What do you choose, “Love or Fear”?

Love has inspired more songs, poems and stories than any other feeling, yet it is one of the most complex emotions to understand. In fact, it’s so complex that at least once in our lives we all have asked to ourselves this question: What is Love?

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From a pure biological point of view, we could say that love is a survival mechanism of the species, in which dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, oxytocin and many other hormones and neurotransmitters, play a role in bonding.

From a psychological point of view, it is the balance between intimacy, passion and compromise – according to the Triangular Theory of Love by Sternberg.

Our brain reacts according to its past experiences, the environmental circumstances of the moment, and its own chemistry, leading to an infinity of ways to love, however… what happens when fear takes place in our lives when we try to love and to be loved by someone?

First of all, it is necessary to clarify that no feeling is a bad feeling; fear is not a negative thing, it actually is a defense mechanism that helps us to prevent accidents, such as being burnt by a candle for example. Fear is necessary; therefore what we need to do is to control it.

The limbic system is the one in charge of regulating emotions, avoidance of pain and in general, all functions of conservation of the individual and species. It’s the one in charge of fear and love, altogether.

Being afraid is natural, fearing a little bit is ok; the problem lays when fear is constant in a relationship, altering not just our environment, but also our health since it is a direct impact to our limbic system and it affects not just our emotions or our relationship, it affects our bodies too. Fearing your husband may be having an affair because he came half an hour late, fearing your wife will ask for divorce because you don’t feel attractive enough, fearing your boyfriend may leave you after you decide to take that job is nothing but a lack of trust and it blocks you from your natural state of feeling love.

NEAT.jpg  People tend to have a utopian point of view when it comes to love thanks to the media constantly sending wrong ideas of what love truly is to our brain. These wrong ideas lead to insecurities and false idealizations that make us fear, while in reality there is nothing to be afraid of. Maybe your husband came late because there was a lot of traffic, maybe your wife likes your belly, and maybe your boyfriend will find a way to stay in touch with you no matter the distance. In the end, not every time we fear something means that there is a problem, and if there is a problem there probably is a solution; also, if there is no solution to the problem, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, it could be the beginning of a brand new adventure.

Relationships are always going to have ups and downs since no relationship is perfect and this is something we must understand. Perfection is not a synonym of happiness as well as imperfection is not a synonym of sadness.

Fear stops you from loving entirely, from enjoying your food, your favorite TV show; in fact, it stops you from enjoying life itself. Human beings are rational. To overcome your fears in the relationship it’s necessary to talk. If you feel there is a problem, if you feel insecure or if you just feel something isn’t right, talk about it with your partner in a calm manner when the two of you can talk about the issue alone.

Always keep in mind that you and your partner are an entire person each, and that you deserve to be entirely loved, that includes your flaws also; try to understand his/her concerns and insecurities, since your partner must have them too.

Don’t let fear take over your relationship or your life, be assertive and find ways to clarify things and keep alive the flame of love. Overcoming fears and problems could make your bond stronger and deeper, making you experience love in a healthier way.h_1478853182_5895853_d41d8cd98f.png

What it means to be Authentic and Live an Authentic Life

choose-authenticity-in-a-marketing-agency.jpgLife is a journey of exploration and discovery with plenty obstacles to overcome, living one’s full potential in life remains quite elusive. Yet, this is only the first step toward living an authentic life.  Living an authentic life offers an opportunity to discover your goals and objectives. This often manifests by defining a path that is true to who you are and who you are about to become.

Many people who live an inauthentic life, live a life that is incompatible if not inconsistent with their values, abilities and desires. Because of this, they have strayed-off the path to discovering their true selves and real purpose in life. This is what it is like to live life inauthentic. It is a life simply hollow, incomplete and out-of-sync with oneself.

What does it mean to live an authentic life?

According to Brian Goldman, a renowned psychologist, authenticity is the unhindered operation of one’s true self in their daily enterprise. In his understanding, Goldman asserts that authenticity hold within it two very critical aspects:

  • Self-knowledge
  • Self-awareness

Essentially speaking, authentic people accept themselves for who they are. Like everyone else, such people have strengths and weaknesses. What makes them stand out is their ability to identify their strengths and at the same time seek to better their weaknesses. Being authentic is simply about connecting with one’s values, desires and abilities. Being authentic liberates one from the pressures of trying to be someone else; trying to be perfect.

Lame Deer is a Native American philosopher well-known for his work on human psychology. According to Deer, an authentic life is devoid of self-deprecation. He suggests that most people fall-short-of living authentically merely because they can’t stand their natural animal selves. Think of how people wear perfumes and deodorants to conceal their true smell. Or come to think of how people use cosmetic products and procedures to hide their true selves. Together with the various roles we undertake in the unending cycles of production and consumption as humans we remain detached from our true self and with nature itself. That is according to Lame Deer.

Authenticity in life is summarized by these two simple yet critical ingredients. In fact, self-knowledge and self-awareness defines who we are as humans. Understanding these two is just about all you need to live authentically.

Self-knowledge and self-awareness

At its very outset, authenticity begins when we commit our intentions to genuineness. A willingness to act genuine even when it feels most vulnerable. It comes with an ease of decision making in life; freedom to pick and choose on aspects that one relates very well with in as far as values and desires in life are concerned. This is in fact what it means to make unpopular decisions and choices in life. This is what it means to come to terms with some aspects that often people choose to hide away from, but which are integral parts of us. Self-knowledge and self-awareness are the building blocks of an authentic life. They make us live more honest if not engaged lives.

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Definitive characteristics of authentic persons

Living an authentic life never comes easy. In fact, research surveys suggest that most humans across civilizations live inauthentic lives. Of course there are more than enough reasons for the same. That aside, the following are some aspects that may help you single out individuals who are actually living authentic:

  • Resilience: living authentic life comes with an inherent ability to rise up to the challenge whenever one falls.
  • Purposefulness: being authentic implies having an intended purpose in life. In other words having set objectives in life.
  • Being goal-oriented: authentic people have some set goals to accomplish. They have targets in life and strive hard to realize them. In so doing, they remain steadfast and focused throughout their endeavors.

How to live authentic

Living authentic come with sacrifices as well as compromises. It calls for a complete overhaul of the past in favor of a fresh and new perspective to life. The following hints will get you started:

  • Open mindedness
  • Redefinition of values
  • trust your intuition

Open mindedness

Being open minded is the cornerstone of authenticity. Be open to ideas and be sure to experience a whole new perspective of everything this life has to offer. Authenticity never flourishes in closed and rigid minds. In fact, it fades into insignificance. Such minds never hatch brilliant ideas and such people are fated to remain average for life. Well, this is less about an opinion than a fact of life.

Redefinition of values

This is about getting clear on what you dare to care about. Holding tight on the very values we grew up with is common place in most societies. Some of these values and traditions may clash with what we in fact stand for as values. This puts authenticity in jeopardy. In brief, it is impossible to live authentically if one knows not the very values that they stand for and uphold.

Trust your intuition

Whenever one acts inauthentic, intuitively they feel out-of-sync with who they actually are and what values they stand for. Intuition is about those hunches, physical sensations and even the impressions that come alongside the actions we undertake in life. Intuition instinctively shocks us back to our senses whenever we act contrary to what we stand for in life. Intuition guards us from straying far of the true path of authenticity.

Discovering who we actually are is but a continuous process. It is more like a journey than a destination, where we keep unfolding bits and pieces of ourselves as we move along. It is the beginning of being authentic and living authentic.

How does Marijuana affect your Relationship?

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How Marijuana Can Affect Relationships

The impact marijuana can have on relationships remains to be a very controversial topic. Some hold the view that the two can never go hand in hand. Instead, they mix as well as dynamite and match; very explosive with widespread and far-reaching effects. While others believe that marijuana has no negative effects on relationships. In their view, it spices things up. This article, though not intended to hit at any side in favor of another, has captured nothing but the truth on how marijuana affects relationships from both schools of thought.

Success in any relationship calls for love, trust and compromise. In addition, it also requires the couple to be free of substance abuse and addiction in all of its forms.  In this context we are discussing marijuana ABUSE. I invite you to be open minded in this topic and not stay in the category of black and white thinking. Not everyone who smokes pot will abuse it or become addicted to it.

Pot smoking, like any substance, may seem innocent, harmless and even fun for some at the very outset. Though the habit initially kicks off as a way of establishing identity or possibly freedom of expression, it can eventually lead users down the path to ruin and destruction in any love relationship. It can set one’s life in a downward spiral that ultimately robs them of everything they value as far as love and relationship are concerned. Unfortunately, marijuana has become widely accepted and debatably legalized in many modern societies.

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How does marijuana affect your love life?

Having counseled many couples on relationship matters over the years, I hold as true the opinion that the abuse of pot can actually minimize progress and growth in relationships. Marijuana abuse can directly impact:

  • Personal life and friendship
  • Intimacy and commitments
  • family life and responsibilities
  • emotions

Personal life and friendship

If pot smoking ultimately turns habitual and addictive, the victim ceases to be himself or herself. The drug moves in and completely takes over such an unsuspecting soul. In no time, such an individual becomes consumed by social anxiety and paranoia.

At this stage, the pot addict is more likely to be introverted and neglected, even by close friends and confidants. Of course being high kind of redefines their brand of friends; they associate more with a clique of other addicts trapped in the same habit of pot smoking. These are the kind of friends that only sink them deeper in their abyss of frustrations. Essentially, the addict loses touch with reality and reason.

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Intimacy and commitments

In love life, intimacy is very critical. In fact, according to some studies, it is the glue that holds the relationship together longer. By its very nature, intimacy is about partners being able to see into each other. Precisely, intimacy guarantees a clear perception of an individual’s feelings as well as their partner’s.

Marijuana in a relationship acts contrary to this feeling. Though critics suggest it heightens intimacy, this substance is in fact insidious and dangerous in your relationship. The “sacred herb,” as some erroneously call it, is a mood-killer when abused and only detaches you from your own as well as your partner’s feelings. Besides, weed shortens memory and makes honoring commitments in a relationship quite the nightmare.

Family life and responsibilities

Whenever a recreational drug like marijuana turns addictive, cravings for the same makes one forget everything else but the pot. Abdication of duties and responsibilities in the family typically sets in at this stage. Real addicts are never worried about the welfare of their children or spouse. Not in the slightest. They live in denial, isolation and over time becomes overtly defensive of their actions. It is no surprise that such individuals resort to verbal attacks if questioned about any of their unbecoming behaviors.

The drug-free partner in a relationship that is bedeviled by marijuana suffers more psychological traumas than the addict. Such partners may at times feel betrayed, tricked or even short changed in the relationship. This often develops into self-blame; taking unnecessary responsibility for the addicted partner’s way of life. This might then degenerate into jealousy, rage and self judgement, the real ingredients of depression.

Ironically, if asked if they still love their spouse in the relationship, the addict is often quick to respond in the affirmative. Their continued use of pot is evidence to the contrary though.

Marijuana and emotions

Emotionally, pot smokers are not themselves. Research findings indicate that as one uses drugs time and again, likely the case with marijuana addicts, their emotional tone plummets lower and lower. Unless they are high, such individuals know not much happiness and pleasures in life. Such a twisted perspective ends up draining life in any relationship. In some cases the couple may call it quits and part ways, just like that. In some rare cases though, the pot-free partner may have the nerve and patience to wait and just hope for the best – a day when the love of their life will finally stop the bad habit. Success rate for such cases is often very slim because the addiction often turns chronic over time. Most of the patient pot-free partners end-up depressed and frustrated without the intervention of specialists like psychotherapists and psychologists.

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How to recover from marijuana addiction

Clearly, marijuana and relationships are immiscible. The good news however is that marijuana addiction as a condition can be reversed. Various effective recovery programs are in place for the same. These programs remake the addict anew so that they once again come into the light. With well-thought-out alternatives, these programs helps clients regain a brighter outlook on life as a whole, integrity and self-respect. This way, they can once again love and be loved back.

To the drug free partner in the relationship, patience is of the essence. Give your partner time to shed off the bad habit. If the addict remains defiant and unappreciative of your patience then consider exploring other options like:

  • seeking help from a psychotherapist
  • divorce

The second option should come last; only upon exploring all available options and all concerted efforts rendered futile. Though this therapy is known to shock drug users into reality, it is likely to impact negatively on kids, if there are any. So, settle for divorce only if your partner’s marijuana addiction condition deteriorates and becomes so much over the top or is clearly on the brink of spinning out of control.

Communication Breakdown: Why do we listen to reply and not listen to understand?

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Why We Tend to Listen to Reply and not Listen to Understand

As a skill, listening is very critical in communication. It is the best way to pass across information and, more importantly, knowledge between individuals. Even so, studies suggest that over the years, our listening ability has only deteriorated. We no longer listen to understand. Instead, we listen to reply.

Studies show that we spend close to 60 per cent of everyday listening to others, but only retain a quarter of what we hear. Part of the reason for this could be that the world around us has become louder over time. A careful scrutiny and analysis of issues reveal the real suspects in play; a delicate combination of a pair of aspects within the human brain. These aspects include:

  • The lag time concept
  • The confirmation bias aspect

The lag time concept

Charles Gross, in his study at Princeton University in 2010, discovered what he called lag time in communication. It is the time duration between what you hear and what you understand. Now, according to Gross, lag time is in the range of a few seconds up to a minute. Of course this varies among individuals.

According to Charles Gross, lag time is the reason people listen more to reply than to understand. In fact, this is where real trouble begins. During lag time we shift attention to ourselves. We stop listening to the others. Instead, we listen to ourselves, a perfect recipe for communication breakdown. During the same phase, we tend to figure out a quick response rather than let the message sink in. The whole conversation then ends up into a fierce contest.

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What causes lag time in communication?

The exact cause of lag time is still unclear, though psychotherapists and psychologists believe human emotions holds a center stage and are very critical to it. Thoughts, beliefs, values, perceptions and opinions are also other very vital ingredients of an individual’s lag time.

The confirmation bias aspect

In the words of Grand Eklund, “You are only listening to what you want to hear.” I can’t agree with Eklund more. In all most every communication setting, people tend to pick out facts and other figures they deem fit; what affirms their pre-existing perspectives, values and beliefs. In so doing, they listen with more intent to reply than to understand – a real communication disaster. That is in fact how the confirmation bias concept operates.

Healthy conversation should involve listening to every detail of what is spoken. Confirmation bias however contradicts this. It makes it quite the challenge to listen and acquire knowledge.

How does confirmation bias come about?

Psychologists hint that confirmation bias has some level of connection and link with how slow individuals speaks in comparison to how fast they listen. Studies show that the human brain has the ability to process words at an optimum rate of between 600 and 1000 words per minute. When we speak, individuals communicate roughly 175 to 200 words a minute. Clearly, we aren’t utilizing our brain’s full capacity, especially when listening. Because of this underutilization of potential, the human brain tends to drift off into other aspects that would make up for that deficit; the onset of competitive listening.

Competitive listening is best explained using George Miller’s Law. In order to understand what someone else is saying, one has to first assume that the other person’s position is true and then try to find out what is actually true in it. A negation of Miller’s concept bears what is known as competitive listening; hearing something then reacting negatively to it, in part because of a belief that the other person’s position is false. In this spirit, listening grinds to a halt and communication breaks down.

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Way forward to effective listening

Many years of exploring listening as an art points me in a common direction; that effectiveness in listening can only be achieved through awareness and concentration. Yes, simply allowing yourself to listen better without coercion.

In order to “listen to understand and not just to reply”, we need to concentrate more voluntarily. This way, we acquire more knowledge and also make our conversations more effective.

Daddy Issues and their Impact on Relationships

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Wondering what this possibly means?  Well, read on for the actual truth and other shocking revelations on daddy issues and how it impacts relationships……

Daddy issues is a general term that describes a woman’s self-destructive behaviour often typified by a desperate ache for male attention. Now, that much suffices the definition of this whole aspect.

Women in this condition let themselves be misused by men. Unfortunately, some of us are or have been these kind of women. If not, then we probably know of friends who very well fit in the above descriptions. This problem is real and needs to be fixed sooner than later, lest it spill over into relationships and ruin everything.

May be you still don’t get the details of it. Or maybe this whole narrative on daddy issues doesn’t seem to hold much sense to you. Well, then these leading questions may just be all you need to drive the point home:

  • Do you find yourself attracted to older men, either married or unmarried?
  • In terms of emotional support, would you say your father was always there for you or you felt abandoned by him at some point in your tender ages?
  • Can you single-out instances of abuse by your father? It could be emotional, physical or even sexual.
  • Are you attracted to emotionally unavailable men and often wonder why?

If you said yes to any of the above, you are not alone. This article will help you identify unconscious patterns and conditioning with “daddy issues” thereby helping you create a happier and healthier relationship for you and your partner.

Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the concerns surrounding individual women caught-up in daddy issues.

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  1. Abandonment

Abandonment is very deep rooted with attachment and detachment issues. Your father is the first male figure in your life. If you were emotionally abandoned by your father or he was emotionally unavailable for you during your younger days, this may cause a deep need to feel loved and cherished in your adult life. You will continuously look for this in other men to substitute the love you did not get from your father. Unfortunately our relationships cannot provide that deep fatherly affection enough to fill this void. Until we are aware of this, we cannot work to understand ourselves better and give ourselves the love we need.

Older men, as I always refer to them because they are often older then the women they are dating, are in most cases more confident and financially stable. They always appear very much in control of the relationship since as always is the case, it is not their first rodeo at dating or romancing a woman. It is little wonder then that younger women fall for such men exhibiting high levels of confidence and poise.

Older men, or men in general, instinctively notice if their partner is troubled by daddy issues in the relationship. This often happen naturally. So the men do not put in much effort in noticing this helplessness. This power imbalance marked by the woman’s vulnerability often lets the man run the show. He can make her feel adored, protected and safe; all the things her father could not provide to satisfy her emotions.

A woman in this state of mind may crave all the love and affection she had been starved of as a little girl. Her new found love is all she might require to fill up that father-daughter relationship gap. This way she might feel her needs are being met and in some way his as well.

  1. Engaging in risky sexual behavior

This is one other significant and definitive feature for women with daddy issues. They crave lots of sex. In most relationships such women associate love and confidence to the number of times they are laid by the men they are supposedly in love with.

Recent studies and surveys have shown that in most women, having sex often tricks the subconscious mind into thinking they are loved and adored. This is terribly wrong and is but a false sense of security. It will only end up ruining your relationship in the longer term. True love exudes intimacy that is founded on companionship and mutual respect.

  1. Fear of being alone

Any lady who’s been through this murky side of relationships will certainly conquer that it is very scary to be single. She’d rather be in a dysfunctional relationship all her life than be alone.

Daddy issues can make one unstable in relationships. Such individuals rush into engagements without sparing time to check out for compatibility aspect in the whole deal. In so doing, they scare away the real men of their dreams. This way, they throw all their respect and dignity down the drain. Such women lack in everything that defines identity and healthy self-esteem.

  1. Nagging reassurance of affection and love

A sense of insecurity defines women with daddy issues. They are always comparing themselves to their supposedly “ideal women”. In doing this, they often worry on whether they are still their partner’s “one and only”. Well, this is often very exhausting to their partners. That very needy aspect exhibited in a woman often pushes men out of relationships. It’s is very counterproductive in the long run and only serves to confirm your greatest fear; you are not lovable.

How to go about resolving this nightmare

The first proactive step in tackling this problem is to understand and acknowledge that daddy issues are real. Denying this fact is ignorant and only sinks one deeper into the abyss of frustration in relationships. You certainly don’t want to continue down the path of rebound dating and relationships, do you?

In the event that this has been an ongoing problem, it is advisable that you seek advice from a qualified therapist or relationship counsellor. These experts have just about all it takes to provide you the right support, advice and encouragement on matters relationship whenever needed.

The bottom line

It is impossible to change your past, but you have a future. Keep your thoughts positive and pick on the right path for your future. This will guarantee you a relationship full of real romance and of course not much troubles related to daddy issues and guess what? You will also be able to attract the right men in your life, a real dream come true in your love life.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is a very serious mental illness that is characterized by a lack of stability in moods, behaviours, and relationships. The name of this disorder was given because it was thought to “border” many different types of mental illness, which has now been found to be quite inaccurate. Though each case is different, there are commonly occurring symptoms that are used to diagnose. (Please keep in mind that a trained professional should be making a diagnosis, as they are equipped to do so.) These symptoms include:

  • Impulsive behaviours: These behaviours are often harmful to themselves and/or others. These behaviours may include promiscuity/unsafe sex, drug abuse, or self-harming behaviours (i.e. Cutting). Spending sprees and binge eating are also known to occur. It is important to note that not all of those who suffer from borderline personality disorder engage in all of these behaviours. It is also important to note that their self-harming behaviours are not usually intended to cause death, but are in an attempt to express their pain, have some control over their bodies, or to punish themselves for their choices/behaviours.
  • Low self-worth: Low self-worth can manifest itself in many different ways. They may speak very critically of themselves (i.e. They are ugly, or unintelligent, or worthless, etc.), or have distorted beliefs of what others think of them (i.e. No one likes them, no one loves them, no one likes spending time with them, etc.). Their low self-worth may also cause them to very rapidly change plans for their future, showing in an unexpected change in career, goals, and romantic partners.
  • Aggressive behaviours: Controlling anger is something that those suffering with borderline personality disorder struggle with. They will often times yell and scream when they are angry, and they may also lash out physically at those around them. Their anger can be incredibly frightening and dangerous.
  • Intense emotions and mood swings: The emotions and moods of a person struggling with borderline personality disorder fluctuate quite quickly and intensely. It is not uncommon for someone to be experiencing a very happy period to only hit a very intense angry and upset period a few hours later. The way that they treat those around them changes along with how they are feeling as well. They can be very loving and caring, switching very quickly to hateful and angry when they are feeling upset.
  • Intense fear of being abandoned: Those suffering from borderline personality disorder constantly worry about those around them leaving them completely. This intense fear manifests itself in “clingy” behaviours towards those around them (i.e. Repeatedly asking them not to leave, attempting to guilt trip people into being around, other manipulative behaviours) when their relationship feels threatened or close to breaking.
  • Tumultuous relationships: Relationships that a person with borderline personality disorder are involved in are incredibly chaotic. Relationships can go from being incredibly close and loving to incredibly distant and hateful in a very short amount of time. Romantic relationships can be especially so, and are often short lived as their partners have a hard time dealing with the mood swings and impulsive behaviours.

Borderline personality disorder is not a death sentence. If your loved one is struggling with borderline personality disorder, it is very important that you help to support them through treatment and encourage them to continue to work through it. Treatment for a personality disorder is often times a combination of therapy as well as medication, which can be very difficult for your loved one to handle, especially on their own. It is important that they stay hopeful and focused on the future. It is also a good idea to educate yourself on their illness. Know what the signs and symptoms are, especially when they are in crisis. Understand that you will need to recognize their signs and symptoms for crisis, not just the ones that are listed in a website or book. It is also essential that you yourself seek treatment. Their illness does affect you, whether you see it or not. Having your own safe place to discuss your feelings and emotions is the best way to be an effective part of their support system.

Drug Abuse in Affluent Teens

Money can do very strange things to people. It can cause some to completely lose their sense of self, which in turn causes them to seek out a new sense of self. Often times with kids and teens that are raised in a wealthy environment this can be the case because they are looking for a sense of purpose. They struggle to make an identity for themselves, separate from their family name. Their parents are often high achievers, Unknown (1)choosing to work and earn rather than spend time with their families. Being a high achiever comes with high standards, standards that teenagers may often fail to meet. These expectations can be overwhelming for a child. Children in wealthy families also often have a lot more spare time on their hands than other children would. Often times they lack responsibilities such as chores and jobs, leaving them with unstructured and unfilled time. So what do these children and teens choose to fill their time with? Well they often have the means to participate in anything that they would like to, but there are some that will choose to do something extreme to make an identity of their own. This is where experimentation and the abuse of substances comes in.

Prescription medications, illicit substances, and alcohol are more readily available to more affluent teenagers. Whether they are purchasing from peers, or taking them from home, wealthier teenagers seem to have access to a wider variety of substances early on and the means to acquire anything they might have in mind. It is pretty much a given that there will be substances present at a high school party, and it should come as no images-3 (1)surprise that there is a large variety to choose from. More and more teenagers are choosing to experiment during parties with their friends, and it is a breeding ground for future addiction and substance abuse. Often trying these drugs once is more than enough to get hooked, and the consequences aren’t always the first thought with teens and peer pressure.

One question that often can come about is how is it possible for kids to get a hold of these substances? Often the home medicine cabinet is more than enough. Coupled with an accessible liquor cabinet, the home can be just as diverse in the types of things kids are trying to get their hands on. This begs the question, what can be done about preventing overdose and addiction?

Well the first step is education about the consequences of using drugs. Now this isn’t exclusive to educating about illicit substances like cocaine and heroin, but also the dangers of using alcohol, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications imagesas well as marijuana. Often times parents will use scare tactics in an attempt to discourage their children from using drugs, but this doesn’t work. Just the facts are often enough. This education needs to be paired with encouragement to make good choices and an understanding that there is an open line of communication at all times. Structure is also very important for teens. It is important that they learn responsibility and earning what they have. Teaching teenagers these values early on is a great way to set them up to be a contributing adult.  Having dinner as a family can be the most crucial time you have with your kids and teens in educating them, creating communication, spending time with them and bonding with them daily. images-1 (1)

Adolescence is a crucial period in a child’s life. Their bodies, minds, and spirits are changing at a rapid rate, and with these changes comes big responsibility. It is so important that children and teens are educated about drugs and alcohol in order to make informed decisions. Mistakes will be made, boundaries will be pushed, but the important things is that the teens stay safe, happy and healthy.

How Can You Spot A Narcissist?

images-6They are like human magnets, drawing in those around them. They can be downright captivating, but within them lies ulterior motives. Narcissists thrive on being admired by those that surround them, and find it difficult to be told that they are not beautiful or brilliant. Like the Greek mythological figure Narcissus, they are cursed because they love no one but themselves. They are destined to waste away, alone with their vanity and need for acknowledgement. The truth of the matter is that we all have a narcissistic streak, as it is a trait that varies in degree from person to person. There are some aspects of narcissism that are healthy and adaptive, like confidence and self-sufficiency. But when taken to the extreme, they become classified as narcissistic personality disorder. So what are the characteristics of a true narcissist?

High levels of self-esteem, grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance are common amongst narcissists. Narcissists think that they are more attractive and intelligent that everyone else and have no problem telling those around them. They carry themselves with the utmost confidence, ensuring that those around them take notice. At first narcissists may just seem arrogant and full of themselves, but there are clear Unknown-1differences between a narcissist and someone who is self-centered. Narcissists are vain to an extreme degree, feel entitled, and use different manipulation techniques to ensure that everyone around them admires them.

Big, anonymous cities are where narcissists will thrive, often finding careers in entertainment-related fields. Narcissists are quick to accept positions where they will be leaders, allowing them to dominate and impress others without the negative impact of a bad reputation (which is often achieved through their promiscuity and socially unacceptable behaviour). This need to lead is not necessarily to manipulate others, but to receive more recognition and positive reinforcement from others.

This allows for a narcissist to be comfortable maintaining distant ties with those they surround themselves with. The way that narcissists interact with others is especially interesting. While they engage in less desirable communication techniques (yelling, cursing, arguing, etc.), they still engage those around them. This is all to maintain power in an interaction. They tend to not reciprocate conversation very well, “glazing over” while others are speaking. Narcissists are not interested when the attention is not on them.

images-2Another important characteristic to consider about narcissists is their sexual habits. Men and women who score high on narcissism tests express more interest in short-term physical relationships, rather than long-term relationships. In order to engage those they desire, women will often times dress more provocatively, while men will engage more in bragging and using their wit. Promiscuity is the direct result of their search for the best deal for themselves. They use this as another way to control their environment, and even when in a committed relationship they are much more likely to be unfaithful. Unknown-2

Narcissists have a very Jekyll and Hyde personality. When the charm and dazzle wears off, and those around them start to become disenchanted, narcissists transform. They become angry, hostile, and will punish anyone who does not support their grandiose vision of themselves. Rejection is not something a narcissist will ever come to accept until they can come to terms with their warped sense of self.

Narcissism is a complicated and serious disorder. While we are all a little bit narcissistic, the degree to which it comes out depends greatly on our underlying beliefs about ourselves. Narcissism is handy in reminding us how important we are, helping to build confidence and self-esteem. But it can be a very lonely disorder. Despite having all the followers they could possibly want, narcissist are left standing alone, the only ones truly able to fill up the hole they are constantly trying to fill with admiration. Hope, faith, love, and understanding can guide a narcissist away from the fate of Narcissus, the namesake of the disorder. With a little support and a lot of hard work/reflection, narcissism is something that can be conquered.

Sub-Personalities

Sometimes it may feel like a different person takes over us when we are in need of protection. Sub-personalities, not to be confused with multiple personality disorder, are this “other person” that works to keep us safe and secure. We use these sub-personalities to have a variety of needs met. So what is a sub-personality and which one do you use?

Sub-personalities are fragments of a whole. They are the parts of us that we use to meet our needs, as well as protect ourselves. We use these personalities to adapt to different situations, to tailor our reactions in order to get the desired response from others. These personalities come in several combinations and take different forms in each person.  Each of us has between four and eight sub-personalities, which I have listed below:

1) Abuser/Bully multiple_personality_disorder_by_blacksheepart-d60w6xu
2) Addict
3) Approval Seeker
4) Caretaker
5) Chronic Crier
6) Comedian
7) Controller
8) Inner Critic
9) Fixer/ rescuer
10) Judge
11) Lost Child
12) Martyr
13) Over Achiever
14) People Pleaser
15) Perfectionist
16) Pillar of strength
17) Rebel
18) Spiritualist
19) Teacher
20) Victim 

In my office I often see this combination amongst other combinations that I will write about in future blogs.  These three often pair together and have much in common; “The Inner Critic”, the “Judge”, and the “Perfectionist”. Each of these sub personalities and those above will transform to meet the needs of the situation and those that we are interacting with. Knowing these sub-personalities and how they affect your reactions is important so that you can see when they are doing more harm than good.

299779_237911279591395_412890649_nThe inner critic is that little voice that attempts to keep us safe, that little flashing warning sign that goes off when something doesn’t feel quite right. It is a collection of the judgments and criticisms that we have received our entire lives (both positive and negative) that is meant to keep us on track. This little voice can often manifest itself in a negative way, especially when coupled with the judge. This sub-personality is like a built in security system, meant to keep us in check with reality. In order for this sub-personality to do more good than harm we need to learn to communicate with it. By making choices independent of the criticisms, assessing the validity of those criticisms, and changing the negative into positive, we can use the inner critic to take a more whole look at situations.

The judge often comes paired with the inner critic. This sub-personality projects poor self-image in order to defend and protect. It is based in shame from previous criticisms and has a strong hold within our fear of rejection. It will attempt to control the situation 557233_379170868798768_1066134704_nby pointing to others’ flaws and shortcomings instead of allowing us to come to terms with our own. The judge is often decisive and observant, but is also intolerant and far too judgmental of others and ourselves. In order to combat the judge in us we need to learn to face our fear of rejection, accepting that we will not always be accepted. We also need to do inner work on self-image and the basis of the shame in our lives. By stopping the negative behaviour and addressing the inner messages we are receiving, we can learn to see the bigger picture and be more accepting of ourselves and of others.

The perfectionist is another shame-based sub personality. This shame is based in past failures. The perfectionist causes us to be more expectant of others than ourselves, in the fear that we may fail them before they will fail us. The perfectionist will attempt to control the situation by making us perfect, or what they deem to be perfect. But despite all of this talk about perfection, the perfectionist is very aware of the shortcomings and causes a lack of confidence. While the perfectionist is often times responsible and will give everything their best, they will often times be very rigid and cause conflict when it is not necessary. In order to come to terms with the perfectionist we must accept the fact that we are only human. Mistakes will happen, but that is okay. Vulnerability and fears should not rule our lives, and neither should shame. By setting appropriate and achievable goals, and learning to treat ourselves with the love and respect that we deserve, there is hope to have a more positive perfectionist.

Sub-personalities may only be fragments of the whole, but they are essential to who we are. Keeping them in check is a very important part of maintaining healthy relationships and boundaries. Letting these sub-personalities go unchecked is going to cause unnecessary turmoil and stress. With inner work, we can develop a better understanding of our sub-personalities, and use them in positive ways in our day-to-day lives.

Conquering Fears in Relationships

shutterstock_105933593  Fear. It can take over your thoughts, and in turn you can build up so many walls and blocks that you end up feeling alone and misunderstood. So many of us long for a meaningful relationship to another person, but it is fear that gets in the way. Fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of abandonment and fear of trust are just a few of the many fears that we must overcome in order to gain a meaningful relationship.

Fear of rejection is all about self-confidence and self esteem. It stops us from chasing after our dreams because we do not want to be turned down or fall. Every no we receive brings us closer to the door with the possibility of a yes, that is why it is so important to work through your fear of rejection and learn to cope rather than avoid.

shutterstock_123809797Fear of judgement stems from not having fully accepted ourselves. We are our own harshest critics. Full self-love and acceptance can change that, although we can never be 100% of anything 100% of the time. It does not mean that everyone thinks the way you do about yourself. People’s judgements on others have very little to do with the person being judged. It has much more to do with the person doing the judging. Their own insecurities come out against others. People will judge no matter what situation you are in, but it should matter not what they think, but what you think about yourself.

A fear of abandonment is within all of us, but the severity is based solely on our personal experiences in the past. With some it is much closer to the surface. A fear of abandonment can manifest in several different ways, the most apparent of which is the need to be clingy and demanding. Another way people cope with the fear of abandonment is rejecting their partner before they themselves are rejected, running away from relationships before they have reached their full potential. And finally, there are those who will change their whole entire person to become the “perfect” partner for the person that they are interested in. These coping skills are poor and maladaptive, which can cause train-wreck relationships to become normal. This is where being able to develop trust in your partner is so important.shutterstock_107413730

The fear of trust is a big deal in relationships, romantic or otherwise. It is a pretty common occurrence. We have all been hurt by someone we trusted, someone who decided that what they wanted was more important than our trust. But we have to keep in mind that we cannot punish everyone else for that person’s mistakes, especially when seeking out new relationships. It is perfectly normal to have a period of trust building and cautiousness in the beginning of a relationship. However, at some point we have to decide whether or not we can trust the other person. Trust is the foundation of every good relationship, and without it, you don’t really have a relationship at all.

But how do we overcome these fears? Well, it is a daily struggle. It takes a lot of reflection and deep inner work to break through these defenses. We have not only the outside opinions to combat with, but the internal ones as well. Our brain is pretty good at talking us out of things, but sometimes we just have to ignore it and take a leap of faith. Relationships, especially romantic ones, carry a lot of risk which is reasonable to be unsure of. But if we are unwilling to accept that risk, we may just lose out on having someone wonderful in our lives.