Living a Lie

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Living a Lie
By Bernadette A. Moyer

illusion

My husband is famous for saying “he/she is just living a lie.” Sadly we have known more than a few people like that, people that create a narrative to help justify their own poor behaviors. There are people that knowingly lie so they don’t have to accept responsibility for their circumstances and life choices.

We live in a world where “political correctness” often takes the place of harsh reality. And many of us actually bless it and go along with it. You can declare what sex you are! I recently filled out an application where I was asked if I was male, female, and other or does not wish to declare. Next thing we will be able to adjust who our parents are if we can fill out forms like a birth certificate and “declare” whatever sex we are then maybe the next step is we can also “declare” and decide whoever we want our parents to be regardless of who they truly were?

The definition of “mental illness” used to be defined as living in an altered reality and yet in our culture today we almost promote it.

I remember so vividly back in the 1980’s telling my mother that her husband was a child abuser and I will never ever forget her response to me, “we will never speak of this again” she said.

What she meant was I will never speak to you again. Think about that response? Not something like he would never do that or why on earth would you say that? But “never speak of this” she knew the truth and she lived more than 30 years with a lie. She was living a lie. It was easier for her to deny the truth than to face the cold harsh reality.

What made it even harder to witness was how she aligned herself with others in the family that would also provide cover for her and go along with the lie because the truth was just so hard to accept. Who on earth wants to be married to a child molester or have one in the family? In order for her to believe the truth she would have had to leave him and she wasn’t going to do that.

I couldn’t live her lie, I couldn’t live with it for me and I wouldn’t put my three children around someone that was known to me as a child abuser. There were no winners but I knew I did what had to be done. And even though I seldom spoke of it, let’s face it; it’s pretty embarrassing having a known child abuser marry into the family. Initially I didn’t want to embarrass my mother and I didn’t want to bring further harm to the child who trusted me enough to confide in me. Then one day you realize that by NOT speaking out and by not speaking the truth you have contributed to making yourself the scapegoat and a target.

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The problem with living a lie though is that seldom is it innocent and seldom does it just include or affect just one person. It has been said “you are only as sick as your secrets.”

They say that many abuse survivors go into an altered state to protect themselves when they are being abused. PTSD or posttraumatic stress disorder is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions or other threats on a person’s life. Many survivors can’t face the truth. It is just so painful and therefore some will create an alternate reality.

For almost 20 years now I have been a part of several support groups for estranged parents of adult children. I knew that pain from both sides. I knew it from my mother and years later I would know it from my daughter. I have been supported and I have supported many others through their shock and pain and disbelief. It’s messy. Most parents take it on themselves blaming themselves and looking at what they did, didn’t do and could have done differently. After all we were the adults, we were the parents we were the ones that raised them.

What I have uncovered in many circumstances and from speaking to parents as well as the adult children that estrange is that often it starts out simple enough, something was said and done or perceived as a wrong and the child decides to dismiss mom and dad from their lives.

But … and a big but as time goes by it becomes more and more difficult to return. Much has happened and typically the adult child has others in their ear it could be a spouse, a husband or wife a friend, a family member someone that usually has an agenda of their own. The adult child doesn’t want to be the “bad” one because what “good” adult child throws mom and dad away and erases them from their life? So mom and dad have to be the bad guys.

Recently I had an adult child confide in me that they literally sought out others in the family that would side with them. Anyone that already had issues was a new alliance in the estrangement. Sides are drawn and sides are chosen, again making any meaningful reconciliation virtually impossible.

The road coming back becomes littered with more and more lies … they lie to protect themselves, they lie about their families, they lie about mom and dad and in being a “victim” many reap the rewards of victimization. So the lies continue.

One lie typically leads to numerous other lies and sadly and eventually they end up living a lie … it has been said, “The only people who are mad at you for speaking the truth are those people who are living a lie. Keep speaking the truth.”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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Don’t Tug That War

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Don’t Tug That War
By Bernadette A. Moyer

peace by bernadette

Remember tug of war, that game where two sides came together and who ever tugged hardest won? It was a battle of might putting two sides against one another to determine a “winner” the winner being the team that literally dragged the other side over to their side.

There are people in life that enjoy this game; they thrive on building their team and then literally trying to drag you through the mud so that their side wins.

Just a few days after her 50 year old daughter “Jane” (not her real name) was found dead in her bed her mother called me. The mother was living in Las Vegas and her daughter in Baltimore, they had been estranged for many years and even when they were in communication it was a difficult relationship.

The mother said “I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I will be talked about if I show up for the funeral and I will be talked about if I don’t show up. I don’t really have the money for the flight so I have decided not to come.”

I told her I understood and how difficult a decision it must have been for her. This was her mother, a mother who already had a daughter die at age 29, a mother that tried to understand this second daughter who almost always tried to create a tug of war with her mother. This was the mother who brought “Jane” into the world, the mother who raised “Jane” and the same mother who now has to grieve her daughter’s untimely death.

As I am writing this I hear from my “Soul Sister” Gwen who brings a great word to me “release” and how we must learn to release things, situations, events and people that only want to hurt us. Gwen talked about nature and the animals and how they are set free.

Release, think about that for a minute so what could you release and set free that is not healthy and is harming you? (Thanks Gwen I will definitely be meditating on “release” today, what a gift you are to me!)

And what about the game tug of war? What happens if you decide that you are not interested in playing and you don’t tug back?

Recently I told my husband that if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have pushed our kids so hard to succeed. His immediate response was, “but that’s what parents do!”

Today I think more and more about accepting people and situations as they are and not as I have so often chosen to view them through rose colored glasses. Always wanting to see their highest potential and pushing and coaching for them to be their best.

The easiest way to peace is to give up the resistance, accept it, leave it, release it and don’t tug that war!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Growing Up Maturing and Viewing Life Differently

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Growing Up Maturity and Viewing Life Differently
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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“When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways.” Corinthians 13:11

Remember when we were young and we knew it all? Then we became an adult and realized you don’t even know how much you don’t know.

I was that strong willed teenager who thought way back then that I knew much. I raised a few kids that also as teenagers thought they knew it all, only to experience real life as an adult and then understand so much more. With some maturity and with life experiences we tend to view life differently.

Maybe as a child we have nothing else to compare our life with or maybe we just haven’t had many experiences yet to see things for how and what they were.

Our 25 year old daughter called a few days ago and in that conversation she stated, ”I have so many good memories from when I was little. I had so much fun then.” This was a far cry from her words and actions as a teenager. She was estranged from us for 7 years and in those years she struggled, fell down and picked herself back up. She needed to learn in her own way.

So what changed, was it her childhood or her perspective now as a maturing adult? Clearly her childhood didn’t change but her outlook on life surely has. My response; “you were just too young to appreciate all that you had.” And she was young.

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It takes tremendous courage to be honest and to own the things that we might have said and done as a kid that later in life as a mature adult we can honestly say I know better now!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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20 Things I Learned From 20 Years of Marriage

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20 Things I Learned From 20 Years of Marriage
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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1) Commitment is key
2) With the right partner all things are possible
3) Most things aren’t worth arguing over
4) Loyalty matters
5) Your partner must feel that they come first
6) Falling in and out of love to some degree is normal
7) Always choose love and it is a choice
8) Kids and money really are the stressors
9) Not every day is going to go your way and that is okay
10) Check in multiple times during the day
11) Choose wisely, make big decisions together
12) There is a time to come together and a time to give each other space
13) Set goals and work together to achieve them
14) Always make the time for fun and laughter
15) Do as many things together as you both enjoy
16) Share a common vision, gratitude and willingness to learn and grow
17) Support each other’s dreams and goals, show up and be present
18) Compliment and appreciate each other frequently
19) Make love, lots and lots of love
20) Talk to one another and really listen and hear one another

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Take Out The Trash

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Take Out The Trash
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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One of the best feelings after a vacation is that feeling of rejuvenation. The desire to go again and to start anew is exactly what any great getaway can accomplish. This happens if we are willing to allow it.

Sometimes we get there to a newer and healthier place simply by cleaning up, clearing out and removing the trash.

After a very relaxing and loving anniversary trip, I returned home ready to go again. That first day I cleaned out my house, restocked our pantry, did laundry, brought our pool back to life, bathed the dogs, caught upon all our correspondence, made a home cooked dinner and went out for a sweet treat with my husband. I spent time brushing the dogs, walking them, talking to them, feeding them and just handing out with them.

It was a rewarding and full day and I exceeded my step count by more than 30% without ever going to the gym. Cleaning and clearing away is always good therapy. I’ve heard it stated that “cleaning house is a great therapeutic way to regain peace and order” and I truly believe it.

Sometimes we hang on to things, items, thoughts, ideas, people and more that really would be best if we discarded them and literally “took out the trash.”

With each day and with each week and with each month and year we are afforded the opportunity to clean up, clear out and begin again. But we can only start fresh and start new when we are willing to discard that which no longer contributes to our health, growth, wellness and happiness.

Cleaning is great therapy! Got clothes that are still good but you don’t wear? Donate them to someone who can use them. How about household items that are taking up space and never to be used again? Donate them or trash them.

Need a new interior design? Start by cleaning what you have and move the furniture around before buying new. If there is value in what you have use it if and if not it may be time to discard it. Take out the trash and make room for what is yet to come.

Never feel bad about leaving people that just don’t do anything to make your life healthy and happy. Some people truly can and will drain the life out of you, but only if you allow it. Take out the trash and make room for the goodness that awaits you.

Life is so precious! And life is far too precious to be surrounded by anything or anyone that hates you, hurts you, disrespects you, denigrates you, and steals your joy or your peace and happiness.

If you want to change your life, if you want to be happier and healthier, it starts with the desire to identify that which no longer works and discard it. Forget your past, forgive yourself and begin again. The easiest and best way to have a fresh start and begin again simply starts with the willingness to take out the trash.

Merriam-Webster defines “trash” as things that are no longer useful or wanted. Synonyms are garbage, refuse, waste, junk and debris.

We can let hate, animosity, anger eat away at us or we can let it go and begin again. It starts with our desire to be better and feel better.

Take out the trash!

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

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Judgement

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Judgement
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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We judge and we are judged and it is just a fact of life. Yet I always find it interesting and even remarkable how two different people can look at someone and one person sees only good and goodness and another person looks at that very same person and all they see is evil, darkness and all that is bad.

So who are they really seeing and judging?

ca. 2000 --- Keeping Score for the Team --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

“People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” Abraham Hicks

For years I had this quote by Mother Teresa hanging in my office it read; “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” It was a daily reminder for me to look at people through the lens of love rather than one of judgement.

Matthew 7 reads Judging Others ”Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

For me it translates into the Golden Rule … what you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself. Treat others the way in which you want to be treated.

There is a Sally Field quote that I like a lot and she says; “it took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”

Think about that for a minute? If we allow the judgements of others that truly can be all over the map, depending on who they are and what motivates them and more, rather than in knowing our own true selves how confusing and even devastating that can be to ourselves. Know yourself!

If we live our lives, trying hard, doing the best that we can with what we have and what we know and with the willingness to learn and to grow and to make an effort to see people through loving eyes rather than one based in judgement just how healthy and happy not them but WE can be?

Lay down your judgements and amp up your love … to the happy and healthy life!

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

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How Not Giving a Sh– Might Be Really Healthy For You

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How Not Giving a Sh— Might Be Really Healthy For You
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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(Notice in the cartoon how Tim is able to fly and is light because he doesn’t give a sh–!)

How many times have we stressed over things and over people that we literally had no control over or business in even trying to manage? We care about this person we care about that person, we care about what people might think and say? We want a different situation or a different outcome?

I am a person who cared about everything and everyone, I wanted people to be happy and to get along and then one day after years and years of stressing I recognized it really is NOT my place to stress over other people being happy or getting along. The best I could do was to make myself happy and to get along and if I couldn’t get along to move along.

One of the best parts to being older is that you have “been there and done that” you have worried and you have stressed and upon reflection it doesn’t change anything. All the worrying and all the stress in the world aren’t going to change the situation.

But what does it do? How many times have we literally made ourselves sick both physically and mentally because of things that are beyond our control? And perhaps not even our business in trying to control in the first place? We think we know better, we think our way is better, but better for whom or better in what way?

How about this? How about practicing not giving a sh–? I see so many friends reducing themselves in so many ways because they can’t accept our President. They do and say things that they normally would never do and say. They whip themselves up into frenzy because this was not the outcome they had hoped and wished for … but at what cost? At what cost to them?

Many things in life aren’t going to go the way that you had hoped for and at the end of the day, maybe they weren’t supposed to go that way after all. In many ways we learn more when things do not go easily or smoothly for us. We learn about grace, and about acceptance and about living life.

It is so free to let go, there is good reason it is called the Serenity prayer. Serenity … just think about that how would it be to live our life in serenity? Wouldn’t it be healthier than trying to force our will on people and on situations that are not ours to control?

Over the years and in many ways I have made myself sick over some of the decisions my children have made, decisions that they made as adults. Decisions that I personally would never have made, but what did whipping myself up over it do for me, for them or for the situation? Absolutely nothing! In the end, it was their life to live as they see fit and not for me to try and manage or control.

Today my children are aged 36 and twins aged 25, and each one is doing their own things, I have raised them, I have worried about them and I have loved and cared for them. And to all three of them this is what I say, I hope that you are deliriously happy and that you have a life of abundance, if things are going well and you want to share that with us, the door is wide open, but if you are struggling, creating drama or self-inflicted wounds, I say this in the most loving way, I am not going to give a sh–! You have your life and I have mine, be happy or not, be successful or not, it is no longer a reflection on me, it is your life.

And guess what? Me not giving a sh–, is the healthiest thing for me … and for them too.

Most of us would do well to practice the Serenity prayer … and/or practice not giving a sh–! It really could help you feel so much better and healthier …

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all
Things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

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