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(recorded in California June 2011)

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Melody talks about her book, Making Miracles in Forty Days on WEBE Radio. In this interview, she guides listeners step by step in harnessing the power that we forgot we had to find out where we want to go in life, and how to get there. How to remain grateful and where our unchecked codependency traits can still show their ugly heads and take us back to that negative way of thinking many of us spent years in and more years working out of. The real key is disciplining our thinking and remaining grateful for everything, all the time, and that is no small task. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webe/2012/04/24/melody-beattie--author

Melody’s Latest Release

THE FINAL PEACE

Selena, a friend for many years, called today. She felt uncomfortable, she said. And sad. She told me about a recent and profound over-reaction she experienced in response to a situation with a long-term friend.  Her awareness told her that the depth of her reaction meant that she’s not only dealing with today; her gut-load of emotions are remnants of the past.

We call those incidents triggers. While the current event has importance, the meaning extends beyond that.  It’s a situation Life brought to us to bring about a healing.

It’s common for people on a growth path to run into situational triggers – events that are real today, but also remind us of yesterday – a time when we lacked the skills or support to feel our emotions and deal with the dilemma.

So like Selena, we pack the feelings away and save them for a special time when we won’t need to rely on denial.  That time may be now.

Selena didn’t go into detail about the problem with her friend; she wanted to keep the focus on herself.  She said it involved her friend calling to tell Selena how she felt about something that Selena either did or neglected to do that caused her friend to feel hurt, angry and disrespected.

“But instead of listening to what my friend had to say, I went into defensive mode,” Selena said. “I didn’t feel superior. I didn’t think I was right and my friend was wrong. The truth is I wronged my friend by not listening to and being present for her.

‘When my friend became angry with me,” Selena said, “I felt attacked.

“I’ve been in recovery for a while.  I know how to take responsibility for my part instead of focusing on someone else’s behavior.   But even though I knew what to do, I didn’t do it.  And I didn’t apologize either,” Selena said.

I asked her what she did instead of listening.

“Mid-sentence, I hung up the phone,” Selena said.  “Then I didn’t call her back. For a week.”

Time can be a powerful healer but by itself, time may not heal our issues. Time can let us cool heated emotions.  We have time to let the hurt or angry moment pass.  Sometimes we become so focused on the argument that we don’t recall exactly what we argued about.  That thing that was so important becomes a secondary issue to our hurt feelings.

If we’re lucky and give the situation clear thought, we may find we can use the incident as a catalyst for change. It starts by focusing on what’s up with us instead of glaring at the other person, ranting about what he or she did wrong.

After Selena up on her friend and took some time to calm herself, she looked deeper inside herself.  She knows what it means when people say, Recovery is an inside job.

“I can see now that for the past couple months my self-esteem has been flagging — almost non-existent,” Selena said. “This insight surprised me – but I’ll take it.  It’s an unexpected but welcomed gift.”

She said her self-esteem problem now felt as big and painful as when, years ago, she first began recovery – those months when she felt so fragile.

“Back then, when I discovered I wasn’t crazy I was codependent, I couldn’t endure criticism. Again it wasn’t because I felt superior or right.  I had so little esteem that someone criticizing me felt like a threat to my life.

“I feel like such a failure and I have so little self-esteem that if I make one more mistake and someone calls me on it, or accuses me of wrongdoing and I admit it, I feel like there won’t be anything of me left.”

I know that feeling too.

Selena said that’s why instead of making amends as she knew she should, she hung up on her friend.

“I feel awful about hurting my friend and letting her down,” Selena explained. “It’s not about me not living up to someone else’s expectations. I didn’t live up to my expectations of myself.

“A week passed.  By then I’d become calm and I saw the situation more clearly.  I sent my friend an email with a sincere apology. I would have apologized directly, but she didn’t answer my calls.  In my email to her, I included some information about my issues – explanations for my behavior, but I didn’t use these reasons as justifications or excuse.  I told her how much she meant to me.  I apologized, and I meant it,” Selena said.

I’m waiting for the but, for what Selena wanted from me. Then I got it.

“So ever since I sent my amends to her I’ve been obsessively watching my emails for a response from her, “Selena admitted. “I didn’t apologize to get a response. I know we’re not supposed to be attached to outcomes.  But we’ve been close for so long.  I wanted her to tell me it’s okay.  I wanted to feel peace and closeness between us.”

Selena wanted her friend back.  She wanted closure on the event.

I know this story is closer to a meditation than a blog.  It would fit in a book of daily readings I wrote years ago — The Language of Letting Go.

That’s what Selena forgot to do:  let go. But there’s still one more thing, something important Selena needed to do as part of taking responsibility for herself.

Most of us want to be good, decent people.  We try to live by the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we want done unto us. But we’re not perfect and we’re not meant to be. That’s why they invented six short words:  I am sorry; I was wrong.

Sometimes after we cool from the heat of the moment, look inside ourselves, take responsibility for our actions and make appropriate amends – including letting go of the outcome of doing that – some circumstances require that we take one more action.

It’s why Selena called me and it’s the point of this meditative blog — that’s how important this piece can be.

If we’ve cleaned up our side of the street but we’re still not at peace because the other person didn’t give us the closure we need, then it may be  time to let ourselves off the hook.

From the Desk of Melody Beattie

November 8, 2012

93 Responses to THE FINAL PEACE

  • Denise says:

    This blog or meditation brought me back to a situation I went through that was in essence the same. The people were different but the feelings I felt that were spoken of here were the same. It was an excruciating lesson to learn. The loss of a relationship that I value or the damage to it, maybe or maybe not reconcilable is painful. I realized it took a lot of pain to move me to a place of really being able to let go of the outcomes I hope for. This has caused me to wonder and ask my HP: can we stop loving anyone that we have ever truly loved? If love and fellowship can be so damaged that irreconcilable differences cause a fork in the road, was there really love to begin with? I don’t know or have the answer to this. I have an opinion but it falls short of an explanation that doesn’t indict me along with it. The only conclusion I have yet to reach is it is a mystery that has to do with a love I am not capable of. There are those I would tell you I loved but after deceit stopped the relationship I would also say my heart closed the door where they use to freely come and go even after I had forgiven them. If sorrow and change on their part was heart felt and radical I would see it and know it. This must be the difference between reconciliation, the restoration of fellowship with someone and forgiveness. This meditation says to me when I have examined my self and been able to say- I am sorry I was wrong- this becomes a healing and growing experience for both people involved.Even though I may have caverns of undeserved past hurts within me, when another person feels hurt by my words or actions and it is valid, including the “reason” why I did or said what i did as the prelude or follow up in my apology is less about true sorrow for the hurt I caused and more about validating the “why” I did it. When my past hurts are triggered I go from 0 to 60 in one second. Zero being no trigger to 60 being the worst of them. I have learned the very hard way in relationships I must have those people in my life I can take this “stuff” to who accept me as I am, can listen without judgement and know that I am doing my best to work it through. This is almost never the person I have harmed. And when I do simply say – I am sorry I am wrong – and it is genuine and it isn’t enough, then letting myself off the hook is exactly what I must do, so I resentment doesn’t dig it’s heels in. I will feel sadness and grieve the loss of a relationship I value but blaming myself won’t get thrown into the mix. I like what came across for me in this blog. I sometimes find a phrase that sticks with me. What I found here was, Letting my self off the hook. Can’t say I ever thought of doing this with intention. It just seemed to happen but a catch phrase often helps me to define what it is I need to do so I will consciously do it. This is hard stuff to go through I do know this. But the hope is to be aware enough of what I’m doing to head it off at the pass before it becomes full blown. Not always possible, but more likely when I’m paying attention.

    • Melody says:

      Hi Denise. As usual, thank you for taking time to comment. Normaly I don’t (as you say) advocate offering explanations, but in this case Selena wanted the person to know that her (Selena’s) behavior didn’t have anything to do with theother person’s behavior — it was about or stemmed from other things going on with her — she wanted to make sure the other person didn’t take her actions as a “personal assault” but rather as a reflection of an horrendous stress level in her (Selena’s) life. I agree — there’s a fine line between explanations and justifications — but there is a line and occasionally it is appropriate (as long as we don’t cross that line) and as long as our amends are sincere. Best, Melody

      • Denise says:

        Hi Melody, I understand what you are saying and I totally agree. I agree and feel the same now as I did in the situation I experienced. All I know was I had too much on my plate, my son was getting married and the days preceeding ( too many in my opinion) brought up every hard and hurtful feeling of failure with in me. I was getting pulverized over and over again because I had not been able ( physically exhausted, emotionally spent) to attend a shower. My inventory was being taken without an iota of compassion involved. I had been told I would receive a phone call from this person and it was best to just let them vent and say nothing in response…. he/she went on and on and on and on… I hung up the phone in my situation because this individual was venting years and years of unresolved grief and issues about the people who had not shown up in their life. I was getting the brunt of it. My apology couldn’t be heard with or with out an explanation and I had to bite the bullet in a big way. Didn’t have to, I had a choice and my choice was based on my recovery and future peace of mind ( fingers crossed). What goes through my mind when I feel hurt or betrayed is; Love does not keep a record of wrongs, and by no means does this mean I should open the front door and welcome a perpetrator back into my heart and life. It is for me about doing the HARD WORK of letting go of what I believe is my RIGHT to feel resentment, hurt and all that caused me distress IN that situation. If I can let myself AS MUCH as the other person off the hook for being flawed and imperfect, in essence for being human, I can at least start breathing again! Even though I totally got the “why” of why this person was reacting as he/she was, the work was mine to do FOR my own well being. I felt like I was perceived as a total basket case to all who knew about this. Emotionally I WAS walking through a new tidal wave of losses attached to my son’s wedding. Anyone who has suffered a major life loss knows what I mean. There are ripples is how I see it that go away from the shore we are standing on, hit a distant shore and guess what? come back to us again, one more layer. I have found no matter how much work I do, these ripples have an intensity when they get triggered that have me reeling and running for shelter. I go completely bonkers when there is dissension and uproar in my relationships. Remembering to let myself off the hook was a powerful reminder for me Melody. Your blog helped to see that sometimes I need to STOP and think about extending the same Grace to myself that I am willing to extend to another human being. Hurting people…. hurt people. I don’t think anyone is exempt, but getting to the place where we are conscious about this and have the safety nets in place when not if a situation shows up, seems to me the best we can do. I am seriously trying not to implode right now. I know mom’s time is close, and I feel like everything around me is falling apart, my family, job and those people, places and things that allow me to feel my life is manageable. I am telling myself; All is well, whether I can feel that it is or not. All is as God knows it is supposed to be. It doesn’t look like it to me, but then I have to say when did it ever? I too say with you the older I get the less I realize I know. Living in the Mystery are perfect words. Thanks you for being here. Denise

        • Melody Beattie says:

          Hi. That’s a powerful post — and it feels ful of energy (and ideas) that are good. I am sick to death of having an experience where someone pounds on me energetically, the experience passes, and I take their place and begin pounding on myself. I have been doing it most of my life and granted — don’t full-time live that way any more — but I needd a reminder that it is okay and even necessary that we consciously decide to — as you say – have compassion for ourself. And the thing is, we would extend compassion to others in a heartbeat. People say that alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful. Wel codependency traits are devious, hard to get a handle on, and have equal power to destroy us. Sometimes, enough is too much. And the thing is, I know for me that the pounding doesn’t stop until I get the lesson. LIfe is deliberate and relentless that way. Thanks for sharing, Melody

          • Denise says:

            Hi Melody, I have been telling my brother for years, alcoholics and addicts haven’t cornered the market on despair, self destruction and not having a clue. No in fact codependents get to go through it sober and hypervigilent. After 20 years sober he is now after a relapse going through what he calls awareness of and withdrawal from codependency. He says it is the HARDEST thing he has ever experienced. I told someone close to us both, 10 years ago, when the realization of the codependent piece shows up, it will blow his socks off and hopefully nothing else. I clearly remember after 2 years of working my recovery this info was something I wished I didn’t know that I knew. I kept telling my counselor I feel worse than I ever did, how is this supposed to be helpful? This can’t be right. She assured me it was and that I was right on track as, according to her, 2 years is usually the point of becoming consciously conscious and with it you pretty much hurt like hell. She gave me “Codependent No More” and thus began my campaign to change the world. I rocked so many boats a continual tsunami warning was in effect where ever I was. I believed with all my heart and soul… this will revolutionize the world, how can it not? Let me forewarn anyone as naive as myself that not only will the red carpet not be rolled out, you will be shunned shamed and better pray you aren’t standing too close when doors begin to slam shut in your face. At least this was my experience anyway. And so what. It took quite a long while to realize I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t….. do…. exactly as I have trained everyone around me to expect so…. I’ll go with being semi-okay by myself until a better plan emerges. I had Al-Anon, my counselor and my first sponsor who was really the mother I never had. She spoke the language of the 12 Steps and Al-Anon to me but the truth is all I heard was; What you say has meaning and value to me. I went along with the” Al-Anon thing” because it was my ticket into basking in what unconditional love and acceptance felt like, looked like, and was. God Bless this selfless, compassionate and unbelievably patient woman. What amazing Grace I knew because of her. The two foot drop to my heart of what the 12 steps were came many years later. She planted the seeds and along the way others watered them. Sorry…. I am all over the place, speaking of being on track, I am not even close to the tracks today. I think what you said about pounding on yourself struck a chord with me and I took off running with it. What I have realized is somehow someway I continue to set myself up as a scapegoat. I open my mouth when I probably shouldn’t and keep it closed when speaking would serve my well being. If timing is everything I think what this has meant to me is, any time I’m not sleeping. I absolutely swear that I CAN not NOT say what I think is true. I am not PC and I feel like a big fat liar when I try to be. My son jokingly says to me: Drink the kool-aid mom. I tell him I can’t. Corporate mentality doesn’t fit into what ever shape the peg of my brain is. I am being lied to and conned essentially, by my employer and when I do not work there anymore I will name them. But somewhere is a point in all this and I think it is this; I feel like I have found another dysfunctional family I have been trying to fix…. uggghh. It seems to me that when you start asking questions that point to what is or isn’t going on, it is easier to make a bad guy of the one asking, than to step up and take responsibility. It feels like all these same familiar threads woven through out my life are coming apart. The tapestry is taking on new colors contours and textures. Truth is, I am done being who ever it was that keeps getting pounded. But I don’t know who this person who doesn’t get pounded is yet. So glad you have written about the really uncomfortable place of in between, transformation and not knowing what’s next. It can be scary and crazy making but the been there done it won’t allow me to remotely entertain going back… Thank God. I’m rambling and need to stop. Thank you for responding, I don’t expect it. It is gift and I see it as such. Thank you, Denise

  • Liz says:

    Hi Melody, Great blog. I felt a bit uncomfortable reading it only because it hit home. I have already read it a few times and I know I need to read it again. I think owning our own mistakes is so hard. Sometimes I do alot to avoid seeing them, but finally, when I am ready I do see them but change is so hard. So, so Hard. Thanks Liz

    • Melody says:

      For some reason, I had a feeling you’d reply and say what you did. I didn’t intend to write a blog (I usually don’t) but it’s like when I wrote Language — a situation emerges and I know part of the reason it occurred was I needed to write my way out of it before it ends. Good to hear from you. And yes I agree, change is hard — but sometimes so is staying the same. For me, when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the fear of change isi when I take steps. I think most of us need some kind of motivator to do the hard work involved. I personally hate uproar or feelings of idssension and not being at peace in my relationships — it drives me nuts and letting myself off the hook is something I often need to remember to do. Why is it so easy to let others off the hook when they do things similar to what we do — but it’s so dang hard to forgive ourselves? I guess that’s why I call this blog Living in the Mystery because the older I get, the less I realize I know. Best, Melody

  • Melody Beattie says:

    Hi Again, Denise. I want to say that you bring up a good point — about the codependency under the addiction or alcoholism — and how it can provoke a relapse if the recovering person isn’t cautious and aware. I’ve absolutely and unequivocally come to believe that one hundred percent of addicts have codependency underneath. (That includes me.) I was so ticked off when I discovered I had two big problems to address — but the reality is, I had one big huge problem called codependency resulting in addiction and alcoholism and I needed to deal with it from all sides and fronts (but not happy about it until I got the benefits of being in recovery for a while). It can be a trap, as you say, speaking up to codependents. I noramlly don’t say anything — but lately when I’m around people who have it really, really bad (codependency) and I can see the train wreck happening in their lives, I’ve begun saying something. My own boundary is: same something once, twice and the last is the third time and then if I have to cover my mouth with my hand — do it. Just shut myself up because I’ve already spoken my piece. In this case, it’s someone I see on a regular basis and you know what? Reacting to a codependent can be MORE crazy-making than being around an alcoholic. The BUT, BUT BUTS we hear, the finger pointing at other people — nope. Three times, and then I keep my mouth shut and if it continues to be problematic, then it’s time to set a boundary. I also can relate to not being able to speak the truth when it bubbles up inside us. I haven’t learned to keep my mnouth shut; I have learned to put my hand over my open mouth though. It does help. Anyway, thank you as usual for taking the time to post and participate in the forum and I hope your brother finds the peace he needs. Oh, one more thing on that whole subject. I have now come to believe that the true “enemy” underneath and alcohlism/addiction and under the codependency is unresolved grief. We get stuck, as children, in one or another of the stages of grief with nobody to take our hand and help us process overwhelming pain and other emotions. I absolutely respect Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who came up with the five stages of loss, or death: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. But to those five stages, I add two more: obsession and guilt. And if you look at all seven stages — what I see is codependency. That’s why I have put s much energy into the Grief Club website. I believe the issue is huge and hugely important. I also believe that’s why whenever we get real about who we are and how we’re feeling (in codependency recovery) and we feel a huge blast of emotions, we begin to feel more in balance. We’ve ;just toughed it out, endured our losses, and never gave ourselves permission to grieve them and thus the codependency became borne in our lives, to our ruin and constant turmoil. Anyway, it’s just a theory right now but there are two treatment centers — one in the United States and one in Switzerland — that are incorproating this theory into their treatment centers. We still need to get to the same places: 12 Step meetings for Alcohlics and Al-anon or some form of codependency recovery but the insights will give us a head start on our recoveries. (I’m rambling too.) Best, Melody Beattie

  • Denise says:

    Hi Melody, I read ” Thou Shalt Not Be Aware”, by Alice Miller, about 25 years ago and for me it perfectly nailed “where” codependency comes from. You came alongside and gave words and meaning to the train wreck(speaking of) we become as a result. How can a child not be stuck in grief, whether it’s cause is A trauma, or living in a continual series of them every day? A police officer and coroner came to our door at 3:00 AM to tell us at 15,14,12,10 that our father was dead and our mother was in critical condition.( still telling this story… obsession?) My brother 14, went to school 5 hours later because he said” everything will be okay” over and over again. Looking back I can’t believe the “adults” allowed this. He was sent home mid day because he was in shock, imagine that, and of course never should have been there. He was a good student, great athlete, made everyone laugh, super witty, happened to be really handsome and had a heart of gold. Within 2 months he had gone from, he and I pouring the alcohol down the drain, literally, to being a black out drinker. He then tried frying his brain with any drug he could get his hands on. It was terrifying to witness. After 20 years of self destruction he got sober and dedicated his life to recovery in AA. I believe the incredible pain being felt now is due to being stuck in the unexpressed grief you have spoken of. My younger siblings went the same route, drugs alcohol self destruction, coming alongside my mother who had already been on this path anyway… such a nightmare. Police, jails, prisons and court rooms became the revolving door my family entered and exited for the next 25 years. My son recently said I don’t know how you came out of your family the person you are mom, it seems you are the rock every one pummels themselves against…. I didn’t know what to say except…. yea lucky me. When my children’s father spiraled down into the drugs and alcohol, workaholism and infidelity I became severely depressed. I knew what was going to happen and everything in me screamed NOOOOOOOOOOOO! You can’t let this happen to me again God… how can you be this cruel. But after years of cursing and hating God I came to realize it is life that can and will be this cruel. It can and it is. When people hear just a snipet of my family history they get a blank stare (check out) it might be contagious? Do the yea buts….. it is over now ( what’s over I’m not exactly sure)….. you are so brave…. life goes on….. at least you have….. God know how much you can take…. and I have felt like saying you know what? it is a contagious disease called life. And I am not brave, I am scared shitless most the time but I don’t know what else to do except getting up and going to work, loving my kids and grandkids, feeling glad to see my cat who is just as glad to see me at the end of the day, planting a garden in the spring so that I can see life come out of the ground, listen to or hug those who cross my path that are afraid or alone, lost or confused, just like me. What else is there? I think a big part of the grief is that our society acts like it is abnormal and wants those who in it to go away until they can get a grip on themself and come back with a happy face. Grief is to me like walking through quicksand with cement on your feet, your mind numb to all things that have to do with living and the absolute confusion of why you keep waking up. It lessens, the pain and confusion fade but you are never the same and this is not to say we should always be exactly the same. I can not say my heart has healed from the losses I have in my life. It is no longer bleeding. When i walk down the corridor with in my heart I find doors closed with the names of those who used to be there. I do not feel somehow expanded in knowledge or wiser or anything else because I’m still here enduring. I feel I’m still me, but less somehow. Not less like poor me, just the realization I can’t be who ever I was, when I was with them and what ever it was within them that brought what ever it was within me to life is no longer there. I do find gratitude that they ever were in my life… but some times….. that’s right it’s the holiday season…. I feel like crap and I cannot sugar coat it and pretend that I don’t. At least not here I don’t have to, thank you. Still rambling. Grateful for all the people I loved, not grateful I lost them. Totally selfish but the truth. Thanks for listening. Denise I’m ordering your Grief Book right now I need to get my mind in a better place.

    • Melody says:

      Hi Denise. I deeply appreciate your comment — and the wisdom in it. Somehow — much of recovery has gotten “stuck.” It (recovery) became born into the world; treatment centers opened; it evolved to a certain state and then whap! It stoped evolving any further. (At least that’s my take.) I’m not criticizing recovery; I’m saying tha people ned MORE. Especially about grief (which ahs always been a taboo subject in recovery meetings, i.e., You’re just feeling sorry for yourself, just don’t drink and it’ll be fine, and so on — and it’s crap. It’s fear that grief is contagious, no, not grief — that LOSS is contagious. It’s people not wanting their own unresolved grief triggered by listening to ours. It’s a country that wants to be happy, happy, happy all the time so they take the little pills and nobody’s ever happy — just stuck. Sorry for the rant. But grief — and obsession — have both gotten bad names. Obsession is the incredible need we have to be heard as we tell the sotry of the unthinkable happening in our lives, and we tell it over and over until we can incorporate that part of our experiences into our life story, let it be a part of us. We …. need .. to …. be…. heard — not shut down, when we tell the stories of our losses, and many of us have many (stories of trauma and loss). I believe much of what we call panic and anxiety disorder is PTSD — a reaction to sudden loss in our life that was never resolved, and sometimes it occurs when all the grief feelings we’ve experienced but haven’t felt start to come oozing out. It feels like fear, like …. we don’t know, but we want help. Our society does not like to acknowledge and honor loss, and it accompanis all change — even good change but especially when traumatic, horrible things rain down upon us — and it happens in life. We lose sense of all connection to cause and effect. We develope low self-esteem as a form of control and to survive … because the option is a random world without any cause and effect. Better to think that we’re bad and that’s why it happened, because then at least we live in a world that makes sense (especially when we’re a child.) We do get more than we can handle — without help, support, and information and these three things, despite our progress, still do not on a widespread level exist. Deep breath. As you can see, you touched a spot I have a lot of feelings and beliefs about. We are desperately in need of help when it comes to processing our grief, and teaching our kids how to do the same. Losses will likely always be part of life, but we can begin offering people what they need to get hrough the experience and not come out the other end as you say “less” just “transformed.” Time alon doesn’t heal things. Experiences do. Each of us will keep playing out that original situation over and over until the emotions get released. And when certain felings equal love to us because that’s all we’ve ever known, what do we expect? We should expect that we’ll create those original feels that to us spell love. It’s what we know, it’s all we know, until we learn something else but hus, don’t talk about it. Be quiet. It might be catchy. You lost your child? Com back when you’re happy, happy hapy again plus don’t you know that he’s better off without you? Gee, thanks. That makes me feel good about myself. Okay, i’ll stop. But even if we need to educate others one to one until we get it, how important this part is for each of us, then sobeit, that’s what we’ll do. Thanks for posting. Have a decent holiday season and may it not trigger too much pain and too many tears thinking of all the people you love who aren’t here. I’ll be around … checking the posts and forums should anyone need to stop by, say hi, and know they’re not alone. Much love, Melody Beattie

  • Melody says:

    I apologize for all the typos but the words came flying out and there’s no way to edit these posts — so that’s the way it’ll be. Besides, if I perfectly edit all my replies I won’t have time to respond to everyone the way I do now, so I guess you all get the imperfect me — typos and all. Best, Melody

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody, I’ve read and reread The Final Peace and each time I come away feeling understood and healed. I’m sorry for the pain Selena had to endure with her friend. I’m sorry for all the times I’ve had to face similar pain with people in my life….many of whom aren’t in my life anymore because I “shared” too much or I was just too “messy” for them. They became very uncomfortable with someone who didn’t make them feel good anymore…someone who stopped being codependent. I’ve had to learn to let go of people’s responses a LOT…..let go of their painful responses and my addiction to their responses. I’d revolved around other people’s responses for 40 years of my life and it’s been hard work for the past 10 years to break that habit, feel the grief, and not go begging and pleading for approval when I expressed who I really am. I have a few people left in my life who accept me for who I am. They accept that I still cycle through grief from all the years of loss and pain I’ve endured. They accept that I am messy. They accept that I will be hard to deal with at times. But they don’t walk away. But most importantly, I’ve learned to not walk away from myself when I don’t get the “hit” of approval I’d like to get from other people (yes, for me it’s just like the hit of drugs). I’ve learned to not first turn to blaming myself, but to love myself through the rough spots even when others don’t approve or understand. I’m sorry Selena felt the loss of someone who can’t/won’t accept her for who she is….a wounded person, a work in progress who will make mistakes and needs alot of love and compassion. The Final Peace is a great reminder that the process of recovery involves letting go of what other people do, say or think on a daily basis. It involves accepting ourselves in the place of brokeness and grief and learning how to really love ourselves….regardless of people’s responses. Every day I still face the emotions of wishing I could have certain people back in my life…and I know it’s not healthy because they are people who chose to judge me and walk away instead of being kind and gentle when I needed it. Thank you for another great blog. Thank you for reinforcing the truths that will help move us forward in recovery every day. God Bless You. As I think of all I’m thankful for during this week of Thanksgiving and all the beautiful people God has brought to my life, I thank God for you. Karin

    • Melody says:

      Thank you for your post, Karin. First, I want to say that consistently I’m grateful that you’re one of the regulars on the site. You always bring something valuable to the conversation, and that means a lot to me — and I’m sure other readers. Second — I find it odd that so many people (like Selena’s friend) don’t give a hoot about closing loose ends or finishing their business — but that’s THEIR BUSINESS. Not mine. It’s just so continually important for us to stay clear on what’s our businss and what’s not. Someone asked me about a weeks ago — after I relayed some of my story — “Aren’t you afraid that if you tell people who you are, they won’t like you?” Her question stuned me, trully knocked me out on an energy level. It also made me realize how much I’ve changed. One of the furtherest things from my mind when I communicate is asking if I’m telling someone what they want to hear so they’ll like and approve of me. But I am so clear that whether people like me or not just is not my business. Of course, I want to use diplomacy and kindness whenever possible, but without selling a piece of my soul. I don’t like meanness; I think from all the years of emotional abuse, that’s my great sensitive spot. So often it takes just a little — a teensy amount of energy — to be kind or nice to someone and so dang many people cannot be bothered and choose to be mean. Anyway, thank you for sharing your story — and for your openness. You are definitely welcome here — and it’s “come as you really are.” Have a blessed Thanksgiving and I hope to see you here again soon. Best, Melody Beattie

  • Denise says:

    Hi Melody, Thanks so much to both you and Karin. I heard in what each of you said something I needed to hear. I am in that messy state right now that Karin referred to, rambling confused and exhausted. And with you Melody I have felt for a lot of years, about 15, that recovery took off like a rocket then got stuck and stalled out. As though the meetings/recovery themselves are stuck in obsessing about recovery 101. And this is not criticizing recovery meetings or people, because I love all three and wouldn’t be here without them all. For me it goes back to the roots Alice Miller spoke of in her book. And every time someone doesn’t want their own unresolved grief triggered by listening to another speak about theirs, it just adds another dimension to the grieving process and how to incorporate the losses into life today. A very dear life long friend recently and unknowingly did this with me. I absolutely knew what it was about, (not me), but it still hurt. It still hurt because I felt shut down. She wasn’t trying to shut ME down, she was trying to shut down the fear rising up within herself if she heard me. Which she didn’t because she was jumping ahead of and anticipating what she thought I would say and responding to THAT before I said what I was actually going to say. It’s that kind of stuff that is tough to take sometimes, even when I know why. The name of your site is so right on. The club you never want to belong to, but Thank God it is here, when as you said life initiates you, because the happy face and happy pills don’t come remotely close to hitting the mark of what is needed. Unexpressed grief doesn’t go to the same place socks in the wash do that are never seen again. It shows up sideways and twisted and creates other problems, hurts other people and can make the life we do have, so small and superficial. I loved the words about the loss of connection to cause and effect… it so resonated with me. If those around me aren’t able to own their mistakes what options are there? Internalize it or project it on the face bringing it to light. The poor soul who has been doing this to me (projecting) and I do see her as a poor soul, has become a pathological liar to thwart what ever knowledge bringing up the facts has brought up in her. The really sad thing is the truth is about simple human mistakes. I have observed though, once I stopped being defensive and reacting, that these very insignificant and small things have now turned into so many lies being told to cover the first one, that lying is all there is now. I have been guilty of lying due to my shame over really stupid stuff, so I get the really horrible place she’s at. She got cancer, two years into me being the co-manager. She then had to stay away due to having chemo and the possiblity of infection. But she sailed through with flying colors, and returned with a new plan and when this one didn’t work, the lying started again coupled with enlisting an army to help. This back fired and the army re-signed. She then told me how sorry she was that she couldn’t be there to help me but she was just too busy and couldn’t be there as much as before. My life at work became lighter and simpler, my tasks manageable, and the job again enjoyable with her absence. But she shows up when I am not there and has found a different way to do what she is determined to do, without having to face me directly. Hearing the truth provokes her shame, and this goes back to what kind of treatment or lack there of has been given to the developing mind, heart and spirit of a child, beginning from day one. The thing is as I said before it is about the total inability to admit making the slightest mistake, normal human laughable error. But this does something so frightening I have concluded, with in her, that the most egregious lie is by far preferable. It has created drama, hurt and hard feelings for all who work there as she spins out her defense to all, of which 98% don’t care or want to know… over things they don’t even get why she is talking about it in the first place, anyway it is but one example to me of how hurting people, hurt people….. when they don’t know or can’t seem to avail them self of the help or recovery that could bring relief and with it a renewed life. If one alcoholic as I use to hear affects 12 people’s lives, it can’t be any different and the number I think actually higher for what the roots of codependent behaviors create. We can choose our friends but it is another level of recovery when it comes to dealing with the brokeness people can’t or won’t do anything about in the work place. Thank You for all the kind words and reminders about WHAT I can do. I so need to hear the truth, solutions, and to be heard. I give Thanks for this site, for you Melody and you Karin and all who share the ways they are learning to find refuge and peace in the midst of the way things are. With Gratitude, Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody, Thank you for your response and your kind, encouraging words. They brought tears to my eyes. Like you, because of alot of emotional abuse, I am very sensitive to meanness….which in turn has produced a deep appreciation for kindness in my life. After many years of being made to feel like I was stupid and had nothing to offer, it blesses me more than I can say to feel like my thoughts, feelings and who I am are valuable. I reinforce with my 4 kids all the time that they deserve/were created for love, kindness and respect and not to settle for anything less. I’m glad you don’t waste your energy wondering or worrying about what people think of you when you communicate your truth and who you are. That’s wonderful. I’m doing much better with it myself but my inner reactions still tell me that I need to heal more in that area. I’m thankful for this site where we can express our feelings, come as we really are, and be healed. I resonate with Denise’s feelings of confusion and exhaustion. It really helps to know we’re not alone and to share with people who ‘get it’ and won’t treat us like inferior human beings. I also relate to Denise regarding Alice Miller’s books. I’ve read several, including ‘Thou Shalt Not Be Aware’, which is a description of how I grew up. I have 3 older siblings who still refuse to acknowledge the truth (and instead glorify an abusive system) and with whom I have no contact as a result. I have ‘let myself off the hook’ with them. I no longer seek their approval or relationship. It only took me about 40 years to get to that point. The good news is I am freer, happier and more at peace now at 47 than I’ve ever been in my life. I am walking proof that recovery does get funner as we stay committed to the process :) . Thank you again for taking the time to respond and for your encouragement. I carry it with me as a source of strength and blessing. And thanks to Denise as well, for communicating her truth and not giving up. When one of us stands strong, it helps everyone else get stronger too. Many blessing to you, Karin

  • Denise says:

    My phone rang at 6 this AM, I saw that it was my brother… let it ring and go to voice mail. I thought; he is calling to tell me mom has died. I couldn’t hear it and choose not to right at that moment. I just returned his call, he took her to the hospital last night. The Dr told my brother if he hadn’t brought her in she would have gone to sleep and not woken up. I know she is at the end of the road here on earth, we have done, the medical people have done and all involved have done everything possible to make her comfortable in these past 8 months. I am planning on leaving today to be with her for Thanksgiving. I’m going to get ready and go. It felt so good to read what you tell your 4 children Karin. I too grew up in the same home Alice Miller refers to. In a nut shell you said so perfectly what it is …. Glorifying an abusive system. Protecting the perpatrators. It’s all there and always has been. Until my last breath I will not concede that anything about this is excusable, most of all, as it is so obvious in your words, I too will continue with the ability God has given me to give the message in word and deed to my own children and grandchildren that; You were made for nothing less than to be loved and cherished exactly as you are. My mom has told me she loves me and is proud of me. Like you after so many years of being told I was stupid and had nothing relevant to offer these words have enabled me to know what I did and who I was and who I am trying to be, as flawed as I am, is good enough. As my sponsor said to me We are all God kids and at our core want to know there is something about us that is worthy of love. The meaner people are the more afraid is what I think. Meanness has always caused me to feel like a deflated balloon, until these past 5 years in which I have felt like Daniel in the lions den. I feel that God has shown me Nothing will come to you that does not go through my loving and ever watchful eyes first, and so my lesson, because I have not been able to run, has been to learn this is true. I need to go but I am so thankful I have had this place to bring my rambling anxious thoughts and fears, Thank you Melody for being the enlightened witness who has provided a place of refuge, encouragement, loving acceptance and the balm of kindness. Being able to let down the walls of all that has hurt us to allow in what can heal us, is the greatest gift we can give to one another. Thank You Karin your words feel heaven sent. I am from a family of 4 children and some how hearing you speak of the love you have for your 4 children blessed my soul in ways I do not have words for. God’s will be done. Denise

  • Karin says:

    I relate to your situation with your mom, Denise. My mom is 81 and has been in poor health for several years. I have a feeling I’ll be getting a call one of these days too. I hope you are able to be at peace while you spend Thanksgiving with your mom. I hope you are able to move forward in healing. I have a very hard time being around my mom. Although she has changed in some ways, like your mom, saying at times now that she loves me, I cannot and will not override that for most of my life she completely abandoned me emotionally and she still glorifies my older brothers who abused me. I used to cater to her out of a sense of guilt and obligation…but no more. I treat her with respect whenever I talk to her on the phone but I choose to only see her once a year for a few days. I honor myself now and my feelings. She is a very “religious” person and many people revere her as a saint. I only know she completely abandoned me and left me at the mercy of abuse for all my growing up years. It is what it is and like you, I refuse to excuse or protect the perpetrators. I am so thankful for Alice Miller’s writings and her defense of taking steps to live the truth instead of condoning or furthering any abusive system. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to attend my mom’s memorial service. I don’t know that I would be able to sit and listen to her being glorified when I know the truth. I feel like it would be an absolute betrayal of my truth. I won’t worry about it ahead of time but I know I need to be true to myself when the time comes. I hope you can be true to yourself while you spend time with your mom at Thanksgiving. I carry a photo of myself with me all the time of when I was about 8 years old. I do this to intentionally stay tuned into that little girl inside me who still needs a lot of compassion, understanding and nurturing….which she did not get from her mom growing up. It’s so important to give ourselves now what we didn’t get then. Karin

    • Melody says:

      On June 6, 2006 — the day my doctor said I could get out of bed, fly again — something told me to fly to Minnesota and go see my mother. She had been complaining about having strokes, but the way she behaved it was her — up to her old manipulating ways all over again. This time when I rang the doorbell, nobody responded. Not for a long time. Then slowly the door opened. I didn’t recognize the woman standing there. It honestly took me minutes to realize it was my mom. Her hair was halfway down her back. She was malnutritioned, depressed and in the midst of dementia from progressed Alzheimer’s and being horribly abused. She was being fed only five meals — at most — each week. And she was fighting like hell — and had fought me and told me to go to hell when I tried to help her out. I had to let go of her, but now I finally knew there was something I could do. You remind me so much of me. I was the dutiful daughter. I had to be — doing only what I felt like doing, when I wanted to do it so as not be be crushed by her anymore. Suddenly, she was no longer toxic. She was a vulnerable adult who needed help because someone was torturing her. In that moment the pain of a lifetime washed away (well for the most part — she could still bring her male caregivers to tears with a few words.) I made a decision that before she left this world, this woman was going to know what it felt like to be uncondtionally loved. For the first time I stopped wanting her to love me, and I loved her instead. Now I know that’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but when someone is that ill — when I walked on what used to be her pristine carpet, every inch squished from cat urine. Her sheets hadn’t been changed in six months. The more I came to understand, the more my heart broke for her. A part of me believes that she needed to forget. We had the best mother daughter time ever — and for the first time ever when I cried about losing my son, instead of yeling at me that she had feelings too and how did I think she felt, she took me in her arms and comforted me like a mother. I had that oance from her. Then she died. I had a mother for one minute, the mother I always wanted. I didn’t plan on it; I had stopped looking for it. All I can say is that we each must — absolutely must — trust ourselves about what we need to do next to take care of ourselves. All the answer are there, inside us. They have been all along. SHe disparaged my work and afterher death when I helped clean her garage, I found boxes and boxes — she had clipped and saved every picture, every story about me that had ever een written. And then when I read the words she wrote about me — I’m not going to repeat them here as I don’t want to hurt anyone else. But if she had only been able to express herself that way to me when she was alive, we might actually have had a happy, loving family that didn’t need to be in therapy almost all their lives. Best, Melody Beattie

  • Denise says:

    Funny thing Karin, I am the oldest of 4, and if I am understanding correctly you are the youngest of 4. Your mom religious my mom a drunk. Different ends of the spectrum but the same thing. Dysfunction. When children are being abused it makes no difference what the script or costume is, either the one we are forced to wear or the one who perpetrates the abuse, is what we both know. I ended up not going to my mother’s because my youngest brother who will doubtfully ever recover from the abuse he suffered, ended up at my mothers. My other brother clean and sober called to warn me after I posted yesterday. My youngest brother has spent most of his life incarcerated. He got out 4 years ago after serving 17 years of a 21 year sentence and the same nightmare of drinking violence and continual crisis came home with him. He has said when mom dies he’s getting a gun and going to go on a rampage of robbery so the police will shoot and kill him. My mom is 73 and has been sick since I was 12, I am 56 now. By sick I mean drinking alcoholically. She and my father were in a car accident that killed my dad when I was 15. They were fighting in the car while driving, something they used to do when they were drinking, on their way home from the bar and slammed into an old growth tree going it was estimated 75 to 80 mph. She got a broken neck broken larynx (voice box), then and though it was unknown at the time, Hep C due to the blood transfusions because in 1971 they didn’t know to screen for this. She was diagnosed with COPD 8 years ago and along with not being able to gain weight, she is 68 lbs, still drinking daily, she has been in the end stage of this disease for the past year. Her lungs can’t get rid of the carbon dioxide now. Being the oldest I became the parent in my situation. I cleaned the home, cooked, took care of the yards, did the laundry, packed lunches at night, ironed our clothes, if she was having a particularly bad day I was made to scrub walls or sent to my room because I didn’t do it or something else right. Sexual abuse occurred along with the violence and alcoholism. Male babysitters in each situation, funny I never connected those dots until I just wrote this, not that it matters. In my 40′s I became friends with a “christian” woman, intentional small c because I didn’t experience Jesus is what she did, who ended up being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Religious people have been just as toxic, maybe more, in my experience than the drug addicts and alcoholics, just getting their drug through a different source is what I think. My mother is a narcissist which is the missing piece of the puzzle I finally learned after being given a book entitled ” Why is it Always About You” an excellent book, one in my opinion anyone raising children should read as she goes into what happens in each developmental stage from infancy froward. So although my mother has told me and others how grateful she is for me how proud etc I accept it for what it is. Because she is suffering afraid alone and clueless, I know only to love her as she is, the best I can irregardless of the past. I love that you carry a picture of yourself at 8 years old, what a beautiful way to love (re-parent) yourself today, what a great tool for healing. My 12 year old granddaughter living across the country, recently visited and as I loved on her (what a treat), and observed her I remembered what the 12 year old girl I used to be dealt with at the same age. With a heart overflowing with gratitude I gave Thanks to God her life is nothing like it. She is a walking celebration of life. This is where the healing shows it self for me. By speaking the truth while I raised my children so they would know as I did not, mistakes are what you make not who you are. They in turn and in time are raising children who are loved and cherished as all children should be.This is more than I could hope to be alive to witness, but I am and for this I am very grateful. I believe there is almost greater pain than the original abuse, when what was done is refuted, invalidated, unacknowledged, and so much worse glorified and excused…. truly incomprehensible. And made worse yet again when those who can do or say something, don’t, I still have a huge chip on my shoulder over this. I told my 2 young nieces many years ago, that if their grampa did anything that made them feel uncomfortable to call me, tell a teacher, or anyone who would listen. I told them anything that made them feel uncomfortable was not okay and they had the right to say; I do not want you to do this, you must stop. The grampa was a pedophile, and had abused their mother. I became the black sheep for doing this but it made zero difference to me. What did make a difference was speaking the truth to these beautiful innocent 8 and 10 yr old girls at the time. I wasn’t able to see them after this but I could live with myself knowing that speaking the truth isn’t about winning popularity contests. When I read my Bible I am reminded Jesus was crucified for speaking the truth, he was considered crazy, radical and dangerous. The truth is always a threat to abusive systems, where there must be no accountability and no questions asked. With you Karin I am so over the top Thankful for the writings of people such as Alice Miller, Melody Beattie, Cloud and Townsend, and all the enlightened witnesses who speak the truth, who are the messengers, and who for some, do so, in spite of the tremendous hardships they themselves have been through and live with. These are my hero’s. Not the entertainers or sports figures or reality show crazies. My children have their stuff, and at times say respectfully and with love that I am over sensitive. I am not over sensitive I am it feels at times so very aware of the cues and signs and signals that tell my gut, if I see this much on the surface more is underneath. Does it mean I can do anything about it…? Usually not…. overtly. But when I can and if it is appropriate I look into the eyes of those I suspect like myself who are dealing with hidden abuse, and from my soul say…. I HEAR YOU. Then I pray, even though I don’t know really know how prayer works, and ask for protection, and for circumstances to be orchestrated by the God that made the universe to bring about help, consolation, comfort and relief for these. I have learned the hard way saying the truth out loud irregardless of how true and horrible doesn’t guarantee action, change or a happy out come. It actually can make things worse. This is where I go nuts, but it is where I have had to learn to trust in the God of my understanding to do what only He can. Thank you for your response Karin, for your kind words and understanding. I like how you put it when you said to Melody that you carry this with you as a source of strength and blessing, so I am carrying your words of encouragement with me too. And Thank you Melody for creating a place for sharing, encouragement and hope to be shared. God Bless. Denise

  • Billie Jean says:

    Melody, Today begins the holidays and with them, my annual depression marked by self pity, guilt, shame and sadness- the trio combination that works for me. I was in a bad place today when my kind husband mentioned something about our usual Christmas EVe plans and my serenity plummented from calm to 60 below. As my children, all grown, were spending the day w their father, my Thanksgiving was going to be fine at home with the two of us, cooking a nice dinner together, etc. Needless to say, it is 9:47 pm and the dinner never got cooked due to my 60 degrees below, out of control emotional state. I am in recovery six years and thought I was doing ok, until today. Thank goodness I have the 12 steps in my life plus lots of good self help books- including a couple of yours – like two copies of The New Co-dependency ( I had bought one for my sister one time when I was trying to fix her!) so, after pouting most of the day, I finally opened one of the copies and started reading. As I read, I remembered why I enjoyed your books so much as I can identify with your experiences. I came on the Internet thinking I would hopefully find news of a retreat you might be having which today I would have jumped in the car and driven across the country to attend! But instead, I found this perfect blog- written just for me! Thank you- not only to Melody, but the other girls who have written here. I don’t feel alone anymore- at least for today. And I am going to stay close to this log to get me through the next month! And it’s not that I have a miserable life- it is wonderful- so much better than it was. And for that I am grateful. It’s just those emotions were triggered today and jumped out with a silver tongue and rocked me hard. Now, at 9:50 pm, I am going down to talk with my spouse and say to him, ” I am sory. I was wrong.” and let myself off the hook. Thank you for being here- all of you. Billie jean

    • Denise says:

      Hi Billie Jean, This is Denise. I just want to say I appreciate your honesty in sharing your experience here. The holidays can be so tough for so many of us to get through. Both my grown children spent their Thanksgiving with in laws. So I had my pity party. I too use the trio you described, but the good news is I am aware of what is going on, why I am doing it, (broken relationship) and my episodes have greatly diminished ( to the relief of all no doubt!) my self included, because I don’t want to feel these feelings. I would much prefer rain drops on roses, standing under the mistletoe being kissed by someone I wanted to be kissed by and all the trimmings with hugs and presents all around. But this isn’t the deal today. I think it shows growth you can be proud of to make amends and share this experience with the strength and hope I know I have got from reading it. And thank you for saying girls, long time since anyone called me this! And if Melody ever had a retreat, with you I too would drive across the country to attend too. In my head I see myself getting there on my own Harley(don’t have one yet but I am determined, even though my son has said jokingly; Aren’t your bones too brittle for that mom!) Glad you let yourself off the hook, glad Melody wrote the blog about it, because when I start beating myself up after I have done everything within my power to make things right, I now have this reminder that I can only clean up my side of the street. I feel so relieved and comforted to know this site is here, giving me another option for healing. So good to read what you had to say Billie Jean. So glad your’e joining us here.

    • Melody Beattie says:

      A NOTE TO BILLIE JEAN AND ANY OTHERS THAT COME FROM A BACKGROUND OF PAIN OR ABUSE: Or, instead of a time of self pity, etc. as you described it, the holidays may be a trigger for your PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most of us are so casual about the truamas (plural) that so many of us have endured. And I’m not saying that we have to run arond wearing black arm bands and Sitting Shiva. But to heal, we must pay tribute to our losss — acknowledge them, acknolwedge how much they hurt. The problem is, many of us don’t know how much we lost because we never had it (recognizable love) in the first place, so we have nothing to compare it to. It’s just he way it’s always been, and we’ve trudged through life doing the best we could to survive and build families and lives for ourselves, wondering why it doesn’t work when we work at it so hard. IF we only knew what tremendous and lasting damage child abuse does — and that means us — the way we were abused as children. We take it lightly because we don’t want o perpetuate our victimhood, because it’s not politically correct to talk about it anymore. But if we don’t, who wil? Worse yet, who will heal? Did you know that still today in our country five children die as a result of being abused — four of them are under the age of five. We’ve come a long way, but with statistics like that we haven’t come far enough, at least not far enough for me. And until those of us who survived — and until recently I hated the word survivors because that just means all we did was keep breathing — but you know what? That’s a lot. Especially given what many of you have endured. If we could just step back and see ourselves with eyes of love and compassion — for a minute — it would so help us heal. What I did was “cut off” that part of my life. I told myself it didn’t count, that my real life didn’t begin until recovery. But the truth is, it began long before that. It began every day I heard, “I should have aborted you when I could.” It continud every day I saw my sibling beat with a big wooden stick. It continued when I heard, “I should take you into the basement and beat you to a pulp.” It continued when I begged for forgiveness and was told I was unforgiveable. It continued when I moved out of the house, finally at age 18 and my parent’s last words to me (then) were: (instructions to my ex-brother in law): get a gun and shoot her. No wonder I went into self-destruct — that’s how I believe I should have been treated — I honestly believed I deserved to be annilated and did not deserve to be here, to breathe air on this planet. We don’t get through experiences like that overnight. It takes awareness, wilingnes to change, willingness to search out and discover what self-love means, and how we do that — and the willingness to break the cycle and pass something new on to our kids. We’re doing it — but to keep it going we hve to be willing to be uncomfortable and feel al that pain we couldn’t feel when we were children. When it really started coming out in y life, everyone I knew pushed me to go on antidepressants. When I refused, they got angry. They didn’t like the messy, horrendously depressed and miserable me. But it was my pain, my ticket to happy, joyous and free. And getting on that train isn’t easy. We pay a high price for the ticket. Now that I’ve got mine, I don’t ever want to let it go and I want to share with others how they can get theirs. But we cannot do the work for anyone else. Each must do his or her own. It takes just moments of our life, moments we commit to truly being ourselves and letting us feel whatever we do. It takes understanding that some events will be triggers, and stopping to honor tha pain when it comes. It’s a badge of honor because surviving? When I started going through all those feelings full force and could barely handle them with all the tools and support I have, all I could think was: no wonder I self-medicated back then and it’s a miracle I didn’t die. There aren’t words to describe the pain I had to feel to feel my way out of my childhood. How to share this with others? I can only do the best way I know: using my words and telling a story and diong the best I can to get this produced so it can be seen by the masses. Teling the truth. Am I worried that people might not like me, as one woman codependently asked? No. I’m worried that other people will die if they don’t have the “how to” revealed — the how to truly be happy joyous and free. To find recovery, to receive that gift through grace and still be utterly miserable? That’s a shame. But to do anything more, we have to change the message of hope to encompass all those who endured horrendous losses as children and sometimes adults. So when you go through the holidays and feel pain, when you react, maybe you could be gentle with yourself and tell yourself that it’s a miracle you’re still alive. Best, Melody Beattie

      • Denise says:

        Hi Melody, I just re-read this reply as I have been re-reading others also. You brought up so many valid points to remember in this response. I don’t know about anyone else but I can hear the same message many times then suddenly I HEAR it. Probably has a lot to do with being able to hear it. ” Wondering why it doesn’t work when we work so hard at it” is one that resonated with me again on another level. It goes along with something I heard a woman on a commercial speaking of regarding aid for those starting their own business. Specifically she spoke about how working for a cause or reason or purpose she had a talent and passion for, 80 hrs a wk, energized her, as opposed to putting in 40 hrs elsewhere and feeling depleted. I realized in my interview this past Wed, what I know, what I have brought to the job and what I would continue to bring to the job were I re-hired. I am so glad I didn’t forego this experience, so glad HP gave me the strength not to give in to the nay sayers and meanness I had to wade through to get to this place to experience this. I needed to hear from myself what I knew to be true about myself. Does this make sense? I experienced how IMPORTANT the process is. How important it is to be present with the process. It is essentially about re-parenting ones self. It is about finding our equilibrium and learning who and what is and isn’t safe. It is about knocking on as many doors as it takes until we are welcomed in ( sometimes tolerated! ) and heard. When what we know to be true and have experienced is acknowledged for what it is, we begin the journey of listening to the self that God created us to be. It seems perhaps backward, but then not, when I think about it now. Since God breathed life into each one of His children isn’t the process about learning to acknowledge what this is and means? Surviving requires every last inkling of energy thought and skill we can come with, to be able to get through, so we can identify and claim the life we have been given. We walked through the mine field of childhoods many adults I personally know now, would run from. Truth be told I feel sorry for them. I have built the muscles and skills to get through really difficult situations while not looking for scapegoats to blame but rather for solutions. I find gratitude in being able TO find solutions, TO fly by the seat of my pants and figure it out as I go along, while I am IN it, what ever this is. I realize I have shown up terrified and clueless more times than not in my life. Growing up in massive dysfunction teaches one to be prepared for…. just about anything. Not a bad skill to have in life. Those with the piece of paper in hand stating they have read the books and jumped through the hoops to be able to say I know how to do XY and Z, certainly have knowledge and are to be given the credit having done so deserves. But those who have earned their PhD on the frequently inhospitable back streets of life should be given no less credit for what they know, have learned and can bring to the banquet table called life. I realized during my interview that I knew what I knew. I realized what an effective, infectious and dangerous weapon or tool propaganda is. The reason I use this word is, it is what continued to come to my thoughts in the situation I was in. Over and Over again. Propaganda. What I eventually realized was there was good reason my subconscious churned up this particular word. An individual I work with is a native of a different country and culture, for which this is how information is disseminated. AHA! Never before has this word ever come to mind for me in any circumstance I have been in. But this person having come from a culture with many hundreds of years and generations of knowing this means of expression or sharing info, did so without thought. I on the other hand being from a totally different mind set, belief system and culture never once considered this means of disseminating information. But oh what a powerful tool. And what mindlessness accompanies those who choose not to engage in further investigation and fact finding so as to be literate of what is and isn’t true. This really is going somewhere Melody. I have seen a bigger picture, and where I am in it. This is not about a work environment, family system or political group or entity. What I see is it being about life as we see it and Why. I read a quote years ago that said” We do not see life as it is, We see life as we are.” The statement/quote begs the question for me, so how then are we to get out of our own way? How are we to learn to see past the particular bias or grid we filter life through? Recovery. This is what the Recovery “Movement” was seeking To Do. The 12 Steps, as well as most other ideologies, philosophy’s, religions are all seeking to do so. Certainly not a revelation, but for me in terms of understanding what I’m dealing with, it is. When I consider what narcissism comes from ( cause ), it circles back to what we believe because… why? it is what we have been taught TO believe. Underlying what I am getting to is how we have collectively been taught NOT to think FOR, or listen TO our self. The reason this is fresh and relevant to me now is having walked through not only my childhood, no choice, but to having then walked through the circumstances of my marriage, to jobs I have had, leading to the job I have been in for these past 7 years. I can see the same thread woven through out. Namely the enemy of being unconscious and unconscious that we are unconscious. Okay still not news. What I am answering for myself is the question/statement you posed: To find recovery, to receive that gift through Grace and still be utterly miserable? In absolute agreement I say with you, yes, it is or would be yet another shame piled on top too many others.” But to do anything more, we have to change the message of Hope to encompass all those who endured horrendous losses as children….. and sometimes adults.” The issue for me is first and foremost; As Children. We do what we do as Adults BECAUSE of what we have learned as children. This statement is not about blame it is about cause and effect. When we progress/evolve enough to take judgement out of this arena while understanding blame ( which if given an appropriate voice with the goal being to ultimately transcend so as not to get stuck in blaming ) as part of the process, we will have a model that moves us closer, in my opinion of bringing the message of hope AND healing as a whole. The lesson brought home to me through out my ordeal and it has been an Ordeal, is that we have to keep going. We have to keep putting one foot, that ‘s all, one moment at a time, in front of the other. Turning back when the going gets tough as it will and does, guaranteed, won’t allow us to push through, climb over, go around, or what ever it takes to get beyond and breach the misconceptions-propaganda-dysfunction-lies-harm that keep all people irregardless of race, gender culture or life experience/history from finding the freedom necessary, so as, to be able to live in truth. No one has cornered the market on Truth Peace Love Forgiveness Healing to my knowledge except HP/God of this Universe. Universe means One verse. The hope is be in accord with the one verse and one voice of truth so that we may all be truly cognizant that we are one family ( man kind ) living in one house ( earth ) with one Father and Mother, ( God is expressed as both in the Bible I read ). Absolutely don’t want to get theological in anyway here, too many have been hurt by religion, of which I am one. The definition I found of Religion is: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power,esp, a personal God or gods, with the details of belief taught and discussed. When I take this one step further to the definition of Sect or Denomination I find: a group or branch of any religion. I like the word branch, as I correlate it to the word vine. This speaks to my sensibilities as one who loves to grow a garden. The roots, the trunk, the branches and leaves and fruit are all part of the whole. The analogy’s are to me both endless and magnificent with regard to creation in general. This is my sanctuary and these are my teachers, healers, and consolation, when the concrete jungles show me no promise of comfort or peace or sacredness. The parable of the Sower pronounces the cause and effect of how and why. Simple made complicated as I believe it was Liz who so “simply” stated….. so simply! Profound life changing truths are simple. I want to share that being heard, being able to obsess on this site has changed me. It has changed being stuck in the story only, it has allowed the integration of the event and events like it to be acknowledged with in my own heart and mind as passages in a sacred journey. I have felt a sense, little by little since I have come here, of release. I can almost see it in my mind as birds in a blanket that I stand in field with, opening the blanket and then seeing them take flight. They are neither good or bad, they are what they are and will fly and float where they will and rest when they must and return when it is necessary. To be able to visualize these hidden, orphaned parts of my life and self as such, allows them to be what they are. Friend or foe depending on the meaning I assign. To learn patience or kindness, experiencing it’s opposite, speaks to the need for the Jnana that is the teacher the student is becoming prepared for. I almost never know the teacher when it shows up. I do know the teacher though after my my spirit has been healed, renewed or impassioned by truth. I responded to one of my interviewers statements ( my supervisor ) who could not be un-biased of course, by saying ; That is perception gained with out benefit of hearing both sides. Because it was a powerful truth, she was silenced by the simple message of truth spoken. This is what I experienced in that moment. Because I had asked HP to release me of my resentments, which harmed me more than any other, truth could flow with out anger or resentment clouding the facts. Fact and emotion equally valid have their place. Knowing when and where have never been my strength, finding a sense of balance between the two, fierce independence verses codependence, brings freedom to be real and find compassion and justice for what matters. Anyway sharing the lesson in all aspects, from rage to feeling rage transformed is one of the gifts I have found by being on this site. Thanks Melody. I hope the nose bleeds are under control? I had them as a child, for 30 minutes at a time, until I had to have my nose cauterized which finally and thank God stopped them. Being anemic doesn’t help as was the case with me. Just hope your’e feeling better Melody. This is coming from one who has enjoyed good health and can really whine when anything less than this knocks over the ducks she has so carefully lined in a row! God Bless. Denise

        • Melody Beattie says:

          Hi Denise. I’m “on the run” — from Malibu to the desert for the winter (following a week of busy-ness. I wanted to quickly check the sites first, though. I smiled reading your above post — smiled because I read the message underneath the words and it excites me greatly. I love it when I have awakenings — when I see and understand something I previously didn’t “get.” Doesn’t matter in what area — an awakening is an awakening. And awakenings can be difficult to put into words, because they (awakenings) ar what change us from the inside out, although transform may be a better word than “change.” I had one — huge — last weekend, but to put it into words? Impossible. However, when people see me, they say I haven’t looked this good — in many years. It’s because those awakenings make our soul come back to life, believe in the process, trust at a level deeper than any vocablized statements of believing can convey. Anyway, I sense you had an awakening, and I am happy for you beyond what I could post here. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for being you, for in doing so, you bring healing to many others. And thank you for being you, here. Best, Melody

  • Billie Jean says:

    I typed my email wrong in my post.

  • Karin says:

    Every time I read words that resonate as truth and freedom I feel healing and life flow into me. This is how it feels to read the words you have written, Melody and Denise. I thank God for the gifts He has given me through you. After all we’ve been through, it’s so awesome to be able to connect with each other and celebrate the ways that recovery makes our lives, and the lives of those we love, better. Although we will never be free of the echoes of pain, the sounds of celebration that affirm our soul’s survival and healing are what I want to focus on now. I applaud you, Melody and Denise, and anyone who chooses to focus on using what they’ve learned through the abuse/pain in order to improve their life and the lives of those around them. I’m so sorry, Denise, for all the pain and loss you’ve endured in your lifetime, and for the struggles you currently face. But I celebrate the fact that you’re aware now of how important it is to ‘turn the ship around’ both for yourself, your kids and your grandkids. To me that is the most powerful motivation there is for healing. I can’t change my mom or anyone else in my sick family system ( yes, I am the youngest of 4). My focus and my energy needs to be poured into what I can change….my life and the ripple effect it creates. Denise, you mentoned the Bible story of Daniel in the lion’s den in one of your posts. I relate to that symbolism. Another Bible story that has resonated with me for years is the story of Joseph, who was abused by his older brothers and sold into slavery as a boy. Many years passed before Joseph saw his brothers again, but when he did he had an amazing story of survival and he had become become the powerful leader of a nation. He then made the statement that ‘what Satan intended for evil, God meant for good.’ I believe we all have the power to do what Joseph did….’turn the ship around’…. if we choose to put our focus in the right place. Regardless of what’s around me, I can make a powerful choice for good. Victor Frankl made such choices in a concentration camp and later became such a tremendous source of power and healing for millions after writing “Man’s Search for Meaning” about his experience in the concentration camp. We all have that same power within us….to make a difference each day by the choices we make. Thank you for your words of encouragement and support that send truth and healing to me and others. Thank you to Melody, who has made countless choices to bring healing and power to so many people, including this site. You’re both an inspiration to me as I seek to follow a healing path today. We all have our individual stories and pain and yet we share a very common powerful bond….to overcome the darkness with light….one day at a time. I pray for you as I do for myself, the grace to make a difference, one choice at a time. Peace and blessings, Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, When I read what you write I think of the Bible verse ” Ask where the good way is and walk in it”. In your sharing I hear a strength and gentleness deeply connected with the resolute dedication to affirm life and celebrate it. This is what renews my hope and assures me that darkness no matter how dark will always be overcome with light. When my son was 9, he brought home the homework assignment to define what he thought the verse ” what satan ( just can’t capitalize that name) intended for evil, God meant it for good”. I remember telling him honey are you sure you wrote that down correctly? I had never read this and for some reason it didn’t sound right to me. So interesting you referred to this particular verse. So after looking it up to be certain it was correct, he wrote; what this means to me is God always wins. Many years later while in the early stages of the divorce process a dear friend came to see me and said I feel like I am supposed to give this to you. It was a tape about the story of Joseph. Amazing and yet not surprising in contrast with who God is, to see the same messages of hope brought back to me again! There is so much substance and wisdom in what Melody writes but perhaps the most consistent thread for me is; We are where we are supposed to be. In the past reading this brought about a knee jerk reaction of resistance within me as I screamed internally and externally NO WAY! Today I realize I am where I am for a reason and a purpose. Whether I understand it or not while I am in it, which I almost never do at the time, my cooperation and participation with the process of life unfolding both with in me and before me, allows the spiritual awakenings the God who loves me will bring to me….. if I let Him. This has been the single most difficult thing for me to get. I loved the movie with Jim Carey where God allowed him to take over” Bruce Almighty”. I laughed so hard I couldn’t breath when Jim had a melt down on the bridge got out of his car and started screaming at God and said; Smite me oh mighty smiter your’e the one who should be fired. Oh my gosh this is essentially what I in my anger had said to God. My mother heard it for days and months on end and was in a continual state of horror that she had given birth to such balsphemy. But you know what? I didn’t care, I was, if it is possible, both numb and in the worst pain of my life at the same time. I literally saw her cower when she heard me say these things and I thought, well what do you know, I am scaring mom for a change there is some kind of justice in this life even if it isn’t the kind I was thinking of. But the point is when I saw this movie I realized yes I can be angry with God disagree and think sorry just don’t get this plan, but in the final analysis just like Bruce in the movie I wouldn’t have clue short of what I wanted, how to make it all work for the good of all concerned. Today I humbly gratefully defer to the maker of heaven and earth. Today I tell myself all you need is the mustard seed Denise and Thank God for that because much of the time this perfectly describes all I have.. maybe. And just like finding Melody’s site when I wasn’t looking for it, and being given this gift (Thank You Melody) to being able to connect with you and all who share their heart here, I keep finding affirmation that God is FOR me. With just the tiniest step being taken God meets me where I am and reaffirms the plan to prosper, not to harm, to give a hope and a future. I love this verse. But preceeding these words are; when we look and seek with all our hearts. Or dedication as Melody said to putting as much energy into the pursuit of healing as she had been putting into it’s opposite, has the ability to turn the ship around. I like these analogy’s, you have both shared, a lot. Because they are true. I spoke with my brother last night and it was such a revelation to be able to do so without the codependent crazies rising up in me. I could hear Him without wanting needing or trying to “fix” him. Sobbing he said everyone is afraid me….. I said, with good reason When you are drinking. I think he connected the dots of cause and effect. Major. His own aha. I realized he is afraid of himself. I get this because I spent so many years of my life hiding behind whatever could create a buffer between me and my pain, rage and fear. Ultimately I feared how it could be possible for all the rage and hurt to not feel as bad coming out as it had felt going in. I only knew to say to my beloved brother, we can’t do it alone. Those magnificent messengers Cloud and Townsend said it so beautifully in my opinion; It is through relationship we are hurt and through relationship we are healed. This is what I said to my brother. God and people will be here for you…. the first step is the hardest and the best one we will ever take in my experience and I continue to pray this is what you will choose for your one and only life. Thank you for being here Melody, Karin and all who struggle with accepting the grace to embrace their God given humanity. And who help me to see how it can be done. I am so thankful for your efforts, time and money spent Melody to create this place of help and healing. I don’t see you as a guru, I see you as an example of what not giving up looks like and the blessings this can bring about in our life and the lives of others if we don’t. Denise

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Hi Denise. For me to repeat what you’ve said would be just that — repeating it. I believe this is the next level of recovery that people need to, must go through or none will experience happy joyous and free. Those will beocme cliche words, something people talk about but don’t experience. The sad thing is, the more people I see not just in recovery but running recovery searching for that missing piece, thinking something’s wrong with them — and all we need to do is let go and let the movement evolve instead of insisting that the revolution become and stay “an institution.” Change is scary but not changing? Much worse. People just don’t want to feel that pain; that’s why we began using in the first place — it was too much for us to handle. It’s not groveling in the past; it’s not blaming others — it’s finally and at last letting ourselves griev our way into healing. Keep coming back. We need you here. Maybe this will have to be a one-on-one movement, but someone I just don’t think that will do it. It needs to e bigger and more encompassing than that. But God, how people hate change. If we could just remember that this whole thing was an experiment — a runing around and frantically trying anything because nothing existed before that. Perspective. All we can do is trust that honestly and truly, more shall be revealed. The great lie — the Emperor has no clothes. And we’re all in agreement, well not all but too many. Best, Melody

      • Denise says:

        Hi Melody, So glad to “see” you/ your responses . I may not think your’e a guru but I discovered I feel you are the matriarch here. May not be a title you aspire to, but it’s how I feel. Gosh the title of the blog hit me like a bolt of lightening last night… The Final Peace. My mother is fighting to hang on like nothing the medical people or anyone involved can believe. My mother is, from her mothers side S’Klallum Indian, which means The Strong People. And she definitely is. I have witnessed her using this strength my entire life, to hold on to life with one hand while pushing it away with the other. She created 4 really messed up people, not blaming when I say this, just stating the truth about the life long challenge thereafter to put all the broken pieces back together. The contradictory thing, to me anyway, was seeing how my mother would deal with the repercussions of how she raised us, but would NOT consider doing anything different. She chose instead, in my opinion to do the hard part forever, instead of as I have heard it put, doing the hard part now. She came from severe dysfunction, SEVERE. I never heard one single word about her childhood while I was growing up. I had a strange feeling that she fell from the sky full grown, I almost say this seriously because it was if she was never a child. And realistically she probably wasn’t. When I took the leave of absence last April- July, it was a similar situation to what you spoke of with your mothers situation. I had been going back and forth, mom lives 150 miles away, for the previous years, so it wasn’t a case where I had no way of knowing what was going on with her. It had become, however a situation that a 2 or 3 day visit couldn’t begin to address what she needed. The home needed major cleaning, she needed to get to Drs appts which she almost always cancelled, all the measures she was using to take care of her needs weren’t cutting it anymore. My brothers, each in their own way, God Bless them were doing what they could, but there are things sons should never see or have to deal with concerning their mother. Fortunately we have evolved in our society enough that Family Leave is a legislated option. I want to add here I was covertly shamed by my supervisor when I requested this, the same as I was also when I told her I wouldn’t be available on my DAYS OFF because I was taking care of my grandson. She told me; YOUR SON AND HIS WIFE NEED TO FIND A BABYSITTER! I told her in no uncertain terms; I AM THE BABYSITTER!!! She got the message. Your comment about the emperor wearing no clothes struck me as applicable in this situation. This woman lives in a mansion, as does the person I share my job with, I live in a 400 square foot apt above a garage, which by the way I love, and not the point, and from pay check to pay check. The rich as CS Lewis so beautifully said can be the most fearful, and I have witnessed this truth in these situations. I have lived under constant threat in these past 5 years with the innuedo I could lose my job if I do not eat sleep and breath my job. God has made sure I have known He is in control and their threats and meanness have to go through Him before they get to me. Opportunity’s for healing and growth meant for the good of all concerned show up everyday is what I have been learning.Forgive me if I am all over the place here, this is what is going on inside of me as I am walking through my life right now. Trying to connect the dots, and the picture looks just like those we give our children in coloring books. Dots on a page, background and the subject matter within it uncertain. I want to say to Karin I applaud you for taking care of yourself. There was a period of 5 years where I had no contact with my mother while I was trying to crawl through the emerging awareness of what really happened in my childhood. Like you I also disengaged and detached myself from the rest of my family as well. I had to. It was like withdrawal from a drug, but I knew it was what I had to do to save my own life. And the impetus and underlying motivation as you mentioned was looking into the faces of my children as well and asking who is going to save them? We must do it, take care of and love our self, knowing somehow that the ripple effect will be felt by those in our lives. Until this point ( with the help I got from reading “Codependent No More”) I began to realize I had this backwards, fix everyone else THEN I can be okay. Codependent thinking to the max. The layers of healing and awareness are still coming… I think it is so amazing when as you spoke of the situation with your dogs deep feelings and remembrances bubble up to the surface. The emotions can be so powerful and feel overwhelming except You are safe today and you can safely feel these emotions of grief and loss in the midst of people who can and do love you. This is the gift of healing. The pain out gets carved out of the caverns of the past and in it’s place the ability to celebrate life and to begin to fill those caverns with peace and joy really can and does happen. When we show up long enough we really really do get to see the miracles. And these too become part of our story. Melody you are so right about the missing pieces of obsession and guilt. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance explain the event. Obsession and guilt explain the how to integrate the healing of the event. I have felt healing being able to obsessively repeat my story here, I have noticed it has changed as I have done so. Because it has changed me to be able to do so. Specifically to have it heard and validated for what it was. I realized today I have withdrawn from my mother. I initially felt guilty… then I heard the Good Mother say you are grieving, it is okay to be kind to your self right now. I also realized I need to say this to my mom, I don’t know what my world will be like with out you in it mom, I feel sad and afraid. Thanks for listening. Denise

        • Denise says:

          And PS with Karin I too say Right on and WRITE on, your gift is being the messenger Melody, God Bless You, and Bless the Lord oh my soul, all of our souls.

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I feel like the verse you mentioned regarding walking in the right way can seem like a two-edged sword. In one sense we want to walk in the good way, but I know for myself that sometimes when I realize what it’s going to require of me I want to do what you referred to…..scream NOOOOOO…. and run the other way. I’m not saying that’s the response I WANT to have, it’s just like you said, my knee-jerk response to surrendering to a situation that doesn’t “feel good”….even though it is good. I’ve lived through many circumstances where the ‘good way’ was far and above the hardest path to follow. I know that’s no surprise to you. I also believe firmly in the saying ‘God gives us what we need when we need it’. But the reality is sometimes that thing we need has good feelings attached and sometimes difficult feelings. I know I still need growth in certain areas of my life and I regularly encounter opportunities to choose growth….but I’m tempted to walk away (and sometimes I do) from those opportunities because of the discomfort level they will bring. I’m talking about growing pains….the ways in which pain brings positive growth. Like you, I’ve had a very difficult time surrendering to divine ‘opportunities’. I hear you speak of your family and not going into the codependent crazies with them. I know how hard it is to watch people you love make destructive choices and the enormous effort it requires to detach and stay detached…..in love. It’s the right thing to do but it’s an enormous battle sometimes. I do want to celebrate life every day and enjoy recovery….but it’s always a mixed bag of emotions. The reason I resonate with the story of Joseph is because the journey to his place of healing was marked with deep suffering. I know for myself I wish I could get to the healing place without the suffering….but I’ve come to accept it’s not possible. God’s good path, the path of recovery, is marked with suffering. The challenge for me is to continue to pursue the light and celebrate life when the darkness threatens to engulf me. I know you know what I mean. That’s why I wrote I pray for grace for myself to make choices that will overcome darkness with light. I’m glad you mentioned the movie ‘Bruce Almighty’. I haven’t seen it but heard it’s a good one. It’s so important to include as much humor in our lives as possible to offset pain and suffering. I’m thankful for the affirmations you have brought to my life right now through your responses. I needed to hear, once again, as I’ve heard many times through Melody’s writings, that I am where I am right now for a reason. I need to not ‘jump ship’. If I could snap my fingers and change some of my circumstances, I would in a heartbeat. But I know the way through my pain isn’t by going around it, but by walking through it…..one breath at a time. Thanks for more words of grace and life. :) Karin

    • Denise says:

      Hi Karin, Life is such a mixed bag is what I am learning and learning to accept. When my friend gave me the tape about Joseph after I listened to it, I marched out to the garbage can and put my Bible in it. Now this Bible was deeply meaningful to me. A life long friend gave me this Bible as a gift. I had written and underlined and dated thoughts and prayers all over it. The binding had come a part and for one of my birthdays my daughter had the binding repaired. It was soaked in my years, had been clutched to my chest in fear and hope on many occasions. She gave it to me in the month of November and 1 year later in the same month, my brother who I desperately feared would drink himself to death, had the compulsion to drink removed from him, as he tells this, by God in an instant. All of this to say that road you spoke of marked by pain and suffering was something I told God in that moment I was sick of and wanted nothing to do with, kill me please or let me die but I can’t do this thing you call life anymore is what I said. I was staying with my ex -sister in law whom I call my sister from another mother, during my drifting from one place to another when I did this, she was mortified but very wise and didn’t try to remove it. She told another dear friend of mine that I had done this, who promptly, she is an in charge woman I must add, got in her car drove 150 miles to ” see me” and then proceeded to dig through garbage bags to retrieve my Bible, which she did. She brought it to me and said I will give this to you if you can promise me you will not put it back in the garbage, if you can’t that’s okay I will keep for you until you can. Truthfully I felt relieved and ashamed and promised I wouldn’t repeat this tantrum again. Healing can be so messy and embarrassing. I have dug through garbage to find and retrieve my ex-husbands phone bills, and put things in the garbage that didn’t belong there. The day I was going through the garbage to find my ex-husbands phone bill, I was on a mission by the way to find “proof”, I was sitting on the ground going through garbage and I heard God’s voice clearly; You can go through the garbage if you want to, but you don’t have to. I was insane with grief then too. My healing has been a 3 ring circus, no walk down the garden path, except for the weeds. I think more than anything just being able to acknowledge this and not try to do it perfectly or like a good girl what ever this means, has allowed me to give my self permission to be present with who what and where I am. The more I have tried to sound like recovery is just a happy joyous and freeing experience the more it has shown me that’s a part of it for sure, but in between there can be a lot of garbage too. I think you said it so beautifully Karin; The challenge is to continue to pursue the light and celebrate life when the darkness threatens to engulf you. This to me is The Challenge. And I think it is the challenge we all enter into when we seek healing. I want to add that one word in the verse I referred to jumped out at me one day when i read it… ASK. What I saw is that I thought I already knew where the good way was. I think seeking involves a lot knocking on doors that might get slammed in our face. So we don’t give up we keep on asking like the widow who drove the judge crazy until he granted her request. The lesson for me is don’t give. Finding out what doesn’t work gets me that much closer to discovering what can. Instead of loudly exclaiming; Oh My God when someone at works makes and brings a mistake to they have made to me, I say; Well you just shattered my illusion that you are perfect, but I guess I know now that your’e human. This is what I wished I could have heard and why I created what I called the Good Mother. She said what I needed to have heard, rather than being shamed for being human by making a mistake. And after mentioning the movie Bruce Almighty I am going to watch it again, through humor it brings to light a very profound message, in my opinion. It helps to be able to give life the light touch where ever or when ever we can, it is hard enough! Someone once said to me did you ever notice how dog spells God backwards? Gave me chills. I think animals and children are closer to God than the rest of us somehow and I too have known and still do the unconditional love and acceptance of my dear cat, can’t have a dog where I live, but in either case I do thank God he made these earth angel buddies as my daughter call them. Unlike me they can give comfort with a word. Oh how fun to have a puppy Enjoy your new friend and counselor. Denise

  • Melody says:

    Denise and Karin – I just want to add one thing. I read other forums (participate in some — a little) and always walk away wondering, what did I do to deserve such incredible site guests — such thoughtful, honest, kind, caring, gentle and healing people who take time out of their lives to come here, be vulnerable, and post the truth. The more I read all the posts, the more I see that the true culprit that destroys our families has never been alcohlism — it’s the demon unresolved grief. I hope I willl live to see the day when it finaly becomes okay to feel and heal it — for all of us. Best, Melody And thank you all for being here. I was also asking for a sign about something I’ve been struggling with — should I write this or not, it’s a big leap from the frying pan into the fire and God only knows if I’ll make it and am I doing what I’m supposed to do because if it’s not God’s Will — well, who would want to do it then? Not I — so please show me what my path should be. Through both of you, reading and re-reading, I have received my answers. Right on and write on. Best, Melody

  • Melody says:

    People say that Life and God never give us more than we can handle. We all know that’s not true, for what little person can handle that kind of abuse? We can’t. It’s too much. It will kill us. We will die. So we adapt our survival behaviors, we fight our way through, and then we spend the majority of our lives unraveling the pain from our childhood years. But something happens. I’ve been watching a series on TV lately — called Touch — about how we’re all interconnected, and about how everything we do and every choice we make matters and ripples out, as you said, and touches countless other lives. People say we can’t change the past, but we can. We can transcend it. We can turn it into healing and hope for others. There’s so much I want to do — blogs to write, posts to respond to, things to say — but for now I’m going to write. The outcome isn’t my business. Best, Melody Beattie

    • Denise says:

      I’ve been watching this show too. It is beautiful to see how the father goes to bat for his son, and how others think they know what is best for his son because….. they have cornered the market on how all human beings should be? It is beautiful to see how as the program shows it we are connected. I feel sick when I hear the statistics on child abuse, I have to turn the channel when I see the commercials about animal abuse also. I only know to do what I can where I am. It was so hard in my early years of recovery. I had become the same mess on the outside visible to others, as I had been all the years before it on the inside. It was not well received at all. A friend told me her mother and friends have club where they meet and do different things together. They are all widows. When a new person comes in to the group they decide if they want them to stay or if they will dependent on how much they talk about their loss. Only the strong stoic ones can stay……. meaning get over it we don’t want to hear about your pity party. I was speechless when she told me this. I thought how fricken cruel, to be honest. THe feelings that come with PTSD are as real as the original feelings. Thanks for the reminders to be gentle with ourselves during the holiday season. I don’t want to have a pity party, meaning to me being stuck in grief, I want heal. But neither can I put on a happy face when being with the people I would love to share the “merriment” with aren’t there. I try to find those reasons I can to be grateful while at the same time acknowledging the reasons I feel sad and disconnected. This to me is the path of healing, being real with what is, what was and what I hope for. Thanks

  • Melody says:

    There are times I believe I experienced the death of my son to learn how critical it is to grieve fully our losses. We can endure any amount of suffering, as long as we know it’s for a purpose. It’s when the pain and suffering have no meaning that it becomes unbearable and we move into resistance. There .. is….purpose… to…. everything…..we …..go…..through. It’s okay and safe to believe it. Best, Melody

    • Denise says:

      Melody, Wow, to me losing one of my children was my absolute worst fears, I lived in one on going panic attack about this. I know we can not compare losses but I think losing a child is the worst, because it is so out of the natural order that we go before them. I personally know 4 women who have lost a child and on top of everything else, had to deal with the reactions of those who hadn’t lost a child.Which is to look into their eyes and see the oh my God please don’ t let this happen to me and one of mine. I know because I was one of them. It triggers the incomprehensible fear of what this would be like. I clearly knew this is what was going on within myself and felt ashamed. As I learned for myself that just listening to the story helps I made myself available to do so. But until our world is rocked with this kind of pain and loss we fumble in the dark about what we can do, I think. Losing my children’s father due to divorce kicked off the Haley’s comet of grief in my life. Losing my dad and I loved him as my best friend and father was horrendous and I grieved as much as I could. But when my ex-husband and I divorced I felt grief that all but made me implode. A friend told me a few years ago she didn’t get what in God’s name was wrong with me back then, all the boo hooing and devastation I felt didn’t make sense to her. Until she went through a loss like it herself. When I heard that your son died I thought that’s the end of her. I didn’t see how you were ever going to come back from that. But you did over and over again. This is where I said before I was able to tell myself if Melody Beattie can go on with life after this and all else that has happened to her, God can and will help me too. I want to say you are right that there is a purpose to everything we go through. If I didn’t know through what you shared it was really truly possible to go on, then I wouldn’t have been here to attend my son and daughter’s wedding’s. I wouldn’t have been able to hold those beloved grandchildren and my children wouldn’t have known what it was to have me brag about how perfect their chubby little cherubs are. I would have never heard myself called my the names gramaceta and nana, it is a long and magnificent list of those things I would have never known, nor would have those who love me. I still get sideways and twisted knowing my children’s father is here but not here, to or for me. I still feel ripped off during holidays and the mile stones of life where I think you big jerk you should be here with me. And it may not make any sense but he was part of what made my world for better or worse what it was. I found I missed all that I felt hurt and anger about as well as all that I loved, never would I have expected this. It was part of the package and we don’t get to have these packages fraught with imperfection, as we want them, is what I have learned. Anyway I find I am writing a book, not the one you suggested on this site. But thoughts and ideas are coming like meteor showers in my brain and maybe that’s what needs to happen. With Blessing and Thanks, Denise

  • Karin says:

    How very true, Melody, that those of us who had to survive abuse in our childhood then spend our adult years trying to unravel and heal the many, many layers of grief and pain. I’ve told people close to me, and myself as well, that I’ll be healing for the rest of my life. And I wholeheartedly agree that the underlying cause of all addiction and addictive behaviors is unresolved grief. I’m experiencing that reality in my life today. I have been experiencing circumstances (clearly divinely arranged) this year that have brought up a lot of unresolved grief regarding my dad, who passed away 14 years ago. When I entered 2012, I had NO idea it was the year that would bring me face to face with grieving the pain and loss I still have buried in connection to him (I had no opportunities to process while he was still alive). Don’t know how long it’s going to take. Another powerful piece of grief from my childhood came up recently. Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to look at a litter of puppies that are the kind of dog I had growing up. Not a common breed so I’ve only seen two since I was 18. I am a serious dog lover and normally would have been thrilled at the prospect of seeing puppies, but I felt grief and I cried. I was surprised by the power of the trigger. I lost 5 dogs during my growing up years…..and they were all my best friends. They gave me the greatest source of comfort and joy in an environment of isolation, fear and sadness. When the emotions of grief hit me as I faced seeing these dogs again, I realized I had not grieved the intense loss I experienced every time I lost one of those dogs when I was young. My husband and I are going to bring home a little girl puppy in 3 weeks and I’m sensing that she is going to help me heal the unresolved grief. Like my buried grief regarding my dad, I had no idea I had so much grief buried regarding my dear dogs. Wow….the layers are mind-blowing. I’m so thankful for all the times you have emphasized in your writings that the way to heal is to feel our feelings and take good care of/love ourselves. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve cried and ached….and been very aware of nurturing and loving myself all at the same time. Like you, I believe there is a purpose to our suffering. I have had many conversations with my kids and others about how suffering changes us and strips our illusions like nothing else. It brings clarity and truth. Recently when I was talking to my husband about grieving loss and feeling the pain, he made the comment that it’s good I can feel the pain because it means I can feel joy as well. So true. It’s a full spectrum. Thank you to you and all the other beautiful women on this site who continue to write and bring forth light and healing. I really relate to Billie Jean regarding grief during the holidays. I’ve faced that syndrome for years. I understand her trigger and behavior. My hope and prayer is that she can be aware of grieving the loss and nurturing herself at the same time. Asking herself like I need to every day “what can I do for myself in the midst of this grief to make myself feel loved and comforted?” (without engaging in any destructive behavior). For me it usually involves trying to spend time with people I love and who love me, walking outdoors in nature and taking lots of deep breathes, having a cup of tea and reading an uplifting book (many times one of yours :) ). So many choices to help offset grief, one breath at a time. Thank you for taking time to write, Melody, and to all the other women as well. I hope we can all continue to lift each other up. We need each other. We are surviving and thriving together. I will pray that you will have guidance and clarity regarding your writing, Melody. I’m very grateful if anything I wrote helped you. Like you said, right on and write on. Karin

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody and Denise, On many days of my life, I have had the goal to just keep breathing…. to survive. That wasn’t as much my conscious goal in my growing up years but it still played out nonetheless. I believe the word survival is a noble word. It defines the perseverance and miraculous nature of beating the odds. It encompasses the strength and dignity of who we are. Now I live in the mentality that I’m both surviving and thriving. Some days still feel like survival….the reality is when the triggers hit I go back to the one-breath-at-a-time mentality….not wanting to go through another round of pain and doing everything I can to love myself through it. And other days I enjoy the feelings of thriving….feeling the progress I’ve made, feeling joy and less pain. And so it goes, back and forth, back and forth. Thank you, Melody, for one more powerful reminder of the importance to know the truth about ourselves and the reality of PTSD re/ child abuse. There’s nothing more important than knowing the truth about ourselves for the sake of healing. I know you’ve been to hell and back many times….you’re a warrior who shows the rest of us the way of victory…..both for ourselves and the world around us. And like you, Denise, I had several times in my life when I told God “I’m NOT doing this life anymore. I’m DONE. I don’t want you to be involved anymore because I’m tired of way YOU lead me into pain.” I threw away quite a few things in the process. I was furious. Each time I “melted down” I was drawn back by a continuous voice that told me how much I was loved and cherished. Sometimes this voice came to me in the quiet (like the Hound of Heaven haunting me), and like for you, it also came through dear friends who were not going to give up on me. I’m so thankful they didn’t. There is no easy answer for gutting it out through the painful times….like the holidays. For me it really is just one breath at a time…..clinging to the belief that I am worth fighting for and worth loving. Most importantly, loving ourselves. That’s why I carry that 8-year old photo of myself. To remind that little girl that no matter how often she heard she was stupid, ugly, that no one cared about her….that she is valuable and cherished beyond words. It’s a true delight and pleasure to tell her that now. That’s why I always loved my dogs so much growing up. They always made me feel special and loved. I like the term “earth angel buddies.” :) They are definitely heaven sent. I went through a divorce in 2011 after 23 years of marriage. My dogs helped me get through that too….a constant source of joy and love. I’m very glad you have a cat. They’re earth angel buddies too. I have 3 of those too. :) What I wish most for all of us is a growing awareness that we truly are loved and cherished. That no matter what we were told by the abusive lies in our history, we can break through to the truth and live there more and more every day. It’s what we were created for. And one more thing, I have planned for a while to get a Harley for my 50th b-day Denise. It’s only 3 years away. All my friends and family know I’m gonna do it. It gives me something to look forward to as a way to celebrate turning 50. I met two women recently who ride Harleys. I specifically approached them on the street one day to hear their story about riding. One is 67 and she started riding at 52. The other is 61 and had been riding for about 20 years. Way tooooo cool huh?? I love stories of strong women! That’s why I love this site and the interaction here. So many strong women….growing stronger day by day. Definitely something to celebrate!Peace, Karin

    • Denise says:

      Hi Melody and Karin, YES way too cool with getting your own Harley Karin! I love it! What a perfect way to celebrate this milestone, I loved turning 50. Good for you! I have a tip that someone shared with me, get your license now if you don’t already have it, and your insurance will be less when you do get your bike. At least in California which is where I live. I have a vision board with pictures of those things I want in my life, and one of the pictures is of Jillian Michaels on her Night Rod Special. I have met and spoken with women like you mentioned who belong to women’s only clubs, go on rides all over and have a blast. As we will too! You sound like an old soul Karin, there is so much grace and wisdom in what you say. I feel a gentleness in your posts that is comforting. Thank You. I am sorry to hear of your divorce after so many years. Melody made mention of the epidemic of long term marriages breaking up quite a while back and wondering what it was about. I believe my own was ultimately the result of choosing to heal. I felt I was given a choice, stay the same or change and I’m gone. It was a heartbreaking position to be in. It felt like a lose/lose for a long time. But I couldn’t stay the same. My ex-husband told me: I liked you better the way you were. Which he didn’t understand was unconsciously unconscious. Hearing him say this felt like the same message I heard from my mother while growing up: Say yes and I will love you , Say no and you will pay. Still telling the story…. still trying to integrate it as you have said Melody. Like you Karin I have days and times of thriving, but the case now is more like survival mode, feeling weary to the marrow of my bones. I am glad that at this stage of my life I really know this too shall pass. And until it does being gentle and telling myself the truth will help. We are worth fighting for and worth loving. I think this is what shocked me most about my own divorce. Finding out I wasn’t worth fighting for pushed every button of abandonment and rejection I had ever felt and not deal with. It took a lot of work to really unravel this down to the truth. And I am still working on it when situations happen that trigger it. I believe it will be a life long obstacle that will show up, but unlike the child I once was with zero information to over come it, I now know it is a shadow not the real thing. Walk toward the sunlight and the shadows will disappear. I do so dislike the winter months, so I make myself soak up the UV rays when I can and it helps. I sure appreciate your sharing Karin it is raw and filled with tenacity and courage. Keep on keeping on. Who knows maybe one day our Harleys may cross paths as we already have here! Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I’m in the middle of processing a difficult situation in my life and what you wrote has really helped me. Thank you for taking the time to write. So many things you say resonate with me and help me. I wish I could comment on all of them. In fact, I have re-read the posts quite a few times….each time I gain something and am amazed at the wisdom and healing in the words you, Melody and the other women have shared. It helps more than words can say to know we’re not alone in the pain that we face. It is such a tremendous blessing to feel ‘understood’. I am sorry that you had to live through a divorce too. I know what you mean when you describe it as a lose/lose situation. I still have a hard time believing it was the step I had to take, but that’s the way it played out. What you said was/is completely true for me as well. I had the choice to either stay stuck in pain or to change and face a different kind of pain that would ultimately lead to healing. A heartbreaking choice, as you said, but I also knew it was a choice to heal. I appreciate those words. I was up against a situation where I knew I was married to someone who would always choose to stay stuck….had been in counseling for years with no significant change…and very narcissistic qualities. My challenge was and still is making choices to protect my 4 children as I seek to change and heal. I’ve tried very hard to not make them feel caught in the middle. This year I face circumstances I’ve never faced before. I’m considering how to make choices regarding Christmas. I remarried this past July (a beautiful gift from God) and my ex-husband and my oldest daughter (age 20) are very resistant to meeting my new husband. My other three kids (my son and two younger daughters) love my new husband and would like to all be together. I know I need to process my emotions and come to a place of clarity and peace. I can’t control any else’s choices…I need to let go. I find I’m angry with my ex and my oldest daughter because of their unwillingness to accept change and yet I know I can’t just stay stuck in anger towards them….I need to make my choices based on healthy thinking and healing. I like how you put where you’re at Denise….you feel weary to the marrow of your bones. I feel the same way right now. I’ve been fighting emotional battles for so long and I realllllly don’t want to fight this one right now….especially with all the other difficult emotions regarding Christmas that I normally face. But I want to see this as another opportunity for healing….one more way to find my voice and make a choice to move forward and not focus on what other people are thinking, saying or doing. Writing is a very therapeutic tool for me so I know I’ll be writing quite a bit in the next few day and weeks. I so appreciate this forum where we can write and process our feelings and be heard (thank you again, Melody, for making this possible). Like you said, it’s about unraveling our emotions in order to find the truth….like picking apart a tangled kite string. I am very raw right now….in fact I’m writing this in the early morning hours because I couldn’t sleep. Too many emotions to process. Thank you for saying I have tenacity and courage. That’s the way I want to live my life but many times, like now, I feel fear trying to back me down and stop me from moving forward. I love your comment “walk toward the sunlight and the shadows will disappear.” That’s a beautiful visual….and that’s what I need to do. I love that you have a picture on your vision board of Jillian Michaels on her Night Rod Special. How awesome! It’s really important that we focus on the beautiful things we want to experience in the future. Thanks, too, for the tip about getting my motorcycle lesson as soon as possible in order to reduce insurance costs. I’ll look into that. I think it’s so fantastic that groups of women enjoy riding together. I smile every time a see a woman riding. I look forward to being a part of that group and like you said, maybe our Harleys will cross paths one day :) . Thanks for your encouragement, honesty and for sharing your wisdom with me. It means more than I can say. I wish you peace and healing, Karin

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Hi to Denise, Karin, and all. I’m sorry I disappeared, but I had a surgery coming up that was supposed to be mild and only keep me out and down for the count for one day. However, the surgeon I was recommended to was (and I didn’t know this at the time) right out of grad school and still “making her mistakes” on patients. I had a bad feeling about it from day one, and regret not listening to my gut. I ended up being mutilated, and unable to get out of bed for five-six days. There are two more stages to this surgery, and I will be changing surgeons before the next one (stage). Some things that heped and continue to help me with this process of grieving/healing (whatever words we use for it — but ultimately it’s the way we change and grow and that’s no easy task) is when I visited China and Tiet and began to genuinely STOP labeling emotions as negative or positive, and instead just let them be “emotional energy bursts.” A therapist I used to co-facilitate groups with long ago used to tell me that in the end, there was little difference between sadness and joy, fear and excitement, etc. I never got that — not until the past ten years. Also it helped me enormously when I stopped viewing grief as wasted and unliveable time in my life (like down time on a computer). When I started to see it as a holy, sacred journey of transformation, I stopped resisting the process as much. There is so much “meat” in the comments it’s hard for me to know where to begin (or stop) but I haven’t read one thing I disagree with yet. I believe we went through a huge period of cynacism in our society, when people began almost belittling people who mourned their losses, whether those losses occured in childhod or later in life, and whether the losses came in the form of abuse, death of a loved one or divorce. In the end, it doesn’t matter (well it does), but the importance of the process doesn’t diminish any. Because every single time we give in and surrender to one of our “griefs,” we automatically and instantly heal. It’s also amazing – the magical and unrealistic connections we make to grief events, and how those connections can be stoppers in our lives. One such stopper for me was that I closed on buying a new home the night before my son Shane, died. Until then, I had consistently owned where I lived sinced 1978. (He died in 1991). However, after his death I made the “magical thinking” connection that my decision to move is why he died. This happened at a less htan conscious level that I didn’t notice until 1998 — when I bought the first home I buoght since I took my daughter’s hand and we walked out of the home I bought the night before Shane’s death — a huge mansion I bought to celebrate their teen years and one way too big for two people. I began renting, and continued even after my move to California but treated my rentals as though I owned them — decorating, putting money into fixing them up etc. When I found an incredible deal — a gift HP dropped into my lap (a house on the beach in Malibu that ticks off some people but I honest to God paid less for it than many people pay for starter homes). The deal was unbelievable — too good to be true yet true and that doesn’t happen often. If I had been a flipper, I could have instantly flipped it and made a ton of dough — but it was a gift and living by the sea continues to help my heart heal. Anyway, I got off track (there’s a comment about one of my books on Amazon which I know I shouldn’t be reading but one reviewer says anyone can be happy if they live in a home by the beach in Malibu and I now a lot of unhappy people who live by the sea) but the point of all this is that I didn’t realize that this magical grief connection was preventing me from buying a home until I went to the closing on this home — this gift — and when I started signing the documents my hand started tremebling and I started crying and I didn’t get it, not at all, at first — and then I saw crystal clear what was “up” with me. It was a huge, huge healing — but just one in the many that constitute the process we call grief. Ultimately I believe life will bring us all the triggers we need — if we’re open to them and consciuosly seeking to heal — when it’s time and when we’re ready. I’ve got a ton of emails to read (including those on this site) so I’m going to continue reading and responding. Later, Melody

      • Melody Beattie says:

        Sorry — I meant “Tibet.” I know I should spell check my posts, but I’m worried about the time factor and want to keep reading and responding to all comments on all three of my sites — so I figure my readers will (for the most part) put up with my typos. Best, Melody

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, It was good medicine for me to see and read your post this morning, as well as finding the books I ordered, Melody’s and an Alice Miller book I haven’t read, on my door step. These are some of the ways and means, your 8 year self and mine, Melodys’ and so many others didn’t have, to help ourselves, but do now. I have the power of choice based on truth now. I am no longer held captive in my bedroom, going into my closet to have a conversation with an invisible Good Mother. I can, you can, Melody and all who choose to can be that Good Mother to our selves now and find those who will be kind and loving parental figures, mentors, friends and healers in our lives as well. We are as Melody said transcending, by taking those steps that will bring redeemption, and if we continue to believe and walk in this HOPE ,” the years the locusts have eaten” will become a place in the distance we only look over our shoulder to see across the desert we have crossed. I too as you said Karin was with someone who after years of counseling, and much opportunity available regarding Recovery choose to stay in that stuck place. The last counselor we went to was sharp and very gifted. He was young too, which threw me at first, but age does not guarantee wisdom, character gained by choices made, do though in my opinion. This counselor, Thank God didn’t waste time and because he was a gifted healer got straight to the core of what was going on so fast it was mind boggling in a good way for a change. He shared a story that I was able to take away and keep as a reminder to this day, it is this; A man was walking down a dark street one night and became aware there were foot steps behind him. He quickened his steps to gain a more comfortable distance between himself and the footsteps he heard behind himself. As he did he could hear the footsteps behind him doing the same. His heart began to beat faster as thoughts of being over taken and harmed began to flood his mind. So he walked faster yet and the foot steps did too. He was now feeling terror rising up and began to run, the steps behind did the same. He then ran until he could run no more and finally turned to face what ever was going to happen to him. What confronted him was another man as out of breath as himself. Why are you chasing me? he choked out. Mister as I was walking behind you I saw your wallet fall from your coat. I have been trying to catch up to you so that I could give it back to you. The counselor told my husband; This in effect is what your wife has been doing, you feel her running after you and perceive it as threat to you, when in reality she is trying to give you something intended to be an asset in your life. He didn’t get it but I did Karin. And it hurt like hell on earth. I literally physically felt something release within my chest as I was finally able to Let Go. I allowed myself to observe what he chose from this time forward. Not what he said but what he did. I had let go with every last fiber of my being and became “willing” to let the truth in. And it did come in. My paternal grandmother passed away. I asked my hudabnd to accompany me to Seattle for her funeral. Divine intervention opened up a week between jobs that made this 100% doable for him, but he made any and every excuse unimaginable not to go with me. I had attended the funerals of all 4 of his grandparents. This was the only grandparent I had left whose funeral I would ever be able to attend. I felt hurt that though he could go with me he choose not to, but didn’t say this. When he saw me off at the airport he “accidently” told the attendant behind the desk that I was going on a funeral “vacation”. I thought, Yes, I am going to a funeral and it seems you will have a vacation. It was the beginning of many hard truths yet to be revealed. Hard, hurtful and necessary. Severe Mercy is the term I have heard to explain those things that save us as though escaping from a burning building. It has been 14 years this past Oct since I left my home and the divorce happened. Severe describes every thing about the severing ( the meaning of divorce) that followed….. the worst pain I never knew a human being could survive. I had a coffee cup full of sleeping pills I had purchased over the counter that I kept next to my bed for the next 6 months. I fought myself not to take them. I found out years later that my son and daughter devised a plan to make sure one or both of them had contact with me every day, along with some dear and close friends of mine. I also had a job in a classroom with 2 beautiful compassionate women teaching 1 and 2nd grade SDC children. These dear precious children would always be with their parents. I learned a lot about grief and unconditional love from these loving parents. These little ones loved me without reservation during the deepest grief I had ever felt. It was no accident I had this job at this time. One of the teachers, also a friend, gave me a visual that felt as if it had been painted by the hand of God for me. She said this; I see it like Rodan’s Gates of Hell in the sculpter garden at Stanford University. You are trying to walk out of a hell, but as you do, there are tentacles with sharp blades on them that keep wrapping around your ankles trying to pull you back , but you must keep putting one foot in front of the other, God is with you, and you will move beyond this place so that you may walk in the land of the living. Her picture expressed exactly what I felt then. Perhaps the point in my sharing right now is that looking back, I see a road marked with the pain suffering you spoke of Karin and you have too Melody, and it is. What I believe with all my heart and soul though is there are two kinds of pain and suffering. A kind meant for Good, that will bring about our healing as the light of truth exposes the lies that hold us hostage to what ever prison we live in. Each truth holds a key that opens a door. The prison I lived in was in a basement with many doors leading out. Every time I take a new key in my trembling hands and say yes I will open this door even though I’m not sure what’s on the other side except that it leads to a new path of truth to walk in, I grow, heal another wound or see an old lie for what it really is. This is one reason why Melody’s site Living in the Mystery so resonates as YES with in me. My old ears can hear Re- Living the Horror, but this only true if I don’t unlock the doors that will release me from the memories. I am sorry making the choice to heal had to be what was so painfully felt as a lose/lose for you and I and is now and will be true for others also. We can not change this part of it. We can change our part in it. We have like said have a warrior who has shown us the path to victory. We too are warriors for life and truth as we come alongside one another as you also said are doing here. God will take our mustard seeds and do with them what only He can, create miracles, how I don’t know. But when I look back I see these miracles, one upon the next. Like the alter where Abraham placed the stones of remembrance, my stones of remembrance rise to heaven and fall upon the ears of the One who knows what to do. The transition through the changes created by divorce of a long term marriage are I have found Karin, also long term. I have to say here I had people tell me what I call Happy Horse S–t stories of happily ever after with all the great things that happened after they final go rid of the “problem”. But I think it is a huge dis-service to tell anyone such non-sense and I do not believe for a second this is what you think nor did I. I do want to say to anyone who spins out the fairlytale that This is the answer, it is an answer to somethings, but with it come new challenges. The answers ultimately can be found with in each of us, not an event, circumstance, person or place. In the mean time we do our best to make the best decision we can with what we have. I love what Maya Angelou said; We do what we know how to do, when we know better we can do better….Grace for the humanity that is our gift, if can learn to see it this way. My daughter in law respectfully asked how I would feel if my ex-husband came to my grandson’s first Birthday Party? Seems simple enough but it wasn’t for me. I told her I needed to think about it and get back to her. My first reaction, almost PTSD, is to feel threatened and afraid. I knew I needed to check in with myself after I calmed down then check back in with her, I have learned this much thankfully. So I did and realized I can do this, it isn’t about me, it is about celebrating my grandsons first Birthday, if my ex-husband says something I feel I can’t handle I can take a walk or a hike or get in my car and drive a way with on one the wiser. After a few day passed, she called me and said never mind he’s not invited. I then felt disrespected and angry. I called my son and asked what’s going on? I can handle having your dad there. Why was I asked only to have the decision made for me? He said we want you to feel comfortable mom. I said I will. This is my work to do not yours to do for me. Things like this can get complicated. Everyone has their own perspective, needs, wants, feelings, resentments perhaps and unresolved grieve too. The messy stuff that can trigger off World War 3 if we don’t tread lightly and monitor the only person we can which is of course our self. You aren’t asking and I wouldn’t answer if you did, regarding the circumstances you are working through about Christmas. I like what Melody said about saying something 3 times I think it was. I have tried to keep my kids out of the middle too. It can be a challenge for them and us, because we love one another. I want to protect my grown up kids, who are now 37 and 35 and were 21 and 23 at the time their dad and I divorced. I had a great counselor who worked with my kids when they were High School who told me very bluntly, they need to wrestle with their relationship with their father, because it is about their relationship with him…ouch I felt like I had been kicked. We have had to forge a new way to be not the family we used to be the one we are now. No easy answers for sure. Easier though I have found when I ask them and they ask me what works. One situation at a time, because our feelings change and we do too. I was growth for me to know I could take care of myself for the Birthday. The untested awareness is still with me. The fear of what might happen for my son and his wife is still there for them too. It can be hard to let each other be what ever we need to be sometimes. I know it is for me, but I am getting better at letting myself and those I love both fail and grieve our ways to healing. I think you are going through both good and hard stuff, admirably, because you are showing up for which ever it is. My brother told me a long time ago, Sometimes the difference between hope and despair is a good nights sleep. I still lay awake when I feel turmoil about something I’m trying to work out. Like you also Karin writing has always been my therapy so I’m glad we both have this place to do so and benefit not only ourself but others in the process. Take Good Care of your 8 and 47 year old selves. They both need and deserve all the love, patience and understanding they can get during this time. Blessings, Denise. Right on, Ride on and Write on! PS didn’t edit so hope this makes sense?!

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, thank you so much for sharing more of your story with me. Wow. You’ve lived through so much and I’m amazed at how much wisdom and healing you have to offer to me and other women now. I appreciate hearing how you walked through the intense grief after your divorce. I was so touched by how your kids and others reached out to you in your pain, how the SDC kids brought you love and light, and how the amazing ‘young’ counselor spoke such powerful words of truth to you. What precious gifts from God….given when you couldn’t help yourself. I also relate to the “Gates of Hell” analogy. I have felt that way for years….taking one step at a time through quicksand trying to get out of the darkness. Severe mercy is a perfect way to describe how God works in our lives. In order to move forward we have to surrender to the pain and not fight it. Get out of the burning building. I’m getting more clarity each day about what I need to do in my current situation. Like you said about long-term transitions, it’s going to take quite a while to redefine normal for everyone involved. I need to stay focused on my choices and leave everything/everyone else to God. I like your comment about “happy horse s—t stories.” So true. I remember being at a women’s group (bible study actually) and a woman was talking about going out and celebrating her divorce. I can honestly say I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach when she said that. This was about 5 years before my divorce. I understand “knowing” that I’m doing what I need to do to move forward and heal, but celebrating?? It’s like celebrating that part of my body was cut off in a traumatic event. As you said…a severing. That’s what it feels like to me too. I’m going to do everything I can to move forward and re-learn how to live in a positive, productive way each day. I’m experiencing blessing, growth and healing in my new marriage. But there’s a pain that I know will never go away as a result of the loss I’ve experienced. It’s as much a part of me now as my heart or lungs. I co-exist with it and try to live in peace. PTSD is a part for me too. I understand your feelings re/ your ex. Recently a song came on the radio that was a song my ex had dedicated to me 25 years ago. I hadn’t heard it for so long. I immediately started sobbing. It hit me like a freight train….I didn’t see that one coming. Hard stuff but it’s ok. I accept myself for who and what I am now and all parts of me…the feel-good and the not-so-feel good. I smiled when you talked about going into your closet and talking to the Good Mother. Loving yourself and taking care of yourself in the best way you knew then. I love the Maya Angelou quote too. When I read you found two books from Melody and Alice Miller on your doorstep I felt your joy. I love getting books that I know are a connection to life and healing. I have read Melody’s books so many times and several of Alice Miller’s as well. Which ones did you get? And thank you for passing along the comment from the counselor who helped your kids when they were in high school. That person was so right and I also need to let go of my kid’s relationship with their dad…especially now that three of them are past l8. I have to trust that they NEED to gain the relationship skills themselves…not have me shoving it down their throat because I’m trying to protect them. Hard work for me to do but very good. As I write this I’m grateful for all the growth and healing you and I have both experienced through years of pain….looking back over the desert and the years the locusts have eaten….as you so beautifully stated it. Breathe. Enjoy the strength of who we are now. Know that we are enough in this moment and we will always be enough. Keep loving ourselves. Keep living in the mystery and letting go. Many reasons to celebrate as we walk the path toward the light. Thanks again for taking the time to write….even ‘unedited’…you make perfect sense to me. And thanks for taking time to ‘listen’ to my writing. The way I feel about you and Melody and the other women who comment here is that although we’ve never met in person, I consider you dear friends who have helped me and been angels of healing in my life. Such rich and beautiful gifts. I will continue to love and care for my 8 and 47-year-old selves. You do the same….one breath at a time. :) Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, Good to hear from you. Before I forget the books I got were: The Truth Will Set You Free, Alice Miller, and Melody’s books, Choices and The New Codependency. I have had similar experiences as you spoke of with the woman celebrating her divorce. My belief when I hear comments like this is that we can only grieve what we consider a loss. I think we grieve to the same degree we love. No judgement in either direction, but I think it shows how differently we can experience what we think is the same thing. I am having a tough time today. Went to work and walked around in circles and got almost nothing accomplished. I’m on overload. I called my brother on my lunch and cried about the woman at Starbucks in front of me who told the cashier to pay for whatever I was getting( to begin with). This drop of kindness felt like the ocean washing over me. Then while I am waiting for my drink I’m standing next to a young woman who appears to be about 5 months pregnant, a gal comes around from behind the counter and tells her how great she is looking in her pregnancy, to which she answers, Oh I guess you didn’t hear we lost our daughter, I was hospitalized for 2 weeks and nearly died also. The gal said no I didn’t know, then walks a away. I am standing 3 feet from her and I said I am so sorry you lost your baby, then the tears start and I couldn’t stop them. My brother asks me if I have heard from our other brother I say no and he tells me no one has heard form him in 3 days. He goes to make mom’s fire in the morning and she tell him to get the f out, so he leaves with out making the fire and says I don’t know where the line is when I’m dealing with someone who can’t take care of them self? I said I don’t either and I honest to God do not know. I feel like an absolute basket case right now. I need to have some chamomille tea and lay down and breath. I’ll write back tomorrow. Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I’m very sorry you had such a difficult day. I know how that feels….emotional overload. Having a cup of tea and breathing is a very good idea. That’s the way I’ve taken care of myself many, many times. This is a hard, painful world. It’s very easy to bump up against and absorb overwhelming amounts of pain….like in Starbucks and the woman who lost her baby. Then we have to retreat and nurture ourselves as much as possible. We can only control what we can control and do what we can do. Let go as much as possible. I’m grateful you experienced the kindness of a stranger in the midst of it all. Thanks for sharing. Don’t feel like you have to write any time soon. The important thing is that you love yourself and take the time you need to find peace. I’m sending you positive thoughts and love…. Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, Thank you for the positive thoughts and love. Today was much better. I am in a state of exhaustion and I need to stop pushing myself. Yesterday’s melt down reminded me, that as you said, we can only do what we can do and control well….. for me, on a good day, just myself. Chamomille tea really works for me. It helped me to calm down enough to go to sleep which was the difference between the hope and despair my brother spoke of. The Thursday AM shift where I work are the KINDEST human beings. I can just BE with these women, which felt like a gift sent from heaven, especially today. Got me thinking about Melody’s blog Practice What I Preach? This is what I need to DO and need to KEEP doing. It’s been on my mind that I wrote in an earlier post; all the people, places and things that help me to feel my life is manageable are falling apart. This tells me too much of my peace of mind is hinged on these aspects of my life. Looks like letting go of predictable or familiar outcomes all around me and leaning into the unknown instead of resisting, is what I need to be practicing for myself right now… with gentleness and love. I don’t know about you but I can truly be my own worst enemy sometimes. I hammer away at myself, obsess, and work harder at doing more of what isn’t working instead of Letting Go. I’m glad Melody spoke of the contrast between fierce independence and codependence because I needed the reminder and picture this gives me. I feel like I’m walking around with nitro glycerin inside me, and realized it’s another layer…. the grief of my mother’s imminent passing, the holiday season, the uncertainty with my job, fighting to not feel responsible but be there for my brothers and sister, are all the feelings of normal concern, and the triggers of old stuff all mixed up in the same pot. I’m telling myself if it’s coming up it needs to be dealt with. The young woman that spoke about losing her baby kind of freaked me out because she was smiling from ear to ear…. she was in shock, I could see so plainly the disconnect. I recalled doing the same thing. Talking about something horrific, laughing and saying oh well that’s life. I had no idea I even did this until my counselor ( 20 years ago) pointed it out. The lack of affect and congruence between what I was talking about and the normal expression of what this really meant. I am so grateful for your response’s, kindness and validation of what is and the solutions that I so need to hear over and over again. Thank you. I want to say that I really understand how a song, a meal, a tradition, routines we no longer have, routines we now have minus the person we had them with for many years, these and so many seemingly insignificant daily things done for so many years can with out warning bring us to tears or our knees when we least expect it. It is distressing when we are just going along doing our life and then bam what I call a tidal wave of grief hits out of the blue. I read a book titled: A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken, in the first year of my divorce. The wisdom of this brave man to write while in the throes of deepest grief, with such real and raw integrity of what he was experiencing have stayed with me and served as compass to guide me through my own grieving. Specifically he brought to light that with each” first” time he did anything what so ever with out his wife he was gripped by the intense painful realization of her absence. With time he realized each subsequent experience didn’t carry the crushing sense of intolerable pain. When you said your experience in the Bible study group was 5 years before your divorce it rang a bell with me Karin. I was heavily grieving the loss of my marriage for years before the divorce actually happened. Which I have read is common for women to do, while men tend to do this after the fact. With the last shreds of defensive hope disintegrating during this time, I felt like I was too. I remember wishing my husband would magically become infused with the courage and honor to say, we aren’t working, this marriage isn’t working, I don’t have what it takes to make it work so I want us to part without any further pain for either of us…. I will be fair…. followed by how he would fair. I hoped he would do in the end what he had been incapable of doing for the 25 years before it. I finally grasped this was not going to happen. I finally grasped that I would continue to spiral downward as became frighteningly evident when I considering shooting him as though I was making a grocery list. So I Ieft the home even though I did not want to. He ended up accidently burning it down 8 years later with all the pictures I had taken of our children throughout their lives that he would not allow me to have when I left. It has been a long painful and exhilarating full circle journey back to the person I was born to be. Like you I have been through things a child should never experience, then as an adult went through more of the same, in the name of the child who didn’t know she was no longer trapped. Like Melody said we go through 30 years of turmoil, then spend 10 years to learn how to make different choices. When we become consciously conscious I have found, pain is still pain, not knowing is still not knowing, trials obstacles and transitions can still take my breath away…. but I am no longer frozen in helplessness or paralyzed with fear and low self esteem calling the shots. We can at least know we are on overload and that God provides a way as He has for me with this site, being able to correspond with an American icon,and personal hero, what are the chances of this!?, to making a new friend in you, and being able to hear how how others are working through the challenges in their lives to also hearing the aha’s and victory when the light goes on or the trial shows it self to be a stepping stone on the path to a richer fuller life. I fully plan on riding my own Harley down the roads I want to travel in the company of people I choose to travel with. There is something liberating about doing this on my own, knowing I can, not from a sense of fierce independence, but from a desire to experience independence as possible and one of many options. And for no other reason than it’s just a lot of fun! The raining is beating down where iI live right now and I’m looking at my picture of Jillian on her scooter thinking the sun will shine again of course, and when it does hopefully I will feel it while the wind clears out my head riding somewhere I’ve never been before. Know my positive thoughts and prayers are with you my friend and all who come here to find hope and know they are not alone. I’m thinking you (Melody) are busy writing what’s God will is showing you is next as this journey of healing evolves for us all. Peace and Love to you Karin.

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I’m very glad to hear yesterday was a better day for you. When we’ve been in recovery as long as we have, we know our emotional status will shift eventually….it’s just impossible to know when. It’s a great relief when it happens sooner than later. A good night of sleep is often the answer I need too. Amazing how my perspective can be vastly different in the morning….a precious gift from God. I’m very grateful you have kind women to BE with on your job. What a difference that makes in life too. And the reverse can make any given day a battlefield. Like you, because I’ve lived through so many years of emotional battles with unkind, cruel and narcissistic people, I am very quick to feel gratitude when I am treated kindly by anyone. In fact, last night I checked into a hotel and the man at the front desk was very kind and courteous. I found myself thinking several times….’wow, it feels so good to be treated so nicely by a man’. And I was checking in with my husband, who also treats me with great kindness every day. Any little act of kindness washes over my heart and soul like a balm. We are such a compilation of every word, emotion and experience we’ve ever absorbed. And the toxicity of abuse takes a long, long time to fade. In fact I’d say I’m still surprised on some level when a man treats me with respect and kindness because there’s still a place in me that believes what I was told as a child….that I’m unworthy of love, stupid, ugly. I’m grateful you received gifts of kindness and love to help you return to a place of peace after an emotionally difficult day. Like you said, when all the predictable, familiar aspects of our life are shifting and morphing into different patterns, it’s like standing on an earthquake zone and everything in us wants to reach out and cling to something that feels solid. But we have to let the earthquake happen and find our equilibrium in our own ability to stand as the ground shifts. Not that we can’t gain comfort from sources God brings, like the women in your life, but clinging to them is a whole different story. I’m in the midst of creating a whole new normal with my kids and my ex and it’s very difficult. I feel like I’m living in a no man’s land, can’t go backwards, not sure where to place my feet in order to move forward without getting more pain. So, like you, I’m doing a lot of breathing and focusing on letting go. Trusting that God will show me each step and bring the healthy independence I so want and need. I am so afraid of going back to the land of codependence but I also know that to shift to the other extreme, the land of fierce independence, will shut down my heart. And Yes, I can definitely be my own worst critic. I frequently feel like I have to be the one saving everyone else/making everyone ok or I’m a bad person. I have to continually face down those lies. I relate to you re/ your situation with your siblings. You want to be there for them but you can’t own their struggles/pain. Like you said, just being responsible for your own life is more than enough on any given day. That’s the way I feel too. I have been the strength and emotional support for so many people in my life, and one by one God has shown me that I have to detach from that role, not just for my healing but for the other people as well. I will not be able to be the woman He created me to be if I continue in that role, nor will the other people be able to become who they need to be if I stay in that role. Many, many moments of detaching every day. For me it’s like an addiction. I have to find my significance and emotional center inside myself instead of controlling/clinging to outer events to make me feel ok. Hard, conscious work to do every day but life-giving at the same time. I appreciate your comment about grieving my divorce before it happened. Yes, I know this was my reality. I know I “saw” it coming on a subconscious level years before it happened. Like you, I also hoped beyond hope that my ex would somehow become a selfless, honorable person and end it with grace and generosity. Make the pain as painless as possible. I fantasized about how easy it would be if he would die. Not healthy, not where I wanted to be living, yet that was the truth for me too. Now that I’ve lived beyond the divorce, I look back and can’t believe how long I lived in that mindset. Survival is a powerful motivation. Like you, I sat in front of a counselor and greatly minimized the effect of my emotional reality at the time. The survival mode overrode any sense of reality. It’s been 12 years for me since I started becoming conscious (when I found Codependent No More in a used book store). Each day I still feel like I’m waking up little by little. More light, less fog and obscurity. God’s severe mercy (perfect description…and I will look for that book) continues to lead me forward….one breath at a time….pain leading to healing. Thank you for your kindness, friendship and prayers. Your words and commitment to walking a path of healing inspire and help me. I know God knows that I need it right now…and I’m grateful for His gifts. I am praying for you as you walk through difficult emotions and very challenging growth opportunities each day. We both need to have the same focus right now….caring for, loving, nurturing ourselves, letting go of all that we can’t control (which is 99.9% of it in my opinion) and trusting that each step will be revealed as we need to take it. Celebrating all the many, many miracles that have brought us this far. The beauty of who we are and the beauty of the world around us. Celebrating the beauty we hope for in our future….like riding our Harley down the road. :) I like to think of it as a beautiful flower unfolding in perfect timing and we are the flowers. Thanks again for taking the time to write….and to Melody for creating a safe space for healing and connection for so many people who need healing. Grace and blessings to you…. Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, I read something in “The Truth Will Set You Free” Alice Miller, last night that I am finding is a helpful and needed reminder right now. ‘”Only when the parents give up their bid for power can the child’s distress find a voice. We will not get very far if we try to escape the truth we are carrying with in us. The denied truth will be with us where ever we flee. It will cause us pain, prompt us to do things we regret, increase our confusion, and weaken our self confidence. But if we face up to it, we have a chance of finally recognizing what happened, what didn’t happen, and what has forced us to end up living our lives in opposition to our most profound needs.” What I did after an abusive event as a child was to re-frame what happened through the voice of the Good Mother in my own mind. Something in me knew what was done to me was very WRONG, knew it was a very sick, cruel, completely unnecessary way of “Teaching” me by doing something TO ME I in NO way deserved or would learn anything good from. I had a very powerful dream in the early years of working with my dear counselor. It was this: I was a child sitting in a chair in the audience of a theater. There were people on the stage making the props and backdrops and coming and going all around me. My mother and her sister where sitting, one next to me, the other in front of me facing me. No one else was in the audience seats but us. They were telling me to apologize for being bad and the reasons why I was. I felt the truth inside of me as a light, but it was hidden from them, they couldn’t see it and this made me feel very secure. With in myself, not to them, in my mind, I said to myself ” You can never take this away from me.” I knew they couldn’t and that they knew they couldn’t either. Their threats designed to MAKE ME tell them I misunderstood and that they were right and I was wrong wouldn’t work and THIS intimidated them and brought up their anger, which they then projected on me. The light inside of me was blue and I knew it could in no way be extinguished or taken from me. I realized from this dream that I had survived with the truth in tact within me. The people in the theater were all those who through their own fear and unconsciousness supported the LIES, and were participants by “staging” the props and backdrops to aid in making things look like something they were not. They were were helping to create the story that each for their own reasons they needed to see and wanted to believe. Because I had a safe person, an enlightened witness through this courageous woman counselor, I could tell the truth and it was finally heard and validated for the truth it had always been. The meaning of Abuse is: The improper usage or treatment of something for a bad cause. What I want to say to you Karin and all who have been abused is; we can refute the bid for power of the voice in our head, be that the voice of a parent or whom ever it was in your life who told you in word and deed what ever lie they told you about YOU. You KARIN are NOT ugly stupid or unworthy of love nor is anyone else who has ever been told such horrible cruel lies. I have of course never seen you but I what I have seen is a beautiful shining spirit in the words you write because that is who you are. I have read the words of a highly intelligent thoughtful insightful compassionate human being. This is the truth. There is a song that just came on the radio as I am writing this…. I never ceased to be amazed by God…. speaking in agreement with me as I write. It is: Tell me Who I Am to you. This is what the beautiful innocent child is born asking isn’t it? Who Am I To You, Dad and Mom or whoever is the care giver in our life. I have heard much talk throughout my life about who or what satan is. But to me it is simple. The Bible tells me he is the Father of lies. That says it all to me. I don’t need any other explanation. Don’t want to go all theological here or ever, but it helps me to assign language that can redirect my thinking back to the truth. My battle isn’t against flesh and blood. It is FOR life, truth, love and all that will emphasize hope and bring this light into my life and the lives of those I love. How insightful that Melody used the word LANGUAGE of letting go. She must have known how the language of what she had been told didn’t allow her to let go of the lies. She knew a new language must replace the old, she had to. Lies will destroy us if we don’t as you said so correctly Karin face them down. Not in argument, not with resistance, but with truth, by saying; I consciously replace this lie with truth. Over and over again until there is no more battling because we walk away from the battle field. We become members in a Family of “fellow struggler’s” ( a term used in the book; Ragamuffin Gospel, another profound book) that uses the powerful tools of truth to acknowledge, encourage and celebrate all that is life giving. Last night at work, a young man came in and asked me if would buy some cheesy foil pictures in a beat up binder he was carrying from place to place. I asked him what is this for? He gave me some spiel about it being an educational experience meant to teach him selflessness and love for others and to help make him be a good father, husband and family member in his future. I asked how old are you? 18. Where are you from? Canada. Where is this “church” based? Los Angeles. Where do you sleep? One night in a motel, 2 in a van. Although clean, his clothes smelled sour. I told him, The cause you have been told you are working for “sounds” good. But what worries me is this. In order for you to know and give love you must be first be treated with, shown and given love. You deserve to be in a warm motel room with a shower, good food and safety, number one. Being asked to sacrifice those things you NEED to prove anything is against what love does and is. I feel concern for you and therefore will not support anything that I understand is not respecting and treating you in ways that you deserve and are worthy of. Then his phone rings and I can hear the voice of the person on the other side asking him, how things are? He uses “code” words to the effect that, internally all is well but externally not so much. I reiterated my message as I looked directly into his eyes which I could see caused him to feel nervous. I feel these are the things I can do when they show up. I can speak what I know to be true for myself and others. I asked him who the leader of his church was, The late Reverend Moon was his answer. All the answer I needed. I asked God for this young man to hear the truth until he can hear it for what it is. Shortly after this a woman I met 3 years ago who was a customer and donor, showed up shortly before I was going to leave and asked if I would like to get some dinner with her. All was clear for me to do so and so I said yes. She is an anesthesiologist who on her way to work a year and a half ago was broadsided by a city bus. She has had to retire because she is dealing with and living in chronic pain. She was just 50 when this happened. The other interesting thing I need to add is that I had just been thinking about her the day before, Hmmm I wonder where … is and why I haven’t seen her? This has happened to me at least 6 times in the past couple weeks. I wonder or think about a person and they call or show up. Anyway we ate and talked and laughed our selves silly. We talked about how crazy and mysterious our lives were. How different they were from what we thought they should or would be. We talked about the things that felt hard painful and unfair to us, about our struggles to gain our equilibrium in the midst of it, we laughed at the ways we tried to do so, and acknowledged that this is what we do as we walk the road of life with all it’s twists and turns and unknowns. We do the best we can. What I could hear with in each of us as we spoke was Grace and Mercy for who we were and what we were dealing with. Being able to laugh at ourselves felt good. We were letting our selves off the hook for doing what human beings do when they don’t know what to do, but are sincerely trying to do the right thing. She invited me to some groups she goes to where people network and talk about their struggles in the work force and who knows maybe find a different line of work they may find they want to do. She asked if I had a back up plan if I am not re-hired and I said yep I have plans B, C, and D lined up so far…. but E, F and G wouldn’t hurt. I also recently spoke to my son, actually sent him an e-mail first about something I needed to say. He asked me not to do this because it stresses him out. Yet more of the ongoing transitions through the constantly evolving issues of life. We talked about the issues I brought forward and it wasn’t easy. In fact it was some really tough stuff I had been struggling with, to bring up or not to and finally knew I had to. It will be an on going conversation but I am grateful we can have it. Awareness for right now. My place/home is a pig sty. I have been in survival mode since returning from my leave of absence, July 24th. I haven’t been able to do anything to clean or organize except to do the dishes. I have gone through piles then ended up putting them back. This is what overload does to me. I have allowed myself to let it be and to not beat myself up. I have rested and I have asked myself what are the priorities? Go to work, come home eat, sleep and get through the day, with one day a week is dedicated to my grandson. Sometimes the stuff on the periphery can be a distraction to the inner work that is going on in within us, which can be so grueling and completely exhausting. I am continuing to learn I can’t have or do it all, so I must determine what the priorities are. A dear man who is a family friend told me a few days ago I want you to go on-line and find a UV light box, send the info to me so that I can have this sent to you. I said no way, this cost too much, I can’t let you do this. He said, your economy and mine are not the same, let me know when you have found the one you want. I didn’t so he sent me links to 6 different sites and said let me know which one? Fierce independence? I found myself questioning, by not allowing someone to do me a kindness because they wanted to? I looked at the links last night, chose one and sent it to him, thanked him and told him was an earth angel, which he is. Life keeps showing me people care, from a stranger in Starbucks buying my drink, to a friend willing to spend quite a lot to help me with my sanity( I get Seasonal Affective but don’t want to take meds for it) to sharing a meal with a new friend reaching out for my friendship as well. It can be a challenge to walk that fine line Melody spoke of, but I am finding what I need shows up when I need it. I hope those I reach out to in the ways I can, will see the same. So after I get done writing back to you I am going to start cleaning up this chaos I have been mired in for 4 months now. And I don’t feel like beating myself up for letting it happen, I feel like congratulating myself for getting through and surviving what I was in front of me, so that I can do it now. Progress not perfection. The toxicity of abuse does take a long time to fade away Karin. I heard it described once as; we surge forward, plateau, then dip back into another layer. I have found this to be true for myself. I have times and seasons of peace, lightness and strength and while I am in them I think wow growth healing and joy are really mine. Like childbirth I remember it was bad or unpleasant but I can’t feel it. You will find these kinds of days and months and seasons will be the gifts of walking through and facing down the pain and confusion that you are working through now. A crumb of kindness can feel like winning the lottery, I know it has for me. In the first year of my divorce I was a total basket case. I had rear ended someone, a light tap actually, got a speeding ticket and then got pulled over for speeding again and expired tags. I sat there and bawled like a baby. The officer was a human being who listened as I went on about I know I deserved this of course, and how I was a wreck and probably shouldn’t have license right now, to I’m going through a divorce and on and on I went. He listened then gently touched my arm and said I am sorry you are going through this, I am letting you off with a warning. Get your registration taken care of and drive the speed limit. You will be okay and I want to tell you deserve better for your life. When I got to my friends house I told her what happened and then said jokingly that I wanted to call the officer and ask him if he would marry me. It was my first realization that a man outside of my family and friends, could really be kind. It was the first of many such awareness’s like it. I had a man in my life who was as you expressed your new husband is, a gift from God. He was kind to the marrow of his bones, did exactly as he said he would do and treated me with absolute respect. I told him you have given me the gift of being able to trust life and myself again. This allowed me to fully understand what certain men did was not about all men. But until I experienced this I couldn’t know it was really true or possible. I am glad you have been offered and accepted the opportunity to learn what this is in the husband you have now. So I need to start sorting through my piles ugghhhh and yeah! May we all allow ourselves to both give and receive the love that God wants to show us does exist and is here for us today. Take Good Care. Sending loving thoughts and prayers your way. Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I’m very glad you’re of a mind to congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come instead of being down on yourself for not doing what you “should” have done. I’m trying to cultivate that mindset every day too. Like you said re/ the dream you had, I’ve been impressed for so much of my life that I’m a bad person and I “should” be/do differently. It truly is facing down lies and embracing the truth on a very frequent basis that we ARE and always will BE precious and worthy of love, no matter what we DO. I’ve had to work really hard to get away from a performance based mentality that says I matter and I am valuable because of what I DO. Like that young man you met who was supposed to sell cheesy paintings in order to prove something. How very sad. I’m glad you were able to speak the truth to him. Good for you for shining the light of truth in his darkness. Living in a performance-based mindset where we believe that what we do defines our worth is such a pit of darkness. I started believing it so young that it’s been years of slowly gaining awareness that there’s another way to live. I still have to face down the lies every day that I should “DO” something….especially something that makes someone else happy, not me….in order to be valuable. Thank you for your kind affirmations and positive encouragement. I appreciate your insights. It’s so amazing how people around us can easily see/perceive the truth when we struggle to get a grip on it. It wasn’t until 2006 that I really started to see through the fog of what the abuse had done to me in my childhood. I had mostly been numb until then. I had based all my decisions on lies and the desires of others who only wanted me to be what they wanted. I still have a hard time answering the question “what do I want” because I was so paralyzed by pleasing other people since I was little. I know how it feels to just do the survival things….for me it’s been so many years that I’ve cared for and protected my kids that I’m really seeking every day to figure out how to let them go and connect to who I am and what I want today. It’s going to be my daily path for the rest of my life. My husband is a confident person who has lived his life in many ways without making ‘people pleasing’ his first goal and it’s a very good thing for me to be with him. He encourages me to really pursue the path that I want. Like your reference to Alice Miller, we have to face the false powers that have ruled us for so many years and claim our power to live our lives in light and truth. I’m so glad you had that wonderful dream that impressed you so strongly that you have/had the light shining powerfully within you….even in the years where others tried to extinguish it. I feel the same way about how the light has been shining for me all through the years….like a lighthouse in the darkness. I’m so glad you experienced the kindness of a man in your encounter with the police officer. I laughed out loud when you said you wanted to marry him. I wish you strength and clarity as you seek to clean and organize your home. It’s an excellent goal but I also know it’s really challenging because of all the decisions that need to be made. That’s hard emotional/mental work when you don’t have much reserves. Make sure you include lots of little ‘joy breaks’ to encourage yourself and love yourself in the process. Thanks for writing and sharing more of your life with me. I am blessed by your friendship. I hope you can celebrate the beauty in your life today and nurture yourself through the hard parts. That’s my goal today too. Peace and blessings to you, Karin

    • Denise says:

      Hi Karin, Gosh that mindset of being a “bad person” is so inhuman when I see it for what it is. One thing I have learned is those who think or worry about being bad aren’t. It is when we don’t know, care or question if we are or aren’t (narcissist) that we’re probably pretty far afield of it. My mother had an index card on a bulletin board while I was growing up that said: You have every right to your own opinion, as long as it agrees with mine”. My father put up a poster of Desiderata. The contrast is what I both lived with and saw written in black and white. We are human and capable of the full range of emotions that human beings have. When I am not acting in accordance with my God given humanity I become inhumane to myself and others is the conclusion I have come to. I went from NEVER saying no to saying I don’t know for a couple years. I literally LOVED saying this.” I don’t know” almost became my standard answer before the person was finished asking. I went from one extreme to the other, but it was necessary. When someone would say what do you mean you don’t know? because I had asked a question about what ever it was I didn’t know. I would say: Do you speak Russian? They would say no. I would say what do you mean you don’t know how to ? To which I would follow it up, I retired my crystal ball last year, it seems perhaps you have to. This just infuriated me and still does actually. And it is the absolute worst to feel compelled to have to BE anything to be loved and accepted. I hate this. And I think hate rightfully applies here. This is where I become internally unglued when I see/hear children being shamed. My dearest most precious ex-sister in law once told me she had the s–t shamed into her. I thought that was a good expression of what gets done to children all too often. I have heard it takes 4 positive statements to neutralize one negative statement. No we’re not bad, but we have been given bad info.I think the years of saying I don’t know brought me back to an even keel place of being able to revel in and see that my natural curiosity was my ticket into finding out about this great big incredibly interesting world I live in. I expended the lion’s share of my energy protecting my kids from my mother, their father and far too many others I wanted and needed to trust. My son asked me about 6 months ago Were you ever afraid of what dad might do? Then he laughed. His father thought our kids were stunt children. I knew I could not trust him to not put them in harms way. He would say now: see they survived just fine. Off the point, but just the same there were too many people who were unsafe and I needed to protect them from what I knew could happen, from what I knew did happen to me, and add to it all that I feared might. We did the absolute best we could Karin. It has taken me some work to let myself off the hook here. My children have thanked me profusely for what only life experience has shown them I did and was trying to do. Yours will to if they already haven’t. It seems like you are dealing with some really good and really tough life transitions all at the same time . What I hear is that you are staying with what all of it is and means to you. You are being present. And after only being able to be in a mode of finding protection and shelter from the way life was, it is a lot of work to come out of the bomb shelter and believe it really is safe out here. I did get some cleaning done and said good job self your’e getting there one step at a time. Progress not perfection. With Loving thoughts and Thanks for your friendship, Denise

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Hi to both Denise, Karin, and any others lucky enough to be reading their raw, honest posts here. I don’t know how much more I can read today (on a time level), but it’s important to me to read every single post on these sites and to hear — and to listen — to each of you. I have so many thoughts, but there are two that jump out at me. One is my response to your post, Denise, about how Life (and I capalize Life because it is a Vital, Living thing — this universe we abide in and call home. And our lessons? They are so gentle that without consciousness it is easy to meet them. I see Life teaching you, changing your belief system from the inside out about men, how they can be, how decent and kind they can be, by the series of incidents you had. And by experiencing these situations — or these kind men — an old belief washed away and became replaced by a Truth you discovered — by being present for Life and its lessons. So often, I don’t have a clue what I’m learning until the old, stuck grief explodes in hurt, tears, or both (and more) — triggered by an incident Life put in my path. Then, like an introductory course in college, I begin the next courses. Meeting people, a series of incidents. Slowly, the lie disintegrates, falls to the ground like dust, and like a glistening crystal, I discover a new Truth. No, I know what the truth is, because this knowing has been hidden under the lies I had to cling to in order to survive. And that is growth — the process, how it happens. We aren’t blades of grass, or even flowers. We are this mysterious miracle of Life in a body on this planet, and we do growth and change and Denise, your above email described the process exactly and precisely. But how often we don’t see the holiness because we don’t get handed a Degree — at least not one we can see. Please, don’t ever discount how sacred every moment in your life is — including getting stopped by that policeman who listened, treated you with decency and kindness (when he could have done otherwise), and probably had no idea that he was/is part of this mysterious Life that is so alive, and so lovingly guides us Home to our true selves and the truth. On another level entirely, I figure by the time I truly graduate, I’ll be about 93 and it’l be time to transition. But — at least it has been an interesting and rich journey, shared by my true family — each of you. Karin, to you I want to say, after reading your posts — one of the greatest gifts and truths I discovered is when I became truly freed to speak — not say what others wanted to hear, or what I tought would please them, but to open my mouth and say what I wanted to say. The Freedom of True Creative Expression of who I am in my relationships. So hard at first, to even say no, yet a journey that leads to the ability and fredom to say what we have to say, without blocks or barriers. That doesn’t mean we always blurt out everything on our mind. I’ve also learned the gift of being able to clamp my hand over my mouth and say nothing — as that has been a lesson too, and an important one. But when I do it now (quiet myself), I do it from a place of freedom of choice — my choice — for reasons I know are valid to me. God, I love being free to be me because it took so damn much work to keep myself hidden to survive all those dark, miserable childhoodyears. When I was 11, I wrote out a huge calendar — every day I had to live through until I turned 18 and could walk out the door of that prison I called home. Each night, I crossed off one day. X. X. X. It taught me patience, more than I wanted to learn. X X. X. And then, one day, the last X and I walked out the door, vowing never to return. And I didn’t — until my mother suffered from dementia and others began abusing her, and I had to intervene on her behalf not out of obligation but out of a sense of compassion and being led and I shall never regret what I did. A circle that had forever been broken became healed. I was then free to choose who I wanted to love and how — because that choice is only one person’s business: mine. Another freedom. In harmony, may we all — by honoring ourselves — work together not out of control, or trying to hard, but by gentle guidance, to be One with all that is as we begin a New Year — a New Day — a new life. Thanks for being — each of your – and thanks for being here. In the words of MacArthur — I shall return, but when I have time to give full attention to each post and respond in kind. On behalf of everyone who has hurt each of you, I apologize. You did not deserve it. Ever. And not that you need it, but I give each of you permission to be who you are, fully and in the Light — and with only a few simple rules: no physical harm to others; none to yourselves; and no allowing others to harm you. Blessings and my best, Melody

  • Melody Beattie says:

    Hi Denise. Just readnig your post about making the decision to withdraw from your mother. We are so sensitized when we grieve — like one big open raw mass of nerve endings that absorb whatever’s in the vicinity. That’s why it’s so important to respect ourselves — what we need, who we feel safe being around, and most importantly — who we don’t feel safe being around. Never, at any point in our lives — is it as important to respect our deepest wishes as when we’re grieving. It’s almost like we have no choice in the matter. I know there are people who became angry with me for BS things after my son’s death — people who didn’t have the vaguest idea of what I was experiencing. And in reference to a post here where either you or Karin said you cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child — I don’t think anyone should imagine it if they don’t have to. It’s one of those horrors that shouldn’t be experienced at all, much less if it isn’t necessary. I also don’t mean to valiently say “I think my son died so I could learn about grief.” He died because his full life span was 12 years on this earth. I will never be happy about it or grateful for it. I will miss him until the day we’re reunited. It’s one of those mysteries I am putting in my “to deal with on the other side” book when I can have an in-person conversation with HP (or understand because I see things differently then). But after his death I became acutely aware of the lack of truly helpful material about grief and developed an even stronger respect for the Jewish religion (although I respect all religions and find beauty in each). I’ve even snuck into Catholic churches for communion when I’m not Catholic because the ritual there is so inherently beautiful. And rituals help me through my grief. They are there, stable, defined, and made powerful by the number of peole who have imbued them with positive energy. I’m sorry you have to work with mean people; I still have a problem with meanness. Before my son’s death, I lived in my intellect — my head — a lot. I had learned at a young age how to disconect from my emotions and “leave my body.” The first time, when I was abducted off the streets by a stranger at age 4. It became a way of live until recovery began and slowly I learned how to live in my skin and even more slowly, learned to feel good being there. Now, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Feeling our emotions is like learning a new language. In the beginning it seems overwhelmingly difficult, but we become — the more we practice — emotionally fluent. What used to take hours to process can be reduced to something we can deal with in minutes — and many times seconds. It just plain becomes easier to let the energy flow through us, to connect with the original trigger, and release the energy to wherever used up emotions go. Where do they go anyway? Maybe that’s what’s in the black holes. Best, Melody

    • Denise says:

      Thank you for your words of encouragement Melody. Spent too many years telling myself I wasn’t really feeling nor had any right to feel, what I actually was. My mind and body won’t allow this anymore. Sorry to hear about the botched surgery. I actually got out of a dentist chair one time because the thought of this guy putting his hands the size of Texas in my mouth un-nerved me to the point of hurling. Seriously this guy looked like he should have been playing for an NFL team. And he said something to the effect of, I needed to get over it. No… not on that day I thought or any other was I getting over anything that I had the option not to. I apologized and told him I wasn’t up to getting this done( didn’t say BY YOU) and needed to go.. I went back to my regular Dentist, told him what I did, and asked him if he would send his wife to this guy? He hesitantly said yes. I asked for a new referral to another oral surgeon. This was in my early recovery. Then I went through the – I am such an idiot, everyone probably thinks I’m over reacting and acting like a baby, why am I this way, what’s wrong with me, stuff after wards. But the withdrawal from all of the” get over it” brain washing takes practice and perfect or not, doing it is what matters. I just hope all goes the best it possibly can with the Doc’s fixing you up. I have been as my dad used to say nuttier than a fruitcake. Another roller coaster day, with yet another experience with a young gal today at Starbucks. I may need to start calling it ” the place where a wake up call takes on a new meaning!” I was on the verge of tears again, feeling ticked off about having an “unbiased” interview for the job I’ve done for 7 1/2 yrs ( did it for 2 1/2 yrs at another location for the same organization) and blah blah just all the stuff I feel freaked out or ticked off about. This beautiful ray of sunshine I really mean this, one of those people who if you didn’t know better you would swear they were an angel, young gal says: I hope you have a better day. Well I hadn’t said anything… outwardly, she just saw the look on my face. I said I would like to have a better life… She said I will pray for this for you. I said are you a christian? She said yes and I also belong to another fellowship. I said me too. She then said I would never have believed my life could be all that it is today, I will celebrate my 3rd birthday on Monday, there is hope for all of us. I told her congratulations. She said you look like you could use a hug, would it be okay if I gave you one? And you know what I did need a hug and I said okay, as more tears fell out of my eyes. And I felt better. She told me her name was Divina and I said sounds like the exact right name for you. I left with my coffee and said Thank You God for showing me the divinity that can and does exists anywhere, anytime, but especially when we need it most and can’t get out of our own way enough to find it. I went back to work and was actually able TO work after this, instead of huffing and puffing around. Meanness is so unecessary, dah, but it never fails to leave me feeling like I’ve been hit with a dart. My supervisor bakes cookies, brings gift boxes that rival a Martha Stewart creation, dresses like million bucks and knows her stuff. If you ask a question she tells you who knows how to do it and why you should too. Her standard answer to almost any problem/question is: we all work hard that’s life….. I learned I best not under any circumstances ask her anything. I will go to ANY length not to call her. She is meanness wrapped up in a pretty package. She had half her colon taken out year before last and came back to work ASAP. I like my colon right where it is, so if losing this job means, my stomach won’t hurt anymore and my BP will return to the normal range, then Thank You God for doing for me what my stubbornness can’t seem to allow me to. BTW I think socks are in the black holes as well as used up emotions. Things that don’t want to get walked on anymore… bad analogy! My mother called to night and sounded calm. Maybe I can go see her now. Just knew I HAD to take care of myself. The other blessing with age I have found is we finally know we can’t do it all, our body puts on the breaks, at least I have found this to be true, I don’t have the bounce back ability my younger self did. And I am truly grateful for this, I know the penalty for abusing my self and these days it isn’t one I find any merit in. If my adrenalin is going to get pumped up it’s going to be doing something fun. I did a tandem sky dive with my son although we had to go in separate planes, small ones and I thought now this is living! The instructor and the guy filming kept asking how ya doing I kept saying great. Aren’t you afraid? I thought no I was raised by fear, this is living. And it was as if I had been waiting to do this all my life, it felt like all the flying dreams I had ever had came true, just magnificent. The Harley’s next, been para-sailing lots as we had our own for years.It seems life after 50 is what all the rest prepared me for…to be able to really enjoy instead of endure life. Anyway good to hear from you Melody. Glad your’e back with us. Hope your’e feeling better ASAP. Denise

  • Melody Beattie says:

    Hi Denise. When you talk about the healing/grieving/growing process being messy and awkward and watching Bruce Almighty, it brings home something I need to continuously remember. Sometimes I work so hard to not melt down, to not have a temper tantrum, to not give in to my baser emotions by “feeling them” — when all along it is exactly what I need to do. Watching Bruce Almighty reminds me that it’s not what we learn in our heads, it’s what we learn by going through messy experiences, that creates growth. Our language doesn’t even have a word for it, but the Tibetans do — it’s called Jnana — learning gained through experiences instead of through books or school. All learning has valuable but to me the Jnana in life is that which is truly sacred and creates the spiritual growth I crave. To go through an entire experience, beginning with the call to adventure, and then proceed to cross the point of no return into the heart of it, and then come out all dirty and messy on the other side? It’s what life is all about, and it’s what ultimately gets us to open our hearts. That and dogs and children. Best, Melody

    • Denise says:

      Dogs and children, are the best people! Hearts wide open telling the truth all the way! May I be worthy of the trust and love they have in and give to me.

  • Melody Beattie says:

    What amazes me constantly is how when we’re 20, 50 seems so old — until we get there. When I turned 50 is when I began studying martial arts, mountain climbing, skydiving and opened to more fun than I’d had in a long time. I know many strong women (and men) who got motorcycles to celebrate the half-century mark (or some other milestone). I think to keep living as long as we’re alive is a gift — as I spent many years going to bed each night praying I wouldn’t wake up alive the next day. That was the hardest thing about grief — I didn’t want to get through it, because it meant accepting the loss, which is the opposite of what I desired. Just saying. Melody.

  • Melody Beattie says:

    A correction to a post I made a week or so ago: in re-reading it, when I gave the statistic that five children die, I forgot to add five children die every day in our country from abuse, four of them under the age of five. That’s too many. One is too many. There’s too much information out there about it, too many little souls who don’t deserve that, to lose even one. Best, Melody

  • Melody Beattie says:

    Hi all. I’m just reading through all the comments you made while I was out of it after that botched surgery. Anyway, I’ve decided I don’t like the term “pity-party.” (I don’t mean to imply that you can’t use it here — but when I read it, it strikes me as being mean, or cruel, to ourselves to describe our grief using those words. Some slogans stick around a long time because they’re true, others stick because jargon can be easier than thinking, and using jargon can be much easier than being compassionate or empathetic. But reading these posts — which have been centered around grief lately, made me realize that my gut has always tightened when I’ve heard the words “pity party.” Best, Melody

    • Denise says:

      Me either. Smacks too much of pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, the very thing that helped to mess us up in the first place. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this, sometimes we need to have the pity on the selves that no one else did. And having a party to do it may be just what the Dr ordered! When my daughter was a teenager we had a joke between us about whining. She would say; I just wanna whine, and I would say come on over here and sit on my lap and you can whine all you want. Then she would and as she expressed her frustration about whatever was going on I would say that’s right and what about…. and add to it, then we would end up laughing our heads off. It was the best therapy! Funny thing I just wrote and sent a blog, as I’ve been doing and torturing friends and relatives with for years, basically about the different feelings I go through when something big ( to me) changes. A relative responded about how I needed to train and gain control of my mind… I really love this person but I felt totally misunderstood and my first reaction was I wanted to write back and say: sorry I can’t be as perfect as you…. but I realized the price this individual has paid for “training their mind” and instead wrote back; “There is a time for everything under heaven, sometimes your’e the windshield, sometimes your’e the bug’”. Oh well…. rather respectfully say what I need to, than endlessly obsess about it. Thanks for sharing this Melody.

  • Melody says:

    Hi all. I received a question from someone (not on my sites but through a networking organization) and she wondered how she could correlate having concrete goals and visualizing them with working a 12-Step program. I was surprised at the question, as I’ve not ever seen any conflit between the two. I started writing specific goals about two years after getting out of treatment (and getting sick of carrying them in my head and obsessing about them). So I started writing them down, and then ending my goal list with TWBD (Thy Will Be Done). I know that the 11th Step says to pray only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry us out, but I get the distinct impression that our HP is saying with equal strength to us, “What do you want — really want? What are the desires of your heart? And why do you fight them? Don’t you know that I put them there?” I believe we often get impressions of things we’d like to do because it’s a picture of what our HP wants us to have, and if we’re not ready to receive it we may not see it when it comes our way — or we may not open our arms and welcome the gift into our lives. Just some thoughts on goals. I believe in them — but I also believe in letting go of them too — instead of monitoring our progress. Goals are magical. The clearer and freer of the past we become, the more we can help create the events that take place in our life. No, we can’t control very much at all but we are all given the gift of a creative spirit, on that is to be used to help co-create our lives. (Spurred by your posts about the picture of Jillian on her motorcycle.) If we can’t see it and don’t believe it, it may not happen. But the tiniest amount of belief — enough to cut out a picture and paste it on posterboard (Faith as a mustard seed) is surely enough to move a mountain — or get a Harley. Best, Melody

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, thanks for more insights and sharing from your journey….once again very helpful for me. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve felt comfortable leaving my daughters with my ex for longer than a weekend (my youngest is almost 16). They’re strong enough and emotionally able to face him down if he does/says anything that is unsafe. I’m very proud of them for who they are now and grateful that their experience is so different than what mine was at their age….which was doing anything and everything to keep everyone around me happy (especially boys and men) for the sake of emotional survival….so much fear….with no enlightened witness. Words cannot express how grateful I am that they are safe and are who they are today. And like you said, my kids have thanked me for the choices ‘ve I made to keep them safe. I’m glad yours have too. What a tremendous blessing after all the years of battling for their well being. I am now dealing with my ex regarding Christmas and changing ‘tradition’ which I know he will not like. He hates change, chooses to live in denial. But once again I know I have to make choices that will bring about healthy change for me and my kids and not let his unhealthy thinking determine what I choose or do. Like you said, trying to staying present with the reality and make healthy choices, good and difficult at the same time. I wish he would magically become a person I could trust and not have to fight every time I want to move forward…. I have to touch base very often with the basic tenet of recovery….the only person I can control is myself. Express what I want and need and let other people make their choices. Day in and day out, let go of what I cannot control. And I really like your point about saying “I don’t know”. Thank you for that. One more way to let go and let ourselves off the hook. Accepting that we don’t have to give the answers nor do we need to base our peace on having the answer. Not knowing doesn’t have to be scary. I don’t have to have everything nailed down to feel at peace and safe. Life is unpredictable but that’s ok. The mystery will always be the atmosphere for growth. I love the ‘progress not perfection’ motto. Loving ourselves right where we are with all the exhaustion, unanswered questions, fears, joys, victories, heartbreaks, or unpleasant realities with other people. One step at a time. Every day I ponder the balance I need to have between being and doing….knowing that my history will always try to convince me I have to DO in order to have value….rather than doing being a healthy expression of who I am and doesn’t determine my value. And in the midst of it all there are the gifts from heaven….like meeting/getting to know you….and my new puppy who makes my heart fill with joy and laughter when I hold her and play with her :) . Amazing rays of light in the darkness. I wish you light and joy today…. Karin

    • Denise says:

      Hi Karin, Such a tricky and challenging time your’e going through. I think of how I felt when my kids were the ages you have spoken of, and I only had two children, I know I was still on alert and they need me to be, but in a different way. The launching time is about as stressful as when you first bring your precious ones home. We work all those years to in essence work our self out of a job that involved heart and soul. And I recall asking what now? what does this mean? and how is it suppose to look? AND your’e doing this on the heels of years of relentless selfless giving too. I recall thinking and telling myself this has to be like the last miles of a marathon. You know your’e almost to the finish line, but every muscle, sinew, and tendon seems to be screaming out…. can I rest now? What I remember doing was finding rest in different ways than I knew before. I needed more than anything to give my mind a rest so that my body could too. Speaking of I am taking my grandson to an indoor play ground and have to pick him in the early AM, got home late from work so I need to hit the hay! But wanted to at least touch bases with you. I’ll be back tomorrow, after I’ve practiced what I just preached! I admire how much you have chosen to be aware of Karin and how both in spite of and because of it all you are walking the walk. Your’e building muscles you didn’t know you had! Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody, Once again you confirmed a message I’ve been hearing as I’ve sought guidance for my choices in past months. Something that I know is critical to my healing process on a daily basis…. asking myself the question “what do I want”, trying to answer it honestly, and then courageously seeking to live answer. I can’t believe how hard it is to answer the question and live it…… when all my life I’ve revolved around what everyone else wanted. I appreciate your confirmation of the choices I need to make to walk a healing path. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and light. I’m sorry to hear your surgery didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and that your recovery has beenvery painful. I’m praying for your healing. Karin

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, Yes….I’m in the midst of a very tricky situation right now. It’s certainly not the first time and I know it won’t be the last. I appreciate your understanding and verbalizing the reality of what I’m going through. Your analogy of going the final distance in a marathon is very accurate. Right now I feel like I’m crawling the last couple of miles on my knees. Last night I talked to my son who is 22. He is very wise for his age and he sees the situation with my ex very clearly. I had discussed with him over the weekend about wanting to integrate my husband into Christmas this year. I don’t want to divide everyone….knowing however that my ex and my oldest daughter are most likely going to be dead set against having my husband involved. Last night my son confirmed that he had talked to his dad the night before and it doesn’t seem likely that there will be unity in our family this Christmas. I just have to hang in there and trust that as I make changes that I believe are healthy that it will work out the way it’s meant to. Christmas has always been a harder time for me and now I’m facing something I’ve never faced before, having my kids spend part of Christmas with their dad and part of it with me. My two youngest know it’s probably going to be necessary and they’re willing to do it but they’re sad that their Dad and sister won’t accept the new normal and be together. Sigh. Surrendering and letting go every moment right now. Doing what only I can do. I need to do exactly what you said, give my mind a rest through pleasant distractions as much as possible right now. I’m having a hard time sleeping and that doesn’t help my emotional health. I’m glad you get to have a play date with your grandson. That’s the best kind of therapy. Good job for practicing what you preach. I’m going to play with my new puppy alot in the days ahead. Another form of pure therapy. Thanks for taking the time to stay in touch. Your insights and encouragement are gifts. I definitely want to build new muscles but I don’t enjoy the part where pain is the main factor in the transition! But no pain, no gain right? Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, I remember the unfamiliar feelings of an ending and new beginning. I never wanted my family to be divided, which I’m guessing is one of the reasons you remained married as long as you did also. One of the traits of Adult Children is we remain loyal in the face of evidence that it is undeserved. I know I did, over and over again. I tried to keep the ties that bind intact. It didn’t work after the divorce the same has it hadn’t work when I was married. This was the most difficult thing for me to grieve. The family I lived, hoped, worked for prayed and dreamed would be, would never be. The new normal for our sons and daughters of splitting time between parents homes becomes a challenge. Some kids are glad they have the option, some grieve the dream of their family because it was their family and all they had. Each has their own experience of what the family was to them. Like us they are trying to work through what was and move into what is. It sounds like your daughter has an alliance with her father? This can create opposition, I have found the least resistance put into this the better for myself. And it gave me the opportunity to work on my codependency, by letting the chips fall where they may. The invitation is extended the answer is yes or no. Then letting it be. Which meant for me, grieving the outcome I hoped for in the process. I think we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves worrying about how everyone else feels, but we can only make the decision that works best for the way our life is. You are all in a stage of redefining the ways you did things for a lot years. The first time you do anything in your new normal is usually the toughest for everyone. Some as Melody said are mutable and easily adapt others and I am in this group find change very difficult. I think you are looking at this from all perspectives and doing all you can to accommodate all. And in the final analysis you can know you have, then let go of the outcome. It has taken me quite a few years to let the holidays, birthdays and other family celebrations just be. Then as I shared something can get thrown into the mix as with my grandson’s 1st birthday, but when it does I do my best to walk through it being true to myself. The holidays are so hard where loss has happened. We need to be as kind to ourselves as we possibly can. I so the best I can and sometimes this means turning down invitations. I hope above all else you can be good to yourself what ever this means for you. With hopes and prayer for a peaceful Christmas for your family. Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, Thank you once again for your words of wisdom and understanding. I really need to let go and let the chips fall where they may. Do my part and keep my focus there. Surrender to the pain and accept it as a gift that can lead me on a path of growth and healing. Since I last wrote to you a situation has arisen involving my youngest daughter (15) that has thrown the Christmas issue into the background. Without going into details, she made some very unhealthy choices that have impacted her, me and many others. We are now in the damage control and consequences phase….which will last a long time. Thankfully she was not physically injured but there are a lot of emotional and psychological wounds that will take a long time to heal. The police have become involved and we are cooperating fully with them as well. In the meantime, my ex and my husband met a few days ago and we are all working together now to daily find the best solutions for healing and protecting my daughter. That’s one of the silver linings of the dark cloud. Life can change so drastically from one day to the next. My focus was on Christmas and on bringing everyone together and now it’s on my daughter and everyone is coming together to share this focus. I’m trying to take care of myself in the midst of a challenging, sad situation….looking for the blessings and the gifts in the pain. I want to be there for my daughter and love her in the midst of her pain. I want to guide her and help her heal. I want to give her the gifts I didn’t receive when I was in pain at her age. Reparenting. It’s a gift and an enormous challenge all at the same time. I hope and pray you are finding gifts and blessings in the midst of your challenges and pain now too. Always such a mixed bag. Thanks again for keeping in touch. Your friendship means alot :) . Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, I am so sorry to hear of your daughters pain, yours, and your family’s in the process. My daughter’s reactions and means of coping during the last years her father and I were together showed up in distressing and frightening ways. From the time she was 14 – 17 I was in a constant state of anxiety for what she might do. As bizarre as this might sound Karin children can subconsciously find unbelievable ways to bring the family together. My husband and I certainly stood up and took notice when our angelic, compliant, independent, quiet, always cooperative daughter became the opposite in every imaginable way. It was mind boggling, horrifying and shifted my perspective drastically to say the least. I was able to get her into counseling with a woman who had a quiet and compassionate strength that for starters diffused my husbands anger in a way I never saw before or since. She also spoke very difficult but necessary truths to me in ways I could hear and take to heart, as I need to. Police were involved, as well as every teacher and counselor with my daughter. In my situation I was finally able to see that my son and daughter were far more aware of what was going on, in spite of all I had done to protect them “from” it, than their father or I were. This awaken was extremely painful for me. But the beginning of being in reality and with it finding out and facing those things I could and could not change. Without my daughter’s permission, which I will ask if she feels comfortable if I share, I can not share specifics. But what I do want you to know and my daughter was 15 when it came to a head, was that she pulled out of it. She blew my mind, as far towards amazement of what she had accomplished, as it had been blown it in the other direction, only a couple of years before this. When she graduated she was presented with a “new” award created that year for Most Improved Student. She graduated an honors student. I listened as teachers and Principals spoke more about this little mighty mite than any other single student at the awards ceremony. When all was said and done and shortly after she had started College, she said mom I want you to know that you never deserved the things I said or the way I treated you. If wasn’t for all you did to protect me from myself I wouldn’t be here. You stuck to me like white on rice and for as much as you thought I did you caught almost me every time…. how did you do that? Divine intervention, a mothers intuition and a fathers sneaky ways put to useful purposes, are the only answers I can remotely come up with. There were 3 very tough years, with recovery on going, still, I believe she would say now. But the point I hope you can hear is, early intervention, ceaseless prayer, the unrelenting message of ” I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH TO ALLOW NEEDLESS SUFFERING, leaving no stone un-turned and getting myself well were the positives and life affirming results of the crisis’es (sp) Where is your daughter in the birth order? Is she the youngest? The reason I ask is because the youngest and second born in a family of 4 are typically the two who act out and bring attention to the pain in the family, each in different ways. My daughter was second. One of my close friends had similar situations with her daughter, violations followed by psychological wounds, followed by acting out that as you spoke of were of not going to heal quickly. One of the wisest things I ever learned was from this counselor, who told me I needed to listen to my daughter without adding anything about my own pain or experiences. Melding this together, melded her and I together in ways that didn’t allow for the separate identity she needed to have and feel apart from my history. It was one of the hardest things I ever learned to do. When I listened to her I wanted to follow up with I understand because… then go in to my stuff. No matter how much I wanted to do this I forced myself not to and it was hard. She needed me to be her parent which meant I was there for her only. I began to see the subtle ways I had been re-parenting myself through her. Re-parenting was something I desperately needed but it had become confused with and wrapped up in the parenting of my children, and this is in no way to suggest you have done the same. I began to feel a great deal of the pain from my own childhood, after I consciously engaged in a cutoff of sharing my painful past with my children. My motives, intention and reasons came from nothing but good purposes meant to be helpful, but I slowly discovered what parts they couldn’t integrate as developmentally applicable. What ALWAYS applied was the Love and Respect I showed and gave them… knowing the reasons why it was so crucial to me,the titlywe created in them the need to ease my pain. This may or may not make sense for your circumstances but always and ultimately take what you need and leave the rest. This is about my experience only and of course. But should any piece or part be helpful my only wish is to alleviate useless suffering or confusion. I know I found gifts in being able to give unconditional love and acceptance to my children, love has a magnificent and magical way of becoming a perpetual boomerang when giving is the reward. You and your beloved daughter are in my thoughts and prayers tonight and in these days ahead. May God be your rock and the sheltering wings under which you find refuge. I have been in a state of feeling rage, which I shared on Melodys other site this evening, rage still applies when children come to harm, my own prayer is that it will burn into ash and from it growth with good purpose and cause be known.I have no doubt you will love your daughter all the more in her pain as you have loved her every day otherwise. Peace to you and yours my friend. Denise

  • Denise says:

    after the sentence; knowing the reasons why it was so crucial are the words ” the titlywe” which has nothing to do nothing except the captcha phrase which i must have somehow accidently (ADD brain) written in this sentence.. just so you don’t try to figure out what in the world I was trying to say!

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I so appreciate your continuing insights, wisdom and encouragement….shared from the experiences you’ve walked through. I am amazed at how our histories and journeys are similar in many ways. I am thankful for your perspective gained through the years….much of it hindsight for you now which is so valuable in seeing more objectively and perceiving the blessings and benefits that are so often hard to see in the midst of the chaos and emotion of crisis. I’m so thankful to hear that your daughter made choices to turn her life around and that ended up bringing blessing to herself, to you, and many others. Beauty from pain….best case scenario for sure. I’m asking God to do the same in the situation with my daughter right now. She is the youngest of 4. Your assessment of the 2nd and 4th being the ones to act out more than others is interesting…and accurate in my experience. My oldest daughter, who is the 2nd, has had more behavorial issues as well through and since the divorce. My youngest has a very sweet, tender heart but she has also displayed a bent toward taking risks and pushing the envelope since she was very young. My ex and I have agreed numerous times that she has been more challenging than the other 3 combined. Not just in rebellion but in her wanting to do more risky things that the others would never have tried or wanted to try. Her recent behavior is more of the same I believe….wanting to try something just for the risk/thrill factor. I also believe that your observation could play into things too…the subconscious agenda to bring people together. I know much of what we do as humans and much of what motivates us is subconscious. That’s why awareness is so key in the process of healing and making better choices. I also really appreciate your comments re/ reparenting and the reality of keeping the focus off ourselves and on our children. I am also very tempted many times to interject my own experience and issues as I deal with my kids….which is not healthy because it projects my emotions onto them and doesn’t give the them the freedom or respect to have their own feelings/experience. As you, my heart breaks as I watch the ripple effects of her choices yet I know her path has got to be her own. I had a conversation with her yesterday and told her that regardless of the choices we’ve made in the past each day is a brand new day and we have a wonderful opportunity to create a better future for ourselves, one choice at a time. The best thing we can do on any given day is make it our goal to learn from our mistakes and move forward. This is not the end….it’s the beginning. Those are truths I still need to live by as I am often tempted to get down on myself for the choices I’ve made in the past that have led to deep pain. I want to love her and love myself at the same time during this healing process. I hope to get her to a good counselor soon as well. I’m grateful you had a wonderful counselor who was able to lead you on a path of healing and truth when you need guidance. It seems like a very long road ahead yet I really want to view each day as an opportunity for me as a mother and fellow traveler to learn alongside my daughter. Like you said, you reflect that you were offered healing and growth at the same as your daughter. I keep thanking God for allowing this difficult situation because I know He’s bringing blessing and life through the pain. One truth I cling to is that He doesn’t waste pain. He brings beauty from pain when we’re surrendered to Him and following His guidance. I keep asking Him to enable me to see the gifts right now. I want to set an example for my daughter that pain can be our most effective teacher and counselor when we choose to surrender and not run away. She keeps wanting to have all the things back that she typically uses to run from pain….her music, computer, cell phone, her sister and other friends, tv….but we’re keeping her away from all that for a few weeks. We don’t want her to run from the pain, we want her to contemplate and absorb it. I don’t want her to suffer needlessly but there is value in suffering when it’s appropriate. Thank you for taking the time to write. I’m praying for you in your current pain and challenges as well. I wish you peace…. Karin

  • Melody Beattie says:

    TO ALL WHO POST HERE, OR ON ANY SITES: Instead of paying someone to pretend to be me, I answer all posts and comments personally. Because of my need to toally immerse myself in my project when I am writing, it’s hard for me to do two things at once — answer all posts with full presence, and write. (It’s often hard for me to do ONE thing at once.) I’m saying this because I am working on what I find to be truly the most engaging and exciting work of my life, so far. That means, I am here less — although I do scan and try to respond a little, now and again. It is definitely not the “full presence” I give to my sites when I’m not writing. I can’t apologize — this is who I am, and I don’t want someone here pretending to be me, responding to your posts. Please know that I am scanning the sites, will try to respond to any emergency posts, will be back in full …. not sure when. When my project is finished, or I find I can take a significant break. When I wrote Codependent No More, I told my children, “If you can let me go, let me do this, share me with this project, I will let you be part of any rewards that come from it. I will let you fully have my presence. I will celebate with you.” Because I was dead broke at the time, our “party” when I finished was a burger, fries and beverage from a fast food place (a true treat). Because we were so broke, we each got to choose one item to eat from the three — burger, fries and drink. But it was still a feast and a celebration. Later, I was able to share more with them, until … I couldn’t because Shane, my son, left. Anyway, I don’t want any sadness in this post. I do want to tell you that I will be back, and I hope that what I am working on will be my way of sharing with each of you something that either will, or won’t, be helpful, something I hope though, that you will consider a celebratory feast, and something that you can know you took part in my you postive thoughts and allowing me to leave for a while knowing I will come back to you as soon as I can. Thank you, each of you, for making these sites what I hoped they would become: safe havens of truth and healing, with little or no monetization (libraries, guys and gals, if you do not have money to buy books). You can utilize any concept discussed here for free, read any of my books for free by checking them out from your local libraries, and I hope you have enjoyed 2011 on the three sites, melodybeattie.com, melodybeattie.org and melodybeattie.net, as much as I have. Many, many blessings and may 2012 be the best year you experience — so far. All my best, Melody Beattie

  • Melody Beattie says:

    TYPO CORRECTIONS: Corrections to the above post (see what happens when I go too quickly). I meant “enjoyed 2012″ and the New Year wishes are for 2013. Sorry. Earlier in the post, I meant to write, “something that you can know you took part in by your positive thoughts and allowing me to leave” instead of what I posted: “someting that you can know you took part in my you positive thoughts.” Again, my apologies. I type so quickly that I often type phoenetically — and miss the first consonant in the sentence.

  • Smerk says:

    Thank you, Melody. The best way I know to honor and serve others is through following our passion and doing what we love. It blesses everyone. You’ve constantly reinforced the message of how important it is to love and respect ourselves. Thank you for being a blessing and inspiration in my life. 2012 has been one of those years that has brought an inordinate amount of change in many of our lives. Alot of those changes came by way of loss. More often than not, it’s been through the support and sharing I’ve received here that’s given me the grace I need to gain peace and assimilate these changes into my ever changing “new” reality. The forums have played a big part in encouraging me and reminding me to stay present for whatever shows up and they reinforce the idea that I always receive the Grace to see me through especially when I’m walking in my own unchartered territory. Thank you for having the courage to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Thank you for sharing who you are. Most of all, thank you for being YOU. Not just for what you do, but more so for being who you ARE. For being present. For making it count not just for yourself, but for me and all the rest of the lives known and unknown that you’ve blessed in this world by your presence. ( Can’t wait to see the result of your current endeavor, but at the same time I’m glad to see you’re fully engaged in the experience. Enjoy the journey. We’ll be here with open arms to join you in the celebration.) All of my best Smerk

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Smerk, you bring tears to my eyes and make my heart feel warm. Thank you for walking through your life and process, and sharing it with me and the others on this site. Please know how much you — and your life — matters. Many blessings to you — and to all who post or read here — as the calendar takes us into 2013 and Life brings us a new set of experiences. Best, Melody

  • Denise says:

    Hi Melody, Thank you for letting us all know how very much you care…. by taking the time…. to let us know what’s going on for you. It never entered my mind that it wasn’t you responding. I either trust or I do not. My heart would have told me if it wasn’t you. As far as I’m concerned I have known you for a long time through what you have written and if it hasn’t been you writing here then it hasn’t been me writing here either. A good friend of mine once told me that people write the way they talk, and talk the way they are. It’s healthy to ask the question, if we’ve learned nothing else, then hopefully we’ve learned this. Enough of my 2 cents worth about this though. I am excited FOR you in what ever you are writing now because I sense something really magnificent being birthed and more so that it is exactly what is needed, in due season the fruits of the harvest will be known. You were born to be the messenger. I give Thanks to God for you. Know you are in my prayers for all that God’s Will has for you. May your Christmas be Blessed beyond your wildest dreams… what ever this means. Don’t know why….. but just felt to say this. With Love and Gratitude, Denise

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, Just want to let you know your words continue to help me today. As you said in one of your posts…I’m “working on my codependency and letting the chips fall where they may” regarding the holidays. I’ve extended the invitation and am now waiting for either the yes or no. I’m letting it be. Good work for me to do. I feel more freedom entering my soul. I’m not trying to hold everyone together and make it a perfect Christmas as I have done for many years. I’m asking myself what I need and giving that to myself. I’m letting everyone else do the same in their own way. Thank you again for all the words you have shared with me. You’ve really been a guiding light. I wish you a blessed Christmas. Karin

  • Karin says:

    Hi Melody, Thank you for your communication and update. Thank you for all the gifts you gave me in 2012. Precious gifts that money can’t buy. You gave me the gifts of wisdom, healing, hope and courage. May God bless you a hundred fold for your generosity. I wish you a beautiful Christmas. And may 2013 be your best year as well. Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hello Karin, Thank you for your kind, encouraging and gentle words. It is so obvious to me that you have a very sweet spirit and the heart of a warrior, truly. Letting the chips fall where they may is the hard lesson I am still learning. Even if I lived on the other side of the world, away from my family I would still struggle with doing this. My brother was literally brought to my place by our Uncle, because he couldn’t deal with him. I received no call, either asking or telling me this was happening. I felt like a deer in the head lights when they showed up at my place. I love, respect and admire this particular Uncle very much. He was drafted into the Viet Nam war at 19 and returned home because he was the only survivor of a jeep blown up by a land mine. He came back with wounds to his spirit far greater than any physical wounding. He never let on, but did soldier on…. until he had to have surgery to his colon after many years of pain and in the process found help through the VA with fellow survivors of this horrible war. He has driven back and forth from Washington state since April, we are in California, to help us with our mother, (his sister) so that my brother and I could get a break. But… this last visit was without my brother who is in recovery or myself there to run interference between our youngest brother and our mother. Our Uncle was able to withstand it for 3 weeks. I full well understand that he was driven by absolute desperation to have brought my brother here as he did….. because he knew as my other brother and I did what could happen. My Uncle told me something was very wrong … as he pointed to his stomach area and HAD to get to his Dr. I found out that all was well with him, Thank God, but I told my brother, I clearly understood it was 100% stress related as I have been there so so many times myself in years past. He physically HAD to remove himself from the violence. I told my brother he could sleep at my place if he didn’t drink and because the last time he did so (last year), I called the police and he was arrested he knows I will do so again if necessary. He has left for days at a time because he wants to drink, then returns. Tonight however I know I can not allow this to go on any more. He is when not drinking helpful hard working and thoughtful. When drinking he becomes a physically violent and frightening. The violence perpetrated on the children in my home always left bruises, welts and at times bleeding. It has taken me many many years not to have a PTSD trigger when I see a child being even barely swatted. I have had major PTSD episodes with my grandchildren and neither of my children or their spouses even swat their children. The raising of a voice to being put in a time out… just the sense that there is frustration that could lead to anger, has triggered me and I know I have to do work around this. Even though I know it is irrational, it makes zero difference when PTSD is triggered, I have had to quickly get my purse and say I have to go as I run to my car and drive home with my heart pounding out of my chest, my hands shaking and talking to myself for the rest of the night to get past this. I finally had to talk with my son and his wife without detail and let them know I may never be normal regarding what happened to me in my past and that periodically certain things can trigger this. So whenever I get up and leave they needed to know it was not about them but me needing to calm myself. I believe there are specific ages with my grandkids that bring up memories and all I can do is know this and take care of myself when it occurs. I am going to find a counselor who does EMDR because I fully realize now, that an aspect of past trauma is getting triggered and EMDR absolutely prevents the reaction. I think I am at 99 out of 100 with stress right now, my brothers drinking and violence, all that I have been dealing with, with my mother in these final stages, and with every time I hear the phone ring, I think is this it? I believe I will not be re-hired, I co-managed with a narcissist…. and so it is just being in this last leg of getting the news so that I can move on, my sister is still active in the disease and having contact with her, although I am very guarded and know I must limit it, is taking energy I do not have. It all adds up for me right now as too much. I have been on the phone with the case manager for my mother, my brother, her Dr, and the in home nurses today to get things in order for her to go to what they are calling a Rehabilitation Center, because she is not getting the care she needs as things are set up now. I am going to drive up there so I can bring her there Friday morning. I sense that all is as it is supposed to be and that yes, God is in control. I pray that my mother can let go so that she can pass in peace. This is my prayer as I am preparing to be with her and hopefully give her the help she needs and wants. I am always amazed that when we let go of what we think we want, we find the gifts of what we need. May this Christmas be perfect in every way that matters most….. for us one and all. God Bless you my friend. Denise

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Hi Denise. I’m sorry it’s so hard for you right now, but it sounds like you’re receiving the Grace to get through each moment — and sometimes that is the absolute best we can hope for. I so relate to your PTSD. Yelling triggers it for me, still — although I’m much better. I have had EMDR therapy and it absolutely helps. I have learned to apply it to myself, and it is worth the investment for anyone who has PTSD from any type of traauma. May you at some point find the blessings from this holiday, and good work taking care of yourself. You are important to me, and to many others on this site. Be well. Be at peace. Be you. Best, Melody

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, I cannot even begin to express what I feel after reading your last post. Grief, admiration, awe, strength, encouragement, hope. Those are some of the emotions that combine in my heart when I read your words and think of your current circumstances. I really do stand in awe of your ability to have awareness and insight on so many levels in the midst of such tremendous difficulty. Your insights give me comfort and strength. Thank you for your kind words of love, friendship and support right now too. I’m praying for you as you face so much stress on a daily basis. I’m praying you’ll be able to breathe, let go, and have peace as much as is possible. I’m praying God will bless you with precious gifts as only He can in the midst of deep pain. I’m praying He will offset your grief with His limitless Love. Also, I can’t tell you how much it helps me by your talking about PTSD and EMDR right now. I have experienced some pretty severe triggers in the past two weeks from my childhood. I totally relate to all you talked about regarding your hair-trigger responses when you witness certain things…. and how you have to remove yourself from the situation. I’ve found myself having to do that recently and I really don’t like it. I would like to get help too. I’m going to look into EMDR. Also, turns out I won’t be with my kids this Christmas. They will be with my ex and I will be with my husband. This is one of my worst fears realized and I’m taking steps with each breath to accept and let it be. I have to trust that it’s the best thing for everyone right now. I have to trust that we will all receive gifts of healing as Christmas unfolds in a very different way this year. But it’s the LAST scenario I would have naturally chosen. I am very blessed by one of the last lines you wrote to me “I am always amazed that when we let go of what we think we want, we find the gifts of what we need.” You articulated beautifully what God is telling me right now. Thank you. I so appreciate you taking the time to give to me, share with me and bless me when you are in the midst of so much difficulty and pain. I’m praying for you and your family. I wholeheartedly echo your words that ‘Christmas will be perfect for you in every way that matters most’. God Bless You too, my friend. Karin

  • Denise says:

    Hi Karin, My first sponsor told me that there’s a good chance that the thing we most fear will happen to us… I remember saying you mean it WON’T happen right? No. In essence she was telling me that resistance is trying to keep out that which life wants to bring us release from. I understand and empathize with the feelings this brings up while also believing it is meant for your freedom FROM this fear. We know from the first moment we hold our precious ones in our arms we are beginning the journey of watching them walk into their own lives. For those of us who have come from severe dysfunction the tendency is to not only give our children what they need and want but as much what we did too. From a starving heart and soul we pour love nurture encouragement, and do all we can think or imagine to equip them for this journey… how do we do this? Really. How have we given from what we didn’t get. Love is a powerful energy and creates more love is what I believe. This doesn’t mean our losses are no longer valid with the need to be acknowledged and grieved for what they are. I think it means we have been given the opportunity to give a love that is wanted, needed, welcomed and received. I feared the entrance into their own life signaled…. leaving me behind. I had to evaluate what “leaving me” meant to me. Leaving me never to return? No…. just… excited to test and practice and learn and discover the meaning and purpose that life holds for them. I don’t think the desire is any less when divorce happens, it may get side tracked, the emotional waters tainted but when we are clear with what is ours and what is theirs they can and will thrive and so will we. After 25 years of being stonewalled I finally turned and walked away from a wall that had no doorway to the other side. I realized the pain I felt was the same as the when a limb goes to sleep because the life giving oxygen and blood supply have been cut off, and when able to flow again it hurts. I remember feeling I was competing for my children’s perception of who was right and who was wronged, it was black and white, all or nothing. This was my hurt, and my need for having my pain validated. They already knew and had known all along WHAT was wrong. They had lived with parents saying they wanted the same thing pulling in opposite directions to achieve it. Each wronged before they ever met each other needing to be right (validated) and not finding or able to create the picture they believed was the answer. How ever, the illusion gets shattered, we know what doesn’t work and we understand many things we were not able to without this experience. I felt I had wasted my life, I had been ripped off, lied to betrayed and used and I had been. I learned that although this was all I knew about being loved, I had made a conscious decision to no longer try to convince myself that what was and was not happening between my children’s father and myself, was love. I knew when I left he would show me what he wanted. It took him 3 weeks to take up with and move his friend and employees girlfriend into our home and force our daughter and son out. He told them they were welcome to be there as long as they accepted her. She was 2 years older than our son. She ended up robbing him blind and disappearing with in 2 years. He got the house, the business and all the vehicles. He wouldn’t respond to his attorney or mine for 3 years, then finally signed a bifurcation and we settled with him getting all we had worked for and me getting 10,000 dollars. I was by this time 45 years old and starting from scratch. It was hard. It was unfair. I didn’t deserve what had happened but I had to find a way to come to terms with it or allow it to define me. I have rambled and got sidetracked in some ways but all to say I understand in my own version that it isn’t easy to let go of the known and familiar so that the pain can transform losses and lies into a life that is truly worth living. I have been able to accept that the losses will never magically metamorphosis into beautiful life changing experiences. They will be a part of the story of the on going journey of my life. A life without hurting or blaming or shaming myself or anyone else. A Life I will not feel guilty for or about. So for now I need to get to bed as I am getting up at 4 AM to head to my mothers. Thank You for your prayers Karin I truly deeply appreciate each and every one. I believe prayer has the power to change those we pray for and us for having said them. Maybe not in the ways we may picture, but in the ways that serve love and truth. God Bless, Denise

  • Melody Beattie says:

    To all on this site, may you find Peace during this Season — even if you don’t experience the Joy that so many others appear to have. May you have the courage to feel whatever you need to feel, to take care of yourselves in ways meaningful and important to you, and may you see yourself as others see you, and as I see you: courageous beyond all belief, resilient, aware, and channels of love, hope and faith for others. I will be working, but checking in, throughout the coming weeks. You are not alone. You never have been. It is utterly impossible to be alone in this world. May you carry that knowledge in your hearts. Best, Melody

  • Liz says:

    Hi Melody, Thank you for that wonderful blessing. You have really touched my life and inspired me to be more me, even if that is not what people really want to see. Also you have helped me to like me even when all of my faults are blazing for everyone to see. Thank you especially for your magical words in the Language of Letting Go and also your liberating activity of being grateful for it all. Thanks Liz

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Liz, thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed and reaped much benefit from all aspects of our relationship online. You have truly been a blessing in my life — and I wish you the most richest joys life can bring to you in the coming year. I’ve been hiding out — trying to get as much writing done as possible which isn’t easy without an assistant — but I’m making progress and loving it. See you online (I hope) in the New Year). Melody

  • Karin says:

    Hi Denise, You hit the nail on the head when you talked about your sponsor telling you it’s very likely that what we most fear will happen. I’ve experienced it many times in my life. The freedom from the fear can only come as we live through it, not run from it. Thank you for reminding me of this powerful truth. I do know that for many years I’ve struggled with the fear that my kids would have to live through the emotional deprivation that I did in my childhood…so I’ve overcompensated in some extreme ways to give them what I didn’t have. This has been shown especially at Christmas. I remember trying so hard during my childhood to make everyone around me happy at Christmas time. I just wanted people to be happy. It never worked. I have had to come face to face with my ‘default’ setting….and my need to hit the reset button. I’ve put so much pressure on myself to hold everything together for everyone else, while my heart is breaking. This year I’m not going to do it anymore. This year I’m not going to try to make it perfect for everyone around me. I’m going to take care of myself. My kids and and I are going to have an early Christmas today. I am trying to model acceptance and the ability to move forward in positive ways, even when my ideal isn’t happening. Also, I’m thinking about you especially in the situation with your mom. My dad passed away 14 years ago on Christmas Eve. He was/is a big source of the ptsd I struggle with. He had a progressive brain disease for about 6 years before he died and as his illness progressed he became more angry and violent. It was hard for me to see him or be around him (he didn’t know who I was for the last 2 years). I wasn’t as aware of my ptsd as I am now. I was very relieved when he died. I didn’t feel any sadness at all, just relief. I’m praying that you will have release and peace in your situation with your mom. I pray God will bring you healing as all the circumstances unfold. Thank you for sharing more of yourself and your life with me. I’m continuing to pray for you and your family. Peace and love to you, Karin

  • Melody Beattie says:

    Denise and Karin — Watching the supportive and healing relationship grow between you two has been an added blessing in my life. I see so many sites filled with negativity and trolls; I see this site filled with people like you two, Smerf, Liz — and the guys — and the girls whose names I didn’t mention but hold in my heart — and again, I know I am blessed. Later, Melody

  • Melody Beattie says:

    While I’m being publicly grateful, I want to be grateful to: Chip, the webmaster who re-invented the three sites three times to get them “just right” and to the work he puts into these sites weekly (or more frequently) to keep them functioning; to the new business people in my life, whose ethics allow me to work without fear; and to each of the guests. Whether said or written, words mean nothing unless they are heard and read. It is each of you that have made these sites a huge success. It isn’t my desire to make money from these sites, but to provide safe places to heal, to tell our stories and know that we’ll be heard and a safe place to be who we really are (and htat includes me) — on our good days, our in-between days, and our tough days. By that measurement of success, these sites have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you all. Melody

  • Melody says:

    I second, third and fourth that. He does a lot of work on these sites and often “forgets” to bill for his time. He really cares (he wouldn’t be doing the work if he didn’t). Finding a great gatekeeper is no easy task. Best, Melody

  • Michele Temple says:

    Dearest Melody: I was taliking with an old friend this evening and she mentioned that i gave her your book, “The Language of Letting Go” years ago when she was at a crossroads in her 20 year relationship with a man who never married her. The very same book was given to me by my AA sponsor way back in 1991 when i was struggling to recover from alcoholism and the fact that my husband of 14 years was going to prison for 15. i was not only alcoholic but desperately co-dependent and your book, in conjuction with AA, saved my life. I thrive and prosper to this day. Years later I recognized the same co-dependence in my friend and gave her my book, even though it was my dearest treasure, next to my Bible. By that time I knew it backwards and forwaards and so i felt confident to give it to a friend whom i loved and still do. Tonight she told me how much the book had helped her leave her man and make a good life for herself without him. Then she told me about her friend, who was in a relationshiop even worse than the ones we had been in. She gave my book to this woman, even though it was her greatest treasure, and that woman is now happy in a good life of her own. I told her tonight that we shoud thank Meldoy Beattie and let her know that over the course of the last 22 years she has helped save the lives of at least three women that i know of personally. More than likely, everyone who read your book has been saved. What a legacy, from one book, so long ago. Thank God for you, Melody; thank God for your gift and thank you for sharing it with so many women. We are forever in your debt. Michele Temple, Deep South Southern Belle Liberated, Strong, Confident and Happy!

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