Friday, June 30, 2017

3 of 25 Things

Original post from The Mighty:

3. "I'm an overachiever."

My sister's post:

Anything less than an A was shameful. Perfection was a must, unless I wanted to be punished. Funnily enough, it was a bonus when I became a medical transcriptionist. My work needed to be perfect because patients' lives depended on it. It was the only thing in which perfectionism was a pro instead of a con.

The weird part was that my perfectionism spurred arrogance even as I felt worthless. All the contradictions was wearing for one simple reason: My perspective was built on lies.

I remember my counselor asking me about how I perceived myself. He'd run me through a series of activities in an effort to teach me I was a good person and that I was a capable person. I vividly remember visualizing myself, as I thought I should be, and realizing I didn't like her. She was successful, beautiful, self-assured; she was also self-righteous, arrogant, pious, and a miserable person to be around. She was the perfect person I had been expected to be in order to please those who would make my life miserable if I didn't measure up.

Overachieving wasn't about being successful. It was about pleasing to the point of deflecting attention from myself and shining the light on the things I'd done. If I did enough right, then it would tip the balance in my favor from all the bad things I'd done.

It all changed when I finally believed that God loved me no matter what. I wanted to be good not to avoid punishment from being bad but because I wanted to make God smile because I chose rightly, because I chose His way. Yes, I spent a lot of years, most of life, working to avoid punishment. What a joy to discover the peace and wonder of choosing right for right's sake. Bad things still happen, but I know it isn't punishment. Life happens. Evil exists. Jesus overcame the world, so I need not fear.

I don't want to give a false sense of everything's wonderful. I still struggle. I still make mistakes. However, my focus has changed. Instead of avoiding/pleasing/fawning my abuser, making them the center of my world, God is now the center. Oddly enough, He's easier to please. He doesn't change the rules in the middle. He doesn't change His expectations. He doesn't lie.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

2 of 25 Things

Original Link to The Mighty:

2. I can't accept compliments.

My sister's response to the second:

There were two reasons for a compliment: Either it was to butter me up because "they" wanted something, or it was a setup to put me in my place with a follow up criticism. Sometimes I was slammed with both. A compliment was never innocent and always came with a catch, a price to pay. It was a battle to want to accept the compliment and wondering whether a figurative backhand would be included or a request. One was painful, the other was manipulative. I wasn't fooled by the pretty words. Either way, I always felt like I came away from the encounter a bit bruised and muddied. Compliments were always a trap.

I don't remember when, but I remember a lesson somewhere about the importance of accepting compliments. The teacher explained that blowing off a compliment or deflecting it diminished the gift being given. What I remember best was the teacher's directive, "Say 'thank you' and shut up."

I'm much better than I used to be. I've practiced and practiced accepting compliments with grace. I endeavor to give sincere compliments. I know the value of the gift of giving and receiving.

Sometimes, I still have to remind myself, "Say 'thank you' and shut up."

Monday, June 26, 2017

Monday Quote

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. 
~ Frederick Douglas

Yes, that's the moon up there.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Links

Laura Peters shared a fun post about the English language on A Writer's Path:

Christians Read provided a bit of amusing history on undergarments:

God bless.

Friday, June 23, 2017

1 of 25 Things

On Monday, I shared a link to my sister's post and one to an article about 25 Things You Do as an Adult When You've Experienced Childhood Emotional Abuse:

1. “[I] can’t stand conflict, loud sudden noises, shouting and screaming or aggression in any form. [It] triggers my fight or flight, instantly.”

This is my sister's response to the first one:

This is mine, and as much as we have in common, we also have significant differences (a good thing):

Yes, I remember feeling the same way. The question to address is: Is this still true?

I spent much of my life believing it was my job to smooth things over, make everything all right, even if it meant crushing my own thoughts and feelings. "Peace at all cost."

Funnily enough, my younger brother and I fought constantly. And yet, I would swear I hated conflict. The hypocrisy is not lost on me. Now that I think about it, he was the only one I argued with, pretty much ever.

I also excelled at disappearing inside myself. I would hide in my room with my radio playing. If I couldn't escape, I turned my thoughts inward, mentally shutting out what was happening.

Arguing back only landed me in more trouble. The few times I attempted to stand up for myself, it was frightening how fast my sense of rightness would be twisted until I was in the wrong and needed to apologize for having done something wrong, even though I hadn't. Fighting wasn't worth it. Whether I was right or wrong didn't matter. No matter what, I would be found guilty of wrongdoing.

Watching conflict on television or movies can be entertaining. A good story has conflict. However, it can also be annoying. It depends on the type. I love action movies but hate bickering. A well choreographed fight scene is great, but it's difficult to craft an argument worth listening to for long.

Do I think the battle is worth fighting? If I don't, then I don't want to hear it or be a part of it. If I do, then I endeavor to keep a level speaking tone, though I do become quite intense. I don't resort to name calling unless I'm grumbling about someone not present.

I don't like fireworks in real life, but that's because it's painful. I enjoy going shooting because I like to use earplugs and earmuffs. I could use the same protection at fireworks, but I still prefer to watch them on television where I can turn down the sound. I startle, but I also think it's normal.

Crowds, like at a concert or stadium, generate enough noise that feedback occurs, a buzzing noise in my ears that makes it impossible for me to hear much of anything. It's annoying.

When someone behaves aggressively toward me, I will first retreat, determining what kind of threat I'm facing. If I determine I'm not in harms way, I will stand my ground.

How did I change my behaviors?

Owning a dog, I was pack leader and retreating wasn't an option. She was my early-warning system, and I was her protector. She depended on me to take care of her. Owning a horse, he was 1,000 pounds and could do serious damage if I didn't hold my ground. Those were starting points. I watched others and learned by practicing. Most of my time with my last counselor was spent with me telling him about situations and how I handled them and asking him if I handled it correctly and what were other ways I could have done it.

Which brings us to now, if I'm familiar with a topic, I can hold my own in an argument. If I'm not, I'll let it slide. Not a fan of some noises. No problem with others. Shouting and screaming tend to bring out Miss Super Calm. Most screamers have a hard time with someone who refuses to scream back and also doesn't cower or back away. Aggressiveness doesn't scare me so much as annoys me. Unless I have a sense of danger from the other person. I've still a lot to learn, but I'm a whole lot better than I used to be. I'm willing take it for a win.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Musical Thursday

Peter Hollens ~ "Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas - featuring Stevie T:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fallout of Abuse

On random days, I'm going to share information I hope helps other dealing with various types of abuse, physical, emotional, mental, sexual, spiritual. At least two or three overlap. I've lived with all five. It is survivable. I'm struggling to learn to not simply exist but to thrive.

My sister, also a survivor, has her own page, and I'm sharing her most recent post, the one that triggered my decision:

She shared a link to The Mighty that opened the door for me to do some introspection:

As I read through, I realized all 25 statements could have been said by me, in one form or another at one time or another. I've managed to improve on all of them. Whenever I think maybe I'm "normal" something comes along and reminds me I've a long way to go. However, I'm learning to not beat myself up because I've come a really long way already.

Over the next however long it takes, I want to address each of the 25 statements, looking at where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going. If you're on the same journey, I hope you find something helpful. If nothing else, know that you are not alone.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Quote

The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.
~ Ayn Rand

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 17:12

Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Links

Beholding Him Ministries did a short blog on the inspiration of Elisabeth Elliot. In responding to my comment of appreciation, they shared the link to a little bit more about Elisabeth:

In a completely different direction is the History Imagined post "Big Jock McCluskey and the Buffalo Plaid."

God bless.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A bit of a change...

I admit I like having themes for every day. It helps on the days when I'm not sure what to write. Then there are times when I feel confined by the regime. I'm doing some thinking, reconsidering, evaluating, and planning.

Why I like routine: Being a C-PTSD survivor, routine is good. It gives me continuity, a touch stone of sorts. It gives me a starting point. The thing about falling down and being right back at the bottom, again, is that I know the territory and I know what to do. There is only one direction to go. Up. I know the way. It's somewhere along the route that I'm tripped up. I'm improving.

Why I don't like routine: I become stuck in a rut. I fail to see possibilities that are right in front of my nose because it isn't what I expect to see. It's also difficult to break out of the routine because it really does change everything.

Over the last year, my routines have been shaken, shredded, shattered, twisted, and turned on their head. It's wearing. I create a new routine, and it goes up in flames as life sends another curve ball. Blessedly, I'm handling the changes better than I did not so long ago. More than once, I ended up sitting on the floor rocking and crying because I was so overwhelmed by everything. That hasn't happened it a long while. Thanks God.

I'm able to look back and see where things important to me, like writing, sat on the shelf almost untouched as I struggled to make it through each day. My brain wasn't simply on vacation. I didn't have two brain cells to rub together for a coherent thought beyond what comes next. I gained weight. My exercise routine lacked consistency. Sleeping was erratic. Blessedly, God gave me awesome friends who have been rocks through the insanity.

Now, life is finding a new normal. (Normal is a setting on a dryer, but I need to start somewhere.) My exercise routine is healthier than it's ever been in that I'm not pushing too hard too fast, but I am working toward increasing what I do. My sleep habits are greatly improved. Even my eating is healthier than it's been in I don't know how long.

With the basics settling, I'm working to create new writing habits. My Holiday, USA series are a way for me to ease back in, flexible and fun. I also have some ideas bubbling for a new Regency series, new stories, new characters. Thanks to my readers for sticking with me. Thanks be to God for seeing me through.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Musical Thursday

Stars Go Dim shared "Official Lyrics Video with Chord Charts for 'Doxology.'" I've never seen a video share the chords for their song. Cool, and my geek just peeked through.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit

Last unedited add from "Christmas Lost," novella 12 in the Holiday, USA series:

Coming from Cici, it didn't feel like a trap. "Mr. Grumpy?"

Monday, June 12, 2017

Monday Quote

Posted on Motivating Daily:

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 17:8

A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday Links

Jane Austen's World posted an article on"Greetings and Gestures in Austen's Novels."

Beholding Him Ministries shared a bit of Elisabeth Elliot. What a remarkable, heartbreaking, and inspirational story. This is why blogs are so awesome. I learn about amazing things I wouldn't have known otherwise.

God bless.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Favorite Book Friday

The Homespun Collection by Sharon Gillenwater is a collection of clean Western romances.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tuesday Tidbit

Sneak peek from "Christmas Lost," novella 12 of the Holiday, USA series. Last thing added, unedited:

He glared right back. "As you said, it's been six years, and I've been the one feeding her. I pay attention."

Monday, June 5, 2017

Monday Quote

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
~ Walt Disney

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 17:1

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Saturday Links

Beauty on Inspiration is a blog I've followed recently. I loved her reminder that we are each unique:

Beth Trissel's herb posts are some of my favorites:

God bless.

Friday, June 2, 2017

This and That

The hazard of having been ill for a week is that I accomplished little reading. That and my brain is still a bit fuzzy. Sometimes, it's best to simply allow the brain to enjoy a pretty picture.