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RAPE OF THE HEART

Many years ago, I did some work with the dynamic authors and couple therapists Helena Lovendal and Nick Duffell. This is where I first heard the term ‘rape of the heart’. A phrase afforded to the men who as boys, became the confidante and major source of emotional support to their mothers.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, though fundamentally as a result of the father being absent whether literally as in dead, estranged from the family, unavailable due to work commitments or more often emotionally absent. This coupled with needy or emotionally stunted mothers, sets the scene for a ‘rape of the heart’.

Similarly to girls, boys have a heightened awareness and sensitivity to their mothers needs. By the time a boy is 5 years old, he is said to know all of his mothers unfulfilled dreams and heartaches. This is mentally confusing and emotionally too much for their hearts to bear. In an effort to survive psychically, they detach themselves in favour of climbing trees and kicking footballs.

In this detachment they shut down their hearts for protection, not wanting to continue the painful connection because ultimately they cannot meet the needs of their mother or fix her pain. The fact that it is not their place to do so, is beyond their comprehension. The already emotionally overburdened boy, carries a sense of guilt for not being able to be the ‘man’ his mother needs.

Disappointed and disillusioned with the ‘absent’ husband,  the mother can unconsciously or consciously place both insidious and overt demands on her son to ‘hold the space’ emotionally for her.  This makes contributes hugely to the later failure in his relationships and the subsequent emotional and psychological pain and torment that can plague his life.

Fast forward 30 odd years. The boy, now a man, is in a troubled relationship. Sitting in front of me with his partner, I ask what they want from therapy.  He says with a pained expression “I just want her to be happy” she says with frustration “ He doesn’t get me because he never really listens to me”. Neither of them can understand what went wrong. Both tell me how much in love and happy they were in the beginning. They thought they were a perfect match.

Naturally it will take time for them to explore their dynamic and to understand some of the more subtle issues in their relationship.

If he is able to grasp the concept that the closer he and his partner become and the more intimate their relationship, the more threatening this feels for him at a deeper unconscious level. His visceral memory associates closeness and intimacy with the deep emotional wound of not being ‘enough’ for his mother.

As his partner opens up to him, expecting connection because for her, this is the foreplay, the intimacy.  He instinctively pulls away and shuts down. He is fearful that he wont be able to  ‘fix’ his partner, so it’s easier for him to disconnect.   As this unconscious reflection plays out in their relationship it threatens their connection.

Once he gains understanding and insight of this unconscious programming, he can start to clear the mental fog of confusion and become more congruent. In time he learns to feel more comfortable with the intimacy and improves his communication with his partner.

If you have found this article thought provoking please feel free to pass it on to anyone who you think would be interested too.

 

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6 Survival Tips For A Stress Free Christmas

How to cope with Christmas

I love that quote …“Think you’re enlightened? Spend a week with your family!”

For many family is the messiest part of life. People just won’t do what we want them to do will theyHow to cope with Christmas!

Christmas holidays often mean spending prolonged periods of time with people who can push your emotional buttons, so what’s your plan to survive Christmas and the strong opinions or personalities that can arise at this time?  Check out my tips below.

1. Meditation

The Christmas holidays are a perfect time to develop a regular mediation habit. Start with  5 minutes, building to 7 and then 10 minutes a day by week two.  Along with enormous health benefits, at this time of year meditation can offer you the perfect excuse to get away and give yourself some much needed time and space. Check out my other blogs or click here for simple meditation techniques.

2. Breathe  To Alleviate Boredom

I remember someone telling me of their dread of the office party and the boring conversations they had to endure each year. If you get stuck with the office bore try practising a simple breathing technique whilst they’re talking to you. Keep looking at the person and subtly bring your awareness to your nostrils, silently count One on your next inbreath, two before you breathe out, three as you exhale and four before you breathe in again. When you’ve counted 5 ‘whole’ breaths in this way make your excuses ” well, it’s been great catching up and I want to talk to …. now, enjoy the rest of the party” and run!

3. Develop compassion.

If step 2 seems a bit harsh, maybe you can develop the art of active listening? You’re with the office bore again (except you no longer refer to them in such a way) imagine you can drop down into a very peaceful space within and begin listening with an open heart, i.e. with absolutely no expectations, no desire to escape and without a need to fix them, question them or judge anything they say. Good luck with that!

4. Boundaries. Where are yours?

What is your tolerance level for a particular person? So for example you don’t get along with your sister can you sit open-heartedly listening to her for 5 minutes or 10? What and where is your limit? It’s important to know yourself in this respect. Think about these interactions ahead of time.  Once you’ve reached your tolerance level with that particular person have  an “I need to get up and get some water” statement handy, so that you can change your position and your state. Plan ahead, is it possible to arrange to sit next to someone you do enjoy talking to?

5. Booze. Is it time to monitor your intake?

At what point might you say something you could regret? If two drinks leave you merry and sweet but four make you a bit mouthy…  perhaps you need a plan. Think ahead. How do you want to feel when you wake up after you’ve been out partying? When you look back over the previous evening’s events do you want to be happy with your ruminations or will you be cringing because of something you said or did?  Will that extra drink make the difference?  Plan ahead and decide when enough is enough. Before you go out think about an alternative to alcohol get a really clear picture of it in your mind, for example imagine a nice glass of sparkling tonic water with a shot of lime cordial and a twist of lemon, or a pot of freshly brewed coffee.

6. Kindness

Christmas is an especially good time to be thoughtful, kind and generous to others but I hear so often of people (usually women) who have run themselves ragged trying to make the perfect Christmas for others only to end up ‘coming down with something’. So be kind to yourself first, it’s then easier to give authentically to others.  Make time for you and as you give yourself a bit of space  ask yourself “what do I want, what do I need.” When your cup is full there’s a tendency to only want for the good of others and if you’re okay,  you’re in a better position to take care of others.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs, visit the site and purchase products I really value your feedback.

Wishing my family, friends, clients, yoga students and readers a great Christmas and all you would wish for yourself throughout 2017.

Remember if you know of anyone who might benefit, my shop is stocked full of programs designed to help with confidence, stress, anxiety, sleep problems and other issues. Psst! Pass it on please…

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Are You Fat Focused?

Do you obsess about food?
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Are you constantly on and off of the scales?

Do you worry about sticking to a diet?

Are you always counting calories?

If you don’t care about being overweight then fine, don’t read on but if you’re constantly striving to lose weight only to put it back on, or are stuck in the yo-yo pattern of dieting you might want to try a new approach.

The majority of people with weight problems tend to be consumed by thoughts of what, when and how they will eat or drink. Constant worrying about food and focusing on feeling fat are your worst enemies in the pursuit of losing weight.

I know that the easiest way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your mind-set. Here are 3 ways you can do it

  1. Update Your Mental Software.
  2. Throw Away Your Scales.
  3. Reprogram Your Mind using language it understands.

Change your mind and keep the change

 Discover the best way to finally dump your negative thoughts and feelings. Upgrade your mindset and rebuild your self-esteem with my Mindful Weight Loss approach.

1. Update Your Mental Software

Are you interested in the quickest way to do this? Hypnosis. Reprogram your mind, by-pass the negative inner chatter and input positive thoughts that will change the way you feel. 21 days of consistent listening to positive, upbeat suggestions of self-love will have you automatically making better choices. You will find everything easier when you feel positive and confident.

The biggest part of your mind, the subconscious mind believes whatever it is told. What are you telling yourself about your size, weight, or the way you look?

2. Throw Away Your Scales.file0001481171194

Hopping on and off of scales create a hopeless addiction, get rid of them, they’re work of the devil! They lie too! Have you ever jumped on your scales and felt your heart soar because you’d shed a little weight? Only to get on your friend’s scales (because you couldn’t resist) to find you’d gained some weight?

Scales encourage negative thinking that will quickly spiral you down into feeling out of control, this is my opinion based on 28 years of facilitating weight loss with thousands of people.

Stop kidding yourself. You WILL KNOW WHEN YOU’VE LOST WEIGHT when your trousers feel loose or more comfortable, or when you no longer need to loosen your belt whilst eating. Resist the temptation to  buy  clothes in bigger sizes and work your way back into the wardrobe you have, by being kind, encouraging and loving to yourself. I go into the psychology of this more in the course.

3. Picture The Best You

Picture The Best You… develop the habit of putting yourself into a gentle state of relaxation (yes, this can be done on the train on your way to work, or just as you drift off to sleep) once relaxed; create pictures of you in your minds eye being the best version of you. Imagine yourself feeling, fit, flexible and strong. If you’re visual (I’m not so I just get on and imagine) visualize yourself doing and being who you are when you are what makes you feel the best. For example, see you looking very much in control, relaxed, confident, peaceful, in love with and loving yourself. See yourself sufficiently confident to make better choices. Encourage yourself to exercise by persistently picturing yourself swimming, walking or taking a class in the gym.

Your subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it… what are you telling it?

More importantly the language of the biggest part of your mind (the subconscious) is imagery, so it prefers to receive positive images. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself regularly.

Don’t be shy, take advantage of the Ask Sue facility here on the website and ask me any questions you have about losing weight.

If you’ve any questions about my Mindful Weight Loss course ask away! The course is unique and I created it more with the idea of helping people to become happier and more at peace with themselves with the weight loss being more a by- product of that. There is no dieting involved in this course, although you do need to want to lose weight and be prepared to make a commitment to doing so.

So if you know someone who would find this useful please pass it onto them.

 

 

 

 

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CAN YOU HEAR ME?

Brian Tracy quote

When we pay full attention to what someone is saying, it contributes to people feeling validated and recognised.sw_Listening_sa209430

One of the most valuable gifts you can give someone is to be present for them whilst they talk to you. If you think back over your last interaction with someone, did you listen properly? By this I mean really listen to them with your full attention?

Modern psychology states that something like 78% of our communication is non-verbal. This means when people are speaking their words may be saying one thing but their tonality, the volume of what they’re saying and body language, may all be communicating something else.

For example someone says, “Of course I love you!” in an aggressive tone. Or someone is saying yes whilst unconsciously shaking his or her head side to side in a ‘No’ fashion.

It’s the same when we’re listening, if we are only half paying attention to what someone is saying, we are giving mixed messages. What we’re really saying is, I’m not really listening because what I’d like to be getting on with, or saying is far more important than anything you have to say! These mixed messages are confusing for people and add to negative feelings and low self-esteem. It’s poor communication.

Successful business entrepreneur Brian Tracy uses the quote ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’ a good premise for excellent communication.

 Brian Tracy quote

The art of active listening requires practice and since many people like to talk about themselves, there’s usually plenty of opportunity for that.

Effective listening underpins healthy, positive relationships.

How do you stop your mind from wandering when the person in front of you is talking and perhaps you’ve heard it all before? Breathe, focus on your breath for a moment and then guide your unruly mind back to the person on the other end of the phone or the face of the person who’s standing in front of you. What if that was the last time you ever saw them, spoke with them? Would you be happy at how you had received them?

I once witnessed a situation where one person was sharing something really personal and heartfelt and the other person emptied the entire contents of her handbag looking for something. When the first person stopped talking the other eventually looked up and said “Go on, I am listening.” Was that active listening? What do you think?

So what is active listening? Here’s my top ten tips for attentive listening.

  1. Where possible stop what you are doing
  2. Make eye contact with the person who is speaking.
  3. Stand or sit directly in front of them.
  4. Aim to keep your own facial expressions to a minimum, no raised eyebrows or eyes rolling to the sky.
  5. Remain still, without fiddling or rummaging when someone is speaking to you.
  6. Refrain from sounds such as ‘tut’ ‘phew’ or other non-verbal sounds.
  7. When you think they have finished speaking, allow a space, they may not have finished.
  8. Don’t talk over people.
  9. Don’t interrupt.
  10. If someone is talking slower than your mind is working, don’t finish their sentences, there’s just a chance, you’re not a mind reader and don’t quite know what they’re going to say.

Looking forward to your feedback.

Sue

 

 

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Why The Hell Are You So Angry?

family

Following on from the theme of Parent Adult Child in last week’s blog, you might consider the above question and wonder, ‘where does your anger come from’?

I’m not talking about the every day irritability that people might feel with the small things in life, more the red mist, and uncontrollable rage that so many people report in therapy rooms across the globe.

When you go from zero to a hundred in a split second, or snap without warning at your child, where are you coming from?

Is it your parent part or your child part, or maybe both!

familyAs I’ve stated before, these parts are like automatons. They hold the codes –the early messages from your childhood – in your mind and more importantly your body.

In my experience people feel anger and then react to that feeling. As a loose guideline, your inner child may hold the feelings in the stomach, chest, throat, jaw and fists. The feelings generate thought patterns and thoughts generate behaviours.

It goes without saying that this doesn’t apply to every one and depends very much on your own personal history and upbringing. Explore your own programing to determine where the messages in the back of your mind come from.

I’m not suggesting that the ‘adult’ doesn’t get a little angry from time to time, but we might like to think that the ‘adult’ is the part of us that feels in control, balanced, relaxed, calm and confident – this is way that most clients say they want to feel.

As I said in the last blog, if the programs of the parent and child are pretty much set in stone, then the adult is the only place where we can set goals and make changes. That’s because your subconscious mind is willing to store all information regardless of whether it’s true or false.

thinking and feeling

If our aspiration is to be relaxed, confident and in control then our adult will learn to be assertive, because that assertiveness is that balance between passive and aggressive.

It is less likely that the ‘adult’ part has uncontrollable out-bursts, a seething rage, or smouldering, inverted anger. These little joys are more likely to belong to our inner child or the parent part and often this anger can be attributed to both child and parent.

By way of example, picture the scene. Sophia has not learned assertive skills so instead of communicating well with her husband Bob, she keeps it all bottled up inside. She often shoots dirty looks at Bob and stamps about banging doors and sighing loudly. All the while their daughter Sally, witnesses this non-verbal communication.

Bob also lacking assertive skills picks finally snaps and explodes in rage that is terrifying for all.

This becomes the map for Sally to follow, she begins to sigh loudly, to bang and thump around, she may shoot filthy looks at her mother when she can’t get her own way.

Sally will also draw on her father’s map and may react passively around her parents’ anger, fearfully withdrawn until finally exploding in a tantrum.

Later as an adult this is the baggage Sally eventually unpacks in her own relationships. That’s just her half! His map bringing his own baggage will guide her partner.

Naturally there are many variations on this scene.

Wherever you’re coming from maybe it’s time to bring more peace into your world by developing your adult part learning some assertive skills to improve your communication within yourself and with others.

Enjoy!

Suex xx