Nancy's Blog
Alternatives In Recovery
Nancy DePaola Coaching

The rays of happiness, like those of light, are colorless when unbroken"
Harry W. Longfellow
Trauma, Grief
 and Family Addiction Coach
(804) 690-6332

Nancy's Blog

Adverse Childhood Experiences ACES

by Nancy D. on 09/25/19

I'll never forget the day I ran across the YouTube video from Nadine Burke Harris's Ted Talk about ACES.  I've been studying addiction, grief and trauma for 14 years now....and in that order.  I thought addiction must come out of grief, and many times it does, but there is an even deeper layer than grief.  That's Complex Trauma.  CT is when someone suffers trauma, normally as a child and normally at the hands of ones family or person who they should be able to trust, to look out for their best interests.  And rather than doing that, they betray a child's trust, wound them very deeply, giving them messages of unworthiness and  a shattered view of self.  Never being worthy of love, care, respect or any simblence positive self talk.

Rather than growing up with healthy coping skills, someone who has suffered complex trauma in childhood, has no idea what healthy relationships look like, what good self care is or what healthy coping skills might look like.  Their view of the world is skewed, because they don't know who they can trust with their welfare, friendship or heart.  All of their relationships they build over the course of a lifetime are now built on that skewed vision and unhealthy ways of relating.

Because we are always in fight or flight mode, always anticipating the next potential danger, our cortisol and adreline are constantly in overload.  This changes the trajectory on how a young mind is able to develop in a healthy be able to weigh out danger or sense who can and cannot be trusted.  Because of this, we are at other health risks as we mature, such as diabetes, cancer,  heart disease and addiction; to name a few.  

The good news is, we can re-build resilience.  We can re-build healthy ways of coping and learn how to develop trust.  We can break addiction cycles, we can take better self care and help stave off disease that may have ended our lives earlier, had we of not found recovery for ourselves.  We can trust ourselves.

For me, going back and visiting my early trauma, then seeing the ways my maladaptive coping skills helped me make poor choices and relationships as I got older, helped me put the puzzle pieces together of a well intentioned, yet skattered life.  It has been like reforming a puzzle that had missing pieces for 50 years, then suddenly, one by one, finding them and being able to be whole for the first time in my life.  

I still make discoveries about my reactions to situations, every day.  I still get triggered, but now, I am able to go back and find why something triggers me, deal with it now, and be able to move forward and not let it own me.  I still have self doubt, I still have those little voices that tell me I don't deserve.....(fill in the blank).  But now, my resiliency fights back.  The guts that I have to face off with the monster behind those voices, and protect myself NOW, in the present from allowing them to push me down and keep me there, has given me internal strength I never thought I'd have the courage to possess.

I can be honest about my feelings.  I can stand up for myself.  I can protect myself from frightening situations that used to cripple me and I can move forward.  Situations still frighten me, but now, they don't have the capacity to stop me.  I'm able to regain my perspective over the illusion of someone else's power and rise to be more powerful than those who would want to keep me down.

Complex Trauma

by Nancy D. on 09/03/19

I've been learning a lot about Complex Trauma lately and how it affects a person as they grow, and its' affects as a child's personality develops.  Having grandchildren now of my own, I want the cycle to change in how we pass down unhealthy parenting styles.  If we were abused or neglected in childhood, we may pass down those same behaviors unknowingly to our children, and they to theirs.  

I found that Complex Trauma only occurs in a relationship in the childhood years, normally by a caregiver, parent or sibling.  Trauma can occur anytime, anywhere, like a car accident, rape, or an environmental trauma.  

Complex Trauma occurs when a child is abused or their needs are neglected on an ongoing basis; and they do not feel safe or protected by those who are supposed to protect them and keep them safe and healthy.  This abuse or neglect will have profound impacts on a developing child.  It creates within them core beliefs about themselves and those core beliefs stay with them as they grow, go to school, get in relationships and have jobs.  It's an underlying belief of self that was planted in them by someone, (parent, guardian, grandparent, sibling or peer), someone the child should have been able to trust.

A child can suffer complex trauma at school. When a child faces a daily threat of  being bullied, they can become consumed mentally and emotionally about when the bully will show up around the corner or dreading a certain class, before or after school; the physical, emotional and mental toll that takes is exhausting for the child.  The child is more worried about surviving the day without incident, than enjoying the relationships and experiences.  There is shame. There is embarrassment.   This creates so much anxiety in a child, the child stays in fight or flight mode, on an extended, continual basis.  

As parents, we expect our children to be learning and growing from school.  The act of bullying, robs that child from being able to focus on their day to day classes and schedules. Then, adding further anxiety, the child then must face the parents reactions when they start struggling or falling behind in school because of the effects of bullying.  Depending on who the parents are and how healthy or unhealthy the household is, this could be a double whammy for a child who is terrified all day, then terrified to talk about it for fear they may not be believed, criticized, blamed, ridiculed or abandoned to deal with it on their own.

The same holds true if they come home to a toxic family situation, where they are fearful or neglected or some of their basic needs do not get met.  They may have a parent who is not emotionally available, checked out, too busy with friends, social medica or a substance use disorder. Some could have a parent in jail, or one with a mental illness. All of these things can cause emotional neglect within a child.  

There is no way, a child who marinates in that stress can focus, because their brain stays in a constant state of fight or flight.  Survival mode becomes the way of life, as they try to shut off their emotions or change who they are to accommodate their surroundings to be accepted and loved.  The thinking mind isn't working as hard as the emotional mind, which, is always trying to wrap itself around how not to get hurt, neglected or abandoned emotionally.  The focus goes to people to be good, or how to anticipate someone else's wants or needs so they might earn the parents love and acceptance at the end of the day. Perceptions become skewed, because they are now based on feelings and not facts.

When trying to cope and survive the day without being hurt, becomes the main focus and where all of the effort lies, it's hard for a child's mind to multi-task and be focused and invested on their school work or normal, fun activities children should be doing which helps them grow, learn and build healthy relationships. A child who lives in Complex Trauma stays in a constant state of stress and never feels safe, emotionally and/or physically.  Their bodies are putting off more adrenaline and cortisol than other children who do not live in constant stress.

To survive all of this stress, they begin picking up patterns of behavior that help them maneuver and relate in childhood.  These behaviors become maladaptive for them later.  They learn how to manipulate their way in relationships as to not get hurt or abandoned.  The problem is, the skill set that kept them safe as children, are now the reason behind why they struggle so much maintaining any simblinc of a healthy relationship as adults.

At the very core, they trust no one.  They were taught all their lives they had to be or do certain things others wanted of them, in order to be accepted. 
They are only "conditionally" loved; and only that if they be and do what someone else wants. The perception, is that everyone will either hurt them or leave them.... so now, the behaviors almost force that to happen, which further validates that core belief system.

 For instance, a child who has learned to shut off their emotions, makes it so in adult life, where they can only invest in "pseudo" type, intimacy.  When we can't attach to someone, we attach to something... such as sex, bars, addictions, porn, gambling, eating disorders, social media, dating sites, gaming or overspending to name a few.  If you look closely, those  relationships have no real intimacy.  They are pseudo intimate. They give only the impression of connection, with no real intimacy.  It's hard to have true intimacy in any relationship in which, you cannot freely attach.

People who suffer complex trauma want relationships; they simply don't know how to have healthy ones.  They tend to have superficial/psuedo types of relating, only getting out of someone else what they need and not trusting people enough to reciprocate that love.  

  It's hard to completely meet the needs of someone who has suffered complex trauma, because a lot of times, they are too fearful to state them.  Being genuine in childhood, did not equal getting their needs met.  So, after a while, they stop telling anyone what their needs are. They lose hope that anyone will want to try.  There is a tendency for a person to have high expectations of what someone who is with them should be or do, if they want to prove they love them.  One behavior is fault finding with others. If nothing else, they are going to find the flaw and use it, to make you push them away and abandon the relationship.  Which then, proves them right again about their core beliefs. 

 Many use behaviors that aren't trustworthy, such as lying, lack of accountability for what they do or where they go. They keep testing the waters of the relationship, creating further and further rifts, until the partner is worn out and doesn't want to have anything to do with them. 

People who grow up in complex trauma can also fail to attach in healthy ways to  their own  children.  Some cannot bond in an appropriate way. They don't know how, they were never bonded with as children, so many don't bond with their own.  As their child grows up, they too, feel that void and once again the cycle repeats.  The child won't bond to them, further proving they are unlovable, even to their own child.  People who continue these patterns of behavior without getting help, can also develop personality disorders, such as: narcissism, op-positional defiant disorder and bi-polar disorder.  If the neglect or abuse is severe enough, they can shut off all emotion/empathy forever and develop psychopathy.

The way to heal from complex trauma, is to get help. To get a coach or counselor who you will build trust over time. Then once healthier coping and resiliance skills are built, that will lead to healthier perceptions.  One can expand that base of friends that you can finally trust to have loving, reciprical realtionships with. Support groups are another place with people you can build a fellowship of people who want the same goals for themselves as you do.   But like any other disease, it has to start with you to find treatment and to enact change.  We owe it to our children to not raise them in a pseudo intimate relationship and show them how to build healthy skills, how to trust the right people and grow to be confident, independent adults, who can form healthy relationships of their own.  We deserve that too, for ourselves.

What is going on with parents these days?

by Nancy D. on 08/21/19

Here is where I sound like my own parents when I ask that question.  I would like to share an experience I recently had:

I volunteer for a local prevention organization, which tries to promote healthy living, resiliency skills, provides emergency contacts and services for families; and just all in all, tries to help children living in the community to make healthy choices and be a resource to both the children and parents.

I recently went to a back to school night, where I was to pass out a permission slip for parents to sign, giving their child permission to take an anonymous survey during the school year.  This survey was for data collection to help us know what is going on in our communities' youth regarding tobacco usage, vaping, dipping, marijuana, other drugs, & alcohol usage, so we could gauge and come up with helpful strategies for coping and resiliency skills for our youth. Many parents would turn to the child and ask the child if they wanted to participate in the survey.  Some of the children said "sure"! You could see a sense of pride in their response, because none of the survey questions pertained to them, so, why not take it?

 However, many of the children didn't want to, so their parents wouldn't sign the consent form.  So, in other words, the parents asked the children if it was okay to sign the parental permission slip, which was the reason we had to have it to begin with...from the parent.  That's the whole point,  is that the parent gives permission, not ask permission from the children.           

What I feared and what I've seen for many years, is this is the exact dynamic that happens in unhealthy families. Later on, these are the parents whose child may need intervention services, because they are involved in unhealthy behaviors.  They are put in positions of making decisions as youth, that they have no healthy, parental guidance over. 

 The parents are asking the child how they should parent, instead of being a strong role model.  It was absolutely mind-blowing to witness this going on right in front of me.  It's not so much our youth that start having "issues".  It's the parents of those youth who don't know how to guide their children in making proactive and healthy choices.  How are they supposed to learn, when they are never taught?

Seriously, this needs to stop... and we need to get back to guiding our children and letting them be safe under our care and be children with strong role models, not leaving them make decisions for the adults.  By the way, a child's brain does not fully develop until they are 25 to 26 years old. Yet at 15, 16, 17 we look at them to make adult decisions.  Does this logic make any sense to anyone?  

We can hear their opinions and should. We should give intentional consideration to their reasoning, but ultimately, it's up to the adult to provide the guidance that is in the best interest of their child, not the child to struggle to determine this, when they've never been guided to do so.

Trauma & Narcissism

by Nancy D. on 07/06/19

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - The difference in the outcome of the personality disorder is, where other people  seek help for their Complex Trauma, the Narcissist has learned and chosen, to utilize the survival strategies learned as children for survival, to their benefit and selfish gain.  They now consciously choose to continue to do these same behaviors in their adult lives, to manipulate, rather than finding recovery.  A Narcissist won't seek therapy. If they do, they only frequent a counselor or therapist until they are discovered or disagreed with, which is normally just a few visits, then they quit going. It becomes a personality disorder, because the narcissist has buried deep, any semblance of remorse or guilt for the behaviors that work to their benefit to get what they want. They've chosen to turn a deaf ear on other's wants and needs. Instead of working on self, they have chosen selfishness.

"One definition for Complex Trauma is - it always happens in a situation, usually the home, where the person with the most power was a Narcissist and the Narcissist, makes it all about them.  The Narcissist wants everyone to respond to their needs, their wants, and for the other people's lives to revolve around them.  The Narcissist abuses people who don't do what they want.  They neglect people because they are too preoccupied with their own needs, wants and agendas.  They abandon people to pursue their own selfish pursuits." -Tim Fletcher, Finding Freedom & REACT  

The words "revolve around them", takes on new meaning if you live with one.  It's not just a word, "revolve", it's a complete upheaval of any semblance of healthy or normal.  If you ever disagree with one, you will feel the wrath.  They will withhold love, affection, money. They will give you the silent treatment. They create chaos and upheaval, constantly.  They won't tell you why, you won't know what you've done to deserve their ill behavior toward you.  It won't make any sense at the time, as their mood shifts so abruptly and so hostilely.  They will keep on engaging in behaviors you've asked them to stop, they will go places for hours or even days without you knowing their whereabouts.  They will get you back, even if you have no idea what it was that set them off.  Their narcissistic rage is something when you see it, you will always remember it.  It comes from a place within, from where all the shame, all of the anger, all of the powerlessness they have stuffed down for years, will come out for the smallest resistance to their demands and it unloads in one giant ball of rage.  It is abusive to the people in relationship with them and confusing for the victim(s).  

By the time the victim(s) have figured out what is going on, they are exhausted and burned out from all of the chaos the narcissist perpetuates.  The “smoke screening” the narcissist does by finger pointing about everyone else’s “issues” rather than focusing on what they need to do to change, is confusing and crazy making.  It keeps the victim in a constant defensive state because they never know what they have done and waste a lot of time and energy trying to defend against all of the fault finding the narcissist inflicts. (It inflicts the same damage that Complex Trauma inflicts with cortisol and adrenaline constantly firing off in the victims system.) Yet, the narcissist actually “does” so little.  They talk a lot, but their actions never follow.  They fault find so they don’t have to be accountable for their lack of functioning in the relationship.  The reality is so skewed, you leave any encounter with them, scratching your head at their warped perception of reality.

Family Disease

by Nancy D. on 03/01/19

I was listening to a fabulous speaker the other night at a Free Educational Series I had encouraged our local prevention non-profit to adopt in our county. There was a small gathering of people there.  One of the things he did was draw a circle in the middle of the flip chart, and put the person with the addiction's name in the middle of the circle.  He then drew for or 5 connecting lines and circles at the end of those lines around the larger circle in the middle.
He asked how a loved one's addiction had made us feel.  Some answers slowly and softly began coming from the small crowd.  Stressed, walking on eggshells, emotionally drained, financially drained, fatigued, depressed, anxious, shame, concern, islolated, defeated, guilt, anger, sadness, grief and traumatized were many of the answers. He then erased the family members name in the middle of the circle and wrote the word "disease".  This was how the disease of addiction made the family members feel, not the person suffering the disease.  And in fact, the person suffering from the substance use disorder, goes through the very same emotions we do, suffers the very same sadness, grief and trauma the family feels.  The family feels it on even a deeper level at this point, because they have been dealing with it, unmedicated.  The person with the substance use disoder gets high to numb all of those things and we remain sober, feeling all the feels.

We are the ones who jump when the phone rings, the ones who eat, sleep and breathe wondering about the whereabouts of our loved one we haven't heard from in days, the pain, obsession and suffering we go through, It's similiar to a missing person.  We go through complex trauma, always being powerless in the fallout of anothers behaviors.  Their disease, has traumatized us, over and over again and we live in a state of chronic stress and complex trauma.

What can we do?  The answer is always "take care of ourselves", but how on earth do we do that?  How on earth do we cut off the constant obsession for our loved ones well being and put down the rope of worry long enough to do something, ---whatever that used to be before the disease of addiction struck our family, if we can even remember what living like that ever was.  How do we shuffle forward and leave our obsession, stress, worry, pain, grief and all of those eggshells behind?

A couple of ways.  If anyone is like me, they have to be completely exhausted, just drained without another thing to give, before I can remember to "surrender" the struggle I've been holding up, single handedly for the last monthsssss, straight.  Surrender lets me bring my shoulders back to where they used to be instead of carrying them tensely up around my ears.  Surrender lets me check my emails for work projects I've ignored, clean up my house, do my laundry, deposit my pay checks that have been in my purse accumulating for 3 weeks, because I had been too consumed with someone elses life and not put them in the bank to pay my own bills.  Surrender lets me go get the 3 inches of roots I have showing, colored again so I don't look like I have clown hair.  Surrender helps me shop for different clothes I hadn't had time or energy to buy, because I had been all consumed in someone else's stuff and been guilty of buying something for them to wear and not myself.

  Surrender allows.  Surrender allows me to stop doing that which I cannot win, that which I cannot do anything about and lets me move back into my life. The one I left behind for countless months on end.  I did my due dillegence in worry, in pain, in dispair, in trauma, in craziness, and in endless depearation.  Now it was time to surrender.  Let go. Be me, Be free.

At least  until the next crises comes up that jerks me back into the chaotic reality again.  Until then, I can enjoy the peace that surrender brings, I can now open my mind to hear something else beside fear and holding on for dear life

. I am reborn, at least for a little while, so I need to get lots of little nesting things done for myself when I hit the period of surrender, because it tends to come back, like the plague, until I work it to death, then fail, then give up, then surrender for another time period of solitude and peace.  The more and more I practice getting there earlier, the longer I get to stay there and the longer the impending drauma doesn't have it's talons in me, ready to guide me back inside the bowel of dispair.  So, for today, I choose peaceful surrender and hope you try it too :)

Get up tomorrow and do it again

by Nancy D. on 01/19/19

Sometimes, I can understand the struggle the person abusing substance must go through.  My disease, is to please.  I've gotten better, but my problem is, I know how to do a lot of things.  I've had a lot of life experiences and because I know how to do....doesn't mean I always should.  I guess, I'm a fixer.  I've had to learn just about every job I've had by being self taught.  I've learned the way to do it, and organize it, to the point I have a self taught, self learned expererience.

This can be very damaging when everyone relies heavily on you to always come through.  In my family, I get things done. I'm the person they can depend on to figure out problems, find the answers, make the way easier for them.  I'm good with the grandchildren, they adore me too, and I wouldn't trade that for anything.  I "read" them well, and know how to make them laugh and engage with me and want to be around me and not go home.

Sometimes, I feel like I have so much responsibility on me by being the fixer, knower, doer, that I spend most of my time making other people's lives better and easier.  Where I get confused, is when I feel like I'm running out and can't catch a break to do simple things for myself I need to do.  I'll keep everyone else's animals around me, but if I need to go out of town, it's hard to find someone to keep mine.  Someone I trust, anyway.  

My life is so full, which isn't a bad thing, but it seems to almost be one responsibility right after the other.  Just once, I'd like to just let my hair down and laugh and have fun and be the kid.  I do, at times when I'm babysitting. I get to live the world all over again through the grandchildren's eyes.  Making for them the joy that I miss having, making them laugh and squeal and run around and have fun.  Those are times, I have fun, good, lighthearted fun.  What I have forgotten is where that fits in the rest of my world.

To be able to drop everything and go for a walk in the day.  To meet a friend for lunch, to just go do simple, fun things I enjoy, give myself permission to do them without feeling torn in the obligation of all of the demands on my time.

Tonight, I don't know what the answer is, because tomorrow, I must get up and do it all over again.  The obligations.  I will try to find time in my day for some fun time and try to allow myself permission to have it, without worrying about not having enough time in the day or whether I'll be needed to babysit to relieve my son, who also has learned how to not take any time for himself.  It's quite the quandry.  Perhaps, I'm a workaholic.  Perhaps its just as simple as that.

Talking to Children about Drugs and Alcohol

by Nancy D. on 11/07/18

I've researched the effects of drugs and alcohol on young people, for the last 14 years.  I've experienced in my own family, what it is like to watch a loved one struggle with addictions.  A few years ago, I figured out that the disease of addiction is derrived from several aspects.  Biological predisposition, lifestyle, family, mental illness, grief, trauma, and putting the drug in your system. 

Now adays, I've seen numerous you tube videos, read books and been in different class enviornments with therapists and other specialist who came to the same conclusion I did many years ago.  I didn't know what to do with the information.  I had no credentials behind my name where I felt anyone would listen to me.  I was just the mother of someone who suffered from the disease of addiction.  What did I know?  

ALOT. Now, I have grandchildren.  Knowing the dynamics of how this disease works in a young person.....a person whose brain has not finished developing until they are about 25 years old, I am in fear for my grandchildren.  The things I know now, that I didn't know then, are:

  1. They are biologically predisoposed to addiction.
  2. They need to have community and be kept active in sports or volunteer activities through school, church, or some other activitiy they have a passion for.
  3. They need to have a loving, close, protecitve and strong family unit and close ties with extended family as well.
  4. They need to be educated on exactly, no hold barred, on what can happen to them, IF they ever put a drink or a drug in their body.  Not from the stand point of some old grandma, pointing a crooked finger at them and giving them warnings with no data to back it up, but from the grandma who understands how addiction works, whom it seeks and how to prevent it from catching up with them.
  5. The chain, must be broken.
We must educate our children/grandchildren on how to stand up for themselves and help them prepare how to stand up to peer pressure if they are in a sitaution where they are offered substances or alcohol.  We need to educate them on a way out.  We need to edcuate them on what the effects, long term can mean for them. Where this can go and how their lives WILL change if all of these worlds collide.  We must use examples of people we have seen in the news, relatives that may be in our families, consequenses they have suffered, but most importantly, we need to help them find the choice.  The choice to not try anything until after they are 25 or so.  

  We don't want them to try anything then, but at least, give their brains time to fully develop before they choose the dysfunctional path it will take on if drugs or alcohol are intruduced into a still growing brain.

When that happens, the brain, physically changes.  It won't become the brain they were born with , it will become different.  The receptors in the brain will develop differently.  The amygidigla will change, their dependence on a foreign substance will move in, and who they were, will cease to exist.  All the dreams, hopes and long term plans, will go to shit, because they will not be in control of making strong, good, well thought out, healthy decisions for themselves.  They can't at that point.  They will only be capable of making decisions from the place they are at the point their brain has been affected. 

It's not about scaring them to death, but it is about empowering them with choice.  To make them strong enough to know the choice is theirs, but if they knew their lives could severely be changed from who they are right now and understand the science on how that happens, maybe, maybe someone who may have said yes at a party, will say "no thanks" and give them the chance to at least develop  normally before making that decision.

To me, it would be like, if I have arms and legs that are still growing, but my friends all of a sudden were doing this "drug" which is fun the first time or two you use it.  You have arrived,  you're "in" with the other peers who are using it, it feels good to be "in".  But, you start noticing that one of their arms is shorter than the other since they began using and one of their legs is shorter than the other...and if they would have made the choice not to drink or use drugs until later,  their limbs would be the same size and not abnormal.  An abnormal, that cannot be reversed.  What would they choose?  It's the same decision with regard to our brain structure.  We can't "see" it, like we can our arms and legs, but ohhhhhh it is there.  And if someone had the power to choose for it to develop normally, or to have things in it shorter, less than, mangled, twisted and develop a mind-set of dependence to "feel normal" after they've messed up their brain, I wonder what they would choose.  I wonder if peer pressure would have any power over them what so ever, knowing that it isn't their peers who are going to suffer from their handicapped brain.   It is they, themselves who will pay for that, for many, many, many years to come.

Once that choice is made, there will be a "before" and an "after" .  A before I used drugs or alcohol, then the after......  It's kind of like, yesterday, I wasn't pregnant, but today I am.  There's a before, when life was normal and good and even though bad things happen in our lives, we aren't self sabatoging ourselves to make them worse.  Add self sabatoge to it, then it becomes our "fault" our life turned out this way, when we had it better "before" the drug, or the unplanned pregnacy.  So now we get to deal with the fall out, accompinied with shame, embarrassment, self criticism, judgment, being financially strapped, constant negative self talk and not facing the same future that we would have had, IF we just didn't drink or use or have unprotected sex.  If only.......

If only, we had of said no and not succumbed to a friend in school we were trying to impress for some unknown reason.  I grant you, they won't be there helping you take care of a crying infant, they won't be there when you have to go to rehab or jail or DUI's, or manslaughter charges you could expereince from the bad results of your own choice.  You'll be alone looking in that mirror and the only one looking back will be your own reflection.

I'm going to impart on my grandchildren, my knowledge of the disease of addiction.  How it germinates.  How it festers and how it  gets in; and do my best to give them other, healthier resourses or things to consider before they make a decision based on someone, barely a friend, who doesn't have to pay your consequences for the rest of your life.   They can't pay yours, becuase they will be paying their own before all is said and done.

I'm always here for my babies, no matter what, but I want to be here for you in the celebrations of life, not in your having to clean up behind yourself and suffer through a much harder life than you deserve.  I want it ALL for you. Those "peers", they won't be around, even if you do with them what they want you to do .  They won't be around if you don't do it, but I guarentee you one thing, they will absolutely not be around when you have to suffer consequenses of it.. 

 Is it really worth choosing to do something bad for yourself to just "fit in" with people who WILL abandon you when you fall?


Doing that, which you can

by Nancy D. on 10/22/18

--  This past weekend, I had the honor of going to the beach on a shell hunting mission with my daughter.  In the next state, on certain beaches, you can drive on the beach, park on the beach and tale gate from the beach all day long.  You can even move your location several feet away and park there and hang out.  I've done this before, when I was married.  My daughter has done this with her husband before, but we've only ever done it when a husband has been with us.


          We went down to the beach a few weeks prior with  my son,  daughter and both grandchildren 7 and 2.5 years old.  It was a short, busy time, especially with 2 little ones in our room.  My son had an upper respiratory infection and wasn't feeling well, so I took on a  lot of the duties for the 2.5 year old.  I did not mind, as this was the first time I had been in a mini vacation with them, so I was taking in every thing I could with them and keeping them busy.  I don't get to spend time like that with them often. Normally, I'm babysitting them at my house, doing the same old routines of making a mess and me cleaning it up. This time was different and I got to watch them explore new things, the same as I was doing.


          When my daughter and I went down the 2nd time, it was just us... just us girls.  From our last experience shell hunting, we didn't have a vehicle we could take off road; and I think were a little nervous about the process and what we'd have to hear if we got something stuck, or  God forbid, dirty.  This next time, we were going to conquer that fear and take a suitable vehicle on the beach.  We were going to listen to you-tube video's on how to drive on the beach, how to deflate the tires, re-inflate the tires and get a permit to ride along the beach.  So, we did all of the above, and with the input and teachings from my wonderful son-in-law, we took off on a 3 hour journey by ourselves to shell hunt for two days. 


           We talked about how we never were offered or allowed, for lack of a better word, to try something like this on our own. Most of the time, the men folk took the reigns--and notably, do not offer them up. I'm sure this is in a take charge, protective way they have been raised, just like ours is the subordinate, sit back and let the man do man work way.


           The last time she and I came shell hunting, we parked in a parking area and walked miles in the deep sand to get to the area that provided the best, largest shells.  However,  on the way back, carrying a sack of heavy shells 2 miles (my distance gets farther every time I tell this story) to the parking area proved to be a feat of strength and stamina.  We wondered why we had to do it this way, when if the husbands were here, we could have driven along the beach and not have to suffer this anguish. 


          We actually had to sacrifice shells, picking out only the best ones, because if they weren't shell worthy to trot 2 miles back to the parking area, they had to go!    But, by driving ourselves this time, we would be able to get more shells, because we wouldn't be carrying 70lbs of shells, miles back to a parked vehicle across deep sand.


          We arrived at the destination where we had parked the time before; only this time, it was my daughter who let the air out of the tires, tire  gauge in hand and looking like she has done this a million times. We commented on how we tag-teamed it like the best pit crew ever!  Before we left, her husband had explained how to take the truck in and out of 4-wheel drive, so after letting the air out, off we went! 


 Needless to say, the preparation and knowledge did the trick.  We were the only two women 4-wheeling that day amid a bunch of men fishing off the point.  I cannot describe the sense of freedom we felt, being in charge, making our way through the thick sand, conquering it at every turn.  


          I noticed, it was like this mysterious, taboo thrill meant only for the men folk in the past. Something that only the most experienced on the man-wall-of-fame experienced...and now, here we were, after all these years... and we did it. As we got some stares being just two women in a vehicle, we laughed and maneuvered around the thick track marks in the sand, watching the men looking at us with this puzzled look on their faces, wondering where I men folk must be?   We were free!! And I found it to be  quite liberating... and I knew in those moments, that my daughter could do anything....  And most importantly, she knew she could do anything.


          Parents, husbands, wives..... do yourself  a favor and educate your children on how to do things, so they don't see it as "man code" or not being trustworthy enough, smart or gifted enough.  Teach them how to let the air out of the tires and put it back in and where to find the information for how much.  Teach them how to get there and shell hunt or fish.  Teach them how NOT to be afraid to try something new.


          I called it the "male wall of knowledge".  It's like it was something kept secret from us girls.  I always thought that was because somehow, only males knew how to do such things and we'd mess something manly up if we tried it......or I always thought it was just a bunch of over exaggerated, macho fear.....that if we can figure it might mean to them, we may not need them.


          I have nothing against the breed :)  I'm even married to one, but there have been a number of things in my life that I have wanted to do or try, but was afraid to, because it was man's territory. They took it over, taking it out of my hands because as I thought, I wasn't capable.  In some cases, I'd hand things over because I didn't want the man to feel bad, or I was afraid of being criticized because my way of doing something may differ from the man way. 


             I was always taught some things are just for men and women have their place......but I now know,  I bet we could do many things listed on the man-wall-of-fame, if we happen to  try, without being ridiculed or criticized.  Ridicule and criticism comes from places like fear.  Fear that I may not need you.  Or, I have been assigned a "role".  One that I did not ask for or have any choice or say so in without an argument.  And to be fair, women do this to men, too.  I'm speaking from the aspect of my experience as a woman.


          It's taken me many years of growth to realize, I don't want to be in relationship with someone I need.  I want to be in relationship with someone I want...not someone I'm made to be dependent on.  I don't make people "be" dependent on  me, frankly, nothing aggravates me more, than a grown human being depending on me to do something they are capable of doing themselves.   I don't mind a child depending on me, because I am the adult and they can't help but be dependent in some things. But, I think rather than protecting them under the cloak of "you're not capable", I'd rather teach them how, so then they can become capable and interdependent, no matter who they are with. 


 It's hard for me, because I want to over-do for my kids, or my grand kids, but to see the look on my daughter's face and the strength it built in her self esteem, I certainly don't want to suffocate my kids or grandchildren anymore under the invisible cloak of protection; when I can celebrate with them, their victories.




by Nancy D. on 10/06/18

I was speaking to a friend the other day and the discussion went to the phrase "acting like a victim", with regard to their responses to things in life.  Someone else, had said this about them.  This phrase was upsetting, because my friend had striven for the last several years to change who they were and find different ways of coping with lifes dissapointments and set backs.

  Normally, like me, this person would go into "victim mode".  That place I have, on more than one occassion, retreated to when I've felt attacked or that life just hasn't gone my way.  Sometimes, multiple set backs in life can be so defeating, victimization is the only explanation, it feels, at times.

As years went on and life situtions happened, I have suffered some bad outcomes for decisions I made.  In those times, I felt victimized.  I felt like somehow, I just wasn't meant to get ahead, or always seemed to struggle for things to go my way in life.  My go-to defense was victimization.   Looking back, I think I came to this, because I had been victimized as a child.  No matter what my intentions were to be good or noble or not "get in trouble" when I was younger, there always seemed to be some bad thing just waiting around the corner. 

  If things were going great, for some reason my mother would be angry with me.  If  I was nice or polite or smiled at an older man, he would think it ok to put his hands on me.  I wasn't "asking" to be abused, I was being polite as my parents taught me.  If I studied hard or listened in class and still failed the test, which I often did, I would get punsihed.  There always seemed to be a negative consiquence for just about everything.  So, I grew up with the internal dialog of victimization.  I grew up believing no matter how hard I tried or how I behaved, the next shoe would drop, regardless.

I look back now, and I grew up thinking I had no control over much of anything.  Bad consequences were the norm.  It was like, no one noticed the good things I did, but let me do one thing wrong and it was like sounding the warning bell from a trumpet.  Not only did one person know, it seemed the entire family and all of my parents' close friends would find out about it too.  

Shame, is a huge part of victimization.  When I suffered negative consequences, it impacted me in a lot of shame.  If I got in trouble in school, or church or said the wrong thing or didn't say ma'am when I answered someone, I was called out and publicly shamed in front of whomever was there.  I think, this is the reason my go-to response grew into one of victimization. 

 I was shamed, therefore, I was a victim.  If I were molested earlier in life or abused by a boyfriend later, I could go to no one.  The fear of being shamed for something I may or may not have done to contribute to the consequence of being abused, was something I could not face.  It's bad enough to be victimized at the hands of someone else, it's hard to be re-victimized by a critical audience who only seemed to react to the things I did wrong in life.

This is why it is hard for victims of abuse to come forward.  We've wrestled with the consequences of first being abused at the hands of someone more powerful, now we are vunerable to a crowd of non- believers, who further grind salt in that wound.  We become shunned, isolated, judged, shamed, questioned, and riduculed, by the very people we seek to finally tell, and then hope to protect us from the abuse.  Many cannot roll the dice and speak out.  We've seen how our other sisters and brothers have been nailed to the wall when they've finally come out and said something.  

The way that I can reclaim my power, is to do what "I" need to do.  I may need to seek counseling, or a program of support, or confide in trusted friends, educate myself and ultimately help others, who do what they feel, they need to do and tell a trusted soul.  Others may need to write, or to become an artist or workout or run or adopt a bunch of pets.  In my opinion, the way to not further be a victim of cirucumstance, is to take back my power in the things I can do and not allow others the power to reside over me, on whether they believe me or not.  Others have their own ways.  There is no "right or wrong" way.  It is whatever that victim needs to do in order to re-claim their power and not be further victimized, by the situation that did that to them to begin with.  In whatever capacity that works for them.

Resolving Difficult Relationships

by Nancy D. on 10/05/18

I think everyone has had a person come into their life, that female or male that seems to upset the balance of a family.  From what kind of role model they are for their kids, to how they treat your loved ones, they seem chaotic and stir up a bunch of drama in the relationship, which spills over to the family.  We are left scratching our head and wondering "why?" or "what did we do?" that may have helped stir up the chaos in this person?  Because this is impacting me, surely, I must have contributed in some way?

It's very easy, as is the case with my situation, to get angry about the things you see, or about what your family members experience as a result of this person.  They single handedly, have hi-jacked your family. The focus has become about what chaos they have inflicted and you find yourself always running defense, always waiting for the next crazy thing they do or say that hurts someone you love.  

I do know that two negatives do not make a positive. Although it's my go-to response, anger isn't the way to handle difficult people and relationships. Since I've been studying the effects of trauma, I realize, chances are, they came from a crazy dysfunctional background; with all kinds of trauma in there. Abandonment, a parent that was neglectful emotionally or physically; there could have been some molestation in their past,  an addicted parent, a product of a split family, there are so many factors that can determine why someone is now chaotic and hurtful to others. 

Even if they don't know they are, they can be cruel, judgmental and seem to have no idea it is they, who creates utter havoc in the lives of others.  

Just like it's easy for people to say they love their dog, or their child or their partner, the actions are what show. Either the actions show we love them, by doing kind and loving things for them, or they don't.  It is our actions, our follow up, that determines what kind of people we are.

When I look back and the relationship between my loved on and their significant other.....frustration comes to mind.  Trying to deal with someone who comes from those scattered puzzle pieces is difficult enough, but almost impossible if they don't seek any help and continue from a center of brokenness. 

My loved one has also had trauma in their background, they too have scattered puzzle pieces, just as I do.  The difference is, we have saught and continue to seek help and continuing support to learn a different way.

Just as every person who lives, has had to overcome hardships, friends dying, divorces, moves and changes in life, we all must take an action to heal.  If we don't, what affects do we pass down to others, from our own losses and unfinished emotional business?  If we do not have healthy coping skills, how do we teach them to our children, so one day, they can teach them their children? If we don't develop healthier coping skills, we pass along the same dysfunctional coping, knee jerk reactions and unfinished emotional pain that we've had.

Recovery begins with one action.  No matter whether there is trauma in our background or we suffer from an addiction, or at the hands of a domestically violent spouse, eating disorders or other circumstances, we have to take actions to heal.  We have to take actions to overcome grief.  We have to take actions to overcome addictions. We have to take actions to mend broken relationships, or they don't mend. We have to take actions to find better coping skills than what we have at the time.   Or we do not heal.  We become stuck in our trauma, grief or addiction.

As individuals we have to become present and reponsible for ourselves in order to heal. We have to own our own recovery from the effects of things we've been through in our lives.

  If we live in denial that we have any ownership in anything, we will continue to pass down that unfinished, emotional business.  No, we aren't responsible if someone punches us in the face, or we get raped or molested as children.  We aren't a willing participant in any of that.  Those are bad things that have happened as a result of bad people who did them to us.  However,  once something has happened to change our person, we are responsible to find help and healing for it, just like we expect an addict to get help for their addiction.  If we don't, the wheel of dysfunction just keeps going round and round and people become sicker and sicker ....and as I said in the beginning, two negatives, do not make a positive.  Two wrongs, do not make a right.  We have to change the cycle and by doing that, we can change the outcome.

Being Vunerable

by Nancy D. on 09/09/18

I've been undergoing my own struggles with releasing this site.  Putting my thoughts and feelings into a blog and releasing them out to the world is quite frightening.  I've been working with a small group of two other women who took the same certification course I just took for Trauma, and we have all been struggling with a failure to launch.

Each one of us has gifts and talents that we highly respect in the other.  Probably all of us are thinking about the other,  "wow, she has this more than I, she should be putting herself out there., they both have a great niche, but what about mine?".  People would really benefit from her knowledge in this area".  Yet, we fail to do that, because of some internal fear of our own vuneralability.  

Perhaps it's the failure to show up in our own lives, somehow.  We are all used to showing up in everyone else's life around us, doing for them, making sure they have everything they need to successfully get through the day.  Yet, probably none of us receive that same help.  Sure, our partners all go out to work their respective jobs, but no one is making sure my bed is made, or my laundry is done, or whether I've taken my cold medicine, or whether the house is clean or gauging whether I'm upset or have had a bad day.  I do that for everyone else, but am struggling to launch a website for myself.  How crazy is that?

Perhaps, it's because we think the only people who believe in us are ourselves? We've been so conditioned to look after everyone else's needs, requiring no assistance with our own, that it has brainwashed our core values to believe the lies:    We aren't worthy?  We shouldn't have any needs?  We shouldn't ask for help?  These businesses are for us.  My website is for me, my business is for me, my passion for what I want to do in life is for me.  Why is that so frightening?  Why do I feel so intimidated by the outside world that I cannot open up and share with them what thoughts I have in my mind. The ideas and lessons that I have learned?  Why can't I open up and expose myself?  What is stopping me?

The people I respect the most in the world are the vunerable ones.  The ones that aren't afraid to put their real selves out there.  I am real with my friends I talk too, with people I meet. Perhaps, this is a side of myself that has been on such a personal journey for so long, that it's hard to go out there and make it public.
I'm desperitely trying to find the answer so I can push forward and "be".
I think, it's the fear I'll make a mistake. I'm terrified of social media and not knowing how everything functions on blogs, websites, twitter and facebook..It's all so overwhelming.  I need someone to explain all of this to me so I can have a clear understanding of how it works in my mind, so I'll know what I am exposing and to who.  I need to feel safe.  That's it.  I need to feel safe and in control of the things I do, the information that I put out there, and the anonimity that I want for myself and for others.  I need to feel safe. 

 Well, I guess I found the answer to my problem.  I guess I'll be launching that website now, finally... :)

Guilt and CoDependence

by Nancy D. on 09/07/18

I was reading a daily reading from Language Of Letting Go, from Melody Beattie about what we learned from our parents with regard to guilt or blame.  Like her, I'm not going to blame my parents for why I turned into such a people pleasing, doormat for most of my life.  I was thinking about how different parenting skills can affect the way we associate and define "rules" for ourselves and others.  Some of the rules can be healthy boundaries and some can be harmful for us for many years, and we don't recognize it.. until we are internally miserable about where our lives have taken us.  

As I was reading her always, wise words, I realized that much of my people pleasing disease was born out of such rules I made for myself with the perception I had visualized as a child, from many of my parent's own words.  How did I get here?  Why was it I always worry about everyone else's welfare before my own?  Why do I do other things for everyone in my life, yet won't do those same things for myself-the way I would drop on a dime and do it for them?  How did I come to this mindset?

I can remember the phrase "you ought to be ashamed of yourself" or "stop crying, that didn't hurt", or telling them I was scared or hurt and hearing "you don't feel that way" resounding from both my mother's lips and my grandmother's. 

We were never allowed to ask for anything when we were visiting someone's house, for it was rude.  We were taught that we had plenty and we should always give anything we could.  I can remember dad teaching lessons about selflessness and how we should always give to others.  I remember every time the doors opened in church and the message that always seemed to be delivered regarding love thy neighbor and giving to the church and being a humble servant, doing God's will, etc., etc., etc.

I'm just realizing how these core beliefs have affected my entire life.  I wasn't taught to take care of myself, I was taught to take care of everyone else.  Whether it was my interpretation, with the brain of a child who didn't understand the big picture as an adult did, or whether it was handed down from generations of their relatives teaching this same ideology to them, doesn't matter.  What matters is, I need to break that cycle, both for myself and now in the young minds and hearts of my grandchildren.  I don't want them to be selfish narcissists, but I do want them to learn that their needs matter.  And, it is their responsibility to stand up for what those needs are. 

I don't want anymore doormats in my linage.  Kindness, empathy and compassion needs to be taught, not self-less abandon.


by Nancy D. on 09/07/18

I was reading from Language of Letting Go this morning, and today's reading was about procrastination.  I've been working on this concept for a while and push myself to stop doing it.  I find that I am struggling to put my website out there.  It's like a "failure to launch".  

When I first became enamored about the subject of addiction, I began setting up this page with the help of a friend.  I have old blog post enteries from April of 2012.  It is now 2018.  I never finalized my website then and I have a problem putting myself out there now.  With all of the classes and certifications, dvd's books and self-study that I constantly do, and have under my belt, there is still that voice in my head that wants me to believe that "I'm not ready"  "I don't know enough or have forgotten what I learned or am inadequate to help someone else".

I've notice that part of my procrastination normally involves things for myself.  I would never procrastinate in helping someone, or being there for someone else or doing for someone else.  If I was supposed to publish this site for my boss, it would have been done in 2012 when I began this journey.  It is now 2018.

For all of the bad things that pop in my head, I have to remember my accomplishments.  I have raised two children, I have suceeded in every job I've had, many I have self taught myself with little to no training when I went into them.  I have started my own business years ago and ran it sucessfully enough to feed and cloth two kids and get them through school. I have paid my bills on time.  I am a homeowner, never late to my mortgage payment.  I have nurtured and cared for 100's of animals in my life, and two elderly relatives until they passed away.  I am a grandmother, who is loved very much by her grandchildren and they love to be around me.  I have a close family unit with my adult children.  I have close, very personal friends who trust me with some of their biggest secrets....and yet, I don't trust myself enough to publish this website for myself.

I'm afraid someone will know more than I do, and the truth is, many do. I'm afriad that people will wonder why I think I have some sort of great knowledge in this area, which I do have a lot of knowledge from experience and obtaining some certifications, but there is always more to learn.  

The truth is, I don't have to know it all right now.  I can share what I know and as I learn more, I can share that, then too.  Like this poor website, I'm a work in progress and it may not be absolutely perfect, or as good as someone else's or provide tons of information that someone else's does, but it's where I am, right now and I can begin from there.


by Nancy D. on 09/07/18

I hate hearing the words self-care.  To me, that should be a no brainer, yet over the years I have found it is the one thing I have neglected to do.  I struggle to do things just for myself.  I struggle to give to myself before I give to others.  Coming along and having children and a husband, I thought that is what I was supposed to do. Selflessly give to my kids, make sure my husband was happy and needed nothing, make sure the animals were well taken care of, everyone and anyone before myself.

I know that I have posted in other blog posts, that in my family, we were taught to be very self-LESS.  So, giving to myself before I give to anyone else, is an absolute foreign concept.  I see mother's today, who go to the gym, get their nails done, make sure their roots are never exposed, seem to really do a lot of self-care.  This would have been deemed "selfish" for me to have taken this kind of time on a daily or weekly basis for myself.  I find myself sometimes thinking, when I see that well kept young mother in her spandex just coming from the gym...."well, I see she puts herself above anyone else".  

Now a days, I see that when we do give to ourselves, we are able to give from our plenty.  I know that when I get up in the morning and give myself a few moments to read something, or listen to something that I need, or go run errands for myself that I have been putting off for months and months, or browse through a magazine and really, truly, relax......I actually have more to give to others than when I hoard complete selflessness.  I can give from my plenty, because I gave something to myself, first.

It's a hard thing to juggle, when you have demands of a job, kids, grandkids, home, figure out to take something for you first, so you can give quality to others after.  I notice I can give quantity.  I can give to others in large doses.  But, is the quality of that care and love really there, because I'm knee-jerking the giving? As needed?  When needed? How much ever, needed? 

We were at church every single time the doors were open when I was growing up.  To listen to stories from the Bible, have been engrained in my core.  I don't care for "religion", but I am a spiritual being.  If I were to follow the stories of Jesus.....he was a giver.  He was a doer.  But he gave from his plenty, when he gave.  When I read the 12 steps of Al-anon or any other 12 step program, it all goes back to "me".  When I listen to shows about "universal energy", it comes back to being grateful, gratitude and putting an intention out there from that place, and the universe will align so you will get.   None of these, the bible, 12-step programs, universal energy, ever say one thing about self-LESSness.  

Gratitude is about what we have.  Prayer to a Higher Power is about connection, between me and It. The 12-steps are about the person in it.  

I can make things happen for any induvidual, if I put all of my energy into it.  I can be a good employee, I can be the best mom and grandmother, I can make anything happen that anyone else wants, for my boss, kids, grandkids, friends.  I'm a fixer.  For them....then, I'm exhausted, they benefit and I have the temporary satisfaction of being able to help, in that particualar situation.  Then, I come back to my world, exhausted, alone for all of my efforts, and begin trying to catch up on the things I have needed to do all day or all week, that I have neglected, so that I can do for everyone else.  I pull double-duty all the time.  

It sure would go a lot smoother for me.....if I fixed all my stuff first, then gave from my reserve to someone else, rather than exhausting all my efforts on them and leaving barely anything for myself.  Then, I just throw, exhausted, depleted efforts at what I have left to do.  No one is dropping everything they are doing to make my life better or easier.

That right there, is the bottom I always end up at.  People pleasing is my disease.  I get a temporary high, because I accomplished something, but none of it was for me.  I would get a longer, concentrated, lifetime satisfaction, if I did the opposite and focused my good energy into investing into my needs as a person, not in a narcissistic way, but accomplished my goals, THEN when I have reserves and am still reeling from my high, give from my plenty, then.

When you look at the evidence, this should be a no-brainer.  Why is it so hard to live this way?  It really is simple, but our self-will and pre-programed core beliefs do the opposite.

We have to break the cycle.  What do we have to lose?

Making Changes

by Nancy D. on 09/07/18

I always noticed when I was in Al-anon meetings, that the meetings were habitually smaller grouped or you'd see some people in a meeting for a couple of months, then they would disappear after a while, never to be seen again.  Every now and again, they may show back up for a small stint of time, but then be gone again.  

I was always disappointed, because I had just gotten to know them at a pretty decent level and poof, just like that, they are gone.  I'm no stranger any more to not showing up  to meetings either, but life has shifted somewhat for me and I do a lot of babysitting for my grandchildren.  Their parents work long, 12 hour days and I have them well into the evening.  Most meetings begin at 7 to 8 in my area and by the time the parent has picked up the child, my meeting is all but over.  

I still practice my program of recovery.  I pray, I read, I listen to You Tube videos on subjects that interest me, but I don't feel like I make a lot of "changes" anymore.  When I first began Al-anon, I felt like I was practicing a change of some kind at least on a week by week basis.  Now, I don't feel like that.  I know I need to change my diet, which would require research into some recipies that might be healthy.  I need to lose weight, so a brisk walk would be good or using the equipment I have upstairs to try and get back in shape, would be easy to do, one would think.

Probably for the same reason people don't come back to meetings, is the reason that I don't work out with the equipment at my immediate disposal.    It's that "doing it for me" thing that seems to stop me in my tracks.  

People attend Al-anon and other self help programs, for the self.  That may not be why they went in, but it sure is why you stay.  Why then, is it so hard to do those things on a consistent basis that would actually help one feel better?  Meetings are supposed to help us feel better.  Proper diet and exercise help us feel better, but for some reason, are the hardest things to do for some of us.

Perhaps, that is where I'm dropping the ball in my recovery.  I've accomplished a lot of self work.  I practice the 12 steps on a daily basis.  I have changed as a result, and for the better.  But once I'm practicing that, I shouldn't have the right to rest on my laurels.  I need to practice self care in a different way.  I've gotten the book smarts of the program, I've even done a LOT of the action.....and now, I think, I need to continue to push myself to do that which doesn't come naturally to me.

For me, that is two avenues, one is working out and eating healthy. The other is putting myself out there to do the business I have been training to do and am very capable of.

So, those will be my new goals, to walk the walk and keep a promise to myself to try and become my best self through doing what I love as a business,  and taking care of my physical body better.  

I wonder what we could become if we did those basic things for ourselves, how powerful would that be? 

The Journey

by Nancy D. on 04/11/12

I was going down this long, windy country road, when this migraine pulled out in front of me going 15 miles per hour less than what the speed limit was for the road. My first reaction was “oh for Heaven’s sake, why do people do this?? Didn’t he see me coming and know that he drives this slowly, he should have some consideration that others don’t want to go this slowly to their destinations”.

 Flashbacks then came to me about how, when I worked 40 miles away out in this remote country setting just off a busy I interstate, I literally set the car on 80 miles per hour, sat my sights in the left hand lane and competed with any other driver on the road to be in first place. The line of cars in front of me is where I set my sites, to conquer. I didn’t mind being in second place, as long as the driver in the left hand lane was going faster than me at all times. I recall how I was in physical discomfort when I was existing in the idiot box. This is the box where there are two to four lanes of highway and everyone in every lane is doing the same speed limit. No one speeds up, no one slows down and there is this cluster jerk of cars dangerously snaking down the road all jammed up together in rush hour traffic. You are the one car away from the front and exhaustively, no matter how you are trying to telepathically get the attention of the left hand lane hog, or following dangerously too close ....or accidentally flicking your high beams at them; you simply can’t get ahead of them. I’m trapped and my mind is only focused on how to get out of that idiot box, and absolutely nothing else, for miles down the highway. I’m baking in my own misery, my only primal thought is how to get out of it, and wishing at that moment....... I was a police officer. I think I’d pull the two drivers in the two left hand lanes and give them a ticket for reckless driving.

I digress…I realized the other day when I got behind that person who I described as a migraine, that I put myself in that frame of mind. No one else did. Not that driver, only me. I then began to think of how I have always been a person who wants to get to my destination. I never get in the car to enjoy the trip; the actual journey. I’m always getting into the car solely to get from point A to point Z. It then dawned on me how I do the same thing in life. I want to zip through the preliminaries to get to the goods. Everything fast paced, everything in a rush to get that payoff at the end; whatever I have envisioned that payoff to be. I wondered how many others out there are like that. I envy the people who can enjoy the trip and not just have the excitement for the destination.
I look at my trip. My trip through a field of losses and disappointments and waiting for the next shoe to drop. Living in fear, anxiety, anticipation of how to make it financially, feeling like a failure, wondering how I could have changed this situation or that situation from the past, for a better outcome. What would have changed, what would have been different had circumstances been different, then mentally beating myself up for the way things did turn out for years to come. Punishing myself by not enjoying the moment and instead, living in regret. If I really look at the situations, those failures as I saw them, those losses, disappointments, I can see all the things I missed when I only looked at what I lost.

I missed happy, good, fun times that surrounded those events. I didn’t allow myself to enjoy them as I should have, because to do so would have been something I didn’t deserve. I have had a lifetime of friendships and a zoo full of animals that I loved and gave me so much. The people I came to meet, the memories I have from accidentally having these people and experiences in my life, the places I’ve seen, the blessings that came out of the situations being what they were.

Just like that migraine in front of me. He pulled out and slowed down my arrival at my destination. However, what that gave me was the colors of the fall trees that I would have never noticed had I of been flying down the road at 60 miles per hour in a 55, focusing more on keeping the tires on those winding country roads than on what was around them.

The sky was blue, with just the right amount of clouds in them. The car was quiet….this story evolved from that experience. I didn’t wrap my car around a tree and I got safely to where I was supposed to go, none the worse for wear. My other adventure with the person I was supposed to meet, turned out to be wonderful and not stressful and rushed. With the help of my Higher Power, I will try to re-train my thoughts throughout each day to remember that even when things don’t go on my schedule or time line, there are so many blessings that I am completely missing by trying to side step and take the short cut through life.


by Nancy D. on 04/11/12

In talking to my son the other day, I realized these days, we actually have good, meaningful conversations, not like the "pretend, niceties" of the past. You know.... the empty pretend conversations with no real substance, where issues are on the table... where you talk about anything but the real issue? We were discussing how difficult it is for parents to watch as their kids make bad decisions. After all, we have given birth to them, cared for them, loved them, given up freedoms to give time to them, cleaned up their vomit when they were ill, done without giving to ourselves because their lives were more important. Then, we have to switch gears and let them go and make all the mistakes we've made and feel all the pain we've felt, and pray they will grow from it not be destroyed by it.

  I think that was my biggest fear;  knowing how extremely difficult life could be to live, and knowing all the battles that my children would have to face and wondering  if they could endure stuff like I could.  I have to admit, I had doubts whether they could....or even further, fearing they wouldn't endure the stresses, pressures and problems that come along with new responsibilities.  

As I look back, my momentum and energy from early on in their lives was in the direction of fear. Fearing something bad would happen to them, fearing they wouldn't be able to bear the things that life had to offer.  I know I endured, but to be honest, barely at times. Each hardship, each heart break, I somehow barely clawed through and survived. I didn't think at the times they happened, that I actually would survive them. I feared, faced with the same set of circumstances, my children may not survive them. What if? What if they did the unthinkable before they had future knowledge about how events will transpire and how things will change and how this too, shall pass? What if?

I based everything on that one emotion and didn't even know it. Fear. I often wonder how my life would have turned out differently if I didn't utilize fear as my guiding light. I would like to have some of the tools I have learned the last two years, to have available in my tool kit; and could have relied more on those, than on fear.

I wish I had of known or accepted that I had a universal energy available to rely on instead. To have a God for the first time, and to know that some force is looking out for me and actually has, all along. However, I never asked or never listened to the guidance that has always been there for me. I was always in my own head. Always too head strong, always knew the answers. I also relied on other people, be the "strong guidance over me". I also thought that I somehow had control over just about anything and everything that happened in my world. I controlled it by either worrying about it to death, or by the power of wishing for something one way or the other, or through manipulating people, places and things.  I believed that I somehow held the power for the way things would turn out in any given situation.

I say the words control and manipulation like I was an ill-intended individual with manacle intent. My intent was always good. It was always for the greater good, or someone else's good, or for some nice thing to happen. No matter what the intent, the actual action was the same. It was control or manipulation, just wrapped up in a prettier package called justification.

Two negatives always at work, and I somehow expected a positive outcome.  I made it, in spite of myself :)  Something or someone was watching over me, making a new, improved path for me to follow with new and improved tools to utilize.  I white knuckled through all these years, not knowing there was an easier, gentler way.  My wish for both of my children, is to supersede me and leave out all that fear, worry and strife and enjoy the upcoming changes in their lives, and move from a place of confidence and trust that they can do anything and enjoy the ride :)

Nancy's Blog
Contact Us