LISE SCHIFFER, LCSW - SOLUTION- FOCUSED COUNSELING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY
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Am I An Alcoholic?
Intimate Relationships: Some Questions
What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Self-Esteem
STOP OBSESSING!

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ADDICTIVE RELATIONSHIPS
Alcoholism
Anxiety Disorders
Depression
Domestic Violence
Narcissism
Obsessionalism
Relationships
Self-Esteem
Suicide
WOMEN WHO CAN'T LEAVE BAD MEN
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Am I An Alcoholic?

What does it mean to be "alcoholic"? The DSM, psychiatry's diagnostic bible, does not have a category termed alcoholism per se, only diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. For many people with problematic drinking, physical dependence on alcohol is not an issue; they don't necessarily drink daily or suffer withdrawal symptoms beyond a hangover. Many problem drinkers therefore would deny that they are alcoholic because they think of the alcoholic as a daily drinker who requires a shot or two to get out of bed in the morning.

Intimate Relationships: Some Questions

Intimate relationships fascinate me. I am amazed at how no amount of grief can shatter some relationships, and how the seemingly slightest thing, in other cases,  can torpedo the whole affair.

Why do some people stay in abysmal unions that no amount of outrageous behavior seems to kill? And how  it is that some people accept behavior from a lover they would NEVER tolerate from anyone else? 

For some people, why does desperate longing for the unavailable other feel like love? Why, for some,  does a "nice guy" have  much less appeal than the sonofabitch who is the source of constant pain?

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Most people who have narcissistic traits, which is most of us, do not qualify for a diagnosis of NPD. What is the difference between a person who has "narcissistic issues" and one who is pathologically narcissistic?

When referred to in everyday language, people who have narcissistic traits are often said to have "big egos".  This means that they get obvious gratification from being admired and demonstrating that they are special. They may brag about accomplishments and become prickly and defensive when questioned about them.

Self-Esteem

You hear the term "self-esteem" all the time, right? We all know we should have it, wish we had more of it, or don't know how to get it, but do we really understand what it means?

There are several misconceptions about what self-esteem actually is. Some people think it means loving yourself unconditionally.  Others believe that if you have it, you are either selfish or conceited. Neither of these is correct.

I define "self-esteem" as justifiable positive self-regard. What I mean by "justifiable" is that it is based on congruence.

STOP OBSESSING!

When I was going through a divorce some years ago, I found myself ruminating about the many ways I felt mistreated by my not yet ex-husband.  The more I thought about him and his behavior, the more angry, betrayed, and injured I felt. One day, I went out to walk my dogs. It was a gorgeous day, we were entering a beautiful park and all I could think about was what a bastard my husband was being. Then it hit me: WAIT!  These thoughts are like taking poison and expecting someone else to die!

Why Suicide is a Bad Idea

There is an old saying; "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem".  But when you feel like life is unbearable, you lose awareness that your feelings will change. One of the most horrible things about being depressed, and many suicidal people are, is that there is a pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair that nothing you can imagine will relieve.  Every thought you have takes you to a dark place, all roads lead to hell.

Whatever the reason is for planning a suicide, here is why it is a terrible idea:

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can be defined as any physical, psychological, economic, or emotional abuse used to intimidate, control or harm another person. Women are the most frequent victims of domestic violence but sometimes women are the abusers.  Domestic violence is against the law and both men and women can be arrested for it. Often victims don't  report the abuse for fear of being further harmed, or even killed by the abuser. But domestic violence gets WORSE over time (more frequent and more deadly) and must be stopped.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal and universal human experience. Everyone feels the stomach butterflies and quickened pulse when they are doing something risky, where the stakes are high and the outcome uncertain (taking a test, trying out for a team, asking someone out, etc.).  But there are people who feel anxiety, sometimes in the extreme, in the absence of any risk, about things they know are irrational to fear. These people suffer from anxiety disorders. There are different kinds of anxiety disorders: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, etc. While their symptoms vary significantly and are too numerous to discuss here, they all have in common a crippling fear which interferes with normal functioning. If this sounds familiar to you, I urge you to consult with a mental health professional.  The good news is, most of these conditions are quite treatable, usually with a combination of therapy and medication.

Depression



There are many misconceptions about depression and most people don't realize that it is a serious medical issue. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, anxiety, and inappropriate guilt and shame can and do contribute to substance abuse, overeating, oversleeping, and sometimes suicidal thoughts and actions. Sometimes people are told to "snap out of it" but that is no more possible than "snapping out of" cancer. Whether triggered by an event or by one's own biochemistry, depression involves changes in the brain's neurotransmitter system.

WHY CAN'T I LEAVE?


A question I am frequently asked by female clients is "Why do I find it so difficult to leave a man who I know is poison?" These are often intelligent, accomplished, self-sufficient women who simply can't understand why there's a disconnect between what they rationally know and emotionally feel. (This happens to men too of course, but apparently less often.)

So what is it about the men these women are drawn to like moths to a flame? And why would a woman stay with a man who repeatedly behaves in ways she would never tolerate from anyone else?
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