Thursday, January 24, 2008

Getting up and giving back.

Early morning. Morning's early. Day sleeps beneath the blanket of night pulled across the sky. I awaken to a quiet house. Calm. Serene. Love sleeping in. Love slipping into awakening.

I posted my blog from yesterday on Lovefraud, a site where I am a contributing editor. It never ceases to amaze me how a few words can strike a harmonious note in the minds and hearts of those who have suffered at the hands of the personality disordered.

Before I met Conrad, the abuser formerly in my life, I thought psychopaths were only the Jeffrey Dahlmers and Ted Bundy's of the world. Violent, vicious, cruel and sadistic. After that encounter I learned that 1 in 10 Canadians will have psychopathic traits. I learned that I could meet one anywhere -- anytime -- anyhow.

My daughters often accuse me of seeing psychopaths everywhere. I don't -- I do however, recognize psychopathic traits when they arise. Doesn't mean the person is a psychopath. Just means some of the traits psychopaths have are shared by all of us.

And that's the rub.

A 'little white lie' to a non-psychopath is often used as a means of avoiding hurting someone else's feelings.

To a psychopath, there are no little white lies. Other people's feelings do not fit into the equation of their behaviour. Little white lies are generally part of a string of lies meant to weave a web of deceit around the target.

A couple of years ago I had a girlfriend who continually lied, often when the truth would have sufficed. I don't know why she needed to lie so much, other than that she had extremely low self-esteem, even though at the age of 45 she went back to University, took her undergrad and by 54 had graduated with her Ph.D. That doctorate did not cure her of her habit of lying. Eventually, I grew tired of being lied to and ended the friendship. I couldn't stop her lying. I could stop her lying to me.

Yesterday, I met with a woman whose husband left her at the age of 63 with huge debt, and no income. "He was always irresponsible," she said. "He always ran around and lived the high life. I just didn't realize how much he lied and I didn't think he'd up and leave my life high and dry."

She spent a couple of years clearing up the debt, putting her world back in order. Now a senior, she is faced with the prospect of living on a fixed income supplement that still keeps her living below the poverty line. The husband has re-married a wealthy woman and is living the high life on an island far away.

Her attitude is an inspiration. "I have my days where it does get me down," she told me. "Not about my husband. I can't change that. But, I lost my daughter in 2006. I sometimes wonder why it had to happened. When I go there, however, I remind myself that I can never answer the why and need to focus on the what I'm doing to change my life and hopefully the lives of other seniors living in poverty."

She's organizing a half day conference about Seniors and poverty. She's got guest speakers lined up. A venue set up. Advertising. Flyers. Sponsors.

She's committed to Be. Do. Have.

She wants to make a difference. She wants to keep working and doing and living life as if it's the only life she's got. And she wants to change some of the tax laws around seniors income. She had worked for a six week period and made $3,000. By the time the government extracted its 'fair share', she was left with $200 of her earnings. For her, that incident spurred her on to learn more so that she could do something about what she believes to be inequities in the system. She is giving back to make a difference.

When life gets us down, there's always an opportunity for us to get up and get going. Make a difference. Make it count. Make it happen.

The question is: Where are you sitting back and taking it so that you can avoid getting up and giving back?

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