Understanding Avoidant Personality Disorder

Обкладинка книги "Над прірвою у житі"

Обкладинка книги “Над прірвою у житі” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) pretty much sums up the disorder in one name.  In nearly every environment of family, work, or community involvement, APDs avoid social interaction.  Think of a recluse, hermit, outsider, lone wolf, or loner who likes being that way and in fact prefers to live that way and that is your APD.

 

Here is the technical DSM-V definition:

  • Identity:  Low self-esteem, excessive feelings of shame or inadequacy
  • Self-direction:  Reluctance to pursue goals or take risks
  • Empathy:  Preoccupation with criticism or rejection
  • Intimacy:  Reluctance to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
  • Withdrawal:  Avoidance of social activity or contact
  • Intimacy avoidance:  Avoidance of close or romantic relationship and sexual relationships
  • Anhedonia:  Lack of enjoyment from life’s experiences or unable to take pleasure in things
  • Anxiousness:  Intense feelings of nervousness or panic often in reaction to social situations

The practical definition looks more like this:

  • Hypersensitive to rejection
  • Prefers social Isolation
  • Extreme shyness
  • Avoids physical contact
  • Self-loathing
  • Mistrusts others
  • Distance in intimacy
  • Self-critical about their problems
  • Problems in occupational functioning

Do you remember reading “Catcher in the Rye” written in 1952 by J.D. Salinger?  It was one of those readings that some schools required and other schools banned the book because it was believed to instigate teenage rebellion.  Well, the book sold over 65 million copies but J.D. Salinger disappeared.  Most authors would love such recognition but he hid and died in 2010.  J.D. Salinger is an example of a APD and his story is being told in a new movie due to come out in 2015.

So how do you deal with a person who might have APD?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be careful, they shut down easily and become self-loathing.
  • Find an area of common interest to establish a bond of reassurance.
  • Don’t minimize their feelings or self-doubt.
  • Don’t try to make it better by saying something, listening is the most effective.
  • They don’t like conflict, so make the environment as non-confrontational as possible.
  • Make sure you hear all of what they are saying as they frequently don’t say all of what they mean.
  • Many times they will think they have said something when they have not.
  • They are awkward in social settings so expect it.
  • They already know they are different so don’t bother telling them.

APDs have a tendency to believe that they are more intimate with a person than what might actually be the case.  If you are married to an APD or have a friend who is one, be very careful as they tend to take offense easily and truly see their relationship as having more meaning than it might actually have.  Get some help from a specialist to improve the quality and your understanding of your relationship.

 

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.

Understanding Antisocial Personality Disorder

The Silence of the Lambs (film)

The Silence of the Lambs (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure who came up with the name “Antisocial” as this does not even begin to explain the disorder.  It would be like calling an aggressively trained pit bull a puppy who isn’t nice to people.  The former names of psychopath or sociopath are much more understandable names which create a more immediate understanding.  Since APDs (Antisocial Personality Disorder) tend not to care too much about what other people think, I’m guessing that this name is not the result of some political correctness however, it is the name now.

So what is APD?  Here is the technical DSM-V definition:

  • Identity:  Self-esteem derived from personal gain, power, or pleasure
  • Self-direction:  Personal gratification directed with failure to conform to laws or ethics
  • Empathy:  Lack of concern for feelings, needs or suffering of others
  • Intimacy:  Incapacity for intimate relationships
  • Manipulativeness:  Use of subterfuge to control others
  • Deceitfulness:  Dishonesty and fraudulence
  • Callousness:  Lack of remorse about one’s actions, aggression, or sadism
  • Hostility:  Frequent angry feelings, insults, or vengeful behavior
  • Irresponsibility:  Failure to honor financial agreements or promises
  • Impulsivity:  Acting on the spur of the moment without consideration of outcomes
  • Risk taking:  Engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities

The practical definition looks more like this:

  • No regard for morality
  • Lies all the time
  • Uses charm to manipulate
  • Sense of superiority
  • Recurring difficulties with all authority
  • Repeatedly violates the rights of others through intimidation
  • Hostility, aggression or violence
  • Lack of empathy or remorse about causing harm
  • Dangerous behaviors
  • Abusive relationships
  • Irresponsible work behavior
  • Failure to learn from the negative consequences

If you are wondering what this looks like in person, imagine Anthony Hopkins in his role as Hannibal in “Silence of the Lambs” or Angelina Jolie in her role as Lisa in “Girl, Interrupted”.  Both of them did an excellent job portraying APD.  Several studies have estimated that anywhere between 50-75% of the prison population has APD.

So how do you deal with a person who might have APD?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Because they are gifted liars, don’t believe what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.
  • Don’t waste your time being fake; they can smell a phony a mile away.
  • Be direct, firm and calmly unwavering in your decisions.
  • No emotion, they see this as weakness.
  • Their stories of people they have harmed is an intimidation tactic, show no reaction.
  • They threaten violence when backed into a corner, don’t look away as they can smell fear.
  • Don’t underestimate them; alcohol/drugs can empower and physically strengthen them.
  • Don’t threaten back; it is a waste of time.  If you say, “I’m going to call the police” then do it.

More often than not, counseling is very helpful in learning to deal with a person who has APD.  Relationships with APDs are not easy and often require boundaries with steel reinforcement and a strong support network.  This is not a time to tough it out alone.

 

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.

Is Your Spouse’s Personality Normal or Abnormal?

depressed marriageIs it normal or abnormal if your spouse…

  1. Does the exact same routine every morning and is resistant to any variation or change.
  2. Losses their temper over minor traffic infractions and threatens harm.
  3. Craves being the center of attention and is constantly seeking recognition.
  4. Shuts down and refuses to speak for days with no explanation as to why.

Answer:  it could be either.  Frustrated?  Me too, but hang in there.  It might help to define normal personality traits from abnormal personality traits and then apply each of the four incidents to the definitions.  This will clarify the difference between the two and help you to know where the line between normal and abnormal personality traits lies.

Normal Personality Traits are categorized by:

  • Persistent patterns of perceiving, relating and thinking
  • Consistent in most circumstances
  • Consistent viewpoint about self and others
  • Observed in a wide range of contexts

Abnormal Personality Traits are categorized by:

  • Personality traits which become inflexible and maladaptive
  • Omnipresent
  • Resistant to change
  • Early onset in childhood or adolescence
  • Cause significant functional deterioration
  1. 1.        Does the exact same routine every morning and is resistant to any variation or change.  Using the definition for normal personality trait, for some people doing the same routine everyday just makes sense.  They are personality type “Conscientious” from “DISC Personality Types” who likes to discover the best and most efficient way of doing things and once it is discovered, rarely change.  This is not an abnormal personality trait unless it is so rigid that when the routine is not precisely followed it causes significant impairment during the day.  If your spouse for instance becomes paranoid that something bad will happen because their teeth were brushed after taking a shower instead of before, then it is an abnormal personality trait.
  2. 2.       Losses their temper over minor traffic infractions and threatens harm.  Certain personality types like “Dominant” from “DISC” don’t like to be taken advantage of in any circumstances and are not afraid to offend nearly anyone in defense.  In many instances, they are bullies.  Yet, this is personality trait is still normal but can become abnormal when the threatening becomes more real or is followed up by some action.  For instance, if your spouse hunts down the other driver and gets out of the car to threaten violence, this is an abnormal personality trait.
  3. 3.       Craves being the center of attention and is constantly seeking recognition.  Personality types like “Influential” from “DISC” enjoy being on center stage and have an ability to create a stage nearly everywhere they go.  While they may come across as “showy”, this is considered a normal personality trait.  It becomes abnormal when the showiness involves “custom malfunctions” and inappropriate clothing or the need for recognition becomes a constant demand and is a regular complaint during discussions.
  4. 4.        Shuts down and refuses to speak for days with no explanation as to why.  While nearly any personality type is capable of this behavior, personality types like “Steadfast” from “DISC” use this tactic more than the others.  Because this personality type doesn’t like conflict, the best way to avoid it is not to say anything at all.  This is a normal personality trait but can become abnormal when your spouse becomes a recluse of sorts for periods of months not days.

So if you spouse is displaying normal personality traits, try understanding their personality type in comparison to yours.  Most likely, it is not the same which is precisely why it bothers you so much.  However, if your spouse displays abnormal personality traits, it is time to seek professional help as these traits are not likely to change.  There are many tools you can learn to help you cope with a spouse who has an abnormal personality disorder.

 

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.

Recognizing Exhausted Woman’s Syndrome

Exhausted Woma“Burn-out” is an understatement to what you are experiencing; in fact it happened so long ago that it is now stored in long-term memory.  What you are experiencing is beyond burn-out and feels more like a chronic condition for which physical symptoms of stress have become the norm.

If this sounds familiar, then you might be suffering from Exhausted Woman’s Syndrome (EWS).  The symptoms are as follows:

  • Over-annoyed – Little things set you off like people who can’t use their debt card fast enough at the check-out isle.
  • Over-apologetic – Saying, “I’m sorry” when you are not really sorry just to move past this item and on to the next one as quick as possible.
  • Over-attentive – Fixation on potential problems trying to keep them from exploding into bigger ones to the exclusion of taking care of you.
  • Over-burdened – Juggling too many balls in the air at one time resulting in a couple of them crashing to the ground.
  • Over-committed – Taking on responsibility for things which others should do but aren’t doing to your satisfaction.
  • Over-competitive – Driven to achieve in every area of life at one-time with no allowances for failure.
  • Over-conscientious – Striving for perfectionism while denying that you are.
  • Over-dependable – So reliable that nearly everyone around you takes it for granted that you will get the job done.
  • Over-gratifying – Trying so hard to please others that sometimes the entire point of the activity is lost (especially true for vacations and other fun family events).
  • Over-protective – Feeling the need to defend your decisions, actions, beliefs, and emotions to the extent that you withdraw or withhold intimacy.
  • Over-thinking – Obsessing over a conversation, decision, or event over and over without coming to any new insights.
  • Over-whelmed – Stressed to the point of exhaustion and feeling crushed by the weight of everyday.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone.  Many women suffer from EWS which is brought on by the competing demands of work, marriage, kids, extended family, friends, church, and community.  Unlike codependency which requires a dependency on a relationship, EWS strives to be independent of dominating relationships.  However this effort is met with great resistance from every relationship and as a result each relationship pushes for dominance.  This then results in exhaustion from trying to balance the conflicting requests.

There is hope for your exhaustion and it lies in repairing, restoring, and rebuilding your relationships to healthy perimeters.  Begin your journey by recognizing the need for help and then get it.

 

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.

Parents Beware: 10 Stupid Things Your Kid Might Try Over Summer Break

surfingx-largeJust compiling this list of stupid things your kid might do over summer break was enough to drive me, as a parent, into a massive anxiety attack.  After all, summer break should be about camps, swimming, going to the beach, parks, and hanging out with friends.  Unfortunately the combination of unsupervised kids, the internet and time to burn can be a deadly combination.

After the shock of my anxiety attack died down, this list is meant to frighten you as a parent and perhaps to wake you up to the possibilities of immature behavior that goes way beyond the fears of social media, bullying, internet pornography, and gambling.  Unfortunately each of these items is very easy to research on the internet and some even have YouTube videos explaining how it works.

  1. Choking Game, Pass-Out Game, Fainting Game, Space Monkey.  This is self-administered or friend-administered choking to the point of losing consciousness in order to achieving a high.  Every time your kid does this, they lose brain cells that can never be regenerated and some have even died from it.
  2. Huffing, Sniffing, Dusting, Bagging.  This is sniffing inhalants found in common household products such as bug spray, room deodorizers, and glue.  The poisonous chemicals are sprayed into a rag, inhaled directly from the container or sprayed into a bag placed over your kid’s head creating a high when inhaled.  Numerous cases of permanent brain damage have been reported.
  3. Drinking bleach.  There are many false rumors on the internet that drinking bleach will help your child to pass a drug test or that it is an effective way to commit suicide.   Rather, your kid is likely to end up in the emergency room with severe intestinal, stomach, and esophagus damage.
  4. Sexting, Rounds, Nude Pictures.  The idea of rounds is that you start small such as sending a picture of bare skin to another kid and they in return send another one back with each one escalating the previous picture.  Sexting and nude pictures are commonly done with iPods, iPads or cell phones.
  5. Boozy Bears, Drunken Gummies, Rummy Bears.  Gummy bears are soaked in rum or vodka and then eaten in order to get drunk.  The worst part is that the gummy bears look normal after they have absorbed the alcohol so it is difficult to detect.
  6. Eyeball Shots, Eyeballing.  Kids put vodka directly into their eyes in order to get drunk and avoid the alcohol smell on their breath.  Many kids have found that this leads to blindness instead.
  7. Butt Chugging, Vodka Tampons.  Frightening but true, another way kids get drunk is by soaking tampons in vodka and then inserting them into the rectum.
  8. Skittle Parties, Pill Parties.  Kids raid parents, grandparents, and friend’s parent’s medicine cabinets looking for prescription drugs.  Typically they only take a couple of pills as not to be noticed and then place all of the pills gathered into a bowl.  Then the kids roll some dice and take the number of pills which match the number on the dice.  The pills are taken randomly so no one knows what effect it will have after being ingested.
  9. Purple Drink, Purple Jelly, Texas Tea.  Made popular by several RAP songs, this is a drink combination of Jolly Ranchers, Sprite, and liquid codeine cough medicine.  The concoction produces hallucinations, unresponsiveness and lethargy.
  10. Car Surfing, Ghost Riding, Urban Surfing.  Kids stand in a surfing position on the top of a car, hood or trunk while the car is in motion with speeds as high as 55m.p.h.  The driver is usually a teenager who is inexperienced in handling vehicles.  Teens are two to three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident compared to experienced drivers.

It is truly shocking to learn the stupid things kids will do because someone told them it would be a good idea.  Lest you believe that these are just the older high school kids doing such acts, several articles indicate that kids as young as 10 are engaging in these behaviors.

Now that you are warned about the latest in stupid things kids do, it is your job to educate your child and remove dangerous items from your house.  Prescription medication, alcohol, and dangerous household chemicals should all be locked up not just for your kid’s safety but the safety of their friends who come over.  Talk to your kids about choking, car surfing, sexting and bagging; more than likely they already know of someone who has tried at least one of these items.

This is not the time to bury your head in the sand, naively believe that your child would never do one of these things, or minimize the risks by justifying your own poor choices as a kid.  Instead, be aware, communicate, and educate so your kid won’t become a negative statistic.

 

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.

10 Signs Your Marriage Might Be Depressed

depressed marriageA depressed marriage?  What is that?  Just like you can become depressed over the loss of someone you love or the economy can become depressed over a real estate financial crisis, so your marriage can suffer from depression.  A depression in your marriage however does not mean that your marriage is over rather it is a low period in a series of highs and lows which occur in every marriage.  Here are some signs that you might be going through a depressed marriage:

  1. Difficulty making even minor decisions let alone major decisions without an argument.
  2. Intimacy such as hand holding, sitting close together, or kissing becomes more routine (if it exists at all) rather than heart-felt.
  3. Lack of desire to spend any time together; prefer to spend free time alone.
  4. One or both of you has already spoken of getting a divorce or separating.
  5. The excitement in your marriage is gone; you don’t look forward to seeing or hearing from each other.
  6. Conversation is limited to the bare essentials of scheduling, managing the house, and checking in.  No longer are there conversations about the things you are passionate about.
  7. You intentionally avoid your spouse and notice your spouse avoiding you.
  8. Fantasies of other partners, what you would do if your spouse passes away, or the peace that could come from separating begins to consume your thoughts.
  9. You or your spouse finds reasons not to spend the night in your bed, you don’t go to bed at the same time, or you put physical boundaries such as pillows between you.
  10. No sex or interest in sex.

Your Choice.  Once you realize that your marriage might be depressed, you have a choice in your response.  You can reflect and learn from the depression or you can shut down and run from your marriage.  Option one allows the possibility that your marriage can come out of this depression even stronger.  Think again about the real estate depression and how much was learned from the mistakes of over-valuing homes, over-lending from banks, and over-mortgaging a house.  Option two will most likely end up in divorce court.

Reflecting.  It is helpful if both of you are engaged and honest in this process of reflecting on the state of your marriage.  However, that is not always practical as usually one spouse has a clearer perspective than the other spouse.  Whatever the case, spend some time with each point and assign a number from 0 (not a problem at all) to 10 (deal breaker).  Ask yourself how much have you contributed to the problem and take responsibility for your actions before speaking with your spouse.  When you do speak with your spouse, be careful that your spouse’s issues do not outweigh your number of issues.  Remember to speak the truth in love to your spouse.

Learning.  Learning is a two-way street in a marriage.  You need to learn from your spouse and your spouse needs to learn from you.  This is not about getting your way or proving that you are better than your spouse.  If you want the marriage to survive through the depression then it is important to keep the long-term goal at the front of your mind.  There is no quicker way to destroy a marriage than to point out all of your spouse’s flaws, demand that they change, and then refuse to concede to any change yourself.  Learning means that you are receiving information, processing it, and doing something about it.  This is a gently process, not a forced one.

Your marriage can survive a depression.  Sometimes it helps to have another person such as a counselor or pastor come alongside you during the process to give an objective point of view.  Self-help books can be useful as well but both of you need to be willingly engaged in the process in order for the book to be effective.  Whatever the path you choose, know that your depression does not have to last for a lifetime, it can be just for a short season.

 

 

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 to do When Mother’s Day is the Hardest Day of the Year

The Mother’s Dream

The Mother’s Dream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many women, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year.  Perhaps you are one of these women who have little to no contact with your child, outlived your child, tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child, or lost your child through a miscarriage or abortion.  Just the mention of Mother’s Day brings to the surface the emotions you have long tucked away of disappointment, deep sadness, distress, dejection, and despair.

Yet you are torn because in many ways you have learned to move forward.  You avoid the crowded churches, shops, and restaurants on Mother’s Day, spend time with other mothers or your mother, or even remind yourself how grateful you are to have had a child.  But the heaviness in your heart is still there and despite the good moments of the day, you really can’t wait for the day to end.

Will it always be this way?  Yes and no.  Much like other holidays which exist for the purpose of remembering the lives that have been lost such as Memorial Day or Veterans Day, Mother’s Day will be for you a memorial of sorts.  It is a day to remember what was lost or never even gained in the first place.  But just as the anniversary of a person you lost brings back memories and feeling, over time, the emotions won’t be so intense.

How can I survive this day?  Reserve a portion of your day for the purpose of being alone with your thoughts and feelings.  Don’t take the entire day to do this or pretend that you don’t need to do it at all, instead take care of yourself and give yourself a gift of remembrance.  This is a good time to journal your thoughts, allow the tears to flow, and pray.  Then choose to spend your day surrounded with people who love you and are sensitive to your feelings.

What do I say to others?  Be honest.  If you really want to go somewhere on Mother’s Day, speak up; if you don’t, say so.   If you are sad, don’t pretend that you are not.  Set reasonable expectations for yourself and for others instead of assuming they already know what you are thinking or feeling.  Then communicate those expectations kindly to minimize the hurt feelings later.

Why am I having anxiety over this now?  Even if your loss occurred many years ago, you might find a sudden resurgence in your emotions this year compared to previous years.  While the intensity may be less than the initial Mother’s Day, for some reason, this year is hitting you harder.  This is perfectly normal.  Take a moment to reflect on your life and see if there is any new circumstance lately in a relationship or your environment.  Your increased anxiety may actually be misplaced anxiety over new things that you are not properly addressing.  By addressing the new things, the old issues will subside again.

Everyone has hard days during the year that are more difficult than others to get through.  Mother’s Day seems a bit crueller because everyone else appears so happy.  Just remember that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings, many other women feel the exact same way and sometimes it takes the courage of one person to say this is a hard day to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

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.

New Divorce Laws Coming To Florida

Official photo of Florida Governor Rick Scott

Official photo of Florida Governor Rick Scott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In a very interesting turn of events, Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed a bill which easily passed both the House and Senate changing the way divorce is handled in Florida.  If the bill became law, permanent alimony would have been abolished and custody arrangements would begin with a 50/50 split.  Many states have already abolished permanent alimony and the latest trend seems to be moving in that direction.  While judges in Florida were already prejudice towards a 50/50 split of custody, this bill would have forced them to work begin from there and change only if there were extenuating circumstances.

 

The hiccup in the bill however was that it had a retroactive clause which could have potentially changed every divorce already agreed upon in the courts.  According to the news report below, this is precisely the reason why Governor Scott vetoed the bill.

 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/02/florida-gov-scott-vetoes-bill-that-would-end-permanent-alimony-in-state/

 

If the bill became law, nearly every divorce already finalized with alimony and custody arrangements could have gone back to the courts.  Such a move would have made many attorneys wealthy.

 

Since this bill easily passed both the House and Senate, it is likely to be reintroduced in the next session without the retroactive clause.  The bottom line is that if you are in the middle of a divorce right now and don’t want your custody split to be 50/50, than finalize the divorce now.  Don’t wait because you might not get a better deal later.

 

 

 

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

 

10 Reasons to Send Your Child to Summer Camp

summer-camp3I’ll never forget the first time that my husband and I suggested to our kids that they go away to a summer camp for a week.  As parents, we had discussed the benefits of a good summer camp program and spoke with many of our friends who recommended several camps around the country.  We took great pride in presenting the idea with enthusiasm to our kids.  Their response shocked us; instead of being excited they were mortified.  By their reaction, you would have thought that we were sending them away to a chain gang to be beaten and tortured.

So we gave them a year to get used to the idea and talk to some of their friends who already went to summer camp and by the next year they were a bit more open to the idea but still openly told us that we were “abandoning” them.  Fast forward to the day we picked them up from the summer camp and the unanimous reaction was “how come we only came for a week, I want to come for a month!”

Lesson learned:  Sometimes parents do know best.  So here are ten good reasons to send your child away to a summer camp.

  1. Provides your child with new experiences, people, ideas, and environments for your child without out your parental influence.
  2. Expands the friends that your child hangs out with over the summer so that there are hopefully new and healthy friendships being added.
  3. For your child at camp, there are no parents to nag, ask to clean rooms, do chores, etc…
  4. Improves your child’s social skills as they will need to get along with new people in new environments without your input.
  5. Gives your child a break from you and you a break from them.  If you are fighting with your child, this break is long overdue.
  6. Invites new things to talk about so you can get out of the rut of the same conversations over and over.
  7. Keeps your child from getting into trouble at home and watching too much TV or playing too many video games.
  8. There are many camps which specialize in one area of interest such as surfing, horseback riding, space project, dance, photography, science, hiking, rock climbing and many more.  This provides an opportunity for your child to get some advance skills in an area of interest which may even lead to a profession someday.
  9. The camp puts your child on a schedule that is dictated by them and not you; the new routine which will be met with resistance at first will later become a source of comfort.
  10. No electronics!  This is a bonus for your electronic addicted kid.

With all this in mind, here is a list of some of the summer camps available in the Orlando area:

My personal favorite camps:

 

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 to Decide to Divorce Your Spouse

divorce-broken-wedding-rings-290x160One of the hardest decisions of my life was to get a divorce.  At some point and time you finally come to the sad realization that you bring out the worse and not the best in your spouse and vice versa. While there were many appropriate reasons for my divorce, airing them out now would only be self-serving.  Rather, after 17 years of blissful marriage to my current husband, my tumultuous first marriage of 3 years has long faded in my memory as if it happened to someone else.  However the reality of its existence still pops up from time again and is a constant reminder to me of God’s mercy and grace.

Perhaps you are struggling right now with deciding if you need to get a divorce and it should be a struggle.  Deciding to break a promise and covenant should not come without challenges, questions, frustrations, guilt, indecisiveness, and doubts.  All of those should exist and it is an indication that you are taking the matter seriously.  Nonetheless, here you are trying to make the decision.  How can you do it?  How can you break up the marriage?  How can you give up on your spouse?  How can you face that person who told you not to get married in the first place?

Separate.  It is difficult to see things when you are right in the middle; it is like trying to see the forest through the trees.  Take a step back and separate from your spouse for a while to gain more perspective.  This should be an agreed upon separation for a period of time to reflect and work on individual issues.  This is not a time to blame the other person but rather to recognize your part in how the marriage fell apart.  The separation can even occur within the same house as long as you have an agreed upon set of boundaries.

Change.  Once you have separated then you can begin the process of changing the things you need to change about yourself.  For instance, you may find that you have become a negative paranoid person when you were not like that prior to your marriage.  Granted, there may be very good a reason for your negativity or paranoia but this is the time to change the parts of yourself that have grown in an unhealthy manner.  Focus on your own change first.

Forgive.  Forgiveness is much easier said than done and is definitely not a one-time act.  First, you must begin by asking for forgiveness for your own poor choices before you begin to forgive your spouse.  Recognizing your need for forgiveness softens your heart and prepares you for the next step of forgiving your spouse.  However, forgiving your spouse is not about releasing him from responsibility; rather it is about your ability not to replay the incident over and over again in your mind inciting huge amounts of anxiety to the point of panic.  Forgiveness is for your benefit.

Evaluate.  After you have completed all of the steps, now it is time to evaluate the state of your marriage and see if divorce is really the right decision.  The steps do not need to include your spouse but the process of restoration is far easier if he is a willing participant.  If he is not willing, then that decision becomes a factor in your final decision.  Weigh your options out more carefully when you decide to break the commitment of marriage than you did when you decided to make the commitment of marriage.

Time.  Take your time making the decision looking at it from a spiritual, emotional, physical, legal, and mental aspect carefully weighing the impact it will have on the people around you especially if children are involved.  Resist the temptation to just get it over with and take your time.  Pray, ask for guidance, read, and talk to trusted family and friends.  Sometimes there really is no perfect solution, only the best out of several bad options.  Once you have made the final decision however, do not drag things out longer than needed.  This will only cause more pain for you and the people around you.

Hope.  Beautiful things can come out of the ashes of shattered dreams.  Whatever your situation, divorce does not need to define you as a person or change you into someone you wish you had not become.  Instead, use your divorce as a fresh start and a chance to do things better the next time.  Don’t be afraid to set new standards and hope for a better relationship the next time.

Deciding to divorce your spouse is a tough decision and should not be taken lightly as it will become one of the hardest decisions you will have to make.  Sometimes you are not in control of the decision as your spouse has already decided it for you.  But when you are, take a step back and choose wisely.

 

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.