Thursday, May 09, 2013
by helping others you help your self
Admiral James Stockdale was the highest ranking US military officer in the Hoa Loa prisoner-of-war camp during the Vietnam war. He was brutally tortured more than twenty times over the eight years he was imprisoned from 1965 to 1973. During that time he dedicated himself to helping the other soldiers survive the ordeal. Jim Collins, author of the book Good to Great, asked Stockdale how he endured, and who in the camp failed to endure. In answering he said: “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you cannot afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever that may be.”
Jim Collins summarizes this wisdom as the “Stockdale Paradox”:
Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties
and at the same time
Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
how many letters have you written
do you write them letters
do you re read them over time
do you have a box full of unsent shit
once a year
a ceremony of value
to let go and forgive
build an altar
burn the letters
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
cowboy hunkered down like a cowboy
In the dark at 05:55
watching the moon it's 12'
hunkered over my boots
like a cowboy
with no campfire
- glad I have extra coat
, letting dog wander
about yard slowly
... She likes it when
I work from home better than
these trips into the city for meetings...
My breath is visible
wafting to the moon ...
hunkered over my boots like a cowboy without a campfire
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
light sound shadow silence
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
are you dealing with People who leave you feeling bad, sad, shaky or feeling sick in the pit of your stomach
here it is... in full
As I'm a medical doctor with some training in psychiatry, understanding that I was dealing with individuals with a bona fide personality disorder was a huge "a-ha" moment. The thing is, there might be a clear list of characteristics describing someone with borderline, antisocial or narcissistic PD in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). But when you're dealing with one of these people, it often won't become (diagnosably) apparent until you spend a lot of time with them. And even then, if you're really emotionally ensnarled you might not be able to spot it on your own.
Interacting with them might just make you feel really bad about yourself, or they may say and do things that don't sit quite right with you. Often, they have such an otherwise charming way about them that they find a way to make you laugh afterwards, or do something nice that makes you confused about "which one" is the real person. Most people will choose to focus on the good stuff and downplay the pathological, often at their peril.
A difficult person in your life might not have a full-blown personality disorder; they may just have related traits that express themselves from time to time. It still takes a toll on your self-esteem and well-being to be around them.
For the purposes of this article, here's a short list of the types of people I would lump into the "unreasonable":
- Those you can't have a reasonable conversation with; they somehow twist your words or totally confuse you and then tell you that you're the one who doesn't know how to communicate
- People who make subtly or overtly demeaning comments or say cutting things to you disguised as a "joke"
- Those that don't respect boundaries and seem to enjoy stepping all over one after you've placed it
- The types that aren't willing to consider your point of view or listen to your side of things (or just stare at you blankly, or laugh, or explode, when you try to explain "how you feel")
- Verbal or emotional abusers (these can also range from subtle to overt)
- People who leave you feeling bad, sad, shaky or feeling sick in the pit of your stomach
- "Crazymakers," a.k.a. people who provoke you into acting crazy or unbalanced (and love making you feel like there's something wrong with you when you do), when your behaviour across the rest of your life is proof that you're not
- The excessively charming who are too good to be true and have an ulterior motive
Now, here are the things I've learned about how to handle them and minimize the damage to yourself, your days, your sanity and your life:
1) Minimize time with them
Keep your interactions as short as possible. Minimizing your exposure to pathology goes a long, long way.
2) Keep it logical
I'm a very verbal, heart-focused person, so I would always try to connect with and reason with these types (and pretty much anyone else) from an emotional or empathic perspective. You know, those "when you do X it makes me feel Y" communication tactics we're taught in relationship books. This type of heart-centered communication only works with reasonable people who care. Unreasonable people usually don't care, and their response (or lack of it) will often only make you more upset. Keep communications fact-based, using minimal details.
3) Don't drink around them
Though it's tempting to knock back a glass of wine or two when you're around people like this, it will only make you more emotionally vulnerable and more likely to do or say something useless that will either make you look bad, make you feel bad, or make you more of a target.
4) Focus on them in conversation
A way to avoid being the target of demeaning comments, manipulation or having your words twisted is to say as little as possible. Volunteer minimal information and get them talking about themselves (if you have to be around them or talk to them, that is)—they are a far safer conversation subject than you are.
5) Give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish they'd be
I see this in coaching clients all the time and in myself, too. There are people in our lives who have moments where they seem to be the parent/partner/spouse/friend (insert whatever's appropriate) you've always felt they could be, yet they ultimately always end up hurting or disappointing us significantly. Amazingly, we fall for it and get our hopes up again the next time they treat us nicely or seem to have turned a new leaf. Giving up the hope and fully accepting this person for who they really are can be an unbelievable relief after what is sometimes a lifetime of wishing.
6) Stay away from topics that get you into trouble
Before going into an interaction with a difficult person, review in your mind the topics that invite attack and be proactive about avoiding them. For example, if your in-laws always make cracks about your choice of career, answer neutrally and change the subject immediately (see #4) if they ask you how work is going.
7) Don't try to get them to see your point of view
Don't try to explain yourself or try to get them to understand you and empathize with your perspective. They won't, and you'll just feel worse for trying.
8) Create a distraction
If you absolutely have to spend time with someone who typically upsets you, try to be around them in circumstances that offer some sort of distraction. Focus on playing with a pet if there's one in the vicinity, have the interaction be based around some kind of recreational activity or entertainment, or offer to help in a way that takes you out of the main ring of the Coliseum (e.g. offering to chop vegetables in the kitchen before a family dinner). If you can get them to do something that absorbs their attention (taking it off you), even better.
As I mentioned to a client today, if you master these skills and manage to conduct these interactions while being civil and even friendly, you might manage to save the relationship. Not that you would necessarily want to, but in some cases if the person is a family member, boss, or some other key fixture in your life who you can't cut out of your life, these tactics may prove to be lifesavers. They certainly have been for me!
My website: www.susanbiali.com
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Friday, December 21, 2012
copied from tiny buddha
The People We Need to Forgive Can be Our Greatest Teachers
Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Toni-Yvonne Keddie
“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~Marianne Williamson
I lay huddled in a ball, my arms tightly around my knees, screaming at the top of my lungs. “Stop!” I wailed.
It was November 30, 2006. The next day I was turning 13, and it seemed like my life was crumbling before my eyes.
Earlier that night I was on my computer mindlessly clicking, with the usual soundtrack in the background, my mother and stepfather screaming at each other—until I heard a shattering smash. For minutes the house lay silent.
I crept out of my room, down the hallway to see my stepfather throwing my mother’s broken glasses back at her face. I saw the glass coffee table shattered.
“Go through to your room Toni!” my mother yelled. I refused and stubbornly watched.
My stepfather and mother continued to yell. Next the television hit the floor, and that’s when I found myself in the ball, screaming for it all to stop.
After that night we moved into a women’s shelter for the abused and homeless. In a haze of Valium, depression, and nightmares I watched women pass me by. Their children’s eyes spoke of horrors.
I spent the next five years of my life in a chaotic darkness within my head. I blamed myself for what had happened that night and despised what I was.
During that time, my mother and I flew to the other side of the planet and back many times over, chasing fleeting moments and running away from ourselves.
Eventually, my mother went back to my stepfather. Things quickly escalated and we again moved to another country, then to another state.
After that night, a huge resentment boiled inside of me, particularly for my stepfather. Still, I would go up to visit him every now and then after we moved back to Sydney.
These visits became poisonous for me, as I blamed him for everything—for moving me to Australia when I was seven, for the dark detours my life took seemingly because of him, and for what I felt and saw.
With every drop of alcohol that passed his lips, his smug face became more and more arrogant; his sickening grin was like nails to a chalkboard.
As years flew by I turned 17, moved out of our home, stopped talking to my mother, and cut everyone I knew off.
My stepfather was a constant presence inside my mind. I replayed the scenes over and over, drowning in tides of painful memories.
I felt deep down that my time with him was not over; there was unfinished business.
After turning 18, I made some peace with myself, my family, and where I was in terms of geography. A sense of direction and meaning slowly crept into my life. Yet, like a concrete wall, there lay the past and my stepfather.
The path of forgiveness was never going to be easy. Although I knew I needed to take that path, inside I was conflicted and confused.
One night, clicking mindlessly through Facebook, I saw a friend request from my stepfather. Sirens wailed in my head; was I ready for this? Over the next month we talked. In the daze of confusion I felt grief, compassion, and empathy.
He was a lost boy, a child inside, so badly hurt by life and other people that he felt comfort in unleashing on others. Were his actions right? No.
But understanding his pain and past helped me come to terms with mine.
Next month, on December 1, 2012 I will be 19. Unlike the previous years, when I spent the preceding months mourning what could have been, I feel comfort.
Slowly, I am making peace with my past and my stepfather; I forgive him for his actions and want for him nothing but happiness and fulfillment. The thought of his loneliness pains me, yet I feel it is through his loneliness and struggles he may manage to forgive himself and find peace with his past.
At times down the path of forgiveness, I heard a voice inside saying that I was letting him off easy, but a wiser one told me different. What good was to come of holding onto this ball of poisonous energy? It was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode within.
I now feel thankful for my stepfather’s influence and presence in my life. He has been one of my greatest teachers; he just doesn’t realize it.
That’s often the case with the people who’ve hurt us. When we can see what we’ve gained from having them in our lives, it’s so much easier to forgive.
Photo by Fey Ilyas
that was the third time
i will say this bluntly
in my twenties i was betrayed and my heart broken
by a woman i loved and wanted to be with together when we were old and great grandparents
i did not realize that i was the summer fling, i was the affair
she married her high sweet heart
thanks Betsy - that hurt.
took me over three years to kind of get over it, i had no skills or tools or support then
surprisingly my experience of the end of my marriage did not break my heart
i was mad, i was used, but i must have only been in it because i felt that finally someone came along that wanted me so i jumped on board... not fully... since that was not heart break
it was heart break with Lisa, i let her into my life
took the risk of introducing her to my kid
women i dated after my marriage did not meet my kid until i thought it was going to be something big or good or lasting... so a number of them did not meet my kid
well that was my mid thirties and we had these dreams of twin red headed boys and a mountain cabin
the day after Lisa 'broke it off with me' she had another guy... the brutal part was that she had moved into the apartment directly in front of my kitchen window so i got to watch every time his truck was there - that was like the scream by Gustv Klimt the fucking horror
this last time
i was all in, i wanted it to work, i made changes in my handling of things that i had struggled with for decades, i created a budget that i still work with and modify, i addressed back taxes and got a payment plan in action and my credit score is rising from low average to middle average, i had major emotional psychological break troughs about issues that were at my root being that had driven me rather than my making conscious choices over... i was all in. - i was taking emotional hits, i was forgiving behavior done to me that was hurtful i was all in. for the first time i felt really loved felt really happy - then it slowly dissolved and man did i fight it. i wanted it to not be so
the truth is like this, every time we went camping Laura always went looking to see if there was a better camp site while i just wanted to unpack and set up our assigned camp site.
you see inherently i feel i can make any camp site work
Laura inherently was always looking for the greener pasture the better option
she did that in our relationship by having an affair with a man she met out of state around one of the trips to visit her daughter in college in AZ. she found a better camp site.
how do i know i was traumatized by the series of events that unrolled since mid 2011 and this year of 2012 will go down as the 'wait a minute i am about to vomit' year ... the cold sweats, the insomnia, the nausea, agitated digestive system, the lack of hunger...
i have had these moments of wanting to to help her - then i realized -- who would while wearing a claddagh ring on the left hand an age old irish symbol of engagement and the way we wore it of marriage, who would multiple times verbalize a commitment, who lived for a solid two years equally in my house as i in her house we were together everyday for more than two years... over the 5 and a half or depending on how one counts the time.... first fuck to last fuck? (ooooo i offended you? too bad - bite me) -- who while in a supposed life partner commitment ... block their partners cell phone -- twice. she had my dog in her house and locked all the exterior doors so i could not get it!
in hind sight... that takes significant lack of character
so what am i doing still having the urge to help her?
i still love her
always will - my bad
i have learned to forgive but not forget... if you forgive bad behavior do you just shut up about it and allow that person to keep doing the bad behavior? no.
you set boundaries ... some families do interventions... will anyone do an intervention for Laura?
she is repeating her same pattern.... hot swap her men. get a new one that does not know all her secrets since when one knows all her secrets she cant hide it gets harder to weave webs of untruth
i realized this when one day amongst another couple and Laura and I she brought up 'lets set a wedding date' ... happily i mentioned this the next morning to Laura's co-worker.... Laura jumped down my throat told me it was not my place to tell her that... ? really? ... in hind sight the only explanation is what was being told to the coworker did not align to what was being said to myself and my neighbors... webs get tricky if they are not built on truth...
why am i posting this public?
she needs an intervention... other wise the temporary honeymoon phase with the old guy she moved into her house.... in less than three months after our six year relationship, from out of state, ... you do the math... the phase she will do will repeat and in three or less than five years she will just repeat.
it is heartbreaking to watch someone put them selves through a repeating hell like that.
there is nothing i can do
she never believed in me enough to work together on us... it was fine that i was doing work but in hindsight i realized she never did work.. no change... same person she was when she called me in tears in our first few months together because she was packed and driving to the airport not to go to a business convention or meeting but to spend a weekend a spa with another guy... i forgave her then and opened my heart to trust and we went on for more than five years... of which a solid four years where good
i learned a lot A LOT... i made big changes in me, i understand stuff i did not understand 6 years ago...
i am thankful for the good memories and for a while i believe she believed we would do it
until it came time to talk about co-inhabiting in one house and not doing the two house thing, it was fine when i was me and my daughter moving into her house... but the change of moving out of her house and turning that into her office... was too much... that was the snap
my push for getting us in one house, for more little moment together time... was the beginning of the end ... that and her willingness to have a fucking affair