Ch 2

Rising Strong cyber-bookclub Ch. 2

If you missed or would like to re-read the post and comments for the Introduction and Ch. 1, you can do so here.

Here we go! Thank you Sue.

Chapter 2: Civilization Stops at the Waterline

Using the story of what transpired during and immediately after a swim at the lake with her husband, Brené shows us the “Rising Strong” process. She puts her experience into a 3-act play that we can relate to, whether a story takes place over a few minutes or a few decades.

Act 1: The Reckoning
We sense something is amiss. We need to get curious about our feelings instead of quickly snapping at someone or trying to bury the hurt.

Act 2: The Rumble
We figure out what we are truly feeling, what part we play in our interactions, what is truth and what is conjecture. As Brené says, “The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.” She points out how the Rumble is often slighted or ignored when one speaks of emotional growth. For example, I can say, “I used to blow up the significance of little arguments with my husband, leaving myself in a pit of hurt and loneliness for days, but now I handle those tiffs just fine.”

Act 3: The Revolution
We have the power to change how our stories end when we face our truth and summon the courage to speak it. After Brené told her husband what thoughts were reeling in her mind during their swim, she found out he was focused on something completely different. Just before that conversation, Brené had the day scripted – and it wasn’t looking at all like a fun day at the lake with the family as planned. But because she chose to find and speak her truth, Brené’s story changed from one based on hurt and conjecture to one based on truth and love. And the day ahead looked wonderful again.

These steps are powerful and life-changing if one dares to jump in.

I want to share a “Rumble” of mine, a critical part I purposely left out in the above summarization of “Act 2: The Rumble.” Given space limitations, I’m giving highlights only.

Over the 30 years my husband and I have been together, we’ve had our share of stupid little arguments. I was able to shorten my funks in the aftermath into a matter of minutes or a couple hours. That progress was due to feeling more secure in our relationship. I hadn’t felt insecure because of anything my husband did or didn’t do. It was all about me. Imagine that!

Please don’t get me wrong – my husband and I usually get along quite well. It’s just that the transformation of how I deal with arguments has been a gift to myself (and to my husband!).

Whether I was angry at him or I thought he was angry at me, I got really scared. I avoided confrontations as much as possible because I didn’t know how to safely navigate through them. There were times when I was afraid or ashamed to say how I felt, so as I learned to do in childhood, I just kept quiet. When an argument did transpire, I’d soon slink off with my fear and anger, grab up a helping of guilt, regret or self-righteousness, and come up with this story in my head: “He may be getting fed up with me. He might want a divorce.”

Of course, the story in my head wound up being completely off-base from my husband’s reality.

Years ago, I didn’t have the courage to “rumble,” no less to head into the “revolution.” The anger, fear, etc. would dissipate over time. Sometimes I wished those feelings would go away faster; other times I held on a bit longer, as if they served me well.

Then my husband started to have serious medical problems. That was about 8 years ago. Because of the love and compassion I have for him, my responses to those once uncomfortable communications are now weighed with kindness instead of the desire to withdraw from connection. I take into account that not feeling well can make my husband’s emotional response to stress seem misguided from my point of view. So instead of jumping into old habits when he appears upset at me, I say something gently but firmly such as, “Are you upset with something I said or did, or are you stressed out about something else? You know I’m here for you. What’s going on?”

The situation usually de-escalates immediately. No argument. No funk. Wow! Next step: apply Brené’s 3-act play to other areas in my life!

Brene Curiosity is a shit starter

Up Next: Chapter 3 spearheaded by Maria Rodgers O'Rourke. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, this post will not appear until December 3rd. But stay tuned, I have a very special post coming out next week.


  1. Thanks for sharing your "Rumble" Sue! Reading this chapter couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me. I was in the middle of my own "Rumble" with my significant other. He pretty much did the exact same thing Brene's husband did, responding shortly and "emotionless" to an attempt of mine to connect and open up. I was so upset, I attacked him and gave him the cold shoulder for days as I started developing stories in my head about how he doesn't care about me. In reading this chapter, I had my own Revolution. I realized I had felt rejected and wanted to one up him so he would hurt more than me. Old patterns of protecting my heart so it wouldn't get more damaged. I decided to risk being vulnerable one more time and told him what my purpose was in telling him what I did. I told him that his response shut me down because I felt embarrassed and foolish for putting myself out there and not getting the response I was looking for. Well I wished I had said that at the time instead of throwing a hissy fit for days, not really saying what I meant. He then responded with compassion and apologized. He wasn't in the same mindset I was at the time and I needed to acknowledge where he was coming from. I'm so grateful to be able to read stories from everyone and Brene about having the courage to be vulnerable. It has encouraged me to do the same and allows me to be more at peace with myself and others.

  2. Thank you, Sue. Your story is told with such love and commitment to making your marriage work, to honoring the person you love. I struggle with my tendency to react defensively and respect what it takes not to do so. Owning our difficult stories: mine was a sexual abuse story – that I willingly participated under no duress. This was my conclusion and allowed me to end the story neatly or so I thought. I was equally culpable. Done. No need to question or ask why it happened or if it had any relevance to my life after the abuse. This kept me in denial for 20 years. In the meantime, my life, my relationships with men self-destructed every time. I couldn't see the connections. Didn’t even recognize their existence. Finally, an apology from the perpetrator brought everything to the surface, opened my eyes with a jolt. Of course I had been abused. A therapist helped me to connect the dots, answer the "why" and "how" questions and begin to understand and love the girl I was, help her to heal and change dysfunctional ways of dealing with relationships. Begin to solve a huge puzzle. Over the course of the past 25 years, I have told myself two stories: (1) that I am angry and hate the abuser and am justified in feeling this way, and (2) that staying angry solves nothing and that he was young and a victim himself and that only by forgiving (not saying it was OK but leaving it behind) can I find a degree of peace. In the past 5 years, I've leaned toward 2 and do feel a sense of calm, but still, the abuse happened, scarred me terribly, and I can never make it go away. I can only effort to understand why it happened and gain some strength in using that knowledge to change resulting reactive behaviors today and in the future – "The Revolution" as defined by Brene.

  3. "Seek first to understand" is really all I can say. If practiced, often we can avoid the "Rumble" altogether.

    It's imperative in life or business to always remember that there are two sides to every story and we can't only focus on our own. I have to admit that I'm not really finding any huge revelations here.

    One thing that did come to mind as I read this chapter is that we often tend to be less understanding with those closest to us, when we should be the most patient and understanding with them. Why is that?

  4. I love the way Brene broke down her story from Lake Travis. I have to feel my way through experiences by running them through filters. I grew up in an alcoholic environment and was molested by different people over the course of many years. My guard flies up when I feel threatened (and sometimes before I feel threatened).

    Hearing her go through her feelings and mind talk helps me feel less alone. Giving words to help clear the air are invaluable to me i.e. "The story that I am making up…"

    Step 2 is one I want to run from but appreciate how significant it is. Life keeps giving me opportunities to practice, practice, practice.

  5. I hear you there, Steph. Practice, practice, practice. Thank you for sharing some of your personal story here. Every comment, every story helps us grow and learn from each other.

    Some of the principles Brene is writing about are similar to those found in Buddhist theory. I took an on-line class with Pema Chodron. For those who don't know, Pema is a well-known American Buddhist nun. (As an aside, she is hilarious. I wasn't expecting that.) She talks and writes about practice…that's what change takes. No one can be expected to change behaviors that we've employed for a lifetime overnight. The practice, whatever that means to you, sometimes only lasts for a second or two. But we have to start somewhere. And yeppers. Life sure gives us plenty of opportunities!

  6. I sure am happy for you Janice, if you were taught from childhood to always understand another's point of view in the midst of your daily interactions. I wish I had been. That probably would have changed a lot about my life. Unfortunately, and I'll only speak for myself here, that was NOT the case in my household. The Rumble is so important to me because it's not only about understanding the other, it's also about making sure we're crystal clear about ourselves, our biases, what colors we use to paint the backdrop of our interactions (with others and with ourselves.) Or as Brene wonders, "What story am I making up now?" I think we all use methods of self-protection and we need to understand what they are if we are to lower our shields and become comfortable to be truly vulnerable in the service of leading wholehearted lives.

    Also, I sure agree with you that we often tend to be less understanding with those closest to us. It's because of exactly what Brene is talking about. The stakes are much higher with those closest to us and there's so much history behind each interaction. I know that when I'm angry, I unfortunately tell myself the story that my husband is saying certain things specifically because he knows they push my buttons and will hurt me. I was much less likely in the past to find a way to discuss this with him and just let that hurt settle there, in the bruised spot of my heart. I don't think that way with people more on the periphery of my life…Thank you!

  7. Thank you so much Crystal for sharing some of your personal story. Man, can I relate. Since I made a comment below relative to my husband, I'll use a different example here. I have so many! Recently, a male cousin of mine read one of the posts here on my blog and sent me a quick note on Words With Friends. We play together all the time and 99 games out of 100, he beats the pants off of me. Anyway, he asked me if I was worried that my daughter might read what I wrote. Instantly, I was upset. I told myself a bunch of stories about why he would ask me a question like that, that he was implying we should be ashamed of what we've lived through, that I shouldn't be writing about my daughter etc. Basically, I wrote him back, briefly, and said no way. She knows that I'm writing, she supports it 100% etc. He wrote be back again and said it's more complicated than that. She needs to know you'll always be there for her. WHOA…Now, I was downright furious. He, obviously, told himself his own stories relative to what I wrote and connected dots that were not in evidence. But he didn't ask me any questions, he simply assumed that what he wrote was correct. The story I told myself was that he thinks he's so much smarter than me, he was criticizing me as a mother without coming out and just saying so etc. I responded in not the nicest manner that he had no idea what we've been through or what my daughter thinks about anything.

    So–I can now say, very clearly, that I told myself a bunch of stories about that exchange and that he did too. We left it at that although I told him I'd love to talk about it some time. Unfortunately, I haven't spoken "the revolution" with him about this yet, but I will do so one of these days and that conversation will be generated (at least on my side) from a much more informed perspective on my own storytelling process.

    So thanks again Crystal. I'm so grateful you're sharing your personal story to show us these things in action and how they helped you in your relationship!

  8. Thank you, Nancy, so much for sharing this with us. Man, this stuff is all so hard, so complicated and confusing and difficult. As you so beautifully point out, we can spend a really long time in Act 2 of our story, trying every comfortable way, as Brene says, to solve the problem before we finally give in to our truths. I don't know if it's "comfortable" per se, but I sure know that I relied on my good old tried and true "friends" to solve my problems. Too much food, too much wine, too much anger. I relied on those methods because to even think about doing something else was too terrifying, too hard, too much work, would require too much of me and would make me…yes, too vulnerable. Needless to say, even today, knowing those methods won't work, I still fall back on them from time to time. It's hard work to take full responsibility for oneself, especially in the face of some of these realities of life–but it is the only path to being able to write out own endings..Thank you again Nancy.

  9. Thank you so much Sue, our spearheader, for showing your badassery! And for sharing your story and for being the springboard to get this week's conversation started. I can't wait to hear more about how you incorporate the rumble and revolution into other areas of your life! Thank you so much.

  10. First and foremost – I am so grateful for Tracey putting this group together and to read the honesty by this group literally takes my breath away. You KNOW you're not alone, but here you really really KNOW you are not alone because you can see it confirmed right in front of you.

    Three things struck me in Chapter 2. The connection of water. (Mine was Meadow Lake in PA.) The book The Alchemist, and realizing how much I ignored that voice from the universe. And the statement Brene' wrote,"Like everyone, I know failure and I know heartbreak – I've survived professional failures and person heartbreaks that rearrange your life." I did not expect her to say that – not out loud at least. It is something only close friends share. The embarrassment and pain from ____ fill in the blank.

    I agree with Stephanie when she spoke of breaking Brene's story down – it makes it so much easier for "us" to take apart our own stories. Slow things down – and really think before we react as the emotional creatures we are. We can't ignore being emotional – nor should we, but we can, with practice – like in meditation – practice slowing down your breath, your thoughts. You can be upset – you can cry and scream and rage – but you can also control yourself if not the situation and lets face it, we can't control anyone else – their thoughts feelings or actions. But being mindful and consciously stopping or slowing down the 'story rapids' we seem to automatically create, – gives us time to step back, shift gears, and simply be aware. It goes back to tying your shoe or twisting the ring three times before we react or speak. Now the challenging part – putting it into practice and teaching it to our children and living it with our spouse.

    I don't think this is a magic wand – Brene is giving us tools to build a much more solid life. My fear is falling right back into story telling. Can you feel the rumble bumps?? ugh.

  11. Thanks for sharing this story, Crystal. It's amazing how much mental anguish we have put ourselves through by not finding the courage to speak our truth earlier. But we are moving in the right direction! Once we see how showing our vulnerability helps us instead of hurts us, that reward motivates us to find our courage the next time we need it. I think it takes practice to make jumping into the reckoning our habit instead of diving into our less than helpful tactics that confound our lives.

  12. Thanks for sharing the exchanges you had with your cousin, Tracey. You've got "unfinished business" with him. This is an interesting case in that because you don't live with him, you probably don't think about your recent messages to each other all the time, and you might not feel the need to iron out your differences right away. So you have the gift of time to think more about what you might want to say.

    I want to throw an idea out here, but not to say in any way this is what you should have done, or that anyone should do this, but I think it's an option we don't always think of: If someone says something that feels odd or hurtful, consider asking that person a question to find their motivation.

    This has not typically been my first response to a question or comment that makes me feel uncomfortable. I usually get defensive or apologetic because I used to be a people-pleaser. If I don't take the time to think, somehow I'll manage to take the fall for whatever the problem is. So instead, I need to remember to ask a question, such as:

    Why are you asking me that?
    What is it that you are concerned about?
    I don't understand where that question/comment came from, so can you explain it a bit?

    By asking a question, I give myself a little time to think and calm down. I take the focus away from what I might say, and place it back on the other person. I am not obligated to directly answer every question/comment posed to me. My question can, if answered quickly and honestly, provide an explanation that prevents my mind from grasping at all the off-the-wall scenarios I'd devise that would haunt me for hours or days. Of course, I may not get an answer that I like… but no way to readily know unless I ask.

  13. Nancy, you are so brave to share your story! You have come a long way and I am so happy you have! I love your reference to understanding, loving and helping to heal the girl inside. We can be so hard on ourselves, yet still know if that "girl inside" was instead our daughter or dear friend, we'd easily be unconditionally understanding, loving and accepting. We can expect so very much from ourselves but would never hold someone else to that standard. I don't understand why that is, but I know it's very common. We certainly must strive to be kind to ourselves.

    And on the anger/hate vs. forgiveness pendulum, I've struggled with that, too, Nancy. For me, it was from how my parents raised my older brother and I. By a year old, my brother was diagnosed with "mental retardation" (the term used in the 1960's, although not politically correct these days), and then diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic when he was 14. Throughout my childhood, my parents doted on my brother. They did not make him accountable for how mean he was to me. I don't think they took measures to protect me from his antics until, when I entered 11th grade, they moved him out of the house (he had aged out of being able to attend the public high school). I spent a lot of years vacillating between being angry at all 3 of them and trying to forget about those years. I agree with you that forgiveness is not saying others' behavior was OK, but accepting the truth of our past and being able to move on to a more fulfilling life.

    Before I reached the point of forgiveness, I know I wasted a lot of time and energy feeling angry, resentful and cheated. That was not productive and it wasn't a happy place to be. Finding the courage to feel the depth of hurt that little girl lived with, as well as to grieve for the childhood that wasn't, were key factors in transforming my pain into strength… the strength to forgive my parents who where thrown into a tragic situation without any guidebooks to raise two such different children; the strength to forgive my brother who had so many inborn disadvantages and who wasn't taught being mean come with consequences.

    I have to admit I can still feel the hurt of my younger days if I let myself "go there." I don't think that will ever completely go away. But our strength, our badassery, as Brene says, comes from our desire to face our pain and work through it instead of act out, thereby hurting ourselves and others.

  14. Janice, how lucky you are to have already learned the lesson Brene is teaching in this chapter! I envy you! : )

    As to why we seem to be less understanding with those closest to us… yes, I think expectations have a lot to do with it. Also, more to lose. If we expose our vulnerabilities to an acquaintance or stranger, we may feel foolish afterwards, but in the long run, what great thing did we lose? If we expose our vulnerabilities with a loved one and we get laughed at or ignored, wow, that's going to hurt. We have to decide if we want to take the risk of laying our hearts out. What if we say something that pushes a partner away? What if by not saying something we push a partner away?

    On expectations… we might not expect a friend or acquaintance to read our minds so we may be more upfront with them. But I used to think my husband should know what I want/need/think and act accordingly. Well, he has many talents but he'd never put "mindreader" on his resume.

    My husband can't know what I'm thinking, though he knows me well. Truthfully, the need I once had for my husband to know what was going on inside my head stemmed from two things: 1) my fear or shame in being able to tell him something, and 2) my misguided thinking that if he cared about me enough, he'd know what I needed without me having to tell him.

    People talk about raising a child for 18 years. Yikes! Raising a person takes a lifetime.

  15. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. Life does continue to present opportunities for us to practice our badassery. Unfortunately, some of us seem to get too many of these opportunities! The upside is that with practice it's supposed to get easier to find and speak our truth. As I mentioned in a prior comment, seeing the positive outcomes of our own Rising Strong stories reinforces our desire to go through the process again and again.

  16. What struck me most about your comment, Patricia, is how we have control of our own actions and emotions when things get heated with others; we can't control how others feel or what they do. As an adult, I used to get into the fray with family members, letting my emotions match theirs, or taking my own emotions up a few notches on my own. How I regret that behavior! I really, really regret it. It was so childish. So out-of-control. So embarrassing. Somewhere along the way I learned to keep calm in these situations, which are rare now anyway (probably because everyone matured over time). It was hard to keep my voice calm at first, but it got easier. I just concentrate on my breathing and calmly say, "I can't have this conversation with you when you are this upset. When you calm down, I'd be happy to talk with you." It takes a couple repeats of the mantra, but the other person finally gets that I'm not going to otherwise engage. Later, when tempers have settled, calm conversations ensue where each person is free to speak their mind in a rational setting.

    This transformation is powerful. Going from feeling highly emotional (then later regretting what I said and how I said it) to feeling calm and in control (then later not having anything to regret).

  17. Yep. That "day two" thing gets in the way of my having a wonderful life! Who the hell wants to go through all the "vulnerability" stuff?! Not I, for sure! I would love to go immediately to the "Revolution" step of the Rising Strong process.

    In the meantime, I struggle with being real, not stepping back into my story of how others are hurting me.

    Been going through therapy for a little over a year now, that involves EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), which has been healing my brain and setting up new thought paths. It has done for me what all my personal development courses, self-help groups, other therapy and multitudes of self-help books had not been able to accomplish.

    I am now no longer so angry at my parents (one for mental/emotional/physical abuse, the other for not leaving the abuser with us kids) that I cannot see how I held onto that to justify my behaviors throughout life and relationships.

    Not that my life is completely healed. I still see that I made my story okay, that OTHERS were the problem/challenge in my life. In a way, this totally SUCKS, because now I must own my thoughts and behaviors and learn to change myself.

    What is good about all this is that I can see how being vulnerable and owning my sh** is more likely to get me a good outcome. As I struggle to accept all this "new" stuff, I recognize that don't like "messy", because it hurts.

    Laura Munson's horse, Chester, taught me a lot about how I approached the world – all out there and "I dare you to hurt me!" in my "I'll get you before you can get me" attitude. To soften, to be vulnerable and open once again seems to be my job, these days.

    I say it all SUCKS, because I don't do messy well. I don't like "soft", because I risk being hurt. I don't like "hurt". Yet, "resistance is futile".

    The saying "What you resist persists" is so true, because here I am, at 73, still learning that what I think and what I do affects more than just me. That I'm not so great a mind reader, and that what others say and do often comes from a place that I never would have thought existed in them.

    I'm not alone, yet letting others in is not my easiest step.

  18. Actually Sue, I think about the exchange with my cousin quite a bit. It's true that since we don't live together, it's easier for me to put the exchange and the ensuing work we should do to heal our little riff on the back burner. For me, though, I have always expended a lot of mental energy thinking about these sorts of things. And though it's gotten much better by focusing on mindfulness, I still do. I have many questions in mind to ask him about why he wrote what he wrote, what dots he connected that would cause him to make a comment like that and why he didn't think he should maybe, um, ASK me before assuming something like that was correct. Perhaps, one of these days soon, we'll have that conversation. I'm still waiting for him to let me know when he has time. This is where, for now, I think I need to focus some attention. On my resistance to initiating that conversation.

  19. Sue, you hit the nail in the head with WHY we're more hesitant to be vulnerable with those closer to us than others!

  20. You're welcome, Patty. Thank you for joining us. And yes. I agree. When I first started reading Brene, her honesty took me aback (in a really great way.) She's writing, obviously, about some intense stuff here. I do not think her work would have had nearly the impact it did if she hadn't been willing to open up and share the experiences she's had that make her know this work, and her research, is correct. I was immediately willing to trust her because of the very openness and honesty you mention. And yes–what you speak of, in the lingo I gravitate towards, is the gap that I mentioned earlier. That space or time or whatever you want to call it where we think about what's happened, slow down our thoughts, turn them around in our mind a little, shower curiosity upon them. These are the first steps towards being able to make a different choice.

    And yes, damn it. I wish there was a magic wand, but if there is one, I sure haven't found it yet! Thanks again, Patty!

  21. "In a way, this totally SUCKS, because now I must own my thoughts and behaviors and learn to change myself."

    Man, can I relate to this Nettonya. Thank you so much for sharing some of your story. I had this same profound realization when we were undergoing treatment/therapy with my daughter. It was really painful to accept that there was nothing I could do to change the situation or anyone involved except myself. That totally SUCKED. BUT–I would now not change a single thing about what happened or the journey it launched me on that has lead me to this point in time. It's such hard work, I so agree with you. And mostly, it just really sucks and is really really hard. And we just have to keep plucking away at it, doing the work and finding the things that give us a measure of solace. I, personally, think the idea of happiness is overrated. It's just as fleeting as any other emotion. I'm working towards contentment.

    As you so beautifully point out, the work continues. I'm not sure there ever is an end point. I think, hope, that eventually the positive changes start to take up more space than the old "garbage" we believed and to which we clung.

    I'm so happy to hear that EMDR is working for you. I know someone else who did and she said the same thing–that her progress with it was swift and sure. Thank you again, so much!

  22. Brene's story was not easy for me to understand, which I attribute to two reasons. One, I'm not married so I couldn't relate to her fights with her husband. Two, I'm not a woman so the body-image issues will be different in my case. But the Rising Strong Process at the end of the chapter, I think it's brilliant.

    Falling in love with our Day Two, I believe, is something everyone should learn. I read on my Twitter timeline someone saying we're not in an "information age" but rather an "entertainment age". So living in the entertainment age, everyone's become more interested in the problem and the solution/the happy ending, but people these days don't want to go through their Day Twos anymore. While shortcuts can sometimes be very helpful, I think in personal growth and mastery, it's a definite NO.

    My ending up here today is sort of an "accident". I didn't really take the initiative to pursue the path that I'm pursuing now. I was okay with my full-time IT job, getting drunk with friends at least once every week, getting attracted to shiny objects even if that meant going in debt, and mostly living a crappy life with no direction.

    It changed when more than 2 years ago, I felt a stabbing pain in my stomach, pain that I never felt before, that made it hurt more when I walked. That led me to a trip to a doctor which led me again to another trip to a doctor and in turn led me again to many more trips to many doctors. They had to probe inside my body to see the ulcer and check if there was any cancer (thankfully none) on top of blood cholesterol problems discovered by the heart doctor. The entire thing took many visits to the doctor as they were very meticulous with it and had to eliminate possibilities. That cancer scare prompted me to ask the first question. If I died would I be happy with how I lived my life? I answered NO even if I didn't know why yet I wasn't really happy.

    After things got clear in the hospital I decided I didn't want to die young, I began adapting a healthier lifestyle and went to a gym to use my unused gym membership. I hired a personal trainer to offset all the years' toll of sitting in front of a computer and a desk.

    There are 2 very important things I learned going to the gym.

    First, working out teaches you not only physical strength but mental strength as well. Everything comes back to the mind. If you want to lift that weight, it's your mind that'll tell you YOU CAN DO IT or tell you to put it down because YOU CAN'T (or you think you can't). Beginning with that, the high tower of my old mindset began to tumble.

    The other important thing I learned is that pain REALLY is a very strong motivator. To my surprise, I fell in love with someone at the gym, thought finally I got to be a lucky bastard, and thought the universe finally said "it's his turn", but it wouldn't last. Got my heart broken, had a hard time accepting it, there was some finance involved so I really felt played and betrayed, and started an affair with alcoholism.

    I was not the type to be vulnerable to others, not even to my family nor my friends, so I tried to keep it all inside. With drinking, I found some "solace" to help numb the pain which, now looking back, I could understand even if for a small part, why alcoholics are alcoholics. Now I can feel pity for them instead of disgust, but I still don't condone alcoholism. But drinking wasn't enough. It's only temporary and I still needed to extract everything I felt at that time. That's when I fully welcomed writing back into my life.

    I remembered when I was younger I dreamed of being an author, even filling an entire notebook with a love story. But growing up, finding a lucrative career, listening to other people's design for our life, led me away from that. I even forgot about it, thought for a while, I was happy with where I ended up. But we can only live a life for so long. The truth eventually catches up with us and we have to face it or keep hurting.

    Putting my feelings and pain into words reminded me of what it felt like to do something that you really love. I love it. Even if there were lots of grammar errors and incoherent thoughts with my early writings, they couldn't compare to what it feels like inside. It's a different kind of feeling and it felt strange and new to me.

    I didn't picture myself meeting people (online) from outside my country or even joining a cyber-book club like this. These things never crossed my mind before. But because I got curious with that strange and new feeling, I started my quest to understand. I began looking for articles online about dreams, passion, life transitions, (thank you Google), blogs, and writing. I stumbled upon one of Dan Blank's article, subscribed to his newsletter, then enrolled in one of his online courses. meet Tracey in that course, and now I'm here!

    Sorry (not really) for the long post but this for me is Day Two. I know what I left behind and I know where I want to go to but I'm still in the dark, still trying to figure things out, feeling my way through the tunnel. Whenever I find answers, I find more questions too which leads me keep venturing in the dark. If I still have my outdated way of thinking, I'd hate the things that I had gone through, cry that I didn't deserve it, demand that all I wanted was just a simple life, and mope about the unfairness bestowed upon me.

    But I learned throughout the process that if it wasn't for being (or stumbling) in the dark, I wouldn't grow, I wouldn't change. I wouldn't be sharing this story now and would just keep it all to myself denying its existence if it wasn't for the dark. I wouldn't even attempt to be vulnerable if it wasn't for Day Two. I'm not all there yet but I'm positive I'm different than before and I attribute it all to the Day Two. While reading that part in the chapter, I went "Hell yeah! Ms. Brown you're all kinds of fantastic."

    I fell in love with Day Two.

  23. That's a nice perspective Steph. Love it:

    "Life keeps giving me opportunities to practice, practice, practice."

  24. Thanks for mentioning again The Alchemist, Pat. Haven't read that yet, only heard good things about it. It's a definite sign now that I should get me a copy.

  25. "I'm not alone, yet letting others in is not my easiest step."

    Thanks Nettonya. I can totally relate to this too. Like someone said above, it's not easy to undo or change the things we've learned and have been practicing for a long time but I believe it's possible, one step at a time. I can share online unlike before but real life is a different game. While I can't, yet, share as openly in real life like I do here, I have made some good progress.

    Pick the right person to share, someone who's empathetic. I found a friend who is a good conversationalist and I'm practicing being open to him. It's been a success so far. Before I tried opening up to people who were not compatible with me communication wise and it only hurt me and drove me further from the fear I should be facing.

  26. Thanks for sharing that story Tracey!

    Putting ourselves in the other's shoes when they're trying to hurt or offend us is a sign of maturity and growth. That's commendable!

  27. Oh Xeno – please let me/us know when you do. It truly is something special. I find its one of those books that you read it now – then again at a later date – and it just keeps teaching and giving you exactly what you need at the moment. 🙂

  28. Wow! True story, my stepson Clay found life in a gym too. After being married to a bottle and hitting lower than rock bottom – the process it takes to work out and achieve the level he is now literally saved his life. It is by no means an easy process – but I honest to God do not know of a process that is worth it -that is easy. So yes, absolutely Day 2 is extremely important no matter what you are trying to achieve for yourself.

    Reading your thoughts provides much more insight than you can know. It confirms things I've only thought about – Men may be human – but the thought process is different, interpretations are different – the art of processing is different. So why don't we teach this in our schools? Geez communication would be a hell of a lot easier.

    Next, Xeno do you realize just how brave you are? Being vulnerable is not a weakness – although it seems we believe advertisers who want us to believe that. Your path is your own – but in no way are you alone on it. Reading everyone's thoughts, feelings and stories reminds me of that.

    I find myself wondering what Brene herself would think of what we're revealing and exploring together? My gut tells me she'd be very pleased. Going through the book alone – within your own head and heart shows only one layer – whereas discussing what stood out for us – and the why behind that, is much more powerful.

    Does anyone else find themselves comparing what we've touched on so far to their own writing? This Day 2 hit me so hard, as I write and re-write and doubt that I can actually jump from that cliff? Then when you put in the work – the universe brings someone you need to listen to – to you. Just this week I received such a great email from an author (Lorraine Ash) in NJ. She shared how a workshop went recently, how her next book is coming along etc. It wasn't until the last three lines that she switched gears and told me I'm doing exactly what I need to be doing – and who (the editor she knows) I'm working with is exactly who I need. Push the doubt aside and jump – then do not be surprised, but its one of many cliffs in this process I'm expected to jump from. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

    Then I read Sue's post above – and the word regret jumped out. I believe we always regret something. Something we could have said or done for someone else. Or something we said or did to someone else. Thats the human factor. I think we'll always have regrets, the trick or skill/experience/karma – whatever you wish to call it – should not control you or whisper doubt about it constantly in your ear. You hear it – acknowledge it – then let it go in the wind. We really are our worst enemy aren't we?!

    Tracey – you're right! This being an adult sucks! Lol

  29. Hi, All! Thanks for your deep conversation and diving into this chapter…no pun intended. 😉

    I particularly liked BB's observation at the end of the chapter: "I was caught off guard by the applicability of what I was learning about rising strong to smaller everyday situations…I thought I was working on a process for addressing life's major struggles." I love this! It's true in my experience that it's not just the "big stuff" that can cause setbacks, misunderstandings, depression, etc. It's the disagreements over who's making dinner, or the shoelace that breaks, or the bad hair day that can really drag me down. Sewn together, these little things become big things. Better to work at resolving them as they come up rather than letting things fester and escalate.

  30. Sorry, that last entry got away from me…

    I really enjoyed her husband's resistance to being a subject of her work: "Shit. You're being vulnerable, right?" and "Look, don't quote your research to me. Please." It has to be hard to be married to a public figure, especially one who uses her life's stories to illustrate her work. He did agree to use the lake story, and I think that's terrific.

  31. A technical question: can any of the club members whose photos are showing up in the comments section tell us how to do that? I'd like to see our faces during the conversation. I think it has something to do with registering on the site, or with a feed service…? Thanks!

  32. I agree with you so much here Maria about all the little things in life that when added up become big things. Sooooo true. Sometimes, I think, it's even the little stuff that the hardest or where I overreact the most because I know I need to handle the big stuff "better." Does that make sense?

  33. This is not Brene Brown, but Byron Katie. Besides Rising Strong, I have decided that I must not blame anyone else for my personal challenges – "When you believe that your problem is caused by someone else, then you are your own victim, and the situation appears to be hopeless."

    As I become more accountable for my own behaviors/reactions, then I become happier, more content. As I change my "story", Life becomes enjoyable and I resist it less.

  34. I have no idea why my photo is appearing, it was a good surprise. But I couldn't find anywhere how to set that up.

  35. so the rumble…my husband and I have been married for less than 10 years but I can tell you that in the beginning of our relationship an argument over who knows what could easily escalate to a screaming match within minutes. I was the type to not want anyone to leave the room till the problem was solved but have learned to step back, take a moment or longer, collect feelings and emotions then revisit the issue when heart rates returned back to normal. As we get older we become more in touch with ourselves and we also figure out which battles we want to fight. The more time you spend with a person the more you learn about them, what makes them tick, what triggers they have, and how best to communicate with them. I have found that you will learn the same things about yourself if you pay attention.

  36. I sure agree with you Tara that we figure out what makes others (and ourselves) tick over time. I just wish I could speed the process up. Or go back in time with all this new knowledge I have. Boy, I think life would be different. I'm not sure how–but. . . Paying attention, being aware has everything to do with figuring it all out, too. Thanks Tara.

  37. Well, I was hoping you weren't spending much time thinking about this situation. But I surely know how it can be to wonder about a difficult conversation that needs to happen. There are decisions to be made on how to approach someone, including the choice not to broach the subject at all, and each option comes with the pro's and con's we envision. And then a conversation happens and it may have an unexpected outcome – one that may pleasantly surprise you. Good luck!

  38. Yes, Nettonya- I love the Byron Katie memes on Facebook. I haven't studied her work yet, but I'm already a fan. Thanks for sharing this great reminder.

  39. Thanks for sharing, Nettonya. I, too, can relate to your comment about how we each must own our thoughts and behavior, how we own the power to change. Years and years ago, I remember hearing a comment about how someone couldn't ever come to terms with the relationship she had with one of her parents because that parent had died. Oh no, no, no. We can not take ourselves "off the hook" for this emotional baggage because the other person has died or simply doesn't want to engage. It's good news that we own the power. We all know the bad news is that change isn't easy. But it's in the realm of possibility, unlike trying to change someone else.

    I agree with you how even knowing that making ourselves vulnerable will tend to give us good outcomes as far as relationships go, it's still so hard to take that plunge. Why do we continue to be so resistant? Of course it's on a entirely different level, but it's akin to using a tub and washboard to wash a big pile of clothes instead of tossing the pile in the washing machine.

  40. Xeno, I've been burned a couple times, opening up to someone and then not getting the response I was hoping for. I felt like an idiot on those occasions. Looking back, with the understanding I have now, I think the problem was likely more about them and their inability to sympathize. But back then, I took it personally.

    I've learned that friendship comes in different forms. My closest friends are those who get me emotionally. Those are the ones I can be vulnerable with and I know will feel safe. I can still enjoy going to coffee or lunch occasionally with someone who is nice or funny, yet lacks emotional depth. It's just a matter of priorities with my time, as well as learning who I can be vulnerable with and who isn't worthy of knowing my deepest feelings.

    Xeno, I am so glad you've found a friend you can confide in. It is so very important for our emotional health.

  41. I agree, Nettonya, we can't blame anyone for our personal struggles. If I'd continue to blame my parents for my difficult childhood, what impetus would I have to change myself? I would have continued to feel sorry for myself and say I'm not happy because of them. That was just self-righteous thinking and it did not serve me well.

    I am better now at empathizing with my parents' dire situation throughout my brother's life (he died at the age of 50). I can better understand why they made the choices they did. I'm not at all saying those were the best choices – because they weren't – but I was able to get out of the bitter trap I put myself in. It was a process that took many years, but ultimately I threw the blame and self-righteousness to the wind… such a feeling a freedom… and let myself heal and move on to a better life.

    Once we own our feelings, we can move toward change. We can make our lives better and through that, we make the lives of our loved ones better. Heck, I'm going to say we can make the whole world better!

  42. Wow, Xeno! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think you are very brave, just like Patricia points out. If I had the choice of spending a few hours talking with you or some other person who purported to have had the perfect childhood, the perfect family, the perfect job, etc., I'd pick you in an instant! You are real. You are interesting. You have depth. You have lessons to teach. Lucky are the people who you allow into your life.

    People who don't show any vulnerability are not that interesting to me. I don't know if they are hiding something on purpose, not in touch with their feelings, or seriously have just had an exceptionally easy life but no emotional depth. What is there to connect with? That you both love a certain sports team or you have the same occupation? Sure, there is stuff to talk about and they may be very nice and friendly, but connecting on facts isn't nearly as fulfilling for me as connecting on emotions through this journey of life.

    And anyone who puts on bravado to look cool or touch or all put-together? I don't buy it.

  43. I agree, too, Maria. It's the little things that add up and become so troublesome. After all, so much of life is made up of the little things.

    A couple months ago, my husband began telling me something. I assumed the situation we were in was called a conversation. After he'd said several sentences, I said something to him. His sharp reply was, "Don't interrupt me!" Instead of taking on shame as if I were a scolded child, I quickly retorted in a firm (but not mean) voice, "I thought we were engaging in a conversation. The next time you have a monologue to deliver, please let me know beforehand so I'll know not to interrupt you."

    He calmed down right away. I was so pleased at how I stood up for myself. And I didn't feel hurt or angry afterwards.

    Not too long after that conversation, I began to see my therapist again because my husband had a new and serious medical problem come up. I relayed the above interchange to her at some point, and this was her response: "You communicated with your husband really well. You were to the point with him. With so many other couples, the wife would have said something like, 'You don't ever listen to me!' and it would escalate from there."

    We have so much power within us when we speak our truth.

  44. I agree with you, Tara! Learning how to effectively communicate with a partner takes a long time. And, yes, we need to pick our battles! I think the more we understand our feelings and the better we communicate, the fewer battles there will be. Tracey, oh wow, would I do a lot of things differently if I could go back in time!

  45. Thanks Sue! I used to think that way too, took things personal when I didn't get the responses I expected from others which became a hole preventing me from connecting with others until I realised what you said, it's not about us but about them. After that, I found the courage to take more risks.

    The second item's also spot on. Being idealistic, I wanted all of my friends to connect with me emotionally deep but of course the reality's not gonna happen. So I taught myself to try to accept people as they are and be thankful when someone compatible emotionally comes my way. It really makes things lighter.

  46. Patricia,

    I don't know where to begin but thank you for those kind words. I really, really appreciate that!

    Going to the gym can really change someone's perspective. I hope everyone give it a try at least once or a few times in their lives. It's more than just being physically good. It's something more beyond that.

    I totally agree that Brené will be proud. She'll call us badasses for sure!

    I believe in synchronicity too and I'm positive participating in this book club is part of the universe's plan 🙂

  47. Wow! You all are amazing! I just did my second read of all of your posts and love the connections, the empathy, the compassion. I will have to re-read again as there is so much heartfelt wisdom and understanding being shared. I can't even begin to comment on each post. Sue, you've facilitated a very compassionate week…thanks so much.
    I connected with Brene's insight on p. 22 "…women can be the most fearful about letting men off the white horse and the most likely to be critical of their vulnerability." This was me in the early part of my marriage to my dear hubby. We are married 21 years now, but boy did it take me awhile to respect and honor how differently we tend to our feelings….he chose the cave, shutting down. I read that as him not caring, not having feelings. We were able to do some counseling and wonderful workshops together. Over time, I learned not just to respect my own tender, scared feelings, but also to let his little boy scared feelings come out too. We do not have it perfected at all, but we know now to take more time, sleep on things, not discuss charged feelings after about 5 pm.

  48. Wanted to rephrase… Sue, Thanks for co-facilitating with Tracey this week. Tracey, I've already noticed that you are particularly strong at connecting with something in each persons story. And, this week, I noticed that lovely compassionate from both of you. Mucho thanks!!!

  49. Thank you, Cheryl, for highlighting the point re: how men and women handle their feelings so differently. I,too, spent many years of my marriage (we'll celebrate 20 in April) wishing my husband would behave, speak, react etc. in a different way to almost everything! It took me a long time to figure out the problem was me, that I needed to respect that this was his method. That does not mean, of course, that he didn't (and still doesn't) have work to do in the communication department. We both do, it's never-ending as someone mentioned, but wishing he was different only drove us further apart. From Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now I learned that my pain was coming from wanting reality to be different than it was. I can't tell you all what a HUGE lesson this was for me. It took me a long time to accept that it wasn't the circumstances of my life that were making me so unhappy, but my reaction to them. Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. I tend to do that LOL. Thank you, again, Cheryl for highlighting this important point and for sharing some of what you and your husband did to work on it.

  50. Wow Xeno. I have held off responding to your comment for several days because I'm blown away by you. I'm blown away by everyone's willingness here to dig deep (as Brene likes to say) and to share, but since you're our only fella, this is particularly true for you. The perspective you're bringing to the table here is invaluable for all of us. You already know how I feel about you doing this work and for sharing this message that is so incredibly important. You're work is changing the world. Thank you so much. I really, really mean that. You have really opened my eyes in your comment with viewing Day Two in a broader was, applying it to every area of my life, not just my immediate relationships. Thank you for that. I totally agree re: shortcuts. I've tried to find them for just about every dang thing in my life, and never was successful at it! (Also, thank God you didn't have cancer! Or any other very serious medical condition). I love your points about working out. When my daughter returned from treatment and started high school, she got involved in water polo and swim team. I think participating in team sport with it's trials, tribulations, and triumphs helped her heal in ways that talk therapy never, ever could. Such a great and important point. I'm so glad to be witnessing part of your journey to becoming the writer and person you always wanted to be. Thank you, again, for sharing with this group.

  51. Yep. Both Cheryl and Tracey have come upon my greatest "achilles' heel". (As I wrote "heel", I spelled it "heal"! Freudian slip of great proportions, as my "heel" is what helps me "heal"!)

    Wanting hubby/reality to be other than he/it is has created grieving in me that seems beyond my emotional capacity. To let go of the "dream" of reality I've had for over 70 years is not easy. I have been my own worst enemy, despite my so-called open view of life.

    I have been a victim, despite not wishing to be one. Hubby was to make me feel safe and loved, as it appears that I was to make him feel safe and loved. Neither of us has convinced the other to be that person in 18 years, so we've each had to go deep inside to find what was missing in the center of ourselves.

    Much as I dislike having to change ME, it is what is occurring. As a result, I am more peaceful.

    My relationship is still rocky, as we each steer near the shore, navigating our way toward our best selves. Considering that we might not move toward each other is challenging me greatly. I look at the fear that seems to be holding onto me and I see what I have attempted to do all my life – make my heart safe, to become someone I can trust to guide me wherever I must go. Hubby is doing much the same for himself, from what I have gleaned from our recent conversations.

    The happiness I have wished for him, I also wish for me. Whether or not we have that with each other, I have no clue. I would miss him, because he is brilliant and fun, when not in the depths of misery. However, I would gladly let him go, if that would make him happy.

    I could go to the worst-case scenario – we go our separate ways. That definitely scares me, despite my knowledge that I can take care of myself. So, I don't go there. It's only one option, among others. So, I take one step at a time.

    It appears that I'm learning to walk on a tightrope and finding a new balance. There's no net below, so any misstep makes me fear death. Dramatic? That I am! Even if the tightrope were only a few inches off the ground, I have always dreaded "missteps", because I have wanted to "do right" in my life. Mistakes are not easy for me.

    Other than DEATH itself, I have always survived my explorations in life and come out stronger. I suspect that that is what Brene Brown is discussing in this book.

    I believe that I am in the process of the third step – Revolution. Not easy for anyone, it seems, and necessary for Rising Strong.

  52. Thanks, Cheryl. I saw how Tracey responded to everyone's posts for the intro/Chapter 1, and I thought that was wonderful. Since I was picked to spearhead chapter 2, I wanted to express my thanks and thoughts to all of you who took the time to share your thoughts on chapter 2 and the ensuing posts.

    I have had my own journey with honoring and respecting my husband's vulnerable side. Years ago, I looked at him as having to be my knight in shining armor on that white horse. He was supposed to always take care of me; I was supposed to always be able to lean on him. And when I didn't get what I expected, I was sorely disappointed and hurt. Right away, I can think of two big problems with my reasoning back then. First, I expected him to live up to my idea of perfection, which was completely unfair and unrealistic. Second, I didn't think I was strong enough to take care of myself, so I relied on him for things I ideally could have relied on myself for!

    Of course, through it all, neither of us were anywhere close to being an expert on finding and speaking our truth all the time! LOL Good thing we still got along so well most of the time.

    Now, my husband is safe to express his feelings of vulnerability without me thinking he is emotionally weak. In fact, I think it takes a lot of courage for him to express himself. I see him as a whole person instead of some fantasy character I once thought he was supposed to be. Would you believe, that for a marriage proposal, I wanted him to surprise me at the beach with a rented white horse? I envisioned he'd propose to me and I'd accept the ring. He'd pull me up onto the horse behind him and we'd gallop along the otherwise deserted shore.

    Not only did that not happen, I have no idea why I thought he should have guessed what I was hoping for. I couldn't tell him what I wanted because the key was that he had to come up with that scenario on his own, of course.

    Fast forward about 30 years, and I have grown stronger so I can take better care of myself than I could in the past. And I am grateful my husband can show his weaknesses, fears, etc, so I can let him lean on me when he needs that. That's what a relationship is all about.

    And a very Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  53. Oh, Nettonya, such a hard place to be in. You have a lot of insight and courage. For all the marriages that end in divorce, we know there are many others that are unhappy but still ongoing. Falling in love is so easy but keeping a relationship healthy over time can be so hard. I admire how you feel you could let your husband go it that would make him truly happy. I admire how you know you'll be okay, however your tightrope walk goes.

    Being happy… ahhhhhhhh. That's what we all want, yet going through the pain of a break up is so hard that people can live miserably for years just to not have that ultimate pain of "it's over." Life can be so hard and I know it rarely plays out like we had envisioned.

    Good wishes to you on this journey.

  54. As my husband has been driving us to relatives' house for Thanksgiving, I have been catching up on our page. On this Thanksgiving Day I am grateful for each of you. What a powerful platform for connection! Thank you, Tracey! Thank you Sue for your compassionate facilitating. You guys, rock!
    PS I will check in to how to get your image on here. I believe it has to do with your Wordpress avatar…

  55. Yes. Here's the link to get your pick added:

    Set up an account for yourself and your pictures should show up as well. It's a Gravatar (whatever the heck that is…) As you can now see, I signed up and pic appears. It's free. Happy Thanksgiving!! xoxo

  56. Thanks, Sue. I have given this a lot of thought over the years. My 20-year marriage to my daughter's father ended badly, at my instigation. IF this relationship ends, I want it to be on a "high" note, not how my marriage ended. I would rather that we find ways to mend what's broken, than end it.

    That said, I now must change how I believe and behave. Recognizing my beliefs and owning my behavior are challenging for me. They involve self-forgiveness and apology to my guy.

    We had a major talk, last night, and things went better than I anticipated.

    The upshot is that I "trained him how to treat me" – in the vernacular of Dr. Phil – and now I have to "retrain him".

    Because I didn't believe that I deserved to be treated well, I allowed my needs to sit on the back burner during the beginning of our relationship. Not his fault, if "fault" is the correct term to use. What's interesting is that he's looking forward to being "retrained"! Step by step, life happens….

    Loving myself is key.

  57. Oh, gosh, Tracey. I can so relate to your conflict. I have a similar situation with a relative who gets my goat so easily. This is an older male (68) whose politics are volatile. He is a clearly angry individual who becomes red in the face and explosive when I express a different opinion or pose a question that requires thinking outside of his very restrictive lens. Here's the catch: otherwise he's a nice guy. And another catch: Nobody puts a Baby (me) in the corner — While I don't seek confrontation with him, I certainly won't shut up and sit down if I disagree! You would think, then, that I should be OK, right? I don't back down. I speak my mind. Yes, this is great but I proceed to chew on such altercations after-the-fact! I go back to the idea that this is a "high stakes" relationship with higher expectations and more baggage than I would have with the average guy on the street. I can let it go for weeks or months at a time but, at some point, it resurfaces and aggravates me all over again. I've concluded that sometimes the best solution is to detach emotionally from such toxic people. We have to save ourselves at the end of the day. It can be done. It's not easy but I've done it before and didn't regret it. you can remain civil but emotionally invulnerable. Sad but sometimes necessary.

  58. Thanks, Sue. The rumble is a necessity if we ever want to heal and benefit from the pain we have experienced. I try to remind myself that I am a better mother, friend, wife because of my experiences but, most importantly, because I have invested in the rumble. I've believed for many years that we all need therapy! It certainly helped teach me about perspective, compassion, that people react out of love or fear (not hate), and so much more. I carry these teachings with me every day and believe they allow me to function in healthy ways each day. Well, most days – I have some down days, too!

  59. Patricia, you mention regrets. Gosh, is that a word that seems to hold most of us in its cruel talons! My most powerful confrontation with Lady Regret occurred when I was driving home from work one evening, approaching a traffic circle in our community, fists clutching the steering wheel white-knuckled, and "rumbling" over what could've, should've been. I remember the moment when I slowly exhaled, concluding that I couldn't do a damn thing to change the past but, and here's my real awakening – I could completely control what choices I made moving forward! It was nothing short of an epiphany. I felt released, relieved, and empowered all within the time it took to complete a 270-degree circuit behind the wheel. In full disclosure, I must confess that this was but the culmination of a 15-year "rumble" that was about to eat me alive. Thanks to Brene for articulating the journey for us all.

  60. I totally agree Nancy, that there are toxic people in the world with whom we should (oh, I hate shoulds!) but really, with whom we should not share our pearls. As Brene says, if you're not in the arena, you don't get to play. That was a bad paraphrase, but you know what I mean. Yes. He is older than me and our politics and opinions on just about every single thing are on opposite ends of the spectrum. We would probably never spend time with each other if we weren't related! Although, because we are, I love him dearly. I've mentioned in other comments that this is something I have struggled with mightily over the years. It seems incongruent with the new more compassionate from of mind that I'm trying to embrace to accept or acknowledge that there are unhealthy people in the world. I know, rationally, that this is not the case, but some of these types of relationships can be very long term, making it really really hard to know what's the right thing to do. At the end of the day, I agree with you that there are times when we should not wear our vulnerability on our sleeves, but take good care of ourselves instead. This seems to be to be equally important to figure out how to do. Thank you!

  61. Yes Sue. Someone probably mentioned this already, but I don't remember who. I think what you guys have touched on here is the victim mentality. If we always blame someone else for our problems then we never take responsibility for our life. I know one or two people like this and they are the people I've mentioned, the toxic people, that I struggle with knowing how to handle them in my life. The victim mentality is not only damaging to the person that employs it, but it's equally damaging to those in that person's sphere because that person is continually blaming others. This can be particularly dangerous when the person is around others who are young or who can't stand up for themselves. A very unattractive trait for anyone, but particularly as we age. Thank you!

  62. Here, here Nettonya. Thank you for your bravery and for sharing so much of your story here. I'm so glad your talk went better than expected. I hope, for both your sakes, if it's what's right, that you can work through your learning together and emerge strong and better than before. It's so difficult, I think, to realize that we can't put our needs on the back burner. Isn't this what we're taught? That to take care of ourselves, to put ourselves first is a selfish act. This was a hard lesson I had to learn when my daughter got sick. My therapist kept asking me over and over if I would want my daughter to behave the way I was behaving relative to not making myself a priority and taking better care of my own needs. "If she doesn't see you doing it," she said, "how is she going to learn how to do it for herself?" Well, that was a really good fucking question. Of course I wanted her to know automatically that she was worthy of taking good care of herself. What mother doesn't want that for her daughter?!?!? I had to work through realizing that it was how I felt about myself that was lacking, that I didn't take better care of getting my needs met because I didn't feel worthy of it. (And often still don't, truth be told.) But here we all are together, on the right track. We may be in different places along our journey, but that's what's so great. Just like recovery, it's not a straight shot to the finish line. Now, we'll always have each other's backs! Thank you Nettonya, so much.

  63. I agree, Nancy, that one must emotionally detach from toxic people when we can't avoid seeing them. It isn't easy to do, but we can only change our behavior & feelings – not anyone else's. So we take charge of what we can control.

    I had a relative who made digs at me quite often. I finally decided to keep the conversation light & shallow, keep her talking about herself, never give her any tidbit of personal information she could somehow use later on to bite me with. It worked. Instead of stressing about having to see her, then stressing out over what she said, the visits were smoother (not fun, but not awful either) and I didn't have much to stress over afterwards.

    There's another relative who wants to be right. About anything/everything it seems. It stresses me out to banter with him (and always over silly little things). I can get caught up in this before I know it, but as soon as I realize what's happening, I just stop talking. He has the last word and that's fine. I don't care if he thinks I'm wrong. I don't care if I am right or wrong. All I want is to move on to a different subject or walk away.

    Stress avoidance is a priority in my life!

  64. Nettonya, glad to hear your major talk went better than expected. : )

    I guess we do train people how to treat us, for better or worse. This reminds me of something Brene wrote about in The Gifts of Imperfection (I think it was that one) – that instead of trying to fit in to get people to like you, you need to be true to yourself and the right people will become part of your life.

    The more honest we are with ourselves, and the better we communicate our truth with others, the more inevitable it is we will get our needs met – in finding a life partner, in finding friends, in having good relationships… I can say with certainly that all this badass work Brene writes about has served me well when I've had the courage to do it. Now that she has named & described the various parts of the process, I think it will be easier to face my truth, rumble & Rise Strong. And only just 2 chapters read so far!

    Thank you, Everyone, for being a part of this conversation. And Tracey, thank you for starting this book club. It's been heart-warming to read everyone's stories and to connect on being badass together!

  65. Yep, Sue. This badass stuff is not easy. I'd rather be me, than continue to be turned inside out, as I've done for a good part of my life.

    Still not sure about my relationship with my guy – how that will go. However, I am feeling so much more ME, that if things change with us, it will ultimately be better.

    Funny, how that goes….

  66. Sue,

    Thank you for the kind words. And wow! This:

    "That you both love a certain sports team or you have the same occupation? Sure, there is stuff to talk about and they may be very nice and friendly, but connecting on facts isn't nearly as fulfilling for me as connecting on emotions through this journey of life."

    You said it perfectly. I myself tend to prefer the company of people who I can talk with beyond trivia and facts. It's quality, makes you realise it doesn't really matter the number of people in your life but rather the quality of them. Thanks for posting that. 🙂

  67. Hey Tracey,

    Thank you for the kind words, much appreciated. And also thank you for initiating this book club. It's a new experience for me and I love all the opportunities this presents: being vulnerable, learning from others, and learning more. Glad to be a part of this 🙂

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