Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, May 21, 2018

NO HELP to Victim of Domestic Violence from Pastor & Church Community!

(from our friend at EMOTIONAL ABUSE & FAITH:)

I read quite a lot of articles regarding domestic violence in regards to the faith prospective. At times I realize that I get naïve thinking maybe things would get a little better once people decide to share their experiences. I read things and they point to getting in touch with your church, having your pastor and their resources help you. For goodness SAKES don’t go secular!

I think in some circumstances that’s just not wise!

I have been watching a story unfold recently. It started – for me anyway – on two very popular faith boards. It was a story of a married young woman with 2 small children. As in most stories of domestic violence I don’t think she saw it for what it was at first. We all have to have our realizations. I guess in the past she did have churches that told her that he needed help, and that he could be in danger of hurting himself or others. Steps were taken for the reconciliation, and then they had to move and it basically started all over again.

It ended with him having to leave the home after he attacked one of the children. Pictures were documents, and emails filled with venom with his justifications. Threats of cutting off personal communication with his children and all financial aid, because he needed some respect. The emails would make anyone’s hair curl.

The first faith board she went to she was threatened with posters calling CPS or Child Protective Services. She was chewed up and spit out on this faith board, and moderators sat back and watched. They never got involved. The husband had been removed from the home, and that would be the first step that CPS would have taken anyway. I never quite understood why the threats. The poster did the responsible thing, and reported the incident herself so I don’t understand why that wasn’t good enough.

The second faith board basically shut her up. Her thread went on for 10 pages as she recorded threats after threats that he was sending, and she was receiving replies of support. Conversations between the pastor and meetings with him as he basically attacked her in front of him, and at that point there was no more questions as to what the church was dealing with.

A call for a meeting with the Elders was next. Meanwhile, the man broke into the home and started to threaten her while she was on the phone with someone. I guess that person called the police, and the police told her she must get a restraining order. He also had to leave. The restraining order was granted as of now. Her thread was removed – disappeared – because they felt it was getting too personal.

They would possibly ‘revisit’ it if she could get a note from her pastor stating she needed this, and they would have to have a phone conference to discuss this as well. She is no longer allowed to discuss her personal situation, or mention any parts of her family on the board. She is welcome to reply to others if she wishes. Isn’t that nice?

The church has offered ‘spiritual’ support for this family. They will have no place to live soon, sounds like she needs to have the locks changed, has no resources or money of her own. She asked for a letter for her order of protection from the church stating they are helping with accountability, moral support, etc. The church basically told her they were not qualified to do that. Qualified? Hmm. I guess that is true. They have already informed her that they can offer no financial assistant, housing or anything else of substance.

I think people need to see this so they can understand WHY these women go secular, and WHY they also get killed! It’s too ugly for people to deal with. It doesn’t happen within the church. I’m not going to say all churches; organizations are like this, because they aren’t all like this.

There are enough of them, and article after article is thrown into the mix about how women need to learn to submit more.
It just burns me.

If a Christian Counselor, Pastors, Christian Mentors and others from the fellowship don’t do much in ways of help in the real world, and if online faith boards continue to shut this issue down. Where are these people supposed to go?

I’m so disgusted. YES there is way more to the story, and it’s as plain as the nose on anyone’s face what is happening. Don’t go secular – keep it within the Christian fold. Okay. We are waiting…….. now what? Does anyone else see what other options this family has? I’m at a lost myself.

I can’t recommend you go to Crosswalk or Family Life for support in these types of circumstances. Please use those avenues for other types of things. If your church can’t help please find one that will!

Don’t turn down secular help in the meanwhile; it maybe the only source of support you will get in real time!
Please pray for this family.

Please digg, stumble, etc if you feel this type of story needs to get out!

We need to break the silence within the church about domestic violence!
FROM:Emotional Abuse and Your Faith: Pastor, Faith Boards Online, and Church Community says NO HELP to Victim of Domestic Violence

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shared by Barbara at 12:26 AM 6 comments


Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Lying Game

In an Internet-hookup culture, even sensitive guys think they’re players.

By Amy Sohn

Men have always lied to women to get what they want, but these days many New York women are finding that mendacity has evolved from an isolated disease into a full-blown epidemic. Internet dating and the ease of casual sex have made men unwilling to play by anyone else’s rules but their own, even if it means they must deceive to get what they want. If one woman won’t sleep with a guy on the first date, he can lie to get her out of the house and find someone who will. And when men are caught, they are surprisingly unrepentant; the moral bar has been lowered so far that women who complain about deception come off as high-maintenance psychos. Worse, by the time men are caught, they’ve already reaped the benefits—which is their goal.

Kelly, a 29-year-old writer, met Todd, a guy in his late forties, at an art opening in Chelsea, and after they’d been dating for a year and a half, she discovered that he had another long-term girlfriend. “I had met his parents, he had met mine, I had helped him decorate his apartment, spent time at his Hamptons house, and gone on a vacation with him. It turned out he had met her the same time he met me and he couldn’t decide between us so he kept both things going.”

There had been suspicious signs: He was often “busy with work” or hard to get hold of. One day, she stole his computer address book and called every woman until she found her rival. “It turned out she had met his parents too, gone to his house on the weekends I wasn’t there, and helped him pick out all the things for his apartment that I hadn’t,” says Kelly.

Kelly was furious when she found out how far things had progressed. “This was the worst lie anyone ever told me because it was so continuous.” He didn’t act guilt-ridden when she confronted him, nor was he angry about how she found out. “I’d asked him many times if he was seeing someone else, and he always said no. He claimed that it wasn’t a lie, it was a sin of omission.”

Melinda, 31, a grad student, recently met a television executive named Dave on Nerve’s dating site. He wrote in his profile that he was looking for honesty, and she liked him when she met him. “He was like a good Boy Scout,” she recalls. “He seemed like someone looking for sincerity.”

She suggested they go back to his place, but it turned out he was house-sitting. When they got to the apartment, he became sexually aggressive. After she made it clear she didn’t want to go further, he went into the bathroom. When he came out, he was talking on his cell phone. “ ‘You’re at La Guardia?’ ” she heard him saying. “ ‘You’re back a week early?’”

“I didn’t hear the phone ring,” Melinda recalls, “and I couldn’t hear anyone on the other end. He was saying much more than you would need to. It seemed very unreal.”

Melinda thinks the New York social scene is responsible for men’s increasing propensity to lie. “With all the easy hook-ups and dispensable dates, it gives even the nerdiest guys a swagger,” she says. “In New York, even the guy-next-door type has learned to be a player.”

Lying is not just a heterosexual phenomenon. It is also rampant in the gay community, where many men will say almost anything to get out of a date if something better comes along. Charles, 42, an academic, had been dating Stephen, who often traveled on business trips. One night, while on (a site where gay men troll for sex), he found Stephen’s profile. “A friend of mine wanted me to see if his boyfriend was on there,” says Charles. “As I was checking the site, I stumbled across Stephen’s profile.

“He would often say, ‘I’m supposed to leave on business this weekend,’ and this was what he was doing instead. I didn’t know which was more pathological: that he was lying or that he was being so precise with his language, always saying he was ‘supposedly’ going away so he wouldn’t, technically, be lying.”

Though men may lie because they think it’s easier than telling the truth, all the aforementioned victims expressed confusion about the logic of lying as much as the ethics. “It was such an amazing thing to me,” says Kelly of her two-timing ex. “The emotional investment of maintaining two girlfriends just seemed so ridiculous. I didn’t see why he’d bother.”


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shared by Barbara at 12:28 AM 1 comments


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Carrying A Torch...



Someone who leaves you becomes very powerful to your emotional brain. They become powerful simply by being able to inflict so much pain. Being left is perceived by your mammalian brain as an attack upon your personal being. It etches an indelible impression in a primitive part of the brain that acts automatically to protect you. It conditions your mammalian brain to react with fear each time you encounter the person whom it perceives as dangerous to your well being. Acting beneath your conscious awareness, it maintains a constant vigil on your abandoner.

You experience this as being temporarily obsessed with the person. Your nerves are set to 'go off' if you should unexpectedly bump into them later on or see them with a new love. This enduring emotional reactivity is known as 'carrying a torch.' You are confused into thinking that if the pain can last that long and feel so strong, the person must have been very special. But this is not so. You can feel this way over anyone, even someone who had nothing special to offer. It is just your mammalian brain efficiently trying to warn you not to make the same mistake again.


Unresolved abandonment - - the source of our insecurities, addictions, compulsions, and distress.

Unresolved abandonment - - the insidious virus invading body mind and soul - - the culprit for the anxiety we are forever trying to self-medicate with food, alcohol, shopping, people and a host of other self defeating behaviors.

Unresolved abandonment - - the roadblock to reaching our potential - - the invisible wound that drains self esteem from within - - the hidden trap that keeps us stuck in patterns of self-sabotage.

Unresolved abandonment - - the chronic insecurity that becomes the scourge of human relationship. Unresolved abandonment - - the internal barrier to fully connecting to others. Fear short-circuits our attempts to find love - - we struggle to find and keep relationships. We become abandoholics.

Unresolved abandonment - - the elusive grief so many seek therapy for and can't seem to overcome - - an undifferentiated emptiness often mis-diagnosed as depression and inappropriately medicated. Sometimes its stress and agitation are persistent enough to create chemical imbalances that do, in fact, respond to drug therapy.

Unresolved abandonment - - simplistic methods like 'positive thinking' or just going to therapy do not deter it. Programs like Co-dependency, Alanon, and Adult Child have attempted to assuage the erosion of energy and self worth caused by unresolved abandonment. But for all of their positive 'affirmations', they have not been able to address the system of drainage that lies buried within.

Likewise, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon, and Over-eaters Anonymous, etc. have been extremely effective in dealing with the addictive and co-addictive problems secondary to abandonment, but are unable to go beyond the symptoms and treat the underlying abandonment wound itself.

Self-help books have tended to have a placebo effect. They offer reasonable enough sounding advice, like "Find happiness from within." But these truisms are easier said than done. Many abandonees feel inadequate when they try to perform them and are not able to "Just let go" and "Move forward."

Unresolved abandonment - - people continue searching for one more tape, one more lecture, one more book that will finally free them. But all of the self-medicating and soothing words in the world will not eradicate the distress, disturbance and dysfunction caused by unresolved abandonment. For that you must go beyond insight. You must take action.

Abandonment survivors need more than symptom management and feel-good relief. They need an approach that facilitates not the illusion of change, but real change.

This can only happen when you realize that the magic bullet is not in any book or program. It is within you. It is your ability to integrate awareness with action.

What is abandoholism?
You’ve heard of food-oholism, work-oholism, shop-oholism and, of course, alcoholism. Now here comes another, most insidious, addictive pattern – aband-oholism.

Abandoholism is a tendency to become attracted to unavailable partners. Many abandonment survivors are caught up in this painful pattern.

Abandoholism is similar to the other ‘oholisms, but instead of being addicted to a substance, you’re addicted to the emotional drama of heartbreak. You pursue hard-to-get partners to keep the romantic intensity going, and to keep your body’s love-chemicals and stress hormones flowing.

What makes someone an abandoholic?

Abandoholism sets in when you’ve been hurt so many times that you’ve come to equate insecurity with love. Unless you’re pursuing someone you’re insecure about, you don’t feel in love.

Conversely, when someone comes along who wants to be with you, that person’s availability fails to arouse the required level of insecurity. If you can’t feel those yearning, lovesick feelings, then you don’t feel attracted, so you keep pursuing unavailable partners.

You become psychobiologically addicted to the high stakes drama of an emotional challenge and the love-chemicals that go with it.

Abandoholism is driven by both fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment.

When you’re attracted to someone, it arouses a fear of losing that person. This fear causes you to become clingy and needy. You try to hide your insecurity, but your desperation shows through, causing your partners to lose romantic interest in you. They sense your emotional suction cups aiming straight toward them and it scares them away.

Fear of engulfment is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It occurs when someone is pursuing you and now you’re the one pulling back. You feel engulfed by that person’s desire to be with you. When fear of engulfment kicks in, you panic. Your feelings shut down. You no longer feel the connection. The panic is about your fear of being engulfed by the other person’s emotional expectations of you. You fear that the other person’s feelings will pressure you to abandon your own romantic needs.

Fear of engulfment is one of the most common causes for the demise of new relationships, but it is carefully disguised in excuses like: "He just doesn’t turn me on." Or "I don’t feel any chemistry." Or "She’s too nice to hold my interest." Or "I need more of a challenge."

Abandoholics tend to swing back and forth between fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment. You’re either pursuing hard-to-get-lovers, or you’re feeling turned off by someone who IS interested in you.

What is Abando-phobism?

Abandophobics are so afraid of rejection that they avoid relationships altogether.

Abandophobics act out their fear of abandonment by remaining socially isolated, or by appearing to search for someone, when in fact they are pursuing people who are unattainable, all to avoid the risk of getting attached to a real prospect – someone who might abandon them sooner or later.

There is a little abandophobism in every abandoholic.

For both abandoholics and abandophobics, a negative attraction is more compelling than a positive one.

You only feel attracted when you’re in pursuit. You wouldn’t join any club who would have you as a member, so you’re always reaching for someone out of reach.

How do abandoholism and abandophobism set in?

These patterns may have been cast in childhood. You struggled to get more attention from your parents but you were left feeling unfulfilled, which caused you to doubt your self-worth. Over time, you internalized this craving for approval and you learned to idealize others at your own expense. This became a pattern in your love-relationships.

Now as an adult, you recreate this scenario by giving your love-partners all of your power, elevating them above yourself, recreating those old familiar yearnings you grew accustomed to as a child. Feeling emotionally deprived and "less-than" is what you’ve come to expect.

Why does the insecurity linger?

Recent scientific research shows that rather than dissipate, fear tends to incubate, gaining intensity over time. Insecurity increases with each romantic rejection, causing you to look to others for something you’ve become too powerless to give yourself: esteem. When you seek acceptance from a withholding partner, you place yourself in a one-down position, recreating the unequal dynamics you had with your parents or peers. You choreograph this scenario over and over.

Conversely, you are unable to feel anything when someone freely admires or appreciates you.

This abandonment compulsion is insidious. You didn’t know it was developing. Until now you didn’t have a name for it: Abandoholism is a new concept.

Insecurity is an aphrodisiac.

If you are a hard-core abandoholic, you’re drawn to a kind of love that is highly combustible. The hottest sex is when you’re trying to seduce a hard-to-get lover. Insecurity becomes your favorite aphrodisiac. These intoxicated states are produced when you sense emotional danger – the danger of your lover’s propensity to abandon you the minute you get attached.

At the other end of the seesaw, you turn off and shut down when you happen to successfully win someone’s love. If your lover succumbs to your charms – heaven forbid – you suddenly feel too comfortable, too sure of him to stay interested. There’s not enough challenge to sustain your sexual energy. You interpret your turn-off as his not being right for you.

How about following your gut?

If you’re an abandoholic, following your gut is probably what got you into these patterns in the first place. Your gut gets you to pursue someone who makes your heart go pitter pat, not because he’s the right one, but because he arouses fear of abandonment. And your gut gets you to avoid someone who is truly trustworthy, because he doesn’t press the right insecurity buttons.

Enrich your mind. Follow your wisdom. But until you overcome your abandonment compulsion, don’t follow your gut – it will only get you into trouble – because your gut tells you that unavailable people are attractive.


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shared by Barbara at 12:06 AM 2 comments


Friday, May 18, 2018

Getting Law Enforcement Authorities & the Police Involved

If you want the nightmare to end, there is a rule of thumb which requires courage and determination to implement:

Involve the police whenever possible.

Report his crimes as soon as you can and make sure you retain a copy of your complaint. Your abuser counts on your fear of him and on your natural propensity to keep domestic problems a secret. Expose him to scrutiny and penalties. This will make him re-consider his actions next time around.

Physical assault is a criminal offence as are rape and, in some countries, stalking and marital rape. If you have been physically or sexually assaulted, go to the nearest hospital and document your injuries. Be sure to obtain copies of the admission form, the medical evaluation report, and of any photographs and exam results (X-rays, computerized tomography-CT, biopsies, and so on).

If your abusive intimate partner verbally threatens you, your nearest and dearest, or your property or pets - this is also criminal conduct. To the best of your ability, get him on tape or make him repeat his threats in the presence of witnesses. Then promptly file a complaint with the police.

If your abuser forces you to remain indoors, in isolation, he is committing an offence. Forced confinement or imprisonment is illegal. While so incarcerated, failing to provide you with vital necessities - such as air, water, medical aid, and food - is yet another criminal act.

Damage to property rendering it inoperative or useless - is mischief. It is punishable by law. Same goes for cruelty to animals (let alone children).

If your partner swindled you out of funds or committed fraud, theft, or perjury (by falsifying your signature on a checking or credit card account, for instance) - report him to the police. Financial abuse is as pernicious as the physical variety.

In most countries, the police must respond to your complaint. They cannot just file it away or suppress it. They must talk to you and to your partner separately and obtain written and signed statements from both parties. The police officer on the scene must inform you of your legal options. The officer in charge must also furnish you with a list of domestic violence shelters and other forms of help available in your community.

If you suspect that a member of your family is being abused, the police, in most countries, can obtain a warrant permitting entry into the premises to inspect the situation. They are also authorized to help the victim relocate (leave) and to assist her in any way, including by applying on her behalf and with her consent to the courts to obtain restraining and emergency protection orders. A breach of either of these orders may be an indictable criminal offence as well as a civil offence.

If you decide to pursue the matter and if there are reasonable grounds to do so, the police will likely lay charges against the offender and accuse your partner of assault. Actually, your consent is only a matter of formality and is not strictly required. The police can charge an offender on the basis of evidence only.

If the team on the scene refuses to lay charges, you have the right to talk to a senior police officer. If you cannot sway them to act, you can lay charges yourself by going to the court house and filing with a Justice of the Peace (JP). The JP must let you lay charges. It is your inalienable right.

You cannot withdraw charges laid by the police and you most probably will be subpoenaed to testify against the abuser.

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shared by Barbara at 12:52 AM 2 comments


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Why Women Stay

Situational Factors
Economic dependence. How can she support herself and the children? Fear of greater physical danger to herself and her children if they try to leave.

Fear of being hunted down and suffering a worse beating than before.

Survival. Fear that her partner will follow her and kill her if she leaves, often based on real threats by her partner.

Fear of emotional damage to the children.

Fear of losing custody of the children, often based on her partner's remarks.

Lack of alternative housing; she has nowhere else to go.

Lack of job skills; she might not be able to get a job.

Social isolation resulting in lack of support from family and friends.

Social isolation resulting in lack of information about her alternatives.

Lack of understanding from family friends, police, ministers, etc.

Negative responses from community, police, courts, social workers, etc.

Fear of involvement in the court process; she may have had bad experiences before.

Fear of the unknown. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't."

Fear and ambivalence over making formidable life changes.

"Acceptable violence". The violence escalates slowly over time. Living with constant abuse numbs the victim so that she is unable to recognize that she is involved in a set pattern of abuse.

Ties to the community. The children would have to leave their school, she would have to leave all her friends and neighbors behind, etc. For some women, it would be like being in the Witness Protection program--she could never have any contact with her old life.

Ties to her home and belongings.

Family pressure; because Mom always said, "I told you it wouldn't work out." or "You made your bed, now you sleep in it."

Fear of her abuser doing something to get her (report her to welfare, call her workplace, etc.)

Unable to use current resources because of how they are provided (language problems, disability, homophobia, etc.) Time needed to plan and prepare to leave.

Emotional Factors
Insecurity about being alone, on her own; she's afraid she can't cope with home and children by herself.

Loyalty. "He's sick; if he had a broken leg or cancer--I would stay. This is no different."

Pity. He's worse off than she is; she feels sorry for him.

Wanting to help. "If I stay I can help him get better."

Fear that he will commit suicide if she leaves (often he's told her this).

Denial. "It's really not that bad. Other people have it worse."

Love. Often, the abuser is quite loving and lovable when he is not being abusive.

Love, especially during the "honeymoon" stage; she remembers what he used to be like.

Guilt. She believes--and her partner and the other significant others are quick to agree-- that their problems are her fault.

Shame and humiliation in front of the community. "I don't want anyone else to know."

Unfounded optimism that the abuser will change.

Unfounded optimism that things will get better, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Learned helplessness. trying every possible method to change something in our environment, but with no success, so that we eventually expect to fail. Feeling helpless is a logical response to constant resistance to our efforts. This can be seen with prisoners of war, people taken hostage, people living in poverty who cannot get work, etc.

False hope. "He's starting to do things I've been asking for." (counseling, anger management, things she sees as a chance of improvement.)

Guilt. She believes that the violence is caused through some inadequacy of her own (she is often told this); feels as though she deserves it for failing.

Responsibility. She feels as though she only needs to meet some set of vague expectations in order to earn the abuser's approval.

Insecurity over her potential independence and lack of emotional support.

Guilt about the failure of the marriage/relationship.

Demolished self-esteem. "I thought I was too (fat, stupid, ugly, whatever he's been calling her) to leave."

Lack of emotional support--she feels like she's doing this on her own, and it's just too much.

Simple exhaustion. She's just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave.

Personal Beliefs
Parenting, needing a partner for the kids. "A crazy father is better than none at all."

Religious and extended family pressure to keep the family together no matter what.

Duty. "I swore to stay married till death do us part." Responsibility. It is up to her to work things out and save the relationship.

Belief in the American dream of growing up and living happily ever after.

Identity. Woman are raised to feel they need a partner--even an abusive one--in order to to be complete or accepted by society.

Belief that marriage is forever.

Belief that violence is the way all partners relate (often this woman has come from a violent childhood).

Religious and cultural beliefs.

(from the Rural Women's Advocacy Program)IF you can get to a Domestic Violence Center they can help with resources and a plan to help you get out (you do NOT have to live at the Shelter) CLICK HERE

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shared by Barbara at 12:22 AM


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Steps to Change for Abusive Persons

1. Admit fully to his history of psychological, sexual and physical abusiveness. Denial and minimizing need to stop, including discrediting your memory of what happened.

2. Acknowledge that the abuse was wrong, unconditionally. He needs to identify the justifications he used, including the ways he blamed you, and talk in detail about why his behaviors were unacceptable, without defending them.

3. Acknowledge that his behavior was a choice, not a loss of control.

4. Recognize the effects his abuse has had on you and on your children, and show empathy for those. He needs to talk IN DETAIL about the impact that his abuse has had, including fear, loss of trust, anger, etc. And he needs to do this without feeling sorry for himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for him.

5. Identify in detail his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes. He needs to speak in detail about the day to day tactics of abuse he has used, identify his underlying beliefs and values that drove those behaviors, such as considering himself entitled to constant attention.

6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes to replace the abusive ones he is stopping.

7. Reevaluate his distorted image of you, replacing it with a more positive and empathic view. He has to recognize that he's focused on and exaggerated his grivances against you. He needs to compliment you and pay attention to your strengths and abilities.

8. Make amends for the damage he has done. He has to have a sense that he has a debt to you. He can start payment by being consistently kind and supportive, putting his own needs on the back burner for a couple of years, fixing what he has damaged, and cleaning up the emotional and literal messes he has caused.

9. Accept the consequences of his actions. He should stop blaming you for problems that are the result of his abuse.

10. Commit to not repeating his abusive behaviors. He should not place any conditions on his improvement - such as saying he won't call you names as long as you don't raise your voice.

11. Accept the need to give up his privileges and do so. Stop double standards, stop flirting with other women, stop taking off with his friends while you take care of the children. He also is not the only one allowed to express anger.

12. Accept that overcoming abusiveness is likely to be a life-long process. He cannot claim that his work is done by saying, "I've changed, but you haven't." or complain that he is sick of hearing about his abuse.

13. Be willing to be accountable for his actions, both past and future. He must accept feedback and criticism and be answerable for what he does and how it affects you and the children.


(the article above was written in the 'male' context; your abuser can certainly be female and these will still apply)

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shared by Barbara at 12:54 AM 4 comments


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Unhappy Relationships May Harm Women's Hearts

By Amy Norton

An unhappy marriage can break a woman's heart, figuratively and literally. New research suggests that married women who are dissatisfied with their relationships face a higher risk for heart disease.

In a study of nearly 500 middle-aged women, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania found that marital ''distress'' was linked to a higher risk for heart problems, independent of other threats to heart health such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Moreover, women's marital woes appeared to be unique from overall stress, depression and other psychological factors in their effects on the heart.

Lead researcher Wendy Troxel presented the findings last week in Monterey, California, at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society. Previous research has suggested that for men, marriage generally confers heart benefits. The health effects of marriage on women has been less clear, according to co-author Dr. Linda Gallo, who is now at Kent State University in Ohio. This study, which followed the women over about 11 years, was an attempt to gauge how marital satisfaction affects heart health as women go through menopause, Gallo explained in an interview.

She and her colleagues found that women who reported marital dissatisfaction were more likely than satisfied women to have significant plaque build-up in the main artery of the heart. They were also more likely to have blockages in the carotid arteries in the neck, a known risk factor for stroke. Of course, all marriages have their ups and downs, and this study did not look at the normal stresses that come up from time to time, according to Gallo.

Instead, she said, it looked at women's overall happiness with their husbands--their communication, amount of time spent together, sex lives and a range of factors. Unhappiness in a marriage may harm the heart by inflicting ''wear and tear'' on the body, according to Gallo. Like stress in general, marital dissatisfaction may lead to habitual elevations in heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones. But, she noted, marital problems are likely one part the equation--triggering behaviors that take a toll on health, including sleeplessness and changes in eating and exercise.

"It's my guess that marital dissatisfaction might put women on a trajectory to poorer health," she said.

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shared by Barbara at 12:35 AM 1 comments


Monday, May 14, 2018

What PTSD Sufferers Need Others to Know

1 – Knowledge is power. Understanding the process of a triggering event, the psychic reaction to trauma, the warning signs and symptoms of PTSD, and available treatment options for PTSD allows you to help recognize, support and guide your PTSD loved one toward diagnosis, treatment and healing. We need you to be clearheaded, pulled together and informed.

2 – Trauma changes us. After trauma we want to believe - as do you - that life can return to the way it was; that we can continue as who we were…. This is not how it works. Trauma leaves a huge and indelible impact on the soul. It is not possible to endure trauma and not experience a psychic shift. Expect us to be changed. Accept our need to evolve. Support us on this journey.

3 – PTSD hijacks our identity. One of the largest problems with PTSD is that it takes over our entire view of ourselves. We no longer see clearly. We no longer see the world as we experienced it before trauma. Now every moment is dangerous, unpredictable and threatening. Gently remind us and offer opportunities to engage in an identity outside of trauma and PTSD.

4 – We are no longer grounded in our true selves. In light of trauma our real selves retreat and a coping self emerges to keep us safe. Believe in us; our true selves still exist, even if they are momentarily buried.

5 – We cannot help how we behave. Since we are operating on a sort of autopilot we are not always in control. PTSD is an exaggerated state of survival mode. We experience emotions that frighten and overwhelm us. We act out accordingly in defense of those feelings we cannot control. Be patient with us; we often cannot stop the anger, tears or other disruptive behaviors that are so difficult for you to endure.

6 – We cannot be logical. Since our perspective is driven by fear we don’t always think straight, nor do we always accept the advice of those who do. Keep reaching out, even when your words don’t seem to reach us. You never know when we will think of something you said and it will comfort, guide, soothe or inspire us.

7 – We cannot just ‘get over it’. From the outside it’s easy to imagine a certain amount of time passes and memories fade and trauma gets relegated to the history of a life. Unfortunately, with PTSD nothing fades. Our bodies will not let us forget. Because of surging chemicals that reinforce every memory, we cannot walk away from the past anymore than you can walk away from us. Honor our struggle to make peace with events. Do not rush us. Trying to speed our recovery will only make us cling to it more.

8 – We’re not in denial - we’re coping! It takes a tremendous effort to live with PTSD. Even if we don’t admit it, we know there’s something wrong. When you approach us and we deny there’s a problem that’s really code for, “I’m doing the best I can.” Taking the actions you suggest would require too much energy, dividing focus from what is holding us together. Sometimes, simply getting up and continuing our daily routine is the biggest step toward recovery we make. Alleviate our stress by giving us a safe space in which we can find support.

9 – We do not hate you. Contrary to the ways we might behave when you intervene, somewhere inside we do know that you are not the source of the problem. Unfortunately, in the moment we may use your face as PTSD’s image. Since we cannot directly address our PTSD issues sometimes it’s easier to address you. Continue to approach us. We need you to!

10 – Your presence matters. PTSD creates a great sense of isolation. It makes a difference to know that although we lash out, don’t respond, are not ourselves, you are still there, no matter what. Stick with us! Your love, support and encouragement matter.


(Hat Tip Holly S.W.!)

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shared by Barbara at 12:09 AM 6 comments


Sunday, May 13, 2018


Men aren't the only stalkers

By: C.F. Jackson

For decades, the label "stalker" has been tattooed as a gender-specific crime, committed by men. Things have changed drastically. Twelve to 13-percent of all stalkers are female. Although less in statistical number than males, female stalkers are just as predatory and dangerous.

Stalking, for the most part, is about relationships - prior, desired, or imagined. Sixty-percent of stalkers have a personal relationship with their victims before the stalking begins. However, 22% of stalking cases involve complete strangers.

Researchers and psychologists identify three categories of stalking:

·Simple Obsession Stalking - 60% of stalking cases are represented in this category, which includes all previous personal relationships (i.e., husbands/wives,boyfriends/girlfriends, domestic partners). This category is best defined as, “If I can’t have you, nobody will.”

·Love Obsession Stalking - The make-up of this category involves a stalker and victim who are casual acquaintances or complete strangers. The goal of the stalker is to establish a personal relationship with the object of his or her obsession - in disregard to the victim’s desires.

·Erotomania Stalking - This category consists of deluded individuals who believe a relationship already exists between themselves and their victim.

A recent case of female stalking involved actor Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones as the victims. "When women engage in stalking behavior, they are as tenacious and as intrusive as their male counterparts, and are just as likely to threaten or damage property," said Dr. Rosemary Purcell, in the 2003 article "Female stalkers pursue doctors, psychiatrists."

The FBI estimates that two-percent of all stalking cases conclude in homicide. Twenty-five of female stalking cases have escalated to interpersonal violence. Also revealed in a study is the fact that female stalkers chased their victims to establish intimacy.

As of August 17, 2004, five women in Georgia have been convicted for the crime of aggravated stalking. This level of stalking means an individual has been identified as an assailant in the court system and has violated a court order.

On any given day, you could be one of thousands who feel like they are being stalked.

Won't Be Denied, a 227-page novel, shines a light into an obsessed, single African American female. In the well-crafted suspense novel, author C.F. Jackson, graduate from Georgia Southern University with a BS degree in Criminal Justice, lays out the story in two sentences: Love won’t be denied. Mare comes to value it more than life. The story is set in Atlanta, Georgia. It is an easy, suspenseful read. The character-driven plot is a page-turner.

About the author: Author C.F. Jackson, graduate from Georgia Southern University with a BS degree in Criminal Justice. Currently, working on a second suspense novel

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Emotional Terrorist

by Erin Pizzey

From her 1998 book "The Emotional Terrorist & The Violence Prone" 

Those of us working in the field of domestic violence are confronted daily by the difficult task of working with women in problematical families. In my work with family violence, I have come to recognize that there are women involved in emotionally and/or physically violent relationships who express and enact disturbance beyond the expected (and acceptable) scope of distress. Such individuals, spurred on by deep feelings of vengefulness, vindictiveness, and animosity, behave in a manner that is singularly destructive; destructive to themselves as well as to some or all of the other family members, making an already bad family situation worse. These women I have found it useful to describe as "family terrorists."

In my experience, men also are capable of behaving as family terrorists but male violence tends to be more physical and explosive. We have had thousands of international studies about male violence but there is very little about why or how women are violent. There seems to be a blanket of silence over the huge figures of violence expressed by women. Because family terrorism is a tactic largely used by women and my work in the domestic violence field is largely with women, I address this problem discussing only my work with women.

The potential for family terrorism may rest dormant for many years, emerging in its full might only under certain circumstances. I found that in many cases it is the dissolution, or threatened dissolution, of the family that calls to the fore the terrorist's destructiveness. It is essential to understand that prior to dissolution, the potential terrorist plays a role in the family that is by no means passive. The terrorist is the family member whose moods reign supreme in the family, whose whims and actions determine the emotional climate of the household. In this setting, the terrorist could be described as the family tyrant, for within the family, this individual maintains the control and power over the other members' emotions.

The family of the emotional terrorist well may be characterized as violent, incestuous, dysfunctional, and unhappy, but it is the terrorist or tyrant who is primarily responsible for initiating conflict, imposing histrionic outbursts upon otherwise calm situations, or (more subtly and invisibly) quietly manipulating other family members into uproar through guilt, cunning taunts, and barely perceptive provocations. (The quiet manipulative terrorist usually is the most undetected terrorist. Through the subtle creation of perpetual turmoil, this terrorist may virtually drive other family members to alcoholism, to drug-addiction, to explosive behavior, to suicide. The other family members, therefore, are often misperceived as the 'family problem' and the hidden terrorist as the saintly woman who "puts up with it all." )

While the family remains together, however miserable that "togetherness" might be, the terrorist maintains her power. However, it is often the separation of the family that promises to rend the terrorist's domain and consequently to lessen her power. Family dissolution, therefore, often is the time when the terrorist feels most threatened and most alone, and, because of that, most dangerous.

In this position of fear, the family terrorist sets out to achieve a specific goal. There are many possible goals for the terrorist, including: reuniting the family once again, or ensuring that the children (if there are children in the relationship) remain under the terrorist's control, or actively destroying the terrorist's spouse (or ex-spouse) emotionally, physically, and financially.

To take an extreme parable, when it was evident to Adolph Hitler that winning the War was an absolute impossibility, he ordered his remaining troops to destroy Berlin: If he no longer could rule, then he felt it best for his empire to share in his own personal destruction. Similarly, the family terrorist, losing or having lost supremacy, may endeavor to bring about the ruin (and, in some extreme cases, the death) of other family members.

The family terrorist, like the political terrorist, is motivated by the pursuit of a goal. In attempting to "disarm" the family terrorist, it is vital that the practitioner begin intervention by trying to recognize and understand the terrorist's goal.

The source of the terrorist's goal as in the case of the political terrorist, usually can be understood to spring from some "legitimate" grievance. The grievance's legitimacy may be regarded in terms of justified feeling of outrage in response to an actual injustice or injury, or the legitimacy may exist solely in the mind of the terrorist. Whether this legitimacy be real or imagined, the grievance starts as the impetus for the terrorist's motivation. One hallmark of an emotional terrorist is that this motivation tends to be obsessional by nature.

Whence this obsession? Why this overwhelmingly powerful drive? In many cases, that which the terrorist believes to be the grievance against the spouse actually has very little to do with the spouse. Although the terrorist may be consciously aware only of the spouse's alleged offense, the pain of this offense (real or imagined) is invariably an echo of the past, a mirrored recreation of some painful situation in the terrorist's childhood.

I will not describe here in any detail the types of childhood that tend to create the subsequent terrorist. I will say, however, that invariably the terrorist's childhood, once understood, can be seen as violent (emotionally and/or physically). Also invariably, the terrorist can be regarded as a "violence prone" individual. I define a violence prone woman as a woman who, while complaining that she is the innocent victim of the malice and aggression of all other relationships in her life, is in fact a victim of her own violence and aggression. A violent and painful childhood tends to create in the child an addiction to violence and to pain (an addiction on all levels: the emotional, the physical, the intellectual, the neurochemical), an addiction that then compels the individual to recreate situations and relationships characterized by further violence, further danger, further suffering, further pain. Thus, it is primarily the residual pain from childhood — and only secondarily the pain of the terrorist's current familial situation — that serves as the terrorist's motivating impetus. There is something pathological about the terrorist's motivation, for it is based not so much on reality as on a twisting, a distortion, a reshaping of reality.

Because the emotional terrorist is a violence-prone individual, addicted to violence, the terrorist's actions must be understood as the actions of an addict. When the family was together, the terrorist found fulfillment for any number of unhealthy appetites and addictions. When that family then dissolves, the terrorist behaves with all the desperation, all the obsession, all the single-minded determination of any addict facing or suffering withdrawal.

The single-mindedness, the one-sidedness of feeling, is perhaps the most important shibboleth of the emotional terrorist. Furthermore, the extent of this one-sidedness is, for the practitioner, perhaps the greatest measure and indicator of how extreme the terrorist's actions are capable of becoming.

Any person suffering an unhappy family situation, or the dissolution of a marriage or relationship, will feel some pain and desperation. A relatively well-balanced person, however, will be not only aware of their own distress but also sensitive, in some degree, to the suffering of the other family members. For example, reasonably well-balanced parents, when facing divorce, will be most concerned with their children's emotional well-being, even beyond their own grief. Not so the emotional terrorist.

To the family terrorist, there is only one wronged, one sufferer, only one person in pain, and this person is the terrorist herself. The terrorist has no empathy and feels only her own pain. In this manner, the terrorist's capacity for feeling is narcissistic, solipsistic, and in fact pathological.

Again, I will not attempt here to detail the factors in childhood that lead to the creation of an emotional terrorist. What is evident, however, in the terrorist's limited or nonexistent ability to recognize other people's feelings, is that the terrorist's emotions and awareness, at crucial stages of childhood development, were stunted from reaching beyond the boundaries of self, due to a multiplicity of reasons. Later, the adult terrorist went on to make a relationship that was, on some level, no true relationship, but a reenactment of childhood pains, scenarios, situations, and "scripts." Throughout the relationship, the solipsistic terrorist did not behave genuinely in response to the emotions of other family members but self-servingly used them as props for the recreation of the terrorist's programme. And when that relationship finally faces dissolution, the terrorist is aware only of her own pain and outrage and, feeling no empathy for other family members, will proceed single-mindedly in pursuit of her goal, whether that goal is reunion, ruin, or revenge. The terrorist's perspective is tempered by little or no objectivity. Instead the terrorist lives in a self-contained world of purely subjective pain and anger.

Because conscience consists so largely of the awareness of other people's feelings as well as of one's own, the emotional terrorist's behavior often can be described to be virtually without conscience. In this lack of conscience lies the dangerous potential of the true terrorist, and again the degree of conscience in evidence is a useful measure in my work to anticipate the terrorist's destructiveness.

An additional factor, making the terrorist so dangerous, is the fact that the terrorist, while in positively monomaniacal pursuit of her goal, feels fueled by a sense of omnipotence. Perhaps it is true that one imagines oneself omnipotent when, in truth, one is in a position of impotence (as in the case of losing one's familial control through dissolution). Whatever the source of the sensation of omnipotence, the terrorist believes herself to be unstoppable, and unbound by the constraints or conscience or empathy, believes that no cost (cost, either to the terrorist or to other family members) is too great to pay toward the achievement of the goal.

The terrorist, and the terrorist's actions, know no bounds. (The estimation of the extent of the terrorist's "boundlessness" presents the greatest challenge to my work). Intent only to achieve the goal (perhaps "hell-bent" is the most accurate descriptive phrase) the terrorist will take such measures as: stalking a spouse or ex-spouse, physically assaulting the spouse or the spouse's new partners, telephoning all mutual friends and business associates of the spouse in an effort to ruin the spouse's reputation, pressing fabricated criminal charges against the spouse (including alleged battery and child molestation), staging intentionally unsuccessful suicide attempts for the purpose of manipulation, snatching children from the spouse's care and custody, vandalizing the spouse's property, murdering the spouse and/or the children as an act of revenge.

In my experience both men and women are equally guilty of the above behavior, but on the whole, because it is men's dysfunctional behavior that is studied and reported upon, people do not realize that to the same extent women are equally guilty of this type of violent behavior. My working definition, then, of a "family terrorist" or an "emotional terrorist" is: a woman or a man (but for the purposes of this work, I refer only to women) who, pathologically motivated (by unresolved tendencies from a problematical childhood), and pathologically insensitive to the feelings of other family members, obsessionally seeks through unbounded action to achieve a destructive (and, therefore, pathological) goal with regard to other family members.

Of course, this defining profile pertains to individuals in differing degrees. Many people, unhappy within a relationship or made unhappy by the dissolution of a relationship, may lapse into periods of "irrational" behavior. What characterizes the terrorist, however, is that the vindictive and destructive behaviors are consistent; the moments of calm and periods of lucidity are the lapses, temporary lulls in the storm.

There are also women who, suffering chagrin and misery during or after the life spans of a relationship, appear far more self-destructive than destructive to anyone else. For the other partner, contemplating leaving this kind of individual, the very thought of leaving such a person is made difficult and untenable by such frequently uttered protestations as "I cannot live without you," and "Without you, I might as well be dead." To be sure, many women exist, extremely dependent within their relationships, who, probably having suffered severe emotional betrayal during their childhood, genuinely feel that their life outside a relationship would be so lonely as to be unbearable.

It is difficult to leave such a woman, and the man attempting to leave may well feel that, by leaving, he would be responsible for delivering a mortal blow to an already pathetic wretch. Men also, are often kept in their relationships, which can only be likened to "personal concentration camps," by the fact that they feel a genuine feeling of "chivalry" towards their partner. Women tend to put so much more of themselves into their relationships and therefore suffer when these relationships fall apart.

There is a valid question as to whether or not this sort of suicidally-inclined individual may be deemed a terrorist. (To many minds, this kind of individual, no doubt, would seem to fall more within the category of "emotional black-mailer." ) I believe that, sadly, there are people, deeply damaged by their childhood, who genuinely cannot face life by themselves. When dealing with such potential cases, however, I try to make the leaving partner understand that the suicidal inclinations predate the relationship by many years, and that, however tragic the situation, one person simply cannot be held responsible for keeping another person alive.

In some individuals, the authentic (though unhealthy) longing for death is a longing planted within them since early childhood, and there is very little a partner can do to alter the apparently inevitable course of that longing.

Among true terrorists, however, threats of suicide can be seen to serve a largely manipulative role. In short, the terrorist says, "If you can't do as I tell you, I will kill myself." Whether suicide remains only a threat or is realized, the true terrorist uses suicide not so much as an expression of desperate grief but as a weapon to be wielded against others.

In working with clients struggling either in relationships or with the dissolution of a relationship, I am faced with many questions, all relevant to gauging the woman's terrorist potential:

• Will the woman persevere in her efforts to financially ruin her partner?

• Is she sincere when she promises to kill her partner, or have him killed, should he ever become involved in a new relationship?

• Are the threats of suicide genuine or manipulative?

• Will she carry out the promises of using the law to "kidnap" the children in order to hurt the ex-partner?

• Will she brain-wash the children to such an extent that her ex-partner dare not form a new relationship?

Emotional terrorism is by no means confined to the family context. I know an extremely successful woman in the world of fine arts. This woman has been haunted by a former assistant who, vicariously imagining herself to the writer herself, dresses like her, stalks her, and issues public statements that it was she, not the writer, who created the works of art for which the writer is internationally famous. If the writer is to ensure her own safety, then very definite steps must be taken.

In situations of emotional and family terrorism, there are two areas of work to be done: practical measures of protection ("strategies for survival") on the part of family members, and therapeutic work with the terrorist himself or herself. I must reiterate at this stage, that both men and women are capable of terrorist tactics but men tend to behave in a more physically violent manner within the family. Women, as I have shown, use far more subtle tactics, i.e., that of the terrorist as opposed to outright war.

The first step, on the part of other family members, toward limiting the terrorist's destructive potential is to understand the terrorist to be a terrorist. In a recent case, a Mr. Roberts described to me how, during his marriage, he and his children faced a daily onslaught of verbal abuse from his wife. Mrs. Roberts was also physically violent to the children. Now that he has asked for a divorce, she is making use of every weapon in her arsenal. In the children's presence, she has used drugs and drunk alcohol to the point of extreme intoxication. She has staged several unsuccessful suicide attempts in front of the children, threatened over the telephone to "do something stupid," promised to kill Mr. Roberts new partner, and assured Mr. Roberts that when she has finished with him he will not have a penny to his name. To Mr. Roberts, all of this behavior seemed perfectly usual.

After all, he had witnessed this sort of commotion for thirteen years of their marriage. When I suggested to him, "What you endured is emotional terrorism," he suddenly and for the first time was able to see his situation clearly. Now, he realized, his wife's behavior was neither appropriate nor acceptable. No, this was not the treatment that every man should expect from his wife, either in or out of marriage. No, he does not want his children to be subjected to such extreme behavior any longer.

The fact of recognizing a terrorist is the essential first step. Then, because a terrorist is fueled by a feeling of omnipotence and is prepared to behave without bounds, usually encouraged by feminist therapists who insist that their clients suffer from "low self esteem," pragmatic measures must be taken to define clearly the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

Unfortunately the legal situation which many divorce agreements mandate is open-ended. Certainly, when both parties to a divorce are reasonably well-balanced, it is entirely fitting for the settlement to be flexible enough to incorporate changing financial circumstances, child-care capabilities, and visitation rights. When, however, one party to the divorce is an emotional terrorist, then both the confrontational divorce procedure and the resultant open-ended divorce settlement provide infinite opportunity for the courts, lawyers, and the entire battery of psychologists called in for evaluations, to be used as the terrorist's weapons. In these cases, the court and the divorce procedure provide no boundaries for the terrorist; instead they allow the terrorist to continue to behave boundlessly.

For this reason, when dealing with a terrorist, it is best for the divorce procedure and final decree to be as swift, as final, as absolute, as unequivocal as possible. Every practitioner or attorney handling divorces is familiar with clients described as "litigious." [ "Tar baby" is a popular term among Colorado lawyers.] Only when "litigiousness" is seen as a manifestation of terrorism can the course to swift and precise legal settlement be steered.

To limit the terrorist's feelings of omnipotence, there are many effective measures. The guiding principle, as in the handling of political terrorists, must be: "There is no negotiating with terrorists." Endless telephone calls, conversations, confrontation, trial "get-back-togethers," correspondence, visitations, gestures of appeasement, and efforts to placate the terrorist's demands, all serve to reinforce the terrorist's belief that she is accomplishing something. Only determined resolution in the face of terrorism shows the terrorist that her power is limited.

Furthermore, for anyone dealing directly with the terrorist, reassurances, "ego boosts," and consolations are lamentably counterproductive. Mrs. Roberts soon found for herself a feminist therapist staunchly supporting the erroneous belief "All feelings (and therefore behaviors) are valid." Mrs. Roberts is told by this therapist that she has a right to feel and to behave in any manner she chooses, in callous disregard for the devastation inflicted upon the children. Such reassurances serve only to fortify the terrorist's already pathological, solipsistic, and eternally self-justifying perspective.

If wishing to undertake the second sphere of disarming a terrorist — personal intervention with the terrorist herself — the therapist must be prepared to be straight, honest and very direct. In my own dealings with women as terrorists, I have found on occasion that one quite simply can point out to the terrorist, "You are behaving like a terrorist. This is what you are doing. This is how you are being destructive. This is the destruction you are heading towards," and the terrorist, seeing themselves clearly for the first time, might be encouraged to reconsider their behavior. More commonly, however, extremely deep therapy is required. For the terrorist's behavior to change, there must first be a solid and fundamental change within the terrorist's physiological constitution.

Usually it is only by an in-depth excavation and resolution of early childhood pain that the terrorist can begin to gain a real, true, and level-headed perception of her own current situation. Direct intervention with a terrorist — like all forms of therapeutic intervention — can hope to achieve change only if the individual concerned wishes to change and possesses that vital yet ineffable quality: the will to health. When the will to health is lacking, there can be no change. If the terrorist cannot or will not change, one can only help the other family members to be resolute, be strong, and, whenever possible, be distant.

As a result of their failure to acknowledge emotional terrorism or a propensity for violence in their clients, shelters are totally ineffective in dealing with such women. To recognize such behavior in females would violate deeply held convictions and defile feminist dogma. 

A basic human response to such contradictions is an attempt to deny they exist.

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shared by Barbara at 12:42 AM 6 comments