Many people have difficulty forming and appreciating healthy boundaries. More often than not, an individual's ability or inability to create and respect healthy boundaries is a product of their upbringing. Dysfunctional and alcoholic families in particular usually provide severely distorted messages about boundaries and, as such, are exceptionally poor models for children learning about the following boundary related issues:
Most therapists have a bias to salvage family relationships and heal family rifts and estrangements, even when the bond is abusive and hurtful to our patients. I am a therapist who has worked with many people in this situation as well as having experienced a family rift myself. Many years ago I was also a therapy patient and experienced the exact problem I am describing. “Tell your parents what you feel toward them,” one therapist advised. I listened. I wasn’t a therapist at that point, but he was a therapist after all, and had helped me in many ways. Disaster, however, was the outcome, and my feelings were responded to with a barrage of invective that was exceedingly painful to hear. Another therapist at the time suggested that my problem was my own feelings about myself, with the implication that if I had better self-esteem, I would not be so deeply affected by my family’s abuse.
The Inner Child Within a Borderline or Narcissist Personality
When we live with someone who has borderline or narcissistic personality disorder, we learn to tolerate ongoing oppression by an abusive bully. I felt this way growing up with a borderline father who used me (figuratively) as his punching bag. I experienced him as powerful and frightening and went to great lengths to dodge his bullets. I also put great effort into pleasing him, a futile tactic family members use, especially people pleasers, to contain conflict. I’ve worked with scores of clients over the years that live with a borderline and or narcissistic personality with great pain and difficulty, and are people pleasers who’ve tried, like I did, to dodge the bullets of their family member. In this blog post, we’ll talk about why this doesn’t work and go over some alternatives.
Ever find yourself stuck in that terrible loop of inactivity, depression, and anger? Are you angry at the world, others or yourself because you're not getting things done - or even started because you're circling around and around, covering the same ground and never moving forward? Well, it's time to stop spinning your wheels and cursing the mud! Digging your way out of this rut is possible - and the way to do it may be closer than you think! Look at the steps below - one of them just may give you the inspiration - or kick in the butt - to break this cycle and start you down a happier path.
The Manufacturing of Madness:
Profits Before Progress
Corporate profits put before patient progress can cause treatment failures.
Drug companies have been instrumental in promoting psychiatric diagnoses designed to market drugs. These corporate giants persuade consumers that a gamut of what may be common human feelings can be interpreted as serious psychopathology. They even invent diagnoses in a way that will best sell costly and profitable drugs. People suffering from emotional problems are often duped into adding to corporate profits and become distracted from the possibility of making progress in coping with their pain.
Replaying the past over and over has psychic and physical costs.
Resentment refers to the mental process of repetitively replaying a feeling, and the events leading up to it that goads or angers us. We don't replay a cool litany of facts in resentment; we re-experience and relive them in ways that affect us emotionally, physiologically, and spiritually in very destructive ways. The inability to overcome resentment probably constitutes the single most devastating impediment to repairing a disintegrating intimate connection, family rift, or severed friendship.
Mark Sichel, LCSW provides confidential, supportive counseling and therapy services for individuals, couples and families specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Anger Management, Couples Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Marriage Counseling, Telemedicine, Sex Therapy, Telehealth, Family Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy.
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