Recognizing and Changing an Abusive Relationship

Worth reading from off the web!

womanInDespairPXfreeThere are three essential elements to an abusive relationship:

1.  Consistent occurrences of power and control over another

2.  Chronic feelings and displays of disrespect

3.  Unhealthy attachment mistaken for love

Abusers are highly deceptive and the victim, as well as others, have no idea that he is being abusive at all.  He purposefully undermines his victim’s individuality and confidence by dominating conversations and suppressing her identity, making her into a mere object for his purposes. He minimizes anything about her, including her opinions, accomplishments, concerns, feelings, or desires.  This causes her to do the same and she learns to minimize herself as well.

Abuse and respect are polar opposites

He has a chronic attitude of disrespect towards his partner.  A respectful relationship is not abusive and an abusive relationship does not contain respect. An abuser views his partner as his property, which allows him to feel powerful and in charge.

It is essential for an abuser to feel this way because he has a fragile ego and delicate sense of self. Without feeling more powerful than his partner he feels weak and vulnerable. Feeling any sense of vulnerability taps into his sense of powerlessness which he is unwilling to experience for any reason. As long as he sees himself in the “one up” position his fragile ego is kept at bay.

Abuse is caused by the belief system of the abuser. The abuser has developed a deeply ingrained sense of superiority and entitlement which does not go away by learning how to manage anger or resolve conflicts. Abusers use anger to control. They engage in conflicts to abuse their partner; show their superiority; and keep intimacy away. Since intimacy requires vulnerability, a feeling abusers avoid at all costs, they have no interest in developing such closeness.

Abuse is not the same as conflict. A conflict involves a difference of opinion. Abuse involves the need for the abuser to stifle the feelings, thoughts, opinions, and values of the abused. An abuser refuses to accept any accountability or responsibility for any of the problems in the relationship. His hallmark attitude is one of superiority and blame. It is not the conflict that is the problem. The abuser caused the conflict in the first place. There can be no resolution.

There is no way to “approach their partner appropriately,” or “pick the right time to address something.”

Abusers can choose any reason to blame his victim for an abusive incident. Abusers abuse because they choose to. It is the abusive mindset that allows them to abuse for a number of reasons:

(1) They are unhappy and they don’t know what to do with their emotions.

(2) They dump their rage and shame on others.

(3) They may have a narcissistic or anti-social personality disorders.

(4) They feel in control, powerful, strong, and superior, which helps them keep all weak, needy, and vulnerable emotions hidden.

(5) Some people abuse because they were taught this as children and operate out of this inner working relationship dynamic.

Whether abuse is physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, financial, spiritual, or some rendition of all of these, there are some basic components of abuse; these are: blame, criticism, neglect, oppression, minimization, rigidity, ridicule, lies, invalidation, lack of accountability, no remorse, no apologies, repeated name calling, double standards, violence, and a consistent lack of empathy.

Realize that abuse, like addiction, is a chronic “disease” that progresses with time, meaning it only gets worse.

Can an abuser be cured?

Of course anything is possible.

Here are the signs that an abuser is changing:

  • he is willing to be accountable to his spouse and others;
  •  he is willing to never have a sense of entitlement in any relationship, for any reason,
  •  he shows self-reflection and insight;
  • he stops blaming others or minimizing, justifying, or rationalizing his own attitudes and behaviors;
  • he listens to and validates others, including his spouse;
  • while he is never going to be perfect, when he messes up, he apologizes, shows insight into what he did wrong, shows remorse, and changes.

 

Abusers in recovery are just like alcoholics in recovery

Alcoholics can never even have one drink ever again in order to maintain sobriety. Abusers can’t be like “normal” people who may be rude or disrespectful at times. Recovery for an abuser needs to be different from what comes natural for the partner. Coddling an abuser and showing him empathy only exacerbates his entitlement. Recovery for an abuser requires that he does not allow himself to ever be rude, disrespectful, entitled, or invalidating ever again. Instead, he is humble and compassionate at all times. No excuses.

About Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Sharie Stines, Psy.D. is a recovery expert specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma and helping people overcome damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma and dysfunctional relationships. Sharie is a counselor at LIfeline Counseling & Education Inc., in Whittier, California (www.lifelinecounseling.org).

Edited for readability   Source: Recognizing and Changing an Abusive Relationship | The Recovery Expert

How to Meditate – in 5 Minutes!

Meditation Apps To Calm Stress And Boost Mood

Worth Reading from Off the Web! By Natasha Baker

In a bad mood but not sure why? New smart phone apps provide short guided meditations designed to help you return to a positive state of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think, a free iPhone app, prompts people to check how they are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically and will recommend three guided meditations between five and 10 minutes long.

“We wanted to give people a friendly and accessible tool to develop these skills – something they could easily integrate into their daily routine,” said Jamie Price, executive director of Tools for Peace, a California-based non-profit company that developed the app.

It aims to help people feel more grounded, calmer and happier, he added, and to recognize emotions and impulses and to react positively.

“The recommended meditations are meant to be a support, to help you deal with whatever is going on from the perspective of kindness and compassion, and with a greater sense of being positively connected,” Price said in an interview.

It includes 15-guided meditations based on Tibetan teachings. Users can track their progress including how long they have meditated and how settled they feel every day.

Canadian singer K.D. Lang, who serves on the group’s board, said she used the app as a reset button for stressful days.

“Our goal is that after using this app people learn how to become calm, and approach their everyday life from the perspective of kindness and compassion,” she said.

A similar free app called Headspace, which is available for iPhone and Android, also teaches meditation and provides a free ten-day program that leads users through short guided meditations.

It also features specialized meditations to improve sleep or reduce stress or other problems, as well as paid programs. Users can track their progress day-by-day in a dashboard and set reminders to keep on top of their practices.

Studies have shown the positive benefits of meditation, including research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that it may be helpful for reducing anxiety and depression.

Buddhify This $5 app describes itself as “the urban meditation app for modern life,” and was named the number-one health app by UK news outlet The Sun. App Store reviewers rave about the app’s clear, simple design and relaxing guided meditations. Customize your meditation to your location: It offers tailored guides for when you’re at home, walking or at the gym.

Mindfulness Meditation By Mental Workout  This best-selling iPhone app by Mental Workout, designed by renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Stephan Bodian, provides guided meditations for both beginners and more experienced mindfulness practitioners. The app features an eight-week program, inspiration talks, body scans and relaxation instructions. According to one App Store reviewer, the app is the best way to learn mindfulness “short of finding your own personal meditation teacher.”

Simply Being  Short guided meditations, with or without music and nature sounds, for relaxation and presence are the focus of this $0.99 app. Perfect for beginners looking for something simple, Simply Being is highly rated for being user-friendly and customizable.

If you want to learn how to be “mindful” or to “meditate”, and you want it NOW, get the app GPS for the Soul or Insight Timer. I love them!

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/meditation-apps-stress-positive-thinking-mood_n_4639232.html#slide=start

Leaning Into Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier!

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

Why Leaning Into Your Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier

2971831831_7ebf8e6860_oby Dina Overland

Life is the most amazing teacher.  It offers us the exact lesson we need, precisely when we need to hear it.

So that means that if you’re feeling emotions like anxiety, anger, sadness, jealousy, or bitterness, then life is offering you an opportunity to understand where you’re stuck in your growth… where you have more to learn… where you could focus your attention.

That’s why you should LEAN INTO those emotions and really FEEL them. Explore them. Consider WHY you’re feeling that feeling. Think about what lesson you can learn from the situation and the feeling you’re having.

It’s when we truly feel and experience ALL of our emotions that we’re able to move past the emotional pain and start receiving more happiness and peace in our lives.

In fact, these so-called negative emotions are actually quite positive — if you take the time to SIT with them. View them as messages to stop what you’re doing and look these feelings right in the eyes.

“To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening,”  ~ Pema Chodron 

I know this firsthand. Although I have accepted and come to peace with the fact that I will most likely only have one child, I still feel sad that I can’t have what I desperately want in my life — more children. In fact, I felt deep heartbreak earlier this year when I learned that three of my close friends were all pregnant.

I knew I had two options — ignore the crippling emotional pain, pretending I was fine with the news or open up my heart and really explore my honest emotions that were stirred up as a result of my friends’ pregnancies.

I opted to follow the advice I give to my clients and feel my feelings. So I gave my sadness and despair a space to exist by limiting my to-do list and social obligations. That freed up my time to practice good self-care tools like journaling, sharing my honest feelings with my husband (and he shared his with me), and meditating so that I was able to fully process the sadness and upset out of my system.

From an outside perspective, it looked like I was moping about for a few days, but I was really letting my sadness have a place to exist — without judgment. I wasn’t stuffing it away, hoping it would just miraculously disappear so I could avoid feeling crappy.

And I felt so much better for my choice to feel my feelings. It was like I healed a part of myself by releasing these emotions.

If you find yourself in a painful situation, and you think you can’t bear a minute more of whatever you’re feeling, follow these three steps:

  1. Become aware that you’re resisting and pushing away the feelings. Simply being mindful of your tendency to avoid feeling emotional pain is a huge step toward moving past that pain and feeling more happiness. That’s because you can’t change a thought or behavior if you don’t know you’re thinking or doing it.
  1. Observe your feelings without judgment. Don’t push them away, but don’t obsess over them either. Just acknowledge them and let them go. One way to do that is to observe your feelings and thoughts simply as “feelings” and “thoughts.” Don’t qualify them as good or bad, positive or negative. Just allow whatever feelings you have to come to the surface and remind yourself with compassion and kindness that you’re merely feeling a feeling or thinking a thought. To help prevent those feelings and thoughts from taking over your life, use this affirmation: I accept all of my emotions and thoughts. It is safe to feel those emotions and think those thoughts. 
  1. Refrain. As I mentioned in Step 1, we often try to distract ourselves from feeling sadness, loneliness, bitterness, and other so-called negative emotions. But try to refrain from diverting your attention away from those feelings. It’s when you refrain — by pausing and being mindful of those feelings BEFORE you take any action based on them — that you’re getting to know your deepest fears and able to heal the wounds that caused the fears. For example, if you’re feeling particularly hurt and lonely after your estranged spouse makes an insensitive comment to you, don’t just lash out in response. Instead, sit with that hurt and loneliness and use the opportunity to consider where else you can work on healing yourself.

Essentially, if we live our lives seeing everything as a chance to heal, then every single moment and experience — even the especially hard ones — is truly a gift helping us grow and welcome deep peace and happiness.

About The Author
Dina Overland is a Spiritual Life Coach helping people (especially mamas) move past their emotional pain so they can stop feeling angry, anxious, bitter, depressed, and alone and start feeling more happiness, love, and peace. Watch her FREE video — From Pain to Joy:  4 Steps to Finding Peace Through Emotional Suffering — connect with her on Facebook, and check out her website.
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Original source: http://truththeory.com/2015/10/29/why-leaning-into-your-uncomfortable-emotions-actually-makes-you-happier/

 

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A Relaxation Exercise

Self Help TidBits

Five-Finger Relaxation Technique

This technique is great for lessening anxiety and building confidence. It only takes a few minutes to learn, and is actually very powerful.

To begin, get in a relaxed position, close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply.

  1. Inhale, and as you exhale, touch your thumb to your index finger. Recall a time when your body felt a healthy fatigue, like how you felt sinking into a chair after a day of hiking, or just stepping out of a hot tub. Breathe deeply and try to feel the heaviness of your muscles.
  2. Next, touch your thumb to your middle finger and think of a time when you had a loving experience – when you felt a strong sense of closeness or connection with another, like a long embrace.  Feel the sensations of warmth and love moving through you.
  3. Now, touch your thumb to your ring finger and recall the nicest compliment you ever received. Listen. Take it in. You might want to imagine thanking this person… Accepting the compliment demonstrates your high regard for this person.
  4.  Finally, touch your thumb to your little finger. As you do, reflect on the most beautiful place you have ever been. Let yourself soak in the environment – the colors, light, breeze, sounds, texture and smells. Allow yourself to stay in this place for a while.

Now gently bring yourself back to where you are. Remind yourself that you can awaken this experience any time throughout your day by touching each finger, saying:

5-finger relaxation

5-finger relaxation

 

More TidBits – Therapy self-help

 

How to Fix Everything!

Being Alive copyFreeing the mind from hidden beliefs.

~ Excerpts from Byron Katie

“Beyond what the mind tells us is always kinder than what it sees, that’s the privilege of an open mind. 

As the  mind matures, it learns as a student of itself. Everything adds to it, enlightens it, reveals itself to it, feeds it. Nothing is against it and never was. This is a mind that has graduated out of a polarized state. It’s no longer split; it has ceased to be two-sided.

As the mind begins to open,  it’s living out of a fearless, undefended state, and it’s excited, hungry for knowledge. It realized that it’s everything, so it learns to exclude nothing. This excitement eventually levels to an openness that is so gentle, so without opposition, that it is experienced from all angles,and there is simply nothing to defend. And in the absence of defense it is openness.

Because I no longer defend, it’s not possible to oppose anything but my own thinking.

When there’s no opposition, the chaotic mind, whether it’s verbal or not, hears itself, because that’s all there is to hear. It notices loudly that the only opposition is its own.

I have noticed that in the face of what we are believing, reality waits to be noticed; eventually we wake up to it or not.

“The Work” is about collapsing that time, that dream, that trance. The unquestioned I-know mind will lead you to believe that your stressful thought in the moment is not only true but it is true forever. It is powerful enough to create the entire world as you understand it.

In this moment now, all the pain that was ever suffered in the world is past, and that is the grace that we cannot appreciate when we are believing our past/future stories.

Because the mind is believing its thoughts, often we feel tortured now as we live.

But the story we superimpose onto reality can be hell.  I invite all people directly to the wisdom inside them, and The Work can take you there anytime you are open to your own self, your own true wisdom. Find the way out of the nightmares that you experience by going in.

Until you wake up to reality in the moment, it is very difficult, even impossible, to love what is. Have you noticed?

The only thing that can cause you stress is the story of a past or a future.

What I love about the past is that it’s over! What I love about the future is that it doesn’t exist. What I love about this moment now is that I can “be” this, be that, I am awake. No problem!”

Find out more about “The Work” at thework.com

All You Want to Know About Therapy

For Therapy to work, you must have a good connection…

and that’s why        

self-help books don’t work.

Our emotional lives, with all their emotional cues, are on board before any verbal or conceptual ability appears. And the consequences of these experiences are unaffected by intellectual efforts to change them.

That may be because emotions, and our most powerful “memories”, seem to be stored in the right hemisphere of the brain. And yet our thinking (or intellectualizingis a left-hemisphere activity.

Books and conversations about why we act the way we do are certainly helpful, but they don’t seem to be enough to effect real changes in our interactions with the world and ourselves.

So how can we make real changes?

Only by recreating as much as possible the initial conditions in which the processes were created in the first place.

We are born wired to seek connection with others. 

You may have heard that your first loves (parents) create the models for every relationship there after. They become our relationship-blueprints. Our experiences, especially with our caregivers, will become unconscious, intuitive memories that form the basis of our emotional life.

So if you want to change the deep, unconscious patterns that define your reactions to life’s events, you need an environment that can mirror those earliest connections, while, ideally, re-writing them (“neuroplasticity”). The result is a more harmonious existence in your current situations.

A powerful way to do this is through a positive connection with a trained professional (i.e., a psychotherapist). Good therapy aims to create a safe connection with the client so that emotional healing can take place.

And there is more to it, of course. Techniques that require direct experience have proven effective, such as working with the “inner child , mindfulness meditations, Journaling and others. I believe these techniques work because they access the right-brain.

When my client opens up to me as much as they can in a session, I know that we are accessing the right-brain. In doing so, the chances for authentic change become possible.

If you’d like to contact me, have a question, or want to chat, please click the link:

Work and contact info

call, 801-252-6754 (private voicemail, 24/7),

or Email me:  JaneLCSW@gmail.com

And Please Join Me :  Jane A. Weiss, LCSW on Facebook

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Mindfulness Meditation, anxiety and Depression

A Treatment For Depression – As Effective As Talking To A Therapist?

MEDITATION
 Even though a growing body of research has demonstrated the legitimate mental and physical health benefits of meditation, some people still consider mindfulness to be merely a New Age fad rather than a serious treatment option.

Now, a new Swedish study offers more compelling evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness-based practices in treating anxiety and depression.

Researchers from Lund University found group mindfulness treatment to be as effective as individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating individuals suffering from anxiety, depression and severe stress responses — and it may be more affordable and convenient.

 The research was conducted at 16 health care centers in Southern Sweden. A total of 215 patients with anxiety, depression or severe stress reactions were randomly sorted into either a regular treatment group, in which they underwent individual CBT sessions, or underwent 10-patient group mindfulness treatment sessions. Both programs lasted for eight weeks.

Before and after the treatments, the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires to determine the severity of their anxiety and depression symptoms. Among both groups, self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression decreased. The researchers noted that there was no statistical difference between the CBT and the mindfulness groups.

While a growing body of research has shown mindfulness treatment to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression, the new Lund research is the first to show mindfulness to be as effective as traditional forms of therapy.

Earlier this year, a review of 47 studies showed that evidence of a positive effect of mindfulness on managing anxiety, depression and pain had been proven across a number of clinical trials.

“Clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress,” the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in January.

This reduction of symptoms is likely rooted in actual changes in the brain. In 2011, Harvard researchers found that participating in an eight-week mindfulness training program created significant changes in brain areas associated with sense of self, empathy, stress and memory. MRI data revealed that meditation increased gray-matter density in the hippocampus, a region associated with learning and memory, and decreased density in the amygdala, a brain region associated with fear, anxiety and stress responses.

The findings were published online last week in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Original article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/01/mindfulness-depression-an_n_6247572.html?cps=gravity_3405_5015353437465284738