What do you do when people are not loving and loyal to you and the hurt won't stop? In The Five Things We Cannot Change, and the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them, David Richo addresses this question. He points out that it is natural to feel hurt when others reject or ignore us, but that as healthy psychological adults, we should address the fear, not run from it. He also states that as spiritually mature adults we must feel the hurt without having to retaliate. When we feel the hurt more intensely and cannot let go, we must examine ourselves and our egos. He suggests the following affirmation to help you work through the pain and gain acceptance.
"Fear: I am afraid that I will not survive if everyone does not love me, and this is how I am a source of suffering to myself.
Attachment: I am attached to a very specific version of what I am owed, and this is how I am a source of suffering to myself.
Control: I need to control others’ reactions to me, and this is how I am a source of suffering to myself.
Entitlement: I believe I am entitled to love and loyalty from everyone, and insist on it, and this is how I am a source of suffering to myself.
I am letting go of fear by showing more love and finding excitement in life’s challenges.
I am letting go of attachment to my version of how others should act and I accept the given of life that not everyone will be loving, truthful, honest, caring, or loyal to me all the time.
I am letting go of control and let others love or dislike me as they choose.
I am letting go of my insistence that I be loved and respected by everyone, and I choose to focus instead on being loving and respectful toward everyone I meet.
I am always aware that I am also not loving and loyal all the time and I am working on that."
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
This time of year is replete with resolutions! Let's make them stick this year! A great source for ideas and inspiration for keeping those resolutions is Ariane de Bonvoisin's The First 30 Days. Pick up a copy and keep those resolutions this year!
Amazon's review states: "The First 30 Days reveals how the beginning of any change is a pivotal time that can either leave us stressed and stuck or lead us forward in our lives with clarity and hope. Change coach Ariane de Bonvoisin provides the tools to make each change a new beginning, whether it is a change you want to make or one brought on by a situation out of your control. Ariane introduces nine principles that will help you develop an optimistic mind-set toward change, an attitude that encourages you to see that life is on your side and that good can come from even the most difficult circumstance. With real-life stories, practical exercises, and inspiring action points, The First 30 Days teaches the skills you need to face any change--skills that will help you today and for the rest of your life."
How Do Parents Alienate Their Chlildren From the Target Parent? Parents alienate their children from the other parent using isolation, psychological dependence, and fear. The most common ploy used by parents according to Dr. Richard A. Warshak as outlined in his book Divorce Poison is corrupting reality to warp the children’s minds against the other parent. Dr. Warshak lists the following as some of the most common strategies for distorting the children’s perceptions, beliefs, and memories of the target parent:
1. Manipulating names to disrupt the children’s identification with the target parent.
2. Repeating false ideas until they are assumed to be true and are embedded in the children’s memory.
3. Selectively directing the children’s attention to negative aspects of the target parent while ignoring positive aspects.
4. Dropping the context of the target parent’s behavior.
5. Exaggerating the target parent’s negative behavior.
6. Telling lies about the target parent.
7. Revising history to erase positive memories of the target parent.
8. Claiming that the target parent has totally changed.
9. Suggestions that convey in a covert manner negative messages about the target parent.
10. Encouraging the children to exploit the target parent.
11. Projection of the alienating parent’s own thoughts, feeling, or behavior onto the target parent.
12. Rationalizations that hide the alienating parent’s real motives and make the target parent look bad.
13. Self-righteous tones intended to ward off careful scrutiny of the alienating parent’s reality distortions.
14. Denunciations cloaked in religious dogma.
15. Associating the label "the truth" with the alienating parent’s implanted scenarios.
16. Overindulging the children with excessive privileges, material possessions, and low expectations for responsible behavior to buy their allegiance.
17. Encroaching on the children’s time with the target parent and sabotaging their enjoyment of their special activities.
18. Instructing the children to keep secrets from, spy on, and lie to the target parent.
19. Conspiring with others to reinforce the programming.
20. Programming the children to resist attempts to undo their indoctrination.
I am so amazed that parents can act in this manner. See the blog post below to see the long term detriment that this causes to children.
Click here for Dr. Warshak's website.
Different People React Differently to Separation and Divorce. One of the most extreme and insidious actions a parent can take during a divorce is to alienate their children from the other parent. This is akin to brainwashing the children. The children join the alienating parenting in anger and blame directed at the targeted parent. The tragic effect of Parental Alienation is the long term damage to the children which, according to The Co-Parenting Survival Guide * include: (1) difficulting in forming intimate relationships, especially later in life; (2) difficulty in managing anger and hostility in their relationships; (3) conflicts with others, especially persons in positions of authority; (4) psychosomatic symptoms, including anxiety and depression manifested by disturbances in sleeping and eating, energy level, interest level, and even by suicidal ideation; and (5) an inability to move forward with their lives due to the obsession with the target parent. The severity of these effects depends upon how long the alienation has been going on and the severity of the alientation efforts of the alienating parent.
It is hard to believe that parents can do this to their children, but it happens frequently. Behaviors indicative of alienation by a parent are that the parent:
1. Believes that the child does not need to be parented by the other parent;
2. Allows the child to make independent decisions related to the parenting plan schedule:
3. Depicts the other parent as dangerous and not healthy for the child;
4. Makes denigrating remarks about the other parent;
5. Exaggerates the weaknesses of the other parent;
6. Hinders face-to-face and/or phone contact by interfering with the schedule and creating obtacles to phone calls or other communication;
7. Makes excessive contact with the child when the child is staying with the other parent;
8. Involves the child in discussing adult issues such as the causes for the divorce, divorce agreements, and finances;
9. Interrogates the child after the child stays with the other parent;
10. Encourages the child's criticisms of the other parent and sympathizes with the child's negative viewpoint.
The actions of the alienated child include that he or she:
1. Openly expresses hatred and dislike of the targeted parent;
2. Presents unrealistic, exaggerated reasons;
3. Refuses to speak to or visit the targeted parent;
4. Shows little or no evidence of guilt or upset over behavior;
5. Gives reasons that are seemingly rehearsed and repetitious;
6. Evidences extremely upsetting behavior if forced to visit or talk with the targeted parent;
7. Allies with the alienating parent to the point where the child repeats the words of that parent, mimicking their thoughts and arguments;
8. Has access to and repeats inappropriate information that should only be available to adults;
9. Plays the role of spy for the alienating parent;
10. The child describes things in a very restricted and black and white manner, thus creating a schism between the parents.
If you see these conditions occuring in your children, the other parent, or yourself, there could be a very serious situation and you should seek the help of a counselor well-versed in Parental Alienation.
Our job as parents is to help and nurture our children through the life-altering event of divorce, not to embroil them to the point that they have long-reaching emotional problems.
* By Elizabeth Thayer, Ph.D. and Jeffery Zimmerman, Ph.D.
What is it about Divorce that makes people get so stuck in the past? Perhaps the disappointment of the lost dreams, the fear that they didn't do their best in the relationship, their failure to accept what has happened, or the fear of what they will face in the future cause them to focus on the past instead of the present. It's often easier for a person to look back and blame past circumstances and the actions of others for the present situation than it is to accept what has happened and move forward in a positive manner. This can result in anger directed at other people and circumstances. It's easier to be angry at another person than to look inside yourself to see what you can do to move forward and make your life better. Eckhart Tolle recognizes a cause of anger, "Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath."
If you've read my past blog entries you know that I'm fascinated with the concepts of anger, retaliation, and vengence. One of the most applicable quotes about anger for Divorce is William Congreve in The Mourning Bride, "Heav'n has no rage, like love to hatred turn'd. / Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd." Frederick Buechner captures the exhilaration of anger and, at the same time, recognizes the destruction of the self caused by anger: "Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back -- in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you."
Malachy McCourt made one of my favorite statements about resentment, "Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."
Of course, one of the most widely known statements on revenge is in Romans 12:14-22: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
If people could live by this creed, the world would be a much healthier place for all of us.
Can you die of a broken heart? Doctors say yes! In Prevention Magazine, June 2009, Dr. Arthur Agatston, says that he's seen this happen. He states that depression plays a key role as the low-level stress hormones that are found with depression make the heart work harder.
Dr. Ilan S. Wittstein of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who co-authored the "broken heart syndrome" in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005, states,
"Our hypothesis is that massive amounts of these stress hormones can go right to the heart and produce a stunning of the heart muscle that causes this temporary dysfunction resembling a heart attack." Wittstein said, "It doesn't kill the heart muscle like a typical heart attack, but it renders it helpless." He calls the phenomenon "stress cardiomyopathology." Dr. Wittstein states that if the situation is diagnosed quickly, most patients show dramatic improvement and complete recovery.
Dr. Herbert Benson, of Harvard Medical School, the well-known author of The Relaxation Response, states, "This is another in a long line of accumulating, well-documented effects of stress on the body." "Stress must be viewed as a disease-causing entity."
Another important reason to take better care of ourselves! Don't discount how you are feeling after a traumatic break up!
Survive your Divorce! Divorce Survival Tactics.
Why do people humiliate others in retaliation and revenge? Sometimes pain is so deep and masked by anger that people can't face it and have to lash out at others to make themselves feel better. Gary Zukov says in Thoughts From the Heart of the Soul, Meditations for Emotional Awareness, "Anger is the path of least resistance. Rage, emotional withdrawal, seething resentment, compulsive criticism, and the hunger for revenge all mask a pain so intense that it is unapproachable." The sad part is that not even this will heal their pain. They have to do that themselves.
Revenge is the default setting of mankind according to David Richo. In his book The Five Things We Cannot Change .. and the Happiness We Find by Embracing Them, he states that it takes a spritual practice to override the natural impulse of revenge and retaliation. He points out, "[t]he challege is to meet our losses with loving-kindness, the commitment to act and think lovingly toward others, especially when they test our patience or act hurtfully toward us." Richo says this helps us to keep our hearts open and embrace the hurt. We must be vulnerable, but not abused. The acts of loving-kindness free us from the "retaliatory instinct of ego."
It takes a spiritual practice with moral consequences in order to forgive those who are not sorry for how they have offended us. A commitment to nonretaliation is necessary. Even though we may feel healthy anger about the mistreatment we must let go of the blame and the need to punish. This prevents harm to the soul of the retaliator. As Socrates wrote: "It is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one." It is our soul that is damaged by revenge.
Survive your Divorce! Divorce Survival Tactics.
Why does betrayal hurt so much? Betrayal is the violation of a trust that leads to moral and psychological conflict in a relationship. In his article Betrayal in Psychology Today (January 13, 2010), Shirah Vollmer, M.D., states that "betrayal is one of the worst human experiences." He points out that "betrayal involves shock, disapointment and re-evaluation of one's belief system. Almost every betrayal makes the victim look back over their past to try to determine what caused it. This reaction almost inevitably leads to self-blame and guilt." The link between betrayal and unworthiness is how deception causes so much damage to us. Since betrayal causes the victim to feel bad about him or herself ,the victim is hurt twice. "First, his social contract has been broken. Second, he thinks poorly of himself," says Dr. Vollmer. This leads to "an utter sense of helplessness." The greater the trust the victim put in the other person, the greater the impact of the betrayal. The impact can result in anger, dispair and fear. They may feel unable to trust anyone. Often, the victim desires revenge in order to restore a feeling of potency. Revenge will be the topic of a future blog.
Survive your Divorce! Divorce Survival Tactics.