Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Amazing out of extreme stess

My first counselor introduced the concept of thriving fairly early in my healing process.  Most of my thinking at the time was could I thrive in spite of what happened to me?  Lately, I am exploring a different direction.....How can I thrive because of my experiences?

Nature provides plenty of examples of amazing things happening because of extreme stress.  On my photo blog I posted pictures of obsidian.  The first couple of pictures show the rubble of the small volcanic eruption from eon's ago.  Obsidian is formed as lava cools rapidly and forms the black rock that surgeons use that they are finding are finer and sharper than any surgical steel.  The black rock is used in jewelry adding a dark accent of loveliness.  I violent eruption is not usually equated with beauty and usefulness.  It is because of the eruption that obsidian is formed not in spite of. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rules that need to be broken


Rules that need to be broken would be the title I would call this list.  Judy shared Bradshaw's list of dysfunctional families.  When I married and raised my children, I functioned as a multiple with 3 main parts and 2 back ground parts.  The structure was how I functioned from about 12-15 years old.  I didn't know the fancy names.  In spite of my Dad having his Masters in Education Psychology, all things psychological such as counseling were frowned upon.  When I finally did get counseling, I was asked how I chose to raise our family, "Anything my mother did, I did the opposite."  I suspect my children would do well to follow the same rule.  Please read Judy's post for her perspective.  I am sharing my thoughts on each of the topics.    

Original reference shared by roots2blossom.....I love a community of bloggers that share information in the hopes of learning more and helping each other. Go team. 

Control - I needed to control things but I relinquished all control as much as possible because I was terrified of control.  Yea, it made about this much sense.  I watched as a child the way an adult would manipulate or even torture another person to control their actions.  I didn't just have a dysfunctional family but a warped and twisted neighborhood.  Control was paramount, and yes they would be willing to kill you to maintain it.  My mother's controlling ways seemed well with in the norm compared to what had I seen. It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood how she used emotions to manipulate others and situations.  I had to learn that I could safely control things like allowing myself to go to the bathroom when I needed to go or eat when I felt hungry.  I think one of the powerful things I am learning in karate is how much control I can have over my own body. I know that much of life is not under my control but I can control myself most of the time....Insomnia is still a battle to overcome.  Gives me an ongoing goal.  

Perfectionism - My counselor was astounded at the extreme distress I would experience from the slightest error.  I would get so wound up and worried that the world would end if I made a mistake on anything.  Flylady.org was the first one to change my perspective.  She wrote about the illness of perfectionism.  Irony is she is a bit of a perfectionist herself, but that just means she is a work in progress.  I bought a Sodoku book and practiced making mistakes without feeling anxiety.  I don't do them any more because they served their purpose.  I make mistakes, typos, misunderstandings, forgetting,  the list is a length one.  I am human.  I am supposed to make mistakes.  I like at the school where I am at that they are teaching students FAIL First Attempt In Learning.  I am allowed to make mistakes.  I don't need to blame anyone or anything else.  I also rejected the mantra I heard often, "What can you do so you never make that mistake again?"  I make the same mistakes over and over and over....I will thrive making mistakes.

Blame -  Oh boy is this one ever a big.  I started working at take responsibility for my actions from a young age.  I was also punished by my mother for the things she did.  I took the blame for everything my younger brother and sister did because I was watching them and I was blamed for anything that went wrong.  Until I married, I was the designated target for blaming.  I accepted that role.  However, when married I alternated between taking all the blame and blaming everything on my husband.  I was not consistent.  Counseling did a lot to help me sort out how to take responsibility for the things I did and allowing others to take responsibility for what they do.  I don't need to cushion others from their mistakes.  I don't need to take the blame for someone else's screw up.  My poor nasty boss was a guinea pig for many of my counseling homework assignments on how not to take responsibility for someone else's problem.  I am still working on not shouldering blame that is not mine.  I am fairly good at admitting when I am wrong.  Progress comes slowly when I am totally changing my entire way of functioning. 

Denial of the Five Freedoms*Each freedom has to do with a basic human power—the power to perceive; the power to think and interpret; to feel; to want and choose; and the power to imagine. Wowser....I was stunned in counseling to find out that these basic freedoms were even available.  My counselor spent weeks having me write out my basic rights and responsibilities.  Powerful homework assignment.  I was raised with a status of less than a 3rd class citizen.  The grocery clerk was treated with more respect than I was.  I was denied basic things like food when there was food rotting in the refrigerator.  Use of the bathroom when I needed to go for no other reason that my mother had the power to tell me know.  Things like feeling, choice, opinion, perception were all denied or punished.  I mirrored what my mother wanted or she would make my life miserable.  She was a pussy cat compared to what the neighbor did to me. 

The No-Talk Rule— this was a total screw up.  I was expected to talk but by damn I better say exactly what they wanted me to say.  The first year of counseling was pure agony as I attempted to share my story.  I would get physically ill just trying to say some of the things I remembered.  I was terrified that my family would be murdered if I talked.  I still feel uneasy but so far we are all healthy. 

Don’t Make Mistakes—Yea this was lethal....literally.  Make a mistake at the wrong moment and being backhanded was the least of my worries.  At least with hitting it was over quickly.  Also see above perfectionism.

Unreliability— Sadly, I am also unreliable.  If you are not the same person from day to day, yea major unreliability issues all over the place.  I still struggle majorly with trust issues.  This piece is something I hope my children can improve on.  I hope they are more reliable to their spouses and children than I was for them.  I am working at becoming a reliable person and I am working at learning to rely on others. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

I took a quick trip into an internet dark zone.  Went with DH to visit father-in-law.  I used all my phone data trying to stay connected.  I didn't realize how important feeling connected to the world is to me.  I read a children's cookbook and a basic cookbook for me.  I realized I know a whole lot more about cooking than I thought I did.  Kind of excited about what I am learning.  I am also reconnecting with crocheting.  At first, I worked at doing a pattern just so and I almost gave up....then I decided to crochet an ugly scarf.  I am having a blast.  It is haphazard and silly looking.  I'm enjoying reconnecting with a craft I gave up years ago.  I found some patterns I do want to do. I just want to get back into the swing of things first, then tackle something more precise. 

Next part is my thoughts on Palm Sunday.  For those unfamiliar with this, it is the day Jesus rode on a white ass into Jerusalem.  His followers laid down their coats and palm leaves as a triumphant entrance just before the Passover celebration.  Reading about it in the New Testament I recognize it is the beginning of the end.  Christ prepares and prophecies to his apostles what is about to happen.  The chapters are multilayer with meaning and symbols for the faithful to garner great truths.  I wonder how much was lost in writing and rewriting and translating.  Then I remind myself, the prophecies were fulfilled.  Either I believe in the Divinity of Christ or I don't.  There is no middle ground.  This will be a week of deep pondering and thinking.  I keep reading and studying more.  After I study about it, I pray that I may know the truth of what I have studied.  At times I am moving forward on faith, other times I am reassured in the warmest gentlest whisperings that Christ is who he says he is, the only begotten of a loving Heavenly Father.  Christ knew before the world was that he had a mission entrusted to him.  This is the week that changed eternity and fulfilled the atonement.  I choose to believe.

Friday, March 27, 2015


Interesting that I can find information on how to learn in an article about cheating. 


This article suggests that the way to stop cheating is to create a grading system that evaluates the way students learn. 

This is the 10 criteria they suggest for learning:
Picked ten observable behaviors and named them “Disciplines of a Learner:”

1.     Asks questions

2.     Builds on other people’s ideas

3.     Uses mistakes as learning opportunities

4.     Takes criticism constructively

5.     Speaks up

6.     Welcomes a challenge

7.     Takes risks

8.     Listens with an openness to change

9.     Perseveres in tasks

10.   Decides when to lead and when to follow.

Graded on a four point scale of  4=consistently, 3=often, 2=sometimes, 1=rarely, students could set goals to improve their learning.

I looked over this list and every single one of them is something I can choose to improve.  I am great at asking questions.  Drove some of the people I worked with crazy because I would ask questions about anything and everything.  I think that is why I love books.  Books don't complain about all my questions and I find answers.

I like this way of breaking down learning into things I can turn into goals for self improvement.  I believe I already made the big radical changes in my life, now I am working on ways of improving which way I am going.  I like my work.  I enjoy my family.  I am learning new things.  I want to be better.  I can see why with this list of criteria cheating is a non-issue.  How could someone cheat at persevering?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Beans beans beans

I discovered the down side of learning how to cook.  I did a bean party and cooked three types of beans.  This is not opening them up from a can and heating it in the microwave.  I started these three the day before with soaking all night long.  Dried beans need to soak and reabsorb water.  Then I took inspiration from Allrecipes.com with their recipes.  I also considered what I had on hand.  The pinto beans I did the usual beans and hocks using the ham bone from an earlier ham dinner.  The bean has bits of ham and thickens from the bone marrow in the bone.  They turned out a little different than I expected.  DH explained that manufactures have changed the curing process which changes the flavor of the beans and hocks.  These beans I consider a main dish.  Served with corn bread makes for a yummy combination. 

The navy beans I took inspiration from the Boston baked beans idea.  I purchased molasses to go into this one along with brown sugar, ketchup, and several yummy spices.  For the half the cooking time I took the lid off so the beans would thicken up.  Had these again last night with pork chops.  The beans became a yummy side dish to replace the potatoes I usually make with pork chops.

The black beans were given a twist of lime and cilantro to become a South of the Border style dish.  At first I wasn't too impressed with this one.  Then I sampled using a Frito as a scooper.  Those beans started a party in my mouth.

I was impressed that all 3 pots of beans fit in my oven.  The downside is I now have a lot of beans.  I gave some away. I froze the rest.  The Black beans I plan to serve as a future build your own burrito dinner with our kids and their families.  I've always felt intimidated by backing beans.  In the past I've burnt them, made uneatable combinations, and undercooked them.  (We would have needed to wait to eat at midnight.  Cooked way too slow.)  Learning to cook is my long term goal this year.  After this experience, I feel like I could tackle any combination of beans.  Next step on the bean excursion, refried beans.  My daughter assures me this is easy to do.

To go with the beans I cooked baking soda biscuits.  I actually followed all the directions including the rolling out and folding.  For the first time, I understand how biscuits get all these little  layers. The tasted amazing.  Also yummy a couple of days later by popping them in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Here is the delicious recipe:
The whole folding thing really did work.  They pulled apart into layers begging to have butter added...and a bit of honey too.  Super yummy. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Every so often I feel a need to write about the many things I am grateful for.  Heavenly Father and Christ, my Savior, top the list.  Today I was contacted by 2 people that read my blog and they thanked me.  It feels nice to be appreciated.  I have another reader that reads and gives support in more ways than she will ever know.  She is an inspiration to me.  My sister helped me out of the cookie jar....to read the story go here: https://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/the-cookie-jar/ She takes care of our dog in the middle of the day so I don't feel so guilty leaving her home alone. 

I am thankful for car trouble.  Yep, the car wouldn't go out of park.  However, it didn't stop working until it was in our driveway.  Mechanic told my husband the trick to get it working long enough to be repaired.  It was under warranty....no cost.  Woohoo.

I am thankful for traffic jams.  Time to sit quietly and sort things out.  I'm not going anywhere any way so I settle in for some quiet meditation.  I am thankful to kind drivers that let me into a busy lane.  I am fascinated that thousands of cars travel to and from work everyday with so few accidents. 

I am thankful for work.  I am a person that does much better working to get me out of my comfort zone.  I am especially blessed to work with some amazing people both student, staff, and little kids.  I love serving the little kid lunches.  They all cheer when I walk in the room.  For that moment, I feel like a rock star.  I get sweet little hugs.  It really lights up my day. 

I am thankful for service people.  Those wonderful individuals that nobody pay attention to but make my world just a little better.  The fellow that looked over the car I returned to get my car, the security people at work that stay watchful so we can relax and learn in the classroom, the lady the makes our copies, the chef that makes our lunches....yes we are blessed with a chef at our school.  Lunches are often spectacular. 

I am blessed every day in so many different ways I lose count.  That's ok, I will have many more blessings tomorrow.  I remind myself that I don't need to put a limit on blessings and not counting them all leaves more to count later. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Takes energy

Emotional healing takes energy.  Refusing to heal takes more energy.  Giving up puts a massive hole in the human energy storage bank.  Try doing situps....lots of them.  Then feel your body when you say, "I give up."  What little energy is left vanishes.  I forget easily how hard the tough work can be.  I imagine myself being productive then feel terribly frustrated when I can barely get off the couch because my body is so exhausted.  I want to sleep but the mind and the body are not on the same page or blanket.  Shutting down intrusive thoughts takes more energy.  Keeping secrets takes a constant drain of energy that leaves me wondering what it feels like to feel energized.  The ebb and flow of energy makes more and more sense as I study and learn about how the body responds to stress and relaxing.  My body happens to go way past the slow down after a peak in stress.  My body goes clear into half conscious.  Pacing myself is vital.  I am so tempted to work like crazy when my energy goes up causing my energy levels to plummet again.  Mind, body, emotions, spirit each claim their bit of energy.  I'm tired and can't sleep.  I plan all sorts of things to accomplish and can barely get up the stairs.  It would be great if my emotions would calm down and let my body use some of that energy to accomplish what my busy little mind thinks up.  Heavy sigh...I've been aware of this problem since I was in high school and for all my work and study, I still can't strike that precarious balance. 

Have a beautiful day.

Hoping for a break through

Monday, March 23, 2015

Awfulizing vs Minimizing

Every once in a while I put a subject of a post that I plan to write later.  This one has hung out in my drafts folder for a long time.  I think it needs light of writing to review why I felt it was important to share this.

Awfulizing - refers to an irrational and dramatic thought pattern, characterized by the tendency to overestimate the potential seriousness or negative consequences of events, situations, or perceived threats.
Chicken Little...."The sky is falling, the sky is falling it hit me on the head."

Minimizing -
: to make (something bad or not wanted) as small as possible
: to treat or describe (something) as smaller or less important than it is

Being pushed down the stairs is no big deal just a childish stunt.  Everybody gets hurt sometime.

Both patterns of thought damage authenticity. Exaggerating or dismissing truth leads to a lessening of ones own story in life.  I did both of these.  I would tell my counselor my boss was mad at me so I was about to loose my job and my world would totally fall apart.  No, I just pissed off my boss.  Not great but not the end of the world.  When I talked about what happened to me as a child I shrugged of going hungry night after night as no big deal.  Yet the damage it did to me emotional was much larger than I gave it credit.  My story needed to be acknowledged; not awfulizing and not minimizing.  My truth belonged to me and deserved respect from me.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Do I really believe?


My sister and I found our ways back on to the same road to healthy years of not communicating when I was in my 40's.  It wasn't until I was in counseling and I talked about not remembering she understood my behavior.  We read some of the same blogs that wrote about narcissists.  We backed each other up and validated that we really saw what we saw and heard what we heard.  We walk and talk once a week in what we call Sister Therapy.  We share memories that no one else knows and both shared the worst with the same counselor.  My sister challenges me to continue towards healthy.  This post is no exception. 

Do I really believe that Christ was sent here by a loving Heavenly Father to save me?  Do I really believe that I can be forgiven for a past I resist remembering? 


I've hit rock bottom and Christ is the Rock at the bottom. 

Do I really believe I will be protected on this Earth? 

NO.  I have many examples in the scripture that teaches me that good people do incredibly dumb stuff.  Good people suffer at the hands of stubborn pharaohs and jealous siblings.  Suffering is part of our existence.  Feeling physical and emotional pain is part of why we are hear.  I live in the desert filled with pokey things and stickers.  I am reminded daily that life is harsh sometimes. 

Do I really believe that my prayers will be answered? 


Usually not the way I expect.  I get an answer faster if I ask the right question. 

My research into shame is affecting me physically as well as emotionally.  My body is feeling the strain of my delving into a part that my counselors tried to probe.  My deep agonizing feeling of shame. 

Do I really believe my faith in Christ will help me with my shame and find healing from this soul destroying malady?

I hope so. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Shame is a subject that I return to again and again.  My first counselor gave me a book on it, twice.  Each time I became frustrated because I just couldn't grasp the concept.  I felt it....oh yea.  I didn't know what to do with it.  It seemed weird to accept it since it was shame transferred from my abusers to me.  The blame the victim is laced with shaming the victim. I didn't think I should own this shame that isn't mine.  However, there are things I feel ashamed of.  Things I did when the guilt is not resolved I morphed it into shame of who I was.  In an effort to grasp how to relieve the distress of feeling shame I am reading what other people have to say about shame.  Brené Brown has several TED talks on vulnerability and shame.  The way she talks makes sense to me more than the book I attempted to read.  I recommend watching them in the order listed. 

1. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability(20 minutes)


 Watch this one first since her second speech refers to this one.

2. Brené Brown: Listening to shame (20 Minutes)


After watching the videos check out In Bad Company post where she uses Brené Brown home work assignment to track her shame. 


She added more links to read on the same subject.  I am reassured that I am not alone in this challenge.  I am relieved that each feels there are answers to resolving healthily feelings of shame.  I learn that first I need to grasp what it is before I can do something about it in a constructive, instead of a knee jerk, way.

Shame acts like slime on my soul.....get it off.....get it off.....but how?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Keep fighting

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

Mark Twain

 Rarely is it recommended to keep fighting.  However, people tell you to NEVER GIVE UP....which is sometimes the need to keep fighting.  Spring break is a busy time for me.  I am catching up on activities, tasks, and visiting that I don't have time to do when I am working.  I am reading several blogs and Facebook posts about PTSD.  I am more and more convinced that being friends with PTSD will not happen.  I accept its existence in my life.  I appreciate some of the skills I learned because of it.  I understand that it is a learned reaction to extreme situations.  I don't live in those extreme situations any more.  However, if I try to coast and rest on my laurels, in no time, I am back sliding and spiraling downward.  I would love to have a vacation from PTSD but I suspect like the Maisie bird in Horton Hatches an Egg, I wouldn't want to take up the load again.  I don't have the option.  I don't have to be big.  I just need to keep fighting and never give up.  I don't need to be big, just really determined.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Break

I am playing catch up during Spring Break.  This is also the time of visiting with children and relaxing with friends.  Another task is yearly check up with surgeon.  I had cancer over 13 years ago.  Since then 2 titanium clips marking where possible problems were checked and found cancer free.  It is a tremendous relief to here the 'all normal' call.  I breath a little easier.  The cancer check is a legitimate fear.  I am worried I will get it again.  Some of my other fears are the same way.  I am afraid of being hurt again.  One of the statements often used to 'put down' people with worries and fears is attributed to President Garfield.

The statement was reported in the Cleveland Leader of Cleveland, Ohio, and the phrasing indicated that Garfield was referencing a saying that was already in circulation: 1
I remember the old man who said he had had a great many troubles in his life, but the worst of them never happened.

The same page uses another quote from Seneca, a Roman philosopher around Christ's time.
There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness it is in your expecting evil before it arrives!
Seneca—Epistolae Ad Lucilium. XCVIII.

 The trouble I have with these statements is that they imply that the troubles don't exist.  Hardest thing for me was the fear of telling the 'bad' things because I had tried to tell and I wasn't believed.  I wasn't afraid of some imagined fear but truly afraid that the same bad things would happen again.  I accept that bad things happen.  Ignoring them does not make them go away.  Addressing problems and issues are essential part of living.  Living in a fantasy of only positive things will be viewed is denying that ugly things happened, I survived, and I can learn from those experiences by acknowledging there existence. I prefer to refer to myself as realistically optimistic. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

Emotional Dominoes

One of the things I learned in counseling was that what I thought was happening with my emotions wasn't.  I thought that emotions didn't affect me.  I could make anger vanish.  I felt that I had everything under control.  I was so mistaken.  My counselor taught me to slow down my emotional reaction to find out what really happened in my thought process. First, comes hurt, fear or frustration, then comes anger.  To demolish the anger, I used depression.  That's right depression was my emotion of choice over anger.  To cope with depression, I dissociated which made me numb to all other emotions.  I emotionally checked out.  This is not controlling emotions. This is abandoning them all together.  Someone once told me it would be great not to feel anger or depression.  Well, there is a down side.  When I shut out anger and depression, joy, happiness and love go with them.  KavinCoach taught me that dissociation is kind of an all or nothing reaction.  How completely a person can dissociate is on a sliding scale.  I went so far down the dissociation continuum that I could make anger vanish.  I wouldn't have so much as a twitch of muscle to indicate to someone else that they are up %&*# creek with no paddle.  Then I added one more cutesie little step, my mind would obliterate the memory, until the next time a similar event occurred then the past anger would be added to the new one and the whole process would begin again.  I became very efficient at doing this.  To tap into this buried anger, my counselor asked me to buy clay pigeons.  They are used for skeet shooting.  http://claypigeons.com/ They come in boxes of 90.  The assignment was to throw the clay pigeons against a wall and shatter them.  I carefully laid out a plastic drop cloth to catch all the pieces then I let them fling.  At first, it was like throwing plates at the wall.  Then I wrote a memory that I felt angry about on each one.  Then as I threw that disc at the wall, a ferocious anger surged forward.  I shattered all 90; I bought another box.  I smashed another 90.  My kids always tell me that I do things to the extreme.  When I came back to counseling, I excitedly talked about smashing all those orange clay pigeons.  KavinCoach just listened.  When I finished, he calmly stated, "You have a lot of anger." 
I innocently responded, "Why do you say that?" 
He shifted in his seat before answering, "Most people don't make it through the first box."
Oh dear.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Heavenly Father sees my possibilities

My sister shares some wonderful links on Facebook.  Many I read for my own inspiration and encouragement.  Every so often one strikes a resounding chord of that is what I wish I could put into words and say.  This is one of them:
Jack Watts is a writer and shares a perspective similar to mine. 

It doesn’t have to be this way, however, and this type of outcome is most definitely not God’s will. God loves you exactly the way you are—in your brokenness, in your despair, and in your uncertainty. He has not given you a spirit of fear. That comes from being abused and not from Him.

He has given you a spirit of love, power, and of a disciplined, sound mind. It resides just below the surface of your troubled heart, waiting for you to do the work necessary to appropriate the inner power that rightfully belongs to you—just as it does with all of God’s children.

Jack's words resonate with my own belief that Heavenly Father loves us and his intent was not for us to see ourselves a crippled.  God sees us complete and whole and beautiful.  He sees in us a perfection we don't seem to see in ourselves.  I also believe that I am responsible for doing the work that brings about healing.  I take very seriously the instruction that I will be saved after all that I can do.  I can't do it all the bridge to the gap that needs to be filled is Christ.  It is my job to reach out to the hem of his coat.  It is my job to have my friends let me down through the roof.  It is my responsibility to take up my bed and walk.  It is my opportunity to thank Him as I recognize his healing hand in this process. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happiness is.......

Spring Break.

A warm Puppy.  ~ Charles Schultz

I grew up reading this book over and over and over. 

My art blog is filled with pictures I enjoy. 

I learned more about fun and happiness from reading:
Life's Uncertain, Eat Dessert First
http://www.amazon.com/Life-Uncertain-eat-Dessert-First/dp/0385298994/ (You can buy it for a penny + shipping.)

I learned I cannot buy happiness, can't even rent it.  I know things that trigger happy thoughts or I can just go exploring them where ever.   However, there was a time of darkness in my life that was so dark and forbidding I thought I would never see light again.  God blessed me with a single light flickering in the darkness, pin-pricked specs of happiness.  I collected them and tuck them into my warm fuzzy box so I could bring them out on the darkest days.  Pam Young teaches about having a Happiness file. 

It's a feeling....bubbles up from the toes and spreads sunshine through the whole body....Caution it is addictive and can slip away when provoked. 

I'm looking forward to a lovely week. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Assertive or Aggressive?

"The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behavior affect the rights and well being of others."

 -- Sharon Anthony Bower, author Powerquotes - Creating Daily Insights and Inspiration
Volume 7, Number 238 - ISSN: 1523-8008

I was spring cleaning my computer and found this quote again, saved deep in a folder.  I put it here as a draft and then never quite knew how to tackle the subject.  Why is this important to me that it is saved in multiple places but still unused?  I think the problem is that I am still working on it.  This is not clear cut or logical when applied to people that do not play fair.  When a person wants me to be their doormat and I refuse, I'm the one that gets branded aggressive and unreasonable because I do not let them use me they way they want to.  I hurt their feeling....yea, all one of them.  This would be great quote in reference to healthy people but there are a lot of unhealthy people in my life.  I can't avoid all of them.  I am in search of a better description.  This definition leaves the decision if I am aggressive or assertive to someone else.   I do not want to give away that powerful choice.  I decide if I am being aggressive or assertive. 

How about this quote?

Assertive people have acquired the skills to state their opinions to others in a respectful manner while those who are aggressive attack others and force their opinions on others...

I think this is a little closer because it is refers to my intent. 

Thank you Mayo Clinic, I think I have a winner:

Being assertive is a core communication skill. Being assertive means that you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others.

The part that was missing from the first definition is standing up for my point of view.  I know how to be a doormat.  I know how to be passive aggressive.  I know how to dissociate and disengage and avoid.  I am still learning to stand up for my point of view in a respectful way. 

Interesting articles:

http://www.earthlingcommunication.com/a/assertive-skills/assertive-vs-aggressive-communication.php This article uses the first quote by Bower.  Going for the Win-Win.




Wednesday, March 11, 2015

More than

I am more than my past.  I am more than what I do.  I am more than what can be written on a page.  I am more than a picture.  I am more than the sum of my parts.

Too often in the medical field and in psychology a label is slapped on and nothing else is considered.  I had cancer over 13 years ago.  I was alarmed when some of the medical personal treated me as if I was a host to a disease that needed to be eradicated, if the host died, oh well.

These images were created that year in response to my reaction.

After cancer, I went to counseling.  For me, it was a relief to find out I had PTSD.  It made sense of some of my behaviors.  I have symptoms of PTSD but I am not PTSD.  It messes with my life but I am bigger than my mental illness.  I am still a woman with a big challenge. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jumbles in my head

My head is a mess right now....allergies.  I swore up and down I never had them.  DH then asked me casually, "Then why do you get sick the same time of year, every year."  Crap.  Heavy sigh. 

The past few days my head has filled with a dozen half formed ideas for blog posts then my brain scrambles said thoughts until they make no sense whatsoever. Invisible Shadow nailed exactly what I am doing, https://theinvisibleshadow.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/fuzzy-focus/ I am spring-boarding from thought to thought one activity to the next without any direction. Years ago, I read a book called S.H.E. Sidetracked Home Executive.  I loved the zany book on housekeeping.  However, over the years the thing I worked on was something that my counselor pointed out early on in my discussions with him.  He asked me to tell him about myself and I told him about what I did.  He badgered me over and over asking me about me and not what I did.  I totally missed the point.  He was trying to get me to see that I am not defined by what I do.....not from my past and not in my present.  He challenged me to consider working on Be.  I know that this is not grammatically correct what I BE is more important than what I DO.  Thinks like:

Be kind
Be helpful
Be considerate
Be loving
Be excited
Be involved
Be learning
Be a listener
Be connected
Be alive
Sometimes just sit quietly and BE.

Still working on this.  

Don't be so busy, I miss the beauty of where I am. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dumb stuff

Reading all the articles about why children misbehave not one of them mentioned that kids do 'dumb stuff.'  They are not out to prove anything or revenge or power struggle they just do, usually with zero thought on the consequence.  Painting the house with mud was mimicking adult behavior of painting the house.  The parents, DH and I, did not want the house painted with mud.  But we hadn't told our children about not painting the house with mud.  It simply hadn't occurred to the parents what the kids might do.  Kids do stuff.  The results may be dumb but they are doing.  I think I envy that.  I spent a couple of years playing sudokus as my entertainment to teach myself that the world did not end if I made a mistake.  I gave myself permission to put a big X and move on to the next one.  I needed to reteach myself that it is OK to do dumb stuff.  I am thriving in karate because the teacher allows me to fail.  I don't need to make excuses, apologize, or get punished.  He explains why I failed.  Reteaches me the correct moves and we go on from there.  I am learning to Do.  Kind of cool actually.  But I don't think I will paint the house with mud.  I do think about consequences and I know for sure DH would not appreciate mud on the house. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Misbehaving children

I am doing research to find information about why children misbehave.  The interesting thing for me is I don't think adults are much different.  I am learning many things that would have helped if I knew this information when I raised my children.  Now they all have children of their own.  However, I learned that children and adults are not all that different.  I read a description of a child throwing a tantrum.  I laughed because it read just like some adults I knew.  This is a list of some of the articles that I thought were interesting:

Why young children behave and misbehave
8 reasons why children misbehave (with solutions!)
Why Children Misbehave

My favorites are the ones that include solutions.

The first one includes these areas:

Basic needs not being met.  Yup, when I am hungry, tired, too cold, or feeling sick I struggle with my behavior.  I told more than one person that I am much nicer after eating.  In a marriage, counselors recommend starting a discussion after eating.  Hmmm adults aren't much different than kids. 

Weather - this is so true.  I am more likely to be cranky or get sick when the weather changes.  The change from high to low pressure really does affect me.  I can now predict weather changes by aching joints.

Changes in routine.  I learned to make adjustment for a change in my routine.  I am learning about how important it is for me to have adjustment time and getting used to a new routine. 

A new baby brother or sister....well for children it is adding a sibling, as an adult it might be a change in my employment which changes my routine...see above.

Boredom.  Now that I can feel boredom, I noticed I will do anything to break up the feeling of boredom.  I have a list of things for myself to do that is constructive for when I get bored.  I am not bored very often.

Over-excitement...oh yea.  I get very cranky when I have too much to do and feel swamped.  I am more likely to speak hastily or unkindly when I am overwhelmed with too much. 

Growth and independence interesting how they list these as reasons children misbehave.  I noticed that as I grew healthier I had complaints from people because I was changing and they wanted me to remain the same. 

Challenging situations another area where I recognize that a challenge can be good for me but too much can leave me over tired and cranky.  Also if there is an element of fear to the challenging situation I can behave much worse.

Unique relationships. I am learning that some people just irritate me.  I don't know if it is the way they look, something they said or they just rub me the wrong way.  I didn't understand how I interacted differently with different people until I was in counseling for several years.  This was something I learned about in counseling.

Learning which behaviors work best.  My counselor had me do experiments in relationships to find out what behaviors or techniques in communicating worked with which people.  We are not born understanding how to make relationships work.  If an experiment goes badly, the consequences may appear like bad behavior on my part. 

Rivalry and jealousy.  Yup, if I can't get attention from my spouse in a healthy way, I am quite capable of choosing an unhealthy way to get their attention.

I added the highlighted words that shows that adult self-regulation isn't much different than raising a child. 

"In summary, children (adults) have reasons for their misbehavior. Our job, as parents (as individuals), is to discover what is causing them (ourselves) to act in both appropriate and inappropriate ways. By helping children understand your rules (better understanding my own behavior), showing them (myself) acceptance and love, protecting them (myself) from over stimulation, providing them (myself) with a rich learning environment, and allowing appropriate (myself) independence-seeking, we can prevent much unnecessary misbehavior, making life more fun for both our young children and ourselves."

 Self parenting is an essential step towards healthier living.  I wasn't parented as a child so I'm the one that can make up for the deficiencies. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Books, Books, Books

I posted over on my other blog about books.  http://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2015/03/07/tribute-to-books/ It all started with reading Scott Williams' post http://scott-williams.ca/2015/03/07/one-good-book/  He got me thinking about all my books.  I just bought more books.  I buy many from second hand stores.  Fun to pay $0.69 for a $6 book.  I find them on all sorts of subjects.  One book I hauled home was a huge picture book on volcanoes. My husband asked with a bit of concern in his voice, "Are you planning to read that book?"  Nope, I bought it for the pictures.  Aghast he asked, "Do you plan to take pictures of volcanoes?"  I laughed.  NO.  I bought the book so I could enjoy the pictures without needing to take them myself.  The pictures are awesome.  I love books.  I collected books since I was a kid.  I have many of the books that I bought when I was a kid.  The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet is one of several.  But I also remember struggling with reading.  Spelling was a complete mystery to me.  I took a Free Reading class in high school.  My mother recommended reading Men to Match my Mountains. My mother loved history, I didn't.  Reading it seemed to underline how bad I was at reading as I plowed through the tomb.  The teacher recognized the problem.  He encouraged me to read The Little Prince.  I become drawn into I Never Promised you a Rose Garden.  The teacher continued to point me in different directions until I couldn't read the books fast enough.  (I have since taking a speed reading class that I felt was beneficial.)  I read - a - lot.  Happiness is nothing to do but read a good book.  I use them for entertainment, learning, and religion.  I remember reading the New Testament in junior high.  I must confess I have yet to read the Old testament in its entirety but I have read large sections.  Like my other books, I find friends between the pages.  I think of Joseph sold into Egypt and his story of abuse and rising above to help those that abused him.  His story is an amazing one.  Esther, Ruth, and Naomi are just a few of the incredible women.  My buddy Job, bless that man for his courage and faith in the face of great trial.  Above all the rest, I have come to know Christ through the scriptures.  I also read other books about Christ.  Untamed was a favorite of mine.  Another fascinating book by Doug Giles, If You're Going Through Hell, Keep Going! I also remember Bill Cosby's comedian takes and his counsel to 'Read the Bible', Voompa Vooompa Vooompa Ding.

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Reality Check Bounced

Every once in a while, something happens that lets me know that what I thought was no big deal, really was.  I call it, "My reality checked Bounced." I work in a high school working with Early Childhood Education.  I was doing the same work as the students creating a key for the emotional intelligence assignment.  My counselor called me an emotional moron.  He wasn't kidding....he was serious.  The information I worked on today are the things a preschooler needs to know.  When I went into counseling, I knew less about my emotions than a 3 year old should know about emotions.  I not only didn't know what depression was, I hadn't a clue why I would sometimes get raging angry, and totally missed the point on mourning a death in the family.  I had emotions but I just had no freaking idea what to do with them.  The more I read today the more astonished I became as to how little I knew about emotions.  I now understand why my counselor compared me to a cripple.  I was emotionally crippled and KavinCoach attempted to teach me what a toddler knows about emotions.  My ideas were so cluttered with twisted thinking and misinformation plus a stunning ability to totally disconnect from anything emotional.  To begin with, he needed to convince me that I actually had emotions.  I shut them down so completely.  Once I found them, I had no better idea how to control them than a 3 year old.  My life sucked.  I struggled with the simplest of concepts.  Today reading the information on teaching a preschooler about emotions I finally understood the emotional impact of severe emotional abuse.  It stunts all growth in this vital area that affects every aspect of my life.  My mind is still trying to wrap my mind around the level of abuse one must endure to be so twisted for so long.  If I had a broken bone that heals incorrectly, that can be broken again and reset.  A broken soul doesn't work that way.  I now understand the hours and hours of persuasion and coaxing my counselor did to teach me what I should have learned over 40 years before.  I will say this, hard is not impossible.  I still don't understand many nuances of emotions but I am approaching the research with a more open mind and clearer vision, thanks to my counselor. 

My 10,000 puzzle pieces scattered on KavinCoaches floor.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I started my day with my stomach refusing to let me swallow.  AWESOME not.  I knew the fish oil capsule would dissolve so no panic just annoyance.  Then one of the teachers I work with was sick, so we doubled up classes since no sub was available.  Crazy day followed by a challenging evening.  I am super tired but can't go to sleep.  Highs and lows all in a day.  Interacting with many people is so exhausting.  Now,
I am sitting here thinking that what I did today,  I wouldn't have been able to do before counseling.  Today was a benchmark day where I can look back and say, "I made so many improvements in my life."  What in your life improved?

Bees understand a day like mine. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Posters and Memes

When I was a teenager, I collected posters.  I had them all over my room.

“Life is a Journey, Not a destination.”

You can mourn because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” ~Lincoln

Plus many more.

Now, I collect Memes.  They litter my desktop because my Mac can take a picture of them.  I love it.

Today’s thought: contributed by Warrior’s Landing‘s photo

A dream written down with a date is a goal.

A goal broken down into steps is a plan.

A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.

First step….learn to dream again.   Tough to do but not impossible.  Remember, I’m possible.

Wrote this on my other blog and felt like it fit here too.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Brain Engaged

I know I am feeling better when my brain starts working again.  I remember that there was a time in my life that every day was a sick day.  I couldn't do anything more than 20 minutes at a time.  The changes that over 25 years of work make is fantastic.  My counseling session was today and it went very well.  I have several new ideas to try for improving my life.  Actually they are things I have done before in another context.  It is interesting that I don't always apply what I learn in one are to a different area of functioning.  What I learned at school, I don't always use the same ideas at home.  This time it was the techniques for surviving Thanksgiving, how can a reapply them to other stressful events not related to holidays.  I think that was the hardest thing about functioning as a multiple I had to learn the same thing multiple times.  Now, my counselor reminded me how I used a grounding technique then, suggested that I use a similar technique for this problem.  It felt really good to talk things over and feel like I am making progress.  I meet with her once a month and that seems to be working for me at this stage.  I spent almost 10 years in weekly sessions.  Doing a monthly session is helping me to have someone I can check into see if I am straying too far one way or another.  I also get a fresh perspective.  I believe this is one of the vital things in counseling, get a different perspective on a problem.  I love Einsteins quote:

“Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.”

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Time relentlessly marches on. 

Don't quit. Never give up trying to build the world you can see, even if others can't see it. Listen to your drum and your drum only. It's the one that makes the sweetest sound.

I don't take success and failure seriously. The only thing I do seriously is march forward. If I fall, I get up and march again.

This, then, is the test we must set for ourselves; not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us.

Happy March.....