Monday, June 30, 2014

Comfort food

Comfort food works, unfortunately it is a temporary patch.  I came across an article somewhere that claimed that every culture has their comfort food.  It is often associated with something good from childhood.  This summer I had planned to loose 10 more lbs, then the fit-hit-the-shan.  I am not sleeping well.  I am anxious and stressed out.  I am turning to comfort food.  It does calm me down.  However, loosing weight is simply not happening.  I came across an article that gave 3 diet tips.  What interested me was the hungry to full scale.  I realized that during my childhood I experienced ones and twos often.  The sad thing was there was enough food in the house, I just wasn't allowed to eat it.  My mother would diet and expect me to adhere to something similar not taking into account that I was growing and needed more calories.  I remember eating rolls out of the school garbage cans because other kids would throw them away.  Then they put a teacher by the garbage cans so I couldn't get them.  I would beg the other kids at school to give me there rolls.  I remember stacking 4 rolls around my lunch box feeling quite please knowing that I was not going to go hungry that day.  I still love rolls.  I even found a recipe that I am looking forward to trying that is supposed to be like the cafeteria rolls.

Here is the link to the article with a guide on what hungry feels like:

The article is specifically for people in training for marathons but the information was helpful to me too.  MyFitnessPal is teaching me what a portion is and works as my food journal.  I am doing my own research for eating right for me.  I also learned that feeling hungry is a major trigger for me.  I go with 3 meals a day with two snacks.  I am doing Judy's suggestion to trade out something high calorie, high sugar for something with better nutrition.  Cherries are better than M&Ms.  I am not perfect but so far I am maintaining weight when normally I would eat everything I could.  I am learning that comfort food is only comfortable when I feel good about what I am eating.  If I eat and feel guilty and upset it is not healthy for me.  I also have to remind myself it I eat "normally" I am not eating enough because I am feeling hungry all the time.  Changing what I eat, portions, and saying yes to chocolate I am improving my health.  The last round of test my cholesterol counts was well within normal range without medication.  Comfort food is changing now.  Comfort food is knowing I am eating what I need to feel good and be healthy. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Religious Abuse

Sundays arrive every week right after Saturday, have you ever noticed how that works?  Imagine drilling into a persons mind that every Sunday they should feel guilty and bad for all the wrongs committed during the week and they can't possibly make things better.  The person now has a repeating trigger for feeling depressed, overwhelmed, guilty, and discouraged.  Some people blame this on God, others on religion, and still others just keep reinforcing their own feelings of badness or numb it out through addictions and emotional numbing.  I experienced it first hand.  Fortunately, a religious teacher helped me sort out my own belief.  He encouraged me to study and read and find out for myself.  He helped me see that people are separate from my faith.  Since my high school experience, I studied what people do centered on religion.  Do I believe I did the right thing for my children....not always.  Do I share what I believe....yes, I do.  Where does teaching and sharing end and abuse begin? 

I studied World history enough to know that for a war to become really brutal mix in religion.  The Inquisition, Religious cleansing by killing everyone of one faith, the Holy wars and jihad are a few examples of committing crimes in the name of religion.  Survivors often associate the brutality of man with the desires of God/Buddha/Mohammad. From my personal experience, I learned that those that profess to know God's mind are sometimes the last to know.  I witnessed crimes done in the name of religion.  Thanks to my teacher I found out for myself that what cruelty man did, God had no hand in it. 

Another aspect of religious distortions is teaching that if you are good and faithful nothing bad will happen.  Not true, John the Baptist was a good man and lost his head.  Prophets were imprisoned and stoned.  There is no scripture basis for a life following Christ and Heavenly Father as being comfortable and easy.  I learned that spiritual safety is quite different from physical safety.  I learned that the very essence of religious abuse is to destroy a persons soul.  Distortions, twisting perspectives, ridicule, verbal berating, and other tools are the things that twist a spirit into believing black is white and white is black.  Yes, people do this in the name of God and religion.  It is wrong and evil. 

Do I believe there is a solution?  Yes, I do.  Study for yourself from scriptures and all the best books.  Listen to others then study what you learned out in your mind.  If you believe in meditation, meditate.  If you believe in prayer, pray.  If you believe in chanting, chant.  Truth is not easily acquired.  It is sought after.  I agree with my sister when she says that the truth will set you free but first it will make you really miserable.  I pray. I attend church.  I hope for those around me to feel peace.  I have faith in Christ as my savior.  That faith was not easy or how I was taught.  I studied and prayed and studied some more and prayed some more.  I took myself on my own spiritual journey and I am loving the trip.  I am getting to know Job and the struggles he experienced.  I studied the life of Joseph sold into Egypt.  I read books from other religions.  I visited cathedrals in Rome.  Anyone at any time can embark on a spiritual journey to find their relationship to God.  Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom proved that it did not matter where you were, your spiritual journey is your own.

I feel sad when I read in a blog that someone is unable to use AA because God is mentioned.  I feel restrained from mentioning my belief in Christ because I don't want to cause someone else pain or discouragement if they do not believe what I believe.  For myself, much of my healing is centered in my faith in Christ.  I can't fix some of the things I messed up.  However, I can take responsibility for my actions and work everyday to improve how I treat others.  I feel dismay that my mentioning that I would pray for someone would cause them distress.  I believe the cruelest thing about religious abuse is convincing a person that they are cut off from God and Eternity. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fake it Miss it

Over at my sister's blog she is challenging herself to choose happiness.

My comment that I added, "Fake it until you make it takes you on a detour that you miss it completely."  Part of my survival was being numb.....when you choose numb it wipes out everything.  I could fake the emotions but I didn't feel any of them.  For me, the value was in feeling the real feeling...real pain, real happiness.  Authenticity is a down to the soul choice.  It doesn't remove the choice of what I feel it just bases my choice in what I am actually feeling not some intellectual idea of what I think I should be feeling.  Emotions are fluid, changing with a thought, amazing, enriches life, and sometimes so difficult.  Numbness is choosing the easy button.  It is easy to be numb....yes, that is what I said.  It is easy to be numb, authentically feeling what I feel is a life enhancing challenge. 

These pictures were taken within 5 minute time.  Emotions can change and fluctuate as quickly as this water. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Get over yourself

Every once in awhile I write a blog post that is just for me.  For you the reader, it is like sitting on the sidelines inside my head and I am not giving you all the information since I know the details.

I started this post back in May.  This is before my Dad had a pacemaker installed in his chest.  Before my mother jerked me around.  Before I am working at re-establishing my boundaries.  I don't even remember why I started it in the first place.  It is like I am scolding myself in advance to get past this hurdle.  Some people might say it is a coincidence.  Well I am one of those people that believe that coincidence is God working anonymously.  I needed this for me today and I wrote it over a month ago.  Another reminder is don't let your worse enemy be the one between your ears. 

Hut - 2 - 3 - 4 Giving my blues their marching orders - smile its good for me. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pocket full of posies

Ring-a-round the rosies
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes
We all fall down

The old nursery rhyme is rumored to be about the black death and using flowers to ward off an ugly end. Checked Snopes and it is believed to come about in the 1800's when dancing was prohibited and this was a way to dance without actually dancing.  Which ever way you want to play it, pocket full of posies was believed to keep illness and death at bay.  Today, I went to a doTerra class and listened to their ideas about aroma therapy and essential oils effect on moods.  Long before today, I knew about essential oils.  I first learned about their uses in Young Living over 20 years ago.  I used them for awhile but stopped using them when I ran out.  (They are very expensive.)  Before using them I did my own research at the library.  Research on line is much easier now.  Aroma can be a massive trigger.  I was rudely reminded today.  I smelled one scent today that my immediate reaction was my stomach clenching to throw up.  The scent was actually very nice but some where in my brain I had a repulsive memory associated with that scent.  "The "smell" receptors in your nose communicate with parts of your brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) that serve as storehouses for emotions and memories."  Most of the time I buy essential oils from either Sprouts or Whole Foods, however, doTerra had some lovely combinations that appealed at a very basic level for me.  Back to class.  What I thought was so interesting was their explanation to buy several then keep a reaction diary writing what I thought of the oil...did my mind feel foggier or clear?  Do I feel more relaxed?  And other self checking questions to decide if the oil was helpful or not.  They suggested checking for about 2 hours.  Tonight I try frankincense.  Hopefully I'll get more than 4 hours of sleep.
My friend's doTerra link

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Courage. Courage cannot possibly exist without fear. In fact, courage is acting in the presence of fear. It is pushing yourself just beyond your limits and testing new waters. When we act with courage, we build momentum. In one way, you almost have to seek out situations that will test you. You have to confront your past…talk to that person you don’t want to…go skydiving or anything else that makes your heart race and is a testament to overcoming a fear. -Evan Sanders

1 Chronicles 28:20

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.

Most times I don't need to seek out anything....junk comes after me.  I almost dread peaceful times, those times often feel like the calm before the storm or the eye of the tornado.  Sometimes my courage roars, other times it feels more like a weak whimper.  This month I have confronted my past, talked to people I didn't want to, and stood my ground when the easy route would have been to back off and let others do whatever they wanted to do.  Why struggle?  Why muster up courage to fight a battle I've never won?  Why pick up the broken sword to fight on?  Because it was the right thing to do.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Journey

Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to it’s not for them. — Unknown 

 People seem to crave understanding. Teenagers scream at their parents, "You don't understand me!"  I sought counseling because I felt there was such a disconnect between what I tried to say and what came across to whoever was listening to me.  I felt like I was a prisoner forced to watch on the sidelines.  Biggest struggle was not understanding myself.  I seemed to do things and I didn't understand the reasons.  I behaved in ways that made no sense to me.  This was my journey and I felt a stranger.  Then I went to counseling.  My world turned upside down and inside out.  I was floored by what my journey entailed.  I struggled with accepting my own past.  I wondered if my life was a lie or just a dream and I would wake up and be a little girl that had nightmares.  Then I woke up and found out I was a grown woman with a nightmare childhood.  My daughter gave me a shirt with 'Love the Journey' stamped across the back.  So positive, so upbeat....but do I love the journey?  Do I finally love myself?  I keep saying I'm working on it but I wonder when I arrive.  How do I know if I finally love myself?  When do I understand my journey?

Feeling ruffled

My face or my mask

After the bend where does it go?

A single candle, ends the darkness.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Perfectionist disease

How To Get Over The Perfectionist’s Dilemma

I've mentioned and shared Joel's blog before.  His perspective was something I needed to hear right now.  Since I like different perspectives I am also posting a link to FlyLady's tirade on perfection. If you go to her web page and type 'perfection' into the search you will get a list of posts.  Perfection is one of FlyLady's pet peeves.  I chose this one today because it speaks to what I am feeling right now:
Life is too short to allow perfectionism to steal your days and your joy. Celebrate everything; Don’t get dragged down into the pit of despair because it will never be that good again. It is all in how you look at things.

 I admit I am not perfect.  I do know where some of my pressure came an effort to win her place in Heaven my mother attempted to follow the scripture "Be ye therefore perfect." Matthew 5:48.  However, I noticed that she left out the part that says, "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."  Christ doesn't ask us to be perfect by the world's standard He's asking us to be perfect by Heavenly Father's standards.  Plus the scripture comes after the Sermon on the Mount and Christ gives the Beatitudes. 

 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
 13 ¶Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Did anyone notice like I did that no where on this list does it say keep a perfectly clean house or a perfect job or be perfectly happy?  The very first beatitude reads, "Blessed are they that mourn...." Wait what?  No matter which way I interpret that phrase I do not get 'perfectly happy' out of the meaning.  Yup, people may interpret several different ways but happiness is not expected, guaranteed or demanded.  My house is messy....I know it.  I have attempted to be perfectly clean and organized for years.  This morning, I accepted it is not going to happen.  But I can take Joel's reminder of the 80/20 rule and get 80% of the house looking pretty good.  If you come to my house, don't plan on a 'white glove' inspection....not going to happen.  I love the mantra endorsed my FlyLady and AA - "Progress Not Perfection."


Friday, June 20, 2014

Winners or losers......or not

I was sulking last night.  Curled up on the couch watching TV shows that didn't interest me and playing solitaire for hours on end.  I was thinking about going back into counseling, feeling like I just wasn't coping with all this shit.....I felt like a loser again.  What tipped me into this ugly funk?  My Dad's doctor appointment.  He's doing great.  That means next week he can drive....he will have his keys and he will let mother drive.  All these weeks were for nothing....or were they?  Time to reassess. 

I am learning to love lists when I am counting my blessings:

Blessing one....I told my parents the unvarnished truth.  Doesn't make any difference if they believe me or not.

Blessing husband stood with me and saw my mother's weird behavior to my sister and I.  He then validated what happened. 

Blessing sister and I are done with the games.

Blessing four....The truth will make you free but first it makes you really miserable....I made it through miserable without backing down. 

Blessing five....I know that I will not give mother the car keys no matter how much she sulks, throws barbs, or just plain nasty to me.  I stood firm. 

Blessing six....I decide how much is enough.

Blessing seven....I am free to walk away, I chose to stay engaged.  I decide that level of engagement.

Blessing eight....I am not responsible for my mother's happiness....I finally believe this statement...down to my deepest core.

Blessing nine....I feel free from her and my father's unreasonable demands to tolerate emotional abuse.  I don't have to. 

Blessing ten.....I am not responsible for my father's poor choices.

Ten amazing blessings in just 3 weeks time.  This was not how I was planning to spend my summer vacation.  That's OK.  I am done, freed, and feeling peace.  Wow. 

Blooming in the barbs

Getting out of the swirling slime
A new dawn

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Every so often I read a post that I just want to pick up and plunk in this space.  Maybe I need to have a guest blogger come and share their perspective.

Broke but being repaired wrote one of those posts.

She nailed it so completely about how society takes out all the stops for children killed through abuse but those that actually survive becomes society's dirty little secret. Kids ignored....teenagers struggling with not fitting in.....young mothers that haven't a clue about nurturing....nightmares PTSD and a host of malladys that adult survivors are told if there were strong enough, faithful enough, good enough these problems wouldn't have happened.  Thanks for an amazing post. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

5 Ways to fight depression

I'm always looking for more options.  Different ways to approach a problem.  In counseling, KavinCoach explained that healthy people have a variety of tools in their mental tool box for when life gets tough.  You notice it is when and not if.  Life is for living and sometimes it is an up hill battle.  There are potholes, cliffs, and obstacles.  Crap happens....some days are worse or better than others.  The thing about having a variety of tools is not all of them work the same for all people and sometimes I need to use quite few of my tools before I feel better.  The cool thing about healthy people is lots of tools to use.  Children were born mimics but if a child is surrounded by unhealthy people it is hard to develop coping tools.  Many years in counseling were spent building an arsenal of tools.  I also learned that there are hazards to using some tools.  

Seth Adam Smith survived a suicide attempt thanks to his father.  He speaks openly of the challenges he faces.  I admire his writing.  I highly recommend reading his article.  But the purpose of my blog is to share my perspective. 

1. Speak With a Trusted Friend (or Two, or Three)
 The disadvantage I have with PTSD is I struggle with trust issues.  Someone that feels comfortable is often another abuser.  My judgement of who is trustworthy and who to avoid is shaky at best.  I may share information with someone that isn't trustworthy.  Or the person may be an abuser and use the information to hurt me.....sound paranoid?  Or realistic?  One of the conversations that I had with KavinCoach was joking that I had some sort of target on my back that said, "Abuse me."  He replied that I did.  What????? My life is tough enough.  He went on to explain that victims have certain behaviors that abusers recognize.  That is why he spent many, many sessions trying to teach me to lose the victim attitude.  He taught me the skills to move from victim to survivor and on to thrivor.  I am learning how to gain trust by sharing a little information and observe how the person reacts with what I share.  I am starting to learn that trustworthy people treat me with respect. I am happy to say I have trusted friends now.   Blessedly some of them are in my family. 

2. Seek Professional Help
I like Seth's example of treating depression like a broken bone.  I discovered an interesting paradox.  When I had cancer, everyone assumed I would get medical treatment.  When I was diagnosed with PTSD, people talked to me often about not really needing counseling....maybe you are depending too much on someone else.  How weird is that?  Unfortunately, the reality is, in some circles, there is a stigma for getting help with emotional problems.  Sadly, there are people that will ridicule me or cut me off because I share with them that I have mental problems.  However, I agree with help for depression, PTSD or any mental or emotional problems.  Professional help makes a difference.  Also a gentle reminder that when I had cancer I didn't go to a bone doctor.  When I have PTSD I look for a counselor with experience with PTSD.  I also recognize that the client/therapist relationship is complex and not every good therapist is good for me.  

 3. Look for Humor
 I was first introduced to the idea of using humor to heal is in Norman Cousins', Anatomy of an Illness.  Laughing at life lightens the load.  I love to life.  I learned that laughter is a great stress reliever.  It is also an indicator of not enough sleep.  If everything is hilarious, there is a good possibility that I am overtired.  Also laughter can be totally inappropriate, for example a nervous laugh or totally not understanding the seriousness of a problem.  "He who laughs last, knows how bad things are."  Usually humor is a wonderful tool.  Recognizing that laughter isn't always an indicator of humor is helpful in gaining insight to myself.  (PS. I read Reader's Digest for the jokes.)  I love to laugh and enjoy finding life's little quirky surprises. 

4. Boost Your Moods
 I love Seth's description of staying out of the manure by staying out of the pasture.  I also remember reading about a heckler criticizing Zig Zigler that motivation doesn't last.  His reply, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily." I like hanging out at my Facebook page because I have Liked pages that bring uplifting messages and photographs daily.  I like singing upbeat songs.  I learned by surrounding myself with positive, I tend to live my life in a more positive direction.  Not guaranteed, just upping my chances. 

5. Diet and Exercise
I agree with works.  I spent the last year changing my diet and increasing my exercise.  The results are in - with the help of medication, diet change and more exercise, I brought my cholesterol down from over 400 to 168.  Now people will argue that is the physical benefit.  Well in my opinion, the emotional effects are equally impressive just no little numbers to attache to any indicators.  I can tell when I have a week with no exercises....the world just seems worse.  I watched my Dad for years use exercise as a stress relief.  I also learned with my sister that what is good for her isn't always good for me.  I can have whole grains and she can't.  She enjoys a variety of foods that I don't enjoy.  Also exercise programs vary.  I struggled with keeping to any exercise program for more than a couple of months.  Then my daughter bought me Zumba class pass.  What a blast I had.  I danced my way back into shape.  I am now working out with Bob Harper video and can actually do 90% of a intense work out.  An added benefit was losing about 20% of my body weight.  I feel much better physically and mental when I eat well and dance my heart to health. 

These are just a few of the tools that can be used.  Others that pop to mind quickly is doing something creative, cuddle a toddler, help someone else, read scriptures, pray, yoga, meditation, get enough sleep, the list could go on and on and on. 

What is your favorite way to beat the blues? 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Saga Continues

My parents blew it.  I told them to be nice to my sister and work with her, because she is nicer than I am.  They didn't cooperate with her at all.  So yesterday, I sat down with them and worked through what needed to be done this week.  I made the decision that my mother can no longer drive so I take responsibility to transport them to their doctor visit.  Heavenly Father blessed me with a miracle in the shape of a lovely elderly friend of my parents who brought an application for them to use Dial-a-ride.  I was delighted.  Another piece to the puzzle on how to keep my parents from driving and give them their independence.  They can call for Dial-a-ride and go where ever they need to go.  My mother sat dejectedly appearing to be compliant.  I knew that look.  I knew she wasn't really listening to our solutions that we were working on.  I kept watching her.  At the end, I asked if there was any other concerns about driving.  She brought up a church commitment, I found a solution.  Her eyes flashed for a brief second.  I knew something was coming next.  I calmly asked again if there was anything else.  I should know by now that she wouldn't attack me directly with my husband sitting next to me.  She instead verbally needled a subject that she knew would hurt my sister.  The whole time she was talking she was looking between my sister and I to see who she could draw emotional blood from first.  She hit the mark with my sister.  Judy shares her perspective on her blog.
I really did warn my parent to be nice to my sister because she is nicer than I am.  Now, they will be dealing with me.  I know that sometimes people are able to walk away from abusive parents.  I admire them tremendously.  I think if they were in a nursing home of some type and they had no car I would walk away.  Unfortunately, they still have a car and current drivers licenses.  I feel like my job is to get my mother off the road.  This means I am still engaged.  However, using the 10 steps I outlined on Monday (yes I reviewed them before going to their house) I am able to have a conversation that solves issues without hurting me.  Fortunately, my mother piously declared that my sister and I cannot raise our voices at her.  Cool.  That means the next time she hysterically shouts at me I can calmly reply that she may not raise her voice at me.  Yup, this is going my way.  The encounter ended on an unpleasant note.  That is ok.  A healthy reminder that I am not working with nice old folks that need a little help as they age.  I am working with someone that is seething in anger and wants to find someone to vent her rage.  I'm not it.  My husband commented that he hadn't seen her act like that before.  Yup, the mask is coming off and others are seeing what my sister and I have known for years.  My mother is not acting any differently than she did when I was a child....just more people are seeing how she behaves.  It really is sad in many ways.  But pity does not lower my boundaries.  Through out the conversation I kept my boundaries firmly in place. 


Monday, June 16, 2014

I can't hear you

Actions speak louder than words. We can apologize over and over, but if our actions don’t change, the words become meaningless.  — Unknown

I can't hear you, your actions are drowning out your words. 

If you always do what you always done.....then you always get what you always got.

All these quotes come to my remembrance in preparation for my next parent chat.  In the past, I remained silent and compliant.  In the past, I excused their behavior.  In the past............The past is past, this is now.  Several things are essential as I move forward.

1. I define what is a healthy boundary for me.
2. I may point out aspects they may not consider but I don't expect them to believe anything except what  they want to believe.
3. The time for anger is past.  Anger is useful in flagging my attention when a boundary is crossed.  It is counter productive in boundary setting and negotiation phase. 
4.  Speaking my truth is about me and putting on record that they have been told.  (Yes, my mother complained that it doesn't help if I don't tell I am going to tell them.)
5.  I can walk away, however, what I do and say will affect others.....I am not an island, others are involved.
6.  I have the right to speak my mind, I have the responsibility of the consequences of doing so.
7.  Years of poor behavior will not alter due to a 30 minute conversation.
8.  Setting healthy boundaries are not set in stone.  Sometimes to stay healthy boundaries need to rise or lower as needed.
9.  Extreme ultimatums are useless.  Most people can't wrap their minds around extremes.
10. Keep in mind my ultimate goal of where this conversation needs to go. 

Time to sleep, time to plan, time to talk, reinforce boundaries.....repeat.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

United we stand

"Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much."
- Helen Keller

When I was a teenager one of the popular songs had a chorus:

For united we stand
Divided we fall
And if our backs should ever be against the wall
We'll be together, together, you and I

One of the tactics used by my parents is to isolate us and to tell us to be quiet....just let things go.....back off.  One lie to one person and a different one to someone else.  Years ago during my first year of counseling, my sister and I started comparing notes.  We discovered that our mother pitted us against each other, purposely stirred up contention or implied that we each sided with her on different issues.  We found validation from each other.  We filled in stories that were half told.  We recognized the lies together.  Now we are showing a united front.  New accusation, "you're being mean and ganging up."  My answer, "DAMN STRAIGHT"  We teamed up.  We support each other.  We are sharing our experiences.  We are silent no more.  Buckle up ButterCup, we are in for a wild ride.   

Saturday, June 14, 2014


I am inspired and encouraged by other bloggers.  Over at Broken but Being Repaired, she writes many posts that are very similar to things I experienced.

Reclaiming self post acknowledges the truly bizarre way some children are treated by adults.  Geneva Convention bans things that parents and other adults do to children.  Unfortunately, the war zone I grew up in was called 'Home and Neighborhood'.  There are no 'rules' that can be invoked behind closed doors.  Children are terrorized that their whole world will crumble if they don't toe the line and do whatever the adults tell them to do.  'Just-say-no' is ludicrous in the view that my parents brought me into this world and they could take me out.  This is a very real fear for children.  (Bill Cosby joked about it but it struck a cord for me.) 

She write eloquently about being 'allowed' basic human rights like the right to speak.  She says it best:
Now, it is almost a case of re-programming our responses to the triggers that are life that we are trying to do. Learning that it is “allowed” to feel physical pain when wounded, that it is “allowed” to speak, that it is “allowed” to just be, even in moments like right now, when nothing seems real except the internal chaos which is kicking off for writing this post.

These past 2 weeks I have spoken up and shared my truth.  This week I was told to back off and not share what I feel.  I am not 'allowed' to speak my truth.  It is not comfortable for them.  I was not surprised by the 'little chat', I've heard the same thing since I was a teenager.  The only reason I hadn't heard it repeated for years, I didn't speak about how I felt.  When I was in counseling with KavinCoach, I would talk about sharing how I felt with my parents and he would point to the wall.  The indication being, I could talk to my parents but I would have just as much success talking to a wall.  I realized that I do want to say what I feel, I accept that my parents don't want to hear it, they won't change, but I am not speaking up for their benefit, I am doing so for mine.  I am going to set boundaries out loud to them and share my reasoning because I want it on record that I said how I feel.  The irony is in one of my recent 'discussions' with my parents my mother pointed out that they couldn't respond to us if she doesn't know how we feel.  (She was talking to my sister and I, we are both standing up for our feelings.)  I have this weekend to relax and formulate what I say since I am out of town.  When I return home I plan to share what I decided that works best for me.  I don't expect to change their behavior, however, I am changing mine.  I am taking the triggers in my life and giving them a new ending for me. I am reclaiming my truth and how I feel. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Desert Hiking



Standing on top

Flying over

Spider Trampoline

Bobbing along

Did you get my best side?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I have rights

One of the essentials in boundaries is deciding what is being protected.  Once I understood what I was protecting, namely me, setting boundaries became much easier.

I am reposting my list.....I highly recommend making your own Bill of Rights.

I have the right...
My list was adapted from the list in this book  Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them
Written in January 2010

I have the right to be treated with respect.

I have the right to chose not to take responsibility for anyone else's problems or bad behavior.

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

I have the right to say no.  When I say "yes" to one thing I inherently often have to say "yes or no" to something else that is not always obvious. 

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

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

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

I have the right to change my mind and the responsibility to take the consequences. 

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

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

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

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

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

I have the right to take breaks that can be beneficial when working on large projects.

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

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

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

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

We build fences around property we own.  Emotional boundaries are built around the emotions we own.  I struggled with boundaries when I put my emotions in a box.  Recognizing what I want to protect makes setting boundaries a natural progression to protecting my rights as a human being.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More about Boundaries

From Jessie:
I can imagine this has all been very difficult. I'm glad to hear you've regrouped and reset those boundaries.
I struggle with boundaries too. Would you be willing to share any more examples of boundaries you have with your parents (or anyone)? It would help me to be more concrete in my definitions too.

This is Jessie's comment and request for more information.  I have now read 2 books on boundaries specifically and numerous counseling sessions because setting boundaries is one of the basic principles of living.  A search of my webpage will give you many posts I have on boundaries.  It is one of the key words that I use for labeling posts.  If I include information on boundaries I try to list it under labels.  Questions on boundaries led me into counseling in the first place. 

From an earlier post I wrote:
"I appreciated MyCounselor emphasizing that setting and maintaining boundaries is not usually necessary with healthy people since with a healthy person you express a need and they will respect it.  Unhealthy people need boundaries set to help establish how your needs will be met and the consequences that go with the boundaries."

Boundaries need to come with warning labels.....when setting boundaries the person setting boundaries will be called mean, unkind, unreasonable and any other name trying to bully them into not using them.  

Basically a boundary is any rule stated as part of a continuing relationship.  One that I used for years, I don't call anyone after 9 PM unless it is an emergency.  For my parents, I started setting boundaries when I finally understood that they do NOT have my best interest at heart. In fact, my needs or interest never make it on their radar.  One of the boundaries I set and maintained for several years - Never be alone with mother.  These last 2 weeks since my Dad's surgery I dropped that boundary.  Mistake.  I was brutally reminded how she waits until she is alone with me to fly into rages and then turn around begging for me to take care of her.  With others around, none of this happens.  KavinCoach explained that from my description of our relationship my mother sees me as an extension of herself.  I am not a separate person.  The most basic boundary set is my mother may not hug me without my permission.  She has to ask.  I felt great pity for her as she stressed over my father's surgery.  I allowed that boundary to fall and all the rest went with it.  He is improving, she demonstrated that she is just as clingy and critical as ever, no point allowing myself to be used as an emotional punching bag.  I backed off.  I am not hugging her.  I am not touching her.  I speak to her politely.  I am now putting back in place never being alone with her.  Yesterday, I attempted to help her with the laundry and she made a big deal about it being her job to do this.  She set the boundary that I was not to help her with what she felt she should do.  I backed off and honored her choice.  Boundary setting to me is establishing basic rules in how to function in a relationship. 

The most basic boundary is skin.  Deciding who may or may not touch you is a basic boundary that toddlers can learn.  A boundary without a consequence is fairly useless.  If my mother attempts to hug me without my permission I step back out of reach.  Most of the time I keep furniture or other people between me and my mother.  I don't walk within 3 feet of her when I am leaving.  I don't usually have to worry too much when I arrive or my father is not in the room.  Her hugs are not quick jesters of affection.  They range from power struggles to 'see I am a loving mother' to 'I am doing this because someone is watching' however in my opinion a hug from my mother is rarely about me.  If I want to protect me, I don't allow my mother to hug me.  Consequence of her not complying is coming to their house less often, putting greater distance by stepping back and on occasion a verbal reprimand to not touch me.  If it gets to the verbal stage I am guaranteed remarks like, "Oh, yes my daughters don't like to be touched."  It becomes my short coming and not her passive/aggressive or clingy invading of my space.  I accept that is part of her retaliation for not allowing her to touch me when she feels like it. 

Jessie, I hope this answers your question.  If you would like more specific information you can send me an email at weareonebyruth at gmail dot com.  I do recommend either book plus there are many, many articles and my earlier posts about boundaries. 

Books on Boundaries:
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self by Charles Whitfield 

This is a link to one of my earlier blogs discussing these books when I first started reading them:
Since this time I revisit boundaries over and over and over again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


I worked hard to put healthy boundaries in place.  Unfortunately, when my Dad went in for a pacemaker, I dropped my boundaries in favor of trying to meet the needs of my parents.  Big Mistake.  Much of what I have suffered these last 2 weeks is because I let my boundaries fall.  What is the use of a boundary if I drop it during high stress times.  I am putting my boundaries back in place. Boundaries are my protection from those that do not take my needs into consideration.  Boundaries show where another person ends and I began.  It was my lack of boundaries that got me into counseling in the first place.  I wanted to know what they were.  Curiously, DH and I taught our kids boundaries but I didn't understand what they were or how to use them.  KavinCoach was fascinated by my ability to teach something that I myself didn't understand.  He asked my how I did this.  I explained, "What every my mother did, I did the opposite."  My mother did not allow me to have boundaries or hold down a job or encourage me to discover myself.  She had her agenda for me and by damn I better follow her suggestion.  I am choosing to put as much distance between my mother and I as possible.  To add another dimension to this, today my father lectured me on being gentler with my mother.  Yup, I yelled at her several times.  I was tired and frustrated with her trying to manipulate me.  I was told to back off by the person my mother put at risk for his life because of her shenanigans.  It was the same as when I was a teenager.  My mother behaved unreasonably, I call her on her behavior, she dramatically melts into this sniveling mass of emotion, and I'm the bad guy. REALLY.  Back to no alone time with mother.  I loss sleep, weight, and peace of mind over all this mess and my parents behavior.  I am stepping back and away from them as much as I can.  The main boundary I am putting back is: "Never be alone with my mother."  I am adding my father to that list.  Tomorrow is another day.  Breathe...Breathing is good. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Am I Enough

This poem touched my heart.  I am a daughter, I am a mother, I am a grandmother.... Now, I wished I had enjoy my children more and worried less.  I think about the time I spend now with grown children and grandchildren.  This is the good stuff.  This is where I can be enough.  This is where I will choose to use my time.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

We're Done

Tragic circumstances sometimes bind a country together or can blow a family apart.  A pacemaker in my Dad, a very strung out, tense, and worrisome situation.  The possibility of our family pulling together to get over a hurdle existed.  It started out hopeful in a difficult situation but quickly turned ugly when mommy dearest manned the battle stations because we dared to take her car keys away.  She's 85 and totaled their car in the last 6 months.  She shuffles when she walks.  She can barely get her feet in the car.  She grimaces and she groans as she struggles in the car.  She hysterically exclaims she is not going to answer the phone when people call inquiring about how my Dad is doing.  She demands that you feel her feet so you know the agony she is in every moment of her day.  My way of thinking if she can't walk to the phone because her feet can't bare it then breaking a car in an emergency is totally beyond her capability....details.  She wants her independence and she will lie, pout, scream her way to what she wants.  This whole ordeal has brought out the worse in mother.  My sister and I don't have one patient we have two, one is physically ill and the other one is mentally ill.  I watched with awe as my sister told our irresponsible parents that she was done with trying to care for and watch over them.  I agree.  I am so tired I fell asleep at a restaurant that we visited with a friend.  But they blithely ignore doctor's advice, seek another answer they like better from someone else, and don't take into consideration that my Dad died on the operating table.  He could die if he doesn't take care of himself and that would leave mother here.  Not just no but hell no.  Well, my sister put her boundaries back into place.  I watched and supported her.  My husband stood with us and watched as mother desperately tried to manipulate my sister. My sister said she was done and I stand with her.  We learned today that there is no happy family for us.  We're sad.  We'll survive, we always have.  I am really proud of my sister.  She is an amazing woman and not knowing her is my parents' loss. 

Friday, June 6, 2014


Tonight I am babysitting grandkids which is a lot more fun than babysitting parents.  I am catching up on reading a book I promised to critique.  I could have sent a reply after chapter 3.  I am glad I slogged the rest of the way through.  I am impressed by her courage for writing a book on PTSD, DID and ritualistic abuse.  If she had left it as her testament of her experience, I would share it here and praise her for her courage.  Unfortunately, she bills it as a guide for others.  Her experience doesn't match mine.  I agree that education and awareness needs to raise but I disagree with anyone sharing opinion as fact.  I realize this is a major HOT button.  I also feel her description and methods are confusing.  Since she uses words like 'all survivors must' she is setting her experience as the only way to integrate and yea that doesn't go well for me.  When I finally got to the chapter where she defines integration....we don't even have the same definition.  I would have liked to share her book as an alternative to some of the others but there are just so many triggers, land mines, and opinions disguised as truth, the only truth.  Occasionally through out the book, she concedes that others may do things differently.  She also had an entire chapter on alternative ways of healing such as wilderness camps, energy work, massage, and many other areas. She praised all of the alternatives with little or no reservation.  Here's the bottom line for me.  Some of these alternatives are run by people that have no idea how to deal with complex problems of PTSD or the possibility that they are run by predators looking for easy prey.  I had some scary experiences with unprepared practitioners in different areas. So I'll finish the book and send the critique.  Gave me a lot of food for thought but sorting through the truths and opinions is a bit tedious.   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Last of the 10 Irrational Ideas...

This is my perspective on the 10 Irrational ideas that show up in counseling.

Irrational idea #5 is the idea that emotional misery comes from external pressures and that you have little ability to control or change your feelings.
 Corollary to this is someone or something else can make you happy/sad/mad.  The biggest challenge my counselor had was to get me to feel feelings in the first place.  I was so completely dissociated from my emotions that I felt baffled about how to feel them at all.  One person told me how lucky I was to be dissociated from my anger....I explained that you don't dissociate from one emotion...I lost all ability to feel all emotions except the vaguest feelings.  I had to learn to feel them.  Name them. Accept them....then he explained how I am 100% in control of my emotions.  This blew me away.  I was raised with ***smack*** "You made me mad for waking me up."  So I believed emotions came outside of myself.  It was so powerful for me to learn that emotions are an inside job.  Before counseling I came across "Life's Uncertain, Eat Dessert First."  I loved the book.  It started changing me as I learned to control what I feel.  No one can make me happy/sad/mad/useless/stupid/ugly/or any other feeling without my permission.  This was a real mind bender for me. I like what Ellis wrote as the rational thought to counteract this one:
The rational alternative, recommended by Ellis, is control your destiny by taking responsibility for how you interpret and react to events.
 This is my power....controlling my reaction to the world.  It is awesome to feel it and use it with kindness. 

Irrational Idea #6 is that if something seems dangerous or fearsome, you must preoccupy yourself with it and make yourself anxious about it. Ellis believes that when one evaluates a future event as catastrophic, one becomes anxious. Ellis's solution is to re-evaluate the situation in a more realistic manner.
This is the results of #3 and 4.  The news encourages people to be totally absorbed by every second of anxiety rending experience.  I was raised on fear mongering.  Every horrible, rotten, scary thing that came along must be obsessed over to the exclusion to all else is a lousy way to be raised.  I actually stopped taking the paper because every morning all the worse in the world was dropped on my doorstep with the inability to do anything about it.  I am not clueless to World events, I just prefer to balance things up a bit.  Watch the news one evening and count the number of stories you can actually do anything about.  For me it was a very small number.  In counseling I was so obsessive about healing that I neglected living.  KavinCoach restricted me to one hour a day working on past crap.  I am working on building new happier memories and less delving into a past I cannot change.   

Irrational Idea #7 is the notion that avoiding life's difficulties is more rewarding than undertaking new challenges.
 Looking for the Easy Button. I watch people die before their dead trying to make life easy to the point where no challenge exists.  I learned for myself that I am happiest when faced with a challenge.  I believe the very purpose of coming to Earth is to take on a challenge.  I enjoy Joel's Impossible page.....  His motto.... Push Your Limits, Do Something Impossible. 

Irrational Idea #8 is that your past remains all-important and that because something once strongly influenced your life, it has to keep determining your feelings and behavior today.
This is kind of a Yes....and......No.  Yes my past influences what I do now, especially if I stomp on a trigger.  Cowering on the floor of my ear doctor's office was directly linked to a nightmare from my past.  However, my past does not define who I am today.  I can accept my abusers definition of me or I can reject and define myself.  I prefer to define myself.  I am proud of the person I am today and I would not be that person without the experiences that I had.  (Thanks Dave Pelzer.....I finally reached your challenge to love myself because of, not in spite of my past.)

Irrational Idea #9 is that people and things should turn out better than they do and that you must view it as awful and horrible if you do not find good solutions to life's grim realities. "Let's face it," Ellis writes, "Reality often stinks. People don't act the way we would like them to act. This doesn't seem to be the best of all possible worlds.... But you still don't have to feel desperately unhappy."
 Some people utterly embrace the notion: "Life's a Bitch and then you die."  They see misery happiness can mar their myopic twisted view of the world.   I was in that dark hole once.  Stunned me when KavinCoach informed me that I put myself there.  The opposite of this is those that are happy in the worse conditions possible.  Happiness is barred from no one.  Viktor Frankl writes about his experience during imprisonment during the Holocaust. 
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Finally there is Irrational Idea #10, which Ellis and Harper say "millions of civilized people believe in heartily." This is that you can achieve maximum human happiness by inertia and inaction or by passively and uncommittedly "enjoying yourself."
Living is an ACTION word, a glorious VERB.  I like a break as much as the next person but I quickly look forward to rolling up my sleeves and get involved in living. 

There are plenty of other irrational ideas shared and reshared on the internet.  These are just 10 collected my Ellis and Harper.  Part of my adventure now is to take my irrational thinking and turn it into rational, joyous living......I highly recommend what Joel suggests.....Go out and do something impossible. 

Walt Disney quote that I kept in my office, "It is kind of fun to do the impossible."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

4 out of 10 Irrational ideas

This webpage has some great information but I found due to the background it was difficult to read.  Words behind the words is very distracting for me....however, I am not critiquing the web page.  The content is interesting review of some of the things KavinCoach and MyCounselor taught me.  (MyCounselor is no longer my counselor....maybe a name change is needed.) The Italics are from the web page and my thoughts are written after each one.  I realized that it is much easier for me to see these ideas when someone else is using them.  Much harder when my counselors pointed out I lived by many of these.  Facing irrational ideas is a major component of many counseling sessions. 

Irrational Idea #1 the "idea that you must—yes, must—have love or approval from all the people you find significant."
Mother's Day celebrates loving mothers unfortunately not every person has a loving mother. Or Father's Day some people never knew their fathers or do not have loving relationships.  Parents loving children seems to be an unwritten rule that they love their children.  Tragedy strikes for many when their parents won't or can't love them.  The corollary to this is the irrational idea that 'if your parents don't love you than you can never be successful/happy/thriving in life.' Same with lovers, spouse, and other significant people.  The list of suicides noted that they felt unloved is sad.  People pleasing is the illness that springs from this irrational idea.  If I just do enough or change enough or be enough for this other person than they must love me.  A rational way to reword this, "I enjoy having those important to me approve and love me but I can live with their opinion and find other significant people that love me for who I am." 

Irrational Idea #2 is "I must not fail" or, as Ellis and Harper put it, the idea that you must prove thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving.
This irrational idea really puts the kibosh on learning.  A toddler is expected to fall numerous times before learning to walk.  Adults still fall down too.  The idea that 99%, second place, and less than perfect is failure is destructive corollary to this idea. Side note to this, is often when someone feels they 'must not fail' they are trying to live up to someone else's standards. Judy shared with me some wonderful articles on pushing to fail point on don't know how far you can go until you push past fail point.  Mistakes, failure, corrections, review are all part of a learning process that everyone experiences. Failure is a natural part of life, trying to avoid it requires a person to stop living.  Rephrase this, "If I fail, I can evaluate what I am doing and try something else.  Or it may be something I don't actually want to do." 

Irrational Idea #3 is damning. Harper and Ellis describe this as the idea that when people act obnoxiously and unfairly, you should blame and damn them, and see them as bad, wicked, or rotten individuals. Some people apply this to themselves, giving themselves up as hopeless. Others turn the blame on someone else. Either way, it is not very constructive.
It is easier to see the shortcomings of others, more comfortable to blame, condemn and put down someone else.  At its worse this is the basis of prejudice.  The cool thing my counselors did for me was to focus on my behavior.  They taught me to put up my boundaries.  I think the Mote and the beam parable in the New Testament is a good description. Matthew 7:3-5
 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.
Rephrase, 'people make mistakes and poor choices, however I am responsible for my own behavior.  I am the only person I can change.'

Irrational idea #4 is awfulizing: the idea that you have to view things as awful, terrible, and horrible when things go wrong.
Another way to phrase this is "Making mountains out of  mole hills."  Really easy to slip into this one.  When things start to go wrong more and more seems to pile on.  Sayings like, "Bad things happen in threes,"  "No good deed goes unpunished" add to the doom and gloom point of view.  As the article mentions, "I can't stand it" is a common phrase in every counselor office.  To counteract this one of my favorite quotes, "I survived 100% of my bad days."  Years ago when my children were small I came across a book called, "It could always be worse."  I actually found 3 different versions.  It really helped me to recognize that sometimes things aren't as bad as I thought. I found a copy here:

I am learning to say, "Things are bad, with help from my friends or family, I'll figure things out."

There are several more that I will put in my next post.  I try not to make these too long.  There is always tomorrow to add a bit more.