Unhealthy Relationships

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A warm, loving, nurturing relationship is a healthy thing. In such a relationship there is laughter, connection, intimacy, communication and fun. These qualities can reduce stress, reduce anxiety and depression, improve quality of life. They cause the body to produce endorphins: hormones that make us feel good and even reduce pain.

If a good relationship can contribute to our health, what happens if the relationship is not good.? Of course, there are variations depending on how negative the relationship is, and how much involvement there is, whether it is a spouse or immediate family member, extended family, a boss or colleague or a neighbor.

A negative relationship creates stress. It may also result in depression, anxiety, feelings of anger, sadness, or loneliness. Here, rather than good chemicals, the body produces stress hormones. In fact, studies have shown that after an angry or upsetting episode, the immune system is suppressed for six to eight hours! If another incident happens, or even re-living it as we tell someone about it, then the immune system suppressed for a further six to eight hours.

It is clear that if our relationship with someone in our lives is conflicted, we could be in an almost constant state of immune system suppression. We may not experience effects of this right away, but over time we may be vulnerable to a variety of health issues.

We need to think of stress, negativity, anger and conflict as things that are toxic to our bodies. We would not breathe or ingest substances we knew to be toxic to our bodies. Similarly, we should also practice ecology in our emotional environment. If the situation or interactions cannot be changed to create a more
positive emotional climate, it may be time to make a move.

Some people realize they are in an unhealthy relationship, have tried to heal it, examined their part in all of it, and see it is unlikely to ever change. They can become stuck in a pattern of sharing with others all of the faults and misdeeds of the other, while doing little, if anything, to remove themselves from the situation.

Often it is fear of change that prevents them from taking steps to remove themselves from the bad situation. Some find a certain comfort is being “the victim.”

Let’s think of it like this. Imagine you are living in a house that has dangerous black mold in it. This is highly toxic. It is hard to imagine anyone acknowledging they know it is there, as well as how dangerous it is, and doing nothing about it.

Similarly imagine someone making a sizeable investment, watching it losing more and more every year, and continuing to put money into it. There comes a time when the pain of holding on becomes worse than the pain of letting go.

Just because one might have a high pain tolerance, that does not mean they should remain in painful situations.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

Reparenting Ourselves

“The way we were treated as small children is the way we treat ourselves the rest of our lives: with cruelty or with tenderness and protection.”

                                                                                                ~ Alice Miller

Sometimes people who are outwardly successful in most areas of their lives, still do not feel good about themselves. No amount of external success can change that. Often the roots of this problem go back to the way that person was treated as a child. Obviously, childhood abuse leaves scars.

Even if the child was not abused, other subtle forms of devaluing may continue to haunt an individual throughout life. Being ignored, rejected, or left out in the early years creates a deep sense of not being good or important enough.

Even more subtle are the negative effects that occur when parents project their feelings, ideas, and dreams upon their children. In order to survive and be loved, the child learns to obey: to try to be the person the parents want him or her to be. This requires that the child repress his or her own feelings, and stifle attempts to be himself or herself.

The result, too often, is depression, reduced vitality, and loss of self. This is particularly noticeable during adolescence, when the child’s biological imperative is to explore and experience his or her individuality and uniqueness. This begins with a need to differentiate from one’s parents. What appears as teen conformity is the group effort to distinguish itself from the previous generation. Having done that, individuals will then make an effort to express their uniqueness within their group.

Rather than honoring the child’s right to be oneself, and in their well-meaning attempts to “train” children, parents often instill humiliation, shame fear and guilt. They inadvertently reduce the child’s ability to make crucial perceptions later in life. Ironically, the adult ends up either feeling guilty for expressing true feelings or lives a life trying to please others.

The way to heal built-in patterns, is to recognize the doubts or self-criticisms are messages formed when we were children, based on our experiences.

Then, working to become the all-loving, nurturing and supportive mother/father to our own inner child. We only counteract the old beliefs by forming new ones.

If we do not do this, our inner voice is not really ours, but rather we are parroting negative ideas we picked up along the way. Another complication comes when we project those negative beliefs on to another: “You think I am dumb!” “My friends don’t really like me.” “No one really cares about me.”

If, try as you might, you cannot stop the negative self-talk, it would be wise to consider doing some work with a good therapist.

As adults who were not honored as children, we need to begin the process of learning to honor our true selves. As parents raising children, we need to be very conscious—and may need to revise some of our methods of child rearing, and our traditional views about it.

Building Motivation and Releasing Procrastination

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” ~William James

We probably all, at one time or another (if not all the time) have difficulty motivating ourselves to complete some task or begin a project. Whether it is cleaning the basement or starting an exercise program, we may procrastinate for months, if not years.

This can be very frustrating, because one part of us really wants to begin working towards that goal. There is another part, however, that resist. Why does it resist? Perhaps the task involves work and the resisting part would just as soon watch television. The task may seem overwhelming, and it seems impossible to even decide where to start.

There are some concrete steps you can take to overcome the inertia of procrastination .

  • First make a list of the things on which you really want to, or feel you must take some action.
  • Then, put each one on a separate page. For each one, list the steps that must be taken to get the job done.
  • Pick the one, or ones you want to start on, and put dates beside each step; the date by which or upon which you will complete that one step. It is much easier to contemplate and complete one step, than thinking about the entire project.

Let’s imagine you are a teenager who needs to clean her room. On Monday, you go through the room and throw away anything that is garbage. On Tuesday, you pick up all the clothes off the floor and furniture, either hanging it up, putting it in a drawer, or into the laundry. On Wednesday, you put books back on shelves, and anything else that needs to be stowed. On Thursday you pull out everything from under the bed and repeat the first three steps with whatever you find there. On Friday, tidy dresser tops and desk tops and the closet if needed. On Saturday, vacuum and dust. On Sunday, show your parents what you have done!

So, whatever it is you need to do, make a list, commit to dates, and get started. Completing each step will motivate you to take the next one, and before you know it, you have succeeded.

(See below for link to my MP3, Building Motivation: Releasing Procrastination.)

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

Related MP3s Available:

Building Motivation Releasing Procrastination
Your Authentic Self
Raising Self-Esteem
Creating Balance in Your Life
Healing the Past

Building Motivation Releasing Procrastination MP3

Are You an Emotional Eater?

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” ~ Robert Gary Lee

Many who struggle with weight are sabotaged by emotional eating. They eat when they are happy, they eat when they are sad, and sometimes they just eat because eating feels good. It can be terribly difficult to break this habit because it is usually quite deep rooted.

It goes back to childhood when eating “fun” food was associated with birthday parties, holidays and family get-togethers. In happy families, mealtimes had positive associations; mom and dad were there and the time may have included humor and affection.

These are not, however, the main things that cause emotional eating to persist. The real culprit is food that was used to comfort an upset child. If you hurt yourself, you got a treat. If someone was mean to you and you were upset, it was into the kitchen for a treat.

Why does this result in adult emotional eating? It is because food was used to distract the child from the pain, and the pain itself was never dealt with. As a result, the child never learned how to think about or process painful events.

Where parents took the time to really explore the child’s feelings about what happened, they could help the child reframe the event, learn not to take it personally, and know how to deal with similar events in the future. It is comforting for the child to hear these things, and over time they learn to think things through this way. They learn to self-comfort.

The adult who never learned this then distracts her/himself with food, and simply buries the pain. Over the years the well of pain becomes deeper and deeper. Every painful experience brings forth the vulnerable child who does not know what to do, so the automatic, often unconscious response is to reach for comfort food.

How does one get past this? It is important to first recognize our pattern, and to re-visit the painful experiences of childhood. This can be difficult, which is why it is often done with a trusted therapist. The adult must learn to nurture and support the painful inner child, and then how to process the adult experiences which trigger the old pattern.

It can be a complex process, but it has taken a lifetime to develop and take hold. Healing the pain of the past is an essential step in moving forward.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

Related MP3s Available:

Heal Your Body
Hypnosis for Weight Loss Volume 1
Quit Smoking with Hypnosis
Support for Healing Addictions
6 Days to Quit Smoking
Hypnosis for Weight Loss Volume 2

Hypnosis for Weight Loss Volume 1 MP3

Teaching Children Not to Fight

fighting kidsAll children fight. Isn’t that what we hear generation after generation? To my mind, there is only one reason children fight, and it is not because they are biologically wired to do so.

Certainly, humans all have some aggressive instincts, but we do not all act on those. The days of the caveman and his club are long gone. (Now, he has to date the woman, and when he goes into his cave, he usually goes alone!)

Becoming civilized is in large part about taming those aggressive, instinctive biological responses. We can think of them as primitive, more likely to emerge under the influence of alcohol, or even where there has been a head injury. The majority of adults, we would like to think, have learned to control their more primitive, knee-jerk responses.

Children, however, need to be taught, from a very early age, and continuously thereafter, appropriate, civilized responses. If they are not taught, they will not naturally, magically emerge into considerate, sensitive, accommodating, problem-solving adults.

It is not enough to tell them not to fight, hit, bite, scratch or call names. Those behaviors are usually the end result of frustration, so we must teach them how to deal with frustration. We need to teach patience, cooperation, sharing, problem-solving, and self-control. Of course, the best way to teach these behaviors is to model them ourselves.

We need to create a home environment that models evolved behavior, and that has zero tolerance for fighting, particularly when it is physical. A child’s misbehavior must be followed by teaching, and at times, consequences. Consequences that are overly punishing, or that are delivered with physical or verbal aggression will send the opposite message of what we are trying to teach.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

Related MP3s Available:

My Special Friends (for Children)
Go Away Monster! (for Young Children)
A World of Kindness
Creating Balance in Your Life
Thinking for Yourself (Empowerment for Youth)
Releasing Stress

My Special Friends MP3

Adult Children of Divorce Have Special Needs Too

When we talk about children of divorce, we usually think in terms of children or teens. Most parents are concerned about the initial impact on their children, but once they are grown, it is easy to assume there are no more issues.

However, adult children of divorce have some special needs that ought to be recognized. They need not to become the parents to their parents. The burden of differences or hurts should not be laid on the children. In most cases they love both parents, and each parent has a different view as to why the marriage came to an end.

It is painful for them to hear that their parent either was the one hurt, or the one who did the hurting. This is not their issue.

They also need not to be queried about the other parent, or what is going on in his/her life. If the parents have an amicable relationship, they probably already know as much as is appropriate about each others’ lives. If the relationship is conflicted or even hostile, the children will feel like enemy spies if a parent fishes to find out what’s up with the ex.

Further, they need not to be made to feel guilty about how much or little time they spend with each parent. It is not their responsibility to make sure that each parent gets an equal share of their time and attention. Children may be closer to one parent, but that does not mean they do not love the other. Parents must graciously accept whatever gifts of time are offered.

Finally, they do not need to have every special occasion marred by stress about how to divide their time. At Christmas, especially for married children, they almost need a military strategist to figure out how to traverse the days without offending anyone. There are his parents, and her parents, so depending on whether or not both sets are divorced, they could have anywhere from two to four sets of “parents” bidding for their time.

The parents need to be flexible and willing to have their Christmas visit with the children in the days before or after Christmas. It is impossible to recreate the “old days” when everyone was together on Christmas Day. It makes more sense to think of “Christmas Week”, and let the kids work out a schedule that works best for them.

Adult children of divorce still need consideration and sensitivity. Even though they are adults, the child/parent bond goes way back, with lots of memories and associations. If we remember this, and always take the high road in relation to the other parent, our children will appreciate us, be more relaxed around us, and look forward to spending time with us.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

Related MP3s Available:

Releasing Anger
Healing the Past
Healing Your Inner Child
Releasing Anxiety
Your Authentic Self
Thinking for Yourself (Empowerment for Youth)

Healing Your Inner Child MP3

Engaging the Power of the Subconscious Mind

oneEveryone has had the experience of setting goals for themselves, or deciding to change old ways of being, only to find themselves slipping back. It is almost as though an inner battle is being staged between the part that wants to move forward, and a part that seems to be drawing one backwards.

In a sense this really is happening. The conflict is between two parts of our mind: the conscious and the subconscious. I sometimes think of the mind as an iceberg. The part you can see is the tip of the iceberg, or the conscious mind. We are aware of what is going on there. We know what we are thinking, and what we want. The part below the surface that we cannot see is the subconscious mind. We cannot be consciously aware of what is happening there, precisely because it is “sub” conscious—beneath the level of consciousness.

The subconscious mind directs much of our behaviour. It is where our drives and impulses originate. We may subconsciously be using food to comfort some unrest at the subconscious level. Consciously we may be determined to control our eating, but it is the subconscious mind that often sabotages our good intentions. The same can be true for how we think about ourselves (self-esteem), or our mental outlook—whether we are positive or negative.

If we are struggling with change, it may be time to direct our efforts towards the subconscious, as opposed to more conscious resolutions and affirmations. This can be done effectively through hypnotic suggestion or guided imagery. In this process the body is completely relaxed, the mind is calm or gently distracted, so that the desired messages bypass the conscious mind and register at the subconscious level. The conscious mind is completely aware of all that is being said, but because the subconscious mind is engaged through the process of deep relaxation, the message goes in at a deeper level.

While this process is completely safe and effective, it should be utilized only by those with professional training. I have had much success with this in my practice, and as a result of this success, I wanted to make the process available to others. I have thus produced a series of guided meditation/healing CDs that can be used at home. So far there are thirty-six titles, including topics such as healing depression , releasing stress , weight loss , self-esteem, healing the body and positive thinking.

You may find descriptions of the CDs and ordering information by clicking on Gwen’s CDs on the home page of this site.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
CDs You May be Interested In:
Your Authentic Self
Healing the Past
Healing Depression
Trusting and Following Your Intuition
A World of Kindness
Releasing Stress

Setting Healthy Boundaries with Family

Do you struggle with difficult relatives? Is there someone in your family who always manages to take a shot at you, or manages to find some way to put you down at every family gathering? Do you dread family functions because you start becoming anxious days before, and you just know you will be used for target practice yet again?

I am often asked if it is okay not to attend such functions, or to distance from a family member who is rude or hurtful. Sometimes it is difficult, especially if the person is a parent or a sibling, and one feels a sense of obligation.

The bottom line is that it is not okay to be bullied, even if it is a parent or sibling who is doing it.

The first step is to inform the one doing the bullying that you are not comfortable with it and it has to stop. Describe the specific kinds of behaviors or comments that are hurtful or inappropriate. Indicate that if it happens again, you will simply pack up and leave. Then do it.

You do not need to involve others, or get them to take sides. It is enough to state that you are setting some healthy boundaries for yourself and will no longer allow yourself to be bullied, criticized or judged. Very soon everyone, including the one bullying, will understand those boundaries, and likely will respect them.

If, after all this, your boundaries are not respected, then yes, it is absolutely okay not to put yourself in an unhealthy situation. If a person needs to keep at you, you are not going to be safe around them. As a child you may have had to put up with mistreatment, but as an adult, you do not.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

The Truth About Lying

“Lying is done with words and also with silence.” ~ Adrienne Rich

broken heartPeople lie for many reasons. Generally it is because they feel someone would be mad or upset with them if they knew the truth. What this means is that they betray the trust of another to protect themselves from the consequences of their behavior.

The minute one does this the relationship with the other is compromised. The one who lied now has to pretend. They have to pretend that what they said was really true. They have to pretend they have been honest.

The one who lied also has to carry guilt. They must carry the knowledge that they have been dishonest to someone they care about, and who has complete trust in them. If this happens in a love relationship , it can be very dangerous.

Dangerous is a strong word, but I use it because I have seen relationships irreparably damaged when the lie is discovered. Once one has shown he or she is capable of lying, his or her word can never again be trusted as it once was.

Furthermore, the partner agonizes over how many other lies there may have been in the past. The lie has thus contaminated both the past and the future. The entire relationship has tilted on its axis, and while work can be done to regain trust, things will never again be quite as they were.

What is the bottom line? Obviously it would be to not do things you will have to lie about. If you are doing something of which your partner would disapprove, he or she has the right to know, and to make decisions accordingly. You may fear that telling the truth would jeopardize the relationship. However, accountability is about not doing the things that would jeopardize the relationship in the first place.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
CDs You May be Interested In:
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Releasing Anger
Healing the Past
Your Authentic Self
Healing Your Inner Child
Raising Self-Esteem

When Others Lay a Guilt Trip

“He who does not have the courage to speak up for his rights cannot earn the respect of others.” ~ Rene G. Torres

Do people in your life make you feel guilty when you don’t do what they want you to do? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells because you do not know how they will respond?

I am not talking about times when you forgot to do what you said you would do, or otherwise dropped the ball. Rather, I am thinking of times when others are trying to manipulate you into doing what they want.

This seems to happen a lot when someone is trying to set clear boundaries, or is trying to learn to say “no.” When one who has been a people-pleaser tries to bring some balance into their dealings with others, they often run into resistance. Sadly, this is often enough to get them scurrying back to their pleasing way.

If you are going to be your own person, and truly take care of yourself, you must learn to be comfortable with the unhappiness or disappointment of others. You have to accept that some will not like you. But think about it: if someone only likes us when we take care of them, and dislikes us if we take care of ourselves, what kind of relationship is that?

Part of growing up and becoming an independent adult is having the ability to know what works for or is comfortable for us, and to be able to express that. It is being able to do so without second guessing ourselves because of the reaction of others. And finally, it is recognizing that we are not responsible for the way others choose to respond to our speaking our truth, nor do we have to fix it.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

Related MP3s Available:

Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Releasing Anger
Healing the Past
Your Authentic Self
Healing Your Inner Child
Raising Self-Esteem

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