Tragedies & Triumphs

Success in small spaces create the victories of life.

People triumph over tragedy by creating tiny triumphs that together overcome the tragedy. Paula M. Kramer triumphed over several tragedies. Paula uses what she learned from triumphing over tragedy to help other people transform their livesIf Paula’s tiny triumphs could transform her tragedies into satisfying successes, your tiny triumphs can transform your difficulties into satisfying successes.

Paula also writes about her tragedies in an effort to help people be more understanding. Throughout Paula’s life, other people have looked at her actions and reactions and made assumptions based on their own lives. The assumers who were part of Paula’s life thought Paula should live and behave according to their assumptions. Since their assumptions had nothing to do with the realities of Paula’s life, it was impossible for Paula to live and behave according to those assumptions.

As you read this, think about how you could stop making assumptions. Saying you would like to understand the whys of someone’s actions and reactions is a good place to start. When you do this, you will be inviting other people to do the same for you. Think no one is making assumptions about you? Look yourself up here to find the stereotypes at least some other people use about you. I have more stereotype blog posts already published and planned so you can see more of the stereotypes at least some other people use about you.


The Tragedies of Paula’s Life

Tragedy #1

Paula’s mother tried to kill Paula first physically, then mentally and emotionally. She would tell Paula she could have or do something she wanted, then take it away so she could watch and listen to Paula cry.

Stereotypes Instead Of Support

Paula’s mother emotionally abused every member of her family, husband and children. She physically neglected one of Paula’s brothers. But when Paula began talking about her murder memories, every member of her immediate family decided Paula was lying, making stories up. When Paula ended her relationship with her mother and a few siblings. Her attempts to maintain relationships with her other siblings and her father’s family failed. The stereotypes too hold. Only Paula’s Aunt Terry, her mother’s only sister and only surviving family member, strengthened her relationship with Paula. Aunt Terry knew her sister better than anyone else.


Attention seeker
Emotionally unstable


Tragedy #2

A childhood injury to Paula’s spine was misdiagnosed for 33 years, leaving Paula disabled as an adult. Normal sitting and standing became more and more painful. The more Paula stood and sat normally, the more normal sitting and standing became painful. The more painful normal sitting and standing became, the more difficulty Paula had earning money.

Stereotypes Instead Of Support

From the time of the accident through the present, Paula’s life has been full of people who are certain they know more about Paula’s pain than she does. Some people are certain Paula couldn’t possibly feel pain from the physical accident so her pain has to be emotional. Some people are certain Paula couldn’t possibly feel more pain than they do, no matter what their pain is. Some people are certain Paula couldn’t possibly have trouble doing everything they do. Some people are certain that if the weather affects their arthritis, than the weather must also affect Paula’s muscles. Out of place bones and muscles recovering from decades of doing abnormal actions couldn’t possibly be any worse than arthritis.


Attention seeker


Tragedy #3

Paula’s husband killed himself 2 feet away from Paula. Their daughter was 8 months old.

Stereotypes Instead Of Support


Tragedy #4

The death of Paula’s husband left Paula a disabled single parent. She experienced long periods of inadequate medical care. Paula’s daughter did not always have the health care she needed. Paula and her daughter frequently lived without enough food or heat and endured panic when they did not have enough money to pay their bills. As a little girl Paula’s daughter would say, “Of course I can’t have…” and “Of course I can’t do…”

Stereotypes Instead Of Support


Tragedy #5

Paula’s 5 siblings mostly ignored what she said about herself, discounted what she accomplished, and treated her like a trespasser in their lives. Paula’s siblings ignored all of her daughter’s tears.

Paula’s father loved her, but became an alcoholic so he could endure decades of emotional abuse from Paula’s mother. He was unable to recognize how badly his wife hurt all of their children.

Stereotypes Instead Of Support


Tragedy #6

Paula has lived with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for decades.

Stereotypes Instead Of Support


Paula Needs Respect

Paula lists the tragedies of her life only so you can understand her triumphs.

Paula does not talk about her husband’s death. Paula occasionally mentions her husband if something about his life fits a point of conversation. This is not an invitation to ask questions about her husband. Never ask Paula questions about her husband. Never bring up Paula’s husband in conversation. Respect Paula’s need to limit any conversation about her husband.

See the Grief Page for examples of what to say and what not to say to people who are grieving.


Paula’s Triumphs Over Tragedy

Triumph Over Cycle Of Abuse Handed Down From Grandmother To Mother To Daughter

Paula had to spend her childhood living with a mother who tried to kill her twice. To survive, Paula separated her memories of being murdered into different physical, mental, and emotional pieces. The continuing effort to keep the memory pieces separate was exhausting. When Paula felt overwhelmed by that effort, she screamed at her daughter. When Paula felt overwhelmed for days or weeks, she screamed at her daughter for days or weeks. Eventually, Paula spent 5 years in therapy with 2 different therapists. She also began talking to friends about her childhood. Although her therapists helped her, Paula’s friends provided insights that her therapists missed.

Tiny Triumphs

Holding her own during therapy by refusing to accept both therapists’ diagnosis that she did not like herself.

Taking what was good from therapy and combining it with the insights of her friends.

Putting together the separate physical, mental, and emotional pieces of her life into a whole that explained everything.

After Paula faced the truth that her mother tried to kill her, the overwhelming stress behind her screaming at her daughter mostly disappeared. Paula has screamed only twice in about twenty years, when flashbacks to her childhood brought back the overwhelming stress. Paula is now her daughter’s favorite shopping partner.


Triumph Over 25 Years Of Compulsive Overeating

Because she feared her feelings might get her killed, Paula began eating compulsively at age 14 to keep her feelings buried. After her husband died and Paula was living on her own, she began writing letters to the editor about poverty and other issues. Paula wrote letters fairly regularly for 9 years. After the first few years, Paula noticed that her compulsion to stuff herself with food had lessened. She knew she was eating less because of the letters, but did not understand why. Before the end of the 9 years, the compulsion to stuff herself had disappeared completely. About a decade later when Paula learned about DISC behavior styles and Spranger guiding values, she realized that writing those letters had satisfied one behavior style need and two guiding value passions. By satisfying her need and passions, Paula opened a door that gave other people opportunities to satisfy her behavior style need for recognition and approval.

Tiny Triumphs

Each letter to the editor

Each positive response to her letters

Read more about how Paula ended her eating disorder here.


Triumph Over Pain From Spinal Injury

During her talks and workshops, Paula often tells audiences that her spine was injured when a boy in school pulled her chair out from under her. She asks her audiences to tell any children in their lives to never pull chairs out from under anyone. Some people are instantly paralyzed. Paula is lucky that she can still walk. After a dinner talk to businesswomen, a nurse in the audience came up to Paula. The nurse gave Paula the correct diagnosis for her injury and recommended the correct treatment to end the pain. Paula got the recommended treatment, finally ending 33 years of pain in her spine.

However, because the misdiagnoses went on for decades, other problems developed. When the boy pulled the chair out from Paula, she landed hard on her tailbone. Thirty-three years later, the nurse in her audience told Paula that her spinal cord had tensed up when she hit the floor. Every time Paula did something that hurt her spinal cord, the tension in her spinal cord increased. The tension in her spinal cord pulled her pelvis further and further backwards. Because her pelvis was out of place, her hips shifted out of place. Paula felt pain in her spine and in her hip muscles. Years before Paula finally got the correct diagnosis, an x-ray revealed that Paula had no S curve in her spine. Paula does not know why that medical professional did not make the correct diagnosis from the x-ray. He did tell her that she felt pain when she put weight on her spine. Normal sitting and standing put weight on her spine.

Paula got through college and earned two degrees by finding alternatives to normal sitting. The disability office at her university paid for a chair to be altered for her. It was an old rocking chair. The rockers had broken so they had been cut off. It was low to the ground and when Paula sat in it her knees were higher than her hips. Paula could sit in that chair without pain. At the time Paula didn’t realize that having her knees higher than her hips took the weight off her spine. With wheels added, Paula could store the chair in one building at the university and push it to classes. For classes in different buildings, Paula sat on one chair with her feet on another chair or sat on the floor against a wall. She used a lumbar cushion in both her chair and when sitting on the floor against a wall. For one course in a huge auditorium classroom, Paula would lie on the floor at the front of the room.

When Paula finally got the correct treatment for her injury, her spinal pain ended in one hour. The treatment released the tension in her spinal cord. Her pelvis moved forward. Her spine resumed its S curve. Paula’s 33 years of spinal pain ended in one hour because the cause of the pain ended in one hour. However, every muscle in Paula’s back from her shoulders to her hips suddenly were doing things they hadn’t done for 33 years. The muscles were weak and normal activity was painful. Her hips continued to shift out of place. Paula still lived with pain everyday and still had some trouble sitting and standing normally. At times, Paula had to take jobs that made her pain worse. For years, Paula wore a back brace everyday.

Paula’s back started improving dramatically in the spring of 2017. Since her injury at 12 years old, Paula has done a variety of aerobic, stretching, and yoga exercises to reduce her muscle pain and increase her muscle strength. Paula exercises every day, usually doing some sort of exercise even when she’s sick. In the spring of 2017, Paula added targeted exercises for her abdomen and buttocks. At first, Paula’s muscles could take only one count of each exercise a day. Paula added one count every other month as her muscle strength improved. After six months, Paula was able to get rid of her back brace. Although normal sitting and standing can still leave Paula in pain, it is less pain than she experienced before. Paula added hip exercises in the autumn of 2017, doing one count a day and adding one count every other month. In 2019 Paula discovered that slowly walking forward then backwards for the same number of steps strengthens both her hip muscles and lower back muscles. Backward walking also stretches her still tight right hip muscles. Most cars shift Paula’s hips out of place, so Paula still has continuing problems with pain in her hips.

Because her hips still shift out of place, Paula has to think about practically every move she makes. If she sits in a chair leading with her left hip, her hips shift out of place. If Paula sits in a chair leading with her right hip, her hips stay in place. If Paula walks clockwise, her hips shift out of place. If Paula walks counter clockwise, her hips stay in place. When Paula can’t walk clockwise, she spins in place to get to the direction she needs to go. If Paula takes a step to the left while standing, her hips shift out of place. If Paula takes a step to the right while standing, her hips stay in place. Paula has to think about every move she makes to keep her hips in place. Paula sleeps on a custom built wooden platform with two inches of padding. Anything softer would shift her hips out of place.

In public, Paula doesn’t always have the time or opportunity to think before she moves. She often goes home needing to stretch her hips.

To shift her hips back into place, Paula has to lie on the floor with her legs straight out. Even her hard bed is too soft. She feels the shifts mostly in her right hip. She also feels vertebrae shift back into place. She can feel two or three left side vertebrae shifts one right after the other. Right side shifts are usually one vertebra. Occasionally, Paula feels a thunk on the left side of her pelvis at the top. Very rarely, Paula feels a thunk on the right side of her pelvis at the top. The pelvic thunks can leave an ache that lasts for hours. They are loud enough for Paula to hear.

Starting in the spring of 2020, Paula began to feel fewer shifts of any sort while lying on the floor to stretch. Instead, she felt more vertebra shifts while being active. The shifts are usually single shifts. They can be from the right or left. Paula once felt a mid back shift from the right, a mid back shift from the left, then an upper back shift from the right while driving. Once, Paula felt a far right pelvic thunk while driving.

Paula feels the least amount of pain in her hips when she makes cross body movements with her arms. Flipping a light switch to her left side with her right hand. Picking something up from a table on her right side with her left hand.

In case you were wondering, Paula has not seen a medical professional for her back since she finally got the correct treatment for her spinal injury. She has trust issues with medical professionals. The last diagnosis Paula received was that her pain was emotional and if she just kept doing what hurt, her pain would just go away.

Tiny Triumphs

Finding alternatives to normal sitting so she could attend college.

Finding ways to do talks in spite of the pain in her spine.

Giving someone else a reason to help her.

Developing her own exercise routine to improve the strength of her back and muscles.

2020 Update

Paula knew that all of her back pain would come to an end after she finally got a car that held her hips in place. Paula finally got that car on August 31, 2020. Her hips have stayed in place since she started driving her new car, a Hyundai Kona SEL SUV. But now her front thigh and lower back muscles are suddenly doing normal again after 32 years of doing abnormal. They hurt. Paula has had difficulty sleeping because of the pain. Paula knows the pain will end after her muscles get used to normal.

Despite the pain in her back and thighs, Paula has noticed signs of improvement. She experiences fewer shifts and thunks in her hips, pelvis, and vertebrae. And activities that used to cause pain are no longer causing pain. Vacuuming, for instance. Paula wrote this for her November 1, 2020 journal entry:

Driving hurts my lower back muscles. My thigh muscles don’t like stairs.
I often have to push myself off of chairs because that’s easier on my thighs.
But vacuuming two rugs no longer requires a soaking bath. It took a few hours
for me to believe it, but I eventually cried at the prospect of a pain free life.
I don’t have to live with pain for the rest of my life. It will end. I’ll be able to think
about other things. I’ll be able to do more of what I want to do.

It could take one or two years for normal to return, but Paula will get there.


Hyundai Kona
6 Month Update From Paula

My muscles hurt almost as much today as they did when I first got my car. The pain is continuous. As I write this my back is stiff with a high level of pain because yesterday I used my hand vacuum to clear Asian beetles off six second floor windows for my grandson. I also feel sharp twinges of pain in my right chest. I am right-handed so I held the hand vacuum  with my right hand.

I frequently wake up during the night in pain.

I feel twinges of pain in my front thigh muscles every single day.

I feel twinges of pain in my knee muscles and ankle muscles and foot muscles frequently.

My back muscles hurt all the time every time I drive. My thigh muscles usually start hurting on my drive home.

Walking up the stairs to the second floor of my house takes a lot of effort, but I haven’t had to crawl up my stairs for the last few months. I often have to stop on the stairs to give my thigh muscles a moment to rest.

When I drive with both front and back window wipers going, I get dizzy. I keep the back wipers off as much as possible.

When I first got my Kona, watching movement while I was stationary made me dizzy and nauseous. Watching online videos with movement made me dizzy. Consistent back pain can cause dizziness. That kind of dizziness seldom happens now. But serious dizziness can still happen. I tried to pull a stuck dresser drawer out. I failed. Right afterwards, I had the worst dizziness spell I’ve had so far. I had to hold onto a table to avoid falling. I also felt the most serious nausea so far.

I have to talk myself through living with this continuous new pain just about every single day.

But I have felt improvements.

My hips are in place and my hip muscles no longer hurt.

Vacuuming two rugs no longer requires a soaking bath to recover.

I still feel various vertebrae shifts and thunks, but I now rarely feel two or three painful vertebrae thunks at a time. The thunks are also smaller, meaning my vertebrae aren’t shifting as far out of place as they used to. The pelvic thunks are now rare.

Since about 2001 or 2002, I have slept mainly on the floor or on a wooden platform with about 2 inches of padding. I needed that much hardness to keep the pain in my hips at a bearable level. Each of my two grandsons has his own bedroom in my house. I recently tried sleeping on each mattress. One of them caused a lot of back pain. The other cause little back pain. I am closer to sleeping in a normal bed.

I had hoped my muscles would get used to normal faster than they are. I was hoping  for a year of recovery. Now I think it will be two to three years.

This is an extremely difficult period of my life, but I am luckier than probably most people in continuous severe pain. I know it will end. I know I will someday do everything I want to do without any back pain at all. I see light at the end of a decades long tunnel of pain.


Hyundai Kona
1 Year Update From Paula

I am still in pain. My lower back muscles and thighs still hurt. I have begun sitting in normal chairs again for short periods of time. I’m feeling more pain again because of it. Walking a few blocks can leave me with continuous thigh pain and pain twinges.

I feel no extra pain from vacuuming.

I still feel small vertebrae shifts. I have felt less painful vertebra thunks recently. The painful lower back thunks while doing the cobra seem to be in the past.

I’m still mostly sleeping on my wooden platform bed.

I expect another 2 years of pain, though it should be dwindling in the 3rd year.


My Thank You Letter To Hyundai

My Bones and My Hyundai Kona


Triumph Over Poverty

Before finally getting the correct diagnosis and treatment for her spinal injury, Paula could sit and stand normally only for short periods of time. During the 32nd year of the pain in her spine, Paula began to sit on a low chair at home with her feet on a tall stool. The only way she could sit without pain was to put her feet at the same level as her head. Away from home, Paula sat on a chair with her back pillow while resting her feet on another chair, or sat on the floor with her back pillow up against a wall.

During the 33rd year of the pain in her spine, Paula began carrying a cane whenever she had to be out in public. She did not need the cane for walking. Instead, she needed the cane to lean on if she had to stand. By then, standing normally for just 2 minutes left Paula in excruciating pain. In stores, Paula could lean on shopping carts and against counters and shelves. She had little to lean against in places like parks. Paula carried the cane with her so she could lean forward on it and reduce the pain she felt from having to stand.

At first, Paula survived on Social Security Survivors Benefits because she was a widow. After her Social Security payments ended, Paula survived financially only because her teenage daughter worked as many hours as she could to support them. Her daughter had started buying food and paying bills with her first babysitting job at the age of 10. Paula filled in financial gaps with credit cards until she could no longer make the payments and had to declare bankruptcy.

After receiving the correct diagnosis and treatment, Paula was able to earn money again, but her choices were still limited. Because the original injury to her spine had gone untreated for 33 years, other problems developed. She still experiences some pain every day. However, Paula eventually found a way to earn money that left her in minimal pain. Paula works on her writing every day, including holidays.

Tiny Triumphs

Paying bills as Paula and her daughter were able to.

Finding ways to stay healthy despite living without any kind of health coverage for almost 20 years.


Triumph Over Being Ignored, Discounted, & Treated As A Trespasser By Siblings

Paula felt like a trespasser in her own family. She was afraid to further the trespasser feeling by sitting differently from her family. She endured the pain of sitting in normal chairs with her feet on the ground because her mother and siblings discounted the pain in her spine. Her back pillow eased the pain somewhat, but not completely. Paula rarely went to public places with her family, because she rarely did anything with them.

Early one holiday season, Paula asked her older sister if she could come for Christmas. After some hemming and hawing, her older sister said she did not have “enough space” for Paula and her daughter. After his first child was born, her first brother did not want Paula and her daughter to visit to meet his new baby. When Paula’s financial difficulties became severe, her second sister refused Paula’s request for a loan, telling Paula she needed to work on “long term solutions” instead. Long term solutions to her sister meant Paula should stop exaggerating about her back and go out and get a job. Her second brother ignored every letter or card Paula sent him for about ten years. Her third sister lived in another country for a number of years, but never informed Paula of her return visits to the United States. The siblings based all of their decisions about Paula on the false beliefs behind stereotypes rather than on the details of reality. Paula once loved her siblings. They killed her love with their cold-heartedness. Paula and her daughter lived without adequate food, heat, and medical care. In fact, Paula needed emergency surgery in 2008 to keep her alive. That’s what happens when a medical problem goes untreated for 11 years. A charity paid her $10,000 bill. If Paula’s only recourse for medical help had been her siblings, she would have died in 2008 because they never believed anything she said about herself.

Since Paula’s siblings refused to help a trespasser, Paula had to find help elsewhere. She looked for faith in her abilities and support for her efforts from people who ignored stereotypes and looked at the details of reality.

Linda Behling Raap of the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) provided Paula with college tuition. John Timcak at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point provided Paula with a chair adapted to reduce her pain. Together they made it possible for Paula to earn a B.A. in Women’s Studies/Writing. Paula went on to earn an M.A. in Communication.

Linda Behling Raap and Julie Jensen of the DVR started Paula on the path that would allow her to make her documentary and publish her books.

Jerry Reckner of Associated Speakers recommended that Paula learn about DISC behavior styles. Paula did so and discovered she had a talent for analyzing both behavior styles and guiding values. She is in the process of writing a book to help people understand how DISC behavior styles and Spranger guiding values affect their success and relationships.

Dozens of ordinary people and a few well known people — many of them strangers — agreed to interviews or use of video footage for her documentary, Renewing Energies: The Ingredients for Spectacular Success, and interviews for her book, From Pyramids To Circles: Shaping Groups To Succeed.

Friends, acquaintances, coworkers, nonprofits, businesses, and strangers too numerous to list provided Paula with emotional, financial, professional, and other types of support through many difficult times.

However, Paula would like to publicly thank Kathleen Hanold. Paula did not have the money to pay for the treatment that ended the pain in her spine. Paula told Kathleen she had finally found a treatment that sounded like it would end the pain in her spine. She told Kathleen she planned to get the treatment after she saved up for it. Kathleen said, “Oh, why don’t I just give the money.”

It is people like Kathleen Hanold who made it possible for Paula to show you how to create tiny triumphs for yourself. Paula expresses her heartfelt thank you to Kathleen and to everyone else who gave her opportunities to create more tiny triumphs that added up to satisfying and significant successes.

Tiny Triumphs

Presenting herself and her work in ways that proved her abilities

Persevering in spite of frequent difficulties

Using some of the support other people offered in ways that suited her talents rather than their expectations


Triumph Over PTSD

After decades of wondering if she would finally be able to feel safe after her mother died, Paula accidentally found her safety experience. Paula writes about this on the Murder Secret Families page.

Tiny Triumphs

Knowing how to wash away the terror.

Feeling safe for at least a few hours everyday.

Giving other PTSD sufferers steps for finding their own safety experiences.


Tragedy Affects Generations

Paula’s mother and siblings as well as various organizations and professionals refused to believe that Paula was disabled and had difficulty earning money. Paula’s father died before her back problems became seriously disabling. Because few people were willing to help, Paula had to feel the heartbreak of watching her daughter endure hunger, cold, health problems, loneliness, and increasing stress. Paula’s daughter had to start buying food and paying bills when she was 10 years old and got her first babysitting job. At age 16, her daughter got a job at a fast food restaurant so she could earn as much money as possible to keep them from becoming homeless. At age 17, Paula’s daughter said, “I don’t understand. I thought family was supposed to help.”

Her daughter was under so much stress that Paula asked someone she thought was a friend for a loan. Paula wanted to give her daughter a break from working as much as possible for 7 years of her childhood. The friend knew Paula had a serious back problem. Horrified at Paula’s request, the “friend”  told Paula to “Go out and get a job!” Although the “friend” had no children of her own, she assured Paula that her daughter would be fine.

Paula’s daughter has not been “fine” in the way the “friend” assured Paula she would be. Paula’s daughter faced difficulties she would not have faced if other people cared. Because Paula was the only person in the world who cared that her daughter had spent her childhood earning as much money as possible, Paula’s daughter got no break. A continually stressful childhood creates health problems in adulthood. Paula’s daughter endured one health problem after another for several years as an adult. Because of noncancerous tumors in two of her vertebra, Paula’s daughter had to withdraw from college. She had to change her life plans. After two years of medical professionals refusing to believe what my daughter said about her pain, we finally found a doctor who would treat her. That treatment took several years to reduce the pain, but finally my daughter’s life is better. During all those years of their mother’s pain, my grandchildren endured their own stress and deprivations.

Since Paula’s daughter was lonely for contact from Paula’s family as a child, she contacted them as an adult. Paula’s mother and siblings did nothing to make her daughter’s difficult life easier. Paula’s mother and siblings ignored the difficulties for a second generation of children growing up with a mother who lived with pain in her spine.



Paula M. Kramer writes in detail about her family relationships to help other people avoid making the mistake she made. Paula’s mistake was believing she could someday do just the right thing that would please her mother and siblings, convincing them to make Paula feel loved and included.

It was never going to happen.

Paula’s mother and siblings stereotyped Paula negatively. Their negative stereotypes about Paula gave them the ability to create positive stereotypes about themselves. In order for Paula’s mother and siblings to see Paula as she really is, they would also have to see themselves as they really are. They prefer their stereotypes. Paula wasted decades of her life trying to please her mother and siblings when pleasing them was never possible. Paula wants to help other people avoid wasting their lives trying to please people who will never let go of their stereotypes. She uses examples from her family relationships to get people thinking about their own family relationships.

Paula’s mother was callous, cold, and distant all of Paula’s life. Paula witnessed her mother’s repeated callousness towards others, especially her father. Yet Paula wasted four decades of her life trying to please her mother before she finally understood that her mother had never loved her and never would love her, no matter what Paula did.


Forced Failure
Paula’s Personal Stories

I may revise this section as my experiences and observations
add to my understanding.

From my experiences and observations, people enforce failure for four reasons:

Weak ego feelings

Fear of imagined threats

Punishment for imagined wrongs

Threats to their comfort level

Note that the reasons for forced failure often start from feelings and thoughts. Failure enforcers use their feelings and thoughts to keep people “in their place.” Examples of forced failures that could stem from any of those reasons include:


Sexual harassment

Workplace sabotage

Online trolling



Physical abuse

Denial of service

Personal vendettas

How many of these have your endured? I have endured several kinds of forced failure from people I know well, people I know somewhat, and complete strangers.

In My Family

My mother tried to kill me twice. She saw me as a threat because I was her second daughter instead of her first son. She was raised to believe she could prove her value as a woman only as the mother of a son. To make sure no one would believe me if I ever talked about her crimes, she convinced our family and all of our relatives to ignore what I said and discount what I did. She spent the rest of my childhood punishing me for disappointing her. She would tell me I could have or do something I wanted, then take it away at the last minute.

On My Jobs

Several female coworkers forced failure on me by telling lies to get me fired from two jobs. The first time, a coworker thought I should finish her work for the day so she could leave early. I was finishing my own work of helping someone who could not take care of themselves. Several female coworkers lied to punish me for making the other employee do her own work. That company was later cited for policies that violated laws. In a separate crime, police arrested the director who fired me for forging signatures on legal documents.

The second time, I was just one of many employees fired because of coworker lies. The company had a lying culture. One supervisor told me she had lied to her daughters about her age until they accidentally found out as teenagers. Company supervisors listened to employee lies instead of investigating all sides of any story. When I told other people my story about being fired, I heard story after story of other coworker lies in that company. The other stories came from other victims, a friend of a victim, and a supervisor at a different company.

Community Crony Cliques

~ A community group made up new rules to force failure on me.

~ A man in charge of a community project asked me to participate in that project. When he told the rest of the project participants, every woman involved in the project said they would quit if I participated. At least one of those women was also a member of the community group above. I now think of this woman as Equality Eraser. If Equality Eraser made a practice of standing in horseshoes, she’d create new opportunities to meet women willing to help her shine. See the links below.

Equality Eraser always seems to think in terms of exclusion. She suggested a county supervisor hold public listening meetings in the historic building the community group maintains. The building is not accessible. Equality Eraser apparently thinks people using wheelchairs and walkers have nothing important to say to their own county supervisor.

Community Banker

A community banker (Community Banker) tried to force failure on me as a homeowner. Community Banker was willing to let people die so he could force failure on me. He was even ready to let children die.

Nonprofit Nixer

Unable to get a home equity loan through my bank, I turned to a nonprofit that gave loans to low income people starting small businesses. The process went well until my contact’s supervisor (Stereotyping Supervisor) nixed the loan. She decided I was too old to be successful. Since she hadn’t met me or asked for more information, I sent information to the nonprofit showing the high success rate of women 60 years old or older in my field. The nonprofit stood by its Stereotyping Supervisor.

Status Sellout

A former friend decided I did not deserve success. She sold out our friendship of  eight years. I met her as a home health caregiver to her husband. The job lasted four and a half years. Status Sellout began leaving the house while I was still there with her husband. When she was gone and her husband slept while I finished up dishes and such, I was virtually alone in her house. After her husband’s death, Status Sellout had me go to her house to take care of her plants and pet while she took trips. I was virtually alone or completely alone in her house hundreds of times over eight years.

During those eight years I:

Taught her how to use her new computer.

Helped troubleshoot problems with her computer.

Helped her get vehicles to and from the mechanic.

Placed online orders for her using my credit card.
(She paid me back.)

Took her old medications to a drop off site.

Helped her become emotionally ready for widowhood.

Status Sellout helped me by lending me tools. She offered to lend me a sewing machine, but I never took her up on that offer. She was also generous with garden produce.

Over the course of our friendship, I talked to Status Sellout about my business ambitions. When my computer died in October of 2018, I called Status Sellout to ask if I could use her computer when she wasn’t there to apply for a business grant. My daughter’s house is mostly not quiet. Libraries are distracting. I wanted to be alone because I write better without distraction and I had never written a grant. Status Sellout responded with, “If you think I’m going to give you money…” I had used the words “computer” and “business grant”, not “money”. She talked about money twice. I talked about a business grant repeatedly. She was suddenly suspicious of everything I said. She decided that using her computer to apply for a grant would harm her computer and how dare I ask to be alone in her house!

Note that I did nothing harmful to Status Sellout or any of her possessions. My crime was asking her to give me the same friendship I had given her. As her friend, I helped Status Sellout in the various ways she needed to be helped. Because I thought we were equal, I asked her to help me in the way I needed to be helped. But in her mind, Status Sellout had changed my status from equal to inferior. I don’t know what prompted the change. My request that she treat me the same way I treated her was an threat to her new feelings of superiority. I ignored previous evidence of this status change because I did not want to believe it was true.

Status Sellout puts hay bales around her house every autumn to keep her house warmer. Every spring she has to figure out ways to get rid of those hay bales. In the spring of 2018, I asked Status Sellout for four hay bales to use as mulch. She had given me hay bales in the past. I would go to her house where she did the heavy work getting the hay bales to my car and into my trunk. The hay bales were too heavy for my back. I would drive home immediately after she put the last hay bale in my car. Pulling the bales out of my trunk was easier than lifting them into my trunk. I put the bales on my hand truck to move them where I needed them.

The last time Status Sellout gave me hay bales, she told me to help her throw pieces of hay bales as far as I could over a fence. She made me pay for the hay bales she wanted to get rid of with physical labor. She didn’t care that throwing pieces of hay bales over the fence would leave me in pain. Since she had decided I was inferior to her, I no longer deserved to take any of the hay bales she did not want without somehow paying for them. I did what she asked because back then I still wanted to be her friend.

I feel pain in my back every single day and in my hips frequently. I don’t talk about my pain because no one wants to hear about how much pain I feel every single day. Status Sellout is one of the few people who has any idea about how much pain I feel. The last year I took care of her husband, I had to wear a back brace to get through each morning and evening shift. Even with the back brace, I would feel intense pain. Status Sellout knew this.

Status Sellout certainly had the right to say no to my using her computer. She went much further by waging a personal vendetta against me. She set about destroying relationships I had with other people. A woman I met through community activities years before I met Status Sellout no longer speaks to me. Status Sellout knows both of us. Status Sellout made certain that the community activity woman would stop speaking to me. She took revenge on me for thinking I deserved the same friendship I gave to her.

The day Status Sellout made me pay for the hay bales with physical labor, we talked about the trip she was taking the next week. Status Sellout had yet again asked me to be alone in her house so I could take care of her plants and her pet. I keep a daily journal, so I can prove this. Status Sellout sold out our friendship by deciding I was less than equal to her. Even so, she still trusted me to be completely alone in her house.

Because I know that Status Sellout is telling lies about me, you can read the text of my last email to her. See the link below. It was my last direct communication with her. I will happily forward my email to any of her friends to prove that Status Sellout is telling lies about me. They should know what she’s capable of doing to them. Status Sellout has already set them up for embarrassment if they repeat her lies to people who have read this web page.

The personal care for Status Sellout’s husband required frequent pushing, pulling, and stretching. My thumbs began to hurt two or three years into that job. As with my back, I wore braces on my hands while doing my job work. Years later, my thumbs still hurt when I do too much with my hands. They don’t hurt at all when I have enough money to buy a certain supplement.


Noses In The Air Nonprofit

Over a period of years, several staff members of a nonprofit forced a variety of failures on volunteer me, at times with rudeness to my face. Other volunteers talked about staff rudeness. This is the most revealing complaint:

“It really bugs me that some people puff out their chests, stick their noses in the air,
and treat you like you are pond scum.”

This nonprofit has lost volunteers because of its rude and abusive behavior towards volunteers, including me. Volunteering for this nonprofit’s big yearly event used to be a highlight of my year. That highlight no longer exists for me.

One Spinal Injury, Many Failure Enforcers

Failure enforcers take action against people who threaten to make their lives less comfortable. Because of my spinal injury, I asked people to change their thinking and actions to fit my needs. Change was too uncomfortable for many of them.

My pelvis began moving backwards when I was 12 years old. Every single job I’ve ever had was harmful to my body. Some jobs were worse than others, but all of them hurt me.

Across the decades of my life, dozens of people had the influence, ability, or resources to ease my pain. When I asked them to change their thoughts and actions to ease my pain, most of them chose to protect their own comfort. It was far more comfortable to ignore what I said than to listen to what I said. Listening to what I said would require them to take new actions. To protect their own comfort, these people expected me to ignore my reality.

“Go out and get a job.”

“Stop being emotional.”

“Work on long term solutions.”
(…long term solutions that satisfied the speaker’s comfort,
not any solution that would release the tension in my spinal cord,
move my pelvis back into place, and restore the S curve in my spine.)

In other words, they decided I should have acted as if my pelvis was in place even when it was out of place. I should have acted as if my spine had an S curve even when it didn’t have an S curve. I should have acted as if my hips never shifted out of place even when they did shift out of place. Anything else disturbed their comfort.

“Go out and get a job” came from a woman who had previously told me she believed in me career efforts.

“Stop being emotional” came from a physical therapist who decided I was being hostile to her. A doctor sent me for a functionality test to determine if I qualified for Social Security disability benefits. I explained the history of my pain to the physical therapist. The pain was not bad at first, so I kept doing everything. The pain only worsened until I couldn’t sit or stand normally. When the physical therapist told me I would have to carry increasingly heavy weights up and down a hallway, I burst into tears. From my perspective, the physical therapist had just explained how she was going to torture me. To protect her own comfort, the physical therapist told me I was being hostile to her. She said that my pain  was emotional and if I just kept doing what hurt, the pain would go away.

“Work on long term solutions” came from my second sister, who lived in a different state and had no children of her own. I had asked her for a $400 loan. She told me she would take my daughter for two or three months during the school year so I could “work on long term solutions.” She meant I should to stop being emotional and go out and get a job. How dare I threaten her comfort by asking her to pay attention to the details of my life! A retired friend of mine who had watched me cope with back pain for years lent me $400 the following day. Would I let my daughter live with my second sister for two or three months so my second sister could ignore what my daughter said about herself? Of course not. I never spoke to my second sister again.

My out of place pelvis and no S curve spine made sitting and standing normally painful. How many ways could you earn money if sitting and standing normally hurt so bad you couldn’t bear it?

I tried unusual ways to make money. All of my attempts to earn money were legal. The responses to my efforts to pay my bills somehow brought a variety of negative responses from other people. None of the people who responded negatively lived a single second of my life. They judged my actions according to their lives, not mine. They would never condescend to do such shameful employment. Lucky them. They had a choice. I never had a choice.

For the record, I needed two long term solutions. Getting the correct diagnosis so I could get the correct treatment was the first one.

The second long term solution is driving a car that is good for my hips. Most American car seats shift my hips out of place. I’ve occasionally had the opportunity to drive foreign cars, borrowed or my own. I paid $500 for one of them. Some of the foreign car seats kept my hips in place. I’m getting close to being able to buy a better used car that keeps my hips in place while I drive. In any car, I need cruise control. I need to use the cruise control as much as possible, even at 25 miles an hour.

Mistakes Failure Enforcers Make

Because failure enforcers are focused on feelings, threats, wrongs, and comfort, they fail to see the big picture. Failing to see the big picture, they make several mistakes.

Mistake #1

Thinking that everyone else in the world would see me the same way they did.

~ I am now an international bestselling author.

~ I am an international speaker

~ I am the TV producer for Relationship Reckoning on the Boss Ladies TV network.

~ I have influential connections that are international.

I am at this point because of the people who ignore stereotypes and see me for who I am. They are my success supporters.

Mistake #2

Thinking they could force failure on me without any consequence to themselves.

~ Each failure enforcer invited everyone around them to force failure on them. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The women who forced failure on me invited all men to force the same failure on them. Why should men give equality to women who create inequality? Equality between men and women will follow equality between women.

~ One failure enforcer supervisor at the lying culture company stereotyped a company client negatively. An important renewal event came up for that client months after that supervisor fired me. I wrote letters to two stakeholders about the renewal event to stop the negative stereotype from continuing. I provided evidence of how the failure enforcing supervisor had wrongfully stereotyped the client. One of the stakeholders had community influence. The other stakeholder had personal influence. The personal influence stakeholder contacted the company about the stereotyping. Do you suppose the company continued to employ the failure enforcer who publicly made the company look bad?

~ In deciding I was too old be successful, both Community Banker and Stereotyping Supervisor made themselves look bad. They both demonstrated their ignorance of the business world:

“In a 2015 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people 65 and up had the highest
self-employment rate of any age group. The report credits this rate to accumulated
business knowledge along with access to capital
 to start a business.”

My accumulated knowledge is about turning tragedies into triumphs. My own struggles and successes formed the strategies I used to launch Better Planet Business. My research into how the founders of the Energy Fair created spectacular success told me that the best way to be successful myself was to create success for others. My efforts to create success for others will create global success for me. On the advice of one person helping me with my second directory, I will take it worldwide.

– Because the Noses In The Air Nonprofit was abusive to a friend of mine, I will continue to write about it whenever appropriate.

Mistake #3

Assuming I could never do anything to negative to them.

~ I have written about a number of these forced failures on my websites and blogs. Enough people will eventually recognize who’s who in my writings to create discomfort in the failure enforcers’ lives. The failure enforcers will likely feel discomfort just wondering who identified them as failure enforcers. Those failure enforcers likely forced failure on other people as well. Their other victims could become suspicious about the failure enforcers. They could create failure for the failure enforcers.

~ Just going about my own business can mean revealing the negative truth about failure enforcers. During a meeting with a consultant, he suggested I apply for a grant. The grant was being offered by Stereotyping Supervisor’s nonprofit. I told my consultant about Stereotyping Supervisor. His mouth dropped open in astonishment.

~ Community Banker in particular faces consequences for the rest of his life. I will write about his willingness to risk children’s lives in every possible way I can think of. Several people already know who he is.

Mistake #4

Assuming that the circumstances of my life could never change.

I prefer a world where people are equal. Failure enforcers prefer a world where people are separated into different levels. They create rules by which they assign people to those different levels. An economic rule would put people in poverty at the bottom with people in wealth at the top. I was poor for decades. Do you suppose I will remain poor as the owner of two first-of-their-kind online directories? In their world of separate levels, the failure enforcers’ own rules elevate me above them.


Your Invitations

Listening to a failure enforcer while saying nothing is an invitation. You give the failure enforcer and everyone listening permission to force failure on you. If someone waged a vendetta against you, would you like listeners to speak up for you? Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The statements below are invitations to bystanders to stop vendettas against you:

I wonder what the situation was.

Are you talking about her/him the way you want other people to talk about you?

I’ll have to reserve judgment until I hear his/her side of the story.

Did you know that kindness provides the most reliable momentary increase in well-being?

Did you know that women who support other women are more successful?

These statements give bystanders  reasons to trust you. Positive invitations are important because you never know which bystanders will be able to bring unforeseen success into your life. This KindSpring link tells the story of an unemployed woman who spoke up for a homeless woman with her actions, and the reward of a job she received from a bystander.


Full-Blown Failure
To Prevent Forced Failure

Full-blown failure is the failure other people intentionally create for you because you intentionally create failure for them. My writings about failure enforcers is the failure I intentionally create for them because they intentionally create failure for me. They invited me, and I accepted. But there are differences in the failure we create.

The first difference is that they used their feelings and thoughts to intentionally create failure for me. I use their own words and actions to intentionally create failure for them.

The second difference is in our intent. Their intent is to keep me in the place they stereotyped me into. My intent is to stop them from forcing failure on anyone else. I particularly want to prevent Community Banker from risking anyone’s life again, particularly children’s lives.

Think before you speak or act about what your words and actions could bring to you.


“Doing good does you good”
Mental Health Foundation

“Power Of The Pack: Women Who Support Women Are More Successful”
Shelley Zalis
March 6, 2019

“Seniors Win in Small Businesses”
U.S. Small Business Administration

Shine Theory

Stand In Horseshoes

“Top 10 Stories of 2012 – Story #2 – Finding A Job..when You Least Expect It!”
December 30, 2012


© Paula M. Kramer, 2010 to the present.
All rights reserved.
Updated November 13, 2022.