Struggling With A Jerk At Work?

Got any jerks in your life?  You know the type. The ones who think they know it all, the ones who don’t listen to a word you say, the ones who push and push until you can’t take it, or the ones who are the first to cry victim but the last to admit to a fault.  They are exhausting, relentless, aggressive, nitpicking, frustrating, and by the time you are done talking to them you want to run away screaming.

Worse yet, they can turn even the best of days upside-down with just a comment, message, text or email.  You have become so programmed to their belligerent behavior that just the mention of their name stirs you inside and the sound of their voice can bring a fight-or-flight response.  As with any jerk, there are those who agree with you about the behavior and then those who adamantly disagree believing him/her to be a wonderful person.  So what can you do?  What do you do with all of that frustration especially if you are unsure of whom to confine it?

Identify the abnormal behavior.  The natural tendency when confronted by a jerk is to do just that, label them as a jerk.  While this may bring about some comfort, he/she is the jerk and not you, in the end it leaves you with nothing to do except avoid them.  More than likely, if this person is bothering you he/she is not a person you can avoid indefinitely.  So instead of labeling and dismissing him/her, identify the behavior that is driving you nuts.  Is it a word, phrase, tone of voice, emotion such as anger, aggression, or the way you were attacked?  If it is several of these, break it down until you have one really irritating piece.

Identify what it reminds you of.  Ask “what does this behavior remind me of” or “who does this behavior remind me of”.  The first thing that pops into your head is usually the best as long as it is not the same person or incident.  For instance, you receive an email from a co-worker who created a larger than life problem but is now trying to shift the blame onto you.  You are stuck cleaning up the mess and have to deal with the co-worker but are angry at his/her continued unwillingness to take responsibility for his/her actions.  The email sends you over the top as now he/she has manipulated the circumstances to blame you for his/her mistake.  So ask the two questions.  Could it be that this person reminds you of the time when a bully beat you up and then said it was you who started the fight and the bully was only defend him/her?  You may need to ask the question again if there is more than one similar incident, keep going until you have a couple of irritating people on your list.

Identify how you wish you responded.  Now that you have the underlying incident mixed with the underlying person, examine how you responded.  Most likely you have already replayed the incident in your head over and over wishing for another opportunity to confront the person and given the same set of circumstances and now your response would have been much better.  In reality we don’t have opportunities to turn back the clock and confront but we do have current circumstances with similar characters which is exactly where you are with the jerky behavior today.  At some deep level, this current circumstance reminded you of a past circumstance in which you already had a strong desire to do something different.

So do something different.  What is the outcome you are trying to achieve?  Using the above story, if your desired outcome is to get noticed for doing quality work, then do excellent flawless work.  Don’t let the jerk at the office rattle you and cause you to be ineffective, that is his/her goal; rather, use their immature behavior as a way of highlighting your mature behavior.  And in the end not only will you feel better but you are one step closer to your desired outcome.

Don’t allow the jerks to get the best of you and distract you from doing your work, having fun, or just hanging with the family.  He/she lives to steal the best from others and use it to enhance himself/herself.  There is no need for you to fall victim again to another trap, identify it and do something different instead.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

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10 Steps to Back Away from Religious Abuse

Religious abuse

Religious abuse exists in every type of faith. Oftentimes, it is not the religion itself that is the problem but the people within the practice. This is precisely why it is hard to get away.

Most likely it began with an attraction of sorts, a need being filled, companionship, and a sense of belonging. But those positive feelings were soon met with conflicting emotions of isolation, inadequacy, guilt, shame, and distrust. The confusion feels like physical abuse without the marks.

Others who have left the religion are shunned, disgraced, and humiliated. You want to pull away but are unsure of how. Try these steps.

  1. Learn the signs of religious abuse. Memorize and identify when they are being used against you. Saying in your head, “This is abusive behavior,” promotes awareness and empowerment.
  2. Get a new perspective by sidestepping religious rituals. This is not about abandoning your faith. Rather it is about viewing things from a different perspective. Are you condemned for stepping back? Or is there grace?
  3. Make a personal commitment not to engage or tolerate the belittlement of others who don’t believe as you. Instead show compassion. Not everyone has the same level of knowledge or understanding.
  4. Study your faith for yourself. Read and learn directly from the original writings instead of trusting individuals or institutions to interpret. Abusive behavior discourages such practices.
  5. Make friendships with people outside your faith. This reduces the dichotomous thinking (us versus them) and the isolation that often accompanies religious abuse.
  6. As you learn more about your faith, intentionally question one of the accepted extraneous rules. Learn all you can about it and stand your ground. Safe individuals will welcome the discussion; abusive individuals will not.
  7. Refuse to put on a false front. Be consistent and honest about who you are and what you are going through. “Faking it” cultivates fraud and deception.
  8. Don’t make quick commitments. “I need to pray/think/meditate about that,” are good phrases to use and practice. Abusive individuals try to force immediate decisions before you can evaluate.
  9. Find a friend who has gone through religious abuse or seek out a professional counselor. You can’t do this alone. You will need someone to remind you of past offenses and hold you accountable.
  10. As you step completely away from the religion, remember that it is not the faith that caused this but the people in the religion. Healthier versions of your faith do exist.

When you seek out a new religious organization, remember your experiences so you don’t fall into the same mistake as before. Your new level of knowledge from your studies will help you to better evaluate safe institutions. In the end, your faith will be stronger because of your perseverance.

 

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

What is Spiritual Warfare?

Oftentimes, spiritual warfare is seen as an attack from the outside.  Some larger outside force  attacks with the intent to cause personal harm taking the form of financial failure, marriage infidelity, natural disasters, rebellious children, economic depression, war, or dissension in churches.  And sometimes, this is spiritual warfare.

But sometimes it is not. Rather, these events are direct consequences of yours or others actions and desires.  The greatest battle for spiritual warfare is not the larger than life events; instead it is in the smaller thoughts and feelings stirring inside.

Thoughts.  Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to better evaluate your thoughts.

  • What do you think about? How much time do you spend thinking?
  • Do you replay conversations over and over in your head?
  • Do you fantasize about how to get even with someone?
  • Do you image achieving a great result to vindicate yourself?
  • Do you focus your thoughts on one area of our life (i.e. work) at the expense of another area of our life (i.e. family)?
  • Do you wish for someone else to experience the same pain as you?
  • Do you dream about winning the lottery?
  • Do you focus on your past failures wishing you done it differently?
  • Do you call yourself a failure, loser, or other self-depreciating statements?

Each one of these thoughts is actually part of your spiritual battle.  More appropriately named distraction.  These negative thoughts distract you from thoughts that are good, pure, just, and holy.  Eventually your focus moves off God and onto more worldly desires.  Some of these desires seem innocent such as winning the lottery and giving the money to family and charity.  But this simple fantasy sows seeds of dissatisfaction in your current financial state and seeds of envy for those who have such luxuries.

Feelings.  Ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly to better evaluate your feelings.

  • If it feels good, do you do it regardless of whether or not it violates your standards?
  • If it feels good to buy a new piece of clothing, do you do it even if you don’t need it?
  • If it feels good to flirt with someone, do you do it even if it jeopardizes your marriage?
  • If it feels good to have a drink or two or three, do you do it even if you risk becoming drunk?
  • If it feels good to mouth off to someone, do you do it even if you risk damaging the relationship?
  • If you don’t feel like reading the proposal, assignment or book, do you do it anyway?
  • If you don’t feel like parenting your children today, do you do it anyway?
  • If you don’t feel like dealing with your grief, do you do it anyway?

Feelings or emotions can drive you to do an action or not do an action in spite of your thoughts.  However, just like thoughts can lead you astray, so can feelings.  Intense emotions such as fear may propel you to do something to supress the uncomfortable feeling instead of confronting it. Or discouragement may cause your to do nothing at all. Feelings are not bad. God created them. But feelings which drive our behavior without a thought can be destructive.

Spiritual warfare is not always the big things happening around us; sometimes it is the little things happening inside of us.  Take an inventory of your thoughts and feelings to see if they need a cleansing.  After all, most historians will tell you that the greatest battle is the one you are fighting right now.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

How Exhaustion in Women Decreases Sex Drive

The Exhausted Woman's HandbookRosa’s sex drive was strong just a few short years ago, but now it had severely tapered off and threatened her marriage. In all other areas of her life, she was successful. She owned a small business, married for 15 years, and had two wonderful children. But this area eluded her. Just the thought of having sex exhausted her. Tired of initiating, her husband eventually stopped asking resulting in increased tension.

Perhaps your story is similar. So how does this happen? Is it hormonal? It could be, so get tested for this first. But once your hormones are in balance, the next area to investigate is your level of exhaustion.

There are two kinds of exhaustion. One is physical from the demands of a busy overbooked schedule. The other is psychological due to unmet needs, expectations, ambitions, and hopes. It is compounded by tragedies, disappointments, rejections, and harsh realities. And it has encompassed nearly every aspect of your life including your sex drive.

Here are four ways exhaustion negatively contributes to a decreased sex drive:

  • Over-gratifying – You try so hard to please others that the entire point of the activity is lost.  This is especially true sexually. Sex becomes a chore, something on your “To-Do” list rather than a blissful escape from your everyday demands. You focus on pleasing your mate at the expense of your own enjoyment. Eventually, sex becomes undesirable.
  • Over-protective – You withdraw or withhold intimacy because you feel the need to defend your decisions, actions, beliefs, and emotions. A lack of communication, unresolved conflict, and past hurtful words cause to you become self-protective. Instead of intimacy being a place of safety and security, you feel even more vulnerable to attack.
  • Over-thinking – Admit it, while you are having sex your mind often wanders. Before you know it, you are obsessing over a conversation, decision, or event. It is not like there is any new insight, the obsession just seems to take over. This severe distraction keeps you from enjoying sex. Any repetitive behavior can become a habit. If you have developed a habit of over-thinking during sex, no wonder you don’t find pleasure in it. Who would?
  • Over-whelmed – The latest work project just blew up, the house looks like a disaster, the kids need to be several places at once and your husband has a late meeting. You are stressed to the point of daily exhaustion and feel crushed by the weight of everyday chores, demands, and expectations. Who has the energy for sex after all of that?

There is hope for your exhaustion. It can be beat. Acknowledgment is the first step towards healing, the next is taking some new action. Try these suggestions:

  • Over-gratifying – Talk to your spouse about what you enjoy sexually. If you need more romance, create a romantic atmosphere. Take charge of meeting your sexual needs.
  • Over-protective – Be open with your spouse about past hurts and forgive. Holding onto the past hurts you far more than it hurts him.
  • Over-thinking – As soon as your mind wanders, refocus your thoughts on your spouse. In your mind, thank him for the many things he does do. Better yet, speak it out loud.
  • Over-whelmed – Have sex when you are most rested during the day. This may be first thing in the morning or after a warm bath.

Don’t let exhaustion take over. Your sex life can be better and you can find freedom from your exhaustion.

 

For more tips, read Christine Hammond’s new book, The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook. You may purchase it at Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Or just click on the picture on the right.

Join us for a webinar and a FREE copy of the book.  For more information, click http://growwithchristine.wix.com/exhaustedhandbook

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

The Stress of Anxiety

The Exhausted Woman's Handbook(Excerpt taken from The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook)

Ziana struggled with worry, anxiety, and panic attacks ever since the accidental car death of her twin brother 7 years ago. Her mind often raced with imagined future accidents, her response, and the ensuing added sadness. Driving on highways was still not possible for her and she was unable to remain silent when others were driving.

Her panic attacks were debilitating. Her heart would start pounding and racing, her stomach felt like it was in her throat, her palms became sweaty, she got lightheaded and dizzy, her breath became shallow and her thoughts were out of control leaving her completely exhausted. Since medical conditions were ruled out, it was diagnosed as a panic attack. Worse yet, the fear that the attack could happen again (as it frequently did) had a lasting exhausting effect.

Perhaps you’ve had a panic attack recently. Maybe you encountered someone unexpectedly, witnessed something on TV, were in the middle of a presentation or simply were eating out. All of a sudden, your heart started pounding and you were filled with anxiety. It seemed to come out of nowhere when in reality it was triggered by something. The anxiety attack could indicate a major unresolved event still causing problems in your everyday life. Fortunately, there are things you can do:

Mental Solution. Look for an unusual distraction around the room to minimize the intensity. Just focusing your thoughts on something else other than the attack is helpful. The odder the distraction, the better, but it usually isn’t enough to stop it completely. For instance, you might notice a picture that is not straight or a child laughing.

Physical Solution. Next, focus on your breathing. Breathe in for a count of five, hold it for another count of five and let it out for a count of seven. Try this for at least four times in a row. Be aware of the tension in your face, shoulders, hands and even toes and use the breaths to bring relaxation. Don’t beat yourself up when your breaths are short. Do the best you can and try practicing this exercise when you are not in the middle of an attack.

Emotional Solution. Close your eyes and remember a place of serenity and calm. Try going deep into your memory, remembering colors around you, peaceful weather, gentle sounds, the feel of something soft or an enticing smell. Smells are particularly calming as they are easily remembered and can bring about almost instant relaxation. Strangely enough, drinking a very cold glass of ice water (or my personal favorites: an Icee, a Slurpee or a Frappuccino) in an attempt to get a brain freeze can also be very effective. Your brain must wake up first before dealing with the anxiety.

Spiritual Solution. Say a prayer or recall a verse to help ease your emotions. You can also make a mental list of the many things you are thankful for or the numerous blessings in your life. Keep a card in your wallet or a note in your phone to aid your recall when under stress.

Psychological Solution. After the intensity of the attack is over, ponder the cause. There is usually a reason the anxiety was triggered and resolving the underlying issue will lessen future attacks. Triggers like strong emotions of fear or anger, the pressure created by certain people, or perceived potential danger can contribute to an attack. Identify the trigger, and then allow it to point you to a life-altering moment in your history. You may need assistance to process the root cause of your anxiety.

Ziana knew the source of her anxiety, but she had not fully grieved the loss of her brother. Though it was hard at first, she confronted her fears through therapy and her panic attacks eventually disappeared. You can experience the same success; it takes courage to tackle the anxiety caused by a tree ring moment. While it may be difficult at first, the new lasting impression is worth the effort.

 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

 

You may purchase The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook at Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Or just click on the picture on the right.

Has your Sex Drive Decreased

It happens to almost everyone.  You are not interested in having sex as frequently as before. Or the thought of having sex at all is completely unappealing.  Your sex drive seems to be decreasing and you not sure as to why.  At first, there may not be any logical explanation but looking to some underlying issues may reveal the problem.

Be honest.  This is not a time to be silent with your spouse.  They need to know that you are experiencing a decrease in your sex drive and perhaps not achieving an organism as frequently.  Most likely they have already noticed and is wondering what is wrong.  Check for any relational problems such as difficulty with in-laws, finances, communication, or the kids.  Getting help with these problems and dealing with them can improve your sex drive.

Talk to your doctor.  Sometimes there are physiological reasons for a decrease in sex drive.  Age, discomfort during sex, painful sex or change in hormonal levels can all be contributing factors.  By discussing your concerns with your doctor and running a few simple tests, the physiological reasons can be identified and in some cases resolved, improving your sex drive.

Heal from the past.  Oftentimes when you are in a stable relationship and things are going well, sexual images of your past or unresolved sexual issues surface.  Your ability to put aside these images or issues is no longer working.  However, dealing with them again is not what you want to do.  Yet, this is precisely what is needed.  A past experience of abortion, rape, molestation, sexual abuse, multiple partners, pornography, sexually transmitted disease or infection can all be contributing factors to your decreased sex drive now.  Take some time to work with a professional counselor to help heal from these past hurts.

Reduce stress.  The stress of maintaining a household, managing the competing schedules, and working to improve finances can be overwhelming.  Knowing what needs to be done and realizing that it cannot be accomplished increases your stress level.  Usually the things you choose not to complete are the very things that help you to relax and unwind.  Like proper amounts of sleep, eating right, exercising, reading a favorite book, taking a relaxing bath, going on a date with your husband, or just playing with your kids.  Add these activities back into your schedule and take time out for yourself.  Sex will be far more desirable.

Not addressing your diminished sex drive could result in an increase in marriage problems or/and increase in lack of self-confidence; neither of which is desirable.  This is a problem that will not go away with time or get better without being addressed, rather it is something you can confront and manage.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Stop Having the Same Argument Over and Over with your Spouse

Do you have the same argument with your spouse over and over?  Can you recite their response even before you begin?  Are you losing interest in even having conversations with them?  This can be the beginning of no communication cumulating in an unhappy marriage or divorce.

There is a better way.  It can change.  By listening, looking and repeating before responding, you allow them to feel heard.  This in turn allows you to more fully understand their point of view.   When you understand them, your response is different which translates to more understanding from your partner to your point of view and increased understanding before they respond.   The cycle becomes a more positive type of ongoing communication.

Listen.  When your partner is speaking, listen intently to them resisting the urge to rehearse a response.  Listen for repeated words, phrases, or emotions; this will give you a clue as to what is really important to them.  Voice inflection can also identify the real issue or at least the most passionate issue.  Ironically it is usually the last thing a person states that is the most significant, not the first.  If you are spending your time thinking about your response to the first thing they said, you will miss the major issue of the discussion.

Look.  Body language, the time of day, the location of the discussion, and the emotional reaction all provide information as to the type of feedback desired.  For instance, if your spouse confronts you with their hands on their hips, with an angry face yelling, at the end of a long day while you are walking in the door, they are not interested in positive feedback.  Instead they are more interested in getting the upper hand.  If instead your spouse sets a time and place with you in advance and greets you warmly with a pleasant smile, they are looking for a mutual agreement instead of the upper hand.  Turn around is fair play, so if you want to be treated kindly, then you should do the same.

Repeat.  Before you respond, repeat what you have learned from listening and observing, not just the words stated but the emotions as well.  Repeating what you have learned gives your spouse the chance to correct any misunderstandings before you respond.  If you respond before clarifying, then you may be responding to the wrong issue and make the situation worse.  Feeling loved is about knowing that your spouse truly listens and understands, so take the time to complete this step before moving on to the next one.

Respond.  Only after you have listened, looked and repeated what your spouse has expressed should you respond to what they are saying.  Resist the urge to cram everything you have been thinking into a short time period.  Instead, select one issue and respond to it allowing time for your spouse to respond.  Resolving one issue at a time actually saves time rather than downloading a bunch of things all at once which can be overwhelming.  Once an issue is resolved, take a break rather than moving on to the next topic, this allows both of you to absorb the conversation and reflect.

Communication is difficult but you can learn to communicate effectively.  Not everyone communicates the same way so understanding your spouse’s personality is an important element.  But if you use the listen, look, repeat, and respond method, it will go a long way to helping increase positive communication.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.