How Do You Show Love?

My aunt has been on my mind a lot lately since she phoned last week to announce she was planning a visit. As usual she passed her judgement on me and gave her unsolicited advice on what she thought I ought to be doing. This is pretty much standard procedure with my aunt. She was my mom’s favourite sister so her opinion of me maybe mattered more to me than I thought. Upon reflection I realised she is not a cold b*tch trying to hurt me but rather a woman attempting to show she cares about me. This realisation made me feel a bit less defensive because I know she was not shown healthy love growing up and was exposed to a lot of ideas that devalue authenticity and emotion. How then could she express her concern for me and show she cares in any other way than she has been doing all along? I expected too much and didn’t consider the place she is coming from. None of this makes her behaviour acceptable though and I will be absent when she visits unless my counsellor has a good reason for me being in her company to share with me. There is no reason I should have to be subjected to her judgemental attitude and be made to feel unaccepted for the person I am.

It isn’t easy to have compassion for her when I am hurt due to her behaviour but understanding goes a long way. Once I realised she cares about me but doesn’t know how to show that in a healthier manner I felt less hurt. In fact, I am feeling a great deal better than I was an hour or so ago before my realisation. Just as it is easy for my aunt to judge people it is easy for me to feel victimised and not bother to feel compassion. It’s hard to feel compassion for people when they’ve hurt you but very often they are the ones needing it most.

Do you have people in your life similar to my aunt? They care about you but don’t know how to express it in a healthy manner? What is the approach/tact you take with them?

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

Misery Loves Company

There’s a debate going on where I live regarding politicians salaries and pensions/benefits. The public reaction seems to be largely one of scorn perceiving politicians to be getting too much (money, benefits etc.) for too little ‘blood, sweat, and tears’. None of the outraged people giving their scornful opinions have stopped to examine where their fury comes from. What I have discerned is “Joe Public” is being treated unfairly and wants “Joe Politician” to be treated equally unfairly; instead, why doesn’t the average guy/gal get angry about their own situation and be happy someone else is being treated decently? The only conclusion I can reach is “Joe Public” can’t/won’t change his own unfair situation so looks to tear down the easiest target-a public figure often responsible for policies and laws few people appreciate.

I have noticed when people feel they are in unfair positions they opt to bring others down with them when it’s perceived someone isn’t ‘suffering enough’. This goes for situations outside of politics too. For example, in my family there are people who see me as not pulling my weight because I haven’t got a paid job. Do they stop and wonder why I don’t have a paid job? No. Do they ask me directly about anything? No. Instead, they give me their uninvited opinions and try to shame me into doing what they think is ‘right’ by the standards of mainstream culture they’ve uncritically digested and internalised.

When people have grown up being treated poorly and don’t bother to critique what happened to them they end up rationalising the situation. They find reasons for what occurred to be acceptable in some way; thus anyone else who comes along daring to inquire further into the situation finds themselves the target of an attack. How dare someone actually seek to know why something happened?! How dare anyone question the accepted norm and make another uncomfortable for choosing to stay in the dark?! It sounds ridiculous when you actually say it but some people would prefer staying in the dark because it’s familiar and comfortable in that sense.

If you want to really question anything you need to be prepared for some people taking their misery out on you. If they are suffering and you aren’t yet they think you should then Heaven help you. I have not had an easy life by any means yet family members that don’t even live with me or talk to me more than once or twice a year think I’m spoiled! Why? Because I am unemployed and live with my dad. I don’t live in the lap of luxury or sit around playing video games but they likely think I do because they don’t ask me. They’re more comfortable passing judgement on me than they are trying to see if I have challenges they don’t know of. All they see in their mind is a woman with more education than they have who isn’t employed, thus I must be lazy. Well sh*t that is pretty lousy reasoning or logic if you ask me but none of my family ever does who pass their judgement.

Have you noticed this phenomenon in mainstream Western culture? That is, people who are miserable trying to make others as miserable as they are? I would like to know if anyone has noticed this and do you think it’s normal or not? My opinion is it’s NOT normal or healthy.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

What Do You Do?

My aunt needs to read this!

My opinionated aunt (mom’s youngest sister) thinks she knows what’s good for everyone. She phoned recently to say she was coming for a visit and I immediately felt my blood pressure going up! Her and I clash because we’re both very stubborn and have strong wills. When she offers her usual unsolicited advice on what she thinks I should be doing with my life I feel angry/defensive. What right does she have telling me how I ought to live my life when she only has a vague idea of who I am? Why do some people think they can just give you advice you never asked for and act like they have all the answers? When she comes to visit I think I will not bother meeting with her because I am too angry knowing she’ll tell me what I should do and then pass her disapproval and judgement on me like she’s superior to me. She will just tell my dad what she would have told me so she’ll still get to give her unsolicited advice even if I’m not present!

Do you have family/relatives that interfere in your life thinking they have all the answers and know what’s best for you? How do you deal with them? Do you ignore them or give them a piece of your mind or just listen and try to not register your frustration? My counselling is on Tuesday so I will ask what I should do and hopefully get a bit of SOLICITED advice!

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

Good News :)

Good news! My dad doesn’t have to use his walker anymore to get around and is allowed to do stuff like before. He saw

Spring crocuses

his orthopaedic surgeon this morning and got the green light to do stuff without restrictions. His hip is doing very well apparently and has not moved since being replaced (he had a total hip replacement). I am so happy because we finally can get rid of the raised toilet seat and huge bath seat for the tub. The good news made me so happy I cleaned the bathroom! haha. Now it feels like Spring cleaning can commence because there are fewer bulky assistive tools about making it difficult to move around. Our home is small so having those extra items that took a lot of space up were very inconveniencing for me. Since my dad doesn’t require them now I happily moved them out and put away in storage (the big bath chair is a borrowed item so is going back to the Red Cross).

Now if only I could get so excited about filing my taxes! LOL Deadline is April 30th so I am okay but need to get them done. I use TurboTax software because I am not great with numbers and am too cheap to get an accountant to do them for me. It is a great thing for anyone doing their own taxes who don’t know a lot about accounting or who get confused-like me-with too many numbers to keep track of.

Well that’s it for now.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


Totally Random….

Art by Richard Kolding

Recently I realized all my favourite animals are considered pests and annoyances to many people. For example, I love raccoons, squirrels, mice, rats, possums, opossums, pigeons, bats, crows… well you get the idea. Anyway it made me think perhaps I love these animals because they remind me of myself. The animals I prefer are seen as either odd, annoying or something you have to get rid of. In some ways I suppose they’re marginalised or underappreciated. Yes, I love more popular animals too but my heart is with the animals too few people embrace. So I think this symbolises how I see myself in relation to the larger culture I inhabit each day.

I don’t mean to suggest I see myself as a rodent or pest but undervalued perhaps would be apt. Of course part of this is from me not valuing myself as highly as I ought to in spite of having better self-esteem than I used to. It would be easy to place the blame on the larger culture I live in saying I’ve internalised their messages around what is worthy and what isn’t; but I think responsibility is shared and I have to learn to see myself as more valuable than I do. Don’t get me wrong though, I have the ability to see my worth it’s just a struggle at times when I lose focus and compare myself to others. Comparing one’s self to others is one of the quickest routes to low self-esteem I can think of. Do I manage to abstain from comparisons all the time? No. But I am doing a heck of a lot better than I ever used to and that is what’s important for me. If you’re going to compare yourself to anyone it has to be yourself. If you are in a better place than you used to be that is all that matters-not where you are in relation to someone else.

Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others or feeling less valuable than you really are?

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

Tired of Winter (It’s Supposed to be Spring!)



Cute raccoon hanging on opossum’s tail. Just because :)

Winter isn’t letting go here and I am feeling my energy levels evaporating each time I shovel. Officially it is Spring but you wouldn’t know that to look outside. Outside it’s blustery and snow mixed with freezing rain makes for tricky conditions (driving/walking). Fortunately, the snow we got last week has largely gone due to rain we got afterward but there’s still a fair amount about. Maybe Spring will get here in another week or so then we won’t lose the whole season to cruddy winter! As you can tell my tolerance for cold temps and snow/freezing rain is pretty low.

Yesterday I saw my counsellor where I complained about the weather and how it’s making me cranky. That likely took more time than was reasonable which makes me think I’m stalling or experiencing resistance to something. My resistance is likely due to not wanting to talk about why I never go out or have a social life. My excuse is it’s too difficult to go out and try having fun in social situations. Historically, social situations have not been fun for me so I am already primed to expect negative outcomes. It doesn’t do much for getting me out the door to try retesting the experience. My counsellor would like for me to try going out a bit more so I am not such a hermit like I am now. Currently, I spend most of my time at home unless I have an appointment or my dad has one where he needs help from me. So I really don’t know how to have fun unless it’s on my own. Making myself vulnerable enough to experience new situations with people I don’t know is scary for me. Suddenly my fears of rejection and abandonment come back in a most irrational way.

Sweet raccoon and opossum hanging onto the moon.

Sweet raccoon and opossum hanging onto the moon.

I’m really good at finding courage for facing stuff that scares me internally but externally it’s a whole other issue. In a way my fear is from inside me but it’s a visible or concrete one that can be observed. Recently, the social anxiety has lessened in low social pressure situations like going to the grocery store but stayed the same for social situations requiring me to interact more, such as conversations longer than a minute or two. Maybe I am supposed to just go slowly. But it feels like I have nothing to “show” for all the time I’ve been taking to work on healing myself so I get frustrated. It’s my darn ego trying to trick me into being its slave again! Guess I’ll just have to work on cultivating my patience further.

That’s it for now. I am going to read some blog posts now since I have been slacking in that area.

©Natalya, 2014 for Reflections On Life Thus Far.

Does abuse define a career path?


Excellent piece!

Originally posted on Dr Nicholas Jenner PsyD MA:

One of the enduring questions of human development and behaviour is why we take the paths that we do. What influences us in our choice of partner, profession, lifestyle and other things that make us who we are? This is a deep and complicated question even if a “good enough” upbringing has been experienced but even more so when a history of abuse and/or dysfunctional parenting has prevailed. In this case, when lacking the foundation of security, how do abused children make their way in the world, seemingly dragging a ball and chain with them? A book I recently reviewed may offer some clues and answers to this.

The book in question is  “Strong at Broken Places” by Linda T Sandford. The basis of the book are the stories of twenty child abuse survivors who figured that “the best revenge is living well”. Prevailing over a childhood of sexual and physical…

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Checking In (March)

It seems I am not doing this blogging thing very well considering the infrequency of my


posts but I just haven’t felt like writing. My creative juices get used up when I make new designs for my online shops then I don’t feel like writing. Besides that, I don’t want to write sometimes because it is hard to be positive all the time and the negative stuff is just easier to write about.

We’re supposed to get a lot of snow here tomorrow which I’m not too pleased about but it won’t last long because temperatures will be above freezing. All the same I had an appointment to see my counsellor on Thursday but decided I would be better off rescheduling for another day incase the snow made it too hard to travel. So I’ll see her next week which is fine and takes away my concerns about how I’d get to my appointment after 40 cm of snow falling Wednesday (predicted amounts are anywhere from 30-50 cm!). Cross your fingers for me that it’s less than the predicted amount! I have to shovel it and don’t want to think about how heavy it will be since we’re to get rain in between the snow. See! This is what I meant when I said it is so much easier to write about negative stuff.

At least it is Spring now so I know that the snow will not last and it will be warmer soon. We don’t have any snow right now so that is also a good thing since it would look worse with previous snowfalls adding to the accumulated amount. I am attempting to look for the silver linings and bright spots so as not to sound so negative! LOL

You may laugh at this but I am excited it’s Spring because I can do my Spring cleaning; well once the snow is gone anyway. I find it really difficult to motivate myself to clean if it’s still freezing cold and snow is around. Last Spring was much better so I could start the cleaning sooner. My hope is to declutter some more and clean stuff that hasn’t seen a duster or cleaning cloth in eons! The tiled floors also need mopping badly but I didn’t want to mop them during the winter because I had less energy and motivation. Shovelling snow on a regular basis pretty much made me not want to do too much actual cleaning.

Well that’s about all I have to say for now so I guess I won’t bore you with anything else. I hope everyone is well or at least finding something positive to focus on. Certainly, I am going to try to make my next post more positive even if it involves talking about shovelling snow! LOL

©Natalya, 2014 for Reflections On Life Thus Far.

Help Save their Home

Originally posted on behindthemaskofabuse:

Save a home "twindaddy"

Save a home

For those who haven’t seen a post in this regard before, I’m trying to raise funds to help a fellow blogger Merry over here  save her home.

Do to illness that is beyond her control, she and her family are about to lose their home. In the grande scheme of things, they need very little to save it.

I’ve set up a fundraiser and thankfully many have responded. In fact it’s been an incredible response, and we are very grateful. We however have not reached the amount we need to in order for them to keep their home, and time is running out.

If anyone is able and wants to donate. No amount is too small. We also need people to blog, reblog, Tweet, and generally use social media to the max.

This is not meant to make anyone feel bad. It’s just an opportunity…

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