Top 10 Mindfulness Posts of 2012

 

Top 10 Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Posts of 2012

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mindfulnessWhether this is your first time you’re coming here or you’ve been around for the almost four years I’ve been writingThe Mindfulness and Psychotherapycolumn, I want to share a personal moment of gratitude and say “Thank You” for being a part of this community. This was a big year for this column,  it will become 4 years old and is also the year that The Now Effect andMindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler hit bookshelves. Now it’s my turn to give you some gifts of my favorite Top 10 posts of the year. In these posts you’ll read about the power of mindfulness, the importance of self-compassion in healing, the upside to embracing dark emotions, how to be alone, why multitasking is ineffective, many short practices and much more.

May they bring you a sense of insight, ease, peace and freedom. Enjoy!

  1. Mindfulness is Not a Cure, It’s Better
  2. 7 Life Lessons for Dr. Seuss
  3. The Power of Self-Compassion
  4. Depression: Medicate, Meditate or Both?
  5. The Science Behind Why Everything You Do Matters
  6. The Upside to Embracing Dark Emotions
  7. Learn How to Be Alone through Mindfulness
  8. Neuroscience and Compassion Training Predict a Better World
  9. Media Multitasking Leads to Poorer Cognitive Performance: A Mindful Response
  10. A Simple Way to Trick Your Brain Toward Mindfulness

Types of Childhood Abuse

Reposted from the blog of Darlene Barriere.

http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/types-of-emotional-abuse.html

There are six types of emotional abuse:

    »  rejecting
    »  isolating
    »  ignoring
    »  corrupting
    »  exploiting
    »  terrorizing

One type of emotional abuse that warrants a section of its own is witnessing family violence. Due to the ever-increasing statistics of family violence, I’ve treated this topic separately. You’ll find it below underterrorizing.

  Types of emotional abuse #1: Rejecting

Putting down a child or youth’s worth or putting down their needs.

    »  constant criticism
    »  name-calling
    »  telling child he/she is ugly
    »  yelling or swearing at the child
    »  frequent belittling-use of labels such as “stupid”, “idiot”
    »  constant demeaning jokes
    »  verbal humiliation
    »  constant teasing about child’s body type and/or weight
    »  expressing regret the child wasn’t born the opposite sex
    »  refusing hugs and loving gestures
    »  physical abandonment
    »  excluding child from family activities
    »  treating an adolescent like she/he is a child
    »  expelling child from family
    »  not allowing youth to make own reasonable choices

  Types of emotional abuse #2: Isolating

Keeping a child away from family and friends.

    »  leaving child in room unattended for long periods
    »  keeping child away from family
    »  not allowing child to have friends
    »  not permitting child interaction with other children
    »  keeping child away from other caregiver if separated
    »  rewarding child for withdrawing from social contact
    »  ensuring child looks and acts differently than peers
    »  isolating child in closet
    »  insisting on excessive studying and/or chores
    »  preventing youth participating in activities outside the home
    »  punishing youth for engaging in normal social experiences

FACT:  Isolated emotional child abuse has had the lowest rate of substantiation of any of the types of emotional abuse (Kairys, 20022).

  Types of emotional abuse #3: Ignoring

Failing to give any response to or interact with a child or youth at all.

    »  no response to infant’s spontaneous social behaviours
    »  not accepting the child as an offspring
    »  denying required health care
    »  denying required dental care
    »  failure to engage child in day to day activities
    »  failure to protect child
    »  not paying attention to significant events in child’s life
    »  lack of attention to schooling, etc.
    »  refusing to discuss youth’s activities and interests
    »  planning activities/vacations without adolescent

  Types of emotional abuse #4: Corrupting

Encouraging a child or youth to do things that are illegal or harmful to themselves.

    »  rewarding child for bullying and harassing behaviour
    »  teaching racism and ethnic biases
    »  encouraging violence in sporting activities
    »  inappropriate reinforcement of sexual activity
    »  rewarding child for lying and stealing
    »  rewarding child for substance abuse and sexual activity
    »  supplying child with drugs, alcohol and other illegal substances
    »  promoting illegal activities such as selling drugs
    »  teaching and promoting prostitution

  Types of emotional abuse #5: Exploiting

Giving a child or youth responsibilities that are far greater than a child/youth that age can handle. It is also using a child for profit.

    »  infants expected not to cry
    »  anger when infant fails to meet a developmental stage
    »  child expected to be ‘caregiver’ to the parent
    »  young child expected to take care of younger siblings
    »  blaming child or youth for misbehaviour of siblings
    »  unreasonable responsibilities for jobs around the house
    »  expecting youth to support family financially
    »  encouraging participation in pornography
    »  sexually abusing child or youth
    »  requiring child or youth to participate in sexual exploitation

  Types of emotional abuse #6: Terrorizing

Causing a child or youth to be terrified by the constant use of threats and/or intimidating behaviour. This includes witnessing, which is when a child or youth observes violence, hears violence, or knows that violence is taking place in the home.

    »  with infants and children, excessive teasing
    »  yelling and scaring
    »  unpredictable and extreme responses to child’s behaviour
    »  extreme verbal threats
    »  raging, alternating with periods of artificial warmth
    »  threatening abandonment
    »  beating family members in front of or in ear range of child
    »  threatening to destroy a favourite object
    »  threatening to harm a beloved pet
    »  forcing child to watch inhumane acts against animals
    »  inconsistent demands on the child
    »  displaying inconsistent emotions
    »  changing the ‘rules of the game’
    »  threatening that the child is adopted and doesn’t belong
    »  ridiculing youth in public
    »  threats to reveal intensely embarrassing traits to peers
    »  threatening to kick adolescent out of the house

FACT:  Children and youth who witness family violence experience all sixtypes of emotional abuse.

FACT:  A 1995 telephone survey identifying types of emotional abuse suggested that by the time a child was 2 years old, 90% of families had used one or more forms of psychological aggression in the previous 12 months (Straus, 20003).

Many people including parents, members of the law enforcement community and journalists, think that infants and young children who witness violence are too young to know what happened. They don’t take it in. “They won’t remember.” In fact, infants and young children can be overwhelmed by their exposure to violence, especially–as it is likely to be the case with very young children–when both victims and perpetrators are well known and emotionally important to the child and the violence occurs in or near the child’s own home.

Osofsky, 1996

Emotional Abuse – YouTube

Emotional Abuse – YouTube.

 

www.abusoemocional.com

Stop Emotional Abuse, You Deserve Better.

We all know about Sexual Abuse. We all know about Physical Abuse. But, we know very little about Emotional Abuse.

Emotional Abuse occurs when one person emotionally and psychologically abuses another person who is in need of sincere affection. This kind of abuse takes many forms…

Your partner Undermines your self-esteem. He/she delivers mixed messages: “I love you” (I hate you.)

It’s like pushing you through a cliff and running down to catch you.

Your partner can tell you the sweetest things and the most hurtful ones at the same time.

Your partner can also humilliate you by ignoring you.

He/she might contact you only when they are bored or have some spare time, or need something specific from you.

Your partner tells you that he “loves” you, or you are special, but he/she needs an open relationship.

Your partner bluffs making you believe he intends to spend time with you, even makes plans that will never happen.

Your partner tells you beautiful things he does not really mean at all, and will compensate your tolerance with small tender gifts.

Emotional abuse also occurs through financial dependency. One partner does not let the other be financially independent.

Or through intellectual and manipulative mind games. Abusers tend to play the victim or they take offense quickly.

They invariably put the blame on others, or on the world, or on their luck, or situation.

They acuse their partners of not understanding them, or not understanding their needs, creating a sense of lack of sensitivity on your part.

Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous. They need to control other people’s lives but will never show it.

They will pretend what you do with your life is non of their business.

Abusers often have several superficial relationships with other people. They escape reality and tend to live in fantasyland.

Abusers may be described as having a dual personality: they can be either charming or exceptionally cruel.

A major characteristic of abusers is their capacity to deceive others. They can be cool, calm, charming and convincing: a true con person.

Most of the time, they also deceive themselves. They are unable or choose not to see reality as is it.

Emotional Abusers do not acknowledge the harm they cause.

Some people abuse others emotionally because that’s what they learned.
They were victims of emotional abuse and neglect themselves.

These abusers can grow out of their abusive pattern and explore healthier ways to relate to others.

Some are aware of what they do and do not intend to change.

But the worse problem about emotional abuse is the fact that many people let others abuse them.

Stop.

Think.

Are you not worth of a healthy relationship?
Are you not worth of sincere love and affection?
Are you not worth of an honest partner?

Don’t let others abuse you.
Turn your back on abuse.
Walk away from abusers.

If you are a victim of emotional abuse, seek help.

You cannot change an abuser, but maybe a professional therapist can.

Quit the game.

Don’t let an emotional abuser put you down.

Some have a hurtful way to create emotional codependency just by telling you exactly the sweet words you need to hear.

Don’t believe their words. Believe their concrete actions.

Does your partner’s words and promises match his/her actions?
Does your partner tell you he/she loves you and you are special but goes on with his life, ignoring you and ignoring your feelings?

You don’t need an abuser in your life.

You deserve someone who will love you and respect you for who you are, not for what they can get from you.

Even if it’s just attention.

Don’t fall for empty promises.
Abusers commit abuse because they know you will always give them another chance.
Don’t do it.

Choose to Love Yourself First.

The Powerful Influence of Parents

by Jerry Lopper, Personal Growth Coach  on June 13, 2011 »

Image By Colin Brough

The influence of our parents is on my mind right now. Even as we become fully functioning adults and parents ourselves, it’s intriguing to consider how much of who we are is directly attributable to beliefs and experiences we encountered as children of our parents.

I’m reminded of this in reading Into My Father’s Wake, by journalist and author Eric Best. Best leaves his job, buys a sailboat, and sails solo from San Francisco to Hawaii and return in an attempt to resolve his relationship with his parents, especially his father.

A respected journalist, Best’s marriage is failing, he feels dead-ended in his job, and he struggles with alcohol and anger. The 50 day, 5,000 mile solo journey is his attempt to find himself and correct the path of his life.

Adult Children of Abusive Parents

Interspersed with fascinating descriptions of his sailing adventures, Best shares pleasant childhood memories of long sailing voyages with his father and disturbing memories of brutal beatings with a rubber hose at his father’s hands. He recalls his mother’s silent support of her husbands discipline, and struggles to come to terms with both parents’ treatments.

Most children are raised without the abusive behaviors demonstrated in Best’s book, yet don’t we all grow up carrying mixed images of our parents’ behaviors?

Psychologists offer an explanation that makes sense. Carl Pickhardt Ph.D. is a psychologist in private counseling practice who has authored several parenting books exploring the various phases of parent/child relationships as a child moves from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

Pickhardt explains that the child idolizes and worships her parents, the adolescent criticizes and blames her parents as she begins the process of independence, and the adult rationalizes parental behaviors as she begins to understand the complexities of parental behavior.

Parental Behaviors

The children of abusive parents experience conflicting and inconsistent adult behavior, at times nurturing and caring, at other times abusive and hurtful. Given the child’s total dependence and natural tendency to look up to her parents, the abused child is confused, ceases to trust, and may even assume she’s part of the problem. Best demonstrates how these conflicts carry into adulthood.

Children of non-abusive parents also experience conflicts. We see behaviors that are loving and caring as well as darker behaviors such as anger. We see our parents’ faults, tend to focus on those in adolescence, and may even carry their faults into adulthood as the reasons for our own failures.

Life Purpose and Our Parents

Looking at more pThe Celestine Prophecyositive aspects of parental influence, in The Celestine Prophecy, author James Redfield suggests that each person’s life purpose evolves from and extends the life purpose of their parents. Intrigued by this, I followed the suggested process of examining what each of my parents stood for (their strong beliefs and values) and where they fell short (weaknesses and limitations).

Sure enough, I could clearly see how my own life extended what each of my parent’s stood for and how I’ve developed interests and strengths which they lacked.

Since this analysis was valuable and informational to me, I added the process to my Purpose in Life Workshop content, expecting that others would also find valuable insights.

I was surprised by the responses of workshop participants. Though some found the process positive and helpful, a majority reacted strongly against the hypothesis, even resisting my encouragement to keep an open mind and explore the possibilities. It seemed a large number of people attribute their life’s problems directly to their parents.

Coming to Terms with Parents

What does this all mean? To me it simply means that parents are human beings, with the full range of human strengths and weaknesses. Parenting is tough work. Our parents made some mistakes along the way, as we have in our parenting roles.

On the road to adulthood, we’re exposed to many examples of behaviors, including the very influential examples of our parents. Whether they were outstanding parents or lacking in many ways, as adults our behaviors are ours alone. We can chose whether to copy behaviors of our parents or discard them. We can chose whether to cherish their parental talents or denounce them.

Personal growth involves insightful—sometimes painful—self-reflection. Personal growthInto My Father's Wake also involves accepting the accountability and responsibility of personal choice for our behaviors.

Eric Best reaches this conclusion near the end of his solitary 50 day voyage, deciding to cherish the love and care his father displayed in teaching him to sail, while forgiving his brutal discipline as a terrible weakness of his father’s own personal struggles.

Into My Father’s Wake is a good story of a man’s journey of self-discovery. Those without sailing knowledge may struggle a bit with the sailor’s terminology, but all will appreciate the vivid imagery Best conveys as he describes the beauty and danger of solo-oceanic travel. I found that sharing Best’s struggles with the human frailties of his parents stimulated useful self-reflection on the influence of my own parents on my adult life.

My sister’s ticked that I’m not happy about her pregnancy

My sister’s ticked that I’m not happy about her pregnancy – The Globe and Mail.

David Eddie: Damage Control

The question

My sister is pregnant. Again. She just bought a home (in the burbs), but is deep in debt. The house needs all kinds of renovations, and both she and her husband work two jobs. My nephew, who is 1.5 years old, is woefully underdeveloped. He hates to leave his mother’s arms, so doesn’t walk very well and is a bit underweight. And he doesn’t say a peep.

More related to this story

I could not be more different from my sis. I live downtown with my boyfriend and we’re saving marriage for after we’ve travelled and are debt-free. I can’t imagine responsibly having a child until I’m more stable, say in my mid- to late 30s. So when my sister told me the news, I asked questions like, ‘Are you sure this is the right time?’ ‘What about the health risks?’ (She has high blood pressure.) She hung up on me. I don’t think she’s looking at the reality of the situation, but I feel terrible about not being more supportive. What should I do?

The answer

Uh, how about … be more supportive?

Now, before I continue, I want to say that I work hard to make Damage Control a judgment-free zone. When someone does me the honour of writing in and saying, “Dear Dave, I made a mistake,” I try to be like: “We all do, it’s confusing down here.” And only then: “Here’s what I think you should do.”

But I do make an exception when someone doesn’t really seem to understand how or where they’re screwing up, or that they’re even screwing up in the first place – which certainly seems to be the case here.

So here we go: First of all, we parents don’t say a toddler is “1.5 years old.” We say “18 months.” And for an 18-month-old to be quiet, a little unsteady on his pins and attached to his mother sounds pretty normal to me – even rather ideal.

You say he’s “a little underweight.” And obviously that would be a cause for concern. But why do I get the feeling if he gained a few pounds, you’d start saying he’s “tragically obese”?

In any case, “woefully underdeveloped” sounds like pure histrionics and way out of line. Everyone loves to fill the air with opinions about parenting – until they have kids themselves. That tends to shuts them up.

But it’s not just your sister’s parenting you appear to pooh-pooh. It’s everything: the fact that she lives in the suburbs, the way she and her husband manage their finances, the state of their home, the state of her health, even how hard they work.

If they had a dog, you’d probably say they don’t wash it often enough.

Need I add that when someone announces they’re pregnant it’s a little late to be urging planned parenthood and birth control – the exact wrong time, in fact.

I’m not surprised she hung up on you.

Sister, at the very minimum, you need to step back, let your sister live her life and worry more about your own.

I’m happy for you that you and your downtown boyfriend plan to travel the world, emerging just in time for him to fertilize your perfectly ripened ovaries in an atmosphere of maturity, good parenting, low blood pressure and debt-free fiscal responsibility. (“Debt-free.” Sigh: Wouldn’t that be nice? I’ve heard of people who are debt-free, but never met one personally. I’m beginning to suspect they’re a myth, like the Yeti or Ogopogo.)

But have you ever heard the old Yiddish saying: “Man plans, God laughs”? What if one or both of you lose your jobs? What if, after all of your globetrotting, you find you can no longer afford your downtown rent and lifestyle?

What if, during your travels, your boyfriend falls for a topless Penelope Cruz look-alike on a beach in Ibiza, and *poof* disappears? And you decide to cope with your loss by drinking excessively and noshing on family-sized bags of high-sodium chips?

You may find yourself 38, single, broke, in debt, your biological clock ticking madly as you e-date one doofus after another – and with blood pressure through the roof.

And you know what you’ll need then? A supportive family. Particularly a sister who will listen to your woes, set you up with a decent dude, maybe slip you a little cheddar.

And that’s what your sister needs now. A little support to get her through what is obviously a slightly rocky time in her life. And you’re not giving it to her.

So stop criticizing, eschew the pooh-poohing and pitch in. Offer to babysit, bring over a frozen lasagna, roll up your sleeves and help fix up the place.

Whatever it takes. You have, I can tell, plenty of time and unused energy on your hands. Put it to good use!

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change, Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad and Damage Control, the book.

I’ve made a huge mistake

Have you created any damage that needs controlling? Send your dilemmas to damage@globeandmail.com, and include your hometown and a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.