Losing a loved one can make you feel as if your heart is breaking—and sometimes it really is. Broken heart syndrome isn’t just Valentine’s Day hyperbole. It’s an actual medical condition, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy. In broken heart syndrome, extreme stress brings on heart attack-like symptoms, such as chest pain and shortness of breath. This isn’t just an anxiety attack. The heart is actually in serious distress. At times, the person may experience irregular heartbeats or cardiogenic shock—a condition in which a suddenly weakened heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. In rare cases, broken heart syndrome can even lead to death. Broken heart syndrome is triggered by very severe stress. “That could be anything from the death of a loved one to the loss of a job,” says Malissa Wood, MD, at Massachusetts General Hospital. Doctors think that broken heart syndrome may be the heart’s reaction to a sudden surge in stress hormones. Symptoms can mimic a heart attack. “You may have chest pain and shortness of breath,” says Dr. Wood. “Other possible symptoms include sudden onset of chest pressure, sweating, palpitations, and pain radiating from the jaw, back, or neck.” The good news: Most people with broken heart syndrome make a full recovery. “The condition starts improving within days, and within weeks to months the heart is usually back to normal,” Dr. Wood says. “Very few people are left with a permanent problem.” …the onetime, extreme stressors that trigger broken heart syndrome—from catching a cheating spouse in the act to being in an auto accident—are often unavoidable. But starting out in good heart health can’t hurt and just might help with a faster recovery. By Linda Wasmer Andrews http://health.yahoo.net/experts/allinyourmind/broken-heart-syndrome-very-real
You will never know
until you have
and you will
what pain really is
until you have lost it.
There are four common traits found in adults who have been abused as children. A person who has experienced severe sexual, physical, or emotional abuse will usually have all four. A person who experienced limited abuse will probably have only some of the traits, and those that are present will interfere with this person’s life in only a limited number of situations. The first trait is the tendency to be triggered by specific events, which has been called time tunneling… The second trait is difficulty modulating emotions. This means that it is easy for a person to become anxious or angry, and, once angered or frightened, it is difficult for this person to calm down. An adult who had to suppress many emotions as a child may also find it difficult to feel emotions at a low-level because the tendency to suppress emotions has become automatic. The third trait is a tendency to view oneself and the world negatively. The three key areas affected are the ability to trust, feel safe, and believe that it is possible to bring about desired outcomes. Two key areas in terms of one’s self image are whether or not one is normal and whether or not one is lovable. The nature of the abuse can greatly affect the form of these negative views. For instance, if a person was abused by a stranger, he or she may feel a sense of safety when close loved ones, and a sense of danger when far away from them. However, if a person was abused by someone who was supposed to protect and give love, the identification of what and who are “safe” becomes confused. The fourth trait is a reduced ability to understand events. People with this tendency find that they often go into a daze or become confused, especially when they are stressed, dealing with conflict, or emotionally upset. When a child is being abused and cannot escape physically, the child often takes the only other form of escape possible: dissociation. The more frequent and severe the abuse, the greater the tendency to remove oneself mentally from the painful experience. …people with abusive childhoods often find it difficult to distinguish unhealthy individuals from healthy ones. Their childhood experiences taught them to ignore the important indicators that to those raised in healthy families became danger signals. Instead, they “numb out” or use an old response pattern that causes them to walk into harm’s way without even knowing it. In addition, an abused child often develops a self-concept that contains beliefs about being dirty, inadequate, guilty, or responsible for what happened. As a result, a person like this often makes up a “cover story” and tries to hide who he or she really is… From article by Reneau Peurifoy http://rpeurifoy.com/Articles/TraitsinAdultswithAbusiveChildhoods.aspx
Not all scars show,
not all wounds heal.
Sometimes you can’t
always see the pain
that someone feels.
Looking at codependency therapy, “family involvement is key,” according to Smith (Ann W. Smith MS, LPC, LMFT, NCC). She says that “the addiction was not caused by the family, but it thrives in a painful system.” She then goes on to explain the Attachment Theory Perspective, saying, “Every human being adapts to some degree in an effort to sustain emotional attachment.” She notes that “anxiety increases when we don’t have a secure and consistent connection as children” and goes on to explain three factors that determine how a person adapts and tries to maintain that connection: Temperament, Birth order and Degree of stress or trauma. If a first-born child is born exhibiting traits of compassion or a “Leader Gene,” that child will most likely demonstrate a natural fear response to move toward painful situations to try to help. Smith says this side of the spectrum is called “Anxious Attachment Style.” On the other side of the spectrum, children that are born second, third or fourth and exhibit traits of an extrovert or independent spirit, may tend to leave the situation when anxiety increases. A child in this same birth order category that shows traits of an introvert may withdraw into themselves when anxiety increases. Either one of these is known as the “Avoidant Attachment Style” as they pull away from conflict. Smith also touches on insecure attachment and says that these patterns often emerge without conscious awareness. “They are stuck in patterns that they have no awareness of and they end up not knowing themselves at all,” she explains. Attachment injury, she says, occurs when a person feels abandoned or betrayed at key moments where comfort and connection are important. By Shannon Brys, Associate Editor http://www.addictionpro.com/article/codependency-patterns-attachment
Behavior is a mirror
in which every one
displays his own image
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Everybody lies. It may only be “white” lies, but everyone tells lies or “omits the truth” sometimes. We start lying at around age 4 to 5 when children gain an awareness of the use and power of language. This first lying is not malicious, but rather to find out, or test, what can manipulated in a child’s environment. Eventually children begin to use lying to get out of trouble or get something they want. White lies, those concocted to protect someone’s feelings, are not a big deal at all. The person, however, who seems to feel compelled to lie about both the small and large stuff has a problem. We often call these folks pathological liars (which is a description, not a diagnosis). They lie to protect themselves, look good, gain financially or socially and avoid punishment. Quite often the person who has been deceived knows that this type of liar has to a certain extent deluded him or herself and is therefore to be somewhat pitied. A much more troubling group is those who lie a lot — and knowingly — for personal gain. These people may have a diagnosis called antisocial personality disorder, also known as being a sociopath, and often get into scrapes with the law. Lying often gets worse with the passage of time. When you get away with a lie it often impels you to continue your deceptions. Also, liars often find themselves perpetrating more untruths to cover themselves. We hold different people to different standards when it comes to telling the truth. We expect, for example, less honesty from politicians than from scientists. We have a vision of purity about those who are doing research, while we imagine that politicians will at least shade the truth about themselves in order to get elected. Why do we dislike liars, especially sociopaths, so much? It’s a matter of trust. When a person lies, they have broken a bond – an unspoken agreement to treat others as we would like to be treated. Serious deception often makes it impossible for us to trust another person again. Because the issue of trust is on the line, coming clean about the lie as soon as possible is the best way to mend fences. If the truth only comes out once it is forced, repair of trust is far less likely. Dr. Gail Saltz on The “Today Show”
No man has a good
to make a successful liar.
Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without ever experiencing negative consequences or addiction. For many others, substance use can cause problems at work, home, school, and in relationships, leaving you feeling isolated, helpless, or ashamed. If you’re worried about your own or a friend or family member’s drug use, it’s important to know that help is available. Learning about the nature of drug abuse and addiction—how it develops, what it looks like, and why it can have such a powerful hold—will give you a better understanding of the problem and how to best deal with it.People experiment with drugs for many different reasons. Many first try drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, or in an effort to improve athletic performance or ease another problem, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and there is no specific level at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. It varies by individual. Drug abuse and addiction is less about the amount of substance consumed or the frequency, and more to do with the consequences of drug use. No matter how often or how little you’re consuming, if your drug use is causing problems in your life—at work, school, home, or in your relationships—you likely have a drug abuse or addiction problem. Why do some drug users become addicted, while others don’t? As with many other conditions and diseases, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. Your genes, mental health, family and social environment all play a role in addiction. Risk factors that increase your vulnerability include: family history of addiction, abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences in childhood, mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, early use of drugs and method of administration—smoking or injecting a drug may increase its addictive potential. By Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Joanna Saisan, M.S.W.
Imagine trying to live without air.
Now imagine something worse.
To many professionals in the treatment field and their clients, the term “codependency” can be confusing and unclear. Some clients even find the term offensive and/or say that it is a poor fit to describe them, according to Ann W. Smith MS, LPC, LMFT, NCC. Smith is the Executive Director of Breakthrough at Caron, which is a 5 ½ day residential personal growth workshop designed for those who are struggling with relationship patterns developed from early attachment injuries in core relationships. She explains the evolution of codependency starting in 1980 when the addiction field began to show interest in involving the family in addiction treatment. Soon after that time, Caron introduced a residential family program. She discusses the labels that were used before the term “codependency” came about. One of these labels was “co-alcoholic” and she says that this one didn’t stick because the term chemical dependency replaced alcoholism. Another label that was used early on was “chief enabler or ‘collateral,’” which were used for the spouse of an addict when their spouse was in treatment. As time went on, committees met and the terms “Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)” and “codependency” began to emerge across the country around 1981. At the 1989 National Conference on Codependency, a commit of experts in the codependency field… came together to establish this definition: “Codependency is a pattern of painful dependence on compulsive behavior and on approval seeking, in an attempt to gain safety, identity and self-worth. Recovery is possible.” Although Smith was on the committee that developed this definition, she still felt that it was too general and that it couldn’t be applied to specific people. She explains the following definition of codependency that she created: “Codependency is a condition or state of being, that results from adapting to dysfunction (possibly addiction) in a significant other. Codependency is a learned response to stress which, over a person’s lifetime, can lead to the development of the following characteristics: External Focus, Repressed Feelings, Comfort with Crisis, Boundary Conflicts, Isolation, Stress related illness. By Shannon Brys, Associate Editor http://www.addictionpro.com/article/codependency-patterns-attachment
It’s hard to give up the self-esteem connected
to being codependent and appearing ‘right,’
which is probably a survival behavior learned
from growing up in a crazy family.
It feels like you will actually disappear.
Feeling bad when you do something wrong is natural, and maybe even useful. Without it, where would we find the motivation to do better next time? But not all bad feelings are equally beneficial. Shame, which involves negative feelings about the self as a whole (i.e., feeling worthless), is associated with defensive strategies like denial, avoidance, and even physical violence. Feeling like you’re just a bad person at your core can undermine efforts to change, as change may not even seem possible from this perspective. Guilt, by contrast, involves feeling bad about one’s behavior and its consequences. Research suggests that criminal offenders who recognize that doing bad things does not make them bad people are less likely to continue engaging in criminal activity, and remorse, rather than self-condemnation, has been shown to encourage prosocial behavior. Healthy self-forgiveness therefore seems to involve releasing destructive feelings of shame but maintaining appropriate levels of guilt and remorse to the extent that these emotions help fuel positive change. In theory, self-forgiveness is only relevant in the context of transgressions that an individual has acknowledged and taken responsibility for. Without the recognition of wrongdoing, what would there be to forgive? In practice, however, self-forgiveness can be code for avoiding culpability. The self-forgiveness formula most conducive to constructive change seems to involve an acknowledgement of both positive and negative aspects of the self. Research suggests, for example, that people who have more balanced, realistic views of themselves are less likely to use counter-productive coping strategies like self-handicapping than those who either inflate or deflate their self-images. Along similar lines, self-forgiveness interventions have been shown to be most helpful when combined with responsibility-taking exercises. Alone, self-forgiveness seems to do little to motivate change. By Juliana Breines, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201207/the-dangers-self-forgiveness-and-how-avoid-them
Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed,
is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have
behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can
and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time.
On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.
Everything was enemy to me. I used denial as a defense mechanism, a way to preserve my ego and pride. I would not admit to myself that I was weak and needed help. This is how I built my monsters. I started to self medicate. Towards the end of high school and the first semester of college, I used alcohol heavily at the worst times. I would seek it out on the weekends and drink alone in the corners of house parties and in the back seat of parked cars. This was not a social activity. I smoked cigarettes in the same secretive way. When I had happy and together moments in life, I abstained from drinking and smoking – to this day, I don’t enjoy either. When I was in the valleys – when I hurt – alcohol and cigarette tobacco always arrived. The emotional abuse I saddled on those around me remains the worse product of my depression. I allowed depression to burden not only me, but two girlfriends, my family, and my closest friends. One girl could not deal with it and ended up leaving me. The other stuck around longer, and I abused her emotions without knowing it. I was terrifyingly cold and unfeeling, even as she broke down into tears and begged me to say anything. I made her feel responsible for anything that went wrong in my life. I left her more than once without warning, but would soon come back and manipulate her damaged emotions to get back together. All of it was a way for me to artificially build myself back up. I was trying to destroy my depression, but I ended up harming the most vulnerable people in my life. Cowardice and dishonesty dictated my thinking. What underlies all these abuses is a fundamental disgust and anger with one’s self. I manipulated the emotions of everyone around me to bring them down to my level and feel better about my station in life. Admitting my weakness terrified me so much that I went out and tore away. The booze and cigarettes, I think, show a self-destructive streak common to all those who suffer with depression. Although the exact motives for self-destructive thoughts vary, they usually revolve around the ideas that a man cannot deal with such a great burden or, as in my case, that a man is not worth it, that he does not deserve to live because of such weakness. . By S.M. Leahy http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/09/01/dealing-with-male-depression/
I didn’t want to wake up.
I was having a much better
time asleep. And that’s really sad.
It was almost like a reverse nightmare,
like when you wake up from a nightmare
you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pleasing people, including ourselves. If we’re willing to make sacrifices for the sake of another, who are we to say that’s wrong? But the fact is, people pleasing isn’t about pleasing others, but fending off our fear of rejection. Those of us who would consider themselves people pleasers are generally individuals who feel the need to be accepted by the world around them. And not just a general acceptance, but that of each person they come in contact with. And to maintain this madness, we seek to please with abandon. One of the great misconceptions among people pleasers is this idea that we’re ‘good people’ who are just trying to make everybody happy. … it’s not so much our great concern for another human being, but our obsession with the way others may perceive us. As a result, we tend to say yes to everything and rarely stick up for ourselves. Even if someone blatantly wrongs us, we are usually the ones who absorb the hurt and then stand in the corner, fuming to ourselves. It’s not a pretty site. The fact is, when we try to please everybody, we end up pleasing nobody. Tired from the burnout that comes from the over extension of ourselves and frustrated by the fact that we keep letting others take advantage of us, we quickly become ineffective in helping others and often times end up resenting everyone around us. Then, when we finally run into a situation where our help is truly needed, we are too depleted to help out. Also, our ability to decipher a real need from that of someone trying to take advantage of our people pleasing nature, is quite skewed. In our minds, every ‘need’ is a requirement for us to act and in time, this wears us down to worthlessness. From an article by ‘Eric’ @ http://motivatethyself.com/overcoming-people-pleasing/
If you are busy pleasing everyone,
you are not being true to yourself.
There is no universally accepted definition of emotional abuse. It is commonly defined as “systematic attacks on a child’s emotional well-being and sense of self-worth.” Think of emotional child abuse as a pattern of behavior that attacks a child’s emotional development, sense well-being and trust in the world and others. These attacks can include overtly violent verbal acts or simply chronic, excessive, aggressive or unreasonable demands that place expectations on children that are beyond their developmental capacity. Often, parents unknowingly place inappropriate expectations on children. Three-year-olds, for example, can not be expected to sit quietly for an extended length of time. They just do not have the physical control of their bodies yet, nor the coping skills to always manage “listening” to requests to “behave.” Even an overly cooperative child is at-risk for being dominated and controlled through a system of praise and rewards which can be emotionally damaging, as the child feels pressured into a constant race to keep up with the expectations of others. Expectations that do not consider a child’s needs and feelings do more harm than good. The end result: a child who has less ability to organize his thoughts, relate in healthy ways, manage his emotions or resolve conflict peacefully. Violence in our words can manifest in a variety of ways including: verbal attacks, judgments, shame, blame, guilt, comparing, criticizing, teasing, name-calling insulting, rejecting and evaluating children’s behavior. Any time children are exposed to verbal abuse or violence, it chips away at their sense of self-worth and lays a foundation of hopelessness. Sometimes it’s just a scratch and other times it’s a whole chunk of self-esteem that falls off. It is not always the severity of the event but the attention, intention, and follow-up reactions of adults that determine whether or not these disconnections in our relationships (which happen and are normal) become healing moments of growth or moments which undermine healthy development. The child who feels heard, and emotionally supported will grow from negative experiences, learning to cope and strengthening his capacity for empathy. The child who experiences criticism, isolation, punitive consequences, negativity, shame, blame or guilt does not develop in the same ways. From an online article by Lori Petro http://www.teach-through-love.com/emotional-child-abuse.html
I wanted to tell you
all my secrets
but you became
one of them.