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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Great Article About Narcissism

Just read this.
Reading it brought back so many . . . stress loops.
But the information is vital. I wish I would have known this . . .
http://articlesbrain.com/what-it-means-when-a-narcissist-says-i-love-you/



WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A NARCISSIST SAYS “I LOVE YOU”

Dear Codependent Partner,
What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.
And that’s the whole point.
When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.
I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.
I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.
I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.
I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)
(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.
I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.
I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.
(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children  — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)
It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!). Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.
(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how its treated!)
(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)
I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless). What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).
I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.
“I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all those I consider inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)
“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.
I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.
I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for others … and you!).
“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. You, and in particular, your looking up to me, unquestionably, as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my drug of choice. (You may have noticed how touchy I am at any signs of being question; yes, I hate how fragile I feel at any sign of thinking that you, or the world, could judge me as having failed to keep my possessions in line.)
And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? It gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”
I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.
I love how I skillfully manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.
I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may provide you a sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses, and that I instead keep your focus on my needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.
I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring your wants and needs are solely focused on not upsetting me, keeping me happy.
I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value, and hold dear, to include the people you love, and those who love and support you.
I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell, and I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.
I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you bring to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.
While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.
I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report, which lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.
In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.
Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.
Forever love-limiting,
Your narcissist

Friday, April 28, 2017

C-PTSD--I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THIS WAS A THING

I just found a blog for those who are going through C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I never heard of it before, but if you're like me, and have suffered the flashbacks and debilitating symptoms of living with an abusive or NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) person, this blog article is for you.

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/10/living-with-c-ptsd-following-an-abusive-relationship/


Let me know what you think. What's YOUR story?




GOOD ADVICE


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Not Enough

In my thirty-three years of marriage, I was often barraged by my husband with abusive harangues of not being thin enough. I would not cater to his needs enough. The house wasn't clean enough. My cooking wasn't good enough. There were so many "not enoughs" that my self-esteem shattered and my self-worth was non-existent. He had me convinced I was such a loser I wasn't worthy enough to even live.

There were a few times I planned my death. I became obsessed with thoughts of driving my car into a telephone pole, or a wall, or off a cliff. At length, I became convinced that if I was such a horrible person, I didn't deserve to raise my children. I was not a good enough mother. My husband, who was perfect, would be up to the task because I didn't do a good enough job--of anything.

My friends saved me, as usual, by lifting me up and buoying up my psyche so that I was able to "consider" I might be "okay" enough to live. One of my friends, when she noticed how depressed I was, told me that if I ever had any thoughts of killing myself, to call her--no matter what time of the day or night. "Even if it's three o'clock in the morning--you call me!" she commanded. At that, I actually wondered, "If she loves me that much, maybe I am good enough."

I consulted a therapist for depression.  Of course, when she asked what was my problem, I just said, "I don't know." And in my mentally-defective mind, I just denied everything--even to myself. She suggested Prozac. I couldn't have lived through the last fifteen years of my marriage without it.


This photo was taken in August 1996.

Whenever I see the photograph above, I am reminded of my life at that time--tumultuous. About ten years earlier is when I had sunk into such a deep depression, I had the suicidal thoughts mentioned above. It was a struggle every day to live with my non-compassionate, unsympathetic, and narcissistic, abusive husband. I put on a good show in front of others--just as he did--pretending we had a perfect family. 

Two years after this photo, I had those same suicidal thoughts, but I had dealt with that dark side and vowed to myself and God that I would NOT kill myself. I sought therapy instead. Many times.

Two months after the above photo was taken, my world began to collapse, slowly, like the crack in a delicate egg. I had thought that, despite his abuse, my husband loved me. (All co-dependents think that way.) He was a good provider, and he was good with the kids, who loved him. I was "enduring" our marriage, yet still had that hope our relationship would work itself out somehow. I didn't realize then that, showing respect for their mother was what makes a good father. Being "good" with the kids only meant he sometimes had fun with them, but he was abusive toward them as well.

It was a Friday night in October. My husband was planning a business trip for Monday. It had been ages since we had been intimate. Since he had been unusually nice to me that day (yes, I hoped in days only), I made advances to him when he got in bed.

He pushed me away. I asked, "What's wrong?" but didn't want to know because it was probably something I did. He had never turned me away up until that time.

I tried again.  He pushed me away again. He leaned up on his arm, looked at me with disgust, and said, "I've lost my desire for you."  He rolled over on his side away from me as I lay next to him, questioning, his venomous words echoing in my brain.

"What? What do you mean? What does that mean?" I asked over and over, but got no response.
I angrily kept asking him. I pushed him and pulled on his shoulder and ranted, "What do you mean by that?" not able to process it in my brain, not caring if he would turn on me with verbal abuse--or even physical abuse.

With no reply whatever, I grew even angrier and began to punch him in the back, all the while questioning, "What do you mean, you've lost your desire for me? Tell me! Tell me!"

At that point, adding insult to grave injury, he feigned snoring.

I fell back on my pillow, my sobbing shook the bed. I couldn't control my anguish and humiliation. I tried to stifle my sobs, not wanting to wake the children, but I couldn't help it. My pillow was wet from my tears, and my sides ached from crying so hard and so loud.

No movement from him. None.

After that incident, I pulled away from any love I had for him. I had to break my bond with him. It was the only way I could save myself. I never let myself love him again. It was a long process, but an easy one, because he was very accommodating by being abusive to me. I stuck out the marriage for the sake of my children.

At that time, I was forty-two years old. I had four children, the youngest was five. I thought of my friends who had similar circumstances and wondered if their husbands had no desire for them. He always told me I was too fat--and I believed him, but losing weight didn't seem to bring any reward. I was always not enough in some way or another. If I lost weight, I wasn't toned enough. If I did aerobics or walked on the treadmill, it wasn't doing the job and I should have more self-control. Even the lady at Weigh Watchers advised me not to lose any more weight. They wouldn't be responsible for it.  My idiotic ex actually said, "Who do they think they are? Weight experts?"

My mother visited. It was Sunday after church. We were walking about in the yard admiring the flowers and she pulled out her camera and said, "Let me take a picture of you."

I said, "Oh, Mom, don't. I'm too fat. I don't want my picture taken."

My mother actually stomped her foot on the grass. "You are not too fat! You are beautiful! And I want to take a picture of my beautiful daughter!"

Because I wasn't cooperating--I just stood there--my mother further yelled, "Smile!" The look on my face shows a tentative smile, like, "Okay. I'll humor her. Who's going to see it anyway?" (Before the days of Facebook.)

Years later, after the Triple A divorce. I looked at that photograph again. I know I'm not beautiful, but I gasped as I saw I wasn't fat either! My therapist at the time tried to tell me I was a good weight for my age after having four children in my thirties. I figured she was humoring me too. But now I can see, at forty-two, I was pretty good for my age!

Now, twenty years later, I am angry again for letting him make me feel "not enough." If only I could have seen that I was enough--and way too good for him!!

After the divorce, I researched the effects of a pornography addiction and realized that was why I wasn't "enough" for him, and why he lost his desire for me. It wasn't my fault, though he never stopped blaming me--even after I found his porn. Who can compete with the teenagers in those porn DVDs and videos? I don't even want to. It disgusts me to this day.

I hate pornography.










Saturday, April 15, 2017

Three Types of Forgiveness

Image result for forgiveness images

I have been wanting to post this Prager University YouTube since I first watched it.  It gave me a lot to think about and ponder. I hope it will help you as it has helped me understand the process of what I need to do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xsVM_gd0Tc

The three types of Forgiveness:

  1. Exoneration
  2. Forbearance
  3. Release


Which type of forgiveness do you need to try?



Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I haven't commented too much on narcissism on my blog, though I was a victim of that in my marriage, in addition to verbal and emotional abuse, adultery, and pornography addiction. I found a place on Facebook that has a lot of memes that say what needs to be said.


I have to say, my ex-husband blamed me for abuse, though most of the time I was just defending myself. He was devoid of compassion, sensitivity, or empathy--and remorse. He never apologized for what he did to me. He tried to make it seem as if he deserved to do what he did--abandon me, commit adultery, get addicted to porn . . . He has not ever apologized. He just told everyone we "grew apart." Hey, no apology needed then, right? I think he actually believed it himself.

Here are some other very good memes regarding Narcissism/Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Image result for barbed wire narcissism facebook

Image result for barbed wire narcissism facebook

The last therapist we both saw as a "marriage counselor" told me that narcissism is not a mental illness like, say, OCD or bi-polar disorder (which my ex had as well). One CAN change from being a narcissist. Most don't want to and have no interest in being kind--unless in front of other people.

The therapist told me there is a big difference between narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Everybody is a little bit narcissistic. It's a life preserver in some instances. But the personality disorder is different and simple to explain--they don't want to be nice or kind.
The therapist also told me he treated many, many people with NPD and my husband was definitely in the top 5 of all the people he treated. TOP FIVE!? Lucky me. . .

This next meme below expresses the NPD factor very well:

Image result for barbed wire narcissism facebook

Related image

This meme above reminds me of a trip I took with my ex-husband and youngest son who was about 18 at the time. We were in a car driving from Utah to Idaho. I am hard of hearing and my ex-husband mumbled--probably on purpose. I asked him what he said. He smirked and laughed and told my son he was setting a new rule in the car: Nobody will repeat themselves.
My son laughed along. I was deeply hurt.
So as we were driving, I said something and my husband said, "What?"
I looked at him and frowned. "Oh, I'm sorry. I can't repeat myself." And I looked away.
I KNOW my husband was frustrated because he always wants to know what people are saying and it probably KILLED him not to know what I had just said.
So . . . consequence? Road rage. As usual.
I said, "You set the rules. Not me."
Instead of admitting it was a bad idea, he didn't say anything about changing the rules. Just road raged all the way to our destination.

Once we got to the hotel, I stood up to him while my son was not in the room. I said, "I work at a nursing home where I repeat myself ALL DAY LONG to people who are hard of hearing. Why? Because it's the KIND THING TO DO. And I want to be a kind person."

He just looked at me, but didn't say anything--or apologize, you know, because that would have been the right thing to do.

I went on and said, "I don't want my son to think he can put people down by bullying them if they have a handicap in any way. And especially toward his mother. You're supposed to be setting an example of how to respectful to his mother. You totally disrespected me."

He never said anything else about it. But he did repeat himself if I didn't hear him say anything--but in front of other people. Victory? I guess it was a silent apology.  I very rarely stood up to him. I guess he knew I meant it.

What are some of things you might have had to go through with NPD? I only mentioned a few from my list.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Strive to Thrive--Steps to Climb



This is a great visual as a metaphor for steps to climb. 

Aspire Higher! Be a Thriver! You Can Do It!

I am happy to say I am on the thriving side of mostly everything on the list.

Gotta' keep on striving for thriving!



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Look to the right sidebar and click on FOLLOW.
Sometimes, it's OK to be a follower.
s.m.i.l.e.



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Abuse Wheel


Please take heed.
Look carefully. 
This wheel might just be describing your life.
I admit, most of what is covered on this wheel was a part of my life.
Take this wheel to your pastor or marriage counselor.
Come out of the closet.
Acknowledge that this is your life.
You are worth it.

Please get help!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

True Colors


This is good to remember, especially for recovering co-dependents like me. If something doesn't seem right, it isn't. Don't try to fix it. Take care of yourself. 

Put on your oxygen mask first. 

Then skedaddle out of there.



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

 Bleeding Heart blossom; CC0 Public Domain

"The typical divorced person has a painful love wound resulting from the ending of the love relationship, a love wound which prevents him/ her from loving another. It takes a good deal of time to be able to risk being hurt and to become emotionally close again." 
(Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends, 3rd edition, Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti, Impact Publishers [2006]).


Don't beat yourself up, or think you're a loser because your friends and/or family think it's been long enough to still be harboring grief, resentment, anger, co-dependence, distrust, betrayal trauma, or whatever it is that is burdening you.

Everyone has their own healing pace.

It's not a race.

Take care of you.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

True Love vs. Exploitation



The right side of the graphic above was the story of my marriage. It's for this reason, I'm not sure I could date someone, or have an intimate relationship with a new spouse. I am a damaged partner; one who was called "not enough" of whatever it was he wanted or needed. 

I know now he wanted and needed pornography.

Months turned into years when there was no sex in our marriage. Earlier on, he had told me all I had to do was touch him and he'd be ready. After his porn addiction escalated, he would actually push me away if I tried to initiate "love making." I wasn't aware that "love" was removed from the equation of our marriage. 

Silly me.

The last time we had sex, he couldn't do it. I didn't know what DE (Delayed Ejactulation) was, but when I found out, my married life made sense. (But to think he couldn't really have sex with me unless he thought about those smutty porn scenes, really disgusts and humiliates me.)

Before that last time, more than a year had gone by since we were intimate. I remember confiding in my best friend. She just said to keep trying, that maybe it was because of his age (50s?). I wondered if he had a prostate problem or something he wouldn't talk to me about. And he wouldn't talk to me about it. Whenever I asked, he just gave me a look (like it was my fault because I wasn't good enough) and said, "You don't really want to know, do you?"  Since he made me feel so small as it was, no, I didn't really want to know, because it was probably my fault.

Such is the mindset of a victim and co-dependent of a partner's pornography addiction. Taking on the fault.

When I found his porn, I was totally shocked. I thought--what? We had previously discussed this sorry behavior and agreed it was egregious. Yet, the addiction was there for him, unbeknownst to me. I was being played.

The time from our last sexual tryst to our divorce was four years. Four years without married sexual encounter or intimacy. Why did I think that could be normal? I wasn't in denial, because I clearly was concerned, but he didn't want to talk about it, and I didn't want to be blamed for it.

When I told him I found his porn, at first he blamed me  for snooping around in his personal things. (??!!) Then he quickly blamed me for being boring. 

Ha! I thought, "I am not boring." But, now that I know of his addiction, I realize anything less than those young girls jiggling around nude in the DVD would have been seen as boring. I wasn't aware at the time that he had escalated to real world experiences. I couldn't have competed with that. I wouldn't have wanted to.  And the fact that I found money taken out of our accounts on a regular basis, led me to believe he was seeing prostitutes. "That's the going rate for prostitutes," was what one of my friends who had found her own husband's porn told me. That shocked me too! I thought, "He would never!" But there were a lot of things I thought he would never do. 

But I guess being celibate saved me from STDs. Some of my friends weren't so lucky with their porn-addicted husbands.

I only hope that when other victims of their spouse's pornography addiction read these things, they realize they're not alone. Or they are awakened to this information and finally realize it's not their fault.

I thought I was alone. 

I felt very alone.

I hope, if you feel alone and don't know what's happening to you because of porn, you will take time to read through some of my posts on pornography. Just search at the top right of the sidebar of this blog. As I was going through the experience, I had no idea. Now that I'm out of that relationship and have had time to research the nuances of a porn addiction, I look back and realize I was along for the ride in his full-blown addiction. Wondering. Confused. Self-worth splattered. Betrayed. Shattered

As I read the left side of the graphic above, about true love, I am reminded of what I had hoped to have in my marriage, but didn't. This is why I wonder if I could ever trust another man. If I ever felt that closeness, would I back away wondering if it was real? This topic is not often covered because it's what the victim of porn feels. You can't trust again because you've been betrayed. To forgive is equated with co-dependence. "I will not go there again" is the defiance to a much-desired lifestyle of being loved and cherished.

I do long to be loved and cherished. I just pity the poor man who might try.



Friday, December 9, 2016

“Some people believe that holding on and hanging in there are signs of strength, but there are times in life when it takes much more strength just to let go.”


~ Ann Landers


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Wake of Narcissism

I just read a post HERE about Narcissism and People Pleasers.
I have been thinking recently, dabbling in my mind really, about what it would be like if I started dating again.
I think it would be a catastrophe.
I don't see red flags . . .

. . . even when they are waving right in my face.
I still have that perception that people are good.
I give the benefit of the doubt--like realizing they must be driving so slow because they have a goldfish bowl full of water on the front seat--instead of showing road rage.
How could all this niceness help me know what kind of man to date, if the man was sincere and genuine, and that I wouldn't fall into the narcissism trap again?
I mean, even when I had firmly decided to get divorced, my narcissistic (ex) husband tried to persuade me to stay married--status quo. He wanted me to live in the house with him and let him date and commit adultery at will. Seriously!?!
That was when the rose-colored glasses fell off for me. They smashed to smithereens. I didn't even know who he was.
It's because he wasn't the man I created in my mind. I made such a wonderful husband in my mind. I wouldn't let the dream die. 
Trust me, though, it's way dead now.
My doubt is, I might create the same wonderfulness again. I'm very creative.
So whenever I have any thoughts of possibly dating again, I think of red flags--invisible red flags--waving in front of my face.
Alas, I don't see them.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Bloom Where You are Planted


This rings so true for me. There were times I was so depressed, I felt as if I was sinking in quicksand and I couldn't find any foothold with which to boost myself upward. I felt buried, but not only buried, but that pernicious roots and vines had engulfed me, wrapping around my whole body to keep me in my underground tomb.
In hindsight, I realize it as the refiner's fire taking me to a place I needed to be to realize I didn't want to be there anymore.
Now I am planted in a home 2,000 miles away from where I started, and blooming beautifully.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

RESILIENCE and CONTROL


I took a great training at work yesterday. The graphic and list are from that training through Intermountain Healthcare.

The question asked was Are You Resilient?
A resilient person will go with the flow, see that she can't change the current situation, so adapts to do whatever is necessary to keep on keeping on.

For instance, if your toddler gets into your just-folded clothes in the laundry basket and strews them all over the room, you can become angry and scold and fly off the handle, resulting in resentment and confusion on your child's part; or you can look over the situation, see the big picture, and realize your toddler thought he was having fun and you might like to play, too. 

As you can see in the graphic below, there are things that are in your control, things you can influence, and things that are out of your control. You can control your attitude. You can influence a wayward child, but you can't control the way another person behaves. 



Now that I'm divorced, I've realized just how resilient I've become. My stress level has gone way down to point where I don't need any anti-depressants,or drugs to help me sleep. I was so afraid of leaving my abusive situation, but as I look back, I wish I would have had the courage to leave when I first had the feeling my marriage wasn't right. Instead, I waited thirty years.

I can't control the past. I can only enjoy the here and now.  I so want that for all of you who might be going through an abusive situation. Please recognize your worth.

The list below outlines a great way to take some small steps to overcome your need for control and find the Calgon moments in your life.

Make lemonade!

How can you increase your resilience?

Here are some small step experiments:
1. Do a self-evaluation. What are you doing that helps you be resilient? Where could you improve?
2. Journal for a day what stresses arise where you have no control. Track what you choose to do in those situations.
3. When you are feeling stressed, ask yourself three questions:
a. Am I stressed about something I don’t control?
b. How do I want to respond to this?
c. What can I do to influence this situation?
d. What can I control in this situation? (it may be just my attitude)
4. Take some time to write your mission statement. Identify what is most important to you and where you find comfort in difficult times. What gives you roots? What are you most committed to do in this life? Put it in a frame and post it where you see it everyday.
5. Make a list with two columns. On the left hand side, write down the most challenging situations you have experienced thus far in your life. In the right hand column, identify what growth you discovered because of that challenge. (How long did it take to make the discovery?)
• Does this remind you that you can do hard things?
• Did the characteristics of control, commitment or challenge affect your ability to bounce higher?
• In retrospect, what else helped you bounce higher with that experience?
6. Make a list of current concerns that you have, but of which you have no direct control. Examples may include: my job is changing; my child married someone I don’t like. Write down what you want your response to be in these situations.
• I’m going to understand how my job is changing by attending meetings and reading about the changes. I’m going to see this as a great challenge to increase my skills.
• I’m going to get to know my son-in-law better and identify his strengths.
7. Identify the most common times when you feel out of control. Is there a skill that would give you more control in these situations? For example, learning to say “no” gives you more control over your time and your energy. Learning how to reflectively listen with your teenager may increase your influence. How can you learn and practice this skill?
8. The next time you are feeling like a victim in a situation, ask yourself these three questions:
a. Am I pretending not to notice my role in this situation? (when you’re feeling like you’re a victim, not an actor)
b. Why would a reasonable, rational and decent person do this? (when you are making a person a villain)
c. What is the right thing to do right now to move toward what I really want? (when you are feeling hopeless)
9. Practice living in the now.

10. Find a role model of resilience.

RESILIENCE
braithwaiteinnovationgroup.com



Monday, October 26, 2015

Have Courage



In my book, Connected in Love, one of my characters, Cammie Bentley, is the wife of a verbally abusive man, Like all abused women, she is afraid of him. She's afraid to make waves. She's afraid to cross him. She's even afraid to voice her own opinions, knowing he will be upset and take it out on her by harangues, vindictive threats, and passive-aggressive actions.

The Main Character--protagonist--Mary Donohue, tries to convince her she must have courage to be able to stand up to him. Cammie is still afraid, even knowing she has to make a decision. His outbursts are escalating. What she doesn't know is, his pornography viewing is also escalating.

Mary convinces Cammie that courage does not mean you aren't afraid. Courage means you do what needs to be done despite being afraid.


What are you putting off because you're afraid?


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Small Acts of Courage




“What may look like a small act of courage is courage nevertheless. The important thing is to be willing to take a step forward.”
~Dr. Daisaku Ikeda

Courage is what I lacked my whole life. I had too much fear. 
Fear can paralyze you.
Fear takes away your agency.
Fear overcomes you and swallows you up until the you in you doesn't exist anymore.

Courage is acting in spite of the fear. It doesn't necessarily mean you're not afraid.
But you do whatever it is you need to do anyway.

Monday, May 11, 2015

My Article on FamilyShare: Why Pornography is Adultery

Why pornography is adultery
It has become so commonplace that pornography equated to adultery is thought by many to be a gray area. But is it really?

By Susan Knight


24,423 views   |   148 shares 
 
The modern world has been numbed by the constant bombardment of immorality via media to the point that considering pornography to be adultery has become a gray area. Even those whose moral compass is derived from Judeo-Christian values question this concept. But is the idea really so vague? Do we know what adultery really is?
Adultery is witnessed on television shows and movies and read about in countless tabloids, magazines and novels. It has become so commonplace as to not be recognized as immoral anymore. Many don't realize adultery is still illegal in twenty-three states. In ancient times, it was a capital offense. Now we watch it every night on TV.
One only has to open the pages of the Holy Bible, a common dictionary or log onto any Wiki to find the definition of adultery. The contemporary world views it as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than the lawful spouse (Merriam-Webster). From the Bible's perspective, if one is married and looks at, thinks about, or touches another person with lust (sexual desire) in their heart or mind, it is considered adultery. By this standard, lust is also adultery.

Oxforddictionaries.com states pornography is written or visual material containing explicit descriptions of sexual organs or activity intended to stimulate erotic (raw, sexual desire) rather than aesthetic (beautiful, pleasing) feelings. By this definition, pornography is lust.
Pornography is lust (sexual desire), and lust is adultery. Therefore, pornography is adultery.

·        Adultery is not just sexual intercourse

Adultery is not restricted to sexual intercourse between married people. In addition to lust of the flesh, "lust of the eyes" is also considered adultery 1 John 2:16, KJV.
In the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior pointed out higher laws. Not only is it unlawful to kill, but anyone who is angry is in danger of judgment Matthew 5:22, KJV. It is well-known anger can lead to murder. Thus, anger is a higher law—a higher commandment to keep.
One of the most powerful scriptures about adultery comes from our Savior, again from the Sermon on the Mount:
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

"But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28 KJV
These verses in Matthew clearly state looking on a woman with lust is adultery. Adultery is against the law, and lust is the higher law.

·        Adultery without sexual intercourse

In the Bible, adultery without sexual intercourse is referred to as "wanton eyes" Isaiah 3:16, KJV, or "eyes full of adultery" (See 2 Peter 2:14, KJV). These scriptures state plainly adultery is not only a sin of the flesh, but of indecent images seen by the eyes.
It is not coincidental that pornography is taken into the brain through the eyes. Since lust is defined as being consumed with sexual desire, pornographic craving to view woman after woman in obscene sex acts (read: multiple partners) is clearly adultery. Any spouse who is the victim of their partner's pornography addiction will equivocally agree pornography is cheating. Why not call cheating what it really is? Adultery.

·        Social media and adultery

Another way adultery is committed is via social media. Provocative words in a text, an email, or a chat room cause sexual arousal. This is pornographic, which is then adultery.
Men and women, who participate in social media porn, are, by definition, adulterers. Call it what it is.

·        Women and pornography

Women view internet pornography as well as men. In fact, one in three viewers of porn is a woman, and that statistic is rising.
Many women are addicted to "erotica," or what the world calls "romance novels." These books are explicit with titillating, immoral sex acts. Erotica is a synonym for pornography, and pornography is adultery.

·        Pornography statistics

Half of all divorces in the U.S. stem from pornography addiction. (See mind-armor.comor TechAddiction)

·        Seven out of ten males view internet porn in the U.S. (that's 70%)

·        2.5 billion emails per day are pornographic (that's 8% of all emails).

·        There are 116,000 searches for "child pornography" every day. Every day!

·        Age eleven is the average age when a child first sees porn online.

·        Utah has the nation's highest online porn subscription use at 5.47 per thousand.

·        Pornography addiction

In porn addiction, the viewing becomes an obsession, then a compulsion. The images must become ever more stimulating, atrocious and shocking to have the now-addicted appetite sated, just as a drug addict needs one more hit of crack; a smoker must have one more cigarette; a gambler needs one more roll of the dice.

·        Thou shalt not commit adultery

Modern-day streaming of pornography on the internet through computers, iPads, and smartphones has multiplied its use exponentially. The stigma of "adulterer" seems to no longer be a reason to stay away from the poison of porn. But beware—addiction may quickly capture one's soul with just one peak, turn of the page, or swipe of a finger on a smartphone.
It is argued here with semantics, statistics, and religious standards that pornography is lust and lust is adultery. Some may still dispute the classification, but perhaps others will experience an ah-ha moment and move past the gray question.
What do you think?