Passive Aggressive Behavior and How to Change it

Lots of folks are fond of pointing out when others are behaving in a passive-aggressive way, especially when those “others” are your partner in a relationship.  But did you know that passive-aggressive behavior was trained into most of us in childhood?  And did you know that passive-aggressive people tend to be attracted to passive-aggressive partners?  AND did you know there is a solution that can turn your life around??

pa-raven

You may recognize passive-aggressive behavior as what happens when your wife or mother vacuums the floor when you’re trying to watch the game, but it STARTS with the fact that she was trained NOT to ask you for help with the cleaning.  That’s right!  Well meaning people train their kids that its RUDE to ask for some things directly, or to say what you really mean.  Sure, it SEEMS nice to avoid asking people for help and instead wait for the “nice” people to offer their help.  It seems “nice” to ask your friend details of their day first as a segue way into dialogue when you’re actually aching to talk about your OWN week.  It seems “nice” to ask your co-workers where they’d like to go for lunch when you’ve actually got your heart set on Chinese.  But these are NOT nice ways to behave.  These are passive-aggressive behaviors parading as “nice”.

 

If you find yourself hinting around about what you’d like for your birthday, or waiting to be asked or surprised, you, my friend, are passive aggressive.  If you call up a friend and ask about her day, then stew because she doesn’t reciprocate, your passive-aggressive (P-A) training is interfering with your life.  If you go along with what your friends want to do on your night out but find yourself vaguely prickly and disgruntled without knowing why, you’re one!    If you find yourself getting angry and silent a lot without really knowing why, you too.  If you can’t ask for what you want in bed (even if your partner wants to know!) its time to re-train yourself!

pa-jesus

As adults, we all have the right AND the responsibility to re-train ourselves.  If you’ve read The Secret, The Law of Attraction, or other such books, you know that you can achieve your dreams if you focus on what you truly want.  But your P-A training may have been so effective that you can no longer really identify what you want out of life or even lunch.  This is sadly unfortunate but common.

 

How to Change?

Re-training yourself is both easier and harder than you think.  It’s easy because you only need to practice ASKING for what you want and SAYING what you mean early and often.  It is difficult because doing so goes against all your training.   It may feel awkward, rude or incredibly difficult to start speaking up at first.  You may discover you often have no idea exactly what you want.  Alas, you’re in good company.

But if you want to stop your angry outbursts, stop hinting around and being misunderstood, stop manipulating others to get what you want, the solution is always the same:

  1. Identify your wants and needs
  2. Say it out loud.
  3. Say it to others.

With practice, it will become easier and more natural.

What if you’re struggling with step 1.?  One solution is to place your hand over your heart, ask yourself how you feel or what you want & notice your feelings.  This is an NLP technique that makes good decision-making easier.  Begin to use this technique whenever you’re unsure of your feelings or desires.  After some practice, your own feelings will become more and more clear.

Step 2. involves speaking out loud to yourself.  Even this may feel awkward at first.  But ALL healthy people talk to themselves and talking out loud is practice for speaking up to others.

When it comes to step 3. you’ll want to guard against anger.  It might at first seem like you have to feel an angry sense of injustice before speaking up to others.  Some “How To” memes may even encourage your right to say “NO” and reject those who seem to bully you into going along with the desires of others.  But as an adult, you owe it to yourself to accept that no one in your life is overriding your wants and needs, you’re simply letting them have their way by keeping silent.  Don’t muster your courage to speak with anger or blame.  Simply speak up when you know what you want.

pa-comic

You’ll also be speaking up to say what you DON’T want, but avoid focusing on the No’s.  In fact you’ll do well to soften the No’s by using phrases like:   I’d rather not.  I really prefer not to.  I’m going to have to decline.  I’d love to, if only I had the time.  I’m afraid I’ve got my heart set on something else.  So kind of you to ask, I’ll take a rain check.  Soon you’ll find that the only one who was bullying you was yourself and the voices in your head.  Voices, btw that may sound vaguely like an angry parent telling a child its rude to ask…or deny.

Remember: speak your desires early and often.  Soon it will be fun and easy!  If the transition back to getting what you want out of life (instead of what everyone else wants FOR you) is too hard, come in to Clear Mirror Healing for help and support.  We’ll get you back in charge of your own life in as few as 3 sessions!

Footnote:  If you’ve read all this and find yourself thinking “Huh, I always speak my mind.”  It’s very likely you are somewhere on the ASD spectrum ( See ASD is NOT a Disease  )  And all your parent’s efforts to train you out of speaking clearly and directly have happily failed.  Congratulations!  If you want to find friends who are also clear, direct, uninhibited and TRULY KIND, look for other ASD folks.  They’ll be the one’s speaking up only when they actually have something to say…and the one’s who’s fashion sense is a bit unique…and the one’s content with a good book or their own solitude.  You know the type:  the folks like YOU.

 

 

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Navigating Emotions – for Aspie’s, ASD’s and Normals

My college sophomore constantly discovers differences between herself as a Aspie* and her bell-curver* classmates.  This time she found she is a lot worse at understanding other people’s facial expressions than she first thought.  A teacher showed her class a bunch of faces and ask them to identify the emotions expressed.  Every one else was immediately naming the emotions they were supposed to be. But she didn’t even get a third of them right.  She was coming up with a couple answers that each could be and doubting herself because there wasn’t any context.  All of her answers were usually wrong from the intended one.  She was able to connect her confusion to experiences of working on projects with partners who would not tell her how they felt about something even though she asked politely more than once. It was a frustrating situation.

Bellcurvers = Normal

Bell-curve-normal friends suggested that “most people* do not say what they are feeling verbally because they are in fact saying it with body language and facial expressions. Most people are born programmed to be able read these signs with no effort. The people in the class could distinguish the emotions from the pictures because the furrowed eyebrows and tightly puckered lips will mean anger in any context, so no context is needed.”

Me (3yo) and my sister. I'm on the right, obviously.

Me (3yo) and my sister. I’m on the right, obviously.

Me at 5yo. The only one NOT smiling.

Me at 5yo. The only one NOT smiling.


Reflecting on my own childhood and youth, I realized that I have studied these silent signals since I was quite young, with the intent of blending in and passing for normal.  If you look at my earliest childhood photos I am the one with the blank, often serious look on my face.  The same look is used for early diagnosis of autistic children.  Later on I affect an expression more in keeping with the others.  But as late as high school I clearly remember friends and strangers alike passing me in the hall and shouting at me to “Smile!” and “Don’t be so serious!”  It was a command that I thought very sexist. “I’m not your hood ornament,” I would think, “If you don’t like my looks, look at someone else.”

Me in High School practicing “Normal” (On the left, obviously)

But I did try.  From elementary school on I recall watching and copying  people’s gestures and expressions for hours at a time.  In high school I made a study of people’s walks.  My Aspie sophomore has the walk typical of most ASD folks:  hunched shoulders, hands dangling limply at the sides, slightly concave chest, feet sloping forward in an awkward shuffling pace.  If you are ASD and want to find others in your tribe, look for that walk.

The ASD walk

The ASD walk

All that studying of mine has led me to be a very good counselor.  And since I have been working as a counselor for many years now, allow me to share some of my observations as well as skills and techniques for navigating the world of emotions.

Skills for Understanding Emotions

As a therapist, helping people sort and deal with their feelings is pretty much my job.  Once I have an idea what kind of feelings are blocking a person, the hypnosis can be VERY effective at changing the negative patterns for good…in just one session.  So the real challenge is simply getting people to talk about their feelings.  Despite what our normal friend said,  I can tell you MOST people are out of touch with their own feelings, let alone other people’s.  Often, they manipulate themselves into feeling things they were taught was appropriate. Example: women will often deny feeling angry and instead say they feel sad. Thus, anger over something they could stand up for and make it STOP…becomes depression because they don’t vent it, they push it inward where it begins to eat away at their happiness.  Similarly, men often deny ALL feelings BUT anger.  And, like the women with their depression, when men channel all their feelings into anger they create more problems than they solve.  Problems like rage, belligerence, isolation, alcoholism, and violent crime.  (It’s not because they’re men or women.  It’s because of how they were socialized as children.  If you have children in your life, PLEASE read:  How to Raise Children and Pets  )    Don’t take my word on this, go ahead and look it up.

What you’ll find is statistics that show depression is much more common in women than men, and men are more likely to show anger, suffer alcoholism and commit violent crime. This has MUCH more to do with socializing and parenting kids to fit into discrete little boxes called “male” and “female” than it does with the actual differences in male and female brains.

Another problem I see with the BC-normal assumption that recognizing emotions by expression is somehow instinctive?  Normals* often place responsibility for other people’s feelings on themselves & NOT on the one feeling stuff.  This can lead to a lot of problems.  As a baseline that kind of thinking leads to people who, like my clients, do not even know WHAT they are feeling, let alone how to process it.  It can also lead to irresponsible behavior (making others responsible for our feelings) and in some cases it leads to manipulation.  There’s an old stereotype that says women use tears to manipulate their men.   In my experience, though, MEN use emotions to manipulate just as much as women.  But when we take responsibility for our OWN feelings and let others do the same, there’s no room for manipulation.

The way to do it is say what you’re feeling as soon as I can identify it.  Also say what you want, early and often.  When you cry, it’s NOT because I’m sad or hurt, its to release a big wave of emotions – any variety of emotions.  Always let people (especially the men) know, “I’m  NOT hurt or sad, I’m just overwhelmed with ______ (happiness, relief, stress, worry, etc).”

If you are a BC-Normal and you’re still reading, first:  Thank You!  Secondly, please consider that recognizing other people’s feelings is probably NOT instinct.  It’s probably conditioning and rote memorization.  You’re probably guessing those feels wrongly about 50% of the time AND that is probably leading to misunderstanding, confusion, and frustration.  And it’s probably may allow other people to manipulate and use you against your will.  At the very least, it is occupying a significant portion of your brain and energy that could otherwise be used for creative problem solving.  So, the following tools could really free you up.

Guessing rather than expressing feelings makes for great comedy.

Guessing rather than expressing feelings makes for great comedy.

Skills and Tools – for Getting People to Talk about Feelings

One of my techniques for helping men open up and share so I can help them is to start an argument. This also works well with military women.  If you get someone to debate with you about any topic you will begin to hear bits and pieces of their emotional life.  I’ve learned to listen to what they are NOT saying and you can too.  If a person says, “My GF is totally vegan, she won’t even buy meat.”  He hasn’t told me that he’s NOT vegan.  He hasn’t told me that he’s annoyed that his girlfriend won’t go to a steakhouse or bring home some fried chicken for dinner.  Those are the things he’s NOT saying.  Those are the things I write down as emotional road blocks. You can also use empathy to sense their feelings.  But everyone has a bit of empathy if they dare to use it.

Empathy for a friend

Empathy for a friend

You can also get people to share feelings by asking for advice.  Mention an imaginary “friend” who’s struggling with…whatever.  But its a Rule that people often like to give advice about other people’s feelings, rather than talk directly about themselves.  Most of the time we are projecting our own feelings when we consider how others might feel.  They may also volunteer what this other person “should” do, which gives you the chance to ask “Why?”  At that point they will likely share anecdotes from their own childhood that are key to their emotional state.

By far my favorite technique is the Pregnant Pause.  I simply ask directly, “How are you feeling?” or “How do you feel about that diagnosis (project, upcoming test, etc)?” And. Then. Wait…………………..and wait……………..and wait………  Most BC-Normals are VERY uncomfortable with silence, so they will begin to hunt around and guess at what they might actually be feeling.  Then my job is simply to repeat what they’ve said so they can hear it for themselves.  They say, “I’m fine with it.”  Me, “You’re fine…?”  Them, “Well, you know, I’m a little nervous, I mean, shouldn’t I be?”  Me, “So you feel nervous?”  Them, “Hell’s bells!  I’m in a complete panic!! What should I do?!” Me, “Oh, sure, I’ll bet anyone would feel a bit panicked.”

You see, BC-Normals have been conditioned to look outside themselves for approval.  Aspie’s and other ASD’s* are simply resistant to that kind of conditioning.  If you ask an Aspey friend how they’re feeling about the up coming presentation, expect her to pause for a few moments and then report, “I think I’m well prepared, but every so often my thoughts spiral into a crescendo approaching panic.  I’m just not that comfortable with so many people looking at me.” or they will simply say, “I’m not sure HOW I feel, its such a jumble of things.”  In any event, and ASD will tell you the truth as best they can, no guile, no subterfuge, no “shoulds”.  ASD’s are not necessarily better at feelings, they just resist the conditioning that convolutes them unnecessarily.

Skills and Tools – for Spotting Feelings

If you can’t tell by looking at someone what they feel, you may try to get a response by asking directly, “What are you feeling?” But there are many situations in which BC-Normals won’t answer that, or won’t answer honestly.  Remember, the reason is likely because they’ve been conditioned to think people should guess their feelings.  If you ask directly, they may get offended, or begin to blame you – especially if what they’re actually feeling is something they’ve been taught is “rude” or “wrong”.  Don’t feel bad and don’t accept blame.  It’s really NOT about you and there really are NO rude feelings and NO wrong feelings.  It’s just unfortunate conditioning.  And by “conditioning” I mean they were smacked every time they did it wrong, usually without explanation.

Guess Work

Don’t give up, either!  Say something like “You look cross”
That usually gets the person to say, “No, I’m ______( tired, jealous, angry, hungry).”  Notice, ALL of those feelings can look alike.  Also notice, when you guess at someone’s feelings, soften the word a bit.

  • Instead of Angry, say cross.
  • Instead of painful, say tender.
  • Instead of depressed, say sad.
  • Instead of panicked, say uneasy.
  • Instead of exhausted, say tired.

There’s a reason for this softening.  It is important, because the poor Bellcurvers have usually been punished for emoting too strongly.  YES, actually hit for crying! They may have internalized the notion that some emotions can be TOO emotional.  This is hogwash and poppycock.

poppycock hogwash1

Emotions are never too anything.  They are exactly right for the individual feeling them, unless they are being stuffed, stored, or inverted instead of being ventilated by identifying them and talking or acting on them.  But, if you guess using an intense descriptor, many bellcurvers will deny the feeling, even if you got it exactly right, because they’re afraid of being too emotional.
Lastly,  if you’ve tried asking, and you’ve tried guessing, and they still won’t share, you don’t need to bother yourself with their feelings.  All you need to do is communicate.  What you say is:  “Well, I don’t know how you feel, so I can’t take your feelings into account.”  Then do your best to shake off their stares and glares and funny expressions and move on.  Do your best to work around their feelings, whatever they are.  Eventually, this technique will either get the BellCurver to put their feelings into words for you OR it will get them to share their feelings with a third person or two (in the form of gossip), who will most likely tell you about your friends feelings.  Regardless of whether you hear the feelings from your friend or a third person, count it as good.  You’ve finally got the info you needed.  Your friend got to express themselves.  And MOST importantly what other people think of you is None. Of.  Your. Business.

In fact, I’ve had people tell me they thought I was “really cool” because I don’t care what “They” think.  Huh, imagine that!  Cool because I don’t even try to be cool.  And all this posh glamour can be yours at the low, low cost of Minding Your Own Business!

Angry?

Angry

Angry?

Pay attention to my anger!

Frightened?

No please!

Happy hour?

Wine?

 

 

 

 

Skills and Tools – For Dealing with Your Own Feels

Avoid emotional tangles and passive-aggressive mean-fests by applying these neat-o skills:

  1. Identify your own feelings ASAP. Say, “I feel _____.” both early and often.  That will keep the simple feelings from building up into unmanageable globs of mish-mashed feelings.
  2.  If you’re not sure HOW you feel, but you know you are feeling something big, Say, “I need a day (moment, few hours, week) to think.”  Say, “I don’t know how I feel yet.”  “I’m not sure how to feel about that.”  “I’m not ready to talk about it.”  Then, please take the initiative to bring up the issue again when you can name some of your feelings.  Remember:  You’ve got a right to ALL your feelings.
  3. Telling others that is something that works well too.  Whenever other people tell you THEIR feelings spontaneously: “You’ve got the right to your feelings.”  I’ve used that as a parent:  Kid, “I don’t want to go to school!! I HATE school!”  Me, “You’ve got the right to feel that way.  I’ll give you 15 minutes more sleep, then we have to get moving.”  As a teacher: Student, “I HATE you, Ms. Thompson!” Me, “Ok, you’ve got that right.  The assignment is due by the end of the class.”  And as a partner: BF, “You’re making me mad!!”  Me, “You have a right to your anger.  Any thing I can do differently?”
  4.  When talking face to face make emoticons with your face and hands.  If you’re not sure which ones to use you can watch anime characters, matching the faces with the feelings or words.  You can watch your teachers, parents and friends then recreate their expressions and tone, like I did.  You can also try out for plays or hire an acting coach.  A lot of ASD people do VERY well as actors.  You get to try on a bunch of different personas without risk and the director will often tell you what emotions to show for which lines.   And its fun!  Which is the MAIN point of emotions: to know when you’re having fun and to have fun with other people as much as possible!

*Aspie, ASD = Asperger or on the Autism Spectrum

*Normal, Most people, Bellcurver, BC-Normal = Not on the Autism Spectrum

ASD feels KEY: 3, 11, 3, 2/5 – 2/5, 8, 2/5, 4 – 2/5, 13, 6, 7 – 11, 8, 15, 16 …..oh, whatever!!

 

 

 

 

More About Autism – Stimming

I “accidentally” diagnosed myself as Asperger’s/ASD when I was helping my daughter answer some detailed checklists for her counselor.  I guess I’m one of those females that slipped through undiagnosed.  Looking back, I can see that what I did was observe “normal” people in social interactions, notice patterns, and develop algorithms to explain the appropriate behaviors and then store those algorithms as “rules” to follow in social situations. These rules have helped me pass for (almost!) normal most of my life and I have relied on them to help my daughters through social situations.

In any event, I’ve long been aware of my differences.  I just didn’t know there were others like me.  But one of the distinctive things about the ASD brain is that all ASD folks are wired differently.  Yet there are similarities.  There are patterns that can help parents of ASD kids as well as adult ASD folks like myself.  My goal is to help explain what’s going on with the mental wiring and how you can make the most of the advantages…and circumvent problems.

stims

Stimming            

One type of behavior that sets the ASD population apart is stimming, short for self-stimulatory behavior.  The thing about it is most all people engage in stimming when they’re trying to think.  If you’ve ever tapped your pencil, drummed your fingers, chewed your nails, or scratched your head in thought, you have engaged in stimming.  So why is it that ASD folks get so carried away with the stimming that they are known to rock themselves, flap their arms, chew pencils into twisted skeletons, talk to themselves out loud, or pace incessantly?

stim pencil

The answer is basically that people stim NOT to think but to STOP thinking.  Stimming is just a way to distract the conscious mind so that the subconscious can use the brain long enough to come up with a new idea. Most of the creative new ideas are products of the subconscious, which operates outside of time to access ALL of our memories at once, cross-reference them with the problem at hand and come up with new possibilities at the speed of thought.  In order to let the subconscious do all that we’ve got to stop thinking of the problem consciously.  And, as I mentioned in my last article ( link!) ASD people think a lot more than normal.  So, it often takes more stimming to stop the ASD conscious mind long enough to access the subconscious.

Another part of the answer is that ASD kids often have people who attempt to stop their stimming before it has had the desired effect.  So then it becomes a circular exercise.  The stimming increases and may take more dramatic forms (like slapping one’s own head) as the ASD person gets frustrated or overwhelmed with emotions, whilst still attempting to clear the conscious mind and get back to the original problem and its solution.

How to Control Stimming

Given that, what’s the best way to stop a person from wild uncontrolled stimming?  DON’T try to stop them at all.  Instead of getting all bent out of shape because someone is tapping or rocking or talking to themselves, try building some acceptable forms of stimming into their day.  There are companies who have wonderful collections of objects for stimming, from textured putty to chew-able jewlery, to phone cases with built in bubble wrap.  And you can also rely on everyday objects, like bubble wrap, silly putty, moon sand, gum, etc.

stim toy

stim toy

In fact, you can teach any child to engage in stimming in order to access creative ideas, integrate newly learned information, or process emotions.  Teachers and parents would do well to follow any 20 minute lesson with 10 minutes of stim play, such as sand and water tables.  Or kids can hold a bit of clay or putty to fiddle with DURING lessons.  Even better, hands on activities can be used at regular intervals to allow students to make those neuron connections.

chewy jewlery

chewy jewlery

What you want to avoid at all costs, however, is pressuring an ASD person while they are stimming.  Remember, all people use stimming to problem solve.  So if you fuss at, restrict, shame, talk to or otherwise interfere with an ASD person’s stimming you are actually heaping on more and more problems to be solved.  Now, in addition to a thinky problem they have a complex emotional problem or two.  This will only make them need to stim faster, harder, or longer.  Instead, just hand them something to mess with and leave them alone for awhile.

You might also want to consider that YOU may be the problem that needs solving.  If you are insisting that the ASD person do (or STOP doing) something that defies reason and logic you are presenting them with an untenable problem.  Such a problem will require a lot of stimming to solve.  There are many such unreasonable requests built into what we call “societal norms”.  For example we may insist that a person wear uncomfortable and restrictive clothing, put water on their face, eat foods that are strangely flavored or weirdly textured, stand up in an erect fashion, sit still for long periods of time,  rub a prickly brush coated with a chalky tingly paste around in their mouths, pull another brush painfully through their hair, ALL before leaving the house for school or work.

brush-hairwash face2

They may be expected to RESIST normal human activities such as digging in their nose, mumbling to themselves, wiggling, releasing bodily gasses, scratching itches, or any array of primate grooming activities native to our very species.  If your senses are much more finely tuned than the “norm” all of these things may cause you problems.  Introduce sights and sounds that may pass below the perception of most “normal” folks (see: linky!) and your Autistic person has a weeks worth of problem solving built into the first couple hours of the day.  Is there any wonder that the stimming gets more and more exaggerated?

So, part of the solution may be to simply CHOOSE to let things that really don’t matter, NOT matter.  Or to become aware of sensory distractions that may be “white noise” or “part of the scenery” to the less sensitive person.  Or to ask.  Or to let the ASD person know their requests will be honored.  Does it really matter that a child eats their lima beans if it makes them gag?  Aren’t there other veggies they could consume?  If they want to wear their favorite shirt everyday, why not buy 5 or 6 identical tops?  Albert Einstein did that as a professional adult.

There are many ways to handle and manage stimming.  The first step, really is to understand that stimming is NOT a problem.  Its a problem solver.  The problem may be that social norms have evolved to support a non-thinking, insensitive, unaware average population.  And its become fashionable to force sensitive, quick-thinking aware people to dumb it down in order to fit expectations.  But what if individual happiness was more important than fashion?  What if diversity was more valued than fitting in? What if we could usher in that utopian future simply by pausing every 15-20 minutes to let people think?

stim2

Even if you or your kids don’t seem to be on the ASD spectrum, you can still benefit from creating the pattern of taking stim breaks for thinking and integrating new information.  Its that “study break” that everyone recommends but instead of wandering off in search of a snack or spending an hour watching TV, you simply set a timer and play with clay or bubble wrap or manipulable toys.  You let your thoughts slip away.  Let yourself become absorbed. Then ten minutes later your brain comes back on-line refreshed and you’ll find you have some new ideas and inspiration!

I use stimming in my office all the time.  I find that I can take a client’s detailed history, making notes.  Then I can step back and look at those notes while drumming my fingers, humming, and fiddling with papers.  And, (once I’ve reassured my client I haven’t gone mad) boom! there’s the perfect plan for their treatment popping into my head.  You see, every problem CONTAINS its own solution, but sometimes the connections are buried in your subconscious memory.  Something that you haven’t thought of in years, something that your mind learned while you weren’t really paying full attention, a chain of events with a missing link, then suddenly something clicks into place and fills the gap.

Think of stimming as the process that gets things into and out of the deep freeze of the mind in useful formats.  Then find a few favorite stim toys to keep at hand, and watch what your amazing mind can do unleashed.  You need never have “writers block” again!  In fact, you can use your subconscious to create new solutions, problems solve, simulate test runs, make connections to old information, notice patterns, weed out outliers and data that is inconsistent with tested facts and systems.

Stimming Idea Links:

https://www.pinterest.com/tolleythompson/aspergers-asd/  

http://www.stimtastic.co/

bubble wrap phone case

bubble wrap phone case

 

 

 

 

ASD/Aspergers is NOT a Disease!

Let me start by saying Autism Spectrum Disorder including Asperger’s (also known as ASD) is NOT a genetic disorder! Yes, it is genetic, but NO its not a disorder. ASD occurs in people who’s brains are wired to be SMARTER and MORE ANALYTICAL than the rest of main stream bell-curve-normal folks. Babies are not born with the symptoms that make ASD kids most difficult to parent because it is POOR PARENTING practices that cause those disruptive symptoms.

"Most People" are bell-curve-normals.

“Most People” are bell-curve-normals.

When I say these kids are smarter, I mean smarter like a supercomputer, not smarter like ‘fills in the blanks on worksheets well’. And therein lies much of the problem. Supersmart kids do not follow foolish rules even if everyone else is following them. Supersmart kids do not obey because you “said so”. They don’t obey because you threaten to spank or punish them. They have already thought it through and they will do the thing that makes logical sense to them, even if your rules, or all the social pressure in the world say to do different.

Einstein also exhibited ASD signs: delayed speech, poor social skills, some teachers even considered him "retarded"

Einstein also exhibited ASD signs: delayed speech, poor social skills, some teachers even considered him “retarded”

Now, if you are a flexible parent who can actually LEARN FROM YOUR KIDS, your ASD child will not develop the most difficult traits on the “symptoms” list. But if you think parenting means molding your kids into the kind of people you think they should be, you’re in for a bad time. These are children who, even as toddlers, are well aware that your ways are illogical, inefficient, or wrong and they don’t mind setting you straight.

If the thought of a kid correcting an adult makes you want to punish the child YOU need to reevaluate your values and goals. That is the kind of attitude that contributes to the “dumbing down” of each successive generation. You cannot expect generational improvements if you devote yourself to keeping the kids dumber than the adults. Moreover PUNISHMENT DOESNT WORK for anyone. In particular, it doesn’t work for ASD kids. Any form of punishment, but especially SPANKINGS and physical punishment will BREAK these children. Think of them as supercomputers with fine delicate wiring. If you beat on it or pound on the computer in frustration it will NOT work better. It will, in fact, develop permanent processing problems.

When you beat, spank, punish or force your little supercomputer kid they will begin to regress. They may stop talking, they may stop reading or writing, they may begin to lash out in violent fits. After all that is EXACTLY what you just taught them to do! Oh, they learn well, very well. They simply resist learning nonsense for as long as they can…you know, until you force them to.

So what can a parent do?

Be real. Resist the urge to pretend a hubristic infallibility as our parents’ generation did. If you make a mistake, admit it. Apologize. Find a better way. Once, when my little ASD daughter was about six years old, I tried to introduce her to the delicious taste of rhubarb that I enjoyed as a child. But, for whatever reason, she didn’t want to taste it. I cajoled, then I teased, then I insisted. Then I broke into a mischievous game and chased her through the house with a spoonful of rhubarb pie and forced the spoon in her mouth in a fit of laughter. My daughter wasn’t laughing though. She began to cry. Then I began to cry. Then we laid back holding one another’s hand while I observed, “No one likes to be forced, do they? Even when its a good thing being forced is bad.” She tearfully agreed. I vowed never to force her to do things again. She agreed never to do that to someone else. And we never have.

She got over that episode of bad parenting because I got over it. Kids, even ASD kids, are very flexible and forgiving as long as we learn with them. I have had the good fortune to teach many ASD kids and I have found this to be consistently true. Teach and parent using logic and mutual learning and they respond by being bright, well behaved, brilliant thinkers. You WILL need to get books on parenting without punishment because all kids WILL push your buttons, ALL of your buttons at once. This is pretty much their job. So figure out what you will do when your kid is pushing all your buttons at once and still looking for one more, and make sure its a strategy that doesn’t involve punishment, physical or emotional violence. Otherwise, you will simply revert to just what your parents did to you and it won’t work.

I have also had the good fortune to heal ASD kids in my practice. They respond very well. The problem is usually that I can’t fix their parents. So the kids just get broken again and again until the damage becomes permanent. If I can’t get the parents to grow up and stop hitting and forcing and punishing their kids and START using their WORDS and their BRAINS like big Mommies and Daddies, the kids may well end up demonstrating all the increasingly negative traits on the ASD symptom lists.

Today's ASD kids would fall into the "head and neck" of this Nessie style curve. (You know, if they could all take the same test)

Today’s ASD kids would fall into the weird “head and neck” of this Nessie style curve. (You know, if they could all take the same test)

A word about Social Norms

Most adults and bell-curvers think that social norms are easy and intuitive. To ASD people they are quite difficult. That is because they are almost all culturally based and completely divorced from reason or logic. In some cultures it is good manners to look people right in the eye when they are talking to us. In others that would be very aggressive or insubordinate behavior. So the poor supercomputer kid or adult may do most social behaviors “wrong”.

Thus, most ASD folks eventually come to prefer the company of books or computers or pets and to suffer some form of “social anxiety”. This also accounts for why girls with ASD are under-diagnosed. Girls have multitrack minds and so can better observe subtle differences in social behavior. Many even develop strategies, rules, and coping mechanisms to comply with the unreasonable social expectations and thus to blend in. Others learn to ask or to be very transparent with their communication. The bottom line? You won’t be able to “cure” your ASD child of their awkward social behavior. But if you can explain the expectations or rules in concrete terms, you can help them adapt and blend. Example, “Its considered rude by adults to avoid eye contact when we speak to you.” works much better than, “Look at me when I’m talking!!”

I am eager to hear from ASD kids and adults about their thoughts on my observations. Do you agree? Can you add to my pointers or correct me? I’m also happy to hear from parents of ASD kids.

Marriage, Affairs, and what Really Works

There is a simple formula for forgiveness and it is understanding.  When we fully understand another person’s feelings, motivations and choices it is impossible NOT to forgive.  But until we truly understand, it is just as impossible to forgive.  People often delude themselves by pretending to forgive or forcing themselves to forgive, but it’s never real and there is always residual resentment that festers.

I have had the honor of helping many folks recover after an affair has rocked their relationship.  The healthiest couples always seek to understand the root causes and motivations of the affair for themselves or their partner.  Those are also the people who find ways to forgive and rebuild.  The sad truth, though, is that a number of people seem to have been conditioned to believe that they SHOULD NOT forgive or even understand.  They seem to be driven by sentiments like “What will my friends think?” or a paradigm that says “I DESERVE to be angry!  I DESERVE vengeance!”   I’m not sure where these paradigms come from or who exactly they think is cross-examining their private relations, but I know this sort of mindset only brings misery to everyone concerned.

If this has been part of your way of thinking, let me offer you advice I once got when I was new to psychic abilities and could ACTUALLY hear what people were thinking and saying about me:  What other people think of you is NONE of your business!  Once I made it my policy to remind myself of that truth, life genuinely got better.  There will always be naysayers.  There will always be yappy dogs along your path. But anyone who is more interested in talking about your life than living their own, really is NOT someone who’s opinion should concern you.  They are, in fact, admirers!

lion

That said, I’d like to take the idea a little deeper.  It just seems to me that the Western world’s one-size-fits-all approach to marriage is not really fair to anyone.  If so many people have affairs and/or are hurt by affairs, maybe monogamy as defined by the State just doesn’t work.  I mean, does it really make sense to go into a legally binding contract for a lifelong relationship with someone WITHOUT negotiating terms?  Just because the government or a religion says “this is what you get, take it or leave it” why would we suppose that could ever lead to true happiness?

Now, I’ve always been a religious AND spiritual person, but this just seems absurd.  Why would any two adults let an organization define the terms of their most intimate, most important relationship?  And if we do so, why on earth would we suppose it would make…and KEEP us happy?  My point is NOT that we should eschew marriage.  My point is that marriage, its terms and expectations should be negotiated like the contract it is.

contract

Would you sign any other sort of contract without reading and discussing its terms?  What about a contract that bound you into a LIFETIME commitment?  Don’t you think your attorney would advise you to look that thing over?  Review the terms?  Understand the definitions?  Even negotiate a point or two?

My contention is people should sit down, discuss and negotiate.  Otherwise one partner may be signing that contract thinking you are obliged to clean the house every day, make supper every night, agree to sex 3 times a week, pop out 3 babies and raise them in your spare time, all while keeping your girlish figure AND a smile on your face.  Meanwhile the other partner might sign thinking you are going to get a promotion every year, provide for retirement, wine, dine, and romance them at least once per week, take them on luxury vacations, happily change poopy diapers and listen while they vent about their hard day every time you get home from work.  Sound familiar?

Sure, some of those are old-fashioned ideas, but all of them are deeply entrenched in the cultural psyche and they hover in the back of our youthful dreams and fantasies when we think of marriage.  Know what else is dancing around back there?  Happily Ever After!  That’s right!  How are two people with such grand expectations going to achieve any happiness if they never discuss those expectations?  Leave alone EVER AFTER, puleez!

The real truth is, people all have quite different expectations of marriage and relationships.  Their families have expectations too.  And often extended family can be very persistent about getting THEIR expectations met!  After all, they don’t have to live with you, or fight with you before bedtime!  They can wreak their havoc and walk away because they have not signed a legally binding contract.

in laws

I think maybe, when we are mature enough to sit down and negotiate marriage line by line, value by value, we will truly be ready to live it.  I also think we will be mature enough, as a society, to discover that marriage is NOT just for one man and one woman.  I think we will soon discover that marriage is NOT just for gay couples, either.  I think we will discover that a marriage of 3 people, 4 people, or 5 people may actually work BETTER than two for a lot of folks.  We may discover that people only have affairs because forcing ourselves into a couple is NOT really what works for everyone.  As we relax and loosen up our definitions we will probably find something that works best for OURSELVES.  And we will probably find that that kind of happiness makes it much, much easier to let other people find what works best for THEMSELVES.  And wouldn’t it be nice if pursuing our own happiness ALSO meant letting other folks do the same?

How Hypnosis Works for YOU

There are a lot of different opinions about hypnosis and how it works. I’ve even heard people say they “don’t believe” in hypnosis or they think hypnosis is somehow evil or forbidden by God. That really is a shame. Because hypnosis is really just working together with your mind to be more successful and happy in life. If God made your brain then I’m sure he or she wants you to use it to the best of your ability. Especially, if that means self control, a clear moral code and making the world a better place. Moreover, there is a good bit of evidence that the deep Unconscious in all of us actually taps into the Mind of God, or Universal Consciousness….where the best decisions are made. So how can that be bad?

CMHlotus
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With 20+ years of experience and certifications from four different schools of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, including NLP, personal coaching, and counseling, as well as psychology and neurosciences, I think I can be considered something of an expert. I’d like to dispel some of the myths and explain how hypnosis really works. After-all, its NOT me, the hypnotherapist, getting control of your mind. (Believe me, I have trouble controlling my OWN mind, just like everyone else!!) The hypnotherapist is just the guide and interpreter. What its really about is YOU getting control of YOU. Or more precisely, its about YOU working together with your subconscious and unconscious minds. Forming a real TEAM (I call it Team YOU) with the parts of yourself. By clearing up communication and misunderstandings with the other-than-conscious parts of Team You, life gets easier, more fun, and more successful. If you go through life white-knuckling the ball instead of passing to your team mates, life can get more and more stressful and you feel more and more out of control. But by meeting and working with your Team, passing that ball and letting your team help you solve problems, life is good! And its getting better and better every day!!

Hypnosis is a bit mysterious to most people (even some hypnotherapists!) but I find that folks get their best results when they understand the process a bit and can work with me. 
For all that the results of hypnotherapy feel pretty magical, it is NOT magic, it is actually applied psychology. And the amazing effects are not due to ME controlling your mind, but due to the amazing power of YOUR own subconscious and unconscious mind.  So let me start there.

We have three minds but only one brain.
1) Conscious Mind – this is the part we all call “Me”.  And when you’re focused or paying attention that is conscious you.  Conscious you is the captain of Team You.  As such conscious you does the big heavy duty decision making, managing emotions, learning cultural norms and understanding values and differences.

2) Subconscious Mind – this is like your personal assistant or your best friend who always has your back and helps you out with routine tasks, practiced patterns and behaviors, multitasking and other details so that conscious YOU can relax and enjoy life more.  Your subconscious can be trained and re-trained to be more efficient and more helpful using hypnosis. 

Best Example: Of subconscious you working for conscious you is driving a car.  When we first learned to drive it was very taxing and confusing because we had to do 10-12 different tasks at once and stay alert tom many signs and signals.  It was so much at once we all felt like the hair on the back of our necks was standing up, our eyes were wide open and if someone tried to talk too much we just wanted to yell, “Shut up! I’m driving here!”  Then about 1-2 years later we found we were getting in the car, still doing 10-12 things at once, but now we were bored….so we turn on the radio…we drink a coffee or coke…talk to a passenger….god forbid we use the cell phone! 
But if you stop to think for a moment, you could sit there right where you are, listen to some music, enjoy a drink, and talk on the phone….and you’d be BUSY!  Sitting still in your chair!  So…..someone else is driving your car now.  And that someone else is Your Subconscious!

Now, the nice thing is your subconscious drives much better than you do, because your Subconscious can multitask much better.  It can handle many more tasks at once than conscious YOU.  But your Subconscious doesn’t do the value judgments and real-time decision making.  So, if something requires that kind of decision, Subconscious passes the whole ball game back to Conscious YOU.

    That’s what happens even today if a car suddenly pulls out in front of you unexpected.  Suddenly, the hair stands up on the back of your neck, your eyes go wide, you throw your coffee in the air and yell, “Shut up! I’m driving here!” …..all over again you have that feeling you had back in high school when you were first learning to drive.  The noise from the radio is just too much and you want silence.
As it turns out, that’s the way it always feels when you drive using your conscious mind.  When you drive with your Subconscious you feel like you’re “in the zone” relaxed, easy going, enjoying life.

3) Unconscious Mind – This is the part that’s well below the radar.  By definition, we are UNCONSCIOUS of most of its activities.  The Unconscious controls the beating of your heart, the rythmic action of breathing, healing and renewing every cell, system, and organ of your body.  Clearly, conscious YOU can interact with the Unconscious, by say, holding your breath.  But mostly your unconscious is like a benevolent Big Brother or Sister who takes care of the basics of living for you. 

Work WITH your Team!

Work WITH your Team!

The unconscious is also keeps all the memories.  Things you think you didn’t learn in school, past lives, details you think you’ve forgotten, its all there in the Unconscious memory stores.  And Unconscious memory is vast and unlimited.
By contrast, conscious memory is very limited.  Conscious memory is like a little table by the door.  You come home each day and you put your keys and your mail there, maybe some pocket change.  That’s what its for, conscious memory is for holding those thoughts and ideas that are most useful and relevant to NOW.  But…if you go 50-60 years without ever cleaning and sorting those things, some items are going to fall off the table and be “lost” or “forgotten”.  This is why folks think they lose their memory as they grow older.  Or have a “senior moment”.  But nothing is ever really lost or forgotten, it simply drops into the Unconscious memory stores.  So, conscious memory improves when we sort it out and choose to “forget” somethings.  The best technique is to forget all bad experiences and negative thoughts and beliefs.  By choosing to forget the negative we make more and more room for the positive.

So, when we first begin the hypnosis, I’m going to start by helping you to dump some memories and problems from your conscious mind by turning them over to the subconscious to sort.  Your subconscious will also find and create solutions for you that it will simply hand to you at a moment you least expect.  The solutions will be simpler than you ever thought possible and ready made and available at a moment’s notice, like the name of an old friend that suddenly pops into your head unexpectedly.

Before we get to that, though, I’ll ask you a series of random sounding questions.  There is no right or wrong to these questions.  This is just my way of listening to the language of your Subconscious and Unconscious.  Each person’s mind is wired a bit differently, and each person’s Other-Than-Conscious mind speaks a slightly different language.  These are like the language of dreams.  My job as guide and interpreter is to translate your instructions, goals, and needs into the language YOUR Subconscious understands best.  So just say whatever comes to mind when I ask the questions, it all helps me understand YOUR subconscious language.

The LAST thing I’ll mention is the hypnotic trance itself.  Turns out the hypnotic trance is a normal natural state that we all go into and out of throughout our day.  The most common time we enter a hypnotic trance is on the verge of deep sleep.  So if you’ve ever fallen asleep on the sofa when there are other people around, and you get to that point where your eyes are closed, you’re very relaxed, BUT you can still hear every word in the room around you?  Maybe someone talks to you or asks a question.  You can hear them perfectly, you may even have an answer ready….but you just feel like you can’t quite break out of that comfortable state to respond. 

We enter the Hypnotic Trance all the time.

We enter the Hypnotic Trance all the time.

THAT is a hypnotic trance.  Sometimes it may feel as if you’re floating or sinking deeply into the furniture.  Sometimes there’s a tingling sensation.  So that is how the hypnosis is going to feel today.  You may hear every word I say.  At times you may completely lose track of my words.  It doesn’t really matter if you stop listening, because once you reach that trance state your Subconscious and Unconscious are listening too, and that’s really who I’m talking with.  So its find to drift off, to lose track of my words, or to stop paying attention entirely.  You may even drift into a dream-like state or dip into deep sleep.  The only thing I ask you to avoid is TRYING.  Funny as it may sound, TRY is a conscious activity, and Conscious you needs to get out of the way for the hypnosis to work best.  Its kind of like when you wake up in the middle of the night and you want to go back to sleep…if you TRY really hard to sleep…why, you’ll be up all night.  But if you close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and let your mind wander to some pleasant thoughts…you simply drift away.  This is how its done in hypnosis as well.  So, if you have the urge to TRY or WORK at it, just take a few deep breaths instead and listen to your breathing…or your heart beating.

What Does it Mean to be Psychic?

Recently I had a friend ask me about my psychic abilities.  He wanted to know how it works, what you can know, and what I’ve used it for.  I thought the answers might be fun and interesting to share.

How does it work?
Well now that is a question with several different meanings. Since I’m a literal, sciencey person, I’m going to answer it that way.
we see....bee see

we see….bee see

It works the very same way your 5 senses work. Only it’s like the senses are way more perceptive than average. So I can hear, see, smell, taste, and feel things that go way beyond the norm. To “normal” folks it seems I can see and hear things that “aren’t there” but actually they ARE There. The rest of you poor slobs just can’t detect them.
Its like the way they say dogs cannot see red. (what do you suppose they see instead??) Just because they don’t see it doesn’t mean Red isn’t there, does it?
Or they say bees can see a color called “bee violet” we can’t see it, except under ultraviolet light, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real, right?
mantis shrimp

mantis shrimp

Likewise, the Mantis Shrimp can see about 6 more colors than we can see.
Do those colors exist?? Even though we cannot see them?? Yes, of course.
Dogs and cats can smell (and see) emotions. Can you? Probably not.  But I can.
There is also a condition called synesthesia, in which people can feel colors and see music, and so on.
It is understood that such people have sensory neurons “crossed” somehow.  Still they are experiencing sensory phenomena that most of us don’t.
My point is simply that there is a very wide range of stuff out there that can be sensed. And there are animals and people who can sense more, or less of that range than others.
When humans are LESS sensitive than average, we just call them insensitive, or we call them more grounded, or we call them “realists” but basically this condition is accepted as “normal”, given approval and even praised.
While people with a greater range of sensory perception are subject to doubt, suspicion, and ridicule.  But that difference in value judgment is completely arbitrary.
So I’m one of the folks in the extreme end of things who is very sensitive. And I’ve spent my whole life being told I’m “too sensitive” or “crazy” or lying. And yet, I’ve found a way to make my extra sensitivity useful.
I imagine if you dissected my brain you might find I have more sensory neurons than most. But since sensory neurons are small and easily destroyed during dissection, not to mention quickly degraded and decomposed after death, to say nothing of the fact that I’m still using them and would really prefer NOT to be dissected yet, the chances are slim that it can be proven that way.  But it is real and it is consistent.
What dogs see

What dogs see

What you can know?

Now that’s a trick question. Because just as we know all about our world with our senses, these extended senses can pretty much be used to know anything.

That said, I do a whole lot better with issues of people, than things.  I’ve had people come to me for readings to help them find an old engagement ring or some heirloom, and what I see is they have a new relationship and their fixation on & nostalgia about that ring from their ex is causing jealousy and they’re better off letting it go, or they should have sold it long ago. Or with heirlooms I see how dysfunctional their family is…maybe has been for generations, and how the heirloom is keeping their deceased grandmother lingering and critically looking over their shoulder. Or something like that.

    People don’t always want to see those deeper truths. So usually I do a tarot reading to help them find the thing, because tarot is like looking through a spyglass.  You can’t see the whole picture, only a little section of it.  That’s usually all people want when they’re focused on objects.

    It’s funny, because when I was a little kid that’s how things started out. I used to use my psychic abilities to find my shoes or books for school when I was late. I also remember playing a game with friends in the church yard. I would close my eyes and see a vision of a certain spot in the grass. Then I would open my eyes and find that spot and there would be a little prize there, a tiny lost toy, or an especially beautiful stone, or a piece of jewelry. I would find a prize for each of my friends that way. It was fun.  I still use it around the house the same way to find things. My kids will come to me and just say, Mom, will you find my ________. And I have to stop what I’m doing and focus, ask them a couple questions, then tell them where to look. Sometimes I have to go look myself, and it’s always right there where I said but they couldn’t find it. But can’t all Moms sort of do that?

I think I’m actually searching my kids subconscious mind for the object. So I really try to train them to do it for themselves. If they chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo & close their eyes and relax for a moment, they can usually find it. They’ve used that to find lost pets many times too.

So I suspect that my difficulty with objects now is because I’m used to going much deeper, to more profound levels in my office. I use it to look into peoples bodies and find the original cause of illness or injury. Sometimes the cause is an emotional blow, or guilt over an abortion, grief over a stillborn child or a child who wants in but was never conceived. I can see how sexual assault has led to back problems. I can see the impact of relationships on their health, or how an old injury was never quiet healed and is making new problems. Or even how problems between their parents when they were still in the womb have caused developmental problems at birth.

I also see similar problems come through from past lives. Usually it’s something that happened just before death, or never got properly resolved, so its still lingering.

So with all that as my normal office focus, I guess it’s hard to shift my focus to a simple object. Or maybe it just bores me. Or maybe I get impatient and fed up with people spending so much of their lives and personal energy fixating on shiny objects while the things of real value, like children, relationships, spiritual exercise, learning and mental and emotional growth, or a good sex life, all get ignored, neglected and marginalized.

So, in general I can see/hear/sense anything that has happened in the past, this life or others, relationships with self and others, ones mission and reason for being here, special skills and abilities, physical and emotional trauma, and future to the extent that it has already been formed by causes we are creating now. I can see/sense spirit guides, deceased loved ones, and demons that are hanging around helping or affecting your life. The key for me is focus. I can sense SO much that I have to really focus to narrow it down. I tend to focus on the top most important things that can improve their true happiness.

When people ask for something in particular I usually have to ask a few questions just to get them to stir their thoughts around & then the key issues rise to the surface. Everyone kind of knows their own stuff, but we don’t always trust ourselves, or were afraid to admit things, or we hide them from ourselves, or we believe others who try to tell us its not true, or feed us a pack of lies and myths and convince us that “reality” is limited and rigid, talk us out of what is obvious to a child…and to us if we weren’t so deluded.

I can, of course, hear peoples thoughts, but only when they are actively thinking them, you know? And I’ve gotten very good at shutting that out so I can walk through crowds without going mad. Still it’s hard sometimes because people near and far thinking about me can get really noisy and irritating. So I have a need to be alone, or out in nature, or distract myself with a movie, book, or writing, OR I can dumb it down and disengage my brain by drinking alcohol…or certain foods. That has repercussions though so I use it sparingly.

train wreck

train wreck

I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, so if I see some negative event or effect in someone future, I always ask “What can he do to change that?” That’s pretty effective and satisfying. Except when the person is dead set on denial or blaming others, and often I can see that. Then if I can’t wake them up and help them take charge of their life, by making changes, I want to just distance myself from them because its  frustrating to work with.  And eventually that bad prediction will happen because they did nothing to stop it.  So for me its like watching a massive train wreck in slow motion.

That’s the same reason I won’t do readings for people unless they pay me.  When people are willing to pay they are usually willing to listen.  So there’s much less change I have to watch a gory train wreck in slow motion and pretend I can’t see it.

What have you used it for?

In my practice, I use my psychic ability primarily for healing.  The Quantum Healing I do allows me to look into patient’s bodies, see any problems and fix them by working with the body’s natural ability to heal. Most western medicine therapies work against the body’s own healing mechanisms and often create more problems than they solve.  For example, fever is the body’s way of killing infection.  So fevers should not be suppressed with aspirin or other NSAIDs.  Its better to bring it down naturally by soaking in a tepid bath.  Mucus whether its running from the nose or sinuses is the body’s way of flushing out bacteria, viruses or toxins.  So when we take something that stops the mucus it also stops the body from healing itself.  Scar tissue is like the body’s own surgery.  So when surgery results in scar tissue, more invasive surgery will probably NOT help.

I also use it in my counseling.  Sometimes people can’t quite put the root of their problem into words.  Or maybe they are embarrassed, ashamed, or in denial.  Or maybe they just don’t like talking about feelings and relationships.  So then I’ll use my psychic sense to listen between the lines, or psychically feel the right questions to ask.  Once we locate the root cause, it makes the counseling and hypnosis much more effective.  Hypnosis goes hand in hand with counseling because when you reach that moment in talk therapy where you say, “Ah, ha!  This is what I need to do differently!”  we can make that change happen almost over night.

Check out all the ways I apply my skills to help you achieve extraordinary things:  clearmirrorhealing.com

 

 

True

What if humans were more like the animals and insects? What if, for example, when we became bored we automatically began to make a high pitched droning sound like a cicada? It would be a game changer. Instead of pretending rapt interest in lectures that have continued too long or failed to actually inform or excite, we would be obliged by polite dignity to excuse ourselves and quietly leave the auditorium before we began to distract the others. The pompous lecturer would be left to face the empty seats of his own humility, and to reorganize his thoughts into words that better touch and inspire the listeners.

cicada

Click here for sound sample

Schools would become such a wild cacophony of squealing drones by lunchtime that students would have to be sent home early. Teachers, unable to hear themselves over the high pitched symphonies winding into frantic fervor, would have to forever abandon their forced memorization and superficial covering of topics for tests in favor of actual teaching. The neuroatypical students could no longer be marginalized, ignored, or labeled as poor learners. Their daily droning would teach us once and for all that their problem was not slow learning, but learning that was too fast, too thorough, and too far-reaching for traditional methods of spoon feeding disparate factoids. We would be forced to let them learn from experiential activities and then teach us. There would remain no doubt, no delusion about exactly who was failing whom.

What if your friends and lovers could no longer pretend to be engaged in your self-absorbed monologues? What if your children could no longer be expected to sit quietly through Grandpa’s inane diatribe or Grandma’s lecture on proper manners? We would be forced to become as interested in the lives and thoughts of others as we are in ourselves. There would be no more protracted and jealous divorce battles. We would have been driven from the home holding our ears during the first few days when we began to stifle our partners mind and spirit. Selecting a partner would become much easier, though. They would be the ones still listening when all the others had drifted away amid stifled squeaks.

angry ears

angry ears

And what if we had ears like cats or like the beautiful blue Navi from Avatar? If we walked into work in the morning with our ears laid back, people would know to stay away from us until we were over the strain of our commute. There would be no more brown nosing the boss for a promotion. The flex and tilt of our ears would give away our true feelings. Maybe bosses would even be obliged to become honestly engaged with their team rather than little dictators giving the hard work to others and stealing the credit for themselves.

Maybe we wouldn’t be able to go around grouchy all week snapping at others and blaming them for our foul moods if everyone could see that we arrived in a foul mood and simply nursed it for days. Seeing ourselves in the mirror might be enough to make us pull on the big boy or big girl pants and get over our bad selves. Maybe we couldn’t ignore our friends who had spent days or weeks with their ears drooping in depression. We might find a way to reach out to them and help.

depression cat

depression cat

Or if we could wag our tails like dogs when friends and loved ones came home. Flick the tips of our tails testily like cats before we lost our tempers. Purr when petted or given affection. Hiss our displeasure at annoyances. Maybe then our lives wouldn’t be built on fake relationships. Maybe our blood pressure wouldn’t soar, our arteries wouldn’t clog, and our bowels wouldn’t back up in our 40’s. Maybe it would be easier to focus on how much wagging or purring we had in or lives each day than how much bulged in our bank accounts. If healthy happy children wagged and yipped and gamboled playfully when their parents came home, perhaps abusive parenting would cease to be hidden. Then, perhaps, it could cease to exist.

happy wags

happy wags

Or maybe, just maybe, we could use our words. Since spoken words are what set us apart from other animals in our kingdom, maybe our words could be used to express our true emotions. Maybe we could allow people to speak their feelings freely and hiding true feelings behind false smiles could be called rude and thoughtless, instead of polite. Maybe children could be congratulated for identifying and giving voice to their true feelings. Maybe when people got angry they could just shout, “I’m angry at you!” and we could acknowledge their right to feel, and give them space until they were ready to solve the conflict. Maybe we wouldn’t follow false leaders into false wars if we all had a solid grip on how we really felt, and we weren’t afraid to say so. Maybe if we simply said what we felt to be true and refrained from saying what we didn’t honestly feel, maybe there would be a lot less confusion, coercion, and conflict. Maybe our true hearts and minds are a better guideline than all the intricacies of manners and polite society. Maybe its enough to be true to ourselves.

Make purrs, not war.

Make purrs, not war.

You CAN Stop Child Abuse

encourage-and-empower

Child abuse is much, much more common than you would ever suspect.   But just ONE adult who reaches out with compassion can make the world of difference.  Most insidious and damaging is child sexual assault because damage to the sexual body causes trauma to the emotional, spiritual, social, and physical bodies.  Like all abuse, sexual abuse takes many forms, not just the publically acknowledged form we call “rape”.  Anything that attacks or undermines the healthy sexuality of a person is sexual assault to the body, mind, and spirit.

To help and protect children we must understand how pedophiles choose their victims.  Children are preyed upon much more commonly than adults because they are more vulnerable and because they are whole and perfect.  A pedophile is someone who was damaged sexually themselves so they are sexually broken.  Rather than seeking appropriate healing, these individuals try to “steal” the beauty and wholeness from the sexual bodies of others.

Children come into the world whole and perfect, with open hearts and open minds. They glow with power and beauty.  Even though most people in our culture don’t consciously see this the way I do, everyone registers it subconsciously.  Predators see the parts they are missing and try to take them by force, or manipulation.  Of course, sexual power cannot be stolen (only earned by loving and empowering others) so the predator breaks the child’s spirit and remains broken himself, only damaging himself further through his cruelty.

The children most likely to be preyed upon are those who have no healthy caring adults willing to listen and talk frankly and honestly about sex.  Kids are made even more vulnerable if they are punished for “lying” (see How to Lie and Why You Should) or physically or emotionally abused by parents or caretakers (also pronounced “spanking”, “controlling”, “disciplining”, etc – see How to raise Children).  Such treatment leaves kids with no one they can turn to in times of doubt for fear they will not be believed…or for fear the adults in their lives will reject them.

Realize that, like adult victims of abuse, children experience feelings akin to shame, guilt, revulsion and self loathing in the wake of assault.  But these kids don’t even have the words, knowledge or resources to sort these feelings, reach out for help, or reason them away.  So the pain and damage goes deeper, making the child even more vulnerable to other predators.  One strong, kind adult who can reach out to a such a child, even once, can turn this picture around.  The crushing spiral of damage and vulnerability CAN be stopped.

Key to helping is knowing the signs and having the courage to act.  Adults may ignore the tell-tale signs of child abuse because they are afraid to confront the perpetrator.  This is NOT an unrealistic fear.  Abusers are usually experts at manipulation and can easily turn the tables, making the hero look like the perpetrator.  Moreover, the courts make the process of punishment convoluted and ineffective.    The good news is that punishing the abuser is NOT the way to stop child abuse!  In fact sending a sexually broken predator to prison is likely to make him MORE of a danger to the community, not less.

When, exactly, has violence, used against the violent, been shown to STOP violence??  Never.

So the REALLY GREAT news is that you don’t need to attack the attacker.  What is needed AND most effective is empowering the victims & would-be victims.

Empower kids!

Empower kids for safety!

How to Spot Abuse

1. Inappropriate sex play – while it’s completely normal for kids to take an interest in nudity of all kinds, to play with their own bodies AND to be curious about animal mating behavior and reproduction, kids who act out adult human sexual behavior are demonstrating knowledge beyond their years.  DO NOT punish kids for such behavior.  DO NOT get embarrassed.  See this demonstration as a cry for help.

2. Sudden weight gain (or loss) – A sudden change in weight can often be traced directly back to an event of abuse or trauma.  Appetite is a funny thing.  It often goes haywire in response to stress.  People may use food to fill an (emotional) emptiness inside.  Or they may exert control over what they eat as a subconscious response to a desperate lack of control over more profound areas of their lives.  Neither gain nor loss of weight in children should ever be dismissed as merely physical.

3. Nervousness, anxiety, fear & avoidance – If a child gets stomach aches, tremors, or other physical symptoms when its time to go to school or church (etc) this is a red flag that something very serious is wrong at the institution.  Often, predators intimidate their child victims with threats to their parents, siblings, or loved ones.  The child may be too terrified to tell anyone what happened or who did it, but they will go to great lengths to avoid being alone with the predator.  Please DO NOT dismiss a child’s fear as “normal” or punish them for “acting up”.  Always take a child’s fear seriously.

4. Back pain & degenerative bone disease – Many of the victims of child sexual assault that I have treated manifest some kind of lower back pain or degeneration.  The symbolic connection is clear: the spine and especially the lumbar region form the foundation of our physical selves.  Back pain and disease that persists in young people should always be taken as more than simply physical circumstantial, or random.  I have had great results healing such conditions by treating the whole person.

5. Compulsive lying – When children are forced to keep the terrible secret of sexual assault to themselves, their whole lives become a lie.  They have to lie to themselves every day to hold on to their sanity.  Its very common that these people become compulsive liars.  Compulsive lying can be spotted when a person lies randomly or casually.   There may seem to be no reason or point to the lies.  They may invent tall tales just to get positive attention or they may enhance the truth for no apparent reason.  Never punish a child for lying (See How to Lie and Why You Should).  Help compulsive liars, child or adult, to seek counseling.

6. ADD, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Split Personality (a.k.a Dissociative Disorder), and even the more problematic manifestations of the Asperger’s Spectrum – all these “incurable” problems of unknown cause have their roots in child abuse.  The trauma caused to the psyche of a child by physical punishment and assault often results in a mind that is “broken” and unable to function with continuity.  If you believe in spanking and have a child manifesting any of these disorders, you need to change yourself before you can change your child.

Kid's empowerment is key to stopping abuse!

Kid’s empowerment is key to stopping abuse!

How to STOP Abuse

1. Listen & believe – Kids don’t always have the vocabulary to express what has happened to them.  If assaults continued over a long period the memories are probably somewhat suppressed.   So if a child tries to tell you something about abuse it is likely to sound vague and confusing.  You job is to believe them.  Your job is NOT to play judge, jury, or detective inasmuch as those are tempting roles.  Take any ideas about wrongfully accusing an adult off the table and simply focus on believing and supporting the child.  This is how you actually make a difference.

2. Relieve – One of the most powerful things you can say to a child who has been the victim of assault is this, “Any child your age would have done exactly what you did.”  Believe it or not, one of the most soul crushing burdens children suffer is the burden of guilt and shame.  As obvious as it may seem to you that a child cannot be responsible for sexual assault, victims of all ages suffer from the delusion that they could have and should have done something to stop it.  Predators also use the natural human tendency to self blame to keep their victims silent.  They may say things to make the victim believe they were voluntary participants, or that they were seducing or enticing the perp.  So when you reassure a person that their silence was normal and the best anyone could have done, you lift a huge psychological burden.

3. Answer and Explain – The most empowering thing you can do for your own kids or any kids in your care is to answer their questions about sex and sexuality as simply and matter-of-factly as you can.  Children are sexual from the day they are born, but it is a very different kind of sexuality than that of adults.  So get over your own hang ups, get some facts and share them with the kids.  My studies have shown that the best way to ensure a child will grow to have a happy, well adjusted and satisfying sex life is to answer their questions about sex factually and without embarrassment when they are young.

4. Empower & Support – Talk to kids like they are people.  Support and respect their opinions and ideas just as you would an adult.  They are only small and inexperienced, they are not mentally deficient.  Never teach a child to obey an adult “Because I said so.”  Avoid giving too much power to authority figures.  Children will respond respectfully to adults and authority when they themselves are treated with appropriate respect.  If a child has a “creepy feeling” about a person or a place, don’t talk them out of it. Believe them.  Children are naturally more in tune with the unseen world.

5. Affectionate touch – Hug your kids often. Pet their heads. Pat their backs. Kiss their ears and toes.  Humans need warm affectionate touch like flowers need sunshine.  There is something about kind, respectful physical affection, freely given, that both heals and prevents victimization.

6. Treat & Heal – I wish all counselors were good counselors.  I wish everyone working for child protective services actually cared about children.  I wish I knew even one other therapist or health professional who could actually heal the sexual body.  You have the right to be discriminating when you choose a professional to help your child.  And you have that responsibility.  I treat and heal assault survivors everyday.  I give life, liberty and happiness back to those who have been preyed upon and broken.  Please call, text or email for an appointment.

Facts:  Of the patients I treat about 50% have signs of sexual assault in some form.  Males and females are equally likely to be preyed upon. MOST sexual dysfunction among adults (from lack of lubrication to uterine prolapse, from incontinence to poor libido to erectile dysfunction to cancers) has its root cause in sexual assault. 

 

 

People of Power

feel-the-power-of-love

Week after week in my office I meet amazing people of power.  And by “power” I mean the only true power that exists: the power of an open heart and an open mind.   Real power is the power that comes from empowering others and from challenging ourselves to learn and grow in confidence, wisdom, and compassion.   Each time I meet one of these people they present the same way: very reserved and modest, somewhat hesitant and unsure.  And they usually ask a question that sounds like this, “Am I a terrible person?  It feels like everyone is out to get me.”

The reason people of genuine power are reserved and modest is simple.  If power goes to your head you quickly become arrogant and arrogance consumes power.  Arrogance is simply the idea that any one person is somehow better…or worse, than any other.  This includes all concepts of inequality from racism to hero worship.  So its fine to be proud of your accomplishments & it’s important to appreciate your strengths and skills, but it’s equally important to remind yourself that others have strengths & skills and CAN accomplish what you have, given the right resources.  In short, people become and remain powerful by recognizing and supporting the power of others.

empower bill

The reason these genuinely powerful people come in feeling put down, brushed aside, criticized, and condemned is a bit more convoluted.   But the simplest answer is this:  they are NOT imagining it or making it up.  Forces of evil really do rise up to stop people who persist in growing in authentic personal power.  These “forces” may take the form of a bully boss, a bad manager, a system that stifles creativity and justice, family members who undermine one another, and religions or religious leaders that become self-serving.  These are all simply vehicles for the same principle.  Great good attracts attacks & criticism.  Great power always reflects on and corrects itself first.  So if you are self reflective, always trying to be better and feeling isolated, attacked or condemned, you may actually be a person of great power.

As an example of this principle, consider my dog.  I have adopted a dog who is on the large and powerful side.  You can see the power ripple through his muscles and his jaws.  You can hear the power in his deep bark.  You can feel the power in his pace, stride, stamina and assertive demeanor.  But the dog cannot see himself.  This powerful dog feels, within himself, that he is an equal to all other dogs he meets.  So if a tiny dachshund or yorkie barks a challenge, my dog feels attacked and wants to bark back.

If my dog begins to behave like the little pocket dogs along our walk, barking, jumping, running & pulling, he frightens people.  Humans and other dogs alike react by condemning or attacking my dog.  They think he is a Bad Dog, a scary out-of-control dog.  My dog is behaving EXACTLY like his smaller peers.  But because of his power, this behavior frightens others. Because of their fear, they react by condemning, attacking, or isolating him.

bark dog

When I first met this dog I could see his power and his potential to be dangerous.  I could also see that this dog had been badly abused every day of his life and still had an open heart and a willingness to self-correct, learn and become a better dog.  I was afraid of him.  But I didn’t let my fear stop me from befriending him, supporting him, and teaching him.  Now I am training my dog in the basic rules of the powerful:

1. Let others lead, even if you must teach them how.

2. Never bark, but never cower.

3. Empower and support those who are weaker.

4. No matter how well, or how poorly you did today, determine to do better tomorrow.

And most importantly-

5. Never be bothered by the small dogs yapping along your path.

lion2

 

Today, like never before, people are waking up to their own true nature as people of real power in a world that condemns the great and  embraces the corrupt.   I am not saying that the world is evil or even that some people are evil.  I am saying this – we are all evil and we are all good.  Good and evil are the very nature of existence.   But when we choose to do good, especially against great odds, we become great.  And when we choose evil – we choose to see others as separate or distinct from ourselves, better or worse than ourselves, we become less and less powerful.  We consume our own power by seeking to destroy the power of others.  Evil is an idea, a persistent and pervasive idea.  While good is not just an idea.  Good is an action, it too persistent and pervasive.

A wonderful and powerful client of mine recently suggested that I begin a support group for the beleaguered and browbeaten people of power in our area.  If you think you might be a powerful dog with a heart of gold surrounded by small dogs nipping at your heals, please click on the links below and come to the meeting.  If you stand up for justice and equality only to be criticized and condemned, do the same.  If you’re tired of being told you’re too sensitive, too optimistic, or too nice, click and come.  If you’re unsure but curious, if what I’m saying here makes a profound sort of sense, if you don’t like to join groups because it usually turns out badly, click, or call, or text, or email.  You may just be one of the hidden persons of power that the world so desperately needs now.  You may be the key to empowering someone else who feels exactly as you do.

Click for Meet Up Page

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Text:  504-312-3097