by Homaira Kabir
My youngest always fought with me over the littlest of things. Lately I had even resorted to bribing her in return for the peace it brought.
“Put away your plate,” I reminded her after dinner the other night, “otherwise no iPad.”
“I don’t care,” she retorted. “And you can’t stop me.”
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Most of us try and take personal responsibility for the decisions we make in our life. But sometimes our commitments get the better of us, despite our best efforts. How do we employ new or different strategies to get back on track and prevent a failure?
Well, good news — we have just the blog for you!
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Maybe you took a job that was supposed to be fulfilling, but you dread going to work. Maybe you studied intensely for many months but still didn’t pass the bar. Maybe you thought you’d be married by now, but you aren’t even dating anyone. Maybe you poured your heart into a project or relationship only to get fired or break up. Maybe you and your kids aren’t as close as you were before.
When life doesn’t turn out the way we’d hoped, planned or expected, we feel tremendous disappointment and start doubting everything, including ourselves, writes Christine Hassler, a life coach and speaker, in her book Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life.
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
The outrage for no one being held accountable for Eric Garner’s death at the hands of the police — for selling cigarettes on the street, a petty crime at best — is pouring over.
And it’s no wonder. The officers’ heavy-handed tactics in handling this nuisance crime were over-the-top. Garner repeatedly told the officers, “I can’t breathe,” even as they were suffocating him — apparently oblivious to his very real distress.
If anybody other than a police officer was responsible for Garner’s death, someone would have at least been indicted on a manslaughter charge. But because it was a police officer, no justice will apparently be had.
Sadly, Garner is just the latest in a long history of police “over-zealousness” when it comes to dealing with people who just won’t abide by their instructions. People with a mental illness have long been given short shrift when it comes to being treated with simple decency and restraint by police officers all across the country.
by Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
Perhaps there is no other time than the holidays that exhibits such dichotomy in the way things should be and the way things really are. The season signals a shared ritual of giving and goodwill in its jovial music, decorations and opportunities to give back. Yet, it’s also the time of year that pushes us to finally see a therapist. What accounts for this gigantic division?
I’d say there are a lot of external situations that makes it understandable. But what’s going on outside isn’t to blame. I know a lot of people who don’t get swept up into the holiday chaos. The secret is in their awareness that stress is a choice.
As you’re shopping for the perfect present or struggling to get along with your in-laws, know you have a choice. How much of your self-esteem is wrapped up in what you’re doing? How much are guilt and resentment the result of you not putting yourself as a priority amidst the busy-ness of the season?
As you read our top posts this week, consider how much of your energy is being spent on things you truly want and need to do versus the shoulds that are making you miserable. You’ll discover that calming down your inner critic, being more positive, and self-compassionate are the true merry-making gifts of the season.
by Gary Matloff, PhD
Parenting the older adopted child (or any child, for that matter) can be trying. I forever seem to be competing against his impressions that I just can’t relate to his beliefs, ideas, or perceptions, however reasonable they might or might not be.
After all, adults from his past likely were not paragons of physical, mental, or emotional stability. Notwithstanding more than four years together, why should he regard my intentions any differently? Variability in his trust in me to parent him while sensitively meeting his needs still leaves me with little wiggle room to make the right impression.
by Michael Hedrick
I’ve known the lows of depression, I’ve known the terror of delusions and paranoia and I’ve known the itchiness of anxiety. In every instance, I know I need to calm down. Most times this means going home pulling the covers up and putting on soft music. I do it so much that it’s become something completely natural. Feeling bad? Put on music. It’s almost automatic and because of that I’ve started to take this simple technique for granted.
Music is something magical. It’s salve for all of life’s emotional wounds and I would be remiss in talking about coping techniques if I didn’t talk about music.
by Melody Wilding, LMSW
Every boss has his or her moments when grumpiness or a negative attitude takes hold, causing them to lash out. Our superiors are human, after all, and they are entitled to bad days just like anyone else.
But have you ever worked for someone who seemed to constantly run hot and cold: charming and funny one second, then vicious and manipulative the next? If a power-wielding bully dominates your workplace, you could very likely be working for a psychopath.
by Sarah Newman, MA
Toxic people prey on others. They dominate and control, disregard your needs and feelings. They focus on themselves and don’t seem interested in you at all. They seem to see other people as tools instead of whole, autonomous beings.
You may wonder, who would put up with this?
It seems like toxic people zoom in on those with low self-esteem. When you can’t appreciate yourself, it’s hard to stand up for yourself. You’ll second-guess whether you should walk away from toxic relationships, wondering if maybe your perception is off or you did something to deserve to be treated poorly.
by Aaron Kaplan
Does your partner behave inappropriately and then blames you? This could be emotional blackmail.
Many relationships function on a level that isn’t healthy for either partner, yet each person seems willing to hold onto the relationship at all costs. Their love for each other and desire to remain in the relationship is stronger than the problems they’re going through.
This can most often be seen with lovers in cases of emotional blackmail. This is where one person behaves inappropriately within the relationship and then blames the other for the behavior. The partner receiving all the blame instantly feels guilty and inadequate and wants to try harder to please.
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Play is powerful. I’ve written before about the importance of play for adults. Many of us dismiss play because we assume that once we become adults, it’s time to get serious, get to work and chip away at our to-do lists.
But play actually makes us more productive (in addition to providing us with more joy). That’s because play moves us.
According to Marney K. Makridakis in her excellent book Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life, “When it comes to the intersection of play and productivity, the secret is quite simple: what moves us is what moves us, which simply means what moves us emotionally is what moves us to action.”
Play is never “still, stuck or stagnant; it somehow always moves. So when it comes to manifesting a meaningful life, play works.”
Play is a creative and fun way to discover what a meaningful life looks for us. What does a meaningful life encompass? How can we create it?
by Sherry Katz
Have you ever wanted to be in a relationship but felt frustrated because no matter how hard you tried, disappointment or bad results developed?
As an example, let’s follow Joey through a few years of her life, starting from when she first entered college.
Joey was a reflective, serious, and caring young woman. She had a handful of friends whom she dearly appreciated. They had common interests, shared activities, and were available when any of them asked.
As the college years unfolded, Joey wanted to be in a relationship, similar to the ones she observed her friends starting.