A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘sensitivity’

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.

Induced Depression

falls rainbow

Last night we watched a couple of movies, like we do every Saturday night through the “can’t sit outside” time of the year. I rent all kinds of movies. Some are surprisingly good and some are so bad, you feel like you have been slapped when they are over. I rarely buy into what the Academy has touted as the best of the best. My favorites are usually love stories that end well, or animated. Anything from Pixar is a winner in my books.

But the choices seem to have narrowed. I try not to rent very violent movies. The violence stays with me for days. Any movie that has animals dying is not good and especially if it is a dog.

This post is not really movie critique but a commentary on what we are doing to ourselves. Depression is contagious. Being sad is not a good place to be. But we have surrounded ourselves with a world of death and mayhem and turmoil. We call it entertainment. What are we exposing our children to?

I no longer watch TV. Not at all. I was too disturbed by it. Funny, because that was what I did for a living and that is what I taught. But it to me is no longer entertainment. It is abusive. It sets up a world of comparison that no one can live up to. And the last thing I want to watch is people struggling and call it entertainment. I believe it desensitizes people so they are no longer shocked or empathetic. It is just someone else’s problem. Much like how images of war are no longer considered disturbing.

But I do love the escape of a good movie. I can see the art in the scenes and the pathos of a good story. I still watch for technical merit as well as looking for the quality of the finished movie.  I also love a good laugh. Best movie I have seen for a really good laugh is BFG (BIG Friendly Giant). Any movie that has a fart in it is big with me.

Last night’s choice was Manchester by the Sea followed by Beauty and the Beast. OMG, I had horrible dreams all night and feel like I was run over. Manchester has to be one of the saddest and most tragic movies out there, but I do not mean that in a good way. The hopelessness and chronic depression the main character goes through was not entertaining. It was just tragic. The story was about life and was very real in its depiction, I will give it that. But if I had known what I was going to be getting myself into viewing this, I would have not.

But the real offense was the second movie we rented; Beauty and the Beast. This was not an animated movie although there was tons of CG and special effects; it was live actors. I will say this, it was beautiful. The scenery, back grounds, dresses and sets were amazing. But it was extremely violent and filled with animals being killed. It missed the boat as far as we were concerned. But the violence was over the top and I would never let a child see that movie. The voice over did not match the mouths and it was choppy and erratically edited. It was a disappointment and again, just violent.

Even something like Pet Stories was violent. Why?

People might say that all fairy tales are violent. True as that is, they are only as violent as the reader and/or listener can conjure up in their head. When we put the stories to film, we are subjected to the movie maker’s concepts of violence.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, we had a different selection of entertainment than we have now. TV was not violent or sexual at all. It was entertainment. Some of the first movies I did see as a child were musicals. They were happy and bright. The first real exposure I had to a violent movie was Clockwork Orange and to this day I still hate it.

What are we doing to ourselves as a society? We know that negative bias is a real thing. Biologically, we are designed to accept negative input more so than positive. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200306/our-brains-negative-bias.

Is it just me who feels a sense of loss from such constant negative bombardment? Am I just being overly sensitive? (see past blog) This is my opinion: I think truly that the media output is by design meant to create a society that can be controlled and manipulated into accepting darkness as way of being. The results are demonstrated in the amount of bullying and just nastiness we see in our lives from our adult relationships  and the behavior of our children. I don’t find it acceptable.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

4- 2016 garden   It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me. I love the Yule/Christmas season for its beauty. I love the crisp air and color of early fall. But my heart longs for early spring right into June. It is definitely my favorite time.

street in park    Right now the garden is still shrouded in snow and mud. There are sticks and debris and a plethora of doggie deposits. But last night, after work when I got home, I sat outside and could smell the harbingers of spring in the air. It is very hard to describe the smell. It is part sweet, mixed with earth and in my yard a bit of dog. It is the sweet that is the noticeable change.

spring ice

Even though we get notoriously serious storms in March, the weather slowly improves. I actually love a good snow storm if I don’t have to drive. I decided this year I would not put myself in a dangerous situation and call off. We have not had a storm yet that I have had to do that. Matter of fact it has been very mild.

Louie 1  There was a cardinal sitting in my honeysuckle. I have them all year but they hang out when the weather changes. But in the distance, I could hear another bird singing. I think it may have been a robin. This morning there is a cacophony of birdsong. It is no longer so quiet that you can actually hear snow fall.

dove nest  My already elevated spirit was treated this morning to the best surprise of all. The doves are back. We had sat out last night and just talked about how beat up the nest was and that we were wondering if they would be back. This morning, when I let the dogs out, she flew right by me from the old nest.

Dot and Dudley   It had been “spruced up”.. I was elated. We had several baby chicks born in that nest last year. I felt very protective.

CHUCK     I think it is time to put away the outside Christmas decorations and put up what my hubby refers to as the birthing centers. We have a bunch of bird houses that we put out and every year. We have a chick-a dee family that comes and has a family. We call them Chuck and Rita.

vhuck1 Last summer I bought a new big house to put out to see what I could entice. The rent is cheap and there are diners everywhere in the yard. (I have several bird/SQUIRREL feeders)

squirrel 2

I will spend as much of the day outside as I can. It amazes me how I connect with the change. I feel like there are possibilities and fortuitous changes on the horizon. The bleakness of winter will return for a while, but soon, the days will be warm and my garden will be alive again.

 praying bunny

 

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…..