Category Archives: self improvement

Better Choices + Time = New Life

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 1.00.44 PMOne question I have been asked often recently is this:

“After years of childhood misery and years of unhappy, unsuccessful adult relationships, how did you manage to change it all and ALSO find a great guy?”

Basically they are asking me, “How did you get happy?”

The simple answer is: I realized I was the common factor in my unhappiness, and changed my choices.

Here I refer to three bits of wisdom a therapist once gave me.  (Did I mention he’s Italian?)

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PITHY ADVICE FROM THERAPIST #1

He said something like this:

“You walk into a bar. You see a person at the bar you’re really attracted to. S/he’s got that “spark” that all the other people you once loved (and went through hell with) also had. Walk over to where s/he is sitting, TURN AROUND, AND TALK TO THE PERSON STANDING NEXT TO THEM.”

I never forgot the simplicity of this advice. The message is: what is familiar may be a “draw” for you. “Spark” may resonate with all the hope of finally fixing your love life, or maybe even your childhood, but when you go down that path… you usually get drama. Despair. Frustration… and end up back on the usual emotional merry-go-round. What to do?

TURN AROUND AND TALK TO SOMEONE YOU WOULDN’T CHOOSE.

Yeah, yeah, I know…

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But look. If you are like I was, your “picker” is broken. You simply have to look around at all the people you are not currently picking.

So be brave! Say hi to someone you might not have.  You never know where it could take you. Honestly, it’s how I met the love of my life.

Speaking of which…

PITHY AND REMARKABLY USEFUL TID-BIT FROM THERAPIST #2

…went something like this:

“Take a pencil and a piece of paper. Draw a simple circle. Make a point in the middle of the circle. Now draw a line from the point in the center of the circle to any point on the outside of the circle. (This is a lot easier than I am making it sound.) Now draw a second line from the center point maybe 3 degrees from the first line.

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If you kept on drawing those lines further and further out, they’d end up really far apart from each other.

Line ONE is the path you are on.

Line TWO is where the new choice takes you. Just 3 degrees of change can make you end up far away then where you were headed.”

BETTER CHOICES + TIME = NEW LIFE.

BTW SARK has many suggestions as to how to make what she called MICRO MOVEMENTS fun. (I love SARK.)

PITHY AND SURPRISINGLY USEFUL ADVICE FROM SHRINK #3

“Here’s your homework. Go home and WATCH JUDGE JUDY.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 12.41.57 PMSeriously… my therapist told me to watch Judge Judy. When I did, I realized that I was being really “wishy-washy” in my life, giving some people FAR too much credit, and definitely not standing up for myself. I needed a New York Overhaul and JJ was just the lady to help me out. I can’t say it worked overnight, so if you are shy, like I used to be, repeated viewing is highly suggested.

Finally, in order to accomplish any goal, all you really need is one attribute. I think this ONE THING is what separates those who change their lives from those who never do.

WILLINGNESS. If you are willing to change, or can cultivate the willingness to change, then you can change your life. I admit, sometimes I know what I have to do in order to change, I’m just not willing to do it. But at least I am 100% clear that I am choosing to NOT be willing. The willingness to change sometimes comes slowly and is usually accompanied by great pain, and pain… well, pain sucks. But enough of it sure can make you willing to change.

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Paste Magazine Interview

Television Academy Hosts Daytime Emmy Nominee ReceptionCady McClain’s memoir arrives at a hugely significant time for women. Just a few weeks ago the social media movement #YesAllWomen launched as a response to the massacre in Isla Vista, California. While it’s difficult to say for sure what drives a person commit mass murder, it was clear to many people that Elliot Rodger was partly motivated by a set of misogynistic principles. Murdering My Youth is, on the one hand, about McClain’s complicated and often traumatic life as a child actress and soap star. But what makes it a more powerful text, is that—whether intentionally or not—it also reads as a critique of a dangerous society where men (including male relatives) feel entitled to a young woman’s body. Hollywood functions as an escape for McClain, but also as a predatory environment for the young actress. In sharing her story the author, no doubt, speaks for many others, but it has to be said that her journey is simultaneously, entirely unique. Pastecaught up with the Emmy Award winner to talk about this amazing story of survival and—in spite of it all—unconditional love.

Paste Magazine: I love that part of what you’re doing in your memoir is advocating for therapy. In your writing you mention that two of your therapists—Ron and Colette—talked you into writing more in general, and also writing about the trauma.
Cady McClain: I think it was really more Colette who encouraged me to write, but not as a form of therapy. She really believed that therapy is about the connection between two people, about talking and working through your relationship issues by being in a relationship with a therapist. She felt like the writing was very helpful for me just as a project. I’ve since done some research, and my new therapist has done a lot of work with veterans at UCLA. She actually pointed out to me as I was finishing the book that one of the techniques used with trauma victims is getting them to tell their story. The idea is to get them so comfortable with telling it—whether it’s recording it and listening to it over and over and over again, or if it’s writing it down and reading it—basically the idea is to help them own it. Owning your story is a way to release the trauma. I think it’s called immersion therapy.

Even more so. She told me a story about a woman who’d been raped in the military in a very violent fashion and she was asked to come and speak to other survivors. And the way she would calm herself down to prepare to go and speak would be to listen to herself tellthe story on tape in her car. In a funny way, it’s like when she’s reminding herself of what she was able to survive and to go through it reminded her of how strong she was. So she could move forward and help other people. Instead of feeling victimizedshe owns it in a creative fashion, and it ends up empowering you….

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.

or copy and paste this link: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/06/catching-up-with-cady-mcclain-author-of-murdering.html

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Roles in an Alcoholic Family

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 4.30.44 PMI grew up in an alcoholic family system.  The illness in my family effected all who were in it, or around it.  It took me years to recover.  To this day, my recovery is a practice, a never ending series of decisions and growing awarenesses.

I have learned that alcoholism is only one face of addiction.  There are many things to have addictive relationships with: anger, sex, shopping, food, exercise, TV, sugar, drugs, pills, work, gambling, even the internet!  Here is a good definition of addiction from Psychology Today.  In effect, addiction is a compulsive reaction to stressors, a need to take action rather than deal with or “feel through” the feeling that is bothering you.

Typically, an addict will deny their behavior because they feel it is essential to their surviving whatever stress they feel. Addiction is compulsive and yet cunning. It is important to note that being an addict doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person who has something to overcome. So many of today’s heroes are people who have overcome great obstacles!

In order to help myself overcome what I experienced growing up, I find it is very helpful to continue to look at the behavior and emotions around alcoholism/addiction, as well as its effect on those around it.

The following is attributed to a book that is, unfortunately, no longer available by M. Davis, called “Surviving An Alcoholic Family.” I find it a very clear description of the roles we are often assigned in a family struggling with alcoholism/addiction. If you recognize yourself in one of these roles, please do not feel ashamed or hurt by it. You are also not a bad person, but someone who is seeking wisdom and happiness! Those who seek are those who want to find!

Awareness is always the first step toward healing.

The Alcoholic

- other family members revolve around this person
- likely to be experiencing quite a bit of pain and shame even though they may not see it as the result of excessive alcohol or drug use
- as things get worse, the alcoholic is faced with increasing feelings of shame, guilt, inadequacy, fear, and loneliness
- develop a number of defenses to hide their shame and guilt – may include irrational anger, charm, rigidity, grandiosity, perfectionism, social withdrawal, hostility, and depression
- project blame or responsibility for their problems onto others including family members who take on unhealthy roles in order to survive


- children of alcoholics feel guilty for their failure to save their parents from the effects of alcohol

- “The alcoholic parent is not satisfied with his own childhood, he wants yours too… When the father vanishes into alcohol, the son/daughter lingers and lingers, searching for a lost part of him/herself.”

Codependent/Enabler/Caretaker
- steps up and takes control if the alcoholic loses power
- enabling is anything that protects the chemically dependent person from the consequences of their actions
- spouse often takes on the role, but children and siblings can also be enablers (multigenerational alcoholic families will sometimes designate a child in this role, a sign of more serious pathology)
- tends to everyone’s needs in the family
- loses sense of self in tasks of a domestic nature
- never takes the time to assess his/her own needs and feelings
- person never gains what they need most in order to get better: insight
- never are confronted with the facts that would drive home the point: drugs or alcohol are destroying their lives and their family
- as long as the enabler and the chemically dependent family members play their game of mutual self-deception, things never get better – they get worse
- others cannot bond with the caretaker due to the bustle of activity
Caretaker’s purpose: to maintain appropriate appearances to the outside world.

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Hero
- high achiever; takes focus off the alcoholic because of his/her success; perfectionist; feels inadequate; compulsive; can become a workaholic
- alcoholic bestows this role onto the individual whose accomplishments compensate for the alcoholic’s behavior
- often the oldest child who may see more of the family’s situation and feels responsible for fixing the family pain
- child excels in academics, athletics, music or theatre
- gets self worth from being “special”
- rest of family also gets self worth (“we can’t be that bad if one of us is successful”) – his/her deeds assure the family that their definition is more than alcohol
- hero does not receive attention for anything besides an achievement; therefore, inner needs are not met
- he/she loses the ability to feel satisfied by whatever feat he/she has manifested
- as things get worse, the hero is driven to higher and higher levels of achievement. No level of super responsible, perfectionist, over achievement can remove the hero’s internalized feelings of inadequacy, pain, and confusion
- many others grow up to become workaholics and live under constant stress as they work in the service of others seeking approval for their extraordinary effort
- they often end up distancing themselves from their family of origin
- interestingly, many family heroes grow to marry alcoholics and become enablers
Hero’s purpose: to raise the esteem of the family.

Scapegoat
- goes against rules; acts out to take the focus off the alcoholic; feels hurt & guilt; because of behavior, can bring help to family
- lightening rod for family pain and stress
- direct message is that they are responsible for the family’s chaos
- family assigns all ills to the person who harbors this role, e.g. “Mom would not drink so much if (Scapegoat’s name) were not always in trouble.”
- in reality the misbehavior of the Scapegoat serves to distract and provide some relief from the stress of chemical dependency
- child has issues with authority figures as well as negative consequences with the law, school and home
- on the inside the child is a mass of frozen feelings of anger and pain
- may show self-pity, strong identification with peer values, defiance, and hostility or even suicidal gestures
- this role may seem strange in purpose. However, if there were no scapegoat, all other roles would dismantle. He/she allows others a pretense of control
- alcohol is not identified as an issue – often, the scapegoat is identified as ‘The Problem.’
Scrapegoat’s purpose: puts the focus away from alcohol thereby allowing the alcoholic to continue drinking.

Mascot/Cheerleader/Clown
- uses humor to lighten difficult family situations; feels fear; others see him/her as being immature; limited by bringing humor to all situations even if inappropriate
- this individual most popular in the family; brings fun and humour into the family
- learn to work hard at getting attention and making people laugh especially when the anger and tension of substance use are dangerously high
- often named a class clown in school; frequently demonstrates poor timing for the comic relief; most people don’t take this child seriously
- often hyperactive, charmers, or cute
- inside, they feel lonely knowing no one really knows the real person behind the clown’s mask
- may grow up unable to express deep feelings of compassion
- may put themselves down often as well as cover up their pain with humour
- accepts laughter as approval, but the humor serves to hide inner painful feelings
- the laughter prevents healing rather than produces it
Mascot’s purpose: to provide levity to the family; to relieve stress and tension by distracting everyone.
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Lost Child
- no connection to family; brings relief to family by not bringing attention to the family; feels lonely; does not learn communication and relationship skills
- has much in common with scapegoat – neither feels very important
- disappears from the activity of the family
- sees much more than is vocalized
- reinforced for causing no problems
- build quiet lives on the edges of family life and are seldom considered in family decisions
- they hide their hurt and pain by losing themselves in the solitary world of short-term pleasure including excessive TV, reading, listening to music, drugs, object love, eating and fantasy
- favorite places for the lost child are in front of the T.V. as well as in his/her room
- due to the sedentary lifestyle, a lost child tends to have issues with weight
- as adults they feel confused and inadequate in relationships
- may end up as quiet loners with a host of secondary issues such as: sexuality problems, weight problems, excessive materialism, or heavy involvement in fantasy
Lost child’s purpose: does not place added demands on the family system; he/she is low maintenance.

In my experience, it is easy to fall into more than one of these categories. Sometimes I was “the scapegoat” in my home of birth, other times “the mascot,” and other times “the hero.” As I moved into having adult relationships, I was often an “enabler,” while feeling like “the lost child” within myself.

Now I know that I do not need to be any one of these things. There is a greater role I must BE: that of my authentic self. If I sense that I am falling into a role, or having one put upon me, I can recognize that this is only an old, familiar system, and I do not have to play the part that is being thrust upon me. Nor do I have to react or respond to any accusations. I know who I am, and I know what the truth is, for me.

I hope this blog has been of some insight or help for those of you struggling with similar upbringings or issues.

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Love,

Cady

 

 

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A Nose Knows

 

The nose has it.

The nose has it.

This morning I discovered that quite a few people do a google search on my nose. This totally cracks me up. Why in the heck are some people obsessed with a nose that is not “average?”

My nose has been called everything from a “beak” to “stately,” pretty much right to my face. Trust me, I am aware that my shnoz projects past the usual sniffer. I used to joke when I was a teenager that I had a “Judd Nelson” nose, and could stick a big martini olive inside each nostril without an issue.

The fact is, I have inherited my dad’s nose, which had quite a bulb on the end, and got bigger as he aged. Not exactly something to look forward to, but considering I don’t drink as much as he did, there is a chance I might escape the dreaded honker. Then again, I might not.  What to do, what to do…

Many a time I have looked in the mirror and adjusted my nose with my fingers to see what I would look like with a smaller nose, or at least smaller nostrils. I can see it would make a nice difference, but once you go under the knife… there’s no going back.

Oh yes... I see the resemblance.

Oh yes… I see the resemblance.

 

Then this happened: a fellow (with a rather large proboscis) who worked in the building I was living in (in NYC)  told me said he remembered watching me in my early days on AMC. He told me he liked my character because I had a big nose, like him. He said seeing me on TV made him feel better about HIS nose.

I mean… how could I get a nose job after that??

My nose seems to make a statement, and whether or not you like that statement… well, that’s up to you.  But I think I get some credit for having never cut off my nose to spite my face. Yes, I would look more like your average pretty lady with smaller nostrils, that’s for certain, but then I wouldn’t look like “me.”

Might as well roll with it and love the big nose!

inspiration

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Hey I’m in the Huffington Post!

SMbathroomThanks to the lovely writer (and soap fan) Mark Rosenberg, my thoughts on the new All My Children, and the story that led up to this amazing moment in time, are chronicled in the au-courant Huffington Post!  Check it out HERE!

I was sorry they did not use the photo I sent, but in honor of the attempt to use it, I am sharing it with you.  Perhaps it was a bit too risqué for their mag?  I don’t know.  Whatever!

This pic was a part of the photo shoot I did a few months ago. One I did just for me, to celebrate being 43.  YEP forty-three. I do not lie about my age because it would make me feel bad and I don’t want to propagate any myth that it isn’t cool to be in your 40′s.  It’s WAY COOL.  I can’t do anything about what YOU think 43 is, but in my mind, it is nothing to feel apologetic about.

That said, this was not the message I received growing up.  I was told that after I turned 40 I should hang up my hat on all things sexy, romantic, or beautiful.  That I should put on my mom jeans and forget about it.  Well I decided this was bullshit, and this photo shoot is one expression of that decision!

I also realized that in the three years I have been writing my book, I wore my fuzzy robe and slippers far too far into the day.  I would occasionally get some workout clothes on, but often didn’t make it to the gym.  I was, I think, struggling with the content of my book and just needed to comfort myself as much as possible.  I also put on some pounds and drank too much.  Ah, the writer’s life.  I still love me a martini… Mmmm.

As the book neared its completion point I realized had to start shaking it all off.  I had to start letting go of the past and embracing the present.  To me, that meant treating myself better. This didn’t mean I’m was going to give up my fuzzy robe and slippers anytime soon (because they are damn comfy) but that when I got dressed (and it is an effort, believe it or not) I would try more and more to put on something decent, do my makeup, and wear my nice jewelry.

Sometimes I think that they had it right in the 1950′s.  What you wear matters, but only because it is an expression of who you are.  It shows a respect for life, and for the people in your life.  Trust me, I’m not putting on stockings and heels and a girdle every day (HELL NO) but putting on pretty underwear, clean jeans and a nice sweater can really make a difference in how I feel about myself.

There is nothing wrong with being nice to yourself, which is also not what I was taught growing up.  I was taught I was selfish for asking for anything, that I should be grateful for what I have, that I should take care of everybody else and keep my real feelings to myself.  I realized that is WAY WRONG.  It is not nice and not cool and it doesn’t lead to anything like happiness.

It’s important for you to know when I talk about self-improvement, I’m not trying to be a teacher or tell you what YOU should think or how you should be.  I’m no guru nor do I want to be one.  I’m just saying this is MY experience.  If you get something from it, that’s AWESOME.

I hope today you can be a little nicer to yourself, too.

Hugs!

Cady

 

 

 

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Beauty Cares

Recently I was asked to decorate a “wife beater” t-shirt by my friend, artist Susan Woldman, for a charity called “Beauty Cares.” The purpose of the group is to help raise awareness of women who have suffered domestic violence. I wrote “wife hugger” on my t-shirt, hoping that might be a fun new name we could try out instead of “wife beater,” which is so gross. “Sleeveless tank” is probably more appropriate, but what the hey! Jon made one too!

Jon's T-shirt for Beauty Cares

You can read all about Beauty Cares here, but also check out the “8 Warning Signs That Indicate You Are In an Unhealthy Relationship.” I hate to say it, but I know for SURE I have experienced ALL of these. Thank god I left those relationships.

I really like that the charity also helps women feel better about themselves by giving them a bit of a makeover. I know it sounds frivolous at first, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the reason I stayed in unhealthy relationships was partly because I didn’t feel like I was worth better.  When I actually allowed myself to look in the mirror and say, “GIRL, YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THIS,” I allowed myself to leave and look for someone who could treat me with love and respect. Feeling like I looked good helped with this. I guess it’s a matter of pride. Personal pride is very important.

Me and my t-shirt

But beauty is also an INSIDE job. We may be all prettied up on the outside, but if we don’t feel beautiful on the inside, it’s like wearing a mask. How to feel pretty on the inside? Prayer helps, as does letting in all the nice things people may have said to you in your life. LET IT IN. I know it’s hard. Trust me. It’s much easier to let the ego go wild and believe all the bad things people say, so sometimes, I make a list. Another thing is to try and stop being so hard on yourself. Every time you have a negative thought, either say a little prayer, or replace it with a positive one. It really works.

Art day!Here is Susan’s table, covered with our art! We had such a fun time making these t-shirts. I highly recommend making some art when you feel bad. It’s a great way to turn the day around!

Wishing you a BEAUTY-FULL day!

xoxo Cady

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Too Faced The Secret To No Makeup Makeup: Shop Combination Sets | Sephora

 

From

We may get a little rough around the edges from lack of sleep or too much partying.  This stuff is just the ticket to “faking it until you make it!”

Too Faced The Secret To No Makeup Makeup: Shop Combination Sets | Sephora.

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