Fear of rejection

Midnight BooWe pretend to be strong and yet fear of rejection can keep us apart. So many people recoil when they face a criticism. This can be because as a child their parents and or teachers impacted on them in a negative way, whether real or perceived the damage was done. As an adult they are left with scars from those experiences which affect their relationships badly. Others behave in the opposite way – they enjoy the challenge when they are rejected and keeping coming back. Both reactions can be perceived as attractive or unattractive depending on how your needs are met. Nevertheless, we can choose to deal with rejection in a way that makes our lives fulfilled or doomed, it’s all a choice.

Alison had been screaming at her daughter Suzie
for at least half an hour and it felt no better
Suzie quietly got up and said to her mother
that as she was middle aged she chose not to
feel this distress anymore, so she was leaving
Alison screamed out “stay and fight you coward”
and Suzie replied “yes I am a coward and am going”
leaving her mother with her own dysfunctional state
which meant that Alison had to take responsibility
for the insane behaviour she had shown because
there was no one there to blame anything on

(So Sorry after 7yrs and although he had been thanked then, I had to remove the great photo now because the owner asked it be removed so my adorable fear ridden 14 yr Bombay cat Midnight is the replacement photo…Affie 25/9/14)

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Madness of addiction

Almost mad ii, photo by Lucretious, Thessaloniki, Greece, insanity Addiction plays tricks with the mind, a form of insanity. People who are in denial about their addiction resent the notion that they are suffering the insanity that goes with the condition. How else can you describe the madness of addiction other than insanity, when you make yourself promises you don’t keep, when you find yourself lying, when your life becomes unmanageable and still you do the same? Is that not a form of insanity? Those of us who make it to the serenity of recovery, reach a stage when we are not ashamed of admitting that to be addicted,and remain that way, is insanity.

as I enjoy my serenity from
nicotine and food addiction
I value my freedom from being
compelled and yet not having enough
which is what the insanity of addiction
meant for me – not enough and yet
not being able to stop
so I attended 12 Step meetings
spoke about my innermost feelings
especially the ones I buried deep because
I didn’t like them for being unaccceptable
had regular visits with my therapist
and explored the madness of addiction
I remembered from the 12 Step program that
I am not responsible for my addiction but
I am responsible for my recovery
so today I carry that message as part of
my personal and professional life

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90 meetings in 90 days

Chairs 1, photo by Anka Draganski,  London United Kingdom, http://www.fofiles.co.uk, 12 Step meetingsRegardless of which addiction we are afflicted with, a trusted and true recovery method has been to go to 90 meetings in 90 days with a willingness to abstain. Just getting to sit in 12 Step meetings, until the message gets through to your subconscious, is the key. As you sit with the feelings that were the reason you needed to self medicate, you own them as being your feelings which releases the fear about them, then you can relax. Relaxation brings us peace in our inner turmoil. The other powerful influence of attending meetings is that when we identify with others’ experiences they model solutions for us and “monkey see monkey do”. If we don’t do 90 in 90 then at least 3 meetings a week are absolutely necessary.

he told his therapist that he was
really pissed off with her because she
set homework for him to attend
7 meetings a week with other tasks
such as writing, reading, walking and
affirmations on a daily basis
a therapist himself, he felt he lived
the program and 1 meeting a week
would be sufficient, however
he surrendered and was amazed
that this meant he had needed to
let go of the control that had been
ruining his recovery
and it worked
a proven remedy

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Codependence or addiction?

Paper people, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia, friend networkI’ve been asked “which comes first codependence or addiction?”. As a therapist I speak professionally and from personal experience as a recovering codependent, as well as a food and nicotine addict in recovery. A codependent can be either a victim or a perpetrator of dysfunctional behaviour and as a result addictions manifest in an effort to self medicate the disturbing feelings. There’s a difference between giving service to others and becoming a martyr for their sake, which is also codependence. A recovering codependent is someone who has identified their condition and admitted it; staying vigilant about it; being a part of a recovery program; and giving service to maintain their recovery and that of others, in a loving fellowship. This recovery also involves being abstinent from addictive behaviours.

Pia Mellody (Facing Codependence), who is
a leader in the codependence recovery field
spoke on her recovery from codependence and addictions
her honesty moved me because society can scoff at
people being transparent about their shortcomings
and how they’ve taken the journey to recovery
this could be because the majority of people are
afflicted by codependence and addictive behaviours
so it’s easier to scoff than to take action
until they reach their rock bottom and only then
they become willing to find sanity and serenity
in a loving fellowship committed to recovery

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Spirituality means community

Hands, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, reach outSome of us do not believe in organised religion but nevertheless are spiritual. Spirituality can mean many things. Participating in music, dance, art, meditation, giving service and/or belonging to a specific community are all ways of being spiritual. This is apart from belonging to an organised religion which can also be positive. Spirituality is important to our wellbeing and serenity, teaching us how to develop healthy relationships.

the small child was intelligent and personable
yet she was extremely shy at most times
as I watched her play on the abandoned playground
she was delighted with her activities, then
some more children arrived and she ran back to me
saying that she’d had enough but I knew better, so I
encouraged her to go back and play some more with
the other children who seemed friendly enough
at her age of 4 I knew this was important for her ability to
form relationships and be a part of the community
after the initial hesitation she joined them happily
her parents, teachers and church were doing likewise
and today at 12 she is popular, confident and healthy

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Nothing is as it appears

Jaguar, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, feline fancyThe jaguar is popular and as people admire its beauty they forget how dangerous it can be. Nothing is as it appears. Within seconds it’s capable of ripping its prey apart, as many animals can do. To a certain degree the same can be said of the human animal. Usually humans try to present a persona which is attractive, lovable, and successful so that they can get what they want. Some though are dangerous because they can easily become violent, either emotionally or physically or both. Prevention is best – we need to go gently into a new relationship until we are sure of the other person’s temperament. We also need to be prepared to get out of the relationship fast if it proves inappropriate and not wait until it’s so dangerous that we can get hurt.

they came to see me and by the end of the session
it became apparent that he was not willing to change
even though he had violent tendencies
and she was not ready to leave him
when they came back to see me I made it clear
that I could not see them together any more
because it was as though I was holding her hand
while he continued to be violent with her
I recommended that she contact the Helpline
for this type of dangerous behaviour and
stressed that her life depended on
her taking urgent action, my words annoyed him
she came back months later and wanted
to undergo therapy on her own as
she had legally removed him from her life
she had a pattern of attracting similar types
and she wanted to stop, so we began the work
today she lives the life she’s always wanted

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Maintain vigilance

Owl eyes, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, nothing missedOne human weakness is the need to stop doing what works when things are going well. Usually people who have found their sanity by taking the relevant medication will, against medical advice, stop taking the medication when they feel well, with horrendous consequences. Others will find solutions to their problems through counselling and once the situation improves they stop doing what was necessary to achieve the results, again with horrendous consequences. We need to keep vigilant about unacceptable changes in our wellbeing and once we find solutions then also maintain vigilance to ensure that improvements are not lost.

the last time I saw them they had after a few sessions
resolved their difficulties and made a checklist of what
they had done to sort things out so that they could
continue what worked and maintain the improvement
intelligent, successful, people meant commitment to
the system for success, or so you’d think
why should they be any different to the rest of us
a human frailty is becoming overconfident
and stopping what works
it can happen to me too if I don’t maintain
the vigilance and even then I am prone!
a year later they were back almost ready to divorce and
full of resentment, anger, defensiveness and vengeance
they had time to each tell their version of the problem
having expressed themselves we looked at their checklist
maybe one or two items had been maintained
but the rest had been grossly neglected
although it seemed hopeless we began again
and bit by bit things got turned around
after a few sessions they were back on track
back to basics always works yet we have
a tendency to complicate things

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Beach wedding

sunset, photo by Aneta B., Elblag, Poland, romantic loveOften people appreciate the elegance of a wedding but not the church ceremony. They love the formal outfits – the bridal dress and the suave groom’s suit. Many couples fancy a beach wedding. It’s a beautiful choice and easily attainable. After the marriage, there is the choice of where to celebrate the union – in the backyard of their home, a reception house, or on a boat. Nevertheless at some time or other they want photos on the beach in their outfits.

this was the second marriage for both
they loved each other like never before,
their marriage was on the beach
he wore a white dinner suit and
she a beautiful strapless wedding dress
the ceremony was so romantic and
as the waves splashed along
the sound was mesmerising
I spoke the words that
formalised their marriage and
made them husband and wife
it was twilight and cool with the sea wind
once the photos were done everyone went inside
to the restaurant which was on the beach and
during the pre-dinner drinks the bride and groom
had the rest of their photos taken on the beach
once they were finished they joined us and
we had the most delicious French cuisine
as entrancing classical guitars and piped music
played softly in the background
we could see the beach with it’s ocean view
how spectacular yet so simple

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‘busy’ addiction

Busy people, photo by Melanie Kuipers, Meppen, Germany, another addictionIf we are saying we’re too busy then it’s an excuse to be on the addiction treadmill. The busier we become the more unmanageable our life becomes. Too busy to sit and talk to family and friends. Too busy to answer emails. Too busy to telephone or visit. Too busy to remember to be relaxed. All this makes us more stressed and obsessed with being busy. Before we know it, we suffer emotional and physical burnout. Then we are forced to stop and take stock of our hectic life and how incompetent we have become. We must not let it get that far, because the road back is then a slow one and it takes so long to become relaxed, healthy and efficient once more. Stop and make an action plan to slow down before it’s too late.

I did not notice how busy I had become
and the more I did, the more I wanted to do
I was a runaway train and everyone noticed
except me
how excited I became with my newfound energy
nothing was too much as I spread myself thinly
I was also snappy, and other people’s
inefficiencies were insufferable to me
then my world crumbled – loss of money
loss of purpose, loss of efficiency
my self esteem was affected, my health suffered
the road back to emotional, physical and financial security
was slow and laborious
nevertheless I found my way
with the help of my family and friends
from that day on I watch out for the
signs of busy addiction because
the consequences are horrendous
for me and those around me

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Aroma therapy

Aroma, photo by Mohamed Riffath, Maldives, feel goodMany people underestimate essential oils and the effect aroma therapy has on our wellbeing. Our sense of smell and sense of touch contribute to relaxation and the healing of stress related illnesses. Aroma therapy has many different combinations of oils and how they benefit us, whether through massage or the aroma of oils in a burner.

I had gone to a health farm for a week
needed the break after a series of traumas
both in my personal life and through work
it was great healthy food
good company
excellent education about nutrition and health
even a little fun like horse-riding and singing
also great was the float tank and mud baths
but best of all was the massage with the
essential oils especially applied in reflexology
that was heaven for me and my feet
furthermore, relaxing music in the background
as well as the most amazing aromas
wafting from the burner
such a phenomenon
the best high ever

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