Tuesday, July 31, 2012

PARENTS: Take Your Head Out of the Sand

Planting your head in the sand leaves you
vulnerable for a swift kick in the butt!
GITK Parents,
I typed this blog a few months ago after dealing with a series of difficult patient cases but didn't publish it because the timing seemed off.

With the recent movie massacre in Colorado I thought now would be the perfect time to publish this post.  One of the many things that concerned me about this shooter was that his mother allegedly "identified" this tragedy as something her son could potentially carry out.

My intention with this post is not to condemn the mother of this shooter but to inform parents about the importance of paying attention to your child, even through the teen and young adult years.  Some parents appear to be totally clueless about their teen's issues.  It is important for parents to give our children some freedoms but to turn a blind eye to their indiscretions and say "This is just a phase" is not only silly it's dangerous.

Parents, you cannot allow pride or embarrassment to keep you from reaching out for professional help when you see your child behaving strangely.

The following are signs that your son/daughter may be suffering from something beyond their control:
- Drug and alcohol use
- High-risk sexual behavior (taking repeated sexual risks despite previous bad outcomes)
- Awkward behavior (suddenly a loner/avoiding social interaction)
- Mood disorders like Depression sometimes present with outbursts of anger/rage
- Strange thoughts (People are watching me, Everyone is out to get me)
- Sudden change in personality
- Cutting

These are not to be seen as a cry for attention. 
Parents, I'm not coming down on you but I want to stress the urgency of you paying attention to your  teenagers.  Sometimes you can be so focused on doing well at work, paying the bills or making an impact in the community that you forget about the more important things like FAMILY.

All of us have made and will make future mistakes but when our children exhibit bizarre behaviors it may be a sign they need professional help.  Asking for help is not a display of weakness but evidence that you have come to terms with the fact that this situation is beyond your control.

Given the horrible movie massacre that occurred in Aurora, Colorado we ALL need to pay attention to subtle signs of mental health disorders.  


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Detach & Be Free!!

 (artist unknown)

This weekend some friends and I were sharing life experiences and it still amazes me how manipulative people can be.  This week I'm going to jump right in because I want you to learn this lesson early in life.  

People will come into your life for various reasons.  If you live long enough you will interact with someone who has ill intentions towards you.  I remember in school before I had a car there was a classmate who would offer to drive me to different places.  Her comment was, “I have to go there anyway so why don’t you ride with me.  You can take care of what you need to do while I'm out and about.”  

It all seemed simple but her gifts and acts of kindness came with a price.  She would often wait a few days before asking me to do something outrageously time-consuming for her.  I knew her intentions were wrong because she would use that moment to remind me of how gracious she was to me before demanding that I do something for her as a “payback.”  Well, it only took a one or two times for me to realize I needed to decline her "kind gestures" because her gifts always had strings attached.  

Don’t misunderstand me.  I love rendering acts of kindness to people especially the people I care about.  I also like it when people do nice things for me.  What I don’t like are manipulative people who do things with ulterior motives.  Don’t like it and I never will.  

Whenever someone tries to manipulate (control or handle a person, cleverly, unscrupulously or unfairly) you into doing something against your will they are not a true friend.  Here are a few characteristics of a manipulative person so you know what to avoid.  

Manipulative people:

1. Can be bossy or pushy
2. Use people to accomplish their wants
3. Can be very sneaky and secretive withholding details and information
4. Often lie or exaggerate the truth
5. Use information shared in confidence against you
6. Seldom are thankful.  Make you feel like you owe them
7. Like to keep confusion going in a group
8. Demand attention 
9. Are often jealous and vengeful
10. Are boastful/ “Me, Myself and I” mindset
11. Give gifts and render favors with the sole purpose of manipulating (I did something for you, now you are obligated to do something for me)

You should be able to have a friendship where the person genuinely wants to give to you with NO STRINGS ATTACHED.  I know the picture above is a little disturbing but it reminds me of what manipulated people look like.    When you find these characteristics in someone close to you consider reevaluating your friendship.  Don’t be afraid to distance yourself from this person or even end the relationship if it becomes too demanding.   You deserve to be in close relationship with people who truly care for you.  Anything less hinders you from living your best life.  Detach yourself from controlling manipulative relationships and BE FREE!!!  


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