Tag Archives: Thought

Lessons of Failed Relationships

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Plinky prompt:
Share a lesson you wish you had learned earlier in life.

Every failed relationship you have ever had is your fault.

I’m not saying that you were the reason your ex cheated, absolutely refused to work, or was abusive… but you chose that person to be your partner – potentially unaware of the ‘type’ of person he or she was, and remained in that relationship up to a certain point… that point was when you learned your lesson.

… think about your last relationship, and why it ended…. There was something there that you just would not accept… and because of that, your relationship came to an end. Something else happened, though… you became smarter.

The Reality: What was actually lost

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Image by Carolyn_Sewell via Flickr

So, it’s been 621 days, or, 1 year 8 months and 12 days since my children and my world came to a crashing halt.

I keep wondering why I havent healed yet. Why am I still so profoundly damaged and why can I not integrate back into the world with even a minute amount of success. What is wrong with me. I was diagnosed with PTSD  which made me ask myself, does this mean I will never heal. And if I can recover, WHEN?

After beating myself up for failing to get on with life, I figure it might be time to assess the gravity, the magnitude, the reality of what was actually lost.

Before I go on, Please understand, I would have it no other way. The relief I feel knowing that my daughter had the guts to stand up and protect herself by telling her secret is remarkable. I am grateful for her bravery. I’m also relieved that her suffering has come to an end. However, I’m writing this blog post to get a better understanding of why I am having such a hard time healing from what was lost.

During some of my darkest, most painful days I recall describing what I was experiencing like this…

My husband was murdered, my daughter was raped, my home was set on fire, my job was terminated, my bank account was robbed.

And all of this occurred in one day, in the blink of an eye. I went to bed one night and life was normal. I woke up to find everything I knew and loved had changed. Life from this moment forward would never be the same.

It’s funny because the above description is not exact, but for me, it’s the closest way I can describe how I feel and for the most part it’s the equivalent of the reality.

The Breakdown of what was lost

My husband was murdered

Everyone knows someone who has lost a spouse way to early. About ten years ago my husbands best friend died in a car accident.  Of course we were devastated. After all, our friends had recently married, which we celebrated as a new and exciting beginning of two friends sharing a wonderful life together. In his death, he was buried and honored with a funeral where all of his loved ones were able to pay their respects to the deceased. There was closure. Sure, it was painful to say goodbye to a friend. There was peace in knowing we could visit his grave, place flowers on such a good friends final resting space should we desire.

The bottom line is, I have spent every day since midsummer of the year 2000 with my husband. I truly loved this man with every part of me. I was still in love with him, which is quite remarkable. heck, I’ve been in relationships where the flame is snuffed out, and pretty quickly to. But this wasnt the case with us. I still looked at him with passion, still thought he was the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on.

No, in reality my husband was not actually murdered. trust me, there is a weird part of me (the part that has never actually experienced what that might be like) that feels like this would be a less painful scenario. Had he been murdered I would have been able to bury the man I loved so deeply. I could still look at him with love. Me and my children could visit his grave and place flowers. A gravestone for me has recently become something tangible that you can go to when the person you held so dear is no longer there. My husband, my children’s father is no longer there. There’s nothing. THERES NOTHING. Just an empty space in my home and in my heart. I feel his absence in the depth of my guts. There’s nothing left but the good memories that swirl around the new and bad memories. I still can’t think of him, talk about him, look at his things, go to sleep next to the spot he occupied, and yes, survive every holiday without feeling the tremendous sense of loss of this person in my life. I miss the man I thought he was. I miss my best friend. I feel like it was my husband who murdered the man I loved.

My daughter was raped

This is such a painful thought that I still have a hard time thinking about it, much less writing candidly about the feeling and emotions that are buried in my mind and heart. And for that reason I’ll simply say… this is self explanatory…and move on to the next item.

My home was set on fire

I see news stories all the time about families displaced by fire. Families that are homeless in the matter of moments. Nothing left of the comforts of home but a heap of smouldering ash. This is tragic and reported as such on the news, usually with a cry for help and where good citizens can send donations to help out the newly homeless.

For my family, our home is on fire, burning just under the surface. It feels like the Alzheimer’s disease for the exiled. without an income, saving my home, my children’s home is useless. we’re just watching it smoke, waiting for the day that it’s all gone. The saddest part is, there aren’t any nor will there ever be any distress calls from the local news media for my family. We will lose our home. My children will lose the last bit of normalcy they have left. Childhood friends, classmates, routines that provide comfort will all be gone. I cannot explain what its like to walk into your house and know that the very sights, smells, and personal space that brings peace and shelters you from the cold hard world, just outside your door will be gone. I don’t know the date but I know its coming.  My husband was ordered to pay the mortgage but he never has and my lawyer didnt push the issue. Because I was and still am absolutely broke, I’m unable to pay my lawyer. The last payment that was made on our family home was april 2010. I’m still in my home but its in foreclosure. I’m not sure how much longer before we are completely homeless.

My job was terminated

My husband and I started our own business in 2006. I took pride in working both with him outside of the home and as the accountant in the home. I wont lie, ive never loved doing receipts. I kinda despised getting all the paperwork prepared for taxes. But I did it, for years I did it. I did love the physical work though. It wasnt to difficult and I really loved going to work with my husband everyday. We were a team. We were business partners. We were best friends who got to hang out every day. I look back on these times fondly and unfortunately so. If I hated the daily grind than maybe that’d be one less good memory to grieve the loss of. Now my everyday is a struggle just to get to the end. Our business was and is a fairly profitable business. We did well for ourselves, making enough to live on and have a bit left over for the fun things in life. We enjoyed entertaining friends at our house, hosting the occasional get-together. He took the business. He was the only one we listed on the LLC. We never paid ourselves paychecks so I couldn’t file for unemployment. It’s as if I havent had a job since 2006. I miss enjoying my day-to-day life. I miss working and I miss the motivation I once enjoyed as a small business owner.

My bank account was robbed

Within the first week after the discovery and while I was still in shock at my mothers house, my husband cleared out our bank account. I had not a dollar to my name and three kids to support. This has not changed and I don’t expect that it will. He took every dime that we together made and saved and left me with nothing. I went to sleep one night with a certain degree of financial security and woke up to find I couldn’t even buy toilet paper. “I couldn’t even buy toilet paper” it’s what everyone who is running low on cash says…I had to steal toilet paper from a gas station bathroom. It’s not an exaggeration, it was our reality and it was humiliating. As something ive kept a secret from everyone I know including my children, its something I still cringe privately over.

So, what’s next

When I look at the list above it reads like the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, seriously. How much stress can one person suffer before they break? I’ll paste a link I found to a site where you can do a quick assessment. I don’t need to do the assessment to know that I’ve had a multitude of stressful life changing events happen in a short amount of time but after reading over it ive decided I need to get myself back into therapy. Heres the list:

Choose Life Events In the last 2 years, did any of the following happen in your life?

  • Minor violations of the law
  • Major holidays
  • Vacation
  • Major change in number of family get-togethers
  • Change in eating habits
  • Major change in sleeping habits (a lot more or a lot less than usual)
  • Taking on a loan (car,etc.,)
  • Major change in social activities (clubs,movies,visiting,etc.)
  • Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation
  • Major change in church or temple activity (i.e.. a lot more or less than usual)
  • Major changes in working hours or conditions
  • Changes in residence
  • Changing to a new school
  • Trouble with boss
  • Revision of personal habits (dress manners, associations, quitting smoking)
  • Major change in living condition
  • Spouse beginning or ceasing work outside the home
  • Beginning or ceasing formal schooling
  • Outstanding personal achievement
  • Major change in responsibilities at work
  • Son or daughter leaving home
  • Trouble with in-laws
  • Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan
  • Taking on a mortgage (for home, business, etc.)
  • Change in number of arguments with spouse
  • Change to a different line of work
  • Death of close friend
  • Change in financial state
  • Sexual Difficulties
  • Gaining a new family member(ie.,birth,adoption)
  • Major business readjustment
  • Older adult moving in
  • Pregnancy
  • Change in the health/behavior of a family member
  • Marital reconciliation with mate
  • Retirement from work
  • Being fired at work
  • Marriage
  • Personal injury or illness
  • Detention in jail or other institution
  • Death of close family member
  • Marital Separation from mate
  • Divorce
  • Death of spouse

Read more: Life Stressors Chart http://www.medindia.net/patients/calculators/life_stressor.asp#ixzz1gZweOThD

I don’t know how long my pain will be so raw but I pray that it wont be forever.

Nobody said it was easy. But no one ever said it would be this hard.

I’m going back to the start

15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the...

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  • 15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

    Avoid cognitive distortions that may skew your perception.

15 Styles of Distorted Thinking

1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.

2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.
3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.
4. Mind Reading: Without their saying so, you know what people are feeling and why they act the way they do. In particular, you are able to divine how people are feeling toward you. Mind reading depends on a process called projection. You imagine that people feel the same way you do and react to things the same way you do. Therefore, you don’t watch or listen carefully enough to notice that they are actually different. Mind readers jump to conclusions that are true for them, without checking whether they are true for the other person.
5. Catastrophizing: You expect disaster. You notice or hear about a problem and start “what if’s.” What if that happens to me? What if tragedy strikes? There are no limits to a really fertile catastrophic imagination. An underlying catalyst for this style of thinking is that you do not trust in yourself and your capacity to adapt to change.
6. Personalization: This is the tendency to relate everything around you to yourself. For example, thinking that everything people do or say is some kind of reaction to you. You also compare yourself to others, trying to determine who’s smarter, better looking, etc. The underlying assumption is that your worth is in question. You are therefore continually forced to test your value as a person by measuring yourself against others. If you come out better, you get a moment’s relief. If you come up short, you feel diminished. The basic thinking error is that you interpret each experience, each conversation, each look as a clue to your worth and value.
7. Control Fallacies: There are two ways you can distort your sense of power and control. If you feel externally controlled, you see yourself as helpless, a victim of fate. The fallacy of internal control has you responsible for the pain and happiness of everyone around you. Feeling externally controlled keeps you stuck. You don’t believe you can really affect the basic shape of your life, let alone make any difference in the world. The truth of the matter is that we are constantly making decisions, and that every decision affects our lives. On the other hand, the fallacy of internal control leaves you exhausted as you attempt to fill the needs of everyone around you, and feel responsible in doing so (and guilty when you cannot).
8. Fallacy of Fairness: You feel resentful because you think you know what’s fair, but other people won’t agree with you. Fairness is so conveniently defined, so temptingly self-serving, that each person gets locked into his or her own point of view. It is tempting to make assumptions about how things would change if people were only fair or really valued you. But the other person hardly ever sees it that way, and you end up causing yourself a lot of pain and an ever-growing resentment.
9. Blaming: You hold other people responsible for your pain, or take the other tack and blame yourself for every problem. Blaming often involves making someone else responsible for choices and decisions that are actually our own responsibility. In blame systems, you deny your right (and responsibility) to assert your needs, say no, or go elsewhere for what you want.
10. Shoulds: You have a list of ironclad rules about how you and other people should act. People who break the rules anger you, and you feel guilty if you violate the rules. The rules are right and indisputable and, as a result, you are often in the position of judging and finding fault (in yourself and in others). Cue words indicating the presence of this distortion are should, ought, and must.
11. Emotional Reasoning: You believe that what you feel must be true-automatically. If you feel stupid or boring, then you must be stupid and boring. If you feel guilty, then you must have done something wrong. The problem with emotional reasoning is that our emotions interact and correlate with our thinking process. Therefore, if you have distorted thoughts and beliefs, your emotions will reflect these distortions.
12. Fallacy of Change: You expect that other people will change to suit you if you just pressure or cajole them enough. You need to change people because your hopes for happiness seem to depend entirely on them. The truth is the only person you can really control or have much hope of changing is yourself. The underlying assumption of this thinking style is that your happiness depends on the actions of others. Your happiness actually depends on the thousands of large and small choices you make in your life.
13. Global Labeling: You generalize one or two qualities (in yourself or others) into a negative global judgment. Global labeling ignores all contrary evidence, creating a view of the world that can be stereotyped and one-dimensional. Labeling yourself can have a negative and insidious impact upon your self-esteem; while labeling others can lead to snap-judgments, relationship problems, and prejudice.
14. Being Right: You feel continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct. Being wrong is unthinkable and you will go to any length to demonstrate your rightness. Having to be ‘right’ often makes you hard of hearing. You aren’t interested in the possible veracity of a differing opinion, only in defending your own. Being right becomes more important than an honest and caring relationship.
15. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy: You expect all your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, as if there were someone keeping score. You fell bitter when the reward doesn’t come as expected. The problem is that while you are always doing the ‘right thing,’ if your heart really isn’t in it, you are physically and emotionally depleting yourself.

 

http://access.ewu.edu/CAPS/SelfHelp/StressManage/DistortThink.xml*FromThoughts & Feelingsby McKay, Davis, & Fanning. New Harbinger, 1981. These styles of thinking (or cognitive distortions) were gleaned from the work of several authors, including Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck, and David Burns, among others.

 


Attributes

 

 

http://www.gurusoftware.com/gurunet/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseContent.htm#Keys_to_Achievement_&_Personal_Growthhttp://www.gurusoftware.com/gurunet/KnowledgeBase/KnowledgeBaseContent.htm#Keys_to_Achievement_&_Personal_Growth
http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki/Personality_Portal
http://humanscience.wikia.com/wiki/Welcome_to_Human_Science

 

 

 

Trait-Positive Trait-Negative
Attitudes
accepts authority, loyal, devoted rebellious
accepts what’s given ignores, rejects what’s given
affectionate distant, cold, aloof
aspiring, ambitious, motivated self-satisfied, unmotivated
candid closed, guarded, secretive
caring uncaring, unfeeling, callous
change; accepts, embraces- rejects change
cheerful cheerless, gloomy, sour, grumpy
considerate, thoughtful inconsiderate, thoughtless
cooperative uncooperative, unhelpful, combative
courageous cowering, fearful
courteous rude, impolite
decisive indecisive
devoted uncommitted, uncaring, hostile
determined indecisive, unsure
does what is necessary, right does what is convenient
perseveres, endures relents, gives up
enthusiastic unenthusiastic, apathetic, indifferent
expansive kept back, tight, constricting
faith in life life can’t be trusted
faith in oneself lack of faith in self
faith in others others can’t be relied on
flexible inflexible, rigid, unbending, stubborn
forgiving unforgiving, resentful, spiteful
focused unfocused, scattered
freedom given to others authoritarian, controlling
friendly unfriendly, distant, aloof, hostile
frugal, thrifty wasteful, spendthrift
generous stingy, miserly, selfish
goodwill ill-will, malice, hatred
grateful ungrateful, unappreciative
hard-working lazy
honest dishonest, deceiving, lying
humble arrogant, conceited, ego-centric
interested indifferent, uncaring
involved complacent, indifferent
jealous, not jealous, envious, covetous
kind unkind, uncaring, cruel, mean
mature immature
modest vain
open-minded, tolerant narrow, close, small-minded, intolerant
optimistic pessimistic
perfects allows imperfection
persistent, sustaining flagging, fleeting, unsustaining
positive negative
practical impractical, not viable
punctual late, not on time
realistic naïve, impractical
reliable unreliable, undependable
respectful disrespectful, rude, impolite
responsibility; takes- blames others
responsible [ep to 9 levels] unreliable, undependable
responsive unresponsive, unreceptive
self-confident lack of self confidence, insecure
self-directed directed by externals
self-disciplined undisciplined, unrestrained, indulgent
self-esteem, high self-esteem, confidence – low
self-giving self-centered
self-reliant dependent
selfless selfish
sensitive Insensitive, indifferent
serious silly, trivial, petty
sincere insincere, dishonest
social independence social approval required
sympathetic unsympathetic, unfeeling
systematic unsystematic, disorganized, disorderly, random
takes others point of view insists on own view
thoughtful towards others thoughtless, inconsiderate, callous
trusting suspicious, mistrusting
unpretentious pretentious, affected, ostentatious
unselfish selfish
willing does, willingness unwilling, reluctant, recalcitrant
work-oriented convenience first

 

 

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