Category Archives: shame

Can you handle the truth?

Getting honest with yourself is hard.
Staying honest even harder. It’s so much easier to avoid, ignore, compartmentalize, and just turn our heads the other way. We can. We do. Doesn’t everyone? Well, eventually we pay for that detour. It hits us over the head one day and forces us to look at that old and familiar ugly mug of reality. What we have refused to acknowledge, what we minimized, sneaks back to visit us through the back door. Lying to ourselves can be so much more comfortable then honesty and vulnerability. Whether it be avoiding looking at something inside of ourselves or doing emotional reconnaissance on someone we love.
Is living in denial a bad thing if we are enjoying the ride? Or does acceptance of the obvious eventually give us a longer ride at the end?
Insight is cheap unless we are willing to do what’s hard.
Making honest choices based on truth. A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.

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Depression is a flaw in chemistry….

not in character.

“Sadness is what you feel when something in your life goes wrong.
Depression is something you feel when everything in your life goes right”

http://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/01/22/madison-holleran-suicide-note-dispel-myth-selfish-suicide/

IF YOU ARE IN SUICIDAL CRISIS,
CALL 800-273-TALK (8255)

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Toss the Mask..

Do you wear a mask? What do you not want others to know about you? This gets to the center of your fears and insecurities. Everyone, yes everyone has baggage. Things they struggle with or things that make them feel poorly about themselves. Some are better at hiding then others, some ignore it and their issues end up “leaking” out in other ways in their behavior or through an addiction. It takes a tremendous amount of emotional energy to hide parts of oneself. Especially the things that bring us shame. It keeps us isolated, afraid and often left to feel very alone. Our perceptions can become distorted about how we see others and ourselves. It really becomes a lot of work and makes life so much harder on us.
When we hide who we really are, it keeps others from truly loving us. It keeps us at a distance from others and that prevents us from having and developing closeness and intimacy. When you do something you feel was an error in judgement or a mistake acknowledge it, talk about it, be open about it, but don’t hide it. Own it.
You will feel “cleaner” emotionally, not only because you were honest with yourself but you addressed it and you took the step to share it with someone. Those who truly belong in your life and love you will see the mistake you made but more importantly they will see you, more then the mistake itself. Everyone has problems everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has things to work on its just part of being human. Acknowledging it and working on it separates the wheat from the chaff. Be who you are. Let people you care about see you.
Toss the mask, your worth it.

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Hot for Teacher…

If your an adolescent or a young man under the age of 16, there may be a hot teacher at a school near you and if she hits on you, chances are she’s serious. And these women most of them are quite attractive. I mean like some are hot. What’s up with that?
Almost weekly in the paper and/or online news I am reading about another adult female professional teacher who had sex, with teens or a teen at the school where they work.
In a the closet, in a car, In the parking lot, near a bar at her house, at the beach, in the classroom or where she’s going to teach.

Brianne Altice, 34, was arrested in October 2013 after one of her former students approached Utah police and told them that he had a sexual relationship with the English teacher beginning when he was 15 years old. He was able to describe tattoos on the teacher’s body, and told police that they had sex at least seven times, including once in a public park.

Summer Michelle Hansen, 31, was charged in August 2014 with sex crimes involving 5 students at the California high school where she taught special education. Hansen allegedly sent sexually suggestive texts to at least one student, who claimed she had sex with him as a “prize” for doing well in a baseball game.

Diana Leigh Farnell
Diana Leigh Farnell, 28, turned herself in to North Carolina police on Sept. 12 following accusations that she’d had sex with one student at the high school where she taught English.
One student told WCCB that he noticed flirting between Farnell and certain student in his English class

Rachelle Gendron
Rachelle Gendron, 27, was charged with five counts of rape stemming from her alleged affair with a
14-year-old student. The former sexual education teacher allegedly sent the boy photos of herself in “various stages of undress, with breasts and genitals exposed,” according to an indictment.

And of course the most publicized:
Debra Lafave
Plead Guilty Former middle school teacher Debra Lafave found guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Lafave, now 31, whose sexual liaisons with a 14-year-old middle school student made tabloid headlines, avoided prison as part of a plea agreement. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara/FILE)
* all sources Huff Post

Recent psychological discussions in
my community on this topic are circulating that these woman who commit this boundary crossing with young men seem to have very different motives then their male teacher perpetrators. Not that it makes their behavior any less psychologically damaging or inappropriate of course. Many of these woman were said to be “lonely” and were seeking to perhaps care for a male who seemed to have had a turbulent or difficult home life, and the emotional nurturing the teacher offered soon developed into the teacher wanting to feel sexually attracted, or wanted by, the adolescent. So she made a move. Clearly she’s not getting what she needs in her own world so she chooses vulnerable young men most, I’m sure, who have never had a sexual experience. Maybe she thinks that’s a gift she’s giving. It is of course just the opposite. It’s a shining albatross.
Here in the USA all teachers are warned from the time they get into their degree programs to the time they are hired that any physical or sexual relationships with students is prohibited and emotionally destructive to the student. And it is. Very.
Although many teens in our
culture often boast it as ” hot” if you get a hook up with an amazingly pretty teacher, it has lasting damaging effects on the student in more ways then I can begin say. Into adulthood.
I treated a man of 39 who told me his first sexual experience was with an older woman (he was 14 she was 28) who was his summer school teacher.
He carried so much shame and guilt for so many years and not only struggled socially with girls and woman after this, he stated that throughout his life with women he had severe trust and intimacy issues. And he never really did well relating to girls his own age. No shock there folks.
His first sexual experience was with an adult who used her power in her position as a teacher to seduce him for her own needs. This is not mutual or equal, at least not initially. These kids who brag about having sex with a smokin’ teacher are not as well received by their bro peers as you think. One kid videoed the teacher giving him oral sex in a school closet. He then showed his friends and one of them went home to tell his parents he was so effected by it.
Most kids know it’s just not ok. And most do tell. Although it can of course feel appealing as well.

The recent retired Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader who was married to a very wealthy CEO in Baltimore, MD tried to pay the family of the young man she seduced 10 Million dollars to keep the incident off the radar. The family looked out for their son and decided it was not in his emotional best interest to do so. She was just a mom who seemed to be oddly obsessed with her sons friend.
I guess throwing money at a problem doesn’t always make it go away. The now accused rapist Molly Shattuck, 47, once made history as the oldest woman to become an NFL cheerleader. On November 6, 2014 she was indicted in Delaware on nine counts, including two counts of third-degree rape, four counts of unlawful sexual contact and three counts of providing alcohol to minors. She brought underage boys to a beach house, gave them beer and blowjobs and her marriage was over in 3 weeks.
As I always say, everyone has an emotional breaking point. Talk to your kids about boundaries even when they are teens. The more mental health funding that gets cut, the more of this acting out we will see. I’m very interested in everyone’s thoughts about this. In particular from other countries.

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How does it feel…REALLY?

To experience such intense private desperation inside that you want to end your life? To be such a tortured soul that not even a pin of light can be hoped for or any chance of ever getting out from under yourself. You become the source of your own darkness and despair. You blame yourself. A hostage to your sadness with no end in sight. How does it feel to be so profoundly depressed?
I suppose It would be like you finding out that you just WON 100 million dollars: OR that you just LOST everything you have. Your reaction would be exactly the same. Complete indifference to either scenario. That’s a glimpse into the sheer flatness of the way you feel and experience the world. Nothing matters anymore. Nothing.
Your compass is broken, you are so swallowed up by your own distorted thoughts and hopeless cognitions that your perception changes. Completely.
Those who suffer from depression try anything for relief. Robin Williams, and so many others famous or not, (who suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, or another mood disorder on the spectrum) use alcohol or drugs to self medicate, and try to escape from this feeling. Robin Williams did this with cocaine and alcohol. Then of course a secondary problem of substance abuse or addiction emerges, then you end up with two problems. Depression and substance abuse or addiction. This is called being dually diagnosed, and requires care from those who are trained in both addiction and mental health. One feeds off the other. For those who have never really experienced what it’s like to hit an emotional wall it’s similar to a huge truck going 70 mph striking a piece of glass shattering it into pieces. Then you learn you have glue all those hundreds of shards and broken pieces back together with no tools or template, and your can’t see very well. It’s overwhelming, it can be just too much. In the wake of Robin Williams suicide, by asphyxiation (hanging) watching news coverage, hearing the reactions of fans, journalists and celebrity physicians, it makes me sad how often those who appear so happy and so put together on the outside, can be so very distressed. Depression comes from the INSIDE not the outside. It does not matter how wonderful or fortunate the individual appears to be. I always tell my clients who compare their insides to other people’s outsides that you never really know anyone’s private hell. Its not always the ones who look like crap, or don’t go to work, or have few outlets or friends. Mental illness crosses money lines, class lines, cultural lines, religious and spiritual lines, right wing, left wing, in the center. The homeless guy down the street, the well put together woman in the cubical next to yours at work, or the amazingly gifted and loved comedian and actor, Mr. Robin Williams.
Very often it is a person you never thought was troubled by life at all. Suffering happens deep inside and most often can’t been seen.
There is always hope. There is always a way out, there is a way to get beyond it. For some, they just couldn’t make it or see it.
Be compassionate to the angry bitchy woman who you interact with in the workplace, or your neighbor who can never move her head to make eye contact with you. You just don’t know the private pain people carry around everyday.
Being nice or reaching out with a kind word can make a difference in their life. Even if it’s just a moment. I have heard that those moments can change a persons day or even their faith in humanity. 

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What I have learned..

(Thank you Maya Angelou for the inspiration)

I have learned that someone can love you more then you know, without having to show you in the ways you always want.

I have learned that it doesn’t matter how good you look,
if the person you want to notice, doesn’t

I have learned that everyone has a breaking point, no matter how strong they are

I have learned no matter how good something tastes, how lovely something is or how cozy something feels, it’s just not as enchanting unless the one you love is enjoying it with you

I have learned that the bond of true love and soul mates cannot ever really be broken, no matter how many people try to make it so, or how many tragedies occur

I have learned that when you think you are in your deepest despair,
you can go even deeper then you ever thought possible

I have learned that love is fragile gift, and if you are luckily enough for someone to give it to you, cherish it, protect it, and put it first, before anything.

I have learned that you don’t always get a second chance at everything and anything and that making the pain worth something changes you for the better

The New Lepers. Policed Nation

British doctors voted last week to ban cigarettes for anyone born after the year 2000 in Britain. Brilliant! Apparently, this is a first big step in an overall initiative to make Britain FREE of tobacco within the next 20 years. Britain has been able to enforce NO SMOKING in public, and also banning smoking in any automobile carrying a child. The US has cracked down on smokers as well. No smoking in public, no smoking in restaurants or bars, and It is common place in the DC Metro area to see signs that display “no smoking within 50 feet of this building” around town centers, office areas, shopping malls, as well as doctor, dentist offices and movie theaters.
There are many new snappy apartment buildings going up that have a strict no smoking policy. This means if you live there your not even permitted to smoke in your apt, on the roof or anywhere near the building.
Where do the smokers go?
I remember the days of smoking in airplanes, airports, with coffee in restaurants, while at work (and this was great if you worked in a psychiatric hospital), in taxi cabs, even in malls in designated areas.
A friend of mine who is a smoker, told me a story that happened to her recently. She was in a gas station/store buying cigarettes. When she was at the counter, a very robust heavy set woman in line behind her with a handful of hostess snacks, candy bars, and soda blurted out sarcastically to her ” you know smoking those will kill you, you really shouldn’t buy them”.
Now before I tell you how my friend replied, I should tell you she’s a thin well built attractive woman, who takes no prisoners when you start in on her about her smoking. Her doctor, her family, her friends, her clients, are always lecturing her about her smoking and her need to quit. She hates that she smokes. Telling a person who smokes they should not smoke Is like telling a fat person ” hey you really shouldn’t be buying that hostess cupcake it’s going to contribute to your obesity” a fat person knows they are fat, no one needs to tell them “hey you need to loose weight”. My friend looked at the woman and said ” I won’t buy my cigarettes if you dont buy your handful of goodies”. The women was appalled at her, I’m not sure why, clearly they both struggle with an addiction.

The smoker has become the chosen shunned leper. They hide outside in snow and rain to catch that much needed drag at lunch or after a meeting. You will find them outside of restaurants, and court houses, “away from the building” commiserating with other smokers. I get it. No one wants second hand smoke. However, I think it’s getting a bit out of hand. I guess the thought is that if we keep the smokers from smoking everywhere, even outside, maybe they will smoke less and it will decrease the national cancer rates and health problems. What do you suppose is next? Controlling alcohol consumption at bars and restaurants to prevent drunk driving or alcoholism? Or what about having a ban on sugar for anyone 25 lbs or more overweight?
No cookie for you.
Well people that are overweight don’t hurt others you might say? Obesity is yet another national health problem.
Obesity impacts our insurance rates, our medication costs, and many healthcare costs as well.
I’m not bashing obese people or bashing smokers. I just wonder if we are becoming an overly policed nation.
Good for Britain for tackling such a huge health problem. I wonder, do you think that plan would work in the US? That anyone born after 2000 (starting at age 14) was told they “may not smoke” It would be followed?
We as Americans, who love excess to the point of self destruction at times, don’t do well with our personal rights being infringed upon, what do you think?

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Anger…

Bottled up beneath the cover
waiting for release,
anger builds itself inside slowly
piece by piece
it may sometime give warning
by a firmly clenching fist,
or release itself less slowly
through the mind until it twists
without addressing anger’s wrath
trouble soon provokes,
some may feel that life’s no good
and simply is a joke
don’t let anger run your life
inside of you it feasts,
It will eat you up so slowly
daily piece by piece.

theresa perfetto ®
1980

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Expensive free advice.

If I could give one piece of advice I would say to “Trust Your Gut”. Clients pay me a lot of hard earned money so that I can teach them to trust and use the gift they already have that is not only powerful but very effective. Their instinct. The problem is they don’t trust themselves enough to listen.

I spend countless hours reviewing with clients what their perspective was at the beginning of a recently failed relationship. I ask them to look back with me and ask themselves in retrospect, did they see any red flags? Did they see or hear something from him or her that struck them as bothersome?
The answer is most always is ” yes…but.”
“I noticed that he drank heavily BUT he was going through a hard time”,  “You know, I did notice that she became angry easily or her reaction was not in proportion to the situation BUT I thought it meant she really cared about me or that I was making too much of it”. Or “..he worked a lot and we didn’t have a lot of quality time together BUT he was trying to make partner and I figured it would get better”, or ” She didn’t share much about her last relationship but I didn’t want to pry”. The bottom line is this folks:
LISTEN to your gut.
Your instinctual sense of something is keenly accurate. Too many people second guess themselves and find that the very thing that alerted them in the beginning of a relationship with that person was very often the impetus of the relationship not working. For those of you who were brought up in homes where there was an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you have the best instinct of all. I call this your “Superpower”. When a parent has an addiction to alcohol or drugs, children learn to sense the predictability of unpredictability. Addicts are inconsistent, unpredictable, they break promises, and create an environment of fear that also produces shame in their children. After a while the child develops a very good sense of being able to “read” mom or dad. This default skill develops in adulthood into a sense of “reading” people very quickly and most often quite accurately. Look back now at any relationship in your life that didn’t work for you. Can you recall if the reason was something to do with what you spotted early on and just ignored?
Learn to trust your instincts and listen to yourself, because in the end your probably right.

theresa perfetto ®
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