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The Star, the Star, shining in the night

starfish story picDecember is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month. Make a difference in 2016. Every life matters. You matter. Get help or seek help for another. Stop the cycle. Make a difference to that ONE!

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Do You Know What I Know?

December is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month for Creative Tidal Wave. I have been asked why I chose to feature this and my reason for doing so this particular month. There are many reasons, both personal and business wise. I found during the holidays often folks show their best side but will quickly in the shadows turn and unleash upon victims. It is difficult for emotional abusers, narcissists, and bully types to maintain their “charming” disposition during the holidays without a means of releasing their torment to regain their balance. Also, I wanted people to start a new year with new awareness in hopes to start identifying and getting help for family and friends who might be victims. Abusers need to be identified as well so they, too, can seek help.

Do you know what I know? Well, I do know some ways you can stop the chaos in your head from being a victim of emotional abuse. First though, please seek professional help from a counselor or a life coach. The process towards healing can move faster with professional help.

When the inner voices of your tormentor/abuser play in your head, take a moment to rethink. You are now aware that the things they said to you were to control you and to take your inner power away from you. You know you are not those terrible things. Rewrite the words into a positive. “You are so ugly, no one will ever marry you,” to “I am beautiful both inside and out with a heart full of love and compassion. I will find the person of my dreams someday.” The power of positive thinking is magical.

You did not ask to be abused. This person came into your life by no fault of your own. Now you can chose to move on and consider this a learning experience on how to recognize the words which cause pain. We cannot chose our parents, coworkers, bosses, and family members. Sometimes our friends and significant others change after they have gained our trust. It is okay to walk away. Hard it maybe, but necessary to gain your life and health  back. Change your path’s course. Be brave and take a hike to freedom. 

After you dismiss the abusers from your life, I know it is hard, set boundaries. They will try to win you back over. DO NOT FALL FOR THEIR CHARMING WAYS! You do not need to travel back down their path, rarely do they change.

It’s YOU time!! Rediscover old hobbies. Take time to rediscover you. Emotional abusers instill fear as a means of control. Go out and face your fears, try something new. Healing comes the more time you focus on rebuilding your self esteem and empower yourself. Trying new things! Let out old emotions and illogical fears embedded in your mind by the abuser via the arts. Dance out your anger! Paint out your frustrations! Write a poem about the empowered you. Write a book. Sing songs of happiness and write some about your sadness. Hey, you may have a hit in the making. Country music is full of them. And, Taylor Swift has made a fortunate each time she breaks up with a guy. You just never know so give it a try.

The most important thing is to move forward. Leave the abuser behind you. If you struggle with leaving, get help. Don’t walk on eggs shells any longer. Chose to run in grassy fields free from the torment. Look for local hotlines to call if you need help. Ask friends and other family members to help out. Tell your doctor. Seek help.

If you know someone who is being abused emotional and verbally, please step in to help.

This is part three in a four part series on Emotional Abuse Awareness, the Silent Killer of souls.

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“Well, life isn’t fair, get over it.”

“You should feel lucky…”broken-Christmas-tree-ornament1

“Let’s stick to the facts.”

“You’ve got it all wrong.”

“I never said that.”

“You can’t do anything right.”

“Can’t take a joke, can you.”

“You owe me.”

“What did I ever see in you?”

“You will never amount to anything.”

“You just want all the attention.”

 

Fatso, lazy, good for nothing, stupid, idiot, worthless, loser, dummy, ugly….

Do you hear what I hear? Are these phrases and words heard everyday in your life? Is someone who is supposed to love you use these words daily?

We might have used one of these phrases a time or two in our lives when we were angry or upset. It happens. Abusers and narcissists use them daily and repeatedly against those they abuse and try to control. These phrases and words over time become like strikes against the mind and heart of the one being abused. These words are absorbed, cataloged and filed into the memory of the abused to be replayed over and over. The abuser tries to demean, insult, criticize, break down, pick apart, by use words instead of physical means to destroy any means of self-worth and self-esteem their victim has. The abused then also becomes their own worst nightmare with the replaying of these insults anytime they attempt to do something. Abusers want to make sure the abused does not stand up for him or herself. The abuser wants the abused to believe he or she is the true problem. The abuser wants to control as well as be worshiped.

The abuser wants the abused to beg for their love. They want the abused to be so controlled the abused thinks of nothing but the abuser, as in how to please, how to honor and cherish to prevent from hearing such hurtful words. The abuser wants to control all thoughts so the abused will only trust the abuser.  The abuser may show love and compassion from time to time, they will make it conditional in such a way the abused feel he or she must earn the love.

Emotional abusers do not leave bruises, they leave deep scars. A victim may only reach out for help once. Please listen and respond.

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, “do you hear what I hear, ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, do you hear what I hear?”

December is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month for Creative Tidal Wave. Please catch the wave next week for more information.

 

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Do You See What I See?

December is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month for Creative Tidal Wave. I feel many are not well-educated in identifying and finding help. The song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” spoke to me as a good theme for the series. In the first part of the lyrics, “Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you see what I see?,” triggered within me, do we really see the outward signs of emotional abuse?

Physical abuse and neglect often have very visual signs which make them easier to report and recognize. Emotional abuse is not so easy to see the signs and symptoms plus victims learn to hide them. According to some studies, emotional abuse is more harmful than physical abuse. Physical abuse is not a daily event like emotional abuse. Belittling, bullying, shaming, intimidation, threatening, as well as constant criticism can cause outward behavior changes in those suffering from emotional abuse, both now or in their past.

Behavioral signs which send up red flags that someone has been abused:

Depression

Anxiety

Post Traumatic Disorder

Drastic behavior changes from outgoing to being quiet, withdrawn and shy

In some cases, victims will have a drastic shift to abusing others.

In children you might see these outward signs:

Lack of emotional attachment

Low cognitive or educational ability

Poor social skills

Depression

Trust issues

 

Doubt and fear move in. A victim often apologizes for everything because the emotional abuse has made the person feel as if they can do nothing right. Stripping a person of their pride and self-worth causes significant damage to their ego and ability to function in society. Victims often fall prey to other emotional abusers due to their behavior. Abusers seek out others which they can control and manipulate which causes people who have been past victims to often be re-victimized. Often victims become “super pleasers” to reduce the emotional pain abusers cause. This sets them up once again to fall prey to those who seek out pleasers to empower them and abuse their helpful nature.

Look around your office, classroom, Sunday School class, or among family and friends.  Has someone’s behavior changed? Do you see a significant other overpowering or constantly talking down to their partner or child? Do you see someone shying away from social contact where before they might have been the “life of the party?” It might feel awkward but approach someone you might suspect is being abused to offer help or at least acknowledge you are seeing some signs the person is in distress. The person will most likely deny or offer up an excuse but please know, you have planted a mental seed of awareness that others are noticing. Sometimes it is just as simple as someone asking if you are okay which causes more thoughts of getting help in the future. Be that one who changes a life. Caring matters.

Just a side note in regard to current events happening in

whispers in the wind collage2015:

With all the horrible events of late, I wonder how many of the violent people creating these acts were emotionally or physically abused as children or in relationships? Does their rage stem from past horrors done to them? If someone, anyone… a teacher, friend, coach, or even a family doctor noticed and said something to stop the abuse, would they have committed the acts we are seeing now, happen?  Can a random act of kindness or concern change the future of a killer? Not sure we could actually track the results but I feel sure one act can change a person. I would like to be that one who stopped someone from becoming a monster because they endured torment to create the hate and need to do such horrible acts. As a teacher, I have seen lives turned around due to someone confronting and helping a child seek help. Turn fear into compassion, do not allow it to continue to fester and grown into hatred and violence.

Next week, “Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, do you hear what I hear?” What does emotional abuse sound like? Check back in next week to find out the answer.

 

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The Positive Impact of The Theater

The arts are healing. They carry the power to influence within a safe environment without taking on a permanent change.

Theater allows words and action of situations to come to life for a brief moment. We get to glimpse into another world from the safe distance of our seats. We are not required to engage at the moment, just listen and watch. We are voyagers privy to a peak into lives and worlds beyond our own. We leave pondering what we have witnessed. Some words and action might impact our lives while others are lost in the mental files of our minds.

What does a theater program offer besides the pleasure of attending? Community and school theater programs offer the opportunity to explore emotions, places and lives not our own. Improv companies allow people to step outside their limited thinking to explore responses to touchy subjects and emotions via comedy. Theater offers opportunities to role play situations before they actually happen in our lives to develop a better understand of our own responses. In some ways, role playing can be an agent for change. We can “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” via the theater. We can step outside of our being to experience a life of pain and sorrow, joy and ridiculous antics, within a safety zone without worry we might be labeled.

A shy child can develop social skills from exposure to the theater. The theater enhances reading skills in dyslexic people. Proof of this? Look how many actors and actresses are coming out about their dyslexia. If you have a change, check out Henry Winkler’s life story dealing with his GIFT of dyslexia. Being involved in plays can help an angry child learn control by being involved in theater games to prep the mind. Theater which includes dancing and singing helps children and adults to develop coordination and lung development in asthmatics. Singing, dancing, and acting, known as the triple threat hosts so many benefits. Theater, beyond the stage has unlimited possibilities for positive outcomes  for business, life and relationships.

You do not have to be an actor to enjoy being involved in the theater. Creatives are what make the performers look good, especially if not the best on stage. Costume designers, set creators, lighting specialist, musicians, make-up artist, dance instructors, voice coaches, graphic designers, technical support, and stage managers can make or break a production. There is a place for everyone in the theater arts. You can learn the trades and ways while actively working on a performance.

Quiet artist come alive while exposed to the actors and others behind the scenes. Lots of laughs and tears to be shed. Lessons learned dealing with deadlines and those sorts called directors, are life long skills we all need. The plus in the theater it is short lived and you can move on all the wiser. I cannot begin to list all the benefits of being involved in the theater arts as a game changer in life.

Support the theater arts in your community and schools. Become involved with local productions. Go see professional productions to gain insight into other worlds an cultures as well as explore emotionally difficult situations from a safe distance. Just go and be involved any way you can.

 

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Rethinking Change and Compassion

The world is changing. We are changing. Recent events have caused a stir in our thinking and judgement patterns. It has stirred fear, anger, and restlessness in many. Adult emotions and reactions do influence children. Be mindful of your words around growing minds. Hate is learned. Judgement is influenced by parental reactions.

For a moment, let us think about the refugee children and what might be going through their minds. Life was pleasant. Homes, be they small or large, were safe havens. Life had order and routine at all social and economic levels, pretty much. Then, the terror starts. Gun fire, bombs, death, destruction, and loss of everything which symbolized safety, trust, and security in human lives is gone. In a child’s mind these are game changers, nightmares becoming reality which will forever haunt their daily lives and dreams. Mass hysteria sets in. No one is safe. No place to call home just chaos. Parents and family members are stressed because there are no answers. Life is centered around running for their lives in places they have never been to before. The sounds, sights, and smells of destruction fill their minds, they cannot be avoided. The memories are stored for a life time never erased.

Now, they hear their parents say no one wants them. No one wants to take on the burden to save them or help. There is nowhere to go. No place is safe, not even the woods or random buildings they hide in. Hate and resentment sets in the emotions of their care givers. Anger manifests. Children become second level victims of the rage and fear manifesting in those trying to care for them. No food, water, or shelter, the basic needs which we all seek are not available. Can you see how these terrors will affect the young adult mind as this child grows up?

I wonder if those causing the terror were child victims of war. Where does the hate start? Why would someone feel the need to harm others? Were their parents victims and pass down the hate via bias and judgement? We need to look at what happens to a young mind to cause such acts as adults.

What can we do? How can we help? I do not have the answers. What I ask is that we rethink what is happening and our reactions. How can we empower a nation to fight back instead of fleeing? How can we influence the next generation so they do not hate or lash out with weapons of mass destruction? How do we create change in our own homes so if this happens in our towns and cities? How can we prepare our children to be positive empowered survivors instead of angry hate revengeful adults?

First, let’s develop an understanding of different cultures and beliefs. Let’s learn about them not run from them. In schools in the US now, parents are refusing to allow their children to be exposed to the teaching of world religions. Please know, children do not decide to run to a religion based upon the 10 minute lecture in a middle school class. The attitude of exclusion brings on curiosity more so than the brief exposure. Secondly, let me refer to quotes from one of my favorite books, The Art of War.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Educate yourself. Understand the nature of those you do not understand. Create a space of knowledge before you judge and attack. This not only true in war but in our daily lives. Our workplace, our homes, and in all relationships, know the other party before engaging in battle or, engaging in alliance. Create a hunger of knowledge in your children at a young age so they will be victors instead of victims.

A third thing, create an atmosphere of mindfulness and compassion. This does not mean to be weak but to listen and understand as not to create mass unnecessary chaos. Teach your children  self reliance. Create a means of self-regulation and comforting in various environments and situations.  Help your children as well as yourself to find positive in the least likely of places. We are never guaranteed a stable tomorrow. Life throws curve balls and monkey wrenches when we least expect it. Build a working tool box of life skills and supports when times turn into the unspeakable.

We create the future within ourselves and those around us. Let’s be game changers for our children so their future may become a more positive environment. No, we can never rid the world of all hatred and violence but we can reduce it. We can also prepare our children and ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically to be survivors not victims. It all lies in our actions and reaction. Children are influenced by those around them. Let’s be the positive change for the future of our children, and their world. It just takes a spark, make it positive to set the fire a blaze in their hearts to spread to others.

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PTSD : Parent /Teacher/Student Disorder, let the school bells ring terror

Ok, so I know that PTSD  official stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Actually. many students, including myself before I even knew what PTSD was might say that the first day of school brought on many symptoms of PTSD. Some of those might include: flashbacks from trauma of being bullied in the hallways, test  and performance phobias, the day you fell in the lunch room sending your food everywhere and all laughing at you, on the bus, the mind goes wild anticipating what could happen this year. Or, during home room when asked a simple question, the fear overcomes you, you become speechless frozen in that deer-in-headlights position or worse, triggers an anxiety attack.  Yes, I do believe some students, especially those with labels do develop PTSD.

Working with challenged students over the years, and being one myself, I realized there was another PTSD issue: The Parent Teacher Student Disorder.  When parents place too much pressure on their child along with teachers who do not believe in ADHD, LD, or other invisible challenges, and other students who constantly joke about the stupid things we, unique sorts, do, creates its own disorder of such. It is hard being a “double coded” kid. You are intelligent yet you do some of the stupidest things which brings negative attention. Folks forget about those brilliant moments but remind you daily of your oops ones. Teachers say you are lazy when it is really a mass of action in your brain going through the files looking for the connections and facts you know are there but have gotten shuffled in the vast files. And, the dreaded test time when everyone has finished but you. The whole class is glaring at you because you are holding them up from the fun.

The Parent Teacher Student Disorder creates a false reality which over time creates a learned helplessness in some and a rebellion in others. The message is “I am not good enough.” Some figuratively  crawl under a rock or become wallflowers. Others feel they must fight the system earning worst labels to add to their collection. Too much negative causes mass destruction to the ego and soul of a child who cannot help but be a bit different. Not the child’s fault processing works on DSL speed and everyone else is on  Wi-Fi.  And, we all know too well that sometimes brilliant dyslexic have autocorrect issues in regard to word choice, spelling, and pronunciation. I refer to it as the “Archie Bunker Disorder” because the words just come out are not what you intended though close but enough to cause massive hysterics and embarrassing moments. I think autocorrect oops are to give others a moment in my life at times. Though I think Siri and the other text gremlins are far worse than some of my moments.

Solutions to the Parent Teacher Student Disorder issues:

  1. Empower your child. Build confidence in him/her by remembering and reminding him/her of the brilliant moments more so than the negative ones. Discuss positive traits. Doing their best is good enough. Never stop trying.
  2. Enroll your child in a great theater program. This might take some investigating because some programs can have witchy directors. Theater can teach your child how to rebound via Improv. Your child will develop confidence via  role play. Theater can help build reading, speaking, and social skills.
  3. Make teachers aware of your child’s unique abilities, not so much his/her disabilities. Dyslexics are blessed with gifts to be discovered. Help your child’s teacher to develop an understanding of the unique qualities. Give the teacher a list of gifted challenged famous individuals. Google it, the list is ever growing. He or she maybe teaching the next Tom Cruise or  Walt Disney, both gifted and challenged
  4. For those who do not have “double coded ” kids, teach your children and those around you not to bully. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they are stupid or less of a person.
  5. Encouragement, a listening ear, a pat on the shoulder, and a hug can mean more than you know. Be mindful, present in the moment, and find the positive amongst the negative. Help be that person who makes someone’s day not tear it down.

Share your oops moments from school or even at work. Let your kids know we all have such moments. Teaching to recover and move on. As a parent, intervene at school if you suspect teacher or student bullying.  Yes, even administrators and other staff bully students as well so be alert to negative folks in your child’s life. Help your child learn who is a good  friend and those who are not. Let’s turn PTSD into Positive Time Spent Discovering instead of a negative disorder.

Let the bells ring and bring on smiles instead of terror.

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