Addiction

Repaving the Road

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” - Lewis Carroll
Yesterday, I spent 12 hours sitting in my therapy office as I worked with clients who brought with them, a collective steamer trunk of challenges, trauma history, pain, triumphs to celebrate, healing stories, insights, and wisdom. Thank goodness for those last few items, since if all I saw were the first, I’m not sure how I could have continued my career for the 38 years I have logged. If calculated in dog years, that would equal 342 turns of the calendar pages.
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Grief and Loss

Why We Grieve So Intensely for Our Pets


Your own pet is never "just a dog."

My wife and I recently went through one of the more excruciatingly sorrowful experiences of our long married life: the death of a pet -- the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy.

Losing a dog is hard enough; setting the time and date in advance and then counting down the hours that we had left with her was almost more than we could bear.

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Anger

3 Ways to Work Through the Anger Stage of Grief


(And how to get over it.)

Saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I ever tried to do. I couldn't do it.

People told me to reach out to God but I was too angry. People told me to call them but what did they know? I was too resentful. I’d see old men and wonder why did they get to live and he had to die? I was too pissed.

When Kubler-Ross did her seminal work on grief, she was sure to include a stage on anger.

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Children and Teens

6 Ways to Bond with Your Stepchildren

Step-parents have a tough job. Getting on with your new spouse’s children is absolutely essential for a harmonious life together -- but where to start?

Entering into a blended family situation is challenging for everyone, but it can be especially confusing for children. Their idea of “home” has been turned upside down. They may feel lost, angry or abandoned. There’s no question that step-parents have a delicate and difficult role to play.
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Aging

One Year Later. Mom’s Still Dead.

Grief. It's a funny thing. I don't understand it and I don't want to, I just wish it would go away. One year and a half later and I still find myself crying mid-day because I can't call my Mom to remind me that everything is going to be okay. Sure, the impact of losing her has changed -- the first year I spent many nights dreaming about her, re-living the events leading up to her death, and wishing that I would awaken and somehow she would be there, here, with me. I cried and prayed that I would awaken and find out that this was all unreal, that she somehow miraculously came back to life! That she is still here, still alive, and still with me. Day after day, I waited, hoped, listened, for her return. Wishful thinking...and emotional exhaustion is all that I have been left with.
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Friends

Surviving Infidelity: Why It’s Necessary to Prove That the Affair Has Ended

Recovering from the painful damage caused by infidelity is never easy. In the aftermath of infidelity, marriages and committed relationships that have been built and nurtured over years, even decades, can quickly crumble, leaving one or both partners devastated.

But there is hope and a way forward for those couples who are willing to make the commitment and do the hard work. The trauma of infidelity needn’t last a lifetime.
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General

6 Ways to Stay Busy to Avoid Sadness

"Active natures are rarely melancholy. Activity and sadness are incompatible." – Christian Bovee
Sometimes, you’re just sad. Whether it’s the holiday season, your birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, you can inexplicably feel sadness. It may be that the occasion itself reminds you of a loss, especially if the loss was recent, painful or protracted. You might be sad because you know you didn’t behave with the best of intentions. You could also be sad because you did nothing when you knew you should have done something.
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Family

Caring for Trauma Survivors and Caring for Yourself in the Process: Everyday Tips for Non-Professionals

Elise just told me about her past. I knew she had been through a lot, but not all that. She said her mom hit her and left bruises when she was a kid, her neighbor touched her where she didn't want to be touched, and I guess her brother was alcoholic. There was a lot of other stuff, too. It has gotten better in the last couple years so that is good. I have known their whole family for a long time and never knew any of that.

What do I do now? I want to help somehow, but is there anything to do? I don't know if I should tell someone. I feel sad.

We hope abuse and trauma never happen to ourselves or someone we love. When your sister, long-time friend, or neighbor tells you something you never expected, it can be confusing, upsetting, and scary.
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