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Showing posts with label personal growth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal growth. Show all posts

"Older" Women Can Still Have What They Want

 

Some folks will use anything to try to tear down another person's self-esteem. Age is just one factor of many. When we're younger, narcissistic personalities use our looks, weight, race, and anything else they see as an imperfection. When we're older, they choose our age because they think it's a soft spot for us. 

Age is nothing but a number, and we're just as valuable when we get a little bit older as we are when we're in our 20s. It's all a matter of finding the right man IF we're looking for one. That's the key, isn't it? We'd have to be looking for a man to feel bad about not having one, lol.

We can still "get it" IF we want it. Our bodies work just fine IF we want to share them. We can still have families of our own IF we want them, too, though it might take a little extra effort. 

Men still approach us, though the numbers may not be as high as they were a decade ago. Some of them are very fine, and some of them are quite dusty. But there's definitely no lack of suitors, contrary to some people's belief. No woman has to be alone because of her age, especially a good woman. 

But I think when we get older, we're more clear about what we want, and we're more certain about what we don't want. We're no longer willing to compromise just so we can say, "I have a man." Whoop-dee-doo, I have a man. What's the purpose of having a man in your life if he isn't enriching it in any way? What's the point of a relationship if it doesn't make you feel good about yourself? How meaningful is it if the other person only sees one dimension of you and never wants to grow with you? It isn't. At all. 

So we're a lot choosier about who we let into our lives when we get older. And some of us are quite content being with ourselves if the alternative isn't a good one. I've never had a problem being alone. I spent most of my life alone emotionally or physically anyway, so it's just life as usual when I'm not in a relationship. 

Personally, I'm not looking for a man right now. I'm not sure if I ever will be again, but I know the kind of man I want precisely. I won't accept sloppy seconds or loaners because it's pointless to do so. I want a lifetime partner for myself. I want someone who will be my best friend, protector, partner, spiritual leader, and lover. Notice that the lover part is last? The lover part was always last in importance to me. I haven't changed one little bit in that regard. It's just that some people didn't really know who I was, what I believed, or how I felt. They only knew what they wanted and what they THOUGHT I wanted. They gave me what they felt like giving me and didn't care whether I was happy or not. I didn't care either while I was living my life as a codependent. I only cared about trying to get other people to love me. Now I don't give a hoot. 

I'm no miserable "older" woman in any way. I like my life just the way it is. I'm not beat for a man at all. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to be in a genuine and long-lasting relationship, but it's not going to make me or break me if I'm not. There just isn't a sense of urgency there for me. I can honestly say that I really don't care anymore. That has little to do with my age and more to do with just being fed up, lol. 

The Lifetime Box: Everyone Should Have One

 


I searched through my "lifetime box" the other day, looking for medical test records I kept from when I was deathly ill. I felt like I had something to prove at the time. I had almost allowed another person to (try to) alter and minimize the reality of my personal experience. I felt like defending myself at first, but then I remembered this: Certain personality types do stuff like that. They gaslight everything, including experiences you had by yourself.

No one knows what I went through in 2017 or 2018 because they simply weren't there. No one knows what I'm going through now unless I choose to tell them. Thus, no one has the right to tell me what my medical documents say, which condition I have or don't have, or whether I really almost died four years ago. As a matter of fact, I reject all false narratives about all aspects of my life, from my parenting to my occupation to my health. 

In 2017/2018, I wasn't living in the fanciest dwelling, it's true, but plenty of full families of all races lived there. Not one person had their children taken away for having a low income or for "moving" or living in a dwelling type other people disapproved of. Paying so much rent to live in that "substandard" dwelling added insult to injury, too. I paid more money to live there than most people pay for their mortgages and rents, and I stayed in that same spot consistently for three years. I kept every payment receipt, too. I didn't leave until I found something more suitable. 

My last relationship had ended in 2013, and there was no one in my life in any way at that time. Not a boyfriend. Not a friend. Not a "special" acquaintance or anything of the like. 

It was a bad time for me health-wise because I randomly became gravely ill and had no idea what was going on. I can only assume that my body reacted adversely to some ant bites I got one day when I was working on my car. The alternative is that the lifelong gluten consumption finally took a toll on me. I still don't know what caused the flare. 

That experience was so scary to go through alone. It wasn't just the symptoms that scared me but the lack of empathy and concern from some of the "medics." Someone (eventually) gave me prednisolone and methylprednisolone for the first time in my life, but I never took them at any time. I recovered slowly with certain dietary modifications, and I found an unconventional way to go through a process semi-similar to dialysis once or twice. That helped somewhat. 

What did I do for money while I was sick? How did I pay my bills? A long-distance person donated to me a few times, but I was a ghostwriter mostly. The only services I ever sold were my texts, lol. I stayed inside most days and read the Bible, prayed, and watched ministers and teachers. I worked on my Monte Carlo when I could, too. It took me six months to change a head gasket because I was too sick to even go outside most days. But I told myself I was going to finish that job before I died (I felt like death). I wouldn't leave this world believing someone else's negative words about what I couldn't accomplish. 

I started working for an automotive care center after I recovered (somewhat), and I stayed with them until I couldn't be an automotive technician anymore (their choice, not mine). 

I wasn't just a nameless ghostwriter during that period, though. I got published a few times for some devotionals I wrote for a Christian teen magazine. That's what I found in my "lifetime box." My "lifetime box" has documents and materials from various parts of my life, and they go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. I've carried the box around for years. I could actually use its contents to dispute many of the falsehoods that circulate about who I am and who I was. But it's much more entertaining to watch how hateful and low-down some people are. 

Finding those devotionals reminded me that all my work wasn't lost to that unscrupulous content mill. I got published before (newspapers, mags, etc.), and I'll get published again. Maybe I should stick with devotionals and similar texts. The Devozine doesn't circulate anymore, but I'm sure other magazines and publications could use some heartfelt devos.  

There's Nothing Funny About Wickedness

 

Evil isn't a joke. Thus, the chances are slim that a person who jokes about being evil is just "kidding." It's exactly the same as when a narcissist throws those spirit-crushing "jokes" at his target and then says he's "kidding." There's nothing comical about it at all, and it's insulting to pretend there is. I have a great sense of humor, and I find many things funny. But I don't see the humor in claiming evil. Our words come from what's in our hearts. 

These persons are proud of what they do and proud of the entity they represent. They're basically boasting about their affiliation with wickedness and testing you to see if you continue to deal with them after that. You have free will to do so, but you also have free will to separate yourself. What does light have to do with darkness? Absolutely nothing. They don't mix at all. 

You may want to think twice if a person ever says words to you such as:

  • "I like evil."
  • "I'm a soul snatcher." 
  • "The devil is inside me." 

That person is telling you exactly who they are and what they're about, and they're doing it right in your face. That person is not kidding at all because there's no such thing as joking about loving evil. Believe me. I've heard such words in my lifetime, and the people who spoke the words always stayed true to them.  

One of the biggest tricks of the devil is to try to convince people he doesn't exist. He does this using various techniques, such as "hiding" the truth in plain sight and using "jokes," sarcasm, and ridicule to paint people who believe in him or God as crazy. We're not any crazier for choosing love, kindness, or righteousness than they are for choosing evil. We're not any crazier for choosing the Word than they are for choosing whatever guidebook they use.  

I learned over the years that it doesn't matter whether I preach the Word and put myself out there, try to fit in where I know I don't fit in, or hide in my home and say nothing. People still know who I am. Entities still know where I stand. Battles still occur. So it makes no sense to "lay low" or be silent when the wicked don't. They're quite proud of who they are. Well, I am, too. 

I used to think that if I remained quiet, I'd just be left alone, and I'd get to go through this life without challenges, opposition, attacks, additional hardships, dishonest and dismissive doctors, etc. That's not the way it works at all. We get put through the fire, no matter where we are. We cannot hide from God, nor can we hide from his refining processes. We can't escape the warfare or battles either, especially while we're living in this decaying world. The thing to remember is that evil will not prevail. Also, the Wicked One is nothing to fear, so long as we stay close to our Savior. 

No Weapon Formed Against Me: A Little Poetry

 

The devil had a hold on me.

My Savior loosed me free.


Now he spends his time

replaying who I USED to be. 


Reposting every silly script,

my brokenness and pain. 


'Cause he's not very interested

in what I sketch TODAY. 


He misses me. He wants me back

in the cage that crushed my soul. 


But he don't get that I ain't that,

and his place is not my home.


I was achy, lost, and drowning,

but claiming my life back. 


And ever since my Savior found me,

ain't no time for that. 


So he gets his jollies off old follies,

bringing up the past.


Trollin' me something ungodly,

things he must rehash. 


And wreaking little bits of havoc

all the chance he gets.


But he don't know I'm built to last, 

and all his plans are lit. 

 

© 2021 Timiarah A. Spriggs


Isaiah 54:17

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn."

Rice and Bean O's Cereal

 



After searching through aisles of cereals to find something that had no gluten and no high-fructose corn syrup and not that much sugar in general, this is what I came up with:

Riceandbeanios

"Looks like Cheerios. Tastes like literal riceandbeanios." 

For real. This cereal is nasty as hell. I should probably eat it for dinner and put some hot sauce on it. It tastes like a dinner item. 

Actually, they're called Power O's, and they're by a company called Love Grown. 

They were expensive as far as cereals go. All the gluten-free stuff is expensive. D'ya think I would be paying for all this stuff if the other stuff wasn't literally killing me? I don't think so. It's like $50 every time I go to the store, and sometimes I go many times a week. I don't get food assistance at all, so it's all on my dime. 

Most of the stuff isn't very good. The stuff that is good is usually only good because it has a ton of sugar in it. And well, I can't have too much sugar either, so... yeah. Riceandbeanios. I used to like GF oatmeal, but the oats were giving me a problem too sometimes. We don't really find out these things until we do an elimination diet and then re-introduce things.  

Eggs are sometimey. I can cook up a couple eggs one morning and be fine and then react to the eggs the next time I have them. 

All meats have gone over well. 

For veggies, I eat spinach, carrots, and mushrooms from time to time. I eat avocados too, though I'm not sure if they're a fruit or a vegetable. Broccoli and cauliflower are good too, but I don't have them that much.

I eat bananas (one) and don't really deal with too many other fruits because it appears that I have to also watch the fructose. I drink a little bit of lemonade and a whole lot of water. I drink teas too. 

Almond milk is where I get my calcium (hopefully). I have a vegan protein shake mix I use with the almond milk to try to get plenty of protein. That plus the various meats give me enough protein, but I'm still not getting enough fiber, so things get kind of tricky there.

I am just now learning about my own body and system and what I can and can't eat. That's a shame that I never paid enough attention to myself to know until now. But I'm glad I finally got a clue, lol. I was never even tested for food allergies/intolerances at all (that I know of) until this year because I never thought that any foods were causing issues. It just never occurred to me, even though I had several other allergies. Technically, allergies are just immune system overreactions. It should have clicked that maybe I had a food-related overreaction too, but it didn't. 

Anyway, this lifestyle is a major pain in the behind and the wallet, but I'm not doing it as a fad or hobby. It's like I have no choice if I want to feel well. When I think about all the years I was exhausted, I'm just like... damn. 

I'm going to put this post in the personal growth category because I feel like that bettering your health is a part of personal growth. 

Rejection Is, Indeed, Protection

Have you ever heard the saying, "Rejection is God's protection"? Well, it's not just a meaningless statement to help rejected people feel better about being rejected. It doesn't work very well for that anyway. But it's the truth if you believe in "God." He will do whatever necessary to try to bring hard-headed children back into His fold. He will allow all kinds of unpleasantries to occur if it breaks someone down enough to go to Him for help. He will let evil be done to someone who has backslidden so that the individual will see the error of his or her ways and return home. That sounds kind of jacked up, but it really isn't. 

We still have free will. So we can still choose to continue to act an ass after we get rejected and crushed. We can get mad at "God" and go deeper into the darkness if we like. Or we can recognize that we screwed up, confess our sins, dust ourselves off, and get back into that Word. Every new day of life is a new opportunity to learn lessons and become better people because of those lessons we learned. 

He wouldn't do it if He didn't love us. He wants the best possible future for us, and He knows we can only have that future if we follow the ways of our Shepherd and stop listening to the father of lies. The father of lies plays on our innermost desires, whether they be love, a family unit, or something else. He'll tell us it's okay to create a family this way, even though the Word says we should only do it that way. He'll tell us it's okay to do things out of love for another person, even though the Word says those things are only supposed to be done within the confines of a certain situation. He'll play on our pride and tell us that we deserve a consolation prize for what we lost and that we deserve to be "happy." All the while, he'll have his fingers crossed behind his back because he knows we'll end up being eternally destroyed if we keep listening to his nonsense. 

Our Father sees all this. So if He has to whoop our ass by allowing some jerk or jerkette to rip our heart out, He'll do that. If He has to pluck someone out of our life with whom we are unequally yoked, He will do that, too. Sometimes, there will be no explanation. This person will suddenly become repulsed by us and leave. Pluck! Sometimes, the individual will be so horribly abusive that we can't even deny the sh!t anymore. Pluck! Sometimes we'll become repulsed by the other person. Pluck! 

Plucking is painful, no matter what way it comes. It causes loneliness, regret, heartache, pain, guilt, shame, and all those unfun feelings we don't want to experience. It's so painful sometimes that we only have a few options for alleviating it. As mentioned before, we can succumb to our disappointment, anger, and hurt and go down a path of darkness. Or we can humble down and accept that we cannot force our will, no matter how much we want certain things. We have a purpose, and our Creator has a plan for us. That plan might not involve a lifetime partner or a family or a specific job title or worldly success. It's greater than that. It's our job to listen to our instructions and find out which way we're supposed to walk next. It's our job to surrender, trust, and have faith in Him, and deny the part of ourselves that we think knows best.

 

I Ordered Two Self-Love Rings

i am enough ring

I ended up getting two rings to wear. I hope to goodness they fit because the last time I wore a ring, it was a quarter size larger than the whole number. I'm praying I don't have to have them adjusted. I picked the two sterling silver ones that stated my business and intentions the best. 

I felt that "I Am Enough" said everything I needed to say to myself. I didn't need a long speech or three or four separate phrases. "I Am Enough." That is all. I don't need to shame myself for things I did in the past. I don't need to defend myself to anyone who is just as imperfect and flawed as I am. I don't need to backflip and tapdance for love, affection, attention, etc. And I don't need to do anything I don't want to do to try to make people like me. I am enough as I am, and if anyone doesn't accept me as I am, that's okay. Next.

vancaro i am enough ring
Vancaro sells a "sunflower" version of this ring, and this is how they described it: “'I am enough' means that you don’t have to strive to become more worthy, more valid, more acceptable, or more loved. You already are all of those things. It is also aimed at those ladies who love to embrace themselves and are not afraid of being themselves."

I didn't buy the gorgeous Vancaro one because I wanted to see if the one I got would fit. But I think the one I got has its own unique beauty. It's just for me. 

purity
The other ring I got was a gigantic purity ring. I want to wear that statement because that's where I'm at, and that's what I'm about. It doesn't matter what mistakes I made in the past or what I may or may not have accepted. I am forgiven because of "God's" grace and mercy, just like anyone else who humbly asks for it. Purity is what I stand for now, and anyone who approaches me will see that and get up out my face if they have any other ideas, haha. It will also remind me not to accept anything less than that. I am worthy of pure love, pure intentions, and pure commitment. I am worthy of being with someone who wants to see me succeed and grow in my faith, not cause me to stumble. I'm worthy of having someone who wants to grow with me as well. 

There's only one way anyone will ever get that purity ring off my finger, and it's going to require a level of effort that only someone who truly loves me will offer. If I never meet anyone willing to put forth that kind of effort, that's fine too, but I can't help 'em. I can rock the purity ring for the rest of my life and be just fine.

I'm not real big on jewelry, but I do wear it from time to time. I've always preferred silver to gold. Gold is okay. It's certainly the more expensive of the two metals, but I like silver much better. 

Sources:

https://www.vancaro.com/terms/products/item/402558

https://www.amazon.com

**All images are from Amazon.com and Vancaro product pages and are not the property of Timiarah S.**

Self-Love Jewelry: Yay or Nay? T's Thoughts

 

I am enough ring

Self-love jewelry is a current trend that people view with varying levels of approval. Some people think it's weird or "feminist" for a woman to buy herself a self-love jewelry item. Other people believe it's "sad" when a lady buys jewelry for herself. Then there's the portion of the world that truly gets it! Self-love jewelry isn't a feminist statement, an act of desperation, or a weird fetish. It's a statement that simply says this: I love myself even if no one else does. I will commit to myself, and I will gift myself as well. 

 I am Enough Ring

What Is Self-Love Jewelry?


Self-love jewelry can be any item that someone buys for herself. A woman can go out and buy a $2,000 diamond necklace for her own neck and call it a self-love item. However, the term "self-love jewelry" usually refers to jewelry that makes bold statements of self-love. The items are often inexpensive, but consumers can certainly find pricey ones if it floats their boats to do so. The jewelry comes in silver, gold, tungsten, diamond, and much more. I'm a simple girl with skin allergies. So I prefer my jewelry to be crafted of hypoallergenic silver or stainless steel and not the least bit flashy.


purity ring
The most common self-love jewelry items are rings. These rings have statements on them such as "I Am Enough," "I Am Worthy," "True Love Will Wait," "I Will Wait," "Purity," and so on. 

Celibacy and purity rings are self-love rings because of what the vows represent. They represent a commitment to oneself to accept nothing but the highest and purest forms of love in the future. They also symbolize a commitment to "God." Thus, they're also God-love rings. Such commitments can be made at any time in a person's life, and they would certainly justify the purchase of a purity ring.

purity ring


Perhaps the most interesting self-love ring on the market is the one that has the entire Serenity Prayer on it. This is a great item for a recovering codependent in the world. It reminds the wearer that she must focus on God and herself and not worry about the situations or people she can't change.


serenity prayer ring

My Take on Self-Love Jewelry


I'm all for it, and I think people should love on themselves a whole lot more. I've been thinking about buying myself a ring for a while now. To be honest, I want all the self-love rings in the post. But I can only choose one right now, and it will have to be the one that carries the statement I want to express the most. I'll be wearing the one I get for a very long time. 

**All images are from the ads of Amazon.com products and are not the property of Timiarah S. Visitors can find the links to such items throughout the blog post.**

The Peace and Power in Forgiveness

 

Forgiveness is something that you give to another person for yourself in many cases. Not everyone who wrongs you is going to ask for forgiveness. In fact, many people won't care enough about hurting you to request such a thing. Still, it's something that needs to be done for your sake, not the other person's sake. Letting go of the resentment you have in your heart is liberating. It unties you not only from the other person, but from the bondage of anger, hurt, rumination, and regret. You don't have to forgive them to their face or give them a dramatic speech about it. You can do it at any time and in any place, without saying a single word to the other person. 

It's understandable that you might want to hold onto the negative feelings, though. Sometimes, it can feel quite good to allow resentment and anger to boil in your blood over something someone took from you or the way someone betrayed you. Perhaps you feel that your anger will somehow torch your enemies from afar and cause them to burst into flames. You might feel like, "Hell, they don't deserve any forgiveness from me." 

Maybe not, but you deserve forgiveness. You deserve to be set free from the situation, whatever it is. Nine times out of 10, the other person isn't giving you or your wellness a second thought, but you're still hurting and boiling over something that happened a week, month, year, or decade(s) ago. Even worse, some people might be getting a sick pleasure from your inner turmoil. Do you want to let a sicko win? 

When you forgive somebody, you take that big plate of destruction, devastation, and defeat, and you throw it right back at whoever served it to you. You didn't order that dish, and you're not going to eat or digest it. Hurl it from your table and toss it back their way. "I forgive you." That plate is now on them. Enjoy. 

You can now leave the restaurant and let them pay for the meal. 

The Resentment of Unmet Expectations

*an excerpt from some author's musings*

"The main cause of our resentment toward other people is that such people fail to meet our expectations. Sometimes, we harbor preconceived expectations and then become crushed if someone doesn't meet them. Sometimes, we then attempt to control our environments or situations to have those expectations met. And again, we become crushed if it doesn't work out.
 

  • We expect our caretakers to nurture and protect us.
  • We expect our family members to support us in our endeavors, achievements, failures, battles, victories, losses, etc. because they're family.
  • We expect other people to love us because we love them.
  • We expect people to love us equally.
  • We expect others to be kind to us just because we're kind to them.
  • We expect people to like us because we're hella likable. 
  • We expect people not to hurt us.
  • We expect people not to take advantage of us just because it isn't nice to do so.
  • We expect people to be honest with us if we're honest with them. 
  • We expect loyalty, commitment, and dedication if we give it. 
  • We expect fair treatment.
     

The list goes on and on.

Four major flaws exist in this way of thinking and the patterns of behavior that follow it:

  • We can't control anything or anyone except ourselves.
  • We can't expect other people to be us.
  • We can't enter relationships with an ROI (Return on Investment) mindset.
  • Life ain't always fair. 

Possible Solutions:

Never Say Yes When You Mean Hell No

Doing things we don't want to do with the expectation of receiving something in return is hazardous to our health. It's best only to do things we really want to do and not expect anything in particular in return. It's best to do what we want to do in moderation, as well. For example, we should learn to regulate our "emotional generosity" and not give our entire hearts to those who haven't even shown us that they deserve them. Why commit to someone who hasn't committed? Why give loyalty when loyalty isn't given or requested? It doesn't make sense. 

Respect Other People's Free Will 

Everyone in this world has free will. Thus, they have the right to choose how they behave and interact with other people. We can't expect other people to use their free will the same way we choose to use ours, and we can't expect reflections of ourselves to come to us as relationship partners. People are who they are, and we must allow them to be themselves. 

The better choice might be to date ourselves for a while. We can love ourselves and be dedicated and committed to our own wellness. We can invest in ourselves and get the wonderful ROI of abundant happiness. We can meet our own expectations until the right person comes along. Furthermore, we have a loving Creator who will give us all the comfort, love, companionship, dedication, loyalty, care, and assistance we need. We might want to see Him for some of that TLC we're missing. We also might want to see Him about having some of our character defects removed.

Don't Be Afraid to GTFO

We can always choose to step away from those who treat us in unhealthy ways, for we also have free will. We can choose not to go along with unacceptable behaviors, mistreatment, or one-sided relationships. No one can make us stay or put up with any such things."   


Toxic Relationships: Blame and Labels Don't Matter Much

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter whose fault it is, what happened in the relationship, who's a narcissist, who's a codependent, or who's any other label. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the mechanics because we're such analytical people, that we forget the most basic principles:

Toxic = BAD

Toxic = POISONOUS

Toxic = PAINFUL

Toxic = DEADLY 

If interactions with another person always end up with you feeling bad about yourself, low in self-esteem, gutted, jabbed, chopped down, confused, or otherwise emotionally or psychologically screwed, then the relationship is TOXIC for you. 

It doesn't matter who that person is or what type of relationship you have with them, whether it be romantic, familial, or friendly. If your interactions always end up with you feeling like you got served a plate of emotional kick-ass, it... is... toxic. It really doesn't matter what your malfunction or their malfunction is. A relationship that constantly hurts is not a good one. 

It doesn't matter whether it's toxic because they're toxic or toxic because you're toxic or toxic because you're both toxic. It's just toxic, and you'll need to separate yourself from it before any healing can begin.

An Addict of Unhealthy Love


*An excerpt from an author's musings*

"Sometimes, the saddest part of ending a narcissistic relationship is not that you have to be completely alone. It's not that you'll no longer get those skimpy breadcrumbs of attention or affection. It's not even that your dreams and ideals have been crushed. Nope.

The saddest part of it all is when it finally hits you that you really were dealing with a narcissist. It's when you think back and remember how close you allowed a sociopath to get to you and your home, heart, head, history, etc.

I was in denial about the last narc relationshit. My intuition told me what that person was right away, but like an idiot, I ignored the red flags and the still small voice from above. I ended up getting crushed pretty badly by this person, but I knew I'd survive. I'm a survivor. It's what I do. I can't say the pain didn't kick my ass for a while, though. 

I knew I could never allow myself to be with the person again, but I was still in denial about him being an actual narcissist. I thought I'd come way too far in my recovery to ever deal with such type of person again. 

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The individual proved himself a narcissist by doing a classic maneuver that only narcissists do. Non-narcissistic people are not arrogant enough or non-empathetic enough to ever do anything like that to someone. 

The whole time I was in the discard box, I hoped that he'd never come back to retrieve me for puppet games. It wasn't because I didn't care. Of course, I cared, because my nature is to care for people. But I knew what it would mean if he ever showed up again, so I didn't want it to happen.

Most survivors look forward to the hoover because it gives them some kind of small temporary self-esteem boost or consolation prize after weeks/months/years of being discarded like trash. For me, it was sad because it told me that I was right all along. I could no longer deny who this person really was. This was one time in my life when I didn't actually want to be right. 

The good part about the experience is that it put me more in tune with where I was in my own recovery. You see, I had been struggling with such relationships for a lifetime, and I thought that a self-prescribed six years of celibacy and prayer was going to be my cure-all. Unfortunately, recovering from such extreme trauma requires a lot more work than just isolating oneself and swearing off relations. Abuse has less to do with relations and more to do with predators feeding off our vulnerabilities. Thus, I ended up falling into the traps of narcissism again.   

Recovery requires a lot of inner work. It requires us to be completely honest with ourselves about our own shortcomings. It requires us to take steps to resolve issues that have been present sometimes for decades. It also requires us to have a good human support system in addition to that strong relationship with our Savior. It's my personal belief that only other survivors of these types of traumas can support us sufficiently and effectively. No one else really understands. Thus, I chose to roll with my own community on this.

I have been blogging about the topics of narcissism and codependency for more than two decades. Most people don't know that because I also had severe problems with guilt and shame in the past. I'd build entire websites, gain large followings, interact, and be doing well with my projects. But then, I'd get sucked back into some unhealthy relationship, and I'd feel like I was no longer worthy enough to discuss such topics. I'd let my guilt and shame overwhelm me and cause me to erase all my work and disconnect from all those people who actually took the time to read what I had to say. I didn't know how to deal with my shame back then. I didn't know it was okay to try to support other people, even if I was still a work-in-progress. I thought I was worthless if I wasn't perfect. I know better now. 

I am one year and 22 days 'clean and sober from toxic relationships,' lol. I have recently been tempted through no fault of my own, but I have not 'relapsed.' I am 100 percent single and not in any relationship or relation of any sort. I am now doing everything I can to improve my own life, support other people, and gain the support I need, too. 

I have a YouTube channel that's still pretty young and lacks direction, but it's mine, and I'll keep putting material on it as long as there's someone in the world who finds it helpful. I still have fingers to write with, so I'll be contributing in that aspect, as well. Counseling and coaching? Maybe one day when I'm more mature in my recovery and have worked a program."

We All Have a Purpose


 Everyone has a God-given purpose in life and a reason for being here. No matter who we are, there's something we're supposed to be doing, something that not only glorifies the Creator but serves His people. 

Sometimes, we get put into certain situations repeatedly as "training" to prepare us to serve our purpose. The funny thing about purpose is that we sometimes don't listen to our callings. Our own imaginations and our fleshly desire for worldly blessings sometimes steer us the wrong way. We sometimes decide that we want to be this or we should do that, and then we go on these off-path journeys to try to force our own visions to come true. All the while, our true purpose is like, "Um... what are you doing? Where are you going? I trained you for this, but you're reaching for that. Please take a seat and pray ASAP." 

It happens. The world is a distracting place, and sheep tend to wander off when unattended, lol. 

When we begin to serve our true purpose, it never feels like we're going against the grain spiritually. Yes, we have haters, opposers, scoffers, and people who outright refuse to see us as anything other than who we may have been in the past. But spiritually, there's a sense of peace in knowing that we're doing what we were supposed to be doing all along.  

*If the topics of "God," faith, and spirituality offend you, then this might not be the blog for you to read. Those topics will be showing up frequently here, right along with the other topics I discuss.*

Boundaries: Knowing Where to Draw the Line

 

Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation posted an excellent blog about a year ago on boundaries, which got me thinking about mine and why I suffered so greatly in the past from having them crossed repeatedly. An honest self-assessment led me to this answer: I hardly ever established any.

Individuals had crossed my boundaries many times in life in various ways. I had an idea of what my boundaries were. In other words, I knew which kinds of behaviors I liked, disliked, wanted, and didn't want. However, I had a problem verbalizing those boundaries because I dealt with boundary guilt. Internally, I felt that:

  • This person won't like me or love me anymore if I set boundaries.
  • If I truly love this person, I won't set boundaries, or "true love" has no boundaries. 
  • I am selfish if I want or need anything or express my own desires.
  • A "good" wife/girlfriend stands by her partner no matter what. 
  • I am helpless, and there's nothing I can do about XYZ boundary being crossed. 

None of these beliefs is true, but we don't know that when we don't have a healthy concept of boundaries. Those of us who have an unhealthy sense of boundaries often end up in abusive relationships or situations where we dedicate ourselves to caretaking (and trying to control) someone with a dependency issue, such as alcoholism, substance abuse, gambling, etc. We feel responsible if our undying love doesn't "cure" them of their dependency or stop the abusive behavior.

The truth is that boundaries are a healthy part of any relationship. They must be established so that other people know how to treat and respect us. Not everyone has a healthy sense of boundaries. Just like us, they may not have had the opportunity to develop them. Therefore, other people may come into our lives with no idea of how to treat other people. We can't expect them not to step over a line if we don't draw one in the first place. On the other hand, once we clearly draw our line, we then have a duty to defend it. What may have been ignorance on the other person's part quickly turns into outright disrespect if he or she crosses it. At that point, we need not feel guilty about not tolerating the behavior.

Furthermore, we're not responsible for other people's behaviors, and there's nothing we can do, good or bad, to control how they choose to act. All we can do is focus on our boundaries and what we need to do to enrich our own lives. We cannot save or change anyone. Only "God" can do that. We can pray for other people and for ourselves, but that's about it. 

Establishing boundaries might require spending some time alone to familiarize ourselves with them. There's nothing wrong with grabbing an old-fashioned pen and paper and writing a simplistic list of what's acceptable and unacceptable. In fact, it might help to clarify them. It might help a boundary-deficient individual to get used to seeing and hearing his or her own voice. 

The Challenge of Change

Change is a difficult process, especially if you're older than 21. It's particularly hard if you've been conditioned for a roller-coaster-ish existence. You become set in your ways and so used to living and functioning in certain ways that true change becomes quite a challenge. It feels a lot like swimming upstream or trying to climb up a mountain while you're carrying a 50-pound backpack. You know the prizes of peaceful living and self-love are at the top of the mountain, but the climb is very tiresome. There's always opposition, too. There's always someone trying to pull you backward or add more weight to your backpack so that you'll lose the motivation to climb. Your own mind will sometimes participate in trying to demotivate you, as well. "It would be so much easier to turn around and just run down the mountain."

Good things are never easy. Bad things always are.

Sometimes, to facilitate change, you might have to let go of unhealthy friendships/relationships/acquaintances, even if those persons were all you had. You might have to work a job that you're not very passionate about to avoid being compelled to tapdance for excellence and recognition. You may have to stay self-aware at all times and moderate your own behaviors and actions. You may also have to change the type of people you allow yourself to associate with. Those people might not seem "exciting," but they might be genuine and stable. You won't have to wonder if they care about you or whether they're going to be there for you because their actions will tell you. You won't have to work so hard for things that healthy individuals give freely. 

Change is exhausting but not impossible. It's uncomfortable but not undoable. It's foreign but also very healthy. It feels weird because it's different, but long-term repetition will most likely undo the awkwardness. It definitely deserves a 30-day challenge at the very least.

One-Sided Friendships and Relationships Afterthoughts




I watched a video earlier that presented some questions to ponder about one-sided friendships and relationships.

I'll have to agree that every person isn't a "bad person" if they don't want to be friends with you or date you. They're not even always bad people if they don't hold you as valuable as you hold them. But sometimes they are, haha. You have to consider whether we're talking about regular people or narcissistic people in these situations.

I've had really tight "ride or die" friendships that just fizzled out over the years. People moved, or their lives changed, and the contact just got less and less. It was no one person's fault, and our journey as friends just ended. I've had relationships that ended too, but I still maintained a friendship with the person. Other times, there was no post-relationship friendship because too much hurt had been dished out. 

Then there are the neediness and personality trait factors. Hmmm. I'm sure I have personality traits that aren't attractive, just like other people have personality traits that aren't attractive to me. I probably could work on some aspects of my personality.

Neediness? That's kind of a weird topic. I pretty much learned to be very self-sufficient, independent, and self-reliant because I had to. I can do just fine by myself. However, perhaps I do come off as needy when I have deep feelings for someone. I require a certain amount of care and communication. If wanting to talk a few times a week or on some kind of regular basis is needy, then I guess I'm needy. If wanting to spend quality time with a friend or partner is needy, then that's me, too. Yup. I do require those things, and I received them with no problems in former relationships. Thus, If I'm "too needy," I don't know anything about it. 

I never, ever, ever, ever chase a person down, though. Ever. In fact, I'm probably the last person to chase someone, just for utter fear of being rejected or feeling like I'm "bothering someone." If I reach out more than once without getting a response, then I probably like the other person a hell of a lot. There will not ever be a third time.

So yeah, I'm not the one who's going to call someone five or six times or beg them to be bothered with me. Nope. Definitely not gonna chase someone who frequently forgets I exist. I'm more likely to stop fooling with them if they don't meet my requirements. Our intentions and goals don't match up. Normally, there won't be any hard feelings about it. But if the individual we're talking about is an emotional abuser, then yes, there will be hard feelings about it. 

You Can Only Change You


 You don't need to try to convince someone else to change their behavior or treat you better. You don't need to explain yourself or prove you're good enough or worthy of their respect, love, time, validation, or basic human decency. Nope. They don't have to change at all. You do. 

  • Change your number
  • Change your residence
  • Change your job
  • Change your mindset
  • Change your friends list
  • Change your faith
  • Change your expectations
  • Change your attitude
  • Change your outlook
  • Change your responses
  • Change your game plan

Pick one or several but do something differently.  Let a leopard stay a leopard while you transform into an empowered and beautiful butterfly.