Monthly Archives: April, 2017

Abuse, Chronic Illness, and Positive Thinking



Photo by LPHR Group

I study positive thinking books.
Take in and apply what they say.
Using affirmations as an eraser.
Obliterate the ugliness of my past.
I work hard at this laborious task
believing I can change my thinking
and change my life.
Holding fast to the idea that I am capable
of washing my past right out of my mind.


Naysayers assert that affirmations
are useless
a fantasy
an illusion
prevent real action
create a blame game
and all manner of other proclamations.
I do disagree.
Then I think, “So what if they are right!”
Affirmations help me cope.
Positive thinking gives me a sense of control.
My past was overwhelming.
My present does not have to be.

Opposing ideas roll around in my psyche.
I’ve always believed in life itself
a rich life full of love
much more than my history
would grant me.

Deep within me are beliefs
planted by mom and bullies far and wide.
Destructive and dark thoughts
leftover from a childhood that haunts me
with its awfulness.
“Don’t let your light shine”
“Don’t let people see you happy”
“Stay invisible”
“Fail because failure is easier than her wrath”
A pratfall is a better idea
than facing mom’s most positively creative acts
of psychological violence on my personhood.

When I’m in a medical crisis
an illness flare up
I use Louise Hay’s Heal Your Body
looking up the symptoms I experience
then I say those affirmations over and over
hoping to take some degree of control over
things that feel more powerful than me.
As always, there is a theme to my condition.
A mental script that heralds my past again.

Research shows that childhood pain
can come out in the body.
It’s pain I reject
ideas I don’t want
a history I wish to re-write.
Different parts of my body all saying the same thing.

I want to change these ideas
wash them right out of my being
I’ve spent my life dedicated to this task
getting rid of mom
and the influence of her feelings toward me.
And those bullies
all those bullies
whose motives are unknown.
Let’s erase them too from my world.

So, I wake up each day
open the book of affirmations
look up each and every current yelling body part
and say the affirmation corresponding to it.
In extreme situations throughout the day
with pain beyond measure
I turn to the book
and chant the affirmation on pain
over and over and over.

Body memory is deep
and bites back
As I laugh and love and enjoy my life
my body remembers what my mind wants to forget.
But my body is mistaken.
Mom was wrong.
The bullies were stupid.
Life is to be lived.
We all have value.

And so I repeat:
I lovingly release the past.
They are free and I am free
All is well in my heart now.“*
Believing firmly that I can erase
the impact of my history.
I cannot go back in time
nurture the girl I was
I cannot prevent or erase the past.

I can throw the past backward into history.
Not allow the past to intrude on today.
I have to work diligently at this task.
It takes effort to have a life worth living
experience success
reach my goals
be happy.
I think that effort is worth it.

*Affirmations from Louise Hay’s Heal Your Body

Contact me if you’d like to change your thinking.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

My Broken Vase

A dream has haunted meStillleben_mit_Schachteln,_1941
for days and days.
A nuanced dream
with many layers
all singing me a message
that I am refusing to hear.
Covering my ears
closing my eyes
an ostrich head in the sand.
A teenager fighting the world
resisting and rolling my eyes
fluffing my hair
in a posture of outrage.

My late husband bought me
a dusty teal colored vase
with a crochet flower bouquet
full of memories of fun
and freedom.
I often look at that vase
with fondness
of my life well lived.

I gasped in my dream
as the vase dropped to the floor
breaking into pieces
too small
too many to fix.
Grieving, I awoke.
Mourning, I think, the vase
and the life that is no more.

But, wait, look, think.
The crochet flowers remain whole
sitting there on the floor
In the middle of all those broken pieces.
Whole flowers
needing a good cleaning
and some tender loving care.
Undamaged flowers making me think.

The only sure thing in life is change.
As long as I breathe
live on this side of the dirt
life will happen.
When the sun shines
rain will eventually fall.
And back again to the sun.
With laughter, prepare for tears
and tears for laughter.
Vases we love will break.
Maybe the flowers within
will survive.

We live in the middle of life’s changes.
I’m here
and not always well.
I will adapt
I can live a full life
no matter what happens.
I’ll be the flower that remains.
Yes, I will.

Contact me for life coaching about the changes in your life.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Painting by Felix Nussbaum ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Violence Addiction

narrative-794978_640I spent years researching the actions of perpetrators to understand enough to help my clients answer the “WHY” question. Anyone who has ever been victimized by a perpetrator of violence asks the “Why” question: “Why did they do that to me?”

The tragic but freeing answer is that it wasn’t really done to you. It wasn’t personal. There were really no traits in you that caused this violence to be done to you. You, as victim, could have been any available person. There really are no personality, physical or behavioral traits specific to you that caused you to be a victim. You were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and crossed the path of someone who needed to hurt you.

As I researched these subjects, I decided that there is a continuum of violence addiction. You can visualize this as knots in a long string that stretches across the room. Smaller knots are on the south side of our room and represent things like assault and battery. These knots grow larger as we walk across the room: rape, child abuse, serial battery, murder, serial rape, and serial murder.

While not technically physical violence, I always added con artists and burglars to my list as they are such personal crimes…leaving an emotional violence on their victims. I can imagine con artists getting the same kind of high from their crimes as the murderer does. Depending upon the extent of their robbery, the con artist and burglar are nearer to the middle of this continuum.

Like all other addicts, the violence addict grew up with relatives in their extended family tree who had varying addictions. This leads to physical heredity, not emotional behavior. There is a common myth that most perpetrators were victims themselves when they were children. Notice I said myth. And research does show that most people who are violent did come from terribly abusive homes. However, in my opinion, when we look more deeply at the information, the experience of child abuse is not the cause of future abusive behavior.

Instead, I think it is much more productive to look at the same disease model used to explain all other addictive behaviors. A violence addict finds early in life that he or she feels smarter, more powerful and actually invincible when they throw their emotions at another being. While it may sound strange, this is the allergy.

Normal people do, at times, loose their tempers, speak rudely and behave badly to others. However, most people react to this personal loss of control with feelings of weakness, shame and distress. Contrary to a normal person, the violence addict experiences this initial loss of control with feelings of power, aliveness, and vitality. At some point in a violence addict’s early life, they find that harming another FEELS GOOD to them.

As children, they harm small living creatures like bugs. As they grow, they begin harming bigger creatures like neighborhood pets. This is the beginning of tolerance. Tolerance continues to mean that the substance or behavior that leads you to feeling high stops working. Most addicts increase their substance or behavior. Violence addicts increase the size of their victims, the intensity of their actions and the riskiness of their behavior.  At this point, some violence addicts add rituals to their actions to increase the likelihood that they will experience their high.

All addictions progress in the following areas: Tolerance and consequences. There are social, employment, family, legal, and personality consequences for violence addiction . As the addict increases their addictive behavior, they change. You cannot continually and compulsively harm others without changing inside yourself. Eventually, an addict, any addict, will step outside the confines of a normal life and remove themselves from all human assistance.

Like all addictions, the violence addict has his or her own defensive system. I think that it must be quite difficult for a person to be harming others and deny to themselves that they are doing anything different from the norm. So, a violence addict must somehow mentally distort reality to make it okay for them to take actions that are obviously against normal moral code. They justify their feelings and behaviors. In my readings, it seems that they fantasize, devalue others, ascribe omnipotence to themselves, and develop grandiose fantasies.

There are no self help groups for violence addicts. To my knowledge, there are no effective treatments for violence addicts. In fact, so far, the best we can, as a society, do for a violence addict is to lock them up and protect ourselves.

I have written other articles on the topic of identifying violence addicts, con artists and people who lie to you online. See the list here.

If you have responses to my writings, have questions, or just want to share your thoughts, you may post them in the box below. I’d love to hear what you are thinking.

If you want to shake off the impact of a violence addict from your life, change your relationship pattern or achieve your relationship dreams, contact me.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

The White Box


Last night I dreamed of a white porcelain box.
I’m inside this box
that is the color white
all up and down
perhaps even inside and out.
I don’t know how I know
but I know it’s porcelain.
Smooth and cold
preventing me from finding purchase
stability or getting effective motion.

I don’t know why I’m in that box.
No reason.
It just is
like maybe my lot in life.
The way things are supposed to be.
But I don’t like it
not a little bit
not at all.

I’m a rebel, you see.
Angry, defiant saying “NO” loudly.
It’s good, I think, that I’m a rebel
refusing to comply
not cooperative
aggravating those people
who really are not human.
Instead, they are monsters.
Monsters who’d put a little girl
inside an all white porcelain box.

Sometimes I give up.
Tired of fighting and just rest in the box.
At other times, I’m energized by my anger
and fight the box
looking for a way out.
Is this box a metaphor?
It could be a memory.
I don’t know.
It could be the way I feel
sometimes when I cannot seem to move forward
when I’m stuck in my life
and nothing I do seems to work.

A memory, maybe
a flashback of the monsters who harmed me.
recalling being stuck and trapped
unable to get out
too small
too weak
without the skills to fight and win
just enough talent to frustrate them
enrage them
change me from an easy victim
to one almost too difficult to bother with.

A reminiscence that’s a trap in itself.
Reminding me I cannot win
taunting me with the overwhelming force
of my opposition.
Stripping me of the will to persist
my ability to resist.
I still exist and remain willful
stuck, maybe, but with a determination
to get out of that box in my mind
to escape the snare monsters made for me
decimate the net that drops on me when life is difficult.

I think maybe patience is in order
slow and steady, like a tortoise
the one in the fable that wins the race
over a foolishly confident bully.
Yes, that’s it.
I’ll remain that tortoise
not giving up
tackling that box
until the door opens
even if it’s a door in my mind
ideas that need to open
for freshness and freedom.

In my dream, there was a space on the right side
of what looked a door.
Maybe I can press that
even if I press it over and over.
I woke from my dream
and mentally tore that box apart
putting each and every shred of porcelain
in a mental commercial waste container
an orange metal box large enough to contain
each and every part of that dreaded box.
I’ll find my way to freedom.
I can escape the shadow of monsters.
Yes, I can.
I will. I can.
I will.

Contact me for a coaching appointment to leave old hurtful thoughts behind you.


Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.