16/03/2021

Hellish Help

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:30 am by The Water Bearer

You know that feeling where you feel disconnected from those around you, when no one understands your heart or intentions, where you feel accused, misjudged, attacked, unsafe. When you feel that no one sees your value or allows you to be your worst self and let it be ok. When no one gives you the benefit of the doubt and every tiny thing you do is under a magnifying glass and scrutinized. You feel fragile and exposed but even when you seek God in that moment you can’t seem to truly connect to Him. It’s enough to make the best of us shut down, or crumble into a puddle of tears, or erupt in a cyclone of unpredictable emotions.

These feelings all bubble to the surface because deep down you feel you’re not good enough, no matter what you do, or how hard you try, there’s always a critic, waiting to pounce on you for pulling a facial expression you didn’t know you were pulling while a torrent of emotions overwhelm you… I’m mean it’s not like we can see our own face looking out at other people… right!

Most of the time you try to press those feelings down and say “I’m fine” to anyone who asks. This is a protection strategy, because during these dark times you are extremely vulnerable. You know you can’t trust yourself to be in that state around other people because all self-control and self-esteem has left the building. You know from past experience that you can’t trust others to get it, to give the validation, compassion and empathy you crave, and adding their misunderstanding to that level of vulnerability is like a Molotov Cocktail for your sanity!

This my lovelies is HELL… It’s a place filled by these fearful voices of the enemy deep inside us. I’ve be writing about Hell for a long time, about the sanctifying process it holds, bringing to light our fears from deep within so they can be seen and then cleared out, so they won’t unconsciously pollute our behaviour and our faith. But I’ve only just realised what others can do to help someone who is in Hell.

So this post is for me to learn and practice more than anyone, because I’m so sensitive to their hell I want to fix it. The closer you are to me, the more I want to stop your tears, but I now realise that these tears are precious, and necessary, and being “Happy” all the time is disingenuous and unable to bring growth. If we aren’t growing we are just dying, if our loved ones aren’t growing they are dying. So encourage the tears to fall, to water that authentic growth. God wants us to be authentic and healthy and free from the lie that we aren’t good enough. So we all must give our loved ones a safe place to unload their tears so they can get the relief and the lessons and eventually the blessings that Hell brings.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

How to Handle Hell

1.Never give Advice to someone in Hell. They can’t do shit in that moment… Nothing. If you understand what hell is like, then imagine someone giving you advice, you’ll probably understand why it made the top of my list. Wait until they ask “What should I do?”

2. Listen with eye contact if possible, and stay engaged with sympathy sounds, hmmm…Yeah… tutt… Oh.. geeze…

3. Ask them questions about their pain. Allow them to lean into the discomfort and have empathy (even if they are upset because of you). “Do you feel … Misunderstood? Attacked? Blamed? Like nothing you do is good enough? I hate that.. it sux to feel like that”. As I mentioned in a recent post…Validation is vital.

4. See their truth… This is so important… Look past your own fears, needs, desires, self talk, and try to truly see them, to feel their pain, to give them grace to pull faces and say nasty things and recognise they don’t mean anything by it, they aren’t to blame, they are just in hell. They are frantically battling demons and you are just getting hit with friendly fire.

5. Never talk about yourself or say “I understand” before they’ve unloaded. Saying ‘I understand’ or “I’ve been there” or “same” cuts them off so they can’t explain any more. They don’t get the freedom to ramble about it, to unload, to cry deeper and release more pain from within. We learn heaps about ourselves when we talk about ourselves. Wait until every question you can think to ask has been asked, and they begin to feel better, then say “I can’t tell you what to do but if you like, I can tell you what I did in a similar situation?”

6. Watch for your own fears. Often when we see someone we care for going through something difficult we get triggered too. Especially if it is our child or spouse, because we immediately take on some guilt that we were unable to protect them from such pain. When our emotions become fearful, we automatically go into control mode, we want to fix it. This is why we try to give advice like in lesson no.1. It’s also why we start talking about our own pain in no.5 and no.7, because we can so easily relate to theirs. But that makes the situation and conversation about us and that doesn’t help them.

7. Remind them that the enemy is up to his old tricks, lying to them in their thoughts and using their emotions of shame, telling them they aren’t safe, or aren’t good enough. Give them countering truths against these lies. Reassure them that they are more than good enough and loved even at their worst… Jesus made one hell of a journey just because he loves the worst of us most! Encourage them that the enemy has been defeated by the cross and this will pass and bring amazing interactions with God and huge growth of faith.

As I mentioned before in this blog and many others, there is a very important purpose to Hell, and there is no avoiding it, even if you’re “saved”. Hell is the furnace that purifies the flesh and soul. It reveals our worst selves so that we know where the enemy is getting in and that helps us know where to direct our attention as we grow in faith and towards the best version of ourselves. So the next time you or a loved one are going through a season of Hell, get out this blog, and use these tips to support each other through it. It just may help the Hellish phase pass far more quickly than resisting it, because in that moment you get to be the arms of Jesus, holding your loved one and helping them find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Every time I learn something cool about God or understand a little more how much the devil sucks, I write a blog so I can treasure the lesson. This lesson is huge! Its a game changer and it effects every single one of us. Thank you Lord for sharing your wisdom with us!

 

24/11/2020

Accepting Unforgiveness

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:18 pm by The Water Bearer

I’ve always tired to be nice, polite and tolerant of people, I’m a typical people pleaser, so its easy for me to ‘forgive’, to keep the peace and get along with most people. I really just wanted to be included and I assumed this was how it’s done.

In the past this trait caused me to befriend the wrong people. Rather than being choosy about who I let close, I invited in anyone willing to show me attention, affection and acceptance. Even after they had treated me with appalling betrayals, I was willing to give another chance, believing I was growing and learning about forgiveness.

It’s not just friends that teach us about forgiveness, its colleagues, family and lovers too. Recently I have been learning the difference between friendliness and true forgiveness. The world would like us to believe that we must remain in relationship with those we have forgiven in order to prove we have let go of the grudge. But people are often nice to the face of those they hate, so how is being ‘Nice’ to them any evidence of our forgiving heart? I’m pretty good at nice, but I’m learning its not the same thing as true forgiveness. 

I heard Jordan Peterson say something like “Don’t pretend you are a better person than you are. If you have even 5% unforgiveness left in you and you pretend its not there, it will come out in other ways and may destroy everything.”

This got me thinking, because what happens when we allow someone back into our lives, claim to forgive and try to forget their past betrayals, only to realise they continue in the same vein? What happens when more betrayals build on top of the 5% of unforgiveness we may have hiding in our hearts from the last source of pain? Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7, but I don’t believe he was encouraging us to keep putting ourselves back in the path of someone who hasn’t learned the lesson from their last betrayal, or even their last hundred betrayals. I think he was talking about how often we all fail, feel remorse and need forgiveness and must give the same grace to others that we accept for ourselves. That is more about self-awareness, and growth, because we ALL mess up over and over, and our remorse must reach its utmost before we really make the changes and cease the behaviour.

In just the past year or so, a few of those I had ‘forgiven’ and let back in, became untrustworthy yet again. And those old beliefs that I must rise above, tolerate and ‘forgive’ came rising from within me. But when I took a good look in my heart I realised I was still hurt, still angry at past events even though I had continued in relationship with them, and so their recent betrayals just lit the fuse of an explosion of unforgiveness! It wasn’t pretty.

On top of that, people who I trusted for many years also turned on me, and it would have been easy to pretend all was forgiven and go back to people pleasing them, but instead I withdrew just a little, I stayed polite, but I chose not to be as invested as I had always been. I didn’t want to be included. I wanted an damned apology! I wanted to protect my fragile heart and I wanted proof that they were trustworthy again before letting down my guard.

Then came a huge epiphany!

It is often necessary to accept our unforgiveness and take the time to heal, in order to truly forgive.

Now this will be tricky, and can’t be rushed, especially with those who haven’t even apologised, and/or continued to betray me. I knew I needed a significant amount of time to truly forgive. I needed to heal that last 5% and that means I need time without more betrayals adding to the pile. 

Some may believe that I am unchristian and unloving by removing myself from the contact of those who need my forgiveness. But I know the truth, I know I have tried to treat them well despite the pain in my heart. I recognise they need my true forgiveness, not merely a polite relationship. I believe, thanks to the forgiveness I have received from my Saviour, that true forgiveness is possible and I am looking forward to experiencing its freedom when I get there. But in the mean time, I’m removing that overcompensating smile plastered across my face that makes everyone more comfortable with their mistreatment of me and I’m focusing on the process of entirely overcoming any deeper levels of unforgiveness, so that when I say and act like I have forgiven someone, I will feel and know it’s TRUTH!

 

 

11/02/2020

Seek Not to Alter Me

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:17 pm by The Water Bearer

“Cheer up”

“Calm Down”

“Harden Up”

“Take a Breath”

“Just Chill”

“What’s Wrong Now?”

“Dont Stress

“Geeze you’re a lot to take, aren’t you!”

If you have a mental illness, you might hear feedback like this all the time. Usually from those around you who feel they are being helpful by telling you how to ACT ‘normally’.

I recently watched the movie ‘Joker‘, and yep ok it was little darker than I usually like, but for the sake of research into mental illness I thought “Heck, I’m just gonna give it a go.”

Just as predicted it was dark, I mean really dark, and brilliantly acted!

As I watched intently, gripping my throw-pillow and cringing at the brutality, one statement POPPED like fireworks when I saw it. It was simply brilliant!

Joker writes in his journal –

‘The worst part about having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.”

This sums it up folks! WOW! I mean WOW!

I’ve been at this a long time, well over a decade, I am unmedicated and functional despite my episodes of Cyclothymia (a form of Bipolar with long-lasting episodes, some last months, others can last years). I know the tools that help me avoid episodes and the tools that help me cope with episodes, and I use them daily. When I’m feeling at my worst, I struggle to be around anyone who wants me to behave like they want, or even to behave like I would when I’m not episodic. But the reality is, I can’t keep that up for long, and often “playing sane” can trigger a spiral into an even more severe episode, making life so much harder to deal with.

I often think how nice it would be if someone asked “How you doing today Claire-Bear?”

and I could reply “I’m actually mid-episode at the moment and struggling to be here.”

and have them reply, “Well good on you for showing up and giving it a go, if you need a time out or want someone to talk it all through with, just holler.”

But I rarely reply that way, and the times I do open up, I usually get looks of pity or motivational speeches and well meaning advice on how to manage my mood better. Some people just back away slowly, wide-eyed, not making any sudden movements, never to ask how I am again. I’ve even had people take offence, some blame and shame me. Some say “well I’m here now, you could at least cheer up for me!” or “Just get over it!” or “I can’t believe you asked for some space from me!”

With all the awareness around mental illness of late, when will we as a society realise that there is no benefit in encouraging people to “Be Normal” when none of us are normal all the time, and life would be very boring if we were. You’d prefer to be accepted or at least tolerated, even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness, because lets face it, you’re not perfect, no one is. Perhaps more of you could be authentic in your downtimes and weirdness if there wasn’t such negative feedback when you come clean?

Remember: An episode is not just a sad mood, or an extra does of energy, that can be altered to suit the crowd if you will it…And it doesn’t mean we can be written off as dysfunctional and useless either!

I am very lucky, I have a number of friends, family and colleagues who get me, they just do. They appreciate my amazing qualities and accept my horrifying ones. They don’t hold it against me when I act in ways that seem selfish or crazy, they give me the benefit of the doubt and don’t take it personally. They show support and they listen, they don’t sit counting how many times I interrupted them while in a manic state or take offense, demanding that I should “learn how to LISTEN!” They don’t get pissed off when I drop off the grid for a bit and stop initiating contact when I’m wrestling with depression, they reach out and say “Hi” with no expectations. They don’t hold against me the stances I take or excessive advice I give, they appreciate the wisdom I’ve gained from my overactive analytical mind and depth of thought.

So the next time you notice our imperfections…. instead of trying to make us act like you want, you could try saying

“That’s cool, You just do You.” or “I’m here if you need, Babe.” or a simple “I love you”.

That goes for behind our backs too, because eventually snide remarks all come out and who can tell the damage they can do to someone’s soul?

30/11/2014

Generational Emotional Curses

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 6:57 pm by The Water Bearer

genetic

This journey of self-awareness and self-discovery, which I have been on for many years, has seen many breakthroughs, each one adding a small piece to the puzzle that is me. One of the more perplexing areas of me, is my powerful emotional surges.

Emotional control has been at the forefront of my motivation since my mid 20’s. Prior to that I was extremely emotionally manipulative and reactive, I had no idea how destructive uncontrolled emotions could be. However, this journey has taught me that emotions are fickle and can’t be trusted to influence all my actions and decisions.

Have you ever wondered why so many members of your family or any particular family suffer patterns of uncontrollable emotional surges? I saw these surges often in my family and in myself. By faith I came to suspect that an emotional generational curse has become an inheritance. Desperate to overcome and break curses since I can remember, I knew if I didn’t break them, then I would pass them onto my children, which was and is completely unacceptable to me. The curse needed to reveal some specifics for me to fully understand what was being passed along. During a recent session of NET (Neuro-emotional technique) I received the confirmation I was looking for, along with some details to help identify and address this long term issue.

One of the main problems that arises from this curse is an emotional domino effect. Powerful feelings don’t only affect the person experiencing them but attempt to knock over each person who comes into contact with them. Making it especially hard to validate themselves and their feelings without everyone else feeling the same way. I call this Emotional Co-dependence. It is the inability to be alone in your own feelings.

After some wonderful counsel, I began to consider the concept of staying on our own emotional ground, so that as we grow and become self-aware we can learn not to feel guilty about a decision we have made on our own, even if our loved ones or peers don’t approve. We need to validate our own reasons and not allow the perspective or guilt trips of others to move us from the stable stance we choose to take. We also need to stay calm when a family member is irrational and emotionally out of control. Try to stay positive even when someone is being negative. And most difficult of all, to stay sure of ourselves even when being challenged to be different, without getting defensive.

This is not easy by any means. It takes a lot of self-awareness and self-control to undo the automatic responses that have been woven into your nervous system for as long as you can remember. The keys are persistence and patience. I may not always succeed in staying on my own emotional ground, however I am aiming for quality over quantity at this stage. I may feel alienated for a little while, I may seem aloof and uncaring to those I used to jump into the emotional boat with. Yet I have seen evidence that if I stick to this strategy, and wait patiently for the initial emotions to pass, we can connect with others in much healthier, independent ways.

I realise that undoing strongholds with such deep roots will not happen overnight, and I try to give myself grace when I slip back into old habits. I feel rejuvenated by these new understandings, and grateful to God for His strength to help me when I am weak, and His mercy when I fall. I pray this curse will not be so difficult for my children to overcome now that God is helping me undermine some of its power. Amen!

Curses

02/10/2014

Enemies of Change

Posted in Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 1:24 pm by The Water Bearer

Family Tree

My psychologist recently explained to me a statistic regarding the relationships of a person in therapy. He said that when long-term relationships have found common ground through either a dysfunctional childhood, or shared a major disruption or trauma in their home life, then many members of the group may develop issues well into adulthood. Ranging from nervous/mood disorders to depression, addiction, psychosis, violence, crime, and so forth. He explained what happens when one of the members of this group goes into therapy and begins to make healthy changes to their self-awareness, their self-control and their lifestyle, helping to manage many of these types of issues to cause less and less dysfunction in their lives.

He said….

“It is almost always extremely difficult for that person in therapy to maintain close relationships with those from their past, especially those who still have issues.”

He explained that, in a subconscious way, friends and family find it uncomfortable to be around the person who has changed. They have become unfamiliar, which is unsettling. He said “Often certain ‘set-ups’ are created to attempt to bring out the old habits of the changed person, thus trying to make the person recognizable once again.”

In my understanding of inner angels and enemies, it seems obvious that these ‘subconscious set-ups’ are the work of inner enemies. Inner enemies are always at the forefront of relational disputes, as they attempt to destroy the connections which God originally designed. Inner enemies don’t want to encourage us to change and become stable functioning adults. They have their own agenda, to cause dysfunction.

The types of set-ups my psychologist was talking about, are commonly forceful disputes over both trivial and serious matters, usually in an attempt to challenge the opinion, behaviour or perspective of the other person.

I believe his statements go both ways….

Someone who has been on a journey of self-discovery long enough, will usually have developed a variety of new boundaries of what they believe is acceptable behaviour. With the aid of their inner angels, they may have changed their own behaviour according to these boundaries. This can cause them to struggle immensely when spending time with anyone who behaves in ways they have worked hard to avoid in themselves.

My Mother used to say, “You are who you hang with”. From experience I know this to be true. When I hung around people who did a lot of drugs and slept around, my internal moral compass changed and I found myself desensitised to behaviours that I had once found unacceptable. Growing up around yelling, name calling and nastiness created a common fall back reaction in disputes of all kinds.

I woke up one day discovering that I found my own behaviour completely unacceptable.

As time has gone on I have removed myself, or God has removed these types of people from my life. I am blessed to now be surrounded by people who understand boundaries and treat each other with emotional decency and respect. They also treat themselves with self-worth, and a healthy self-accountability for their own flaws.

As I explained before, this means it is very difficult to spend any length of time with people who still behave in ways I have distanced myself from. I do not accept uncontrollable anger, sexual immorality, violence and abuse as healthy influences in my life. I find it equally difficult to be around those who blame others for their actions, as a way of avoiding their own accountability.

The thing that is most difficult regarding family and friends, and the statistic my psychologist explained, is the deep affection and connection you share. You see all the good in them and remember the good times, and you want desperately to share many more happy times with them.

Unfortunately sometimes, no matter how much you focus on the good in people, there comes a time when you must open your eyes to the whole picture and accept that their destructive issues may never improve. Then a hard decision must be made. Sharing history, blood and love doesn’t always mean you must automatically share your time, your trust and your life.

We must continue to pray for those who we may not be able to have close relationships with. I believe wholeheartedly in a God who can restore and completely alter a person’s heart, attitude, behaviour and lifestyle, but it takes time and a joint effort. I pray for all of us to embody the respect, and love that God intended us to have for each other, so we can show those inner enemies what relationships under God look like. Amen!

images

18/07/2013

Through Child’s Eyes*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , at 10:23 am by The Water Bearer

What stands out most to you as you recall being a child, looking up at adult relationships?

Did you have two parents or grandparents who worked together through tough times?
How about your neighbours, family friends or your friend’s parents, were any a really good team?
Were you from a single parent family, where independence and struggle filled the years?
Did step parents join your family for a while and then leave without further contact?
Was compassion and grace obvious? Or was there bitterness and disappointment?
Was there respect, or insult?
Was there silent tolerance and unhappiness, or joy and companionship?
Rejection rather than acceptance?
Were there unresolved arguments?
Did family members gather around for support during the difficult trials of life?

Children absorb everything! Our own childhood effects so much of who we become and what behaviours we choose to adopt as we grow to form our own relationships. The behaviour modeled by the adults in a child’s life are powerful to say the least.

What will our children take away from their childhood? What understandings will they form from the behaviours modeled by us, and those we are in relationship with?

Will they come to believe Fathers are replaceable?

Will they believe the man should be the head of the household and given the respect to be so?

Will they think demanding and holding grudges is the way to make things change?

Will they be able to recognise a sincere apology and appreciate the value of such a thing?

Will they accept abuse as normality?

Will they view alcohol or drug use as a reward for surviving another tough week or even a tough day?

Will they understand and respect money, without letting it ruin them?

Will they cherish hard work and education?

Will they have the belief that they are valuable?

Will they have faith and hope that all will work out in the end?

These are tough questions…

They will grow into whom they determine themselves to be. Our mistakes may make them shudder at the thought and they may refuse to repeat them. On the other hand, they may follow closely in our footsteps.

They may make choices that take them so far from anything we came close to in our own lives, however the influences they received from their childhood will stay with them, deep in their hearts and memory.

Isn’t that worth thinking about? Isn’t that worth praying about?

None of us can claim to be perfect parents or to have perfect relationships, and that is why I believe it is so important for our children to have a concept of faith in the only perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

I am not suggesting an upbringing with religiosity, with laws and punishment beaten into every conversation. Nor with judgement and focus on sin, which I feel is more damaging than encouraging. Those things they can learn and understand as they grow and begin to question for themselves.

However the precious unconditional Love from God is vital to our sense of self-worth. The concept deep within us that someone accepts us, forgives us, helps us, is watching out for us. Knowing we will never be rejected or forsaken, so long as we keep Him in our hearts. Having healthy, righteous behaviour modeled for us, that we can aspire to emulate in our own lives, is extremely beneficial. Plus the accountability that our actions effect the greater good of the world we have been invited to be part of.

Don’t our children deserve to have these elements of faith in their lives? If we are unable to always show up in the ways that are best for them, I am comforted and so grateful that God will never fail them. Open His word, learn about His Love, share it with your children and invite Him to fill all spaces where our humanity makes us fall short. May Gods Blessings be upon all the children!

Jesus & CHILD

25/10/2012

Discipline + Trust = Love*

Posted in Family, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , at 11:23 am by The Water Bearer

The follow up to my previous post. Sometimes the earlier stuff needs revisiting. 🙂

Inner Angels & Enemies

In my previous blog Discipline + Trust = Love I took you through the story of my emotionally manipulative behaviour and how perhaps a lack of discipline and trust contributed to it. I hope it helps others recognise similar behaviour in themselves, and to learn how to access powerful angels to combat this all too common inner enemy. Please read the previous one first, as it sets the foundation for this post.

If you would like to hear more about the emotional trials I faced in my relationships and the success that came from my new perspective have a read of Less Tantrums, More Love. I’d like to keep the focus here to explain more about what God has been trying to help me understand, about how disciplining our children with love helps to build trust and a healthy perspective of how to feel love and be grateful of Godly discipline.

Discipline…

View original post 989 more words

24/09/2012

My Mini Mountain*

Posted in General, Musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:24 am by The Water Bearer

After a weekend spent celebrating two members of my family’s birthdays, I feel as if I am peeking my head out from the bunker to survey the damage. I have not been near my laptop in a number of days and so made a bee-line for it as soon as I opened my eyes this morning, hoping I haven’t missed too many wonderful posts by my fellow bloggers.

I tiptoe over my filthy tiled floors, in memory of the numerous tiny footprints which headed in every direction a hundred times yesterday and the day before. I pretend I don’t see the basket of washing siting up on the dining table. I close one eye as I pass the lounge room of destruction, and I am not even game to head into the kitchen to make my morning cup of tea because I know I will get stuck in there, lassoed by the stack of dishes and benches piled as high as the Andes.

I unplug my laptop from its place in my office and run back to bed, diving under the covers, safe for a moment from the task that awaits me.

I would never have made it here if I had taken a moment to view the destruction. I would be in there now, wiping and sweeping, folding clothes and finding homes for each element of the Andes. I will do it, I can’t help myself. Someone will lose their head if I don’t get my home back in order as soon as possible. But for the moment I am hidden away, in my bedroom and I sit letting the ‘Reader’ page spin as it loads how many ‘New posts’ I have missed….. 47!! Oh Lord, and then I recall that I hit a quick refresh the last time I was here so I am guessing that’s maybe 70 posts unread!

I love all the blogs I follow, I want to give credit to your talents and hear your views. I want to soak up the knowledge and perspectives of you all who inspire me so much, so what am I to do??

The good Lord has given me some new voices to use in my novel and I need to get them out of me before I lose their spark. I have a book I am reading, which is helping sculpt the voices for my novel, and I want to absorb God’s word so I keep up my armour and His hand in all the areas of my life. I have about 10 incomplete drafts, waiting for my overly analytical mind to edit and approve of before I can post them. I need to shorten them substantially because I realise that if my readers are as pressed for time as me they will skip over the ones with the word count that gets up into the high hundreds or beyond. I feel if my ideal of sharing both God’s input in my life to inspire others, and the valuable teachings from my Dad with as many as possible is going to be likely, then I need to tailor my work for the audience I have been given. And to top it all off it is school holidays!

Wow that was word 535… I better go…

Hmmm I think I will pray first …. After all faith can move mountains…..

10/06/2012

Sick of the Drama?*

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:02 pm by The Water Bearer

Sometime ago I noticed an underlying hunger for drama in myself and those around me. Any saga involving family or friends made its way around the group like a gasped version of Chinese whispers. Privacy was a joke, nothing was off limits.

I guess there were many reasons why we shared each others sordid secrets, we liked to offer our own judgements, we tried to convince someone to agree with our position, and we all tried to piece together the various versions of the story to figure out what really went on in each others personal lives, that way we could bring it up later if we needed to make a point. I was definitely a culprit of these gossip sessions and we all believed we meant well. A common excuse for this was that we cared. Fair enough I suppose, but there were always divisions between us, a little drama fed more drama, and it became common to stick our noses into situations that we had not been invited into by the one it concerned. Someone was always left feeling ganged up on and betrayed. Surely there has to be a better way to care for each other?

I am the ultimate drama queen, my feelings are amplified and this makes them almost impossible to deal with on my own. I need a sounding board to help me sought through the noise inside my head to discover the bottom line, the truth amongst the lies, so to speak. Yet sharing my secret thoughts with family members and close friends, left me reeling with more concerns about how much damage they could do with what I had shared. It pretty much defeated the purpose of divulging my thoughts in the first place, not much relief to be found, only more drama.

When I was in my 20’s I reunited with my Dad, he and I would talk for hours and hours, dissecting all the trials of life. He was a fabulous sounding board for me, and after a while I began to notice that something was different. He actually kept our private conversations to himself, and in one way the drama began to decrease because my secrets were safe with him. This was a foreign concept for me, he taught me about true loyalty. He gave me sound advice and carefully exposed the painful truth, not simply telling me what I liked to hear. Since then I have tried my best to be as loyal to others as he was for me, I don’t pick up the phone to involve other family members when I am asked advice from one of them, I keep their private thoughts to myself, and I clearly state that I don’t want to get involved if someone tries to drag me into another saga. If it’s not coming direct from the person themselves, then I don’t pay any attention to it. Therefore this helped decrease the amount of drama in another way. Amen!

There is a very real difference between why certain people share their issues. Some actually want advice on how to grow from their troubles, and to decrease the drama that the situation is causing. While others simply thrive on the drama, they want to drag someone else into it with them, or to play the victim and get others to feel sorry for them.

I used to try to help everyone with their crises; I got emotionally involved, I would pray for them and be there for them at every turn, this made me a magnet for every sob story in the vicinity and I was drained. After many years of this I came to see a pattern form. Many of them didn’t take my advice, yet they kept coming to me with their problems. I kept being drawn into their dramatic lives, my heart went out to them time and time again and yet still my advice was not taken on board.

They didn’t want me to help them change their ways, instead they wanted me to make them feel better, to carry them through their problems, they wanted to complain to me and drag me down into their negative perspective. Once it subsided they simply headed straight back into the same situations over and over.

In therapy I learned the term ‘enabler’, meaning – ‘one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behaviour by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behaviour’. I realised I was one. I gave attention to those going through hard times and helped absorb their suffering, but I wasn’t helping them to learn how to help themselves, for that they needed to suffer through the consequences of their actions and learn how to change themselves.

In God’s wisdom He allowed me to suffer physical and psychological damage in a car accident and for a long time afterwards I was unable to help anyone else. I was having a hard time getting myself through my own, very real drama, so I turned to God and Godly people for advice and followed it to the letter. I was genuinely willing to do the hard work, to grow and learn from my trials.

I still tried to be supportive for others, but ceased with enabling them. I told them what I believed they needed to do according to God’s ways which would invite God to change their troubles, but that of course was not what many of them wanted from me. These people tried to help me for a little while during my own crisis, but I saw that they fed off my drama and didn’t encourage me to grow with sound advice. In fact the opposite, they tried to distract me from my problems with a good time, and selfish indulgence. Once I noticed this I stood my ground and stuck to my path to grow in faith, as a result these people, the ones who I had carried for so long, turned on me. One by one they disappeared from my life.

It was as if God had picked up my life, given it a good shaking and watched as all the dead weight fell away. I gained a new perspective of how to help, who to help, and who to leave to figure it out themselves. My life became so much lighter, I saved my energy for those who deserved it and was left with true friends and supportive family members, those who encouraged me to be faithful during the tough times, those who kept my secrets, and who listened and applied my advice during their own issues. These wonderfully loyal people have stayed in my life and my relationships with them are true blessings.

I once heard someone say that if you put one crab in a bucket, it will climb out and set itself free. However if you put two crabs in a bucket, one crab will continually pull the other crab back, preventing it from escaping, so that they both end up rotting in the bucket.

I encourage you to look at who you share your bucket with. Are they helping you out or pulling you back? Thank God, I am much happier with the people who I now share my bucket with, and even though I am still a drama queen, I have come to enjoy the peacefulness of less ‘nonsense’ drama in my life.

09/06/2012

Broken Hearted Children*

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:53 pm by The Water Bearer

So often I hear stories and see with my own eyes the damage brought about when parents separate. Children from split families often struggle with insecurity, and a string of psychological conditions. This is a subject extremely close to my heart, as I was estranged from my father from the age of 10 until I was an adult, and I still battle with the internal scars it caused me.

After doing some research I found some shocking statistics effecting children whose parents are no longer together. Not only are the children from split families prone to psychological distress, which lasts well into adulthood. These statistics also showed frightening increased levels in the following areas when compared to children from homes with both parents, these include;  lower grades, poverty, poor health, suicidal tendencies, incarceration, teen drug and alcohol abuse, early sexual encounters, and the likelihood of being victims of child abuse and assault. 40% of children growing up in America today are being raised without their fathers; commonly the case in Australia also. Half of the children in America and Australia will witness the separation or divorce of their parents. A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be “lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure”.

It seems that many marriage vows are no longer taken as an actual ‘vow’, it is a promise too easily broken, same goes for people who chose to have children together without considering how the child may be effected if there is no family unit. For example when I learned of my teen pregnancy I knew I would manage on my own just as my Mum had, but I never considered how my child might be affected by who her father was. It seemed irrelevant to me, because I was a child who grew up without a father, and at that time I thought I had turned out ok. (Ha! I can tick off well over half of the points above!)

Due to the rampant popularity of sex before marriage, it has become more common to agree to have a child with someone before we have even decided if we would marry them. Having a child together should be acknowledged as an even stronger commitment than marriage, yet this often fails to be the case. Children from separated families raising their own children are sometimes unable to see the consequences from that separation, as they have not developed the self-awareness to see their true internal stability or instability yet. Therefore the cycle continues and increases throughout society.

So often in our relationships we allow too easily the bumps of life to divide us, we live in a throw away, walk away society which has destructive, devastating consequences to the development of our characters and the spiritual “footprints” we leave behind. Western culture allows us to choose our own life partners, we choose out of emotion, need and desire, and then quickly, easily, we doubt our choice. Perhaps we assume it was the wrong choice because our previous lessons came from one of our bad decisions. Perhaps its because we didn’t apply Godly principles of LOVE to our relationships. Perhaps it is just too hard and we give up in search of something easier, of course we forget that it was not meant to be easy. For children this destroys their ingrained belief in the capability of their parents. The very foundation of a child’s perspective of stability and security comes from the belief that their parents are the most capable people on earth, they look to them for reassurance. When parents fail to work on their relationship and it breaks down, so does the trust of their children in them.

The emotions behind the reasons we chose our life partners are fickle! Once powerful and thought-consuming, eventually will change, develop, or even disappear completely over time. We are humans with much baggage and sin, and we expect our life partners to miraculously fill our empty places and help us carry the baggage weighing us down, and that means they are hoping the same from us also. Love and sexual connections actually allow our baggage and sinful nature to rise to the surface, so that we can face it and deal with it together as a couple. However, the ‘Better or Worse’ promise only seems to apply when we see their ‘better’ side, and we stop loving them when faced with their ‘worst’, too often facing each others sinful baggage causes much heartache and leads to bitterness and separation.

Speaking from personal experience, this is something I spend most of my time in therapy dealing with. The essence of both parents is within a child; therefore any bitterness viewed by a child from one parent toward the other is identified in some way as bitterness towards a part of them. It sends confusing messages into the inner foundation of their self-love and security.

Due to this inner battle, where I turned this bitterness upon myself, I have suffered from an incredible amount of insecurity, unsure of how anyone can truly love me because it took years for me to learn to accept myself, like myself, let alone LOVE myself.

The enemy within knows our inner wounds and is out to destroy the foundation of all of God’s designs, especially the functional family unit.The inner enemy can exaggerate our emotions, pointing to the hurt or painful memories over and over, knowing the action that follows will be a destructive one. We owe it to our children to use our inner angels to war against these emotions, striving to make sure our actions are the result of a selfless, logical decision and not a selfish, emotional one. We need to call on our Heavenly Father, knowing that our obedience to Him allows His promise to protect our children to be fulfilled.

Didn’t we make a secret promise to our children when we became parents? We would do anything to keep them safe. Their inner security is vital when determining the ‘safer’ path they will walk in their lives and it is our duty to steady their feet for their journey ahead.

References

  1. http://www.families.org.au/default.aspx?go=article&aid=925&tid=1
  2. http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/statistics-about-children-and-divorce.html

Next page

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: