Saturday, May 13, 2017

a gift for us on Mother's day: Transforming after we hear the knock on the door: Post Traumatic Growth (Re-Posted from a 2014 post here on Not the Life.)

Post traumatic growth, (PTG) the other side of the coin from PTSD, Post traumatic Stress Disorder...PTG is not simply resilience but transformation.    Resilience may be when we've been blindsided and we just stagger on pretending.  But PTG?  Post traumatic Growth is when we Didn't give up. Didn't capitulate. PTG is Transform.  (You know like one of those little transformer toys you stepped on in your bare feet because your kid "forgot" to put it away. OnlyPTG is much, much better. And of course we will be way cuter than those things when we transform!)

PTG happens after we are rocked to the foundations.. After The Life we thought we had chosen, Implodes. When we  are betrayed in such a fundamental way that we can't just simply stagger on.  The pieces no longer fit when we try to pull the Life We Chose all back together. . So we choose to move beyond, choose to struggle and create a new life of our own instead of living the patterns once laid out for us by others.

We are transformed because we Choose to Create a different Life after the implosion,

But that  transformation depends on fundamental choices we make now. How we choose to continue will effect the rest of our lives...and perhaps more importantly, the rest of our children's lives.

1) First we have to decide upon our  fundamental response

    #A) we can close over the wound,  hide the shrapnel, develop gangrene, actually commit suicide instead of just wishing we could, or we can solve that problem and just go dead inside from Betrayal..       # B) Pick ourselves up and stagger on pretending that nothing fundamental just happened. We'll deal with the PTSD later.
    # C) Grieve what has ended. Give ourselves time to  grow our (new) selves back. Better than ever.  PTG. Transformer toy but way better because we are in charge of our transformation.

2) After that fundamental choice there are other choices to be made, especially if we chose #B) or #C) above.  We need to find friends willing to "understand." women willing to "be there" for us.
We need gather our team, our tribe. Like Evie says, we need to find ourselves in "good company"

We need (hopefully) three who will listen, offer inspiration, point out the bigger picture, explain "boat maintenance" help us row our kids out of harm's way,  row toward a better shore. We need women with whom we can discuss our and their transformation.

Some of our "advisers" may already be personal friends who stuck by us, they might be counselors,We might discover "sisters" out there in blogisphere, just other woman who know  about betrayal. We need sounding boards able to listen and sympathize without trying to take over. Friends we trust to tell stories of where they've been. What worked and what didn't, for them. And then we need to help someone else who  just heard the knock at the door.

It's our choice but we need them, They need us. Nobody really goes it alone.

In her book Sleeping With a Stranger, How I survived Marriage to a Child Molester, Patricia Wiklund highly recommends we find what she calls an "Administrator" who can accompany us to meetings, hearings etc. and keep track of  appointments for us in the first stages, when we feel overwhelmed. Later they'll bring the wine and  celebrate our successes with us. (And help us fend off those "Villagers with Flaming Pitch-forks" when necessary.)

These friends are the sympathetic women  Evie  referred to  in her "Pulling Back the Curtain of Shame" blog post. .

3) Rule # 3 is NEVER  Quit on Ourselves. (Remember we did not Choose #A to begin with and there is no going back now. We have already come too far to give up on ourselves and our children.)   Persevere. Look at Betrayal from a whole different angle ( Remember Evie's blog about how she is now actually grateful to the young girl who reported Jake? The girl Evie  said she once hated as the reason people found out and her world imploded... back then?)

Keep on keeping on. There will be other "new" angles No one can transform our lives  for you. Why should they? I'm not saying there won't be times when all we want to do is   just climb in bed and pull covers over our heads. The world will NOT go away  just because we  wish  it would. Wine does not take care of everything. Eating by the light of the refrigerator won't cut it. Besides we have to fit into our clothes. We have to "interview our interviewer" and clinch our future tomorrow.

4)  In some  ways we need to  take our time.  It's not time to "forget and forgive" just because someone else tells us we ought to. We need to Recognize our strengths.  Reward our own bravery. Remember PTG? Perhaps we can't wish away the whole world but with perseverance we can transform  our world and ourselves with it.

Steal one of your kid's transformer toys. Make that little plastic transformer a reminder. Carry it around in your purse. Don't we know that every Heroine has a Talisman and a Smile and a Sword? My talisman is a little plastic figure hanging off my file cabinet.  She's a  little Red Headed Disney Princess dressed in a long blue dress and cross bow  ...Just as a reminder that there is a before and after....


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Speaking of REAL Apologies , Making REAL amends is more than "What do you want? I said I'm sorry (sorry I got caught out)."(not the 'sorry you feel that way sort of non-apology that just expects the person we harmed "to get over it" This is hurting me more than I ever harmed you?) There are 3 Components to a Real Apology:one that CAN HEAL BOTH THE PERSON WE HARMED AND HEAL US TOO.

Recently there have been a couple of people who 'commented' on Not the Life who weren't commenting but just relieving themselves of 'emotional overload" by attacking others here on the Blog. Even when they (sort or) acknowledged/ apologized realizing they might have gone just a tad too far in 'expressing their anger/ resentment (might dumped stuff  on us maybe because they were angry, resentful but too afraid to say their stuff to the people/ authorities / family members/ prison guards/ social workers/ neighbors and mothers and maybe even the "Offender who was arrested when they knocked on our door and the whole world feel apart ? All the people we/ they ARE  actually enraged at. (I do know the feeling, the rage and resentment that build up...It's NOT fair but if we attack each other?)

Some folks let their anger get away from them. They chose us to dump on us,  they troll Not the Life. Say WE we're 'not entirely honest" and Question others on Not the Life instead of actually apologizing for dumping their rage on others here instead of telling us their stories.)  Why? Maybe because they got hurt and thought we were a safe place to dump their anger and resentment. After all how dare the wives and families of Sex Offenders complain and who could we complain to anyway except each other?  So that left them free to rail and rant and hurt us and themselves here on Not the Life even though they were just hurt and MAD period and they had months/ years of 'unfairness' to dump. (Welcome to our world? I know the hurt. I lash out sometimes and need to go back and really apologize.  I've been dumped on before and this certainly won't be the last time but a REAL apology certainly helps both me and as well as the person who chose to harm me as it turns out.)

SO I want to talk about Real Apologies (not the yes but kind we all hear and offer so often) 

The 3 Components come from a book REVISIONING ACTIVISM bringing depth, dialogue, and diversity to individual and social change by David Bedrick J.D. He seems to think that those of us experiencing prejudice and injustice in the 'outside' world can learn to be the better person ( can learn to apologize and heal each other and maybe even begin to heal ourselves of the anger and resentment that led us to take advantage/ bully/ attack others when we actually recognize our part in causing harm, work through our anger and then be able to offer a real apology to those we have harmed

So here goes: 

Part 1) A clear statement of the offending action ( thus demonstrating that s/he knew what s/he had done and taken responsibility for causing harm.) A non-apology sounds like this: "I'm sorry you feel that way." which implies the offender has not done anything offensive and the problem is just in the eye of the offender  OR that vague old standby: " I'm deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance" as though no person actually committed 'actions' and thus there's no one need for them to understand what led to their own actions,  take responsibility for changing and responsibility for not harming others in the same way in future.

Part 2) An expression of deep empathy for the person they offended. A valuable apology needs to consider the point of view and experience of the person they offended  NOT just I'm sorry YOU feel that way ( suck it up/ get over it..Can't you see I'm apologizing that you feel offended?)

Part 3) A deep and honest understanding of your own motivations for 'doing' the offending action...without this willingness to admit what you get out of harming the people you harmed/ offended  you will continue to apologize and apologize and continuing re-committing the actions that caused the offense.

What David Bedrick's "How to Apologize" chapter envisions is that by taking responsibility for and understanding our actions caused harm, by empathizing with those our actions/ words/ nasty looks harmed and by having courage to understanding what we got out of dumping/ disrespecting taking advantage of them in word/ deed we might just become a better persons than we used to be you know, back when we dumped on everyone around us because we felt so sorry for ourselves.

Making REAL amends is more than  "What do you want? I said I'm sorry (sorry I got caught out)."

Real apologies take work, and humility and they are healing. They allow us to go on.