Archives For Abuse Issues

Life can be very overwhelming at times! When you’ve tried everything you know and nothing seems to be working, sometimes it’s very hard to find hope and faith inside.

 
I received a question on my blog recently from a sweet woman who’s experiencing a challenging time. She asked “How can I find hope when everything around me is falling apart?”

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Relationships are the school of life. They give us the opportunity to learn valuable life lessons that can help us to become healthier, happier people.

In my work as a psychotherapist, almost everyone who walks through the doors of my office is struggling with a relationship in their life. One question that people often ask me is “What is a healthy relationship?” I’m going to answer that question today and I’m also going to share 3 important keys to creating healthy, happy relationships in your life.  Continue Reading…

Letting Go of the Past

September 19, 2013 — 4 Comments

Did you know that symptoms of anxiety and depression are the result of unresolved hurts and traumas from the past? I’ve found in my psychotherapy practice that when people regularly practice letting go of the past, their symptoms naturally decrease.

A lot of people have trouble letting go of the past. One of my readers asked me a question about that recently. The question was, “How do I let go of past hurts and traumas and become the person I want to be?”

That’s actually two questions, so I’m going to answer them one at a time. The first part is “How do I let go of past hurts and traumas?” That’s a big one, isn’t it?

Letting Go Isn’t Always Easy

Most of you have been told at one time or another to let go of the past and move forward. You’ve probably heard people say, “The past is past. You can’t do anything about that now. Just let go of it!” Does that sound familiar to you?

The problem is, if it was as easy to let go as they make it sound, you probably would have done it already.

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If you were like most children when you grew up, you probably thought your family was ‘normal.’ That’s because children believe that whatever they experience is ‘normal.’ They have no frame of reference to compare it against.

.Is My Family Dysfunctional?

I was definitely one of those children. I thought all fathers were angry and abusive. I thought everyone had older siblings who teased them unmercifully and laughed at their expense. I thought it was common to cry all the time and never be comforted or protected. It never occurred to me that my family was dysfunctional at the time. I thought that there was just something very wrong with me.

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A dear friend was asking me about forgiveness the other day. She asked ‘What’s wrong with me that I can’t forgive people? Even though I’ve tried to forgive them many times, why do I just keep thinking about what happened again and again?”

The Truth about Forgiveness

As we talked, I realized that this was a conversation that you might like to hear, too. Nowadays, everyone is writing and talking about the need for forgiveness, but why is it so hard to do?

What is Forgiveness?

The Encarta Dictionary defines forgiveness as “the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing.” Forgiveness is not condoning a wrong that has been done to you. It’s simply letting go of the emotional pain of what happened so that you are free to move forward in your life without your past still holding you back and dragging you down.

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We live in an interesting world today. We have telephones, televisions, computers, internet, e-mail, cell phones, texting and ipads, but we still don’t know how to connect heart-to-heart with each other.

lonely man

With all of these modern methods of communication, we should be more connected than we have ever been, yet many of us still feel lonely and isolated.

Social Isolation and Loneliness

The experience of social isolation or loneliness comes from not feeling safe to share your real self with others. This pattern often originates from difficult experiences in your life, such as going through a divorce, the death of a loved one or moving to a new area.

Feelings of loneliness and social isolation can also originate from negative experiences or abandonment in past relationships. Sometimes we feel lonely or isolated when we are carrying huge responsibilities in our lives or when we think we are too busy to pursue friendships.

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Abuse is one of the most obvious components of many dysfunctional families, whether it is verbal, physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Can I Really Overcome Verbal, Physical, Sexual or Emotional Abuse?

Abuse in childhood is like a vampire that steals a child’s feelings of self worth or self esteem and makes him or her vulnerable to negativity and abuse later in life.

Defining Verbal, Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse

Let’s define each of the types of abuse before we continue:

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As a psychotherapist, I’ve found that it’s very important to support my clients in developing a spiritual connection. When you’re working to heal the past, there are always days where you really need help and guidance and there isn’t anyone available on the human level to give you exactly what you need.

Messages from Your Angels

You can develop your spiritual connection in many ways. Praying for help and guidance always works great, in whatever spiritual tradition you are in.

One of my favorite ways to pray for spiritual help is to ask my angels for help and guidance. Remembering to ask my angels for help has gotten me though many challenging times in my life. Hearing my angel’s guidance always feels like an incredible blessing to me.

Who Are the Angels?

Angels are messengers of God’s incredible, unconditional love for us. They are sent by God to help us and guide us whenever we remember to ask for their help.

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No matter where we grew up, who are parents were, who we’ve been in relationship with or who we’ve worked for, all of us have had some version of ‘The Legend of the Lousy Bastard’ in our lives.

‘That lousy bastard’ undoubtedly hurt us, betrayed us, used us, abused us, overpowered us or abandoned us in the middle of some horrific time or situation in our lives.

Legend of the Lousy Bastard

In our personal legend, ‘that bastard’ generally didn’t listen, didn’t care, didn’t try, wasn’t honest, wasn’t fair, wasn’t trustworthy or wasn’t kind. He or she didn’t validate us, acknowledge our right to be human, or give us the love and respect we so desperately needed at that time.

Our ‘lousy bastard’ may have been male or female, young or old, rich or poor, smart or stupid, but whoever or whatever he or she was in the world, he or she obviously never treated us the way we deserved to be treated.

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There was a wonderful show on Oprah’s network on her ‘Super Soul Sunday’ show recently. It featured Dr. Brene Brown discussing her newest book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Dr. Brene Brown

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past twelve years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her groundbreaking research has been featured on PBS, NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Brené’s 2010 TEDxHouston talk, ‘The Power of Vulnerability’, is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks on TED.com, with approximately 6 million viewers. Additionally, Brené gave the closing talk at the 2012 TED conference where she talked about shame, courage, and innovation.
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Finding a safe place to express your honest feelings can sometimes be challenging.

You can do it through finding a counselor or psychotherapist that you trust, through developing a deep friendship with someone in your life, or you can learn to express your feelings in your own journal.

Journaling to Express Your Feelings

Any way of releasing your feelings is good, so long as you don’t express them in negative ways that hurt someone else. But when no one else is available to support you, the one thing you can always do is write in your own journal.

Your Personal Journal

The good news about writing in your own personal journal is that you can literally say anything you want. You don’t have to censor what you say at all. Whether you write in a spiral notebook or on your computer, your personal journal is for you alone.

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Healing yourself emotionally is undoubtedly the biggest gift you could ever give to yourself. It frees you from the past and allows you to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Emotional Healing

When you heal the emotional issues you’ve stored up for a lifetime, little by little, everything in your life naturally transforms!

The Value and Importance of Healing Your Emotions

Dr. Candace B. Pert, the author of Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicinewrites about the importance of our emotions to our overall health and well-being.   Continue Reading…

Control is a very destructive emotional pattern in a relationship. A controller takes away his partner’s right to make her own choices, through over-powering his partner or using guilt, put-downs, rage, zingers or destructive mind-games.

Overcome the Control that is Keeping You Miserable

Sometimes a controller is obviously abusive, but sometimes he (or she) is so subtle that you don’t realize what the problem is until your relationship has already been damaged beyond repair.

If you are currently being controlled, you may have already lost the feeling of love you originally had for your partner. When someone continually takes away your personal freedom and your right to be yourself, it often leaves you feeling flat, empty, frustrated and disinterested in that person.

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It’s challenging sometimes to know what’s wrong in a relationship. If you’re like most people, you probably want a loving relationship more than anything else. Maybe you’ve tried and tried and tried to make your relationship work and yet somehow you just seem to be going back over the same old arguments again and again.

Is Your Partner a Controller?

Maybe you have already suspected that there is control in your relationship, but you find it difficult to find a clear definition of the issue. If you’ve been searching for clarity, here are some questions you will want to consider.

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For many years traditional medicine has believed that our genetics are the primary cause of our physical health. In the 1990s, however, scientific research found that our emotions play at least an equal or possibly even a greater role in determining whether we will be faced with illnesses like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, obesity, alcoholism, fractures or chronic pain.

Your Emotions Affect Your Health

One of the best research studies available involving the effect of emotions on physical health is the ACE study, which was conducted by the Federal Centers for Disease Control, where researchers studied people who had an “adverse childhood experience” before the age of 18. (www.acestudy.org)

Sept-3-2012

“Adverse childhood experiences” included recurrent physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; growing up in a dysfunctional family where someone was clinically depressed, alcoholic, mentally ill or suicidal; or in a situation where the parents were separated, divorced, or taken away from the child in some way.

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Boundaries are the limits that we set in relationships to let people know what we will or will not tolerate in our lives. Setting healthy boundaries is a very important part of having healthy, loving, supportive relationships.

How to set boundaries

Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

The problem with setting healthy boundaries is that many of us grew up in dysfunctional families where we had no boundaries. All too often we had to tolerate the negative talk or behavior that was happening around us in order to simply survive in our unhealthy families.
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Expect a Miracle!

December 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

It’s very common today to read sayings like ‘Expect a Miracle.’ Since Facebook and social media have become so much a part of our everyday lives, we share these uplifting proverbs with each other regularly.

Expect a Miracle!

But even though we may believe these sayings with our conscious minds, how many of us believe in our hearts that miracles can really happen in our personal lives?

Definition of Miracles

People have different definitions of the word ‘miracle.’ Dictionary.com defines a miracle as “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.”

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Stop Tolerating Abuse!

December 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

Sadly, abuse is still very common in our 21st century culture. As a psychotherapist, I often see clients who are tolerating abusive relationships or abusive behavior in their everyday lives.

Stop Tolerating Abuse!

Although I’m always very grateful that the person I’m working with has made the choice to see professional help, I also feel sad that there are so many others out there who are still being abused. Too often, the most beautiful people simply don’t realize what the problem is or that they could make a choice to better their lives.

Why You May Allow Abuse to Continue

There are many reasons why you may allow abuse to continue in your life. Some of these include:

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Loving Your Inner Child

November 11, 2012 — 4 Comments

One of the most powerful exercises you can do to overcome anxiety, depression or other dysfunctional family issues is to love the wounded little child inside of you.

Loving Your Inner Child

Remember that all of us were wounded in one way or another, whether it was done by well-meaning parents who simply didn’t know what we needed emotionally, or whether we were abandoned, abused or neglected.

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Big Boys Don’t Cry!

November 7, 2012 — 2 Comments

Children need to feel safe in naturally expressing their feelings and needs. They need to know that there is at least one adult in the world who genuinely cares for their well being and is willing to make the child a priority.

When a child feels free to express feelings and needs and he is met with patience, kindness, encouragement and support, the child naturally feels safe and secure to learn and grow and express himself openly in the world.

Big Boys Don't Cry

But when a child is verbally or emotionally abused and he experiences disapproval for expressing feelings and needs, that natural vitality and energy of life has to be repressed and shut down. This can easily result in depression, anxiety or negative, acting-out behavior, which often leads to a life-long pattern.

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One of the most hurtful comments you can make to a sexual abuse survivor is “It happened a long time ago–Get over it!” Most survivors would love to be free of the deep emotional pain of sexual abuse, but they simply don’t how to get there.

The Heart of Sexual Abuse Recovery

Some survivors describe their abuse as ‘soul murder.’ They describe feeling like something precious was lost from deep inside of them. They report that their bodies were not affected as deeply as their souls.

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The concept of verbal abuse is still new in our world. Many of us still don’t really know what verbal abuse is or how to deal with it. For that reason, I often recommend Patricia Evan’s book The Verbally Abusive Relationship to my clients.

As a psychotherapist, what I like about the book is that it spells out the characteristics and categories of verbal abuse, as well as our basic rights in a relationship.I’m going to list them here so that you can better understand the concept of verbal abuse.a couple fighting

Verbal Abuse is Disrespectful and Hurtful

Verbal abuse is a negative way of talking that is disrespectful and hurtful. It attacks the nature and abilities of a partner. It can be overt or covert. It can be voiced in an extremely sincere and concerned way. Verbal abuse is manipulative and controlling. It disregards, disrespects or devalues a person. It’s often unpredictable.

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Are you a naturally happy person? Or do you often feel sad and depressed? Most of us have heard about the importance of seeing the glass half full instead of seeing it half empty. We all know that positive, optimistic people are happier, healthier and more successful. But how does one go from feeling sad and depressed to being happy and light-hearted?

If you are feeling depressed right now, you probably feel doubtful that you could actually change. I do understand! I became a psychotherapist because I was once depressed myself. After I got better, I became fascinated with helping others get better too.

September 2012

I want you to know that if you are willing to work at it, you can definitely overcome your depression. Just because you’re feeling sad and depressed today doesn’t mean you have to live that way for the rest of your life. In my work as a psychotherapist, I’ve helped many people overcome sadness and depression. I know that you can do it too.

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