Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Steps to improving your self esteem

Let go of the early lies that you are not good enough. So many dysfunctional families pass down this trait to their children and it is something that we need to let go of now. You are worth so much and are capable of amazing things. To hold onto the belief that you are not good enough is just holding you back for your destiny. If our bodies can change over the years, which they do, then why can't our beliefs change about our worth?

Self esteem is just how you see your self. It does not depend on what others think of us, but what we truly believe about our selves. There are so many that have been beaten down to feel that we are not worth anything now, but again, this is not true. You are important. Don't compare yourself to the person next to you. Only compare yourself to how you were yesterday, last week, ten years ago, etc. As long as you are improving, then you are doing well.

You were brought into this world good enough and even if there is no one else in the world (which I seriously doubt) that can see this, you are still good enough. Don't accept less. I know a very homely girl growing up and she married a man that she didn't love because she never thought that she was good enough to get the man of her dreams. She was a beautiful woman, but she didn't believe she was good enough. 

Value yourself. You are am amazing person and you deserve to be treated like you are a valuable person, not stepped on and abused. Be proud of who you are and what you can accomplish. Forget about the abuses of yesterday and move on. Learn from it and continue your journey. You are an amazing person.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dream: Each night it comes, haunting, haunting, haunting . . .

Dreams can sometimes give us an indication as to what is going on and how we try to understand. There was a recurring dream that she had. Over and over, this dream did haunt her. She did not understand it, but was plagued with it with regularity.

Each night it comes, haunting, haunting, haunting . . .

There was a clinically white room that she was looking at. Various instruments were to her left. She noted a bag that was hung from a pole and tubing similar to the aquarium was attached at the bottom of the clear bag. She could see the fluid that was inside the bag. In fact, she could see through the substance as it was clear. Shortly below the bottom of the bag was a cylinder that the tube was plugged into. On the bottom end of this cylinder another plastic tube was inserted. Inside the cylinder bubble, she could see the drip, drip, drip, of the fluid from the bag. The tube continued down the line until she could see its final destination into her arm. There was tape covering the end of the tube but she knew it was an IV. She had many of these before.

She could see a window on her right but she could only see sky from where she was. Nothing more. The clouds were fluffy, like cotton. There were many of them. She noted a bunny floating past, no, a horse. It was hard to tell. She stared at the clouds and tried to make out the shapes.

Fluffy clouds, floating past, floating, floating, floating . . .

A man sat near the foot of the sterile white bed that she was lying on. He was a large man with gray facial hair. He wore a baseball cap on his head and it was turned awkwardly on his head as though he had been asleep. She looked at him and noted the swelling of the blue sweatshirt against his stomach. His right leg was crossed over his left leg and she could see that his right foot was bare. She looked at the left foot and he wore a sandal revealing his toes. A discarded sandal was on the floor nearby his foot. Apparently this is the sandal that belongs on the bare foot. How she hated when he wore sandals. His feet were so ugly to look at. The fungus of the big toes was so thick. She remembered having to cut those toenails and how difficult that was. The smell of them made her nauseous.

She called his name and he opened his eyes. They revealed the tiredness in them as he blinked back the sleep. He came to her bed as she began to beg for him to let her go. Please, let me go. I am in such immense pain and I cannot deal with this any more. Please, I am begging you. Let me go! Her voice was steady, but very weak. Her organs were shutting down one by one. There was so much pain in her core that she could no longer deny it. Her breathing was shallow but steady. Her lungs ached with each deep breath that she tried to take such a shallow breath as not to wince in pain. Her stomach could no longer accept food and do anything with it.

She was slipping away, a little each day, slipping, slipping, slipping

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Life is a journey, not a competition

Life should not be a competition but when you live with a narcissist, it becomes a way of life. The narcissist will call it being passive aggressive. But the co-dependent didn't develop this passive aggressive tendency overnight. It was developed over time. The narcissist would dominate every situation. It was always the narcissist that the conversation was about. It was always him, what he liked, what he wanted to do, and so on. He would sulk or become aggressive and aggravated if the topic switched from him and what he wanted to talk about. He considered himself the authority on any topic. His say was considered the ultimate authority and anyone that disagreed with him was inferior. His co-dependent wife would always try to smooth things over with everyone else and try to make him happy. She appeared to be content with being the silent one in the relationship, laughing at his jokes and humoring him. She fed into his ego by agreeing with him about how special and entitled he was, after all, he was superior in thought, intelligence and in every manner. It was because of this constant put down that she began to compete for his attention. This is the behavior that he called passive aggressive. She could not face off with him because he always seemed to end up on top, so she had to smile at him and work towards finding a reason to feel good about herself. She began to compete with him.

They took a trig class together one summer. She was good at math and he needed her help to pass the class. She tutored him. The class was easy and fun for her. They sat down together at the kitchen table to work on homework. This was typical. They started the lesson together. They have five children together. She took a moment to feed them and then went back to the homework together. He was now on number 12 and she was still on number 6. She sat down and began working on the next problem. "Mom!" one of their children yelled to her. She got up from the table to see what the commotion was all about. Settling him down, she went back to the table to work on their trig homework. Now her husband was on number 27. He found this problem a very difficult one and asked for her help. She was on number 10 by this time. Up and down, homework and children, she needed a moment to get her mind back on the math homework they needed to complete. She had to shift her brain. Totally unaware that she had been up and down working with the children. All he wanted to know was how to solve number 27. "Just a minute. I need to get my head around the problem. Can you wait until I get to that one?" His response to her was, "We have been sitting here all morning working on this. Why aren't you keeping up with me? Quit goofing off. You're suppose to be the math expert in this family and you are letting me down."

She held back the tears. She did not want him to know that he had hurt her. It would only cause more problems. Any time he had seen her cry, he always told her the same thing, suck it up, what's your problem. The list went on. She did not want to hear that again. She got up from the table and went back to helping the children. This was it. She was not going to attend another trig class this summer. She was not going to do another math problem in this class. She just couldn't do it anymore. She was hurt. He was probably right anyway. Who was she kidding that she could do math. Math was hard and out of her reach. She gave up.

She did not attend another class that summer. Her husband got an A in that class. He was so proud of that A. She received her grade in the mail for that class. She got a B. He was so right, she really was fooling herself thinking that she could have done this trig class.

He sat there in his recliner one Sunday afternoon after lunch. Friends were over as they often did that summer. He bragged about getting an A in that class and how he did so much better than his wife who was 'suppose' to be a 'math person'. Why would a man belittle his wife in front of company if he loved her?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A typical Sunday afternoon

I and my daughter came to visit a friend and her children. We would spend Sundays together since we lived so far away and two of our children wanted to attend church together. She was upset because there was not enough money for their mortgage and she was wondering where they were going to come up with the balance. Her husband came through the door with bags of groceries and wanted to make an asian dinner. The look on her face was so sad as now she had less money to put towards the mortgage. It was probably going to be late, again.

The husband was telling everyone what he wanted them to do to make this meal that he was excited about. My daughter and I were helping with the cream cheese and crab, wrapping them in the wontons ready for the fryer. This friend of mine that I came to visit was trying to help the husband. She reached for something on the stove as the back of the hot spatula came down on the back of her hand. Her husband yelled at her, "Did I tell you to touch that?!" The oil splattered on her cheek and she took her other hand to wipe away the hot oil from her face. Not a word came from her lips as he snapped at her and asked her, "Do you think I am stupid?"

I watched my friend walk away from this man that was suppose to be her soul mate. How can a man be so awful to a woman who he has promised to love and cherish? She looked at me and saw the anger in my eyes. She smiled and said that it was ok. This man is evil.

This woman was so beaten down by the verbal abuse for the years before this Sunday afternoon. What can I do for her? What would you do for her?

Battle is Bloody, Surrender is worse!

When ever there is a fight, there will be always be sides to choose between. The civil war was a nasty divorce between brothers of the United States. I grew up near a town called Fort Sumter which on April 12, 1861, was where the Civil War was officially started. In 1864, in another southern town of Atlanta, Georgia; the Civil War concluded. There were more than half a million soldiers that were killed from 1861 and 1865. When this divorce began, I doubt anyone thought about how many people were going to die or how many relatives were going to turn on each other and fight fist to fist on the battle field. It was a sad period of time for our nation. What could Lee tell us about his meeting with Grant and that famous surrender on April 9, 1865. Both sides were weary, tired and bloody. Neither side was truly a winner. Hindsight is 20/20 and we can look back and say what we want to say but really, we were not in the shoes of our forefathers to understand truly what they felt.

Recently, I was reminded of how just how badly war hurts everyone. People are forced to take a side, either right or wrong, but they have to pick a position. It does not necessarily mean that they believe that one person is better than the other, they just don't want to be involved or want to stand beside someone that they love because that is what they feel they need to do.

It is in these times that makes me want to go back in time and start over. It hurts my heart when others are in pain. I have to remember that just like during the Civil War, the war started for a reason. Right or wrong, there was a reason. Wars today, no matter how big, are bloody. We cannot get past that, but what is the alternative, surrender? Surrender will always be worse.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Learning to cope

Old habits die hard so it is so important to learn new ways to react when things happen. Too often I feel that I am doing well and then I fall into an emotionally vulnerable state. Something triggered that state of mind and for a long time, I didn't realize what was happening until after I had my own crazy outburst.

In my journey to become normal, I have found that a passive reaction is better. The reaction that I had become accustomed to was that of very inappropriate behavior that if I saw someone reacting in that manner, I would think of them as crazy. That is what became the norm for me and my family. This is not healthy. My son had told me that when he saw me react that way that he did not recognize me. I was not the mother he had grown up with all his life. These outburst did not start overnight. They became a way that I used to defend myself. I was done with the bad treatment that I had received and I was lashing out just like a wounded animal would. My coping mechanism was flawed and needed to be fixed.

I was afraid of being hurt again and I would lash out to make sure that I was not being taken advantage of. I was like a little two year old who throws a tantrum or reacts to being told no. I had to grow up and begin to act like an adult. The hard part of this lesson was that I had not had any demonstrate what proper adult behavior was.

I needed to get past the hurt and the grief that I held onto because I had been so belittled. I needed to face this grief and deal with it so that I no longer had the outbursts that were so unacceptable. Someone told me during the early days of my divorce that I needed to experience the pain and feelings that was swirling around me. At first I could not understand why it was good to experience the emotions when they hurt so deeply.

Little by little, these feelings began to make more sense. I began to see the triggers that sent me into the tailspin. I can look back now that the hurt is not so deep and I can see what was happening during those miserable days. I needed to experience the loss so that I could let it go. It was real. It was painful, but it is teaching me to grow up and act like an adult. I will not go back because I know that old habits would take over. I need to face the painful days and find a new way to cope with the things that were and still are my triggers. It is much easier when there is a no contact with the trigger, but can we guarantee we will never see that trigger again? Maybe, but not likely. I am learning to cope.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Slay that dragon

She has spent her entire adult life doubting herself. This invader consumed everything she did. It had all the power over her. It kept her in the same place and did not allow her to pursue the things that she really wanted. It created fear of trying something new because failure would mean that she would be reprimanded severely. It left her confused at every turn and full of shame. But she held this doubt close to her like a warm cozy blanket that was familiar. The worse part of this invader was that it caused her to second guess her relationship and was she right in leaving. Should she have clung to him longer?

This doubt was a symptom of the disease of codependency that she was a victim of. She played over the same situations trying to second guess how she could have made things better. She did not realize that she was full of doubt. She was so overwhelmed that it was no wonder that she didn't know it consumed her.

Some of the things that she looks back on that if she would have realized it back then, she would have seen the doubt. She never put herself first. She always put the needs of her family and him before her own needs. Ok, I am not saying that it is wrong to put your family first, but do not do it at the cost of your own self. She viewed herself as small and not important.

She finally saw the perfection as it really became. If everything was perfect then there would be no violence. But really, that was not her fault that he came unglued on her and her children. It was him. She procrastinated all the time. She didn't want to face it so put it off. She needed those around her to approve of her and to compliment the things she did.

Finally, she refused to leave the toxic relationship. She wore it like a a warm jacket. She clung to it like it was comfortable and enjoyable, when really she was afraid of change. She was going to be a prisoner if she did not slay the dragon once and for all. She has finally put this dragon to rest and so can you.

Slay that dragon once and he will never have power over you again.” – Steven Pressfield

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not a Failure

She recently received many text messages from her soon to be ex-husband. He was missing her and was acting so kind. She was thinking of how much that she missed the 'charming' him. They had been married 32 years. That is a long time. It is a lifetime of habits.

It was during this time when she found out that his tech coach girlfriend had texted a couple of of their adult children and asked them to break into his house. They had suggested that she have a welfare check done by the police. But it is their father and she was going to stand behind their decision to go break into the house and check on their dad.

Well one of the boys went in and found his dad with empties all over. He was passed out and when the son tried to check on him, he became violent with him and told him to get out. Which is what happened when he still lived with at home. He would become violent and yell at everyone for trying to help.

At any rate, this tech coach girlfriend got him to the hospital.

Her old habit would be to run to the hospital to see what she could do for him, but she didn't do that. Her kids kept her strong. Sure enough, it wasn't long before he became vicious again and she saw the shell of the man that she once loved for the person that he truly is.

She realized that she is not a failure just because she walked away from their marriage. She really did want the marriage to work and she worked hard at it. Their marriage probably would not have lasted this long had she known the man in the beginning.

Her pastor at the time of their wedding had told her that it was in his opinion that marrying this man would be difficult. She wasn't afraid of difficult but this man was impossible.

She is not a failure because she allowed him to manipulate her feelings. She is only human. She held strong to her resolve to wash her hands clean of the toxicity of that relationship. If she could do this, then so could you. Be the exception to the rule. You are not a failure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Good Days and Bad Days

I have to admit that there are days that are difficult but not near as bad as it use to be. I do not cry anymore. I do have a tightness in my chest from time to time, but really, it is so much better. My good days are here more often than not. I am a very happy person now and love my life and embrace it. I remind myself of how much I use to cry when we were together.

I was talking to my brother this past weekend. He said that I may not be as codependent as I presumed I was. I did leave. Although it took a long time. I did leave. Most codependents do not. So if you are wanting to leave, keep working on how you are going to do it.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Religion vs Spiritual

I was very young when I started attending a church. I have always believed in God and talked to God through my life even though we did not go to a church. When I started going to church, it was a very fundamental church. I presumed that this was how things were suppose to be and I tried to confirm to the rules and regulations. I had this picture in my head of what I thought God was suppose to be but I was finding myself seeing a God through a different lens. God was becoming more scary to me and I became afraid of God. My view began to be someone that was out there waiting for me to make a mistake just to be able to condemn me to a pit of fire and brimstone. It was this experience that shaped my relationship with my ex husband. 

Strong Feelings

I was recently given an assignment in the San Joaquin Valley Writing project #SJVWP to write about something that I have strong feelings about. The first thing that comes to mind is the family. Family is first and if it wasn't for my own family, I would not be where I am today. My kids have literally saved my life. I have taken blows for them and the youngest has actually taken blows for me. My children are the ones that encouraged me to continue my education so that I could be an independent person. Without them, where would I be?

Another thing that I am passionate about is education. I believe that education gave me the skills I needed to move on and take on an independent life. It help me to develop the self esteem that I so lacked through most of my life. It helped me to stand up for myself and finally to believe in myself.

What's Religion have to do with it?

I have many people ask me why I stayed so long. This is such a complicated answer that I will try to explain here. When we married, I felt that it was forever. I took the promise for better or worse to heart and I had planned to stay with him forever. In the beginning things were fine, but as time passed, his more dominating personality became prominent and my fix it personality ruled me. I wanted to fix him to be the husband I wanted and to be the man I felt he needed to be.

This relationship we had was complicated by the religious aspect of our church. I am not saying going to church is wrong. I do believe in God. The church we attended had a male dominated view of its members. The saints of the church were to follow the pastor without question. Families were expected to follow the father or 'man of the house', also without question. 

I will go into this more later.

Friday, May 6, 2016


For most of my own life, I lived in a constant state of denial. I didn't realize this until recently. I refused to believe that there was anything wrong. I was very content with the way things were even though it was not a pretty situation. I would work hard at keeping things peaceful and when there was a fight, I would blame myself. If I had planned for every possibility, then there would have been no reason to be yelled at. I must have done something to set him off. Because of my low self-esteem, I did not realize my own worth. Willingly, I accepted all the blame and responsibility of whatever was wrong. This came from a lifetime of conditioning that if something was wrong, then it was my fault.  My parents fought and I blamed myself. When they divorced, like many children, I thought if I was a better daughter they would still be together.

I liked my fairy tale that I was living in where everything was perfect. For whatever reason, I was totally addicted to this man and I would do anything to not have to face the truth. I was afraid of being alone. I was afraid of having to raise five children by myself. I was afraid of not having enough money. I was so afraid of so many things.

I think back on how I felt and how afraid I was. I wonder why I never drew the line in the sand and stood up to him. I would give in to anything he wanted. Not because I wanted it, but because I didn't want to displease him. I wanted him to love me and most of all, I wanted him to one day realize how important I was to him. This was something that was never going to happen no matter how hard I tried. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Brutal Honesty

A couple of years ago, my friend came to me and told me that I needed to work on my self esteem. I was not quite sure what she meant. I did not realize that I had a low self esteem issue. I just lived my life, tried to be a good person, raised my kids, worked my business, homeschooled my kids, and the list goes on. I was constantly busy with all these distractions that I could not take a moment to focus on the real problem. The real problem is that I needed to fix myself.

I have spent my life trying to make everyone else happy. My parents fought so like many children from broken homes, I tried to fix their problem. There problem was not mine to fix, so there is nothing I could have done to fix them. When I married, my husband was charming at first, but as our marriage continued, I realized that he had his own problems and I tried to fix him. Again, that was no for me to fix. I surrounded myself with projects and that goes for the people that I let in my life. I had that need to fix others when really, I was the one in need of fixing. I felt that as long as I was working on a project that I could ignore what really needed to be fix, which was me.

On these pages, I will write my story of how I learned to face my own self and start to fix me. This story isn't over yet . . .