To continue to open yourself up emotionally to an abusive or addicted person without seeing true change is foolish. You should not continue to set yourself up for hurt and disappointment. If you have been in an abusive relationship, you should wait until it is safe and until real patterns of change have been demonstrated before you go back. In that horribly rough, shaky, nerve-rattling stage of stepping out in the truth, many adult survivors will have strong physical reactions to what they are remembering or seeing in a new light. They will, in many cases, demonstrate the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They have been locked in a false reality for so long…. they are bound to feel the physical pain, via headaches, stomach pains, panic attacks, etc. in looking at the truth of what is. (And all that is one of the many, many reasons we highly recommend therapy for all adult survivors of emotional child abuse.) Unable to endure the headaches and that terrible feeling of guilt, of being orphaned, many adult survivors hurry back. A professional therapist, however, may tell them to hold on. Wait. Give it time. You don’t hurry back to the abusers to stop having headaches or feeling bad. In one case, we heard a therapist offer the following advice: “You’ve been living under a dictator for so long… You are bound to be lost right now. To feel that you’ve somehow betrayed your parents and family. But you are free now. And freedom takes some getting used to.” Mourn your loss… Getting rid of the magical thinking—”I wish my parents had been loving!” or “Maybe my parents will love me this time!”—is a tremendous step towards becoming healthy once more. So, let yourself mourn what you didn’t have and mourn what you did have. You have the right to be sad. It’s all right. Let yourself be sad… Look to the present. Remind yourself of the gift that you’ve given yourself in facing the truth of your emotionally abusive childhood. You can no longer be held emotional hostage. You are free to be who God intended you to be, free to be your most authentic self. Instead of wanting to turn back to the past, focus on what you have today… and try and create a new life for yourself with friends who are emotionally healthy, loving, and kind… and be that to others, too. From an on-line article by Veronica Maria Jarski http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/tag/adult-survivors-of-emotional-child-abuse-2/
Don’t judge yourself
by what others did to you.
When you’re homesick for a home you never had and sick from the one you did you can grow up feeling that you’re never good enough. Oh… the poor neurotic. Never good enough, and then when they are, they feel that they’ll be told to either keep it up or that it doesn’t make up for when they fell short or that they were just lucky. Even if they are not told, they can still hear those words in their head. At the core of many neurotics is an inability to comfort, calm, reassure or feel good about themselves and needing those to come from someone else. When they were young and that someone else only offered that comfort, calming, reassurance and approval if the young neurotic acted and behaved in a particular way, that can be a recipe for a lifetime of anxiety. When they did what was expected, the comfort, calming, reassurance and approval came (and rarely effusively); when they didn’t, it was withheld. This is what is often referred to as “conditional love.” The tragic thing about this is that the young neurotic, in order to receive the comfort, calming, reassurance and approval, must conform to the psychological and emotional needs of their caregivers at the cost of their own developing self as well as a piece of their soul. When they don’t do good enough according to what they believe their parent(s) expect, they feel a combination of guilt at having done something wrong and then fear by letting their parent(s) down who are often living a bit vicariously through their child. Their fear comes from feeling that having let their parent(s) down they are not just disappointed, but angry. Deep down they feel that they will lose a connection with that parent(s) if they disappoint them; they feel that if they anger them, it will completely sever the connection. And if that happens they will then feel alone, vulnerable, not enough by themselves and in a state of near panic. They need to realize that their parent(s) not being capable of loving unconditionally (possibly because of what they never received from their parents) doesn’t mean that the neurotic person is unlovable or that they are unworthy of being loved unconditionally. Furthermore, they should do their best to develop relationships with people who are capable of loving unconditionally. Ironically, they are often attracted to people who, like their parent(s), love conditionally, hoping this time they will receive the love that they continue to need inside to feel complete from someone similar to the one(s) they didn’t receive it from. From an article by Mark Goulston, M.D. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-goulston-md/neurotic_b_1604624.html
The moment someone tells you
that you’re not good enough for them,
is the moment you realize that they
were never good enough for you.
There’s the waitress who refuses to look in your direction. The oaf who drifts across the highway without using his blinker. And the cheerful, recorded voice that draws you deeper and deeper into voice-mail hell. The most minor annoyance can send us into a fury. But have you ever stopped to think why we get angry? What is anger, anyway? “Anger is a natural emotion,” says Charles D. Spielberger, PhD, a research professor of psychology at the University of South Florida who has studied anger for 25 years. “There is nothing abnormal about it.” Anger might be normal, but it does affect you physically. When you get enraged during a traffic jam or at your kid’s soccer game, your hormone levels increase, your breathing quickens, your pulse and blood pressure soar, you start to sweat, and your pupils dilate. Basically, your body is gearing up for action. This is the “fight” part of the “fight or flight” response. Spielberger says anger has an evolutionary advantage: “Fear and rage are common to animals, too, because it helps them to fight and survive.” The problem is that, nowadays, anger isn’t always so useful. Most of us don’t run into man-eating tigers standing in line at the DMV. The physical effects of anger on your body can be lasting. Some studies have shown a connection between anger and high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease. One study found that people highly prone to anger are three times as likely to have a heart attack or fatal coronary heart disease as less angry people. So what’s the solution? Should you cork up your anger or regularly blow your stack? Experts say neither. Whether you hold it in or explode in a rage, frequent feelings of intense anger may pose the same health risks. The key is to make your anger constructive. Spielberger says that the first step is self-awareness. Don’t allow yourself to fly into a rage. Instead, be conscious of your anger. Stay in control. It’s the only way to figure out exactly what is making you angry. Once you can identify the real problem, you can try to solve it rationally instead of getting pointlessly furious. If you’re angry with someone, talk about it in an assertive, but never aggressive, way. If a certain situation sparks your anger, learn how to prepare for it — or better yet, avoid it — in the future. By R. Morgan Griffin http://men.webmd.com/features/what-does-anger-do-to-your-health
Anger is an acid that
can do more harm
to the vessel in which
it is stored than
to anything on
which it is poured.
A man will have faults. An overweight man can look at himself and take the steps needed to shed pounds. A man with poor eyesight can wear glasses or contact lenses. How often, though, does a man look inside himself for ways to improve? A man’s emotional and mental health are just as valuable as his physical, yet the former receives much less attention. One of the most common mental illnesses in men is depression. 10 % of men will suffer a major depressive episode during their lifetime. Great men in history who suffered from depression are numerous: Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, , and Buzz Aldrin to name a few. Aldrin overcame his depression and alcoholism, eventually becoming Chair of the National Mental Health Association. Churchill took up painting to keep what he called the “black dog” at bay. The treatment Hemingway sought for his depression only served to deepen it. The ECT shock treatments stole from him valuable memories and hindered his writing ability, precipitating his suicide… What makes mental illness, such as depression, so difficult to deal with in men is the perceived shame that comes with admitting it. The World Health Organization states that fewer than 25% of male sufferers worldwide will seek treatment “[because of] social stigmas associated with mental disorders including depression.” A man may put his pride before all else, no matter what the cost. I know this, and I know how high the price can rise. Depression’s origins vary from man to man. Sometimes traumatic events such as sudden death or illness triggers depression. Early social interaction and a man’s childhood also play a major role. If a man felt neglected or unloved by his parents, or ostracized by other children, depression is more likely to become a constant companion. Eventually, however, depression boils down to a question of biochemistry. Although we all have sad episodes in our life, even some lasting for weeks or months, men who suffer from depression have some sort of imbalance in their brain chemistry that causes pain and suffering for no reason and without warning. While looking to the past to find the root of a man’s depression can be beneficial, a focus on positive and active treatment now and in the future is most essential. By S.M. Leahy http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/09/01/dealing-with-male-depression/
That’s the thing about depression:
A human being can survive almost anything,
as long as she/(he) sees the end in sight.
is so insidious, and it compounds daily,
that it’s impossible to ever see the end.
The fog is like a cage without a key.
If your usage of a substance like alcohol or drugs, or habit like excessive shopping or sports-watching, ever prompted someone you love to say to you, “Too much,” listen up. The biggest mistake people make with addictions, alcohol and otherwise, is that they deny that they are over-doing it. They get defensive. They insist “I’m only drinking so much because …” They claim, “You do it too..” or “Everyone drinks like that..” They minimize, “I just drink….” Denial is tempting, and extremely self-defeating. Resist this temptation, and you have a chance at averting the potentially marriage-threatening consequences of an addiction that you persist in sustaining. The remedy: Take your loved one’s concern seriously. Seriously reassess your habit. Ask yourself, “If I look at my drinking in the best possible light, what is it meant to accomplish?” If the answer is that drinking enables you to escape from stresses in your life, it’s time to face those stresses head on. Addictions usually are an alternative to addressing and resolving problems, marital and otherwise. Replace running away with talking about your problems with someone you trust. By clinical psychologist, marriage counselor and author Susan Heitler, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201110/resisting-the-3-main-temptations-destroy-marriages
First you take a drink,
then the drink takes a drink,
then the drink takes you.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Parasites can suck the life out of a healthy body. Relationship parasites can also destroy a healthy marriage. One form of relationship parasite is addictions, such as addictions to alcohol, illegal drugs, prescriptive drugs, gambling or pornography. No matter what the form, however, all addictions can be marriage killers. Addictions typically seem innocent at first: There’s nothing “wrong” with “a beer or two.” Lots of people buy lottery tickets or go to the casinos for a little fun. If there was anything wrong with prescriptive drugs, they would be illegal. Moreover, most people who drink beer, buy lottery tickets or take prescriptive drugs suffer no problems. What seems like fun, however, becomes an addiction when behaviors change from something a spouse enjoys to something he or she needs, then to something the spouse craves, then to something that becomes the central focus of the person’s life. Addictions don’t disappear on their own; they only get worse. Thus, the first step in addressing addictions is honestly admitting that an addiction exists. The first person to take this step is usually the non-addicted spouse. This takes courage and requires a willingness to be assertive and to clearly communicate to your spouse that there’s a problem. It may also involve your learning about the addictive process and how one begins the recovery process. The addict rarely sees a problem and, in fact, often denies a problem exists, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Breaking through this denial can be extremely difficult. It may require the non-addicted spouse meeting with a professional counselor to develop a plan. Groups such as AA, NA, or Gamblers Anonymous can also provide useful information. Once the denial is dealt with, dealing with the addiction will also require planning and a great deal of effort. The thought processes of the addict have been changed by the addiction, and just starting the process of getting the mind to function in a rational way will take three to six months. Since the marriage is affected, it’s also essential that couple therapy get started. There will be issues of forgiveness and reconnection that need to be addressed. Addictions can destroy a marriage, but with hard work and honest support, couples can heal the hurt and rebuild their marriage into the healthy relationship they hoped for when they first fell in love. From an article by James Sheridan http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120502/LIVING/305029997/1008
Here I am
trying to live,
I am trying
how to live.
Understanding the origin of your unhealthily dependent relationships also figures high in dismantling them and steering you towards a mutually satisfying connection to someone you can trust and who can trust you. Sometimes this means looking into the past at the family situation in which you learned this behavior. And sometimes that’s painful. But like with any emotional injury, it won’t heal until you explore and understand its origin. Learning to balance give and take, developing a sense of autonomy, and being able to set limits or boundaries is a critical part of a successful and rewarding relationship. If you are someone who thinks you can’t get through without someone else helping you, discovering that indeed you can will be liberating. If you are someone who is too eager and ready to “help” someone else (a partner, a child, a friend) because of your experience and knowledge about what’s best for them, you can start by pulling back and allowing others to make their own mistakes. You won’t save them from themselves by always coming to the rescue. When you find yourself becoming resentful about all the help you’re giving (at your own expense), you can learn to say no. Being withdrawn or detached, or being with someone who is withdrawn or detached, presents its own set of challenges. If you never ask for help, you can come to understand that doing so does not mean you are helpless, and does not cast shame on you. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or bad or unaccomplished. It just means that in this particular situation, you could use a little help. No one is perfect, we’re just human. Being with someone who is unconnected and not able ever to ask for help will require a lot of patience and understanding on your part of just how difficult and shameful that feels. Being able to feel, and honestly and openly express your emotions, as well as take responsibility for them will enrich your personal relationships beyond measure. Being able to lean on someone else yet know you are still yourself with your own desires and capacities is a goal to aspire to. Balancing closeness with independence, trust and vulnerability with confidence and commitment will make for rewarding relationships. If you keep finding yourself in situations like those just described, those patterns are probably pretty ingrained. Turning them around won’t be quick or easy, but it can happen. Therapy can help. From an on-line article by Katherine Rabinowitz, LP, M.A., NCPsyA http://www.therapycanwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=49&Itemid=99
Guilt is a destructive
Treating Codependency is not something a doctor does to or for a ‘patient’. It is more like having diabetes. The patient has to learn how to take care of themselves every day for the rest of their lives. Recovery starts when a Codependent understands and has insight into their condition. …I almost always strongly encourage… Codependency Recovery groups. Group is like the gym. It is where a Codependent goes to lift weights and get stronger… Group therapy rocks – it is inexpensive, weekly, powerful, fun, insight building and affirming. Recovery from Codependency is not just about gaining a strong voice. It is also very much about learning how to take good care of one’s self. It is about learning how to take the time to have fun, to exercise, to have a huge hobby that enriches your life and to nurture one’s self well. It might involve getting regular massages, joining a book club, making new friends, scheduling travel with your newly romantic and sensitive husband, getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising often, getting enough help in raising the kids, getting help with the household chores and getting enough alone time. Doesn’t all of that sound great? You can make it happen. You are in charge of your own life. The Recovery process for Codependency is an adventure. It is not torture. Recovery works. You just have to work at it really hard over a period of time. Today is the best day for you to start… From “Codependency – A Serious Disease of Lost, Confused, Undeveloped and Other-Centered Selves” by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
Scars are not injuries…
A scar is a healing.
After injury, a scar is
what makes you whole.
Are you highly self-critical? Do you beat yourself up over failures? Do you work too much and push too hard without giving yourself time to breathe? Do you feel the need to compete, outperform others, and move ahead of the pack? Do you live with shame or a sense of not being good enough? We live in a society that regularly sends us the message to achieve more, work harder, win, be perfect, be the best. There is of course nothing wrong with having goals and dreams to pursue. However, most of us don’t stop to consider whether our self-critical and competitive attitude is actually helping us achieve these goals or whether it might actually be standing in our way. New research suggests self-compassion may be a far superior alternative. Kristin Neff, associate professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas and pioneer of research on self-compassion, has shown that when our self-worth depends on out-competing others, we actually become more insecure and anxious: if we fail, we become highly self-critical, adding to our misery. Faced with criticism, we become defensive and feel crushed. We give up in the face of challenge. Moreover, competition fosters disconnection: rather than building social connection which research shows is essential to well-being, we view others as obstacles to overcome and we ultimately feel more separate from others. The primary goal of our desire for success is to be successful, to belong, and to be loved yet ironically self-criticism and competition end up having the reverse effect. Where self-criticism leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion is at the root of empowerment, learning, and inner strength. With self-compassion, we value yourself not because we’ve judged ourselves positively and others negatively but because we are intrinsically deserving of care and concern just like everyone else. Self-compassion means treating ourselves as we would a friend. Rather than berating, judging, or adding to a friend’s despair, we listen with empathy and understanding, encourage them to remember that mistakes are normal, and validate their emotions without adding fuel to the fire. Neff defines self-compassion as “being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them.” From “Overcoming Shame: The Powerful Benefits of a Little Self-Love” by Emma Seppala, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201211/overcoming-shame-the-powerfulbenefits-little-self-love
Criticism, like rain,
should be gentle enough
to nourish a man’s growth
without destroying his roots.
Frank A. Clark
Addiction to substances or activities can sometimes lead to serious problems at home, work, school and socially. The causes of addiction vary considerably, and are not often fully understood. They are generally caused by a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors. Addiction, often referred to as dependency often leads to tolerance – the addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant. According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary: Addiction is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control. According to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association: Substance dependence is When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. This, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders. Most people think of illegal drugs when they hear the word “addiction”. However, prescription drug addiction is becoming a serious public health problem in the USA and many other nations. Prescription medication abuse was described as “an epidemic” by researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine in a study they reported on in November 2012. The scientists explained that doctors today treat pain differently than they used to years ago. This change has led to an increase in prescription drug abuse. In the USA in the 1990s – the decade of pain treatment – not only was there a change in medication, but also policy. Pain became the fifth vital sign doctors looked out for, along with respiratory rate, blood pressure, body temperature and pulse rate. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/addiction/
Numbing the pain
for a while will
make it worse
finally feel it.