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Exposing Skeletons in the Closet

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With Halloween around the corner, ghoulish decorations are beginning to pop up alongside gargantuan pumpkins, bumpy gourds, and colorful leaves.

A plastic skeleton swinging in the wind recently reminded me of the saying about keeping skeletons in the closet.

My closet is no stranger to skeletons. Some have represented things done to me, others symbolized things I’ve done. Shame and fear were the hinges on my closet doors. Strong and secure, they kept my secrets tucked in the dark.

Or so I thought. More

Throwing Stones

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It would be easy to make a poster-child of Adrian Peterson.

A powerful man hitting a defenseless child?  What a lowlife, coward, and disgrace.  Let’s all throw stones at him.

But wait.

What if…

What if Adrian Peterson was simply parenting the way he’d been parented.

How can we be expected to do the right thing if we’ve never been taught what the right thing is?

I am in no way condoning or excusing this behavior, nor that of any version of domestic violence.

But I believe there’s more to the story.  Much more.
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Journeys of Healing & Discovery

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When I started my road to recovery, I felt incredibly alone.  My circle of friends at that time were not interested in things like feeling pain, speaking truth, or self-reflection. Who could blame us, really?

I had myself tightly knit with people who lived in denial, thus allowing me the freedom to do the same.  I didn’t even realize the cocoon I lived in until I took several steps away. It felt natural, and safe.  Little did I know just how wrong I was…

Joining the blogging community has been such a completely different experience.  I’ve found so many people who are interested in growth and healing of all sorts.  Some from physical issues, others from emotional, mental, or spiritual ones.  My own journey of healing and recovery was catapulted with the discovery of such a rich world of genuinely caring and tremendous people.

There are several such bloggers I’d love to highlight on this ‘blog hop’ I’m on, but today I’ve narrowed it down to two, plus a thank-you for the invitation to join in The Hop.

As part of The Hop, I’ll also answer 4 burning questions at the end!  😉

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The Lure of Suicide

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The world lost a great man when Robin Williams took his own life this week. A genius, really. But more importantly, we lost a man in pain. Someone who decided he and his family were better off with him dead.

It is human nature to want to fill in the blanks. Why did he do it?

Does it really matter? Do we need a reason so we feel superior that we didn’t do the terrible deed?

The bottom line is: Pain is Pain.

Desperate pain results in desperate ideas and choices.

 

When I was suicidal, More

The Difference Between Feeling Better and Getting Better

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Feeling better seems to be a universal goal of humankind.

When we’re experiencing physical, emotional, or spiritual pain, the instinct to feel better can take on a life of its own.  Most of us don’t even realize our subconscious is in overdrive doing whatever it takes to avoid bad feelings.

The problem is this:  what makes us feel better usually isn’t what makes us get better.

Feeling Better More

Lessons From Dad

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His lessons about life taught me no one is trustworthy.

His lessons about love taught me to control or be controlled.

His lessons about tolerance taught me no one is smart enough, good enough, or fast enough.

His lessons about security taught me danger is around every corner.

His lessons about confidence taught me if I didn’t think his way, there was hell to pay.

It’s taken years to undo the damage from those lessons.

But it was his lessons about stubbornness that backfired on him.

It was the one trait he taught me that actually saved me from him.

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Anger -Constructive or Destructive?

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Anger with a D is Danger.  That’s the kind of anger I used to have.  The Destructive Kind.

Anger was my best friend.  Always accessible and purposeful, it was my go-to response to many of life’s situations.  It didn’t take much to justify unleashing on all the irritating people of the world.  And those irritating people were everywhere!

Anger suited me well –I felt strong and powerful when I was angry.  People kept their distance and I was safe.  I got kudos growing up for being angry; as long as it wasn’t with anyone in our house!  I’d come home with stories of mouthing off at teachers and be commended for it.  Dad would laugh and give me the rare praise I coveted.

It wasn’t until I finally heard myself More

The Best Way Out Is Always Through

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Robert Frost
March 26, 1874 -January 29, 1963

 

I used to plead with my therapist for an easier way to process and heal my past. Feeling the feelings is really hard work, and incredibly painful. I wanted a short-cut, some magic wand to fast-forward me to the finish line.  I Wish.

Turns out Robert Frost had it right all those years ago. The best way out really is through.

If we don’t feel the feelings and process them –at least enough to heal and move forward they will continue to haunt us in hidden and mysterious ways.

I’ve learned and re-learned the frustrating truth that we can know something in our heads, but if don’t know it in our hearts it doesn’t translate to change.

Without a doubt it has to start in our heads. We need to think, consider, and chew the facts a while. But the only way I’ve seen knowledge migrate from the head to the heart is through feeling the feelings. Processing emotions like loss, anger, and truth is draining, even excruciating at times, but it’s eventually very freeing.

The most tangible way I’ve seen my life changed

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Rocks of Reclamation

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Following a 14-year absence, my husband and I went to Alaska to visit my mom last year. Dad had passed away in those years, while I’d still been estranged. His passing allowed me the freedom to return to my roots and rescue my younger self in a very tangible way.

As part of my healing, I brought some rocks to leave behind.

 

 

For me, rocks symbolize strength and power.

Think David and Goliath, Alcatraz, Stonehenge, the Pyramids.

My rocks were that important to me. They would declare my presence, my survival; even after I departed once again. More

From Estrangement to Reconciliation

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Estrangement stories cross my path often lately.  It’s a painful and sensitive topic, for both sides.  Some people are hurting because they’ve chosen to estrange themselves, others because they don’t understand why a loved one has estranged.  Still others long for the relief of estrangement, but the pain of setting that boundary is clearly too difficult.

The journey of coming to terms with why we need to estrange ourselves can be grueling, depressing, and exhausting.  Desire for belonging to family is strong, and it took considerable pain – and 3 attempts – before I was finally able to definitively draw my line in the sand.  More

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