Irritating People Are Healthy People

Ugh!  Not that person again?!  Really, God?  Why am I encountering that personality-type in my face for the 1000th time?  Extra grace required? I’m about out of grace with that person…

Now, don’t start judging…you know you have these thoughts, too. You know, when you see that *one* person walking your way and you want to run?  Or, you avoid eye contact because you just hope they won’t say, “hey”?  We all have those people in our lives.  The ones that trigger me and make me work my program.  They make me think to myself, “how can I really get past this moment without slapping someone right now?”.  Yes, as sweet as I seem on the outside, I’m normal, too.  I have those thoughts.

It’s about Growth.

I try my hardest to look at them with a lens of growth. It’s not easy…trust me.  Many times, I have really harsh words for them, but I keep smiling and just be sweet…not easy but I pray…a lot!

I’m supposed to pray for my enemies?!?!  Yup?!  Ah man…that’s hard, too.  What if I can’t stand the thought of that person occupying space in my brain?!  I have to pray for them anyway.

What if they bring out the worst in me?  I have to deal with them anyway and figure out a way to keep the ugly side of me from emerging.  I’ve learned  I’ve got to look deeper within to find out exactly what it is that’s irritating me.

I ask myself, “What do I see in the mirror when I look at this person?”  Tough stuff, huh?  I agree. I inspect deep inside…what trait, what habit, what sound, what memory, what sensation does this person bring up for me.  Most of the time there is something else that is connected to this situation or personality that is bringing up something deeper.  I’ve learned to apply the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time it’s my stuff and 20% of it is how they show up.  Both have a part, but my severe irritation is all in my ‘stuff’ and it’s up to me to figure exactly what is triggering me.

Once I identify it and deal with it, I can typically find the truth and process it on my end.  Once I do my work, I’m no longer irritated by the mere sight of “said” person.

It really takes putting on the “big girl panties” to deal with such deep work.  It’s about rising above the drama and praying hard.  It’s about avoiding the urge to pick a fight, smart off to them, be sarcastic, or give in to the temptation to roll my eyes.  It’s about welcoming opportunities to be uncomfortable, sitting in it and experiencing it,  so I can do my own discovery work.

Irritating People are Healthy for Me

In summary, irritating people are healthy people, for me, because they make me do my work.  Irritating people help me stay (or get) healthy because:

1.  They remind me to pray for my enemies. (Matthew 5:44)
2.  They remind me to work on myself.
3.  They remind me to look in the mirror.
4.  They remind me that God sees each of us as his own child (flaws and all).
5.  They remind me of the true meaning of “grace”.
6.  They remind me I’m not perfect.
7.  They remind me to face the ‘truth’ behind my ‘stuff’.
8.  They remind me to seek out accountability partners who can speak “truth in love” to me.
9.  They remind me to be grateful for what I have in my life.
10.  They remind me to pray without ceasing.

Whew!  None of that is easy. It’s a constant struggle.  It’s hard work and some days, I don’t want to do the deep work.  Some days, I just want to fight.  Some days it feels good to be in the middle of the crud so I can feed my angry soul, but then I’m reminded that if I give in, the Crazy Trish comes out…she’s not pretty.  So, I guess I’ll keep working on me.  I’ll welcome those irritating people and keep working to learn the deeper lessons until I get it deep down in my heart.

Oh, the joys of working on becoming a healthy-minded person.  How do you work through the drama of dealing with difficult personalities in your life?

Recovering from Rejection and Abandonment

I remember the first time I was sent to live with someone else. I was about six years old and I remember my mom telling us we’d be staying there for “just a little while”.  I remember crying my heart out, “No mommy, no!  I don’t wanna go!”  She wasn’t listening as I cried, and she turned to walk away from me.  I remember someone prying my little arms from around her neck, and I sobbed as I watched her go.

My heart was broken and I was sacred as I cried myself to sleep that first night.  I cried because I wanted my mommy.  I cried because I didn’t understand.  I hurt…hurt so bad my stomach ached.  I cried because the people there scared me.  I didn’t feel loved…I didn’t feel connected…Oh, mommy, I don’t understand…why you are leaving me? Please come back.  Why don’t you hear me?  Why didn’t you listen to me. Mommy, do you hear me?  Please listen to me.  I feel invisible!  Are you out there?  I wanna go home…Mommy…? mommy…? mommy…?

Thinking back on that first night when my mother left me is painful.   I know I must briefly visit those moments because something in those instances defined my current behaviors and identity. It’s important for me to understand what I learned in that hurtful moment.  It’s important to take an objective look at the situation and realize the lies I’ve adopted as my truths.  It’s all crucial to recovery.  Those realizations are the bridge I need to correct some of my current behaviors and help me become a better person.

NO RISK, NO REWARD

Working through my recovery has been painful at times, but those painful times have been some of the most healing and rewarding experiences I’ve had, even in all of my years of therapy.

Why do I go there?  When I hit a ‘speed bump’ in my recovery and wonder why I’m not making progress…I start looking deeper.  For example, when I’m triggered by those around me, when I find myself angry at the littlest things, or when I’m crying and fighting depression, I start looking deeper.  I look more into why I’m holding myself back?

TRUST THE PROCESS

This particular memory is the result of a process I worked after I found I was beating myself up over how I acted during an encounter with my five-year-old son.  I realized my actions were inappropriate for what I expected out of myself as a mom.  Afterwards, I asked myself, “What in the world happened in that moment to make me get so angry so quickly and lose control?”

When looking back on the moment, I realized it had little to do with my son’s behavior and more to do with my inappropriate reaction to him.  When my son began screaming at the top of his lungs (to mask my instructions) and then threw himself on the bed and pulled the covers over his head to avoid listening to me, I started raising my voice and yelling at him to be sure he heard me over his screaming.  Wow!  That was mature behavior on my part as a mom!  When I walked out of the room, I knew I needed to work through this and get to the root of what was REALLY going on for me.  I was ashamed of myself and my actions, and I had to fix it.

When thinking back over it, I realized that what I heard him say (through body language, etc.) was “I don’t wanna listen to you.”  For me, I realized in that moment, I was ticked off because he wasn’t listening. I was being disregarded and I was being ignored.  My advice/instruction was not valued.  Therefore, I’m a bad mom because my own son won’t listen to me.  Those are ALL lies that the enemy had fed me.  They were lies I had come to believe over the years.  Those were lies and beliefs that I had owned as part of my identity.  As a result of not being heard, I felt the need to scream at him to make sure I was heard.  Wow!  What a realization.  That was big stuff for me.

While processing this situation with an accountability partner, she asked me, “When was the first time you remember not being heard, not being listened to or not being valued?”  Instantly, I remembered the first time my mother abandoned me.

Now what? What was I supposed to do with this memory?  Well, I am excited because now that I have I have this memory, I can go back to it and process it in a healthy way.  I will re-visit this memory with someone safe and find a healing way to grieve that loss.  I will work through it while someone who can hold a safe space for me to mourn the loss of my mother.  This safe person will help me appropriately deal with the anger and resentment in a healing way while learning how to forgive my mother at the same time.

This is why I love Celebrate Recovery so much.  Working the steps helps me stay accountable to my actions.  It helps me to be open and honest with myself.  It helps me understand and love myself enough to work through it even when I show up as the “yucky me”.  When I see my ugly side come out, instead of stuffing that raging moment, I’m able to look at the event, analyze what really happened, look at my part in it and then dig deeper into the reason and root of why my behavior was the way it was. Then, I can consciously change it!  I can do all of this with Jesus as my filter.

RE-PATTERNING MY THINKING

When I look back on that first abandonment, I can re-envision this moment with a different filter.  I can take away the emotion and rejection in the situation and begin to re-pattern my thinking around that situation and “re-format” those old lies and adopt new truths that God wants me to know.  The truth is I am not invisible.  I am one of Christ’s daughters.  He wants to hear me.  I can pour my hurts and heart out to Him and he’ll listen.  I know in my heart, that I am important to my family, and I know in my heart that they value what I have to say.  Now, I can take this information, these feelings and emotions and find a healthier way to express myself when I feel like I’m not being heard or feel like I’m invisible.

Why do I write this stuff and share my vulnerabilities?  It’s because I know we all have hurts.  We all have some sort of hangup or insecurity about something.  We are all called to be more like Christ (Matthew 5:48) and work on becoming better people.  Recovery (or any 12 step program like AA, Al Anon, NA, etc.) gives us practical steps to work through our behaviors and resentments. I believe everyone of us can benefit from a recovery program that teaches us to do life better.  Not only does Celebrate Recovery have programs for those of us that are addicted to something, but they also have programs for those of us working through life’s struggles and hangups.

I’m grateful for my program and the tools I’m learning in the process!  How has your program helped you?

Teaching Compassion through M & M’s

Do you like candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand, or the kind that you like to carefully dissect and eat them flavor by flavor?   Do you generously share your candy, or are there some you secretly and selfishly keep to yourself?  Do you take time to consider whether others around you might want “just one bite” of your mouthwatering goodness?

We like to teach our children about sharing, but how good are we at sharing what we secretly desire and crave?   It’s difficult to teach my three year old how to share toys let alone share his candy.  For me, it’s about teaching him to look at life from someone else’s perspective. How would he feel if he was left out of the game?  How would he feel if he had to watch the other child eat candy and couldn’t have any?

Mars Inc., did a great job of helping us look at life from another perspective in this M & M’s commercial.

Can we as parents use this commercial to teach compassion to our kids?  Does it help us “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”?

How do you teach your kids about sharing or having compassion?

Foster Families Needed

Have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to become a foster parent?   As National Foster Care Month comes to an end, there is still a huge need for foster parents.  See if you “qualify” as a foster family.

  • Do you have a willing and loving heart for helping a child in need?
  • Do you have skills and abilities that help you to understand what children need to overcome trauma, grow through it and develop strength and faith to endure?
  • Do you feel that God is calling you to use the home he gave you, the gifts he’s bequeathed you and the talents he’s developed in you for the benefit of these wounded children?
  • Do you find yourself with extra time…perhaps you don’t already have children or you will soon have an empty-nest?
  • Do you have past experience as a foster child or foster family?
  • Do you have a desire for a bigger family and are considering adoption or fostering?
  • Do you have a desire to serve God and make a difference in someone’s life?

If you have any of these qualities you may very well make a great foster parent.  Whether you realize it or not, foster families are heroes.  Foster families are selfless people.  Foster families are in great need.

If you’ve even had a random thought as to whether you’d be able to foster, I’d encourage you to consider looking into it.

My husband and I were foster parents for about five years and had six beautiful girls come through our home.  We still “share” time with one of those sweet little girls and she calls us “mommy and daddy”.  We’ve had the privilege of adopting another little guy we fostered while his mother was going through cancer treatments.  Another one of our young ladies still considers our house her “home” when she returns from college.  There have been many blessings with these children and our time as foster parents was a meaningful experience.

There are so many children out there that just need to feel loved, accepted and welcomed.  If you have the patience, time and willingness to do the research for opening your home, go for it.  It’s truly worth it.

Have you ever considered being a foster parent?  Are you a current foster parent?  What can you offer to someone that’s considering this role?

after-care services need to be a priority!

Here’s some insight from another fellow foster care survivor. This post gives merit to the belief that the youth who age out of the foster care system should be a priority.

Foster Kid Phoenix

I was lucky. I was born in, and made dependent of, a county that has a contract with a really, really good wraparound program for emancipated foster youth. For the past 5 years, I have received therapy from a very kind clinician, been supported in finding housing, and given access to respectful psychiatrists who listened to my concerns and were always happy to let me try coming off meds. I have a full team of adults who genuinely care for me and my future. It feels more like a family, not at all like the faceless case-shuffling I experienced in foster care. I have been able to heal so much from their support – there is still stress involving money, education, and my trauma, but having a stable support system has allowed me to grow and learn about myself and the world.

I know that not everyone gets this…

View original post 308 more words

An Adoptive Parent’s Perspective

This post comes from a mom (who wishes to remain anonymous) who chose to adopt an older child out of the Foster Care System.  I think it’s important that we celebrate those who give a home, a voice and loving environment to the precious children in Foster Care.   She shares a very personal journey in her own words:

Deciding to adopt after learning of and accepting our infertility just seemed like the right thing to do. We wanted a family but didn’t know how we would achieve that but we were open to ideas. We researched all types of adoption—domestic, foreign, an older child, an infant, etc. Our road seemed to lead us to our local area’s foster-to-adopt program—so we registered for a class being held in our area. It was many weeks of education, awareness, discussions, etc. At the end, we decided to pursue with the intention of adopting our child—whoever that would be.

Our daughter is now a young adult, she was a preteen when she came into our home and family. Our lives were forever changed by this smiling little girl who desperately wanted and needed to be loved but didn’t know how to accept that, who struggled to live with a family she didn’t know and didn’t have feelings for, and still had so many conflicting feelings for her birth family and their situation—which was complicated. For us, it was a dream come true; for her, it was an answer to a little girl’s prayer. But, the realities of those sweet dreams and prayers were soon replaced by the realities of a very hurt child and very naïve parents. We were all struggling–we read books, we consulted therapists and friends, we worked hard but nothing prepared us for the path we were to walk and we continue to walk. Prayer became a way to survive because we were struggling terribly. This wasn’t just some random goal, it was our child’s life, it was our family—we had to succeed, we had to pursue, we had to overcome–it was our child—she was/is ours and we, as her parents, vowed not to give up on her, no matter how difficult. There are those who don’t have the conviction to make it work but I don’t judge them—they make their decisions for themselves and unless we walk in their shoes, we cannot judge others’ actions.

I believe in God. I believe He walks with us through this life here on earth. I believe He carries us when we’re weary. I believe He hears my prayers—each and every one of them—and He answers them, each of them, in His own perfect way. I believe that God has lead us to be the family we are today. Are we perfect?  Absolutely not. Have we made mistakes?  Plenty of them. But, we just keep trying and keep going. Without our daughter, we may not have these realizations. Having these struggles in our life has made us all the people we are today. This may not be the walk for everyone but it has been ours and we just keep moving. We are a family. A family that smiles, cries, laughs, and hurts together. How one’s family came together is different for many people but we just keep walking the path together, seeing where the path leads and dealing with all we find along the way. Adoption has brought us together and God has made us a family. I thank Him for my family, for my struggles, and for my life.

Getting Involved In Foster Care

Perhaps being a foster parent is not for you.  There are many, many other ways to help if fostering does not fit your family’s needs.  With it being National Foster Care Month, it’s a great time to find a way to be supportive to a child or agency in the foster care system.  If you’ve always wondered what it would be like to work with Foster Children, this is an easy way to get your foot in the door and experience this field first-hand.

Recently, I contacted the Children’s Home Society here in Palm Beach County and found that there are lots and lots of agencies under their umbrella.  I’m excited because I will be doing some group classes and graduation coaching with some young adults aging out of the foster care system.  The young girls in this facility are either teens in the system that are pregnant or have a child or they are homeless and pregnant or have a child.  Most of these girls do not have a direction or any idea of what awaits them upon leaving this facility.  I look forward to using my life-coaching, teaching and education background to help coach and empower these young girls as they begin to plan for life with their child on the “outside”.

 http://www.chsfl.org/impact

Check out this agency at (http://www.chsfl.org/impact .  Be sure to watch the video, too.) If this one doesn’t fit find a similar agency in your area to get involved with the foster care crisis now.

When I met with the program director, she mentioned she has many ideas where volunteers may come and help.  She wishes she had someone to come in and teach these girls “mom” skills and fun “mom/child” things that these girls were most likely not taught in their childhood.  The program director mentioned simple ways her volunteers may help.

I’ve added a list here that include some of her ideas along with a few other ones I’ve found on two different agency websites.  I’m sure there are many, many more avenues, and it’s definitely possible to find a place to fit in and find something to enjoy.

  • Scrapbooking
  • Leading a “Mom & Me” class
  • Crafting
  • Teaching Sewing/Quilting
  • (Repairing/Constructing)/Handyman
  • Tutoring
  • Mentoring
  • Assisting with administrative work
  • Fundraising
  • Making Meals/Teaching Cooking
  • Teaching Life-Skills Classes
  • Organizing/playing/hanging with kids on “Sports Day”
  • Offering professional support for your area of expertise
  • Cleaning Services
  • Marketing/Public Relations/Development
  • Writing grants
  • IT Support
  • Relief House Parents
  • Driving
  • Coordinating Special Events
  • Gardening
  • Repairing Automobiles
  • Babysitting
  • Respite foster home
  • Fostering
  • Guardian Ad-Li tum

Most  agencies are individually run by a program director and there are a lot that are privately run by churches.  Depending on the needs of the home, there are so many ways to help these kids  experience things they may have missed out on since being in foster care.

Go ahead, I challenge you…take the leap and find a place to volunteer.  Remember, if one organization doesn’t seem to “fit” your family, then try another one.  This is also a great way to model giving and sharing with your own children.

Do you volunteer somewhere in the Foster Care System?
Do you have other ideas for serving in this area?
If you decide to get involved and serve,
please feel free to check back and share your experience.