ATTENTION: TO MY FOLLOWERS/FOLLOWINGS

I, Maggie Christian, am closing the UNIVERSAL ECLECTIC blog down and I am going to join another Blogger by doing guest blogs on their blog site. The Web Address is: http://thesecretkeeper.net/ – she is also on wordpress.com. if you would like to follow me there I would be honored. It is a good blog and is getting better all the time. Check out the sight. The Secret Keeper is pretty cool. I think you will like her. Her posts are quite eclectic. So I will be issuing this last post and then close out my blog. Hope to connect with you soon again.Namaste! Maggie Christian

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Insights Into Bipolar Disorder

Collected & Written By Maggie Christian

(The Diagnosis of Bipolar has been in My Mental Health Records for years but I only found out about it Weed Day 4/20/2012. Since then I have been having arguments with my psychiatrist regarding this diagnosis. She doesn’t believe it is true b/c I do not according to her exhibit the symptoms when she does my med check. She, also, told me that my last psychotherapist didn’t feel I had Bipolar. Yet, everyone else in my life, including my present Psychotherapist, my partner of over 35 years, and my primary care provider who meets with me once a month, believe and have witnessed my hypomania, mania, depression, mixed states and rapid cycling. I personally have experienced all of these states. Oh, I, also, should mention my irritable to rageful states and highly creative states. Am I Bipolar? My psychiatrist says that Complex-PTSD exhibit similar symptoms. That may be true but I beleive I have both of these diagnoses plus in addition several other DSM-IV dianoses. It is frustrating that my psychiatrist will not accept my argument. Her retort is: “Isn’t having Complex-PTSD enough?” Not if that is not a complete and accurate diagnosis. I have physical illnesses and I have brain illness, which are all connected to the body. If you have cancer, do you not want to receive treatment for it? Of course, the answer is yes. So, if you are Bipolar, do you not want that treated as well? Yes. I do not want the meds but would rather work through “talk therapy” & alternative methods to accept what comes with Bipolar. I enjoy the creative highs and experience the depressive lows and the feelings of suicidal thoughts. But I want to learn to control th behaviors and feelings.)

The following are Insights into Bipolar Disorder:
With added comments from myself.

Depression: I doubt completely my ability to do anything well. It seems as though my mind has slowed down and burned out to the point of being virtually useless<. [I am] haunt[ed]< with the total, the desperate hopelessness of it all<. Others say, “It’s only temporary, it will pass, you will get over it,” but of course they haven’t any idea of how I feel, although they are certain they do. If I can’t feel, move, think or care, then what on earth is the point?

Hypomania: At first when I’m high, it’s tremendous…ideas are fast… like shooting stars you follow until brighter ones appear< All shyness disappears, the right words and gestures are suddenly there…uninteresting people, things become intensely interesting. Sensuality is pervasive, the desire to seduce and be seduced is irresistible. Your marrow is infused with unbelievable feelings of ease, power, well-being, omnipotence, euphoria… you can do anything… but, somewhere this changes.

Mania: The fast ideas become too fast and there are far too many< overwhelming confusion replaces clarity… you stop keeping up with it &memory goes. Infectious humor ceases to amuse. Your friends become frightened…everything is now against the grain< you are irritable, angry, frightened, uncontrollable, and trapped.
Some people, however, never develop severe mania but instead experience milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with depression; this form of the illness is called bipolar II disorder. When 4 or more episodes of illness occur within a 12-month period, a person is said to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Some people experience multiple episodes within a single week, or even within a single day. Rapid cycling tends to develop later in the course of illness and is more common among women.

My Experience with Bipolar:

I experience all of the above and with my depression it goes into a deep dark place where suicidal ideations always eventually come into my mind in an almost obsessive manner and dwelling on the thoughts of how I will kill myself. Along with the feeling of wanting to commit suicide the strong need and wanting to perform self-harm is highly prevalent. Along with the hypomania comes the racing thoughts, becoming so totally absorbed in my activities of creating I let go of time. I do not eat. I cannot sense anything that is going on around me. I do not eat. I do not take any breaks. I forget to take my meds. When I communicate with my partner, a great conversation where I am speaking at the speed of light & I become so excited that I speak loudly & then as easily as anything I will suddenly snap & lose control & blow up into a tantrum & become what my partner will feel as irrational but I am not aware of how totally I have lost controlled & the last time I really got out of control I went into a rage & was shouting & screaming & pounding my fists on the arms of my chair. It takes some time to recover from this kind of outburst. I am not psychotic & have not hallucinated but I do feel elated by what I create & that what I am creating is genius. It may be so but I feel so high on the feelings of elation. Some of this is creative confidence but it can turn on a dime & I feel that what I have created is shit & I spiral into a depression where just moments before I am higher than the clouds & the moon. So I go from having an endless amount of energy and experiencing the highest of high to dropping off a ledge into molasses & getting stuck in such a dark dungeon of hopelessness and despair, of depression and suicide as the alternative to alleviate this overwhelming emotional and physical pain.

Symptoms of a person with Bipolar:

***Are in an especially or abnormally energetic or irritable mood (lasting four or more days)
***Feel abnormally self-confident or social
***Need less sleep or are more energetic
***Are unusually talkative or “hyper”
***Are irritable or quick to anger
***Think faster than usual
***Are more easily distracted or have trouble concentrating
***Are more goal-directed or productive at work, school, or home
***Are more involved in pleasurable activities, such as spending or sex
***Feel or have reports from others that they did or said things that were unusual, abnormal, or not like their usual selves.

Myth vs. Fact

The following lists highlight common misconceptions about bipolar disorder in particular and
mental illness in general.

Popular Myths

Myth: People who have bipolar disorder are “crazy” or “out of control;” they need constant supervision.

Fact: People who have bipolar disorder do not always experience symptoms; moods alternate and often the person’s behaviors and thinking are perfectly “normal,” or (preferred) balanced. Even untreated, people with bipolar disorder usually are not out of touch with reality, dangerous or completely out of control. With proper treatment, bipolar disorder is manageable and symptoms are much less pronounced, if present at all.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder have no discretion or use poor judgment.

Fact: This can be true during severe bouts with depressed and manic moods, but in general, people with bipolar disorder have the same discretion and judgment as people who do not have it.

Myth: People with bipolar disorder are violent; they may even be dangerous criminals.

Fact: Evidence suggests that people with bipolar disorder are much more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetrators. The most common violent thoughts of people with bipolar disorder are turned inward, as is the case with people who live with major depression.

Myth: Only Caucasians have bipolar disorder.

Fact: Bipolar disorder appears to affect all populations equally. This myth probably exists because Caucasian people are more likely than many minorities to seek treatment because of socioeconomic and cultural reasons. But minority communities and individuals in the U.S. are increasingly recognizing mental illness as an illness rather than a personal failing, and are finding that their communities offer mental health services that they can afford. This trend should reveal a more even distribution of diagnoses across ethnic communities nationwide.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is a middle class disease.

Fact: While people who have less money may have less access to health care in the U.S., there is no disease in the world that cares about how much money people have. This myth exists because some people do not believe that mental illnesses are true health conditions and that diseases such as bipolar disorder result from boredom or too much leisure time to feel sorry for oneself. The fact is, a person who has bipolar disorder needs treatment and cannot will his or herself out of having the disease.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is not a real illness.

Fact: While scientifically based information on mental illness is relatively new and not yet fully understood, evidence suggests that bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses often result from hormonal and chemical imbalances, brain neurotransmitter dysfunction and environmental causes. The fact that bipolar disorder responds to medicinal treatment indicates that the disruption it causes in one’s life— “the disease”—can be remedied as one can remedy the symptoms of many other illnesses.

Myth: Having bipolar disorder is a choice; anyone with willpower can control his or her symptoms.

Fact: This is like stating that anyone with willpower can control the symptoms and progressive destruction of cancer or HIV/AIDS. In other words, bipolar disorder is a physiologically based disorder that cannot be controlled by one’s will or wishes.

Myth: People living with bipolar disorder suffer all the time, throughout their whole lives.

Fact: Not true. Even untreated, people with bipolar disorder do not suffer all the time—but they do suffer. However, people who are properly treated can live normal or balanced lives.

Myth: Treatment is uniform, meaning that treatment is the same for everyone.

Fact: Because people’s biochemistry is different and because the causes of bipolar disorder may be different for different people, each person responds differently to treatment. This is one reason that treatments are thought by some to be ineffective; however, the truth is, most people can find a treatment that works for them without enough patience, and under the close supervision of a knowledgeable and experienced physician.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is a sign of failure.

Fact: Bipolar disorder is a sign of being a human being with a predisposition for bipolar disorder.

Myth: Bipolar disorder is a character flaw.

Fact: While what is or is not a character flaw is inherently a subjective question, the bottom line is that bipolar disorder is an illness, not an aspect of character; however, being prejudiced against people with health problems is a truly undesirable characteristic.

Myth: The illness defines the person. People who suffer from mental illness have no other concerns or interests in life.

Fact: Just like someone who lives with, say, HIV, treating the symptoms and the illness itself does take priority in a patient’s life from time to time, but with proper treatment and management of the disease, bipolar disorder (and any other chronic disease) takes less of a priority and the patient’s life becomes no different from anyone else’s.

Myth: Those who do not “get better” are not actively engaged in the recovery process.

Fact: No one can be blamed for the effectiveness of his or her recovery from an illness such as bipolar disorder. Many people work hard on finding the right way to manage the disease and continue to suffer the symptoms of the disorder until the best treatment is found. Assuming that a person who continues to suffer is not “trying” to get better is unfair and counterproductive.

Myth: The patient is to blame for his or her mental illness.

Fact: While incredible to most informed and intelligent people, some people still believe this myth is true.


Famous People who are Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder vs Bipolar In Order
By Tom Wootton

A recent comment from bipolar advantage website prompted a great reply from one of our volunteers. I think he really put it in the Bipolar Advantage perspective. “Thank you for contacting us. You are certainly not your disorder, but you need not have bipolar in disorder at all. The argument you present has been floating around for a long time. The way we look at it is that I am six feet tall, weigh 185 pounds, am male, gay, and bipolar. I am bipolar because I have a wide range of highs and lows, which makes bipolar a description of me just like my height and sexual preference. I do not have the flu, a cold, or bipolar disorder, which are all illnesses, so I would not want to be identified as any of the illnesses just because I temporarily had them. I have Bipolar IN Order, which is not an illness at all. I am proud to be identified with being bipolar just as I am proud to be identified with being gay. They used to try to say being gay was a mental illness too.

Without the difference between Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar IN Order, it makes sense to lump bipolar as a trait in with bipolar disorder the illness. Bipolar itself is not an illness at all and nothing to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, those of us who have Bipolar IN Order see it as a tremendous advantage over those incapable of experiencing as wide of a range as we can.

Although it is an interesting semantical debate, it has little to do with what we do at Bipolar Advantage. We teach people how to make bipolar work for them instead of trying to make it go away, which is not possible anyway unless you are willing to be a zombie for the rest of your life. It would be like cutting off your head because you do not want to be associated with being six feet tall (or have not learned to duck when going through five foot high openings).

…In a way, arguing that you are not “bipolar disorder” is reinforcing the false notion that bipolar must only be seen as an illness, which is a major source of the stigma associated with it and the despair that those with the bipolar disorder diagnosis feel.” …We do recognize Bipolar Disorder as a terrible condition that needs to be treated. Some misrepresent what we say as advocating letting bipolar run unchecked, but nothing could be further from the truth. Getting Bipolar IN Order takes a serious commitment. I often say it is the hardest thing you will ever do, except for one thing: not doing it. Leaving bipolar in the disordered state makes life hell for everyone.

I have started listening to the Free Videos of the concept behind Bipolar In Disorder. The Course is rather expensive for some people but I do not want to be dulled out with medication. I tried that and I did not feel like myself at all and I stopped being motivated to create. I just became depressed and stopped wanting to live. To have the creative highs is important to me and I move through the deep depressions with acceptance that they are what I have to accept in order that my creative self can live freely to be inspired and to follow my muse where ever she may lead me. However, it is important to modify and control the behavior which is detrimental to my well being as well as my partner’s and those whom I love in my life.

I hope this has been a helpful endeavor on my part to make aware the different aspects of Bipolar and the ways in which to heal while living with Bipolar being in your life.


Bipolar In Order – The Shocking Truth about Recovery from Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar In Order (if you watched The Shocking Truth – skip to 3:15)

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R.I.P. Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

A Tribute to Steve Jobs He Will Always Be Remembered.
He Is A Part of Our Lives and Touches Us Everyday.
R.I.P. Steve Jobs 1955 -2011

put together by Maggie Christian

from GigaOm:
The Tao of Steve

…Every generation has its heroes…Steve Jobs was…an icon.

For many of us who live and die for technology and the change it represents, he was an example of what was possible, no matter how the chips were stacked against you. Jobs put life and soul into inanimate objects. Everyone saw steel, silicon and software; he saw an opportunity to paint his Mona Lisa. People saw a phone; Steve saw a transporter of love. People saw a tablet; he saw smiles and wide-eyed amazement. They made computers; he made time machines that brought us all together through a camera, screen and a connection.

Mac, iPod and iPhone — they are like Silicon Valley’s Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker and E.T. — magical, memorable and life-changing…To me, just the idea of Steve was powerful enough…

Steve was my secret muse…he is a secret muse to many of us… There is a whole generation… who ask themselves this one question –- what will Steve do. Natch. What would have Steve done!

RIP Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011


Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

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Elizabeth Gilbert: A New Way To Think About Creativity

Elizabeth Gilbert: A New Way To Think About Creativity

Commentary by Maggie Christian

There is a lot to be said about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Talk but it is better to just listen to the video. She says it best about the magical world of creativity and muses and genius and the poems and paintings and songs and all pertinent art swirling around the world in ethereal space looking for the right artist to bring their creation into fruition. She is amusing and brilliant and insightful and an enjoyable, lively speaker as well as writer. Take the 20 minutes out of your time to hear what an audience listening to her on the edge of their seats to every whimsical and creative word she has to say on being or having a genius and what creativity is or might be.

2009 Talk at TED Conference

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Gustav Mahler

Gustav Mahler
Commentary by Maggie Christian

A Musical Genius who died young Forever Young

I only recently discovered Mahler’s music a short while ago. I was under the impression that I did not enjoy what his compositions offered. But then as I was reading the book: “Somewhere In Time”, one of the main characters of the book mentioned very distinctly Mahler’s Ninth Symphony. Well, I felt that I should find out what he was praising so highly. I located Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra creating a rendition of a Mahler’s Ninth that took me to such a blissful consciousness. I can only but recommend to any music lover and to anyone who wants to experience the sensation of Nirvana while still alive in this world of flesh and blood. It is one of the most amazing and beautiful pieces of composition that I have ever heard. It raises you up. There is pure musical genius in all the works that I have heard since of Mahler’s Creations. I found the following description of his life and work. Because of conducting and a young death at the age of 50 he was not able to create more than he was able but what he did create is beyond belief and will blow your mind and any sense you thought you had of music before listening to his compositions especially his Symphony No. 9 in D Major. I believe he surpasses Mozart and Beethoven. Bacterial Endocarditis killed in a time where there were no antibiotics. If there had been he may have lived a lot longer.


A Portion of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony-The 1st Movement
Follow through on the Video and you will hear the Complete Symphony

MAHLER , GUSTAV
Encyclopedia of
Death and Dying

Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) was a Bohemian-born Austrian symphonic composer whose sprawling sonic canvases were often concerned with death, either as a spur to life or as a tragic and inconsolable end. Mahler grappled with mortality in his personal life as well as in his art.

The desperately comic and the searingly tragic coexist in the composer’s ten numbered symphonies and many song cycles. His childhood shows the genesis of this strange pairing. In the building where Gustav lived as a child, the tavern owned by his father was adjacent to a funeral parlor put to frequent use by the Mahler family—eight of his fourteen siblings died before reaching adulthood. Mahler’s father was a self-educated, somewhat brutal man, and fights between him and his cultured, delicate wife were common. Piano lessons were a way out of the daily misery for little Gustav, and before long, he was making up distinctive pieces of his own. Mahler’s mature output seems an elaboration of that early conflation.

At age fifteen Gustav entered the Vienna Conservatory, where he received a diploma three years later. The early failure of his own music to win recognition sparked a remarkable conducting career that took Mahler to all the great opera houses and concert halls of Europe. Conducting earned him a fortune, but it also meant that composing, his first love, was relegated to the off-season. Throughout much of his life, Mahler composed in isolation in summer cottages.

From the beginning, Mahler declared that his music was not for his own time but for the future. An agnostic, he apparently saw long-term success as a real-world equivalent of immortality. “Mahler was a thoroughgoing child of the nineteenth century, an adherent of Nietzsche, and typically irreligious,” the conductor Otto Klemperer recalled in his memoirs, adding that, in his music, Mahler evinced a “piety . . . not to be found in any church prayer-book.” This appraisal is confirmed by the story of Mahler’s conversion to Catholicism in 1897. Although his family was Jewish, Mahler was not observant, and when conversion was required in order to qualify as music director of the Vienna Court Opera—the most prestigious post in Europe—he swiftly acquiesced to baptism and confirmation, though he never again attended mass. Once on the podium, however, Mahler brought a renewed spirituality to many works, including Beethoven’s Fidelio, which he almost single-handedly rescued from a reputation for tawdriness.

In 1902 Mahler married Alma Schindler, a woman nearly twenty years his junior. They had two daughters, and when Mahler set to work on his Kindertotenlieder —a song cycle on the death of children—Alma was outraged. As in a self-fulfilling prophecy, their oldest daughter died in 1907, capping a series of unrelenting tragedies for the composer. In that same year, Mahler was diagnosed with heart disease and dismissed from the Vienna Court Opera following a series of verbal attacks, some of them anti-Semitic. Mahler left for America, where he led the Metropolitan Opera from 1907 to 1910 and directed the New York Philharmonic from 1909 to 1911.

While in Vienna during the summer of 1910, Mahler discovered that Alma was having an affair with the architect Walter Gropius. He sought out Sigmund Freud, who met the composer at a train station in Holland and provided instant analysis, labeling him mother-fixated. Freud later declared his analysis successful, and indeed Mahler claimed in correspondence to have enjoyed an improved relationship with his wife. But it did nothing to stop the deterioration of Mahler’s health.

The Mahler biographer Henry-Louis de La Grange has effectively contradicted the popular image of Mahler as congenitally ill. A small man, Mahler was nonetheless physically active, an avid hiker and swimmer throughout most of his life. Nonetheless, he was a man drunk on work, and he grew more inebriated with age. His response to the fatigue and illness was often simply to work more. In 1901, for example, he collapsed after conducting, in the same day, a full-length opera and a symphony concert. He immediately set to work on his Symphony no. 5, which begins with a funeral march.

Mahler’s symphonies divide into early, middle, and late periods, respectively comprising the first four symphonies; the fifth, sixth, and seventh symphonies; and the eighth and ninth, plus “Das Lied von der Erde” and the unfinished Tenth Symphony.

Symphony no. 1 in D is subtitled the “Titan,” not after the Greek demigods but after a novel of the same name by Jean Paul Richter. The third movement turns “Frère Jacques” into a minor-mode funeral march. Symphony no. 2 moved the symphonic form into entirely new territory. It was longer and required more forces, including a chorus and vocal soloist, and its emotional range was vast. Though subtitled “Resurrection,” its texts make no religious claims. Mahler’s Symphony no. 3 remains the longest piece in the mainstream symphonic repertory. Its ninety-five minutes open with a massive movement that swiftly swings from moody loneliness to martial pomp, from brawling play to near-mute meditation. An ethereal final adagio is followed by four inner movements of contrasting content, including a quiet, nine-minute solo for mezzo-soprano to a text by Nietzsche extolling the depth of human tragedy. Symphony no. 4, slender by Mahler’s standards, concluded Mahler’s first period, in which song played an important role.

Gustav Mahler’s first composition, written at age six, combined a jolly polka with a solemn funeral dirge.

Mahler’s next three symphonies were wholly instrumental. Symphony no. 5 is easily read as a backward glance at a man’s life. It begins with the most magnificent of orchestral funeral marches, announced by a brilliant trumpet solo, and then slowly moves through movements of anguish and struggle toward the penultimate “Adagietto” (Mahler’s most famous excerpt), a wordless love song, and finally to the last movement, filled with the promise of youth. Symphony no. 6, subtitled “Tragic,” was formally the composer’s most tightly structured, and no. 7, subtitled “Nightsong,” is, in its odd last movement, the composer at his most parodistic. In no. 8, “Symphony of a Thousand,” Mahler returned to the human voice as symphonic instrument, setting texts from the Catholic liturgy and Goethe.

For symphonists, nine is the number to fear. It took on special status for composers when Beethoven died after composing only nine symphonies. From Beethoven on, nine had mystical significance. Schubert died after writing nine symphonies, so did Dvorak and Bruckner. Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms did not get near that number before they shuffled off the mortal coil.

Mahler completed his Symphony no. 8 in 1906. In 1907 came his triple calamities: the death of his daughter, his unamicable separation from Vienna Opera, and the diagnosis of heart disease. It was not a good time to compose a symphony whose number cried death. Mahler thought he could skirt the issue by writing an unnumbered symphony that would function as his ninth without carrying the dreaded digit. Thus, Mahler composed “Das Lied von der Erde” (“Song of the Earth”), a massive song cycle for voices and orchestra, that was in every way—except the number—his Ninth Symphony.

Fate read his Symphony no. 9 as the last and would not allow him to finish a tenth. (The one movement he completed is generally performed as a fragment.) In February 1911 Mahler led the New York Philharmonic one last time at Carnegie Hall and then returned to Vienna, where he died three months later of bacterial endocarditis. The twenty-three minutes of the Ninth’s last movement, which have been described as “ephemeral” and “diaphanous,” weep without apology. Somewhere near the middle of this very slow (Molto adagio) movement comes a jittery harp figure that mimics the composer’s coronary arrhythmia.

In length, the size of the forces required, and emotional scope, Mahler’s symphonies have rarely been equaled and never surpassed. It is difficult not to see this inflation as the composer’s struggle against mortality. If the world was temporary and afterlife improbable, why not postulate immortality through art? “A symphony should be like the world,” Mahler said to fellow composer Jan Sibelius, “It should embrace everything!”

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The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook

The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook

presented by maggie christian

The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook
Shawn MacKenzie. Llewellyn, $15.95 trade paper (312p) ISBN 978-0-7387-2785-1

Here be Dragons… Not the slavering, whimsical monsters from childhood fancies, but real Dragons—fierce, complex, wondrous, and wild. They do not require our belief; they never have.

With hard science and myth, empirical wisdom, and original line drawings, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook is the draconic enchiridion for the modern world, providing everything you need to know about these extraordinary beings. From disparate theories of Dragon evolution and the golden geometry of their form to modern conservation efforts and how to release a well-weaned orphan back into the wild, this book answers all your questions, even those you didn’t know to ask. From awe-inspiring Cosmic Creators to wee pisuhänds guarding hearth and home, discover the habits and habitats of Dragons and pseudo-dragons both familiar and rare.

The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook shows us how human and Dragon lives are bound together and why Dragons are now and ever-will-be relevant: In their wildness lie lessons for us all.

Reviewed on: 07/25/2011 Publishers Weekly:

“This note-perfect “nonfiction” book on fantasy creatures will be eerily familiar to anyone who’s read the genre it emulates, down to catchy, vague chapter titles with explanatory subtitles; humorous, opinionated footnotes (“Flat-earthers do not make the world any less round”); and the occasional flight of impassioned rhetoric. The natural history of dragons is logically constructed and will enchant readers who like their magic to have rules (though if it were a real how-to, would-be dragon keepers would surely be impatient with the abstruse background). The mythic analysis section is deft and fascinating, though the line between metaphor and purported truth often blurs. The final detailed advice on dragon keeping is uniformly charming. Keeping true to form, there is no disguised plot, characterization, or dialogue, so this clever parody may be of interest only to a subset of fantasy fans.” (Sept.)

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Child Sexual Abuse – Breaking the Silence – Part Four

Child Sexual Abuse – Breaking the Silence – Part Four

introduction by maggie christian

( a collection of Tips to be aware of which will aid in identifying the potentials for Child Sexual Abuse and that will enable all of us to read the signs if Child Sexual Abuse is occurring. This collection of Tips will be broken up into several parts for less difficult accessibility. If there are more Tips more parts to this collection will be added. this collection comes from the Facebook Page Notes of TAALK: Breaking the Silence that Surrounds Child Sexual Abuse. I am just trying to spread the message so that as many people as possible can become aware of the plague of Child Sexual Abuse and how invasive it is in all possible ways with all possible people. The victims and survivors of Child Sexual Abuse need to know that we are not alone. I hope more people will spread this information so that awareness will be everywhere and Child Sexual Abuse will be recognized for what it is and preventative steps can be taken to protect the children who are now being abused and to let the victims and survivors know that we are acknowledged and Child Sexual Abuse will not be hidden away in some secret closet in which no one shares that secret. We want Child Sexual Abuse to be out in the open so that the world can see it does exist in an awful abundance and must be stopped and prevented and brought to an end where ever it exists. Let the healing begin before it starts. Please read these many pages. If you know of anyone that fits any of these descriptions and know of anyone who needs help and rescuing – reach out your hand and be there for all those children who are being abused or have been abused and help the survivors that were abused and live with the memories. We all that have been and are being abused will always have those memories. PLEASE BECOME AWARE OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE and HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT WHEN YOU SEE IT.)

TAALK – Breaking the Silence that Surrounds Child Sexual Abuse

TAALK Tip #199

TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 5 – And most importantly, we put offenders on notice that we’re watching and our kids are off limits!

TAALK Tip #198

TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 4 – We help survivors understand that they are not alone and support their healing journey.

TAALK Tip #197
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 3 – We teach adults, teens and children “the language of abuse” and open the lines of communication.

TAALK Tip #196
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 2 – We inspire community members to make a personal decision to learn to protect kids by participating in prevention training.

TAALK Tip #195
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 1 – We encourage community members to accept the fact that child sexual abuse happens in every community.

TAALK Tip #194
Don’t become paranoid about pedophiles – we are not recommending you live in fear. Know the signs, look for patterns and most definitely stay focused on the behavior, not the person so you stay objective and are not blinded by their deception.

TAALK Tip #193
Pedophiles will look for adults who are impressed by or intimidated by power, status or authority figures. It’s important for you to show strength and confidence in dealing with other adults. If you have self-esteem problems, get help through therapy or empowerment training.

TAALK Tip #192
Pedophiles will tell you how special your kids are, how smart, beautiful and talented they are. Some will even invest the time to go to see your kids at special events such as concerts or sporting events. It’s a way of becoming an insider. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #191
Pedophiles will often look for families who are in need of money just to get by. Then they’ll offer to help out to create a sense of indebtedness so parents will dismiss any suspected concerns. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #190
Pedophiles will often buy expensive gifts for one or both parents or the family as a whole. Purchases that just seem over the top but create a more connected relationship. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #189
Pedophiles will look for families who don’t have a strong support system and people to watch the kids. Then they’ll offer to watch the kids so the parents can have some alone time. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #188
Pedophiles will look for vulnerabilities such as children who are struggling in school. Then they’ll take advantage of that by offering to tutor your child at their house and even do it at no charge. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #187
Pedophiles are masters of deception. They will be the adored parent, perfect neighbor, most popular teacher and beloved clergyman. Don’t be fooled by their position and their façade. Risky behavior is risky no matter who it is. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #186
Pedophiles look for adults who are stressed and overworked and need help in caring for their kids. They will offer to drive your kids to sports practices, music lessons, etc. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #185
As adults, we grant pedophiles access to our kids. So it’s important for us to understand how pedophiles groom individual adults and the community as a whole.

TAALK Tip #184
Pedophiles will ask your kids to keep “little” secrets from their parents such as the treats or dangerous behaviors. Only after a child has proven they can keep the “little” secrets, will the offender start to introduce “big” secrets such as sexual talk, pornography, sexual touching, etc. So make sure your kids know that we don’t keep secrets from our parents.

TAALK Tip #183
Pedophiles tend to feel more comfortable spending time with kids than adults such as at family gathering’s when the adults are inside having a cocktail, the pedophile will be outside playing with the kids. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #182
Pedophiles often make a point of being the “fun” adult, playing games, coloring, rough housing, etc. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #181
Pedophiles often make it a habit of suggesting kids engage in dangerous behavior such as shooting a BB Gun, riding bikes without a helmet, riding on the hood of a car, etc. This creates a sense of excitement and secrecy into the relationship. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #180
Pedophiles often make it a habit of letting kids get away with inappropriate behavior such as being rude, bad language, breaking rules. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #179
Pedophiles often try to become the only one who “understands” the child. This is especially common when grooming an adolescent or young teen who is struggling with lack of understanding from their parents . So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #178
Pedophiles often position themselves as a “friend” rather than an adult parental figure. As their “friend,” the pedophile is more likely to learn about the child’s struggles, insecurities, problems with their parents, etc. These are all vulnerabilities that the pedophile can later exploit. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #177
Pedophiles will often make it a habit of taking kids on special outings such as the park, movies, beach, pool, etc. They use this as a way to show that they are more interested in spending time with them than their parents. Of course, it also provides them opportunities to be alone with the child. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #176
Pedophiles will often allow kids to break the rules such as eating sweets when their parents told them not to. This helps to establish the pedophile as “the cool one” and create a special bond. It also serves to test if a child can keep a secret. So teach your kids that although this may seem “cool” on the surface, it is potentially dangerous behavior and the adult could have alterior motives. If you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #175
Pedophiles will often shower kids with gifts in an effort to buy their love and establish how much they really care for the child. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.

TAALK Tip #174
Parents are getting more and more comfortable with telling their kids that no one should touch their private parts but by the time that happens, it’s too late. We need to teach our kids about how pedophiles “groom” them to gain their trust.

TAALK Tip #173
It’s easy to get caught up in trends such as putting window decals on your car with your kids’ names. But this is very dangerous. It gives strangers an opportunity to call your kids by their first names which creates a sense of familiarity and it’s hard for your kids to recognize them as strangers.

TAALK Tip #172
If you have young kids who walk home from school, consider getting a group of neighbors together and starting a “Samantha’s Pride.” This is a program by a non-profit called The Joyful Child Foundation and it is based on parents creating a schedule so that a trained parent is always monitoring the path home to your neighborhood. For more information go to http://www.thejoyfulchild.org.

TAALK Tip #171
Talk with the principal of your child’s school. Ask them what their policy is for preventing child sexual abuse. Their policy should include: 1) background checks for all staff and volunteers, 2) close on-going supervision of staff and volunteers, 3) a policy to minimize one adult/one child situations and make them observable and interruptable, 4) documented reporting processes for suspected abuse (to more than one party), 5) child sexual abuse prevention training for all staff and volunteers. Insist on it!

TAALK Tip #170
Consider showing up unexpectedly where your adolescent children are. Let them know ahead of time that you might do this and it’s not to check up on them but to confirm they’re in a safe place and to see the reaction of those whose care they’re in. If the caretaker seems upset or uncomfortable in any way, then call your child a little later to see if they sound okay or if they want to come home. It’s important that your kids know you’re there for them and it’s not too much of an inconvenience to come get them, no matter what time it is.

TAALK Tip #169
Sometimes parents unknowingly set their kids up for abuse by making some activity or achievement so important that their child would never drop out.Unfortunately kids will often do anything, even endure abuse, in an effort not to disappoint their parents. Examples of this might be being an alter boy or a star volleyball player because it’s a family tradition.

TAALK Tip #168
If you suspect a child is being abused but you don’t have enough information to report the abuse, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD to discuss the situation with a counselor.

TAALK Tip #167
If a child has disclosed to you that they are being abused by an immediate family member and they are supposed to go back to their house, you need to make a careful choice about whether to let them go home. It there seems to be fear or threats involved, it is better to make an excuse for them being late and call the police and ask them to come to take a report immediately.

TAALK Tip #166
If a child discloses to you, call the police immediately and then call the local child protection agency that handles child sexual abuse reports. Many people make the mistake of just calling one or the other and although they are suppose to cross report, it often falls through the cracks. So, take it upon yourself to make sure that both entities take a report.

TAALK Tip #165
If a child discloses to you, please be sure to tell them that it is not their fault and that they’re safe. Often times perpetrators threaten the child and although you should not ask a direct question such as “did he threaten you?”, you can tell the child that they’re safe now and if they’ve been threatened they may tell you.

TAALK Tip #164
If a child discloses to you, DO NOT tell the perpetrator you know. Report it to the police right away and let them decide what to do next. If you tell the perpetrator, he/she will have time to destroy evidence and prepare a story. This could be very difficult if the perpetrator is someone you live with but you need to do what ever it takes to keep the secret until the police have a chance to prepare their investigation.

TAALK Tip #163
If a child discloses to you, keep the child talking long enough to understand the basics of what happened such as who it was, what happened and when it happened. But it is very important that you do not lead the victim by asking specific questions. Instead just ask things like “What happened next?” or “Tell me more about that.” If you ask leading questions, it can actually confuse the child and hurt the criminal case so just get the basics and leave the rest up to the professionals.

TAALK Tip #162
If a child discloses to you, it is important to remain calm. The child’s healing and rebuilding of trust starts at this very moment when you choose whether to believe or not. Please believe and take actions to protect this child.

TAALK Tip #161
If your children are very young, it is a good idea to have their name and phone number on the inside of their clothes in case they get separated from you. Tell your kids that it is there so they can tell the authorities. They may not be able to remember your phone number but they will likely be able to remember that the tag is there if you remind them of it often.

TAALK Tip #160
When you have young kids, there may be times when you’re late and need to have someone pick them up from school. Have a family code word such as “Santa” and have the kids ask for the code word if someone shows up telling them that you asked them to pick them up. This way the kids are SURE that this is a trusted adult that you have made arrangements with.

TAALK Tip #159
Children are sometimes molested when they put themselves in harms way by disobeying you. If they fear getting in trouble for disobeying you, they won’t tell you about the abuse. So, it’s important to have strong boundaries and appropriate consequences if your children disobey you but always let them know you love them even if they’ve made a mistake and that it’s best to tell the truth, even if you did something wrong.

Source:
I recently spoke with a survivor who snuck out of her house and went into a neighbor’s house when she wasn’t supposed to. The neighbor molested her but she was afraid to tell her parents because she know they would be so angry with her.

TAALK Tip #158
Be aware of children who develop relationships with adults or older youth where the child looks up to them so much that they would do anything they say.

Source:
This was well articulated on the Oprah Winfrey show when she interviewed an offender who said he molested his younger female cousin and that it was easy because she looked up to him so much.

TAALK Tip #157
Be aware of Nanny’s who cross the line by inviting the kids to her house to see something special such as her puppy. She may ask you and of course you should tell her it’s not appropriate but she may also just drop by her house with the kids while they’re out. So, it’s important to teach your kids that this is not appropriate and they should tell the Nanny that it’s against Mom and Dad’s rules and to let you know right away.

Source:
Mother – San Diego, CA

TAALK Tip #156
It’s very important to separate risky BEHAVIOR from the person displaying the behavior. Even if you are sure the person doesn’t mean any harm, if you don’t stop the risky behavior and let your kids know it is not okay, then your kids will not recognize the risk when it comes from someone who does intend to cause them harm.

TAALK Tip #155
Distrusting those we love doesn’t come naturally, it’s a learned skill. It’s important to become aware and willing to set healthy boundaries without becoming paranoid.

TAALK Tip #154
Always stay with your child if they are taking any kind of lessons at someone’s home or a studio where they may be alone or if the only other person is a relative of the teacher.

TAALK Tip #153
Often times when Family Court is reviewing child abuse allegations as part of a custody decisions, they seem to be looking for evidence that proofs “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the abuse took place. However, the Family Court policies are typically different. The definition below applies to California – if you find yourself in Family Court trying to prove that there is sufficient evidence of potential harm to keep your child from a parent who currently has custody, look up the provisions in your state.

Preponderance of the Evidence Standard of Proof: Family law court cases are civil cases. The standard of proof in civil cases is a”preponderance of the evidence,” i.e., that which is more likely than not, or 50% or more likelihood of occurrence. This standard of proof is substantially lower than for criminal cases. [CA Evidence Code Section 115]

TAALK Tip #152
Children hardly ever fabricate allegations of sexual abuse. Studies analyzing maliciously fabricated allegations of child sexual abuse have found that children bring only 0% to 2% of such allegations. There is no reputable research to support the notion that children can be brainwashed to believe they have been sexually abused when they have not.

Sources: Jones, D. P. H. & McGraw, J. M., Reliable and Fictitious Accounts of Sexual Abuse to Children, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, pp. 27-45, 1987. (Out of 576 cases of possible sexual abuse, Denver Department of Social Services determined that only 1% [n=8] of allegations of child sexual abuse brought by children were fictitious (five children made the eight fictitious allegations), and out of 696 cases, The Kempe Center determined that only 2% [n=8] of children’s reports of child sexual abuse were fictitious.)

Oates, R. K., Jones, D. P. H., Denson, D., Sirotnak, A., Gary, N., & Krugman, R. D., Erroneous Concerns About Child Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(1), pp. 149-157, 2000. (Out of 551 cases of possible child sexual abuse, Denver Department of Social Services determined that only 1.5% [n=8] of allegations of child sexual abuse brought by children were fabricated)

Thanks for continuing your education on how to prevent child sexual abuse. Your increased awareness will make a difference in the lives of children around you.

If you have a tip that you’d like to share with others or you would like to provide feedback on this tip, please send us an email at taalktips@taalk.org.

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