>What a great Christmas!

>Our Christmas was fantastic this year. Brennan was finally old enough to tear the wrapping paper off his presents. :D

Brennan's favorite present was a big box of Mega Bloks.

My favorite present was a Shiatsu back massager.

David's favorite present was a book (I'll fill this in with the title when I find out what it is).

The best thing of all though was all the food. Ham, mac & cheese, deviled eggs, stuffing, sweet potato cassarole, fruit salad, stewed squash, peppermint walnut cookies, rice krispy treats, walnut fudge, orange koolers... mmm... we all stuffed ourselves silly, LOL.

I hope everyone's Christmas went at least as good as ours did, if not better! I'm totally ready for the new year. Bring it on! :)

P.S. I actually did really well on my math exam and I made a 100 on my Behavioral Science exam. I took a chance on psychoanalyzing myself and my interview subject in my comparisons and contrasts. The instructor commented that I did a really good job with it, which made me so happy because it means I'm applying the concepts well enough to feel confident that I will do very well with a degree in psychology. :)

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>The Invisible Man

>You can watch,
You can criticize,
You can even scheme and plot,
But you cannot touch.
I have gone to a place where you cannot reach.
These hands once bound by the chains of my fear and your hate,
Are now free.
Stretched towards the sky,
They touch God.
The God you hate because you cannot see,
Now stands by my side.
Are you scared yet?
You should be.
You cannot live without a Higher Power. You merely survive.



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>it's like magic, only it's real...

>
Starting in the 1950s Carl Rogers brought Pers...Image via Wikipedia
For the past few days I have been wanting to write something here but I have not been able to come up with anything really "meaningful" to write. So I'm just going to let the words flow and see where they lead me.

I'm very preoccupied right now with the personal truths I have been discovering along my path to full recovery. It's really shocked me how quickly I took off down that road once I was just given the information and tools I needed to know which road to go down. It's like I knew exactly all along which way was up and which way was down but just needed some sort of definitive proof that I had the right idea because I had dealt with so many people that I held close telling me that I had everything backwards.

It's really taught me how careful one needs to be about the kind of outer influence they allow in to their personal and social lives. It's also taught me that most people would do well to visit a psychotherapist at least once in their lives and those that criticize the people that do seek some form of mental health assistance usually need it even more than the ones that are seeking it.

Even more interestingly enough I have discovered that those who have intentionally hurt me in one way or another actually did more damage to their selves through such behavior than they can ever dream of inflicting on any one else and will continue to do so because they're trapped within a cycle that they refuse to recognize or admit to. And now looking back on my past abusers, it's like looking back on bunch of people on fire that were telling me I was going to burn in hell when I'm not the one that's on fire.

It makes me want to bust out in to peals of laughter and thank them at the same time. Had they not been so delusional and destructive I would have never pushed to uncover what the delusion was and may have very well permanently joined them in their miserable graves they falsely call "the good life".

Of course, I want to share what I've learned with them. I don't hate them and I want to see them learn and grow towards real happiness like I have. However I refrain because I know that they would never even attempt to explore it much less accept it. Furthermore some of them would try to use it as something to criticize me about, which unfortunately for them would just lead to my bemusement at the irony of being criticized and put down for something that actually makes my life better and would probably make their lives better as well had they just given it a real chance.

Yes, I care about them, but I do not feel sorry for them. They are stubbornly digging their own graves and spitting on anyone that comes near enough to point out they're moving in the wrong direction - how can you feel sorry for someone like that?

Instead, I feel sorry for those who want to dig their way out but simply don't know how. I have been at that point myself for years and I know the merry go round of guilt, shame, and confusion that one goes through when they know something is wrong but they can't quite put their finger on it and they're surrounded by people that keep telling them that they're out of their minds but at the same time criticize and put them down for ever seeking help.

And honestly, you don't really need the professional help. Yes, you do because you're so busy listening to others you have forgotten how to listen to yourself, but the truth is already in you. It's just hidden down way deep underneath all the dysfunctional mess that the world has heaped upon you and the paths you have carved out of the piles of dysfunctional garbage just so you can survive in such a mess. If you're open to it you can find it. If you welcome some professional guidance you can find it ten times quicker. Beneath it all we are all functionally the same. Otherwise there would be no behavioral science because there would be no way to gage how behavior works because everyone is so different.

Anyways, I never knew my life could be this good, much less that I had as great of a sense of direction as it turns out I do. I have navigated some pretty stormy waters and maintained control of my ship with no damages inflicted by the storm. The more experience I get utilizing this "new" method of just listening to myself and rejecting inappropriate behavior the more confidence I gain both in myself and in the fact that I have actually hit on something that is life changing for the better. And I don't need anyone to do it. I don't need anyone to be happy. If you have came here to judge, control, or even just "guide" me you are making one gigantic waste of your time, not only because I don't need or want you but also because it is not your life and you have no real effect on it nor does it affect you.

I have found my true inner self. I have found my Higher Power. That's really all I need.

It seems no wonder to me now why traditional psychiatry embraces the DSM IV but seems to completely disregard any form of real psychological therapy. Real therapy makes real changes that stick. Eventually the client gets to the point where they don't need their therapist any more. However, if you medicate them, they have to keep coming back just to retain some form of functionality... or even just to get their doctor to do something to make the side effects more bearable.

I started in the traditional mental health system when I was 13. Pegged with clinical depression (i.e. "melancholia") and post traumatic stress disorder from parental abandonment, I went through six months of very laid back "counseling" before they decided I didn't need it any more and I just needed to stay on anti-depressants for the rest of my life because at the time I was doing so much better on them - never mind that the counseling itself no matter how casual it was may have been having a positive effect by just giving me a reasonable person to talk to. The anti-depressant would stop working though (now I know that it was like covering a gunshot wound with a band-aid... eventually it bleeds through the band-aid) so I would quit it as I sank deeper and deeper in to a depression. Eventually I learned if I let enough time pass and just dealt with the depression I could restart the anti-depressant and feel better again for a while. I went through that for a while, and eventually I stopped completely because I felt like I didn't really need it and it wasn't doing much good anyways. Sure enough though when I got down depressed enough I would reach for it again just to make myself feel better for a little while. I complained about this to my doctors, and they raised my dosage until it was absolutely as high as it could get. By this time I was running around in circles when under the influence of an anti-depressant... for a little while anyways.

This got tiresome. So I complained about the hyperactivity. It was explained to me that many times this happens to people with bipolar disorder and they decided to combine an anti-psychotic with my anti-depressant. I remember the first one all too well... Abilify. Ugh. At first, it made me feel nice and calm. It balanced me out. But then I started slowly slipping in to a robot/zombie type state. I walked around with a blank expression, arms hanging limp, feet shuffling. I described the world as having lost its color and everything being blank and grey and dull. I wasn't depressed. I wasn't happy either. I didn't feel anything at all. I didn't really think anything at all. I just happened to exist.

They switched me to Depakote next after I complained that Abilify was making me completely non-functional. That one actually wasn't too bad, but it didn't really make enough of a difference to legitimize the $300 a month prescription bill. It made me feel what I can only describe as a little zen. I was calmer. But... it had all the effect of a nice cup of hot green tea...

I got switched again. Geodon. Gahhh... sleep. And more sleep. If I took one of these, I was pretty well gone for the next 24 hours. Even if you got me awake my head spun so badly that I couldn't balance. That's also when the panic attacks started.

So now they decided I had generalized anxiety and panic disorder as well. This time around I got put on Klonopin. Very addictive stuff. I liked it a lot, but that was the problem. Pop one and all my worries drifted away, the knots left my back, and I could just sit back and relax. For a little while. I started building an immunity to it. Then the panic attacks came back worse than before. And for the first time in my life, I started having seizures. Now, you would think they would have suspected that my medication was doing this because it didn't start until I started taking Klonopin and it evidently is a well known fact that Klonopin can do this to someone, especially when it's combined with an SSRI anti-depressant.

Wrong. Evidently I had epilepsy and I never knew or suspected it!

At first I fell for this line of bull. Then I started researching epilepsy and realized that the bill just did not fit. In fact, the bill just didn't quite fit for ANY of the disorders they claimed I had. And then I found out that what I was experiencing was a well known possible serious side effect. I stopped the medication and I quit going to the clinic, mostly out of fear that if I went back they would try to force more medication on me even though I insisted that they were wrong in their diagnosis. I knew that I had to come up with some reason for my symptoms, otherwise they would just assume that I was being resistant to treatment.

I don't quite know how I came across complex post traumatic stress disorder. I think I was researching PTSD more in depth because it was the only disorder that I had been diagnosed with that made any sense. Either way, when I came across complex PTSD - a recently discovered cousin to PTSD that has a slight variance in symptoms and is the result of long term exposure to trauma instead of one time exposure to trauma as it is with PTSD - bells went off. I finally had something to bring to the table.

And so I started on flashback therapy. However, there was still something wrong in the picture I couldn't quite put my finger on. I was resolving the trigger reactions to innocent stimuli but I was not resolving any of the confusion that was whirling around in my mind. This helped but it was not the answer.

Enter my behavioral science class. One day I was innocently researching something like Carl Rogers for my behavioral science class and I stumbled upon a psychotherapist's website that had been erected as a solution to counseling patients when the psychotherapist was not available to actually talk to them. This took all the behavioral theories I had been studying and put them in to in depth therapeutic action. Suddenly all the pieces of the puzzle started to fit together, and I had names for that confusion that was swirling around in my head. I had developed codependency as a result of being raised in a dysfunctional environment and exposure to even more dysfunctional relationships once I left the original environment.

For the first time in my life I was able to tell the professionals EXACTLY what I needed; no ifs, ands, or buts.

Since then that confusion has given way to clear mindedness and a growing confidence in myself. The fog of pain and emptiness that I always seemed to feel has been replaced by crystal clear happiness and peace. I look back on my past and I can clearly and confidently identify exactly what went wrong and how it affected me. Perhaps most importantly though I have forgiven myself for my mistakes, loved and accepted myself for decisions that I was forced to make under traumatic circumstances and even justified those decisions as being for my greater good because they saved me from continuing the dysfunctional cycle I was caught in, and placed the "blame" where - and with who - it belongs. My conscience is clear and I can only look back and wonder at how on earth I allowed myself to let it get so muddled and disturbed by the opinions of others in the first place.

Best of all, I am absolutely tickled pink to just be me. I know without a doubt I deserve and am worth the highest degree of true love and respect. I also now know that anyone that justifies abusing me in any shape or form (verbal, emotional, mental, physical, sexual, spiritual, etc.) not only doesn't deserve any form of contact with me, but they also will never know happiness as long as they continue to do so and are not worth a single second of my time. If you're on fire, deny it, and on top of that try to set me on fire... why should I bother throwing water on you? Forget that! I am going to pour that water on myself and get far, far away from you!

Once upon a time I imagined that my past abusers had somehow robbed me of something...

Now I know the only person they robbed was their self. I came, I saw, and I have conquered.

Quite an interesting post from someone who didn't know what to write. :P



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>the finals are done and now it's time to wait

>Today I finished my behavioral science and math finals.

Now I get to sit back for a month and relax until my first set of classes at Liberty start.

Let's just hope I passed my math final... and let's also hope that Liberty is as good of a college as I hope it to be.
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>Christmas portraits part dos

>Some more gold for our album:







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>Christmas portraits part uno

>I never knew that professional portraits could take so much work. Brennan was so fascinated by everything in the room it was near impossible to get him to stay in one spot, much less pay attention to the camera and smile. However, the pictures we got were well worth the struggle:







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>How to create and upload ringtones for the LG 290C

>
Image representing Zedge as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
My husband has gotten an LG 290C that was a little tricky on creating and uploading ringtones for. There were also no tutorials on how to do this in Google, so I figured I would write up a quick how-to on creating and uploading ringtones to an LG 290C.

You will need:
  • Your PC (with internet access)
Disclaimers:
  • As far as I am aware, this is the only method you can use in order to upload a working ringtone to the LG 290C. Bluetooth and data cable transferral may be possible, but I have not worked out the kinks enough yet to say that they are possible. 
How to create and upload a ringtone for the LG 290C:
  1. Go to a ringtone creator site like Zedge and use the ringtone creator in the tools section to create a 30 second MP3 clip. Download that clip to your PC when finished.
  2. Send an email from your phone to your usual email address so you can find out what your phone's email address is (if you don't know it already).
  3. Send an email from your usual email address to your phone's email address with the MP3 clip you downloaded from Zedge attached to the email.
  4. Once you receive the email on your phone, you should be able to save the clip and use it as a ringtone. 
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>How to create ringtones for the Samsung SCH-R451C Messager

>Creating ringtones for the Samsung SCH-R451C Messager is seriously as easy as it can possibly get.

You will need:
 Disclaimers:
  • Ringtones can only be used if they are saved to phone memory and not micro-SD card memory. If you save the ringtone to your SD card you will need to transfer it to your phone memory before you can use it as a ringtone. Ringtones can also be uploaded to your phone memory using a PC and phone compatible USB data cable. This tutorial is strictly on how to send a ringtone to your phone via Bluetooth. I may write a tutorial later on how to do it via transferring the file to the micro-SD card memory and then transferring it to the phone memory, but I seriously doubt I will ever write a tutorial on how to do it via USB data cable. I have Bluetooth so there's really no need for me to purchase a data cable for my phone (so far). 
How to create and upload a ringtone to the Samsung SCH-R451C Messager:
  1. First you will need to pair the phone with your PC. This can be accomplished in Windows Vista and Windows 7 by going to Bluetooth settings and changing the PC to be discoverable, followed by going in to the Bluetooth settings on the phone under Tools and choosing to set up a new device. When prompted for a pass key, enter any combination of digits that you want to use as a password to enable access between your phone and the PC. You will have to re-enter those digits on your PC screen as well. 
  2. Now go to a ringtone creator site like Zedge. Create your ringtone (the ringtone creator at Zedge can be found under the Tools section) and download it.  
  3. Right click on the downloaded MP3 and select send to Bluetooth device. Select your phone in the menu that appears and select "Yes" on the phone to accept the transfer from your PC.
  4. Go to the ringtones menu on your phone. You should now see the MP3 that you downloaded from your PC listed. Select it for your ringtone and... voila! There you have it. :) 
It's so easy I must wonder at why I'm writing a tutorial for it, LOL.
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>new lessons come with a new cell phone - the Samsung SCH-R451C

>Once again I have a new cell phone as my Motorola Clutch suffered a traumatic accident that rendered it unable to connect to Boost's network. This time I have gotten a Samsung SCH-R451. This phone is a QWERTY slider MP3 phone with a 1.4 MP camera with night shot, Bluetooth, and mobile web access. It runs around $99 and is pretty much as good as you can get without going for a more expensive smart phone.



One thing I really like about Samsung that stands out from other cell phone companies is that they have a habit of making tough phones that can take a beating. This one seems to be no exception. If you have a baby or toddler that's fascinated by electronics, you should be able to appreciate the sturdiness of this phone.

This phone is still pretty new so there's very little online on how to do things with it. Just like I did with the Motorola Clutch, I will be keeping you updated on everything I learn about this phone so there will be at least one decent tutorial out there for common actions such as creating ringtones.

I have also switched providers from Boost to Straight Talk. Straight Talk is a prepaid service hosted by Verizon and marketed by Wal-Mart. Their unlimited plan runs $5 cheaper than Boost's unlimited plans, making the cost of unlimited minutes, text, and mobile web $45 total. Not bad at all!

Verizon has not changed their customer service game for Straight Talk, however. You can fully expect to get a middle eastern accent on the phone because Verizon primarily uses overseas agents for their customer service (except for business customers). I will miss getting a real American on the phone when I call customer service like I get with Boost.

On the upside in my area Verizon's towers give a much better signal and are not nearly as overloaded as the other provider's towers. This results in far reaching and superior service, which is perhaps most noticeable in the speed with which mobile web applications load.

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>and then the stench hit the fan...

>I found out something last night that had I known about it earlier would have resulted in my "best friend" being shown the door.

Every time my husband and I have a dispute, he has been there to reassure me that he was encouraging my husband to work out our issues and stay with me but acted like he didn't think my husband was going to work on them. So I was very surprised to find out from my husband last night that he has been trying to talk him in to leaving me on the premises that it was easier to start a new relationship than to work on fixing the one you have (relationships being compared to starting a new business or fixing one that has went under).

Yeeeeeah. I think this guy's scheme just got blown out of the water. Either he wanted me or my husband all to himself. And he's not gay, I don't think. There's no telling now that I know he's been lying to us.
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>Brennan and his cousin Eric share a swing

>


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>a good example of why you should care about your health even if your "friends" don't

>I went to the hospital today and it was confirmed that I have pneumonia.

I can't help but recall how my "friend" made the judgment last night that I was "fine". First of all, I must say I am very glad he is not a doctor. Second, I must pat myself on the back for making a good call by refusing to do anything but rest once I realized being up and about was just making my condition worse. Had I not made that call, I may have been actually admitted to the hospital today instead of being released with some prescriptions for steroids and antibiotics.

Blessings come in all forms of strange situations. When you're sick, you tend to find out who really cares and who is just there to use you. Last night I found out exactly that. It's just a shame it took something like this to make me finally act on it.

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>a reasonable conclusion to a dysfunctional mess

>
Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase



Last night I posted the entire story of what happened last night on Internet of the Mind. I'm going to post part of that here also because I don't think in all the reflecting I was doing in last night's posts I actually gave the full story of what happened:

I have been very ill over the past week. What started off as a fever, congestion, and sore throat has been creeping down my chest and I now suspect I may have the beginnings of pneumonia. Don't worry! I am going to the doctor tomorrow. However, it is important to know what kind of physical health I am in for this story.
Tonight a long time "best friend" contacted me on a messenger to ask if he could take me to another location so I could pick up a Netflix movie that was due to be in the mail by tomorrow. If he didn't get it in the mail by tomorrow, it was going to be a $20 late fee. He was going to be busy tomorrow so he wouldn't be able to retrieve it then.
I told him that I couldn't leave tonight because I am sick. I then offered to get it in the mail early tomorrow morning before the mail ran or even to pay the $20 late fee if it ended up being late. That was evidently not good enough for him though because he stated it was very rude of me to say that. I must admit that feeling as miserable as I was I enabled the situation by using some profanity and blocking him.
He showed up at my home raging. He let himself in and started threatening the lives of my family while swearing me off from his life forever and swearing that I was perfectly fine to go get the movie. I ended up injuring myself, again enabling, while he tormented me about what a "retard" I was for doing it. I have to admit at that point I had gotten in to such a primitive state I didn't care about anything any more but just releasing the pain.
I got him to leave. A long time friendship out the window, and a successful job on recovery that has slipped in to a relapse. I am a bit shaken from the experience, but I believe I have learned from it enough to do better in the future, and that's what really matters.
In reflection, I have been enabling this friend for years. He snapped and I and my husband both jumped. He often failed to meet commitments, changed his mind in the middle of the stream, and generally dragged his friends through a angsty storm of emotional drama. I told my husband when I started therapy that I had a funny feeling I would eventually end up having to drop this friend just for the dysfunctionality he represents.
Despite realizing all of this though, I held off on cutting things off. I kept so confident in myself being able to avoid any sort of drama with him from now out that I failed to see that just by being exposed to that dysfunctionality this early in my recovery I can very easily be pulled down in to a relapse, momentarily throwing away all I have learned because the reality is so close to what I experienced as a child that my brain decides it needs to protect me by switching on my defenses.
I wrote an apology email to him tonight. I apologized for enabling him for all those years and for enabling him tonight. I told him that I had enjoyed our friendship but that indeed it seemed it had came time for an end. And I wished him a long and happy life.

One of the commentators on the site disagreed with me about last night having been the result of a relapse. This is what they had to say:

I know what you mean as in it felt you were relapsing. In fact i think this proves that you are making huge progress. You knew deep down that you were going to have to cut this 'friend' free one day and now you have. It sounds like he has no respect for your boundaries. Do you have a strategy to put in place if he shows up raging again at your home? Same for if he launches a cyber attack?
It took things coming to this kind of very obvious acting out on his part (probably due to his increased insecurity as he sensed you have been growing in strength recently)for you to take the action you have probably wanted to do for a long time ago. Well done. I also feel like I revert into childhood defense mode while the trigger is right there in front of me but the truth is we now know deep down that this treatment is not excusable, not deserved and shouldn't be happening. You 'felt' regressed internally and no wonder with that kind of performance going on from him but you still took action to protect yourself and your family.

I think I am beginning to understand how this was not actually a relapse. While I did fall back in to old behaviors once the drama started, I recognized the drama for what it was and made an effort to stop it. In the past this would have not been the case. I would have given in to this person's demands no matter how much they disrespected me and violated my personal rights and/or health and on top of that would have excused the behavior as just being a part of their personality. Last night though I attempted to stop it as soon as it started with them implying that me putting my health above their personal agenda was "rude".

I also think it's kind of interesting that the commentator on this site theorized that perhaps last night's events happened because my "friend" had began to sense the change in me. I think there may be some truth in this statement, because this "friend" has never acted out to such extremes with me before. Then again I have never really said no to this friend before, either, with the exception of refusing to take "I'll call you back" as an answer to a very simple yes or no question that could not physically wait any longer to be answered (and thank God I did because as per usual I never got that call back!). Thinking back to that day, I remember him seeming a bit irked that I was telling him I needed to know the answer right then and there, even though I had a good reason as to why I needed an immediate response and it was not a big decision to make - either he had the time for it right then or he didn't. Maybe the anger over me refusing to get jerked around that day carried over in to last night's events when once again I refused to get jerked around.

Thinking deeper on this, it probably all comes down to abandonment issues (hello, Iceburg effect!). Any refusal on someone's part to do things exactly as he wants them to be done turns in to feelings of abandonment in the ID, which then turns in to feelings of shame in the ID, which then turns in to feelings of contempt in the ego that either get internalized or externalized. That perceived abandonment kicked in as soon as I said no, and ignored the situation surrounding why I said no and also the reasonable alternatives that were offered. A child - which is what your subconsciousness can be compared to in terms of the way it processes information - does not understand the details, they just hear "no". And if "no" is perceived as being a term of abandonment, the child gets hurt, then starts to feel ashamed of themselves for being hurt, then starts to feel contempt for themselves for being so ashamed and hurt. In an adult once this "child" has formed these feelings the adult ego responds with contempt either for them self or for the other person that the "child" inside has perceived as being the originator of the hurt. Now, in a healthy adult, these feelings are recognized as being purely internal and the adult struggles to reason out why they have these feelings, what the reality of the situation is, and how they can most peacefully resolve the conflict of the internal with the external. In a dysfunctional adult however these feelings are taken as being the highest truth to the situation. The real reasoning behind the feelings is pushed aside because the adult feels that it is too painful to face or denies that it needs addressing. The reality of the situation is also pushed aside because the adult probably realizes in their subconsciousness that in order to address the reality of the situation they will also have to face the reality of why they are feeling the way they do. This leaves them with nothing but that nasty feeling, which in their mind has to be disposed of in some way in order to make them feel better. So they "dump" it, either on themselves or on someone else. That is to say they blame those feelings on themselves and then take action to try to get rid of those feelings by stuffing them down in to the subconsciousness or  they blame those feelings on someone else and then take action to stop that person from "making" them feel that way.

Sheesh, I look back on that and I think about how much work all of that took when I was playing the Iceburg game. It is so much easier now to just face the way I feel head on and work it all out on a completely conscientious level. Yeah there may be some pain and other nasty feelings involved but in the end I truly feel better, calmer, happier, and even lighter. The old neural map I followed would leave me feeling cranky for a while while I slowly worked on getting those nasty feelings stuffed down in to a subconscious level where I wouldn't feel them any more, praying in the mean time that nothing else would happen to bring those feelings rushing back to my full conscientiousness.

In closing, I want to remind myself of the rights I have according to the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families Bill of Personal Rights:

I have a right to actively pursue people, places, and situations that will help me in achieving a good life.
I have the right to say no whenever I feel something is not safe or I am not ready.
I have a right to not participate in either the active or passive “crazy-making” behavior of parents, of siblings, and of others.
I have a right to “mess up”; to make mistakes, to “blow it”, to disappoint myself, and to fall short of the mark.
I have a right to leave the company of people who deliberately or inadvertently put me down, lay a guilt trip on me, manipulate or humiliate me, including my alcoholic parent, my nonalcoholic parent, or any other member of my family.
I have a right to put an end to conversations with people who make me feel put down and humiliated.
I have a right to develop myself as a whole person emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, and psychologically. 

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