Finding Gold In Your Shadow Side

Man in Shadow from Pixabay
Man in Shadow from Pixabay

Man in Shadow from Pixabay

The ‘shadow’ is the side of your personality that contains all the parts of yourself that you don’t want to admit to having.

Dark World

Jeremy thought about his discussion with his counselor while sitting on the bench in the school courtyard. She had brought a little light into his seemingly very dark shadow world. She said everybody is different it didn’t matter if I had ADHD or not. We’re all different.

“If that is true why does my world feel so dark, why can’t I really talk to anyone about it?” he thought to himself as he sat outside the counselor’s office. It had been a couple of days since they sat on the bench and talked. After their talk, he’d felt better about himself. It had been a long time since he’d felt that good. But, he had so many questions in his mind and Ms. Smith was the only person he thought he could trust.

His anxiety mounted. “She probably can’t help me either,” he said to himself as he stood to leave. “It’s not worth it.”

The door opened and Ms. Smith stepped into the waiting room. “Jeremy, come on in,” she said.

“Ahhh. Maybe, I think I’ll just go back to class,” he said as he picked up his books.

“No. Come on in. I’m sorry it took so long. I had to finish up a phone call. Really, come on in.”

Jeremy slowly walked into her office. His head down. Shuffling his feet.

“Have a seat. Can I get you a soda? I have several different kinds,” she said opening a small refrigerator revealing a variety of different sodas and flavored waters.

“A Coke,” he said still looking down at the floor.

“Tell me what’s on your mind. You looked happy and more positive when we talked the other day. What happened?”

Being Different

“I don’t know. After talking to you, I felt really good about myself, like it is okay to be different, that different isn’t necessarily bad, just different. Not less than.”

“Absolutely,” she said.

“But the more I thought about me being different the worse I felt. My mind kept going over all the times I’ve been told I was different and by all the different people. I had a doctor tell me once that he didn’t know how to help me, just accept being different. I’ve had a few people, mainly kids, tell me or indicate that I am less because I am different. You actually told me I have skills and talents that others don’t have. But, I don’t know if it really matters.”

“That is true. You are very smart, smarter than average, and very talented. And ‘yes’ it matters,” she said in a very affirmative encouraging voice.

“Then why do I feel like I have a really dark side that I have to keep hidden. I feel like if people really knew me they would hate me? Why do I feel like I want to hide from the world until I fade away?”

Shadow Side

“We all have a side that we prefer others don’t know about,” she said. “They call it our shadow side. Another way of looking at it is where we dump all the things in our personality that we don’t like and don’t want to deal with. Do you understand?”

“Sort of. Do you mean like me having ADHD and being different? How can I dump that in my shadow? No, I don’t understand.”

“Our shadow side is usually referring to the part of us that we fail to see or know or we try to ignore. It is often the side of us that doesn’t seem to fit into our culture or society. Let me see if I can explain it. Do you ever try so hard to do and be what everybody else expects of you that sometimes you just want to scream or run away or something?” Ms.Smith said.

“Yeah, all the time. Like that math test. What do they expect me to do, pretend that I don’t know how to work the problems so I’m like everybody else? Why do I have to fit in? Why do I have to be like everybody else? When Jack started in on me I really wanted to get in his face and scream at him, but I didn’t. If I had I’d be in the office or suspended. I’ve been there before,” he said sitting forward to catch every one of her words.

Culture Demands

She continued, “Our culture demands that we live out only part of our nature and refuse to acknowledge that the other parts exist. We have what they call our ego, which is our thinking, feeling, and will that distinguishes us from others. It’s the part of us that experiences and reacts to the outside world. Then we have the shadow side. The things that we want to keep hidden from the outside world because they don’t seem to fit in. The culture that we live in insists that we behave in a particular manner, so we stuff those other parts deep into the back corner of our shadow self, like a dark back room with a locked door.”

“So, my shadow side contains the ADHD characteristics that other people think are weird, so I try to keep them hidden, right?” he said.

“Right. An interesting thing, though, is that different cultures in the world have different expectations. For example, in our country, we drive on the right-hand side of the road. In other countries, they drive on the left. In the West, a man can walk down the street holding hands with a woman, but in India, he may hold hands only with a male friend, but not with a woman. In our country, we show respect by wearing shoes in formal or religious places, but in the East, it’s very disrespectful to wear shoes into a temple. You would be asked to leave and not return until you learn proper manners.”

They both laughed.

Different Than The Norm

“Because of these cultural norms, some really good characteristics end up in a person’s shadow. Usually, the ordinary, mundane characteristics are the norm and are what others see. We often try to fit in the middle instead of on the extreme at either end. Unfortunately, people with extraordinary characteristics hide them in their shadow, because they don’t fit into the culture.”

Jeremy sat and thought for quite some time before speaking, “The other day you told me that I was very smart and very talented. Right?”

“Yes. But, I also notice that you try to keep those gifts hidden because you do things differently. Am I right?”

Learning He Is Different

He nodded and continued to sit quietly before speaking, “When I was in kindergarten and first grade I was always way ahead of the teacher in doing things. I could read when I was three, so when the other kids were learning how to read I was reading all kinds of books. But, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I would always interrupt the teacher or someone else who was talking and blurt out the answer or ask a question that was way beyond where the class was in the lesson. I don’t know how many times I got sent to the office and had to miss recess or stay after school. It was terrible.”

“How did your parents handle it?”

“My mom seemed to understand, but not my dad. When I got in trouble at school I’d catch it double at home. Eventually, I began to think I was an alien or something weird. I thought it’d be better if I could cut it out of me, but I didn’t know what part to cut.”

“Did you start hurting yourself?” Ms. Smith asked with a worried look on her face.

“I did a couple of times,” he said as a grin starting to take over his face. “But, it hurt too much so I didn’t do it again.”

They laughed.

Gold In Your Shadow

Ms. Smith continued, “Many people resist the temptation to hide their good characteristics in their shadow and bring them out of the back room. But, it is often harder to own the good or should I say the gold in your shadow. It is terrifying for some people because it makes them stand out. They aren’t part of the norm. Some times and for some people, it’s terrifying to say, ‘God gave me these characteristics for a specific calling.’ Too many times it begins to look like the person is giving themselves too much credit, that they are better than everyone else. Usually, these special gifts are for a higher calling in life, a purpose that will only be revealed later in life.”

Jeremy seemed to disappear into his thoughts again, “I do understand. When I was in the first grade I did think I was better than everyone else in the class, sometimes, better than the teacher. But, I’m beginning to see that I’m not better just different. Because of ADHD, I do things differently. Can I say, ‘sometimes I am smarter.’”

She nodded, “So, how do you handle it? Do you get down on yourself or a big head?”

Don’t Have To Stand Out

Jeremy shook his head, “Neither, if I can help it. But I discovered that I don’t have to stand out. I know what I can do. I don’t have to make others feel bad. Like you suggested the other day, I could ask Jack if he would like some help.”

The counselor nodded and waited while he was deep in thought, “I guess I would feel better if I accept who I am and what I can do. I think I can do that without trying to show everybody up. I think I have learned that I don’t have to be right.”

“Good. Remember, ignoring the gold or special gifts can be as damaging. It’s like ignoring a part of you. I know you have had problems with hyperactivity. How is that?”

“Well, I was made fun of so much that I found ways to keep it from showing.”

“Like what?”

“If I’m really interested in something I don’t fidget as much,” he said with a smile. “I started drawing when I’m bored in class. I always keep a sketch pad in the back of my notebook. If I start to fidget or get really bored I draw. Would you like to see?”

“Absolutely.”

Sketch Pad

Jeremy pulled out his sketch pad, “I don’t show these to anyone, not even my mom. I always sit in the back so very few kids see me drawing.”

The counselor took the sketch pad and slowly flipped through it, “These are really good. Do you only draw people?”

“I guess it’s a way for me too, you might say, even the playing field. I catch all the expressions and movements of the people around me. It’s funny, but those things just stick in my mind. I will sketch the basics then usually finish it at home later. Like this one,” he said flipping to a certain sketch.

The counselor laughed as she saw it, “That is an awesome sketch of Jack and the teacher. Did she really grab him by the back of the collar?”

“No, but it fits with both of their expressions so I added it. What she did was grab the fidget spinner that he was playing with and threw it in the trash. It was so funny. I just had to add her grabbing the back of his collar and lifting him out of his seat with his feet dangling,” he said laughing.  “Maybe that’s my payback.”

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They Keep Telling Me I’m Not Normal

Photo by Inzmam Khan from Pexels
Photo by Inzmam Khan from Pexels

Photo by Inzmam Khan from Pexels

The hardest thing about ADHD and other Personality Disorders is that it’s ‘invisible’ to outsiders.

“I’m so tired of everyone telling me that I’m not normal just because I have ADHD. Who do they think they are? God.” Jeremy said. “I’ve been like this my whole life. Of course, it’s normal. It’s normal for me. Where does he get off saying that to me?”

Jeremy sat on the bench in the courtyard at school. So wrapped up in his own thoughts that he missed the bell to report back to class.

“If I’m so ‘abnormal’ why did they let me come to school? Maybe it would be better if I jumped off the interstate overpass like Jack told me to do. Am I that big of a problem to everybody?”

Bullying About Being Different

Jeremy didn’t know how long he sat on the bench. He slightly remembered seeing kids in the courtyard a couple of times.

A counselor finally came and sat beside him, “Jeremy are you okay?” She asked.

No response. He didn’t even flinch. No eye rolls or side-eyes.

She reached out and laid a hand on his arm, “Jeremy?”

His whole body jumped as he pulled away from her touch, “Don’t touch me. You’ll die.”

“What do you mean,” she said with a wrinkled brow. “Are you going to hurt me?”

“No,” he said turning slightly toward her, “but if I’m as bad as Jack said I must be poisonous or something.”

“What did Jack say to you?”

Jeremy paused, “He said I was abnormal, that I was probably alien and I’d poison everyone who got to close. He told me to go jump off the overpass onto the freeway. I guess I better go do it,” he said as he stood up and started to walk away.

The counselor grabbed his arm, “Can we talk first?” she asked.

Jeremy sat back down, “I guess a few more minutes won’t matter.”

“Tell me about what happened,” she said.

“Well, we were in math class. We got our midterms back. I had 100% on mine. Jack looked at my paper. He started in that I must be a freak or something because nobody gets a 100% on a math midterm unless they’re an alien or something. He got everybody to chanting. I wanted to die. He kept saying that I wasn’t normal. Then, he started saying that I was an alien.”

“Where was your teacher?”

“Somebody came to the door and she stepped outside,” he said.

“Did it stop when she came back in?”

Jeremy nodded as he stood to go.

Plan Interrupted

“Please sit down,” she asked.

“You are different,” the counselor started as Jeremy turned to look at her. “We’re all different. Yes, you have ADHD, which does make you different than some, but that’s not always a bad thing.”

“It’s not?”

“Look at the score on your math test. I’d say 100% is pretty good, wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah, I guess. I never think about it. Math is so easy, but I don’t make fun of Jack because he got a D.”

“What else are you really good at?” She asked Jeremy.

He thought for a few minutes then his face began to brighten up, “I’m a pretty good artist. I guess I’m what you’d call creative. I can think of solutions to problems and put the solution together in my head.”

“You’re right. You are a very gifted, talented and smart person. You can actually think circles around Jack. So, why do you think he talked to you that way?”

Jeremy looked down at the ground for a few minutes drawing something in the dirt on the sidewalk. He finally looked up at the counselor, “Because he was jealous?”

“You are so right. I know Jack. He often tries to put others down or make them feel bad or look bad to the other kids so he doesn’t feel so bad about himself. Don’t let him get under your skin.”

 

ADHD, The Brain Disconnect

“Two brain areas fail to connect when children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder attempt a task that measures attention. This is the first time that we have direct evidence that this connectivity is missing in ADHD. The researchers measured electrical rhythms from the brains of volunteers, especially the alpha rhythm. When part of the brain is emitting alpha rhythms, it shows that it is disengaged from the rest of the brain and not receiving or processing information optimally,” stated Ali Mazaheri, a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain and M.I.N.D. Institute.

 

ADHD and Other Personality Disorders

Those who have ADHD, Bipolar Disorder or other Personality Disorder continually tell us what it looks and feels like from inside their box. They say they are tired of everyone telling them they’re not normal. It is normal for them.

They tell us, on the outside of their box, to accept their behavior as absolutely normal. Yet, those of us who are close to that person have to deal with the consequences of their behavior.

Unfortunately, they never seem to be aware of the cause and effect, the relationship between their behavior and all of the resulting drama. They never seem to have a clue that other people have to deal with problems created by them. I Can’t Really Blame Them.

 

Jeremy Becomes Aware

He didn’t talk for several minutes. Finally, he looked up with a side-ways grin on his face, “He almost got me there. I have an older brother and his friends that always make fun of me because I’m different, because of the ADHD, and I do things differently.  Jack made me feel the same way. I hate that feeling. I actually feel alien or sub-human or something. But…”

The counselor sat quietly while Jeremy was thinking.

“Like you said, ‘Yes, I am different and that’s okay. Sometimes I just don’t get what some people are talking about. It just doesn’t connect right in my head. Now, when I read something or have exercises, like in Math, it is so easy. I could actually make fun of Jack because he can’t get it,” Jeremy said pausing again.

“But it doesn’t feel good to be made fun of or left out of the games they are playing. My brother can have his friends over to the house and they’re playing some kind of game. I ask if I can play, but they start teasing me, telling me I’m stupid and I’d never been able to figure out how to play it.”

Choosing Not To Pay It Back

He laughed, “One time I played the video game after they left. I hear the noise they make about it being so hard, but actually it’s very easy. I aced it the first time through.”

“Here’s a thought,” the counselor said. “Why not get Jack alone, away from his pack and tell him you know he got a ‘D’ on the midterm and ask if he’d like some help with his Math?”

“Are you kidding?” Jeremy said. “Wait, that would give me the upper hand, wouldn’t it?”

The counselor nodded with a grin.

“I’ll do it. When he least expects it.”

“How are things at home?” the Counselor asked.

“Well, it’s okay most of the time. My mom got help from a psychologist who specialized in ADHD to help us develop some workarounds. They have helped.”

“What kind of workarounds?”

“I have trouble organizing things and I have a lot of trouble with time. When I’m working on something, it feels like just a few minutes to me, but my mom tells me it’s been over two hours. We set timers so I don’t lose track of time. I also use To-Do lists that are prioritized so I get the most important things done. The rule is that I don’t go on to something else on my list until the first one is completed. I’m distracted very easily and don’t finish things. We’re working on it. My mom says I’m doing a lot better.”

“Do the workarounds help you feel better about your ADHD?” the counselor asked.

“They do. I know I have to do things differently than other kids, but…” he paused and grinned. “When I stick to the rules in the workarounds, I do a better job than any of those kids.”

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Letting Go Of Yesterday’s Junk

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

“You Can’t Reach For The Skies When Your Hands Are Full Of Yesterday’s Junk”-Louise Smith

 

Jerry Returns

Jerry, in last week’s story, had gone to see Darlene, a Life Coach, and Connie’s mom. He had thought he could manipulate Connie into allowing him to move in with her by getting Darlene on his side. But, it didn’t work out the way he had planned.

Jerry sat in Darlene’s waiting room for his second appointment. He wasn’t quite sure why he was there.

The door to Darlene’s office opened, “Jerry, come on in.”

Jerry walked slowly into the office, as if, he weren’t sure about this visit.

“I was surprised when I saw your name on my calendar for today. I didn’t think you’d be back,” Darlene said as they both took their seats.

 

Jerry’s Second Session

“When I left last week I didn’t think I’d be back. But, you touched on areas in my past and I couldn’t get them or what you said out of my mind. I do want to move forward with or without Connie in my life,” he said. “I think I need some help putting the past behind me if I can.”

“Jerry, how do you see that happening?”

“I’m continually hearing my dad’s voice berating me and telling me I’m no good. After thinking about it all week, I think the reason I wanted to move in with Connie was that she’s always been loving and kind. She never berated me or made me feel stupid like my dad does. But. I’m not sure that’s the right reason to move in.”

“I’m glad you came back,” Darlene said. “You are right. That’s not the right reason to move in. You need to be able to put the past behind you so you can enjoy a good, healthy relationship with Connie or someone else. When you are focused on the past, especially if it’s traumatic or hurtful, you can’t focus on the present or the future.”

 

Yesterday’s Junk

“There are people who believe in holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” – Ann Landers

 “I like to call the past hurts, junk. Junk from the past that clutters your mind and emotions. Everything that has happened to you did have an effect on you. Since your experiences were very traumatic, I’m sure they changed the course of your life. Would you agree with that?”

Jerry nodded, “I’d say it was traumatic. I can still see every event and hear every cruel berating statement that my dad made. Sometimes they just echo through my mind. Once I started beating my head against the wall trying to get the voice to stop.”

“I’d say the events you experienced were very traumatic. But, you can’t change the past. You can’t wipe the memories from your mind and you don’t want to. When a person has repressed memories, they may not remember the event, but the pain and trauma experienced still affects the individual. When least expected those memories or the wounded child reacts to the situation to protect the person. You don’t want to repress the memories, but you do want to deal with the memories and the hurts from them so you can move on and have a very successful life.”

“So, what do I need to do?” Jerry asked. “How can I stop all the stuff from cluttering up my mind. Sometimes it really gets to be too much.”

 

The Past

“The first thing is to learn how to let go of the hurts, yesterday’s junk, so you can move on. You can’t change what happened in the past. But, what you are experiencing are the emotions in the present, not in the past. You are also experiencing your critical inner voice, which is also in the present. The anger, embarrassment, pain are all emotions that you are experiencing now, in the present. The first step is to change your focus. Focus on the present. Feel your feelings right now.”

“So you’re saying to stop thinking about the past and focus on the present? But how do I stop all the critical comments that go on in my head, sometimes, all the time?”

 

Sticky Thoughts

“We’ll get there. First, let’s look at your memories. They are just thoughts. They don’t have any power or meaning unless you give it to them,” Darlene continued.

“How do I give my thoughts power?” Jerry asked.

“Let’s look at the thoughts for a moment. Some are sticky. Sticky thoughts have emotions attached to them. Whenever a sticky thought pops into your mind you feel the emotion that is attached causing the thought to stay in your mind, causing you to think about it over and over. Most sticky thoughts have core beliefs attached to them. For example, when your dad would beat you and berate you, you developed the belief that he was right, ‘you can’t do anything right.’”

“When a sticky thought becomes stuck in your mind it’s because you have a belief attached to the emotion you are feeling. Your critical inner voice then picks up the belief, “you can’t do anything right,” and repeats it back to you over and over and over again.”

“Yeah, that’s basically what happens. Once the voice starts in it can go on for hours,” Jerry said. “So, how do I get rid of the sticky thought?”

 

Do The Opposite

“You need to lose interest in the sticky thoughts. One of the best ways is to Do The Opposite. When a sticky thought pops into your mind with the critical inner voice, begin telling yourself the opposite. So, if sticky thought is that “you can’t do anything right,” change it. Say something like, “I can do a lot of things right like being a DJ. I’m a very good DJ. People like it when I’m the DJ. So basically, you lose interest in the sticky thought and replace it with the opposite. The more you say it the less power the sticky thought has until you’ll notice it doesn’t come up very often.”

“I’m beginning to understand.”

“Healing takes place when you let go of the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings so they no longer impact you in the present. When you learn how to Do The Opposite the past loses its power over you. The event is still in your memory, but it no longer has the mean, effect or power.”

“Let me get this. You are saying that if I repeat the opposite over and over it causes the sticky thought to go away?”

 

Repetition

“Actually, it can change the sticky thought, getting rid of yesterday’s junk. The sticky that was a put-down, but you exchange it for a positive thought about yourself. Repetition is funny. I had a professor that told us about a camping trip that she and some friends took. One friend couldn’t go. The friend that couldn’t go was a real Patrick Swayze fan. While sitting around the campfire they cooked up this story of Patrick coming to their campsite. They had all the details worked out so everyone had exactly the same story. When they got home they told their friend about Patrick coming to their camp. The friend was so jealous because she hadn’t been there. This story was repeated over and over and over among the friends. A year or so later, in a totally different setting, someone mentioned Patrick Swayze and the professor launched into the story they had cooked up. She got almost through the story and stopped, looking at the other person, telling them what really happened. She told us in class that she had repeated it so many times that she actually began to believe it.”

“So if you repeat the opposite enough it will begin to replace the sticky thought?” Jerry asked.

“Absolutely. You can’t make yourself forget the experience. It often creates more problems, like addictions, if you try to stuff or ignore your feelings. The old saying is that ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but it rarely works that way. You can’t change what happened, but you can change your reaction to it by doing the opposite.”

 

Affirmations – Renewing Your Mind

“The positive things, The Opposites, are affirmations which plant thoughts in your subconscious mind. You can plant negative thoughts in your mind, which is what happened during childhood. In doing the opposite you are exchanging the negative thoughts for positive ones.”

“Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23 tells us to “Be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” Repeating positive affirmations is how you renew your mind. Many people use Bible verses as affirmations. Make the Bible verses personal.”

“I AM come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.” –John 10:10

“It is the Father’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom.”–Mathew 12:32

“I walk in love as Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for me so that it became] a sweet fragrance.” Ephesians 5:2

“When I walk in love God is present.” 1 John 4:12

“Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me”. Psalm 23:4

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the refuge and stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

 

Write It Down

“It also helps to write down your feelings about the past. In school, we learned a method of processing feelings that is quite effective. Write down everything you can think of about the event and how you felt. Then burn the paper in a fireplace or bonfire. It’s very releasing to watch the event, the experience, and the feelings go up in smoke. Others prefer to keep a journal. Still, others write the person a letter but don’t send it. Put it away or burn it.”

Jerry sat quietly for several moments.

“What are you thinking?” Darlene asked.

“I’ve listened to all the things you’ve said. I feel calm like this is something I can do. I think I can be free from the abuse and ridicule.”

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What Is It, What Happened, How Do I Fix It?

Image From Pixabay
Image From Pixabay

Image From Pixabay

“Be Who You Needed When You Were Younger.” – Lonerwolf

 

Jerry and Connie had been seeing each other for about six months. Jerry wanted to take their relationship to the next level. He wanted to move in with her.

In fact, he was so insistent that it made Connie wonder why he was pushing so hard. Jerry was nice enough, but maybe too nice. He seemed to dote on her by going to her apartment and cleaning the house and having dinner ready when she got home. Yes, she worked longer hours than he did, but he seemed to be brownnosing, but why? What does he want? Something didn’t feel right.

She talked to her mom who was a counselor but didn’t go into a lot of detail. She knew her mother had ethical issues about being her counselor and she didn’t want to put her mom in a hard spot.

“Mom, if I can’t come to a decision that I’m comfortable with soon, we’ll talk, okay? I think you’ve taught me how to listen to myself and God,” Connie said.

“Okay. If you need some help come to me. We can figure it out or I’ll put you in touch with another counselor.”

“Thank you, Mom. You’re the greatest,” Connie said as she gave her a goodbye hug.

“I’ll call you later. I have a new client coming in soon. I have to get things ready,” she said turning to walk into her office as Connie went out the front door.

Connie continued to think about Jerry’s insistence to move in with her. She liked him. Actually, she liked him a lot, so why was she so hesitant. She just couldn’t put her finger on the problem.

 

Jason’s Counseling Session

Darlene, Connie’s mom, got up from her desk when she heard the doorbell alerting her to someone entering her waiting room. Her house was arranged with a two-room office with an outside entrance, perfect for working at home.

She opened the door to the waiting room. A young man in his late 20s, about her daughter’s age, sat paging through a magazine.

He was clean-cut and had been very polite on the phone when he set up the appointment.

“Jason, come on into my office?”

He walked into the office handing her the paperwork she had asked for during his phone interview.

“Have a seat,” Darlene said as she paged through the sheets. “Thank you. Looks like you’ve been very thorough in answering the questions. Give me a moment to look at them.”

Jason picked up another magazine that was on the table and began thumbing through it. Darlene watched him for a few seconds. For the information he put on the worksheets, he seemed way too comfortable. His appearance was immaculate even to the pressed crease in his blue jeans – who presses their blue jeans?

Darlene looked up as she took her glasses off and laid them on her desk, “I see from you worksheets that you have ADHD and have not been on medication for a few weeks during childhood. How old were you?”

“I think I was about eight. It made me so dopey that my mother wouldn’t give it to me anymore.”

“How long did you take it?” Darlene asked.

“If I remember right a couple of weeks.”

“Did she take you back to the doctor; they could have adjusted the dosage?”

“No.”

“Do you know why?”

 

Charades

Jason, began to squirm in his seat like he was becoming very uncomfortable. It took him several moments to answer.

“Now, we’re beginning to get to the heart of the matter,” she thought to herself.

“Well, yeah, I guess I do.”

“Could you please explain it to me?” Darlene asked.

“Well, my dad,” he paused staring down at the floor. “He said taking meds made me a sissy.  He wouldn’t allow me to take them anymore. He said all I needed was a strong arm.”

“What did he mean by that?”

Jason hesitated for several more minutes, finally clearing his throat to continue, “He used to beat me and my brother really hard any time…any time we did…any time we did any little tiny thing. He would beat us so hard we’d have welts on our whole back. Everything had to be perfect according to him. And don’t ever…ever tell him ‘no’. I told him ‘no’ once and he almost killed me.”

“I’m so sorry Jason. Now, that I know a little more about you, let’s get started,” Darlene said as she pulled out some more information.

Jason sat very still almost like he was frozen.

“Is it okay to get started?” Darlene asked.

Jason continued to sit, finally shaking his head ‘no.’

“Can you explain, please?”

“I think I’ll go now,” Jason said starting to get out of his chair. “No, I better not. I have to tell you something you aren’t going to like.”

Darlene leaned forward in her chair a little.

“I’m not Jason,” he said.

Darlene frowned, “Please explain.”

Jason propped his head upon his knees, looking at the floor for what seemed like an eternity, “I’m Jerry, Connie’s boyfriend,” he said just barely loud enough to be heard.

‘Excuse me?” Darlene said leaning forward a little more.

“I’m Jerry.”

“Why all the charades? Why not just tell me who you are? What did you hope to accomplish?”

 

Jerry’s Problem Revealed

“I have to win,” Jerry said hanging his head again.

“Win what?”

“Connie and I have been arguing a lot about me moving in with her. I thought I could get some information from you that would help me convince her. Then I’d win.”

“So it’s all about winning. You need to win so badly that you’d fake who you are just to win?”

“I was sure I could give you just enough information and get you to back up my position then she’d give in. I thought maybe you’d tell her you had a similar client and you’d actually back me up and convince her to allow me to move in. But when you started talking about ADHD and my dad I couldn’t pull it off. I’ll go now,” Jerry said picking up his things.

“Sit down,” she ordered.

 

The Session Begins

Darlene moved around to the front of the desk, sitting on the edge. She thought for a few moments before commenting.

“You come in here looking like you have the world by the tail, a winner, thriving in life. But in reality, down deep inside, you feel scared, fragile, and defensive. Am I right?”

Jerry nodded.

“Right now, you’re feeling very scared that I am going to reject and dislike you. You are afraid I’m going to treat you similar to your dad. Right?”

Jerry nodded again.

“Your dad was or is very narcissist or maybe a perfectionist.”

“Yeah. Probably both,” Jerry said.

“You’ve watched him manipulate people to get exactly what he wanted all of your life, correct?”

“Every time.”

“You’ve watched him over the years, so you thought you could make it to work,” Darlene said.

“It’s always looked easy. He always looks the part. Everybody always did or gave him what he wanted, but I can’t seem to do it. I haven’t been able to do it with Connie. I guess I blew it.”

“Would you like to know why it hasn’t worked?” she said.

Jerry nodded.

“You’re not a narcissist. Inside you’re a wounded child who has been badly abused by your dad. But because of your dad’s abuse, you have emotional injuries that have been caused over the years that need to be healed.”

“Because of the abuse, you have repressed emotions, which are emotions you were not allowed to have as a child. For example, because of the abuse, you may have learned to hide your pain. You may also be afraid that you won’t survive.  You may have been told that “big boys don’t cry,” or “you better not say what you are really thinking.”

 

The Wounded Inner Child

“Yes, I have talked to Connie a little,” Darlene continues. “One thing she’s mentioned is that you get very angry and blow up. Because she doesn’t back down, she pushes your button that says you have to win. As a child you were humiliated and made fun of. When she doesn’t back down it’s like you’re reliving the shame and humiliation all over again. That’s when you get angry and go into a rage, which is Little Jerry trying to protect you. Does that sound about right?”

Jerry nodded, “At least the first part. I don’t know about Little Jerry trying to protect me. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

“He’s trying to protect you from the pain you suffered as a child, the pain that hasn’t been dealt with yet. It doesn’t help to try to fight the anger or suppress it or judge it or berate yourself because of it. He is really trying to help and protect you in his own way, the only way he can at this stage in your life.”

“Is it all because of the abuse from my dad?” Jerry asked.

“Probably. When a child feels unsafe or endangered or abused it leaves a huge gaping wound in his/her psyche. A wound that needs to be healed in order to move on.

 

Repressed Memories

“Let me ask a question,” Darlene said. “Do you have time periods where you can’t remember anything? Or areas where you feel there’s something there back you can’t pull it up?”

“Actually, yes. Something happened about the time I started taking the medicine. I overheard a terrible fight between my parents over me taking the medicine then there’s a blank. It’s about a year, I think. I have no idea what happened then,” Jerry said.

“That’s a repressed memory. A memory that’s so painful that you unknowingly repressed it. You have unconsciously blocked it because the memory was associated with a high level of stress or trauma. It’s a way of protecting yourself.”

“Will it come back?”

“It might,” Darlene answered. “But, even though the memory is repressed, your wounded child still reaches into your adult life when he feels you are in danger. That’s why you get so angry.  Much of your behavior, aversions, and neuroses in the present are caused by your wounded child trying to protect you from the pain it still remembers.”

“Will it ever go away?” Jerry asked.

“Not without some work,” Darlene said. “I have clients that are in their 70s and are still dealing with their wounded inner child. But, you can ease his fears, insecurities, and lack of love so he will stop. Are you ready to do this?”

“What about Connie?” Jerry asked with the look on his face like he was about to cry.

 

The Road To Recovery

Darlene smiled, “Connie’s not going anyplace. My thought is that you are pushing so hard because Little Jerry thinks that moving in with Connie will give him the love and security that he craves. But, it wouldn’t work that way. Once you moved in and get comfortable it will be the same arguments only worse. Connie can’t heal Little Jerry, you have to. You don’t have to end the relationship, just do this first.”

“But, I have to move out at the end of the month. I have no place to go. I’m scared.”

“Now, we get to the bottom line,” Darlene stated. “Why do you have to move out?”

“Well, I quit my job and I haven’t paid my rent.”

“Why?”

“I was always getting angry with the boss.”

“Did you get fired?”

“No. I quit before he fired me.”

“Do you know for sure he was going to fire you? Well, no, but I was scared. He came at me really hard.”

“So the same thing, right? It felt like your dad again and Little Jerry was trying to protect you.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

Darlene thought for a few minutes and looked up something on her computer, “Okay, I think I can get the funds to pay your rent and maybe get your job back. Write down your address and landlord’s phone number, if you know it, your place of employment, and your supervisor’s name.”

“But, I don’t want to go back.”

“I thought you wanted my help with Connie. Well, this is the way we do it.”

“Okay,” he said hesitantly.

“I want you to go online and take this quiz. I’ll set you up for another appointment in two days. That’ll give me time to look into the job and apartment. Have the quiz completed for our next appointment,” she said handing him a posit-it with a link.

Step #1: Your Critical Inner Voice Quiz

Step #2: Do The Opposite

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Why Am I So Insecure and Fearful

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

“Nothing Holds You Back More Than Your Own Insecurities.” – askideas.com

Connie Thinks Back

Connie, a woman in her late twenties, had left Cincinnati about a year before and moved to Knoxville, TN where she took a job in a little boutique on Market Square. She rented the upstairs apartment above the shop.

When the boutique was closed she’d sit at the window in her little apartment watching the people in Market Square. She didn’t have any friends in Knoxville. She wasn’t sure she even knew how to make friends anymore. She had felt so alone and locked into the boutique shop.

The customers and the owner seemed to really like Connie, but they weren’t friends. She was all alone. Her mother was back in Cincinnati, but Connie rarely answered the phone when she called. A guy, James, from Cincinnati called occasionally when she first moved, but it had been months since she had seen his number on her phone.

One day while sitting at the window in her apartment with a bottle of Scotch and a package of donuts, she looked around. There were no pictures on the walls. No personal items, nothing to indicate that a person even lived in the apartment.

She looked at the people in the Square. Couples walking arm in arm laughing. Kids playing in the little splash pad, sidewalk musicians entertaining the people walking by or sitting on the benches or at the restaurant tables. They all looked happy.

She looked at her company, a bottle of Scotch and a package of donuts. She burst into tears, “If this is all there is I don’t even want to live.”

 

Connie In The Present

She had been seeing Gary, a Life Coach, for two or three months. She had finally connected with her mother and with James. She was making progress. She had decided to stay in Knoxville and go back to school, but every time she thought about entering a classroom with a male teacher fear would sweep over her.

She sat in Gary’s waiting area thinking about her move to Knoxville, her lonely life at the boutique, everything. She was very nervous about this meeting. He had given her a worksheet to complete –“Identifying Your Inner Conflict: Becoming Aware of Your Feelings.”

In her visits with Gary, she’d become aware of her Inner Child and how hurt she had become during her childhood years. She had stuffed all her feelings down deep inside. Yet, when she was confronted with the fact of having a close relationship with James, she ran.

Gary had taken it slow about confronting her insecurity and fear. As she sat in the waiting room it was all she could do to sit in the chair. She wanted to run and run and keep on running. But with Gary’s help she knew if she was to ever have a loving relationship, even with herself, she had to confront her insecurity, her fear, and her Inner Child.

The door to Gary’s office opened.

“Connie, come on in.”

 

Connie’s Inner Child

 She raised her head and looked at him. She felt like she was glued to the chair. Gary continued standing quietly in the doorway as she finally managed to get up and walk toward the doorway. Tears started running down her cheeks. Gary reached for a box of tissues as he showed her to a chair.

Connie took a tissue and wiped her face then handed him her worksheet.

“Would you like to tell me what’s happening?” Gary said

Connie paused wiping the tears that wouldn’t stop flowing. It was like someone turned on a water faucet, “The tears won’t stop,” she said.

“Actually, that’s good. They are washing away all the pain from the past. Ignore the tears. Let them flow. Just tell me about what you’ve learned from the worksheet.”

“You told me to pay attention to Little Connie, to listen to her and what she needs. I have. I’ve also journaled about everything that has come to my mind, including the images.”

“Good. In the waiting room, you looked like you were scared to death. Can you tell me why? You’ve been coming here for two-three months, so, why the fear now?”

Connie paused wiping her eyes again and looking at the floor for a few minutes, “Well, I guess, what I’ve discovered is still trying to sink in.”

Gary sat quietly.

 

Connie’s Revelation

 “I realized that I had blocked some things out of my mind. When I started working on this my memory started coming back a little at a time,” she said as she pulled out her notebook. “I’ve written about 20 pages.”

“I notice you don’t look as scared as you did in the waiting room.”

“My eyes are still leaking, but as I talk the fear is starting to go away,” she said as she opened her notebook. “You know my mother has always bad-mouthed my dad to me. I realize that’s why I ran from James, but at the time I didn’t know why.”

She paused again wiping her eyes.

“I remember my dad beating on my mom. I had a couple of memories of it, but I finally remembered the last time. He hurt her so badly that she was lying on the floor unconscious.”

“How old were you?” Gary asked.

“I was trying to figure that out. I even called my mom, but she refused to talk to me about it and hung up on me. I think I was about five or six.”

“Continue,” he said.

“Dad started gathering up his things to leave. Mom was laying on the floor bleeding. I could see myself running out to her yelling, ‘Mommy, Mommy,’ when he grabbed me. He started yelling that it was all my fault. If I had never been born this wouldn’t have happened.”

“Let me get this straight,” Gary said. “Your mom is lying on the floor unconscious and bleeding. Your dad grabs you and says it’s all your fault. Is that right?”

“Yes, he said if she hadn’t gotten pregnant with me he wouldn’t have had to marry her and none of it would have happened. He then threw me against the wall and walked out.”

“Were you hurt?”

“Yes. I must have had a concussion because I had headaches for days. I also hit something when he threw me and broke my right arm.”

“My mother told me for years to stay away from guys they would hurt me and leave me. When I told her about James asking me out, she went into a rage. I never could figure out why. Also, she was never as loving to me after that time. She would never give me a hug or hold me. If I’d cry she’d tell me to stop. A couple of time she even said it was my fault.”

“Did you go for help?”

“No. In a few minutes, the fire department and ambulance were at the door. I never could figure out how they knew. But, my dad must have called them.”

“Oh my,” Gary said. “Now, what do you think?”

 

Easing Her Inner Child’s Fears

“It wasn’t my fault. Mom got pregnant and dad got her pregnant. Not my fault,” she said taking several deep breaths as calm settled down over her.

“But, little Connie still needs the love that she never got. She also needs to know that it wasn’t her fault.”

Connie nodded.

“So, why did you run from James?” Gary asked.

“When I ran, I think I believed it was all my fault. I didn’t want to hurt him or be hurt by him. At the same time, my mother’s words would always echo through my mind that men would treat me horribly and would hurt me. But James is a really good guy. I definitely had a war going on inside and I didn’t know how to handle it.”

“Now what do you think and feel?” Gary asked.

“For the first time ever I see it wasn’t my fault and all men are not horrible creatures,” she said with a little grin as she looked up. “Not, you, of course. It actually feels different inside. I don’t feel the stress in my gut like I have for so long.”

 

The Inner Child

 “That’s really good. Let’s go over a few principles here. Little Connie is going to need more attention, that’s a given. Don’t run from her or try to tune her out by watching television, movies, or videos, having music playing all the time, socializing, working, hobbies, or using drugs and alcohol. It’s very important for you to listen to her.”

“Should I write about my contact with her, as I did before?”

“Absolutely,” Gary said. “That helps you listen closer. It also seems to give the inner child a sense that you are really listening and doing something to resolve her issues.”

“The first step to dealing with a wounded inner child is to become aware and listen, which you have been doing. When you aren’t aware she will appear whenever something feels like the past. For example, if you feel like a man is being mean to you or someone else or is being unjustly harsh you will feel the fear and insecurity that she felt that night when your dad hurt you and your mom. Does that make sense?”

Connie nodded.

Gary continued, “I had a client who had been very verbally abused by his older brother. Every time someone around him would raise their voice, even for emphasis, his inner child would raise up to defend himself against attack. Even though the other person wasn’t attacking it felt like it to his inner child. He found that many times it was a struggle for control, just like it was as a kid.”

“I think I’m beginning to understand,” Connie said. “But, in my case how do I keep the fear from rising up and taking over like it did this morning.”

 

Parenting Your Inner Child

 “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

 “You are now the adult, parenting your inner child,” he said. “I know that sounds really weird, but in essence, that’s what it is. You tell your inner child that it’s okay. He isn’t your dad. You don’t have to be afraid. You actually need to talk to her, calm her, like you would a child.”

“In the case of the guy who felt attacked, he had to say to his inner child, ‘It’s okay. You’re not being attacked. She’s just making a point.’ Eventually, it got so the inner child did not rise up to defend. The same will happen to you. One day you will hear a guy raise his voice and you won’t feel that fear on the inside.”

“How long will this take?” Connie asked.

“I don’t know. Everyone is different. Your attack was very severe it may take a while. Has your dad ever tried to contact you?”

“He did after I moved here. He sent me a letter. I sent it back after I read it. I remember becoming so afraid when I read it that I started shaking violently,” Connie answered.

“Did you keep his address or phone number?”

“I did,” she answered. “But, I have no idea why.”

“That’s probably your true test. When you can call him without any fear you’ll know you have taken care of Little Connie.”

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How To Release The Negative

Image by Лечение наркомании from Pixabay
Image by Лечение наркомании from Pixabay

Image by Лечение наркомании from Pixabay

“The greatest revolution in our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” – William James

Amy Confronted with EFT

Amy and her friend Pam had arranged to meet at Market Square for lunch. Pam arrived early and was sitting at a table outside at Café 4.

“How’s this?” Pam asked as Amy approached.

“I didn’t think you liked to sit outside because of the pollen?” Amy replied.

“That is the way it used to be,” Pam responded. “That’s what I wanted to tell you about. It doesn’t bother me anymore.”

“Got a new med,” Amy asked as she pulled up a chair.

“No. No meds at all.”

“How’d that happen? You’ve always been so allergic.”

“Let’s order our drinks and I’ll tell you,” Pam said motioning for the waiter.

They ordered their drinks and their usual orders, Fried Green Tomatoes to share and a specialty salad each.

EFT Explained

“I’ve just been dying to tell you about “EFT,” Pam said.

“What’s EFT?” Amy asked. “Sounds like something alien, like ET.”

“No, nothing alien. You’ve been watching too much TV,” Pam said with a little laugh. “But, that’s why I can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I am so jazzed.”

Amy tilted her head giving Pam a side-eye with a quizzical frown, “You’re gonna have to explain that one.”

“My allergist introduced me to this new method of treatment called ‘EFT- Emotional Freedom Technique’ to eliminate negative thoughts and emotions. She said it was worth a try, nothing else seemed to work. She told me a lot of scientific studies have been done on how our negative thoughts and emotions make us sick or keep us sick. She also said they don’t really know the causes for most of the illnesses, but they do know that our negativity does cause or contribute to our problems. I know you have some health issues, also, and I just couldn’t wait to tell you about it.”

Amy continued to look at Pam with a side-eye, “That sounds like a lot of New-Age stuff to me. I thought you were a Christian?”

Pam laughed, “I am a Christian. Actually, you pray while rubbing pressure points in your body. Can I show you?”

“Here?”

“Sure. It’s easy. Let me tell you a little more first, okay?”

Amy nodded still sporting a wrinkled brow.

“EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique is a way of getting rid of the trapped negative thoughts, emotions, and bodily pain by releasing your negativity. They have discovered that physical pains and illnesses are often the results of emotional stress and negativity. The Bible calls them unforgiveness and resentment.”

“Okay, continue,” Amy said while still giving Pam a side-eye.

“Some call it “Tapping” because you are supposed to tap 3-7 times on each of nine different acupuncture points as you cycle through the process.”

“See, see. I told you it was “New Agey stuff,” Amy said forcefully. “Acupuncture. See, I told you.”

Pressure Points

 

“Hold on, hold on. Let me show you,” Pam said as she pulled out a piece of paper with an image on it.”

“You have two places on either side of the upper chest. You will know when you find them because they’re tender or sore when you rub them. They are part of the lymphatic drainage system. That’s why they’re tender,” Pam said pointing to a diagram of the tapping points from Communion with God Ministries. “These points are used to promote healing and alleviate fatigue.”

“Okay, so, yeah, the points are sore,” Amy said as she rubbed the two points close to her collarbone.

Pam continued, “I agree with you that the tapping is very New-Agey. You know I’m on Communion With God Ministry site all the time, right?”

Amy nodded.

“They seem to agree with the fact that we have a lot of negativity and unforgiveness in our bodies which cause a lot of our problems. Instead of tapping, I rub the pressure points. It’s like deep tissue massage. While I rub these points I pray:

‘Even though I have this problem of allergies, I fully and completely accept myself, just as You, Jesus, accept me. I release these allergies to You, Jesus, and I receive Your healing touch. I completely forgive and love myself and my dad. I repent of my anger toward myself and my dad and I release myself and my dad according to Rom 7:6. I thank You, Jesus, for this release!’”

“Now, does that sound like New Agey stuff?” Pam asked.

“No, but does it work?” Amy responded.

They paused their conversation as their waiter brought their order.

 

The Power of Your Beliefs

Your core beliefs about yourself and the world around you are like rivers running through the landscape of your mind. They are the life source for the soil of your mind. They also affect all that grows there.

  • What do you believe about yourself?
  • Do you think you are a good person, parent, worker?
  • Are you an effective worker or employee?
  • Are you clever, rich and talented?
  • What do you believe about your current life situation? Can you achieve more?
  • What are your thoughts about your health? Are you in good health? Do you feel sick a good share of the time?
  • Do you view the world around you as a safe place? The world in general?
  • Do you see the world as full of love or hate?
  • Does your mind always gravitate to the negative or the positive first?
  • Do you, by nature, see the good in things and events or the negative?

 

We all have hundreds of different beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. Some of our beliefs are supportive and encourage us to keep moving forward, others do not. For some of us, the beliefs that we formed in childhood tell us we aren’t good enough, we’ll never be good enough, we can’t do that, we’ll never be successful.

You may say, “So what? That’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about it.”

Our beliefs are like water. They are fluid and can shift and change. New beliefs create new pathways in our minds. The more we believe in these new beliefs, the more energy that flows into them, the stronger they become.

Placebos or “fake medicines” show the power of beliefs. They can be pills, creams, injections or even surgery. Often, if you believe in them, they will improve your health.

“Researchers have measured this by using variables such as color, dosage, and branding. Interestingly, the effect is greater if the dosage is increased. Shiny boxes and a capsule will trump a tablet, and an injection will work even better” (The placebo effect, Keogh and Harris 2009).

The placebo effect is one example of how our beliefs can cause real change in our physical bodies.

Scientific research has now proved that in all our daily thoughts only 5% comes from our conscious mind and 95% from our subconscious mind. Therefore, it’s our subconscious mind that’s in charge and running the show.

 

New Way of Thinking

Doctors and nurses are often frustrated because the true cause of many diseases is unknown. For this reason, the medical profession, as a whole, is called upon to, basically, manage the symptoms.

For example, the cause of depression is thought to be a chemical imbalance. Yes, the patient does feel better with the drugs prescribed, but the drug does not cure the imbalance it only masks it so the person feels better.

Even with cancer, doctors can remove the tumors and stop the spread with chemotherapy and radiation, but they often do not know the cause. The same is said about most diseases according to Gary Craig founder of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

  • Is it possible that diseases manifest in the body because of unresolved fear, anger, guilt, and other negative emotions that we collect and store in our subconscious mind?
  • Is it possible that without the negative thoughts and emotions the disease symptoms will dwindle and go away?

There is a new field of study called Psychoneuroimmunology which is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. Applications include how stress leads to illness and how chronic inflammation can lead to cardiovascular problems and cancer.

It’s a simple idea. Is it too simple?

When we become fearful or angry we can feel it in our bodies, but are they actually robbing us of our health?

 

Amy and Pam Continue

“So, you’re saying EFT is what got rid of your allergies?” Amy asked.

“Not exactly. I haven’t had any allergy medicine or shots for two months now and you know how much I was taking. I used the EFT to actually see if it worked. But, to be honest, I really think it’s the releasing of my negative thoughts toward myself and my dad and asking for God’s healing touch that has made the difference.” Pam responded.

Amy sat quietly for a few minutes nibbling on her salad, “You know I have Fibromyalgia. Is that why you wanted to tell me about the EFT?”

“Yeah. I know sometimes you’re in a lot of pain and you find it hard to get around. It has really helped me so I thought maybe it would help you also. I don’t go for that New Agey stuff or Eastern Religion stuff either, but what I’ve given you is based on Jesus’ healing power and what he did for us when He died on the cross.”

“I agree,” Amy said.

Christian View of Acupuncture

“I did some research on acupressure to see if it interferes with our Christian beliefs. The information I found referred more to acupuncture and the person performing it. The article said that sometimes the acupuncturist mumbles something while doing the procedure, which could be a problem.”

“That was my concern,” Amy said.

“But with the acupressure, the points are areas where the muscles of the body are exposed to pressure to increase blood flow, similar to deep tissue massage. I don’t know about the tapping, but rubbing those spots and other spots on the body combined with prayer seemed to release the negativity in my thoughts.”

“I can buy that,” Amy said.

“I’ve come to believe that the negative thoughts and feelings keep us enslaved to our physical problems. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Isaiah 53:5 states ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed.’”

“Everything I have heard lately about healing lately states that Jesus paid the price for my healing 2000 years ago. My healing has already been done, so why am I still sick? I realize that my negative thoughts and emotions, my resentment and unforgiveness, are keeping me from receiving the healing that Jesus provided for me. It seems like when I rub the pressure points on my body and pray, it’s like my physical body is connecting to my prayer also. It’s not just words.”

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Read More….  EFT – Is Emotion Freedom Technique Effective And Biblical

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Thoughts: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

“Remember – writing saves lives; and lives are saved by writing! Enjoy becoming a better you through your journal journey.”- Jackee Holder

Jennifer

Jennifer sat thinking back to her very stormy childhood. She remembered night after night hearing her parents fight in their bedroom. Often, the next morning, when she went out to go to school either or mother or father was asleep on the sofa in the front room. She and her older brother had to get themselves off to school.

She thought about her 12th birthday. When she got home from school both her mother and father were in the living room laughing and, seemingly, having a good time. The strong odor of alcohol did not permeate the room.

“What’s up?” Jennifer asked.

“It’s your birthday,” her dad said. “When your brother gets home we’re going to have a little party.”

Jennifer was skeptical. Every time there was a party things seemed to go from bad to worse.

Her mother put her arm around her, “It’s going to be okay, really. We’ve worked things out. It’s going to be different. You can erase the worried look off your face. It’s your birthday. It’s time to be happy.”

Jennifer tried to wipe the concern off her face as her brother walked in the house with arms open wide to give her a hug, “Happy Birthday, Sis.”

All four went into the kitchen to help finish dinner. Jennifer stepped back watching Mom and Dad talking and playing like they used to as they worked together to put dinner on the table.

Mom seemed to be right, things were better than they had been for a long time. Jennifer was lost in thought until they all started singing Happy Birthday as Dad brought in a birthday cake, candles glowing, sitting it down in front of her.

“Make a wish,” they all said at once then bursting out laughing.

Mom handed her a present. She ripped off the wrapping paper to find a diary with a luminous cover and a lock. It was the kind that was popular back then.

Jennifer thought about that first diary, she still had it put away. She remembered being so cautious about what she wrote on the pages. At that time she preferred to keep her secrets securely lock in her head.

As she moved into her teenage years the secrets became too heavy to keep locked in her head. She began the journey of unloading them to the diary where she could keep them under lock and key.

Thinking back it seemed that the more she wrote the less the chaos bothered her. It’s like she offloaded her thoughts, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to her diary where they could be stored without knocking around in her head causing emotional and mental pain.

As a teenager, she was unaware of any research into the therapeutic benefits of journaling. All she knew was whether it was a stream of consciousness, emotional venting, a poem or a story, she always felt better when finished.

 

Expressive Writing

Professor James Pennebaker states that “expressive writing” is where people write for about 15 to 20 minutes a day, three to four days per week, or as often as necessary, about an upsetting or emotional experience. Studies have shown that people who engage in expressive writing have improved physical and mental health compared to individuals who do not write.

Expressive writing isn’t just a form of journaling. It’s also not just a practice for novelists, screenwriters, or journalists. “It is a writing technique that helps people understand and deal with the emotional upheavals in their lives,” (Pennebaker, Smyth 2016). It is a method of self-coaching or self-help without outlandish claims. The best part is that it has strong scientific evidence to back it up. It has been used to treat a wide variety of physical and mental health problems such as anxiety, depressions and PTSD with great success.

Expressive or journal writing has been proven to contribute to better sleeping patterns, reduced stress, and depression, and helps the individual with self-management.

 

Why Journal

As Jennifer got older she continued to write. She would take, sometimes, an hour before bed to write.

“Why do you have to write every night? You’re just wasting our together time,” her husband said.

“You don’t like to hear me venting about things that happen at work, do you? You tell me I’m just complaining. Well, when I write I have a safe and private space for me to vent, be emotional and mental if needed. And you don’t have to listen to me,” she said as she got her journal out and prepared to write.

“I also found that it helps to clear away my mental clutter at the end of the day. When negative and emotional feelings are written on the paper, it’s funny, but it’s like I take it out of my mind and store it safely in my book. It clears my mental space,” she said with a little grin like she was lost in her thoughts.

“Yeah, but…”

“No, yah, buts, you’re always complaining about how much we’re spending. This is much less expensive than going to a shrink.”

“Well, you’re right there,” he said with the look on his face that said he was actually thinking about it.

“I can do it anywhere. I don’t have to go to some guy’s office…”

“Or pay him $250 per hour,” he interrupted.

Jennifer laughed, “Are you still stuck on money?”

“Well, yeah.”

“My journaling has helped me work through all the problems that I encountered when starting my business. You seem to like all the money I bring in?”

“Well, yeah.”

“The journaling at night helps me evaluate my day and prepare for the next day. It helps me know what I have to do tomorrow, who I have to call, supplies I have to order. It helps me handle and reduce the stress from dealing with employees, vendors, and customers. It reduces stress so I don’t bring it home. When I have someone I have to communicate with over an issue I write it out first so I know what I need to say. And it’s flexible. I can write it out one way and later if that doesn’t seem right I can go back and rework it to eliminate any possible problems.”

“Is that why all of your employees really love you?” he asked.

Jennifer looked up thinking he was trying to make a joke, “You’re kidding, right?”

“Actually, no, I’m not kidding. You haven’t had anyone quit, except your temporary help and they’re always trying to come back. When I walk in everybody is happy. It’s like they enjoy being there, at work. Is journaling actually your secret to happy employees and a successful business?”

“I think that’s a large part of it because I don’t just go off on people and I work through problems on paper first. Sometimes, I will bring one or more of the employees into my office and I write as we discuss different problems. Everything is in my journal. I can go back later and work on it. Nothing gets lost or misplaced. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 4:23 to renew our minds. I think journaling is a very good way of doing that.”

“I see how it works for personal and work issues, but I’m not sure I understand how it works for spiritual issues.”

“Remember the Bible study material we got a few months back?” Jennifer asked.

He nodded.

“Well, I read the material, pray about it, and listen to what God is telling me about it. I listen to God’s voice and write it down. If I have any questions I write them down and ask God about it. It’s called a Two-Way Journal. I heard about it online and started doing it. It works.”

He sat quietly for what seemed like an eternity before saying, “Are women the only ones who journal?”

“Heavens, no. In fact, I came across Professor James Pennebaker who has written several books about it and recommends it to everyone.”

He got up and walked into the other room. In a few minutes he was back with his laptop, “Okay, I’m going to give it a try.

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The Cluttered Mind

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay
Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

A Mind Becomes Seriously Cluttered

This story is true. The names have been changed. I’m telling this story to illustrate an extreme example of mind cluttering.

Jimmy, at age 10 or 11, a typical adventurous boy, wanted to be a “stunt bicyclist,” jumping his bike over a 6 ft. wooden fence.  He and his friend designed the launchpad perfectly. Jimmy’s bike soared over the fence with plenty of clearance only to make contact with the clothesline across his forehead on the other side. He and his bike crashed to the ground with his left temple landing on a rock. He had a headache but didn’t notice much else. His ego was hurt more than his head.

Since his bike was put in lockdown for a few weeks, baseball became his game of choice. Just a week after the first accident, during a baseball game, he took a ball to his left temple, the exact spot that met with a rock the week before.

The two injuries back to back caused scar tissue to form where an artery and blood vessel came together. At first, he would have times when he’d get really dizzy or be disoriented. Over the years, this developed into random seizures.

At about age 45, a time when he was under a lot of stress, Jimmy suffered an aneurysm, where the blood vessel pulled away from the artery causing a bleed in his brain resulting in a stroke. He was paralyzed on one side and was completely blind for several days.

This incident happened two days before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, his wife, Shirley, went to visit him. While she was there the nurse brought a tray of juice to him. He wasn’t allowed to have solid food, so his meal consisted of two types of juice: cranberry juice and turkey broth.

Remember, Jimmy was completely blind.

Shirley decided to play a game with him to cheer him up. She told him she had brought him Thanksgiving dinner. He hadn’t had anything to eat for two days so he was ready.

“You brought me Thanksgiving Dinner? I’m so excited. I thought I was going to miss it. What do we have?” Jimmy asked.

“We have the standard, turkey, potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie,” Shirley said trying to keep a straight face even though differences didn’t seem to register. “Are you ready for your first bite?”

“Turkey first,” he said opening his mouth wide for a spoonful of turkey.

“Not so wide. They said you can only take small bites,” she said as she put the glass of turkey broth up to his lips, pouring a tiny amount in his mouth.

He acted like he was chewing then swallowed, “Man that turkey is good. Can I have some potatoes and gravy?”

She, once again poured a small amount of the turkey broth into his mouth, “There you go. Isn’t that good?”

He swallowed, “Thank you for bringing all this food. I was so hungry. Can I have more turkey and cranberries?”

She continued giving him little sips of turkey broth or cranberry juice describing each sip as a bite of traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Shirley thought he was just playing along making the best out of being in the hospital on Thanksgiving, until the next day when she went to visit.

A nurse pulled her aside, “Jimmy said you brought Thanksgiving dinner for him yesterday and fed it to him. You know he’s not allowed any solid food until the doctor okay’s it, right?”

Shirley laughed, “You’ve got to be kidding. I gave him the juice that you brought in. With each sip, I told him it was turkey, potatoes, and gravy or whatever. I thought he was just playing along with the game. He actually believed I fed him a Thanksgiving dinner?” Shirley asked.

The nurse laughed and shook her head, “Oh my. Yes, he’s telling everyone how good the dinner was and that you went out of your way to bring it up to him.”

 

Results of Brain Injury

As in Jimmy’s case, the injury and the blood on the brain created pressure which interfered with his brain’s ability to carry out its normal functions like his ability to see and tell reality from what was told him.

Jimmy was in a minimally conscious state where he had a reduced ability to respond correctly to simple commands or stimuli and reduced awareness of his surroundings and events.

In that state, the brain is not able to cope with stimulation like noise, touch, light, commands or instructions or even interrupting the stimulus correctly. It gets all cluttered in the person’s brain.

 

How Does A Brain Injury Relate To Decluttering Your Mind?

This is a very good question. I’m so glad you asked. This is where it gets interesting.

Jimmy underwent full brain surgery with two months of rehabilitation to get most of his functionality back.

With brain injury and surgery, Jimmy’s brain was decluttered.

Have you ever seen the movie 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore? In the movie Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry thinks he’s finally found the girl of his dreams until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the next day.

Jimmy found himself in the same situation. When he’d go to sleep at night his brain would lose its memory like turning off the first computers. For months, every morning his memory had to be reloaded like reloading data into a computer. He would have to be told who he and everyone else was, what happened, why he was in a wheelchair or using a walker, etc.

When Jimmy’s brain began to retain the information provided, his brain could only take small amounts of information at a time. When he would try to retain more than his brain could handle he would get really stressed and begin jumping for one task to another then he would begin to forget things. He would be physically and mentally exhausted. Just like anyone else with a cluttered mind.

But, when he would go to sleep his mind would become decluttered, again, and the process would begin all over again.

Jimmy had a friend that would call him every day and sometimes multiple times per day. It was good that he had someone to check on him while Shirley was at work. But it presented a problem because this friend began filling Jimmy’s mind with negative thoughts about Shirley, the doctors, and his life in general.

The negative thoughts were presented to him as facts to be loaded into his mind. As his mind began to retain information his brain seemed to have a war within itself. Shirley would give him the positive information then the friend would give him the negative information. Because of his inability to reason things out for himself, he became excessively stressed impeding the process of restoring his brain and mind function, similar to what happens when our minds become very cluttered.

One doctor said, in situations like Jimmy’s, if the person has a personality quirk, such as biting their nails or constantly fidgeting or being negative about everything, when their brain is reloading they can change that quirk.

In Jimmy’s situation, because of the negative input from the friend, he became a very negative and critical person. He had never really been prone to being negative after the negative input.

 

The Mind

Our minds are very powerful. “According to ASAP Science, every thought we have can actually change the structure and function of our brains (Mashable,2013).” Scientists are still trying to learn more about the brain, its physical structure, how it functions, what thoughts are and how thoughts create realities, as well as, fantasies.

We depend heavily on our minds, moment by moment, to think, process and store memories and information of the day, remember names, locations, and other vital information and remind us of things we have to do. Even when we go to sleep at night, our minds continue functioning, processing our dreams.

So, we can all agree that the mind is a truly amazing thing. We as humans still have lots to learn about our own minds.

Because our minds never stop processing they can become overloaded with information that tends to clutter our minds. When our minds become cluttered it’s much harder to think clearly and to focus on any given task at hand.

The clutter tends to make us stressed. You may be working on one project and your mind jumps to something else. This is a common occurrence with people who have too much on their plates. It becomes obvious that your mind is cluttered when you can’t focus on one specific task that needs to be completed.

 

A Cluttered Mind

  • Stress
  • The mind jumps quickly from one thought to another
  • Sleep disturbances – minds refuse to shut down
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mental fatigue
  • Foggy mind
  • Physically and mentally exhausted
  • Difficulty focusing on one task
  • Jumps from one thought or task to another without completing one
  • Negative Thoughts

 

To be able to unclutter your mind you have to know why it’s cluttered. In our busy day to day lives, we often forget to slow down, take a few deep breaths and relax.

We continually fill our minds with data – often, data is added to our already overloaded mind. Much of the data is irrelevant to the tasks at hand.

For many people, it’s customary to spend an hour or two on Facebook or other social media platforms per day. That information is combined with an hour or two of television shows just before going to bed. The four-plus hours of data are then added to the data and stress from work and family. Then they wonder why their minds won’t be quiet when they crawl into bed.

Our minds are still processing all the information that has been thrown at it in the last 18 hours or so. Unlike Jimmy, our minds don’t unload when we go to sleep. We have to take the necessary step to declutter our minds.

A person with ADHD experiences a cluttered mind all the time. It is second nature to them. Still, they can declutter their minds or slow their minds down. Yes, it may take a little more work or concentration than another person, but it can be done.

Instead of giving kids Ritalin when diagnosed with ADHD, today they are teaching kids how to manage their symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention. These ADHD therapies don’t affect the core symptoms, but they teach children skills they can use to control them. These techniques are very similar to techniques mentioned below.

“Take A Step Back. Clear Your Mind. Refresh Your Perspective.”

 

Deep Breathing Exercises

The first step to decluttering your mind is to relax by taking several deep breaths. Deep breathing is used by millions of people to help them calm their minds, reduce their stress level, improve their focus, and give focused attention to the task at hand.

Scientific studies have shown that deep breathing has a positive impact on a person’s ability to focus, reduce stress and anxiety.

 

Journaling

Once you have determined what is cluttering your mind, it’s time to begin to unclutter it. Journaling can become a very important help in determining what thoughts are relevant to your current situation and which ones are not.

When you are thinking you are actually speaking to yourself, so listen closely to which thoughts are important.

Write down important thoughts and new ideas. These thoughts may not seem important at the time, but they maybe later.

Another approach would be to list the unimportant thoughts and line them out, telling your mind that those thoughts are not important or necessary.

Also, create a memory journal when you write about your memories. Some people prefer to do it with photographs, such as a scrapbook, while others prefer to write or record themselves speaking.

Use Checklists and Planners for everything from getting out of the house on time to morning and night routines. When you know what you should do in the morning, day, and evening it simplifies the thoughts that need to be processed.

 

Challenge Negative Thoughts

When our minds are filled with negative thoughts our life becomes much more difficult and our minds get cluttered, similar to Jimmy’s experience when trying to reload his mind. Negative thoughts lead to poor performance at work, racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and other psychological issues.

One way to challenge your negative thoughts is to tackle problems that present themselves head-on.

Also, when negative thoughts pop into your head, find the truth and replace the negative thought with positive thoughts.

 

Tackle One Task At A Time

Multitasking is one thing that can quickly clog your brain. When you have different projects or tasks that need to be completed, phone calls that distract you or switch your priorities, your mind can become cluttered very quickly.

Take a few minutes and prioritize the projects or tasks. Start the first task and stay with it until it is finished, then move on to the next task. This will reduce the cluttering in your mind. You will also accomplish more with a greater sense of satisfaction.

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When Is A Lie A Lie?

Image by tswedensky from Pixabay
Image by tswedensky from Pixabay

Image by Tswedensky from Pixabay

Lying is the best way to destroy any trust someone might have in you.

 

Warren and Sadie

Sadie had convinced the band in the coffee shop to give Warren a try while Frank, their bass player, was away for six months. The first few gigs went really well. Warren fit in perfectly, even though the band members were apprehensive because Warren was known for not keeping his word. They had taken Sadie at her word and hired him.

Warren decided the least he could do was to take Sadie out for a night on the town. He had decided not to tell Sadie that he had a steady girlfriend. What she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her? After all, he owed her something for getting him the gig.

“I’m not lying to her if I just don’t say anything,” he said to himself hoping his steady girlfriend wouldn’t find out either. “I’m not lying to either of them if I keep my mouth shut.”

 

Sidebar: Warren is withholding key information. He is treating Sadie and his girlfriend unfairly, but is he actually lying?

 

Warren walked Sadie to the door after their night out, “Come on in. You can see my place and meet my babies.”

“Babies?” Warren asked with a look of alarm.

“My cats.”

“Okay, for a few minutes. I don’t have to work tomorrow,” he said.

Fiona, the fluffy Maine Coon, met them at the door, as usual. Sadie picked her up, snuggling her then took her Warren as she got them both a glass of wine.

“Freddy is a scardy cat,” Sadie said while getting the wine. “It takes him a while to warm up to other people.”

They drank and talked and stumbled down the hall to the bedroom.

Warren woke up as the sun started peeking over the mountain tops. He looked at Sadie fast asleep. He grabbed his clothes and headed for the front room so as not to wake her. He had to leave. Gabby, his girlfriend couldn’t find out about this. She always brought him a Starbucks on her way to work. He had to be home before then.

He had been in the house about a half-hour when he heard the key in the door lock. That was close he said quietly to himself.

Gabby entered with his favorite Starbucks.

“You look terrible. What time did you get home?” Gabby asked

“The gig went longer than expected. Everybody was having such a good time the owner let us keep playing. We were all so jazzed we went to one of the groupie’s houses for a drink. I don’t know exactly when I got home, but I’m tired.”

 

Sidebar: Again Warren is withholding key information, but is he actually lying? Warren’s statement to Gabby is incomplete and his statement was clearly made with the intent to mislead, but technically it is true. Did Warren lie?

 

A few days later the band took a ferry across to Catalina Island to play a gig. The agreement was that they were all to pay their own fare. Warren slipped on board without paying. As the ferry was taking off a porter came by asking if everyone had paid. Warren remained silent and never did pay.

 

Sidebar: Warren did not make a statement of any kind. He did not say anything to mislead, therefore, did Warren lie?

 

A week later, Sadie asked Warren if he’d go to the movies with her. He said he really felt bad, but he couldn’t go.

 

Sidebar: Warren didn’t feel bad at all about not going to the movies with Sadie. He didn’t like the movie and he had a date with Gabby. Is Warren lying? Would Warren’s actions and words be considered lying even though he hasn’t been caught, yet? Or does he have to be caught in deception before it’s considered a lie?

 

Different Types of Lies

To me, a lie is a lie, but when I started doing research on lying, I discovered different perceptions and definitions of lying.

Crossing Your Fingers Behind Your Back

Crossing your fingers, as in the picture above, is a gesture that’s traced back to the early centuries. It was commonly found in the Christians who would cross their fingers believing that having the fingers crossed behind the back makes it okay to lie.

Is this a lie?

As I pass a co-worker in the hallway, she smiles and says, “Hi, how are you?” I smile back and respond, “Fantastic, and you?” I wasn’t exactly honest. I was having a really bad day – so my day wasn’t “fantastic.” I was extremely tired and very annoyed because I was running late. Was what I said a lie? Should all similar cases of misleading be considered lies, even if you don’t feel it is appropriate to tell everyone your problems?

 

Is a lie of omission still a lie?

Lying by omission is a misrepresentation of the truth. It occurs when important facts are left out to give a different slant to the facts. This also involves the deceptive practice of ‘quote mining’ which is quoting something out of context in order to distort the intended meaning. It’s also considered lying by omission when a pre-existing misconception is not corrected.

 

What is a ‘white lie’?

A white lie, according to the definition, is a harmless or trivial lie, especially one told to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. A ‘white lie’, though, is still a lie even in its most innocent form.

 

Is it a lie if it’s unintentional?

An ‘unintentional lie’ is an oxymoron, because without the intent to deceive it cannot be called a lie.

 

Is an exaggeration a lie?

An exaggeration is a euphemism, a milder form of definition, not as harsh or blunt, as a lie. It is a common and socially accepted lie, but it is still a lie.

 

What is the difference between lying and not telling the truth?

Lying and not telling the truth are the same. The purpose of both is to hide the truth. Not telling the truth is lying by omission, where lying is presenting something that is not true, as the truth. The end result is the same.

 

What is compulsive lying?

Compulsive lying or pathological lying is a habit. It’s where an individual consistently lies, but not necessarily for no personal gain. Because of a lack of trust, most pathological liars have difficulty maintaining relationships and friendships. Although, they do tend to make great conmen and criminals.

 

Is lying a criminal offense?

Perjury, lying under oath, is considered a very serious offense and is classified as a felony with a prison sentence up to five years.

 

What is a ‘Bald-Face Lie’?

‘Bald-Face Lie’ is a lie that everyone knows is a lie and is not necessarily to deceive. Yet, ’bald-faced lies’ share moral commonalities with lies that are intended to deceive. Both types of lies are attempts to manipulate people.

 

An Outright Lie

Some people create stories about themselves, others or situations that are completely made up of lies. This is often done for sport or so he/she can manipulate another person or situation, or gain a temporary advantage of some sort.

 

Gossip and Rumors

Gossip and rumors are part of everyday life in our society. Even the media spreads rumors and gossip (fake-news) as truth. We as the viewers often don’t know what to believe or where the lie ends and the truth begins.

 

Not Keeping Your Word

In our modern culture, we have not prioritized or put much value in keeping one’s word. We rationalize and justify it: Things happen – it’s no big deal. Yet, we don’t realize that it is a serious character issue to NOT keep your word. Not keeping your word makes it a lie.

 

Today’s Society

In today’s society, lying has become commonplace.  The media is often called the ‘Fake News’ because they spin hearsay or gossip into ‘news stories. Any more, it’s difficult, to tell the truth from a lie.

 

Many people lie to make themselves look better to others. Some lie to hide a painful truth that they aren’t comfortable sharing. It becomes a way of fixing problems or an illusion of fixing problems at the moment. Once a person starts lying, it can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. People lie for a number of reasons including:

  • Need approval.
  • Want to please others.
  • Change people’s perception of them – “better than they really are”.
  • Control a situation or a response.
  • Hide true feelings.
  • Protect someone or themselves.
  • Maintain a sense of power over another person or a situation.

 

“We tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” – Tad

 

Warren, Sadie, and Gabby

Sadie began showing up at Warren’s gigs and some of his practices. Sadie and the other band members began to view them as a couple. They always left together. Warren often spent the night with Sadie.

Warren had been able to continue the farce, or should we call it a lie. He became more comfortable and seemed to be able to keep the two women apart. In his own mind, he had a schedule of when he’d see each woman and what he would say to the other one. He was beginning to think a little too highly of himself.

He always cleared his phone history, text, and voice mails before meeting either woman.

“This is working,” he told himself with a little pat on the back as he drove to pick-up Gabby. He left his phone in the car when he went to the door. While he was gone Sadie called, leaving a voice mail and a text message. He had programmed his phone so only urgent calls would stay in the call history and no bells, whistles or flashing lights would indicate a call. Sadie’s call was marked urgent.

After their date, Warren spent the night with Gabby, which was their normal routine.

Gabby had been feeling that something was off in her and Warren’s relationship. She couldn’t tell exactly what. It just seemed off. She woke up in the middle of the night and laid there looking at Warren. She finally got up and walked into the living room. Something was bugging her, but what?

Warren’s phone was on the bar between the kitchen and living room. She picked it up and looked at it. She never checked on him or any other guy she’d gone out with.

“Should I look,” she asked herself. “I’ve never had any doubts about Warren, but?”

She pushed the on button and the screen lit up. No password required. She noticed an urgent message. She wondered if there was a problem with a family member or at work. She pushed the voice mail button.

“Who’s Sadie?” she said just barely audible, as she read the message. “I can’t make it tomorrow night as planned. I was notified that I have a special project to finish at work. I’m so sorry. I will really miss you. Love and Kisses.”

Gabby was stunned. Then thoughts started running through her mind, “Maybe she’s a new member of the band,” or “Maybe a family member,” or…

Gabby turned on her computer and typed the number into Facebook. She wrote down Sadie’s contact info and stashed it in a safe place then sat on the sofa running through different scenarios. She finally decided to call Sadie after Warren left in the morning.

Gabby was still up sitting on the sofa when Warren walked out.

“Are you okay?” he asked. “You don’t look like you feel well. Don’t you have to go to work today?”

“No, I’m not feeling well. I think I have a bug or something. I’ve already called in to work. I don’t want you to catch the bug so maybe you should leave.”

“Yes, you’re right. I can’t afford to be sick,” he said as he quickly got dressed.

He started to kiss her goodbye, but she held up her hand, “I don’t think you better.”

“Right,” he said as he walked out the door. “I’ll call you later.”

When Gabby was sure he was gone she called Sadie’s number.

“Hello, Sadie?” Gabby asked.

“Yes.”

“My name is Gabby. I’m Warren’s girlfriend.” She could hear Sadie gasp on the other end of the line. “I got your number off Warren’s phone this morning. You left an urgent message on Warren’s voice mail saying, you wouldn’t be able to keep you date tonight. Could you tell me who you are?”

The line was silent for the longest time, finally Sadie said, “I thought I was Warren’s girlfriend.”

The two women talked for a while before hanging up.

Sadie went to her boss, “I’m sorry. Something extremely important has come up. I can’t stay tonight.

The band was scheduled to play at the coffee house at 7pm. Sadie knew the band would be there at 5:30pm.

When the band members walked in Gabby and Sadie were both sitting at the table nearest the stage. The leader tugged the sleeves of the others with him and pointed to the two women.

“This isn’t going to be good. I warned him, but he said he had it all under control. Oh, man, this is bad, this is bad,” he said rubbing his hand through his hair. “We have to go on. We’ve already been paid. We’re not going to make this our problem. It’s Warren’s problem. He’s been lying to both women, now he’s gotta pay the price.”

Warren walked in. He saw the women and instantly turned and headed for the door. The band leader stepped in front of him, “Nope, you’re not running. You made this mess. You’ve got a few minutes to take care of it then you better be on the stage playing your best or you’re fired.”

He walked up to the table. Both women had bags of personal items he’d left at their apartments. “These are yours,” Gabby said. “Don’t ever contact me again, ever.”

“That goes double for me,” Sadie said. They left the bags on the table and walked out together.

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It’s Time To Change Our Laissez-Faire Attitude

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You’re not a victim for sharing your story. You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage. – Alex Elle

My Story

I recently received a response to one of my articles from Randle Moore, another Medium Writer. I read his article Secret Sex Rendezvous Does Not Remain Secret for Long regarding an incident that happened when he was teaching.

My response to Randle’s article, “Thank you for writing about this subject. It has never been equal between boys and girls in school or as adults. The #MeToo movement is giving us all a glimpse of the inequality,” it took me back about 45 years in time.

In my early 20s, I worked in a photo studio manning the front counter, working as a photographer’s assistant, and doing the finishing touches on all photos that went out. We had contracts with the local high schools to do all their senior portraits, plus wedding photos. I loved working around photography, but I wanted to have more darkroom and developing experience.

After four years, I took a job in another studio doing part of their printing. This was a bigger studio with contracts with several high schools.

One day, while sitting in the print room printing out senior portraits, a sales rep walked into the room where I was working. I was the only one in the room. The room was dimly lit, not a full darkroom. The room had windows on two sides with a view of the shooting room.

I was 25 and the sales rep had to be pushing 60 years of age.

When he entered the room, I was polite, but not overly friendly. I was working. He walked up behind me to see the pictures I was printing then began to touch me inappropriately. I didn’t know what to do. He was as old as my father. Eventually, I found a reason to leave the room.

The owner of the studio was normally in the shooting room and would have been able to see the sales reps inappropriate behavior. Was this situation by accident or was it collusion? The question circled in my mind for days.

I had begun to question the owner’s behavior with the senior girls also. The studio where I had worked previously always had a female photo assist in the shooting room at all times. The photographer in the larger studio never had an assistant. I never saw anything inappropriate, but I did not work in the late afternoon or evenings when the majority of the students had appointments.

The owner’s wife was in and out of the studio, but I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her either, so I said nothing hoping it wouldn’t happen again.

A few weeks later the sales rep was back. The owner, who had been in the shooting room left, allowing the opportunity for a repeat performance.

Once again, I didn’t know how to handle the situation so I quit, on the spot.

This took place during the 70s. At that time nothing was ever said in the news. I’m assuming not much was said in person. I’m not sure what my mother would have said if I had told here. That was a subject that just wasn’t talked about.

 

Other Stories

I recently picked up a book from Amazon, “#MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened, What it Means and How to Make Sure It Never Happens Again” © 2017 Edited by Lori Perkins.

The book starts with the telling of the story experienced by a publisher of an Upper Manhattan newspaper when she was 22. She tells how she had started the newspaper with her own money. She was the owner, the boss. She was interviewing a middle-aged local New York City politician for an up-coming election profile. Out of the blue and without any warning he asked her if she would be his mistress. She remembered being shocked and unsure that she had heard him correctly. She said that she thought she just declined his offer and proceeded with the interview.

She stated that she was appalled, but didn’t say anything to anyone. Her way of handling the situation was to avoid him after that and make sure she was never alone with him.

She recalls that later she couldn’t believe he had propositioned her, the owner of the local newspaper and that he was so caviler about the whole situation.

She states that about the same time her newspaper received a full-page ad for a new bank in their neighborhood. A vice president from the bank requested lunch with her. She assumed it was to talk about neighborhood programs or initiatives that the bank was thinking of running. During lunch he offered to buy her an apartment. Once again, he was offering to set her up as his mistress. She made it very clear to him that she wasn’t interested, but once again didn’t tell anyone. Who would she have told?

She stated that more recently she told these stories to her grown son whose response was, “If it happened to you, it’s happened to everyone.”

No, the stories I’ve told are not rape or sexual abuse, but as the author of the book states, “it’s a kind of inappropriate sexual creepiness that men just feel entitled to. We have to tell our stories, point the finger, shame this behavior and make it stop.

 

Photo by Mihai Surdu DeI2BMIMDFA Usplash

Photo by Mihai Surdu DeI2BMIMDFA Usplash

 #MeToo Movement

We see news reports from New York City and Hollywood, but that’s just the public side of the story. How many women, like me, have had to deal with sexual predators in average cities and average jobs? It didn’t begin with Rose Mcgowan’s allegations of rape or Tarana Burke’s 10 year-long campaign to support women of color surviving sexual abuse or Anita Hill’s report of Clarence Thomas’s sexual misconduct.

Women all over the world have been the target of sexual predators. The #MeToo Movement blew up from the reporting of Harvey Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior. It has now gone worldwide with “#MeToo” appearing in most countries, many under their own Twitter revolution name.

We all have seen or heard stories about sexual harassment in the workplace, at home or even in Uber and Lyft rides. Most of us have taken a laissez-faire attitude, but it’s time for a change. Whether we have been the victim of unwanted sexual advances or been the victim of a predator or are an innocent by-stander we all have to change how we look at this behavior. It is time to see that there are consequences.

#MeToo states that they aren’t a mob. They are a movement to “initiate change by becoming politically active and not waiting for someone else to step up to the plate.”

They are encouraging people to get involved whether it’s a donation, supporting a local politician, changing legislation for nondisclosure laws, running for local office or signing petitions.

They are also encouraging people to report mistreatment in the workplace or in schools or report it to the local police. If a person doesn’t feel they can report it by themselves, take a group.

The book that I mentioned above is free on Amazon. They want the book to be passed around and shared.

It’s time to stop the sexual predators. It’s time for all of us to change our attitude and stop turning a blind eye to sexual misconduct.

It is easy to say, “It’s not my problem,” or “I don’t want to rock the boat,” or “I can’t afford the consequences.” It is easy for women to say that as well as men.

The problem is that it could easily and unexpectedly become your problem in just a moment of time. Not just for women. Not only can men be sexually abused personally, but if he is not aware and sensitive to the subject his own wife and daughters may be hiding the fact of sexual abuse they have or are suffering.

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