The Recovery Expert
with Sharie Stines, Psy.D.


Tips from the Arena: Addressing Underlying Causes of Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are debilitating at worst and frustrating at best. Oftentimes, life will seem completely “normal” and all of a sudden, panic strikes – your heart starts racing, you feel like you’re going to faint or you can’t breathe; you feel a sense of impending doom; you are not “in reality,” or feel that you have lost control of yourself.

Sometimes panic strikes as you anticipate a scary or nerve-wracking experience, such as an approaching test,...


The Loyalty Bind of the Narcissist’s Child

The loyalty bind with a narcissist is different than other loyalty binds, in that it requires the individual involved with the narc to choose between the narcissist and herself.  And of course, when you’re the child of the narcissist it is no contest. The child will choose her parent’s desires every time.

One woman explained to her therapist when he asked her to visualize her abusive mother as a lion and put her in a cage....


Watching Our Children Cope with Narcissist Abuse

One of the most difficult pains to endure as a parent is to watch our children’s other parent totally abuse, ignore, criticize, abandon, reject or otherwise disappoint our children. We know that our children are innocent in who their parents are. And as we, the adults, learn about emotional abuse and narcissism, we still struggle, even though we possess analytical abilities and some harsh life experience.  Our children are even more poorly equipped than we...


Father-Daughter Emotional Incest


Veronica loved her father.  Her parents divorced when she was nine years old and she was devastated. Her father moved out and Veronica lived with her mother and older brother.  She was not emotionally prepared for her parents’ divorce and she did not understand why it had to happen at all.

Veronica was very sad and cried a lot.  She thought her mother was mean and unreasonable and could not understand why her mother was abandoning...


Writing Prompts for Recovery from an Abusive/Toxic Relationship

Journaling is a powerful tool for healing from childhood trauma and toxic relationships.  Once you make the decision to begin the healing process from a toxic or abusive relationship, you need to do many things to heal and it’s often not obvious what to do.

One thing that is very therapeutic is the journal.  Following are a list of exercises you can do every day to help yourself reflect, feel, and heal from an abusive past...


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...