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Thread: Bad relationship with father = doom for future relationships with men???

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    ElektraHere's Avatar
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    Bad relationship with father = doom for future relationships with men???

    Hello,


    As some of you know I have been going through a tough time of it. I am realizing things about myself I MUST change. I also am realizing more and more the reasons of why I am the way I am. Why my relationships with men are so horrible, well at least why they end so horribly.


    A lot of it comes down to the relationship I had/have with my dad. I being the oldest child and the only girl in the family he wasn't really sure how to go about being a dad to a daughter. His dad died when he was younger and after that his life was full of abuse, boy's homes, and eventually joining the military at 17. So he did not have anyone to watch or observe on how to 1. Be a father or 2. Raise children.


    He was verbally abusive towards me when I was growing up. You know the "your never going to amount to anything but trailer trash." One thing I notice about him is that when he steps over the line; either saying something truly nasty or now where he sees how hurt and broken I have been in the past couple of years he offers me money or things.


    One time we were on a family vacation and my little brother was acting up. So like all siblings we were fighting. My dad came in slapped me across the face. I didn't even do anything but I was the closest to him and he was mad. Anyways he realized that it was my little brother who as being the brat and that he slapped me for no reason. The next AM he gave me $50 to buy something really nice. That's one example of an action with a monetary apology. Then last night we were celebrating my brother's birthday. He knows about my tough times via my mother. Anyways he asks me if I would like a 27" flat screen TV? Again another way he tries to make things better.


    He is not one that will tell you his feelings unless its anger. I have wanted his approval and love that's all. Not $$$ nor material things. All I have ever wanted was an "I am so proud of you S." That I believe is why I am so hard on myself and continually find fault with everything that falls apart as MY fault. This has been seeping into my adult relationships. I love my dad; I just don't love how he treated me growing up.


    Does anyone know of any great reading materials or resources about the correlation of father/daughter relationships and the effects it has on her future relationships?


    Is it really true we seek out a man that is the image of our father?




     


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    Platinum Member rose2summer's Avatar
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    Hey Elektra,

    I found this article that might be of interest to you:

    Father/Daughter Relationships: Effects of Communicative Adaptabilityand Satisfaction on Daughter's Romantic Relationships Jessica Katorski

    ABSTRACT Research has shown that the relationship a daughter has with her father remains with her intoadulthood. The father/daughter relationship is said to have an affect on future relationships, including romantic relationships. One hundred and eight-one females from the La Crosse, WIarea completed questionnaires regarding the relationship with their father as well as the relationship with their current (or most recent) romantic partner. The females were asked to determine what attachment style best describes each relationship, assess their satisfaction level concerning the relationship with their father, and asked questions regarding their communication adaptability level. Results showed that relationships could only be made between the attachmentstyles in the father/daughter relationships and the communication satisfaction and adaptability.

    INTRODUCTION A great deal of research has been conducted to find the effects of family during one’s childhood. Researchers have found that parent-child relationships affect the psychological well being of the child. Barnett and Kibria stated that positive parent-child relationships are thought to enhance several aspects of psychological well being while negative relationships are thought to predispose to psychological distress. Due to such findings, one might suggestthat the impact of the family environment on young adults is significant as well (Kissee, Murphy, Bonner, & Murley, 2000). Dumlao and Botta (2000) and Perkins (2001) state that the relationship between young adultwomen and their fathers has previously been neglected when examining the relationships within a family. Familyinfluences within the young adult cycle of life have gone virtually unstudied (Kissee, Murphy, Bonner, & Murley, 2000; Lamb, 1981; Way & Gillman, 2000). Many are convinced that the relationship between mothers and daughters is the most important parentalrelationship. While the relationship is certainly valuable, the connection that a female has with her father in manyways matters more than the one with her mother (Nielsen, 2001). Due to this, research on the affects of a young-adult daughter's relationship with her father is of value. Therefore, research was conducted on young adult women determining if or what was the relationship between father/daughter relationships and the daughter's romanticrelationships. Each young woman completed surveys regarding attachment style in the relationship with her father, her satisfaction level regarding the relationship with her father, and her communicative adaptability.

    In a strong statement by Secunda (1992), she described a female's father as her "first love," regardless of the experiences in her relationship with her father. This text noted that it might be assumed that the father-daughter relationship has the potential to shape interaction patterns that surface as women enter adult relationships. Therefore, this supports the hypothesis that a pattern may be apparent between father-daughter relationships and the daughter's romantic relationships. Research has found that women with abusive or absent fathers often choose partners who abuse or abandon them (Secunda, 1992). Research concerning intermediate variables as adjusting factors proves interesting. According to Beatty and Dobos (1992) satisfaction may be described as an internal affect resulting from the acquisition of pleasure and/or avoidance of pain. More specifically, any stimulus that fulfills needs, produces positive reinforcement, or confirms one’s ideal self-image produces satisfaction (Beatty & Dobos, 1992). Previous findings from Vangelisti, Crumley, Baker, & Canary (1999) have supported the interdependence theory, which states that relational satisfaction is linked to the degree to which one’s standards are met. Satisfaction has also beenused as the primary criterion for evaluating the quality of family communication (Pearson, 1989). Some research has focused on the satisfaction in conversation with others viewing satisfaction as a global response to relationships. Due to various types of interaction with one's father, satisfaction was operationalized in global terms for this study.

    Attachment is an overall term that refers to the state and quality of an individual's attachments. These attachments are divided into two distinct different types, secure and insecure attachment. Attachments are part of relationships from infancy. The emotional bonds that infants form with their caregivers serve as blueprints for the way people view themselves and others. They affect the way people act in their adult relationships. (Bowlby,1969;1973) Specifically regarding attachment in relationships, Bowlby stated that attachment relationships were importantfor humans across the life cycle and that attachment behaviors depicted interaction "from cradle to the grave." (Bowlby, 1979, p129). Once working attachment models are formed early in life, they are used as a guide for the child's attachment behavior both in familiar and new situations (Cassidy & Kobak, 198. Research has been conducted and supported the hypothesis that one's early attachment styles serve as a prototype for later relationships outside the family (Crowell & Feldman, 1987; Main & Goldwyn, 198. Due to these findings, using attachmentstyles as the comparison between family and romantic relationships serves as dependable. As previously stated, communication is the core of every relationship. Generally, individuals desire to express a positive nature through communication. In order to do so, one must be able to adapt to situations accordingly.

    Communicative adaptability, the ability to adjust in social settings, can also be defined as the capacity of the individual to adjust him/herself to the situation with minimum friction (Karlsson, 1963). Beatty, Marshall, & Rudd (2001) state that communicative adaptability involves the use of wit and emotional reactivity as well as emphasizes individual differences in the capacity to adapt to immediate surroundings. A number of scholars have researched this area, only with slight variations to the research. There are subtle differences in the theory constructs, yet they all share the recognition that the degree to which individuals adjust insocial settings is unevenly distributed across the population. Since communication is inevitable, individualsexperience various social settings, and the variance in communicative adaptability is considerable, it would be ofinterest to discover if there is relationship between attachment styles in relationships and an individual's level of communicative adaptability. In order to build upon completed research, the objective is to address the following questions:RQ1: Is there a relationship between a daughter's attachment style with her father and the attachment style with her current (or most recent) romantic partner?RQ2: Is there a relationship between the daughter's attachment style with her romantic partner and her satisfaction level regarding her relationship with her father?RQ3: Is there a relationship between the daughter's attachment style with her father and her satisfaction level regarding her relationship with her father?RQ4: Is there a relationship between the daughter's attachment styles with her father and her level of communication adaptability?RQ5: Is there a relationship between the daughter’s attachment style with her romantic partner and her level of communication adaptability?

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    Katorski UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research VI (2003) as they had previously for the relationship with their father. This included completing the 5-point Likert scale along with choosing one style that best represents the romantic relationship. SubjectsFemales above the age of 18 were the subjects of this research. Due to the separation from close parentalguidance, women this age are appropriate subjects for this study. One hundred and eighty-one women completelyresponded the previously mentioned questionnaires. Procedures This data was collected by a convenience sample. Majority of the women is students in the La Crosse area. Surveys were distributed throughout a few residence halls, a couple classrooms, and a campus organizationalmeeting. The researcher immediately collected the surveys upon completion by the subject. Data AnalysisDue to the number of variables involved in this study, several tests were completed in order to best analyze the data. Chi Square was run comparing the attachment styles of the relationship with the father to the attachmentstyles of the relationship with the partner. ANOVA was used to compare the attachment styles with the communication satisfaction and communication adaptability. SPSS will be the mode of determining results. The intermediate variables will be compared one another, then examined regarding style of relationships for each individual.

    RESULTS Upon computing the results of the questionnaires received, fascinating answers were found for the proposed research questions. The following is an explanation of the findings in relation to each of the five specific research questions. RQ1: Is there a relationship between a daughter's attachment style with her father and the attachment style withher current (or most recent) romantic partner?The data from each of the participants was entered and a cross-tabulation was conducted. Each of the four attachment styles in the relationship with the father was cross-tabulated with the four attachment styles in the relationship with the romantic partner. The Pearson Chi-Square test showed a significance level of .53, which is notstatistically significant. Therefore, this shows that one cannot assume any relationship between the attachment style with the father and the attachment style with the romantic partner. The results show that one cannot determine anysort of relationship outside of a chance relationship. RQ2: Is there a relationship between the daughter's attachment style with her romantic partner and the satisfaction level regarding her relationship with her father?From the results computed through an ANOVA test, one cannot confirm that there is a relationship between a daughter's satisfaction level with relationship with her father and her attachment style in her romantic relationship. None of the results showed statistical significance between any of the levels. RQ3: Is there a relationship between the daughter's attachment style with her father and the satisfaction levelregarding her relationship with her father?The level of satisfaction regarding the relationship with her father is much higher when the attachment style is secure. The mean for the satisfaction is 6.2705 with a secure attachment style. This mean drops to 4.9643 with a preoccupied attachment style. Next, the mean is 4.2704 for the dismissing attachment style and 4.2118 for the fearful attachment style. Due to these results, one could make a connection between the secure attachment style and a high level of communication satisfaction. RQ4: Is there a relationship between the daughter's attachment style with her father and her level of communication adaptability?Although there is not a drastic difference in the levels of communication adaptability, those individuals with a fearful attachment style displayed the highest level of communication adaptability with a mean of 3.8725. The preoccupied and secure attachment styles were 3.8357 and 3.8011 respectively. Lastly, those individuals with the 3
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    Katorski UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research VI (2003) dismissing attachment style had a mean of 3.6202. Those who have a fearful attachment style do have a higher tendency toward communication adaptability, however a strong relationship would be hard to support. RQ5: Is there a relationship between the daughter's level of communication adaptability and the attachment style with her romantic partner?A different result was found when comparing the attachment styles of the romantic relationship with the communication adaptability. Those individuals with a secure attachment style with their romantic partner had a mean of 3.82. The mean scores continued to lessen with preoccupied at 3.7619, fearful at 3.7263, and dismissing at3.6745. Again, one may be able to speculate; however, it may be difficult to make a strong relationship between the two.

    DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS As previously stated some of the results showed a relationship, while others did not do so. This causes more analyzing to occur in order to gain a greater understanding of the relationships between the variables. When comparing the communication satisfaction level with the attachment styles of the father relationship andthe communication satisfaction level with the attachment styles of the romantic relationship, one finds very differentresults. There is complete statistical significance between the communication satisfaction and the attachment styles with the father. The ANOVA shows that the number for statistical significance is .000, whereas there is notstatistical significance between communication satisfaction and the attachment styles with the romantic partner. That score of significance is .145. Although it is not very high, there is no way of making a connection. This is the same situation for communication adaptability. There is statistical significance for the score of communicationadaptability at .024. The communication adaptability and attachment with partner score is .208. These are not quite the results expected; however, they do prove to be interesting. The relationship a daughter has with her father is one that greatly affects her life. This relationship began atchildhood, and has continued into adulthood. Regardless if the relationship is healthy or not, it still has some sort of affect on the daughter. When comparing it to the relationship with a romantic partner, one is looking at a much different relationship. This consistency continued throughout the results. Statistical significance was present when addressing the relationship between the father and daughter, yet never present between the daughter and her partner. U

    Using multiple comparisons allows one to examine the specific attachment styles to the level of communicationsatisfaction. The secure attachment style shows statistical significance in regards to communication satisfactionwhen compared with each of the other attachment styles. For each of these match-ups, the statistical significance is .000. None of the other combinations displays statistical significance in regards to communication satisfaction. Continuing with the relationship with the father but looking at the communication adaptability level displays slightly different results. There is statistical significance when comparing the secure attachment style and the dismissing attachment style in regards to communication adaptability. Statistical significance is present whencomparing dismissing and fearful as well. This is fascinating because the only one not showing statistical significance when compared is the preoccupied attachment style. The preoccupied attachment style can be described as, "I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them," (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991). When one is a part of a preoccupied type of relationship, she desires to be very emotionally intimate. This would cause her to feel hurt more easily possible take each comment or conversation to heart. Therefore, responding with a witty comment or joke would not be in the nature of this individual. The mean score for those individuals with a preoccupied attachment style is 5.7190, which is relatively high. One could any speculate as to why that score is high. Speculations could lead to the belief that only certain aspects of the relationship cause dissatisfaction. A point of interest regarding the dismissing attachment style in the relationship with the romantic partner is the placement of the mean scores for that style. The level of communication satisfaction concerning the dismissing style is the highest of the four; however, the level of adaptability is the lowest. This could be because these females desire independent relationships, therefore feeling satisfied rather easily. Due to the desire for an independentrelationship, she is able to state her feelings in a more aggressive manner.

    Wit, humor, and ease of conversation would not be a high priority when one does not desire any intimacy in that relationship. Another hypothesis could include the fact that the female is used to a high level of satisfaction in her relationship with males. If her romantic partner does not live up to her expectations, than she would rather remain completely independent from him, seeing no need to adapt to situations smoothly. . The research does not allow one to conclude that there is a relationship 4
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    Katorski UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research VI (2003) between the attachment styles in father/daughter relationships to those in romantic relationships. However, there isstatistical significance (.000) to show that there is a relationship between the attachment styles in the father/daughter relationship and daughter's communication satisfaction. There is also statistical significance (.024) to reveal a relationship between the attachment styles in the father/daughter relationship and the daughter's communication adaptability. One disappointing finding is that there is no statistical significance with the daughter's romantic relationship related to any variable. This is slightly shocking due to past research and literature that supports the importance of the father/daughter relationship and its effects on the daughter's life in the future.
    Last edited by rose2summer; 08-31-2006 at 02:11 PM.
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    Platinum Member southerngirl's Avatar
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    WEll, I certainly hope that it doesnt mean one is doomed forever. If that is the case then Im a lost cause too.

    my mother was emotionally and physically abusive before she died 2 years ago. My father.... what a loser, alchoholic and emotional abuser, never a good example or anyone I could turn to, this oct will be one year since I last spoke to him. I dont plan to either he is so toxic to my existance. My stepfather though was allways there for me, thank goodness. He was like the one stable person..

    I recently started therapy to deal with this and other issues, although I just started Im hoping it would help. Seems highly encouraged here at enotalone and thats one motivator that got me to make that call.

    As for choosing someone like your father (to me that could be just parentage) I can say that my first husband was also emotionally and physically abusive. I had to break that pattern. After we split up I then remained single for years until I could be very sure that this man Im with now wasnt an abuser. I was very afraid of going right back into the same vicious cycle.

    Good Luck, I can relate to so much of your post it isnt even funny...
    A wise man learns by the mistakes of others, a fool by his own.

    Latin Proverb

  4. 08-31-2006, 02:24 PM

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    Gold Member NJRon's Avatar
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    I don't know if it is so much seeking out someone like your dad, versus seeking out someone who withholds the same thing that was withheld from you. In this case, affirmation, affection, approval... It's a typical pattern to try to find someone who exhibits the same lacking traits in an attempt to change them, to validate yoruself. In effect, resolving those issues.

    Now that you know what they are, you are in a position to begin resolving your old hurts and being open to someone who doesn't exhibit those traits. It's a very positive step and most people never even get as far as you.
    I just don't get it! She seems totally uninterested in me, despite my smothering obsessiveness! - Nathanial Mayweather

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    Platinum Member shes2smart's Avatar
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    Well, if that was the case, there'd be no way I could be happily married now....so I'd say the answer is, "No, it doesn't doom your future relationships with men."

    It does make it trickier for us to recognize/seek out healthy relationships, though.

    There's a theory that we always seek to "make it right." So (very simply put) if you had a parent that largely ignored you -- as in my case -- you'll tend to choose partners that ingnore you or are unavailable to you so this time in this relationship you can "fix" what was wrong. I cannot tell you how long I played the game "ignore me more and I'll try harder." It's painful and embarrasing to even think about.

    What changed? I got sick of playing that game. I got sick of the same thing happening over and over. I got into therapy, I read a lot of books, I started learning what a healthy relationship was made of. And those first few attempts at creating a healthy relationship felt weird. Real weird...and uncomfortable....and really forced. But that was only because it was so different from what I'd been doing for so long.

    It's easy to follow the patterns that you've been following since childhood. Even if they're not very satisfying, they ARE familiar. Most humans basically fear change and the unknown and have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to embrace something new...even if what's new is going to be better for them. Changing your habits -- even if you are changing them for the better -- is freakin' hard. It takes constant awareness, it takes a firm commitment to bettering yourself, it takes learning new skills, and it takes ACTION. You can analyze yourself to death, but if you don't change your behavior nothing's gonna change.

    First, though, I think you have to believe that you can have something different and better for yourself.
    "And all I can think is that it must be a kind of rebellion
    to arm your fears like soldiers and to slay them...." -The Airborne Toxic Event

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    ElektraHere's Avatar
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    What books did you find the most helpful?

    Quote Originally Posted by shes2smart View Post
    Well, if that was the case, there'd be no way I could be happily married now....so I'd say the answer is, "No, it doesn't doom your future relationships with men."

    It does make it trickier for us to recognize/seek out healthy relationships, though.

    There's a theory that we always seek to "make it right." So (very simply put) if you had a parent that largely ignored you -- as in my case -- you'll tend to choose partners that ingnore you or are unavailable to you so this time in this relationship you can "fix" what was wrong. I cannot tell you how long I played the game "ignore me more and I'll try harder." It's painful and embarrasing to even think about.

    What changed? I got sick of playing that game. I got sick of the same thing happening over and over. I got into therapy, I read a lot of books, I started learning what a healthy relationship was made of. And those first few attempts at creating a healthy relationship felt weird. Real weird...and uncomfortable....and really forced. But that was only because it was so different from what I'd been doing for so long.

    It's easy to follow the patterns that you've been following since childhood. Even if they're not very satisfying, they ARE familiar. Most humans basically fear change and the unknown and have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to embrace something new...even if what's new is going to be better for them. Changing your habits -- even if you are changing them for the better -- is freakin' hard. It takes constant awareness, it takes a firm commitment to bettering yourself, it takes learning new skills, and it takes ACTION. You can analyze yourself to death, but if you don't change your behavior nothing's gonna change.

    First, though, I think you have to believe that you can have something different and better for yourself.

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    Gold Member Lady Bugg's Avatar
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    Hey EH...

    Been through exactly what you're talking about. I can completely relate.

    I read 'Women Who Love Too Much" by Robin Norwood..it's excellent.
    It was tough to read because I saw myself in so many of the women she described in the book....but taking a hard look at myself and my patterns with the men I was choosing..and WHY was vital. I still screw up...but I am SO much better than I used to be.

    PM me if you ever need to talk.

  10. 08-31-2006, 05:00 PM

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    Gold Member Momene's Avatar
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    I like to think that my relationship with my daughter is one of the few succeses in my life. Despite being old enough to be her grandfather, we are very close and share the same sense of humour and know what each other are thinking a lot of the time.

    Would I like her to end up with a man like me? No way!!

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    Platinum Member brando's Avatar
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    A book called "Getting The Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix. It discusses the partners we pick based on some unresolved issues with parents, in hopes of reliving those patterns in order to conquer them.
    Forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who tresspass against us. - The Lord's Prayer

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    Platinum Member HealingHandsWarmHeart's Avatar
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    EH,

    I'm really glad that you have started this thread. I too was abused by my father. Physically and emotionally.

    It was the emotional abuse that caused the most damage for me. I have had to change my inner dialogue from:

    I am NOT worthy of love
    I am NOT loving
    I am NOT smart
    I am NOT beautiful
    I am NOT deserving of love
    I am NOT capable
    I am NOT valuable
    I deserved it

    To:

    I AM worthy of love
    I AM loving
    I AM smart
    I AM beautiful
    I AM deserving of love
    I AM capable
    I AM valuable
    I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY DID NOT deserved it

    That has been my mantra for years and I believe it.

    I put myself in therapy many years ago and I went consistently. I was honest and revealed everything, no matter how crazy it sounded.

    Frustrated after coming out of another abusive relationship, I asked my therapist the same question - will I always be attracted to men who are not good for me? She told me yes and no, as I learned to pay attention to my inner dialogue and I learned to pay attention to the “signs” I learned what kind of man was a good man and what kind of man was an abusive man. A good man doesn’t look any different then a bad man- it’s all in how he treats you. So its not about what he looks like or what he does for a living or how he was raised. A good man will treat you the way you deserve to be treated and you will accept nothing less then that.

    However, you have to change your inner dialogue and you have to believe it. You have to remove the dialogue that your father created- you will never be anything but white trash and replace it with POSITIVE thoughts. If you keep believing you are nothing – then you will always be nothing. I think therefore I am.

    This may sound so corny but you have to take care of your inner child who was not taken care of. She is the one that was and is most damaged by the abuse. You have to let her know that you will never let anyone hurt her again- you are the adult and she needs you.

    It’s a long process EH to undo what has been done and I still struggle with it. I still have to remind myself of my mantra. I will always have my radar on full blast to make sure I never get involved with someone who has the potential to abuse me- that’s not a chance I am willing to take.

    I hope this helps and please, keep posting, vent your thoughts here and let it out. No matter how stupid you think it sounds- I assure that someone who has been abused has thought it.

    Hugs to you my friend.
    When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. Maya Angelou

    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt

    Do one thing everyday that scares you. Eleanor Roosevelt

    No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try- Yoda

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