“Are You An Enabler?”

Enabling is “making excuses for someone who is hurting themselves or you, or providing the perfect environment or situation for them to do so. enable-2

That word is a slippery slope for many, and if you are someone who “enables” someone else, then you become “co-dependent.” That is, your existence is based around the behavior of the person you are enabling.

It’s exhausting just thinking about it, yet we’ve all done it in some capacity in our lives; until we realize that the outcome of “enabling” and being “co-dependent” doesn’t’ serve the one we’re enabling, but serves only the “co-dependents” need to control. I’ve found that those who “enable” have no control over their own lives’, or so they believe. They would rather control someone else’s life rather than deal with their own insecurities and lack of control. And the sad part is, they don’t even see what they’re doing as control; they see it as “love.” Yet that’s not love. Controlling someone is not love. Enabling someone to hurt themselves or other’s is not love. It’s their insecurity and lack of control.

You can enable an alcoholic or drug addict by making excuses for them, giving reasons for their addiction, and without realizing that you  are giving them exactly what they need to use or abuse. It may make you feel more comfortable, yet is the most damaging and enable-3hurtful behavior to them.They can only begin recovery when you stop enabling and allow the to be accountable for themselves.

You enable an abusive partner or spouse by making excuses as to why you’re bruised, why your self-esteem is but a foreign concept, and why you deserved to be abused. You’re not helping the abuser to stop, but merely giving him the license and free will to do so. It’s only when you get strong and secure within yourself that you’re able to break free and control YOUR behavior, not theirs.

 

It’s not until you are faced with the ultimate decision: enable the behavior or disable your control. And the truth is, no enabler really has control over the enabled; you just give them a comfort zone of knowing you’ve allowed their destructive behavior to be okay.enable

It’s hard to let someone you love make a mistake or willingly harm themselves, yet it has to be their choice and, ultimately, their decision to stop the destructive behavior. You can say all the right things, do all the right things, and want all the right things, yet that doesn’t make it so. You have to “love them enough to let them go.” Love them enough to make their own mistakes and learn from them. Love them enough to learn to control their own behavior. Love them enough to let them learn to love themselves.

“Enabling” someone will not solve their problem; it will make their problem worse.

You have to ask yourself: Do I want to enable their behavior or disable my control?.

And in your heart you already know the right answer.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“A Girl I Used To Know”

This is the story of a girl I used to know. In fact, I’ve known her all of my life. I love her adulthood 1with all my heart and I want to share her story with you, because it’s important…and she’s important to me.

I  remember  her in the early years of her life…she was funny, smart, and focused on her goals in life. She longed for love and a family, yet she was one of those girls that wanted it all. She had a passion for life that it was almost unnerving, yet I always believed in her, because she believed in herself.

When she was in high school she had a hard time believing that anyone noticed her. She was quiet, and a bit reserved, but I loved her. She was a great friend, and was always there when I needed her, yet at the same time there was always a sadness that she seemed to keep hidden, but she couldn’t hide it from me.

We graduated high school and went our separate ways to college. She found her way out of her “high school shell” that first year, becoming editor of the literary magazine, trying out for the school play, and becoming a DJ on the college radio station, which she loved. I knew then she was meant for greatness.

But the second year of college found her home, working full time and going to community college. She still was positive about everything, and in time, transferred into another college by her third year. It was here that she met “the one.”

She told me all these wonderful things about him, and soon she announced her engagement. They married two years later and with that came the stories she would confide in only me: the infidelities, the nastiness, and the way he degraded her. Yet, in spite of her misgivings, she married him.

The marriage seemed to be over within the first few months, yet she believed that marriage was for a lifetime, for better or worse. I was beginning to hear more of the worse than the better.  After two years, she was pregnant with their first child, and for the first time in the last few years, I heard hope and joy in her voice. And I thought that maybe this was the key to fixing their problems and making him love her.

Time would prove that this wasn’t enough for him, and all her babies that followed would never be enough for him.

We lost touch for a few years and even when we did speak, it was as if she lost herself. She only spoke of her babies and how much she loved being a mom. That was her only source of happiness. I felt like I lost a part of myself when I spoke to her because the joy in her voice was only because of her kids, never of her. She sounded like a robot, programmed to speak and behave a certain way.

And I would soon find out why this was, because that is what abuse does to you. It programs you in to behaving a certain way to keep things calm and keep things hidden. But abuse can finds its’ way to your door, whether you leave it open or not.

I felt terrible when I realized what had been going on for years, and the tone of her voice coupled with her body language proved it all: she had died within herself. She became nothing. The only thing that brought her back to life and kept her breathing were her children.

abuse-1Why was I so blind? Why hadn’t I seen what now seemed so transparent?

It’s because she didn’t want me to; she didn’t want anyone to see, because if they saw, they would see how stupid she was for allowing it all,and she didn’t want that. So she made it all look perfect; for her neighbors, her family, her friends, even her children.

Yet it wasn’t perfect; it was killing her and no one saw that it was. No one could see her, so no one could save her, and for awhile, that’s how she wanted it.

And then she broke open like a river that had been dammed up for years; for over 30 years she had been told she was stupid and worthless, ugly and fat, that she sounded like an idiot when she spoke, and that she was not worth anyone’s time or trouble. And she believed it.

She told me that she didn’t mind the bruises and split lips, they would heal. And she knew the pain of those would go away.

Yet she told me of the scars of emotional and verbal abuse and I knew she would hold these a lifetime.

She said that it was her fault; that she knew what made him upset and shouldn’t have done those things; she blamed herself for every bruise and every split lip. She blamed herself for the hateful and hurtful words. And she blamed herself for being a stupid woman, because only stupid women allow themselves to be abused.

I tried to reason with her, but to no avail. But there was a glimmer of hope. One day she called me and said that she was going back to college for writing courses, and that she joined Weight Watchers to lose the last of the baby weight, and that she had joined a gym to work out. Over the course of a few months I began to see my old friend come back to life; she was becoming stronger, her body and her mind. Suddenly she was laughing again, and that funny girl I knew was back to being funny. The friend I missed for all these years was beginning to shine through, and all the damage he did seemed to be fading  away.

And so one day she told me she asked for a divorce. She knew it would be the hardest fight of her life, but this time she was ready. She wrapped her babies tight in her arms and had him leave. It took a handful of restraining orders, a dozen or more calls to the police, but she did it.

I was amazed at how she made her life look. She got up in the morning, worked out at the gym, and came home, cooked breakfast, made lunches and got all those kids off to school. During the day she did laundry, cleaning, cooking and baking for them. They sat down as a family every night. They took their showers, did their homework and went to bed.

And after the last child was kissed good night, she went outside on her deck…and let the tears flow. She cried for the loss of a marriage, cried for the loss of a family and cried for all that he had done to her. She cried for what was in front of her as a single mom, and for what was behind her as an abused woman.

But she never let her children see her cry.

I was proud of her because I know none of this was easy. I watched her fight her way up from below the bottom and rise to the top. I watched her get back her strength and self-esteem. I watched her learn to laugh again. And I began to see her learn to love herself again…but that took time. Slowly she tried, and with each day that passed, she began to love herself more.

Many years later I see my friend as this woman, who despite the odds, finds her strength and beats them. And to this day, I know she fights every morning she wakes up. She fights to make a difference in the world, a difference to her children, and fights to find something good in herself.

I know to this day she struggles with her self-esteem and finds it hard to take a complement.  She’s working on knowing that she’s worthy and lovable, yet it is something she works at day to day.

Most people don’t know of her struggles, and that she fights every day, but I do. I know that it was her struggles that gave her her strength and I wish everyone knew that about her.

She spent the last few years doing what she loves: writing. She’s been a journalist, an author and a lyricist, yet throughout it all she’s never lost sight of her children and trying to help everyone else. She spends her days trying to make a difference in this world, and I wish with all my heart that she knew that she makes a difference to everyone she meets.

Most that know her see all the goodness in her, yet they never see her pain. She hides it away, yet it’s there, although not nearly as much as it used to be.

She’s been in a relationship for the last two years and seems to finally have met someone who really loves her. Yet I wonder if he understands just what the abuse had done to her, that no matter how much he loves her, she still would struggle with her self-esteem. I wonder if he knows just how much a complement from him means to her, and the smallest of gestures makes her heart melt. I wonder if he knows how important he is in her journey of loving herself.

Time will tell, and as she tells me now: “the scars from abuse don’t dictate my life today, but they have made me who I am. I’m stronger because of it all, yet it will be a lifetime struggle of not letting those scars resurface. It can be a struggle every day to love myself and believe that I’m worthy and of value. No one can do that for me. I have to do it myself.”

I’m so glad this girl I used to know has come back to life, and come back with a passion. She’s never played a victim, and always seems to be a survivor. I’ve missed her for many years and hope that she will always stay as strong as she is now.

I pray every day for this girl I used to know…because that girl is me.

~Anne Dennish~

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“Soup Season”

I love to cook, at least most days I do. There’s something therapeutic for me about the whole process of preparing, chopping, dicing, seasoning and cooking. The end result comes from serving it to those you love and seeing the expression on their face. Food fills the body and warms the soul.

There’s summer cooking, filled with grilling and summer salads, yet my absolute favorite cooking is when the leaves begin to change colors and the air turns cool. It’s “fall cooking” and I love that first day of turning on the oven and heating up the house with the comfort foods of fall.

It’s also that time of year that I call “soup season.” There’s nothing better than cooking a pot of soup served with warm bread. I love making soup, and I believe that love comes from my grandmother. I can remember many days at her house watching her put her big

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Potato Leek Corn Chowder

cauldron on the stove and fill the counter with every vegetable under the sun! I loved those days of helping her make soup and I’m confident that she taught me everything I know about the process. I’ve been nicknamed the “soup-meister” of my family because no one else makes it like I do, which is just how my grandmother made it.

It took her hours to make soup, and when it was done she’d fill up a million containers of it to give to all of our families. No one was ever left hungry when my grandmother made soup! She made many different types, yet when someone was sick, she went to task of making her “beef barley vegetable” soup, which she said was “good for what ails you!” I’m happy to say that it took me years to get my recipe to taste like hers, and while it’s not exactly the same, it’s close enough.

I once asked her what the key ingredient was in her soup, to which she told me: “It’s the love. Always put love into whatever you make.” And I’ve remembered that ever since.

When my kids were little and I baked cookies they’d tell me how good they were and that they could taste all the love in them. To this day, they still say that.

And now my love says that too; with every cup of tea or bowl of soup he tells me he can taste the love, and isn’t that what cooking is about? It’s filling the bellies of your loved ones with good food, and warming their hearts with how much you love them.

It’s definitely “soup season” at the Jersey shore, especially at my house, where everyone is coming down with colds. My love wants my “chicken and rice” soup, and my daughter’s request is for my  “potato leek corn chowder.”As far as my two vegan boys, they want good ‘ol “vegetable soup.” So many soups, yet I always find the time.

I will always find the time to take care of the ones’ I love, and any request for my soups is welcome. Today I’ll be in the kitchen with my own cauldron, just like my grandmothers’, firmly planted on the stove for the day. And in between stirring and simmering, I’ll be writing and making their “sick beds” more comfortable for them.  By tonight they will have all “tasted” the love when they ate, and will be “feeling” the love as they lay their head down on clean sheets, warm blankets and fluffed up pillows.

And I’ll end the night with a warm cup of green tea and honey for everyone…including me!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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Beef Barley Vegetable Soup with fresh baked French bread…as my grandmother said, “it’s good for what ails you!”

 

 

“I’m Not…But I Am”

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I write books, short  stories’s, poetry, posts and even song lyrics about being positive. I write to inspire others, to make a difference in their lives, to make someone feel better about themselves and their life. I write the words to help someone find hope and faith, and to release fear. I write about the lessons I’ve learned about negative thoughts and actions bringing only negative things into our lives.

Yet  something happened to me in the last week, and I found myself in the hospital for the last two days under observation for my heart.  After countless tests and a five hours stress test the verdict was in: my heart and my brain were completely fine. No signs of heart attack, blockage, stroke or any other medical condition. So what the hell was wrong with me? Why had I been feeling “off” for the last week?

I left the hospital with my love late in the afternoon, came home and showered, did my hair and make-up, and went out to dinner to celebrate my son’s 19th birthday. I kept thinking to myself:  “What just happened to me?”

This morning the answer came, and I wanted to share it with all of you. The answer was this: All I have been saying in the last two weeks is:  “I’m not.”  And I know better than that! I know that thinking that way and saying that out loud only brings negative to me. Wow, I just had an enormous “waking up” moment, and truth be told, didn’t see this one coming!

I thought about all the “I’m not’s” I’ve been saying: “I’m not getting my writing done, I’m not getting anything done that’s on my  to do list, I’m not getting the housework done, and I’m not feeling like myself!” Wow, it makes me feel tired just thinking of all of that. And it makes me angry with myself for doing that because I don’t believe in negative thinking. Yet, it happened, and I’m sharing it with you to let you know we’re all human, and we all fall. And we all have a choice to “get back up.”

And this morning, I’m back up. First things first: forgive myself for the “I’m not’s.” They happened for a reason, and taught me something. They taught me that I lost sight of myself, and was doing everything for everyone else except me. And I know for fact, if I don’t take care of myself, no one around me will benefit from it. Lesson learned there!

Next, it’s time to replace all those nasty, little “I’m not’s” with powerful “I AM’S.” No i ammore negative thoughts, only positive affirmations, thoughts, words, feelings and actions!

“I am well, I am healthy, I am taking care of myself, I am getting things done when they need to be, I am happy, I am balanced, I am myself and most importantly: I am loved.”

Whew, I feel so much better already! All those unwarranted “I’m not’s” brought me to the hospital, and as I sit in my house today, I know this is where I want to be, not in an emergency room with a crazy heart! I am where I belong.

You see, this is how we learn, this is how we grow, and this is how we take the lessons we learned and use them to help someone else. This is how we make a difference.

My “waking up” moment was brief, but powerful enough to put me back on track and allow me to see what I was blind to: “myself”.

This is my story, and I’m sharing it with you so it doesn’t become yours. Focus on the “I AM” thoughts and actions for yourself and forget about any “I’M NOT” moments; they don’t exist unless you allow them to.

Be well, my friends, and stand in your power of “I AM!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~