Wednesday, February 29, 2012


“Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.”
~ David Borenstein

Mr. Borenstein would have considered me absolutely lethal.  I didn't just rationalize them, I totally unplugged from them.  On Facebook a few of my friends have had distressing things happening.  Deaths, disillusionment,  and fear caused some of the distress.  They didn't want to cry or feel sad or...since when is it a crime to mourn loss?  Oh yea, since the 60's instigated the "feel good" movement and everyone is trying to reach a constant feeling of bliss.  I follow a few posts myself on ways to be happy.  Unfortunately, the swing of opinion went right past reasonable over to "You may only feel good or you are a loser."  Through some tough life experiences I learned to unplug from my emotions.  Watching Mr. Spock as a teenager I worked at emulating his character of no emotions.  By the time I was in counseling, I had succeeded too well.  I also learned if you are going to climb a ladder in life make sure it is leaning against the right wall.  Not being able to connect to my feelings is not a good thing.  Someone on facebook commented how they would not want to feel any pain.  Sounds nice on the surface.  Here's the kicker...If you feel no pain, you don't know when to protect yourself.  To add insult to injury, showing love gets cut off too.  Tears can be a welcome relief, one that I struggle to be able to do.  Emotions take a gray world and make it rich and beautiful.  Sorrow hurts but a picture looks odd without the dark colors.  Anger is uncomfortable but it lights the fire of determination.  Grieving hurts but there was love to feel the loss.  Take it from a pro that learned to totally shut off sucks.  Reconnecting slow and painful, bewildering, and fabulous.  Some days, I feel like I am packing a lifetime of feeling in just a matter of a few years.  Right now, I am feeling sad.  I learned recently that I have some tough challenges ahead.  I tend to withdraw and not communicate when I am hurting.  I appreciate people that reach pass my facade of "everything is hunky dory" and see the person that is struggling.  I kind of like thinking about the StarTrek next generation character DATA, an android robot whose quest became to be able to digitize emotion.  He could play a musical instrument with absolute precision but it lacked feeling.  The pauses, flaws, and nuances that take mechanical notes to the height of moving emotion can't be produced by a computer.  Humans weren't born to be emotionless.  What happens to a person to remove emotion is cruelty that is not outlawed.  No one can legislate emotion.  I am an advocate of feel it, live it, and let it color your world beautiful.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sharing, my own brain on overload.

Quote of the day: "The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the person you want to be....Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others."
~ Wilfred Peterson
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote

The Little Prince

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tackling old fears

Ambrose Bierce Ghost: The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.

This quote pulled at my attention.  Ghosts from my past haunt me.  Hardest thing about forgetting your past are bits and pieces that don't stay gone.  If my past were totally annihilated, I could start over and build a life from what I know now.  My past has lingering ties that throw out lures to trip me up and keep me firmly in my past.  Bits of memories that haunt me.  Ghost that should be gone now that they're dead, but instead linger to stir up fears and hurts long past.  I don't want to wallow in that muck but these tendrils creep in through the night and wrap my heart in suffocating fear.  As long as I stay awake, everything is fine.  Unfortunately getting less than 4 hours of sleep a night really sucks.  Years of counseling softened and put most of these past hurts in perspective and I found peace.  However, there are one or two memories that like Devil's Snare*, the harder I fight against them the tighter their grip becomes.  Ghost stick a round because there is unfinished business.  If this is unfinished business lingering, I am not thrilled with the visitor.  In my head I scream enough already. 

*Devil's Snare...Read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and you will know what it is.  Or you could try this link for a quick answer:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My perspective on Anger

I spent a lot of my time in counseling working on accepting anger as part of my life.  One of the ways I studied was reading about Christ and his example.  In the cleansing of the Temple, this one act showed that Christ experienced anger.  I reread the verses.  I realized that Christ cleansed the temple after he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.  He was declaring to the world that the temple was his house to cleanse.  I learn several things from this.  Anger is not a sin.  Christ is without sin and from this one scene he felt anger.  He did not politely ask the money changers to leave.  He drove them out and turned over their tables.  From just the few verses that were kept in the Bible it is hard to tell all that transpired.  I believe that Christ considered his actions.  He had gone to the temple since he was a young boy.  The money changers had been part of the temple for years.  I suspect he felt offended each time.  I think anger is an emotion that in and of itself is not wrong or unhealthy.  It is what we do with it after we feel it that becomes a problem.  Excuses such as "I hit him because I was angry," is an excuse.  Allowing an emotion to be blamed for what I chose to do is not acceptable.  Turning anger in on myself is destructive too.  I believe what I learned from Christ is to use anger as a signal that I need to make a change.  If I am hurt, I need to protect myself.  If I am frustrated, I need to look at the problem in a new way.  If I am afraid, I need to evaluate the situation and see what I can do to feel safe again.  Anger without change in a healthy direction is what is destructive.   Vented outward in an explosion or inward by depression anger hurts me or those around me.  Anger controlled and used as a motivation to drive a thought out plan is what I believe the emotion anger is most useful in doing.  People rarely change a situation until they get angry and say enough is enough... then change occurs.  I believe from the time we are infants that one of life's challenges is how to master our control over our own anger.  Part of maturing is about enlisting anger as a helper rather than hindering our lives and relationships. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Buddy Anger part 2

One of the interesting things I learned about my buddy Anger is if I am already calm I can take quite a bit.  However, if I am simmering at 211 degrees F (or 99 degrees C)  that one more degree sends me to boiling right now.  Many years of counseling were spent sorting through old unfinished business.  Draining Lake Rage takes time to process old hurts that interfere with today's living.  I am learning that I need to take the issues that cause fear, hurt and frustration and process them before Anger yells at me to take care of myself and protect my boundaries.  I still use depression to slow down White Hot Anger that can erupt when certain massive triggers get bumped or sometimes stomped on.  Slowing down the anger is anger management.  There are many tricks and tips that can be collected to bring anger back down to manageable levels.  Some people count to 10...I am closer to the 1000 range.  I find redirecting my activities is more helpful.  Keeping my hands busy while my mind tries to work through what is going on that Anger is demanding my attention.  Journaling or writing a blog post are also ways to sort through and address anger issues.  However, if I use food to stuff anger into a corner by sticking a donut in its mouth, it will subside into sulky silence but next round of Anger will be even stronger.  Ignoring Anger only pisses it off more.  If I am angry, I am ignoring something that I need to process.  I am no longer a child waiting for someone else to fix my frustration.  I am a full grown adult and I am responsible for how I feel and my relationship with Anger.  A search for anger management gives a massive number of choices...finding what works is a personal choice and each person finds their own combination of ways to recognize, manage and resolve issues behind why Anger comes to call.

Hope everyone has a peaceful and enjoyable weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

try again tomorrow...

Today I had a session with my counselor that reminded me why I am still in counseling.  Good night...I'll finish my post on my buddy anger tomorrow.
Lost Childhood

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Buddy - Anger

Wrote the title last night and stalled.  Telling how Anger is my buddy now doesn't give a clear picture of our rocky relationship.  (Puns are usually intended and one of my quirks.)  Molly commented on yesterday's blog that anger is an uncomfortable emotion.  I agree 100%.  Anger is my buddy but not always my best friend.  Anger wants to get out of control and takes considerable energy to keep in check.  Sometimes I use depression to dampen raging Anger until I can handle myself better.  To understand now, I need to dip into yesteryear.  I use my childhood as my area of research to find out what events and circumstances formed my beliefs and ideas now.  Too often, my childhood distorted thinking and I am spending my adult years in counseling straightening out the mess. 

At the beginning of counseling, I couldn't access my childhood memories.  However, years of counseling and plenty of effort on my part I am now able to delve and sort through some of my memories.  Memories attached to powerful emotions, such as anger, usually contain a bit more information.  There are family stories about anger in our family that lets me know that controlling ones anger is not a strong family trait.  I remember watching my mother rage at me or one of my siblings with feelings of terror.  I remember struggling with my temper when I was younger.  This is where my memories get interesting.  I went to my mother raging anger because of something one of my brothers did to hurt me.  Instead of disciplining my brother, I was punished for the greater sin of being angery.   I received a lecture on how anger is bad and I need to apologize for being angry.  Yup.  The victim was victimized again.  I quickly learned to suffer abuse rather than having more abuse heaped on me for my bad anger.  Anger was stuffed down.  Anger was stuffed down more and more often.  By high school I was fairly good at keeping my anger buried.  I still felt sharp twinges but I knew that anger was "bad" because my mother told me so.  (Note to self...Do not believe everything your mother tells you, especially if they have narcissistic behavior.)  During high school my brother brought home a puppy and hid it in our basement.  He was not telling my parents he had a puppy.  He wanted it, he got it, and he enlisted me in keeping the secret.  All went well until late one night the puppy was yipping and barking and wanted to play.  Trying to keep the puppy quiet and feeling so tired I discovered a terrifying rage.  I had to carefully shut the door and stay out of the room to avoid harming the playful puppy.  I felt so a shamed.  I knew that the anger was bad.  What I didn't know then was the distortions I was taught by bad examples and poor parenting.  Rather than being taught to confront, process and develop a plan of action I stuffed the rage.  This is where being a multiple is magical.   One of the super powers of multiple personalities is creating a personality that feels no emotion.  Great - awesome - oops.  No emotion meant no anger, no resentment, no happiness, no love... none of the emotions were available.  For the short term of making emotions disappear, it was helpful.  For the long term of processing my emotions, it was terrible.  Later, married with little people to raise I struggled with a raging temper over and over.  I swore I would not take my rage out on my children like my mother did to me but I kept slipping.  I worked harder and harder until I was able to make anger disappear at a thought.  I brought in depression.  Depression trumps rage.  One definition of depression that I like is anger without enthusiasm.  I stuffed, bottled, shift down, and finally defeated anger.  In the process nearly destroyed myself.  So how did I get to be good buddies with this thing that seemed to have me by the throat in a wrestle to the death?  (Severe depression often leads to suicidal thoughts.  Rather than repeat what was done to me as a child, I would choose to die.)

I naively entered counseling thinking that a few sessions and all would be well with my world.  Once KavinCoach realized most of my childhood memories were missing he set about finding out what I reacted to.  I read books; he watched my non-reaction over and over.   However, he found little things could set me off into a oblivion.  He worked at getting me to respond without shutting me down completely.  Slowly, I learned that Anger was blamed for things that anger didn't do.  He pissed me off then poked around to see what caused it.  He taught me to slow down the flash bang of rage that would hit like a two-year-olds temper-tantrum.  I was never taught to address anger in a healthy way.  KavinCoach trained me to recognize my reaction that was anger.  It was subtle.  My recipe for me.  First, recognize when I was angry or cloaking anger.  Second, look behind the anger and find out what was the true source - hurt, fear, or frustration.  Pulled my emotions apart again and again.  Reviewing each step.  Who ever said you can't teach an old dog tricks, never met my trainer.  I learned to recognize Anger as my alarm system for a boundary invasion.  All those years ago as a child I called it right.  I was hurt, then I was angry.  Now I reverse that...If I am angry, I need to look for the hurt, fear or frustration.  My buddy Anger is my early warning system that I am in danger or frustrated.  Now when I feel angry instead of stuffing it I go hunting for the culprit behind the curtain.  Anger is like the Great OZ there is a little weaselly guy behind the curtain running the controls.  Catch the weasel and  Anger slips quietly to its guardian post.  Don't catch the weasel and it stays on alert.  I learned that around some people it automatically goes into high alert with good reason.  Still working on the relationship but I am really learning to admire my buddy Anger, boundary guardian and early alert system.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.
Wernher von Braun

Trying to tackle the positive side of anger.  My mind was too muddle to put into words what I sense and feel.  Lisa made a comment asking me about the good qualities of anger.  She listed several.  Now I am researching my mind as to how I really feel about anger.  It is more a part of me than I first realized.  I really don't know what I am doing so I will call it research.  

Monday, February 20, 2012


"The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live." -Leo Buscaglia
I lived in this place of nothingness.  Deep depression...What Leo may not be aware that a person stamped on repeatedly as a child begins to believe they deserve nothing.  The power of the book Child Called It is not in the horrendous treatment Dave Pelzer suffered at his mother's hand.  The power comes from somewhere inside of Dave; he believed if he could stay alive, he was worth more than nothing.  He did not learn this from his mother.  She called him It.  Sometimes anger at his treatment was the burning inside that kept him going for one more hour.  Sometimes a thread of belief he harbored and nurtured he would find a way out.  In the darkness of depression the belief there is away out is dimmed or snuffed out.  Anger will relight that candle of hope.  The simmering rage of what is happening is not ok.  The burning that drives people to get themselves out of whatever hell hole they were buried in.  Anger becomes a driving force against nothingness.  Sinking into nothingness there is no anger.  My counselor poked, prodded, and used his skills to light my flame of anger.  He knew that without anger I would continue to drift in the murkiness of depression.  He stirred the waters until all the smothered rage came to the surface.  A rage he was startled at how deep and wide.  He discouraged me from allowing me to let it rip but instead like puncturing a small hole in a balloon he allowed it to seep out a little at a time.  I understood where the drive came from that pushed me to excel even when no one was watching.  I understood how much anger I suppressed every day to function at work and at home.  One of the tools was buying a box of clay pigeons, round clay disk used for target practice, thrown against a wall.  His expectation was at the end of the box I would be tired and ready to quit.  I went out an bought a second box.  After smashing 180 disks at the wall, I figured I had a start. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Reverse Engineering Emotion

Years as a computer tech taught me a lot about reverse engineering.  KavinCaoch is a very good counselor and talked to me in a language I could understand.  Yup, examples from computerland cropped up often in our discussions of emotions.

Basics behind reverse engineering start with the results and work backwards to see how you got to that answer.

We started with my depression increased.  What happened before that?  I was angry. What happened before that?  Something happened and I felt either hurt, fear or frustration.  Was the anger proportional to the event?  Small event - big anger usually meant that the event was a trigger not the original problem.  Then the next part would become dicey for me whether I would know or not; what event in my past was similar or the same?  Did I resolve how I felt then?  Usually this answer was no. 

At first, when these series of questions were asked I said, 'I don't know' a lot.  Eventually, I started learning to pay attention to the cause and effect relationship between events and how I would feel.  I learned how to self analyze many of the cause and effect relationships.  Some are still hard for me to grasp.  Some emotions I never felt until after I integrated.  The first shared emotion I ever felt was boredom.  (Totally awful feeling.)  Before integration if one of the personalities felt even a glimpse of boredom one of the other personalities took over.  Anger vanished at a simple switch to one that didn't feel anger over that problem.  After integration, without the ability to tag team the emotional quagmire, I experience distress from not understanding all the feelings that bombard me.  Emotional overload happens often. Emotional overload usually leads to a complete shutdown with depression being my security blanket.  Depression is a feeling I understand and embrace when all the other emotions become overwhelming.  Counseling from KavinCoach and NewCounselor became vital to me as I try to understand this whole realm of emotions that I didn't learn about as a kid growing up.  Anger is easy emotion to recognize.  What caused the anger is far more difficult.  Hurt, fear, and frustration each have their own way of saying, 'its me.'  Identifying which is the culprit become even harder when one hides behind the other.  I may recognize fear but not recognize it is the fear of being hurt that is the main issue.  I sometimes feel like trying to understand emotions is like untying a  Gordian Knot.  Temptation to use a sword to cut through the mess is high.  Then I remind myself I am the collateral damage in this approach.  Three deep breaths, count to ten, and try again. 


 This has some interesting ideas linking the way we think with disorganization.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Anger is no Saint....

I think most people encounter uncontrolled anger from someone else.  An adult screaming like a deranged three-year-old is not a pretty sight.  Perhaps your own anger has gone on the rampage ripping and tearing leaving a wake of carnage destroying relationships and lives.  Crimes of passion ~ anger at its worse.  Saying that anger helped free my soul is not an endorsement that anger needs full reign.  Anger helped me get out of the rut that I am a door mat and should be grateful that someone wiped their feet on me.  My own anger showed its destructive side too.  Once KavinCoach helped me find my lake of swirling rage he set out to systematically drain the lake.  A little at a time.  The level of the lake dropped slowly.  Sometimes new crap was added but he taught me a process of recognizing anger for what it is, a red flag that I am not happy with the way events are going.

A few of anger's less worthy traits, I am sure my readers can expand on this list:
Anger shuts down thinking.  When anger takes control the first thing it does is cut off all logical thought and consumes all available energy in feeding itself.

Anger multiples itself by using past garbage to ramp up the rage.  Unresolved issues on the same subject amplify rage all out of proportion from the original offense. I call this powder kegging.  Kind of like taking a keg of gunpowder and throwing it on a fire.

Anger consumes as much energy as you give it.  Leaves a person too tired to direct their energy in more constructive paths.

Anger smoke screens the original cause.  In my last post, I stated that anger always comes second, but it likes to take center stage and confuse everything until only anger is left.  Clearing the smoke and fire to get to the source is an important part of my counseling sessions.  Anger looses all the attention when the actual source is addressed.

Anger without enthusiasm is depression on steroids.  Unexpressed anger thickens and swallows up the person feeling it.  A black fog of depression can usually find anger spewing out smoke to create the murky fog. 

These are just a few.  Commenters feel free to expand on this list.  Reading over this list one may wonder why I think anger saved my soul...wouldn't anger be considered a destructive force?  I think most people will agree with me that a raging forest fire is a terrible thing but most people enjoy gathering around a lovely campfire.  Anger out of control is like a forest fire destroying everything in its path.  Anger controlled is like a warm fire roasting marshmallows and warming those gathered around.  KavinCoach worked hard at teaching me how to recognize and feel anger than take that feeling and pull it apart to find the smoldering source that started the anger in the first place.  Addressing and clearing away past hurts, fears, and frustrations clears the murk and mire that keeps me from enjoying here and now.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Anger comes in Second

Mahatma GandhiYou can't shake hands with a clenched fist.
Mahatma Gandhi

upsi had a very busy week with trolls and nasty comments that were claiming they were just trying to be helpful but I think Gandhi has it right, "You can't shake hands with a clenched fist."  Dumping anger on someone else to enlighten them rarely does that.  The one I particularly want to tackle was 'Lucky You.'
What came out on this one was the accusation, "You, all of you, are so angry."  The context implied, at least to my perspective, that some sort of sin was committed for being angry.   I am sharing my experience of living with and without anger.

I grew up in a home with two parents and several children.  (I thank the Lord everyday that one of them was my sister.)  My mother was, how do I put this nicely, volatile.  Unfortunately, she felt that having a child entitled her to correct in me what she couldn't control in herself.  She was emotionally out of control so I was punished for getting angry.  I was ridiculed for being sad.  I was clamped down if I was too excited.  I was told depressing and unhappy situations of others if I was happy.  By the time I was a teenager, I held a very tight control on my emotions.  Anger was number 1 on the hit list.  I MUST NEVER BE ANGRY.  Part of being a teenager is out of control hormones and trying to establish your own boundaries.  Anger lets you know when a boundary is violated.  In order to maintain peace, I stifled my anger and all the other emotions.  I learned to stamp out and swallow any feelings negative or positive.  I could only show a pleasant face to be acceptable.  As an adult, I continued down this path until I ended up in counseling.  I entered marriage counseling thinking I needed to learn how to communicate.  My counselor quickly realized that the first thing he had to figure out was what I felt.  Like a well trained boxer I dodged, weaved and used fancy footwork to avoid all things that were emotional.  I still remember his show of frustration when I blocked every conversation that would talk about how I felt.  He explained to me that his job was to help me work through and process my emotions.  I stared at him blankly.  I watched with curiosity as it dawned on him that I really had no idea what he was talking about.  He sat back and absorbed that information.  He started again slowly.  He then spent the next several months trying to piss me off.  I know this for only one reason.  My boss wanted to know why I would sometimes just call in and say I had to go home.  He wanted to know what these sudden illnesses were.  This boss sent a list of questions to my counselor that had to be clarified or I would loose my job.  By the time the questionnaire went to KavinCoach, I knew I was a multiple and I knew that the sudden illnesses were a switch in personality and one of the ones that couldn't fix computers took over.  At that point, I may as well go home and sleep until I could switch back.  The answers explained to my boss that my counselor used anger (he used a fancier word but I am giving my interpretation) to get me to address my unresolved issues in life.  I read that report ten times trying to wrap my mind around the fact he was talking about me.  Anger was the easiest emotion to trigger in most people.

I remember the session that KavinCoach was actually succeeding in getting me angry.  I don't even remember what the discussion was about.  I felt myself getting angry and I stopped it.  KavinCoach actually stopped mid-sentence when he realized the anger had vanished.  He asked, "Where did it go?"
Me: "Where did what go?"
KC: "You were getting angry."
Me: "Yes."
KC: "Now its gone.  There isn't even any tension in your face.  It is gone.  Where did it go?"
I really hate those questions that he would ask me about myself and I don't know the answer.  I had no idea where it went; it was just gone.  KavinCoach spent months and many hours working at first getting me angry and then teaching me that anger was a secondary emotion.  Anger only followed fear, hurt, or frustration.  Fear, hurt and frustration could come by themselves but Anger loved the buddy system and just had to have support from fear, hurt or frustration and sometimes all three.  He taught me that when Anger is treated as the Primary emotion, fear, hurt and frustration would work undercover to undermine any anger management attempts.  Anger was the red flag to the other emotions.  I walked into his office sometime after learning about the fact he was purposely trying to get me angry and told KavinCoach...."I found it." (Said in a singsong voice.)  I found the lake of rage boiling buried deep.  I had a LOT of emotion to work through.  Without anger, KavinCoach would have had a far more difficult time reaching my emotions of fear, hurt, and frustration that drove a wedge within myself.  Anger helped me to liberate my soul.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fearing mistakes

Elbert HubbardThe greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one.

I work very hard at accepting that mistakes happen.  I make them, someone I was depending on makes them, everybody makes mistakes.  One of the things that I learned in counseling is that I totally freak over the smallest mistake.  I agonize and try to fix the unfixable and sometimes the inevitable.  To help myself over come the debilitating reaction to making mistakes I bought a book of Sudokus and then did them in ink.  If I made a mistake I would put a big X across the page and move on to the next one.  I became much better at doing Sudokus but I still freak over every mistake.  Today someone I worked with assumed I knew that I would be driving to several locations to pick up people that I didn't know.  Without prep time, I got lost.  (Actually with prep time I can still get lost, I just leave early enough to get lost and still be on time.)  So I was late then I couldn't find one of the people then to drop them off the line of cars waiting would have taken an hour so I had to replan on the fly and solve the problem without any real idea what to do or how to accomplish and impossible task.  Take a deep breath...I can't fix the problem.  I talked myself through the rising panic.  The fear of making a mistake can paralyze as completely as actually making the mistake.   

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Silly computer

Found this on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing. 

SO FUN: If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, 'Who's on First?' might have turned out something like this:

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

... COSTELLO: Thanks I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking
about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write
proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm
sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue 'W'.

COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue 'w' if you don't start with some
straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I
can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on 'START'..... .........S

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shadow warrior

Muhammad Ali
I've seen George Foreman shadow boxing and the shadow won.
Muhammad Ali

I bet you old George was fighting depression.  Knocks you down over and over.  An optimists keeps standing up.  If you are still standing, you must be an optimist that tomorrow will be a better day.  

Monday, February 13, 2012


Margaret ThatcherYou may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

In most parent/child relationship there is a time of separation when the parent acknowledges that their child is growing up and the child recognizes they have their own voice and are ready to take on the world.  This is a natural healthy process that occurs through out the world in most places accept in Narcissistic parental/child relationships.  When a child is born to a narcissistic parent this isn't a new human being entering the world but an extension of themselves.  Their child becomes a part of themselves.  They give the child great powers.  The child controls their happiness, their health, their very existence is wrapped up in their child.  The child must be controlled and absorbed into the parents existence.  Seems complex and kind of weird if you look at it from a third person's point of view.  The narcissistic parent sees nothing wrong with their behavior so it is up to the child to try to figure out this distortion and extricate themselves.  Not an easy process. 

First the child must recognize that there is something different with how they are being raised.  It is kind of like asking a fish if it is wet.  How does it know when they have never felt anything else?  Next comes the realization that being born to a set of parents is not being a indentured servant for life.  I am grateful to my parents giving me life but that does not mean I am required to give them my life.  My favorite story that helped me see what was happening is the Emperor's New Clothes.  It is the child that sees the lies.  After recognizing the difference if the child of the narcissistic believes that a healthy relationship is possible there are some very rough times ahead.  The narcissistic desperately trying to cover up the lies and the adult/child trying to find the loving parent they want to have like everyone else creates an awkward exhausting dance. (Not everyone else has loving parents but it is one of the struggles.)  This is where things can get very weird.  The more desperate the narcissistic becomes the more verbally and sometime physically vicious they become.  After all, the narcissistic is fighting for their survival.  By endowing the child with so much power, if the child grows up and moves on in life, all that power goes with them.  Distorted thinking....just like in the Emperor's New Clothes.  Much like ripping a leach off their leg a grown child severing the unhealthy relationship with the narcissistic parent, there is emotional damage.  Takes time to heal.  Occasionally a low contact relationship can occur.  Sometimes the grown child's only choice is no contact.  People looking from the outside in, can't understand why the grown child is so mean to their aging parents.  The frustration of trying to explain that things are not always how they appear wears thin.  (Pun intended, I am kind of weird this way.)  In the Emperor's New Clothes the child is validated...too many times in a narcissistic parent/child relationship the child gets stoned to death.  I am fully aware that some people will think what I have written is exaggerated or over the top.  To me, I am over 50 years old and just now claiming my life as my own.  For those that have experienced this delayed separation from parents... Keep doing what you have to do to become healthy.  To parents that believe their children owe them for being born...No they don't.     

Sunday, February 12, 2012


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams,
before a crowd is to risk their loss.
... To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the
greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing, do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but they cannot learn, feel, change,
grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves;
they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
~ Janet Rand

Battered and discouraged swathed in depression so tired...How do you muster the strength to take risks?  Taking risks takes energy.  When your getup and go, gotup and went, moving forward into new adventures seems so overwhelming. 

This weekend I had an adventure.  I met my friend for lunch and we were in for a surprise when some sort of motorcycle convention blocked all entrances out of the area.  Normally when I am 'trapped', I totally freak.  This time I encouraged my friend to go with me to go shopping at the fabric store close by.  We couldn't drive so we walked to where all the motorcycles were leaving.  I am talking thousands of them.  Cops were there stopping people from crossing.  We stood at the corner then asked the cop if we could cross during a break.  He said no.  I was so proud of myself.  I didn't panic and I didn't retreat.  We stood there waiting.  Finally, the motorcycle riders stopped all three lanes of motorcycles and let us cross.  We enjoyed walking to the store and shopping around.  I was so amazed that I didn't let the local authority dissuade me from doing what was really a reasonable request.  I wanted to cross the street.  

One of the hardest things about depression is the feeling of being overwhelmed.  The big event of the day may be getting out of bed.  Getting dressed is an extra bonus on a really good day.  The advice of 'Just do it' is like really....Don't you think I would have done it already if that were an option.  I have learned several things.  Companion survival is helpful.  Weird as this may seem helping someone else over come their fear helps me to get past my fear.  Another is that if a day is a total wipe out...Tomorrow is another day.  Beating myself up over a lost day only makes me feel worse.  Making lists and plans for me were a disaster.  Reason was the end of the day I looked at all the stuff I planned to do and didn't get done.  I looked at my half finished list as a complete fail.  So I looked around for a different way that fit my style of thinking.  For me it came about as Side-track Home Executive...SHE. Using 3x5 cards that I could put back in the box let me feel successful.  This wasn't about working a system but instead finding something that worked for me.  The biggest risk I took was going to counseling.  It was scary and many times hard.  It paid off.  I am happier and more involved with living than I ever believed possible.  Take a risk.  Babysteps still move you forward.  Congratulate yourself.  I learned that I am my best cheering squad. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

When to move on

 Sometimes I start a draft of a partial idea that I want to write about then my mind gets distracted on some other thought then time passes and then... You get the gist.  One of the interesting things to learn about myself after integration was that my mind jumps from subject to subject (sometimes in the same paragraph) had nothing to do with being a multiple.  I am starting to suspect that something similar to ADD or some other attention deficit...or maybe I am just not used to staying with one thought for very long.  Hard to know.

upsi at You don't have to dance for them is one of the blogs that I read often.  She created a space that shares information about narcissistic parents and also encouraged people to comment.  I was new to the blogoshpere when I first started reading her posts so finding a haven of acceptance was wonderful.  What really grabbed my attention was she shared a letter written by her mother.  I was super startled because I had received almost an identical letter from my mother including key phrases that were very hurtful.  I read her mother's letter again and again wondering how two strangers that didn't know each other existed could sound so similar.  upsi was seeking respect and truth...her mother offered neither.  I was seeking respect and I finally learned that part of respect is truth.  I read her blog more and more carefully as I realized she was sharing the desires of a grown daughter's wish from her mother.  I read her post and learned better ways to treat my adult daughters.  I found in upsi's blog a place to explore emotional impact of being raised by a narcissistic mother.  One of the struggles I am having is when to "move on".  Seems like other people want me to hurry up and get over it so they don't feel discomfort.  upsi's post explored several aspects

There is another part that came to my attention today.  When people hurry up through stages of healing they end up dropping back into old habits or wiping out completely.  From Flylady I first learned about BABYSTEPS to get yourself out of a messy house.  I figured BABYSTEPS could also get me out of a messy life.   (I stopped following FLYLady when she pushed me faster than I was ready to go.  Her idea of babysteps is a LOT bigger than mine.)  KavinCounselor also encouraged me to slow down, take my time, stop focusing so much on the end goal and pay more attention to where I am stepping next.   Henry Ford was an expert at breaking down jobs to the most elemental part.

Henry Ford
Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.  Henry Ford

Henry really knew how to break apart jobs until one person put on one bolt on to cars all day long. (I think you could call Henry Ford, the Father of Extreme boredom.)  He did get cars built cheaper and faster than anyone else.  He also said that you could have any color for you car as long as it was black.  Breaking down major healing into babysteps....all those babysteps take a long time to do.   Rushing through the process either I try to skip steps or I backslide into short cutting emotions.  I don't enjoy feeling miserable; however I have learned that grieving a shattered past TAKES TIME and I am the only one qualified to decide how much.  I will move on when my babysteps take me out of here.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

You never knew me

Have you ever met someone from your past and they exclaimed,  "Wow, you have changed?"  On Facebook tonight one of the posters said..."I didn't change; you never knew me." 

I liked it....then I thought a lot more.  Being a multiple for over 40 years then integrating, I went through massive changes.  As a multiple, the very purpose was to blend into any environment and become invisible or invincible.  Each person that I met only knew a sliver of me, like the five blind man trying to describe an elephant.  No one knew all of me.  I hid. I dodged. I changed to what ever I thought the other person expected me to be.  When I started counseling, I didn't know I played out a charade of 'can I figure out what the other person wants me to be'?  KavinCoach recognized the dodging and weaving and hiding of an expert in camouflage.  He gave me a mirror and let me see for myself what I was.  I still remember sitting in a little booth at a university library  watching the movie Sybil.  My assignment was to watch how the counselor interacted with Sybil.  With in moments of starting the movie, I only had eyes for Sybil... part way through the movie I started to cry....I knew I was watching myself.  The switches were not as obvious as Sybil's in the movie but that is partly theater visually showing what happens inside.   Two hours of time rocked my world.  Kind of like the time I was standing up on a swing and swinging very high.  A little kid ran in front of me and knocked me to the ground.  All the wind was knocked out of me.  I couldn't breath.  I couldn't think... My world spun wildly.  KavinCoach patiently let me find out who I was...He then guided me through the complex maze of choosing to become healthy.  Everything I read referred to absorbing or killing the other parts of myself.  (Most common term used is alters.  I never felt they were alternatives to myself.  I felt all of them were myself.) I debated for a long time about integrating.  There were no guarantees.  High risk. No road map. No safety net. I grew to accept myself as a multiple.  I liked each of me.  We became friends, then allies.  We started working together....then I was together an integrated whole person with one heart, one mind, and no pieces missing.  I had no idea how to function.  Part two of becoming healthy was set into motion.  Thankfully KavinCoach had worked with other multiples and knew that what was coming.  He let me set the pace.  I have changed.  I appreciated one of the comments on my blog telling me that they see me continue to change.  If I meet someone from my past, I hope they will see that I have changed.  I am the me, they never knew.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No memories = No regrets

One of the strange advantages of having no childhood memories I also had no regrets.  Then came counseling....  You know, if anyone makes snide remarks about counseling is for those too weak to do it on their own....Laugh.  My laughter would have an edge of hysteria.  One of the most difficult emotions to process is regret.  Deep heart wrenching sorrow over things I can not change.  I also learned that my past does not define me so I can choose starting now that I will live my life so that I look back on the day without regret.  I set my standard of what is a good day.  I heard from people I care about saying they were OK.  I heard a friend that just finished chemo declare that today she felt stronger.  I had a great session with NewCounselor and he validated that what I figured out was healthy.  I actually felt like I was running out of things to say.  Very awesome.  Today was regret free.  Tomorrow has no guarantees but I will deal with it when I get there. 

Shared by my friend on Facebook.
A nurse shares what she learned from those in her care that were dying.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Split post

For those of you that need something upbeat and inspiring checkout Positively Positive blog.
Very upbeat and takes the positive line.
Seven wonders of the world video

The second part of my blog is something I wrestled with sharing.  There are some things that I don't talk about or post often.  upsi's blog kind of nudged me in the direction that on many levels I didn't want to go but the thoughts kept reoccurring.  The links and rest of this post can be very triggering.  I know it is for me.  Sometimes it is more like a toothache that hurts and hurts and won't go away until you pay attention to it.  This mornings quote from Pam at Innerkiddies decided me to go ahead.  I do so with a great deal of concern about being misunderstood.

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.
 C.G. Jung (Please visit our websites at
I forgot my past.  I buried my childhood in mist of darkness for a reason.  upsi posted a link to a horrible tragedy

I read her blog the comments and the original news article.  I am thankful they were all horrified.  It was a horrific crime.  Comprehending the incomprehensible is difficult to impossible.  I feel like I must shed a little light on how monsters are made.  They aren't born that way.  One of my jobs I worked one-on-one with a 9 year old that will never be human.  He was born just fine.  At the time I cared for the student at school, his father was still spending time in jail for the amount of abuse he heaped upon his son.  The boy couldn't say a complete sentence, he was violent, spit on me, called me a bitch, couldn't be left unattended.  He was what his father made him.  He was brain damaged and soul damaged.  I only worked with him one year.  I couldn't do it longer.  In counseling, I pieced together some of my childhood.  I mention from time to time the neighbor that molested me.  His specialty was young boys.  I was just a side issue.  He created monsters.  Some of them committed suicide.  One that I know of became a multiple like me and killed off his younger alter.  One murdered his two children and committed suicide.  The act was and is monstrous.  I knew him when he was just a lost kid that needed attention.  It is not illegal to systematically emotionally destroy a child.  It should be.  It is not illegal to terrorize a child until as a teenager or young adult they commit suicide.  It is not illegal to stalk a person and insight fear.  The results of mental torture can have horrendous consequences.  On my list of books to read is Victor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning.  He shares his experiences in the concentration camps.  He explains the reactions of different people.  They were all put in the concentration camps, the reactions were what he became aware of how differently people chose to react.  There were those that died of starvation because they shared their rations with someone else.  There were those that just tried to do the best they could and still survive.  Then there were those that turned on their fellow prisoners and were more vicious and cruel than their guards.  I think sometimes in today's society that people are too quick to point out a terrible childhood to excuse today's behavior.  I will be the first to say overcoming an ugly past is difficult.  But in my opinion, there is a point in time when each victim makes a choice to allow their past to destroy them or move forward and change their future.  That pivotal moment is when the abuser stops being the most important thing in life.  The man committed a terrible crime.  His sister stated she already forgiven him.  Perhaps she knew more of what happened to him than she was willing to say.  Unfortunately, too often people are more concerned about the rights of the parents than they are the safety of the child.  Too often people will excuse brutal behavior because they had an unfortunate past.  This tragedy was years in the making.  Monsters are not born; they are made.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Can not solve all mysteries

Max Planck
Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.

I love puzzles.  Computer repair was day in day out trying to solve problems and puzzle out what was going on.  The most difficult puzzle was myself.  I actually took a class in high school called, "Search for Identity."  The harder I worked the more confused I felt.  Then I took advice of a poem to focus on others:

I sought my soul, But my soul I could not see.
I sought my God, But my God eluded me.
I sought my brother, And I found all three. ~William Blake

I tried I really honestly tried.  I didn't understand people at all.  I am really good at solving lots of puzzles and problems.  I couldn't figure out people or myself.

In the first 6 months of counseling I became extremely discouraged.  I felt like there was no way I could understand what I needed to do.  Not in counseling, not in my marriage, not in living....

KavinCoach assured me one session that I was like everybody else.  I come in and spread out my puzzle pieces and we put the pieces together.  I thought, "Awwww I am just like everyone else."  Until KavinCoach continued, "You just happen to be a 10,000 piece puzzle."  Wump ~ back to Earth in a hurry.  I have only seen one 10,000 piece puzzle years ago in a game store.  I kept that image in my mind.  For my book, I decided to take a picture of 10,000 puzzle pieces on my counselor's floor.  I asked permission.  Yup, he was intrigued with the concept.  I bought ten 1000 piece puzzles.  Dumped them all out on the floor.  The pieces covered almost half the distance between my counselor and me.  I shot the picture of what I always looked at..the floor.  I rarely looked him in the eye. 

There really is 10,000 pieces there on the floor.

Week after week, I talked, he listened, and gave me a few suggestions to try the next week.  I thought life was too cruel when in the middle of all this mess my boss was changed and I ended up with a really nasty boss.  KavinCoach thought it was great.  What?  Really?  This puzzle I was working on needed a testing case.  I couldn't handle people that were rude, unpleasant, power hungry, petty, all round nastiness.  KavinCoach pointed out that I didn't like him, therefore a perfect candidate for a guinea pig.  I would be taught a self assertive skill and then I would test it out on the nasty boss.  I would then report back with the disaster or mess I created.  Then KavinCoach would tweak the suggestion a little until I started coming back with more and more positive responses.  I learned a lot from testing out my new skills on my nasty boss.  William Blake was wrong...Once I started to understand myself, I am better able to understand people around me.  Since I am part of the mystery I am accepting I won't solve it all.  But I can enjoy living and sharing my life with people around me.  I don't have all the solutions, I just now know that I enjoy people, myself, and God. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inspiration needed daily

Katherine MansfieldRisk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.

Every day I check my different blogs and quotes looking for things that inspire and lift.  Today I was over at Laurel's blog ( and she shared a link to Susan Boyle's beautiful singing.  First impressions sometimes hide truths that need patience and listening a little longer. Susan Boyle's audition.

 I remember reading somewhere that motivational speaker Zig Zigler was criticized because motivation didn't last.  He responded, "That is why I recommend it daily."  Every day we need motivation to keep going.  In my early 30's depression engulfed me.  My motivation to keep going - my children.  Depression blankets your life in a fog of darkness and attempts to stifle all life from your soul until living seems like a great drudgery.  A single pin prick of light in that darkness can start to lift the fog.  Like a solitary candle can push back the darkest night.  Find that single candle and keep it lit in your heart.  Seeing the whole thing is sometimes overwhelming but just a single circle of light is possible. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Learning in life

From mulderfan

Great Quote

"Relationships serve to teach us about ourselves and until we sit up, pay attention and heed the lessons, that same relationship will still keep coming back like Michael Myers in Halloween. Take your lessons, cry your tears, rage, howl, feel sad, but take your truths and learn from your past experiences so that you can make a difference to your present and future and quit the insanity."~Baggage Reclaim

This brought to mind an email I received years ago.  I did a bit of searching with Mr. Google and found someone else had the same story posted on their website.  KavinCoach and NewCounselor told it to me again.  Apparently it is one of life's lessons that kept coming back. 

A Deep Hole

Chapter 1 of my life: I walked down the street - there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. It is not my fault. It took me forever to find my way out.
Chapter 2 of my life: I walked down the street - there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I still fall in. I am in the same place and it still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3 of my life: I walk down the street - there is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in. It is a habit. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter 4 of my life: I walk down the same street - there is a hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter 5 of my life: I walk down another street.
Found it at

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I am like Shattered Glass

I had a poster up in my room when I was in high school:

I am like shattered glass
Cutting those who touch me
I have been broken
I am hard and sharp
People can see through me.
They know I can hurt them
I am never confronted
I am always walked around.
– Lori Gauntlet

I knew then.  When I talked to my parents, I was assured I was like everybody else.  I talked to other teenagers, I was really sure that how I thought was different and odd but conditioning won out.  After all, my parents would NEVER lie to me. (There really needs to be a sarcasm font.)  KavinCoach validated what I knew then, he also opened the door for me to see all the lies I was told over the years so my parents didn't need to deal with unpleasant things.  I was one of those unpleasant things they didn't want to deal with.  I wasn't the dress up doll of my mother's dreams. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

So Why Counseling?

I realized shortly after counseling started that it was not going to go how I expected.  So why stay in counseling?

Vanci over at Not My Rock addresses the truths that need to be faced...

The post is really worth the time to read and is exactly why I needed a counselor to show me that the rock I was standing on wasn't a rock at all; it was a rotted crust with smoking vapors and noxious gas that was slowly destroying me and anyone that had to be in contact with me.  It effected relationships, work, family, health, and I couldn't see for myself that it wasn't a rock.  I was trained to believe that all things bad were my fault.  I was taught that it was my responsibility to keep other people happy.  I was taught that taking abuse was normal and if I complained I was the one unreasonable and I needed to be more forgiving.  The counselor broke the funky distorted glasses I wore since childhood.  Blow after blow to the mirror that created an illusion that didn't exist.  My counselor introduced me to my real self.  I couldn't do it on my own.  I was too well trained to believe the lies of my past.

KavinCoach asked me about my childhood in the second month of counseling.  I leaned back on the couch shared by my husband and was puzzled.  I had a great childhood.  We went to the park and we went to the zoo.  Then came the fist sledge hammer to my perfect childhood.  KavinCoach asked, "Tell me an average day."  A single statement shattering of a thousand lies rocked my mind.  No one...I mean NO ONE...had ever challenged me on this lie that I told for years.  I realized in high school that I couldn't remember my childhood.  I read books like "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" and "Bellview a State of Mind."  Searching but not knowing what I was looking for.  By the time I was 15 years old I believed something was very wrong with me.  But repeatedly I was taught to doubt my own truth.  In a single statement KavinCoach validated a hidden belief that I almost forgotten; there was something wrong with me.  At that same moment, the lies shattered.  I was paralized with fear.  How would I get out of this mess?  KavinCoach offered to lead me out, ON THE CONDITION, that I did the work.  I have worked.  He would shatter the lies and I would learn to stand in truth.  The pretty lies as well as the ugly lies all had to go.  It was painful.  Hard. So incredible freeing.  I can now stand in the sunshine of truth and breath freely.

Counseling is not for anyone that is looking for an easy out.  Counseling can be its own kind of hell with a bad counselor.  Counseling is a partnership between a knowledgeable professional and a hurting human.  For me, it also included Christ in my corner.  Learning that truth is worth whatever I had to do to get there.  Like Vanci said in her blog, I am a good person.  It feels so good to say it and believe it.  It feels so good to come out of the shadows of my past.  Counseling is tough.  Hard to know if you can trust a counselor when people that should have taken care of you hurt you instead.  You can go online and find as many stories of bad experiences as good experiences with counselors.  I do know that no matter who your counselor is, if you are not willing to do the work of opening up and letting the garbage out, nothing will happen.  I remember the Dr. Banks tape I used to listen to, "A broken finger will heal without your cooperation, but not a broken soul."  I didn't even know I was broken until KavinCoach shattered the lies and let the real image in.

Shattered Lies

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Counseling misconceptions

Albert Einstein  The important thing is not to stop questioning.

I was told by several medical doctors that my medical problems were all in my head.  I argued, "If it is all in my head, why does my body hurt so much?"  They never took the time to answer that question and there were no TV commercials by drug companies proclaiming the symptoms.  I tried everything else except counseling.  I spent hours at the local library on healthnet.  It was this very cool thing that linked all the medical hospital libraries together and there were several work stations at the library for nursing students to use.  In the summer time, the stations stood empty.  I took a summer when the older kids were home to help with the younger kids so that I could get an hour or two at the library.  I would print off a bunch of articles, bring them home, get out the medical dictionary and start reading.  I amassed an impressive list of things I did not have.  I finally figured out two things, it was stress related and had to do with why I couldn't sleep.  Separately, after the kids started moving out I wanted to improve my communication skills with my husband.  I felt like we lived in two separate worlds in the same house.  Tried a marriage class first.  This was the first clue that something was really missing in my life.  They held an entire evening discussion on boundaries and protecting them.  My husband participated.  I felt like the whole bunch of them were speaking a foreign language.  I tried everything else so I asked the teacher of the marriage class if she knew any names of marriage counselors.  She gave me three names.  I prayed about the decision because I knew that who I worked with could make or break the experience.  My husband agreed to go with whoever I chose.  KavinCoach was on the list.  Let me see if I can remember all the different misconceptions I had:
1. Counseling would be done in a few weeks.  I set aside that summer to do the project.
2. The counselor was going to fix the problem much like a doctor can set a broken leg.
3. I felt my past had nothing to do with what was happening now.  After all it was in the past, no effect.
4. I thought my husband was the problem...If he were just more understanding.
5. I could listen and learn from watching the counselor and my husband talked to see how things worked.
6. ...I am sure I am forgetting any number of other things I didn't know about how counseling functioned.

I think back to the first 6 months of counseling and chuckle wryly at how my REALITY CHECK bounced big time.  KavinCoach disillusioned me in no time at all.  By the end of summer, the original finish date, I realized we had barely scratched the surface.  By Christmas, there was a shift from marriage counseling to me counseling.  It was humbling to realize that the severity of my PTSD left the possibility of working on my marriage to some distant date.  KavinCoach focused on me.  Well crumbs.  This was not what I planned at all.  Since, I all ready knew how to look things up from studying all those medical articles, I figured this time I knew what the problem was that looking things up would be much easier.  Again, I was wrong.  PTSD, Multiple personality disorder, DID, dissociation are cloaked in as much mystery and controversy than almost any other branch of psychology.  I started asking questions.  I checked out 10 books from the university library then read every book assigned.  I watched movies assigned.  I puzzled over every aspect of what I was trying to learn.  Finally, KavinCoach limited me to only one hour a day devoted to studying he was attempting to keep me balanced and not be consumed by my own questions.  Can you imagine for just a moment....walk into a strangers office and find out that everything you ever believed about yourself was all a fairy tale.  That you had several other lives happening at the same time and what you didn't remember was effecting your every decision?  I felt like I stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone...I kept hoping that Allen Funt would step through the door and shout, "You are on Candid Camera."  (Wow, those references really give away my age.  If you are still doing the math, 54.)  I didn't stop questioning.  I am still working on this living thing.  I am still trying to harness these wily emotions that can totally throw me for a loop.  I am still in counseling.  My misconceptions lay in tatters around my feet.  I am learning to be me and that is a good thing.   

How I would feel after a counseling session.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Answering questions

Yesterday's post shares one of the stories about 2 months after I started counseling.  The challenge communicating with anyone else how I felt inside.  KavinCoach is a good counselor, I just couldn't get out what seemed to be happening inside.  

This is one of the comments and I am using it to share my perspective of how I worked with my counselor.  To me every therapist-client combination is unique.  I know 2 other clients (I prefer clients over the word patients) that also saw KavinCoach.  I felt it was a cool thing that he treated us differently.  He didn't treat us like cut out dolls and give the same information.  He shared with each one of us the information that would be hopefully most helpful to us. 
Candycan said...
it sounds like a really difficult andpainful time you went through back then. Do you think it was right of Kavin coach not to give any sympathy after the event in group therapy? was it more helpful than if he'd acknowledged that the situation shouldnt have been set up that way by the leaders first? or do you think it was more helpful that he simply pointed out your reaction and got you thinking about the fact that you didn't see 'no' as an option? "I feel deep sympathy for any multiple personality, someone who has DID, tries to explain to someone else what is happening on the inside. " I think im struggling with this at the moment. I was so used to my old therapist understanding me better than i do myself and now im with someone who wants me to be informing her of things i dont even get myself! thanks for writing this post ruth. It gets me thinking that maybe the pain will pay off. good luck with your marriage work. you're brave to face it and not give up 

Do you think it was right of Kavincoach not to give any sympathy after the event in group therapy?
Kavincoach explained from the very beginning of working with him that sympathy was what a friend gives and he was not my friend; he was my coach.  When I was a kid, I cut my foot deeply while my parents weren't home.  My brothers trying to be helpful smeared gooey first aid cream designed for minor cuts or burns.  At the doctor's office, I didn't get sympathy, I got a good scrubbing to clean all the gunk out so my foot would heal properly.  Kavincoach was like that medical doctor his job was to help me clear out the gunk in my emotional life.  Sometimes he seemed totally unsympathetic.  I reminded myself his job was to help me heal.  I was blessed with an awesome sister that gave me sympathy. 

was it more helpful than if he'd acknowledged that the situation shouldnt have been set up that way by the leaders first?
I don't know if it would have been more helpful.  I actually respected the fact that Kavincoach did not share how he felt about the situation since it was one of his colleagues.  I do remember feeling really pissed off when the group leader tried to blame Kavincoach for putting me in the group in the first place.  I knew better than anyone else how completely I hid the truth of my past from him, myself and anybody else.  Disassociation from my emotions made it very difficult for him to gauge how I reacted to anything.  Kavincoach once threatened to stop working with me if I didn't allow myself to feel enough to discuss how I felt.  He explained that a medical doctor healed the body; he helped me heal my emotions.  If I didn't make my emotions available than I was wasting his time.  It was a tough session.  
or do you think it was more helpful that he simply pointed out your reaction and got you thinking about the fact that you didn't see 'no' as an option? 
His very practical point of view of let's examine what your choices are and 'no' was an option helped me feel safe.  I didn't get the feeling he was judging me, the situation, or my reaction.  He just mapped out what my choices really were.  This was a gigantic stretch for me because I hadn't considered the possibility of saying 'no'.  The first week we discussed this situation I could barely take in the information that 'No' was an option.  It was a huge turning point in how I felt about myself and other situations.  I think I know a little how slaves must have felt the first day after being freed.  The mind just can't grasp what that means.  

Trying to explain to anyone what happened inside of me was difficult.  (Most of the time, still is difficult.)  I appreciated Kavincoach's matter of fact practical approach.  I later learned that there were times that he would purposely push me to anger trying to get past the massive barriers I had around my emotions.  Sometimes he pushed, sometimes he persuaded, either way reconnecting to my emotions and why I felt so much rage and the fear and hurt buried below that was more difficult than facing cancer.  He once asked me a few years ago if I would rather be doing this or be one of the pioneers that crossed the United States too late in the season and suffered physical deprivation and starvation.  I told him I could make it easier to understand.  I would rather face cancer again than do what I did.  Reconnecting to battered emotions is difficult and painful.  The therapist are challenged with not only a person being terribly hurt but several persons that may not hear the same information and don't have the same history.  That each perceived their version of their life as true and damn little support from any where.  DID, multiple personality is not accepted by all therapist.  How to treat each person with DID is as complex as the personalities involved.  I needed to learn how to share with my therapist words and ways of telling him what kind of battle I was fighting on the inside.  I was my own worse enemy and could sabotage myself knowing the weakest points.  I feel the largest challenge any person seeing a therapist has is figuring out how to share what is happening and then being open to possible solutions.  One of the sessions I remember him telling me to breath.  My first reaction was fury that he would tell me such a thing.  Then I realized, I was holding my breath.  He actually had to coach me through several breaths until I was breathing on my own again.  Sometimes the answer I needed was not the one I was expecting or wanting to hear.  I quickly learned that I needed another point of view because mine was so warped.