Looking inside

Looking inside oneself is a brave thing to do.  Not all of us possess the desire to do anything remotely like taking a good look at ourselves.  We are too afraid that if we do so, we will actually find out that what other people say about us is true.  For the most part, it is not true.  If we come from dysfunction, what other people say about us, serves them and their purpose.  It has little or nothing to do with us.  Taking a look inside requires quiet time for yourself, meditation and honesty.  We have to be able to do this without interruption.  If you have small children, that might be difficult.  If you have a partner that cares about you, it will be easier. You can then do it for them.  It will require 15 minutes of your day each morning.  You will have to be completely quiet and clear your mind.  The  relaxation video below will help you do that.  You will then have to allow yourself to think about those things that have been said you. Things you think might be true about you.  Write them down.  This gets it out of your head and on to a piece of paper so you can look at it objectively. Anything that stays inside your head, takes on a life of it’s own and is subjective. Then take one thing at a time and think about it, all of the ways you feel you are like this, or not.  You can then look at all of those things objectively and decide if this is something you want to keep or change.  Changing it takes 3 weeks of constantly stopping yourself from doing the behavior and replacing it with something else.  It takes another 3 weeks to make that thing a habit.  The second step is important because during times of stress you will fall back on old habits.  Guided imagery can help you get rid of unwanted behavior.  The video’s below will help you do that.  Click on the channel below and follow the link.  Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxfXvKoRJ53hEQ8p1TTmAaw

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Resolving parental issues

When you come from dysfunction, you may not be able to resolve whatever issues with your parents directly.  They may have died, they may refuse to discuss anything from the past or they may deny they did anything that needs to be discussed.  If you have a parent that is willing to talk about whatever you feel needs to be explained, that is good as long as you are not angry when you do it or talking to someone who is still active in their addiction.  Either of those thing will bring about more problems and hurt.  You will leave that situation with feelings of more hurt and rejection then when you came.  You may have to be the grown up.  If the idea of meeting with your parents is to resolve past problems, then being the grown up may be the only way to do that.  You will have to control your anger or not try to do it at all if they are still active in their addiction(s).  If you have a parent who refuses to talk to you  or one who denies there is anything to discuss, you are then left with resolving those issues yourself.  You are also stuck with forgiving a parent who is less then perfect and maybe not be a very good parent at all in your eyes.   How do you do that?  You write them down, you get them out of your head and on to a piece of paper where you can look at them objectively.  You then take the list and look at it deciding whether each one is something you want to keep, revise or get ride of completely.  There maybe a lot you will want to keep and it will surprise you that maybe being raised in dysfunction made you a stronger person.  The things you want to revise, the things that are not exactly what you want but are okay sometimes, you can change to whatever makes you feel better about them.  Not everything about how you were raised will be totally bad.  It will make you feel better about how you were raised.  Allow that to sink in and feel good about it.  Those things that you want to change usually have something to do with what is no longer working for you.  So, you look at them and decide what behavior you will do instead of that one and begin to change those behaviors.  I suggest not doing them all at once if there are many.  One or two but not all at once.  You may be setting yourself up to fail  if you try to do that.  Changing any behavior takes 3 weeks of catching yourself doing it and replacing it with another behavior and another 3 weeks to make that behavior a habit.  The second step is important because you will revert back to old behaviors during stressful times if you don’t.  This video will help you get rid of what you do not want.and relax while you’re doing it.    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxfXvKoRJ53hEQ8p1TTmAaw   Enjoy!

Messages from childhood

As children we learn by modeling the behavior of the adults in our lives.  We learn how to walk, talk, be angry, handle the every day situations that happen in life, how to get along with others in a relationship, how to love and be loved, how to be who we will ultimately become.  We also learn who we are in relationship to others.  We learn how valuable we are to others, how wanted, how unique others think we are to them, we learn if we are enough or not, we learn how to behave in the society in which we live.  The messages that are given to us during childhood stay with us throughout our lives.  These messages can come from the home, neighborhood or the school environment.  As adults we are still behaving like we were taught as a child.  If we were taught that we are unique and can contribute to society, then we will behave as such without fear.  If we were taught that we are worthless, not enough, good for nothing, not wanted and stupid, then we behave as such and become fearful with every decision we make.  We are waiting for it to fail.  We will live up to whatever expectations that were made of us during childhood and we repeat them in our lives over and over again. We set ourselves up to fail because that is what we are suppose to do.  These messages can come from parents, teachers, other children in school or the neighborhood we live in and especially ourselves.  We will repeat in our heads the messages of childhood whether good or bad.  Telling ourselves anything else becomes virtually impossible.  The fear that overcomes us in a new challenge is overwhelming and will stop us from starting it.  Why?  What have we got to loose? The most that will happen is that it will not work.  We will make a mistake.  It will not work out just as we planned it.  People will think we are worthless, not enough, good for nothing, not want us, stupid.  So what?  Who cares what other people think?  It is what we think that is the important thing.  It is the tape that runs in our head that is important.  The only time what other people think is important, is when we think that thing about ourselves.  The only person you have control over is you.  The only opinion that is important is your own.  You are ultimately responsible for yourself and the decisions that you make.  What other people think about any of that    does       not      matter.   If they love you, they will support and love you no matter what happens.  If they don’t, you are better off without them.  You do not need people in your life that will being you down and repeat the negative messages from your childhood.  You are the only person whose opinion of yourself matters.  You are the only person who knows you totally, intimately, all of your secrets.  You have to learn to love all of that.  To accept all of that.  To be at peace with all of that.  To be able to look at it in total and tell yourself it’s okay.  Good, bad, right, wrong it’s okay.  You can change what you do not want and keep what you do.  You are in charge of you, not the other people who’s opinion you seem to value.  They are ultimately not important in your decision making process.  They are also not responsible for the outcome of those decisions either.  Changing anything takes 3 weeks of constantly not doing the thing you want to change and replacing it with something else.  It takes 3 more week of doing the replacement behavior to make it a habit.    This will help you relax during the change.     https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxfXvKoRJ53hEQ8p1TTmAaw  Enjoy!

Looking for love

All of us need to be loved.  Unconditionally, unfettered, no holes barred, loved.  You do not have to be raised in a dysfunctional home in order to need this kind of love.  If there are conditions attached to love, it is not love.  It is a sense of belonging to someone that usually drives us to look.  All of us, whether we are raised in a functional or dysfunctional home, look for someone who feels comfortable to us, feels like home to us.  They are usually a combination of our mother and father. In a functional home that is a good thing.  In a dysfunctional home, it is not.  You will get more of the same that you were raised with, and wanted to get away from as soon as possible.  Finding someone who is comfortable is not necessarily a good idea.  So, does that mean you have to be uncomfortable for the rest of your life?  No.  You have to make friends with the person and become comfortable with them.  It will change you and what you’re looking for in a person.  Writing down the characteristics of the person you are looking for will help.  Writing down the characteristics of the person you don’t want, is also a good idea.  You may find a mixture of both.  There will be some characteristics that you cannot tolerate and you will want to be able to pick them out before you get too involved with this person.  Don’t ever settle for anything less then you want. If you do, you will always be looking at the person you settled for as just that.  It is not fair to them or you.  Making friends takes time and effort.  It does not happen over night and it does not involve sex.  Like any relationship, you are drawn to the people that appeal to you physically.  Making friends with this person before getting involved sexually will allow you to step back emotionally from this person.  Once you have a sexual relationship with them, emotions become involved and it clouds the picture.  You are no longer objective about the relationship.  This happens with men and women.  The person who will be able to meet all of your needs may not appeal to you physically at first.  Have you ever met someone whose personality you immediately liked?  Who made you laugh, who you were comfortable with right away?  You may want to spend more time with them, get to know them.  You may fall in love with them, even though they did not appeal to you physically at first.  They will become physically attractive to you because of who they are, not what they look like.  Like anything else, changing your inner love detector is not easy.  It is a criteria you were raised with that you are now trying to change.  You were imprinted with this criteria as a young child.  It draws you to it.  Writing down, knowing what it is you are looking for, will help you spot that person and avoid unnecessary encounters.  It will re-imprint your love map.  If you were raised in dysfunction you will be attracted to people who are like your parents and try to resolve issues you had with your parents, with that person.  Again, not fair to them or you.  Resolving those issues, needs to be done with your parents.(another blog)  Knowing ahead of time what you’re looking for and what you will not tolerate will help you define your search.  Getting rid of all of those things that used to drew you to dysfunction, that you no longer want can be helped by guided imagery. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxfXvKoRJ53hEQ8p1TTmAaw Enjoy!

Relationships

Relationships can and often are tricky things to navigate, especially if you are coming from a place of dysfunction.  You have no guide to follow because the example that was set for you is not a functional one.  It will not bring you happy outcomes.  So, a rule of thumb that I tell people to follow, when they ask, is as follows, ask yourself: is the person you are in relationship with: your best friend, confident, partner, shoulder to cry on, the first person you think of in the morning and the last one at night, do they make you smile when you are around them or think of them, do they build you up and support you no matter what, do they tell you what they think and not necessarily what you want to hear, do they speak their truth gentle and with respect, do they stand in judgement of you when you make a mistake or do they give you a hug and help you figure it out, are they spiritually on the same path, do they try to control you, do they become angry because you disagree with them, are they able to compromise, do they have empathy, do they have a sense of humor, are they attractive to you or have you settled for what you think you can get, do they meet your needs as a lover?

Singularly these things seem like they can be overcome if not present in a person.  That will only happen if the person is willing to give you what you need and not stay stuck with who they are at the time. You have no control over them, they will change to meet your needs if they want to change, not if you want them to change.  People can and will say a lot of things and then not back them up with action.  If you are honestly trying to be there for another person you will sometimes be meeting their needs and sometimes your needs take a priority.  If you are constantly giving with nothing coming in return, you will drain yourself and begin to resent the other person.  Relationships are a give and take with ups and downs.  You will both need a sense of humor to get through the downs.  If you love this person getting through the downs should not feel like a burden.  It should feel like something you are doing together.  The relationship should never feel like a burden because no matter what happens to you, you are carrying it together.  The other person is your “go to guy” no and matter what, will never leave you alone to carry it alone. This person will never leave you feeling empty because they will be there for you, they are your best friend.  If you have been looking for a long time for the love of your life, relax, they will come.  This will help you to relax while you’re waiting.     Click here for the relaxation and guided imagery video   Enjoy!

Sex Offenders

I have only worked with about a dozen sex offenders in my 32 years as a therapist.  They were children who had been molested and then molested other children because they did not realize there was anything wrong with what they were doing.  They were too young to understand the ramifications of their actions.  It got them into treatment.  I know a therapist who works with sex offenders for a living.  His experience has been valuable to me over the years and especially with these cases.  He usually has a captive audience because most sex offenders that he works with are in jail or have been in jail or are on probation. It is court ordered.  I have learned that out of 100 people who have been molested as children only 15 of those people will become offenders.  The other 85, whether they ever get treatment or not, will not become offenders.  They will exhibit symptoms of being molested.  I have also learned that if you were molested before the age of reason, you are more likely to become a sex offender.  After the age of reason, your instinct that something is wrong with what is happening kicks in and you will not do it to another person.  Your resistance will probable be met with a threat to your family or the offender will get you drunk or high in order to carry out his plan.  The thought about that is, if you were molested starting when you were a baby or toddler, you think it is just something that you do with this person.  You will model that behavior, just like you did when you learned to walk, talk, hold a spoon or fork dress yourself, etc.  You will not realize there is anything wrong with what you are doing.   There have been many studies on sex offenders all over the world, most of them out of jails with the promise of getting out early if they cooperate with the study.  So I am not convinced totally of the results.  All of them basically say the same thing, however.  Every sex offender in jail, has been molested themselves.  They have all been drunk or high when they became offenders for the first time.  They continue to drink and get high during the molestation of others. If you can reach them as small children, you can retrain their brains.  Reprogram them and replace the behavior with something else.   I have also learned that there is no therapeutic treatment that works for an adult offender.  It seems to be passed on from generation to generation, whether it is incestuous or not.   The only thing that seems to work, for the most part, is being monitored by a probation officer when they get out of jail.  Even that does not always work because the ratio of probation officers to sex offenders is too high to keep track of everyone on your case load.  I have no answers for this problem in our society.  I know that it seems to be more prevalent due to the number of children that are exhibiting symptoms.  I also know that court ordered treatment, whether for children or adults, does not work.  No one learns anything, they are just going through the motions in order to not be thrown in jail or to appease their parents.  It does not matter what the problem might be, if you are not ready to deal with the problem, no one is going to make you.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is difficult because most of us feel that it will let the other person off the hook, for whatever was done.  It allows no one to take responsibility for whatever was done. No one is punished.  It is a void between us that stays there hanging on until someone picks it up.  It is always present whenever you are with this person.  If I were to tell you that is only in your mind, not theirs.  That they may or may not remember the event. That the only person carry this around is you, what would you say?  Not forgiving someone is like carrying around a sack of rocks on your back.  Every time someone does something to you, you put another rock in your sack and fling it on your back.  You are the only person suffering with this, you are the only person remembering it, you are the only person carrying it around.  If you put the sack down, you free yourself.  The other person is still responsible for whatever they did, whether they take that responsibility on or not.  Whether they ever acknowledge what they did to you or not.  Whether they ever say they are sorry for doing it or not.  They are still responsible.

Part of forgiveness is forgiving yourself.  Most of us will blame ourselves for not seeing it coming,  for not knowing it was happening until it was too late.  We are angry with ourselves for not being smart enough, cunning enough, too trusting or too naive.  Forgiving yourself for being any of those things is not easy. Sometimes we will allow ourselves to become hardened by the fact that we did allow ourselves to be those things, with this person.  Becoming hardened is hurting you.  It is allowing that event, that person to change you in a negative manner.  If you allow yourself to learn from whatever mistake you made during this event, then you come out of it a better person, not a bitter person, and chances are, next time you will see it coming.  If you refuse to forgive, that is all you will ever see or feel.  It will harden you, make you bitter.  It will only hurt you.  It will never hurt the other person.  Learning from mistakes that are made is a healthy way to deal with any problem.  Taking a look inside at your part of whatever happened is the only thing that you can do.  You have no control over the other person.  Changing you for the better, will allow you to see it coming the next time.  There is always a next time.  Letting go of the anger, resentment and need for revenge will free you and allow you to become a better person.  This guided imagery video will help you to let go of those things and people you have no control over.   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxfXvKoRJ53hEQ8p1TTmAaw   Enjoy!