Monday, August 31, 2015

betrayal as a blessing

This is a follow-up to my previous post on betrayal and revenge
In her book, Surviving a Shark Attack (on Land), 
Dr. Laura Schlessinger provides some 
things a pessimist like me often fails to consider
valuable insights for everyone to consider when dealing with betrayal.

You will be betrayed. Being betrayed is not always in your control. But how you respond, is

In her book, Dr. Laura writes, "The blessing of some powder-keg explosions [is that] cleaning up the debris often reveals new objects for valuing... 

"The greatest source of misunderstanding for a large percentage of betrayed people is that when they stay immersed in their unhappiness about being betrayed, they in turn betray all the wonderful people who love and stand by them. Husbands and wives who spend their time depressed and anxious about their problems with a betrayer rob their families of the love and attention they would be giving them if the were not so focused on the betrayer."

I admit I have been guilty of this. It can be extremely difficult to not to let the pain swallow you alive. However, "if you are so bogged down with hurt and rage over a betrayal, then you might miss out on what could possibly change your life forever--and in the most positive way."

Sometimes, betrayals are blessings in disguise. 

People are often afraid of change and taking on new challenges. Betrayals force you out of your comfort zone complacency and give you the chance kick in the butt to look for better opportunities and circumstances. It may take the form of finding a new job, a new church, a new mentor, or a new significant other. In any case, you might just end up with something (or someone) much better than you'd ever dared to hope for.

Second, betrayals show you the people in your life that you can/cannot trust. Betrayals allow you to weed out the bad ones and further appreciate the good ones. They reveal your true friends, and the people who are willing to stand by you and/or what is right, regardless of the cost. Even if it changes nothing in your situation, it means you are not alone. However, Dr. Laura cautions: "Don't judge the amount of support [you receive]. Embrace whatever comes your way--it is in the category of blessing." 

Finally, betrayals can cause you to question and examine yourself. While you are not responsible for the actions of others, there may well be some things you've done or said that contributed to the betrayal. Regularly assess your own motives and actions to make sure you are doing/being your best. That is a blessing also!

"In looking for the silver lining, you learn how not to feel like the victim. If you are grasping on to that identity, you marinate in unhappiness and resentment..." 

Learn from your past. Don't trust just anyone. Put your energies into the quality things and people in your life today; learn to be grateful for the loving relationships you do have and don't take them for granted. However painful, betrayal can be a blessing in disguise--if you let it.

on betrayal and revenge

It's no secret I have had my share of betrayals from friends, family, and fellow church members over the past number of years. So when I saw Dr. Laura Schlessinger's  book, Surviving a Shark Attack (on Land): Overcoming Betrayal and Dealing with Revenge, I knew I had to read it. 
It was encouraging to read a professional therapist's stories of her own struggles with betrayal -- but also to have her validate many points (especially on forgiveness and trust) that I'd already made in previous blog posts. This post, then, is a summary of her book and what I have learned/experienced in my own life.

Betrayals are a "breach of trust to a code or a person, including acts of dishonesty, lying, cheating, or stealing, double-crossing, deception, gossiping, duplicity, unfaithfulness, treason, leading astray, undermining, selling out..." They leave you stunned, sad, scared, and very very angry. 

Sometimes you become so cynical that it changes the ways you think and react to people. 

 "When you are attacked, the first reaction is shock and disbelief. Next you try to shut down what is happening. When that doesn't work, you strike back--which usually makes the situation worse. After a while, you turn to others for solace, emotional support, and assistance in getting the betrayer to back off.... However, [most people] don't want a bull's eye pasted onto their backs next...[so] you end up being not only victimized but abandoned to fight your fight alone."

Now, just for the record, let's clarify the difference between feeling hurt and being hurt by someone's intent to hurt. Sometimes we feel hurt and betrayed when someone tells it like it is, or offers us a painful reality check to help us grow. In truth, we just aren't ready to accept it.  Also, feeling betrayed and wanting revenge for a situation that is your own fault is ridiculous--another party is not responsible for something that you were too blind or stupid to avoid.  This goes for gossip as well. 

Gossip is never harmless. If people do it with you, they'll do it to you. 

Also, you must learn to see the difference between an "event" and a "pattern." An event occurs when a person is truly sorry and there is a room for forgiveness and a continuation of intimacy. "Where there is a pattern, the other person is simply dangerous and destructive, and apologies are manipulations to keep you around to hurt some more....Betrayals are not necessarily 'events,' they are often repetitive or continuous insults, hurts, and destruction...Getting vengeance, or even justice, sometimes takes more from your life than it gives...These are times when you must physically and emotionally walk away."

When people are betrayed, they learn they are capable of some very negative emotions: hate, rage, and the need to get revenge. However, "the thing about most 'bad' people, betrayers, is that they are like roaches: no matter how much you spray them or try to squash them, they live to scurry another day." 

Therein lies the rub--"good people are helpless to some degree in the face of evil and mean because 'good' has rules of engagement, while evil and mean are free to do or say whatever they wish without any...guilt." The Bible says that "consequences for a wrong act cannot be greater than the original insult or assault; in fact, they must be less if there are mitigating circumstances...Justice is supposed to be devoid of emotion so it will be respected by all....Vengeance is justice smothered in passion... Passion often leads us to respond out of proportion to the hurt...Vengeance is difficult to attain without tarnishing the self."

"While we can't control the world, we do have control over our actions and decisions...The type of vengeance we choose to administer is a window into our character and a building block for our souls....It is easier to hate than to move on...hate requires nothing but re-hashing the story and stoking the fire to keep the flame of rage alive." 

To quote Dick Armey, "You can not get ahead while you are getting even."  

However, you don't do hardworking, sweet, and nice to change the evildoer's heart. You do it to "salvage your own life and inner being." If you can transfer your hatred and rage into something positive or benevolent, it's like "using poop for fertilizer instead of an assault." 

People who do bad things, range from "sociopathic personalities" [ie. narcissists], to the "everyday individual who justifies his or her bad behaviour in the most extraordinary ways." When someone tries to call them out on their behaviour, they will not hear it. To back down by admitting wrongdoing would "be such an assault on their inner well-being that it is to be avoided at all costs." They will justify their behaviour, distort the truth, make up facts, and rationalize, rationalize, rationalize. While betrayers may have different motivations, they all believe "life should be all about 'me'; what makes me happy, what makes me look good, what gets me what I want..." 

So, what kinds of people are betrayers? According to Dr. Laura, they are:
1. PossessivePossessiveness comes from insecurity and is one of the first warning signs that someone is "potentially dangerous." Their focus is not on relationship; it is only on their fears and needs. "If you haven't sufficiently pleased or satisfied them, they will betray you."
2. Entitled
3. Competitive
4. Defensive
5. Greedy
6. Jealous
7. Unhappy
8. Lacking IdentityHurting others gives them a sense of importance and power.
9. Evil. People for whom doing evil deeds is the norm.  They are "entertained and pleased by their acts."
10. ExpedientSome people will turn on you simply because "they want to get in the right place, with the right people, at the right time, to take care of themselves. You are but a small inconvenience." 

Dr. Laura goes on to conclude that trusting everybody is foolish. "The people you trust, rely on, and count on completely (who have proven themselves over time) should be at the center of your circle. These are very few...but you will receive more from them than those people in the outer rings of your circle... They are the ones you turn to when tragedy strikes or when you are in need of profound support," while the people in the outer rings are those you just hang around or joke around with. 

"It is most important to be able to distinguish between those rings and appreciate each person for what he or she is able to do and give. This requires maturity, which is most often forged in the fire of emotional pain: betrayals."

Sunday, August 9, 2015

down on the farm

We have a bunch of cute barn kittens again this year. 

Several of them were more than happy to participate in a photo shoot this evening.

Last year I wrote about my brother trying his hand at farming. This year was no exception.

We got almost 260 bales off this one field. 

I'm not sure if we'll get any more hay off this year due to machinery breakdowns, but it was great to have my brother, myself, and Mr. Gryce all working together. 

It makes my heart so very happy to keep the family farming tradition alive. 

Hopefully one day the hay mow will be full again. Next year?

garage renovation - part 1

"...Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
from 'Better Homes and Garden' magazine.
Plans were drawn and concrete poured,
and nail by nail and board by board,
Daddy gave life to Mama's dream..."

(Miranda Lambert, "The House That Built Me")


Our garage addition all started with a dream several years ago, back before we even got married.

my initial little sketch on a piece of scrap paper

After completing the interior of our house last fall, we decided it was time to move on to the back shed and the exterior of the house. We wanted to take this:

and turn it into this:

After meeting with five different contractors, (some of whom were less impressive than others), we went with Mr. Gryce's gut, (and my uncle's recommendation), and hired Schaly Design/Build, Inc. on the spot.  After our share of contractor troubles in the past, this turned out to be a great choice that we did not regret!

Instead hiring a designer to draw up official blueprints for us to even get an estimate, Walt drew them up for us himself, saving us roughly $1200 from the get-go. 

upstairs loft

downstairs garage

Once we approved the plans, we were all set to go. We applied for our building permit and put Dan to work stripping off the old siding from the wood shed:

Because all our electricity came via an overhead wire running across the ceiling of the wood shed, our next step was to get Walt to start digging a trench for the new hydro line.

On Walt's recommendation, we hired GRT Electric to come switch us over to the new underground wire.

With the new line in place, we were ready for demolition day!

And just like that, our old woodshed was gone!

The next step was to dig the footings and pour the concrete.

After passing inspection, we could start building the block foundation....

...flatten out the dirt for the garage floor....

...and get some grading done around our garden at the same time! (why not??)

Next came a load of gravel....

...and the concrete.

Finally, it was time to start framing. 

Our garage took shape within just a few days.

Now that the frame is up and the roof is on, stay tuned for the rest of the story, coming soon in part 2 of this post.