Trust

August 12, 2018

Trust is something that is fundamental to every aspect of life. It is not only a crucial aspect of all our interrelationships, but includes even basics like does our pilot know how to handle the plane we are flying on, does the cab driver whose cab we are in know what he/she is doing, is our child care worker being appropriate, does the chef or food preparer know what he/she is doing to prepare a healthy, safe, and tasty cuisine, does our financier handle our money correctly, do our leaders in business or nationally really have our backs and best interest at heart, does the parachute or rope we are climbing with function properly as we jump out of a plane or scale down a mountain, etc. Get the point: we engage in carte blanche of appropriate/selective hope/denial that we can trust what is out of our true or immediate control (by the way, the thought that we are in control of anything is the greatest myth of all). If you think about it, if you didn’t give a type of unconditional trust to your world you probably wouldn’t leave home. But that being said, we do this because their are enough overseers that we do trust that someone is watching out and making sure people know their stuff.

However, this is not the case with relationships and therefore our ability to trust others is harder to earn and maintain, as it should be. Thus, how do we negotiate this difficult terrain? The answer won’t surprise you- cautiously and over time. Trust is like a huge pine tree. It takes years to grow a hundred feet and can be cut down in an instant with a chain saw. Therefore, trust is built consistently over time. It is tested and inspected to earn the right to be counted on and in a manner taken somewhat for granted. To get to this point, a person wanting to include someone in their realm/life has to show up and walk their talk whether as a business associate, friend or life long partner. It is essential and as I say in my talk on “successful relationships” under ‘Lectures’ on my web site: drgaryrichman.com, a corner stone of making a relationship viable. Though a corner stone, it is always fragile and needs to be tended to. Almost worshiped because if lost it won’t take, like the pine a hundred years to regrow, but it will take a significant amount of time to heal. Obviously, the rebuilding is difficult because two damaging things occur when trust is violated. One, whom you have known this trusted person to be, gets LOST. Once this horror has been experienced the carte blanche of who you absolutely believed  this person to be, isn’t. In that moment, one questions every aspect of who your thought this person to be. When trust is lost it is not just the one act of what is typically betrayal, but ever aspect of who you took this person to be comes under scrutiny. In that moment, the world you could count on gets badly shaken.

Two, Thus it takes a significant  amount of time to feel safe even if this is a person you have known/been with for years. There is no quick fix here, and if the relationship is to be salvaged patience, accountability, and empathy for the emotional damage are required. Typical apologies are never enough and not really the path to healing. The true healing is more about healing the emotional nightmare one is living with, and there is no specific time frame here. It will take what it takes to heal. Therefore, one must have the commitment to hang in there as the hurt mitigates over time. This work is hard, but doable as I have helped facilitate this process with many couples. As I say, the trust can be regrown, unfortunately like the tree it is just never quite the same. Couples, for instance can move on to a once more viable, loving relationship but not quite like before. A simple analogy is when you experience food poisoning at your favorite restaurant, how likely are you to go back and give them another try? Eh? You might but not for years and always with a certain amount of suspect.

Trust and its well being needs to be thought of like a very precious and fragile entity that we carry with both hands. It is something that can never be truly taken for granted and needs watering in an ongoing fashion. If maintained well, it will and does provide a stable foundation to feel safe and comfortable with those close to you and the immediate world you live in.

 

 

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Forgiveness

August 6, 2018

What does it mean to forgive? We hear all the time it is God like to forgive. So many of my patients talk about “just needing to forgive and let things be.” Many talk about forgiveness as taking the higher ground and moving on. We feel almost noble as, “we forgive those who trespass against us.”

It is my contention that doing what we “should do” or what is “right” is just another form of denial. If we believe we can move on by simply saying the word and thus our being is free to let go is being naive. In actuality, this is just another form of suppression. I am not saying that forgiveness is not important and  in actuality essential. To keep, as a patient of mine said, “living with the hate or toxicity of a grudge hurts you more than the person  you are not wanting to forgive. On this I agree.  Hating someone is like drinking poison and hoping they die. It is incorrect. Additionally, it is toxic for anyone to hold onto  pain and believe you are taking care of yourself, while leaving the other person in some kind of purgatory of unresolved issues. The only thing this brings about is dis-ease.

Therefore, a healthy working through this situation is the way to let go while not denying what has occurred. How does one do that? I teach that you first must truly understand the impact on your self esteem and even your soul. Not to get passed it. Not to let it go because the person who hurt you doesn’t care or would never be accountable for what happened. One must work through the pain and impact that the hurt perpetrated in yourself. To look deeply into the extent of what you are carrying around and then work to understand the trigger that this other person ignited in you. And then to heal the wound left by the act itself. As Elenore Roosevelt said,’ No one has power over us we do not give permission to.’ Now this permission is usually unconscious, but none the less for some reason we’ve allowed this person in close enough to harm us. Therefore, we need to do our self reflective work to understand and heal not only the overt hurt, but that part of us that would give someone else this kind of power.

Once we do this, we find our center, our self, and heal. From this perspective, we see the wound in the other and the horrible way they defend themselves from their own wounding. From our own empowered, enhanced strength and understanding of self , we can forgive them for being so damaged. And as Jesus said, ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do. And then move on from them, free of the toxicity.

Partnership

July 27, 2018

What is partnership? We each in our own way seek someone to partner up with. And yet how do we know what that is? The interesting answer is that whether we are in a long standing relationship/marriage or a reasonably new one, our definition though initially clear continues to change to some degree as we change. Therefore, like our current reality is fluid, we need to reassess what that means to us and allow for change.

Thus if the meaning of partnership is changing every five to ten years, we need to be in touch with our sense of this and communicate it to out partner. It is the lack of checking in and discussing our transitions that can cause a relationship to begin to go bad. And if left unchecked, it goes to distance and crises. The couples I see, find this reassessment occurring more so in there forties. This is a time when we look closer at our own sense of growth and where we reconsider what quality of life means to us. We need to keep  avenues of communication open and if you will, renegotiate our sense of direction and attachment.

And yet, the fundamentals of what our partnership is standing on need to stay clear and consistent. Such as, unconditional love, prioritizing your partners greatest good, maintaining honesty and integrity, respect, appreciation, compromise, loyalty, and for the most part having each other’s back. These fundamentals are the many pillars that keep a partnership standing on a foundation that will not crack .And yet it takes work to keep the foundation from cracking as normal human issues continue to smack it around. In these moments it is quite appropriate though difficult as connection and communication wane for many to allow professional help to get back on track. We need help to once again talk safely with one another. We need help to see how we have taken some of those fundamentals for granted and forgotten to reinforce and cherish in gratitude the one we love. To heal that which has shaken our being in love with whom we once considered special and a gift to us.

Fundamentally, we are meant to partner up. We are beings who need to have more connection and nurturing. We are meant to seek out that person who makes life less scary as we lean on each other to confront what life has to offer. Like little children who naturally cuddly in your lap just because, we need to attach: Partnership.

 

 

 

Entitlement

July 15, 2018

It is not hard to witness entitlement. It seems to be everywhere these days. People feel entitled to be let in first, allowed to be disrespectful, rude, selfish, short sited, and even cruel. Where did such behavior come from? How did such behavior go unchecked? How is it that so many are unconscious to their own actions? The answer is, they have been raised in an environment of privileged, not had appropriate boundaries, and have  not distinguished the meaning of, you can do anything from do it all over people.

In a country where the Bill of Rights guarantees the right to  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we have forgotten that you get to pursue all this as long as you don’t intrude or oppress anyone else’s pursuance. That coupled with an arrogance stemming from a deeper insecurity of self overcompensated by a bloated ego, manifests entitlement.

I am all for people finding their passions engendered through life, liberty and happiness. I think along with self reflection and contentedness, these endeavors are part of a healthy and fulfilling life. What is appalling is that people act as if their needs, objectives, and desires are all important. They get to be important, but over the rights, and freedoms of others? We need to give up the competitiveness that dictates that we must do our lives over the needs of others. We must give up the notion that we are the only important entity walking around out there. We need to give up the ridiculous notion that either we focus only on ourselves or we give to others.

It will NEVER take away from your path or objectives to stop and be kind to someone. It will NEVER take away from you having what you want to be generous to someone in need. It will NEVER take away from you getting somewhere or slow you down if you are sensitive to someone needing to go by.

Empowerment of self is the idea, not power over others.

 

 

 

 

 

Appreciation

July 4, 2018

One of the important ingredients in a relationship of any kind is to be appreciative of what the other person offers and let them know. Far too often, people get complacent and forget to express their appreciation for the things big or small that the other does for them. This lack of recognition breeds discontent and resentment culminating in a palpable distance.

In essence, we all want to offer the things that we know our friends or partners need. We do this out of interest in making the other feel good and seeing the appreciation in their eyes. This is the juice that keeps the sweetness alive and creates a good will that emanates in a nice back an forth dance. When time goes on and routine, boredom, wounds, being taken for granted, and hurt goes unexpressed and unresolved, we step back from that which keeps the juice flowing and a painful stagnancy creeps in.

The mindfulness of offering appreciation keeps relationships alive and vital. It allows people to continue on together feeling connected and close. You can never let someone know often enough, how much  they do for you, and appreciate them for it. It may seem like your offering too much and that the other won’t like it, but you are wrong. Each time you engage in this behavior, your partner will smile or at least get that sheepish look as they glance toward the ground, but IT IS noted. And will come back to you as well.

Narcissism is as Narcissism Does.

June 25, 2018

M. Scott Peck in People Of The Lie said,”Narcissism is psychological evil on earth.” So lets talk about how this evil manifests. For the sake of discussion lets call our subject Jay. Thus if Jay is evil on earth, he can not really be thought of as typically human, and yet most don’t want to envision him as anything else. But when people insist on or hold him up to reasonable human standards of normal judgment and ability to assess and work with others, their is no interest. Those who expect him on a personal or professional bases to behave in the usual range of those who have preceded him, will quickly find that he literally doesn’t care. People aren’t able to fathom the severity of wounds by which Jay views HIS world. Even though the opening for him was created by the disenfranchised  allowing an “outsider” to get “in,” no one truly fathomed the deeply underlying abnormality they were allowing into power. Even though, he showed up consistently as such, and with appalling regularity.

It must be understood that Jay relates his life through a virtual mirror reflecting an image of the world that he alone is privy to. There is nothing in his mirror that depicts what the rest of us see or hold as reality. The virtual mirror he looks into every day has idiosyncratic images of the people, places, and goings on that are true only to him and there is no availability for discussion or discourse. His mirror is ALL KNOWING and ALL SEEING about Him. Therefore, everyone around him is either in the reflection of the way he sees and believes them to be, or THEIR NOT. On this bases, an “all or nothing reality” exists that has no wiggle room or availability for ANY DIFFERENCES. Thus, he demands not loyalty, which keeps being attributed to him by himself and others, BUT UTTER DEVOTION. Meaning that no matter how many times someone is supportive and or has his back, no one is above being scrutinized for the very next situation that arises. And God for bide you do not jump through the hoop according to the mirror’s reflection. Because if you don’t, the likelihood of you being ousted is imminent. You see, Jay can’t spell loyalty and he himself owns absolutely none of it. His loyalty lasts as long as you behave and speak exactly what it is his mirror demands. The moment you don’t, you’re toast. And if you doubt that, look at the ever growing  list of the “betrayers” regarding his mirror’s reflection who were originally “loyalists.”

He is, by the way, extremely prone to the agony/wounding of his mirror’s sense of betrayal. To his “all or nothing” reality of relationships you are either holding the image of his mirror’s portrayal of you, or your not. And if you are not, you are not only expendable, but he is absolutely sure it is your fault that you have betrayed him. No matter what circumstances have caused his wounded sense of “betrayal,” IT IS YOUR FAULT.  And make no mistake, you will burn for it.

Needless to say, this omnipotent reflection of the Jay’s mirror is NEVER to be questioned or even criticized. It holds HIS truth by ‘which no man can put asunder.’ This is also why he can not be given advice even by the people he puts in place to do it. Clearly, the mirror holds these consultants to be those whose only purpose is to give homage to that which the mirror holds as self evident truths of The Jay.

Additionally, when there is a reflection from the mirror of an event that never really happened, for him it is the God’s truth and can not be debated. Not only is it above question, but because it is in His mirror, he has nothing to apologize for because it can not be wrong or impugned.  Therefore, he has this blank look when he is called out on things that never took place because clearly the rest of the world is being duplicitous in wrongly coming after him. And they must be coming after him for “their” own reasons because he is never in error. Because again, the virtual Jay mirror of what is, is never wrong. Therefore, he can’t be and never is lying since all he sees-is. Therefore, an apology is unnecessary and inappropriate.

This is why it is so sad to me when the “hopefuls” hold out for some sort of “change due his dealings or waiting for Jay to do the mature thing. No one seems to get that this type of normal process is an impossibility with whom this man really is. Only a human being who accepts himself as a flawed individual and who expects himself to grow and learn, can. A normal person looks to others to offer assistance and input. Such a person has a board to offer experienced knowledge to guide their own judgment. But when ‘ you know more than the professionals, Jay has no gratitude for the assistance. In Jay we get what we see. Those of you who are hoping and waiting for growth and change must still believe in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and are constantly hit with the “love is blind” phenomena. Or, are surprised that you keep being labeled as the personified definition of  insanity, i.e. doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. All I can say to you is good luck hoping, but don’t hold your breath because you will turn blue waiting for the impossible.

 

 

 

 

World Wide P.T.S.D.

June 25, 2018

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) is the recurring stress from a real incident and is triggered by current stimuli. The awful events we are witnessing in the United States and in the world are hateful, brutal, ugly, horrific, and completely out of are control. The ongoing recurrence of these atrocities are so prevalent that no one can be unaffected whether you are law enforcement or a casual bystander. No one is safe and everyone is a “soft” target as witnessed in France.
Therefore, the only thing we each can do is to be more vigilant and endeavour to be in situations with friends that offer some sense of support and safety. Along with this, we need to talk about what is going on in that we are not alone with our feelings. This allows us to vent and not suppress what is going on within us.
Again, no one can truly escape the goings on that will naturally induce PTSD causing anxiety and unrest. Holding onto these feelings however, will not make it better and we need the support of others so that we do not feel isolated or alone. Going Rambo and brandishing a weapon will not stop a bomb, a truck or even a hate crime. Safety comes from support and the sense that we are not alone and can lean on others.

Where Has Our Humanity Gone?

June 21, 2018

When did we forget that the others walking around are human beings too? What has caused us to believe that our group is the higher/better ground? How have people forgotten that we are all in it together? OH- ALWAYS!

Sometimes it takes floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, genocide, and internment camps to come back to our original God given nature that is our humanity. When these devastating events occur it is not that we all run to our bunkers and shoot anyone who attempts invade us. It is our nature to attend and help those we wouldn’t have said hello on a normal day, that we rescue, When Houston and New Orleans were under water people got in their boats and helicopters and rescued people their egos would have deemed unworthy the day before. When push comes to shove we run toward others to help and care for them. NOT the other way around. In these dire circumstances we throw out ego and forms that define and dictate who we think we are or “they” aren’t, and default to human. In these moments of emergency we only see human beings in need. In essence, we see is someone in distress and needing attention. And guess what? For the most part we give it and step up to the plate.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in that way every moment. As if there are no other types  but human beings worthy of courtesy and compassion. What does the bible say, ‘treat others as you would wish to be treated.’ What a concept.

Why Suicide?

June 18, 2018

Unfortunately the loss of prominent people has us wondering what is the reason and what was someone thinking that suicide seemed the only alternative. I even had someone say to me, I don’t get it, they had money and fame.

We live in a world that lives and believes that outside in is the way of life and happiness. What I mean by that is people believe and societies reinforce that if you have the accouterments of money, prestige, fame, looks, and designer everything then the inside of self is taken care of. This is the mis-belief of the societal Kool Aid that everyone is weaned on. There is a line in a country song that says, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. Thus outside thinking of honing self is completely wrong and eventually every one hits the wall and falls.

The real owner of centering, mastery, confidence, and the depth of self is inside to out. To hold onto the inner essence of self is where the true ownership of self is realized. If one is steeped in self, nothing can rock you. It is the corner stone of inner truth and contentment, while walking life well.

In a society where this corner stone is not encouraged, reinforced, or given much credence, people get lost. They look around at all they have and feel empty. They experience a vast abyss that hungers for connection rather than the daemons of guilt and shame that plague them. When these daemons are not bought to light through support and discussion they become unbearable. At this point, as substances don’t quiet the pain, one starts to walk down a path of darkness that begets hopelessness where suicide becomes an option. Most people will tell you as they talk about this or have survived a suicide attempt that it was not that they wanted to die, but rather they wanted to end the pain and it seemed the only way to do it.

The tragedy of all this along with the loss of life is that we don’t as a society put enough stock in seeking help for psychological pain as we do physical pain. We, for the most part seek out  physicians when something physical scares us, but we weren’t brought up with the permission to seek out competent help for what scares us emotionally.

Of course this is a much more complex subject, but this is an important overview when struggling to understand such an awful outcome.

What Are We Thinking?

June 17, 2018

“No man is an island.” Or, “I am a rock, I am an island” are words not to be overlooked. I get for some, going it alone is the only way they know, and therefore it is not a problem to alienate everyone who has had their back or befriended them. However, if survival is based on being a team player and one needs others to win the team game, it is utter insanity to go it alone. The end result of such omnipotent and entitled behavior is LOSING.

If one believes he/she is bigger than life, then life usually hits you with a pretty big stick reminding you that your thinking is skewed to the point of arrogance. That sooner than later the Universe can/will send shock waves through your system and anyone else connected with you reminding you there is only one God and you ain’t it. We need to remember that alone is just that and though you don’t have to worry about anyone intruding on you, YOU ARE ALONE. We cannot go it alone on a team and any thought that this is possible has been documented in history by tragic atrocities resulting in severe devastation.

Too many, are acting like the only way to deal with bullying is to lay down and give up. Why have we forgotten that we are a team that must rely on each other to set things right. This loner stance has never worked throughout time and the healing it takes to correct the damage is long and very painful.

I never known a team who didn’t call out a player who hogged the ball, ignored the coach, wouldn’t listen to the team strategy, and wouldn’t pass the ball. As good as any one member of a team is, he/she can not win alone. Additionally, it disrespectful to other team member to allow such ignorance to continue. We do no one a service by allowing such grandiosity to go unchecked, culminating in a diminished/weakened team with eventual losses.