Your Stories Will Tell You What Time It Is

Think back to all the times you’ve been called, “difficult,” “overly-sensitive,” “dramatic,” or “bitch.”🖕🏻

O.k. Who were those people? Write them down. What was happening between you two? Defending yourself? Someone else? Going toe to toe with a bully? Rising above the bullshit? Write that down. 🤩🥳😎

Do that a couple of hundred times in life and you have a lot of enemies. — Good for you. That means you’re not a doormat for others to wipe their feet on.🦶🦶Love yourself enough to be odd woman/man out. 💗💗💗🥰🥰

Now, who’s dismissed and invalidated your feelings, shushed you, implied you were “crazy,” and “too much.” What were you trying to express to them? Write that down. 😤 Use your anger for fuel.

Dismissed and invalidated a couple of hundred times in life and you have anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and physical pain — also known as C/PTSD from the psychological mind-fuck that is narcissistic abuse. 🤯 Undo the damage they’ve caused and write your truth. ✍️

Who’s ignored the core of who you are, mocked you, threatened your attempts at telling them what hurt and punished you for your “no?” Write that down. 😡🤬

Write all these stories out and you have a memoir. These stories are your gold. Your power. And they are more for your learning about yourself than they are for outing others. 💪🏻💥🎖

What are the patterns that keep playing out in your life? What’s your childhood conditioning? What role do you play in perpetuating these patterns? What could you have done differently then? What needs to change now? Have you changed over time? If not, why not? 🧐

Those names you wrote down? Abusers. Both overt and covert.

And there is both a time to stand and fight 💥🥊 and a time to walk away. 🏃🏻‍♀️

Your stories will tell you what time it is. ⏰

Die Trying: Say No to Learned Helplessness

My parents didn’t teach or model these behaviors to me, but I was able to go on and teach my own kids self-trust, self-love, and self-acceptance because I learned how to source them for myself.

This meme is written to encourage parents to teach and model these behaviors to their children and that’s great. We need parents to parent the kids they choose have. But, for adults who weren’t taught these things from their own parents, this can sound as if they aren’t able to do these things for themselves. And sadly, if they have kids at home they may just think, “I wasn’t taught this, so I can’t teach it.”

Yes you can. By remembering what you wanted and needed as a child.

Don’t let memes like this keep you in learned helplessness and excuses. Therapy, reading, writing, thinking, and feeling are your friends for life for all things healing when you find yourself under the rubble of a fractured life. Everything we need to surpass our own raising is right there within us. It’s a choice.

I was a young mom and learned to parent myself while parenting my son. I read parenting books as we grew up together to find out what we both needed. And I still made mistakes.

I allowed my son to stay home from school too many days in a row for mental health days because I wanted to cuddle him and missed him while I worked. I also spanked him, yelled like a lunatic, and cried. A lot. I spoiled, gave in, held firm, led by example, failed and fell on the floor in a heap of exhausted flesh. I laughed and played, lectured and raved and showed up completely imperfectly, 150%.

So, decades later, when my relationship with my adult son fell apart, I was confused and devastated. My therapist said that mothering him was where I found my own secure attachment, and I was lost without it.

I’m mothering just myself these days. Unlearning what needs to go, owning what I did I right, admitting my wrongs, and relearning a new way of being in an ever-changing world. It’s a big job again. Most days I’m confused and exhausted, because the world is the biggest narcissist of all. The closer to kicking a goalie you get, the more they move the posts. But, I’m still here: trying my best.

What I’ve learned by writing memoir is that what we do today in the parenting department will be considered wrong two generations later by parenting experts and sometimes even our children. And regardless of the advice we follow, or don’t, sometimes relationships get strained and we need to take a break once children become adults. But, none if this is an out for not doing the job today. Right now. Right in front of you.

So, do your best and be ready to throw yourself under the bus about your own parenting mistakes because I can assure you, you’re making some doozies. You’ll read about mine in my second memoir.

You’re also doing a remarkable job. I commend you for showing up for your kids when no one showed up for you.

Perfection doesn’t exist. Just doing the best we can, showing up, connecting and thinking; “What did I need at this age?” is just about the best anyone can expect.

Growing up is a hard job — and if we’re doing it right, we do it all our lives. Be engaged enough and aware that all of life is for learning about ourselves and caring for others. Don’t give away too much of your power on the healing path. Try not to be too serious, but seriously show up.

We can go on to learn to trust, love and accept ourselves as we are, through parenting our own children— without permission, teaching and modeling of these behaviors from our own.

When we use our awareness of life as a teaching tool, our feelings to guide us, and our brains to think for more than just this moment, we’ll have given our whole hearts to our roles as parents.

I wrote this little poem today in my morning pages:

Life is about patterns

Until it’s not

And what breaks patterns

Is thought

Remembering then

Showing up now

Living in the middle

is the only how.

Say no to #learnedhelplessness #dietrying

Looking at Old Photos: An Exercise to Help You Reconnect To Yourself When You’ve Forgotten Who You Are

My 2001 interview with Oprah, Lol!

I’m going through old photos while working on my second memoir and found this memory today.

This one is from a trip to Las Vegas in 2001 where I visited Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. I am a huge fan of Oprah, so when I ran into her that day, of course I let her interview me for my upcoming best-selling book. Lol! 😂

I was writing my memories out by hand back then for the book I wanted to write someday and was filing them away in my 3-ring binder.

I used to sit and watch The Oprah Show every chance I had at 4pm and still have the notes I took on the episode where she interviewed authors of memoir on how they approached their writing process.

This exercise of looking back at old photos is helpful for reconnecting to our old selves to see how far we’ve come, and to see how much further we have yet to go. It’s also helpful for abuse survivors who have endured decades of psychological abuse to help us reclaim who we’ve always been at our core, before toxic people projected who they are onto us.

This photo reminds me what I’ve known all along. I’ve lived authentically and genuinely from my heart. I’ve approached my big, convoluted, noisy, messy, busy life with a huge sense of humor, a love of life-long learning, the strength and dedication to keep my word to myself and follow through on my commitments, while showing up for my roles and responsibilities and continued to dream big!

And here I am. Still smiling and laughing. Still learning and growing. Still strong and doing. Still keeping my word. Still showing up. And still dreaming big!

I’m also still very realistic about what a long way I have yet to go, to get to where I dream of being. But, the most important thing about this is I kept my word to MYSELF to write that first book! How is that for learning self-trust, self-love and self-acceptance on your own?

Don’t allow the community that teaches about narcissistic abuse tell that you don’t know how to teach yourself or can’t. If what you see is good and you’re happy with that, keep doing that. If it’s not, have the guts to change it.

And, don’t let narcissistic family project onto YOU who they think you are, or should be, in order to make them comfortable and to keep you in learned helplessness. Be defiant! Be a force to be reckoned with! They’ll get over it. Or they won’t. It’s their choice to make.

Dream big or go home, baby!

projection #protection #dream #do #create #laugh #learn #grow #loveyourself

The Beauty that Chaos Can Create

 

Robin eating pizzaThis is me: 1996. I was 29 years old, the single mother of an 11-year-old child, working FT as a nurse, and yet, was still driving back on my weekends off to visit my dad three hours away.

At one time I would have entitled this photo: “Looking for Crumbs of Love.”

In this photo I thought I was so grown. I had arrived. You could not have told me I didn’t love myself. You couldn’t have told me I didn’t approve of myself. And yet, there I sat. Smiling for the camera. Waiting to be seen, valued, and loved by my dad who snapped this photo of me stuffing my face with pizza. Today, I know that to be CoDependent and Trauma-Bonding.

I so craved a relationship with him. I wanted to be held and assured I could do anything, even though I already knew I could. I wanted him to tell me I was beautiful and that he was proud of me, even though I was already proud of myself. What I got instead, was four boxes of DiCarlo’s pizza with extra cheese and mushrooms awaiting me at each visit, and a large tin of Chock Full of Nuts Coffee at Christmastime. —This was how he showed love.

He complimented me on how my makeup and hair were always perfect no matter what, and how good I smelled all the time. —This is how he said he loved me.

And, it was all he was capable of at the time, but I was all in. I accepted those crumbs of attention and affection with gusto, but secretly I had always hoped for more. And each time he discarded me, even for years at a time, when he came calling, I’d go back to him looking, searching… hoping.

Don’t feel sorry for me, because I certainly don’t. There is no charge surrounding this memory anymore. I’ve done my work.

My purpose for telling you this is that because of this, I learned to accept crumbs of affection and sit in wait mode for more from every relationship I ever had. I was stuck in perpetual hope and excuse-mongering for those I loved and went on to do the emotional heavy lifting in all my relationships. I learned to be more than happy to make everyone comfortable, give until it hurts, and to be the first to accept fault when something went wrong.

Girls are taught to forgive, accept, and be the ones to sacrifice for others no matter what; whether those words are spoken out loud or not. We’re conditioned to set ourselves on fire to make everyone else warm and crush our bodies up against the walls of the small rooms we live in to make room for others. And by the time we are a certain age, we are bone tired and more pissed than a wet, hungry, and neglected pack of animals looking for food.

I reached that age early in life.

I was a girl, but I was a Steel Town Girl. I was taught by my abused mother to get my ass outside this moment and fight for myself. Was I just going to stand there and allow someone to push me around like that, she asked? (However, I watched her not defend herself? How confusing for a girl!) — So, in order to please her, I fought. And I fought dirty. She was watching after all.

That face you see in this photo may be full of hope and my cheeks full of pizza, but I was madder than a hornet. I was no victim. Never would be. I’d take what life had to offer, whether I liked it or not, and make something better out of it. So, each day, I wore an invisible crown and cape and wings and halo and armor and Army boots and black leather jacket and whatever else I needed to don to get through my day as I walked through life as half-angel, half ass-kicking ninja. I was tough as hell. So tough, that sometimes I scared myself.

And I wouldn’t have been able to do any of the difficult things I did without the parents I got. I couldn’t have done any of it without lashing out, getting selfish, and taking up space. I couldn’t have raised a son alone while trying to tiptoe, censor, and crouch down in the corner of the room. What kind of role model would I be if I had allowed that?

I wasn’t afraid to look unbalanced to get mine and my child’s needs met in a chaotic, uncaring world. And man oh man, was I ever mouthy! I didn’t care for one minute, who you were, or who you thought you were, if I had something to say, you’d hear from me. I was a fearless lioness!

I didn’t treat myself like a precious breakable object afraid to come out from behind a glass enclosure. I had already been through hell. So, I rolled up my sleeves and I got down and dirty. I disagreed. I disappointed others. And I destroyed. And I didn’t do it anonymously; I was no coward— I signed my name proudly.

I became loud in order to be heard and ranted for better treatment. And, I could be as cruel as they were. When I was accused of venting, complaining, — or bitching and being too much, I got even louder. I’ve been called a BITCH more times in my life than I could ever count.

If that doesn’t tell you anything about me, in nursing school, when everyone was assigned a long, quirky nickname that coincided with their personality — mine was Burning Acid in a Baby Doll Dress.

I may have looked innocent enough, with my big ass curly hair, hope-filled eyes, an hourglass shape in a pink nursing uniform standing there with a big ole cup of “Willingness to help, love and give to you” — but I’d rip you a new ass so fast you’d not know what hit you. If you were locked and loaded, I had already pulled your trigger.

Now, in today’s age of everything being narcissistic, people would have called me narcissistic. In fact, knowing what I know now, I would call me narcissistic. But, not in a bad or pathological way. It’s how I got my needs met. It’s how anyone gets their needs met. It’s how we make a path in life. Kicking and screaming the whole way. Loud as hell and not going anywhere anytime soon. Why? Because the fucking world we live in is narcissistic and drowns out the voices it doesn’t want to hear then tries to add shame to our list of baggage to carry! NO THANK YOU!

I was fighting to survive and stuck in fight mode, and with me there never was a flight, freeze, or fawn mode. I fought every, single. battle.

One mode: Fight.
One person: Me.
What a whirlwind!

I’ve survived some pretty unsurvivable things in life and I’m still here and better for it. I’m still bone tired most days and sometimes STILL madder than a hornet, but I’ve managed to keep my heart open to hope and love and the possibility of what if. If that isn’t forgiveness, I’m not sure I know what forgiveness is?

I’m much older now than I was in this photo. I’m a more concentrated version of Burning Acid. I use my potion sparingly to conserve it, and myself. And, I’ve learned to use it on things that really matter. And the more I learn, the more I realize, not much of it even does.

I owe this girl so many apologies for all the times she went without. For making her be the first to stand up and give even more despite her weariness and pain. I gave her no thought. Self before others. That’s what god would want. If I could go back in time, I’d lovingly shake this girl by the shoulders and tell her to WAKE UP! I’d tell her she is not god, not a superhero, and certainly not a magician with a healing salve in her hat of tricks!

We are older now. Women. Wiser. Worldly. And realize that it’s not the grit and determination we are learning to let go of as healing, aging women. It’s not our younger, wilder, selves we’re saying good-bye to. It’s the armor we are putting down. Armor is heavy! It’s MADE OF STEEL! It’s also a habit. A self-defense mechanism. The earlier version of us served us and our children well, we will keep the parts of her we still need to get through the rest of our lives; whatever that may bring, and bid the rest of her a heartfelt adieu.

I’ve learned some pretty amazing things as a result of narcissistic parents. Like, how to have hope. How to forgive. How to keep your heart open when it hurts like hell. How to see the good in others. How to rise above. How to be a seeker of information. How to self-heal. How to source myself with everything my son and I needed. How to be brave. How to be the only one in the room to take a stand. How to be patient. How to pray for others before yourself. How to be a hard worker. How not to give up so easily on things and people. How to wait. And wait, and wait and wait and wait…

But, I’ll no longer accept crumbs of love and attention, give cookies for less than stellar behavior, and go running around chasing after people asking for them to please see me, love me, accept me, choose me… I’ve shown up 150% in my life. 100 for me and 50 for the guy who didn’t show up. I’ve shown up battered, scarred and imperfect, my face smeared with blood, but I was there and did the work to the best of my ability each time. If people can’t do the same for me in return, then so be it. I’m not so naive anymore. And I don’t sit in perpetual hope and wait for things to change. I’m not going to try and try and try and try to fix shit I didn’t break and look for a reason to be wrong to keep the peace.

We girls, may, over decades lose ourselves in the service of others, raising of the kids, and learning to cater to a man’s comforts in life. We may forget as we age, the fire we once had in our veins as we were out kicking ass and taking names in our careers, but we are still her at our core.

We wave to our younger selves.

“Thank you for your grit, determination, and fearlessness! we yell, What a wonder you were to behold! You were responsible for some of the very best days of my life!”

She waves back. Smirking. She knows things she shouldn’t know, but she just does, somehow…

“I’m not going anywhere! I’m STILL right there INSIDE OF YOU and AVAILABLE to you AT ANY TIME! And you STILL have so much life left to LIVE!”

The older, wiser, more concentrated version of the Burning Acid woman I am today would entitle this photo:

“I Love Me So You Don’t Have To.”

#doyourwork #writingmemoir #memoirteachesyouaboutyourself #burningacid #grit #determination #Iamthelight
#Codependency #traumabonding #notwaiting

My First Interview about Steel Town Girl and a Shout Out from my Editor!

Today, I had my very first interview about Steel Town Girl, with Rod Ice from Words on The Loose located in Geauga County, Ohio.

Rod worked for the GCML for 16 years and was also an editor for Gazette Newspapers in Jefferson.

He has a new column called Words On The Loose which has run for a couple of years, it is on FB and the net where he is promoting his books.

Thank you Rod for your interest in my book, my writing and self-publishing process, and for the opportunity to interview.

His books can be viewed and are for available for sale: Here!

You can follow Rod at:

Words On the Loose

Also, I got a shout out on Twitter today from my editor:

I am so lucky to have found this woman, you have no idea! To say she deserves a blog post of her own is an understatement. She is quite impressive! But, in a nutshell she is a freelance writer and editor and has 31 books of her own.

Yowsa!

You can find Lauren (you’re probably pronouncing her name incorrectly) Baratz-Logsted here with her full bio and available books for sale.

I love you Lauren whatever the hell your name is! 😘

Thank again Rod and Lauren!

Forever Grateful for you both,

~Robin

You can check out my new book Steel Town Girl on Amazon and Kindle

And, today I received my author copies.

If you need me, I’ll be signing books and running to the post office!