Posted in relationship, Relationships

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 2: Financial/Economic Abuse

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Financial or Economic Abuse is probably one of the most undercover types of abuse.  It can come in many forms and also spans socioeconomic lines.  The term, “Financial (Economic) Abuse” may be new to some of you, so before we begin lets get familiar with what it means.

What is Financial/Economic Abuse?

Financial/Economic Abuse is a form of abuse where the finances are used to control, manipulate and/or oppress another person.  It can come in many forms:

  1. Withholding or control all access to the finances, purchases and budgeting.
  2. Expecting sex in return for access to the finances or for access to meet basic needs.
  3. Using the partner’s financial information for personal gain (taking out loans without permission).
  4. Deliberately not paying the bills to ruin credit standing.

Financial/Economic Abuse is far more widespread that we think.  It is also quite common with the elderly population and their caregiver (family member included).

Why Not Just Leave?

Financial/Economic Abuse  is a key factor in the answer to this question because Financial/Economic Abuse is often accompanied by Physical/Emotional/Psychological Abuse.  Being able to support oneself, and their children (if they have any) is a very crucial component to survival. Perhaps, there is property or inheritance involved.  Often times, disability or terminal illness may be a factor – inability to efficiently be cared for is a vulnerability that can facilitate oppression and abuse.  The abuser will wield these vulnerabilities as a weapon.

Taking Advantage

Just because it is your spouse (significant other), or your child, or parent, does not give them the right to withhold your finances, use your name to obtain a loan or some other goods/properties, or demand that you should provide them with something in return.  Using threats like: ” it’s your name on the mortgage or lease, so maybe I’ll just stop paying it.”  – IS NOT OKAY.

Other forms of Financial/Economic Abuse is when the abuser has total financial control and everything is in their name which could result in having nothing should the relationship end.  This can be a very scary reality if someone is in a city where they do not have a support system of their own: no friends, family, job, home,  car or money.

Some Financial/Economic Abuse dynamics may involve sex coercion in exchange for basic needs to be met like food, clothing, etc.  This type of abuse can occur within any socioeconomic class.  There is a level of shame associated with it and therefore, many people suffer in silence as a result.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence

Below is an excerpt of the Quick Guide: Economic and Financial Abuse by NCDV

Employment-related abuse prevents the victim from earning money by:

  • Preventing victim from going to work
  • Sabotaging a victim’s employment
  • Interfering with a victim’s work performance through harassing activities such as frequent phone calls or unannounced visits
  • Demanding that the victim quits her/his job
  • Preventing the victim from looking for jobs or attending job interviews

Prevent Victims from Accessing Existing Funds

Abusers also prevent victims from accessing existing funds by:

  • Deciding when/how victim can use cash, bank accounts, or credit/debit cards
  • Forcing victim to give abuser money, ATM cards, or credit cards
  • Demanding that the lease/mortgage or assets be in the abuser’s name
  • Using victim’s checkbook, ATM card, or credit/debit cards without the victim’s knowledge
  • Preventing victim’s access to bank account(s)

Resources

If you would like to learn more about Financial/Economic Abuse or if you believe you or someone you know may need help, please visit the websites listed below.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

InCharge Debt Solutions

How to Identify Financial Abuse in a Relationship

Understanding Financial Abuse and Safety Planning

Elder Financial Exploitation

Posted in Life

Domestic Violence: How aware are we? PT 1: Emotional Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In an attempt to provide a conceptual framework of what abuse actually is, and how to identify it, I will be writing a post on each aspect of what encompasses abuse.  Abuse is so much more than a man putting his hands on a woman he supposedly loves; while physical abuse is the most conspicuous, there are other types of abuse that are far more nefarious. Today, we will discuss Emotional Abuse which is far more traumatic and the staggering effects can last for years after the relationship has ended.

What is Domestic Violence?

Before we get into it, I would like to preface that Domestic Violence is an archaic term because it spans gender only.  A man could be abused by the woman he loves.  The violence can occur in a homosexual relationship as well and therefore we must abandon the concept that it is a “man whose being abusive to his female partner.”  An abuser can be anyone, any sex or gender.  Period!  Once we unlearn that stereotypical scenario, it is only fitting to refer to “Domestic Violence” as “Intimate Partner Violence.

Now that this has been established, please note that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Intimate Partner Violence as a disease.  The CDC cites:

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans. The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

CDC’s research and programs work to understand the problem of intimate partner violence and prevent it before it begins.

For more information on the CDC cite, please click -> Preventing Intimate Partner Violence

 

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

This old proverb stands true beyond what we can comprehend when it comes to Intimate Partner Violence.  It also begs the question, “how can we prevent it?”  Well, the first step to addressing a problem is to identify it.  How can we change something if we do not know what it is?  When we think about how once humans identified the existence of germs and understood if we didn’t wash our hands, we could be infected, the same concept can be applied to Intimate Partner Violence.  When we put it that way, it make sense why it is listed on the CDC as a disease.  It can be prevented in all its forms, if we all understand what it is and expand our understanding beyond a person physically assaulting another person.  It can also be contagious.  We will discuss that at the end of the series.

Identifying Emotional Abuse

  • Being put down
  • Making you feel bad about yourself
  • Being called names
  • Playing mind games
  • Making you feel guilty
  • Humiliation
  • Questioning your identity
  • Reinforcing internalized phobias and “isms”

In my opinion, the last two bullet points should have their own category because if we find ourselves questioning our identity and reinforcing internalized phobias, it is a tactic called “GASLIGHTING.”   – click to learn more. 

I will attempt to make this post as short as possible, but to give you a quick bullet point synopsis from Psychology Today

Gaslighting Symptoms:

1. They tell blatant lies.

 

“It wasn’t me you saw”

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof. 

“That’s not me on the video”

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

“Your mom was right about you.”

4. They wear you down over time.

” I’m the only one who really cares.  I’m all you have.”

5. Their actions do not match their words.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you.  I’ll never do it again.”

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you. 

“After being called horrific names, you are told you are the best thing that ever happened to them.”

7. They know confusion weakens people.

The amount of effort and energy spent seeking some way to please or gain stability in the dysfunction is exhausting and eventually the exhaustion can turn into surrender.

8. They project.

“You’re cheating on me.  You’re lying to me.  You’re so disloyal”  – but it’s actually them.

9. They try to align people against you.

“See what I have to go through.  There’s always drama with him/her.  She/he always ruins the moment.”

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

“He/she is always paranoid about what I’m doing.  She/he is just crazy.”

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

“They are all just jealous.  They don’t want to see us happy.”

Abusers will often use intimate details we have disclosed to them against us to hurt us or disarm us in an argument without remorse.  It becomes a vicious cycle.

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It is a natural reaction to attempt to modify our behavior to circumvent an abusive incident.  We may attempt to identify their triggers because we believe that if we are proactive and learn to walk on egg shells or avoid doing what set them off, then it won’t happen again.  As we continue to do this to no avail, we exhaust ourselves and somehow feel like a failure.

It is a natural reaction to attempt to modify our behavior to circumvent an abusive incident.  We may attempt to identify their triggers because we believe that if we are proactive and learn to walk on egg shells or avoid doing what set them off, then it won’t happen again.  As we continue to do this to no avail, we exhaust ourselves and somehow feel like a failure.

We CANNOT “fix” anyone or “make” them do anything.

We are not responsible for the behavior of others.  Just because we love someone does not mean we must endure this behavior. If you would like more information on EMOTIONAL ABUSE, please see the links below that I have provided.  If you have the time, please read.  This information can be a matter of life and death, if not for you,… perhaps someone you know.  Knowing is half the battle.

Forms of Emotional and Verbal Abuse You May Be Overlooking

National Domestic Violence Hotline

What is Gaslighting?

Insidious Goals of Gaslighting

When Is It Emotional Abuse?

Contagion of Violence: Workshop Summary

If you or someone you know are in an emotionally abusive relationship, please visit the National Domestic Hotline or call 800-799-SAFE (7233).  This national organization is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can speak in confidence and they can provide you with a wealth of information.  Whether it is for you or someone else you know, please understand there is help out there and you are not alone.

Posted in Life

YES: I’m thinking about NO

A friend of mine posted a very interesting meme the other day.  It provoked quite a bit of thought and introspect for me and it also inspired me to share my thoughts with you.

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One of the harder things about “Adulting,” I find, is the acquiescing we do for others.  We will say, “yes” despite not wanting to.  We will do things and put ourselves in situations that we do not enjoy out of some perceived obligation.

Is it really obligation or is it fear?

Although we age and are supposed to become more mature, there is a bit of mob/tribe mentality that follows us.  The fear of disappointing someone or not being liked because we say “no” is repackaged in obligation.  There is a hefty price to pay as a result:  stress, anxiety, energy and time.

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When we were younger, we had time and energy to acquiesce to the multitudes of requests and demands from family, teachers and friends; but as we get older, those same 24 hours a day don’t seem to be enough anymore as our YES exceeds our physical, emotional and psychological limits.  We neglect ourselves and we ultimately break down.

Some of us may lash out – only to be met with a dumbfounded response and insinuation that we are overacting somehow.

Some of us may grow resentful and engage in passive aggressive behavior; which, ultimately is a toxic vicious cycle from which nothing good can come.

Some of us may suffer in complete silence until our bodies lash out, by way of illness like: high blood pressure, stroke, anxiety attacks, palpitations, insomnia etc.

Is the fear worth it?

Gauging the cost of saying yes to certain people or circumstance, whether it be your family, significant other, or your boss is essential to your well-being.  Surely, no one likes to be told no for anything, but in the grander scheme of things, they will understand if you must decline.  If they choose not to understand, then CONGRATULATIONS!  You have just weeded out someone who has been taking full advantage of your inability to say no and you can implement new boundaries accordingly.

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Is it really that hard?

The first time is the hardest.  Your second time at the rodeo – not so much and so on and so forth.  It is a practice, much like handwriting.  You put it the effort and it becomes as effortless as it is to sign your name on the dotted line and you’ll wonder why you didn’t learn this sooner.

Are you having problems saying no?

Let’s talk about it.

Posted in Life

Negativity: What Can We Do About It?

Most of us try to dodge negativity like Neo in The Matrix but that’s not always possible. If you’re subjected to a negative environment at school, work, or at home, there isn’t much you can do to avoid it or the people in it. Which begs the question: how do we deal with negative people making the environment negative?

It all starts in the mind. Negativity can be contagious because for negative and/or miserable people, negativity and misery is no good unless you spread it – like a virus!

You can choose to feed into the the negativity or you can starve it. Feeding into it, would be internalizing the negativity. Starving the negativity is a conscious choice to limit your interaction or engagement to only what is deemed necessary.  Much like when someone who has the flu decides to come to work.  We are fully aware of the person who is sick.  It is apparent by the obvious symptoms – so what do we do?  We take measure to ensure that we do not become infected as well.

Some may wear a face mask to prevent the virus from entering their body.  In this case, we can prevent the negativity from invading our minds and our moods by not saying  much, if at all, to prevent any contention.  Hurt people tend to hurt people.  If they are negative from the door, we cannot possibly be the root cause of it; we also do not have to  contribute to it or be roped into it.  Nothing good can come from that.

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As hard as it may be at first, it is paramount to focus on why you are present.  If you are experiencing this type of environment at school, remind yourself that you are at school to learn and that eventually you are probably not ever going to see these people after you graduate and whatever they think, say, or do, will not matter in 5 years.

If you are experiencing this type of environment at work, keep conversations strictly professional.  These people aren’t your friends or family.  You only know them and interact with them because you are being paid to show up and do that for a purpose.  Concentrate on the job.  Chances are, you would never know, or engage with these people if it weren’t for your profession; instead, focus on why you show up every day like: your family, or buying a house, paying your way through school, etc.

Make a conscious decision each day to choose your future over the current negative environment.  Remember you are doing this for a reason.

There are a couple of techniques that can help diffuse the negativity.  Think of it as, antibacterial/antiviral protection.

  1.  You can take some time out to pray before you enter the environment.  Getting into the habit of praying before you enter the negative environment can ease your anxiety and help you to focus throughout the day and navigate through the negativity.
  2. Things like a Vision Board, visual Countdown, Gratitude Journal or marking your calendar to mark your progress.  A visual display serves as reminder that your days of unpleasantness are numbered: you have goals and this is just another stop along the road.  Keeping that in mind will help you refrain from engaging in any negativity that will not help your future self.
  3.  Take breaks and get some air.  Sometimes psychically removing yourself from the negative vibe in the room and taking a couple deep breaths can help replenish your disposition.

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If the situation is more dire, than seeking help to talk to someone about what you are experiencing can be quite helpful.  If someone familiar to you is unavailable or if you don’t have anyone you can talk to, you can call a hotline and get counseling.  It may help to speak to someone unfamiliar who will not judge and who can provide you with information and techniques that will empower you and help you to effectively deal with the situation at hand.  Need help or would you like to discuss this further with me?  Comment or e-mail me.  I would love to hear from you!

Posted in Life, lifestyle, Social, thoughts

Note to the Lonely

“I’m lonely” is a phrase I have grown a custom to hearing on a daily basis.  It’s perplexing considering Earth is populated with an estimated 7 billion people.  Right here in my immediate geographical area, there is just about 12 million or so residents.

Between the high population of productive people and the apex of technology, how could this be?  All the tools that are intended to bring us together somehow alienates us.   Please forgive my Johnny Come Lately statement as we all know this narrative is quite familiar.

The caveat is intimacy.   Tangible interactions are seriously lacking.  We have somehow traded that away for fiber optics and the fleeting dopamine reaction from someone hitting the like button on our posts.  Now that we wrapped it up in a neat little bow…  what can we do about it?

For starters, we can go grass roots with it.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great activity that promotes wellness.  It is actually scientifically proven.  Aside from the warm and fuzzy feeling you get for helping and making a positive impact, you are out interacting with genuine people.  Depending on what type of community service you are decide to do, you can reap the trifecta of benefits that nourish you mind body and spirit.Charity Donations Fundraising Nonprofit Volunteer Concept

Adopt a Pet

Adopting a pet has tremendous benefits.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI wrote a great article called The Power of Pet Therapy.  Pets are good to relieve anxiety, depression, and traumatic experiences.  If you are just lonely or you live alone, having a pet offers companionship and loving member of your household to come home to that is always happy to see you.  Having a dog in particular can encourage you to get out and get some fresh air and be active and perhaps meet new people too!

photo of man kissing his dog
Photo by Charles Roth on Pexels.com

Take a class

Pick a class!   Any class!  It doesn’t have to be gym class.  It could be a cooking class, dancing class, painting class, acting class, or self-defense class.  Maybe even a social group that meets up every now and again, like a book club.

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Taking a class is a great way to expand your knowledge, develop a new skill and meet new people in the process.  Our entire social sphere was built on taking classes. We learned to socialize by being in class from kindergarten through college.  As adults, it becomes more challenging to meet people – especially since we are no longer in school.  So, why not take something up that interests you where you can cannot with other people that have similar interest?

Mentor

This may fall under volunteering, but I think it deserves its own paragraph. Matching up with someone to mentor is a great fulfilling experience.  There is an invaluable social exchange that happens in that dynamic that impacts the lives of both parties involved.  Sharing our experience with others and helping them hone and shape their own personal vision can be quite rewarding bond.

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We can get so stuck in our current predicaments that we do not see the possibilities available to us to live a more rewarding life.  While you may feel lonely, there are people out there that would greatly appreciate spending time with you and getting to know you.  There are people out there who would love to converse and exchange ideas.  There are people out there you could inspire with your own experience.  There are people out there who would not feel so alone with you in their lives.

Posted in Dating, Life, Relationships

Confrontation

confrontation

[ kon-fruh n-tey-shuh n, -fruhn- ]

|

noun

  1. an act of confronting.
  2. the state of being confronted.
  3. a meeting of persons face to face.
  4. an open conflict of opposing ideas, forces, etc.
  5. a bringing together of ideas, themes, etc., for comparison.
  6. a technique used in group therapy, as in encounter groups, in which one is forced to recognize one’s shortcomings and their possible consequences.

 

Confrontation has been given a very bad rap in our culture.  Confrontation has such a bad rap that people tend to avoid it all together.  This can be very dangerous.  To explain the dangers of confrontation, we must first fully understand what it means and put it in context.  Contrary to popular belief, CONFRONTATION ≠ FIGHT.  In layman’s terms, confrontation is a meeting of the minds that hold opposing views, it’s not a fight/argument.  It can be a debate… but it’s not necessarily that either.

“Can a confrontation turn into a fight?”

Absolutely! In fact, it is a common occurrence for a number of reasons but the square root of all confrontations giving way to fights is simply because of lack of communication.  Confrontation, is a form of communication where one party is expressing their point of view to another party who has an opposing point of view.   

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When one party suppresses their point of view in hopes the other party will “come around,” the relationship is set on a collision course.  One party becomes continually disappointed by the other party’s ambivalence or indifference.  It’s like putting all your junk in the junk closet and closing the door until finally that last bit of junk causes the door to bust open and all the junk comes tumbling out.  At that point everything (emotionally) including the kitchen sink comes out and causes significant and sometimes permanent damage or irreparable damage to the relationship dynamic.  So…

“How do we avoid a fight?”

The best way to avoid a fight, is to engage in confrontation within a reasonable amount of time.  Expressing your point of view (respectfully) in the moment or within a reasonable amount of time lets all parties know where you stand.  Assumption during a confrontation is like throwing water on a grease fire, so it’s best to avoid assuming anything.  See something, say something!  State the facts.

“When you do _____, I feel like _____ and I don’t like it.”

Making a simple declaration of your point of view sets the tone, it sets boundaries, and it also leaves very little room for the other party to continue on oblivious to where you stand on the issue at hand.   It also starts a dialogue which is an avenue to understanding.

Naturally what we are discussing here is not (unfortunately) a cure all, but weeding out what causes a molehill to become a mountain yields healthier relationship dynamics and a more positive life experience.  It’s easier to call something out as it is happening than to indict a party with a list of repeat offenses that they were not even aware were offenses because if you call someone out on “always doing _____” they will feel blindsided and get defensive which increases the chances of causing a fight.

“Be Prepared to Disagree”

Fear of confrontation also stems from a fear of rejection.  Will they still like me?  We cannot convince everyone to see things our way.  Everyone is different.  Everyone processes things differently: values, priorities, beliefs, and philosophies.  Sometimes after a confrontation we have to accept that we will have to agree to disagree.  Confrontation is not about convincing someone to agree with you.  It’s about stating your point of view and defining your values and boundaries in the process.  This is important because a gauge of conduct is created.  If both parties mutually respect each other’s point of view, they learn how to work through their opposing views respectfully thus keeping the relationship dynamic intact.  Agreeing to disagree forges mutual respect because both parties feel valued when their points of view are heard despite the opposition: that is what we want in a relationship dynamic.  We want to feel valued and to feel heard.  Unfortunately, feeling valued and heard does not mean that everyone will agree.  But is that really such a bad thing?

Confrontation can be healthy and successful without fighting if we get enough courage to communicate and not sweep it under the rug.  Also, a resolution is possible, so long as both parties understand that the confrontation is not about persuasion.  Confrontation is about expression of opposing point of views.  When all the cards are on the table, it is easier for both parties to navigate through the relationship dynamic without damaging it.

Are you comfortable with confrontation?  If not, don’t worry.  It’s a skill, like learning how to write.  You don’t have to be the best at it, but it is a vital and effective communication tool.  Would you like to learn more?  I’d love to hear from you!  Be Well!

Posted in Life

Quick Thought: Move! Don’t Leave.

While listening to a sermon today, the speaker had said something really profound:

Some people interpret ‘move’ to mean ‘leave.’  To move – as in the context of “moving” differently yields change.  No one particularly likes change.  Why?  Because change feels like loss.  And therefore, we can experience adversity.

This adversity has very little to do with us or anything that we have done, per say.  It has to do with the selfish part of others who would like for you to remain the same for their own comfort.

Comfort Zones Kill!  Here’s the Top 7 on the Comfort Zone Hit List:

  1. Faith
  2. Hopes
  3. Dreams
  4. Creativity
  5. Positivity
  6. Progression
  7. Finding True Life Purpose

 

At risk of digression, I would like to leave you with this thought:  One thing about our Universe, is that it is constantly moving.  It is the natural order of things.  Even when you are asleep, your thoughts are constantly moving and creating motion pictures in your mind:  we call them dreams.  Waking life is no different!  We are constantly moving! Nothing stays the same!  Moving does not necessarily mean leaving.  One must move differently to attain goals.  It’s called discipline.   Discipline does yield change, which is not loss, but an improvement from your original circumstance.  It can be a lonely road, at first (times), but with faith and perseverance, the transformation yields reward beyond you wildest dreams!  Can you think of anything you would like to move toward?  Can you think of anything you fear of leaving?

 

Drop a comment or E-mail if this post speaks to you!

Posted in Life

Adulting: feeling left out

Photo By RJ Guerrero
Photo By RJ Guerrero

Adulting can be quite the challenge!   As we evolve, define ourselves, and discover what drives us, it can have a profound effect on our lifestyles.  In turn, our priorities, values, and responsibilities may change drastically in comparison to some of our friends and companions.   Adjusting to new roles and responsibilities may consequently onset feelings of being left out of the group.  Sometimes, these feelings may fester and take a severe negative toll on relationships.   Things like marriage, children, careers, education, or perhaps a loved one falling ill, can shift the relationship dynamic.  While it may seem out of whack, and people feeling neglected, it’s about perspective and recognizing different stages of life warrant recognition, understanding and adjustment.

 

Recognition

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Photo BY RJ Guerrero

Any one of those major life stages will be a lifestyle game changer.  No amount of nostalgia will change that.  Recognizing that things have changed, allowing some time to adjust, and communicating makes all the difference.  Comparing how hectic our lives are in comparison to another to justify our position in the shift of the relationship dynamic is not the way.  It breeds contempt.  Acknowledging that things have changed and we are still feeling our way around until we get the hang of marriage, or children, or that promotion, or grad school or succumbing to having to cope with caring for someone who is ill is ALL taxing.   Pointing that our circumstance is far more challenging that someone else’s, diminishes their experience and causes a major disconnect.  Rather, explaining our experience and asking about the experience of others keeps the platform of communication in tact and the possibility of maintaining support and a sounding board remains.

Understanding

 

unnamedIt may sound redundant, but EVERYONE’S LIFE PATH IS DIFFERENT.  Our life paths may be similar at times, but still, different.  Our backgrounds, levels of understanding, and perspective will be different.  At best, similar… definitely not the same.  Therefore, making assumptions of what someone else is going through and judging by the way you perceive it – without taking the time to let them express what is happening in their life will most likely breed contempt and yield fights and fall-outs.  Taking some time to understand what is happening and making the effort to “meet our loved ones where they are” can go a long way and perhaps yield reciprocation.

Adjustment

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Rejection is the square root of feeling left out.  Just because things have changed and perhaps time becomes an issue or frequency in spending time together may be an issue:  maybe a new person has entered the dynamic and it upset the pecking order… that doesn’t mean there is one less seat at the round table.  Perhaps it may take a little longer for the time and attention that was once abundant prior to the change in dynamic, a good way to compensate is to max out on the quality time we get when we get it.  Make sure our encounters are genuine, positive, and supportive of each other.  Certainly, any relationship of any sort will have its ups and downs and there will be times where the only way we can make it through a rough patch is adjusting our settings, our boundaries, etc…  what we needed out of a relationship at 7 is worlds away from what we need at 27, 37 or 47… Lack of communication can turn a crack into a chasm.  Good friends are hard to come by: fight like hell to keep them!

Til’ Next Time!

Posted in Life

Random Conversations: Everything Sucks Right Now

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a man in his mid to late 30s.   He said he couldn’t stand people and most of them were horrible – particularly the people he socially interacted with (dated) in his community.  He went on for quite a while.  I let him release what he had pent up inside.  He said he longed for the days of his 20s because he was single; he is currently the only single person among his immediate age group both personally and professionally.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He said if ever he did get married, it be out of obligation, or just to “fit in;” but in reality, it just wasn’t something he ever aspired to do.  I asked him, “what is it that you aspire to do?”  He said he didn’t know.  All he knew was that his best years were gone.  He didn’t think past his 20s and those were the “Glory Days.”  I was silent for a moment.  Then I said asked him: “is that what you have decided?” and he said to me, “what do you mean?”  I responded, “how could you know that your 20s were your ‘Glory Days’ when you have the whole rest of your life to live?”  He was quiet.  “Well, everything sucks right now,” he grumbled.  I said this to him:

Perhaps things seem to suck right now because things are changing.  Nothing ever stays the same.  When you find yourself in a situation where everything has changed around you and you are longing for the past, the only direction you can go before going forward is inward.  Life is full of possibilities, but how can you see the possibilities before you when you are looking behind you and glamorizing the past?

Change feels like loss for many and as a result many tend to avoid change until they are forced to, and by that time, change is involuntary and more painful than it needs to be.  The past appears more appealing thus facilitating a stagnant feeling of despair and isolation.  It does not have to be that way.  There is a way out.  We are not created to remain the same, but to evolve throughout this journey we call life one day at a time, person at a time, experience at a time.

CORINTHIANS 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, felt like a child, reasoned like a child: when I became a man, I put from me childish ways.

Things do change and that is beyond our control.  Also, things can be more fulfilling in ways one couldn’t have dreamed possible.  Whether we savor a moment or not, it will pass… as we grow older, we will have to redefine ourselves at each juncture:  as teens, young adults, adults, seniors and elderly….  All very distinct experiences in which one cannot carry the previous mind set and consciousness into the succeeding experience…

Posted in Life

Signs You Need a Digital Detox

dig·it·al de·tox

noun

informal
  1. a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.
    “break free of your devices and go on a digital detox”

YES!  It’s a thing!  It may sound bizarre that anyone would need a digital detox, but social media can be quite addicting in the physiological sense of the word.  It has been scientifically proven there is a relationship with production of dopamine and social media approval/interaction.

“Dopamine, Smartphones and You: A battle for your time”  is a Harvard study conducted by Trevor Haynes who describes how likes from a social media post produces the same high as gambling or illicit drugs.  Because we get a dopamine hit from the likes, it’s easy to see how we can get caught up in what’s called a feedback loop.   Naturally we all want to do what feels good as much as possible.

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And naturally, too much of anything is bad for you.  You take too many vitamins (which are good for you) at one time, it could lead you to the ER getting your stomach pumped.  So… everything *including use of social media should be used in moderation: but how much is too much!?!?!  Let’s look at five signs you need a digital detox.

        1. Constantly Story Watching

We all have an account we follow that encompasses the fabulous life.  Whether it’s the ambiguously employed jet setting it girl wearing an outfit that costs the price of a brand new mid-sized sedan, the guy that looks like He-Man in the flesh posting his workouts or the inspirational yogi doing her Namaste thing at a temple in Bali. Shout out to to Kellie Paxian.

Yoga-in-Bali.-Shutterstock
Yoga in Bali. (Shutterstock)

Living the life so vicariously that your own life is lackluster or you have stopped living your own life because you are watching these folks on daily on demand is dangerous because you may begin to compare your life to theirs which can lead you down a road to depression.

       2.  Upset When Someone Doesn’t Like Your Picture

Back in the day… It was MySpace’s Top 8 what was the demise of friendships!

lihtf7lbguh01If you constantly find yourself in a “stop walking and use both thumbs”type of text exchange over who is in a picture, or if you didn’t answer a phone call or text but liked or commented on someone’s post.  It’s probably time to put your account on time out.  It could be you were ignoring the person, OR it could also be you were so wrapped up in your social media you didn’t notice your real friends wanted to talk or hang out in real life.  It sounds silly on paper, but just as people vied for the number 1 spot in the Myspace Top 8 back in the day… People are vying for those likes and that audience in the story.  In any event, if your arguments are stemming from that direction, you may want to unplug before your real life relationships are compromised. P.S. I miss you Tom!

      3.  When You Are Reading Too Much Into Posts

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Granted, many people do mistake social media as a personal diary proceeding to rant, rave, vent, air out dirty laundry and out others’ business.  Perhaps that would build a good case as to why one would assume a meme or a post is some sort of indirect jab at them.  However, if you find yourself scrolling through your timeline and landing on a meme that is generally funny but you cannot shake the feeling it was aimed at you: may be time to forfeit the virtual reality for actual reality and reconnect with your loved ones in person and in real time.  You get no where fast with passive aggressiveness and spending too much time on web being passive aggressive is a breeding ground for all things negative and ultimately bring you down.

4.  Excessive Scrolling and Posting

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

We all do it!  Yes that’s true.  However, if you are glued to your device during work/school hours, in the presence of family and friends or at the dinner table without coming up for air, that is a major indication that you go swept up in the feedback loop and you may have to bail on the social media until you get your bearings and are able to function in reality and virtual reality without neglecting your responsibilities and your loved ones.  While social media has become an extension of our existence, you can gauge whether your use of social media is illicit by those who spend the most time with you.  If you have gotten a verbal warning or written up at work because it,…well this one goes out to you.  Detox…  immediately!

     5.  Negative Feedback Loop Ruins Your Day

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Photo by Elias Tucker

Some posts may be hits and some, not so much… but if a post falls below your like average, and you find yourself feeling the way you would feel if you got rejected by someone you have the hots for, then it is a very clear indication you need to take a break from it all and cultivate organic interactions for a few days.