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4 entries from January 2017

Why someone can’t make you do anything, leaving you one choice, your 100% responsible for you all the time.

Phrases  I often hear is:

“He made me yell at him.”

“We got into a fight because she made me mad."

My children will often say “I only hit her because she gave me a dirty look, if she would have been straight face then I would not have gotten so mad.”

“It's my teacher's fault I failed, if she would’ve told me about my missing assignments then I would not have failed.”

“It's America’s fault I am so angry and burning cars if they would’ve elected Hillary instead of Trump this would not be happening.”

“It's my employer's fault I am late to work; they should not expect me to be there so early.”

“It's my child’s fault he got his mouth smacked, with language like that he deserves it.”

Here is the truth, no one makes you do or say anything. I am going to say that again

No one makes you say or doing anything.

                  You are 100% responsible for yourself all the time. This is something I repeat to clients over and over again. Why do I pound this in people’s heads? Because change cannot happen as long as we believe someone is responsible for our happiness or actions.  We are all created with Will Power.

                                                    Will Power

                  What is Will Power? Will Power is the ability to resist temptation and control oneself. This is important because when a person realizes they possess the ability to control themselves it changes everything. Will Power empower you to make immediate decisions and control the consequences, this means that you have control of your actions all the time. What if you don’t have Will Power? The good news is it is a learned behavior. When you develop the ability to control your own actions it actually increases your self-esteem.

                                                Self Esteem

                  Who wants to think someone else has control over them? I certainly do not. Will Power means that you can stop:


You can stop being mean.

You can stop eating the food you don’t want to eat.

You can stop hurting other people.

You can stop smoking.

You can stop taking drugs.

You can stop being treated like a second class citizen.

You can stop blaming the Devil for your choices.

You can decide to….

To walk away.

To make a different choice.

To live a healthier lifestyle.

To be the bigger person in an argument.

To be a better person.

To love your spouse more than you love yourself.

To love your children more than you love your job or addiction.

To choice the higher road every time.

And when you realize no one can make you do anything, your self-esteem grows! A person has a healthy self-esteem when they feel good about themselves. People feel good about themselves when they realize others cannot make them say, feel or do anything. When you realize you control you, your marriage, life, and world will become more tolerable because even when you are invited to a fight, you have the power to walk away.

How to deal with emotional pain

It has been 16 years since I experienced some of the worst physical and emotional pain I have ever experienced. My husband Joe and I were newly married and lived 10 hours from family. Joe had accepted a job at a Christian school. During our time there I became pregnant which was not planned nor expected. None the less, Joe and I were very excited! We were new to this whole pregnancy stuff and was not sure what to expect. We found a doctor and arrived at our first sonogram, only to hear the most dreaded words “We cannot find a heartbeat.” They told me not to worry; I could be early, and the heartbeat could still come. Week after week I went back to the doctor hoping to hear a heartbeat. Soon I had to come to terms with the fact the baby was gone. I refused a DNC and lost the baby at home. That night was horrible; I lost so much blood I passed out, I was fatigued and suffering from a broken heart. The physical pain was bad but nothing in comparison to the emotional pain. I felt alone and broken. Over the next several months, I did everything I could to distract myself from the pain. I was tired of feeling those disturbing emotions that kept me a prisoner to my bed.

A couple of years went by, and I moved to a new town and new doctor and life continued. I felt so much hope because I was getting a new doctor and hoping she could finally give me some answers. I was excited to ask the doctor what I did wrong to have a miscarriage. When I asked the doctor what I did wrong, she replied

“I think you need to accept you did nothing wrong that sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

This was not the answer I wanted to hear but the answer I need to hear to start healing. We begin to heal from emotional pain when we do these things:

Choose to live in a relationship with others because we are not meant to suffer alone

To deal with grief, we must realize we cannot suffer alone. It is important to surround ourselves with others, rely on them and allow them to help carry your burden. Do not be a silent griever. Your friends are not mind readers; it is important that you share with others your needs so they can help you through your grief.

Acknowledge your emotions

Most people get tired of feeling, yet it is through feeling you find healing. If you are angry, sad, feeling lonely, hating life, depressed, whatever your emotion might be, you need to name it. “Today I am feeling angry because…….” Give yourself permission to grieve.

Visit your pain and name it

Regardless of when it was it is important to revisit the pain, experience the emotions, and be honest about what happened and how you felt. Set grieving goals Grief has no time limit however what you do with your grief does. If you have been struggling to get out of bed, sleeping all the time or unable to find purpose in life then you need to set goals. These goals can be simple and involve something like:

• Today I am going to get out of bed.

• Today I am going to call a friend.

• Today I am going to socialize.

• Today I am going to do something for myself.

Setting grieving goals helps us to realize we must go on.

Pour your life into someone else

Sometimes, to move past trauma, it is necessary to pour your time into someone else. This allows you to see others pain and often brings a new outlook to life.

Try viewing your situation through a different lens

When life is hard, often you become stuck. After I had lost my first baby, a couple of years later I lost two more. It sucked, and the losses continued to feed the narrative in my head that I must have done something to deserve this. It is when I looked at my situation from a different lens that I began to heal. Here is the different lens I looked through:

• What if I lost my babies because we live in a broken world and it was nothing that I did but instead the result of a fallen humanity?

• What if I lost my babies because even though my pain was unimaginable, it was meant to be used to help others one day.

• What if I lost my babies because I had to learn that life is hard.

Accepting life is hard because its suppose to be

Life is hard because it is meant to be. We were never promised an easy life however we were promised the tools to help us endure. When we realize we are strong, we can overcome, we can fight for a new day, and that are worst circumstances, if we allow them to, can bring healing for ourselves and others, life begins to be beautiful again because we have chosen to accept what is.

Accept your pain

When we realize, we cannot change our circumstances. We cannot make our pain go away. We cannot avoid it, it leaves us one choice and that is to sit in it. It has been 16 years, and I do not know why I lost my babies, but I have learned to accept it. I have learned to accept that pain is a part of my story however it does not have to define who I am. Through my hardship, I learned I am a fighter. I did not give up, and continue to be the best me I can be. I hope those babies know that their mom never gave up but instead fought to make life beautiful, that I chose to endure and provide a good life for their father and siblings. If you have experienced pain or currently experiencing pain, do not give up, acknowledge your pain, sit in your pain, surround yourself with people you love and keep going. Do not give up.

Parenting is not about quantity time but about quality time

         During my time in school, my mother would worry that I did not spend enough time with my children. She would note that I worked 56 hours a week at the office, attended school 8 to 12 hours a week and did homework 20 hours a weekend. How in the world did I get time with my children?

Parenting is not about quantity but about quality


One researcher suggests that small children only need 15 minutes of one on one time per day and another author suggests the more time a teen spends engaged with their mother, the fewer instances of delinquent behavior. And the more time teens spend with both their parents together in family time, such as during meals, the less likely they are to abuse drugs and alcohol and engage in other risky or illegal behavior. They also achieve higher math scores.

If you are like me and wonder if your children are getting enough of time and attention from you, don’t worry anymore. Here are 5 things you can do to spend quality time with them.


  1. Engage in an activity with them they enjoy

This maybe reading a book, playing with Legos, kicking a soccer ball around, wrestling, painting your fingernails, playing barbie dolls, shooting guns, I think you get the hint, whatever your child enjoys, find 15 minutes out of your day and engage in the activity with them.

  1. Sit down and converse

I am lucky, all my children love conversation so this is the easiest one for me to do and it usually happens while we are riding in the car. I let them talk to me about whatever they want and I engage and listen. They get undivided attention. I get my ear talked off and everyone is happy.

  1. Have meals together

I know life is extremely busy but family meal time should be the last activity dropped off your calendar. Plan at least 3 to 4 times a week to eat together and during this time put your devices away and enjoy each others company.

  1. Plan family date nights

This is the one night a week my husband and I valued while we both were in school. No matter what, Friday night was family- fun night. We took the kids to the park, Dave and Busters, bowling, to fairs, carnivals, out to eat, to the mall, wherever we could think to go we went.

  1. Do a project with them

Invite your child do help you do something. Make this time fun, engaging and full of conversation. You can paint the porch together, build a hunting blind (My husband did this with my children), put a pool in together (the girls and I did this). Oh, and my favorite memory, the girls and raked the driveway gravel together. Children enjoy stress-free, family time that is engaging even if it involves work.

Next time you start feeling guilty about the amount of time you don’t spend with your children, put away your guilt and engage in one of these simple activities. All it takes is about 15 minutes!

When a family member is hurting you do these things

I spent 2016 learning how to be a therapist. I sat with many people who were hurting. Most of them had something in common, they have been hurt by family. Someone somewhere caused pain that left them feeling hopeless, depressed, scared or alone. The holidays are over and a New Year is here. Here are some tips to dealing with the family members that are causing conflict or pain in your life.

  1. Be a good listener.

Find out what the person you are in conflict with wants and how they expect you to meet those expectations.

  1. Repeat back what you hear them saying to make sure the message you hear is accurate.

It is so easy to have a rebuttal in our heads going the whole time someone is talking instead of listening

  1. Decide if you can meet the expectations.

Sometimes you can and sometimes you cannot. Only you can decide.

  1. Express the feelings you experience as a result of the way you are being treated.

This is not easy and takes vulnerability. Vulnerability is difficult because it means you can get hurt. Call them on the phone and ask them to listen, write an email, letter, however, if you can get your feelings across, do it!

  1. Try to compromise. Compromising is a part of life. There is always a happy medium if two people are willing to find it.
  1. Draw boundaries when necessary.

Until I became a therapist I use to believe that no matter what it took family was family and you worked it out no matter. I have learned this last year that it takes two. Relationships are never one sided. It takes two people who want a better relationship to make it work. If you are the only one fighting for your relationship, then it is time to draw boundaries.

  1. Do not allow yourself to be treated poorly no matter how much you love the person.

Here are the ways to recognize if you are being poorly treated:

  • The person calls you names.
  • They blame you for the relationship break- down.
  • They manipulate you by withholding love from you. I see this lot. It is often done through silence. The person refuses to talk to you, answer calls or engage in an adult to adult conversation with you.
  • They punish you for not doing what they want.
  • The create unrealistic rules to follow.
  1. Be intentional without being controlled.

You can open the door for a better relationship to happen without being controlled or at someone else’s beckon call. Being intentional means I will not allow the person to control me or manipulate me but will be available when they want to talk.

  1. Have self-respect.

Self-respect says I will not allow someone to belittle me, blame me for problems or treat me poorly.

  1. Do not sweep problems under the rug.

Problems that are left undealt with only get worse. If you have a family member that ignores you for long periods of time and then pretends everything is ok is manipulating you. The only way to not keep repeating the same patterns over and over again is to talk about them. Do not allow anyone to treat you poorly and then pretend something never happened. Being an adult means you hold people accountable, help them grow and invite them to take ownership of their actions.

  1. Forgive over and over again.

Someone cannot keep paying for the same mistake. Offer forgiveness whether they ask for it or not. Forgiveness sets you free. The only person held captive by not forgiving is you. Forgiveness does not mean you invite someone back into your life to be hurt, it just means you are letting go of the hurt they have inflicted on you.

  1. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye

This is the hardest one for me to write but I truly believe, if someone is manipulating you, hurting you, abusing you or continuing to inflict emotional pain on you then you need to let this person go. It doesn’t have to be forever but you cannot allow yourself to be treated this way.

  1. Realize that life is short

Do not give up easy. Fight hard. Try to get along. Seek help from professionals. But if someone doesn’t want to change realize that life is too short to be treated “this way”. Do not succumb to emotional or physical abuse to mend a relationship. The opposite is also true, do not hold on to anger, pain, and hurt when you could just get along. Life is too short.