All posts by projectlifequality

Project life quality is a low-threshold non for profit organisation for victims of abuse. By "Abuse victims" we mean individuals who have been exposed to psychological and physical offensive behaviour affecting their life Quality. PLQ is a charity supporting survivors to break free from abuse and develop their independent lives through motivation and education. Raising Awareness ~Raising Survivors https://projectlifequality.com/ Also on Instagram & Facebook

Just Call Me Lolli – Good Relationships

justcallmelolli

Good Relationships

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5 Love Languages

A while back I discovered the ‘five love languages’ phenomena. I felt quite out of place due to my lack of awareness. “What a funny thing” I thought. My curiosity outran my ignorance, so I looked it up online. Turns out it’s actually a well known book. Not only that, but it also has a website. Furthermore, you can indulge yourself in an interesting study of your own personality by taking several quizzes. The most popular one is obviously discovering your love language, but more than that it provides an apology language quiz. The second one may be very useful for married couples. Just saying! I don’t want to give everything away when it comes to this resource. However, I do want to point out that by taking this quiz, it won’t make you a better person magically. It’s just a means to understand yourself a little bit better. The results may or may not be accurate. I would say to just go for it.  Click the link below.

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/

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Impact

There’s several misconceptions that I want to address when it comes to relationships. mInd you, I am no relationship expert or a matchmaker. However, I found extremely misleading some ideologies that pop culture profess. The first one is this phrase: “You complete me.” To imply that another person completes you equals a bad business transaction. Don’t judge me! I see business and marketing in everything. After all that’s my major. If another person completes you, it is therefore inferred that someone is full but the other party is empty. It’s like putting gas in your car. The “pump” station will still have gasoline for the next customer. It will not become empty just because you put some in your car. I find this too stressful. People make mistakes and they are not perfect! To put all of your hopes, dreams, expectations, emotional stability, and future in one person is not wise. If you make a person your god, you will be disappointed. Another misconception is this: “My other half.”  You see it’s not about finding the “one”, it’s about becoming the one. Two single individuals who are whole will have better results when they come together. Another person cannot make you whole. Because if they did, they would be perfect. When it comes to relationships it’s not about what they can give to you, it’s about what you can give. It’s about impacting others in the best way possible, while growing at the same time.

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Ask before Assuming

I am not married! However, you don’t have to be married to understand the human dysfunction. We all mess up. But we also put ourselves through unnecessary pain, just because we are too prideful to confront the other person with our questions or concerns. People are not mind readers, therefore if you are experiencing an unmet expectation, it could be that you never expressed your expectation in the first place. Instead of assuming what others are thinking, studying you, or even treating you, wouldn’t it be better to get all doubts out of your head? Hard conversations are the best, because they help you understand people. Maybe it will help you tremendously to sit down with your spouse, friend, or partner and address your hurts and other things that you haven’t been talking about. You know, sometimes people hurt us and they are not even aware that they did. We hold a terrible vendetta against those who may be uninformed of their own actions. If you ask before assuming, then your relationships will become stronger and better. Sometimes people act out because they have been stressed or are going through things.
And remember…you are beautiful!

Loren Ruiz

PLQ Survivor and Ambassador

Weekly Motivational Video With Kenyatta – Good Relationships

Nutritional2. memeA good relationship is not completely defined by how someone makes you feel, but is enhanced by setting standard that demands that you are treated with respect at all times!

Before we can invite anyone new into our lives, we have to establish a baseline of love and respect for ourselves before we begin extending any invitation. If we do not establish a solid base of self-love, it can sometimes alter our judgment and ultimately attract and allow the wrong people to enter our lives!

A good relationship begins with settings high expectations and standards for what you establish to be worthy enough to come into our lives. This means that if you see any actions that do not meet your standards or expectations, then it is vital to walk away from that person or environment immediately.

The biggest question that you have to ask yourself, is how do I define a good relationship. Understanding how to answer this question, will give you the building blocks to create the standards and expectations you are going to set.

Here are a few questions that you can use to begin your journey. What are the intentions of the person or group you just met? What do you have in common with them? Do their words match their actions? How do they treat other people that are around you? What are they passionate about? How do they respond to stress? Do you feel at ease around them? Does this person inspire or motivate you?

This list is just an example of a few questions that you can ask, so feel free to add more questions as they come to you. Once you get the answers to these questions, it will start to paint a picture of who this person is and if they are capable of creating a good relationship.

Weekly Motivational Video – Good Relationship

 

Sincerely,

Kenyatta Mitchell

PLQ Supporter and Motivational Speaker

kenyatta

Dare to Create – Could Prince Charming be too good to be true?

 ADB4C6C5-2633-4C6D-ABA8-49F995A41053.jpegImage source – skitterphotos.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Todays article focuses on the subject of good relations.

Following on from last week’s article and my personal example of an unhealthy relationship, we are diving a little deeper this week and asking ourselves what good relations look and feel like.

I’m writing this on the international day of love – St. Valentine’s Day – ironic, I know. I have found myself thinking about the contrast between my first ‘boyfriend’ and my supportive husband of fifteen years and the songs played on our wedding day. With that in mind, today’s challenge and survivor story is a musical one.

Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I challenging you to help me create a list of go-to music which can help us all find strength at times when we feel lost, unloved and without control. We have far more ability to change our situation than we often believe.

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The challenge – share your songs with us

  • Which songs remind you that you are good enough or strong enough?
  • That you are beautiful and powerful?
  • Lift your mood or give you courage?
  • Remind you that you can walk away?
  • Remind you what a good relationship looks and feels like?

The most popular suggestions received, will be added to PLQ’s Spotify playlist. 

These are my favorite songs for lifting me up

  • “You Make Loving Fun” – Fleetwood Mac
  • “How Long Will I Love You (2008 Remaster)” – The Waterboys
  • “Ice cream” – Sarah McLachlan
  • “Just the Way You Are” – Billy Joel
  • “At My Most Beautiful” – R.E.M.

Abuse leaves its scars and sometimes I need a reminder that life is good now.

Take time to ponder the questions in the challenge, look at the lyrics, then post your suggestions on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your participation!

Today I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a card. Both chosen with care and the aim of making me happy, telling me I’m special and loved for who I am. But it’s not the first time I’ve received gifts from a partner or admirer, so what’s different? Well, in my experience, a manipulator or predatory individual may use gifts as a way control your feelings and responses. (Love-bombing.)

This link explains it in more detail. (Remember abusers can just as easily be another gender, this is just more common)

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/abusive-men-are-often-charmers-beware-of-gifts-used-to/article_4bde5066-c389-5483-8105-ca778d3d5b70.html

The video in my previous article also shows how giving can be a tool of the abuser.

https://projectlifequality.com/2018/02/13/dare-to-create-abuse-are-you-seeing-the-signs/

862018CC-1CBA-4C2A-83B3-33FDC6CE55E3.jpeg– Brittany Bexton

This week’s inspiration – Brittany Bexton

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Brittany Bexton in concert

Continuing the theme of good relations and music, today I’m going to share a snippet of an interview I recently did with Brittany Bexton, a highly respected singer-songwriter and musician, who’s talents are better known in America’s music magnet, Nashville, Tennessee. 

My initial impression was of a sensitive, confident woman who’d always had her life together and knew where she was heading, but in speaking to her I learned of the damage that can be done by abuse.

F28E7116-A022-4CAD-A331-9749B2FE4E3C.jpeg – Brittany Bexton

I was impressed by not only what she’s achieving musically but also how she’s moved on from the abusive.

3DD7F182-6DC0-4E0B-9E71-EFFB623A42F2.jpeg – Brittany Bexton

Brittany is now so much more than a talented singer, especially to those she reaches out to via Instagram and her website – http://www.BrittanyBexton.com Her social media platforms are also very inspiring, a place where she doesn’t only share updates on her latest gigs. Brittany is a force – a voice for survivors of abuse, an educator and an advocate for change in society.

You’ll soon get to meet Brittany properly, when I share my full interview with her, in one of our Sunday Survivor Portraits. In the meantime, learn more about love-bombing, and listen to her “soulful, rootsy rock with a positive message.”  You’ll find one of her songs in our Spotify playlist.

Thank you for sharing with us Brittany and for managing to carve out so much time for our chat from your precious rehearsal time.

Maybe this has made you feel like picking up your dusty guitar again or joining a singing group, or reconnecting with music you used to listen to, whatever it is, don’t let this day or this thought go – grasp it with both hands. This is the real you.

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist

 

Monday Educational Article — What is a Good Relationship?

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We’ve talked a little about warning signs of a bad relationship. What are the signs of a positive relationship?

Let’s begin by restating that you have a worth and beauty as yourself, alone. You should not become anxious or depressed over your relationship status. If and when you feel confident in yourself to take on the role of a relationship partner, you will find it easier to engage others. This is true of more than just romantic relationships. Your work and friendship relationships will become more meaningful as you practice mindfulness and self-appreciation of your worth.

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Respect

As an outgrowth of respect for yourself, a positive relationship is built on mutual respect for each other. The partners are important to each other. You should be glad to give your time to your partner. You should be able to forgive each other’s shortcomings as less important than the continued relationship. Outside concerns should be relegated to their proper place in your priorities, which means distractions should be eliminated.

Trust

A positive relationship should be built on trust in each other. You should recognize that each of you are different with your own personality and outlook. This will be complimentary instead of disturbing. Your independent qualities should be identified and celebrated. A positive relationship allows each partner enough time alone to recharge their energies on their own preferred recreations, although, again, the respect for the partner means being glad to focus appropriate time on them and on the relationship.

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Communication

People in a positive relationship are eager to develop their communication skills. Learning to listen quietly and affirmatively is important. It gives the partner proper attention and helps develop awareness of your partner’s unique personality and needs, and prepares you to look to provide for those needs. Likewise, having a partner who listens means your own views will be validated and your needs fulfilled. People in positive relationships take the time to stay connected during the day and respond to each other. This goes again to our discussion of respect in a relationship.

Empathy

People in a positive relationship look to develop empathy for each other. They show each other frequent affection. They look to surprise and delight their partner. They find humor in the challenges of everyday living. They are willing to identify goals, and work together on goals.

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See a pattern here? A positive partner respects your independent self-worth. A positive partner is ready to commit time to get to know you as a special person. They allow you your own space, and viewpoints. They are ready to develop the communication skills to identify and respond to your needs. They look to connect emotionally with you and become an functional help to your own pursuits.

I am glad we had an opportunity to discuss something positive this time of year! Again, don’t be anxious or depressed if you do not yet feel you are in a positive relationship. We believe you are strong and capable enough to develop these bonds of empathy, trust, and respect in their own good time. It’s important to focus on your own self-development as needed, whether you have what you consider to be a fulfilling relationship or without one.

And remember,

You are Beautiful

Christopher Andrew Balsz Jr.
PLQ Contributor and Mentor

Just CAll Me Lolli – PLQ Survivor On Warning Signs

justcallmelolli

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In this article, we will be discussing warning signs that communicate the possibility of you being involved with a toxic person. Absolute denial and fantasy like idiosyncrasies are just two normal characteristics that spring up from an individual that has been in an abusive relationship for some time. Keep in mind that there are many warning signs or ‘red flags’.  Also, may I emphasize the fact that this article is in no one way, shape or form to ridicule the victims or survivors reading this. PLQ understands that you have been through much shame and condemnation already. We just want to pull the curtains aside, for you to take inventory regarding relationships.

A HEALTHY HUNCH

We have a national frog in my home country called the coquí. (Pronounced: koh-kee) These cute and small creatures sing only during two occasions; at night and before it rains. When the thick humid air collides with the already warm tropical climate, you will hear them sing. And if the sky hasn’t been painted by hues of black or blue while they’re singing, you know it’s going to rain a lot. I leave you this picture in your mind, in hopes that the next time you decide to open your heart you will be alert enough to hear them sing. And by them, I mean the warning signs. It can be incredibly hard to decipher whether or not an individual has abusive tendencies after the first date. The reason why is because most abusers are very good con artists. Unfortunately, the only way you will be able to know if a person is like that is by getting to know them for a while. It wouldn’t be fair to label someone as an abuser after the first date. But of course every situation is different. There are those who are terrible actors and you can see right through their smile. Please don’t let your emotions get in the way, be alert at all times. Especially if you’re interested in being involved with another person.

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PSYCHOLOGICAL SIGNS

At the core of each abuser is insecurity, pride, and rejection. They will project these hurts unto people in subtle ways. An insecure person will be extremely needy, push you to become dependent on them, and rush the normal stages of a relationship. When it comes to the prideful aspect of the persona, they will talk a lot about themselves, especially about past accomplishments or their current achievements such as career trajectory. As far as describing their last relationships, he or she will always be portrayed as the victim. There is a lack of ownership when it comes to this. The rejection issues will be show-cased whether it’s over complimenting you, idolizing you, or subtly ignoring your needs. An example of the last thing I said is the following. My friend told me that on the first date with her husband, they agreed to grab coffee. It was cold and at night. At one point my friend and the individual were outside for a long period of time. She was very cold, and he didn’t make a conscious effort of moving to a warmer place. It’s the small things you have to pay attention to. I’m telling you…

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TOXIC TACTICS

So what are the techniques these individuals use? I’m glad you asked. Before I list several mannerisms, I need to expand on manipulation. Abusers will manipulate you, remember they are con artists. The only way of getting their way is by controlling situations. They will figure out how to get a first date from you even if you say no countless times. They will also figure out  how to configure your feelings to the point where you are no longer an administrator of them, but a puppet. Oh, but we don’t want you to get to that point of ghostly customs; where you have no control over your own Google calendar. This is why you must be alert. If the person you are with wants to get to know well your friends, it’s to analyze your interests, likes, dislikes, places you frequent, and to ultimately have their phone numbers. Why you ask? If you don’t answer your phone calls or texts, he will call everyone that knows you. Does this sound too familiar? Maybe the list below will.

  • Wants to know where you have been and what have you been doing.
  • Silent treatment.
  • Proceeds to curse you and then apologize.
  • Abrasive physical movements around your personal space. (Example: Arm around you, but it makes you feel uncomfortable. Hand gestures close to your face.)
  • Passive aggressive behavior.
  • Hides information that is essential for relationships. (Job, family ties, etc.)
  • Compares you with other women or men.
  • Makes you feel guilty.
  • Show excessive immature emotional behaviors.
  • Calls you denigrating nicknames.
  • A strong feeling of apathy towards your needs or wants.
  • Buys you many things at the beginning of the relationship. (If the person is wealthy, then this is of no harm.)
  • Pressures you into going out and doing things you don’t want to.
  • Extremely jealous and possessive. (Wants to isolate you from relatives and friends).

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MY PERSONAL STORY

I will try to summarize as much as I can when it comes to my own personal experience. I want you to know that you’re not alone. Mind you, I have been abused for a long time since childhood, but when it comes to an abusive relationship the best example I can give is the following. I never felt safe with him. Which is another red flag. If you don’t feel safe, something’s not right. He used to compare me with other girls, as well as completely disregard my needs. He barely talked about his family. He never once talked about having friends. That honestly scared me. How can you expect to be healthy with an isolated person? When I visited his house (at high hours of the night…I should not have!) he said his roommates were sleeping. Never did I see another soul in that house. How disturbing is that? Anyways, he made little efforts in talking to me throughout the day. Our second date was at a barbeque joint. Not really my style. I only ordered water because I wasn’t that hungry. The first date was also questionable. It was at a park. Not bad. However, on the way back to my place he expressed inconsistent values that further confused me. The thing that most disturbed me was the fact that he stated how he liked to argue, just for the sake of arguing. That’s a heavy characteristic of a prideful person. The third date we went to the movies. When we got there I stepped out of the car. He told me: “You almost impressed me. Most girls I go out with let me open the door for them.” His words hijacked my enthusiasm. It reduced me to small pieces of shame. But the feeling of being pursued and wanted fueled me to get past two dates.  What is beyond me is the fact that I kissed this person. At first he told me he wanted to kiss me, but I declined. We were in a college dorm parking lot. I didn’t want an audience. How disrespectful right? I eventually did, but we went to another place. I know that’s private, but I don’t  want you to ever make the mistake I did. Don’t go as far as I did. I beg you. He broke up with me and we stopped seeing each other, I didn’t get depressed. In fact I was relieved. I danced around the house and I was free.  I am free.

And remember…you are beautiful

Loren Ruiz

PLQ Survivor and Ambassador.

Weekly Motivational Video With Kenyatta – Warning Signs

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A warning sign is designed to provide a stop check of what to look for before something bad occurs. Creating  a checklist of what to look for in advance, will equip you to make better decisions that ultimately will aid in your over all wellness.

One of the most important tools that we can use in creating positive change in our life, is ability to say no and reject anything that does not add value to your life. When we begin to eliminate the things that we do not want in our lives, we can begin to make room for the things we want in our lives. In order to that, you have to set boundaries and look for warning signs to know what not to allow in.

You are worthy of feeling loved! You are worthy of being happy! You are worthy of having your ideas be supported! You are worthy to feel safe! You are worthy be expressive without ridicule! You are worthy of being appreciated! You are worthy of being YOU without judgement! You are worthy of being vociferous! You are worthy, and it is for that reason alone that everyone doesn’t get the opportunity to be in your life without your approval.

Once you fully accept that you are worthy, it is important to create a check list of acceptable behavior that is consistently positive and supportive. If you see a variance between what is being said and what is being done, then that is typically a warning sign that the mixed messages that are being sent is only a preview of what’s to come. When you see behavior that is possessive, verbal, or even physical then it is warning sign that the person in front of you will never truly appreciate your worth.

It is also important to recognize warning signs for those who may fall into self destructive behavior. What are the triggers that lead to the destructive behaviors? Understanding what the triggers are is a vital component of knowing what the warning signs are, which can assist you with developing a strategy to avoid and eventually convert destructive behavior into a constructive one.

Look for the warning signs, know that you are worthy, and the life that was given to you doesn’t require the permission from anyone to live!

Weekly Motivational Video – Warning Signs

 

Sincerely,

Kenyatta Mitchell
PLQ Supporter and Motivational Speaker

 

kenyatta

Dare to Create – abuse – are you seeing the signs?

70D0B142-AB55-40F0-8720-AC139AC473AFhttp://www.pixabay.com

Hello readers, and welcome to another Dare to Create article from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are provided with a suggestion to take away with you.

This will be something designed to encourage, and motivate you to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. In January PLQ began exploring the topic of Self – A Fresh Start, and we continue this theme in February. Todays article focuses on the subject of warning signs.

Inspired by the courage of the many survivors I’ve interviewed for PLQ, today I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and share something I’ve told very few people. I believe that had my seventeen year-old self known that what I was experiencing was abuse, I’d have distanced myself a great deal sooner! If you’d like to know a little more of my story, you’ll find it below this weeks Dare to Create challenge.

“He lived just doors away, went to the same church, insisted on seeing me every day and for hours at a time. He also knew the layout of the college, having studied there.”

Dare to Create – the challenge

This week, I challenge you to think about what a good relationship looks and feels like.

The challenge

Describe a healthy relationship using five words. You can see what I chose, below the image.

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My five chosen words:

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1. FREEDOM

2. CONSIDERATION

3. INDEPENDENCE (of thought & actions)

4. TRUST

5. HONESTY
What will yours be?

Be as creative, colourful and bold as you want, then post it on Instagram. Please don’t forget to tag your photo with #plq and #daretocreate. The team at @projectlifequality loves seeing your amazing artwork.

TRIGGER WARNING
This story holds content that might be triggering if you have been experiencing stalking, threats of violence or witnessed abuse.

Survivor story – a little about me

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I was the class nerd. I wore unfashionable glasses and was bottom of the class in everything. I was also desperately shy, insecure and very lonely. I struggled to make friends all the way through school and into adulthood and was bullied relentlessly. Those years were hellish, and I was only happy when away from the environment.

When not at school, life was good. I was fortunate to have amazing parents and when not bickering, my siblings and I were close. We knew we were loved unconditionally, and they were always there for us as we grew up, something I’m aware many of you reading this, sadly didn’t have. But despite living in this happy, safe family home, where I witnessed positive parenting and good relationships, I didn’t see the warning signs of an abuser in my first “relationship”.

I use the term relationship losely. Weird as this sounds, I wasn’t in fact consulted on the dating thing! He just told people I was his girlfriend and people assumed it to be true. He knew I wouldn’t feel able to dispute this, due to my lack of confidence. He also knew I was lonely. I probably should have recognised that this wasn’t going to be a healthy relationship, but I was naïve. I saw a friend in them and told myself it was okay, I would simply back-off if things got more uncomfortable. Little did I know how hard that would be!

Within weeks he was manipulating me in significant ways, overstaying his welcome, well into the early hours and straining family relationships. He found ways to accompany me everywhere, without invitation. He expected intimacy when I wanted none and even wanted me to wear a ring on my engagement finger, so it looked like we were in a serious relationship. He was controlling and narcissistic. Things turned particularly sour when I approached my exams. Carl hated to feel unimportant.

One day, while studying alone at home, he knocked the door. I knew he wouldn’t leave if I didn’t answer, so I agreed to a couple of minutes. When I continued revising, he got angry, took out a kitchen knife and threatened me. I freaked!

After that, I refused to see him, but he stalked me daily for three years. I told nobody and remained terrified of seeing him again for decades. Shame and disgust kept me quiet, but if I’d known there were warning signs of abuse, this may never have happened.

Warning signs of abuse – useful links

https://www.breakthecycle.org/warning-signs

https://www.breakthecycle.org/how-common-dating-abuse

https://www.equation.org.uk/is-it-abuse/

Though I dislike the American term “battered” and the genders stereotypes, this is a good video explaining the Power and Control Wheel, by the researchers.

http://www.theduluthmodel.org

Be the person you want to be!

Sincerely

Rebecca Goldthorpe

PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist