advocacy

Advocacy

Your quest for personal advocacy will be a humbling one.  I discovered that the people charged with my care weren’t taking care of me. While fighting the nightmares pounding at my door I planted my feet on the floor and stood up for myself.

To be your own personal advocate you must first realize that the only person who is going to have your best interests in mind is you.  Once you realize this, then you will have the foundation to reclaim your life.  With this you will build the walls of your new home.  Finally you will construct the roof by enforcing your boundaries, taking control of your life.

This road is a difficult one, but necessary.  If you desire to live your life by your terms, then take charge, choose who you want to be and become that person. Masters of personal advocacy made the willful choice to become who they are. Will you do what it takes to become who you want to be?

Relationships – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

Relationships

Relationships

How do boundaries help my relationships?  If you know what your limits are you can be honest with yourself and others.  This will help you to forge genuine relationships.

What if I enforce my boundaries and my love ones leave me? The relationships of our lives are important, but they have no value without respect. You may love your friends, family and romantic partners but if they don’t respect your boundaries, they don’t respect you.  Why would you want someone in your life who doesn’t respect you?  What kind of love one doesn’t respect your need to feel safe and secure?  Friendships have a tax, respect is the price.

What do boundaries do, how do they help me develop more genuine friendships? Boundaries can keep you from compromising yourself.  They help distinguish between those who desire to take advantage of you from those who want to share their life with you.  The people who seek to compromise your boundaries are not your friends.  People who violate your boundaries are bullies. Who wants a bully in their life?

Links

If you would like to continue your adventure through personal advocacy consider clicking on one of these fancy links.

We Must All Become Advocates, All of Us

Introduction to Boundaries

Second Opinion – Personal Advocacy

second opinion

Second Opinion

You should always get a second opinion.  They say that opinions are like wiggly toes, some people seem to wiggle their toes more often than others.  Doctors just have really big wiggly toes, so when they move them about, we seem to notice and remember them more.  They also went to school to learn how to wiggle their toes, they are experts in the act of toe wiggling, some even see them as toe wiggling gods.

Toe wiggling and opinions are similar in that most everyone has the ability to wiggle their toes, if not toes then perhaps their nose.  What I know is that they call it a second opinion because everything your doctor just told you was his or her opinion.  Doctors are people, they’re human and during the course of their practice they make mistakes.  It’s important when we make mistakes that we learn from them, since doctors are still practicing they are constantly making mistakes, learning and becoming better healers.  By getting a second opinion you can reduce the chance that you become one of your doctor’s mistakes.  His mistakes may make him a better healer, but surely it will impair your quality of life.

Your Opinion

More than a second opinion, what is your opinion?  You have one, just like all the wiggly toes.  Sure your opinion might not be rooted in your doctor’s reality, but that’s fine, the only reality you can know is your own.  After all is said and done it is you and not the doctor who has to deal with the effects of his treatment plan.

In the quest for personal advocacy your opinion is the most important.  It is more valuable than a first or second opinion, it is more important than your spouse’s, your children’s or anyone else’s thoughts about what you should do.  You and you alone must make all of the sacrifices, everyone else can bow out at anytime.

The importance of acknowledging your opinion is that it does two things.  One, it reminds you that your opinion, thoughts and feelings matter.  Two, it ensures that you have made your decision with informed consent.  The last thing you want in this process is buyer’s remorse, especially when it comes to your life.

Links

If you would like to continue the journey of discovering personal advocacy feel free to click on any of these links.

Fight Abuse

Introduction to Boundaries

Cancer

Power Advocacy 3

 

Fight Abuse – Boundaries – Personal Advocacy

fight Abuse

Fight Abuse

To fight abuse we have set effective personal boundaries.  We have to draw a line in the sand and say “No, Stop, Do Not Cross!” We must have the power to stand up for ourselves without compromise.  An effective personal boundary is one that you will enforce at all costs.

Boundaries should be proactive, not reactive.  A proactive boundary is one you’ve researched through introspection.  It is your responsibility to be aware of your lines.  If you are unaware of your limits you will be ineffective when enforcing them.  This ineffectiveness will help abusers violate you and create instances where your reaction causes you to abuse others.

Those who have been abused should be aware that they will forever be the target of abusers.  Abusers share similarities with predators of the wild.  They have the figurative ability to smell weakness, if you have been abused by someone it is almost guaranteed you will be abused by someone else.  The best way to end the cycle is by developing the tools necessary to put an end to it.  The only one who can do that is you.

Personal advocacy is the only way to end abuse.  If you do not stand up for yourself no one else will either.

Abuse can find you whether you are healthy or sick, young or old, hurt or healed. If you are in a state of weakness you will be easy prey without effective personal boundaries.

I was being abused, neglected and exploited by Ino while I was going through chemotherapy.  Once I set and enforced my boundaries I freed myself from the bondage of his abuse.

Links

If you would like to continue the road of personal advocacy consider clicking on one of these friendly links.

Introduction to Boundaries

Help for the Abused

Caretakers – Personal Advocacy

Abuse – Personal Advocacy

Introduction to Boundaries

Introduction to Boundaries

Introduction to Boundaries

Our boundaries are born from a series of singular events. They are moments so painful that we learn to build walls to protect our heart from being violated. Introduction to Boundaries is a starting point within the vast world of personal boundaries.  In the posts to follow we will discuss how they are used to fight abuse, improve our relationships and enhance our critical awareness.

We will then move on to discuss Inner and Outer boundaries, what they are and how we can discover and set them.  Finally we will talk about some of the different boundaries and what they do for us.

Summary 1

  • To fight Abuse: Boundaries are without compromise, knowing this makes your lines in the sand become figurative walls.  Those seeking to violate you will have a more difficult time hurting your heart zones if you can say no.
  • Improve Relationships: All relationships require honesty and love.  If you wear your boundaries on your sleeve your friendships, familial bonds and romantic relationships will be genuine.
  • Enhance Critical Awareness: By developing a relationship with your own boundaries you will become more aware of the boundaries of others.  When you define your personal boundaries you improve your ability to critically think. Those who critically think are more aware of their environment.

Summary 2

  • Outer Boundaries: These have to do with how you interact with others and the permissions you give them.  They are the opposite of Inner Boundaries.
  • Inner Boundaries: These have to do with how you treat yourself and the allowances you grant.  They are the opposite of Outer Boundaries.

Links

If you would like to read more about personal advocacy consider taking a look at one or several of these links.  I am confident that you will discover something that suits your heart’s desire.

Health Advocate – A New Universe of Cancer

Help for the Abused

Abuse – Personal Advocacy

Power Advocacy Podcast

 

Abuse – Personal Advocacy

abuse

Abuse manifests in many forms.  This was an actual statement made by my caretaker Ino while I was enduring chemotherapy. 

Abuse

It manifests in many ways.  The abuse of my caretaker began as manipulation, then became abuse, followed by exploitation and finally neglect. It was Ino who told me I couldn’t take care of myself during chemotherapy.  He was the one who put the fear in me to find someone to be my caretaker.  It was he who created the the problem and it was he who swept in as the hero to fix it.

A Story of Horror

I stood before the sink staring into the mirror.  My hair was in the steady process of falling out.  I was filled with so much sadness, so much terror, it was this moment I realized how much it was wrapped into my identity.

Running my hands through my hair I watched clumps of my head fur stick to my fingers.  I noticed Ino at the door peering in at me.”Whats the matter?”  he asked.

I turned and showed him my hands.  He paused for a moment, perhaps spending a second to the think before speaking.  “Man, You’re going to look stupid once all your hair falls out.”  Then he stepped from the door and headed into his bedroom.

Later than evening after finishing a bout of nausea and vomiting he and I were standing outside.  It was a cool slightly breezy night.  He pulled out a cigarette and slid it between his lips.  Nonchalantly he lit it and took a puff.  As he released the cloud of smoke he said.  “You know man, you don’t really have it that bad.”

I looked at him and watched him take another drag and exhale.  “If you really look at it, my life is much worse than yours…”

How did Ino become my caretaker?

Before I started chemotherapy “my friend” Ino told me that I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself during treatment.  He said I would be a danger to myself and if I wanted to survive I needed someone to live with me.

This terrified me, I had just survived the removal of my lung and I panicked.  I wasn’t about to endure that hell just to die because I didn’t have someone living with me.  Frantically I tried to find someone to be my caretaker on short notice. I found no one, and no one suggested I seek a professional caregiver for support. It was then that Ino flew into save the day.  He said he would be my caretaker if he could live and eat at my house for free.  I agreed and he moved in.

What was it like living with Ino?

Living with him was one of the most emotionally traumatizing experiences of my life.  He took a time of my life that was already unbelievably horrific and made it nearly impossible.

In the two months he lived in my house he loaded the dishwasher twice and changed the cat litter box five times.  He never prepared any of my meals, do my laundry or clean my house.  He charged me to transport me to the grocery store, doctor’s office and hangout spots.  The arrangement was that he would clean the cat litter boxes every two to three days, do my laundry, keep the house clean, prepare my meals and provide me transportation.   In exchange he could eat my food and live in my house for free.

What did Ino do while living with me?

  • Told me that I was weak and frail.  When I would attempt to go for walks he would tell me that if I went for a walk I would hurt myself – when  I asked him to walk with me he refused, saying he was too overweight to exercise.
  • He would insult and berate my friend Tony and his girlfriend behind their back.  Telling me that they were worthless and that I shouldn’t hang out with them.
  • Many evenings he would speak poorly of of my significant other and tell me that I should break up with her.
  • He would yell and scream at the animals.
  • On many occasions he said that I should give him power of attorney over me.
  • That I should write him into my will, giving him all of my assets.
  • When I was put on disability he made it clear that my disability money was ‘our’ disability money.  Often times he would attempt to persuade me to pay his car or insurance payment.

What made me realize Ino was abusing me?

Chemo brain is a very real thing.  It makes you forget things, you can’t think right and it puts you in a child like state.  This is what clouded my ability to see what he was doing to me.

This all changed one day when I asked him to drive me to the store.  He asked me for gas money and when I gave him $10 he got angry and demanded more.  Ino was furious, telling me it was insulting that I only gave him $10.  Stating that 90% of his driving was carting me around.

Instead of reacting at that moment I waited till I got home.  I started figuring out exactly how much money I was spending on him.  I discovered it was cheaper to buy a new car, pay its taxes and have full coverage insurance than it was to pay him for transportation.

Confronting Ino

After realizing his abuse I confronted him.  I told him that if he wanted to continue living in my home he would have to pay rent.  He responded by threatening to kill himself.  Then told me that because he was suicidal he could not pay rent.

I told him that he couldn’t live in my house if he was suicidal and said that if wanted to stay he would have to seek professional help.  I paid for him to see a mental health professional and after his first visit with them I told him that the rent was still due.

How Did it End?

I had not see him for several days and I was concerned.  There were many methods I used to contact him, but it wasn’t till this text message that I got a reply.

This is the text that I sent him:

“I haven’t heard from you in awhile, I am concerned for you and hope you are feeling alright.

Times are very hard for both of us right now.  I love you and I want you to be healthy,  I don’t want our situation to get in the way of our friendship.

I hope you are alright and are having a good day.”

October 29, 2016

He replied two minutes later in a text:

Please delete my number and do not contact me again.  Thank you.

October 29, 2016

Conclusion

Later that day I would find out that he had moved out of my house in the middle of the night.  I wasn’t there when he left, which I believe was a good thing. Nothing good would’ve come from that confrontation.

In the end I earned a lot from this experience.  Through him I discovered how to set and maintain personal boundaries.  It showed me how to recognize abuse and stand up for myself.  This was truly the very first step in my journey for personal advocacy.

Links

If you would like to continue the journey of reading the tale of personal advocacy take a look at these links.

Caretakers – Personal Advocacy

Help for the Abused

CSO – Personal Advocacy

 

Help for the Abused

abused

Help for the Abused

Those who have been abused need a safe place to turn to for help.  Anyone can be abused, it doesn’t matter what sex you are, what gender you identify as, who you are or where you come from.  We’re all human and when we hurt we need to be treated like a person, we need a loving, welcoming environment to nurse us back to health.

Many abuse resources on the internet will not provide this kind of sanctuary. They may paint themselves as a safe place, but they are wrapped in a blanket of bias.

Abuse is Gender Neutral

Abuse is gender neutral, consider avoiding any organization that uses gender specific pronouns or discriminatory language in their literature.  The people you turn to for support should be welcoming, free of bias and supportive.

If an organization uses the Duluth Power and Control wheel they cannot claim to provide gender neutral support.  This abuse model is designed specifically for women who have been abused by men.  It is a model that belittles the abuse of men by claiming they are minimally affected by the abuse of women.    This philosophy is sexist, a determent to equality and encourages the myth that men do not feel.

On the societal level, women’s violence against men has a trivial effect on men compared to the devastating effect of men’s violence against women.” http://theduluthmodel.org/training/wheels.html

I’ve been abused by several women in my life and it has caused irrevocable emotional damage to me.  I have been abused by men and it has caused an equal amount of damage.  Abuse is abuse, whether by a man or a woman.  It is abuse whether to a man or a woman.  We all feel, we all have emotions, we all cry and we all are haunted by the terrible things that have been done to us.

Any group that trivializes the abuse of anyone is deplorable.

Abuse Strategies

It can be advantageous to create strategies that target specific kinds of abuse. However, those advantages end when these strategies alienate an entire population.

To end abuse, we need to use critical awareness, overcome bias and realize that everyone can abuse and be abused.

If we made the Duluth Power and Control wheel gender neutral it would become a resource that anyone could benefit from.  It would be even more valuable if it spoke directly to the reader.

Example

Using Emotional Abuse

  • putting her down” would become “putting you down
  • Making her feel bad about herself” becomes “Making you feel bad about yourself

Resources to end Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation

State Links

 These links mainly focus on the disabled or elderly.  They might not match everyone’s situation, but perhaps it will help someone get the help they need.

Additional Links

I hope that if you are facing abuse you’re able to find a safe haven for your heart. A place saturated with love, life and harmony.  

If you would like to continue the through through self advocacy, feel free to click on one of these links.

Cancer – Personal Advocacy

Power Advocacy Podcast 1

Caretakers

Experience of Treatment