Articles on Dealing With Stressful Situations

Working with a Difficult Boss
While some people are lucky enough to be self-employed and be their own boss, most of us have to tolerate the emotional roller-coaster of the boss’ moods. This can take a toll on our personal happiness, even our mental health. Today, we will look at one particular example of the “power-mad boss”... (Read More)

When Your Church Lets You Down (1)
This is not an article about the place of religion in the treatment of mental health, it is merely a collection of anecdotal tales that are rather surprising given that churches are renowned for being in the business of helping people through difficult times... (Read More)

When Your Church Lets You Down (2)
In our last article on this subject we looked at how Susan could not find a nun in her diocese to pray with her for a period of two weeks while another nun went on holidays. Susan was going through a deeply distressing time and she found the comfort of praying with her nun friend very comforting. But it wasn’t so comforting when not a single nun would volunteer to step in for the fortnight and help this distraught woman out... (Read More)

Not Sick Leave – Heartache Leave!
We are all familiar with sick leave, either paid or unpaid, as part of our employment package. But a Tokyo-based firm, Hime and Company, have introduced the concept of “heartache leave” to their employees... (Read More)

When Is a Friendship Worth Letting Go Of?
S ometimes we have friends who really aren’t healthy for us and we would be better of without, but somehow we just never get around to breaking the bond. ... (Read More)

Sexting: Harmful or Harmless?
Teens and pre-teens are increasing sending explicit images of themselves via texting using cell phones, a phenomenon known as “sexting”. Girls as young as eight have been reported sending photos of themselves topless and girls in their early teens sending videos of themselves naked with objects inserted into various parts of their body are not uncommon... (Read More)

Pornography Addiction: Can It Happen?
The simple answer? Yes. Humans can become addicted to any substance or activity that causes pleasure as a result of the release of hormones that provide that sensation of pleasure... (Read more)

Why Is It So Hard To Say "I'm Sorry?"
Most people find it pretty hard to apologize. Why is this? We do something wrong, we acknowledge to ourselves that we have done something wrong, and yet we may still find it hard to get those two little words out from between our pursed lips... (Read more)

When An Apology Is Not An Apology (1)
We've probably all experienced this: the apology that somehow doesn't satisfy. The apology that leaves us feeling vaguely uncomfortable or even downright angry... (Read more)

When An Apology Is Not An Apology (2)
Have you ever had an apology from someone who says they are sorry and then proceeds to tell you all the reasons why it wasn't their fault? And does this qualify as an apology? (Read more)

When Your Son Views Porn
In Pornography and Teenagers, we looked at the mixed emotions that parents feel when they discover that their adolescent son is looking at pornography on the web. In this blog, we will look at some of the ways to best deal with this common situation... (Read more)

Pornography and Teenagers
It's not an uncommon situation for a parent to suddenly walk into to their young male teenager's bedroom and find them looking at porn. And in the blink of an eye, the screen reverts to something more savory... (Read more)

Do You Talk the Talk, but not Walk the Walk?
This week I had to deal with an incident which is unfortunately very common in everyday life, but when it happens to a person suffering from a mental illness or some sort of emotional breakdown, it is even more devastating... (Read more)

Still Talking but Not Walking?
Remember Ann and her "friend" Julie from Do you Talk the Talk but not Walk the Walk? Julie had upset Ann terribly because she had promised to take Ann, who suffered from an anxiety disorder, to the doctors... (Read more)

How Ann dealt with Julie (or How to Stop Being a Doormat)
Remember Ann? She got dumped by Julie just days before Julie had agreed to accompany Ann to the doctors. Ann had given her six weeks notice of the impending appointment yet Julie phoned to cancel three days before the Big Day... (Read more)

When others blame your mental illness for every emotion you feel
There are several aspects to the stigma of mental illness. The first one is obvious. Many people do not want to reveal that they have a mental illness due to possible detrimental effects on their careers and personal relationships... (Read more)

Christmas Quotes to cheer you
Struggling to get into the true Christmas spirit because you're so caught up in gift-buying, food organizing, and pouring oil on troubled family water? Take a moment to read through some of the heart-warming quotes and witty below and rekindle the true meaning of Christmas... (Read more)

Taking the stress out of Christmas gift-giving
Underlying all the worry about what to give to who for Christmas, how much to spend, and the significance of the gifts you receive from others, is love. At Christmas, most people just want to be acknowledged and recognized, and to know they are loved by their family and friends... (Read more)

Surviving the festive season
Ever noticed how your adult siblings and your parents suddenly revert to patterns of yesteryear once they are all gathered in the one room for an extended period of time? Or perhaps it's you who regresses to that little child of years ago... (Read more)

Christmas and other traumas
Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard an increasing number of people, mainly women, expressing grief and sadness about the approaching festive season. And only some of them are my clients! The majority by far are just ordinary people: neighbors, friends, acquaintances, shopkeepers... (Read more)

Is your personal baggage stuffing up your marriage?
Separation and divorce are at an all time high, and the divorce rate of second and subsequent marriages is of even more concern than those of first marriages. While these statistics are alarming, it is the human suffering that lies behind these figures that is the greatest tragedy... (Read more)

What do you say to a person with cancer?
Despite the fact that cancer will directly or indirectly touch one out of every three people, do we really know what to say to friends, family, neighbors, or other acquaintances that have this illness? (Read more)

Is there a Passive-Aggressive in the house?
Do you live with someone who manipulates you into doing things you don't want to do, yet you just can't put your finger on how they do it? Perhaps you have a friend who subtly controls you... (Read more)

Dealing with a Passive-Aggressive Manipulator (1)
In the previous article Is there a Passive-Aggressive In the House? we looked at some of the behavioral techniques utilized by these people in order to get what they want... (Read more)

Dealing with a Passive-Aggressive Manipulator (2)
In Dealing with a Passive-Aggressive Manipulator (1), we looked at some of the thoughts patterns, beliefs, and behaviors of the passive-aggressive person. In this article, we will look at ways to minimize the damage they can cause in your life... (Read more)

The effect of the death of a celebrity
This week we learned of the death of Steve Irwin, the Australian known around the world as "The Crocodile Hunter... (Read more)

Why it can be hard to lose a parent you dislike (1)
Some of us are really lucky and have parents that we love pretty much equally. They may have vastly different personal qualities, but overall, we would be hard pressed to say which one we prefer... (Read more)

Why it can be hard to lose a parent you dislike (2)
It's never easy to lose a parent, but as we discussed in Why it can be hard to lose a parent you dislike (1), the death of a less-than-loved parent can often be much more difficult to deal with than that of a loved parent with whom you shared a close and special bond... (Read more)

The experience of losing a parent
Unless we die early in life, we all go through the process of losing a parent or parent substitute. When our mother or father dies, it is a truly unique experience because, unlike with other people, in most cases we have literally known our parents all our lives... (Read more)

Don't make promises that you can't deliver
When a person is mentally ill, they are very vulnerable. They are particularly vulnerable to offers of help or other favors which naturally give them hope that things will get better... (Read more)

What not to say to people in distress (1)
Despite the fact that most of us have felt emotional pain during our lives, we often have little idea what to say to others who are in desperate need of words of solace. Unfortunately, people often say things that can actually make the situation worse... (Read more)

What not to say to people in distress (2)
As we discussed in What not to say to people in distress (1), some people do more harm than good when talking to the sad and bereaved... (Read more)

The Paradox of Good Parenting
Parenting is the most important job in the world. It is also the most difficult. The responsibilities inherent in the position of CEO of a multi-national corporation pale into insignificance when you consider the qualifications necessary for being a good parent... (Read more)

Dealing with your friend's divorce
You knew the marriage was a bit on the rocky side and had been for a long time. Or perhaps the news has just come out of the blue and you are shocked to the core... (Read more)

When people do not understand mental illness
When you have a mental illness, whether it be depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, or any of the raft of conditions that plague we humans, it is inevitable that, somewhere along our journey of recovery, we will encounter people who do not understand... (Read more)

Helping an Upset Friend
Many people find it uncomfortable to be around people who are upset, whether that person is grieving for a loved one, or going through a breakdown due to overwhelming pressures... (Read more)

When Your Child's Pet Dies (1)
What's the best thing to do when your child's pet dies and your child is inconsolable? What do you say to your child? How do you help your child to cope with the grief of losing their little friend? Losing a pet is never easy... (Read more)

When Your Child's Pet Dies (2)
In When Your Child's Pet Dies (1), we looked at why it wasn't helpful to your child's emotional development to immediately rush out and buy a replacement for the newly-deceased Fluffy or Fido... (Read more)

Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (1)
Although mothers-in-law bear the brunt of the "difficult in-law" tag, family in-law problems come in many different guises and are not restricted to mothers, or even to females. Let's take a look at some examples where a marriage is under siege due to problems with extended family members... (Read more)

Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (2)
Want to find out what's happening with Helena and Dave, and Dave's "fun" brother, Dean? How about Claire and her intrusive mother, and Elise and Carl and the mother-in-law who just won't hear? (Read more)

Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (3)
In Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (1) we met Claire, who had a three-week-old daughter, sleeping problems, breast feeding problems, and a highly intrusive mother... (Read more)

Dealing with Difficult In-Laws (4)
Remember Elise with the mother-in-law who showed 15+ movies to her young grandchildren and thought it was okay to do so? Let's have a look at how Elise and her partner, Carl, dealt with the situation... (Read more)

Coping with Christmas & Family Gatherings (1)
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Wonderful because it's a time for catching up with family and friends. It's also a "wonderful" time because we often "wonder" how on earth we are going to get through it... (Read more)

Coping with Christmas & Family Gatherings (2)
Popular magazines abound with tips on how to survive Christmas. You'll notice that they mainly deal with the practicalities of food preparation and gift selection... (Read more)

Coping with Christmas & Family Gatherings (3)
Hoping for a quick fix to solve all your family Christmas disasters? Well, sadly there are no quick fixes, particularly if you're looking to change other people's behaviors. The first and foremost rule of the counseling game is that it is very difficult to change other people, if at all... (Read more)

The Parental Blame Game in Mental Illness
When a child is diagnosed with a mental illness, it is understandable that parents go through a series of powerful emotions, including fear, sadness, grief and anger. The parent questions: "Why us?" There is a real and legitimate fear as to what will happen to their beautiful teenage son or daughter who is suddenly diagnosed with schizophrenia, for example. There may also be disbelief, denial of the condition, and extreme anger. All of these are normal reactions for a parent to experience when the shock of diagnosis has hit home… (Read more)

"I've given my Child the Family Illness!" (1)
I often have parents come to me with tears, fears and truckloads of guilt that they have passed on a mental disorder to one or more of their children. "There's a history of depression in my family, now I've passed it on to my son!" Or, "I have chronic anxiety and I can see it starting up in my little girl! It's my fault; I've given it to her!" … (Read more)

"I've Given my Child the Family Illness!" (2)
In "I've Given my Child the Family Illness!" we looked at the role both genes and the environment play in determining whether a mental illness will be expressed in any given individual. Today we will look at how to cope with the guilt that some parents feel when they learn that a son or daughter has inherited a "family illness." … (Read more)

Christian "Healing" and Mental Health (1)
This is a subject that is very close to my heart and I am aware that it may upset a few readers, but it has to be said. Besides, any true Christian, or indeed any humane person, would be abhorred by what I am going to relate. It concerns a certain brand of Christianity and the arrogant manner in which they treat people who come to them for support of their mental illness dilemma… (Read more)

Christian "Healing" and Mental Health (2)
In our last article on this topic, we looked at some of the harm that can come from so-called "Christian" healing. Obviously, this form of healing has little to do with Christianity at all, but it is called that and as such, is effectively sending out the wrong message to many people. Today we look at further examples of "help gone wrong." … (Read more)

Christian "Healing" and Mental Health (3)
In "Christian" Healing and Mental Health (1) and (2), we looked at the way destructive people going under the banner of being Christians can do untold harm to the self worth and even belief system of vulnerable people suffering from the load of mental illness… (Read more)

When Your Therapist Does Harm (1)
Therapists are supposed to help us, right? Technically, yes. But as in any profession there are unscrupulous ones and people who suffer from emotional illnesses are more vulnerable than most to the dealings of a less-than-helpful therapist… (Read more)

When Your Therapist Does Harm (2)
In When Your Therapist Does Harm (1) we looked at the possibility that some therapists may actually cause further harm in their already distressed patients and clients. This harm usually comes in the form of instigating a sexual relationship with their client… (Read more)

The Therapist who is also a Sexual Predator
As we discussed in When Your Therapist Does Harm, there are a small proportion of therapists and general counselors who use their position of power to manipulate their clients. The predominant scenario involves a male therapist entering into a sexual relationship with a female client, although the reverse is not unknown… (Read more)

Looking After your Mental Health over Christmas
The holiday period can be a stressful time as families get together and old grievances move from festering mode into an outright screaming match. So how can you make this Christmas a better one in terms of your mental health? The key is to Be Prepared!... (Read more)

A Sane Christmas with your Insane Family
Well, perhaps your family isn't clinically insane, but there are lots of families where dysfunction is as much a part of the family as the heirloom furniture. In our last article, we looked at how the younger sister of a two-daughter family decided her life was too short to go on being abused by her older sister. So Miriam made the decision to formally end her relationship with Rachel, and her Christmases and indeed her life, has been the better for it… (Read more)

Families and Christmas: An Explosive Combination
Christmas is the season of good cheer, right? Well, for the most part it is. But for some people the holiday season is a time of verbal, physical and emotional abuse as families meet and "gifts" are exchanged… (Read more)

Christmas: Not Always So Cheery (1)
Christmas can be such a happy time for family and friends to catch up and enjoy a happy day which goes on to ultimately form happy memories in their lives as the years pass. Sadly, Christmas and the festive season in general can be the most difficult and painful time of the year for people to cope with... (Read More)

Christmas: Not Always So Cheery (2)
In our last article on this topic we looked at the high expectations that so many of us have about Christmas and the festive season and why it is not only so stressful for so many of us, but why it is often a time of unhappiness rather than joy... (Read More)

Christmas: What Happened to It?
As I have been tying up the final loose ends for Christmas Day, I am continuously running into frazzled women. Glassy eyed, tousled hair, they seem strained, forgetful, distracted and angry. And these are not my clients; they are women trying to prepare for Christmas Day! Something has gone terribly wrong with Christmas and the festive season... (Read More)

New Year’s Blues
F or some people, the New Year is a time of unhappiness, even depression. The realization that another year has passed. That time is marching on and achievements and hopes are not being met. A feeling that time is running out and life is leaving them behind. And usually, an accompanying sense that everyone else is moving ahead and having a great life and you are not... (Read More)

Celebrating Mother's Day When You Don't Like Your Mom
You can't miss the occasion of Mother's Day. Advertisers refuse to let us. Wherever we turn we are bombarded with loving images of mothers and babies selling giftware from flowers to facials, and everything in between. But what happens if you don't like your Mom? ... (Read more)

Not Being Able to Say Sorry has Far-Reaching Effects
Most of us find it difficult to say sorry from time to time. But it is really worth the effort to ask ourselves "Why?" Because being unable to say "Sorry, I have made a mistake" can cause problems in all areas of our lives... (Read more)



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