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Joyce Alexander

Finding meaning in life from tragedy

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning came to mind today. Dr. Frankl wrote his book after spending time in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. He lost his wife, his family and most of his friends. His book was not just another list of the atrocities done by the Nazis, but a look at the emotional toll taken by the hopeless situations in the camps and how different people responded differently. I learned a lot from this book, and I highly recommend it for those who have suffered “hopeless” situations.

The cracks of a family’s hidden dysfunction

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (Retired)

I often go to auctions and flea markets looking for “hidden treasures” to add to my collection of pottery and handmade baskets of split oak. One of the things I have learned to do is to look for subtle or hidden flaws in the things that I like to collect.

It isn’t uncommon to find pottery items that have been chipped or broken and then carefully mended. Sometimes the cracks are very subtle and difficult to detect. It isn’t unusual for me to see an item and get all “excited” about it, then upon closer inspection, find that there are some hidden cracks.

How our thoughts affect our lives

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

 “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  (Proverbs 23:7)

I was watching the movie Iron Lady today and a few lines of the character Margaret Thatcher jumped out at me and made me think of that verse above from the Bible. Here are the lines from Mrs. Thatcher, as she was speaking with her physician.

Watch your thoughts
for they become words,
Watch your words
for they become your actions,
Watch your actions
For they become  your habits
Watch your habits
for they become your character
Watch your character
for it becomes your destiny

Healing from a psychopathic experience is a continuing process

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Years ago I used to think that healing from an emotionally devastating experience, like tangling with a psychopath, was like recovering from a physical illness or injury. If you cut yourself, you put a band-aid on it and a few days later, the cut was “healed” and you didn’t need to work on it any more. Or if you got the flu, once you were over it, it was all done; you didn’t have to worry about it again. Or if you got the measles once, you could not get it ever again, because you were immune.

We are valuable, and the psychopath can’t take that value

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

One of my cousins, a lovely lady in her early 80s, who still has every marble she ever had and a heart as big as a wash tub, sent me the following story in an e mail. I had heard the story years ago, but hadn’t read it in a long time, but today when I read it, I thought about how the psychopathic experience makes this a very valuable analogy.

Taking care of ourselves–FIRST!

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Wearing my “nurse Joyce hat” is part of what I am, although I am retired. Even though I am no longer in practice giving out specific medical advice to patients and billing insurance companies, Medicare and private payers for the advice, I still am inclined to look at things from a medical point of view.

Psychopaths rape the soul

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

I was reading an article the other day that talked about “justice” for victims. It said that a rape victim is “made whole” after his or her attack when the perp is put in prison. How can a victim of violent rape be “made whole,” no matter what justice is meted out to their attacker? It can’t be done.

Life Happens

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

It’s recently been pretty trying around our little “hole in the woods.” A dog we loved dearly “disappeared” out of the yard, and we’ve been able to find neither “hide nor hair” of him, dead or alive. Not knowing what happened to him is sort of disturbing, but we are dealing with the thought that he got close to the road and someone picked him up, or that the plentiful packs of coyotes that circle our yard got him. He was brave enough (and dumb enough) to attack them if they came into his territory. Whatever happened to him, he is gone, and at this point not likely to return. His silly little ways are greatly missed, even by the other animals in the house.

Taking back our power

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

Each one of us has more power than we generally perceive we do. Some people, in fact, do not recognize that they have any power over either what happens to them, or to how they react to what happens to them. Yet, we are totally powerful people; we have total power over what goes on inside us.

Recognizing that I am a powerful person with ultimate control over my emotions and actions is a heady feeling, and a scary feeling too. It is heady because it gives us a feeling that we can control ourselves, but it is scary because we also realize that there is no one else who can save us if we fail to exercise that power fully or competently.

Taking care of our own needs first

By Joyce Alexander, RNP, (retired)

There have been some discussions on Lovefraud lately about people not taking care of themselves, “until X happens, then I’m going to go to the doctor.” This got me to thinking about how important it is for us to put ourselves first.

The very person who has always “put others first” (me) because that is what a “good person does” would feel very guilty if I spent money on myself, even for things I needed. I would send money to my son Patrick in prison for commissary money when I had to do without things I needed or wanted, because I felt guilty if I didn’t send him money.

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