Removing the Shame Associated With Childhood Abuse: Julia walked into my office and sat down on the couch without saying a word. She did not need to say anything for me to know that she was in pain. Her eyes radiated pain. [Read more...]
There’s a fine line between helping others and being a people pleaser, and mistaking one for the other can be hugely detrimental. When we put others’ needs before our own, we deplete our energy, which can lead to depression, physical illness, and overwhelm.
We often consciously or unconsciously sabotage ourselves because we do not think that we deserve to be successful in life. We may have made mistakes in the past that we have been unable or unwilling to forgive.
We may self-sabotage by habitually selling ourselves short, thinking that our goals and dreams are unreachable. We may discount our own internal resources and deny our own personal strengths. We may unconsciously sabotage situations and relationships that are really good for us.
There are many different ways in which we can self-sabotage. [Read more...]
If you only do what you want to do, you will get exactly what you do not want. -Kristin Barton Cuthriell
Marsha Linehan, founder of dialectical behavior therapy, stresses the need to balance our “wants” and “shoulds.” Dr. Linehan suggests that we look at what we do because we “want” to do it and enjoy doing it, and examine what we do because it has to be done and we “should” do it. She urges us to try to keep the number of each in balance.
When the balance is tipped too far on the “wants” side, other important areas in our life will be neglected including our most important relationships. When life becomes all about us and what we want, the end result will be exactly what we do not want.
When the balance is tipped too far on the “shoulds” side, we will become grumpy and resentful, which will also negatively impact our closest relationships. We will come to resent all that we do and will most likely take it out on those around us.
Balance is key.
Make a list of all the things that you want to do and a list of all of the things that you should be doing. Then strive to keep the number balanced even if you have to ask others for help or turn down unwanted requests. Your health and your relationships are worth it.
Suggested areas of your life to examine:
Time with partner, children, extended family, friends, spirituality, job requirements, finances, home improvement, exercise, diet, recreation, hobbies, time on computer/cell phone/social media, errands, household duties, yard, charity, meditation, doctors appointments, vacations………………..
Take some time to prioritize and balance so that your scale doesn’t tip too far in either direction.
Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder by Marsha Linehan. 1993 The Guilford Press.
- DBT Playlist with Marsha Linehan (authorjaenwirefly.wordpress.com)
- Steps to Reduce Vulnerability to Extreme Emotional Mind (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Guest Blog- Hope for those with BPD (dbtjourney.wordpress.com)
- Are You Emotional, Logical, or Wise? (writeintothelight.org)
- Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, reveals her own struggles. (traumatherapy.typepad.com)
Written by Kristin Barton Cuthriell, M.Ed, MSW, LCSW
What started as a weekend binge had turned into a daily drunken stupor. When did it start? Was it in the sixth grade, sneaking alcohol from behind his dad’s bar? In those days it seemed fun- exciting really. What happened? Where did the time go? Where did life go? [Read more...]
Boundaries are those invisible lines that separate you from other people. When children grow up in families that practice healthy boundaries, these boundaries are typically passed down through generations. The same is true when individuals are raised in dysfunctional families that have no sense of healthy boundaries. These poor boundaries, too, are often passed down the generational line.
Poor boundaries are usually too rigid or too loose. Like a concrete wall, rigid boundaries keep people out. When a person is closed off with rigid boundaries, they do not allow themselves to become vulnerable, which makes true intimacy impossible.
People with loose boundaries have little fence or no fence at all. The separation between self and others is blurred. Individuals with loose boundaries do not have a clear sense of self. These people trust easily, disclose too much, have a difficult time setting limits, and often become enmeshed with others.
Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries. If you are aware that your personal boundaries are either too loose or too rigid, you can learn healthy boundaries.
The first step to change is recognizing that change is needed. What you do not acknowledge, you do not change.
What is a healthy boundary? Take a look.
People with healthy boundaries:
know what they will and will not do.
know what they will and will not tolerate from others.
are able to be close to someone without becoming enmeshed or engulfed.
have well-defined limits.
are not possessive of their friends.
know how to say no.
have balanced friendships rather than one-way friendships.
know when to self-disclose and when to withhold information.
know that the amount of self-disclosure, depends on the relationship. (What is appropriate to share in one relationship, may not be appropriate in another.)
do not allow themselves to be abused.
do not rely on children to meet their physical or emotional intimacy needs.
are able to trust without trusting too easily.
are able to respect the privacy of others.
are able to view their partner and their children separate from themselves, with different needs and opinions.
do not push affection on others.
respect the personal space of others.
speak up when someone crosses the line of common decency.
respect another’s right to say “no.”
are able to be vulnerable within their marriage.
If your boundaries were violated when you were young, causing you to have poorly defined boundaries now, please consider working on this with a mental health professional. You are worth it! Your children are worth it! Your grandchildren are worth it!
- Fear of Intimacy (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Emotional Maturity, Boundaries and Why Most of the People You Know Aren’t Actually Adults (goodmenproject.com)
- “Yes” Doesn’t Count if you can’t say “No” – Why Clear Boundaries are Important in Intimate Relationships (psychologytoday.com)
- Boundaries (teristeel.com)
- Why Saying No in Your Relationship Is a Good Thing (psychcentral.com)
- How to Build Beautiful Boundaries (powerofslow.wordpress.com)
- A Better Way (toddlohenry.com)
- The Benefits of Establishing Boundaries (rhachellenicol.com)
- How To Teach Children The Benefits Of Developing Healthy Relationships (howtolearn.com)
Several years ago, I was working as a therapist in a day treatment facility for substance abusers. HALT was one of the relapse strategies that was taught. HALT is an acronym for the four words hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. When a person struggling with an addiction is in recovery and becomes hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, he or she is more likely to relapse back into the addiction. However, being aware of this and setting up a plan to avoid becoming overly hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, can reduce the risk of relapse. It is about risk management.
The same is true when it comes to our emotions.
Are you a hot head? Do you often lose your temper? Are you prone to depression? Do you have a history of lashing out at yourself or others when you become upset? Have your emotional reactions caused you regret?
Marsha Linehan, founder of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, created strategies for reducing painful emotions. One of her strategies is to reduce vulnerability to extreme emotional mind. (It is your extreme emotional mind that often gets you into trouble.) Similar to HALT, that is typically used with substance abusers, the acronym PLEASE MASTERY can be used to reduce the risk of emotional blow out.
Take a look below.
Treat PhysicaL illness: Make and keep doctor’s appointments
Balanced Eating: Yes, it will make you feel better.
No mood-Altering drugs: A drugged mind has a difficult time being a wise mind.
Balanced Sleep: When you are tired you are more likely to explode.
Exercise: This is anger management and an excellent antidepressant all rolled up into one. If you are not consistently getting active, you have no idea what you are missing.
MASTERY: What can you master? Accomplishing a goal, no matter how small, does wonders for the mood.
*I would like to add prayer, meditation, and healthy communication to Linehan’s PLEASE MASTERY.
Do your part, without relying on a pill alone.
Do your part, no matter how difficult, to reduce your vulnerability to your extreme emotional mind. There are many people who do not keep doctor’s appointments, eat junk food all day long, stay up half the night watching tv, and get little to no exercise, and expect a small pill or pills to fix them. It just doesn’t work this way. You must do the work it takes to feel better. Depression can zap your energy and your motivation, making it extremely difficult to do anything. This is when you will really have to push yourself to do what you know is in your best interest rather than what you feel like doing.
Some conditions may require medication management, but no conditions require medication alone. Please consult your doctor. This article is written for your information only and is not medical advice.
- Emotional Regulation: Getting Your Emotions Out of the Driver’s Seat (letlifeinpractices.com)
- Understanding Addiction Relapse (everydayhealth.com)
- Are You Really Angry (And How is That Working for You)? (psychologytoday.com)
- DBT fits well in addiction treatment (addictionts.com)
Any fact facing us, however difficult, even seemingly hopeless, is not so important as our attitude toward that fact. How you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You may permit a fact to overwhelm you mentally before you start to deal with it actually. On the other hand, a confident and optimistic thought pattern can modify or overcome the fact altogether. -Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
A bitter why me attitude will have you going in the wrong direction. It is much healthier to focus your energy on what you can do.
It was my senior year at Virginia Tech, and I was sitting in an auditorium, waiting for my child development class to begin. I had heard that the professor who taught the class was exceptional, and by the looks of the crowd, I was not the only one who had gotten that memo. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and Bette Midler’s song, The Rose, began to play. The idle chit-chat immediately stopped and nothing could be heard, but the song. It was a dramatic way to begin the class, and this poetic stanza still resonates with me today.
That never learns to dance.
It’s the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes a chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live.
It is hard to let life in when we are imprisoned by our own fears. When we are fear based we are not mindful of the here and now. We are either being triggered from the past, or we are worrying about our future. By doing this, we miss the moment. Fear can be paralyzing. Overcoming it may be difficult, but very possible. It is a process, not an event.
The following strategies may be helpful in overcoming fear.
- Awareness: Acknowledging your fears to yourself.
- Challenging your beliefs: What are your beliefs that accompany your fears? Are they facts, predictions, or assumptions?
- Questioning: Ask yourself, “What are the consequences of my avoidance?”
- Connecting with something larger than yourself: Fight fear with faith.
- Examine the root: Knowing where your fear originated may help you to better examine the here and now.
- Opposite to Emotion Action: Doing the very thing that you really do not want to do.
- Baby Steps: Start slow- very slow! Take one baby step at a time. Remember that you did not learn to walk in one day. It was a process.
- Repetition: Do it over and over again.
- Seek support: Sometimes it helps to have someone join you on your journey.
If we are creatures of connection, and one of our most basic human needs is love, why then, do so many people sabotage healthy relationships and cling to dysfunction? Stay tuned. My next post will discuss the fear of intimacy; what it looks like, where it originated, and what you can do about it.
- Fear and Panic (paulocoelhoblog.com)
- Let’s Talk About Fear and Caution (stevenaitchison.co.uk)
- Day #12: Fear (caitlambert.wordpress.com)
- Fear = Advice (amywitkop.com)
- Shear Fear (thecoachingsource.com)
- Be Not Afraid (patheos.com)
- Fear driving out fear (eardstapa.wordpress.com)
- Fear is a direct enemy of Faith (transientreflections.com)
- Fear Is Not Something To Be Afraid Of (dannybrown.me)
- Bring Love to Fear (yogacarechallenge.wordpress.com)
- FEAR (and how to conquer it) (featherpenstartandreams.wordpress.com)
- 20 Practical Ways to Kick Fear in the Butt (stevenaitchison.co.uk)
- From Fearless to Frightened (psychologytoday.com)