Living in the Age of Envy.



Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment?

We live in the age of envy. Career envy, kitchen envy, children envy, food envy, upper arm envy, holiday envy. You name it, there’s an envy for it. Human beings have always felt what Aristotle defined in the fourth century BC as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have”  (The Guardian)


Recently an acquaintance made the comment that they wished they could live my life. In this person’s eyes it seemed as if my life was perfect…great husband, happily married, beautiful house, dogs, horses, and creating art.
In the back of my mind I thought; Would you be willing to pay the price that I had to pay to get where I am now? Would you be willing to be emotionally and physically abused, raped, beaten and rejected, sworn at, hurt, accused and abused? And yet…take 10 + years and more to work through all that rejection and abuse to reach forgiveness and freedom?

None of us knows the story of the other. I used to (and sometimes still do), look at others and ask: Why them? Why not me?

We each live a life given to us and influenced by our circumstances. Some of us were blessed to be born with good parental guidance, some of us were born with nothing. Some of us were born broken in body and soul.

I do still feel unpleasant pangs of envy every now and then. Perhaps in part, it is because we do not know how to answer the question: “What would be good enough?”

We each were given a portion.

What I do with my portion is my choice. I can choose to continue to envy others, wish for their lives, for what they have. It will never be enough. Each one of us pays for our portion. We pay by allowing God to wash us of our past and renew our minds.
I also had to to do that. I had to face my own transgressions and reaction. The choices I made that hurt myself and other people.
I had to choose to renew my mind. To see the glass half full and not half empty.
I had to choose life.

‘I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’. – Deut 30:19

Storms of Anger

I am Brave but I Bleed.

This is my Story: Part 2.

I’m trying to answer the age old question of: Why did you paint this? 

Storms of anger.

All my physical needs were met, but no spiritual or emotional needs.

I grew up in a lake of bitterness and despair, with waves of resentment and storms of anger.

Learned early on that I had to be strong and courageous as no one else was going to protect me. No one would stand up and ransom me. I had to be brave

Much later in life, I learned that each person’s name has a meaning. We are not named randomly. Every person’s name describes their calling.

For example, Robert means, Bright Fame. Gary means Bold Spear. Niel means, Champion or cloud, and my name meant…

Leonie, lioness and little girl with a brave and courageous heart.

My mother also came from a dysfunctional  background.

Her father was a violent alcoholic. She grew up being given too much responsibility at a very young age. At the age of six, she stood on a chair, in front of a cole-stove cooking breakfast for her younger siblings.

She also had a very bad stutter and because of the stutter, she was sent to a special school. She did not have the opportunity to finish school but had to go work to support her family. (She was also a brave girl)

At this point, my grandmother had already divorced her first husband due to his violence and drinking.

Take into account that this was during the depression, and a single divorced woman was an outcast. My mother felt responsible for her family, giving her whole income to my grandmother to help feed the rest of the family. At this point, she was staying with her family in Parrow, a suburb in Cape Town, and working as a nurse at Tygerberg Hospital, also in Belville.

When we have alcoholic parents, we became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfil our sick abandonment needs.

The Laundry List.

14 Traits of an Adult Child.

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism* is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics** and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics** are reactors rather than actors.

A Family of Orphans

The story behind this painting.

This painting is still a work in progress. You are allowed a sneak peak into my heart and mind.

I’m trying to answer the age old question of: Why did you paint this? 

I see light in the darkness

I was born an orphan in a house full of orphans.

According to Wikipedia, an orphan is; someone whose parents have died, are unknown, or have permanently or emotionally (sometimes unintentionally) abandoned them.

The Bible calls it; A person who has been deprived of parents. 

Lamentations 5:3: “We have become orphans and fatherless, our mothers like widows.” 

My father lost his mother at the age of 10 when he found her dead on the floor. Both he and his younger brother were brought up by their grandmother and various aunts and uncles.

My dad was an extremely clever man with a very high IQ, very sensitive and never had the opportunity or counseling to deal with his loss. He started drinking at a very early age and was already a highly functional alcoholic in his twenties.

During his life, he was very successful at his work but was constantly in and out of rehab.

I have no doubt, that he did the best he knew to do. He did not grow up with a father figure and had no one to tell him how to be a husband and a father.

They call it ACA, Adult Children of Alcoholics

How did it affect me?

They call it ACA…Children of Alcoholics.
If you grew up in an alcoholic home, you never know what to expect from one day to the next. When one or both parents struggle with addiction, the home environment is predictably unpredictable.

Arguments, inconsistency, unreliability, and chaos tend to run rampant. Children of alcoholics don’t get many of their emotional needs met due to these challenges, often leading to skewed behaviors and difficulties in properly caring for themselves and their feelings later in life.

The website, Very Well Mind mentioned 13 characteristics of ACA Children…and I had all of them.

If you were never given the attention and emotional support you needed during a key developmental time in your youth and instead were preoccupied with the dysfunctional behavior of a parent, it may certainly be hard (or perhaps impossible) to know how to get your needs met as an adult. Furthermore, if you lacked positive foundational relationships, it may be difficult to develop healthy, trusting interpersonal relationships later on.

Children of alcoholics often have to deny their feelings of sadness, fear, and anger in order to survive. And since unresolved feelings will always surface eventually, they often manifest during adulthood. 

In my life, it manifested in distrust and hatred of both my parents and seeking affirmation in the wrong places. I was drowning in my own bitterness.

Look out for Part Two: Storms of Anger