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July 6, 2016

Are you being emotionally abused? Part II

This is the follow up to my last blog post on emotional abuse. In this post we will ask some questions so you can determine if you are in fact, being emotionally abused. Keep in mind, that men and women are just as likely to be abused, and be the abusers. This subject isn’t gender specific.

Let’s get started shall we:

  1. Do you feel like you have to walk on egg shells around your partner? Do you find yourself monitoring their mood, doing your best to avoid doing anything to make them angry?
  2. Does your partner insist on getting their own way? Do they want to make all the decisions when it comes to what movie to see, food to eat, finances, etc?
  3. Does your partner treat you as if you are inferior?
  4. Are you treated like a child in the relationship?
  5. Does your partner always blame you for everything?
  6. Are your accomplishments belittled, your hopes for your future?
  7. Does your partner often pout and punish you by withdrawing, withholding physical touch or even sex if you don’t do what they want?
  8. Does your partner threaten to leave you if you don’t do as they command?
  9. Does she blame you for her problems? you are at fault if she gets angry or yells, frequently has affairs, or can’t complete some long held goal?
  10. Are you told that you’re to blame for all the problems in the relationship?
  11. Is your partner unable to apologize or admit when they are wrong?
  12. Do you feel like you’re in a relationship with Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde? You don’t know who you’re going to get from one moment to the next?

If you are able to say “yes” to more than half of these I would say you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Here are some tips that may help you to address this in your own relationship
  1. You must step out of denial and admit that there is a problem. I know many of us find it incredibly hard to admit that this person we chose to love is hurting us in this manner. We also find ourselves in a place where we no longer trust our own judgement, and question our reality. It may benefit you to document every time your partner lashes out at you. By writing down that “Bill yelled at me today, and smashed the vase.” or “Katie threw a temper tantrum, and slept in the other room for 3 days because I wouldn’t cancel plans I’d already made.” This will help to keep you out of denial and show you just how bad it really is.
  2. We need to address why we chose this individual. Do they remind you of mom or dad when you really think about it? are you reenacting childhood trauma with this person? does the chaotic lifestyle seem eerily familiar? There is a reason we gravitate towards the partners we choose. You must look at the reasons why if you are to avoid making this mistake again in the future. If you were abused either sexually, physically, or emotionally growing up I would be surprised if you were not in an emotionally abusive relationship OR found yourself being the abuser. It is very common and there is no shame if you find yourself in either category. You just need to seek the appropriate help so you can stop the cycle.
  3. Look at why you choose to stay. Do you fear being alone? that this is as good as it gets? Again, if you found yourself as a childhood victim or any type of abuse you may find yourself in an emotionally abusive relationship. Your self-esteem, or lack thereof, will draw these abusive personality types to you, like a moth to a flame. I encourage you to look back over your past relationships, what commonalities are there? Did they basically have the same personality type, just a different body? This is a great place to begin to bring awareness to your own pattern, and how you choose partners.
  4. Address your concerns with your partner. You must speak from the heart and be honest about the way their behavior makes you feel. I would use ‘I statements’ so that the other person doesn’t feel attacked. For example, “I feel scared and hurt when you constantly threaten to leave.” This way the other person will be more receptive to what you have to say and will be aware of how you feel. This may be very uncomfortable for you to do but it must be done. If you feel you need more support then perhaps doing this in a counselors office, with a friend, or writing a letter might help.
  5. Be prepared for kickback. Your partner may or may not receive this information well. If they do, that is fantastic. If they don’t, be prepared. You must stand up for yourself and call out abuse when it occurs. Let your partner know that you will no longer accept the way you have been treated, and will gently remind them of when they are being abusive. If they are not willing to change their behavior then I encourage you to seek outside help for yourself.
  6. Stick to your guns. What I mean by this is don’t become a limp noodle, you need to set the boundaries, and enforce them. If you don’t the other person has little reason to change. God didn’t put you on this planet to be mistreated. If you have kids, then you definitely need to take this serious and do better for them.

Do what you need to do to take care of you. No matter how bad it gets, how hopeless you might feel, never forget that you have CHOICES. You are not stuck, you are not alone, and there are others out there just like you. Seek the help that you need.

 

July 1, 2016

The ‘red flags’ of an emotionally abusive relationship

Have you ever suspected yourself of being in an  emotionally abusive relationship? Were you left feeling confused after the relationship ended? or maybe you suspect you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship now and aren’t quite sure if you can trust your gut.

Here are some easy ways to identify if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. I urge you to not ignore these signs, or sweep them under the rug as the behavior will only get worse. I’ll also add that this can happen to both men and women. Often times, men are portrayed as the ones who are the abusers and this simply isn’t the case. Men and women can find themselves as victims of emotional abuse.

What is emotional abuse exactly? 

Emotional abuse goes much further than many think. When one thinks of emotional abuse they envision two people yelling at each other, or putting the other down. We know that emotional abuse goes beyond just words spoken to another person. Emotional abuse is designed to control, demean, subjugate, punish, and isolate the other person from friends, and family. This is done by fear of abandonment, humiliation, and other means of control

This type of abuse can range from constant criticism, incessant put downs, manipulation, and intimidation.

Do any of these look familiar?

  1. Threatening to abandon you, and the relationship if you don’t do ______.
  2. Isolating you from friends and family. Won’t allow you to make phone calls, texts, etc.
  3. They project their behavior on to you. For example if they are cheating they will accuse you of the thing they are guilty of.
  4. They deny you affection or love.
  5. They give you contemptuous looks.
  6. They often speak to you in a condescending tone.
  7. Frequent accusations and constant blame; they never take responsibility for their behavior.
  8. They blame their ex for all the issues in the past relationship. This goes back to not taking responsibility for their own behavior.
  9. They often give you the ‘silent treatment’ for days or weeks if you upset them.
  10. You are often judged and criticized unnecessarily.
  11. They trivialize or dismiss your feelings.
  12. They want to move incredibly fast. They are talking about love and marriage within the first 30 days of being together.
  13. They monopolize all of your time, and are jealous if you want to hang out with family or friends.
  14. They don’t care how their behavior makes you feel.
  15. They act as if they are superior to you, and everyone around them.

How does this type of abuse affect a person?

  1. Depression.
  2. Decreased self-esteem.
  3. Loss of interest in those things that used to bring joy.
  4. Difficulty making decisions.
  5. You no longer trust yourself, what you think, or how you feel.
  6. Hopelessness.
  7. You blame yourself for the situation.
  8. You feel ‘stuck’ and wonder if this is the best you can ever do.

Understand that emotional abuse is incredibly destructive. It slowly chips away at the person, and erodes their self-esteem. You are being brain washed by the abuser to believe all the things that they are saying about you. It isn’t until you look in the mirror one day, and don’t recognize the person looking back at you.

I will be writing part II of this blog post on what you can do if you find yourself in this situation. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to receive all the updates. If you need coaching in this area I can help.

 

June 3, 2016

Who wants to DECREASE body-fat and get in great shape?

In all honesty losing body-fat is easy but we tend to make it harder then it has to be. The #1 thing I see that trips people up is UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.

You want it NOW and quit if you don’t lose 20 pounds in 4 weeks…4 weeks! you didn’t gain the weight in 4 weeks so ditch the expectation that you will lose it in 4 weeks.

Here are some very SIMPLE tips that will get you to where you want to be if you follow them.

1. Drink more water. Often times dehydration can mimic itself as hunger. Keep yourself adequately hydrated.

2. Ditch the black or white thinking. Those of you who struggle with ‘all or nothing’ thinking will find yourself starting only to quit, again and again. There is a middle here…find it! allow yourself to be human and make mistakes.

3. Eat more protein. Understand that protein is the building block of muscle and is necessary for repair and rebuilding. Protein also increases feelings of satiation, so you will feel fuller longer when you consume more protein. Some great sources are: chicken, lean beef, fish, turkey, ground meat, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and protein powders.

4. Do NOT restrict/eliminate carbohydrates. Carbs are FUEL and are necessary in any healthy diet. The key is to eat according to your activity level that day. If you’re just lounging on the couch then you don’t need to be choking down tons of carbs, BUT if you’re active and training that day then you need to fuel your body. Some great sources are: brown rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, wheat pasta, vegetables, fruit.

5. Fat is your friend. Yes, you heard that right. It is key in optimizing hormones for both men and women, improving metabolism and helping you feel satiated when paired with protein. Omega 3’s can also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Some great sources are: avocado, walnuts, almonds, olive oil, natural peanut butter, fish oil, krill oil.

6. Be more active. It’s pretty basic here folks. Get your butt up off the couch and go outside and frolic. We should get on average 10,000 steps per day but the average American gets only 2000-3000…no bueno.

7. Practice intuitive eating. I prefer to allow my body to tell me when to eat vs. just eating because it might be breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. We have been conditioned to eat at certain times even if we’re not hungry. Some people also believe that eating more meals per day boosts your metabolism. This simply isn’t true and the Thermic effect (TEF) is the same if you eat 3 meals at 1500 calories or 5 meals at 1500 calories. You must find what works for you.

8. R-E-L-A-X and allow the process to unfold. Stop weighing yourself every bloody day and just relax. Let the mirror and your clothes be your guide in determining body-fat reduction. Anything else and you’ll drive yourself mad, quit, and find yourself face first in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

9. Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. The more muscle you have on your frame the more fat you will burn. It will also help you develop a killer physique, help negate osteoporosis and improve bone density. When you look good you feel good and this feeling of “wellness” will spill over to every area of your life.

10. Last, but most important, love yourself. Just know that you deserve to have a healthy, fully functioning body that will allow you to do those things you want to do. That may be traveling, getting pregnant, keeping up with your kids, no longer being embarrassed to wear a bathing suit, increasing intimacy with your spouse, etc.

May 6, 2016

Being Overweight or Obese Sucks

Being overweight or clinically obese SUCKS.

I don’t care what anyone else says or tries to convince themselves of.

It is unhealthy, it is mentally and physically exhausting, it erodes your self-esteem, and can rob you of a decent life.

I know firsthand because for YEARS I was obese.

I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t “that bad.”

I get a message from a gentlemen the other day who told me, “Brandon, not everyone who is overweight has some sort of psychological issue. You know that right?”

To which I responded, “duh.”

I’m well aware that not everyone has some sort of underlying issue surrounding their weight issues.

But, everyone I’ve ever worked with has had some sort of underlying issue we’ve had to address before they could successfully lose the weight and keep it off.

Mind, Body, Spirit.

You can’t address only one aspect of yourself and expect any type of major, long lasting change.

Here are just some of the things that I personally deal with to this day. I have no problem being transparent and sharing my struggles in this area.

-I’ve got to exercise often and watch my diet or I will balloon back up to Nutty Professor status.
-Losing weight and keeping it off takes WORK.
-There are days I look in the mirror and feel like dog crap; I can see that fat guy staring back at me.
-Those old tapes can start playing and if I’m not careful I’ll believe the lies they try to tell me about myself….I’m no good, not worthy, etc.

Now, these things I mentioned above are not as bad as they once were but they still creep up from time to time. I’ve had to work my ass off to overcome a lot, as have the clients I work with.

The majority of people I work with are survivors of some sort of trauma. It could have been sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, parents were drug addicts, codependents, neglectful, etc.

Often times we used food as kids to numb ourselves and this carried over into adulthood.

Maybe you had no issues like this but you find yourself struggling today with food or some other ‘thing’ that you’re using to avoid your feelings.

No matter what it is there IS healing from it. I know because I did the work and my life is completely different because of it. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle because there are days that life kicks my butt, but I am no longer a slave to those things.

If you are struggling with your weight or some other thing that is keeping you in bondage I want you to know that I GET IT.

I know the shame you feel.

The guilt.

The feeling of being invisible.

The feeling of hopelessness.

The feeling of being unworthy.

You name the emotion, I have felt it right along with you.

Your situation isn’t hopeless, you’re not a failure, and you are not unworthy.

God didn’t put you here to just survive.

If that was the case He would have made you a tree stump.

You have a purpose in this life.

I want to help you uncover that purpose.

If my words can help just one person then it is all worth it.

If you need help with this I am available to assist you.

Your life will change the day you begin to do the hard work.

Yes, it is scary.

Yes, it will require hard work on your part.

But it is worth it and so are YOU.

If you’re ready to change your life, and live in Idaho or beyond, I can help.

July 27, 2015

Do you struggle with negative self-talk?

“I can’t stand to look at you”

“You make me sick”

“You can’t do anything right!”

“You never see things through”

“This time won’t be any different. You will fail just like before”

“You’re so fat”

“What a loser”

How long would you allow someone to remain in your life if they spoke to you this way? You would remove them very quickly because most of us can recognize this as very abusive behavior.
It is emotionally damaging and over time causes great harm.

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June 7, 2015

Your past only has as much power as you give it

I don’t care what your past looks like, where you came from, what you did, or what someone said about you. If you want to change your life for the better you CAN.

You don’t have to become what was spoken over you. You’re not a loser, no good, worthless, shameful, etc. You are a child of the Most High God! All that matters is what He says about you.

It’s not easy to release all of that baggage you’ve been carrying around. It’s a process that takes TIME but if you are willing to do the work you can find freedom.

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May 20, 2015

God is good

Matthew 17:20-21
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Math was my MOUNTAIN. As you know I’ve been asking for prayer in regard to this and for a positive outcome. I believe that the enemy will place people in our path to try to block us from becoming who we are truly meant to be.

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March 26, 2015

Are you PASSIONATE about your life or are you merely EXISTING?

The older I get the more I truly realize what matters in life. It isn’t about acquiring more “things” or making more money. You can have all the “toys” and money in the world and still feel very empty, lonely, and unfulfilled.

The one thing that truly motivated me to change my life was my last “typical” job I had 9+ years ago. I worked in construction and would get up at 6am so I could be to work by 7am and get off at 6pm or 7pm that night. I would do this Monday through Friday and every other Saturday. The job paid well, offered insurance and provided security.

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March 16, 2015

You are only as sick as the secrets that you keep.

I know many of you suffer in silence, bound by the secrets that you keep. The reality is we all have both a public and private life. We put on our best “face” to the outside and create our secret life to hide those aspects of ourselves that we are ashamed of. You may be feeling shame or think that you will no longer be accepted if you show this side of yourself. If you think about it we have been forced to hide certain parts of ourselves since childhood. It is either because of what was done to us, or we were told it was “bad” or we knew by how others responded to us that we had to disown this part of ourselves or face rejection.

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February 23, 2015

Can I go a little deeper this morning? I hope you don’t mind.

Who are you behind your mask? Lets go a little deeper…

I have learned over the years that when we are truly authentic with those around us we in turn give them permission to be who they truly are.

Have you ever been around someone who you could tell was putting on a show? Maybe that person is you.

It is an uncomfortable feeling to always have to be “on” and try to be what you think the world wants you to be. In order to keep up this charade you can expect to miss out on your true purpose in life, be drained of your mental and physical energy, and be full of anger and resentment.

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