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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)?

Making Bad Connections Between Two Separate Things When They Don’t Make Sense

rp_363561405_150_150.jpgIt is unfortunate that some people when bad things happen in order to explain unexplainable things they make connections that make themselves feel really guilty when they actually might not be so. Unfortunately, bad things happen over which we seemingly have no control.  This especially happens when someone dies unexpectedly.

From an early age people often makes inaccurate connections between when something bad like this happens and something that they have done unfortunately when they did not know that the unexpected would happen.

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgThis especially happens when someone is grieving and did not know before the person passed away that the person would die unexpectedly.  Perhaps there was a family celebration that was not so happy because someone’s feelings got hurt.  Being that we often have great expectations for such occasions, this often happens when things don’t meet our expectations and our feelings get hurt or we get mad about something.

Most people know that this will often blow over and be forgotten before the next big family celebration.  Then something bad happens and the person blames his or herself for it happening or for not having treated the person who dies unexpectedly right!

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

A person’s sudden passing is upsetting enough without adding the factor in that one of the persons doing the grieving feels that he or she had a part in it which they now regret.  The origin of this problem is often that the person who feels bad would rather they had something to do it rather than it happened for no reason or if by chance a person is not on good terms with the person who passes unexpected and now wishes that he or she had not been that way considering what happened later even though he or she didn’t know that would happen at that time.

It is important to forgive yourself like you should or would do for other people.It is, even more, important to do so if you realize that you had no intention to hurt the person that passed away as you thought this person would be around to make it up if necessary.  Don’t blame yourself for something over which you have no control!

 

Theresa Caputo–The Truth And Nothing But The Truth

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo  (the Long Island Medium) is not a phony.  She is very real.  And why is she so real?  She tells the truth and nothing but the truth.  I went to her presentation at a local center (Ford Center in Evansville IN) with two friends,  We were also mesmerized by her presence and the type of audience her presentation attracted.

We got to see the real her: longer hair, a bright blue attractive dress, and sparkly heels.  (I wondered how she negotiated moving around on the floor in them?).  She told us exactly what she would do and not do and how she utilized her fan club.  She was very honest and straight forward and I hung on her every word which I could do because cameras (only used for the presentation and then erased) and microphones followed her around and we could see her facial expressions and the reactions of those that she read.

Spirit seemed to pick the most urgent cases.  Those which would have left the theater in a turmoil with no feelings re leaved from a sudden tragic death or deaths and guilt not resolved.  Although, I did not receive a reading,  I got some insight into deaths I have suffered and about my own metaphysical gifts.

She is what she is.  She is not fake and even excused herself from reading for people who had messages or pictures that could be seen on camera because if she had read these people she might have been be accused of  getting information from these things and not spirit.

It was a very intense situation and she had a very intentive and polite audience.  (Also please note that there were people there some from Ford Center and some from her own staff to help out and they did so without distracting or impeding what was going on. )

Theresa was gracious and even invited two randomly chosen audience members behind stage after the show.   There was no press of people to get her attention and autographs after the show nor were any books sold; but when she was in the auditorium, she moved freely among the members of the audience.

It was obvious to me that she was “on” the entire time and that there was nothing “canned” nor  was there material that was used as  “filler.”  You came to see Theresa and there was no “staff” between her and the audience.  I just had to say, “Thank God.”  She was very honest about her beliefs and the most surprising one was that she believes that there is no hell.

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Acknowledge Your Feelings But Don’t Let Them Control You

amygdalaFeelings can be overwhelming and are necessary at times.  Grief for example, must be expressed sooner or later.  It is very damaging especially to relationships if it can not be shared.  When I am very hungry, I get so mad that I could spit nails.  When I am with family or friends I warn them when I get that way.  I am literally not able to fulfill others’ requests until I get something to eat.  You probably could name more.

Some feelings people feel are so strong that they literally take over and people thus say that they “involuntarily” do things that they may or may not regret later.  They are out of control but it is not their fault.  For example, someone says, “He made me so mad…” and this justifies whatever that person does next.

Are we responsible for our feelings?  Well, “Yes,” and “No”.   We are frequently conditioned at a very young age to respond with negative feelings to certain things.   We may be even given rational explanations for feeling that way that we accept as something that motivates us to do certain certain things and often enables us to not accept responsibility for what we do then.

How do we resist all that conditioning?  It can effectively put limits on our life if we let it.   It is often difficult to undo.   How often have we heard someone say, “I can’t help it,” in relation to performing these type of learned behaviors.  Is it a Get Out of Jail Free” card like in Monopoly?

What have you learned to feel and to respond to in certain situations.  Is it you that is behind it or did you catch it from somewhere or someone else?

 

Should You Celebrate Yourself Before You Celebrate Others?

PsychosisVonnegutCoverIs this an either or question?  Think of Life as a balance scale with yourself on one side and others on the other side.  Too much on one side or the other and the scale won’t balance.  It also can make you grouchy and resentful and possibly greedy.  How about the person for whom nothing is ever right and who is difficult to please.  Too much candy and then none of it tastes good.  You work hard so you can enjoy life and then you never have any time to do what you enjoy.  Rush through things and then you don’t have time to enjoy them.  Best get-a ways I ever had were when we forgot about time and enjoyed the setting, the company, the conversation, and sharing the experience.

Savoring is enjoying what you do have.  Whether it is clean sheets, fresh corn on the cob, a clean car, or unexpected, but welcome, company.   Savoring involves being able to accept a change of pace when one offers it self.  Remember when you were in schoo9l and had a snow day?  It represented a free day to go out and play in the snow.  Did you ever really miss having school on a snow day?  Have you ever read a book while caught in a traffic jam after an accident on the interstate?  I did and it was one I had already read so I reread it.  Did I waste my time grouching and complaining about the jam or the fact that the only book I had I had already read.  Time went faster as I lost myself in the story I had read before.

“Enjoy yourself.  It is later than you think,” was a title of a song.  Did the writer know what he or she was writing about?  On the other hand are you too busy enjoying yourself that you have no time left for anybody else?  Grandma or grandpa are you too busy to babysit your grandchildren because you always have a golf tournament, a card game, or a committee meeting.  You may even rationalize this away by telling yourself that the grand children will be more fun and less work when they get older and then you never find the time then either.

me,me,mejpgAre you there for every meeting your social or church group has and have held every office over the years and some for several years in a row.  Do people say that they don’t know what they would do without you?  Are you tied up babysitting for family and the family always knows who they can get at the last minute.  You!  You tell friends that you would like to do something with them and then are unable to follow through with your plans with them because of family obligations.  You have planned a trip somewhere on a special day and have made all the reservations and paid fees that are not refundable but don’t go because you have to do something for someone else and that is more important than what you wanted to do.

Is “wallflower” your middle name?  Do you let everybody else take all the credit, get all the prizes, and celebrate all the milestones?  Would you be surprised if nobody showed up for your own funeral and/or that your relatives didn’t even have a memorial service for you.  In fact, while you are alive you even encourage them to do this when you die.

There needs to be a nice balance here.  You are just as important as others are and others are just as important as you are.  Giving and receiving are both part of the equation.  Knowing what might really please you now may be the inspiration for something you can do for somebody else later.  Parents of young children often know this as do members of families with a chronically ill loved one or a recent unexpected death in the family.

kindness,acts ofGiving is important.  Gratitude is important.  Giving as a form of gratitude is one of the most sincere forms of thanks.  You give me some of what you have and I give somebody else some of what I have.  It is the daisy chain of gratitude.  I may not be able to pay you for the tank of gas I needed to get to the doctor, but may be I can mow the neighbor’s yard.  Remember the old story about someone who gets out on the wrong side of bed and kicks the cat who scratches the dog who bites the mailman, etc.  Start your day off right and who knows who the favor might effect?

Ever skip a meal to get something done (maybe even for someone else) and then wind up so hungry you bite someone’s head off?  Was that a really good idea to begin with?  Being self-sacrificing can lead to “gunny sacking”  in which you expect the recipients to pay you back without you asking them to do it or to stop asking you to do things for them or to say, “No,” once in awhile when you offer to do something.

 

How You Grieve Can Not Be Predicted Nor How Long

How you grieve can not be predicted nor how long.  Also it can not be avoided or it will cause irrevocable damage.  Grief over the loss of a child can cause relationships to fail especially when  communication shuts down.  Grief can’t be easily avoided or ignored.  A person can grieve for any loss or impending loss such as the loss of a job, having a child leave home, etc.

The longest I grieved was five years (and it’s really not over yet.) and the deaths were unexpected and tragic.  I never have forgotten my dear, dear, friend (who was like a sister to me) who was pregnant and her toddler daughter who died on the way home for my friend and her husband to tell both sets of grandparents she was expecting.  Shock is hardly the word for how I reacted.  They have always been in my heart and mind and I marked the occasion for several years on my friend’s birthday.rp_3704705698_7d71898ce1_m.jpg

There are several stages of grief and a person does not go through them in any particular order.  This statement was made by Dr. Elisabeth-Kubler Ross herself at a workshop I attended.  Different sources on the internet say different.  They say that people progress through these stages in a particular order.  Actually a person can bounce back and forth between them.  A person may think that they have completed a certain stage and then he or she goes back through one of them again.

The stages are:  denial,  bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance.  Denial is not being able to accept the the loss has happened or that the impending loss will occur.  Such as “No, no, he or she can’t be dead” or not accepting a diagnosis of terminal illness.  Pretending that a spouse who leaves is not gone for good and is going to come back when he or she returns to their right mind are other ways that a person can deny that a loss has or will occur.  Bargaining  is making a deal with God or other sources of power that the person will not die or some loss will not occur if the person who is doing the bargaining does some particular thing.   A person can be angry at the person or situation that caused the loss or at the deceased for leaving them alone.  Depression occurs when the person   realizes that the loss is permanent and the person left behind doesn’t know how they can be able to stand it.   Realizing that life will go on after the loss or that no matter what a person does the loss has or will occur is part of acceptance.

What is dangerous is that people who are grieving will isolate themselves and not encourage anyone to console them.  People in different stages of grieve often clash and harm rather than help each other.  People who grieve can project their anger on to others and even go so far as to seek revenge.  Many people who grieve feel helpless and unable to cope.  They can even become irrational and impossible to reason with.   Many deaths are just senseless and can’t be rationalized in any way.  For example, a random killing by a person bent on killing someone and doesn’t care who it is or a death or deaths from an auto accident killing whoever happened to be there at that place and time such as in my girlfriend’s case..

For example, years after my father died I got to see his death certificate and found that he died from multiple bed sores which was probably the fault of the nursing home.  My father had dementia and was irrational and unreasonable at times.  He remained a strong man and my mother could not handle him.  We grown children all lived away from home and she relied on neighbors and other family members to help her with him when he became aggressive.  For over a year after my father’s death, she couldn’t be reasoned with because she continued to constantly blame herself for putting him in the nursing home.   We all thought that she should have given up taking care of him by herself years earlier.  Now I know why she wouldn’t listen to us when we tried to talk to her.

Date Rape Can Happen to Seniors or the Middle-Aged

rp_272680378_bd063659bc_m.jpgCaution:  you may not believe this warning but hear me out.  Just because you are newly single and female whether it is due to divorce or to the death of your spouse, you do not have to go out or spend time with any man in your life who asks you.  First of all that person is not being very sensitive about your situation and they may be assigning motives to you that you do not have.  They maybe projecting their needs and wants onto you and an acceptance by you of an invitation is seen as consent in their eyes to something more than a mere friendly outing.

Date rape is another name for a kind of rape; but the woman who gets raped has  consented to go somewhere with someone where she will be alone with him and he sees it as an invitation or opportunity  to satisfy his needs and does not accept her refusal of his advances towards her as “No”. because he sees her agreeing to go out with him as a tacit agreement to take the relationship a step further one that she finds out once  they are alone together that she is not willing to take; but feels forced to comply with to get out of the situation safely.  But of course, it is not true.  It never was safe to have to cooperate with a “date rapist.” .

This may lead to women in this situation to requiring a chaperon or only going out with other women or in groups and never getting off by themselves with a man.  Some perceive a newly divorced woman or newly widowed woman as “open season” to try to get them into bed and any response no matter how timid by the woman is seen as an acceptance of the inevitable outcome anticipated  by the man.   I am not considering that women in this situation should remain celebrate for the rest of their lives; but they have to be cautious and may not be as perceptive of  any ulterior motives in wanting to cheer them up and to get them out of the house.

rp_Carlrogers.jpgMen, not to leave you out of the equation.  I have heard of newly single men getting gifts of food delivered to their door by many different women and possibly the offer to satisfy some of their needs now they don’t have a woman in the house.  Don’t believe that these gifts and offers don’t come with the assumption that the acceptance of such gifts and offers don’t come with the implication that you want more than that from these women.

Leopards, male and female, can change their spots when they learn that somebody is free game.  With young people in some families courtships are very thoroughly investigated and chaparoned.  If you are older, this still might not be bad advice for you.  With a such an upheaval in the one’s life,  one can be very vulnerable and can often make poor decisions while he or she is already under stress.  I know of people who have done this and it seems to be best to wait a year or two before making any commitments.   When it comes to divorce, people often get into the same type of relationship they had with their previous marital partner and don’t find this out until after they have made the mistake of getting attached to someone prematurely.

No, it is not true that all men are only looking for sex in a relationship and that all women who are single want to latch on to the next free man as a meal ticket.

PS:  people often grieve after losing a relationship and grief comes in many “flavors.”  What is appropriate for one might not be appropriate for someone else.  If this happens to you or has happened to you, take your time, allow your grief to have an outlet (grief kept in can cause tremendous damage not only to the person who does this but also to the  other remaining family members that they have contact with).  Watch out for “shoulds” and quick fixes for your problems offered by somebody who really  doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

rp_3560209936_056df083c8_n.jpgAlways  watch out for people who immediately say that they know what your problem is and that they can solve it for you.  Everybody’s problems are different.  Some people get a “charge” out of telling other people what to do and criticizing them if they don’t do it and/or decide to do something else.  A good resource is Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s material on death and dying where you will find her five stages of grief explained.  Grief occurs after divorce too.  Another resource is a group of widows and/or widowers who are all going  through the same things.  For divorced persons and widows and widowers with children, there is another  possible resource, Parents Without Partners.