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Parenting Series Pt 1 

How to Co-parent & Single-Parent Effectively

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Parenting or the process of raising children can be rewarding. It can change a person's life, offer perspectives about the world and give one insight about themselves that they weren't quite certain of before having children.  Parenting can also be a challenge, especially if both parents do not share the same values or have the resources to raise a child comfortably. If you joined today's group, you learned about factors that make parenting effective and ineffective for two-parent and single-parent households. You also learned about the importance of taking care of yourself as the parent. If you missed today's group or would like a refresher, here's what you missed:


What is parenting?

The ability to raise a child to have essential values, morals, beliefs, and ideas that will result in productive adulthood and independence. 


Children need 3 things to be successful adults

1. Intimacy (closeness)

2. Physical (food, shelter, clothing, etc.)

3. Safety (free of abuse, neglect, etc.)


Ineffective Parenting

(works against the child and doesn’t support success of the child as an adult)


There are 6 factors that make a parent ineffective

1. Deflection 

Feeling negative about the other parent and seeing said parent in that child


2. Displacement

Not being where one wants to be when the child was conceived or born. Sometimes the absent parent will "run and hide" due to shame. Parents who feel displaced will often not keeping a phone in service, "ghost" the child or their responsibilities,  or not maintain a job to evade child support


3. Mentality

The emotional and mental state of the parent. Undiagnosed mental illness or substance abuse problems often disrupts the process of being an effective parent. 


4. Ill Purpose

Having the child to keep a relationship or someone around. Typically, when this happens, the focus is less on the child, making the relationship the focus, and the child disposable


5. Ill Expectations 

Not having the “perfect” child or the child you wanted. This includes sex of the child, disabilities, or deformities 


6. Generational curses

Unproductive Ideas, values, or behaviors that our parents taught us OR intentionally working hard to be different from our parents based on emotional abuse or physical abuse. This may look like withholding discipline because you were disciplined too much as a child, etc.


Effective Parenting

 (parenting that works towards the success and well-being of the child)


There are 4 factors that makes a parent effective


1. Mutual Respect

Allowing the other parent to be who they are and parent in their way. Similarly, allowing yourself as a parent to be who you are, as long as the child is safe and taken care of. This helps you “get along” with the other parent, regardless of the status of the relationship.


2. Parenting Agreements 

Agreements that outline dates, times and expectations for visitation, discipline, who is responsible for what and when. This decreases triangulation (when children play one parent against the other)


3. Exclusive Focus: 

making decisions that are in the best interests of the child(ren) and NOT the parent or the adult. 


4. Generational differences 

Recognizing the generational gap between the times you were born and the time your child was born. Learn their culture to increase intimacy and “give and take” when it comes to what you learned as a child. 



Single Parenting 

Having to parent alone or taking care of a child with little to no support, financially or physically


There are 4 Ways to be an Effective Single Parent

1. Let go!!

Sometimes we hold on to the resentment or anger of being a single parent. This isn’t effective. Assume the responsibility and work towards going forward as if it was designed to be just YOU. Tasks are best carried out when we accept the circumstances. Let go of the idea of being “owed” something, or this idea that things, “should” be a certain way. It will not change the circumstances. Use this energy to create security in the child, not insecurities. How parents respond to the losses, effects the security of the child. 


2. Create security 

Develop a budget or financial plan that solely depends on you. Anything you get from others should be extra/additional, to decrease the likeliness of being disappointed by others. Be sure to find sitters (professional) for times when you need to take your much-needed breaks and self-care. 


3. Create a blind spot 

Not allowing others make you feel guilty for being a single parent. Yes, two parent households are traditional but single parent households are just as productive if not more. Don’t take on other people’s values or compare yourself to others.

 

4. Implement self-care

Be intentional about taking time to yourself and treating yourself. This looks like reading, spa days, getting rest, pampering, dates, mini trips with friends, etc.



Thank you for joining, 

See you Thursday,  June 11, 2020 at 2pm for part 2 of this parenting series, Step-parenting: The Joys of Staying in Your Lane. 

No group Thursday, June 4th



Dating: 

Is it Love or Lust?

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Since the beginning of time, partnership has always been the most fulfilling goal when it comes to feeling close to someone. In present time, the idea of partnership has evolved and taken on a life of it's own. Some, have decided to create their own versions of partnership, while others have decided to do "away" with the concept altogether. Why? Well, it's simple: there seems to be great confusion between love and lust. One is very temporary, while the other is more long term and makes partnership worthwhile. Either way, the concept of having love or lust has been the greatest debate of all time. Lets clarify where some of us may stand. If you joined today's group, you learned the difference between love and lust. You also learned about levels of partnership and how to decide what is best for you. If you missed today's group or would like a refresher, here is what you missed:


Is it Love or Lust?

People are attracted to one another based on cultural norms and values, nothing more. Some may call it fate, while others will call it "good-timing." Either way, when two people are drawn to one another, it is because the two shared something in common, time and fate most likely had very little to do with it. 


What is Lust?

 -sexual arousal,  or physiological inspiration based on sexual desires

What is Love?

• Love develops when the forces of care and intimacy come together

  •  Care includes wanting to help someone by providing aid and emotional support and responding to the other person’s needs
  • Intimacy describes the closeness we feel to another person or methods we use to feel close to another person. 

 There are 3 Kinds of Intimacy

1. Physical (touching, kissing, hold hands, etc.)

2. Affective or feeling close (connecting or knowing the person)

3.  Verbal (Self-disclosure or revealing one’s honest thoughts to another person with the expectation that open communication will follow


Intimacy should lead to (but at times does not) commitment

What is commitment?

When two people...

Share a mutual interest in each other

• Possibly have history together

• Distinct sense of identity as a couple

• Hold a reciprocal commitment to a continued relationship

• Share hopes and dreams for a common future

Over time, commitment intensifies or establishes “Love”


 3 Functions of Love

1. Human Survival

-People who feel loved want to enjoy life more and stay alive

2. Enhances physical and emotional health

-People who aren’t loved are at higher risk for depression, headaches, psychosomatic difficulties

3. Fun

-Life can be boring w/o the ups and downs of love


Courtship vs. Dating

Courtship

1920’s-1950’s

  • The engaged woman’s parents conducted economic negotiations with fiancé’s family
  • Men couldn’t participate in courtship w/o owning land
  • Men were advised to choose women who were industrious, hardworking and sensible
  • Affection bloomed after marriage
  • Men called women, and went to the homes, met parents and talked as a prelude to courtship.

Dating

1950’s-current

  • Couples setting a specific date, time and place to meet
  • Provoked by the development of automobiles
  • Strict gender code of etiquette
  • Men initiated dates and paid all expenses
  • Women waited to be asked out
  • Provided companionship during the date

In 2020

Levels of Developing Partnership


Talking: exchanging of information, phone conversations and texts, have no physical interaction


Hanging Out: focus is creating intimacy and care, it is more friendly, no set goals or intentions, just enjoy one another (Does not have to include sexual activity)


Dating: there is an intention and possibility of courtship (may include sexual activity)


Courtship: exclusive relationship that includes all three above 


Engagement: acknowledging your intent is to marry 


Marriage: the process of making your partnership and love public and legal


How to avoid falling in love with someone who lusts for you...

• Pay attention to their intent. (ask up front)


• If they don’t ask personal details about you or care about your well-being, chances are they are only interested in lust or only have lust for you.


• Keep your options open and date many people before deciding on courtship


• I don’t care what "they" say, “sex does lead to feelings of concern for at least ONE partner, (proceed with caution)


• Avoid "situation-ships" or knowingly getting involved with someone who:

  •  does not share your cultural norms and values, (this includes people who are married or unavailable, different lifestyles, etc.) 
  • make it clear that they want a physical relationship only, (Don't stick around hoping that they will change their minds.)


*Watch the playback on IGTV or refer to your notes in group for Theories of Love & Manifest and Latent functions of love.


Thank you for joining, 

See you next Thursday, May  28, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on Parenting: How to Co-parent or Single-Parent Effectively



Friendships: 

When to Love Them or

Leave Them Alone

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Friendships are an essential part of our lives. They can make the hardships of life, better or worse. Many of us use the term so loosely, I don't think we understand the importance of having a true friend. To have a friend, one must be a friend to themselves. Similarly, the basis for loving others starts with loving self and loving self starts with our foundation, our family. 


If you grew up with close siblings, cousins, etc., loving others outside of family may be a challenge because it takes a different type of sacrifice. Some may see friendships as optional, while others, such as myself, take friendships very seriously and see them as mandatory. If you were a part of today's group, you learned about the characteristics of a friend, the concept of "hang-arounds" and how to avoid toxic relationships. If you missed today's group or would like a refresher, here is what you missed:


What is a friend?

-Someone you care about, can count on for companionship and assistance, and with whom you enjoy interacting.


There are 8 Characteristics of a Friend: (Please see IGTV playback for more details)

1. Enjoyment

2. Acceptance

3. Trust

4. Respect

5. Mutual support

6. Confiding

7. Understanding

8. Honesty


ANYTHING OTHER THAN CHARACTERISTICS LISTED ABOVE ARE NOT FRIENDS, THEY ARE PEOPLE YOU “HANG AROUND!”



Hang-Arounds

A person that does not have all characteristics above and is not your friend but may find enjoyment in just being "around" them… 


There are 7 types of hang arounds:


1. Imposter: Not who they appear to be or who they say they are, often must be liked by everyone, says, or does things that will get them acceptance usually the “fake” ones, image is everything to them. 


2. Opportunists: Always around for accomplishments and the victories and the parties, never there to help you or do anything that requires work, only photo "opps."


3. Jellies:  People who are jealous of you. Never support your accomplishments or victories and downplays your growth or successes, often busy, something they have going on is almost always more important, even if it is a shoe tying contest, often uses terms such as, “must be nice…” or describes your accomplishments as, “little.”


4. Envies: Wants what you have, dresses a-like, goes after your dreams, goals, mimics you or your lifestyle as often as they can.


5. Coworkers/Colleagues: Your connection is business only


6. Associates: Friends of friends, you know OF them, but you do NOT know them 


7. Strangers: You don’t know them at all. You only know their social media handles or nicknames, These are also referred to as LINTS or Liable Interactions. 


Liable Interactions are interactions with others that are going to cost you. These are fans, temporary followers, or people who will slander your name the moment you do or say something they don't agree with. LINTS are only connected to your popularity, NOT YOU. Be careful about what you say in the media or what you post because it will cost you or your brand when dealing with LINTS. 


When is it safe to love? 

When all the characteristics of a friend are present from both positions. 


When to leave them alone

When all the characteristics of a friend are not present, DO NOT NEGOTIATE because their issues are deep rooted and have nothing to do with you. You can’t show "hang-arounds"  how to be friends by being theirs, that is a myth. Proceed with caution.


When the "hang-around" is TOXIC

Friendships that are toxic are NOT friendships, they too are LIABLE INTERACTIONS or (LINTS)


What is Toxic?

TOXIC: Poisonous or containing poison, often detrimental to physical health and can lead to death. In this case we are speaking detrimental to mental health


There are 3 Types of Toxic "hang-arounds"


1. Drama queens/kings: People who always include you in their drama (told their boyfriends they were with you when they weren’t, steal things or commit crimes when you are present, decide to "pull-up" on folks when you’re in the car…)


2. Energy Takers: People who can NOT meet your emotional needs or are one-sided in their interactions (you’re the "glue" or always the inviter, the visitor, the concerned one, etc.)


3. Nay Sayers: Everything is always a problem (food is never correct at the restaurant, never happy on a trip, argues with everyone, doesn't like anyone, or anything, sees the dark side of every situation)



How to attain and maintain positive friendships


1. Greet with kindness, openness, and warmth. If you are skeptical, don’t pursue it.


2. Understand that there are levels to what people can offer but that doesn’t change the characteristics of a friend, therefore hierarchies are necessary. (Sis!! Bro! Best! General! Homegirl/Homeboy)


3. Do NOT give best friend qualities to hang-arounds. (You’ll be disappointed)


4. Don’t let too much time linger when disappointments occur with friends (it leaves too much room for doubt, speculation and anger).


5. Debatable, but LOYALTY is important! DO NOT interact with people who are malicious or attempted harm to your friends ( you run the risk of being guilty by association).


6. Don’t be selfish. Everything will not always be about you or your wins. 


7. Show up for people as much as you can.


8. Even if you never speak again, never betray the trust by sharing intimate details of your time with that person.


9. An expired friendship is NOT A BEEF. You may not be friends any more but you should never be enemies. If you find yourself enemies, you were never friends. 


Thank you for joining, 

See you next Thursday, May  21, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on Friendships & Dating: Is it Love or Lust?



Loving a Liar: 

Forgiving After Betrayal

Thursday, May 7, 2020

If you've ever interacted with other people in life, chances are you've been lied to. Sometimes lies are big, sometimes they are small. Either way, telling lies or untruths, have the ability to bring major harm to any relationship, whether it's romantic, friendly or familial. 


What happens when someone's untruths or dishonesty has altered your life? Do you love someone who lies too much yet you can't let go? Or maybe you don't want to let them go. You just want to know how to forgive, so you can continue to interact with them comfortably? If you joined today's group, you learned about the function of lies.   You also learned about types of lies, how to cope and how to protect yourself in the event, you're too deep "in." If you missed today's group or you would like a refresher, here's what you missed: 


What is a liar?

Someone who is dishonest or tells false stories for the purpose of control, protecting themselves or others. 


Liars have three functions (for details refer to notes from group)

1. Save a life or diffuse a life altering conflict

2. Protection of self or one's comfort

3. Personality trait or mental illness


Three Types of Liars

1. Omittors: People who intentionally leave out pertinent information that could influence your decision (Omission is still betrayal)

2. Manipulators: People who intentionally do or say things to get a certain response

3. Pathological: Using falsehoods as a way of life

  •  The compulsive urge to lie about matters, big and small, regardless of the situation
  • The function of it is to control or manage shame
  • Very prevalent in people with borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder or any disorder that lacks regard for other people or manages shame. 

Liars and Pathological liars have three types of targets or succeed well with three types of personality traits ( for more detail of each type, refer to your notes in group): 

1. Caretakers (note this is different from "taking care.")

2. People Pleasers 

3. Codependency or Avoidant Fearful Attachment types


How to Cope

If you have been a victim or in love with someone who lies with no regard for others, here are some tips or things you should know...


1. Someone’s dishonesty or deceit is NOT personal


2. It is a tool designed for their comfort or survival 


3. It ONLY exists because it has proven to be useful and productive for them


4. The only way to decrease the effects is has on YOU, is to take away its power 


5. DO NOT give the deceit life (This includes aggressiveness, reactions that are theatrical or incongruencies, meaning ultimatums or threats)


6. Create distance between you and the deceit (Negative reinforcement for lies, positive reinforcement for honesty)


7. Understand that THERE is NOTHING you can do to make someone be honest but there is something you can do about you protecting your energy and vulnerability.

  • Pay attention to your level of naïve (lack of experience or wisdom) or gullible (easily persuaded) traits
  • Pay attention to intent and behaviors prior to (this will let you know who’s comfort the deceit is protecting)
  • Should you decided to stay, please know that a pathological liar does NOT stop lying. They only increase the deceit by covering their actions

8. Do NOT snoop, lurk, or do "check-ins" as it will increase your anxiety.


9. If you are going to forgive, FORGIVE!! Do not bring the situation back up in arguments or use it as leverage for your discretions.


10. If you can not FORGIVE, it is OK, you don’t owe anyone anything but yourself. Moving on may be better for your mental health.  


Thank you for joining, 

See you next Thursday, May  14, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on Friendships: When to love them or leave them alone...



The Fear of Effective Communication & 

Why People Ghost

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Communication is the most effective, yet hardest act of intimacy for people to engage in when it comes to attaining and maintaining relationships. There are many things that play a factor in this being a difficult tasks but it is very crucial for society to function. If you joined today's group, you learned a lot about communication, why people do not engage in it effectively, the barriers and how to evolve. If you did not join or would like a refresher, here is what you missed:


What is communication?

According to google and in it's most basic form, communication is the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules. 


In other words, communication is simply

  • The exchanging of information or news 
  • It derives from the Latin word, 'commmunicare'  which means to share
  •  Must be mutually understood

When people do not communicate effectively it is usually associated with some type of fear or intimidation factor. These fears or intimidations include but are not limited to:

  • Not being understood
  • Fear of saying the wrong thing
  • Inability to explain one's self appropriately
  • Fear of consequences or discourse
  • Lack of comprehension or focus (yes, adult ADD is a thing)

We all have expectations of others when communicating. Be mindful of your expectations and ask yourself,  "Is this person capable of meeting my expectations?" If they can not, it is not personal.  In this new era of communication, what seems to be the most common form of disruption in communication is "ghosting."


What is "ghosting?"

 "Ghosting" or "falling off the map"  is the abrupt cease of communication for a substantial amount of time, followed by a random "pop up" or continuation of previous communication as if nothing ever happened. 


Why people ghost...

  1. Shame
  2. Inability to admit fault
  3. Needs time to pacify deceit (there’s something else going on and they need to invest time and energy there to avoid conflict)
  4. Emotionally abusive (exchange of power or to humble the person they are dating, increase vulnerability)

What is shame? (#1 cause of ghosting)

  • Experience of unpleasant self-conscious thoughts and feelings associated with past experiences, mistakes or trauma
  • Derives from the irrational thoughts, “I’m not good enough/I’m bad…”
  • The root cause of narcissism  (narcissism is a disorder of shame and more details of this discussed in group and in my workshops)

How to communicate effectively

1. Decrease barriers or things that interfere with your ability or desires to communicate such as...

  • Physical (time, environment, comfort, needs, etc.)
  • Cultural (religion, socioeconomic status)
  • Linguistic (language)
  • Emotional (feelings at the time)
  • Motivational (is this important or do I even care)
  • Competition (background noises, talking to other people at the same time, etc.)
  • Words (slang, or professional jargon)
  • Context (pitch, tone, loudness)
  • Purpose (not having reason or intent for the communication)

2. Limit time with people who intentionally disregard your methods of communication

3. Make sure you understand how people say what they say (para-verbals) 

4. Never be afraid to ask for clarification

5. Before getting emotional, ask yourself,  "Can this person effectively communicate, comprehend or read?" 

6. Create a standard tool for debating, not arguing. (Most people who argue are most likely emotional than logical, therefore incapable of seeking solutions or engaging in effective communication and problem solving skills.) 


Thank you for joining. 

See you next Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on loving liars and forgiving after betrayal. 



Insecurities & The Sabotage of Successful Relationships (pts 1 and 2)

Thursday, April 16, 2020 (pt. 1) 

Thursday,  April 23, 3020 (pt. 2)

A lot of issues arise in relationships because we expect so much from the people we love. Sometimes, those we love can't always reciprocate and it isn't personal. Sometimes, we can't reciprocate or we are so guarded that the relationship can not thrive. Much of this is due to insecurities. We carry them like little pieces of luggage to each relationship and battle it out with ourselves to have to something great. If you were apart of today's group, you learned about insecurities, how they develop and how we use them to sabotage our relationships. If you didn't get the chance to join or would like a recap, here's is what you missed...


Insecurities and how they develop...


What is an insecurity?

  • Uncertainty or lack of confidence about oneself, or their position
  • Can be real or perceived and based on attachments

Most secure attachments, initially begin with family.  Research indicates that if there is a disruption in the first 5 years of a child's life, he or she will struggle with feeling "secure" in their relationships. For the first 5 years of life, it is crucial for a child to avoid a disruption in the following areas: 

  • • Intimacy (closeness)
  • • Physical needs (food shelter, clothing, etc.)
  • • Safety (emotional and physical safety)

This is not to say that people can't develop a disruption in any other stage of their life, especially if trauma or unstable relationships are a factor. It is only to say that the first five years are very important to developing a healthy sense of self. 


Insecurities and Attachments


Not having our needs met often determine the types of attachments we will have with others as adults. As stated earlier, the disruption in getting our needs met can occur at any stage of life. For example,  when building intimate relationships in teenage to young adult years ( this includes poor connections to others, being bullied in middle school, high school etc.) It can also happen while having a series of bad relationships or partners, (being cheated on, abused, experiencing trauma, etc. )


Three types of attachments

  • • Secure (needs were met without disruption)
  • • Ambivalent (needs were met sometimes)
  • • Avoidant (needs were not met or disruption was prevalent)
    • Dismissal (rejecting of relationships and closeness but very flooded with emotions)
    • Fearful (codependent on relationships, clingy at times and rejection of their own emotions, walking on "egg shells")

Insecure Attachments and The Sabotage (part 2)

When we get into relationships, we carry our insecurities and attachment styles with us. Of course our friends or family or our new partner can have an effect on us or alter them in some way, but they aren't responsible for how unsafe we feel in the world. Sometimes, the projection of that unsafe feeling becomes prevalent and we use unhealthy defenses to protect us from things we can't predict such as heart break, let down, disappointments, etc. As a result we sabotage or dismantle things that could potentially be great. 


Ways People Sabotage

  • Making Assumptions
  • Having irrational expectations
  • Running from the relationship or distracting yourself with miniscule tasks
  • Maintaining meaningless relationships with enablers
  • Self-Doubt
  • Defensive responding
  • Projection
  •  Scapegoating
  • Self blame 
  • Refusing to communicate or often using barriers such as text messaging or social media.

How to avoid the sabotage

  • Stay mindful of your needs (make your "grocery list" before dating or entering the store of new relationships)
  • Stay mindful of your insecurities
  • Stay mindful of the way you sabotage
  • Choose people who support your growth, not stunt your growth
  • Do NOT interact with people who heighten your insecurities
  • Make sure the people you are close with know what you need. Do not assume they know or "should know" (TELL THEM)
  • Give yourself time to respond to everything!
  • Consider other possibilities when someone isn’t responding the way you’d like them to
  • Do not make bad deals with your emotions or negotiate with your insecurity
  • When communicating or making demands in a relationship, ask yourself if your insecurity is speaking for you or is “self” speaking for you. (Self should always be present when making relational deals)


Thank you for joining. 

See you next Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on effective communication and why people "ghost.."



Resolving Sexual & Physical Trauma (Parts 1 & 2)

Thursday, April 9, 2020 (pt. 1) 

Monday,  April 13, 3020 (pt. 2)

Many of us are walking around in a state of defense. Some of are aware as to why that is, however a lot of us aren't quite sure. We've spent a great deal of our lives, believing that's just "who we are." What if our constant state of defense isn't who "we are?" What if some of us interact with others based on our trauma and nothing more. If you joined this week's group, you learned about trauma, how it presents itself, stays relevant and controls our lives. You also learned about triggers, flashbacks and how to cope. Because this group was so profound and evoked great discussion, we needed two days. If you didn't get to join or would like a refresher, here is what you missed. 


Resolving Sexual and Physical Trauma


What is Trauma?


According to APA,  trauma is the emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event.

  • The effects can be life altering
  • Have severe effects on the brain
  • Increase activity in the amygdala, or region of the brain that helps us process emotions and also linked to fear responses

What are the sources of trauma?

  • Witnessing an act of violence or being involved (shooting, fighting, home invasions, vandalism )
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Rape, sexual assault or molestation
  • Severe illness or injury (car accidents, falls, chronic illness or diagnosis, etc.)
  • Death of a loved one
  • Being stalked, harassed, or threatened
  • Experiencing verbal or emotional abuse and/or neglect

Coping

Healthy vs. Unhealthy

How we cope depends on our culture 

(We didn't get into this due to time constraints. If you would like to learn more, feel free to send an email or DM me on IG)


Unhealthy coping skills usually include the use of  maladaptive behaviors


What are maladaptive behaviors?

Behaviors that work against you or don’t provide an adequate or appropriate adjustment to the environment or situation
  • Disrespect for self and others
  • Aggression (verbal or physical)
  • Explosive behaviors (lashing out, screaming, shouting, stomping off, temper tantrums, throwing things, etc.)
  • Implosive behaviors (self-harm, isolation, suicidal ideations or attempts, avoidance, passive-aggressive conflict style, smoking, drinking, etc.)
  • Survival behaviors (dishonesty, stealing, blaming, manipulation,)
  • Active Insecurities
  • Bullying (when someone with greater power abuses it by mistreating someone they perceive to have lesser power)
  • Sexual Impulsivity
  • Extreme attention seeking (exposing self on social media for likes and followers) 

 (Part 2)

Maladaptive behaviors are sometimes fueled by triggers and flashbacks.


What are triggers?

Representations or reminders of moments in which one felt threatened or unsafe. Triggers can be abstract (fluid) or concrete (solid). Examples include:

  • Lack of passion
  • Lack of empathy
  • Invalidation or dismissal of feelings
  • Loud sounds
  • Smells/scents
  • Environments/crowds

If triggers are not suppressed, they can often lead to flashbacks. 


Flashbacks are visions in which you believe you are in the space, place and time of the event. Though they are unreal, they feel very real to the victim. They include physical pain felt by the victim, state of panic or intense anxiety, visions of faces, or vivid memories of those involved in the trauma .


Healthy Coping 

  • Make a list of your triggers, identify them so you can prepare and emotional proof your surroundings.
  • Get a trauma focused therapist to assist you in properly resolving memories of the event (s)
  • Practice forgiveness for yourself and the perpetrator
  • When you are ready, (as determined by your clinician) practice mere exposures to your triggers to desensitize you to the occurrences. 
  • Surround yourself with people, places or things that create emotional safety, not disregard for your emotional ramp.
  • Proof your home or surroundings with things that do not remind you of the pain but the healing. Carry a safety item, such as a blanket, plush animals or therapeutic animals. 
  • Practice mindfulness (as discussed in group, this is where you accept your position but embrace change at the same time)

Thank you for joining. 

See you next Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on insecurities and  the sabotage  of successful relationships.


Eating Disorders & Disordered Eating in The Black Community

Thursday, April 2, 2020

If you tuned in to today's group, you received a lot of information about eating disorders (ED), the different types of eating disorders, how they develop, how to identify, treat them and cope with the underlying issues surrounding. You also had the treat of hearing from someone who has, in fact recovered from ED and the steps she took to beat her struggles with PICA. If you didn't tune in or would like a refresher on today's topic. Here's what you missed:


Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating


What is an Eating Disorder or ED?

Persistent disturbance of eating or eating-related behavior that results in altered consumption or absorption of food, significantly impairs physical health or psychological functioning.


How is this different from disordered eating?

Disordered eating is eating with habits or rituals that are based on cognitive distortions such as food not being able to touch, or eating one food group of the meal at a time or mixing your food altogether, just to name a few. Disordered eating does not usually impair physical health. 


Types of ED includes:

  • Pica, (eating things with no nutritional value such as chalk, paper, glue, etc.) 
  • Rumination Disorder (throwing up your food then swallowing it) 
  • Anorexia Nervosa (avoiding of energy intake by binge/purge or restriction), 
  • Bulimia Nervosa (recurrent binge eating then getting rid of the weight by different methods, such as purging, laxatives, etc.
  • Body dysmorphic disorder or body image issues, usually associated with bulimia nervosa and involves obsession with working out or looking fit 
  • Restriction (intentionally not taking in food or calories) 
  • Binge Eating Disorder
    • Eating more rapidly than normal, 
    • Eating until feeing uncomfortably full 
    • Eating large amounts of food when not even hungry
    • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much you eat 
    • Feeling disgusted afterwards 
    • Distress or boredom is usually the cause 
    • Has to occur at least once a week for three weeks, to be a disorder
    • Can be a factor in obesity

Causes

  • Lack of control
  • Distress
  • Can be induced by pre-existing medical issues
  • Trauma
  • Obsessed with body image or irrational thoughts regarding body image

How to Prevent/Cope

  • Learn the function of the ED, identify the need and find new ways of getting that need met     (as discussed in group)
  • Do not eat in places that do not support healthy eating habits, like lying down in the bed or keeping food in your bedroom
  • Get a dietitian and a medical team to help regulate your diet and nutritional intake
  • Get a therapist to help resolve the trauma or underlying psychological factors
  • Buy healthier snacks should you choose to eat when bored. 

Thank you for joining. 

See you next Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on resolving sexual and physical trauma. 


Walking Out on Depression

Monday, March 30, 2020

If you tuned in to today's group, you probably learned a lot about the causes of depression, symptoms, ways to treat it and cope. You probably also noticed I said absolutely, NOTHING about medication for ways to treat it. I hope you feel more powerful in your ability to "walk-out." If you didn't tune or need a refresher, here is what you missed:


Walking Out

What is Depression?

An individual’s prolonged or temporary state of sadness triggered by negative thoughts about self, others, the future and the world around them.

 -Thoughts include

  •  "Everything is bad" 
  •  "It won’t work out" 
  •  “I’m useless" 
  • "If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all…”                                                                                           
  • Often accompanied by guilt, shame, anger and anxiety
  • Severe focus on past events
  • Can last anywhere from 2 weeks to decades


Physical Symptoms


  • Tired, fatigue, lethargic
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Disrupted sleep patterns, sleeping too much or experiencing insomnia
  • Disrupted eating habits, over- eating or restricting food
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, activities, or sex
  • Exaggerated interest in hobbies, activities or sex


Behavioral Symptoms

  • Not going to work or school
  • Increase in the use of substances
  • Lashing out or acts of rage or seemingly angry all the time
  • Crying spells
  • Isolating from friends and family

Causes

  • Increase in stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol), decrease in endorphins and serotonin
  • Unresolved issues with disappointments of the past
  • Incongruence (Where you think you should be vs. where you are/Conflict between Actual self and Desired self)
  • Comparison
  • Perceived Failures or Learned Helplessness

Ways to Cope/Walk Out

  • Challenge thoughts/Take them to court ( is it true or factual, that you are "useless or a failure," or is there 100% proof to that?)
  • Get up and move, to produce natural serotonin and increase endorphins
  • Get therapy, resolve issues and discrepancies with the past
  • Practice congruency (discussed in group)
  • Forgive yourself and others for wrongdoings or mistreatment ( You can't change people or what happened, you can change your future and how you handle it)
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people (you don’t know their process or their position, you also might be comparing yourself to their incongruence or false sense of self)
  • Develop a plan to work towards the life you want (Build a supportive lifestyle that highlights your strengths, not your weaknesses)
  • Do not look at what you don’t have, look at what you DO have (create your emotional ramp) 

Thank you for joining. 

See you this Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 2pm for a  discussion on eating disorders and or disordered eating in the black community. 


An Intimate Conversation w/Anxiety

March 23, 2020

With everything going on in the U.S, many of us currently feel trapped or limited in how we function.  Some of us, feel this way without the  "stay at home" restrictions or the COVID-19 outbreak, and this makes dealing with anxiety almost unbearable. Today in group, we focused on anxiety, what it is, the unhealthy ways we cope and the ways to cope that are most effective. If you tuned it, I hope you logged off feeling supported and more empowered in your fight against anxiety.  You were provided the opportunity to connect with others who share the same thoughts and feelings, get positive feedback from other members and professional insight on improving coping skills. If you could not attend, or need a refresher, below is a briefing on what you missed:


An Intimate Conversation

What is anxiety?

  • The body’s way of responding to real or perceived danger
  • Adrenaline rushes into our blood stream that causes us to fight (confront with aggression) or flight (run in avoidance)
  • Thoughts associated with anxiety are…
    1.  “I’m in danger"
    2.   “The worse possible scenario is going to happen
    3.  “I won’t be able to cope with what’s about to happen”

Physical Symptoms

  • Heart racing
  • Deep breathing or heavy breathing
  • Muscles tense
  • Sweating
  • Hypervigilance (perceiving something as happening that is not actually occurring)
  • Stomach hurting or digestive system slows down

 Behavioral Symptoms

  • Avoidant of people, places and things
  • Not going out or only going to certain places at certain times with certain people
  • Escaping scenes or leaving early
  • Going into feared situations with a distraction such as your phone, self-talk, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, playing with your clothes, hair, constantly looking in your purse or bag, avoiding eye contact, etc. 

What to know about emotions

  1.  Understand that emotions are temporary and are fueled by thoughts, some rational based on experiences and some irrational based on perceived dangers. 
  2. They are not be ignored. Deal with the emotions by dealing with the thoughts associated.
  3.  Give yourself space and time to deal. Do not OWN the emotion. Tell yourself you "feel" it instead of you "are" it. 

Unhealthy ways of dealing with anxiety

  1. Crying
  2. Shutting down
  3. Isolation
  4. Drinking or smoking
  5. Avoiding or Ignoring

Healthy ways of dealing with anxiety

  1. Identify the thoughts associated with the fear
  2. Challenge the thoughts by sticking to the facts or finding evidence to support the fact that your thoughts are not true. 
  3. Stay in the moment, don't think about next week or next month.
  4. Set a boundary with others by saying,  "No, not now or maybe later...."
  5. Use a planner to avoid over committing or doing more than what your time and body allows. 
  6. Relaxation or meditation by using your 5 senses to create an emotionally safe space (as learned in group)
    1. Sense of smell
    2. Sight
    3. Touch
    4. Taste
    5. Sound
  7. Develop and use your emotional ramp (as discussed in group)
  8. Develop and use both mental and behavioral maps (as discussed in group


Thank you for joining.

See you Monday, March 30th at 2pm for a discussion on depression and what it looks like to turn your back on it. 


 

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Nya B

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