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Friday, April 17, 2015

how the children are affected


From this article:
 "Things like that will tear at your heart but my theory is that the kids, your family, and your friends will be more likely to expect you to make his life easier because you are doing just fine. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the ex is milking their sympathies for all he is worth.
It’s going to be tough but all you can do is wait it out. The truth will come out eventually it’s just a matter of being patient and being the mom. You know how that goes. You swallow your hurt and you wait for them to figure it out. They will, I promise."

From "Will I Ever Be Free of You?" bu Dr. Karyl McBride:
A prominent, seasoned judge told me that when he sees these cases, he knows he has to make his orders more detailed so that they micromanage everything about the couple's lives with their children. "I have a sense of frustration: no matter how hard I work to make a detailed, ironclad order, they will be back," the judge said. "They keep litigating. I've seen cases with five hundred and seventy-one pleadings in one case. We call them our 'frequent filers.' Then some go pro se and file their own pleadings, and we have a series of contempts and modifications for minor violations of the law. They feel they are entitled to this or that, and the amount of judicial time it takes is out of proportion to normal cases. After awhile we know what sports the kids play, what schools they go to, and all the ongoing minutiae. The frequent filers are here every three to six months at least. We usually can't limit this. Restrictions are hard to impose as our authority to do so is limited. You have to find they are being abusive in the filing and the judicial process. But the worst is they don't realize how much they are hurting their children. I eventually see the impact of the conflict and the litigation. I see kids doing worse in school, bed-wetting and displaying anxiety, rebellion, and many of them brainwashed and under the control of the narcissist, aligning with the narcissistic parent for their own safety."

Today there was a child in school who was talking about his dad. He said his dad blamed everyone for everything, that he could not take any blame. He said his dad would not listen to anyone else and that the only thing he would listen to was his own thoughts. He said his dad only cared about himself. 
This child's parents are, of course, divorced.
He was worried that he blamed people too much. This child is 12 and I told him if he knew this about himself, then he was in a good place because he knew something about himself. 
This broke my heart. This child is not the only one dealing with this kind of parent. Yes, he "got" who his dad is, he grasped his limitations. But it does not make it easier. It simply means within the limits of the law and visitation, this child has to learn how to cope, how to issue canned responses to abuse. A narcissist lets NO one in, not even their own children. 
I wonder what capacities we are building in children of today. If indeed there are more narcissists these days, then those are the divorced ones, and these children spend half their time with someone who thinks their disordered traits are desirable and normal.
I have a friend who had a breakthrough insight. That insight was, "I will never have a normal father. I will never be loved by him like a father is supposed to love their child." Words of comfort were spoken to her that her dad is missing out on an awesome daughter.
Still, my heart breaks for these situations, for my own personal connections with aspects of these stories, for the damage we human beings do to each other.
I read about a "personal policy" that goes like this: "I won't trample on you, nor will I allow you to trample on me." That is not always possible. People like narcissists will always trample. They don't want you to have what you want, including peace and distance from them. Although some will give you peace and distance, they will infuse it with a punishing "you're not good enough" energy to make sure you know why they do not speak to you nor treat you like a human being. This is not honoring a boundary, this is cruelty and abuse.
  The danger is in these behaviors being normalized and accepted as good. 
In my next post, I am going to delve into some more thoughts on how narcissists are made. Hint: it takes a village with a lack of hierarchy.
For further reading:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love
http://divorcedmoms.com/articles/divorcing-a-narcissist-keep-your-expectations--low
http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/pa.htm

Friday, April 10, 2015

Knit a Tree House


Knit a tree house? Why not?
Materials: rope from Lowe's (not thick or slick). I used four 100-foot packages.
Two branches that are 5-6' apart
broom or piece of bamboo, or two if you prefer to use a broom to do the knitting
people and children

Start with the rope:


 To start, you will need loops on your first branch. I "cast on" using the backwards loops method. First, I tied the end around the branch, loosely, and made several knots to secure this loop to the branch. Casting on is basically wrapping the cord around the tree once, then bringing the cord back through the loop you just made.

Keep doing that until you have as many stitches as you like. We had 17 stitches.

Casting on completed!

To start knitting, make a loop, then pull it through the first loop on the branch. Put this loop on your left arm. 

Continue to make loops, taking the cord from the roll, and putting them on your left arm.


Here you see the "live" stitches on the left arm of my daughter.
To change colors, simply tie on. I leave a long tail and tie several knots in place for extra security. I'm sure you could fuse the cord together with a woodburner but we were too far from the house.






 Once you have all the stitches on your left arm, then you use your right arm to loop the cord through and turn and go the other way. We divided stitches between my daughter and me and our neighbor and used all six arms to knit. Soon, they tired of this and so I was able to put them on my arm then transfer the stitches to a broom to finish solo. Last summer, I did this in my camp and assigned each person a stitch. This was great teamwork and cooperative play, for we all had to snuggle in very close, wait our turn, laugh and giggle, and help each other keep track of the loop. I hope to chronicle a treehouse knitting like that soon. It really is great fun.
After awhile, it was long enough! I then climbed the tree, too the end and tied cord through the loops on the broom, 4-5 at a time, to secure the end to the next branch. It wasn't rocket science, just tying it on tight enough and repeating it enough to be secure. 
And now time to use the treehouse!

 Davis tried not to smile and insisted on not smiling.


 But he sure did spend a lot of happy time in his new treehouse!
The treehouse is a place my kids go to often when they want to be alone, and also when they want to be social and climb a tree. We have now attached a zipline to the tree, so the idea is that they can climb into the treehouse then jump on to the 100' zipline. I just need to get the zipline tightened and we are good to go! And that is another blog post for certain.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rebirth


Well, gosh, that seems like a simple thing, doesn't it? No love, I'm outta there? Perhaps I am not so simple because I stayed in a marriage where I tried to convince my tablemate to bring some love to the table. I loyally overcompensated for what was being withheld. I did not just walk away from the table.
It's been three years since my divorce. Three years since my marriage was killed yet the anger, blame and scapegoating towards me keeps going, in court and otherwise. This means I have a chronic situation that isn't going away any time soon. Now there is even a whole group devoted to unhealthy interference and micromanagement of our lives. 
Why was this chronic situation so hard to come to grips over? Because I thought if I got healthier, set my healthy boundaries, delved into my grief, had all this knowledge, properly let go, that I would be somehow set off into the sunset of healing...and that I would have arrived somewhere. I also bought into the mistaken belief that my ex would let it go, given time. I thought his anger and need to control would abate. I was wrong.   

For a long time, I've struggled with what it means to be a victim. In my support circles, I've learned that there are many women who are still being targeted by their exes. This "you can't make me" attitude, and "I will ignore you" is, like this article  says, "is as violent and destructive as a fist fight, but so much more deniable and self-righteous."  What we are dealing with are the men who push so hard for a divorce and thoroughly discard their wife, then stay angry at her even though she was not good enough for him.  For me, I can grieve it, learn about it, watch it, document it, stand up to it, wonder about it. And I do. Yet there is more of life available to me than me being the target of someone else's unhappiness. Being a target isn't the same as being a victim. Being a target means thinking strategically; shifting to higher ground, getting out of the line of fire, and well, only focusing enough on the situation for protection while moving on with my happy life.  I have in every way chosen to have my soul and my life back and I stick to that.
Getting out has meant that I assign my own status and I am not a victim. Ever. The actions of another person toward me do not define me as victim. No matter what is thrown at me or how hard they try. Heck, I've already endured severe cruelties and crushing losses.  I've lost my home and family and husband TWICE. I've survived and even thrived through all of the ensuing darkness and painful growth and destruction of self-worth.
My therapist framed it in terms of using it to my advantage. "Huh? "I thought. "I can use this to my advantage?" Part of me didn't quite get that yet was excited and ready for the challenge. I don't always feel strong yet somehow I manage to grow and mature and keep making good in my life. I still resort to thinking like I have no choices at times. People have been in worse situations that they've used to their advantage and even then to better society. This is the shift I am making and I am ready for it. It is the next level of healing. It is embracing the health and love that is already here for me. It is accepting that the time for deep grief has passed and I have shed so much of the past. It is allowing patterns (such as seeking re-enactment of childhood wounds) to re-form and be healed. It is creating my bubble of love and acceptance and growth and giving my power over to that, not to impossible dysfunctions. It is about turning myself around so I do not become bitter and hurtful in response to the bitterness and hurtfulness of others. 
Every person who has put themselves in a perpetrator position in my life is my teacher, if only to show me how darkly their actions contrast with the light of love. I am not their victim, nor can I influence their choices. I CAN use it for my own healing, which in turn, heals a whole lot more than just me. 
For I have a line of women in my life who have been violated and demeaned by men, and even some women. It has been a cycle I have participated in through my own choice of relationships.The legacy of distorted love stops here. Healing myself, lifting my metamorphosisters up, allowing my sisters to lift me up, also heals my daughters, my grandmothers and great-grandmothers, my mother, my son, and  in the meantime busts up some karma. Control is not love. Abuse is not love. It has taken work and a fair amount of time to walk away from the loveless table, both in my inner and also my outer life.
It's time for the next phase of healing...for gratitude and strength...for forgiving myself. It's the glory of spring!
Happy Easter!

For further reading (there is always room for more education on personality disorders):

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shades of Grey

If you read a lot of articles on the internet, you will know that often there comes up an opinion about how you respond to something. Usually this is framed as an "either/or" proposition. You can either see a setback as a death, or see it as an opportunity. You can either grieve or dance, cry or laugh, choose to be happy or choose to be miserable.
I personally think that is completely messed up.
Thinking that you only have two options in any given situation is the black-and-white way to misery. It does not require you to think for yourself and allow yourself to feel the spectrum of human emotions and accept them with love.
I turn to  the wisdom of the Bible: to everything there is a season. Timing is a beautiful aspect that allows us to move with grace through all that happens.
From Ecclesiastes:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.



As a divorced woman, I have heard plenty of "black and white." 
Things like "Just move on. Let go. Get past this."
The truth is, some days I have moved WAY on, and other days something brings up a sadness that must be worked through. There is not an easy black and white answer to the human heart.I came across this quote in my Behavioral Research Methods text that touches on this: "by definition, professionals on the edge of knowledge do NOT know what causes what. Scientists, however, are privileged to say so, whereas business executives, politicians, and judges, for example, sometimes make decisions in audacious ignorance while appearing certain and confident." Perhaps troubles are caused when we behave as judges and business executives with each other, rather than curious, humble scientists. 
There are always choices, and colors outside the black and white, hard and fast, rule-bound and rigid. Knowing when to pick up those colors and when to put them down, knowing when to give each color its time, requires that we have a sensitivity. Out of that intuition, we gain discernment and the ability to move through life with greater love for ourselves and compassion for others.
It is a great paradox. If you say " I choose love", and then hold yourself to such an impossible standard that you end up failing others and yourself, then you have not chosen love. You have chosen a strict moral code that is supposedly consistent with love. But choosing love often means looking outside of the black and white, right and wrong beliefs we stubbornly hold.
Living in color means accepting all the possibilities of life, and then applying your own good sense. There IS a time to grieve! There IS a time to dance! It doesn't have to be either/or. That is where your creativity resides....the playful and honest expression of what is real for you now.
Timing is important. The timing of letting your soul breathe through yet another cycle of get angry/ be sad/ let go. The timing of holding back a thought and then bringing it forth. The timing of giving support and then letting mistakes emerge. The timing of having your idea and letting it rest, then nurturing it completely.
Life is undoubtedly complicated. I think often people give advice out of their own discomfort with the suffering of another, and in essence tell them, "don't feel. you're mucking it up.". It is nurturing, however, to give the comfort of validation of their position, of their feelings, of their situation. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Raising a Narcissist

Recently there has been a rash of articles about the beginnings of narcissism. These articles point to the fact that if you overpraise a child, they will develop into self-centered narcissists. It seems obvious and simplistic, and I believe there are several things missing from these articles.
First, one must have a real sense of what narcissism really is. Yes, narcissists are entitled, and grandiose, and contradictory, and selfish, and socially awkward, but many of them are also lacking ambition, superficially generous, socially adept and manipulative, and moral. Being self-centered and entitled is not necessarily narcissism, although it is part of it. It is not necessarily so easy to spot a narcissist. They look good on the surface. They can be fun and charming. They often have a story where they are the victim and so they elicit sympathy.
The key, in my opinion, is empathy and character.
One can be self-centered and still have empathy. One can be overpraised and still feel a sense of reality in their capacities.
One can be a narcissist and think about the world around them. One can be a narcissist and still make grandiose and generous gestures in the world, making others think they have stumbled upon someone truly moral and higher.
That is the key. True narcissists will always think they are better than you, deserve more than you, take more from you than they give, and believe that they are morally superior to you. There is not just snobbery, perfectionism, and judgment of everyone else. There is an element of abuse in that a narcissist needs a scapegoat, and an audience, to keep up his masks and prevent him from taking responsibility for his actions.They need others to use and walk on.
Narcissists invest in masks. Behind every "good" mask a narcissist has a "nasty" mask that they will trot out just because it suits their whim.
Narcissists are quintessential bullies who never grow past their need to make someone else smaller so they can always be the one who is bigger, more right, more moral, more intellectual, and more capable.
To a narcissist, people are not people. They are toys, tools, or obstacles.

Outside of the DSM definition, there is the experience of being with a narcissist. The following traits are common among the narcissistic set: passive aggression, contempt, judgment, stonewalling as an abuse tactic, habit of correcting you as a way to consistently give the message that you are "wrong", can't "do" feelings, has a narrow repertoire of feelings, "heady" and intellectual, lacks empathy even when asked to demonstrate empathy, refuses to take responsibility for actions and their consequences, constantly projects, is self-deceptive, contradictory, sets double standards, extreme lack of self-awareness (or simply lack of care for how they treat other people), concerned with how they appear to others (masks), won't apologize, controlling, verbally abusive, emotionally manipulative, and often "delusional".
These behaviors come out of a sense of entitlement, extreme selfishness, and a "my way or the highway" approach to life.
Why should we care that there are narcissists, bullies, or mean people? It is my belief that to the degree we collectively tolerate this behavior, we limit our humanity and invite abuse. These behaviors are hurtful and damaging to relationships, and to our world at large. Lack of empathy is at the root of all kinds of evil.
While it is impossible to change a narcissist and if you have one in your life you are in for a healing journey you didn't expect, it is possible to be conscious in how we raise our children so they are not exploitative and uncaring.

The Flip Side
So how do you avoid raising someone who feels entitled to base their relationships on whether you are useful, entertaining, or an enemy?
How do you avoid raising a narcissist?
My belief is that it is NOT that we avoid teaching children that they are important, or even overly important. It is that we teach them HOW they are important in RELATIONSHIP to other people. 
Here are my suggestions based on my in-depth research on narcissism, personal relationship experience, 13 years' experience as a Waldorf teacher, and 23 years' experience as a mother.

1. Build Good Character
I believe it starts with building good character. Good character, at its base, is allowing words and actions to match up. Narcissists can't do that. They are Jekyll over here, Hyde over there, and have a "split" in that their picture of themselves just doesn't consistently match with their actions. They may claim to be moral, yet be habitually dishonest with others and themselves. I believe lessons in good character are learned first with modeling behaviors of good character. Just live your truth, don't cover it up with lies, take responsibility for yourself, don't judge, and teach your children to do the same.
Honesty and good character will prevent a multitude of narcissistic traits: projection, blame, criticism, scapegoating...because if you know how to care for yourself through responsibility for your own words and actions, you know how to take care of others as well. You can be trusted in a positive way because your word is backed up by your behavior.Sadly, one of the scary things about narcissists is their ability to delude themselves, and others are sucked in to their stories of victimhood because they seem to so vehemently believe they are victims. I have found myself nodding in understanding of a narcissist's sob story even though it was all about them: the friend who became jealous of a friend's new baby and stopped talking to her, the man who left his wife high and dry yet said he "had" to. When confronted on these behaviors, watch out for a narcissist's revenge. A narcissist has no self-awareness and wants none either, since that would mean taking responsibility for themselves. They cannot tolerate personal boundaries you set since those are a threat to their ego or their enmeshment.

2. Emphasize Compassion 
There are many writings on compassion, and developing compassion is sometimes a lifelong commitment. It is a worthy commitment. Narcissists don't feel compassion, not in the way you and I think of compassion. They might put on a show of kindness but cannot ultimately back it up in a meaningful way. They borrow the neighbor's lawnmower without asking and return it broken without offering to fix it. They are prone to blame, kick you when you're down, and when faced with your heartache will somehow turn the attention back on themselves. For example, after my divorce, I had a "friend" who indulged herself in opinions about my life yet refused to hear my experience, and got angry when I did not comfort her over my divorce. They will judge, disdain, and ignore your feelings, thoughts, dreams, and desires. Contempt is the opposite of compassion and narcissists are filled with contempt. It is what eventually makes you angry with them and want to run from them as fast as you can.

3. Empathy/High Tolerance for Feelings
Narcissists often cannot tolerate feelings. I have a hunch that anxiety around feelings or going deep into one's own self are one of the roots of narcissism. It keeps life very superficial indeed, and helps one avoid being close in relationships, spiritual, or self-aware. Tolerating feelings in ourselves and learning how to consciously work with them gives us a tolerance for the feelings of others, helps us develop sensitivity, compassion, and empathy. Repression is not healthy or life-giving.
Don't give your kids a reason to create scapegoats in their lives. Allow them to feel what they feel without fear of judgment, and teach them how to be healthy in their expression of what they bring to the world. Give them the confidence to contribute their unique ideas, plans, dreams, and feelings. Those can be a motivating force of love and bringing good to our world. I learned a long time ago that unhealthy families adopt the unwritten rules of "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel." Being open to feelings squashes those unhealthy rules.
One cannot experience empathy if one lacks a healthy sense of feelings.Some say narcissists have selective empathy. I think it is difficult to determine if they have empathy or if they mimic empathy when it serves them.

4. System of Forgiveness
Narcissists can't forgive, nor can they seek forgiveness. They will not hesitate to correct or criticize you, in essence, taking the heat off of them and their crappy behavior. One who is perfect, morally superior, and above everyone has no need for sincere apologies.  Apologies can either be lacking, or used as tools to manipulate. They are not backed up with action. Narcissists also have a need to scapegoat.
Having a system of forgiveness in your family is anti-narcissism. It gives everyone permission to mess up and have the confidence to clean up their messes. It encourages accountability to yourself and others. The act of forgiving deep hurts, discerning when it is right to forgive and let that person out of your life, and knowing when forgiveness is possible as a way of mending fences, or of re-establishing relationship are important aspects. Sincerely apologizing is anti-narcissism because it says you care about the other person, Letting go of a narcissist or someone that wholeheartedly supports them is often the only thing to do. They are lost unto themselves and will only bring more pain to their relationships and to the world. Teach children that they are human, not above someone else, tolerant of others, able to truly hear others, and to have compassion for what they are hearing.Again, this kind of honesty prevents the need for projection and blame.

5. Humanistic Values
As a way of developing empathy, one first values and accepts human beings and relationships with the people in our lives. In other words, we care about each other and how we treat each other. Intellectual or materialistic values, when overemphasized in a family, can lead to lack of empathy and therefore, narcissism. Being overly logical, robotic, cold, and detached are often traits of narcissists, especially if they rarely move into the warmth of empathy and valuing others. There has to be a sense of the other in order for us to appreciate how our words and actions impact another. Of course, you first have to care that you do have an impact.
I think people get morals and integrity mixed up. Morals are a superficial code by which to live. Integrity is a deeper way to live. Morals can be twisted to justify bad behavior or make one adopt haughty, superior attitudes. It is my belief that no one can, deep down, feel good about themselves in mistreating another human being unless they are psychologically damaged. Integrity is built when we feel good about how we treat each other and how we are treated. By the same token, we have healthy boundaries so that no one is unfairly exploited, and to give each other the opportunity to choose integrity. Helping your children feel good about themselves means valuing human relationship and valuing human beings. It means they are able to care for themselves, and recognize when they are safe and cared for.

There is more. Enmeshment and repression are two more aspects of a narcissistic family. then there is projection, overt or covert criticism, a feeling that you could never be good enough for these people or that you cannot be yourself: you must bear loyalty to the family "script". Lack of self-awareness.  I think just being on the road to emotional and psychological health through personal growth is going to help anyone be a parent who is "real" enough to avoid raising a narcissist.

(The articles I referenced: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/12/opinions/navarrette-narcissism-problem/index.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/03/09/how-parents-create-narcissistic-children/?tid=sm_tw)




Saturday, February 21, 2015

Reconciliation

Looking at my blog statistics, my last post about apologies seemed to have touched something in people who read my blog. I did not drum up the conversation I had intended, so I can only guess why people liked the post so much. Maybe it was just to see how another person interacts with their children? Perhaps simple curiosity. But if I look deeper, I believe that we all have people in our lives with who we desire one thing: reconciliation. After the brokenness has been caused, we long for closure through acknowledgement and validation. The longing we have  to be connected to each other is a powerful force in our lives.
I think we all have someone we wish would have recognized us in that moment, would have known how they had hurt us, would have cared one little bit.
And maybe we have deep remorse for a hurt we have caused someone else and aren't sure how to make it right.
A friend of mine posted something on Facebook about our culture sucking at apologies. It's true. And since our current times has been called a "culture of narcissism", it makes sense that the entitled and unempathetic would eschew apologies in favor of dismissing and disposing of people.
For inspiration, I offer this: http://theforgivenessproject.com/
Apparently people have been so inspired by this work on forgiveness they have set up forgiveness "booths" and so much more. If you have a day you are needing hope and inspiration and a good cry, peruse this site.
And although this next article is long and full, it does touch on some of the things I have been writing about lately: http://www.fosteringresilience.com/7cs_parents.php (This sounds remarkably close to Internal Family System's 8 Cs of self-leadership:  calmness, curiosity, clarity, compassion, confidence, creativity, courage, and connectedness.)
I believe apologies, giving and receiving, cleanse our souls. I believe taking responsibility for our words and actions builds self-confidence and trustworthiness. I believe caring for each other this way is a force of Love in action and is a peaceful way to live.




Saturday, February 14, 2015

Metamorphosisters

You know, in the traumas of life there are gifts.
 I believe this with all my heart.
 I love metaphors and this  one came to mind: a painful situation can be like a dark glass jar that is shattered. There are the shards, lying on the floor, the jar looked like it was holding together but it broke, and there you go. Now you can really view what was inside. It looks like black, tarry, sticky goo...really messy. You are picking out shards when some ardent curiosity compels you to clean off the goo, to probe further. And once you really get going in cleaning off the goo of sadness and anger and resentment and rejection and grief and betrayal and lies and any ugly thing that was in that jar, you find things. In that sticky goo are hard objects that are not shards. Clean them off, burn them off, sing them off and look. They sparkle and shine. They are diamonds! Treasures! Oh lucky day! Your jar was full  of jewels...pearls...glittering beauty! You just had to break it open and clean them off!
Maybe someone else broke the jar, maybe you invited someone in your jar and they imploded it. Maybe a situation broke the jar.
But had the jar not been shattered, you would not have found those diamonds. Diamonds such as self-worth, grace, joy, compassion, forgiveness, God, trust, and truth.
I see women today rising up in their own power.  I see them tired of being controlled and criticized and demeaned and lied to by forces of patriarchy and even their own husbands, ex-husbands, fathers, and sadly, sometimes, other women. I see them angry, rightfully so, and motivated out of this anger to bring healing to the hurt that is in here and out there.
One of the diamonds women find in their traumas is the "church of each other"...the great sisterhood.
I call such sisters, such finders-of-jewels, "Metamorphosisters". These are the sisters who fearlessly embrace their own lives, who make their own names, who value each other.
They have no fear of grief, of anger, of joy, of laughter. They have no fear of speaking their truth, even if that truth is fear at the time. They have no qualms about showing compassion. They will make their mistakes out loud, with relish, and BE all woman, with gusto. They are not afraid to be humbled by their own folly.
They have been to the depths of unworkable marriages. They have known relationships where love hurts and have learned the hard way about emotional abuse. They have been laid low by life, and love. They have lost babies. They have lost dreams. They have lost parents.
They know how to have a good bitch session. They know how to lovingly call  you on your own stuff. The embrace honesty and building character. They have complete empathy because they can say they've BEEN there. They apologize to patch up rough spots because they care. They have weakness and they have great strength.

They are the ones you cry out to when you are feeling darkly human, and lost to your own self.
They are unafraid to plunge the spiritual depths of love and life, with each other.
They know how to take broken things and make them into something beautiful. They are masters of transformation, creators in the moment, designers of their own destiny, mothers, lovers, workers of love.  A metamorphosister and I were talking today, and she was saying how it is BECAUSE of our traumas that we thrive, not in SPITE of our traumas. BECAUSE of them. This, my dear friends, is the very meaning of the strong and beautiful metamorphosister.
I am so deeply grateful for these women in my life.
Happy Galentine's Day to metamorphosisters. You inspire me every day!