Discounting the Past

Today I would like to respond to comments made earlier this month on the ‘home’ page here. My first impulse was being saddened by the confusion and despair readers felt by some of my latest post. However, it didn’t take long for me to get excited. Every time someone presents a challenge it gives me – and I suppose everyone – the opportunity to widen our understanding and deepen our insight. So I am very grateful for people to take the time and formulate their opinion and point out that what they are reading is not gelling for them.

It’s a tricky topic, the topic of “it’s just thought”, isn’t it? It’s hard to get one’s head around the fact that the world we experience is rather more a hologram created by our own thinking then a representation of what’s really OUT THERE. Especially when we end up with a badly bruised body or mind by our encounters with “out there”, be it objects or people’s’ actions. That’s however how it is – it’s a biological reality that we can’t grasp what’s out there without processing and interpreting it through our mental filters (history, beliefs, values etc.), through what’s ‘IN HERE’. It doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong or something bad. Experiencing your personal hologram as real is doing exactly what mother nature designed you to do: thinking that your thoughts are real. Everybody operates like that – nobody gets spared! Continue reading

Thoughts upon Thoughts upon Thoughts

I have heard the other day that the average person has between 50 and 70 Thousand thoughts each day. Oh my goodness, that is between 35 and 50 thoughts a minute. No wonder I can’t remember where I put my keys this morning. That information is lost in the tornado of thoughts that is going through my brain. (Pew, for a moment I pondered about Alzheimer’s).

There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the content of the thoughts we produce. It seems to come from all corners of our inner world, past – present – and future, as well as from stimuli from our environment. We are – or better our brains are – truly thought-producing machines.

Many of these thoughts will pass through our mind like a wee little flicker, barely noticed or not even noticed at all. Like an electric storm that runs through our neuro networks, fed by an energy I can only describe as life force. Buzzing, and buzzing all day long. Not only that, also buzzing at night, coming to us as dreams.  Because its our thoughts that cause our feelings its interesting to notice on which of the 35 to 50 thoughts a minute we focus on, isn’t it?

You may just have spilled a perfectly brewed coffee on your white carpet and start telling yourself off for being so clumsy, having ruined the carpet and so on and so on. It will be no surprise that you feel grumpy or depressed or ashamed, depending on what exactly you’ve been telling yourself. You might even have delved into the memory box and picked out other incidences from your earlier life where you have been clumsy and been told off for it … there is no end to thoughts that will confirm your initial response to spilling the coffee. With a little bit of hard thinking work you could manage to set yourself up for a pretty lousy day!

If you have this kind of incidences happen more regularly, you could even end up at your doctor’s practice and be given some antidepressants for what some people like to call ‘chemical imbalance’. Well, your thoughts might have caused a chemical imbalance, but it was your thinking all along, wasn’t it?

It’s important to realise as soon as you notice your thoughts that they are not real. They are just thoughts. You are not clumsy, you just spilled coffee and it left a mark. End of story! Happens all the time, all over the world. Is a stained carpet worth you being on antidepressants for the next 20 years? I am sure the pharmaceutical industry would say YES, of course. Our livelihood depends on it.

Having between 35 and 50 thoughts a day, just check out with for yourself which ones you would rather focus on. Let the self-punitive ones pass through your mind, don’t feed them, and wait for better ones to float to the surface. They will come: remember there are 50 to 70 thousand thoughts coming your way today. Let’s have a competition: Who’s got the best ones!

Before I go a little story I have treasured for years:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” (www.brightquotes.co​m)

PTSD Viewed Through the Lens of 3 Principles

Those who have followed this blog are aware how intensive I have covered the issue of overcoming the legacies of abuse and neglect. The simple reason is because dealing with flashbacks, memories, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and a toxic self perception seems to be the tragic struggle most survivors have in common. Not only that, it’s also a struggle that seems to take many many years to overcome for a large number of survivors.

But what if it doesn’t have to take forever and forever to deal with the aftermath? I don’t know any survivor who wouldn’t want to shorten the time until s/he is OK again, having a peace of mind, being in touch with a natural sense of well-being, balanced life, and overall contentment and happiness.

I have found this blog post that offers a challenge to those approaches to therapy with traumatised people who focus on re-visiting the traumatic moment, catharting feelings and emotions, and re-interpreting past experiences. Instead, principle based psychology is resting on the notion that every human being has an innate sense of health that we can access through our thoughts. It is important to understand the connection between thoughts and feelings. If our thoughts are negative and/or painful (for example: “I am such a cot-case”) we will feel depressed or sad or anxious. Thus the quality of our thinking determines the quality of our feelings.

Sydney Banks, who first conceived the Three Principles said “The most important thing to remember is it’s not what you think – it’s the fact that you think. Thought holds the secret to all our happiness, all our sadness. Once you realize the power of thought, I guarantee your life will never be the same again. If you have a positive thought and you put life into it…positivity happens
and you start to live in a positive life”.

Hop over the blog and read the challenging article. I would be interested to hear what your opinion is! Read this fascinating article here!

Always Looking Through The Rear-View Mirrow

Someone asked me yesterday whether there is some therapeutic benefit to telling a client what they went through wasn’t that bad and others had is worse. 

My first reaction was to shake my head. Who would say something like that to a person unless there is an intention to hurt? It sounds so puntive and discounting of a person’s emotional pain.

My advise was to go back to the therapist and express how this statement has made her/him feel. Asking for clarification and what intention the therapist had when making such a comparison. Of course there is always someone on this planet who has had experiences that were worse than our own. Thats not a hard thing to figure out.

On the other hand, sometimes you come accross a person who is very attached to her/his traumatic experience(s) so that being a victim of abuse/trauma becomes a life-position. I liken it to

“Going through through life as if you are driving in a car looking constantly into the rear-view mirror.

It’s easy to see that such a driving habit comes with huge dangers. The driver is bound to crash into all sorts of objects and obstacles and is a menace to him/herself and others. A challenge like the the above statement might help such a person to move out of the victim position and look into the future rather than ruminating about past experiences most of the time. However, I hope people are able to find more effective and gentler ways of shaking the foundations of a habitual victim-position of helplessness and hopelessness.

Sometimes a critical statement like the one above does not come from a therapist or other people in our lives, but from ourselves. We give ourselves a hard time for ‘not getting on’ with things. Rather than joining the blame-game and giving yourself a hard time, a much better question would be “What resources do you need, what skills do you need to learn, what self-care practices do you need to apply to be able to start looking into the direction you are driving: FORWARD!

Victim or Survivor?

_heart Nobody likes to be the victim. It’s a powerless role and people get rather upset when it is pointed out to them that they are in a ‘victim role’. In fact, being called a victim is often seen as an insult.

Being in the victim role is very much a child like state. Children are helpless and without power. If the adults around them don’t do the right thing, they have rarely any means to change their situation. They have to endure being treated badly, being victimized. They may complain, give up, or act out. Nothing will change their situation.

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Forgiveness

Forgivenessao4 Forgiveness is an interesting issue and readers have commented lots on posts touching on forgiveness (see comments here). It seems that to forgive is very difficult. I know, it has been a difficult issue in my recovery. I never felt compelled to forgive my abusers because it felt I would let them off the hook. It felt they would get away with having hurt me. I wouldn't have any of that! Instead I had phantasies of them regretting their actions and understanding the impact of their actions.

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How Does Anger Become Pathological?

Depression-4 Anger becomes pathological when a person has over a long time mismanaged their anger. This starts in most cases already in childhood when children are raised within a family and/or society in which children's expression of affect and especially of anger is discouraged or even punished. These are families in which children are maybe see, but certainly not heard. These are families in which usually only parents are entitled to express anger and they often do so to punish or discipline their kids.

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Coping in Times of Stress

The recovery from sexual abuse is not always a straight forward
journey. There are times when survivors will cope easily with the HERE
AND NOW. At other times the THERE AND THEN intrudes and compromises
their daily functioning. Times like Christmas, Easter, Hollidays,
Thanksgiving, weddings, and baptisms, to name a few, are events that
can be highly triggering for survivors.

It can make a huge difference for a person's coping capabilities to
have a plan ready for these difficult times. Once the stress level
rises and people start getting distressed, thinking rationally is not
always possible. Click the following link Download Depression Action Plan for ideas how to construct such a plan for yourself.

Coping in Times of Stress

The recovery from sexual abuse is not always a straight forward
journey. There are times when survivors will cope easily with the HERE
AND NOW. At other times the THERE AND THEN intrudes and compromises
their daily functioning. Times like Christmas, Easter, Hollidays,
Thanksgiving, weddings, and baptisms, to name a few, are events that
can be highly triggering for survivors.

It can make a huge difference for a person's coping capabilities to
have a plan ready for these difficult times. Once the stress level
rises and people start getting distressed, thinking rationally is not
always possible. Click the following link Download Depression Action Plan for ideas how to construct such a plan for yourself.

DID Treatment: Practical Steps Towards Happiness

Happy face Here are the promised 'Happiness Exercises'. Why do I call them that? Because research has shown that when you do these exercises regularly, you will feel better. Not only that, your sense of improved well-being and happiness lasts for many months after having done the exercises. Although the research has not been done with people who have multiple personalities, or more correctly dissociative identity disorder, I reckon it can't hurt to do them anyhow. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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