Posts

confabulation

Is it narcissism or confabulation? It can be a difficult to tell these two apart as distinguishing sarcasm and “humorously delivered” criticism. Is a person deliberately lying when they confabulate? Here’s a quick definition of confabulate.

In the formal version, confabulate means to talk, with roots found in the words ‘fable’ and ‘fabulous.’ In the world of psychiatry, it means to fabricate imaginary experiences as compensation for loss of memory. This is common in alcohol induced dementias aka Korsakoff syndrome (a type of dementia often associated with alcohol abuse), but it also has been observed in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

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your inner critic

What Is Your Inner Critic And Where Did It Come From?

To answer that, here is a story for you. Read more

mind reading

Is Mind Reading Destructive?

There is a myth that says “If you love me, then you’ll know what I need.” This is called mind reading. Is mind reading destructive? Sometimes. When it is, it keeps you on the hook for a destructive, repetitive communication pattern. Here’s the skinny.

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Trust issues

I read a Facebook comment recently that plaintively asked “Why is it so hard for us to talk about our emotions?” In light of the recent and tragic suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I thought about this question. It begged the following question. Have you ever had your emotions minimized or dismissed altogether?

I experienced this recently, and it made me feel sort of expendable, like what I was contributing really wasn’t all that important. It can make you question whether that is true, and undermine your self esteem, as well as your sense of belonging. Now I’m not depressed, but if you are depressed, this only confirms the heaviness you already feel, and the sense that you really don’t matter. Here are eight reasons why emotions have low value in our culture.

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healthy boundaries

In addition to my degree in clinical social work, I have a masters degree in public health. We prevent. That’s what public health is about. In this post I want to help you see the hidden costs of poor boundaries, and prevent those costs for yourself. First you need to understand that prevention is often invisible unless you first look at the prevented costs. Here’s an example of that.

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complaining

Your children are like so much wet cement according to Time Magazine, in that they are impressionable at an early age. Your words and actions make impressions that will ‘harden’ over time and guide their sense of identity. A large portion of our job as parents is to guide, shape and correct them. When shaping behaviors, it is important to guard how much you criticize vs praise those you love. The same thing applies to your partner. Is complaining your habit? So what is the magic ratio?

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self-deception

Lies come in two large categories. One is to save face and the other is manipulation. You could also call these categories white lies and strategic lies. I’m primarily interested in self-deception, which comes under the heading of saving face. Or maybe hiding, or disguising, your true face, into one you believe is acceptable. Read more

tame anxiety

I don’t actually place too much stock in New Year’s resolutions. In the past when I have, they are usually too big or not sustainable, and by January 31, I’m like meh. This sucks and I don’t want to do it any more. So then I let the unmet goals go until the angst over not getting enough exercise or being unable to wear the clothes that are two sizes past creep up and make me feel defeated again. This is the hamster wheel of my own anxiety spinning around in my head. It can turn into a bad case of the “What ifs” if I don’t follow my own advice. You know, doctor, heal thyself. So I make sure set goals I can achieve, I get competent help, and I pay attention to self care. All of that allows me to do what I do best, which is to help you tame your anxiety. But if you are feeling a little shy about seeking help, or unsure of what to expect in therapy, please let me demystify it for you. Read more

narcissism

Lately the world is abuzz with talk of narcissism. Politics aside, sometimes I see this in the therapy room. It is more subtle than you might expect. These behaviors are not as black and white as this yin/yang symbol. Indeed, this set of emotional behaviors is more like 50 shades of gray! Why? Because it is often difficult for a partner to pin down why they are the ones feeling exhausted and depressed when dealing with a narcissist. Is it Oz? The comparison of Oz as the epitome of the narcissist is used by Eleanor D. Payson in her book The Wizard of Oz And Other Narcissists. She sees the wizard from the movie The Wizard of Oz as a glowing example of narcissism, and Dorothy as the “codependent” who repeatedly and desperately tries many ways to please him in her goal of getting back home. In this classic example, both parties fit together in a yin and yang manner, perpetuating this painful dance.

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can't think clearly

Hello everyone! This post is a Part II to last week’s, which you can read here if you missed it.

What happens when you are fighting with your lover and you get either so hurt, or so angry, that you can’t think clearly?

Research by Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University demonstrates that mammals develop a special pathway in the amygdala that lights up when they perceive their mate is unavailable. Panksepp is convinced this special pathway exists in all mammals. So what happens when you feel, most likely without even realizing it, that your connection with your partner is under threat? You are plunged into what he terms “primal panic.” The primal part is due to the absolute need,  a primal need, for connection to others–especially our significant others.

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