Reparenting Yourself and why it's Important

Reparenting Yourself and why it's Important

Last blog "Satiating the Need for Emotional Connection" we discussed how to notice if and why you're feeling emotional hunger in relationships. If you've noticed that there's something more that's blocking you from having meaningful relationships, I invite you to take a step inward . 

I'd like you to look at how much of what is happening may be related to you, or your difficulty in connecting or sharing vulnerably in relationships. 

If you keep hitting the same wall in relationships, it will be helpful to  uncover some old relationship patterns, so that you can heal parts of yourself. One of the ways you can do this is by re-parenting parts of yourself stuck in the past that may be acting out.  

You can learn new ways of relating to self and others, acquire better skills for healthy connections and open the doorway meaningful relationships in your life. 

You can experience the relief that comes from  working through the blockages that are holding you back from satiating relationships. 

 

Satiating the Need for Emotional Connection

Satiating the Need for Emotional Connection

In the past blog I discussed the concept  of emotional hunger.  If you’re in relationships that feel disconnected or where you're left thirsty for real, steady connections, read on. 

What are emotional needs? And what does it meant to feel emotionally satiated?

Emotional hunger is similar, yet different to physical hunger. Try to remember the last time that you were incredibly hungry. Your tummy grumbled and your digestive track got the walls ready to secrete digestive enzymes, preparing for the food you'll be eating. You digestive track knows what to do to take in the nutritional components to feed your body and release the rest. There certain foods that are nourishing for your body and leave you feeling satiated and others that leave you craving more.

As well, your mood and state of being  affects how the food settles and when your body signals that you're full. If you're calm you can "Rest and Digest", however if you're in a  state of survival, feeling anxious or worried, you're in "Fight or Flight" and your digestive tract stops working until you're in a "rest and digest mode".

Here are some points between hunger and the way you feel.

On Being a Mindful Parent

On Being a Mindful Parent

How can you provide a framework for your children to develop into confident, solid individuals who can build meaningful lives?

Let's take a look at the trajectory of a life. A child comes into this world seeking safety, seeking love, seeking connection and responsiveness. What matters beneath it all is that the child knows he is seen, heard, responded to and reassured with safety. This way he can begin to trust that he is safe in the world around him.  

Based on the attachment theory (based off the work of John Bowbly and Mary Ainsworth) there are four S's of secure attachment:

1)FEELING SEEN  Sensing you are seen by your primary caregivers/parents and loved ones.

2)BEING SOOTHED Receiving soothing and by primary caregivers/parents and loved ones.

3)SENSE OF SAFETY Knowing that you are safe with your primary caregivers/parents, and when you feel fearful, the rupture is repaired within a short period of time.

4)SECURITY Security that you can rely and depend on you caregiver/parents.

Based on my training in attachment theory, secure attachment is necessary in each individual relationship. The child needs to build security with each parent or loved one, individually.

Adulting and Why It's Terrifying

Adulting and Why It's Terrifying

Do you recall thinking about all those adult dreams you had? And how awesome life would be?

Maybe while you were planning college, starting your first adult job or starting to seriously date. It may have been as you were planning the joyous days of mommyhood ahead. You envisioned a life that is defined by you, and filled with moments that taste sweet. 

You may have a sense that things are working out. Life feels like its going to plan, as you had hoped. You may have faced some super bumpy places, yet kept going. You may have ended up at a slightly different destination yet are still plowing ahead at your goal. 

A popular comment that comes up often in my office is the sentence "I didn't think becoming an adult would be THIS hard!". Many people have wanted to finally feel independent, make decisions and play out their lives, and maybe even give their own little ones a better life than they had. What is sometimes forgotten is the fact that things dont just "slip into place". A good life is built, not just fed to you.

What does EMDR therapy look like?

What does EMDR therapy look like?

EMDR is an Eight Phase Treatment:

  • Phase 1: History is where we take a trauma-focused history to see if EMDR is right for you. We pay specific attention to information pertaining to stressful life events, situations where you experienced loss, trauma or where you may have developed a negative believe about yourself. We will also discuss your family's trauma history as impacts you as well.
  • Phase 2: Preparation is the phase where you begin learning ways to "resource" yourself, learning calming skills, positive resources including safe space, container exercise, and a number of supports that will help keep you grounded when doing the processing work. We'll also strengthen you current coping skills, adding them to your resources. You'll get to practice bilateral stimulation to get a feel of what it's like. 

Emotional Hunger?

Emotional Hunger?

What is this thing we call hunger? 

Hunger represents the physiological need to eat food. Feeling satiated is the absence of hunger. Appetite is the desire to eat food. When your belly is empty, the hormone called ghrelin is produced by the stomach triggering a hunger message. Satiety is the feeling of fullness that tells you to stop eating. 

Now let's look at emotional  hunger, its sensations and how it plays itself out. Every single one of us gets hungry. We get hungry physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and sexually. We come into this world needing, from our primary caregiver; our moms to feed us and give us nurturing, and protection and safety from our dads. We need acceptance and permission to play with friends and family. 

Harvard study on Happiness

Harvard study on Happiness

Do you ever find yourself scratching your head wondering "how will I find happiness"? 

There was a recent survey given to millenniuls asking them what their most important life goals were. Over 80% responded by saying they would like to get rich, and over 50% of the same group shared that they would also like to attain fame in their lifetime. 

The not-so-subtle message we receive is to do more, work  harder and keep spinning that wheel until we achieve. 

The truth is that those are layers of sand covering the very treasure that hold  the secret of happiness. 

Harvard's 75 year study on Adult Development has quiet possibly been the longest study ever done. The researchers have been following  724 individuals, beginning in year 1938  tracking boys from teenage-hood, up until their current stage in life, tracking their work, home lives, health and professions. 

FAME.

FAME.

Who likes being plain old simple plain Jane?

Or plain ol' Tom, Dick or Harry?

As I write this, I'm brought back to the time when I wrote my entry letter for graduate school. I remember writing about the field of psychology. I had this birds eye view of the world and of society; I looked down at the people around and had started my paper with" We exist in a world where individuals feel like they're in a rat race in which there is no way they can ever really win...." I saw the rush, the hurry, the starvation for being "it" for being "louder", "cooler" "funnier", more successful, more resilient......MORE, stronger, better, different!

How exhausting is that?

Forgiveness. Can I?

Forgiveness. Can I?

Carl Rogers wisely says, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Forgiveness is one of the hardest lessons to learn and even more difficult to implement. At the same time, forgiveness is one of the first steps necessary in order to create a shift, a change, steering towards a new direction for yourself. 

How is it then, that we forgive ourselves for bad choices, habits, broken relationships, or having been stuck in the muck of "just getting-through-ness" for a while? 

Let's define what forgiveness is. 

Forgiveness has a similar flavor to acceptance. Some people confuse acceptance as "I'm ok regardless of my choices or actions". That's actually not the case. Acceptance is recognizing your reality, seeing your mistakes and flaws for what they are and how there were consequences because of them (no one gets away scot free).  In order to move on and fully forgive and accept, we need to take a bottle of windex and give that glass a good, solid scrub. Something was blocking your vision from seeing your full reflection, from seeing yourself and the choice and behavior you engaged in. Clarity is key. Looking at reality in the face, sitting with it and holding the wisdom you have to gain from the experience. Only then can you move onward. 

Panic. Attack.

Panic. Attack.

WHAT. IS. HAPPENING. TO. ME. IN. A. PANIC. ATTACK.

I want to explain to you exactly what is happening to you when you're having anxiety or maybe even a panic attack.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

I know that when you feel anxious the last thing you have a sense of is POWER, so here is some information for you to hold onto. 

Here's whats happening in your brain. 

Do we share the same parents?

Do we share the same parents?

Do you ever sit and wonder "Was I raised by the same parents as my sister or brother?"

"They have such  a different connection or dynamic than I ever had or can ever imagine having with them".

Yup. Those are thoughts many siblings have about each other. No, it doesn't mean that your parents are that different in the ways they are from moment to moment. It would get exhausting if they changed the way they spoke to differ between each child. 

However, although there aren't external differences, there are many subtle differences in ways that parents relate to each child. So yes it is very possible, and almost probable, that you have been engaged with in a totally different way than your sibling(s).

You may find that your dad adores your older bother, believeing he can do no wrong, but you always mess up no matter what you try. You may be trying to get the approval from you mom for years but no matter how many ways you go, she never even notices the efforts you put in. Or, you may feeling like the "average kid", never really making trouble but never really feeling seen at all. That's gotta hurt. 

Treatment Interventions

Treatment Interventions

Following up with the previous post about suicide and how we can prevent the numbers form rising, here are a number of available treatment options. As each kind of therapy is uniquely different, I've delineated some popular treatment modalities in some detail for you to get a clearer sense of the many options out there. 

Treatment options

Inpatient:

Hospitalization: Individual may need to be hospitalized until stabilized and no longer a threat to themselves.

Residential Facility: Here the individual is provided an individual therapist, a psychiatrist for medication management as well as partaking in group therapy and experiential and recreational therapy. This supportive environment addresses their needs on many levels as well as planning  for integrating back into their home life while continuing outpatient treatment.

Outpatient:

Individual Therapy sessions: Depending on the need individual therapy may once, twice or three times per week.

There are many forms of treatment and many different therapists. Finding the right therapist can feel daunting and at the same time when you find the right person for treatment you will experience a sense of relief and a knowing that you are on the pathway to healing.

Argh. Anxiety!

Argh. Anxiety!

Argh. Is your anxiety getting the best of you no matter how hard you try to shut it down?

People come to me because they don't like how their anxiety makes them feel. 

Here are some ideas to get your anxiety upward and far far away. Let's let Mr. Anxiety know he's not a wanted visitor, at least not as frequently as he's been coming! Try two or three of these suggestions and do them, do them, do them. Yes, practice practice practice and you'll be teaching your brain a new way to interact with the panic and worry. Neural pathways can be strengthened and you can totally build a new network in your brain. One that can survive tough worry filled moments.   

Suicide.. .. ..

Suicide.. .. ..

Suicide.

Acknowledging and addressing the issue.

News hit that yet another beautiful soul has passed. We've crept to the number of 138 deaths in our community within the past year. Some of these deaths have been suicide and others have been due to drug overdose.  They both result in the unfortunate passing of a life ending too soon, however it is important we understand the difference. Death by suicide stems from the intention to stop the pain and leave the world of the living. Death by drug overdose is unintentional.

However,  the spiral of addiction is insurmountable and  individuals find themselves losing control of their life yet not necessarily with intend to leave this world.  At the core, both those wrapped in the addiction web and those who take their lives, live with an overwhelming feeling of hopeless, helplessness and utter despair. The causes, interventions and trajectory for healing are different.  In order to give the reader a clear understanding, these issues will be addressed separately. In this issue, suicide will be addressed. The goal of this article is to address the issue of suicide and how, as a community, we can intervene.

Enmeshment, what's that?

Enmeshment, what's that?

HOW TO UNTANGLE YOURSELF FROM ENMESHMENT

Healthy emotional and physical boundaries are the basis of healthy relationships. Enmeshed relationships, however, are sorely lacking boundaries.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN AN ENMESHED RELATIONSHIP? 

Individuals in enmeshed relationships depend on each other to make them feel good, whole or healthy, they depend on each other to "fulfill" their emotional needs.

These individuals have a hard time sensing, knowing or feeling this is who "I am" and that is who "you are"; they lose their individuality and get swept away by a compelling need to meet the other person's needs

Enmeshment is a description of a relationship between two or more people where personal boundaries are unclear. Often, this happens on an emotional level in which two people “feel” each other's emotions. One person may feel an emotion and almost immediately the others person takes on the same feeling, gets escalated and blends with that experience. 

The Truth about Mommyhood!

The Truth about Mommyhood!

Let's talk real right here. For just a minute.

All of us who have children, at one point in time thought that mommyhood is one of those stages of life that is just beautiful. Teaching little beings how to exist in the world, let them explore the wonders of this thing called life and giggle with them as they utter their first sound, wobble their first steps and taste their first foods.

Oh just bliss. 
Or is it?

I've yet to meet a mom who has said "Since becoming a mom, my life is bliss". Mommyhood is totally filled with a joy, an honor roll of taking on the task of the most precious being(s), and a never ending role of being a role model. 

What is Dissociation?

What is Dissociation?

WHAT IS DISSOCIATION?

Do you ever space out and just need to think of nothing? We all have moments where we space out and feel somewhat disconnected. How do we know, though, what is normal amounts of "spacing out" and when do these "mental escapes" become concerning? The word dissociation means not feeling connecting to yourself.  This is a common experience individuals have, especially those who use it as a coping mechanism to escape stressful situations. 

Dissociation needs to be explained on a continuum. As with any kind of symptom, different people fall on different places on the spectrum, the question is "how severe are my symptoms" and "how does that affect me and my life"? 

Common dissociation is the kind of spacing out that we do from time to time. You may notice you're home with yourself or others and just feel like you were in a different space for a few moments, you may be driving home in autopilot and suddenly see you're home safely, but were somewhat disconnected as you were driving. These kind of moments are normal escapes for all humans. 

Success defined.

Success defined.

What is success? What defines you as a successful person or as a less-than-successful person?

A popular topic in my office is figuring out the struggle of "reaching success", whatever that may mean. It may be feeling better about ones sense of self, defining a career path, being a more loving mom to your child/ren, or finding and nurturing relationships. Others may be working toward a professional or personal internal goal that would make them feel better about themselves. 

I've been asked, more than a handful of times, how I define success. Anyone who has met me knows that I'm all about movement and progress but not at the price of your sanity. I lean into the definition in a gentle yet curious fashion.  Your success is a completely different reality and has such  different flavor than the person right in front, behind or beside you on the train of life.

I do believe that all adults can build a beautiful life of successful dreams, playing them out into reality by setting small attainable goals over time. You may say, "That sounds glorious Esther, but for people like me, who struggle so much, is that even possible? I'm such a mess!". To you I say a resounding "Yes, YES it is!  You don't need to have already been "successful" or have all your ducks lined up to taste success in your life. Let's help you become someone who CAN start feeling successful, one small step at a time. 

Now, Let's get curious about what success means.

Success does not mean the poster image of what success might mean to society for you at your age.  I do not expect you to be in that perfect relationships, be that perfect child, create that perfect home or have the perfect job. I also do not expect of you to have a perfectly defined sense of self. No, no no I am not the perfectionistic monster of critical town and I'd hope you aren't that to yourself either. 

I'd like to invite you to understand success differently.

Success means creating a change from what was there before. A small change or a big change. Shift = moving upward. 

In order to be successful you will first need to:

Life lessons from butterflies

Life lessons from butterflies

I'm sometimes struck by the wisdom little children have.

I had a moment like that the other day when my toddler came home and told me about the story of a little caterpillar and its journey to becoming a butterfly.

As I listened with intent, I realized the depth of the lesson we all have to learn from these little creatures. 

Yes, there's beauty in the fact that caterpillars can become beautiful and adorn our world with gorgeous colors...

But thats not the part I'm talking about-