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The Exhausted Woman
with Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Coping Skills

Wrong Assumptions about Personality Disorders


For the last ten years, I have made working with people who have a personality disorder and their family members the main part of my practice. I made this choice for several reasons. First, there are numerous family members within my own family that have a personality disorder and I have a natural talent for handling this population. Second, this is an area of care that most therapists avoid and therefore there is limited help....

Coping Skills

How to Identify a Misleading Client

“Not everyone who comes to counseling wants to get better.” Amanda, a mental health supervisor, told her intern. “Some are here because of a blown-up relationship, an employer who demands change, or there is a pending legal case mandated it. The key is to distinguish between those who want to improve from those who just want to be heard.”

Unfortunately for the therapist or the intern, this is not always transparent initially. Or can it be?...

Coping Skills

Mistaken Identity: These People Don’t Have a Personality Disorder


Brian came into therapy describing his wife’s behavior as having Borderline Personality Disorder. He looked up the definition online and said he knew she had it. He gave numerous examples of how perfectly she fit the profile and how he and the kids had been traumatized by her behavior.

Brian said she was fearful of his abandonment and in desperation would rage anytime he mentioned separation. He talked about her alcohol abuse and how she seemed...

General

Don’t Argue: Use These 9 Rules of Engagement


It was clear that after 7 years of marriage, Jack and Jill still loved each other. But they way they solved problems, or rather, the way they didn’t solve problems, was destroying their marriage. The last argument ended in a physical altercation and a wrestling match that left them ashamed and humiliated. Neither had ever engaged in this manner before so the shock of how quickly they escalated took them by surprise.

Jack and Jill lived...

Coping Skills

50 Excuses for Why People WON’T Change


Recently, I was speaking about the impact of decision fatigue on our daily lives. Decision fatigue is the deterioration of making good decisions after a long day of decision making. Basically, the more decisions a person makes in a day, the worst the decisions tend to be by the end of the day. This concept is especially important for executives, doctors, attorneys, and other professions that require constant unique, not automatic, daily decisions.

Interestingly enough, while...

Family

What It’s Like to be the Daughter of a Sociopath


“I hate him, with every fiber of my being, I hate him,” Marie said as she looked back on her day. “But while I hate him for this moment, I won’t let the hate linger because I’m not going to give him that power over me.” After years of silence, her bio dad sent a package of weight loss tea to her work. It was his way of saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, I see you....

Family

When Mother’s Day Seems Impossible


Elizabeth hadn’t heard from her daughter in years. The rift between them started shortly after her daughter’s marriage. There were signs when her daughter and husband were dating that something was not right. But Elizabeth couldn’t put her finger on it. The harder she tried to figure it out, the further her daughter became. She suspected he was abusive but there was no evidence to prove it and when she confronted her daughter, that was...

Family

Happy or Not-so-happy Narcissistic Mother’s Day


“You can have many spouses, but only ONE mother!” Maureen’s narcissistic mother screamed at her as she left her mother’s house. The intention was good. It was Mother’s Day and Maureen wanted to see her mom. She called her mom the week before, letting her know that she would be stopping by. Her mom seemed excited at first but just before ending the call her mother added, “I don’t know why every day isn’t ‘Mother’s...

Coping Skills

What are Panic Attacks?


As Pam was driving on a highway bridge overpass, she was suddenly struck with the thought that the bridge could collapse and she would die. She had driven on this overpass a dozen times without ever thinking twice about it so she dismissed the thought as ridiculous. But that did not work. Almost immediately, her heart started pounding, she was sweating profusely, her breathing became labored, and felt like she was going to vomit. She...

General

7 Steps of Change for a Positive Narcissistic Mid-Life Crisis


Chuck knew he was a jerk. He cheated on his wife several times, put his work before his family, rarely went to his kid’s activities, drank heavily on the rare occasions that he was home, and verbally berated anyone who challenged him. And yet, he was a highly successful businessman, intelligent about a wide range of topics, had numerous friends, and was charming (when he wanted to be). Nonetheless, despite getting his way most of...