Monday, May 20, 2013

Are You Super Woman?

I wonder just how many wear the super woman cape. I know this syndrome has become epidemic. Once we decide to wear that cape, we develop an unknown kinship with all the other women who have chosen the same. We have a common thread that binds us.

Until I started searching the internet - blogs - I felt alone. I never really stopped to think I could reach out. I was so caught up in my own struggle, consumed by emotions and running around trying to get everything done that I couldn't even fathom that there were other women doing just the same.  Now I am amazed how I could think that way.

It’s true, I run from one problem to the next, trying to do it all from dawn to way past dusk and one day melts into the next and I don't know what day it is and I can't remember what day I did what.

My mind is always full with thoughts whirling around making my heart race and the butterflies swarm. I miss appointments or forget to make them in the first place. I can't remember my own list of things to do but I am expected to remember everyone else's list too.

In the morning, I jump out of bed and look at the clock. I am going to be late, but I am lucky. I get to go to work. Which brings a whole slew of different situations to address.

I am also lucky to have my Mom. She is a God send. She arrives and starts the dishes from last nights supper. She gets my three year old Hunny Bunny dressed and gets her breakfast. Lately I have just enough time to pop my meds and run out the door. 

My husband is usually up way before me. He goes out for a coffee and comes back. He paces the house waiting oh so patiently for me to jump into my car. His car is not drivable. That is another story. Just as I am ready to walk out the door he remembers he needs to take his meds. I wait patiently at the door. Don't want to set him off. 

So he drops me off and picks me up from work Monday to Friday. It is frustrating not having my car available just in case but I make that sacrifice so he isn't stuck in the house ranting and raving at our teenage daughter.

Many days his auto pilot tries to take us some place else so I have to point to our cut offs or he misses them. His mind is somewhere else. Doesn't seem to matter that we have taken this route hundreds of times, I still have to ask him where are we going?

He drives so slow that I feel another anxiety attack hitting me hard. I am late and I just want to hurry up and get to work. He lights up a cigarette and I follow his lead. We usually have two smokes by the time I arrive at work. On a good day we don't argue in the car. Although when he is pissed off with me he drives faster and I get to work sooner.

Arguments in the car are quite the norm. So much so that it is a trigger for me. I can’t stand getting in the car with him. I am trapped. He has even made a joke of it. I can’t escape and I am forced to communicate with him. I have to listen when diarrhea of the mouth hits him. Most times I don’t get sucked up into his episodes but there are times that I can’t stop responding to his hate and anger with the same.

What do we fight about? I don't know. Anything and everything. Stupid things. He knows I want him to open his window when smoking in my car. I don't want it caked with nicotine and reeking like an ashtray like his car. Yet he can't seem to do this one small request. He's too cold. He forgot. Did he forget that he is supposed to love me and cater to my every need? Oh yah, my mistake, it is the other way round.

Okay so I am at work. Guess what? He has to call me. And call me. And call me. Why? He just wants to talk. He has to talk to me about something important. He wants to know if I saw that watch-a-ma-call-it. He calls to ask if I am busy. Of course I am busy. I am always busy. I am at work. 

It is frustrating because he has all this time to wonder around aimlessly taking no responsibility for anything. When I get home I look around to see what if anything he has accomplished today. Wow. He cut the grass. Better hurry up and mention it to him before he pounces on me. (Our front lawn is so small. It takes maybe five minutes with the push mower to complete.)

My teenage daughter often cooks supper. Now she does. For the last few weeks anyway. Otherwise nothing. I'll make Kraft dinner. Or we have cereal. Or plain spaghetti with sauce poured from the can. Actually we can't afford anything fancy like hamburgers or pork chops. There for a while we all forgot what meat looks like. We eat a lot of pasta.

After supper I like to spend time with my four year old granddaughter, my Honey-Bunny. Before I know it, it's bath time. Then relax and watch a movie with a bedtime snack. Moving quickly along to bedtime, story time and lights out time.

By ten o'clock she is sound asleep. Now I can chose what to do. Should I watch a movie? Check my email? Blog? Clean? Spend time with my teen aged daughter? What about my husband? All of the above? I wish!

And now it is three o'clock in the morning again. How did that happen?  I should go to bed but I am not done yet. The super woman cape is crazy glued to my shoulders and stapled for good measure. 

I am craving time for myself. It is an itch that never gets scratched enough because if I take the time to really scratch, yes everything would fall apart. 

It is exhausting. How long does it take for a super woman to burn out? Sounds like the start of a joke. How many newfies does it take to change a light bulb? One to hold the lightbulb and four to turn the house.

Sorry I diverged.

Just when I think I just can’t keep doing this, I find the strength to carry on. I look at my husband , daughters and granddaughters and remember what it is all about. They are my purpose. My strength. My life. My love.

I ask myself, do I really want to remove the proverbial cape?

I need to know more about the “super woman” syndrome so I search it on the net. As usual there is not much information out there.

I found a hub by Cari Jean titled Superwoman Syndrome. You can follow this link if you would like to read it.

Having read this, I am not so sure that I am a superwoman. Or am I in denial? Maybe I am a knock off and not the real thing?

Cari Jean writes, “Are you trying to raise a family, have a career, serve in your church, keep up your home, attend all of your kids activities, work out at the gym and be socially active? Are you constantly on the go? Do you ever give yourself a break? Do you allow yourself to relax? Do you constantly give, give, give while receiving nothing in return? Do you ever stop attending to the needs of others so you can take time out for you? If this fits your profile, you may have something called Superwoman Syndrome.”

This sort of sounds like me.

According to Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis, co-author of Overcoming the Superwoman Syndrome, some of these women don the cape because they:

  • Want to be the good little girl
  • Have a tendency towards people-pleasing
  • Seek attention
  • Want to feel like they can do it all
  • They cannot say no to others
  • Want to feel accomplished
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Strive for perfection

Now this does not sound like me. At least I don’t want to think I am because those reasons listed aren’t really admirable.

I would rather agree with Uncle Sam’s Mistress. She says, “I often stop and look at myself in the mirror and really don't know who I am anymore. Some people refer to me as strong and confident, while I view myself as being compliant and simply adjusting to my environment. There really isn't any strength because I don't feel strong and confident.... I am only confident that so far I have been able to keep my family together and making the best out of the worst possible of situations.  I get sick and down, the whole family tumbles down with me. Super Woman's biggest fear? Dying in my sleep or having an accident that is fatal. Morbid I know right? The fear is not of dying itself, but what would my husband do and my kids? I want to shed this stress, unmask and be myself just for a few worries, no cares, and just relax. It's not that I don't want to take care of myself...I just don't know how to do it. I know that in our situation, other wives are facing far more challenging aspects, but in all of us.....I think it's safe to say that none of us are capable of laying the cape aside and truly being free.” 

Oh, okay, I will admit I am a people pleaser and I have a hard time saying no. Plus I strive for perfection. There. I said it. I am Super Woman.

What about you? Are you a Super Woman too?

The first step is admitting you have a problem. What is the next step?

I hope you find this post helpful or at least amusing! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I can never get enough of those.  :) And if you know someone else who may enjoy this post, please share it with them.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013


Have you ever felt emotionally drained - like you have nothing left in you? Have you been exhausted not just emotionally, put physically too even though you haven't done anything strenuous?

I know at times of high stress, a person can become drained of physical and emotional energy. A death, a natural disaster, or a horrific event can take a lot out of a person. 

And this makes sense to me but what about people? Can a person drain you emotionally and physically?

I think they can. Actually I am pretty sure they can because I have experienced it. The other day, I was feeling so tired. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I just wanted to lie down somewhere and go to sleep. I remember thinking, it's weird but every time I talk with this person, I feel like the life has been sucked right out of me leaving me feeling negative, frustrated and very unhappy.

I can't stand feeling like this. I work so hard to be positive and uplifting then to have someone rip that all apart on me . . . 

What can I do to protect myself? What can you do to avoid this kind of person from bringing you down?

I wanted answers so I Googled it.

I found out that these life draining people are vampires - Emotional Vampires! They "suck the good" out of relationships. Instead of  feasting on human blood they feed on positive energy and the good feelings in their relationships. They are real - living among us - disguised as everyday people - maybe your sister, brother, mother, father, friend, neighbor, co-worker . . .  maybe it's you.
Emotional Vampires

Signs That You Have Encountered an Emotional Vampire

(from “Emotional Freedom” by Judith Orloff MD)

You can always tell when an Emotional Vampire has been in your presence. You may exhibit some or all of the following:
  • You feel physically tired - you may need a nap.
  • You feel agitated - grumpy
  • You feel sad, hopeless or worthless
  • You want try to comfort yourself with shopping, binging . . .
  • You feel anxious, depressed, or negative

I knew being around negative people made it difficult to feel optimistic and happy but now I know that Emotional Vampires inflict deeper wounds. They suck the optimism and serenity right out of us. 

They can make us believe we’re unworthy and unlovable - that we don’t deserve any better. They can makes us feel bad about ourselves. 

We need to know how to recognize these Emotional Vampires so we can protect ourselves.

Identifying Emotional Vampires

Emotional Vampires come from all walks of life. They can be a boss, a coworker, a colleague, a friend, family member or romantic partner.

According to Judith Orloff MD there are five types of Emotional Vampires. 

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s New York Times Bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)

The Narcissist

Their motto is "Me first." Everything is all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, hog attention and crave admiration. They're dangerous because they lack empathy and have a limited capacity for unconditional love. If you don't do things their way, they become punishing, withholding or cold.

How to Protect Yourself
Keep your expectations realistic. These are emotionally limited people. Try not to fall in love with one or expect them to be selfless or love without strings attached. Never make your self-worth dependent on them or confide your deepest feelings to them. To successfully communicate, the hard truth is that you must show how something will be to their benefit. Though it's better not to have to contend with this tedious ego stroking, if the relationship is unavoidable this approach works.

The Victim

These vampires grate on you with their "poor-me" attitude. The world is always against them, the reason for their unhappiness. When you offer a solution to their problems they always say, "Yes, but..."  As a friend, you may want to help but their tales of woe overwhelm you.

How to Protect Yourself
Set kind but firm limits. Listen briefly and tell a friend or relative, "I love you but I can only listen for a few minutes unless you want to discuss solutions." With a coworker sympathize by saying, "I'll keep having good thoughts for things to work out." Then say, "I hope you understand, but I'm on deadline and must return to work." Then use "this isn't a good time" body language such as crossing your arms and breaking eye contact to help set these healthy limits.

The Controller

These people obsessively try to control you and dictate how you're supposed to be and feel. They have an opinion about everything. They'll control you by invalidating your emotions if they don't fit into their rulebook. They often start sentences with "You know what you need?" and then proceed to tell you. You end up feeling dominated, demeaned or put down.

How to Protect Yourself
The secret to success is never try and control a controller. Be healthily assertive, but don't tell them what to do. You can say, "I value your advice but really need to work through this myself." Be confident but don't play the victim.

The Constant Talker

These people aren't interested in your feelings. They are only concerned with themselves. You wait for an opening to get a word in edgewise but it never comes. Or these people might physically move in so close they're practically breathing on you. You edge backwards, but they step closer.

How to Protect Yourself
These people don't respond to nonverbal cues. You must speak up and interrupt, as hard as that is to do. Listen for a few minutes. Then politely say, "I hate to interrupt, but please excuse me I have to talk to these other people... or get to an appointment... or go to the bathroom." A much more constructive tactic than, "Keep quiet, you're driving me crazy!" If this is a family member, politely say, "I'd love if you allowed me some time to talk to so I can add to the conversation." If you say this neutrally, it can better be heard.

The Drama Queen

These people have a flair for exaggerating small incidents into off-the-chart dramas. 

How to Protect Yourself
Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths. This will help you not get caught up in the histrionics. Set kind but firm limits. 

Judith Orloff MD is the bestselling author of the book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011)  She is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA. She has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and in the Oprah Magazine and USA Today.

Oh, I don't know if the short summary of Dr. Orloff's book was much help. The book of course has more information if you want to learn more.

Dr. Albert Bernstein has his own site where he shares his incites into Emotional Vampires. Check it out here.

What I did learn is that Emotional Vampires believe their needs are more important than yours and rules don't apply to them. They will never admit fault and they will throw a tantrum if they don't get their way.

And now that I can recognize an Emotional Vampire I know that the best way to protect myself from an Emotional Vampire is to avoid them if at all possible. Otherwise, it's best not to take anything they say personally which is easier said than done. 

Do you know an Emotional Vampire? Or have do you see some of their tendencies in yourself?

Maybe we are all Emotional Vampires at certain times in our lives?

I hope you find this post helpful or at least amusing! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I can never get enough of those.  :) And if you know someone else who may enjoy this post, please share it with them.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How Random Acts of Kindness Improve Your Life

Dale Carneige talked about it in How to Win Friends and Influence People. Rhonda Byrne talked about it in The Magic. So has William Penn, Harold Kushner, and the Dalia Lama.

They have all talked about kindness to others.

"If there is any kindness I can show, any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
William Penn

Random acts of kindness affects the person on the receiving end in a positive way. By performing random acts of kindness you also improve your life. 

Research shows that when you are kind to others, you are rewarded in several ways.  Researchers in Great Britain had participants take a survey (Journal of Social Psychologymeasuring life satisfaction, The group that practiced kindness experienced a significant boost in happiness.

In 1991, Allan Luks (former Executive Director of The Institute for the Advancement of Health and Executive Director of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in New York City) documented a study about kindness in a book called "The healing power of doing good: The health and spiritual benefits of helping others".

Some of the most significant findings of his research include the following:

1.)   Helping others contributes to the maintenance of good health and can diminish the effect of minor and serious psychological and physical diseases and disorders.

2.)   The rush of euphoria often referred to as a “helper’s high” after performing a kind act involves physical sensations and the release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins. The initial rush is followed by a longer period of calm and improved emotional well-being.

3.)   The health benefits and sense of well-being return for hours or even days whenever the helping act is remembered.

4.)   Stress related health problems improve after performing kind acts.                                                                              Helping others:
  • Reverses feelings of depression.
  • Supplies social contact.
  • Reduces feelings of hostility and isolation that can cause stress, overeating, ulcers, etc.
  • Decreases the constriction in the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.
5.)   Helping can enhance feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, and vigor, and can reduce the unhealthy sense of isolation.

6.)   The awareness and intensity of physical pain can decrease.

7.)   Attitudes such as chronic hostility that negatively arouse and damage the body are reduced.

8.)   A sense of self-worth, greater happiness, and optimism is increased, and feelings of helplessness and depression decrease.

9.)   When we establish an “ affiliated connection” with someone (a relationship of friendship, love, or some sort of positive bonding), we feel emotions that can strengthen the immune system.

10.)   Caring for strangers leads to immense immune and healing benefits.

11.)   Regular club attendance, volunteering, entertaining, or faith group attendance is the happiness equivalent of getting a college degree, or more than doubling your income.


Just like a smile, kindness is contagious. Your act of kindness will brighten someone's day who then in turn performs a good deed. The The good feelings spread from one person to the next - rippling through your community. In the end it improves the lives of everyone.

"When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world."
Harold Kushner 

I remind myself that it is also important to be kind to someone who has been rude or unkind to me because I don't know what is going on in their life. Maybe there was a death in the family, a serious injury or illness, a divorce. My kindness may be "the most magical thing that happens to them that day". 

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Philo of Alexandria (Circa 20 BC - AD 50)


Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again.
Og Mandino

100 Random Acts of Kindness

  1. Smile. It is contagious. I try to remember to do this as much as possible.  
  2. Be kind to cashiers. Customers are more likely to take their frustrations out on the cashier. You would be amazed how grateful a cashier is when you are patient and kind. 
  3. Say thank you, mean it and look the recipient in the eye when you say it. If you can, give the reason you are thankful. 
  4. Out of the blue, give a genuine compliment to someone. I use to think things like, I like her hair, or her shoes are cool - now I don't keep it to myself - I share it. (if appropriate of course)
  5. When thinning out your wardrobe, give some clothes to a friend or donate to charitable organizations like the Salvation Army.  I always do this one.
  6. When you no longer want items in your home, offer them on Freecycle. Someone will respond to your ad then go to your home and pick it up. I like Freecycle for giving and receiving. It's purpose is to prevent items from filling up our landfills.
  7. Offer to help someone. Sometimes your offer is all that is needed to make someone feel good.
  8. Pay for the order in the car behind you in the drive through. This has happened to my husband a few times and he has now started doing it too.
  9. Send out birthday cards. It's always fun to receive unexpected snail mail.
  10. Put a bookmark in a library book that has an inspirational quote on it.
  11. Tip generously.
  12. Say hi to strangers.
  13. Pick up the tab - Go up to the waiter and pay when no one is watching.
  14. Avoid gossip - No need to spread any negativity.
  15. Give the painter, electrician, or handyman a glass of cold water.
  16. Be understanding - Assume the best in others. If someone is running late or has called in sick don’t assume they’re trying to get out of something.
  17. When you are shopping, pick up a non perishable item to toss into the stores food bank bin.
  18. Help someone whose car has broken down
  19. Help clean up your neighborhood by picking up garbage.
  20. When you neighbors are going away for a while, offer to watch over their house and collect their mail.
  21. When a store has a donation drive and the cashier asks if you would like to donate a dollar to ..... say yes.
  22. When drivers try to merge into your lane, let them in with a wave and a smile.
  23. Visit a sick friend.
  24. Offer to babysit for friends and family.
  25. When parting from a loved one, always say "I love you." It may be the last thing you ever say to them. My family does this - even when we are angry with each other. No regrets.
  26. Randomly grab your kids, hug and kiss them. I do this all the time with my granddaughters. I should do this more with my daughters.
  27. When you pay someone back money, give more than you borrowed to show your appreciation.
  28. Mow your neighbors lawn.
  29. Shovel your neighbors sidewalk and drive-way.
  30. Write a thank-you note to a mentor or someone who has influenced your life in a positive way.
  31. Give blood.
  32. Be an organ donor.
  33. Surprise your parents by cleaning the house when they are out. 
  34. Volunteer. There are so many volunteer opportunities out there that you can find something that interests you and fits into your schedule.
  35. Hold the door open for someone.
  36. Let someone know they have toilet paper stuck to their shoe or their skirt is stuck in the top of their pantyhose.
  37. Spend time with your parents and tell them how much you love them and appreciate them. 
  38. Lend a good book or movie to a friend.
  39. If you find something that is not yours, return it to the rightful owner.
  40. Offer someone to go ahead of you in the check out line.
  41. Offer your seat on the bus or train to someone who might need it more than you.
  42. Pay for a strangers meal at a restaurant. This actually happened to me when I was out with my three daughters and three grand daughters. It was a very pleasant surprise for sure.
  43. Offer some perennials to a neighbor. I did this last summer. She was very happy and planted them right away.
  44. Apologize when you accidently bump into someone. I like this one. I don't how many times I've been given a dirty look for bumping into someone. I apologize and smile.
  45. Give a glowing recommendation.
  46. Slip a $20 bill to a person who you know is having financial difficulty.
  47. Bring some baked goods to work to share with your coworkers. My coworkers are really good for this. There is always something yummy available in the lunch room.
  48. For one week, act on every single thought of generosity that arises spontaneously in your heart, and notice what happens as a consequence.
  49. Give someone fresh produce from your garden. Most people grow more than they can eat.
  50. Help someone move.
  51. Offer a piece of gum.
  52. Make a positive comment on a blog.
  53. Make someone laugh who looks like they really need one.
  54. Share a positive blog post.
  55. Make a wish come true.
  56. Donate a percentage of your company's profit.
  57. Help other shoppers - reach items, or find items
  58. Help change a tire.
  59. Collect coats to donate.
  60. Give a bottle of cold water or warm cup of coffee (cream and sugar on the side) to a bus driver.
  61. Donate your hair.
  62. Knit or crochet for a cause.
  63. Take someone new under your wing.
  64. Make a care package for someone you know is going through a rough patch.
  65. If you are baking, make a second batch to give to a neighbor.
  66. If you have nothing else to offer, offer your support.
  67. Buy someone a treat when you are at the store.
  68. If you see someone drop something, stop and help them pick it up.
  69. Sponsor a child's sport team.
  70. You don't always have to win. Sometimes the other person's feelings are more important than being right.
  71. Sponsor a child.
  72. Put change into a vending machine.
  73. Leave a gift for a friend or neighbor on their porch.
  74. Be a designated driver.
  75. Stay after a party and help clean up.
  76. Wave to your neighbors while walking or driving by.
  77. Be a big brother or sister.
  78. Say please and thank you.
  79. Host a toy drive.
  80. Set up a fundraiser for someone in need.
  81. Offer a shoulder to cry on.
  82. Secretly drop loose change in the grass at a park and watch the children run around happily picking it up.
  83. Donate books to the local community center. Children in our community go to the center on their birthday and receive a book.
  84. Send flowers to someone just because.
  85. Treat a friend to a movie.
  86. Like someone's facebook page.
  87. Offer blogger advice when you see someone needs help.
  88. Buy items from your neighborhood children when they are fundraising.
  89. Pick a child from the wish tree to purchase a Christmas gift.
  90. Drop off a home warming gift to someone who has just moved in next door.
  91. Give away your unused tickets at the carnival.
  92. Praise children when you see them doing something nice.
  93. Be a good listener - pay attention when someone is speaking to you.
  94. Give a gift to a friend or family member just to say I was thinking about you.
  95. Let someone vent - to get it all out without interrupting or judging.
  96. Ask the person next to you how their day is going.
  97. Tell the cashier to have a nice day before she/he has a chance to say it to you first. Say it with a smile.
  98. Share a funny joke.
  99. Stick up for someone who you know will not stick up for themselves.
  100. If you're angry, don't have an outburst. Keep calm. It is better to say nothing at all than to hurt someone's feelings out of anger.

It is important to remember that each and every person you meet is a daughter or son, a brother or sister, a mother or father, an aunt or uncle, or grandparent. They are precious, loved and irreplaceable. They deserve our patience and kindness.

Show Of Feature Button photo featuredblogbutton.jpg
Wow, this post is Cathy's favorite at My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Blog Party. Thanks Cathy. Her blog is called, A Peek Into My Paradise. She had this to say, "Great tips! One of my favorite movies is Pay It Forward. Love this post. Thanks for sharing!" 

See more at:

Oh my gosh, a great big thank you goes out to Natasha from Grow With Epic Mommy for choosing my post - this post as her favorite post at the My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Blog Party

She featured my post on October 24, 2013 and had this to say, "My favorite goes to Darlene Nemeth. A random act of kindness can definitely improve one's life! The power to do good for someone else. I am in charge of volunteerism at work. Usually when I tell my people to do it, I tend to get resentment. Once they're there, the whole attitude changes within them and they wonder why they complained in the first place. Give it shot! You'll feel good about yourself!!"

I hope you find this post helpful or at least amusing! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I can never get enough of those.  :) And if you know someone else who may enjoy this post, please share it with them.

I would love for you to subscribe and follow along! 

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