Your interpretations can be made so rapidly and so automatically that you may not realize they are happening. When your emotional reaction is disproportionate to the event, it is likely due to your rapid, undetected interpretation of that event, more than to the event itself. In effect, your emotions can be a valuable signal to you that you may need to re-examine your interpretation. Here are some common examples of self-defeating ways people think about and interpret the events of their lives:
Dichotomous thinking: interpreting events in extremes, in “all or nothing” ways (e.g., depicting events as wonderful or terrible, with no recognition of the grey areas in between).
Excessive personalization: automatically concluding that another’s behavior or mood is in direct response to you (e.g., “She’s in a bad mood. I must have done something wrong.”.
Over-generalization: seeing an event as having more impact, in more areas of your life, than it truly does.
Filtering: magnifying negative events in your life and discounting positive ones.
Emotional reasoning: concluding that what you feel must be the truth (e.g., if you feel stupid, you must be stupid).
Learn to recognize any tendencies you may have to distort events through interpretational styles like these, and then practice choosing and committing to more valid interpretations. The resulting emotions will be more accurate reflections of the events in your life. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
I am, indeed, a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.
One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage. From “Strength to Love” by Martin Luther King Jr.
Going to church doesn’t make you
any more a Christian than going
to the garage makes you a car.
Your beliefs don’t make you
a better person, your behavior does.
Your words mean nothing if your
actions are the complete opposite.
Having true faith in whatever it is
you believe must be shown through actions,
believing is only half the battle.
Let your dreams be bigger than your fears,
your actions louder than your words,
and your faith stronger than your feelings.
Codependency underlies all addictions. The core symptom of “dependency” manifests as reliance on a person, substance, or process (i.e, activity, such as gambling or sex addiction). Instead of having a healthy relationship with yourself, you make something or someone else more important. Over time, your thoughts, feelings, and actions revolve around that other person, activity, or substance, and you increasingly abandon your relationship with yourself. Abstinence or sobriety is necessary to recover from codependency. The goal is to bring your attention back to yourself, to have an internal, rather than external, “locus of control.” This means that your actions are primarily motivated by your values, needs, and feelings, not someone else’s. You learn to meet those needs in healthy ways. Perfect abstinence or sobriety isn’t necessary for progress, and it’s impossible with respect to codependency with people. You need and depend upon others and therefore give and compromise in relationships. It’s said that denial is the hallmark of addiction. This is true whether you’re an alcoholic or in love with one. Not only do codependents deny their own addiction – whether to a drug, activity, or person – they deny their feelings, and especially their needs, particularly emotional needs for nurturing and real intimacy. You may have grown up in a family where you weren’t nurtured, your opinions and feelings weren’t respected, and your emotional needs weren’t adequately met. Over time, rather than risk rejection or criticism, you learned to ignore your needs and feelings and believed that you were wrong. Some decided to become self-sufficient or find comfort in sex, food, drugs, or work. All this leads to low self-esteem. To reverse these destructive habits, you first must become aware of them. The most damaging obstacle to self-esteem is negative self-talk. Most people aren’t aware of their internal voices that push and criticize them — their “Pusher,” “Perfectionist,” and “Critic.” From an article By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
When you give another person
the power to define you,
then you also give them
the power to control you.
Trust has to be a living, breathing entity in order for any relationship to survive. It isn’t an emotion, but a learned behavior that we gain from past experiences. Whether you’ve been stolen from, lied to, misled, or cheated on, there are different levels of losing trust, some more devastating than others.
1. Learn to really trust yourself: If you don’t trust yourself – your ability to have good judgment and make good choices – how can you trust someone else? Once your trust has been violated, your defenses start working overtime to protect yourself. Pay closer attention to your instincts and work on building trust in yourself.
2. Grieve: When a loved one dies, the natural grieving process tends to come in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five stages can also occur when you lose trust in someone. Don’t fight any of these stages. You’ll usually get through all of them – with time. Forgiveness can also be added as the sixth stage in regards to trust.
3. Stop labeling yourself the victim: If you’ve been betrayed, you are the victim of your circumstance. But there’s a difference between being a victim and living with a “victim mentality.” Some people choose to wallow in the sting of betrayal while others make a real effort to overcome it. If you choose to wallow in pity, you’ll stifle your ability to heal because you’ll end up angry and blaming everyone else for something you actually have more control over than you think. If you can find it in your heart to forgive, then you’ll be able to release anger and hurt.
4. You didn’t lose “everything”: When we’re severely betrayed, such as being cheated on in a relationship, we tend to feel like we’ve lost everything that means anything to us. Once trust is lost, what’s left? Instead of looking at the situation from this hopeless angle, look at everything you still have and be thankful for all of the good in your life. Seeing the positive side of things doesn’t mean you’re ignoring what happened. Instead, it’s a healthy way to work through the experience to allow room for positive growth and forgiveness.
5. Keep your expectations high: Avoid the same types of where your trust was violated.
But it’s also important to recognize that just because you’ve been violated before doesn’t mean it will happen again. If you fall into this mentality, not only will you sell yourself short, but you may also throw away the possibility of a new, healthy relationship. Losing trust in someone can have a devastating effect on your relationship, as well as your sense of self-worth, but building trust again is possible. It takes a willingness to work on both yourself and your betrayer, but it’s more than possible. And when trust in a relationship is regained, it is truly healing. http://www.lifescript.com/life/relationships/wreckage/building_trust_in_a_relationship_again.aspx
One error a trust-breaker
makes when attempting
to rebuild trust
to take full ownership
for what they did.
You are constantly told in depression that your judgment is compromised, but a part of depression is that it touches cognition. That you are having a breakdown does not mean that your life isn’t a mess. If there are issues you have successfully skirted or avoided for years, they come cropping back up and stare you full in the face, and one aspect of depression is a deep knowledge that the comforting doctors who assure you that your judgment is bad are wrong. You are in touch with the real terrible-ness of your life. You can accept rationally that later, after the medication sets in, you will be better able to deal with the terrible-ness, but you will not be free of it. When you are depressed, the past and future are absorbed entirely by the present moment, as in the world of a three-year-old. You cannot remember a time when you felt better, at least not clearly; and you certainly cannot imagine a future time when you will feel better. From “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression” by Andrew Solomon
A human being can
survive almost anything,
as long as (he) she sees
the end in sight. BUT,
depression is so insidious,
and it compounds daily,
that it’s impossible
to ever see the end.
First, take a few deep breaths, relax the tension in your body (perhaps by stretching), and slowly count until you calm down, whether this takes 5 seconds, 20 seconds, or more. Imagine your parents and grandparents, a preacher or priest, a respected and well-loved teacher or boss, your counselor, or several policemen are watching how you respond. If you can’t use a calm tone of voice to respond tactfully and respectfully, start counting again and pretend the authority figures are watching. If this doesn’t help, take a time out. Leave and do something else until you calm down. Be sure to avoid angry thinking when you count or leave to calm down. Repeatedly thinking about the conflict only prolongs the upset feelings. If you tend to blame other people or circumstances for your anger, read or repeat every day, “Nobody makes me angry. I make myself angry over certain situations and only I can change this.” If a man’s anger is intense or explosive, don’t bother with counting: he should leave the situation immediately. If he has ever been violent, he should use time out often, at least several times a week for practice and to develop the habit, even if he feels only mildly irritated and doesn’t really need to leave. Avoid angry thinking during time out by getting things done or doing what you enjoy. You might work on a hobby, read a good book, or work on projects around the house. Practicing meditation or deep relaxation is an excellent way to calm down. Physical activities such as walking, jogging, exercising, or bicycling help by releasing tension. Don’t punish a loved one by leaving for much longer than an hour or two. Be very careful if you drive a car because angry people often drive dangerously. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs when you feel angry. If you return and can’t use a calm tone of voice to respond respectfully, despite pretending authority figures are watching, leave again and do something else. As you gradually improve in dealing with your anger, you should be able to reduce the time you need away from the situation to calm down.
friends are lost
enemies are gained;
anger destroys and changes
anger is blind…
Taken from “Anger”
by Johnny Nathan Botelho
Slavery is at the heart of dysfunctional families. When people serve others because they are forced to do so, freedom to truly serve is lost. Slavery hardens the heart, creates anger, bitterness and resentment. On the other hand, true love often finds its expression in acts of serve. It is service freely given, not out of fear but out of choice. It comes out of personal discovery that “it is more blessed to give than to receive. Dr. Gary Chapman author of “The Five Love Languages”
Lack of love from parents
often motivates their children
to go searching for love
in other relationships.
This search is often misguided
and leads to further disappointment.
Dr. Gary Chapman
The annual epidemic of those with the “holiday blues” is setting in. While the number of those leading lives of “quiet desperation” over the holidays isn’t accurately understood … they don’t call it an epidemic for nothing. Those depressed aren’t just the usual suspects … teenagers, singles or widows who live alone … holiday depression strikes married men and women, those in relationships, introverts or extroverts. You can be a 13-year-old boy or a 48-year-old married mother of three. Those depressed often don’t disclose their condition because they themselves can’t articulate what they’re feeling … sometimes vague but very, very real … and hard to describe. Many of those affected don’t think others will understand (they may be right) and don’t want to be seen as “whiners” during a time when everyone around them is being upbeat. In effect, you can’t tell who may be or not be depressed in your circle. But not being able to tell doesn’t mean they aren’t there. When someone is depressed, their quality of life is significantly (and could be severely) degraded and those around them can be impacted. Since most of us can’t tell who may be affected by depression during the holidays, the best advice may be to engage in some personal outreach with all those close to you.
• Inquire — A friend of mine regularly comes up and asks how I’m doing … seriously and in a way that communicates he genuinely wants to know. I have to actually think what the answer is and I feel better he cared enough to really ask.
• Invite — Whether single or married with kids … anyone can be depressed and might enjoy a lunch, after work drink or evening out with a friend. All of us feel better when we feel included and desired as social partners.
• Empathize — The capacity of understanding emotions in another person is a powerful force. Being depressed often involves a huge sense of isolation … the sense that someone significant in your life empathizes with you can be uplifting.
• Encourage — Making the suggestion to see a therapist or other trained professional can give a depressed person the “permission” they may need to seek help without feeling guilty. The stigma of mental health treatment is still strong in our society and affirmation of the value of mental health treatment from a trusted friend or family member is important. From an article by Bill Schroer http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20131221/OPINION02/312210010/Bill-Schroer-Don-t-let-depression-win-out-over-holidays
A human being can survive almost anything,
as long as she (he) sees the end in sight.
But depression is so insidious,
and it compounds daily,
that it’s impossible
to ever see the end.
A codependent man is a man who is often a high functioning husband with a wife who has a physical, mental, and spiritual need for a mind-altering substance, such as alcohol or drugs. His wife’s extreme need for her substance has caused her for years to manipulate this man by every means known to a woman who has stood up before institutions full of relatives, a respected preacher, and God pledging his total allegiance to her for life “…till death do them part.” Almost all of the literature on codependency is written by women for women, leaving the codependent man basically unstudied. This is for a very simple reason. He is under everybody’s radar screen because he has to be! …the twin diseases of alcoholism and codependency have isolated him. His preoccupation with an alcoholic wife has robbed him of the time and energy to form trusting relationships with other men, and he pays a tremendous internal price for that missing element. It is not only his lack of time to develop relationships with other men that isolates this codependent man. His various defense mechanisms such as perfectionism and over-achievement serve to make other men shun him. There is also his underlying anger, mostly born of fear. Other men sense this. He is so obviously not at ease in his own skin. He over-reacts, especially to any slight criticism. So his ears are either perked in constant high alert, or flattened with anger and frustration. His frustration, though constant, cannot be voiced for an important reason; he cannot identify it! It is called denial. Denial is his most immediate and user-friendly shock absorber against the painful emotional shocks delivered at random from his first family during childhood. Studies show that most codependent men came from highly dysfunctional families that included at least one alcoholic or addicted parent. All he ever knew was this existence, so that feels normal. He just went out and found a wife who would treat him in the same way that the people who were supposed to love him unconditionally always did. A little boy can’t win against big parents, and a beaten-down man can’t win against an abusive addicted wife. http://www.articlesbase.com/mens-health-articles/we-codependent-men-we-mute-coyotes-629880.html
If I treat you
the way you treated me,
then you would hate me.
Sushan R Sharma
The ability to forgive oneself for mistakes, large and small, is critical to psychological well-being. Difficulties with self-forgiveness are linked with suicide attempts, eating disorders, and alcohol abuse, among other problems. But self-forgiveness has a dark side. Research suggests that while it can relieve unpleasant feelings like guilt and shame, it can also reduce empathy for others and motivation to make amends. In other words, self-forgiveness may at times serve as a crutch, producing a comforting sense of moral righteousness rather than a motivating sense of moral responsibility. Just as you probably wouldn’t forgive someone else until they make it up to you in some way, forgiving yourself may be most beneficial when you feel like you’ve actually earned it. So how do you know when you’ve adequately paid your dues? In some cases, it’s obvious what needs to be done (e.g., if you borrow your friend’s favorite sweater and lose it, you would probably want to find a way to replace it, at minimum), but in other cases the criteria for making amends may be less clear. Receiving forgiveness from others can help facilitate self-forgiveness, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide when you’ve done enough to right a wrong. Rather than simply going through the motions of atonement, it may be useful to consider what kinds of reparative behaviors will actually make a difference for others, or for your own personal growth. Even certain forms of self-punishment may be useful when motivated by a desire for self-improvement rather than anger at the self, though researchers recommend that such punishment be mild and time-limited, and never physically or psychologically harmful. For example, a teenager who engages in shoplifting and feels remorse might decide to refrain from shopping for three months and instead focus on her schoolwork. Problematically, research has found that self-forgiveness is negatively associated with empathy for victims. As self-forgiveness increases, empathy decreases. This disconnect is understandable: when you’re feeling compassion for the suffering of those you’ve hurt, it’s difficult to also have compassion for the person who caused that suffering. But self-forgiveness is not supposed to be easy, and without incorporating empathy it seems more like a form of avoidance. Importantly, self-forgiveness need not be all-or-nothing. It’s a slow process that may never (and some may argue should never) result in a full release of negative feelings or an exclusively rosy view of oneself. Rather than being a form of self-indulgence, healthy self-forgiveness might be better seen as an act of humility, an honest acknowledgment of our capacity for causing harm as well as our potential for doing good. From an article by Juliana Breines, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201207/the-dangers-self-forgiveness-and-how-avoid-them
To forgive is to set
a prisoner free
that the prisoner
Louis B. Smedes