A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘resilience’

Harassment

This idea for this post came from my Doc friend’s blog. She was talking about harassment and where does the line get drawn. She had a patient who was making passes at her staff in jest, but it was still annoying. Of course it was annoying. It was harassment. And as I wrote back to her, harassment is determined by the person who is receiving it, not the person who is inflicting it. It has nothing to do with the intent. It is all about how something is received.

I also went on to say that for someone who has a traumatic childhood, or was a victim of sexual abuse or other violent acts, the response to someone’s intent to be funny has just the opposite effect. It can cause a major trigger that can put someone into a tailspin for days and weeks. They may not even know what they are reacting to. It could be a word or even the tone of the harasser.

Harassment can come in many forms. Often people think they are doing a good thing. But someone who constantly harasses someone from the concept of improving the person is totally misguided. What makes that person think they have that right? What makes them so superior to be able to comment?

As I thought about this all week, it hit me that parents come from a point of improving their child but when does it become harassment? Isn’t improving a child the role of a parent? Is there a point when the parent should stop trying to improve their child?

What about a spouse or your partner? Is it ok to harass them into doing something, especially when it affects your family or home? It probably is not ok, but it is hard not to do. I speak from experience.

My husband’s 28 year old daughter will not learn to drive. This makes me crazy. She is terrified, she says. She finally got her permit and then took one lesson. This took three years to accomplish. She said the lesson went ok. But she has made no attempt to continue.  Instead, she relies on her father to tote her around like Miss Daisy. I think he enjoys her dependency on him. Did I say this drives me nuts?

I am skilled in motivation interviewing. I teach it matter of fact. I know in my heart that I am not going to move either one of them on this topic, so I resort to harassment- truth be told. My intent to get his daughter to drive is based on the best interests for her. I want her to be independent and not have to rely on US for the rest of her life. We won’t be there. She has no other family and she has no friends. Her mother passed away at the age of 52. She instilled this irrational fear to drive in her daughter as the mother never drove.

The real reason the daughter won’t drive is because then she will be expected to do something with her life. That ain’t happening either. I know this probably irks me more than anything. What a waste.

Does harassing them help? Absolutely not. It only escalates my anger and frustration more. Can I walk away from it? NO. It slaps me in the face every time she calls her father for a favor. There was over twelve years when his daughter was out in California with her mother that she never called or spoke to her father. It hurt him to the core. But when the mother died, it was; “Oh, Daddy.” He can’t see it or chooses not to.

The bottom line is it still harassment, even with the good intent. I know in my heart I want her to have a life and not rot away like her mother did. I am sad that she is wasting her life. She has all the capabilities to do whatever she wants, but she chooses the easy way out. I have no right to her life. But boy, it is hard to keep my mouth shut. I am so helpless on this because she is not even my kid.

The bottom line is harassment is a person attempt to control. It is coming at someone from the viewpoint of superiority, or desiring some effect of change. I lived with harassment my whole life. Although it was sometimes masked in humor, it was my family’s way to control and inflict. Years of harassment left me sensitive to being criticized in any manner.

We cannot change people. We can influence them, we can teach, we can support. But it is impossible to change someone who does not want to. But damn, its hard not to do.

 

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Don’t take this personally

“You’re too sensitive.” “I meant this is a good way.” And my favorite: Don’t take this personally.” Everyone time someone says those things; I know it is going to be a dagger in my soul. I am too sensitive. I will take it badly. And I most definitely will take it personally. Because that is the honest intent. Prefacing statements with “honestly” or to “tell the truth” does not excuse the fact that you are about to be mean. “It’s for your own good” never really is. It’s about you feeling superior to me.

Being an empath is not a pleasure. I see right through most people’s crap in a heartbeat. It does not mean that I can shield myself from the hurt. I never learned that part of survival. Because of that, I am very vulnerable to insults, even if they are shrouded in good intentions. They never really are good intentions.

When you are a large woman, you are a walking target for these kinds of insults. People feel so justified to say, “You would be so pretty if…..” “or you have a beautiful face….” People tell you how much better your life would be if only you could be more like them with statements like: “you should run with me some morning.” Oh Honey, if you really knew me, you would know I can hardly walk some mornings due to psoriatic arthritis. But you don’t really see me, so thanks but no thanks.

These comments do more than just hurt me. They trigger me. My family never lacked in cruel comments. It was a sport to see how clever someone could insult another. I was an enigma in the sense I was the only woman in my family who was large. I mean I am the tallest by 5 to 7 inches, I wore a much larger size (my Mom was a zero to 3) and I had boobs. I spent my childhood listening to “how much better I would be if I only…” This is emotional abuse by the way. I was deprived of treats, often subjected to ridiculous diets like green beans and Jello and constantly harangued about my shape.

[And this is how just writing about my childhood trigger me to justify it. I realized this when I went back to reread what I wrote:] My mom was in charge of the food in the house and meals were excessively high in carbs and fat. There was always soda and cookies available because the other siblings could gorge on them. They were thin. I was an extremely active child and teen often spending the day swimming or riding a bike for miles. I was not allowed to sit around and watch TV or even read. As a younger woman, I was very active. I only slowed down because of the PsA and if I did not have it, I would still be playing tennis and other activities as much as I could.

My family’s constant barrage of self-improvement comments were actually telling me how I failed. There was little said to counter the demeaning of the words. It successfully made me feel like a failure and that was the intent. I know this now, but it scarred me. So now when people make their veiled comments, I hear the disappointment in my mother and father and it brings me back to that time. When you have PTSD, it does not take much to trigger you.

When you grow up with a sense of failure, you have two choices: over achieve or lie down and whither. I overachieved. My success had not dampened the hurt I feel when someone is critical. I am so sensitive, that a look can set me off. I feel people’s disdain of me even if they think they are hiding it. I read people very clearly. It does not matter who or what the relationship. It does not matter if I love or hate the person. Their intent comes beaming through.

Next time you go to make a comment, try to remember that a large person already knows they are large. Chances are they have spent a lifetime trying to meet other’s expectations and have failed. They may not be strong, and your words will haunt them for days. You have no right to demean someone ever. If you think you are helping them, you are not. Get off your white horse and stop being so pompous. Learn that “right reflexing” (the attempt to take charge of someone else’s change process) does not motivate anyone to change. Understand your motive before you speak. Send love, not hurt.

 

Sending good energy

 Although we had a ton of flooding of our own this spring, it does not compare to the devastation happening in Texas. I hope this will rally the people to help out and unite our country a bit instead of the hatred and arguing that has been prevalent.

There is a change coming. I am not sure if it is just for me or it is broader. For the last 18 years, I experience this vibration within me when something is going to happen. I think people can sense it because it literally shakes me to the core. But no one actually can sense it I have discovered. I feel like I am shivering but I am not cold.

For the past three weeks, I have been doing this shiver, especially in the morning. It has gotten stronger.

My explanation is that when my world is in transition, the energy around me is  shifting from what is current to a new vibration. Translation: something new is on my horizon but not here yet. During the transition, I sense the vibrational shift. The energy changes causes me to feel the vibration of the unbalanced energy load, much like a washing machine that is unbalanced.

There is nothing I can do to turn it off as I believe the energy  is external. I practice breathing, meditation and other calming techniques. This vibration is not anxiety, although sometimes it is paired with it.

But it does make me out of sorts until it passes. It also make me wonder what is coming. It the past, what has shown up has been losing a job, going through my divorce, selling my house and ending a terrible relationship. All difficult transitions but all came out to a better life situation for me.

The truth is that I do want a change in certain parts of my life. I realized many things while we were on vacation. I am hoping I am attracting a positive new situation for me.

 

Fearless….again

  I am reblogging one of my own posts that someone recently sent back to me to remind me of my own words. I am struggling with so much lately. My health is not great as it seems that the PsA has done a lot of damage to my kidneys and guts. This past three years and especially this winter, was particularly bad for me. But, as the doctor said on  this past Friday, well at least it did not decline anymore according to my recent labs. As I sat in the garden this morning, I searched for words to console me. Then, in an attempt to clean up my email, I came across this:

Fearless

Posted on June 4, 2013

Once you step free from the limiting, linear straight jacket that narrowed the understanding of the vastness of your consciousness, everything seems to fall into place, (because it was always exactly as it was intended to be anyway, you just didn’t see it that way). There will be nothing to worry about, and no sadness to embrace; at the very least, you will be much less inclined to engage in that sort of thinking. – Rising Hawk

These words written by my friend are the key to living longer and happier. It is not the first time I have read or heard similar messages, but sometimes you can look at something and feel nothing. Other times it pulls you by the collar and slaps you soundly. This is how this hit me.

To release control, to allow your life to happen…such basic concepts and yet, not easily done for people who are frightened. I paused as I wrote the word frightened because it is word that evokes pity or distain, but it is the word I choose but not my intent. I have to advocate for those who are in or come from surroundings that to the outsider seem safe or harmless. These souls present to the world a false bravado while under their skins pulses the sense of fear. It is the walk of many, including me.

I am one who struggles daily with fear of what might be construed as silly to some. But that is what this is all about. Fear is as individual as the person containing it. I fight mightily to allow the control of my life to flow without my choking grip on it. It was making me sick and my body was tired from holding on so tight. For those who may seek some comfort in my writing, it is possibly to let go even if it is an inch at a time. Each forward release allows for more room to breathe and the body to function as it should.

How does one get to be enclosed in a box? It comes from so many sources. It is life. For some people, much like me, it comes from a dysfunctional and abusive life. I was sitting in a car this weekend listening to a school psychologist talking to another friend about children she has helped whose parents were abusive alcoholics. I sat and listened while my friend was so amazed and horrified with the stories as if they were just that, fiction. I wanted to chime in and share my personal story, but instead sat back and just listened. It was difficult and I actually felt some anger as the two of them talked about the children as statistical information.  I also felt some relief to know that this is not WHAT I am as this person in the car, but only my story. I had a sense of relief if nothing else.

I see and hear every day the barrage of negativity thrust upon us daily to keep us reigned in. We see and hear all the things we need to buy or obtain in order to be something that sadly we are lacking. It takes a strong will to turn away and not succumb to the temptation to secure a better car, house, body, clothes, and on and on. We force this standardization on our children to make them fit in and behave in an approved manner. Why is that we allow this fear and perpetuate this environment of control? This is a question that has been around forever. See the Allegory of the Cave by Socrates. We have survived as pack animals.

“No sadness to embrace…” I held those words in my thoughts all night. Embrace; what a strange concept to think we enjoy sadness. But we do. We love drama. We pay to see actors portraying life struggles because we can empathize and feel  our own sadness as a bonding emotion. Pathos. It what drama is all about. I have friends whose whole life is based on a miniseries of dramas. It is food for their lives. I am not exempt from this either and that is why those words struck me. I work in an environment where the drama level is fed daily. Most is simple confusion of an unorganized work flow. But they have been this way forever and I realize it is a culture that is embraced. They live for the confusion because it is an opportunity to emote and wring hands. They bond with each other in their complaining and strife. I see the same culture in my in-laws. They are passionate about the anguish produced from the simplest situation. It produces a slew of emails and phone calls until the event is secured or past. Then it stirs up the discussion and critic of the players involved, which is often another go around of scorn.

But the sadness I am referring to is the self-inflicted kind which I am truly guilty of. I have seen pictures of me where the sadness is evident in my eyes. People have commented on it as I do not hide my feelings well. NO, in truth, they cloak me like a neon sign. I have become aware of the origin of my sadness and I know in my head, that I cannot change what has happened. This is where I have come to the fork in the road so to speak. I can choose to “not engage in that sort of thinking…”

Can it be that simple? This is one of the life lessons that does not come with great directions on how to do something. I read, listen, and participate in learning as much as any seeker does. Is this not what we all really want, to not be sad and to be free from control? I figured out that no, actually not everyone does want that and will take you with them down the hole if you allow. And then there are some who see a secure and happy person and will go to great lengths to sap the life out of them. They are like a mosquito sucking the life blood of other’s because it is easier than obtaining it on their own. It takes great strength to disallow these creatures their feast. Our own minds can be a foe and a little fear can spiral out to become a monster of our own making. Fear is a companion that has been with me a long time. I am not going to sever the relationship overnight, but to travel on I must begin. This will be a long climb but one I must make……. alone.

Mother Nature’s Wrath

   This has been a strange week. Living near the Big Lakes, our weather is always changing. This week brought warm enough to sit outside temperatures and blue skies to the storm of the decade. And it looks like we are going to get creamed again this upcoming week with snow. Twenty-six years ago to the month, we went through an ice storm of epic proportions. It decimated the area. This week, we had a wind storm. It too decimated the area.

Our property is fine. Even our resident doves were fine. We have a ton of sticks in the garden. I hate picking up sticks but it beats what happened to our neighbor.

She has many old pine trees on her property. Many face our backyard. I thought for sure one that is still leaning was coming across and would have taken down a transformer and power lines and gone across our back yard.

Instead, a large tree very close to her house cracked in half and landed on her roof. It left a huge six foot gash in her roof which is now tarped. She has had power, but the people behind her do not. It was 9 degrees this morning with wind. It has snowed all weekend and has been bitterly cold.

When something like this hits a community, we rally and that has been happening. Our clinicians saw more patients just to make sure they were ok. On Friday, I volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Our delivery route was littered with down trees and large branches. We checked on our folks and made sure if they were in their homes, they were ok. And if they did not answer, we called in to verify their family knew they were not answering the door. The amount of damage was terrible. Huge old pines toppled like they were pushed over by a giant. One area would have nothing, and then there would be mass destruction to another.

I am so sadden by all the trees that are damaged or toppled. It takes a tree so long to get big and powerful and in a flash, they are gone. It reminds me how tenuous life really is. Strong and powerful pines, rooted into the earth and stable…ripped from their existence by the breath of Mother Nature.

Pantheism is a form a spiritual practice where you see God in everything, and everything has spirit. I subscribe to that belief. It really bothers me when I see the ruin of nature even when it is not man-made destruction. Houses can be fixed and cars can be replaced, but it the trees are not so easily replaced. The tree that came down on my neighbor was at least forty feet tall. It is part of what is left of a forest that lined the farm that was the center of our neighborhood before all the houses were built. The maples in my yard are over 75 years old; according to the arborist I had come in and trim. I am grateful they are ok.

  Amaryllis blooming in my inside garden

Slowly the community is coming back on line. It will take many months to clean up the area. No one was killed or even injured, which is amazing. People do not know how to handle intersections when the traffic lights are out. The Equinox is next week, it is full moon today and we are back to that silly daylight savings time. Everyone will be off kilter for this week. We will brace for the next storm this week, and hopefully, that will be then end of winter.

 

 

 

 

Everyday hero

Cubid

There are few instances of people nowadays that are in my life that I would say are heroes or at least the bravest people I know. But I have been blessed to have someone in my life right now who I would call a hero. She works with me and at first; we did not hit it off. But as time has gone on, we have become work friends.

This woman does not see herself as anything but just getting along in life. Many years ago, when her three boys were little, her husband made a left turn into an intersection on his motorcycle. He died because someone did not see him. She rarely talks about it. I did not find out the whole story until recently when she was telling me it would have been her 40th wedding anniversary. She never remarried. She dated rarely and only after her boys were grown and on their own.

She is our recruiter for professional staff. I was not hired by her. She was out having surgery on her leg. A few years back she had been trying to open her garage door manually when the power was out and the rope gave way and sent her flying. She shattered her leg and hip. She was out having the pins redone as they had worked loose and were hurting her. When she came back, she was a bit cold to me. I did not realize that she feels possessive over her hires like a mother but I was not part of her flock. It took a while to break down the wall.

I found out that she also has ovarian cancer. I took great effort to make time every day to see how she was doing. As we got to know each other, she would inquire about my health. Turns out one of her sons has rheumatoid arthritis as did her husband. She was very concerned about the drugs I was on and the reactions I was having. She listened authentically to my concerns. She would always say, “Well, hang in there.”

I am not sure what or when, but we became pretty close. She would come to me when work was getting to her. Not much really got to her, but the pettiness of work really did. She does not like everyone in the HR department and shares her feelings about the inequities she sees. She has been doing her job for many years and is very good at what she does.

But then she would tell me of her journey with her cancer. She bravely faced infusions of chemo last year every four and then two weeks. It was killing her. She never wavered though and other than sharing with me and two other girls who were cancer survivors, she kept it to herself. Her doctor wanted her out of work but she persevered and kept working. There were days when she would walk all the way downstairs, back and forth with candidates who she was interviewing. She told me her bones hurt her so bad from the chemo that the first thing she did when she got home was take an oxycodone. She lives alone with her dog Jethro who she cherishes.

Every day she could make it in, she was as pleasant and helpful to new people as she always is. To look at her, you would never know the severe pain and misery she was going through. She would always ask how I was and I stopped complaining about anything. What I face is nothing in comparison to her journey.

About a month ago, they stopped the chemo. Her doctor told her it is going to kill her faster than the cancer. They also discover new cancer cells in her chest. The doctor feels he can surgically remove what they see. From then, they will start a new program with her of less aggressive chemo. She goes under the knife next week. We took her out for lunch this Friday as a treat and to bolster her. I think it was more for us.

There are very few people I know who are as brave as she is. She always is concerned for others. She asks little of her family and of us. But we all are there for her. So if you read this, I am asking that you take a moment and send my friend some healing energy. And then be grateful for your wellbeing.

Suck it up, Buttercup

cookie 5-16

There is a t-shirt that’s says “I would rather spend time with my dog than other people.” This is my new motto. I never realized how much even being around other people really has become an unpleasant experience for me. I wrote last week that I was called hyper-sensitive and be that as it may, the interactions going on in the world has had an big effect on me. What I see are angry, scared people whose safety is being threatened. And when people do not feel safe, they become nasty.

My biggest issue is my Pollyanna dream that people play nice in the sandbox. They don’t. Since I was very young, I was always the sunshine child who loved everyone. When people are mean or rude to me, I have a very horrible reaction. I go to this place of utter despondence and shut down. In short order, it manifests somewhere in my body. It is like I punish myself for people being nasty. In truth, I do take on their bad behavior as if I am the cause. I know in my head I am not, but then I perseverate on things so much that I do take it on and fault myself. Big or small issue, they all have the same effect.

Things at my job are very disturbing. The in-fighting, back stabbing and general nastiness seems heightened. We have had a handful of people just up and quit in the past two weeks. Our financial situation is terrible. We have not done the official year end close but somehow, even with all the work and the 21 people who were let go, we managed to lose more money this year than last. People are tired and discouraged.

Two of my employees had an actual screaming match in the middle of the hallway with a class and other people around. The tension has been building between the two for over a month. This is the second incident of this type of display. I finally had to call them in for mediation. One of them turned their inability to get along to be my doing. It became to her about race. The other woman is white, so am I, and she is African. (Truly African from Uganda) It is the farthest thing in my mind of what was going on, but to her it was very real. She is also Muslim and I think the temperament of the USA towards Muslims is frightening her, and rightly so. But to cast that pall on me was unfair and unjust. In the private conversations I had with her afterwards, I came to realize that her feelings for me were not what I thought at all. I am very disappointed in what was a splendid working relationship now turning into a vengeful one on her doing.

Even my home life has been affected by the tensions of the world. My husband believes in the new government. I do not. We no longer can have a civil conversation about events that truly are not either of our doing. Simply discussions lead downward in short order. I am disappointed in him but realize that he has the right to think what he chooses. Even though I think he is a chowder-head.

We watched a great movie last night about the right of speech and the freedom to say what you want. It was called “Denial.” It is based on a true story where this historian states emphatically that the Holocaust was not about the extermination of the Jews. He states that the Nazis never killed them and that the gas chambers did not exist. In the movie, he sues a Professor who slanders him supposedly for in his inaccuracies. The case is fought in the British courts. I refer to this movie in the sense that people can say whatever they think. They did not bring in actual survivors of the Holocaust, even though they were there in the courtroom during the trial. They did not want this crack pot to have a chance to afflict his lunacy on them. I thought, even though it would have been easier and more emotional, the good guys showed empathy for them. It was very unusual. I won’t ruin the movie, but it demonstrated how the world can be turned upside down with the use of just words. And history had demonstrated that.

So for now, I spend as much time as I can alone. I prefer my beasties who care not for the current regime in office either…unless he had a piece of cheese in his hand. Then all bets are off.

Browny

 

I actually had some trepidation about posting this…..