Hypnosis for Abuse Recovery

I use hypnosis daily in helping people heal from past pain. Here are the three components and why they each work: Relaxation The biggest selling prescription drug for the last few years has been Prilosec, created to relieve stomach distress. Why would that be the biggest? Because the leading emotional problem in the world is stress and the first system to go down under stress is the digestive system (don’t ask me why). Stress is translated into symptoms in many ways: high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, difficulty thinking clearly, trouble breathing, cold sweats. There are those who even will draw a link from stress to cancer. Stress Causes Medical Problems Here’s an interesting fact I discovered when I was doing my research for my PhD dissertation on verbal abuse: If a woman is being physically abused, she will have more medical complaints like internal medicine, gastroenterological, gynecological and other health complaints than non-victims and more medical complaints than bruises! Now, what does that mean? Simply, it means that stress is taking its toll of their bodies more than the beatings themselves. Stress comes from (1) wondering when the next attack–verbal or physical–will occur, (2) anguish over the deteriorated relationship, (3) arguments inside her head about the injustice of the last attack or how she could have prevented it, (4) worry about what to do to protect her children, etc. The truth is, I’ve worked with a lot of men who are victimized by their wives, girlfriends and lovers and the problem is the same for them. Even Abusers Are Stressed And, guess what? Oddly enough, the perpetrators are equally...

Will the Real Victim Please Stand Up

Scene: A woman walks into a hospital emergency room, bloody and bruised. Her husband, teeth clenched, assists her. X-rays reveal several broken bones as well. As the staff tries to determine what happened, the husband bursts into tears, admitting he beat up his wife. Clearly, she’s the victim here. Luckily, the anger management class that the Court uses as a diversionary program for first-time offenders includes intensive one-on-one counseling. Gently, the therapist tries to piece together the acts of violence. “So how did it start?” she asks. “You wanna know the truth?” Ricky, the husband, replies, “It started last Thursday. I come home from work. I work hard, man. I come home and, I can’t believe it, my wife and her sister are in MY living room painting it baby blue. I was shocked. I felt like as if she had punched me in the gut. Painting not the baby’s room, not a little study, but our living room. Without any discussion whatsoever! Baby blue! That’s not right. Would you say that’s right?” he challenges the counselor. “No,” the therapist answers, “that doesn’t seem right, to just go ahead without discussion.” “And that’s how it always is. I’m nobody in my own home. Just a nothing.” He spits the words out and smacks one hand into the palm of the other. “That wasn’t the first time, either. My wife, Jean, she had people over for dinner last week and I came home all tired and ready to flop on the couch and there they were, for Pete’s sake.” How Come Ricky Thinks He’s A Victim? So let’s hit the...

Blaming Boomerangs in Relationships

Nothing drills down another person’s happiness like constant blame. “The sun rose so it’s your fault. There was an earthquake on the other side of the world, so, again, it’s your fault. Everything is your fault. In fact, I don’t know why I married someone with so many faults.” Blame is verbal abuse. The most fascinating thing, to me, is that when I confront all these blamers, they tell me that they love their spouse, child, etc. So what gives? What in the world do you love about them if they are responsible for every problem you have? Now you’re going to ask me, “Well, DrDeb, if they upset me and I don’t tell them, aren’t they going to keep on doing it?” Great question. The problem is that if you do keep piling blame and accusation on them, I guarantee they’ll keep on doing it. After all, you’re making them feel miserable, so what is their motivation to be nice to you? Ever hear the old expression, “You get more bees with honey than vinegar”? Think about it. Bottom line: Your relationship will fall apart, if it hasn’t already, if you feel a need to rehash every thing that went wrong with blaming. You can’t rewrite the past by rehashing it, and you definitely don’t create what those in the business world call “good will.” So put the brakes on that behavior. Pronto. How Did You Start The blaming Thing, Anyway? It started three ways: One: Your parents did it to each other and to you. Two: You thought as a little kid that somebody has to be...

Laughter: A Requirement for Abuse Recovery

My daughter and her husband were diligently working on changing their newborn boy’s diaper. Suddenly, without warning–there never is warning–he took aim and in seconds, they both got squirted. “We just cracked up,” she told me. They thought it was funny. But they got wet! How did they think it was funny, I wanted to know. “Yeah,” she said, “if it was somebody else’s baby, I probably would have been grossed out. But everything my baby does is cute! We just thought it was funny. So we cleaned him up, put him down, and then got ourselves cleaned up.” Reminds me of the time, many years ago, when one of my babies burped all over me, the goo running down my back, in the middle of the night. I got hit so bad, I had to take a shower. It is funny in retrospect. At the time, I was probably too tired to laugh out loud, but I can definitely tell you I marveled at his power and aim, even then. How does a person do that? How does a person somehow convert a serious thing into humor? How does a person see the funny side of the worst things? Well one answer is that if you don’t, it’s guaranteed you’ll be miserable. Because life is difficult. I don’t have to tell you that. So there really are only two choices: Buck it or laugh. I have learned that some people have an amazing capacity to do the latter. I have gone to homes of mourners who, instead of crying at the loss of a loved one, laugh as...

“You’re hypersensitive!”

“My wife is emotionally hypersensitive. She is hurt by things that wouldn’t bother me at all if someone said them to me.” This is an excellent question. The answer is buried in the old pain of your own childhood. What happened to you went like this: You got hurt a lot and somehow toughened up from it. You became numb to your own pain. The process occurrs as a brilliant coping mechanism of the human soul. After all, if you were aware of your pain (as some people, indeed, are, unfortunately) you would be suffering constantly. And you were just a little kid, after all. So you got numb. Or you dissociated. Numbness is a kind of dissociation, isn’t it? Numbness is a way of being here yet the emotional part of you has taken a hike. Be A Man! This frequently happens to men. Especially if they were told that men shouldn’t feel anything, or “Be a man!” That type of tripe. So you did what they told you. Very obedient. Oh, I know, you didn’t think you were doing it to be obedient. That was the last thing on your mind. You probably thought you were in rebellion. Ha ha. Fooled you. You actually got programmed not to feel their pain and it worked. This suited them too, because now they didn’t have to watch their language. They could keep on dishing it out, and you wouldn’t feel it. Of course, then they wondered why nothing “worked.” Nothing they said “got through” to you. Well, of course. The human soul could only take so much. Then you’re...

Yelling Does NOT Get What You Want

If I had a dollar for every time a frightened woman said, “It’s when he gets a certain look in his eye that I become really frightened,” well, then, I’d be rich. The unconscious mind picks up body language even when we are not consciously aware that it may be threatening. That is why some people make us uneasy: On the surface, they say the right things, but somehow, they manage to convey a vastly different message. Surely then, how very uncomfortable we feel when someone overtly and obviously uses scary body language. Scary Faces So how many ways can someone make a face that is frightening: angry eyes grim mouth baring teeth taut muscles or tendons at the neck or forehead flaring nostrils And that’s just the face. How about the voice? There are harsh tones, there’s yelling, and one little girl (correctly) pointed out that there is a difference between yelling and screaming. Which do you think is worse? Why? See what I mean?–You do know the intricacies of body language. And then there is the rest of the body: Tense muscles, rapid heartbeat, sweat. A lady once told me that even when her husband is joking she knows that he is angry if his neck gets red! Which proves my earlier point that a “joke” is frequently not a joke. High-Conflict Men Here’s a fascinating piece of information: Neil Jacobson, a brilliant researcher for decades, put all kinds of monitors on men who were in his lab having conversations with their wives. These couples had volunteered for the research because the men were verbally abusive. What...

Three Facts About Abusive Body Language That You Probably Didn’t Know

What’s the most ancient form of communication, still existing in full force in the animal world? You got it–body language. Oh, those rolling eyeballs that speak volumes! The nasty piece about body language is that people “read” it unconsciously and only register it as weird when the spoken language and the body aren’t saying the same thing. Let’s take an example: “Oh, sweetie, you can talk to me any time.” Sounds nice, inviting, warm, right? Now suppose someone said that with a frown, or in such an undertone that it was barely audible, or with their nose in a book. Wouldn’t that be confusing? The listener would be forgiven if she or he wasn’t sure if it were sincere. So, suppose someone was saying, “I respect you,” but they were looking bored, eyes cast off at a spot on the floor. What message would the listener hear? Suppose a mother says, “I love you” but her arms are stiff as she holds her little child. Suppose your own true love holds your hand very, very loosely as you walk down the street. Can you see how each of these gestures of the body convey an unclear meaning or one that is the opposite from the spoken one? Here are some rules of words and deeds: 1. If words and deeds don’t match, the listener doesn’t believe the words. In other words, the deeds rule. Usually, the listener doesn’t know why. In other words, the action speaks to the unconscious so the listener doesn’t consciously know what was communicated. He just feels uncomfortable. Or, the listener could come to believe...

Attraction: What If Two Victims of Abuse Marry Each Other?

People can be verbally, emotionally, sexually, or physically abused; there’s also exposure to substance abuse, borderline disorder, post traumatic stress, and there’s more too. An abused person could become both a victim (say of a spouse or boss at work) and an abuser (say of a child). A victim could turn to eating disorders or even multiple personalities (now known as “dissociative identity disorder”) as a way of hiding from the pain. He or she could just have a bad temper, or the opposite–be emotionally withdrawn–or be depressed, or a not-so-talented parent. Besides substances, a person could become addicted to sex, gambling, shopping, or work. Any possibility goes. Given all that, did you ever wonder why a person marries someone who seems healthy, clean, sober, whatever, only to discover something from the above list lurking underneath? And you wonder: How did I miss it? And when you stop wondering that, you start to go, “Woa! Why do I keep meeting people with all these problems???” Here’s my answer: It’s not your fault. It was built into our souls. I’m not kidding. I don’t want you to think that means we are fated to keep making a mistake. In fact, I don’t even think the whole thing IS a mistake. I think the ending can be good, so hear me out. You’ve heard the term “soulmate” before. Did you ever wonder where it came from? Here’s my take on it. According to the Bible, when Adam and Eve were created, they were actually a complete man and woman that were joined. (I know, I know, you never heard that one...

I Call it Verbal Abuse; You Call it No Big Deal

So you are thinking that what I am calling verbal abuse is really no big deal? Let’s see. Here are some questions you might ask: What’s wrong with verbal abuse, specifically, name calling? Why can’t people just take a joke anyway? And here’s another question, Dr. Smarty: If I’m mad at someone, shouldn’t I be able to express my feelings so that she/he knows they did something wrong? Good questions. Let’s look at each of them twice, once for marriage and once for parents. What’s Wrong With Verbal Abuse, Specifically, Name Calling? marriage In a marriage, you are supposed to be equal partners. Right? Ok, now follow my thought: The person who pins a label on another person is the one with the power. That is the reason why, as a marriage counselor, I do not believe in giving people a diagnosis–It, too, is a process of labeling people which gives me unfair power and I don’t need to do that in order to help people. As a therapist, I actually am placing judgment on people when I label them with a diagnosis. It’s as if I said to myself that I am perfectly sane and they are crazy. No wonder people are shy about seeing a therapist. And that’s a shame, but the psychiatrists and psychologists caused this problem. The same is true in relationships. As soon as I call you something, I have given myself power and taken it away from you. That’s why name-calling is a form of verbal abuse. Marriages are not supposed to be power struggles. In fact, if I call you anything except...
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkdin
Hide Buttons