10 signs of an abusive relationship – a Twilight reading

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I wasn’t an Edward fan anyway….but good read all the same.

Domesticated Monsters

A few of the possibly more critical and aware fans around have pointed out how many key signs of abusive relationships can be seen in Edward’s treatment of his human girlfriend Bella in Twilight, so I thought I’d have a look at the UK’s advice on recognising abuse and see what I could find in the quadrilogy of books.

Below is a nationally recognised list of 10 warning signs for abusive relationships from Women’s Aid, a national UK charity that works to stop domestic and sexual abuse. How many traits of Edwards can we see here?

When you’re done having a look through, take a look at some fan reactions here.

1. Destructive criticism and verbal abuse: shouting/mocking/accusing/name calling/verbally threatening…
‘Ordinary people seem to make it through the day without so many catastrophes.’

‘Bella, it’s not my fault if you are exceptionally unobservant.’

‘Don’t be offended, but…

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Hitting Your Threshold

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threshold

noun thresh·old \ˈthresh-ˌhōld, ˈthre-ˌshōld\

Definition: the point or level at which something begins or changes

love yourself more

If any of my readers have been with me from the beginning, they know my battles with own mother.  They’ve gone on for as long as I can remember.  It’s been quite sometime since I’ve posted but today I felt compelled to do so.  Why?  Not necessarily because of recent events, but I’m certainly not discounting them.  Because I’ve hit a threshold  in life.  I have to care about ME enough not to let someone poison my life, cause drama or bring me down.  Some people thrive on hurting others yet step back to look like a victim.  I also believe there is a name for that too.  It’s narcissistic behavior.

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I am a co-dependent person by nature so it’s a constant battle that is inside me.  Those traits are not always a bad thing but when they allow you to be hurt or you take on too much emotional damage and drama from others then it is a bad thing.  When it has come to my mother, it’s been a long time coming for me to see this.  But when the day came, it’s almost like I heard the flick of the switch and the light came on.

The morning of May 24th, 2016 was no different than the others.  I got ready for work and at the same time every morning I got in my car and headed toward the interstate.  Sitting at a RED light…not moving….I got rear-ended by a commercial truck.  I was hit hard enough that my sunglasses came off and ended up in the floorboard.  For a moment, I couldn’t even figure out where the brake pedal was.  Certainly, that was some kind of concussion even if a mild one.  I’ll jump to the part where I’m ok….had a neck sprain and sore back for a week and was out of work on Flexeril but I survived.

Here’s where the “collision” really happened with regard to my mother/daughter relationship.  My mother and I had a disagreement the week before and hadn’t spoken.  Not unusual.  I thought nothing of it when I dialed her number with shaking hands to let her know I’d been in an accident and needed her to call me.  It went to voice mail.  I pictured her sitting back, smirking as she listened to my cries knowing she was punishing me by not answering.  I hung up after I left the message.  As the seconds and  minutes ticked by I knew she wasn’t calling back and panic and disbelief started rolling around in my thoughts.  It was SURE she would not abandon me at a time like this.  But my Dad called.  He said my Mother had called him and said I’d been in an accident and he needed to call me.  Unbelievable!  But was it really?

I’m sure those of you that are mothers probably are reading this in shock. Or maybe you have a mother of your own that would do this.  I don’t know.  Either way, when I got home I remember sitting down and crying uncontrollably for a mother I realized didn’t care.  She didn’t know the extent of my injuries but she still didn’t care enough to find out.  That was my threshold.  The point that I knew something had to change.  It had to change within me. And it did!

You see, I’ve spent my entire life seeking the approval of a narcissistic mother and feeling as I’ve failed each and every time.  Always sending the Mother’s Day cards, the Birthday Cards, the Christmas Cards….because it was the right thing to do.  AND because I didn’t want to regret doing the right thing or doing EVERYTHING I COULD DO without leaving any stone un-turned.  But where was the threshold?  When was enough enough?  I thought I’d never run out of hope.

That

Day

I

Did.

If there was ever a proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back….that was it.  Those closest to me think it’s just another fight…I will send another card or make another phone call to apologize for….apologize for what?  Getting into an accident and wanting my mother?  Wasn’t sure what I’d be apologizing for  now.  Her birthday was August 1st….the first time in my life I didn’t stand in Hallmark looking for a card that fit my situation for how I felt about her.  Cards like that don’t exist quite frankly.  I guess I loved her because if it not for her I wouldn’t be here on this earth (although there are times I question that too) but I certainly don’t like who she is and I don’t have to be around it anymore.  It’s MY decision.  They are MY boundaries.  And I won’t LET her hurt me anymore.  Why would I purposely continue going to the same dry well looking for water when there is none.  She is void of maternal love.

On August 1st I’m sure she waited on a call from me….or checked the mail hoping for a card because that’s her power and control over me.  I call….she ignores.  I send a card…she doesn’t acknowledge because the ink wasn’t in blue or black or whatever she could use to say I failed in some way.  She’s in control and I’m made to feel belittled.

But now I realize at 41 years old I’m the one that’s in control.  I shouldn’t have to beg my mother to love me or be there for me.  I know have my boundaries and for the first time I do not feel guilty for not buying a card or calling.

What is insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome.  It’s time to stop the insanity.  It was my choice all along.

Einstein_InsanityDefinition

I have learned that I’ve done nothing wrong.  I’ve just put myself in situations that continually hurt ME.  I’m not allowing it anymore.  Do I wish it were different?  Sure.  But a very special woman said to me that day on my accident “any woman is capable of having a child….but it doesn’t mean they are capable of being a mother”.  I will never forget that because it’s so true.

I  know there are more like me in this world.  Although I used to feel so alone.  There should be support groups for adult children of narcissistic parents who are incapable of loving their own children.  But at this juncture I have God and he’s my ultimate parent.

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So that’s my threshold, my friends.  Everyone has one and there isn’t anything wrong with loving YOU or taking care of YOU!

Gone Too Soon

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Today was spent with family.

My mother and I went to visit my aunt and uncle.  We knew why we were going….they probably knew as well.  Yet no one really spoke of the reason for the visit.

A year ago, their son…my cousin, took his life.

He wasn’t much older than me so let’s just say in his forties.  He lived in Texas with his wife and three children.  No one knew he was struggling with anything.  He never reached out for help.  His wife found him when she came home from work…it was too late.

I remember getting the call at work from my mother.  Actually, it was a voice mail I’d received and I knew something bad happened because she said “It’s a family emergency…call me immediately!”

I called her back as soon as I got the message.  Her voice was shaking and I was feeling sick before I even knew what happened.  My first thought was my father.  Then she said that her brother (my uncle) had called to say his son was gone.  As if it didn’t register….or I didn’t want to believe it….I said, “Gone? What do you mean gone?”  She told me he’d committed suicide.

I remember just sitting there with the phone in my hand at my desk listening to my mother’s voice but not really hearing her words or comprehending them.  Everything stopped after the word “suicide”.  Did I really hear that right?  How could this be? What is going on?  My close friend was currently in the hospital after attempting suicide and now I’m hearing that my cousin is dead.  I was shell-shocked!

I hung up and walked dazed out of my office.  I remember sitting in my car trying to remember the last time I’d seen my cousin.  I really only saw him at big family functions because he lived out of state.  I can’t say we’ve been a close family but still….it was family and this was unbelievable to me.  Maybe because it was so sudden and unexpected.  The last I knew, he was a happy guy with a beautiful family.  Great job.  Made good money.  No one knew he was battling anything emotionally.  It took us all by surprise.

Today, my mother and I along with my aunt and uncle sat by the pool talking about everything under the sun….except the elephant among us.  At one point, my uncle wanted to take us on a “tour” of his newly decorated home-office.  He was proud of his framed memorabilia that was neatly hung on the walls.  One by one, he explained the coin collection, his football framed art, and even a picture of him in the motorcade next to JFK.  He took great pride in his military accomplishments and his time as a police officer.

I remember being especially interested in the collection of his grandfather’s medals, a telegram his grandmother received when he was killed in France during WWI and the actual cane he used when he was wounded during the war.

There were also pictures of his own father in uniform when he served in the Navy along with his medals in a beautiful cherry colored shadow box.

Then he handed me old pictures to look through of family and as I leafed through them I saw my cousin in several.  Again, reminding me of why we were there today….to spend time with two people that had holes in their hearts from the loss of their son.

How ironic that I sat among timeless photos of my grandfather and great-grandfather and their time spent fighting for their country and in my hand I held photos of a very young man that fought in an entirely different battle.  One that we don’t see in photos.  A battle that isn’t commemorated by medals because you either survive them on a daily basis or you don’t make it out alive.

I want to share my family’s story in light of Suicide Awareness Month.  You truly never know the battle someone is facing….tomorrow doesn’t always come for everyone.

And to my cousin, I love you…I miss you…I will always cherish the times we shared.  Rest in peace….I will see you again one day.

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Trauma Bond

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I really got a lot out of reading this post tonight so I wanted to share it on my page. I know I can certainly relate. You don’t always see it when you are enmeshed in the situation but once you find the strength of self-love then you know how much greater your worth is than being abused. A trauma bond can happen to anyone but give yourself grace and spend time healing.

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love yourself more

What does it mean to be traumatically bonded to someone and how does it affect someone?

I know this is a subject that has been well researched and documented, but I am trying to understand it for myself in the context of my relationship with my ex-husband. Although we are divorced, I feel a tug towards him. It was an unhealthy, abusive relationship yet I still manage to brush over the bad and focus on his good points to my detriment. I know that this pull runs deep, and I have been reading up about the deep emotional connection of a trauma bond to try and save myself.

First of all, from what I have recently read, a trauma bond exists with two important dynamics; a power imbalance and intermittent good-bad treatment. Trauma bonds are cemented with  the fear of, threat of or actual violence. The trauma bond causes the…

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One Year Ago Today

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TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses my friend’s suicide attempt. Please do not read it if this is a trigger.

So much can happen in one year.  Do any of you remember last year?  Last Christmas, last Thanksgiving, last Summer?  Those can bring such fond memories, right? I remember all those times as well as an exceptional moment one year ago today.  I say exceptional because what started out as a terrifying incident turned out to be God’s mercy and showing how He works in and through others for his purpose.

Flashback with me for a moment, if you will.  I started attending a local church and became a member about two years ago.  I was becoming very engaged and because I was so involved I met many friends.  One of them being one of my truest and best friends yet, Chris.  Around here on WordPress he’s known as the brilliant writer for Surviving the Specter.  After you read this story, I would highly suggest you visit his page and familiarize yourself with his battles and victories.

Chris and I have known each other for about a year and a half now.  Once you meet him, you instantly love his personality.  He’s a fun guy to be around, can make you laugh and is a great drummer in Rock Band.  Yeah I said it!  LOL!  Hey, every good Rock Band lead guitarist needs a good “Tommy Lee”. And that would be him. 🙂

20140803-Prov-18-24-iPadHe has always been a great listener.  There have been times where I’d call for advice about my painful divorce or my estrangement from my mom and he was always there with the right words.  Never hesitated to pray with me and would drop everything to be supportive.  He didn’t always take a biased stance though.  That’s too easy.  He was real and fair when it came to my dilemmas.  He would let me know where I might want to take a look at my own short comings.  But he did it in a gentle loving way.  Never did I get offended.  He is a wise friend who I’m lucky to say has never turned his back when others may have.  He’s been steadfast…he’s one of my best friends for life!

September 14, 2014 was a Sunday.  That morning I texted Chris on my way to church to ask if he’d be going to service.  His response was that he overslept and wouldn’t make it.  I asked him if everything was ok and he texted back Yes with a happy faced smiley emoticon.  I put my phone in my purse and headed into church.  It was a good service that I recall.  I had lunch with some friends afterwards and then stopped by the grocery store for food for the week.  Came home and settled in for the day.

Jonah22As I mentioned earlier, I had been nursing old wounds of the past and that day I isolated myself to deal with them alone.  Painful emotions would creep in from time to time when I was alone and that day I cried as I thought about my broken marriage.  I sobbed as I thought of my estrangement with my mother.  Those were my two biggest emotional triggers and they could spring up on me at anytime.  And that day, I didn’t call anyone.  Not on the phone at least.  I did look up and with tears streaming down my face I asked God to please let me hear Him.  I remember telling Him that I didn’t feel like I had a purpose.  I wanted Him to speak to me and show me that I was on the path He wanted me on and to show me what my purpose was.  I was just emotionally drained.  I remember shutting off all of my electronics so I could feel even more hibernated from the world and I decided to open my Bible.  I sat and read scripture for awhile with the TV off in total silence in my house.  It was deafening.

Around 10pm that night I started getting ready for bed.  Locked up and shut all the lights off.  I crawled into bed and something popped into my mind to turn my phone on.  I had kept it off all day but I never have my phone off at night.  I pressed the power button on my iPhone and waited for it to power on.  Shortly, after it powered on and while I was still holding it, a text came through almost as in 3-D on my screen.  It was from Chris and it was 10:12pm (I’ll never forget the time stamp).  It read “Do you have any sleeping pills?  I’m trying to die.” It took me a mega second to wrap my brain around what I just read but I knew enough to try and call him right away.  I hit his number from my favorites list on my phone and started changing back into my jeans and t-shirt as I listened to the phone ring over and over with no answer.  Voice mail.  I was leaving a message as I was grabbing my purse and keys and running out the door.  Got in my car and dialed again.  Voicemail.  I left another message.  A message that told him to call me back.  We could talk through whatever he was dealing with.  I told him I was on my way and not to give up.  Once that message was done I called back again.  Over and over each time getting his voice mail.

I drove through the night to his apartment which is 45 minutes from my house on a good day.  That night, I surpassed all speed limits on the highway.  It wouldn’t shock me if I was going 90mph maybe even pushing 100mph at some points.  I do know I got there in 20 minutes flat.

All the way there I did my best to push the panic out of my mind and the sick feeling from my stomach but it was only reinforced when I got to his apartment and ran up to the locked door with no answer to my banging and screaming his name.  Through an open window I heard very loud metal music.  I knew it was bad.  The words coming through the window were as dark as the pitch black evening that night.  On the brink of completely losing it, I took a deep breath and tried to think of a way to get in.  I realized I could message his upstairs neighbor who was a friend of his.  I did.  She had a key THANK GOD!  I asked her to let me in and she said “he’s probably sleeping, he asked me for sleeping pills earlier.”  Although she didn’t give him any I showed her the text he’d sent me.  She immediately put the key in the door and turned the knob.

Archangel_vs_Demon_LordWe both walked in on a scene that was of a very broken, Chris.  She was walking ahead of me and all I heard her say was “Oh My God I’m calling the police!”  I walked around her toward the bedroom where Chris was.  He was standing up but clearly intoxicated.   He was staggering back and forth.  It took me a second to realize he had a belt around his neck.  He was tethered to his closet doorknob somehow.  I was eerily calm inside but on the outside I must have been clearly shaken up because I couldn’t get my hands to grasp the belt around his neck to get it unhooked.  I then decided I’d unhook the belt from the doorknob which took about three tries before I yanked it off.  He had it on tight with zip ties so it was rather insanely difficult.  That must be the adrenaline everyone talks about.  Once the belt came loose from the knob, he started to fall.  I braced his fall as much as I could but he took me down with him when he hit the floor.  At that time I was able to see the belt hook more clearly and I was able to steady my hands enough to get it off.  He was face down on the floor and starting to fall asleep.  I remember I kept calling his name and telling him don’t fall asleep.  “Wake up, Chris!  No, you can’t fall asleep!”  I asked him over and over if he could hear me.  Clearly he couldn’t but I had to keep talking to him.

The cops appeared in his apartment after what seemed like hours but I think that whole thing must have only lasted a few minutes.  I waited outside with his neighbor and a few others.  I can’t describe the feeling that finally started creeping in when I watched him being carried out on a stretcher to the ambulance.

I remember that drive home at 2am.  I don’t recall feeling anything but shock.  I didn’t sleep that night and as soon as I could, I got dressed and went up to the hospital to see him.  I recall being swamped with friends and his family hugging me and crying telling me how grateful they were.  The word angel came up many times and I had a hard time viewing myself that way.  I truly felt like I did what ANYONE would do.  It didn’t seem to be a title I deserved.  But I will say looking back, I walked into an apartment of a man that battled many demons that night.  If I was able to thwart their success in taking his life then I will gladly be the warrior in that fight.

It was hard to see my best friend laying in ICU in restraints.  I was actually nervous to go back and see him that morning.  Pretty ironic since I should have been more fearful of what I saw the night before and although the scene was a scary one, I focused more on getting him help than admitting we could lose him.

One week later, I went to church and cried the entire time I was there remembering what had happened the week prior.  I thanked God so many times for using me.  I gave Him all of the glory.  A song was played in church that hasn’t been played since and I will never forget it.  Every time I hear it I can see the whole thing play out in my mind that night and then I realize WHO was in control that whole time.  I’ve linked the video below.  I would love for you to take the time to listen and read the words.  The song is called Miracle Maker.

Today, Chris and I share a bond that will most likely last a lifetime.  I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason.  God showed me what my purpose was after I cried out to Him that I felt useless.  Chris was battling his own sadness at the very same time.  God works miracles everyday!  Chris is a miracle!

11817252_10153214360804565_8749069553510364985_nYou are loved by so many, Chris!  You make the world a brighter place!  Today, one year later, it’s a celebration of your life and you are a survivor! xoxox

A Story Of Rebirth

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To my readers…please note, I cannot take credit for this post.  It is a devotional written by Miriam Drennan, from Devotions from the Garden and this was shared with me today by my adopted momma (NorMa) in Connecticut.

It seemed so fitting for my blog that I had to share.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. — 2 Corinthians 5:17

Rebirth can be a difficult concept to understand, but the lovely little butterfly offers a picture of what takes place when Christ comes into a human heart. The caterpillar’s metamorphosis provides a wonderful illustration of a believer’s spiritual transformation:

The caterpillar or larva is in the feeding phase. It eats the leaves in its world just as we feed on the ideas of the world around us.

At the chrysalis or pupa stage, the caterpillar appears lifeless. Jesus’ lifeless body was taken down off the cross and placed in a tomb. A believer’s chrysalis stage is when we die to sin.

The caterpillar emerges from its cocoon, transformed into a completely new creature. Similarly, we who recognize our sin, confess it, receive God’s forgiveness, and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord are transformed into new life in Him.

The butterfly does not return to the caterpillar state; nor can it return to the pupa phase. When a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it flies — something it couldn’t do before! The butterfly also drinks sweet nectar instead of gorging on leaves.

Are you a new creation in Christ still trying to gorge on leaves? If so, do you find them choking you? Are you a new creation in Christ still trying to crawl back inside the cocoon to live as you once lived? Even if you could go back in time, leaves would no longer nourish you, and the torn cocoon would no longer protect you. Why? Because God has transformed you into a new creation. Now you have the blessed privilege and opportunity to soar in His power and do His work on this planet. So spread your wings into their full, beautiful glory. It’s time to fly.

Lord Jesus, at times I want to return to the cocoon, and at other times I want to gorge on the world’s ideas and values. Thank You for the beautiful reminder of the butterfly that never turns back to an earlier stage of life. Thank You, too, for this lovely symbol of both Your resurrection and my transformation.

12 Steps of Conquering Codependency – Step Three

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Here we are at Step 3 of Conquering Codependency.  I can still remember each and every class I took every single week.  At the beginning it was truly baby steps and learning to come to terms with my drive to control, fix and be a people pleaser.  All the pieces started clicking together each and every step of the process.

Step 3 is all about learning to “Let Go and Let God”.  You’ve read that several times in my other Twelve Step posts and that’s because it rang so true to me with each and step.  It was only up to Him to help me work through my condependency driven traits.  But to “let go” is not as easy as it sounds.  It still takes work.

Step 3 – We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God through Jesus Christ.

It’s been said that the first three steps are pretty much this way:

  • I Can’t
  • God Can
  • I think I’ll Let Him

Turning something over or forfeiting our need to control is very hard for most of us.  As a codependent, there are trust issues.  Why is trusting so difficult?  We have difficulty turning our lives over to God because we lack the skills to trust in His grace.  Once the first two steps are worked we have to make a conscious decision to now give it to God.

Codependents will see the gospel of Jesus as oppressive, condemning or guilt inducing rather than freeing, forgiving, joyous and strengthening.  Why is it so difficult for codependents to accept God’s grace?  Here’s why:

  • Codependents have a warped sense of responsibility.  Our worth comes from our ability to perform.  Otherwise, we will withdraw or isolate in hopelessness.
  • Codependents feel pride from doing well and despair from failing.
  • There is always a fear of failure and rejection no matter how well something is done.
  • Because of this, there is a wrong perception of Jesus Christ.
  • Sometimes the Christian life may make us feel worse about ourselves because there is no way to measure up to all of the Bible’s moral and ethical expectations.  This increases the sense of guilt.
  • Codependent Christians don’t find it easy to accept God’s grace for free without having to “earn” it.

Because a codependent has an addiction to control, this is sometimes the hardest step to face in turning our lives over to God.  Loss of control is a terrifying thought to us!

Sooner or later our despair catches up to us and our thoughts may resemble these:

  • If I were walking with God, I wouldn’t have these problems
  • God has deserted me
  • Nobody cares about me, I’m all alone.
  • Maybe I’m not really a Christian after all.  Surely nobody who feels this way can be a Christian.

The only way out of these thoughts is to SURRENDER – STEP 3!

Deeply ingrained habits can stand in our way of taking Step 3 but God has given us His Word, His Family and His Spirit to help us make that step of faith.

Codependency distorts critical parts of the faith, including fellowship with God, unconditional love and complete forgiveness.

Learning about the distortion that comes along with codependency made me almost feel worse when I was going through this step.  I truly took a step back and asked myself if I felt that way about God.  I guess in a way, I lived life like he needed an assistant and I was going to be the one.  I was going to help him sort out my issues.  I didn’t know how to turn everything over to Him.  I wasn’t used to that.  It was very uncomfortable.  So, yes, I was guilty of not being able to relinquish everything to Him.  I can even say there were times I’d say “ok, God here you go….you take this and fix it”.  A couple of days later I’d take some of it back.  I never truly turned it all over to Him.

That made me sad.

He is my Father.  He is here for me.  He wanted to give me a new life.  Lighten the load I was carrying.

I think because of my childhood and younger years, I hadn’t mastered the skills of trusting anyone.  I had to take control and I only trusted me.  It’s something that becomes who we are as adults when we live for ourselves and try to do it on our own.  However, we fail miserably at it.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Understanding God’s unconditional love through His Word and experiencing His forgiveness on a daily basis is what helped me turn over my life completely to Him.  It was a struggle, don’t get me wrong.  Being a complete control freak it wasn’t in my nature to just give that control up.

I remember even before I took these classes I got baptized.  I became a member of my church.  I have a wonderful church family.  I was committed to my faith.

Ultimately, it was the one on one sincere, heart felt prayer that I had with the Lord.  For the first time, I remembered asking Him to take over the issues I wrestled with.  There was an inner peace after that.

Step 3 is an ongoing continual process as it becomes natural to pray and turn over issues to God.   Each and every time this happens, you grow a little bit more in your recovery.

This is truly the beginning of a new way of life…

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12 Steps of Conquering Codependency – Step Two

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06d4632Here we are at week two of my weekly installment of the 12 Steps to Conquering Codependency.  I received a lot of positive feedback from my introduction last week of this idea of mine and so I’m hopeful going forward it will touch more readers.

This week we will jump right into step two of the twelve steps:

Step 2 – We increasingly believe that God can restore us to health and sanity through His Son Jesus Christ.

59cf028fd7c556d189ed6e3c9ab5b346This step is really learning to understand God.  We cannot have God in His rightful place in our lives to restore us to a healthier place if we have a mistaken concept of Him and who He is.

Before we dive in let’s revisit a couple more traits of the codependent personality.

Codependents have three main symptoms that cause us three emotional results:

  • Warped Sense of Responsibility
  • Lack of Objectivity
  • Being controlled/controlling

The result of those symptoms listed above are guilt, loneliness and hurt/anger.  This then causes the Codependent Lifestyle.  We are afflicting ourselves.  The solution is to have God actually operating in our lives and trusting in Him to make the necessary changes in us.  Once again…the concept of “Letting Go and Letting God”.

As a codependent, we tend to also make excuses for others.  Our defense mechanisms go into full effect and we don’t see the truth.  Without seeing the truth, you can’t start the recovery process.

  • Codependents will be selective in filtering information – hearing bits and pieces of what they want to hear.  They want to believe a promise so badly that it doesn’t matter that the person giving the promise has a poor record of actually keeping them.
  • Codependents will defend the offender – always an excuse.  Instead of letting ourselves feel honestly hurt or betrayed we protect and defend the offender that has hurt us.
  • Codependents will redefine the pain – shifting the source.  Instead of dealing with deep hurt head on we may internalize the pain causing psychosomatic illnesses.  For example, migraine headaches or other ailments.
  • Codependents will use all type of activities to keep busy so they don’t reflect and feel any emotional pain.
  • Codependents will exchange emotions – worry equals love.  Because a codependent normally doesn’t experience healthy support and genuine love they will substitute one emotion for another.
  • Codependents will alter words instead of speaking their true emotion.  This is so they don’t hurt the other person’s feelings and possibly lose them from their life.  They are not objective with their emotions.  They will use words that don’t reflect how they really feel….maybe a description of being FRUSTRATED instead of coming out and saying you’re ANGRY.  Yes, I’ve been there before, but I’m learning to speak my mind more clearly.  This is very important or you can become a slave to people pleasing and not learning to accept your emotions for what they are and effectively communicate.

What is your concept of God?

Did you know that your parents actually shape your view of who God is?  It will alter our perceptions.  If our parents were loving and supportive we will probably feel that God is loving is supportive.  If your parents were harsh and demanding, we will also view Him in that same distorted manner.  This really hit home for me personally!  I always felt like God was ready to “catch me” and “punish” me for something I’d done wrong.  I’ve had to work hard in reshaping my mind into who He really is.

Here is a really good exercise for you to do if you are unsure.  There are a list of words below.

  1. gentle, harsh, loving, stern, disapproving, kind
  2. distant, intimate, angry, caring, demanding, supportive
  3. interested, discipliner, gracious, harsh, wise, impatient
  4. unpredictable, sensitive, encouraging, passive, strong, wise
  5. just, unreasonable, good, trustworthy, holy, joyful

Get out a piece of paper.  Find one word on each line that describes your concept of your Father.  Write it out in a list from top to bottom.  You should only have five words to describe your Father.  Now do the same with your Mother.  Finally, write down the five words that are your concept of GOD.  It’s very important to  be honest.

This was such a pivotal point to me because I could draw parallel lines through the similarities between my mother and my father.  The end result was how I viewed God. The results could be wonderful or tragic.

If you have a warped concept of God, then the second exercise is to meditate on Psalm 139.  This Psalm brings together our “head knowledge” of God and our emotional concept of Him.

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting

Renewing our perception of God will take time.  The Bible is our resource for understanding God.  It is His love letter to us.  Understanding its truth is key for restoration because codependency is a disease of habit.  OUR ACTIONS ARE BASED ON OUR BELIEFS!

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21 Day Fix

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I just got my 21 Day Fix package in the mail on Monday.  Some of you may have heard of it.  I’ve seen it on infomercials so many times I can’t even count.  I didn’t buckle under the pressure of a typical TV ad but I did run into a girl that I work with that has been on this program for months now.  No, it’s not just 21 days…it’s not a quick fix “diet”.  It’s a lifestyle change for sure.  She looked amazing and I saw her before and after photos and I was sold.

Let me just say that I’ve tried alot of the programs out there from South Beach to Atkins to the most recent Weight Watchers and My Fitness Pal.  I’m not one to just go at something on my own without some sort of “anchor” if you will.  I didn’t mind counting calories or even tracking points.  I was just looking for something different and this sounded like it would help push me to where I want to me physically.

I met with my friend over coffee last week and I had 20 questions….no literally, that’s how I roll, I had 20 questions LOL!  And she answered them all.  There aren’t any gimmicks.  There aren’t any strings attached.  It’s a program based on portion control by color coded containers along with a workout regimen for every single day.

Yesterday, I started on my 21 Day Fix journey.  Did my first workout and I didn’t think I’d be able to get out of bed today.  Muscles hurt that I didn’t even know I had.  Today, I jumped into my second workout….no pain no gain right?  I’m feeling it.  The cool thing is that different muscle groups are worked on different days so you can rest while you work another part of your body.

The containers are based off of your personal caloric needs and I haven’t been hungry yet.  I don’t have any cravings and I’m feeling more energized.  Yes, I’m mentally connected to this program so I’m thinking I will stick with it.

I’m sure I will post more over the next three weeks but I’m sure I’ll make this my new way of life with eating and staying in shape.

Stay tuned….

Mean People

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1688648_500034523484926_468064199_nI always do my best to write inspiring blog posts.  Give the best of myself or shine light on a lesson learned if I’ve faced an obstacle on this long road we call life.

Well this post is going to come from straight emotion today without any blueprints or well thought out catchy phrases.  Pretty much like a brain dump.  It’s been a bad day….bad enough that it’s brought me to tears and called forth memories and feelings that are in raw form.  To even say I’ve had a bad day just doesn’t seem fitting for how I feel right now.  It’s more like I’ve had a long hard week with various things going on that I’ve dealt with, taken on, shouldered, and this afternoon it just got too heavy and I decided to drop it all and just sit down and cry.

I consider myself a kind, generous, caring, loving person that tries EVERY SINGLE DAY to live life the way God would want me to live it.  Be kind to others even if they are undeserving.  Smile when passing someone on the street.  Don’t bark back when someone barks at you.  Don’t repay evil for evil….repay evil for good.  Yes.  That’s my philosophy.

Today, the camels back broke and the straw wasn’t even that heavy.  It was just enough weight that everything underneath has collapsed from the “stuff” that I’ve dealt with.  Enough is enough.

All week, I’ve been under pressure at work.  Just a lot of stuff going on.  Major deliverables and deadlines for which I constantly deal with attitude from others because of their stress.  Do I repay their nasty attitude with one of my own?  No.

Another coworker that I’ve done my best to make peace with even though no one will attempt being this girl’s friend has come at me for no logical/rational reason.  She is the drama queen of the office and is probably the one that is likely to walk in the front door with a shot gun and blow up our building.  Lately, I’ve fully expected to be attacked in the parking lot.  This is no trumped up comment…I’m serious.  Without getting into detail, she’s just been so nasty to me to where I’ve had to address it with her boss.  Enough to cause anxiety as you can imagine.

I’ve been experiencing back pain for months now and I don’t sleep that well or I’m in pain sitting for too long.  Yes, I know.  I need to go get an MRI.  That’s in the plan.

I looked at my yard today and realized it needed to be cut.  I have plans all weekend so it has to be done today.  Back to the deadlines for work…I haven’t finished so I need to work this afternoon from home.  No time for yard work.  So, I decided reach out to the young man that normally cuts it for me.  No response.  I called a couple places and they are booked for months.  I finally reached out to a nice guy that I went to high school with and he’s going to help but it’s just my nature to feel bad about asking for help.  I HATE IT!  I’m not good at it and when I have to ask for help regarding the house then it makes me realize these are things my husband used to do.  It makes me angry at him for leaving in the first place.  Looking out at the yard it seems magnified in size because I dread doing it anyway.  I hate yardwork.  It makes me remember the times my husband used to take care of the lawn and I didn’t have to worry about it.  Now I shoulder all of the household responsibilities.  Normally I pride myself in doing it but today it’s just one of those “straws”.

At times I don’t feel like I’m a good enough friend.  Like I’m failing those around me somehow.  Not being loyal enough….or not being there for them enough.  All I can say is that I do my best.  By nature, I’m a person that wants harmony anyway.  I’m the typical peacemaker.  I don’t like tension or hostility.

I have people that constantly ask me to hang out right after work.  I can’t.  I live 45 min away from my job and I have a responsibility to get home to my dog that has waited for me for 10 hours.  He comes first.  I no longer have that person that would get home before me to let him out so I could grab a drink with the girls (wouldn’t have happened in my previous marriage anyway but you get the point).  Again, back to reminders of handling things independently and it’s hard without help.

Social media….the infamous place of them all for hurt feelings and passive aggression.  I loved reading a response to one of my Facebook posts that seemed to be a little condescending after what I wrote was actually a good post.  Nothing bad.  But people tend to want to be in the spotlight even if it’s not their timeline.  I don’t get it.  But it happens.  How did I respond?  Kindly…as always.  I let it go.

Here’s the kicker today which will probably seem like nothing to some of you and for the most part I laugh it off….for some reason….I didn’t laugh it off today.  This was my straw…..I’m sitting in line for lunch today.  The drive thru was wrapped around the building.  It was insane.  I’m starving, people are walking slowly in front of my car as I’m trying to pull up, and the line isn’t moving hardly at all.  But I kept my patience and just inched up when I could.  Little did I know, there was a young girl in a truck behind me that wanted to get by and out of the line.  I couldn’t go anywhere….no one could.  Finally, I did my best to pull to the left a little bit to give her some semblance of space to maneuver because she clearly was in a hurry.  Yet, after helping her get by she drives by me, cusses me out and gives me the finger.  Really?

I laughed to myself about it at first and thought…have a good day, lady.  I never am the one to spout back off at someone nor would I give someone the bird.  It’s rude, it’s not very classy, and you never know what kind of craziness you’re inviting if you do that to the wrong person.

I sat the rest of the time in line and without control tears just welled up in my eyes.  I knew it wasn’t because of some road enraged lady that I didn’t know but it was the straw.  What did I do to her?  What did I do to deserve attitude at work? What did I do to deserve being walked out on after 15 years of marriage?  What did I do for friends to walk away from me because I didn’t necessarily side with them on a certain issue?

That girl in the truck that cussed me out today didn’t know I’m still struggling with a broken heart from a divorce or a broken relationship with my mother that I try to keep hinged. She didn’t know the deadlines I’ve faced all week and then rushing  home to a dog that waits for me all day.  She doesn’t know that I, too, have to be somewhere fast on a daily basis because I have busy weeks.  She just doesn’t know….

People don’t realize when they are mean what they may do to those that live to be kind, generous, caring, and loving.  It breaks our spirits and hurts us.  We may appear strong on the outside but there is always a battle we don’t know someone is fighting.

So please remember that the next time you want to cuss someone out on the road, walk away from a friendship when it might be repairable, getting an attitude with someone at work that is just trying to do their job, or even being passive aggressive on Facebook.  You don’t know what they could be dealing with…and you could be their “straw”.