ADMIN: Social Media, site updates and other stuff FAQ

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Social Media Presence

Scared, but determined to play

That owl hiding in the bush? That’s me when it comes to social media. I usually get scared and turn away, hide, or freeze once the bullying and harassment start. Then I delete all my accounts for a while. Maybe I will sign up again under a different name, but maybe not.

But life changes as we all do. And right now feels like a good time to explore and experiment with social media again.

Lost Connections & New Connections

And to answer some people about reactions to my posts here, at Scent Reflections, and on LinkedIn about racism:

Yes I did lose about 10 connections on LinkedIn and some followers here too. Not sure who they are or how many for this blog, but I accept that this place is not for everyone. And not everyone on a professional site like LinkedIn will want to associate with someone as public with their life challenges as I am there too.

One Price of Being Authentically Me

It’s one price I pay to be authentically me. And if you wonder about pronouns, I use a variety of them depending on who I talk to:

Family, friends, & day job: she/her Because I am predominantly a she/her. And I was born female. I like and appreciate being female even though I accept and value my masculine and non-binary parts too. But being a she/her is a lot easier for my family and long-term people to understand and accept.

Here, Scent Reflections, and medical/mental health: they/them, she/her, and he/him Because some of my alters identify as “she”, others identify as “he”, and the rest prefer “they”. It’s not something I ever really considered until I reflected on everything going on right now. But it makes sense.

Hiding in Plain Sight? Not anymore (:

As I shared over the past few months, Untangled Connections is now part of my business Scent Reflections LLC. There are links in the menu bar that will bring you to Scent Reflections if you want to connect with me by email or make a donation to help support Untangled Connections.

However, you can also use the new social menu at the top of every page to connect with me. I have links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on there.

Facebook: This page gets automatic posts every time I post new content from the Untangled Connections and Scent Reflections blogs. Sometimes I also share photos and news from other sources.

Regular photos and updates will start (I hope) next month once the social calendar gets completed and I have interesting photos and graphics to share. Graphics being quotes and affirmations from different authors and myself.

Find me using @ScentReflectionsLLC

Instagram: Does not get automatic posts from the blog and currently does not have any content yet. Still working on graphics and photos to share here. Plus a regular posting schedule.

Photos are difficult for me to create and share. Whether they are photos I took with a camera or graphics made using design tools, they take time, money and energy. Most of my photos are taken for the business, so if you want to see garden photos, food/cooking photos, and aromatherapy/blending and creation photos, check this out.

Find me using @scentreflections

Twitter: I shared a post last week about Twitter. You can follow or not, but now all posts published here and on the Scent Reflections blog will appear on Twitter too. You might or might not also find Instagram photos on there, but not sure yet. This social media venue was requested by guest comments and will be removed if no one decides to follow the channel.

For now, I am willing to try and make it work. But I also recognize and accept that many guests who write in asking about Twitter and how to donate to this site could be spam bots instead of actual people. So I am giving all of them and myself the benefit of the doubt with this social experiment.

Find me using @untangledconne1

Pinterest: you can find links to my Pinterest page in the resources section of this website. I haven’t moved everything over to the business page yet so those links still work. Like with the rest of social media, this is an experiment. The channels with the most follows/likes, etc. will stay. The others will slowly fade away after a year or so.

Site Updates

Please review the blog rules. As much as I want to reply to every comment, I can’t do that anymore. It takes way too much time.

Premium Content Features

I’ve decided to add Premium Content features to some posts beginning October 2020. Not sure which posts will get this tag, but if you can’t access it for free, that’s because the post requests a small purchase fee to view. As much as I’d like to keep all the content here free (as in no cost and no copyright penalties), I can’t justify doing that anymore.

Hopefully, the 2 month’s advance notice will help you ease into this new idea.

RSS Feed & Subscriptions

I tried to get a subscription email going through Survey Monkey, but it didn’t work. For now, please use the subscribe options on the sidebar.

If you decide to subscribe by email, your information is safe and confidential. I will not sell your information or use it for marketing purposes without your written permission.

Final Update: I will still be posting once a week, but that day may change due to scheduling changes in my personal and other work calendar. But don’t worry. My alters and I (pronouns used: I/we and she/they and her/theirs) enjoy posting here too much to stop all together.

Other Stuff

Spelling & Grammar Complaints

I feel strange sharing this, but it feels like a blogging milestone. I laughed when the guest comments started telling me that my spelling and grammar need improvement because the errors distract them from reading my posts.

Why laugh? Because I never thought the writing on this blog and website would reach the level of popularity where guests felt comfortable to comment on structure, grammar, syntax, spelling, etc. Then tell me that they will continue to read posts even though the errors annoy them.

And the laughter? It’s not at my guests’ comments. It’s at me and my reaction to their comments – flattered and happy instead of upset and hurt.

Cyber Bullies & Spam? Or genuine comments?

Odd maybe, but the only times I’ve ever seen comments like that are in the comments section of popular writers and authors. They each have their own way of dealing with such comments, but I prefer to acknowledge these guests and show acceptance of different points of view.

Maybe these guests are spammers and cyber bullies. Maybe they are genuine people expressing their opinions. I can’t tell because all comments go to the spam folder. Then I spend hours reading through the comments and publishing the ones that read like they are from real people.

No Response & Comment Not Published

And if I ignore your comment or don’t publish it the first time, it’s probably because many other people asked that question and I considered it spam. Please check the FAQ posts for answers to many of those questions.

Technical Difficulties

I am not tech savvy and depend on WordPress’s customer support to help with technical issues. Thank you all for commenting on them and sharing info with me, but I probably will not be acknowledging any of them for a while.

Why? Because I get the same comments from different guest names even after I put up a post with answers and updates a few days later.

Contact Forms & Communication

Same thing goes for connecting and communicating with guests outside of this blog. If you comment on a post, I will try to respond. If you comment here, I will try to respond. But if you ask me to write back to you personally or share a website, etc. I cannot do that through the WordPress comments. Your identities and mine are protected.

If you really want to reach me, you can use the comment form (connect with me by email) or any of the social media outlets posted above.

Thanks for reading.

Coping Challenges: When People Avoid You because…

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

Life is awkward on the best of days. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding oneself in unknown situations. Other times there is something going on, and people who care avoid you for their own reasons. Or you avoid them. No one communicates. Or everyone communicates without really saying anything aka addressing the cause(s).

That ends up with: confusion, hurt feelings, breaking of relationships, etc.

In my case, I learned a long time ago that people are transient guests in my life. The more they learn about me, the less they want to be around me. On rare occasions, I do meet people and build long term relationships outside of professional ones.

But I can count on 1 hand the number of true friends and loved ones that I interact with more than 3x a month – whether by phone, email, or in person – who have earned my complete trust and respect.

More often than not, people read this blog out of general interest and then start avoiding me in real life. Or they make friends with people who dislike me for some reason and start avoiding me in favor of the “new” people. Or have some other reason to “ghost” me as younger people say these days.

That used to hurt a lot. I didn’t understand what about me made people react this way.

Then I realized the problem was not with me, but with the other people.

You see, something about them made interacting with me uncomfortable. Instead of acknowledging this and working with me to figure out a solution, they denied anything was wrong and avoided me or blamed me instead.

How did I figure this out?

Not on my own. Over the course of my recovery, in counseling sessions and self-improvement workshops, this lesson has been reinforced many times.

I am who I am. I change constantly because life is change. Most of the time I am willing to compromise and work with people. Other times, I flat out refuse to change in order to conform or fit in with cultural norms or peer pressure. But I always try to be respectful and accepting of people as they are even if they don’t return that courtesy.

And because I practice unconditional love and acceptance for all beings, I can accept and forgive people who act and react to life with avoidance, denial, blane, or rejection.

They are who they are and coping with life as best they can. When it happens, no hard feelings.

People come and people go. Feeling hurt or blaming myself only triggers shame and guilt for something that is not my responsibility. I asked questions. I tried to make it right. Did my best. Now it’s over and done with.

I wish those people well and move on.

Other people have told me that attitude is harsh and mean. Maybe it’s true. But trying to hold on to something that doesn’t exist anymore…how is that healthy, good, or (insert your word here)?

My only goal is to live my life full of unconditional love and acceptance. For me, that brings out the best qualities in life: joy, fun, prosperity, safety, resilience, strength

And allows me to weather the worst life sends my way.

I hope maybe this story will inspire you, my guests, to reflect on how you can take control of your choices by changing your attitude and intention towards yourself, life, and others.

It’s not easy. It’s a continuous work-in-progress, a life-long endeavor. But it can truly change your relationships for the better like it did (and coninues to do) mine.

Thanks for reading.

Shame: Fear of small talk & talking about my interests/ideas

Introduction

Lots of posts tonight.  I’ve been saving them up since most of my time is spent with grandma and other family or hanging with old friends

So in continuing the themes from the first and second posts of today, this post is about facing my conversational fears.

Fear of Sharing Ideas outside of work

I and my alters often feel shame about sharing our interests with outside people.  We also are not comfortable making small talk, although the adult host personalities are getting better with that in the home state.  We also have limited control over the automatic switching between alters who feel compelled to take over and speak without identifying themselves.

We also tend to be so focused on not offending or insulting someone else, that whoever is talking can end up offending & insulting the individual regardless.  Or the repeated apologies, I statements, questions to check in on the situation, and projected insecure behavior from all this stems from these fears:

  • rejection
  • humiliation
  • public speaking
  • socializing
  • making verbal mistakes – i.e. stuttering, switching and not knowing what comes out of my mouth, dissociating, being talked over and unable to express myself
  • anger/frustration/disappointment because I keep repeating myself trying to say something but can’t verbalize without being interrupted and losing my train of thought

The Shame connection

I have consistently been told that I am:

  • not smart
  • lacking social skills
  • not loud enough
  • too loud
  • full of stupid ideas & opinions
  • not worthy of being listened to
  • going to embarrass and humiliate myself when talking or sharing ideas out loud
  • talking funny/confusing/weird
  • a boring conversationalist
  • not supposed to talk because my opinions, interests, ideas, etc. are not interesting
  • not supposed to ask questions because the response will always be negative and/or demeaning or (worse) silent treatment
  • not allowed to talk because I always embarrass the people with me by opening my mouth
  • so scared about talking that I start switching alters and am unable to follow a conversation or control what’s coming out of my mouth
    • usually conflicting opinions and words, sometimes gibberish, sometimes stuttering or stumbling over my words

These lessons have been embedded in me since I started talking and then (either consciously or unconsciously) reinforced by life experiences as I grew up.  On the negative side, it means verbalizing anything is painful to an almost physical degree.  On the positive side, these experiences forced me to become a better listener (when I’m not switching) and a better writer.

But those coping strategies, while effective, did not and do not address the trigger being discussed here.  And my issue with switching personalities and sounding self-centered because of all of the talk about myself.

And when I brought this up to my friend, she told me that I could:

  • talk about ideas
  • ask how the other person is doing
  • find something other than myself to talk about if I really wanted to or tried

Did you read the last bullet?  IF I REALLY WANTED TO AND TRIED TO TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE

What that friend doesn’t realize is:

  • I am aware of doing this to people for different reasons
    • Sometimes I do it on purpose as a coping strategy to drive people away when nothing else works – annoying/rude/off-putting/abrasive/self-centered
    • Sometimes I do it to test if an individual is listening to me or not
    • Most often I do it because the other person or persons have a habit of making assumptions and interrupting me without letting me finish so this becomes a conversation pattern that is difficult to disrupt
  • I am not always able to control or stop it from happening, especially in stressful or triggering situations
    • Awareness is key, and I am not often aware any switching occurred until too late
  • I am not always able to tell the individual I am talking to that my alters are the ones talking to them.
    • i.e. “Oh, hey, it might sound like I’m talking about myself a lot and acting self-centered, but I’m really not. My alter personalities like you and feel comfortable talking to you as individual alters so are using “I” for themselves.  Complicated, yes, but true.  Not all of the “I” statements  are about the “me” you know best.  They are from the other “me” personalities.”
  • Less often these days, I do this in conversations sometimes when I switch without awareness because talking is triggering

FROM Rude/Offensive Language TO the Socially Appropriate Language Process

And yes, this is a process – one I can’t do alone – that requires asking a counselor from the BARC Hotline, my therapist, or a trusted friend for assistance.

Although I am starting to realize that asking friends (even close, trusted, good friends) for help with this is NOT such a good idea.  But lessons learned and all that.

In order for me to verbalize my thoughts, I have to go through the DBT process for expressing my feelings to be able to verbalize what to say to anyone in a conversational tone.  So here are the steps:

  • Identify my feelings
  • Identify the cause of those feelings with words
  • Identify the goals or purposes of the future conversation
  • Use “I” statements in this phase to clarify my feelings and opinions and boundaries
  • Call the BARCC Hotline and ask the counselor for help:
    processing and reality testing the situation
    my experience of the situation
    and my potential verbal response to handling the situation
  • Work with the counselor to refine the goal and possible ways to approach the conversation without it sounding rehearsed or like a therapy session
  • Repeat as needed with another counselor or my therapist while in session

YES, it’s a long and clunky process, but this coping strategy has helped me improve many conversations and work through the backlash of having such conversations without rehearsal too.

BUT, I can’t use this process EVERY TIME with EVERY conversation I talk to in ANY situation.

Why is this fear & shame so important to clarify and work through right now?

  1. It’s the single biggest stumbling block to becoming more social & living a full life in the present moment
    1. Find a way for alter personalities to feel safe enough to reach out to each other in our system so that we can help and support each other – understand and find ways to cope together without blame/shame/guilt/frustration/anger/fear getting in the way
    2. Making & keeping friends
    3. Socializing without anxiety
    4. Feeling confident in myself and being able to portray that in my conversations
    5. Find a balance so that my alters stop automatically switching and talking during potentially stressful or triggering conversations
    6. Find a way for all parts of me to be able to converse and verbalize when they feel like it instead of interrupting or causing issues
    7. Dating and potentially being part of an intimate relationship
  2. It’s a major trigger I have to face in order to accomplish my professional goals in the future
    1. go back to graduate school
    2. get my degree in alternative medicine
    3. work as an alternative medicine practitioner
    4. make this website & blog a self-sustaining business so that I can continue to improve the website design and expand the Resources page
    5. make my existing job less stressful
    6. networking & future job hunting

How am I going to cope with this?

I don’t know.  We don’t know.  It would be different if we lived separate lives.  But we are “integrating” into one unified self.

By “integrating”, I mean we are becoming a balanced and unified personality without any alters disappearing.

Yes that defies the conventional meaning of Integration for Dissociative Identity Disorder.  But, none of us want any alters to poof out of existence.  We’ve lived together for 34 years and want to continue doing so – only now as a merged, single personality to the outside world.

This topic is something for all of us to discuss with our current therapist.

Thanks for reading