Saturday, February 17, 2018

Leaving is a Difficult Decision..

Well after being absent for quite a while from blogging I have decided to resume the process.
Aloha Concepts has just undergone a website upgrade and made it a lot more 'Tropical Maui looking' since I moved back to Maui nine months ago.
    We all have difficult moves to make in our lives at times.  It was very difficult to leave the relationship I was in, but I had to since sadly it was not going anywhere productive.  I discovered I was with someone who arrogantly professed that he did not want to change and liked who he was inspite of two failed marriages previously and many other budding failures.
There were many WTF moments as I now call them,  (What the Freud!)  where bizzare things were said or done or communications ignored or missed completely, behaviors that were insensitive, selfish, uncaring and just lacking in a partnership.   He wanted a partner that would collaborate with him.. pay the split on  a forty dollar meal when he had thirty five in prime rib and I had five in a bowl of soup, he wanted collaboration that worked for him, while it left me feeling exploited. When I asked to be looked after he accused me of wanting him to be a sugar daddy! Fortunately I had experienced a wonderful mutually reciprocal, respectful, sensitive, fair and loving relationship with my cherished Eddie Vance who succumbed to cancer five years after we got together.  This one was different, I wanted to give it a chance... was he just stressed and overwhelmed, forgetful, lazy, aspbergers? What was it? Narcisisstic traits? Something was off and it only got worse as time went on.  No thank yous, no appreciations, no I'm sorrys, no repairs. Lots of forgetting the past and moving on withno repair. Sweeping broken glass under the carpet, and not expecting it to rupture our bare feet over time.  It was crazymaking, and as a therapist especially I could not continue to live one way and teach and share another way with my clients.
I started being accused to things that were not in my repoitoire... we call it being projected upon, a normal stage couples can go through when we get beyond the honeymoon stage.  When I defended myself and spoke my truth he got even angrier and told me to get out!  Bizarre and abusive! Before that he would ignore me for days, giving me the silent treatment.  I continued to provide meals no thanks, no help unless I asked for it.  Expenses were counted to the penny by him, I continued to contribute my time, cleaning up, tidying, doing dishes and preparing meals, hoping it was just a phase.  The dishwasher stopped working, I asked for it to be repaired, no response, the fridge was leaking I mopped up the puddlle every morning suggested it get fixed, no response. I began to feel invisible.
When I started conversations and discussions I experienced DARVO, Defend, Attack, Reject, become the Victim and be Offended  as a response to almost all conversations..  This angry victim would say he did not know why his ex wife left him, why his tenants were displeased that he had not responded to their requests...  It was now blatantly obvious to me why.. and no responsibility was ever taken for the 'willnot' string of tragedies and consequences and followed him in every sector of his life.  I became sad and depressed. Fought with before I went to work in the morning, arriving in tears, and hour early so I could settle myself and recover before my cheerful, willing, changing, and curious clients arrived.
I consulted with several professionals including my own Dr. who recommended I leave for the sake of my health.  The allistatic load was becoming too much for my system. I would soon have a breaakdown or brain tumor, or have to become codependent if I continued to subject myself to this subtle cruelty.  I came home one night overwhelmed and exhausted, shared my feeling and was told that he did not want a weak woman and that I should leave..   OMG... from someone whom I had been sure to take calls from and be supportive to him when he experienced his panic attacks. One day, he called to say he was having a nervous breakdown.  I cancelled clients immediately and went to be with him, feed him, support him emotionally and get a mountain of a task done for him as he sat paralysed with overwhelm.  It was not a nervous breakdown but a pity party.  But it was not ok for me to express my overwhelm and be supported... WOW this was the straw... the last straw.  Shortly after moving away he bragged that he had got the dishwasher fixed and the fridge repaired and expected me to think he was a hero!  It was then that it was confirmed that I was just an appliance in his life! For him to use and chuck out. This sealed the deal for me to do the no contact that can be so difficult to do.  So ladies and gents, I speak from experience I know it is hard and painful to move on from being with an abuser who plays the game of nice and nasty, keeping you hooked for the next dose of nice before he is nasty again, like a slot machine that has paid out keeps you coming back for one more payoff!! Intermittent reinffforcement at work.  I remember an associate John Tyler here in Maui saying a good relationship was not a balance between good and bad, but between good and great.  I was now experiencing good and bad, and dying inside, he wanted me to trust him unconditionally... trust is earned by being trustworthy. He asked me one day from behind his desk to marry him, this way he could possible save a property that was going into foreclosure.. I balked and said I did not want to be asked that way, I should have ran! He took over, bulied his way into needing several of my credit cards for his expenses at work, told me to let him know when they were due, then would say if I wanted them paid I should do so myself!!  Then paid off many of his other obligations, Attorneys, Taxes, Condo, Ski Pass, before he paid me off,  then the check was handed to me and I was told he was uncomfortable with me there asked me to leave...  Never a word of thanks was breathed or whispered. Arrogance held that vulnerability hidden inside. I think of the admirable phrase, "In my vulnerability my strength lies.." It was glaringly absent except for victim stories, I should have trusted my intuition, I had said to my therapist I feel as if as soon as he has paid me back he will get rid of me, that this relationship is all a charade and I am being used.  How true this was.  Frighteningly so.. and he wanted me to trust him unconditionally. Ha!!  It has taken me a while to heal, and life is wonderful in the way my pains have all been not for naught but for the benefit of my clients.  I know what I want and will settle for more!  Why Settle for Less!!  I urge any of you who can identify with any of this to know life is better when we do the work, seek clarity and health and move steadfastly forward in that direction.
I thank God for his Blessings and Wisdom that he has afforded me to move ahead on my own not settling for less with someone whose arrogance and denial will continue to destroy the longevity and meaningfulness of any relationship when he continues to play victim, and ignores personal responsibility and personal growth.  I am astounded at the effort put into pushing me away, when everyone else has left him and even many males in his life no longer talk to him. His own dad could not even trust him.
Needless to say I have read some great books, I will share in later posts.  I have had some great conversations with fellow therapists about narcissism, emotional abuse, charachter flaws, life goes on growth is welcome, it feels so good to be free.  I am sad for my friend.  Happy for myself and feel cherished by those around me.  I even had flowers this Valentines Day!!  Feb 16 2018

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Recently Read... For Mothers of Difficult Daughters by Charney Herst

                      Book Title:  Mothers of Difficult Daughters


     Regaining for Mother some of the respect she deserves is Dr. Herst's mission.  She asks: "Whatever Happened to Honor thy Mother"?  She urges moms to consider that they are not entirely responsible for their daughters' states of mind, urging that one truth remains constant for every situation: You do not have to fix your daughter's problems to improve your relationship with her. 

 Re frame it. Look at it from a different direction.  "Walk through the door backwards," she tells mothers.  If you want to take the lead in changing your relationship with your daughter, you have to start with yourself, and that means reflecting on what you learned from your mother.
  For better and for worse, your bond with your mother has directly affected your relationship with your daughter.  Even if - especially if- your relationship with your mother has been less than glorious, you need to be aware of how it has influenced the kind of behavior you demonstrate with your daughter.
  As an added bonus, you might discover some valuable lessons your mother can teach you today- about loyalty, self-respect, and most of all about how she has changed. 

 Mae West once wrote of her mother, ":She tried in every way to understand me, and she succeeded.  It was this deep, loving understanding as long as she lived that more than anything else helped and sustained me on my way to success".  West was lucky and knew it; not all women are so aware of the gifts their mothers give them. 

 Mothers everywhere vow:  "I won't make the same mistakes my mother did". And you probably won't.  As the saying goes, you will make new ones.  Less obvious is the fact that your mistakes are often the result of trying to avoid hers.  The ultimate irony is that, well meaning though your efforts might be, there is a good chance your daughter won't appreciate or even notice them. 

    The huge cultural shift that has taken place in this century has caused an appreciation gap between older mothers and their adult daughters.  We are often horrified at the level of self sacrifice required of our mothers who grew up in the 20s to 40s and frightened by their anger and depression. Above all, we felt guilty for causing their suffering. 

Our daughters however are not little clones of us, so we can't gage their desires by what we wanted in a mother.  For all the Complexity of Mother Daughter Relationships, a single theme runs through every situation:  unmet expectations.  Mother and Daughter each expects the other to understand her as if, because they share the same genes, they also share an invisible mind link.  Mother and Daughter are deeply disappointed in the other's failure to meet her expectations.

When a mom comes to see her for the first time Dr. Herst suggests getting a large sheet of paper and take the time to catalog every single expectation and disappointment, no matter how petty; describe how things actually turned out, to pinpoint specific issues that are undermining the relationship and review them in a productive manner, to come up later with a set of the top prioritized goals for the relationship. 
 Pick three, begin by choosing the problems that hurt the most- the ones that keep you awake at night, dig deeper to understand why.  These problems become part of the blueprint you'll use to repair your relationship along with your revised version of her Reasonable Expectations Guideline to create a wish list of your own.
Take a few moments also to focus on your daughter's positive attributes, write down all the good things about your daughter, not only as she relates to you, but in her life outside of your relationship, be generous appreciative and complimentary.

Summary by Annie Vance,
Marriage Family Therapist

Saturday, June 5, 2010

In Memory of Pinney Pin Pins

Pinney Pin Pins was a Therapy Guinea Pig, much loved and petted by minor visitors to Annie Vance, MFT's Therapy Practice. Sadly she developed a cancerous lump on her tummy about six months ago, so we knew the end was nearing.  She passed away in my arms in Saturday morning after much labored breathing.  She will be missed by all, especially Roscoe.  Blessings Sweet Little Pig.

Anger Management

Lately in the Press there have been many announcements of celebrities making the news with their unfortunate choices to use abusive power and control tactics against their spouses.  This is known as Domestic Partner Violence.
Behaviors are learned...  There are triggers, then our past experiences create a belief system, which is that flash of a thought, which instantaneously creates a feeling, that precedes a reactionary behavior.
Whenever we car coming from a place of fear we will respond disrespectfully. The difference between us humans and other animals is our brain... let's use it!  We have no control over the trigger incident, but we do have control over ourselves and our thought processes.  If we change our thoughts we can change the feeling, which changes the behavior, which changes the outcome.
Changing self talk is incredibly powerful.  Try saying to yourself:  "No one is going to spoil my day or night"
In the words of  Dr Richard Greene, Psy.D., MFT "Don't take the 'carrots' that are put in front of you." You have a choice.
You are the only one you have control over in any situation. If you feel yourself getting angry, take a "Time Out", and use some Anger Management Self Talk
For more Information Contact:  Aloha Concepts Counseling and Coaching

Friday, May 21, 2010

Product Development

Today is the first day of the plan to create a practical visual product for teaching clients new skills.
These will be coming soon and available through my website and College Bookstores to be announced soon!
As my practice has grown I have acquired and developed materials to use to help clients get a concept or practice a new skill.
I am excited to be finally publishing and distributing these.
More to come...