#JoshDuggar and YOUR Girly Thoughts

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Recently I literally fell asleep tweeting. I woke up after six hours and began tweeting again. This is not me.

Why did this happen? I was pumped. I was tweeting about Josh Duggar and his sisters. I tweeted my outrage and my concern for the increasing number of sexual abuse survivors who are screaming their pain on Twitter.

What’s the connection between Josh Duggar and the obnoxious name I’ve given to the toxic, inner self-talk that plagues us and misdirects our energy—girly thoughts?

Girly Thoughts Begin At Home

Families communicate in many ways from favorite stories that are told and re-told, to what is said—or not said—when abuse occurs. But actions speak even louder than words when parents respond, or don’t, to hurtful events within the family; when consequences don’t match the severity of the violation; when a girl’s attempt to disclose abuse is met with disbelief or accusations of lying.

In these ways families strongly influence not only teaching what is right, and what is wrong, but also how girls learn to feel about themselves. What girls should:

  • blame themselves for,
  • take responsibility for,
  • expect from others.

And what girls should accept in life from:

  • being second best,
  • feeling “less than,” to
  • in many families, not being as valued as the males —

This we learn early in our own families based on how we are treated when we are hurt.

Sexual Abuse and Incest

Family messages influence what we feel we deserve in life and this is part of the tragedy of incest (sexual abuse within the family). If incest is unaddressed, children are taught that they indeed are less worthy—less deserving of protection, understanding, and love than the abusing relative, neighbor, teacher, clergy, or coach.

Is it any wonder that women conclude we are indeed:

  • less important than men,
  • have to do more to earn love, and
  • have to be perfect to be desirable?

These are all girly thoughts.

Voice Your Concern

Begin by identifying how your own girly thoughts are limiting you. Then consider how women are blamed in situations that a man would not be, such as being seen as responsible for the abuse she endured. Watch for these stories on twitter and in other media. Express your concern.

Join with me:

  • Follow me on Twitter: #drogorman
  • Friend me on Facebook, and
  • Subscribe to my free blog on my website, www.patriciaogorman.com
  • Share your feelings about how women are being treated
  • Share how your girly thoughts affect you!

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

Monica Lewinsky, and You, and Me 4 Ways You Can Correct Your Story

Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

If you don’t know yet, Monica Lewinsky has gone public with a Ted Talk. It is well worth seeing because she does what I’ve been inviting you to do:

Stop listening to your girly thoughts —
that toxic inner dialogue that blames YOU
for anything that goes wrong in your life.

Monica’s Courage

She talks about being young and in love, and not making the greatest decisions at age 22. She is tired of being vilified. She is claiming her power to tell her story, something I want to encourage you to do as well, as I share one of my own.

Your Story

Which one of us hasn’t wished we’d made a different decision at some time in our lives? A decision that, if circumstances had been different, if you knew then what you know now, if you were the person then you are now, you would take back in a heartbeat.

One of My Own

I know I have. In a time before sexual harassment at work was a concept, when I was a young mother living in a rural community with few jobs, I too lived through a time when I was held up to public rebuke. I had a high position in a very politically divisive work environment, in which I was blamed for virtually everything that happened, including all those areas over which I had no control. I was a psychologist, an author. I had run a division of the federal government, for goodness sake. I was hired as a star, and surely stars have special powers, don’t they?

I had one ally, a man who had more real power than I did. He was supportive, a great tactician . . . and very attracted to me. Yes, he was very helpful, but he wanted more in return than I was willing to give. When I’d confront him, he’d say: “You’re just so luscious, I can’t control myself.”

So I was the problem. What could I do? I wore more layers of clothing, no makeup, but I was who I was, and I felt I was in a no-win situation.

Making Peace with Your Story

That was the dance we did. Yes, I was dependent on him; I tried to maximize his positives to save my job, as I ran—literally—from another of his qualities.

Was this the first time I did this dance, this bonding with an abuser?

No. For some of us from troubled childhoods, this is a life script learned early and repeated often. We learn to depend on those who extract a very high price for us needing them. The good news is that we can change this dynamic by consciously acknowledging what we are doing, how we are feeling, and embracing our strengths; more about this in a later blog.

Making Peace with Those Who Judge Us

By now, some of you reading this will be judging me, thinking surely I had other options than to endure this. But others of you have been in similar situations, situations you felt you needed to endure, and you know that sometimes we just don’t see the options.

We are all Monicas in some way. We’ve all made decisions we later regret. And we can all do what she is doing: we can know and share our real story.

Beginning today, the important thing is to stop blaming yourself.

Yes, stop those girly thoughts that hold you, instead of the other person, responsible. For me, this involved finally sharing the situation with my husband, letting him know what had happened and giving myself a break by reassuring myself that I did the best I could.

I’m not victim. I have power.

4 Ways to Correct Your Story

How to do this?

  • Acknowledge how you have been seen, blamed, and misunderstood, which was not true, and understand how you blamed yourself for something that wasn’t your fault.
  • Claim your truth.
  • Decide if you want to share it, and how—merely by acknowledging some truths, you set yourself free, but others you may want to consider how to share.
  • Notice and embrace how stating your truth makes you feel.

And let me know how this feels.

We are not victims. We have power.

Let’s stop blaming ourselves! Let’s correct our stories.

You’ll find more ideas for getting rid of your negative self-talk in my latest book, The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power

One Billion Rising….by Dancing?

By Patricia O’Gorman, PhD

Author of: The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (publication date 3/5/13)

Pre-order: Amazon / Barnes & Noble

One billion? and we’re not talking about the Sequestration, which is planning to cut one trillion anyway, or the population of the US that is only about 315 million.  No, we are speaking about a global effort involving more than three times the population of the US — we are speaking about women uniting around the world to end violence against women and girls, and doing this in a distinctly female way – by dancing, walking out, rising up, even giving voice to our concerns by demanding, that the violence, END.  By drawing attention to our concerns, by using the skills we have, and even perhaps having some fun in the process. Why? Because, right now, 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime, about one billion women, and that number includes some of you reading this blog.

Sometimes when something is so very common is feels even normal.  We have what I call our girly thoughts to thank for this, those societally driven messages concerning how we are to blame for all the misfortune we experience, and we are often not even aware that we are listening to them.

Girly thoughts are not new, and we come by them honestly. After all in the Bible, isn’t there a prayer to God, thanking HIM, for not being born a woman?  This example, and many, many others have resulted in many women being seen as less-than and as a consequence, acceptable targets for needing to be controlled, and for the rage of men.  And due to their girly thoughts many women even believe it was their fault.

But this doesn’t stop women from being courageous—you know what that is—acting in the face of fear, courage is not the absence of fear but taking action when you are, well, afraid.  On a daily basis we have all seen that being a woman can be very dangerous, particularly if the woman believes she has rights. But that hasn’t stopped so very many of us.   A woman could be shot in the head is she wants to go to school, have her clitoris removed, be targeted by a commanding officer, be slipped a drug so she is unable to fight off an attacker, or beaten by a drunk father or boyfriend who says he loves her.

So it probably sounds incredible to believe that we can make a difference by dancing.  How unreasonable is that, you may be wondering?  You may be asking where are the guns, the armies, the rockets – the real power?  After all isn’t that how we all been shown to demonstrate our power, through muscle, through clubs, through armaments, not to mention tradition and laws?  Well, that is how many show their power.  That is how we have been trained to understand power, as: might, intimidation, force.  But as for the real power, the answer is clear.  The real power is within each of us. This is the message of our recovery programs, the message our mothers wanted or perhaps did send us, and it is the message in this worldwide effort–onebillionrising.  We can begin to own our power, by uniting with other women, and men, in ONEBILLIONRISING/ is a global call to women and men across the planet to gather in their communities to dance and demand an end to the violence girls and women face, no matter what the cause.

What can you do?  First check out http://onebillionrising.org/— then dare to use your personal power to consider creating your own event in your school, office, block, town. Plan to make it meaningful and perhaps even fun.  Break out of your comfort zone and even think about making an outrageous statement that is so engaging that others will want to dance with you, with all of us, enjoying the power of community, and the end to violence.  Realize that whether you are a woman in recovery, an ACoA, a sexual abuse survivor, you are connected to all other women who have experienced similar pain, trauma, discrimination, today, and in the past.  But understand that together we can all join to reduce, and even eliminate, the violence of the future, all through the improbable action of dancing together.

Need a little inspiration?  Listen to Lee Ann Womack “I Hope You Dance” after the jump…

Continue reading “One Billion Rising….by Dancing?”