The Recovery Expert
with Sharie Stines, Psy.D.


Sometimes Being Compassionate Just Doesn’t Work

I see it all the time.  Parents, spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, all with bleeding hearts; full of compassion and understanding for their loved ones, while the people they love so much continue to hurt them – over and over again, daily.

Why does this happen?

Non-addicts, non-abusers, people without characterological disorders, all play with one set of rules and do not realize that they are on a different playing field altogether than their abusive or addictive counterparts, who...


Recognizing Emotional Abuse

What is emotional abuse?

There is no “one size fits all” description for emotional abuse; however, here is list of typical behaviors of emotional abusers:

Abusers will treat another person in a utilitarian manner; as an object to be used, rather than as a person to be valued.
They often use targets’ weaknesses against them.
They pout and give the silent treatment.
Abusers often yell at others, use profanity, and dump their rage on their targets.


Victims of Emotional Abuse

To determine what emotional abuse is, please see my previous article: Recognizing Emotional Abuse.

If you are a victim of emotional abuse it is important for you to realize you are suffering from a trauma and need help from others in order to heal.

How are victims of emotional abuse affected?

All types of abuse hurt emotionally. Whether it's physical, sexual, spiritual, financial, psychological, or mental - emotional damage results.

Emotional abuse causes interpersonal damage. Some call...


Navigating the Extended Family in a Step Family

Navigating a step-family can be a challenging endeavor. Add the inclusion of extended family relationships, and the endeavor can prove daunting. If you are in one, you understand this truth.

The creation of a step-family is not seamless; it is convoluted. As with all relationships, people bring a history. Each family member brings an individual family history with him or herself.  Every family has a culture. When a new step family is created, it is born out...


You Matter Too: Coping with Narcissistic Co-Parenting

When living in a family with a narcissist spouse or partner, the entire system believes that the only person who matters is the narc. Your children (and you) have been conditioned, through both blatant messages and implication, to believe that your feelings (and you) are irrelevant.

Since this is the message your children have most likely internalized, it is important for you to un-teach that message to them. First, you must unlearn it yourself.

Realize the narcissist has taught...


Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

To be diagnosed with BPD*, a person must experience at least five of the following symptoms (APA 2014):

Fear of abandonment
Unstable or changing relationships
Unstable self-image; struggles with identity or sense of self
Impulsive or self-damaging behaviors (, excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
Suicidal behavior or self-injury
Varied or random mood swings
Constant feelings of worthlessness or sadness
Problems with anger, including frequent loss of temper or physical fights


Recognizing Narcissistic Abuse

When you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you tend to not realize that you are experiencing “real” abuse, such as victims of physical and sexual abuse.  In addition to this, so many people do not understand what narcissism is and are completely oblivious to what narcissist abuse is.

It usually takes years to figure out and usually your self-esteem is in the gutter when you realize THAT is the problem.

Know this, narcissists tailor make their...


How to Stay with a Narcissist

Having a sustainable relationship with a narcissist can be challenging. Here is a list of tips to help you stay in a relationship with someone who is narcissistic.  Realize that some of these tips contradict each other; this is because remaining in a long term relationship with a narcissist is a contradictory endeavor.

It is recommended that you understand that the relationship rules for narcissists are different than those for others. The following suggestions will help...


Creative Counseling

One attribute of a good counselor or good leader is the ability to be creative.  This article is an overview of Samuel Gladding’s ideas for implementing creativity into one’s counseling practice.

The acronym SCAMPER was created by Bob Eberle as a creativity technique to help teach children how to develop their thinking skills.  Over time, it was obvious that these concepts could be incorporated in a variety of applications.

Here are some suggestions for bringing the concepts...


When a Narcissist Makes an Apology

An apology to a narcissist is not the same as it is for the non-personality-disordered person. An apology to the average person means:

I’m sorry.
Let’s make up.

An apology to a narcissist means:

Look how good I am.
Now you owe me forgiveness.
We won’t talk about this again.
Our relationship is still on my terms, but I appear to care about your feelings.

Do not be fooled by a narcissist’s apology. Realize that the relationship...