Emotional Abuse

The emotional abuser:

  • Never apologizes because he is never at fault
  • Uses sarcasm as a way to hurt you – esp when you try to stand up for yourself
  • Attempts to isolate & control you
  • Tells you how worthless you are – but only you; everyone else likes the abuser
  • Gives you the silent treatment to ‘punish’ you; he will ‘stonewall’
  • Passively aggressive
  • Believes you are not valuable; nor are your opinions

Emotional abuse can be tricky because the abuser is often charming to everyone except his target. So, when the victim attempts to solicit help from friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc., sometimes it is met with disbelief. Yet…left untreated, emotional abuse can lead to Fibromyalgia,  PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks,  Chronic Pain, Migraines, Insomnia, Depression, etc.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC-5494

Calm mind. Calm body.

Dealing with a Narcissist

Are you struggling in dealing with a Narcissist?

Narcissism usually begins in early adulthood; men are more often diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) than are women. Some characteristics that usually red flags are:

  • Grandiose sense of entitlement
  • Arrogance
  • Envious of others; believes others are envious of him
  • Believes he is ‘special’ (preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success)
  • Lacking empathy
  • Pursing selfish goal, no matter who he has to hurt to get there
  • Fragile ego (they are the victim-always)
  • Cravings for admiration & attention
  • World reflected in their image (self-referential)

Usual Childhood Causes:

  • Excessive admiration
  • Over-indulgence
  • Shame and/or emotional abuse

Narcissism: People struggle with this. If you have this diagnosis – seek help and get support. You can make it more manageable. For the rest of you, this video is for you.

Different than sociopath – a sociopath knows what you are feeling and wants to be cruel about it. The person with NPD doesn’t want to be cruel – they truly don’t see your suffering, because they are focused on his needs. At the very least, a person with NPD is most always a person who is difficult in every domain.

How do you talk with a Narcissist:

  •                 Deliberate eye contact
  •                 Deliberately  speak in specifics (not demeaning)
  •                 Bring the subject back around
  •                 Don’t appeal to an empathy that isn’t there
  •                 Appeal to their self interest first in order to get their attention

It is important to meet people where they are at. Don’t become that whom you hate. Everyone matters. Practice the gift of empathy. Watch what happens.

Peace

Calm mind. Calm body

Regret

Regret is a term with which we are all familiar. Maybe you acted hastily, maybe you made an emotionally-based decision, maybe you made a self-serving decision, or maybe you were angry. Innocent or not, we make mistakes; right? The issue with regret is rooted in control or lack thereof. Because the mistake was in the past, we are unable to effect change. Since we cannot effect a past (shameful) event, we look to have the control elsewhere  –  which is how we arrive at the present. Why in the world would a human do that? We are the only species who does this self punitive and shameful behavior. We do this because it is as if we are ‘paying the piper’ over and over until…? When is it the payment finally over? And who decides that? However, like any moving target, when do we actually hit the target? When do we feel like we could tell ourselves, “Okay, now I can feel better; I have sufficiently paid for my sin?”

So, what do we do? How do we move forward? Simple.

Accept the past mistake. Accept that you messed up. Accept that you learned from it (hopefully). Accept that you are flawed human being. Accept you cannot control anything except what you do and say in the current moment. Once you get to this place of acceptance, you will feel liberated. You can be free. Now you get to control how you filter your thoughts. You are now in the role of the ‘chooser’ – which is always available to you – every moment of every day. You are no longer powerless and filled with shame. You can now create relief and create a happy & joyful future. It is exhausting to remain stuck in self-sabotage and self-shame. Stop beating yourself up; it is a waste of our precious time. Now you can be in a space of clarity and open to endless possibilities.

Calm mind. Calm body.

K-Counseling

Being OKAY with your “Shadow Self”

“~It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster. “~ Carl Jung, On the Psychology of the Unconscious

……………………………………………………………….

The “Shadow Self” is another term for persona. Carl Jung referred to this internal conflict as the desire to be who one really wants to be or be the one whom the world expects him or her to be. Being okay with the “Shadow Self” is best left to acceptance of your complete being. Is this easy? Not always. Is this possible? Definitely.

Your “Shadow Self” is that part of you that consists of the darker side…where your malevolent/inappropriate/deviant selfish desires lurk.  Many people are convinced that if others knew about their real desires, no one would like him or her. Dark thoughts or desires do not mean that you must be imprisoned by them; this article is to help you integrate them so you no longer have to attempt to push them to the dark recesses of your mind. Thoughts are not reality; they are just thoughts.

In a world of social media where happiness, motivational quotes and blissful images rule the platforms, it is a challenge to believe that all people have malevolent thoughts or even dark intentions. This interpretation can leave a person feeling fairly lonely and estranged. Left unchecked the ‘evil’ thoughts can sometimes get stuck in a vicious cycle – one that is difficult to step out of. In extreme case, this vicious cycle manifests into obsessional thinking  patterns that are reinforced with poor self-dialogue that sounds something like, “If I keep having these bad thoughts about harming people, that must mean I am a bad person. And, I must be a bad person since I keep having these bad thoughts; I need to stay away from people for fear of what I may do because, after all, I am a bad person.” At that point, professional intervention, sometimes coupled with medication, is often clinically indicated.

Getting real about the fact that everyone has good and bad thoughts is the first step toward authenticity with the self. Acceptance that a person can have both bad and good thoughts can be liberating. Learning to integrate, and then live with, the notion that humans are not always having good thoughts helps a person not feel so all alone. Once you can fully accept that you can concurrently have a bad thought and still not be a bad person, you have won half the battle.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC

Calm mind. Calm body.

 

Post Traumatic Growth

Post Traumatic Growth Comes Full Circle

The brain likes what is familiar. Trauma creates a loss overall and the brain has difficulty attaching a meaningful story to it because it is not familiar. Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) coming full circle is the result of successfully processing such trauma.  PTG is what happens after trauma has been processed and a different story is attached to the event.  When one experiences trauma directly or indirectly, it often creates disconnection, depressive symptoms, avoidance behaviors, startle reflex, lack of safety, hyper vigilance, feeling detached from others and at times, psychotic states (dissociation). Once the trauma is fully processed, the therapist will often move the patient into what is termed the “Post Traumatic Growth” stage in order to heal the heart.

There are 3 important stages to PTG. To fully experience the healing of the heart, the patient is, first, encouraged to re-establish connections. Humans rely on social contexts and frameworks to feel a sense of belonging and comfort. Re-establishing connections requires trust and risk, which may be a challenge at this stage. Secondly, feeling a sense of compassion for self and others begins to develop with time. It is expected that, at this stage, that the patient will begin to continue with self care techniques, while developing and maintaining an empathic response within their social circles. Finally, when the patient is able to extend his or her compassion into a meaningful contribution to help others, a true genuine connection is made. It is often at the contribution stage where the PTG comes full circle. And, when a patient comes full circle, hope emerges. And, hope can change the world.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

K-Counseling

Calming Anxious Thoughts with Self Dialogue

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC Anxiety Counselor | OCD

Calming anxious thoughts may be easier than you think. Often, simply using a modified self-dialogue can make a significant difference.

Anxious thoughts are exhausting because they are often cyclical. One thought leads to another, which leads to another, etc. Anxious thoughts are strongly tied to the imaginative mind, located in the right hemisphere of your brain. The right ‘brain’ is outside of the box, if you will. The right brain knows few limitations. The right brain is not only imaginative, it is also intuitive, spontaneous, emotional and artistic. So, it stands to reason that, if you can think your way into anxious thoughts, then you can use your imagination to pull you back into less anxious thoughts. What does this look like? It all starts with self-dialogue using your imagination/creativity. For example, if Mike and Jim are both fired from a job, notice the self dialogue that follows:

Mike says to himself:

-“I knew I could never be successful.”

-“I am a failure.”

-“I will never be able to provide for my family.”

or….

Jim says to himself:

-“I needed a break from this job anyway; I need to spend a bit more time with my family; they miss me.”

-“I was hired before; I will be hired again.”

-“Just because I failed at this job does not mean I am a failure; there are lots of things I can do.”

Two very different self dialogues. Which set of thoughts do you believe leads to more anxious thoughts? If you said “Jim” – you were right. Self dialogue is paramount to calming anxious thoughts. Life is not about what happens to you; it is all about the story you tell yourself about what has happened to you. So, next time you find yourself resorting to self-shaming language, envision a  red ‘STOP’ sign and give yourself a check-up from the neck-up. Replace negative/shaming thoughts with positive/empowering thoughts and notice what happens.

Calm mind. Calm body.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

The Future of Internet Counseling

I occasionally get asked about the future of internet (Email) counseling.. What do I think about it? How effective is it? Have I conducted internet counseling?
 
Internet counseling can serve as an effective method of counseling in many situations. Often times, a person is simply looking to quickly and anonymously gain emotional stability regarding a challenging situation and having an online therapist to email is often an ideal solution. Therapists are emotional compasses and can often help provide some objective levity or help the patient gain an alternative perspective.
 
Lack of eye contact with internet counseling can often promote less perceived judgement by the patient which often lends itself to faster problem resolution. For example, for those diagnosed with Agoraphobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia, the anonymity afforded by email-type counseling is a welcomed nuance.
 
With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, some obsessions that have an overture of fantasies to kill, harm, rape, etc, internet counseling can be particularly effective…especially in the beginning when the patient is speaking of his or her obsessions for the first time.
 
And, there is the matter of cost. With internet counseling, one doesn’t have to drive, secure child care, pay for parking, take time off from work, etc. Isn’t it nice to know there are choices?
 
If you are interested in internet counseling, Private Message me or call 208.258.3510 today. Why wait any longer?

 

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC-5494

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is a chronic state of tension that affect 6 major system in your body. Think it isn’t a big deal. Think again. Left untreated over time, it can result in tension headaches, insomnia, Fibromyalgia, panic attacks, chronic fatigue syndrome, ulcers,  poor circulation (cold fingers usually), diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), inflamed colon, and increased blood pressure. While this list is not exhaustive, it should wake you up to the detrimental effects of untreated chronic anxiety.

How do you know if you have GAD?

Only a licensed healthcare professional can render an official GAD diagnosis, but the tell tale signs are usually:

  • Can’t control the worry
  • Feeling ‘on edge’
  • Feeling ‘worn out’
  • Can’t concentrate
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Restless sleep patterns
  • Insomnia

Did you know that you can change your response to your worries, when you treat the worries as simply ‘noise’ in your brain? It is possible to shift your perspective. Remember Dr. Dyer used to say, “When you change the way you look at things; the things you look at change.”

How do you do this?

  1. Listen for your worried thoughts. (Can you take action or are they just noise?)
  2. Decide that you want to stop the noisy thoughts.
  3. Reinforce your decision by self dialogue, like “I can choose what I want to focus on.”
  4. Visualize a STOP sign.
  5. Slowly count backward from 10-1.

Now, if there are worries that you can take action on them, take action. Sometimes, worry is just your mind trying to get your attention. When you take action on that particular worry, it goes away.

I hope you found this helpful. This is just one technique to deal with worry. More to come later.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC

Perspective Shift

Often, a simple shift in perspective can make en enormous difference in how we react even to the most challenging events in life.

The same disarming event can happen to two people and it will be internalized two very different ways. Why is that? It’s because the filters are different from one another. Let’s use Mike & Jim as an example.

Mike and Jim are both laid off the same day from Micron.

Mike says to himself, “I knew I wouldn’t last here; my parents were right when I was a kid – I will never amount to anything! I am a failure and I am too stupid to do anything right! I cannot provide for my family. I’ll never work again. I always screw things up!”

Jim says to himself, “Finally! A little time off! I am tired of being away from my kids so much. I am marketable, smart and well-connected. Just because I failed at my job doesn’t mean I am a failure. I need a little break anyway. This is a perfect time to re-invent myself and try my hand at what I really like.”

Jim and Mike have different perspectives because their self dialogue was different. Notice how Mike incorporates words, like “never”, “anything” and “always” in his self dialogue. This black and white thinking doesn’t serve him well.

The take away?

What are you telling yourself when challenging things come your way? Could your self-dialogue be your worst enemy? Check yourself. Life is gray. Life is messy. After all, at the end of the day, you are all you got, right? Be kind to yourself – even when the world isn’t. Become your own greatest cheerleader and watch what happens.

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC | Anxiety Counselor | PTSD

~Lisa Schiro, M.S, LPC

K-Counseling.org

Calm mind. Calm body.

Sleep

How to Reduce Childrens’ Nightmares:

  • Turn off the news when kids are around. And limit their exposure to frightening movies and video games.
  • Choose tranquil activities (no roughhousing or cartoons) at bedtime. Save the most relaxing one – a back rub, a story – for last, and make sure it happens in your child’s bedroom, not in the living room or playroom. With older kids, talk about the day and any events they’re looking forward to. This isn’t the moment for a discussion of disasters, though reassuring conversations at other times during the day can help quell bad dreams.
  • Know when nightmares signal a serious problem. A dream that occurs over and over can be one sign, says Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., cofounder of the Association for the Study of Dreams. And having bad dreams frequently is another. Regardless, parents should try to figure out if there’s a pattern: Does your child have nightmares only when she spends time with a certain friend or babysitter? Addressing the daytime problem may take care of the nighttime one. If not, a chat with your pediatrician (and possibly a referral to a therapist) may be a good idea.
  • Don’t dismiss the worry with “It’s just a dream.” A three- or four-year-old has to be given specific proof, Mindell says. “Show her that the dog is not hurt or that her baby sister is safely asleep in her crib.”
  • Help your child describe the dream. And quietly reflect on what happened in it. Praise any detail that shows he took some kind of action – yelling at the monster, for example. “This helps because it shows kids they have power to change the dream,” Garfield says.
  • Suggest ways to make a dream less threatening. One patient Garfield worked with learned how to “put a big X on any scene she didn’t like;” another “changed the channel” in her head. Your child may come up with his own ideas.
  • Tell children that others share their fears. Reading books that deal with nightmares in a sensitive way can offer gentle reassurance. Experts’ favorites: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer, and Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.