Sunday, 9 June 2013
I believe that it is good that I continually ask myself why I am writing this blog. It is not to demonize my wife in any way. I feel great love and empathy for her in her struggles. Yes, she says hurtful things and does hurtful things. If I consider, however, that these things are a reflection of what is going on inside of her and have little or nothing to do with me, her words and actions are much easier to forgive. If I am the best person that I can be, constantly seeking greatness, she too will learn to trust enough to blossom into the person she is meant to be, or she will move on in her life. There is no status qua. We grow or we diminish.
Two very powerful quotes come to mind as I write this.
The first is from Eleanor Roosevelt. She said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
This puzzled me when I first read it. I was not yet able to put things into context as I am now able to do. I remember thinking, “Sure, that’s easy to say. Eleanor Roosevelt did not live in my house. If she did, she would realize that other people have a lot of power in making us feel inferior by the things they say to us.”
Now I understand the truth of this statement. Eleanor Roosevelt actually grew up in a home much worse than the one that I married into. She knew the power of taking control of our own thoughts. After embarking on my own journey of self-discovery, I embrace her words of beautiful truth.
The other quote is from Gandhi. He says, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”
Those who hold on to anger and resentment destroy their lives. By forgiving, we take power over our lives and our situations. We are free. We are powerful. Again, this is a challenging but a beautiful journey. It leads to great joy, regardless of our circumstance. I love Cassandra very much. I can see the difficult burden that she carries. I can hear how she is tormented by her own thoughts. I can also see how, by my forgiveness and love, she is able to grow.
I do not wish to tell anyone else what to do. You know your own situation. If you or your children are in physical danger, you can’t risk staying with your partner. If you have no children yet, you may simply choose to leave. The best thing that you can do, regardless of the situation, is to embrace the challenge you now face as an opportunity for growth. My book tells the story of my journey of self-discovery. It is short and you can buy an electronic copy for under $3.00 (printed copies cost a bit more). My desire is that this story gives you hope.
Here is a link to order my book: http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000005730268/Christian-Gottlieb-Finding-the-Power-Within%3A--The-Blessings-of-a-Challenging-Marriage/SEL000000
May God bless you!
Sunday, 2 June 2013
Those with personality disorders tend to blame others for their thoughts, words and actions. This can make it very difficult to listen to them. Knowing that what a person says tells us more about them than it does about us is very helpful. In addition, what a person takes from what we say tells us more about them than it does about us. It used to drive me crazy that Cassandra would distort my words. This short interview with Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements brings this out beautifully. After watching it, I found it much easier to talk to Cassandra and maintain a clear boundary between her thoughts and my thoughts.
I also recently watched the following video series with Bill Harris, founder of Centerpointe Research, which was very helpful in raising awareness of my own thoughts.
Finally, the really exciting news for me is that my book has been published! It tells the story behind the blog. The electronic version can be downloaded for under $3.00. I hope that you enjoy it, and that it inspires you to greatness! Here is the link:
Have a wonderful week!
Monday, 20 May 2013
I have not shared with my readers in a while. I am sorry about that. Things with Cassandra have had their ups and downs, but the downs have not been as deep and have been easier to get out of. I attribute much of this to her finding a vitamin supplement which really stabilizes her. It is called Vemma.
I am not saying that this is a magic formula. What I am saying is that when you stay positive and focused on where you want to go, things do have a way of working out. I am also pleased and amazed with my own personal growth as I continue to face these challenges with a spirit of faith, hope and love.
More good news is that my book is almost ready to be published. Here is the link: http://friesenpress-accounts.appspot.com/bookstore/title/119734000005730268
I will let you know when it becomes available. I know that my story will bring you much hope.
May God bless you and your family.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
First of all, I am sorry that I haven’t written in here for several weeks now. Things have been going relatively well with Cassandra. She is getting proper exercise, taking very good vitamin supplements, and we have begun dialoguing using a very good Christian marriage program.
We are not completely out of the water yet, as Cassandra’s biological family still has a very strong pull regarding her world view and her views on men. I have noticed that the more time she spends talking to her sister, the more unhappy and angry she is. The more happy and at peace she is, the less time she wants to spend talking to her sister and mother.
I have no control over what Cassandra thinks or what Cassandra does. I only have control over what I think and do. As Kim Gemmel says, “Although we may not have a choice with the cards we are dealt at times, we always have a choice with how we play them.” There is great power in this. I have chosen to see my situation as an opportunity for growth.
I have always done my best, but I have not always done the right thing. One thing that I know is right, however, has been letting go of the hurtful things said to me. Nicky Gumbel says, “When you choose to forgive those who have hurt you, you take away their power.” We don’t make them right, but we do make ourselves free. We give ourselves the gift of peace. From there, we can move forward and see more clearly the right path.
With Cassandra, there are good times and bad times. Yes, I have chosen to stay. I have chosen to try to work things out with the mother of my children. I have made this choice largely for the sake of my children. The result has been tremendous growth and internal peace. It has taken a great deal of work, as well as God’s grace, to achieve this growth, and it has been beautiful. I know that I am just starting to tap into the incredible power that lies inside of me. I know, without a doubt, that a life of joy and blessing lies before me.
I pray that your path is the same. Remember the words of Rhonda Byrne, "There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstance of your life can change!"
Sunday, 17 February 2013
I came across this quote:
Chances are that you'll come face to face with hurting people today. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Show them grace. ~Clayton King
This says a lot about Cassandra and people like her. They are simply hurting people who don’t know what to do with their hurt. Nothing else would motivate a person to speak in a cruel way toward others. It became clear to me this week that one of the changes in attitude that allowed me to re-connect with Cassandra was simply the growth in empathy from reading books by and about people who survived child sexual abuse.
One book in particular, Daddy’s Girl by Charlotte Vale Allen, brought out the horror and confusion caused to a girl growing up in a horribly abusive home. In reading this, I realized that Cassandra grew up in a world completely different from my own. It’s no wonder that she sees the world so differently. As I’ve written before, it is a question of developing empathy.
That said, it is also imperative that we know ourselves and to evaluate our own respective situations. Each person who reads this must make their own decision regarding their situation in life. I just hope that reading this blog gives you valuable food for thought. Thank you for joining me on this journey. I really do find myself growing in ways that I never knew that a person could grow. By facing the challenge of my marriage, I really am becoming a better person. In showing grace to others, we too become filled with grace. I hope and pray that your journey is also filled with grace and tremendous personal growth.
In solidarity and prayer,