When Fear Rules !

Tag: Heart Palpitations

Self-Esteem and Panic Attacks

by on Oct.08, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

Back to the Basics !

Let me first say that I would REALLY like to see you make some real progress in taking control of your anxiety, whether it be in the form of panic attacks, phobias, agoraphobia or obsessive/intrusive thoughts and /or compulsive behaviors.

Yes, I believe, actually, I KNOW you can gain more control over your symptoms if you are only willing to work hard to understand the true SOURCES of your anxiety, if you will take the time to develop a healthy and reasonable PLAN, and finally, are at a point where you are willing to work that plan, step by step.

You notice I did not say you could overcome your symptoms in  six easy steps, that all you have to do is buy some CD or DVD program. It does not work that way. It takes hard work and determination. But it does work because it is YOU taking steps to make it work and not just looking for a  magic pill. No Pain, No Gain !….or Know Pain, Know gain…get it?

I have no doubt that your Self-Esteem has a great deal to do with WHY you had anxiety symptoms to begin with, as is the case for most of us. There are things we need to do in our lives, people and situations we need to deal with so that we feel more in control in our lives, but we have avoided those people or situations because we want to avoid conflict, avoid disapproval or rejection.

When we avoid, our self-esteem takes a hit, a serious thrashing over time. If you just LISTEN to the way you sometimes talk to yourself in your private moments, you can probably hear your negative self-talk. :

“ I wish I would have taken the time to finish my degree !”,

“Why did I allow that person to manipulate me, why was I so weak ?”

“Why have I let myself go and gained so much weight, I can just imagine what people are thinking about me ? ”

“Here I am, another year has gone by and I have not made any of the changes I promised myself I would ! “

“Why did I yes, I did not want to go there with them ? ”

“ I am stuck in this job and it’s too late to change anything ! “

“ Why am I still in this relationship, I know I am miserable and it is not going to get better.? Maybe I am not suppose to be happy ! “

“ Nothing good ever comes my way. I must be cursed ! “

“How could I be so stupid to let him use me that way ? “

I could go on and one, but you get the idea. No one else has to put you down, you probably do enough of that to yourself. And, what I find in most cases is that this kind of avoidance and negative self-talk has been going on since you were a kid, or at least a teenager. People can be cruel and say and do hurtful things to others, mostly because they have their own self-esteem issues.

Maybe you have been bullied. Maybe you were made fun of by others. Maybe your need for approval caused you to spend more time pleasing the other people and not focusing on doing what you really wanted to do in and with your life.

Well, I have to tell you something and you need to listen ! It is not too late to make changes in your life and take steps to boost your  self -esteem while also learning to face your fears and anxieties. If you want to get on board, come join us in Support Group at www.OneStepataTime.com. We will start those groups in about two weeks on Sunday nights at 9 PM, ET.

Of course, you could avoid this too !

Gene Benedetto, Coach

Clinical Psychologist

 

 

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If Someone Would Only Have Listened !

by on Aug.21, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

I received a frantic and very emotional call from a man who was at “his wits end” not knowing where else to turn. His wife, Traci, was suffering from obsessive thoughts that were ruling her life.

He reported that she had been this way most of their marriage, and actually most of her life, but the only treatment she had received was in the form of at least two hospital sessions that ended up to be in-patient programs, basically, the psych ward
. She was apparently on a relatively low dose of an SSRI, he thought is was Celexa, but she was getting worse. What could he do?

I promised to come in early the next morning to talk with her on the phone. I needed to see whether SHE saw her thoughts as a problem, or whether she was being pressured by her husband to call. It is almost impossible to work with an OCD client if they do not feel there is a problem.

But yes, it was a problem, and her thoughts did rule her life. She had never really had any therapy, just medications. Nothing was working and her fears were becoming more bizarre by the hour.

Most of her fears seemed to be related to religious fears and associations. She feared she would somehow be taken over by the devil if she touched things that were dirty or germ infested. However, the intrusive thoughts had grown and festered to the point that being near one of her grandchildren with a potentially soiled diaper would set her off. Then, even if the baby had sat on the floor and had wet diaper, the floor was now so contaminated that she could not be in the same house with the kids. On and on it had grown, to the point that as much as she felt it was all so crazy, she could not stop herself.

Of course, then I find that this started as a child, as early as six years of age where she would have such guilt over any thought that was ever so slightly frowned upon by her family.

The bottom line was , I told her she needed an intensive in-patient OCD program that would regulate her meds and work with her on a daily basis to re-establish some trust in herself and her ability to control her thoughts. I wanted to work with her, but I know this had gone for too long, over fifty years, and out-patient therapy was just not going to cut it. I promised her that I would work with her once she was stabilized to the point that she could work one on one with me, but at this point, the thoughts were so overwhelmingly intense that in-patient was a must.

I know she was disappointed, but yet heard me say I would be there when she got back. She seemed to take heart in that, so I KNOW she wants to have control and get better. I recommended a few specific OCD treatment centers.

It reminded me of a few of the newer children I am working with who are experiencing OCD symptoms. Each one was so different, yet they were the same in that they felt controlled by their obsessive/intrusive thoughts. Whether germ related, thoughts of the devil or evil, sexual obsessions or a child who could not talk due to obsessive fears that something evil would come out of her mouth, these kids were suffering and many of the parents just wanted to treat the symptoms. “Maybe if you just put him on medications, he would stop thinking these weird things”.

These kids, each one of them, were reacting to conflicts, angry emotions and issues that they did not know how to deal with. It was their anger and frustration, and not knowing how to deal with their conflicting emotions that caused guilt feelings, and the guilt feelings led to them feeling they were bad, and therefore something bad would happen to them….or that they would do something bad to another.

These children can be saved from a lifetime of pain if they are worked with now, not just with medications. Here is a unique and novel idea, let’s listen and find out what the children are actually feeling and thinking !

I wonder if someone had heard Traci and took time to feel her pain many a year ago, would she be going through what she is now ?

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Children with OCD

by on Aug.16, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

I have very strong and yet mixed emotions when I see a new client suffering with obsessive-compulsive symptoms, but never more than when the client is a child.

Can you imagine what a child feels when he or she finds herself {or himself} compelled to carry out some ritual like repeated hand-washing.

Even at a young age, they fear ridicule. They often feel they are crazy, or that something is really wrong with them. Children have enough issues of acceptance or rejection to deal with, but can you imagine what this must be like for them.

And since many parents do not understand what the child is going through, they become upset and frustrated with the child, often telling the child to just stop. Feeling a parent is angry with you for something you feel no control of is especially stressful and usually exacerbates the symptoms.

If you have or know a child experiencing obsessive-compulsive symptoms, back off, talk to him, don’t show anger or frustration. Instead, LISTEN, and look for what might be creating the symptoms. Look for conflicts and overwhelming emotions that might be causing the child to feel out of control, like significant conflict with peers, or trying to fit in by mimicking behaviors that the child knows are wrong. Conflict and anger will create the atmosphere for both panic attacks and OCD.

Coach

Gene Benedetto, Clinical Psychologist

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She Speaks !!!

by on May.28, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

She Speaks !!!!!

I had mentioned in an earlier article about a young lady I was working with who had not spoken to anyone but her mother since first grade. She was referred to me as a case of “selective mutism” in that we knew there was no physiological barriers to her speech, but yet she would not utter a single word outside the protective walls of her home.

When I met her, she was thirteen, and was about to graduate from eight grade. Although accommodations had been made for her in her small private elementary school, High school would present more problems for a child who could, but would not speak.

She had been to other therapists, but she resisted their efforts. I did not ask, nor did I want to know what methods or approaches they had tried, as I did not want to be influenced in any way. I wanted to get my own feel for this child and the psychological and sociological factors that caused her to “choose” to be mute.

I found that as an only child, she had been somewhat sheltered and protected, but certainly loved. There had been a difficult kindergarten and first grade experience where this young child had possibly experienced some overwhelming pressures, but all in all, there were no serious traumas.

I focused of developing a trusting relationship with her, with the thought that as I got to know her, I would learn the conflicts and issues that were most likely sources for her unique anxiety reaction.

I made sure to let her know that even though I would suggest steps to take to face her “fear” of speaking, I would expect HER to decide which steps or how big a step to take. Feeling in control is a crucial issue for most who are experiencing panic attacks, significant anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders. So, I let her know that I would be her “coach”, but she had to decide what steps were to be taken ……an we together developed a step by step plan that took us from gradually making nonsense sounds just to make noise, to a progression of steps where she could see that whatever she feared was not an issue as we move up the hierarchy of our joint plan.

It took a few months, but two weeks ago, as I went to bring her in from the waiting room, the smiles on the faces of both mother and child said it all. She had progressed, step by step, and was able to give a short speech to her class about her Summer plans.

I was as excited for her as if it were my first case, because I knew she so wanted to feel in control of her life, but fear was holding her back.

At the next appointment, her mom reported some interesting results. Not only had she talked more and more to her fellow classmates, but she was overheard “telling a few of the bullies in school what she thought about them”. She had not only found her voice, but years of repressing to avoid rejection, embarrassment and the cruel games that children can play, had finally found an outlet for expression.

It took patience, and the realization that she had control of the steps she could take to find her voice. Steps allowed her to move against her fears in small enough bites that she did not choke. She was able to get the internal feedback that she was OK, which tehn gave her the strength and trust in self that she could do more.

The word is out, don’t cross her or you will get a piece of her mind, in the form of words that she had stored up for years.

Coach
Gene Benedetto, Clinical Psychologist

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Holding on to Fear !

by on May.22, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

Holding on to Fear !

One typical behavior I see among most of my clients who experience panic attacks, or intrusive/obsessive thoughts is that they hold on to their fears.

I am not saying that they are fully conscious of what they are doing or why, but nonetheless, this can be at the heart of why they experienced panic or OCD to begin with.

Many times I have expressed that when a person experiences conflicts in his or her life, especially when there is a habit to avoiding or ignoring the conflicts, that an inner sense of weakness develops. We have all made some bad decisions in life, and most of us have had experiences where we feel we did not handle a situation well. Many of us have felt we have been bullied or found ourselves controlled or manipulated by another person. If we never take steps to deal with the people or situations, if we allow ourselves to repeatedly avoid conflict, what is the result ?

Avoiding conflicts leads to an erosion of self esteem for sure. When faced with conflicts, we feel fear. We often feel anger towards the person or situation that presents us with conflict, but we are often angry with ourselves for allowing the situations to persist. With the erosion or self-esteem comes the equally painful erosion of trust in ourselves. This begins a never ending and blinding cycle of avoidance…deflating of self-esteem…anger with self….lack of trust in self….and then more avoidance.

Sometimes the reality of this cycle existing in our lives is just more than we want to admit to, except in our most private thoughts. As a result of this emotional cycle, many will experience the symptoms of panic , intrusive thoughts or the menacing pattern of compulsive or ritualistic behaviors that seem to run our lives. What happens then is that the symptoms become the focus of all our attention. The symptoms, the result of our fears, allow us to further avoid recognizing or dealing with the source of our pain…..avoidance.

It is never easy facing our fears. However, when lack of self-trust and a fragile self-esteem take root, holding on to our fears allows us to further avoid.

Yes…there is an answer…a solution. No quick fix, but a step by step approach to realizing and facing your fears in real life. You will most likely need a very close friend, an ally or a coach to help you through this process, because you have allowed yourself to be Ruled By Fear.
But, it can be done.

Coach
Gene Benedetto,
Clinical Psychologist

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Trapped by Fear

by on Apr.09, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

I remember a situation where a young lady that I had worked with in the past had contacted me again because she was experiencing a set-back where her panic attacks were returning with a vengeance, worse than ever. At first, she was just so overwhelmed and disappointed by her symptoms that I knew she could not even hear what I was saying. But, I allowed her to vent as i knew she needed to, then I began asking some probing questions.

As I listened, I recalled that she had become, for the most part, agoraphobic, very infrequently leaving her apartment. I recalled that she was living near her parents, and due to her anxiety, was somewhat dependent on them financially. She was in conflict with them as they would foster her dependency on them and yet embarrass her with comments that she should be out there on her own. I could see many co-dependency issues at the time where the mother, being unhappy in her marriage, wanted to keep her daughter close.

I thought about past sessions where she would be in such conflict over a boyfriend who was actually very psychologically controlling and was manipulating in order to have her dependent on him sexually.

When I had last talked with her, she had been taking on-line schooling and had an online job, Great steps toward gaining some financial security, but at the same time, making it terribly convenient for her to not have to leave her apartment, her comfort zone.

She dared to dream of being independent. She even cut off communications with the intrusive boyfriend, a huge step after all he did to create dependency of her on him.

Her panic attacks subsided.She was at least feeling some direction and hope.

I could see, as i listened to her, that as expected, her isolating herself had left her vulnerable still to her anxieties. She had become comfortably uncomfortable with her situation, but realized she was still trapped. The job did not pay enough for her to be on her own, the parents were still creating conflict with their mixed messages, and the ex-boyfriend, if one would call him a friend at all, was calling and texting her. In response to the latter, she was not answering his calls or responding to his texts, but she did hear and read his comments. Feeling very lonely, she imagined somehow it might be different this time with him, but then reality would hit and she would remember the pain he caused so often, and how he used her.

However, in her mind, this did not have anything to do with her panic. She was not in that relationship anymore, and her parents were just who they were and would never change.

And then she said that she cannot do anything about any of these issues because of the anxiety and panic. And my response was, you cannot stop the panic until you trust yourself to do something about those issues and conflicts.
The reality was that the panic attacks began again AFTER she started getting calls and e-mails from him. Besides the need to take steps to become less dependent on her parents and her need to have a plan for her life, she needed to trust herself that she would not be vulnerable to this man again. In truth, the one thing that kept her from letting him back in was her PAIN. I asked her one simple question. “If you were free of your panic attacks and any significant anxiety, would you be tempted to go back to him?” She responded, yes !

So, in truth, she was subconsciously creating the panic to prevent herself from forgetting the pain that he created and that she had been so vulnerable to. This is an example of a hidden agenda, a cause for anxiety and panic, where we do not trust ourselves to do what we need to do to protect ourselves, so we use our symptoms, our pain, to create a detour.

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When Approval Becomes and Obsession

by on Apr.03, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

If you see yourself as an approval seeking personality, one who either tends try to fix and take care of others [caregiver] , tends to bend over backwards to do what you feel people expect of you [conformer], or stretch to the point of often overwhelming yourself in order to do the “shoulds” [perfectionist], you may be at risk.

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting approval, and working hard to seek it as long as you are not sacrificing bits and pieces of who you are and what you need and want to truly feel a sense of fulfillment in your life.

The issue becomes more of a troubling one when the “want” truly becomes an “NEED”.
When a caregiving person needs to be needed to the degree that a dependency on being needed is formed and resentment or anger develops as people do not recognize that the caregiver also had needs. The caregiver may even deny their needs, or not recognize they exist so as to ensure their role as the caregiver.

The conformer may strive to do what is expected, or better yet, what they perceive people expect of them, but how far does a person go to seek that approval if in fact, he may not always agree with what others want ? What happens to a person’s personality and self-esteem when they avoid their own needs, sacrifice what they want or believe in only to please another ? What price does the conformer pay for that approval ?

The perfectionist, oh how she may strive to be the best at what she does. But, if as is often the case, at the heart of all that effort is the want for approval, what happens when all she does is taken for granted and expected? She tries even harder, of course. And then comes the burn-out.

No, there is nothing wrong with wanting or seeking approval. It is NEEDING it that becomes the obsession.

Coach
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist

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Am I Just A Weak Person ?

by on Mar.27, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD

Something that came to my attention recently as I was discussing this issue with one of my clients who has made significant progress in dealing with his intrusive thoughts and panic attacks is the fact that after all is said and done, he still sees himself as weak for having had these symptoms.

While I certainly understand that many people feel the same way, that if we were stronger emotionally and psychologically, we would not be so vulnerable to panic or OCD, I believe we need to stand back and look hard at the source of these anxiety symptoms.

Now, I feel compelled to say from the onset, that there may be cases where my argument may not apply. However, I am not concerned about proving anything to anyone,but rather sharing from my experience over the past forty years of offering therapy to clients suffering from panic and OCD.

You are free to consider that a person MAY have some genetic predisposition or some unidentified chemical imbalance that causes these symptoms. Certainly, the fact that there are medications such as the SSRI’s and SSNRI’s {Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, etc.} that seem to alleviate some symptoms in some people, offers some evidence for those who argue the genetic or chemical imbalance theory.

However, I suggest you consider, that these medications do not get to the true source, but raise or alter our bodies chemistry so that we might deal with the symptoms more effectively. I have no problem with these medications, as I suggest them to many of my clients because i know that they do not initially have the faith and trust in themselves, nor the knowledge on hand to cope with their symptoms without medications. But, I believe that most of my clients, who in fact experience significant reduction of symptoms, and often report no further symptoms, are a testament to the reality that it is our thinking patterns, our insecure and conflicting thoughts and emotions and our avoiding change that creates the atmosphere in which panic and OCD arises.

So, I offer you the option to consider, that not is not a sign of weakness that you might experience these symptoms, but that you unknowingly create the symptoms because you allow yourself to be overwhelmed as you seek approval without setting boundaries as to the degree you subject yourself to others due to your NEED for that approval. You seek approval as a caregiver, but then allow yourself to be used. You conform to others wishes and demands and do what you perceive they expect from you at the expense of your own self esteem. You burn yourself out proving your worth and value to negate the chance of rejection or disapproval in the eyes of others. I could go on and on.

The point is, that many of us who have suffered these symptoms do so because we stretch so far NEEDING approval in order to feel worth and value, instead of finding that approval in what we do.

Some KEY ISSUES are:

1. The excessive need for outside approval instead of nurturing approval from within, which creates a unhealthy dependency on others which makes us vulnerable, and leads us to feel OUT OF CONTROL.

2. Our FEAR OF CHANGE, and therefore our habit of AVOIDING so that even if we somehow realize the emotional and psychological conflicts that are leading us into our symptoms, we fear taking any stand to change any of our dependent behaviors.

3. Our habit of falling into an all or nothing mode if we are finally pushed to make changes, instead of working to develop a healthy, step by step game plan for change. Then, of course, the all or nothing approach dooms many to be overwhelmed so that he or she shuts down and gives into their old dependent ways.

So, is it weakness, or a want for approval that turns into a need because we do not understand, or see that it is natural for the adapting personalities, [the Caregivers, Conformers, and Perfectionists and sometimes the Peacekeepers], to lose sight of a ‘want turning to a need’. While these are some of the most caring and productive members of our society, often the first to step up in the face of crises, they are unaware of the dependency that develops when they do not know how, or fail to set boundaries and care for themselves, nurture themselves, learn to say, I need a balance in my life.

Coach,
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist

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Intrusive Thoughts of Self Abuse

by on Mar.18, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

Obsessive-Compulsive behaviors can appear baffling at first, as the person reports dealing with intrusive thoughts and urges that seem to make no sense to them or anyone else, yet they feel compelled to respond to those thoughts and urges through compulsive and ritualistic behaviors.

One such case that I dealt with in the past was a perfect example of this confusing, yet strangely logical behavior. This young woman, in her twenties, would feel compelled to wash her face in a strangely ritualistic way, where she would take twenty or thirty minutes to carry out what should be a simple task. Why? Because as she went through what is a normal and natural task for many, she was plagued by the fear that she would somehow scratch, cut or in some way scar her face with her hands or finger nails. Every move she made as her hands came closer to her face, had to be carefully thought out, as she watched for any sign of some form of self abuse.

Yes, it sounds weird, yet I will tell you there are many people suffering from these kind of intrusive-obsessive thoughts and their companion ritualistic behaviors. Maybe some one you think you know very well, maybe even you privately suffer under the control of such fears.

Whether one subscribes to the theory that people with OCD are suffering due to some chemical imbalance, or whether you feel it is primarily psychologically based, my experience has been that there are most often emotional traumas or conflicts at the core of this behavior.

With this young lady, I helped her realize that there was a pattern to her symptoms.
At the times when her intrusive thoughts and urges to scratch and harm her face were at their highest, there was almost always some issue of conflict going on in her life. Not just any conflict, but personally significant conflicts that had repeated themselves many many times since childhood.

As a child, she was bullied and made fun of incessantly, and her response to all this emotional abuse was to either shrink into her private little world, or after a time and some build up, explode with anger. Both the withdrawal and emotional explosions caused her to feel very out of control emotionally.

When she avoided dealing with the bullies, she felt weak and angry not just with the abusers, but with herself. Self hatred became a part of her private thoughts.

When she would finally explode with anger at the abuser, she felt just as out of control, and therefore her self esteem and self talk was further in the dumper.

Later in life, when she did get a job, the pattern continued. She worked hard to gain approval, over-extending herself many times over hoping for that pat of the back and hopefully a promotion or raise. However, her apparent meekness allowed her to be a target of bosses who would take advantage of her, make promises that were never kept.

She needed to take steps to not be so vulnerable to their games. Otherwise, the anger would build as she felt weak or then she would have a blow-out.

We worked to help her realize that her OCD had a source for sure on the emotional side, so we focused on her taking steps to put herself in a less vulnerable position. She did great work, got very good write-ups, but now was taking those write-ups to other potential employers. She was working to see that she was a valuable person in her field. All her efforts to please had made her a very knowledgeable and capable individual in her career. Once her employer heard through the grapevine that she was looking elsewhere, he began treating her with more respect. He promised her a promotion as soon as the next batch of new positions was posted. I advised my client to post for those jobs, but continue to search on the outside, and let it be known in a quiet way, that she was looking for the best opportunity.

The more she was able to keep her momentum going, working hard but searching for other employment, the better and more in control she felt. The more she took steps to not be vulnerable to her bosses games, the less anger and resentment she felt because she was not cowering to her boss. There were no explosions of anger because she knew she was taking steps to take care of herself. The more she felt in control of her emotions, the weaker and less frequent her fears or self abusing her face came to the surface.

The point is that much of the Intrusive thoughts and compulsive behavior were symbolic manifestations of her true life anger and resentment towards those who would abuse her and toward herself for allowing it.

It will take time to gain full control of the OCD, as the fears run deep and the tendency to fall back into avoidant behavior is strong. However. with growing and consistent effort, she can gain control. Medications can be used to help subdue some of the obsessive thinking, but the real need to is realize and deal with the source issues and conflicts.

Coach
Gene Benedetto
Psychologist

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The Evil Dark Side

by on Mar.06, 2011, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

The Evil Dark Side

Some of you have written to me in response to my articles about the young homeless girl that I now treasure as a friend, and yes, admittedly, have taken on the roll of a grandfather, wanting to teach, and guide, and keep her safe.

I listen to her as she shares with me the struggles and conflicts she has, wanting to be loved, wanting a family, wanting to be safe and yet being afraid that she is getting soft, and if not wanted, if not a “keeper”, how much more vulnerable she will be if she finds herself back on the streets. I feel her fear, and sense her tears as she fights the competing forces that try to tell her that she must just accept who she is. But she is truly strong and has jumped many hurdles including a first family placement who failed her.

She will never be back on the streets, because she has connected with a few loving people, a new family and me. But, her struggles and fears have enlightened me.

Those struggles have caused some of you to say to me, “ My issues are so small compared to this child’s .”

My response to that is that as much as she endured, as much as she faced the evil dark side of mankind, she survived because she dared to see a choice.

Choices create conflict, don’t they ? It was not until she, and you, realized there were choices, options to change your life, that the real anxiety and fears hit. It was her taking a risk to contact me through our web site’s chat room, her expressing to me the want to feel love and be safe that she ventured one step out of the dreadful life that she seemed destined to before. So, it is when you realized that you were not happy, just ‘comfortably uncomfortable’ with some significant aspect of your life that you really felt the anxiety symptoms hit a peak.

We can only ignore needs so long, we can only adapt so far to please others, before we realize we are not happy, just settling.

And it is not an easy path, allowing yourself to love yourself, taking better care of yourself, setting boundaries with those who would hurt you with words or deeds, those who would control and manipulate you seeing that your need for approval makes you vulnerable to their games.

As a grandpa, I want to protect those I love, but as much, I want to teach them how to protect themselves, how to set those boundaries, how to never be vulnerable to the games of the dark side, and how to respect themselves, and those who prove they can be trusted. As a therapist, I have a similar goal with my clients.

So although some of you have written that your issues seem to pale in comparison to this very very special person in my life, I appreciate that your conflicts are sources of pain for you, and your struggle is as important to you as hers is to her. At the heart of it all is self-esteem. You must be proud of the fact that you are not avoiding that which stands in the way of you becoming the person you wish to be.

So I tell my new grandchild, as i tell you, do not stop dreaming of how you want life to be, but be willing to take the steps, as scary as they can be at times, to make those dreams come true. It is hard work, and there are NO short cuts to change. We by nature resist change, but the option to create and allow change is yours !

Coach
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist

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