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Your children are watching February 23, 2016

Filed under: parenting,Uncategorized — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 8:50 pm
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Quite frequently I will have parents contact me asking me to “fix “their teenage daughter They will then proceed to share with me why they want me to “fix” in their child. She never listens, she is spoiled, she is acting out, she is refusing to do her homework, she is brat, she is a liar, she is ungrateful and inconsiderate etc.

 

I attempt to explain to parents that while I empathize with their frustrations, labeling their child with negative connotations, screaming at them and sometimes trying to control their with behavior with physical actions can all to often lead to more acting out. At some point in their lives, all teenagers will act out, because research shows that they are biologically wired to do so.  However, this is not to say that the teenager has free rein to say and do what she pleases. While teens must learn to take responsibility and accountability for their behavior, parents must also learn to take accountability for their reactions and behavior.  What once worked when they were little is no longer working, yet parents all to often get stuck in a rut and refuse to change even when things are escalating.

So here are some tips to get your relationship back on the right track.

  1. STOP SHOUTING. I know, I know thats the only way she will listen to me. But ask yourself if that is true?  What happens when you start shouting? Does she shout back? Does it escalate? Or does she shut down?  If you truly want a teen to listen, lower your voice.  There really is no reason to shout other than it is a sign that you are losing control of the situation.
  2. You want to be respected, then teach respect.  Respect is not earned by bullying, demanding, shouting, hitting, calling names etc.  How does it feel when your teen calls you names and shouts at you? No one is going to win. it becomes a battle of the egos.
  3. Pay attention to your body.  Teenagers have a knack of finding your insecurities, so pay attention to your body.  If you notice that your heartbeat is increasing, gritting your teeth, sweaty palms. increased breathing etc, this is usually a sign that you have been activated. Take a breath, walk away because if you don’t it is about to get ugly. Remember your the adult
  4. Connect, Connect, Connect.  Connection is the key that can create many positive changes. Spend time getting to know your teen.  Know there will be times she will be silent and doesn’t want to connect.  Thats okay.  Keep trying. Listen to what she has to say. Does she have a point?  Again check in with your body to see if your reacting negatively because she disagrees.
  5. Catch them doing something positive.  I cannot stress this enough. Teenagers are often reminded of ALL the things that they are doing wrong. Imagine for a second how you would feel if your boss reminded you every day of the things that you were doing wrong. But how would it feel to be acknowledged for the things that you are doing right? You would probably be more likely to work harder.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you can’t correct your teen or guide them to making the right decisions, but also learn to balance it with some positivity or they may look for that acknowledgement in not so favorable places.
  6. Your teenagers are watching.  Thats right just like you are watching their every move they are watching yours.  It is not what you say, its how you say it, it’s what you do.  So if your child is shouting, ask your-self if you shout. If they shut down, ask your-self if you run away from conflict.  They are always watching.  So be mindful!
 

Learning To take Care of My-Self February 4, 2016

Filed under: change,inspiration,Uncategorized — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 2:53 pm
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I am very blessed to work in the field that I do. They push me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. These women are my hero’s who have the courage to take back their own lives and do it with such class and passion. It takes a lot of strength to heal and move forward. 

One of the survivors has offered to share a glimpse into her journey of healing……

 

 

The funny thing about being an adult survivor of sexual, emotional and physical abuse is that you don’t see your-self as someone who is strong and powerful. Yet as a child I was fighting everyday of my life to survive. I had to be strong not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. I didn’t think about what was happening. I just did it. I was fearless. I learned to adapt to a plethora of situations or else I would never have survived. I just did what I needed to do to stay alive. I thought outside of the box. In a nutshell I was simply amazing, but I didn’t realize how strong and amazing I was, until much later.

 

So when did I change to someone who hated and despised herself? When did I learn that it was better to align my-self with the abuser then to be free? When did I allow my mind to turn against me?

 

When I think about it, it is astonishing how I learned to become abusive towards my-self. He taught me very well to hate my-self. I no longer needed him to be in person to abuse me. I just did it for my-self and I did it with such ease and simplicity. I was an expert on abuse and I knew instinctively what to do to continue this pain. All I had to do was look in the mirror and just like magic, words of hate and disgust would automatically appear in my mind. I would put my body through daily vigorous workouts to punish it for not looking good enough. Sometimes I would poison my body with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. I believed it was making me invincible, when instead it was making me weaker. As I allowed his voice to get stronger, my voice of strength was getting weaker. The weaker I got, the stronger he got.

 

I would surround my-self with people who would share the same beliefs of self-hate. I knew this language, I felt safe. Men who were kind and treated me with respect was seen as a threat, so I would label them as weak. I would seek out men who were unattainable, who treated me like shit because it would secretly confirm I was worthless and not worthy to be loved. This is all I knew. My destruction was my validation that I was worthless. Little did I know, I was slowly becoming a prisoner of my own mind, promising my-self that tomorrow would be different. But tomorrow would come and it was no different. I continued the abuse. I was helpless. I was scared of everything and everyone.

 

What happened to that person who survived? What happened to that person who fought everyday of her life? What happened to that strength? Where is that person?

 

I know that person is in there? I know she is scared but I know she is also strong. Most days I would hear this silent whisper, “You got this, I beg you, you deserve better.” I would scream back and shout that I didn’t deserve to be happy or loved.  All you have to do is look at my life. I have a history of broken relationships. Look no one likes me, but all I wanted was to be loved. What was I doing wrong?

 

Maybe, just maybe this other voice might be right. I slowly learned to listen to that other voice. Whose voice is that?  Yes I was scared to trust this voice, but there was something about this voice that kept willing me back.  It sounded familiar.  As I started to tune in I began to recognize this voice. This was the voice that woke me up every morning and helped me survive many years of abuse. This was the voice that kept me alive!!

 

This is my voice. I know that this is my voice and not the abuser, because I am kind, I am supportive and I push my-self to be strong. I tell my-self to go look in that mirror. I hear it immediately, “your ugly, you don’t deserve love, your fat, just lose some weight and then people will love you.” NOOOOOO! I know that voice. It’s not mine. I beg my mind not to listen to that voice, but its so easy. I know that voice. I can predict my day when I give into that voice. Learning to listen to my other voice is scary. This doesn’t feel normal, but I beg my-self to listen that voice. That voice, that kind voice is MINE. I will myself to take another look at my body. This body is MINE. My body is not weak. My body is not to be hated. This body is MINE. I own this body now. I am learning  to take back what was once mine.

 

 

…….Survivor of child sexual abuse and adult rape!

 

Do you control your feelings, or do they control you? February 24, 2014

 

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Everything can be taken away from a man but the last of human freedoms-the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one way…viktor Frankl.”

We all have had one of those days, where things don’t go right, the car broke down on the way to work, your boss gives you more assignments on an already busy schedule, or when your best friend stops talking to you. Then you start to feel stressed.

Feelings are neither right or wrong. They do not come out of nowhere as they are influenced by our own thoughts and perceptions of a situation. Holocaust Survivor Viktor Frankl said it best when he stated “in between stimulus and response there is a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and freedom.” When you are connected to your body, you are able to notice when you are breathong shallow or tensing your shoulders. When you notice these reactions, you have the power to decide how you will respond. However, most people run on autopiolt and allow their feelings to be in control.

All to often feelings go unchecked because we allow our thoughts to trap us into strong negative feelings. So for example, if we “feel angry,” therefore we must be angry. If we “feel” sad then we must be sad. But upon closer inspection, we realize that these feelings get their power and energy from what we are thinking. In the world of psychology we call these thoughts “Cognivite Distortions .”

Here are just a few of common cognitive distortions:

labeling : Labels can limit our options and may make us feel helpless, victimized and anxious. Some examples of labels are, “his a jerk,” “I’m stupid,” “i’m not good enough,” etc

Mind reading: This is especially common amongst teenage girls and women. Often times, girls and women will try to read the mind of others based on a simple look, action or lack of action. For example, a friend did not like a picture on Face Book, that must mean she hates me, or doesn’t like me.

All or nothing: This way of thinking is in “absolute,” terms and using words such as every, or never. Thus we often convince ourselves that if we can’t have it all, we can’t have anything. For example, if I can’t be first in my class, why bother studying at all, or if you don’t score perfectly in a competition, you see your-self as a failure. This type of thinking creates expectations neither we nor others can ever meet, and so we are inevitably and frequently disappointed.

Mental Filter: Only hearing what you want to hear which is usually based on our belief system. So if you believe that you are “stupid,” you will ignore all the positive stuff that a teacher is telling you and focus on what is wrong.

Here are some tipson when you feel like your feelings are taking control over your mind and body?

Breathe:  Not only has deep breathing proven to be relaxing, it has also been scientifically proven to the brain, heart, digestive and immune system.  So when you start to feel the heart beat fast, your shoulders tensing and butteflies in your stomach, just take ac ouple of deep breathes.

Learn to become aware of your feelings:  Notice when you are breathing fast, or clenching your jaw, or just wanting to throw up or break down and cry.

Become an investigator:  Ask your-self if these feelings are fact or fiction.  What cognitive distortions are using to validate these feelings? If something bad happens, what does that mean about me?

Move: The energy needs to go somewhere, so get up and move.  If you can remove your-self from the stressful situation.  If your sitting down, stand up and stretch. Go for a walk.

Focus on right now: When people are caught up on their feelings, they are usually focused on past or future events.  So take a deep breath, and take a look around you and name the things that you see in front of you.  This helps your brain to calm dwon and focus on the here and now.

 

Connection January 28, 2014

Filed under: parenting — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 10:14 pm
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Typically when I see a child in my office it is because of a breakdown in communication. However, both parent and child are usually frustrated and want me to help “fix” the other person.   What they are really to say is that they want a relationship with the other person.  So What i try to teach each person is to be accountable and responsible for their own feelings and actions.

Here are some tips to help reconnect and to take accountability and responsibility for your behavior and actions.

1: Take a break from control:

It is important to remember that being in “control,” does not equal “controlling.” So if you find your-self losing your temper, shutting down, placing blame on the other person for your feelings, feeling stubborn, shouting, throwing things or screaming, then you are no longer in “control.” You are now demonstrating controlling behavior.

2: Pay attention to your own triggers and thoughts.
If you are insecure or have fears of failure , or issues with anger, it can dramatically affect your connection with your child. Do you find your-self shutting down, interrupting or shouting when your child doesn’t do what you want them to do? If so then you need to work on your own issues before you can have any influence over your own child. Look at your-self as investigator. Remember this is not about blame. This is about figuring out what needs to change to make your relationship stronger and better. Your child looks to you to help them through difficult and stormy times. They need parents who are calmly and confidently in control, and to be in control, a parents ability needs to be independent of their child’s behavior or misbehavior. So I encourage you to challenge yourself and to get a better understanding of what your triggers are. Think about a recent incident with your child that did not go well and then answer the following three questions.

1. What was I feeling when my child either ignored me. shouted at me, refused to do something etc

2. What was I thinking before, during and after the incident?

3. Why did this situation bother me

4. What could I have done differently?

3: Ask yourself the opposite of what you expect them to do.
The most common complaints I have from parents are; “my kid is lazy, she doesn’t listen, she is spoiled, she is manipulative, etc.” Lets take the example that “she doesn’t listen.” You could probably easily list all the reasons why she doesn’t listen. From this perspective it can limit the relationship. So instead try asking your-self all the reasons why, your child “SHOULDN”T” listen to you. Go ahead try it. Here are some examples of the answers parents have given; “I don’t listen to her, I dismiss her feelings and tell her she is lying, I get angry when she interrupts, I shout, I blame her for my feelings, I smile when she is crying, she is probably frustrated, she probably doesn’t trust me, etc” and the list goes on.

4: Learn to stay calm in the storm by not focusing on the incident.
A child is undergoing massive changes and sometimes this can trigger bouts of intense anxiety, anger and sadness. They may scream, hit their sibling, skip school, not do their homework, lie etc. What a child needs at this point is a strong leader. Someone that is going to help them get through this storm. If you as the parent find your-self getting angry, crying, giving orders or shutting down, then you are no longer in control.

First check in with your feelings and thoughts.

Second ask your-self “the opposite of what you want or expect them to do.” “Why should she skip school ?” Why should she NOT do her homework?” “Why should she NOT talk to me.”

Third: Wait until the storm has passed to talk about the incident. In other words resist the temptation to nag and lecture during the storm. You won’t get anywhere and it will only cause a further disconnect

5: Find a connection with your kid:

All to often I will hear parents talk about how they don’t like their kids choice of music, the type of clothes they wear, the friends they hang out with, the shows they watch or even there after school activities, but then get upset when the child does not listen to them or wants to be with them. A child who feels that they have nothing in connection with their parent will feel alone and thus will seek out other people who share the same likes. They are seeking attachment with other like minded people. Think about your interests and your likes. Would you seek out other people that show no interest in what you like? If a child does not form that attachment through sameness, then she will seek it elsewhere and gradually shut out the people who do not share the same interests.
Look at this as a great opportunity to understand what makes your child tick and to have some positive influence. It is not really about what YOU like. This is about connecting with your child and celebrating who she is as a person. Children always long for a parent’s approval and acceptance and one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to celebrate in their unique talents, personalities and interests.

 

Blame! December 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 4:54 pm
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How do you deal with your problems? Do you place blame on other people and find fault through criticism, humiliation and accusations? Or do you take accountability and responsibility for your actions?

Everyone in their lifetime will make a mistake, but it is how they handle their mistakes that will also help determine their success. According to Dr. Alasko the author of “Beyond Blame,” there are two functions of blame,

(1) finding fault with another person or group.

(2) transferring responsibility onto someone else.

Both of these functions use four components; criticism, accusation, punishment, and humiliation so they can .

1) change someone’s behavior;

2) to vent a feeling;

3) to escape personal responsibility; and

4) to protect ourselves.

But what frequently happens with blame is more conflict, anger, sadness and isolation. Blame takes you away from problem solving. Blame keeps you in the pattern of self destruction. Blame stunts your growth and success because it gives you immediate gratification.

Think about a time you blamed someone. Human beings do it all the time. I’m fat because I don’t have time to exercise. If johnny wasn’t so lazy he could be a star quarterback on the NFL team. If my child wasn’t so rude I wouldn’t lose my temper etc.  When you start to blame other people for your feelings ask your self the following questions;

What actions did you take to resolve the issue? Did it make you feel better in the long term.  Did it help you make constructive changes?  Did you become bitter and shut of from the world? Did it help you make you a better person?”

Eckhart Tolle said it best when he stated “Whenever something negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it

In order to make changes, you must first take responsibility and accountability for your actions.  Ask yourself what role you  might have played to create this problem?  Do you tend to know everything? Are you judgmental? Do you shut down? Do you shout? Do you make excuses etc.

Try to look at the situation from a third party perspective.  What would this person say if they were on the outside?  What would they say to you?  What do you need to do differently?

Remember Blame has it purposes, but what are your intentions when you are blaming people and how is it helping you move forward and create a harmonious life?

 

Focus on what you want!! November 14, 2013

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“Temperamentally anxious people can have a hard time staying motivated, period, because their intense focus on their worries distracts them from their goals.” ..Winifred Gallagher

Winifed Gallagher, author of  the book “Rapt: Attention and the focused life;” elegantly summed up the theory of life in the following quote “who you are, what you think, feel and do, what you love is the sum of what you focus on.”  In other words, whatever you pay attention to, will determine your actions thoughts and feelings.

In my experience, most people focus on”what they don’t want.” for eg; ” I don’t want to be fat,” “I’m not going to be like my mother,” or ” I don’t want to be in a bad relationship.” So when people are focused on what they don’t want, they start looking in all the wrong places and shut down to all possible solutions to getting the life that they want. For example, there were two friends who I will call ; Poppy and Olivia.  Poppy and Olivia wanted to travel the world and would spend many evenings talking about the places they wanted to visit. However, only one of them would make her dreams come true because of where she chose to place her focus.

Poppy not only wanted to travel the world, she also wanted to get paid to travel the world. As they began to do their research, Olivia became disheartened. She began to focus on the cost of traveling, and how she was going to pay to get to those destinations. Then her fears would slowly start to take over.  “This is never going to happen,” ‘This is Impossible,” “What will happen if we run out of money, etc?” “No one is going to pay us to travel.” Thus, she started looking in all the wrong places and fulfilling her belief/focus.

However, Poppy’s focus was different. She acknowledged that at times it may be difficult but she kept her focus on how she could get paid to travel. This focus opened doors for her, took her in directions she never anticipate.  With this focus she started to research the people before her who got paid to travel. She learned that she could become a nanny or work on a cruise ship or become a camp counselor in another country. With this information, her thoughts changed, her feelings changed as did her actions. Poppy was able to travel the world and get paid because of where she placed her focus. While her friend Olivia created her worst fears because of where her attention and focus was placed.

All to often people just wonder on the treadmill of life and have no idea where they are going or how they got to where they are. You need to get clear about what you want.  Poppy knew she wanted to travel, but she also wanted to get paid.  She didn’t stay in the most luxurious of places and she had to compromise.  In order to get paid to travel, she had to work.

So here are some tips to focus on the life that you want?

1: Ask your-self where you are currently putting your focus?

It’s really that simple and is that focus getting you where you need to be?  You will probably find that your focus has been on surviving, what not to do wrong etc.  How is this focus helping you achieve your dreams.  So y

2: Make a list of all of the things that make you happy.

All to often people focus on what doesn’t make them happy and spend a lot of time trying to avoid these things/feelings. In order to create the life you want, you have to know what makes you smile, gives you energy, motivates you etc..Do rainbows make you smile? Do you like to snuggle up in bed on a cold dreary day, does talking to a friend energize you?  how about when you put on make up?  Get to know your-self.  You are going to be surprised at how long that list is.
3: WRITE:

Ahh the power of writing is amazing.  Keep writing about you want.  It make take a couple of times to get clear about you want.  The writing will help you with this process.  Get very detailed about that would be like.  How will you feel?  How will you know that you are living that life? Who is in your life. What can you smell, feel and touch. Keep writing and readjusting until it feels right.

4:  Dedicate about 10-30 minutes a day to focusing on what you want?

So turn of your phones, email and any other distractions and dedicate 10-30 minutes of focusing on what you want.  When you learn to do this on a daily basis, your are strengthening the neural pathway in your brain to look for solutions to help you create your dream.

 

But most importantly “be kind to your-self during this process.”  You are learning something new, and this is probably the first time that you are learning to discover what makes you happy:-)

 

 

 

Will the real you please stand up! September 27, 2013

Filed under: inspiration — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 7:28 pm
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Learn to speak your truth

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“Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” ~Laurence J. Peter

How many of us have regretted the things we have said when we are angry? I know I have. For years I would stuff my feelings deep down within my soul. I would either tell my-self that I was weak for showing my feelings or that nobody would like me if I spoke my truth. Of course my body hated me for doing that and would frequently let me know. I would get headaches, stomaches and cramps. I would feel tired and irritated. But that didn’t matter, because all I wanted to do was fit in. But I never fit in, because I was fake.

It was not until I got my very first migraine that I decided to speak my truth.

Speaking your truth is scary, because it may change your entire life. What if speaking your truth ends some of your friendships, or ends a marriage. What if you realize the person you have been married to for 10 plus years is to the person you don’t want to be with for the rest of your life? But what if speaking your truth, eliminates negative people from your life, propels you to success and opens doors that you have only dreamed about? Speaking your truth is really about self-confrontation. Dr. David Schnarch, author of Passionate Marriage, says, “When you stop putting up with your own shit, you stop putting up with other people’s shit. In other words if your someone who is manipulative, a gossiper, and passive aggressive, you will also not tolerate this behavior from other people.

“If one woman told the Truth about her life, the world would split open.” Muriel Rukeyser

So how do you learn to speak your truth?

Practice, Practice, Practice:

1. Become aware of your feelings and thoughts. How do you feel when you stay silent? How do you feel when you lose your temper? How do you feel when you speak your truth? Notice when your thoughts, words and actions are incongruent. Your body will let you know if you are speaking your truth.

2. Acknowledge your feelings. Stop running away from them. If you don’t acknowledge your feelings, then nothing will change. You’re not the only one that has felt like a loser, stupid, ugly, incompetent, a failure, etc.

3. Question your motives. Be truthful. Ask your-self why you chose to keep silent. Is it because you’re scared that you might get rejected? Are you fearful people won’t like you? What am I avoiding?

4. Acknowledge your strengths. Most women play down their assets, for fear of coming of to assertive, or bitchy. If you continuously try to adapt to other peoples environment because you wanted to be accepted, you will lose your-self, your strengths and your gifts. “It does not mean, that I have my rights and I will be heard attitude.” It means this is who I am. If you embrace both your strengths and weaknesses, and speak from your heart, then you will be speaking your truth.