Friday, December 17, 2010

How to know if you're in an abusive relationship?

I wrote a hub about this question some time ago, and still get lots of people commenting and asking my advice as to whether or not they are in an abusive relationship. Here are two queries from that hub. My book on breaking the cycle of bad relationships in your life - Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet, is available on as a paperback or as a kindle.

frozensuitcase 8 days ago
My boyfriend and I were in the kitchen the other night and I was making us a pizza..and he kept eating the ingredients and hovering over me and it was bothering me and he wouldn't listen and leave me alone so I yelled at him to get out. Well he did..but not without a problem. He continued to make snide comments and continually pick at me for what felt like forever. Anyways..he wore me down so much and I was so angry that I made a comment about his ex girlfriend I said "No wonder your ex didn't want to be with you". He got PISSED and punched the plate that was in front of me it shattered and pizza and glass went everywhere. I freaked out and got up and got my suitcase and started packing my clothes and he grabbed me by my arms and threw me down and continued to push me to try to get me to get out of the apartment without my things. And then I retalliated and hit back and he grabbed my throat. He stopped and I was so angry..All I wanted to do was go but he wouldn't let me. He apologized over and over and he did feel awful. I pretended like things were fine and then he went into the field (he's military) the next day I was making plans to leave him. By the following day I had changed my mind because I know I'm at fault also so my reasons no longer feel valid. One time he was ignoring me after a fight and started playing xbox so I unplugged the internet cord and he grabbed me and pushed me down...He's also punched a hole in the wall when angry. I know I can be a bitch and I can provoke him..but is he in the right for what he did or am I being ignorant and trying to excuse him?
ReplyFrozensuitcase, your situation worries me. I worry because both of you seem to have a short fuse. When things get you down you say things you probably shouldn't and you regret later. Unfortunately, your boyfriend reacts to these with violence. Pushing you down, breaking plates, punching holes in things is violent behaviour. If the violence escalates you are going to end up getting very badly hurt. You need to think seriously about what you say that might trigger off his violent outbursts and maybe curb your tongue quite a bit. But more than that, you need to evaluate your relationship, is this what you want for yourself? Do you want to live your life in fear that you might say the wrong thing which will trigger an outburst? Chances are, this is not what you want for yourself. And remember, the only person you can change is yourself. You can't change him, only he can change himself, and he has to desperately want to. To me it sounds like the two of you should think seriously about whether or not you should have a future together. You are a provoker and he is a violent retaliator. That's a recipe for disaster in my book.

Angie 14 hours ago

Wow this has been some what helpful I still don't see my situtation exactly but that really doesn't matter. I feel the need to find someone who is going through exactly what I'm going through because I just can't do it! I've been with my husband for 6.5 years and we've been married for 3 years. He's been the same since the begining but it is only now that I'm having a hard time and that is because we have a 17 month old baby boy who is such a good, easy going kind, a lover! However my husband will call me names like bitch and cunt in front of our son, he has punched the TV, wall, kicked the christmas tree, etc. He's grabbed my by my arms and shock me, pushed me hard into the couch, tells me I'm worthless, I'm lazy..... I only work part time. I'm not allowed or I should say he gives me a really hard time about reading books, running, spend any time with anyone. Don't get me wrong I can do these things but then I would have to listen to him bitch and complain. He is a construction worker so he doesn't have an easy job but he bitchs and bitchs about work. Oh and I forgot to mention he is an acoholic. He's never punched me or the baby. BUt I've gone to my docs to up my anitdepressants and to give me something for my anxiety.

I'm going to ask the most stupidest question ever (I guess I know the answer but don't feel like it is real) am I in an abusive relationship and what should I do?

Angie, it is totally unacceptable for someone to swear at another like that and call them names. Punching the TV, hitting walls and kicking objects are also unacceptable. Grabbing you so that you feel pain and pushing you hard is not on either. You are most definitely in a very abusive relationship. The damage done to your psyche when someone keeps telling you you're lazy and worthless is huge. If he hates his job he shouldn't take it out on you. That's his problem. And his job being hard is not an excuse to abuse you that way. My advice is to get out before he punches you like he punches the wall!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why remain a caterpillar?

Kim Upstone is a great motivational speaker who believes in encouraging people to find joy and peace in their lives.  Here is a brilliant piece of motivational writing from Kim, which I felt I just had to share.

Why Remain A Caterpillar When You Could Be A Butterfly?
“How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” Trina Paulus

How often do we look up and see a beautiful butterfly soaring in the sky, notice their gorgeous colors reflected in the sunlight with the backdrop of the blue sky above them and envy their freedom. What a view of the world they must see. They seem to glide so naturally and effortlessly on the most gentle of breezes. Do you wish you could be a butterfly? No worries, no cares, what freedom they must feel. It must be wonderful being a butterfly.

We may forget that they were once a mere caterpillar. Grounded, with a limited view of the world, unable to see all the beauty that was available to them, opportunities that only the view from the vast sky can provide. It took great courage to climb alone to the top of the tree, leaving behind all their caterpillar friends. Everyone begging them not to take the risk. Stay on the ground, remain in the safety of the low branches.

Of course the butterfly is an analogy for us. How often do we remain grounded when we really want to fly? We can come up with so many reasons to remain grounded and not risk flying. We have every excuse; I don’t have the time or the energy, I work too many hours, I have children, family, friends that need me, on and on it goes. You think it would be nice to fly, you may even dream of flying, but then the negative thoughts bring you back to earth. You are not all that fond of heights, all your caterpillar friends aren’t flying and you would be up there all alone. Why take the risk?

Each of the reasons that you shouldn’t try to fly will be eclipsed by one compelling reason you should. All it takes is one reason. That one compelling reason combined with a change in your thinking can motivate you to climb higher and higher in the tree. The higher you push yourself the easier it is to see the vast horizon and the opportunities not available to all the caterpillars remaining safely on the ground. You must trust that the wings you have been working hard to strengthen will serve you when you need them most. Allowing you to leap confidently from the top of the tree and soar in the wind.

Don’t worry about all the caterpillars that are still grounded. Once you have taken the leap yourself and are strong you may choose to return to help motivate them. You can show them that they have nothing to fear by climbing higher and taking the risk. You are now an example of what you can do if you decide to keep trying, showing that there is no limit to what you can accomplish with a compelling goal. Telling them that it does takes hard work but the benefit of the unlimited opportunities and the freedom of flying is well worth the risk.

You can share with them that you have met other butterflies that have ventured where you haven’t, tried things you have yet to try and taken even bigger risks than you could have ever imagined. Now that you can see the view of unlimited opportunities, you are going to go even higher. You now know that your wings are strong enough to take you anywhere you decide to go. You are no longer limited to the ground or even the top of the tree, you can now see an endless horizon and are eager to begin new adventures.

Be careful not become so preoccupied yourself with flying higher and higher that you forget to enjoy the beautiful view from where you are at each moment! Remind yourself often how wonderful the wind feels and how lucky you are to have been born a caterpillar who was given the opportunity to become a butterfly.

Decide today! Create a compelling reason you should become a butterfly!There is no reason to remain grounded when you were born to fly. Show off your colors, trust yourself, leap from the branch, soar with the wind!Kim Upstone
All I Want is Everything
Genre: Self-Help/Women’s Issues
Publisher: Infinity Publishing

Monday, August 23, 2010

Common mistakes men make during sex

Coitus Unpleasurablis

Many men think that sex is instinctive and is something that just happens naturally. But, leaving your woman fully satisfied takes hard work and practise. You have to know what you are doing, or where you are going, for it to be an enjoyable experience for your lucky lady. There are common mistakes made by the most practised and experienced of men, that they have gotten away with for many years, because women just lay back and pretend to enjoy it. The odd moan here and there while you are thinking of how you want to redo your lounge curtains is enough to keep a man pumping away. Well, the time has come for some honesty here. Men need to know that certain things they do that cause us to moan in frustration, or cry out in pain, are not signs that we are voicing our pleasure. If we don't tell them, they'll never know. Who cares about their fragile little egos, and that the truth might cause instant hydraulic failure. They need to know the truth, and I have volunteered to be the one to tell them. So, here it is.

Mistake numero uno - Going straight for the naughty bits

You give a little kiss, for you that might be the only foreplay, get them threads off and voila! Dive straight in. Guys, a kiss is not foreplay. We want more than that. Kiss + clothing removal DOES NOT = lubrication. Goodness, what are you men thinking? Just think of us as ice maidens that need to be warmed up first. And I mean, seriously warmed up. Some of you men think you are open cast mining and go straight for the hole. Others, have this fixation with the nipples. Licking and sucking is pleasurable, but sucking on them like a 3 month old baby who slept through the night for the first time and wakes up starving? That's not on. Nipples are sensitive, and if you give them callouses they'll stop working.

Mistake Number Two - Tonsil Hockey

For some men kissing is like playing a game of tonsil hockey. They think the deeper they stick in their tongue, the more sexy it is. Some of us do have the gag reflex, you know! Passionate kissing is an art form and something that you have to practise. A lot. Sticking a tongue in a mouth and using to try and floss the other person's teeth is not kissing.

Mistake Number Three - Uncalled for workmanlike behaviour

You might like women to use a bit of force when grabbing your golden banana, but when you use force on us it is extremely unpleasurable. In fact, it is quite painful. The clitoris has twice as many nerves as the penis, and they are all centred in a very small area. In fact, so small, it might be very hard to find. But finding it is not an expedition where you have to wear your wellington boots. Finding the clitoris is another art form. Most women know where theirs is, so just ask them to guide you. And when you do find it, don't treat it like Shakespeare with his, "Out damn spot." It's also not like shoes that you have to polish hard to make them shine. No matter how hard you polish the clitoris, it will never shine. Ever. What you will do with your rough workmanlike polishing or rubbing technique, will be to make it so painful and sensitive, that it will momentarily lose its ability to create pleasant sensations. And when that happens, the surrounding area becomes dessicated like coconut.

Mistake Number Four - Doing an Interview with a Vampire personation

Giving someone a hickey is not putting a mark on them. It's what teenagers do because they don't know better. It is not sexy, it is not erotic, and if someone tries to do that to me, I might accidentally knee them in the crotch. The same with nibbling on ears. Frankly, if someone touches me behind my neck or touches my ears I get cold shivers. So if you bite my ear, I'm afraid it's the death penalty, mister. You are not a vampire. Being eaten by another human being is what cannibals do. We have evolved from that. I remember when I worked on a racehorse stud farm, the over-excited stallion bit the mare on the neck, and she lashed out and kicked him in the gonads. And they were animals and it wasn't acceptable.

Mistake Number Five - Dirty Dan

Okay, so men have dangly bits. Rather like a dried floral arrangement. Don't go near a woman if you have not carefully cleaned your little appendage and the little ball bag. Make sure you lift up the scrotum and wash all those little gross creepy thingies that collect there. Like, some of your dingleberries that traveled and hid in what they hoped was a moist area. Never attempt sex unclean. Yugh! I need a drink just thinking about it. Women have a far more sensitive nose and we smell stuff you might not.

Mistake Number Six - Stopping before you really get started

How many times do women get to the point of orgasm, and then the man stops, and hops on for the ride? Just because she is lying there enjoying what you are doing, doesn't mean that you should stop! Only when she pushes you away do you know that she has achieved orgasm and her clitoris is far too sensitive for extra touching. Do we have to spell it all out for you? Not all women do a Meg Ryan and makes a racket so that even the windows vibrate. If you are not sure, ask. Don't just stop mid-stroke and leave her unfulfilled while you get your rocks off.

Mistake Number Seven - The socks

Don't ever ever ever ever remove your underwear before you remove your socks. There is nothing more pathetic, than a man standing wearing nothing but socks. It's a bit of a passion killer. And don't dare jump into bed wearing nothing but socks! I don't care how cold your feet are!

Mistake Number Eight - Meaningless Conversation

There is nothing worse than a man who after a good session of sex asks, "And how was it for you dear?" God, if you don't know, pretend you know. Because, by asking you are basically admitting that you don't have a clue what you are doing. Rather ask something like, "Did you prefer the front door to the back door?" Or something equally romantic. Asking how it was kills all the afterglow and desire for seconds.

Mistake Number Nine - Forceful Fellatio

As mentioned earlier, some women have a well-developed gag reflex. Licking the appendage as one licks an icecream is okay and acceptable for most women. Deep Throat was a movie and not necessary real life. Some women can't breathe through their nose when they have an erect member blocking their breathing passage. And if you get excited, going in deeper will literally tickle their tummies. Don't get upset if you end up with their dinner over your pride and joy. Pubic hairs stuck in teeth are not a substitute for floss. Remember, not all women like the taste of your manufactured product, so ask before you offload your wares.

Mistake Number Ten - Sweet Dreams

When all's done, and you've ejaculated at the right time, and in the right place, remember to cuddle and maybe chat a little. Rolling off sated, and lying on your back going straight to sleep, and snoring loudly, is not on at all. It's actually rather selfish. Women have needs after the deed is done as well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Madame Le Safety on Safe Sex

G'day boys and girls

Madame Le Safety: My name is Madame Le Safety and I'm here today to talk to you about SAFE SEX. I'd like to welcome Dr. Knobrot from the Safe Sex Institute as our expert on the show today. Dr Knobrot has spent years studying and practising all aspects of SAFE SEX.
Dr. Knobrot: Hello boys and girls. I am so happy to be here with you today. I heard that you are busy learning all about Health and Safety. For the past 30 years, I have studied all the ins and outs of sex. I have tried to study sex in many different places and have always believed that you have to practise what you preach. As I've preached a lot, that means I've got to practise a lot as well.
Madame Le Safety: Thank you, Dr. Knobrot. Can you please tell us why it is important to practise SAFE SEX? Why do all the boys and girls out there need to be careful?
Dr. Knobrot: Well Madame, and might I just quickly say, I do like the way your skirt rides up your tightly-muscled thighs when you cross your legs. Let's be blunt here. The age of promiscuity is a thing of the past. People bonking in the bushes in public parks and dropping their drawers for total strangers happened in the seventies. We now sit with trying to cope with the afternath of all that shifty shagging. Sexually transmitted diseases are a real problem these days as is AIDS. It's not that you have to know where your sexual partner has been. You also have to know where all their sexual partners have been. I recommend that you get any person you are thinking about having sex with, to fill in the handy dandy sex survey I'll pass you now.
Madame Le Safety: Thanks so much Dr. Knobrot. Oh, I see you've filled in all your details! Three hundred and sixty-five women! Wow! You are experienced! And, oh thank God, you wore a condom every time. But, I'm a little confused, why have you given me a form with your details filled in already?
Dr. Knobrot: Hehehehe. You never know Madame, what might happen when there is a break in the show.
Madame Le Safety: Ooooo Doctor, you're making me blush and wriggle on my seat.
Dr. Knobrot: Hehehehehe. And that's just the start of what I can do, young lady!
Madame Le Safety: Why do you put so much importance on wearing condoms? Many men think it impedes their performance and stifles their masculinity. I must say, I prefer it au naturelle.
Dr. Knobrot: Kind lady, forgoing the condom is a huge mistake. Most people think that a condom is only for preventing an unwanted pregnancy. That's a minor advantage of wearing a condom. A condom helps to prevent you getting a sexually transmitted disease that your sexual partner might have unknowingly picked up on a previous indiscretion. By the way, you can call me Ready Freddy as I always carry a large supply of condoms around with me. I use the extra-large size for extra-large men.
Madame Le Safety: But are only of average height and slight build.
Dr. Knobrot: I have large feet and hands, my lady.
Madame Le Safety: Tee hee tee hee.'re making me very nervous.
Dr. Knobrot: Last year over 19 million people caught a sexually transmitted disease because they did not wear a condom. This of course, excludes AIDS. The most common STD's are: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis. Syphilis is another STD that can lead to an early onset of dementia. And at the moment, they reckon over 40 million people in the world have HIV/AIDS. That's a helluva lot of people who can pass on something unpleasant during something that is supposed to be....well, pleasant. Hehehehe.
Madame Le Safety: Doctor, I have heard that people can also pass on a cute little pet. Will a condom prevent that?
Dr: Knobrot: Ah, Madame, that cute little pet is a particularly nasty little critter called pubic lice or crabs. You get that and you have to duck into darkened empty rooms and corners to have a good old scratch. Very itchy business, that is. Unfortunately, a condom will not stop pubic lice from jumping from one to another.
Madame Le Safety: I have my own method of practising safe sex.
Dr. Knobrot: Hehehehe, I know where you are going with that, Madame. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you swallow or spit, when practising fellatio it is best to still use a condom. AIDS especially, is spread by body fluids, so if you have a small cut in your mouth or on your lip and the lucky man ejaculates, then the infected semen can still enter your body through the cut in your mouth. It's better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes, you don't know that you have a cut in your mouth, or an ulcer. When are we having a break? All this talk is making me, er...happy to see you, and I'm a hard man to please if you catch my drift, hehehehehe.
Madame Le Safety: Oh, Doctor....Boys and girls, we'll be taking a short break...
Dr. Knobrot: Just 15 minutes, Madame. Would you mind showing me where the bathroom is?
Don't economize, condomize!
Madame Le Safety: Hello, sorry, I'm a little out of breath. It must have been my speed walk back from the bathroom. It helps to keep my butt and thighs firm. Speed-walking, that is.
Dr. Knobrot: And what a firm little butt you have, Madame, hehehehehe.
Madame Le Safety: Back to the subject at hand, Doctor.
Dr. Knobrot: And you do have a good hand action, my dear.
Madame Le Safety: to condoms.
Dr. Knobrot: Don't economize, condomize is the slogan I say. If you use a little sex toy, put a condom on it. Whatever orifice is your preference, use a condom. In fact, make sure that any object inserted into the front door or back door is encased in a condom. You don't want semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk or blood to come into contact with your body. Oh, and don't try and beat the global credit crunch by washing your used condoms and re-using them. Throw used condoms away.
Madame Le Safety: But what about when it's my time, er...the women's time to be pleasured?
Dr. Knobrot: Use some plastic wrap like Glad Wrap or Cling Wrap. It's not only for preserving food you know, hehehe. Using a plastic wrap is very kinky. If a man is going to 'eat out', he can put some honey or jam on his side of the plastic wrap and lick away. Of course, if you're Australian you might want to put a dollop of Vegemite on your side of the plastic wrap. South Africans can sprinkle Biltong Sprinkle. This also helps to prevent you from choking to death on a pubic hair which might find its way to the back of your throat.
Madame Le Safety: Plastic wrap? Well I never! Now I've heard everything!
Dr. Knobrot: Menstrual blood can also transmit AIDS and STD's. Definitely don't want that, it's nasty. Hehehehe. If you're 'rimming', it is advisable to use plastic wrap as well. Hehehe, you don't want to catch dingleberries on your tongue!
Madame Le Safety: Rimming?
Dr. Knobrot: Licking the back entrance, Madame. Some people find it, er...erotic. It's good to keep latex gloves on hand as well. You don't want to collect any germs or bacteria if you're using a finger or a fist.
Madame Le Safety: Well, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us about SAFE SEX, Dr. Knobrot. I'm sure that the boys and girls watching the show will stock up on plastic wrap and condoms. Remember, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cissy Hunt, author, speaks about Domestic Violence

Please welcome Cissy Hunt, author of A Rose Blooms Among the Thorns to my blog on relationships.  She's an expert on Domestic Abuse.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (A blog post by Cissy Hunt)

My book, A Rose Blooms Among the Thorns, is a fictional story about a woman’s journey from domestic abuse through healing to forgiveness. This book covers a subject matter that is very close to my heart. the subject matter it covers is domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars. Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused--especially verbally and emotionally. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain--and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner--constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up--chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

When people think of domestic abuse, they often picture battered women who have been physically assaulted. But not all abusive relationships involve violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many men and women suffer from emotional abuse, which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is often minimized or overlooked--even by the person being abused.

Understanding emotional abuse
The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship or that without your abusive partner you have nothing.

Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want.

You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse--sometimes even more so.

Even though A Rose Blooms Among the Thorns is a fictional book it is taken from my own life experiences. I chose to make it fiction rather than non-fiction because I want every woman that has gone through domestic violence to be able to relate to it. I don’t want them to just read about another woman who experience domestic violence. I wanted them to read the story and relate to it to be able to make it their own. I also want them to know that another man is not the answer to getting free of their situation that healing is their answer. They need to be free to seek healing and find their self. To find who they really are. Jumping into another relationship after domestic violence without healing 90% of the time leads to another abusive relationship. Yet, if they take the time to heal then they can find a new life that does not include domestic violence.

I would like to leave you with this exerpt from my book.
'After stepping to the podium, LaRae looked down at the urn
holding Terri’s ashes then to the picture displayed on the easel before
looking back up and beginning to speak.
“Terri never made it to true womanhood for she was only nineteen
years old when she died. She will never know what it means to be a
mother or a grandmother because her life was devalued so greatly by
her abuser that it meant nothing to him to take it. Her life was snuffed
out instantly with no thought of remorse because her life wasn’t her
own; it had been taken from her. She had become property not a human being.'

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control another. Do you know that every nine seconds a woman is assaulted and battered in this country, and 5.3 million women are abused each year, and that Domestic Violence is the single major cause of injury to women, more than muggings and car accidents combined. Fifty percent of all women murdered in the
United States are killed by a spouse or an intimate partner.

Also, over 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year. An average of about four women per day dies because of domestic violence. So you see on the day Terri died at the hands of her abuser so did three other women. Three other families in this country lost a mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, or a niece.

Terri Carter is not the first nor will she be the last this town will gather together in mourning over. I wish she would be the last, I pray she would be, but until this community starts changing and becoming
aware of domestic violence; there will be more victims like Terri.

Think about it! The next service could even be held for one of your family members…maybe even one of your daughters.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Can you love someone you dislike?

Picture this, you are walking down the street hand in hand with the person you love, birds are tweeting, puppies yapping, flowers blooming and the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees.  Suddenly, your man hoiks and spits on the sidewalk.  You are disgusted.  At that moment, you decide that you dislike him intensely.  He gives you the creeps.  However, fast forward a few hours, and you are beneath your silk sheets, lying there basking in the afterglow of hot passionate steamy sex, closing your eyes and thinking of how much you love this man.  This man, who earlier in the day, had disgusted and repulsed you.  How could this be possible?

Dislike has nothing to do with love and hate.  There is a fine line between love and hate, both being very powerful emotions, and if you love someone so much, you can easily flip to hate when you are angry, and then back to love when you've calmed down a little.  Hate and love feeds off the same kind of energy, that's why they're so closely aligned.  Dislike however, is not an emotion and isn't very powerful at all.  Dislike is a feeling you get.  If you think about it, it's not the person you dislike, but the behaviour.  You dislike hoiking and spitting, picking one's nose in public, those are all behaviours.  Sometimes, we might associate those behaviours with a person.  But the chemistry, the caring, the deep down emotion you feel, that's love and can make you turn a blind eye to the irritating and annoying behaviours you dislike so much.

Often, the reason why you hate someone so much is because you still love them and they hurt you.  The real opposite to love and hate is indifference.  It's absence of emotion; you don't care either way.  Many relationships move from love and hate to indifference.  Without love to act as the cushion, the protective wall to hide away the behaviours you dislike so much, they become bigger, more annoying, until you can no longer stand to be in that person's company.  That usually signifies the end of the relationship.  Try and avoid saying, "Whatever, I don't care," because that means you are indifferent.

So, can you love someone you dislike?  The answer is most definitely YES!  Dislike is a feeling you have towards a behaviour or mannerism; love is a powerul emotion that people will die for, kill for, invade countries for.  Only a psychopath will kill someone for picking their nose in public.

Cindy Vine has written a self-help book on breaking the cycle of bad relationships in your life, called 'Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet.'  In addition, she has written three novels, all dealing with abusive relationships or family dramas of some kind.  They are 'Stop the world, I need to pee!'; 'The Case of Billy B' and 'Not Telling.'  All Cindy's books are available on Smashwords as ebooks, and on Amazon as paperbacks or on Kindle.  You can find out more about Cindy Vine by following her blog; visiting her website; or following her on Twitter or Facebook

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Virtual Book Tour the beginning of June

 It is with great pleasure that I announce my first ever Virtual Book Tour from 1st-11th June 2010.  Please follow my tour and comment on the articles I'll be writing.  If there are any changes to the itinerary, I'll write them on here.  Hope to see you on these blogs!
Virtual Book Tour
1 June 2010 Staying with someone who doesn’t want you.

2 June 2010 Is it possible to love and dislike someone at the same time?

3 June 2010 Can you be a working mother and write a book? /

4 June 2010 Living in Tanzania

5 June 2010 Addicted to Africa

6 June 2010 How I became a writer

7 June 2010 The Expat Writer

8 June 2010 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about writing fiction.

9 June 2010 It all starts with a plan

10 June 2010 Chimpanzee conditions in Tanzania

11 June 2010 A car, a teenager and a long bumpy road

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, Mami!Happy Mother's Day, Mami!Hopefully, if you're a mother and reading this you are being spoiled rotten by your family.  However, if you are like me with only one teenager left at home and all the others have flown the nest, then you'll probably be making your own morning cup of coffee and breakfast, as the teenager only surfaces closer to lunchtime.

Honouring Mothers on Mother's Day is quite a long tradition.  The Greeks got it right centuries ago, when they had special celebrations in spring to honour Rhea, the mother of the gods. Then the early Christians in England thought it would be good to have a special day to honour Mary the mother of Jesus, and this they did on the 4th Sunday of Lent. Being such a magnanimous people, they opened it up to all mothers and even maids working in rich houses were allowed to go home to visit their families. How kind was that? In the US, some lady who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Julia Ward Howe) got a little bit ticked off at all the killing and carnage in the wars which were popular at the time, and in the 1870's she got this bee in her bonnet about a Mother's Day for Peace. Of course, she never imagined gifts and fabulous lunches for mothers, but probably envisaged mothers marching and waving placards and throwing rotten tomatoes at the president.

Howe actually got the idea of Mother's Day for Peace from Ann Jarvis, the sister of that famous doctor James Reeves, who tried to get a Mother's Friendship Day going to improve sanitation. How a special day honouring mother's will make people wash their hands after going to the bathroom, I'm not sure. When Ann died in 1905, her daughter Anna missed her so much that she got her family and friends working on a letter writing campaign to those high up in the public sector, to have Mother's Day declared a national holiday to honour all mothers, living and dead. She was successful in her efforts and on Sunday 10th May 1908, the very first Mother's Day as we know it was celebrated. Anna Jarvis had imagined it to be a kind of a religious type of holiday, but 9 years later, it had attracted so much commercial hype with special cards and gift baskets, that poor Anna was disillusioned and became an opponent of Mother's Day, or the kind of day Mother's Day had become. Unfortunately, money talks and nobody listened to poor Anna Jarvis, and the day became even more commercial. As a mother I see nothing wrong with that. Spend my children, spend. But don't ask me to lend you money. So we have the English still sticking to their Mother's day in Lent, but the rest of the world joining the US to celebrate Mother's Day and honour and pay tribute to mothers all over the world on the 2nd Sunday in May.

Our relationship with our Mothers is a very important one.  They carried us for nine months, put up with our temper tantrums and mood swings, and played a large part in shaping who we are today.  There are many times when growing up, that you might have disliked your mother or even hated her.  This is quite normal, we all go through that, especially when your mother is just as stubborn as you and won't give you what you think you need at the time.  But when the going gets tough, Mothers will always put the past behind them and be there for their children.  Are you there for your Mother?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

When your boss drives you batty

Most of us at some time or other, end up in a situation when you struggle to show respect to your supervisor or your boss.  Their actions are deplaudable, they're unfair, crazy, disorganised, whatever, but something happens and you think, "What the hell are they doing in that position?"  What do you do?  You have to work with them, listen to them, obey them.  If you don't, things might get worse for you, and even worse still, you might lose your job or not get paid.

Here are some tips to help you get through this tough time
  1. Imagine them naked.  This always works wonders.  Picturing your boss at their desk naked will always bring a smile to your face, even if it is a smile of disgust.
  2. Agree with everything they say, nodding your head like one of those nodding dogs people put in the back of their cars, and then do what you want anyway.
  3. Find a trusted friend whom you can vent to.  Never vent to co-workers as that's like shitting on your own doorstep.  You never know if they're having a secret liason with the boss, and don't put your vent as your status on Facebook!
  4. Limit your dealings with your boss.  Focus on your work and try and not include your boss wherever possible.
  5. Don't push your boss's buttons.  If you know what sets them off, don't go there.  Unless you're bored and want to create some entertainment, but be prepared for the fallout!
  6. Find your boss's weaknesses and manipulate them to your advantage.  You have to outsmart that nasty boss.
  7. Start to document everything that goes down.  When called into a meeting with the boss, have a notepad handy and make the boss see that you are noting everything.  In fact, ask the boss to repeat something they said, and make a point of making them aware that you are jotting it down.
  8. Don't go to human resources or someone higher up in authority to complain about your boss.  It always backfires.  Those in power will always stick up for each other.  Rather start to collect evidence of their wrongdoings.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A question about rape

What would you do if you knew your estranged sister who had always been mean to you, was marrying a man who had raped you 13 years previously?

I'm busy doing some research for my next book, having finally completed the final proof edit of The Case of Billy B. If you feel you can answer this question, please do so. What would you do? Would you tell her? Would you tell your family? Would you tell your friends? Your sister wants you to forgive her for all the mean things she did to you while growing up. Will you forgive her and then tell her? Would you just keep it a secret? All input much appreciated.
 The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step-By-Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I blame you

How often in life do we hear those words and accept the blame for something we never did?  This morning, after taking my son to the airport, and feeling sad as I'd only see him again in 5 months' time, my 14 year old daughter turned to me and said, "I think I'm getting a cold.  Do you think I should swim today during PE?"  
"Yes," I replied, still thinking about my son I had just said goodbye to.
"Well," she replied in a very mean tone, "If I get very sick because I'm swimmimng today, then I blame you.  If I drown because I can't breathe through my nose while swimming, then I blame you."
My first reaction was to tell her that if she drowned she wouldn't be blaming anybody.  My second thought was, if you breathe through your nose while swimming, you will drown.  I can't accept the blame for that.  breathing through your nose while swimming would just be your own stupidity.  But I refrained from giving an answer.  I decided to use the 'ignore' treatment.  It usually works with her.  About 5 minutes later she tried to engage in conversation.  I ignored her.  Eventually, in a timid voice, she asked if I was mad with her.
"Yes," short weet, very abrupt.
I should have communicated more.  Explained that it is not okay to blame somebody like that.  But, my heart was sad after saying goodbye to my son, who never blames me for anything.  I drove the rest of the way home in silence, seething with resentment.  I should have spoken up.  But, should of and could have mean nothing.  I didn't say anything.
Tonight, my goal is to speak to my daughter and explain that it is not on to always blame others.  She never accepts the blame.  It is always someone else's fault.  If someone is always blaming you and trying to load you with guilt.  say no.  Do not accept the blame for things you haven't done.
Have a great 'blame-free' weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Choosing the right friends is not always easy

Many of us struggle to make really good friends.  We have many associates, people we socialise with, but not many really good friends.  I have had many friends over the years, but there are only about four people who are my 'for life' friends.  These are people who have been close friends for years.  I might not see them or have contact with them for years, but the minute we see each other, we can pick straight up from where we left off.  These are genuine friends, who don't leave you when something better comes up.  However, those kinds of friends are a rare treasure.  We need to nurture those friendships like you would a baby.  I've copied an article I wrote for, about how to be a friend.

To have a friend you must first be a friend

My mother once bought my daughter a large poster to put above her bed that said, "To have a friend, you must first be a friend." How apt is that? That little saying has stayed with me all these years. What you put out into the universe is what you get back. If you gossip about others, they'll gossip about you. Okay, they'll probably gossip about you regardless, that might not have been a good example. But if you show all the qualities of being a good friend, then people will show the same back to you. Seriously, it does work. If you are a mean old cussedly bitch, criticise everybody and everything, people are going to stay away from you. Who wants to be friends with a moaning whingebag? If you are sociable, people generally tend to gravitate towards you. So, I'd have to say that for me the top quality required, is to be a good friend first. Show the other mugs how it's done. Let them reflect your goodness.

A genuine friend is someone who doesn't lie to you. If something's bugging them, and you say, "What's cooking Dude?" and they reply, "Nothing my little petal," and you can see something is bothering them. Then they're not being honest. Friends should feel comfortable enough with each other to share their feelings, unhappiness, thoughts, ideas, and all that kind of mumbo jumbo stuff. If another so-called friend is bad-mouthing you behind your back, a genuine friend will come and tell you and help you to work out a plan of revenge. If your revenge plan is a little out of whack, a good friend should be honest enough to tell you that your plan sucks big time. And if your friend is honest with you and you don't like what they say, don't pick up the cast iron frying pan and hit them over the head, because that is just not nice.
A true friend remains loyal during times of stress and strife. They don't take a knife and go for the jugular and jump on the bandwagon with all the other simple-minded weak-willed friends. A good friend will stand by you whatever the circumstances. Of course, you need to practise showing loyalty yourself. When your friend finds themselves in a spot of bother, stay loyal and true to them. Don't lift up your skirt, remove your stilettos and sprint off into the sunset never to return. Otherwise, they'll do the same to you.
Make sacrifices
A simply awesome amazing super duper friend, will even make sacrifices for you. When you're a bit skint and payday is only a week away, they might advance you some much-needed money to pay your electricity bill. Always make sure you pay them back before leaving town, as they'll think twice about sacrificing their beer money for you again. Making sacrifices for each other is what compromising and being flexible is all about. If you want to go to see Harry Twatter and your friend wants to see Goldilocks and the Three Bare Boys, one of you has to sacrifice what you want to be able to reach a compromise. Just a little tip. Don't always make your friend be the one to make the sacrifices. Sometimes it's quite spiritual to make sacrifices yourself. You feel good about yourself then. Okay, if they need one of your kidneys, that might be taking it a bit far. But it would be great if they gave you one of their kidneys when you needed it. Or their liver, lungs or heart.
A good friend is always kind and shares. Generosity is very important. If they sit at the movies and don't share their popcorn or box of Maltezers, then they are not showing the quality of kindness. If they accidentally start to goosestep and kick your mangy little maltese poodle mutt with each step, then they are not showing kindness to animals. If they can't be kind to your dog, chances are, they can't be kind to you. People can show kindness in many ways. Not necessarily giving money to the legless cross-eyed lesbian in a wheelchair begging at the traffic lights. Being kind can be something simple like not joining in when a group of friends are analysing and dissecting an absent friend. If both you and your friend need to pee urgently and there's only one available toilet, then an act of kindness would be to let the other person go first while you just bravely clamp your legs and your teeth shut tightly. Someone who is mean to others, might not show kindness to you should you find yourself in a situation when you really need an act of kindness.
A good friend is not one who tells you that the meal you slaved over for hours tasted good and then they leave or sit and watch TV while you slave over the dishes. A good friend is one who helps with the washing up. A good friend won't sit with a smirk or smug expression while you struggle alone. They'll leave their comfort zone and help out. Basically, a good friend knows when it's time to help and time to support.
If you think of yourself as a double D boob, without support of a bra, that boob will droop down to your belly button, and even your knees, so that you kick them while you walk. Now, while that might help a soccer player practising ball control, that is of no use to you. You need that bra to support those pendulous sagging boobs. Just like your boobs need a bra, you need a supportive friend who'll be there when the going gets tough, through thick and thin. You don't want a friend, that when the going gets tough, they leave. A supportive friend counsels you, sets you up with a hot date, and lends you their car if you don't have one to go on the date. A supportive friend will meet you at the airport when you get back from an amazing holiday in Zanzibar while they've been working 9 to 5 in a dreary office with coffee rings on the desks.
Share interests
A great friend is someone who shares the same interests as you. It would be pointless going on and on about how exciting a game of golf is, when your friend can't see the point of smacking the shit out of a little dimpled white ball that did nothing to you, and then walking bloody miles to find it. The same as if you are crazy about spending a Saturday afternoon shopping with friends and having a cappuccino and cheesecake at Starbucks with all your shopping bags, and your friend gets the jitters when someone says the word shopping, breaks out in a rash and starts gnashing their teeth, they wouldn't share your shopping interest with you and would be no fun at all. Fun is very important. However, it is not recommended to have too much fun sharing the same sexual partner. Sharing a love interest will only end in tears.
A friend who treats you and speaks to you like you are the piece of dog doo stuck under their shoe is not worth having as a friend at all. They need to respect your views and opinions, respect your space, just generally respecting who you are. A friend is not showing respect when they try to change you into something you're not. A friend who does not allow you alone time and is constantly invading your space is being disrespectful. Remember, you need to show respect first, to gain respect.
Trust is mega-important as a quality. If you can't trust your friend with your confidences and secrets, then they aren't a very good friend at all. If you are scared to leave your handbag lying around as you believe that your friend might swipe some of your hard-earned cash from your Prada wallet, then they are not trustworthy and no point in having around as a friend. You have to be able to trust that your friend has your best interests at heart all the time, and won't step on you to achieve their own ends. You have to be able to trust that your friend will build you up when you are down. If there is no trust, and you are constantly on guard and suspicious, looking for signs that you are being used and abused, then trust is definitely lacking.

Remember, you yourself need to show all these qualities first and be a good friend yourself, before you can expect people to show these qualities back to you in return.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What is cocooning and why do we do it?

Cocooning is a home furnishing trend?

Chatting to my eldest daughter at lunch one day, just before I broke her finger in the car door, I asked her about her hectic social life. Looking at her Facebook pics, as you do from time to time because you're her mother, tells me that her life is just one big party. "Actually," she replied with a mouth full of artichoke pizza, "I'm cocooning at present. I decided not to go to a big party last night and elected to rather stay home by myself and watch dvds."
"Cocooning?" I asked with a confuddled expression on my face. "What on earth is cocooning?" Immediately, images of silkworm cocoons in an aquarium tank came to mind. I thought that maybe she had taken up a new hobby and was busy spinning and weaving silk threads from cocoons.
My daughter gave me her exasperated, 'can't believe my mom is so dumb' look. "I've been a bit wild and partied a lot, now all I want is some quiet time with myself. I have no desire to go out and be with people. That's what I call cocooning, when I shut myself off from everybody for a while. I go into my cocoon."
"Oh," I said nodding my head with understanding as I took a sip from my diet coke, "Cocooning." I thought back to a time when I was supposed to go to a big 'leaving Nanjing' party around the corner from where I live, and how my bed and the live rugby game on my macbook seemed more of a drawcard, so I stayed home and didn't go. "Actually, I think I'm cocooning at the moment as well."
On my return home, and to take my mind off my daughter's bloodied finger which was in the way when I slammed the car door shut, I immediately researched 'cocooning' to find out if it was a common practice or a new phenomena. I realised, that it was something I'd been doing for years and my daughter probably learnt it from me.

The word 'cocooning' was first identified as a trend in the late 80's early 90's by an author called Faith Popcorn, in her book 'The Popcorn Report: The Future of Your Company, Your World, Your Life.' She basically looked at society and saw that people were going out less as they were cocooning in their homes because work was busy, hectic, and the news in the papers and on TV told them that it’s dangerous to be anywhere but safely ensconced in their castle. This started a whole new trend in the manufacturing of home appliances, home furnishings and electronics. Home theatres, the internet, bars, coffee filter machines, dining room tables that convert into pool tables - all of these made staying at home and entertaining friends far easier (and less expensive) than going out on the town.

Faith Popcorn suggested that cocooning could be broken down into three different types: the socialized cocoon - that's where you stay home and entertain there; the armoured cocoon - that's where you surround yourself with guard dogs or top notch security systems; and the wandering cocoon - where you go outside but shut yourself off from the world around you by covering your ears with a headphone listening to a walkman, now it would be an ipod or mp3. However, I'm not sure that that's what my daughter meant by 'cocooning.' Because, although with the socialized cocoon you are staying home, you are still entertaining and interacting with other people.

I want to be alone

Many years ago, the old actress Greta Garbo's famous tagline was, "I want to be alone." Nowdays, it's the band Green Day who sing, "I want to be alone." Let's face it, Faith Popcorn's views on cocooning aside, we cocoon when we want to be alone. We want quality 'Me-Time.' We can choose to contact people via sms or the internet during our alone time, if that is our desire. But, we choose not to socialize with people in real time, face to face. Virtual interaction is okay, but even then, many times we ignore emails, sms and don't turn on our chat. It's not because we have an antisocial personality. It's not because we are having panic attacks and are in danger of becoming agoraphobic. It's because at that particular time in our life, on that particular day, we need our own space. We want to be alone. There is nothing wrong with anybody for needing that alone time. There is no need to call the men in white jackets to come and carry you away in a straight jacket. In fact, being alone is actually good for your soul.

Why do we sometimes have the desire to be alone?

Humans are social creatures, that is true. But, when you are under stress, when you have a lot on your mind, when you've had a hard day at work, when you are mentally tired, when you have financial hardships, when you have disappointments, when you have hard decisions to make, when your job involves you interacting with people day in and day out, 40 hours a week - then the last thing on your mind is a night out with friends where you are required to be entertaining and make sparkling conversation. At that time in your life, you just can't be bothered. Being nice to people is hard work, especially if you have had to be nice to idiots all day. At times like that, the peace and quiet of your own room or house is Utopia.
Going out somewhere means having to shower, get all dressed up, maybe put on make-up, wash and dry your hair, all of which isn't exactly fun if you're not in the mood and feeling a little irritable or tired. Going out for dinner which is often overpriced and not as good as what you can cook at home, drinking copious amounts of alcohol which adds up, ends up costing you a fortune at the end of the night and causes you to wake up feeling like a train wreck the next morning, makes you wonder if going out is worth it. I'm not too keen on going out during the work week, as I have to wake up at 6am every morning, and waking up with a throbbing head and a thick rubbery tongue and breath that smells like a cross between a brewery and a skunk that crawled in there and died, is no longer an option for me. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Sometimes, your friends might not understand that you are cocooning. They'll bombard you with texts, phonecalls and emails encouraging you to get out and overcome your depression. What they don't realise, is that you are not depressed. You just want time alone to do the things you enjoy and love, without boundaries, restrictions or their input. Be honest and tell your friends, you need to go into your cocoon for a few days and you'll be missing in action for a while. You'll call them when you are ready to leave your cocoon.
We cocoon when we want to reflect on our lives and think about the path we need to take for our future. During this period of introspection, we can grow and develop as we learn to like ourselves and accept who we are. In fact, cocooning should be made compulsory for everyone in a relationship and everyone who has finished school. Teenagers use their ipods and mp3's to cocoon as they shut out the rest of the world and are alone with their thoughts and their music.

A cocoon is quite comfortable and you might relish being unmotivated to do anything. It's almost a case of 'sometimes I just sits and sometimes I sits and thinks.'  Cocooning makes me feel quite free and independent as I'll dictate when I'm ready to leave my cocoon and be part of the social whirl and twirl again. Cocooning is great. You should try it sometime. Just give yourself space to be....well, be yourself..

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thanking my lucky stars

January the 1st is always a day when you can look back and reflect. Reflect on life in general and relationships. Today, as I saw off my friends at the airport as they return to China, I thanked my lucky stars that I have good friends, people whose company I enjoy, and people whom I don't mind camping in my house for three weeks. It was sad saying goodbye. Keeping friendships going via email is not the same as seeing people in person. I had to wonder whether or not I'll ever see them again.
This got me thinking about the different types of people we have relationships with. By this I mean friendship relationships, not sexual ones. Sometimes you meet someone whom you just gel with. You live in each other's pockets, you are inseparable, and then, for no specific reason you just move apart. You develop friendships with other people. You move on, and this is okay.
Then you have friends who fall more into the acquaintance category. People you know to chat to, sometimes socialze with, but not people you'll lose sleep over if you never see them again.
Some friends can be a positive influence on you, and others a negative influence. I have this one acquaintance at work who is very negative about everything - where we work, live, people we work with. Every morning I hear her gripes, caustic comments and it rubs off. I start to have negative thoughts about my job and where I work. But then, when I'm with someone who sees things in a positive light, I immediately feel more positive.
I guess, the point I'm trying to make, is try and surround yourself with positive people as it does rub off on you. If you are already in this great position, then thank your lucky stars.
Wishing all of you a prosperous and positive 2010!