Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Daily Reflection: Change

You know what?
Yes, I have changed.

  • I’ve changed because I have been hurt by people who said one thing and did another.
  • I’ve changed because my trust was betrayed.
  • I’ve changed because I have been lied to and about.
  • I’ve changed because I have been bullied and called names.
  • I’ve changed because I have learned that people manipulate the truth and gossip and destroy reputations.
  • I’ve changed because I have learned that people use other people to get what they want.
  • I’ve changed because I have learned that people will say and do anything to win, even when their winning means pain for others.

I’m not as nice as I used to be, because I no longer am willing to get used or be walked over. 

I don’t trust people and tell them my secrets, because behind fake smiles hide those who take advantage and betray.

I distance myself from people because they have to earn my trust before I will allow myself to move closer.

I’ve come to realize I’m the only person I can depend on 100%.  
I am the only one who knows my truth.
I am the only one who can protect myself from the unscrupulous by building a protective wall and boundaries that keep me safe.

Yes trauma does that!

It takes a trusting open person and changes them into a skeptical, cynical, untrusting person wrapped in a security blanket of personal protection.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 – 04 – 27

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Friday, April 27, 2018

My Daily Reflections: dealing with difficult times


"Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times, you grow. Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement. Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character. Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons." ~ Troy Amdahl

Sometimes I don’t like what I have been handed. It seems unfair!

And yet

To really practice gratitude I have to find a way to be grateful even for the adversity.

My moments of greatest transformation occur when I can look within the hurt and find the courage strength and power to change and grow.

  • Sometimes this is a struggle!
  • Sometimes I rant against the unfairness!
  • Sometimes I cry out in anger and anguish; “why me?”

But in facing a situation that is beyond my control, I have found that I regain control when I makes choices about what I will learn, do, become, in the aftermath of that situation.

It is a choice I get to make about how I will move forward, what kind of person will I become after the trauma or tragedy I am facing. It is in the choice that I make that I discover that elusive something that I can be grateful for. Sometimes that elusive something is only the gift of learning something about myself; my strength, my ability to grow or to overcome or to survive.

I am not saying it is easy.
I am not saying it is right that we have to face this situation, or traumatic event that sent us into a spiral out of control.
I am not in any way absolving those who created the negative or traumatic situations nor am I minimizing their culpability in it.

I am simply saying that my power lies in the path I choose after the event, how I shape my now into a path that moves forward, in a new direction, toward new possibilities.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2017 – 04 – 26

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

My Daily Reflections: Dealing with those who say "you are the problem"

Today’s reflection was precipitated by this quote:

“They say “you are the problem”. 
And “I believed it so deeply 
because it was what 
I had been taught for so long” 
~ Darelene (Emerging from Broken)

Beware the people who say you are the problem! 

Beware the people who say you must change to be more pleasing to them! 

Beware the people who demand that you be accommodating of their behaviour toward you. 

Beware the people who say they have the right to put you down, call you names, and point out your faults.
Instead it is time to start to asking yourself probing questions as part of your healing journey:
  • What are they hiding from, what truth about themselves are they too afraid to face?
  • What are they trying to get you to do FOR them so that they don’t have to do something for themselves?
  • What are they trying to get you to believe about yourself, and about them? And then ask; is it true or is it compensation or an avoidance?
  • Wonder why are they trying to make your life harder and their life easier?
  • Consider how does what they expect make you feel? And listen to those feelings; they are trying to tell you something. 
  • Question; do you deserve to be expected to take on responsibility for their needs? Is it your responsibility to make their lives easier by making your own harder?
  • Do you deserve to be expected to change, to be inauthentic, to put on a mask, to be less of who you are; so that they don’t have to face themselves?
  • A personal healing journey is hard enough without worrying constantly about whether your healing journey is having a negative effect on others.
As you stand up more for yourself, and stop doing for others what they ought to be doing for themselves, some of the demands that come at you are quite amazing.
When you stop responding in the expected way; giving way, giving in, pretending that same old same old is okay; expect there to be fight back from those who enjoyed the old broken down wounded you who was amenable and pliable, usable, easily manipulated and controllable.
When you stop being the problem absorber, when you stop believing that you are always the one at fault, when you stop being the scape goat, the easy target etc.; you have put a huge hole into their complacency that there will always be someone to dump on who won’t complain because they have had you trained to be uncomplaining.
Step outside of your people pleasing, door mat role as part of your healing and there are plenty of people who will try to stuff you right back inside the box they built for you.
I started to notice that they wanted me in the compliant box for a reason, and the reason was not that “I” was bad, but rather because my questions shone a light upon things that they did not want brought into the light.
Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 03 – 27

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Friday, March 23, 2018

My Daily Reflections: Healing has changed my view on Relationships

The outer façade of okayness is the mask that I wore because it was expected of me.  

If my hurts remained buried in secrecy then "their" part in creating that pain could also remain a secret, "their" culpability denied even.  If I appeared to be happy then they could continue to pretend that they had done nothing wrong. 

To reveal to others the causes of my woundeness; reveals to them the need to acknowledge their nature of their action and the need for atonement, for change, to accept that they did in fact not know as well as they espoused to know that their actions had consequences and that some of those consequences were the pain they caused me.  And when that recognition is that something they don’t wish to see, they prefer the ability to remain in denial, and the easiest path to remain in denial is to deny me the right to reveal my true self.

To reveal my hurts and my aches, my feelings of dissatisfaction, of lack of connection, of disappointment in not living up to their expectations, is not what anyone wanted or even still now wants to hear.   Thus revealing my true emotions and feelings, and how I have been affected by their actions (whether premeditated or not) would be seen by them as me trying to expose a failure on their part, and a need to confront that they too are neither as healed, nor as emotionally healthy as they try to portray or claim to be.

Thus they make it known that they don’t want to see anyone’s pain by putting down those who expose their pain.  They make it known that revealing my pain would expose me to that same derision that they heap on others for being so weak as to reveal a pain causing event.  They make it known that I am expected to have that “stiff upper lip”, to uncomplainingly swallow the minor and sometimes not so minor, offenses of disrespect. 

The message is clear; don’t reveal anything we don’t want to confront. They make it clear that any feelings of pain that I experience should somehow become my fault and dealt with by me without involving them in the growth inducing process of healing.

They accomplish this by trying to implicate that:
o   If I were a better person; if I had a thicker skin, then I would not feel their attacks as being painful. 
o   If I were a better person, more willing to overlook the unkindness of others I would be better able to dismiss my pain, be better at getting over an offence.  I would be able to ignore that they don’t acknowledge their attacks and that they don’t even feel the need to apologize for those attacks.
o   If I were a better person then I would not feel the need to hold them accountable, to make them responsible for their choices.  Sometimes I even feel they want me to take on the responsibility for their actions, by acknowledging that somehow if I were a better person then they would not have had to do to me what they did to me, the message hangs out there; that I should justify their actions because I deserved it.

And all of this takes place without direct verbal communication.  Just the expectation sits there to “be okay” to “be happy” to not question things, to deal with and preferable forgive and hide away past offenses.  There is this subtle innuendo that they are happy and I am not and that therefore it must be my fault. 

And it isn’t even that I am unhappy!  I am quite happy with my life thank you very much!  I am content with the choices I make to feel safe and empowered in my life.  My version of happiness happens to be different than theirs and involves boundaries of what I feel are appropriate ways of being spoken to, of general expectations of kindness and levels of consideration.  My happiness is now based on what is real, what I create for myself and not pretending to be happy when I am hurting. 

Happiness for me does not involve having people in my life at all costs, regardless of the emotional damage.  Rather happiness for me is having the right to make a choice to not be in a close relationship with people to take me for granted, who don’t want to hear my feelings or my opinions, or who use putting me down to make themselves feel better.  

o   My happiness is not dependent of pretending that I am okay with being disrespected or being okay with being treated badly just to say I am in a relationship. 
o   My happiness is that sense of peace of mind that comes with knowing that I have the right to choose who is in my life and to what degree they are allowed into my inner circle. 
o   My happiness comes from me acknowledging and knowing that I am actually better off alone than in relationship with people who diminish me. 

Bottom line, I do not require people in my life to be happy.   I will happily include the right kind of people in my life to enhance the contentment I already feel about the way I have been shaping my life in the process of healing.  But don’t for a moment think that I am unhappy because there are so few people I trust enough to be in a relationship with.  Don’t presume for a single moment that because I prefer my own company over a fake, pretend, shallow, relationship to make others happy; especially when that relationship requires me to deny myself the freedom to be true to myself or requires me to forget offenses that have not been apologized for or to accept inappropriate or rude behaviour on their part; that I am not content and at peace and even fulfilled and happy.

Just because I am aware of the hurtful things that have been done to me, and because I am trying to heal in a sustainable manner that incorporates boundaries and awareness, does not mean that my happiness is in any way diminished.  Rather this awareness reveals to me that accountability that we all have to one another.  This accountability is what creates a trusting environment.  This accountability actually is the foundation block of real relationships. And this actually creates much deeper and more sustainable kind of happiness, one that is based in the security of self-knowledge and the empowerment that comes from feeling like I have control over the quality and sustainability of happiness in my life.  For if my happiness only comes from having people in my life, then at any time that happiness can be taken away from me when one of those people leaves my life.

Trusting relationships are not built or nurtured on a false base of denial.  Forgiving is not about saying all of those hurtful words and actions are okay, so let us not talk about it and pretend that we are better people than we are. This type of “overlooking” leads to fake facades where pretense is the veneer used to cover up the rotten underbelly of hurtful and harmful behaviours that are justified through denial and deflection and even attempting to alter the reality of events.  This type of façade denies the reality of my healing and at the same time denies them the opportunity to face their own healing.  This type of façade would require me to assume the responsibility for their inaction in their own healing.  This type of façade would have me pretend to be happy so that they can have the illusion of their own well-being while evading their culpability for doing negative things to me.  

Trusting relationships are built on being real. 
o   And real sometimes means saying no you don’t get to treat me that way. 
o   And real sometimes means saying that your actions in the past had consequences and you are accountable until you take the time to heal yourself and then seek ways to attone.
o   And real sometimes means saying that it is okay for you to deny things but it is equally real for me to say I can’t deny because I am on a different level of my emotional development than you are. 
o   And real means that I get to say what I need from you to feel an increase in trust and to say there are consequences if you don’t feel you want to give me what I need.
o   And real means that I get to say; no you don’t get to deny responsibility for your actions if you want to be in a relationship with me.
o   And real means I don’t have to accept you making me feel bad for being real.
o   And real means that I don’t have to put on a mask to make you feel better while on the inside I feel worse.
o   And real means that I have the right to see you struggle with truth and face the hurt in you that feels the need to hurt me rather than enabling you to avoid facing the unpleasantness of the reality.

You see so much has changed in me once I stopped wearing the fake façade of okayness.  Once I faced my own woundedness I started to see the woundedness in others.  But what I was not prepared for on my healing journey was this; while I face my woundedness I see too many signs in others that they wish to hide their woundeness behind unkindness of actions and words and deeds.  

o  They wish to pretend to be okay by deflecting their inappropriate behaviours onto me while telling me that I deserved to be treated negatively.    
o  They want to avoid facing their inner demons by making me their scapegoat. 

o  They want me to enable them to continue to treat me offensively by absorbing the guilt they try to imply I ought to feel for not allowing them get away with inappropriateness. 

I want to be very clear that I am not setting myself up to judge others for the actions that they take; for I fully recognize that everyone heals in their own time and their own space.   Rather I see this awareness as a warning flare.   

A wounded person that feels the need to inflict their pain upon me rather than facing up to and / or healing themselves is simply not a safe person to allow into my inner circle of relationships.  I can have all the compassion in the world for them and their journey without giving them opportunities to harm me.  I can have compassion from afar if that is what it takes to keep me safe.  I can even have the compassion of telling them that I feel unsafe around them and give them that momentary opportunity to glimpse themselves in the mirror of the reality of what their behaviour demonstrates.

This knowledge does not in any way detract from my contentment.   I have learned that my self-worth is not tied to the number of “people in my life” but rather to the way I expect to be treated by the people in my life.  

This change in belief has actually increased my contentment because now that I am more selective about who is in my life and how close I allow others to approach my innermost friendship circle; I feel a sense of empowerment and confidence that I will be treated right, respectfully, and as I deserve.   

If someone can only be in my life if I put on my “fake mask”, if they expect me to be less of me so they can feel comfort with who they are; then how is my life enhanced by their presence?  And if my life is not enhanced by their presence quite possibly the reality is that my life is actually enhanced by their absence! 

For this reason my inner circle is very small.  And as I heal I find my inner circle is getting smaller.  I leave behind me all those who want me to be accepting and forgiving of their inconsiderateness and want me to put on a façade of okayness for their benefit. 

I am not here in this life to be the sponge of other people’s pain.  This does not mean I am not compassionate.  I can and will willingly help others with their pain, show compassion and even help them heal from their pain. 

However, I am not here to absorb the pain of others who would rather transfer their suffering on to me, through their actions toward me, so that they can avoid the painfulness of their own healing journey.  I am not obligated to be the means of their own avoidances.   

When I recognize the significant difference between helping someone to heal and helping someone to avoid healing; my own life becomes a much more peaceful and serene island where I am the harbour master monitoring which boats may remain tied to the dock and which boats are best left out on the open waters.

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 03 – 23

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Daily Reflections - They don't wear black hats!

The bad guys in our lives don’t wear black hats.  They are actually quite ordinary looking.  They don’t have flashing signs that tell you who they are!

If they didn’t appear “nice” then they would not be able to get close enough to us to harm us!

They are masters of disguise!  They can fool us into letting our guard down!

When the abuse begins, they have already conned us into believing they have values that are similar to ours. It is our trust that then allows them to get close enough to be in a position to manipulate and harm us.  

The abuse tends to happen when there is no one there to witness the abuse so they can continue to pretend to be who they are not and thus they are able to make you appear to be the crazy one.

The only way to recognize the abuse is by:

1/  having boundaries and
2/  analyzing which of your boundaries is being violated.
3/  pointing out that your boundary has been violated
4/  watch what they do in response you’re your pointing out the boundary violation.

A good person will apologize for having crossed your boundary.
A bad person will find some way to make you feel either that you deserved it or that you are crazy for feeling upset by what they did to you.

If they have gotten away with such behaviour in the past; when you first call them on it they will be very upset with you and will really try to make you out to be the bad person for exposing their behaviour.  

An abusive person does not apologize for being abusive; they simply imply that you deserved it.  That if you had behaved differently then they would not have needed to be abusive.  Thus controlling you and manipulating your reality.

When this happens you have to get good at looking beyond their “normal looking” façade and take steps to protect yourself from further abuse.

How much easier life would be if bad people looked evil!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 03 – 13   

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Daily Reflections: Not Everyone Deserves My Precious Time

Today’s Reflection started with an article about the need to purge toxic friends / relationships.  In this article was the following list:

  • If I don’t think much of so and so, why am I keeping them around?
  • If so and so doesn’t seem to respect my time, maybe I should stop giving it to them?
  • If so and so needs to make other people feel bad to feel good about themselves, isn’t that the definition of a relationship that’s unhealthy?
  • If so and so is a troll who seems to thrive on drama, then good for them, but where is the rule that says I have to participate in it?

I wish someone had given me this advice much sooner in life!   Learning to cultivate "HEALTHY" relationships was not something I was taught.  I was taught to ignore people's faults, to make allowances for their bad behaviour!  I was trained to be a people pleaser, my worth became tied to how much I tolerated without complaint!   If I tolerated then I was good.  If I did not tolerate or complained…then I was bad.   That is the message the false core belief that I was taught . 

All this lead to was years and years and years of me feeling bad about myself!!!

-    They hurt me ....I feel bad about me,
-    They ignore me ...I feel bad about me. 
-    The call me names....I feel bad about me.
-    They disparage my point of view....I feel bad about me
-    They tell me what is wrong with me.... I feel bad about me

And yet I have been encouraged to keep them in my life because  (insert various reasons here).  I was given the hidden message that the reason they did these things to me was because I was not good enough and that if only I were a better person they would not treat me that way.   And stupid me; shame on me, I believed this false message!!

Well learning about healthy boundaries means I have learned that I have the right to say no to such behaviour!   Moreover; when they don't respect my NO and insist that I ought to uncomplainingly tolerate such behaviour;  then I deserve and have the right to make changes in the time I will allow them to negatively impact upon me.

They whom I have cut from having the pleasure of my time, and those whom I will continue to cut from having the privilege of being in my circle of intimates; can be angry with me (that after all is their right)  but what they do not have the right to continue doing is harm me with their negativity, destroy my equanimity, or diminish my worth.

Don't like my boundaries? 
I don't like your behaviour! 

And that means I have the right to choose not to waste my precious time in your company!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2018 – 01 – 31 

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Post Estrangement: Healing has Consequences

A friend sent me a quote recently asking me what it means to me when applied to my trauma and my own personal healing journey of recovering from the lingering effects of being abandoned. 

The quote: 

"Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. 
And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, 
saying nothing, is compliance. 
There’s no innocence. 
Either way, you’re accountable."

As always I feel that quotes are a stepping stone, a start for exploring the deeper meaning behind the words.  Sometimes quotes make us jump to conclusions, often remaining superficial.  This one is a good quote in my opinion because it pushes and pushes back against the easy answers.

I want to thank my friend for challenging me with this opportunity to explore, what I have seen that can’t be unseen!

My journey of healing began after being estranged.  And naturally the first part of my journey was about grieving.  Being estranged was and is; first a journey of grief…but that is not where it should stop. 

There came a point in time when I recognized that I needed to climb out of the abyss of grieving and start climbing back toward living.  I needed to begin learning how to live through grief instead of letting grief become the central story of my life.   There came a point in my life where I wasn’t finding any solutions in grieving and I decided that for myself I needed to begin a journey of healing.

Healing meant educating myself and learning about behaviour patterns, things like narcissism, and other cluster B personality disorders.

Then I had to learn why I was so susceptible to these types of personalities; where I did I learn to be codependent and how did those patterns affect my life and my parenting style, which then further opened up my awareness that my pattern of behaviour being a co-dependent (as well as my lack of communication skills but that is another topic) set the scene for the types of personalities my children would develop.

What I then saw was that while I hated what my estranger did to me and to our family, I was also responsible because of what I did not know before (not that I blame myself for not knowing, but I am aware that my not knowing had an “effect” on our relationship style as well as the personality of my children.) My lack of knowledge affected the outcome, plain and simple.  What I had not been given the opportunity to learn changed my patterns of behaviour and those patterns of behaviour allowed things to happen without consequences and corrections that ought to have been taken place. 

I cannot unsee this.  I see deficient character traits in my estranging daughter and I can see why she developed them and why she was susceptible to the people she choose to believe and emulate and follow.

I also cannot go back to blaming her or hold a grudge against her. My knowledge increases my ability to be compassionate towards people for what they do not know.  In being able to forgive myself for what I did not know, I can forgive them for what they do not know. (I remind people who have not followed all of my writings, that in my mind forgiveness in no way condones behaviour, it simply accepts that people make mistakes based on their faulty knowledge, which then plays out in dysfunctional behaviour patterns.  Apology, remorse, atonement and other factors come into play for reconciliation which can only happen when both parties have gained new knowledge, better insight and better communication skills) 

For myself also I cannot go back to being quiet about what I have learned….it is part of who I am now.  My learning and my healing has changed me.  I am no longer codependent and can’t and won’t go back to that way of behaving.  

I can’t continue to be an enabler / compliant type of person.    
I am no longer an innocent believer in the general goodness of people, I see them for who they are based on how they behave and I recognize that their behavior is their character and that deficient character is learned and as something that is learned it is passed on generation to generation and as such family dysfunction is handed down generation to generation as each generation develops different means of dealing with that dysfunction based on what is the “norm” in that time period. 

I did not abandon my mom….because in my era that was simply not done, and we were raised to do what the social community said to do.  If I had grown up in a different time, I might have distanced myself from my mom for she was / is controlling, manipulative and very clearly has patterns of behaviours / mannerisms, ways of talking to me, that hurt me; hurt me as deeply as the narcissistic behaviours of my estranging daughter. 

I am no longer innocent. 

Innocence allowed me to be a door mat, made me an enabler of bad behaviour becau
se I did not want to create drama or “rock the boat”, hurt someone's feelings etc.   I am now better able to call behaviour out for what it is.  I see words and actions now in the perspective of what they are attempting to control.  I analyze behaviours for the personality types. 

I am accountable for who I have become because of what I have learned.  I chose to take that journey to understand people and personality better and so how I see people now is my responsibility. 

However it is also my responsibility and my accountability to myself to adjust my responses in both word and action based on my new awareness.  This means I have to accept the consequences of my actions in a different way.  If I choose to confront a person who exhibits deficient character patterns, if I choose to call then out for their words or behaviors; I have to expect that they will react negatively and in a hostile manner  towards me. I am accountable for that change in my behaviour and thus accountable for the changes in my relationships as they move forward from each moment to each moment.

What I have seen and learned are now a part of who I am.  Learning and knowledge robs us of naivety and innocence for sure. 

Whether you are forced to learn as part of a healing journey or by other choice, innocence once lost, makes us accountable not only for what we know, but for how we use the knowledge that we now have.

My friend was happy with my thought process, and so I thought I would share it with others who also might be on a healing journey of self-discovery and who wonder maybe what the impacts might be on their lives as they learn and grow and transform and heal.

Renate Dundys Marrello

2018 – 01 – 12   

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I love when you share my page to spread the word.
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