Archives for May 2009

Determination in the Life of a Survivor

I’ve seen the look many times–hundreds of times over the past 20 years working with (mostly) women who are surviving a pathological love relationship. There ‘is’ a look. Initially, it’s a timid look—before she grasps that she really CAN survive and thrive. Then the look begins to change, morph into real belief and real power.

Ironically, I saw the look this past week in an unlikely but stunning face. I saw her gentle-ness—as did the pathological who is in your life. Your ‘super’ traits of empathy, tolerance, caring and compassion are what make you the wonderful girl you are. It has also been target traits for pathologicals. You can see the gentle-ness even in the face.

Then I saw her powerlessness.

The look like you don’t know if you will ever get out, ever survive, ever find your power back again. It feels as if you are being held there against your will–when you remember once that you were so different–so self assured, confident, and capable.

And many people have seen the face of unbelievable stress and worry—when you no longer trust your own judgment, ping pong back and forth between loving and loathing him. When you can’t concentrate, focus, sleep, or even want to get up each day.

But the greatest thing about doing this work is when women really ‘get it’ about pathology–when they understand that what’s wrong with him has nothing to do with her, what she did or didn’t do–when she gets that ‘wild eyed look’ that says her reality has shifted–she realizes that what has happened to her is simply she’s been knee deep in pathology and she is powerful enough to walk away.

I love that part–the paradim shift when women turn the corner in understanding and her whole future opens up like a flower blooming.

Over the years I have watched hundreds of women storm off into their future having recaptured their lives, their dignity, their ability to function well, their self belief. It’s a beautiful and strong presence when you get to witness that.

(Link for Powerful Look)

Why all the horse photos? This is Rachel Alexandra–I love her expressive face. She is a reminder to me of all of the women I have worked with. She is the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness. It awed me to see her many faces of gentile-ness, powerlessness, worriedness, thriver-hood and powerfulness. It reminded me that even though so much is often against you in your race to recovery from pathology, that you too, like Rachel Alexandra, can defy the odds even when they have been stacked that way for 85 years! There really is something to be said for the power of belief, destiny and desire. I believe in you!

Tips for Getting Started

Tips for Getting Started

by Carol A. Lee Mooney, M.S., ICCJP

I had the pleasure of attending The Institute’s first therapist training in September 2007. I thought, finally, I met a program and professional who had in-depth knowledge, experience and training on the subject of pathology.

Sandra’s fiery passion for creating public awareness on the topic sparked a burning desire in me to teach about pathology in my own community. Capturing as much knowledge as I could on the topic of pathology was the first step to becoming a healer and a voice in what has become coined as the ‘number one public health issue’ in this country.

My passion was generated because I am a survivor of a pathological relationship myself. So I was eager to learn all I could and while at The Institute’s Retreat Center I read and absorbed all the books, CD’s, DVD’s, E-Courses, books, and workbooks Sandra made available. She also encouraged her students to read the work of other specialists in related areas.

With a certification in the Aftermath of Pathological Relationships from The Institute I shaped my private practice and community presentations around the topic of prevention and healing from pathological relationships. I enhanced my qualifications by becoming a Certified Life Coach through the Professional Woman Network in Louisville, KY. This helped develop a program structure for my clients. (Since that time The Institute now offers their own Certification in Life Coaching through Change Points Coaching so you can get all the training you need through The Institute.)

Sandra’s “How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before you get Involved provided an explosive basis for coaching clients across the United States who were involved with men or women who damaged them physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually or sexually. My clients were either involved in pathological relationships, in the process of leaving, or in the aftermath of the relationship.

It was my job to meet each individual where they were and help lead and guide, educate and support them, while helping to provide local referrals for assistance. To date, I have had many clients across the United States: California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, New Mexico, Mexico, North Carolina, Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia and New York. I’m always amazed that no matter where the client is located, the dynamics of the pathological relationship experience seems to be the same in the area of intensity of attachment and associated psychic injuries.

There are a number of ways you can get involved in Teaching Pathology to Your Community: Public education, small groups or one-on-ones.

Since my training with The Institute, I have been involved in all three avenues. I began giving Pathology Workshops at the community level. For most of my community events, I use The Institute’s PowerPoint presentation specifically designed to educate the general population. This simple to use outreach tool has opened up many opportunities for community discussions.

Facilitating small groups is another avenue to create public awareness in a more personalized way. My most treasured experience is with my weekly group of teenage girls which is always a fun experience. It’s a great feeling to see them be able to identify different pathological relationship types from movies, pop culture, music, and their daily lives.
My one-on-ones are personal coaching sessions with women who help them not only learn to identify pathology in future relationships, but help them with their day to day symptoms of the aftermath.

Working in the field of Pathological Love Relationships has been a fascinating and fulfilling experience and one that many people could be doing in their own communities. You can make a difference right where you’re at! If you are interested in teaching about pathology to your community here are some tips:

1. Get as much training on the topic as possible through The Institute’s products (Books, DVD’s, etc.)

2. Get certified in The Institute’s Coaching or Therapist Programs

3. Set up a weekly Pathological Love Relationship Support Group—The Institute can train you how to run Support Groups.

4. Get connected with large groups or associations so you can network with others and build your coaching program through these affiliations.

5. Get and utilize The Institute’s PowerPoint presentation in your community.

6. Set up speaking engagements with woman’s groups and shelters

7. Become an expert on your own niche of clients, i.e. the legal field, church congregations, PTA groups and/or government agencies.
Know what the impact of pathology is in these areas.

8. Write magazine or newspaper stories that position you as an expert in your field. Start your own website or blog about the issue of pathology. Write for your own local community when pathology is in the news. Make public awareness your first goal!

Every new generation needs to understand the permanence and the damage of Pathological Love Relationships. There is an open market in every community for someone to provide public speaking and awareness, support groups, or coaching. If we can help you become a resource in your community, please let us know how! Email us at saferelationships (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Writing for Happiness and Healing

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Part II

By Lynn Ellyn Robinson

Ira Progoff, the original journal guru from the 1960s, recommended journaling on notebook paper. His method recommends that you insert your writing into a 3-ring binder behind one of a couple dozen of pre-made category tabs. That’s great for some kinds of journaling, especially if you’re working your way through historical events or figure out complex relationships. It also allows for cross-referencing (useful if you plan to write a memoir). For theme-based journaling (gratitude, prayer/meditation, health, travel, pets, food, etc.), I usually prefer a real book of some sort, with nice, heavy paper.

  • Check out the bound journals at a book store, which can run from $2 to $150. The look and feel of each volume is different. Handle them.
  • A writer pal uses bright 79¢ spiral notebooks from the drugstore; they fold back and lie flat. She uses them as a “parking lot” for random thoughts that crowd her mind when she is starting her day and needs to clear the decks so she can focus.
  • Consider the composition books so many of us used in school. Their pages are still stitched in place, but the price has gone up to about $2.00. They are a nice size and easy to carry.
  • I prefer the “college rule” line width, but most of the journalers I know like wider lines. I also do a lot of creative and developmental writing on graph paper. The grid lines help me segment different ideas and sort out materials, lists and sequencing.
  • If you are creative and artsy or just hate being limited by margins, check out the art supplies. Nicely bound sketchbooks with unlined pages are available in a wide range of sizes and are often made with acid-free paper that lasts for a long, long time.
  • Use some leftover wallpaper, wrapping paper or fabric to make a cover for your journal. Customize it to suit yourself.

Grab a pen and start your own, personal, custom-made, one-of-a-kind journal. Use the power of ink to unearth old longings and make new discoveries. Writing offers a way out of the darkness and into the sunshine. Ink is your voice. When writing to meet your own needs, something wonderful happens: YOU emerge.

It’s never too late to live a life you love.
Part I

In this new column, Journal to Joy, we will be talking about the many aspects of using pen and ink to write your way toward glowing good health. Using your pen to ink thoughts and feelings on the pages of a private journal can promote healing from past hurts and write yourself into a brighter future – no matter where you start. Over the coming months this column will address ways to use writing to deal with topics such as depression, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts.  Journal to Joy will offer tips and techniques for handling tough issues as well as the fun of delving into your own Internal Archaeology and designing a Dream Life for yourself.

Journal to Joy is the preamble to an Online Therapeutic Journaling Group. The kick-off will be a tele-seminar followed by an intensive Journaling Retreat later on, so be sure to check here for the details. You won’t want to miss the interactive sessions or the opportunity to take a break from your everyday life and do some focused, internal work.

Many who have come through a long, dark tunnel have often asked for instruction and support in telling their own, unique stories. In response, Journal to Joy will address ways to get started on your Personal Life History or Memoir. There are many different approaches, so we will look at several of the main formats and offer suggestions about tailoring the approach to suit your needs and ideas.

Journal to Joy will investigate different types of writing and journals. Many years ago a friend proudly showed me the “diary” his pioneer great-great-grandmother had kept while homesteading out west in the 1800s. Her daily entries faithfully recorded weather conditions and who was born, died, or married, but very little else. By contrast, structured journaling is a powerful tool that is much more than just a list or diary of activities. Disciplined writing is highly effective when sifting through a barrage of thoughts which threaten to overwhelm.

Many people have never thought of themselves as writers. Far too many among us endured humiliating experiences in school or had our early efforts critiqued by well-meaning family members. Even more of us agonized silently over spelling, grammar and punctuation. My own grandmother, a teacher, sent my childhood letters back to me all marked up with blue pencil corrections. Believe me; I know whereof I speak. Despite all that unpleasantness, there is good news. Fast forward to this very day – right where you are at this very moment.

Here’s the good news: Your journal does not care how you write.

It makes no difference to the page whether you know the rules. Handwriting and spelling are never graded. You can doodle if it suits your mood; use colored markers or crayons. Draw pictures and glue in cut-outs from magazines. Pen words around the pictures and ink in pretty loops and spiky angles. Scribe your feelings in words using colors and shapes. Decorate your pages. Your journal is yours and yours alone. In it, like nowhere else in your life, you can express yourself ANY WAY YOU WANT! Say anything you like – laugh, cry, scream, swear, or whisper. It is YOUR voice – the voice always inside of you, but maybe rarely used. Now is the time for YOUR voice to be heard and your journal is the place for it to speak.

It’s never too late to live a life you love.

Today–My Anniversary of the Plunge into Pathology

Today marks my fairly ‘official’ date (at least in my mind) in which I was thrust into the field of pathology–totally without consent, without warning and without return to the normal life I knew before May 13, 1983. 26 years ago my father bled out in a grungy gutter in Cincinnati after a psychopath plunged a knife into his aorta outside of his jazz club. I was initiated into a victim-hood that would turn my life and career in a direction I hadn’t much interest in on May 12, 1983.

Much like pathology in anyone else’s life, you don’t get to pick how it plays out. The best you can do is learn how to ride the roller coaster that goes along with the serious group of disorders in pathology. And so I did.

26 years later I still feel like I am just skimming the surface of what can and should be done in education, awareness, survivor services, and advocacy. Thousands of pages later of writings (books, newsletters, websites, workbooks, e-books, quizzes), hours and hours of lectures ad nauseum, over a thousand hours in broadcasts (radio and TV), stacks of cds and dvds created—and still we are in the infancy of a new understanding about pathology–the virtual edge of just starting what one day will be a momentum marker that shows ‘when’ the world turned a corner in a better and very public understanding of pathology.

We’re not there yet, but the day IS coming. Every new blog that goes up, every newsletter, every website, every talk, every social networking post, every private moment of your knowledge shared with another victim, every coaching session, every class taught, every therapy hour, every group gathering, every prayer muttered, every radio show aired, every celebrity living it and bringing notice, every TV show about it, every newspaper or women’s magazine article taunting it, —is another message to another ear that has heard the message.

You learned it because someone cared enough to make sure you learned it.

Every May 13 for the past 25 years I have halted my life to remember that life altering second when my life went from normal everyday life -to-a homicide survivor. When my reality was ripped through by pathology–a disorder so conscience-less that altering history is just another day in their lives. While my pathology story includes a brutal ending, yours no less includes something similar–all the things lost in the moment of deep betrayal–the kind of betrayal that only pathology can bring.

(If I don’t brighten this article up, I’ll get complaints about ‘too much reality’ or ‘too much negativity’) So, I will say this–while none of us ‘choose’ to become survivors at the hands of very disordered pathologicals, what we ‘do’ with what we were dealt is up to us. Every so often I like to send a message to you that encourages you to ‘pass it forward.’ Whatever you have learned from the magazine, the newsletters, or the books is probably more than the woman who is sitting next to you knows. You don’t need to wait til you ‘understand it more, take a class, get a degree, read one more of our books, take the coaching training.) That doesn’t help the woman you sit next to at work. The knowledge in your head is life saving to her. Next year ‘when you get better trained’ isn’t the year to share what you know. Today is!

If we want to move from living on the virtual edge of changing pathology education in the world, we have to open our mouths and tell what we know. Every pathological out there hopes you DON’T do this–they hope you keep what you know to yourself. So many women with so many tears had said “If I had only known….I would have left earlier, I wouldn’t have left my children with him, I wouldn’t have _______.”

Every May 13 is a time I renew my commitment to what changed me. Every May 13 I bother people with my message and prod them and push them to make victim’s rights and survivor education important in the world. If I don’t, the image of my dad laying in that gutter haunts me. His death should never have been for nothing–and as long as people have been helped, it hasn’t. Frankie Brown has touched so many lives with his death through the message of psychopathy. You’re one of them! Help me celebrate my father’s death anniversary in a way that brings meaning and hope to many. Tomorrow, share what you know with just ONE person–someone that you have felt in your gut needs to know about the permanence and the pain of pathological relationships. Then email me and say ‘I passed it forward’ so I can count up how many people celebrated Frankie! If this email offended you, I’m sorry. Pathology offended my entire life.

Thank you for growing in the knowledge of pathology so you are prepared for the day when you can give someone the life changing information that you’ve come to know!