Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday Quote

If you are not willing to risk the unusual,
you will have to settle for the ordinary.
~Jim Rohn

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 18:8

The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Links

Over at A Writer's Path, Daniella Levy shared some great advice on "How to Take Criticism and Turn It into Growth in 5 Steps." It's directed toward writers, but it could be used in general terms as well.
https://ryanlanz.com/2017/07/14/how-to-take-criticism-and-turn-it-into-growth-in-5-steps/

Denise Balog, and author and photographer, has been sharing uplifting bits of Capernaum.
https://denisebalog.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/entranceway-of-change-capernaum-part-eight/

God bless.

Friday, July 28, 2017

10 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

10. "I'm very defensive which can come across cold or nasty. I also portray quite a lot of negativity which seems to be my barrier so I don't get hurt."

My sister's response:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/07/10/offense-can-make-a-lousy-defense/

My response:

This was me, in the distant past... at least, that's what I want to believe. I know that some people described me as stuck up, and I earned the nickname "Ice Queen," among a few people. The last one, I think, actually came from me refusing to give ground on a couple of boundaries.

Hmmm... I wasn't boundary-less. I didn't have the boundaries I wanted. I was a doormat too often. I allowed myself to be lost in whoever I was with, acting like a mirror, reflecting back to them what they wanted to see, down to liking the same movies, music, and books, regardless of my actual preferences.

Okay, I was also called a porcupine, from time to time, and brutally honest. The last one evolved out of my desperate need to be absolutely honest. I didn't understand yet that sharing my opinion did not qualify as telling the truth. Live and learn.

As to being defensive, that usually showed up after I'd been pushed, for a long time. Then I'd go all scorched earth. I'd annihilate all arguments... I excelled at conversation stoppers. Sometimes, this is a good thing. Really. Sometimes, it isn't. I needed to learn temperance.

One more name I was given  was Odie, as in Garfield's Odie the dog. He's a silly, happy creature. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, my first counselor noted I had a nervous laugh: laughing at inappropriate times and at inappropriate subject matter, like laughing about the abuse I endured. Not a laughing matter. I still laugh sometimes, but I'm aware. It's a question of laugh or cry and I choose to laugh. Choosing is different than the automatic default response.

It's all about choices.
The dust storm rolls in like facing counseling. I could pretend the dirt wasn't there, but that didn't change the fact it was. I chose to face the storm. I didn't tackle it alone. I tried. I kept stumbling over the rubble of my past. I chose a counselor who knew what to do and how to clean up afterward. Thanks God.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

9 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

9. "I avoid saying anything that others might not agree with, which means I'm never being myself. I wear a mask of complete neutrality in any situation, because I'm so scared of anyone feeling negative towards me."

My sister's response:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/07/07/dont-make-waves/

My response:

Another one I still struggle with, but I am doing better. This one needs a broader perspective. I not only wanted to avoid conflict, but I also didn't want to hurt the other person's feelings. I wanted the other person to feel accepted.

Here's the drawback: I'd meet a person at a party, and we'd chat for an extended period of time. I hated parties. It's wearing to help another person feel comfortable. I could talk about almost anything. Okay, that part is okay. The problem came when I'd run into these people a week or two later or a month later. They remembered me, and I had no idea who they were. They'd recap some of the things we talked about, and I'd be clueless. I usually don't even remember names, let alone anything else. The only thing genuine about me was my effort to be friendly. My opinions were not my own but a reflection of the person I was with.

Here's the kicker: I didn't realize I did it, for years.

It wasn't until I was in counseling that I paid attention to what I was saying and how I felt about it. I was horrified to realize I could carry on a conversation for a half hour to an hour without expressing a single personal opinion.

First step is awareness. I can't change a behavior if I'm not aware of it.

Second step is questioning myself. In a conversation, I would stop and mentally check myself. Do I really believe what I'm saying or am I being agreeable?

Lesson learned: Being honest means I don't have to second guess what I've said to anyone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

8 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

8. "Indecisiveness. [It feels like] every choice I make is wrong even if I choose the option I'm told to take...I'm afraid to [be a] parent because I don't want to 'mess up' my kid."

My sister's response:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/07/02/decisions-decisions/

My response:

I spent far too much of my life allowing circumstances -- procrastination -- to make my decisions. I'm able to look back now and remember my logic: If I don't decide than I can't be blamed. Except I was blamed anyway.

Abuse is a no-win situation. I was set up to fail. Even if I chose right, it would be twisted until I was wrong. If I reached the appointed goal, expectations would be changed to ensure I still failed.

I was left feeling that no matter what I did it would be wrong so why make any effort at all.

If something was important me, I agonized over every single decision involved. Decisions were never straightforward or simple. I had to consider the consequences, not only of the decision but how the abuser would view my decision. Would I be punished or praised? Abusers throw out the occasional praise to keep the victim off-balance and continuing to strive for praise, no matter how arbitrary.

I still struggle with being indecisive and agonizing over decisions once they're made. Did I do the right thing? Could I have done it better? What about doing it differently? These aren't questions I came up with on my own. These are questions that were posed to me, every time I chose anything, causing me to question myself constantly.

What changed?

For one thing, I wasn't so much under the thumb of the abusers. I had to make some decisions on my own. I gradually learned to trust my own judgment. Trusting God helped as well. Success encourages success. It took me a long time to learn that success in little things built a foundation for big things.

I learned that not everything is life and death. An abuser will make it feel that way. It's a lie. In fact, some things don't matter. Learning priorities helped with decision making. I still struggle, but I am doing better. Practice, practice, practice.
A dust storm rolling in requires quick thinking and decision making, with priorities. Growing up in Arizona, I've seen a lot of dust storms. I know that at this point in the picture I have 15 minutes before the dust hits my house. Turn off the A/C, so the dust doesn't come through the filter. Close the doors and windows. If there's stuff that can blow away, like chairs in the yard, move them to a secure spot. Laundry on the line needs to be brought in or it'll have to be washed again. Stand at the window and watch the show.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Quote

Telling someone that they can't be sad because someone has it worse is like telling them they can't be happy because someone has it better.
~ Unknown

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 18:7

A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Links

If you like history, Caroline Warfield, over at History Imagined, shares bits every Friday:
https://historyimagined.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/the-surveyor-in-snowshoes/

Donna Hatch shared her tour of England:
http://donnahatch.blogspot.com/2017/07/regency-england-through-eyes-of-romance.html

God bless.

Friday, July 21, 2017

It's the little things...

We had seven feral cats who claimed our house as their own. They all live outside. None of them like to be touched. A couple of them keep a safe distance, even after all these years. Until last week, one of them was "Mama Cat." She's the mother of the four daughters that hang around. It was this group that changed everything. My dad caught and had fixed a total of eight ferals. These five and three others. Two of the originals have died, but we've had these six for several years. A few others have come and gone.

We don't know how old Mama Cat was. This summer was difficult for her. It's too hot. She'd been moving slow for a couple of months. More markedly, she hasn't run away when I come near. I hadn't seen her for a few days and figured she'd hidden in the bushes and passed away.

A few days later, I saw her again, laying close to the side door. I knew it was bad when she didn't hop up and run away. I chose a different door to exit, and she'd already moved to the grass, seeking some relief. I watered another part of the lawn, hoping to help cool things down a bit. She made her way toward me, waiting for me to turn off the water. I watered down the flowerbed beside the house. She settled in the cooler dirt.

I put some water in the freezer for a few minutes, then poured it close to where she was laying, knowing it and the breeze would cool the area a bit more. I could have touched her, but I promised her I wouldn't.

Funny how you grow attached to creatures that distrust you, and then there's the brief moment when they show a level of trust you never expected.

The next morning, she'd moved. I found her in the dog house. I placed some food and water and a bottle of ice close by. I checked a little later, and she was gone, the water and food untouched. Last week, she crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She wasn't really a pet, simply a wild thing that lived outside and ate the food we put out. I remind myself that wild things can't be forced to change what they are. I'm going to miss seeing her. She's in God's care now.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

7 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

7. "I have problems trusting people. I keep people at [an] arm's length. I never really let them into my life. I don't allow them to know of my health problems and my mental illnesses. If I do let them in, it is rare and they [will] have known me for years. It takes a long time [for me] to build trust."

My sister's response combines 6 and 7:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/06/29/hermits-and-trust/

My response:

Trust has been a huge issue. I didn't trust anyone, not others, not myself, and not God. It's difficult to build trust when the people who you are supposed to be able to trust the most prove themselves untrustworthy. To complicate matters, people keep telling you that you should trust these untrustworthy people because those who aren't in the abuse often don't see the abuse.

Abusers have absolutely no trouble taking advantage of those who trust. In fact, trust is a necessary factor. Abusers will lie without thought in order to gain their own ends, and if it breaks trust, so be it, as long as they attain what they want. Trust is a toy to be played on and manipulated. Is it any wonder that a victim struggles with something that's been so severely twisted?

I refused to stay a victim.

One of my church leaders told me that all I needed to heal was Jesus. I replied, "If I don't trust anyone, including Jesus, how is it possible for Him to heal me?" My counselors taught me about healthy trust. I tentatively trusted them because it was trust them or give up. I didn't hand over my trust. They were required to earn it. I started with doing the assignments they gave me. As I saw progress, I trusted them a little more. With the first two, we quickly reached the point where we could progress no further. My last counselor picked up where they left off and helped me apply what I'd been learning.

I realized that my lack of faith in God and lack of faith in anything, for that matter, was really about a lack of faith in myself. I didn't trust myself to make good decisions. I didn't trust myself to take care of myself. I didn't trust myself to protect myself from harm. It surprises me now to realize that it was this very lack of trust that helped me trust God. I knew He was the same yesterday, today, and forever. I knew He was honest, all-knowing, trustworthy. This knowledge allowed me to step back and self-examine where I was lacking. If it wasn't Him, then it was me.

Comment 7 above doesn't realize that their attitude is healthy in an unhealthy situation. If you are in an abusive situation, you shouldn't allow the abuser within arm's length. You shouldn't let them into your life. You definitely shouldn't let them know about your weaknesses. It's a great starting place for building healthy boundaries. It isn't a bad thing to take time to build trust. As healthy boundaries are built, trust grows. Trust grows with healthy boundaries.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

6 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

6. "I'm basically a hermit. My home is my fortress. I have BPD, PTSD and anxiety. It's so hard to work or apply myself to school or just life when every time I want to apply myself, I can't help but run to the nearest exit to catch my breath. I constantly fear everyone around me."

My sister's response combines 6 and 7:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/06/29/hermits-and-trust/

My response:

I don't have BPD (Bi-Polar Disorder) , but I do live with C-PTSD and anxiety. I'm working hard to learn how to manage both. I'm improving.

My parents nicknamed me "Hermit." My room was the only safe place. A reasonable assumption would be that I spent my time reading. Instead, I made puzzles on my floor while I listened to the radio, hours upon hours, day after day. I told myself stories, in my head. Now I write the stories in my head.

In my case, home wasn't a fortress. It wasn't any safer than "out there." Fearing those around me was actually healthy. The people around me weren't safe.

It helped when I came to realize that I'm an introvert with a little bit of ambivert (a mix of both introvert and extrovert). I'm definitely not an extrovert. One is not better than the other. The systems are simply different ways of perceiving the world. An extrovert draws energy from being around others. An introvert draws energy from alone time.

The struggle with doing anything outside my home is that it meant interacting with people. I've had a number of jobs where I worked with the public. I ended up working and sleeping. That's all I could do. I ended up diagnosed with chronic fatigue.

On the ambivert side, I enjoy interacting with people online. Online comes with automatic boundaries. It's actually where I started to learn to recognize boundaries and how to set them.

Do I fear everyone around me? Pretty much. Hyper-awareness is part of PTSD. Keeping track of every person and situation is wearing. This is where managing fear becomes a skill. I'm constantly assessing if those around me are a potential threat or are basically harmless.

Think it's stupid or silly? How many are now aware of how close someone comes with the potential of stealing information off credit cards and driver's license with a little scanner? I like to think of it as having been in training for years.

I'm less hyper-aware than I used to be, which means I'm not as hyper-aware as some but still more hyper-aware than "normal." Hyper-aware isn't a bad thing. It's saved me on the freeway more than once, among other things. It is wearing. Life is all about learning to manage life's problems that occur because of the nature of the beast. Life is terminal; no one is getting out alive. Do I want to live in fear or do I want to live happily? Either one requires work. What kind of work do I want to do?

I've worked hard to be less of a hermit while respecting my need for alone time. I'm better than I used to be, and that's worth celebrating.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Quote

People will throw stones at you.
Don't throw them back.
Collect them all and build an empire.
~ Wild Woman Sisterhood

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 18:4

The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday Links

Beholding Him Ministries opens my day with a bit of inspiration, every day. This post shared some points regarding God always being at work. I want to read them again.
https://beholdinghimministries.org/2017/07/03/experiencing-god/

First I followed Tony Gaskins on social media, then I discovered he had a motivational blog. His post "Be willing to walk alone..." came in a moment when I needed it:
https://tonygaskinsblog.com/2017/07/06/be-willing-to-walk-alone/

God bless.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Favorite Book Friday

The Counterfeit Husband by Elizabeth Mansfield

Thursday, July 13, 2017

5 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

5. "I become apologetic over everything. If someone doesn't text back, I'll believe they're upset with me, and I'll apologize. If I ask for something and annoy them, I'll apologize. Everything becomes a situation where I feel like I'm to blame."


My sister combined 4 and 5. This is her response:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/06/27/always-messing-up/

My response:

I have learned, through long, slow practice, that if someone doesn't text me back, they may not have received it. This is also true of email. I know emails become lost in cyberspace. Sometimes, they show up months later, and sometimes they never show up.

One of my sister's gifts to me was teaching me that if I was having a problem with my computer, it really might not be me. Computers are stupid, fast but still stupid. Computers have no intuitive skills. Ask anyone who's ranted about autocorrect. The computer can only produce what it's been programmed to produce, nothing more. It can produce less when there's a glitch, often touted as a new "Feature." Computers taught me I'm not to blame for everything, despite having often been blamed for everything from breaking dishes I didn't break to saying nasty things I never said.

I learned there's a difference between saying "I'm sorry" because I screwed up and saying "I'm sorry" because someone is going through something difficult and I can't fix it. It isn't even my job, and I understand this. However, it doesn't change the fact that I feel bad for them. I don't think that one is a bad thing. How did I learn that one? Someone would say, "I'm sorry" to me for the same reason, and I would reply, "It isn't your fault." They taught me the other meaning of "I'm sorry." It's important to recognize and acknowledge the difference.

I'm taking the second reason and giving it a different perspective: "If I ask for something and annoy them, I'll apologize." I would apologize in advance for asking for anything and anticipate not being given whatever it is I ask for. There were a plethora of reasons for believing that; the reasons don't matter, not anymore. Can you imagine the dilemma of being told I needed to ask for what I need and believing that even if I asked it wouldn't be given or if it was, it would be given grudgingly. I needed to decide if the "price" was worth even asking.

Blessedly, God has brought people into my life who have helped me learn to ask for what I need, be okay with not being given it and grateful for when it is. It takes practice to learn to say "I'm sorry" when it's appropriate and not use it as a filler like "um," "er," or "like." I had to learn that saying "I'm sorry" so often devalued it to the point it doesn't mean much of anything. It's just words. If it's truly meant to be an apology but no actions back it up, then it's wasted. I don't want to hear the words if nothing is going to change. When action backs up the words, it's powerful.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit

It's been a while since I've posted the last unedited sentence added Christmas Lost, novella 12 of the Holiday, USA series.

She'd never had a friend like him, and she would do anything to ensure she didn't spoil it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Quote

Love, peace, happiness, and laughter, those things nurture hope and faith.
~ Dewey Bozella

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 18:2

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saturday Links

Mustard Seed Blogs shares inspirational posts:
https://mustardseedblogs.wordpress.com/

Kay Vandette shares "Three Ways Canva Can Help With Your Writing Business":
https://ryanlanz.com/2017/06/30/three-ways-canva-can-help-with-your-writing-business/

God bless.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Favorite Book Friday

Calm and Bright (Huckleberry Lake series Book 1) by Autumn Macarthur


Thursday, July 6, 2017

4 of 25 Things

Original post from The Mighty:
https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

4. "I always feel like I am doing everything wrong... It's very hard to convince me I am good at something."

My sister combined 4 and 5. This is her response:
https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/06/27/always-messing-up/

My response:

It was difficult to believe I did anything right when I was corrected, even when I did things right. I could always do it faster, more efficiently, better. When the rules are constantly changed, it is impossible to meet expectations.

However, this feeling isn't entire about doing something wrong or right. It reaches much deeper. This is about self-worth. When you have no self-worth, you don't believe you can do anything right. When you have no self-worth, it's difficult to believe you're good.

How did I change it?

It started with believing that Jesus loves me, no matter what. He doesn't love sin, but He loves me. He loves me so much He willingly suffered Gethsemane, a mock trial, flogging, beating, a crown of thorns, and death on a cross for me, to save me. It starts there.

I learned to give myself little successes, acknowledging when I did something right. It also meant accepting responsibility when I did something wrong and working to change. Not the way I'd been taught, where I was to be miserable. To make the change, wholeheartedly, and move forward a new person, leaving behind the self-recrimination that accomplished nothing but making me miserable.

The battle is real, but I'm learning to not let imperfections steal my joy. There's a big difference between wrong and different. Right and wrong do exist, but too often someone pretends their opinion determines which is which. I had to learn for myself the difference.

Another necessary change was learning to trust myself. Again, I started with little things. Success brings self-respect. Acknowledging an error and correcting where possible also brings self-respect. It isn't about trusting myself to always be right. I won't. I make mistakes. Trusting myself is about knowing I'm always doing my best, I'm always working to learn to be better, I will never give up.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Quote

Don't compare your life to others.
There's no comparison between the sun and the moon.
They shine when it's their time.
~ HealthyPlace.com


Yes, the white dot is the moon.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Psalms 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.