When Fear Rules !

Tag: physical abuse

” Let No Crisis Go to Waste “

by on Apr.15, 2013, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

I was watching a video this morning where a guy was walking along some boardwalk in California asking those who passed by to sign his petition. He openly exaggerated what he was saying to get the attention of his audience.

He asked them to sign a petition to eliminate the Second Amendment altogether and allow the government to go house to house confiscating ALL guns from law abiding citizens, but to let the bad guys have their guns so that the police can take care of them in their own way. People just signed the petition, one after another as if he was asking them if they wanted free ice cream .The more he repeated and embellished on his words, the more the people seemed to just turn him off, sign and be on their way.

To test his theory out further that so many people just do not care even to know what they are signing, he proposed another issue. With clipboard in hand, he asked each person to sign a petition to ask that ” inflation be allowed to go up to 100%”. Again, people signed without a question asked.
If that is where we are in our society, that so many of us are so lost in our own little worlds that we are unaware, or just don’t care, then we are truly in self-destruct mode. Are we that numb ? Are we that lost in our own space ?
 

So, it should not be surprising that so many who make up the decision making ranks of our government, both Democrat and Republican politicians alike, have become liars, manipulators and abusers of  the very people they serve. Yes, I did say abusers, because they use shame and guilt to manipulate us to see things their way, to do their bidding, a tactic I have seen all too often when I deal with children or young woman who have been emotionally, sexually or physically abused. 

Our Congressmen, Senators, and yes even our President promise everything under the sun, knowing that what they offer may be impossible to deliver, but also having the realization that we as a people have become weak, lazy or believe there is nothing we can say or do that will make a difference. They are cunning, these master politicians, and they know human nature. They have come to see us as weak and as easy victims to prey upon.

“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.” ― John F. Kennedy

I cringe when I hear speeches that are meant to instill guilt and shame, when no real solutions are put forth because sometimes there are no real solutions. Bad people will do bad things ! No matter what we do, no laws, no programs will create a utopia. There will be bad people who do evil because of their own dark issues and needs. There are people who, although they are capable of contributing to our society, feel entitled to be taken care of, and be depenndent. Nothing we do will change that.

Have you really seen any government program that does not wreak of corruption and fraud ? Look at how we treat our Vets. Look at the scams that openly cheat and defraud our Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Retirement systems. Look at how many more people each day come to be able to JUSTIFY scamming the system. 

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Rahm Emanuel


Our government should be consciously and tirelessly cleaning up and making the present programs work before creating new programs. Instead, CRISES are used to pass bills and laws and create even more programs where, even in writing these grand proposals, there is manipulation and hidden agendas at play. PORK is added to most bills to benefit politicians in their respective states so that they can guarantee to please those who will vote them back into POWER. Politicians do what they do in so many cases in order to secure their own power and positions. 


{ “Power tends to corrupt,” said Lord Acton, the 19th-century British historian. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” His maxim has been vividly illustrated in psychological studies, notably the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, which was halted when one group of students arbitrarily assigned to serve as “prison guards” over another group began to abuse their wards.}

I expend much energy each day as a Psychologist attempting to help people discover and find the inner strength to stand up for what they think, feel and desire to do with their lives. I see first hand how destructive it is when good people are made dependent . That dependency weakens them, causes them to not seek their dreams, and in the end become angry with themselves that they avoided all they wished at one time to accomplish in their lives.  

True happiness comes when a person feels self-respect for what they think, feel and do with their lives. Facing challenges strengthens self-esteem and encourages more personal growth. People need JOBS and OPPORTUNITIES, not handouts. But at the same time, like a spoiled child, promise them everything, throw them a few free toys, and they become victims of the entitlement generation. Just wait until they face the consequences of their dependency ! I think many of our politicians know exactly what they are doing. So forgive me when I say that it is absolutely deplorable to see my fellow man, or woman manipulated by others for their own gain. 

We must be accountable to ourselves for the decisions we make and the directions our lives take. However, when you give power to the people who govern our society, your job has just begun. The hard part is making certain that you make each politician accountable to the people he or she serves. We have acquiesced so much control to our government officials, and yes, we have become lazy at calling them to task for their mischievous behaviors. Like children, they must be reigned in and made to face consequences for their use and abuse of power.

This problem is enormous and is not going away. Whether the issue is Watergate, abhorrent “sexual” antics in the Oval Office, or the Benghazi debacle, if we do not hold their feet to the fire, the politicians we empower will rule us rather than serve us !

“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of r elinquishing it.” ― George Orwell1984


Gene Benedetto, Psychologist
Benhaven Counseling
Blog: www.RuledByFear.com
Newsletter and On-Line Support Group :www. OneStepataTime.comhttp://www.dreamstime.com/-image21331338

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Being Manipulated !

by on Oct.28, 2012, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

What would you feel if you realized you had been manipulated, controlled or used by another person ?

What if that person is someone you trusted, believed in and hoped was different, maybe even looked up to as a hero ?

 

Would you feel angry, sad, hurt or maybe ashamed and embarrassed ?

 

I have worked with so many clients who are victims of such manipulation and I admit it frustrates me and even angers me, and makes me sad when I see how it affects them. It is painful to see their pain.

 

I have  always been focused on helping people find their voice, learn to speak their mind and set boundaries to protect themselves from people who would take advantage of their trusting and adapting natures.

 

However, that focus turned into a passion a few years ago when I lost a twenty year old client to suicide. I had worked with her for two years but I was never able to convince her to take steps to press charges against her father who was always her hero, but had turned into an abusive man, physically, sexually and emotionally molesting her body and her spirit. Yes, he was a narcissistic sociopath, but she refused to see that.  She trusted and believed in him so much, and prayed that he would return to being her loving hero of a dad. I was so angry, that it took almost two years for me to be able to talk about it without choking-up.

 

Admittedly since then, that passion has become somewhat of an obsession that has caused me to react more strongly and openly  to any form of manipulation of one person by another, especially when the manipulator is obvious in his or her efforts to establish a trust, a bond only to use it as a means to take control for their own private agenda.

 

Lately, with all the political debates and advertisements flooding the airwaves, I found myself feeling some of that anger, feeling that inner turmoil as I watched what was another form of manipulation and control happening to many good people in our great nation. I have heard lies, name calling, character assassination, and open efforts to portray good people as evil and campaign ads that are obviously edited to promote what they want us to believe and distract us from the truth.

 

” It’s just politics” they say ! Really ? Do you really believe the words and promises or just WANT TO so much that you close your mind to the painful truth. It is manipulation ! It is an effort to say anything necessary, promise hope and change, create a dependency all in order to fulfill their agendas. It is a degrading but true picture of what has become of our countries moral compass. It is becoming the norm, almost as if it is acceptable.

 

I hope more people recognize what is happening and find their voice. We are not sheep, but we are being led down a path that is self-destructive.

 

As a people, we should definitely be there to help others who are sick or injured and cannot work. Those who have worked their whole lives deserve “reasonable” benefits. But the ever growing numbers of people who are able to justify living off the system when there is no reason other than the fact THAT THEY CAN, is just another sign of our decay. Have we become so selfish that we can rationalize using the system when we are capable of working and contributing to the system as others have done. How about hand-ups instead of hand-outs ? How about focusing on creating jobs so people can feel the pride of accomplishment instead of dependency ? Or is it too late ?

 

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist

 

 

 

Free On-Line Support Groups: OneStepataTime.com

 

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The Slippery Slope of Avoidance

by on Feb.12, 2012, under Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia and OCD, STOPPING ABUSE

The Slippery Slope of Avoidance…

We all avoid at times don’t we ? It is probably wise to avoid cheating on our taxes  due to the consequences, although some may choose to do so. I certainly would choose to avoid walking up to an enraged man with a gun.

Some of us are more risk tolerant than others, but we all have our limits. It is wise to protect ourselves by avoiding certain people or situations that could truly harm us isn’t it ? The REAL question is, where  do you draw that line ?

I have many clients who are dealing with controlling, manipulative and even abusive people, and  find themselves avoiding these persons in different ways.

If it is someone you do not need to deal with, it might be wise to pick your battles and move on. However, what if it is a boss or supervisor, or even a friend or family member ?

I typically see these situations arise with clients and they cause a great deal or inner turmoil, and OFTEN LEAD TO ANXIETY SYMPTOMS because AVOIDANCE of these people or situations leads to a slippery slope that is potentially damaging to your self-esteem.

Commonly when it is a boss who is abusing his or her power, four thoughts come to my mind.

First, do all you can to be less vulnerable to that boss. That means always keep your skills, certifications, training and networking in good order, never allowing yourself to become too comfortable, even lazy about making yourself as VALUABLE as you can be. In this way, you are less vulnerable to that boss, or that job. Always be looking as to where your constantly improving credentials and knowledge could be used at another place of employment.

Secondly, carefully document with times and dates  as well as notes as to examples of a bosses abuse of power. Documentation comes in handy and is something that can make a supervisor and his company nervous. Build a case while trying to find ways to work with this person, but without allowing yourself to be truly abused.

Third, talk to your boss or the offending person about specific issues he or she  has about you, with steps you can take to improve. In other words, don’t avoid talking to the boss.

You initiating meetings to talk and find ways to improve is a sign of you taking some control, and is also a good part of what you will document too. Avoidance gives the boss power over you or at least he or she thinks so.

At this point, if you see no change in the bosses abusive ways, you can opt to meet with his or her boss or the Human Relations Department to share concerns and ask for intervention.

Forth, once you find a better position at another company, which means that your boss has not changed his or her behavior towards you even with  all the positive steps you have taken, ask for an  exit interview  where you can tactfully express your feelings and reveal your documentation.  In this way, the boss  will have to face some consequence for his or her behavior especially if you copy Human Resources and his boss and have that exit interview become a part of your personnel file.

There are more difficult situations where an even more involved process , such as harassment charges need to be  brought  against a boss, but you need documentation and  witnesses.

Avoiding these situations and steps only empowers abusive and manipulative people.

So what happens when the abusive or controlling people are family members or friends.
Well, I see this even more often with clients. An intrusive mother who is step by step destroying a daughters marriage. An abusive parent who physically, sexually or emotionally abuses their own child, even when that child has become an adult.
A so-called  boyfriend who works to control the woman he professes to love, however, due to his own insecurities, step by step erodes her self esteem through verbal abuse in order to make sure she does not find someone else.

Abusive people come in all shapes and sizes, and yes , sadly and  quite often are siblings, parents, children and others who you give a piece of your heart to. Avoiding setting boundaries, or creating distance with these persons can be spell disaster to your self-esteem.

Confronting people such as these often leads to them trying to turn the situation back on you. They often feel no apparent shame  in playing every guilt card they have in their arsenal. So, especially if you have tried to talk to this person about how you feel, or when you know in your heart it will mean nothing to them, I would recommend you get involved with counseling, make sure you have a healthy support system  of people in your life who are affirming. Then  create consequences, letting the abusive family member know that you are no longer going to deal with him or her on their terms, on their turf, and that you are removing yourself from their grasp in whatever way you can.

It is not avoidance when there is NO  DEALING EFFECTIVELY with them. But you cannot avoid making changes in your life so you are not dependent or continue to be a victim to such control and manipulation. Trying to change these  people or do something to have them “see the light” is fodder for a great movie, but it is seldom real life.

Your Thoughts ?

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Are You Vulnerable to Abuse ?

by on Dec.05, 2011, under STOPPING ABUSE

When I was recently in California, I met with a sheriff’s deputy as a first step in working with the Special  Sex Crimes Unit since I am tracking*** some abusive, sociopathic abusers who have been involved with abuse of clients I have worked with. I am working with law enforcement in a number of  states as I am trying to learn, and share  from what I have experienced with victims of abuse, especially Domestic Violence whether it be physical, emotional or sexual in nature.

 

One of the questions this deputy asked me was , “Why are so many of these young ladies so gullible and vulnerable to this kind of abuse, and why don’t they come forward. We cannot do anything until they come to us and are prepared to press charges.”

 

My first thought was that this deputy was not receiving enough training in the psychology of abuse, although I would appreciate him being around when I come face to face with one of the abusers I am tracking. But the next thought was that many out there do not  realize that we are especially vulnerable to being manipulated and controlled, and therefore abused by certain  individuals who are often Narcissistic Sociopathic types. Yes, they are often family members or loved ones that we have put trust in. These are people with minimal consciences, who spend a lifetime protecting themselves from their own deeper insecurities and emotional conflicts, fighting off their own  sense of vulnerability by taking on the persona of the ultimately In-Control person. They may seem like Prince Charming as they lull their potential victims into their lair, but they gradually take more and more control or their potential victims.

 

So who are those of us who are more vulnerable to abusive, controlling and manipulative people of all degrees, not just the sociopathic types ?

 

We are often more adapting and approval seeking personalities.

 

We are more often the caregivers, peace-keepers, perfectionists and conformers.

 

We are often the ones who wish to please beyond what is healthy for ourselves.

 

We are often the ones who cannot say “No”.

 

We can be prone to self-doubt and we second-guess ourselves.

 

When we do make bad choices, as most everyone does in life, we take it more as a sign of failure and fear rejection or embarrassment rather than an experience to learn by.

 

We care about others, and sometimes stretch TOO far to nurture others as  we want to be NEEDED.

 

Some of us dream of being rescued more than realize the steps we can take to rescue ourselves.

 

Some of us believe that if you love someone enough, you can change or alter the rough edges you see in a potential partner. Not a good idea ! People rarely change  such basic natures and patterns of behavior. Doesn’t it feel great to rescue someone else ?

 

We have a difficult time setting “boundaries” with others due to our excessive need to please. So, we over-commit, take on things we really do not want to do, and not putting enough energy into our own self-esteeming behaviors and efforts.

 

Our self-esteem is more  dependent on what others want from us or how others respond to us rather than deriving our self esteem from what WE accomplish.

 

We are often caught off-guard by others and become embarrassed by their comments.

 

Now, some of these points are actually endearing characteristics of some very good people. Being a sensitive, caring and nurturing person is a good thing, right ? Yes, but there is a very delicate balance between healthy and vulnerable.

 

I would stress that if you see yourself in any of the above descriptors that you seek counseling to work on a plan to realize greater SELF esteem.  Otherwise, there is a danger that you are or could be a victim of abuse  whether at a subtle or more obvious degree. We will be discussing issues such as this in our on-line Support Group on Sunday evenings at 9 PM, ET at www.OneStepataTime.com . Come join us !!!

 

 

***When I mention tracking of abusive persons, I want to assure you that I am not carrying out some vigilante justice. I have formed a group of professionals and am still adding members to that group. These persons  act as consultants to me as I research and study the backgrounds of some of the more abusive people I have come in contact with through my clients.

 

Each member of The Watch, which is what we have named this professional group of consultants, is given all details of any case I am working on so that they can not only advise me from their experiential background, but also add a measure of protection for me in my efforts to study the Narcissistic Sociopathic Abusers amongst us. When these Abusers make a mistake, and they always do, and  one of their victims IS willing to press charges, the information we have gathered is provided to the appropriate Law Enforcement entity.

 

The Watch consists of members of Law Enforcement , Attorneys, Psychiatrists, Therapists, prominent Political figures who can press for anti-abuse legislation, a Nationally known personality who is a strong advocate against Domestic Violence, and private citizens who have demonstrated an awareness and interest in fighting for the rights of individuals where we can find people being easily led and controlled in our society. The names of The Watch members are not divulged, but let me say they have proven an invaluable source of guidance.

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A Victory Over Abuse

by on Jun.03, 2011, under STOPPING ABUSE

What a day ! All in one day I had both the pleasure of hearing that one respected member of society was found guilty of sexually abusing one of the children I have been working after almost a year of eluding punishment, while being reminded of my frustration of another case where a father who molested his own child repeatedly, still roams free because his victim feared exposing him.
Then i remind myself that the noose is tightening around this father as my professional team has gathered information and is patiently preparing the case against this sociopath.

Over the years, all these experiences with children and young adults being abused by family members or trusted members of society has frustrated me, has decreased my tolerance for any form of abuse, but at the same time has taught me patience in finding ways to protect potential victims and exposing perpetrators.

Victims of abuse are Ruled By Fear {www.RuledByFear.com}, and it is a major task to help them free themselves of that fear, to expose their abusers. Often, a victim of abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional, feels such rage and anger inside that she feels out of control emotionally, and she feels dirty, weak, and stained or scarred to the point that she then feels too weak to face the abuser. The perpetrators often tell their young victims that no one will believe them since the abuser is often an adult in good standing in the community.

On the more subtle side, yet just as devastating, I am aware of parents who are so obsessed with their own needs for fame and popularity, that they push their children to perform to the point of exhaustion, anger and possible health issues. This is emotional abuse, and it can certainly be every bit as toxic to the victim as sexual and physical abuse. I have seen teens so full of rage and emotional conflict due to emotional abuse at the hands of a father or mother, that equal to the need to stop the abuse is the need to quell the anger before the teen strikes out and hurts himself or herself, or the parent.

The bottom line ! Abuse shows itself all around us in many ways. Be alert and aware. Report abuse or suspected abuse, even anonymously to your police department. If you avoid this responsibility, you then run the serious risk of feeling the guilt and pain for knowing something and avoiding making a report.

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Trust…Listen to your Children

by on Apr.17, 2011, under STOPPING ABUSE

Trust…Listen to your Children

How many people in your life do you feel you truly trust ?

“The issue is that we need to get to know a man [or woman] and trust him to be who he proves himself to be. Instead, we trust people to be who we want them to be and when he is not, we hurt.”

There are people who trust no one, and although they are less disappointed when someone fails them, they live a life barren of emotional intimacy. Then there are the rest of us, who trust too easily, as we want closeness in our lives, in the form of support, approval and a sense of belonging.

I have seen many adult children of abusive and selfish parents wish so much to see the parent change and be more the loving and caring parent they always wished for, only to be terribly frustrated and angered to find that the parent never changes. Now again, we do not want to become paranoid and trust no one, but we do need to realize our wish to not look at the dark side of some people, to avoid conflict and angry feelings, does lead to a premature acceptance and trust of those who cannot be trusted.

People must prove themselves. My experience has been all to often that parents, siblings, relatives, friends, even teachers or other respected members of society who have been found to be abusive, emotionally, physically or sexually have a history of past behaviors that have been ignored, rationalized away, or excused when in fact they were bullet-proof examples of behaviors that should tell us they cannot be trusted.

Look at recent situations where teachers have been convicted of sexual relationships with their minor-aged students. I can site troubling cases where school principals, priests, ministers or coaches have sexually abused kids and yet on the surface, they are praised for their support of children’s causes.

Trust must be earned by those around you and justified by keen observation on your part. To this point, I would suggest that we LISTEN AND OBSERVE our children, taking nothing they say lightly. There are bullies of all ages out there, and we must not only teach our children that they deserve to be treated with respect, but that any time any behavior on the part of another child OR ADULT bothers them, causes them to feel fearful or guilty, those feelings are to be shared with BOTH of the child’s parents. The children need to know they will be heard.

When children or adults are abused, the abuser most often attempts to shame their victim into not exposing him or her, or makes the victim fearful of further abuse and harm. LISTEN AND OBSERVE any changes in your child’s behavior or demeanor. Open your eyes to the fact that among the many good people out there, there are truly dark people with needs that allow them to rationalize and justify some very sick behaviors.

Abusive people are cowards, insecure and needy in most cases. Don’t AVOID seeing people for who they truly are. Like the wicked witch from the “ Wizard of Oz ”, evil cannot be ignored or avoided. When it is avoided, it only grows stronger. While Dorothy caused the evil witch to melt away by dousing her with water, I see the water as a cleansing element that allows us to see the reality of the dark side of some people, and as exposing them to the light of day.

Coach

Gene Benedetto, Psychologist

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What Do Bullies Fear ?

by on Apr.12, 2011, under STOPPING ABUSE

What Do Bullies Fear ?

In one word, EXPOSURE !

There is no perfect human being. We all have faults and have made mistakes. Don’t tell me that you have not had one of those moments where you were daydreaming and said to yourself, “I can’t believe I did that, what WAS I thinking !” Part of our own personal development means we have to face our less proud moments and learn from them.

However, most of us, especially those who are approval seeking and adapting personalities who work hard to please, have a conscience and feel a responsibility to others around us, are especially targets for bullies. The bullies of the world have their own insecurities, usually rather deep and pervasive, which is why they tend to pick on others they feel they can dominate and control. In essence, they are protecting their own weaknesses from being exposed.

Something I have seen repeatedly when dealing with my clients who have or are being bullied, is that the bully almost always threatens his or her victim with more threats of harm or abuse. The bully or abuser has to make sure their victim is told that no one will believe her [or him] , and will use any knowledge they have of their victims past to shame her and render her fearful of exposure.

I have seen bullies and abusers do this even with a child victim. I have seen this repeatedly with male and female bullies and abusers of all ages. What the bully is telling you is that exposure is the enemy, it is what THEY fear and they are using it to frighten their victim so she will never expose him [or her].

If the bully actually realizes that he or she will be exposed, that the victim or potential victim can accept the mistakes or screw ups in their own life and those errors or past faults will not keep her from exposing the bully, all things change.

Ah yes, we must pick our battles carefully, and I would recommend talking to a therapist, minister or attorney to help document your experiences with a bully, but then realize that we have all made mistakes in our lives and that only makes us stronger. Unless of course, you have avoided dealing with issues and needed changes in your life. Then, because of the avoidance, your self-esteem is weakened and you are haunted by the past instead of feeling good that you have recognized and dealt with any chinks on the armor. Not dealing with issues and conflicts in the past makes you more vulnerable to bullies and abusive people.

We have all heard that some of the most successful individuals in our world have faced failures and turned them into opportunities. These people see life as experiences to work through, learn from, and then they move on to use what they have learned to do more worthwhile, meaningful and productive things. IF you do not want to be so VULNERABLE to bully types, DEAL with issues, people and situations you have avoided, learn from them, and grow stronger. Then the bullies have less of an opportunity to target you. But even if they do, the threat of exposure works both ways.

Coach

Gene Benedetto, 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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Attracting Difficult People !

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

Sometimes we ATTRACT difficulty people. The adapting personalities are most vulnerable to these harder to please and often very needy personality types.

Why?

Adapting personalities are most often those of us who seek approval, who stretch beyond the norm to help, fix, please or do what we feel “should” be done for our fellow man. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, does it ? However, manipulative, controlling and needy people tend to pick up the signals given off by adapting, approval seeking personalities, so we are on their radar. And, our problem is that we have a hard time setting boundaries. It is a good thing to be there for others, however, if you do not keep your eyes wide open and your emotional barometers set on “alert”, you miss the usually obvious indications that you are being taken advantage of, even emotionally abused and used.

Yes, open your eyes. You can take stock of those family members, friends and peers who take more energy from you then they ever attempt to replace through similar good deeds and efforts to be there for you. Make a list right now of all the “significant” people in your life. How much emotional and physical effort do you put into pleasing each of those individuals ? Have you ever asked any of these people for help or assistance, large or small, frequent of seldom ? Can you depend on them as they depend on you ?

This is not to say you can not or should not do something out of the “goodness of your heart”. However, stand back and look at how much energy you put out versus how much you are taking back in. Unless you run on air, the lack of some energy returning into your space by those you care about and stretch to assist, will lead eventually to feelings of anger and resentment not only towards the offending person, but also towards yourself because anger makes you feel out of sorts, and in conflict.

What do YOU think ? Is there a balance in your 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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