Habits for Self Medicating Can Become Addictions

Uncategorized Jul 22, 2019

There are a thousand ways we humans have come up with to self-medicate, but they are all ultimately a trap of our own devising and lead to diminished lives. One executive I worked with used to medicate with retail therapy.  When I asked her about it, she said, “This is how I medicate. When things are not going well, or I have a tough interaction with one of my bosses, I take a break. I slip out and go shopping. Until now, I just thought it was a normal break and getting away from it all. Now I can see … it’s medicine. It’s a connection. I have a connection with retail.

Another person I knew was addicted to Fantasy Football. All he needed was a little stress, something to make him feel a little down, and he could lose hours on his computer. Any golfers, hunters, fishermen or sports enthusiasts listening?

Another executive I worked with was late for a dinner meeting. When he arrived, he said, “I have a confession.”

“What?” I asked....

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Your Feelings About Past Hurts Are Not Sinful

Uncategorized Jul 21, 2019

Denying our sinfulness is natural. Who wants to claim something that makes us uncomfortable? It's not easy to own.

But what about negative feelings that are not sinful -- the ones that result merely from living in a less-than perfect world or from getting sinned against? What is one to do with pain, grief, anger, sadness or fear that results from a past of abuse?

Some in the church say that to still stuffer from these things indicates unreported sin. The sufferer is condemned for feeling pain.

When we feel hurt and anger over what happens to us, we need to respond to our pain correctly. The Bible tells us about the importance of dealing appropriately with sadness. It talks about how to deal with anger. It explains how suffering refines us. (See Romans, Ecclesiastes and Hebrews) But nowhere does the Bible say that pain results from an act against you is sin.

Nowhere.

Yet in some Christian circles, victims of abuse or divorce are told that, because they feel pain from past hurts, they...

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Recognizing Spiritual Abuse: God Created us to Bond with Safe People

Uncategorized Jul 20, 2019

Bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person. It’s the ability to relate to another on the deepest lever. When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams, and feelings with each other with no fear that the other person will reject them.

Bonding is one of the most basic and foundational ideas in life and the universe. It is a basic human need. God created us with a hunger for relationship—for relationship with him and with our fellow people. At our very core we are relational beings.

Without a solid, bonded relationship, the human soul will become mired in psychological and emotional problems. The soul cannot prosper without being connected to others. No matter what characteristics we possess, or what accomplishments we amass, without solid emotional connectedness, without bonding to God and other humans, we will suffer sickness of the soul.

Why is our need for bonding so strong, and why is our...

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How to Practice Boundaries with Yourself

Uncategorized Jul 18, 2019

Once you have identified your boundary problem and owned it, you can do something about it. Here are some ways to begin practicing setting boundaries on yourself.

Address your real need. Often, out-of-control patterns disguise a need for something else. You need to address the underlying need before you can deal with the out-of-control behavior. For example, impulsive eaters may discover that food is a way to stay separate and safe from romantic and sexual intimacy. Their fear of being faced with those kinds of emotionally laden situations may cause them to use food as a boundary. As their internal boundaries with the opposite sex become firmer, they can give up their destructive food boundary. They learn to ask for help for the real problem – not just for the symptomatic problem.

Allow yourself to fail. Addressing your real need is no guarantee that your out-of-control behavior will disappear. Many people who address the real issue underneath a self-boundary problem are often...

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Unsafe People Exist at Church, Too

Uncategorized Jul 15, 2019

I got an emergency call, and the office relayed to me that I had a suicidal client. I called Theresa on the phone. She was distraught.

“Tell me what happened,” I said.

“It’s not going to work,” Theresa replied, sobbing.

“What isn’t going to work?”

“Telling other people about my problems,” she said. “I went to my fellowship group tonight and told them about the depression and the problems with Joey, and they really came down on me for being depressed and for all the other stuff that has been going on.”

“What did they say?”

“Well, they said that I shouldn’t feel that way and that if I was still having all those problems then I probably wasn’t walking with the Lord. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve tried all this ‘safe relationship’ stuff, sharing and all that, and now it doesn’t work.”

“What would you say if I told you that you still...

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How to Manage Time, Energy and Work

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2019

You need to realize how much time and energy you have, and manage your work accordingly.

Know what you can do and when you can do it, and say no to everything else.
Learn to know your limits and enforce them, as Laurie did. Say to your team or your boss, “If I am going to do A today, I will not be able to do B until Wednesday. Is that okay or do we need to rethink which one I need to be working on?”

Effective workers do two things: they strive to do excellent work, and they spend their time on the most important things. Many people do excellent work but allow themselves to get sidetracked by unimportant things; they may do unimportant things very well! They feel like they are doing a great job, but their boss is upset because essential goals are not being met. Then they feel unappreciated and resentful because they have put out so much effort. They were working hard, but they weren’t placing boundaries on what they allowed to take up their time, and the really...

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Don't Get Caught in the Triangulation Trap

Uncategorized Jul 11, 2019

You’re probably familiar with the term “triangulation” as it relates to issues in communication. Let’s break down what it really does and how it affects our relationships.

Triangulation sets up something called the “Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer Triad.” It works like this. Let’s say you have some issue with me, maybe even for a good reason. So, you give me some feedback, or disagree with me, or do something that I either don’t like or don’t want to hear. In any case, I feel like an innocent “Victim” and feel like you are somehow hurting me unfairly, in my mind seeing you as the “Persecutor.” Then, instead of talking through the slight, or the issue, directly with you, I take my hurt feelings and go to a sympathetic third person, and I gripe about you. I do not say to them, “He mentioned this to me, I am sure to help me, and I would like to get your perspective on it as well to see what you think ......

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How to Practice Setting Boundaries On Yourself

Uncategorized Jul 10, 2019

Once you have identified your boundary problem and owned it, you can do something about it. Here are some ways to begin practicing setting boundaries on yourself.

Address your real need. Often, out-of-control patterns disguise a need for something else. You need to address the underlying need before you can deal with the out-of-control behavior. For example, impulsive eaters may discover that food is a way to stay separate and safe from romantic and sexual intimacy. Their fear of being faced with those kinds of emotionally laden situations may cause them to use food as a boundary. As their internal boundaries with the opposite sex become firmer, they can give up their destructive food boundary. They learn to ask for help for the real problem – not just for the symptomatic problem.

Allow yourself to fail. Addressing your real need is no guarantee that your out-of-control behavior will disappear. Many people who address the real issue underneath a self-boundary problem are often...

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You Don't Have to Get Used to Living in Misery

Uncategorized Jul 09, 2019

Life and business involve pain. Sometimes, creating an ending might cause a little hurt, like pulling a tooth. But it is good pain. If gives life to you or to your business. Similarly, the rosebush snaps back when it gets pruned.

But there is another kind of pain, one that should not be embraced, one that you want to do everything in your power to end. The pain I am referring to is misery that goes nowhere. That is not normal, and when it happens, it is time to wake up. It is time to realize that anytime pain is going nowhere fast, a few things must be occurring.

First, you might have become acclimated to the misery in some way. You have gotten so used to it that you no longer feel it as pain but view it as normal. Pain by nature is a signal that something is wrong, and action is required. So pain should be driving you to do something to end it. But if you are not making moves to end the dull misery of something going nowhere, then you may have told yourself nothing is really...

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Get Past the Fear of Feeling Alone

Uncategorized Jul 08, 2019

“Just call him and tell him that it is over,” I (Dr. Cloud) said to Marsha. I had listened to her for months now about her dating relationship with Scott and how she could not stand some of his hurtful patterns. And I was getting both concerned and tired of her denial of the kind of person that he really was. I began to push her. So she decided to do it. She called him and broke it off. As expected, he went crazy and showed up at her door begging for her to not go through with it. There were all sorts of promises of change and the usual things that people in denial say when threatened with loss of love. But she held her ground. At least for a day.

Two days later, Marsha called and canceled her next appointment. I called her back and found out the truth. She had gone back to Scott and was ashamed to tell me. I told her to come in anyway so we could talk about it.

As Marsha talked, I felt for her. She described the depression and aloneness that she went into when she broke...

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