October 14, 2013 Newsletter
Many people mistakenly believe if you’re not being hurt physically, you are not being abused. But attempts to scare, isolate, or control another person are forms of abuse which frequently go unrecognized. Emotional abuse is not a trivial problem-it is a serious concern affecting your physical and emotional wellbeing that should be addressed with a professional counselor. Adults as well as children of both sexes are at risk of emotional abuse and frequently feel trapped in their situation. It’s very difficult to confront an emotional abuser-emotional abusers are skilled at emotional manipulation, which is an insidious tactic of using your emotions against you. They may make you feel guilty for feeling hurt by employing such responses as “it hurts me that you feel this way. How could you think I would ever want to hurt you?” Instead of acknowledging that they hurt you, emotional abusers turn the blame back on you, making you feel worse than you did before you tried to bring up your concerns in the first place. It’s a vicious, dangerous cycle. A professional counselor can help to combat emotional abuse, particularly if there is the threat of physical abuse. Contact Advance Counseling if you or a loved one is involved in an emotionally abusive situation.
Here are some identifying symptoms of an emotional abuser:
1. Monitors what you’re doing all the time
2. Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
3. Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
4. Tries to stop you from going to work or school
5. Gets angry in a way that is frightening to you
6. Controls how you spend your money
7. Humiliates you in front of others
8. Threatens to hurt you or people you care about
9. Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
10. Says things like, “If I can’t have you then no one can.”
When you are the victim of emotional abuse, your sense of self-worth and confidence suffer. Emotional abusers make their victims feel like a lesser person, unworthy of respect and love. You must remember first and foremost that God loves you and has given you the strength and resources to overcome emotional abuse.
Emotional abusers are often victims of their own inner torture, but instead of resolving their problems in a healthy manner, they have instead become embittered by their own pain and inflict their suffering onto others. Whether you seek counseling for yourself or ideally for you and the emotional abuser, Advance Counseling can assist in clarifying your feelings and confronting the real issues. As you seek to resolve an emotionally abusive situation, remember you are not alone and help is available.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42:5
Listening is not just about the physical act of hearing sounds—it’s about connecting to others in order to fully understand them. It’s an integral part of developing and maintaining relationships. Tuning out what others have to say means that you don’t place value in what they are telling you. In marriage, failing to listen discounts the importance of the message your partner is trying to send, and can quickly lead to the demise of a relationship. Many problems in relationships can be resolved by becoming better at listening. Here are 7 steps to become a better listener:
1. Don’t interrupt—you can’t listen if you’re talking. Be patient and wait your turn.
2. Put the speaker at ease—effective listening also involves nonverbal cues, so smile, look interested, and remove distractions. Cell phones are perhaps one of the greatest roadblocks to effective listening. You can’t possibly be a good listener while you’re carrying on a conversation with someone else at the same time.
3. Consider the speaker’s nonverbal expressions—only a small percentage of a message is conveyed by words. Tone and body language reveal the feeling behind the words, particularly if the conversation is of a difficult nature.
4. Ask for clarification—if you don’t understand something completely, ask the speaker to explain or clarify the meaning. Each of us has a separate thought process that doesn’t always translate into words. However, wait until an appropriate pause in the conversation. Don’t interrupt.
5. Summarize the speaker’s message before you take your turn—explaining what you got out of the conversation allows the speaker the chance to clarify or correct any misconceptions you might have gained. This clears up communication.
6. Hold your temper—in a heated argument, it can be tempting to tune out what the other person is saying by focusing on your anger, but really listen to what they’re saying before you respond. Try not to respond angrily or defensively—these reactions are detrimental to good communication.
7. Empathize with what the speaker is saying—try to understand what the other person is feeling and thinking as they are speaking. While you might not agree, trying to understand a speaker’s point of view makes you a better listener.
At Advance Counseling we frequently work with couples to help them improve their communication skills and improve their marriage. Contact Advance Counseling for more information.
All kids misbehave at times and some may have temporary behavior problems due to stress. For example, the birth of a sibling, a divorce, or a death in the family may cause a child to act out. Behavior disorders are more serious. They involve a pattern of hostile, aggressive, or disruptive behaviors that are inappropriate for the child’s age and last more than 6 months.
Warning signs can include
- Harming or threatening themselves, other people or pets
- Damaging or destroying property
- Lying or stealing
- Not doing well in school, skipping school
- Early smoking, drinking or drug use
- Early sexual activity
- Frequent tantrums and arguments
- Consistent hostility towards authority figures
1. All parents struggle with some of the things their children do. While there is no magic formula that will work in all situations, it is helpful to understand the kinds of issues that impact a child’s behavior. If you understand these issues and know what to expect at different developmental stages, your reactions will be wiser and it will be easier to create an environment that supports and nurtures your child.
When your child’s behavior is troubling, ask yourself:
2. Is this a growth or developmental stage?
Each new phase of growth or development brings challenges for the child and the child’s caregivers. For example, growing independence in the child’s second year is often accompanied by challenging behavior (such as the “No!” phase). Feeding and sleeping problems may occur during developmental transitions, and it helps if caregivers are extra patient and loving in their responses. It’s best to give the child choices, use humor, and be firm but supportive.
3. Is this an individual or temperament difference?
Not all children of a certain age act the same way. Some progress developmentally at different rates, and all have their own temperaments that may account for differences in behavior. Being aware of a child’s tendency to be shy, moody, adaptable, or inflexible will help you better understand the child’s behavior in a specific situation and impact the way you approach the behavior.
4. Is the environment causing the behavior?
Sometimes the setting provokes a behavior that may seem inappropriate. An overcrowded living or childcare arrangement coupled with a lack of toys can increase aggression or spark jealousy. Look around your home to evaluate it in light of your child’s behaviors and see the environment from a child’s viewpoint.
5. Does the child know what is expected?
If a child is in a new or unfamiliar territory or is facing a new task or problem, he or she may not know what behavior is appropriate and expected. Perhaps this is the first time a two-year-old without siblings has been asked to share a toy. Developmentally he does not truly understand the concept of sharing, so it is up to the parent to explain calmly how other children will react. Patience and repeating the message over and over again are necessary as children rarely learn or master a new response on the first try.
Is the child expressing unmet emotional needs?
Emotional needs that are unmet are the most difficult cause of behavior to interpret. If a particular child needs extra love and attention, rather than withhold that from her, it will be helpful to find ways to validate and acknowledge the child more frequently.
If you see signs of a problem, ask for help. Often parents are reluctant to seek counseling for their children because they perceive the need for counseling as a parenting failure. However, often a short period of counseling can identify a child’s unique requirements and strengthen parenting skills, keeping what may be minor issues from developing into larger, long term issues. A child’s poor choices can quickly become habits. Since children who have behavior problems are at higher risk for school failure, suicide, the importance of early intervention is clear. Family therapy and play therapy can help instill healthier behaviors in your child.
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