Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For by Renate Dundys-Marello

Standard

Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For
by Renate Dundys-Marello

hope-sun

(Every once in a while an author speaks to me in a way that I felt I could have written these words myself. This piece by Renate had that impact on me and with her permission I am reposting here on my site. Thanks Renate for sharing! – Bernadette A. Moyer)

In Renate’s words …

During the early days of estrangement you hope and dream that it had never happened. This is the denial stage when you still have the misguided notion that it is all a bad dream and you will just wake up one day and it will be back to family life as usual. That whatever they were upset about will be dealt with and you just go back to being a normal family; a family that goes through difficult times but manages to stick together and work things out. Blood is thicker than water and all those kinds of messages run through your mind as you struggle with the hardship of being shunned.

Then you get to the stage where the estrangement has been going on for long enough that you accept that it is real. Your child really has done this thing called estrangement. They have also cut ties with those members of the family that do not agree with them. You realize that this is a power struggle and they want above all else to be “right”. They drop anyone who suggests that compromise might be in order.

During this stage you start to ask all the harrowing “why” questions, that unfortunately resolve nothing. But you cling to hope. It is a desperate kind of hope.

Your hopes change to wishing for your estranging adult child to recognize the damage they are causing to the family and that they will somehow come to their senses and do what is necessary for the family to reconcile. You have these hopes that it is a “personal growth phase” they are going through and when they “grow up” they will realize how silly their behavior is. You hope that this Mother’s Day or this Christmas or this Birthday everything will be resolved. You send letters and then hope they will reply or hope they will open the door to communication.

During this stage you place all your hopes on the adult child that has estranged. You hope their hearts will soften, you hope they will care enough to make amends. You hope they will change.

And as you hope for change; and have your hopes demolished day in and day out by the continuing silence you come to realize that this hope is slowly destroying you. This hope causes you pain every morning and every evening when your hopes are once again unfulfilled. This hope keeps you stuck in wistful thinking and magical make believing. This hope takes power out of your hands and places that power into the hands of the very person(s) causing you to suffer.

This stage, I fear, was the longest and also the hardest part of the grieving journey for me. It kept me stuck in the past. It kept me repeating useless questions like:
• What made her turn out to be the kind of person who can do this?
• Why doesn’t she see that this is not the way to communicate and work things out?
• Why won’t she respond to my letters and my apologies?
• What did I do that was so horrible that deserves this kind of punishment?

Until finally I woke up one day and realized I was losing myself in useless hope. I was giving up my own power by placing all the hope for healing into the hands of the very person who caused the wound in the first place.

That was when I realized I had to change the direction of my hopefulness.

Instead of placing my hope outside myself and giving power to the estranger, I had to place hopefulness on my own shoulders and upon the actions I could take to regain peace in my life.

To live means to hope, but the hope needs to be about what I need and what I want to have a better life. That meant I had to become hopeful that I could and would survive this traumatic event. I had to build and then believe in the hope that regardless what my estranging daughter did or did not do I could create a meaningful life.

• I started to hope that I could heal
• I started to hope that I could create a different life than I expected but a good one none the less
• I started to hope that I could find joy and happiness again
• I started to hope that I could live an exciting and enthusiastic life even though…..
• I started to hope for new and rewarding friendships
• I started to hope that a future without what I had expected can still be good.

And as I started to place my hopes in what I could do for myself, I was able to start the long journey toward healing, toward reclaiming the right of every human, a full and rewarding life here and now in the present.

Hope placed in my abilities to change and transform was essential for me to recognize that just because the life that I dreamed of did not turn out, I still had dreams to pursue and challenges to be met and living to do.

And best of all, I started to realize that I deserved this!

Because I am worth it!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2014 – 04 – 19

Google Renate and read many more of her blogs and writings! or http://lifeisajourneyreflections.blogspot.ca/

Photo credits – as marked or unknown

What ever happened to the Golden Rule?

Standard

What ever happened to the Golden Rule?
By Bernadette A. Moyer

golden-rule

Remember the golden rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” Matthew 7:12 has it gone out of style, treat others as you would want to be treated? And with it went kindness, proper behaviors and respect?

I read everything and I’ve learned to comment on few things. Yesterday I read political posts from people that I know and like and basically they were full-throttle trashing the President. All I could think was/is if your son or daughter or grandchildren said the same things about their class President would you think that was appropriate language? I know they wouldn’t. No school would allow a student to talk to another student with such disrespect.

We model all our behaviors for our children and for our grandchildren, would you take pride in your child or grandchildren if they spoke the same way and used the same words that you use? How about this, how about if someone said that same things to you and about you? Would that be okay?

In a world full of change and filled with different opinions and views, I still do my best to live by the golden rule. Spewing hate about anyone just makes YOU look bad it doesn’t make the person you are attacking and degrading look badly.
Civility and kindness cost nothing and yet so many seem to forget that. IF YOU WANT TO HAVE PEACE AND LOVE, BE FILLED WITH PEACE AND LOVE!

I will never get the mental image of both Madonna and Ashley Judd out of my mind, the way they spoke during the Women’s March and the words they used didn’t make me think badly about their intended targets but it made me look at them in a very different light. I can’t think of any situation where I would ever want to be like them or speak like them.

The attacks all seemed beneath them Ashley Judd saying Trump looks like he rolled around in a bag of Cheetos? Really that is your supporting statement? I love a good debate but on the merits and not on personal attacks. When you have to go so low to try and make a point, you probably don’t have a very good argument to begin with, sad.

anything-nice

My mother was famous for saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Seems to me this is still good advice. I worry and I wonder about a generation of young people who witness what goes on in this hateful divisive climate and how what they witness today will do to affect their own behaviors tomorrow.

And what about Karma, when you spew hate and unkindness I don’t think you can be surprised when it all comes right back at you? What you sow in the universe becomes your very own garden. I prefer to sow the seeds that grow love, kindness, understanding, tolerance, acceptance and most of all I do believe that the Golden Rule is still relevant and I do my best to treat others in a way that I would want to be treated.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Regret

Standard

Regret
By Bernadette A. Moyer

fear_and_regret_by_deathtopanic

One of my professors was famous for saying that “regret is the hardest pill to swallow.” That phrase has stayed with me for decades now and I do my very best to try and live a life that is free of regrets.

Yet most of us probably look back on a time when we may have made decisions that we later live to regret. Bold decisions made in youth and/or in haste seldom hold up over the test of time.

“Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.” Don Miguel Ruiz

We can’t change our past but we can learn from it and when possible we can make amends. To live a life without regrets is to live a life of peace.

No Regrets by Gary Allan (Songwriters: Jon Randall, Jamie Hanna and Gary Allan)
Well time and fate can’t be controlled
You play the hand that you’re dealt
And the dice that you rolled
And who am I to question God anyway

I remember so clearly way back in 1983 when I was leaving the gravesite where my first husband was just buried and I remember thinking; I would rather do and say something I may live to regret rather that regretting that I never did it or said it. I was so fortunate that when Randy died everything that needed to be said and done was so.

There is tremendous peace that comes from knowing we did and we said all that we could during any given life experience.

Simply doing our best is surely the best way to live without regrets!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

New books! Another Way and Along The Way are a sold on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble

Abuse Small Word – Big Reaction

Standard

Abuse Small Word – Big Reaction
By Bernadette A Moyer

2012-10-05_08.29.40

What an insult to those that have been abused when false accusations about abuse are made. It is a very small word that carries with it a very big reaction. It seems like every young person that gets into trouble was “abused” or so it is stated by their defense attorneys as a way to defend them.

“The word “abusive” is issued so lightly these days, yet it has the effect of completely tarring and feathering the accused as completely at fault. There’s not much to think about if you are talking about an abuser. All of society will support and encourage you to turn your back.” “J”

For more than a decade I have been involved in several support groups for parents that have become estranged from their adult children. One of the single most declared reasons by the adult child is that they were “abused” by their parents. Yet when you listen to the thousands and thousands of parents who have been accused of “abuse” it just doesn’t seem to ring true. Why? Because these same parents are so grief stricken and are seeking answers and counseling and are so hurt and so humiliated and want nothing more than to make peace with the very same offspring that have used that declaration.

What I’ve learned is that one word; “abuse” will stop a parent in their tracks and send them into a complete tailspin on what to do if anything at all. Some kids have used the courts to issue orders against the parents for their perceived actions of “stalking” when parents try to visit or send gifts and cards. So what do the parents do? Most often they give up as they grieve because that is all that they have left to do. Many more are finding one another and supporting one another through various support groups.

Yes! There are kids that have been abused by their parents, and yes, there are kids that have lied about being abused by their parents. These matters need to be handled very carefully as to support a child who is abused but equally as important not “tar and feather” a parents who has been falsely accused.

There are two stories that were communicated to me by the child who grew up and later regretted their actions of false abuse allegations. One successfully integrated back into the family and the other was not as lucky.

Here there are;
When Jane (not her real name) was visiting with a family member she called “911” to report that her parents were “abusing her” the call was traced and Jane was identified. The parents were investigated and deemed “unfounded” allegations. It turned out that Jane was angry with mom and dad and this was her way of getting back at them. Jane came to her senses and was truly sorry and her parents never held it against her. Jane now in her 30’s has a very happy adult relationship with both parents.

When Sue (not her real name) had the car privileges taken away from her at age 17 because of her poor grades in high school, she retaliated by slamming herself up against the car and then called “911” when the police arrived she showed them her red marks on her body. Sue told the police her father did that to her and dad was immediately arrested. He never had any record or other issues with the law. Sue eventually told the truth and dad was released, however he was unable to forgive Sue and no longer wanted her living in the family home. She came of age living with extended family. Their relationship never fully recovered.

Seldom do victims that have been abused speak out so freely, often because they are shame-filled. The ones who so easily and readily throw the words “abuse” and “abused” around, probably should be looked at more closely as to what truly  is their motivation.

As a young wife and mother myself, I used to subscribe to the theory that “kids never lie” I have since learned that kids, just like adults, can and do lie and most often it is about manipulation. One of my greatest regrets in dealing with children is that when I was confronted with a child who claimed to be “abused” I not only instantly believed them but I also gave them a big reaction and I coveted them. From that day forward I tried to shield them from any other harm in any way that I could. Decades later I can clearly see where my “big reaction” helped to create someone who learned how to achieve “big reactions” all the rest of their life and learned how easily they could manipulate others into doing for them, protecting them and fighting for them. They now have a very long documented history of how they have been “victimized” and “abused.” They also have a documented list of people that have fought for them all of their adult life.

Think about how we treat someone, anyone who declares that they have been “abused” we immediately want to protect them and fight for them. There are many kids and adults who are smart enough to learn how to use this to their advantage.

As a young married woman I sought out counseling just after I was first married. My first husband had epilepsy and I needed help learning how to deal with it. The first group meeting I attended they said “you are only a victim if you choose to be.” This has stuck with me for decades now. The thought was that yes, you could truly be “victimized” but if you decide to stay there in “victimization” it is by your own choice …

People that survive and thrive after hurtful life experiences inspire me. People that dwell on their hurts and losses and choose not to move past it and learn from them, well, over time they become really unattractive. Part of growing up and part of maturing is accepting that life is not perfect, people are not perfect and to learn to take what you get and to make the most of it.

Some people are truly abused and victimized and some people wear “abuse” as a crutch so people will feel sorry for them do for them and so they can go about life with their own self- proclaimed narrative. Whereas there are other victims that are not as easy to identify because they don’t hold themselves out as “victims” but rather as “survivors.”

True story (Donna not her real name) and I were friends for about a decade before I learned that she was a rape survivor. We took trips together and we wrote together and although she was old enough to be my mother, we were friends and colleagues. There was never anything about her attitude or anything about her demeanor that said “abuse” victim. It amazed me that she had such a healthy attitude and no visible signs of being a victim.

Broken-Trust-And-Anger

The beauty of life is that even the most challenging, difficult, unattractive and yes “abusive” experiences can be turned around for the greater good, for the lessons to be learned and to cherish the human spirit that says, I am so much better than any one life experience and I have the ability and the capacity to move above it and beyond it.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble