Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Some People Never Learn to Trust Others



By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Have you ever wondered why some people cannot seem to trust anyone?  Maybe you are married to someone who despite all of your positive efforts of encouragement still struggles with being able to trust you.  Maybe you have a friend who automatically distrusts everyone they come in contact with including supposed safe categories of people such as the police or a pastor.  Or maybe you have a child who mistrusts everything you say.  Regardless of any positive outcomes, they remain steadfast in mistrust.


There are some concepts that psychology does really well and some that it tragically falls short but one that has stood the test of time is Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development.  The first stage from birth to eighteen months is Trust vs. Mistrust and it is the foundational stage upon which all future issues lie.  If a person learns to trust others for feeding, nurturing, comfort, and safety during this time, then they will have an easier time trusting others in the future.  But if they don’t learn to trust, then the foundation has been laid for a lifetime of mistrust.


The Psychology.  Simply put, Erikson concluded that all babies by their nature need to trust someone to care for them as they are incapable of self-care between birth and eighteen months.  During these foundational years, a baby must rely on crying to communicate all needs: food, comfort, pain, nurturing, and safety.  It is the responsibility of the caretaker (hopefully the parent) to meet those needs in a loving manner.  If the infant fails to have his/her needs met then they learn not to trust their caretaker for meeting their basic needs.


The Child.  A child who learns to trust the caretaker to meet the most basic needs now is capable of trusting them even further to meeting his/her wants and desires.  On the other hand, a child who learns to mistrust the caretaker fails to develop any further trust and subsequently has a difficult time attaching to the caretaker.  There is an unnatural distance between the caretaker and the child as neither one engages with the other, it is a distance that only grows as the child grows.  But a child who has learned to trust will naturally run to the caretaker whenever there is trouble and the bond between the two is unmistakable.


The Adult.  As a trusting adult, the evidence of trust will be seen in many relationships but most evident in a marriage relationship.  However, if the adult as a child attached only to the same sex parent, they may struggle with trusting someone of the opposite sex, the same is true in reverse.  More obvious is the adult who never learned to trust anyone as a child, now struggles with trusting friends, family, colleagues, spouse, children, and especially the spouse’s family.


The Cure.  Just because someone grew up in an environment where they learned not to trust anyone, does not mean this must be permanent.  It does mean that it will be a struggle or even an ongoing battle but it can be overcome with hard work, time and energy.  Learning to trust God is one of the best ways to conquer mistrust and while this may seem counter-intuitive, it does work.  In some ways, God is easier to trust than humans because He is not human but supernatural so the old wiring that says people cannot be trusted does not apply.  God also provides a safe environment free from criticism or rejection.  But for some, this is a hard concept to grasp as every fiber in their being tells them that if they cannot trust a caregiver, how can they trust God?  So instead it becomes a leap of faith that is too big or scary.  For the others that take the leap of faith and trust in God, their trust extends slowly to others as time has passed and evidence has been gained that some people can be trusted.


The next time you run across someone who has a hard time trusting others, spend a bit of energy in understanding their perspective and try to see life from their point of view.  You will frequently find some trauma in the early years between birth and eighteen months that justifies their position.  So, don’t give up on them, trust them first and be a light to others who are trying to find their way in a sea of mistrust.

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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please 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, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
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About the author-
Chris Hammond is a
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Monday, July 30, 2012

How to be Unloving to Your Wife


By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH


Just as a wife needs to read what it feels like to be disrespectful to her husband, a man needs to read what it feels like to be unloving to his wife.  So if you are a wife reading this, please don’t email this article to your husband and demand he reads it.  If you are a husband reading this, please take it as it was written, tongue-in-cheek.  Sometimes you can see things more clearly by identifying what it looks to be unloving rather than loving.


These can be done nearly anywhere as your wife is sure to take offense at each and every one.  Just be careful not to do all of them at the same time or you might overload her with feelings of resentment.  Rather, spread them out over a period of time to make sure she knows just how much you don’t love her.


·         Her home – Whenever possible, point out all of the things that are wrong in the house and how it never looks like she contributes to the care of it.  This is especially effective when she has gone out of her way to make the house look nice and you ignore it with your silence instead of recognizing it.  If she has done something that you don’t like such as rearranging the furniture or painting a wall, take the time to rearrange it back or complain that the color is your least favorite.  The more she prides herself on how her house looks, the more effective this tactic will be.


·         Her relationships – Since most women gain value from their relationships, criticize her friends regularly and demand she be friends only with the people you like.  Throw in a couple of sarcastic remarks about her friends in front of her friends and watch the tension mount.  If she seems to side with the friends, don’t be compassionate instead demand her undying loyalty to you in front of her friends. 


·         Her religion – Don’t forget about the power in reminding your wife that she needs to submit to you because God says so.  By mixing a dose of religious guilt along with your statements, most women become confused and frustrated because love and guilt don’t mix well.  That is your opportunity to strike the next blow just to make sure she knows who is boss.


·         Her family – Many wives are attached to their mothers and have a bond that is difficult to break so do your best to target her mother at every opportunity with cutting remarks.  When you are done with her mother, attack her father especially if she was a “daddy’s girl”.  Even if he is the nicest person, you can still find fault.  Make sure there is a dose of truth mixed with plenty of exaggeration to alienate any allies she might have now or in the future.


·         Her work – This is one of the best categories as any way you go you can still win.  For instance, if she makes less money than you, tell her that she is not pulling her own financial weight.  This is best done to stay-at-home moms who don’t earn any income, make sure you remind her at every turn just how much she has to depend on you for financial support.  If she makes more money than you and you work, be as unsupportive of her job as possible so she knows just how frustrated you are that she is earning more.  If she makes more money than you and you don’t work, drop the mommy guilt card as often as possible by insisting that she spend more time at home and how much the kids miss her every day.


·         Her appearance – Most women take some pride in their appearance so if she gets some new make-up complain about the cost or if she buys a new dress tell her that it doesn’t fit.  This is a tactic that yields results quickly as the more subtle the remark, the more she internalizes your comments and plays them over and over in her head.  She never really escapes obsessing over her appearance even when she doesn’t look good, she’ll just say that she doesn’t care or doesn’t have time.  So one of the best ways to discourage her is to tell her that those few pounds she lost really don’t make a difference in how she looks and she still shouldn’t wear that dress.  Take the opportunity when she gets a hair cut not to notice the difference, better yet ask her what the hairdresser did for all of that money.


·         Her hobbies – Just walk into any craft store and you will find a host of hobbies that most women love to do.  If your wife is one of these women, tell her she is wasting her money on such enjoyment and her money would be better spent on something that you or the kids need.  Adding the mommy guilt touch is especially effective when your wife is spending her time doing something she enjoys.  After all, she had the children, she needs to raise them.


·         Her sexuality – The internet has wonderful pictures of perfect female bodies doing crazy sexual things that are great for comparing your wife and her performance.  If you are bold enough, leave a screen up or show her one of the sights so that she can get a good idea of just what you want and need because it is all about you.  If she has a period of disinterest in sex, don’t justify her behavior by saying it’s hormonal, instead demand that she perform for you sexually.


·         Her dreams – Every now and then remind her of a dream that she never fulfilled or one that she tried and failed.  This is very powerful if you had to rescue her from whatever the situation was and by reminding her of that you are telling her just how dependant she is on you.  There should be no promotion of independence as that is showing love.


·         Her moods – It is no secret that some women get moody a couple of days during the month so if your wife is in this category show no mercy.  Remind her that no matter how she feels, she still needs to take care of you and all your needs.  Never mind that you have been grumpy on occasion, her moodiness is no excuse not to do everything you expect her to do.  You can also use her moods against her by saying that she has no need to cry and that crying is for babies.


·         Her decisions – No doubt she has made a few bad decisions in the time you have known her so keep a tally of all of her mistakes.  You may need to write them down so you don’t forget the next time you have an argument.  Bring up all of her poor choices and then treat her like a child even talking or yelling at her as you would a child.  If she protests, remind her that she acts like more like a child then an adult.


·         Her morality – Last by not least, if your wife has done anything immoral such as drunkenness, adultery, slept with someone before you, pornography, or drug use just to name a few, remind her of her previous behavior and suggest that she return to it whenever things get too tough.  Don’t let your wife get away with the idea that people can change, remind her that she will never change and she will always be the ___ you once knew.


By mastering all of the above suggestions, your marriage will be well on its way to join half of all marriages that end in divorce.  So now that you know what your wife needs to feel unloved, go and conquer.
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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please 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, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author-
Chris Hammond is a
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

What Type of Narcissictic Husband Do You Have? pt2



By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH


A Bully Narcissist may have you intimidated.  A Girly Narcissist may have you feeling bi-polar.   A Poker Face Narcissist may have you questioning reality.  A Debater Narcissist may have you arguing with yourself.  But a Psychotic Narcissist will have you downright fearful with little justification for how or why you are feeling that way.  The urge to run in the opposite direction will be just as strong as the curiosity to explain where the intense feelings are coming from.  It is almost as though you are having a moment of heightened sensitivity where all of your antennas are up and you are on full red alert just looking for the slightest indication that you are in immediate danger but without success.  Any yet you are in danger.


For this reason, the Psychotic Narcissist becomes an interesting study in how a Narcissistic Personality Disorder can become so intense that they proudly commit heinous acts of violence with no morsel of empathy for the victims.  In fact, they will claim to be the victim and further claim that the people they have harmed actually deserve to be harmed.  They will insist that anyone who disagrees with them secretly agrees but is too fearful to admit it and arrogantly assumes that they are admired for their supposed bravery.  They are an exaggerated hyper negative form of each type of Narcissism: Bully, Girly, Poker Face, and Debater with no accurate perception of reality.


From Bully to Belligerent.  The Bully Narcissist who is loud, pushy, and overly aggressive while making decisions by bulldozing over you now transforms into belligerent.  Their behavior so quickly becomes aggressive that you hardly know what is happening and you don’t have time to think about your reaction.  Their aggression is so well practiced, even perfected, that you discount your instinctive reaction to run as you become enticed by their charismatic personality.  Once they see your guard is down, they become aggressive believing they are more powerful, more intelligent, and more worthy of existence than you.


From Girly to Hypersensitive.  The Girly Narcissist who believes their feelings are king and literally takes up all of the oxygen in a room now transforms into hypersensitivity.  They are so much in tune with your emotions and level of fear that they delight themselves causing you to be emotional or fearful.  Just to prove they are in charge of your feelings, they will turn on the charisma till you are no longer fearful and then in a second turn it off so that you are fearful again.  The rush they get from watching your reactions and knowing that they have influence over you eggs them to repeat it.  Because their feelings are always right, if they enjoy watching you squirm then they justify in their heads that you in turn should be grateful to feed their enjoyment no matter what the personal cost.


From Poker Face to “Boy Next Door”.  The Poker Face Narcissist who has learned to be quiet so no one knows what they are thinking which in the end enables them to better manipulate you now transforms into the “boy next door”.  Everything about their outward appearance indicates that they are safe and no one believes they could ever do such any offense until after the event.  While your emotions may tell you to run, their physical appearance is not intimidating and looks strangely like a person you would imagine meeting at church.  Their quietness is often mistaken for shyness but they are not shy, they are cunning and spinning a web of deception waiting for the next target.


From Debater to Obstinate.  The Debater Narcissist who over explains everything again and again requiring you to agree with every small detail and then to agree again with their conclusion now transforms into obstinate behavior.  They become so engrossed in the lies they tell to win their argument that they actually begin to accept them as reality.  A simple statement can have so many multiple meanings, spins, manipulations and lies all mixed in with one dose of truth that it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction.  In fact, they are so good at convincing you that fiction is fact that you become confused when confronted with actual fact and shut down instead.  That is precisely where they want you, depending on them for what is real and what is not. 


The worse part of a Psychotic Narcissist is that they believe themselves to be perfect, almost God like and the rest of the population is beneath them.  So any behavior they can justify in their minds, they are capable of doing making careful notes to blame a host of other people if they are ever discovered.  Because in the end while they are proud of what they have done, they don’t want to be responsible for suffering any consequences handed to them by people who are beneath their level of intellect, power, understanding, and ultimately anyone in a position of authority.  They believe they are the rightful authority figures who have yet to be appreciated for their brilliance.



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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please 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"

About the author-
Chris Hammond is a
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Type of Narcissistic Husband Do You Have?


By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

You have finally realized that you are married to a narcissist.  Everyone else around you already knew this and even warned you about him but for some reason you thought it would be different.  Maybe you believed that he would change for you and maybe he did before you got married but as soon as you walked down the aisle everything changed.  Suddenly this incredible dreamy person who swept you off your feet, met and even exceeded your every expectation, became this other alternate ego.  At first he convinced you that you were the problem and then you finally realized that he is.


Now what do you do?  Well there are several obvious destructive options: have an affair, run to another county, develop an addiction, become even more depressed, gossip about him to a few hundred of your girlfriends, or end the marriage in divorce (which seems easy but is often very ugly).  Or instead you could learn to understand what you are dealing with and accept him for what he is rather than expecting him to change, which is not likely happen no matter how many tears you shed.  So take a long look back and begin the process of understanding the type of narcissist he is.


Poker Face.  These are the quiet narcissists who make major decisions without talking to you.  They will buy a house without talking to you or make changes in their occupation without even mentioning a word.  On the outside they look great and appear to be gentle and kind but this is all a front.  Inside they are using this kind appearance to deceive and control others around them.  They have learned that by keeping quiet no one knows what they are thinking and therefore they can better manipulate other’s actions.  It is really an unexpected sneak attack which happens so quickly that you don’t even notice.  The struggle with Poker Faces is that everyone loves them and no one believes just how controlling they really are behind the scenes.


How to handle a Poker Face?  Don’t take their lack of communication about important decisions as a reflection on your abilities.  Learn to make your own decisions and don’t back down from it.  Begin to anticipate the sneak attacks and look for signs that it is coming; there is usually some evidence that in hindsight becomes 20/20 next time.


Bullies.  These are the loud, pushy, and overly aggressive narcissists who will make decisions by bulldozing over you.  They will buy a house by verbally beating up the realtor, seller, mortgage broker, attorney and anyone else who gets in their way.  They want to be noticed and then appreciated for their aggressiveness all while not being afraid of anyone.  In fact, they become even more competitive and verbal when someone tries to mitigate them with a fear tactic.  The struggle with Bullies is that everyone placates to them because it is easier to give in than to take it on the chin.


How to handle a Bully?  Don’t make excuses for them, apologize for their behavior or tolerate the verbal assaults.  Decide on a boundary and stick with it no matter what they do or say.  While the verbal assaults may worsen at first, they will lessen when you don’t back down.  Think of the bully on the play ground and stand your ground.


Girly.  Normally narcissists are void of feeling, but these believe their feelings are king and they literally take up all of the oxygen in a room just expressing themselves.  How they feel is always right, no matter what the circumstances.  They will buy a house by how it makes them feel:  if they feel important, then they will buy it; if not, they won’t.   When you agree with their feelings there is an intense euphoric high but if you don’t, watch out because they will attack you.  The struggle with Girlies is that they appear to be very sensitive but in actuality, they are only sensitive to their feelings and not yours.


How to handle a Girly?  Don’t accept responsibility for their feelings; instead allow them the freedom to feel however they want.  Decide how you feel independently of them and don’t mix the two up.  Most especially, don’t suppress your feelings or they will eventually explode in an enormous mess.


Debaters.  These are the most logical group of the bunch but they can be as deadly as heat seeking missiles that are aimed at you if you dare to disagree.  They will buy a house by obsessing over excessive details, most of which have nothing whatsoever to do with the purchase.  They over explain everything again and again and just in case you didn’t get it the third time, one more time again.   Worse, they require you to agree with every small detail and then to agree again with their conclusion.  If you don’t, they will seek to prove you wrong till you do agree.  Literally it seems the only way to stop debating with them is to agree.  The struggle with Debaters is that everyone eventually agrees with them and then does what they want to do behind their back. 


How to handle a Debater?  Don’t lie by agreeing with them when you don’t, in the end you will be the one frustrated.  Instead trust your own logic and learn to use logic against them only when necessary.  Be calm and take time out to continue the debate later if you get flustered. 


By understanding the type of narcissist you are married to and accepting him for who he is rather then wishing he would change, you can improve the state of your marriage.  Not all people who are married to a narcissist divorce; in fact many stay married and can even be happy in their marriage.  But in order to have a healthy marriage, you need to know your limitations and stand your ground firmly in love.

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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please 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, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author-
Chris Hammond is a
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When Small Spaces Equal Big Fears



By Chris Hammond


 
Have you ever found yourself in a small tight space like a storage closet, a closed MRI, or an elevator and out of nowhere you felt like you were going to lose it?  Suddenly your breath seems lost, your palms and underarms sweat, your heart races, you feel light-headed and your stomach does flips.  The next thing you know, you are looking for a way out and analyzing how fast you can escape.  Then you become angry because you have not escaped yet and the desire to run away fast is so overwhelming that you could scream.  If so, you might have experienced an anxiety attack.


The problem with anxiety attacks is they happen when you least expect it or worse, when you really don’t have the time to properly deal with it.  But it cannot be ignored.  If you chose to ignore the anxiety attack and deny its existence, it will come back again and again with a vengeance.  The best plan for action is to revisit your last attack in your mind and look for the following clues as to the cause.

Check your environment.  Many people do not handle small tight spaces well and have a fear that the space is closing in on them.  If this sounds like you then analyze the other times when you have experienced an anxiety attack in the past.  Is it only in small spaces?  Does the size or location of the exit have an effect?  Look for patterns in your anxiety as a clue to what maybe causing the anxiety in the first place.


Check your thoughts.  Once you have identified a pattern ask yourself, “What was I thinking?”  Were you thinking that you could not escape?  Were you thinking that the space was getting smaller and smaller?  Were you thinking that you could be attacked?  Once you know your thoughts and now that you are no longer in that same environment, ask yourself, “How realistic was my fear?”  Even mild fears tend to be irrational at times but when mixed with anxiety, they can grow into a larger than life fear that becomes hard to overcome.

Check your emotions.  Now that you know your pattern and have identified your thoughts, ask yourself, “How was I feeling?”  Your feelings in that moment are likely to be intense.  If you experienced anger or a form of it such as frustration, tension, irritation, hurt, hostile or rage then the event most likely triggered something from your past.  Ask, “What does this remind me of” to uncover the real anxiety producing event.


Anxiety attacks do not happen in a vacuum, they occur for a reason and sometimes that reason is rational but it manifests itself in irrational ways.  By spending some time analyzing you last event, you can prevent future events and learn to keep small spaces equaling small fears.




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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please 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, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author-
Chris Hammond is a
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Does Worry Steal Your Joy?

 By Dwight Bain
Little kids do it, senior citizens do it, Presidents and Prime Ministers do it… they worry too much. Do you let this common pattern steal your joy, if so you are not alone since worry affects everyone from 5 to 85. Women are especially prone to this emotion that steals so much joy from living.
Women worry about many different things, from finances to body image to relationships to work or even to worry about their mother's approval, even if their mother is 90! Yet the same psychological drive is fueling this stressful emotion no matter what triggers it. I believe the real source behind the worry most women feel is control.
Not control in the sense of being a manipulative monster, (like Jane Fonda's character in the chick flick film "Monster-in-Law"), rather it's the need to know what's happening around her so she can feel empowered, safe and in control of her emotions and environment.
Think of it this way.
The Cure for Worry is Control
When control goes up, worry goes down because the more a woman can understand the more she will automatically feel a sense of security and confidence inside. Think of it like the self-control the Bible talks about, instead of hyper control, which only leads to frustration. When a woman knows that things are under control she will feel comfortable, safe and worry will fade away. (Maybe that's why day-spas are so popular- a woman can just take a break for a few hours and not worry about the world around her). However, as a situation begins to feel out of control, worry dramatically increases, leading to more serious conditions like
  • Social Phobia
  • Stress disorders with physical symptoms (like migraines)
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorders or
  • Panic Attacks
Women process information verbally which is why they need to talk through so many issues to feel comfortable. When a woman feels connected through communication she feels confident and alive, instead of overly concerned or afraid.
Listen don’t Lecture
Men would do well to figure out that they could make rapid improvement in their relationships simply by listening, instead of lecturing the women in their life. She doesn’t want a quick ‘Mr. Fix-it” answer usually, she just wants someone to listen and allow her to sort through her fears, worries and concerns. When a woman feels safe in the relationship, her worries fade and psychological energy can be spent on living life, instead of living in fear of what might happen next.
There is a biblical principle that says, “Cast all of your worries on God, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7). Learn to give your stress, fear and worries to God through prayer, because that way even if the people in your life aren't listening you can still rest safe knowing that God will always be there for you.




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Reprint Permission- If this article was helpful you are invited to share it with your own list at work, 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 in your reprint.
"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews (Copyright, 2004-2012), subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource by calling 407-647-7005 or by visiting www.LifeWorksGroup.org "
About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He is a professional speaker who partners with media, corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture.