Friday, October 17, 2008

Instead Softcups: Be Nice to Your Vagina

This post is all for the ladies...well the guys may want to know only one thing about the Instead Softcups....they make it possible to have mess free sex while your lady is on her period.  HOWEVER, don't push her into trying or using them just for that reason...just have her read about them and let HER decide, after all it IS her body!

Now...for the details.  I decided to be your guinea pig, without you even asking.  The whole idea of these things intrigued me...even though I am VERY disgusted by my period.  Some of this is a little graphic...but ladies we should get to know our bodies and love them as they are and that means ALL of our body ALL of the time!!!!

  • You can wear twice as long (up to 12 hours) as you usually wear a tampon (not sure about pads)
  • They are safer, as in they do not cause TSS!!  These things are much better for you than bleached cotton!!! 
  • You really can have mess free sex, and chances are neither of you will even notice it is there.

For the rest of the benefits and all the FAQ please go to the Instead Softcup web site, the three things I point out above are just why I wanted to try them.

(BTW, I have been asked how to tell which words are actual links in my posts...the links are the words that are purple; anything I am using color to highlight it will be something other than blue or purple.)

Now, for the 'dirty' details:  Yes, you have to use your very own fingers (unless you really prefer to use someone else's), there is no applicator or pull string to get it in and out of there.   But, hey it is your vagina you should already be familiar with it and if you aren't you should be. 

Angela Shelton did a little demo video (rated E for Everyone, nothing R rated about it, get your minds outta the gutter!) on how to insert and remove the softcup:  Care for Your Vaginas  Go watch that, then come back here and finish reading...go on, I'll wait!

Ok, glad you are back, and you are more than likely sitting there going EEEEWWWW, GROSS, NO WAY!!!!!!  Well, bear with me here, it isn't that bad.  I thought it would be but wanted to try it anyway.  So I decided to get a box and got a box of latex gloves also, ya know, just in case.

I did great up until today, my first heavy day (and for me a heavy day consists of changing a SuperPlus Tampon every 1-2 hours, this usually lasts for three days and I get NO sleep ssssoooooo, now you can see why I was dead set to try these, at least changing them every 2-4 hours would let me take flippin' naps!!!), today I made many messes....see I knew already that I am clumsy and would make a mess that is why I bought the gloves, to use until I get the hang of this.

Now, most people would tell me to get over it and stop using the gloves....I can't, I just can't.  I have long nails and I don't care how many times I wash my hands they will "feel" unclean.....

I did almost give up today, I did use a tampon a couple times also.  But, I have kept trying and I am hoping that tomorrow will be easier on me...LOL!  PRACTISE MAKES PERFECT!!!!!!  I admit, I plan to wear a tampon and pad and take VERY short naps tonight because I know how long those last....until I get completely comfortable with the timing of the softcups I do not plan to sleep in them.

Two things happened today that have made me really want to get the hang of this and use these. 

First off I decided to be daring.....I wore a thong, cause well I like them and I really hate having to wear granny panties during my period.  They are uncomfortable for me and well, let's face it they leave a panty line.  As I said before I am very clumsy and not at all graceful by any stretch of the imagination, that said: I loved being able to wear a thong while on my period and not having the string from my tampon get wrapped around the stupid thong and the tampon come flying out mid take down.  Now, granted this has only happened to me once and that is because since then I never wear thongs or g-strings with tampons.....

Second good thing......I got to finish ALL my errands without having to stop and change.  That was just great!!!  So, yep the time frame was much better for me.

Now to the absolute greatest thing (well so far, since I haven't tried the sex thing yet)....NO FRIGGIN' NASTY SMELL.  Now, be honest, we all know that when air hits blood it smells putrefied!!  And, most women that I know (me included), worry about wether others can smell it or just them.....well guess what; with the softcup.....there is no smell cause no air can get to the blood until you remove it.

Speaking of removal again, I am getting a little better as the day goes on.  Making less of a mess even though my flow is getting heavier.  The key is to remove it VERY VERY SLOWLY and to keep it horizontal.  If you have visited the links above, you will notice that they tell you to bear down a little if you are having trouble hooking the lip with your finger.  Well, that worked when my flow was light.  The first time I did that once my flow was heavier the softcup went flying into the toilet like it was shot out of a cannon.....so just be careful, those muscles are stronger than you'd think!!!

So hope this helps ya!  Don't know how the sex thing is gonna work yet....but I plan on figuring that out this weekend...IF I can get over the whole 'I don't feel so sexy while bloated thingy'.  And, will update ya'll (well with his permission of course)...so check back next week for that update!

Voting for Women

Ladies, I have tried to stay away from political messages, as I think that is a personal choice that each person should make for themselves.  That being said...if you are planning to vote this year, EDUCATE yourself!!  I can not stress this enough!  Make sure you know which candidate you feel would make the best leader of this country.

Here is one of the better tables that show what each party supports and doesn't support, that I have seen.  It not only gives what is on the party platforms but, gives the records and policies of those running.

Democratic & Republican Platform Comparison

Please take a few moments and check it out!  It is worth your time!

(don't bother asking me what I think....I keep my political opinions to myself!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Updates!! FUN!!

 

I have updated many things here on the blog, mostly the links and blog roll sections.  Take a look, see what is new!  I am still locating good resources for ya'll, so keep checking back often.  Or better yet, look over there on the left hand side and sign up for an RSS Feed...

I have also made some changes to the main TLC web site, go take a look, it got a fall face lift. (ooohhhhh face lifts are FUN!!! YAY!!)  Tell me what you think, leave your comments here or email me.

Thinking about dating again?

 

If you are ready to start dating again or if you are dating and not having any luck then you should definitely check out THE RULES.  Take a look at the TOP 10 Rules.

Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider of The Rules Consultation Corp., have put together some of the best advice on dating that I have ever seen.  To check out all that they have to offer visit their web site:  http://www.therulesbook.com/index.html

To purchase their books go to:  The Rules Bookstore

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Squidoo Lens

I just finished creating my first Squidoo Lens! With this lens I compiled the 'Self-Healing from Trauma" Series that I did here on the blog into one convenient location. I also added some books that would be helpful to you in your healing journey.

So, go check it out!

http://www.squidoo.com/Healing-after-Domestic-Violence

Leave me some comments, tell me what you think; so that I can make this a useful tool for YOU!! Because YOU are what this is all about!

Go Empower Yourself!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Take a Break!!

Hey, let's all take a break from all this healing and stuff and kick back and just enjoy a good Christmas Story!  I know that it is a little early in the year for that, but hey...least ya can do is go check out the site, if just looking at it doesn't put ya in the mood to read at least one story, then book mark it and save it for Christmas Season.

Come on - it'll be fun :  Christmas Stories of All Kinds - Inspirational, Funny, Short, Childrens, and more!

santa clipart-victorian

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What are YOU going to do for Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

So... I get asked: "Great, you tell me to help DV victims during awareness month, but how am I supposed to do that when I have never even met a DV victim?"

There are many people that would be more than willing to do something during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, however they just aren't sure what to do, or where or when or how...

This list is copied from this ARTICLE.  
In your place of worship
1. Encourage information about domestic abuse in the congregation's programs, youth groups, marriage preparation, study groups, etc.
2. Establish a committee to promote awareness of the problem and how the congregation can help.
3. Organize a drive to collect food, toiletries, household goods and other needed items for a local domestic violence service.

In your workplace
4. Display posters or brochures (in break rooms, restrooms, or meeting rooms) to promote awareness of domestic abuse and how to get help.
5. Organize a Brown Bag lunch or other event for co-workers and invite a speaker to talk about solutions to the problem.
6. Ask what policies your employer has developed to keep employees safe from a domestic abuser who threatens the workplace.
In schools and daycare
7. Encourage the editor of the school newspaper to have a special issue about teen dating violence and partner abuse.
8. Write a paper about domestic violence to share with students.
9. Educate teachers and other staff about the connection between child abuse and partner abuse.
In civic organizations, clubs or neighborhoods
10. Invite a speaker to educate organization members about domestic violence.
11. Organize a fundraising event or food/toiletries drive to benefit a domestic violence service agency.
12. Publish information about domestic violence and available resources in the newsletter.
13. "Adopt" a family seeking independence from an abuser, to assist with practical needs.

As a Citizen
14. Ask your local library to stock books on domestic violence and to set up displays to educate the public about the issue.
15. Speak out against domestic abuse: Expressing your view that domestic violence is unacceptable has a powerful effect on changing the norms that support abuse.
16. Write letters to newspaper editors or send commentaries to TV and radio to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
17. Vote for public leaders who take a strong stand against domestic abuse.
18. Call 911 if you see or hear a crime of domestic abuse in progress. Write down license plate numbers, locations, and any other information that may be helpful to law enforcement.
19. Volunteer with a domestic violence service. Organizations need help with office activities, fund raising events, technical and professional services and assistance to clients.
20. Donate used clothing and household goods to a program that gives these vital items to families seeking independence from an abuser.
21. Participate in neighborhood crime watch programs.
Hang information flyers and/or awareness flyers in public restrooms, or anywhere else you think would they would be noticed. Now keep in mind that you don't have to stop doing some of this stuff after October!  By all means...continue your efforts throughout the year.

The more the merrier!

So in stating this, I implore all of you out there to stand up and do something for domestic violence victims not only in October, but throughout the year. Turn these victims into proud SURVIVORS!!! Give them some hope and some help. To borrow a phrase used quite often, give them a hand-up not a hand-out.

All of these are really general and will take some research, time and effort on your part.  But, the way I look at it is this...the time I take to do even one of these activities just may save someone's life.....so are a few minutes of your life worth the life of another?

Self-Healing from Trauma Block 8: Analyze your feelings

This is the last block in the Self-Healing from Trauma Series.  You can go through the exercises as many times as you need to in order to work out your needs and feelings.

You may have already noticed that by answering the questions about your emotions you are finding out things that you really hadn’t thought of before this point. Answer the questions (from Block 7) about these new feelings that arise, the same as you have the ones you already realized. Understanding exactly what you are feeling at any given time and knowing what actions will trigger what feelings will allow you to be in control of yourself.

For now, just knowing what emotions you are having is enough. You do not really need to do any major in depth analysis about how to re-route your feelings or how to change them. You only need to put them into order as to the ones that you feel you want to work on changing or getting rid of all together and the ones you want to keep or increase, and have a firm understanding as to why you what to do so.

You may have also realized that there are emotions that you wish to experience that you are not experiencing at this time. Those feelings may be on your needs list. It is possible that you listed happiness as a need, since emotions or feelings can be needed. Or you may not have realized that you were missing some feeling you’d like to have until doing this assessment, and you can now go back and add this to your needs list.

Continue to work back and forth through your needs and feelings as you can or as you  feel it is needed until you can work through and gotten rid of your feelings that you no longer desire having and have achieved the things on your needs list.  If you never complete each list that is fine, as this is always a work in progress just as our lives are.

As you work with your lists add the things that you feel need to be added, while at the same time working to remove the things that you need to remove.  If you ever want to have feed back with any of this or to begin one to one sessions please email me at:  mary@tailoredlifecoaching.com

Go Empower Yourself!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tell a Gal P.A.L.

The Allstate Foundation just launched the Tell a Gal P.A.L. program and contest on www.ClickToEmpower.org.

The program encourages people to donate nearly new purses or professional bags to Dress for Success to help domestic violence survivors, or other women in need, get back on their feet with confidence. Purse donations will be accepted at select Allstate agency locations across the nation.

To help kick start this, ABCs Ugly Betty actress, Ana Ortiz, will donate her Onna Ehrlich purse to one lucky winner for telling others about domestic violence. To enter the contest, visit http://www.clicktoempower.com/gal-pal-entry-form.aspx  - the contest ends on October 31.

Please visit HERE to find out what P.A.L. stands for!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stolen Tomorrows: Understanding and Treating Women's Childhood Sexual Abuse

Your Mental Health Talk Radio is doing a show this evening about sexual abuse that happened during childhood.  To listen to this show or to view other shows go HERE

BlogTalkRadio UPCOMING SHOW: 9/24/2008 8:00 PM

Call in #:  (347) 838-9159

"Join Dr. Steven Levenkron who is joining us to discuss his extrodinary, award-winning book Stolen Tomorrows: Understanding and Treating Women's Childhood Sexual Abuse. This special 90 minute show will highlight the damage that is caused to so many women who suffer childhood sexual trauma. From the psychotherapist who offered groundbreaking work on self-mutilation (Cutting) comes a landmark examination of the psychology of sexual abuse. Stolen Tomorrows encourages the 20 percent of women who have been abused to think about, talk about, and seek help for what has been their secret shame. In addition to giving therapists and other helpers an empathic insight, Stolen Tomorrows will enable the survivor to recognize herself in both her personal history and her current struggle to overcome the legacy of abuse."  sexual abuse and abuse talk radio show | Stolen Tomorrows: Understanding and Treating Women's Childhood Sexual Abuse

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today is the DAY!!

Today is National Respect Day to raise awareness about sexual assault and take a stand against child abuse.

You can lend your support by texting the keyword “RESPECT” to 41010 – for a goal of 10 million acts of respect for the 10 million children who witness violence in their homes each year. Your mobile effort will be mapped out on GiveRespect.org, which will be populated by the minute with respect acts across the country.

You can also go to the web site and sign the declaration which will also be mapped.  Look around the site once you get there, there is information and many different ways to become involved. 

This is a virtual rally, so no matter where you are you can join in the rally!  If you are concerned for your private information, then use a different name and zip code when signing the declaration, it is the numbers that count!

You can also choose to donate $5 from your mobile phone to support the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), one of the nation’s leading organizations working to prevent and end violence against women and children, and you can invite a friend to join the movement. (The $5 donation will be added to your phone bill after you opt in.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Give Respect!

Dear Readers,

There's a worldwide rally for respect going on. And it's all about preventing violence against women and children by building safer, healthier, and stronger homes and communities throughout the world.
Join me at the rally for respect at GiveRespect.org.

From,
Mary

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Self-healing from Trauma Block 7: What do you feel?

We all want to feel pleasure or happiness. In striving to feel this way we can sometimes form addictions to things like food, money, drugs, alcohol, and even other people. These types of addictions have the ability to turn us into slaves, and prevent us from freely dealing with other people and situations around us. Most addictions dull our perceptions and give us a false sense of reality, making it impossible to enjoy the love and beauty within ourselves. If you can learn to turn these addictions into preferences and are able to live with or without them you will find that you are able to live more freely, which ultimately means you will be happier.

As a victim of abuse you have probably had to use manipulation just to survive, even if you didn’t realize it at the time. Now that you are free to make your own decisions it may be very appealing to you to try to control and/or manipulate everyone and everything around you in order to prevent being abused again. You may find yourself feeling the need to have power over others and may express this in many ways, some of which are; acting sick, weak, or more helpless than you are in order to gain the attention or cooperation of others. You may feel that the only way they will help you or do what you want is if you gain their sympathy, thus you feel like you are controlling the situation and hold the power over their actions.

Our need for support from others is the driving factor that most often leads to this behavior and can be countered by realizing that we do not “need” someone else’s approval of us to be happy. Many of us think that we can gain respect and acceptance of others by controlling them, when in fact if we respect ourselves and love ourselves others will also. It is the inner respect and love that we must strive to achieve. Once achieved others will want to support, respect, and love us also.

After escaping an abusive relationship many of us feel that our lives are in a whirlwind. We have to start over both in the physical and emotional sense of things and that feat appears to be impossible. You have been told over and over again that you can’t do anything right, that you couldn’t make it on your own, that no one wants you, etc. Deep down you know those things aren’t true but human nature prevents us from seeing that. You have been programmed to think you are worthless, so you must re-program your mind.

There are several things that are necessary to re-programming. Some of them are: forgiveness, getting rid of self-inflicted guilt, dealing with the sense of loss, and re-establishing who you really are. All healing must start from within, no one else can give you the magical formula, and you must delve into yourself and ask some very difficult questions. You must also be prepared to face those answers, deal with them one at a time and above all be honest and true to yourself.

The reality that each of us creates in our minds is just as real as the reality that others see us in. Often it is our mental reality that leads our physical reality, rather than the other way round. As human beings what we perceive to be true will be true for us, and will carry all the emotions and feelings of physical reality, which in turn will affect our physical reality. Many abuse victims will often say “I know I’m not crazy, but why do I feel that way”. It is because of the constant struggle going on between what you perceive and what is real. This is not your fault, as you weren’t the one in control of your physical reality, and therefore you perceived a reality that allowed you to survive.

Many abuse victims hesitate to leave their abusers or to call the police on them because they feel love towards the abuser, and do not want to get them in trouble. On the other hand many do not report the abuse because they have been conditioned to think they are nothing without the abuser or that the abuser needs them, with the abuser playing on sympathies to keep things the way they are. Many victims also return after leaving for these same reasons.

To regain any semblance of practical reality we must first realize that the person we were in love with no longer exists. Once that person became an abuser they were changed from what we loved. Next we must examine the fact that we do not need them, it is much easier to keep a house clean and raise children without being abused. Now that you have been forced to do it the hard way, you can do it the easy way without the abuser there. And last we must realize that the abuser in no way needs us except to pad their ego and to feel they have control of something.

One way to bring yourself to these needed realizations is to contemplate the emotions that are waging war inside you. These emotions may be pushing you forward too fast or holding you back. Since we have already seen that what we perceive is what really creates our reality then it will be easy to take that one step further and examine the emotions driving those perceptions.

(a) Exercise: What I Feel

This exercise is a lot like the previous one (Block 4 on Needs), except you will be concentrating on how you feel, or what emotions you are having at this time. If you need to stop or hold off on some of your needs from the previous exercise that is fine.  You may find that you have some emotional blockages that are actually preventing you from tending to those needs.

Some people find it helpful to start out by writing it all out. You can do this in the form of a letter to your abuser; of course you know you aren’t actually going to give it to them so you can be very open, honest and actually quite frank in what you have to say. Others refer to this as a “burn letter”; where you write it all out, put it aside in a sealed envelope where you know no one is going to read it, go back and read a few hours or days later, then destroy it. From that you should gain a sense of what you are most hurt by, thus giving you a starting point.

If that seems to daunting, or you just simply do not have the time to lock yourself up somewhere to put it all down on paper, or even if you have the time you just don’t want to write you could skip the longer letter and go right to the shorter version. Some people find it helpful to do both or only one. Read through it and see what you think will fit you.

This will be a list of everything you are feeling right now; beside each feeling describe what that feeling means to you. Again, I suggest you work with three to start with but choose however many you like. After you have made your list answer these questions about each feeling or emotion on your list.

clip_image001 Who is making you feel this way?(If it is yourself then say that)

clip_image001[1] What are the actions that are making you feel this way? (Be detailed)

clip_image001[2] What other emotions or feelings surface when you think about this?

Some possible feelings to choose from to get you started, you will probably have more and different ones. You will notice that some of the feelings below are positive feelings, you will need to look at those also to ensure that those positive feelings are for the right reasons, and that will be discussed in more detail later on.

Anger (at yourself, your abuser, or others)

Aggravation

Bitterness

Despair

Hate

Jealousy

Joy

Relief

Resentment

Sadness

Sense of Loss

Worthlessness

Now go through the list and determine which feelings you want to keep and which you would like to get rid of.  From the ones you want to get rid of, mark them in the order in which you want to work on them. 

I will not post another block for two weeks to give extra time in working through this.  Don't forget to have you Enjoyment Basket (block 2) sitting beside you while working with this.

Please email if you have questions:  mary@tailoredlifecoaching.com

Go Empower Yourself!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Self-Healing from Trauma Re-Cap

This is a re-cap of what has already been posted in the Self-Healing from Trauma series that I have been working on.  I am doing this re-cap for those that are just joining us, so they can catch up.  Next week I will resume the series.

For those that have already been working through this, take this time to review.

(Please click on the links below to go to that block and work through that before moving onto the next block.)

Overview
Block 1: What makes me feel good?
Block 2: What do I enjoy?
Block 3: Who are you now?
Block 4: What do YOU need?
Block 5: Analyze you needs
Block 6: Relaxation Techniques

If at any time while working through these exercises you want feed back or have questions please email me at:  mary@tailoredlifecoaching.com

Next week we will start with emotions.  Remember to work at your own pace and do not stress yourself out over these exercises!  Do what you can, when you can; and make sure to have your Enjoyment Basket (see Block 2) handy when doing any self work.

Go Empower Yourself!


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Best Night's Sleep Ever - No Pills Required

If you're like most people with sleep problems, your
mind is simply overloaded with tension and strain by
the time your head hits the pillow.

You lie there trying to relax, yet you play the day's
events over and over in your mind. You dwell on money
problems. Kid problems. Marriage and relationship
problems. You can't shut off your brain and get to
sleep, no matter how hard you try ... and the frustration
mounts up.

But imagine if you could release the weight of the
world at bedtime. Automatically, too, so you don't even
give it a thought. And without taking a single pill,
either.

Well, that day is finally here...

And I don't want you to miss out.

Today, my friend Mike Brescia of Think Right Now
International has gathered together over 100 leading
authors and experts to show you breathtaking new ways
to ease your stress, calm your mind, enjoy greater
success - including the one, best way to get the
blissful night's sleep you deserve, night after night.

Go here now to find out what's going on:
- http://www.thinkrightnow.com/cmt.asp?s=825590

Mike and the research team at Think Right Now have
just released a remarkable new program called "Tranquil
Sleep Now."  But this isn't just another self-help book
or tape.  It's so important - life-changing, really --
that over 100 other health and self-improvement experts
are helping them spread the word.

You see, "Tranquil Sleep Now" does what no other sleep
aid in the world can do: It corrects the root causes of
your sleeplessness, instead of just knocking you out
with brain-altering substances like drugs and herbal
supplements do.

This program has only been out a few weeks, yet Mike
has already received testimonials from dozens of people
whose sleep problems disappeared the very first night.

That's right; lifetime insomnia gone -- just like that.

It's THAT powerful.

Go here to learn what the fuss is about -- and get
access to over 100 free bonus gifts:
- http://www.thinkrightnow.com/cmt.asp?s=825590

By the way, "Tranquil Sleep Now" is NOT hypnosis or
one of those "sounds of nature" tapes. Instead, it
combines two proven mental conditioning techniques in a
unique audio format that has a remarkable track record
for success.

It breaks the chains of troubled sleep naturally by
targeting and transforming the self-defeating thoughts,
feelings, and beliefs that loom in your mind when you
go to bed.

So if you're sick and tired of waking up feeling like
you've been through an ultimate fighting match,
"Tranquil Sleep Now" guarantees a full night's sleep
every night.

No drugs. No herbs. No time investment. No ongoing costs.

You'll love it.

This program is like an audio knockout pill that trains
your mind to shut down on command so that you can fall
asleep anytime you want anywhere you want without any
strain or effort.

Please take advantage of this now before this special
is over. Check it out here - and claim your 100 free
bonus gifts, too.

- http://www.thinkrightnow.com/cmt.asp?s=825590

To the best night's sleep of your life every night,

Mary Morgan

Friday, August 15, 2008

Self-Healing from Trauma Block 6: Relaxation Techniques

This week we are going to take a break from our self work and look at different ways to relax.  If you aren't done with the previous blocks then you can catch up this week.  If you are having trouble with any of this please let me know.

Look up the following techniques and see if any of them interest you.  All of these can be used as a form of relaxation, and you can find free information on the internet to get you started so that you don't have to go out and spend money to try it.  This of course is not a complete list but will get you started.

Reiki (I have a free Level I course for this at:  http://tailoredlifecoaching.com/Documents/Level 1 Reiki.pdf )

Yoga

Tai Chi

Meditation

Autogenic relaxation

Breathing Exercises

Visualization

Not every technique will work for everyone all the time, so look them up try a few and see what fits you best.  I have also written a little about Journals and Cleansing below.

Journals: Writing can be very relaxing. It is also a good way to get things out of your head for a while or to organize your thoughts. Some people take to keeping a journal quite easily and others feel like they are forcing themselves to do some task that is really very painful. If you feel the need to write and can’t think of what to write, just start writing whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense and more than likely won’t at first, but just keep on writing. After an abusive relationship we will sometimes feel that everything in our heads is just spinning around and makes no sense. Putting these thoughts on paper is a good way to order them so that we can address issues that need to be addressed and put to rest the ones we determine aren’t worth the time it would take to address them.

Picking a journal can be fun. Don’t let this become a chore. Choose a journal that makes sense to you or looks inviting to you. Some will pick a nice sophisticated leather bound tome with elegant paper, others may choose a three ring binder that they draw a cover for themselves, and yet others will pick something in between. Be creative with it; get colored pens or pencils to reflect your moods. If you end up with a journal that you don’t like the looks of the cover or it reminds you of something bad then you will not use it.

You can make different sections for different things, or have entirely different journals for different things. Personally I like to use spiral bound journals and I have different ones for different things. I also use a three ring binder when working from lists so that I can change the order of things when needed without tearing out pages that will probably get lost. I even use an electronic journal at times because typing is faster for me, although the motion of writing is soothing and relaxing.

Cleansing:  Long baths or showers can prove to be very relaxing when you have the time. Baths tend to be more relaxing for most people but even if you don’t have the time for a long bath to just soak away aches and pains both physically and emotionally, you can just stay in the shower a little longer.

If you need a quick cleansing pick me up, try this after you have finished your normal shower routine. Turn the water to a little hotter than normal. With the water running on your back do a few five second count deep breaths while stretching your arms above your head as high as you can comfortably go, clear your thoughts, and breathe out the negative feelings as you bring your arms down.

Using candles, music, incense or other things of this nature that you find soothing will make a bath or shower more relaxing.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Self-healing from Trauma Block 5: Analyzing your needs

This block picks up where the last exercise left off.  If you had any trouble with making your list of needs or if you would like some feedback on your list please let me know.  If you have any trouble with this exercise on analyzing your needs let me know.  Remember to have your enjoyment basket near by while you are working with this. 

Hopefully you are still making time each day to do one thing for yourself that makes you feel good and one thing that you enjoy doing.  If you you do not have time to spend for yourself everyday, at least try to do things for yourself every other day.

Now that you have made your list of needs and organized it into the order you want to work on them, you need to analyze that list and order to determine that you are approaching it the best way possible. Sometimes we will think there is one thing more important than another when really we cannot achieve the first thing without first doing the second thing.

Go back through the answers to your questions about each need. Make sure that there isn’t an underlying need that must be met prior to pursuing the main need you have listed. For example if you listed getting a place to live as your number one first need that you must address; what do you need to do BEFORE you can even start trying to accomplish that? Maybe you need a job; but then maybe you have to obtain proper work clothes. Thinking about all of this to start with will save you time and frustration in the long run.

Maybe you are having problems ordering your list. Right now it seems like you need to get everything done all at once and you are running out of time to accomplish that. If that is the case then you could approach if from the perspective that all of your needs are most important. Try listing the sub-needs under the main needs in that case. Make it look more like a To Do List.

Realize that none of your needs are frivolous. If you feel that you need something in your life then you do. What you need to examine is why you need it and how much of it you think you require. You may have put that you need clothes at the very top of your list, and that may be true. If you are looking for a job and only have one outfit, then having more clothes is very important. However, on the other hand if you already have a closet full of clothes and having more would just make you feel better for some reason, then you may need to move clothes down the list and replace it with something else. Don’t remove that need from your list totally though.

There may be other needs that really are a surface need for a deeper need. Such as you may have listed a cell phone high on your list, or you may have added manicure or makeup as a last thought. These may actually point to your need of security without you realizing it. In the back of your mind you may be thinking that if you had a cell phone you’d be safer and could call for help if you needed to. Or if you got a manicure or makeup you would look better and attract people to you. So examine the reasons for your needs, and you may find that your list is actually getting shorter; especially if you are sub-categorizing your needs.

Go back to the questions again and see which needs actually require someone else to do something before you can meet that need. Really think through it and determine if there is any way you can meet that need without someone else’s help. There are times when we think someone else needs to do something first only later on do we realize we really didn’t need to wait on them.

There are some things though that we really must wait for others to do and that can get frustrating. Before letting frustration take over, attempt to approach the person if possible and check their timing as to when they think they are going to be done with their portion or part. Don’t ever just assume that they already know you are waiting on them unless you have already spoken with them yourself.

At this point it is enough to know which emotions you feel when thinking of each need. By putting those emotions down on paper you are essentially acknowledging them, and for the time being that is enough. You may have had to keep your feelings to yourself for so long that this simple admission in and of itself may feel like a release. You will look at and analyze your emotions later.

Once you have worked through your needs, answered the questions pertaining to each one and analyzed it all it is time to get started on accomplishing the tasks that will lead to meeting each need. Some tasks may meet more than one need and thus save you time and effort. By realizing that in the beginning you will save yourself time in the long run.

There may also be some things that you can “get started” and then move on to something else. Such as; you may need a car, job, and place to live. You can start looking for all three at the same time, as long as you realize to yourself that you really can’t get the first car you see if you haven’t found a job to pay for it. Whereas you will also know that you probably can’t take the job you want that is 30 miles away if you don’t have a car yet. So you may have to take a closer job until you save enough to get the car.

This may all seem like a never ending cycle.  However, starting out by thinking about and realizing what is possible today versus what may be possible later on will get you started much quicker and give you time to think through your actions. Then you won’t be running in circles without seemingly accomplishing anything.

 

Friday, July 25, 2008

Self-healing from Trauma Block 4: What do YOU need?

This week you will notice that I have changed the name of these exercises from Weeks to Blocks.  I have done this because the upcoming exercises may take most more than one week to read through and get started on, not all will take two weeks either, some will take more time and some less.
Please read this article prior to doing the following exercise: Understand the Cycle of Healing
It is human nature to want to feel secure. There are many things that can give us a feeling of security, even if it is false security. The basics are food, shelter, and safety from danger. After leaving an abusive relationship all three of the basics are in jeopardy either in our minds or in reality, that difference will be discussed later. After leaving an abusive situation you likely can provide those things for yourself even if you don’t see it that way and may tend to hoard food (or other items), become overly possessive of what you deem to be your area (shelter) or become combative in ways you never were before your abuse.
These actions can be unhealthy and can also prevent balanced harmonious relationships.  When talking here about relationships, I mean all types of relationships.  Romantic, family, friends and even work related interactions are all individually a relationship.  This following applies regardless of whether you are looking at a relationship with your parents, friends, children, romantic attraction or your co-workers. 
Security addictions can take over our emotional lives and lead us into relationships that we view as loving which are really only for security, with little or no love involved. As human beings we can only experience true unconditional love when it is free of insecurities and fear. This kind of love is also free of being dependant on the other person; it wants that person in your life, not feeling that you need them. So really security can only be obtained from within ourselves, and is based on faith in our own ability to continue to survive, despite all odds.
If you look back to what you have already encountered and lived through you can begin to build this faith in yourself and will soon realize that you can feel secure in your abilities. You have come through many situations where you were scared, feared for your life, and some things you may not even be able to attach an emotion to. Those things have passed and you now must begin to use what you have learned and move forward. Life is change and in a world of constant change there can be no external security, which is why you must look within to find true security.
The cycle of healing is very often hard and challenges us in ways that we have not previously been challenged. As mentioned before change threatens what we perceive as security and that can lead to addictions which can throw us off track. If too many changes are introduced at once we can develop a sense of hopelessness and thus prevent any healing from actually occurring and start the whole cycle over again. Many will go through several of these cycles before arriving at a true starting point, so don’t be overly hard on yourself to “fix” things. That will only lead to further frustrations and also can prevent any real healing from taking place.
To prevent yourself from being overwhelmed try to work only three things at time. Some will find it useful to only work on one area at a time while others may find it useful to deal with multiple issues all at once since they are related. This is a time of inner reflection and you should not attempt to judge yourself to someone else’s standards. Do what feels right for you. Try many different things and ways until you find what is comfortable for you. It will all lead to inner growth and in the long run you will be better off for taking the time to sort it out.
Many people will write out everything in letter form. The method of writing out a letter focuses more on emotion and feeling rather than needs. For this exercise I’d prefer you stick to your needs. There may be feelings or emotions that you need which you can include in this. But try to stay away from writing the feelings or emotions you are currently experiencing. The long letter can be useful here in getting you started by getting it all out so that you can think with a clear mind, so if you feel that is the way you must start out, by all means do what is most useful to you.
None of the exercises should be rushed and some may even take you several days to several weeks to complete. The important thing is to do an honest assessment of you. If you are having problems with these exercises then skip them and come back to them when you feel it is right to do so, or try using some relaxation techniques or get into your enjoyment basket to order your thoughts and calm yourself a bit before trying to tackle this.
Needs exercise:  What Do I Need?
Start by making a list of ALL your needs that are not being met to the degree that you would prefer. Include needs that are physical, emotional, and spiritual. Also, include things that are in your control and things that are not. Do not include how you used to feel or needs that you had in the past, this list is for the present and future, and what needs you have right this minute.
Beside each need write a brief description as to what that need means to you. It may be a good idea to date this list if you plan on keeping it to work from later on.
Pick the three main items that you feel you have to work on first, or that are most important to you. Like I stated earlier you may choose to work on only one thing, three things or more. So use your own judgment here, three is just a suggested starting point. You may want to go ahead and answer the questions about EACH of your needs and then just order the pages by level of importance and work back and forth as you are going through things. Reading about one thing may trigger a thought about something else and you may want to already have a page for it started.
It would be helpful if you wrote each of these things on a separate piece of paper and lightly cross them off the original list. You may also decide to use this as a starting point for a journal, so allow yourself enough room to come back and make notes as needed, giving each topic its own page or two should give you enough room for that.
If you are the type of person that doesn't like to keep a journal or would prefer not to do all this writing, that is fine also.  Just mentally make your original list of needs and then in your mind go through them to do this exercise.  But, please give this exercise just as much thought as if you were actually writing it out.  Don't short-change yourself by half way doing this.
Answer the following questions about each thing you have chosen from your Needs list:
clip_image001 What (if anything) do you expect from someone else to satisfy this need?
clip_image001[1] Who do you expect that satisfaction from (if anyone, if no other person could help then put that)?
clip_image001[2] What emotions or feelings surface when you think about this need not being met?
clip_image001[3] When do you expect to have resolved this need to your satisfaction?
clip_image001[4] How do you expect to resolve this need to your satisfaction?
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. Remember that you do not have to share this with anyone that you do not feel comfortable sharing it with. Some find it helpful to talk this out with someone else and some don’t. Since trust is often something that we lose the ability to do when we have been abused it is understandable if you do not want to share your true inner feelings, thoughts, emotions and pains with anyone else at this point. Do not let anyone that is not a trained professional tell you that you must talk about it to get it out. Do what you are comfortable with and seek guidance when needed from trained mental health professionals.
If you are coming up with a blank as far as where to start with your list here are some suggestions that may be able to get you started thinking.
Acceptance
Clothing and other personal items
Food
God/Supreme Being/Creator (whatever your belief system is)
Housing
Job
Legal Help
Love
Money
Respect
Self-worth
Space (physical, emotional and/or spiritual)
Transportation
Some people find that having it all down on paper is an easier way to order their thoughts and also a way to keep thoughts from constantly jumbling around in their heads all the time when they are trying to concentrate on other things. If that method doesn’t work for you or you just simply hate lists or writing for whatever reason, then just think about it and keep it in the back of your mind to work on. However, if you do choose to write it out you will be able to look back at the progress you are making and that in and of itself is very healing in the long run.
The next block will go through analyzing your needs and making your plans to meet those needs.  That block will be posted on Friday, August 5th, 2008.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Web site is UP!!

Wanted to let you all know that I did get the new web site up!  Don't worry, my services will remain free as will most of my products.  Some of you had expressed concerns about that, and I want to make sure you know you don't need to worry about that.
Take a moment and go to the new site and look around:  tailoredlifecoaching.com
I love feedback, so let me know what you want to see here and on the site.  These are for you and I want to give you content that you are looking for.
My new email address is:  mary@tailoredcoaching.com however, you can still use the gmail account because I will not be closing that one for a long time yet.
Thank you all for all of the support so far.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Self-healing from Trauma WK 3 - Who are you now?

This week's exercise is longer than the previous ones. So I will not post another exercise next week, to give you time to work with this one. Remember when you sit down to do this exercise have your basket of fun things near by to pull something from should you become overwhelmed.

After suffering Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse, or any type of trauma you probably are not sure of whom you really are anymore. Even if you were not verbally abused and told daily you were worthless in one way or another, nonetheless other abuses tend to make us feel that way. You need to dig through the layers of programming and decide who you are.

This is not always easy. After years of being told over and over again that you couldn’t do anything right, that you were unattractive, stupid, or whatever the insult of the day was at any given time; you will start to believe these things. Since our beliefs drive our perceptions and our perceptions drive our reality, we now think we really are stupid, ugly, and incapable of surviving on our own. But, that is where it is all wrong. You really are none of those things. You are actually a stronger person now than you were before being abused.

However, if you continue in that thought process of believing those things then you will eventually shape that perceived reality into a physical reality. In other words if you continue too long in thinking you are stupid (or anything other negative trait), then you will begin to “act” that way and others that you are meeting for the first time will think you really are stupid. You will of course not be stupid but by acting that way, and they think you are, others will treat you as if you are stupid and thus starts the entire cycle all over again.

Think about this; if you ask an adult “who they are” you will usually be told what their profession is or who they are related to. On the other hand when a child is asked the same question they will usually tell you their name or they will say “I’m me.” The child is just themselves, it never occurs to a child to associate themselves to a title or another person. If you ask that child; “But, who is me?” they probably can’t answer you but they are very sure that they are just themselves and no one or nothing else.

How do we define ourselves? Who are we really, as individuals? How do we define “me”? To help you figure out who you are now, try writing a letter to an old friend that you have not had contact with for several years. You do not have to actually mail this letter unless you want to. Tell this old friend exactly “who you are” and “how you are”. Do not write about who you were or who you want to be, write about who you are today, right this minute.

Be just as honest with your friend as you are with yourself. After writing this letter re-read it and notice what you have said about who you are at this point in your life. Note what you like about yourself and what you don’t. Also, note things that have changed since your abuse or as a result of your abuse versus the way you were prior to being abused.


If you wish to have feed back or help with this weeks exercise please contact me at: mary@tailoredlifecoaching.com.



New! Reiki Level I Course

I was approached to write a Reiki Level I Course for some of you that I have been working with.

I have it done!!

You can read more information about the course, view the course materials and download the guidebook at: Reiki Leve I .

This course and the Level I attunement are FREE.

So go check it out!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New site in the works

Hi all, wanted to let ya'll know that I am currently working to get a website up for TLC, finally! That will allow me to get this blog un-cluttered and give you a better place to find the static information.

I will be writing up a post when the new site is up and running and waiting for you to drop by to check it out.

Thanks to all of you that stop by here and those that are donating to help me help others, with out all of you I would not be this far yet!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Self-Healing from Trauma Week 2

Make a list of what you enjoy doing, even if you do not spend much time doing that activity, if you enjoy it then put it on your list. This may seem like the same exercise as last week but this is different. This list would include things like reading, crafting, drawing, etc. Things that you consider doing when you think of having "me" time.

Now gather a few things from this list into one place so that they are handy as you continue on in your self-healing journey. Have these things (like a good book, writing paper, your favorite craft supplies, etc) handy when doing your self-healing exercise each week. If you begin to feel over-whelmed with your exercise, then stop and pull something from the things you gathered ahead of time and spend some time just enjoying that activity.

Return to the exercise later. Either later that day or the next or the next, it doesn't matter when. Remember to work at your own pace throughout all of these exercises.

You may want to put all of the things you gather into one container and if you are the creative type you may want to decorate this as your enjoyment container.

Remember to do at least one thing that makes you feel good each day and add to that one thing you enjoy doing. Taking time to make yourself feel good and to enjoy an activity each day will put you in a better frame of mind to begin healing. Continue throughout to do one thing from each of these lists daily.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Self-Healing from Trauma WK 1

Make a list of what you are already doing each day that makes you feel good. Some examples of this could be anything from eating breakfast to taking a shower to watching your favorite show. I know for me some days are so bad I am just proud of myself for getting out of bed. No matter what you put on your list make sure it is something that makes you feel good.

After you make your list I want you to try to do a few things from that list each and every day for the next week. Some may feel like keeping up with their list in a journal and writing your feelings each day about what you did and how you felt. Others may prefer to just sit quietly each evening or morning and think of your list and what you have done that has made you feel better.

Self-Healing from Trauma Overview

I am starting a new series of articles and exercises that deal with teaching you how to heal yourself from the trauma's you have experienced in the past. Each week I will post either a new article or exercise for you to work through. Do this at your own pace though, and don't rush yourself through any of it.

Feel free to leave comments here on the blog, or send emails to me personally. You may also want to join the Tailored Life Coaching Group on Yahoo (link on right hand side of blog) to share your thoughts and feelings with others and to see what is working for them.

Not all healing techniques or exercises will work for everyone. Don't do the things that do not feel "right" for you.

You may also want to keep a journal of this experience. Write down your exercises and keep track of your progress.

All of these articles and exercises have one goal to help you to.....
Go Empower Yourself!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Grieving Process 4: Moving On

Now that we have gotten ourselves back to feeling an emotion that we can understand, deal with and handle; we can begin our journey into the rest of our lives. This isn’t an easy part of the process; as anger can eat away at us a little at a time until we are only a shell of a person.


We must proceed in dealing with that anger very carefully, and whatever we do, we can not ignore it is there. It will not go away on its own. At this point you should consider trying various relaxation techniques if you aren’t already employing them, along with seeking to learn forgiveness. Forgiveness is good for many things but is a great way to combat anger within our self and others.


Certain negative thoughts will continue to pop up throughout all of this. These thoughts are the product of our beliefs, which have been programmed into our conscious and subconscious mind. As long as we hold onto these beliefs or thought forms we can not release the emotions that are caused by them. Everyone has a different set of thoughts based on the abuse they suffered and their own personality. However, some possible thought forms are:

I can’t survive without that relationship
I can’t be secure on my own
My life has no meaning now
I can never find another relationship/No one else will want me


When in fact everyone around you thinks you should be happy and in possession of positive thought forms. Others think, and may even tell you, that you should be relieved and happy that it is over and on some level you probably are, we just have to get to that vel and let it shine! Some positive thoughts that you could have are:

I survived the abuse, I can survive anything
My security is within me and I will be fine
My life can now have meaning
I am a good person and will find a good relationship


Now that we know there are both negative and positive thoughts that could come out of this situation, what do we do with that knowledge? We can use it to our benefit by seeking to transform our negative thoughts into positive thoughts. A few ways we could do this are:

Openly express feelings to someone you can trust (a preacher, teacher, psychologist, therapist, spiritual healer, or even a good friend)
Free yourself of concentration on the abuser, the abuse, and the past in general
Concentrate on those that are around you now and are not abusing you
Concentrate on yourself and what is best for you
Could regain a relationship with your God/Supreme Being/Creator
Find a group of people that are interested in cultivating a safer world for us all and share with them in Awareness, Prevention, or Advocacy Programs

The Grieving Process 3: Responding to loss

Right after the denial comes the "I'm going crazy". Up until this point you have only been coping; because, in the back of your mind, you still thought it was all just going to go away. You still have not really responded to the emotions that were created when the abuse finally ended. This is usually several months and maybe even years after the abuse ended, and you can't seem to understand that while your life is seemingly (to you anyway) crashing down around your ears still, no one else seems to notice.

Most of the symptoms associated with mental illness are displayed during this time in the process. You may actually think you are going crazy. It is at this point that you will realize you were only coping and the depression is getting worse. This is when you need basic human interaction, on the simplest of levels....someone to talk to.

That person can be anyone and may not even know the entire story. They really need not even be active in answering, just be an active listener. Talking is the best way to get that energy I talked about earlier out of our systems.

With the talking comes to the tears (yeah, I am finally getting to my point), there is some evidence that suggests that the tears that are cried from sorrow and grief are more toxic than any other types of our tears. These toxins are the bad hormones that have built up in our bodies during our grieving process.....weird huh? Ever wonder way those tears burn and sting your face and none of the others do???? Just a thought to ponder! And, now we are back to the final release of energy...the anger....see how that all works in a cycle??

The Grieving Process 2: Realizing the loss

Right after the fog, comes the process of denial, this is often the most painful for loved ones to watch us go through. We know in our minds that it is over but on some level in our subconscious we still think it isn't or what if this or what if that....we are trying to rationalize it out, and can't do this on our own. This is the point where some will seek counseling if they haven’t already. Or they will at least start to reach out to others for help.

We have to realize that first the abuse is over and we are safe, then we must realize that the relationship that we had is over. Some anger will usually show up at this point; anger that it happened or anger that we let it happen. Just remember that you aren’t out of your fog completely and still are not thinking objectively about the situation.

This is different for each person leaving an abusive relationship. Some realize before they get away that the loving relationship they thought they had is over, and actually it ended the day the abuse started. Others continue to believe their abuser loved them through the abuse and are just as angry as anyone else who lost a loved one (to any means) would be.

It is very normal to still have feelings of love for your abuser. You were programmed to feel this way and this feeling is also part of what makes it so hard to leave and once you’ve left so hard to stay gone. This is exactly the way your abuser wants you to feel, like you have lost something. The more you feel you lost something of value to you the greater the chance of you returning to the abuser.

So it is very important that in this stage of the grieving cycle that you not only realize that the loss of love and secure relationship happened when the abuse started but also to realize that you do not need that type of relationship in your life. Some people will get caught in a vicious cycle at this stage; of denial then realization, then anger which fuels more denial.

The Grieving Process 1

Coping skills are what get us to the point of starting to grieve but up until then we just put "band-aid" fixes on our emotions and "cope" with whatever comes up. But coping is NOT healing. The cycle for this is usually: we have a loss; we realize the loss, respond, cope then grieve. Once the grieving is over we begin to heal, and thus the anger arises. We have to look at grief for what it is...an energy that must be dealt with and the grief will be present for as long as the energy it creates is still in our minds and bodies. When we go through a loss great enough to create this type of energy we generally go through a stage where we feel as if our world is turned upside down, as if something unnatural has taken place. This shakes our sense of security on the big overall picture of the world as we have known it up until this moment. We are forced to re-organize our thoughts, our feelings, to re-assess our self views, our relationships with others, and our deep down true belief system.

Usually when dealing with such a large amount of grief, the very act that has caused that grief has usually caused the fact that there is no one there for you when you most need them. It is like a double whammy. Your abuse has put you where you are and now even your friends and family are scared to be there for you or they just don't know what to say and therefore they stay away "to give you space". So now what do you do...here are all your pieces of your life laying scattered around you and you must alone deal with them and heal yourself, you must pick them up and make your life fit back into the comfy mold that it used to be in. Wrong!!! You weren't in a comfy life, you must now, pick up these pieces and begin to HEAL!

Counselors will usually give you small exercises to do each time you meet with them, which will force you into taking back over your life. If you ever have someone tell you that you should just get over it and move on they are wrong...you need that time to come to terms with what happened and to heal, that "fog" you are in for so long is your body’s natural way of shutting out everything that is too much for the time being, so that you can focus on one thing at a time.

The things we do to get through life while living in this fog are only coping mechanisms. Some are healthy and some are unhealthy, but never the less are necessary. If you can see through the fog enough to figure out healthy ways to cope until you can begin healing it will be much easier for you to put your life into order.

Those of us who never learn to grieve, actually get stuck in that fog and end up taking the joy out of living. This effect on the body can usually leave us in a state of depression and causes us to not let others get close enough to help if we continue to be stuck at this point. That is why counseling is very important to insure that a grieving person goes through all the steps and completes the cycle. Remember this is a natural healing process and it must not stall out half way through.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happiness

We all want to be happy, but what does that really mean?
To quote June Stepansky:
I wanted a small thing really.
I wanted to be happy.
That was my mistake,
and the beginning of a terrifying,
exhilarating odyssey into
the very core of being!
Why is happiness so difficult to achieve?
-------------------------------------------------
(June Stepansky is a published poet and writer who now has a monthly self-help web-site on the internet. For a variety of self-help information visit A DIFFERENT VOICE- -Monthly newsletter featuring poetry, opinion and the exploration of a happier lifestyle.http://home.att.net/~adifferentvoice/)

Therefore, we must look inward first; if we ever hope to achieve true happiness. Trying to shape the world around us without first re-shaping our true inner selves will not produce happiness. Quite frankly, that method usually creates more unhappiness in the long run.

Let’s look at our goals. What do we want? What do we think is going to make us happy?

We have already established that we all want to feel pleasure or happiness. In striving to feel this way we can sometimes form addictions to things like food, money, drugs, alcohol, and even other people. These types of addictions have the ability to turn us into slaves, and prevent us from freely dealing with other people and situations around us. Most addictions dull our perceptions and give us a false sense of reality, making it impossible to enjoy the love and beauty within ourselves. If you can learn to turn these addictions into preferences and are able to live with or without them you will find that you are able to live more freely, which ultimately means you will be happier.

As a victim of abuse you have probably had to use manipulation just to survive, even if you didn’t realize it at the time. Now that you are free to make your own decisions it may be very appealing to you to try to control and/or manipulate everyone and everything around you in order to prevent being abused again. You may find yourself feeling the need to have power over others and may express this in many ways, some of which are; acting sick, weak, or more helpless than you are in order to gain the attention or cooperation of others. You may feel that the only way they will help you or do what you want is if you gain their sympathy, thus you feel like you are controlling the situation and hold the power over their actions.

Our need for support from others is the driving factor that most often leads to this behavior and can be countered by realizing that we do not “need” someone else’s approval of us to be happy. Many of us think that we can gain respect and acceptance of others by controlling them, when in fact if we respect ourselves and love ourselves others will also. It is the inner respect and love that we must strive to achieve. Once achieved others will want to support, respect, and love us also.

After escaping an abusive relationship many of us feel that our lives are in a whirlwind. We have to start over both in the physical and emotional sense of things and that feat appears to be impossible. You have been told over and over again that you can’t do anything right, that you couldn’t make it on your own, that no one wants you, etc. Deep down you know those things aren’t true but human nature prevents us from seeing that. You have been programmed to think you are worthless, so you must re-program your mind.

There are several things that are necessary to re-programming. Some of them are: forgiveness, getting rid of self-inflicted guilt, dealing with the sense of loss, and re-establishing who you really are. All healing must start from within, no one else can give you the magical formula, and you must delve into yourself and ask some very difficult questions. You must also be prepared to face those answers, deal with them one at a time and above all be honest and true to yourself.

The reality that each of us creates in our minds is just as real as the reality that others see us in. Often it is our mental reality that leads our physical reality, rather than the other way round. As human beings what we perceive to be true will be true for us, and will carry all the emotions and feelings of physical reality, which in turn will affect our physical reality. Many abuse victims will often say “I know I’m not crazy, but why do I feel that way”. It is because of the constant struggle going on between what you perceive and what is real. This is not your fault, as you weren’t the one in control of your physical reality, and therefore you perceived a reality that
allowed you to survive.

Many abuse victims hesitate to leave their abusers or to call the police on them because they feel love towards the abuser, and do not want to get them in trouble. On the other hand many do not report the abuse because they have been conditioned to think they are nothing without the abuser or that the abuser needs them, with the abuser playing on sympathies to keep things the way they are. Many victims also return after leaving for these same reasons.

To regain any semblance of practical reality we must first realize that the person we were in love with no longer exists. Once that person became an abuser they were changed from what we loved. Next we must examine the fact that we do not need them, it is much easier to keep a house clean and raise children without being abused. Now that you have been forced to do it the hard way, you can do it the easy way with out the abuser there. And last we must realize that the abuser in no way needs us except to pad their ego and to feel they have control of something.

One way to bring yourself to these needed realizations is to contemplate the emotions that are waging war inside you. These emotions may be pushing you forward too fast or holding you back. Since we have already seen that what we perceive is what really creates our reality then it will be easy to take that one step further and examine the emotions driving those perceptions.

By examining your emotions, you will begin to form a clear path to your happiness by noting which emotions are holding you back and need to be let go, which ones need your attention and which ones you can safely maintain. Do not let your desires stray from being wants to being needs. You control you now. You can decide what is going to make you happy and what isn’t. You will notice that once you start working through your emotions, no matter how hard it is, you will start to see a change in your self-esteem also. This is a wonderful side effect of trying to achieve happiness!

Here is an exercise to help you with this:
Some people find it helpful to start out by writing it all out. You can do this in the form of a letter to your abuser; of course you know you aren’t actually going to give it to them so you can be very open, honest and actually quite frank in what you have to say. Others refer to this as a “burn letter”; where you write it all out, put it aside in a sealed envelope where you know no one is going to read it, go back and read a few hours or days later, then destroy it. From that you should gain a sense of what you are most hurt by, thus giving you a starting point.

If that seems to daunting, or you just simply do not have the time to lock yourself up somewhere to put it all down on paper, or even if you have the time you just don’t want to write you could skip the longer letter and go right to the shorter version. Some people find it helpful to do both or only one. Read through it and see what you think will fit you.

This will be a list of everything you are feeling right now; beside each feeling describe what that feeling means to you. I suggest you work with three to start with but choose however many you like. After you have made your list answer these questions about each feeling or emotion on your list.
Who is making you feel this way?(If it is yourself then say that)
What are the actions that are making you feel this way? (Be detailed)
What other emotions or feelings surface when you think about this?

Some possible feelings to choose from to get you started, you will probably have more and different ones. You will notice that some of the feelings below are positive feelings; you will need to look at those also to ensure that those positive feelings are for the right reasons.

Anger (at yourself, your abuser, or others); Aggravation; Bitterness; Despair; Hate; Jealousy; Joy; Relief; Resentment; Sadness; Sense of Loss; Worthlessness

You may have already noticed that by answering the questions about your emotions you are finding out things that you really hadn’t thought of before this point. Answer the questions above about these new feelings that arise, the same as you have the ones you already realized. Understanding exactly what you are feeling at any given time and knowing what actions will trigger what feelings will allow you to be in control of yourself.

For now, just knowing what emotions you are having is enough. You do not really need to do any major in depth analysis about how to re-route your feelings or how to change them. You only need to put them into order as to the ones that you feel you want to work on changing or getting rid of all together and the ones you want to keep or increase, and have a firm understanding as to why you what to do so.

You may have also realized that there are emotions that you wish to experience that you are not experiencing at this time. Those feelings may be on your needs list. It is possible that you listed happiness as a need, since emotions or feelings can be needed. Or you may not have realized that you were missing some feeling you’d like to have until doing this assessment, and you can now go back and add this to your needs list.