This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this last year. Just because someone is in your life, be it family a partner or a friend – when someone shows you how they’re willing to treat you , believe them. We teach others how to treat us by what we’re willing to accept. In many instances, we simply dismiss negative behaviours and defend with “it’s just the way they are”. By doing this, we teach ourselves that we don’t matter. We’re making the choice to compromise our self worth every time we just “let it go”.
We tend to overlook certain behaviours with the mentality “they’ve always been this way”. That’s true, because they’ve been excused and enabled. It doesn’t matter who someone is to you or how old they are, if their words and actions hurt you, it’s not ok. just because something or someone has always been a certain way, doesn’t make it the “right” way. If it’s unhealthy for you – express it and make the boundary known. If you want change, be the change and don’t compromise your mental well-being to appease another. Not doing this, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, you’re compromising your integrity.
This wasn’t easy for me. It hurt badly, the feeling of being disposable to someone you love. Then I realized, the only ones who will ever leave you for setting healthy boundaries, were the ones who benefitted by you not having any. They weren’t ever truly in your life, it simply benefitted them having you in theirs. Just because someone’s always been in your life, doesn’t mean it was a healthy relationship for you. The right ones stay, the ones who don’t – were never really there. You likely just clung onto the idea that they were supposed to be.
Make the choice to stop sacrificing your emotional needs to appease another. If you feel you have to, that’s when you need to be accountable to “why” and stop permitting it. Learn to love yourself enough to excuse yourself from a table that no longer serves you. Choose whatever and whomever fuels your soul, not consistently depletes it.
The world will adjust, the right ones will remain and the ones who left – were like weeds in the garden, choking out growth to become the best most authentic, healthy version of yourself. Choose you. 💜
Bullying has been saturating the news as of late, its weighing on me heavily. We know the problem – the solution seems simple right? Understandably, when emotions are high, its easy to hate on the bullies, “lock them up and throw away the key” has pretty much been the consensus across the board. The bigger picture is so blindingly obvious and isn’t being discussed… because for generations, it truly has been the most fiercely protected secret – Bullies aren’t born, they’re created… I know, I know.. just hear/read me out, before disagreeing….
Bullying is simply a name used to excuse the mean kid, the volatile boss… this isn’t just jealousy or having a “fight” with their best friend. True bullying behaviour is when someone purposes torments, taunts, verbally attacks and in some cases, a physical assault is made. These kids feed off of another’s pain, it empowers them, sometimes laughing or smiling as they’re doing it. In many cases, “cyber bullying” is becoming a resort, advising someone to kill themselves, they’re ugly, everyone hates them, they’d be better off dead. The victims are afraid, often in tears, crying, feel isolated and extremely alone, the bad is always easier to believe than the good and the “bully” feeds off of this vulnerability, they feel more powerful. Here’s what they don’t feel; empathy, compassion or slight possibly complete void of remorse or regret, which, by definition; Narcissistic Sociopath / Psychopath personality disorders. These personalities create victims. The sugar coating of this can’t be tolerated any longer, which is exactly whats been done to date. These are extremely abusive personality traits and if appearing at young ages – are not only silent cries for help -they should be regarded as immediate flags for a child who either hasn’t received emotional nurturing by their parents or has suffered a significant emotional trauma which studies prove, at a young age can most definitely effect the frontal lobe of the brain during development (up until the age of 21). This is where emotional response is created. During a significant trauma(s) – this can shut down certain neuro-transmitters i.e.: narcissistic sociopath, or heighten them – empath. Some have an ability to disconnect from the trauma and process it without repercussions also.
“What happens in our house, stays in our house”… a term used by generations since the beginning of time. The ones saying this – are those afraid of the truths being exposed. Domestic Violence / Psychological, Verbal Abuse has been hands down, the most guarded secret throughout generations, kept by all who live within the 4 walls. This is exactly why the solution to the “problem” has been such a struggle for schools across the “board”. Social class doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Domestic Violence. Every single true “bully” or the ones labelled as the “freaks” with no friends, gamers, blending in only to stand out… were once innocent little happy babies. Parents may think they’re being the best at secrets and cover ups… kids see and hear all, if they haven’t personally experienced abuse themselves, it imprints on them – plain and simple. The children don’t dare disobey or expose their parent(s) or close family member because these are the same people that nurture them, that love them. The partners of the abuser wouldn’t dare expose the truth as plain and simply – it woudn’t be safe and no laws protect them. They’ve spent most of the relationship with the partner they once loved so deeply – now bonded by trauma and its own addiction manifests, a breakdown of reality and mental health occurs, defending and or excusing the behaviour of their partners, they feel isolated and alone, the partner’s family in almost all cases, protect their “secrets” and have likely dismissed any and all possible attempts to inquire. These victims have children together and so.. the “secret” remains. *** REMEMBER – whats posted on social media, its the hi-lite reel, what we want others to see, the bad the ugly, the truths, aren’t posted… EVER *** . If the school intervenes – in many cases, I’m advised, they fear for the child’s safety (HELLO – doesn’t that speak volumes), after brief encounters meeting the parents or the parents simply don’t care, will dismiss to “kids being kids” … regardless, what doesn’t happen, is the child receiving therapy and or counselling because the parents are the ones who have groomed this child to become exactly who they became. The child grows up, marries and continues the cycle. “Bullies” grow up – into adults who abuse.
How do I know this is factual? Because I was able to escape Domestic Abuse, after recognizing that 5 attempts later, I had no elastic left to spring back, he turned his rage on his child (that I love like my own), I stepped in and faced the wrath for the very last time. I had no idea what a Narcissistic Sociopath even was.. I felt shame, guilt, fear, I knew he was a literal Jekyll and Hyde Monster.. but I’d never heard of any story, experience, hell – even a suspense thriller – as horrifying as my truth…. until I found a support group which literally saved my sanity. It wasn’t one person that understood and could validate every single aspect… it was 10’s of thousands. All on different paths however, we all, male and female, experienced this type of unimaginable abuse. The reality is.. had my abuser, been my children’s father (he wasn’t) … I likely would go to my grave keeping his dark secret… He’d be part of my life forever. I don’t know of a single victim speaking out, when they’re immersed between the “4 walls”. It would be a fate worse than death to be truthful, and as recent Headlines have proven, is sometimes the result.
Think about the hundreds if not thousands in your own personal circle… how many are currently living in a domestic violence environment….? Likely none right, because you’d be getting them out? So if current statistics prove at LEAST 1 in 10 are living with abuse (these are just the ones reported), how realistic is it that nobody we know…. is being abused? I’ll tell you from personal experience… victims become masters at covering up. If you look into their eyes, they are pleading with others, even strangers to recognize they’re in danger.
I’ve been outspoken on multiple discussion forums as of late… for every problem, there is a solution. If the schools are held accountable to their own “Zero Tolerance” Policy Statement, this will immediately hold the abusive child & their parent(s) accountable, it is ABUSE, a report has to be made to the Police, which in turn will activate CAS (Children’s Aid Society) if the child is a minor. This WILL WITHOUT QUESTION… shine much needed light on the secrets between the 4 walls and exposing countless for being the abusers that they are. The victims NEED TO BE RESCUED… current laws don’t recognize Narcissistic Sociopathic Abuse as abuse… “Call us back if he hits you”.. leaving the Victims to Face CAS and the after wrath from their Abuser making it so much worse than before. ABUSE IS ABUSE… there is no mild form.
This “SECRET” kept for generations needs to be EXPOSED for the very real crisis that it is and hopefully with more and more victims speaking out, finding their voice again, recognizing that their silence is creating a future generation of abusive partners…. our generation can be – the desperately needed change. This cycle needs to end. Its starts INSIDE the 4 walls. ALL bullies/abusers are broken, weak, insecure individuals who have been hurt… to one, they may seem powerful, to a group, they don’t stand a god damn chance. Our children deserve better, future generations.. deserve better. WE, as a society NEED TO DO BETTER.
It was evident from very early on, that you were extremely intelligent. All of the milestones I was following in the “What to Expect” books, you achieved well ahead of the “norm”. Walking by 10 months old and talking in full sentences by 16 months. Once you started to speak, you never stopped. “precocious” was a word often used by others to describe you, but to me, you were just my precious baby who was adored and so loved.
By the age of 4, you were extremely intuitive, your creativity, imagination and ability to communicate with a high level of articulation, often made me do a double take – surprised that this mind was in such a tiny body. “Old Soul”, “highly sensitive” and a very “deep thinker” were characteristics that were always apparent. You loved preschool, dance, socializing and playdates were requested often. What was also becoming noticeable, was that you were easily excitable, chatted constantly, if you were focussed on a favourite tv show, you were in a trance like state, it became a bit of a challenge to calm you down if you became frustrated or upset but it was just you being you and were honestly the light of my life, I was truly blessed to be your Mom (still am).
By grade 6, a student who always excelled, suddenly grades all together began to plummet. You loved your teacher, being at school and the friendships made. You never got into trouble, the teachers all adored you and commented often on how empathic & nurturing you were with “special needs” children, you were never disruptive – the grades concerned everyone, further testing showed an enriched mind, so a learning “disability” wasn’t in question. It was suggested we see our family Dr and be referred to a Psychologist. This is when it was diagnosed, you had ADHD & Anxiety.
You’re grown now, but I really need you to know; you deserved so much better, so much more than what I provided you. The truth is, I failed you on many levels as your Mom, I wish I had handled things so much differently – I need you to know it was never your fault or anything you did wrong.
I wish I had taken the time to research every single aspect within the scope of ADHD. I didn’t, I continued to raise you as I always had, with love – but not making adjustments necessary not just to effectively communicate with you, but to understand things from your perspective. That was so unfair to you.
I wish the times you “spiralled”, I hadn’t lost my patience so easily, that I didn’t raise my voice to stop or to be quiet and calm down. Instead, I should have held you in my arms and allowed you the time you needed to calm your mind and decompress. I should have sat with you until you were settled, instead of walking out of the room to calm myself down. That must have hurt you so much and made you feel alone.
I wish I had taken more time to just “be” with you, not just at bath and bedtime, but during so many of the times I became frustrated with you, asking you to stop talking, to calm down, to pay attention etc. The truth is, losing my patience with you – frustrated you more, it must have made you feel “bad” or “wrong”, also must have made you feel misunderstood, simply for being you. This was my fault, never yours.
I wish so many times, I had remembered the age you were, as on so many levels, you were “wise beyond your years” and forgot this far too often.
As you grew into a teen, now old enough to be medicated to aid in your mental health, the nights your mind wasn’t able to be shut off and you watched the sun come up, I wish I had been so much more understanding, instead of so easily dismissing it, in a rush, getting angry to hurry and get ready for school. I wish I hadn’t been selfish with my own time at night, to make the time to lay with you until you were able to rest by focussing on something other than the tornado of lights, sounds, colours, conversations and ideas – that were in high definition during these moments. I wish I took the time to listen, all the times you were in full out “chat” mode, instead of dismissing you or being “too busy”. I wish I was so much more understanding of how much of a struggle school was for you, not appreciating that the classes you excelled in, were ones that you had interest in, high grades were effortless, I wish I recognized that it was the other courses that when you managed to simply pass, needed the most praise & celebration.
What I wish the most, is that I was more supportive, understanding during the times you struggled, recognizing that it was that much more difficult for you, that I spent more time validating your efforts, instead of criticizing as when looking back, you were doing your very best. I wish I never made you feel that you had a problem that needed to be fixed – you didn’t sweetheart, you were being you – and thats all you need to ever be.
What I need you to know, from the bottom of my heart, is that it was my job (and privilege) as your Mom, to be there for you, to support you, to empower, guide and encourage you – all you ever had to be, was you. The times I lost my patience, temper and showed frustration – these are times I failed you. It was never for one single second, you failing me. The only responsibility you ever had, was to be you – for the times I must have made you feel like that wasn’t enough, it was MORE than enough, I love you and I’m so sorry. The truth is, you never needed to do “better”, I needed to do more.
You’ve grown now, into the incredibly special, intelligent, independent, beautiful person both inside and out, that was always without question, the result of your hard work and efforts. I’m so proud of you and who you’ve become, who you’ve always been. I never want you for a single moment, ever to doubt or question how loved you are, how magical your mind is and mostly, that you do and always have, made me so incredibly proud. This world is so much brighter, all because of you.
Part of this “un-becoming” journey to healing, was not only being accountable for my choices, understanding the “whys’ of my decisions in life, but also, facing some significant “tough experiences” for me, that I’ve either struggled with or buried away (avoided). Just as good cream always rises to the top, eventually, so will the traumas that were never faced, to allow healing.
Sadly, I’ve attended more Funerals in my life than Weddings. A few of these, were lives that were taken far too soon. We don’t come with an expiration date (or warranty), we have the blind faith that we’re immortal, especially in our youth, but ultimately, when your times up – its up.
Losing a senior (grandparents) loved one, is hard, it hurts, however whether it be terminal illness or simply their body lived a long full life and was too weak to continue, its “expected” almost, they take their last breath, you miss them, allow the void of their absence and embrace the times you were able to make special memories, which will fill in the dark space inside. I, unfortunately lost friends, close to my own age, many actually, before I turned 28… lives taken suddenly, its not simply processed or considered a reasonable expectation, there is no way to mentally prepare or process a life that was just there – and now, gone. These were each very traumatic experiences for me, as mentioned in the “#3 Coming Home” entry, we didn’t discuss the “tough stuff” in our home, these were definitely tough, I developed a coping mechanism apparently of shutting down and tuning out traumatic incidents as never developed the skills required to effectively process them – out of sight out of mind… but they don’t go away, not ever. They’re compartmentalized, packed up, sealed tight, placed up o a “shelf in the back”, never to be revisited… but, they’re always there…..
A childhood girlfriend, her younger sister was murdered by a previous sex offender that had just been released from prison, a very close girlfriend, engaged to be married and just beginning her two weeks vacation before starting a new career, died unexpectedly in her sleep, two friends brothers were killed, one by a drunk driver, one in a small plane crash, my cousin – took his own life, (along with multiple family members and friends parents passing in between these occurrences). Two sudden deaths, were simply far too traumatic to ever accept or face, I lost two male friends, each, I had such a strong bond with, to date, I’ve never faced, accepted or allowed the stages of grief, until now.
I met Dan, when I was 12yrs old, he was 13, at one of my twin brothers BMX races, just by our house. He was scruffy, nervous, awkward, and we knew, the moment our eyes locked, that we were supposed to be friends. As life has it, I applied at a local golf course just down the road, during my orientation, while walking the grounds, there stood Dan, stopped right in his tracks. Turns out, the golf course belonged to his parents… we became inseparable. As we grew older, I knew he hoped our friendship would turn to more, I only saw him as a brother, the friend zone. He was a “wild child”. Private School, Sports Cars, living the “high” life, was how he was made up. Drugs and alcohol didn’t fall far behind. I was the country girl, lived simply and (likely because of my Dads issues) never got into any “trouble” never mind reckless living styles. Dan’s graduation from College was approaching, he asked me to please come with him, being a private school, it was far away so I’d have to go for the weekend. In all those years, he never had a girlfriend, said he was waiting for me. I was 18, had a boyfriend and didn’t feel comfortable going away. That Sunday, I was working in the Club House Lounge when a friend showed up and asked to talk. I KNEW, just from the look in his eyes… something happened to Dan.. I could feel it. I flew down the stairs and ran over to his Mom’s house on the property… His Step Dad met me at the door, he didn’t have to say a word. Dan was a passenger in an SUV, there were 4 others in the truck, they were all impaired, the driver lost control, crashed into the side of a mountain, Dans body was ejected from the vehicle, everyone except the Driver were killed instantly. My Mom took me to the funeral, beforehand there was the service, as I approached the casket, I noticed the lid was open? I’d never attended an open casket funeral prior. I remember kneeing beside him (oh god.. I’m typing through tears here…) I put my hand on his, it was so cold, he looked like a wax figure from a museum. I told him I was sorry I wasn’t his date, I will miss him and love him, he wasn’t there, I couldn’t feel him there at all. I was in shock. Following this, at the burial, I remember being calm, until they began to lower him into the ground. Complete terror and fear took over, I started screaming and two people had to hold me back from jumping in after him. We drove home in silence, it was never discussed again. I visited him mom a few times in the days to follow. One night, I’m sure she must have had a couple of drinks, she looked at me and said “Why didn’t you just go with him, he loved you, he always did. If you went, he never would have been in that truck”. She sobbed and all I could do was hold her – as the guilt and the “what if’s” filled up my entire soul. Not a single day has gone by following where I don’t think of him, where he’d be in life, would we eventually, when he smartened up, have ended up together… I can’t speak of him without tearing up. I did reach out to his sister via email just last week (I searched for her contact) as was hoping to connect with her Mom, told her I haven’t ever healed from losing her brother and would be so happy if she could pass on my message. She never responded.
Another loss, I’ve never accepted, was my childhood neighbour and friend Steven. He was the first friend I made when we moved to the country, he lived right next door. This tall skinny blonde cutie was 7 and I was 5. He was the older brother I never had. Steven chose a very toxic path in life, much different from mine. From 19-45, he was in and out of prison. When he ws out, he was back in my life, when he went MIA, I knew why. But he was ALWAYS there. 4 years ago, he developed an infection in his heart, I drove to the hospital, we reconnected without missing a beat, I was going back to see him the next night, he passed away peacefully before I could make it. Here’s the reason why its SO IMPORTANT to allow the 5 Stages of Grief…. I didn’t attend his funeral service or the burial. My family did. I simply shut it out of my mind. Wouldn’t accept it, face it but mostly, never said goodbye, even if it was at his final resting place. I hurt his Mom also by doing this. It is without question, the single worst decision I’ve ever made. I live with horrible regret and guilt, and I can’t ever get the chance back again to rewrite this. His Mom knows how difficult it’s weighed on me, but my avoidance of losing his, has left a large dark void in my heart that causes physical pain when I think about him. I am going to drive out to meet his Mom and go to the gravesite together before end of Fall this year to make peace with not only losing him, but to atone for not saying goodbye. I feel both Dan and Steven with me regularly. Part of me believes they need me to let them go.
Grief isn’t easy, its not supposed to be, if it didn’t hurt, their lives wouldn’t have been significant in your life. The more it hurts, the more relevant they were. Hurting means you’re feeling. The stages hurt like a SOB, but allowing them, learning to cope with the pain and working through each as they present – is the only way to be able to fold up everything special, into the memory box piece by piece, blow it a kiss and THEN, place it up on the “shelf”, to revisit should you want to view a happy prior memory. The alternative, when it decides to surface, I promise you, it will – is far more painful and damaging than any healing stage of the process. Its like losing them over and over again with every memory. Their spirit needs to rest, and so does yours.