Book Giveaway:Wanda is offering to two randomly chosen commenters a printed edition of THE SEARCH FOR PEACE and to one commenter, a copy of MOVING ON: AFTER A STORM. The winners will be announced here on Friday, September 20th, between 5-6 PM EST. For convenience, please leave your contact information within your comment. Thanks!
An Excerpt from THE SEARCH FOR PEACE:
KEEPING IT REAL... MY STORY by Wanda Winters-Gutierrez
When Elaine kindly offered me the honor of being a guest on Everyone’s Story I wanted to share a bit of my personal journey in hope that might inspire others to make quality decisions and learn to flow with freedom past boundaries and limitations into their own life of endless possibilities.
I began writing a half a century ago as a young teen because I needed to process my life into some semblance of order. Yet, I was near 60 years old, 58 to be exact, before my first book was published ... followed by an average of a book a year for the last nine years. All of them are well accepted and selling internationally. Along the way I have won awards, received fan mail, spoken to crowds and autographed more books that I can count. Looking back it seems that every book I write holds elements of how to move from a life of unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues into who God created you to be. Strangely enough even the two books co-written with my kitten Blessed Mickey Parker touches on...how to survive the worse and come out into a good-good place.
I had a dream...I saw a woman in a basement room. She was very well taken care of, in need of no material possession, but seemed to be under house arrest. I saw her look wistfully through her high window to a bit of sky where a bird sailed full of grace and beauty. As she turned away from the window I could feel her painful loneliness for something she could not define.
I continued to watch from a distance, feeling sad for the woman, when suddenly I realized she was me. That's when I heard a voice saying, "The door is locked from the inside."
"The door is locked from the inside." So why didn't I walk out?
I was a dyed-in-the-wool people pleaser. My training began early. First with my family, then teachers, society, church, relationships, each sent messages, or outright told me, that certain actions, thoughts, jobs, attitudes, opinions, use of time, and certain clothes were unacceptable. In unmistakable terms I was given to know that stepping outside the 'tank' of 'our' value system was a risky and dangerous business.
I learned my lessons well. In trying to make other people happy I continued to shrink my world until I lived in a self imposed captivity... especially in my gift as a writer. Over the years I had jumped out of the tank now and then to create beauty and touch lives, but I had been unable to stay free and productive for any length of time. I was always second-guessing myself.
The tape of my 'training' about my writing ran like a river through my soul...."You only have an 8th grade education you can't be a writer... You have a learning disability... Who would want to read anything you wrote?... all spoken by people I loved and who said they loved me. In essence my mind had become a bus and I was letting others drive it.
Because of the endless negative comments over the years about other areas of my life I learned to feel I should stop all unacceptable behavior such as having my own taste in clothes...make-up...hairstyle etc. My early years had laid the groundwork in my soul that created a magnet in me that drew narcissistic controllers. It was all I had ever known and it became a comfort zone from hell.
All I ever wanted was someone who would validate who I am.. to see past my limitations into my heart. What I saw in their eyes was none of this...the light I mistook for approval and validation was the narcissistic/controlling glow of how I could make their life work better, and how they can use me to further their agenda. One day, much like the prodigal son, I came to myself and knew it was time to start living the life my Heavenly Father planned for me.
In retrospect, I am not complaining. I have traveled this path to soul healing long enough to know that, as an adult I had helped create the mess I found myself in with my freewill, and I would have to cooperate with God to get me out of it by using the same freewill. Not an easy trip, but one I documented in simple to follow steps in my first book The Search for Peace:A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Wholeness.
As I set out to learn I soon discovered that there is no quick, painless fixes. But as usual even the decision to learn caused a great light to appear on my path as books, articles, FB Blogs, people and insights apparently' just happened' my way. A particular article by Merrill Markoe opened my eyes about narcissist/controller relationships: you walk a fine line...you need to 'SHINE" but "ONLY' in a way that cast a favorable light on them. Do not under any circumstance shine so bright that the attention is directed toward you and not them.
I was considered selfish and self-centered if I made a decision that is different from theirs. Over the years I have turned a huge amount of my money and life over to them just to prove my love and keep the peace. I learned that narcissist are people who cover up feelings of shame and worthlessness inflicted during their messed up childhood by doing whatever it takes to maintain the false sense that they are very special and therefore not bound by ordinary rules. This requires them to surround themselves with people who will constantly pump them up by agreeing with them about everything.
I had a serious 'wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee-moment' and realized that, I too, had..."spent most of my life as an admiring audience, acting as a vent for their anger, as a Fan Club President, or an incompetent maid for the narcissist around me. If I was not mirroring them, or praising them I was proving I was a separate person and thus threaten a narcissist fragile worldview. When I demonstrate that I have ideas they tend to totally reject them and take it as a personal affront."
As a Christian, the death of expectations removed the fuel that had propelled me forward for years. Gone forever was the dream that by treating them with kid gloves and loving them unconditionally would transform them. I had to face the brutal fact I wrote about in The Search for Peace: A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Wholeness... "I was not their Savior... Jesus was and I needed to let go." All those years what I wanted to think was 'compassion and long suffering' was codependency cleverly wrapped in a cloak of piety.
According to Ms. Markoe the ONLY practical method for coping with a narcissist is ...
#1 Change your expectations.
#2 Maintain emotional distance.
#3 Stop trying to please un-pleasable people.
With all these insights tucked into my soul the journey continues and clarity comes. As I made changes low and behold a prolific writer stepped forth and embraced who she was created to be. Let me assure you it is the ONLY way to write...actually it is the ONLY way to live.
I am now 67 and these days I am freshly inspired to go beyond the boundaries of my weaknesses, to challenge the walls of my limitations, and believe in the endless possibilities that God promised me in... Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I promise you... it is never too late.
Wanda's Ah-hahs To Tweet:
Everyone’s Story: Wanda Winters-Gutierrez, helping hearts and souls of the wounded (Tweet This)
Peace in a narcissistic-co-dependent relationship? See what author Wanda Winters-Gutierrez says (Tweet This)
#Giveaway for you or a loved one: The Search for Peace: A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Wholeness. (Tweet This)
Author's Bio:Wanda Winters-Gutierrez specializes in creative non-fiction, inspiration, and memoirs.
She is known as a writer with a unique ability to draw the reader into the emotion of the moment. Because of her insight and spiritual understanding she has been able to touch the hearts and souls of wounded people all over the world.
She leads workshops, seminars, retreats, teaching meditation, meditative journaling, artistic and other creative classes. Her various endeavors are all geared toward setting people free from the un-met needs, un-healed hurts and un-resolved issues of their past and take them beyond to healing.
Her first book The Search for Peace: A Women's Guide to Spiritual Wholeness is being used in women's prisons, halfway houses, and shelters for abused women as well as a study book in churches and other organizations.
You can connect with Wanda at:
A Note From Elaine:
In following professionals' advice, I've started an Author's Page on Facebook. I'd love for you to Like it at : https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElaineStock