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Is Victim Thinking Leaving You Powerless?

What if I told you that your mind may actually like being a victim? Now before you get defensive and say, “I don’t consider myself a victim” –  take a deep breath, open your mind, and accept the fact that most brains, including yours have been wired to make us want to feel like victims. In fact, we all play the part of a victim at one time or another, and some play victim their whole lives. Take me for example. Throughout my life, I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me, but one time, not too long ago,  I remember tearfully telling “my story” to a spiritual healer and then proclaiming that I wasn’t a victim to which he very matter-of-factly responded, “Well, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, guess what?”

Feeling embarrassed and quite self-absorbed, I then put my head down and said, “I get it. It’s a duck.” At that moment, I knew I had allowed myself to play victim, and looking back, I gotta tell you that it wasn’t a good look for me. I am very grateful for that Ah-ha moment and what it taught me. Now, I do my best to stay vigilant in watching out for any victim thinking that might try to enter my thoughts, so I can immediately stop those self-absorbing thoughts from spinning out of control. Because I am not perfect, victim thoughts may slip in from time to time, but due to my mindfulness, they do not last long at all.

For most of us, playing victim is something that we learned during our childhood and now is literally woven into the fabric of our brains. Although socially acceptable and highly contagious, victim thinking can hold us back in many areas of our lives and can often lead to pain and misery. The good news is that if you are willing to take inventory of your own victimizing behaviors, you can begin the process of change.

What if you don’t want to change? Well, unless you correct your victimizing behaviors, they will have a good chance of becoming worse. If that is the case, you put yourself at risk for the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of relationships
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Powerlessness
  • Fear of being alone
  • Severe mood swings
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in life
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • The classic symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

So, what do you do? To prevent the above from manifesting or getting worse, consider these
5-victimizing behaviors and how often you engage in each behavior on a daily basis. Be honest with yourself, and keep in mind that it doesn’t make a difference whether or not you feel justified in your behavior.

  • Complaining
  • Blaming
  • Ruminating: Talking or thinking about past events or people who hurt you
  • Making excuses for not taking action
  • Trying to control others and/or situations

Recognizing our victimizing behaviors can be quite humbling, but please be compassionate with yourself and don’t beat yourself up too much. Most of our brains have been on auto-pilot, defaulting to these behaviors without even realizing that they turn us into victims, stripping us of our own personal power. The good news is that once you have an awareness of your behavior,  you can begin the process of change.

One way to create positive change is to consider each behavior, noting how often you engage in it, determining the triggers involved, and then deciding what might you do differently in the future, so you will become more empowered. To do this, I recommend making a reflection log of these 5 behaviors and reviewing it at the end of each day.  Then, the next morning, review your log, so you stay conscientious not to repeat your behaviors again. If you are interested in truly eliminating victim behaviors from your life, check out Better Than Therapy Program: Reclaim Your Power & Stop Being A Victim. It’s helped many people rid their lives of victim behaviors, and it can help you, too.

Peace,

Carolyn

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7 Ways To Stay Motivated While You Create Positive Change

It is ironic that as soon as we decide to make real positive change in our lives, our Ego gets activated and starts to feed us an internal stream of negative dialogue as to why we should put off making the change. Because it’s the nature of our Ego to make sure that we stay miserable, it will often downplay the importance of any positive change we want to make in our lives, which causes us to create an excuse not to follow through with implementing our desired change. It is at this point that you need to meet your Ego head-on and proactively do things that will keep you motivated and empowered. As a way to help you stay empowered during your journey of self improvement, you need to be your own strongest advocate. Luckily,  there are specific things that you can do to help you stay motivated to create the change you desire.

  1. Be your own best friend. I am using the idea of a best friend because we usually speak more positively & gently to someone we care about then we do to ourselves. Also, when I say, “Be your own best friend,”  I am not being negative nor am I implying that people will eventually let you down or that the world is a dangerous place. I am simply stating that when you’re going toe to toe with your Ego, you need to take responsibility for empowering  yourself to be motivated, rather than relying on other people. Of course, your true friends will be supportive of you but let’s face it, it’s not their job to keep your motivation in check. It’s yours. To ensure your own empowerment, you need to take full responsibility for your own growth, and it will end up making you stronger in the end.
  2. Start having frequent conversations with yourself, using positive and inspiring words.  You can start by making this a daily habit by talking to yourself after the alarm goes off, when you are getting ready, as soon as you get into your car, or whenever you find yourself in a situation where you are alone. Tell yourself everything that you would say to someone you deeply love, who needed your full love and support. Speak loudly and clearly and tell yourself things that will make you smile.  Tell yourself that you’re beautiful and that you’re doing a great job! If you’ve never tried it, it is actually quite fun and will make you feel super-empowered!
  3. Accept yourself rather than punish yourself.  All too often we are quick to point out our flaws and remind ourselves of all the things we need to improve upon. This type of negative internal dialogue is coming from our Ego and needs to be stopped right away; otherwise, it will prevent us in creating positive change.  One way to accept yourself is to send love and gratitude to every part of you, especially those parts of which you are not especially fond.  You can do this by simply placing your hand on your heart with a strong intention of sending it complete unconditional love and gratitude. You can also tell your body how grateful you are for doing all that it does for you while whispering, “I love you” over and over. This practice is a wonderful gift that you can give to yourself and all of your billions of cells who have been dedicating their entire existence to your well-being.
  4. Evaluate your connections with others.  Because energy is contagious, you need to surround yourself with only positive people; otherwise, you put yourself in jeopardy of becoming negative, setting you up to fail in your quest to make change. Also, if there are people in your life who make you feel “less than” or unworthy, you need to separate yourself from them as soon as possible. If you  maintain connections with people who reinforce a feeling of unworthiness within you, you will lose the power and strength to make any positive change permanent. If you choose to separate yourself from a negative connection, send them love and be grateful for having shown you that you are in fact valuable and worthy.
  5. Make new connections with people that reflect the change that you desire. We all have heard the saying,  Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future,  and it is especially true for people who are seeking to improve their lives.  New relationships can help us bridge the path between our old way of being with the new way we desire.  With this being the case,  create new connections by going to places where your like-minded people go. It is motivating to surround yourself with people who value what you value, and these people should make you feel worthy. Even if you’re shy, you can still grab a book and go to a park,  your local Starbucks, or any place that would put you in contact with positive people the possess the change that you are looking to make. If you need ideas as to where you can meet people with your similar interests, try searching which MeetUps are offered in your area, and if there aren’t any, you could always create one.
  6. Set goals for yourself.  Setting goals is wonderful because it will help keep you motivated. Make sure your goals are visible and measurable, meaning don’t just say you want save money, but state the exact amount that you want to save and the specific date that you want to save it by. Be as specific as you can and use the power of visualization to help you feel as if you already have achieved your goal. Vision boards are great to help create and maintain your motivation because they build excitement around your goal.
  7. Be good to yourself.  When you start taking care of yourself,  you are showing yourself that you are worthy and valuable, which will help keep you empowered while making change. You can do this by eating healthy foods, engaging in positive activities that make you feel good, being physically active, dedicating time to doing things that make you happy, and if you haven’t done so already, start enjoying your own company. As far as doing things that are positive that make you feel good, performing random acts of kindness will always make you feel good, not to mention it contributes to the goodness in our world.

Of course, there are other things that you can do to help you stay motivated, but when you are already dedicating time creating real change, simplicity is best. Also, a short list is easier to remember, making it more likely that you will stick to it.

 

Essential Holiday Tips for Parents Dealing with Children who Suffer from Addiction

Holidays can be tough for people struggling with addiction, I know because I’ve gone through it with one son, and now, his older brother has headed down the same road. I’ve got to be kidding, right? Unfortunately, I’m not kidding. Just as one son is getting his life together, the other’s falls apart. Heartbreaking? Absolutely! But, after having gone through it, I know what to do and definitely what not to do, making me more more empowered this time around. I also know that in the spirit of the holiday season, as mothers, we have a tendency to return to our co-dependent behaviors. Of course our little co-dependent behaviors all come with the best of intentions, but as we’ve learned before, they only make the situation worse.
Determined to keep this holiday season joyous and peaceful for everyone, I have come up with a list of Do’s & Don’ts that I wanted to share with all moms having to deal with addiction during this holiday season.

List of Don’ts

  • Don’t try to fix everything
  • Don’t expect your child to be different just because you’re due for a Christmas miracle
  • Don’t over-compensate with gifts, especially if you have been financially strained due to your child’s behavior
  • Don’t trust until it has been fully earned
  • Don’t force others to be around your addicted loved-one if they don’t feel comfortable
  • Don’t love them less than your other children
  • Don’t enable them: let them fall and feel the consequences of their actions
  • Don’t verbalize negative assumptions that don’t empower them
  • Don’t let their addiction define them
  • Don’t let your addicted child’s behavior take away the holiday spirit for the rest of family

The List of Do’s

  • Accept that everything is happening for a reason
  • Take care of yourself!
  • Enjoy all of your moments
  • Listen without judgement
  • Provide a sober environment that reduces triggers
  • Avoid self-blame or any blame at all for that matter
  • Stay firm and consistent in your agreements
  • Remember everybody is suffering from something, so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise

The Three C’s of Dealing with Someone Suffering from Addiction

  • You didn’t cause the addiction
  • You can’t control the addiction
  • You can’t cure the addiction
Enjoy your holiday & get excited about making your personal resolutions for 2017!
I hope these reminders helped, please feel free to pass them on to anyone who has a son or daughter dealing with addiction.

 

Helpful Links for Family & Friends of Addicts

  • Al-Anon.org (al-anon.org) For family members of alcoholics.
  • Nar-anon (nar-anon.org) For family members of addicts.
  • Gam-anon (gam-anon.org) For family members of gamblers.
  • org (coda.org) For co-dependent individuals.
  • org (adultchildren.org) For adult children of alcoholics and addicts.
Peace,
Carolyn

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