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Archive for October, 2012

How to Define Betrayal

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

Imagine this:

An individual walks toward a park filled with family and friends. From a safe distance and without warning, he takes a grenade out of his pocket, pulls the pin, and tosses it into the crowd. The explosion is devastating. He rushes to his car, pulls out a paramedic’s uniform, and rushes back to the scene where he earnestly tries to administer first aid. He is shocked when his loved ones react with anger and confusion at his attempts to comfort and heal their pain.

If something like this really happened it would make the headlines, right? In reality, it happens every day but it remains a secret, it is confined to private homes, or it is exposed in the offices of marriage counselors. The scenario describes  the confusion and pain of infidelity, and implies the difficult, betrayed meaning for the spouse.

As a marriage counselor specializing in infidelity I try to help recovering couples understand the confusion behind this cycle and how to define betrayal. We know the pain experienced by the betrayed can be similar to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder experienced by soldiers wounded in battle. The injured spouse may experience anxiety and depression, insomnia and intrusive thoughts, hyper-vigilance and an inability to maintain daily activities.

As the betrayer rushes in to comfort the damage he has caused, his partner vacillates between wanting intense closeness and insisting he get away or leave the home. Couples in this stage may actually experience great sex, intimate conversations, and open emotional expression. Just as quickly, however, their closeness can turn to confusion, anger, and even violence because of the blurred lines between trust and betrayal. This initial roller coaster is normal but it may be difficult for family and friends to be supportive (remember they were part of the collateral damage too).

Couples struggling to find equilibrium may discover they need the help of a professional who understands the cycle of infidelity recovery and who can offer the hope the couple needs.

Dr. Kate Walker, Ph.D. is the Owner and CEO of achievebalance.org© and the non-profit counseling center Ann’s Place. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor.

Narcissist Personality Disorder Traits: How to Recognize and Deal with a Narcissistic Person or a Narcissistic Relationship

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Does this sound familiar?

  • Your mother is angry and frustrated with you most days and nothing you do is ever right.
  • Most people see you as a kind, considerate, bright person, but your partner doesn’t.
  • You explained something mundane to your father in public and he accused you of being uncouth and embarrassing him.

If you can relate to any of these statements, then your partner or parent might be a narcissist based on these scenarios that outline narcissist personality disorder traits. Narcissists can be very charming. At their core, however, they also have an intense need to be seen as perfect. As a result, they tend to see any problem as someone else’s fault. Manipulation is their master skill and they tend to exhibit traits of paranoia believing that others are out to betray them, take advantage of them, or invade their homes.

Disentangling yourself from the manipulation and emotional abuse of a narcissist can be difficult. I tell clients that getting out of a narcissistic relationship is like trying to get out of a spider’s web; just when you think you have one hand out, your foot is stuck. When your foot is unstuck, you find your backside is stuck. You need support!

An excellent resource I recommend to individuals who believe a partner or parent may be a narcissist is, “The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists.” This is a gem of a book by Eleanor Payson. It is an easy read and clearly describes the behavior of a narcissistic person.

If you determine that you need professional support due to a narcissist in your life, it is important that you find a therapist who understands narcissists and can help you work your way out of feeling “crazy.”

Sue Watkins, M.A., LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist both in Texas and California. She did her graduate work at Fuller Theological Seminary. She also was an adjunct professor at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA.  She currently provides her excellent counseling services through achievebalance.org, and she can likewise be found at her website suewatkins.net.

How Classroom Routines for Children Provide Security in their Daily Education

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

This is the first of a four-part series that examines the importance of rituals in our lives. This article will examine the daily rituals that we all take for granted, as we often fail to recognize their role in keeping us grounded. It is important to know “routine” definition. A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, or a fixed program. These daily rituals are particularly significant as children start school, when parents adjust schedules to accommodate the changes from a more flexible summer routine to the more demanding requirements of a daily education program.

Our schools are very rich in the usage of rituals. The day begins with morning announcements, the children have certain times and routines for classes, recess, lunch, etc. Have you ever observed routines for children throughout their day at school, including the classroom routines? They know exactly what to anticipate the moment they walk in the door. There is a place for their backpacks, jackets, supplies. They know when they are supposed to take out materials from their desks, open books, etc. In order for rituals to be effective, they have to be meaningful, so the rituals in the schools and classrooms provide a security for the children as they become comfortable knowing what to expect. Have you ever listened to a child explain that they had a substitute teacher? You can tell from the child’s voice that the routine was different. Have you ever heard a child explain that they had music that day rather than PE? It is significant for them, because it is a change in what they expected.

As schools create daily rituals for children, it is also crucial for parents to use rituals in the home to provide that same sense of “grounding.’ Getting up at the same time, going to bed at the same time, reading books together, doing homework at specified times, etc. Children want and need that security that rituals provide them.
Surprise yourself and make a list of all the daily rituals that you have provided for your family.

Next month we will examine those rituals that families create for special occasions such as birthdays.

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