Monday, February 28, 2011
I wish our kids had got to know him to know the 'Uncle FOO' that I grew up with.
It sucks when family is so scattered & you grow up & move on. It'd be nice if you could bottle those good times & share them with the younger generation & give them a peek to something awesome. They've got their own awesome but it'd be nice to share these too ♥♥
I had the nicest dream last night. I was at my DG house & he was laying on the floor (which would normally be a bad thing but he was just simply resting so it was ok), anyway, I helped him up & then said (because he is normally a bit stubborn & too proud to accept any sort of help)
"I know you can get up on your own but I was just helping". He didn't mind. Then he gave me a big hug & says "I can feel your little heart beating really fast" & then I said "That's because I'm standing next to you"
He laughed & then I started to cry but it quickly turned to a 'happiness cry' & I woke up :)♥
Gotta go see him real soon. We've been saying this for 2 years which is absolutely disgusting & the longest time we've not gone to see him...gotta go soon gotta go real soon xoxox
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
There's a huge hole in your family I can't imagine their grief right now, so many hearts in your family are broken ♥
He was diagnosed with cancer a week before Christmas & we all knew it was coming but nobody thought this would have happened as quick as it did.
I want to thank you for being there, for being one of those 'good people' in my life, for being a great Uncle & a fantastic role model of being kind to anyone & everyone, & for taking us in all those years ago so many times, it was almost every school holiday.
You weren't home a lot during the day because you worked but when you were there you were fun to be with, you were 'up there' & I hope you know this.
You helped to raise us & you gave me a safe place to fall & for that I am thankful. Family holidays in the caravan at the beach..all lovely memories..you'd cook those amazing breakfasts & your special spaghetti which was only any good, if you made it. I'm really not sure what else to say. This is going to be felt in a huge way, you were the rock for your family & they're all shattered.. It really sucks when you hear the saying "You only really get to see people at weddings or at funerals" well this will be exactly true sometime next week. Gosh, how did this happen.. rest in peace 'Uncle FOO♥'
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Upon having a good look through (your blog upsi)..I just told my DH how I've got another friend who's mum is also the same. As well as lurker "fragg" ~♥ (wherever you are too)..there's 3 of us who grew up with the same type of Mother.
I explained to him in as less words as possible (in 'man' language) of how it's not just a simple thing to walk away from our Mums. In one sense we're running~ the horse has bolted but in another sense it's the 'little ♥' that lives inside the grown up '♥' who still wants & is looking for her mummy but she knows she's never going to find her & it's a really sad place to be & is at times extremely upsetting.
I said to him this is why I at times do get upset with him, when I feel he doesn't understand or begin to try to & this confuses me because usually he goes above & beyond .. But how he can so easily just buff things off & expects me to also.. I understand from his point of view because he does see things firsthand & is just looking out for my best interests but what he doesn't get & doesn't even think to get, is that this is something that takes time to deal with & then I put our 5 year old daughter as an example & he saw it in a different light.
"Imagine if I was my mum & was her Mum, she'd be in a sense lost & looking for her Mum & it wouldn't be that simple or easy for her. She'd be let down, confused, hurt..there's a whole lot of emotions going on in there & they come at different times of her life whether she asks for them or not"..he thought about this and I think he actually got it this time.
Don't get me wrong, he's for the most, Mr awesome but I sometimes do forget he is a man and doesn't feel these things like a woman does. And that's ok. It's just remembering we are wired differently ...we want to share to get things out & they want to fix things. He is learning that he can't fix I don't want him to fix, listening & allowing me to cry is the fix that I need & it's more than enough.
It feels at times that I have 2 roles. The first one is who I am, me, myself....his wife, our kids Mum & you know, our life is pretty good. I'm content with what I have, I love where I am at, I am exactly where I imagined myself to be & I'd not change a thing~ & then there is the little 'me'.. that little girl who's been locked inside & sometimes she is peeking out and trying to understand what life was before she got to grow up & live her own happily ever after.
She's the one who gets upset infact she's the one who stirs up the intense emotions & they spill out randomly.. & then it's me the grown up who is trying her best to help her. I see it as my responsibility to her to allow 'us' both to heal & to further grow.. I think she knows it but it's sometimes really hard . But whatever I do, I have to do it well because that's kinda how I roll. I have to do this properly & not leave anything undone & you know I also have to be kind, it's going to take some time & that is actually ok. It's a journey & I can't put a time on it, it just is what it is. And if my husband can understand even a little bit of this too it will make it a lot easier for him & for me.
One little step at a time♥
You Don't Have to Dance for Them: Gesture: "Standing in the greeting card aisle. In the 'Birthdays for Her' section. I feel a hot lump of sadness in my chest that none of t..."
Upsi~ I hope you don't mind me quoting your post, but you could be me..so many things you've said, well that's me.
I just read how your NM wore cream to your wedding, LOL, Mine wore white & took great happiness in mocking me, then turned it around onto me & labeled with words which included "selfish" and so on.. & then they wonder why I crack the shits. They throw ammo at you how can you not react?
I have so much more of your blog to read ..are you sure we're not the same person????!!!!!
ps. I like your comment on the 'barking orders'. Yep had that daily too. Never asked to do something just barked at. Srsly this is uncanny..
p.p.s I am horrified too at finding your Mother 'found' your blog!! I can feel your fear but the way you picked your strength back up is amazing:D ♥ Upsi is talking out loud finally speaking what's inside...this I can also fully relate. I'm tired of being 'locked up' & the real me is coming out a little bit more everyday, I like her...
More reading.. Ciao ~♥
My little blog list off to the side, of blogs I follow which I am yet to get stuck into & read properly. I need some spare time but will get to this soon..it's interesting that we don't all know each-other at all, but are going through the same emotions & situations as adults, & as kids none of us probably realized that there were in fact so many 'others'.
One interesting blog post made today is about nightmares. This is something I need to talk about at one of my appointments as to understand them & hopefully they'll stop.
Interestingly enough they only began when I was around 10 years old.
I can't explain them at all it's hard to convey them, even to my husband. I just tell him I'm scared & have no idea why, sometimes I don't even wake him up it just depends on how freaked out I feel at the time. I wake up and I'm disorientated & scared & then I get up. I usually need to go to the bathroom & while the light is on I come round & calm down & sometimes that 'fear' comes back & things seem to be not right. I can't explain this, things aren't moving they're not spinning they just 'are'. It's just something incredibly overwhelming. Sometimes I'll walk around the house & I'm 'seeing' it & then I'll snap out of it & go back to bed. I used to sleepwalk when I was little & this started after my Dad moved out.
I dream about real life things too, these things have been more apparent lately. The night before last I dreamt I was in a kitchen shop with 2 friends & we'd bought stuff. They went outside & were waiting for me & the guy was trying to sell me a kitchen bin but I didn't really want it. Next thing, the door was ajar and I could see I could get out but my friends out there couldn't hear me & I couldn't yell out I had to work out how to get out there but knew it wasn't going to be easy so I waited. Then this man walks in & stands behind me with a sharp plastic 'thing' & I knew he was going to do something but wasn't sure what. He did kill me though because I then saw my obituary & a photo of me when I was a teenager. Then I woke up. They're not normally this graphic they're usually just an overwhelming nothing.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
From the mouth of babes. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry . I just kept driving...
Sunday, February 20, 2011
''Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things
and good people will be drawn to you.'' Mary Lou Retton
Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Talk health,
happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. Make all your friends
feel there is something in them. Look at the sunny side of everything.
Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
Be as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your won.
Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements
of the future. Give everyone a smile. Spend so much time improving yourself
that you have no time left to criticize others.
Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.
♥ ~ ☼
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I usually 'hate' this song because I know NBM used to love them~ because it reminds me of her & what I've not got & that hurts. And then an interesting thing happens when I do happen to listen to it (which is rare), I tend to think about her when she was really young, like before I was born. I try to imagine her & Dad at that age & think about what they might have been like. I suddenly see a different, person, one I never knew, one I wish that I could have known just to get a glimpse of.
I also feel a lot of sadness & momentarily I cry. I think for the person she could have potentially been. I think I cry for her, and for me.
For my Dad & for my FOO. For that life that we all had or at least thought we had. I know for me personally the life that I had which I loved on the whole was just 'removed'. Gone, not spoken of again. We basically picked up, and moved on but emotionally? I don't think so. I think this is also something I need to grieve for somehow in my own way. And then when I don't think about all this stuff, she just plain irritates me with her abrasive nature, her ways which she never thinks about others & all of the insanity she just hands out to everybody & it makes me want to run & hide in a hole.
When she was here on Sunday there were tiny windows where I could have let her into my heart but i quickly recognized these and saw things for what they are. She can't give 'real' she doesn't even have it for herself & to me that's a pretty sad thing for her to live with whether she knows it or not. Even when i told her a few things she looked at me as if she was looking straight through me as if I didn't register or she was zoned out. Like a little girl inside a grown up body but lost. That's how I see her now & she wants our approval. Sad hey. ♥
**I actually think this song is a classy little tune after a cry & my emotional side is a bit spent, I can actually appreciate it**
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
All the years you have waited for them to "make it up to you" and all the energy you expended trying to make them change (or make them pay) kept the old wounds from healing and gave pain from the past free rein to shape and even damage your life.
And still they may not have changed.
Nothing you have done has made them change.
Indeed, they may never change. Inner peace is found by changing yourself, not the people who hurt you.
And you change yourself for yourself, for the joy, serenity, peace of mind, understanding, compassion, laughter, and bright future that you get."
Remember that forgiveness is primarily for YOU. It free up your energy tremendously. So forgive all grudges, no matter how old they may be, and seek reconciliation. If you find this hard, begin with the easiest ones first. Then gradually work up to the harder ones.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
So it's a nice Sunday morning at home, we slept in until 9:30, got up showered, dressed had some breakfast.. threw some washing into the machine...you know relaxing stuff-nowhere we had to go or to do.. Then I decided I'd go for a quick drive...came home started making muffins & just tidying up the house in general.. everybody is happy to be doing their own thing. And then the intercom starts beeping " oh we have visitors"~ I wish this thing had a monitor screen instead of being left wondering who it could be.
One guess who drives in, another guess who is flashing around her new engagement ring.
It was very easy to keep my cool the entire 2 hours she was here ( & she was on her own). She actually didn't worry me at all. HUGE changes for me, it's really good. But again, I'm definitely the parent.
She's putting her place on the market and is hoping to sell it quickly so that she can go and live with him..
I'm off now..to make dinner early so then I can watch some funny tv tonight, & start the day off again tomorrow. I feel 'tired' but it's a mental tired which is much better than an emotional give me a headache tired. It's not funny having a 'teenage daughter' for a mother. It's annoying.
The lights are definitely on but there's no one home
Saturday, February 12, 2011
The wedding *rolls eyes* will be on the *** of **** because that's a year to the date that they apparently met for real, after initially meeting online ...
I'm trying to finish this book so I can return it to the library. The phone rang & I screened it because of telemarketers. Holy ^%$@ they got engaged last night!!! *spinninggggg* whhhhhhoaaaaahhh :>>>?????????????? DH come home!!!!!!!!!!
HOly shit why why why??? And they're getting married on the *** of **** this year.
I really have no words & am going to put some washing into the machine now & watch the bubbles though the door & see where my thoughts take me
Friday, February 11, 2011
Compared to this time last year things for me are a bit different. I have a much better & a different understanding, more compassion & more knowledge, less anger & so on, when it comes to NBM (she can still get to me don't get me wrong!). This BPD stuff, I'm finding is not only a bit disturbing but it's also particularly interesting to me now as an adult because I now understand it. But I am also able to look back & see how this 'pattern' has repeatedly happened since I was 10 years old.
I never noticed anything then because I was too young but from NBM's 2nd marriage up until now I can spot a pattern. I could before too but I never understood it.
It's a relief & it makes so much make sense but it's also a bit scary watching it 'again' and all unfolding right in front of my eyes. I have thought a lot of times to somehow get in touch with his new man that's on the scene and tell him what I think she's doing. He is a nice person from what we've seen & I feel guilty for not saying anything but also realize the repercussions which may come from this.
I could be totally wrong but I could be right on the ball, which I really feel that I am; this isn't anything I'd just take to if I felt the dots didn't connect.
It's nothing to be taken lightly at all , it's about real people, their lives & their emotions. It's not a game for the 'rest of us'. And I realize this isn't for her either but she doesn't 'appear' to have a clue. I also know it's none of my business and that in itself tells me to say nothing. And then I feel like an enabler. So yeah, a bit confusing on knowing what is the right thing in this sort of situation.
I have thought about going to see them, just pop in for a visit. Not to say anything about it all but just to pop in. I realize the game now has changed, well within me it has. It's pretty safe for me to go to her house, then leave when I am ready. To calmly take each time as it comes, and to realize she's not exactly a rational thinking person. & I also (think) I know how to deal with her better now when she does say something that's fiction. But keeping my own 'cool' is a big part of it. (for me).
He's pretty much moved in there now and on the weekends off they go driving around the place.
I know that he's asked her to marry him *alarm bells ringing!!* (#Excuse my french* but holy fucken heck!)
What is the rush here??? This is going to be marriage #4.
I talked to Aunty FOO last weekend (NBM's brothers wife) & they're both feeling pretty disgusted with her atm not only can they not believe that she's moved on so fast already from her last husband who only died last year but the way she is acting like a teenager again. All flitty in the head & so on.
( They've noticed 'something' else is not right also. I knew they'd have to, and I usually avoid seeing them because whenever I do get the chance NBM is usually there as well. I told my Aunty this & we're going to sometime, catch up. And if the next time happens to include NBM as well that's ok, I will be going along).
Basically I need to know what to do & the thought has occurred to me very recently on how long will it be before this guy turns on me like her last one did? but he might not either.
Will he believe her lies? I know I'm not going back there again. NBM & her last husband together when they'd have anything to do with me was like one of those storm cells way bigger & more than you on your own could handle.
I'd like to think this one, he has a bit more substance to him & he seems to be a bit more 'knowing' . I feel so sorry for him it's like watching an accident waiting to happen. It feels like I know this big secret & if you tell someone you don't know if they're going to label you the stupid one & say "good on you". It's not really a good place to be in even though I feel relieved to make some sense of all of the insanity for myself, which has gone on for most of my life or at least what I can remember. People who knew her before me have all said she was always a bit 'wild, different etc'. So I know for a fact this is not all in my head. And at the end of the day if i say nothing & watch her continue on her path of 'destruction' well then I am as bad as she is in a sense. It's enabling isn't it?? And enablers are sometimes as bad as the person doing the damage not only to others but themselves.
How a Borderline Personality Disorder Love Relationship Evolves
Love: The Vulnerable Seducer Phase
At first, a Borderline female may appear sweet, shy, vulnerable and "ambivalently in need of being rescued"; looking for her Knight in Shining Armor.
In the beginning, you will feel a rapidly accelerating sense of compassion because she is a master at portraying herself as she "victim of love" and you are saving her. But listen closely to how she sees herself as a victim. As her peculiar emotional invasion advances upon you, you will hear how no one understands her - except you. Other people have been "insensitive." She has been betrayed, just when she starts trusting people. But there is something "special" about you, because "you really seem to know her."
It is this intense way she has of bearing down on you emotionally that can feel very seductive. You will feel elevated, adored, idealized - almost worshiped, maybe even to the level of being uncomfortable. And you will feel that way quickly. It may seem like a great deal has happened between the two of you in a short period of time, because conversation is intense, her attention, and her eyes are so deeply focused on you.
Here is a woman who may look like a dream come true. She not only seems to make you the center of her attention, but she even craves listening to your opinions, thoughts and ideas. It will seem like you have really found your heart's desire.
Like many things that seems too good to be true, this is. This is borderline personality disorder.
It will all seem so real because it is real in her mind. But what is in her mind it is not what you perceive to be happening.
Love: The Clinger Phase
Once she has successfully candied her hook with your adoration, she will weld it into place by “reeling in” your attention and concern. Her intense interest in you will subtly transform over time. She still appears to be interested in you, but no longer in what you are interested in. Her interest becomes your exclusive interest in her. This is when you start to notice “something”. Your thoughts, feelings and ideas fascinate her, but more so when they focus on her. You can tell when this happens because you can feel her "perk-up" emotionally whenever your attention focuses upon her feelings and issues. Those moments can emotionally hook your compassion more deeply into her, because that is when she will treat you well - tenderly.
It’s often here, you begin to confuse your empathy with love, and you believe you're in love with her. Especially if your instinct is strong and rescuing is at the heart of your "code." Following that code results in the most common excuse I hear as a therapist, as to why many men stay with borderline women, ".... But I love her!" Adult love is built on mutual interest, care and respect - not on one-way emotional rescues. And mothering is for kids. Not grown men.
But, if like King Priam, you do fall prey to this Trojan Horse and let her inside your city gates, the first Berserker to leave the horse will be the devious Clinger. A master at strengthening her control through empathy, she is brilliant at eliciting sympathy and identifying those most likely to provide it-like the steady-tempered and tenderhearted.
The world ails her. Physical complaints are common. Her back hurts. Her head aches. Peculiar pains of all sorts come and go like invisible, malignant companions. If you track their appearance, though, you may see a pattern of occurrence connected to the waning or waxing of your attentions. Her complaints are ways of saying, "don't leave me. Save me!" And Her maladies are not simply physical. Her feelings ail her too.
She is depressed or anxious, detached and indifferent or vulnerable and hypersensitive. She can swing from elated agitation to mournful gloom at the blink of an eye. Watching the erratic changes in her moods is like tracking the needle on a Richter-scale chart at the site of an active volcano, and you never know which flick of the needle will predict the big explosion.
It is like you are a Coast Guard cutter and she is a drowning woman. But she drowns in a peculiar way. Every time you pull her out of the turbulent sea, feed her warm tea and biscuits, wrap her in a comfy blanket and tell her everything is okay, she suddenly jumps overboard and starts pleading for help again. And, no matter how many times you rush to the emotional - rescue, she still keeps jumping back into trouble. It is this repeating, endlessly frustrating pattern which should confirm to you that you are involved with a Borderline Personality Disorder. No matter how effective you are at helping her, nothing is ever enough. No physical, financial or emotional assistance ever seems to make any lasting difference. It's like pouring the best of your self into a galactic-sized Psychological Black Hole of bottomless emotional hunger. And if you keep pouring it in long enough, one-day you'll fall right down that hole yourself. There will be nothing left of you but your own shadow, just as it falls through her predatory "event horizon." But before that happens, other signs will reveal her true colors.
Sex will be incredible. She will be instinctually tuned in to reading your needs. It will seem wonderful - for a while.
The intensity of her erotic passion can sweep you away, but her motive is double-edged. One side of it comes from the instinctually built-in, turbulent emotionality of her disorder. Intensity is her trump-card.
But the other side of her is driven by an equally instinctually and concentrated need to control you. The sexual experiences, while imposing, are motivated from a desire to dominate you, not please you. Her erotic intensity will be there in a cunning way tailored so you will not readily perceive it.
“I love you” means – “I need you to love me”. “That was the best ever for me” means – tell me “it was the best ever for you”. Show me that I have you.
Love: The Hater Phase Once a Borderline Controller has succeeded and is in control, the Hater appears. This hateful part of her may have emerged before, but you probably will not see it in full, acidic bloom until she feels she has achieved a firm hold on your conscience and compassion. But when that part makes it's first appearance, rage is how it breaks into your life.
What gives this rage its characteristically borderline flavor is that it is very difficult for someone witnessing it to know what triggered it in reality. But that is its primary identifying clue: the actual rage-trigger is difficult for you to see. But in the Borderline's mind it always seems to be very clear. To her, there is always a cause. And the cause is always you. Whether it is the tone of your voice, how you think, how you feel, dress, move or breathe - or "the way you're looking at me," - she will always justify her rage by blaming you for "having to hurt her."
Rage reactions are also unpredictable and unexpected. They happen when you least expect it. And they can become extremely dangerous. It all serves to break you down over time. Your self esteem melts away. You change and alter your behavior in hopes of returning to the “Clinger Stage”. And periodically you will, but only to cycle back to the hater when you least expect it, possibly on her birthday, or your anniversary.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental illness.
**Speaking of birthdays/anniversaries, she chose her 3rd marriage to take place on the anniversary of her birth mothers death. 16th August 1974 she died, & then Mum & Basil were married on the 16th August 1997. At the time people questioned it but you tend to have no answers so you all let it go & stop wondering because there really is no logical explanation. Another thing, you'd probably want to grieve that day or at least have that day as a memory to the person no longer here but not not her. **
Today as an adult, have you noticed that you've found yourself in situations where that has indeed happened? Yes
Have you ever noticed that you react to people defensively as though they must be thinking you're a bitter person, when really they may not have any such notion?YES!
Have you lashed out at someone because you thought they were attacking you,even though they weren't? Yes
Your thoughts & subsequent actions & reinforce your core beliefs. They act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. They allow you to say "See I really am bitter". :/
That's the bad news. The good news is that once you can identify & challenge such beliefs, your experience changes too.
If you had insufficient or inconsistent nurturing from a parent when you were a child, you may still be dealing with feelings of grief, anger, & resentment over the lack of unconditional love. You may still crave the love & nurturing that children need & deserve. But it's unrealistic at this point in your life to expect unconditional love from anyone other than yourself. Certainly, you should expect - you deserve - love & nurturing from those close to you ( as well as companionship, respect, support, validation, patience & acceptance), but truly unconditional love & selfless nurturing - it's no one's responsibility but your own to provide now.
**How to nurture yourself**
Your own inner critic
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Stop & think: What do you do to be you?
Without really thinking about it, you may do many things on a daily basis that give you pleasure, that calm & soothe you, that help you express yourself emotionally or creatively, that help you achieve a state of flow, that sense that you're on a roll, when you're so engrossed in what you're doing that you lose all track of time.
Stop & think about what some of those things are for you. What do you do that makes you feel grounded? Examples might include:
* spending time with friends
*enjoying a good bottle of wine
*taking a bath with essential oils
*watching a football game & rooting for your alma mater
*working in your woodshop
*petting your dog or cat
Stop & think:What qualities make you you?
Consider what qualities make you, you. How would your friends describe you? Are you warm, funny, ambitious, mellow? How would you describe yourself? Think about it, write it down. What makes you feel competent? What do you feel comfortable teaching others how to do? What do you know you're good at?
It's not uncommon for adults who were raised in emotionally charged, unhealthy or dysfunctional homes to continue to lack a strongly defined sense of self & to struggle with self-esteem. While you may face these issues yourself, it's also important to consider the positives that have come from your experiences.
As author Wayne Muller (1992) writes in Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood..
"Adults who were hurt as children inevitably exhibit a peculiar strength, a profound inner wisdom, & remarkable creativity & insight. Deep within them - just beneath the wound lies a profound spiritual vitality , a quiet knowing, a way of perceiving what is beautiful , right & true. Since their early experiences were so dark & painful, they have spent much of their lives in search of the gentleness, love, & peace they have only imagined in the privacy of their own hearts".
OMG YES!! I've seen & lived the worst and now try to do the exact opposite. I find it extremely easy & it feels 'right', and if it's not, I change it or do something to make it work.
He goes on to write about how you're likely stronger than you give yourself credit for. Just simply living in your home on a daily basis & surviving took courage, determination & strength.
You probably learned to be observant, scanning your environment & those around you for cues as to what to anticipate, when to take shelter in your room, when to go out, how to respond to questions. You also likely developed your intuition & learned how to be adaptable,nimble, to adjust to change & chaotic circumstances. You developed resilience & found a place deep within you that allowed you to nurture & protect yourself to some degree.
Stop & think: Positive Results
Take some time to think about the positive qualities you developed as a result of your experience. Examples might include being compassionate, empathetic, sensitive, observant, funny & able to read humour in dark situations, kind, a good judge character, appreciative, able to see beauty in ordinary things or where others are typically don't. Write your thoughts in a journal.
Also consider what you learned about others as a result of your experience. How are you a better, stronger, smarter, more insightful person?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Doing so lets you challenge these roles, rules & the characteristics you developed as a result.
Learning by Osmosis
Having grown up with a parent with borderline traits, some-perhaps much- of what you learned, saw & were told by your parent was influenced by his emotional temperament. Imagine your parent had diabetes & did a good job managing his illness. Your house wouldn't have had many sweets around, you would have gotten used to seeing your parent follow a strict diet, test his blood, & perhaps inject himself with insulin on a daily basis. You would have learned what signs meant his blood sugar was too low, & you would have come to learn what signs meant his sugar was too high. It would all seem normal, after a while- not good or bad, just the way things in your family are.
Similarly, you got used to having a parent with BPD traits. And these traits profoundly affect relationships. Think of the DSM-IV (APA 1994) criteria & other manifestations - inconsistency, denial, projection, black-&-white thinking, difficulty expressing anger, volatility, often feeling emotionally overwhelmed, abandoned, rejected, attacked, ignored & ashamed.
Any of these manifestations, not to mention any combination, can affect relationships and family dynamics in significant ways. And given that you were a child, your parent's temperment & challenges undoubtedly had an impact on how you interacted with others as well.
Playing Your Role~
In your family, you may have been assigned a role. You may have been the black sheep, excluded from conversations & only learning about things second hand. Or you may have been the best friend in whom your parent confided whenever there was a conflict with a relative. You might have been the ally, expected to take your parents side whenever there was a disagreement. Perhaps you were the fall guy instead, the one who stepped in to fight your parents battles & communicate her discontent with the person she deemed responsible. You may have experienced combination of these roles - or numerous others - depending on your age, the circumstances & your parents needs.
Black sheep. I feel I'm nothing like my NBM & FOO & feel like we have not a lot in common at all. Values, ideals, the way I do things different to them. I don't know my other FOO much either which seems strange to me when I think about it. I know i was also the Ally but didn't conform.
As a result of being involved in the unhealthy & unpredictable ways your parent likely related to others, you may have experienced estrangements, family fueds or heard opinions from your parent that diametrically opposed your impressions or others beliefs. You may have watched as family members worshipped or demonized, or both. You may have been told that Aunt Thelma was a loon, or that your brother was a freeloader & trouble even in utero, for instance. And after hearing these things over & over, you might have to come to believe them yourself. No, or few, questions asked. Even if your experience with Aunt Thelma & your brother told you otherwise, you may have accepted your parents beliefs in order to get his approval, or simply, because as a child & even a young adult, you think (and need to believe) that your parent knows best.
I definitely think this is the case with my FOO (sibling)
Putting the pieces together
Now as an adult, it's important to look back &, as much as possible, sift through the past to discern your own thoughts & feelings & to learn more about who the people were around you. Aunt Thelma may not have been a loon. Your impression as a child that she was a kind, warm, funny, off-beat lady may have been spot on. Your brother may have been open & generous to a fault as a youngster but grew to be rebellious & sullen as a teenager (after years of criticism & blame from your parent.) There may have been some objective truth to the things your parent believed. There may have been little. It doesn't matter. It's up to you now to make your own assessments as a somewhat detached witness who suspends judgement & deals only with the facts as much as possible.
A family is a system. It's important, as you think back, to note not only how your parent functioned, but how others around her did (your other parent, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncles, even close family friends, & of course yourself), & what the dynamics were like among all of you.
Go to the Sources~ I've done a bit of this lately
In addition to your own memories, which may have formed quite some time ago, there are other ways of learning what life was like in your family. Talk to relatives, even distant ones who you may think don't have much to share. They might surprise you with their recollections & insight. Talk to family friends & former neighbors. If you've lost track of some of these people & want to locate them, the internet is a helpful resource.
Those with BPD-like patterns of thinking & behavior have different areas of competence & different responses to different people. They may function very well in certain situations or around particular people & less well under other circumstances. They may have idealized some people in their life & bitterly hated others. Different family members & friends will have had very different expectations with your parent, so it's important to cast your informational net as wide as possible to get a better idea of your family dynamics. It's also important to get as much input as possible because it will be difficult for you to see all aspects of your parent. As a child, & as your parent's child, you saw your parent from a particular perspective. Your view would have been quite different if you'd been an adult.
You've also felt (& may still feel) a great deal of pain because of your relationship with your parent, which may prelude your seeing or remembering some of the good. Given human survival instincts, & the strong chemical & physical reactions we have to trauma, it's far more likely for us to recall dangerous, violent or emotionally volatile situations than the calm, peaceful ones (ever heard of post-euphoric stress disorder? While much research is being done on the effects of happiness on health, pleasure doesn't seem to have the same jarring effect on us that pain does).
These experiences are registered strongly, particularly when the trauma is inflicted by a parent, close relative or caretaker - the person/people upon whom you most heavily depend on for survival.
As a result, any subsequent incident that even remotely resembles the first triggers strong emotions - anger, fear, sadness - & negative associations grow. This is not to say that your negative feelings aren't justified.; rather it's to remind you that little in life is 11 percent good or 100 percent bad (know anyone who thinks that is is?!) In thinking about her childhood experience with her mother, who would alternate between being very loving & then raging uncontrollably, Donna 42 says, "It helped me to keep in mind that my mother didn't ask to be borderline. Whether it was caused by hereditary or the environment, she didn't choose it, & she never set out to make my life miserable. In her own way, she tried her best.
What you're after ~
As you talk with people, you'll want to learn your family's history & individual members experiences with anxiety, depression, substance use/abuse, schizophrenia, BPD, childhood abuse or neglect, abusive marriages, hospitalizations (for physical or mental reasons), & so on. You'll also want to know what your parents childhoods were like, as well as how others saw you as a child. For example:
*Why did your family move from ...to...?
*Why was your sister sent to live with...?
*How come there are no pictures of ....around? Or how come....is never smiling in pictures?
*How come your mother never spoke to (or of)....?
*How come....would get so angry whenever anyone mentioned....'s name?
*What was....like? What was his/her childhood like? Others said he/she was....; why might that be?
Your role in the family drama~
Things may look very different to you now as an independently thinking adult than they did when you were a child. As you challenge some of what you previously held to be true, you may realize that judgements you made about people or things you did were unfair.
My sibling FOO. I know I have been pretty hard on her. Some for good reason, some probably not.
As with any loss, you may experience grief over a separation or conflict with a family member that resulted from the borderline-like behavior. Yes.
You may also experience frustration at not being able to reconstruct your past entirely. There may be many questions to which you can't get satisfying answers, for any number of reasons. The people involved may have died; they may wish to not have contact with you. You may hear several accounts of the same incident & not know who's version is right (chances are good there are elements of truth in them all). With some questions you have, it may just prove impossible to ever really know the answers.
So in addition to work through grief & loss you may also need to practice acceptance. Yes.
You may not like the answers you've found. You may not feel good about how things played out. You may regret things that you said or you did or that were said or done to you. But now that you are no longer a child, you have a choice about how you handle these situations from here on.
Would the real you please stand up?
Who are you? It sounds like a simple question doesn't it.
You know your name, you know where you live, you know what you do for a living, how you spend your days, whether you're a mother or a father, aunt or uncle, son, sister, friend. But who are you?
As the child of a parent with BDP &/or other emotional cognitive difficulties, it may be surprisingly difficult to answer this question. You likely didn't have much mirroring or validation,m when you were young, which babies need in order to know where they stand in the world, that their feelings & observations & perceptions are healthy & normal. Without that early mirroring, it was difficult to see yourself, to know yourself. The mask you may have worn might have been the result of other things as well. As a child, you wanted to please. If Mummy wanted a little ballerina for a daughter, you tried hard to excel in ballet class, even though you really wanted to be out playing kickball or at home reading a book. If Dad needed someone to guide him into the house, when he was being too drunk to find his way from down the garage, you probably associated being good person with downplaying your own feelings & needs.
You may have also served as a video screen of sorts when your parent projected the traits or feelings she had trouble facing in herself onto you. For example, if your Mother was frequently angry but had trouble owning it, she may have accused you of being angry. As a child, when a parent tells you you're a certain way or you have certain problems, well you usually believe it.
In dysfunctional families of all sorts, it can be easier at times to simply suppress your feelings. They're often not validated anyway, & given the chaos, the rules, the inconsistency, the hurt, anger & frustration, life may seem a whole lot simpler without feelings. In all these ways you may have lost touch with your true self. Remember the messages you received didn't have to be direct as an explicit statement. You picked up signals from how others treated you, from their body language, from what you overheard them say to others, & so on. If you got the message that you were a cold person, for instance, you may not be able to recall a specific time when someone told you that you were cold. You absorbed the message in other ways.
You're in there, Somewhere
A fundamental skill for surviving a parent with borderline traits is sifting. Think of the process of panning for gold. You scoop the pan in a stream & pull up a lot of slimy rocks & mud. Shake your pan (gently) through & the muck & pebbles fall through. You're left with hopefully nuggets of gold & other minerals (what's left may not seem like all gold to you but all minerals have valuable properties). In the past, few chapters, you've been starting to go through much the same process. Your authentic self is the gold & minerals.
The mud, muck, slime & pebbles are the guilt, blame, criticism, anger, resentment, fears, & projections you have lived with that sift out as you shake the pan. The questions & exercises that follow will help you isolate those valuable nuggets of gold & other natural resources.
The sifting process doesn't happen all at once (it's not something you can start & finish using an exercise in this, or any, book in an evening) but rather it happens, little by little, over time.
One day you might remember that you used to love pistachio ice cream, but you never ate it at home or ordered it in restaurants because your father was allergic to nuts & he'd always make some annoying remark. And so you reacquaint yourself with pistachio ice cream. A few weeks later you might cook a wonderful dinner for a few friends & realize that you are a good cook, despite how your parent used to tease you for "screwing up" a box of macaroni & cheese. Maybe you get some different cookbooks from the library to experiment.
You may find that once you are open to seeing things, yourself, in a new light, that these discoveries both mundane & weighty, pop up often & at odd times - while you're walking the dog, during coffee & a chat with a good friend, in the middle of the night, as a result of a dream .
Stop & think: Shaking the Pan for.....
The sifting process isn't one you can (or should) force. And the hardest part about it is that you may not realize what you should be sifting out & keeping in, it's so ingrained. However, you may find that once you start thinking about & even challenging long-held parts of yourself, you'll have periods of time where the insights come in quick succession. The following list includes some of the areas to consider:
*your beliefs - about spirituality, material possessions, politics, social issues
*your feelings - what makes you happy, sad, angry, frightened, anxious?
*your priorities (& likewise, your obligations). What things do you do because you feel you should do them; which do you do because they're important to you & you want to?
Sunday, February 6, 2011
At times your feelings of frustration, of being trapped, of helplessness may seem overwhelming. But you can set limits & communicate them to your parent, & express your feelings more directly & effectively, thereby changing the interaction. The end result? Your sense of control will increase. You will stand up for yourself in a way that honors who you are & what you believe in & is also respectful of your parent. You will no longer play the role you were assigned as a child & perhaps, still, as an adult.
Old unhealthy dynamics change. breaths a sigh of relief♥ ...FINALLY
FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE~
For some adult children, not having any involvement with a parent is the easiest answer. They may now know exactly how to set limits with their parent or their limits maybe continually tested & breached. They find it easier to sever ties. Others, regardless of past wrongs & abuse, find a way to navigate a relationship in the present that meets at least some of their (& their parent's) needs. Some interact with their parent on a superficial level. That's me, ours is a superficial relationship & has been for a very long time, I'm talking years, probably 20 years.
Maintaining a relationship to whatever degree you choose, if any, doesn't mean denying you have - & hopefully are working through - past resentments, or denying the fact that you're still set off by small things that your parent says or does today. Try thinking of it instead as moving forward while you revise troublesome scripts. Keep in mind that you can't expect your parent to change, but you can change your attitudes, interpretations, your responses, thereby modifying the dynamics. Imagine you and your parent are dancing a waltz together, with your parent leading. You've always waltzed with him. Come to think of it, you've never liked the waltz. So you signal to the orchestra to play a tango, & you begin to lead.
It's going to be nearly impossible for your parent to continue that waltz while you're doing the tango. He may not like the tango. He may storm off the dancefloor. He may scream that you are selfish & would do anything ,stooping so low as to conspire with the musicians to prevent his happiness. But he's also likely to realize at some point if he wants to dance with you he'll need to change his steps.
You may notice that asserting your boundaries and communicating more directly with your parent actually makes life more difficult at first. Keep your eye on what you hope to gain, however, and remember that squelching discussion of difficult issues because you know they'll meet with a bad reaction only deepens your anger & makes it harder for your to relate to the other person. It may not be the best choice for either one of you.
**Know your rights **
In any relationship, you have rights. Because someone is your parent or has significant emotional challenges doesn't change your right to your rights! You'll want to keep this list in mind as you read further & find your equilibrium in the relationship. You have the right
*to feel safe in the relationship
*to be treated respectfully
*to not be abused verbally, emotionally, or physically
*to be heard
*to be appreciated & valued
*to have your privacy and boundaries respected
*to have your needs met
*to feel good about yourself in the relationship
The previous list is not fixed. Can you think of other rights? What does each right mean to you? For instance, "to feel safe in the relationship" might not mean worrying that at any moment your parent may let loose with a torrent of criticism at you.
The remainder of the chapter contains a series of exercises, questions & tools to use to minimize angry reactions to things your parent says & does , to confront & defuse difficult situations, & to express your emotions more directly. You can use these guidelines to deal with a wide variety of issues, from handling challenging family events such as birthdays, holidays, funerals, & weddings (times when abandonment fears & other emotions may run particularly high in those with borderline traits), for instance, to explaining that you can no longer provide the financial support you once did to your parent. You can apply them to relatively minor, mundane issues as well as major conflicts. And you can use them in other areas in your life & with other people as well.
Bring awareness to the table-
Remember what you learned when you were taught to cross the street? Stop look & listen.
The same principle help in other situations. Before & during any contact with your parent, or other difficult individual, it's important to be mindful of how you feel. Often, particularly when you're under stress, it may be hard to really know. Perhaps, even more often, you may just not stop to think about it.
Start noticing your own cues instead of overlooking them. What physical sensations do you feel? Common physical reactions to anger include pounding temples; "seeing white," or light; a feeling of vibration in the head; ringing in your ears; flushing in the cheeks; clenched jaws & fists; muscle tension in the arms, legs, neck & shoulders; rapid, shallow breathing; the feeling of burning or a knot in the stomach; and nausea.
Note whether & how your posture or stance change. Do you suddenly feel more comfortable with your arms crossed in front of you, protectively? Do you tense your shoulders & round your back, symbolically protecting your chest?
What other emotions do you feel? Are you scared? sad? hurt? what emotions do you anticipate having after the interaction? For example, after you get angry & have words with your parent, does guilt inevitably follow you?
Notice what effects you anticipate as a result of your contact. Do you sense you'll be too wiped out & drained to go to work the next day or to give your toddler a bath in the evening?
**Ease up on the Judgement**~
Recognizing & accepting how you feel is the first step toward working through it. You can't change what you don't acknowledge. You may not like that you have certain feelings about your parent & your relationship. You may not like that you shake with anxiety before going to visit your mother, but -obvious & trite as it may sound - that's where you are right now. So regardless of how you feel about how you feel, don't censor or judge yourself.
Out, Out, Damned Triggers
As discussed earlier, triggers are those emotional sparks that ignite anger & other emotions. It's important to know what yours are. In dealing with your parent there are likely behaviors &/or words that set you off, not because they're so terrible in & of themselves, done or said in isolation, but because you're experiencing them in context- that is, through your past experience & your present emotions. Once you recognize your triggers, you can do something about them.
*Actions speak loudly*
It may seem like there's a huge list of things your parent does that make you see red. If you think about it though, it's likely that they fall into categories; that is, the particular circumstances may be different each time, but the core trigger is the same, Here are some examples.
Violating boundaries. Michelle's mother frequently drops by without calling first to see if it's okay. Sometimes she'll bring candy for Michelle's children, which Michelle has repeatedly told her not to do. On a couple of occasions when Michelle was out, she cleaned her kitchen & left a note about what bad shape it had been in.
Not respecting privacy. Michelle also has caught her mother, on more than one occasion, rifling through Michelle's husbands drawers looking for money she's convinced he's stashed.
**Stop & think: Know your action triggers**
What are your triggers? In addition to the behaviors that trigger you, try to describe how your anger plays out, the specific circumstances. What messages do these incidents send to you each time they occur?Imagine you had never laid eyes on your parent before - you two are perfect strangers - & she did something that you've identified as a trigger. What would you think then? Would you get angry? How would you respond?
**Words speak loudly too**
Triggers can also be verbal. Do you take a deep breath & tense up each time you hear the word "always" come out of your fathers mouth? Does the phrase, "If only you'd been..." give you a migraine? Words & phrases that may trigger anger include:
*"Someday maybe you'll be able to understand..."
Other verbal triggers may include..
Accusations, criticism or personal attacks. Don't mother, without fail, comments sarcastically on his wife's parenting methods at family get-togethers. She also harps on him about his weight.
Blaming. Whenever Michelle tries to talk to her mother about her out-of-control spending habits, her mother blames Michelle's father for not leaving more money to his estate when he died.
Projecting. Michelle's mother repeatedly tells Michelle that (on top of being a poor housekeeper & mother) she really ought to learn how to manage her money. Really, it's Michelle's mother that needs some money-management tips.
Other triggers may include your parent asking for help (or the way he asks for help); invalidation of your opinions, feelings & expressed wishes; black-and-white thinking; teasing; rehashing the past & self pity.
**Stop & think: Know your verbal triggers**
What are your verbal triggers & what do they say to you?For instance, when your parent says "If only you'd been more like your sister," you might interpret it as, "I love you less than her. I don't value who you are."
A few more things
Know your limits
It's hard to appear confident & assert yourself when you're not quite clear on what you're asserting. Before you address an issue with your parent or state your needs, be sure to clarify it to yourself first. What do you want? How fare are you willing to go to get it? What are you willing to give up? Are there alternatives you can accept &, if so, what are they? Knowing what you're after helps keep you focused; it will help keep the issues from getting muddy during emotionally charged conversations.
Don't expect flowers
As you set limits & communicate more directly, you can't expect your parents to be thrilled about it. Using the earlier analogy, when you stop waltzing & start to tango, of begin to do anything else that changes comfortable dynamics, for that matter, your parent may feel threatened or rejected. He may question your love, your loyalty, your sanity. That goes with the new territory. So it's important for you to find ways to manage your own feelings about the potential rejection. Some of the tools for grief, acceptance, & overcoming guilt covered in chapters 3 & 4 may be helpful in this context as well.
Be prepared to pull back
Despite the difficulties you may have with your parent, you still may have a close relationship. You may talk or visit often; your parent maybe the first one you turn to when you have good (or bad) news to share; you may be very involved in each others lives. But you may find you also have to separate yourself a bit. That may mean visiting less often, cutting down the time you spend on the phone, not sharing as many personal details or as much news of what's happening in your life as you once did. It may mean finding another confidante. It may mean saying no when y our parent asks for help during a perceived crisis. It may mean not reneging on the limits you've set after a period of calm. It may mean pulling back from other relatives who are still enmeshed with your parent too. Only you can determine the extent to which you need to detach.
This one I have done. I have pulled back immensely & at the same time this has been exceptionally hard in regards to my FOO as well who I have pulled back from these past 3 years..but also someone who i want to help, who I want to share this new information with about our NBM with, & for her to understand & to help her to make sense of all the insanity that's followed.
She's ignoring me though, ignoring phone calls & thinks that it is me who is the enemy. Not NBM. She has no idea that i try to help her & because I don't tell her what she wants to hear it makes me even worse. I also know I need to probably pull back on my FOO too but not knowing if she's going to end up alive or not is the hardest part of all of this. To think that my FOO has cancer doesn't make any sense at all. I do need to learn to switch off and it's becoming easier in ways, this is all really bad bad timing. I even feel a bit not connected like a part of my brain isn't getting or realizing she's actually got cancer. Denial I think & probably for good reason. Or is it?
Choose your battles
As part of your healing process, some adult children of parents with borderline traits choose to confront them. Often, these adult children write letter detailing the past & explaining how it's affected them in the present. Some raise the issue of BPD & suggest their parent seek treatment. There's no right or wrong thing to do. Like everything else we've discussed in this book, you have to decide what's right for you. And you can't say or do anything to change your parent. Given your parents challenges, it may not be realistic to expect him to read a long letter about what he may have done wrong, & to accept responsibility, acknowledge that he has some troublesome behaviors, & ask for help. That doesn't mean you shouldn't write (& send) such a letter if that's what you need to do. As with any other type of confrontation, you'll want to examine - & be clear about-your objectives, your motivation your needs, short - & long term consequences & most importantly, your expectation for change.
This I have definitely thought about & am not really sure what I'm going to do at this stage.
Find the humour
The adage, "Laughter is the best medicine," is indeed true. Wherever possible, try to see the humour & irony of your situation. Be able to laugh at yourself. Human beings are fascinating creatures, prone to act in silly, bizarre, seemingly contradictory ways, for a variety of reasons. There's certainly no shortage of material!
Anger. A powerful emotion which tends to have bad connotations. But anger in & of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. What's bad about anger are the actions you may impulsively take in response to it, as well as the long-term mental anguish you may feel as a result. Your goal in understanding anger shouldn't be to learn how never to be angry again. Anger is a legitimate feeling, one often designed for self-protection & that feeling needs to be recognized & acknowledged just like all of your other emotions.
For adult children of a parent who may have been controlling, demanding, invalidating or unaccepting of her child, it's common for anger to last a long time, perhaps years - &, for some, a lifetime. But although anger can be helpful in terms of self-preservation in the short term, it's not the best bet for your long-term well-being - physical, emotional or social. This chapter will help you explore how you're using anger to protect yourself in some way from the hurt you experienced long ago & maybe still from your parent today. It will also help to understand the different ways of coping with your anger, the toll it can take on you over time & how to move beyond the chronic feelings you may be harboring.
Regardless of whether your parent overexpressed or underexpressed anger, she may not have accepted feelings of anger in you. Yes.
"Anger was not an acceptable emotion in our house unless of course it was my mother who was ranting & raving over some ridiculously inconsequential thing". "We were taught to stifle it. If we were angry we'd get sent to our rooms then punished." As a result, I was so filled with rage, with no way of releasing the pressure, I thought I'd explode into a thousand pieces some day". Also we'd be humiliated publicly, like she had to get even for disagreeing with her, like she had to break me/us. And she very nearly did".
It's actually a normal emotion which can mobilize you against a pending physical attack (imagine the adrenaline rush & burst of energy you'd get upon the realization that a mugger were chasing you); it can tip you off that your boundaries have been encroached upon; it can help you get what you need. It can also protect you from emotional pain. It may also be caused by feelings that you weren't validated, recognized, listened to, appreciated or valued. It may be caused by feeling controlled-by anothers will, expectations, demands, rules or behavior-or that your boundaries were violated & your needs unmet. It's common for children to feel anger, for all the reasons just stated, if their parents have trouble regulating their emotions & are self-involved and insecure.
For many people, it's easier to feel anger, even prerable rather than sadness, hurt, jealousy, shame or other emotions. Anger compels you; there's energy in your anger, unlike with other emotions that leave you feeling drained. And that energy gives you a sense of confidence that you can act to change your circumstances. Think of a time when you were saddened by something. Did you feel energized to act? (More likely you felt tired, listless, driven only to the couch or to bed.)
Finding the Source
As with other emotions, in order to halt their negative effects, you must first understand where they originated. As stated earlier, adult children of a parent with BPD may have chronic feelings of anger for a variety of reasons, encompassing everything from repeated invalidation to physical assaults to trying to address issues of contention with the parent & encountering hostility, denial or projection.
What are the issues that are causing your feelings of anger? List them. They can be detailed or as generic as you want. Don't censor yourself;there are no standards for what are legitimate reasons for your feelings. Examples might include..
"I tried hard to be good, but my parent always found something to criticize"; "I'm angry because I wasn't allowed to express my feelings growing up; I felt stifled"; or "You didn't take care of me the way I needed you to. You put me in situations that forced me to accept adult responsibilities & endangered me, like leaving me with your boyfriend and he tried to abuse me sexually"."The way you never uttered a sound when I told you I wasn't just sleeping with that boy at all but was actually raped instead. You said nothing at all. I got no recognition and it was if you were just in a major denial because you know how verbal you were about it at the time and thereafter, and now you're finding out just how wrong you were".
For each item, how have you expressed your anger about it (consider your coping style). Have you written about it, addressed it with the person involved acted in such a way that you felt guilty for later? What were the results & consequences? What would you like to do to be able to let go of some of those feelings now? to minimize their intensity & effects?
Strategies for Reducing Anger:
There are many things you can incorporate into your life that will reduce feelings of chronic anger. Here are a few to start with...
*visualization or guided imagery (of calming places, people you enjoy being around, & so on - don't replay unpleasant or angry scenes)
*an anger journal
*prayer or meditation
*yoga, tai chi, Pilates
*doing volunteer work or just helping a friend with a chore now & then
*writing down how you feel, or how you want to feel
*engaging in other creative arts
*doing any aerobic exercise (walking, running, swimming, biking, skiiing, skating, kick boxing)
*screaming into a pillow or in the car
*beating a pillow, punching a punching bag
*tearing up sheets of newspaper
As you can see, some of these strategies are ways of venting or expressing anger while others distract you from it-some get you more in touch with your feelings & some help you distance them. it's important to find a balance between the 2. Always distracting yourself from your anger means that it will come up in inappropriate ways at inappropriate times, toward people in your life who did nothing to deserve it. Likewise, always venting your anger means you relive it again & again, never giving yourself a mental break from it.