Discover our App

Centerpointe Research


Aging Gracefully For Other People, Not yourself (Or Thinking About “A Place For Mom”)


With the Baby Boomers coming into the picture, there are more of us who are dealing with the problems of aging.  One of them occurs when others tell those who are aging what they should do and how they should be.  This makes those among us who are aging feel that we are no longer in charge of our own destinies and that it is all downhill the rest of our lives.  Thus we tend not to maintain our intellect, our bodies, and our skills.

Another problem is we seem to not be able to know our own minds, understand our own medical problems, and what we are capable or not capable of doing.  Recently I began treatment for sleep apnea.  I realized from what the doctors said and what I have read and experienced that it was serious enough that it was occasionally interfering with my consciousness and this led to me not driving for a while until my sleep apnea improved with the use of a CPAP machine.

How this problem with sleep apnea was interpreted by some of my family was wrong and I got criticized for saying anything to the doctor (while it really was the truth).  I wound up losing my right to drive until it cleared up.  P.S. I had wanted my family (just before this happened) to drive me to get immediate medical care for asthma on one of these occasions that I experienced this while driving.


Secondly, there were no restrictions on my driving before this happened; but after, my family wants to place restrictions on my driving which would include having someone with me and limiting my driving to a certain local area.  While I am limiting my driving on my own to local communities, doctor’s appointments, and church, having certain someone’s with me inspecting my driving isn’t going to help matters.  I want my mind on the wheel and not on those kinds of distractions.

I have physical disabilities, but over time I have improved in terms of what I can and can not do.  Aren’t I supposed to get worse or might that really happen because I am supposed to give up and totally decline in terms of what I am able to do?  I have increased the amount of housekeeping and shopping I do.  I babysit grandchildren while my husband watches TV.  Keeps me busy.  I post on my website each week and balance my checkbook and pay my bills each month.  I have traveled sometimes on my own.

Question is how do those younger in my family or other younger acquaintances perceive me?  Is it for their own convenience or is it from their misguided perceptions of aging?  Beware, is aging caused by time or by what other people expect or by just giving up?

I continually increase my current knowledge in many areas (usually by reading).  I do scan the internet, I watch the news, I follow fashion magazines and TV programs, and I follow the interior decorating channels and magazines as well as religious and spiritual issues in print, on TV, and the internet.  I even talk to myself (sometimes I don’t have an appropriate audience) and my friends formulating ideas for presentations I would like to give on various subjects.  Oh, and my family worries if I say anything on the internet or in my blog I might embarrass myself (what about them?).  P.S. they don’t read my blog and if they did it probably it would probably be to edit it, not read it.  I have been writing this blog for five years.

Shame & Blame! How to Play The Game And Not Be Played!

How many of us do not know how to play the game of shame and blame?  Many of us.  We can easily be used to feel at fault for somebody else’s action.  To them, it is a game to easily revert the responsibility for something that they could get caught for doing to you.  Or vice versus.  They could also make you feel bad for them when they have gotten caught doing something that they want you to perceive as really doing something good.

Blame is when the responsibility for doing something bad is attributed to someone and then because of this, they should feel ashamed for having done something.  This can be “tricky” when it involves you and you don’t know what is going on.  It is the “do-gooders” that can be easily be caused to feel ashamed.  The “bad people” often use this trick with “do-gooders” and they don’t even know it.  ” They are too busy apologizing and attempting to rectify their “mistake”.

When feeling ashamed whether they should or not, people try to forget the act related to having felt ashamed (which is sometimes called repression) or hide it (see or they get mad and attack the person making the claim mentally or physically or they accept the blame or some of the blame and “feel down” about what they did or did not do.  These are SHAME SHIELDS, presented by Brene Brown,  Ph.D. in a free continuing education seminar, “On The Armour, We Use To Protect Ourselves And Why It Doesn’t Serve Us”.

Children are not pawns.  Their needs are! more important than yours.  Unless you are prepared to give instead of receive, probably you should not have children.  You need to put their needs before yours, even if you are inconvenienced, have to make some sacrifices, and don’t immediately get reinforced.  Done right, it pays off in the long run with children who have good values shown by the ability in most situations to support themselves, raise good children (if they have them), and being able at some point in their lives be able to thank you for doing this.

On the one hand, she might have a good reason, on the other hand…

Often the first move of these people is to blame you or others instead of themselves for the thing they have done or for something you actually might think you have done in order to deflect responsibility for their own behavior.  This person can often get mad very quickly before you or their victim can have time to think and can be made to go on the defensive.  This deflects or reflects the responsibility from themselves to you or to someone else.  They are often very good at this so don’t be fools and see the blame as being on you or someone else instead of them.

Have you ever lost an argument this way?  Or have you ever won an argument this way?  This generally leads to mass confusion on somebody’s part and on the part of some people who hear about this agreement.  The feeling of shame usually immediately follows and can last for days, months, and even years.  I had a stepsister-in-law who was an alcoholic and called up her mother when drunk to blame her for all the things that had happened to her because of her own behavior, not really her mom’s behavior.

Sometimes she looked like this to me.

She browbeat this woman for things she couldn’t control like this woman’s husband deserting her with three kids to support and raise in the Depression.  This woman was so good at transferring the blame that she was lethal and our children were not left alone with her unless a responsible adult was also there.  Even then, they didn’t need to hear the things she had to say so they were kept away from her as much as possible.  She could also play the game of feeling “hurt” when this became obvious.  P.S. Occasionally she handmade some dolls for our children and they still have them so it wasn’t all negative

Shame can be an immediate feeling of feeling bad from one part of the brain, the amygdala

which responds quickly, without thinking, like this cat with road rage.

It is responsible for emergency bodily responses and probably responds before a person has time to reach the part of the brain that wonders why they feel bad (or good).  Remember the times that you thought you didn’t have time to think and just responded.  I am not chastising you for feeling immediate shock or grief in certain tragic situations.  Sometimes feelings are part of a bodily response that enables you to respond quickly in an emergency.

Have you ever been played like a piano in one of these situations where “shame” or “blame” comes into play?  Sometimes someone else does it and sometimes you do it to yourself often based on old scripts in your mind based on past experiences.  My script is that I have done something wrong that I didn’t know was wrong at the time.  It could be something “stupid” or “thoughtless” or something that a person got really mad about although I couldn’t have done anything about it at the time.

People can thoughtlessly ruin relationships in this way.  Maybe they think that they are in competition with someone like me for the desired person’s love or loyalty.  I can feel really guilty at the time and grieve for the loss of a crucial relationship apparently someone else coveted.  I can not help but think the person involved with my friend never knew and/or felt that she had done this and was to some part responsible for my loss and my friend’s loss too.  (This is also a form of drama and  I have written about this elsewhere in my blog.  See also a book by Doreen Virtue, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle: How to Break Free of Negativity and Drama, ( A writer who writes about things like drama in a way that is easily understood and covers a lot of material about the subject.  (See also one she has written one eating disorders, The Yo-Yo Diet Syndrome:  How to Heal and Stabilize Your Appetite and Weight)  As with many good writers you may not be drawn to everything she writes but also she writes on other subjects that could be of personal interest to you.  See also, The Courage To Be Creative: How to Believe in Yourself, Your Dreams, and Ideas, and Your Creative Career Path by Doreen Virtue.  The content of which seems to parallel the origins of my interests in writing.  Both by Doreen Virtue at Hay House publishers.

Are Opinions Based On Assumptions, Not Facts?

If you can not change a person’s assumptions with facts, then why argue with them.  I someone thinks you are a “hypochondriac” and a “surgery addict”, what can you show them from your actual medical history that will change their mind?  Nothing.  What hurts too is that they also think “hypochondriacs” and “surgery addicts” are bad people.

Assumptions are just that assumptions and they can be extremely harmful if they are erroneous and associated with bad qualities in other people.  “Oh, that’s just a woman for you” or “Oh, that’s just a man for you.”  Doing this allows people to make quick judgments of other people without wasting time getting more information.

A debate is an academic activity where each side takes turns arguing one side of an argument.  This can lead to a reasoned analysis of a situation both for and against.  Lawyers often do this for a living depending whether they are working for the defense or the prosecution in a criminal trial.

More to come as I think this over.  Most recent contribution from a friend.  “Many people think that their opinions are facts!”  This is why arguments and discussions can be so hard.  Also, people often form “tribes” and identify with them like “Trump Supporters” and are threatened when a belief contrary to their tribe’s beliefs is presented to them by someone.  They become anxious and even angry.  Do you see why people often don’t talk about sports, politics and religion at the table?


If You Don’t Want To Do It, Don’t Say, “Yes”, And Then “Gunny Sack” It!

Many people play games and if they win, they can say, “Gotcha.”  This first happened to me when we had our first child and my husband’s aunt volunteered to come with me and the baby to a specialist in St.Louis.  Later I learned from her that she was just being nice and didn’t really want to do it.  Sometimes I can be very independent because of this Catch 22.  Especially when it winds up in the gunny sack which will be opened up at a later date and used against me!

Also, beware of narcissistic sociopaths and borderline personality disorders as they can manipulate you too.  You will wind up taking the blame and the perpetrator will wind up smelling like a rose and be one up on you too.  For these people lying is their favourite sport.  They like to see how easily they can take you in and leave you in the dumpster.

Worse yet they can cause your friends to think bad of you while they get accepted as the “real” victim, not you.  Initially, they can get you to care about them and take their side, but they are just as phoney as a three dollar bill.  You know how poison ivy can spread?  This is worse because you can never get over it.  Accomplished liars are good at telling the “truth” and leaving you, not them in the lurch,   And if they are good enough, then they can take all your friends away and make them their friends!

They can use anything such as a “fake” conversion experience to get you to take their side initially and to be considered to be a loyal friend by your former friend or friends.   “The devil made me do it,” is an honest reason for doing this but they would never admit it.  A good liar manipulator is often so good at this because they don’t really have a conscience to bother them like you do.

A family member like this aimed to put her stepfather in the nursing home so she could inherit.  A stroke of luck as she died before he did.  Sometimes I feel life is a snake pit and you always have to be on the lookout for snakes which might bite you.

The fraudulent manipulators never seem to get the blame; they just get the goods and take off with them.  It can be very difficult because you may be the only person that sees through them.  Good Luck!

It’s Their Drama, Not Yours

I learned a valuable lesson today:  “It’s Their Drama, Not Yours!  I’m a fixer-upper by nature and it doesn’t hurt that I am in a helping profession.  “Did I hurt your feelings”  Whose feelings are they?  “You should have known in the first place that I didn’t want to do it!”  “So why didn’t you let me off the hook?”  Am I a bad guy because I should have known that even though they said,”Yes,”  They really didn’t want to do it.and they felt it was an imposition.

Now whatever you do, they get mad because you couldn’t read minds.  They take that load off their shoulders and put it on yours.  Now you end up feeling bad instead of them.  It is like a sudden rainstorm landed right above your head and you get soaked.  They wind up feeling better and you have accepted a part in their drama that you really didn’t want and really didn’t earn.

What if you had a really good time and thought they had too.  Whose fault is it?  It’s not yours and why didn’t they “fess up earlier that they didn’t want to be there.  Imagine you cooked a really good meal from a recipe you found and wanted to try and felt you had successfully mastered a good meal.  Then someone tells you that there was something in the meal that caused an untoward reaction in them and you should have known it would, but they didn’t remind you and ate it anyway.

Another person who ate the meal smiled and said that they liked it but really they didn’t like casseroles as they were a meat and potatoes type of person.  What happened is that you fixed a nice meal for a couple of ingrates.  What a waste of time! and now you get mad when you didn’t feel bad before.  Is it catching?  Drama attracts drama.  Sometimes no one is happy unless no one else is happy.

Is drama a disease?  Sometimes it is not so bad when the contagion involves happiness and success.  How about learning that someone is going to have a baby.  Whoops there was one person in the crowd who is childless and unable to get pregnant or better yet did successfully have a baby by in vitro fertilization and then lost it to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  This can be a wet blanket and the person with the news now feels bad that they even mentioned it in front of that person.

Some people even stage a situation so they can create drama.  This woman had a display of fragile glass perfume bottles on a coffee table and almost the first thing that she did was to call the toddlers present attention to it and if they would not have touched the perfume bottles in the first scenario; but they will now.  Possibly it will result in a broken bottle or two, maybe the most expensive ones.  The payoff in drama is superlative and the instigator is super comfortable in her innosence, but the others don’t know how she did it or even that she set it up.

See the previous post, “Leave the Drama to the Lama”.  Feelings can be catching; but often not in a good way.  Have you ever left a group when an argument became heated.  Some of these situations can leave you shell-shocked with PTSD  (post-traumatic stress syndrome).  This is what makes soap operas so exciting.  What will they stir up next?  Calm down.  Go listen to some soothing music, take walk in the park.  Make a quick exit back to where you are feeling good again.  If someone had a bad cold would you stand close to them, kiss them or maybe even drink out of their glass.  You wouldn’t expose yourself to that so don’t expose yourself to somebody’s drama.

Sometimes drama is fun like in movies or books; but you know it is not really happening in front of you.  You might get scared, laugh hysterically, or even shed a few tears but you know down deep that it isn’t real.  If you tend to take some things seriously, then you might avoid certain types of stories.  Me, I don’t like horror shows.  There are enough really scary things happening in real life.  Has anyone followed the news lately?


Shame The Great Manipulator, The Great Trap Of Unworthness

I was raised on shame.   It was my claim to fame.  I was not recognised for what I did well, but for those things I did not do so well.  I was also convinced over time that I could not do them well and when that happened that people would give up on me.  I thought there were only so many things in life that other people would approve of and that I was not capable of doing them well enough to make other people proud of me.  I was recognised for what or where I could not meet up to other people’s standards and I felt like I was a great disappointment to my family so much so my relatives did not want other people to know that I was related to them.

I was so easily made to feel shameful that I was bullied, I was suicidal, and I was made to feel that I could never meet up to other people’s standards (of which there was only one set) and I would ultimately be rejected and thrown out on the street if that was possible.  There was only one person to blame and that was me and I didn’t know any different.

Appropriate or Inappropriate? Wanted Or Unwanted?

Worse yet I realized that in sexually inappropriate situations the victim (that was me) was always the one who should feel ashamed and had something to hide instead of the reverse.  Getting caught in a sexually compromising situation was something I should cover up, sneak out of, and pretend didn’t happen even though I now know it qualified as sexual abuse.   It was something to be covered up and forgotten if possible.

Brene Brown with her doctorate in Social Work found that we have three shields that we can use as shields against shame.  We can forget or not talk about what we see as a shameful situation.  Men will tell you that they are not comfortable talking about certain things that happened to them as they were growing up or even later in life such as post-traumatic stress syndrome and even had pushed these things so far out of mind that they did not remember them.

Another shield against shame mentioned by Dr. Brown was appeasement.  If someone is dissatisfied with you or something you have done, you try to make it up to them or make them so happy or satisfied in another way that they will forget that you did not or might not make them happy.  Another word for this might be “brown nosing”.

Another possibility would be going towards or against the person or situation that makes you feel shameful and take it out aggressively toward them or it.  This is the third shame shield mentioned by Dr. Brown.  Could the liberal Democrats’ behaviour after the election of President Donald Trump be an example of this?  Are they ashamed that their candidate did not win over such an unlikely candidate?

Sometimes our entire life can be motivated by shame and others can get what they want us to do by shaming us and can feel better about themselves by winning over us in this way.  I have often felt that being a woman, especially a woman professional, made me a target for this sort of thing.  If a woman can do it (what I did) it must be something easy to obtain and therefore not worth much.  The step between someone with a Masters degree and a Ph.D. must be pretty easy if she can do it.  I did not attend the graduation ceremonies when I received my doctorate (because it was not such a big deal)?

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence often lets the perpetrator get away with doing it and people may think that the victim probably deserved it and/or it was just a family quarrel.  Why then do police officers get killed answering domestic violence calls.  How many women, even men, suffer permanent injuries which ought to require hospitalisation and reconstructive surgery and they don’t get it.  What about the children that witness this violence even though they don’t get physically hurt themselves.  Who learns that it is okay to vent your anger upon another helpless individual when they can’t defend themselves.  When you are mad, the only way to handle it is to take it out on someone or something else especially when the source of that anger is not available to take it out on.  Imagine someone coming home from work and they are mad about something that happened that day and they pounce on any excuse to take out their anger on.

Domestic violence is not a silly husband and wife quarrel.  People like to dismiss this type of violence as it only was no real fight to be worried about because the victims often deny that they were hurt and/or that the perpetrator was or could be violent.  Since these people, usually wives and children or sometimes husbands and elderly relatives, have to live in the situation they might not complain as it would only make it worse.  They may have no place to go and/or no resources.  Police officers, who know how violent these situations can become, may try to pacify the perpetrators and overlook the potentially dangerous behaviour that could exist.  People often poo poo domestic violence calls saying why can’t these people solve their own problems or that the victims probably asked for it.  In truth, if police officers could show up in riot gear and have a backup, they would probably be a lot safer.  Also, you don’t know who is on who’s side.  This can be dangerous.  Do you think that social workers would or should answer these calls instead of the police?  Like in the Stockholm Syndrome. the victims can change sides and defend the preparatory.  The relationships

People often poo poo domestic violence calls saying why can’t these people solve their own problems or that the victims probably asked for it.  In truth, if police officers could show up in riot gear and have a backup, they would probably be a lot safer.  Also, you don’t know who is on who’s side.  This can be dangerous.  Do you think that social workers would or should answer these calls instead of the police?  Like in the Stockholm Syndrome. the victims can change sides and defend the perpetrator.

The home can be a place where violence is born, learned, reinforced, and perpetuated.  Yet we often ignore it or mistreat it until it ends in violence and it can be to some person outside the fight that comes to stop it.  Actually, we could learn much from the policemen or women who take these calls and the twists and turns that these situations develop when they are in them.

You never know what will happen to you when you enter and try to handle one of these situations.  I was a substitute psychiatric aide in a large insane asylum one summer when I was in college.  I was in charge of the cafeteria by myself while three wards ate.   We were locked in because one of the wards was a locked ward.There was cafeteria help but they would not help me deal with patients.  One of the wards I knew, but not the other two.  A patient acted up and started slinging mustard and ketchup around and I walked over to her calmly trying to calm her down.  I suggested that she ought to go to the bathroom and clean herself up. She suddenly slapped me in the face so hard that I wasn’t sure she hadn’t broken some of my teeth.  I was checking myself over when a nurse came into the cafeteria who knew the patient and they walked out together ignoring me.  ?

Where does violence begin, where is it reinforced, and often ignored?  Yet the histories of violent offenders who kill hapless citizens often start with domestic violence.  My cousin, a judge in Northern Illinois, started a special domestic violence diversion court for this.  This is going in the right direction.  Start with the cause, not the results!


My happy face anyway!.

Finally I am free to be me.  Are you free to be you?

I just discovered in my old age (where I have found that insights blossom) I am no longer bound by what others think.  I don’t have to judge myself by people who are successful in my field or in any other field.  I am free to be me finally.  Instead of withering on the vine, I am growing again in new and different directions.  I grant that I have had difficulty with the judgments of me made by others.  I may not be the world’s expert on a subject, but more than likely they aren’t either.

Be on your guard as you may be greeted by the anger of others if you do assert yourself.  Attacking what is the most defended by others may reach the highest rewards.  Who am I?  Am I what I want to be and can be if I only let go of others’ past influences?  Make way for ME!  I am discovering things that were lost or discarded as not achievable.  Now can I trust my own judgment?

Would you, if you were a man, wear a suit that was tailored to fit some other man.  I had a husband who was very particular about collar sizes and sleeve lengths in his shirts.  I have discovered I only like music that is sung a certain way and any other versions can offend me.   (Am I right or wrong? )  Or have I discovered music for myself?

Failures do not always define you.  Whose judgment are you relying on?  Come home to the person you should know ( yourself) and glorify that.  This is not permission to clobber other people so you can have your own way, but you might make some people unhappy because they can no longer control you.  We all do not have the same tastes!

You probably can no longer be the peacemaker just giving in because someone with a louder voice is used to making a group’s decisions.  For example, such a person then picks the restaurant for a group to eat at which then decides what you can have to eat.  Avoiding conflict does keep the level of the drama down but at what price to you?

I am becoming well-defined as I age and have lumps and bumps that may not please others or that may interfere with what they (not I) want.  Who am I actually?  Do I have undiscovered talents and interests that I can use to shape “my world”?

Bullying The New Sport

(Rough Draft) As a victim of bullying, I have felt like the bull in the ring at a bullfight. Poked and prodded until he is exhausted, extremely angry, and unable to do anything about it but die.  There have been attempts to outlaw bullfights for humanitarian reasons, but they never get it done.

This seems to be the same way with bullying as the victim continues to suffer and is expected to fight back in his or her own defense against a more powerful foe or gang of bullies.  This seems to be shameful.  Where does it seem fair to gang up on someone like that who has no defenders and is seen as weak by his or her foes?

rp_300px-Anger_Controlls_Him.jpgBullying hurts.  It is not funny.  Doing this to a person who is already down.  If a group demands that you join them in bullying.  Remember it is a hate crime.  It can result in vicious mob behavior.  Sometimes persons who should be supervising this group, egg it on and join the “fun” instead.

Sometimes people create a separation between what they call just teasing and bullying.  They say it is all in fun and that the victim is thin skinned and needs to toughen up and to learn to take it without being a wimp.  These people do not see or care that the person’s self-image is being reinforced as negative when teased or name-calling.  Is it just in fun when the victim is being degraded and starts to carry around a nickname that is not flattering and really not funny to the victim?

rp_Send_It_On.pngHas overreaction to bullying and teasing that is not funny led to creating safe places and even offering play therapy where persons can go and take part if the behavior of others upsets them even though it is the right of others to have differing opinions and to share them in public.  Now have we created wimps like these?

Taking responsibility in dangerous or difficult situations can create a type of toughness and self-pride that does the person well in future situations where they must take charge of things or do something difficult.rp_1753458_5bbf0fa664_m.jpg

Related articles across the web

Life Doesn’t Come With An Instruction Manual!

rp_375649339_150_150.jpgLife doesn’t come with an instruction manual even though you deserve one.  You have to write your own!

Criticism is the little voice in your head that holds you back and hinders your performance.  Even though others say it is for your own good,  sometimes it isn’t.

rp_363849983_150_150.jpgReality is not always what you think it is or what you were told it is. You can miss seeing, hearing, feeling and experiencing some things because someone told you that you just were imagining things.

Sometimes as people get older they don’t get wiser, they just get more set in their ways.  Sometimes a strongly held theory or opinion becomes a person’s life jacket when he or she is drowning in new information.

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgHow hard is it for a person to change his or her mind?  This may be why people are told not to bring up religion or politics at the dinner table.  Maybe this is a good reason to think outside the box.  Many inventions were created this way.

Remember people are natural born originals and can’t be easily shaped into something that they are not.  Gemstones have to be cut into shapes that work with their natural structures.  What about individuals who are being shaped into contributing citizens?rp_6250513028_b874eef6f1_m.jpg