Boundaries are Healthy

Sometimes when I’m in the bathroom, my cat will sit on the floor and stare at me. It’s creepy. You may ask why I don’t lock my cat out. I feel guilty. She is home alone all day, so I think I shouldn’t limit my time with her. But, I resent her stare.

Games we play

This game we play, you may recognize it. My cat stares, and I feel guilty. I pet her and allow her to rub around my legs. There’s only so much I can take with all that attention. We both mean well.


The funny thing about it, when I am with her, as in overextended vacations, she still meows when she doesn’t see me in the room with her. If I step outside to take out the trash or run an errand, it’s no different. She still wants the same amount of attention as she did when I’m home for a few hours. So in my great reasoning, I don’t think it’s because she misses me.
I read somewhere that a cat’s memory is only a few minutes. Cats don’t know how long it’s been.

This guilt I feel is hollow. I am projecting how I would feel in her shoes (paws). So why am I feeling so miserable? What do I want? I like it when we snuggle up on the couch together. I love it when she greets me in the morning. Even when I come home. The time when I’m in the bathroom and staring at me is my fault. I let it happen. If I want to be alone at that time, I need to close the door. A simple thing.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

How often do we do this? We yell at people unnecessarily instead of metaphorically and physically closing the door. Have you ever said, “Yes, I’ll do that for you,” when you feel like vomiting at the thought of doing it? We go along with things when we have other plans. We say yes to their idea even when we disagree. It’s not necessary. We think our actions are kind. All we’re doing is building up a reason to hate someone we usually love. That’s what resentment does. It builds a wall of hate. If enough resentment builds, what happens? We yell. We scream. We blame. We walk away in anger. Is this what we want? Is it inevitable?

Kids need boundaries

ASLA 2006 Student Awards

A study was conducted. There was one playground with a fence and one without any borders. The children without a fence clustered towards the center. If you place a fence around a playground, the children used the entire area to play. I found this to be interesting. Boundaries in life are giving freedom. Ironic.

Right here and now

I have the right to close my bathroom door. I have the right to ignore my phone. I feel freer knowing I can fence off my time, declaring ownership. I can put up a barricade and stick my flag in the ground. It’s my time! Right here and now. Kings do it, presidents do it, astronauts do it in their country’s name, and so can you. If it helps, you can make yourself a flag and put it in the middle of your room or outside your closed door. Name your kingdom. Just remember, you’re the enforcer. Tell everyone you will call them later.

If this hasn’t been part of your life before, people may not honor your boundary. But if you continually tell them, they will learn to respect your fence. With cats, children, spouses, or parents, it’s no different. They learn what we teach them. If we teach them that it’s okay to call us names and hurt our feelings (by allowing it), that is what we will get. Some people in your life will need retraining. I like thinking of it as an experiment. Who is the easiest to teach? How long did it take? How did they react in comparison to a different person? Be firm, but not rude. repeat the same line 30 or 40 times if necessary. “I can’t talk now. I’ll call you at 5:00.” Don’t explain. Don’t vary. I’ve used this technique several times, and it’s like magic, but you have to state it firmly and without emotion.

What works for you? Leave a comment.

Adapted and Reblogged from a previous date, 1/06/13 Limitations-Boundaries-and-Those-Cute-Picket-Fences

Emotions And Flashbacks

We know emotions. They’re healthy, normal. A pet is sick or dies, and we are sad. If it is sunny outside, this could be a good day. We become excited. We plan for an adventure. There’s a hike, a few hours at the zoo with our family, or maybe the pool. A little sunburn isn’t bad. Even a tantrum from the three-year-old doesn’t spoil a day. Emotions are flavors added to the stewpot.

I’ve had weeks of crying jags for no apparent reason, and I’m bewildered as to what started them. I can’t recall an emotion. Am I sad? Angry? Sometimes I’ll stare at the wall or want to hide under the covers because life seems too much. It’s the tsunami crashing over my plans to move forward into a good life. I write lists and can’t seem to accomplish the tasks.

The difference in simple terms between an emotion and a flashback is the logic. I can be disappointed in an immediate event or happy about it. If I’m having a flashback, it’s illogical. I may be disappointed about the experience but also accuse others that they did this on purpose. I’ll feel like going into a dark hole for a longer time or rage about someone letting me down. And perhaps they did. The flashback has magnified the pain.

Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions (‘amygdala hijackings’) to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair – or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair.  Flashback Management

Pete Walker

How can you tell if someone has a flashback?  

“Flashbacks sometimes feel as though they come out of nowhere, but there are often early physical or emotional warning signs. These signs could include a change in mood, feeling pressure in your chest, or suddenly sweating. Becoming aware of the early signs of flashbacks may help you manage or prevent them.”

RAINN.ORG

There is a time in our childhood before we could name an emotion when we create patterns of feeling. It’s possible our parents were busy and tired. My dad worked two and sometimes three jobs. Mom helped when we had a business—three kids and not a lot of money. As the third child, it was a challenge to be noticed. I needed more than they could give. I cried with ear infections, and mom was exhausted. She needed a break. And there wasn’t one in sight anywhere for her. Now, it’s still difficult for me to ask for help.

Peaceful Warrior

One tool Richard Grannon teaches in his YouTube videos is for emotions. Many of us are not aware of our feelings. I wrote about this in a previous post, The Jungle of My Emotions. We befriend our emotions, even the ugly ones, and they soon become familiar. Name them as to recognize them. Are you afraid? Or are you feeling betrayed? This method has been helpful for me.

A decent way to do this is to set a timer for three times a day. Mine is 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 8:00 PM. When the timer chimes, check-in with yourself. Are you bored, lost, sad, or feeling angry? Being aware of yourself is a start. There is plenty of help if you need it.

I don’t know your life or your family, only you know them. You swim in those emotions deep. It takes a near miracle, as the fish pulled from the water, to realize life can be different. I do have hope for me, and I have hope for you. If you can relate to any of this, follow some of the links. There is help. It can get better.

Resources:

Rick Hanson Ph.D.-The Foundations of Well Being 

Richard Grannon-The Spartan Life Coach

Pete Walker-Flashback Management

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.

Disappointment

The holidays can leave me feeling like an abused spouse. I never think I meet the hidden expectations and wonder if I’m a failure.

How was your family time? Or aloneness?

Tyler Knott Gregson

Traditional holiday seasons are triggering. I cling to unfulfilled desires even though they will never be mine. I need the light of grace to see past the fog.

Joy in connecting

Today was a day for recovery. My guy and I walked around downtown. There’s a bookstore, Magic City Books, and we’ve wanted to go. I purchased a couple of books (below) after allowing myself a lengthy browse. We had coffee at the shop next door, and afterward, we went home. It was refreshing. No rush. Like the slow stretch you do when you exit the car after a long drive.

Maybe you do well through the holidays. If so, I’m glad. Let me know either way. I’d love to know.

Contained

Boxes.

There are three cats in my house, and they love it when I receive deliveries. We have boxes to jump into and hide. Dot, the rascally kitten probably has the most fun making himself small at the bottom, then pouncing on his sister.

In and out, and the noise continues. Paper rattles from the packing supply. I often forget they aren’t children. All of this play and fun is what they do. This is their life. And I wonder if humans forgot how to play?

After a few days of chaos and I’ve had enough of the hidden cat game, as well as the thudding sounds in the night. I stack the containers, one inside the other like Matryoshka Russian Nesting Dolls. This is my game. It pleases me.

If you have pictures of your crazy pets, I’d love to see them. You can share on this site or on Facebook/ShowUp

Boundaries and Bandaids

A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.

From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.

Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the Buddha

With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse

As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably

      – Frederick Buechner

The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.

Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.

Not Owned

People make crazy statements. Well, you have to take care of your job. I understand what they mean. It’s scarcity. They believe there aren’t enough office cubicles to go around for everyone. But this body, this person is far more precious. I can find another desk to roll my chair under, but who cares if I can’t mentally function anymore.

The same rules apply to relationships. You must take care of yourself. Don’t tell me how much that person needs you until you’re taking care of your needs.

You cannot hold me.

I am not concrete. I move. I change. You cannot use me as a prop to make your life easier. I am not property.

The breeze blows. Whispers in your ear. The air flows and you breathe, then it is gone. Did you expect more? It returned to the wind.

We are this moment. Play, work, struggle, holding our forms. But soon the body will be dust and ash stirred by the winds while in elation what remains flies on to further adventure.

J West

How’s your sleep? Did someone hug you recently and let you know you are worth loving? We must, must remember. Our worth, our innate value is not a luxury. Tell yourself. It sounds stupid, I know, but it works. Show the world you have value by standing tall, brushing your teeth, and getting a good night’s sleep.

There are too many who will nudge you off the sidewalk of life if you let them. Don’t. And by all that’s holy, stop apologizing for being in their way. You belong.

Drug Addiction is Not a Crime

Don’t be stigmatized. Shake it off. Be free of traditional labeling.

With the new Federal regulations, there is a tightening on pain medicine, even for those with chronic pain. The label I feel stamped across my forehead is Addict.

Yes! Pills. Give me drugs. Stop the pain. A friend’s mom is a pain med junky, according to my friend. It’s been a driving force for keeping my friend away from the treatments. Maybe. There’s the ex-boyfriend who called my friend a druggie when she took her pain medicine. Ironic since he once lived in the tunnels of Las Vegas because of his illegal drug use.

Stigmatism.

I’m uncertain of how to help since there is the of money. If the insurance paid for the medicine, it’s great. If we pay for Ayurvedic or other Holistic treatments, then it is all personal money. Most of us aren’t wealthy. I asked my new pain treatment physician what other alternate treatments meant since the Federal guidelines state doctors are supposed to phase out opioids into different types he said they include physical therapy, surgical interventions, and steroid injections. But these come with copays and deductibles. We are talking about $300.00 to $1000.00s of dollars per visit with no guarantee of any success. Thank you Federal government for your love and concern!

It seems that every TV show and podcast topic lately has a splash of bias, making anyone who needs medicine appear to be a drug seeking criminal. Honestly, if all the answers were found in nature, then our bodies would damn near heal themselves. Even on my favorite show, Joe Rogan Experience, it’s one I can listen to while I work, it’s long and doesn’t need constant visuals. The one I was listening to, #1301-Laird Hamilton, was a health-conscious episode. Mr. Hamilton and Joe were bandying back and forth about people they knew who did outrageous marathons such as 125k. Quite impressive. My annoyance came at their assessment of their source of health. With much pride and enthusiasm, the guest kept repeating that people wouldn’t need medicine if they would exercise (as he does?) Seriously? In all cases?

Be Lucky Like Him

Yes, these big, God’s gifts to the world, do irritate me. There’s a blind spot in their Narcissistic vision. Humility. Mr. Surfer needs a reality check. Genetics smiled upon him. But….

When you have all of the answers, why bother looking anymore? I work in medicine and see the opposite side of the mirror every day. There are babies born without a chance to every run 125k marathon. Babies don’t do a damn thing right or wrong. Many times neither did their parents. Life happens, and we pick up the pieces. It is a fools arrogance to assume we have such control.

I want to be grateful for the gifts I was given, for each day, each person in my life. I want to create a better world for tomorrow. And love my people today.

Here are a few resources:

Gabor Mate is an Author and speaker. He has excellant YouTube videos. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction-Gabor Mate

Richard Grannon is a therapist and speaker I’ve followed for several years on YouTube. He has multiple courses on trauma recovery and offers a free course if you sign up for his emails. Spartan Lifecoach

How Stigma Against Addiction Devastates Pain Patients-Article

Talking Kitty Cat-Catnip Addiction HELP!! (Funny) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMnco5w7yeI

Finding Meaning in Life

In a split second, we make judgments. Is a person tidy or dirty? Creepy or beautiful? Whether we are determining the fate of another person or choosing which shirt to wear, these observations slip in before we can reject them. And do we know why we’re attracted to another person? Is it their looks or kindness?

Do you want to get real with yourself? Find out what you value. I’ve spoken about this before in a previous post, How To Be Strong, but I believe it’s worth repeating.

And if you don’t know your values at this moment, there’s an easy way to learn. What excites you? Angers you? If you don’t give a shit about it, then I’d say it’s not a value. There’s also a link to a helpful site at the bottom of this post.

So how does knowing a value change your life? Well, maybe you’ve always let life happen. Whoever was helpful or befriended you became your bestie regardless of their character. But this person might be a user, borrowing money all the time and smoking in your car. If you know your values, you can say, enough. “Man, it’s nice to have a friend, but I value keeping money in the bank and a clean smelling car.”

People who know their values such as “family time” or even “alone time” have more direction in life. Imagine knowing yourself that well, enough to know that being a charitable person is essential. It’s more important than taking an extended vacation. For some people this statement is true.

So, what do you need? A clean space? Steady work? Adventure? Family?

#Mindtools

#Self-authoring

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Muriel Rukeyser

How To Be Strong

Are You The Choices You Make?

bliss by jakki moore- painting shared from thegirlgod.com

Stop! Don’t Make Your Point

It’s alright if you don’t have an agenda sometimes. Relax. It might be healthy.

Too often when we enter a conversation, it’s to make a point. But what if we didn’t. Next time, we could let the unimportant stuff slip away.

Choose your stressors wisely. I pulled this post from psychologist Rick Hanson’s post, Just One Thing. You are free not to do these anymore.

Freedom not to

How?

For one or more of the items just below, imagine what it would feel like for you to have the freedom not to:

• Press your point home

• Struggle to get someone to change his or her mind

• Have a second drink. Or a first one.

• Worry what other people think about you

• React to what is swirling around you

• Act on an impulse

• Get into an argument

• Be swept along by anger

• Identify with a mood or point of view passing through awareness

• Take something personally

• Take responsibility for the experiences of other people

• Criticize yourself for not being able to fit into a pair of jeans

• Resist what’s unpleasant

• Drive toward what’s pleasant

• Cling to what’s heartfelt

For one or more of the items just above, imagine how your greater freedom would help others. Also, let others be freer themselves with you; give them room to breathe, time to think and feel. – Rick Hanson PhD

Have a beautiful day!

Embrace Your Wild

Some of life is without a right or wrong; a should or shouldn’t. Bedtimes can be suggestions. If a lifestyle isn’t working, you can adapt it, toss or edit it, remove the parts that don’t work.

You’re not locked into the same white walls or the same voting pattern of the past. Purple, yellow, or green are the right colors to use also.

For goodness sake, wake up and live a life that is comfortable for you! Let’s not waste another day mourning yesterday’s stupidity. Coffee’s brewing.

Wolf and Woman