Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Real Vacation

  Ever noticed how you usually need to rest up from a vacation?  I can't wait to share what a great effect I've had from this last vacation.  And it even included my daughter's wedding. It isn't that there were no reasons or occasions for stress, but rather that we handled them differently.  And it continued through all of the two weeks!  Amazing!  I had been concerned because the one getting married is good at drama so I had been talking to God a lot about it.
  My other daughter was supposed to be Matron of Honor but six months earlier had a baby, three months later got really sick, and had told her sister that she didn't think she could do it with her energy level, a new baby, and a dress she couldn't fit into.  The bride said not to worry, wait and see when it's closer.  But she did ask another friend to fill the matron of honor spot.  I told the bride I was proud of her for the way she handled it.  A week before the wedding, sister-of-the-bride said she couldn't get into her dress, she had looked everywhere for another one, and she thought she really shouldn't be in it.  The bride was really cool about it, and her sister and I were pleased.
  My three sisters were coming so I was hoping they wouldn't get triangled into drama.  One of them was delayed in Chicago so her plane was three hours late. But that call was a relief, because my husband and I had flown into another airport the night before, and the rental car places were closed.  When we went for our rental car, enroute to picking her up an hour away, there was a huge line that didn't seem to be moving at all (some problem with enough cars) so we were late. 
  My other two sisters were driving and got caught in a North Carolina thunderstorm about two hours away, and had to stop, so they missed the rehearsal dinner.  But it all worked out, and by now the four of us are used to a bit of kafuffle when we get together.
  So far so good, my daughter had booked a nice, but old motel for all of us (got a rate to help us save money) and the rooms were musty, with one having bad mildew, but no biggy, I had my trusty essential oil travel diffuser along so sat it up in our room, and then my daughters room, and rigged up a makeshift one out of a coffee filter for my sisters' room. And after the wedding we all moved to Old Town into a wonderful quaint old hotel that had been kept up better.
  The day before the wedding I went with my daughter to get pedicures, and the place was packed.  (She had never needed an appointment before.)  She handled that well, we went to another place, but on the way she made a comment about her sister backing out at the last minute.  I just reminded her that she had told her sister three months earlier to wait till just before the wedding to decide.  She accepted it, and we arrived at the next nail place with a 30 minute wait.  She said, "Let's go get frozen yogurt next door while we're waiting." By this time it was hot--a great idea. 
  The morning of the wedding she wanted me to go with her to get her hair done, so I did, and on the way she said she was so sad  that her brother wasn't there.  I said, "I know, but don't let it ruin your day, focus on what you do have, and who is coming."  She didn't react then or even later, when she was running behind schedule wanting to do everything herself.  I, quietly between her and I, said, "You're running out of time. You're going to need to let people help you."  She answered, "You are starting to stress me out, Mom, and I'm not stressed now; I'm just enjoying this." So I said OK and walked away, but later I noticed that she was allowing three other people to help.  And she was ready on time, and the wedding started on time.
  After the reception, we went to the Old Town hotel where she had reserved two adjoining rooms -- so her dad and I could stay with their kids.  Someone was in our room, and they had disregarded the "Do not disturb" sign and vacuumed up $40 worth of rose petals she had strewn all over their room as a surprise for her husband.  Then she almost had a melt-down, but she held it together, crying a bit, while the hotel got it straightened out, and thirty minutes later we were in two other, bigger rooms.  And because of that they ended up comping our room for two nights!  And they gave the rest of the wedding party a great rate to move there.  That hotel had a quaint, charming courtyard where all of us hung out for the next two days when we weren't sight-seeing. A couple of friends stayed on with family and it was a great group and a bonding, fun time.
  As people left one by one, and two by two, the harmony of the weekend stayed and held those of us who stayed on, through missing a plane, a parking ticket, a huge difference of opinion on going to the beach, and camping.  This was one of the best vacations ever, with the least adjustment back home.  Thanks, Cris and everyone else who made it special.  Thank you, Father, for giving us the ability to be flexible and enjoy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How exciting! My book goes to Australia!

    I am really excited about this one -- maybe even more than the free download of Covert Ops and the audio of The Worst Evil--Losing Yourself! I'm teaming up with Kim and Steve in Australia. I wrote the blog on narcissism (January 25) after I found them. And they have invited me to write a blog for them and put my ebook on their website! Imagine, my book on the other side of the world -- and everywhere in between? How exciting! A huge thanks to you Kim and Steve.
   I am so impressed with you. I always believed that there had to be a way to help personality disorders such as Narcissism, Borderline, etc. And I believed that I had helped some of them--when I could get them to stay in therapy. The trouble is that mostly they don't come, because the problem is never theirs! They are masters at blaming others.
   But what I "knew" about Narcissists is that they don't get better. The wounding was too early and too deep. Life and people are unsafe, and NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) is all about protection. And you usually don't find this out until you are either committed to one, or married, or he/she has convinced you that you are the crazy one.
  Well, I found out after I was married to one. But I had already had a few years of seeing clients as a marriage and family therapy intern. After ten very tough years, he had a stroke which completely changed our relationship, and even after he began to heal, he made better choices, and today we have a really good marriage. But I had always just said we had Divine intervention. (Not implying in the least that God gave him the stroke, but that He allowed him to eat tons of bacon on our vacation which led to it.)
   Meanwhile, I had learned enough about NPD that I was sure that, if the partner was healthy enough and emotionally stable enough, over time you could make a difference. I also believed (unconventionally) that clients with personality disorders should be told in therapy about their disorder. I have found that it gives them hope, a reason for their struggle, and sometimes helps them stay in therapy.
  Then I stumbled onto Kim and Steve's website with the audacious domain name -- "Narcissism cured?" I was amazed but skeptical, and after reading all the material on their website, I got excited! Someone believed like I did! I started sharing it with everyone. (I have a lot of clients who deal with narcissism in either a spouse, a parent, a boyfriend, or in-law.) Finally there was someone who was bold enough to go against conventional wisdom for a needed answer of hope. I am so impressed with both their vulnerability and their courage. I still want to hear Steve's story of how he came to the realization and acceptance of narcissism. Or have you written it, and I haven't read it yet?
   Unfortunately, I didn't talk much about narcissism in my book that just came out. I do talk about  Borderline personality disorder, but wasn't ready to blow my husband's cover, so evidently just avoided it. (I actually don't know if he yet accepts the label as belonging to him, though he heard it often enough.) And the client who did accept it and probably would have been ok with me putting his story in, came after the book was written. Nevertheless, the book is all about the things that keep you from becoming your true self. In this time of disasters everywhere, people are losing everything, but the very worst thing you can lose is yourself.
   I'm not talking about death. That isn't scary to me, but losing your awareness, your choices, your freedom, that is scary--very. And it can happen so easily, so mindlessly, through programming, through habits, through addictions to name a few. Unless we question what we think, what we believe, and why we act the way we do, we could easily just float along on evil's rubber raft of mindlessness.
   So buy my book here and learn to avoid the potholes of losing you, or learn how to recover your true self. Oh, the name of it is The Worst Evil--Losing Yourself.