Saturday, November 10, 2012

Missing family and other feelings

Today has been an up and down day...I miss my family and the celebration of my brother's wedding. I wish I could have been there to help celebrate. But if I want to go in Spring (and possibly bring my mom back) I have to wait (and save my money). I feel like I am always waiting. It is frustrating and upsetting. I do know that when we do go to California and see everyone, we will have a great time and celebrate as well as pay our respects to my dad. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. I know I have no right to complain compared to so many people suffering (thinking of those effected by Sandy) and worse. I am thankful for what I do have such as communicating by phone and videos/photos. It does make a difference in getting to see and in a small way, participate.

I hate to think that some people might feel my lack of money means I don't care. That I don't want to be near my mom and family during these life events. I often think that people don't realize that all of this costs and I can't afford to just drop a couple thousand for air flight across the country. I have to pick and choose my time. That is the reality of it all.

Plus, I value my time with my children. I don't want someone to raise my kids in the early years because that is one of the most important times to be with your kids and have bounding. This is why we are trying to do our best with making ends meet and that means cutting expenses to the bare bones at times. It's not easy and painful sometimes. I feel there is often an unwritten word that you are a failure if you don't have money or extra money. I don't think it means you are a failure. It's a different set of priorities and responsibilities.

This doesn't mean I don't want to have a a good job or further my self in education or have better income. In fact, it makes me want to fight harder to get those things and want to insure my kids will some day have better living wages, etc.

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And you know, I still feel sad about my dad passing. It's not easy to just say goodbye to someone. You miss them, even if they are unhealthy. If you don't get wrapped up in their illness, they are sort of like sweet crazy people. Unfortunately, I think with my dad there was a lot of destruction left in his wake. It has caused a lot of problems, financial as well as emotionally. We are doing the best we can to deal with all of this.

I have to mention a situation that happened quite a few years ago. When I was going to Cal State LA, there was a group at our school that spoke out about cults. The reason being there were people who would go out into the college settings and try and recruit people into these "religious" activities. They were very assertive and friendly. However, if you got involved in this group you were be sucked into a world that was skewed and twisted.  Fortunately, when I was approached by one of the group recruiters, I got this overwhelming feeling of my space being invaded and probably asked way too many questions. Thank goodness! They backed off and I found a legitimate group to be a part of (a poetry group, of course).

My husband has had this issue with a political group as well. They were able to trap all sorts of people...lawyers, doctors, students, etc  and have them diligently working for the organization, even sleeping on floors and not going home in order to make their group succeed. He had to physically break it off and argue with them. They didn't want him to leave the building but he finally made an escape. Cults can take many forms and will often have a "dynamic" leader that mixes their persona with a God like image. They will often use psychological pressure and if possible, peer pressure to make people conform.

My concern is not enough people know about cults and their effects on people. I've seen it in my small town and I hope that more people will be aware of this issue. Fortunately, there are many sources via the Internet and library one can find info on cults. Here is a view on safe groups/leaders. The above link talks about how to find signs of a cult leader.

Ten signs of a safe group/leader.

  1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.
  2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.
  3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.
  4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.
  5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.
  6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.
  7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.
  8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.
  9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.
  10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

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