4 Tips to Feel Safer in a World of Terrifying Violence

You have more control than you think

Even before the shooting in San Bernadino and terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Kenya, were you wondering how to keep yourself and your family safe? It’s often something we ask others -- usually politicians -- to take care of for us, which can, in turn, actually magnify our sense of powerlessness. It’s as if we think personal safety is outside our control.

While some things are beyond our influence, feeling safe begins from within. Appropriate fear is wired into our systems, inherited from our ancestors who had large animals of prey stalking them as food.
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Anxiety and Panic

The Psychology of Terrorism: Things Not to Be Afraid Of

I feel sorry for people who wake up every morning being afraid. I'm not talking about individuals who suffer from serious anxiety disorders or agoraphobia. Rather, I'm thinking of those who believe that terrorism is a legitimate fear that can actually be addressed by closing our borders and further restricting our rights.

It's difficult to address terrorism because it appeals to our emotional mind. It is, by its very definition, unpredictable. Trying to stop, or even reduce, something that is so unpredictable means expending a lot of resources -- and freedoms. And even then, you may have little to show for it.

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I Won’t Make the Same Mistakes My Parents Made

“I will not make the same mistakes my parents made.” It may be one of the most common sentiments in the world of parenting. But when we express this desire, it is often met with rolled eyes or some other doubtful response. Why is that? Deep down inside, I think we all sense it is much more complicated than we are willing to acknowledge.

Changing our parenting approach from the way we were raised is extremely difficult. The only easy solution is to swing the parenting pendulum to the opposite extreme, which does very little to improve the situation.

It is as though we are hardwired to behave in the same manner. In reality, that may be the truth. Our brain has been wired to perceive reality in a certain way.

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Congress & Policymakers: Stop Scapegoating Mental Illness in Mass Shootings

It's time that the United States Congress and national policymakers stop scapegoating mental illness for mass shootings in America. It's a simplistic -- but entirely wrong -- answer to mass shootings and gun violence in the United States. And it's also time that we hold our representatives in Congress accountable to have them stop shamelessly using another violent shooting to push their own agenda -- and blaming mental illness as the cause.

Mass shootings are generally not committed by people with a mental illness. People who commit violent acts with a gun are far more likely to have no history of mental illness. This includes the nearly-daily mass shootings we've experienced in the past three years.

It's time to have a serious, nuanced conversation about this issue -- and stop the simplistic fear-mongering that politicians and policymakers with their own agendas to push seem to revel in.

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Brainwashing in Abusive Relationships

Being in an abusive relationship often feels like torture. Sometimes that's because your partner's behavior feels like the torture techniques used by mortal enemies instead.

Brainwashing is defined in the Psychology Dictionary as that which “manipulates and modifies a person’s emotions, attitudes, and beliefs.” It reduces a person’s ability to mentally defend themselves and makes it easier for another person to control them.

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Why Gun Laws Targeting ‘Crazy People’ Would Have Little Benefit

Two days ago, according to FBI crime statistics, approximately 38 murders took place in the U.S. Most of these murders were completed with a gun between two or more people who knew one another.

But people are only talking about two of them -- the deaths of TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by Vester Flanagan (aka Bryce Williams). Flanagan was a disgruntled former worker at the local TV station where the three of them briefly worked at the same time for about 9 months in 2012.

And one of the victims' fathers -- Andy Parker -- has now made it his mission in life to increase common sense gun control laws in the U.S. Targeting "crazy people."

Unfortunately, had his laws been in place, they likely wouldn't have prevented this tragedy -- or most tragedies like this.

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How to Eliminate Recurring Nightmares

All of us have nightmares. Maybe in your nightmare you’re being chased by some terrifying but unknown entity. Maybe you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty vampires or hordes of zombies. Maybe you’re trapped in a room with snakes or spiders or any other animal you fear. Maybe you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck or a violent assault.

Maybe you keep having this nightmare over and over. And it’s so real, so vivid, so frightening that the last thing you want to do is fall back asleep.

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Ethics & Morality

The Hoffman Report: After Years of Lies, Who Holds the APA Accountable?

After years of lying to its members, the public, and other professionals, the American Psychological Association (APA) finds itself in the awkward position of being a professional organization that no longer has a moral or ethical leg to stand on.

According to a new report by independent investigator David Hoffman, not only did individual APA members lie and cover up their extensive involvement with post-9/11 torture. But on behalf of these members, the entire APA organizational structure colluded to keep these lies going.

And not just a decade or more ago. No, the lies and justifications for the lies continued right up until last year. After a book critical of APA's stance on torture was published last year (Risen, 2014), did the APA suggest the book had merit? Nope, instead the APA kept making excuses, discrediting the author and the book saying it was "largely based on innuendo and one-sided reporting" and "a thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture."

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Debunking 11 Domestic Violence Myths

Know the facts.

"If anything is truly equal opportunity, it is battering. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, educational, age and religious lines." - K. J. Wilson, author of When Violence Begins At Home.

Sadly, a US Department of Justice study indicates that approximately one million violent crimes are committed by former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends each year, with 85 percent of the victims being women.

For domestic violence to be defeated, it must begin with information. Here are eleven myths and facts about domestic violence.

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How a New Hobby Helped One Woman Leave an Abusive Relationship

I was 19, and I thought my love would change him.

I’m lying on the bed with my knees up, pushing him away with my feet.

Ross has the fishing knife at my throat. It has a bright orange handle, and has never been taken fishing. Once we took it camping and used it to shuck fresh oysters, but neither of us knew how. And we were too embarrassed to ask, so we smashed them.
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Does the Subway Spread Crime?

Most people probably don't give much thought to the subway. You ride it every day to get into and back from work, and to move around the city to visit friends, grab a drink, or go shopping. Subways are clean, affordable transportation used by millions in many big cities around the world.

And because they're so affordable and reliable, they're used by criminals, too. How much are they used by criminals and exactly what kind of impact they may have on the crime rate is, however, largely an open question. Could subways help explain why the crime rate is higher in urban areas?

So researchers in Washington, D.C. decided to find out.

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Love Gone Awry

"It began as the love of my life; it ended up with a restraining order."

Celeste was trying hard to keep it all together. "He was so loving and attentive. I thought I had hit the jackpot. How could a girl ask for anything more?"

When you’re young, naïve and have a low opinion of yourself, nothing says I love you like "I want to be with you every moment of the day. We were meant for each other. We will always be together as one." Are these Hallmark sentiments, or control masquerading as love?
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