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Our Mental Health Blogs

Sadness in PTSD – What You Can Do About It

Sadness in PTSD – What You Can Do About It

Posttraumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) involves a lot of sadness: about your having been victimized, about having developed a persistent mental disorder (and that’s exactly what it is), about how few people understand what happened to you, about how few people understand how your life has been changed as a result, and about how difficult it is to get it all resolved – fixed – taken care of. And that’s hardly a complete list. What do these all have in common? Loss. Sadness is a reaction we have automatically and outside any direct control when we realize we’ve lost something that matters.

What can you do about it? Two things, basically. You can shift your attention or you can deal with the problem directly. The first option is almost always the easiest, but you should know that it’s temporary at best.

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Can Love Make The Abuser Stop Abusing?

Can Love Make The Abuser Stop Abusing?

  • “But I love her (so I stay).”
  • “He had a horrible childhood (so I stay).”
  • “She never learned how to love (so I stay).”
  • “I want to show her that someone in her effing life cares (so I stay).”
  • “He is really sick and has no one else but me (so I stay).”

Can You Love The Pain Out of an Abuser?

Victims of abuse stay in the abusive relationship for many reasons, and many of the reasons relate to love and/or empathy for the abuser.

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Abuse Can Change A Victim’s True Nature

Abuse Can Change A Victim’s True Nature

A lifetime ago, as I sat on my bed unable to put my feet on the floor and get going, I cried to myself, “I am better than this! I deserve more than this!” I knew intellectually that my relationship with my husband Will caused me great harm, but I couldn’t quite get my emotions and my mind to align. My head told me to RUN, but my emotions cemented my feet in place. The best I could to get out of that bed was to tell myself that today I would get through to Will. Today would be the day I led Helen Keller to the water pump…today Will would understand. Today, my husband would change and we would break through the walls between us. Today I would get it right.

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Laughing ’til It Hurts: The Hidden Pain of Domestic Abuse

Laughing ’til It Hurts: The Hidden Pain of Domestic Abuse

Big ol’ belly laughs that catch you by surprise feel so good! They feel better now that feeling happy doesn’t make me sad. That idea is confusing; laughing until you cry doesn’t usually mean you cry sad tears, but it happened to me a lot during my abusive marriage. Usually, the laughing started during a phone call with my sister. Anything could get us going, and for a few beautiful minutes, nothing mattered except the funny bit between us. I laughed until my sides ached and the tears flowed like water.

But then, when the laughter dried up and I started wiping the tears from my eyes, the tears wouldn’t stop. My face, sore from smiling, suddenly dropped into a frown. I covered my face because I felt embarrassed to feel so…damn…sad. Those last tears fell because when the laughter was done, I returned to my sad, closed-off life of mind-numbing pain. Sometimes I would stay on the phone with her when she asked what was wrong. Usually I cut the conversation short when I felt the change to pain begin.

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Co-Parenting With An Abuser: How to Help Your Kids, Yourself

Co-Parenting With An Abuser: How to Help Your Kids, Yourself

It seems that the courts would have more sense when it comes to co-parenting with any abuser, but especially a proven-in-a-court-of-law abuser found guilty of domestic violence, child abuse, or any sexual crimes. There is a disconnect between criminal court and family court that endangers our children with the mistaken belief that two parents, of any sort, is preferable to protecting our children from dangerous people.

And yet, many of us find ourselves co-parenting with our abusers.

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A Little Hope Can Go A Long Way

A Little Hope Can Go A Long Way

A little hope can go a long way. In my parenting journey with Bob, there were many times when I lost hope. On days when all I wanted to do was cry – cry for Bob who was brilliant, but couldn’t focus long enough to complete a test; cry because it took him three to four hours a day to complete homework. Or cry simply because I was his mother and felt helpless.

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Taking A Stand Against Abuse Requires A Touch of Fear

Taking A Stand Against Abuse Requires A Touch of Fear

I feel responsible for teaching my oldest son that it is all right to act out physically when things don’t go his way. I allowed him to watch his father and I perpetuate the cycle of violence in our home. I didn’t walk away from my marriage as soon as I now wish I could have. My son learned that when a grown-up man doesn’t get his way, it is normal for him to physically intimidate everyone around him until they submit to his wishes. Then, it is okay to forget it happened without an apology or discussion so long as some of his behaviors improve. So long as he turns on the charm and pretends to go along, there is no need for further conversation or remorse.

The other day, an argument with my son reminded me that doing what is right makes me feel as scared as doing what is normal makes me feel numb. The altercation began with Marc’s violent push of a full coffee cup that spilled across the table, instantly dripping into the laps of all who live in our home (except for Marc’s). The four of us immediately jumped up from the table in surprise; I instinctively ran to the kitchen to grab a towel to clean up the mess.

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Depression and Building Self-Esteem: The Power of Awareness

This weeks vlog gives insight into the role that self-esteem plays in depression and how becoming aware of your depressive symptoms can help you build your self-esteem for life.

Depression and Building Self-Esteem: The Power of Awareness

Many readers ask me how self-esteem can be improved if they suffer from depression or have in the past. Frustrated and confused,  they have tried to increase their sense of self and fell short due to underlying symptoms of depression.

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and in the following vlog, I talk about how depression and low self-esteem are related, but also can stand alone.

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Three Important Skills You Need To Cope With Abuse

Three Important Skills You Need To Cope With Abuse

I know how hopeless and helpless you can feel if you live with an abusive person. Abusers suck the joy out of life – or at least they try very hard to make our lives miserable. If you’re stuck living with abuse, I hope you are planning your escape. But sometimes it is close to impossible to leave now, so you’ve got to put up with your abuser’s crap as best as you can. For many abused people, putting up with it feels like saying it is okay for your abuser to treat you that way. Sticking up for yourself backfires, being silent backfires…there seems no way to appease the abuser without compromising who you are.

It is very important that you find a way to maintain your integrity despite the abuse. But because Abuse seeks to destroy your integrity and turn you into a monster like it, the battle just to be you rages daily. Fighting the battle on your abuser’s terms isn’t going to work; besides, acting like them might make you think less of yourself. Think about what behaviors will make you feel good about you.

The idea of coping with abuse is increasing our feelings of empowerment and making our own decisions about how we act, what we think, and how we feel. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, and you can feel better about yourself even if you live with a life-sucking abuser.

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Depression: Mental Illness or Mental Awareness?

Depression: Mental Illness or Mental Awareness?

I have suffered from depression, on-and-off, since the age of five or six. It wasn’t until I was locked away in a psychiatric institution that I began to feel as though I was actually ‘mentally ill.’

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