Battered is the Wrong Word

The word Battered is frivolous and that’s it’s intent.  It implies consent and a willingness to accept the action, for both parties. ‘Battered’ as a title  certainly was never coined by the victim.  It’s part of the dishonest myth constructed by the one giving the beating.

Trees  and the shore are battered in a windstorm, something without blame or conscious intent.

An accurate word is ‘Beaten’,  she is a ‘beaten woman’.  A consequence of being hit is that every part of a woman is beaten, every facet of her life is damaged by this experience.

Who are these Beaten Women?  Statistics show that 50% of all relationships are battered and that it crosses all social, economical and ethnic boundaries.  This means half the doctors, lawyers, farmers, actors… half of those you pass on the street.

But beaten women stay, why?  They stay because the scenario is a 3 part process wherein the partner is:

  • Nice.  The first part of the relationship, the abuser is always nice.
  • Verbally abusive.  In the beginning, a woman makes excuses for this.  He’s tired.  He’s stressed by work.
  • Physically abusive.  Can be triggered by anything.  By something that happened outside of the relationship such as an event during the drive home.
  • Nice again.

Women do not tell because:

  • They fear being killed.
  • They fear for family and friends.
  • They have no money.
  • They fear loss of children.
  • And because the first relationship was nice, they forever believe they have done something to cause this nice partner to become violent toward them.

The term is never applied to men.  In news reporting, it’s said ‘he was beaten’.  The term battered is used as a global description with no further description of where or with what when describing women and their partners.

It therefore is still accepted as the right of the male in a marriage.

It’s time to call battering by it’s correct term which is beating and to describe where on the body and with what.


The definitive work is from 1980 Battered Women by Lenore Walker…


Battered Women Develop a Unique Skill

First of all, the term ‘Battered’ implies consent… one is battered about in a storm because they failed to protect.

Battered Women are Beaten Women.  The intent is ‘throwing under the bus’, an act of destruction with far reaching consequences

Very early on, a beaten woman or child will develop a need to prevent the attack.  They begin by watching for large signs and eventually for clues. Finally, they perfect a background system which, within split seconds, assesses potential danger.   Because these additional skills are a survival mechanism, they become embedded forever into her consciousness.

Every minute and forever, this risk assessment  runs in the background, constant and with blinding speed looking for deviance from normal and it can be translated into workforce benefit.  In healthcare, it rapidly assesses minute changes in the patient.  In software testing it quickly finds problems.  As inspector it, with hair standing on end, recognizes risk.  The skill eliminates truncated thinking allowing for problem solving until the fundamental base of the problem is achieved.



NICU and Divorce

Parents of small, sick  preemies  can, for many reasons, lose each other.

Parents in NICU have a scenario that the normal newborn family, home in 3 days, never has.  Because of the construct of the small space for isolette and chair etc., parents come into the unit and the mom absolutely zeros in on the isolette,  (Reptilian brain again.). Her body completely fills the space at the isolette and there is almost no way around that.  The father sees her back and little else, and again and again, he eventually sits in a chair and reads a book, appearing as uncaring and callous.  Sometimes the mother will hand the wrapped baby to dad but it’s still an offering from her, not ownership by him which is a must in a happy partnership.

I would tell this to all the parents of long term little ones and now, fifteen to twenty years later, I’m learning that the majority of our families are still intact so this may be the core problem.

Now for the bad news.  The divorce rate in families with long term NICU babies is believed to be 97%.  Tulane calls it 100%.

I believe the father as ‘left out’ is the major cause.

There is an easy way around this for fathers and I have seen many do it.  They come in alone, often before work for the 6AM bath and feeding.  It seems that this experience creates a sustained bonding.

We are enculturated to focus on ourselves with such intensity that everyone else is left out.  Intimacy is frightening and humans no longer look each other in the eye.  They don’t even look their pets in the eye.  It’s too much giving up control and allowing vulnerability.  Force yourself to do it.  Begin with a child or maybe the cat.  Talk to this spirit as independent from yourself.  When brave enough, look an adult you love (and trust) in the eyes… it’s a soul to soul experience.

Only the last years in NICU did I begin looking newborns in the eye and talking to them as an adult (and what was looking back at me was very adult… try it.)  I’d say to the boys:  “You are born onto earth and have parents who are going to give you a great childhood.  And you are quite handsome, like your father.”  And they smiled!

The notion that newborns smile is gas is complete nonsense, driven by those who have no experience.  We in NICU see it all the time and a classic example is the photo called  Laughing Premie from Loma Linda.

So, how can parents avoid divorce after NICU:

  • Choose a baby sitter.  Have the person take a CPR class for infants.
  • Include Dad in the daily care of the baby.
  • Do not focus completely on the baby.  It’s hard on the marriage and hard on the baby.
  • Make some feedings by bottle so Dad can see the curve of his baby’s cheek, that beautiful corner of the baby’s mouth where tongue, bottle and cheek meet.  So he can feel how strong the baby’s pull on the bottle is.
  • Don’t always hand the baby to Dad, he must be a full partner, not a participant.  There’s a difference.
  • Do not criticize parenting of the other.  It turns the critic into everyone’s parent, not a nice place to find yourself.
  • Once a month, go to a restaurant with booths (so no one can shout and no one can cry) for a family meeting. Bring notes if you want to.  The agenda is to be objective and to answer the question:  “How’re we doing?”.  This way, gripes don’t ooze out and ruin the time at home.  Just put it into the notes and save it for the family meeting.  Home must be safe for everyone, always.
  • Plan a date.  Once a month, every other week, you each plan something very special that will please the other and make good memories.  Not a dinner and movie date.  Something like sitting on a dock in morning mists, with a thermos of coffee and breakfast treats.  Feeding ducks in a rose garden pond. Visit art galleries on a First Thursday.  Sit on a bench and guess what passerby’s do for a living.  Visit a toy train store. Go to garage sales or a flea market.  It need not cost money.  The upshot of this is that you know your mate is thinking of how to please you and you are thinking of your mate in positive, loving terms.
  • Learn Partner Yoga.  Do it with your mate.  Do it with your children.
  • Become romantic.  Set up candlelight dinners.
  • Look into your partner’s eyes.

Causes of Hoarding and How to Prevent It

Our reptilian brains are about survival and continuation of the species. These two functions are beyond control and override everything else we do.  Scarcity and it’s companion fear, drive us. This is true for every living thing.

We are not all the same.  We are molded by our experiences and adapted by our drives.

From childhood, females build the nest and males build the support system.  Little girls play with dolls and boys with building.  Watch them playing… a boy may drive a plastic truck through the dirt, silently for hours and adults tend to see it as mindless pastime.  It’s not and if you watch long enough you will see the purpose.  Girls nurture and boys support.  The reptilian brain at work, busy, focused and with intense purpose.  Serious stuff.

Part of that drive includes amassing a collection of ‘things’.  Everyone does it.  Sports hero memorabelia for boys, pretty things for girls and most of the time it remains orderly and within control.

Hoarding is when it becomes out of control and the hoarder is not crazy, bad or low class.  The hoarder is trying to fix something damaged in childhood.

When a parent throws away or gives away a child’s toys, or more importantly the little things the child brings home, a stick or rock or flower…  when they pack up the child’s clothes and some favorite thing is lost forever.

Make a shelf for the child’s very favorite things.  Assure him that his shelf is off-limits to everyone but him.  When he outgrows his clothes, ask him if there is a favorite he would like to save.  Cleaning out the toys?  Ask him if there is anything he’s not finished playing with yet.  This implies that he will be finished with it eventually, a normal occurrence.

Children will look for things they loved and that have vanished and it continues into old age.  A terrible thing to do to someone.  They will have a lifetime of feeling unstable, vulnerable and certainly unsafe.  Remember that someone else’s things are important to them for reasons we will never know and the repercussions never end.

Adults need to remember also that leaving behind a room of childhood /teenage treasures when they leave home is absolutely not fair and reflects another problem.  They never wanted to leave mom and dad’s house and need an excuse to come back .  There is a bumper sticker that says ‘They haven’t left home until their stuff is out of the basement.’

So, the hoarder is keeping everything close to home, safely protected around him.  It may be a pile of newspapers but something happened to cause that.  Maybe someone interrupted a statement he made to arrogantly say:  “What is your source of information?”

Be kind to the hoarder.  Anything else is just another case of blaming the victim.

Why Women Shop, Why Men Fight and More About Hoarding

 Why Women Shop:

Girls begin to prepare the nest at about age 5.  It probably has a relationship

to estrogen production.  For generations a girl was given a ‘Hope Chest’, usually a large cedar lined rectangular box that was put at the foot of her bed.  This happened at puberty, around age 12 and was long awaited and expected, a rite of passage if you will.  Into this box, she was to put linens and things she had made for her future home.  It recognized the reptilian brain drive for reproduction and the required nesting.  All species do it!

As a child, she saved and protected and thought about things she liked.  When teenage years gave her freedom to move about, she began to shop.  The initial shopping was mostly for things to beautify herself in order to attract a mate, originally the primary requirement of the nest.  Later she shops for the nest.

70 pairs of shoes and gold faucets is a perversion.

Why Men Fight:

Young boys can play intently with toy trucks and heavy loaders for hours on end, day after day and never tire of it.  Or throw basketballs through hoops endlessly and never tire of it.  It’s all like a mantra, the precursor to adult jobs that will give him money to support family, his part in the reptilian brain’s nesting drive.

And men fight.  From our days in the cave, the male, stronger and testosterone driven was free to patrol and defend the nest.

Stabbing a passerby on the street and destroying villages with bombs is a perversion.

More About Hoarding:

Where the statistical numbers of 3-5%  are hoarders.  People who, by instinct and conditioning would hoard but fight it every day, are most likely well over 50% of us!

There are many events that initiate hoarding, all of them bullying, unkind behavior.

During childhood, someone threw away the child’s things… sometimes with the child watching and sometimes the child just found it missing.

The child quickly recognizes the threat and begins to keep his possessions close, thereby acting in accordance with his reptilian brain’s demand that he protect himself.  He is doing what he must.

And it can initiate as an adult.  If a husband says to his wife after she’s made a declarative statement in a social setting;  “What is your source of information?”, it will forever launch her into hoarding books, papers, documenting bits of proof and now computer links.

Hoarding is not the psychological disease.  Not hoarding is!

Hoarding is the natural reaction, part of the ‘taking good care of myself’ paradigm.  Those who do not hoard have been enculturated out of it.  If, therefore, hoarding is the norm, throwing things away is the deviance.  The trick is to, like everything else in life, use moderation.

When hoarders and would-be hoarders begin to throw things away, a scenario begins.  There is a very rapid assessment known to the victim, of how will I be harmed by this, and a flight-or-fight panic begins.  When done in old age, it’s preparing for death.

Jules Feiffer, the cartoonist, identified things as ‘little murders’.  This is a little murder.

No More Sunday

As culture and religion change, many of us no longer have a ritualistic, dedicated day off.  One day blends into the next with shoulds and maintenance errands.  Jobs spill over into the weekend days, everything blurs, there is so much to do that any time for ourselves is stolen time and guilty time. Frequently that becomes ‘vege-out’ time in front of the TV.

Now, the tricky part is to pick a day that is Sunday.  Maybe a little meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga.  Do something different.  Ritualize it, same day each week, anticipate it and plan little treats for yourself on that day.  It takes 21 days to make a new habit so in this case it’s 21 weeks and therefore the success of it becoming integrated into lifestyle will depend on a very strong intention.

TV off.  Don’t open mail with windows on Friday.  There is nothing you can do about it until Monday but worry.

If you’re single and alone, treat this day as having a love affair with yourself. Do whatever you love doing and whatever will leave good memories.  Paint, curl up with a good book,  garden, grab a camera and hike, visit a new place, plan a mini adventure, garage sale or flea market shop.  Call a friend and go out for a great brunch, coffee and good conversation.  (Ground rules… only positive talk.)

Put the iPod on and let glorious music wash over you or listen to a non-violent audiobook. If cleaning house pleases you, throw open windows and doors, turn all the lights on, music loud and clean and sing and dance.  It’s your nest and your day.

If you love to cook, plan the week’s meals, shop for it and spend the day cooking, tasting, inventing…  music and lights on, doors open.  Expansive, lavish, joyous time spent.  Happy time.

Take the kids to the park and just watch them play.  No fussing over them, no deadlines, just enjoy it.

Construct for yourself a guilt-free day of rest, a day of pleasant memories.  Something to look forward to and back on.  The body and the mind need this reduction of stress and renewal of spirit, that’s why Sunday was invented.

Violence as Mindset

I know someone who has a terrible underlay of anger and violence in everything and about everything and he frightens me.  This mindset requires another underlay…  the need for controlling it and being around that requires trust.  He’s a drinking alcoholic in denial which exacerbates it.

We were raised in the same Germanic ethnicity, of righteous anger, control and nastiness toward children.  My French parent sat in silence, maybe he was stunned into inaction, maybe he had no idea how to countermand it, maybe he was afraid.

  • A story:  One day my little children were playing ‘house’ and the one who won the privileged role of ‘mother’ instantly became my mother!  But she didn’t know my mother.  She was playing me and my worst nightmare had happened.  I was passing it down to yet another generation.  I isolated myself, took apart my behavior, looked at it objectively, vowed to reverse it and made a plan.  I removed, stopped, ended every negative comment (and a whole load of negative thinking.). Because the child’s reptilian brain demands that it attempt to please the parent, I adapted a new way of speaking to them.  Ignoring the behavior I did not like, and looking for examples of behavior I wanted to reinforce, comments became  only about how well they were doing in pleasing me:  “I love it when you put your dishes in the sink.” and the consequences of this were huge.  We all became happier but, in addition, I’d become relaxed, happy, unstressed and playful. Life was good. Life was great.

All cultures have fundamental agendas and they are played out in childrearing,  passed from generation to generation forever and recent studies show that they alter DNA.

  • German:  Fighting for ‘The Fatherland’.  The language is abrupt, paternal and dictatorial.  Childrearing includes constant criticism, bullying, humiliations and physical abuse.
  • French:  Non-violent, happy, pleasant social interaction.  The language is lyrical and beautifully flowing.  Childrearing includes enjoying them as they play.
  • Asian:  Saving face.  Careful  to protect the self-esteem of others.
  • American:  A polyglot cultural mixture of everything,  a war zone if you will.
  • Bhutan:  Happiness of the people. Bhutan has been referred to as The Last Shangri-la.


I’m OK. You’re Not OK. A Game

The how and why of unhappy, dysfunctional workplaces. and how to get out of it.       

All disciplines have game theory, Computer. Psychology, Chemistry, Political, War…

Transactional Analysis is the study of Psychology game theory as defined by Eric Berne in his book. Games People Play.  The how to recognize these games interference and how to get out of them is clearly laid out in the fascinating book by Jongeward and James, Born to Win.

The three part game, I’m OK.  You’re Not OK., Now I’ve Got You, You Son of a Bitch, and Rappo! (throwing a monkey wrench into the works) is the foundation of America.  It’s the foundation of what goes on inside of families, of hospitals, schools, governments, business, each a microcosm os the whole.  Rappo is when, for example, managers of a large hospital unit walk in one morning and fire the strongest, most talented, smartest nurse.  This controls behavior of the staff for years.

So you recognize that this game is in play and someone begins the scenario with you.  How to get out of it?  Simply say:  “I’m not playing.”, turn and walk away.  The thing that always amazes me is that this sentence stops them, even when they don’t understand game theory and are so entrenched in a game within the framework of their lives  that they believe it to be normal behavior.  

This game underlies dysfunctional families and super controllers.  It stifles excellence, creativity and good outcome.

The goal of excellence is positive regard, partnership, mutual support and success creates opportunity for serendipity, the meat of life.

I asked a film director what his job was and he said:  “My job is to create a framework within which everyone can do his best work.”


Feng Shui. Perfect Flow

The Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon is an example of perfect Feng Shui.  Looking at a scene as if through the lens frame of a camera, a perfect scene is balanced in terms of shapes, color, light and empty space.

China has installed a garden with pavilions, bridges, ponds, foundation plantings and seasonal flowers onto one city block in Northwest Portland.  Stand at any spot in this garden and what you see is perfection.  Turn ten degrees and again perfection.  Walk twenty steps  and turn back… again perfect Feng Shui. Turn around completely and look in every direction.  Perfect.

How did they do that?

Pick a flower and put it into a vase.  Now walk around it and look at it.  Every new view is perfect.  This is Feng Shui.

What is Feng Shui?  It’s the flow of energy without hesitation or restriction. It explains why Chinese furniture has rounded edges and openings in places.  This easy flow of energy is extremely calming.

There are rules to strict Chinese Feng Shui and an elegant book about this is Wind and Water.  See the post  ‘Don’t Want to Move?’ which contains a trick from Wind and Water.

How Much Stress is Too Much Stress