The Power of No

Why is it one of the first words children learn, is also one of the hardest for some of us to verbalize as adults? One of the common themes in my counseling sessions has become understanding the coping mechanisms I learned as a child when I struggled to deal with my emotions.

My parents made many good decisions regarding my upbringing, teaching me a healthy skepticism for information and facts, teaching me how to question and challenge and understand the world around me. Yet the strange irony, is that same freedom was not expected, allowed, or ever welcomed when it came to their own authority.

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I’m a Liebster, How about you?

The Liebster Award is an online award given to new bloggers or those with less than 200 followers. It’s a way of promoting your own blog, other people’s blogs, and support the blogging community.

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I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Samantha at “The Other Side of Counting to 10!” This was over a month ago, but life has been so up and down and busy I am just now getting to it. I love reading her posts, and am happy for her as she just got married! (Congratulations Samantha!)

 

 

 

The Liebster Award rules for 2016:

  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
  • Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.  Images you can use for your 2016 Liebster Award can be found at http://theglobalaussie.com/the-official-rules-of-the-liebster-award-2016/ .
  • List these rules in your post.
  • Answer your nominator’s questions.
  • Give 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  • Create 11 questions for your own nominees to answer.
  • Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

Samantha’s Questions:

  1. Which of your Blogs is your favorite?
    I think my current blog is my favorite, simply because I can stroll back over the past eighteen months and see how far I’ve come. There have been challenges, valleys, peaks and switchbacks – and not only have I explored many of these things, but I have also found many of a like mind here on wordpress. I think the supportive community and encouragements here help keep me writing, mostly because I follow folks who help me learn more about myself or the world around me.
  2. What is your favorite quote?
    “Friendship doubles your joys, and halves your sorrows.” – Anonymous
  3. What is your favorite smell?
    I love the smell of a crisp fall day, with the sun baking the drying leaves and the chill salt-water tinged breeze tickling my nose.
  4. What inspires you to write?
    Life. Pain. Joys. Emotions. Questions. Observations…

    Writing is how I take my experiences and process them, and sometimes it is a way of validating myself. Saying, “this is what I feel.” It’s a place where I can confront my fears in either a free-form essay format (which I share in this blog), or my creative writing that I keep much more private.

    In my creative fiction, I will often highlight character traits in a setting and explore what those things mean. I’ve explored abuse and recovery that way, with varying mindsets in varying characters. The more I read and understand about myself, the more stories begin fluttering in my head, and the more I want to read, and the more I need to write.

  5. What would you change about yourself?
    It is very PC these days to say “I’m happy the way I am, I wouldn’t change a thing.” But, to be perfectly honest – there are things I would like to change about myself. Most of them are in process, and I don’t expect them to happen quickly, but I am aiming for the quiet change of growth. Mental and Physical wellness, essentially, would be the overarching theme of what I would like to change.

    More particularly, however, I would like to change a lot of the thought processes that hold me back.To stop the inner refrain of self-critique that echoes what a few people in the past have told me. I struggle a lot with anxiety and feelings of short-coming, especially relating to writing. Having an anonymous blog helps me get past those things. Recognizing that my writing isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay, helps me get past those things.

    But I would love to change those limitations I put myself. We’ll see how that goes this coming year. 😉

  6. If you could invite anyone to lunch, who would it be?
    I would probably invite Brene Brown to lunch, simply because I have been so impacted by her writing, and a conversation about life and counseling and shame resilience and overcoming… I just can imagine she has so many wonderful experiences to share that I would greatly love to hear more of.

    Alternatively, I would love to meet Jenny Lawson of “Furiously Happy” for lunch. We would either sit in utter silence filled with mutually induced social anxiety, or have a wonderful rabbit-trailing conversation that would someone cover cats, taxidermy, the craziest things we’ve done in the name of anxiety, and more.

  7. Where is your favorite place to visit.
    As a young girl, in times of great distress, I would walk the three blocks to this tiny little park just down the street from home where a small lake lay shrouded by trees. The hum of vehicles seemed otherworldly there, and I would climb up onto the worn fence railing and pray my sorrows and joys to God, the ducks, and the weeping trees.

    I’ve always sought peace in the great outdoors, places where time stands still as the water of a quiet lake, or rushes forth with the vigor of tumbling waves on the beach.

    So my favorite places to visit? Ones with water, for they grant me a little of the peace I need when surrounded by the busyness of life.

  8. Name one thing your are proud of about yourself.
    When I first sat and talked to my counselor, I couldn’t meet her eyes. I sat trembling on her couch with one of my best friends putting her arm around me as the only way I could choke out my story. Even just breathing, was difficult. (Isn’t it strange, how anxiety makes your whole body lock up sometimes? How you have to physically remind yourself to breathe?)

    I still have a long way to go, but I’m proud of myself for staying in counseling, for working hard on the things I can control. Sometimes it is overwhelming, and sometimes I don’t make the right choices, but more and more even in my dark moments it is way easier than the last few months. I’m making progress. I am paying attention and noticing the things that trigger me. I may not always know what to do with the things I am growing aware of, but until we have that awareness, we can’t produce change.

    Being ‘proud’ of myself is something that feels – almost arrogant to me. So I have to work hard to celebrate my successes, and I have to remind myself it is okay to build up the good points of myself.

  9. If your had a super power what would it be.
    If I had a super power, I think it would be the weaving of illusion, a way to craft pictures, scents and and sensations. I love storytelling, and would love the ability to craft the stories I see in my mind for others to see just how I do.
  10. Solitude or companion?
    Either one or the other, depending on my mood. 😉

    Truly though, I can tolerate pure solitude far more readily than the constant wear of another person. I’ve learned to find joy in solitude, to amuse myself, to find freedom and peace in solitude. But with the right people, who respect my need for occasional solitude, I enjoy companionship.

  11. What is one piece of advice you would tell your 16 year old self?
    I think this is a good ‘letter’ for me to write as a blog-post. See something in the next few days. 😉

Ten Random Facts About Me:

  1. I love God, the Christian God. Not always a big fan of organized religion, though. I think there is a narrative about women’s place in the church that needs to be addressed.
  2. I’ve learned some of my best life lessons from the feminine heroes in fantasy novels.
  3. Music soothes my soul.
  4. I sometimes use some of my favorite ‘easy-listening’ audiobooks to soothe me to sleep, a combination of a familiar story and a familiar voice sometimes helps me relax when my mind whirls too quickly.
  5. I love it when my friends post baby pictures, and love spending time with babies, children and even teens. I miss having relationships with kids of all ages, the world is so fun through their eyes.
  6. My new guilty pleasure: Lactose free vanilla ice cream, lavender honey, and fresh fruit.
  7. I’m a gamer. Board games and console games, though I’ve not had much time for the latter due to school.
  8. My favorite colors vary, depending on if you ask me to wear it, adorn my living space with it, or put it on a shelf. (Teal/Green, Blue, Red – respectively).
  9. Sometimes when I’m stressed, I want to hop in my car and just start driving and figure out where I will end up later.
  10. I have been pretty insecure about my weight, as it’s going in a bit of the wrong direction. However, I’m trying to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can, and work on embracing my curves!

My Nominations 

 

 

She is Hurricane Heather – Heather

The Moments Between – LoveLi

Life as a Garden – Michelle Anderson

The Warrior’s Guide – Havoc

Brea’s Air – Jen

My Questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite blog post (that you’ve written) and why?
  2. What is one thing you would tell a friend going through relationship troubles?
  3. Green tea or peppermint mocha?
  4. What are the ‘little things’ someone could do or has done that just makes your day?
  5. Are there any books (or other creative media) that have stayed with you over the years?
  6. Picture yourself in your perfect place, would you tell me what that looks like?
  7. Do you have any tricks or things you have discovered that make life easier/more efficient/less expensive?
  8. Chicken or the Egg, which came first?
  9. Do you enjoy playing any games, which ones? If not, what other social things do you enjoy?
  10. Do you have a treasured possession whose story you wouldn’t mind sharing?

 

Are we so very fragile?

Tuesdays I’ve decided to Reblog posts that I have found well-written and inspiring. Candidkay gives some wonderful advice on recovering from relationships in this posts. I love her perspective.

candidkay

My friend called me late at night with the worried tone in her voice she usually gets when contemplating global warming or the potential extinction of the Western Lowland gorilla. But the object of her concern was not global. Instead, it sat just a bedroom away, in tears.

Her college-aged daughter was weathering a breakup. Now, there are breakups and there are breakups, right? This was not the love of her life (although she may have thought so, temporarily). This wasn’t even a “nice” guy. Oh sure, he appeared to have the credentials any parent would love—handsome, charming (when necessary), bright, athletic—but those very things had made him a complete cad. He never really had to work for much—the grades, the girls, the summer job at his father’s firm. And it showed.

Without all the gory details, her daughter (we’ll call her J) had been dumped—and had realized her boyfriend…

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Trigger-feelings

He lifted his hand from the wheel, shaking it, sunshine and shadows filtering through the driver’s side window as his knuckles popped. A rueful smile popped across his lips, and he grinned at me during the course of a conversation I no longer remember.

Then his right hand, the one nearest me… he lifted and shook it too. Nothing happened.

Then, he punched it on his thigh, abruptly, suddenly.

He punched his thigh.

Even as he relaxed and sighed in relief as his knuckles cracked, I found myself taut as a guitar string. Staring straight out the window, I breathed carefully as he continued driving, oblivious.

I am safe.

He’s not angry.

He won’t hurt me.

But these are things I said of my ex, too. So there is some discord in my body, trying to decide to believe the things I am telling it. Or not.

Logically – Guy has never done anything to intentionally make me feel unsafe. Quite the opposite, he tries so hard to make things work and make me comfortable.

I don’t want him to walk on eggshells, like I once had to. I say nothing, but I felt the quiet paralyzing my mind and limiting my words as a part of me shut down.

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“Why God May Want You to Leave Your Marriage” – John Pavlovitz

One of the true blessings of the work I do, is getting to help people carry the burdens of life with them for a little while; to hear their real, unvarnished stories even when those stories are heartbreaking to share. A few months ago a woman named Sarah emailed me asking if I might have time to speak with……

via Why God May Want You to Leave Your Marriage — john pavlovitz

Codependents Always Hope Things Will go Their Way

When I first got out of my abusive relationship, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out and understand my Ex. I found things like the ‘Cycle of Abuse’, and Narcissism, and those things helped me understand myself and my own reactions.

Now I’ve been researching more about myself, and learning that I have my own tendencies that make me vulnerable to Narcissistic partners. This is an excellent article worth considering, and I think it is important that we grow from researching everything about our abuser, and begin focusing on ourselves and how we can become stronger, more whole people.

Free From Codependency With Dr. Nicholas Jenner

Of the two extremes, codependents (unlike narcissists) are generally seen as the warm and fussy ones. Self sacrificing and eager to please, they are an absolute delight to be around if you are the kind of person who likes to freely take and accept all they have to give and there are many who do.  Codependents get involved with a certain type because like a jigsaw puzzle they fit together nicely. One constantly gives, one constantly takes. A perfect dysfunctional meeting and matching of ideals. Of course this situation is normally doomed to failure and when the house comes crashing down, the codependent suffers more than most. The reason being they have invested heavily in the relationship and stand to lose much more in their view. This is usually because they have lost themselves in the relationship and identified themselves through their partner. The idea of splitting such intensity (not…

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Wistful Unrealities

Some dreams hit so vividly they feel like life, inexplicable as they might be. This dream from last week has stuck with me. I always wanted children, but besides my ex not exhibiting much rational judgment, I have some health difficulties that may make it troublesome. A bit of an outlier of a post, considering my content so far. 

But I wonder, what dreams have stuck with you? Do you attribute meaning to them? I usually can trace the thought processes that are my brain working out problems in my sleep, if I put effort into it. My dreams have always been extremely vivid, and I’ve only recently realized that isn’t always standard. Anyhow. Sometimes the muse demands I put words to page, so here they are.

…..

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Numb. Because life isn’t Complicated Enough.

Most people, when they see rolling hills and wide grassy expanses feel a sense of joy and relief in the beauty of the world. In reality, I can entirely relate to this and even crave the peace and quiet and regenerative qualities of the great outdoors.

Yet, with anxiety, the emotional counterpoint of those rolling green hills takes a darker turn. Beneath that beauty, lies a minefield, and if I’m to function, I have to find a way to cross it.

Fun! (Not.)

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Forging my own relational path

Learning to love….? again.

Love is a funny word, when you come to think of it. So many meanings and applications. I know how to love: with my family, with my intimate girlfriends who have kept me sane and supported, with my friends children or my pets. All of those things come easily to me.

When I think of love, I’ve often interpreted it in the past as action. If we love someone, we look for and strive to meet their needs so that they feel valued. A relationship is formed when that person offers the same to us. As a piece of the relational puzzle, it is a really important one. But I’ve come to learn that actions cannot exist in a void, and love itself is too multi-faceted for any strict, single definition. But, to get back to my original train of thought… Continue reading

Breaking Free

Shame involves that pervasive gut-twist of fear. It is the awareness that someone has learned some deeply hidden truth about you and they may think less of you, because you think less of you for it.

When I first left my ex-husband, I felt a lot of shame. That inner voice didn’t just whisper, it battered me with my own judgmental thoughts. It weighed me down physically and emotionally. Thoughts that were harsher than I would offer  any other person in my situation.

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A voice worth hearing

 

Some times it is still difficult to find the words that lay closest to my soul. To be truly vulnerable. To be truly myself.

But it is getting better.

Saturday I met some of Guy’s friends for the first time, the first part of the day I hung out and studied. The second part I played a few games. The last third of the time at their house we discussed the world at large, concepts of personal responsibility, thoughts on the issues our society here in America are facing. We didn’t always agree on the solutions, but I think the essence of our motivations were similar enough, and understood enough, we were able to have a genuine conversation.

One that I immensely enjoyed, for the first time in nearly a decade. Continue reading

Nightmares

Despair greeted me when I awoke this morning, opening my eyes to the light pouring in the window. My heart pounded, and it took a little time to place the objects in my room.

No ex.

None of his things.

None of the rooms present in my dreams.

Although I immediately relaxed from that state of near panic, I’ve been on edge all day. For a few moments, I thought everything of these past 18 months had been but a dream. In it’s place, the actual dream placed me back with my ex. The location, however, was the house I grew up in. We had his niece staying with us, roughly 9 years in my dream, and another teenage girl. I returned home from work, and found them both uneasy. The older girl was supposed to stay with us, but had called to be picked up, even though it would take a few hours.

We all moved on eggshells. Me, as I didn’t want to subject the younger girls to my ex’s verbal diatribes. I don’t recall what happened next, but my ex followed me about the circular house, screaming his anger at me.

I eventually turned around, and stood up for myself. At the least, yelling back that it was not alright for him to treat me in that manner. His response was to become sulky-angry, and he stormed off to hide in the office.

The older girl went out the front door to wait outside for her ride. The niece looked at me with wide eyes, and I heard from her that my ex had been vocalizing this kind of anger while I was gone. I started gathering things, and quietly told the girl that if my ex came out of my room to just go out to the car. She wanted her things first, but unfortunately they were in the office where my ex was.

I went to try and retrieve them, and my ex opened the door when I got there, staring at me with his cold death stare and a freezing anger. The kind of anger that led to things breaking, while I held my breath and wondered if, this time, I would be next.

That is when I awoke.

I have been trying to shake that dream off all day, with little luck. I can’t focus. Can’t study. So I decided to write it down. Try and put it into words in an effort to dump it from my mind.

I am safe.

I am out.

He can’t reach me now.

I just wish my nervous system would get the memo.

Cognitive Dissonance.

One of the truths of the past decade, is that my understanding of interpersonal dynamics is terribly skewed. It’s like a picture, hanging on a wall. What do I use as a basis for it being properly aligned? Items askew must be adjusted in my world, so usually you pick one straight line – the ceiling, the floor, the edge of the wall – and use it to line up the square or rectangular decorations on your walls.

For almost my entire marriage, nothing lined up right. So I did the best I could, found the least offensive way to put some order to my life. I lined myself up against my husband’s beliefs, not always accepting, but not always protesting or standing up against the ones that were incorrect. My options? Leave. Work towards change. Adapt. Continue reading

I am.

I am worthy. My values and beliefs matter, as well as the manner in which I convey them. Every person is due respect, even if we disagree. It is okay to pick my battles. Having the last word isn’t necessary, so long as I feel confident in my last words on a topic. I don’t have to be friends with everyone, and I do not need everyone to be happy or approve of my opinions. Continue reading

A Letter to the Family and Friends of Victims

This.

Forget Me Not Advocacy Group

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Dear “You,”

You are the people that represent stability in a victim’s life, or at least you should.  You are their parents, their siblings, their extended family, and their friends.  Perhaps you are the friend or family of the abuser.  Or, maybe you are the neighbor next door, across the hall, or down the street.  You are the bi-stander that will witness the changes taking place in the individual you love.  You are the acquaintance who works in the same office.  You are someone to a person who has no one at home.  This letter is for you.

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