Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks

In the US, Thanksgiving is today. I wanted to touch on gratitude for a bit.

If you’ve had a recent breakup or life isn’t exactly where you want it to be, being thankful for what you do have is a tough one.

As most of you know I reject the “think a happy thought” philosophy when it stands on its own and does not include a “but do your work that might be painful” component. My experience on both sides of the therapy table had led me to believe that in order to be successful, work must be balanced. You can’t remain in the painful past for a great length of time without coming up for air, doing positive affirmations and working on your confidence.

At the same time you can’t think a happy thought without working through the emotional garbage of the past. Neither way works by itself. Clinical depression MUST be treated, but even if a person doesn’t meet all the DSM criteria for depression, the holidays can trigger a lot of pain if you are working through things and feeling alone.

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Getting Back Out There

The new book will be released sometime next month or early January. In anticipation of its release, I’ll be posting some excerpts and blurb but if you have questions about getting back out into the dating/relationship scene…ask away!

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People Pleasing = Failing

I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–which is: Try to please everybody. ~Herbert Bayard Swope

There are essential insanities and inessential insanities. Essential insanities get us in trouble with others. Inessential insanities get us in trouble with ourselves. It is always preferable to be in trouble with others, in fact it may be essential. ~ Tom Robbins

I believe that my life became incredibly happy once I said to hell with what the dysfunctional people in my life wanted from me. I realized, at some point, that I wouldn’t please them in a million years and I was sick of the fact that I had turned myself inside out by trying to do just that. Continue reading

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If you have recently registered and it said, “Waiting for admin approval” and you have not been notified you received it, please re-register or login (to see if it was approved. There is some buggy thing in the approval plugin and I have deactivated it so you don’t need to be approved.

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Stalking and PTSD

Requested repostcryingI’ve never written about stalking before though I’ve shared some of this with my clients and retreat/seminar/conference attendees. As most of you know, my speaking style is completely “off the cuff” and one reason why is my ability to delve into personal things (or not) and a feel for the audience…I switch from topics when this particular audience doesn’t seem to be feeling it. I try to stay relevant and not have any of my speaking engagements turn into a yawn, but anytime I’ve just MENTIONED stalking, people tend to sit up and take notice. I don’t know if it’s because of their own experience or a voyeuristic desire to listen to how it develops and unfolds. All of my stalking incidents could be a movie unto themselves, so I assume it’s riveting material. If it were not so personal, I would go into greater detail (which, as I said, I do on occasion with clients and attendees at a private event and now that more has been revealed to me, there will be more at the events).

In any case, stalking is a troubling subject and not one commonly talked about. My assumption, from being one, is that stalking victims live in fear even years after the stalking appears to have ended. It’s a mental hornet’s nest you don’t want to take a stick to. But, this year I heard that someone who had stalked me for years (but no time recently) had passed away. The result was one of relief and an insane barrage of repressed memories hurdling to the surface. So much of what I put away for years, unable to deal and not wanting to write about or talk about or acknowledge, came blasting through. It was partially a protection of myself, a protection of a family I had not been in touch with for years, and a protection of one member of the family who had long ago predeceased his stalker relative. But I did not go to the hornet’s nest. Upon hearing of his passing, the hornets nest came, unannounced and unexpected, to me.

I had been with this person for an incredibly short time but the damage he did was deep and powerful. There was unfettered abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal as well as destroying everything I owned including my psyche and despite all the previous acts of unkindness done to me (including abandonment by my birth mother and abuse by my adoptive mother and other boyfriends,)) and this short-lived relationship plunged me into PTSD. I only got through it after a full 10 years of drinking-to-forget, followed by 10 years of therapy and not drinking to recover from the abuse, cheating, lying and all kinds of terrible and horrible things.

One of my reasons for going back and forth in the relatively short-lived relationship was that he, like most abusers, wanted me DEAD if I wasn’t with him and he tried, on 3 different occasions, to kill me while I was trying to leave. A 4th and final time happened when he stabbed me, came about when I refused to cook eggs at 4 am for his drunken ass. I am going to go into this more on the Forums where I know who is reading it and it will be relatively private (and I hope all members of the Forum feel safe also using the Forum in this way or anyone who just reads because they don’t want identifying information in the public view, join the Forum and write about it.)
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8/19 Check in Thread

How is everyone doing?

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Stepping Out of the Dance


Over the past few years people have invited me to different support groups and events to speak. When the organizers want me to start with my story this is something I never leave out. It’s actually a much better story to hear than to read but here you go. It’s a story I tell almost every time I’m asked to speak and one I ALWAYS tell when speaking to women’s groups.

When my ex and I first separated, he would take the kids for “visitation” and go to his grandmother’s and call me up. Although he was supposed to be visiting with the children, he would call me almost the minute he got them back to his grandmother’s house.

He would tell me everything that was wrong with me and how horrible a wife and mother I was…how he abused me and cheated on me because it was my fault, I was so wretched. If I tried to argue or hangup he would tell me that if I did, I would never see the kids again.

I would listen to his tirades and endless castigations against me (complete with every name in the book, including ones I haven’t heard since leaving him). I would cry and beg him to stop. Continue reading

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Know What Hurts and Stop the Pain

change_edited-1One of my favorite Melody Beattie lines is that when you are recovering, it’s important to know what hurts and learn to stop the pain.

When my kids were going into high school they had to have immunizations. They are all needle phobic but my middle son Michael, the toughest one in the bunch, was ridiculous about it. He was a big tough guy that no one ever messed with but he turned into a bubbling little boy when a needle shows up near him.

The nurse came in with a gigantic needle and I watched his eyes grow wide like saucers. She marched over to him and jabbed him in the arm with the needle. He yelped, “GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!” She turned to me and told me to tell him to stop it. I had to stifle a laugh and refused. She was angry.

Too damn bad.
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GPYB Workbook

We have several new members who asked about the next workbook sale, so here it is. You have the choice of on-line (fillable .pdf), off-line (print out the work sheets) and both (some people want both). The special will run for a couple of days.

If you order a workbook, please email me at sj_elliott AT verizon DOT net and let me know because PayPal does not always send me the notification.

FYI, all workbook purchasers may ask me questions about the workbook exercises and I will post a “WORKBOOK FAQ” in the upcoming weeks. If you’ve ever purchased the workbook, feel free to write and I will answer you directly and will put your question in a faq (not with your name, of course!)

If you have questions about the workbook prior to purchase, you can ask in comments and I will answer here.


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Torch Song Trilogy

A perennial favorite on the blog and requested repost:

I saw this movie in the theater when it came out and I was pretty tortured and depressed at the time. I had just ended my marriage and was wrestling with my relationship with my adoptive family. I remember crying at the relationship between Arnold and his adopted son David…I wanted a mom like Arnold, bunny slippers and all.

But I didn’t UNDERSTAND the sentiment, “Love and respect me or get out.” It did not compute. I had not yet learned, as Arnold knew, that love is an action. And I had not yet insisted on it from absolutely everyone.

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