What are the words…

I know I have not posted anything in almost a year. Yikes!

Ever have life be so busy and have so much you could vent about, and yet there are so many words…you do not have any words? It’s like screaming and then turning to the person next to you and asking, “You know what I mean?”

We are still trying to adjust to living near family for the first time in 20 years. I wish I could say it’s been great, but yeah not so much. I think I would rather opt for distance and family visits. I am a non-confrontational person, and my ability to keep my mouth shut for the sake of family peace is feeling like it is one thinly veiled comment away from taking a sabbatical.

We have had to pull one of our kids from public school due to severe social anxiety. I am now this child’s teacher. As my husband put it, “It is like watching you try to teach a three year old”. The struggle to focus is real and we are not covering as much material in a day as I wish we were. New strategies and approaches is a must. We are still on a learning curve to figure out what is going to work for us. My next class starts next week and will add another layer of hurdles to get over. I am not good at being able to keep up with my school work and often fall behind. Thank you ADHD and dyslexia, I know I can always count on you. There are a lot of adjustments that need to be made, and we will figure it all out at some point.

We are now caring for a baby bunny that we found with a dislocated leg. The leg has been this way too long and cannot be repaired. The bunny is not in any pain. He is such a sweet cutie pie full of personality. He is a joy to have around. We have never cared for a bunny before and are learning what we need to know.

A “relatively new” law in the state of California gives convicts who received the maximum sentence allowed for their crimes, while under the age of 26 at the time of their arrest, who would not otherwise receive parole hearings are now granted parole hearings. This has affected me and my mother because her attacker (a serial rapist who was getting increasingly more violent in his attacks) is now getting parole hearings. He was sentenced to 143 years in 1990 and now he gets parole hearings. A big thank you to the state of California for ensuring my mother and I are re-traumatized every three years by stripping away at the sense of safety of knowing he is behind bars and removing any sense of justice we have had. There is another parole hearing (his second) that we need to prepare for and write statements for. This California law states that because he was under the age of 26 at the time of his arrest his brain was not fully developed and he therefore has reduced culpability in his crimes and deserves a chance to be set free. California you are always so thoughtful.

I know all this seems random and all over the place. However, this is just a cross section of some of the things that have been going on in the last 12 months more or less. I wish I wrote more about topics that I am passionate about. I wish I knew how to get some of what I have been feeling out in a way where I could feel like it would make sense. I really wish I was good at time management and self-discipline so that I could spend more time on this blog. One day I will get there. Until then, know I am still here even if I am not posting often.

The Unhealthy Dynamics Of Being The Scapegoat

In the Bible the scapegoat carried the sins of the people out into the wilderness after another kid goat had been sacrificed for the people’s sins as a part of a sin offering. Together they offered atonement for the sins of the people and the sins were then carried away by the scapegoat.

While reading about this I realized how often I had felt like I was the scapegoat for others. Feeling like I had taken on the blame or responsibility for others so they could justify their own behavior. Growing up my well-being was often put aside so that the adults in my life did not have to fill the role that they should have. Scapegoating can happen in any relationship, however, it especially happens in unhealthy relationships.

What Being the Scapegoat Looks Like:

  • When someone blames you for something they did to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.
  • To avoid taking responsibility for mistreating you, they blame you for their mistreatment of you.
  • Being given responsibility for someone else’s happiness or moods.
  • Being someone’s emotional dumping ground.
  • Not having your boundaries respected.
  • Getting gas lighted.

A clear pattern here is the lack of willingness of someone to take responsibility for their own actions. Instead they make someone else their scapegoat by placing the blame or the responsibility for their actions, behaviors, words, and/or their moods onto another person.

What it feels like to be the scapegoat:

  • Depressing.
  • Inducing anxiety when you have to deal with a particular person(s).
  • Wondering what you did wrong.
  • Feeling like you cannot do anything right in another person’s eyes.
  • Wondering why nothing you do is enough to make someone happy, or to snap them out of their depression or to keep them from getting angry.
  • Feeling like you are responsible for fixing all their problems.
  • Walking on eggshells.
  • Trying to do everything perfectly.
  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Feeling stressed.
  • Poor self-image.

The weight of being the scapegoat is a heavy burden to carry, and it negatively affects the way a person views them-self. The act of scapegoating another person shows a lack of personal responsibility and a lack of respect for another person.

If, like me, you grew up without boundaries, then you may find it difficult to stand up to someone who is using you as their scapegoat. You may even feel powerless to stop it. For me, being the scapegoat was just the way things were growing up, and it was part of surviving. I can’t say that I have it all figured out. This one thing I do know, as I get better at protecting my boundaries and speaking up for myself the more I can see myself being able to stand up against being used as someone’s scapegoat. I am getting better at being able to see what I am responsible for and what others are responsible for. Standing up for myself is hard but I’m getting there. I know speaking up is not easy for everyone. So, if you struggle with it don’t give up because you can get to a place where it becomes easier.

You do not have to be someone’s scapegoat. No one is responsible for how another person behaves, their responses, their moods, their happiness, their words, or fixing their problems. We are only responsible for ourselves and how we respond to the things that come our way. When you notice someone is trying to use you as their scapegoat, remind yourself that you are not responsible for them.

The Proverbs 31 Woman for Women’s Day

It was Women’s Day the other day, and I’ve had a little time to reflect. In a recent class assignment we looked at the Proverbs 31 woman. To be honest, I’ve had a bit of a love hate relationship with her. She was both something to be admired and a symbol of oppressive ideology.

You see, I once belonged to a church where they used the Proverbs 31 woman as an example of what a wife and mother should be: a woman who submits, whose place is in the home, cooks, cleans, raises kids, and is frugal in all her ways. All of the Proverbs 31 woman’s other attributes and the full scope of her accomplishments was ignored. I had never felt like a second class citizen as a woman until this particular church organization. Keeping a house looking immaculate has never been my strong suit, and struggling with my mental health didn’t help in those endeavors either. I lost myself in trying to become this Proverbs 31 woman that was portrayed to me as the ultimate goal in becoming a godly woman. I tried to force myself into a mold that wasn’t designed for me (a mold that required me to give up desires and drives God had given me), and became increasingly frustrated that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fit the mold. When equality is measured in terms of how much equality others say you have it isn’t really equality. In other words, if a wife’s equality is measured by how much equality her husband says she has, then it isn’t true equality because it is dependent upon his definition of what equality looks like to him in the relationship. That is precisely the type of equality that was promoted in this version of the Proverbs 31 woman and she was expected to fit in that mold. Equality isn’t something that is given but rather it is a result of being viewed and treated as an equal.

The real Proverbs 31 woman while she may follow the lead of her husband as a leader (not a ruler) of the home she is a woman who is more than capable of holding her own and rocking it. She isn’t a slave to her house duties or husband but is a manager of the in’s and out’s of her household. Yes, she’s a great cook, makes sure her house is in order, knows how to spot a great deal, and is a great mother. But she is so much more than all of that. She is also an entrepreneur and business owner who is talented in many areas. She takes the time to help those who are in need, and is an all around Super Woman. She has the time management and leadership skills anyone would want to have.

I still view her as having awfully big shoes to fill but no longer view her as a subjugated woman. To make deals, to be an entrepreneur, to run businesses, and do all that she did requires respect, fortitude, and to not settle for be treated as less than. I now view her as a force to be reckoned with but not in an aggressive demanding way. She knew how to cultivate respect by treating others well. Becoming this version of the Proverbs 31 woman is well worth striving for because she shows us just how capable women are. I may never perfectly fill her shoes but she reminds me that I am more than capable of doing anything I put my mind to. The same goes for you. You are capable of great things. Your equality isn’t measured by what others may define as your equality but is a God given right to be viewed and treated as an equal.

About That Healing Thing

So often I find myself looking for that light switch that will cause everything make sense. If I could just understand the intricacies of how this one thing works it will all make sense. I think that same thought over and over for each aspect of healing. It’s been a long hard road in part because I feel driven to understand all the intricacies of how my mind processes what I’ve been through, and why people do the things they do. Understanding is good and we need to understand how things have affected us, but sometimes we don’t need to understand all the ins-and-outs. Sometimes the answer is “just because” and there is nothing else to it. That’s frustrating, I know.

So often I have wanted to come to you and say “Here’s the switch that will change everything”. Flipping a light switch is so easy. We just flip that switch and the light comes on. Healing, I have found, is not as easy as flipping a light switch. It takes time, patience, giving ourselves grace for not always getting it right, and forgiveness towards ourselves and others. It’s more like watching a bucket fill with water one drip at a time. The changes come; just sometimes slowly. So, give yourself grace, do lots of self-care, and watch your bucket fill up.

I know this blog isn’t glamorous, suspenseful, or even all that interesting at times (or at all for some). However, healing often isn’t any of those things. It can be boring, dreary, painfully slow, and has a real lack of fireworks going off every time we make a new stride in healing. There are times of great excitement though. That new break-through can be exciting and exhilarating to us, but to no one else. Because only we know how hard we have worked for that break-through and how great it feels to have finally reached it. It is my continued hope that even in the mundane of my healing and of what I share, you are able to connect and see you are not alone in your struggles.

This Was Me

This was me. This is what I looked like in high school around the time the abuse by my stepdad was ending. I was on the tennis team. I was in honor classes and made mainly A’s and B’s. I was quiet and kept to myself for the most part. I was a naive and compliant kid. Not one to ask many questions or rock the boat; I did as I was told. I had only a few friends who would have anything to do with me outside of school. I wasn’t the kid who had a ton of sleepovers with friends. Home is where I would be.

Home life was not great. I was the family and marriage counselor. I was the one the whole family looked to to make sure my mom didn’t commit suicide. They made her my responsibility. There were times I used my body as a shield to keep her from driving off while crying hysterically. She would often tell me how she wished she could drive off of a bridge or just run away. So I would stand in front/behind of her car to keep her from driving off while crying hysterically because I didn’t know if I would ever see her again if I let her drive away. I did the majority of the cleaning and I did everyone’s laundry.

This is my Denim Day protest. I didn’t wear skimpy clothes. I wasn’t a flirt. In fact I was shy. I was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, and I still am. There was nothing about me that would have said I “asked” for it, and that’s because I didn’t. No one ever does.

Let me say that again.

No. One. Ever. Does.

When I was four years old my mother was attacked in front of me by a serial rapist, Robin Scott Dasenbrock, who had broken into our apartment. I woke up to seeing my mother struggling in front of me with a man who had ahold of her from behind. When I screamed he let go of her and ran.

Later, someone made a comment to my mom that if this man wanted to have sex with her then why didn’t he just ask her out on a date. For one thing, a date does not equal a responsibility on the part of the woman to sleep with the man. For another, what would dating have to do with a stranger breaking into your apartment and attempting to rape you? This implies some kind of responsibility on the part of the victim to placate to the deviant urges of a rapist. That if only the victim would have given it up then there would have been no need for the man to rape her. Victim blaming at its finest. My mom did not do anything to invite this man into our lives in such a way. She certainly did nothing to “ask” for it.

So the next time you hear about a victim of sexual assault remember this:

  • What they wore has nothing to do with it.
  • The level of alcohol in their system has nothing to do with it.
  • Their behavior has nothing to do with it.
  • Their line of work has nothing to do with it.
  • Their sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.
  • Their compliance to their attacker has nothing to do with it; they were trying to survive.
  • Sexual assault can and does happen to boys and men.
  • They in no way “owe” it to anyone to have sex with them.
  • There is nothing they could have ever done that would imply they “asked” for it.
  • They are in no way responsible for the vile actions of another.
  • It was not their fault.

Remember these things and treat victims accordingly with sensitivity and compassion. Knowing it was not their fault, and they did not ask for it. The only one responsible for a sexual assault is the offender, hold them accountable for the assault, not the victim.