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Since I have spoken about the greed in politics and business it would be a failure on my part to not speak about the greed in Religion.  Todays post is about just a small sector of that greed as it pertains to the Evangelical belief but by no means is it only a part of their belief as a large part of the same belief is shared by other Religions, such as the Mormon Faith, as well, they just are not as outwardly obvious about it.

Prosperity ministers who are  outwardly preaching the value of greed in America are a new twist to the teaching of Religion.  They are a growing breed of ministers tied to the Charismatic Evangelical movement.  They run the gamut of people who show no shame in their high pitch sales job of the merits of rewards that come along with giving to those who use more subtle nuances.  People like the Joyce Meyer’s ministries from Missouri are very aggressive in claiming entitlement to a rich life style due to God’s gifts to her while others like  Joel Osteen of Texas are less verbose, but both types are prosperity ministers.

When Americans became bored with the often boring and staid teachings of or disillusioned with Traditional Religion and divorce became more prevalent or lifestyles changed, people began looking for more entertaining ways to worship, and many turned to Evangelicals to provide them with Spiritual guidance.  Although Evangelicals  originate primarily from Methodists and Presbyterian beliefs along with the 1700’s Piety and Puritan beliefs of the Bible preaching’s, to tie Evangelicals to any one belief factor would be wrong.  They’re definitely the majority who see themselves as Conservative Christians but there are also those who are liberal and even some who would be considered as really non-committed who do not believe it necessary to attend Church Services and Bible Studies every Sunday and Wednesday.

Evangelicals are popular with the African-Americans through the Baptist Church just as the faith is practiced by all members and Nationalities in America and all walks of life.  It is the largest growing Religion in America with an estimated 28.3% or 90 million Christians in America. Brazil is only larger in percentages than the United States is in growth.

To pen point any similarities beyond their belief in  “Born Again” and “Catholics as Heretics who do not teach the literal interpretation of the Bible”, would do them a disservice as even though they have a high number of Republican Conservatives, through the minority population, they have an equally large number of Liberal Democrats. Some want nothing to do with the mention of politics while others feel they should be front and center in the influence of politicians and their decisions. Many believe in Rapture and await the second coming of Christ, others believe in healing of the sick and disabled by the laying on of hands, while others speak in tongue.  Many credit their success as a direct Blessing from God and believe they are guided by the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. They accept most of Protestant beliefs but the crowds many times are more exuberant and reactive than in Traditional Religion.

Many of the ministers, due to their own lack of training in Divinity and Seminaries, often expound their own interpretations of the Bible and so the messages often vary from one Church to the next with individual understanding or interpretation of the chapters and verse of the Bible. Some are guided through life by a literal interpretation of marriage:” being of one man and one woman,” while others allow for gay rights. Many hate to be perceived as fundamentalists as they were in the 1700’s when Evangelical beliefs initially arose in Europe.

Not all Evangelicals are Charismatic nor believe in Prosperity Ministers nor are all obsessed with Heaven and Hell.  One thing that is certain is if they do preach the Word many have little to no training in Divinity, although many do have honorary Dr. degrees without formal education from Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell and  other Evangelical Universities. Some get their degree to preach from a mail order house out of California while others get theirs for a fee over the internet.

They all believe they were given a calling and were inspired to preach when God appeared to them. Some are very simple people who come from the coal mines in the Appalachians. Others have high school diplomas while some do have Associate degrees or two years and still others have Bachelor degrees of four years of college, from non-credited schools ran by the Evangelical ministries. Others have had Seminary training in other more traditional Protestant Religions and have left that faith to start their own Evangelical Church.  Universal, Grace, Life, Good Will, Glad Tidings, etc.  are usually a part of the name of these Churches over that of Jesus, the Apostles, or Saints most commonly found in other more Traditional Religions.

Prosperity ministers are those ministers who pretty much share tears in the wickedness of their ways before “they got drunk on Jesus,” and before God appeared to them and made them rich.  They are very charismatic and crack jokes and do a sales job on their parishioners, telling them if they give to their Church until it hurts they will be Blessed ten fold and maybe even 100 fold.  If their parishioners think they can give 10 dollars or even a 100 dollars and it does not mean deprivation or sacrifice on their part, for God, then they do not really believe in God.  If a thousand dollars really hurts then they should give a thousand dollars and not worry about the bills as God will provide, If they really believe. They play on the guilt of the poor by making them feel like the reason they are poor is because they do not believe hard enough.  The great majority of the money they receive comes from their radio or television ministries and is established fact that the poor give at a higher percentage rate of their income than do the wealthy.

They tell their followers how they did not have a dime, the wolves, were at their door, the bill collectors calling constantly and when they took their last few dollars to Church and gave it to God they were Blessed with manna from Heaven. Their  good fortune just fell from the skies.  They quote the passages of the Bible that says “and God Blessed and rewarded them with good fortune”, and totally over look the parts of the Bible that say, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to gain Heaven,” and Christ’s teaching’s about  mankind’s need to give away all his riches to serve the poor, in order to gain heaven.

Prosperity ministers beliefs that they have found the Blessings of God’s favor through becoming rich is so prevalent that they take parishioners money to buy $10 million dollar corporate jets, $200,000.00 in antique furnishings, they drive Mercedes and BMW’s in the $80,000.00 to $100,000.00 dollar range and feel entitled while living in million dollar homes while giving their children all the best that their parishioner’s money can buy.  So warped are their beliefs of entitlements to wealth and so charismatic are their sales pitch that they can and do convince  their followers, they are God’s voice on earth, even without seminary training or practical applications in divinity. Some even claim they are living out their gift from God now, while others in their Congregations struggle to make ends meet.

Their followers, just as do the ministers, fail to see the hypocrisy in the message they preach when they preach the need of every one to take responsibility for their own needs; and the poor could be rich if they just believed.  Since they offer the poor hope they are often times kept poor through their weekly contributions to the Prosperity Ministers, as every dime is followed by more from the poor with the poor being the Prosperity Ministers greatest contributors.  The prosperity ministers and parishioners fail to reach the understanding of the ministers dependency on the Mercy of the people, before they gained their own riches. God does not deal in dollars but sales people certainly do, and it would do us all well to begin there with that introspective thought.

Because these ministers forgive every sin through their “Born Again Beliefs”, regardless of how grievous the sins, without individual confession and penance and they relate to their parishioners about their own sinfulness and really stress how they were sinners, People flock towards the ability to be born again and all their past sins forgiven.

In the more conservative Evangelical Churches, parishioners are often shamed into living exemplary lives just as their ministers do, even though there are some who are no different from the rest of us with the same foibles and mistakes or sins committed by all of us. In the more Conservative Churches the parishioners cling to the belief that often these uneducated clergy can speak for God and give them a greater place in Heaven and a get out of Hell free card, if they only embrace their lives in the constant presence of Christ and continue to give of their money, which they are told is in most cases intended for the poor. This is true unless they are Prosperity ministers as good deeds are encouraged in most Evangelical Churches. The  Prosperity clergy often claim to draw salaries that do not compensate for the riches they gain. Many of the more liberal parishioners belong for the fellowship more than they do for the strict observance of the teachings as is common in many Religions, who do not set strict guidelines.

As a neighbor of mind once said, “I would hate to think I was such a bad sinner that I would have to spend my life in Church.” I have always enjoyed travel because I love the diversity that is America over tying myself to one group for a life time but that is just my own personal choice and many people are comfortable and justifiably so in their own communities.

I like many believe that: Spirituality just like physical and mental needs are a necessity of mankind in the fulfillment of life and living but are dollars really a part of what makes mankind great or saves us from hell? Can we really buy ourselves into Heaven or are we better judged for the value of our compassion for, the time we place on, and we give of ourselves to humanity? We do need to sometimes question the motives behind what appears to be an exorbitant lifestyle of riches regardless of the person or people who are promoting the same, at the expense of the people.  We cannot wear blinders just because those vulgar displays of wealth are arising from our ministries any more than we can when they come from our politicians.  Both depend on the generosity of the people and should be suspect and held responsible for such displays.

The great majority of us want to see people who have made wealth through hard work and sweat equity enjoy the fruits of their labor as it offers hope to those of us who dream. Certainly ministers and some politicians put in long hours and hard work as well, but when their income is earned on the charity of the poor, the vulnerable, or the greed of lobbyists, the majority of us see these excessive lifestyles of displayed wealth as being vulgar.  It is not what we want of either our clergy or our politicians whose main concerns should be dedicated to the needs of the people. When a family of 4 or more make $50,000.00 a year and they are pressured or cajoled into writing $10,000.00 checks so they can prove the power of their faith in God or a politician can get elected, and the clergy and politicians cannot understand the immorality of their exorbitant lifestyle, then who can we turn to when we ask for legitimacy in our Churches or our government ?

Does the riches gained by our politicians who are threatening to deny payment of Social Security to the elderly, wages to the Military and middle class, and GI benefits, by shutting down government over Obama care, mean they are deserving to be great and Blessed? Wouldn’t we all do better with their compassion shown and their time given to our needs without strings attached?  Something else to ponder that’s for sure. Doesn’t take much common sense to figure out, does it?;)

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As Congress looks for and finds blame with their insistence that the deficit be balanced on the backs of the middle class,the students,the elderly,and the poor while refusing to look at the role they play by the continuation of the same, there is plenty going on in our lives that is about us.  While Corporations refuse to hire here but instead send jobs overseas to increase the wealth of its board members, it is about us. When we are not educated to meet the demands of the ever-changing market place it is about us. When weather causes havoc and turmoil in our lives, it is about us.  When we lose loved ones and are left to grieve our lost, it is about us. When others who can afford to do so, refuse to carry healthcare and we get stuck with their healthcare costs with increased premiums because Congress wants to eliminate Obama care, it is about us. With so much in our lives that affects us it is sometimes difficult to understand a lot of other things in our lives is not about us,as well.

Many times things happen around us and unless we understand that “it is not about us”, but rather our response to it, that causes us to get involved and often times it leads to our own pain, we will waste way to much precious time in our lives that will keep us from enjoying life. When a couple divorces to often,if we allow them to drag us into their lives by taking sides, we will end up feeling like we are the loser as well.  If it is a special friend and we take sides while the couple separates, it will to often cost us what we feel is a close friend, if the couple decides to reunite.  Even if we do not take sides but try to help the couple to understand each other, many times they will regret what they confided in us and feel uncomfortable around us because they told us to much about themselves, and too often we lose both friendships, even when they divorce.

The above situation had nothing to do with us but it is when we get involved in other people’s problems that it can become about us unless we realize it is they who have lost a valuable friend in us, and we cannot call ourselves a friend unless we do try to help, that we realize it is not about us but instead all about them.

I had an incidence in my life that took place when I won at the Casino and the person I was treating said,”God let me win because He knew I would be more generous and share than she would have been if she won.”  First of all, I do not believe that God had anything to do with my winning nor does He have anything to do with money.  I think people use the idea that God is in control of every facet of our lives to the point that if we even sneeze that God caused us to, instead of the fact that it was an allergy or cold that caused us to sneeze. I choose to believe that God is with those who suffer and give of themselves instead, since He gave us all free will and helps those who helps themselves. If God was responsible for everything in a person’s life then He would have no time left for those who call on Him in time of need.  My winning was not necessary for me to live,eat,breath, or find joy in my life,nor did my gambling cause us any hardship.I was thrilled when the machine hit, just as all of us are when we win.

I won because I went to the casino, without the other person even being in the same State much less the same Casino, I took the risk that gambling involves, and I chose the right machine at the same time it was ready to pay off.  Any person in the Casino could have put the same dollar amount in as I did and won the same jackpot. Our generous spirit may be a gift from God, as He does reward the generous in spirit ten fold, but my winning at the Casino had nothing to do with God nor the person who said I won instead of her.  We to often in our lives look at other people’s success or failure and think that either has anything to do with us.

We may all make mistakes as parents but once our children become adults they also take on the responsibility for their own behavior and if they allow others to mistreat them or they mistreat themselves,we can not help them if they refuse our help. If they become a success,then they deserve the credit over us because, “It is not about us.”  We can be concerned about them or proud of them but ultimately as adults they do decide what road they travel, with or without our approval.

As their parents,we only have control over our own response to our adult children’s actions and can only offer support when they ask us for the same. To force our beliefs on them robs them of the ability to form their own ideas or beliefs or to accept the mixing of their belief system with that of their spouses. Our adult children, and especially once they marry, need to make their own decisions even when we do not approve of it and they refuse to listen to what we often think is sound reasoning. “Sink or swim” our adult children’s behavior,  is no longer about us beyond our own reactions to it.

The sadder part of life is when our own children, who are not adults, emulate that character flaw in us that thinks everything is all about us, by thinking it is their fault when bullies bully them.  Bullies are made at home by over demanding parents in some cases or by neglectful parents in other cases.  If a child feels defenseless against the parent who thinks they are disciplining but instead the parent makes the child feel like they are  being bullied by the parent or a child cannot find reprieve from their own hurt feelings, many times they will bully others who they feel cannot or will not fight back.  When parents tell their children to hit back they help create another bully on the playground.  When teachers punish both children because they fear the parent of the bully or have not seen who is being bullied then to often it can lead to tragedy.

If we could as a Society tell our children that the anger that is unleashed by the bully is “not about them”,but instead about the home the child who bullies comes out of, then we could begin sitting down and discussing our differences with the bully. When Schools refuse to play a role in the discussion when the bullying takes place on their property, they fail the child who is being bullied by expelling them from school for the equal amount of time they expel the bully. When negative behavior is enforced by negative responses we teach our children that the adults in their lives cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

I had a case,myself, where I thought it might be possible to have an adult conversation with the parent of the bully, but instead the parent went into name calling and telling me it was not her problem when the child I was speaking about did not haul off and hit her daughter back.  It was not about us, but the children that needed to be heard, and it was lost on the mother of the bully.  Teachers run into this same attitude of these same parents, when they do show up but many times it is the concerned parents who show up instead.

We parents first, need to understand that there are people who are going to try to control the circumstances in their own lives by controlling those around them and it has nothing to do with us, unless we demand zero tolerance of bullies in our own homes,schools, or environment and do something about it instead of obsessing over it.  When we make everything about us, and then do nothing but complain we teach our children the same. When worry or inaction is viewed from the seat of children, they learn to tolerate what we have tolerated for to many generations,as being normal behavior. If schools,businesses, or we do not punish small children who bully,or permanently expel people who play on our fear or lack of action, then we all tolerate the bullies and it does become about us. Our children learn nothing through fists or violence but to be violent in return.

Just as there are kind-hearted people, there are mean-spirited people as well. Both types of people will co-mingle in almost any kind of group.  It has been my experience that a majority of men will just consider the source of an insult when issued by a woman, but some will fight it out when it comes from a man.  Not many people look at a fist fight as much of anything other than plain stupidity, so why do we tell our children to do the same?  If we ourselves cannot treat the person as having their own problems and know they treat everyone else the same way, then how can we tell our own children that, “It is not about us, if we do nothing to protect them when we do have supervision over them?”

I ask everyone this Holiday Season to consider what I am saying.  Store policy is not about us but about others who do shop lift or steal.  We may pay for their theft but if we feel that the questions being asked are about us, instead of policy, too often tempers will flare and our children are watching our own performance.  The same is true when someone is rude enough to cut in line; for us to allow someone else to spoil the experience of the Holiday shopping, when,” it is not about us” because we lose sight of the fact,that angry words will never make it right, but instead is a negative response from us who only adds to the chaos, then we understand what our own response does to inflame the problem.  Two wrongs never does make a right.  As Bill Clinton said,”it’s about the math.”

We need to spend more time thinking and communicating civilly if we are going to succeed as a Nation,as parents, or as the person we most want to spend time with during the Holiday Season.  If we ourselves are filled with anger that is spreading all around us,if we are rude to others, if we have a need to control, if we take a bad day out on others around us, if we are mean-spirited, then it is about us.

If we are none of those things, “Then It Is Not About Us.” When we understand the reality of another person’s bad behavior “is not about us”, we refuse to let their bad dispositions destroy our own joy.  If we insist on the opposite, then we are making our feelings dependent on their negative feelings which they are responsible for, and  as adults who said or did nothing to harm them, we are not responsible for their lack of respect.  Everyone will have a bad day but everyone is not entitled to ruin our day unless we give them permission to do so.

Have a good day everyone and enjoy the responses in yourself that you create ,that ARE about you, and let the other things that you allow to destroy your day go. The majority of harm that is done to us as individuals are many times as a result of our own reactions to life and is often created by our reactions to a disagreeable human being, who has their own issues to deal with, without our taking their negativity to heart. Enjoy the Holidays and celebrate!

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If you read my previous post entitled “Emotions Denied” then you know that I have stressed the importance of knowing and releasing ourselves from our past emotional baggage.  I love people who give of themselves without question or suspicion but I do not love it when these same people regret their doing so and they either end up bitter for life or they complain obsessively about it, and then turn around and repeat it again and again.

It is our job to understand the difference between real need as versus those who go through every member of the group or family pulling a fast one, while they play a victim with their hands out. If we do not learn this lesson fairly quickly then we will get burned by those who deceive. We do not owe con people or those who have such little respect for us, that they would lie to us, anything so we need to stop them from their own bad habits by having the courage to say,”No.”

We should never feel an obligation to support those who have a better lifestyle than we do. Intellectually, we all know this so why do we allow these destructive people to ruin even a  moment of our day much less,years and years? If we can’t stop our obsessions over the same shouldn’t we question our own emotional development instead of their’s? People who can deceive us will always deceive us, if we do not have the power to be honest with them as well as ourselves.

We will all have at least one or two extreme or real hurts in our life time that makes each of us obsessive until we heal. We often think the first time we are betrayed by a friend is the worst hurt of all until we do mature enough to understand the real priorities in life.  Many will be tested much further than the rest of us and still remain in charge of their own emotional well-being, because they do recognize they cannot do it alone and they need help. When it comes to the lost of a child perhaps we will never recover.  This is not the kind of pain that I am writing about today.  What I am talking about is when people make sacrifices to give of their time or money and then complain because they get “screwed” and it leads to a lifetime of grudge matches or hate to the point they remain bitter and take it out on those closest to them for life.

My biggest complaints about joining charitable groups in the past and what led me to get out of all of them, was not my enjoyment of doing so but the complaining I heard from the individuals working in them.  Some one was always complaining that they worked harder than the next person or “so and so” felt they needed to point out what “butter paddies” were over just butter”,or the person in charge had no life beyond making their own image look good and it meant the rest of us should ignore our families and fall in line as well. I decided the best way I could give of real charity was to go anonymous and form my own.  The type of groups I was in had nothing to do with being charitable.

True charity is giving when we know we have nothing to gain ourselves, in return.  I have gone into a number of relationships in my lifetime knowing full-well that I would be betrayed,used, or rejected afterwards. I was aware of the fact that it was their behavior that was at fault, not my own, but my conscience told me that if I ignored their needs, it would make me less of a person than the one I wanted to be because I did have the ability,money, and time to help them.  In saying yes I  also knew I risked the fact of being mistreated because as does happen, some of them would feel, if I helped them once, they were entitled to my help again and again. I did not take on these challenges in my life until I had learned that once burnt twice learned.  It did not give me the excuse to never again show charity to others but instead to understand that losing people who would betray me is not the worse thing in life to lose.

It is when we take on extreme views in life that never bend or because John Doe hurt us we can never trust men again or if Jane Doe behaves in such a way then we will never speak to her again, that we take on the views of a person who would rather dwell on our extreme views over that of a person who would learn humility and charity.  I certainly do not advocate spending time with people who have a past history of being untrustworthy but if we can instead learn from the mistakes of our own roles in life we can also let go of the judgements we place against others.

Most obsessions come from our own lack of understanding that our extreme views led to judging another’s person’s right to operate as a free agent or we assumed to much about them, when we have no right to judge the behavior of anyone other than our own behavior.  When we spend time understanding why we respond the way we do, we make it more difficult for others to burn us.  The mere fact that we refer to it as being burned often means we are not looking at the full picture as it presents itself as others can not burn us if we do not give them permission to do so. Obsessions that continue are only a cover for the fact that we are human and have been hurt more sometimes from our own assumptions than by the person or people we have misjudged.

Having been disabled by pain, all my adult life, I have come to appreciate that we all have limits and if we do not say “NO” but instead resent people by saying “Yes”, then we do both of us a disservice. When we are at peace with our own emotions it is neither foolish or stupid to do so but it is the act of true empathy for someone whose need is greater than our own, when we can make a difference.  It is called Charity. It is also charity to say “NO” when we mean “No” because we set our own ground rules by knowing our own as well as our loved ones limitations to give, as well.

Giving because we expect something in return, because it is our cultural belief,we are doing it for our own image, we are told to by superiors or a court,or we obligate another person so they feel guilt if they do not do us a favor when we need a favor, is neither charity or an act of kindness.  There is no place for the word me in charity or empathy if we do wish to help and can without hurting ourselves or our loved ones, in the process.

When charity is done at the expense of the future of our own children, then it can be as destructive as doing nothing. It is through charity that we can best teach right from wrong to our children, when we keep it in balance with the rest of our life.When I see members of the Tea Party such as Ron Paul say,”Why should I have to pay because they lost their Beach house in a storm,” I can relate to what he is saying but I do know that if we ever reach the point in America that all Americans develop,” that me first and only attitude,” we will fail to exist as a Democracy or we will become a Country without a conscious.

The point I am making today is if we give with our compassion,time or money and have expectations in return every time we do, then we should not spend the rest of our lives obsessing over the fact that we got nothing back in return when we keep giving to the same person or people who never will return their own compassion,time,or money, but instead will mistreat us or betray us.

If we are not willing to learn through our own feelings of making a mistake  but instead assume or insist they pay us back in kind, we are only hurting ourself through denial or assumption of their being the people we think they should be rather than the person or people they are. When we do an act of kindness we should understand that it is its own reward instead of having a view of injustice when it is we who are acting irrational. There is a reason that the cliché’ exists and it is,”No good Deed shall go left unpunished.”  It is the quickest way there is to teach each of us two things and those are:  How secure are we in giving and do we have an ulterior motive when we give? Clearly if we are going to obsess about how we got burned from 3 to 30 years, then we pretty much have our answer, don’t we?

The whole point of giving is the comfort we gain when we look ourselves in the mirror or lay our heads on our pillow at night and know our joy of living is complete.  It should never have either a price or expectation on it, beyond the fact that we are comfortable enough in the act of giving and in our own emotional health that we are made complete as a result of doing so. If we are giving when we don’t wish to give then whose fault is it if no one is there to give us a hand up when we fall? We need to determine our own limitations as well as the past history of others who we do deal with and if we are emotionally strong enough to continue dealing with those we are obsessing over.  If not it is way past time we acknowledge that we no longer have a role to play in their lives and if the cost is walking away then we do so.  Ask yourself,”If this person’s need had led to starvation,suicide, or accident would that had made you feel bitter because you got nothing back from them?

If  all of us had expectations of what we would gain in return for our compassion or when we gave, then none of us would ever enjoy life.  Trust me when I say,” if I am speaking about you, then would you please keep your time,money,or charitable work, before obligating others,establishing an image for yourself, or following through out of guilt, or you tell yourself you have an obligation to do so.” We all need to understand that giving isn’t done to gain personally and if it is, it will gain you nothing when it comes to peace of mind. It will instead only add to your own denial and inadequacies of just how out of keel with your emotional health you are or will become.  It will also drive all the rest of us right up a wall if we ever hear you obsess over it one more time!

The truth is those of us who care, which is the majority of us, are going to get burned by people like yourself, if we look at life as you do and ask to what can you do for me or how entitled am I, especially if you plan on giving nothing in return, unless you have strings attached to your generosity. A Nation that legislates by taking advantage of those who jeopardize their life for our freedoms,the sick or elderly who paid in,the poor and the hungry who teach us what real humanity is,or the disabled and disadvantaged who refuse to quit, while we pay for the wealthy tax breaks, is a legislature out of touch with the needs of the people who they take an oath of office to protect.

Those who give back to all of us, through their inspirations and constant struggles and those who teach us unselfish dedication along with giving us the hope through their own strengths,are the people we need to help and certainly over the greed of the people who wouldn’t waste their time trying to understand what real struggle or charity is unless they stood to gain. If we are going to call ourselves civilized or a Democracy, we cannot continue to reward bad behavior in favor of good behavior.

Our giving to those in need, as a Nation and through our tax base, is what should give all of us peace of mind. Knowing they have been there for us in the lessons we should have learned from them and the struggles they made for us or the hope they offer us, needs to be paid for by a grateful Country. To hate or obsess over doing so only indicates to the rest of us, you fail to appreciate those of us who will care for you, even when you have expectations in return. So can we quit obsessing and get back to compassion? Please stop the hurt and hate in you that feeds into driving your obsessions of feeling like you got burned, so those who do care about you, want to spend time with you.

I hope this brings a smile to the face of those of us who can remember a time in our life when we were to wrapped up with the negative side of life and to you who understand about which I write.  It would be equally as wonderful if it offers sage advice to those who don’t.  Remember the advice given by someone much wiser than I and it goes like this,”I asked you how you were, not how your ailments are?”Make life work for you in the best manner you can and then add others when you are strong enough to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.  Life takes a lifetime to get it right for a reason, with peace of mind following when we do.

Enjoy the empathy and compassion granted us through out our life as to destroy it is a real waste! Life really is too short to waste it in upset and hate, while obsessing over those who we make assumptions about according to our own extreme beliefs! Loving those who cannot love others because they cannot love themselves makes it even more difficult for those of us who try.   Understanding that as individuals we have a right to choose just as you do, goes a long way towards healing our Nation, and is the goal of all of us without your hate in it, hopefully with that  lesson learned in our election. Despite that hope the hate will continue if we do not put a stop to it in our Churches, legislatures,media, and lives.

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I’ve written mainly on the problems that exist in life and marriage because we as a Society often times spend entirely too much of our time living in denial or inventing a fantasy land that does not exist.

Men and women are simply different in the way they approach life and how they perceive people. When a woman is complaining many times it is just a mechanism to relieve a stressful day but often men feel they are complaining because they are looking for or asking for a solution to a problem. Because of this difference alone, so many times, problems will erupt in the communication of the couple and it is neither right or wrong or anyone’s fault when it does. It is simply the difference in how men approach life as versus what a woman is reacting to.

I am always amazed to hear women complaining over something in their mate which is nothing more than the man’s simple attempt to show his wife that he hears her and wants to help. I have heard women go on and on about something that is nothing more than a man’s interpretation of how to deal with a situation where as the woman is not looking for a solution but rather complaining for the sake of complaining. I have a difficult time myself, understanding what it is that makes some women happy as versus what she truly is needing. I think all of we women can agree to this ourselves that our sisters can be and are moody if not down right bitchy, but instead we tend to group together and get our feelings hurt because a man does not understand us.

Most marriages work because we do fall into a comfortable routine eventually and accept the differences between the sexes. Men as a whole do not batter their wives and not all women nag their husbands to death. So many couples actually start resembling each other in their appearances and their mannerisms. If we are mature enough to accept the differences in our lives while respecting the need for space in both ourselves as well as our spouse, then marriage can be and is one of the best things that will ever happen in our lives.

We do many times start the marriage out with our lovers and kindred spirits and fall into a life of enjoyment and successes sprinkled with failures with our best friends. As we advance in our years, once we do understand that all marriages sometimes do need breathing room, separate interests, and equal priorities while attaining and reaching our goals together, we will find that we do become almost mirror images of each other internally if not externally. A good marriage makes both of us better people.

Recently I had a friend visit and she said she had spent the last 20 years of her life convinced she hated her husband and was only staying with him because they were at long last building their dream home. Their marriage had started out very rocky with him being abusive until she put her foot down and he quit the bad behavior. As we visited over the period she was here, I noticed she often said ,”That must be a man thing” when my husband and I were talking.

It was, with surprise to me, that before she left, she had diagnosed her own problem through watching our marriage. She announced to me, she felt she could go back and have a friendship with her husband who she thought she had hated for the last 20 years. I was delighted for her and asked what had made the difference.

She said she has been in a rut for years now talking with two of her sisters who were both her best friends and all they do is compare notes on who has the worse husband of the 3. After watching my husband, who is just a big teddy bear, she realized that her husband for the last 20 years had been reaching out to be her friend and it had been her that had read in ulterior motives or was only looking to find fault. She felt if she started talking about what is right in her marriage perhaps she could save it after all. Sometimes solutions in life are just that simple.

People can be highly suggestive or subjective and many times we will see where one friend becomes restless and bored so does the other. This is just as true in men as it is in women. It is not uncommon to see three couples split up following the first couple of the group breaking up. It is not just children who submit to suggestions as well as peer pressure. Marriage rquires maturity and that does not always come with specified numbers or age.

When we watch the program “hoarders” so many of the people acknowledge that they began hoarding when their mothers died. Truly these were people who never learned how to let go, as realistically we all know that our parents as a rule, will die before we will and yet if mothers do not enforce the untying of the apron string or we do not take the initiative to let go emotionally, the grieving becomes more difficult that it should be.

Marriage is about turning to each other and working through our life’s struggles together. If it is not working then perhaps we need to understand that the two of us are not communicating without finding fault and passing blame and get the necessary professional help that we need.

The bad thing about divorce is that we not only give up our future together we also give up our past. So many will remarry the same person that they just divorced without the shared history that made their first marriages wonderful. Just like my friend noted, “she was stuck in a group of negative women” that found their strength on what was wrong instead of what is right. It is not unusual at all to hear couples say they make much better friends than they made lovers when they were married and not even realize that when most couples divorce they also give up their groups that often times led to or influenced the discontent amongst them.

(Please note this does not apply to marriages or relationships that are both abusive or adulterous. In both these cases blame must be shouldered or it will be repeated. The person doing both the abuse or having affairs has already broken the vows)

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No I am not talking about my husband, although over the 41 years of our marriage, I have waited up many a night for him to get home from sports activities, meetings, golfing, bowling, hunting, or boy’s night out. I am talking literally here. I am talking about our dog. As people and their pets age they need to get up more often to visit the privy or to go outdoors. It’s a kidney thing that happens to all of us as we get older.

I am somewhat and always have been, a night owl, anyway. If I had not developed a problem earlier in life, with getting comfortable due to an injury problem, I probably would not wait up at night to let my good and loyal pal out to relieve himself. I would do like others and put him on new papers for the night. I do not want to relay the idea that I am totally out of my mind or some kind of a saint that would relinquish their sleep on a nightly basis to spare their husband sleep or to let an old dog out to whiz. Even though I do wait up to do just that. It is not unusual to find myself up, occasionally yet, at 4:00 in the morning waiting for the dog to come out.

I wrote about him previously, and of his having a nervous breakdown when we left him at the vets while my husband and I took a trip out to see our daughter. He was a birthday gift to my husband and he has proven to be quite loyal to both of us. He spreads himself around quite nicely making sure he does not over use one of us over the other. Quite unusual for a dog, as most are a one person pet, and protective towards one member of the family as versus both. He is my duty, during the day and my husband’s job at night. He makes certain he hangs with us in our spots according to the terms he has made for himself.

When our daughters graduated College and both were close to heading out to seek their fortune I bought the dog for my husband for a birthday gift. He had the responsibility of having to put down another family dog and had sworn off all dogs for life. Needless to say he was not too enthused when my youngest daughter and I went and got him a new puppy for his birthday.

That lasted for 72 hours and the dog won him over. He is a toy cocker spaniel which is a cross between the Japanese Chin and the cocker spaniel and was a reject of his family as he could not get papered due to an underbite so when he smiles, he really does smile, he looks like he is ferocious and about to bite.

I wanted a dog that I could spoil and did not have to discipline as I hated that part of parenting and set out to spoil the new member of our family rotten. The dog ended up proving to me the need to discipline as just like children need guidelines and discipline so do pets. I realized I would do a much greater disservice to him if I did not discipline him and make him fit to visit our children’s homes as well as motel rooms.

He almost died on us with colitis this past winter as his grieving for us became so great when we boarded him, so I am delighted to announce that he is back to walking his three miles with my husband, unless it is too hot, and doing just fine as far as jumping on any piece of furniture he cares to sleep on. As of May he was 15 human years of age so if I miss out on a little sleep to let him out at night I figure it is no less than what he would do for me if he had the ability. Although many peope will not tell you this, many of us us that will admit it, will tell you once we get past a certain age, we nod off in our chairs enough to make up for the sleep lost anyway. He is one of those dogs that if you are lucky enough to find one in a life time, then you are lucky enough.

I can’t say enough to all of you, who are responsible and kind-hearted enough and have never had a pet, but are feeling as though your life is missing something, the amount of joy or pleasure a pet will give you in your life. If you find you have love to give, are appreciative of your own life and want to share your life with someone that is both loyal and safe to share your time with then consider getting a pet. Millions of them need people like you.They are a terrific cure for empty nest syndrome. Make sure before you do visit your local animal rescue center though that you are willing to give up both your time and have the means to care for them if they get sick and have medical expenses.

Animal rescue does not have time or the resouces to educate you on the care of a pet so be sure you know if you are ready to add another member to your family. If you can love without reserve you can care for a pet. As loyal as a dog is they are also as helpless as a child so they will need the commitment for their entire lifetime, from you. Our cities are filled with feral dogs running wild because people brought dogs home and were not willing to give them the care they deserved. Don’t add to the problem if all you want is a companion that you are not willing to give back to through sacrifice when needed. On the other hand if you are ready to add to your life more power to you!

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We all have or had people in our life over the years who are incapable of friendship, not because we do not enjoy them, but because there is no real depth to their character. They handle friendships in the same way they handle what they are going to wear or what they are going to eat. In other words, what strikes their fancy for the moment or the day. The following then are people who it would be wise to avoid or at very least treat as acquaintances because they will never be dependable enough to earn the distinction of friend.

1. They have call waiting and when you call they use it as an excuse to hang up on you instead of telling the other person that calls, they will call them back. (if it is an important call and our’s is not then circumstances do change. However, if they never offer to call us back but hang up each time then we kinda have our answer as to how low we rank in their lives)
2. You only hear from them when they are complaining about being bored or about someone else. People that especially belittle or demean others will do the same to us.
3. We only hear from them when they want or need something. That can become fairly consistent or erratic.
4. We meet for lunch and they are always short of tip money, or they offer to pick up the tip if we get the meal.
5. They brag about being a bitch as though it should be a badge of honor and use P.M.S. as an excuse to treat others like crap and find humor in it.
6. When they call they talk for an hour but when we call someone is always at the door or they have to go. If they can’t schedule their life around their needs then we are interfering with their plans.
7. They tell us they do not want to talk about that and go back to a subject that has been discussed and rehashed to the point that we are driven to absolute distraction by the entire subject, and they do not seem to notice.
8. They call to argue or to tell us that they read something that proves us wrong.
9. Talking about hell and damnation or our salvation becomes a common thread in their conversations.
10. Most of their conversations are about what is wrong with their spouses or their children. If a person has little to no loyalty for their spouse or children they will be lacking in loyalty toward us as well.
11. They are chronic liars and we catch them in one lie after another, but they accuse everyone else of lying.
12. We hear excuses about how they had to work when we had plans and others tell us that they are hanging out at the local gossip corner or coffee shop.
13. They always wait and call when they are drunk or have been drinking.
14. They form all or nothing relationships. When the relationship begins they are constantly in our lives until they move onto someone else and then we hear less and less from them. They have a history of doing this to everyone they hangout with.
15. they cut us short when we are speaking, to always talk about themselves. Every sentence begins and ends with I or Me.

I learned a long time ago, that the very best friend in life, is not one that makes us feel, indifferent, hateful towards others,puts us in the position to explain ourselves, applies pressure to accept their point of view, or think less of ourselves, but instead one who wants us to choose what is in our own best interest, while they support it 100%. We have people who come close to doing that in our lives but if we expect to have it 100% of the time then we will need to become our own best friend.

Reality is, just like we have our own best interests at heart, so does everyone else have their own best interests at heart. Many times the two interfere with each other and other times they can compliment each other. If there is little to no tolerance for those changes in our life to apply to us in the relationship, but always on the terms the other person establishes, then they are an acquaintance and should not be classified or mistaken with the honor of friendship.

Respect, appreciation, gratitude,trust and love are always the cornerstones of all good relationships but especially all good friendships. The more we confuse the differences between acquaintances and friendship the less pleasant the relationships will become and the more pain we will feel, if we ourselves, fail to understand or know the difference between the two.

(Please note: Many of us will place others before ourselves, but rare is the person who does not place their interests before another’s. If you doubt that then go to a convention where you have an option between what interests you as versus what bores you, get caught in a disaster situation, or have your child compete against your best friend’s child for the same position, and you will understand more clearly, the difference.)

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If the title reminds you of someone who you either are or know I would caution you to tune into the needs of either yourself or the person you are leaning on. There is only so far anyone can stretch themselves before it starts taking a toll on their or your own happiness, health and well-being.

It is a wonderful place to be in when we are young and full of energy because giving of ourself to others is rewarding, however, I would caution all of you that it also can and does lead to burn-out. We see it often in nursing staffs and teachers that start out wanting to give all they have, only to end up frazzled and burnt out. They go from the cheerful and uplifting ,many times to the grumpy and indifferent.

Family and friends also turn to people who are willing to give of themselves to only end up saying,”what happened to her? She use to be so easy-going and carefree and now she seems like she doesn’t even care.” If any of this sounds familiar to you then do something for the person you are thinking of or speaking of, not tomorrow but today. The truth is you are quickly using this generous person’s time and patience up. You would be surprised at how far respect, appreciation, and gratitude goes. A simple thank you for always being there will go much further than a shared glass of wine.

If you value her at all, you will take time to acknowledge her. Do not think that your one-act of kindness justifies her many, many, efforts and time spent on you. If you take her out to eat and it includes yourself, it will not be seen as an act of kindness done for her. It needs to be something that she has done for you that gets returned to her, without including yourself.

If it is a neighbor or a man then the same applies. People all are born busy, regardless of how you justify it to yourself. Not only do these people have as much to do as you do, many of them have much more than you do, as they are not just busy and concerned about you and your problems, they are doing the same with many others and that you can be certain of, always.

If instead you are of the attitude or thinking, “If she does not want to do it, she is a big girl, she can say no.” or “No one is putting a gun to her head and forcing her to do it” or “I can’t mistreat her without her permission”,rest assured, you are a selfish ass, to put it bluntly. Perhaps it would be kinder to say thoughtless or uncaring? What you may be thinking and saying, may be true, but she hasn’t yet seen through you. It is just a matter of time that she does, and you will lose possibly the only person in your life, that loved and accepted you for nothing more than you being yourself.

These are rare friends to find and the most worthy of keeping. Take a moment to ask yourself, “if you have or had such a person in your life?” We all did or do, and no I am not talking about our mothers, as mother’s love is or should always be, unconditional. I am not discounting all the mothers that do their commitment well or telling anyone to take them for granted, I simply am not including them in this post. Making people happy is a gift that many other people have as well, when we don’t have the same gift, and we are all Blessed when we are wise enough to know we had or have one of these angels in our life. If you’re half as smart as you think you are, you will correct it before it does go from have to had. Have a good day all!

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Manipulators, those that encourage us to take charge of their responsibility in life, are fairly easy to recognize. They begin early in life and have a whole terminology of their own but mainly they set the mood of helplessness. Make no mistakes about it, they are not innocent people who do not realize what they are doing. All manipulators set out to relieve you of your time,skills, money, property, peace of mind, or anything that you have and they want or need. It is totally deliberate on their part.

Many begin as children learning what will get their parents to react. Usually it is tears or a tantrum or can be taken on as extremely difficult behavior in order to get their parents to hand their own power over to the child. If the parent is low on tolerance of screaming, bad behavior, or tears the child picks this up very quickly. They will recognize a parent that will let them have both what they want or give into them rather than have to deal with their poor behavior. Good behavior as a child or as an adult, can also earn the same consequences and is why so many people say about a serial killer,” he was the best”, “the nicest”, etc.

As they grow up they learn to express themselves with, “I have no one to listen to me”, “I have no one that can help me”, “You are so strong, I admire that about you–can you help me”. “I hate to ask you but…..” so on so forth. Any of the flattering solicitations leading to helping them you can bet is a come on to manipulate us into doing their job, pay their bills, or just in general help them to get out of the mess that they have created.

The reason I tell people in my post that we are as responsible as the manipulator for being hurt by them, is because unless we recognize them amongst us, we will be doing their or people like them, bidding for the rest of our lives. Some have had years to practice their con and are very difficult to recognize.

It is always wise to remember that they will go out of their way to ingratiate themselves to us and then ask us for a favor, they will sometimes appear both grateful and generous and then turn around and collect from us a far greater price than what they gave. Very few of them have any genuine friends but they give the appearance of having many, as they tend to be social by nature and ingratiate themselves to many.

They can be family members that we have known all of our lives and the ones that we think would be the last to use us. They can also be strangers to us. We all do well in knowing that the only people on earth that get something for nothing is the manipulator. However, many of those are paid back at a much higher price of guilt that they carry around like a shroud for the rest of their life. The rest of them have no conscious at all and instead use excuses for almost every turn they take in life.

A manipulator, as a rule, can justify anything in life that will make them look good while making the other person that has been their benefactor look bad, in order to explain why the relationship no longer last. They never do anything for anyone else unless their own return or reward is greater than what they give. They also tire of relationships rapidly after they have achieved their own purposes.

Take out sometime in your day, week, or month and ask yourself to what extent, if any , are you being manipulated, on the job, at home, or in your romantic life. Are you always the one that gives in or folds? Are you the one that picks up the tab? Are you the one in the office that is called on to help others catch up? Is there more stress in the relationship than there is joy? If you find you are answering yes to these or any variable of the question then people have figured out that they can play your charitable side to get what they want from you.

The important thing is that you ask your self why? Are you insecure to the point that you want everyone to like you, even when you know that is impossible? Do you not feel like you are loved and somehow foolishly think that their appreciation will last more than 15 minutes if you do as they ask? Are you doing so because you genuinely enjoy giving and you will not resent it later? If you answer yes to one of these then I recommend that you pay special attention to the following.

People that are manipulators will always blame others, they are never wrong and usually have a team of people who will vouch for them. They hang out with one group for a while and then are seen with a different group in a few months time, they change friends faster than most people change batteries. They are by all rights loners unless they are working on their image and then they are seen everywhere and heard as well.

Where most people only ask us for a small or simple favor like “would you mind picking up that pencil for me?”, a manipulator will ask for large favors and keep coming back and asking for more. If you are the type to volunteer help, so they do not have to ask, then they will magnify every problem they have ever had or imagined, off of the scale, to get you to volunteer your generosity.

They’re very charming, have an almost saintly if not heroic quality about them and always , always helpless. They are getting paid in two weeks, have an inheritance coming just around the corner, gave heroically of themselves in the C.I,A. or the Green Berets or saved lives on 9/11. They admire so much what you have done but they can’t possibly do that themselves, could you?….etc,etc.,etc. More time than not it is the person that shares your bed, gave you birth or the reverse, lives next door or across the street from you, works in the stall next to you, fought with you as a sibling, or has been calling you on a weekly basis just to complain. They really are easy to recognize as they announce themselves with flattery towards us, and then helplessness, that is almost always exaggerated out of the picture. “Fool me once shame on you! Fool me twice ,shame on me!”

Many times I helped out even when I knew I was being manipulated as they truly did not have anyone else since they had burned all their bridges behind them. When we do that with our eyes wide open, we do not get hurt. I knew their character, in all cases ,but one and that did hurt, but I also realize that I get more out of a random act of kindness many times than does the person receiving my charitable gift. If you are being hurt then investigate your own feelings as to what it is that you expect in return.

The only way anyone ever gets rid of a manipulator is to say no with explanation,to always be too busy to have time for them,If they will not take no for an answer, leave and get caller ID, and do not answer blocked,private,unavailable or any calls with their name or phone number displayed,leave and change your cell phone number or get a private number,interupt them continuously by talking about yourself and your own problems, or wait them out until they find someone else. Once you are no longer serving their needs or interests they will start looking for the next person they can con. Most of them will not hear you when you say no, so constant follow through on not giving in to them is important. If all else fails or if you feel threatened then file harassment charges on them or contact your local telephone company and explain the situation as if they are calling and hanging up or harassing you, the telephone company can and will fine them $500.00, get a restraining order. Be careful though, as in some cases, they do both harrass or stalk in an effort to win you back. It’s always better to let them down gently, if it has been a long term relationship, as they feel that they own you by now. Good luck!

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Sometimes we wonder why some marriages last when we see how strange of relationships they have and often why they think these relationships are typical. Men spend time bitching about the old lady and some women, who we know, will never quit complaining about the man they are married to. It is impossible to have a conversation with these people without hearing about a problem with their mate.

It goes something like this:
“How are you George?”
“I could be better, my old lady won’t give me a minutes peace!”
“How are You doing, Sally?”
“Are you kidding living with that worthless bastard I’m married to, how do you think I’m doing?”
The odd thing about it ,when one of them gets deathly sick or die their mate falls apart and never really quite recovers from the loss of their mate.

I know there are couples who only remain together in name only and stay together because of their religious convictions, while others fear they cannot financially afford the lifestyle if they would divorce. These couples genuinely appear to hate each other. If they cannot divorce for fear of going to hell then they are going to make sure their mates go through hell while here on earth.

They’re also the couples who stay together because “by God she is not going to get everything, I worked my butt off for, while she sit on her butt talking up her lady friends”. Or ” If he thinks he is going to get rid of me that easy after my spending years washing his dirty underwear and feeding his fat face, then he has another think coming.” It becomes some kind of a game for these couples who find it necessary to belittle and dehumanize each other all their married life.

I personally do not get it, but it is almost a contest or their reasoning for getting up in the morning. In some ways it is the driving force that keeps them both going. They are waiting for the other one to die so they can dance on their grave and often say that or worse.

As difficult as it is to wonder why this couple stays together it is even more difficult to understand why the couple who has been suffering a 30 year pout stay together. They’re couples that will watch the same t.v. show on two different television sets in the next rooms from each other. They get up fix their own coffee or breakfast, leave the house and spend the day doing what ever it is that they are doing, because they never communicate to each other to where they are going or what they are doing.

They have been retired for 10 years, since they were forced into early retirement in their 50’s, so she assumes he has a love interest and he assumes she has one. As long as they never know for sure they are not going to ask and Lord help the person who does try to tell them the truth. When it comes time to making a major purchase they may discuss the finances otherwise they live along side of each other in silence. Usually she lives in her room upstairs and he downstairs or visa versa.

When we ask them if they are upset with each other usually the response on their part is,” one of disbelief because we would ask them such a question,” and other time they respond, “No. He/she  just has their things to do  and I have the things that I like to do.”

Another type of couple is the one who are lovey-dovey when out in public and makes everyone else jealous because they are always holding hands or on the dance floor dancing and would never be seen out of the company of each other. The spite and anger in these two people towards each other in their homes runs so deep that even their children refuse to visit them.

They each have an extra affair going on the side and they both know it and make no bones about what each are up to but instead are grateful it’s not them they are sleeping with, now or ever. They always leave town to have an affair as they are usually professional people, politically employed,own a business or hold a high rank in their churches where image is very important to their financial success.

I can’t believe, I almost forgot the couple who drinks too much or are hyped up on prescription drugs to the point they are abusing them and will fight so loud that neighbors pull up their chairs to listen to the arguments, or sit on their own front porches two blocks down and can hear them fight.

These are not the battered but perhaps were when they were younger. They make their 911 calls to the cops over something as ridiculous as to who gets the remote control or who had it last. If we were not related to them and it was not such a sad way to live we could find humor in the silliness of it all.

They are not to be confused with the closet drunks who have their 2 or 3 night martinis in their basements or family room but refuse all alcohol other than the one or two limit social drink while in public. They drink silently together or are in the habit of out insulting each other with their smart-aleck remarks.This couple either stumbles off to bed or their children cover them with a blanket on the sofa if they pass out and then the children shut off the lights.

I really have no answers for this behavior, beyond dysfunctional, but I offer it as a possible explanation as to why the people whom we date do not get a clue when we tell them that the relationship is over. If we grew up in these homes wouldn’t we all have a problem with knowing what rejection looks like or how serious it should be taken?

I offer it as a possible explanation and certainly not as an excuse because we all need to empower ourselves with what it is in another person ,we will accept and what it is we will refuse regardless of the situation. I for one believe it is the nature of too many of my gender to discount and look past too many things while dating and then when they marry these men they spend the rest of their lives degrading the relationship without acknowledging these tendencies were quite apparent before they said, ” I do.’.

It is always healthy, whether we are male or female, to take a good long look first, at what is considered normal in the family which we are going to marry into.

We may think “oh well, I got the good one out of the bunch and even she/he laughs about how weird their family is” but the truth is: some of these things that he/she are now laughing at while you are dating will become part of your own marriage as well. It is true that we marry the man or the woman and not the family, but people in love and dating are all together different from the people who we marry. Dating is when both men and women are on their best behavior so if these things are irritating while dating they will only become exaggerated to a much greater degree after marriage.  If he smacks his food now or she spends too much now then count on both becoming so irritating that divorce becomes part of the conversation later, unless you both are mature enough to change.

We all change as we age and not always for the best unless we do treat each other with mutual respect.  Which means we do not complain needlessly or endlessly to anyone who will listen about out mates. Sometimes the greatest change of all, in my experience, may happen or I should say the greatest reversal back to the oddness in the family happens; usually when husband and wife have plans for their children and they grow up and disappoint their parents by choosing differently from what the parents hopes were for them. All of a sudden then, it is not all that unusual that couples will look back and say “well maybe Mom and Dad knew more than I thought they did” and then the weirdness becomes very real again, because if you fail and mom and dad stayed together then they and their dysfunction looks normal again to our spouses.

Mom and Dad, regain the power again and are usually passed on and placed on a pedestal. Because no one sees themselves as the same failure they may see their children as, then the strangeness gets repeated in families from one generation to the next. The difference being the parents are gone and often memorialized into perfection and the two of you very well may be living the exact marriage you use to tell each other “You hoped you were dead before you ever lived that way.” There is a reason  it pays to be more mature and not to rush into marriage when we do pick our life time mates. If anyone ever tells you that marriage is easy then you my dear, are looking at a person knee-high, at least, in denial. Good marriages are worth waiting for and do exist in mature people,

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If you read my post from yesterday, entitled. “The best Days of our Lives” then just add the person to it that feels entitled to share everything that we work for to it, and you will understand the other major reason as to why families,friends, and neighbors end up with all the negative emotions and misunderstandings that they do towards each other.

As long as we are meeting their approval by sharing our assets with them, whether it be time, skill or money, doing as we are told in the neighborhood,family, and friendship then most of us are A-o.k. in their books, if not great. It is when we need space for our own endeavors that the negatives start piling up and the excuses as well as the judgements usually start. The control freaks in our lives simply cannot handle the word “No”. We can also throw the manipulators, those with a superiority complex, and the narcissists in the mix along with the self-appointed.

Since I wrote about all the ways that we can improve our own lives without finding fault and blame in others in that post I will simply ask you to read it and replace it with the above behaviors in people. Too many of us spend way too many years in our youths trying to win approval through popularity and then only end up disillusioned as to why it does not work. (“the Best Days of our Lives” is listed on the side of this post if you cannot find it elsewhere)

Charity begins at home and we cannot ignore our own lives at the expense of others and then think we can find joy. I believe that all of us do have an obligation to help others as well, but when we do it to the point that we deny our own well-being it is time to go back and reflect on why we got in the place that we have in the first place. I assure you that most of the things that we do for others will never be regretted as long as we did them without expectations of rewards for ourselves.

It is a common thread that runs amongst most of us to do too much or not enough or to assume and end up with neighbor not waving, family not speaking and arguments following judgements. Most of the behavior really is quite petty and most of us can and will find the humor in it. Once we can appreciate our own faults in assuming too much. It really is true that to assume, “makes an ass- out of -u- and -me-.”

It will take the courage to take a good look at ourselves realistically and honestly and look at our own action, reaction, or behavior instead of finding fault in their’s.

It always does all of us well, to remember, that no one is ever entitled to anything, including adult children from some one else, unless we have made a vow to forsake all others as we do in marriage and give birth to minor children that are totally reliant on us for the success of their future salvation.

Parents, big brothers and big sisters lose all control or rights over a married couple regardless of who they may be and especially when they never ask so much as an hour of your time other than to make your trip pleasant or a nickel of your money once they do marry.

The Mom and Pop rules become nil and void. Except of course when you are a guest or living under their roof and of course they are still entitled to the ground rules in their homes. Even if siblings do borrow money or need help it still does not give parents, big brother, or big sister any rights over the spouse on any issues other than the loan.

At the same token anyone who does borrow money from a sibling should know and understand that along with asking for the loan will come advice and explanation when the answer is both yes and no, just the same as if they were a neighbor,friend or stranger.

To loan money to someone close to us is always a mistake. Unless there is a drug,spending, gambling addiction or alcohol problem it is better to give them the money to prevent hard feelings in the future.

If it is someone who has made accusations against us or sabotaged us in the past, then it is never a good idea, to give money much less loan it, as the feelings, are already raw against this individual and there will be family interference ,as a rule, regardless of the situation at hand. At the same token it is wrong to accept gifts from them.

Otherwise absolutely everything done by us or for us is completely in the hands of the person who is doing us the favor and if we are not that person then we are not entitled, owed, or do we have a right to expect anything from anyone beyond what they are willing in their generosity to do for us or give to us.

Family are no different from friends or neighbors in that they do not get to treat us like crap, exclude us when convenient and then turn around and ask us for our help. If they have not learned that they do not get “their cake and eat it too” and they or your parents have not taught them that reality then perhaps it is our moral obligation to teach them.

The same goes for parents who try to interfere in our marriages. Nothing is more sacred than the marriage vows themselves. If the only way family can respect each other is to put distance between them then by all means do. Staying together,discounting feelings, refusing group counseling, and arguing amongst each other many times causes more pain and solves less than putting time and distance between us will. It sometimes is best to just exchange best wishes at Christmas and birthdays rather than to constantly badger each other.

We would all hope that we would assume responsibility for the aged or sick family members amongst us but not all families can or do and that too, sadly, is a realization. We must all bear in mind that they’re always extenuating circumstances that has nothing to do with our sitting in judgement as to why it is the way it is.

Sometimes family members that need help will reject our help unless they can control or bully the help we give them and mistreat or verbally abuse us in the process. When that happens it makes it impossible then to help them.

Professional people are trained with the knowledge in how to deal with these type of personalities. Most of them will not tolerate such behavior nor should we think it our duty to do so as well. It may take an extended search on our part to find the facilities best equipped to deal with them.

When siblings refuse to listen or believe parents are not co-operating and blame the sibling instead, then the problem becomes compounded. We are to figure out our own purpose in life and to allow others the same freedom. Maturity is acknowledging and accepting the truth of that realization. Again I wish you all the Best!

(Please note–This is intended for anyone that comes from either an extended dysfunctional family, lives in a dysfunctional neighborhood or has dysfunctional friends, I have been blessed with my inner-circle of family, great neighbors and friends ( well with the exception of 2 in the friend dept.who maybe a little questionable but who I love anyway:) and most of us will have 2 hopefully that goes well if not all three. If you have all three that goes poorly, then you REALLY need to evaluate your own behavior:)

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