Archive for May, 2012



Sometimes in life we go through events that are or at least seem catastrophic at the time, or we keep running across the same negative situation in life over and over again, and we begin to develop distortions in our thinking. We begin to believe things like “I must be cursed”, or “every decision I make ends in failure”, or “I’m not lovable because people keep abandoning me. What’s wrong with me anyway?” Sometimes we believe that we are a mistake, or that we are not beautiful enough, or strong enough, or good enough. Sometimes we believe it is our fault when someone else has wronged us. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves by speaking negative things about ourselves, such as “you are ugly” (talking to yourself) or “you don’t deserve any better, look at what you did… Believing we must punish ourselves for our mistakes, or even believing that God is punishing us for not having been perfect or making the right decisions.

Sometimes we involve ourselves in what psychologists refer to as ’emotional reasoning’, essentially meaning that we believe our feelings are actual fact. Sometimes we magnify a situation and believe based on our faulty understanding that the situation is bigger than it really might be. Sometimes we can’t see any positive possibilities because all we see are the negative situations. Sometimes we jump to conclusions before we have examined all the options, sometimes we catastrophize, expecting the worst case scenario to happen. Sometimes we take everything personal, or label ourselves based on our real or perceived mistakes. Sometimes we use polarization, or black and white thinking, clinging to extreme opposites, like all or nothing, great or awful, never or always. All of these patterns and more are what’s referred to as ‘distorted thinking patterns.’ Basically, the lies we believe.

Now I know on Wednesday’s I blog about my own experiences, my life, etc. Now part of that includes the things I’m thinking about. There have been two major things that have been occupying my attention over the past couple weeks or so, this subject of distorted thinking and cognitive reasoning, as well as researching…and now I’m really gonna reveal how nerdy I really am – the brain and new studies on how to retire and retrain our brains, remapping so to speak. Perhaps I will blog about that next week, as it does relate to this topic about how to change our belief systems.

I’ve been really trying to examine my own distortions and examining how certain repeat situations that occur in my life first build a faulty belief, and then solidify it over time as similar circumstances and life events seem to ‘prove’ my theories and beliefs are true. But as they say, “what you think is what you are.” Do we do it to ourselves by believing a certain way which ends up becoming a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy?’

But what good is it to believe myself unlovable for instance? Or that I will always be betrayed or abandoned? What good is it to self sabotage rather than to have self compassion, and nurture the areas that have felt wounded or betrayed? Does this not add more fuel to the fire?

How much does it benefit us to dwell on the negative beliefs and distortions we hold to so firmly as a belief system? Why do we allow experience to dictate the truth? Why are we often our own worst enemy?

Let’s take a quick look at some of the physical symptoms that can arise simply by worrying or choosing to believe and/or dwell on the negative circumstances in life. For instance we all know that worry, anxiety and depression can result from dwelling on the negative situations in life (albeit some depression is merely a result of lowered serotonin levels for sure), but how many of you are aware that harboring bitterness can cause certain types of cancer, or that self bitterness, self rejection or self hatred CAN be the cause of coronary artery disease or strokes? Fear, anxiety and stress can cause angina or high blood pressure, or heart arrythmias, or ulcers?

Anger, rage and resentment can cause all sorts of physical problems over time. Everything form hemorrhoids to tension headaches, to a lowered immune system, to gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or constipation, overeating, depression and insomnia. Of course, not all of these symptoms are ALWAYS a result of anger or fear etc. sometimes people have constipation because it is a side effect to a medication they are taking for instance. The point is, we are a whole being, spirit, soul and body, interwoven together so delicately and simultaneously complex. Is it any wonder that some of the issues in our spirit and souls would affect our health, just the same as a lack of physical activity does?

Perhaps God was onto something when he said to “forgive” those who have offended us, as he knew the natural consequences bearing such a heavy weight on our shoulders could have on our mental, emotional and physical health? Maybe there is good reason why the bible says:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”
Philippians 4:7-9

For more information on some root causes to physical symptoms, please check out Henry Wright’s book “A more excellent way to be in health”. I confess I started thinking about other possible causes to my back pain than something just ‘physical’ when the orthopedic surgeon looked at my X-rays and CT scans and MRI’s and could not see the reason why I would be in such severe pain with a mild degenerative disc disease. He did mention that it will get progressively worse over time and I may need surgery later on in life, but as he said he couldn’t see why I had such excessive pain, I think I had a little “aha” moment that maybe this was something spiritual, or a root of some kind of lie or belief system I hold onto. Like unbelief for instance. I have always wrestled to believe in miracles because my own experience had not experienced it personally. Perhaps I am stubborn, as I HAVE witnessed others become healed of diseases, but why does my own mind still reject this truth, this reality that it is possible? What is that faulty belief system I hold onto? These and other questions have had me on a quest to find out what other faulty belief systems I hold onto, what lies and distorted thinking patterns I believe, in an effort to reframe my mindset to believe the truth and not a lie.

I have been examining cognitive therapy to make connections between environmental changes/life situations interact with our physical reactions, thoughts, moods and behavior.

For example: environmental situation: death of a father. Physical reaction: cold sweats, pounding heart, breathing difficulty. Moods: anxiety, panic. Behavior: Avoiding places that remind you of him. Thoughts: ‘Something bad will happen to me.’ ‘He died young, and so did my grandfather, so maybe it runs in the family and I will die young too’.

The above example was fictitious… Not a personal experience of mine (although my father did die young, but I don’t hold onto that belief system).

The reality is, our thinking is very important. It is essential to pay attention to what we are thinking about. Our thoughts left to their own devices take on a life of their own, believing any wild connection they make with the circumstances and situations we encounter. Not only our thinking, but our emotions can rule us as well as mentioned earlier about believing that the way you feel reflects reality. Ie. “I feel frightened right now, so that must mean I am in real physical danger.”

Aiko Horman, a Japanese brain specialist, now in her 70’s, did extensive research on early childhood memories and trauma and how to re-route or rewire the brain to overcome painful traumatic childhood memories. There is now so much research on the neuroplasticity of our brain’s nervous system’s ability to develop new neuronal connections, to essentially work toward healing and retraining the brain. This is my intro for next week’s discussion on what I am learning about the brain’s ability to repair itself. But for now, let’s just leave it at this: negative thoughts can actually CAUSE our brain to be dysfunctional.

The good news is: our negative thoughts and negative emotions CAN be rewired, changed, healed. The brain is capable of regenerating itself for repair! Until next week when I get a little more in depth on how the brain works in conjunction with what we tell ourselves and choose to believe, I invite you to make a list of your own cognitive distortions, or the lies you believe about yourself, and hopefully over the next week or two I can unpack further what I’m learning and some tools to apply to rewire our brains! I’m super excited about this, because I have some of my own patterns of thinking that I desperately want to conform to truth.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Think of a situation you were in that caused you distress, anxiety, fear, etc. where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? Describe the mood you felt (usually a mood is describable in one word), and what were the automatic thoughts that crossed your mind?

For instance, you might have been on a first date, and you were feeling like it wasn’t going very well, so suddenly your mood is nervous, or gloomy, etc, as you begin to think about your automatic thoughts like “He looks bored”, “He’s going to think I’m so clumsy because I’ve done one or two things over dinner that were clumsy while feeling nervous” or “This is the same restaurant I came to when my last boyfriend broke up with me”, etc. Pay attention to each of these things, your automatic thoughts, your mood, and present or past situations that may be acting as triggers to your current mood. Ask yourself the following: what was going on before I started to feel this way? What am I afraid might happen? What is the worst thing that could happen? What does this mean about how the other person feels about me? What images and memories do I have? All of these things help a person to begin to think about what you are thinking about and out the pieces together as to why you are feeling the way you do, or thinking what you are and what caused it. Oftentimes when we begin to examine our automatic thoughts we see how negatively or self sabotaging or self critical we really are. These automatic thoughts, left unchecked, can form belief systems that are untrue or debilitating to our self esteem.

This is precisely what I’ve been up to in my spare time – trying to determine my thinking distortions, find the origins, retrain my brain in its errors of reasoning, and understand other related factors, such as the mental, emotional or spiritual roots to physical ailments. It bears repeating… I’m a nerd. But I love it! Next Wednesday I will come back to this and explore it further…. I believe it’s an important subject to live a life that is full and meaningful. No point in believing lies when the truth sets us free. Negativity only causes us all sorts of harm.

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Personal Development Program which will help you overcome depression, unhealthy thought patterns and so much more!

Cheers!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

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Found Wanting


Those of you you who have been following my blogs will know that on Mondays I blog about the books that I am currently writing, the first of which, is called “Found Wanting”, and on Wednesdays I blog about my life, current events, things I enjoy, or new news on my life coaching business etc, anything that gives the reader a little info about who I am and what I’m about, or current events in my life, and Fridays I blog about life coaching/personal development/relationship and psychology related topics, offering free tips and tools to overcome varying circumstances in life. I am about to start a stress management series this Friday. For those of you who are new to my blog, this will give you an idea of which blogs you prefer most to tune into. I am nearing the end of giving excerpts on this book called ‘Found Wanting’ without giving away the entire book! Lol! I will have 2-3 more excerpts on this book, before I move into blogging about another book I am currently working on!

But for today, let me re-cap what the book Found Wanting is about. The title itself is meant to be a play on words, with two separate meanings. The first half of the book is geared to understanding from a christian perspective, what the ‘fall of man’ was about. How independence and mistrust in the heart of God for us led us into a place of isolation and far from the dependency and trust in His good heart toward us and his character wanting nothing more than to lavish goodness and blessing upon us as children dearly loved by a father God figure. As in earlier blogs I mentioned the community of one-ness between the triune God, Father, son, and Holy spirit, who were involved in a community of one-ness and completeness, and full of love. God IS love. It was within the heart of God to extend that invitation for fellowship and relationship to humankind who he created with this purpose and intent in mind: To love us and allow us to experience the love within the community of the Godhead. It was his desire that we reciprocate this love as well. To receive it, to love God and to love others, created in the image of God that all may know this wonderful love of God. But part of love involved the freedom of choice -free will as we call it, to NOT love. If we are not given the choice to NOT love, or NOT receive love, any relationship is reduced to a servitude or control by force which removes the ability to love freely. The only way love can truly exist is with the freedom to not, so that loving becomes a choice and not merely a dictatorship. But because God had an enemy, an angel of God who fell I his vanity and pride, seeking to be greater than God, but lost the battle and was unable to achieve the greatness he sought after, he forever became intent in hurting the heart of God by attacking those God created in his image (us, humanity) and trying to convince us that God’s character and heart for us was not good. The sad reality is, we bought the lie. We’ve been living with that lie at the core of our being, questioning the goodness of God, looking for answer’s on our own and trusting our own ability and strength, rather than trusting him. We became convinced we must look out for ourselves because who else would? We were introduced to the harsh realities of life, and our experience taught us that what God said was a lie. Where was this goodness he spoke of? If God is a good God, why does he allow evil to triumph and pain to exist? On and on the questions go. And the belief system is rooted ever deeper in our hearts that God must not be good, which develops our alternate belief system: I must look after myself. I must protect myself. I must be in control, the very nature of the enemy of God who sought to be greater than God. Arrogance, pride, independence. I will not discuss these questions all over again, as I have discussed them in previous blogs (on Monday’s), but may open a discussion on some of those questions in July when I am finished giving an overview on this book, prior to getting into my next book I am working on.

My intent for today is to evaluate the second interpretation of the title ‘Found Wanting’, which rather than the first definition to be ‘found wanting’ or ‘lacking’ or deficient’ due to sin, rebellion and independence against the God who both created, loves and pursues us, the second interpretation is meant to explore what happens when we come back to that place of believing, and recognizing that God does, indeed have a good heart for us! When we experience that ‘aha’ moment of revelation, that ‘God moment’ as it were, where he arrests our attention, when he stops us dead in our tracks, when the unseen reality of what is unseen invades the natural and we ‘know’ to the very core of our being that we have just ‘met God.’ There are so many ways in which it happens, it can be simple and tender, it can be a vision that brings the awareness of the divine to life for you, it can be a download of so much information, wisdom and knowledge in an instant where you feel your mind has been expanded and enlightened to receive far more information than you know you could possibly take in in that instant without the divine being responsible for it. It could be your whole life flashing before you in an instant, whilst feeling the presence of angels surrounding you wanting to comfort and minister to you while God himself reveals the pain, the hurt, the wounds, the limiting beliefs you have held onto, while his peace and his presence met over you as he begins a work of healing and restoration to your soul. It is that moment when he shows you where he was when that traumatic experience took place and he reassures you of his unconditional love for you, when he reminds you that no matter what you have done or where you have been, he is with you, and he has always loved you, and reminds you that you were created for a purpose, that your life is not merely an accident, but divinely woven together by god, of immeasurable worth, not worth that is conditional in what you do or don’t, but simply because God loves you and gave you worth no matter what. It is innate, God given, because of his passionate heart for you to love and pursue you with the longing of reciprocal love for Him.

So being ‘found wanting’ in the second definition involves remembering that God loves us, and because he first loved us and we get that taste of this love, we suddenly are beside ourselves, found wanting, as in desiring God in return. Why does this happen? Because of the very nature of love. Love is generous and ever expanding, especially the love that God has for us, the unconditional kind that never changes, never ends, is kind and merciful and gracious, and as a result of believing that Jesus took all of our sin upon himself in our place, knowing that there is therefore no more punishment or consequence for sin, because the son of God, part of the triune God, became flesh, became a man, lived a sinless life, died on a cruel cross taking all the sin of the world with him upon the cross so that we might believe in him. That our doubt of God’s goodness might be replaced with the realization of his love, drawing our hearts back to a desire to love God as he has loved us. But belief is the cure for our unbelief. And believing can be hard, especially when the response is so simple:

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For whoever believes in him shall not be disappointed.” Romans 10:9-11

That’s it? That’s all I have to do? And yet, why is it so hard?

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are of the spirit, the things of the spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so… However, you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you… So then, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to it…but if by the spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body (sin), you will live. For all who are being led by the spirit of Gid, these are sons if Hod. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons!” Romans 8:1-15

In the middle of that last passage the clue to why it is so hard to believe is there in the text. “the mind set in the flesh is HOSTILE to god, it DOES NOT SUBJECT (or submit) to God FOR IT IS NOT EVEN ABLE TO. This is the crux of sin nature: hostility towards God, hardness of heart, unbelief, independence from God. It’s root? Believing a lie that the heart of God is not good for us, Believing that God is not real, or believing he doesn’t care, whatever variation of the lie that you have believed… And what happens over time is a hardening of our hearts. At first or may be felt as a tender moment of “where was God when…” fill in the blanks, perhaps tears where shed… You felt alone, abandoned. You questioned his heart, his goodness… And over time, it became a hardened belief system embedded in your deep inner heart that God doesn’t care. The purpose of God sending his son was to show us in a radical way how much he loves us. Who hasn’t heard of the concept of laying your life down for someone you love? In combat, it is done all the time, one man takes a bullet for his buddy, sparing his friend’s life. In just such a manner, this is what God did…Jesus, referred to as God’s son, fully God, fully perfect, became a man and lived a perfect sinless life, and then took the bullet for us so to speak. All that rebellion against God, all our moves away from his love, Jesus took all of our sin and wrongdoing, our pain, our unbelief and gave us a visual of real love: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This is exactly what Jesus did to say “I love you. My heart for you has always been good. Return to ,e that I may show you my love, that you may receive my love.”

The response to being really loved… Is to love in return. This is God’s desire. That we may know his love, receive it, love him and pass it on to others that they too may know this great unfailing live of God!

This is what it means to be ‘found wanting’ as in desiring God. If you have ever been in love and ache while apart from the one you love, and long to be in their presence as soon as you possibly can, and take in, saturate, breathe in the pleasurable feeling of being loved, you can relate. This experience is possible with God… To be found desiring the nest moment where you get to enjoy the intoxicating presence of love -perfect love from God, the only kind of love that can bind up all your wounds and bring wholeness to your brokenness, comfort to your mourning, completion to your lack of direction, community to your isolation, and much much more! I want to be found wanting and desiring God forever.


ImageI’m wrapping up my series on abuse, with some tools to break the cycle! We’ve discussed verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as the subject of bullying and violence in the workplace over the past month. Today I want to equip you with some tools to know when to stay and when to go, how to hold your ground and maintain your boundaries, and respect yourself in the process.

The decision to continue or end the relationship will likely be a difficult one. You have history together, some good and some bad. You are likely fueled with hope for repair, that maybe ‘this time it will be better’. Envisioning your life free from the abuse is foreign and distant, and let’s face it, often things that are unfamiliar are fearful. What will life be like without him or her? You hold onto hope, because there is a part of you that is so attached to ‘need’ for the relationship. As I mentioned a couple weeks back while discussing sexual abuse, the same holds true for all abusive relationships: “our lack of connection is a big reason why we choose unsafe people. If we are not able to connect in an intimate way with others, then we will often pick people who are unable to connect as well. If someone is isolated inside, she will pick isolating relationships until she addresses her problem. Fear of abandonmennt fuels an ongoing isolating connection.Many times someone who is in a painful relationship should set strong boundaries or cut off the relationship altogether for a time. But he fears being alone so much that he can’t do it. Every time he thinks of standing up to the other person, or getting out of the relationship, he is overwhelmed by feelings of loss and aloneness, and he either avoids the difficult step to begin with, or he quickly caves in. Because he doesn’t have primary safe and supportive relationships, he would rather have the unsafe relationship ghan nothing at all. This… keeps the isolation and abandonment going.” Dr. Henry Cloud PhDImage

The above quote is the precise reason why choosing to end an abusive relationship is so hard.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”

-William Blake

Before we examine reasons to leave an abusive relationship, let’s take a look at some good reasons to stay.

If your abusive partner has admitted to being abusive and has begun to take some of the following steps to change the abusive pattern, you may want to consider going the distance or at least staying a while longer to see how sincere or permanent this change is. The steps your abusive partner needs to take are as follows:

  • 1. Admit to himself that he is abusive and acknowledge the damage he has done.
  • 2. Understand the reasons why he abuses.
  • 3. Understand her abusive pattern and work on her unfinished business from the past that traps her in the abuse cycle (ie. having been abused as a child – hurting people hurt people)
  • 4. Admit to your partner that you have been abusive.
  • 5. Apologize to your partner and work on developing empathy for her and others.
  • 6. Learn and practice ways to identify her anger, pain and sress in constructive and healthy ways.
  • 7. Identify your triggers and false beliefs.
  • 8. Seek professional help. Be willing to see a counselor for the long haul until the root issues are revealed and being dealt with.

However, this is not the only thing necessary for change to occur. Believe it or not, the abused person needs to take some action as well in order for this process to work. If the abused partner is willing to do the following steps, there may be hope for real change in your relationship.

  • 1. Admit to yourself that you are being abused and acknowledge the damage you have experienced as a result.
  • 2. Understand the reasons why you chose an abusive partner to begin with. (ie. examine the isolation/fear of abandonment mentioned above).
  • 3. Examine and understand the reasons why you have put up with the abuse.
  • 4. Understand your pattern and work on completing YOUR own unfinished business. This can be done with a therapist if you are unsure how to go about doing this.
  • 5. Confront your partner on his or her abusive behavior. Believe it or not, but this is a CRUCIAL step. If you are unable to do this, there is little hope for real and lasting change. You will need to examine the subject of boundaries and how to set and maintain them for your protection.
  • 6. Pay attention to your feelings. Sometimes emotional abuse is subtle, and you may not even be aware that it is taking place, especially when you become accustomed, or ‘used to’ it. Notice physical reactions like knots in your stomach, or tightness in your chest. Pay careful attention to how you are feeling when you are with the abusive person. You DO have the ability to determine when things are ok, despite possible put downs you endure frequently that cause you to second guess yourself.
  • 7. Take your power back by setting up and enforcing your boundaries. I am a certified personal development and relationship life coach and spend a lot of focus on developing solid boundaries. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary coaching session with me if you feel you need help learning about and setting boundaries. You can find me on my website at http://www.freedomlifelove.com to book your free consultation to see whether working with me is the right fit for you. 
  • 8. Continue to speak up each time abuse occurs. If you let it slip just one time, you may be giving up your power, and allowing the abuse cycle to start all over again.
  • 9. Be prepared that if you confront, things MAY get worse before they get better, as being confronted most likely will not sit well with the abusive person at first. But setting limits is the only way to stop the cycle.
  • 10. Be on the alert for the moment it is not working, and you need to make preparations to leave to ensure your safety.

Other Reasons why you stay:Image

  • My partner told me it was my fault and i believed her.
  • I’m afraid I am unlovable, or unattractive, stupid, etc. because he says I am.
  • I am afraid I will never be loved by anyone else.
  • I’m afraid of what he will do if I leave.
  • I am afraid for my safety.
  • I’m afraid I can’t make it on my own financially.
  • You may also struggle with a strong desire to avoid confrontation or
  • a tendancy to try and believe that things are better than they are.
  • You feel responsible for their behavior.
  • You blame yourself for the problems in the relationship because you believe what she says that you ARE the problem in the relationship
  • You listen to the lies spoken and believe them as fact.
  • You make excuses for their behavior.
  • And once again… that dreadful fear of being alone.

Be prepared that if you confront, and say something like “I don’t want you to talk to me that way.” Or set a limit such as “If you hit me I will leave until you can calm down.” or simply let them know that their statement is abusive. In response, you will likely get an argument (or further berating or familiar abusive tendancies.) Are you prepared to stand your ground if this happens? Don’t engage in the argument. Simply stand firm by repeating the same thing you stated before. Be prepared to follow through on whatever limits and consequences you set on their behavior. They may give you the silent treatment. Don’t let him get away with that either. Remind him that this is also abusive and disrespectful and that you do not appreciate it.

If you can do all the above steps (there are tons more… too much for one blog) you may have grounds to stay in the relationship.

Another good reason to stay (at least for a time, to see how things fare) is if you and/or your partner have admitted to being abusive and have begun working with a counselor or marital counseling. Do not stay on the basis of the promise alone that she will go with you to therapy. If she makes good on her promise, then you might have a chance. If she makes a promise to seek professional help and does not follow through, her commitment is not sincere, and you are likely in store for more of the same.

If you make it clear you are unwilling to tolerate abuse of any kind, and your partner is willing to work on changing their behavior and makes positive steps toward change, then you may have a chance of making it work.

If your partner has begun already any of the processes or stages mentioned above and has become less abusive, or not as often, this may be an indication of their willingness to work on and change behavior. Change takes time. Abusive speech and actions are a learned behavior and will have to be unlearned. They may have slips from time to time, but if it is decreasing, and they have become more loving and treat you as an equal partner in the relationship and are actively working toward bettering themselves, deciding to wait and see may not be such a bad idea. Each situation is different, and if you feel in danger in any way, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as you can before it has the opportunity to escalate further.

Some questions to ask yourself to determine the amount of good will in your relationship, as well as to help you determine if getting out or staying is the best choice for you at the time are:Image

1. Do you and your partner have an equal footing in the relationship?

2. Do you have an intimate connection?

3. Do you feel like your partner’s intentions are good when it comes to how he/she treats you?

4. Do you have much in common?

5. Do you experience more joy than pain in the relationship?

6. Do you believe your partner genuinely wishes you well, and may just have some bad communication habits, rather than an intention to deliberately undermine, control, manipulate or destroy you?

Even if you want to say yes to staying based on what I have said above, here are some things to consider when it comes to whether you have endured too much pain in the relationship to stay.

ImageGood reasons to Leave

If your partner refuses to acknowledge and take responsibility for his abusive actions, or admit to being abusive, he is beyond reasoning with, and needs the limit of your leaving to protect yourself from further injury.

If your partner does not seek out help for her abusive behavior… on their own. If you have to do it all for them, you are taking responsibility for something that is not yours to own. They must see the reason for help and seek it out on their own, thereby taking responsibility for their own actions.

If you have made yourself clear that you will not tolerate any further abuse, but she still continues to abuse, you should leave.

If you or your partner are unwilling to follow these suggestions and/or the ones given to you by your therapist, there is little hope for things to be any different. As the saying goes: “The definintion of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!” And another one I particularly like is this: “Until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then you will change.” If you continue to stay involved in the same cycle over and over, nothing will change until you are tired of the cycle and finally the pain is too much to remain trapped in the abusive cycle.

WHEN YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO LEAVE!!!Image

  • If you or your children are being emotionally, physically or sexually abused by your partner. If your partner is overly dominating, controlling, critical or rejecting of you, this pattern may be passed on to other members of the family, such as your children.
  • If your children are being damaged by the emotional abuse between you and your partner.
  • If your partner is physically abusing you or threatening to do so.
  • If you have reached a point where you now have become physically abusive as well.
  • If you are fantasizing about ways to kill or harm your spouse.
  • If you are seriously questioning your sanity.
  • If it becomes clear to you that your partner has no respect for you at all.

Seek outside help immediately. Go to your supportive friends or family members, or an agency in your area that can help you get the help you need.

Learn how to prevent abuse in the future.Image

Ways to spot an abuser:

  • someone with poor impulse control
  • low self esteem
  • selfishness and narcissistic
  • being needy and demanding of your time, attention, etc.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse or addiction
  • A history of abuse (either as an abuser, via his/her reputation among peers, or experienced it as a child growing up. Most kids who were abused grow up either as abusers or the abused.)
  • Any history of mental illness
  • If they exhibit anti social behavior, have a personality disorder.
  • Becomes agressive, demanding or abusive.
  • A need to feel powerful and in control.

Make a list oImagef what you will not tolerate in future relationships. For instance, “I won’t have a relationship that is not equal”, or “I won’t stay in a relationship if it becomes clear that it is all about him/her”, or “I won’t be in a relationship with someone who criticizes me,” or plainly and simply, “I won’t have a relationship with someone who hits me and does not have control of their anger.”

Make your list and set your limits. These will prove to be the boundaries you need to stand on and enforce when and if the time comes for you to have to confront the issue.

If you still wrestle with how to find safe and supportive relationships, circle back to a blog I did in my boundaries series a while back on identifying safe people if you have not already read it, or need a crash course reminder on the subject!

I hope that this information has been informative and beneficial to you, or as a tool to offer someone you know who is currently in an abusive relationship. Please tell them to read this blog and encourage them to seek outside help!

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

 

Networking


Today I want to give a shout out to Khama Anku of spiritual physique in LA California, who has went above and beyond, promoting my life coaching practice, #freedom#life#love!

Khama has been in the coaching business for approx. 17 years and has it in her heart to help promote other coaching practices, such as mine!

So far, Khama has interviewed me for a teleclass on the 4 stages of boundary development, as I believe that boundaries are the essential building blocks for developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Most people skip over this particular subject, or have a vague understanding of the subject of boundaries, or are blissfully unaware altogether how important boundary development is in ALL relationships. You can listen to my interview with Khama at any time. It is available on my website as well.

Khama has also recently put out a detailed video endorsement of my Tele class with her, which I will post today as well on my blog for you to check out below! On top of all this, I am scheduled to do a video interview with her as well, coming soon, and to be interviewed on her radio station as well! I also was invited to go to California to a coaching conference where I will be featured as one of the coaching experts on personal development and relationships!

I am thrilled with the networking opportunity that has come out of this, and have gotten to know Knama a little and she has such a great exuberant heart to undergird and promote other coaches and offer supportive and creative opportunities to market private coaching practices! She has spent much time and effort doing all of this, and I am most grateful! I have entered into an affiliate program with Khama, and would love to promote her products as well, while I am still in the works of developing my own products.

I strongly encourage you to check out Khama’s series titled “Unleashing Your Breakthrough“.  This series is an excellent resource for learning how to Feel more confident and secure, Acquire radiant health and energy, Develop Satisfying Rlationships, Succeed at work you love, and so much more! 

The bottom line is, I am super grateful for the time and energy she has invested into promoting my business, that I would like to extend the same courtesy and invite you to check out what she has to offer.

I am also promoting the A-21 Campaign on my website as well, an organization that helps victims of human trafficking get out and get the help they need to re-orient them back into their lives and deal with the traumatic aftermath of the hell they have endured. If you wish to check out what the A-21 Campaign is doing, please click on the link on my website which will automatically refer you to their website as well! You can find ways to support what they are doing or donate funds to the organization empowering them to do more for these victims of the sex trade. I personally donate 10% of everything I make in my coaching business to the A-21 Campaign.

I am currently finishing up a book on personal development and how it affects our relationships as well. I am hoping to be finished writing it by the end of this month, at which point I will be looking at getting it published! Stay tuned for more updates on that as well!

Networking is such a great idea, and I am thankful for all those who have partnered with me in this life coaching journey! Including my classmates, teacher, and supportive friends who have encouraged me and cheered me on the path to reach this dream of mine!

You can reach yours too! I have faith in you! If you would like some coaching on how to reach your dreams, or in some area of personal development or help with a relationship, please click on the contact me page on my website, and sign up for one complimentary 30 minute life coaching session with me, to see if we both feel that you are ready for coaching at this time, and feel like we are a good fit. If not, I will happily refer you to one of my coaching colleagues if you feel they may be a better fit for you at this time!

If you know me, and believe in my coaching ability, I encourage you to spread the word and recommend me to those in your life you feel would benefit from entering a coaching relationship with me! I do international coaching, over Skype or phone so distance is not a barrier!

Cheers! God bless and have a great day!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


Last Monday, I began to write about the concept of understanding God’s love, and mentioned I would continue the discussion today.

To recap just a little, I talked about what abiding in Christ Jesus looks like, that abiding in Him is abiding in perfect love, which casts out fear, and I talked about God’s commandments to love each other, and that this command does not come from a God who is demanding and punitive, because abiding in him removes all fear of punishment as we begin to grasp the message of the good news of the gospel, which comes down to faith in God. This same God who gives commandments to obey him, does so from a posture of humility not forcing himself on anyone, but rather he respects our free will that He himself gave us, fully understanding that love cannot truly exist without choice. God wants us to love Him, and receive His love. He is on a mission to pursue our hearts and let us know just how much he loves us by sending his son Jesus, to take the punishment of sin upon himself that we may go free. This is the good news. Very simple, yet so hard to embrace… A free gift? What’s the catch? By faith alone? Can’t be. Must be earned. He loves me unconditionally? No way. No one can love like that. Conclusion: He must have a hidden agenda and is not to be trusted, and so we continue to live our lives independent from the love of God, which he desperately longs for us to embrace by faith alone, and by the evidence he gave us by taking away the punishment for sin, by having his son take it on himself, thereby allowing God to be perfectly just and perfectly merciful at the same time. Perfectly just by demanding that justice be done for evil, and perfectly merciful by allowing us to go free from the consequences of sin by embracing the idea that Jesus took all of our sins, past, present and future on himself, and paid the price we couldn’t.

So coming back to the concept of abiding in God, aka, perfect love, which encompasses the idea of keeping his commandments, let’s take a look at these commandments and how to apply them in our lives.

“But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility, receive the word implanted, (Jesus) which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he is, but the one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. This is pure and undefined religion in the sight of our God and Father: to visit orphan’s and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:19-27

“So speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, for judgment will be merciless to the one who has shown no mercy, for mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13

“For whoever keeps the whole law (Old testament law) and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” James 2:10.

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor, love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust is conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” James 1:13-15

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in you? You lust and do not have, so you commit murder, you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask God, and when you ask, and do not receive it is because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3

“Even so, consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies that you should obey it’s lusts, and do not go on presenting your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead and present the members of your body as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are a slave to the one whom you obey, either of sin, resulting in death, or of obedience, resulting in righteousness?” Romans 6:11-16

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law (old testament) could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the flesh, but those who are according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God for it is not even able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Romans 8:1-10.

Again we come back to the concept of abiding in God, in Christ, and the spirit of God, and the law of liberty which sets us free from the old covenant law of sin and death. The law of liberty is the good news of faith in Christ. If the spirit of God lives in us, we have the power through the spirit of God to condemn and put to death our sinful behavior, not of our own strength, but enabled by the spirit of God living within us.

The law of the spirit of life in Christ (or the law of liberty through his sacrifice on behalf of our sin), has set us free from the law of sin and death that judges and condemns us. But there is no more condemnation if I am IN Christ, or abiding in Christ.

“So then, brothers, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to it, for if you live according to the flesh, you must die, but if by the spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are being led by the spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry, Abba, Father!” Romans 8:12-15

Here we come back to this concept of fear again. Our sin nature, the desires of our flesh that wage war within us, enticing us to sin, are what lead us back into the fear of judgment and condemnation. Our sinful acts are what the enemy of God (the devil, or satan) uses as ammunition to judge and accuse us before our Father God. (see Revelation 12:10,11) When we receive and accept his accusation against us, we submit ourselves again under the law of sin and death, rather than the law of liberty which deals with mercy triumphing over judgment and also deals with love casting out the fear of punishment. If we are In Christ, we live by the law of liberty, trusting and knowing and believing that Christ has already paid the price for our sinful nature. We must continue to put to death those inherent sinful desires and choose to live in love which is the fulfillment of the law, rather than living a selfish lifestyle, but also understanding there is grace when we do sin.

The enemy tempts us to sin, and when we yield to sin and are carried away by the lust in our sinful nature, he accuses us before God trying to cause us to subject ourselves again as slaves to sin, so that we forget what Christ has accomplished for us on he cross by laying his life down for us, in our place. The enemy appeals to our self-centeredness, or selfishness, which is why abiding in love keeps us under the law of liberty. Because this kind of love, God’s love, is unselfish. When we abide in Christ, in love, we are putting to death our sinful nature, resisting the devil and the desire to yield to sin, and close doors on the devil to legally accuse us before God, because we come to God, abiding in Christ, the law of liberty, and when we are accused, God sees Jesus abiding in us, and simply says “paid in full.”

If we abide in the word of God, we are able to overcome.

“For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that had overcome the world – our faith. And who is he that overcomes the world? but he who believes that Jesus is the son of God.” 1 John. 5:3-5

The commandments of God are summed up in loving God and loving each other. God’s love is the fulfillment of the law. God’s love fulfills the requirement of the law -perfection’. Perfect love drives out fear of punishment. Christ lived a perfect, sinless life, and his love was perfected by laying down his life for us, in our place, fulfilling the law and allowing us to go free from condemnation and accusations.

Could it be that as we abide in love for each other, (and as we do, God also abides in us), that we are presented with the opportunity through relationship, to encounter the specks and log’s within each other’s lives, giving us the ability to see our own faults as we are otherwise blinded to see through our pride, which deceives us, and through loving each other as God loves us (preferring each other above ourselves) we are made aware of our sin nature and are then able to crucify our sin nature because of love? When we truly begin to love each other, we find this law at work: “love does no harm to its neighbor” and our consciences are grieved when we see our own sin nature (selfishness) affecting the lives of the ones we love and when love begins to take precedence in our lives, we find ourselves empowered to change, thereby taking authority over our sin, and submitting it to God. Just some food for thought.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:10-12

Propitiation means “to appease because of Christ’s sacrifice. The benefits of Christ’s death to man. Not only the benefit of reconciliation with God, but the manner by which we were made friends of God. He is both the sacrifice and the high priest from the old testament, sacrificing himself.”

What is this love that we’ve been talking about, that drives out fear?

Love -agapeo from the greek, means “to love, indicates a direction of the will and finding it’s joy in anything. Agapeo is used of God’s love toward man and vice versa. Phileo (from the Greek) means to contend with, common interests, befriending. Agapeo stands higher above phileo because of its moral import; love that expresses compassion.

Agape, also from the Greek, is another word used for love, meaning “charity, meaning benevolent love. It’s benevolence however, is not shown by doing what the person loved desires, but what the one loving deems as necessary or needed by the one loved. God gave us not what we wanted, but what we needed, as perceived by God (the one loving). God’s love for man is doing what he thinks is best for man and not necessarily as man desires. It is God’s willful direction toward man. For man to love God, he must first appropriate God’s agape, for only God has such an unselfish love.”

“For God so loved the world that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him, has eternal life.” John 3:16

Faith comes from hearing the word of God. Believe it. God loves you. No matter what. He has only been recklessly pursuing us since the beginning of time, since the fall of man into a sinful condition separating us from the ability to receive God’s love, because of the knowledge of sin and death and our mistaken beliefs about the character and goodness of God’s heart. He had to do something radical to show us how much he loves us and desired intimate fellowship with us. He sent his son in our place removing the curse of sin from us to prove that his heart toward us is good. To show us he wants relationship with us and will go to any length of humility to gain our love. He has set himself up for rejection again, by paying the ultimate sacrifice and removing the consequences of sim from us if we receive his free gift of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We can still reject this love if we so choose. But if by faith, we receive this gift, the love of God, we will be saved from the consequences of sin.

“Now for this very reason, applying all diligence, in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self control, and in your self control, perseverance. And in your perseverance, godliness, and in godliness, kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8


I have been doing a series on abuse for the last few weeks in my Friday blogs, and am continuing on that theme this week on the subject of bullying and violence in the workplace. I will finish up the series next Friday on how to break the cycle of abuse.

To get started today on the subject of workplace violence and bullying, let’s begin by defining some terms so we are all clear on the definitions of violence, bullying, discrimination, workplace interpersonal conflict and harassment.

Violence is defined by an exertion of physical force as to injure or abuse. An instance of violent treatment or procedure. It is also an act of behavior that jeapordizes someone’s physical or psychological well-being. It involves a threat to one’s life, safety, health, or integrity. The intent to control, dominate, to injure or destroy, to deprive a person of dignity. Workplace violence includes verbal abuse, threats, physical attacks as well as near misses, psychological abuses, assault, sexual assault, discrimination of any kind, harassment and bullying.

Workplace bullying is a repeated pattern of intentional inappropriate behavior, direct or indirect (aggressive or passive), whether verbal, physical or otherwise, performed by one or more persons against another person or group of people which could reasonably be regarded as under,inning the individual’s right to dignity at work.

Discrimination is any practice or behavior, whether intentional or not, which has a negative effect on an individual or group, because of their race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed (religion), sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, or handicap (disability).

A Workplace interpersonal conflict is defined as a an expressed struggle between at least two interdependent parties who perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources and interference from the other party in achieving their goals.

Finally, harassment is defined as engaging in a course of annoying and provoking comment or conduct, that is, or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, and related to one of the protected grounds in the human rights code. The human rights code includes the following areas of protected grounds under the definition of harassment: Race, ancestry, place of origin, color, citizenship, creed, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, handicap and gender.

The profile of a bully looks like this:

Someone who is insecure, has low self esteem, poor or non existent social skills, little empathy, someone who is controlling, or manipulative, often driven by jealousy of ability, or jealous of relationships.

The profile of a target is someone who is very capable, dedicated, intelligent, honest with integrity, trustworthy, loyal and independent, sensitive, who has the ability to master new skills & perform new tasks. Someone who is well liked, imaginative, creative or innovative, with high moral standards.

Now that we have some definitions out of the way, let’s look at how to define whether your conflict involves a bully or is merely based on assumptions of another person. For instance, if you are a person who has trouble with confrontation, and even hearing that word makes you feel like the very nature of confrontation itself is an aggressive positioning of one against another, thereby defining, by you’re experience that confrontation equals bullying, you will have a hard time identifying between bullying and simple confrontation. Confrontation done well, does not have to involve force or violence, or even raising one’s voice to try and gain a position of power, or strength to confront. It can be done in a very straightforward way, involving both compassion and respect for the person you are confronting. Confrontation CAN be a very loving and caring act if performed with good intent, with no malice or undealt with anger in order to bring about a positive result for both parties involved.

If you are confronting a reasonable person, and not a bully, someone who is able to hear your voiced complaints or concerns, or request for change, this person will respond differently from a bully. They will take what you say to heart, they are able to listen, adapt and change, and give feedback positively, and take criticism well, they are empathetic and are concerned not only about their well being, but yours as well. They have a genuine concern and make effort to improve, change, adapt and accommodate to the best of their ability. They do not allow problems that crop up to become negative continuing patterns. They are looking for ways they can make the situation better.

The bully on the other hand, will try to adjust the truth so he does not have to adjust to it. When given feedback, they become defensive and immediately come back with reasons why something is not their fault. They cannot own or take responsibility for their own actions, and insist that other’s do, by their actions more than their words. They react as though you were the person who needs to take responsibility for their anger and bitterness. This type of person cannot hear or understand how to listen to reason, and cannot reason, they have to control their environment, a d when they cannot get away with that, the begin to bulky to try and get the environment to comply with their perceived ability to control it. They often minimize, blame shift, or make up exaggerated complaints against you, when you attempt to address a conflict. Excuses, rationalizations, minimizing… These are the traits of someone who cannot reason with you when you address a conflict. And when you do, this is often when the bully within them begins to emerge. The only way to deal with a bully is to stop talking, and set limits on their behavior. They do not respond to reason. This is where you need to ensure you have a healthy set of boundaries, so that you can hold your ground.

Know who to contact if you believe you are being bullied. Contact the management team in your workplace and make a formal complaint if necessary. Learn how to recognize the warning signs.
Get help. The negative effects of bullying over time do take their toll on one’s stress level, and psychological well being, as well as one’s productivity or positive attitude in the workplace. If you are experiencing burnout, you MAY be around people who are wearing on your overall well being. Burnout does not always involve bullying, nor is it always the cause, but it can be a symptom if you identify with any of the issues raised in this blog,

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

Stay tuned for next week’s conclusion on the subject of abuse!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday to you! Only two more days till the long weekend for those of us in Canada!!!! And it’s supposed to be beautiful weather! My goal: Get to the beach as often as possible!!!! Be outside in the gorgeous weather all weekend long! What are your holiday weekend plans?

Anyway, today I thought I would write to discuss and update those who know me on a long standing issue I have had with my back.

I first discovered issues with my back in 1997 when I was working at a job where I needed to stand all day long on hard floors. I began to come home from work in massive pain, feeling every bump in the road as I would drive home from work. We began a bunch of tests to see what the problem was. No one seemed to know exactly what the problem was, until around 2003. Prior to that, the only thing they had discovered is that my arches had fallen and they may be causing the pain. When I was finally seen for a CT scan in 2003, they determined that I had spinal bifida occulta occurring in my back. The layman’s terms they put it into for me was that there was a section in my low spine where part of the bones that were supposed to be there, were not fully developed or missing. This occurs at birth they told me, that the bones had not finished developing by the time I was born. I have researched spina bifida and am grateful my condition is not so serious as some who can’t walk, or have disfigurements in their back. Look it up sometime! I’m not a dr. and have wrestled for years to understand what is going on with my back. This first CT scan had also revealed that that there was a nerve root conjoined between the L-5 and S-1 section of my spine (right near the tailbone). There was also mention of disc bulging and some loss of disc height in that disc associated with the disc bulging. But I have so much good news to share as a result of my appointment with the surgeon on Monday! It seems some small miracles have taken place in my back! According to the most recent scan, there is no loss of disc height in this area anymore!

The current issues that remain are a large posterior disc bulge and disc space loss at the T11-T12 area of my back (mid back). It is causing a mild mass of effect on the spinal cord. There is significant degenerative disc disease in this area. I also have rotoscoliosis in the mid lumbar area of my back. (google the terms for more understanding if you want!) It measures 18 degrees, approx a 30 percent curvature in my back and a slight fracture as well spodylolisthesis in the L5-S1 area. To simplify, I have a very slight slippage of that disc as well as a curve in my spine that is projected to get worse over time by the doctors. But there is good news!!! First of all, I do not need surgery at this time! He only expects it to get slightly worse, and does not understand why I have pain as it is a mild condition. But I now have the ability to get cortisone shots when I am in very severe pain! He also gave me exercises to do that will help! He basically told me the solution to my problem is to have bad posture! He said because of what is happening in my back, good posture makes it worse! Lol! That is simply too funny! As everyone says we are to have good posture! Apparently, I’m off the hook!

So the miraculous takeaways I got from this visit to the orthopedic surgeon are the following:

1thing from 10 years ago has already been healed!
I do NOT need surgery!
I should not have pain with this condition
I have not been in pain in many months!
I believe in full healing for my back! I believe it is possible!
He was looking at images from 1 year ago. If positive change happened from 10 years ago, I believe it can happen again!

Today, I have faith! I am grateful for a good report!

Stay tuned for my blog this Friday on abuse. I will be discussing workplace bullying, and will finish up the series next Friday, the 25th on how to break the cycle of abuse!

I will also be doing a mini series on stress for the month of June, ending with a 2 hr stress management webinar on the 19th & 26th! For those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, burned out, check out my website for more information and to sign up for the course! Go to http://www.freedomlifelove.com for more info!


So yesterday I took a hiatus from writing for the day… I had an appointment with a specialist re: my back. I’ve been on a waiting list for about eighteen months now! I will likely blog about that on Wednesday with some updates, but as a result, it took much of my day yesterday, with the long wait times, so I decided I would take an unofficial vacation day, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon with my husband, who also took the day off work to come to my appointment with me.

So I’m catching up today. I am blogging today what I was supposed to write about yesterday…God’s unconditional love, and what that involves. I will be quoting myself from something I wrote over 2 years ago when I first began to have a revelation of why the ‘good news’ that is talked about in the new testament is such ‘good news!’ I have been in church my whole life and didn’t quite understand how to grasp the message of grace. I admit, I am still a work in progress at understanding this important principle. The revelations I am about to share became the ‘Aha!’ moment of discovering the content of the book I am writing, called “Found Wanting”.

Here is what I came to understand:

“no one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12

“And we have come to know and have believed the love which aged has for us. God IS love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16

“By this, love is perfected in us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

So let’s begin to unpack the above verses a little. Let’s start by getting a fuller understanding from the original Greek that the new testament was written in, and translate more fully the words “abide”, “judgment”, and “punishment” from the passages I just quoted.

Meno- to remain, to dwell, abide, to persevere, to stand firm, to remain alive, to wait for, to remain under, be patient, patient towards things and circumstances, long suffering, or patience toward people.

Krisis- judgment, a separation, judgment, final sentence, the final judgment, to pass judgment, judgment of condemnation, the cause or ground of condemnation or punishment.

Kolasis- punishment, to punish, torment.

Now part of this good news of the gospel of grace that Jesus spoke of involves this:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ.” Romans 8:1

What does condemnation mean?

Katakrima, condemnation – to divide, to separate, judge, to be decided against anyone, a condemnatory judgment.

When we love one another, which we will define soon), God abides in us and He perfects love in us (for Him and each other). Two verses come to mind that I will briefly reference concerning the love for God and each other.”love the lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.” and “Love if the fulfillment of the law.” When we abide in God’s love, loving each other, and Him, God not only abides in us, but this is HOW love is perfected in us. Why does it matter if this love abides in us? Because it gives us confidence in the day of judgment. God’s love casts out the fear of judgment and punishment. Why? Because Jesus Christ took our punishment on Himself, therefore we are no longer condemned. There is now NO condemnation (the result of judgment) for those who are abiding in Christ. If I am IN Christ Jesus, I am abiding IN him.

Jesus uses an analogy that says of himself that He is the vine and His father is the gardener. He goes on to say:

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it so that it may bear fruit…Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up, and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned.”

This last verse deals with the consequences of not abiding in the vine. The life that comes from abiding is not there and the branch dries up and dies.

Jesus goes on to say, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved you, I have also loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you that my joy be in you and that your joy may be made full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:7-14

Those of you reading this that do not yet understand the love of God may read the above passages by suggesting that God is a demanding, punitive God, who punishes those who don’t abide in Him, and that he commands obedience, without question. Yet, we forget, this same God created each one of us with free will to make up our own minds. He does not dictate that we MUST follow Him, for he knows that love cannot exist in an environment of force, so instead, he places himself in a vulnerable position, the God who loves us and longs for our love in return, humbly gives us free choice to reject and neglect him and to NOT love him. He is communicating here, merely that abundant, full life comes only by abiding in his love, because only his love is perfect. How well we see this modeled in our lives. When we carry resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness in our hearts, it acts as a poison that kills and destroys our ability to dwell in absolute love. When we have been hurt by other’s imperfect love, and we dwell in fear of being harmed again, we still wrestle with understanding the love that comes from abiding in God’s love, which heals, and enables us to rise above our own human nature that wants to stay wounded, angry and justified to judge and punish those we’ve been burned by, and instead, rise above that, and sit comfortably, resting in the knowledge that God’s love is perfect and does not fail, will not damage our self-esteem, and instead, heals us, enabling us to then love others as he does, because if we are loved perfectly, then love heals us to love more perfectly than we can on our own.

Abiding in perfect love (God) keeps punishment and the consequences of punishment away from us. Because God’s love casts out the fear of punishment. The hint of why perfect love casts out fear of punishment is in this verse: “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid his life down for us, taking our punishment on himself.

“We know love by this, that He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our friends. For whoever has the world’s good and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in Him? Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18

“Since you have in obedience to the truth, purified your souls for a sincere love for each other, fervently, (deeply) love one another from the heart, for you have been born again, not of seed which perishes, but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22,23.
(in this reference, the ‘word of God’ here, is not referring to the new testament as it was not yet written. Jesus himself often references himself as ‘The Word of God’. So again we see that concept of abiding in Jesus for a freedom we have not yet unpacked.)

So what does this love look like? How do we lay down our lives for others?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, let each of you regard one another as more important than himself, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of other’s. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:1-13

Stay tuned next week Monday, for part 2 of this blog. I really thought I would have enough time to get it all in today… But there is so much to say of, and learn of the love of God, to really begin to appropriate it, yet alone understand, take in and receive. His love is so massive, it truly is inconceivable. Almost too hard to believe, too good to be true… And yet it is. He loves us and pursues us like none other, and His love for us never fails, never ends, never quits. His love is big enough to even let us walk away from him if we don’t want to receive his love. It breaks his heart, but he respects our free will. And he will not break that promise!

Sexual Abuse


Sexual abuse is a major problem in today’s society, going far beyond domestic violence, sexual exploitation has become a major multi-billion dollar business exploiting and trafficking human lives to sexually gratify one person at the expense of another. Although, in the case of human trafficking, this gratification goes far beyond one person’s gratification, as a whole industry is gratified lucratively for monetary value at the expense of innocent lives sold into slavery to fulfill a greedy lust for power, money and sexual addiction, and perversion. Let’s face it, to pay for sex with an unwilling participant is cruel to say the least, but goes to prove that we have an incredible problem with sexual addiction in our culture. Only sexual addiction and lust for power and greed can ignore the humanity of another to gratify one’s own lust. The purpose of this blog is to discuss sexual abuse and not sexual addiction, so I will not go in depth on that particular subject, but I will say this much before moving on: sexual addiction is not even about sex. It is coping mechanism for early childhood boundary violations, or trauma, or to cope with a lack of nurturing. It is a ‘quick fix’ to deal with much deeper issues of isolation and emotional neglect, or other issues a child cannot figure out how to deal with that are traumatic in their life. It is a way to temporarily ‘feel better.’ it may even be caused by being sexually violated themselves in childhood.

So let’s take a look at domestic violations that seriously affect a child on into adulthood, often for the rest of their lives without divine intervention and intense healing to allow the consequences of the violation to be made whole.

Sexual abuse is a form of physical abuse, as it is a physical violation, involving a lot of shameful emotions. It is also a boundary violation, coming back to the series I did on boundaries, one of the boundaries that we have is physical, involving who can touch us and how. The problem with sexual abuse, especially in childhood, is that this boundary is completely disregarded, teaching the child that they do not actually ‘own’ this boundary, or the right to say ‘no’ to unwanted and inappropriate touch. Just like the out of control problem with sex in our culture I just mentioned, the same principles apply in domestic cases of sexual abuse. It is the same issue: one person exploited and taken advantage of for another’s sexual pleasure.

Children take in a lot of information and pick up on everything. They are very observant and can feel that something is inappropriate or ‘not quite right.’ But they lack the development to know what something healthy should look like if it is not modeled. The problem of sexual abuse is that suddenly a child becomes unsafe in their own home. They lose all ability to know what ‘safe’ should be. Sadly, this carries on into adulthood, and a recurrent pattern of sexual abuse continues throughout their life.

Some of the effects and consequence of sexual abuse that happen in the life of the one abused, is that they learn that they do not ‘own’ their own bodies, that they do not have the right to say ‘no.’ the same shame and secrecy and threats from childhood resonate deep within their spirit. Often the abuser threatens with ‘don’t tell anyone, or else’ messages. The child can grow up believing she must give herself away, and is not allowed to set limits on other people’s behavior, or that she is powerless to do anything about it, as she was powerless in childhood to her childhood abuser.
All sorts of confusion can arise. Everything from confusing sex with affection, nurture and intimacy or she may become rigid and avoid sex and fear affection believing affection will cause sex which has all kinds of negative experiences associated with it in her mind, because sex was not a mutually beneficial experience for her. Sex and affection are interpreted as ‘exploitation.’ Sex may not be seen by someone who has been abused and violated as something enjoyable and safe. It often involves fear or a resigned detached participation believing she is powerless against it, to the opposite extreme of offering her body willingly to anyone, in search of finding affection and nurture, but because these things were distorted from sexual abuse, she lacks the understanding of knowing what authentic nurture, affection and intimacy really are.

Other common effects are an inability to trust, ana an altered sense of impaired judgment to determine what is ‘safe’ from ‘unsafe’, unable to properly judge character, as this part of them has become shattered by previous abuse. Often we choose people to connect to very subjectively. We base it on who we feel a connection or sense of attraction to, or what “pulls us” toward someone. This in and of itself is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing, but for one who has been abused, the sense of ‘familiarity’ is what draws a person to repeat abusive cycles. We are drawn to the familiar. We are also drawn to ‘complete’ our growth & development. If there is some unfinished business in the area of growing, we are attracted to what feels familiar in order to complete that growth. Unfortunately, attempting to complete that growth without awareness of what the unfilled need is, ‘pulls us in’ to cyclical patterns, doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different or better result. This is why those who have experienced abuse of any kind, need retraining in a sense. They need to understand a healthy set of boundaries to teach them how to be drawn to healthier relationships. This is because some of the basic tools for living were not taught or distorted in their early development. As I mentioned above, trust is one of those areas that becomes distorted from sexual abuse, the same applies to boundaries, and can also distort our decision making processes, (ie. being drawn to unhealthy people, inability to follow through with promises, inability to make decisions, or trust their decisions,) and it can also cause problems with planning and organization.

Other problems that result from sexual abuse are anxiety and stress disorders, depression, eating disorders, panic attacks, compulsive behaviors, rage, self mutilation, self hatred, problems with concentrating and much much more.

Some of the disruptions that take place for normal development involving any kind of abuse include a lack of predictability, sense or order, love, acceptance, nurture, safety and security, appropriate attention and healthy affection and recognition and appreciation for the talents and abilities and simply the God given sense of a healthy self esteem.

One thing I have not yet mentioned is why it is that once people are in an abusive relationship of any kind in adulthood, why it is that they often feel they cannot leave.

According to Dr.s Henry Cloud and John Townsend, PhD,

“our lack of connection is a big reason why we choose unsafe people. If we are not able to connect in an intimate way with others, then we will often pick people who are unable to connect as well. If someone is isolated inside, she will pick isolating relationships until she addresses her problem. Fear of abandonment fuels an ongoing isolating connection. Many times someone who is in a painful relationship should set strong… boundaries or cut off a relationship altogether for a time. But he fears being alone so much he can’t do it. Every time he thinks of standing up to the other person, or getting out of the relationship, he is overwhelmed by feelings of loss and aloneness, and he either avoids the difficult step to begin with, or he quickly caves in. Because he doesn’t have primary safe and supportive relationships, he would rather have the unsafe relationship than nothing at all. This all-or-nothing split keeps the isolation and abandonment going.”

Sexual abuse in childhood most often leads us to abusive relationships later in life. They may not always be sexually abusive, but the lack of a healthy understanding of one’s physical boundaries can lead to allowing yourself to put up with mistreatment of any kind. As well as the lack of connection and feelings of isolation keeping us locked in a relationship that involves mistreatment of any kind, due to a fear of being alone, disconnected and isolated. Any kind of abuse leads to all sorts of problems. Even if you were not sexually abused as a child, if you have undergone any other type of abusive interactions, these same principles apply, the same lack of understanding of boundaries, the same lack of connection that leads one to try and find some way to fill the void.

There is hope for recovery. There is hope for being totally restored, change can take place. Your patterns of being drawn to unsafe, unhealthy relationships can change as you begin to develop a stronger sense of your self worth, and an understanding of healthy boundaries. The more you begin to value these things, your values will change and you will begin to be drawn to others with the same healthy values. Like attracts like. There IS hope.

Stay tuned for next week as I touch on workplace bullying, and the following Friday as I close the series with learning some tools to break the cycle of abuse, and how to get out of unsafe, and unhealthy abusive relationships. How to know when and if there is hope for change in the relationship, or if you are simply staying for the reasons mentioned above: fear of abandonment.

As I have mentioned from my previous blogs on this sensitive subject, if you or someone you know is being abused, in the words of the song twenty seven million, “We’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up, be her voice, be her freedom, come and stand up!” Contact the appropriate authorities, Children’s aid, or the police, or whatever the situation calls for. Go to a shelter for battered women if you are a woman being abused. Seek help! If you are a mother or father who has a child coming to you telling you they are being abused, take them seriously, listen to them, stand up for them and don’t ignore it. Do not be passively involved in allowing it to continue. If you are not standing up for your child for fear of your own safety, you need to seek help for yourself as well. It is likely you too, are being abused in some form or another.

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

I would also like to mention on a closing note, that my coaching business, Freedom Life Love, supports the A-21 Campaign, an organization devoted to fighting against human trafficking and rescuing those sold into slavery, and helping to rehabilitate, restore and re-establish these victims back into society. I would also recommend downloading the song “Twenty seven million” by Matt Redman and LZ7 from iTunes on the subject of human trafficking, as the proceeds from your purchase of this song go towards rescuing these innocent children and youth from their exploiters.

Let us ‘rise up’ together, and be the voice, be the freedom, be part of the solution to the problem of abuse!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

Unconditional Love


 

 

I mentioned on Monday that I would talk a little more today about unconditional love today.

Since I am going to unpack what God’s love for us looks like on Monday, excerpts out of my book ‘Found Wanting’, I thought today, I might just pass on some good stuff I’ve read from Joyce Meyer on the subject of unselfish, or unconditional love. Some quotes I have read from her book ‘The Love Revolution’ that have really inspired me over the past couple of years.

Helpful tips from Joyce Meyer on learning what unselfish love is, and how to apply it:

 

“One way to love others is to help them not feel worse about the things they already feel bad about.”

I admit, I often find this challenging especially when I have been seriously offended! I am still working on exhibiting more grace toward others, and am personally working on empathizing with where they are coming from so that I can become better at this kind of grace filled compassionate love.

I read this from the book ‘Caring Enough To Confront’ by David Ausberger about caring and confronting which I am working on utilizing in my own life:

Caring

I care about you and about our relationship

I want to hear your view

I want to fully respect your insights

I trust you to be able to handle my honest feelings

I promise to stay with the discussion until we’ve reached an understanding

I will not pressure, manipulate, or distort the differences

I give you my loving, honest respect.

Confronting

I feel deeply about the issues and interests at stake

I want to clearly express my view

I want authentic respect for my insights

I want you to trust me with your honest feelings, knowing that i can handle them fairly

I want you to keep working with me until we’ve reached a new understanding

I want your unpressured, clear, undistorted view of our differences

I want your caring-confronting response.

I am finding these tools as well as others beneficial personally to empathize when someone has wronged me, and I need to remind myself of Joyce Meyer’s advice to not make the person feel worse than they already do! Sometimes… Keeping your mouth shut is the only option if you are not yet able to find the grace to empathize and try to see things from the other person’s perspective, until your own emotions cool!

More tips on unconditional love from Joyce Meyer:

“humility serves and always does what lifts others up.”

“Jesus never made people feel badly because they were not on his level, but instead he stooped to their level.”

“Man’s love fails, but God’s does not. Man’s love comes to an end but God’s love does not. Sometimes I find that although I cannot love a person in my own human strength, I am able to love them with God’s love.”

“Human love depends on feelings. We love people because they have been good to us, or they loved us first. They make us feel good about ourselves, or make life easier, so we say we love them. Or we love them because we want them to love us. But that type of love is based on what they are doing, and if they stop doing it, we will probably stop loving them. God’s love is totally different. When human love ends, God’s love is still available to finish what needs to be done.”

“The true love of God doesn’t depend on feelings it is based on decision. Help anyone who needs help, unless helping them would ultimately hurt them. They don’t have to deserve it. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think the less they deserve it, the more impacting it is.”

“Mercy helps those who don’t deserve help, but unconditional love is not intended to allow people to be irresponsible while we pay the bill. Mercy gives many opportunities, and unconditional love never gives up. It… moves out of the shadows and helps when doing so will really make a difference.”

Perhaps my favorite definition of unconditional love is this:

Agape, from the Greek, translated as unconditional love, or benevolent love, refers to charity. It’s benevolence however, is not shown by doing necessarily what the person loved desires, but what the one who loves deems as necessary or needed by the one being loved.

For example, God gave us not what we wanted, as perceived by God (the one loving), but rather God’s love for man is based on God doing what he knows is best for man and not what man desires. It is God’s willful direction toward mankind. For us to love God, we must first appropriate God’s ‘agape’ love, for only God has such an unselfish love.

I will divulge more into this unconditional love and how it pertains to us on Monday next week! Stay tuned!

Unconditional love has been the single greatest feat for me to accomplish! I long to love this way to the best of my human ability! I am continually humbled by my circumstances when I realize how far I yet have to go to love more and more like God loves! I know I will never be perfect at it, but I greatly admire this kind of love and desire to emulate it to the best of my ability. I am grateful both for my successes and failures in this task, as I learn from each experience how to greater facilitate the ability to love in this way. Sigh. A long ways to go I’m sure. I am thankful for the grace God shows me, as I grapple with learning to extend this same grace to other’s as I try to model my life after the life of Christ. I am a work in progress!

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