Archive for November, 2011
am not sure where to begin, here it goes. I remarried a real nice lady after my first failed marriage of 19 yrs. She is 7 yrs younger than me. She has two kids, one girl 16, and a boy 10, both from her two previous marriages. So I am the step dad and that represents a big problem. I came into these kids’ lives with a very positive attitude after raising two boys of my own. The daughter’s father disowned her for 6 yrs of her life, because his dad rapes her. The boy’s father does nothing but play mind games on this 10 year old, because mom left dad. And I am in the middle. My wife is a very sweet lady, but all of this stress, and her dad dying when she was 18, has added some horrible burden on this woman I married. I know she has some kind of guilt, hate, I don’t know? But she becomes very explosive, with anger, foul language, that she always hates to hear from other people, but in these rages, you sure couldn’t tell it. I thought it was her periods each month, I would just count, and get ready for hell to hit. She reverts back almost to a kid in her actions, trying to over-talk you, yelling, saying the same thing over and over like a kids nursery rhyme, its very unbelievable, and at times scary. She tells me to get out, leave. I am lost, can you give any insight? Thank you.
You’ve married into what seems to be quite an ill or “dysfunctional” family. It was ill before you got there – probably for a long time. It is not your fault that you are overwhelmed. Any normal human being would be overwhelmed given the situation you describe. Your wife’s erratic verbally abusive and age regressive behavior is almost certainly more than normal PMS and possibly suggestive of trauma in her history. Is she drinking or using drugs? If she is – she’ll need to stop completely before there’ll be any change. Whatever their cause, her monthly outbursts are quite unhealthy. Although there are many things going on – the most important thing you can do to help stabilize your new family is probably to help your wife become less erratic and to strengthen your marital relationship. It would be a good idea for your wife to be evaluated by a Psychiatrist (so as to make sure there is no medical reason for her to be acting as she does). She might benefit from appropriately prescribed psychiatric medication. She might also benefit from a type of psychotherapy known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (which helps people with emotion regulation problems to swing back and forth less). Whether or not she ends up doing individual work – it would almost certainly be helpful to your family if you and your wife were to begin marital therapy with an experienced and competent marital therapist. There are other significant issues (such as the child abuse, and step-family adjustment issues you’ve mentioned) but they will be easier to manage if you can get your marital situation under better control.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I have been with the same man for almost two rocky years now. At first it started out that he was the one chasing me, until I “surrendered” and returned the chasing- for the first time in my life. But within the past year, I have faced many internal issues and am not happy to report that I am ruining all the best relationships in my life! First of all, I just recently found out that my parents were divorced because my father cheated on my mother (I had been informed for 14 years that they ended because it “wasn’t working” and NOT because of an extra-marital affair). I feel that because of this I have been more afraid that my boyfriend is cheating one me- to the point that I IMAGINE he is and fight with him as though he has! We can’t go to movies or to the mall anymore and I feel intimidated if I look at beauty magazines in front of him- fearing he will put more interest into the models than into me. And I think that this all relates back to my own insecurities. I had been offered a bunch of modeling opportunities previous to meeting him, but turned them down because I felt it would have an adverse effect on my self-esteem. Anne, I know it’s natural for women to be jealous over other women, especially when there’s nothing wrong with that woman- but in my case, it has gotten so bad. I do not watch TV or movies anymore and feel upset when my boyfriend does, I hardly ever eat, I am constantly over-exercising and always in a cynical mood. I have tried overdosing on my diet pills, as well having thoughts of suicide once after reading a magazine. My boyfriend and I wish that this would go away because we had had plans to be engaged. I am seriously considering hypnosis, even though that won’t SOLVE the problem, but only SHIELD it. He has been very helpful with me for the past year, but there is only so much he can do and I fear he is beginning to feel that I can only get better if my jealousy is over- aka WE are over. Anne, if you can help me, please do, as I fear I am losing the best two relationships in my life: one with my boyfriend and the other with myself. Thanking you in advance for any convenient words of wisdom.
I’ll try and help you, but you have placed a lot of this burden on yourself, as you realize. It’s hard to love someone else when you feel that person has injured someone close to you. In this case, you realize that your feelings are irrational and not appropriate to your boyfriend — that you’re taking the anger you feel toward your father’s girlfriend (and quite possible your father himself) and putting them into your own relationship. You also realize that this isn’t healthy and is likely to cause the eventual downfall of this relationship. Realizing something and doing something about it are two different things. You’ve started in the right direction by seeking help, but now I’m going to encourage you to take the next step — therapy. A good, caring, and thoughtful listener may also do the job, but I believe a person in your situation would be helped a great deal by a skilled therapist right about now. Consider seeking out help in your local yellow pages and call around to find one you will feel comfortable working with for a few months. Your problems are easily manageable and I think with a little help, you’ll be able to resolve these issues in a short time. Your relationship is counting on it!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
My husband of 14 yrs is unpredictable. He has angry outbursts over nothing, picks at me, and makes mountains out of mole hills. He always hides his behavior around other people and puts on a show of being lovey-dovey with me. He is a Jekyll-Hyde. I feel as if I’m on a rollercoaster. What’s his problem and what should I do?
Many people don’t like to indicate to their friends, co-worker, and peers that their lives are anything short of perfect. This could explain your husband’s actions around other people. But, his actions with you need to be discussed. Explain to him that you feel as if you are on an “emotional rollercoaster” and that in addition to your own hurt feelings, you are worried about what is going on in his life to cause him to act so unpredictably. Hopefully, he will open up to you. Your husband quite honestly may not realize that his behavior is hurting you as well as confusing you. Has something happened recently that might account for his actions? Is he going through a stressful time? Could this be his way of letting you know that something is upsetting him and he wants you to ask about it? When he gets angry with you and picks on you, is it about the same thing all the time — or different things? Do your best to try and get him to open up. It’s the only way you will know for sure what is causing his behavior.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
My mother has had a lot of trouble with my dad. He acts like a dictator and he does not ask my mother’s opinion on anything. This had led to a lot of fights between the two of them. The real problem, however, is the fact that he always gets headaches whenever he is upset and something does not go his way. He had a physical check, but nothing came up. He threatened to kill himself once when he was angry. His father also had the same problem; whenever something did not go his way, he would bang his head on the wall until his sons accepted his wishes. If it is a disease, what is it called and what can we do about it?
It sounds to me that your father has a lot of anger built up inside him. He has learned how to react to anger from his father. I suggest that he seek some help and a way to vent the anger. He’s taking his anger out on you and your mother. How long has he been like this? If it has been going on for a long time, then my only advice to you is get him some help. Let him know that he must learn how to control his anger. His reactions could have negative implications on him, both mentally and physically. Perhaps if you gradually suggest to him the idea of anger management, he will be more responsive.
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Recently I have noticed a pattern of violent behavior. I have become aware of it on 3 occasions. It’s been with men only and I am a woman. They’ll push a button and I’ll get so angry I’ll try to cause harm to them. On the last occasion I went after the guy with a knife. I have never been violent before in my life and everyone knows me as a sweetheart who is always helping others. What is wrong with me? Am I suppressing something that should come out?
Many times violence is the result of anger. I cannot tell you the direct source of this anger, and it is possible that you are suppressing something, but unmanaged stress often creates outburst of violence. If you have been under excessive stress try to figure out the source of this stress. Extra pressure from a work environment, difficulties in relationships, or any noticeable change in your lifestyle can effect your stress levels. One of the best things you can do to lower your stress levels is learn relaxation techniques. Often times these are simple things you can do such as read a book, take a long warm bath, listen to music, talk with an old friend, or go for a hike in the woods. Another thing to look for is a pattern to your anger. If the situations that cause these violent outburst are similar there are several things which might help you. First, if it is a situation that can be easily avoided such as a bar, try limiting your time there. If the situation leading to these fits of violence is unavoidable you can try imagining the situation while at home. Play out what happens and think of a more socially acceptable reaction you could take. Try going through this alternative reaction to the conflict several times and then if the situation arises remind yourself that you can deal with this and try to carry out your planned reaction. If you try to remain calm the anger of the moment will less likely take over your personality. Also try to figure out why these buttons provoke such an intense reaction. There may be a past issue that you need to confront. If none of these techniques are helpful, and the problem persist you could consider seeking counseling.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Employees acting out in frustration by kicking a chair, hitting a computer or yelling at a colleague are not uncommon in the workplace, and more companies are taking action to lessen these types of incidents by offering anger-management training.
In fact, teaching people how to handle anger without losing control is a growing movement in psychology.
“It is an evolution from stress management, which was talked about a lot in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” said David Clayman, a forensic psychologist and chief clinical officer at Process Strategies, a business consulting firm based in Charleston, W.Va. The topic even seeped into popular culture in the movie “Anger Management.”
Anger and stress have become more common in the workplace as a wave of corporate downsizing and the nation’s stumbling economy have left employees feeling insecure, experts say.
“We are in a world with increased demands for productivity, an uncertain economy and a society that is more unpredictable — politically, economically and spiritually. And with uncertainty, people feel less secure, less valued and less in control,” Clayman said.
There are 1.5 million to 2 million non-fatal incidents of anger-related workplace violence each year, said Barry Nixon, executive director of the National Institute for Prevention of Workplace Violence, a consulting and research firm based in Lake Forest, Calif., that helps companies deal with violence on the job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there were 609 workplace homicides in 2002.
Organizations typically offer anger-management training through an employee-assistance program. A course may cost a company thousands of dollars, but many companies deem that investment minuscule compared with the absenteeism and lost productivity that can result from an unpleasant work environment.
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work Conference in 2001 reported that more than half of the 550 million working days lost each year in the United States because of absenteeism were stress-related, according to Dr. Paul Rosch, president of The American Institute of Stress in Yonkers, N.Y. Unanticipated absenteeism can disrupt operations and is estimated to cost companies an average of more than $600 per worker per year, according to the institute, a non-profit organization that explores the effect of stress on health and quality of life.
Excessive or unexpressed anger also can contribute to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, leading to an increase in a company’s health-insurance claims, experts say.
Anger at work often is a result of a person feeling they are being “demeaned, devalued and laughed at,” Clayman said.
Also contributing to anger are “disappointment or an unrealistic expectation of the workplace, co-workers or a supervisor,” said Bernard Golden, a Chicago-based clinical psychologist who offers anger-management counseling.
These feelings can lead to abusive verbal behavior, rage and physical violence, experts say. Bullying by co-workers is the most common expression of anger, with one in six workers in the United States claiming to have been a victim, according to The Workplace Bullying & Trauma Institute in Bellingham, Wash. The non-profit advocacy group is working to outlaw bullying at work.
Bullying includes surreptitious activities such as spreading false rumors, acting in a condescending manner, ridiculing a person’s opinions in front of others, failing to return calls or respond to memos, verbal sexual harassment, dirty looks and showing up late for meetings run by the target, Rosch said.
“Companies are recognizing an angry, out-of-control supervisor is a liability,” said Chet Taranowski, a social worker and internal employee assistance provider for Chicago-based insurance and consulting firm Aon Corp., which has offered anger-management training.
“When you have a tyrant in a department, everyone lives in fear, and you don’t get open feedback from employees,” Taranowski said. “It creates bad feelings in an organization and obstacles in performance. It becomes about the relationship with a manager rather than about the work, [and] people are likely not to do what they’re supposed to do because of the battle.”
Anger-management training also can help an organization stave off lawsuits from employees claiming a company is negligent for ignoring a bad situation that turned abusive or violent.
The average lawsuit with a company when conflict leads to abuse costs $700,000. So it is in the best interest of the company to show they did something to address the issue .
It also can be costly for a company to replace a trained employee whom they fire, experts say.
Anger-management classes are “a better solution [than firing someone] and convey a message to the employees that the organization is concerned about them,” said Howard Trier, who for 36 years owned an Oak Brook-based consulting firm that provided counseling for troubled employees.
“At a lot of organizations today, employees feel the company doesn’t care a whip about them, so they are ready to leave or sabotage the company or not perform up to standard,” Trier said.
This year, BLT Enterprises in Oxnard, Calif., for the first time required its management staff to participate in a four-hour anger management workshop. BLT is taking a pre-emptive approach to the situation, he said.
“We want to provide a comfortable environment at work,” said Mario Quezada, corporate manager for safety and human resources at the recycling and waste management facility.
“The less conflict or negative encounters we have, the less probability [of] suits by people who feel they are harassed or treated unjustly.”
It also “helps retain qualified individuals by making them feel they are part of a team,” he added.
Quezada said that learning conflict resolution skills can benefit an employee’s home life, making them happier overall.
“If an employee misses a day of work because they’re worked up with something at home, there is the price of lost productivity, so the money spent upfront is well worth it,” he said.
Golden offers individual and group sessions on anger management. He focuses on giving people skills to relieve their anger, including relaxation techniques, reflecting on what is leading to their anger and identifying other emotions related to it, such as disappointment, fear and anxiety.
But giving someone methods to control their anger does not necessarily solve the problem. There is little research to prove whether anger-management courses actually are effective, experts say.
“We don’t know if anger management in corporations works,” said Jerry Deffenbacher, a psychology professor at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, who has done research regarding anger for more than 20 years. “There are potential benefits, but are we achieving those? We don’t really know.”
Most companies do not want to spend the time and money to do follow-up work, such as providing questionnaires in the months after a counseling program, that is required to find whether an individual’s behavior has changed, experts say.
“Few companies go to the trouble of trying to see whether this or any other stress-reduction program really works,” Rosch said. “There are all sorts of programs being offered with little proof of efficacy other than anecdotal testimonials.”
Key to a program’s success is a willing participant.
“People who are angry aren’t anxious to go to an anger-management class; they feel it’s a punishment,” said Rosch, who also is a clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College.
However, giving someone tools to better handle a situation that causes their temperature to boil is better than ignoring the issue, he said.
“Certainly, if you have somebody who is a repeated bully at work, you have to take some action,” Rosch said.
Advocates say that any move to ease tempers in the workplace is beneficial.
“With the amount of stress we have today, any program that helps people understand themselves in a way they can function and be appropriate is valuable,” Clayman said.
Some companies find sending the message to employees that hotheads are not valued is reason enough to offer the training.
“Training defines the workplace values,” said Taranowski of Aon. “I’m not saying eight hours can change a person who has a raving problem of anger, but they can see how to handle it and might get help on their own.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
When Nikki Perez was in her 20s, she had a job as a lab tech at a hospital in Sacramento, Calif. She said everything was going well until one day, when something changed.
“I worked in a very sterile environment, and so part of the procedure was to wash your hands,” she said. “I found myself washing my hands more and more, to the point where they were raw, and sometimes they would bleed.”
Perez went to the doctor and was diagnosed with something she had never even heard of — obsessive-compulsive disorder. At the time she was living with her parents. She quit her job and went on short-term disability.
Researchers say 1 in 4 adults has a mental disorder. But while many Americans are trained in first aid and CPR to respond to medical emergencies, few are prepared to help others experiencing a mental health crisis.
Perez said her illness turned her life upside down. She would sit in her parents’ room watching TV on the floor, afraid to move. She didn’t want to get caught up in the obsessive routines around the house.
“You check locks, check the washer, check the doors, check the window — I did a lot of checking,” she said.
Overall, it was profoundly isolating. Her family, like many people, didn’t know how to handle mental illness.
Finally, she got treatment, but her experience made her want to learn more about mental health issues so she could help others in crisis.
Emotional Crises More Common Than Heart Attacks
She found just the right class, called Mental Health First Aid. Bryan Gibb is the director of public education for the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, which runs the course.
“We often train to know CPR or the Heimlich maneuver or first aid. But the reality is, it’s much more likely that we’re going to come in contact with someone suffering from an emotional crisis than someone suffering a heart attack or choking in a restaurant,” he said.
In a 12-hour course, Gibb teaches people how to identify different types of mental illness: depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, eating disorders and substance abuse.
Part of the learning process involves group exercises. Nikki Perez participated in one that simulated what it’s like for people who hear voices. She tried to have a conversation while someone whispered in her ear “don’t trust him,” “you’re a failure,” and “is he looking at you?”
After the class, members who get this firsthand perspective of the different symptoms of mental illness then learn how to approach someone who’s having a psychotic episode. They’re told to speak calmly and clearly, and not to dismiss or challenge the person about their hallucinations.
Direct Questions For The Suicidal
As with any first-aid course, there’s an Action Plan for what to do if someone’s in crisis: assess the person for risk of harm or suicide, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance, and encourage the person to seek professional help.
Gibb says that for this to work, people need to force themselves to ask direct questions: Are you thinking of killing yourself? Do you have a plan? Do you have the things you need to complete that plan?
Gibb told the class to never leave an actively suicidal person alone and to call the police if the person has a weapon or is acting aggressively.
Longtime mental health advocates with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, say courses like this raise awareness about mental illness. Jessica Cruz, executive director of NAMI California, said this reduces the stigma around getting help.
“If people know that others are trained in how to deal with a crisis situation, they may even reach out for help before they even get to that crisis point,” she said.
Cruz is so impressed with the course, her own staff is going to be trained next month.
“It seems like it could be just universally applied, just like CPR,” Cruz said.
That’s already under way at schools, the workplace and churches. Since it started three years ago, more than 30,000 people have been trained around the country; another 20,000 are expected to get training by the end of the year.
Perez says she would recommend this course to anyone.
“I think it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself so far,” she said.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare said thousands of people like Perez now have the skills to help those experiencing a mental health crisis. But the group emphasized that this is first-aid training and should be used to keep someone safe and stabilized until the professional help arrives, just like if you’re responding to someone having a heart attack.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Traffic jams. Job woes. Visits from the in-laws. Life is full of stress, and more often than not, people feel it physically as well as mentally.
Although the stress response begins in the brain, it is a full-body phenomenon. When someone encounters a threat — real or imagined — the brain triggers a cascade of stress hormones. The heart pounds, muscles tense, and breathing quickens.
One of the best ways to counter stress is to pay attention to what is going on. That may sound counterintuitive, but paying attention is the first step toward cultivating mindfulness — a therapeutic technique for a range of mental health problems (and physical ones).
The opposite of multitasking
Multitasking has become a way of life. People talk on a cell phone while commuting to work, or scan the news while returning e-mails. But in the rush to accomplish necessary tasks, people often lose connection with the present moment. They stop being truly attentive to what they are doing or feeling.
Mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking. The practice of mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhism, teaches people to live each moment as it unfolds. The idea is to focus attention on what is happening in the present and accept it without judgment.
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, developed a mindfulness-based stress reduction program for people with major depression (since adapted for other disorders). Another adaptation of mindfulness to clinical practice is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which combines mindfulness techniques with cognitive behavioral therapy.
However it is practiced, mindfulness is a powerful therapeutic tool. Studies have found, for example, that mindfulness techniques can help prevent relapse in people who have had several past episodes of major depression. Other research suggests that mindfulness techniques can help alleviate anxiety and reduce physical symptoms such as pain or hot flashes.
Watch a video
For more information about the health dangers of stress — and how mindfulness can help people relax — watch this video of a talk by Dr. Michael C. Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, at www.health.harvard.edu/MillerStress.
One of the best things about mindfulness is that it is something people can try on their own. Here’s how to get started:
Center down. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
Open up. Once you’ve narrowed your concentration, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas. Embrace and consider each without judgment. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing.
Observe. You may notice external sensations such as sounds and sights that make up your moment-to-moment experience. The challenge is not to latch onto a particular idea, emotion, or sensation, or to get caught up in thinking about the past or the future. Instead you watch what comes and goes in your mind, and discover which mental habits produce a feeling of suffering or well-being.
Stay with it. At times, this process may not seem relaxing at all, but over time it provides a key to greater happiness and self-awareness as you become comfortable with a wider and wider range of your experiences.
You can also try less formal approaches to mindfulness by trying to become more aware while you are doing activities that you enjoy. Playing the piano, juggling, walking — all can become part of your mindfulness practice as long as you pay attention to what is happening in the moment. Listen to the sounds of the music, feel the weight of the balls as they fall into your hand, or really look at what you are walking past.
Practice makes perfect
Mindfulness is something to cultivate and practice, on a regular basis.
Make a commitment. Aim for doing 20 to 45 minutes of mindfulness practice, most days of the week. (If that sounds like a lot, remember that a key part of mindfulness means letting go of expectations. Just commit to trying to become more mindful, and do the best you can.)
Make small changes. It’s hard to make big changes. It’s better to start slow and build gradually. The famous Alcoholics Anonymous motto is “one day at a time.” Mindfulness involves taking it less than one day at a time — aim for one moment at a time.
Mindfulness really does not have to be more complicated than learning to pay attention to what is going on around you. But this “simple” advice is often hard to sustain in a busy world. Try making the effort to become more mindful — and you may find the results make it worth it.
I do not take it personal when someone says, “Aaron you are wonderful” and I also don’t take it personal when someone says, “Aaron you are awful.” I know that when people are pleased they will say, “Aaron you are such a great help,” and if people are displeased they will say, “Aaron your such a burden.” Either way it does not affect me because I trust my own judgment and know what I am. I don’t need to get the approval of others’ because I know my strengths and limitations. I am aware of my human imperfections and accepted my mistakes. I can acknowledge my success and reward my own efforts despite the absence of anyone else’s recognition. I do not depend on others to say, “Aaron you doing so well,” or “Why don’t you do better.” No, I don’t take it personally. Whatever other people think or whatever they feel is their problem, not mine. I know it is about how they see the world and find meaning to events in their life. It is nothing personal because they are dealing with themselves, not me. Other people are going to have their own opinions according to their own perception of circumstances. Therefore nothing they think or say is about me, it is really about them.
Someone may even say, “Aaron it hurts when you say that to me.” Still, it is not what I’m saying that hurts, but it is that they have emotional memories that have been triggered by what I said. They are jumping to conclusions of my intentions based on past experiences of being hurt. So they are really hurting themselves by unconsciously choosing not to explore other theories or interpretations for my comments. There is no way that I can take personal responsibility for someone else’s thinking. Its not about believing in them, or trusting them. I don’t take things personally because I know that each person sees the world differently. All humans have their own subjective perception and unique interpretation for the events they experience. All humans have an internal soap opera in their minds that they write, direct and star in. The way you see you soap opera is based on the experiences you have had and the lessons you learned in the relationships in you life.
When someone gets angry with you it is about their point of view. It is not based on any universally accepted truth. It is their choice, their view, their truth for how things “ought and should be.” Then if you get angry with me, I know that you are dealing with yourself. I am the excuse, the trigger for you to get angry. And you get angry because you are human and as humans we all have fears. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will get angry at me. If you are not angry, there is no way you will lash out with abuse.
Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true. So to some extent, you do need to take whatever pessimistic things you say to yourself personally either. The mind has the ability to talk to itself and it also has the ability to remember past experiences that evoked similar thinking. You remember feelings, which then trigger your mind to jump to the conclusion that whatever happened in the past will happen again in the present. Emotions are strong and will override your thinking to promote your own survival because thinking takes time. So when you jump to the conclusion, you ate using your feeling as a predictor of the future based on your past. You distort reality by seeking to control the future.
Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personal. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You must accept that you are wonderful. The key to not taking things personal is unconditional self acceptance. You, like all humans, are born loveable and worthwhile. You, like all humans will never be worth more or worth less. You, like all humans will never be superior or inferior. No matter how much money, status or power your have, you will never be a better person. No matter how little appreciation, respect or comfort you have, you will never be a worse person. Your success and achievements do not make you a more loveable human. Your failures and losses do not make you a less lovable person. You are always going to be good enough. If you accept that you are unconditionally worthwhile and lovable, it is not necessary to believe or rely on other people to tell you that you are wonderful.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
When you were a kid, if you do a good thing then you think that you are a good kid. You were taught to seek out praise from others to find reassurance, to reduce self-doubt, to make sure that you are doing things right. Yet, you may have come to punish yourself for your perceived failure to live up to others expectations of what good enough is. You base your sense of self respect upon others’ opinions of you. You have learned to live on others terms. This mindset has become an automatic, unconscious habit. Now you feel that the opinions of others is better then your own judgment. You seek others’ approval to verify your own experience and performance. The lessons you learned have come from those who were in a position to guide you. As a result you may have come to accept that when you make a mistake, you are inferior to all others. You may have tried your best, with our developing brain, to make sense out of the events in your life. These explanations are often pushed on you by people you love. Therefore, you come to believe that since they love you, they would be hurtful unless it was true. The end result is that as an adult, you continue to think the worst about your own abilities based on these early lessons, emotional reflexes, automatic thoughts, and distorted perceptions of your life. These are purple elephants and they are crushing you.
As a human, you are born and develop with the mindset of “me, myself and I.” This means you, like all humans, grow up taking things personally. When you take others’ behavior personally, the assumption is that everything is about “me”. During your childhood, like every other human, you take everything personally. The human judgment center is in the prefrontal cortex, which does not fully develop until humans are in there late adolescence. Since the brain has not been fully developed, children will always jump to the conclusions that everything is about them. Kids think they are responsible for everything, “me, me, me, always about me.” Yet, nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of them. All humans are independent, responsible actors who live in their own mind, a world completely different from yours or anyone else. When you take something personally, you assume that you can influence their mind, you can control their behavior, you can make them, feel a certain way. You try to impose your mind on their world.
Even when a situation seems personal, even if your closest family or friends insults you directly to your face, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are about their own minds. Their point of view comes from their own emotional memories and learning experiences that have shaped them into the person they are today. If someone gives you an opinion and says, “Hey you look fat,” don’t take it personally, because the truth is that all humans are dealing with their own feelings, beliefs and opinions. That person’s remark is for them, not for you. Their words are serving their own selfish purposes and have nothing to do with you and they have nothing to do with reality. They are human and don’t know any better then you about the objective nature of life. They have views on things that match their tastes. They have their own preferences. They don’t really know what is best and have no standing on telling you how things “ought or should” be.
When you take things personally, you feel offended and disrespected. Your reaction is either to defend yourself or submit passively. Either way you take someone’s criticism and view it as literal, personal and serious. You make something big out of some behavior that is so little. You want to correct them and prove them wrong. You want to maintain your innocent and try with all of your might to defend your beliefs, which only serves to heighten the conflict. You have the need to be right and this makes everyone else wrong unless they agree with you, my way or the highway. However, you are human as well. Thus, whatever you feel or do is also just a projection of your own emotional memories and past relationships.
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