Hurricane: Life’s Test of Endurance and Resiliency

Hurricane, counseling, Raleigh Psychotherapy, Katherine Broadwayand sometimes life sends you a hurricane.

A husband and wife watching the water to see if it will flood their home of 45 years. Residents wait for a tree to be removed from a power line, so they can live in the light again.

Traffic rerouted. Business owners watch as water creeps toward their businesses and livelihood. Countless others wait for the damage that never comes.

The drama and trauma unfolds as nature reminds us that we are not always in control. 

hurricane Matthew, counseling, Raleigh Psychotherapy, Katherine Broadway…and still, the dawn breaks and the sun returns to remind us that life goes on regardless of the impact of the storm.

Control once again returns to us at least in some limited way.

Neighbors and friends join those in need to provide help in labor, goods, support and love. We are not alone in the time of need. Groups of people gather around those who need help.

We see the goodness and giving nature of humanity.

Storms test us. 

Most of the time it is a test of nerves as we wait to see if this time, we are the ones with any damage or even worse the tragedy.

Even, if we are not affected by the storm, we know someone who is. When it is over we often have frayed nerves and guilt. This is survivor guilt. It is the joy and gratitude that this time, we were the lucky ones. Soon the guilt follows the joy.  I survived the storm while many others are suffering.

What can we do in times like this? We can look for the opportunity to help. You may be the one to help a neighbor, friend or family member: clean up a yard, donate food or listen to the person telling the story of what happened to them.

For weeks after a storm, people will ask, “How did you do in the storm?” It is an opportunity to help yourself and others. Telling the story of what happened, is how we process memories . By connecting with caring people, we put into perspective our own experience. We process the event and store our memories inside us in helpful ways when we are able tell our story. It helps release the negative energy and impact associated with the event.

Happiness Quota: How Happy Are You Allowed to Be?

Happiness QuotaImagine this scene: A mother is in the hospital just having given birth to her baby. She is excited and happy. The nurse gives her the newborn. The baby turns her head toward mother and snuggles.

The baby is searching for warmth and comfort. The child probably is not hungry because it has just spent nine months with all its needs met. The baby is mostly traumatized and seeking comfort and safety. Continue reading

After Orlando, Deflecting Fear One Person at a Time

After Orlando Deflecting Fear One Person at a TimeAlisha came in with a look of fear and anxiety. “What is wrong with the world? Another mass shooting and no-one there to stop it. Why are the police not doing their job and protecting us? I can’t make sense of what is happening in the world. I feel so powerless, what can I do?”

Alisha was the first of many people, both male and female, to express these thoughts about the shooting in Orlando, both in and out of my office. In many ways, I am speechless and feel as powerless as everyone else.

The temptation is to follow the path of anger and violence: when in doubt, strike back. We all want something done so we can go back to what we see as the safe cocoon of the 50’s and 60’s. That is an illusion. I vividly remember the Bay of Pigs, waiting on the school playground to hear whether we were going to war. Was my daddy going to have to go to war? My best friend Kay and I held hands crying and trying to console one another.

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Relationships: How Counter-dependency and Co-dependency Work Together

Relationships: How Counter-dependency and Co-dependency Work Together “I am a co-dependent. There is no way I am like those counter-dependents. I cling to people in relationships; I don’t push them away.”

It is possible to be both a co-dependent and a counter-dependent at the same time.  Each person has their “preferred” way of relating, but there are times when what is going on at an unconscious level may tell a very different story.

Co-dependency and counter-dependency work together in the mind to protect you from harm. In a relationship, they work to create a safe space where no one will get hurt. Continue reading

A Comparison of Counter-Dependency and Co-dependency

A Comparison of Counter-Dependency and Co-dependencyMuch has been written about co-dependency, its characteristics and the many ways it impacts relationships. Little has been written about the other side of the coin: counter-dependency. When circumstances are right, the co-dependent and counter-dependent will change roles. Even though they look very different they are both a product of fear. One is not worse than the other or more painful than the other. Continue reading