails of any of this.  In counseling, I learned about boundaries.  In fact, one of the deciding factors for me to go to counseling was I wanted to know what a boundary was.  A marriage class I attended spent an entire evening talking about the importance of boundaries.  I did not know what they were talking about.  Raised by a narcissistic mother and enabling father, I had no boundaries.  Now I am learning that boundaries are needed for those that do not respect the rights of others.  Now I understand on a much bigger scale that there are bullies in this world that do not want or feel a need to respect others.  Now I understand that the soldiers of every generation desired to protect their boundaries and freedoms.  I have a much deeper appreciation for those that risk their lives that I may vote.  I am deeply indebted to those that make it possible for me to worship as I see fit.  I am grateful that I can make choices that are denied many others because of a soldier that has suffered in so many ways with many paying the ultimate price of laying down their life for their brother.  I believe that there are many wars that we may criticize why our leaders are choosing to do this or that.  The soldiers that stand on the front line facing incoming rounds of ammo deserve my honor and admiration.  Thank you to all soldiers and veterans. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

I follow several blogs that encourage me to look at my own life and improve myself.  They set an example and occasionally several hit the same theme at the same time.  This time it started with mulderfan sharing a poem on her web page called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.   I followed this up at Narcissistic Continuum with a poem about learning from the past.  Then this morning Stacey over at This is Me, Damn It! shared some introspective thoughts on friendship.  I pondered on each perspective of thinking about Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

I thought about how before counseling, I had no Yesterdays.  Yesterdays would slip away into darkness of not remembering.  Today was on shifting sand that I may get from morning to evening knowing what was happening.  Tomorrow may not come because as a switching multiple who was thinking about tomorrow may not get to be the one that was aware that day.

After counseling, Yesterdays piled up fast and furious.  Some memories crashed down on top of me like a tsunami tossing me relentlessly under crushing fear.  I whimpered, I shuddered, and wanted desperately sometimes to go back to no memories.  Then in the rubble of my past, happy memories popped up that my mind hadn't been able to access, a beloved teacher, a caring friend, a golden moment of happiness.  For years, I had no yesterday.  I now cherish the ability to remember my past to learn from it like in Narcissistic Continuum, enjoy the happy moments like Stacy and as in mulderfan's poem accept that it is carved in stone.  I can not change my past.  It influences who I am today but does not hold me in a death grip any more.  My past lost control of me when I integrated and I get to decide today how my past will influence me.  I choose to learn from it and make better choices in the future.  Now, I have tomorrows.  Lots of them.  And they are ALL mine.  I love it.  I was stressing last night that I hadn't finished my project I wanted to complete.  I stopped worrying and decided that Monday morning would be a fine time to finish.  With the added bonus, I will remember to do it.  I have learned what it is like to worry about the future but again like mulderfan's poem I am accepting that it may not arrive.  I now enjoy planning for tomorrow but good, bad, or indifferent it hasn't happened yet so there is no need to fret and agonize.  It will come.  One day at a time.  You know what is really wonderful?  I have today.  Everyday that I wake up and know who I am is wonderful.  I tackle my day with gusto or drift through quietly when there is a need for peace.  My newest adventure is learning what I want to do with my day with out fearing something ominous from my past or worried about something terrible in my future.  I have today.  Sunshiny or rainy.  Busy or peaceful.  Crazy or calm.  Helping others or helping myself.  I get to choose what I do today.  I just love saying that.  I get today.  Enjoy today.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

"There are two days in every week we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. Nor can we erase a single word we've said - yesterday is gone.

The other day we shouldn't worry about is tomorrow, with its possible adversities,
Its burdens, its large promise and poor performance.

Tomorrow is beyond our control.

Tomorrow's sun will rise either in splendour or behind a mask of clouds but it will rise. And until it does,we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day - today. Any person can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives people mad - it is the remorse of bitterness for something that happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, live one day at a time!"

Then over at  The Narcissistic Continuum
Please do! Be sure to credit Veronica A. Shoffstall as the poem's author.
After a While
by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in midflight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every good bye you learn.

Next I wandered over to This is Me, Damn it! and enjoyed sharing a quiet time of her introspection.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

20/80 Rule

Have you heard of the 20/80 Rule?

 The rule that states:
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

I spend 80% of my time on things that matter the least.  And 20% of my time on things that matter most.  Yet when I try to switch this ratio things don't go well.  It is like that 80% is prep time for the 20%.

Yesterday I spent with my daughters and friends.  80% of the conversation was just that, conversation.  But 20% we really connected.  It was like the 80% built a basis for the 20%

I have seen people try to switch this ratio with disastrous results.  By trying to maximize their efforts they actually do less.  I watched my NM pushing for efficiency with her time and would multi-task while talking to me.  What came across was not that she was maximizing her time but I felt she wasn't interested in talking to me.  I decide that sitting down to listen to my kids would take more time but in the end that 80% effort listening to things that were least important paid off because when they were ready to talk about the important 20%, I already established that I would listen. 

I also realized I would do this myself.  In counseling, I start out talking about less important issues.  Only about 20% of my session is really spent on the most important problems.  It seems like if I feel like the least important is rushed through or ignored, then I won't open up about the other 20%. 

This rule in life I don't think is man made.  I think nature has a rhythm of ratios that allow us to work up to the hard stuff without needing to jump right in.  Some how a day jammed pack with the most important stuff leaves me totally exhausted but if I pace myself then I see better results. 

Have you seen this 20/80 rule at work in your life?

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Experience teaches only the teachable.
Aldous Huxley

From my Daily Positive Affirmations for today.  My goal:

I am healthy in all aspects of my being
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Daily Affirmations at Affirmation Planet

I am continuing contemplating "Who I Am?"  Much of my life I was labeled by my accomplishments or my behaviors.  Hitting the teen years I was called 'Ding-a-ling', 'Lights are on but nobody's home', clumsy, and other names that were less than complimentary.  Those names are not who I am.  Everyone was shocked when I worked my way into the top 5% of my graduating class.  But an honor student is what I did but not who I am.  After 30 years, I finally graduated with a degree in photography.  I love shooting pictures but it still isn't who I am.  My favorite label is "Mom."  I am a Mom to some of the most amazing people that married or are with some wonderful people that have expanded my title to "Grandma."  But that still isn't who I am.  I bring myself to all these different experiences.  People perceive my actions in all different lights.  I am not defined by someones perception and I am not defined by my experiences.  All these happenings and interactions influence me both positively and negatively.  The amazing thing I am discovering that I decide Who I Am.  I can remake that decision everyday.  How I see myself is the final answer.  I no longer need to look outside myself for my answer because it is inside of me and has been all along.  I just couldn't see that with all the darkness that swirled around to confuse and discourage.  KavinCoach asked me years ago which one was real.  Now I know.  None of my alters alone were real.  I am Me.  All of ME.  I am not defined by others.  I am not defined by my experience.  I am only defined by me and I am a work in progress.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.  Einstein 

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.  Who looks outside, dreams.  Who looks inside, awakens.  Carl Jung 
Please visit our website at www.innerkiddies.com

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
Winston Churchill

The awesomeness of photography helped to unleash my inner awakening.  The assignment...Self portraiture.  I took the class over 9 years ago before I started counseling.  I took 3 rolls of film in black and white.  I was totally amazed as I developed the film.  I wondered if someone had swiped my camera.  But I knew that wasn't true.  I took the series of 8x10 black and white prints and twisted them into a Möbius strip.  I joked the that the project was all about "Me, Me, Me."  I didn't know how accurate I was.  I didn't know then what I know now.  I didn't know that I was functioning as 5 different MEs.  I just didn't know.  When I started counseling and things started going in a way different direction than I expected I showed KavinCoach what a Möbius strip was and how I used it to describe myself.  I knew at some level that I functioned differently.  When KavinCoach asked me which one was 'real', it was the first time the personalities all felt the same feeling at the same time, pure outrage.  How dare he imply that one of us was not real.  We were all real.  We were not imaginary friends.  We were separate and we were not making it in life.  We focused so long on surviving, we had no idea how to live.  KavinCoach challenged me to integrate.  He said it would help me thrive.  He said I would be able to feel things and do things that I have never done before.  He told me it would be better.  He didn't tell me HOW it could be done.  I asked for an inch and got a marathon.  I integrated.  After three years of being integrated, he is right.  It is better.  I am learning what thriving feels like.  It feels real good.  I am feeling things that I have never felt before.  I am doing things that I didn't know were possible.  I had the seed in me all along, Little Me.  KavinCoach taught me to nurture, nourish, encourage, parent me, the real me.  The learning curve is steep.  I feel sometimes I am getting a crash course in living.  Sometimes I just feel like I crash.  Then I remember, I feel.  Sometimes I feel this awesome happiness that I have never felt before.  Don't get me wrong, I have felt happy many times.  This is different.  Always before there was an edge of darkness.  Like every sunny day had a dark ominous edge just waiting for me.  Now I feel an awesome feeling that I believe is called JOY.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be yourself

 There is an old Hasidic tale that says the only question we will be asked when we die is, “Were you yourself?”

 Everyone’s uniqueness contributes to new ways of seeing, hearing, feeling, and being in life.  We are all divine royalty.  Ron Fox
Sent by Pam Young from Innerkiddies   www.innerkiddies.com

Over at i used to believe in forever.   Always remember you are unique....Just like everyone else.

So many blogs I read talk about being authentic, real, honest.  All worthy goals.  What do I do when the real me has actually existed only 3 years?  I am not even sure what the real me is.  The hardest thing I had to accept was the massive change from 5 separate functioning personalities to 1 bewildered personality that I am all yet none of the others.  The imagery I use is what happens to a cake mix.  You mix it all together and it comes out as a single cake.  It wouldn't be the same if some of the parts are missing.  Now I am defining what is real to me. 

I was recently complaining to my sister that my counselor was leaving me to work out all sorts of things on my own.  She basically let me know that I was supposed too.

I have basic human rights but that is not who I am.  I have roles mother, wife, daughter, sister, grandma, teacher assistant, photographer but that still isn't who I am.  I feel like I have been searching all my life as to Who I am.  I even took classes, like Search for Identity.  I am starting to REALLY grasp that I have to decide what about me is authentic and real.  When am I putting on a false face and when I am being myself.  The reason my counselor can not help me with this; I have to do it.  KavinCoach had me watch 'Runaway Bride' with Julie Roberts as one of my homework assignments.  Now, years later, Oh I get it.  I need to decide what type of eggs I like.  I actually like hard boiled eggs if I can't have toast.  Or a soft boiled egg if I can have it with toast to dip the crust in the yoke.  I almost never eat eggs that way.  Hmmm.  I have a lot to learn about living MY life.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I can do this

I think I finally figured out what is going inside my head.  I reviewed my surviving cancer.  I have thought about finishing my bachelors degree.  I thought about my photography show about my cancer experience.  I realized that I am feeling intimidated by my plans for the summer.  There have been plenty of times I have spent months spinning my wheels not getting done the things I need to do.  I realized I am trying to reprogram my mind and my heart to believe that I can accomplish those things that are most important.  Baby blankets for my pregnant daughter and daughter-in-law.  Babysitting grandkids.  Visiting families that live far away.  Taking care of me. 

Taking care of me is the hardest one in the list.  From the time I was small and my earliest memories are being taught to take care of my younger sister, brother, and mother.  I am good at taking care of someone else.  I am really bad at taking care of myself.  The first thing I needed to learn is that I have rights as a human being.  I encountered the concept from several sources.  KavinCoach helped me to write my own 'Bill of rights.'

I have the right...Written in January 2010

I have the right to be treated with respect when I earn it.  I am also aware that some people treat me with respect because they respect people.  Other people I can not earn their respect because a prejudice exists that has nothing to do with my behavior.

I have the right not to take responsibility for anyone else's problems or bad behavior. I choose to take an interest in my spouse and children.  I can suggest, persuade, encourage and love them but ultimately they are responsible for their own adult behavior.

I have the right to feel emotions - anger, excitement, sad, glad, afraid, courageous, etc. and the responsibility to accept the consequences of any actions brought about by those emotions.

I have the right to say no.  When I say "yes" to one thing I inherently often have to say "yes or no" to something else that is not always obvious.  I am aware that saying "no" in some situations may damage a relationship and have far reaching consequences.  I also need to keep in mind that I have a limited amount of time and energy. 

I have the right to make mistakes and the responsibility to take the consequences for those mistakes.

I have the right to my opinions and convictions.  Just because I have them does not mean I should always state them.  Sometimes the best reply is silence but I need to keep in mind that with some people silence means agreement.  The art of disagreeing without being disagreeable is on going training.

I have the right to determine when someone is yelling at me or not.  I am aware that I am hypersensitive to negative reactions but if I feel someone is yelling at me, I will respond that way.

I have the right to change my mind and the responsibility to take the consequences.  Sometime I need to take more time to begin with to make a decision.  I recognize that I take time to think through information and a hasty decision can result in a need for me to change my mind later.  Sometimes I make a decision with the best information I have available at the time.  New information may require a change in course.

I have the right to ask for emotional support or help.  I have the responsibility to work on things myself.  Learned helplessness is as unhealthy as never reaching out to anyone.

I have the right to negotiate for change. The responsibility to express myself to the other person.  The other person can not read my mind.

I have the right to protest what I believe to be unfair treatment or criticism.  Being defensive can sometimes make a situation worse.  In protesting unfair treatment I need to keep in mind who I am talking to.  Some people are not healthy enough to engage in this type of conversation.

I have the right to have friends. I have the responsibility to recognize that friends take time and energy which I have a limited supply.

I have the right to ignore advice.  I have the responsibility to take the consequences of ignoring that advice.  I recognize that the source should be considered when I am considering someone else's advice.

I have the right to take breaks, such as going to the bathroom before a job is done or 15 minute breaks that can be beneficial when working on large projects.

I have the right to throw away or give away things that I no longer want or need.

I have the right to lock the doors or not lock them depending on how I feel at the time.

I have the right to have extra food in the house.

I can add to this list when ever I feel the need.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mixed blessings

For some reason, my mind is thinking a lot about when I had cancer.  Like poking at a long forgotten scar that has healed and you think you have moved on.  Today at church they were discussing faith and prayer in Sunday school class, a common combination.  The teacher threw out a question about answer to prayers.  I blurted out that sometimes answers are not what you are expecting.  I prayed for understanding and was given a huge challenge.  My second mammogram they found breast cancer.  I was in shock.  I met the challenge and learned the importance of getting professional help when you have a big problem.  I learned that family can really back you but some can actually make your challenge worse.  Embrace those that help and avoid those that drain.  I learned that complete strangers will empathize if you present your challenge without a 'poor me' attitude.  I learned that prayer brought comfort not an absence of problems.  Talking to a professional that blows you off means you can change to someone different.  It is OK to look for someone that not only is qualified but treats you like a human being.  My cancer was caught early but it was still my cancer.  I was a person with cancer not a disease to be destroyed.  Cancer is life changing.  You face one of Mother Natures ultra bullies.  In my case, I won with a lot of help from family, friends, medical people, and Heavenly Father.  Having cancer helped build confidence.  Having cancer set my priorities in order.  Having cancer prepared me for the much more difficult task of facing my past.  Ten years later, I am thankful for cancer and the things it taught me about myself and those around me.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why not?

You see things; and you say: "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say: "Why not?"
George Bernard Shaw

Kennedy used it.  http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy
Most involved explanation: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Some_men_see_things_as_they_are_and_ask_why_I_dream_things_that_never_
 I actually heard Bobby Kennedy give one of his speeches when he was campaigning for president. 

Stumbled on to Why Not quotes... interesting site.  http://www.saywhynot.com/quotes.htm

Inspiration Speak more quotes about dreams.  http://www.inspirationpeak.com/dreams.html

This quote has tossed around in my mind for years.  One of the tragedies of abuse is when a child looses their dreams and all they have left is the terrified, "Why?"  That even if it was answered leads no where.  The hardest thing I had to accept as counseling progressed was that "Why?" things happened - I was born a girl in a home that the parents only wanted boys.  I lived in a neighborhood with a pedophile that enjoyed torturing children.  I existed in an era when child abuse only happened in the bad parts of town.  "Good neighborhoods" didn't have 'those' kind of problems.  Symptoms of many unexplained bruises was chalked up to childhood rowdiness.  The overall belief that you have 'good parents' you are so lucky.  No one wondered why when asked I told them I would trade sight unseen.  The illusions, lies, intimidation, 'teasing', twisted and distorted my world until I chose to create my own way of functioning.  Unique, complicated, yet effective in surviving some of the worst that can happen to a child.  I am waking up to find out that it is possible to have a dream.  I am waking up to the possibility that my dreams are possible.  I am waking up that I am not just tilting at windmills.  I am waking up to the possibilities of being truly alive.  "Why not?"

Thursday, May 19, 2011


One of the hardest things about integration is TIME.  For over 45 years of my life, I did not have a time continuum.  Time came in bits and pieces and was lost in whole chunks.  Like where was I for the last week and no matter how hard I tried I had no way of knowing.  Now I still struggle with time.  I plan for an event for Saturday and then I plan an event on May21st without realizing these are the same day.  I am planning to help someone on a certain day of the week and even though I have been told repeatedly which day, my mind can keep it straight.  I am tired and cranky and have only one more day until summer break.  (working for a school means that I have 2 months of mandatory unemployment.  Like being laid off without any pay but your medical insurance is still good.)  I have several summer projects that I am very excited about.  Need to sleep, but I am too tired to sleep.  Just plain feeling off tonight.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Children really brighten up a household - they never turn the lights off.
Ralph Bus

Having children was the best choice I ever made.  The work is hard.  The hours long. But the benefit of life long amazing friends is so worth it. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


 I read other blogs to learn more about this world we live in.  I tried so many self-help books that failed miserably.  It never occurred to me that the world I lived in didn't quite match their expectations of how to live.  I needed to connect with people that understand a twisted world ruled by a narcissistic.  A world with gaslighting, lies, manipulation, twisted thinking, enmeshment and a whole different vocabulary than the ones I found in self-help books.  Add to my world, emotional splitting, multiple personality, emotional and physical blackouts, a place that some 'experts' deny existing.  The edge of insanity and beyond just isn't quite reached by your average self-help book.  

Upsi is intelligent, curious, determined, authentic and believes in sharing what she learns.  Today's post is from her inspiration.  http://upsi-upsi.blogspot.com/2011/05/best-you-can.html
I read her post at lunch time and thought about it all day long.  I also read the original article that is linked to upsi's page.  Then I turned to the dictionary because I didn't want to think I am saying one thing but actually something else is meant.  I look up commonly used words, a lot.  Gaslighting left me very unsure of myself but now I am recognizing other ways to verify what I believe plus I am learning to believe in myself. 

 The article is centered around the question of "Can't or Won't?"  This is a huge question.  I have been on both sides now.  As a multiple, I ran into 'I can't' often.   Living a fragmented life leaves little room for decision when another personality takes over and you are suddenly in black out.  Choice is gone in a heart beat.  Now, I get to choose.  I don't always do my best.  Sometimes good enough is good enough.  I used to wear myself out trying to perform perfectly.  It was killing me emotionally and physically.  I need to make choices.  The way to make choices is to decide which choice is best for me at the time.  There is a need for discernment.  I need to make a judgment call.  

Free Dictionary
 dis·cern·ment  (d-sûrnmnt, -zûrn-)
1. The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.
2. Keenness of insight and judgment.

dis·cern  (d-sûrn, -zûrn)
v. dis·cerned, dis·cern·ing, dis·cerns
1. To perceive with the eyes or intellect; detect.
2. To recognize or comprehend mentally.
3. To perceive or recognize as being different or distinct; distinguish. See Synonyms at see1.
To perceive differences.
Then there are those pious souls that say, "Thou shalt not judge."  By the way, this is not one of the 10 commandments.    The original source is:
1  Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24
King James version posted at http://www.bartleby.com/108/40/7.html 
In my opinion it says that how I judge others will come back to haunt me.  But it is real too.  How many times was I punished by the silent treatment.  Now they are surprised when I am displeased by their behavior I retreat into silence.  I do what I was taught. 
There is a lot more to write than just one post.  This really has me thinking.  Thanks upsi. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photography for the rest of us

Polly Wants a narcissist?  Wrote an interesting 2 part blog post on Narcissist and photography.



PWC posted these at a time when I was hunkered down in survival mode and in no state to read something that landed on my favorite subject - photography.

In the last 5 years I have taken over 45,000 photographs which are carefully backed up in two places.  The first blog I ever started is my photography blog.  Photos Change my World http://ruthmower.blogspot.com/

In high school I used a little 110 camera and tried to get into photography when raising my kids.  It cost too much money and I didn't know that if you didn't develop the film soon after shooting it would fade away.  I lost over 5 years of photographs.  I used about one or two rolls per year.  Moved around a bit then applied for a job at the local university School of Art to care for their computers.  They hired me because I could work on both Mac and PC computers.  I also told them I had ZERO art experience.  They didn't think that was a problem until I was trying to help the first group of students.  They realized a clueless tech was not helpful.  So they sent me to Photography 101 as part of my job.  Yup, they paid me to sit in on my first photo class.  The first day of class the teacher explained to the 200+ students that Photography was science mixed with magic.  I fell in love from the first photogram.  My first photo critique I hid my pictures in the farthest corner of the viewing board.  Most of the students had art background plus many in my photo lab group took in in high school.  It was quickly obvious who the newbie was.

I didn't let other people opinions phase me too much because I found my first hobby and I was loving it.

My teenage children let me know in a hurry that just snapping away was NOT OK.
So I developed a few rules for myself.
I may take as many pictures as I want of plants, animals, and inanimate objects.
People I must ask permission first.  If I plan to post, publish, or add to museum shows any pictures with people I must get a signed model release, especially from family.
If I want to take pictures of a family event such as an Easter Egg hunt I check to see if there is anything they don't want me to take pictures of and plan for the event.
I accept that sometimes I need to put the camera down and participate.
One of the things I learned about myself is that when I get anxious I can pick up the camera and drop into another world that is relaxed and satisfying but it also tends to distance me from whoever I am with.  Sometimes I need to put the camera down and let the best shots be stored in my heart.
Be careful posting pictures of family on the internet.  Many, many people are good but unfortunately there are the few that spoil it for the rest of us.  If you do post pictures make sure your GPS positioning is turned off on your camera or you may inadvertently publish to the world exactly where you are located. 

My family is patiently training me to be a courteous and thoughtful photographer.  Being a photographer doesn't need to put you in the obnoxious world of paparazzi or narcissistic.  It does require thinking and planning ahead to make an enjoyable experience.  Some of the best photos of my nieces I ever did were when I let them say no first.  Later they changed their mind and we had a blast shooting some pictures that really captured their zest for life.  I appreciate my sister's timely reminder earlier that I was being inconsiderate not to ask.  Now I have many lovely pictures.  One of the funniest shoots I had was with my 2 year old grandson as he was playing.  I finally looked up from the camera to realize he was playing with my credit cards that had fallen out of my pocket.  I laughed and remember after that to make sure my wallet was securely in my pocket.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Several bloggers have commented on the things they are grateful for... My list could go on and on and on... I will mention a few...in no particular order.

Sons and Daughters 
Grand children
Sister - Brother
Internet - Facebook, blogging, amazing people
Sunrise - a new day, a new chance.
2 counselors
ability to read and write
Medication - Growing old sucks sometimes
Some what good health
Jesus Christ
Heavenly Father

Would you like to share something you are thankful for?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Plans change

I knew this weekend was going to be hectic.  I planned to have several blogs done in advance.  Then Blogger crashed.  I couldn't comment.  I couldn't write.  I was cut off.  I was ....... AAAAGGGHHHH.  Well, took time to recoop.  Go to bed early.  Tackled the weekend with zest.  Joyful to watch one son graduate.  Thrilled to pass medical test.  (Growing old is not for sissies.)  Sad to help same son move away.  Thrilled to talk to daughter on the phone.  Awed by the helping hands that worked together to help.  Loving Skype to visit with those that are far away.  Internet is a love/hate realationhip - I love it when it works; I hate it when it doesn't.  Good night all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Am I a Narcissistic?

I have started to set boundaries with the narcissists in my life.  I am realizing I have quite a few.  The fascinating thing as I set boundaries (I ask my counselor to help with this project since I am just learning) I have been accused of being selfish, cruel and even narcissistic.  Isn't this a bit like the pot calling the kettle black?  But I knew that one of the issues of focusing on healing myself for 8 years is that I am thinking about me, a lot.  Well I asked Mr. Google if there was an online test for being a narcissistic.  Yup there is and here is the link:


I took the test.  And after years of counseling, where all I talk about is me and my problems, I have the official results from the online test.  I got a zero for being narcissistic.  I am so proud.  I got a 0 on a test. 
The edge of Nowhere

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Odd quotes

I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet.
Rodney Dangerfield

If everyone really is out to get you, are you still paranoid?  -- Will Smith

T-shirt slogan worn to my counseling session:

When I snap 
You'll be the first to go

Out of my mind
Please leave a message

Gone to find myself
If I get back before I do
hold me here. 

Any favorites to add......?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Greater problems

Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
Albert Einstein
 Survived another Mother's Day.  My own kids are awesome.  Their sweet messages were awesome.  I love that part.  I stayed up all night the night before as I had my own little pity party that I can never have a relationship with my mother.  She lives not far away yet we may as well be on different planets.  Then I read other people's struggles with their mothers, you know, I read about plenty that have greater problems than mine.  Old Al had it right.  No matter how crummy things are eventually you will encounter someone with worse problems.  I read back over emails from last Mother's Day and the year before.  Same problem year after year.  I am mourning the fact that my mother chose to live in a fantasy world of lies rather than face the challenges of really living and connecting with her family.  Sadness I feel acts like a dark shadow that at mother's day brews like a threatening storm.  Then I remind myself, I am a mother and grandmother.  The relationships I have with my children are the ones that count.  I appreciate each one and I'm so happy as each form their own families.  I watch their love for each other and my heart swells.  One of my daughters mentioned the fringe benefits of grandkids.  I smile just thinking about these charming little people that joined our family.  I enjoy watching their parents struggle and worry about some of the same things I did.  I feel so blessed.  Maybe one night a year feeling sad is OK.  The rest of the year I will rejoice.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Butterfly Effect

I have mentioned before that I am a geek.  In geek fashion, I apply things I understand in science to things I don't understand in emotions.  In dissociation, I had emotions but I detached cause, effect, and many times the actual feeling of emotions.  Part of integration was connecting with my emotions and how the cause/effect relationship works emotionally.  One of the hardest things to reconnect was my feelings for my mother.  I struggle with Mother's Day trying to wrap my scientific mind around the emotional fall out.  Today I looked up the word 'mother' in the dictionary.  Several definitions existed.  One definition is female parent.   On other blogs I have seen other similar definitions (apology that I can't site where each one comes from) names such as; egg donor, birth mother, and other names all designating that the only participation that a mother had was allowing the child to be born.  Then there is another category, that of 'mother' that simply for PG rating purposes can't print most of them because the names are for those that gave birth and then went to great lengths to destroy their own off spring.  Abuser is the nicest word.  Then they are the ones that I think were the variety that was intended for each of us that nurture, support, encourage and assist on teaching to grow into independent, well adjusted, caring adults.  The butterfly effect implies that a small event can make a massive difference in the outcome.  The accident of birth to a particular mother can have a massive impact on later life.  Sometimes the effect can be massively  negative.  Other times there are events, people, and circumstances that change this outcome.  For me there were several people that come to mind.  The lady at church that always complimented me on my smile.  The teacher at school that trusted me and encouraged me.  Later in life one of the 'mother' figures in my life was KavinCoach.  His influence was to encourage me to become the integrated adult that I am today.  So how was this a butterfly event when he worked with me for years to reteach me?  I looked at the time when I finally accepted that counseling was what I needed.  For help in looking for a counselor (I learned from a previous experience that not all counselors are good for you) I asked a friend from church for a suggestion of a counselor.  She gave me 3 names on a piece of paper.  A piece of paper about the size of a monarch butterfly set in motion an odyssey of change in my life.  The outcome of where I am today was profoundly effected by a small piece of paper with just 3 names.  I went to counseling to learn how to communicate.  I asked for an inch.  I wanted just this little bit of human interaction training that most people seemed to master that I felt totally alluded me.  What KavinCoach offered was a marathon.  A complete and total emotional make over from the foundation up into a completely integrated, functioning, independent, well adjusted, caring adult.  What an undertaking.  The first task was to assess the damage.  
KavinCoach:  Tell me about your childhood...
Me:  It was great!  We went to the park and we went to the zoo.
KavinCoach:  Tell me an average day....
Me (flat tones): We went to the park..we went to the zoo..
KavinCoach:  You have no idea about your childhood.
Me (sheepishly):  I haven't known since high school.  I was always amazed that people could remember their childhood.  I didn't know it was possible.  
No memories to work from made assessing damage that much more difficult.  As memories were triggered by watching movies and reading books, KavinCoach realized how massive the undertaking would be to reteach what I needed to know for me to become a functioning adult.  He understood what needed to be done and offered me the challenge to integrate.  In a very real sense, I am thankful for KavinCoach who nurtured me through becoming the integrated adult I am today.      
Who in your life nurtured you and had a positive effect on your life?  

Friday, May 6, 2011


Every year at Mother's Day I face an interesting dilemma: How do I celebrate a day that is full of joy and full of pain? 

Several years in counseling were devoted with attempting to wrap my mind around my childhood.  A childhood I mostly don't remember.  Another huge chunk of time was spent wrapping my mind around my relationship with my mother.   I did agree with KavinCoach when he said that what my mother gave me for nurturing was a "Widow's mite."  She didn't have much to give so I didn't get much.  She didn't mean to be the way she is, hurtful and neglectful.  She was raised in an abusive home and she did better for me than was done to her.  I finally looked at KavinCoach and said, "If you are shot on purpose, or by accident, you are equally dead."  The trouble I had was that I knew that my mother was told by her medical doctors on more than one occasion to get counseling.  She refused.  It hurt too much.  She didn't want her life to change.  So she rewrote her history to a happy, wonderful childhood that never existed.  My father reiterating, "That is just the way your mother is, you have to love her."  I felt that I wasn't worth rescuing.  My mother was the most important.  Too bad if I got caught in the fall out.  Get over it.  It is not that bad.  There are worse cases of abuse and neglect.  Why can't you 'forgive and forget?'  The pain is massive.  If I think about it for too long the rage mounts to an unbearable level.  She gave birth to me.  I have bits and pieces of memories that I cherish, unfortunately the sum total is massive damage that I am still in the process of healing.  Every mother's day card I read I want to rip to shreads or cry.  From the age of 5, I have been looking for a mother. 

At age 17 I swore I would never have children.  Life happened and events occurred that I changed my mind, he was 6 feet tall and very good looking.  Married and gave birth to 6 amazing children.  I was on the fast track to becoming a lady engineer before I married.  Not terribly common in my younger days.  I gave up the hope for a brilliant career to become what I called a home engineer with 6 ongoing projects, each in different phases of development.  I never regretted my decision to have children instead of a career.  I have watched them grow, leave, and now each have families of their own.  Amazing families with wonderful in-laws that add richness to our family dynamics.  They have suffered from my illnesses but they have all become wonderful adults that my greatest pleasure is the opportunity to interact with them.  My greatest joys are my children.  They have blessed my life.  I think about them for any length of time and my heart is filled with joy.  I feel blessed when they can join me for Mother's day but I understand their lives are busy and share Mother's day with their own families and the in-laws.  I have chosen to believe that any day with my family of choice is my Mother's day.  I don't need to wait for May.  All year round I feel joy when I can visit with our kids and their families.  I feel deep gratitude for the events that led to my decision to become a mother. 

I see Mother's Day as a day to look at my relationship with my mother and mourn the loss of my relationship with her.  To then look at my relationships as a mother and feel deep gratitude.  It is always a day of extremes for me. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

First rate

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

Judy Garland

I get the InnerKiddies daily quote.  This one from Judy Garland really struck me.  She played so many roles.  She wrestled with so many problems.  I like the idea of being a first-rate version of myself.  Part of being a multiple personality was going to extremes to please everyone; in the process I was destroying myself.  Now I am myself.  I love it.   

Found this story in an email first.  Said to be one of Aesop's fables, therefore the copy right has expired.  :)

There was an old man, a boy and a donkey. They were going to town and it was decided that the boy should ride.

As they went along they passed some people who thought that it was a shame for the boy to ride and the old man to walk. The old man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some more people who thought that it was a real shame for that man to make such a small boy walk. The two decided that maybe they should both walk.

Soon they passed some people who thought that it was stupid to walk when they had a donkey to ride. The man and the boy decided maybe the best thing would be for them both to ride the donkey.

Soon, they passed a group who thought that it was a shame to put such a load on a poor helpless animal. The old man and the boy decided that maybe the critics were right so they decided to carry the donkey.

As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The Moral of the Story: If you try to please everyone, you will eventually lose your ass!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ways to live

Albert Einstein - There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

I wake up in the morning the sun is shining 
through the chandelier and 
tiny rainbows are dancing on the stairs. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
Oscar Wilde

I once told my counselor, some people worry when someone they care about wishes they could die.  What do you say to somebody that wishes they could live?   Before counseling, I felt like I stood on the outside of life looking in at a place I was not allowed to be.  Now, I am living and loving it.  It can be one bumpy ride but I feel alive.    

Where there is love there is life.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meeting the challenge

 Over at "Used to Believe in Forever"  Sunday stealing day I received a challenge to do a '4 freakin things' post.  I decided to accept the challenge. 

The "It's All About 4 Freakin' Things" Meme

Four Places I go:
  1. The park
  2. Hiking in the desert
  3. Fabric Store
  4. Internet

 Four Crushes I Have:
  1. Gibbs
  2. Mr. Spock
  3. Kit (The car, I love the car.)
  4. Eye Candy (Temporary crushes which require no personality.)
Four Smells that I Love:
  1. After the Rain
  2. Roses
  3. Chocolate mints
  4. Photography chemicals (Odd but true)
Four Favorite TV Shows:
  1. NCIS
  2. Iron Chef
  3. Law and Order S.V.U.
  4. Undercover Boss
Four Favorite Movies:
Nose to nose...
  1. Harry Potter movies
  2. Monsters Inc.
  3. Lord of the Rings
  4. Shrek
Four Recommendations:
  1. upsi
  2. Band Back Together
  3. NikonSniper
  4. The Aurora
Four People that I'd love to read their Fours:
  1. upsi
  2. mulderfan
  3. kiki
  4. Any one else that wants to give it a try
Four Things about me that you don't know:
  1. I like playing poker.
  2. I wanted to be an interior designer. 
  3. I loved living in Spokane, Washington.
  4. I want to learn how to skin dive. 
Four bands that I love:
  1. Cast in Bronze
  2. Moody Blues
  3. 3 Dog Night
  4. Boston Pops

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Validation, Is it needed?

Pay no attention to the critics. Don't even ignore them.
Samuel Goldwyn

Spent the weekend having a wonderful time with family.  Pictures of the fun>

Friday I read an article over on upsi's blog.  

In an article on Pain, Suffering, and Validation Steven Stonsy criticized those that seek validation. 

This is one of the comments I sent to be posted:

Read and re-read this article.  Validation is essential to those that their pain was denied.  The article expresses that pain doesn't need to be validated since we know we are in pain.  With narcissistic parenting, pain is denied.  "That didn't hurt", "you're too sensitive", "what's wrong with you that you can't take a little teasing", and other statements have invalidated the pain experienced.  I will agree that you will not hear the validation from the narcissistic in your life.  I came to upsi's blog and many other blogs to learn that the pain is real.  It is not a figment of my too sensitive imagination.  The article states that pain must be recognized first before healing.  For me, outside validation is needed before I can believe that the pain I felt was real.  I appreciate the many comments and bloggers that are validating that what I am feeling is real pain.  I am even more thankful to learn steps to healing. In Dr. Stosny's world pain is recognized, but in my bizarre world validation helps me recognize when I am in pain.   

I grew up in a twisted world.  Imagine holding a child's hand to a hot stove and screaming at the child over and over again that it does not hurt.  Eventually the child will parrot back, "The hot stove doesn't hurt."  Eventually the child will not even recognize that the stove is hot.  The first year of counseling KavinCoach worked at getting me to recognize what emotional pain meant.  How to separate the many events past and present that invoke pain.  In fact, KavinCoach taught me how to feel pain.  I was miserable when I started counseling but I thought it was just because I couldn't communicate adequately.  I could not recognize my own pain.  Hours of tearing off callouses and exposing massive amounts of ignored pain was slow and difficult.  Before I could heal, I had to recognize that I was in pain and what was causing the pain.  Outside validation was essential since I didn't know for myself that I was in pain.  If you are like Dr. Stosny and can recognize your own pain, congratulations you probably don't need validation.  However, if you are on the end of the continuum where pain is denied, validation is an essential tool to help recognize when you are in pain and needing to heal.   I am thankful for validation.

Thanks upsi for another great discussion on an article.