Sunday, January 31, 2016

Where Magic AND Comfort Happen

Hello, friends!  I am so ecstatically happy.  I have a new tool in my toolbox!  Another arrow in my quiver!  And (for all you souls who read my recent Soufflé post) I have discovered an ingredient of a risen soufflé!  (Or have I discovered the oven temperature?)

This all began last Wednesday in my trauma counselor's office.  That's when this dear woman asked for a favor.  And she asked me so considerately I couldn't help but notice - she cares about me.  The favor she has asked is that I refrain from posting 'fly on the wall' stories of our sessions.  Confidentiality rules and all.  Now confidentiality rules technically apply to counselors and not to clients.  But she offered compelling reasons for me to maintain confidentiality.  Well.  I care about her, too.  From now on I will let you in on the gist of my sessions.  My prior 'session' posts, together with their comments, have been immeasurably beneficial, and I will keep them intact.

Have comments from readers ever lead to an "Ah-HA!" for you?  Your comments do so for me.  Since last Wednesday, I have recalled your comments, plus her comments, my Friendship Counselor's, my friend's, and other's.  I mixed them with liberal doses of self-reflection and self-appraisal. 

Voila!   What all these sources have in common is  ~<~<~<~<  drumroll~>~>~>~>
 consideration for people's feelings. 

Good Lord.  If you yourself grew up in the land of courtesy you were one lucky pig-tailed princess.  This gal did not.  My mother was unable to give a damn about anyone's feelings.  Oh...  Wait a minute.  Yes she did give a damn about someone's feelings.  Her own!  Beyond that - clueless, reckless, and steamed.    Now such inconsideration is chilling to baby princes and princesses.  Chilling to potential friends.  This inconsiderate woman did not have a single friend.

Maybe I have now entered the Courtesy Zone?

Through this door I now discover

1.  I have feelings.  They are invaluable.
2.  You have feelings.  They are invaluable.
3.  Some people are not considerate of their own feelings, let alone others'.  Easy to spot these folk by how you feel in their presence.
4.  If you care about someone, you are especially considerate of their feelings.
5.  If you care about yourself, you are especially considerate of your own feelings.
6.  I have a new filter for friendship -  how considerate is someone toward my feelings when I share?
7.  People have been filtering me for friendship all along, by how considerate I am.

Now this next discovery applies just to me.

8.  My mother's "I don't give a damn about your feelings!" is a quality I unwittingly transpose on potential female friends.  And "I don't give a damn about your feelings!" is quality in my own outlook.

My next breadcrumb...maybe an ingredient?

9.  People don't naturally  'NOT give a damn about feelings' , unless we ourselves are so traumatized that we can't or dare not feel our own feelings, much less yours.  That makes us the bulls in your china shops.
10.  When people cannot feel their own intrinsic worth, this pain is so intolerable that we will do a lot to cover it up. 

Well, I am so moved by this fresh discovery I could cry.  Tell me, please, what is it like in your courtesy zone?


  1. I was raised in a very courteous atmosphere. Taught to consider others feelings ABOVE my own--which also become a problem. It was not courteous to be loud--either in laughter or tears. One must never show anger. One must never show grief. Those could make others feel uncomfortable. I am courteous to the point of detriment to myself--when it comes to crazy people taking advantage of my ever pleasant, smiling, wanting to listen and help personality. Ask your counselor if a person can be TOO courteous. I'll bet she says "Yes".

    1. How interesting. I will ask, and I'll bet she will agree with you that one can be TOO courteous. I'll get back to you on that one ;-)

    2. I'm sure she will because by being that way, it is denying our OWN invaluable feelings. Life is a balancing act.

    3. Judy, life is also supposed to be authentic and if you're not free to show emotions and you hold them all inside out of fear of being judged, you're not being authentic or balanced. Of course, there are limits. Dar is one extreme and you are the opposite. It's okay and normal to shoot for the middle ground.

  2. I am totally confused. What does this exactly mean: "From now on I will let you in on the gist of my sessions." Isn't that what you've been doing? How does that differ from "fly on the wall" stories---oh, maybe I get it. You will no longer repeat stories about other clients you hear about during your sessions? I don't recall you doing that so I'm guessing here.

    Comfort Zone: I pretty much agree with what you've wrote. Most people do care about others in my world. If they don't, I don't include them in my world. It's that simple. I have no time or patience for people who are self-centered, cold or destructive to others. It's called separating the wheat from the chaff.

    1. What I mean is no "I said she said" conversations. (maybe I need an editor?)

      Great way to put it - separating the wheat from the chaff. When you write "Most people", may I ask what you mean by "most"? 80%? maybe 90% after a good meal?

    2. In society in general, by most people I mean 90% of people care about others. In my personal life I mean 99% of the people care about others. If not, I apply the separating the wheat from the chaff rule. The one percent is reserved for those who come as a package deal with someone I like and who is a good person.

  3. Learning. This is our most valuable tool for life! Learning about ourselves and about others. Learning to make choices. Learning to be independent. Learning to give and to take. Just learning.

    I have issues with people getting in my "space". I learned (long ago!) that we each have a hula hoop around us. At the beginning of friendships, the hula hoops do not intersect. Then occasionally we let a friend inside our hoop. Intimacy is when you invite someone into your hoop.

    I have a new friend who is ALWAYS in my space (uninvited as of yet) and is oneof those touchy people. I cringe! Finally, I had to tell her the story of my hula hoop. Much better now!

    1. The hula hoop. This is so helpful! What a neat way to explain one's boundaries without getting nasty or off putting about it. Sounds like your new friend is adjusting, so she cares and is being considerate. AW, you are a woman with great boundaries. So, may I ask, How many times does one explain hula hooping before, you know, you make yourself scarce?

  4. All my love to you, dear Widowsister. All my love. Sometimes it is so hard being in human skin.

    1. Bravo Flo, Welcome to your feelings, all of them, the cherished and the not-so-cherished. I do NOT think mom was clued in to her own feelings. I think she was reactive and resentful and consequently hurtful and damaging. So very sad to have never had a true girlfriend. She never talked of friends from high school, from college, from work before Dad. She and Dad were friends with the Graves, but not intimate heart friends. What a terrible loss for all of them. She probably really wanted a true friend, just as you did. She just never knew how to begin the process of healing, and she died unhealed. So very sad.
      We become the lucky ones, by our own courage for reaching out and opening our hearts and being vulnerable. Bravissimo to you Flo.

    2. Hello, real sister! Hugs to you :-)

      Given our toxic upbringing, we might have similar core wounding, or we might have slightly different ones, depending on the age of injury. My wounds are 'connection' wounds, inflicted from conception to 6 months of age.

      I'm learning the personal connection issues I currently face have nothing, NOTHING, to do with my 'failure', though for my whole life I have believed I was fatally flawed, and no one in their right mind would want to care for one such as me. (Except for my late husband.) Rather, nature herself builds in a requirement which all baby mammals have - to obtain a safe and life supporting connection to their caregiver. It biologically 'turns on' and regulates the mammal's nervous system. When a mammal is turned away from by the mother, it dies. I was turned away from by my own mother. So, I did something other than die. I adapted to a very failed environment, that had enough, just enough support to sustain physical life, but at great cost. Do you relate?

      My own nervous system is stuck in red alert, and together with amazing helpers, I am resetting it to calmer and calmer states. Wish the relief was simple and quick, but red alert is hardwired.

      I believe some addictions are begun as a means of relief for a nervous system in constant, unbearable 'red alert'. The nervous system itself REQUIRES relief, or it will break down and die.

      I also suspect there are a lot of babies born with jangled nerves, given all the upset in the world.