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

06 August, 2009

How To Raise A Compassionate Kid

What Makes Kids Care?: Teaching Gentleness in a Violent World

In a world where violence and cruelty seem to be common and almost acceptable, many parents wonder what they can do to help their children to become kinder and gentler--to develop a sense of caring and compassion for others. Raising kids who care isn't a solution to violence by itself, but it's reasonable to worry that being exposed to a lot of violence -- whether it's on television or on the streets -- could make your children hard and uncaring.

Parents, of course, can't completely control all the things that affect their children's lives. After all, children spend a lot of time out in the 'real world,' which can often be harsh, uncaring, or just plain unhappy. And children have their own personalities and characteristics that parents can't change or control. But there are some things that a parent can do to encourage their children to become caring, fair, and responsible.

People sometimes think that children don't really see the outside world -- or other people -- the way adults do, that they only view the world from their own eyes and in their own way. But is this true?

Researchers used to believe that a sense of real caring about others only came as people grow into adulthood. But now studies are finding that children can show signs of empathy and concern from a very early age. They react with concern when they see unhappiness, wanting to help or fix the problem.

And one study found that teenagers who were involved in helping others felt very positive about their lives and had high hopes for their own futures.

The most important thing you as a parent can do is to let your children know how much it means to you that they behave with kindness and responsibility. When you see your child doing something that you think is thoughtless or cruel, you should let them know right away that you don't want them doing that. Speak to your child firmly and honestly, and keep your focus on the act, not on the child personally -- something along the lines of 'What you did is not very nice' rather than 'YOU are not very nice.'

This emotional reaction needs to be accompanied by information--some explanation of why you disapprove--for example, 'Look, Joey is crying. He's crying because you took his toy away. That wasn't a very nice thing to do!' or 'It hurts the cat when you do that; that's why he scratched you. It isn't kind, and I don't want you to do that any more!' It's important to let children know how deeply you feel about their behavior toward others. If they see that you have a real emotional commitment to something, it's more likely that the issue will become important to them, too.

Be frank, honest and upfront with your kids about what kind of behavior you do and don't like. Keep your comments short and to the point; the idea is to teach them, not to make them feel guilty.

According to another study there are two kinds of parental role modeling that help teach children to be caring: kindness to others and kindness to the child.

In other words, our actions speak louder than words.

If you are consistently caring and compassionate, it's more likely that your children will be, too. Children watch their parents, and other adults, for clues on how to behave.

Keep in mind that if you say one thing and do another, your children will pay a lot more attention to what you do. The old warning 'Do as I say, not as I do' simply does not work, particularly when it comes to teaching about caring.

Try to surround your children with other people who are kind and caring, so that they have several role models.

If you treat your children with respect for their dignity, concern, and regard for their achievements, you help them understand that all living creatures should be treated with dignity and concern.

Parents understandably worry that their effort at home could be undermined by outside influences such as their children's friends, daily violence in their own neighborhoods, television shows and movies, or a culture that exalts 'heroes' who are selfish.

Here are a few things that you can do to help counteract these influences:
- Give them books that promote compassionate behavior. Keep in mind, though, that kids -- especially teenagers -- don't like characters who are 'goody-two-shoes,' so look for books about ordinary characters who perform acts of caring and concern.
- A study at the National Institute of Mental Health found that children who tend to imitate behavior they see on television. For this reason, you may want to limit their viewing of violent programs and encourage them to watch shows that promote ideas about caring and helping.
- Find out about the movies your children want to see. Are they excessively violent? Do they glamorize criminals or people who get ahead at the expense of others? Do they glorify violence to people or animals? You can't shield your children from everything, but a little discussion can go a long way. Ask them to think about what they saw and to consider other approaches the characters might have taken.
- Educate your children about famous altruists. Local museums can provide an inexpensive and enjoyable way to do this, as can television specials and books. Talk to them and find out who they admire, and why.

Another thing you can do is try to find organized ways for your children to get involved. Let them know about places in the community where they can volunteer, and encourage them to join. Many volunteer organizations and churches have special programs for young people and even for children.

Some parents whose children are confronted with the harsher realities in everyday life may wonder whether it's a good idea to let them see even more suffering and distress. Other parents may worry that exposing kids to a harder side of life than they've seen before could traumatize the children.

These are understandable concerns, and according to some experts, there are cases where children have become overly sensitive to the suffering of others. This is particularly true of children who are already emotionally fragile. Not all giving is healthy for the giver; if a child starts placing the needs of others above his own, this could be a sign that perhaps he or she is giving too much.

What most inspires a child to grow up caring about others is the caring that the child receives. That nurturing is itself a perfect role model for children. Experts point out that when children feel they have a secure base at home, they're more likely to venture out and pay attention to others. It's when they feel deprived of love and nurturing that they focus too much on themselves and their own needs.

05 August, 2009

Interesting Article on The Victim Identity Movement

Never lose the ability to have compassion for others, no matter who you are, nor what you have been through...

The Line between Victims and Abusers
By Steven Stosny (of whom I am a HUGE fan of already...)

Victim identity is focus on damages suffered at the hands of other people. The desire to be identified as a victim creates a sense of entitlement and a motive to devalue anyone who does not offer special recognition and validation of victim status or compensation for it.

In our Age of Entitlement, it is often difficult for friends and therapists to detect abuse in intimate relationships and to discern who the primary abuser is. This is especially hard in cases of emotional abuse, with no objective evidence like police reports or medical records. The following characteristics of primary abusers and victims are not fool-proof, but I have found them to be highly reliable, based on the dramatic change of attitudes by the end of treatment.
Research and clinical experience clearly indicates that abusers are likely to:

• Underreport, hide, minimize, or justify their abusive behavior
• Describe themselves as victims
• Feel abused when their partners disagree with them or don't do what they want
• Label their partners' behavior as abusive
• Attribute malevolent intent to their partners' positive behavior (manipulative, deceptive)
• Pathologize their partners (emotional or personality disorder, incompetence)
• Use negative labels (nag, irrational, hysterical, lazy, unreliable)
• Have great difficulty describing their partners' perspectives
• Show little or no compassion
• Exhibit self-righteousness

Research and clinical evidence traditionally has shown that victims were likely to: • Underreport or hide their partners' abusive behavior• Not label obviously abusive behavior as abuse• Blame themselves in part for the abuse they reveal• Make excuses for the abuser's behavior• Bend over backwards to see the abuser's perspective• Describe the abuser at least partially in sympathetic terms • Exhibit self-doubt

How the line got blurred: Emotional Reactivity and the Victim Identity Movement -
Abuse victims, like anyone in relationships with high emotional reactivity, build automatic defense systems, which include preemptive strikes - if you expect to be criticized, stonewalled, or demeaned, you may well do it first. Victims can easily develop a reactive narcissism that makes seem like abusers.

But emotional reactivity between intimate partners, although more frequent in the Age of Entitlement, is a small part of the story. A more potent variable in blurring the line between victim and abuser is the reactivity of a social movement. The victim protection movement began as a noble attempt to counteract the most insidious aspect of the abusive dynamic - blaming the victim, which has the effect of making the victim feel ashamed of being abused. But as is the case with all effective social movements, the pendulum has swung too far the other way. We now have a victim identity movement, fueled by an industry of self-help authors and advocates, that has conferred a certain status to being a victim and thereby blurred the line between victims and abusers.

For example, in the beginning of my career, I saw many male abuse victims who would become angry and verbally aggressive at the suggestion that their partners abused them. Now obvious victims, along with those who are not victims but who have identified with descriptions in self-help books, become angry and aggressive if they are not recognized as victims.

The primary mistake with victims is urging them to think and sound like abusers. Due to the victim identity movement, some genuine victims will now:
• Describe their partners as abusive• Minimize or justifying their own aggressive behavior• Dismiss their partners' perspective• Attribute malevolent intent to their partners' positive behavior• Use negative labels (selfish, controlling, pig)• Pathologize their partners• Exhibit self-righteousness• Show no compassion

The primary mistake with abusers is to reinforce their victim-identity by:
• Emphasizing childhood or other experiences in which they were mistreated
• Validating their resentment and anger as "appropriate," which validates the distorted perspectives that go with anger and resentment
• Reinforcing their sense of entitlement - they should be respected, which, to them, means their partners must submit
• Confronting them in shame-inducing ways, before they learn to regulate shame with compassion

Successful Treatment and Friendly Support of Victims - No treatment or support of victims can be successful by urging them to disown their compassionate nature and think more like abusers. Rather, treatment should attempt to build on their strengths, i.e., expand the good things about their nature in a way that ensures safety and growth. A deeper level compassion helps them see the damage an abuser does to the self by harming loved ones. Then they can leave compassionately, for the abuser's own good. This is a far more empowering stance that will feel more authentic, avoid residual bitterness that adversely affects parenting, and be less likely to stir revenge from an abuser who feels humiliated by separation. And it will not create a pendulum of pain, in which victims leave out of anger and resentment only to return out of guilt and shame.

Successful Treatment and Friendly Support of Abusers - Abusers must access the natural state of compassion they first experienced as very young children and relived when they were falling in love. Most will then recognize that they have fundamental values that are more important to them than their egos and that their egos were constructed in large part as defense against the shame of violating or losing touch with those values. Motivated by defense of ego, they violate their deepest values and devalue those they love. Motivated by their deepest values, their need to defend a fragile ego subsides, along with their need to control, criticize, dominate, and devalue others. (Boot camp post)

Notice that appeal to the deepest values of clients and friends makes the distinction between abusers and victims less important. A compassionate victim, knowing that the abuser cannot change without becoming more compassionate, will leave. An abuser who becomes more compassionate cannot continue to abuse.

Source URL: http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/4719

I also highly recommend the following article regarding the self-destruction behind having a victim-identity outlook... Emotional Abuse (Overcoming Victim Identity)

04 August, 2009

Be The Change That You Want To See

“When we are no longer to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves…” ~ Victor Frankl

Making Meaning: Be the Change
This week I spent time reflecting on change; thinking about efforts to make change outside of myself and how these efforts have influenced change within myself. Outer and inner change is not an easy process, comes with many challenges and for me, an increased commitment to make meaningful decisions. The above quote from Victor Frankl inspired me to create a mini-altered book focused on change and meaning, as well as to identify key principles that have been important in my growth and being the change I want to be.

Be the Change: Think and Energy- I have learned about giving more thought to what I put my energy towards,what supports my authentic , and my intentions. What opportunities and experiences will best utilize my strengths, ideas, spirit, and dedication?

Be the Change: Relationships and Choices- The relationships I nurture and the decisions I make also influence my ability to make meaning and take a stand to be the change I want to be. Collaboration, choices, responsibility, and commitment all fall under these principles. We reap what we sow.

Be the Change: Meaning and Empower- These principles are most important to me and my path to purpose. How and where do I want to make meaning? Enstilling hope, trust, and having the courage to keep moving forward helps me create empowerment and resiliency.

Be the Change: Action and Truth- To create change within or outside ourselves requires action coming from a belief rooted in truth and vision.
I’m sure there will more art and thoughts around this topic on my end, as meaning and change are important to the work I do and my every day life experience. Until then, the video and song below by Kat Edmonson also captures many of the reflections mentioned in this posting, as well as adds new ones to think more about. How do you create meaning to be the change you want to be?

01 August, 2009

The Maliciously Missing, Jon Van Dyke

Jon Van Dyke faked his own disappearance, leaving his family devastated, lost and forced to endure an aimless, constant state of the horrific unknown.

Officially a missing person, vast resources and tax payer's funds were spent trying to locate him. His wife, Maureen Reintjes, out of love for her husband and father of her girls, dedicated every waking moment possible to Finding Her Missing Husband.

Meanwhile, Van Dyke was just "hiding-out", eluding authorities, tormenting his family, concerned friends and countless volunteers who were all desperately looking for him, a Maliciously Missing Man.

When Jon faked his disappearance he committed the most selfish of actions imaginable. His family are the ones who suffered.

Maureen's life was now ridden with unrelenting anguish ... burdened with the finanacial nightmares left by a "missing husband" ... losing 2 homes ... she was left homeless ... this is just a peek at the hell of living in the unknown, Maureen's everday life for over 4 years.

Maureen's Heartwrenching Quest to Find Jon Van Dyke, Her Missing Husband

Maliciously Missing Awareness Group Network

Jon Van Dyke, A Maliciously Missing Man

Maliciously Missing Law (draft)

Diane Dimond's Coverage of The Maliciously Missing
The Maliciously Missing on Denny Griffin's TalkRadio Show
The Levi Page Show Highlights The Maliciously Missing
Burl Barer of In Cold Blog Looks Into Runaway Husbands as well as Jon Van Dyke
The Huffington Post
True Slant
Investigative Discovery