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That’s Not Fair! Feeling Invalidated but Moving Forward

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Recently, someone I love was misrepresented to a judge as I sat by helplessly. The opposing counsel steadily focused on their goal, to win for their client.

I wanted to scream, “That’s a lie, that’s is inaccurate!” I was to sit quietly and respectfully in my seat like everyone else.

I think about all the people who feel misrepresented by government leaders. It is maddening when others are making decisions, without the full story. You may adamantly oppose the outcome, and yet it affects you. Someone is setting things in place that are out of your control.

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Greeted With a Smile

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I grew up surrounded by smiles
We take for granted our access to clean water, HVAC systems, and food, but recently I have realized there was something else I take for granted. I grew up surrounded by smiles. I never understood what a precious gift that was.

I would have to say every single time I have seen my mother over the last 48 years; there has been a clear message that she loves me. Indeed, there were times of great trial, but I can assure you I have always known her love for me. In many ways, this is because she acknowledges my presence in a genuinely caring way. Whether it is “Good morning,” when I wake up, “hello” as I walk into a room, or the way she can’t wait to see me when arriving home from being away.

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Taming Emotional Landmines

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taming emotions

Once I left an emotionally abusive household, I began to realize the impact that my environment had on my sharp reactions to emotional triggers. Often people will stay in a toxic environment where they experience invalidation of feelings and distortion of the truth. Oppressive environments cause people reflect character traits that are not true to themselves. The behavior is a symptom of toxic environments.

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You People, Emotional Triggers and The Fear of Confrontation

By | Charlotte's Blog | 4 Comments


I was happily preparing for my cooking class last Wednesday night when my husband began sharing with me a conversation he had with our pastor. Among the things discussed, he touched on the fact that I had said something offensive last Sunday in front of the entire congregation.

It wasn’t anything I had prepared to share instead; it was one of those things God spontaneously pressed me to communicate. It was something compelling, that happened at church, some months prior, and I felt led and safe enough to stand up without permission and share.

The topic of what I shared wasn’t the issue. My unfamiliarity with trigger words for my primarily black church family, however, evidently took the emphasis off the miracle that I was sharing. I later learned that my words stung my brothers and sisters in Christ, unbeknownst to me.

The miracle that I was referring to was likely impossible to occur in the days of segregation. My joy over the lack of discrimination and the unity that I feel led me to (inappropriately) emphasize my point. What I meant was: “Look what Our God has done! Look how far we have all come! This is nothing short of a miracle!”

In emphasizing the power of the Holy Spirit in my church family and God’s sovereign choice to accomplish what previously seemed impossible in that community of believers, I referred to my church family as “You people.”

words matter

To me, I meant, ‘You people’ who, and certainly whose ancestors, have suffered great injustices in the United States. You sacred people who have withstood great trials and come through with dignity and ‘you people’ whom I love more than any other body of Christ, as evident by my presence here week after week, and courage to stand up and share. My love of this body of believers is so apparent to me; it never crossed my mind that anything coming out of my mouth would wound a single soul there.

My husband lovingly communicated the message of my error from the understanding heart of my pastor. My husband gently shared, “He doesn’t want you to change, or apologize, but some people were upset by you saying, “you people,” and he wants to talk with you about it on Sunday.”

Now to share with you some areas of irrational reactions that stem from somewhere deep inside my soul, and my need to continue to heal in specific areas, so that I can handle such things more maturely, is why I am going to be candid with my reaction to the news that I hurt someone unintentionally.

Despite the softness that encircled the truth that I was suddenly aware of, it felt like a needle pricking a full water balloon, as I burst into tears. There is a particular pain I get in my chest, when I feel deep regret for something I have said or done, unintentionally that has hurt another person. (This tenderness was accessed and exploited to intentionally hurt me in my emotionally abusive former marriage.)

My first thought was that I couldn’t ever return to that church. I had inadvertently hurt my family, in church nonetheless; ‘they won’t ever want me there again,’ I listened to the devil.

I am inviting you into a sacred space in my soul where you can see how I might react to the trigger of wounding another person. We all have triggers. My reaction was raw and irrational, but I am dissecting it so that rather than attempt to micromanage everything I say or do, I might learn to grow where I am planted and not flee discomfort. I believe there are others who know what it feels like to need to escape a situation rather than address it.

Instead of running away from my church family I needed to face the issue head-on. With the love and support of my husband, the grace of God and my desire to mature, my response came from a calmer place. A few days later, after some time with God and of course the all-important ‘big girl panties’ I mustered up the courage to go back to church and hear first-hand from my pastor, why calling my church family “you people” was so offensive. Truthfully, he couldn’t say why, but it was something I needed to know not to repeat. He let me know that when I said it, many people in the room went from hearing the miracle God had done to feeling the effects of the emotional trigger, I had just unknowingly shot their way.

I deeply regret what happened, yet I am thankful for the learning edge that I received as a result.

Romans 8:28 (KJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Learning Points:

  • Words can be like sharp knives driving deeply into flesh and leaving lifelong scars. The idea that I, as an inspiring communicator had offended people with my words, albeit unintentionally, was utterly devastating to me.
  • Loved ones have accused me of being too sensitive and not being able to handle criticism. Clearly, these are accurate statements. However, it is much more receivable when it comes from a loving place of, “I know you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but I need to share with you how this sounded to some people.”

I am increasingly aware of my weakness. My instinct is to flee, to hide and start over, rather than face the lesson that my pastor needed to communicate to me. My pastor knows my heart, more than almost anyone, I was confident he knew I meant no harm. I also knew as an adult I needed to show up so he could relay a message to me. I wanted to run the other way, as to not have to face my mistake.

I listened to the Word of God (on audible) and let The Holy Spirit bring up what I had hidden in my heart. God reminded me that what I said stemmed from His pressing me to share a miracle, unannounced in the middle of our service. I did not feel shame or guilt for what I said. I was clear in my heart that ‘you people coming’ out of my mouth in that context was a remarkably enduring comment. I was reminded that though satan wanted to use this for evil, God would use it for good.

I thought about the lessons I had learned over the years on my yoga mat.

When things get painful and uncomfortable, don’t release the pose but breathe into the discomfort until you can bear it better. It makes you stronger, more flexible and healthier.

In the future, we will explore confrontation and emotional triggers. I hope what I have shared has resonated with you. I suppose watching me admit, address and uncomfortably confront my fears and regrets, will inspire you to grow in a similar space in your life.

Make sure you are signed up so we can stay connected. I am a life coach, and I still have space for new clients. Our initial connection is 30 free minutes; please reach out if coaching is something you are feeling called to incorporate into your personal growth.

Be sure to come back for more on this subject.

Gratitude: The Great Healer

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I used to resent the fact that I was from a broken home

 I used to resent the fact that I was from a broken home.

Over the years I have become grateful for my blended family and the steps my parents took to find and model happiness.

My parents were not perfect, but they both possess the gift of gratitude. Regardless of the situations, we faced over the years, that attitude of appreciation made painful conditions smoother

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Accidentally In Love

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“God, do You think I could have a boyfriend?”

It was August 14th, 2015, the night before my book signing at the Christian Bookstore in Frederick, Maryland. I always have an ongoing dialog with God but this was the first time I had ever even mentioned such a thing.

It had been a great summer. I was enjoying the freedom of being out of an emotionally abusive marriage. I was doing tremendous work on my healing journey. I didn’t need a boyfriend, and whoever God had in store for me, would have to be ok with my commitment to sexual purity.
The book signing was an hour away. To be honest, it wasn’t the busiest book singing ever, but suddenly my life changed.

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Enjoying Your Life to Spite Your Negative Self-talk

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Charlotte Chaney in the ninth grade.In my head, I was the wildest, most screwed up, stupidest girl in the 9th grade.

After 30 years, however, I put on my big-girl panties and attended a high school reunion. I didn’t graduate from the school where the reunion was. I boarded there in 8th and 9th grade. It is a very rigorous school, academically, and my brain thrives in a more creative environment. Fortunately, I was able to finish high school at a place that was perfectly designed for creative girls like me. I thrived and graduated from there.

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Revenge or Forgiveness; You Have a Choice

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Unforgiveness and revenge go hand in hand.

Unforgiveness and revenge go hand and hand. They lead the one who encapsulates them into a life of toxicity and physical, emotional and spiritual destruction. Perhaps the ruins in our lives, that ensue from bitterness, is why the Lord cautions against harboring these emotions.

While God warns us against retaliation, He firmly promises He will make things right for us if we trust and obey Him.

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Be Still Even In The Storm

By | Charlotte's Blog | 2 Comments

Having balance, cultivating positive energy so the negative doesn’t consume us is imperative. Charlotte ChaneyWith hurricanes swirling, fires burning, and bombs threatened, one’s soul can feel out of balance without some conscious care and nurture.

The news does not display the day-to-day personal crises like painful relationships, chronic or severe health problems, financial fears, addiction, ailing parents or veering children, and political chaos that can feel all consuming.

Be Still

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Racism – We’re Still Worlds Apart

By | Charlotte's Blog | 2 Comments

Racism still exists.

“Girl, you should be ashamed of yourself showing up here in that!”

I had finally made it to my first exercise class. Evidently, I was in the wrong outfit.

I am white. The rest of the girls in the class were not white. Let me help you visualize what I’m talking about. I am the only white girl at a dance class. I showed up in the exercise skirt that I feel most comfortable in and was greeted with “You should be ashamed of yourself!”

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The Pampered Chef vs. The Engineer

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The Pampered Chef vs. The Engineer - A Story of Form vs. FunctionA Story of Form vs. Function

My former father-in-law was an engineer and I never really understood him until I remarried an engineer of my own. I am of the brain-set that coloring within the lines ruins the masterpiece. Being married to an engineer (who loves me just the way I am) has opened my eyes to the mind of a man I once loved so much and sadly lost touch with in my divorce.

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Help My Unbelief

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Family vacation to Europe

If you knew how anxious I have been about my impending European vacation with 4 of our 8 children, you’d be like, wait a minute, really?

God was the only one in the room when they shut the vault and filled me with radiation. Others were there but only watching from the camera that connected the rooms, but God was enough.

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He Saved Me!

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He saved me!Recently an acquaintance saw how happy I am.

She suggested that my new husband, Bryan, saved me. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I was saved way before I met Bryan. My salvation came during very dark, lonely, agonizing days in my first marriage. Looking back, I know God allowed this dark time to be the means to an end. God wanted me to reach out to Him for His saving grace. Even after my salvation, I prayed hard and fervently for God to fix my marriage. But, God did not change my circumstances. Instead, He revealed to me that He’s with me in every storm I face.

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