Are you one? A super sensitive ruminator? A person who thinks deeply about things, maybe sometimes too much? Or perhaps you veer into the scarier territory of unwanted intrusive thoughts. These little torturers will keep you stuck for sure. The most ineffective action you can take is trying not to have your thoughts. My mantra to you is “Change your relationship with your thoughts and your beliefs about them.”
Do you find yourself craving certainty? If this happens on a regular basis for you, here is one thing I know for sure. Craving certainty is a surefire recipe for anxiety. Craving certainty is the very definition of anxiety. Craving certainty creates the anxiety habit. And yes, it is a habit.
Have you ever found yourself so wound up you simply cannot untangle what it is that is bothering you the most? Entangled thoughts make you feel like you can’t think clearly because you have an inner dialogue going on that you have created about some aggressive, relationship-ruining, sexual, logic-defying, bewildering, even violent content running through your mind. You may experience a healthy dose of guilt and shame alongside that content, because you wonder how on earth you can be a good or sane person and think this way.
Perhaps you have learned that no matter how hard you try, your anxious unwanted intrusive thoughts are not going away. That is because anxiety is a paradox, meaning the harder you try, the more persistent the thoughts become. You no doubt have heard the phrase “What you resist persists.”
That is how OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) thoughts operate.
Ever unlocked your car in the parking lot of the grocery store with a big ole bag of groceries in your hand and looked down to find you just stepped in a wad of gum? Gum that has been baking on the asphalt to a nice stretchy glob of stickiness? Then you spend 10 minutes trying to get the mess off your shoe while the ice cream in your grocery bag slowly turns to mush. Maybe you succeeded in getting a bit off, but you also did an excellent job of spreading around what remained into an even wider area of that disgusting suction you now have with every step.
PSA: Get some awe. Go out and get yourself to a place where you can easily feel your insignificance. A place in nature where you can look up, down and all around, and breathe in the idea that all of the anxiety, the worry, the daily grind, don’t matter. At least not in that moment.
Coming clean on the couch isn’t easy. And what do I mean by that? This is a post about self deception and how it stops you cold from achieving your best self. Self deception exists in many forms. We tell ourselves it won’t matter if we just have this extra helping of mashed potatoes or purchase this designer handbag on sale. The credit card bill is already high–what the hell. But how about self deception as a form of [false] protection?
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.
Most people don’t know the answer to “How do you trust?” Last week’s post offered the definitions of betrayal and trust, and many ideas about the ways we betray others. It goes beyond simply having affairs. If you missed it you can read it here. It is a nice basis for this week’s Part II discussion.
There are times when we get to a place in a relationship when we really start seriously asking the question “Should I stay or should I go?”
How do you go about evaluating betrayal? First you might want to understand what it really means.
It is a major betrayal when someone does something that breaks a fundamental promise or violates a fundamental expectation and does so in a way that significantly hurts your peace of mind.–Mira Kirshenbaum*
And, an affair is not the only way we betray others.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Couples Counseling
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
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