A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘release’

Getting juiced

rhoda3

Over fifteen years ago, getting juiced meant sitting and drinking all night long. It was my method of numbing. I would consume a ton of crushed ice and then my chosen poison which was usually wine. I was committing slow suicide and I knew it. Now, getting juiced means a completely different thing to me.

The idea of getting juiced was brought to me by a very talented young woman who I am developing at work as a Mindfulness Instructor. She is amazing and her demeanor is one of such utter calm. I feel like a whirling dervish around her in contrast. She and I are working on our next series of instruction for clinicians on self-care. She just came back from a workshop and in conjunction with the work I am doing on Trauma Informed Care, we are putting a class together to teach compassionate care for caregivers (clinicians).

We talked about other programs I have in my head for the near future including alternative therapies in homecare. I have been promoting them since I started and was poo pooed. Last week, one of the PT managers said they are reconsidering a program I participated in as being offered for pain management. Inside my head I was doing all kinds of happy dances. One goal I have always had is to get our programs out of 1980 medicine. Maybe now with some of the old school leadership leaving and with the foreseen housecleaning coming, we can progress.

As we are talking, my young instructor was getting more excited with all the possibilities. She said to me, “this is what juices me.” I laughed as I often think buzz words, especially in the Woo Woo world, are so funny. She went on to explain that she wants to keep working with hospice patients but the idea of bringing classes in on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and now her work in self-care “juices her to the max.” We already include MBSR in orientation and I guess at the workshop she went to that was quite impressive.

Later at night as I sat in my garden chair, I pondered what juices me? I have been in such a negative place lately that I thought not much. But what juices me was actually demonstrated right in the conversation the young lady and I were having. It was apparent later with the PT manager.

What juices me is getting the best out of people. I love development. I can see potential in people that others may not see. I love innovation. I love creative thinking. I realized that I struggle so much where I work because they are so stuck with doing things the way they always have. It has now come to haunt them and it will be their demise. I get juiced talking about new ways of doing things. I get juiced working with creative people who have so much to offer but need the push or a hand up. I understand now that this is a threat to the survival of the people who have put up roadblocks or who are actually miserable to me. I think they are frightened. They should be. I do not feel bad for them because there are more than enough educational roadways to get up to snuff. But in their arrogance, they did nothing to stay current and now the Mothership is sailing without them.

I also realized that I get juiced up working in my garden. Later I will post pictures. Planting flowers and vegetables really brings me great pleasure. I love the various lights and statues I have collected over the years. I get juiced when I get to take pictures of the flowers, birds and animals that come to visit. For me, creating a sanctuary, even though a lot of people will never see it, juices me.

Getting juiced is great for the soul. Some people call it putting oil into your lamp. But it is the sustenance of life. What juices you?

FAZZI, FAZZI was a …

Goddess of the garden

Fazzi, Fazzi was a bear. Fazzi, Fazzi pulled out hair. Fazzi, Fazzi, wasn’t fuzzy was it? NOPE. The last three days we were visited by Fazzi Consultants who are the primo home care consultants…. They came as requested by the Mothership. They were going to do an “engagement”, but the reality was it was a witch hunt to cut back positions and duplications from the merger of the two agencies. They visited with everyone on the admin team and then a select few on day one. They visited with the management team at our newly acquired agency day two. Then came back on day three and visited with the next level at our agency. I am on that level.

So with a lot of fear being induced throughout the agencies, this was not a comfortable visit. The preliminary was general oversight and who did what. The new agency reported a stream of infractions of how they do not like us and that we are horrible to them. Then the second stringers chatted about their roles.

There was a lot of consternation about having an audience and who had the most time. I knew the truth was they were visiting the longest with people who are probably going to be assimilated or let go. One includes the educator of the other agency. She is nice to my face, but has made it very clear she is not going to report to me. Except….she is. That was the original plan. She had a 45 minute meeting with Fazzi. I am sure she sang her virtues as she is really well skilled, clinically. She is an NP, but from pediatrics. We do not do peds at all. As far as training, well, again…. It is the adage that if you are a nurse in any form you are also a consummate teacher. I beg to differ.

My appointment this morning was with the other two HR managers. Fazzi ran late, and one of the girls decided to talk about the virtues of Wegmans to Fazzi. Meanwhile the clock is ticking. She clearly had a ½ hour for all three of us and that was it. She started with the other two. One has been there almost 35 years and is looking to retire soon. The other is only there 2 years and does not HAVE to work. So finally she gets around to ask me what I do….and my tongue goes into slow motion. She had to leave very soon. My list is so long I knew I would never get it all out. I clearly (hopefully) express that I am in charge of ALL education at ALL locations at ALL levels. But then when I tried to explain, it got confusing. It did not help that I have the cold from hell and was feeling like absolute crap.

So now I perseverating that the report is going to come back to AXE the unintelligible Manager of Education and Organization Development. I am also very paranoid.

I am writing this because it helps me to package my feelings. This has triggered all sorts of physical issues with me. I am sure that is why I am sick. This swinging blade has been dangling over everyone’s head for the last month when it was announced. The gossip and innuendos are pervasive. To try to explain my perseveration to my fellow managers is futile. They do not know about my PTSD nor much of my personal history. And it will stay that way. They do not understand that I have a horrible complex about being inadequate, especially in a clinical setting. And I worry that the NP at the other agency talked a good game. Clinicians like fellow clinicians. Even though my credentialing is more appropriate for education…it does not matter in this clinical world.

I am going to go sulk, and sniffle out in the garden. I do not want to go to work tomorrow but I have so much happening. I could type something incredibly sarcastic, but the snot is pouring down my face and my head is pounding. I need to sleep….. I mean meditate.

ACE Champion

Chives

I have been working on a professional certification in Trauma Informed Organizations from the University of Buffalo. I want to champion this cause for people like me.  You know; the overly sensitive ones. Someone who seems to be fine and then all of a sudden, they seem out of it, depressed and short tempered. And you cannot figure out why they are “over-reacting.”  This person goes into a tail spin over a simple comment. These are people who seem to be worriers and drama queens. They can be a co-worker or someone who is a customer. It can be terribly difficult to work with them, or try to provide a service for them. If you are a fixer type personality, this kind of flighty reactionary personality is very trying.

The first thing I got involved with is the ACE study. Here is a link to information about the ACE study and the findings: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html  This information was so connecting for me. I took the test and have an incredibly high score of  8. I came from a white affluent family with no apparent (to the world) issues. But the truth is my parents were alcoholics, abusive alcoholics. And my sister has mental illness and she too was abusive. I have come to terms with the history, but it affects me often in how I deal with things as an adult.

On top of this, I am an empath. That is someone who is very sensitive to how others feel. In the Woo Woo World, we are considered seers and fortune tellers. We are able to “read” people. The truth is it is a skill set necessary to survive in a family or any dangerous environment. You need to be able to “read” people to see if there is a dangerous threat coming from them. I read eyes very well as they really are the portal to the soul.  For some of us, it is not desirable as you cannot turn it off. I can sense people’s real feelings sometimes before they can. People love to come to me to tell their tale only because I am often able to dig in and see things they may not.

But I am also affected very much but the climate of the people around me. For example, right now at work the climate is one of fear. When people are fearful, they turn nasty and Nasty is what it has been every day for the last month. The Mothership has ordered an “Engagement” with a consulting group, Fazzi, to come in and look at the organization. We were told heads would roll. So far, two people have been let go. The Admin team is sweating bullets and so they are sending terrible fear throughout the organization. One VP announced her early retirement already. It was a wise choice.

Two years ago, we bought another agency and we were supposed to be one organization by now. All of their executive team left and what is left are a few directors who are in a tenuous situation. The bigger issue is that they have not played well in the sandbox. One of the things this engagement is to discover is where services can be combined and supervision eliminated. Finally. This was the plan all along, but our touchy feely board did not follow through with the combining. Two years ago, the then CEO told me that I would be in charge of education. The person at this other organization was not scheduled to be let go because she only works part time. But she is to report to me. She is a NP. I am not. She does not want to report to me. Bottom line and she has made it very apparent. It has caused some major compliance issues because she does not embrace our way of documenting. There is a lot more to this. There are little battles of strategic survival all over both agencies. This is just one situation in a sea of pissing contests going on right now.

The result for me right now is I come home from work totally exhausted. I have been keeping to myself as much as I can. There are a lot of projects that I am responsible for that require cooperation from many people and it ain’t happening. Part of the issue is the uncertainty; the other part is the underlying flow of fear. I sense it and it has triggered me to be in a hyper arousal, hyper sensitive mode. By the end of the day, I am so worn out from just trying to keep it together. My mind knows there is nothing I can do about it. I do not have the ability to control anyone else, only my reaction. But clearly, I am not controlling myself either. I slipped up at lunch recently with my fellow HR managers. We go out to lunch periodically, and to have not gone would have been worse. So we were talking about how tired and cranky we were and I said, “I know, I went home and sat out in the garden last night and just cried.” Later, one manager came over and was totally freaked that I would be crying over my job. I do not have the desire to tell her all about trauma and my history. Crying for me is a release. The breathing and shaking all release pent up chemicals and relax my muscles. She is trying to be a friend, but I know she wants to fix me.

This type of stress is very prevalent in companies that are looking to “squeeze the buffalo on the nickel to save a dime.” (That’s a father-in-law comment) The admin team and CEO could have presenting this engagement in a better light. They should have waited on the terminations for a few more weeks. Since these two were not administrators or even supervisors, the fear now has extended to all ranks. They announced they are changing the pay structure for only the field nurses. No more pay per visit, which has been a money maker for some. Yet, they have not implemented it so the fear of loss of personal revenue is floating around. They are putting together two new teams and are pulling existing staff from the field to do this without filling their positions in time. It is so simple: hire the amount of people now you need to take out later, train them, get them up and successful, and then form the new teams. But no, that would make sense. And let’s do this during the summer when we are short anyway from vacations. The list of incredible poor planning is extensive. If they could see how their lack of governance has affected the organizations and instead used mindful awareness of being trauma informed, it might change how this would all be going down. Trauma informed does not mean to pussy foot either. It means to eliminate unnecessary fear and ambiguity. It doesn’t change what will happen, only how it is communicated and presented. Have a clear plan, have boundaries and guidelines, and people will know what to expect. It is much easier to deal with than fear.

 

 

 

 

Releasing

osprey

Most mornings, when I lay in bed for a moment, I sense fear. It is not a pleasant sensation. I have tried to explain this to many people, therapists and such. They  responded with a “get over it” attitude. It is a very real phenomenon for me. I do not enjoy it. I do not manufacture it by will and it often colors the rest of my day. Most of the time, the preoccupation with tasks and duties of the day helps to dissipate it in short course. But it often lingers in a physical reaction in my body, even if my mind has moved on.

The sensation is not about any one thing. It is so general; I do not think I can describe it well. But it comes over me like a heavy blanket as I lay there. It happened again this morning.

Last week, I spent some time listening to Hal Dwoskin talk about the Sedona Method. He has the greatest laugh by the way. His technique is to feel whatever feeling you are feeling. Really embrace it. Then you ask yourself a series of questions, which paraphrased is basically giving yourself permission to first acknowledge the feeling in all its intensity and then just for the present moment, letting it go. He demonstrates this by holding on very tightly to a pen, and then dropping the pen. You can pick the pen back up if you want or let it roll away.

At first I thought as I listen that this was the biggest pile of doo doo I had ever heard. But I listened to a series of six programs and then a movie. All this was a promo to buy the DVDs for his program. So for six nights while I was painting I listened and enjoyed his stories.

But I though what the heck, how hard can this be. I researched the Sedona Method, because that is what I do. It has been around for a very long time originating with Lester Levenson. There is a ton of material out there on the process and I also became aware of how many of the other programs are just modification of his method.

I have been trying it. I do it on the way to work when I have time to focus on what transpired since waking up. I have to admit this works. By really feeling whatever is going on, really being in the present moment and then just letting it go, there is a small shift every time. If I keep repeating it until the feeling is not apparent, and then I simply move on. The key is really acknowledging the feeling. People like me are riddled with guilt and so when we have a negative feeling, guilt comes along for the ride. We often suppress our anger or sadness as part of the conditioning we received. This process gives permission to me to really be mad or sad…. But then, let it go. I trick my brain by saying for only this moment. If I want to, I can come back to this. I never seem to.

I may have to repeat the process a couple of times to really drop it, but I do. The interesting part is that the body chemically shifts. I find my breathing returns to a deeper, calmer pattern. My muscles release and relax. I can get myself into a tight little ball in a NY minute. My gut eventually calms down. It is not like euphoria comes over me. It is all very subtle.

The brain can be a nasty beast. I found myself the other day coming up with something horrendous in my mind. I was so upset by what was transpiring out of my own creation that I was crying on my drive in. I did the method and by the time I was almost to work, it was gone. I cannot tell you what it was I created now. Gone. This has happened now a couple of times.

This is all very new. I am trying it when I get frustrated with people, which is often. I am trying it in situations where I would have in the past held on so tightly that I would get muscle cramps. I am far from 100% successful. But every time I let something go, I feel better and so it is becoming the preferred state.  More neural pathways of pleasant things are being created pushing the old nasty ones out of service.

Maybe this is why this method has been around for so long. It is so simple anyone can do it. Here are some links with more information.

http://lesterlevenson.org/   http://www.sedona.com/programs.asp

 

 

Creating New neuropathways

bush

I cracked my eyes open a bit, struggling in the weird morning light. I looked at the clock and thought, geeze, it should be brighter. The cat had been pulling on my covers and the dogs stirred. It was time to get up. I pulled back the curtain to reveal the street lights still on and a blinding snow storm raging outside. The snow is coming down so hard that it is hard to see across the street. This was not at all expected and certainly not welcome. The only good thing about it is that it is Sunday and I do not have to drive to work in it. But my enthusiasm for being positive was gone and it was going to be a struggle not to feel trapped in the house and worried about the weight of the snow on some of the budding trees. March is a mean month around here.

I want to share something I using. I have been practicing meditation for some time. Some days I can get quiet and really go deep. Most days it is very difficult to quiet my mind and retain that quiet for any length of time. I have learned that even a few moments are good. I find some days that trying to focus on nothing produces a worse effect of perseveration. When I find myself digging in on something that is bothering me, trying to get quiet is like trying to hold on to water with a sieve. It won’t work.

But I do have something that does work. It takes time to develop especially if you have PTSD. Being hypervigilant makes it very near impossible to quiet the mind. I have to be in a place that I feel very secure. This spot where I write is one. But I am often interrupted by an animal that thinks because I am quiet I need to pet them. My favorite place, and the place I am the happiest, is outside in my garden. I realized yesterday as I was sitting in the sun, that this was the tonic that I needed. Being inside for over five months has depleted me.

I am working on something else to help calm me and make me feel less like I am going to explode. I have been trying to do this for a couple of years. It has taken me all this time to make this successful. Serendipitously, someone sent me an email talking about the very thing I was doing.

When you are hypervigilant or suffering from some form of PTSD, your mind has been trained to go to a place of fear. That happens in milliseconds. Something triggers you, and there you are. When you are not aware or do not have the ability to feel and see when it happens, it is extremely hard to not go there. And what happens is you build your fear base exponentially. One little trigger sets off a chain reaction and down you go. For me, it gets compounded with a physical reaction producing pain and immobility.

When I am in the throes of a panic attack, trying to calm myself is not happening. Matter of fact it exacerbates it. It’s like not trying to look at an accident when you drive by. Instead you’re drawn to it.

My new practice, which is really helping, is to do “spot ahh” moments. It has taken sometime to feel what that is. When we are children, we do this naturally. It is when someone does something or we see something that is miraculous. We sometimes hold our breath as if to breathe would disrupt the moment.  It is finding the joy and wonder in small, inconsequential things. They are everywhere. But if you are spending your life in fear, the darkness shields your eyes and plugs your ears.

Why is this good medicine? Our brains are constantly learning and developing new neuropathways. We get wired every time we do something and we print this as a memory. For children and adults who are subject to constant horrors and trauma, the brain prints neuropathways that will enable them to be safe. One must remember that trauma is based on the perception of the victim. We learn early on basic dos and don’ts in order to survive. Things like not trusting people, being quick on your feet, being defensive, never having your back to someone are methods used to survive. This type of protection has to be hardwired and impulsive. That is what makes it so hard to change. On top of that, our brain builds negative reactions faster and holds on to them harder than positive ones. It goes beyond just thinking. It is a chemical reaction occurring spontaneously to a trigger whether real or perceived.

Trying to “talk someone” down is near impossible. Imagine how difficult it is for the individual to try to “talk them self down”.  It does not work. Things like affirmations and listening to just words is not enough. Trying to meditate to calm is like swimming in a pool with a shark. You know it is there and you are trying to enjoy the water, but something is lurking and threatening you. You cannot think safe. It needs an all-encompassing mind-printing, neuropathway-generating situation. Mediation is an excellent tool to calm down a bit. The breathing and relaxing is a great way to calm physically. But you need both the brain and body to connect.

I am trying this method. When I start to feel something nice… that soft glowy feeling of “ahh”, I stop and totally focus on it. I print it. I feel what my body feels which is usually deep and soft breathing, my skin almost tingles, and for a brief moment, I have no pain. I pay attention to the perception of no fear. Time stops for a moment and I am lost in a sea of pleasure. Sometimes I say in my head “print this”. Pay attention. The sensation goes very deep. I can feel it coming on and I have to stop and focus.

An example of this is what I experienced yesterday. I had several “moments of ahh”. One was outside. The birds were singing, the wind was gently ringing my wind chimes, the sun was on my face and warm and it was blissful. Later, I was sitting in my recliner reading a good book. I stopped and paid attention to how I felt. I was bundled in a comforter which made me feel like I was floating in a cloud. The light was streaming in the uncurtained windows and through my plants creating a lovely array of shapes and colors and I had a dog curled up with me.  I was totally safe. I deeply felt it. I can actually draw it back up as a memory now. I am building an arsenal of those moments.

This is what will make the difference. I will create a system over time of these memories. And because they are new and very strong, they are slowly replacing the fear based ones. Someone once asked me why I struggle so much. I said because I did not know what safe was. The memories were obliterated with years of fear which grew stronger with each infliction. I am sure there were happy times in my past, but I honestly struggle to be able to pull them out. So I have to create new ones. I have to teach my brain to be able to go to a happy place…..seriously.

Paying attention to the world around you is not new. It is called Mindfulness. There is tons of work being done in this field. I have taken classes and read tons on it. I have actually brought into my workplace and have a class in my orientation program. There is no real skill other than a decision to work at it. And it takes work. In our hurry-up, instant gratification world, it takes dedication to this practice.  I am not talking about running around in a Zen like trance. No one can teach this to someone. It has to be embraced by the individual. Just take a moment to stop and pay attention to the environment and your place in it. An added bonus to this practice is that it makes me aware of how lucky I am, how wonderful things can be in my world and I am grateful. Feeling gratitude is also very beneficial to your well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of Spring arrival

I was reading someone’s blog the other day and it put me off on writing for a while. One of her posters made a comment about how refreshing it was to read a blog that was not about whining and complaining. I realized that this is what most blogs are. It is the therapeutic activity for many bloggers, myself included. So I took some time to think about the content of my blog.

Then I thought, really? F**K it! Its my blog. I made it to vent my thinking, my issues and troubles, in hopes people would chime in and comment. I hope to offer some new ideas from my prospective. I think that is what most blogs are. Opinions, shared and commented on.

The bottom line is: if you don’t like it, don’t read it. But that counters the whole concept of building followers. It is a dilemma to please people, to entice and intrigue readers and still be true to myself.

Tonight, in celebration of the Equinox, first day of spring, a solar eclipse and a new moon….all very powerful energy forces, I want to share some pictures. All the events happening are harbingers of new beginnings. My Sunday post will be about that.

So I hope you like the last pictures of snow….I hope no more snow and a couple of pictures of the flowers sitting next to me. snow mound1snow mound 2ice 2dog ballice 1feb flowrs 1flrs 2

Present moment

writing spot 2014  My writing spot

Every Sunday for the past three years I get up and in the still of the morning I write. Today was no different. I had planned my post for a while and was writing it in my head the past couple of days. I thought I could share my most embarrassing moment.

I wrote four pages this morning. My stomach was turning the whole time.

As I got down the last memory, I realized the wound was still very deep. I was not really sharing a funny story. It was a tale of lies, betrayal, and corruption. There was no humor in what I was writing and there was no way it would be an easy read for anyone.

I decided I was not going to publish it. I may never. I may someday. It does not matter. There is nothing to prove from what happened. I realized the injustice of it all and there is no changing that.  But as I wrote, the anger was gone. I had been angry for a very long time about what happened. What remains is abject sadness.

I was also humiliated beyond any other time in my life. It was the lowest point of my life and I vowed to never get into a situation like that again. I doubt I could.

As I spun all the details out, I realized how really strong I was during that period, especially afterwards. It was nice to reinforce that. It was good to remember who stood beside me and who I could count on. The memory was something that would make me cringe thinking about it. There are few people who know about it and I think it is best that it remains that way.

I was going to write it to show how we all have terrible moments that can be turned around.  If nothing else, I was looking for some release from the shame. I was hoping to find some humor in the retelling. But, it was not funny then, and it is not funny now. I am going to put it back into its dark container of my memory and let it be.

Although it was snowing and grey as I wrote this morning, the day turned out to feel like there was spring in the air. Sadly, there was also a terrible fire in the area. We were out running errands and could see the billowing smoke. It turned out to be a very large kennel that has been here since 1930. I had looked into boarded one of my dogs there a long time ago. The reports are not all in but they did lose animals. How horrible. As I sat in the warming sun watching my fur babies frolic in the snow, I snapped back to the present moment. It’s all we really have.

kids in snow

Judgment

Goddess of the garden

Yesterday, The Good Doc, Victo Delore posted a great post on the vulnerability we all have to react to stimulus without the complete picture. Here’s her post: The Bigger Picture With shame attached, I would have reacted the same to the original situation and thought, “who dares to park in a handicap spot without the credentialing”?  I have a placard to hang from the mirror which is totally out of date. I lack the desire to be labeled handicapped but there are times when it sure makes my life easier to have less of a walk into the store. I honestly have also parked when I am in my car without the mirror handicap sign but only on really bad days and in a rush. One day I was feeling particularly cheeky and parked in the “for expectant mothers” spot. One of the few perks for being fat is you can look pregnant and people won’t ask, “hey, you preggers or just fat?”

Being judgmental is normal. We are taught it at an early age because we are judged. We are criticize and directed for correction as soon as we can voice a decision. When a baby first says, “NO”, the parent thinks, who the heck do they think they are? This is not a bad thing  because we need to learn parameters and boundaries. We also need to test the waters.  Learning what is acceptable is part of being assimilated into a culture.

I was raised by two incredibly judgmental parents who were raised by even more harshly judgmental parents. There was a code instilled in my family of needing to be perfect and that has completely messed with me and all of my siblings. This voice has been a deterrent for me at times because I do not want to face criticism and judgment. But the question begs, who is doing the judging?  When I take the time to really feel what I am thinking, I realize it is often not me; it is the old voice of my parents. It is the illogically comments from a time gone by. It was a mindset that I needed to be aware of so I could protect myself. But I also needed to play along in order to survive in the clan. I rebelled early on when I disagreed with their bigotry and hatred. I still hear their reaction to things and people that are not my real feelings.

I have a huge quantity of personal triggers that set me off. People who have PTSD react to stimulus that others cannot fathom. I have worked very hard to become aware of my triggers and try to deal with them. I am so sensitive to things that no one else can comprehend what they do to me because it is “nonsense” to them. For example, a certain color of light or a shadow on a wall used to completely upset me and bring on a sense of fear and despair. I now can explain that it is the color of light that happens at sunset and the low shadow is a marker of that same time frame. Why does this set me off? Because they are indicators of the time when my parents would begin their drinking.

People with PTSD have a bag of “stuff” to deal with that is so individualized that no one can comprehend what they are dealing with. It is that personal. Yet we hear people all the time say, get over it. We hear and feel the judgment. No one can really comprehend the pain and total suffering of others, ever. We do not have the ability to understand their triggers either. We need to have compassion. And it starts with not judging.

One challenge I am working on for myself is the “pause.” I try to take a moment and step away from the visceral reaction to something and breathe. In the second of calming I often can see a different story than the original view. Much like the good Doc says in her post about seeing the old couple and realizing the real story takes a moment of reflection. This process is hard and I often fail. But for the times when I do, it makes for a sweeter time of it. Unless it is a real jerk….and they do exist.  Ok, that was just to make you smile.

 

2015 New years and dream

Goddess of the garden

Again I am amazed at the amount of stories and bloggers of people who have some form of PTSD and Trauma based issues. And the level of trauma ranges from violence and sexual abuse to anxiety and to incurring self-mutilation. When I first starting this new post, I thought I would focus more on the clinical aspects of trauma inflicted issues but then I thought “who was I to write about things like that?” After spending some time reading other posts I think I will continue to share my journey in the hopes that maybe others can relate. I find in the plethora of blogs out there on the topic there is also a difference in each one. And in my own pursuit I have come across information I did not have. I have felt compassion and understanding and I find this soothing. It is sort of a community. And since I do not see childhood abuse or sexual abuse or domestic abuse going away, I think it is important to talk about it and share.

So in that vein, I am going to share a dream I have had off and on for the last (I sat for about fifteen minutes while writing this and realized the amount of years and was shocked) over twenty-five years. But I must give a brief history for it to make sense. I met my first husband when I was 19. We got married a year and half later. There were signs then that he was violent and a liar and cheat but I did not pay attention. I want to get out of the even more abusive situation at home. I did love him, very much so. He was in a band, had long hair, was over 6 feet and large. He wrote poetry and sometime songs. He wanted to go to Canada with me and start a farm and not be in the military. He was pretty close to being drafted when Vietnam ended. I was a total hippie and the thought of raising plants and animals for a living has never gone away. I would never have raised animals to slaughter, but I love cows and sheep. I grew up on farms of my friends and was no stranger to the hard work that is farm living. But I was young and very healthy and strong back then.

From the day I met him, being unfaithful was going to be a part of my life with him and his friends. His best friend was cheating on his girlfriend and wanted to “date” my best friend, and was hitting on her. That was how he and I met. Once we became a couple, in short order, I realized we had a different meaning of being committed. I never caught him red-handed, so to speak, before we got married. But there were signs. I wanted to be married and on my own so I went onward. But there were a couple of situations where his temper flared, including taking a hammer to the windshield of his van and smashing it right where my face was. This was to be his method of attack in the future. He never hit me directly in the face, but would smash things very close to my face such as the wall or throw something. But, after the home I came out of, violence was nothing new.

What became more pervasive was the onslaught of girlfriends. I will not go into all the details of it right now. In the later years it got so bad that he would pick up women at bars in front of me and go off. Early on I knew something was up and would go through his wallet and find names and phone numbers. I had no shame about going through his wallet either. I knew what he got paid, I knew what he gave me, and I knew how much cash he blew on going out. Early in our marriage, he would explode when confronted on things, and I learned to let it go. But I did not let it go. I brought it all inward. It ate away at me all the time. What self-confidence and self-esteem I had was GONE by the time I was 25. GONE! I remember we both went on medication induced diets and I lost a ton of weight. I was gorgeous and had a body like Marilyn. I attracted a lot of attention. But my head image never changed and I had no realization of being anything but a fat, ugly, unwanted woman. The weight came back incredibly quickly and doubled. He had joined the police department, and the level of ostracization became intense. He quickly gravitated to a couple of women in his class and became too friendly with one in particular. This relation lasted for years. She made it very clear to me that he was involved with her. I was embarrassed and humiliated because everyone in our personal circle knew about it and accepted her and the relationship. She was not the only one, believe me, in the 27 years we were married. He had one affair that lasted nine months before he had to confess because she contracted a STD and he had to tell me. BUT…. I have to explain something that will make sense why I was subjected to this for so long and never got out.

After he became a cop, he changed. I believed in marriage being sacred. My mother instilled abject fear about divorce in me. She said it was the ultimate disgrace and failure on the woman. At the time, I did not know her mother was divorced. I did not find that out until several years after she died. I thought it was my duty to stay and put up with it. In hindsight, I know I was also terrified. And this is what he fed into, as most predators find the Achilles in their victims. He would also become the most violent after I confronted him. One time he got so mad he punched the wall and broke his hand. (served him right) He had to go to the hospital and get it cast.

But he also isolated me. He even admitted he did this when we were going through his divorce. He would do horribly embarrassing things when we were with my friends. And my friends could not stand him. So in short order, the only girlfriends I was allowed to be with were the wives of his friends. I was very blessed that my dearest friend forgave me for the period of time when I did not see her and we have become close again. Other friends did not hang in there. The women who I was in relationship with were very nice, but, I would not befriend them now. There were too many differences, especially with his closest guy friend and his wife. She was a simple woman whose whole world was her family. She had no children of her own, which was horrible for her. But without being condescending, she was also not the brightest woman I have ever met. I have not heard anything from them since the divorce either. The rest of the women were in the same predicament as I. One lady, Linda, had been with her man for ten years. He had another woman, Carol, who he saw every Sunday. He also spent time with her as he pleased leaving Linda crying in the house they shared. We were never sure who he would bring to a party. He cheated on Carol, when he met Linda. One gentleman died “in the saddle” of girlfriend #2. It was such a joke they called her Killer. I am sure his wife laughed all the way to the bank when none of the three girlfriends got anything and he was very rich. There was one guy who kept bringing this woman to our house and events and I made the faux pas of calling her his wife. Nope; girlfriend for over ten years and the wife knew all about it. She preferred to stay home with their children. This list goes on. They all were not cops, but many were. And this is not to say that all cops cheat, but in my permitted circle it was the norm. Most of the women were not highly educated and although some worked, none had management jobs. Some were secretaries, or hygienists or in medical offices. This sounds highly condescending, but they were not interested in anything else. None had outside activities except going to shooting matches with their men. I am serious. Some actually shot. Conversations were about house- hold cleaning products or television. I was even ostracized even within this circle because I believe in gay rights and was called a Feminazi because I was a feminist. It added to the depletion even more of my self-esteem. I had to get out of that circle to figure this out. Many of his circle of friends divorced when the cop husbands retired and they ended up with much younger wives. Very sad. But the real tragedy is what this constant degradation of the wife and the humiliation that goes with being treated that way does to the woman. It strips away every drop of self-esteem you have. Many did not leave because of children, but I found out later, many also were subject to mental and physical abuse. I joined a divorce support group and one of the members turned out to be the wife of a cop I knew only by name. What he did to her was criminal. Being married to a cop has many challenges as the Blue Code protects some and hurts many others.

Now back to my dream. I will preface this also with the facts I am married now to a man that fidelity is not an issue. My husband is the most faithful and loyal person I have ever met. The reoccurring dream is one where I am still married to the ex and he goes through a string of behaviors that flaunt his connection with another woman. The dreams started when I was still married to him. I would wake up crying and humiliated and also very angry. When we divorced, the dreams increased in frequency. I would wake up stressed and upset. Eventually, in the last two years, the dreams would change at the end to me beginning to fight back. There was a couple where I flayed on him. He was a big man so it was futile. It only added to the frustration. More recently, the dream resolves where I am starting to tell him to go f**k himself. Most times I don’t get it out as I become inarticulate and I wake up.

This morning I slept in and the dream came again. Just as I was about to have to face this woman picking up my ex-husband and I to go to some event, yes all three of us in her car carrier truck,…it’s a dream but the other woman always is more macho in activity or had children (we could spent a whole month of that) and I go WHOA…..”you’re an asshole”….and I am about to rip into him and tell him how I feel about this and my current hubby opened the bedroom door to allow our little peanut doggies to wake me up. I was so close.

I have been divorced for 13 years. I have not spoken to him since then. I wrote a letter once but of course never sent it. It helped with some of the anger. The anger I have now is not at him. He was a pathetic jerk and so were his friends. None of them deserve anymore of me. But I am angry and frustrated at myself for not being able to resolve all this in my dream world. It gets to the part where I pull up my big girl panties and I am about to invalidate him and I fail. I am sure there is a whole mess of psychoanalysts who can tell me what this all means. What is very weird is that I have not really talked about much of this period of my life to anyone except in my writing. I think I am still grappling with the humiliation and the fear of retaliation that was so pervasive for almost thirty years of my relationship with this man. He began his isolation and exclusion of me from his life almost from the moment I met him. There is consolation that I am getting closer to speaking up in the dream. In the real world, my self-esteem and self-worth is still pretty fractured. If you couple my childhood years with this period it is 47 years of pure hell. I guess I need to give myself a lot more credit for being able to even have some peace now.

Although I celebrate the New Year on October 31st, I am sending everyone a blessing for the upcoming year of 2015 to be one of great healing and recovery. I hope we all get a bit stronger and fight for help for all the people who are impacted in some manner of trauma to become the Spiritual Warrior they are meant to be. I cannot help but believe there is a reason we all are here. And those who have had some huge battle with the evil of the world, whether it is on a battlefield or in our own homes, we are here to stop it from happening in the future. I really see and feel in my deepest regions of my soul there is goodness and light in everyone and we are not meant to hurt each other. I struggle every day with the whys and what ifs. But the future is where the change can occur, so I wish for it to be a better world for us all.

This is a message for all

I am reblogging this actually from another person who reblogged it. It is quite the message The organization who is supported by this blog is amazing and I want to spend some more time reading and learning. There is so much pain out there and one of the ways to help heal is to learn and show compassion.  So thank you Samantha Jane for sharing on your blog. https://bothsidesofthewall.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/because-most-people-need-to-hear-this-more-than-once/