Love Relationships for Power or Dependence

He takes care of me.

Marrying for security is like bombing for peace.  It was not too long after saying this when Amy told me she had been served divorce papers.  She had been seeing me for several years.  In that time, we had worked through her most recent episode of major depressive disorders and a debilitating anxiety.  She had done marvelous.  Courageously fought for her own health, to be accountable to herself and grow.  Is it that surprising that when that happened, he left her?

Abuse.  When one partner uses the power in them to dominate and control the other.

On the other side, there are those of us choosing the abused role such as for the security of logistics.  Example, “I take care of his/her basic needs, s/he buys me health insurance.”

Marriages, or committed Love bonds, require full dependence on each other.  That is different than power.  It is not qualifying that each of us have different levels of power.  Of course.  But using that power to generate intimacy is like having sex to become a virgin.

Question:  How can you grow dependency in your love relationships?  Even with yourself?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Move away from power as a method to increase intimacy.

CHANGING DIRECTION: How To Move Into the Future Despite Your Past

Michele Rosenthal 2013Guest Post by Michele Rosenthal, Author, Speaker, Post-Trauma Coach
Founder, www.healmyptsd.com 

Host, CHANGING DIRECTION, a weekly radio program

Author, BEFORE THE WORLD INTRUDED: Conquering the Past and Creating the Future

Have you ever felt like something that happened long ago still defines you today? Sometimes the smallest stress or the largest trauma moves you into situations that imprint so deeply they become a part of who you are. Sometimes, too, those events change who you are: Consequent beliefs, assumptions, interpretations and perceptions alter how you see yourself, others and the outside world.

I know how easily all of this can make you be not such a good friend to yourself! For over twenty-five years I was actually very unkind to myself as the negative events in my life shaped and distorted my inner self connection. Then, I went on a healing rampage. I knew that life was so much more than simply existing or struggling to exist and I wanted to feel better and be happier. It took years to find what process would set me free. Finally, I learned how to shed the past and now have dedicated my life to helping others find healing (much more quickly than I did!) after life’s big and small traumas.

What I’ve learned through education, training, countless conversations, direct interactions and coaching others is that simply finding a path to healing is not enough. As individuals we want to move in a direction that is positive, proactive, and productive. Figuring out how to do that can be challenging, which is why I’ve decided to expand (and retitle) my radio show to talk about how we go about “CHANGING DIRECTION.”

Beginning the week of April 29th, CHANGING DIRECTION will air twice every week: Monday’s and Wednesday’s at 2pm EST/11am PST. The shows will be thirty minutes in length so that you get in-depth, concentrated content in a timeframe that adapts to your on-the-go lifestyle. In addition to the healing support and information we currently provide our dedicated audience, we will also begin providing expert insights on how to reclaim yourself and transform your life in the areas of personal growth, career, health and fitness, finances, relationships, fun and recreation, and family life. Interviewing experts in all of these areas CHANGING DIRECTION offers ideas for how you can change the direction of your life day after day.

In celebration of this shift, we’re offering all of our new listeners a complimentary ebook gift: “52 Ways To Transform Your Life After Trauma” gives you one idea per week to discover new ways to be a friend to yourself by deepening your internal connection and challenging you to explore what it really means to be you. To claim your gift, click here.

You have enormous healing potential; the goal is learning to access it. You can do this. Dig deep. I believe in you!

I thank Michele Rosenthal for her guest post today, her courage to invite us to team with her in this this and her transparent beauty of character.

Michele Rosenthal is a keynote speaker, award-nominated author, post-trauma coach, and radio show host. To learn more about how you can be a friend to yourself by healing your past visit, ChangeYouChoose.com

Follow Michele Rosenthal on Twitter @ChangeYouChoose. Connect with her on Facebook: Michele Rosenthal, plus the Heal My PTSD fan page

 

A short story starter

20120702-093516.jpgLeslie tugged on her shirt. Mussing with it didn’t give it or her the laundering they needing. Leslie stank of what you or I would, if we had at fifteen, ran toward a twenty-five year old, running toward something more so than what others might call, running away. He was what she wanted and she had simply responded. But now just one week later, she was for the first time, truly running away. He had been a lot different from she imagined. He had been, brief, let us say. And almost immediately unfaithful.

Leslie pulled on her shirt again. She was running away. But what was she running toward? Her eyes blinked and stung and her anxiety was so high, she couldn’t process. What was she doing again? Running away; not toward anything. Where could she go? Another tug on the stained cotton-T. Her long hair stuck to her damp neck.

No matter how many times she checked, yes, her shirt was down. She had to check again. It was something she might never stop doing. Now where could she go? The car on the corner honked at her and she jumped.

Nice! I like what I see! a voice delivered.

Why some cultures think it’s rude not to ogle women would always be a mystery to her.

Could she go to a friend’s? No. CPS might get called, maybe the police or worse, her parents. Some part of her split off then and asked the other,

Would going home be the worst?

The thought of facing her mom and dad after a week of not telling them, talking to them; after a week of subjecting them to that, she was so ashamed. Shame loomed over her, filled her and all she could think of again was what Jared had done. Leslie’s shirt had stretched out. An uneven hem hung the stains from her dirty hands. She gave it another firm two-handed pull down. No. Jared wasn’t with her now. Pull.

On the bus ride home, Leslie let the static and crackling sounds of her frantic thoughts turn into white snow and obscure and hypnotize her. She finally slept and would have missed her stop at the Stop-and-Go if the bus driver hadn’t used his mic to announce it three times. There was a crust of saliva on her cheek. Why was she doing this? The closer Leslie got to home, the surer she was that they hated her. How did she have the stupidity to even try? What was she doing?

Before she knew it, she was on the front porch. She knew the folks would be home because it was Sunday and Dad was ritualistic about Sunday yard work.

A flat of Freesia beside bags of gardening fro-frou lay around. What was she doing here? Tugging, she felt the threads pull apart in front. Her shirt! Leslie let out an involuntary sound, that was something like a growl. There. That was better. Anger came and stood with her. Some of the fear went away.

But this was suddenly awkward. What in the world does girl-gone-bad do when she comes home? Knock? Walk in? Leslie pulled her shirt down. There was another rip and she tried the door. In that moment, icy panic brought the memory of reading Peter Pan with her mom.

“Long ago,” (Peter) said, “I thought like you that my mother would always keep the window open for me, so I stayed away for moons and moons and moons, and then flew back; but the window was barred…”

Q: What can Louise do to be a friend to herself?

….I heard this hymn and thought I’d share it as an aside,

If you should feel sad and dejected,
When no answer comes to your prayers,
And when it seems you are neglected,
Remember, God knows and He cares.

Refrain:
He knows and He cares,
Your burden He bears;
He drank the whole cup,
While we take but one sup,
Your suff’ring He shares.

And when you get weary with toiling,
When no one your sore burden shares,
When evils your efforts are foiling,
Remember, God knows and He cares.

When confidence has become shaken,
You give Satan place unawares,
The Lord will not leave you forsaken,
He sees you, He knows and He cares.

When feelings of joy have subsided,
When sickness your health so impairs,
Don’t fail in your trust, be decided;
God sees you and tests you, He cares.

See Christ in your furnace of trial,
“I’m with you alway,” He declares;
When suff’ring severe self-denial,
Remember, He knows and He cares.

Want Life despite the freakishly terrible. It’s really That Good.

Hope

Hope (Photo credit: bitzcelt)

So many of us don’t get much to speak of as a chance at life until we are older.  Raped with penetration by age five and following, traded for favors, fear and more fear, isolated, escaping from one to other places of objectification.  We don’t like closets.  We avoid reminders but since there is no place we don’t remember our traumas, we are, we know, not hidden well enough.

And then one day, Hope gets through the diseased surface of our primitive defense and delivers her message.  The message comes again, as Hope is unchangingly drawn to us.  Hope has been here before, but this time for what ever reason, it might be our age, finally seventeen or twenty-eight or fifty-four, it might be a nosey teacher or a fatal car crash involving one of our victimizers or our home is moved, but this time that Hope comes, we have the fortune of being pierced through.

When there are holes, Light can enter.  When Light enters, Light takes chase to darkness and then, served on a moment-gilded-platter, we have it.

This may not be your story, but is for enough.  Even one, right?  Even one matters.  Things really are that sick in more “homes,” represented by the normally garbed, disguised at school, work, church, stores and behind their computer screens.  We are all invariably fooled.  All of us respond to these disguises with what is available from our biopsychosocial-selves.  We respond by naming them consciously and unconsciously with a name that serves the needs of our biopsychosocial-self.  We could say that the disguises are designed both by them and us.  It is what it is.  We are all fools, this way by different degrees.

But back to those pierced by Hope.  Being a friend to yourself may not occur to us for what seems forever along the line that Time determinably follows in our dimension.  Being a friend to Me finds us now where light enters.  Hope and Light can have their way on our damaged selves.

Hope ports to all new beginnings.  The judgment of what makes living, through such distances, worth it is not for anyone but the individual and God.  However our opinion, served from our biopsychosocial selves is that life is worth living even in the distance before Hope pierces us through.   See Post, Your Pain is Not Special. It Is Normal., to read more on this.

We who have gotten friendly with Me, want Life despite the freakishly terrible.  Either we are masochistic to continue through such horrors, to continue living, or it is true.  What comes with hope, with being a Friend to Yourself, with Love, when experienced cannot be qualified or quantified other than to say, that Love wins.

Questions:  Do you believe Love wins?  If not, why?  What do you say about being a friend to yourself to those who are in the midst of being victimized?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Want Life despite the freakishly terrible.  It’s true.  It’s that worth it.  Be a friend to yourself.

Discover Your Sweetness – Value, That is To Say

English: Casimiroa edulis, White sapote fruit ...

Image via Wikipedia

My kids look at fruit as if they are inspecting a diamond for flaws.

Is this a good one Mommy? 

My daughter was pointing at a blemish that comes from fruit grown outside in dirt and not genetically engineered.

My huffing sounds are barred by something almost like maturity, just in time.  I pick up a different White Sapote with broken skin and beak marks where it is half eaten by whoever got there first.

After spitting out the seeds, I remembered bits of my filthy self as a daddy-chasing kid.  The words dusted off and important to me again, I heard Dad say,

Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at.  They know what’s good better than we do.  Here Sana.  Take this one.  This is really sweet.

The fruit turning in my daughter’s hand, the cast-offs still in the basket, her anxiety about finding the best and my dad’s words came at me like the sounds between Broadway and 42nd Street.  And out walked Jean.

Jean was a patient I had known, particular to me despite common problems.

Abuse since at least my daughter’s age or younger.  Neglect.  Disgusting trauma survived.

Jean who, after getting picked on for the first thirty years of her life, came to me, insisting on living.  She resisted being a White Sapote in a bowl on the counter, inspected by passerbys.  Her community had tried to declare her value, her second chances and hoped to cast her off.

Pick the fruit that the birds have pecked at.  They know what’s good better than we do.  Here Sana.  

Jean’s face was in my memory.  Her white scar on her black skin shocked me; a large keloid.

Take this one.  This is really sweet.

I gave my daughter a squeeze and told her what Papa had said.  I’m so glad my daughter reminded me about this in we who have been hurt.  (Okay.  That’s all of us, see it or not.)  The way Jean grew, looked for light, the courage she answered to, the newness that came out of used up and shabbiness – Jean was teaching me about value.

Even when we are not behaving well, when we don’t look good and when we drop the market price, we have value.  Somehow, being chosen for life is more important than being chosen to suffer.  I wish I could explain why and how better but it’s just something each of us will have to experience for ourselves.  We will have to in humility and wisdom, like Jean’s or my dad’s wisdom, find the sweetness in Me.

Questions:  What is it about you that is particularly sweet?  Do you perceive your value?  Per what measure or qualifier? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Discover your sweetness.  Be a friend to yourself

Related Articles:

Self-Care Workshop Notes, by An Attendee

Sharon Profile

Image via Wikipedia

We have been meeting Thursdays, as you know, for our workshop.  Every meeting takes me by surprise by how well it goes, which may be a bad sign but that’s just how my nerves go – setting me up for some denuding catastrophe.  I don’t think Billy Graham or Martin Luther King had that problem.  Even so, pressing forward, I and the rest of the group have done the hard work to get ourselves there – and the inherent energy and brilliance natural to being good to oneself did the rest.

One of the attendees spoke for a couple minutes and I thought you might want to know what her prompt notes looked like.  This woman is one of the courageous.  She has been victimized horribly but she is not a victim.  She has chosen freedom.

I WAS ASKED WHAT IT MEANS TO ME TO BE A FRIEND TO MYSELF

  • Had no idea 
  • hadn’t thought about changes made in my life as if in doing them I was “being a friend to myself”
  • Only have learned what I need to do to stay emotionally healthy and balanced
  • Some of these things cannot be compromised and yes, I do catch flak occasionally, but as I stand my ground it becomes less frequent
  1. Friday group with friends
  2. Aftercare group once a month
  3. Meds (acceptance, cooperation with dr)
  4. Saying “No”
  5. Responsible for only me
  6. Reaching out (for myself and for others)/ Connecting
  7. Recognizing when I need help
  8. Faith (new)
  9. Setting boundaries
  10. Therapy as necessary

Starts and Ends with Me

  1. Don’t give power over myself to anyone else
  2. Always have a choice, yes or no, but consequences go along with each choice

Awareness of situations and circumstances that are unfriendly to me

  1. Drama: the friendly action => minimize exposure
  2. Confrontation:  When it came to Tall Poppies, I wanted to rip out at roots and crush into ground; 
    1. can’t allow myself to get to that point; 
    2. wait until not angry or just let it go; 
    3. use insight to figure out other person’s angle or underlying issue

My employment:

  • loved it
  • my identity
  • first priority in life
  • many years of discussions about it killing me and need to give it up but wouldn’t at any cost
  • after truck crash, priorities changed
  • few more years passed and realized time to give it up
  • still miss it very much but cost to my overall well-being is too high
Questions:  Since becoming a better friend to yourself, what has changed in your life?  What does it mean to be your own friend?  Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip:  Take inventory on what you have done for yourself differently when you were being friendly.  

Related articles

Today on Radio in Summary

Amateur radio station with multiple receivers ...

Thank you Michele Rosenthal at HealMyPtsd.com, and to all who listened in on my first radio interview on being a FTY – Friend to Yourself.  What fun.  It was sweet and to the point.

We discussed using the marker of the new year to commit to this and see what 2012 brings differently from before.  This is freeing, as being our own friend is not selfish but rather the most selfless thing we can offer.  How it is done by starting with Me; the starting and ending point of all intentions in our life.  Knowing that we cannot give what we don’t have, that we cannot indulge the pleasures outside of ourselves such as adjustment and coping skills if we don’t have the Me to do it with (preferably a healthy me) and knowing that going where we find shame in our lives can free us up to get friendly with the rest of Me.  This knowledge helps us find the “how.”

To make being a friend to Me an easier process, leave the injustices of our lives alone, leave the sentiment of wanting happiness, of wanting what we should have gotten or been.  To make Me my own friend easier, do what any friend would do – the hard stuff.  The stuff that good-time-Jane won’t stick around for and the stuff that only Love can follow through with – do this.  That’s as easy as it will get and as hard as it will get.

We can do this.

Question:  Looking toward 2012, how would you change the direction of your intention and energy to be more of a friend to yourself?  What do you think you will experience differently if you do?  Please tell us and connect.

Thank you dear Carl d’Agostino for calling in, boosting my confidence and saying without saying it, “You are not alone.”  I’m still smiling.