Having a website is nothing new or strange in today’s time and age. Internet has provided us with the means to reach across time and space and build a global village, a ‘village’ where people with similar concerns and interests can connect and share ideas, values, beliefs, and support each other; never mind where you are on the Globe.
This is a quick blog to say thank you... since I don’t know how else to reach all of you. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the resources page or blog and is still contributing to www.goodpsychology.net (It could use some more blogging articles though...)
When I started this website couple of years ago, it was simply an idea where to ‘store’ valuable resources and to provide information especially to those in areas where information and finances otherwise are limited (Ok Ok I have to admit, also because I kept losing necessary links otherwise and also because I enjoy a platform to share writing). But even if one article or link provides only one of you with a light bulb moment or with the necessary ‘bump’ to get you to ‘jump’ in your particular needed direction – then it is worthwhile to continue.
Since then the resources pages have grown, and contributions as well. For that I am so thankful. Because – it means, somewhere out there, someone finds the site useful and is using it.
For which ever purposes you are using this site, I also enjoy running it. At times I don’t always have the time, and at times it becomes rather tedious, but then I receive letters and thank you’s and additional links – which inspires me to get my butt in gear again to search for even more links and information (you really know how to keep a girl on her toes!)
So, a BIG Thank You again for all your contributions - I am looking forward to even more contributions and updated information!
Most break-ups are painful. Not only for those who divorce, or their children, but also for family and friends. How do you prevent getting caught in the middle, and be a friend to both without ending up the bad guy yourself?
It’s best to develop certain “rules” for yourself -
Never choose sides. Be honest with your friends about this. Let them know that you value both their friendships, that you will continue being a friend, and will do your best to stay neutral (To be their Switzerland). Try to offer both freedom to vent feelings but do not get drawn into declarations of loyalty one way or the other (It’s a different scenario if there’s a clearly wrong party, however, e.g. abuse). Remember, this is their issue, not yours, and you're only trying to be a friend. (If you find your friendship isn’t helping, or that you're getting caught in the crossfire between them all the time, get out. Don't let their problems turn into your problems.)
Don’t judge. Unless you have the facts, never reveal your own opinion on who is right or wrong. He said/she said is seldom accurate, people always perceive the same incidents in completely different ways. Perceptions differ. Simply listen, be a sounding board, and "reflect" each friend’s feelings back to them. You don’t accidentally want to confirm the “wrong” believes or ideas.
Don’t’ diminish either friend’s pain. Even in an amicable divorce, both your friends are hurting. Both grieve for the loss of dreams, hopes, lifestyle, a lost future they originally planned together, and obviously, stress about the children. Once again, simply listen and offer them the opportunity to air their grievances or hurt. This involves silence when you may not want to be silent. This involves keeping the information you hear confidential even when you are asked by someone what the person said. This involves paying attention even when you may have heard the same story more than once.
Don’t act as a go-between. In international relations, this concept is called "shuttle diplomacy," where a mediator goes back and forth between two parties working on some kind of reconciliation (or to start world war 3). Such is not your job. Don't agree to carry any messages or "tell them something" when you next see the other party.
Keep your own agenda out of it. Even if you think the divorce is for stupid reasons, too bad (And if you want to introduce either one to your brother or sister -Don’t). It’s not your decision, and it’s not your life. Respect their choices and opinions, simply try to ensure their decisions make them happy.
Don’t trash the Ex. Expect anything you say to one to get back to the other. In his or her frustrations, one of them might use your “Hmms” or “Aahs” as validation of feelings or actions to prove some point to the previous partner, and eventually, you will suddenly find yourself of betraying secrets (in some cases, even being accused of trying to keep them apart).
Don’t gossip. You don’t want to keep the dramas going. It’s not necessary to share when a new girl-or boyfriend is introduced or that s/he was caught in a traffic accident, or anything else (sometimes an option is to simply ask which information can or should be shared).
Don’t compare new partners. Resist attempts by either friend to compare a new boy-or girlfriend to the Ex, whether they be smarter (or less smart), more sophisticated, the same haircut or anything. That EX is also your friend and requires your respect, as well as their previous relationship. Only when either one of them gets involved with a clearly wrong partner (e.g. a pathological criminal, serious personality traits) you can gently share your concerns.
Assist with the children (if this is acceptable to your friends). Consider taking them to the movies or other fun activities, collecting them from school, and so forth. It's a difficult and bewildering time for them as well. Just be careful not to take over their parents’ roles e.g. becoming the only one who disciplines them, or paying more attention to them than their own parents. And do not overcompensate for their losses by spoiling them too much or buying expensive gifts! (You will find yourself being manipulated in the long run. Children can be very clever to manipulate any situation to their advantage, and to play off adults against each other).
Neither is it your job to explain the divorce to the children. You may answer innocent and factual questions, though, but remember that the parents should explain the why’s and how’s to them.
Don't involve yourself to the exclusion of your own life because you feel so obligated to help your poor friends that you neglect your own relations.
If all else fails, detach from both until the dust settles. This is a last resort, to be taken only if you find yourself being “swallowed whole” by the situation. Tell them both very gently that you love and value the friendship with both of them, but find yourself too much in the middle of things for your comfort or to be of help to either of them. While you want to remain friends with both of them that you want to be sure you do not intrude upon their private hell or to worsen matters. Let them know that you want to give them the time and space they need to work out their issues without your interference.
Help them to reach out for help if they need it. If you notice your friend/s start showing symptoms of depression or experience unusual stress or anxieties, or when the children start acting out, consider helping them to find a professional person to assist them.
Finally, also remember that just because you were "friends first" with one friend doesn't mean you are contracted by the friendship code to be on their particular side in a break-up.
You are allowed to make your own decisions about whether you want to maintain a friendship with the other friend, or, to break up with the first friend as well. In particular if one has behaved so badly in the breakup (even when given chances to explain themselves, and the full benefit of your friendship) that you really don't want to be friends with them anymore, you have the right to “divorce” that friend, too.
Divorce is never easy! Neither is playing Switzerland. Best of luck to both yourself and your friends.
Chen, Stephanie. (June 10, 2010). Could you be ‘infected’ by friend’s divorce? Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/06/10/divorce.contagious.gore/
Deal, Katherine H., and Grief, Geoffrey. (August 31, 2012). The impact of divorce on friendships with couples and individuals. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. Vol 53, Issue 6. DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2012.682894
Morin, Rich. (October 21, 2013). Is divorce contagious? Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/21/is-divorce-contagious/
Moutria, Kristen. The Effect of Divorces on Mutual Friendships. Global Post. Retrieved from http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/effects-divorces-mutual-friendships-14139.html
Antibiotic resistance? Sorry, not my problemAmanda McCullough; Chris Del Mar, and Tammy Hoffmann, The University of Queensland
Superbugs. MRSA. Hospital ward closures. Ten million people predicted to die. No new antibiotics. If you’ve read headlines such as these, chances are they’ll come to mind when thinking about antibiotic resistance. The problem seems distant and removed from anything happening in everyday life.
But antibiotic resistance affects everyday life: any time an antibiotic is used, the risk of developing resistance increases. This resistance can spread to family and other members of the community, creating a pool of resistant bacteria. These resistant bacteria become problematic when an infection occurs and antibiotics that would have treated the infection are no longer effective.
A study we published today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy investigated perceptions about antibiotic resistance. We looked at results from 54 studies involving a total of 55,225 people who answered questionnaires or took part in interviews.
The data showed that on average, across the studies, 70% of people had heard of antibiotic resistance but most did not understand it: 88% of those surveyed thought the body became resistant to the antibiotics, rather than bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics.
But gaps in knowledge do not appear to be the main issue. More than 70% of people knew that using too many or unnecessary antibiotics caused antibiotic resistance.
The problem was they did not think they used too many or that their antibiotic use was unnecessary. In fact, they typically thought that other people were the issue – doctors prescribing too many, other people using them unnecessarily and governments not tackling the issue.
It is not only the public that feel this way. Another review of studies we recently completed included 11,593 health professionals from 57 studies. Most (90%) of those surveyed thought using too many antibiotics caused resistance, but less than 70% believed it was a problem for their clinical practice.
Around half said antibiotic resistance influenced whether they prescribed an antibiotic.
Some also said they did not see antibiotic resistance as a priority when faced with treating an individual patient. They attributed responsibility to patients, other countries and health-care settings.
Why do we think we’re not to blame?
It’s unclear why people do not think they personally contribute to antibiotic resistance. Perhaps it is because there are so many contributors to the resistance problem – antibiotic use in humans, animals and the environment – that it is easy to overlook individual contributions as a “drop in the ocean”. Not only that, the consequences of antibiotic resistance may seem distant and have been dehumanised, fostering the belief that “it will not happen to me".
In contrast, sitting with a doctor in a one-to-one consultation is very much a personal interaction where the doctor and their patient might be more concerned about treating a specific infection than the risk of antibiotic resistance to society. This type of thinking is an example of the “tragedy of the commons”, where shared resources are used for individual benefit until the point where they are used up and nobody can benefit.
Many people also tend to think they need something when they are sick and doctors may feel pressure to meet their patients' expectations of treatment. Expectations are often inaccurate – people overestimate the benefits and underestimate the harms of treatment. Research shows that antibiotics offer little or no benefits for some common infections such as colds, coughs and sore throats.
What can be done?
There is no simple answer. But there is no doubt a societal approach is needed. Governments, health professionals, veterinarians, members of the public and various industries are all working towards solutions. The World Health Organisation suggests that surveillance of antimicrobial resistance, regulating antibiotic use in humans and animals, infection prevention and control, and research innovations are all needed to tackle the crisis.
The challenge is ongoing. But a key message to take away from our recent research is that although antibiotic resistance might feel distant, it is everyone’s problem. It is individuals who decide to use antibiotics, and it is individuals who have the power to minimise use and halt antibiotic resistance.
Amanda McCullough, Research Fellow at Centre for Research in Evidence-based Practice; Chris Del Mar, Professor of Public Health, and Tammy Hoffmann, A/Prof Clinical Epidemiology, Bond University; NHMRC Research Fellow, The University of Queensland
Psychological abuse leaves the victim blaming herself and questioning her own perceptions over the behaviour of the abusive partner and it can start very insidiously.
Psychological abuse occurs when one's feelings, thoughts, preferences, desires, needs, appearance or friendships are trivialized or made to appear inconsequential relative to the abuser's. In other words, the abuser constructs the relationship and the world of the victim according to his terms and conditions over that of the abused and for his own gratification, which is often simply control over the abused.
To hold power over the abused, the abuser will resort to a number of tactics designed to hold her emotionally captive. To this end the abuser may lavish the abused with flattery and praise, complimenting her and making her feel remarkably indebted for the special, often overly generous attention. At the same time, the abuser may make the abused feel like she is the only person who understands him, or is special to him. Unfortunately, her significance to his well-being becomes a weapon to use against her later. If she tries to escape the relationship, he may then try to hold her emotionally hostage by positioning her as ungrateful for his special attention and hurtful to him when she is the only person in whom he can confide and gain support and understanding. Thus the grip of the abuser tightens and the abused feels guilty and/or ashamed for hurting or abandoning this fellow who has lavished her with such special attention.
If she seems to be escaping his grip, he may then resort to more sinister control strategies. He may place his well-being or his very life in her hands. He may threaten to hurt himself or even suicide if she leaves him. Thus now feeling overwhelmingly responsible for his welfare, she succumbs to his demands for an ever-exclusive relationship. He then becomes more prone to using negative and upsetting control strategies to maintain his grip, knowing that his threat of self-harm is now all that is necessary to maintain her compliance. She slowly feels her self-esteem erode. She is frightened and isolated. He has caused her to believe this is all her responsibility and the dynamics of the situation lead her to believe no one understands the uniqueness of her situation; that he is really a good person, if not for his current troubles and likely a troubled past, no fault of his own. She sinks deeper and deeper. School or work performance suffers. Depression and anxiety sets in and self-isolation escalates. She begins to feel suicidal and fully dependent upon the abuser to maintain a degraded self and he now does as he likes. He toys with her and the relationship. It can be off and on at his whim. He can cheat, lie, manipulate and steal and she is stuck with it lest her leaving give rise to his threat of self-harm.
In view of the abuse, her friends may try to warn her and may even threaten the abuser to cease his behaviour. Parents may find themselves in conflict with their daughter, recognizing her plight, but unable to convince her of the dynamics. After all, he started out so nice and he had his own issues, so he must love me underneath all of our problems and besides, I can't leave him, because his welfare now rests on my shoulders.
Escaping such psychologically abusive clutches will likely require counselling. Counselling is aimed at helping the abused cognitively step back and process the situation, such that she may come to understand the nature of the relationship and the abuse. Further, counselling will be aimed at providing tools or strategies to help her extricate herself from the relationship even in view of the threats of harm imposed by the abuser. In other words, counselling is aimed at releasing the abused as hostage and helping her develop better boundaries to withstand the psychological manipulations of the abuser.
If your loved one or friend is in a psychologically abusive relationship and is resisting your help, then go with her to counselling. Don't fight her as this only pits you against her and she will feel only more threatened, overwhelmed and then withdraw. Instead, seek to support her by understanding her fears the result his manipulations. In counselling, discuss your worries for her well-being without threatening her abusive relationship. She is already abused. Trying to control her more, even if truly in her interest is confrontational and may be inadvertently misconstrued as abusive and may erode an otherwise wholesome relationship.
Support, education, understanding and then the development of extrication strategies aimed at developing better boundaries is more the key to overcoming the psychologically abusive relationship.
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
One of the key contributors to success in an organisation is, to understand or interpret the organisation, management objectives, and what is expected from you; better and accurately. But sometimes we fail to understand the situation or objectives -in which case we then fail to “behave correctly” or to take the required steps to further the objectives of the organisation – and our own. We then blame, become unhappy, resent….simply because we perceived things, the “wrong or different way”.
Similarly, the key to success in relationships/marriages/life is to understand and interpret not only ourselves, but also the people around us (or at least, try to) and act accordingly.
And then, you might be the world’s best leader, sexiest, smartest, strongest, most talented, and so forth person - If you perceive yourself otherwise [self-esteem]; you will act according to it…and probably by your own actions also find confirmation in any feedback!
I see such problems so regularly, showing up in private practice (and amongst friends, family – even in my own life). We really need to become more aware of possible perception problems.
So, a key factor which contributes to so many failed careers, as well as relationships and/or marriages, or self-esteem, is; confusing perception with reality.
Sometimes perception is the problem (and at other times, perception is the solution).
Perceptions are self-referential. They shape lives. Scarily so. They are linked to our belief systems. They tell more about ourselves, than what is happening “out there”.
“You should never travel a dirt road in the rain”, with the result I will never travel any dirt road; rather refers to my own perceptions, than the roads actually being dangerous per se.
A rainy cold day considered dreary, might be a beautiful long awaited day for others.
“My child smokes!” might be life or death for some parents. For others, it might be the least of their concerns. What is your perception, of the least, to most dangerous, thing your child might do, or might happen to him/her?
For holiday-goers at the coast, rainy days might be devastating. It becomes a disastrous holiday. And “we will never go there again”.
But for the coast-dwellers, it might be wonderful if they were long awaiting some rain.
For some wives, it is devastating when their husbands go on a boys-weekend away. They might feel rejected and unloved (with ensuing fights as the husband often does not understand this one bit – perceptual differences).
For others, it might offer them opportunity to do those things they never have time for otherwise, and they might relish the privilege of both partners trusting each other for the freedom to develop and grow their individuality (within limits of course…I am sure as heck not going to give my husband the freedom to flounce around in Vegas without supervision LoL- or without me!)
A well-done steak to some is a sin (obviously, I myself prefer rare steak). But others will not be seen dead, eating a rare steak (But then eating “dead” meat? Hmm…. Perceptions…)
I get stuck with road blocks on the way to work/appointments and think all kinds of dirty thoughts because now I am going to be late – Or, I can view this as positive because someone out there is actually trying to improve the roads and my road-safety as well.
Once again it boils down to perception.
Because, actually, there is no one reality.
What we feel and think and how we act, boils down to perception.
And: Reality itself, actually, is SHARED perception.
Especially where it concerns more than one person. Unfortunately/Fortunately (?) we live on a rather [over]populated planet, so we will always be surrounded by people whether we like it or not and if we do not actively work towards becoming aware of how our own perceptions shape our shared realities, then I am rather worried not only for us [humans], but also for the planet itself.
For couples, a shared reality is vital to have a successful relationship. You know, your perceptions might and may differ – obviously – but SHARE it. At the very least, you can agree to disagree and find level ground for a “reality” to live in (communication forms a vital part).
At this stage you may very well ask, what does perception is reality, or, there is no one reality; mean? What on earth is this person rambling on about? Some more psycho-babble - or something we can use in our lives?
Perception is the way you look at things, the way you experience life and everything around you. Perception is your interpretation on things around you, based also on your previous experiences, the way you were brought up, the things you hence, believe ’and the self-created boundaries in which you function, question, or live in your life. Perception is then also, what drives you to behave how you do.
The good news is, if perception plays such a large role in shaping our realities, it does mean, we can also change the realities we live in – with success!
The bad news is…you will have to wait for the following blog, to get some answers!*
References and further reading
*Mainly because unscheduled SA load shedding suddenly stepped in again and I have to rewrite half of the blog….Let’s rather not discuss my own perceptions on this…
Love and relationships can be wonderful, but not when you are involved with a “Loser”.
“"The Loser" is a type of partner that creates much social, emotional and psychological damage in a relationship. "The Loser" has permanent personality characteristics that create massive damage to his/her partner. These are characteristics that they accept simply as the way they are and not a problem or psychological difficulty.”
To be in a relationship with the Loser, means years of social, emotional and psychological damage. There will be a mean and then being sweet behavioural cycle, you will be blamed from anything from 9-11 to his behaviour towards you (it’s always your fault) including his business failures, and the bottomline – S/he will kill your self-confidence and leave you doubting your value and belief structures and even wondering why you have been placed on earth.
Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D., Psychologist; supplies insightful and helpful handouts to clients on this. While his site claims the handouts to be reproducible if the author is credited, I do not accidentally want my blog to be considered for plagiarism, hence I attach/embed 2 handouts, and refer you for further reading:
http://www.drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/IdentifyingLosers.html: Warning Signs You're Dating a Loser And if you keep going back to the Loser….
http://counsellingresource.com/lib/therapy/self-help/stockholm/: The mystery of loving an abuser
This is always a sore subject. I do not promise to tell you how you should feel, or what the heck happened, or, what to do about it all.
And maybe you are not disinherited, but simply the by-product of devious family members.
Sometimes family members are obvious sharks (no reflection on SA rugby teams…LoL ) Other times, family can be rats: stealthily nibbling away over time… without us noticing them…carrying various diseases.
I DO however, propose some questions which might assist you in your personal journey towards healing.
You might struggle with all these questions underneath. If only some, you are fortunate:
· What is wrong with me?
· I am not worth anything
· My sister/brother/sibs do not consider me as ‘worthwhile’
· Was I ever considered part of the family?
· Why ever, would my parents consider me as not worthwhile, ‘inheriting?’
· Where, did it start to go wrong?
· What did I do wrong?
· Is everything we joined as children, to be thrown away/considered as non-existent?
· OK. Now I can really make a large list of everywhere I was a “bad” child…
· Damn. Give me a list of GOOD children who DESERVE to inherit
· Where and how, do we draw the line?
· What on earth does DESERVE mean?
· Am I such a shitty child/brother/sister?
· Ok, let’s take a look – O my, was there EVER any relationships?
· Did I bullshit myself all these years?
· So where now, am I bull-shitting myself further; where and how should I change my present life?
· If I am so bad, how can I expect to have other functional relationships in the future?
· I thought I had good relationships with my sibs
· Why the hell did my parents endow me with decency, and deviousness to the other sibs?
· How could I have interpreted my whole life and family relations, so wrong?
· How does this all, change my view of people/human race/etc?
· What should I do now, with all my previous believes and trust, and longings – never mind survival?
· Implication for future/other relations?
· Which lawyer should I contact? Should I, at all?
· I still don’t believe my sister/brother can do this to me..
I can continue a long, long list of all this type of questions! You yourself…might ask yourself similar questions. Please be honest in your answers. Not to me, or anyone else – but to yourself.
And - Stop confronting yourself with everything you might have done so-called wrong!
You know what?
If you are a decent human being, you very well might struggle with most of the questions above.
I think… and believe…
Struggle with all your questions long and hard. As long as it takes. You might not get the “right” or “real” answers; but, the actual issue is, to find answers you can live, and move forward, with.
You very well might have to contract a legal representative (just make sure it is someone who specialises in your problem-area)
But don't expect the nightmares simply to go away. They never do.
We simply learn to live with it. And sometimes, to live with the people involved, as well.
You might have to leave some people behind, in your decision/s….
Bugger the rest. The answers to the questions above, has nothing to do with anyone, besides yourself.
My other message to you is –
You did nothing wrong. You can’t be blamed for stupidity of others!!
Is there such a thing as a perfect match? If so, what would it look like? Would we want it, if it existed?
How much should one sacrifice in a relationship?
And, where does selfishness fit in, if at all?
Surely not new questions.
Personally, I think we should rephrase and rather work towards a healthy match, or, a healthy relationship. So, read on.
In the old O. Henry tale, "The Gift of the Magi, 1906" Della and James was the real perfect match. For Christmas, James sold his gold watch to buy Della combs for her beautiful hair. But then Della cut and sold her hair to buy a gold chain for James’ watch….their gifts and sacrifices matched perfectly.
But at what cost? The nature of true love is self-sacrifice but here, both ended up without something they really valued above all else. Della’s long luxurious hair that fell to her knees (Symbolically, her femininity entwined in her hair.) The gold pocket watch that once belonged to Henry’s grandfather, an heirloom to be passed on to the men in the family (His stature as man of the household?)
Sure, Della can grow her hair again in a couple of years. But James would never get his watch back. And of course, we can argue both valued each other more than the so-called prized possessions. We can also argue it was an attempt to “full partnership” in the relationship* (in which case, O.Henry was centuries before equality between men and women even dared to raise its head – or the burning of Bra’s). But while we can debate for hours on end about all the possible messages in this short story, let’s focus rather on perfect versus healthy relationships.
Such a perfect match as described above unfortunately, is full of irony. And full of wisdom versus foolishness! Was any of the two a little more selfish [or practical], at least one would still have a prized possession. Yet both sacrificed their greatest treasures to make the other one happy, without actually thinking through the consequences. (Result was, both ended up without something they actually needed). Hmm, I definitely don’t want to end up in such a position.
Such sacrifices do not always makes sense because let’s face it, none of us can be as wise as O.Henry, in those 3 hours he had to write such a story (due to deadlines).
I often see couples willing to sacrifice even all their values, their beliefs, their interests, their own needs, in order to make their partner/s happy (Granted, not always knowingly, but as part of a process of sacrifice for the relationship).
Is it a wise decision to sacrifice your most precious possessions? (In this case I am not referring to wealth or items per se). We all sacrifice. It’s part of any relationship. But too much - too often such relationships eventually fail. When you sacrifice too much, you are also not the person your partner fell in love with originally, anymore. You become someone/-thing else, entirely. And, you eventually become so full of resentment towards your partner….
And then afterwards you wonder, what went wrong.
Research studies show that if you find yourself always being the one who sacrifice—or if you feel forced to make valuable sacrifices—or if you sacrifice too much - then you should tread very carefully.
I am not sure if there is any fine-cut answers (and if there were, I doubt those in love would listen to the wisdom there-of).
Long ago while still studying, my professor told me that the true indicator of a healthy family system; is one where the black sheep “rotates”. In other words, sometimes one partner will be in the dog box, at other times, the other partner (also applicable to children in the household). Everyone gets the opportunity to either be “in trouble” or – if I may generalise to this case – to sacrifice.
I like this. It makes sense. It seems practical. And let’s face it, in this century, we are really forced to even think practical about relationships (what with all the divorce statistics etc).
In healthy relationships, there should be both sacrifice and selfishness. Yes, I do believe at times, you will need to selfish. Not selfish as in always insisting on what you want, or refusing to budge or to change, but selfish enough to consider options, benefits and consequences, and also what it will cost you yourself, as a human being; to do that sacrifice. To grow where needed. Or worse – not to.
Rather work towards a healthy relationship, instead of a perfect or “matching” one – a perfect, matching relationship does not make sense. How would you define such – as Henry and Della? (If I have to spell it out – also consider the age group of these characters. Don’t you find that type of behaviour rather typical of the adolescent age group, instead of what is expected from adults? )
I myself surely do not want to be in a relationship where we both continuously sacrifice 100%. We take it day by day, balancing the practical versus ideal… (Not that it always works, but, being married for so long something here must surely be effective).
Yes, I know, the “ideal” we all work towards is that of each giving 100% in a relationship. But it never happens….And I seriously doubt, it ever will. Furthermore, I doubt if people actually understand what this so-called 100% means. How does it actually work? It’s a lovely, surreal aim – but we have no practical guidelines! So, how can we work around that?
Besides such a wonderful perfect relationship sounding somewhat boring, with limited spark I would bet, I also wonder … how much growth will there be for the indivuals, or the relationships itself; where everyone/some continuously sacrifice so much; that nothing ever changes?
Just some quick rambling to consider….
(*Always consider social and cultural environment when discussing sacrifice in relationships)
Some Reading -
Are You Dating A Narcissist?Author: George Sachs PsyD
NBC anchor Brian Williams' recent exposure as an exaggerator par excellence surprised many people. Bill O'Reilly is also getting heat for inflating his image. Are these just celebrities enhancing their brand or something more pathological? Seems there's a fine line between male bravado and true narcissism.
A narcissist's outer qualities can make him appear alpha and even more attractive -- at first. It's not until you take a closer look at his personal life do you see red flags.
Here are 10 subtle signs you may be dating a closet narcissist:
1. He has a pervasive need for admiration. He wants the topic of conversation to be about him. If you talk about yourself, he'll slowly and subtly change the conversation to something flattering about him.
2. He is envious of others' success. If you tell him about your promotion at work, he won't express tremendous emotion for you. Your promotion triggers his insecurity about his own perceived lack of success, sending him into a place of self-doubt and self-loathing. Clearly, from this emotionally negative place, there is little room for you and your successes.
3. He reacts with "enhanced anger" (a.k.a. rage) when his ego is threatened. Any little mistake you point out can provoke his shame, which almost immediately triggers anger. He doesn't like to look bad or be wrong.
4. He doesn't discuss his inner life, mainly because he feels such private shame about himself. He won't share his dreams, reflections, or memories. If he does talk about the past, it's probably to enhance his image. When the past does come up, you should seriously question its validity.
5. He'll project his negative qualities onto others. He's afraid of being seen as "less than" and refuses to face his weaknesses. If he feels weak or threatened, he'll accuse another of that same negative quality.
6. He doesn't take blame for situations. He blames others for making him late or making him do something, rather than admit fault himself. He can never be wrong, even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.
7. He needs to be right, and doesn't respect others' opinions. This refers to political opinions or otherwise. It can also manifest as conflict at work. He may frequently butt heads with coworkers and bosses. He often doesn't respect the unwritten protocols of the workplace. Again, he will blame and shame the other when he's called to task for his errors.
8. He lacks empathy. He can't imagine himself in another person's shoes. He doesn't understand why someone would do something he wouldn't, and doesn't try to understand others' feelings. This may leave you confused, angry and feeling misunderstood.
9. His romantic relationships are shallow, and he maintains them with difficulty. He's never had a deep, intimate relationship. It's hard to know this for sure since he likely won't disclose much. But looking at his past dating patterns can be an indicator.
10. He's a perfectionist. He's very conscious of his appearance. His clothing, his choices -- everything about his outer life must appear flawless to onlookers. He will go to great lengths to cover up his imperfections.
What's the underlying feeling behind these symptoms?
This outward behavior is just a mask. Underneath, there is real pain, insecurity and a fragile ego. Most importantly, there's chronic shame: a painful emotion caused by a feeling that he is "not enough."
This shame, often unconscious, is so uncomfortable that he will avoid it at all cost. That's why he tries so hard to appear put together and worthy on the outside.
Where does the shame originate from?
Narcissists often grew up with very strict or even narcissistic parents. These parents held him to high or even impossible standards. He learned not to say the wrong thing for fear of his parents' disapproval or wrath. This taught him to wear a mask and put on a show to look good for others.
He learned other coping mechanisms to stay sane. Another one involves lying to himself, or exaggerating achievements. He gives himself praise to justify his self-worth, because he received so little positive external feedback growing up.
So the next time you hear the Carly Simon song "You probably think this song is about you, don't you" and it reminds you of his negative traits, remember compassion.
How can you help him?
It's difficult for narcissists to admit they have a problem. They often don't seek professional help themselves, because they don't realize they need it. It's normally friends and family who bring them in to see a therapist. That's one option.
Another simple way to help is to be vulnerable yourself. This will likely throw him off, since he's used to putting on a front for fear of criticism. It may surprise him, and he may begin to trust you. He may eventually respond by opening up as well.
When he behaves insensitively towards you, tell him why it hurts your feelings. If he begins to respond in a caring way, you probably positively influenced him. Hopefully he'll change his behavior towards you.
There's a chance these attempts to empathize with him and bring him out of his shell won't work. If he continues to behave badly, it can negatively impact your own self esteem. If he's unable or unwilling to change, it may be time to stop seeing him.
With hard work, therapy and emotional support, however, your man can hopefully come out of the narcissist's closet, claim his true imperfect self and be the best partner he can be.
George Sachs PsyD is an adult and child psychologist in private practice in Manhattan.
Dr. Sachs is a licensed clinical child and adult psychologist, specializing in the treatment of ADD, ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children, teen and adults. Dr. Sachs did his clinical training in Chicago at Cook County Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital and the Child Study Center. He completed his training at the Children's Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Sachs consulted to Juilliard in New York City, providing counseling to their dance, drama, and orchestral students. Dr. Sachs is author of the upcoming book: "Sachs Center Guide to Adult ADD." Dr. Sachs has appeared on major media outlets, discussing his unique approach to ADD/ ADHD treatment. Dr. Sachs also writes for the Huffington Post and Big City Moms blog.
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Disclaimer: As stated on the home page, this site is both for educational [students] as well as self-help purposes [to reach those who do not always have access to direct professional help]. Where articles make use of case histories to demonstrate or support arguments, they are presented as examples only and comparisons which might be made with persons either living or dead is coincidental unless otherwise stated or referred to by research.