Archive for May, 2013

Want to Meet Your Current and Future Self? Here’s How!

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Where are you on the plane of life?  By that I mean are you a person who spends a lot of time thinking about the past, existentially living in the present, or creating your future? Certainly there is a time for each emphasis.  Too often, however, it seems that many people are out of balance in this area.  Some people spend too much time with their heads turned behind them, often bemoaning the hard times that they have experienced. In this article I would like you to spend some time looking at your current self and then looking forward to creating your future self.

Where are you now and what is your future?  At a gut level are you optimistic or pessimistic?  What efforts are you making to create a positive next step in your personal evolution?  Where do you want to go?  “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”.  I try to limit the road choices and detours in peoples’ lives while finding the appropriate avenue moving forward.

How about a self examination?  First, assess with as much accuracy as you can muster where you currently are.  What are the important areas of your life and how successful are you in those areas.  Such areas may include various relationships (spouse, parents, kids, relatives, friends, work personnel, neighbors), health, finances, fun, sexual pleasure, travel, hobbies, career, where you live, etc… What are your various needs and wants, and can you distinguish between the two? You may even want to write each of these areas on a piece of paper and then assign a number between one and ten (ten being the highest) as to how satisfied you are in each category. Low numbers may tell you that such a category needs uplifting or it just may not be important to you.

One method of creating the future involves meditation – visualization.  Perhaps you are familiar with the “Law of Attraction” as it relates to quantum physics.  Its central tenets are: Ask, Believe, Receive.

Ask: Know what you want and put it out there

Believe: Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is on its way

Receive: Be open to receiving it

Now some of you may say this is metaphysical hogwash.  Others may say that this is in essence what Jesus was saying about prayer to the Father. What is important here, and it has some scientific validity, is that what you believe raises the probability that it will happen. Desires, Beliefs, Law of Attraction, Faith, Optimism, all interface in some fashion to create the best of all possibilities in your life.

Want to give it a try?  Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.  Do not have food or alcohol in your system for at least three hours. Close your eyes, take five deep breaths, taking longer to exhale than inhale. Calm your mind and visualize what you want.  Stay with it and enjoy it; a smile may come to your face.  Stay with it for at least twenty minutes.  Repeat this practice once or twice a day.  Incorporate it into your life style.  In time you will be more at peace and you will raise the probability that such dreams will come true as long as you have desired something that is real and possible.

I encourage you to make a good faith effort in this regard to creating your evolving self.  You have nothing to lose and may well have something to gain.  Preferred and optimistic thinking!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

 

Are You an Excuse Maker? Use Any of These?

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Self awareness and assessment is important for moving forward in life. Life’s path has many obstacles and detours to overcome.  Some of these challenges can be averted, others must be lived through making the best of a difficult situation. Fortitude and resilience are needed in such painful situations.  Other challenges that are not met head on because of lame excuses prohibit you from working through them to success.  The following are some of the self talk excuses that are often made by people who don’t “suit up and show up”.

  1. It will be difficult
  2. It’s going to be risky
  3. It will take a long time
  4. There will be family drama
  5. I didn’t deserve it
  6. It’s not my nature
  7. I can’t afford it
  8. No one will help me
  9. It has never happened before
  10. I’m not strong enough
  11. I’m not smart enough
  12. I’m too old (or not old enough)
  13. The rules won’t let me
  14. It’s too big
  15. I don’t have the energy
  16. It’s my personal family history (blame)
  17. I’m too busy
  18. I’m too scared
  19. I don’t want anybody to be upset
  20. Fill in the blank with the excuse that you tend to use (hide behind).

Recognize any of these as yours? Certainly there are legitimate excuses or reasons that stop you from “doing the next right” thing on your path to creating the life you want.  However, whiney excuses often are ways to coward out of doing your best.

Self defeating thinking patterns, which includes excuse making, sabotages happiness, health and quality relationships. Be honest with yourself.  Look at the excuses that you may use from time to time and see if they can be faced and eradicated.  Weak and defensive people hide behind exaggerated excuses.

Respected Reader, I doubt you are one of these “excuse makers” but hopefully this article gives you and opportunity to look at yourself in this manner.  Having done that I’m sure you can pass this on to someone who is an excuse maker!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

“Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” Say Many Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Friday, May 24th, 2013

The above title is the name of a book written by Dr. Karyl McBride.  Dr. Mc Bride is a LMFT, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) in Denver. She writes from her personal experience and from “seventeen years of research”. In the book she writes about daughters who have low self esteem and other related problems because they were raised by mothers who were narcissistic.

“Narcissistic” mothers are described as overbearing, insecure, and everything is always about them.  They may exaggerate their accomplishments and importance. They have an enormous sense of entitlement, believing that they deserve special status. They lack empathy, tend to be jealous, and may even compete with their daughters. Narcissistic mothers see their children as extensions of themselves and attack value to them in terms of what they do rather than who they are. How the daughter looks and what she accomplishes determine how much acceptance is given. They do not give unconditional love to their children.

Daughters of narcissistic mothers may end up being overachievers who work themselves into a frenzy trying to live up to an impossible image.  Or, they may end up underachievers, lacking the self confidence to succeed.  They constantly seek approval from their mothers, yearning for those rare moments when everything seems normal. Their deepest wound centers around the belief, sometimes unconscious, “if my own mother cannot love me for who I am, how can anyone else ever do that”.

Narcissism, like any other personality disorder, is on a continuum from mild to severe.  A narcissistic mother may not have all the characteristics described above but still may have enough of this disorder to stifle the personal development of her daughter. (Or sons for that matter).

In my private practice I have heard way too many times “I’m not good enough”. Often this deduction has come from the experience of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother.  This pejorative self description also is a result of a mother who abandoned her daughter, physically or emotionally, or a father who either was too critical or not emotionally present and caring enough.

Daughters who feel they “are not good enough” tend to self destruct in a number of ways. They can grow into angry controllers or emotionally stunted pleasers.  They tend to “dummy down” in terms of romantic relationships which, ultimately, leads to failed relationships.

There is hope, however!  With a qualified therapist this woman can come to see how she got this way, accept it, get past the anger and blame stage, and emotionally grow up and learn to love and accept herself. The damaged emotional “wiring” which was a result of this poor parenting by her mother can be changed because of neuroplasticity of the brain.

It is my hope that this brief description has caught the eye of such a daughter or someone who can pass this knowledge on to such a person so that the appropriate healing of these wounds can take place. This author is grateful for Dr. McBride for sharing her personal experience and research with the public.  If you have further interest in this topic you can visit her web site.  She includes a check list that may further help you understand  this phenomenon.  The appropriate insight and therapy is available!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

Sex Addiction: How Do You Know? Find Out Here

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

The Tiger Woods situation created a media frenzy and hyped up interest in the topic of “sex addiction”.  Sex addiction does exist.  Do not doubt it. I have counseled many sex addicts over the course of my practice.

Sex addiction has a number of closely related definitions.  The National Council on Sexual Addiction’s definition is “persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others”. MedicineNet.com states  “that it is used to describe the behavior of a person who has an unusually intense sex drive and an obsession with sex. Sex and the thought of sex tend to dominate the sex addict’s thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships. … It is associated with risk taking.” It leads to destruction of relationships, families, careers, etc…

Behaviors associated with sexual addiction include:

  1. Compulsive and excessive masturbation
  2. Multiple affairs
  3. Multiple or anonymous sexual partners and/or one-night stands
  4. Consistent use of pornography
  5. Unsafe sex
  6. Phone or computer sex (cybersex)
  7. Prostitution or use of prostitutes
  8. Exhibitionism
  9. Obsessive dating through personal ads (watching others) and/or stalking
  10. Sexual harassment
  11. Molestation

Sexual addiction is like any other addiction.  It is a form of self medication giving the addict a short term burst of pleasure, adrenalin rush, as do other addictions, i.e. excessive use or behaviors related to alcohol, drugs, smoking, eating, shopping, gambling.  That activity which gives intense pleasure, is out of balance, and harms one’s life or that of others is considered an addiction.

Most all addictions emanate from attempts to block or ameliorate painful feelings and thoughts associated with earlier hurtful, possibly traumatic, experiences in one’s life.  Dysfunctional family, abuse, neglect, trauma all are creators of such pain and lead one to find inappropriate behaviors to stifle the pain.  Oftentimes these memories are buried in the unconscious – but they still are present and impact an individual through life to some degree. Addictive behavior creates an adrenalin rush masking and soothing the pain. A state of being is created that is stimulating and numbing. These “highs , however, become less and less over time and it then takes more and more of addictive behaviors to get that high state of being.

Dr. Patrick Carnes is probably the leading sex addiction expert in the United States. Many years ago I heard him speak at a Medical Conference in Atlanta.  Any skepticism I may have had in regard to the existence and impactfulness of sex addiction was erased by his compelling and well documented presentation. It is at his Center that Tiger Woods allegedly went for   treatment.  Dr. Carnes’ book, IN THE SHADOWS OF THE NET, addresses compulsive sexual addiction on the internet.  If you have further interest in the topic of sex addiction I encourage you to google him.  His website has much valuable information as well as online tests to help assess one’s sexual addiction proclivity. I attended a Conference a year ago entitled: “Sex  Addiction, Cybersex, and Family Treatment Implications”. The presenter was Dr. Stefanie Carnes, Patrick’s daughter. Her latest book is MENDING A SHATTERED HEART: A GUIDE FOR PARTNERS OF SEX ADDICTS. I recommend it.  Her presentation was based on solid research.

Treatment for sex addiction is available and can be effective if the sex addict overcomes the usual defense of denial, owns the problem, and commits to a process of recovery. Usually some kind of crisis has to occur to open the eyes of the addict that a serious problem exists. Significant others of the sex addict can be most impactful in helping the addict recognize the problem and get on the path of recovery and wholeness.  Certain therapists are qualified to be of assistance, as well as treatment recovery centers that exist around this country.  Many of the therapeutic models include the Twelve Step program.

Various support groups are available in the State of Georgia and around the country.  SAA (Sex Addiction Anonymous), SCA (Sexual Compulsives Anonymous), SRA (Sexual Recovery Anonymous) would be a few of the more well known and effective groups.

Sexual activity, like any other activity, is one that can be healthy and additive to the person and his or her significant other.  Sex is a core part of a person’s nature and is meant to be expressed for personal and couple pleasure. There are moral, physical, and psychological factors that are the parameters of expression.  Balance is important here.  There are those prudish people who are afraid of and critical of sexual expression. At the other extreme are the sexual libertines who cross healthy boundaries in making sexual expression cheap and degraded.

There is so much more that could be written about sexual addiction and I encourage you to learn more about it particularly if you, or someone special to you, may have this addiction. Sex, and especially sexual addiction, is not easily spoken of in polite society.  Its importance and interest, however, invite all to learn more and become comfortable, loving, and pleasured by its appropriate expression.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”     Socrates

A Man Needs to Pursue and Love Well the Woman Who Touches His Heart

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Zac Brown continues to help me out.  I am always looking and listening for something to trigger an idea for an article that I hope would be of interest and benefit to you, Respected Reader. After hearing Zac’s , “AS SHE’S WALKIN’ AWAY”, I had an “aha” thought.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Now I’m falling in love as she’s walking away;  and my heart won’t tell my mind to tell my mouth what it should say. … Now I’m fallin’ in love as she’s walkin’ away.

Two themes come to mind in regard to a man inviting, and keeping, a woman into his heart and life.

  1. Men, don’t be afraid to approach a woman that attracts you. Get past the fear of rejection. Don’t miss the opportunity and do it with class. She may be the one who will be a special partner for you. Let your heart attraction thrust you forward to connect.
  2. Men, love your lady to the best of your ability so that she does not push her “I’m gone” button. Some men take their lady for granted. They don’t say or do what it takes to have her feel special – deeply loved and appreciated. She is not his number one priority. Business, sports, money, even the kids, perhaps the dog rank ahead of the neglected “invisible” lady.

What I often see is that the woman wants, and deserves, more.  If such love is not forthcoming she finally decides, hopefully after giving a Counseling invitation that may be rejected, that she no longer wants to stay in the relationship. At first the man gets mad, tries to bully her back into the relationship. This rarely works, with the exception of the woman that is weak, needy and co-dependent.  If the bully attempt doesn’t work, then the man’s defense mechanism of anger gives way to the hurt that exists for this loss. He misses her.

Oft times a man doesn’t realize or show his love until she’s “walkin’ away”. Even then he struggles in his attempt to get her back.  His “heart won’t tell his mind to tell his mouth what it should say”.

Bottom line here, men be attuned to the woman you want to be a part of your life.  Do what it takes to pursue and treasure what may well be the greatest source of love and happiness that you may ever have.

If you need further clarification or advice, call Zac.  If he’s not available I know a happily married man who is available, a Marriage and Family Therapist, who continually is “fallin’ in love” with his wondrous wife!

 

“The unexamined life is not worth living”     Socrates