07 December, 2009

Don't Apologize, It's Time To Cry

MAT KEARNEY : Closer To Love

She got the call today
One out of the gray
And when the smoke cleared
It took her breath away
She said she didn't believe
It could happen to me
I guess we're all one phone call
from our knees
We're gonna get there soon

If every building falls
And all the stars fade
We'll still be singing this song
The one they can't take away
I'm gonna get there soon
She's gonna be there too
Cryin' in her room
Prayin' Lord come through
We're gonna get there soon

Oh it's your life
Oh it's your way
Pull me out of the dark
Just to show me the way
Cryin out now
From so far away
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love

Meet me once again
Down off Lake Michigan
Where we could feel the storm blowin
Down with the wind
And don't apologize
For all the tears you've cried
You've been way too strong now for all your life

I'm gonna get there soon
You're gonna be there too
Cryin' in your room
Prayin' Lord come through
We're gonna get there soon

Oh it's your life
Oh it's your way
Pull me out of the dark
Just to show me the way
Cryin out now
From so far away
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love

Cause you are all that I've waited for
All of my life
(We're gonna get there)
You are all that I've waited for
All of my life

You pull me closer to love hu huuh
Closer to love hu huuuh
Pull me closer to love
You pull me closer to love
Closer to love oh no
Closer to love
Closer to love

Pull me closer to love

08 October, 2009

When you trash their father, you trash your children

Divorce and The Monster Under The Bed

This blog post is about parents who hate their ex-spouse or soon to be ex-spouse more than they love their children. It could very well be you.

A very good friend of mine went through a divorce recently. I was very sad to see them divorce, I liked them both very much and was hoping their marriage would last. As far as I can tell, the big issue that ultimately caused their divorce was, of all things, health care. Without getting too caught up in the details, she had complaints about him, and he had complaints about her. Both were convinced that the other was an ass and was being unreasonable. Neither felt that they were at fault and both became increasingly convinced that the other was a really nasty person.

Both of them were right and both were oh-so-very wrong. That is nothing new - divorce is ugly - and couples who once crossed oceans and continents for each other wind up convincing themselves that they married the devil him-/herself. If there are no children involved, make some popcorn and get ready to watch a first-class drama unfold, I say. You will witness the dark side of human nature acted out right before your very eyes as the once loving couple sinks to depths you didn't even know existed.

Pity the children, however, who are forced to join this cast of Misèrables.

When children are involved, it's no longer amusing. If you care at all about your children, you will put your own feelings aside and behave yourself. You will act like an adult. Here are some guidelines in case you are unsure about what that means:
  1. Do not try to get the children to take sides.
  2. Do not say nasty things about the other spouse in front of the children.
  3. Do not withhold child support because your wife is a bitch.
  4. Do not try and prevent your husband from seeing his children - under any circumstances except when there is sexual or physical abuse occurring and you know it for a fact. If this is the case, then a crime is being committed and you need to call the police.
  5. Do not accuse your husband or wife of sexually or physically abusing your children if it is not true. A spanking, a slap or some other past event that you didn't think warranted police intervention at the time, should not be dug up and used as evidence against your spouse now. If you do this, you are a monster and should be ashamed of yourself.
  6. It doesn't matter what your spouse did to you, if he/she didn't do it to the children, keep it out of any discussion of custody or child support.
  7. Let me elaborate: it doesn't matter if your husband had an affair with your sister, your mother and your best friend - this does not give you the right to try to prevent him from seeing his children.
  8. Let me elaborate some more: if your wife decides to bed the entire line-up of your home football team, you will speak of her only with respect when the children are within earshot.
  9. Do not pack up your children and move. Until they are grown, you should make every effort to stay in the same city as your ex. If you have to forgo a great job, relationship or spiffy lifestyle on the beach because of this, tough luck.
  10. Encourage your former spouse to be involved in the lives of his/her children. Do not make it uncomfortable when they do. Even if your ex-husband shows up with his 20 year-old reason he walked out on you.
  11. Don't try and prevent your kids from seeing grandparents or other family members.
I am sure my list has missed some dos and don'ts. If you are ever in doubt as to whether you are acting like a jack-ass and hurting your children, consider this: You will never stop your children from loving the other parent. They will never have an epiphany and realize that you are the wonderful one who was right- and oh what a martyr you are you should be granted sainthood. At least, this will never happen without them killing off a little bit of themselves as well.

That's right. Without killing off a little bit of themselves as well. When you trash their mother, you trash your children. When you trash their father, you trash your children. In fact, you might as well say to them: "You are a horrid person who betrayed me and I hate you" - if that is what you say about the other parent in their presence.

You don't have the right to decide that your children would be better off without the other parent. They won't be.

So, suck it up, behave yourself, and do your complaining to a friend or therapist when your kids aren't there. You married the guy/girl. At the end of the day you are also making a statement about your own judgement and ability to make good decisions.

However you got to where you are, it couldn't have happened without you. So accept responsibility and do what is best for your children. It may be one of the hardest things you ever do, but your children will love you for it.

PS: In my friend's situation, his ex-wife packed up the children and moved back to Germany. He is Chilean and American, but the drama unfolded in Chile, where the Chilean "Tribunal de Familia" granted her full custody and allowed her to leave the country with his kids. She makes it very difficult for him to visit his two boys in Germany, insisting on "supervised visits of no more than an hour or two". Imagine traveling from Chile to Germany to see your kids for an hour. She is punishing her children because of a dispute over the amount of child support. She has also claimed it is harmful for the boys to see their father because they get upset when he has to leave. Her solution is to try and prevent them from seeing him at all.

I know this because I have been helping him communicate with various German social services agencies to try and persuade or force her to allow him to see his kids. I wish she would realize how much she is hurting her boys, and make it easier for them to see their father.

28 September, 2009

Hope for Life Challenges

Life Challenges

Life Challenges will touch each and every one of us! Whether it’s you or someone close to you, you will undoubtedly face a personal trial in your life. Why? How do we cope when they hit? Where do we find hope and meaning in the midst of these Life Challenges? Click on some of the sites below to start your journey of help and hope…

  • Reflections of a Son: My mother’s last hours on earth reflected a powerful life of courage, strength, and faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Feeling Alone: Are you ready for a change? Find out how you can go from lonely to peace in your heart.
  • My Purpose in Life: God does answer prayers in mysterious ways. He answered my most fervent prayers for the soul of my beloved son.
  • God's Will: I developed a deeper relationship with God. I developed a deeper appreciation for God’s will in my life.
  • Healing A Broken Heart: Find helpful tools and tips for mending your heart from hurt and grief. Find comfort and healing.
  • Prayers for Healing: God is our hope and promise. He is in control and He does perform miracles. We are part of His family.
  • Breast Cancer Diagnosis: I questioned why God allowed this to happen. Hadn’t God just promised that He had a wonderful plan for my life?
  • Cancer Support Groups: As we share our journey with cancer, we get strength and hope from each other, from the Bible, and from prayer.
  • Dealing With Death Video: Brian Deegan and Ronnie Faisst talk about the death of their good friend Jeremy Lusk. What is the message they want you to hear?
  • Trusting God: Cancer has taught me to trust. When I release my cancer to God, He works everything out for good.
  • Parenting Plan: Learn the most important valuables to parenting and how to keep things running smoothly. Value what most important.
  • Breast Cancer Treatment Options: The overwhelming task of choosing doctors and treatment options -- Where do you begin and who do you trust?
  • Joy of the Lord: Cancer can make us bitter or better. I found that the joy of the Lord is very important in my healing process.
  • Breast Cancer Survivor: A personal story about finding peace, joy and hope in the midst of cancer and other trials of life.
  • Blessings of Cancer: It is better to add life to your years than to add years to your life. God can turn anything for His good.
  • Ripples of Influence: As a pebble in a pond creates numerous rings of influence, so did my mother in the lives of those she touched.
  • God’s Plan for my Cancer: I finally turned my cancer over to God and His plan. This helped me release much of my fear.
  • Guilt: Want to get rid of guilt? Understand the only way it can happen and take steps toward healing.
  • Total Surrender to God: I learned to give my total life to God. I would spend the rest of my life in total surrender to Him.
  • Breast Cancer Recurrence: I learned many lessons as a result of my recurrence. I learned to take a more active role in my health.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Read one man’s account of living with TBI – his struggles, alienation, and how he found hope for living.
  • How to Die: Are you at a point of no return? Has the meltdown occurred, and now thoughts of getting out are running through your mind?
  • Fantasize: Are they harmful or helpful to a relationship? Does it stimulate a sexual relationship to visualize someone else?
  • Emotional Infidelity: What is it and how can I prevent it for destroying my marriage and family? Discover answers and tips here.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Find information and helpful advice from girls who have been in your shoes. What did they learn?
  • Gifts From God: God gave me my last days to see His wonderful plan being worked out in the lives of those I love.
  • Life Challenges: Are you struggling with issues related to emotional or physical challenges, marriage and family, or addiction? Find help here.
  • Parenting Tips: What can I expect the moment I become a parent? Can I be truly ready? Find out here.
  • Stress Relief: How does stress affect me physically, mentally, and emotionally? Discover the facts here.
  • Coping With Separation: Separating from those we love is hard. Learn why you are having these feelings and find help for your hurting heart.
  • Self Worth: Where is my worth based? Can I improve it by doing things or is it something given to me?
  • Child Discipline: Why is discipline important? Learn practical tips and techniques.
  • Pancreatitis: The pancreas secretes the enzymes that help digest our food. What happens when those enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself?
  • Overcoming Jealousy: An emotion that can lead to bitterness and anger. Read one person’s account of how jealous feelings were removed.
  • Blended Families: It can be tricky to pull two families together and make it work. Find helpful information on being successful.
  • All About Parenting: Do you want your children to grow up to be responsible adults? Learn skills and advice from other parents.
  • Panic Attacks: You wonder if the acute indigestion you’ve been treating yourself for is really panic attacks. How can you be sure?
  • Managing Diabetes: I think I may have with diabetes! Is this a death sentence? What should I do first? Will I need shots?
  • Christian Family Counseling: A Christian home is a Christ-led and Christ-focused home. How do we pull this off?
  • Chronic Pain Relief: Dealing with this is a physical trial. Discover ultimate peace, acceptance, and value. Learn how to cope.
  • Christians and Porn: How does pornography affect a man's spiritual life and fellowship with God? Read this story of darkness.
  • Dealing With Depression: Do you want to laugh and enjoy life again? Learn how to be free from sadness and anxiety.
  • Adopting A Child: Have you and your spouse considered adopting, but heard far too many horror stories? One couple like you overcame numerous hurdles. Read here to see how!
  • Marital Infidelity: Statistics and facts regarding extramarital relationships are undeniable. Evidence points to these statistics being on the increase.
  • Empty Nest: Are you in the transition of accepting your empty home? Discover how to make the most of this life transition.
  • Discouragement: Where is God in your discouraged spirit? Why are you so sad? Find help from His Word here.
  • Separation Anxiety: Learn how to teach toddlers not to react negatively when you leave them with a sitter or family member. Leaving shouldn't be stressful.
  • Forgiving Infidelity: How can unfaithfulness in a marriage be cured? How can this hurtful addiction be broken? Find forgiveness.
  • Suicide Of A Child: Read how one mother expresses the loss of her son from suicide. She found hope among her grieving.
  • Coping With Divorce: A divorce is devastating for everyone involved. How do men cope with divorce?
  • Chronic Pain: A personal story of trial and denial. An answer to prayer. Turning pain into a deeper relationship with God.
  • Grief Process: Are you hurting due to the loss of a loved one? A greater understanding of loss will help you cope.
  • Alzheimers Support: How can you help someone suffering from Alzheimer’s? This article can start you off on that journey with some helpful ideas.
  • Love Addiction: Are you addicted to love and sex? Find out how the dangers and find out how to break free.
  • Inside The Mind Of A Sex Addict: Read how one man found help and relief from a strong porn addiction. Learn how to find help for yourself or a loved one.
  • Divorce Questions: Divorce rips at the heart of our society as it displaces and devastates kids. Find another way here.
  • All About Life Challenges: Find hope and comfort as you go through difficult times in your life. Learn principles to help you cope.
  • Marriage Conflict: How do we disagree in marital conflict and still come out of it loving each other? Learn techniques.
  • Spouse Abuse: Your spouse belittles and criticizes you, but has not been physically abusive. Is this acceptable? Should you be worried?
  • Anger Management Techniques: Would you like peace to replace anger in your life? If so, learn these helpful techniques for improvement.
  • Chronic Fatigue: Are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome serious? Can it lead to something more serious? What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
  • Hair Loss: My mother’s father was bald. Does this mean I will be, too? Can anything be done about it? Find out.
  • Gastric Bypass Surgery: Read one woman’s personal story of how this surgery changed her life and medical needs.
  • Verbal Abuse: Stuck in an abusive relationship? Want to know how to stop the abuse? Read steps others have taken here.
  • Husband Addicted to Porn: Did you find out your husband’s addiction? What should you do? How do you cope? Learn some helpful information here.
  • Christian Testimony Video: You have got to watch this story of Greg Outlaw who was pronounced terminally ill and what happened after that! You name it drugs, alcohol, sexual addiction, materialism, hedonism, and a lifestyle of debauchery -- nothing can change a life like God can!
  • Menopause: At what age does menses cease? What are hot flashes? Is there medication a woman can take for symptoms? Read.
  • Overcome Fear: Is it possible to conquer fears? Understand their origin and how to best counteract their power in your life.
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer: Discover renewed hope in your life battle. Read how one woman found peace and joy in the midst of pain.
  • Reverse Aging: Managing mortality is thought to be one of the biggest goals in life. Is it yours? Find out how to have a balanced perspective.
  • Manage Attention Deficit Disorder: Have you or your child been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD? There’s help available. Learn various treatment and how to find support.
  • Hepatitis C: Are you at risk to contract Hepatitis C? This article explores the definition, risks, treatments, and hope for the virus.
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics: Dealing with parents who have addictive habits? Are they inebriated all the time? Want relief? Read here for answers.
  • Cancer Patients: Are you reeling from a cancer diagnosis? Wondering why this happened to you? Find out who to trust for comfort.
  • Signs Of Depression: Read a personal story of diagnosis and treatment. This person survived the trial and came out victorious. Learn more here.
  • Manic Depressive: Learn about the disorder, the treatment options, and the hope of recovery. Why does it affect mood, energy, and the ability to function?
  • Meaning in Tragedy: The news is continually filled with tragedy. Is there a purpose in it? Why does God allow these horrible things to happen?
  • Bed Wetting: Discover what causes this problem and how to respond to your child.
  • Trying to Conceive: Are you struggling with infertility and trying to cope emotionally? Consider these insightful tips for coping in a healthy manner.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Learn more about BPD, the symptoms and treatment of this disorder. Find help and hope.
  • Anger Management For Parents: Learn how to control your anger and be an example for your children.
  • Coping With Loneliness: Friends can let us down when they turn away during a life crisis. When we're alone, who can we turn to?
  • Dealing with Difficult People: How do you handle difficult people? Do you know how to get past the insults? Find out here.
  • Cancer Treatment: Treatment can be so difficult. Read one woman’s story of hope and encouragement for those going through treatments.
  • Decision Making: What are the consequences of a bad decision? Selfish impulses usually lead to those consequences. Learn how to avoid them.
  • Premarital Sex: Is it morally right or wrong? How do I know for sure? What should I take into consideration when making this decision?
  • Single Parent: Identify your struggles and find support for your family. You have a tough job, but you can survive!
  • Family Conflicts: How can we help our families communicate better in order to resolve the conflict that so often occurs?
  • Miscarriage Statistics: The definitions and statistics underlying miscarriage. The physical and emotional effects.
  • Stillbirth: Read a personal story of a couple who coped through this devastating situation. How did they get through?
  • Obesity Help: Learn how to change your perspective and surrender your weight to God. Read one woman’s story here.
  • Coping With Depression: Do you know the options that are available to fight it? A combination of treatments may be best.
  • Coping With Anxiety: Do you worry too much? Is your body reacting negatively? Discover how to reduce stress and find lasting relief.
  • Post Abortion Syndrome: The medical and emotional pain. The long-term effects of depression and despair. A message of hope.
  • Television Addiction: Find out how the television obsession has impacted today’s culture. Discover how you can break the cycle in your family.
  • Dealing With Death: Are you searching for comfort after a loss? Learn how to find lasting acceptance and peace.
  • Christian Marriage Counseling: Are you looking for help and support in your relationship? Consider the expertise of counsel from a biblical perspective.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Learn the basics about OCD -- its symptoms, treatment possibilities, and how to find lasting and eternal peace.
  • Single Woman: Do you have a longing, a desire in your heart to be a wife? Read one woman’s story of her journey.
  • Late Term Abortion: Study the facts about this type of abortion. Read one young woman’s story about her life. Make an informed decision.
  • Working Mom: Are you a woman who wears many hats? Consider helpful tips and encouragement from someone who has been there.
  • Military Wife: Learn from others on how to cope when your spouse is away for a long period of time. How do you cope?
  • Retirement Planning: When preparing for this life transition, remember the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life. Be prepared in all areas.
  • Marital Intimacy: Learn more about marital intimacy and how to strengthen it emotionally and sexually. Find out helpful tips.
  • Caring For The Elderly: What is involved in care-giving? Learn helpful tips for transitioning into this time of life. Read a personal story.
  • Coping With Miscarriage: The truth about miscarriage and the ways to deal with the pain of early pregnancy loss.


27 September, 2009

How to prepare for your child custody case

Child Custody Battles - Getting Prepared

Today, it can no longer be assumed that the mother will get custody of the children. Instead, what judges consider during a custody trial is based on the "best interests of the child", and they try to give custody to the parent who will provide the best environment and upbringing for the children.

To win your child custody case, you will need to prove to the judge that it is in the best interest of the children to be with you. In preparing for a custody case, be aware that your parenting skills and daily interactions with your children will be thoroughly inspected by a judge. Just telling the judge that you are a good parent won't be enough. You need provide documentation and testimony from witnesses to back up your parental capabilities.

Keeping detailed, consistent records is critically important in child custody battles. You need to be prepared to show the judge that you have gone out of your way to nurture and care for your children. Because there is so much at stake, you also need to document any short-comings of your spouse that would be relevant to the custody case.

There are a number of ways that you can prove that you are a better parent. Below are some ideas:

  • Record activities with your children on a daily basis to help show that you are heavily involved in your children's life on a continuing basis.
  • Attend all school activities, such as parent-teacher meetings, assemblies, school plays, and musicals. Try to interact with your child's teacher and office support staff in an ongoing manner. Keep record of all the activities that you attend.
  • Be the parent who takes your child to the doctor and dentist. This will help support that you are a nurturing parent, plus provide witnesses that will testify that you are the parent who brought the children in most often.
  • Foster your child's involvement in church and family activities. This will help prove that you are providing for your child's moral upbringing.
  • Take your children on vacations and outings to show that you spend quality time with your children. If possible take pictures and keep mementos for extra documentation.
  • Get witness who have observed you interact with your child over a long period of time to support that you are a good parent. This includes relatives, teachers, doctors, child-care workers, neighbors, and friends.

While you need to emphasize that you are a good parent, you may also need to document the poor performance of your spouse with your children. Documentation on your spouse might include:

  • Evidence of an overwhelming work schedule that restricts interaction with the children,
  • Interference with custody, visitation times, or failure to pay temporary support for the children,
  • Incidences of domestic violence, such as police records, photos of bruises, etc,
  • DWI convictions, jail time, or proof of drug use,
  • Evidence of mental illness,
  • Activities that might endanger or could be detrimental to the child,
  • Any comments the children have made about neglectful, inappropriate, alienating or abusive forms of parenting by the other parent,
  • Cohabitating or exposing the children to over-night stays with a significant other.

As you can see, keeping detailed, consistent records is critically important in child custody battles. It allows you to pinpoint patterns of interactions or problems that would be important to the judge.

©Tracy Achen 2005
At WomansDivorce.com we have one focus - helping women survive divorce and rebuild their lives.

If you are facing a custody trial, you might consider using custody tracking software (such as the Custody Toolbox) to help your case. Custody software makes it easy to keep track of all the documentation relevant to your case and organize it into an easy to follow format.

For more information concerning child custody, and how divorce affects children, check out the following articles:
Recording Cell Phone Voice Messages
Preparing for Your Custody Evaluation
Custody Assessment Issues
How To Win Custody
Using A Parenting Coordinator
Custody Fight - Keep It Out Of Court
More Articles about Children

24 September, 2009

You Are Not the Cause of Anger or Abuse

Emotional Abuse
Note: Dr. Stosny posted some of this same material and much more on emotional abuse on the Oprah Winfrey website

You Are Not the Cause of Your Partner’s Anger or Abuse

Anger and abuse in relationships are about blame: "I feel bad, and it's your fault." Even when resentful, angry, or emotionally abusive people recognize their behavior, they are likely to blame it on their partners: "You push my buttons," or, "I might have overreacted, but I'm human, and look what you did!"

Angry and abusive partners tend to be anxious by temperament. From the time they were young children, they've had a consistent sense of dread that things will go badly and they will fail to cope. They try to control their environment to avoid terrible feelings of failure and inadequacy.

The strategy of trying to control others fails even if they are powerful, for the simple reason that the primary cause of their anxiety is within them, not in their environment. It springs from one of two sources: a heavy dread of failure or fear of harm, isolation, and deprivation.

The Silent Abuser
Not all emotional abuse involves shouting or criticism. More common forms are “disengaging” – the distracted or preoccupied spouse - or "stonewalling" – the spouse who refuses to accept anyone else’s perspective.

While verbal abuse and other forms of emotional abuse can be roughly equal between men and women, stonewallers are almost exclusively male. Biology and social conditioning make it is easier for men to turn off emotions. The corpus callosum – the part of the brain that connects its two hemispheres is smaller in men, making it easier for them to shut out information from the emotionally-oriented right hemisphere. On top of that slight biological difference, social conditioning promotes the analytical, unemotional male on the one hand or the strong silent type on the other.

The partner who stonewalls may not overtly put you down. Nevertheless, he punishes you for disagreeing with him by refusing even to think about your perspective. If he listens at all, he does so dismissively or impatiently.

The disengaging husband says, "Do whatever you want, just leave me alone." He is often a workaholic, couch potato, womanizer, or obsessive about sports or some other activity. He tries to deal with his inadequacy about relationships by simply by not trying – no attempt means no failure.

Both stonewalling and disengaging tactics can make you feel:

  • Unseen and unheard
  • Unattractive
  • Like you don't count
  • Like a single parent

What All Forms of Abuse Have in Common
Whether overt or silent, all forms of abuse result from failures of compassion; he/she stops caring about how you feel. Compassion is the lifeblood of marriage; failure of compassion is its heart disease.

It would be less hurtful if your partner never cared about how you felt. But when you were falling in love, he/she cared a great deal. So now it feels like betrayal when he or she doesn't care or try to understand. That’s not the person you married. Failure of compassion can feel like abuse.

Harmful Adaptations to Anger and Abuse: Walking on Eggshells
The most insidious aspect of abuse is not the obvious nervous reactions to shouting, name-calling, criticism or other demeaning behavior. It's the adaptations you make to try to prevent those painful episodes. You walk on eggshells to keep the peace or a semblance of connection.

Women are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of walking on eggshells due to their greater vulnerability to anxiety. Many brave women engage in constant self-editing and self-criticism to keep from "pushing his buttons." Emotionally abused women can second guess themselves so much that they feel as though they have lost themselves in a deep hole.

Recovery from walking on eggshells requires removing focus from repair of your relationship and your partner and placing it squarely on your personal healing. The good news is that the most powerful form of healing comes from within you. You can draw on your great inner resources by reintegrating your deepest values into your everyday sense of self. This will make you feel more valuable, confident, and powerful, regardless of what your partner does.

No One Escapes the Effects of Abuse

Families do not communicate primarily by language. That might surprise you, until you consider that humans bonded in families for millennia before we even had language. Even today, the most sensitive communications that have the most far-reaching consequences to our lives occur between parents and infants through tone of voice, facial expressions, touch, smell, and body posture, not language.

Though less obvious than interactions with young children, most of your communications with your older children and with your husband also occur through an unconscious process of emotional attunement. You psychologically and even physically tune in your emotions to the people you love. That’s how you can come home in one mood, find your husband or children in a different mood and, bam! – all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you’re in their mood. Quite unconsciously, you automatically react to one another.

Emotional attunement, not verbal skills, determines how we communicate, from our choice of words to our tone of voice. If attuned to a positive mood, you are likely to communicate pleasantly. If you’re in a negative mood, your words will be less than pleasant.

Now here’s the really bad news. Due to this unconscious, automatic process of emotional attunement, your children are painfully reactive to the walking-on-eggshells atmosphere between your husband and you, even if they never hear you say a harsh word to one another.

Everyone in a walking-on-eggshells family loses some degree of dignity and autonomy. You become unable to decide your own thoughts, feelings, and behavior, because you are living in a defensive-reactive pattern that runs largely on automatic pilot. No fewer than half the members of these unfortunate families, including the children, suffer from clinical anxiety and/or depression. (“Clinical” doesn’t mean feeling down or blue or worried, it means that the symptoms interfere with normal functioning. You can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, can’t work as efficiently, and can’t enjoy yourself without drinking.) Most of the adults lack genuine self-esteem (based on realistic self-appraisals), and the children rarely feel as good as other kids.

When it comes to the more severe forms of destructiveness, purely emotional abuse is usually more psychologically harmful than physical abuse. There are a couple of reasons for this. Even in the most violent families, the incidents tend to be cyclical. Early in the abuse cycle, a violent outburst is followed by a honeymoon period of remorse, attention, affection, and generosity, but not genuine compassion. (The honeymoon stage eventually ends, as the victim begins to say, “Never mind the damn flowers, just stop hitting me!”) Emotional abuse, on the other hand, tends to happen every day. So the effects are more harmful because they’re so frequent.

The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that victims will blame themselves. If someone hits you, it’s easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle – saying or implying that you’re ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you – you are more likely to think it’s your problem.

Important questions to ask of yourself:

  • Do I like myself?
  • Am I able to realize my potential?
  • Does everyone I care about feel safe?
  • Do my children like themselves?
  • Are they able to realize their fullest potential?
  • Do they feel safe?

16 September, 2009

Cuz sometimes you've gotta let love go

"River Of Life"
by Heather Nova

I wanted to feel like a bird on the wings of time
But it was not our time
I wanted to lie for a while in the fields and dream
But it was not to be

Cuz sometimes you've gotta let love go
Even though it's hurting, even though
And sometimes you've got to let love slide
Out with the river, the river of life

I wanted to hold you so long in the dark till dawn
But I could feel you go
I wanted to sing; in my head I could hear a song
But it was not our song

Cuz sometimes you've gotta let love go
Even though it's hurting, even though
Sometimes you've gotta let love slide
Out with the river, the river of life

30 August, 2009

"break the silence"

In this poem, Florida prisoner Heaher Johnson reaches out to others, urgging them to "break the silence" and speak out about their lives. 

by Heather Johnson

Put down the hand that covers your mouth when you begin to speak about the pain your soul has been bearing for what seems to be an eternity. 

Tear down the wall you have built around your heart that allows you to love only from a distance and never build a bond with those whose bodies press against the other side trying to get close to you. 

Step out of your armor, put down your shield and learn to trust with caution knowing God will protect you from harm. Do not continue to live your life in fear. 

Break free of the chains that have you tied to situations that do not bring you happiness. If you are unhappy you are vulnerable to the temptations we face dail that only bringtemporary happiness with an end result of pain. 

Lift your feet out of the cement shoes that have you standing in a place and step out on faith. Achieve your goals, explore your dreams, educate your mind, and make use of every talent that you possess. 

Remove the glue that keeps your lips sealed and share your deepest thoughts and feelings. Cry, laugh, scream, moan, and whisper until your soul and mind feel at ease. No longer shall you be bound by all the hurt, anger and disappointments of the past. 

Hold your head up and dry your eyes for you are restated. The silence is now broken...

Seeking domestic violence advocates to honor

The Holland Sentinel
Posted Aug 22, 2009 @ 04:30 AM

Holland, MI —

Officer Gwen DeGraaf showed female college students how to defend themselves against attackers.

Advocate Sally Ashley worked night shifts at an Allegan women’s shelter, giving domestic assault victims a safe place to stay and listening to their stories for more than 10 years.

They were just two of the people honored at last year’s “Together We Can” appreciation dinner for their efforts to protect Ottawa and Allegan county women from violence.

The Lakeshore Alliance Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Allegan County Coordinating Council on Domestic Violence are seeking nominations for this year’s round of awards, to be presented on Oct. 27 at the 2009 “Together We Can” dinner.

“When you’re doing the work, there’s not a lot of celebration,” Jo Ann Wassanaar of LAADSV, said. “It’s hard work. This gives us opportunity to celebrate what these individuals have done, going over and above their job descriptions.”

The annual awards program has honored more than 30 law enforcement and court officials, agency workers and volunteers since it began in 2002.

Last year’s winners included DeGraaf, a Grand Valley State University police officer who conducted a RAD — or Rape Aggression Defense training —  class on campus for female students. Other winners in law enforcement included detectives Jeff Steigenga of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and Bruce Beckman of the Otsego Police Department.

They also included Ashley, a shelter worker at Sylvia’s Place in Allegan who clocked hundreds of hours of service.

David Schock, filmmaker for the documentary “Who Killed Janet Chandler?” about the Hope College student whose rape and murder remained a mystery for almost 30 years, was also honored.

Awards are broken into three categories: Volunteers and community members, court and law enforcement officials and agency employees. Agencies could include churches, nonprofits or shelters, as well as schools or government.

“We love to get nominations from individuals who have experienced firsthand the work someone else has done,” she said. “But it could also come from a co-worker or a supervisor who knows the kinds of work the person does.”

Recognizing community members for their achievements also highlights what’s being done about domestic violence, Wassenaar said.

“It’s unfortunate that during times of economic stress that it puts even more pressure on families and relationships,” Wassenaar said. “This is a way to share with the community who is doing that work on the front lines of domestic violence.”

To nominate someone for any of the awards, download a nomination form at delta.aplaceforwomen.org/upcoming-events. Nominations will be accepted through Oct. 2.

Those who wish to attend the dinner may also register at that Web site.


29 August, 2009

The Fine Line between Control and Concern

How To Be Successful Secrets

This list was compiled by asking a large number of individuals what it is that they do that makes them successful.

Simply Successful Secrets Roundup!

Top 15 Success Secrets - All received at least 25 individual votes, in order from most popular to least popular

1. Exercise/Eating Healthy Foods - Including walking, running, swimming, rollerblading, bicycling, resistance exercise, yoga, pilates, taking the stairs, drinking plenty of water, drinking healthy tea, taking vitamins and/or minerals, practicing martial arts, and eating foods in the proper proportions and at the proper times of day. - 71 Votes

2. Read - Including books, textbooks, blogs, helpful magazines, newspapers, library books, children's books, fiction and non-fiction, articles, newsletters, mind puzzles, comic books, and the Bible. - 63 Votes

3. Practice Productivity Habits - Including Simpleology, "tickler" systems, time management, focused intensity exercises, responding to email/telephone calls in a timely manner, being organized, finishing tasks once they are started, keeping a to-do list, turning off the TV, reviewing tasks the night before, doing tasks in chunks or blocks of time, prioritizing, only focusing on things within our control, knowing when to stop spending time on any given task, knowing which tasks are even worthy of your time, keeping it simple, using the proper tools, doing something right the first time, and controlling the flow of information. - 58 Votes

4. Switch Off/Quiet Time/Recreation - Including taking down time to watch TV, playing games/video games, getting out of the house, knitting, spending time with friends, making time for yourself, working on community activities, shopping, taking a bath, rewarding yourself, sitting in a hot tub, and other recreational activities. - 51 Votes

5. Staying Focused on Mindset and Tasks - Including being mindful of the proper mindset for any given situation, avoiding stress by knowing when to say "no", staying focused on the task(s) at hand, listening to your intuition, consistently working on tasks that lead to goal attainment, being persistent or having a high level of perseverance, being focused on the journey rather than the reward, taking one step at a time, reminding yourself why you are doing what you are doing, giving your best effort every single time, and practicing affirmations. - 44 Votes

6. Finding Joy/Happiness - Including the realization that we can create joy from our own state of mind, observations of the many things in our lives to be joyful about, having fun, smiling, laughing, appreciating life/nature, not taking life too seriously, enjoying the little things, doing what you want to do at any given moment, having a cheerful attitude, loving your work or your career, living/working with passion, celebrating your successes, living every day as if it is your last, and acting silly. - 42 Votes

7. Practice Gratitude - Including reflecting on life, being grateful for wonderful events, for lessons that have been learned, for health, for opportunities, for other people in our lives, for the beauty of nature, for jobs and careers, and for technology. Also, thinking of things before bed and again upon rising to be grateful for, and not taking people or situations for granted. - 41 Votes

8. Visualize/Clarify short and long-term Goals - Including visualizing the future, setting new goals, reading goal lists, clarifying and documenting desired outcomes, saying goals out loud, making/focusing on vision boards and other goal reminders, setting intentions, practicing Law of Attraction principles, and reevaluating and refocusing on your goals when circumstances change. - 37 Votes

9. Writing - Including blogs, business and personal journals, articles, stories, notes, websites, and copywriting. - 36 Votes

10. Family Time - Including play
time, family meals, watching TV, reading to children, spending time with spouse/significant other, talking to parents or other relatives, spending time with children. - 35 Votes

11. Learning from other People - Including emulating successful behavior, avoiding mistakes that other people have made, learning something new every day, and engaging in interesting conversations. - 30 Votes

12. Practice Personal Growth/Self Development - Including asking "How can I?" questions, reading personal development articles, books, & blogs, surrounding yourself with positive/empowering people, committing to personal or spiritual transformations, being self-sufficient, and listening to, reading, or watching motivational or inspirational content. - 28 Votes

13. Becoming Still/Letting Go - Including a conscious effort to stop thinking about how things are going to work, taking mental down time during which you do not think about the future, practicing resistance releasing techniques, not overly thinking situations, simply being quiet, and listening when others speak. - 28 Votes

14. Research/Gain Experience - Including Internet research, asking others for their opinions, trying new things outside of the norm, and getting job/personal/career related education or experience. - 26 Votes

15. Not being Afraid/Pushing your Limits - Including taking on challenging projects, setting hard to reach goals, accepting difficult employment assignments, trying new things, asking for help, saying "no", and taking risks. Also includes getting outside of your comfort zone, continuing to focus on a task even when you think you can't do it anymore, doing things that you wouldn't normally do, putting yourself in difficult situations so that you have no choice but to perform, having big dreams, and embracing the unknown. - 25 Votes

The next 20 - All received at least 10 votes, in order from most popular to least popular

16. Helping Others - Including social work, forgiving others for past misgivings, being available when others need assistance, opening up, donating time or money, giving back/paying it forward, giving advice/feedback to others, knowing when not to give advice, helping others to attain greater heights, and being generous. - 22 Votes

17. Meditate - Including guided meditation, mind-clearing meditations, Holosync, hypnotherapy recordings, brain-wave recordings, breathing techniques, deep thought, reprogramming of old belief systems, and paraliminals. - 21 Votes

18. Planning/Scheduling - Including planning tasks to be accomplished on any given day, planning days or weeks in advance for upcoming tasks, scheduling the proper amount of time at or away from your place of business, and starting or stopping work according to a preset schedule. - 20 Votes

19. Be Creative - Including writing, making jewelry, metal works, painting, gardening, designing graphics, drawing, cooking, doing something crazy once in awhile, sculpting, daydreaming, singing, writing poetry, sewing, crocheting, and just generally allowing the mental flow of creativity. - 19 Votes

20. Communicate Online - Including instant messaging, email, message boards, telecommuting, and sharing files online. - 19 Votes

21. Be Confident in who you Are - Including coming up with your own solutions to problems, choosing appropriate advice to take that is given by others, believing in yourself and your abilities, believing in your career or choice of business, leveraging your personal strengths, knowing your weaknesses, having great love for yourself, and making eye contact with other people. Also, not being afraid to be yourself, admitting your mistakes, not modifying your personality to suit the needs of others, allowing yourself to be at ease as you go through life, and making personal observations about yourself so that you can make modifications as you see fit. - 19 Votes

22. Get up Early - Including getting out of bed before other members of the household, getting up early enough to accomplish tasks before the busy parts of the day, enjoying quiet time before the world wakes up, and getting up at the same time on the weekends as during the week. - 18 Votes

23. Having a Positive Attitude - Including looking on the bright side, not succumbing to negativity, not allowing circumstances to dictate your level of happiness, practicing forgiveness, and removing negative people and influences from your life. - 18 Votes

24. MasterMind Groups/Partnerships - Including working with or being influenced by others for the purposes of goal setting, best practices, growth strategies, conference calls, sharing ideas, networking, and spending time with others who have similar interests. 17 Votes

25. Get out in Nature - Including going for walks, hiking, gardening, sitting outside, enjoying fresh air, and general communing. - 16 Votes

26. Taking Action - Including acting on inspired thoughts, securing resources for business growth, accomplishing business-related tasks, moving quickly when an idea comes to you, taking the first steps on a new project - even if it is a big one, experimenting with new ideas, and focusing on the accomplishment of daily tasks. - 15 Votes

27. Get enough Sleep - Including night-time sleep, afternoon naps, power naps, various sleep/nap methodologies, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. - 15 Votes

28. Appreciating Music - Including listening to music, meditating to music, being inspired or motivated by music, and playing musical instruments. - 15 Votes

29. Blogging - Including writing, reading, commenting, tending to technical issues, handling administrative tasks, and marketing. - 14 Votes

30. Doing things Differently - Including interacting with people in different ways than the norm, taking a different path than others take or that is expected of you, questioning present systems or management guidelines, and doing what you want to do regardless of what other people think. Also includes standing up for your rights, standing your ground for what you believe in, "sticking to your guns" even when others don't believe in your ideals, allowing your beliefs to power your life, and remaining effective as a parent despite social stigmas, expectations, or standards. - 13 Votes

31. Give and Receive Affection - Including hugs, kisses, shaking hands, quality time with family, being open to experiencing and sharing emotions, and loving unconditionally. - 12 Votes

32. Prayer/Spirituality - Including active prayer, mindfulness of spirituality, reading from religious texts, working inline with specific religious beliefs, practicing devotion, and examining existence or spirituality. -
12 Votes

33. Write down/record Thoughts or Ideas - Including recording thoughts for inspired action to take, new business ideas, reminders to do something, goals you want to achieve, or doing a "brain dump" in order to put all of your thoughts out on the table in order to be sorted out and acted upon. - 12 Votes

34. Setting Personal Standards - Including personal goals to accomplish, personality traits to honor, ethics and morals to live up to, competition with oneself, following your passions, believing in your own potential, rewarding yourself for your accomplishments, working at your own pace, respecting the systems that you put in place for yourself, and not living with undue self-imposed pressures. - 12 Votes

35. Keeping Perspective - Including being flexible and resilient, maintaining your sense of humor in the face of adversity, "rolling with the punches", recognizing that success can change forms as you grow and develop, looking for the positive lessons in life's experiences, allowing introspection, and seeing things from another's point of view. - 11 Votes

All the Rest - Each received between 1 and 9 votes, in order from most popular to least popular

36. Talking - Including talking to friends and family members, talking to clients or co-workers, talking to yourself out loud, communicating effectively with others, and knowing when it is effective to talk and when it is not. - 9 Votes

37. Measure Success - Including tracking financial figures, traffic/customer levels, weight loss goals, career status, and assessing your most and least productive activities. - 9 Votes

38. Think before Acting and Speaking - Including pausing before answering questions, considering the outcome of actions, putting forth well thought-out responses and actions, being objective even during moments of strong disagreement, empathizing with the needs of others, practicing courtesy, respect, and good manners, remaining calm, keeping things private when appropriate to do so, and using appropriate language. - 9 Votes

39. Don't Burn your Bridges - Including the art of leaving a job without ruining your reputation, gracefully getting out of relationships, dealing with family members in a civil manner, acting appropriately around and towards other people, being kind, being honest, being nice, and practicing respect. - 8 Votes

40. Follow Through on Plans - Including sticking to a to-do list, honoring obligations, making it to scheduled appointments on time, following a productive daily routine, and keeping your word. - 7 Votes

41. Having a Morning Routine - Including drinking certain beverages, eating certain foods, spending quality time alone or with family members, or spending time in solitude. - 6 Votes

42. Focusing on the Highest Priority tasks - Including spending time on things that are more important in the long-term than the short-term, and doing the most important tasks first each day. - 6 Votes

43. Accepting Responsibility - Including concepts such as leading by example, being mindful of the way that we talk to others, thinking about the needs of others when making decisions, coming to terms with the results of our past actions, and raising children with proper levels of discipline and respect. Also includes thinking about the positive or negative implications of choices, staying on a path that leads most directly to success, evaluating possibilities based on their long-term results, and living your life consciously or intentionally. - 6 Votes

44. Taking Scheduled time Off - Including scheduled days off each week, breaks from work, and planned vacations. - 3 Votes

45. Delegate Effectively - Including delegating tasks to other people, removing certain tasks from your mental or physical to-do list, setting up residual income streams or passive management systems, and outsourcing tasks to other companies or individuals. - 3 Votes

46. Over-delivering - Including giving customers more than they paid for, practicing excellent customer service, getting things done quickly or ahead of schedule, and doing more for your friends or family than they expected you to do. - 3 Votes

47. Multi-tasking - Including dividing your mental focus between more than one task at a time, doing one task while another runs in the background, and finding creative ways to get more things done. - 3 Votes

48. Living in Harmony - Including putting away work in order to spend time with friends or family, stopping what you are doing to give undivided attention to people, tending to areas of your life that need attention - even if it means that tasks in other areas won't get done, building a well-rounded lifestyle rather than just focusing on your business, yourself, or your family, and maintaining a balance of internal and external factors. - 3 Votes

49. Maintaining Contacts - Including staying in touch with friends and family, staying up to date with business associates, keeping in touch with vendors & suppliers, having appropriate interpersonal relations in the workplace, and appropriate workplace friendships.- 3 Votes

50. Have no Regrets - Including seeing everything in life as a learning experience, finding knowledge in things that did not go your way, and not doing things that you wouldn't be willing to own up to later on down the road. - 2 Votes

51. Look at each Day as Full of Opportunities - Including making a fresh start each day, not lamenting about the past, and being motivated about brand-new chances for success. - 2 Votes

52. Look your Best Everyday - Including dressing professionally for work, and putting on certain types of clothes to get into the spirit or the role of what you are about to do. - 2 Votes

53. Be prepared for the Worst - Including the extrapolation of "worst case scenarios", expecting the unexpected, projecting possible success barriers, and being prepared for the fact that some ideas won't work out. - 2 Votes

54. Ask the Right Questions - Including "How much can I do with my life today?", "Am I fully committed, yet completely detached?", "How can I feel good today?", "How can I make the impossible possible?", "What is my body thinking and feeling and what does it want?", and "What is the next obvious thing that I should do?". - 2 Votes

55. Practice - Including learning something by actually doing it, or improving skills that you already have. - 1 Vote

56. Recording Life - Including taking and cataloguing pictures, video-tap
ing events, and sharing videos online. - 1 Vote

57. Getting into the Light - Including getting into the daylight as soon as possible each day, and getting an adequate amount of sunshine. - 1 Vote

58. Only Work with Certain People - Including only choosing clients who are going to honor your time and your offerings, and only working with partners who you have synergy with or who represent a high probability of success. - 1 Vote

59. Be a "Big Fish in a Small Pond" - Including excelling at things that you are good at, yet not trying to be everything to everyone - you can always branch out later. - 1 Vote

60. Take appropriate Medications - Including anti-depressants, asthma medicine, or ADD/ADHD medicine. - 1 Vote

61. Be Competitive - Including making the best products, having the best company, competing with yourself on a personal level, or competing in physical fitness events. - 1 Vote

62. Be Cynical - Including not believing everything that you hear or see, taking things "with a grain of salt", and applying your own filter to knowledge that crosses your path. - 1 Vote