Saturday, January 13, 2018

FUN STUFF YOU MAY NOT WANT TO KNOW & A COOKIE CRAVING

Has anyone seen the commercial from GEICO where the Sloth is drawing a tandem bicycle for game night?  I declare that every time it comes on, I giggle like a little kid because it's just so darn cute, and the people trying to guess the puzzle are really intense.  Aren't you impressed that I stopped watching the Christmas Yule Log from last month, and switched to this? (lol)
TMI
YIKES!  Even though I'm from Baltimore, I haven't been back in years.  According to Orkin, Baltimore City has been named as the #1 city for bed bugs 2 years in a row.  Ugh!  Washington DC, which is right next door, ranked 2nd, followed by Chicago, Los Angeles and Columbus Ohio.

Do you remember Scrabble?  Are you pretty good at it?  There's a Scrabble Players Association that's been around since 2009, and their website is www.scrabbleplayers.org.  What's cool about this site is you can find out about winners, or search for clubs and upcoming tournaments throughout the US and Canada.

I remember taking the SAT when I was in high school, and my cousin and I had a bet on who would score the highest.  According to the US Department of Education, The College Board & National Center of Statistics, the following is true:

Arkansas           2% of students took the SAT during High School
Alabama           5%      "                                                         "
Connecticut     100%
Delaware         100%
Michigan         100%
Mississippi           2%
North Dakota       2%
North Carolina    49%   "                                                       "

HAPPY HAPPY DAYS
Was Happy Days one of your favorite sitcoms back in the day? It premiered in 1974, and I totally loved Henry Winkler as Fonzie.  He was so popular in fact, that every time he visited the library on an episode of the show, library card registration increased by a whopping 500%!!!! 

BOOKS, BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS
Is there nothing Amazon won't do?  You may be surprised to know that there are currently 13 Amazon Bookstores throughout the country that include California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington and Oregon, and many include coffee shops to keep you hanging out even longer.  There are plans in motion right now to open up additional locations in Washington DC, Maryland and Texas.

SAVE ON GROCERIES
If one of your goals in 2018 is to save more money on groceries, be sure to check out Living Rich With Coupons, which is listed over in the sidebar, or www.couponmom.com.  Even if you don't use coupons, or they're not available where you live, try shopping at bargain supermarkets, or waiting until groceries have been marked down.  Here's a few tips:


1 )  Almost every Super Walmart has a cart they place in the back of the store with bread, cookies, cakes and other goodies that have been deeply discounted.  Also, in the front of the store near the deli, lunch meat, cheese, salads,and cooked chicken is unbelievably cheap.But get there early in the morning to catch these deals because they go fast.


2)  Carlie C's(IGA) gives away a FREEBIE every Friday, and they have a cart or shelf filled with lots of merchandise that may be damaged or has something missing from a package.  Get in there for those great bargains.


3)  Are you a Greek yogurt fan? Stay on the lookout for deals on Chobani, who will be changing their packaging.  They want to get rid of all that old merchandise.

USELESS TRIVIA
I took 2 years of French when I was in high school, and only used a little of it while visiting Montreal back in the 90's. Don't ask me to carry on a conversation in French these days though, because I can't remember one dang thing I learned. (lol) By the way, French is spoken by 76.1 million people.

The language in the world spoken by the most people is Chinese and includes Mandarin, with a total of 1,283.9 million people, Spanish comes in at #2 with a total of 437 million, and English is #3 at 372 million people. 

Now it's time for some tasty treats that you can eat while reading a good book or watching a movie on Netflix. Once again, I chose this recipe to spotlight because of its name, but some people actually call these magic bars or seven layer cookies. 

APPLE HELLO DOLLY BARS
INGREDIENTS
2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
Vegetable Cooking Spray
12 Oz Pkg Semisweet Chocolate Morsels
12 Oz Pkg  Butterscotch Morsels
1 Cup Sweetened Coconut Flakes
2 Cups Peeled & Finely Chopped  Granny Smith Apples
1 1/2 Cups Coarsely(whatever that means-lol) Chopped Pecans
14 Oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk


DIRECTIONS
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine graham crumbs and butter in a small bowl, then press onto bottom of a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13 x 9 pan.  Layer semisweet chocolate morsels and next 4 ingredients in order from the list in the prepared pan, then drizzle with the condensed milk.


2.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until deep golden brown.  Cool completely in a pan on wire rack (about 1 hour), then cut into bars.





SILLY STUFF
Some of the laws that were written way back in the day are still around, and pretty funny.

If you live in Georgia, here are two that may have you scratching your head.

Donkeys may not be left in bathtubs.



All sex toys are banned.











Happy Birthday to my son who cannot be named - lol!

Monday, January 8, 2018

CHECK OUT THIS ABUSIVE CONVERSATION

Many therapists share this scientific scenario to help victims of verbal abuse understand how they've been conditioned.

Place a frog into a pan of scalding water on a stove and the frog will immediately jump out; however, if you place that same frog into a cool pot of water, then gradually increase the heat, it will literally boil to death.  That sounds scary, yet that's exactly how verbal abuse can progress.  When little things start to happen, we may or may not notice them, but as they continue, we find that we've adapted until we become shells of our former selves.  Verbal abuse is considered domestic violence, and is very dangerous.

Here is a real conversation between a couple that I've been friends with for quite some time, and as you read this, I promise you'll shake your head.  While these scenarios focus on the woman as the abused, please know that men may also be victims.

Husband:  I don't know why you bought that picture and put it in the living room.  It doesn't even match the rest of the furniture, and it probably cost too much.

Wife:  Yeah, you're probably right, it doesn't really match. Actually, *Janet gave it to me.  I just loved the colors so much and wanted show it off if we have visitors. That's why I put it in the living room.

Husband:  It does match with the living room furniture even though the colors suck.  Does your friend Janet think we need her charity? She's always passing off her stuff on us.  What's wrong with her?

Wife:  You're right, it's a really good match.

Husband:  How in the world can you say that picture goes with anything that's in this living room? You're crazy! (Raising his voice)

Wife:  Okay, maybe the colors are not quite right.  I'm with you.

Husband:  That's not what's wrong with it, you idiot.

Wife:  I'm just really trying to understand what you're saying.

Husband:  No you're not.  You just want to twist everything I say around, like you always do.  I can't talk to you because you never make any sense!

Do you see the dynamics of this dialogue? There's literally no way there can be a healthy conversation despite the wife's attempt to please her husband. Every attempt is met with resistance, and this is just about a picture on the wall!

Here's another example of verbal abuse disguised as joking comments:

"You'd fall apart or kill yourself if I wasn't here to take care of you".
"All the women on my job tell me all the time how lucky you are and that you need to straighten up".
"You need to know your place".
"Your feet are so small, it's a wonder you don't topple over from the size of your head".
"What else can I expect?  You're only a woman".

If you respond by saying you aren't amused, you're then angrily accused of not having a sense of humor, or what's been said is no big deal.

Or perhaps this has happened to you during a conversation:

Wife:  I really need to talk to you about something that happened at work today.

Husband:  (Covering his face and sighing) What is it?

Wife: Silent because she's afraid of his reaction.

Husband:  Glaring.  Come on, I don't have all day.

Wife:  They're during some restructuring at work-------

Husband:  Cutting off his wife.  What is taking you so long to get to the point?  You always have to drag things out!

Wife:  I'm trying to tell---

Husband:  Cutting off his wife again.  Look, this is taking too long, then gets up and walks away.

As kids, we learned early on that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me", yet we now know that this quote is fictional.  In fact, verbal abuse produces dramatic consequences that include loss of self-esteem, lack of confidence, fear, doubt of self-worth, and wondering if something is wrong with our own thought processes.  The life we lived is in the past, our successes, and feeling good about who we were, is no longer valid.

Being called horrible names, cheated on, degraded or embarrassed in public, humiliated around strangers or even family members is not how we should be treated.  Perhaps you are constantly blamed for things which have nothing to do with you, or everything you do is wrong.  You're at the point where you're ready to pull out all your hair with frustration, and doubting your own sanity.

If this has or is happening, you're definitely not alone.

If you can safely, seek assistance from someone you trust, or contact a domestic violence shelter who can provide valuable information.  There are people who care.

 Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

For more valuable information, visit:  

 https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/self-esteem/self-esteem-why-do-i-feel-worthless/






NINE TYPES OF ABUSERS - Who are you really living with?


Periodically, I talk about domestic violence, which is not pretty or glamorous.  Sadly, it affects people we know, work or shop with.  Sometimes it's physical, but more often than not, it can also be verbal. 

At first, he'll tell you he's sorry - maybe.  Eventually, it will become second nature while you live in fear. It's 2018, yet many still consider abuse to be a silent crimeEven worse, people either don't believe it exists, or blame the victim!

Lundy Bancroft brilliantly focuses on the mind of the abusive man, in his book  "Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" and when he shares that there are actually 10 types of abusive personalities,
( I didn't include the 10th) I was stunned.  Take a look at this information, and ask yourself - "Who am I living with?"  Do you see your partner on this list?

The Demand Man - There's nothing wrong with being old-fashioned, but this type of abuser believes it's your job to take care of him, 24/7.  You have no right to ask him to do anything, including cleaning up after himself - in fact, it may make him angry enough to verbally or physically assault you in retaliation. If he is unhappy about anything, it is clearly your fault.


The Mr. Right Man - knows everything and refuses to listen to any of your opinions, ridiculing you and your lack of intelligence.  When he speaks to or about you, he insults your lack of sense, belittling you whenever possible.  Worse, he's an expert on everything about your life and how you should live it to please him.  If you foolishly disagree with his expertise on anything, you're mistreating him.


The Water Torturer -  cleverly attacks his partner without ever raising his voice or showing anger, but he uses subtle, consistent sarcasm and cruel remarks to wear you down. He twists your words in public to discredit you.  He never yells, but emotionally attacks you until during an argument, and you end up yelling or crying while he laughingly calls you irrational and crazy.  No matter how mean he is to you, there's nothing you can do. Sadly, his friends and family don't understand and take his side.
 

The Drill Sergeant - this man is extremely controlling, getting the password to voicemail and listening to messages, criticizing the clothing you wear,  or checking up on you at work.  This is the jealous one, who will frequently accuse you of cheating.  This man may escalate from verbal assault to physical violence, and because he has his thumb on your life, makes it difficult to get away.  He believes that you don't need to have anyone in your life and absolutely abhors the thought of you having any type of independence.


Mr. Sensitive - seems like your knight in shining armor - warm, sensitive and willing to hug at a moment's notice.  Unfortunately, if you ever say something to hurt his feelings, you'll never hear the end of it, wanting you to apologize over, and over and again. Soon, it seems if as if you're saying the wrong thing all the time, making him feel bad.  However, if he says something to hurt your feelings, he says, "it's no big deal. get over it".  Soon, he'll blame you for everything wrong in his life and out of sight of others, becomes mean or intimidating.  In fact, he finds joy in trying to get inside your head and wants you to feel joy that he's not like all those other men who are abusive.


The Player - is normally exceptionally attractive, and may be a bad boy.  At face value, he may be the man we read about in a romance novel and fall madly in love with.  When you and he first connect, he makes you feel like the most special woman in the world and feel grateful to know him.  As time goes on, however, you notice that his eyes start to wander while you're out in public and he is blatantly disrespectful as he flirts with other women.  Rumors start to get back to you that he is interacting with women using inappropriate sexual conversations, asking them out to lunch or outright cheating.  Because he plays each woman against the other, they end up hating each other rather than him.  His flirting and cheating allow him to get away with other types of mistreatment such as lying, callous treatment and verbal put downs, particularly when he is caught.  Beware of the gaslighting.


The Rambo - aggressive with everyone, this man intimidates,creating fear and definitely has no patience for weakness.  He doesn't believe in compassion and can be extremely abusive both verbally and physically. However, during the beginning of the relationship he appears to be caring and protective, making most women swoon.  This doesn't last because he really has no respect for women in general.  His job is to keep you in line.


The Victim - this man is very self-centered and believes that everyone should feel sorry for all the things he has been through.  Every relationship he's been in, he's been abused and taken advantage of.  He is treated unfairly at work, by friends he trusted and even you.  You have abused him so badly that he has to give it back to you so you know how it feels. In his mind he has been hurt so badly that he should get away with anything including the abuse.


The Terrorist - is very controlling and demanding, often threatening and enjoying his ability to cause pain.  Seeing you in fear brings him joy. You can't have any independence, and he will use many tactics to stop you from leaving.  Living with this type of man is extremely traumatic and dangerous, as you live in constant fear of your safety. If you do get away, this man may be likely to stalk you.


No matter who you live with, there is never a reason to be abused, and it's definitely NOT your fault.  Abuse is about the constant need to control and manipulate another person.


When you safely can, seek help from someone you trust such as a pastor or neighbor or friend.  You deserve the best life has to offer.



The National Domestic Violence Hotline # - 1−800−799−7233 







CHEATING IS PART OF DOMESTIC ABUSE



It's a new year, and many of us are focusing on new things.  Maybe you're ready to make the most important decision of your life that can affect financial stability.  Perhaps your friends don't agree with what you're about to do regarding your relationship.

In addition to getting less than positive feedback from strangers when it comes to topics of abuse, friends and family avidly debate with me about my views. But I can't stop speaking my truth.


Did you know that cheating is also considered domestic abuse? This is because psychologists believe the pattern of abusers and cheaters can be very similar. Both groups try to justify their behavior, deny their actions, or otherwise refuse to take responsibility. The betraying partner may originally feel some short-term remorse, but really shows no concern about their partner’s feelings, therefore minimizing the behavior. Also, those who refuse to admit to the cheating, telling friends when they are questioned about their partner being delusional or crazy literally makes the situation worse.  This causes feelings of hurt, loss of self-esteem, and emotional trauma to the victim.If you review my other post - Gaslighting, this provides additional information about these specific abusive tactics and how to recognize them.



If this is happening in your world, it is NOT your fault and you are NOT alone!  I visited a Blog months ago that has become my new best friend, and it's called: www.chumplady.com . In a word - WOW! This site has its pulse on cheating and everything associated with it.  In addition, her readers are REAL people sharing pain, anger, feelings of remorse and even a few smiles.  If you feel as if you're all alone, and that no one feels your pain, visit her site when you can.Words of Wisdom - her blog is busy and there are a ton of comments, but you WILL get support.


Sadly, abuse runs rampant in today's society. Many have grown to accept verbal degradation or cheating by minimizing it, laughing about it or pretending it doesn't exist. In addition, seeing someone with a black eye or a broken arm/leg may cause someone to whisper, but nothing is ever really done about it. Living with someone who gradually changes into a person you no longer know is tragic. While cheating displays no blatant visible signs, the emotional degradation  is mindblowing. Neighbors talk, and family tries to shield you from what's really going on behind your back. Domestic abuse in any form is very real, demeaning, harmful and potentially dangerous to  you or someone you love. Please don't ignore it.


I've heard all kinds of reasons of why people ignore monogamy while married, but no excuse is valid to me. I have zero tolerance for cheating.  I read a lot and watch a ton of movies, but if either hints at a situation where someone who is married is cheating, that movie is turned off, and the book gets tossed aside.  I see it as a total betrayal to the marital vows, and lose all respect for that person.  These rigid beliefs can sometimes cause problems, and I've lost friends.  These are people I can no longer trust to be honest.





That being said, despite the anger, or embarrassment, or hurt, it may not be that easy to leave, and this is what people on the outside may not understand. On the surface, we get really frustrated with our friend's situation. Some may want to work things out, others pack up and leave immediately, and a few kick their spouse out.  Whatever the decision - it's yours to makehttps://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/benefits-of-online-couple-counseling/ 

We can offer words of encouragement and be there when needed.  This includes lifting a person up and not judging.Sometimes a person doesn't want advice, and only wants you to listen. Be that good friend.  Support is key.


By the way, if you're hurting, or feel that you're suffering from depression, there are lots of articles to read through. Even better, you also have the opportunity to speak with professional licenced therapists who are ready to listen and offer support.
https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/



HANDLING ABUSIVE COMMENTS



Have you ever heard the quote, "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?

We used it alot back in the day in response to bullies in school or during recess. But that familiar phrase has been around since at least the 1860's.  Thankfully, I'm not sure people even use the term any longer.

We now know that this quote is inaccurate, and may be the reason that many people have  grown up believing that verbal abuse is okay.  
Sometimes when you're on the receiving end of verbal abuse, you may not have a clue what to say to just get it to stop.  So you may find yourself becoming depressed, angry, bitter, fearful or even resigned as you continue to deal with the disrespectful behavior of being lied to, humiliated, cheated on, gaslighted, degraded or personally attacked. There's no doubt that this can be a nightmare to cope with. As difficult as it may be, the key is not to fall into the act of defending yourself, because it will almost never work, particularly if the person you're dealing with is a narcissist.   But an abuser doesn't necessarily have to be a narcissist.

Keep in mind that verbal abuse is considered a part of domestic violence and is about control.  

Some people may assume that a narcissist  just has a really large ego, but there's actually more to consider.  Narcissism is an actual psychiatric condition that's considered a personality disorder. This person has a sense of entitlement, a total lack of empathy for others, and an  unrealistic need for admiration.  In an effort to make sure he or she is consistently portrayed as better than everyone else, they are intolerant of others and will degrade, humiliate, blame or discount them.   They are often clueless that they have hurt someone's feelings, and don't care. Despite the inflated egos and big personalities, they cannot handle any type of criticism and will overreact with unrealistic anger and hostile behavior.  Now we have a verbally abusive situation.

Dr. Irene Matiatos is licensed in New York and North Carolina as a Psychologist who specializes in all forms of abuse. She gives great feedback on what you may be feeling, as well as suggestions on what to say so you can make attempts to get off of the emotionally abusive roller-coaster.  As you look at her example below, I'm sure some of the language will sound very familiar. 

Also, it's important to remember that verbal abuse is not always easy to see. Please know that help is available with your local shelter or someone you trust.


Getting Defensive

www.drirene.com


Rachael was preparing a special dinner tonight for Larry. Forever trying to please him, she had spent an hour at the market selecting the very freshest produce. She found a wonderful  bottle of Cabernet! Rachael was looking forward to dinner - when she heard a loud thud inside...
Larry smacked his magazine on the floor and bellowed, "Look at this house! It's disgusting! What do you do all day Rachael? Sleep? He pulled a small plastic child's toy from under the seat of His chair. It had been pinching him. "I work all day and I don't need this. You are home all day. You can't keep the house clean, you can't keep the kids quiet! You can't you do anything right! Do you do this to me on purpose?"
Rachael's mood broke. "Please don't do this now," she pleaded under her breath as Larry continued ranting. When he got in this mood, he accused her of all sorts of things she would never dream of doing. "How could he misunderstand me so?" she sadly thought as she began to defend herself - so he would understand
Larry and Rachael's Conversation

STOP! When you defend yourself, you put yourself in the position of justifying your actions to others. You seek understanding, agreement, empathy, recognition of what's really going on, etc. This is OK in an ordinary relationship. It's not OK in an abusive one:

#Since everything you say can and will be held against you

#Since defending yourself puts you in a one-down, where you are asking for approval, congruence, permission, etc.

#Your abuser is looking for a fight; not for understanding

#Since you are taking the "bait" and engaging in a "no-win"

Below find some non-defensive, disengaging responses to typical abusive comments. The abuser's objective is not to impart understanding. Your partner wants to provoke you. Your objective is to remain calm, disengage and avert provocation!  Engaging is a no-win!
"There's nothing to talk about."  OK. 
(Think: My partner is withholding; nothing I can do about it. So be it.)

"I've had it; I'm leaving!"  OK.
 (Think: Here is the door. I don't want you here if you don't want to be here.)

"Why should I tell you? You won't listen anyway." OK. 
(Think: Let him/her think whatever they want; they will anyway.)
"You're wrong!" OK. "What do you mean OK?" I mean OK.
 (Think: Who cares who is right or wrong!)

"I never said that." OK
 (Think: No point engaging. We both know the truth.)

"You're too sensitive." Yes. Respect my sensitivity.