Biggest Regret

I know it has been a long time since I posted here. I think I am ready to start posting again. I hope my posts will continue to benefit others.

When I look back on my childhood I realize how deeply I felt emotions. Due to other people reacting to me and shaming in general I trained myself to suppress my emotions. I came to believe that the honest expression of my feelings was somehow wrong. This led to many years of depression and anxiety.
If I could go back and change one thing it would be this. To not fight the social pressure to conform into being someone I am not was the biggest mistake of my life. To feel deeply and express it means we are really experiencing what it is to be alive.

A Story of Child Abuse by a Stepparent.

By guest contributor: Georgina Capetillo

My story of child abuse is one that many have heard of. In fact, there have been movies, fairy tales and classical literature on the matter. Now there is even an evolutionary theory about it too. That is why it is surprising to me that a support network has not been established, which is exactly what I intend to do. I am talking about suffering at the hands of a stepparent. When I was 14 I moved to Boston from Nicaragua to live with my father and my stepmother. It was not very long until she became very abusive. The mental anguish, psychological abuse, embarrassment, emotional distress, hopelessness, neglect, and forceful isolation I have suffered because of her has left permanent scars, and that’s something I will always have to deal with. In many ways being abused by a stepparent is very much like being abused by a biological or intended family member or guardian. There is the notion of authority and care-giving as well as simulated closeness. Yet, there are issues that are somewhat unique- these issues are deeply important and must be addressed. As always, coming together and supporting one another is always the solution. Although this is an infinite list, I will describe the most common problems:

1. In many cases, the abused child wonders why a parent would choose a spouse or partner that is so abusive and blames their guardian for not protecting them. There are also feelings of betrayal- why did our guardian choose their partner over their child?

2. Forgiving our guardian is a frequent issue because of the issues mentioned above. Our parent might still be with the person who abused us. Or in many cases, the parent will not recognize the abuse.

3. Having stepsiblings: in some cases the abused child has in some form, contact with the stepparent who abused them for the sake of their sibling. It is incredibly painful. In other cases the abusive stepparent has created a family imbalance by isolating the child they are abusing from the rest of the family- this can lead to sibling conflict.

4. Being the only person who is haunted by the stepparent. In some cases a guardian’s partner comes in, does irreparable damage that is so dark that they are thrown into non-existence by everyone else. This is problematic because those who are abused can never forget what happened to them. The fact is, no one knew how bad it was, because they were removed from the situation. This is very isolating issue.

5. Self guilt: why let someone who is not even your family upset you much?

I could literally go on forever. I need to hear other people’s stories to gather more information on which situations are more common. I need to hear other people’s stories to heal. I think we can heal together. I have started a website and facebook group. Please join. I need all the help I can get. I am also looking for board members if we progress, which I hope we will.

I must add, this is not an organization that vilifies stepparents, but rather is a support group where people share experiences. There are wonderful stepparents out there, they are welcome to support us as well.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StepNetworking

Website: http://sites.google.com/site/stepfamnet/home

Live To Be 100 Years Old

There was a study done several years ago to determine why certain people live to be over 100 years old. They looked at all factors including family history, diet, lifestyle, and geography.

There was one factor that was common to most of those studied. They had a purpose. They had a reason to wake up in the morning. I could be a job, caretaking, an interest that requires attention, or plans for the future.

Having a purpose or a goals goes a long way toward improving mood and self esteem. Find an interest and pursue it. Have a reason to get up in the morning. You may well live longer and actually want to accomplish this.

The Meaning of Life

What a huge and universal topic to be tackled on a blog post.  Man has been trying to find an answer to this question since the beginning of time.  Numerous philosophers and psychologists have written volumes on this topic.   This is the major reason people have turned to religion and metaphysics.  How many sleepless nights have been caused by the search for the meaning of life?

“What is the purpose of my life?”

“Why was I born?”

I have come up with my own answers that simplify and truly work for me.  They make life less of a mystery and far less scary.  I thought I would share and I hope they might work for you.

1st the second question:  Why was a born?

My birth is no more or less significant than the birth of any child that has ever been or is yet to be.  My parents engaged in sexual intercourse.  One of my mother’s eggs was fertilized and approximately 9 months later I was born.  This is the reason I was born.  It is that simple.

1st question:  What is the purpose of my life?

I do not believe in some grand plan or inherent meaning of life.  I believe each of us has value as a person and we make choices during our life.  My life does not have meaning.  I give meaning to my life.  The meaning I give it depends on my values and beliefs and the choices I make.  Therefore, life means what I decide it means.  And the meaning I give it can and has changed over my lifetime.

Try this on and see if it works.

Time to start writing again.

After a significant amount of time away from posting in my blog, I have decided to put my mind back into writing more posts. I think the thing that holds be back the most is trying to say something profound every time I post. That is simply impossible.

I think that only serves to keep me from providing my readers valuable information and a better understanding of themselves and others.

On a More Personal Note

I have been writing my blog for a few years and I have rarely spoken about myself and my own struggles. Having started my own journey of recover nearly 30 years ago, I have a great deal of experience and knowledge about all the skills I have shared with my readers. I have also learned from all the people I have counseled over the last 20 years. I hope that some of you have benefited from my blog.

One thing I have to keep in mind is the phrase: progress not perfection. No one, including me, has ever done this perfectly. I am a work in progress like everyone else who is in the process of change and growth. I suffered from chronic depression and addictive behaviors for most of my life as well as poor self-esteem. Although I have experienced a tremendous improvement in the quality of my life, I also have my struggles. I sometimes find it difficult to apply all the coping skills I know. There times I have to work hard to focus on the things I need to and stay in the present.

I have my own philosophy of life: Life is to be enjoyed. I work every day to make that a reality. One of the ways I stay focused is by writing this blog. It has great value to my life. I hope it has value to yours.

What Are You Waiting For?

You have realized that something is not quite right in your life.  You have become more aware of your anxiety or depression or some other issue that weighs heavily on you and negatively affects your life.  You have become increasingly aware that something has to change because you can no longer tolerate living like this.  What are you waiting for?

You have experiences that have haunted you for many years.   You have tried to put behind you.   You have read books and gotten advice from friends on how to overcome it.  You have beaten yourself up for years about it.  You have thought about getting help with the issue for years and understand that you cannot do it on your own.  What are you waiting for?

Your drinking or other substance abuse has become more and more of an issue in your life.   The damage continues to pile up.  Friends and family keep telling you need to get help and deal with it.  As much as you try to control it you find it impossible.  You life is unraveling in front of your eyes.  You know you can’t deal with it on your own.  What are you waiting for?

You are very unhappy at your job and keep telling yourself you need to find another one.  The economy has improved and it is easier to find a job.  You have been thinking of continuing your education for a long time.  You keep putting it off and continue to feel sad and anxious.  What are you waiting for?

Your relationship is just not working.  You and your significant other have one disagreement after another.  There is more conflict than calm and happiness.  You have worked hard to find ways for you both to get your needs met.  The more you try, the more you realize your values, wants, and desires are not the same as hers/his.  You know in your heart that the relationship will never be as fulfilling as you want.  You want more.  What are you waiting for?

Life is so short.  The clock continues to move as you stay stuck in a place that you do not want to be.  Fear stands in the way of finding a more fulfilling life.  For the most part it is you that stands between yourself and having an opportunity to find the things you seek.  Taking the steps to overcoming your fears is the only path.  Moving forward one step at a time.  Try not to look too far into the future.  That’s a very scary place full all kinds of unknowns.  You can deal with those when you get there.  You are responsible for your own happiness.  You are not responsible for the happiness of others.

Another year is about to come to an end. What are you waiting for?