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Month: November 2011

Stop Taking the Bait of Projection!

All of us have projected our own thoughts, feelings, motivations and desires onto others, and have been at the other end of projection. Many of us learned to project onto others as we were growing up, when our parents, siblings or caregivers projected their unconscious feelings, thoughts and motivations onto us. We might project onto others when we have judged our own feelings, actions, desires and motivations as bad, wrong, shameful or dangerous. This article is about being at the other end of someone projecting onto you. Projections are very different than someone offering you gifts of valuable information about you. Projections are often angrily hurled as an attack, while valuable information about you is generally offered with kindness. Projections may create a sense of confusion; they are not about you, but the person projecting is saying something as if it is about you. For example, Frank is upset and Mary is trying her best to be there for him. Suddenly Frank attacks Mary with, “You have no compassion!” If Mary takes the bait, she will defend herself, vehemently explaining that she is doing her very best to support Frank. But no matter what she says, it does no good. In fact, it gets worse, as more insults are hurled her way. Mary needs to understand that Frank is projecting. The real message behind “You have no compassion,” is...

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Troubled Childhood-The Breeding Ground for Sexual Abuse

The very institutions that are supposed to protect our citizens from harm are now embroiled in conflict as they contend with the secrecy and shame of sexual abuse. The fabric of our culture has been shaken to the core by the perpetration and deception surrounding sexual assault. What should be a healthy sexual instinct and act has become a deadly, destructive weapon when it is used by those who are not conscious of the depth of their inner-darkness. One’s “seedy-side,” in need of transformation, remains sublimated rather than redeemed. Twisted thoughts, urges and behaviors get linked to sexual desires...

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Do You Isolate?

In my counseling practice, I often have clients who tend to isolate as a way of protecting against their fears – especially their fears of rejection and engulfment. They are so afraid of being disliked, disapproved of, attacked or having demands made on them, that they choose to avoid relationships, rather than learn how to deal with these challenging situations. These people have never developed a loving Adult self, who knows how to take loving care of them when others are angry, rejecting or demanding. They believe they prefer loneliness over the challenge of relationships. Yet, time and again, I see the devastating effects of constant loneliness. We are social beings, meant to live within the safety and connection of family and community. While, to people who isolate, it seems safer to avoid relationships, the research shows that a lack of community has a very negative effect on health and wellbeing. Far more single people are unhappy than married people, and people without friends die earlier than people with friends. “People in long-term marriages are much happier than people who aren’t….People who have more friends have lower stress levels and live longer.” The Social Animal, David Brooks, pp196-197 If you are a person who isolates, can you learn to feel safe without giving up being with people? Yes, you can. You will feel safe when you learn how to...

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Intimacy and Connection-The Aliveness of Life

“Intimacy begins with oneself. It does no good to try to find intimacy with friends, lovers, and family if you are starting out from alienation and division within yourself.” – Thomas Moore, author, Care of the Soul Most of us would love to have intimacy and connection in our lives, yet we often find this elusive. Why? Thomas Moore puts it in a nutshell. Until we are intimate and connected with ourselves, we cannot experience the greatest joy in life – intimacy and connection with others. The question becomes: what causes alienation and division within yourself? Just one thing – self abandonment. To understand self-abandonment, let’s take an analogy. Let’s say you have a small child who comes to you upset or crying. There are four major ways you can abandon this child: You stay distracted in your mind rather than become present in your heart. If you stay distracted in your left-brain thoughts, rather than getting with the child and being present in your heart with caring and kindness, the child will feel unloved, unimportant and abandoned – and maybe angry. This is what you might be doing with yourself – staying in your mind rather being present in your heart, avoiding your feelings rather than compassionately attending to them. This is one form of self-abandonment. You judge the child. If you judge the child, saying things like,...

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Blaming Others Can Ruin Your Health

This article on CNN Health – Blaming Others Can Ruin Your Health -by Elizabeth Cohen, is very interesting, regarding the negative health effects of blame and resentment. “Feeling bitter interferes with the body’s hormonal and immune systems, according to Carsten Wrosch, an associate professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal….” “The data that negative mental states cause heart problems is just stupendous. The data is just as established as smoking, and the size of the effect is the same.” –Dr. Charles Raison Blame ignites the body’s fight or flight stress mechanism. If we actually fight, then the stress hormones will dissipate, but “When our bodies are constantly primed to fight someone, the increase in blood pressure and in chemicals such as C-reactive protein eventually take a toll on the heart and other parts of the body” states Raison. It is now well known that 90% of illness has its source in stress – and blame, resentment and bitterness certainly cause much stress. Our ego wounded self is the part of us that wants to control everything, and blaming others for our feelings is a very common way of trying to control. However, like anything we do that avoids taking responsibility for ourselves, the consequences can be disastrous for our wellbeing. Moving Beyond Blame The first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Do I WANT to move beyond...

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