Family

Coping When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

Jaci came to see me one month before the christening of her niece, for whom she was honored to be named godmother.

Jaci could turn off the familiar anxiety video playing in her head. This is what Jaci imagined would happen at the christening, given her past experience with her narcissistic mother, Betsy.

Jaci would be taking with friends and family at the party after the service, having successfully avoided her mother’s company at church. She’d be feeling happy. It would be a joy to hold the baby and know her sister trusted her to be godmother. Then, Betsy appears at her side, cutting into the conversation.
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Books

The #1 Thing You Need to Do When You Are Stuck in a Rut

"Many people are in a rut and a rut is nothing but a grave."

Have you ever heard this quote before? It came from the mouth of Vance Havner, and it sure packs a punch! Feeling unhappy is something we like to avoid, but it happens to all of us at some point. Feeling miserable and being stuck there is bound to happen as well. The very nature of life guarantees us times when we will feel this way, no matter what we do.

So how do we climb out of this dark place when our turn comes? What is the quickest way to go from miserable to happy? New York Times best selling authors Esther and Jerry Hicks believe we can climb out of any situation by taking one step. In their book The Astonishing Power of Emotions, they reveal how following the right thoughts can take us to unimaginable heights.
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Creativity

Be Smart About Time: 7 Tips to Use It Wisely

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

While we know that time is precious and a scarce resource, reflect for a minute at how often we find ourselves wasting the time we have. Frittering away hours at the computer, playing video games, watching endless hours of TV, and any number of other voracious time-wasting activities can leave you feeling edgy, restless and incomplete.

Nothing good comes from deliberate squandering of time. Note that this isn’t the same as when you consciously choose to engage in a hobby or pastime or recreational or leisure activity. Everyone needs time to play, to rest and recharge, and to gain a new perspective on life. Play time helps you lower stress levels, eases tension, and provides the opportunity to see things clearer and without distraction. Solutions come easier after you take the time you need to play.
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Addiction

Vulnerability Equates to Success

As a society, we tend to hide from being vulnerable. We are taught from an early age to be strong, be confident, to be anything but vulnerable. This thinking, however, is flawed. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. It is not weakness.

When we are vulnerable, we are showing courage. We are thinking with our brains while also using our intuition. We are creating change and learning to adapt. We are, in the best sense, living. So, if we are afraid of being vulnerable, are we afraid of truly living?

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Children and Teens

Communicating with Your Teen

Having healthy communication with your teen is important to their well-being. Approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before adulthood and depression increases a teen’s risk for attempting suicide by 12 times. These numbers indicate teens need someone to turn to.

Some parents struggle having a dialogue with their growing teen for a number of reasons, including fear of certain topics, strictness or busy-ness. The tips below can help you open the lines of communication.

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General

9 Ways to Increase Your Inner Happiness Reserve

According to a recent study published earlier this year in the journal of Happiness Studies, people who rate themselves as the happiest are more likely to share a certain gene. Despite the findings of this study, can it be as simple as that? One’s emotional state or temperament cannot just be boiled down strictly to one’s DNA. That being said, since one might not be able to control their genetic blueprint, there are a myriad of important factors in one’s own life, like their environment, and personal life choices/outlook that can increase or decrease one's satisfaction in life.

A few are mentioned below. Work to cultivate these traits on a daily basis. Doing so can trump any potential deficiencies in your happiness trait(s) that you might be born with.
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Anger

How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

“If I accept that I can never have a real relationship with my father, it feels like I don’t have a father. If I accept that, am I still a son?”

Jack’s Story:

Jack is a 45-year-old architect, recently married for the first time. He came to therapy to deal with long-standing feelings of depression. His wife, ten years younger than Jack, wanted to start a family. Jack had spent years keeping a cool and cordial distance from his critical father. Now, as his wife pressed him to become a father himself, he felt flooded by sadness and insecurity. Could he be a good father? What if he messed it up?
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Anxiety and Panic

7 Ways to Cultivate Calm and Practice Self-Care

Some of us have a hard time relaxing. A very hard time. Maybe our minds race and rarely stop. I still need to finish those tasks on my list. What about that other thing? I can’t relax now, I need to wash the dishes, dust, fold the laundry, sweep, pay the bills, fix that problem and…Maybe our bodies are tense and tend to be on high alert. Often.

But we don’t have to resign ourselves to feeling on edge all the time or most of the time. We don’t have to resign ourselves to not being unable to unwind or breathe a sigh of relief. Regularly. We can cultivate calm by practicing a variety of healthy techniques.
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Bullying

Fighting Depression at Work

“Fighting depression” does not appear on any job description.

Conducting job duties -- no matter how menial or how daunting -- has never been an issue for me. In one job, I faithfully took a former boss’s clothes to and from the cleaners. In another, I had the pleasure of demonstrating a business solution for those who run a global corporation. Due to past traumas that occurred during previous jobs, however, I constantly fight an inner war against depression.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

There’s a Best Time to Talk to Your Therapist — And That Time Is Specific to You

You’re likely aware that your energy and your mood shift throughout the day. Have you ever noticed you also have preferences for certain activities at certain times? You like to wake around the same time in the mornings. Exercise feels best at the same time, day after day. Your appetite follows a daily pattern, too, as do your desire for sex and physical intimacy.

The body’s bio rhythms regulate much of how we feel and what we do. The bio clock that keeps these rhythms in sync runs a little differently from one person to the next. These individual differences in bio time result in preferences for morning or evening activity, or something in between. (That’s why you like to rise with the sun and your partner hits the snooze button five times. Or vice-versa.)
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General

Why We Can’t Accept Ourselves — and Small Steps to Start

There are all sorts of obstacles that stop us from accepting ourselves. For starters, it might be a combination of scarce self-knowledge and wounds from our past, said Alexis Marson, LMFT, a psychotherapist who specializes in working with individuals, couples, families and children.

We often lack knowledge and awareness about our emotions. And the most damaging past wounds tend to stem from our caregivers. Marson shared this example: You feel angry and interpret your parents as disconnecting from you. You do everything you can to dismiss or ignore your anger so you can maintain the connection. “If we've cut off our ability to feel anger, we aren't aware of that part of our self. You cannot accept something you don't even know is there.”
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