Secrets – When You Hold and When You Receive

There is a saying that we are as sick as our deepest secret. What happens when we keep what we see as our most shameful or hurtful secret to ourselves?

stock-photo-20604007-young-woman-looking-through-red-curtains-rear-viewSecrets have a tendency to fester and grow until they consume us. They can infect our mental, physical and spiritual health and  because we don’t reach out to someone else for comfort, guidance, healing, or even a listening ear, we feel alone. The secret most often takes on a life of its own. It can double, triple and often quadruple in our minds. Are  we really objective about our own transgressions or do we minimize or maximize?

12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundIf we stay in our own heads, we are not exposed to reason or forgiveness of others or ourselves. Most often, when we hold secrets concerning our emotions, circumstances, incidents or missteps, the knowledge becomes like a splinter. It may start out like a splinter of  minor thought, action or event but it festers into a pus filled volcano of emotion that can no longer be contained. That emotion can take the form of anger, confusion or sadness. Have you ever exploded at someone in unreasonable circumstances and wondered, “Where did that come from?” We have shamed, blamed and punished ourselves for so long that the pressure has built up to a point where it can no longer be contained.

19287090-dice-un-secretoAm I suggesting that you open up to everyone you know? No way! Choosing who you tell is as important as the telling. Choose someone with whom you feel totally comfortable. Sometimes a total stranger can be that person because they can be unbiased and have nothing to gain by betraying your confidence. Trust is an important ingredient in choosing someone to whom you are willing to expose your vulnerability. I ask myself if the secret is just too juicy for them to repeat?
Family conflictThere is often a worry that we are putting someone on the spot
by asking them to keep our secrets. When you are put into the position where you feel that the secret needs to be repeated, just remind yourself  that it is not your story to tell. If our confider wanted others to know, they would have told them. By repeating the secret, we are telling them that they were right not to confide in anyone and next time they won’t and are back to square one. Also, repeating the secret to someone who may be affected will inhibit the confider’s opportunity to work through the situation on their own. Confronting or admitting deep held secrets is an opportunity to grow and/or gain confidence.

Even the word “Secret” has taken on a bad word connotation as in: not being nice to keep secrets, secret life, secret meeting or secret bank account etc. I rarely have secrets that I have not confided in someone. Some think that I should not “tell on myself” but I choose to live happy, joyous and free and to me that means purging myself of my secrets and accepting forgiveness even if that forgiveness is only my own.

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Accepting the Unacceptable

How many times have we heard our parents say, “What is the world coming to?”? Well, I think we have our answer.

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  • The truth doesn’t matter any more.

  • Promises don’t have to be honored.

  • We are going against long held beliefs.

  • We are opening up our world to people who want to destroy us.

  • Privacy isn’t a thing.

  • We are allowing ego to take precedence over propriety.

  • Civility is no longer expected.

  • Cooperation is passe’.

  • Respect is out the window.

  • Violence is the new norm.

  • Hate thy neighbor is the new motto.

  • Laws are disregarded.

  • The constitution doesn’t mean anything.

  • Rules – what are rules?

  • Basically, anything goes.

The one thing that remains the same is that “Money Trumps Everything!”

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Paranoia

being lost

If you read my post “Running Away”, you know that I was sure that I had deeply hurt a blogger friend. I took nonverbal cues and ran with them only to find that my friend was just busy and having device difficulty. They were very kind when they realized what was going on with me. The very first comment they ever made to me was that I was welcome to make any comment on their site and this was reiterated. They assured me that if they had a concern, they would ask for clarification. I am sharing this with you as a follow up to my post “Running Away”.

So why did I jump to such a conclusion? Because I have a strong tendency to be paranoid and it has caused negativity in my life. I believe that this paranoia could also be a tendency to want control over others’ feelings and opinions of me. I can remember the first time I realized as a twenty-something that not everyone was going to like me. A friend and co-worker said to me, “Well, she doesn’t like you either.” I was so totally shocked but I think it was meant as a wake-up call.

The problem has been in acceptance as I still try to control what others think of me. In Ala-non, we have a saying that goes, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Yes, it is a hard one to understand and it has taken me a long time. To me, it is about control and keeping the focus on myself. Additionally, if I am focusing on what others think of me, I am not giving myself permission to be who and what I am.

I most often feel as if I have to make explanations for what I do or say. Does it work? No, most often it just makes me appear defensive (which I am) and annoys and/or embarrasses the other person. While it may make me feel justified, it is just another example of making excuses.

I have been taught by Ala-non to make amends when I do someone a disservice. My amends would mean more if I just simply apologized without explanation or excuses. When I make explanations or excuses, it pretty much negates the amends.

My paranoia goes along with my need to know and control everything that goes on around me in order to feel safe. I also grew up with a “what will people think” mother who was the “poor relation” growing up. Just another example of how traits get passed down. Having lived this way all my life, it is difficult but not impossible to change. It takes not allowing myself to obsess on remarks and actions of others but instead to talk things out or ask questions, learn from my mistakes and move on.

Unreasonable Fear

I grew up fearing African Americans and before you judge me as a racist, read my story.

When I was in Junior High School, schools became integrated. The African American students would stand in large groups blocking the sidewalk daring whites to try to get though them. I avoided the sidewalk. There was a small girl named Sharon who started making fun of me and I did my best to ignore her. I was not that outcast who gets bullied, I was fortunate to have many friends both male and female.

One day as I was walking to my friend’s house after school, a large group of African American students formed a circle around me. I was petrified because it was obvious that something was about to happen. Sharon moved to the center of the circle and started taunting me. She kept saying, “Push me!” over and over. I just stood still knowing that what usually happened in these situation was that if I made a move, the whole group would jump in and attack me. Another reason I wouldn’t make a move besides trying to avoid having my ass kicked was that I was appalled at girls or women fighting though I have to admit that I was a closet bully toward my sister. Luckily, one of the girls who was walking with us lived in the house in front of which I was confronted. Her mother came out and chased the group away. To be honest, I was petrified. I believe this happened because I was the only one small enough for Sharon to pick on.

Moving forward, where my friends and classmates might kid around with African American bully students, I wasn’t friendly or unfriendly toward them which was probably a downfall. In high school, a very large African American girl named Mary grabbed my windbreaker and ripped it off me which was not an easy feat. I said nothing. A small African American girl would tell me things like how she dreamed that my boyfriend’s car would get stuck on a railroad track and he would be killed. One night my best friend’s twin brother was beat with a baseball bat in the boy’s locker room after a baseball game by a group of African American students. I was friendly with some African American students but was still easily intimidated.

I had good experiences when I went into community college with fellow African American students so I started to get past my fear. Unfortunately, when I worked for a police department two African American co-workers claimed racial discrimination because I was transferred to the day watch and her friend was transferred to my previous watch in a move to separate the two friends in hopes of increasing productivity. Since I filled in a lot for people in key positions, it was considered a highly beneficial move by administration. I became stonewalled by the other clerical staff and when I asked someone why, they told me they could not go against these two girls and implied that they were afraid.

Because it was so painful to be ostracized, I requested to remain on my previous watch. The Sgt. was not happy because he told me that I was allowing myself to be bullied. The personnel manager and supervisory staff called a meeting of the clerical staff and a letter was read that one of the girls had written citing favoritism because I was white. They were upset because our administrative Sgt. used my work examples as the quality of work everyone should be putting out. In fairness, I had education and experience that was not the norm for the position. I took the job because it was something I always wanted to do. I never had to defend myself in this meeting because first of all the personnel manager offered to do some testing if they really wanted to know who was the best typist etc. Then one of my supervisors pointed out that I had been transferred from department to department continually and had never complained. There was no discrimination and it became clear in that meeting. After that meeting, things got back on a friendly basis because I didn’t hold a grudge. Shortly thereafter, one of the girls who caused the problem was fired for selling criminal records.

I worked a temp to perm job for a very difficult African American woman. She supervised six white Insurance Agents who had their own agency offices. She referred to them as “my white boys.” When I could no longer put up with her crude and rudeness, I quit though she begged me to stay. She made me uncomfortable by complimenting my looks in a creepy manner. An African American woman who had previously worked for her called me one day and wanted me to help her on her reverse discrimination suit. I declined. The agency had placed temp after temp in this woman’s office because no one would stay but I didn’t want the drama. I could have reported her for her racist remarks but I just wanted out.

These are prime examples of bullying yet I never recognized it as such until now. I saw it as being the target of anger for a past I had no part in. It is possible that these bullies were influenced by anger passed down from generation to generation and I did feel the fear that their forebears felt at being bullied by white slave lords. However, what purpose did any of it serve? It just repeated the same dance in reverse and did not solve anything for either side.

What I am learning today is that I cannot blame an entire race for the actions of some just as I am tired of being blamed for something I was not responsible for. We all just need to stop and do some deep reflection. We are allowing ourselves to be influenced by the hate groups and the support of their actions by the media putting it in our faces over and over again.

What if we just turned off our televisions in protest of being fed negativity hour after hour, day after day? What if  we stop looking at social media for a few days and depend on our own reflections? Its not like we haven’t seen enough to know what is out there. We are all being manipulated! Lets just stand up for ourselves and say, “Enough” at least for now and let things calm down.

PEACE AND LOVE

 

 

Grief

14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-menI don’t think many realize that grief is not just about the loss of a person to death. There are many types of losses and each loss is as important as the next. The most difficult losses for me are the loss of a relationship or of a dream. I don’t know about you but in my earlier years I thought it would be easier to lose a love to death than to lose them in life. To lose someone who is still living, you know that they are still out there living their life without you and it not only hurts but it can give you a sense of desperation.

In order to truly accept a loss, we must grieve. If you do not grieve, you will keep running from the feelings and someday, somewhere you will blow up and wonder where your reaction came from. It is referred to as “coming out sideways”. “Coming out sideways” is when your reaction to a situation is actually due to emotions left over from a past situation that have not been dealt with. When you don’t grieve each loss, the emotions build up until you can no longer contain them and they have to come out somewhere.

Grief is not fun so we often try to avoid it by putting our attention to other things or any other thing. In crisis counseling, many callers had a situation they had not grieved. It could have been the loss of a job, a friendship, a home but whatever it was, they would admit that it had an impact on their lives and left unresolved emotions. Each person grieves in their own way but there is a model that grief typically follows and it is referred to as The Seven Stages of Grief and are as follows:

SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. YouTetsu420full798969 may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable 2592pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your  loved one. Life feels  chaotic and scary during this phase.

“DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, aI am O.K. today.

long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for 7822968-gay-couplethe death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

 

THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to live without your dear one, your life becomes a images.duckduckgo.comlittle calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

 

 

RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you stock-photo-young-blonde-needlewoman-fitting-dress-on-dummy-248408176will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to12358046-vector-illustration-of-justice-scales accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

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Though this version of the model covers loss through death, it can be applied to any type of loss. When you experience an anger or depression for which the reason cannot be pinpointed, ask yourself “What is missing?” and/or “What has changed?”. You may have to think back in time but there will more than likely be some feeling that you have been avoiding or running away from.

Rather than thinking of crying as being a weakness or self pity, see it as cleansing. Crying is a release of pent up emotion and is healthy.

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Have you just forgotten to be Happy?

So happy to have discovered this blogger! This is one of the most brilliant posts I have ever read.

The happy Quitter!

being lost

I follow so many bloggers who seem to be struggling with their own identity. “I feel lost,” that’s a statement I have read over and over. It always makes me wonder what happened to them. How can you get lost, if you are always there?

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When to Let Go

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Ayala VanZant says when people leave you, let them go because they have served their purpose in your life and you in theirs.

12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundSometimes you can serve as a reminder of things they want to forget. This can happen especially with friends from early in your life. Possibly they have grown into responsible adults and don’t want to dwell on the past. If you are someone who holds on to the past and has a tendency to live in a bygone age, you could be holding them back by reminding them of their past mistakes.

e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7If someone wants to leave, it is fruitless to ask them to stay. Nothing good will come of the relationship because they have already left in their mind. They may stay out of guilt or a sense of responsibility but they won’t really be there. Subconsciously, they are somewhere else, anywhere else. You cannot grow if you don’t let go. There is something else waiting for you. You do not have to forget them because they served a purpose in your life even if it is just a lesson you needed to learn. If you are spending your time holding onto something that is not productive in your life, you are taking time and energy needed for something that will be more satisfactory to you. Don’t be afraid to move on! You are in charge of your destiny. Of course, you have to grieve or you will stay stuck but look forward, not backward.

Sure, it is possible that you just need time apart to realize how much you mean to each other. If so, spend that time working on yourself not wallowing in self pity. Find new hobbies, interests and acquaintances. Do something you have been putting off. It will make you a much more desirable and interesting person. No one wants to be with a pitiful sad sack. But don’t do any of this in order to entice someone back into your life, do it for yourself. Move on with your life and let them catch up to you, don’t hang around waiting.Tetsu420full798969

If someone will not forgive you for a transgression, forgive yourself and let them go. They will only serve to remind you of past mistakes. Once you have made amends, they owe it to you to forgive or let you go. A constant reminder of past mistakes do not benefit anyone. and only hold both of you back. Don’t hold onto your mistakes. I say this because I do hold on to my mistakes and continually beat myself up. I am learning but it takes baby steps. I have every reason to be happy at this time in my life and to hold on to my mistakes will only serve to dull that happiness. The people I think I have offended don’t give me a thought because they have they have moved on with their lives. Those that are dwelling on old hurts are only keeping themselves down. It gives me a sense of freedom when I realize that I should not be punished for my mistakes over and over again for the rest of my life. There is freedom in admitting your mistakes, making amends when possible, learning the lesson and moving on.

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You deserve to live a life free of blame and shame. We all make mistakes, learn from them and move on.💝

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CONTROL😬

Control is an illusion. When we most believe we are in control of a situation, we are actually out of control.

I believe the driving force of the need to control is fear. An acronym for fear is “False Events Appearing Real”. We fear what will happen if we let go and let life happen. I have found that when I let go of trying to control the world around me, my life is fuller and a lot more peaceful. When I keep the focus on myself, my relationships are better and I am less anxious. It is not an easy thing to do, letting go, especially when the need to control life around us was developed out of necessity to help us survive physically, mentally or emotionally. It’s hard to tell ourselves that part of our lives is over and there is no longer a need for what is sometimes called “white knuckling” (holding on so tight that your knuckles turn white). Like an addiction, letting go has to be done one minute at a time because the need for control touches every area of our lives. Try asking yourself in each situation:

  • “What am I afraid will happen?”
  • “Is my fear really logical?”
  • “What am I running away from?”
  • “What am I hiding from?”
  • “What will happen if I don’t try to control this situation?”
  • “Am I helping or hurting?”
  • Is this my business?

I struggle with control issues. In the past, I could spot them in others but didn’t see them in myself until I realized that I have a need to control what others think of me. When I came to that realization, I began to look at possibilities in other areas of my life. I see it in my writing, the need to give every detail of every situation in order to ensure that the reader perceives what I have written as I believe they should. I cannot control what someone takes away from my writing just as I cannot control what people think of me. Every person is made up of life experiences and they have developed their individual beliefs, interests and opinions. Still it is difficult to let go of the illusion.

I feel that I have to make excuses or give reasons for any thing I say and/or do so that I can control how it is received. I try to make others understand why I am the way I am. It may be acceptable in this venue because we are all striving to learn from and support each other but it doesn’t work in my everyday life. My new goal is to accept myself as I am and stop worrying about what other people think of me because I cannot control their perception of me in any way. We have a saying in Ala-non, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” It took me a while to make sense of this saying but that was because I didn’t get the concept behind it. Yet, when I look at it as meaning as, “I cannot control what others think of me” the meaning is clear.

If you believe in God, the concept of “letting go” is simply “Let God and Let God.” Letting go is learning to trust that things will work as they are meant to. I have a friend who has a sticky note on her mirror that says, “(her name), Thanks but I don’t need your help today, Love, God.” Another tool that some of my friends use is a God Box. When something is worrying you, write it on a piece of paper and put it in your God Box. Once you have placed the problem in his hands, let go of it. This will only work if you let go of the situation. I have a tendency to turn it over then take it back, turn it over, then take it back like a Yo Yo.

God doesn’t expect us to let go of the steering wheel. For example, we can’t say, “I can’t pay my bills God, you take over” and sit back and wait. He expects us to use the knowledge and tools we have to solve problems to the best of our ability. If you are not a believer, the concept of letting go still works. When we try to control a situation, we usually end up making the situation worse, so just let go.

The burden of trying to control everything around us is stressful and exhausting and it’s not our job. What would life be like if we just put that burden down and put that energy into something more positive? Would it feel like freedom?

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Childhood Sexual Abuse Part Three

For me and for anyone who knows or loves someone who was sexually abused, this may be the most important part of the sharing my experience on this topic.

There was no support, validation or comfort, it was just an experience to be hidden from the world because it became my mother’s shameful burden. To this day, I can remember telling my mother about two abuse situations while she was giving me a bath and for the life of me, I can’t remember the words I used or any reaction on her part. That doesn’t mean there was no reaction, it just means that it was so minimal that I, as a young child, never saw it. My mother tells me that she protected me by not allowing the baby-sitter or the neighborhood boy to have access to me or my siblings but was that enough? She says back then people didn’t talk about “such things” and certainly didn’t take legal action. But she never even told my father. Never, ever.

I love my mother. She has made a lot of mistakes and bad choices in her life that I know came from her growing up in an alcoholic home with a pedophile father. As they say, shit rolls downhill. All my life, I have tried to force her to tell me why she did things she did because her actions or in-actions have had a huge impact on who I am or am not. She is only now that she is 84, forcing herself to give me answers. She has given me permission to ask her anything I need because she doesn’t want to leave me with questions. Unfortunately, my blocking out painful experiences is also my mother’s way of coping so  while she knows things happened with her father, she cannot recall the details. Like mother, like daughter. She has gone through her whole life blaming everything bad that happened to her on alcohol. Her father had alcoholism, her life changed when she, my dad and their friends started to drink and she was affected by alcoholism and all the mistakes that go with the release that alcohol gives from inhibitions and pain.

I believe that my mother hid my molestation because she was afraid that her secret knowledge about her father would come out. She loved her father so deeply that she sacrificed her children’s well-being for that love. She said we never showed signs of his having molested us without even realizing what she was saying. What I heard was that she knew what he was but she believed he never did it to us. She remembers him being drunk and french kissing her goodnight and her saying to him, “You are not my daddy!” Coincidentally, one time the words “You are not my daddy!” came out of my mouth as an adult. I think I might have been angry with my dad at the time but he was no where around.  I remember being shocked and confused that I would say such a thing. Mom’s sister told her that their father molested her but my mother wouldn’t listen. When you put someone on a pedestal, they can’t stay up there and you often can’t let yourself see them fall. She tells me that she knows something happened to her but she has blocked it out. I have encouraged my mother so many times to seek counseling but she is so filled with shame that she just can’t.

When I worked for a police department, I was filing and came across a card that told me that my grandfather had been arrested for child molestation. My grandfather was dead at the time and I guess I had a need to totally remove his existence. I went to the evidence technician who is responsible for criminal reports and let him know of the death so he could remove the record, which was standard. Lest you think that the entire history was removed, no, it wouldn’t be as the records were put onto microfiche at that time. In fact, that is why I couldn’t read the actual report on the incident, it was on microfiche in storage. I am not a rule breaker but I would have looked up that report if I could have. The evidence tech asked me if this man was a relative and I told him that he was my grandfather. I have never forgotten that he looked at me kindly and said, “We can pick our friends but we can’t pick our relatives.” and told me that he would take care of it. Since that time, I have learned from my mother that my father actually bailed my grandfather out of jail. She says they believed that the young girl was lying. Reading between the lines, it is easy to see that my mother couldn’t have believed the girl was lying. Another child sacrificed. My aunt was very angry that the judge dismissed the charges though she probably kept this to herself until she told me. My father’s naivete has often frustrated me but not more so than in this instance. However, my mother hid so much from him. Once when I told my parents that I was very uncomfortable around the husband of a family friend, my father told me that he knew the guy would never do anything to my father’s children. So Dad, he would molest his stepchildren but not your children? Wake up and smell the coffee! I was actually hurt that he would not proclaim to stay away from the man in order to help me feel more comfortable. Naive or lacking courage? The man ended up shooting his wife and stepson. You can read about it in my post “Tragic Endings”.

My grandfather molested my cousin, sister and me and we never told anyone. My not telling about me was understandable, I blocked out the details, but my cousin and my sister told me about it happening to them. I was the oldest girl grandchild so chances are that I had the experiences prior to theirs. The three of us talked about why we didn’t tell anyone and we all agreed it was that we didn’t want to hurt our parents who had so much love for this man, a love we all resented. If we couldn’t tell how could I expect my mother to tell. She and I have had several very honest conversations about this and while her answer has hurt me, it was extremely honest. She says she would never have taken action because she would not have wanted to split up her family. I don’t think she is alone in that, after all, isn’t that why my sister, cousin and I didn’t tell. She says not only did she love her father but her mother was a woman with no education, means of support and had 5 children. It strikes me that she said her mother had 5 children which says to me that she was not talking about my molestation but hers. However, she made it clear that she would not have told anyone had she known about me and my sister. She was not the exception, she was the rule during those times. If we look the other way, it didn’t happen. I was hurt when my mother made her admission to me and told her that it was her responsibility to protect her children, we weren’t capable of protecting ourselves. A few days later, she called me and told me that she was haunted by what she said and that she would answer any questions I had. Oddly enough, after that it was difficult to want to bring the subject up. It was like I finally had what I needed, her acknowledgement that she was wrong not to protect me. However, we have talked about it since and while she knows she was wrong, she still contends that she would not have split up her family. I have to accept that because nothing is ever going to change it but it is hers to live with. So my dad died never knowing the family secret. He never knew why I pursued therapy, he never thought I needed it. He didn’t know that my continuous talking, talking, talking and difficulty not filling the silence were symptoms of a person with a painful secret.

There was no education when the abuse took place. People were truly ignorant, willfully so. I don’t mean they were ignorant of the fact that it took place, they were ignorant in the fact that it would matter. There was no courage when it came to emotional situations. It was easier for a man to kick his daughter out of the house for having sex than it was to try to understand why she had sex. It was easier to turn her away than to listen or talk with her. I know of several situations even within my own extended family where the child was blamed for being molested. The thinking was that the child brought it on herself by being promiscuous. So much easier to sacrifice you own family than to have the courage to confront. A child cannot be held responsible for an adult’s actions. If a child is promiscuous, there is a reason in my opinion. The word “incest” is abhorrent to most of us. Its creepy that a relative would have sex with their child relative. However, when I was in therapy, I attended Incest Survivor meetings and incest was considered to be the term used in relation to any adult who is responsible for a child and betrays the trust of the child. If a child is dependent on an adult, he/she she has to place their trust in that adult so the child doesn’t usually have a choice in what happens between the child and the adult. I can tell you that I have been to several different genres of support meetings and I would have to say that the people in the Incest Survivor meetings appeared to have been the most damaged emotionally and mentally. There is so much shame, anger and sexual acting out. Each person thinks another pers0n’s experience is worse than their own but they are all horrendous because they were so very betrayed by someone who they were supposed to be able to trust to take care of them.

I can’t help but wonder how different my life would be if my mother had the courage to step up. What if my dad had known? Would he have had the courage to fight for me? Sadly I doubt it. My brother was angry with me for telling him about my grandfather because my grandfather was his idol. He didn’t say that he didn’t believe it, just that he didn’t want to know about it. Can I judge him? No, I can be angry but I cannot judge him. Our whole lives have been complicated by the dysfunction that has passed itself down but the one thing I know is that we survived. In spite of all the dysfunction my siblings and I lived through, we all survived and have gone on to live productive lives. The odd thing is that I attribute that to the love and support of our parents. No matter how crazy things got, the three of us hung on to the knowledge that our parents loved us and wanted the best for us. When my mother was in a downward spiral, she was still our anchor because dad was the supporter and she was took care of the children. She took on all the burden to protect him from worry and responsibility and his children were shortchanged.

We somehow knew that we had to hang in there until our parents grew up enough to come back to us. Because in our very early years, we had a good, solid family and it stayed with us. My mother said to me recently, “I always wanted to be a good mother.” and I was able to tell her that in some very important ways, she was. Even during the chaos, when we made mistakes our parents didn’t punish, they talked and we actually listened. They always let us have our say and if they felt we were right, they would concede. We were rewarded for honesty by having our parents let that be enough to convince them that we were aware of our misdeeds. We were never shamed.  We have all had our trials but we have our own families and we try to do our best for them.

 

 

 

 

Gossip

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One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me something that someone else said about me and asks me not to tell the person who did the saying. I don’t tell the person who did the saying because I don’t intentionally want to stir up trouble. So, I stew over it and the resentment builds up and ends up coming out sideways. What I mean by “coming out sideways” is that like a pressure cooker, the anger, hurt and frustration build up until it blows, often directed at the wrong person. Its a no-win situation. I have started letting people know that I am not open to hearing what others say about me, especially if they are going to ask me not to say anything to that person. My grandson once told me that his friends said I am fat. I told him that it didn’t hurt me that they said it, it hurt me that he told me about it. I told him that I would have thought he wouldn’t want to hurt me like that. It seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other. He has heard adults gossip and stir up trouble and is waltzing down the same path.

 

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A counselor I went to had a really good grasp on gossip. Here is what he shared:

When someone tells me a piece of gossip, to ask myself why they are telling me this and why are they telling me at that time or to ask them these questions. Most often, the real answer is that they want to create chaos but if nothing else, it will make them stop and think about what they are doing. Another suggestion was to ask the person who is telling you something another person said about you, “I really would prefer to hear this from them.” or “I really need to hear this from them.” This suggestion could also be used in regard to gossip about other people.

 

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Do I gossip? I would have to say that I am a work in progress. I have consciously avoided gossiping recently. The thing I have learned about gossip, besides that it hurts the person or persons being gossiped about, is that it is an addiction like any other addiction. Here’s an experiment: Notice how you feel when you repeat gossip (if you do). Chances are you will get a high from participation in a gossip session. Also, try to stand by and listen to a gossip session without saying anything. And then, see what happens when someone tells you a tidbit of juicy gossip and you try not to tell anyone

 

9362132-bright-picture-of-young-woman-listening-gossipI think you will find as I have that it is, indeed, an addiction. You see, if you have had chaos in your life, that becomes your comfort zone because it is what you are accustomed to. You become addicted to chaos and because you need it to feel alive, you will cause chaos either unknowingly or knowingly. It’s sad really because you might have been a different person had you not experienced all that chaos. Understand that most of us don’t even realize that is going on within us.

 

 

3487178-dos-muchachas-j-venes-intimidaci-n-otra-ni-a-al-aire-libreWhen I was in elementary school, I made fun of a girl who rode my bus for being pregnant. I was repeating what I had heard and obviously didn’t care if I hurt her reputation or feelings, nor did I stop to realize that it was just gossip. Her mother called my mother to let her know what happened. My mother took me to their house and we sat down with her and her mother to talk about it. I don’t remember what was said but I remember being made aware of the seriousness of what I had done. I had to apologize and really meant it. I think my mother handled the situation very well. There was no screaming or punishment, I was made to face the girl and her mother in front of my mother and to face up to the hurt I had caused and the damage that was done. Even after the meeting with them, my mother didn’t treat me badly or stonewall me. My parents did not punish if you were honest, so for the most part, we were honest kids.

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I didn’t gossip much in high school because we were a pretty close-knit smaller school. I was friendly with the different groups, from the overachievers to the underachievers and hung out with the achievers even though I was an underachiever. Another reason I didn’t gossip was that my boyfriend “told” me not to. I was surprised at how easy it was not to gossip back then. I wish I could say it lasted but it didn’t.

9663423-shocked-mother-among-wild-little-girls-at-a-sleepoverI had a moment of epiphany recently after reading a post by nutsrok.wordpress.com about child abuse. I have known for a very long time that I am emotionally stuck at 15. When someone experiences a trauma, they stop growing emotionally at that age and I went through a very difficult time starting when I was 15. I shut down emotionally at that point and couldn’t even cry for at least a year. My epiphany was that the 15 year old inside me is defensive, needy, angry, insecure and fears abandonment. It is not me, the real me, that acts out and the adult in me is responsible for reining her in. I have gone through therapy after therapy and I know what needs to change but I don’t make the effort. I come to a point in therapy that I quit going because it doesn’t do any good if you don’t use what you learn. However, I still can’t keep myself from chasing the problem to find the answer. Children of Alcoholics often become self-help junkies. Then, there comes a moment of epiphany and I embrace the problem and take baby-steps, one day at a time, to overcome the negative thing that is ingrained in me. That is where I am today.

 

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I no longer want a life of chaos! I have had a taste of peace and crave more. I know now how important it is for me to parent that 15 year old girl. To stop her from destroying both of us and love her through the tough times. My question is, why did it take until I was 63 or is it 64? I truly don’t know how old I am because Danny and I are both young in our minds and hearts. Does it even matter?