Archive for July, 2012



One might imagine in a fairy tale world that giving love and receiving love are actually quite normal, straightforward, and even… Simple? Yet, why is it that it is not always so in the real world? What is it that crosses the wires somehow and there is a malfunction, or a ‘short circuit in some relationships where receiving love is actually quite difficult?

First of all, let’s take a quick look at some basics. Everyone of us has different ways we ‘feel’ loved. According to Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages”, he narrows these love languages down to five categories: words of affirmation, touch, acts of service, gifts, and quality time. For those of you unaware of this book, you may already be having an ‘aha’ moment as an example floods your mind why you never feel loved by your husband when he doesn’t buy you roses, but if he spends lots of quality time with you and that’s not your primary love language, you barely notice his attention. Or on the other hand, if she’s always buying you gifts, but rarely massages your back, or runs into your arms for an embrace, if touch is your love language, you may feel unwanted or even unattractive to your wife.

And then there’s the gender differences of course. His needs, her needs, right? She needs to feel close (and yet her definition of closeness is different than yours, most likely!). He needs sexual intimacy. Her ideas of intimacy are slightly different. Yes, she wants sex, but she wants to bond in an emotional way, involving openness and communication, and he rarely understands what she means by that. He needs to feel respected, she needs to feel cherished and valued, like she is a treasure, not an object. She wants loyalty, faithfulness and commitment, he likes to provide and protect, and be valued for it. He likes to ‘fix’ the problem, to be valued for his insights, she wants him to just be a sounding board… He wants to counsel, she says “just listen!”.

With all of that going on, is it any wonder we ever have good working relationships at all. Especially with the opposite gender… Or a completely different personality type. Don’t let me even bring that into the equation! With all the differing personality types out there, it takes a lot of work and a lot of ‘preferring’ each other, a lot of asking clarifying questions to determine just how someone not only wants… But needs to be loved.

But that’s just the intro. Then you get into the baggage you are bringing with you from past relationships, and even your primary parental relationships might come with some set expectations of how things are to be, how one should love, etc. So we have individual love languages, gender differences in needs, bad breakups, and past experiences, what we were brought up with re: family values, ideas, etc, let alone coming from a family past that was abusive, or where there was a failure to thrive, neglect, etc. and then add on top of all of that, the ideal romantic chick flick of the fairy tale happy ever after story, with all the social requirements of perfect body image, the culturally defined expectations of what a man is to be, and what a woman is to be, some too good to be true, and others simply superficial, with no real guidance in learning how to give and really receive love.
Keep in mind, I am not bashing anyone, nor am I jaded by life, I simply see the facts and contributing factors that there are a lot of pressures and demands and ideals and expectations and assumptions… And don’t forget baggage- that we drag into every relationship we enter.

Phew. Tough stuff, and yet somehow, there are massive success stories and happily ever after tales after all. But they are HARD work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But when it comes to receiving love… There is a certain part of the population that generally has a real hard time with it. Giving may come a lot more naturally. When someone offers to pay for your dinner, is it easy or difficult to accept? Have you ever stopped to wonder why?

Are you reluctant, or feel incapable of asking for what you need or want? Can you express what you like or dislike in the relationship openly? Even in the sexual department? When you get what you want, are you satisfied, or is there still a hole inside? Like you are detached and disconnected from the happy emotions that usually accompany receiving an emotional need you have?

If so, there may be some of that ‘baggage’ we were just discussing going on beneath the surface.
If you lack the ability to truly bond and feel connected with another person, you may not have bonded with a primary caregiver in your early development years, or have undergone abuse of any kind. Neglect can cause a person to feel very isolated in their soul. Addictions can cause isolation, especially sex addiction, as it tends to rip apart the ability to really connect in an intimate way heart to heart, soul to soul, with your partner. Why? Because often deep shame accompanies it, which no one is comfortable to admit, and shame rips apart self-esteem. Low self esteem is a major player for sure, and can be for any number of reasons and begin at any time in life, usually accompanying some traumatic event. Rejection can tear at our sense of worth and esteem. On and on the list goes on. If you live with a split sense of self, like you can only project the ‘good’ or capable side of yourself, performing your way through life, you likely don’t connect very deeply with others as you wrestle to risk enough to let someone see the less than perfect parts of yourself.

I would highly recommend reading the book “Receiving Love” by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D & Helen Lakely Hunt, Ph.D for some great insights. Even if you are not the psychology nerd that I am and are not as much interested in “why” you feel you cannot receive love, there are some great exercises at the end of the book that you can practice with your partner if you really want to try and overcome the inability to receive love.

I will leave you with a couple of starter ideas that my husband and I have tried that really work.

One of the exercises we tried was to tell each other 5 things we were grateful for each day that the other person had done that we felt was loving.

Another idea is to create a gift list. Write down the things you want on your list (if you are working with a modest budget, keep that in mind while writing your list. Don’t make it unattainable. When you are finished, you swap lists and the other person is responsible to randomly give you that gift. If you both purpose to do this, it can be a very beneficial practice in allowing yourself to receive. It doesn’t even have to cost money. It could be “I would feel like it was a gift if you picked up after yourself and put your dirty clothes in the hamper!” or perhaps, dancing in the rain or some cities have the movies under the stars idea where they show free movies in a park that could serve as a free romantic night… The sky is the limit. The purpose is practice!!

Emotional flooding is another great exercise where you sit down with each other and just tell each other all the wonderful things you love about them, their natural abilities and talents, appearance, character qualities you admire, etc.

The book I just mentioned contains the above examples (I believe there is more to each assignment though) and many more.

Just remember this, if you forget everything else that I have said: you were created with divine purpose, in the image of God, loved by God, and were created to be loved, to be able to give and receive love, and no matter what anyone else says or thinks about you: you are worthy to be loved. Let go of that self critical voice affirming all the reasons you can’t be loved, and start changing the message: write a list of why you should be loved, why you are lovable right now, and have some compassion for yourself! The bible actually puts it quite well when it says to love others as you love yourself. In fact, most faiths share this golden rule. It is difficult to love others truly if you cannot see enough value in yourself to love yourself. If that seems too difficult, start with this: ask yourself “what do I like about myself?” and begin repeating those messages as affirmations regularly. You may be surprised how quickly you begin to see value in yourself. You are doing the work of building your self esteem. Don’t sabotage it by the self criticism. Pay attention to its voice as it creeps in, and let the sentence end midair as you breathe in an affirmation about your worth and intrinsic value!

Have a great weekend!

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Confrontation is always a tricky subject. Either people fear it, and don’t confront when necessary, or confront far too aggressively or haven’t developed effective skills for dealing with anger. Confrontation is a difficult word and a difficult subject altogether. Before we go any further, let’s look at a couple of definitions for conflict, forgiveness and confrontation:

Conflict: To come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, in opposition, at variance. To clash. To fight or contend; do battle. Struggle, strife.

Forgiveness: To grant pardon for or remission of an offense, debt, etc. Absolve. To give up all claim on account of, remit an obligation, to grant pardon to a person.

Confront: To face in hostility or defiance. Oppose. To stand or meet face to face to acknowledge contradiction.

 

From Conflict to Forgiveness:

Conflict is inevitable in every relationship, simply because each of us has individual beliefs, values, ideas, preferences and the freedom of choice. When we ‘clash’ with another person’s perspective, we have conflict. Conflict can arise for any number of reasons, From misunderstanding or abuse, or power or control that one person asserts over another, to differing points of view, or values with an unyielding stance that one’s own opinion is always correct. As this is a loaded and very deep subject, we will not get too heavily in depth on either the subject of conflict or forgiveness, but we will stay on a high level looking at the concepts as an overview, with real practical assignments to help get you started in the right direction to dealing with conflict and forgiveness and effective ways to confront each other when differences arise, or when we have been hurt, or have been angered by the actions of another person.

First of all, conflict often arises when we feel we have been, or have legitimately been ‘hurt’ by another’s words, actions or behavior. Often the first emotion we feel is anger, or blame. Anger is a protector. It protects against hurt. It is a powerful emotion that enhances one’s sense of power when they feel injured by another party. We tend to see things in an all or nothing perspective when angry by seeing the other as the attacker, exploiter, or invader, while we see ourselves as the innocent victim. While this may be true in a small number of cases, (in which both parties will often know only one person is at fault), more often than not, as the saying goes: “It takes two to tango”. Although the level of responsibility for an offense may not always be equal, in most situations, especially close relationships with spouse, family, or friends, some of the responsibility lays with each party involved in the conflict. It is hard to see this when angered. A helpful tool for dealing with anger is to remember this acronym: F-E-E-L.

The next time you feel yourself getting angry or critical, try the following:
F – Focus – on yourself instead of your partner’s offense and remind yourself of what each letter means. Then remember to focus on what you are feeling beneath the anger.
E – Emotion – Determine what the emotions are that you are experiencing beneath the anger, for example, hurt, rejection, fear. This may help dismantle some of your anger.
E – Empathy – Remember to express empathy for the person you are in conflict with. Remember that they are not perfect and neither are you. When you are able to see you are not perfect either, you get of the judge’s bench and can now see your partner/friend, etc. as an equal participant who also hurts and feels. Try to understand where they are coming from, and feel empathy or compassion for them, to remember that you have basic good will toward each other.
L – Leave – If none of the above is working, leave the situation. It is probably best to discuss this with the person prior to an angry outburst as to how you will address conflict when you are angry. A good rule of thumb if you need to leave the situation because you feel you are losing control of your anger is to determine a length of time for a time-out from the confrontation. Ie. 20-30 minutes to cool down, so that you can address the issue when you are not as heated. Make arrangements to check in with each other every 20-30 minutes (or whatever time frame you set) to see if both of you are ready to resume facing the conflict without blowing up at each other.

Now that we have a basic background on conflict, and some healthy anger skills, let’s take a closer look at how to confront well. As we see by the definition of confrontation, it CAN in fact be a real battle or struggle, or fight or contend with another, which often seems to stand in stark opposition with forgiveness.

But let’s look at a couple healthy tools to confront someone while still respecting them.

Here are some things we can do:

1. Speak to others as you would like to be spoken to.

2. Remember to maintain basic goodwill toward the person you are in conflict with. Try to believe they have likely have basic goodwill toward you as well.

3. Attempt to empathize with this person. Try to imagine where they are coming from.

4. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Do not interrupt or make assumptions on what they mean. A lot of conflict is due to mis-communication, or misunderstanding of the intent of someone’s words.

5. Make sure you clarify what their intent is by repeating what they said back to them in the form of a question to ensure you properly understand the meaning they are getting at prior to jumping to conclusions. Perhaps you will even need to clarify what your definition vs. their definition of a single word may be. ‘Conflict’ to you may mean hostility, blame and shame, whereas to someone else it may mean sitting down together and carefully discussing differences of opinion while respecting each other’s individual perspectives.

6. Validate what the other person is feeling. They are likely not interested in your feedback, and will continue to escalate in temper if they do not feel heard or understood.

7. When all the wrinkles are sorted out from the first person’s side of the story, reverse roles and start the process over, allowing the other person a chance to have their voice heard. Basically, take turns. Work though one person’s issue first and then the other’s. This will keep things far less confusing and more structured and on track.

8. Love unconditionally. To the best of your human ability, try to respect the differences of opinion other’s have, and keep in mind that you DO care enough about this person or relationship enough to work at it by confronting it in an effort to make life with this person far less miserable, and perhaps even, remarkably better!

9. Do not attempt to confront while you are extremely angry. Sort that out on your own time
and find healthy ways of doing it so you can confront the offender when you have cooled off.

10. And again, take time outs when things get too escalated. Walk it off if need be. make a check in plan with your partner or spouse prior to the actual confrontation as to how you will deal with conflict when it arises. Stick to the plan!

11. And finally: Do not let the sun go down on your wrath. As much as possible, try and resolve it the same day. Wounds fester with more time to milk the wounds and can compound the situation. As far as it depends on you, try to live at peace with everyone. The reality is, some conflicts will not have a happy ending. After all, it does take two to tango. And each person has a right to choose how they will respond to the situation. (side note: there are some major life altering, devastating, catastrophic or abusive situations that will likely take much longer than a single day to work through and heal from relational injuries. These issues will obviously be more complex than a simple argument. You may need to seek professional help for more in depth and long term issues.)

David Ausberger has masterfully written a great book called “Caring enough to Confront” where he discusses alternate caring ways in which to confront well. He terms it “care-fronting” and suggests that “care-fronting unifies concern for relationship with concerns for my goals, your goals, our goals. So one can have something to stand for (goals) as well as someone to stand with (relationship) without sacrificing one for the other or collapsing one into another. This allows each of us to be genuinely loving without giving away one’s power to think, choose and act. In such honesty, one can love powerfully and be powerfully loving… The twin abilities of 1) concern for the other and 2) commitment to one’s freely chosen goals do not need to be sacrificed, compromised or conflicted. They can both be sought in harmony and healthful assertiveness. Care-fronting has a unique view of conflict. It sees conflict as natural, normal, neutral and sometimes even delightful. It recognizes that conflict can turn into painful and disastrous ends, but it doesn’t need to. Conflict of itself is neither good nor bad, right or wrong. Conflict simply is.”

One final piece of food for thought on the subject. Try to not use blaming words like “you always” or “you never”, rather try saying, “I feel” statements, remembering that you are only responsible or able to control your own actions and responses. Fixing blame never fixes the problem. Try not to avoid and hold your values, your partner’s and the relationship in an equal place of high esteem. Try to realize you are not always right, nor do you always need to get your own way. It is easy to point out “the speck in our brother’s eye” while ignoring the “log in our own eye”. Simply put, we tend to esteem ourselves as higher or better or more self righteous than others when we feel we have been wronged. It is rarely the case that only one person should take all the blame for a dispute. Have the courage and humility and willingness to look for your own part in the disagreement and quickly own it and apologize for your part in the problem. A little humility will do us all a world of good!

Have a great weekend!

Host Blogging


Hello everyone!

I took last week off from blogging to get refocused and re-energized, and simply to take a break to enjoy a few days of summer bliss! As some of you already may know, I am a bit of a beach bum! I LOVE lazy summer days at the beach! And the weather has been so hot here in Toronto Canada, that some might even complain it is TOO hot! But not me! I think I was meant to live in a warmer climate! Lol! Summer only lasts for three months here! I’d prefer to have summer all year long! I tend to hibernate in the winter, and come alive in the summer! You can’t keep me indoors in the summer! So yesterday, where was I? At the beach on probably the hottest day this summer! 33 degrees Celsius, with a humidex factor causing temperatures to feel like 43 degrees! And I was loving it!

But I digress! I was intending to use today’s blog to inform my fellow blog followers about a change in plans with my blog for the next little while.

First of all, I will not be blogging on Mondays until September, when I will be re-vamping my Monday blog. I will however, continue blogging on Wednesday’s and Friday’s, the same focus as before. For those new to my blog, Monday’s I have been blogging about a book I am in the midst of writing, and Wednesday’s are about me, things I love, updates on my life, fun vacation stories, or things I’m learning, or passionate about that I want to share with you all! I even post poems on Wednesday’s occasionally. Friday’s have been coaching/psychology related blogs about personal development or relationships. As that is what I do for a living, coach people in those areas. Please check out my website for more info at http://www.freedomlifelove.com for more info, or to request a free 30 minute complimentary session with me!

So, here’s the second part of my change in plans. I am thinking of picking back up on my blogging on Monday’s in the fall with a new theme to try out. I am considering offering that day to host blog other bloggers, and hope to connect with other’s to host blog on their sites on Monday’s.

Here is what I’m looking for:

I am looking for content related to psychology and relationships.

If there are any coaches out there who are blogging and want me to host your blog, please contact me.

Anyone posting on inequality and justice related to abuse, or human trafficking, women’s rights, etc.

Anyone who is an author looking for more exposure for their writing, preferably non-fiction, but I will accept fiction as well.

Anyone blogging on social media tips for authors looking to market their work, or tips for businesses to market their company, and the latest trends in blogging do’s and don’ts.

Anyone blogging with writing advice to authors on how to polish your work, editing, marketing, promoting, publishing process, etc. so I can pass along advice to those following my blog, as well as to promote other’s blogs!

If you wish to be hosted on my blog for any of the above or any other related content, please email me at Katie@freedomlifelove.com for inquiries. In the subject line, please write: ‘Host blogging’.

So that is my new direction for blogging come this fall for Monday’s! I am also looking to host blog some of my coaching blogs as well. So if you are interested in host blogging some of my writing, or know of anyone who is host blogging who might be interested, let me know!

Hope you all are having a great summer!


I’m starting a new series for the next couple of months on relationships and marriage. Over the next several weeks, I will discuss such concerns as how to effective deal with confrontation, forgiveness, receiving love, some marriage basic ‘need to know’ tools, differences in gender needs and love languages, etc. Today I want to start the series off right by addressing some essential characteristics of healthy relationships. I will address more of the same in subsequent blogs.

Relationships can be difficult even for the best of relationships, and even though those relationships you look to as examples of how to get it right, that seem so streamlined and perfect while you watch them in admiration from a distance – those couples know a very important secret: Healthy relationships take work! While there are many contributing factors to making a relationship great, I am going to touch on some key elements to getting you started on making your relationships great!!

First of all there is commitment. It must be paramount in your relationship with your spouse or potential future life partner (for those of you not married yet).

What is commitment and how sincere is your commitment to each other? We live in an age where commitment is a word not really understood. With high divorce rates looming, we seem to as a generation lack a clear understanding of what commitment means. The marriage vows we read on our wedding day, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, give way to the wedding plans and the excitement of the day itself. And many traditional wedding vows are no longer being used.

Just what are we committing to? And when you’ve been down the road of marriage for many years, just how fresh in your mind do those early vows remain? There are reasons why the book of proverbs tells us so clearly to guard our hearts and even our eyes, to keep us from the temptation of greener pastures elsewhere when you are doing the real hard work of marriage -being truly know and loved for your flaws and all. Commitment certainly is something we need to newly re-evaluate and determine once again: till death do us part.

Honesty is integral. If you cannot be honest with the person you are spending the rest of your life with, you will have major problems down the road. Your secrets will not stay hidden, even if you have been successful for years. All that is hidden comes to the light. Once it is exposed, often the damage is so severe that many relationships fall apart. Without honesty, you cannot have a real relationship. You cannot be fully known. If you are not really known, you cannot truly experience intimacy. To be known requires openness. if you cannot be open, you are putting on a show. This is called ‘performance’, or even people pleasing. Eventually, resentment will settle in your heart because you are not being up front. What is not expressed is your responsibility. You are responsible to own your own needs, your own flaws, failures and weaknesses. It is ok to have weaknesses. It is important that they be brought into the light of relationship so that grace can cover over your failures and weaknesses, and that the other person can offer their strength, support or skill to help you become better in some of your weaker areas. This is how it is meant to be. Two imperfect people in a partnership, helping each other along to become all that God meant for them to become.

Connectedness is also necessary. If you do not have common ground, common interests, or understand how each other needs to bond and connect, one or both of you will experience great lack. It is important however, for me to uncover a great misconception here: your partner is not meant to meet ALL your needs. There are varying relationships in your life, as it was meant to be, for you to find fulfillment and be well balanced in your life. Women need women friends. Men just don’t understand the finer details that another woman ‘gets’ quite naturally. The same is true for men. Guys bond in ways in which women cannot understand, or compete with. But at the same time, there must be a connection in your primary relationship with each other. It is a good idea to sit down and determine how you need to bond and attach, figure out what ways make you feel the most loved or respected. How do you feel heard and understood? What do you need? Figure out what these things are and sit down and communicate to each other so that you can both work diligently at preferring each other in order to connect and attach in ways the other person will feel most loved and connected with you.

Effective communication. This is a very critical element required to sustain a healthy bond with your partner. This is also where most relationships break down. Effective communication involves active listening, affirmation of what the other is saying, and though this might sound silly, sometimes even simply acknowledging the other person’s point of view before jumping in with your own can de-escalate an evolving crisis! Make sure you clarify what you have heard the other person say, and ensure you understand his or her viewpoint before running on your own assumptions of the other person’s motives. Remember, we don’t EVER know another person’s motives unless we ask questions to clarify. Try and avoid ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ statements, blaming, and only seeing from an all or nothing perspective fixating your attention on every flaw in the other person. Try and remember to be merciful and gracious towards each other, believe the best of each other and have basic goodwill towards each other. There are many more tips I can offer on this most difficult part of relationship, but these are some great tips to get you started!

Separateness & respect are not often addressed when looking at relationship tools, but are definitely not to be dismissed. Oftentimes, initially in the early stages of a relationship, both people feel like they are ‘the same’ as each other, that you both like the same things, hold the same moral or tradition or religious beliefs, but can be sadly mistaken down the road to realize ‘I am not the same as my spouse’. I hold different ideas on how to raise a family, or how many kids you want, or different vacation preferences. These things can extend into very deep areas as well. You may hold different theological perspectives on life, or even just enjoy differing leisure activities. The more we can learn to both respect and appreciate the differences in each other, the closer we come to a place of the desired intimacy you both want. No one wants to be controlled. No one wants to feel manipulated into doing something you are opposed to. We need to respect each other’s individuality, encourage it, come along and support each other in the areas of difference. In this way, we are respecting each other and loving the ‘whole’ person rather than accepting only what adheres to our own perspective, sending a message of rejection to the other person that who they truly are is not good enough.

Dealing with conflict well. Here is where your effective communication skills need to be used meticulously! Do not get sloppy in this area! Remember in your anger that you love the other person enough to treat them respectfully and with dignity and grace. I will address this subject in further detail in a subsequent blog as I believe it deserves fuller attention than the scope of today’s overview.

And above all, love. Speaking of which, the most important element in healthy relationships is love. Sadly, love is a word thrown around so easily, and taken away so quickly when the going gets tough. We misunderstand love immensely in this culture where we love everything from our favorite television program to our Gucci handbag, to our favorite car or pair of shoes. We love our iPhones, our favorite dessert, to most any kind of food really. We use the word so carelessly that it has lost its meaning. And love in these terms has a limit. We take it back when we don’t mean it anymore, when we no longer ‘feel’ loving towards someone. This kind of love is not real love at all. Real love never fails. It never gives up, it never quits, it never stops hoping or believing for good to come about. Real love is unconditional. It does not seek its own agenda first, but prefers others above oneself. It never gives up. This is the kind of love we need to learn to emulate.

Stay tuned for next Friday as I unpack healthy confrontation tips further!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


 

 

 

To all my Canadian readers: Happy belated Canada day! Hope you all enjoyed a great long weekend, and to all my American readers, happy fourth of July! And to my mom, who shares the American holiday by having a birthday on the same day, happy birthday Mom!

The first week of July is usually pretty busy for my husband and I, what with all the celebration festivities going on around Canada day, my mom’s birthday on the fourth (today) and my mother-in-law’s birthday on the 6th! It is a week of celebrating special events!

I just wanted to share a little about our Canada day long weekend and how we celebrated the weekend!

I guess our festivities began a few days before on the 28th, when my hubby took me to Edward’s Garden’s in the north end of Toronto, for a picnic dinner in the park, where he read romantic poems to me for a special date night! It is really such a beautiful garden, I will post a pic so you get the idea!

On Friday, we had a fabulous beach day at Wasaga beach, approx. an hour and a half north of Toronto. Beautiful fresh water beach, shallow water for forever it seems, making the water especially warm, just the way I like it!! Lol! We had dinner on the patio of one of the restaurants on the strip, and simply enjoyed each other’s company, great food and warm weather! Fabulous day!

On Saturday, after a fantastic workout at the gym, we decided to go out for a nice Thai dinner! Thai food is my absolute favorite!

On Sunday, Canada Day, July 1st, a few close friends celebrated the afternoon with a pool party, and BBQ dinner, after having went out for lunch with friends as well, and converged with a larger group of friends Sunday evening in Mississauga, for a free concert with Carly Rae Jepsen, and Juno award winners, Dragonette before kicking off an awesome fireworks display to end the evening off right! I LOVE fireworks – but only if they are good! These definitely qualified!!

And Monday the second was still an official stat holiday, so after my hubby had a game of golf with his buddies, the two of us headed out to see ‘The amazing Spider man’ in theaters! Great movie! Amazing long weekend! This weekend promises to be more of the same summer fun as myself and a couple of girlfriends explore many of the waterfalls in Hamilton Ontario. We’ve hit two of them already, so I’ll post a couple of pics for you, so you can enjoy them too. The one we saw on our last hike, Tew’s falls, is 42 feet, just shy of the 50 feet Niagara Falls boasts to be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you all had a great Canada day weekend for those Canadians who celebrated it, and hope my American readers have a great holiday today! I would love to hear your stories of how you celebrated your country’s national holiday! Have a great week!

Stay tuned for my kick off blog on a relationship series starting this Friday! Catch ya later!


Last night I wrote a poem that I wanted to share on an issue that is relatively a big deal – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Originally, it was thought that PTSD was something only military personnel experience coming back from experiencing the trauma of the horrors of war. Now while this is most certainly the case, and very true, in more recent years, the condition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been enlarged to any traumatic experience people go through, experiencing the same types of symptoms common to PTSD.

Anything from a major car crash, to being robbed, molested or raped, experiencing a natural disaster of some kind, major relationship betrayals or abuse, finding out your partner has been having an affair… On and on it goes. The only qualification is that the symptoms of PTSD MUST be present for more than one month.

I will not get into the symptoms in this blog, except for those which are mentioned in the poem I am about to share with you, but you can google the symptoms, or check back with me and ask, as I will eventually get to a whole series on PTSD at some point in the future. I think I have it slotted for November at this point in my Friday blogs! In the meantime, enjoy the poem I wrote just yesterday on the subject.

Locked In

My life just crashed
And fell apart.
Left for broke
I was on my own,
Locked in a cage
Of isolation & fear.
No hope of rescue.
Despair consumed me.
Out of the depths I cried out:
My God, My God
Why hast thou forsaken me?
Locked in a cyclone Of turbulence
Between anger, fear, rage
Forgiveness, hope, despair,
Comfort, isolation, disorientation
Numb, aching, anxious,
Sad, depressed and alone.
Longing for intimacy in private moments,
Guarded from everyone
Not letting a single soul in.
Locked in a cycle of sabotage,
Of self, relationships and love.
Alone, at risk for injury,
Despairing of life, hopeless, anxious
Avoiding, crying, numb again.
Who have I become?
Where did I go?
Why can I no longer feel love?
This is the face of PTSD.
Trauma destroys, demoralizes,
Shreds apart hope for normalcy.
Am I safe?
Can I trust?
Can I risk again?
Flashbacks, nightmares,
Coping mechanisms.
How do I accept this tragic event
That tore from under my feet
The last shreds of belief
That the world was relatively safe
And love was good?
Irresponsible, reckless, wish to die
How can I hide from this awful terror,
This darkest night of my soul?
I awake to relive it over and over again
And wonder will it ever be over?
Will I ever be whole?
Will I be forever changed by it?
Transformed to this new being
So dissociated from life and
All that is around me.
Nurture… Will I ever feel it?
Loved… Will I ever truly believe it?
Disillusioned again by
This whole cycle of life,
Will I ever recover enough to truly sing
‘this could really be a good life’?
“Wake up!” I yell inside myself
Facing a shell that dulls the sounds around me, locking me in a cage alone
Shell shocked and distanced from what is around me
I live, but do not truly live.
I am a shadow on a wall,
Where did I go?
Who am I?
Locked in my cage alone.
Balls drop, nothing is normal.
The new normal is anxiety at little things that are not a threat,
But the threat feels real.
It interferes with my waking hours, my work life, my social life,
All activities.
Can’t seem to keep everything functioning as it did before.
And I don’t even care.
Deadlines, call backs, follow through… Responsibility eludes me.
Trauma consumes me.
Somebody please, reach out and grab hold of me before I fall
Into a pit of darkness
And forever fall into oblivion.
God help me, God help us all.
Reach out and save me,
Breathe life
Into this broken, dying, empty shell.
Bring hope.

If you identify with this, I’ve developed a Trauma Recovery Program for training on tools to help cope with past trauma.  I’d love to hear from you!

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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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