Category Archives: Power of Thought

Emotional Abuse

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What does emotional abuse look like?

At first glance, it looks like a surprise party, for you. You’re the center of attention. It’s all smiles, affection, some gifts, you feel special. You feel like this person really gets you. You feel respected and appreciated. You feel lucky.

Then either one day, or in one situation, or during one conversation, you’re index-315754_640taken back by the level of negative, yelling intensity you witness from your new partner. You’re taken off guard when you hear yourself being called a stupid idiot because you made the coffee wrong or some other ridiculous thing. The criticisms don’t stop. You’re screamed at, cursed at, degraded, humiliated, and disgraced. You’re hurt and drop to a heap of tears. This is emotional abuse.

At least, that’s how it was for me.

I remember sitting all curled up in a corner of my living room in the middle of the night, in the dark, and being repeatedly abused by my then husband. Just ten minutes before, I was trying to talk to him about why he wasn’t home earlier. I was trying to reason with him. But that look in his eyes (that I’ve seen before) told me he was too far gone.

IMG_1440Gone into his animal rage. I tried not to flinch as I was stripped of any integrity or safety. I tried to remain motionless, curled up on the floor. What faced me was just like a standing Grizzly with long, long, loud growls from his mouth while shaking his head and roaring on and on attacking me with depravity, degrading me, diminishing me, hurting me. The pain was horrific. This is emotional abuse.

Emotional Abusers rarely change.

Your first experience of emotional abuse you’re left stunned. It comes out of nowhere. But once you’re a target, it won’t stop. If you’re lucky you can walk away. Walk out. And that’s that.

But for some, walking out and leaving isn’t easy. There may be a marriage and kids, or financial partnerships, or religious reasons. The abuse might be intermittent and not a daily subjection.

If you think an abuser can change with your love, it’s a nice thought and an indication of how much you care. But the painful reality is your love is not going to change this person.

You need to change your future. You need a safe place to heal. You need to remember who you are. In the US: call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

The circumstances that create abusers in the first place require professional intervention for the insecurities that feed a need to control and abuse.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

 

A Life Altering Experience – Part 2

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A Life Altering Experience – Part 2

So many losses. Mercy. Words painted gray with disappointment in my head. What was wanted didn’t come. What came wasn’t wanted. We’re left with shattered lives. In the dark, there resides a pounding and persistent uncertainty between us. Ron isn’t who he was. I’m not who I was. The lost parts of ourselves are vast. How do we proceed with a life altering experience? Good Lord, what’s next?

With a blood clot still in his brain two years after his stroke, Ron, tried to settle 10888736_945259278841328_7498673198762713532_ninto the reality of a different life, and so did I. Physicians had decided that the episode of dizziness that Ron had at work was actually his first stroke, not a pinched nerve. Well, that pissed us off. You mean he was misdiagnosed? How do you miss a stroke? A little more than a week later after his “pinched nerve” on that September day, a major stroke turned his life upside down.

There were many activities he could not do. I was sad for him. He hated taking blood thinners to prevent additional clots. He hated the caution he needed to take so he wouldn’t bleed out from unintentional cuts or injuries. He hated me pushing him to do more than retreat to the sofa. He was quiet, withdrawn. Depression was a companion. He battled to accept the many losses of things that were once routine: his job, playing sports, being able. Now he was disabled with no job, and could only watch sports.

It was about this time that I noticed a tremor in my hands. Like that jitter when you’ve had too much coffee. Except I didn’t drink coffee. Maybe it was a fluke. When I saw my PCP, she thought it was anxiety–stress from Ron’s condition and the stress of my job, and stress of medical bills, yeah, stress. No doubt. I had that!

Anxiety medication did nothing, the tremor remained. Then one day at work when providing an oral report in the daily meeting that takes place, the paper I was reading from was quivering. It was quivering because it was in my hands.

IMG_1027Now I was having anxiety over this alleged anxiety!! Then, while in treatment to determine the cause of my hand tremor, on January 18, 2012, my employer of ten years, suddenly and without warning, “eliminated my position.” What? I was devastated. Wait, what? Crushed. Hurt to the core. I laid in a fetal position betrayed. No one could console me. I didn’t understand. I did nothing wrong. Why did they do this? Was it my hand tremor? Because I was unable to hold paper still?

Ron was on disability and I had no job. Fear pooled in all the spaces left in me.

There were many tests of my nerves, muscles, brain, and blood. There were second and third opinions from the best movement disorder clinics. In April 2012, a month before Ron’s third stroke, at the leading Movement Disorder Clinic in the country, I was diagnosed with Parkinsonism at Rush Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I have the symptoms of PD, but it has not progressed into the full-fledged disorder.

I must seek a way to put myself back together because I feel like someone dropped me on the floor. I’ve broken into pieces. What was God doing? God broke me. He dropped me and I broke. What was I going to do?

I didn’t have much time to reflect on that question. Ron came to me saying he had a headache–that’s kinda a big deal when there’s a blood clot lodged in the brain. He also had sudden vision problems.

Back to the hospital where they again tried to remove the blood clot stuck in his brain. No go. It’s still in a location that they didn’t want to mess with. The physicians agreed he should be transferred to Northwestern Memorial in Chicago where leading neurosurgeons were having some success with cases like Ron’s. Well, that could be a life altering experience.

Nope. After a gazillion tests at Northwestern, they weren’t going to touch it either. But they did discover that Ron’s left carotid artery in the neck is 50 percent blocked. Wonderful. Ron’s lodged blood clot is on the left side of his brain. Oh, AND, he’s diabetic. He’ll need insulin injections, twice a day. Okay, so now I know this was some kind of joke, right?

No.

So that’s the story of the past six years. This is how I became a Life Coach and IMG_1267blogger. Ron does a lot of volunteer work at church and it’s given him a purpose in life and it makes him happy. He gets tired quickly, his speech is off, his attention span is non-existent, and he forgets things most of the time. But he’s stable.

We’re both on disability. Oh, and, we’ve lost everything.

I know there are many people with disabilities that are in even worse situations, I empathize. Tell me how you make it through the day. I want what I don’t have. I wish things were different–the way they were before. I play moments the way I want them to be, not as they are. Damn Reality! A life altering experience.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

A Life Altering Experience – Part 1

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A Life Altering Experience

When my husband, Ron, had his first stroke in 2009, he had just turned 58. How is that possible?

It happened before my eyes. It was Saturday, September 26th around noon. Isn’t it remarkable how we remember small details of a life altering experience?

Ron was standing in front of me; we were chatting about his pinched nerve. Just a week before, Ron became dizzy at work, and his employer insisted that Ron go to the emergency room. A co-worker took him to the closest hospital, and an ER doctor suspected that Ron had a pinched nerve that was causing his dizziness. The doctor referred Ron to a chiropractor.

He had just arrived home from treatment with the chiropractor when it hit.

While standing in front of me, in an instant, the left side of his face from his forehead to his jaw drooped down, and his words became a little slurred. He could walk and move both arms. He had no tingling anywhere or dizziness. Was it a stroke? He’s only 58. Was I overreacting? Did he fit the criteria or warnings of a stroke? I had that debate in my head for about 30 seconds and then took charge.

I told him to get in the car; that I was taking him to the emergency room. Like most men, he argued, but he couldn’t see what I was seeing. Hospital personnel approached my car as it came to a roaring stop in front of the ER entrance. I shouted to him that my husband was a “stroke alert.”

A stroke alert upgrades the time frame and service for medical attention, like upgrading to Firsthospital3 Class from Coach. A page overhead was heard throughout the hospital: Stroke Alert, Emergency Room. The page was repeated two more times. Unwillingly, I began to take this all in. Ron was seen immediately by a slew of doctors and nurses. He started having some paralysis on the left side of his body. Alas, the tingling symptom arrived at the party. And he had a headache now. Ron had IVs inserted, and wires slapped on, and beeping in under five minutes. The doctors asked me a lot of questions. They were glad I got him there when I did. I started trembling, realizing, praying. Everyone had solemn facial expressions and serious voices. They believe Ron was suffering a stroke.

The color drained from my face and fear flooded my body. I looked for a chair and sat down, frozen. Ron went for a priority MRI. I waited. Alone for the first time since this nightmare started, I called our son and totally lost it. He couldn’t understand what I was saying. You know how garbled your words are when you’re hysterical and try to talk? That was me. I finally got out some English—”dad,” “stroke.” Our son was on the next plane home. He also had the good sense to call family, but I didn’t know that until they appeared in the ER. I had some support now. And we all waited. Waited to hear how badly the brain was compromised. My mind drifted.

DSC00239We were living comfortably, at the time, in our empty nest. Ron played softball in a league during the summer and coached basketball during the winter. He was very active and fit. We were both working with great jobs that allowed us to have security in our retirement. Ever since childhood, a dream of mine was to live in the country on horse property. We started looking at small farms nearby.

Our son was happy. He had moved to New York City to pursue his second Masters Degree, plus his girlfriend (now wife) lived there. It was a win-win for him.

Life was good.

Then the MRI results were back. The neurosurgeon approached me. He said Ron was being moved to ICU. They found a blood clot in his brain. The plan was to go in and try to remove it. Surgery was scheduled for the next day, first thing. I swear I can hear this conversation like it was yesterday.

Ron handled the surgery fine but because of the location of the clot, it could not be removed hospital4without making matters worse, like killing Ron. It would have to remain in his brain. The hope was the brain would construct pathways around the blockage. So after a week in ICU, two weeks in rehab, and three months of outpatient psychical therapy twice a week, Ron could walk again and use his left arm. His speech improved. But cognitively, the damage was permanent. Ron would not be able to work again.

The medical bills were staggering. And I mean staggering. Ron sold his 79 Roadrunner, his motorcycle, and his Mercedes. And we still owed over $100,000.

But we were just at the beginning of our crisis. A life altering experience for us wasn’t over.

Tune in tomorrow for A Life Altering Experience – Part 2.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

The Problem With Religion

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It was shocking. And for most Americans, I think it was unexpected. And then the problem with religion was on stage.

On June 26, 2015, the SCOTUS, in a landmark decision ruled that same-sex marriages were IMG_1904legal. The hashtag “Love Wins,” flooded the internet, as did “Equality For All.” People were shown hugging with tears of joy. Now, for the first time ever, same-sex couples are protected under the Constitution from any bans that would deny them the same rights as heterosexual couples. That’s how love won.

A paragraph, of the majority opinion, authored by Justice Kennedy prompted comments from people on what they believed to be a beautiful, compassionate and romantic definition of marriage. An hour later, the quote had gone viral:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. —Justice Anthony Kennedy

Then the love won hit the wall.

The problem with religion was ablaze. Conservative Christians, some GOP leaders and Presidential candidates disagreed, intensely, with the ruling. Probably the most wigged-out reaction came from Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio. In just one paragraph, Fischer compared the ruling to slavery, 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Sodom and Gomorrah. A frenzied Fischer announced:

From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is the new 9/11, because it was on this day that five justices of the United States Supreme Court became moral jihadists, They became rainbow jihadists and they blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. And they did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny. Today, June 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy. On this day, the United States became Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yikes! God, that’s a horrible thing to say. That’s the problem with religion.

But Fisher was not the only conservative Christian who reacted with agony and sorrow at the prospect of gay marriage across the land. Indeed, there was a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth. All of the nay-sayers seem to believe the institution of marriage is at stake. Their priority is to uphold this sacred union. This is God’s will. The Bible states marriage is between a man and a woman.

Now here is where this battle loses credibility.

Divorce is against God’s will and against the teachings in Scripture. Having sex outside of marriage is also a big no-no according to Bible teachings. And living together in sin? A huge taboo.

What’s the difference between these sins and the implied sin of same-sex marriage?

Can someone explain that to me?

I asked that question in a Facebook group that was declaring that America was on the verge of collapse and going to hell because the ruling is against the inerrant word of the Bible. The group could not answer my question, but they did send me a short video of why Obama is bad for America.

I moved on and had a three hour back and forth conversation on a Facebook group belonging to Fr. James Martin. Even with over 11,000 comments, no one could answer the question. That’s the problem with religion.

My point is there is no difference.

Divorce is against God’s will, and Christians get divorced all the time. There’s no hoopla. Christians have premarital sex and cohabitate outside of marriage. Where’s the protest about that to the Supreme Court? Why is that seemingly okay, but same-sex marriage qualifies for continued flogging and imprisonment? That’s such hypocrisy and that’s the problem with religion!

God is love. We are to love one another. Why is that so difficult?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Letting Go, Holding On – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Letting Go, Holding On

We’ve heard the phrase many times: The past is the past for a reason.

Did we not know that? What does it even mean?

It’s a nagging whisper to remind us that whatever or whoever we’re clinging to from the past should be let go. We need to set it down. It’s a jarring reminder IMG_2250that we can’t go back. The past is the past for a reason. It’s a sounding alarm.

How do we set down a past that occupies a great deal of our present thoughts? How do we let go of prior regrets, lost love, anger, and betrayals? These experiences may be dead in the past, but jeopardize our life, happiness and success today, right now.

When we can’t let go, we drag along with us a sack filled with yesterday’s aftermath that we refuse to leave behind. The sack is heavy so it holds us back, weighs us down, and handicaps our current efforts. We’re not able to keep up with the opportunities that are offered today. We may struggle to get ahead because we’re dragging around this sack of the past, we’re stuck in yesterday.

Dragging our pasts through life everyday will never allow us to change any bygone circumstances. Holding on to yesterday will not provide control over IMG_2321what has occurred. But we can be invested in our future and have 100 percent control over our thoughts and actions today.

The past is your history. It’s a history that may have been painful at times, but also made you more wise, more cautious, more kind, and more confident. You can honor who you were by becoming who you are meant to be. I love this quote by Jeffrey McDanielI realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go. How fitting after letting go is their return to the living in spring, more ample.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

 

Stand-In’s For Self-Acceptance – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Are you using stand-in’s for self-acceptance? It’s not uncommon.

Many people use possessions as a stand-in for self-acceptance. They acquire stuff to show the world they have value and measure up.

It’s tragic to realize these individuals are merely adding more baggage to a self-confidence2muddled frame of mind. Self-acceptance doesn’t require icons to represent significance or success. There’s no need to prove that we’re significant when we’re thinking correctly about our self-worth. The more uncertainty we have about our worth, the more we need objects around us to represent what’s missing in ourselves.

When we lack self-acceptance, we’re unhappy campers. We’re unhappy because we believe, incorrectly, that we need something to hide behind. We believe we 10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nmust have something to simulate the outward appearance of self-confidence and success. There’s a belief that we’re not acceptable the way we are. We may have the tendency to criticize and condemn ourselves. This negative self-talk has been in our minds so long that we never questioned where it came from or why it started.

Come out from hiding. correct your negative self-talk. Correct those lies. There’s nothing amiss about you! Focus on your talents and skills. Use them to better yourself and the world. There will be no stand-in necessary for your self-confidence.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

What Negativity Guarantees – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Have you ever known a pessimistic person to be overflowing with enthusiasm and a positive outlook? Me either. In fact, the negativity that reeks from pessimists reminds me of static electricity—energy in the vicinity that gets encased and stuck in its sphere.

When focused thought is negative, it creates ill, Marianne Williamson wrote in negative peopleEveryday Grace. Negativity guarantees a toxic energy that breeds ill—physically and emotionally. Wrongheaded persons draw and mentally shackle the people around them into a mind-set that’s diminishes any encouraging conditions in life. It’s all Armageddon to them. They engage discussions on only what’s dreadful, what is deficient, and what is wicked in the world. Their focus lacks any observations of what’s effective, good, productive, and positive. If this describes you, allow me to stretch my hand out and shock you back into worthwhile thinking.

Imagine a planet where blame was missing.

Picture a world absent of mindless faultfinders and pessimists.

IMG_3131Now, do your part in creating that vision. Put down any doom and gloom binoculars. Stop any guilt tripping. Stop criticizing everything and everyone. Stop highlighting the mistakes of other people. The more we stop the blame and catastrophic views, the more of us there are to focus on solutions, answers, and remedies. Blame keeps us glued to the dilemma instead of adhered to resolve. Explanations keep us attached to the problem instead of fastened to improvements.

If we think we hold a superior position on this earth, then it would be better served discovering tonics for peace and understanding instead of judgment and condemnation.

In Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, Eric Hoffer wrote: Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us. 

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Dr. Sandy Nelson

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Use Of Anger To Get Your Way – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Some people use anger to get their way. Do you know someone like that?

They adopt anger for power. They mistakenly blame others for their own weaknesses, choices, or situations. In anger they justify hurting others to boost their deflated ego—to conceal their own fear and inadequacy.

Any situation that frustrates us, especially when we think someone else is to IMG_0508 - Copyblame for it, is a trigger for anger, resentment, and aggression. But detonating anger, and acting with violence, does not set one thing straight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Reacting in anger destroys relationships—we lose cooperation, we lose integrity, we lose respect and we lose loved ones.

Anger that’s expressed reactively murders. It kills happiness, peace, trust, love, success, and dreams. It shortens life. People who can’t keep their temper under control and who tend to explode in anger double their risk of a heart attack.

How anger and resentment from disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks are handled influences not only our character, but also our physical and emotional health. While anger can be justified, exploding in anger is NEVER condoned.

whoaToday, if you’re about to lose your temper, remember it’s more than your cool that you will be losing. You will be losing not only the respect and regard of others, but also put your health in danger. If you want to be a leader in your company, in your family and in your community, you will need to manage your anger, and use self-control—refuse to blow up.

Learn to express anger calmly, showing regard for the people in the room. They will be more apt to listen and respect you for it. And you will be more on target to get what you want.

Think about it.FullSizeRender (8)

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Ditch That Godawful Attitude Here – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Beyond your heart beat, and everything, how do you know if you’re alive? Is there any excitement or interests in your life? Any passion?

Vernon Howard was a man on a mission. In his books and lectures, it was clear that each day he aspired everyone to experience an emotional awareness of being alive. He was probably one of the first trailblazers for mindfulness in the 1950’s with this statement Try to see what attitudes rule your day, then ask yourself what kind of a day you usually have.IMG_2308

What kind of days have you been having lately? Are you sick of the same crap? If the past week has been bleak and negative, or filled with resentment and criticism, chances are high that your attitude on those days has not been working well for you. The bold truth is that if you latch on to a negative outlook you’re experiences in life are going to be negative which then prompts a negative outlook, and so on.

Instead of waiting for life to treat you better before changing a negative attitude, change your attitude first. Focus on the good in your life, find it, accept “what is” in everyday situations, be thankful for what hasn’t gone wrong, and then expect the positive. With that outlook, you’re bound for a good day which then prompts a good attitude!

IMG_2327Joan Baez reminds all of us that: You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.

Most of us are guilty at some time or another of taking life for granted. We’re blinded with the eluding belief that there’s always tomorrow, and next week. In taking life for granted we become immune to the treasures found in each day and instead complain about this or that unfairness. We’re indifferent with other people. Instead of filled with kindness and gratitude, we’re filled with indifference and resentment.

Each dawn is to be a celebration because it’s a gift.  If tomorrow’s arrival was up in the air, how would you live today?

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Dr. Sandy Nelson

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Still Surprised by Disappointment? – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the acclaimed 1936 novel Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell writes: Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.

Everyone knows that life is unfair, yet it’s incredible how we still appear panic4surprised by disappointment and unwanted events. If we really believed that life is unfair, we would expect disappointment and injustice, and be pleasantly stunned when a day passed without it. We would be enormously grateful for whatever we received that day, and view ourselves as fortunate because it wasn’t less. And it really could be a lot less and a lot worse.

Instead, some people expect life to unfold without a hitch and according to plan, and when it doesn’t they’re blindsided. It’s reasonable that some time might be needed to deal with the letdown from setbacks. But then it’s time to regroup and get back to living.

panic3How do you handle the unfair and difficult times in your life? Can you be found in a pouting slump; complaining about how you’re a victim of life? Or, can you be found facing trials with a determination to endure?

Helen Keller wrote: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

I don’t know any happy and successful individuals who view themselves as complainers or see themselves as victims when adversity arrives. Those individuals who are determined to face difficulties and accept trials are the ones who become successful and have joy.

There is no doubt that throughout life you will come face-to-face with many trials and hardships. And, there’s no doubt that today, it’s how you handle those trials and hardships that will determine your success or failure; your happiness or misery.

As you go about your activities today, notice what could be worse, but isn’t instead of what’s going wrong that shouldn’t be.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated