What is hypnosis? Have you ever been totally absorbed while reading a book, cooking or watching a movie? Did you zone out to the point you didn’t notice what else was going on around you? If so, you’ve experienced a trance-like state that’s similar to what happens to you during hypnosis.
Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state of mind. It is usually achieved with the help of a hypnotherapist and is different from your everyday awareness. When you’re under hypnosis: -Your attention is more focused -You’re deeply relaxed and calm -You’re more open to suggestions, and less critical or disbelieving
The purpose of hypnosis is to help you gain more control over your behavior, emotions or physical well-being. Hypnotherapists say that hypnosis creates a state of deep relaxation and quiets the mind. When you’re hypnotized, you can concentrate intensely on a specific thought, memory, feeling or sensation while blocking out distractions. You’re more open than usual to suggestions, and this can be used to change your behavior and thereby improve your health and well-being.
Who is hypnosis for? Hypnotherapy has the potential to help relieve the symptoms of a wide variety of diseases and conditions. It can be used independently or along with other treatments. According to scientific studies, hypnotherapy may be used to: · Change negative behaviors, such as smoking and overeating · Reduce or eliminate fears, stress and anxiety · Lower blood pressure · Control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy · Reduce the intensity or frequency of pain · Treat and ease the symptoms of asthma Although hypnosis may have the potential to help with a wide variety of conditions, it’s typically used as one part of a broader treatment plan rather than as a stand-alone therapy. Like any other therapy, hypnosis can be helpful to some people but not to others. It seems to work best when you’re highly motivated and your therapist is well trained.
Types of hypnosis
There are a variety of hypnotic techniques. The approach you choose depends on what you want to accomplish as well as your personal preferences. For example, in one method a hypnotherapist leads you into hypnosis by talking in a gentle, soothing tone and describing images that create a sense of relaxation, security and well-being. While you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist suggests ways for you to achieve specific goals, such as reducing pain or stress or helping to eliminate the cravings associated with smoking cessation. In another technique, once you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist helps stimulate your imagination by suggesting specific mental images for you to visualize. This conscious creation of vivid, meaningful pictures in your mind is called mental imagery, and it’s a way to help bring about what you want to achieve. Self-hypnosis is a third technique. A certified hypnotherapist teaches you how to induce a state of hypnosis in yourself. You then use this skill on your own to help yourself. For instance, hypnotherapists can help executives visualize what they want to accomplish before they perform it, such as giving a presentation or making a sale.
Although hypnotherapists, like other health care practitioners, each have their own style, expect some common elements:
A typical session lasts from 30 to 60 minutes.
The number of sessions can range from one to several.
You generally bring yourself out of hypnosis at the end of a session.
You can usually resume your daily activities immediately after a session.
Although hypnosis may have the potential to help with a wide variety of conditions, it’s typically used as one part of a broader treatment plan rather than as a stand-alone therapy. Like any other therapy, hypnosis can be helpful to some people but not to others. It seems to work best when you’re highly motivated and your engaged in the process.
Myths about hypnosis If you’ve ever seen hypnotism used as entertainment in a stage act, you’ve probably witnessed several of the myths about hypnosis in action. Legitimate clinical hypnotherapy practiced by a qualified professional is not the same process as that performed on stage.
Myth: When you’re under hypnosis, you surrender your free will.
Reality: Hypnosis is a heightened state of concentration and focused attention. When you’re under hypnosis, you don’t lose your personality, your free will or your personal strength.
Myth: When you’re under hypnosis, the hypnotherapist controls you.
Reality: You do hypnosis voluntarily for yourself. A hypnotherapist only serves as a knowledgeable guide or facilitator.
Myth: Under hypnosis, you lose consciousness and have amnesia.
Reality: A small number of people who go into a very deep hypnotic state experience amnesia. However, most people remember everything that occurred under hypnosis.
Myth: You can be put under hypnosis without your consent.
Reality: Successful hypnosis depends on your willingness to experience it. Even with voluntary participation, not everyone can be led into a hypnotic state.
We all lament the inconsistencies of everyday life. We are rude to the people we love, yet civil to people we know nothing about. We make the right choice and then over-ride it to our own disadvantage. However, when we consider the complexities of our civilized existence and the complications of the human personality, it’s a wonder we are as consistent as we are.
We need to ask ourselves the right questions: “What determines our consistency in the first place? What are the barriers that keep us from being as consistent and as predictable as we’d like ourselves to be?” Our lives would be smoother and less problematic if we could answer these questions. We wouldn’t have to apologize as much or pay the penalties for deeds we had no conscious intention of achieving. We could stop saying, “I don’t know what got into me.” If we knew, we would not do it all over again next time.
I believe it is our subterranean beliefs from the past that determine how consistent we are. These beliefs keep us on track without the need for our conscious awareness, even if we don’t like the path we are on. In a given situation, our beliefs based on past experiences kick in and draw parallels based on vague similarities. Some people consistently give up heir seat on the subway for a pregnant woman. Others consistently do not. We didn’t have to weigh the merits of the case. We just go along with what is programmed deep down inside of us.
Consistency is not what many people think it is. For example, few of us stop to consider there are two kinds of consistency, just as there are two kinds of success, two kinds of control, and two kinds of communication. There is the healthy kind and the unhealthy kind. We al know people who never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. You’d think they’d catch a break once in a while, but they never do. They claim it’s a matter of dumb luck, or a bad break, or fate. They blame everything but the silent operation of their consistently unhealthy beliefs from their own past.
In my counseling sessions, I look for the consistencies in a client’s life. They could find them if only they knew where to look. For example, I can understand that a man may date or marry the same kind of woman because they are all consistent with his observations of a female role model growing up. He acquired certain beliefs about what a woman is and does. These beliefs shape his expectations of what his wants and needs are in a compatible marriage partner. If a mother is critical and demanding, he will be attracted to women whom act in similar ways. His agenda is not a happy marriage. His agenda is based on a constellation of underlying beliefs, it is to maintain and perpetuate the continuity of these childhood patterns from the past into the present and future. And it all goes on below the level of conscious awareness.
His friends may say he is “consistently inconsistent,” or that he is “predictably unpredictable.” I would say that when it comes to marriage partners, he is consistently unconscious of his inconsistencies. My approach is to reveal these negative consistencies to the individual who, as an adult, has the power to make new choices using his adult judgment to consciously replace his unhealthy beliefs from the past with healthy one in the present. The same processes determine his beliefs toward work, play, success, trust and many other aspects of adult life.
I define the word lifestyle as one’s way of moving through life. This includes the ways we cope with the tasks of love, work, and friendship. Our lifestyle is our way of solving problems of everyday life as they arise. Some of us have been adequately prepared to cope with life. We learned well from competent, self-respecting role models. We acquired some healthy, constructive beliefs such as, “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want them to do unto you.” This sort of belief facilitates the functional interactions of a civilized society. But we have learned many things from people and have been given conflicting information. Thus, we have our inconsistencies too.
There is a range of such learning from healthy to unhealthy. There are minor imperfections, which are the fossil remains of minor setbacks in first grade. They are not the problem. The problem is the major imperfections that derive from the never-forgotten events of our childhood. These events taught us lessons about ourselves, about others and about life. These lessons were built into our emerging lifestyle and became the unhealthy beliefs that predispose us to behave in ways that are not consistent with our overall lifestyle today. They are like raisins in oatmeal. Under the stress of a situation in the present similar to ones in our past, these old beliefs come to the surface and predispose us to behave in ways that seem out of character. We have a temper tantrum. But the situation passes and we resume our prevailing lifestyle, our everyday personality re-emerges and our life goes on until the next bump in the road.
It’s a matter of degree. Some of us have healthy self-respect. We have good judgment and we use it to our advantage. Some of us have a mixture of self-respect and self-doubt to a degree that makes our lives more problematic and difficult. We get in our own way without realizing our mistaken beliefs are kicking in and doing the damage. Some of us have still higher degrees of self-doubt and self-contempt, leaving us with mostly raisins and very little oatmeal. We consistently behave in ways that are self-destructive.
Our unhealthy beliefs are stronger then our healthy ones. We make useless mischief instead of living useful, productive lives. We don’t trust our judgment, it’s not good enough, so we merely react to stimuli and provocation. We do not seek happiness, only unhealthy excitement. We are not equipped to identify and evaluate the appropriateness of our unhealthy, dominant beliefs. We do not even question their validity. We just follow where they lead. An impulsive act of kindness, for example, would be inconsistent with our overall lifestyle. It would be a healthy drop of oatmeal in our unhealthy raisins.
Our unhealthy beliefs do not exist in a vacuum. They are not chaotic. They are in the service of our self-doubt. If the beliefs are so intense, they will overthrow the self-respecting part of our nature and bring about the self-destruction that the insecure part of us believes we deserve. So the pressure to succumb crushes the worthwhile part. It is a battle between two aspects of our personality. Our adult, civilized, mature thought processes are in direct opposition to our childish, immature beliefs from our personal development.
Our beliefs have dimensions. In addition to the healthy-unhealthy dimension, there is also the intensity dimension ranging from weaken to powerful. When we say we have a strong impulse to hit someone, that is a belief kicking in and trying to control our behavior. When we say we are fighting a strong temptation, we are talking about an intense belief that is predisposing us to behave in ways we know we should not behave. The conflict is between our emotional beliefs and our rational thought processes. The intensity of the belief is directly proportional to the intensity of the early recollection in which it is embedded.
My approach to personal problem solving is to help clients identify the sources of their unhealthy beliefs, which arise from their load of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that give rise to the complaints they want to resolve. In my view, the issue is not the complaint, and I do not give advice. The real issue is the constellation of old beliefs that are creating the problem in the present. My task is to find out what these old beliefs are and where they came from. To do this, I ask: “What is the first thing you remember when you think of your childhood?” and a treasure chest of buried beliefs rises to the surface.
Once I see where these beliefs are coming from, half of the mystery of the unwanted behavior is solved. The rest of the solution consists in helping clients find out what they can choose to do instead of what they have been doing. We solve that part of the mystery together by giving people small tasks to do in their everyday lives. This is called doing your homework. Each time they do their homework, they learn a little more about themselves. They experience themselves as competent to take life as it comes. Each success gives rise to stronger, healthier beliefs that crowd out and replaces the negative ones. As a result, the person becomes more consistently consistent.
I have a system of identifying current beliefs from the client’s behavior in the present. For example, Kate wanted to know why she is afraid to be happy. She had been to a party with people she liked, but she couldn’t enjoy herself. She isolated herself and found something to fret about the whole evening. It didn’t make sense to her and she wanted to know where her feelings were coming from. I didn’t tell her, my theories of why she felt they way she did. I didn’t say, “It’s just a case of nerves” or “You were just being self-conscious” or “I was something you ate”. It had to come from her. To identify Jane’s current feelings in the present, I asked her “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your childhood?” Jane thought for a moment and said, “I don’t remember anything. I guess what comes to mind is being on the playground, playing alone.”
(Therapist) “How do you feel thinking about being alone on the playground, playing by yourself?”
(Client) “Ok, I guess.”
(T) “Could you have felt all alone and lonely, maybe abandoned?”
(C) “No I enjoyed playing by myself, doing what I wanted to do, no one to get into my way.”
(T) “Would you say you felt happy?”
(C) “Yes, I was happy.”
(T) “What else come to mind when you think of playing on the playground?”
(C) “Getting beat up. I was in second grade and playing alone until two boys came pushed me down to the ground and the some other kids started to hit me.”
(T) “How did that make you feel?”
(C) “I felt awful.”
(T) “It probably ruined the happiness you had, wouldn’t you say?”
(C) “Yes, I guess there is a pattern here, whenever I’m happy something bad happens.”
(T) “How do you think this relates to what happened at the party?”
(C) “At the party I must have had the fear that something would happen to spoil my happiness.”
When Jane came to me for help with her confusion, I didn’t just say, “You are allergic to happiness”, which may have saved a lot of time. But she wouldn’t see the connection between the present and the past. Instead, we were able to ask her to reflect, which evoked a constellation of experiences and feelings that were waiting just below the level of her conscious awareness. It’s like pushing a button on a computer. Talking about the problem stimulates the buried recollection to pop to the surface and she can print it out and look at it. Jane was able to make the connection between these two situations for herself. She could see that there was a clear distinction in her experience between playing happily all alone on one hand and the experience she had with others. They caused her pain and hurt. They made happiness very difficulty for her.
To this day she is happier alone doing her own thing, such as gardening, then she is in the presence of fellow human beings, who are unpredictable, potentially dangerous and totally outside her control. It is hard for her to be happy under this fog from the past.
However, once these connections are made, Jane can break them. She can put her early recollection of happiness being followed by disaster in a more mature perspective. She can see the mistake in her conviction that the happiness in her memory was somehow responsible for the disaster that followed. There was a relationship in her memory of the two events, but not based in reality. The earlier happiness in being alone did not cause the disaster, as she has come to believe. We all have ups and downs in life. The ups do not cause the downs. We cannot prevent downs by stifling the ups. The mistake is to draw inappropriate conclusions. As adults, we can see these mistaken beliefs for what they are and correct them.
I said to Jane, “At the party, you were sabotaging your happiness by living in the future and trying to predict what was going to happen, so you could prevent it from happening. You wanted to control the future, but you couldn’t figure out how. You had an anxiety attack. You didn’t know what was going to happen or when. Not knowing what was going to happen was scary and you felt helpless and out of control. Your old beliefs were used to predict a possible scenario and this expectation predisposed you to feel, think, and act the way you did in the past. You brought something into the present from the past without knowing it was happening or how to deal with it. This reaction was automatic, it just kicked in and spoiled your happiness.”
Almost every time we have an insolvable, emotional problem in the present, we can predict that the answer lies in beliefs buried in early experiences. We can predict that after examining the problem that is occurring today, the client’s internal consistencies can be counted on to bring forth a relevant memory or sequence of recollections that put the problem in a useful perspective. This is how our human consistency works. How we make sense out of events from the past is consistent with how we make sense out of events in the present.
We can also predict that once we make these unconscious beliefs conscious, they lose their grip on the individual. Once they can understand where they are coming from, they can choose to replace self-doubt with new beliefs in the context of mature self-respect. “I’m not a vulnerable child anymore, I’m not a victim. I’m a grownup. I’m a worthwhile human being now and deserve to be happy.”
There is nothing unusual about the process of transferring a whole constellation of feelings and beliefs from one person in the past to a similar circumstance in the present. Our emotional system is consistent. We tend to remember painful emotional events and unresolved problems. They nag at us and cause painful discomfort. We strive for resolution to release the tension. When these problems remain unsolved emotions linger. Our memories of unresolved anger, private guilt, secret shame or paralyzing fear do not go away just because they are not expressed. They lay dormant and are triggered when a situation while a similar feeling occurs in the present. However, we can use this consistency to our advantage in our efforts to solve the mystery of where our problems in the present came from and how they can be resolved by using our adult judgment, which we did not have back then.
Let me tell you about a client I was seeing that had been married for 12 years. George would go into uncontrollable rages over nothing at all. His wife, Nancy, was afraid of his anger. She was afraid to talk to him for fear of setting off a firestorm. She experienced anxiety most of the time when he was home, and sometimes even when we were not. In counseling, I asked “What made you so angry last week when Nancy asked you to help with the housework?” George replied, “It was the way she said it.”
(Therapist) “What way was that?”
(George) “Telling me what to do, not giving me a choice. It sounded like an order, do it now or else. I hate that.”
(T)”Who does that remind you of?”
(G)”My father. She sounds just like him when she gets like that.”
(T)”What did you father do when you didn’t do what he wanted?”
(G) “He’d yell and threaten to punish me if I didn’t do it fast enough or if I didn’t do it right.”
(T) “What did right mean to you?”
(G)”It meant his way or else.”
(T) “Did you know what his way was?”
(G) “I thought I did, but he’d always find something wrong.”
(T) “What is it called when there isn’t anything wrong at all?”
(G) “That never happened.”
(T) “It’s called perfection and no human is perfect. It wasn’t fair that you were required to be perfect. And as a child, you couldn’t figure out what was a mistake and what wasn’t. If you can’t tell what is a mistake how can you correct it? You couldn’t read his mind. He set you up to be criticized and punished. Did you ever feel like, no matter what I do it isn’t good enough to get his approval?”
(G) “I still feel that way with Nancy.”
(T) “Your emotional memory doesn’t know the difference. It feels the same way. Your heart doesn’t have eyes and cannot tell someone from the past from someone in the present. It wasn’t fair that you father blamed you for not meeting his unrealistic expectation, but it isn’t fair to lash out at Nancy either. That is what you father did you, it never made you feel better and it’s making her feel the pain now, that you felt then.”
(G) “I never thought of it that way before.”
(T) “Do you think you can catch yourself living in the past and choose to live in the present?”
(G) “I never knew I had a choice.”
(T) “Your father is an imperfect human who took out his painful self-contempt by dumping criticism on you. That wasn’t fair. How can anyone criticize a person, a child for being imperfect, as if it were the child’s fault? No human is perfect, nor can you be expected to be. It wasn’t fair. You couldn’t win. It was only a matter of time before you got yelled at and punished. Did this unfairness make you angry?”
(T) “Who are you angry at?”
(G) “At him for yelling and blaming me. I only wanted to please him and make him happy, but I never could.”
(T) “You took his behavior personally. He made you feel like a failure as a son and a human. Who else are you angry at?”
(G) “I’m angry at me for being such a screw-up. I kept trying and I was never good enough to please him. But why would I keep trying if I knew I would fail?. I must be an idiot.”
(T) “You are ignoring your efforts. You are blaming yourself for outcomes, which you cannot control. When did you get over it?”
(G) “Get over it, I’m still living it right now!”
(T) “You have a choice if you want to keep holding on to this angry at past circumstances or not. You can get ride of it by writing, writing him a letter. It’s not for him, but it’s to him. This pent up emotion has already begun to leak out into your marriage and it will kill your happiness. Nancy wants to know why you can’t cooperate with her and help around the house. She is afraid to ask you for anything.”
(G) “I don’t blame her. I didn’t even know she was scared of me. I don’t want that. I just get too wrapped up in myself to consider her feelings.”
(T) “Well you learned it. No one ever considered your feelings. Feelings were not valued in your family. Neither was cooperation. Your father didn’t try to cooperate. He sought submission. He taught you how to lash out and seek submission to achieve his own definition of perfection. This is an example of negative control.”
(G) “When Nancy tells me to do something, all those old feelings come back to me. I feel like I’m being forced, like I have no choice. I feel like a victim, like I’m gonna get punished for not doing it the right way.”
(T) “You feel controlled by her.”
(G) “I am controlled by her.”
(T) “Feeling out of control is painful. And you want to relieve this pain as fast as you can.”
(G) “Wouldn’t you?”
(T) “Is your way working? Does it give you relief, or are you left in more pain from the layer of guilt from acting ways that are even more out of control.”
(G) “I never thought of it that way. I do feel more out of control, but I don’t know what else to do.” (T) “Can you choose to ask Nancy if you really do have to do it right now or could you being in a few minutes when you are ready?”
(G)”That’s hard for me.”
(T) “What is the hardest thing about it?”
(G) “Its like I’m asking permission.”
(T) “Do you have the right to ask for what you want?”
(T) “On what basis?”
(G) “I don’t know.”
(T) “As an equal member of the human race. Not superior or inferior, better or worse. You, and Nancy, and your father are unconditionally loveable and worthwhile despite your mistakes and imperfections. You don’t have to prove your worth or defend yourself from others judgments. You get to be the judge and you determine how good is good enough to feel like a success.”
(G) “I never though about it like that. I’m always trying to do everything by myself, but no matter how hard I tried I never could.”
(T) “It must be very frustrating and discouraging. You can outgrow this learning from your childhood by pushing your comfort zone and asking Nancy for what you want. It’s not begging. It is a request for cooperation between two equal ember of the human race.”
(G) “What if I don’t get what I’m asking for?”
(T) “Will it make you angry?”
(T) “Will you take it personally?”
(G) “Yes. I’ll feel like an idiot, like I should have known better.”
(T) “You won’t be an idiot. Do you define your self-worth in terms of Nancy’s approval? You cannot always please everyone. You cannot read their minds. You don’t really know what pleases them. You have enough trouble figuring out what pleases you. That is not control. That is not preventing disaster. This is a power struggle over who is better, who can make whom submit to who. You can catch yourself about to react to Nancy in the old way, out of fear of being punished for failing and displeasing. Instead you can choose to live in the present. You can listen to what she s saying, not what you feel like she is saying. She is not your father. She is your imperfect wife in the present. She is not superior, you are not inferior, your are both equal members of the human race.”
(G)”How do I remember that?”
(T) “By pushing your comfort zone and asking Nancy for her cooperation, as one adult to another. You can say, ‘Nancy is it all right if I do the dishes after the kids go to bed. I don’t get to see them that much these days.’ Can you do that?”
(G) “I don’t know.”
(T) “There is one way to find out and that is to push your comfort zone and take the risk when the opportunity arises. Who is in control of your choice?
(G) “I guess it is up to me.”
(T) “If you don’t who will. Its up to you, your all you got control over.”
We respect problem-solvers in this country. We do not and cannot respect people who fall down elevator shafts or slip on banana peels. We fault them for their obvious lack of wisdom and foresight. We find their predicament improper, even absurd. Our tendency to “blame the victim” is an approach that is acquired in our childhood. We remember being told to stop crying, “Oh, quit bawling. You probably had it coming. It’s your own fault. I told you not to play with the big boys.” According to our all-knowing parents, we have brought our victimization upon ourselves. This is how our parents solved the “crying child” problem. They blamed it on the child! They were off the hook. They have taught us to blame ourselves for our own grief.
These parental interventions do not help at all. They are not constructive and do not lead to enhanced family relationships between people who are supposed to love and respect one another. Now, when our child cries, we do the same thing to them. Why do we do it? We do it because our child’s misfortune presents us with an unexpected problem, with which we feel inadequately prepared to cope. As parents, our feelings of inadequacy are uncomfortable, sometimes even painful. We are angry with the child for this insult to our sense of competency.
Our child will grow up with the outlook that, “Victims bring it on themselves and I am one of them.” Such children grow up with a negative developmental experience. They feel bound to live out their parents’ expectations. They will arrange to be victimized and then blame themselves, as they were taught to do in childhood. They are not masochists and do not enjoy doing this to themselves. They are merely perpetuating the role that they learned to play as children, maintaining the consistency of their lifestyle and “obeying” their parents’ implied command to fail and blame themselves. As miserable as this obedience makes them, it is the misery that they prefer to the even worse misery of disobeying their parents. They would feel guilty, but even worse, they are afraid that they would not know what would happen next.
Some “victims” reading this will say, “So it is my fault after all. I do bring this on myself.” They may even perceive these words as yet another victimization. But it is not their fault that these powerful desires from the past rise up in the present and trip them up. These feelings shape their responses to situations and influence their expectations of themselves and other people. It is not a matter of fault or guilt, it is a matter of human imperfection. Some victims, as we have seen, “bottom out” and come in for help. Others are too far gone in their self-contempt and cannot bring themselves to do so. They do not “deserve” to be helped or are too afraid of the consequences. It is not their fault, but there will be very negative outcomes for them. It is regrettable that this state of affairs exists, but “blaming” is useless and counter-productive.. For example, Sara was twenty-eight and was having difficulty in her marriage. She has little or no interest in sex and her husband is finding it impossible to offer her any affection. As often happens, the couple’s sexual adjustment was satisfactory during the early stages of their relationship. After the honeymoon was over, something from the past bubbled up to ruin their happiness.
For his part, her husband Mike was used to getting his own way. He does not cope very well with disappointments, for they are not supposed to happen to him. His counter-productive demands for intellectual explanations, reasons, excuses and accountings do not endear him to his distraught wife and they are growing farther apart every night. Sara realizes that she brings her baggage of self-blame to her marriage. However, her husband Mike is all too happy to agree that their problem is all her “fault.” Mike knew when he married her, that Sara had been raped when she was seventeen. They had talked about it rationally and maturely. If anything, their objectivity bordered on the clinical. Mike felt that his enlightened approach to this trauma had relieved any negative beliefs that his bride might have had toward the gender to which both he and the perpetrator belonged. He was right. Gender was no longer the issue. Victim hood was.
Sara was raped by a boy she met in her dorm. He was a little older than she was and he seemed charming and self-assured. She found out at the trial that he had been raping girls for years and getting away with it. She, of course, like most victims, blamed herself for being so “stupid” as to let it happen. Her disdain with herself has not gone away and she has carried it into her marriage. Now, it is preventing her from accepting the happiness that her husband is trying to share with her. Victims do not “deserve” happiness. However, there is still another impediment further down.
Sara focused on her friend’s reaction to her rape story. She remembers stumbling out of the park into the local hamburger hangout, all dirty and bloody, her nose broken and dress torn, pouring out her narrative and fully expecting her companions to raise a posse in defense of her honor. There was no such response. Her chums looked at each other and without exception, offered their counter-explanation of what had occurred, “Oh, Sara’s at it again. She’s making things up. It couldn’t have happened that way. You probably pissed him off and he beat the crap out of you. You can’t be raped unless you want to!”
These invalidations of her grief almost hurt worse than the attack itself. She had trusted these people and she thought they trusted her. Their denial of her validity was a double betrayal, 1) of her trust in the people she was close to and, 2) of her own judgment in choosing to trust them in the first place. Compounding Sara’s anger at her betrayers and at her own poor judgment was her rage at the unfairness of this tragedy. She had been the “responsible older sister”; the “good child of the family.” However, her lifetime of goodness had failed utterly to protect her from this devastating, unmerited, physical and emotional debacle. She felt “good for nothing.” She was angry with herself for wasting seventeen years of being good. She could just as well have been a hell-raising witch for all the good it had done her. The fragile foundations of her life fell apart that night. No new foundations have been laid in the past eleven years to take their place.
Now, here is her husband asking her to trust him and herself and let life happen. She has never forgotten what happened that night when she let go opened her to life and made the mistake of trying to be happy, like other people. She is not about to make that mistake again. How could she be sure that her husband would not betray her and then blame her for anything that went wrong; as he was already starting to do. No. Her distrustful behavior was her way of “control” by “preventing” bad things from happening again. “After they happen, it’s too late.” To her, this approach made obvious sense. She was not going to be reasoned out of it by her pseudo-logical, super-rational husband who had his own self-serving reasons for wanting her to loosen up.
As part of her counseling, Sara worked to understand why her friends unanimously pounced on her and blamed her for her own victimization, why they denied the evidence of their senses and overrode her account with a fictitious account of their own. It made no sense to her. She could not get on with her life until she sorted out these ragged loose ends.
This group of horrified teenagers must have felt totally inadequate to solve Sara’s problem. Their feelings of inadequacy were compounded by the shock and horror of what they heard and saw. As imperfect human beings, their first priority was to defend themselves against the pain they were experiencing in their own hearts. These are some of the components of their seemingly “heartless” response:
1. It is not enough to say that they “denied reality.” The question is why? When reality makes us feel painfully inadequate, we relieve the pain by canceling out the stimulus that is causing it. People who respect themselves and feel competent to take crises as they come, are less likely to deny reality.
2. The teenagers sought to minimize their pain by “demoting” Sara to a lesser status, that of a “trouble-maker” who is by definition “unworthy” of the care and concern, which they felt inadequate to provide. Since she is inferior to them, they are now “off the hook,” they are not responsible for solving the problem.
3. Problem-solving is an important part of our self-respect. When we cannot solve a problem, we feel inadequate. We relieve our distress by imagining a solution to the problem, even if it is not the problem that was presented to us originally. Sara’s problem was not the problem anymore, they had their own problem and they felt compelled to solve it.
4. Now that Sara is denigrated as a victim of her own provocative behavior, they are able to feel superior to her. Their momentary feelings of inadequacy and inferiority are now overcompensated for and need trouble them no further. Their “superiority” is part of the anesthetic that they need to relieve their own pain.
5. We all need closure. We cannot live our lives with all those loose-ends dragging behind and tripping us up. We like neat, tidy endings; not bloody, gaping wounds. When our coping techniques are inadequate to provide realistic closure, we sew-up our crevices with sutures of our own devising. Very often, these pseudo-closures are enough to get us out of the immediate danger zone to a safe refuge where we can collect our thoughts. For instance, we “forgive” our perpetrator too soon. This is not emotional first aid; this is more like putting a band-aid on a fracture. Some of us regret, forever, our failure to go back and obtain more effective treatment for our wounds when we had the chance. Our short-term good intention for ourselves will turn out to be self-destructive in the long run.
This analysis of the “Blame the Victim Syndrome” helped Sara to put this aspect of her trauma in a more realistic perspective. She had been faulting herself all these years for her “naiveté” in trusting those people and for trusting her own “stupid” judgment. She can see now that these young people had their own constellations of vulnerabilities and imperfections that prevented them from being more responsive to her assault than they were. On the basis of these insights into human imperfection, Sara is working through her legitimate anger at those people who let her down. She has written them a “gang” letter, which helped her to sort out the many facets of her rage.
She also uncovered her terrible anger at herself, which she relieved by writing herself an anger letter. While she was at it, her old anger at the rapist surfaced. She didn’t know where he was anymore, but she wrote him an anger letter, too. Even after all these years, she was surprised at the intensity of her emotion as it spilled out onto the pages. She felt much better afterward. She knows now that if these angers well-up in her again, she can write more anger letters. Now that her anger is in control, she feels in control.
Many couples at one point or another in their marriage are going to experience some form of sexual problems or dissatisfaction. This may take place shortly after the couple is married, after a child is born, from an illness, hormonal issues, lack of libido, or one partner just does not want to have sex. Solving sexual problems in a marriage can range from complex to quite simple.
The best way to resolve sexual problems in the marriage is to start with each spouse being honest and upfront with one another about how they feel. A good healthy sex life is one that both couples are happy with, that is what defines a good healthy sex life. Many people that are married if they enjoy sex with their spouse and are healthy, active individuals, sex can be enjoyed several times a week if not every day. It really depends on the couple.
When trying to resolve a set amount of time for sex in the marriage sometimes it is best to come up with an agreement between husband and wife on what both feels comfortable with one another. The sex does not always have to involve intercourse; it can be just be pleasing one another through other forms of intimacy. This is important to understand, and that is intimacy and pleasing a spouse can be done in many different ways, hands, mouth, massage ect.
Once kids are part of the marriage, couples do have to set time aside for themselves and their intimate lives, this may not sound so romantic or spontaneous, but if the couple does not make time for the marriage, they may end up not having one!
Having children can change the sexlife in marriage
Having children can be the most wonderful experience in marriage, and also a time of adjustment in the marriage as well. The couple now is no longer just two, they share each other with the child but still have to make time for the marriage. The couples sex life will also change when a child is born. A woman who is a new mom is going to need time to adjust to the situation and learn how to balance out her time between her husband and child. This is also the time when a husband needs to give his wife the support and time to do this and not approach her with sex until she is ready. Many husbands think that when the OBGYN has given their wife the green light that it is time to be sexual with their wife again. This is not the decision of the OBGYN but the woman and how she may feel.
A woman may also experience times when she really wants sex and other times when she can’t even think about it. Many times when a new mom is nursing her child she will experience difficulties wanting to be sexually active with her husband. If this situation goes on for too long and a woman has not found other ways to please her husband within that year period, a high incidence of infidelity can take place on many husbands parts, it just a fact (not all husbands but many will venture out after a year of no sex).
All of this can have a negative impact on the couple’s sex life and need to be addressed. Seeking medical advice first to understand if indeed there is a medical condition is the first step . For many women hormones can have a direct affect on ones libido and some hormone replacement or a good exercise routine can help to level out the hormones. There are also creams that women can use and lubricants for vaginal dryness. For men with any erectile problems this can also stem from a medical condition and needs to be properly addressed.
The best advice when trying to solve sexual problems in a marriage is if one spouse is unwilling to talk about it or deal with the situation the other spouse has to talk to a professional about it. One person thorough technique and proper understanding can have the power to change the dynamics in the marriage.
Lack of sex, unfulfilled sex, not getting your needs met, having no intimacy can be a life of misery for many individuals in a marriage and it doesn’t have to be this way and shouldn’t have to be this way. Marriage can work once the problem is understood and finding the right person to help the couple work to become intimate again. Keep the passion alive in the marriage, date your spouse, communicate with your spouse and be honest with your spouse.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Whether we like it or not, history does repeat itself. Markets plummet, nations fight, people argue, management refuses to listen, employees refuse to engage themselves. In families, unspoken expectations abound and spoken expectations are often unmet. All these circumstances educate us to be skeptical students of life. Every day we face the effects of other people’s decisions and can do nothing about them except smile and go on. As we experience these constant torrents, little by little, the surface of our pride and worth is eroded away. We stand the temptation of becoming self-centered and defensive. We develop a victim mentality.
People are often quick to embrace the victim mentality because it removes all blame and responsibility from themselves and places it on something or someone else. We are a victim of circumstance. We are a victim of others’ decisions. “I didn’t decide this. I can’t control it. Why should I have to take the blame for it?” This exemplifies the conversation we have with others or within ourselves as we step into this existence. The danger with following this mental and emotional path is that we express a number of negative things to those around us. Because each person may perceive the same situation differently, we run the chance of showing ourselves as a liar, selfish, unengaged, individualistic, standoffish, arrogant and unconcerned about others in the same situation.
As an example of the victim mentality, let me offer the following personal experience. Recently, my son came home from school. He did the homework that he was responsible for and which he had written down on his daily calendar. Of course, his sole intent was finishing so he could hit the pedals of his bicycle and trek off to his next conquest. Post haste, he finished his responsibilities and ventured out to experience the world. When I arrived home that evening, I asked him if had finished his homework. “Yep. I did it as soon as I got home from school.” I then asked the fatal second question, “Have you studied for your test tomorrow?” “What test tomorrow?” he responded back. “Dad! I didn’t know there was a test tomorrow!” Obviously, he felt that by pushing the point, he would somehow convince me that the test was unimportant and that his continued bike trek was the most valuable experience. What he was really saying, but not vocalizing was, “Why should I have to study for a test when I didn’t know it was going to happen?”
How many times do we jump into the attitude of the victim because either we don’t know about the circumstances that overtake us or we are not able to control their onset? How many times do we excuse ourselves from responsibility, liability and team membership solely because we were not part of the decision making process or were uninformed until the last moment? We have two choices when these circumstances catch us by the neck. We embrace them and work through them or we declare ourselves the victim and excuse ourselves: disgracing ourselves and forcing others to take the lead in addressing the challenge and moving forward. I would suggest that we lose more by victimizing ourselves than of facing the situation in truth and working it through for a resolution. While it’s true that taking the attitude of a victim offers us a false sense of power, control and exemption, we sacrifice our reputation in the same stroke.
My conversation with my son continued, “Son, maybe you didn’t know that the test was happening, but the test is happening and if you don’t choose to face this fact, you will be ill-prepared for tomorrow. You have two choices. You can face the truth and realize that you now have a situation that you weren’t expecting-one that needs handled and prepared for. Or, you can be the victim of this circumstance and fail the test tomorrow because you chose to ignore it rather than do everything you can to make the best of a trying situation. Which will it be?” Gratefully, he chose to make the best of it. It wasn’t one of the A+ grades that he often receives but he accomplished a handful of very important things, namely ownership in his life’s education, self-confidence, greater maturity and favor with me as his father. He showed me that he is growing up and becoming the man of honor I hope him to become.
You will have a test tomorrow. You won’t know what it is until it takes you by surprise. What are you going to do about it? Victim or victor, you decide.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )