Friday, September 27, 2013

Dennis Muses: We're not our story...

Bouncing Trumps Splat

Quit bouncing and finish

A Splat Comic Book Illustration Royalty Free Cliparts, Vectors

Not to be preechy or stray from typical postings but if one is going to have a story to tell, and everyone has one,  we may as well choose to have confidence in our observations,  trust in our personal sense of what is right and fair and a personal authenticity that those who claim we must see and filter life's meaning through their eyes would have to get through first.


Remember:  If your head is telling you one thing and your stomach is telling you something else,  your stomach is telling you the truth....


stomach ache photo: Stomach ache m_aecd1c06e67cf65f5fa1c832f22d066e.gif

“At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself—yet also a belief in something larger than oneself.
Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs… It’s possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It’s possible to fortify your psyche. It’s possible to develop a sense of mastery.”


 10 Traits of Emotionally Resilient People:

1. They know their boundaries. Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of theirtemporary suffering. The stress/trauma might play a part in their story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

2. They keep good company. Resilient people tend to seek out and surround themselves with other resilient people, whether just for fun or when there’s a need for support. Supportive people give us the space to grieve and work through our emotions. They know how to listen and when to offer just enough encouragement without trying to solve all of our problems with their advice. Good supporters know how to just be with adversity—calming us rather than frustrating us.

3. They cultivate self-awareness. Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long-term strategy. Self-awareness helps us get in touch with our psychological/physiological needs—knowing what we need, what we don’t need, and when it’s time to reach out for some extra help. The self-aware are good at listening to the subtle cues their body and their mood are sending.
On the other hand, a prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers: Always trying to be strong in order to stay afloat, yet prone to massive stress fractures when we experience an unexpected change in our environment.

4. They practice acceptance. Pain is painful, stress is stressful, and healing takes time. When we’re in it, we want the pain to go away. When we’re outside it, we want to take away the pain of those who we see suffering. Yet resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth of the pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it. Acceptance is not about giving up and letting the stress take over, it’s about leaning in to experience the full range of emotions and trusting that we will bounce back.

5. They’re willing to sit in silence. We are masters of distraction: T.V., overeating, abusing drugs, risky behavior, gossip, etc. We all react differently to stress and trauma. Some of us shut down and some of us ramp up. Somewhere in the middle there is mindfulness– being in the presence of the moment without judgment or avoidance. It takes practice, but it’s one of the purest and most ancient forms of healing and resilience-building.

6. They don’t have to have all the answers. The psyche has its own built-in protective mechanisms that help us regulate stress. When we try hard to find the answers to difficult questions in the face to traumatic events, that trying too hard can block the answers from arising naturally in their own due time. We can find strength in knowing that it’s okay to not have it all figured out right now and trusting that we will gradually find peace and knowing when our mind-body-soul is ready.

7. They have a menu of self-care habits. They have a mental list (perhaps even a physical list) of good habits that support them when they need it most. We can all become self-care spotters in our life—noticing those things that recharge our batteries and fill our cup. In part two of this resilience blog series, my guest Karen Horneffer-Ginter, author of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit: Nourishing the Soul When Life’s Just Too Much, shares her 25 ideas for cultivating resilience. Her blog just might inspire you to create your own self-care menu. Karen has taken the menu idea a step further by designing a self-care poster that serves as visual inspiration to nourish the soul when life’s just too much.

8. They enlist their team. The most resilient among us know how to reach out for help. They know who will serve as a listening ear and, let’s be honest, who won’t! Our team of supporters helps us reflect back what they see when we’re too immersed in overwhelm to witness our own coping.
We can all learn how to be better supporters on other people’s team. In this L.A. Times article, “How not to say the wrong thing”, psychologist Susan Silk and co-author Barry Goldman help readers develop a strategy for effectively supporting others and proactively seeking the support we need for ourselves. Remember, it’s okay to communicate to our supporters what is and isn’t helpful feedback/support for our needs.

9. They consider the possibilities. We can train ourselves to ask which parts of our current story are permanent and which can possibly change.Can this situation be looked at in a different way that I haven’t been considering? This helps us maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation is being colored by our current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature. Knowing that today’s interpretation can and will change, gives us the faith and hope that things can feel better tomorrow.

10. They get out of their head. When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelm, our thoughts can swirl with dizzying speed and disconnectedness. We can find reprieve by getting the thoughts out of our head and onto our paper. As Dr. James Pennebaker wrote in his book Writing to Heal:
“People who engage in expressive writing report feeling happier and less negative than before writing. Similarly, reports of depressive symptoms, rumination, and general anxiety tend to drop in the weeks and months after writing about emotional upheavals.”"



Byker Bob said...

Good points. This is one of many possible constructs that could help people do a post mortem of the experience, rehabillitate, and hopefully restore a good life and go on to the next level. Points 7 and 9 have been especially helpful, and we here all regularly practice #10, sometimes to the point where people whom we make uncomfortable because they themselves haven't yet arrived at that stage tell us to "get over it".


Anonymous said...

sometimes "get over it" means "I don't want to think about it..."

Troy Fitzgerald said...

Thanks for your post. Number 10 jumps out. I was in my head and I didn't write about my life experiences until I turned 40 and it took me over two years to get the book about my growing up in the WCG and coming out of religion and the closet completed. I knew that even if nobody else read the book, my sons would have it to read one day and that was worth it. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but certainly the most rewarding -- far better than any therapy.

Corky said...

♪♫ Somewhere between an old memory and me♫.

Douglas Becker said...

Resilient people recognize crap when the see it and learn to avoid it: It's much easier to recover from something you haven't experienced first hand.

But short of that, revenge of various sorts is quite effective in bouncing back, particularly if you can 1) make the adversaries uncomfortable even suffer a bit by exposing them and 2) others learn from your experiences vicariously so they don't have to go through them.

Obviously, people like David Pack, Gerald Flurry and Roderick Meredith haven't experienced enough pain yet.

Maybe some day they will be like Jesus Christ and learn from what they suffer... from our hands.

If not, they can all be tossed into the Lake of Fire and we can all be done with them once and for all and live an eternity in peace.

Head Usher said...

I appreciate this post Dennis. It refocuses me on something I can't ever afford to lose sight of.

A healthy identity is actually a boundary issue. Who has the right to define your idenity and tell you who you are? Does god have the right to define you? If you're a xian, it's hard to argue otherwise. Do "god's true representatives on earth" have the right to define you? You can see where this is going – downhill fast. Xianity doesn't have to make unreasonable demands, but it always has the power to make unreasonable demands seem reasonable. Xianity is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands. In the hands of abusive cult leaders like Armstrongism's ministurds, it will make unhealthy demands on everyone. You've got to have a strong sense of yourself to repel the onslaught.

People raised in abusive homes don't notice the onslaught. They've already been conditioned to perceive the unreasonable as reasonable, and to accept the unacceptable. Boundary violations are normal for them. For someone raised in a healthy environment, they will recognize the onslaught as the sign they need to get out.

It took me a long time to realize that being raised in Armstrongism by parents who were raised in psychologically abusive environments, basically shit all over my identity from the get-go. Armstrongism was, and remains, an environment that militates against healthy boundaries and healthy identities. Church right up until HWA's passing was very much a weekly harangue, letting everyone know what bad people they all were. And that was your identity. Add into that all the wonderful child-rearing techniques foisted from the pulpit and you've got a perfect storm. It took me a long time to realize I needed to reclaim my identity, and stop allowing other people to define me and tell me who I am. But still, it takes time to re-educate yourself, redefine yourself, and work out what a healthy boundary looks like.

Byker Bob said...


It was a very very very rare thing for me to leave any sort of WCG service feeling inspired. Once or twice, at the end of a Last Great Day service (and that was actually a holy day that HWA literally invented!) I might have felt reinvigorated or inspired, but most the time, it was just a continuation of the "waiting to die" exercise which began with my parents redefining my life with 1975 in Prophecy.

We had very little control over the things that most people take for granted, unless they had a similar cultic experience, or were some sort of political prisoner in a communist country. That is exactly why motorcycles and the individualistic types of people who once rode them held such an allure.


DennisCDiehl said...

Head Usher said,

"They've already been conditioned to perceive the unreasonable as reasonable, and to accept the unacceptable. Boundary violations are normal for them. For someone raised in a healthy environment, they will recognize the onslaught as the sign they need to get out."

Awesome insight and a quotable quote for sure. This is what I call a bottom line concept. In the COG's it seems this is the core reason people stay with a Pack, Flurry or Weinland. The unreasonable has become habitually reasonable and they cannot recognize the onslaught of foolishness and personal opinion any longer. The man's opinion and "God's truth" get melded into one and the same. I suppose it goes along with the foolish concept of "his servants" who speak for God .

Many attracted to the COG's don't seem to have emotional boundries and are must squelch common sense often which again would seem normal. Common sense can be lost under the barrage of "my ways aren't your ways," "the wisdom of man is foolishness with God," and "there is a way that SEEMS RIGHT,...but ends in death." A foolish Shephard can cloud up boundries for members easily.

"Boundry violations are normal for them."

Excellent insight and comment. A real keeper and I hope the lurkers in the faiths are paying attention.

Head Usher said...


Thanks for the kudos.

However, I'd like to make one quick clarification that applies only to your comment above, (not to the Musing Post inspired by my comment).

While there is definitely an onslaught of foolishness and personal opinion, when I used the term "onslaught" I am definitely referring to the war that COG ministers wage over the right to violate your boundaries (and if you don't roll over to their unreasonable demands, they'll demonize you). That's the sign to get out that no emotionally healthy person will be able to miss, but no emotionally unhealthy person will be able to see. It took me a long time to recognize that and start retuning myself with that in mind.

DennisCDiehl said...

Thanks Usher. I understand for sure. I think I took most of my peer ministers with a grain of salt when they seemed to get weird or opinionated but it never dawned on me that I could ignore them and their congregations might not have that luxury nor would anyone help them.

Not infrequently, I'd get "please help us" calls and visits when bordering the likes of Ron Weinland, Dave Pack and Ron Reedy and others who were quirky but less harmful. I never was actually able to help because "Headquarters" never did much about it or backed those who notices a guy out of bounds.

Anonymous said...

Yep, It would be good if at ALL churches, there was a bucket at the next to the entrance door (with a sign stating, "PLEASE TAKE ONE!") full of little packets of salt.
The packets would say, "Please think, and take anything preached here with a few grains of salt."

Another point-
I don't think the idea that- "Remember: If your head is telling you one thing and your stomach is telling you something else, your stomach is telling you the truth." always applies.
After all, at many popular churches, people get worked up into a lather of emotion, and to the preacher's delight fall down and start rolling on the floor flailing their limbs and babbling incoherently (which I think would be considered "listening to their gut").

Anonymous said...

Douglas, if what you proposed is true, maybe many people don't even have to try and get revenge.
Heck, a person can just look and notice how the Armstrongist churches are imploding, like wonderful instances such as the huge split from the UCG, and Weinland going to jail.

Anonymous said...
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