Sunday, September 25, 2016

Warrior for hope

Friday I attended a conference for future educators.  One of the classes discussed the concept that teachers need to be Warriors for hope.  A reminder that a teacher can make a positive difference in a students life.  Often we don't get to see the results.  I started thinking about a warrior for hope.  When I think of a warrior I think of someone actively defending something or someone.  A purposeful pursuit of encouraging others sounds like a positive way to teach students and treat people I encounter.  I wonder what the World would be like if each person woke up thinking, "What can I do to do to make someone's day better?"  My counselor gave me the 5/50 project that changed my perspective of making a difference.  He asked me to do one thing every day as a service for someone else.  The service couldn't take longer than 5 minutes or cost more than 50 cents.  I messed up the project thinking it was teaching me that I wasn't doing enough to help others.  My counselor rolled his eyes and explained again.  He was trying to teach me that I already did these little acts of kindness, I needed to be aware that I am already doing many things everyday, a smile to a clerk that checks me out of the grocery store, a kind word to a student struggling with a difficult assignment, waving hi to a neighbor, or any number of little things that let's someone else know that they matter to me.  It also had an interesting side effect of helping me feel connected with people.  The conference pointed out that not all Superheroes wear capes.  I can be a superhero  or warrior for hope and my superstrength can be kindness, encouragement, and showing others appreciation. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Too complicated

I make things too complicated.  Tonight I had an opportunity to spend an evening painting.  4 colors, 1 1/2 hours of time, and instructions. 

I put off painting because in my mind I made it all complicated.  I enjoyed this evening.  I need to do this again.  I'll let Bob Ross be my instructor:

Canoe, Boat, and a Helicopter

I am studying several different webpages.  Each is reminding me of information I already know for survival.  Apparently I am dragging my feet about getting in.  I am working on my motto "All In."  Living and thriving requires being "All In." 

A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbour came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A short time later the police came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said. “The waters will soon be above your house. Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned. When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God. Ushered into God’s throne room he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven? I prayed for you to save me, I trusted you to save me from that flood.”

“Yes you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. But you never got in.”

Source: unknown.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Awful to awesome

This week I had my yearly cancer checkup.  I haven't had cancer in 15 years but every checkup has a nerve racking quality.  This year was different.  I was talking with the teacher I work with about calendar events.  She asked me when my birthday was,  I quickly said Dec 14.  Then I continued on the information about my doctor appointment on September 14.  Yup.  They had a birthday party for me at school on the day of my doctor appointment.  It was a mistake.  Wow.  I felt cherished and wanted.  It was an awesome feeling.  I still have the Happy Birthday balloons up in my dining room.  I look at them and feel happy all over again.  It was a serendipitous error that turned my awful day into an awesome day.  I offered to give back the presents but they told me to keep them.  The notes in the card lifted my spirit at a time I feel very low.  I am thankful for the teacher and students I work with.  It was an awesome day I will remember with happiness in my heart. 

Monday, September 5, 2016


Today I spent the day quiet pursuit of several activities at home I've neglected.  I also played, crocheted and did some sewing.  I am preparing to relax because tomorrow I have to face my boss and explain how I mixed up when I have my dental appointment and the appointment is tomorrow.  I am supposed to give a weeks notice.  I am frustrated with myself for not checking the calendar sooner since I knew it was coming up.  As the meme goes, "My forgetery is better than my memory."  I wrote it down but that doesn't help if I don't look at the calendar.  I am encouraged that I relaxed most of today knowing that I messed up.  Years past I would have had a panic attack and a miserable weekend worrying about making a mistake.  I am learning that I am allowed to make mistakes.  I am learning I can handle consequences.  I don't like them but I can handle them.  It was a pleasant day today.  I am glad I had the day off.  I needed it. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Shocking response

I haven't felt well for awhile.  Today I wanted to attend church and help with the youth group we supervise.  When I arrived for the ladies meeting they were sitting in circles.  I was late so wasn't aware of why.  Looking around I realized we were set up in age/experience groups.  We were to discuss what is the best/worse of each stage of life and how we can help each other.  Ok.  I can handle this.  I was participating and keeping my comments short.  I heard the ladies state several assumptions of what life is like for them.  I didn't offer my perspective.  Then we were asked what we could do to help each other.  Hot button for me.  Severe mental health problems are not a welcome subject.  I struggle with feeling judged and found wanting.  I didn't realize how upset I was until I picked up my sister to come to our house for dinner.  I erupted.  The woman that proclaimed that we shouldn't judge others was the same person that judged me and my family and used us as an example of a failing family.  Away from the women's group I let some of the bitterness flow out.  I experienced on more than one occasion a total lack of compassion or understanding of what I live every day.  I don't get days off for good behavior.  I try to cope with limited energy.  I try to engage when I feel able but I often get the message, "I am not enough."  So I pull back, withdraw, I can't expect them to understand my struggles with PTSD.  I can't allow their views to put me down.  Another woman said the same thing about not judging others and I agreed easily.  Same message from a different person had me seething with rage of the injustice of her piously spouting the opposite of what she has done.  Reminder to is a hospital for spiritually ill humans not a resort for the already saved.  Deep breath.  My belief in Christ has nothing to do with church members.  My attendance at church is about my relationship with God.  These are His children and we hurt each other, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose.  I am thankful for my sister letting me vent without feeling judged.  Thanks Judy. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016


I work in education and I am seeing a terrible tragedy being setup for our children.  Educators are not allowed to flunk children.  Last year I substitute taught in a class.  One of the students was failing.  She came to class 9 times in 9 weeks.  I was reprimanded for not putting forth more effort to help this student succeed.  The dictate is you must leave no child behind and pass them on any way because failure is not allowed.  Then they become adults and the Peter principle kicks in...

An illustration visualizing the Peter principle
The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in 1969. The theory is that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."

No where along the way does anyone teach how to cope with failure.  I believe the Sophomore year of high school after one semester learning about health they need one semester of mental health and coping skills. They teach geometry but not how to set boundaries.  They teach proper grammar but not how to speak kindly.  The biggest drawback is finding a teacher that isn't in need of mental health lessons for themselves.  Some people proclaim that parents should teach this....that would be great if the parents are emotionally healthy.  Sadly in our never ending race to succeed and failure is not acceptable we are raising a generation that has no idea how to cope when their world falls apart. I was blessed with a counselor that patiently taught me that failure does not define me.  My reaction to failure does.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I am posting the 7 clear signs that you are interacting with a narcissists.  I put these reminders to keep myself aware.  When I learned about narcissists, my mother's behavior made so much more sense.  However, being raised by a narcissists I tend to accept a narcissists behavior as normal.  I need the reminders to keep myself on the alert.  I learned the best way to interact with a narcissists is for me to have healthy boundaries.  They may call me mean and unreasonable but I recognize this as the same type of threats and complaints you get from a toddler when you tell them 'no.'

1. They Play the Victim.
2. They Use Aggression and Intimidation.
3. They Downplay Your Accomplishments.
4. They Guilt You Into Thinking Everything is Your Fault.
5. They Only Talk About Themselves.
6. They Use Triangulation.
7. They Never Change.  

 I learned that a narcissists will use these methods at different times seeing what works then using the one that works over and over.  When it stops working, they pull out a new trick.  I need to stay aware of these since I am so used to being treated this one it feels 'normal.'

My reaction to each of these...
1. I like to help people.  When they play the victim, I have to remember they are playing.  The are using the sad puppy dog eyes to manipulate me.  I want to help people in need.  One way to explain this is I offered to help someone shorten their pants so they could look nice for an interview.  When they came over they brought 11 pairs of pants, then became angry with me for not shortening all of them.
2.  Oh boy.  I used to melt at the slights show of aggression of intimidation.  My counselor worked with me over and over again not to try to vanish one someone was aggressive with me.  The thing that is helping the most is taking karate lessons.  Our teacher reminds us to not go looking for a fight but with the skills I have now, I am not afraid to say "Bring it on."  Once I started doing this, I learned that narcissists are bullies but they are not looking for an actual fight.  Almost always they use aggression and intimidation with someone they feel is weak than themselves.
3.  I put myself down so I am not surprised when someone else puts me down.  I learned that a narcissists is so insecure that they are determined to put the other person down, often behind my back to someone else that interacts with me.
4.  Boggles my mind at how fast a confrontation with a narcissists suddenly becomes my fault and I am the big meany hurting and intimidating them.  REALLY.  (Please read that word dripping with sarcasm.)  If I am getting blamed, I do a self analysis to see if I actually messed up.  Most the time I accept that I am the designated scapegoat.  I am learning to not take this personally.  Their whining and blaming is not about me.  It is about their intense need to NOT take responsibility of their mistakes.
5.  I try an experiment with some people when I am getting to know them.  When appropriate I start to talk about something I am doing.  If their eyes glaze over and reach for their phone to check their messages, it is quite likely I am talking to a narcissists.  It is like a litmus test of narcissists.
6.  Oh yea.  For those not familiar with triangulation it is the art of bringing in reinforcements and ganging up on you.  Thanks Jonsi for keeping your blog up to direct me to this article on triangulation.  If you believe you are interacting with a narcissists read up on what this is...
7.  I would change they never change to they believe they are Practically Perfect in every way and see no need to change.  I nick named it the Mary Poppins thinking.  When a person is practically perfect, why should they change?  I learned that a healthy person is actively working at changing and improving themselves.  Narcissists believes they have arrived therefore, changing is for lesser people than themselves.

I believe boundaries, education, self-confidence, courage, and patience are some of the best defenses against narcissistic behavior.  Staying alert of where a relationship is headed is important to stay in healthy relationships and guard against unhealthy ones.

Self protection is important when interacting with a narcissists.