Tag Archives: psychology

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

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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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Suicide. Permanent Contempt

Men, as in most studies, generally have more aggressive impulses, thoughts, and emotions than females. It happens in their dreams and it occurs with their methods of suicide. It is often violent and unbridled. The methods men use when committing suicide are violent a majority of the time; use of firearms, cars driven into walls or off cliffs. And often as you have seen in mass shootings, they set up a homicide/suicide situation where they will commit a homicide(s), and want to take themselves out in the sad hope of making a mark on the world (another blog on profiling to come). Women overall, use less violent means. They overdose, or they may use carbon monoxide poisoning with their car, in their garage or with a hose, other may use other methods of poisoning, and hanging. Women use firearms as well but the statistics are much lower for firearms and suicide with women. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) in the USA, suicide statistics for all men, all races, and all ages was the 7th leading cause of death from 2000 to 2008. From 2008 to 2010 sadly, it moved from the 7th position to be the 4th leading cause of death among men. For women of all ages, & races, from 2002 to 2010 suicide was not listed at all in any of the top 10 leading causes of death for women. The first 3 causes of death have consistently been heart disease, cancer, and stroke for the past 8 years. Personally, I think this is because women are stronger emotionally. Possibly, have better emotional networking and support and have a tendency to use their support systems. They may not be as strong physically, but most know how to lean on others and talk. This blends into some of my previous posts about men, just not having the emotional tools to communicate effectively. It’s not their fault. Part of it is wiring and part is our culture. The need to demonstrate they are “strong”. Trying to treat law enforcement persons is even more difficult. And please know when I make these statements there are many exceptions to this rule. Interestingly, when looking closer at suicides, the CDC reports that the highest number of suicides among men were because of a”failed relationship”. Health problems were the second cause of suicide. Again, the failure of relationships most likely would have to do with emotional issues including communication, and their lack of understanding how to connect with women on an emotional level. I use to manage the emergency mental health department for the City of Alexandria, VA about 5 miles outside Washington, DC. I worked closely with police and fire departments and witnessed these statistics play out in real life and real-time. I was often called to hostage barricade situations, as well as suicide calls, both attempted and completed. One cold winter evening in the winter, I think it was in November, someone was reported as standing on the outside rail facing the water, on a bridge. The wind was blowing fiercely that evening. This man wanted to jump very badly off the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. This is a bridge that crosses the Potomac River and connects VA to MD. The man eventually came down after several hours of negotiating. Another oddity, is when I when I was growing up in the suburbs of Maryland, we had 4 suicides on my street in a 3 year period. Two of them were housewives that had committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in their garages. They lived across the street from one another. The two events were not connected. The next was year, a 15-year-old boy shot himself in the head in his house after school. Four houses down from me and 5 houses from the 2 women. His little brother who was about 9 years old, ran up to my house saying he was afraid that ” the big bookshelf upstairs fell down” and he was scared. The parents were not home from work. I ran down there with my father to see what happened. He didn’t know his brother was home and this young man had used a shotgun and shot himself at the top of the steps. The walls were covered. It was a such a sad and macabre seen. A few years later, that same child who came up to my house, ended up shooting himself in the head in the same house in the same place. I felt so bad for the mother of these children who was a wonderful person. Who survives that? I remember her on her front lawn on the ground rolling around in hysterics making sounds I had never heard from any human. We all got it. No one judged her, it was like something on 60 minutes. Her marriage fell apart and she ended up living in the house alone, and passed away a few years ago of a health problem. The suicides of her only 2 children destroyed her. She never came back from that. Not really. This verifies the information we sometimes hear that suicide happens in clusters. One person does it and suddenly it’s happening all over the place. Even on the news. And it’s true. The reason for my post is to share that suicide permanently emotionally damages any family and friends who are left behind. I currently see a lovely man who came to me because his only son, who was 24 at the time, an extremely handsome, intelligent, sweet young man, and graduate from an Air Force Special Intelligence school shot himself in the head in his bathtub one week after his graduation. He had been hired to go on special assignment after graduation. His father, has been seeing me off and on for 5 years now, since the suicide. His son left no note. No trace of any issues, nothing. His father, has scoured through his sons computer, his files, his personal belongings and his clothing looking, researching for clues and answers anything to help him understand why his son would do this? He goes to his son’s grave every Sunday alone, by request, and “shares” a glass of scotch with him. He has changed. His tears today are as fresh and deep as the day it happened. He has been to every place, down every road, to every hotel, talked to every friend, family member, girlfriend, and even exactly mirrored the week his son experienced the week of his death. He really didn’t learn anything. Nothing. It kills him that he doesn’t know why? This has been the biggest challenge for him. His life now, revolves around his son’s birthday, the day he committed suicide, the day he was buried, and the day he found out. The holidays mean very little to him now, his marriage is falling apart. His son not only took his own life, he took his father’s life too.

Suicide is not a private event.It is like throwing a stone in a pond and each ripple represents a person. Then each person carries with them guilt, grief, anger, and confusion, and wonders if they could have done anything, anything at all to prevent it. Then it touches another person. Marriages break up, siblings struggle in their personal relationships, siblings struggle with their parents if their sibling committed suicide, often other siblings or friends commit suicide. It tears families apart at the hinges. Lives change. It is an angry and selfish thing to do to those in your life who love you. It is the ultimate angry abandonment. A final permanent expression of contempt to those left. Reach out, even if you think no one will understand. Read about survivors and how they pulled themselves out of the hopeless trap they tricked themselves to believing they were caught in.  There is always hope. 20140627-214401-78241971.jpg 20140627-214422-78262378.jpg

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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Trail of Destruction, The Cheater 

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There are a million books, websites, blogs, detective agencies, pamphlets, cards, TV shows, talk shows, podcasts, and even a Facebook page that examine and discuss the devastating impact of affairs and cheating while in a relationship. Cheaters are scum.
All media is geared toward the significant other of the one who was cheated on. Very little media addresses at all the one who steps out, the one who cheats, and the impact of events on him or her. Certainly, the person who was cheated on IS the one who is shattered and emotionally annihilated the deepest. Let’s make no mistake about that upfront. This is evident from the deepest rage and pain that uproots itself when infidelity shows itself and years after, that leaves a scar not only on the heart but on the mind as well. The pain sits like a huge rock on ones chest crushing him or her everyday with the painful reminder they have been violated in sanctity of their most private and personal space their love relationship, their heart.

That being said, I would like to talk about the one who cheats. Commonly known as:
bastard, bitch, liar, trader, home wrecker,adulterer and heartbreaker
(add your own here).
Remarks are made not only initially but over years of time like: I hate you, looking at you makes me sick, your dirty, your damaged, stay away from me, your evil, your a whore, your dead to me, you are selfish, you cannot be trusted on any level, when I look at you all I see is pain, you disgust me, you’ve a loser, your a narcissist, your worthless, you are damaged, (again add your own here). So who cares about the one who cheats? Answer? No one.
They are rejected and scorned not only by long term friends, but often by family, business associates, future potential lovers (once a cheat always a cheat), and labeled eternally never to be trusted again. They are thrown aside like garbage, kicked to the curb, ignored, laughed at, unfriended, isolated, and are embossed with a permanent letter X on their forehead warning those around them that this person should be avoided at all costs. Very often, even those who commit crimes have more credibility on an emotional and moral level. The cheater by far is the most repulsed.

Does anyone think about emotional impact of the whirling chaos and sharp objects that have effected the cheater? I know. Your answer is “No”. Or better, “Hell no”.

Cheating doesn’t occur in a vacuum. While stepping out is not acceptable and clearly should be avoided at all costs, not everyone who cheats is irrevocably dark and damaged inside. There are multiple dynamics in relationships to begin with that play out and often lay the ground for cheating spouses or partners. My purple couch and I are here to say that not all, but many who cheat DO and CAN change.I have seen it and I have had the privilege of being a part of it. Cheaters who care enough to fix themselves work very hard to understand themselves and accept responsibility for the trail of damage and fallout they have left behind. I have worked with many individuals who actually do have remorse and shame, who want to change, who squarely and honestly dissect themselves and look hard at what they have done to others and to themselves. To straighten the crooked line inside them and make the pain worth something.

I encourage them to heal the ones they have harmed, and very often they succeed. Relationships often don’t make it, over 80% of marriages who have infidelity end up in divorce. It’s by far the most difficult conflict to treat in couples. I have seen the power and palatable energy of love and it can be an unstoppable force. When 2 people love one another and both want the relationship, healing can be achieved.

So the next time a friend, or co-worker, family member or acquaintance shares they have been cheated on, know that not all those who cheat are emotional lepers. Most likely they have already been shunned, and shut out by their world and are in their own private emotional nightmare. Don’t be so quick to judge their insides, there is always so much more to understand the what’s on the surface.

The Millennial Generation

I was in the dog park talking to a
gentleman who is Vice President of sales of a multi million dollar company in the US. I asked him if he experienced more difficulties with the companies youngest employees, (the millennials range in age roughly from age 28 and younger) then his generation X employees (ages 29-44 roughly) or even the Boomers (ages 45-63) ?
He said “No doubt, the millennials are very difficult to manage and their expectations are ridiculous. They usually want a starting salary of $100K a year when they have very little experience. It’s insane!”
I have been listening to a lot of clamor about this for sometime behind the closed doors of my office. Managers business owners, HR professionals, those in the DC area who work in high security/high tech companies and the like, grumble and protest about their painful experiences managing this age group as employees. I don’t see much in the literature about this topic yet it’s a HUGE problem in todays workforce. How did it happen that this age group became so very difficult and entitled?
Here are some of the other things I have heard:
“I’m sorry I don’t file”
“Umm I really need longer then one hour for lunch I need to work out”
“Does it matter what time I come Into work? It’s it more important that I get things done? Maybe it would be a good idea for me telecommute”
“I cannot work on Fridays”
The sheer sense of over self importance, harebrained expectations, negative attitude and vitriolic competition (females) with co workers are but a few of the big problems facing managers today. This age group has a very different set of challenges and issues that uproot at work then any other age group to date. The parents, mostly Baby Boomers, who raised these very bright, and tech savvy employees, “over gave” and “over shared” in parenting their children without much if any expectation in return. Often these parents were disrespected and mistreated by their children or might have felt confused as to why their child was so entitled? Not all, but most of this age group were handed everything to them rather then earning or working for whatever they wanted. The good old fashion way. It was a given that they had access to often the best experiences, privileges, education, and vacations as children and teens because the Boomers wanted to make it “easier” then it was when “they were kids”. I hear “I didn’t want my kid to work as hard as I had to”. You know the ones with paper routes at 5:00am or who worked on weekends to actually earn some money for their senior trip.
Because these parents wanted to “give more” they forgot to include the life lessons involved. Example: reciprocity. Unfortunately, a great many moral and emotional lessons were missed. Many of these millennials have an extensive amount of interpersonal difficulties. For example, negotiating conflicts at work. Now mind you I’m talking simple conflicts, that require some social skills and especially emotional tolerance. I treat this age group and it always catches me off guard when I need to explain why it’s important to “try and be respectful” to co-workers yes even if you don’t like them” Or “..this is your job, you are being paid to be there, probably not a good decision to just call off because you don’t feel like going into work because you were up until 3:00 am partying”.
Of course wanting to make your children’s life better then you is a wonderful gift. That being said, parents; please remember to teach your children what YOU learned. How & when your children demonstrate respect for you, your things, their things, their siblings and neighbors, will be a future predictor of how they treat others as adults, particularly in the workplace. If you can instill in them the following:
1. Money is earned. Should be saved and managed. Please assume you have no net if there is an emergency. Mom & Dad can’t bail you out forever.
2. Demonstrating appreciation and thanks goes a long way. It will help you more then you know and even make you more like able and invited back.
3. The universe doesn’t owe you anything. Your effort put in is a direct result of what comes out. Period.
4. Don’t expect to be given “a break” when you make a mistake and your being paid.
5. Have emotional boundaries. Not everyone wants to hear everything about you and your personal life.
No one cares that much anyway.
6. Use a filter when you talk.
7. Be kind even when you don’t feel like it.
8. Be on time.
9. If you have trouble with a co worker keep it to your self until you figure out how to handle it. Talking about that person will end up ruining your credibility.
10. Respect your parents on all holidays. Cards, small gifts, are expected. Because you are on your own doesn’t mean you get to not show the same love and respect that was shown to you.

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