Ever Wondered If You Have An Anxiety Disorder?

One of several versions of the painting "...

One of several versions of the painting “The Scream”. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take this short quiz on-line to see if you have an anxiety disorder.  Some disorders can be minimized with medication, change in diet or talk therapy. There is no need to continue to struggle with the same issue when you have options for getting better which work.

http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/anxiety.htm

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.

Helpful Website for Dealing with Personality Disorders

Fog

Fog (Photo credit: jrodmanjr)

Every now and then you come across a helpful website with a ton of information about a topic that must be shared.  This is one of those times.  This website titled “Out of the FOG” (FOG = fear, obligation, and guilt) is appropriately titled for those who find themselves married to, parent of, child of, or friend of a person with a personality disorder.  Several of the personality disorders are listed but the two that are most likely to drive someone to counseling is Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder.

This very helpful website outlines the difference between the two, in addition to other personality disorders, and offers constructive suggestions for how to manage your feelings.  A person with a personality disorder is not likely to come to counseling as they believe they are right, justified, perfect, or clear thinking but they will insist that others seek counseling because they are demented, out of touch, crazy or losing it.  Usually they are not far off as a person with a personality disorder can definitely make someone think they are demented, out of touch, crazy or losing it!  But in reality, they are not.

So sit back and read a couple of the posting to learn more about how to manage your relationship with a person who has a personality disorder.

http://www.outofthefog.net/index.html

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.

Love Conquers All – Or Does It?

Newly engaged couples are so much fun to watch.  They are very tender with each other, they smile when they speak to each other, they care about the other person’s opinion, and they are optimistic about life in general.  Best of all, they believe the other person is perfect and their love will last forever, that somehow they have the ideal type of love and their love will conquer all problems life tossed their way.  This is what is meant by having rose-colored glasses when looking at your partner, seeing only the good and none of the bad.

However something happens when these engaged couples walk down the aisle and say, “I do”.  The same rose-colored glasses seem to shatter resulting in the good becoming minimized while the bad becomes exaggerated.  One of the many reasons premarital counseling is recommended is to help to highlight via an indifferent experienced third-party, the potential areas of contention.  While God’s love is capable of conquering everyone and everything, man’s love falls far short.  Here are some of the major areas that man’s love cannot conquer.

Addiction.  There are many forms of addictions a person can have: alcohol, gambling, pornography, drugs (illegal and prescription), and sex just to name a few.  These addictions consume time, money and energy from your relationship and in the long run, can even destroy it.  Your finance may even say that their addiction tendencies are less because of your presence and while this may be true for the time being, it will not be true in the future.   The reason the addiction is less during the engagement is because of the excitement of the upcoming marriage and the hope and promise it brings.  As soon as difficulties surface, this hope will quickly turn into despair and the addiction will return sometimes with a vengeance.

Abuse.  There are also many forms of abuse such as physical, emotional, sexual and verbal.  Physical abuse involves any physical contact that is unwelcome or threatening.  Emotional abuse is neglecting your partner’s basic needs for security, love and attachment.  Sexual abuse includes rape or any type of forced sexual encounter.  Verbal abuse is the use of foul language, demeaning statements, biting sarcasm or hurtful remarks.  Loving someone will not stop the abuse.  Often the abuse is very subtle in the beginning and often in frequent during the engagement process with your finance being very apologetic afterwards.  These are warning signs that should not be ignored because the abuse is very likely to increase after the wedding.

Alarm.  There are many ways your partner can alarm you, perhaps they engage in self-harming behavior (such as cutting), threaten to commit suicide, threaten to cause you physical harm, or have irrational fears (such as paranoia or extreme jealously).  These behaviors need to be addressed with a professional who has experience in helping individuals to overcome their alarming behavior rather than a well-meaning finance who is unsure of how to handle the situation.  Getting married will not eliminate any of these behaviors no matter what your finance says, in fact it will worsen.

Addiction, abuse and alarm are three good reasons to end an engagement.  Yes, your finance can get better with professional help, a willingness to overcome the challenges, and by the grace of God but even these ingredients separate from each other do not guarantee success.  Just for a moment, take off your rose-colored glasses and look at your partner objectively to see if there is any trace of these behaviors.   After all, your love does have limits.

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 if Church was more like an AA Meeting?

Imagine for a moment what church would be like if the Pastor or Announcer began church with, “Hello my name is ___ (fill in with name) and I’m a recovering sinner of ____ (fill in the sin)”.  Would he or she be so bold to admit to their church not the mildest of sins such as a white lie but the grander sins of adultery, stealing, or a pornography addiction? Or perhaps he or she would admit to a personality disorder such as narcissism, borderline, or dependant.  How different would church be if everyone was expected to be honest about their past and present and not pretend to have it all together?

Record numbers of youth are leaving the church for precisely this reason with some estimates as high as 70% of America’s youth who was brought up in church does not return as an adult.  For the youth, they know that they do not have it all together and they do not want to go to a place that expects everyone to act as if they do have it all together.  This trend can be changed but it requires honesty at very deep levels with friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers.  Here are four things spelling CARE which AA does well in their meetings and could improve the atmosphere of any church.

Confessing sin.  One of the essential elements of AA meetings is for an addict to admit their addiction and also admit if they have been tempted recently or given into temptation.  Admitting your sin in front of others is hard but by doing so it holds you accountable to everyone in the room.  This would be quite a moment in the church if everyone knew of your personal struggles with a particular sin.  Just imagine a person struggled with gossip who admits it to the whole congregation, now the whole congregation can work on not gossiping with this person, talk about accountability!

Admitting sin is a life-long battle.  Another essential element of AA is admitting that once you are an addict you will continue to be an addict.  Yes God can and often does remove the desire for an addiction but He sometimes allows it to continue as a reminder that His grace is sufficient.  We are all born with a sinful nature so trying to pretend that we don’t continue to struggle with sin is futile.  Instead if everyone in church openly admitted to their sinful struggles, those struggling with the same sin could feel empathy instead of judgment.

Recognizing God’s grace.  “I have been sober for 1203 days” is a standard statement at an AA meeting.  This statement is designed as a continual reminder that each day is to be lived one day at a time and a reminder of the day they made a decision to do something different with their life.  What if every believer said, “I have been saved by God’s grace for 2678 days”?  How inspiring it would be for those just starting on their journey.

Exemplifying God’s love and forgiveness.  Even when someone falls back into addiction, they are always welcomed back with open arms at an AA meeting.  There are no new expectations, no turning away from a person who has fallen, or refusing to forgive someone who has hurt you.  At an AA meeting, all is forgiven and asking for forgiveness is the only expectation.  After all, we are all sinners and who among us does not need to be forgiven?  What a difference it would be in church if everyone forgave one another.

What if church was more like an AA meeting?  Most would respond by saying what makes AA works so well and for so long is that the people are anonymous, just first names are used.  But as believers of the same God in the same church, should we not desire to show the world a different standard?  A standard that welcomes sinners of all kinds, cares for the needs of it’s’ members, and unites even the strangest members.  Then and only then will we have a church that embraces honesty, rejects falsehood and truly brings glory to God.

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.