Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

We all need to be good at whatever it is that we are. Think with compassion. When people are trained from the formative years, to fear hell fire and all that would lead to the said fire, you just can’t expect them to let go of that so easily. And if anything at all, only compassion and love is going to set people free from that type of a fear. You can’t argue them out of it; you can only love them out of it. – C. Joybell C.

When you think of the word love, what comes to mind? What gives it meaning? In the mental health world I have noticed that this word does not come up very often and especially in the context of offering a healing intervention. I think the reason for this is people seem to experience love when they feel happy when their problem gets resolved. I have never read a treatment plan that involved “love thyself.”

I have discovered that there are two common roots to most people’s issues; fear and worry. This is a common thread especially for anxiety and is responsible for producing the feeling of fight or flight. If a bear chases us in the woods, this is appropriate. But when we fear the world and worry about situational outcomes it can become exhausting and manifest into long term stress. The body is not built for long term stress and anxiety. The fight or flight response is meant to be short term. It signals us to get out of our predicament and do it quickly by running and if we can’t run then we have to stand our ground.

So what does love have to do with fighting or fleeing imaginary bears? Well, for clarification, the imaginary bears are a metaphor for things in our lives that cause problems and discomfort. There are two ways to deal with this and it has to do with how love is observed, either as a noun or a verb. Love can be an object of desire and/or an action of desire. For example: I am in love with you…and/or… I love you.

If we practice self love then as a person I can say that I love myself. A word of caution: this form of love is very different from malignant narcissistic self love. Narcissists play a game of manipulation to turn attention to themselves, both positive and negative, and get very jealous when your attention is not on them. This is about self esteem. Narcissists can appear to have high self esteem but this often their grandiosity at work, “look at how wonderful I am.” Self esteem is a foreign concept to them and if you have a fair amount of it yourself the narc will often get jealous and try to manipulate your attention from yourself back to them.

This is about seeing yourself as someone of value, honor, dignity and respect. This is healthy self love, and because of this healthy self love your actions produce positive outcomes. It involves practicing self compassion and doing the things necessary that indicate recognition of the intrinsic value you hold of yourself. A narcissist does not understand this, rarely recognizes it in other people (lack of empathy is a symptom) and begins to scheme up another way to get the attention back on them (drama).

I was listening to a story once about a young man talking to a guru ( I think it was Stephen Covey but cannot confirm) who was struggling to make a decision to leave his wife. He was talking about how he did not understand how to tell his wife how much he truly loved her and no matter how hard he tried he felt that she was not reciprocating. He felt defeated and invalidated and so he tried more and more to express his love. As a result, he felt she was not part of the relationship and after a few years of heartbreak he was contemplating on getting out, he was feeling tired and defeated.

The man was asked by the guru to explain his love for her. He said he was in love with her. The guru responded “then LOVE her.” Huh? It’s an action, it’s a verb. We can say it all we want, but then what?

It’s like this, we cannot ask of love from others, it must be shown, thus reciprocated. It is an action. To love ourselves requires action and this is how we get out of our problems. We can’t sit and worry. To overcome our fears and worries is paramount to being our true selves and when we give ourselves permission to be that person it frees the heart of the burdens that keep it caged up. When we love life, it loves us back and our own personal light shines forth.

So how does a person overcome worry and fear? It requires us to have the courage and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to others and the world around us. Do not be afraid to go out and jump into life’s playground. With it comes a whole host of things that most people worry about. Suffering, pain, defeat, the what if’s, etc. and on it goes. But without entering life’s playground, we miss out on the good stuff too, the good stuff is found in the same places as the bad stuff. It basically depends on where the focus is, on the negative stuff or the positive stuff, or is there a healthy balance between the two? This is why love can be joyous and love can be difficult when we love enough to allow ourselves to just be ourselves.

A few quotes for the road:

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Read Full Post »

Depression or feeling down and blue can often be countered with some everyday techniques that can lift the mood. The way we think about our lives and what we experience often has a tremendous impact on how we view the world around us. When this processing of information is put into a negative frame of mind then the world itself begins to look negative leading to negative emotions such as anxiety and depression.

So how does a person stop from being exposed to too much negativity? An effective was is to stop supplying the negative stimulus. When a person takes an active approach to stop negative input into the mind then the mind is no longer feeding itself with negativity. Sounds simple right? Here are some everyday changes that a person can do to reduce negative input leading to depressive symptoms.

1. Stop watching the news. Often nothing can be accomplished sitting in your living room listening to a clanging reporter dramatizing death, destruction and political discord. Much of our culture is based on news reporting and wanting the next fix on current events. Sometimes watching news can even turn into an addiction. Turn it off for a few days and stop feeding the mind with information that is rarely, if ever, good. Having trouble not watching the news? Next time you watch the news, sit down with pen and paper and make a list of the things that were reported. Look at the list and see what the topics were about. Chances are there are no shiny happy stories.

2. Stop worrying and take action. Sitting around and worrying about things beyond our control gets us nowhere. Worry is about trying to make something that is uncertain a certainty. This falls under the 90/10 rule where 90% of the things we worry about are beyond our control, therefore worry about the 10% that are within our control and do something about it. Practice self acceptance, if there is something that you want to change then change it.

3. Practice gratitude. Coming from a place of thanks instead of thinking about what you don’t have creates positive feelings. Take a look around and think of 3 things you have to be thankful for. Do this everyday picking 3 new things each day. Practice being thankful for doing your best instead of focusing on perfection or trying to achieve unrealistic goals. Sometimes practicing positive affirmations are difficult in the beginning when caught in a web of negative thinking, but with practice it gets better and easier with time.

 

Read Full Post »

Work DisputeWatch out!

When a codependent has a break through and they find their voice and how to make a stand in their life things can get a little rough. It follows the old cliche that things might get worse before they get better.

Underneath all of the self sacrifice that has been stuffed down and stacked up inside resurfaces going in the opposite direction. Instead of self sacrifice in order to get love from another person, this new found sense of freedom and independence turns into tough love. The codependent understands that it is okay to express themselves, their opinions and not worry any longer about what others think about them. It’s not that they don’t care, they just no longer worry about it.

Now comes the good and the not so good.

The good is personal freedom is often being experience for the first time in a very long time and quite possibly for the first time in their lives. This is not a move toward self-centeredness but a move toward self care taking and exercising some personal independence. It’s moving the self out from the subjection of others and into being objective in relationships and the environment in which they work and live.

Being objective in any situation means that the opinions, thoughts and feelings formed are unique to the individual who is experiencing them. These thoughts, feelings and opinions are viewed by the person who is holding them as just as worthy as anyone else, so there is a bit of self esteem that comes with this new freedom. It goes like this “my thoughts, feelings and opinions are just as valid as anyone else.”

Now the not so good, but it often gets better. Just like any new skill learned it takes practice to get the hang of it. Here is another cliche; “it’s not what we say, it’s how we say it. ” Here comes the stuffing. Like an overstuffed pillow, when the zipper first gets cracked open all the stuffing comes flying out all over the place. The idea is to treat it like a balloon, let out more air than is coming in bit by bit.

Usually the first few attempt come across as angry and brash. By validating and accepting themselves they struggle with the concept that they are doing harm or wronging another person by not putting the other person’s needs first. The codependent is finding their voice often for the first time and is learning how to communicate it. This takes time and practice. In this phase, learning self forgiveness goes a long way. Arguments may erupt, especially with family members who may not understand and only see a shift in behavior. Family and loved ones, not fully understanding what is going on, have to make adjustments as well since the dynamics of the relationship have changed.

One of the most common reasons why codependency happens is that somewhere along the road of the life the codependent learned to allow others to validate them. When they feel this validation is when they feel accepted, loved and liked as a person. When they move into this new sense of freedom they have learned how to accept themselves and not seek this validation from others. This can be a difficult behavior and habit for the codependent to detach from and learn new ones.

Learning how to live up to other people’s expectations is a tall order to fill. The codependent struggles to fit in with changing scenarios and compromises their true self in order to feel accepted or loved by others. People in healthy relationships have a genuine respect for each others thoughts, feelings and opinions, not because they match theirs, but because they are comfortable in their own skin, and their own right. It kinda follows one last cliche, “We can agree to disagree and still be friends. ” How is this possible? Because dropping codependency is about someone who accepts themselves for who they are, not who they think they ought to be in the eyes of another.

Read Full Post »

Hope“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison

Hope can be a powerful force. It drives the future with a sort of romanticized vision with excitement and enthusiasm. Whether it is with marriage, having children, an exciting career or a certain lifestyle, hope and dreams drive the motivation and inspiration to achieve that dream.

Sometimes, however, those dreams get crushed. Reality steps in and begins to paint a bleak picture of that future and over time the anticipation begins to fade. The vision gets lost, the hope disappears, motivation wanes and life can feel stuck. It’s almost as if the color gets washed out of the dream and it loses its luster appearance and develops that sense of hopelessness.

How does someone who is feeling in despair about their life bring hope back into the picture? Feeling like being in a hopeless situation does not necessarily mean they have to abandon hope itself. How a person chooses to view their situation can make a big difference. There is a quote from the Greek Philosopher Epictetus that says “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”  Pastor and author Max Lucado in one of his devotionals UpWords points out this example regarding someone who is optimistic in the midst of a hopeless situation…

On the wall of a concentration camp, are carved these words:

I believe in the sun, even though it doesn’t shine.

I believe in love, even when it isn’t shown.

I believe in God, even when He doesn’t speak.

Whoever wrote these words may have been in a tough place, but they refused to surrender their heart. Viktor Frankl in his book “Mans Search for Meaning” talks about how after being held prisoner in a Jewish concentration camp during WWII he lost his wife, children and all his possessions. He explains how he developed the mindset that even though his captors have taken away everything from him they cannot take away “my ability to choose how I respond.”

So what is a person to do when they find themselves suffering, in despair and feeling hopeless? These are normal feelings, however uncomfortable as they may be there are some questions that a person can ask that may alleviate unnecessary suffering. Eric Thomas is a motivational speaker that often talks to college students who are failing or dropping out. He tells them to “get a reward for the pain they are enduring, to go through it, they are already in pain, get something for it.” Mr. Thomas was homeless and took 12 years to get a college degree. He suffered, he endured but when he decided to change his mind about his situation was when things began to change. He helps other students come to this reality.

The people and quotes mentioned have some things in common for not losing hope even though their situation seemed hopeless. They kept their dreams alive by changing the way they looked at their situation. Here are some of the common characteristics they share regarding resolve and keeping their hope.

  • They keep their vision alive by changing their tactics. They understand there are different paths to achieve goals.
  • They learn from life. The take what they learn and apply it to future situations. A setback is not defeat or failure, it’s a learning experience. They gain understanding from it and move on.
  • They keep negative self talk to a minimum. Negative self talk rarely helps achieve goals or inspires hope. Self talk is habit forming, monitor which language is being used.
  • They don’t worry about what others think. This is different than caring, worrying about what others are thinking requires time that could be put toward a goal or self improvement.
  • They understand that results may vary. Two people can do the same thing but they don’t let the results define or validate who they are.
  • They rarely let their emotions cloud up their reasoning. Emotions can tell a person a lot about what they are experiencing in life. Emotional reasoning is about “if it feels bad then it must be bad.” Staying objective and being reasonable is about taking another perspective, or to think of alternative viewpoints. What is another way of looking at the situation that contradicts the bad?

Life can be difficult and at times it can feel hopeless. Changing the view of a situation can go a long way in turning things around. Take some time to examine life, find the good, monitor the self talk, take a different path and look for renewed hope.

 

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” – C.S. Lewis

Read Full Post »

pararescue impFamous author and inspirational leader John Eldredge takes a minute to talk to the nature of a man’s heart. John often writes demonstrating the overlooked masculine side of Christ that men so fondly resonate with. While Eldredge is famous for his book Wild at Heart, this excerpt is taken from another one of his books “Waking the Dead.” John asks a very important question and the expectation of where someone might think of where they should be in life. Where is yours, do you quest to fulfill unmet expectations or are you sleepwalking through life?-BM

From Waking the Dead

John Spillane is a para-rescue jumper sent into the North Atlantic, into the worst storm of the twentieth century, the perfect storm, as the book and film called it, to rescue a fisherman lost at sea. When his helicopter goes down, he is forced to jump into pitch blackness from an unknown height, and when he hits the water, he’s going so fast it’s like hitting the pavement from eighty feet above. He is dazed and confused—just as we are when it comes to the story of our lives. It’s the perfect analogy. We have no idea who we really are, why we’re here, what’s happened to us, or why. Honestly, most days we are alert and oriented times zero. Dazed. Sleepwalking through life.

Has God abandoned us? Did we not pray enough? Is this just something we accept as “part of life,” suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts? After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not like and do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set. I know, I know—we’ve been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that he means us well. I mean, if that’s true, then why didn’t he _______? Fill in the blank. Heal your mom. Save your marriage. Get you married. Help you out more.

Either (a) we’re blowing it, or (b) God is holding out on us. Or some combination of both, which is where most people land. Think about it. Isn’t this where you land, with all the things that haven’t gone the way you’d hoped and wanted?

An excerpt from

Read Full Post »

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity- Søren Kierkegaard

forgivenessForgiveness of past hurts, pains and the injustice of past events in our lives can be difficult to process through. This can be especially true if we are feeling guilty or perhaps shameful of something we did in our past where we recognize the pain and suffering we inflicted on others.

One of the most difficult parts of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. It is typically much easier for people to forgive others for past offenses. They let it go and move on.  When it comes to self forgiveness it has to be approached from a different mindset. For comparison sake, when we forgive others we can let the problem remain with the other person. When it comes to ourselves we carry it with us everywhere we go, that is until we choose to let it go.

Letting go as a choice is easy in theory, actually doing it is another story. If the guilt of not letting go is carried long term it can manifest and turn into resentment, depression and anger. Finding the right tool to facilitate letting go is the key. Adopting a different mindset is a good technique. Adopting this technique is to challenge yourself by saying something such as “what am I benefiting from by hanging on to this?” Or, “What purpose does it serve to keep beating myself up with this guilt?”

The idea is to stop beating ourselves up. Give ourselves some slack and drop the resentment and guilt of past deeds. One last thing to try, if you were the one who was wronged by another person, what would you say to that person if they asked you for forgiveness? Would you grant it? If the answer is yes then ask yourself the same question of you. Grant yourself forgiveness, let it go, leave it in the past and move on. When we practice self forgiveness the end result is often peace, freedom and learning some self love and appreciation.

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.

More about Brian M. Murray

http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/Page.brian.html

 

Read Full Post »

codependent-being-ignored-200x258_mediumCodependency used to be associated only with those who are in a relationship with someone who has an addiction. Codependent is a term that arose out of the addiction community that addicts used to described the type of person they would show love in order to use them as a resource to feed their habit.

More recently, codependency has been expanded as a broader term to describe a behavior pattern that can affect anyone, not just those who are in relationship with an addict. Codependency is identified when a person sacrifices their well being in favor of the interests and well being of others. The other is usually a person with whom they are in a significant relationship or marriage with. Codependency can happen in other areas as well such as family members, church and at work. While all people need community and to feel accepted, codependents go out of their way to get this acceptance and love from others often to the detriment of their true self character and integrity.

Denial is a codependent sub-type and there are times when people who are suffering simply don’t want to change and they would rather continue with the suffering. Often the main reason for this is because the behavior is something they are familiar with and it is a habit they are not ready to break. Change requires dropping fear of the unknown to begin to live in a more healthy way. So, if a person wants to stay codependent and continue to live in denial here are 10 ways a person can do that.

  1. Don’t talk about your problems and keep them a secret.
  2. Ignore your feelings and focus on everyone else’s feelings first.
  3. Put yourself squarely between two arguing people and play conflict messenger.
  4. Make sure when talking to others you soften your words in order to diminished any chance of emotional outbursts.
  5. Make sure you interpret self care as being selfish.
  6. It is not okay to have personal rights in a relationship to be healthy and happy.
  7. You are not allowed to play and have fun until the needs of others have been met first.
  8. Be responsible for others by picking/cleaning up after them and not allowing them to do it for themselves.
  9. Call in sick for your spouse who drinks too much and can’t make it work or is too hung-over from the night before.
  10. Remember, your good feelings about who you are stemming from how well others approve of you and the actions you do for them.

Read Full Post »

arguing coupleArguing, who likes it? Some people might say that they like to argue and will do so over some of the most trivial things. I suppose this could be a maturity issue if the topic of argumentation is somewhat meaningless. But that is all subjective and based on interpretation of the content being argued. At the beginning of an argument is can be difficult to stop for a second and weigh the purpose and possible outcome of entering an argument to begin with. Arguing with some people can be like trying to deal with a 3 year old who is whining and screaming to get their way. Other times the argument is valid and calls for us to do a little self examination before more damage occurs. Sometimes it is best to walk away and let them work it out on their own.

Being approached by argumentative others can elicit defensive emotions primarily anger. This can cause a person to want to say a few things back in defense, but hold on a minute. Before striking back there are a few things a person can do to self dialogue their way out of an argument. The idea is to respond to other person and not react.

This is about self control and anger management. Anger is often the culprit when two people are arguing and each person feels they have to defend themselves. It is like each person’s ego has entered into a wrestling match with the other. There is a way out and a way to defeat the other person’s attacks when their ego is attempting a hostile takeover of a conversation. Simply put it is about self management and here are 5 ways to do that.

  1. Stay Objective! This is the hard part by taking a step back and listening and not letting the emotions take charge. Emotions can be good counsel and provide information about what we are experiencing but they make poor leaders. Letting feelings take charge of us can lead to a highly volatile situation. Understanding this about others can go a long way toward de-escalating a situation by remaining calm.
  2. Take Ownership of Thyself! Often arguments are grounded in fear of something and so there is an element of control and power involved. The first person to get control of is thyself. This can be accomplished by knowing that the thoughts and feelings being experienced in the moment belong to the one who is experiencing them. Others are not responsible for how we feel any more than they are responsible for what we say. This is not an excuse to go around kicking others and then saying “it’s your pain, deal with it.” If you have made hurtful comments to others take appropriate ownership of them. Statements such as “you make me etc…” are projecting the displeasure being experienced onto others. Feelings and thoughts are property, manage them.
  3. Eliminate the use of “You”! The use of the word “you” in an argument creates a defensive posture in the other person. The underlying message insinuates that the other person is the cause or fault for what is happening. Self empowerment is through the use of “I” statements. Stating something un-pleasurable or an injustice from a personal position is about communication and not verbal assaults. A word of caution when learning how to use “I” statements, many people start by saying “I don’t like it when you…” and begin to use “you” again and enter right back into the power and control paradigm. Something more helpful might sound like “I don’t like it when I am criticized, belittled or yelled at.”
  4. Walk Away! Having a sound internal dialogue helps by drawing a boundary with someone who is angry or being argumentative over something trivial and has absolutely nothing to do with you. Whatever the other person is experiencing let them own it and simply walk on. Remember, it’s their property to manage. Helpful internal dialogue may sound something like “It’s their anger, it’s their stuff, and they own it.”
  5. The Kill Shot! The kill shot (not physically) is about not letting the argument go anywhere with you in the first place, period! It kills the argument. Let the other person say what they have to say and respond in an unemotional way by saying something along the lines of “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “wow, I had no idea you felt that way” and say nothing else. If the person persists then go back to item #4. Sometimes a person looking to argue or pick a fight tries to throw out, in a metaphorical sense, a baited hook. It draws another person into the argument and if the other person goes for it then they got hooked. In a sense it validates the angry person’s anger by giving it worth or value when it is responded to. Responding to the person’s comment, or baited hook, but not buying into it leaves it squarely with the other person. They own it, let them manage it.

Read Full Post »

Infantry

What does it mean to be a combat veteran? Often the answer can be found in training and learning how to fight in a combat situation. A combat load in the military is regarded as a full load of everything needed to fight whether it’s a tank or a rucksack. What goes in a tank or ruck gets hauled whether it weighs 64 tons on a track or a 120 pounds on a back. As prior Infantry, I remember my first real combat load and couldn’t believe what was being handed to me to carry. My usual training combat load varied anywhere from 35-75 pounds depending on the mission. Not this time, I weighed it in disbelief before deploying approaching 120 lbs. By some standards and units this is still considered low. This is crazy, how can anyone carry this much weight and still be effective? It was cliché for the cadence call referencing “I used to drive a Cadillac, now I carry it on my back.”

Point number one is that a combat load is heavy. It’s everything you need and then some. If it’s not needed then worry about that later but for now, it goes. That brings me to point number 2. In training the mind gets conditioned like this, “Yeah, its heavy, suck it up and get over it. Don’t’ worry about your feet, knees or back, it’s all skin and bone, pain is temporary, it grows back if it gets worn out.” These are the types of messages many of the veterans hear to teach them how to push through pain and suffering. They learn how to suck things up and keep moving. One thing to remember, if  you are pushing hard so is the enemy, so push harder, make them miserable. In the end it makes the guy on the other side want to quit fighting so it makes sense to learn pain management.

Conditioning the mind works great if someone is struggling to carry a rucksack that is equivalent to almost 70% of their body weight. The problem with this theory is what happens to the veteran after they return from war and still have the mind set to keeping “sucking it up.” They carry the wounds of war back to their families and communities and try to readjust back to a sense of normalcy. The combat load they are now carrying is in their mind and the images of their experiences dealing with life threatening situations. They may have PTSD or depression. They turn to substance abuse and in a worst case scenario they may take their own life to end the pain they feel that they can no longer “suck up.” Military suicides over the past few years out numbers combat deaths.

The weight of their experience becomes too heavy and difficult to carry anymore. They struggle to “just get over it.” The difficulty of trying to get over it often leads to misinterpreted feelings of guilt, shame and trying to shed painful memories. Trying to adjust they may experience feeling abandoned, rejected, nervous, have trouble sleeping, nightmares and helplessness. This is the combat load they struggle with. This is the part where they try to continue to suck it up and it becomes an overwhelming task and trying to go it alone becomes daunting.

So what can be done about it? First and foremost is teamwork. If you know a veteran who is struggling do not be afraid to approach them. They may feel a little like a failure, or have some guilt and try to shrug it off, after all, they are supposed to be tough and be able to handle it. There is a little known secret out there in addition to the Veterans Administration called The Vet Center. There are many of these located in communities across the country and often have great counseling resources available. They are funded by the VA yet they operate separately. Another option is to find private veteran related support groups and church ministries geared toward veterans. Most communities have these and might have to do a little digging to find them but they are out there. In Orlando, one of those organizations is called The Camaraderie Foundation.

One of the greatest assets to healing is getting plugged into a social setting with other veterans. It gives them a place of connection with others who can relate to their experience and lets them see that they are not alone. In these environments talking about their experiences can help relieve some of the load and burden they have been carrying around.  There is healing in relationships and the transformation can begin to build resiliency in the veteran. Encouragement and appreciation can go a long way as it helps to normalize their experience.

The military doesn’t teach people to take the easy way out, it teaches people that when things get tough then it’s time to get tougher. The problem with this theory is everyone has a limit as to how much they can carry. When the combat load is too heavy to carry alone it’s time to ask others for help.

About the author- Brian M Murray is a devoted professional helping to empower people and overcoming difficult obstacles in life. He is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern located in Orlando and Winter Park Florida working as a counselor in a private practice setting at The LifeWorks Group.

Reprint Permission– If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2012), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005″

Read Full Post »

Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is a mental health condition that involves a person who believes they are special and are entitled to violate the rights of others. They typically have a long term pattern lacking boundaries resulting in manipulation and exploitation of family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers alike. This disorder is commonly misunderstood to be the same as social phobia or social anxiety which is a fear of being around other people or out in public places.  APD is not the same as social phobia/anxiety. APD is about a person who thinks highly of themselves and is deserving of special recognition from others to the point of even being criminal about it.

Like most other personality disorders, they believe they do not have a problem but it is others who have the problem. They very seldom if ever exhibit empathy or compassion for others unless it is to achieve an end result such as getting money or favorable treatment. This is the manipulation. They may come across as charming in an almost narcissistic way engaging with others until they get what they want and then they go back to being themselves. When they don’t get their way they often scheme to find a way to exploit what they want out of others for personal profit and pleasure. Once they have what they want they go right back into a disrespectful and disregarding way of being.

The DSM-IV-TR, the clinical reference used by mental health clinicians for diagnosing clients, list other traits (this is not an exhaustive list) as being deceitful, repeated lying, conning others, impulsivity, irritability, aggressiveness, physical fights or assaults, reckless disregard and safety of others , failure to plan ahead in life, lack of remorse and rationalizing the pain they have inflicted on others. Rationalizing the pain inflicted on others is a defense mechanism utilized to cast blame because of somebody else, and not themselves, that caused them to behave this way. For someone to be diagnosed with this disorder they must be at least 18 years old, have had this pattern since they were 15 years of age and there is evidence of Conduct Disorder occurring before the 15 years of age marker.

A person, who has APD, or any personality disorder, can go for psychotherapy and healing can occur. The prognosis for treatment of APD is long term and often requires years of committed therapy in order to get favorable results. Because this disorder is a core identity issue the person must relearn their identity and how to overcome early life imprinting that signals to them about who they have leaned to be as a person. Strong defense mechanisms are often in place surrounding this core and require a skilled therapist to reach the inner core to address the wound that is found there. There is no single marker that points to how personality disorders develop whether it is environmental, family system or genetic. It appears that some combination of all of them contribute to the equation.

Sources:

DSM-IV-TR (American Psychological Association),

National Library of Medicine

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: