Safe, Respectful, Assertive Communication Grid

Alter Post: Being Assertive & Defending Oneself with Kindness + Honesty and a dash of stubborn

I decided to write about trauma-informed care on Scent Reflections, so here is the link if you’re interested.

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

*Trigger Warning: This post may contain triggers; read at your own pace*

Okay, now all the warnings are in place. You can continue reading or visit another time. I’ve written about Mother’s Day and anniversaries before, so thought I’d share something different this time. You can read about how my alters are learning to use DBT and protect our system (their preferred job) to protect and defend against hostile, rude, triggering, or aggressive people.

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Be Well Message

Dear Guests,

I hope you all are doing well and staying safe with the coronavirus scare. In times like this, it’s not easy to stay healthy, be positive, and find moments of laughter or joy to balance the fear, frustration, or other negative sensations that may rise.

For people who enjoy being active outside and/or interacting with others face-to-face, this is an especially challenging time. Being confined alone or with others for extended periods of time can bring out the best and the worst in relationships or highlight things we’ve all tried to ignore or deny about ourselves and each other. Tempers get roused easily. People react and act to stuff they normally wouldn’t. Maybe out of fear. Maybe out of frustration. Maybe the stressful times are their version of an excuse for behaving in such ways?

Please remember that we still have choices.

We can choose react from a position of fear-based choices.

We can to argue and fight and lose our tempers. Be angry at the world and socialize and continue with our routines like nothing is going on (denial). We can ignore government mandates and health authority warnings. We can let prejudice rule our opinions and influence our interactions with others. We can choose to feel and express anger in ways that hurt ourselves and the people around us.

Or we can choose to to react from a position of love-based choices.

We can use effective communication and compromise strategies. Use Active Listening skills to to ourselves and each other. Check in from a position of love and acceptance. Be kind to ourselves and each other no matter how scared or stressed out we feel. And most important, express our fear, anger, shame, or other negative emotions in healthy ways that support us and the others around us instead of hurting ourselves and those other people.

Sometimes we might not have choices in how we act or react. Instinct and learned behavior (i.e. survival skills) override everything else when we feel overwhelmed or pushed too far.

In situations like that, when “the damage is done” we till have choices to make. We can pretend nothing happened. We can continue to escalate the negativity and cause more damage to an existing relationship until nothing is left. We can acknowledge the situation and try to make reparation and/or amends or listen with compassion to the other party and work out a solution. We can acknowledge our part in what happened, reflect on the situation, and work out ways to prepare for future ones. Maybe preventative actions or a coping strategy?

But no matter what, we humans are a resilient species. And we can survive this. We will survive and learn to thrive in the changed and changing world.

I believe in you. Please believe in yourselves too. 

Sincerely,

AlterXpressions

Sensory Movement Challenge Day 5: An Energy Healing Circle and Jars

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Energy Healing Circles

As an empath and a sensitive person in general, I tend to get overwhelmed with energy and emotions coming from others. It’s not something easy for me to discuss or open up about outside my circle of people who also experience and work with energy on different levels.

Yeah, I still get made fun of and harassed for being like that. But the truth is energy work is a foundational part of my life and recovery journey. So when I find mentors and healers who can teach me how to cope with the influx of energy coming towards me (and often gets stuck inside me) more effectively, I do that.

And when said instructors offer community healing circles and sessions via live stream at an affordable price, I join in and participate. It’s my way of being part of a community of people without having to physically share space or interact with people. We interact on an energetic level with the mentor/host acting as a conduit and connection for us all to share energy and healing and support as a mini community for the time we meditate together.

During the 1 hour healing session, we worked on 2 healing meditations to receive energy and messages from the Source (what our mentor calls God/Goddess, etc.). I cried during the meditation. And also felt a weight lifting off of me as I let go of energy that didn’t belong in my body.

Breathing in and out, I followed the air as it traveled down my lungs, into my sides and back, down through my abdomen and hips, finally back up and out my nose and mouth. Along the path, I felt buzzing inside my body and heard motorcycles driving by outside. It felt like the motorcycles left a trail for the energy that didn’t belong to follow as it left me.

As we moved into the next part of the meditation, I got messages from my dead baby. If you want to know more about that, you will have to search through past posts on Untangled Connections. It’s not something I can write about here and still share on Scent Reflections. But the gist of it is that one of my rapists got me pregnant when I was 15 years old. Three months later said rapist and colleagues aborted the baby. Details about that part of my life are locked away in a trauma amnesia vault.

I didn’t even remember being pregnant or having an abortion until 2014/2015 and have been through the shame and guilt of not remembering before then + flashbacks, etc. ever since. Hearing my baby talk to me was one of many messages that came during the session. Even now, as I write this, other messages are coming to my consciousness.

Is this too “out there” for you? If it is, feel free to ignore anything about energy work and move on to the next section.

Exercise 2: Opening Jars

Have you ever considered what muscle groups are required to open jars? Or how much a person can move when opening and closing jars? Especially when those jar lids don’t want to open?

Well, I mentioned yesterday or the day before about “breaking out the herbs and honey” to make tea. All my herbs and honeys are in jars with twist lids. Mason jars, glass jars reused and re-purposed after the original contents were used up. And original jars the honey came in.

The mason jars are relatively easy to open dry. But add hot water over herbs, and things get tricky. Use jars or thermoses with silicone rings to minimize spills, and suction or air-tight closures make opening the lids a challenge too. But the dried honey in a twist cap jar + air-tight seal is most difficult to open.

I am mostly left handed and use my right hand/arm to hold jars steady while the left one twists. But not always. Sometimes, the right hand grip works better, so the left side holds jars steady. You’d think I only use hand and arm, but that’s not true. Being a short person, I use all the leverage I can get to open jars. That includes shoulders and torso to twist and open the lids. Often with help from a jar opener. But even the jar opener is manual and requires me to grip and twist to open the lids.

The sensory grounding part?

  1. Sound of me cussing as I listen to the lid scraping against the jar, but not moving or opening. Sound of jar opener scraping against the lid.
  2. Sound of hot water being poured into a bowl and splashes as I put the honey jar in the water to warm it up.
  3. Texture of the metal lid, plastic/silicone jar opener, glass and paper label in my hands.
  4. Texture of the oven mitts and towels I used to get a better grip on the jar
  5. Sound and feel of my palm hitting the bottom of the jar to pop the lid’s seal
  6. Smell of ginger infused honey when I finally get the jar open

And yes, I practice hard to be and stay present while opening jars because sometimes, rarely, but often enough opening a jar triggers flashbacks.

So would you consider the process of opening, closing, and moving jars a worthy exercise for the movement challenge?

Reflection

This morning’s healing circle helped me understand the purpose of this challenge and the purpose of being vulnerable and putting myself out there for the Facebook live session on Sunday.

I am open about not being a “people” person. And that’s true to an extent. I have many difficulties physically being around people. That makes helping and supporting people difficult too. So I created my business and my volunteer work around helping people through indirect interactions like blog posts and images.

But new responsibilities at work have helped me feel more comfortable interacting with others over the phone and via video streaming. So, while I am often abrupt and honest to the point of rudeness, I am willing to make time to offer healing and support to my guests at both websites via Facebook live.

You don’t have to respond early. You can just show up if you want to do so.

I admit to being terrible at social media and how to get likes and follows, etc. I admit to not knowing how to get people to comment on posts either. In my mind, any and all of that is completely voluntary and an extremely personal and private choice. I am more of a lurker than a commenter and very rarely comment on my favorite author and website blogs either. So I will not pressure others to do something that I refuse to do on a regular basis.

Plus that’s never been my goal. The fact that you like my blog and visit here means more than you can imagine. And sure, it’s bad business to not promote my blog and try to get lots of “likes” and “follows”, etc. Same with not joining affiliate programs and letting others advertise on my sites. And also with commenting on and following other bloggers and websites, etc.

But that’s not why I joined Facebook or started any of those things. I’m just trying to figure out low cost solutions to communication issues. If people want to write to me safely, I want them to be able to do that. Then I want to be able to respond to them too. Not 1 week later. Not 1 month or more later because their comments got caught in the spam filter. But within 1-3 days.

FACEBOOK LIVE – Sensory Grounding and Healing meditation in my garden

And so I am listening to the messages from Source and trying to find ways to follow them.

One message is offer more support to my guests. Offer them healing meditations and videos.

Give them a chance to ask questions and comment.

Let them feel connected to a community and open it to more than just a blog post or website.

Self Care is more than making sure the practical parts of basic needs are met during this scary time. It’s about staying connected, feeling hope, experiencing laughter and joy, moving even when we feel stuck, and remembering that we are resilient people.

In Sunday’s Facebook live, I will be sitting in my indoor garden with a piece of chocolate, some crystals in a bowl, and other fruit as I talk you through some of the sensory grounding meditations that I’ve written about here on Untangled Connections. Maybe on Scent Reflections too. You don’t need to bring anything except yourself and a grounding object.

You are welcome to join me during the live 1 hour presentation or watch it on your own time later.

Thanks for reading.

Coping Challenges: When People Avoid You because…

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Life is awkward on the best of days. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding oneself in unknown situations. Other times there is something going on, and people who care avoid you for their own reasons. Or you avoid them. No one communicates. Or everyone communicates without really saying anything aka addressing the cause(s).

That ends up with: confusion, hurt feelings, breaking of relationships, etc.

In my case, I learned a long time ago that people are transient guests in my life. The more they learn about me, the less they want to be around me. On rare occasions, I do meet people and build long term relationships outside of professional ones.

But I can count on 1 hand the number of true friends and loved ones that I interact with more than 3x a month – whether by phone, email, or in person – who have earned my complete trust and respect.

More often than not, people read this blog out of general interest and then start avoiding me in real life. Or they make friends with people who dislike me for some reason and start avoiding me in favor of the “new” people. Or have some other reason to “ghost” me as younger people say these days.

That used to hurt a lot. I didn’t understand what about me made people react this way.

Then I realized the problem was not with me, but with the other people.

You see, something about them made interacting with me uncomfortable. Instead of acknowledging this and working with me to figure out a solution, they denied anything was wrong and avoided me or blamed me instead.

How did I figure this out?

Not on my own. Over the course of my recovery, in counseling sessions and self-improvement workshops, this lesson has been reinforced many times.

I am who I am. I change constantly because life is change. Most of the time I am willing to compromise and work with people. Other times, I flat out refuse to change in order to conform or fit in with cultural norms or peer pressure. But I always try to be respectful and accepting of people as they are even if they don’t return that courtesy.

And because I practice unconditional love and acceptance for all beings, I can accept and forgive people who act and react to life with avoidance, denial, blane, or rejection.

They are who they are and coping with life as best they can. When it happens, no hard feelings.

People come and people go. Feeling hurt or blaming myself only triggers shame and guilt for something that is not my responsibility. I asked questions. I tried to make it right. Did my best. Now it’s over and done with.

I wish those people well and move on.

Other people have told me that attitude is harsh and mean. Maybe it’s true. But trying to hold on to something that doesn’t exist anymore…how is that healthy, good, or (insert your word here)?

My only goal is to live my life full of unconditional love and acceptance. For me, that brings out the best qualities in life: joy, fun, prosperity, safety, resilience, strength

And allows me to weather the worst life sends my way.

I hope maybe this story will inspire you, my guests, to reflect on how you can take control of your choices by changing your attitude and intention towards yourself, life, and others.

It’s not easy. It’s a continuous work-in-progress, a life-long endeavor. But it can truly change your relationships for the better like it did (and coninues to do) mine.

Thanks for reading.