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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From Shattered to Surviving the Unthinkable (Guest Blogger)

I am proud to post this article by Jody Rae Anderson. originally published on Vivid and Brave. I feel that this article presents an important story and a message of hope for survivors. 

What do you do when the unthinkable happens? When you find yourself living in what seems to be a bad dream? Unfortunately, it is a place that some of us find ourselves in. Bad things happen to good people. We hear that a lot. It’s true, and it is something I have been struggling with a lot the past few years. Why her? Why me? Why us? None of it makes sense. It seems unfair. It is in these places that we have no choice but to keep moving forward one day at a time in order to survive. The alternative is to give in, and give up.

I wish sometimes that someone had given me a guidebook on surviving tragedy. Maybe it would have made navigating the journey easier or faster. Then again, I probably would not be the same person I am today. Life will throw us those things we don’t expect. They will take us by surprise, and take our breath away. The one thing I have learned is that there is HOPE. I know because I have had to figure that out. While it is true that I am somewhat of an optimist, it doesn’t make it any easier. I have had my share of dark, lonely days. The ones when tomorrow seems far away.

Each one of us has a story of some sort to tell. Some story of adversity that we can share with others – to give them hope that they are not alone, and so they can see others have navigated through to the other side. Our family may not be quite to the end of the story, but we have made it very far on this journey. This is our story of hope. One voice can announce that there is freedom. This is not just one story, but the story of many. It is the story of thousands of voices that have been silenced in shame and fear due to sexual assault. In our country, 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. One brave voice can make a difference between hope and despair. If you are one of those voices that have been silent, I want you to know that you are not alone and that there is hope. It is my goal that someday there will be no more suffering in silence. Everyone deserves for their story to be heard. Everyone deserves healing.

From the time I was just a child my main goal in life was to be a good mother and wife. I vowed to protect my children and raise them right. I was blessed to be able to stay home with my children, until my divorce when my oldest was eight. At the time I was homeschooling. Our days were filled with lessons, nature walks, baking, and crafts. After the divorce our lives were turned upside down. It was a traumatic time. In a matter of months we moved, I went to work, I put the kids in school, and I began college. We were strong during that time, and a team. We made it a point each day to find something to be grateful for. As the years went on, it seemed that we were being blessed abundantly and that life was beginning to turn around. Until that one day. It shattered our lives and made me question everything I believed in.

I vaguely remember the day she told me about it. We were sitting on the front porch. The sun was going down, and there was a chill in the air. She was curled up on the little settee with her face hiding beneath a blanket. As a mother, it is the one thing you never want to hear. Much of that day is a blur now, although some things are seared into my mind forever. Someone had hurt my baby. It would eventually take two years before her brain would even allow herself to remember everything. She did what many do. For months she had hid her story from me. The details that came out over time were hard for me to comprehend. It was a stranger, and it involved a gun, and both sexual and physical assault. It was so hard for me to let my mind go there, but I often did.

In the months that followed her telling, I dragged myself through each day. She walked around like a wounded animal. We began our weekly visits to see a therapist in a city an hour away from us. Those weeks turned into years. They diagnosed her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Long talks happened in the car on the way to those appointments. We discussed the trials, fears, her struggles with her faith, and the hopes for the future. Every trip involved a celebration of life – a cup of coffee at the Starbucks across the street, or a red velvet cupcake from the bakery next door. Those days were bittersweet. Our relationship grew. Her strength amazed me. Often I would look at her, so fragile, and so beautiful. She was so undeserving of the pain she was enduring. I had never thought too much about heroes before. This child of mine was becoming my hero. During that time my doubts about my faith surfaced and some days I felt angry. For twenty years my life had revolved around my faith. My God had always been there for me. I had never wavered in my faith before. How could I trust again? There was so much confusion during this time.

The next year brought new symptoms. She began to have nightmares every night. Then soon after that the flashbacks began. Those moments would take my breath away. Sometimes she would try to spare me the pain. She was so brave. I also became good at hiding my feelings. She needed me to be strong for her. Many days I would go to work, shut my office door, and cry at my desk. Our life was so unpredictable and so similar to a storm. Some days were so beautiful. I truly felt grateful for each one of them. Then without warning, the skies would open up and the dark clouds would roll in. PTSD is unpredictable and it controls your world. There are very few normal days. They are either very good, or very bad. Life was a rollercoaster of emotion. I longed for normal again. We made many trips to doctors to seek answers. I don't know how we made it day to day. Things continued to grow worse. I began to do research on doctors, therapists and treatments. I scoured the PTSD support sites online. Surely there had to be an answer. Thankfully I found her help. We connected with a Post Trauma Coach, Dr. William Tollefson, thousands of miles away. He was able to work with us via Skype. Things are so much better today. For those of you suffering from PTSD know that there is help.

Eventually the answers I was seeking personally came to me. I think I wanted a complicated explanation – something that would explain everything. It wasn't complicated, or some major revelation. The simple truth came to me in a silent whisper one night. Things happen in an imperfect world. We live in a world where there is sickness and death. In our case, a bad thing happened when one person made a bad choice to hurt another. Innocent people sometimes suffer at the hands of others. We can’t control another’s will. There is no discrimination when it comes to tragedy. It can happen to any of us.

Around this time my daughter and I went to see the movie The Giver. Watching the movie was a turning point for me. It was about a perfect community, without pain and suffering. It was a community void of emotion, both positive and negative. It was a very bland and empty life. I remember walking out of the movie feeling stunned. The pain we have been through has been hard. However, I can't imagine a world without beauty and passion. Sometimes we have to accept both the good and the bad in order to love this beautiful life.

So what do you do when the unthinkable happens? You do the best you can. Take one step at a time, then one day at a time. Be proud that you are a survivor of hard things. Never give up! Agatha Christie sums it up well, “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

Jody Rae Anderson 

My name is Jody Rae Anderson and I live in what is known as "The Cold Spot" in northern Minnesota. I am a newlywed, after being a divorced single mom for eight years. I have two gorgeous girls. As a former military wife, I am an adventurer at heart and find it hard to settle down, even in my career. I am a Human Resources Manager by day, and will soon be a post-trauma recovery coach by night. I am known for my love affair with coffee, and I am a hoarder of books. The word bored is not in my vocabulary. I love the wild, rugged outdoors, but will jump at the chance to put on sparkles, a dress, and high heels. I am happiest though when I am either kayaking or traveling by snowmobile across frozen lakes and pulling fish through holes in the ice. My husband and I got married in January on the ice. I am a writer, a wannabe photographer, and recently became an educator to people on sexual assault and PTSD. I am a master at sowing seeds of hope. I have learned that despite tragedy or hardships that may come our way, through hope we can love this beautiful life. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

5 Tips for Stopping Numbing Emotions

"Hello Numbing My Dear Old Friend"

Everyone suffers from pain from time to time in their lives. We all respond to pain differently. Some of us medicate them right away once the emotion surfaces. Some of us do our best to ignore it which intensifies them. Some attempt to dissociate the pain. Some of us wallow in the misery. Some just can numb it out. Numbing is a mastered skill that keeps survivors from feeling a pain that was never dealt with.

No matter how you react to your pain, it is crucial that you should learn from your pain.

Your body feels pain to warn you of danger or impending hurt, but the pain also reminds you that you are alive. It is good to know you are alive. So sometimes that is why you seek out feelings and associated pain at the same time. Yet you desire to choose to numb it out. It causes you to seek isolation at times to just sit with no feeling at all.

What if Numbing is what keeps you in the past?

What if feeling nothing or numbing is the worse pain of all? What if sharing your pain connects you to others and the act of feeling reminds you that you are indeed not alone.

Ready to stop numbing?  

5 tips to change:

  • Be brave enough to ask for help.

  • Seek support from friends, family, therapist or life coach.

  • Clear away the clutter you have surrounded yourself with.  If you're a shopper, it’s probably physical stuff.  If it’s food, a good start is to clean out your pantry. If it is a bad relationship, then extract yourself from it.

  • Accept your feeling and begin to face them. Emotions are like waves. Emotions come in, and if you don't feed them, they will roll back out.

  • Reward yourself when you feel by doing nice things for you. In so you will reduce your fear of feeling.

After Thoughts

What if numbing keeps you attached to a trigger associated to an active embedded memory? Improve yourself by accepting your emotional pain has passed and in turn, connect to the moment where you're living. 

Be alive and connected to yourself and the pain will diminish if you do not feed it. If you do the reverse by attempting to bury your painful feelings the more it will come thundering back and become more intense.
    Coach Bill                                           
Visit my website and download my eBook as a gift

Thursday, June 4, 2015

6 Tips for Quieting Your Inner Voice

Living through and surviving an abusive, catastrophic, or traumatic situation is bad enough but the aftereffects can be even more trying. Days, months or even years after a survivor’s inner voice seems to magnify and attains a greater degree of influence over thoughts and reactions in the survivor's mind. I always thought it was normal for people to put themselves down if something wasn’t going right. Maybe I was wrong. After childhood abuse and growing up as a survivor, I would mentally and emotionally beat myself up. I would slash myself into little pieces with my own words … even when things were going right or good things were coming my way.  I became extremely compliant and loyal to what my self-critical voice told me about me. I let it dictate what to do and how to react. Over time, I learned that this self-flagellation never did anything good for me, except to spiral me down into a very dark place. It caused me to loathe myself even more, and the frequency of dissociative episodes I experienced increased. Each time, it became harder and harder to crawl out of my self-imposed emotional hole.

A side effect of listening to the self-critical voice in my head was that my self-confidence, self-loyalty, and self-love eroded away. I blamed myself more. I felt disconnected from my core self, and I constantly shamed myself.  The more I listened, the more I hated me. My emotional suffering increased as this critical inner voice gained more power. It not only gained power over how I reacted toward myself by influencing my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, but it also had an enormous amount of influence over how I reacted toward others.

As I grew older, I learned that this critical inner voice had resulted from statements made to me by my abusers and my emotional involvement with them. What I didn't understand was that emotional involvement with my perpetrators was not the same thing as love. What emotionally bonded me to them was the heightened emotions of fear, terror and hurt which they created during the abuse. It was these sharp intense negative emotions that allowed those criticisms, judgments, and blame to bypass my perceptual filters (my defenses) and embed straight into my subconscious as mind code. See … it is the power of the emotion (whether negative or positive) that allows critical messages to enter one’s head unchanged and unchallenged. More importantly, these accepted criticisms became the content that formed my core beliefs about myself. These core beliefs then became the messages of my critical voice that filled my mind and tortured me daily. Statements like “you're nothing,” “you caused that to happen,” “you have no value,” and “you're damaged.”

As I grew up, I heaped on myself tons of self-doubts, blame, shame, judgment and negative beliefs about me. The critical messages became more and more front and center in all my thoughts. They affected my relationships not only with myself but also with others in my life.

When I felt strong and my PTSD symptoms were not active, I was able to ignore my self-critical messages and was able to accomplish things in my life. At other times, I couldn't ignore those messages, and I had no power to stop them. These self-critical messages, besides being verbally damaging, came with very strong emotions. They governed all my responses … or lack of response. Now that I am older, I have learned this critical self-talk in my head is the result of having experienced abuse and trauma. It is normal to all survivors. Actually, it is normal to everyone, just not as intense. I finally found a name for this self-critical voice - inner critic.

Now, after years of attempting to heal, as well as helping others as a therapist and coach, I have gained respect for my inner critic, but that does not mean I like it. I have grown to understand every survivor has a very harsh and cruel inner critic. Whew!! I am not alone, not damaged, insane, nor defective, and most importantly, it wasn’t my fault. My inner critic is that inner judgmental part that carries the damaging statements from my perpetrators. The perpetrator’s statements caused my mind to form negative beliefs about me which directly influenced and distorted my view of my character and performance. The negative “you” statements which my perpetrators said to me, in time, became “I” beliefs in my head. For example, “you're nothing,” over time became “I am nothing.”

Through my years of coaching others, I found that my clients really identified with the term “inner critic.” I gave each client the assignment to write down all their inner critic statements. They submitted page after page of nasty comments which they heard in their heads. Survivors always had harsher and crueler lists, and their lists were much longer.

Here are a few more inner critical statements you might identify with: 

You caused it.

You're undeserving of anything.

You will fail at anything you do.

You're a loser.

You’re defective.

You are undeserving of love.

There is something wrong with you and no one will accept you.

You're ugly.

You don't deserve to live.

You never do good enough, or well enough.

You are different than others.

You will never have happiness or success.

You are not allowed to feel good about anything.

Bad things are always going to happen to you.

True Story

I recently watched a story on Joe Torre. He grew up in an abusive home with an abusive father who harshly criticized him all the time. Even with that dark past, he worked hard in sports and achieved many awards. He attained MVP as a player 8 times, 9 times all-star player and one MVP batting title. Joe went on to become one of the most winning baseball coaches in the history of baseball winning 2,326 games, and he won 4 World Series. He stated that the most important aspect of coaching was to make sure his players respected him. What I learned from this story is if you challenge your inner voice, you can beat it, nullify its negative content, and turn the negative self-talk into positive and productive self-talk.

Inner Critic Forms at Childhood

So, even with embedded criticism directed toward you from childhood, there is a part of yourself that retains your power, and you can triumph over those criticisms. You do not have to live with the negative content of your inner critic as your truth. Change can be had. You have the power to construct new content, practice it, and most of all, and connect a positive emotion to each new self-talk. If you acquire the right tools or learning, you can accomplish your objective of altering your self-talk. You can take back your power. In order to do so, you have to make your new inner messages your own, feel them, believe them, and then live them as your truth.

In other words, you can make a positive change to your inner critic content. You change it first by recognizing the old self-talk, denying those ideas as your truths and beliefs, and author new self-talk content. This will change the tone of the content and your mind code. Once you shift your inner talk, it should be more lighthearted, positive and supportive which will create a positive mental environment. This environment should allow you have some breathing room and be more flexible, grow, expand, risk and explore life’s possibilities. Through this method, I was able to create new self-talk content to replace the old inner critic so I could love, motivate and support myself with my own words. You can do it, too.

6 Tips How to Subdue Your Inner Critic

I want to share with you a few specific suggestions on how you can quiet your inner critic. If you are diligent with these suggestions, you can replace your inner critic’s content, which will result in changing your inner thoughts to be positive and supportive.

1. Get to know your inner critic, it's tone of voice, and its intentions.

Activate your observer self and listen to what is being said in your head. Listen from a third party perspective as if you are hearing it on the radio. Write each statement down. Recognize that each statement is an old criticism and an outright lie which was said to you at some point in your life by people close to you and society.

The most impactful criticisms came from your closest family to whom you were emotionally attached. Understand some of the criticisms were meant to ensure your emotional and physical safety or make you a “stronger person.” Know that your mind does not have or express feelings, it just records the words and repeats them back through your inner critic. The replay is always automatic.

2. Take some time to evaluate each inner critic statement; 
    go deep inside

Explore each critical statement and determine if you truly deserve the negativity, doubt, self-limiting thoughts self-defeating or criticism. Let your mind help you validate whether the content of your self-critical voice is true or false. Then note next to each critical statement who in your life said it and the situation or event where it occurred. The more you know the less power the critical content has. Find proof of why the criticism is wrong and unfounded. When you find the real truth, you will create a crack in that thought pattern and dissipate its power and influence, but that alone is not enough to achieve mental freedom.

3. Make a realistic plan to correct your inner critic

List one new positive statement to counteract each bit of critical content that would increase your self-worth and value.

It can be as simple as creating new content statements…“I deserve to be something” or “I deserve to look at myself in the mirror and love myself.” Once you have created these new statements, repeat them to yourself ten times a day for 90 days.

The trick to success in your plan is that these new content statements need to be specific, measurable, timelined and feel doable to you. Once you develop your new content, it becomes your action plan, and you need to give it life.

4. Stick with the program

Accept and feel a deep obligation to your action plan. Follow through daily for 90 days. You need to now accept that you are in charge of how you think about yourself, what you believe about yourself, what you are capable of, and how you will perform successfully.

I find that I get the best results and most successful when I keep track of these activities. Track yourself by keeping a journal of your progress. That way you will be able to see your commitment, day by day for those 90 days. Keeping track of what I do daily helps me to recognize when I fall off my action plan and motivates me to get back on track.

5. Hang out with people who think positive and are supportive of you and make you feel comfortable.

Be around people who see and experience you in a positive light, support you and know you as you really are. Let people who love you reflect the real you back to you. Start hanging out with people who could use support and reflect back to them how you see them in a positive light. Practice the balance of receiving and giving positive content rather than feeding negative self-talk.

6. Realize that you have the power to earn respect from your inner critic.

Understand that your inner critic has been attempting to protect you, be it through doubt, negative or critical statements. But don't let your inner critic influence your life or direct your thoughts. Earn respect from your mind by forming your own thoughts. You have that power. Once you decide this, the rest is pretty much practice and patience.

If you follow these suggestions, you can alter the content of your inner critic and, therefore, be more positive and successful in your thoughts … and that will manifest in your life.

After Thoughts

Your inner critic can be very troublesome due to past traumatic experiences. If you follow the 6 tips mentioned you can make a positive change in your life then you will notice calming of your negative chatter of your inner critic and attain some peace of mind.

How to change your Inner Critic content in one month at home:  

Want to change and stop your self-limiting, self-sabotaging and self-defeating inner critic fast at home?

You, too, can change your mind code that feeds your inner critic and stops your self-limiting, self-sabotaging and self-defeating 
self-talk with the 30 Day Challenge in just one month. Start today!

Please visit my website and here is a gift from me of my eBook  

         Coach Bill

7 Tips for Mind Hacking

As every human navigates through their life, they are very aware of their conscious thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, but not what governs their life. Most are very unaware of subconscious code and their personal philosophy embedded inside (core beliefs and core expectations). The subconscious embedded data or mind code contains the script for our lives.

Most people don't even acknowledge that their subconscious mind has any significant influence on how they act, feel or think. Yet the fact is that the human subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than the conscious mind. 

The truth is the subconscious mind operates 95 to 99 percent of your lives from performed subconscious code. 

Therefore deep within your mind, you have strong codes that generate your thoughts which in turn influence your behaviors and emotions. Mind code plays a considerable part in your everyday inner life as well as your life. 

In fact, your code began forming from the moment your brain turned on, and your mind continues to develop new beliefs about self every day. Mind code may govern more of your life than you know. 

There is no doubt that your subconscious mind has an incredibly powerful effect on the way you live your life. Your subconscious is more powerful and influential than you realize. Your subconscious mind can block your ability to govern your life. Your subconscious mind holds the code for the direction of your life produces all your core belief about how you think and feel about yourself, others and how you react to situations.

Subconscious Beliefs 

Your subconscious beliefs or know as core beliefs are constantly working behind the scenes of your conscious mind either for you or against you, but the truth is that you are not controlling your life because your subconscious mind supersedes all conscious efforts at conscious control. So when you are trying to heal from a conscious level through repeating affirmations, positive talk or attempting to convince yourself that you're healthy, there is an invisible pre-written subconscious mind script that’s sabotaging your efforts and working against you.

This is part of the reason why I'm such a big believer in methods that can adjust and change your subconscious beliefs. Researchers who conduct studies on the subconscious mind do not yet know how or when, exactly, but your subconscious mind’s drives get triggered and then suddenly become conscious; or under which certain circumstances you are able to override hidden urges by force of will. Millions have quit smoking, for instance, and uncounted numbers have resisted darker urges to misbehave that researchers can't explain yet and don't even fully understand. Apparently, there is a code that helps that overriding to occur.

What research does know is you are not alone in your own consciousness. Study findings state that your subconscious mind will adjust your body’s biology, your emotional reaction, your mind’s thinking and your behavior to fit with your core beliefs. For example, if you've been told by a doctor, you'll die in six months from cancer, and if your mind believes it, you most likely will die in six months. Unknown to the doctor and the patient, the patient had a code and core belief that once you get cancer, you die. My father was one who after he was told he had cancer he believed that he was going to die in a matter of months and he did.

The reverse is also true. Some individuals receive wrong diagnoses, and he or she believes they will get better, and their innate self-healing kicks in and they heal. If you could dig into the subconscious of this type of person, you would find a core belief or positive code that would allow his or her body to heal. 
Positive code produces positive beliefspositive thinking, positive emotions and positive expectations.

Subconscious Beliefs Are Key To Shaping Your World

Where do all those thoughts come from? 

Because your subconscious mind plays such a massive part in our lives, the questions of why and how we act, feel, react and think have intrigued philosophers, researchers, and scientists throughout time. Yet the fundamental workings of the subconscious mind remains a mystery.

Too many modern researchers and philosophers have discovered that just thinking good thoughts, willing something to be positive or reciting endless affirmations for hours on end doesn't bring about positive results that feel-good books promise. Counter-intuitively focusing on changing negative thoughts to positive by attacking at the thought level is fruitless and will not change thoughts to positive. To change negative thinking can only occur if the core beliefs that generate them are broken.

Why is that? Because negative thoughts are programmed and accepted in the subconscious mind due to the way a person was coded. Also as the result of harmful embedded code, negative beliefs are formed, and they become so powerful and influential over you. Core beliefs govern whether thoughts are positive or negative and thoughts determine if behavior and emotions are positive or negative.

“The major problem is that you may not be aware of your conscious manifestations of your subconscious code, but not the actual subconscious network of codes and beliefs that generate your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Most people don't even acknowledge that their subconscious mind is at play at all when the fact is that the subconscious mind rules your life. Recent research has shown that your "rational mind" only interrupts the material that lies in the subconscious and is only a minor player how a human act, feels and thinks.

Understand that your mind code and core beliefs in your subconscious mind is working either for you or against you. The truth is that you are not controlling your life because your subconscious mind supersedes all conscious controls. So when you are trying to heal from a conscious level method like citing affirmations and telling yourself you're healthy–there may be an invisible subconscious program that’s sabotaging you.” 

The power of the subconscious mind’s code is elegantly revealed in you when you promise you will not say, do or eat something because it will result in something wrong or hurt you in some way. But no matter how hard you work on keeping the promise, you end up breaking it. 

In recent years, the practice of mindfulness has increasingly been used in medical settings to moderate the harmful effects of the subconscious mind. It has been recognized with awareness and self-observation can do much more, such as to perceive the reality of the present moment free of the influence of preformed codes and beliefs which allows you to avoid any negative consequences either of them may bring.

tips on becoming more mindful by changing mind code

  1. Stop, take a couple of moments to focus on your breathing. 
      Intuitively sense the flow of the breath, the rise and fall of your belly.

  2. Do one thing at a time. Don't multitask, just complete                       single tasks. If you are sitting then just sit if you are 
      walking then just walk.
  3. Notice what you are doing as you are doing it and tune 
      into your senses. When you are walking out in nature, 
      notice the color, texture, and smell of the air and smell 
     of the plants around.

  4. Take some time to just be. When your mind wanders 
      to thinking, gently bring it back to your breath. You do 
      not have to be always “doing and being productive” all the time.

  5. Don't worry about the future, focus on the present. 

  6. Recognize that beliefs are merely beliefs. You don't 
      need to accept or act on them.

  7. When you zone out on mundane tasks, bring yourself 
       back to the moment by stopping, and thinking about 
       your chest rising and lowering or your heart beating 
       which will bring you back to the present.

After Thoughts

If you follow the 7 tips above you will be able to make a positive change to your preformed mind codes that have been self-limiting and self-sabotaging. Otherwise known as just purely defeating. It is essential that you follow through on all of the 7 tips.

Visit my website and click here for free eBook.
         Coach Bill