Many of us say mean things to ourselves on a regular basis. I’m such an idiot. I’m such a failure. I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake! Oh, wait, yes, I can. I can’t believe I get anxious over the smallest things. Why can’t I do anything right?
We berate ourselves constantly. The negative dialogue becomes so automatic we don’t even realize we’re doing it. It becomes the soundtrack to our lives, insults playing in the background between breakfast and lunch, during work and all the way to bedtime.
As a child, you probably remember the joyful feeling of receiving a holiday basket, many times (if you celebrated Easter) featuring a giant chocolate bunny, front and center. Large and beautifully wrapped in twinkly tinfoil, it was clearly the highlight of the entire gift. But chances are, once you bit in you were quickly disappointed. On the inside it was just hollow.
That is what a relationship with a narcissist is like. In the beginning there’s flash and excitement. Their presence is magnetic and he or she seems larger than life. They are intelligent, charming, and popular, and when they’re the center of attention, some of the spotlight shines on you, too, leaving you glowing with pride, importance, and accomplishment. Yet after a while, you discover that under the surface the relationship is hollow. Soon, the excitement and status wear thin.
Parents often use therapy as a last resort, said Kate Leyva, a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in working with children, teens and families in Lafayette, Calif.
So by the time your child starts working with a therapist, you may be feeling helpless, scared, angry and ashamed. Many parents do, said Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a child and family therapist. “Many parents feel shame for not being able to ‘parent’ their child’s emotional and behavioral difficulties and struggles away.”
Sometimes bad boundaries can disguise themselves as compassion.
I didn’t realize this until eight or nine years into therapy. I always thought I opened my arms for anyone and everyone who needed help because of my years training to be a nun, as my responsibility to “let peace begin with me,” the final refrain to “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” a favorite hymn we sang at St. Charles Borromeo Grade School.
Only in the safe place of therapy did I discover that much of my rescuing others had more to do with a fear of setting boundaries than with my generosity. Yes, I have a good heart and am extremely sensitive to the hurting people in this world. But I am also scared to death to say, “Stop. I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”
On a past episode of Super Soul Sunday, Oprah talked to Madonna Badger, a woman who truly embodies resilience and what it’s like to experience immense grief and survive it.
Badger tragically lost her parents and three daughters on Christmas day 2011 in a house fire. Her ability to overcome this tremendous loss has become a source of strength and inspiration for many suffering hardship.
May her wise words be a reminder that healing takes time and that it can’t be banished by distraction or by willing them away. Love and experiencing our feelings are the only way.
“Time doesn’t heal anything, I don’t think. You just sort of learn how to live with it a little bit better. And I don’t hurt myself. Those [alcohol/drugs] are the kinds of things that don’t help at all. You have to actually feel the feelings okay…But it’s so much more in my experience, it’s so much more painful to stay outside of that pain. And the latest thing for me has been about that I can’t outrun my pain like just going as fast as I can, doing as much as I can, almost like in a manic way. I can’t do that it. It doesn’t work.” – Madonna Badger on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday
If you’re suffering right now, use our posts to find comfort and solace in the knowledge that you’re not alone. You can get through even the most difficult of moments by checking in with your feelings, being kind to yourself and rediscovering who you really in are in light of whatever struggles you’re currently enduring.
At any given time I can bring to mind a fatal accident. Something violent and tragic is upon me, and it’s going to happen any second.
Riding in the car — a vehicle will suddenly crash into the back of us and send us careening off the freeway. Walking the dog — a larger animal will come out of nowhere and eviscerate my pet. Blowing out the candles on my birthday cake — a gas line will explode. Sitting in front of an open window — someone will reach inside and hit me over the head.
During my college years in the 1970s, I was awed by the book Be Here Now, a counterculture bible. It was written by former Harvard psychologist and spiritual teacher Ram Dass. It sold over two million copies and was one of the first guides for Westerners interested in embodying Eastern spiritual teachings. It has influenced luminaries such as Steve Jobs, Wayne Dyer, and Michael Crichton.
So you’ve scoured the Internet, read a bunch of self-help books, and even seen a therapist to help you learn how to communicate effectively with your partner. Eventually you come to the conclusion that no matter how fairly you fight with your partner, he or she just doesn’t fight fairly in return.
It’s hard to want to fight fairly with your partner when he or she responds with defensiveness, criticism, contempt or stonewalling. I’d like to start by saying that many people find it hard to communicate fairly with their partner if their partner is difficult to communicate with. Why bother fighting fairly when your partner isn’t?
Critical people make rude comments, judge our decisions, talk at length about what we’re doing wrong or rarely have anything nice to say. One way to deal with them is to stop being with them altogether.
But this isn’t easy to do when the critical person is your boss, colleague, family member or your partner’s father. In other words, you can’t just stop seeing them for the rest of your life. And in some cases you might have to interact with them on a daily basis.
I’m a huge fan of children’s literature (in fact, I’m in three reading groups where we read children’s and young-adult literature), and Laura Ingalls Wilder has always had a special place in my heart.
So I was thrilled when I found out that her book Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, was being published. I raced through the book last week; so fascinating. For instance, it turns out Nellie Olsen was an amalgam of three annoying girls.
When you hear the word “schizophrenia” a lot of symptoms probably come to mind. Some of them, unfortunately, are sensationalized or completely inaccurate, like “split personality.” You might have said hallucinations, hearing voices, being paranoid, and thinking you’re God. Sure, that could be schizophrenia. But what about memory loss?
My brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2006. For a year he thought people were surveilling him, coming into our home to install cameras, listening to his conversations whenever he was outdoors. He didn’t have a reason for it. He didn’t thinking he was a god, a king, or the Second Coming. He believed he was a target for the government — this was around the time the media began to cover the privacy violations stemming from the Patriot Act.
I have been a binge eater for as long as I can remember, but I can remember specifically when it evolved into bulimia. I was 17 years old and almost 200 pounds. I hated to throw up so I did research to find a way around it and this is how I discovered laxatives. I still abuse laxatives and enemas almost 10 years later. It is a lot more controlled because I’m not in denial about the illness.
For the longest time, I referred to it as “my eating thing.” I didn’t see it as a big deal because it had insinuated itself into my life as second nature. I would eat anywhere from 800 to 1,500 calories in one sitting and then take laxatives to purge.