Sunday, September 30, 2012


My sister posted 
 a link that filled me with joy to watch:

The miracle called birth happens before we remember.  I was blessed with six of my own children.  I am doubly blessed when 2 of my daughters invited me to share their children births.  What an incredible experience.  I am so amazed what my daughters went through.  I realized I was blessed with relatively short labors.  When the baby is first laid in my arms I realize I have total control over this little being.  This tiny person needs me to feed, clean, and protect them from a world gone crazy.  Each child began to grow rapidly.  Milestones of holding their head up, rolling over, crawling, standing, toddling foot steps, and first 'mama' are celebrated and recorded.  Then the terrible twos hit and this sweet beautiful child screams, "NO."  That single word is the first step to a child learning their power.  Some parents wisely teach a child when saying no is sometimes good, even to them.  By three they want to walk themselves, dress themselves, basically tries to do everything themselves. The next years are years of rapid growth and development and separating from parents to become a fully functioning, thinking adult.  The very essence of childhood is to learn to control personal power. 

Not all parents are wise.  Some parents feel threatened by their child that they had total control over becoming separate autonomous person.  Some parents totally neglect their role in this growth process.  Others try to control every aspect so 'nothing goes wrong' and raise their 'perfect' child.  Neglected or engulfed are the two extremes of disasters that a parent convinces the child they have no power.  Neglect because the child is thrown into situations unprepared to meet the challenges and fails repeatedly until they feel they are a failure.  Engulfing the parent makes every decision for them thus convincing the child they can not make decisions for themselves.  I do believe Heavenly Father intended us to become healthy autonomous thinking adults:
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
For me and many others, we are taught at a very young age, before we even know we have it, that we have no power, love is a commodity, and we are the ones out of our minds.  

I remember vividly the session when KavinCoach asked me why I kept giving my power away.  I was confused and frightened, "What power have I given away?  What are you talking about?"  Every time I opened my mouth and said, "I have to...." I gave away my God given power to be me.  KavinCoach took on the daunting task of first teaching me about this power and then encouraging me to reclaim it.  The interesting thing about him was his understanding that if he gave me back my power then he was in control.  If he taught me to take back my power then I was in control.   I was blessed with a wise counselor that believed that God empowered us before we were born and it is our task in life to learn to control and yield that power. 

Sweet little toes

I am keeping an eye on you

Creating my own design

Emerging Power

Loving Guidance
I am a powerful loving adult

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Pastor's Donkey

If you are inclined to feel offended by jokes about religious members, stop reading now.  I tried to find the original version or credit who wrote it.  I am not this clever.  I copied this directly from a forwarded email.  Parts of it are old, some I haven't heard before.

The Pastor's Ass

The Pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won.

The Pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again and it won again.

The local paper read:  PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the Pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day the local paper headline read: BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR’S ASS.
This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Pastor to get rid of the donkey.

The Pastor decided to give it to a Nun in a nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:


The Bishop fainted.

He informed the Nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey so she sold it to a farmer for $10.

The next day the paper read: NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10.

This was too much for the Bishop so he ordered the Nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.

The next day the headlines read: NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE..
The Bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is . . . being concerned about public opinioncan bring you much grief and misery . . even shorten your life. So be yourself and enjoy life.

Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll be a lot happier and live longer!

Have a nice day!

Friday, September 28, 2012

One of those days?

Ever had one of those days when in your mind you get everything all worked out, you plan your day just perfectly and then you body's get up and go, got up and went, without you?  There I sit in a quagmire of guilt wondering why I didn't do all those wonderful plans.  Fiddle on FB, baked brownies, washed dishes (enjoyed doing them), and the post is unwritten still rattling around in my mind with a blank page taunting.  So I sit here wondering, why I am struggling with writing a post that I am really enthusiastic about and just want to share? There .....  hiding behind the monitor is that shadow..... remnants from depression nagging, 'this is just a temporary up, you don't really live like that, who are you trying to kid.'  If the shadow had substance I would slap its mouth shut but it doesn't have substance.  Anyone else staring at the same place wouldn't see a shadow.  Wouldn't see my guilt, my shortcomings, my discouragement crouching to pounce.  I get frustrated.  I feel like I am making progress.  I have days at a time when I feel happy.  Used to be reversed, I would have days at a time that I wasn't happy.  Behind the shadow is my past telling me I really can't go any further.  Go too far and past habits try to pull me back into that comfort zone of depression and exhaustion.  Please notice I say comfort zone and not safety zone.  Years ago I heard a story about a little dog that was tied on a short leash to a stove.  Hunger and neglect ravished its body but the owners didn't care.  One day some rescued the little dog.  Set it free.  Unleashed the collar and opened the door wide.  The rescuer expected the little dog to bound out the door.  Instead the little dog coward behind the stove, terrified of so much choice and wide spaces.  Tied to the stove - no choices - no thought became comfortable by familiarity.  Running free outside is not a natural reaction to that little dog cowering in the shadows.  Ever had a day like that?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


"In the confrontation between the stream
and the rock, the stream always wins
- not by strength but by perseverance."
- H. Jackson Brown
Click Here For Success Tip # 028 

Hard to explain to someone who has no clue. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. please put this as your status for at least 1 hour if you or someone you know has an invisible illiness (Chron's, PTSD, Anixiety, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, MS, ME, Arthritis, Cancer, HEART DISEASE, EPILEPSY, Autism, M.D., Histinocytosis, etc.) "Never judge what you don't understand." IF you truly understand you will support this

A friend posted this on Facebook.  I put it as my comment.  I think another invisible is living in a family with a narcissistic parent.  For a long time I couldn't understand why no one else seemed to see my mother like I did.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out my sister saw here the same way.  I was always told that there was a special bond between my mother and Judy.  I was more like my father so it was like I was instantly flawed.  I was in counseling before I understood the ongoing performance and the way I was trained to play a part.  A part that no matter how well I played it, "I love you but...." was what I heard.  "I love you but there is a special bond with your sister."  "I love you but I your brother is my favorite." "I love you but I am not going to give you enough to eat so your brother can have seconds."  "I love you but...."

I persevered....I kept trying.....I figured I would wear her down eventually to "I love you."

KavinCoach redirected my stream.  He taught me to go in a new direction.  Now, I feel at peace.  I finally don't need to hear it at all from her.  I found a new direction.  Sometimes running over the same place over and over just not worth doing.  I continue to persevere, some people call it being stubborn, and I am happier than I ever knew possible.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coping with PTSD

"Strength does not come from winning
Your struggles develop your strength.
When you go through hardship
and decide not to surrender,
that is strength."

Click Here For Success Tip # 090

I read and study about my challenges. I learned when medical doctors had no answers for me that I am responsible for my health, physical, emotional, or spiritual. I also believe that in this age of information glut someone else has written about my challenges somewhere.  Quite early on when I still thought all my problems were a physical ailment I discovered in the basement of our local library a computer connection that brought all the information at all the hospital libraries to a single library terminal.  I discovered health net in 1992.  Facebook boomers were babies.  I was desperate to find out what was wrong with me.  I learned a lot about what I did not have and how to do research.  How to sift through hundreds of pages of information to find another piece to the puzzle.  What I learned I used to change my life.  I am still using research to study.  Today I am giving a review:

Coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:  A guide for families by Cheryl A. Roberts 
ISBN: 978-0-7864-4974-3

I found this book at the library when I was looking for another one.  I was impressed that there wasn't a suggestion that was in the book that my counselor didn't suggest or try.  I turned down medication for reasons too complicated for me to understand, let alone explain, but I know for some people medication makes a difference.  Overall opinion for the book is it gives a current overview of practices for coping with PTSD today.  I was interested that there wasn't much in it that my counselor hadn't already taught me.  I felt like I was reading the text after taking the final exam.  I think it would have been more helpful about 10 years ago but it wasn't written until 2011.  The book does favor military background for their audience.  It does mention other reasons for PTSD but a good portion of this book focuses on what is happening and available through the military.  I was intrigued by their perspective of PTSD, "One way to look at PTSD is a response to a traumatic event that collapses time; the PTSD individual reexperiences the trauma through flashbacks or nightmares, experiences anxiety and stress at reminders of the original trauma, and seeks to avoid triggers that remind him/her of the trauma."  It then explains fairly clearly the diagnostic criteria used today.  It does acknowledge that abuse, rape, also long term abuse may cause PTSD.  There are sections on second hand PTSD by firefighters, counselors, spouses, and children of those suffering from PTSD.  I felt the book covered the information I learned.  I appreciated reading the chapter Living with PTSD.  Not one technique was given that my counselors didn't try with me.  The book also acknowledges that some techniques work better for one person verses another.  It is like there is no magic bullet but plenty of bricks for building a healthy life.  The appendixes listed resources, books and movies all with PTSD as the focus.  I felt if I was asked for an over all theme it would be PTSD is tough to live with but not impossible.  Acceptance, connecting with others, and living in the present make a difference.  One last point is those that recognize that PTSD is what they have and not who they are seem better able to cope with this challenge. 

Compressed time

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stupid computer

Hey I am giving a call out to blogs I am reading or trying to.  Tonight I discovered that my computer just stopped following one of the blogs that I used to read.  I am aware that different people take breaks so I didn't worry too much.  Then from someone else's blog I noticed that they were still writing.  I forgot the number one rule of working with computers, "It is not always the fault of the user.  Sometimes the computer really is to blame, in fact, a lot of the time the computer is to blame." So if I haven't got to your post for awhile please be patient while I figure out what my computer is up to.  I just discovered the problem so it may take a little while to catch up.
Dumb computers  %*%$#*#@*&

Monday, September 24, 2012

Answering questions

Comment below (or via email - see side bar) with questions, i.e.:

  • Does my NParent know that how they treat me is wrong?
  • Are they accidentally hurting me, or is it 'on purpose'?
  • Can my NParent change?
  • Is it possible my NParent loves me still, even though they are abusive?
  • Why won't my other parent do something to help me?! 
  • Is it morally/ethically/spiritually wrong of me to go 'no-contact' with my NParents?!
  • What is 'no-contact' anyway?
  • How do I know if my parent has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or not? Who diagnoses that? And is there treatment for it? What's the success rate?
No question is too general, too specific, or off limits (Trolls - this doesn't include your questions; they get axed on sight). 

This was posted on ACON Society web page.... Kind of a general question of what people experienced with narcissistic parents.  One of the things that I found to be truly astounding was not the differences but the similarities between experiences.  mulderfan or upsi would get an unpleasant email from their parent and I could pull up an email that read very similar.  We are all from different parts of the world.  We each have some experiences different from the others.  I decided to answer the questions here then with approval I will move them to the other page.  Main reason for doing this is I want to be honest with myself.  When I write on someone else's comments, I am thinking about their concerns and what might be helpful to them.  I want to write these answers to me.  Kind of an assessment of where I have been and where I am now.  Some times in my scrabble to survive I miss what I am doing day-to-day. 

Does my NParent know that how they treat me is wrong?
When I was growing up I was told that my nm was just like that because how she was raised and I had to love her.  Hammered into my head over and over that it was unintentional and I was oversensitive.  One day upsi wrote about how a narcissistic will get a tiny smile on their face just before doing something cruel.  I thought no, not my mother.  Then I watched.  It was easier to see her do it to my sister because I wasn't in survivor mode.  First the smile and then the zinger.  I also remember the times my father paid me 10 - 20 dollars after a partictularly rough day with mother.  So not only did she know what she was doing but my father knew too and paid me to take it.  I felt sick when I finally put the pieces together in my 50's.

Are they accidentally hurting me, or is it 'on purpose'?
Some of both.  I know as a parent I sometimes said things thoughtlessly that came across all wrong to my children.  It certainly is by accident sometimes.  The difference was my nm would not acknowledge that she needed to apologize.  I was blamed for any 'misunderstanding' and I needed to 'forgive' her without any change in behavior on her part.  Other times were planned out with malice aforethought... planned out and saved for the right moment to use to maximize either pain, embarrassment, or humiliation.  Chilled me when my nm decided I was old enough to learn the fine art of manipulation through emotional blackmail.  There is another perspective that I told KavinCoach.  "If they shoot me on purpose or by accident either way I am equally dead."  I was trying to express that on purpose or accidental damage occurred and needs to be repaired.  I still need to heal.  I learned by terrible example of what to do if I accidentally hurt someone else. I apologize, try to make amends, and work at not doing it again.  With my nm, I learned to never be alone with her because she puts on a good performance and so far that has worked for me.

Can my NParent change?
Choice to change?  A year ago I would have said a flat no.  Now I experienced seeing someone choose to change that had narcissistic behaviors.  That is when I came to understand that everyone is on a continuum from mild to severe.  However, with my Nmother she made a choice repeatedly not to change.  As far as I know, 4 different medical doctors recommended that she get counseling.  She refused.  She was given medication once that required counseling.  She went a few times.  I asked her about it.  Her reply, "The doctor was more interested in talking to your father than to me, so I stopped going."  Others asked her and she denied ever going.  My father told me that she told him it was too hard.  So my final answer...usually not since they don't believe there is a problem.  Everyone else needs to change to suit them.

Is it possible my NParent loves me still, even though they are abusive?
The need to feel tugged at my heart.  I worked so hard to 'win' her love.  Oh she would give approval and thank me from time to time; I learned the hard way to look for the hook or the 'but' at the end.  She would tell me she loved me.  But to me love is a verb not a noun.  A cliche answers it best for me, "Friends like that, who needs enemies."  I had enemies that treat me better.  By her definition of love she has those feelings for me, maybe, and some days I want to hope so....Then we drop back into the same loop, "If you love me, take care of me and fix things for me."  That damn hook is always there.  She wants me to present the happy family, she created a fantasy world and demands I live in it, then maybe if I am very good she will love me.  The cost is too high for that kind of love.  I would rather be unloved by my standards then 'loved' in her web of lies. 

Why won't my other parent do something to help me?! 
This one was always painful for me.  I was paid, emotionally leaned on, and bullied to accept the treatment I received.  I used to think he just didn't realize what nm was doing until he paid me.  I was paid to take an emotional beating.  I became cynical, I am going to get the emotional thrashing anyway, may as well get paid for it.  I then denied everything myself until I was in counseling.  Some of the toughest sessions I went through was recognizing that my parents were a matched pair.  I felt devastated when I lost the illusion that at least one of my parents thought I was important enough to protect.  It hurt... a lot....when I finally accepted that my father would always side with my mother no matter how wrong her behavior was.  He used me to protect himself from her wrath.  I was a human shield only the grenades were words and emotions.  There are several books written on the subject I decided not to bother with why and focus on how to stay safe since this was something I could control. 

Is it morally/ethically/spiritually wrong of me to go 'no-contact' with my NParents?!
Is it morally/ethically/spiritually wrong to abuse your children?  At the age of 5, I was on the search for a new mother.  At that tender age I knew something was wrong.  The story was retold to demonstrate how heartless I was.  Nobody questioned that there might be a problem at home that a five-year-old wanted to trade in their mother.  In my opinion, many children are left with no other choice to survive.  An extreme example might help, in the book A Child Called It Dave Pelzer explains what happened in his childhood.  His second book describes being put in a foster home and going No Contact.  I don't think there is a single person that would tell Dave Pelzer that it was wrong to go no-contact.  The state helped him do just that.  I found a way to stay in contact with my parents, not everyone has that option.  My opinion now is I have a moral/ethical/spiritual responsibility to keep myself safe from abusers, no matter how I am related.

What is 'no-contact' anyway?
I actually went no-contact for several months....moved away after I was married and for several months I didn't call, write or contact my parents in any way.  I liked it and then felt guilty for liking it.  Finally made contact which is to write, call, email, talk to or any form of communication with the other person.  The strictest form of no-contact was practiced often in the 1700's when children sailed to another country and their parents never saw them or heard from them again.  Now with computers shrinking the world and going to Alaska has Skype, effort is needed to cut off the other person.  No-contact is just that, no communication of any kind with the other person and talking to someone that knows the person is a form of communication since the other person becomes the relay.

How do I know if my parent has NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) or not? Who diagnoses that? And is there treatment for it? What's the success rate?
A psychologist or a psychiatrist does the diagnostic, good luck getting them in there in the first place.  I read a few treatment choices but again good luck on getting them to stick with it.  Success is hard to define.  I am a great believer that any one can change if they choose to, unfortunately part of the diagnoses of narcissistic is the belief that everyone else is the problem.  Which leaves how did I know?  I didn't when I was growing up.  My counselor started suspecting there was a problem because of the way I behaved and the stories I shared that I thought were 'normal' parent/child relationship.  My counselor wanted me to go no-contact for my emotional health.  There were reason that I won't go into that I chose not to and paid the price.  There are a few internet tests that you can read and try out.  But the eyeopener for me were upsi and mulderfan, my two heroes, that courageously shared their stories and I saw the similarities.  I was blessed with a sister that once we were able to reconnect after years of low contact due to wedges placed by nmother.  After I started counseling, my sister became my ally and we compared notes.  The results was a clearer picture than just one of us watching.  My sister gave me a card years ago showing two ginger bread cookies helping each other escape the cookie jar.  That is what we did, emotionally escaped the enmeshed narcissistic mess that kept us in the FOG fear/obligation/guilt.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Forgiveness - All about me

I am stating this up front that this is my opinion.  You may disagree with me, that's OK.  This is from several years of research, reading a couple of books, and many conversations with KavinCoach.  I knew because of my religious beliefs I needed to understand what forgiveness was and what it wasn't.  I learned that what I was taught as a child was a distortion. 

Forgive your mother....that is just the way she is, you have to love her.

Ugh! I couldn't do that.  It seemed all wrong.  Scriptures were thrown at me like well aimed darts that hurt.  I was confused by an incongruity of a loving Heavenly Father expecting me to suffer abuse.  I went with the gut feeling that what I was taught was missing key elements.

After my studies this is my perspective, imagine that someone gave you a ball with pins sticking out of it.  They told you that you had to hold that ball close to your heart, but you kept getting poked.   Finally, you recognize that the ball is painful and you put it down.  Being given that ball of pain is now in the past.  I could choose to hate and hold on to the hurt for the person that gave it to me.  Why would I want to give the person that gave me the pain the satisfaction of that much thought and feeling?  It takes energy and work to hang on to hate and hurt.  To me forgiving is deciding that it hurt, I set it aside, and I am free to go on with my life healing and repairing the damage but no longer feeling a need to hurl pin balls back at them or anyone else.  I stop playing the "I'm hurt so I hurt you back" game. 

Now, imagine the person giving you that ball of pins is a parent.  You set the ball down, they pick it up and hand it back to you telling you that you are only their child if you hold this ball of hurt.  This is no longer about the past.  This is about aggressive hurtful behavior now.   The parent doesn't want you to drop their ball of pain because it is more comfortable for them for the child to hold it.  However, now the child is an adult.  Adult children of abuse can continue to hold the pain or let it go.  To me, letting it go is forgiveness.  Protecting myself from further pain is my responsibility.  If my relationship with anyone, depends on me holding on to their pain, it is time to end that relationship for my safety.  Forgiving does not mean I embrace them or their ideas.  It means I recognize what they did was hurtful to me.  I set it aside, out of my life.  I don't spend any more energy or time trying to get them to take the hurt back nor change them.  Their pain is their problem not mine.  

My mother did many hurtful things to me growing up.  It is now in my past.  I recognize what she did to me is not acceptable.  She demonstrated repeatedly she has no intention of changing.  I forgave her for what she did.  Her actions no longer have power to hurt me.  I stepped away from the relationship.  I am never alone with her where she would have opportunity to hurt me again.  I am fortunate that she prefers to hurt me when no one else is around.  It is a clear cut criteria to keep myself safe.  Other people I met are not so easy to read.  If a hurtful person is in my life, I decide how close I wish to be.  Not associating with them is not about lack of forgiveness of things in the past.  Not associating with hurtful people is about protecting myself in the present. 

Forgiving for me is a slow process of healing from the inside out.  Protecting myself from more hurt speeds the process.  I set boundaries designed to protect me from others that hurt me.  I am thankful to NewCounselor teaching me the visual of gates and fences on a farm of how far you let a person into your space.  If they are marauding cattle rustlers, I keep them clear off my property.  I am not being unforgiving, I am protecting myself from current harm.  I now have an arsenal of scriptures that teach me the importance of protecting a city and that city is me.  I also met other bloggers that step away from people that hurt them.  Being a family member does not give them the right to inflict pain.  I became one of Kiki's Grizzlies.  No Grizzly bears are allowed in my life.  Look on the side bar down the page and you will find the link to no more grizzly bears.  I am finding and embracing the peace found in forgiveness and protecting myself. 

Don't need to hug a cholla to be forgiving.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Space between

"Don't be afraid of the space between
your dreams and reality. If you can
dream it, you can make it so."
- Belva Davis

Click Here For Success Tip # 017

KavinCoach asked me the simplest of questions...What do you want?
Years have passed since he asked me that question.  I stared blankly, afraid to consider the possibility that I could want something.  He waited...again he asked, What do you want?

I'm allowed to want something...he chuckled, you don't need permission.

He obviously did not grow up in the same house I did.

He reminded me, "You are no longer a do you want?"

I want to feel loved....I want to waste time and watch a sunset....I want to eat when I am hungry....and stop when I feel full...I want to blow bubbles with grandkids....I want to walk in the forest...I want to stroll on the beach at 4 AM before the sun comes up to heat things up.  Where chill nips at you but doesn't cut right though....I want to FLY....Finally Loving Yourself....I want to let go of the pain from my past and embrace the love of my present....I want to decide that I am enough.

There is not one thing on this list that I can't give myself now.  It is possible because I dreamed it.  Now it is happening... All the peace and love and happiness is right here with me now.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spider Lies

Spider Lies
by Emma

Please follow the link to Emma's amazing poem.  She put into words feelings and thoughts that I felt about narcissistic behavior.  My picture to go with her poem

By nature - they kill.

 Your So Vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Conflicted about Conflict

Last night was the conclusion of the class "Talk with Teens" by the school district I work at, 15 hours of awesomeness.  I suspect I was a bit more invested in what they were discussing.  Final night just blew me away. 

If you haven't attended school for awhile you might not be aware of a cool technique of brainstorming.  The put a word in the middle of a page then shoot off all sorts of things that you think about the word so here we go....


What kind of words or phrases would you write... A few that were listed...
You're in trouble now - Fighting- Raised voices - Negative feelings - Don't call the cops - Do call the cops (we had a diverse group) - blasting each other - distress and my thought was RUN AWAY NOW. 
 Then they asked for the feelings... Anger, frustration, Victory (there were some power people in the group that believed that conflict is all about the winning) hurt... you get the general idea.

Then they turned the page and asked, "What if you viewed conflict as something positive what would it look like?"  Hope, apology, friendship, understanding, resolution, empathy, compromise, move forward, respect, victory shared, actually talk, union, awareness.

Viewed this way what does conflict bring?  My mind tilted, I sat there writing as fast as I could trying to absorb this new positive view of conflict, an opportunity to share views and gain a greater understanding of each other.  Next conflict I come to I am going remind myself -

Do I want to be right or do I want to be understood?

*Just a note this idea would work with many people but not all people.  There are some people that just want to be right no matter how much damage it may cause.  There was more than once that KavinCoach would say, "This will work with everyone except...."  My response, "My mother."  But not everyone in the world is my mother so this perspective has a lot of potential to changing how I view conflict and hopefully reduce my desire to RUN at the first bit of tension.

New View...Inches away and unafraid.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keep moving

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
- John Wooden

Tonight I attended the third and final class on talking with teenagers. Wow just WOW.  There were a panel of 5 teenagers that came in to share their views as to why teenagers struggle with communicating with adults.  We had 3 weeks of talking on the subject.  They came in ranging from a freshmen to a senior; their prep was one letter giving them where to come and talk to almost 40 adults.  They were open.  Straight forward.  If you had ears to hear, they had plenty to say.  I came away with the feeling that I did better than I thought I had with my teenagers.  But the biggest tip all evening that they don't share what they are worried about unless you show some real tangible ways of caring about them.  The kids don't ask me things at school because they don't realize they can.  I need to put more of myself out there.  I may be rejected but how do they know I am interested in helping them unless I tell them?  There is some other cool stuff I got out of the class that I want to think over a bit more before I post.  I am super excited about new perspectives on old problems. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Begin where you are

"Everyone who got to where they are
had to begin where they were."
- Richard Paul Evans
Click Here For Success Tip # 069

I noticed on more than one occasion that I have a desire to skip steps.  I also noticed that when I tend to repeat a habit over and over God gives me opportunities to learn new ways of doing things.  I spent 14 years fixing computers.  I learned that not only is it important to do certain steps it can also be important with order I do them.  The advantage of hard drives is you can back them up somewhere, then wipe them clean only putting back the things that you know work.  Humans aren't like that.  You have to start were they are.  If pieces are missing, fill in the missing pieces.  If basic programing is faulty, you can't wipe the hard drive.  I gave it a good try but memories mostly forgotten still tripped me up.  Counseling taught me that sometimes things get worse before they get better.  I am thankful I did not give up during those times or I would have thought that counseling was a total waste.  First thing we did was figure out where I was.  Now I worked almost 10 years in counseling, I can look back at how far I have come.  I don't feel I arrived but I certainly feel like I moved from where I was.  I learned to unload some of the garbage I hauled with me, not realizing it was not a load I needed to carry.  I looked in the bag.  Saw it was a bunch of old junk.  Tossed it in the trash and moved on.  Step after step on my journey I had to figure out where I was before I could move on to where I wanted to be.  I remember taking my parents to visit a new house we were moving to in another city.  The second time I got lost my dad inquired if I knew where I was going.  Totally frustrated I exclaimed, "I know where I am going, I just don't know where I am."  Sure enough I found a street name, found it on the map, then drove to where I knew I was going.  Trying to skip a step was how I got lost.  Back on track, I am heading where I want to be.  I am excited by the journey.  Tonight I sat and savored that good feeling.  I am where I want to be right now with goals ahead and happy memories around me.  Yup it feels good.  Just want to sit here and enjoy it.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Perpetuating misery

If you hold on to false beliefs about yourself, others & the world, you put yourself in a small, enclosed box with no chance of escape except by letting go of these lies. Beliefs that you're inadequate, incompetent, unlovable, undeserving & doomed to failure & rejection will become self-fulfilling prophesies as you'll ignore any evidence to the contrary, due to the selective attention associated with false beliefs. You'll inadvertently recreate the fears & beliefs that you're carrying by unconsciously putting yourself in familiar, counter-productive situations & by unconsciously behaving in ways that provoke expected reactions. This is how false beliefs are self-perpetuating. The way to break free is to see that any beliefs which create & maintain misery couldn't possibly make sense & therefore couldn't possibly be true. You're no less worthy of love than anyone else & no more likely to fail. Guaranteed though, if you keep adhering to these false beliefs, they'll become your very unhappy "reality."
Henry Ford ~ If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

The human mind is born with a myriad of cells ready and willing to absorb information at an alarming rate.  I once argued with my brother telling him that a child will believe what you tell them.  He said that children understood make believe.  He gave the example of his son understanding that actors in the movie are just people in a costume.  My candid reply, "If you tell him he is stupid, will he believe you?"  There you have it, parents are entrusted with these tiny souls and in the child's eyes are the givers of all truth.  So how would a child know that they are not stupid or ugly or boring if that is what their parent told them?  Parents make choices everyday to say things to children that they would never say to another adult.  I actually heard one woman say, "They need to get used to it any way."  I was appalled and decided that we would not be friends.  Then I considered what I said to my children. I worked hard at making sure what I said would build them up and not tear them down.  Sometimes I felt like such a failure.  Now I look at these amazing adults that I love and felt some how I did something right, too.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me IF....

There is that tiny little word.  IF a child knows from his parents mouth that they have value and worth, then cruel words from stranger have no meaning since they already know who they are.  However, IF it is the parent that tears down the child from a young age, believing they are anything else is an uphill battle.  In the book a Child Called It, this is taken to the extreme.  His mother wouldn't even call him by his name.  When I started counseling, we started with the basics who are you?  I thought I knew. A woman that tries hard even though I wasn't the smartest but I worked hard.  My role care taker of the family.  My counselor asked me again who are you?  Again I give information about what I did for my job and other information.  KavinCoach shook his head, "I didn't ask what you did, I asked who are you?"  This is one of those times that I felt like I had fallen into Alice's rabbit hole and lost in a world of words that had no meaning to me.  My answer is a work in progress.  I didn't know when I started counseling that I would be faced with such difficult questions.  I realize now that part of the teenage experience is deciding, "Who am I?"  I knew in high school that there was a bit of a problem.  I took a class called "Search of Identity" which used literature to explore what identity meant.  I was fascinated and knew then that I didn't know the answer.  I left the class with more questions than answers.  I now know that there is a word for knowing who you are, individuation.  Great word meaning "the process by which social individuals become differentiated one from the other."  I think individuation is synonymous with teenager.  Unfortunately, my focus was on being what my parents expected of me, not who I thought I should be.  

Another tough question came on the heals of "Who are you?"  Then came "What do you want?"  What did I want?  I am still working on these questions.  Simple questions that seem like it will take me a life time to understand the answers.  

Growing in rocky places

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Adrenaline Junkie?

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."
- Ronald E. Osborn

Click Here For Success Tip # 043

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. Albert Einstein. 

One of the tough feelings combined with depression is feeling overwhelmed.  Routines, same-o same-o, what ever I had to do to keep one foot in front of another.  Something new and challenging was simply out of the question.  Lately, I noticed that I am spending hours playing a dumb video game.  What I noticed that I pit my skills against a computer.  My heart starts pounding I am sometimes sweating try to score higher points.  But the bottom line is I don't care.  Say what.  What am I after.  Over at Roots to Blossom I responded to this post:
 What I wrote blew me away:

weareonebyruth says:
I kept getting A’s because I expected to get more from the class than the teacher required. I learned that by getting ‘work down’ I could go play with photography. Then I made the mistake of trying to make my photography my work. Now I won’t touch my camera for days at a time. It is like I need something to play with. Something of my choosing that pushes me to the bleeding edge of what I know. When I was a computer tech, I didn’t need help until I needed to talk to an engineer but there was plenty of mundane stuff to do. Get the mundane out of the way so I could work on the really hard stuff that when I call tech support they tend to say, “Our program can do that?” Now I am in a job without this edgy challenge. I found a way to make it complicated for me. I grew up being told I was stupid. They never bothered with testing my IQ but I like challenges. I wonder if it is trying to figure out what to do with all my survival skills. I never considered the thought that I miss pitting my wits against my abuser. O dear, that is a scary thought. I am tempted to delete that last bit but maybe it will help someone. I may do a post on this. Thank you for a very thought provoking post.

The heart pounding fear that I used to experience from nightmares is gone.  I haven't felt that way in a long time.  I hadn't considered the possibility that I actually miss the serge of adrenaline needed to survive extreme conditions.  I hadn't considered the issue of becoming healthier I am bored and don't want to do mundane things like put things away, do the dishes, go to work....

I read about this type of thing in one of my many books on surviving abuse, the adrenaline rush addiction.   I thought, "I am not a big risk taker, this isn't a problem for me."  Then I reminded myself how many times I push back the time I should leave for work so I have to really focus on driving through rush hour to get there on time.  I had no idea.  I learned that 90% of solving a problem is defining it.  This time I need to decide what type of problem is it and do I just need to redirect this newly recognized need for an adrenaline rush?  Nope, bungee jumping and sky diving are not going on the list of things to do.  However, I just rented hotel room to spend a couple of days next month on an extended photoshoot, just for fun.

On the edge


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nonviolent communication

 Lifebegins45 caught my attention with this title.  I followed the link she posted to a video.  I was introduced to Jackal speak and giraffe speak.  I was intrigued enough to follow the next link and the next.  I now have his book on my list of things to read.  I also booked marked his videos for me to go back and review.  I leaned through counseling that to change my thinking I can change my behavior.  I change how I talk to myself and others; I will change how I feel about myself and others.

Dingos cousins to Jackals.

Friday, September 14, 2012

40 assets continued

Comments on yesterday's post led me to write today's post.  Most people that follow my blog I suspect will all rate low on the list of things as assets for teenagers.  If you are in a family with a narcissistic parent or 2, love, boundaries, integrity and several others on the list were either scarce or non-existent.  What I thought was amazing was 3/4 of them are 100% under my control now.  Where I was challenged, I didn't know where to begin.  I first heard about boundaries in a marriage class before I started counseling.  This one issue was the main subject that pushed me into counseling.  I was resistant.  I received a lot of negative and inaccurate information about counseling.  Now I have 9 years of counseling experience from 2 excellent counselors.  The list and our discussion in the class was like hearing all the things I worked on condensed into one page.  It was like WOW.  I suspect that if I had this class before counseling I would have sagely nodded my head but didn't have a clue.  Boundaries.  I love them.  I actually used them with my kids without any understanding of why it was important.  I am thankful for NewCounselors visual description of fences with gates like what is encountered on a farm.  Those fences are designed to keep things in as well as out.  But with safe others I can open the gates and let them in.  Not so safe others, I keep certain boundaries for my protection.  I am excited by this list because when I feel stumped as to what I need to work on to improve my life I can refer to this list for areas I want to improve.  I guess I am sick and tired of hearing how a great childhood builds the foundation for a happy life.  I had a lousy childhood, where is the fairness that I should be doomed to a gloomy and depressed life.  I am reclaiming my life.  I am choosing a different route.  I am sorry that my parents had lousy childhoods but destroying mine does not improve theirs.  I can not change the past but looking at that list counseling taught me that I have just about 100% control over my future.  I will still get curve balls thrown at me.  Frustration, hurt, disappointment will enter my life but now I have a whole arsenal of tools used to approach relationships and challenges of life.  I am learning that happiness is not reserved for the elite that had a loving secure childhood.  I am going after the joy in life and plan to take my husband and children with me.  I am blessed to learn that my past does not define me.  I can rewrite my future since it is not set in stone.  I can learn from my past and hopefully bless others along the way.  I can develop these assets in my life.  Sometimes I will stumble.  Sometimes I will be discouraged.  That is OK.  No rules against it.  I will keep becoming the person that I envision for myself.   


Thursday, September 13, 2012

40 Assets for youth works for adults too

Henry Ford
One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.

I had another class last night for learning to Talk to Teenagers.  It was a lot tougher but I also was given another list.  What is cool is I decided that this list would work for adults too.  It is actually copy righted so I can't just post the list but here is the link:

This list shares 40 assets for being a healthy teenager...mulling it over I think it would be helpful to anyone wanting to be emotionally healthy. 

I did notice that I was lacking many things on this list.  However, I always wondered why I survived when others did not.  Caring and Service were listed as 2 of the forty assets.  Nice thing about these, I have 100% control over how I care or the service I give.  When my little sister was born 5 years younger than me, I took my mother's charge that I take care of her very seriously.  I felt I had a strong purpose.  I gave service and cared for others.  I hadn't considered doing these things an asset. 

Another one is time to read things that you enjoy.  Since working on counseling I read hundreds of books but only Harry Potter for fun.  I can control this.  I can decide how much time I spend reading just for fun.  My choice my decision. 

I can't control a lot of those things on the list.  I can not control my parents or get them to give me what I need from them.  Haven't succeeded in over 50 years, things are such that it will be highly unlikely to happen now. I can set healthy boundaries which are also on the list.  I would be interested in hearing what caught your attention about the list of 40 assets. 

Picking up pieces

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Changing over the years

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain

My sister, Judy is my inspiration.

I help teachers in a high school.  The students there were between 2 and 6 years old when 9/11 riveted everyone to their TVs to watch the tower tumble again and again.  Last night I watched a documentary on the History Channel.  It is now history.  That day I watched the reaction of a room full of people in the computer lab every monitor played some version of the same thing over and over all day.  I watched people gasp in horror.  That was the day that I understood that I felt nothing.  I watched but felt no sorrow, no sadness, no horror, no empathy.   That day, I knew something was wrong with me.  I was able to blame the fact that I just learned I had cancer the week before.  A week later when People magazine did a special on the people that stepped up to help each other I read every page and the tears finally fell.  By then, cancer had dropped from a life tragedy to an annoyance.  It was the day my eyes were opened to myself.  I went through cancer surgery and then started to pay attention to how I was living and was not happy with what I saw.  I moved through life just surviving.  It was several more years before I started counseling but by then I was into photography and the class assignments pushed me to explore things that I long ignored.  A project on self portraiture shook me up.  I had a roll of pictures that I had no idea where the pictures came from but I knew no one used my camera accept me.  I created pictures and displayed them on a mobius strip  It is the only one sided shape in the world but you can only see part of it at time.  People were fascinated by the project; I was stunned.  Where did all this come from?  What had I done?  I turned the key to unlock my mind.  Eleven years later, I spent most of that time in counseling.  All six of my kids are married.  We now have nine grand children under the age of 8 with another one having her debut around Christmas.  I integrated.  I changed jobs.  I woke up to living.  I declared my independence from my parents.  I am learning to dream.  I turned myself inside out and upside down to bring the pieces together.  Last night in the class talking to teens the teacher read off different things kids faced from adults.  We were asked if that happened to any of us.  Ridiculed, hit, belittled, the list went on and on and I kept standing up.  On one of them I looked down the row and I was the only one standing, I couldn't bring myself to turn around to see if anyone else was standing.  But out of a row of 15 people I was the only one standing.  Then I realized she barely brushed the surface of the stuff of my childhood.  Writing this I realized, against all odds, I stood my ground.  Took me hours to settle down last night, but watching the special on the History channel once again grounded me to the understanding that horrific things can happen and we can go on with our lives or take a stand and make a difference.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lest we Forget...


"It is our choices...that show what we
truly are, far more than our abilities"
- J. K. Rowling

Every day I am thankful I chose to get counseling.  Yesterday, on Suicide awareness day I wore yellow and "Love" written on my wrist.  I thought about the people I learned about that committed suicide.  The loss.  The feeling of guilt that some how I should have been able to do something.  Then I reflected on how I wouldn't allow anyone near me when I felt so low.  I closed off and isolated myself.  I shut down and shut my thoughts in.  Could I have actually been able to help?  I don't know.  I know at my darkest hour there was me and my faith in God and wondering how I would explain to Christ why I thought life was too tough and I shouldn't be alive.  Finally, the determination if I thought so little of myself that I could end my life, then the pedophile won.  He would laugh in his grave that he destroyed me from his tomb.  Funny how a dose of anger pushed me to turn around and choose living.  Sometimes the toughest decision is the one to truly live.  Not a numbed half life, but a jump up and down and move around to show you are alive.  I am thankful for the emails from NewCounselor that helped me think through what I am feeling.  Yesterday, I was not depressed.  I felt sad at a terrible loss of each life.  I felt peace with my grieving.  I imagined each one in the "Hollow of His Hands."  He will know what to do with their pain.  This world is designed to inflict pain...doubt it? Step off a chair and you will hit the ground hard.  No one is left out of something that twists their heart...It is what you do with the experience that makes all the difference.

Light in the darkness

Counseling made a difference. I chose to change.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Never Give UP

Quote of the day: "You just can't beat the person who never gives up" Babe Ruth

 ***May be triggering for some people.*** 

Suicide Awareness Day is a world wide effort to bring attention to an epidemic that spans the world.

I first contemplated suicide in high school.  I remember feeling a darkness that would fill my soul and block all hope.  Usually at night, alone. Darkness of night crept into my mind until all light but the slightest pinprick was left.  Morning would come and with it, hope.  During these years I expressed my concern about feeling sad.  This was met with ridicule, how dare I be sad when I had so much to be thankful for.  By high school, my mind had already wiped out memories of my childhood.  I couldn't disagree with no evidence.  I lived in affluent neighborhood.  I went to a good school.  I had clothes to wear and food to eat.  I learned quickly to hide my darker feelings.  I also learned to hide my feelings from my friends.  They felt bothered by some of my dark moods.  I hid from family and friends.  Switching in a split second, I could draw up what ever face required.  I didn't even know that I did this.  I asked my parents about some of the milder feelings I had.  Mother's airy, "You are just like every other teenager exaggerating your feelings."  None of my friends talked about having feelings like mine.  I hid them.  I felt shamed by them.  I felt undeserving of living.  Talk of suicides at schools was just beginning in the 70's.  Viet Nam underscored that life was not all sweetness and light of a vapid TV show.  However, a girl in comfortable circumstances had no right to complain. 

Years passed, I secretly battled this secret obsession...always sitting on the fringe of my mind.  Bringing children into this world heightened my need for suppressing dark thoughts.  Mostly I did with the hustle and bustle of raising children.  When my husband went on the road for one of his jobs, I was once again, alone at night.  The darkness slipped back into my mind taking a larger and larger effort to suppress and beat back.  Sleeping became difficult.  The physical symptoms increased of PTSD, I had no name for it, I called it my shadow warrior that could beat me up and leave me unconscious.  My health deteriorated.  I couldn't care for my family.  The thought insinuated into my mind that I first heard from my mother, the world would be a better place without me.  I battled the feeling, for years.  I chose counseling because my thoughts of suicide were gaining an upper-hand, but I felt too much shame to share my horrid thoughts.  I hoped that some how counseling would help me communicate my fears and concerns to my husband and all would be right in my world.  Counseling didn't work out quite that way.  Instead of saving me from the dark thoughts, KavinCoach taught me to stand and face them.  I didn't surprise my counselor often but he was surprised when he realized that my motivation was I loved my family, I was a burden so in my black and white thinking, I had a responsibility to remove the burden, me.  His reaction reminded me a bit of the scrambling that occurs when a dog is running full tilt only to realize at the last second that the open door is closed.  KavinCoach sat back and thought.  The problem was different than he expected.  He needed to teach me that I had value and worth.  Task was difficult as the memories from my childhood ripped through the illusion that I was raised was an illusion created to survive.  I dug deep and learned that never giving up was my first step to learning to thrive.  I was lied to, I did not deserve to die.    

Suicide sometimes believed to be the last choice.  This is another lie.  In today's world, there are help phone lines, shelters, and other places that will reach out.  Suicide touches just not their own life but the lives they least expect.  If a friend speaks of suicide, don't dismiss it.  However, hard to stop someone truly determined.  I watched a life shatter because she couldn't understand why her love was not enough to keep her boyfriend from committing suicide.  I would have lost out on so much if I gave into those dark thoughts.  Please, suicide is never a choice that leads anywhere.  If you are contemplating suicide, give yourself another chance, you are worth it. 

In the United States call

Call us 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Does Forgiveness equal Reconciliation?

"An old man said "Erasers are made for those who make mistakes." A youth replied "Erasers are made for those who are willing to correct their mistakes!!" Attitude matters!!.. "

Forgiveness is a topic I review time and time again.  This question in the search keywords caught my attention, "Does Forgiveness equal Reconciliation?" I decided it was an appropriate Sunday subject.  I knew for me that one of the important steps to healing is forgiveness.  I was taught a warped meaning of forgiveness.  I experienced people that were telling me I was unforgiving for complaining about being hurt.  I was told to forgive and forget but the abuse didn't stop.  If the person hurting you is demanding your forgiveness, chances are that they want to feel comfortable without changing their behavior.  I have done a lot of research.  KavinCoach was impressed with the notebook I created that contained articles and scriptures outlining both unhealthy and healthy forgiveness.  In my opinion, forgiveness is a step towards reconciliation IF....
      I have processed the hurt, anger and other emotions attached to the problem.
     The person has shown by their behavior, not just words, that they are choosing to change
     I feel comfortable with the idea of continuing the relationship.

Here are some examples:
I am working on fully forgiving the pedophile, however, if he were still alive there is noway I would consider keeping a relationship with him.  I am working on forgiving NM.  She chose not to change (most narcissistic do not see the need to change), I am working at a low contact relationship with the idea of backing off any time I feel the need.  Others in my life have hurt me, they apologized, I worked through how I felt, forgave them and worked at rebuilding a strong and loving relationship.

In my opinion, me forgiving a person has nothing to do with what the other person does.  It only has to do with my need to process a hurt.  Forgiving, to me, lets me move on since I no longer need to process my feelings or think about the other person any more.  Reconciliation is very dependent on the other person's behavior.  If they treat me the same way, after I tell them that they are hurting me, there is no need for me to seek reconciliation.  I finally understand that I am responsible for keeping me safe.  Part of keeping me safe is keeping a distance from those that choose to harm me.  Reconciliation is reserved for those that desire a safe caring relationship as much as I do. 

I appreciate forgiveness since more than once (many times) I needed to ask forgiveness.  I also believe that if I want the person I hurt to continue to have a relationship with me, I need to check in with them to make sure that we can build a safe caring relationship that is good for them too.  I believe in forgiveness being a gift you give to yourself.  Reconciliation is a gift of a caring healthy relationship. 

*Using the search space on my page type in the word forgiveness.  This one also addresses forgiveness and reconciliation:

Reconciliation comes after forgiveness.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Walking beside

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.  
Albert Camus

Friday, September 7, 2012

Are PTSD and Dissociation the same?

One of the interesting things about checking blog stats is that the search that brought people to my blog is recorded.  Most of the time it is just random searches for quotes I posted or other stuff but this question I thought needed an answer.

Are PTSD and Dissociation the same?  Short answer, no.

Just so happens that I am reading a book on PTSD. (Coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Guide for Families, by Cheryl A. Roberts*)  Before integration I thought that healing the splits, extreme dissociation, would heal the PTSD.  Shock waves rocked my world when I realized after integration that dissociation into multiple personalities was how I coped with PTSD.  Roberts cites the DSM IV indicating that the diagnosis is built on 3 criteria re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal.  The experience triggering PTSD must be "a real or perceived threat to his or her life, or witness an event that threatens a life of another." The symptoms are not considered unless they last longer than a month and interfere with other aspects of living. Dissociation is an emotional avoidance of events that involves memory loss and a sense of being detached.  For a more technical definition you can check out this link: 

I figure it this way.  Dissociation is one of the symptoms of PTSD.  However, dissociation can occur without PTSD.  Also not all people suffering from PTSD also experience equal levels of dissociation.

In my opinion, PTSD and Dissociation overlap in many ways but in the DSM IV they are each distinctly their own disorder.  Ironically for me, dissociation was how I survived PTSD.  Healing the dissociation left me emotionally exposed to PTSD.  I can look back with interest to realize that dissociation also kept me from healing from PTSD.  Dissociation was a blessing and a curse.  My deepest sympathies to anyone suffering from either.