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Category Archives: Knowing Yourself

Redefining Societal Expectations of Parents

This post is dedicated to all those out there that were not so happy with the parent(s) they were born to….

Life is not something that can be explained in concrete terms.

Parents have children that they may not be ready to raise appropriately all the time.  Does that mean that they are bad parents?

My husband and I were watching a Steve Wilko Episode yesterday – about a mother who purposely got her daughter hooked on heroin just so that she could pay her bills from the prostitution money that her daughter was able to bring in.

Listen…….I can’t argue the fact that this woman was in every sense a “bad” parent……but, the daughter was able to move on with her life by managing to get to a rehab program and stick to it and despite the hardships and temptations of heroin, this young girl was able to bring herself out of the black hole of addiction.

Does that make her mother a good mother?

The mother who pushed heroin on her daughter ended up giving birth to a great kid……better than most……shouldn’t the mother get credit?

Everyone will agree that the mother gets no credit for raising a smart girl.

Buit….why does everyone also agree that the mother should pay with her life for raising a child that isn’t as smart.

Parenting is a funny thing.  If you suck at it…..you lose.

If you were great at it (in your opinion) you lose as well……because the credit goes to the child for the child’s own accomplishments.

Let me tell you about my life with my mother.

My mother was a child born to a set of holocaust survivors.  My grandfather was a survivor of Aushwitz, one of the most deadly concentration camps in Germany, and my grandmother was a survivor of various work camps….not deadly, but grueling for any human being to have to live through.

I remember hearing a story that my grandfather and grandmother used to tell with pride…….they used to brag about how well disciplined my mother was…….if she would dare leave the house with her sweatshirt on backwards (which apparently she did occasionally), they would beat her for it.

And many other stories like this one.

I was the first born of my parents.

I am not going to discuss my father, because that is going to be a different post all together….but I want to discuss my mother.

I grew up being scared shitless of her.  My brother and I used to hide when we would hear her bed creak – an indication that she was about to wake up and come and get us.

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Who Are You?

This question is so cliche – we don’t even know the meaning of this question.

A few years ago, if someone would  have asked me this question, I would have looked at them straight in the eyes, while trying to keep a straight face, and I would have responded….” I am Glinda, the good witch of the South.”

What does this question mean and if we are anyone besides who we think we are, how would we know the answer?

That is the reason why this question is actually such an important one to answer…..because most likely we are not who we think we are.

A few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and given a sarcastic answer to this question because I would have no other answer to give.

What kind of answer am I supposed to give?……I am Shayna Abrams, a married woman with children who likes music and loves to cook…..

I now realize that we are the infinite spirit inside of us and not the our finite bodies – nor are we the finite functions of our bodies –  that have been named by the ones who conceived us.

We are not just our names.  We are not just our jobs.  We are not just our particular enjoyments.  We are not just spouses.  We are not just parents.  We are not just friends.

We are far more than all of these things together.  When we limit ourselves to something as trite as the identifications above, we limit the power of ourselves – which is our spirit.

We are limiting ourselves to a finite thing rather an infinite being.

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What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You

Everyone has heard the saying “what you don’t know won’t hurt you“……..

But….is this really true?

I know someone who makes a lot of money on the premise of this phase.  He provides a service to people that call him because they need someone to make their living environment a healthier place to live in.

This person does absolutely nothing right in front of their eyes, but convinces them that he has just saved their lives and the lives of their babies and walks out with a check for thousands of dollars.

When I ask him how he feels about steeling money from people daily, his answer is that the customers are happy with his services and can sleep better at night and therefore he deserves the money that they are willingly paying him.

What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

In this case, it even helps them.

Yes, there are cases that lying becomes a critical problem for the person lied to and the liar, but the consequences end up being an appropriate punishment which fits the crime……I am not talking about these cases.  These cases take care of themselves.

My question is how bad is lying, when the lie doesn’t hurt anyone and no one is the wiser to it?

In my opinion, very, very, very bad.

And….not because it is “bad” thing to do.  Sometimes lying has no bad intentions behind it.

I believe that untruths are bad because they are not real.

By lying, you are contributing untruth to the world.

Untruths are fictional.

Fiction is fantasy.

Believing in fantasy is the same as being “crazy”.

Let me put this in another way……

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Reflections of Yourself in Everyone You See

I don’t if this bothers everybody else the way it bothers me….but, it drives me crazy when people complain about the behaviors of others and then proceed to behave in the exact same way they themselves have just complained about.

It doesn’t bother me that they do it, it bothers me that they can’t see that they do it.

I am not bothered by the fact that they do it, because we all do it….but, try pointing it out to someone and watch their defense mechanism go up like a security gate at Area 51.

I don’t even bother trying to point out other people’s denials to them (directly), but I do realize that if other people are in denial…..I am in denial as well.

What I am in denial about is hard to say because I am in denial about it.

But….one way I try to figure it out is by listening to what those that I trust tell me. My kids and my husband are the best sources for this purpose. My daughters do not mince words when it comes to telling me when I am a hypocrite. Sometimes, I do not agree with their conclusions, but instead of becoming defensive, I try to think about what they are saying and if there is any behavior that is questionably hypocritical, I apologize for 1) behaving in a manor in which I have verbally stated that I disapprove of….and 2) disapproving of the behavior in the first place.

If I am able act in ways that I think are “wrong”….they may not be so wrong….who am I to judge?

But….if I proclaim to not like people who lie and I lie…..I should really try to stop lying….and denial is a form of lying.

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Trusting Your Spouse

There were a lot of trust issues between me and my ex-husband.  I learned early on in our relationship that he did not have the same respect for monogamy that I did…..and he didn’t hesitate to remind me daily that he liked his women with small breasts and less than 120 pounds  – which I wasn’t.

This all led to the inevitable – I cheated on him to make myself feel better and we eventually got divorced….but the remnants of distrust for all men world wide lingered, yet I got married to my second husband anyway.

I put him through the ringer.  I did not trust anything.  I didn’t trust his breathing.  If he breathed a little too loudly during a movie scene, I would think that he is fantasizing about the girl in the scene.

I was ridiculous….but for some reason he stayed with me.

Nowadays, I completely trust him.  He has earned it.

But….what about those guys that have not necessarily earned trust – but need to be trusted for the sake of the relationship.  Those guys that don’t cheat or even want to cheat, but they act like guys so it is hard to tell.

I am going to be honest here and say that despite the fact that I have absolutely no reason at all to suspect my husband of any funny business, due to my deep rooted insecurities, I occasionally can’t help the thought that creeps through every once in a while whispering in my ear that I better be smarter and watch my back.

Not only do I have this thought completely on my own….it doesn’t help that I have had friends in the past suggest the same thing.

Even some of you who are reading this are probably thinking that I shouldn’t be so naive and make sure to  take heed of the “signs” mentioned above.

You see how far my paranoia can go?

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Doing “Good Deeds” for Others is Overrated

I ran across an interesting post that implied that we do not need to do “good” deeds for others….here’s the link: Get Happy Tip – Don’t Do Good Deeds

I have never really wanted to come out and say it like that (although I always admire straight forward honesty)…I am glad that I have the opportunity to express how true this statement is to me.

First of all, the reason that I never wanted to write a post about the fact that we don’t have to do “good” deeds in order to be happy is because most spiritual books that you will read in your life imply that doing good for others brings happiness……which is something that I also agree with.

Another reason I have not come right out and said these words is because I find that people don’t like to accept certain aspects of themselves which makes it hard to convey the fact that doing “good deeds” can really be a very selfish act.

In fact, I believe that in most cases it is…..due to the fact that most of us delude ourselves and deny the true intentions behind our behavior.

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The Napoleon Complex

My husband has a very short male boss.  When we describe his behavior to people, we use the term “Napoleon Complex” to clearly identify what kind of guy this is.

In my husband’s bosses case, he happens to be a relatively wealthy guy who mistreats his employees and brags about his money a lot.  Since he is a particularly short man (5’5), we joke that he must have “The Napoleon Complex”.

But what exactly is “The Napolean Complex” and is this a real psychological disorder?

According to Wikipedia ( Napoleon Complex), Napoleon was average height for his time period and that this proclaimed “complex” seems to be a myth due to various studies done that seem to disprove that short men are more aggressive than taller men.  Wikipedia mentions only one  professor, Professor Abraham Buunk of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands that according to his study done at the University, men who were 1.63 m (5 ft 4 in) were 50 % more likely to show signs of jealousy than men who were 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in).  Other various sociological experiments have shown that there are several advantages to being tall in attracting a mate, and the small man syndrome is believed to be an evolutionary adaptation.

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