Showing posts from November, 2017

A Counselor’s Journey through Postpartum Depression

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
It is one thing to study postpartum depression as a professional and it is a whole different matter to experience it personally. As a counselor, I knew the signs of the disorder but while experiencing it, I was oblivious to their symptoms. Fortunately, I had a wonderful doctor who quickly and accurately assessed the different situations following the births of my three children.

Baby #1. I’ll never forget the moment I realized something was wrong. Our three week old baby woke me up out of a dead sleep with cries of hunger. In one dazed motion, done with almost no thought, the baby was picked up, my breast was exposed, and the feeding began. The tiny squirming was indication that my supply was insufficient probable due to lack of sleep. I cried, feeling like a failure, wondering if things would ever get better.
After six hours of sleep, divided in thirds and separated by an hour feeding routine, my supply was back in full force. Our baby was premature, with both…

How to Know If You Are in Danger

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

It had been years since Stephanie heard from her ex-husband. He would send the occasional random text messages with some type of mime or joke, but nothing of substance until today. Today’s remarks came across brash and accusatory. Hidden between the lines of communication was a demand for a face-to-face meeting and a threat if she didn’t. Puzzled by the verbal attack, Stephanie anxiously began rehashing and questioning her previous actions. But what she failed to do was assess the potential threat.
He knew this about her. He knew that if he could get her on the defensive, her guard would be let down. Unbeknownst to Stephanie, his contact was preceded by his stalking. By the time he reinitiated communication he already knew her routine and had planned his attack. He reached out to her only because he thought she caught a glimmer of him and he wanted to throw her off his scent.
Still brewing over the bizarre text messages, Stephanie walked around foggy. She strug…

Gaslighting: How to Drive Someone Crazy

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
A man obsessed with stealing valuable jewels murders one woman and attempts to drive the other one (his wife) crazy. His single-mindedness, driven by selfish motives, caused him to deceive and manipulate in order to obtain what he wanted regardless of the cost to others. Fortunately he is discovered just before he tries to commit his wife to an insane asylum.
While this is the dramatic plot of the 1944 movie Gaslight (starring Ingrid Bergman) it could easily be applied to everyday. A person with narcissistic tendencies takes advantage of others to get what they want, resorting to deceptive tactics like twisting the truth. Any slight exposure of reality causes them to claim that other’s perceptions are inaccurate and possibly crazy. They even go to the extreme of hiding things and then saying the other person lost the items.

The name of the movie has become a psychological term called gaslighting. It describes the process of grooming someone into believing they …

Strategies to break “Holiday Stress Syndrome”

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

A recent USA Today poll asked this question, “Which best fits your holiday emotional state?”
Relaxed  - 18% Joyful  - 31% Stressed -  27% Depressed -  24%

Why do people feel so overloaded with additional problems during the holidays? I believe the majority of the pressure they feel is from trying to live up to unrealistic expectations of creating a ‘perfect’ Christmas.
Remember Clark W. Griswald from the movie ‘Christmas Vacation?’ He is the laughable, but best illustration of a guy who tries to do everything right, only to have literally everything go wrong. Dysfunctional relatives, one blown bulb derailing all of the decorations, the Christmas tree goes up in flames, the turkey is dry, the check for the swimming pool is going to bounce, add in a crazy cousin kidnapping the hateful boss, while the dog destroys the house chasing a rabid squirrel and a senile senior citizen sings the national anthem and you have the whole 9 yards of Christmas chaos.
The movie makes us laugh …

How To Keep Yourself Grounded Around Dysfunctional People This Holiday Season

By: Megan Muñoz IMH
Spending time with family and friends over the holidays can trigger a long string of emotions that feel like they jump out and surprise you all at once. This can be especially true if you are anticipating spending the holidays with a person who struggles with relational dysfunction. One minute you’re chatting with a family member in the kitchen while putting a dish into the oven and the next you find yourself triggered by a statement or comment they made. Or you might start the day on high alert because you’re already anticipating the hurtful behavior and words you will encounter. Sometimes these words and behaviors are covert, other times they take place right in front of your face. Either way, it can turn a holiday of celebration and thankfulness into a social and emotional minefield.
Often times, we spend our mental and emotional resources focusing on the person who is causing the dysfunction. However, one of the best ways to cope with dysfunctional people over th…

Wise Words for Those Living with a Narcissist

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

Shortly after their marriage, Jack became aware of the narcissism in his wife. At first, he thought it was immaturity but after their child was born, things escalated. Unable to fully attach onto their child, she became more demanding and self-absorbed. There were times when life seemed to be a series of competition over who would get more of Jack’s attention.
Twenty years later and now divorced from his wife, Jack’s relationship with their child was solid. His attachment to their adult child was strong but not over-powering. During the road to recovery from being married to a narcissist, Jack overcame the destructive verbal abuse that he silently endured. His newly found freedom allowed him to discover fresh personal interests as he began to embrace life with zest and passion.
It was at a work convention that Jack met Steve, a young inspiring manager. At this point in his career, Jack had achieved success and in his desire to give back to others, he was looki…

The Obsessive Narcissist: Stopping the Suffocation

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
Certain professionals such as attorneys, surgeons, and pilots are highly valued for their persistence, myopic focus, and single-minded determination. These traits enable a person to be very successful in environments that not only encourage but reinforce this behavior. After all, no one wants a surgeon who is easily distracted while performing open-heart surgery.
But when this behavior is directed onto a spouse or child, it can become suffocating. Relationships require a bit of finesse, a give and take mentality, and a freedom of choice in order to thrive. All of these elements are counterintuitive to the obsessive narcissist who cannot separate their efficacious work behavior from home life. They believe that the same level of intensity that they bequeath at work will also be equally productive at home.

It is not. Frequently, it has the opposite effect. The family member becomes overwhelmed by the excessive attention and tries to run away instead. This usuall…