Things That Once Were

Greetings Fellow Travelers!
My Mother asked me to post this, and as a good and dutiful son, I am doing so. The timing is right as one of my other friends who regularly asks for thoughtful responses to important questions asked “what is it that some people want to ‘return’ to after Obama is gone”. This video answers that question in part. Many people in this country long for a return to being a nation that allows it citizens – and government officials – to freely express their faith…not to force it on anyone, but to live it and share it as a source of their personal strength and joy. There is more than this of course…and I will address it in my next post.

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Merry Christmas to ALL

Merry Christmas, One and All!

To those of you who embrace Christmas either as 1) a  committed follower of Jesus of Nazareth, 2)  those who simply honor the history of a selfless, loving teacher and enjoy the “giving” spirit generated by God’s gift of His son, or 3), those who do not considers themselves as Christians and wish the whole religious aspect of the season to go away… I wish upon you all a truly merry day, full of family, friends, food, and frivolity.

For those in the first category, I trust this day will be joyous and deeply meaningful … although I know that it has been tough year for many. It has been a year fraught with bold public attacks against your religious faith and such things have not happened on this scale or with this ferocity in the history of this nation.  I encourage you to stand firm… and be assured that it will get worse… but your faith is not in man but in a sovereign God who laughs at the nations.   Many nations have come and gone and seen the rise and fall of a Christian presence. The outcome here is in the hands of a sovereign God and a faithful people. If you do not stand up as citizens with the same rights as others, you will be pushed aside and made irrelevant at best, and shoved down and persecuted, at worst. If you stand up as followers of Jesus, the presence of your faith will determine how you respond to these things. Your elder brother Paul suffered greatly at the hands of the nation of Rome, but he counted it as gain to do so… and continued to love each and every soul that came across his path. It is your choice to use the same math as Paul.

For those of you who enjoy the Christmas season not as a particularly “religious” season, I wish upon you a truly merry day, full of family, friends, food, and frivolity. The spirit of giving is healthy for the soul and whether you do so in a reflection of God’s gift or not, I know that it gives your heart joy to see smiles in the faces of those your love, whether friends, family, or strangers in need.

For those of you who are not a fan of Christianity in particular or religion in general, I wish upon you a truly merry day, full of family, friends, food, and frivolity. I do want you to have a merry time on a day that is known around the world as Christmas. If today were New Years’ day and you did not follow the western calendar, I would still wish upon you a happy new year. It would be New Year’s day whether you celebrated it or not, and I would still want you to be happy. When people wish you a Merry Christmas, they are not automatically assuming a faith or religion in you. They are doing nothing more than allowing their joy to spill over and wanting others to experience that.  If this is not your faith, I suggest you simply acknowledge that they are wishing you happiness on a day that they also are happy. There is no crime in this, nor is there moral fault. It is a good, kind and loving act and desire.

So, to all a Merry Christmas!  I am grateful to still be alive and to be meaningful to my fellow man, and no matter who or where you are on the planet or in your journey, I wish upon you a greater understanding of truth and a greater experience of the goodness that there is in the universe.


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Signs That You’ve Been Abused by a Narcissist

Hey All….

the above titled article is awesome! Find it at

Read it and pass it on, please!



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Why Does She Stay?


Why Does She Stay?

Why do you choose to stay with him?

This is one of the most feared questions that those living in an abusive relationship can hear. Why is that? Two reasons: 1) the question itself implies that she is doing something irrational or stupid… so it implies that they are, as a person, irrational or stupid… or both; 2) she may not be able to articulate an answer that makes the questioner even begin to understand. Both reasons leave the recipient of abuse feeling foolish and stupid. And this is exactly what her partner has been doing to her non-stop for the past several years.

What is the real answer… the deep in her gut and from the depths of her soul answer?  Because she loves her children, she is devoted to her man and still hopes he might change… and she fears being out on the street with her children… or worse, without her children, with no home, no income, no assets, and no support.

She often sees only two possible futures… stay in the relationship or be on the street, possibly alone.

She often stays because she is desperately fears ending up on the street.  She also desperately dreads staying in the relationship and putting up with the constant degradation and destruction of her soul.

Desperation… that is why she stays… it is the dread that she knows rather than the dread that she fears will happen. The real, the now is known. The other possibility… the one involving leaving, the unknown future is also feared, but even more so because it could involve homelessness, loss of her children, and possibly even the loss of her life if she leaves.

So she stays… miserable, fearful, and desperate… and enduring the questions of her friends and family while she does.

When I first meet these people (most are women, some are men) they are often in a daze. They or their spouse has filed for divorce and they feel utterly, completely, totally helpless. They feel like they are being swept along in a court process that won’t hear them or understand them. They are resigned to the process and numbly go along with what they are told to do, because they know no other option… no other choice. If it is a women, she is 100% convinced that the other parent is going to be able to successfully prove to the court she is weak, unfit, emotionally unstable and not able to care for the kids alone and that he needs to be close at hand (via joint legal and physical custody) to protect the children.

Often times… quite often, actually, her friends, her family, and even her attorney does not believe her story and tend to think her partner’s assessment of her and her mental and emotional state is correct.

At all times, she feels alone… to the depths of her soul, she feels alone.  No one knows what really goes on behind closed doors. No one understands the constant, the incessant words and actions that destroy her soul. No one believes her.  No one.

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Blame Shifting …may shift to Emotional Abuse

According to Bill Eddy, Conflict Specialist, “perhaps 15% of our society (and growing) seems preoccupied with blaming others a lot of the time. Though it’s a growing problem, it’s a predictable problem—and can be handled in most cases, if you understand it. Once you know some aspects of their pattern of behavior, you may be able to anticipate other problems that will arise and avoid them or prepare to respond to them.”

If you are living or working with someone who is constantly blaming others, you may be subtly being groomed by an emotional abuser who consciously or subconsciously is attempting to shape you into someone who can be controlled. Please be aware and take steps to stop this, as  this process is slow and sneaks up on you, making you a puppet without you even knowing what has happened. Please take the steps necessary to stop this before it is too late and you have been sucked in.

If you know someone who is subject to this, please talk to her/him and warn of the dangers.

The following are patterns of behaviors to watch out for:

  1. Patterns of Emotional Abuse
  • Sets high standards and expects you to meet them
  • Always finds fault in every area… you are never good enough
  • He/she is never wrong… every problem is made out to be your fault
  • Constant put downs (general negative comments about your fitness as a partner, parent, homekeeper, worker, financial manager, family member, and etc.; includes name calling
  • Tries to make you feel like you could not make it without your partner and no one else would want a loser like you
  • Regularly claims that you are less intelligent
  • Regularly plays mind games in order to call into question your sanity (crazy-making)
  • Regularly calls into question your mental / emotional health and stability
  • Tries to make you feel guilty for all your partner’s sad situations
  • All discussions are about his/her feelings – yours are irrelevant
  • Does all /most  of this in front of the children/other people in an attempt to get them to see you the same way

Next Post will set forth some simple (thought not necessarily easy) things you can do to protect yourself from emotional abuse.



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Effects of Fighting

“If arguments, conflict and disagreement are not handled in a healthy way, children are frightened. As they grow older, this fright changes to disgust. If their parents never learn to handle conflict in a healthy way, the children may eventually develop relationship issues of their own as they become adults.

While divorce can be painful and have an effect on children, staying married for the sake of the children only backfires. Chronic, unhealthy disagreements between parents can eventually lead to the children developing symptoms of depression, anxiety, hostility and aggression. Some children react by withdrawing.”  taken from:

In  my practice, probably the simplest, yet most effective tactic used to reduce exposing the children to parental conflict is not having both the parents at the custody transitions. When designing parenting plans, I strongly encourage drop offs and pick ups at school/day care. This means only one parent is present so parental conflict is completely absent.  In addition, children do not have to experience that standard stress of moving from parent to parent.

For assistance, go to


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Ongoing Parental Conflict

According to a 2011 study by Sabour Esmaeili, post-divorce parental conflict and economic hardship had significant relationships with adolescent academic achievement among divorced families. Post-divorce parental conflict and economic hardship may affect parental quality that consequently leads to poor parent-adolescent relationship. Poor parent-adolescent relationships adversely influence adolescent functioning.

These are deep and vital family dynamics that are at risk here. In my practice I have seen a marked uptic in the amount of required interaction between ex partners and with a push from many sides (for example, Edward Kruk, Ph.D.’s “Co-Parenting and High Conflict” article in Psychology Today, in which he asserts that “shared parenting provides an incentive for parental cooperation, negotiation, mediation, and the development of parenting plans.”

In our state, every year there is a push for joint physical custody as the default position after divorce, which almost by definition, requires a higher rate of contact between parents. I would like to know from you all if you have found this to be the case? I am not wanting this to be a forum for pushing personal and professional claims for types of custody, but I would like to know what ameliorates and what exacerbates the conflict in your clients’ ongoing conflict?

If the shared parenting movement continues, are we ready for the boots on the ground battles?

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