Crisis Prevention

This post flows from having read a recent article called “I am Adam Lanza’s mother in the Huffington Post. It was not written by Mrs. Lanza, but by Lisa Long, who has a difficult 13 year old son. We are not just taking about a bratty child. He is a child that she frequently has to take to the emergency room for threats of suicide or against her and his siblings. Her other children have an emergency plan of how to get to safety if he starts to act out. She has to collect all the sharp objects in her home and carry them with her.

She gave up her career as a free-lancer to get a job with benefits to get the help she needs for her son, although it sounds like there aren’t the resources they need that are actually available (or even that exist), let alone are covered by even “good “insurance. She cannot predict what will set her son off, or how a day will proceed. She wants help for her son. She needs help for herself and the rest of the family as well; I suspect that most of the resources go toward helping her problematic son. What must it be like for the siblings in such an environment, let alone the parents? [Read more…]

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Remember the siblings of the addict

I got a note today from a client who’s son is unfortunately now on his own journey doing the addiction dance. He’s actually too young to be labeled an addict yet, or right now in his journey in my opinion. However, early intervention is an important step. The family is being referred to a very reputable program; I mean, the son and his parents.

He has 2 siblings, one older and one younger who are not going to be included in the program.  They are all teens in middle and high school, and I think that this is a pretty big flaw in most adolescent treatment programs. Uhmmm,wait, that is a pretty big flaw in most drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Family programs, at least the ones I know about, and I’ve been in the business almost 25 years, focus on education about addiction and continue to put the focus on the addict and how everyone dances around the addict. Oh , they are told to go to Al-Anon or Nar-anon and take care of themselves ,but most families need more than self-help to learn to do this. The resources are limited for the adult members of the family and even sparser for the child members. Good intentions ,but not so great in practice.

Family and friends may not understand exactly what the addict is going through, but they are an integral part of the recovery process. Addicts do need a sober support network, but they also need to be a functioning part of their family, if they still have one. Yes, there are folks to do not have a family, and create a family in self-help and that’s really important.  This message isn’t for them, it’s for the families and friends who are still connected with and addict and want to be supportive and have the person back in their lives and a healthy and functioning way.

I am putting the finishing touches on just such a program.

What would YOU want to see included in a program to help your family, especially the siblings?

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They can’t do it alone

OK, if you have someone in your life who is addicted to “Oxy” here’s a sad truth: They cannot stop on their own!  The addict will tell you they will just stop when you confront them/him/her.  I’m not saying s/he can’t, but I haven’t seen anyone yet in my practice who has been able to just stop, or wean him/herself off. That’s why it’s called an addiction, and that’s why there are detoxes to help.

Addicts, if they will accept the help, not only need to clean their systems of the drug, but need to break the cycle of using and all the associations to/with it.  Especially if they accept help under duress. Even if they accept help gratefully, they have been hoping for some time that someone would notice and care enough to ignore the wheedling and pleading and manipulation and present them with an option to get help, to stop, to have another chance.

So while you are trying to figure out how to help the loved one in your life, do the most important thing first: take care of you. Get support for you; get help for you.  Get enough sleep; eat right, and talk. Talk to someone who can help you work out the plan to confront, with love and compassion, and cope whether your loved one accepts help right away, or later, or never.

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starting over

Ack! Didn’t do so well with my last goal. However, a do-over is OK, and I start again, blogging daily.  

I stopped at my local all service printing/mailing center to drop off some packages.  While  chatting with the ower,  he mentioned that he and his wife were heading for their 45th anniversary.  On further thought, he mentioned that they had been dating for 3 years before they got married. He smiled and said “she was 16….she was hot.”  Then his smile broadened just a bit and he said she was still hot. Wow!   Maybe I should go back and find out what the secret is.

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As the season changes, the days get shorter and the weather cools. Well, got downright cold in NJ last week, cold enough to snow where I live.  It’s a good time to remember to take care of yourself.  Get enough sleep. Dress for the weather. Eat well. Of course, this one is a subject of debate.

There are some basics to think about that can have an impact of your health and more.

~ Buy locally when you can, organic if possible. This supports local farmers and economy and uses less resources.  Fresh from the farmer, at the farm or farmers markets really does taste different from fresh in the supermarket. 

~Eat seasonally. There is a rich fall bounty, and many of the foods are warming to warm you from the inside. Cooler weather brings to mind yummy soups and rich stews.

~Eat less meat and more vegetables.

~Whole grains are the “good” carbs. Not sure what whole grains are?  Ask a holistic nutritionist or someone who eats them.  My friend Kathy is a great resource: http://www.backtobasicwellness.com/

~Add probiotics to your diet. You can get these in supplements, but also in foods like yogurt, kefir and kombucha.  You can find kefir, a fermented daily drink in some grocery stores and in health food stores. Kombucha, a fermented tea drink, can also be found in health food stores, and a friend found it also in her local asian market.

When we feel better physically, we feel better emotionally. When we feel better emotionally, we feel better physically.

To your health!

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I couldn’t say it any better myself!

I am using this article with permission. I often tell clients that they teach people how to treat them.  I explain that by accepting someone else’s inappropriate behaviors, we reinforce that behavior.  Sometimes we don’t like to hear it, but knowing it can empower us to
grow, to effect change in relationships, and generally feel more at peace.

You Teach People How to Treat You
March 2nd, 2007 by Christine Kane
I was in Web Guy’s office a few weeks ago. He was having a moment of overwhelm about his client list. He talked about how some of his clients call on the weekends and late at night, and how many people don’t honor his schedule. He was frustrated and exhausted.

I allow people their moments of frustration in situations like this. So I listened. But seeing as how I also like to offer a more empowered perspective, I told him about a great thing I learned many years ago. It’s a fundamental truth that has served me (and those with whom I work and play) immensely. It is this:

You teach people how to treat you.

As soon as I said this, his eyes lit up. He couldn’t believe how simple it was. And the more we talked, the more excited he got. (I refrained from calling him “grasshopper.”)

The first time I ever heard this concept was when I saw Oprah in Raleigh, NC years ago. She presented this idea. Then she partnered it with another truth. She said (in that “Sistah!” way that she does when she’s being funny) “…and giiiiirl, when someone shows you who they are… bee-LEEVE them the FIRST TIME!” (She repeated this one a lot. She was talking about abusive relationships.)

So, what does it mean?

You teach people how to treat you means that it all comes back to you. It’s up to you to allow or not allow certain treatment. It also means that you have to first get clear about how you want to be treated. It means that you have to take responsibility enough to write your own owner’s manual. And you are accountable for living by your owner’s manual. For some of us, it may be the very first time we ever even gave this any thought.

(Remember that accountability and responsibility have nothing to do with blame. They are an entirely different energy and intent than blame. Blame seeks to shame and belittle. Responsibility seeks to un-victim you.)

There are lots of levels to this. For instance, when I began working with this idea, I spent time writing down basic guidelines, like, “I do not allow people to yell at me. I do not allow verbal abuse.” These days, I don’t need these kinds of guidelines because I’ve simply absorbed my own owner’s manual, and I don’t have to think about it. I’m very clear about who I am in almost every situation in my life. That has come from practicing this stuff and messing up a few times too! (And to add a little Law of Attraction note to the end of it — now, I no longer even attract some of these issues that used to be everywhere in my world!)

Bottom line: You teach people how to treat you means that you’re clear. And that you honor that clarity.

Teach People How to Treat You: The Four Steps

1 – Start by Knowing What You Want (and What You Don’t Want)

This a great writing exercise. Write what you want. Pick an area of your life where you feel like you’re not being treated well. Write down how you’d like to be treated. If you can’t think of what you want, then write about what you don’t want.

I typically don’t recommend focusing on what you don’t want. However, sometimes what you don’t want is a great starting point to clarity. For instance, when I first began to apply this work to my performance dates, I knew that I no longer wanted to stay in rooms or hotels that scared me. (You’d be amazed at how often promoters put musicians in the worst dives imaginable. I was teaching promoters how to treat me.) Several times, I had to ask the promoter of a show to move my hotel. Eventually, I made my contract rider very clear about what I wanted in a hotel room.

Depending on your situation, you’ll have some obvious beginning points. If you’ve been in abusive relationships, then start with “I do not allow people to abuse me.” If you’re tired of people wasting your time by calling you up to relate the latest office drama, you might write, “I don’t allow people to gossip in my presence.” For some of my readers, these ideas will be no-brainers. But you might be surprised at how many of us allow these kinds of interactions to occur in our lives.

If you’re like Web Guy and you’re learning to teach clients how to treat you, then start by writing a “Client Guide.” Write down exactly how you want your clients to deal with you. Then write some Company Guidelines to give to new clients before they pay you anything. Get clear at the start. As I wrote in Business Advice for Artists and Sensitive People, so many of us just hire people or take clients without any clarity. We just hope that the “connection” stays in tact.

2 – Learn from your Current Situation

Ask yourself how you’ve allowed certain behavior from others in your life. Take one situation where you’re tempted to see yourself as a victim, or where you feel mistreated. Ask yourself how you allowed this to happen. You’ll be amazed at how often you may have ignored your own needs or desires.

Often, this process lets you know where you get triggered or hooked. For instance, you might find yourself saying, “Well, he makes me feel guilty if I don’t do it his way!” Bingo. There’s your trigger. The guilt. Acknowledge that you still allowed it. Maybe you allowed it begrudgingly, but you allowed it so that you could avoid feeling guilty. Then, recognize that guilt is going to be something that makes you want to ignore your own owner’s manual. This is a valuable thing to know about yourself.

In my hotel room example, I recognized that I had allowed years of unacceptable treatment on the road because I had such a fear of making waves. In one scenario, when I told the promoter I wanted my hotel changed, she retorted, “Everyone stays there! No one has ever complained before!” And I could feel myself shrinking. “But all the kids are doing it!” has been a trigger for me. (So has, “You’re lucky to even have a gig!”) But because I had gotten clear that “I don’t stay in hotels that scare me,” I was able to honor my needs in that situation.

3 – Honor It and Practice It

Here’s the deal: This is a process, not an event.

There’s a learning curve to this. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s not just suddenly telling a client not to call after hours. When you’ve taught people how to treat you one way, it might take some time to change that pattern.

It might start with you letting a client know that you’ve set a new intent to spend more time with your children, and that you won’t be available for calls on the weekend. Maybe the client calls anyway. Maybe you get hooked in by the guilt. Then you feel awful afterwards, and you feel angry at that client. This just means that you need to get clear again. So, you let that client know again not to call on weekends, and that you’d like her to honor your request. You don’t have to get emotional about it. In fact, the less you get sucked in by your emotions, the better this works.

Note: Try not to communicate when you’re in a highly charged emotional state. When you’re in this state, you’re probably not teaching people how to treat you. You’re probably blaming them and making yourself into the victim. Wait until you get calm, then start at step #2 (”How did I allow this?”) and take the necessary course of action to right the situation.

Remember that this stuff takes practice and self-awareness. It is not a process of emotion. It’s a process of clarity. (And mastery!)

4 – Teach Yourself How to Treat You When That’s the Only Choice

Not everyone is going to honor your requests or your clarity. And sometimes it’s going to have to be you who treats you well. If we go back to my hotel room example, there have been times where contractually, I didn’t have much of an option in terms of getting a better hotel room. And so, I ended up paying for my own room and driving myself to a better hotel. “I don’t stay in hotel rooms that scare me” means that I don’t allow it. Period. If I don’t honor that, then I won’t feel safe with me. It has always made me happy and proud to get my own room when I needed to. You have to include yourself in this equation. If you’ve told your clients that you don’t take non-emergency calls on weekends, then you might not want to make business calls on weekends. This is how you learn to honor yourself.

And Now, for the Scary Part…

I wrote a post about taking risks a few weeks ago. Lots of times we think of taking risks, and we think about big ideas like moving to another city, starting a business, or leaving a bad relationship. But the longer I do this work, the more my risk-taking has become internal. Yes, there are big external material risks at times. (Every time I make a CD I’m taking a risk!) But these days, some of the internal risks are the scariest, because they call me to be true to myself and to honor my boundaries and my intentions. That’s where lots of us forget to stay in risk-taking mode.

The biggest risk involved in teaching people how to treat you is the risk that some of them might go away. Some friends might not call you anymore. Some clients might leave. In my situation, I might simply not get the performance date. You have to be willing to surrender those things that aren’t in alignment with how you want to be treated. They necessarily must go away. And the test is to let them.

One of the things that keeps you hanging on to them is a belief in lack. A belief that there’s not enough. There aren’t enough jobs, clients, gigs, men, women, whatever. And one of the best ways to find out that there are more than enough of these things is to be brave and selective, live by your values and standards, and watch what you do attract. You might be scared. But you won’t be disappointed.

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