purposeful journey

7 Feb

winter dawn

The other day, I was on a call one of my colleagues was doing for her community . She mentioned how winter’s harshness can be counterproductive in terms of getting things done with the swiftness that we are often used to.  She talked about how we push ourselves so much to keep going, when in the past winter has been a time for slowing down, resting, closure, and endings.  She used nature to illustrate her point, talking about the end of a year and how it’s symbolized by barren trees, ice and snow.  What she said really resonated with me.  Growing up in Pennsylvania myself, I can see how the transition from one season to the next is the perfect metaphor for life.

As the seasons have come and gone over the past couple of years, they have mirrored the highs and lows of my own life. The infinite cycles of Mother Nature bringing with her the rebirth and growth of spring, the abundance and brightness of summer,  the reflection and acceptance of fall, and the endings and closure of winter.  As we in North America look with anticipation to the thaw and renewal of the coming spring and escaping one of the harshest winters on record, I can’t help but notice the similarities that show up for me.

I’m ready for spring and the end of winter! Proudly admiring the culmination to my labor of self-love:  Me!  🙂  I feel like a brand that’s been remarketed… (read in cheesy TV commercial announcer voice) Jen Halulko!   New and Improved  QSCA Certified formula! Now you get super-charged doses of the qualities you know and love! An Intuitive Life Coach, she’ll teach you how to use your Intuition with the Law of Attraction to deliberately create your life so you can have the love, relationship, and family you desire and deserve!

Aaahhhh.  That felt gooooood!! Like it? I came up with that all by myself!  Hee! 🙂 Seriously though, I’m so excited, and so proud of myself for getting my certification.  I honestly worked my ass off to get it, and it was something I actually wanted to do.  I went back to school for my Bachelor’s Degree because I felt like I had to.  I was working in Corporate America then and to get a decent salary and even be considered for a promotion, I had to have a degree.  Now it’s pretty much a given that one needs a Master’s Degree or higher! I’d started my MBA prior to leaving my job for that reason.  Upon leaving and embarking on the journey of self-discovery that led me here, I abruptly ended that pursuit.  That’s not to say I think poorly of higher education.  For me; however, it wasn’t something I really wanted to do, and for that reason, I stopped doing it.

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of self-confidence to help you notice when you’re doing things out of a sense of obligation or the expectations of others.  So, I went from one day living life just going through the motions, to a complete 180.  Topsy turvy, upside down, sideways, inside out, and back again all in a few months—and it hit me like a ton of bricks—as it would anyone who is used to living to please others rather than themselves. Things happen in life that we aren’t prepared for. 

Things happen in life that we worry might happen and are afraid will happen.  Things happen in life that are extremely painful, but one thing remains consistent through them all.  After we’ve worked through them and come out on the other side, we look back and realize that they were necessary– even required– for us to learn the lessons we needed to learn in order to find our life purpose.

The reason we went through all the struggle and pain in the first place is to get to where we are right now, looking back on those things with fresh eyes, a new perspective, and one of gratitude for the journey.  Painful though it was, we were able to find the reason we are here, the reason we were born, our purpose in life.  Seems crazy, doesn’t it?  I know, it did to me too! But that was before I embraced my gifts or learned about the Law of Attraction.

 

Stay tuned! 🙂  lone woman

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it’s about time…

5 May

Steve jobs on Time

 

 

Where has the time gone??  Imagine my surprise when I logged on and realized how much time had actually elapsed since my last post!  I guess that’s why the saying “time flies” is a saying in the first place.  I’ve been working on some exciting, yet involved projects. I also started doing readings which has been very exciting and rewarding, but I wanted to do more to help the people I’m called to serve.  So, with that intention in mind I finally enrolled in a program to get my life coaching certification.  All that said, a post was long overdue for this blog, and every one of you that show your support for me by reading it were always in my thoughts. 🙂

I published my last post at the end of January and before I knew it, February was in full swing. The month came and went as I handled client appointments, attended classes, created website content, researched material for my teleseminars, recorded meditations, and wrote posts for this blog and my website blog.  All of this was done in my spare time (and I use that term very loosely) while working my “day” job, running my household, and caring for “the Hubs” and 3 kids.  As mundane as the role of wife and mom may sound in comparison to mediumship and life coaching, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

True to it’s name; March arrived and it’s cadence seemed swifter than ever, followed quickly by April.  As I type; and likely before I’m ready, May will give way to June.  That’s how it often goes for us down here on Earth as the sun predictably rises and sets, paying no attention to our ups and downs.  The sun has always predictably shown up to bring me a new day; and a new chance for a fresh start, regardless of whether I chose to take it or not.  Recent years have brought me some of my biggest challenges, and some of the most trying days I’ve ever experienced.  There were days I looked up and saw that cheerful, warm sphere  and swore it was there just to mock me.

This evening as the sun prepares to set like it has on countless others, I can’t help but feel deep gratitude for the sun’s persistent teasing. Because of its tenacity, I rose to greet those days.  As simple as that may sound, it hasn’t always been easy.  There were days I felt I couldn’t face, but on those days I got up and put my “big girl panties” on for 2 reasons:  1. A strong unwillingness to let the people I felt  screwed me over in the past get one bit of satisfaction from my not doing it.  2. I had a responsibility to my husband and kids not to give up.

Sometimes we do things because we want to, and other times we do things because we have to.  It’s when we don’t do the things that we want to because we are worried about others’ opinions or reactions that causes problems.   I have lived my life based on other people’s expectations and you know what?  It didn’t work.  When you are living your life to please everyone else, you are not living your life.  Eventually, it will come back to bite you.  My choice of college, choice of degree, choice of religion, and even the place I chose to live were based upon my desire to please someone else.  I hid from and denied my empathic and sensitive abilities most of my life out of fear of being judged.  It’s one thing to keep going out of a sense of love and responsibility when you’re too weak to motivate yourself.  It’s another thing entirely to live a life built completely on avoiding judgments and pleasing others.  At what point is it okay to live your life according to your values and your standards?  When is it okay to say, “It’s my life and I’ll live it how I like.”  What are the clues that tell you it’s now okay to make your own choices?  When exactly is ‘the right time’? It’s about time. Right now.

 

 

tell me no secrets…

30 Jan

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I had been back to work for a little over a month when all of this happened.  Things had started to get tense almost immediately after I returned to work.  I’m not sure if my aunt was resentful that I had something to do that didn’t involve her, or if she was just bored and lonely.  Whatever the case, I thought going back to work was going to make things easier and reduce everyone’s stress level.  I hadn’t considered that my aunt really did not like being alone and me going back to work was something she would resent.  My husband and I had spent our Saturday off moving my aunt’s things from her storage unit to a shed she’d had placed in our backyard and trying not to tell her off for not helping us.  Some things are best left alone, and I wasn’t in the mood for anymore drama.  I would learn later that  universal law  mandates that what you focus on expands. In the months leading up to this incident, I had been at my wit’s end with my aunt’s moods and unpredictable behavior.  I was so focused on how much I didn’t like what was going on and wanting it to stop.  I didn’t realize at the time that although I wanted everyone to get along and the conflict to stop, I was basically asking the universe to give me more of it.  Vibes are vibes.  Positive or negative, if you’re sending them out, the universe sends them back; no exceptions.  I was focused on all of the negative aspects of the situation, when I should have been focusing on how great it would be when everyone was getting along and happy.

My mom called me earlier that day, and hearing the irritation in my voice asked me what was wrong.  My mom is the first one to admit that she’s not one for keeping her opinions to herself.   Considering, I should have known better than to say anything, but at the time I was angry and I needed to vent.  Later that day, she mentioned what I’d said to my dad.  Compelled by what he was told, he posted his, “Did your aunt ever help today,” question to my daughter’s Facebook timeline.  After my aunt told me what she was so worked up about, I posed what to me seemed an obvious question, “Why are you upset with her for that?  _____ just answered his question.  Seems like you should be upset with my dad, so why don’t you confront him about it?”  My aunt gave me a convoluted answer that went all around the issue, but never really answered my question.  Frustrated, I repeated it.  I still didn’t get an answer that made her reaction make sense to me.  I could understand her anger at the conversation being on Facebook for others to see, to which my aunt emphatically agreed; although she was under the impression that “Everyone can see it!”  I explained that the only people who could see the comments were people who were friends with my daughter and my dad; which is why she could see it.  My explanation only seemed to fuel her fire.  Trying to get back to my point I asked , “Well, whatever your reason, what makes you think it’s OK to talk to my daughter like that? What would possess you? What were you thinking?”  After a few seconds of stunned silence, my aunt proceeded to tell me that my daughter had said “F**k you!” to her first!

Most parents’ knee jerk reaction would be to say, “Not my daughter.  She would never say that,” but not me.  I would have wanted to say that, but after everything we’d been through with our daughter, I would have to check myself.  But, this time I could say,’not my daughter’ knowing I was right.  Thanks to a lack of insulation in most Florida garages, my husband and I heard the entire conversation from our seats outside in our garage.  My aunt and daughter were in our dining room with only a wall separating us.  I stared at my aunt in disbelief.  Even after everything that happened over the past several months, I couldn’t believe she was doing this!  She stood in my dining room indignantly refusing to admit her lie.  My daughter was beside herself.  She was angry about what my aunt said she did, and worried that we might believe it. I finally had to send my daughter to her room to get her away from the situation. Things had escalated to ridiculous proportions with my two younger kids looking on, which was already happening way too often for me.   Later, my youngest daughter would ask me, “Why was auntie being mean to sissy?”  I didn’t know what to say. How do you explain to a 3-year-old about untreated Bipolar Disorder?  What other reason could there be for a woman in her 60’s behaving like she was and blaming a 16-year-old for her behavior? 

During the time before my aunt came to stay with us, we’d spoken on the phone regularly.  During our conversations, I often confided in her about the issues my husband and I had with our oldest.  She was a teenager, but she also had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder which complicated those difficulties exponentially. After 6 years of struggles, things had just started to settle down a few months before my aunt came to live with us. She knew my relationship with my oldest daughter was already strained and why.  I still don’t know why she reacted like she did or felt she needed to lie about it. Maybe it was a desperate attempt to gain my favor over my daughter or a plea for attention.  Maybe it seemed better to her than the alternative of admitting what she did was wrong.  My gut tells me that she lied because she was embarrassed and she really thought I’d believe her.  Whatever her reason, with everything that already happened prior to that night, any respect I had left for my aunt was destroyed.

from an ending comes a new beginning

24 Jan

there comes a time

The news that my aunt had moved back and was staying with my mom this time got me thinking.  I can’t help but feel apprehensive about the idea.  I keep remembering all the things that occurred when she was here before.  I had the same intentions to help her get back on her feet that my mom does now.   I can only hope that since they’ve been friends for so many years, that they will be able to cohabitate without any major issues.  The last thing I want to see happen is see my mom’s lifelong friendship with my aunt ruined because of stubbornness and pride like my relationship with her was.  I can’t help but wonder if she still feels like being right is as important as it was a year ago.   I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past few weeks.  I had several Soul Post drafts ready to be edited and published that I’ve since deleted.  Why? Because they were a recollection of past events that really are insignificant now.  So how does the story end?  Basically, the final straw came after another incident in my life caused by what my uncle Jerry calls “the devil,” also known as Facebook.  🙂

My husband and I had spent our day off moving my aunt’s things from a storage unit she considered too expensive a payment per month to a storage shed she had moved into our yard that she purchased on a monthly payment plan.  We made about 3 trips loading and unloading my dad’s truck and her watching.  She never offered to help.  She just rifled through the boxes as we were trying to put them in the shed. After our last trip to the storage unit; tired and irritated, I enlisted the help of our neighbors across the street to help us with the last load.  With their help, we made fast work of it. I took a break on the patio and from my vantage point could see my aunt picking through clothes with the exaggerated mannerisms of a full on tantrum.  Looking up again, I saw her coming my direction asking, “Did you see what they did?  They just threw my clothes on the ground!”  Shaking my head I said, “No they didn’t.  I saw what happened.  The box came apart as they tried to lift it up and all the clothes started coming out of it.  They piled the clothes on the box and dragged it back here.  They made sure nothing got dirty.”  With that, she stomped away muttering something about how people need to be more careful.  I sat there silently counting to 10 and fighting the urge to tell her just where she could put her precious clothes.  Instead,  I got up and went out front to see if there was anything left.  Finished, we pulled my dad’s truck into his driveway, thanked the neighbors, and made our way inside.  I looked through the patio doors to see my aunt still out in the backyard picking through boxes and no further progress had been made on them making their way into the shed.  After a few moments of considering my options, I went and took a shower and a well deserved nap.  As I laid down next to my already sleeping husband on our bed, I felt justified in my decision.

Later that evening, my aunt and oldest daughter had an altercation.  My husband and I were outside in the garage when we heard my aunt’s shrill, irritated voice yell, “F**k you, __________!!”  Looking at each other in disbelief, we both stood up from our chairs and I asked, “Did she just say f**k you to our daughter??”  “That’s what I heard too,” my husband answered.  I went inside and demanded to know what was going on.  The answer to that question is what ended my relationship with my aunt and why we don’t speak to this day.

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don’t tread on me….or….new year’s deja vu?

5 Jan

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I sat down to write my next post entitled “don’t tread on me”numerous times over the past few months.  Something always seemed to stop me.  After months of unemployment, I landed a telecommuting position and then another.  I was working 2 jobs and that meant work obligations, then there were family obligations and then, of course, the holidays came.  I just never seemed to get the time I needed to sit and write it. I really think it was the Universe’s way of showing me that I can’t move forward while continuing to look back.  It’s common sense, really.  I firmly believe; however, that when dealing with matters of personal growth, it is necessary to look back, at least temporarily.  You need to take that time to reflect, face where you made mistakes, see the lessons you were meant to learn in the adversities you faced, and take that knowledge with you moving forward.  Whatever you have been through, the knowledge you have gained from it will guide you as you take that first step into an unknown, better future. In order for me to move forward into my own better future, I have to finish telling the story I began a year ago. The need for closure and finality keeps me motivated, even though the subject matter is far from pleasant and something I will be  both happy and relieved to finish once and for all.

The ironic thing is; as I type this, Auntie has taken up residence with my Mom next door as of New Years Eve.  I was out-of-town visiting my sister and as my husband and I got my kids situated in the cars to head home, I had a feeling of dread as I thought of returning home.  It wasn’t the usual disappointment at facing the end of a vacation, or leaving a loved one and not knowing when you might see them again; but the absolute feeling of dread and that anxious feeling I’ve come to know as my intuitive sense that the proverbial “shit” is about to hit the fan.  I shook it off,  did what I needed to do as always, and concentrated on the tasks at hand.  That’s how it is with intuitives.  A feeling is just that… a “feeling.”  You can’t always articulate or translate what the feeling is right away, so you put it on the back burner and take care of what you know needs get done.

I made the trek home; 12 plus hours with stops to take my youngest potty and stop for snacks–fighting that nagging feeling that for some reason, I just didn’t want to go home.  It was disconcerting as normally when I am returning home from a trip, the thought of pulling into my driveway is a relief.  I arrived home at about 1 am and dutifully texted my sister and mom to let them know we’d all made it home safe and sound.  I fell into bed exhausted, and fell asleep still trying to push the negative feelings out of my mind.

I woke the following day to the same feeling.  I reached over to the nightstand and picked up my cell phone.  My mom had texted me several times while I was sleeping.  I just couldn’t face the thought of getting out of bed; and that was before I read the texts from my mom.  I assumed the reason getting out of bed felt like such a chore was from the trip home, which had been considerably arduous.  It rained continuously and as day turned into night, it became harder and harder to see.  Add the rain to the wind that was whipping the car to and fro like it was nothing; it made for a very stressful, tiring trip.  Then I read the texts from my mom.  I saw nothing of major consequence at first.  Just the usual.  First she asked if I was awake.  When she didn’t get an answer after a while, she texted me again.  Finally, she texted an exacerbated, “Hello????” to which I responded, “Hi.  Got your text ttyl (talk to you later).”  After a while, she texted, “_____ is here.  Didn’t want you to be surprised.”

My mom had mentioned the possibility of her houseguest to me prior to the holidays.  I had told her that it wasn’t really any of my business and that I couldn’t tell her what to do.  I reminded her of how after my aunt had left the way she did last April, it would only be a matter of time before my Aunt would have nowhere to stay.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out with how she’d behaved having lived with me.  During that conversation with my mom, she had offered to tell my aunt she had to apologize to me if she was going to stay with her.  My response was that if my aunt apologized, I wanted her to mean it.  I knew if my mom gave her an ultimatum, she would only apologize out of desperation for a place to stay if she apologized at all, and she wouldn’t really mean it.  Then my mom said she was going to tell my aunt that she had to get treatment for her bipolar disorder if she was going to stay with her.  I told her that was a smart thing to do, but I’d believe it when I saw it.  I knew that someone desperate not to be out on the street would promise anything.  The proof is in the pudding; so to speak, and again–it wasn’t my business.  I’d done all I could in that respect when my aunt was here and she made it perfectly clear at that time that she had no plans to be treated for her bipolar disorder.

At any rate, I never really thought my aunt would show. My mom and I had practically the exact same conversation a couple of months ago.  I figured she’d get back to her home town and then realize she liked it there and decide to stay, and that was what happened…until…she managed to alienate who she was staying with there too.  I had told my mom every time she brought up that my aunt might be coming to stay with her that I wasn’t surprised and that I knew she was would end up alienating everyone she stayed with because of her behavior and end up with nowhere to go, while still refusing to see the issue was hers and not everyone else’s.  I can’t say that I enjoy being right about that.

When my mom brought up the possibility to me again before I went to visit my sister, I told her that she could do what she wanted.  She’d known my aunt longer than I’d been alive, and I could understand the fact that she was her very best friend in the world and her desire to help her.  I’d felt that way once too.  I explained that unlike my aunt; I’d never put her in a position where she felt she had to choose between the two of us.  My mom mentioned being concerned that having my aunt staying with her would hurt our already strained relationship.  So, I gave her some ground rules.  I told her that if she didn’t want my aunt’s staying with her to affect our relationship, then anything she was told about the time my aunt spent staying with me, she needed to take with a grain of salt and keep it to herself.  I didn’t want to know about it or to be questioned about it.  I asked her to take her own advice and remember that my aunt had “issues” and to also remember the daughter she raised, and out of respect for me, not to bring it up.  I told her if she respected my wishes in relation to those things, she shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

As the sun goes down on the first day of my being within 100 feet of my aunt and mom in the same house next door, I can say with gratitude that I have not been affected the least bit.  I won’t lie though.  I’m not at all happy about the prospect of this person being in such close proximity to me or my family again.  I made sure that I let my mom know what boundaries I had and that I expected them to be respected.  If they will continue to be remains to be seen.  I can set all the boundaries I want, but if she doesn’t respect them, it doesn’t matter.  The fact that I live within 100 feet of my mom doesn’t make the situation any easier.  I plan to remedy that as soon as financially feasible for my family and me, and move.  To be honest, it irritates me that I have to resort to moving away; however, I know down to my bones that if I don’t, things with my mom have a very real chance of deteriorating to the point that we have no relationship at all–especially with the additional complication of my aunt living there.

I haven’t spoken to my aunt in the 9 months since she left my home.  Conflict between adults is one thing.  When you attempt to involve innocent children in adult matters to manipulate the situation to your favor, that is where I draw the line and where my story continues…

When Enough is Enough

10 Nov

Before I pick up where I left off, I’d like to tell you all I’m sorry you had to wait so long for this particular post. This post has had approximately 40 revisions, and has been a labor of love for sure! Writing is normally cathartic for me; however, there is something that feels different to me this time, knowing that when I hit “publish” its there for the world to see. This portion of my story still has a sting to it for me. Writing about it, and essentially reliving and processing it all over again has been much more intense than I anticipated. The purpose of starting Soul Posts was to tell my story in hopes it would help others. If reading my posts does that, it’s worth the intensity I go through sometimes to tell it. With that being said..

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I was in an unacceptable living situation, facing the very real possibility of a foreclosure on my mortgage, and my optimism had gone out the window.  I felt hopeless, helpless, and alone.  I was embarrassed that I hadn’t yet found a job, and I didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with anyone; especially the friends I’d realized weren’t really there for me.  The last thing I wanted was for my feelings to be down played, or to be criticized for letting it bother me in the first place.  I’d spent enough time beating myself up over it, I certainly didn’t need any help in that area.  I felt like there were very few supportive people I could count on, and the ones I felt I could, I didn’t want to bother.  My husband was as supportive as always, but he was living it too.  I didn’t want to upset him more, and I knew he would get more frustrated that he couldn’t somehow come to my rescue and fix it. My good friends were only a phone call away, but I felt guilty calling them.  I knew they wouldn’t mind being there for me, but I didn’t want our first live conversation instead of email in months to be about my problems.

So there I was.  I had gotten myself into quite a pickle.  On one hand, I was living with an increasingly unstable house guest, and on the other I had a former friend I hadn’t confronted yet. I woke up one morning and after dealing with yet another of my Aunt’s outbursts, I decided I’d had all I could take.  Enough was enough.  I’d reached my breaking point.   I was tired of being taken for granted and used.  Things had been building up for some time and what had been simmering below the surface started to boil and bubble over.  I made a decision then that if anything was going to change, I needed to take some kind of action.  I could no longer sit silently hoping that things would change on their own.

I have always been inspired by Maya Angelou, both as a writer and as simply an extraordinary person.  I have a site bookmarked on my lap top of her quotes, and I go there when I need a kick in the pants.  Her words give me courage and inspiration to do those things in life that I consider the most unpleasant. Looking for the courage to stand in my power, I found these:

  • “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
  • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I don’t really think there really is any right or tactful way to tell someone you feel they’ve used you. I was worried about losing my friend, but I confronted her anyway.  I picked up the phone and dialed.  I got her voice mail.  I drafted an email and let it sit for a couple of days before sending it.  I worded things as carefully and as non confrontational as I could while still getting my point across. Email is never the best method of delivery for this sort of thing, but she wouldn’t pick up her phone, and I had things I needed to say.  I knew she was avoiding me, and I felt I had the right to be heard.  She reacted how I expected her to.  But…instead of denying it or justifying it, she focused on something much more petty that I’d mentioned during our conversation back and forth via email.  I mentioned how she came back into town and visited mutual friends, but never mentioned it, how she’d lied to me about her birthday only to have me find out from pictures posted on Facebook, and how hurt I was by it.  I also told her that I really didn’t care to be around our mutual “friend” anymore.  Every time we had made plans, it was like the two of them were a package deal.  The “other third” was always tagging along, even when I thought I’d made it clear she wasn’t invited.  I explained that the dynamic of the two of them together was unpleasant as they took turns taking pot shots at me and disguising it as kidding.  She defended her right to choose who she spent time with as well as who she chose as her friends.  By the time the conversation was over, she’d managed to use every nasty, vindictive tactic in her repertoire.  My gut had been right yet again and I wasn’t at all happy about it.

I grieved the loss of that friendship for quite some time.  I wondered how I could have allowed myself to be taken for such a fool.  I considered myself an intelligent, intuitive person and I couldn’t see at first how I had managed to get involved in such a toxic friendship.  After pondering it for a while, I had to admit that I’d allowed it to happen.  When I didn’t say anything after the first or even tenth incident, I created the situation.  I had not established any real boundaries in the beginning.  I feel that if I had, I would have discovered a lot sooner exactly what type of friend she really was. After I worked through my feelings and after I’d done my inner work, I was no longer willing to settle for that kind of relationship; whether it was a friend or family member.

The type of relationship I’d had with her and with my Aunt were toxic and depleting.  No wonder I felt alone and unsupported!  Picture yourself with a cup, or any other kind of container or vessel; a lovely, crystal decanter filled with your favorite wine; for example.  Now picture the people you interact with every day.  There are those who deplete you and take your wine, and there are those who support you and replenish your wine.  The goal is to spend most of your time with people who replenish you.  The ones who deplete you should be kept at a distance.   You can’t give anything of value to anyone else, if you yourself are empty.

After all was said and done, I realized the thing that pissed off my ex-friend was the fact that deep down, she knew I was right.  She had used me.  I knew when I confronted her that I wasn’t going to get an admission out of her that she was wrong.  In all the time we’d been friends, over six years, I’d never gotten even one apology from her.  I wasn’t expecting one.  I just knew I had to stand up for myself; otherwise things weren’t ever going to get any better for me.

It amazes me the lengths that some people will go to just to avoid admitting they were wrong.  To them, it’s perfectly fine to end a relationship to avoid admitting a mistake or looking bad. There’s something these types of people should know:  You already look bad! Just because you don’t want to admit you were wrong, made a mistake, or be real with yourself, doesn’t make it any less true! After all, being fallible is a part of being human. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t have to be the end of life as you know it. You don’t have to beat yourself up for it or judge yourself. You can never go back, so why spend so much time looking there? Admit your mistakes and failures, fix what needs to be fixed, and move on. If you’ve hurt someone, do your best to make amends and then get on with living your life. Anyone who cares about you is not going to think less of you if you do!

…next…don’t tread on me…

Tough Love Part 2

2 Oct

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My family and I toughed it out through the holidays as best we could.  Christmas Day came and we went to my Mom’s house for dinner.  I was running late as I was waiting for the hand-made gifts I’d painted to dry.  My showing up late set the day into a tailspin and dinner was the worst holiday dinner I’ve ever attended to date.  My mom was understandably upset by my tardiness, as she was trying to get the meal on the table without it getting cold.  I told her my reason for being late and she began with the questions.  “Why did you wait til the last minute?” “Why did you procrastinate?” “Why didn’t you start earlier?” I couldn’t tell her why!  Most of the reason was sitting right there!  With the chaos going on in my home I barely had time to breathe let alone make gifts or shop.  I decided that year that I was going to make a scrapbook of the trip I took with my mom to Italy 10 years prior.  It was my first scrapbook project and it took me longer than I thought to complete since my Aunt was always trying to pull my attention away from whatever I was focused on and back on to her.  My answer to my mom was a meek, “I didn’t procrastinate, Mom.  You’ll see.”

My Mom and her best friend, Auntie, took turns taking pot shots, and pushing my buttons throughout the entire meal.  Then they started on the kids.  I’d been practicing being more assertive with the help of my life coach, and I remember thinking, “Ok, here goes.”  I took a deep breath and looked at both of them and told them if they didn’t stop I was leaving.  My Aunt told me I needed to get a thicker skin and shouldn’t be so sensitive.  Not wanting to ruin dinner or make it any more awkward for my husband and kids than I was sure it already was, I set my fork down and walked outside to cool off.  I couldn’t believe her gull.  After all the drama she was causing at my house with her mood swings and extreme sensitivity to pretty much anything anyone said, I couldn’t believe she was being such a hypocrite!

In January, my Mom began having health issues. She’d been to several doctors and so far none of them had given her a definitive reason for her symptoms or a diagnosis.  She had to resign from her job due to her symptoms and I was very worried about her. I felt she already had enough on her plate, so I made it a point not mention anything to her about the things going on at my house.  Unfortunately, her best friend wasn’t as considerate.

My mom started to bring things up to me during our conversations that I knew I hadn’t mentioned.  It wasn’t hard to figure out who had. The only difference between the things my Mom heard from Auntie and out-and-out lies,  is they were based; however loosely, on actual events.  My mom would ask me about something I’d supposedly said or done to my Aunt, and I’d spend the rest of the conversation angry and defending myself.  I really had a hard time understanding how she could listen to the things my Aunt was telling her!  After all, I am her daughter and she has lived next door to me for the past 7 years!  I was raised by her!  The morals and values I have are the same ones I have always had, and the ones that she raised me to have!  She had seen my Aunt only once in that 7 years, and if it hadn’t been for me tracking her down, she probably still wouldn’t have spoken to her, let alone seen her. I felt she should know I wouldn’t do the things she was being told I had.  Although it took a lot of self-discipline on my part, I kept the things my Mom told me to myself and didn’t say anything to my Aunt. I was on to her and I knew exactly what she was doing. I refused to allow her to get the drama she so obviously was trying to create.  I did take mental note of the things she was telling my Mom and I built up a lot of bitterness and resentment toward her.  I felt like she was purposely trying to destroy my relationship with my Mom and that on top of everything else did not sit well with me at all.

My mom would tell me to try to be understanding because my Aunt was “sick” and had Bipolar Disorder.  I couldn’t help but get more and more frustrated and angry that Auntie wasn’t willing to be treated.  She was causing so much turmoil in our lives. I knew that most of it would have been avoided altogether if she didn’t have the extreme mood swings.  When I finally stopped censoring myself and started telling her exactly what I thought, things got worse.  She became even more vindictive.  She started to treat me and my family as if our sole purpose was to serve her and her needs.

Over the next couple of months she and I would engage in an emotional power struggle that would end up changing our relationship for good…

…next…when enough is enough…