Television Strong Women As Role Models? Career Dangerous In Real Life!

“Let’s Hear It for TV’s Difficult Women”
Megan Angelo
Glamour Magazine
June 2015

Lady Mary
Downtown Abbey

Selina Meyer


Carrie Mathison

Olivia Pope

Claire Underwood
House of Cards

Abby and Hana
Broad City

While going through a stack of old magazines in December 2019, I came across the article above. I had to write my reaction within days.

These are quotes from the article:

“Headlining every breakout show are the sort of women who have
historically been classified as ‘difficult,” even bitchy—ambitious,
blunt, and staunchly ‘bout their own business.”

“Sure, Cookie may rub some people the wrong way, but who cares?
She fights for what she wants. And that’s the crux of the ice-cold,
attitude-y TV ladies—they’re risk takers and, ultimately, winners.”

“Then we go home and watch women who remind people pleasers
like me that a well-placed retort, a scorching rant, or even just a
meaningful pause are doable, important, and something we should try,
on whatever level we can handle.”

Megan Angelo forgot that television characters care only if the writers make them care. Real people care. In real life, bitches invite backlash. Lots of people accept those invitations and choose among the following:




Real life former bitch Bernadette Boas wrote a book about why she stopped being a bitch. The quote below reveals why real life bitches lose:

“Today, large and small businesses engage me to help them find a solution
to breaking the glass ceiling for the women in their organization. On one
particular call, a man who headed up a large medical practice explained to
me how the two women on his Board of Directors, both eligible to replace the
CEO, were going to be overlooked, because, he stated, “They’re bitches.”
The women were qualified and deserving of the position, but no one would
vote them in because of their attitudes. I  knew exactly what he was talking about.”

Bernadette also feels shame. She feels ashamed for not caring that she was a bitch. This is her apology for decades of bitchiness:

Forgive me for the bitch I was.

Forgive me for not knowing I was.

Forgive me for not caring I was.

I am truly sorry.

Do you enjoy living with shame?

I use the phrase “girl growls” for the statements ice-cold, attitude-y women make about other women without caring. Read how one “strong woman” growled for what she wanted and lost. I used a girl growl and lost, too.

Now read how Rafe Esquith made a point of being nice to everyone. The invitations he sent out came back when he was in his greatest need of support. Rafe Esquith won. The bitches qualified to be CEO and Billionaire Mafia owner Lana Fuchs lost. Television writers can make bitches win no matter what they do. People in your life can make you lose because of what you do.

I wonder how much backlash Megan Angelo invited if she used “well-placed retorts” and “scorching rants”. How much of the backlash was behind her back?

I have a blog full of real world examples of success sparking success and failure flaring failure. We can’t control the factors that create serendipitous success or freaky failure, but we can control whether we choose and invite every other type of success or failure.

The CEO candidate bitches and Billionaire Mafia owner Lana Fuchs chose and invited failure. Rafe Esquith chose and invited success.

What do you choose?

Back to one Megan Angelo quote:

“Sure, Cookie may rub some people the wrong way, but who cares?”

Megan doesn’t care when women treat other women as unequal? Does she care when other women treat her as unequal?

I care when women create inequality for other women because I want equality. Equality between men and women will follow equality between women. Read the Girl GritGirl Goodwill, and Success & Failure Choices pages on my website to understand how creating equality sparks success, including unforeseen success.

Back to Bernadette Boas’ apology:

Forgive me for the bitch I was.

Forgive me for not knowing I was.

Forgive me for not caring I was.

I am truly sorry.

Bernadette feels shame for the decades she didn’t care. When Megan Angelo finally starts caring, other women will care enough to spark success for her. Because Bernadette Boas cares about helping other women now, I promote her book, her radio show, and her consulting at every opportunity to quote her. I am doing my best to help Bernadette Boas win because of what she does. When more women win as CEOs (and Presidents and Prime Ministers), women like me will have more opportunities for success in other areas.

And because I support Bernadette, Bernadette has repeatedly offered to support me. In an email exchange regarding this blog post, I told her about my next project. She will do what she can to support me when I am ready.

Bernadette Boas and I are the strong women Megan Angelo should be emulating. We both had the strength to recognize how we harmed other people and how hurting other women also hurt us. We are winners because admitting the harm we did to other women is the first step toward winning with other womenBernadette and I  are ready to welcome Megan Angelo into winning with us.

In case you’re wondering, I started this winning with relationship when I contacted Bernadette to say I wanted to include a quote from her book on my Girl Grit page. I asked for nothing in return because I saw support for Bernadette as a way to increase success for all women, including me. Bernadette chose to offer support specific to me. We will continue winning with each other as long as we are able to.

If Megan Angelo ever contacts another woman with the intent of supporting her, she must do so with sincerity. Insincerity would prove the impossibility of winning with Megan.

Shedding the Corporate Bitch: Shifting Your Bitches to Riches in Life and Business
Bernadette Boas
Pages 4 and 216

Bernadette on Linkedin

Bernadette’s website

Bernadette’s radio show


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory

Girl Growl Backfire: 8 Words End A Friendship Of Years

I was a single mother because my husband died when our daughter was 8 months old. I was a disabled single mother because a childhood spinal injury had been repeatedly misdiagnosed. My disability was invisible, so a lot of people did not believe I had disabling pain in my spine. My daughter and I lived on Social Security Survivors Benefits, food stamps, housing assistance, and medical assistance. My husband died very young, so the benefits from his account were small.

A good number of people, groups, and organizations let me know that accepting any assistance meant taking money out of their pockets. For years I wrote letters to newspapers about poverty. One woman responded with an accusation of “…hiding behind your daughter and looking for free handouts.”

In this atmosphere, I failed another single mother. A tragedy happened in her family. I will give no details to protect her now the way I did not protect her then.

This single mother’s name came up while I was visiting two people I had been good friends with for a number of years. Feeling that the tragedy in this single mother’s life would only make my life as a single mother more difficult, I spoke eight hateful words about her.

The end of the friendship began immediately.

My girl growl backfired on me twice. The first backfire was the end of a friendship that was important to me. The second backfire is a continuing feeling of guilt for the way I failed another woman who was probably treated as badly as I was treated for being a single mother.


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory

Girl Growl Backfire: A Businesswoman Makes An Opportunity Disappear

The description for the first episode of TLC network’s Sin City Rules included the phrase “high-powered women”. When I think of high-powered women, I think of women like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Marissa Mayer, Jody Foster, and Oprah Winfrey. I don’t agree with everything those powerful women do, but I recognize that they are powerful. Because of the phrase about powerful women, I watched the first episode of Sin City Rules. One episode was enough.

None of the women I consider high-powered do any of the following:

Hire six little men to lead them into a big party

Invite other women to unfamiliar events so they can publicly laugh at them.

Engage in bad and ugly gossip so they can feel superior.

Announce that, “I am God.”

Lana Fuchs, owner of Billionaire Mafia, did all of the above. Instead of speaking and acting with girl goodwill towards other women, Lana purposefully growled at one woman in particular.

Lana’s girl growls backfired not just with television viewers, but with TLC executives. TLC cancelled Sin City Rules before the end of its first season. It did not even broadcast the final three episodes.

The blog Carbon Poker commented on the cancellation because one of the women on the show was professional poker player Jennifer Harman. The blog reported that Lana “constantly harassed” independent entertainment business reporter Alicia Jacobs.

Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on a tweet from Gigolos co-producer Marklen Kennedy to Alicia Jacobs: “Cruella de Vil Fuchs is still mad that house fell on her sister back in Oz.”

Clarke also reported on a tweet from Karina in Toronto: “the only likable women were @REALJenHarman & @AliciaJacobs. Otherwise it was girls gone wild – Cougar edition!”

For a complete understanding of the lengths Lana Fuchs went to growl at other women on Sin City Rules, read the episode summaries yourself.

Clarke reported that the person with the most to lose from cancellation of the show was Lana Fuchs. Apparently, Lana saw the show as an opportunity to “energize” her Billionaire Mafia fashion company. Her girl growls backfired and made that opportunity disappear.

Remember, Lana Fuchs announced that, “I am God.” She made these statements about Billionaire Mafia:

Lana Fuchs is also the President and CEO of Billionaire Mafia, a Lifestyle
Clothing Brand, which has become a top contender in the apparel industry
in only a few years.  Lana continues to be involved in all aspects of the
company, from design and manufacturing, to sales and marketing.
Since the creation of Billionaire Mafia in 2008, Lana has succeeded in
turning her brainchild from a small tee shirt business into a global lifestyle
clothing brand consisting of a full line of knits, wovens, denim, leather, tees,
jewelry and much more.  Currently in 400+ select specialty retailers in the
United States, Billionaire Mafia is currently in the process of establishing
its flagship stores nationwide and distribution overseas.

Click on the link below to see how Billionaire Mafia is doing now:

Not only did businesswoman Lana Fuchs make an opportunity disappear, she apparently made her company disappear.

“Sin City Rules cancelled, Jennifer Harman off TV”
Carbon Poker
January 18, 2013

“‘Sin City Rules’ gets poor reviews”
Norm Clarke
Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 12, 2012

“There’s plenty to be nervous about. Cast members have a lot riding on
the eight-episode series. If the ratings crash and the show gets canceled,
no one stands to lose more than Fuchs, who had high hopes that the show
would energize her Billionaire Mafia fashion company.”


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Standards For Success Posters

Girl Grit

Girl Goodwill

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory

After Decades Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I Know How To Feel Safe

My post traumatic stress disorder began in my horrific childhood. My method of feeling safe may be more effective for people with similar backgrounds. I had to cope with horrific actions from one person. Military veterans, on the other hand, cope with horrific actions from tens, hundreds, or thousands of people. Vets with PTSD from war experiences may need different methods or more than one method for feeling safe. Service dogs, for instance, mean many vets can take less medication and live with fewer unsettling surprises. Service dogs also provide breathing room in social situations, putting themselves between their vet and other people. Vets can use their dogs’ need for walks as a reason to leave when a social situation becomes overwhelming. Service dog organizations include Hero Dogs, K9s for Warriors, Patriot PAWS, and Pets for Vets. Perhaps vets could combine service dogs with finding their safety experience for even greater relief. Victims of crime would have experiences closer to mine, since I am the victim of attempted murder.

Farming is another way for vets to get past their PTSD.

See this article for what civilians can do to help veterans with PTSD. See full citation below.

Yoga is a way to relieve PTSD trauma.

My PTSD  began the first time my mother tried to kill me. It increased after the second time she tried to kill me. After failing to kill me physically, my mother spent the rest of my childhood doing her best to kill me mentally and emotionally. Decades later I finally understood that my mother wanted me dead because I was her second daughter instead of her first son.

My PTSD was compounded by the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. If Abraham was willing to kill his son because God told him to, I feared my mother would kill me if other people told her to. And then I became terrified that anyone who didn’t like something about me would try to kill me. But after decades of terror that anyone could kill me, I now know how to feel safe. I have a happy ending I never expected.

Murder is a physical and emotional experience. My physical and emotional safety experience — the one that washes away the terror — is listening to the main and end title music from the movie To Kill a Mockingbird. To read how I made the discovery of my safety experience and why it is a physical and emotional experience for me, read the Murder Secret Families page at Since I wrote about this in detail on that page, I will not write about it in detail here. But, I will explain what to look for so that other people with PTSD can identify their safety experiences. Below are specific steps to take, but first I will explain what I now know about safety experiences.

Your Safety Experience Will Stand Out in Your Life in Some Way, Maybe in Many Ways

I do not remember when I saw To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. I do know that it immediately became my favorite movie. As an adult, I recorded the movie to my VCR so I wouldn’t have to wait for a television network to air it. Every time I watched the movie, I made sure to listen to the opening music without distraction. After the movie ended, I kept rewinding so I could listen to the end music repeatedly. If you read or at least skim the Murder Secret Families page, you will see that I wrote about watching the movie in my journal repeatedly. I even wrote that I identified with the character Boo Radley, but wanted to be the character Scout (June 12, 1993 on the Murder Secret Families page). Scout survived attempted murder and was able to feel safe again. I survived attempted murder and wanted to feel safe.

Your Safety Experience Will Probably Satisfy a Behavior Style Need

In the DISC behavior system, I am a High I/High S (High I over High S). If you need information about the DISC system, you can download my free S&R Keys file from The file also explains six basic values to help you identify your guiding values and rank your other values. Knowing your value ranking could help in identifying your safety experience.

High I people ease stress through socializing with other people. High S people ease stress through quiet activities. High I people are emotionally expressive. High S people are emotionally nonexpressive. I am emotionally expressive when it comes to having fun or telling stories about people who created positive turning points in my life. I can still cry when I tell these stories. One turning point happened in 1981, the other happened in 1996, and I can still cry when I talk about them.

When I need to express my deepest emotions, I do so by writing poetry. Writing poetry is a quiet activity. When I need to reassure myself with positive emotions, I do so through music. Listening to the music that represents positive emotions to me is also a quiet activity. Even though I am a High I first and a High S second, I relieve stress and express my deepest emotions through my Secondary High S behavior style need for quiet activities.

Your Safety Experience Will Add More to Your Life Than Feelings of Safety

In my first few months of feeling safe every day, my life improved in other ways.

First, I have been doing research for years for various books I’m writing and revising. For all those years, I put the various articles I’ve collected into boxes and brown paper bags, letting them sit instead of filing them. I kept thinking about filing them, but never had the energy to do it. After about four months of feeling safe, I suddenly started filing the articles. At first, I filed at least a few articles everyday. Now I file articles weekly. I’m still doing research, but by the time I finish the research everything will be filed. I’ll be able to start writing the revisions without further delay.

Second, I now know how to write each book more effectively. I know how to determine the purpose of each chapter, I know how to use just the right amount of information to make the points in each chapter, and I know how to explain what needs explaining. One of the books is based on what I wrote in my journal about therapy and about the clues in my life that helped me recognize my mother’s attempts to kill me. That is my most difficult book to write. Over the years since I discovered my safety experience, I have refined the structure of the book to satisfy a variety of readers.

Third, I feel safe taking actions for myself in ongoing relationships. Taking actions for myself used to feel scary. If my own mother could kill me, anyone else in the world could kill me.

Fourth, I can meet new people with less anxiety. In the past, meeting new coworkers or supervisors or groups made me anxious that someone would decide to kill me if they didn’t like something about me. The last time I remember feeling that anxious was in the spring of 2014.

Fifth, I have been doing a talk at a conference every year for five or six years. The talk is based on three examples from my own research and how those examples apply to something completely different. For the first several years of the talk, I kept asking myself why I included the first example. It’s a good thing none of the participants ever asked me why I included that example because I could not have explained why. I did not know why I included that example.

After weeks of feeling safe, I suddenly knew why I included that example. It made perfect sense to me and I could easily explain it. The next time I did that talk, I explained my difficulty understanding why I included that example to my audience. When I told them my new understanding of why I included that example, it made perfect sense to them, too.

Identifying Your Safety Experience

To identify your own safety experience, follow these 5 steps:

Step 1

Identify your High and Secondary High behavior styles.
Use the Quick Look pages for behavior styles in my
S&R Keys download from

Step 2

Identify your High and Secondary High stress relief needs
on the “Behavior Style Keys for Opening Doors to Personal
& Professional Success” page of the S&R Keys download.

Step 3

Figure out if you ease stress through your High or Secondary
High behavior style, then identify all the activities that ease
your stress.

Step 4

Identify your guiding values using the Quick Look pages in
the S&R Keys download. Rank the remaining values.
Read through the values and think about how each value
affects your feelings.

Step 5

Identify how you express your deepest emotions. Feeling
safe is a deep emotion. If your PTSD is so overwhelming
that you cannot identify any feelings of safety, start with
any positive emotion you can identify.

I talked about being afraid of my mother in therapy with two different therapists. Neither therapist ever asked what made me feel safe. If they had asked, I would not have been able to answer right away. I would have had to think about it, probably for weeks or months. I wasn’t looking for my safety experience when I found it. I was adding different pieces of my favorite music for experiencing feelings to my iPod. I put Mockingbird on my iPod thinking I would listen to it occasionally. Instead, I felt a need to listen to it everyday. I hadn’t even identified the feelings I experienced while listening to Mockingbird. I just knew it allowed me to experience feelings I needed to experience. I finally figured out that Mockingbird meant safety to me one night while I was listening to it. I was sitting in the dark in my parlor, listening to Mockingbird and wondering why I needed to listen to it. I suddenly understood.

My PTSD was part of a terrible secret in my life and in my family. I had to acknowledge feelings of terror before I could acknowledge feelings of safety. It took four decades to acknowledge the feelings of terror. It took another two decades before I learned how to recognize the feelings of safety. But I didn’t have anyone helping me recognize my safety experience. If my therapists had asked what made me feel safe, I would have at least started thinking about it. I could have discovered my safety experience sooner if professionals had given me the help that fit my needs instead of their perspectives.

I hope this blog post is enough to get you to your safety experience sooner.

Make full use of all the downloads you find at

After You Identify Your Safety Experience

Once you have identified your safety experience, bring that experience into your life as much as possible. At first, I listened to Mockingbird on my iPod every evening. Then I started listening to it as I fell asleep. I was sleeping the first time my mother tried to kill me. I woke up to my mother trying to smother me. For decades, I had trouble going to sleep and staying asleep. I still have trouble sleeping at times.

On bad days I listened to Mockingbird for hours.

Now I have a playlist that has the main and end titles listed twice. I listen to that just about everyday.

I listen to Mockingbird while reading through the book based on my journal. I can read only a few pages at a time, but I started the book years ago and couldn’t reread it to finish writing it until I discovered my safety experience.

I listened to Mockingbird while writing this blog post.

Each Person with PTSD Has to Identify His or Her Own Safety Experience

I am unable to identify a safety experience for anyone else. Please do not email me with questions because I will not respond. After identifying your behavior style and guiding value combination, think about how your behavior styles and guiding values interact in your life.

Could Safety Experiences Erase PSTD?

If I listen to Mockingbird often enough will it erase my PTSD for good? I don’t know. I do have a chronology of improvement, however.

For decades, terror episodes were so real I didn’t know I was in a terror episode. Some of the terror episodes lasted for days.

After listening to Mockingbird for months, I became able to recognize terror episodes while I was in them. I could listen to Mockingbird to help me get out of them.

Then, I became able to talk myself out of the terror episodes when I wasn’t able to listen to Mockingbird. At first, talking myself out took hours, then dwindled down to minutes.

Almost four years after I started purposefully listening to Mockingbird to feel safe, I have not experienced any terror for almost three years. This is in part due to an experience that happened the last time I felt the terror.

I still do not feel completely comfortable meeting people in certain situations. But I only feel uncomfortable, not anxious.

Even if I someday experience another terror episode, I now know how to feel safe. Knowing how to feel safe is enough for me. I can have days and weeks and months and years of feeling safe. For me, feeling safe for any part of any day is a happy ending.

If you have PTSD, I hope you find your happy ending.

“The amazing grace of Unit 1”
Anna Mulrine
The Christian Science Monitor Weekly
May 30, 2016, pages 21-23

“Can Civilians Do Anything to Help Veterans With PTDS?”
Matthew Russell
The Veterans Site
No Date

“Research On Yoga & Meditation”
Warriors At Ease

“Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Chronic PTSD”
Trauma Center At Justice Resource Center


Paula M. Kramer
Copyright 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory

In A Sacred World Order, Everyone Loses

Since the early 1980s, I have written and read letters to the editor and social media comments. I came to recognize that millions of U.S. citizens share a belief. They believe in what I call a Sacred World Order. They consider this world order sacred because they believe it was ordained by their God. I identified three levels to this Sacred World Order

Tsars of Truth

Monitors of Morality

Beasts of Burden

I refuse to refer to people forced to the bottom of the Sacred World Order merely as “Beasts”. Therefore, I came up with a descriptive phrase for people at each level.

Tsars of Truth are Toxic Tsars. Their ‘truth” limits the lives of everyone, including their own lives.

Monitors of Morality are Menial MonitorsThey wrongly think that loyalty will convince Toxic Tsars to protect them from pain.

Beasts of Burden are Bullied BeastsToxic Tsars and Menial Monitors bully the people they consider beneath them into lives of pain.

Each level has its own task in the sacred world order.

Tsars of Truth

Feel they are God’s representatives to the world

In their minds, their words can speak only Truth, nothing less. They maintain their Tsar level status by limiting contact with everyone they consider beneath them. They prefer contact with Bullied Beasts only when Bullied Beasts accept their Beast of Burden status. Toxic Tsars are certain that Bullied Beasts should feel pain so that Toxic Tsars can live pain free lives. Toxic Tsars give some rewards to Menial Monitors for keeping Bullied Beasts in their proper place. If Toxic Tsars feel any pain from Menial Monitors, however, they would quickly transform Menial Monitors into Bullied Beasts.

Monitors of Morality

Feel loyalty to Toxic Tsars

Menial Monitors identify with Toxic Tsars by copying their words and actions. Menial Monitors agree that Bullied Beasts should feel all pain. They monitor Bullied Beasts to protect Toxic Tsars from pain. Menial Monitors look to Toxic Tsars for protection from pain as a reward for protecting Toxic Tsars from pain.

Beasts of Burden

Feel depression and anger from forced pain

Bullied Beasts live with their pain as best they can while trying to bring attention to the unfairness of their pain. They know they do not deserve the pain, but can have difficulty finding ways to end it. When possibilities for sabotage occur, Bullied Beasts who see no other alternative consider taking revenge on Menial Monitors and Toxic Tsars.

You can recognize which level people put themselves in or find themselves in from what they say about themselves and other people. I found an article that clearly revealed all three levels. This post reveals the sacred world order in that one situation. Future posts in this sacred world order category will be quotes from all three levels for a single category, as in:







After a post for a category is published, I will add appropriate quotes as I come across them.

Each post will include this link to illustrate why Toxic Tsars and Menial Monitors are wrong about keeping Bullied Beasts down. When Toxic Tsars suppress others, they lose more than they realize. Their losses could include their own lives. Millions of Toxic Tsars and Menial Monitors are alive today because of a man they would have limited as a Bullied Beast.

Vivien Thomas was a black male teenage carpenter when he applied for a job in a surgical research lab in 1930. White surgeon Dr. Alfred Blalock recognized a passion for medicine and healing in Thomas. Together they created a legacy that is still saving millions of lives through heart surgery. That legacy is worldwide because Vivien Thomas taught the techniques for heart surgery to doctors from around the world. Vivien Thomas’s formal education ended with his high school graduation.

“The Sins of the Fathers”
Jason Berry
Chicago Reader
May 23, 1991

This article is very long and reveals how the police and the Catholic hierarchy also bullied the Doe family, including Student Doe.

Toxic Tsar

Parents John and Jane Doe
Visited school principal Barbara Hill about their son coming home with bruises every day from playground beatings.

“She told us our son was oversensitive, that he misinterpreted children’s play, and she said rather emphatically, ‘A principal’s place is not on the playground.'”

Bullied Beast

John Doe
Parent of Student Doe

“When four boys hold my son down and two of them kick him, that’s not play.”

Toxic Tsar

Principal Barbara Hill

“That can’t be happening,” Hill reportedly stated, calling the fights “a figment of [the boy’s] imagination.”

Menial Monitor

Patricia Bobb
Attorney for Barbara Hill

“It’s an absolute outrage to me that my client has to be put through this.”

Bullied Beast

Student Doe
In a transcript, Student Doe said Principal Hill told him:

“You’re mentally retarded.”

Toxic Tsar

Father Lake
Responding to John and Jane Doe’s removal of Student Doe from the school.

“It is with deep regret that I read you were forced to move your child from [our] school. I am grateful that you brought your situation to our attention. However, I disagree with your charge of a lack of positive response and corrective action. We have looked into the matter of discipline, supervision and abuse. We will continue to emphasize Christian values of love & respect for one another [and] take necessary corrective action in order to provide a safe & orderly atmosphere for the children.”


Principal Barbara Hill obviously considered herself a Tsar of Truth. She considered the students Beasts of Burden. As a Toxic Tsar, she needed to keep her distance from the Bullied Beasts on the playground.

Menial Monitor Patricia Bobb was determined to protect Toxic Tsar Barbara Hill from any pain. She found nothing wrong with bruises on Bullied Beasts.

Father Lake also felt that his words were Truth. He believed Bullied Beasts John and Jane Doe were incapable of recognizing Truth.

Everyone lost. Student Doe lost the ability to enjoy his time at that school. John and Jane Doe lost the ability to trust that school. Principal Barbara Hill, Attorney Patricia Bobb, and Father Lake lost respect at the very least when Chicago Reader published the story. By trying to force all pain on Student Doe and his parents, Principal Hill, Attorney Bobb, and Father Lake brought pain to themselves.

The article includes allegations about sexual abuse and stories from other victims. The Catholic Church, of course, tried to silence the Doe family.

“Meanwhile, church attorneys are moving forward with a three-pronged defense–
stall for time; counterattack; and preserve the policy by which the archdiocese
handles accusations of clergy child abuse.”

The Chicago Reader article was published in 1991. In 2019, we know far more about the horrors of abuse in Catholic schools and churches. I attended Catholic schools for 12 years. During that time I witnessed teachers and administrators being verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive to children. For about 20 years after I finished high school, I paid attention when someone talked about adults being physically violent to children in school. I asked if the school was public or Catholic. I didn’t keep a total count, but I asked that question at least 10 times. Only once was the answer “public school”.

The Catholic Church lost respect, members, and money because it tried to put all pain on the families they forced to be Bullied Beasts. I am one of the members the Catholic Church lost. Even as a child, I knew I did not deserve the verbal and emotional pain those Toxic Tsars forced on me.

God/Higher Power/Universe

Whoever or whatever is in charge, He/She/It/They distribute(s) pain equally. Birth defects, illnesses, and “acts of God” in the natural world bring pain to everyone. Toxic Tsars bring more pain to themselves with their toxic beliefs.

“16 Royals Who Suffered From Hereditary Mutations And Defects Caused By Inbreeding”
History Collection
No Date

“Bel Air’s multi-million dollar mansions get no special treatment from California’s wildfires”
Elizabeth Segal
December 8, 2017

“What Kills Billionaires”
Vanessa Gisquet
Forbes Magazine
April 5, 2005


Paula M. Kramer
Copyright 2019 and onward
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Paula’s Proverbs Posters

Truth Or Propaganda?

Ignoring People/Opportunities

Opportunities, Not Fairy Tales


Deliver Dignity

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory

It’s All Right To Say You’re Disabled As Long As You Don’t Act Disabled

When I was 12 years old, a boy in school who had a crush on me pulled my chair out from under me to get my attention. I landed hard on my tailbone. The pain in my lower spine started right away. My mother took me to our family doctor who delivered my first misdiagnosis. It took 33 years to get the correct diagnosis.

The pain in my spine was always intermittent, depending on what I did. By the last two years of high school, sitting had become very painful. During assemblies in the auditorium, I sat in folding chairs in aisles instead of in the curved seats that my back couldn’t tolerate.

By my late 20s, I also had trouble standing for any length of time. I could not fully participate in social events because I could neither sit nor stand with my friends for any length of time. When I started college at 34, I needed a special chair that I pushed to classes in the building where I kept the chair. The chair was an old rocker with the rockers cut off. It had wheels on it and a bar across the back for pushing. When I sat in it, my knees were higher than my hips. I felt much less pain when sitting with my knees higher than my hips.

For classes in other buildings, I sat on one seat with my feet on another seat or sat on the floor against a wall. I used a back support pillow wherever I sat. For one class, I lay on the floor. Instead of carrying a backpack, I bought a used piece of carry on luggage and pulled it around on a small luggage cart. The office that worked with disabled people did everything it could to make attending college as comfortable for me as possible.

The world outside the university was far less accommodating. My father was dead and my mother and siblings were not the least bit accommodating. My mother’s response to my back problems was, “Everyone has back problems.” One of the few times my older sister was willing to talk about the pain in my back she asked me, “Are you sure it isn’t emotional?” I told my sister that if I fastened a belt too tightly, my spine hurt. If I loosened the belt, the pain went away. I asked her how that could be emotional. She said, “I don’t know…”, but still felt that my pain must be emotional. Because my mother had tried to kill me when I was very young, she taught my siblings to ignore what I said and discount what I did. My older sister was determined to ignore what I said no matter what the evidence was.

My second sister decided that for me “long term solutions” meant that I should stop being irresponsible and go out and get a job. She told me that going to school was harder on my back than working at a job would be. She didn’t bother to ask me about my experiences going to school because she wasn’t about to pay attention to anything I said.

All of my sisters provide examples of how my family discounted what I did. While visiting each of these sisters, I lay on the floors of their living rooms, trying to ease pain in my hips. My third sister shared a bedroom with my daughter and me one night when we went to my first brother’s wedding. The room had a sofa bed for two. I told my sister she could sleep on the sofa bed with my daughter because sleeping on it would leave me in pain. I slept on the floor. All of my sisters discounted my actions to relieve my pain as evidence that I could have trouble earning money.

I was always in more pain around my siblings because I sat and stood normally when I was with them. I mostly saw them only every two or three years for two or three days. When I socialized with my friends, I did not sit or stand normally. I would sit on the floor leaning against something or walk in circles around a standing group or pace back and forth near a seated group. I saw my friends more often so I had other opportunities to talk to them if I couldn’t sit or stand near them at a social event.

But I saw my siblings so seldom that I sat normally with them and stood in place leaning against something instead of pacing. Still hopeful that they would eventually treat me like a member of their family, I tried to have as much interaction with them as possible. But the pain would become intense and I would have to deal with it, often by laying on the floor.

After my husband died, my parents-in-law would give us food when they could. My father-in-law occasionally decided to teach me a lesson in responsibility by refusing to help me get heavy boxes of food into the trunk of my car.

A woman who once told me she believed in me and who had seen my sitting and standing difficulties once demanded, “Go out and get a job!”

Without asking me, a well-meaning friend lined up a job for me at a small organization. The job was clerical/secretarial. It meant sitting normally at a desk with a typewriter or computer and answering the phone. I would have been able to sit at the desk for only a short period of time before the pain started. Then I would have had to walk around or lie on the floor to ease the pain. When I told my friend I couldn’t take the job, she became angry.

In my 30s, an orthopedic surgeon who delivered yet another misdiagnosis sent me to a physical therapist to take the functionality test for Social Security disability payments. I told the physical therapist about the boy pulling the chair out from under me at school. I told her that the pain was not bad at first so I just kept doing everything. I told her that the pain continually increased so I had to stop doing all kinds of things to limit the pain. When the physical therapist explained what I had to do for the test I burst into tears, knowing the test would leave me in agony. The physical therapist decided I was “hostile” to her. She told me that if I just kept doing what hurt the pain would go away because my pain was emotional. Her misdiagnosis denied me disability payments.

Going to chiropractors would ease the pain but not stop it. One chiropractor figured out that I felt pain when I put weight on my spine. Sitting and standing normally put weight on my spine. Carrying anything put weight on my spine. This sympathetic chiropractor tried to save me from having to work at jobs that would be harmful to my back when I applied for food stamps and medical assistance. One of the women in charge of determining food stamp eligibility also had back problems. She told me, “I know back pain” and informed me that she expected me to find a 20 hour a week job. I didn’t because I couldn’t.

The sympathetic chiropractor sent me for x-rays. The x-rays showed my spine had no S curve in it.

Because my income was low my bills were high. I had to charge smaller bills to my credit card so I could pay my mortgage. I contacted a financial aid counselor for help. I explained about my back and my difficulty earning money. I asked her if there were a way I could get the interest on my credit cards reduced. She responded, “Why don’t you just stop using your credit cards?” I wrote her a letter and told her that telling me to stop using my credit cards was telling me to become homeless.

Because I had difficulty earning money and because I could not get disability, I asked for help when I was desperate. Sometimes the people I asked were not appropriate to ask, but no one appropriate was available to ask. Many people said, “No.” Enough people said yes that I am still alive. If everyone had said no, I would be dead. I am alive also because of my daughter. When she was 10 years, my daughter got her first babysitting job. With her babysitting earnings and then with earnings from fast food jobs, my daughter helped to buy food and pay bills. Because my teenage daughter worked as many hours as she could, we managed to avoid homelessness.

In the 33rd year of my pain, I started carrying a cane with me when I went to public places. I didn’t need it for walking. I needed it to lean on if I couldn’t stand near something to lean against. By then, standing normally for two minutes would leave me in excruciating pain. The only pain free way for me to sit that year was on a low chair with my feet on a stool so they were level with my head.

I received the correct diagnosis for my injury from a nurse in an audience for a talk I gave to a business women’s group. I had to lean against a tall stool to do the talk, so I explained my back injury. I asked everyone in the audience to tell any children in their lives to never pull a chair out from under anyone. The sympathetic chiropractor had told me that some people are instantly paralyzed.

The nurse told me that when I hit the floor, my spinal cord tensed up. Her husband was a chiropractor who used a little known technique called Neural Organizational Technique (NOT). He told me that the tension in my spinal cord pulled my pelvis out of place. My out of place pelvis pulled my hips out of place. The chiropractor used NOT on me and ended 33 years of pain in my spine. The pain in my spine ended with the first NOT treatment, but then I felt new pain.

Releasing the tension in my spinal cord moved my pelvis back into place. It had taken 33 years to get pulled out of place as far as it was. It moved back into place within an hour. All of the muscles in my back from my shoulders to my hips suddenly had to function differently. I still feel pain in all of those muscles, and my hips still shift out of place easily. Out of place hips are very painful.

I had to move back into employment slowly because sitting and standing normally now made my muscles hurt. It was far less crippling pain than the pain in my spine, but it was still pain.

I did a lot of temporary work. To ease the pain in my muscles, I would figure out creative ways to get work done. On one temporary job, my coworkers listened to what I told them about my back, watched how I accomplished my task, then said, “This is the way we do it. It’s easy.”

On another job, I needed to wear a shoulder wrap filled with seeds to ease the pain from typing on a keyboard at the wrong height. I put it in a plastic bag to warm it up in the lunchroom microwave. One woman complained that it smelled and that she did not want hair in her food. Management made me bring my own microwave and put it in a warehouse. My breaks consisted entirely of walking back to the warehouse to warm up my shoulder wrap. And the woman who sat closest to me told me she never smelled anything. She also didn’t think hair could get into anyone’s food when the shoulder wrap was inside a plastic bag.

When I visited a dentist I told him I had to make small monthly payments because I had trouble earning money. My payments were $5 because my weekly food budget was $40 for my daughter and me. If I paid any more money to the dentist, I would have had to buy less food for my daughter and me. Two members of the dentist’s staff continually let me know that I should be making bigger payments no matter what.

The long series of misdiagnoses prevented me from getting the treatment that would have enabled me to earn money. Difficulty earning money meant difficulty paying bills. The clinic where the orthopedic surgeon and the physical therapist worked sent me a letter informing me that if I came in again for any kind of treatment, I would have to pay $50 up front. I transferred my files elsewhere.

Because of the pain I feel, I can work in my yard and garden only half an hour a day. If I do more than that I have to take a soaking bath to ease the pain. Half an hour is not enough time to keep my yard and garden looking neat. Shoveling snow, vacuuming, and mopping also require soaking baths. People do not look at my house and yard and think, “Oh, she must be in pain.” No, they look at my house and my yard and think “She’s a slob.” One of my brothers-in-law once said to my face, “You’re a slob.”

Of course, there are people who say they have back pain who do not have back pain. If you meet someone who complains they cannot work because of the pain in their spine, ask them what they do for fun. People who have real back pain can neither work much nor play much. I haven’t been to a movie theater in years because I spend the entire movie in pain. I have lain on the floor at concerts. I have leaned against walls at religious services. If someone says they cannot work but can do anything for fun, they probably are faking the back pain. Anyone who can do little for fun is in pain.

Any action you take towards another person is an invitation for other people to take the same action toward you. Unless you have a written guarantee that you will never be disabled, you may want to make sure you accept disability for what it is. A disability is a physical or mental or psychological condition that forces an individual to function differently from the way abled people function. Please accept our different ways of functioning.


I wore a Therall back support for a few years until I accidentally discovered how to strengthen my lower back muscles.  The Therall eased my pain but didn’t strengthen my muscles. In anticipation of fitting back into my thinner clothes after finding a way to end water retention (see below), I started doing muscle toning exercises. One of the exercises was the bridge. The more I did the bridge, the easier standing without the Therall became. I no longer where the Therall. I do 5 counts of the basic bridge exercise every day without any variation. I still live with pain in my muscles from my shoulders to my hips. I still wear the shoulder wrap when I am on my computer. I also wear it when I drive more than 30 miles. I provide more details about my back on the Tragedies & Triumphs page of my website.



Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Gossip Posters

Gossip Proverb

Good, Bad, & Ugly Gossip

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory

Negative Stereotypes Behind Bad & Ugly Gossip: Racial, Ethnic, & National Identities

See the first post in this series for an introduction to bad and ugly gossip, the negative stereotypes behind bad and ugly gossip, and which group of men gossips the most, meaning this group of men gossips more than any group of women.

If you use negative stereotypes about people who are different from you, you are inviting everyone who hears you to use negative stereotypes about you. Below are some of the negative stereotypes other people could use about you.

My collection of stereotypes comes from books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, radio programs, news shows, conversations, etc.

Be sure to read the Point to Ponder at the end of this post.

I add stereotype examples as I come across them.



produce kitchen odors


violent criminals




quick tempered

emotionally submissive




on welfare or jobless


negative personality






“African-American” suggests to many people

more concern for one group than for society

less persuasive ability

not as likable

tend to complain about small things

Liberals often feel excluded by the African-American label, feeling it focuses

attention on the label rather than on larger issues












governed by buffoons




unwilling or unable to engage in dialogue with other cultures





slant eye



Kung-Fu fighters




unscientifically minded



would be living in igloos without America





bring exotic diseases to the United States





less intelligent

lacking individualism























school dropouts

mentally handicapped



not human

inhuman behavior

should be killed


disliked by God




undesirable blacks







bring exotic diseases to the United States















involved in crime

ruin neighborhoods

don’t want to work

take our houses

take our jobs

abuse social security and welfare systems

cause problems at school

have a different mentality

cause dirtiness

cause urban decay

should be sent back

have too many children

treat women badly




representatives of Saddam Hussein



quick tempered

extremely nationalistic



sloppy drunks


not intelligent



















Native American

“Good” Native Americans
















“Bad” Native Americans















low intellect



cowardly outlaws

inhuman fiends


filthy surroundings

inadequate cooking

repulsive diet

enslaved squaws

culturally deprived

Native Americans on reservations





outcasts from own race











WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant)










Point to Ponder

Did you notice that both African-Americans/Blacks/Negroes and Whites are stereotyped as mean and corrupt?


Paula M. Kramer
© 2015 to the present
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks or months.

Gossip Posters

Gossip Proverb

Good, Bad, & Ugly Gossip

Resource Websites

Business Directory

Reputation Management Directory


Want The Satisfaction Of Being A David (Or Davida) To A Goliath?

You are I are the Davids and Davidas. The U.S. Postal Service is the Goliath. David took Goliath down with a sling and a stone. I don’t want to take down the U.S. Postal Service, but I do want stop the postal service from 5 cent stamp increases. I cannot do that alone. We could do it together.

I‘ve had snail mail problems since 1988, for as long as I’ve lived in my house. I live in a village that usually has less than 200 residents. Therefore, the postmaster for any year knows everyone in the village.

As the problems continued I reduced my use of snail mail to a bare minimum. Since the postal service decided to raise the cost of stamps by 5 cents in a single increase, it seems likely that other people are making the same choice to use the U.S. Postal Service less. I decided to conduct polls on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to discover how widespread the problems are. I hope to get responses from 1000 Davids and Davidas. With 1000 Davids and Davidas making similar complaints, maybe we can make enough noise to get the Postmaster General to pay attention. Maybe we can get the U.S. Postal Service to fix its problems instead of raising its prices.

This blog post provides detailed explanations for all of the problems I list in #PaulaPolls1. I plan more #PaulaPolls on other topics.

Many postal workers do their jobs well. They are productive postal workers. Others are pussyfooting postal workers. They pussyfoot around actually doing the work required by their jobs. Another group is probably a mixture of productive and pussyfooting. Postal workers undoubtedly pussyfoot around doing their jobs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they don’t like the work. Perhaps they are lazy. Perhaps they feel overwhelmed by required procedures. I’m certain that the problems come from both postal service procedures and pussyfooting postal workers.

Which Of These Problems Have You Had?

Slower General Delivery

It now takes three days for first class mail to travel between my village and another village three miles away. The mail travels the equivalent of one mile per day.

Months Late Delivery

A friend who lived 18 miles away mailed a thank you card to me in June. I received it in September.

Take A Detour Delivery

I ordered plants. The plants went from southeastern Wisconsin to the Minneapolis area of Minnesota before arriving at my post office in central Wisconsin. Most of the plants were dead on arrival.

Disappearing Incoming Mail

I took an advertising class in college. For one advertising project, I contacted a cereal company and asked for information I could use in my project. When the material did not arrive, I called and talked to the same woman. She said she had sent out the 9×12 brown envelope soon after I called. She sent me another 9×12 brown envelope full of information. When that envelope didn’t arrive either, I asked her to send the information to a friend in a nearby small city. That envelope arrived. I believe the woman did send me all three envelopes because my class project was free advertising for her company’s cereal.

Other mail has disappeared from the village three miles away and from the small city 15 miles away. I know the mail disappeared because it was mail we expected but didn’t get until we had it sent again. Three notices in a row from my bank in the three-miles-away village disappeared.

Disappearing Outgoing Mail

I started paying most bills online after two checks to my utility company disappeared in consecutive months.

I’ve also started calling local businesses when I mail them a check, asking them to let me know when my check arrives. One business told me that other people make the same request.

Mixed Up Incoming Mail

At times, people in my village receive mail meant for village neighbors. We leave mixed up mail on a table for the addressees to find.

Revolving Door Wrong Mail

I twice received mail from different counties that kept revolving back to my P.O. box. The only similarity between my address and the other two addresses was the P.O. box number. The names of the addressees were different (one addressee was a business). The towns were different. The zip codes were different. But in both cases the mail revolved back to my box twice more after I put the mail in the outgoing box. I had to write notes on the envelopes to get the mail to stop revolving back to my box.

Hungry Postal Machines

The last time I had a parking ticket was decades ago. I mailed a check to the police department within the prescribed time. I was unhappy to receive a second notice about the ticket with an added fine. I took my checkbook to the police department to show that I had written a check within the prescribed time. The woman at the desk said, “The machine probably ate it.” Her statement means she had previous experiences with postal machines eating mail. How hungry are the postal machines? We’ll never know.

Partial Procedure Postal Workers

I placed an order that meant parcel post delivery. When my parcel should have arrived, nothing was in my post office box indicating a parcel had arrived. The company insisted the parcel had been delivered. The postal worker insisted she had not received the parcel. After two weeks of my asking about my parcel, the postal worker decided to look through the bigger post office boxes where she put parcels. She found my parcel. My parcel had arrived on time. She had put the parcel in a bigger box, but then failed to place a key to that box in my post office box.

Picky Perfection Postal Workers

For several years, we had a postmaster who refused to deliver mail when the address was not absolutely perfect. One big business owner in the village got into trouble with the state because the postmaster refused to deliver something about taxes. The part time post office employee working with this picky perfection postmaster told me every village resident would be horrified to learn what the picky perfection postmaster did with our mail.

When I was on a jury duty list, I called the county clerk in charge to say that the picky perfection postmaster did not deliver all of our mail and would she please call me when she sent me mail. She told me about a picky perfection postmaster in another village who also refused to deliver mail that was not addressed perfectly. One of the potential jurors lived across the street from that other post office, but the picky perfection postmaster refused to deliver the mail because some little detail in the address was wrong.

Pity Party Postal Workers

Even on one job I had to cope with poor mail service. Decades ago, I did customer service for a company that did its biggest business during the Christmas season. One customer called to complain that her post office had decided to return all parcel post boxes to the companies instead of delivering them to their customers. Yes, you read that correctly. The post office decided to return all parcel post packages to the companies instead of delivering them to customers for Christmas. Apparently, the idea of doing the work of their jobs was just too much for those postal workers. How many Chrismas parties and Christmas mornings did that post office pity party ruin?

Twin Post Office Pity Parties?

Many years ago, I was standing in line at the post office in the village three miles away when I heard an incredible complaint. A woman had delivered postcard invitations for a big wedding anniversary party to that village post office. Half of the postcards never arrived. The half that did arrive had the postmark from the small city 15 miles away. The only way for those postcards to get from the village post office to the small city post office was for a village postal worker to deliver the postcards to the small city post office. Pity party! Did the small city postal workers have a twin pity party and decide to toss half of the postcards? Did twin post office pity parties ruin a big wedding anniversary party?

Models For Postal Delivery From
Iceland & New Zealand

Contrast pussyfooting U.S. postal workers with productive postal workers in Iceland and New Zealand.

A letter sent to a post office in Iceland included a map and these explanations:

Country: Iceland. City: Búðardalur. Name: A horse farm with
an Icelandic/Danish couple and three kids and a lot of sheep!
The Danish woman works in a supermarket in Búðardalur.

Productive Icelandic postal workers successfully delivered the letter to the correct address.

“Letter Sent to Iceland with Hand-Drawn Map Instead of Address Actually Arrives at Destination”
Cammie Finch
My Modern Met
September 1, 2016


A letter sent to a post office in New Zealand had this address:

2 Kay + Phillip
On a farm near
situated up a long
drive with cows,
opposite cust
pub or there abouts

The productive New Zealand postal workers put the address on Facebook and found the recipients.

“How a package to ‘a farm situated up a long drive with cows’ got to its destination”
CBC Radio
March 20, 2018

The U.S. Postal Service Could Get It Right

I have a hint for the U.S. Postal Service. They should use the technique the late Ken Hendricks (ABC Supply) used to become a billionaire. When Hendricks considered buying a business, he spent as little time as possible listening to the executives. This was Hendricks advice:

“Walk in the back room and talk to the warehouse guy or the forklift operator and say, ‘If you were running this business, what would you do differently?” says Hendricks. “I guarantee if you fixed what they tell you, 95 percent of the time that would be a successful business. These guys hit it on the head all the time. But management never asks them.”

Is the Postmaster General going to be as smart as billionaire Ken Hendricks?

“How To Buy A Business”
Inc Magazine Staff
December 1, 2006

Your Turn To Speak Up

Please join me as Davids and Davidas in holding the U.S. Postal Service accountable for both its problems and its prices. Go to one of the links below to give your responses to #PaulaPolls1. I will keep reposting #PaulaPolls1 on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter until I get a combined 1000 David and Davida responses. Once we get the U.S. Postal Service listening to us, you could have the satisfaction of telling people you know that you were a David or Davida who helped change the procedures of a Goliath.

Thank you.





Paula M. Kramer
Transformation Tactician
Resource Rock Star

Copyright 2019
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

Resource Websites

Are You An Opportunity Winner Or An Opportunity Loser?

Winners see opportunity where losers see imperfection.

In 1947, Morgan State University saw imperfection in Vivien Thomas. Thomas contacted the school wanting to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. He had life experience in the field of medicine that he hoped would qualify for academic credit and shorten his time attending the university. Morgan State saw only imperfection because Vivien Thomas was black. Morgan State insisted that the black man would have to take all freshman classes before graduating. Vivien Thomas decided he would be too old when he graduated and gave up his dream of becoming a doctor.

What was Vivien Thomas’ life experience? He developed techniques and instruments for heart surgery, specifically surgery to save the lives of babies with heart defects. Morgan lost bragging rights by excluding a medical pioneer from its list of alumna.

In 1930, white surgeon Alfred Blalock saw opportunity when a black teenage male carpenter applied for a job as a surgical research technician. Because Alfred Blalock hired Vivien Thomas, Alfred Blalock is now revered as a pioneer of heart surgery with Vivien Thomas. Vivien Thomas taught heart surgery techniques to all of the first white surgeons. They came from around the world to Johns Hopkins Uniersity in Baltimore to learn heart surgery. Johns Hopkins University won bragging rights for having a medical pioneering team on its staff.

Note: According to Vivien Thomas’ autobiography, he never worked as a janitor at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt paid him janitor’s wages because he was black, but he worked only as a surgical research technician. Dr. Blalock eventually got him better wages.

In 1937, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit saw imperfection in Vivien Thomas as a colleague of Alfred Blalock. Henry Ford offered Alfred Blalock the position of surgeon-in-chief. Blalock would have been able to run his own department, train his own men, and do more research. When Blalock insisted on bringing Vivien Thomas with, Henry Ford Hospital said they never hired blacks. Henry Ford Hospital lost. Johns Hopkins University hired Vivien Thomas with Alfred Blalock and won.

In 1943, pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig saw opportunity in the Alfred Blalock/Vivien Thomas team. She came to them with the idea of creating an operation to help “Blue Babies”. Blue Babies are born with defective hearts. Taussig saw opportunity in the Blalock/Thomas team for developing a heart surgery to correct the defect and save babies’ lives. Helen Taussig won. She received the Albert Lasker Award for outstanding contributions to medicine. Johns Hopkins was a double winner for seeing opportunity in mostly deaf female doctor Helen Taussig.

Obviously, Morgan State University and Henry Ford Hospital are no longer the losers they were in 1947 and 1937. Most institutions were losers back then. Morgan State’s list of famous alumni includes many people of color. Henry Ford’s roster of surgeons includes many people of color. They have both joined Johns Hopkins University as winners.

Seeing opportunity instead of imperfection, Johns Hopkins University created more opportunity by putting Alfred Blalock, Vivien Thomas, and Helen Taussig together in one place. Alfred Blalock, Vivien Thomas, and Helen Taussig were all determined problem solvers. Together they solved one of the biggest problems in history — how to safely operate on human hearts to save human lives.

Determined problem solvers are smart employees, according to Danny Shader, CEO of Good Technology:

“Profitable innovation comes not from inventing a product, he (Danny Shader) maintains, but from having a team of smart employees who figure out how to do a better job every time they interact with customers. ‘That sort of innovation will do a lot more for your company than a piece of parchment (patent),’ he says.”

What do you see? What do your employees see? Are you creating more opportunity by putting a variety of determined problem solvers together in one place? Are you giving yourself opportunities to win big?

Morgan State University

Vivien Thomas

Alfred Blalock

Johns Hopkins University

Henry Ford Hospital

Helen Taussig

Partners of the Heart: Vivien Thomas and His Work with Alfred Blalock
Vivien Thomas

“Relax. Let your guard down: Why patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property protections are bad—that’s right, badfor business”
David H. Freedman
Inc. Magazine
August 2006


Paula M. Kramer
Transformation Trainer
Resource Rock Star

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

Standards for Success Posters

Opportunities, Not Fairy Tales

Ignoring People/Opportunities

Resource Websites


When Families Focus On Negative Identities, Everyone Loses: Dementia

Family Focus On Negative Identity

For a few months, I visited a woman who had been diagnosed with dementia and showed signs of depression. This woman had two adult children involved in her daily life. Because of the dementia diagnosis, Adult Child #1 made decisions for the woman. Adult Child #2 told the woman how to cook, as in explaining how to cook hotdogs in water.

The woman was a widow living alone. She drove herself around, shopped, went to church, visited with friends, and cooked whole meals for family members that were more involved than cooking hotdogs in water.

When I visited the woman, we had wonderful conversations. We talked about families, cooking, school, employment, travel, politics, television shows, and world events. We learned from each other. I asked her opinion about some of my work. We also took walks together. Shortly after I started visiting her, the woman began making perceptive jokes. Perceptive in that they were revealing, not demeaning. Adult Child #1 told me that the woman was again the mother they had grown up with.

When I was with the woman, I saw some signs of anxiety and some signs of forgetfulness. Neither was serious. Because I saw her as a competent, responsible adult, I asked the woman to make a few decisions. Adult Child #1 became angry that I thought the woman could make decisions for herself. Adult Child #1 decided my conversations with the woman were no longer necessary.

Adult Child #1 and Adult Child #2 had focused on the negative dementia identity. They saw their mother as a dementia patient rather than as a competent, responsible adult. Early on the woman had told me that all of her relatives knew she had dementia and were being nice to her. If the behavior of Adult Child #1 and Adult Child #2 were any indication, “being nice” meant focusing on the negative dementia identity.

Months after my last conversation with this woman, I learned about Self-Determination Theory, a theory of motivation. According to Self-Determination Theory, social and cultural factors can foster or undermine people’s well-being and the quality of their performance, among other things.

The conditions for fostering well-being and quality of performance are:

Autonomy (freedom of choice)


Relatedness (connections to other people)

Every decision Adult Child #1 made for their mother took autonomy away from their mother.

Every explanation Adult Child #2 gave their mother about cooking took competence away from their mother.

The woman had relatedness, but all of her connections saw a negative dementia identity. That focus on a dementia identity took autonomy and competence away from the woman. Is it any wonder she was depressed?

Every single person in this woman’s family loved her and cared about her. They thought they were doing their best for her by focusing on her negative dementia identity. But their negative dementia focus left the woman depressed. So everyone lost, especially the woman.

If all of her family members saw her as responsible, the woman would be able to enjoy the autonomy she needs for well-being.

If all of her family members saw her as competent, the woman would be able to demonstrate a high quality of performance in her own life.

If all of her family members respected the autonomy, competence, and relatedness of the woman, everyone would win — especially the woman.


I ran into this woman at the grocery store. She told me that she didn’t have dementia, she had just been depressed. Knowing that I had always respected her as a responsible adult, she complained to me about Adult Child #2. That child had asked the woman if she could get herself where she needed to go. “I know where it is. I know how to drive my car. I get myself there regularly.” In spite of the evidence, Adult Child #2 continued to focus on a negative identity and take competence away from the mother they loved.

Another Example

I was visiting a woman who has memory problems. She needed to fill out a form while I was there. She knew how to write, but she was slow when she wrote. I was ready to wait for as long as she needed to finish filling out the form. Her adult child was not so patient. Seeing negativity in the mother’s slow writing, the adult child took the pen and finished filling out the form. A person who loved her took competence away from her.

Family Focus On Positive Identity

Contrast that woman’s experience with Geri Taylor’s experience. After Geri looked into her mirror and failed to recognize herself, her family didn’t focus on her Alzheimer’s identity. They didn’t limit her choices. Geri chose to expand her life. She acted on her interest in photography. She visited friends more often. She filled her days with pleasurable activities. She used her iPhone to keep track of her life and added the Find My Friends app. She created rules for living, including:

“Talk only if necessary while walking.”

When her driving skills deteriorated, Geri cut back on her driving to drive only as necessary.

Geri started doing research before talking to friends so she could keep up, but she also started speaking to groups about living with Alzheimer’s. She did these talks with her husband, Jim.

Geri met with CaringKind to say she wanted more than a traditional support group. Instead, she wanted “a peer-driven Alzheimer’s tutorial” because:

“We don’t want to be done to. We want to do.”

CaringKind set up a series of workshops “to swap tips for living with early-stage memory loss.” Geri is now a representative for the national Alzheimer’s Association. Geri Taylor’s family didn’t limit her choice, question her competence, or become discouraging connections. As of 2018, Geri has three years in as an Alzheimer’s champion, and she’s still going.

I am certain the family of the woman I had conversations with loves the woman as much as Geri Taylor’s family loves her. If only they used their love to focus on the woman’s positive identity, everyone would win.


If it’s easier for you to remember, think of the three elements of self-determination as:




Think of the choice, competence, and connections that matter to you, and you’ll understand their necessity for the people you love.

Autonomy & Competence Also Improve Physical Health

Seeing competence in its patients, Cleveland Clinic created MyChart. MyChart gives patients a measure of autonomy in their healthcare and health decisions.

“Providing state-of-the-art tools to help patients manage their health
is a vital part of Cleveland Clinic care and the patient experience.”

Paul Matsen, Chief Marketing and Communication Officer

MyChart and other patient engagement strategies “have led to dramatic improvements int the patients’ experience.”

“5 ways Cleveland Clinic improved its patient engagement strategies”
Jeff Rowe
Healthcare IT News
October 1, 2013

“Best Global Brands: Cleveland Clinic”
Interbrand Health
No date.

“Leading The Way Through Alzheimer’s”
N.R. Kleinfield
Reader’s Digest
June 2018, pages 103-111


Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)

Copyright 2015
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Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

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