Friday, April 22, 2011

How Our Brains Work

I found this Great Link about how our brains work. It explains the mechanisms EMDR is working to correct. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have. Very insightful.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break

So I have been sleeping in every day this week so far. It's been sweet.

My term paper is written, so yeah. I just need to let it sit and stew in it's own juices for a bit, have my editor give it a read, go back once more and see if I still like it, and turn it in.

When school returns, I have two more Module Tests and three Finals, plus a couple of smallish papers to write. Wish me well. With the program I am applying for, there is a huge point differential between an A and a B,and the applicants with the highest points get in. So, I really do need the A over the B if possible. With both PreCalc and MedLegal my A is in the bag, but I still am too close to the line in HumanAnatPhys to be relaxed about it. So, those of you who pray for me, keep praying.

I got my titers back for my vaccinations, and my doctor says I'm good. All I need to do now is take all my papers in to sign up for the CNA classes this summer. It's looking good so far. Thanks for all your support, cyberfriends. It means the world to me.

I don't yet have a new EMDR therapist, but I am on someone's waiting list. I think I would rather just wait it out for this person to be available than take someone my former practitioner recommended. I am still considering writing to the state licensing board for clinical social workers about my experience. I do have the contemporaneous record of my blog to keep the dates more or less straight. On the other hand, I am a very busy person with a lot of my plate, and it is not even close to the top of the prioritized list of things I need to accomplish.

I am still torn between hope and realism, as far as my marriage is concerned. So many people are urging me to leave,immediately if not sooner, but I do not feel that sense of urgency. I also doubt myself, if I am making the right decision to move slowly but steadily toward independence, giving my husband time to heal to the point we can live a life of love together, or, if that doesn't happen, being thoughtful, proactive and reliable for myself. I think on occasion of women who have been seriously hurt by PTSD husbands. I know they must have felt safe enough too, or they wouldn't have remained in the relationship that long. Surely a part of them thought that their husband would never cross the line to heinous violence/murder, or they would have left before then. So I do sometimes wonder if I am only kidding myself, but I also trust that God will keep me safe.

The thought of doing anything hastily really bugs me. I don't want to be pushed into action by circumstances or the behavior of others. I have been married twenty-three years. For many of them, the only difference between now and then is that I have woken up to the truth that it's not my fault my husband behaves/thinks the way he does. I now know I have absolutely no control over the man's inner life, and in fact have rarely been aware of what that really is. I *thought* I knew who he was, because of the assumptions I made. Now I know that I truly am not the issue here, and that all the good will in the world on my part guarantees nothing. Sobering, but at least the playing field is now level. It was so confusing for so many years.

I *thought* that we meant the same things by the same words, especially what it means to follow Jesus. I have discovered that was never true. Fundamentalism sounds good, but they do not mean the same things by the same words I understand the Bible to be saying. They have hidden meanings and unspoken rules that negate the actual commands of Christ and turn them into something different. For example, "love one another as I have loved you" turns out to not be so loving.

First of all, the fundamentalist Jesus burns most people who have ever lived in hell for all eternity- not very loving,eh? My experience of the gospel is that it was the good news that God has removed all barriers between God and man, that He freely forgives and wants to lavish His kindness on us through Christ Jesus. "Just as I Am" and "Amazing Grace" actually meant something good to me.

The MKs experience of the gospel is that God will burn the Indians in hell forever if your parents don't lay down their lives to translate the Bible for them. This is serious business! So serious, little child, that your need for parental love and attention pales in comparison. Small child, you may need love, but if your parents give you the love and attention you need, those Indians will burn in hell forever! Forever, young child! You don't want the Indians to burn in hell FOREVER, do you? DO you?!?! How could you be so selfish?! Shame, shame, shame on you young child. ps God loves you. Your parents love you. Now be a good boy and go away and keep your needs quiet or GOD WILL BURN THESE INDIANS IN HELL FOREVER AND IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT!

Another huge difference between my faith vocabulary and fundamentalist faith vocabulary is what Jesus meant by the commandment to love one another. For me, that means both to feel (compassion, kindness, pity, remorse, longing for security/healing/kindness to come to your brother) and to act in ways that bring good (comfort, provision, healing, understanding) to others. It is both a feeling and an action that is directed toward wanting/accomplishing good for others.

Fundamentalism dismisses such notions as silly sentimentality. In the letter of John the apostle (this proof text only works if you take the verse completely out of context, which they do!) the Bible says that we know we love the brethren when we obey the commands of God. So a fundamentalist never need feel compassion, or long for relief or comfort for another, because they attend church regularly, memorize Bible verses, believe the right doctrines and don't smoke, cuss, drink or dance. That's how they can KNOW they love the brethren. They obey what they believe to be the commands of God, so they never need experience (i.e. "feel" equals bad to fundamentalists) emotions that resemble what the rest of the world calls compassion or love for another. They can rest assured that even without ever feeling anything resembling that for other humans or ever acting in ways that relieve the pain and suffering of others, they do "love the brethren" because they are obedient fundamentalists.


I hope you can see why my frustration with my husband is tempered by my compassion for the lies with which he was raised. I will lay out both arguments so that you can see what goes on in my head, and why I am willing to stay until my education is completed and I am self-sufficient. It both gives him time to heal, and keeps my from denying my own value system (i.e. love my neighbor as myself).

Common experience says abusive men rarely change. This is undeniably true.

On the other hand, my husband has taken a lot of actions others husband's never take. He attended a 26 week Life Skills course and went to the Davison's Marriage Intensive. He is in therapy, which is something his family would NEVER condone. And he is on anti-depressants, another huge defiance of the family rules which say medications are for the weak, and are mostly unnecessary.

But back to common experience, this work has been going on for two years and he still allows himself days/weeks of reverting to the old resentments and hatreds. This should not be.

Again on the other hand, he is actually doing more on his own lately that is in keeping with the Life Skills/Davisson's advice. He is watching the Davisson's videos at lunch. I printed off a checklist from this site and he knows I read it everyday. He says he reads it every day. He says he meditates on positive statements about me while he walks on the treadmill most days after work. I have seen the paper. He is reading Rob Bells' book Love Wins- the most non-fundie book of all time, full of questions about the character and words of Christ, rather than an answer book interpreting everything for you so you don't have to think, fundie-style.

Common experience says all this is just forestalling the inevitable. The man's psyche is truly warped by his fundamentalist upbringing, and I don't know if it's possible for him to change enough to be fully alive to love in this lifetime, much less in two years. When he wants to be healed, he really wants to be healed. I do believe that much is true. He just doesn't always want to be healed.

The psychological land mines his family's religion have placed within his soul are SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS. All other abused, neglected hurt children can turn to Jesus for healing, but MKs? They were taught that Jesus decreed their neglect! He grew up believing that the emotional and physical distance his parents kept from him WAS love! He grew up ignored and that was explained to him as the very definition of LOVE. As a young child at boarding school, being bullied at worst/ignored at best by house parents and other missionary kids was NORMAL. Any attempts to get his needs met were shamed as selfish, unforgiving, or rebellious.

How is there hope for this man to learn to live loved?

And yet, with God all things are possible. Jesus has done so much for me that other people believe impossible. And so I keep praying and asking God to give my husband a revelation of who He really is! A vision, or a revelatory dream, or something that will break through all the religious lies and reveal the loving, gracious heart of God.

And that is how I have decided to keep working toward financial independence and not just leave now. I am asking the God of all hope to deliver my husband's soul from the religious darkness that obscures his vision of who Jesus really is. I am giving the gift of time to my husband, hoping against hope he will grab onto Jesus and plunge headlong into grace.

If that's even possible. All the words have been tainted by fundamentalist lies, so that grace means "ability to keep the law" instead of extravagant love. Forgiveness means "keep your resentments well hidden" because talking about a grievance is "unforgiveness" to my husband's fundamenatalist family. So according to their fundamentalist upside down religion, the person wronged has the responsibility to suck it up or be accused of the heinous sin of unforgiveness. They ignore Leviticus 19: 17-18 and Jesus command to rebuke our brother who offends us. In avoiding all appearance of evil (which fundamentalist treat as the greatest command of all!) the hide evil in their hearts and that is considered righteous.

So time will tell. These three faith, hope and love, remain.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Busy with school: Forging ahead

Hi friends! School is winding down for this semester, but there is still so much work ahead. Today I am heading to the doctor to draw blood because I have no shot records. I will have to get titers for all I think I've had, and work on ones that weren't required back in the 70s when I went to school. Then there is always more to do, so say a prayer for me when you think of me. I must keep pushing on if I am to be self-supporting by the time my son goes off to college.

Peace and good will, SS

Friday, April 1, 2011

Good news from the past incident

I wanted to share with all how much EMDR has helped me deal with the most recent traumatic event in my marriage. Some of the more fundamentalist among my readers (ha ha! If there are any left! =) might find this alarming, since anything not specifically mentioned in scripture tends to scare such people. But hey, airplanes, antibiotics and CAT scanners are just three of the many beneficial things invented by humans that are not mentioned in the Bible, so I am not afraid of "extra Biblical revelation".

While my husband was angrily stomping and cursing and being intimidating, I remained calm. After he left, I went back to bed, very shaken inside but pride of myself for not reacting. As you can imagine, sleep was not forthcoming.

So I purposefully imagined going to the safe place I had created in my mind during EMDR sessions. It is sort of a conglomeration of places I have felt safe, relaxed and one with God during my lifetime. It has all the sounds, smells and tactile sensations of those places.

Often when I imagine myself in that place I am much younger than I am now. My therapist corrected me the one time I admitted that, and said it should be me as I am now. Whatevs, I laughed inside. I am trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me in all truth, so I trust that if I imagine myself as younger that's how it should be. I just go with it the way it plays out. I feel peaceful, confident, loved by God and relaxed so that's all that really matters.

Anyway this time, as I imagined the feel of the rocks and the moss, I WAS my older self and I was still super-stressed. And to my suprise, my younger self was there too! She was very comforting to me. She was happy, confident, content, and wearing the swimsuit I sewed for myself when I was ten/eleven years old.

She told me how good Jesus was to her, and how faithful He had always been. She was glowing as she recounted to me how God had protected her and helped her so many times. The cool mountain pool she usually swam in was there. But she told me God had heated it to help me relax. My older self got into the warm water and it was very relaxing. We looked at the stars together, and I could not help but be encouraged by her joy and confidence. After a while I got out of the pool, and even though it was night, the weather was perfect. I was not cold at all. I laid down on some furs that were arranged on the rock, and she proceeded to give me a massage with her little chubby adolescent hands, all the while singing songs to me of God's love. I fell asleep.

The next night when I was again having troubles sleeping, I went back to the safe place in my imagination. My younger self was there again, and very happy to see me. We swam together in the mountain pool and she would dive and bring up glittery rocks to show me. Again her innocence and joy were very encouraging. She dove again and brought up a bright shiny gold coin. I asked her where she got it and she said Jesus put it there for her, and that he does that all the time. She gave it to me. As I took it, I knew it was wisdom. I fell asleep. When I woke up the next morning, I knew what I needed to do.

Just remembering this fills me with peace and confidence again. God loves me and He loves you too. Rest in that love today. Peace and good will, SS