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Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania

 

Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania To Numbness

Linda sat opposite me at one of my five-day Inner Bonding Intensives. She had decided to attend the Intensive because her depression, which had plagued her for years, was not being helped by medication or by the numerous forms of therapy that she had tried.

As she sat opposite me, telling me about her past and her depression, I felt like I was sitting with a person who had stuffed herself into a box and closed the door. There was a sense of emptiness and numbness that ema...

depression, happiness, Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania, Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania recovery, self help, personal development, inner child, self improvement, depression help, sexual abuse, anxiety, stress

Linda sat opposite me at one of my five-day Inner Bonding Intensives. She had decided to attend the Intensive because her depression, which had plagued her for years, was not being helped by medication or by the numerous forms of therapy that she had tried.

As she sat opposite me, telling me about her past and her depression, I felt like I was sitting with a person who had stuffed herself into a box and closed the door. There was a sense of emptiness and numbness that emanated from her.

"Linda," I asked her. "When did you first feel this numbness that I feel coming from you?"

Linda started to cry. "I was 9 years old when my uncle sexually abused me. He and my aunt lived a few blocks from our house. I went to visit my aunt and she wasn't home but my uncle was, which had never happened before. He told me not to tell anyone but I ran home and told my mom about what he had made me do to him. As traumatic as the sexual abuse was, I was equally traumatized when my mother didn't believe me and punished me for lying. I felt so devastated and alone. Everything changed for me from that moment on. Before that, I was a happy girl who did well in school. After that, I don't remember feeling happy and my grades kept going down."

"Linda, there is an incredibly painful feeling that you felt when your uncle abused you and when you mother didn't believe you and punished you. You were too young to handle this feeling so you did the best thing you could do, which was to shut down and numb out. Our language doesn't have a good word for this feeling. The closest words we have are heartbreak and intense loneliness."

"Yes," said Linda. That's the feeling. I remember how overwhelmed I felt by that feeling. I felt like if I kept feeling it I would die or go crazy, so I shut it down by numbing out."

"Right. But now, as an adult, you can actually handle the feelings of loneliness and heartbreak, yet you are still avoiding them. By avoiding them with numbing out, you are stifling your true Self, your core Self. And so you end up depressed. We will always end up depressed when we put a lid on ourselves to avoid feelings we believe we can't handle."

"But I still don't think I can handle those feelings."

"Linda, are you willing to find out if that is true?"

"Yes."

"Close your eyes and put your focus into your body. Imagine the 9-year old that you were. Let yourself remember that awful day and let yourself remember what you felt like being abused and then not believed and punished. Imagine that you are an adult holding yourself as a 9-year old, believing her and allowing her to cry while you comfort her. Breathe into the feelings, acknowledging the heartbreak and loneliness, bringing deep love and compassion to your 9-year old."

Linda held a stuffed animal that represented her inner child, holding and rocking her 9-year old for about 5 minutes.

"Linda, what is happening with the feelings?"

"I am feeling much better, much lighter. I don't have that numbness right now. And I don't feel depressed right now!"

"So by acknowledging, embracing and moving into compassion for your feelings of heartbreak and loneliness, they moved through you. You CAN manage these feelings. You no longer have to avoid them by numbing out."

Linda had become addicted to numbness as her way of managing her feelings, but once she learned to be with them with compassion, she no longer needed the numbness. I heard from her a couple of months after the Intensive and she was still feeling light and happy, with no sign of depression.

 

Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania to Perfection

The following email was sent to me by Karen, a member of our website:

“For no obvious reason this morning, I was feeling anxious and depressed. I looked at it and realized that the false belief creating all this was that I have to be perfect in order for me to allow myself to feel happiness. Yet, there are so many conditions for me to be perfect that it is almost impossible to achieve.

perfection, obsessive behavior

The following email was sent to me by Karen, a member of our website:

“For no obvious reason this morning, I was feeling anxious and depressed. I looked at it and realized that the false belief creating all this was that I have to be perfect in order for me to allow myself to feel happiness. Yet, there are so many conditions for me to be perfect that it is almost impossible to achieve. Still, I have driven myself to be ‘perfect’ sometimes and discovered it that the ensuing happiness lasts about 2 seconds and I am exhausted.

“Lately, procrastination is somehow wrapped up in this conundrum too. Maybe I don't even try things because I know if it's not done perfectly I won't value it anyway. Most of my life, my critically inspired drive propelled me to achieve some amazing things (including opening my own business in L.A.). Somehow, I feel that if I don't criticize and punish myself then I'll never go anywhere or do anything. Yet the truth is, right now, I'm not really productive. There must be another way!”

Needing to be perfect is a form of control. The wounded, critical part of us believes that, “If I am perfect (whatever that means!) then people will like me, love me, admire me, approve of me, pay attention to me, or validate me. Then I will feel worthy. I can control how people feel about me by being perfect.” The need to control how people feel about us comes from making others responsible for defining our worth. The false belief is that if someone likes you, then you are worthy, and then you can be happy. But, as Karen said, “the ensuing happiness last about 2 seconds and I am exhausted.” Trying to be perfect is exhausting and the good feelings are very short-lived.

In addition, having to be perfect in order to gain approval often leads to procrastination. The fear of disapproval and failure if you are not perfect can be so great that it stops you from taking the action you need to take. Judging yourself to get yourself to do things “perfectly” often backfires, leading to paralysis instead of creativity and productivity, as it has with Karen.

Karen states that, “There must be another way!” There is, indeed, another way - a much better way.

When you decide to define your own worth instead of handing that crucial responsibility to others, you will stop worrying about what others think and feel about you. The problem is that, for most of us, our parents and other adults defined our worth when we are young. Of course we saw adults as having the authority to do that. As we grew older, we gave our peers the authority to define us. But at some point, we need to shift from others having the authority to define our worth to our own higher, wise self or spiritual Guidance having the authority.

In addition, we need to shift from defining our worth based on external qualities to our worth being based on internal, intrinsic soul qualities. As long as your worth is based on performance, you will worry about results. But when your worth is based on your intrinsic qualities of caring, compassion, goodness, empathy, and joyfulness, then it is never on the line regarding your performance. This will free you to create and produce with freedom and joy, knowing that you can make all the mistakes in the world and still be worthy. Perfection never comes into the picture when your performance is a joyful expression of your intrinsic worth, rather than a form of controlling what others think and feel about you.

When you open to learning with a higher authority about your true, intrinsic worth, and embrace the beauty and wonder of your beautiful essence, you will stop thinking about perfection, and you will stop thinking about performance and what others think about you. You will know that you are already “perfect” in your essence, and that there is nothing to prove.

When you know your worth as intrinsic rather than based on your performance, life becomes so much easier and less tiring. Instead of your Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania to perfection immobilizing you, you are free to fully express yourself and manifest your gifts and talents. Expressing yourself creatively and productively becomes fun rather than fearful!

 

Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania to Self-Judgment

“I’m such a jerk. How could I have said that?”
“I’m a looser. I’ll never get anywhere.”
“I’m so stupid. I should have learned this by now.”
“I don’t fit in. I don’t belong with these people.”
“I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never do it right enough.”
“I’m permanently emotionally damaged. I’ll never be okay.”
“No one could love me. I’m not lovable.”

self improvement, self judgement

I’m such a jerk. How could I have said that?”
“I’m a looser. I’ll never get anywhere.”
“I’m so stupid. I should have learned this by now.”
“I don’t fit in. I don’t belong with these people.”
“I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never do it right enough.”
“I’m permanently emotionally damaged. I’ll never be okay.”
“No one could love me. I’m not lovable.”

…and so on and so on.

Are you aware of your self-judgments? Are you aware of how often you judge yourself as bad, wrong, or inadequate? Are you aware of how you end up feeling as a result of your self-judgments?

In my counseling work with people, I find that self-judgment is one of the major causes of fear, anger, anxiety and depression. Yet most people don’t realize that these painful feelings are the result of their own thoughts, their own self-judgments. Most of the time, when I ask an anxious client why they are feeling anxious, they tell me that it’s because of something that happened to them. They usually believe that an event or a person caused their anxiety. Yet when I ask them what they are thinking that might be causing their anxiety, they will tell me a self-judgment such as, “I’ll never get this right,” or they are projecting their own judgment onto me and telling themselves, “Margaret doesn’t like me,” or “Margaret is getting impatient with me.” When they judge themselves or make up that I’m judging them, they get anxious. There is nothing actually happening that is causing their anxiety, other than their own thoughts.

Pointing out to them that they are causing their anxiety with their self-judgment doesn’t not necessarily stop the judgment. This is because self-judgment is often an Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania. An Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania is a habitual behavior that is intended to protect against pain. What is the pain that self-judgment is intended to protect against?

Generally, the hope of self-judgment is to protect against rejection and failure. The false beliefs are that, “If I judge myself, then others won’t judge me and reject me. I can be safe from others’ judgment by judging myself first,” or “If I judge myself, I can motivate myself to do things right and succeed. Then I will feel safe and be loved and accepted by others.”

However, just as a child does far better in school with encouragement than with criticism, so do we as adults. Criticism tends to scare and immobilize us. Instead of motivating us, it often creates so much anxiety that we get frozen and become unable to take appropriate action for ourselves. More self-judgment follows the lack of action, which results in more anxiety and immobilization, until we create a situation where we are completely stuck and miserable.

The way out of this is to become aware of the feelings of fear, anxiety, anger or depression and then ask yourself, “What did I just tell myself that is creating this feeling?” Once you become aware of the self-judgment, you can then ask yourself, “Am I certain that what I am telling myself is true?” If you are not 100% certain that what you are telling yourself is true, you can ask your higher, wise self or a spiritual source of wisdom, “What is the truth?” If you are really open to learning about the truth, the truth will pop into your mind, and it will be much different than what you have been telling yourself.

For example, “I’m such a jerk. How could I have said that?” becomes “We all mess up at times. It’s okay to make mistakes - it’s part of being human. Making a mistake does not mean that you are a jerk.” When we open to the truth, we will discover a kind and compassionate way of speaking to ourselves, a way that makes us feel loved and safe rather than anxious, angry or depressed.

Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomanias are always challenging to resolve, and an Addiction, Dipsomania & Methomania to self-judgment is no exception. So be easy on yourself, and don’t judge yourself for judging yourself! It will take time and dedication to become aware of your self-judgments and learn to be kind toward yourself, but the end result is so worth the effort!

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