Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

I grew up with the highs and lows of the 60’s and 70’s. One thing I am truly grateful for during that era is the amazing music and the artists of its times. Aretha “Rockin’, Rollin’” Franklin, Mick Jagger, The Temptations, and the amazing and talented Tina Turner. Only to name a few. But for this piece, I’d like to look more closely at one of Ms. Turner’s biggest hits, among many. “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”

As Ms. Turner’s life unfolded before us with the release of the biographical film by the same name in 1993, it became apparent why and how Turner could write the below lyrics:

In her chorus Tina sings:

“What's love got to do, got to do with it
What's love but a second-hand emotion
What's love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”

In her verses she recites:

"You must understand how the touch of your hand, makes my pulse react
That it's only the thrill of boy meeting girl, opposites attract

It's physical, only logical
You must try to ignore that it means more than that

It may seem to you that I’m acting confused, when you're close to me
If I tend to look dazed I've read it someplace, I've got cause to be
There's a name for it; there's a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason you do it for me

I've been taking on a new direction, but I have to say
I've been thinking about my own protection, it scares me to feel this way”

Clearly in her lyrics, Ms. Turner is speaking about a physical attraction. And love, real love, is clearly denounced or, at least, not worth being sought. She speaks of opposites attracting and we clearly know today, via Quantum Physics, like attracts like.

This emotion she’s read about has led to broken-heartedness. And, if you know her story a few broken bones, as well. This may have been your experience. So, from this, let’s explore love from a different perspective, for just a few minutes, please.

Let’s look at love from a personal, purely selfish view point. That is looking at love within ourselves first, not narcissistically but from self-preservation. We will see that love, agape, is all beautiful, perfect, and divine. So now we must look at what is this agape?

Agape is an ancient Greek-Christian term referring to love. It is the highest form of love and charity. Agape is the love of God for man and of man for God. The word should not be confused with philia, brotherly love, as it embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance.

As a family-violence specialist, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many women in domestic/family violence situations. This is what brought Susan Murphy Milano, Delilah and I together. And, what have I found common in every situation? The absence of universal, unconditional love for oneself. I have uncovered guilt, shame, and even self-loathing.

I have had countless agencies; hence individuals, tell me a woman must cycle in and out of a shelter at least seven times or until she, her children, and/or extended family experience some drastic situation or behavior from the abuser. This is usually the threat of death to herself, children or family members.

I still stand on this truth. If one: male or female; heterosexual or homosexual; transgender; and of any ethnicity will accept they are made in the image and likeness of Almighty God; and can begin to experience the unconditional love of God for themselves, the violent and abusive cycle will cease. It must.

With this unconditional love and acceptance of self, several things begin to happen almost instantly.
  1. One’s self esteem and self-worth is magnified; 
  2. The offender is no longer able to bully the victim because they, the victim, realize they are only a victim to their own limiting beliefs and mindset. The victim’s self-power is instantly increased. 
  3. The energy level of the victim shifts, and they then only attract those in their like energy. Opposites do not attract. We attract exactly what we are. Thereby, individuals with low self-esteem will not be drawn to those with higher vibrational levels believing in a higher love. Resonating in love for themselves, first! 
(Abusers are attracted to those with low self-esteem so they might appear bigger and more powerful to their victims. AKA: bully boogers.)

  • When one takes on the consciousness of Christ and realizes there is no greater love, anything that attempts to approach not of the same consciousness, feels uncomfortable. They, or the situation, is rejected right away or soon following. 
And, how do we experience this love? Through:
  • prayer; 
  • meditation. (That is being silent and allowing God’s love to flow into you and through you. Bring both hands to your heart, as a suggestion of embracing, and feel the Source of love); 
  • keeping company with loved-filled individuals; (Learning to say no thank you, without explanation, to anyone who brings otherwise—in your own mind’s eye.); 
  • listening to uplifting and positive music; (Reject music that refers to you as anything less than your Divine self); 
  • abstaining from main-stream media; 
  • reading inspirational, faith and love-filled works to include Scripture and literature to raise your consciousness. 
  • repeating loved-filled affirmations or declarations. A good place to start is “I AM that I AM.” Interpreted as “I AM all that God is.” 
  • Find yourself a good adviser, support group, or assistant. 

These are only a few things you can begin to do to raise yourself from the doldrums of victimhood. You may not find yourself walking into freedom or understanding any of the above overnight. But remain diligent; tenacious; and focused, desiring the life that Source; God; Mother Nature; (whatever name making you comfortable) has planned for you from the beginning of time. Their plan is to prosper you and to bring you hope. You will one day, very soon, begin to live your best life, as Ms. Winfrey would put it

What’s love got to do with it! Everything! All the time! And Everywhere! And it’s starting right here! Right now! With you!

Pamela Chapman is a certified life-wellness/life transition coach and family-violence specialist through the State of California. She is the owner of Yucatan Wellness Corporation and the previous owner of Iascend Programs, Inc which was dedicated, specifically, to helping abused women.

Today, Chapman works with others motivating, inspiring and teaching all who are willing to do the easy life work so they may walk into their well-being while transitioning through one of life’s challenges.

Pamela and team incorporate mind, body, and soul betterment using both ancient and cutting-edge healing techniques helping you to create your perfect self. To find out more visit: https://www.yucatanwellness.com.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Why You Only Remember The Good Stuff of a Bad Relationship

By Sandra L. Brown
Over and over again women are puzzled by their own process in trying to recover from a pathological relationship. What is puzzling is that despite the treatment they received by him, despite the absolute mind-screwing he did to her emotions, not only is the attraction still VERY INTENSE but also the POSITIVE memories still remain strong.

Women say the same thing--that when it comes to remaining strong in not contacting him (what we call 'Starving the Vampire') she struggles to pull up (and maintain the pulled up) negative memories of him and his behavior that could help her keep strong and detached.

But why? Why are the positive memories floating around in her head freely and strongly and yet the bad memories are stuffed in a 'mind closet' full of fuzzy cobwebs that prevent her from actively reacting to those memories?

There are a couple of reasons and we'll discuss today the first one. Let's think of your mind like a computer. Memories are 'stored' much like they are stored on a computer. Pain and traumautic memories are stored differently than positive memories.

Pulling up the negative memories from your hard drive is different than pulling up a memory that is on your desk top as an icon emblem. Traumatic memories get fragmented on their way to being stored on the hard drive. They get divided up into more than one file. In one file is the emotional feelings, another file is the sights, another file the sounds, another file the physical sensations.

But a WHOLE and complete memory is made up of ALL those files TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME such as what you emotionally felt, saw, heard, and physically experienced. Just one piece of it doesn't make it a complete memory such as just the positive memory.

A memory is good + bad =complete.

But when things are traumatic, (or stressful) the mind seperates the whole experience into smaller bits and pieces and then stores them seperately in the mind because it's less painful that way.

When women try to 'remind themselves' why they shouldn't be with him, they might get flashes of the bad memory but strangely, the emotional feelings are NOT attached to it. They wonder 'where did the feelings go?' They can see the bad event but they don't feel much about what they remember.

If you are playing a movie without the sound, how do you know what the actors are passionately feeling? It's the same thing with this traumatic recall of memories. You might see the video but not hear the pain in the voices. The negative or traumatic memory is divided up into several files and you are only accessing one of the files---a place where you have stored the positive aspects of the relationship.

To complicate things further, positive memories are not stored like negative memories. They are not divided up into other files. They don't need to be---they aren't traumatic.

So when you remember a time when the relationship was good or cuddly or the early parts of the relationships which are notoriously honeymoon-ish, the whole memory comes up--the emotional feelings, the
visual, the auditory, the sensations. You have a WHOLE and STRONG memory with that. Of course that is WAY MORE appealing to have--a memory that is not only GOOD but one in which you feel all the powerful
aspects of it as well.

Now, close your eyes and pull up a negative memory...can you feel the difference? You might see it but not feel it. Or hear it and not see much of it. Or feel a physical sensation of it but not the emotional piece that SHOULD go with the physical sensation. No matter what your experience is of the negative emotion, it is probably fragmented in some way.

Negative and traumatic memories are often incomplete memories--they are memory fragments floating all over your computer/mind. They are small files holding tiny bits of info that have fragmented your sense of the whole complete memory. These distorted and broken memory fragments are easily lost in your mind. 

If you have grown up in an abusive or alcoholic home, you were already subconsciously trained how to seperate out memories like this. If your abuse was severe enough early on, your mind just automatically does this anyway--if you get scared, or someone raises their voice, or you feel fear in anyway---your brain starts breaking down the painful experience so it's easier for you to cope with.

Next time we will talk about one other way your mind handles positive and negative memories and why you are flooded with positive recall and blocked from remembering and feeling those negative things he's done to you.
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Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Magical Illusion of Christmas

By Susan Murphy Milano

(originally posted December, 2010)

Every year my mother made a big deal about Christmas from planning out what color to make the eyes on the gingerbread cookies, to the day she, my brother, and myself would go downtown to Marshall Fields department store for our annual Santa visit and photo. The bright lights and holiday decorations lining downtown store windows and street lamps always made me forget, if only for a moment, our lives were anything but bright and hopeful.

I have to give my mother credit, as difficult as our daily fight for survival was, she did the best she could to create happy memories for us. Sometimes, the holiday did not turn out as planned and we ended up on Christmas morning in the emergency room as she received medical attention from injuries caused by my father. My little brother and I viewed stuffing every pocket in our coat and pants with candy canes while at the hospital as a cool thing. Instead of opening presents, like we watched in movies, we went back to the house with a cup of hot chocolate and whip cream prepared with love.

Hope was always a magical illusion, it did not matter if it was Christmas or not. The days and months always felt as if they were all lumped in to a never ending road of unpredictable behavior by a man authorized with a gun and a badge to protect the streets of Chicago, while hiding behind the closed door of our home like a coward, only to terrorize and harm his own family. In our house you told time by the changing of seasons and what you needed to wear before heading out the door. During the holidays it was the one time of year that I didn't wish anything from the Sears catalog that would arrive sometime after Thanksgiving. If Santa was real, then just maybe he would find us a nice safe place like I remembered watching in the movie Miracle on 34th Street, where we could hang our stockings and live happily, with my brother and mom, far away from my father, forever.

Growing up, my brother and I never really counted on much and making plans for anything was wishful thinking. More than fifty years later, I have no closure, just an acceptance of the violent events that would eventually hijack my mothers life. The last memory of her is 10 feet away from the oven where we baked Christmas cookies, throughout the kitchen her blood spilled over onto the once bright yellow pattern on the floor tiles where my brother and I once sat anxiously waiting for the Christmas cookies to finish baking. In the bedroom a couple hundred feet away, dead from a self inflicted gun shot, my father, who had taken from me the only love I knew, my mother. Although not visible to the human eye, there is a tattoo etched deep inside of me, a permanent scar from a battle I would rather forget.

The effects of the violence would follow me into my own world as an adult, a secret I kept hidden from friends, colleagues and relationships. Suddenly, my secret was out, unwillingly I was a victim and a survivor of a life I did not ask for nor chose as my life's journey. In 1988, my parents divorced and the holidays were around the corner. My mother and I spent the Christmas holidays together, the first without my father and the last one without my mother. I rang in the new year with a feeling of hope that we could finally move forward with our lives.

Abruptly, in 1989, after their deaths, I left a successful business career for a world that provided little, if any, hope and assistance to abuse victims and their children.

I did not realize when I began working with victims of intimate partner abuse, my world would be an important life raft for safety in keeping others alive. Over a decade of running a national agency and providing direct services, I began to incorporate strategies like no other in the country, as the agencies were not familiar with the battleground I knew intimately. Service providers and agencies were layered by politics and paperwork with government forms and numbers instead of thinking outside the box, a box that never belonged there in the first place if lives were to be saved.

This rigid box of "rules and restrictions" are what often kicks the safety and services of a victim to the streets and back to the violence. Yes, a woman returns to the abuser numerous times before she leaves but its also because the family courts and services are either limited or dysfunctional. And all too often it is based on income she makes too much, too little or there is not enough funding available for what is required. Ironically, the funding issues in my world were never an obstacle in keeping victims alive. With little or no resources, each person I assisted did not die. Instead, they moved forward with their lives, most went back to school to obtain degrees others found paying jobs as the sole support of the household turning their lives around minus the threat of violence. I think it was because I took the time with them, something I noticed from the begining that was not happening when a victim reached out for help.

I learned from being in the trenches and providing hands on services combined with making time to explain to victims-- meant the difference between life and death. I would go beyond the sterile basic information and red tape of guidlelines set by funders and various government agencies, people who were and continue to do so today, more concerned with tabulating stats of human lives that amounted to nothing more then entering useless garbage into a data base that had nothing to do with safety or leaving and never returning to the abuse or the system for help. One cannot effectively assist a victim of intimate partner by sitting behind a desk when they have never left the comfort of their offices, when they have never been inside the real world of sheer terror and violence that victims endure daily. Often placing victims in something labeled a shelter, government funded that does not in many ways meet the needs of victims. As I have always said like our own DNA no two cases of abuse are alike.

The days of placing a bandage on intimate partner violence, as though it were a boo-boo, are over. When a system does what it has always done, the results will be the same. It did not work out for women like my mother, unable to speak today, because they were silenced in the prime of their lives, murdered in cold blood.

As we enter the year 2011, know that the death toll across the country for those who lose their lives because of intimate partner violence does not have to be a predictable outcome in some hardwired data base, ultimately marked by a cemetary headstone as in years past. A child no longer has to acompany their mother to the emergency room on Christmas morning filling their pockets with candy canes in a cold waiting room as the doctors stich their mothers head or set a broken limb and sent back out into uncertainty and fear that the next time they might not be so lucky.

In the new year I would like everyone who reads this to join me in ending the abuse. How, you ask? Each time a news story about a victim who was killed comes across your facebook page or you read about a case in the Huffington post, AOL News, Google, Newsvine, USA Today, the Examiner, The Washington Post, New York Times or see it on Nancy Grace, Fox News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, the Oprah Show, Dr. Phil, NPR Radio or any number of news programs send them a brief paragraph about the book Time's Up and that these cases no longer have to be tragic. That women such as Susan Powell, Stacy Peterson, Vensus Stewart, Angel Downs, Renee' Pernice, Kathleen Savio and others if killed their words will speak from the grave in a court a court of law. The person responsible will be arrested.

The upside is that this book saves lives. The mothers, sisters, girlfriends and children currently living in fear who live in harms way each and every day need this book the most. It is up to us to see that the information and knowledge is in their hands.

And to ensure every domestic violence agency, court building, library, church, community center, hospital, business and school has a copy of the book Time's Up: A Guide on How to leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships. And for a domestic violence provider, social worker, first responder, government agency, school, business or individual who says that cannot afford it? You can not afford not too!

Time's UP !!!

From the site www.victimadvocates.blogspot.com:

Susan’s writing is based on doing. It is based on the irrefutable credential of experience, both as a residual victim of interpersonal violence and a tireless advocate for others who suffer. This book is born from working in the trenches for twenty years and the necessity of crafting working solutions to help ensure individual safety from batters and stalkers.

TIMES UP is a comprehensive guide for women in danger. Every advocate owes it to those they work to assist to obtain this book.The contents provide specific steps towards safety and addresses issues that a person who is stressed and in fear may not think of. This guide can provide structure in the midst of chaos.

Among the tools and forms is the original idea of an “Abuse Affidavit”, a sworn statement detailing the facts of an individual’s victimization, preserving the specifics so they are not lost even if the victim is. It is difficult to think about speaking from the grave but no different than any life insurance policy obtained in consideration for those left behind.

An “Abuse Affidavit” has the additional psychological benefit of being forced face reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of violence exists…and that if it occurs the perpetrator will be held accountable.

Purchase and read TIMES UP as an advocate to continue to learn and practice informed advocacy. Give TIMES UP to concerned friends or family members looking for solutions for a loved one who is in danger. Most of all, find a way to share this valuable guide with the domestic violence and stalking victims you know and work with. It has all the information and tools to empower a crime victim to save her own life.......Diane Fanning, Author

Susan Murphy Milano is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is an expert on intimate partner violence and homicide crimes. For more information visithttp://www.saferelationshipsmagazine.com/ She is the author of "Time's Up A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships," available for purchase at the Institute, Amazon.com and wherever books are sold.

Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time's Up!" on Here Women Talk http://www.herewomentalk.com/ and is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth http://www.therothshow.com/

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