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

 

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.

Different Strokes For Different Folks (Saving All Of Us Some Time And Frustration)

How much time do we waste trying to convince someone else that your way is the right way when  he or she has already decided (perhaps a while ago) that that is the way things are.  And vice versa, how much time has someone wasted trying to convince you they are right?

Now I know that parents, teachers, and bosses (and sometimes spouses) almost always have the last say.  Some you can reason with and some you can’t.  Usually, these people have responsibilities that they must meet.  A general contractor can come on a house construction site and tell the workers to tear everything down that they have already started.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  He or she has knowledge and responsibilities that the workers probably do not have.

But when it comes to whether or not someone should put mayonnaise or mustard on a sandwich, it is downright silly to argue with someone else about it as long as you have mayonnaise and mustard on hand.  If you have a child who is allergic to one of those things than an adult has a duty and a right to make sure the child does get it on their sandwich.

The point is not everybody likes the same things and we are built differently. To one person certain smells affect them negatively or another can hear annoying high-pitched sounds others can’t.  You could have a scented candle burning and the first person might feel they have to leave the room or the air handling system in an office or factory might make irritatingly high pitched sounds that only the offended person can hear.

Remember if we all liked the same things, what a dull world it would be.  What if we all showed up for a party in exactly the same clothes?  If we all like the same things then we would all be competing for the same things.  Now that would be irritating. Also sometimes meeting people from different cultures.  We have different cultures here.  (What about the differences between New York City and the Deep South?)  Sometimes differences inspire us to try something new.  Again what a dull world this would be if we lived in the same buildings, wore the same clothes, and ate the same food each day for the rest of our lives?  Pardon me, I don’t mean that you can’t do that!  I had a father-in-law who had a rather restricted lifestyle to my point of view, but then I wasn’t him and he didn’t live with us.

Spend your time on things you can change, usually things you have some control over, and not on the ones you can’t including those that are none of your business.

 

 

 

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 http://myeverydaypsychology.com/hiding-shame-based-interactions/) 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.

Making An Uninformed Child Custody Decision Can Be Child Abuse

Stop, look, and listen.  Custody decisions are not easy to make and they can cause irreparable harm.  I personally know about a county that assigns custody decisions knowingly to the poorest judges? and this is a county that has three diversion courts for addicts, the mentally ill, and domestic violence cases?

I have suggested that judges going to be assigned to hearing custody cases be given forty hours of face-to-face training by varying agencies and private professionals who have expertise and experience in dealing with child custody cases.  Past experience with being trained and training others in various areas suggests that only in-person experiences and a chance for feedback in both directions can assure that the individual has benefited fully from the training and can handle the responsibility involved.  It is sad (but appears to be true) that some of the people who most need this will “wiggle” out of meeting this requirement for various reasons such as, “I don’t really need this,”  or “I already know this” when these types of people are most often the ones who need the training.

Carelessness in handling the responsibility of making child custody decisions can put a child in harm’s way.  It can also not acknowledge the most recent research on child custody.  Children are our most precious resource and often decisions made about children in childhood or even adolescence are the source of problems that have to be dealt with in adulthood: addictions, mental health problems, behavior problems (often called crimes in adulthood), and poor parenting skills.

Would we be careless putting away a fair amount of gold to rely upon in the future?  Would we leave a pile of it near an open window?  Would we carelessly handle it so it would not be there in the future causing a large amount of debt and poverty?  What do we do with our children?  Do you put them out of your mind because you think yours are okay?  Children are most precious national resource!  Why waste them?

Are you sure a judge can spot potential sources of harm to children in family custody decions?  Take child abuse.  Is this something that is openly admitted by the offender?  Are their family members who don’t see it or don’t want to see it?  I have seen it happen close to home and the responsible family members had to set boundaries to keep the child from harm? even if other family members would deny that there was any potential harm.  Do you see where custody determination might fit in here as a possible cause of child abuse?

Have I known cases where the judge has made a wrong decision that had harmful effects on the children involved?  “Yes”.  Sometimes evaluating family situations for potentially serious problems, even the possible encouraging of child abuse, can be “tedious” and requires special knowledge.  This is where training for judges comes in.  Again what are we doing with our most precious resource, children?

What do most judges really know about child development issues areas such as attachment formation, prenatal development, identity issues, the need for unconditional love, and consistent fair discipline?  What about role models and opportunities for developing social skills?  Also if a child can not get something from one person in the family can he or she get it from another?

Now, do you think that there is a potential for child abuse to if the judge is not knowledgeable?  If the judge does not take his or her responsibilities seriously in making these decisions?  I do.  Raising children is a very serious responsibility, not to be taken lightly.  Part of it is providing a child with many possible sources of unconditional love, praise, good role models (which he or she might not get from only one person), etc.

Remember children are not only like one of the parents.  He or she might be left-handed and the parent is right-handed, he or she might be of one sexual orientation, and the parent is of another, he or she might be talented in one area and the parent in another.  ( See also my previous post, “Flowers Versus Weeds, http://myeverydaypsychology.com/flowers-versus-w…-are-you-raising/ ‎ .  How Were You Raised?  What are you raising?”  Thus these children will probably not develop their full potentials with one primary parent.  What a sad outcome and how will it affect the child’s self-esteem?

If a child feels secure, they can handle living in more than one place; probably this arrangement should be consistent and the parent and/or another family member who’s in charge should handle this responsibility well.  Remember the saying, “Children should be seen and not heard?”.  Is this a good way to raise children?  It’s not possible if you want to give them room to grow.

Raising children after you have had them is a big responsibility and no one should really “shuck” that responsibility.  It takes a father to make a child and half of what makes the child who he or she is coming from him as well as from the mother.  What does a judge know about this?  What if the judge is a person who does not want to take much responsibility for his or her own child or children?  Would this affect his or her decisions on child custody?

There are two ways to handle such decisions the “I already know all I need to do it” one and careful decision-making.  Would it help if the law could truly guide the judge too in making the custody decisions in the first place?  Probably, because many judges handle their customary custody decisions by making the decision to make the custody arrangements, usual and customary.  How damaging can this be or is it possible that these usual and customary decisions don’t have the potential to strengthen ties and provide opportunities for the child’s development on both parent’s sides.

 

Are You Lost And Alone And Easily Rejected?

Recently I took one of those FaceBooks quizzes that was supposed to diagnosis blocks in your life (Mind Movies).  Mine were surprising; but not surprising:  rejection and fear of being left alone.

My biggest fear is the loss of all support in my life.  That when it comes to some issue on which I and my family or friends disagree that I will be “thrown out in the street” so to speak.  If there is a choice between believing and supporting me and themselves or someone else, I will lose. I also strongly fear being rejected and deserted with no support (physical or emotional).

The origins of these fears are being raised with love withdrawal as a primary form of discipline by a mother who wanted to maintain strong control of the family members and it seemed, “It was Her Way or the Highway.”  My mother wasn’t the only one doing this.  My father found my behavior to be very exasperating and once in the middle of an argument, said that he was going to move out.  In those days, dads were the bread earners and child support and welfare didn’t exist or at least I had never heard of it.

On top of this, in this very controlling family, the things that I could do (and there were several) were (it seemed to me) not often praised and sometimes, I felt not even noticed.  In grade school, one of my parents’ desires when grade cards came out was that I didn’t have a messy desk.  Children are very susceptible to believing what they hear and experience while they are young especially when the parents’ motto seemed to be, My word is Law and no other perspective on life is available.

Soon I learned to hide and not share things with my parents.  The worst were any notes from my teacher asking them to come to school to talk about my behavior which the teachers had frequent trouble dealing with (except for my second-grade teacher who was the only woman teacher I had in grade school).

Can I help it that sometimes I am very secretive, that I don’t feel appreciated for things that I really like to do, and in the family competition, I don’t usually win and family members feel that I shouldn’t ask for help even when I think I need it?  And if there is a choice to be made over who stays or goes, I am the one who will get thrown out.

Top that off with at times, I can feel that I have a hard time making and keeping friends.  I feel rejected, left out, and unappreciated.  Sometimes when a sense of some competition with me is felt by others, it seems to turn into jealousy and meanness from and by them.  Yes, I am intelligent and educated as I can accomplish things on my own and stick with something even if it is difficult.

I feel like I have a hard time increasing my likeability and acceptance by others.  I can feel alone in a crowd (not that I like it that way).  My exploration of spirituality has given me some experiences where I did not feel left out.  P.S.:  my mom was shy and always took me long to women’s things like baby and wedding showers to keep her company even when I was very young.

I also feel that if my family read this that they would have it all upside down and backwards and only use it to hurt me.  I love my family and consider it the greatest gift in my life although I initially did not think I would have one.  The contributions they want from me is for me to do things they expect a reliable housewife and mother and breadwinner to be.  Hopefully, this is not followed by love withdrawal if I do not meet their standards.

Finally, my family would probably dismiss my thoughts as all something that got cooked up in the many different therapies I have had.  The real me is reflected in my writings (of which I doubt that they have read many) and if they read any, they would be more likely to give me editorial comments rather than any comments reflecting understanding and acceptance of any of my ideas or experiences portrayed.  When I feel I am in an atmosphere that is open to new ideas and experiences, I can be very free to be me.  How about you?

Love Yourself And It Will Let Others Love You

What a terrible story recently about 13 children who were deprived and abused.  It is such a tragedy.  Children are born to be loved and to love.  Each is a unique creature a flower (or a weed) ready to blossom and thrive in this world with the right care and treatment.  You are that child.  No, we are not meant to be the same.  We all have different places to be in life and in the world and different things to do.  We are precious (if we could just accept this) and often need to be supported by others to recognize this.

Jealousy is the curse of this world.  We all think that there is not enough for us.  Love especially.  There is a story about Cold Pricklies and Warm Fuzzies that illustrates this.  A witch perpetuated the idea that people only had a limited amount of warm fuzzies to share and should limit them only to friends and family.  People who would probably give them back.  In fact, people even became stingy and that’s what the local bad witch wanted to happen so she could sell her Cold Pricklies which looked just like Warm Fuzzies but didn’t work the same.

Phony Pricklies don’t work and they leave the recipient out in the cold.  In fact, these people who get Cold Pricklies can even die (whether they kill themselves from lack of self-love or “die on the vine” from lack of Love from others so to speak.  “Wow,” you say, “I can’t afford to squander my Warm Fuzzies.  What if I don’t get them back?  I need to save ’em too for my loved ones.”

The secret that is most often hidden from all is that the more you give “Love” or “Warm Fuzzies” so to speak; the more you have.  The less you give the less you have.  The hidden secret is that you are loveable.  You just have to believe it to make it come true.

Here is a “Love Exercise” to increase your Love.  Breath in and stretch out your belly.  You may think it is not attractive, but it works.  While you are doing this you are breathing in all the Love in the world and when you breath out your are breathing Love from inside of you back out into the world.  Don’t focus on where you are getting the Love from but believe it is there.   You are initially not focusing on any one person or thing as the source of it.  And again don’t “freak out” when you breathe out Love as this will actually only multiply it and you will end up with more to give.

Finally when you let your Light shine and see yourself as loveable as you were created to be; others will love you too.  Also, remember this saying. “I choose to be happy as I wait for something good to happen.”

The Time Is Up

“Oh, the time is up,” Jonner said.  “My little boy has gone to bed.  What a sleepyhead”; but then he stopped and thought, “But I am a sleepy head too.  The best spot is Grand pa’s chair or Grandma’s lap if he isn’t there.  My favorite human only visits me and part of the time, he is taking a nap too like Grandpa.”

You see, Jonner only comes alive when his human boy comes to visit.  Otherwise, he stays where his boy has dropped him; unless his grandma puts him away in the glass cabinet with all the other animals.  Time passes slowly in the cabinet as all he has to do is think and dream.

Jonner’s life is as big as his little boy’s imagination and he only moves when the moves are plotted in the little boy’s mind and then carried out by the little boy’s hands.  He flys through the air and he hides everywhere like in the half-opened drawers of the bedroom dressers or in the cupboards in the kitchen.

Jonner’s moves are only as fast as the little boy thinks.  He’s a fireman, a cowboy,  a soldier; and sometimes he needs a veterinarian to fix his hurts or even one of grandma’s kisses to reassure him he will get well, and grandpa always tells him to keep going he is not hurt that much.  Then the little boy takes him in his clutch and he goes on to play again.

The little boy knows what he is going to do when he grows up.  He is going to be a cat herder and he proudly wears a cap his aunt gifted him that says, “Cat Herder.”  When he started school, his mom took him to the animal shelter to get a kitten of his own so he wouldn’t feel alone when he slept on his own in his new room downstairs and he was unaware that his parents also had a small camera there where they could see him sleep and hear him weep.  If something happened, they could be there for him in a very short time and his parents’ room was just upstairs.  He could no longer share a room with the babies upstairs as he needed his sleep and they could keep him awake.

The boy had dreams and they did not make him scream as his new cat was there and in his dreams, also Jonner was there.  Sometimes even magically so they would fly together and look at the ground below.  The only thought that he had as he took the flight that it would have been nice if his new kitten had also been able to take flight.  In his sight, as they magically went through walls of his grandparent’s house in the bedroom was the glass cabinet were the other stuffed animals there.

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?

 

Hiding Shame Based Interactions

How often people use shame to get other people to do what they want them to do.  Shame is a gut-based reaction that can bypass the forebrain’s common sense and leave a person helpless to figure out what really caused it. You don’t just feel bad when this happens to you feel really bad and usually also guilty too.  “Shame on you.”

Shame is often how the victim of abuse feels.  This keeps them from getting angry at the abuser and why they often don’t talk about what happened either.  Shame doesn’t go away.  It stays.  The only way it can disappear is if the victim tries to forget it.

When Is Reassurance Necessary?

This is why abuse victims often say that they don’t want to talk about it because they have tried to forget it and talking about it might bring it back.  If there are witnesses, they might think they are crazy because they might remember something about what happened; but the victim won’t talk if they ask them what happened.

What if your memory is, “Don’t hit him; hit me.”?  You know who the likely abuser was because you were there too.  It makes you feel crazy as the witness as you are the only one who wants to or can remember it.  “I don’t like to think about things like that anymore” is his response.  “I try to forget things like that.”   “I don’t want to bring it back.”

Feelings of shame can do that to a person.  They might cause the person to feel the pain again both physical and emotional.  If a person feels that they might be made to feel shame about something; they won’t tell anyone who might do that to them.

Prevent Child Abuse With the Truth

The cases of sexual abuse by famous people that have come to light have brought it back out in the open.  I know I can now say that I am the victim of sexual abuse even though I might not elect to tell you the details because I didn’t do it.  The abuser is the one who ought to feel ashamed, not me or anyone in one in the same situation.  However, this still happens in countries or religions where they have things like Muslim Surhea law and the rape victim gets killed not the rapist.

Focus On Now Not Later

Focus on now not later. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing what you are doing now. Don’t put off until tomorrow when you finally accomplish something having that feeling of I really accomplished something I have been focusing on my entire life whether it is getting a degree, having a child, finally owning a home, or becoming famous. What happened to NOW? Enjoy your food, enjoy your view out the window, having a quiet zenlike moment.