Anger

Keep Your Cool around Hotheads

How many times in your life have you dealt with a hothead? That is someone who overreacts and flies off the handle, doing so with some degree of intensity, consistency, and predictability, typically with minimal provocation. When faced with a hothead who occasionally or repeatedly blows off steam in your direction, how do you process the behavior and keep your cool?

Once you've spent time with a hothead, you learn to expect future over-the-top reactions. Their inappropriate intensity and lack of self-control may show up in limited or multiple scenarios. You may feel uncomfortable, even fearful and embarrassed around these people. They may be aggressive, passive with explosive tendencies, unable to appropriately handle stressful triggers, or lack healthy emotional and physical outlets.

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Anxiety and Panic

Surprise Diagnoses

When I was diagnosed with PTSD at the beginning of the year, it came as a surprise to me. I’d gone to this psychologist for a potential BPD diagnosis. I walked out with not only that, but four years' worth of PTSD as well.

It was surprising because in these four years I’d not once thought about this disorder; it never even occurred to me. But as I thought about it, letting it sink in, things started making sense. And since the diagnosis, I’ve had to think about what happened. Because I really didn’t deal with it; I'm still having trouble figuring out where to go from here.
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Addiction

How Sex Addiction Can Change Mental Illness

I was married to a sex addict narcissist for close to 20 years. My father was a sex addict. I was a stripper many years ago and worked for many years around sex addicts. It started when I visited my father’s house on his weekend to have me after my parents' divorce. He was at work and I was a nosy child. I found a Playboy magazine. I remember it well. Suzanne Somers was on the cover. I slowly turned each page, looking at and soaking in the beauty and perfection of these women.

My immediate thought was that these women looked nothing like my mom. They were doing things my mom would never have done. I think I was only 8 or 9 years old. In that moment, I knew in my mind, like it was complete truth, that if I grew up and became a woman like that, I would be able to keep a man.

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Bullying

How to Argue Respectfully in an Election Season

“He’s a friend of mine but he is so into Trump that I have to curb my urge to punch him. How could he even think that Trump should be president? I never knew he was so shallow.”

“My spouse is for Hillary. How could she be? Hillary thinks she can get away with anything. She’s such a crook. I’d love to knock some sense into my wife’s head.”

How do you handle such differences with people who you otherwise would call your friend? How can you chat with someone when you’re vehemently opposed to their political beliefs? When you do communicate, do you have to end up arguing like 4-year-olds?
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Bullying

Bullying: Schools’ Dirty Little Secret

Meet Eric. Eric was every parents’ dream: motivated, sincere, and well-rounded. He excelled in music and theatre. High school teachers lauded Eric for his intelligence and compassion. But thin, introverted, and painfully self-aware, Eric’s classmates at Mentor High School preyed on the boy’s sensitivity.

At first, Eric shrugged off the name-calling, better to ignore the merciless teasing. But, sadly, the harassment escalated into something more sinister. Pushing, shoving, and physical threats were daily realities. Teachers looked the other way, implicitly condoning the bullying. In a math class, a student glared at Eric and coolly remarked, "Why don't you go home and shoot yourself? No one will miss you."

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Bullying

Family Matters: Self-Preservation Tips

“Maybe when he is older, he will understand mental health’s impact. He will have a girlfriend and, one day, he will get it,” my late mother whispers to me.

I nod, more to appease my weary mother. Her eyes glow when discussing her three sons. With an infectious cackle and mischievous smile, she would tease me about my eccentricities. When I absentmindedly misplaced that night’s homework assignment, she would endearingly refer to me as “Barnacle Breath.”

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Addiction

Screenagers

"Babe, can you put your phone away for a minute? I am trying to talk to you."

We have probably said this. We have all probably had this said to us. Some of us are digital natives -- we grew up glued to a screen. Some of us are digital immigrants, awkwardly attached to our devices like scrambling-to-keep-up voyeurs.

If we took a Google picture of Earth from space at any time of day, we would see millions of stick figures hunched over tiny flickering boxes, as if their lives depended on it.
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Bullying

The Long-Term Effects of Adult Sibling Bullying

You know that sinking feeling all too well. You’re expected to make an appearance at an upcoming family gathering, and you just know your sibling will be there -- putting you down, as usual.

While some parents see bullying among their children as a normal form of sibling rivalry, few people realize that, in many families, it can continue well into adulthood.

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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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Bullying

Kill Them with Kindness

“Matt, you are too sensitive,” a family member said.

I chafed at the label. Sensitivity, within my immediate family, is disparaged as a sign of weakness. Stoicism, with the occasional angry outburst, reigns. Feelings? According to my family, Oprah and I should schedule couch time to discuss them.

In my world, feelings predominate. My mood and emotion vacillate based on a heart-warming compliment or stinging rebuke. When feeling well, I exude confidence and joy. When feeling down, I ruminate and question. Feelings -- and a willingness to experience raw, unfiltered emotion -- define me.
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