The challenge is to finish the story using 100-150 words, not including the sentence provided.
This challenge runs from Monday to Sunday.
Finish the story begins with: “The neighbors were not happy about my choice of yard art.”
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Genre: Flash Comedy
Art in the Eye of the Beholder!
“The neighbors were not happy about my choice of yard art.”
When Carol, my wife, saw it I told her that art was in the eye of the beholder. She was not too thrilled when she saw what I labeled as “art.” I saw this baby at the Old Reservation Store. I thought she was a beaut and arranged for delivery that afternoon.
Well, Carol was home before me but my piece of art arrived right on time. Problem was that George, from the homeowners’ association, was walkin’ his dog when it arrived. Says my art ain’t the specified measurements required by the bylaws. Those busybodies were fixin’ to give me a citation and 72 hours to remove it or I’d be fined.
The store wouldn’t take it back so I was stuck between a rock and a hard place or should I say between a buffalo and an injun. I guess that art wasn’t in the eye of the neighborhood.
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Today’s focus is on the patterns of paradox and the ACA and is a continuation of my previous blog on The Paradoxical ACA and “Control” Issues. This is part of a month-long series on ACA’s because April is the NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies, Inc.). I share from different sources but all in keeping with the ACA 12-step program and ACA World Service Organization literature policy.The information I share today is the second part of Chapter 2, Taming Your Turbulent Past by Gayle Rosellini & Mark Worden. (blue highlighting below is mine)
For help on alcoholism’s effects on your family or for further questions/support, I refer you to ACA World Service Organization website.
Chapter 2 (continued)
A Pattern Of Paradox
Adult children seem to move from one crisis to the next, rarely pausing to notice the process going on underneath. Yet only by understanding the larger patterns in our behavior do the individual incidents and events begin to make sense.
A prominent pattern for many adult children is paradox.
A paradox is something that is seemingly absurd and self-contradictory, yet is in fact true. The term adult-child is a paradox, yet we understand its meaning without explanation.
Rhonda provides a good example of paradoxical behavior: For years she suffered from the paradox of love-hate. As a young girl, Rhonda had developed a very close and loving relationship with her mother, a woman who seemed like a rock of stability in a homelife made stormy and chaotic by the father’s drinking.
“Mother and I shared many secrets and confidences,” Rhonda recalls, “and together we protected the younger children from some of the worst aspects of dad’s alcoholism.”
While Rhonda was away at college, her father entered treatment and sobered up. “It seemed like an answer to a dream. Finally, my mother and younger brothers could have some peace and happiness at home, a blessing I had never known.”
Throughout the next few years, Rhonda developed a new and satisfying relationship with her father. Sober, he was witty, charming, responsible, and caring.
But a new problem arose . . . her mother.
“I began to notice that during my visits home, my mother sulked and made cutting comments whenever I spent more than a few minutes conversing with dad. Alone in the kitchen with her, I had to listen to a long list of complaints and if I refused to sympathize, my mom retreated into a hurt silence.”
The visits home became a nightmare. Rhonda dreaded them, yet she felt compelled to return. It was her duty, she felt, to bring a little light and joy into the house, for the sake of her younger brothers, if for no other reason. She also felt a need to help her mother, to make her stop being so negative and unhappy.
“I still love her dearly,” Rhonda told me, “but she’s driving me crazy. All she wants to do is talk about the past. She just can’t accept that things are different now. I try to talk to her, but she’s so set in her ways, it’s no use. I hate myself for feeling this way, but I can’t help it. She makes me so mad!”
Rhonda started to cry. “Sometimes,” she sobbed. “I wish she’d just die and leave the rest of us in peace.”
Notice that Rhonda’s statements imply that her unhappiness and conflict are her mother’s fault. If only her mother would change, Rhonda thinks, everything would be all right. But the resentment and guilt and self-hate that Rhonda feels are not her mother’s problem. They belong to Rhonda.
And if her mother dies?
No matter how much you’d like to believe that death or distance means you no longer have to deal with your feelings about your parents, you are wrong. The feelings you have for your parents — both good and bad feelings — remain alive in your mind and close to your heart.
Love-hate is only one characteristic of the patterns of paradox common in adult children.
TEST YOUR PARADOX POTENTIAL
Answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the following questions:
1. Do you feel an inner rage that you don’t dare show to other people because it is too powerful to unleash?
2. Do you hide frequent fears behind a façade of bravado, keen wit, or chronic pain?
3. Do you frequently feel like your parents or spouse is always trying to control you when they can hardly run their own lives?
4. Do you long for warm and caring relationships, yet feel left out or overwhelmed by other people?
5. Do you suffer from feelings of low self-esteem because other people fail to appreciate all that you have to offer?
6. Do you resent your parents’ alcoholism and co-dependency while suffering from compulsive behavior yourself, such as eating binges and fad dieting; reliance on marijuana, tranquilizers, or alcohol; compulsive spending or gambling?
If you answered ‘YES’ to any of these questions, you can safely assume that you are plagued by paradoxes.
Paradox and Self-Esteem
The adult-child’s life is filled with contradiction and ambivalence, by love-hate, pride-shame, greedy-giving. The experience of feeling these intense paradoxical emotions perpetuates your confusion and sense of alienation.
Pride prevents you from stepping back and making an honest and self-critical analysis of your own negative behavior.
You remain blind to the process going on underneath, to the larger pattern that clearly shows you are the perpetrator of your current unhappiness.
But can you really fool yourself?
The subtle knowledge that you are daily violating your higher values with your inexplicable feelings of hate and greed fill you with shame and self-contempt.
How can you like yourself? How can you have high self-esteem when deep inside your heart you are concealing so much anger, resentment, and pettiness?
Now, think about this for a moment. What I’m telling you may shock and offend you, but it’s something you already know intuitively.
You know your inner self better than anyone else does.
Your feelings of low self-esteem are an accurate reflection of your inner reality. You don’t like yourself because no matter what kind of bright and shiny face you show to the world, you know your heart is full of negativity, bitterness and anger.
No amount of success or money or recognition can make you feel good about yourself if your inner reality is a dark mass of justification, blame, denial and paradox.
Examining the complex nature of the adult-child’s paradoxical personality is not an easy task. Nevertheless, that is one of the main purposes of this book. It seems vital and necessary, since self-critical analysis is an indispensable part in the process of self-change.
Without the knowledge that comes from fearlessly inspecting our most negative characteristics, we end up dooming ourselves to repeat in ignorance the patterns of the past that have brought us only hate, fear, loneliness, and pain.
Isn’t it time to give up our petty egos, to forget the fear of appearing vulnerable, weak, and less than perfect? We are, after all, only human.
And happily, humans possess the wonderful capacity to make changes. In fact, as Aldous Huxley put it: “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be sure of improving, and that’s your own self.
My Paradox Quiz:
Is your life full of paradoxes?
Did you have one or more “Yes’s” on the quiz?
How is your self-esteem today?
Are you tired of trying to change others? Are ready to concentrate on changing yourself??
Are ready to concentrate on changing yourself?
These are the question you need to think about and answer. No one will know your answers. This is a personal quiz to help you to deal with the pattern of paradoxes in your life.
Until next blog,
Reference: Taming Your Turbulent Past by Gayle Rosellini & Mark Worden-Chapter Two-The Paradoxical Personality
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