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March 14th, 2011

(source: http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2011/27699.html)

March 14, 2011
Feeling Threatened
Afraid of the Truth

We avoid the truth because it scares us, or makes us angry, or makes us feel like we don’t know what to do.


Most of us have had the experience of being in possession of a piece of truth that we were afraid to share because we knew it would not be well received. There are also instances in which we ourselves have been unable to handle some truth confronting us. This might be a small truth, such as not wanting to see that our car needs repairs because we don’t want to pay for them, or a large truth, such as not fully accepting that someone close to us is pushing us away. Usually the truth is evident, and we can see it if we choose, but we have elaborate ways of hiding the truth form ourselves, no matter how apparent it is.

For the most part, we avoid the truth because it scares us, or makes us angry, or makes us feel like we don’t know what to do. We often create our lives based on a particular understanding, and if that understanding turns out to be fully or even partially incorrect, we may feel that our whole sense of reality is being threatened. It takes a strong person to face the truth in circumstances like these, and many of us run for cover instead. Nevertheless, we can only avoid the truth for so long before it begins to make itself known in ever more forceful ways.

Ultimately, there is no way to avoid the truth, no matter how painful it is, so the sooner we let down our defenses, the better. When we know the truth and accept that we may have to adjust our lives to accommodate, we are in alignment with reality. At the same time, we can be patient with people around us who have a hard time seeing the truth, because we know how painful it can be. Whatever the truth is, we make a sincere effort not to close our eyes to it, but instead to be grateful that we have access to it.

"In Native American folklore Rabbit is symbolic of how we deal with fears.  In many stories, Rabbit started as a fearless warrior until some trust was broken.  Rabbits are food for many predators, including Coyote, Hawk, Eagle, Bobcat, Snake, and Man. Fear is a difficult thing to come to grips with.  Some amount of fear is a healthy thing that serves the purpose of protecting us.  The challenge is first to determine where our fears are irrational and secondly to find strategies to overcome or transform the fear.  A phobia is defined as an irrational fear usually with an inability to control emotional and physical reactions." ( http://www.sedonaexperiences.com/AnimalSymbolism.htm)

The Story of Medicine Man and Rabbit

Medicine Man and Rabbit were the very best of friends. When Rabbit was hungry, Medicine Man used his medicine to feed Rabbit. When Rabbit was thirsty, Medicine Man used his medicine to give Rabbit water to drink. When Rabbit was sick or hurt, Medicine Man used his medicine to heal Rabbit.

It was a beautiful spring day with clear sky and Medicine Man went in search of his very best friend, Rabbit. Medicine Man finally found Rabbit hiding beneath a very full and lush bush. Rabbit looked up and saw Medicine Man and began to shiver and shake. Although he knew he was well hidden and could never be seen even by the keen eyed Medicine Man, he started hopping around and around in circles.  Finally he could no longer tolerate his growing fear and ran out from the safety of the underbush and shouted up to Medicine Man, "I can no longer tolerate my growing fear of your very powerful medicine. Take your medicine and go away!" Medicine Man was puzzled and hurt. Medicine Man said, "My medicine has only ever given you food, water and healing." But nothing Medicine Man could do or say could sway Rabbit from his irrational fear. Rabbit kept on hopping around and around in circles and shouting, "I can no longer tolerate my growing fear of your very powerful medicine. Take your medicine and go away!"

Medicine Man's great heart was broken over the loss of his very best friend Rabbit. Medicine Man replied, "From now on, you will hold fear. And you will call that fear down upon yourself. You will hide beneath a very full and lush bush.  You will look up and see the eagle, and the bear, and the snake, and you will begin to shiver and shake.  Although you know you are well hidden and can never be seen even by keen eyed eagle, bear and snake, you will start hopping around and around in circles.  Finally you will no longer tolerate your growing fear, and you will run out from the safety of the underbush and shout up to the eagle, the bear and the snake: “Eagle, eagle don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!”  "Bear, bear don't eat me!"  "Snake, snake don't eat me!" Suddenly hearing and seeing you, the eagle, the bear and the snake, who had not noticed you hidden under the bush before, will swoop down and gobble you up!"

What fear do you hold and how are you calling that fear down onto yourself?

March 13th, 2011

1. Partner M knowingly behaves in dangerously irresponsible ways, resulting in multiple physical injuries, potential deaths (narrowly averted) and potential lawsuits. Partner M also lies and breaks sworn oaths.

2. Partner F expresses her anger, hurt and upset feelings about Partner M's dangerously irresponsible behavior, lying and oath-breaking.

3. M explains to F why she shouldn't be upset about dangerously irresponsible behavior, lying and oath-breaking.

4. F feels invalidated and becomes exponentially more angry, hurt and upset. She is now exponentially more angry, hurt and upset about being told NOT to be angry, hurt and upset, in addition to dangerously irresponsible behaviors, lying and oath-breaking.

5. M eschews personal accountability and personal responsibility individually, categorically and in the aggregate. M chooses not to Express Regret, Accept Responsibility, Make Restitution, Genuinely Repent or Request Forgiveness. In order to shift accountability and responsibility (blame and fault) away from himself, M with premeditation and malice aforethought, deliberately chooses to shift them onto F - by aggressively attacking F and blaming F for making him angry, hurt and upset. He then demands an apology from F before he will consider making up.

6. As M knew F would, F apologizes and wonders what the holy fucking hell just happened. Eventually, when F recognizes this particular stratagem to be increasing in frequency and happening with clockwork regularity, F becomes exponentially more angry, hurt and upset. M has now won the Battle. F wonders why, if M loves her, M treats her like an Enemy and wages Battles against her. F escalates Battle into War. M is never, ever going to win a war against F.

(With Thanks to Gary Chapman's 5 Languages of Apology and John Gray's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.)
(source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7793375/ns/msnbc_tv-the_abrams_report/)

Why we love the ones who hurt us
Victims of abuse suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome too

By Clint Van Zandt MSNBC analyst & former FBI profiler
updated 6/13/2005 11:02:33 AM ET 2005-06-13T15:02:33

In August 1973, a heavily-armed robber by the name of Olafson swaggered into a busy bank in downtown Stockholm, Sweden. Firing shots as he entered, he took three women and a man hostage, strapped dynamite to their bodies, and herded them into a subterranean bank vault where he refused police demands for his surrender and the release of his hostages for the next six days.

After the eventual arrest of the robbers (a friend of the bank robber who was in prison at the time had been brought mid-standoff to the bank at the demand of Olafson) and the rescue of the four victims, the continued friendly and caring attitude on the part of some of the hostages toward their captors was viewed with suspicion. This was especially so when the police considered that the captives were abused, threatened, and had allegedly feared for their lives during the week they had been held against their will. Authorities were even more amazed when they found out that one or more of the female hostages may have had consensual physical intimacy with their captors.

The relationship between the robbers and their former captives thereafter saw former hostage Kristin break off her engagement to another man in order to become engaged to Olafson; while another former hostage started a defense fund to pay for the robbers' legal defense.

The relationship that develops between hostages and their captors is now known as "the Stockholm Syndrome," a type of emotional bonding that is in reality a survival strategy for victims of emotional and physical abuse— including not only hostages, but also battered spouses and partners, abused children, and even POWs.

Hostage in abusive relationships
Although not victims of a robbery or hostage situation, 700,000 Americans per year experience non-fatal physical domestic violence. There are about 8 million individuals involved in emotionally and physically abusive relationships at any one time. About 20 percent of all women report having been assaulted by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In same-gender partner violence, over half a million gay men are victims of domestic violence. Ten percent of high school students and 40 percent of college students report being assaulted by a date, and 20 to 25 percent of college women report rape during college. The vast majority of rapes and intimate partner violence, whether the victim is male or female, still go unreported.

The bond that exists between the captor/abuser and his or her victim is strong and can compel the victim to stay with (or otherwise support the actions of the abuser) when the need to run is blatantly obvious to everyone but the victim. The investment that one has made in the relationship directly impacts the ability to recognize the negative or threatening aspects of the association. This also affects the ability to either correct or flee.

People share various intimacies with their significant others (who may also be an abuser). Abusers can threaten to tell other people about the "special" aspects of their relationship, if he or she does not do exactly as the abuser says. Victims may have become financially dependent on the abuser and find themselves unable to pay their own way, or they may believe that they can't make it in life without the other's physical and financial support. Many have allowed an abusive relationship to stay hidden from family and friends, and people have stayed in these kinds of relationships so as not to embarrass themselves or their abuser. (One woman whose husband made her "pretend" to beg for physical intimacy with him told me that she'd be too embarrassed for "her husband's sake" to ever ask for help, even though this aspect of their relationship emotionally devastated her.)

Some abused individuals have had children with their abuser; therefore they keep quiet so as not to "damage" their family reputation or otherwise impact on the "stability" of their family, forgetting that to allowing one's self to be abused in front of one's children only paves the way for further victimization. Allowing abuse to go on in a family also sets a negative example that children may follow, perpetuating the abuse from generation to generation.

Why don't victims just leave?
Abused individuals are questioned by family and friends as to why they take the mistreatment and why they just don't leave. This is one of the many situations in life where you must have walked a mile in the shoes of another to understand their situation. A long-term relationship is just that for many of us— long-term. We have invested much of ourselves into the relationship and it just isn't like selling a car that continues to break down. A large part of one's sense of self-worth and self-esteem is likely to have been invested in the relationship and, like the broken down car, we just want it fixed and running— as we neither want nor can afford a new car or a new relationship.

Hostage negotiators know that they cannot argue or otherwise talk a delusional individual out of their delusion. They will not listen to the negotiator, or they will somehow incorporate the negotiator into their delusion. They can write off the negotiator off as someone who "just doesn't understand."

If you are in a long-term abusive relationship, your choice may be to ignore the warnings of others,believing that those opinions could destroy your relationship. The logic goes that the person offering advice simply doesn't understand your situation and doesn't know that their well-meaning advice, if taken, could destroy your relationship with your spouse or partner. But the long-term effects of abuse include depression; suicide or attempted suicide; anxiety; guilt; withdrawal from school, work and social settings; feelings of shame; and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (both on the one abused and on any children in the family).

What to do if you're in an abusive relationship
Understand that an abusive individual will continue to abuse you until you stop him or her from doing so, even if it requires you to emotionally and physically separate yourself from your abuser. But don't allow your abuser to separate you from your contact with family and friends. They are your support system and you need them to help you maintain a healthy frame of reference concerning your life, your relationship, and the world.

If the victim of the abusive relationship is your child or a friend, you need to remain supportive and not put even more stress, pressure, and guilt on the abused individual. An abuser can change, but he/she must want to change, and the longer he is allowed to abuse, the less likely he is to alter his behavior. If emotional or physical abuse is present in a dating relationship, know that the abuser is a loser; the abuse will become worse as time goes by, so turn on your heels and move quickly away from the influence of this person. Period.

If you, your friend, or your child is involved in a long-term abusive relationship, including a marriage with children, again know that the abuse is not likely to end without outside assistance. The more you pretend it isn't happening, or the more you accept abusive behavior in your home and within your family, the more will come your way.

I recall a woman who told us that she helped her husband commit a kidnapping and murder because "If he was occupied doing something else, he was too busy to abuse me."

The abuser may threaten you or even himself ("I'll kill myself if you leave," or "I'll lose my job if you tell") in an attempt to control you and keep you as his helpless victim. He may abuse and then— even beg— for your forgiveness, only to reoffend in the near future. If the abuse is due to a mental disorder, a personality disorder, or substance abuse, there is no way that it will get any better. It will definitely get worse. Some victims will become so conditioned to their abuser's actions that they cannot function without the co-dependent relationship with their abuser.

Like cancer, abuse will not heal itself and if left alone, it can destroy your lifestyle and happiness. It may even take your life. Be quick to demand that the abuse ends— and if it doesn't, know that your decision is either to continue to be emotionally and perhaps physically pounded on, or to seek outside help to save the relationship, and possibly save your very life or that of your children.

Not everyone continues to take this abuse and many have successfully altered the behavior within the relationship— or left the relationship to ultimately survive and thrive. We all need to endure the many challenges and traumas of life in ways that preserve our sense of self worth and self-esteem. We don't have to be victims and we don't have to accept abuse at the hands of others, especially a supposed intimate whom we initially trusted and loved and who now hurts us with clock-like regularity. We each have an inner voice that tells us when something is really wrong. In the case of abusive relationships, listen to the voice and then do something about it. Your very life is on the line.

Oh, and by the way. Remember the Stockholm bank robbery where the hostages gave into their captors? In another similar situation, the police sniper had to shoot an armed hostage-taker who was threatening the lives of two female hostages. When shot, the robber fell to the floor, whereupon his two female hostages picked him up off the floor and held him in front of a window so that he could be shot a second time. (No second shot was needed.)

Stay safe!

March 7th, 2011

One gentleman took the mic and proceed to tell Buck that he was full of beans, didn't know what he was talking about, and had no basis for his point of view. Bucky paused for a moment, looked toward the speaker, and replied, "Thank you."

As Bucky turned toward another person, the gentleman raised his voice and repeated his denunciation of Bucky and his thoughts, a bit more firmly. Again Bucky paused, looked squarely at the speaker, and replied, "Thank you."

Once again, Bucky turned to another and, once again, the gentleman raised his voice, repeated his diatribe and offered quite a bit of angry energy to his comments, asking why he was being dismissed so summarily.

This time Bucky responded something like this: Did you not notice that I paused to consider what you had to say? I looked inside myself to see if some part of me was reacting to what you had said about me, particularly if some part of me were upset, prone to counterattack, or otherwise affected. I have found that when I am in that kind of reaction, there is typically something there for me to learn about myself, something for which I need to improve. In this instance, I found no reaction. Thus, you were simply sharing your opinion to which you are fully entitled and with which I have no argument. Therefore, "Thank you" seemed most appropriate. ~ Bucky Fuller, speaking to an audience in San Francisco


(source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-bishop/could-your-worst-enemy-be_b_452957.html)

February 24th, 2011

(no subject)

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Sword Knight Pegasus
"Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know. No one wakes up in the morning and says 'Today I'm going to be the worst person possible'." ~ Linda Giles

February 14th, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

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Sword Knight Pegasus


Dear Husband, 20 years together
Concubine, 9 years together

Love,
me

February 10th, 2011

Families

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Sword Knight Pegasus
(source: hazelden.com)

Coping with Families

There are many paths to self-care with families. Some people choose to sever connections with family members for a period of time. Some people choose to stay connected with family members and learn different behaviors. Some disconnect for a time, and then return slowly on a different basis.

There is no one or perfect way to deal with members of our family in recovery. It is up to each of us to choose a path that suits us and our needs at each point in time.

The idea that is new to us in recovery is that we can choose. We can set the boundaries we need to set with family members. We can choose a path that works for us, without guilt and obligation or undue influence from any source, including recovery professionals.

Our goal is to detach in love with family members. Our goal is to be able to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and live healthy lives despite what family members do or don't do. We decide what boundaries or decisions are necessary to do this.

It's okay to say no to our families when that is what we want. It's okay to say yes to our families if that feels right. It's okay to call time out and it's okay to go back as a different person.

Help me choose the path that is right for me with family. Help me understand there is no right or wrong in this process. Help me strive for forgiveness and learn to detach with love, whenever possible. I understand that this never implies that I have to forfeit self-care and health for the good of the system.


THIS. Just. This.
amen. Amen. AMEN!
I'm not even going to try to express how much this resonates or all the reasons why.

February 8th, 2011

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven. -- Thomas Fuller

Often we're afraid to forgive others who've hurt us because we believe that, in doing so, we are permitting what they've done. This is not true. When we forgive, we are saying, "I pardon you, I give up any claim for revenge, you are no longer an enemy."

Relationships are not all black and white. We can forgive people and still not want to spend time with them. Forgiveness is for ourselves. It is a housecleaning of the heart. It feels good to sweep out the resentments and bitterness, lift up the windows, and let in the forgiveness.

Today let me offer forgiveness, either silently or out loud, to someone who has hurt me.
(source: hazelden.com)

February 4th, 2011

To make a long story short, yesterday I was given a pop quiz/learning/teaching moment/opportunity for growth.

The Bad: I blew it. Monumentally. Epic Fail. And not only epic fail, not only did I blow it monumentally either, oh no. I was *worse* yesterday than I have been in the past, before I even knew I had a problem. But wait...there's more!... I had a chance to make life better for a neglected/abused horse. And I blew that, too. And that's the part that hurts the worst.

The Good: I knew I blew it, immediately. Minutes afterward, not hours, days, weeks, months or years after the fact. I repented rather remorsefully. I spent a few hours (not a few days, weeks, months or years) discussing what happened and my feelings about what happened with my loved ones. And it will probably not surprise anyone here that they were far more kind, merciful and forgiving of me than I was. I talked about it. I cried about it. I sat with my feelings. I felt my feelings. I did not attempt to possess them, to control them, or to shape them in any way. I let them run their course, like a river. And when I was done with that, I was able to get down to the nitty gritty dirty work of Owning My Own Shit, Taking Responsibility for Myself - not just catching it, but learning from it, and then releasing it. I even managed to do all the dirty work before I had to go to sleep on it. First thing this morning, I set out to apologize and make amends. Because I judge others so very harshly, I can see how it would be hard to believe that I could judge myself more harshly than I ever judge anyone else. And as harshly as others have judged me, I can also see how it would be hard to believe that I also judge myself more harshly than anyone else does. But there it is. I judge myself far more harshly than I judge others, and far more harshly than others judge me. I think that before I practice anything on someone else, I have to practice it on myself first. Self-courtesy. Self-respect. Self-love. Why should this be any different? I have to stop judging myself if I'm going to stop judging others. (Give the witch a cookie, she can be taught!) My loved ones are teaching me about being kind, merciful and forgiving to myself. Thank you for that, and thank you for your patience with me.

The Pretty: I had a wonderful day yesterday with many people I love dearly (Angela, her children Rebekah and Cody, Alex brezhnev, Eric and Marcus). It's snowing. "Bows and flows of angels' hair. Ice cream castles in the air. Feather canyons everywhere." (Both Sides, Now ~ Joni Mitchell). Dry white fluffy powder. The kind that the horses love to play in. Not the cold wet stuff that makes them miserable. Frost on the ground that looks like a million of the tiniest, most flawless, most perfect diamonds studding every blade of grass. Not dangerous ice. My home is a beautiful winter wonderland. Eric and Marcus got to work safely.

Life is Good (even when I'm not.)
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