Punishment Answers

I am looking for a therapist

"I am dealing with stress and anxiety and aggravated and frustrating and depressed," is not a question, but a statement that you are making about the way you are feeling and I want you to know those feelings are real and I would love to help you discover where they originate. I want you to know that these feelings are probably origionating from your statement "I been dealing with my Mommy am she been beating on me and stuff like that." This tells me you are going to continue feeling like this and that your what your mom is doing is not working for you or her. If you are an adult, you are continuing to suffer with the trauma of childhood abuse and if you are still allowing your mom to beat on you that is assault, and no one deserves to be assaulted. I am not sure your age and I do not have the total picture, so I am going to reserve the right to make a clinical decision about you being a victim or suffering with the trauma of being a victim. I will say this, whoever you are you have too much value and worth to continue to remain in this environment, and I would like to help you to get out of this situation. I want you to know there is a way out, let me help you. If you are a child, or teenager, I would like to ask a question of your parent to clarify where these statements are coming from and why they think it is necessary to cause you this hurt. I might need to work with your parent and you, or if your parent lets, we (you and I) can just work together to get you to a better place. If you are a teenager, I would like to say to you that I am on you side, and that I would like to work with you to help you to get the help you need to become the person you want to be. To your parent, I would beg you to let me work with your child, who you have for a very short period of time, to help him or her become the young man or lady you can be proud to call your child. Martin
Answered on 10/18/2021

I often fear that I’ll never make it out of this loop, any suggestions to get me through?

Dear Invoked697,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more about the dynamics of your upbringing and with your family.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggles is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

what can i do to prove my parents that i don't have an eating disorder

Hello, and thank you for your question. This is a difficult situation, where your parents' disbelief in your recovery is going to deprive you of an opportunity to travel. Your parents' reaction indicates a pattern of them thinking that you are the cause of their problems and that you should solve the problems. I don't know your entire history, but this dynamic likely played a part in your use of bulimia as a coping mechanism.  A good first step at this time is to invite your parents to go to a medical appointment with you where you can have a physician evaluate what you ate/what happened, and hopefully support your assertion that you were genuinely sick and vomited because of a physiological issue, and not an emotional or psychological issue. A professional opinion can go a long way to support your cause.  Your parents' blow-up is indicative of some things that have been left unresolved; an underlying pattern for Bulimia. Bulimia is not created in a vacuum. Families tend to have an identified scapegoat in the family that the family members can project their shortcomings and issues onto. This allows family members to live in comfort; not look at themselves and their contribution to whatever problems they are having, and they do not have to work on themselves. It's quite possible that that is what happened in your family. You stated that your father started to accuse you; told you that you are only there to torture them; that you made their life miserable; and he said that he'll never believe you again. It's easier for the parent to convince themselves that the child made the parent's life miserable, rather than for the parent to look at the choices he/she made and take responsibility for his/her life. It's not surprising that the family's punishment is to not let you travel abroad. If you suddenly aren't there to be the scapegoat that absolves them of their responsibilities or distracts them from their issues, they will be forced to look at themselves as the cause of their own problems.  When you received treatment in the past, were there any family sessions? Your family would benefit from family therapy. They need to understand that there is no singular Bulimic family member in the family. The family is Bulimic because each family member contributes to the manifestation of Bulimia in you.   To sum it up, see a physician with the family, and ask the family to enter family therapy with you. I wish you the best.     
(LCSW-C)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I begin to recover from codepencency?

Dear Girllifter,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more on perhaps how our boundaries have been violated by others, and that we have been not receiving the credits/compliments that we deserved.     I'm glad to hear that you've been practicing self-compassion more and beginning to treat yourself with the kindness, compassion, and respect that you'd give to others.   Setting up good boundaries definitely is a display of self-compassion and self-respect.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggle is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others'. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hear your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I forgive my parents and stop them from triggering me?

Dear Bec,   Thank you for your message and sharing with me the dynamics between you and your family, and your struggles with forgiveness regarding the pain you've been suffering from.    We do have the right to be angry at how the lack of courage from the ones who have hurt us and have left us feeling unresolved and unfairly treated. It could be true that because of how much shame and guilt the other person is feeling, they might not ever have the courage to come to us, acknowledge what they have done and apologize.   They have hurt us once in the past, yet by allowing this resentment to build, I am afraid that it means we are giving them the license to continue hurting us.   It is unfortunate that this is a situation where it doesn't seem to be fair, the ones who have wounded us continue to live their lives while we are still sitting in the wounds. I can understand how frustrated and angry that feels, I would be feeling the same way given in this situation.   Meanwhile I am also thinking about our future, your future and what is best for your interest. On that note if you would like, I would like to propose forgiveness. Not to agree / accept the person's wrong doing or letting them go from being hold accountable, rather this forgiveness is all about setting ourselves free from continue being hurt / controlled by this person's action / inaction.   As you have been practicing kindness, I am sure you have noticed that we have much control over how we want to feel and we can make choices to promote kindness within ourselves, regardless of how others treat us or what life brings us.   “Forgiveness is the most powerful thing that you can do for your physiology and your spirituality.  Yet, it remains one of the least attractive things to us, largely because our egos rule so unequivocally. To forgive is somehow associated with saying that it is all right, that we accept the evil deed. But this is not forgiveness. Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds.” ~ Wayne Dyer   Here are some thoughts that I have when it comes to forgiveness, perhaps some benefits when we practice letting go of resentments and allow forgiveness to bring peace and healing back into our heart:   1. Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves   “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” ~ Maya Angelou   Your mind might try to convince you that forgiveness is “letting someone off the hook,” and that you are in fact doing those who mistreated you a favor by forgiving them, but the truth of the matter is that you are doing yourself a favor.   Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, to be at peace, to be happy and to be able to sleep at night. You’re not doing this for them, you’re doing it for yourself, to set yourself free from the feelings of hurt, anger and helplessness that kept both of you attached for so long, and to be at peace.   2. Forgiveness is an act of strength   “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute if the strong.” ~ Gandhi    Contrary to what you have been led to believe, forgiveness is an act of strength. You don’t forgive because you are weak, but because you are strong enough to realize that only by letting go of resentments you will be happy and at peace.   3. Forgiveness is a sign of self-love   “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.    Love yourself enough to let go of all the toxicity from your life and free yourself from all the anger, bitterness and resentments.  If you’re mad, be mad. Don’t hide and suppress your feelings. Let it all out, but once you’re done with being mad, allow forgiveness to enter your heart. Let go and love!    4. When you forgive, you find peace   “If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.” ~ Ajahn Chah   Peace of mind is what you find the moment you let go of any grudges and any resentments you might be holding on to. The moment you say to yourself: “It is time to let go, it is time to forgive”, that will be the moment you will find peace.    5. If you forgive, you will be forgiven   “In this world, you are given as you give. And you are forgiven as you forgive. While you go your way through each lovely day, you create your future as you live.” ~ Peace Pilgrim   In life, we get what we give, and we reap what we sow. And since we’re all humans, and we all make mistakes, the more we forgive others for the past, present and future mistakes, the more others will forgive us when we will make mistakes. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. That also means forgiving ourselves. The more we practice forgiveness, we will find ourselves having more grace and compassion for others, and for ourselves, which would result in peace, comfort and calmness.   I hope this is helpful. Again I want to acknowledge how difficult it is to navigate these waters, especially when some of these pain and acts are ongoing. I just want to acknowledge your courage in seeking to learn about forgiveness.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to learn your thoughts, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

What should I do if I’m worrying about being trans?

It's hard to go through what you are going through.  I have experience talking with other clients in a similar circumstances, and I am greatly empathizing with your struggles.  Many young people who feel that they cannot identify with their biological gender are at some point presented with a difficult dilemma:  "Should I be who I truly am or should I hide how I feel to please the family?"  The answer is rarely clear right away and many people go back and forth regarding making a decision that they could live with.  It seems like no matter what the decision will be, it will not be a perfect one and you will experience some grief and loss when you choose one way or another. If you choose to follow your feelings, you will most likely be in conflict with your family.  If you choose to be who they want you to be, you will most likely disappoint yourself.  I can help you sort out these feelings.  You are in a difficult place because of your family’s reaction.  I don't know much about your family and I hope you'll tell me more so I can understand better who they are and how they think.  Since you were kicked out before, I am assuming you are back to living with your family, right?  Besides your identity struggle, what are you up to nowadays?  Do you go to school, maybe have a job?  Do you have friends?  Sometimes if you cannot find support and understanding from the family, it really helps finding people outside of your family circle who can help you grow. Giving up is definitely not an option! I am glad you are making steps in reaching out for help. If you feel so frustrated and depressed that life seems unbearable, you need to know that this is an emergency and it has to be addressed in an urgent facility such as an emergency room.  Life presents us with different challenges.  I would like to get to know you better and see what I can do to help and support you.  Wishing you the best.
(LCSW-R)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Parenting a child who won’t quit smoking pot and doesn’t care about house rules.

You haven't mentioned his age.  How I would recommend approaching treatment might differ depending on his age.  Without the age I will answer from a general viewpint.  I am wondering how he is acquiring the pot and how he is paying for it.  These are important control points that may be relevant as if there is a way to interfere with his ability to acquire the substance we can start there.  This should at least be considered as you start to look at options. Ability to acquire the pot is essential to his being able to use it. It sounds as though you are beyond the talking stage of communication and have moved into the stage of setting boundaries which he is not accepting.  I can understand from the point of his use why he is not caring about the limitations or following them.  After all, with a pandemic in place what are your reasonable options?  But, there again, how is he getting the pot during a pandemic?  It takes some work to get someone to deliver the pot to a home from what I recall.  Perhaps that is still a point where there is a way to control his use.  The method of parenting that I generally use is love and logic.  It is a way of putting responsibility on the person and applies from birth through adulthood although the approach adjusts as the child gets older.  IIt is going to be hard to address this issue as you are at an impasse not a talking stage at this time.  It usually starts with a show of empathy or understanding of the situation but not the drug use.  Forinstance, if he is using because of pandemic factors you would empathyze or show understanding of being frustrated or stressed by the pandemic and discuss it a little.  Then, you would move on to engaging him in problem solving about how he can better manage his feelings in the pandemic.  When he states he has no idea of how to manage it other than smoking pot you can point out options to him saying "Smoking pot in the house is not acceptable to your mother and I.  It needs to be something different.  Often parents will use a phrase starting with "some parents" and then state what some other parents have done.  You can try to brainstorm with him asking him from time to time if, given the examples of what some parents have done, he has any other suggestions.  Again, if this fails you would move to talling him what you have decided to do and telling him that he needs to either obey your wishes or come up with one of his own that is acceptable to you as parents.  Remember, you must be willing to follow through with whatever you decide.  You might want to make going to treatment a condition of living in the house also.  With this option you may use a motivational interviewing technique by testing his commitment to what you are discussing.  You can do this via saying that you are willing to allow him to stay if he takes the first virtual counseling appointment with an addiction specialist and limits his use.  You can have him titrate down from his current use by a set amount each week and set an ending date for all use and allow him to titrate down as long as he follows rules concerning going to treatment.   Motivational Interviewing is something that you can look up on line.  It has been used with substance issues and is similar to Stages of Change.  I would love to send you a picture of how that works but either method can be looked up in Amazon.  It would help you.
(Psy.D., LISW-CP/S, CACII)
Answered on 10/18/2021

What do I do if I fix the relationship I have with my family?

Hello, Thank you for taking the time to write all of this. It sounds like you had some very painful and traumatic experiences growing up. I'm not sure if anyone has ever told you this, but what you have described experiencing at the hands of your parents and sibling IS abuse. It sounds like your sibling physically abused, while your parents have emotionally and mentally abused you; and in some form this continues on today from what you are saying. I know that may be difficult to hear, because our parents and family of origin should provide us love, support, and safety. But sometimes this is not the case, and as adults we are left to try and figure out how to live a productive and healthy life despite our childhood and our family. I'm not sure you realize this, but you are a survivor of trauma. By continuing to engage in relationships with your parents and sibling, who by the sound of it have not changed, have not acknowledged any wrongdoing, and who don't seem to have any accountability in this situation, you are going to continue being traumatized. For a relationship to work, both parties have to be willing to make things better, or else it doesn't work. You are trying to mend a relationship that might possibly not be able to be fixed. I would encourage you to take some to reflect on what it is that you are seeking to gain from your parents and/or your sibling. Is it love, acceptance, self worth, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, an apology, kindness, compassion? Really take some time to reflect on this. It's important to understand what you are seeking so that you can better identify what causes you to keep going back to those people who have deeply hurt you and who continue to hurt you. It is quite possible that you are seeking something from your family, that they cannot provide you, and that they will never be able to give you. It's possible they themselves are not equipped to be the kind of parents or brother or sister that you need and want. And unless they also get help, they may never be able to have healthy relationships. But the good news in all of this, is that you can have healthy relationships (maybe not with your family, but certainly with other people in your life) and you can be a healthy adult who lives a happy life. This does not require you to have a relationship with your family, if ultimately it's going to cause you ongoing damage and is at the expense of your own mental health. Forgiveness is not about letting them off the hook for what they did or continue to do, it's about taking the hook out of your own heart. And you can forgive without having to continue on in a unhealthy or abusive relationship, even if it's with your parents. One important thing for you to work on will be the concept of boundaries, starting with your family and then extending to other areas of your life. First by figuring out if you can have a relationship with your family going forward, and if you can, what that relationship will look like in order for you to be able to maintain your own peace, happiness, and sanity. I hope this was helpful. Family relationships are rarely easy and the guilt we feel surrounding those relationships can be a heavy burden to carry. But it sounds like it's time for you to figure out how you can move forward, and get yourself out of this seemingly unhealthy cycle you are in with your family. You do not have to live like this, and you do not have to accept abuse from anyone, including your family. You are worthy of love, acceptance, and support.
(LCSW, MSSW, MBA)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I process the anger that my spouse abducted our children on our anniversary?

Hi Lucy, I am glad you are reaching out during this time. I am incredibly sorry to hear the experience you are going through, I am hoping your therapist is a source of support for you. The pain will not disappear, and I know you know that. I am wondering what you are doing for self-care? When I say self-care, how are you taking care of yourself? Are you eating well, are you trying to sleep (I realize this may be difficult at times), are you exercising? Are you able to pamper yourself with something extra? I say this because when they do return, I want you to have the energy to deal with the situation. While a temporary solution, exercising may be helpful in getting some of that extra adrenaline out. I am also wondering about any support groups for people who have had similar situations? Have you done a search for them on line to see what you can find? There is something called the Anger Iceberg and what that says is that our anger is what other people see, however, the anger covers up what I call uncomfortable emotions. It covers up the pain, the betrayal, the hurt, the depression, and so many other emotions. Most people would rather feel the anger instead of those other emotions because the anger gives us an adrenaline rush. Have you thought about writing or journaling what you want to say (but may not because it is inappropriate) and then burning it? Something that will help you get that additional anger and emotion out so you do not hold onto it. Sometimes when we dwell and ruminate on things, we are re-enforcing the anger, making it worse. I hope that makes sense. If you were to draw your anger, what would it look like? I do not know what type of person you are or what you enjoy, I am trying to come up with something out of the ordinary that would help you. There is something called mindfulness, which is being in the moment with all five of your senses, While difficult, I encourage you to try and stay focused in the moment instead of all the "what if" scenarios that may be running through your head. I wish you the best of luck and for a safe return for everyone.
(LISW-CP, LCSW-C, LCSW)
Answered on 10/18/2021