Grieving

There is no correct way to grieve.  Like people, there are many ways to grieve.  There is, however, a pattern to grief.  Elizabeth K Ross was correct, there are stages.  You don’t just go through them once, however.  You may at one point get to acceptance and several weeks, months years later do it all again because something has triggered a memory.  You may stay stuck in anger or denial longer then other people.  You may not go through them the way they are laid out either, you may be angry first.  You may have delayed the grieving because you had to be strong for someone.  The only sure thing is that there are stages that you go through that are common for every one when you lose someone or something dear to you.  That’s right, something.  If your house burns down, loose a job you liked or anything else that was important to you, not just people.  You can grieve the loss of your health, the loss of a limb, when your children leave to be out on their own, what you thought was going to happen when you had grandchildren and then it didn’t.  You may have thought you were going to have big family Christmas’ and then they moved away or you have an in-law that does not like you and will not come when the family is together.  These are all losses and you will grieve them.  There is no norm for grieving, no length of time when it will just go away or stop.  The intensity and duration of the sadness will lessen, but it does not go away.  No one can tell you you’re not doing it right.  Those that do, have no idea what they’re talking about and have probable never truly grieved anything.  Don’t listen, do your own thing and get through it by accepting solace where and when it presents itself.  There are no accidents, there are lessons to be learned if you are open to them.  Don’t close your heart or your ears because of your grief.  Feeling it is the only way through it, or anything for that matter.  Grieving with people who love you is the best way, if you are alone, do it with a counselor or a grief group, but do it and get through it.  These video’s will help you to relax and get rid of og those thing you have no control over.  Link to the video’s.    Enjoy!

Taking Resonsibility

One of the hallmarks of dysfunction is that you cannot take responsibility for what you do, think or say.  It will always be someone elses fault.  In a family or community system that equals out to needing to have a scapegoat.  Someone to blame when things do not work out in a positive manner.  In a functional family or community system you are able to take responsibility for what you did that may have caused a problem or even harm to someone else without too much hassle.  There is a discussion, even anger but the issue is worked out eventually and all is okay with the world within that group again.  No one gets physically, emotionally, verbally or mentally hurt by the event.  Each person handles their own feelings about what happened and a healthy discussion about what went wrong is able to occur.  The discussion is not about getting even or owing someone something because of what happened.  The discussion instead is about lovingly getting to a place where the same thing does not happen again and working out how that may occur.  A discussion about how to do it better next time without making the person responsible feel worthless, merely human and capable of making mistakes like the rest of us.  In a functional system the person responsible will come to their own way of making up for what they did without needing a prompt from anyone or being made to feel guilty.  In a functional system there is no judgement about the person that is responsible.  There is only a need from everyone to make it better so it doesn’t happen again and everyone learns from the mistake that was made and accepts responsibility for their part in making it happen.

Making mistakes is a human thing.  If you are a human being you have and will continue to make mistakes.  Maybe not the same ones as your neighbor but mistakes none the less.  Making a judgement about whether your mistake is better or worse than another persons is ludicrous.  A mistake is just that, a mistake.  You cannot learn from mistakes if you do not admit to them, you will continue to make the same ones unless you do.   There is nothing right or wrong, better or worse about it. The only time anything may be right or wrong is when something was done on purpose, but then it is not a mistake.  It is a purposeful act, deliberately done.  Not a mistake.  These video’s will help you to relax and give away what is necessary to learn from your mistakes.  Link to the video’s.   Enjoy!

Trauma Therapy

Trauma Therapy works because when you talk, write or draw about an event you are getting it out of your head and giving it voice.  When you keep things in your head and do not talk about it or give them voice in some manner they will take on a life of their own.  They become the boogie man in the closet waiting to pounce at the first opportunity.  You know they are not real but cannot trust that thought.  They soon become real and you are convinced that if you open the closet they will get you.  Your brain is this wonderful organ that needs to make sense of everything that happens, whether it is logical or not.  It needs to file it away in your memory bank. It cannot until you deal with the feelings attached to the memory.  Feelings often are not logical, they’re feelings.  You can only deal with feelings if you face them and give them voice.  Acknowledging them, gives them voice and they become less powerful, it gets them out of you head and into a place where you can see them logically and then your brain can file it away without the feeling attached to it.  You will always remember the event but without the feeling and it is then less powerful, it is the feeling that you had at the time the trauma happened that is causing the problem with flashbacks and night terrors, not the actual event itself.  Talking, writing or drawing about the event and the feelings,  puts it on paper or gives it voice so it can be talked about and seen for what it is or was at the time.  Eventually it will lose its power because it is now out in the open to be seen.  Trauma Therapy works because when you repeat the event often enough it will lose its power over you and the event will become normalized. It works much the same way a person who likes to watch horror movies works.  The person who never watches horror movies is terrorized by everything in the move.  The person who sees horror movies all the time would be laughing at the same movie. They have normalized the horror and need something larger and / or bigger then life to scare them.   Trauma Therapy works on the same principle, the more you get it out of your head in some manner the more normalized it becomes and the less power it has to interrupt your life.   You can then remember the event without being terrorized or traumatized by it.

You cannot make someone do Trauma Therapy until they are ready to do so.  Forcing someone to relive events that caused them trauma is retraumatizing them.  The person who experienced the trauma has to want to do it or it will not work and you will be causing more pain for that person.   These video’s will help to relax you and given away what you cannot control while you are making changes/  Link to the video’s.    Enjoy!

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Quiet people

I  have always been a quiet person.  With my first abnormal psychology class I even explored the possibility of being a person with Aspergers, which is a high functioning autism.  It is not uncommon to identify with disorders found in an abnormal psychology book when you are beginning your trek through the world to being a therapist.  I also found myself diagnosing my family, because as a child I observed a lot of things and did not feel the need to comment. There was no need to compete, no need to comment, no need to prove people wrong about what they thought of me.  I am still that way  The reason I came to the conclusion that I did not have Aspergers is because I have a filter in my frontal lobe.  Just because it comes into my mind does not mean I have to either say it or act on it.  I can sit quietly by and think a lot of things and not feel the need to express one of them.  This did not sit well with my family.  We are a family of talkers and anyone who does not have an expressed opinion is considered slow, stupid, mentally challenged. I was considered mentally challenged because I did not talk about anything unless I felt it was important enough to talk about. I saw my family as talking a lot about nothing.  There are a lot of things I do not consider important enough to talk about because I truly do not care about them or what happens with them.  The not talking also was brought into the classroom and I had few friends during my school years.  I did not feel a need for too many friends and found the giggling and the drama unnecessary and silly.  I was voted most unamiable at 8th grade graduation.   When I looked up what the word meant I was surprised because I did not consider myself unfriendly, just shy.  As I got older I began to show people a sense of humor and used the humor to get through a lot of situations and still do, especially stressful situations.  I am still quiet and do not feel a need to express an opinion even though I may have a differing opinion then yours I am able to sit and listen to yours, respect it without commenting and unless you directly ask me my opinion you may never hear it.  The teachers at school spoke to me as though I were slow, mentally challenged or deaf.  I knew it but had no idea how to make it different.  I was often called on even though I did not raise my hand.  I knew the answer but could not get my mouth to work enough to say it because I had just been put on the spot and was unprepared to speak about anything.  This of course brought ridicule from my peers at the first opportunity.  I learned how to defend myself verbally and physically and reinforced the idea that people were untrustworthy and you were on your own to defend yourself against them.  That is how I came to defend my younger sisters as well.

I still do not have many friends and do not need many.  I am still quiet and use my sense of humor to get through a lot of things.  I have found a voice but still do not need to express feelings or thoughts about what you might be telling me or talking about,  I am able to stand up in front of crowds of people and teach or speak without anxiety.  I have learned that I am not stupid or unamiable. I am content with who and what I am and know that I will continue to grow and become fully who that might become.  These video’s will help to relax you and give away what you cannot control, if you have identified with this blog.   Link to the video’s.   Enjoy!

Bullying

Bullying has been going on since the beginning of time I think, or so it seems.  I’m not sure why one person thinks they are better then another and have a right to judge and condem another.  We all make mistakes, and have looked and or felt stupid because we have.  If you are a human being walking around on the face of the earth, you have and or will mess up.  Differently, some big mess ups some smaller, some both at differing times in our lives.  There are varying theories about why people bully.  One is because it is a learned behavior. Another is because that is the only way they can gain attention from others, another is low self-esteem, another is because they can, no one stops them. I think all of that applies.  I know as a Behavior Specialist Consultant, I watched kids get bullied in school.  I was in school for a child who was often times being bullied because there behavior was different.  They were on the Autism Spectrum, too shy and quiet, came from a home where they were not being taught how to be, alcohol or drug addiction, their family was too poor and could not afford the latest fashion or were living out of a shelter and could not bathe daily often times coming to school in the same clothes and dirty because they had been outside playing the night before, no TV to watch, sometimes just because they were a certain nationality and the bully was taught to hate them.  I would sit in the classroom observing, trying to gather information for an (FBA) Functional Behavioral assessment and be looking at, at least 5 other children who needed the assessment more then the child I was observing.  I would wonder why the other children were not in services and would ask.  No one seemed to know.  As I observed, it was those children that were the bullies and no one corrected the situation.    When I was Clinical Supervisor/Program Manager a child came into services, recommended by a local school because he had leapt across a lunch table at a child and began to hit him in the face.  The school has a no violence policy so the child was not allowed in school until he was evaluated by the Doctor or a Psychologist.  A meeting took place to evaluate whether or not there was a justification for services because this child had never had a problem in school before this event.  .  The child was asked why he leapt accross the table and hit the other child in the face.  The child said because this kid had been bullyng him since kindergarden and he was tired of it, they were now in 5th grade.  I asked why he decided to handle it himself and not involve an adult.  His answer was because the teachers will not do anyting unless they see what happened, they won’t take sides.  I then asked why he hadn’t told his mother, he said he had and she had complained to the school, but nothing happened because the child who was bullying him was from an influential family and no one at the school wanted to anger them.  The child then volunteered that this child had been throwng food at him during lunch and a pea had hit him in the head and everyone laughed.  He had reached his tolerance level and decided to handle it himself.  The recommendation that was given to the school was for this child to have out patient services for the trauma he had experienced at the hand of the school and for the bully to receive in-home services so a therapist could work on the family dynamics that allow bullying to happen. The identified problem child went to out patient services for trauma therapy, the bullies parents refused to allow services in their home.   I understand not taking sides because you have not seen the event.  I also understand that kids will lie to save themselves and blame others for their own behavior.  But, if the same  children are involved in the same type of things for 6 years, you should have payed attention and done something to stop it long before the child handes it himself. You should be doing this after the second time the same 2 children have issues with each other.  Parents should be going to the police, Congressman, Senators or anyone that will listen with the documentation of what has been happening to your child.  Influential parents should not have more say then anyone else. We all pay taxes for our children to go to school and learn, not to be bullied by influental children.  Documenting things is critical, parents have to do it if they want to be heard.

I have 2 younger sisters  Both were bullied at differing times.  Back in the day you were allowed to stand up to bullies.  That entailed, often times threatening them with physical violence if they continued to do what they were doing.  Today that is called terroristic threats, so it is not recommended.  Today kids are limited with what they can do because even though schools have policies against bullying, they do not always inforced those policies and make scapegoats out of children, who are then placed in a position of defending themselves because the adults in their lives have failed them.  Children should not have to be afraid to go to school.  Sending them to school in a hostile environment does not help them to learn and often times makes them drop-outs, not want to go to school and get into trouble because they are not going, develop school anxiety, social anxiety and otherwise traumatized them.  There is a lot of home schooling because of that issue.  The argument for that is they are not getting socialized.  The rebuttal to that would be, that is not socialization, it is a war zone.

Telling people, documenting the situations and talking about it is a good way of handling the situation for your child.  The child having to handle it themselves is never a good idea.  If the school is not doing anything about it even though it has happened repeatedly go to the police and let them take the information you have gathered and handle it.  If that does not work go higher, to your Congressman or Senator, hire a lawyer. If you have to resort to those tactics to get someone to listen, pull your child out of school and home school them so they will not become a larger targets.   Do not allow children to handle it themselves because then you have criminal things happening, like guns going into schools and shooting those bullies that have been involved..   Or worse the child that has been bullied, commits suicide.  Growing up in a bullying environment teaches children that violence is the answer, that bullies win, that threatening verbally and physically is the way to be.  It has been done to them and no one has stopped it. They grow up thinking that they deserve it because no one has stood up for them. Kids do not think logically, that is up to the adults in their lives. The human brain does no fully develop until we are 25 years old.  If you have been traumatized it is later. Kids have a right to expect that they will be protected by the adults in their lives and when they are not, they have no choice but to handle it themselves.  That is never a good idea.  If you are the parents of a child who is being bullied, you have a right to expect that when you send your child off to school in the morning, they will not be harmed.  You have a right to complain if they are and you have a right to expect something will be done about it.  You are not paying taxes so your child can be in harm’s way on a daily basis.  They are supposed to be educated, not beat up verbally and physically.

If you are the parents of a bully, you are not doing them any favors by allowing them to not accept responsibility for their behavior.  Sociopath are raised not born.  They begin to believe that they are above any consequences for their behavior because no one has ever held them accountable for anything.  Children need the adults in their lives to set limits and boundaries for them.  They need to know where they end and others begin, what is tolerable and what is not.  They need to not be allowed to get away with things that are not allowable.  They need to take responsibility for what they do with consequences that are not over the top but match the situation, the offense committed.  They need to know that they are no better or worse they anyone else and will be responsible for what they do or don’t do,  like everyone else.  These video’s will help you relax and give away what you cannot control while you are making changes.  Link to the video’s   Enjoy!

Emotion’s and expectations

When I was younger I had expectations, sometimes huge expectations of people. I would then become angry because those people did not meet my expectations.  It wouldn’t matter whether or not they were unrealistic.  I was still angry that these people disappointed me and fell short of what I thought should happen.  Having unrealistic expectations comes from immaturity and dysfunction, someone has not taught us realistic expectations and has allowed us to think that what we want is what we should expect without making allowances for human error and limitations.  I learned that putting my expectations on others without finding out if they were realistic was a fool’s errand.  I had no right to do so.  That is not to say that all of us have a right to some expectations, reasonable ones like;  when a repair man or the cable guy says they will come between 2 and 5 PM, it is reasonable to think they will do that, when your spouse/friend says they will do something for you, it is reasonable for you to expect that they will.   It is also reasonable to become irritated/angry because they did not.  Chances are you took off work to meet the repairman or cable guy and have now lost work with nothing to show for it, and they have probable asked you to meet them again another day, which means more lost work time.  If this is not the first time your spouse or friend has said they will do something and then did not, it is also reasonable to become irritated or angry.  It is also reasonable to lose trust in those people who repeatedly do not keep their word or promise.

Emotion’s are not good or bad.  They are there to help us understand that something just happened to us.  Irritations or anger means someone just hurt us, stepped on our toes, so to speak.  It is up to us to understand why that happened.  What part of the situation did we contribute to the event?  Was there an unrealistic expectation?  Are we angry because it is easier to admit anger then hurt?  Under a lot of anger is hurt feelings, because it is more acceptable in our society to say I’m angry then it is to say, you just hurt my feelings. Hurt feelings makes us appear weak, anger makes us look strong.  Not owning hurt feelings, hurts us.  We then have a tendency to place those feelings in the sack I talked about before.  We have no right to release our anger on someone, we do have a right to vent it in a mature fashion like going for a walk, run, listening to music, reading a book, etc and then going back to that person and calmly telling then what angered you. You also have no right to expect that they will care or do anything to change whatever ever it is that caused you anger. the world does not revolve around making you happy, we should be doing that for ourselves.  Depending upon that persons response, we should then be making a decisions whether or not we can trust that person again with whatever it was that caused our anger.

There is a lot of talk about guilt being a bad emotion.  There are no bad emotions. Emotions are designed to tell us something about our state of being, we should be paying attention to what that might be at the time.  Guilt tells us we just stepped on someone elses toes.  We need to make amends, apologize, fix whatever it is that we did. That doesn’t mean we have to spend the rest of our lives doing so.  When we have made ammends the guilt should subside, if it does not, we should be looking at why we are still carrying it around in our sack and then address that issue.

Hate seems to be an emotion that a lot of people use to describe what they do not like.  Hate is a strong emotion,indicating that we have loved someone or something a great deal.  In order to hate, you have had to love deeply.  Hate is not the opposite of love, but the underside of love, the dark side of love.  Apathy is the opposite of love.  Apathy is the opposite of any emotion.  Apathy is the lack of feeling anything, a lack of caring one way or the other.  If you carry hate around it will do the same thing that anger does, eat at you and make you bitter.  The only person that is hurt by your hatred is you.  The other person probable does not care and is apathetic about your feelings concerning them.

We tend to place blame on others in this country.  For whatever the reason we have difficulty taking responsibility for what we do, think, say and feel.  Taking responsibility for what we do, think, say and feel is healthy and mature.  Taking responsibility at times does not mean you are taking responsibility for everything.  Only for your part in it. That does not mean other people will not try to make you responsable for all of it, you do not have to take that on.  If it is not yours, do not accept it as yours and say so.  It is a freeing experience.  It takes courage to take responsibility for yourself and your actions or inactions.  It take courage to make decisions about whether or not you will accept people for who and what they are at the time, because people change.  Each of us have to figure out what is acceptable to us and what is not, who we want in our lives and who we cannot tolerate.

To end I will say that if we are instantly angered, afraid or any other emotion, it has more to do with what just got triggered within us from our past then what just happened in the present moment.  Taking time to figure out what that was/is, is also freeing.  It is also the responsible, mature thing to do.  When theses instant emotions happen, you need to take the time to find out what got triggered.  You can do that by allowing yourself to feel the emotion and the origin of it will come.  Most of the time it is from childhood and it is a childs emotion.  The adult that you are now needs to nurture that child and tell them it will be alright, there is no danger now, you can handle whatever comes.  Not addressing it allows it a chance to come up again and again in your life, until you deal with whatever it is.  These video’s will help you relax and give away what you cannot control or is getting in the way of healing.  Link to the video’s.    Enjoy!

Acceptence, letting go and forgiveness

I have found through the years that life is what we tell ourselves about what ever is happening to us. Whether that is good, bad, right or wrong.   That doesn’t mean that we have to be happy about someone hurting us, betraying us or blaming us for something we did not do.  It means that we will initially feel hurt, angry or betrayed,  What we do with those initial feelings is a decision we make,  to either hang on to them or let go.  Letting go involves an acceptance of the situation and the ability to forgive.  For whatever the reason, a lot of people in this world view acceptence and forgiveness as a form of weakness.  i know for a fact that  it is not  It has taken great courage at times in my life to tell myself,”let it go”,  “It’s not worth it”, “Why are you hanging on to this?”  So, today i would like to talk about why I feel acceptence and forgiveness are courageous acts.

When I have done therapy with people, a lot of them are very angry about things that have happened in their past.  They hang on to the angry because it makes them feel strong in a situation that they had not control over and felt weak while it was happening.  No one will every make them feel that way again and so they hang on to the only thing they feel helps them to feel strong.  There is nothing wrong with anger by itself.  It is an emotion like any other emotion, designed to let us know something just happened and we should pay attention.  Anger means someone just stepped on our toes.  Sitting with the anger long enough to alow us to understand what just happened and why we became angry about this situation is a good thing.  Staying in the anger for weeks, months or years is not a good thing.  The anger begins to change who we are as a person, usually not in a good way.  Anger can physically change us as well, giving us ulcers, high blood pressure and an assortment of other ailments.  Psychologically it can make us bitter angry people.  If I have been your therapist, you have heard this analogy before, it goes like this:  Anger and unforgiveness is like carrying around a sack of rocks on your back.  Every time someone does something to us we put another rock in our sack and throw it over our back and carry it around.  Each time somethng happens that hurts or angers us we place another rock in the sack.  Pretty soon we are bent over trying to carry around the sack of rocks.  We are now angry and bitter about not only those things in the sack but having to carry around this heavy sack.  The people and situations that are in the sack are done and gone.  The people involved may  not remember what happened and may not even care about them if we bring them up.  We are the only ones that remember and are carrying this burden.  We are actively making a decision to do so every single day.  We can actively make to decision to put the sack down.  We can also make the decision to accept those situations for what they were and learn from them.  We can also forgive those people involved in those situation, whether they own what they’ve down or not. It takes courage to put down the sack.  it has given us a sense of security for a long time.  It has kept people away from us so we will never be hurt again.  But we are, over and over again.  The same situations will come up until we deal with the root cause of it.  We don’t see the signs of the same thing happening because we have not really looked at it, sat with it.  We have thrown it in the sack and carried it around, but not looked at it and why it is repeating in our lives.   We have not looked at our part in the situation, we have played the victim.  Putting down the sack frees us.  It does not make the other person less responsibile for their part in the situation, it frees us from carrying around the burden any longer.  Accepting something for what it is, does not mean will have to accept unacceptable behavior.  It means we accept that others do not think the way we do, act the way we do or respond the way we do.  Our decision then, is not to hold on the anger and hurt we feel but to decide what we will do about the present situation and then do it without acting out of the anger we feel.  When I am angry, i will remove myself from the situation, work off the anger I’m feeling in a physical way, going for a walk, run, etc.  When I have cleared the anger, i can then see the situation clearly and know what to do about it.  So, acceptance is not about swollowing things whole and shutting our mouth.  it is about accepting the fact that we have no control over other people and cannot change what they think, say or do.  It is about making an unemotional decision about what we will do about a given situation and then doing it.

Forgiveness is much the same thing.  Forgiveness does not allow the other person(s) off the hook for what they have done.  it allows us to put down the sack and move on with our lives. Forgiveness is about us and our freedom to not allow whatever was done to stop us from whatever life has to offer us.

Letting go of those things that have hurt us allows us to learn from the situation and move on with our lives.  We tend to see things as winning and loosing in this world of ours.  So if you follow that premise and belief, let’s make an analogy.  Hanging on to the hurt will make you bitter and angry, so when the person that hurt you sees you in 10 years, will they be able to say, “See i told you they were angry, look at how bitter they are!”.  Or will they say ” Wow, look at how they’ve succeeded and how happy they are!”.  Someone once said that the best way to defeat your enemy is to succeed.  To show them they did not stop you from living your life in a happy manner.

Pain is part of life.  It is not something we should be running from, but rather learning from, making decisions about it in actively conscious manner.  If we are not learning from it, then it is wasted and it will repeat itself over and over again in our lives.  These video’s will help you relax and give away what you have no control over.  Link to the video’s.   Enjoy!