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Showing posts from December, 2016

Moving Past Ugly Christmas Sweaters

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC
Did you know this is the hap-happiest time of the year for some people, but also the saddest time for others? That is because the holiday season is literally like a magnifying glass to expand the emotions a person is already experiencing. If your year has gone well, this is an incredible time of rejoicing and celebration. However, if your year has gone like it has for many people you have magnified grief, loss or loneliness. Feeling down over the holidays is normal, but can become overwhelming very quickly. The continual exposure to people who seem to be having the best time of their lives, or the television specials with picture perfect families having the best time ever can leave a person feeling empty inside.
If you, or someone you love is missing the Christmas Spirit, know you are not alone. Relationship loss, job changes, or business downturns can leave someone feeling intense negative emotions. Here are five ways to move from the stress of Ugly Christmas Swea…

10 Ways to Beat the Holiday Stress

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC, NCC
Instead of the song lyric “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” holidays can be ‘the most stressful time of the year.’  With all there is to do (gifting, decorating, and baking), places to go (cocktail parties, family gatherings, and school recitals), and people to see (friends, family and colleagues), life can feel overwhelming. Here are ten ways to reduce the exhaustion: 1.Simplify. It is often the addition of things, people, and activities to an already busy life which turns the holidays into a hectic mess. Instead plan for the interruption by setting aside blocks of time without an activity planned. Any task such as cleaning out the garage that can be diverted till after the New Year should be eliminated from the schedule.2.Clarify. This is not the time to do activities or travel to see family without wanting to do it. If there is no desire, the event should be avoided. Don’t add to the schedule anything for which is designed to please others …

Managing Grief Through the Holiday Season

By: Nancy Tikunoff, IMHAh, the holiday season is upon us. The celebrations of life and love with family and friends are ushered in from the harried pace of life with the Thanksgiving respite and much feasting. Close on its heels the attention turns to the Christmas season which, again, is closely associated with family, community and relationships. The merrymaking continues till the end of the year with one last hoorah for closing out the year and ringing in a new one. Again, times replete with gatherings of those we love who are an integral part of our lives.But then something so unexpected (or maybe expected but nevertheless dreaded) occurs, an event that seems so out of keeping with the laughter, joy, activities and traditions that define the holiday season for us. The accident no one saw coming. The sudden, unexpected illness or a long-term battle with aging finally ends  omeone we love dies or it’s the anniversary of the death of someone that we love and miss dearly. They are no …

5 Tips for Tackling your Spouse’s Narcissistic Family

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC, NCC
There are some days when the thought of knocking down a relative or in-law seems tempting. This is especially true following an unforeseen passive-aggressive personal attack. But if this person is a narcissist, they seem to have the resilience of a linebacker who takes the blow just to bounce back up again with even more determination to dominate the next time.Winning in such an environment feels like a lost cause. Many happily settle for flying under the radar so as to avoid the attacks all together. Or they retaliate with similar passive-aggressive remarks in a game of tit-for-tat. Some even plow through the initial casual remarks with quick aggressive jabs designed to attack first. Unfortunately all of these are usually met with heavy resistance from the other family members or worse yet a spouse. This can create an environment of isolation and turn the family gathering into them versus me atmosphere. Of course, this is the intent of the narcissist b…

19 Reasons for Chronic Underperformance

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC, NCCBy the mid-40’s certain aspects of a person’s personality become very apparent. One of these things is work productivity. While there can be socioeconomic reasons for underperformance, after twenty years, a person is able to rise above even the most difficult of times. There is a warning however, being productive and being successful are not the same, so this not about accomplishment.Nor is this about a teenager or someone in their twenties. For them, underperformance may simply be lack of motivation or inspiration. But by a mid-age, some things should have been resolved. Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development identifies Generativity vs. Stagnation during this period which can result in a mid-life crisis. So this is intentionally about a person who is still underperforming or in the stagnation stage by mid-age. Here are some of the possible reasons:1.Entitlement. Many wrongly believe that just because they are a certain age that this de…

The Secret Facade of the Vulnerable Narcissist

by: Christine Hammond, LMHC, NCC
At first, they seem so quiet and unobtrusive; a refreshing break from the normal banter of one-up-man-ship that frequently dominates an initial conversation. But then the sly remarks characteristic of inattentiveness began, along with a victimization mentality where the whole world is out to get them, and a hypersensitivity to unintentional disparaging comments. The switch is so dramatic that it is hardly noticeable until it becomes unnerving.The narcissistic qualities of a vulnerable narcissist (VN) are masked by helplessness, emotionality, and reticent behavior. They are not dissimilar to covert or introverted narcissists which fly far under the grandiose radar of a typical narcissist. Here are some signs of a VN:

·They are typically highly sensitive people to the extreme level. Only their feelings have significance or importance, not another’s. Instead of using their sensitivity to understand and meet the needs of others, they take offense to the slig…