Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How I think, becomes who I am...

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

 My thoughts are many times dark scary place.  Allowing myself to remember the ugly dark loathsome places struck fear in my heart that I would become what my past was.  Power of choice taught me that my past does not define me.  A single thought does not define me.  I am like a pointillism art, a single picture built up with a bazillion little dots.  So how I am, is a culmination of all my thoughts and the ones I embrace become me.   (Pointillism  I actually created one of these in my art class.  The fine tip ink pen poking the page over and over and over until an image appeared from a faintest of appearance until repetition darkened the image.  It was one of the hardest pictures I created.  Purifying my thoughts requires me to bring them out in the open.  Exam the garbage and pitch the unneeded.  I also learned that if the same thought persists over and over that I need to pay attention and find out the source of the discomfort or importance of the particular thought.  I am now understanding that good and bad thoughts push for my attention.  I think the legend told by the old grandfather is appropriate:
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.  He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.  One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.  The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."  The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"  The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Not a wolf but the closest picture I have. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Become the observer

8. Become the observer of your own life.

Say What?  Wait a minute.  I worked long and hard to stop being an observer only.  It is called dissociation and at an extreme levels detrimental to my personal and emotional life.  Slam on breaks, screech, AAAAAAGGGGHHHH.

Let me rethink this.  If a person does not dissociate at an extreme level but steps back and observes their own behavior and evaluates what choices are available this is not the same as dissociation.  I believe that PuposeFairy does not mean to disconnect from all emotions and past.  I think the meaning intended is putting a little distance for a short time and pay attention to all the different nuances that are pushing and pulling to get attention and effecting my emotions.  Different then what I did when I dissociated. Sometimes when I read an article or post I need to think about different perspectives.  My over reaction to hot buttons I need to step back and evaluate, is my reaction reasonable to the situation?  I think journal writing assists in doing this in a healthy way.   KavinCoach spent a lot of time teaching me to slow down my knee jerk emotional reaction to many things.  He wanted me to pay attention to what emotions were coming into the situation.  Observe if the event is tripping any triggers.  NewCounselor encouraged me to sit with my emotions to absorb their meaning and impact.  After observing how I feel, work out how I want to react to the situation.  When I first did this, it would take weeks and sometimes a couple of counseling sessions.  Now, I can figure things out much faster.  A couple of days and I can usually get a clue.  I am starting to see that step 8 has real value when done in a healthy nurturing frame of mind.  Sometimes a statement is not what I think it means.  I benefit from rereading the same information more than once.  Deep breath....what am I doing? my reaction reasonable?...does my behavior reflect the person I want to be?   I can be an observer of my own life without detaching so completely that I loose my humanity.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Keep a Journal

7. Keep a Journal

I kept a journal from high school until I had my first child.  I would sporadically journal about big events like births or weddings.  Sometimes I found what I wrote empty...not real, like something was missing.  I didn't know it at the time, but something was missing, the rest of the story.  I stopped writing in my journal for many years.  When I was in counseling, KavinCoach recommended that I start again.  It was hard.  Things came out in my writing that I didn't say in sessions.  I was afraid of what I might write.  My journal became emails to him.  Then in time, my writing evolved to writing this blog.  I sometimes wonder if I also need to write in a journal again those things that I don't share here.  Writing is one avenue of exploring my own internal landscape.

PS.  I accidentally pushed post instead of save yesterday before this post was ready.  The only thing I could do was delete it until I finished writing it.  Computers are so unforgiving.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quiet, be quiet

6. Take time to be Quiet

Purposefairy and I look at quiet differently.  She sees it as a way to speed up your day.
"Solitude, contemplation, meditation helps speed up things, helping you attract more of the things you love and need at a faster rate, because you see, just like Aristotle said it, Contemplation is the highest form of activity."

My perspective is meditation, solitude, contemplation, prayer allows me to slow down for just a moment.  My upbringing demanded that I was constantly doing.  A list of tasks met me everyday and if I was sitting quietly than I needed more tasks.  The hectic hubbub of modern living is race to this, run to that, plug in the head phones with constant noise, TV blaring, commercials demanding, noise and more noise everywhere.  I do not need my life sped up any more than it is right now.  Another aspect is quiet solitude is fairly new to me.  Before integration, inside myself was never quiet.  The constant internal chatter could be deafening. I used music, TV, or any other sound to drown out the cacophony of my own mind.  Integration coincided with my ability to find quiet.  Very spooky at first, similar to the silence the day after Mount St. Helen's exploded and spread ash across the state of Washington.  We lived in Spokane at the time.  The TV informed us to stay in doors with a $500 fine if you got on the freeway.  We went outside, not a bird chirped, not a dog bark, the freeway was silent, we whispered outside for fear of breaking the silence.  Solitude, alone, quiet.

5 - 10 minutes a day to sit quietly.  Listen to my heart beat.  Listen.  Years ago a speaker talked about prayers not being answered.  He proposed the idea that we do not take the time to listen.  He suggested that the next time I prayed that I then sit quietly to give God a chance to tell me what I need to know.  At the time, I couldn't comprehend... a lot has changed since that long ago speech.  Quiet time on the freeway in slow moving traffic I turn off the radio and allow the quiet to cloak my mind.  In the quiet, the still small voice can whisper to me.
 1 King 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Five to ten minutes a day be quiet...listen...still small voice.  

Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God:

It is in the quiet of my mind that I find peace.  If I pray for an answer, do I take the time to listen for the answer?  If I hear an answer, do I apply it in my life?

Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

I know that sometimes I don't want to listen. I don't want the answer... wait, not right now, are you really ready for this answer?   Contemplation is an opportunity for me to listen to the whisperings of the still small voice.  Sometimes what He has to say is hard for me to hear.  Time to be quiet.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Student driven learning

I want to comment on my comments about Maria Montessori.  Many people think of Montessori schools as kind of New Ageish with cool toys.  Some of the Montessori schools are just old school thinking with her cool toys.  What I came away with feeling about Maria Montessori was what I call student driven learning.  I use it when I teach photography, Photoshop, sewing, and computers.  I ask the student what do they want to learn.  Montessori, from what I pulled out of what I read, believed that if we create an environment rich with opportunities to learn than students want to learn and know more.  KavinCoach treated my counseling this way.  Every week he would ask, "What do you want to talk about?"  I think this is what attracts me to the bloggers I read, they want to learn.  Much of my childhood years were in an adult directed world telling me what I must learn or I won't be a good person and make money.  Sad thing was I tried to stuff myself in that triangle hole and I just never fit or wanted to fit.  I sometimes wonder if I had taken the classes in high school that I wanted to take instead of the classes my parents demanded I take, how my life would be different.  I tried with my own children to pay attention and see what they were interested in doing and provide ways for them to do it.  I still remember talking to one son that was getting very creative with making his lunches.  I asked him if he wanted to be a chef and do more cooking for dinner.  Interesting how taking time to listen you learn something quite different.  His answer, "No Mom, kids are stealing lunches and if I put pickles in my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, they won't steal mine."  I loved learning how creatively he solved a problem at school.  He did confess that he learned to like his sandwich with pickles.  No, he was not interested in being a chef.  We live in a world rich with opportunities to learn new perspectives.  Some people go out and explore and discover and grow.  Others feel threatened and pull back and hold real still and if you don't move they won't hurt you thinking.  I have done both.  I appreciated KavinCoach giving me the opportunity to grow in my own direction.  He suggested things for me to learn but stepped back and let me try even when I would fall flat on my face, he would let me try again and again and again.  I think he sometimes wondered why I kept trying but I knew in my heart that I had stood still trying not to be hurt long enough.  I was in a very deep hole, took along time to get out.

Thank you everyone that has left comments this week.  Due to outside draws on my attention, I haven't commented back.  I do appreciate everyone that takes the time to read my blog.  I started out thinking if just one other person learned something then it was worth the effort.  Now I am seeing that many others are reading and I feel humbled by the interest and the many kind comments.  Thanks.   

Holding still doesn't always protect you from being noticed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Acknowledge the Self

5. Acknowledge the Self
Oh Boy.  This one is complex for me.  The first stumbling block for me is using the word 'Always.'  I struggle with anything that has no margin for error.  Humans are born to err.  It seems to be our task from toddlers falling down to CEOs crashing down.  Humans are not always loving, peaceful, and certainly not always forgiving.  Part of the terror of my childhood was the possiblitity I would make the slighest mistakeKavinCoach was quite surpised at the extremely high levels of anxiety I felt over the simplest mistakes.  He spent a lot of time reviewing this concept that part of the human condition was to not 'always' be anything.  I will, however, acknowledge that I am not defined by my past or other people.  I acknowledge that I define myself.  I started counseling clueless of this self knowledge.  I did have a clue that people have no understanding of the nature of children.  I wanted to be a good mother, by my definition.  I started out by studying about children.  I tried experiments to test my theory.  (I did come to the conclusion that a first born child quite likely deserves some compensation for being the first guinea pig.)  When our oldest son was still in a high chair, he leaned over and dropped his spoon.  He thought it terribly funny.  I heard how short a child's attention span was so I decided to play drop-the-spoon until he was tired of it.  After 45 minutes, I could stand no more and got him out of his chair to do something else.  Mind you in the entire 45 minutes, he did not cease dropping the spoon or finding it very funny.  I learned that adults have a very short attention span and children honestly tell you that they are not interested in the first place.  In my studies, I came across a book by Maria Montessori.  Most of the writings about her focus on her use of manipulatives to open a child's exploration.  She taught me several things.  She pointed out that most people raise their child through punishment.  A child does something, the parent doesn't like it, so punishes the child to extinguish the behavior.  Maria suggested that if you plan to give a child a dresser drawer to put clothes in then it was the responsiblity of the adult to teach the child to open and close the drawers properly.  Her description of children totally blew me away; as I recall she suggested that children were wanting to mimic adults, cheerful, giving, hard working, cooperative, and many other things that describe the exact opposite of 3 foot monsters that TV and some cultures imply.  I read some of the later books about her and never again found the quote that I felt was so mind shaking.  I tried to follow her concepts but mostly dropped back into ways than I learned, unfortunately.   
A few of her quotes that I like:
"Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking about came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: Would you not think I was romancing? Well just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love."
" Social grace, inner discipline and joy. These are the birthright of the human being who has been allowed to develop essential human qualities. "
" Our aim is not merely to make the child understand, and still less to force him to memorize, but so to touch his imagination as to enthuse him to his innermost core. "
" A child needs freedom within limits. "
" No one can be free if he is not independent... "
" The children have shown love of work which no one suspected to be in them, and a calm and an orderliness in their movements, which surpassing the limits of correctness have entered into those of 'grace.' The spontaneous discipline and obedience which is seen in the whole class, constituted the most striking results of our method. "
" The secret of good teaching is to regard the child's intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination. "
" A child is mysterious and powerful; And contains within himself the secret of human nature. "
I am very enthusiastic about Maria.  She taught starting around 1907.  I believe that she set the foundation of radical editucational changes.  I acknowledge that I like this self that Maria describes, curious, hardworking, independent, intelligent with a birthright of joy. I acknowledge I am capable of being that self.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peel off the mud

4. Peel off the mud

This to most people would be a 'DUH' statement.  Totally self evident is to peel off the mud in your life to make it better.  For me, when I started counseling, I went to learn how to communicate better with DH.  I didn't need counseling for me, I just needed to learn how to communicate better.  My counselor turned to me and asked, "Tell me about your childhood." I answered, "It was great, we went to the park and the zoo."  He told me I needed to peel off the mud and look at my life.  I assured him I had a great childhood and there was no mud in my life.  He didn't call me a liar.  He knew the mud was all I knew.  KavinCoach led me to the RED PILL and let me decide if I wanted to take it or not.  I fought him every inch of the way.  I exhausted myself fighting and wanting to scream there was nothing wrong with my childhood.  Took me finally admitting I was encased in mud to start the process of peeling off the mud.  Counseling turned my world inside out and upside down....No that isn't quite right.  I was all ready upside down and turned inside out, my counselor challenged me to turn myself over and clear a way the mud.  He wouldn't tell me I had to do this or that.  He would give me the information I needed so I would look at all the mud I was surrounded in and I would ask him, "How do I get out of this mess?"  At first, I wanted DH and everyone around me to change then my life would be better.  KavinCoach taught me, and I finally believed, I could only change myself and every where I looked there was mud in my life.  I was raised in it.  I brought it with me into my marriage and where ever I went.  I acknowledged the adults in my life dumped all sorts of mud all over me while I was growing up.  It didn't matter how, when or who dumped the mud on me.  What matter was did I want to get out?  Did I want to peel off years of caked on mud?  Was I willing to change my life completely from what I knew growing up?  Was I willing to see the truth and see that my life was a mess?  Humbling to go to marriage counseling and finding out, I was the problem.  I felt humiliated, shame, discouragement, suicidal from learning that I was a mess and spread my mess.  KavinCoach reassured me over and over again that there was a lovely human being waiting inside the encased mud just waiting to get out.  He would help me.  He did, for seven and a half years, then he moved.  I freaked out terrified that I couldn't live in this weird new world that was so different from my childhood.  He didn't chastise me.  He didn't tell me to grow up.  He didn't make me feel small.  He introduced me to his good friend and colleague, NewCounselor.  It was a rocky start because NewCounselor was thrown in at the deep end of the pool with me facing a monster trigger.  His style was quite different from KavinCoach.  He was awesome.  I was afraid.  He taught me more new ways to look at my life and how to live it.  He challenged me to live.  He encouraged me to sit with my emotions.  He helped me see and use the tools taught to me by KavinCoach.  He gave me more tools.  I was blessed to have two very different yet very amazing counselors.  I took a sledge hammer to the encasement of mud.  I pounded through walls of mud until I came out into the sunshine.  Yea.  Peel off the mud.  It is a beautiful place out here, out of the mud.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

EGO, I have one?

3. Transcend The EGO
Fascinating challenge for me. In this article the EGO is the false self.  My life as a multiple personality gave me several selves and several EGOs to go with them.  I learned this the hard way.  (I learn a lot of things the hard way.)  Shortly after I learned I functioned as a multiple personality,  KavinCoach asked me which one was real.  For weeks, he had tried to get me pissed off but I kept switching and dodging anything that remotely felt like anger.  This time he jumped on my anger button without intending to, the internal explosion was massive.  However, on the outside I withdrew from interacting with him until the following week.  I then went on to explain that all my personalities were real.  We were all vital to my existance.  I was fully integrated before I finally understood the 'false' self.  Sinced I switched when stressed, the false self or EGO was rarely used.  I didn't need to.  

Side note:  This is from Wikipedia about EGO "It is said, however, that the ego seems to be more loyal to the id, preferring to gloss over the finer details of reality to minimize conflicts while pretending to have a regard for reality.",_ego_and_super-ego

Transcend is an interesting word that I explored ever since reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull in high school.   In this article, I believe the meaning of transcend is defined by Free Dictionary: "3. To exist above and independent of (material experience or the universe): "One never can see the thing in itself, because the mind does not transcend phenomena" (Hilaire Belloc)."

My understanding of the phrase is to live above my 'false' self.  I understand this to mean to take the RED PILL, live in truthI started this journey a long time ago.  Slow going until I integrated.  I still have rough patches from time to time when fantasy would like to take over.  Staying connected and real makes a big difference to me.  

Capturing Reality

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

He loves me

Self approval and my relationship with Christ.

****This may be triggering for some people.****

Religion plays a big role in my life and how I feel about myself.  The journey was not easy.  Complicated by people that used religious knowledge to twists things around to hurt me and compound my suffering with projected guilt.  I learned a few things from these pseudo religious type. 

When there is chest beating and pointing to the Honor thy Father and Mother, they forget about:
Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
 Lev. 19:29  Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.
Matt 18:6  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

When they demand forgiveness, they forget about:
 Psalm 38:18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
 Lev. 6:4 Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,
Matt 3:8-10
 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Sometimes they will use one verse and neglect to read the second verse:
Matt 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The mote and the beam is totally ignored:
Matt 7:3 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

If their forgetting thing isn't enough, new scriptures are made up to suit themselves:
'Cleanliness is next to godliness' is not in the Bible and does not refer to house work.  

I am also amazed by those that declare they know the mind of God:
"God would not be happy with you for doing that...."  I am now in the mind set of asking, "Did He talk to you recently?"  

For many years, I would not read my scriptures because of the distortions used to hurt and humiliate me.  However, I never forgot the Lord.  I knew He was mindful of me.  Recently, I started reading them again with a direct purpose of understanding His perspective on abuse and recovery.  The picture I took of the mine shaft reminds me there is no place so deep that my Savior can not find me and pull me back in His fold.  He loves me and searches the Earth to find me and bring me home to Him.  When they share the story of Him leaving the 99 to look for the one I don't envision Him coming back all neat and tidy with a lily white lamb. My view is Christ coming back scratched and tattered with a triumphant smile and a ragged filthy lamb that He cleans and heals until no evidence of damage is left. In my own understanding, I feel Christ's approval of my progress.  My own self approval is based on my belief that I am meeting His standard. 

There is no hole so deep that Christ can not find me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Why Worms?

“A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person”

 Dave Barry quotes (American Writer and Humorist best known for his weekly newspaper column. b.1947)

Yesterday's post I shared the day KavinCoach talked to me about moving worms off the sidewalk after it rains.  Comments came in that people were either ridiculed or didn't know the significance of rescuing worms.  I actually spent almost an entire session discussing worm rescues.  Why was this significant?

KavinCoach pointed out that how we treat those that can not repay or benefit us in anyway indicate what type of person we are by nature.  Confusing part for ACoNs is the narcissistic parents are often charming to waiters, or almost anyone except their children.  I didn't understand that all people were source for the type of approval craved by narcissistics.   So KavinCoach used the examples of worms because worms did not give what Ns need and many subjects were high trigger areas for me.  We talked about how different people I encountered as a child would treat worms caught out of the ground after it rains.  Most people would step around them or ignore them.  Some people would actually step on them and a few compassionate people would gently pick them up and put them safely back in the soil.  It is a gesture of an unsung hero to protect those that can not protect themselves.  I first saw this comment on a poster with a man's hand holding a baby bunny: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” ~ Forbes  I struggled with knowing who the bad guys were in my life.  The Stockholm Syndrome affected my perception of people in my childhood. I felt confused because I thought of myself as bad and my abusers behavior understandable because of my badness.  KavinCoach used the example of saving the worms to help me see who was messed up in my childhood.  I learned, it wasn't me.

Photograph By Golnar Motevalli, I can't find who put together the Honor poster.  Found it on multiple sites including Snopes someone trying to see if it is photochopped.  The picture is real.  The thought rocked my perception of my childhood.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Self approval

2. Practice Self Approval
This step was/is very difficult for me. I struggle with even accepting myself.  Several things influence this:
• Most parents feel it is their responsibility to not only have a child but to civilize them.  A process of teaching what is acceptable in society and what is not.  Unfortunately, this is usually done through punishments. (I admire Maria Montessori for attempting to change this type of parenting.)
• Narcissistic parents can not give approval to their children since an engulfing narcissistic the child is an extension of themselves.  A child gaining approval threatens their ability to control the child.  Compliment may happen but...  Yup, there is always a but... or some other follow up that takes the form of some correction.
• The child must not take the attention from the parent in a narcissistic home.
• Abusers blame the victim for their behavior.  "You made me mad." "You wanted me to touch you." "If you were better, I wouldn't treat you this way."  Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse are all blamed on the victim.  If the victim was 'good' these things wouldn't happen.   

From a very young age, I was told repeatedly that suffering/punishment was my fault for being 'bad.' Part of my dissociation identity disorder revolved around separating the 'bad' part of me from the 'good' part.  The first break occurred around 5 years old when I was sexually brutally molested.  The fragmented child part kept the memories from those events isolated from the rest of me.  Ruthy the child secret keeper was terrified to release her memories back to knowledge to me.  She kept the secrets for 40 years.  She didn't believe I could cope with the information of how "bad I really was."  Part of the thinking of a small child is that they cause everything that happens.  If that natural thinking is reinforced by abusive adults the affect is devastating.  Many years of my counseling were spent recounting and accepting that what I remember was true.  The next step was KavinCoach trying to convince me that it was not my fault and I did do the best I could given the circumstances.  Early on in counseling KavinCoach would praise me at the end of each session.  He would tell me I was doing well.  I did great.  I accomplished a lot during the session.  I would wait for the but..... It didn't happen.  I think my expression spoke eloquently that I thought he was out of his mind to express approval to me.  I believe that an essential part of my integration was to first accept and then approve of all the parts of myself.  I needed to want all my parts together; how could I integrate a part that I hated?

KavinCoach started teaching me self approval by first showing approval to me.  He also talked about his own self approval so he taught me by example.  He didn't let up.  I don't think a single session went by that he didn't specifically and honestly praise me for something.  He gave me assignments to look for the good in myself.   He knew I couldn't rely on his approval and that the person that I needed approval from the most was and is myself.  I had to define myself and accept myself as being enough.  He emphasized regularly that there was NOTHING I could do to gain my mother's approval.  She simply can't give it to me. I am also aware that part of being human is messing up, forgetting important events, saying things that hurt others, and just generally doing this not at my best all the time.  I suppose this is why I believe in forgiveness; I am so aware that I need it for myself.

KavinCoach knew I couldn't approve of myself all at once.  He started a campaign of "how can I teach Ruth that she is a good person?"  He first started by saying he bet I was one of those people that picked up worms off the side walk after a rainstorm and put them back in the grass.  I remember blushing at this silly compliment.  Took me a long time to realize that this compliment wasn't silly at all.  He taught me bit by bit that I am a caring, thoughtful, considerate, and many other good things adult.  He went on to teach me that my behavior as a child was also focused on surviving insanity of the adults in my life.  I wasn't a crazy child.  I was a child growing up in a crazy situation.  I still tend to come down very hard on myself.  After many years of counseling, I am internalizing that I am good by my definition of good.  A work in progress and I am making improvements on seeing and recognizing the things that I do well.  I learned to accept compliments with "Thank you" instead of a qualifier of my own.  I try to approve of myself and if I do something I don't approve I work at changing myself to my standard of enough. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012


"In the confrontation between the stream
and the rock, the stream always wins
- not by strength but by perseverance."
- H. Jackson Brown

Yesterday, I wrote about my desire to work towards self-mastery.  The comment made was that goal seems so far away and foreign.  I thought about the beginning of my counseling and where I am today, it is like an alien world that I at one time didn't believe was possible.  These past few weeks I am reflecting on the huge changes in my life.  My counselors taught me new perspectives and introduced new ways of doing things but I had to make all the changes.  Reminded me of the line that most 'Over-night' success stories take about 10 years.  I am over 50 and now able to say,  I am myself.  The huge amount of struggle and effort to get here can not be described in a simple post.  It started with just a desire to communicate with others.  A single step.

A totally different thought here.  Hug those you love.  Tell friends you care.  Send emails to those far away and let them know they are important to you.  My friend isn't doing well tonight and I delayed saying how much I care for her.  I am keeping her and her DH in my prayers while they struggle through a difficult time.  Letting go and Letting God is taking on a new meaning for me.  I can not be there to sit with her DH while he waits for news of her recovery.  I can not send an email for her to read because she is not able to read it right now.  I can prayer for peace for their family.  I can send peaceful thoughts in my mind.  And wait.  I am learning that prayer makes waiting more bearable.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Self Mastery

Change Your Life Through the Art of Self Mastery 

Also check out Roots to Blossom

Yesterday's post was all about my self reflection on last week's events and recognizing markers of growth. I recognized that counseling with KavinCoach and NewCounselor bridged the gap from what I didn't know to where I am now.  However, when I read each comment I realized that each reader brings their concerns and their progress to an intersection with mine.  I think this is the power of sharing in a blog format.  In a journal, I am the only reader, only my story appears, no feedback, no change in perspective, a recording of my thoughts and feelings at the moment in time, preserved for later review.  I have written journals, buried somewhere in my storage room.  This blog is over two years old.  Around this time two years ago I found out that KavinCoach was moving.  I shared my journey of continuing to heal and choosing a healthier way to live.  I faced challenges and won.  I faced challenges and failed.  Either way, I continuing moving.  I read other blogs to learn and connect with others.  I stopped reading some blogs because I learned it was not a healthy place for me.  I sometimes stop reading blogs because I have so much on my plate I can't keep up with my life and withdrawing and slowing down is a survival tool for me.  My body tends to take painful revenge when I over do and try too much.

Purposefairy was introduced to me by a fellow reader on Facebook.  (Thank you for sharing wonderful ideas and posts.)  The above post shared her views that helped her in her quest for self mastery.  I wanted a place to explore this concept of self mastery. I am choosing here in my blog.  I grew up enmeshed with my mother.  Where she ended and I began made no sense to me.  I was instructed from my earliest memories to take care of her then my sister and younger brother.  Boundaries were nonexistent.  I brought this unhealthy thinking into my marriage and raising my own family.  I tried to do things differently than how I was raised.  I tried reading self help books but with little understanding of what I was struggling with in my own little world.  I recognized in my early 30's that my life was a mess but no idea where to turn.  I prayed...often.  I started with learning about and mastering my own physical health.  After having cancer, I tackled trying to understand why I didn't seem to be able to communicate with those close to me.  I didn't understand my own severe dissociation.  I called it a shadow warrior that could knock me out cold, literally.  I passed out frequently with no medical basis as to why.  I knew something was wrong but severely underestimated the power of the mind in harming the body. Mind-Body-Spirit connection, out of balance leads to disease, depression, or loss of faith.  To me, my life goal is to master myself so that this triad will work together to strengthen me rather than the stresses between them pulling me apart.  I don't know answers this is an exploration that is on going and I invite you to come along and share your stories too. 
1. Give your SELF permission to BE SELFISH 
A life time of putting others first seems worthy but an empty vessel has nothing to share.  I needed to learn to take care of myself first, then I am better able to have the strength and resources to help others.  Raised as a people pleaser, I was so busy attempting to please everyone else that I nearly destroyed myself.  One of my favorite stories:

The Old Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

An old man and a young boy were traveling through their village with their donkey. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.
As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.
The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.
Later, they passed some people that remarked, "What a shame, he makes that little boy walk." They then decided they both would walk.
Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.
Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying, "How awful to put such a load on a poor donkey."
The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.
As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.
The moral of the story?
If you try to please everyone, you may as well just kiss your ass goodbye.

(I found it at

I needed for my physical, emotional and spiritual well being to stop people pleasing and start living my own purposeful life.  First, I needed to be myself.  Some people consider such a step being selfish.  I suppose my no longer scrambling to serve them did appear selfish to them.  I stopped serving their purposes.  I became myself.  Individuation is the specific word for this.  From the Free dictionary:
1. The act or process of individuating, especially the process by which social individuals become differentiated one from the other.
I am myself. 

Under construction

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Victim thinking

Too many people today are going through their lives feeling like a victim. Most likely, they were hurt or exploited in the past & as a result, they're convinced that others want to hurt or exploit them today. These "victims" believe that the bad things happening in their present-day lives - relationship difficulties, job failures, creative blocks, even health problems - are all the result of what others did to them or currently are doing to them. Sadly, this attitude deprives a person of agency & the ability to create change in their lives today. Yes, bad things might have happened, but the difference between being a child & an adult is that whereas the former truly is helpless & unable to act on her own behalf to any great extent, the latter is capable of making conscious, empowered choices about how to take care of herself. When an adult takes responsibility for herself & sees that she has a big hand in the creation of her current-day difficulties, it's then that she has the power to resolve many of these difficulties for herself.

Reminder: If you click on the link and you are on Facebook it will take you to your Facebook page.  I do not have a link to your page it links to Facebook and you will see yours and not mine.  Computers are just weird that way.  

I started counseling 10 years ago.  KavinCoach taught me to see that my reactions were based in fearful childhood thinking.  My reactions never grew up.  Victim thinking kept me saying, "I have to...", "I am not allowed...", "I can't..." and many other things I said since childhood.  As a child, my choices were limited and my desire to survive high.  The adults in my life were not safe.  My whole world was unsafe.  I was always in enemy territory.  I married, moved away, but took all those fears and reactions with me.  KavinCoach challenged my thinking about myself and how I behaved.  He reiterated over and over, I am all grown up now, I did not need to have the same automatic reaction.  I had choices.  Choices I didn't believe possible until he taught me to behave differently.  I am where I am today because I took a hard look at myself and the choices I made that kept me being a victim.  I was taught to set boundaries; I learned to say 'no' to others and 'yes' to myself.  I was taught to control myself; I let go of someone else running my life.  I accepted responsibility for my own actions; I let go of expecting someone else to take care of me.
I was taught to be empowered; I let go of feeling powerless.  I learned a new way to live.  I love living in charge of myself.  Scary sometimes but so worth it.  

Counseling - building a bridge to a new way of thinking

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wake of damage

Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt.  (On someone else's blog.  I read several and this just stuck in my head.  Thanks to vicariousrising.)

I am taking another class, this one is on violence in the classroom.  How does violence keep going?  Years ago, I had a very unpleasant boss.  I complained to my coworkers and someone suggested I go to HR.  I did.  The response, 'You don't like it, get another job.'  Well, I liked my job and higher ups changed my boss.  I decided to go to Equal Opportunity Department.  The woman listened to my complaints.  She agreed with me on everything I said.  She knew exactly who this person was.  I was bewildered by her understanding of the situation, but nothing was done about him.  The people that were fired by him without cause, quit because of how nasty he was, the misery I was experiencing, all ignored.  She kindly explained, "If he were this way to just women or minorities, we could move forward with the case.  But he is this way with everyone, it is not illegal to be a jerk."  So he stayed, until the big wigs brought in an outside organization to 'fix' our department.  The 6 Sigma leader pointed out that the problem was top down.  Sure enough, finally fired my nasty boss and hired another one just like him. The problem wasn't my immediate boss but much higher.

I wondered how people close to me didn't see how my mother behaved.  I complained.  I was told, "That is just the way she is, you got to love her."  They saw and did nothing.  What nobody thought about was the wake of damage caused by her behavior.  Nobody considered that being exposed to toxicity long term would be damaging.  I will forever bless the day when I told KavinCoach "That is just the way she is, I got to love her."  He came right back with, "No you don't."  That single line rocked my world.  I didn't have to put up with her behavior.  I didn't have to tolerate her nastiness to me.  I finally understood that I couldn't change her but I could change me.  And that change made all the difference.  Irony, I am the bad guy for saying I don't have to and walking away.  Nastiness, hurtfulness, and violence continue when good people do nothing.  Because when you do something, somehow the person standing up saying 'enough' is the bad guy.  When I decided I could live with being the ungrateful daughter, was the day I could break free and say, "No I don't."   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Narcissistic survey

"You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water."
- Rabindranath Tagore

Every once in a while I like to review information I have gone over before. Some people believe that is being stuck in the past. I believe that reviewing some areas that were problematic helps me to see if there is something else needing repair. Like editing a paper or checking over a dinner table for Thanksgiving, reviewing allows me to look at what I might have missed.  Healing is a messy process of mending this boundary, healing this hurt, shoring up confidence here or there and generally working on a lot of different areas.  Occasionally, I feel the need to review.  For those readers that are new to this page and wondering if there mother is a narcissistic, this is a great list of questions to consider.   

Dr. Karyl McBride wrote the book Will I Ever be Enough?  On her web page is a survey to examine if your mother is a narcissistic.  If your father is narcissistic, you may need to alter the question slightly.
(She also holds a Monday night chat on Facebook for those that are interested.)

I reviewed the list and felt quite pleased when my yeses have changed to "Not any more."
For example:
19. Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
That used to be used to be, I say, "Not any more."

23. Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother?
That used to be used to be, I say, "Not any more."

Do you get the idea?  I felt so good reading through that list and ticking off one after another saying, "Not any more."  She hasn't changed, I have.  I lost fear of losing her approval; I can't get it any way so there is nothing to lose.  I lost fear of her anger; I walk away.  I lost fear of her opinion; I recognize her distorted view.  Her distortions are her problem not mine.  I like where I am going and I don't feel like I lost anything but a bunch of useless old baggage.  I am low contact and that is working for me.  Not everyone has that option.    

I like Vanci's post too.  She shared her own vision of reviewing her progress.  I appreciate her sharing her story and admire her courage for changing her life.

No matter where you are in your journey, just learning, struggling towards healthy, or reviewing where you have come from, keeping heading for healthy.  I am feeling better about myself than I ever dreamed possible. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness

 What is the difference between random acts of kindness and people pleasing?
To me the difference is motivation.  Random acts of kindness leave me feeling pleased with myself, happy and excited to do it.  People pleasing is when I feel resentment, anger or fear that if I don't do this I will be rejected or harmed.  I love Random acts of kindness.  This link was sent to me, hope you enjoy it.

Please commit random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

An example of a senseless act of beauty, in the place I used to work they had a paper picnic tablecloth on the break room table for a year.  Without telling anyone I replaced it with a new tablecloth that could be washed.  The room went from being avoided to being used by more staff.  For me it was fun.

More than one organization exists based on this idea.

Try an internet search, it is amazing what people are doing with this idea. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Can you top this....

I share my story, you tell another story to top that.
Spiraling up each out boasting the other until dizzying heights of nothing can top this...

I was raised this way.  No matter what anyone did, somebody else did it better and faster.  I didn't know that there was another way to converse until I got to school.  School taught me quickly that there is always somebody better in something.  I learned the value of listening and enjoying each persons own story without a need to tell them how I did something better. 

When I was in my early 40's, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Caught in the earliest stages I did not have to have chemo or radiation after surgery.  My first oncologist appointment, the very important doctor seemed totally disgusted that he was wasting his precious time on a case as easy as mine.  I was very aware that most women had it worse than I did, isn't that why we had mammograms for early detection?  I switched to another oncologist.  He gave me the same information however he showed me respect.  Answered my fear filled questions and guided me for a couple of years after surgery for self care.  After 2 years he told me how delighted he was that he could actually tell me that I didn't need to see him any more.  My cancer was mild.  But it was still cancer and scared me silly.  I learned that there is a difference between trying to top someone's story and sharing a similar experience.  Sharing a similar experience the other person is assured that they are respected but not alone.  The hardest thing for most abuse victims or ACoNs is the feeling of alone, isolated, no connection, no one can possibly understand the bizarreness of my life.  The concern in sharing is a person putting them selves down minimizing what happened because it wasn't as bad as this person or that person or the concentration camps.  During the first year of counseling, KavinCoach purposely pointed out just how messed up my life was.  He knew that if I did not acknowledge the challenge I needed to over come, I would not put in the necessary effort to over come it.  If you are trying to jump over a 4 foot wall but you only jump 2 feet, you'll never make it over the wall.  Each person has their own experience.  Sharing to let the other person know that they are not alone is important.  Comparing saying one is 'better' or 'worse' than the other only puts one of the parties on a false pedestal and the other one is not addressing their challenges because after all it is not that 'bad.'

Writing the Wrongs of Narcissistic Parenting wrote a wonderful post on this idea: 

Each of us has our own challenges.  Each of us has our own strengths.  Each of us working together can support and help each other on the journey towards healthy or we can behave with 'crabs in a pot' mentality. I first read about crabs in a pot on another webpage ( I think mulderfan's).  I didn't believe that my FOO did that.  <always so embarrassing to remember how perfect I thought my family was.>  Then I watched as my mother would pit us against each other.  Compared one to the other.  Or generally let me know how inadequate I was compared to someone else she knew.