Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Four Biggest Barriers to a Social Life

By: Nate Webster, IMH

Even up until 50 years ago, people lived in a very different world than today. In just 5 decades we’ve seen the invention of digital technology, the Internet and really fast transportation! However, some of our advances as a society have become our biggest barriers to a thriving social life. Below is a list what may be the four biggest barriers to your social life. Read them through and see which ones fit.

Doing everything online: Shopping, taking piano lessons, school and even counseling can be done online. There is a great temptation to live our entire lives online. It feels more convenient and gives us a sense of efficiency, but forfeits human interaction that allows for relationships and community. What’s one activity you do online that maybe you can start doing in person? Is loneliness really worth all the efficiency and convenience of online living?

Everything’s about productivity: It’s true that you may work in an office that needs productivity all the time, however that doesn’t mean the rest of your life needs that also. In fact, trying to always lead a productive social life can leave you feeling stressed and even resentful. It can make time with family and friends feel like work. However, learning to release yourself from the pressures of productivity is a great stress-reducer! What would it be like to hang out with friends and family without a “purpose” other than enjoying their company?

We’re always distracted: I bought a painting last year called “Thought Plagued by a Spirit of Distraction”, as it captures perfectly a person trying to think, but something keeps interrupting them. So many of us are honestly so distracted that it makes friendship impossible. How often do we check our cellphones while we are with another friend? Why do we keep using our laptops in class and meetings if we are only ever on Facebook? It’s important to remember that we are victims of the things that distract us from a social life, and with some self-control we can become more engaged in the relationships we want.

Our Transient Society: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most individuals will have 10 jobs before age 40 and that the latest generation will have upwards of 15. Likewise, the Census Bureau indicates that individuals move residences roughly 11 times throughout their life. With so much movement of our jobs and housing it can make it incredibly difficult to have lasting friendships. If you want some closer friendships, I suggest committing to the things in your life that you usually are always quickly moving on from. Even a small dose of commitment can create so much more intimacy in the friendships you’d like to have.

If you’ve identified these barriers in your social life and would like some help in getting over them, getting a therapist is a great place to start. Visit our office website at LifeWorksGroup.Org or call us directly at 407-647-7005.

To schedule an appointment with Nate Webster, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Aging Narcissist: Adding Dementia to the Mix

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

Despite what a narcissist will pontificate, even they are subject to the effects of getting older. Becoming elderly is a normal part of the developmental stage of life for most people, but not for the narcissistic. They view aging as an ultimate evil. Some will engage in ridiculous plastic surgery in an effort to look as young as they feel. Others will begin a new career while their peers are retiring. And still others will take on far younger partners.
But what the narcissist can’t do is dodge the effects of dementia. As a progressive indiscriminate disorder which sometimes transforms into Alzheimer's or other disorders, dementia affects every area of the brain in a random order. What seemed natural and habitual now becomes foreign and difficult. Memory becomes scattered and unreliable. Familiar people become strangers or even enemies that are out to get them.
For the narcissist, this is completely unacceptable. Most narcissists rely heavily on their cognitive abilities as a way of constantly demonstrating superiority over others in performance, influence, power, beauty, or money. Any sign that it is deteriorating or diminishing is out of the question, something that cannot and will not be tolerated. This is when the narcissist is most at risk for suicidal behavior.
Make no mistake; narcissists don’t threaten suicide just to get attention, they actually follow through on the action especially when they begin to view their superior identity as slightly inferior. They would rather die than be revealed as fallible, vulnerable, or depending on someone else to do the basics of life. When a person has spent their entire life belittling and mocking those believed to be beneath them, they cannot in the end be revealed like them.
There are seven stages to the progression of dementia as listed below. However, how a narcissist responds to each stage is very different from other patients. This is because the narcissism is like a web inside their brain, affecting more than one area.
1.       No Dementia: No Cognitive Decline. This first stage is what pre-dementia looks like where there is no memory loss and a person, including the narcissist, functions normally.
2.      No Dementia: Very Mild Cognitive Decline. As a person ages, forgetfulness becomes typical but it doesn’t impair normal functioning. For the narcissist, their forgetfulness is often blamed on others.
3.      No Dementia: Mild Cognitive Decline. Forgetfulness becomes more consistent and trouble concentrating for long periods of time increases as work performance declines. Narcissists begin to notice this stage but work very hard to hide it from others. It is typical for them to have increased aggravation over their perceived slowness which they frequently project onto others.
4.      Early Stage: Moderate Cognitive Decline.Despite the best efforts of the narcissist, their decreased cognitive abilities become apparent to others. They typically struggle to remember even recent events, accidentally send too much money to the electrical company, or get lost easily when in new locations. Complex work tasks become too difficult but the narcissist won’t admit to it. Instead they will blame others and distract with elaborate stories of past successes. To avoid embarrassment (the Achilles heel of the narcissist), they withdraw from family and friends. When needed, the narcissist can function at a select event for a short period of time but as soon as it is done, so are they. The disengagement is extreme and may even appear catatonic.
5.      Mid-Stage: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline.The memory deficiencies become significant as even common tasks such as cooking, dressing, or grooming require some sort of assistance. Some narcissists can weather this stage well if they have a caretaker who is willing to pamper them and tolerate their aggravation. But others slip rapidly into a depressive state which adds to the frustration. They may not remember major life events or people any longer. However, what the narcissist values is definitely revealed at this stage. If work over family was important, they won’t remember family vacations but can still remember a major deal they negotiated.
6.      Mid-Stage: Severe Cognitive Decline. This is when suicidality becomes a possibility if they are able to carry out the task. No longer able to care for themselves and having embarrassing problems such as eating or bowel control, narcissists shut down. For brief periods of time, the narcissism will disappear and what the person would be like without it appears. This becomes a hope that most family members cling to but the progression of the dementia is so advanced now that it becomes discouraging. It is also common for the narcissist to have delusional thinking such as watching something on TV and believing they are actually doing it. Anger outbursts are common as are paranoid delusions. The narcissist is so convincing even at this stage that they are able to draw others into their delusional state.
7.      Late-Stage: Very Severe Cognitive Decline. At the last stage, there is little to no communication, psychomotor skills, or walking. Everything requires assistance and the narcissist is a shell of what they once were. No longer able to recognize themselves or others, all of the narcissistic symptoms have disappeared along with their personality.
Watching any person go through these stages is traumatic; however there is a glimmer of awareness that is unique to a narcissist who has dementia. The key lies in remembering the brief moments when the non-narcissistic side of them appeared. This is who they really were, instead of whom they became.
To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Why Marriages Fail After 25 Years

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

It’s shocking. After 25 years of marriage, a couple decides to get a divorce. From the outside looking in, things could not be any stranger. The pressures of establishing a career have subsided, the kids have grown-up (and hopefully moved out), and a desired lifestyle has been obtained. After all, surely this couple has been though just about everything and survived it. Or have they?
It is precisely when a lack of distractions from career, kids, schools, and community subsides that underlying long-term issues rise to the surface. The defense mechanism of denial no longer works. Instead what is revealed is prolonged hurt, deep seeded resentment, a lack of forgiveness, virtually no real communication, and zero intimacy.
A marriage falling apart after such a long duration isn’t about a lack of commitment. Rather, the dedication to staying together is what allowed the marriage to last as long as it did. Yet society vilifies the desolation. Instead of understanding and compassion for the long suffering, insensitive remarks are made about the character of those who decide to divorce.    
Here are some reasons marriages fall apart after 25 years:
·         Undiagnosed mental illness. In an effort to avoid a label, many people refuse to seek treatment for a variety of mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, or even the more serious illnesses of schizophrenia and dementia. Some of these appear later in life and are not present early in the marriage. These disorders can vary in concentration and levels, there can be multiple co-occurring issues, and they can dramatically and negatively affect the perception of life and relationships. There is only so much a married person can take from a spouse with an undiagnosed mental illness who refuses to seek help.
·         Personality disorders. Most couples will agree that their personalities are different and even clash. But a spouse with a personality disorder brings a level of intensity, extremism, and trauma that is far more significant than a personality difference. Within the definition of a personality disorder is the inability to accurately perceive reality, history of impulsive or controlling behavior, and a trail of interpersonal relational problems. Even with counseling, the effects of a personality disorder on a spouse can generate levels of anxiety and depression that are dysfunctional and can contribute greatly to their deteriorating health.
·         Abusive behaviors. There are seven ways a person can be abused: mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually, financially, verbally, and spiritually. Just because a person doesn’t have bruises, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering from abusive behaviors. In many cases, the abuse is done in secret with very few people aware of the dysfunction. While ideally this won’t be tolerated for a long period of time, the reality is that many people need a combination of awareness, knowledge, time, energy, support, and courage to finally walk away.
·         Hidden addiction. Equally frustrating is a hidden addiction. There are many types of addictive substances such as alcohol, drugs (prescription and illegal), gambling, sex, shopping, smoking, stealing, food, video games, work, exercise, hoarding, and cutting. At some point, a spouse stops enabling the addiction, communicates hope for recovery, sets new standards, and erects boundaries. But if the partner does not respond positively, the spouse finds they can no longer watch someone they love destroy both lives.
·         Unresolved major issues. There is a wide variety of possibilities in this category including unprocessed trauma from an accident, repeated infidelity from a workaholic, continued grieving over the loss of a child, escalated health issues due to mistreatment, and misguided coping mechanism such as hoarding. At some point a spouse has said everything and it becomes too painful to watch the self-destruction knowing that it could be avoided with help.
·         Lack of growth. Personal growth is not meant to stop with the completion of schooling; rather it should be an ongoing journey that doesn’t seize until death. However, some people arrogantly believe that they have “arrived” and therefore do not need to continue this process either personally or professionally. For the spouse who continues to develop and change, watching the stagnation of their partner is painful. This frequently manifests in different goals, interests, retirement plans, and unfortunately an escalation in controlling behaviors designed to hold back the growing spouse.

When one spouse is willing to work on these issues and the other is not, there are little options. Some chose to live parallel lives with no further connection, others live in separate states and residences, and still others pick divorce. A person cannot be forced into realization or change, they must want it, make a decision to move in a healthy manner, and then follow through.
To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Can a Narcissist Be Remorseful, Empathetic, or Forgiving?

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

Try to point out a narcissist’s mistakes and the attack is likely to be returned with force. Expect a narcissist to show understanding during a difficult time and the conversation will quickly be turned back towards the narcissist. Ask a narcissist to forgive an error in judgement and a detailed accounting of all blunders will be recounted.
Within the definition of narcissism is a lack of remorse, empathy or forgiveness. Narcissists have a fantasy view of themselves where they are all powerful, knowing, beautiful, and influential. Even when reality might prove otherwise, their distorted perception of self greatly contributes to egocentric behavior. So if everything is about them, then why does a person need to admit to wrongdoing, show compassion for others, or release the wrongs of others?
In the eyes of a narcissist, they don’t. However, when it is to their advantage, a narcissist can demonstrate limited amounts of remorse, empathy or forgiveness. Here is what that looks like:

Remorse. For a narcissist to demonstrate regret, the benefit must outweigh the cost. For example, a narcissistic boss might value the financial contribution a client brings so much that they are willing to show sorrow for over a forgotten commitment. Or a narcissistic parent might want the approval of a favorite child that they are willing to acknowledge their mistakes with the other children. Or a narcissistic spouse might make a joke out of their indiscretion in front of another couple to head off any negative comments made by the spouse.
Basically the show of remorse is part of a calculated formula where the expense of admitting to a mistake is small in comparison to the potential positive return. For the non-narcissist, this equation can be utilized as well. It is far easier to get a narcissist to admit to an error when the benefit is obviously pointed out in a discussion. However, real remorse is not likely since that would require awareness that the narcissist is not immune from error.
Empathy. Many narcissists are skilled at faking compassion for brief periods of time. They can learn from movies, videos, and empathetic people who demonstrate a caring response in times of trouble. But a show of understanding over a long time frame is nearly impossible. In order to demonstrate empathy, a person must see things from another’s point of view and be willing to allow that perspective to dominate. As hard as a narcissist might try, their distorted perception of reality won’t allow them to see things differently. It is like asking a color blind person to see yellow or blue.
However, when the narcissist can look like the hero to a person who is less fortunate, they will take on the challenge. From an outsider’s point of view, this could look empathetic, but it is not from the narcissist’s vantage point. For the narcissist, rescuing someone else is further demonstration of their superiority.
Forgiveness. Granting pardons to those who make mistakes feeds the narcissistic ego. Again, it is another opportunity to show how much better they are then others. But there is a very high price to pay when asking for forgiveness from a narcissist. First, they might say they forgive but they won’t forget even to the point of reminding the person of the mistake many years later. Second, there is some type of restitution that is likely to be requested in exchange for the clemency which usually far exceeds the crime. And last, narcissists reserve the right to withdraw the forgiveness without notice if it serves their interest.
It is commonly believed that forgiveness is for the mental well-being of the victim, not the offender. But when the wounded person is a narcissist, there are two things they do with the pain. One, it is added to the list of deep rooted insecurities of which no person is privy and which is covered by bravado. Two, it is discarded as inconsequential to their self-worth and therefore not worthy of their attention. Either way, the offender will not know the difference.  

It can be frustrating to see remorse, empathy or forgiveness from the narcissistic perspective. But it is even more damaging to expect them to act and think like everyone else when they don’t.

To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Monday, January 16, 2017

22 Key Factors to find a Coach who can challenge you toward greater results

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

If you want a better life you must have a better coach because if you pick the wrong one you will not experience the results you want.
In fact if you have a bad coach you may have to fire them. Don’t worry – A non-performing coach knows you will fire them since coaching is about results for the client, nothing more, nothing less.  
So how can you find a better coach? Here are the action steps to help you, and those you care about , find a coach who can challenge you to climb higher, dream bigger and accomplish more than you could have ever done alone. Start with the basics in your own life and ask the following -
1. Are you “coachable,” that is, do you seek out coaching and respond to critique?
2. Is your life emotionally and relationally stable?
3. Are you ready for a coach?
4. Do you have the time to take on new projects?
5. Are you eager to move past the roadblocks toward experiencing your potential?
If you answered ‘Yes” to at least 4 of these 5 questions then move forward to the next section in seeking out a great coach. However, if you answered “No” to more than half of these questions coaching may not be right for you at this time.
Once an experienced coach discovers you aren’t really ready to change they will likely fire you for wasting their time.   So who is an ideal coach for you? Look for someone who:

• Shares your values
• Who has extensive experience
• Who is a good fit in personality
• Can relate to your life journey
• That you can feel connected to
• Who offers one-on-one coaching specific to your needs
• Who is taking new client’s
• Has a level of success in their niche of the coaching industry
• Who offers a free consult, (it is wise to avoid people who are more motivated about getting your money than listening to your challenges to see if they are a good fit to help)  

You have to ask the right questions to find an Experienced Coach and choosing an experienced coach is essential if you want to experience positive results to rapidly reach your goals. Here is an extensive checklist of key issues to ask before you select a coach.
Asking the right question can save you a TON of problems, a lot of money and more importantly protect your time in reaching your goals.  
___ Is the potential coach’s belief system and moral values similar to yours?
___ Research the coach’s education, credentials, knowledge and experience in dealing with your specific type of coaching challenge
___Ask how many years the coach been in professional practice, and how long in this region of the country? (This usually shows they are highly skilled and well-connected in your region in case you need local referrals for other services).
___Ask about the coach’s professional reputation in the community; Are they viewed as a leader within their industry, or a novice just beginning their career? (Remember, experience counts when you are trying to rapidly solve problems)
___Does the coach possess additional training, certifications, and credentials that match your specific challenge?
___Is the coach quoted by the media or recognized as a published author on the issues you are facing? This is important because it shows that the coach is a trusted resource by the professional community.
___ Can you find them on the Internet via Google or other search engines as an established author or professional known for their areas of expertise who is highly trusted and recommended by other leaders?
___Was the coach referred by a physician, lawyer, clergy member or other member of the professional community that you trust?
___Was the coach referred by a prior coaching client? This adds significant credibility to the coach’s work because you can ask your friends or family what their experiences were like. Did they like their coach and was their time useful to achieve results?
___Does the coach believe in a team approach to find other professional to address challenges they are not skilled in, and are they open to referring you on to the best professional in case they can’t best meet your needs?  

Critique, not Criticism
Remember, a coach’s role is to challenge you. It won’t be “warm & fuzzy” and no one will be singing “Kum-ba-Ya” at the end of the call. Coaching is about results. If your coach’s values are too different, the questions and techniques they offer may not make a lot of sense to you and you won’t achieve your goals. 
Ruthlessly press past the fear of hurting feelings to make sure you have the right professional by your side.
Effective Coaching is an adversarial process so you shouldn’t start looking for a new coach just because your current coach pushes and actively challenges you. Getting in your face about issues is their job. As long as they are offering valid critique you likely have the right coach.  
However, CRITIQUE is different that CRITICISM. One is about challenging you, the other is about attacking you.   Finally, consider these factors after the first meeting with your coach to insure they are a good fit to achieve the greatest results.  
___Did the coach listen to you, and most importantly respect you?
___Did you feel valued as a person?
___Did you feel confident the coach had the skills and experience to move forward?
___Did you feel comfortable honestly describing your roadblocks to your coach, or were you embarrassed to spell it out?
___Is the coach easy to get in touch with if you have a question, either via telephone, web or email?
___Does the coach appear to be organized, or do they have administrative support staff to assist with tasks to keep their office running efficiently and smoothly?
___Does the coach run on schedule to respect your time?
___Does the coach’s approach and style feel like a good fit?
___Do you feel that the coach is genuinely interested in you and seeing you accomplish your goals?
___Does the coach offer additional guidance through printed resources, articles, assessments, tests, books or direction toward web links to give you greater insight?
___Does the coach remember important details from meeting to meeting?
___Does the coach inspire you to accept life challenges and push you toward creating positive change?  
If you can honestly say that your coach is a good fit after mapping out these factors, then buckle up, because you are about to launch on a rocket-ride toward the life you were designed to live. Finding and living out God’s potential is one of the most important goals of life. Finding and listening to the right Coach will get you there.  

About the author-  Dwight Bain guides leaders to re-write their story through creative change. He is an author, Certified Leadership Coach and Nationally Certified Counselor based in Orlando, Follow him across all social platforms @dwightbain   

It’s Time to Banish New Year’s Resolutions

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC
One of the most difficult therapeutic processes is confronting the forgotten oaths/promises/resolutions a person has unconsciously internalized which continue to cause harm. Oaths are made to never forget the pain of a broken heart. Promises are forged of not turning into a dysfunctional parent. Resolutions are created out of childhood trauma.
Then ironically, as if one broken desire is not enough, society encourages the pattern to restart every year. In Roman mythology, the god Janus (believed to be the root of January) is known for transitions from old into new. People would make promises to the god at the start of the year. This is the origin of the New Year’s tradition. But just because something has been done for centuries, does not mean it needs to continue into the future.
According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology (2016) research, 45% of Americans will make a New Year’s resolution but only 8% will achieve it with 24% having never succeeded at all. Such numbers indicates a brokenness and need for change.
So instead of another year of failed resolve, become intentional with a single purpose for the year. Personally, I like to pick a word as a goal for the year. There are no resolutions attached, just an aim or direction going forward. Here are a couple of examples:
  • Restore. Left unmanaged, relationships, like water, take the path of least resistance and can easily deteriorate over time. Some are better left alone while other relationships may need restoration. Be deliberate in rebuilding bonds with people who enhance life.
  • Courage. Fear has a way of destroying courage over time. It takes courage to try new things, to confront past failures, and to move forward without knowing all the specifics. Embracing this concept strengths character and resolve.
  • Health. This is not about starting a new diet, drinking more water, or taking vitamins. Rather, it is about scheduling annual check-ups, healing old injuries, discovering alternatives to medication, and modifying lifestyle. Health can be physical, mental or emotional.
  • Organize. While cleaning out a forgotten closet is helpful, organizing time, energy and resources is far more valuable. There are several good methods but one of the best is Stephen Covey’s Time Matrix which classifies every activity into one of four quadrants.
  • Balance. Striking a balance between work, play, relationships, and family can be difficult. But by spending one year discovering new ways to create a healthy balance between the various roles, the long-term results can be quite significant.
  • Attitude. The old saying, “Attitude is everything,” has some merit as perception can become reality. This is not positive thinking which frequently incorporates some form of denial. Rather, it is about confront difficult situations with a can-do mentality.
  • Peace. In a time when peace is lacking from the world around, finding peace within one’s self is even more beneficial. This might mean letting go of past hurts, guilt, shame, and inadequacy in placement for healing, initiative, autonomy, and industry.
  • Discovery. There are so many places to visit, things to see, and activities to do even within small towns. This could be on a large scale such as traveling to a foreign country or learning a new trade. Or it could be smaller such as learning to cook or exploring a local park.
  • Creative. Everyone has the capacity to be creative in some manner. A well negotiated deal, a beautiful painting, inspired writing, new business plan, or an innovative solution all require imagination and creativity.
  • Confront. The art of confrontation is a learned skill. Not everyone appreciates the same type or level of conflict. Nor is the same appropriate for every circumstance. Knowing the difference requires practice and expert timing.
  • Happy. Happiness is more than a choice; it is a state of mind. While it can be situational, it must also be intentionally sought, otherwise it can abscond. This is not about winning a large lottery pot; rather it is about discovering happiness in the smaller more elusive things of life.
  • Rest. There is a huge difference between purposeful and haphazard rest. A focused rest is taking time out to do a relaxing and enjoyable activity to rejuvenate. Whereas, disorganized rest is done out of exhaustion and isn’t as nearly as productive.

This year instead of making yet another forgotten and broken resolution chose a word that provides a purposeful direction. See where it takes you. It might just be the best year yet.
To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Five Ways a Narcissist Comes Unglued

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC
The angry outburst of a narcissist is like a two-year old temper tantrum. It appears out of no where, creates an unnecessary scene, and shocks others into inaction. It is the ultimate in selfish behavior as everything immediately becomes about them and what they want. Just like a child, a narcissist cannot tell the difference between what they need and what they want. The two things are exactly the same and as such an angry rant is sparked by both.
There are five main reasons for a narcissistic temper tantrum:
1.       Shattering their fantasy - Two year olds think imaginary, not logically. Narcissists also have a distorted perception of reality where they are all powerful, beautiful, knowing, authoritative, and right. Any shattering of that fantasy is met with immediate anger.
2.      Revealing their insecurity – At the heart of every narcissist, is a deep rooted insecurity that causes shame or doubt such as abuse. Most of the displayed grandiosity is an effort to cover up that insecurity. But the second it is revealed, the narcissist becomes angry in order to deflect the shameful image.
3.      Challenging their superiority – All narcissists view themselves as being superior to others in appearance, intelligence, and/or influence. Any challenge to that image is met with swift retaliation and competitive reactions. They must win at all costs even if the damage is a lost relationship.
4.      Seeking attention – Just like a two year old, some narcissists have learned that if they can’t get positive attention, negative will do just fine. Narcissists crave daily doses of attention, affirmation, affection, and admiration. When they don’t get it, they react aggressively.
5.      Embarrassing moments – Narcissists take pleasure in embarrassing and humiliating others. They are famous for saying, “I was only joking,” and expecting others to be OK with the derogatory comments. But when others do the same thing back, the response is a severe backlash.
There are four ways a narcissist expresses anger:
1.       Aggressive – This can be instantaneously in the form of verbal lashings, throwing objects, threats of harm, yelling, being argumentative, unyielding in opinions, repetitive speech, twisting the truth, and intimidation.
2.      Suppressive – This type of anger is expressed as giving the silent treatment, ignoring problems or people, playing the victim, complaining about physical aches, being resentful without ever saying it, alienation of family members, and hiding money. Sometimes this anger later expressed in an explosive manner.
3.      Passive-aggressive – This is a more sneaky from of expression though sulking, gossiping, sarcasm, back-stabbing, agreeing to a person’s face but then refusing later, charming those they hate, setting others up for failure, procrastinating, gaslighting, and guilt-tripping.
4.      Violent – When other forms of anger fail to get the point across, some narcissists will escalate to carrying out threats of violence on self or others or being intentionally abusive.

Instead of becoming defensive or attacking back at a narcissist during the next temper tantrum, try using the opportunity to study their methods. Narcissists like to do the same thing over and over especially when it has already proven to be effective. Being able to anticipate a blow-up is the first step in learning how to counteract the attack.

To schedule an appointment with Christine Hammond, please call our office at 407-647-7005.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Signs of stress in children following a major Crisis

Sometimes parents need help identifying stress in children or teens. Here are some typical experiences and signs of stress in children of different ages who have experienced major crisis.

·        Regression of sleeping, toilet training or eating; slowing down in the mastery of new skills
·        Sleep disturbances (difficulty going to sleep; frequently waking)
·        Difficulty leaving parent, extreme clinginess
·        General crankiness, temper tantrums, crying

·        Regression-returning to security blankets/discarded toys, lapses in toilet training, thumb sucking or other age inappropriate behavior
·        Immature grasp of what has happened; bewildered; making up fantasy stories
·        Blaming themselves and feeling guilty about how the crisis affected their family
·        Bedtime anxiety; fitful/fretful sleep; frequent waking or chronic worrying
·        Fear of being abandoned by both parents; clinginess increases as child feels unsafe
·        Greater irritability, aggression, or temper tantrums, especially from previously quiet children

·        Pervasive sadness; especially when perceived feelings of being abandoned or rejected
·        Crying and sobbing can be a common reaction, and sometimes a healing one
·        Afraid of their worst fears coming true, this is sometimes called “catastrophizing”
·        Fantasies that the stressful event didn’t happen and things will ‘just go back to normal’
·        May become overactive or over-involved to avoid thinking about stressful issues
·        Feel ashamed of the crisis; or feel they are different from other children because of the crisis

·        Fear of being isolated and lonely, separation anxiety increases in kids with other major losses.
·        Fear loss of stability and security from parents leaving them or parents not available to them
·        Feel hurried to achieve independence, partly to escape the crisis situation
·        May tend to over-achieve academically or in sports to try and forget the crisis
·        Worry about their own future; preoccupied with the survival of any stable situation
·        Chronic fatigue; difficulty concentrating, physical complaints may indicate stuffed emotions
·        Mourn the loss caused by the crisis or begin to understand that life can be a dangerous place

(Created by Kathleen O’Connell and Dwight Bain to help kids in crisis)

Strategies to help children after a crisis

Children look to their parents for support and encouragement during any crisis. The following is a guide to help parents and teachers manage the flood of emotions that may come up because of the terrorist attacks.

Ages birth-6
It is recommended that children under the age of six not be given exposure to major traumatic events. Children of this age draw their support from their parents, so if the parents or guardians feel safe and secure, the children will as well. Parents should speak calmly around children about bad things that happen in the world, and that "we will remember the people that were hurt in our prayers." If the parents are able to maintain a sense of calmness, children will feel safe.

Ages 6-12
Children this age are more aware of the world around them, yet still need moms and dads to shield them from most of the bad news in our world. Very limited exposure to the media is recommended at this stage, with more open discussions about any fears or insecurities that the child is feeling. Talking is encouraged for this age group, or write letters to emergency workers to thank them for helping the victims. Drawing pictures allows for healthy emotional expression, and something everyone needs is just being held close. A hug can help bring security to a child. Also remember to have special times of prayer. These steps help children better deal with their fears about bad things that happen in the world.

Ages 12-18
Young people have their own impressions of traumatic events. The older they are, the more likely they will have strong opinions, and it is normal for them to process their feelings with friends. This should be balanced with family, teachers, pastors or counselors. They need time to verbally process how they feel about what happened ten years ago. Special emphasis should be placed on helping this age group talk through the issues and how it impacted them and not stay isolated. Silence is a warning sign that the crisis events of the past have been internalized. Strict limits on over exposure of media is essential to prevent anxiety or panic levels from rising.