Friday, March 27, 2015

When that's not what you meant.

Do you often say, 'that's not what I meant',  or hear, 'you're not understanding me.'? This could be because there's a difference of perception in what is said between you and another, based on interpretations of a past negative situation. 

What do you see in the image below? 

Is it a young lady or an old woman? Either way, what you see maybe different to what others see. We perceive things at multiple levels of awareness. At the most basic level, there is a neurological perception, the way we perceive sensory-based things. 

Lets call this 'Representational System', which fundamentally means the expressions of the way we individually process and describe information based on the following processing styles; Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic and Auditory digital

  • Visual - Seeing
  • Auditory - Hearing
  • Kinaesthetic - Feeling
  • Auditory digital - Inner dialogue or self talk.
As an external event happens, (someone says something or does something to us), we make an Internal Representation (I/R) of that event. The Internal Representation combined with our physiology, creates an emotional state within us. The state that we are in are a combination of internal pictures, sounds, feelings and self talk that we have experienced over time caused by either negative and/or positive events. 

The way we represent the world and these external events comes in through our five senses (sensory input channels) which are;
  • Visual - the things we see in our mind or in reality
  • Auditory - sounds or words we hear. We hear them ether externally or in our own minds
  • Kinaesthetic - any emotions or sensations including touch and texture.
  • Olfactory - smells
  • Gustatory - tastes.

When information reaches our brains, it is given meaning and forms a subjective experience of the world - this is our representation and perception.  

As the external event comes through these sensory input channels it is filtered and we then process the information for that event. We delete, distort and generalise what comes in. When two people experience the same event in the same way, they respond differently because they filter and process differently than each other. 

  • Deletion - It's important to delete information from the thousands of events happening around us from our minds, otherwise we'd go mad. We are able to do this as we selectively pay attention to certain aspects of our experiences and not others, omitting or overlooking as events occur.
  • Distortion - Misrepresenting reality. Distortion twists the truth in that the speaker draws conclusions or makes assumptions.
  • Generalisations - Always!, Never!, Every! When we have an unhappy experience or one we describe as 'bad', we are afraid that it will happen again. We come to believe that a single experience can represent an absolute truth. 

There is no right or wrong when it comes to perception, but there is a right or wrong in how we behave due to our own interpretation. For example: You are convinced a friend has lied about you or you feel like an important person just doesn't care enough about you. You react in an aggressive way because you feel it's justified. 

How do you think the other person feels being on the receiving end of your aggression? Maybe part of you don't care, maybe you're thinking they deserve it, maybe you just want the other person to recognise 'what they've done to you.' 

What is it you want from the other person? An apology? Recognition? What if they don't agree that they've done anything wrong and try to explain to you that, that is not what they meant? 

The key here, is to recognised when your anger has been triggered and then understand what it is you are perceiving. Have you deleted good information, distorted what you've heard, generalised too much? Ask yourself, 'is it me, is it them, is it us? 

You may see the young lady, but another will see the old woman. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to liberate your mind?

Three simple steps to mindful liberation: 

Step one: Stretch your arms above your head and take a deep breath in, hold for 2. Lower your arms and touch your shoulders at the same time let out your breath in a quick blow. Repeat another two times. (Don't worry if you're in the office and others can see you, that's part of the mindful liberation).
Step two: Find a scrap of paper and write your immediate thoughts and feelings down. Underneath each letter, draw a rectangle of varying lengths. Turn the paper round so the rectangles are now above the letters. Add some triangles to the rectangles. By now you should be seeing what looks like buildings. Continue to add to the picture. Maybe add some windows, a sun above the buildings, some flowers, animals or even people. Let yourself be creative.
Step three: SMILE. If you find this hard to do genuinely, make a long 'e' sound which will stretch the corners of your mouth outward. This to mimic some of the characteristics of a smile, it will also cause happy feelings, which will liberate your mind. ‪#‎angermanagement‬ ‪#‎depression‬‪#‎mindfulness‬

For more helpful tips please visit Restoring Lives Facebook Page

Friday, March 06, 2015

Childhood Hangover Remedy - Our Basic Human Rights.

If you've ever been told as a child, 'stop crying', or 'children should be seen and not heard', or 'stop acting like a baby', you may be experiencing emotional restrictions in your life, like you have no rights to be, or to feel. Many of us are suffering with, 'childhood hangover'; a lingering effect from a distressing experience or something that remains in us from a former period in our lives.

Just one negative word said to us as a child can cause unsettling or insecure feelings that remains within us as adults. This can cause us to feel, believe or think that we have no right to certain actions, values, and needs or to make our own choices and decisions. We revert back to childlike state and unhealthy anger manifests based on repressed anger we felt as a child. 

To begin on the path to healthy anger, it's helpful to understand our basic human rights. Understanding your rights as a human being, reinforces your dignity and worth as an individual. 

The following is a list of what I believe to be our basic human rights, needed to promote healthy anger. It is by no means a perfect remedy for childhood hangover, but it certainly helps ease the affects if you allow them to resonate within you. 


    To recognise and accept your own value systems as appropriate
    To say NO when you feel you're not ready, if it is unsafe or it violates your values
    To dignity and respect
    To make decisions
    To have your needs and wants respected by others
    To terminate conversations with people who make you feel put down and humiliated
    To NOT be responsible for others behaviour, actions, feelings and problems
    To make mistakes and not have to be perfect
    To learn from your mistakes
    To expect honesty from others
    To all your feelings
    To be angry with someone you love, if they hurt you
    To feel scared and say “I'm afraid”
    To grieve over losses in your life
    To safety and security
    To make decisions based on your feelings
    To change your mind at any time
    To be happy
    To stability, i.e. roots and stable healthy relationships of your choice
    To own your personal space and time needs
    To be relaxed, playful and frivolous
    To be flexible and comfortable with doing so                                                                    
    To change and grow
    To be open to improve your communication skills so that you may be understood
    To make friends and be comfortable around people
    To be in a non-abusive environment
    To trust others who earn your trust
    To forgive others and yourself
    To give and receive unconditional love

Friday, February 20, 2015

Toxic Parents: Part three-How to overcome a toxic parent.

I could write volumes on overcoming a toxic parent and learning to live freely. Maybe I will write a book about it in the future. However, I didn't want to overload my post with lots of information on how, why, and when to succeed in dealing with the problem. I think it's more effective to begin with short, simple, to the point statements as a start, to helping those affected by toxic parents. 
Here are my top ten tips;

  1. It is NOT your fault - Your parent behave the way they behave because they are and have, the problem. 
  2. You are loveable and likeable - Just because you're not liked or loved by your toxic parent, doesn't mean others won't like or love you. The person who should love you first, is YOU. 
  3. You are good enough - Of course there is always room for improvement, but nothing you do will impress or be good enough to your toxic parent. 
  4. You're not responsible - You are not responsible for everything they did or do to you. You are only responsible for how to behave, feel or think about what's happened to you. 
  5. You have the right to say NO! - You do not have to take their manipulation, insults or abuse any more and it's not your job to make them happy. (You won't achieve that even if you tried).
  6. You have the ownership of your life - They maybe the reason you were born, but that does not give them the right to own your life, tell you what to do or dictate how you should live. 
  7. Your needs are important - Knowing and reaching for your needs to be met does not make you selfish. In fact, it's a sensible thing to do as it will equip you more and make you stronger to help and be there for others. 
  8. Forgive them - Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. 
  9. It's your choice - It's your choice whether you still want them in your life. If you decide you want to distance yourself, then remain guilt free. You do not have to see them. You can still love them (if that's how you feel) without having a relationship with them. 
  10. Heal the inner child - You are no longer 'that' child, but the child within you still needs loving and nurturing. Write a letter to your inner child, tell them they are loved, tell them you will now protect them, tell them it's not their fault, give them a voice and help them to share their thoughts and feelings. 
If you have been affected by this and would like counselling or coaching do please book an appointment with me at Restoring Lives

Friday, January 23, 2015

Toxic Parents:Part Two - How to recognise a toxic parent?

The aim of my previous post READ HERE was to ascertain what 'toxic' means before making a comprehension of what a toxic parent is.

To summarise, toxic is a substance that can poison, noxious and contaminate through infecting it's surroundings. A toxic parent; distorts, alters, affects and harms their children.

How to recognise whether someone is a toxic parent?

There are two main types of a toxic parent; The Sociopathic Parent, and The Narcissistic Parent.

The Sociopathic Parent will never say sorry to their child for any wrong doings they have inflicted onto their child, and that is because they believe they are never wrong. They have the ability to justify everything they say and do and because of this they are expert manipulators. They will make the child feel like the child is to blame and because they are generally insensitive and have total disregard to other people's feelings, they lack empathy and often find a crying child extremely annoying, and that may cause them to punish the child further.

Being self-centred is the driving force behind their core behaviour. This makes them demanding, controlling and dictatorial. It can also make them cold, calculating and sneaky, using emotional blackmail to get what they want.  They are incredibly deceitful, irresponsible and impulsive, because of this, they have a tendency to break promises or betray their child.

Sociopathic parent's do not truly care about their children. Because of this, they are more likely to abandon or neglect them.

The Narcissistic Parent will essentially see their child as an extension of themselves. Something they can put their name on or to build themselves up to make them look better, this makes them controlling, manipulating and demanding. They are egotistical, self-centred and threatening, essentially they use their child to feed their ego. However, the parent deploys their child, this is usually because they regret having the child. Most narcissistic parent's have children by accident or by mistakenly thinking a child would increase their self-serving purpose

Noticing a narcissistic parent can be tricky as they wear different masks in public. They are very charming and likeable at first. Those close to them, but mainly their children, will know their many faces as they are more likely to let their guard down around those close to them. They will behave differently in different social settings, often to gain friends, lovers, etc. and once they've gain the trust of others and a relationship is well formed, the narcissist return to their true nature. Another example, everyone thinks the mother or father are the most wonderful people (parent's) in the world, and yet at home the child is left to feel isolated, confused and scared as they put up with the narcissist's constant out bursts, dis-interests and put downs. Narcissist's are great story tellers, they will retell an event in a over exaggerated and often untrue way to others and can sound so convincing that the child is left to appear as the lier.

The narcissist will be in direct competition with the child and jealous of them, they can at times find their child quite psychologically threatening. This is increased as the child starts to grow into the age of reason from around the age of 7 years old or when the child enters into puberty and starts to stand up for themselves. It's common for the narcissist to become more abusive and sarcastic towards the child during this stage, and their aim is to break down the child. One way to achieve this, is, nothing a child does is ever good enough, and the child will often be meet with constant put downs; you're hair is a mess, you look fat in that, stop being so stupid, why are you always miserable? or they will behave like the victim, such as; look what I've done for you, I'm always helping you, you never tell me you love me, why don't you call me? etc. 

In addition to this, when the child is doing well in school, at home, out and about, the narcissist would not praise the child, but instead they will take the credit for it and tell others how wonderful they are at parenting. However, when a child does something wrong, or not up to the standards the parent expects, the result of the behaviour towards the child will be; blaming, shaming, patronising and demeaning for making the parent look bad and this can often lead into physical, psychological and emotional abuse. And because the narcissist is self-centred and egotistical, more often than not, the child is perceived to be never doing anything right, which perpetuates the cycle of the abuse. 

A child will gain a sense that their parent isn't quite like other parents, but will never fully understand why? This may stay with them well into adulthood, constantly experiencing years of emotional abuse. This maybe due to the many faces and the manipulation of the narcissist parent. 

An example of how a narcissist behaves towards their child can been seen in the character 'Jonathan Flynn' played by Robert De Nero in the film Being Flynn. 

The narcissist parent is generally more dangerous, damaging and toxic towards their child than the socio-path, although both types tend to overlap. 

To summarise: How to recognise a toxic parent?

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other presenting behaviours a toxic parent will display. Mainly look for- Demanding, Manipulating, Immature, Controlling, Jealous, Abusive, Neglectful, Critical, Egotistical, Martyrdom, Oppressive, Sarcastic, Threatening, and Insulting behaviour towards a child and adult.

In a future post, I will write about-How to overcome a toxic parent?

If you are affected by what I have a written and feel you may need some help, do please visit.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Toxic Parents - Part one

To understand what a toxic parent is, we must first examine what toxic means.

Toxic is something that is poisonous, noxious, contaminated. In the following text, I aim to outline what this means in relation to a toxic parent of both children and adult 'children', (the inner child). 

Let's first look at the affects of something poisonous. In hindsight, something that is toxic only becomes poisonous when consumed by the body, either through digesting, injecting, or breathing. For example, a snake itself is not poisonous, it's its venom that is poisonous and only when it enters the bloodstream of a living being. However, if we talk about 'someone' being poisonous, we're alluding to said person as being malicious or spiteful. The affects of malicious or spiteful behaviour can have the same damaging results as if the poison were consumed, as our sense of well-being emotionally or psychologically is affected negatively as the poisonous behaviour penetrates out mind. Toxic parents poison us when there is a clear aim to hurt us, through neglecting, physically or sexually abusing, and far less recognisably, through emotional abuse (being noxious).

The noxious part of a toxic parent, is when they're being harmful to the mind, or causing moral corruption, (blackmailing, embarrassing, name calling, etc.). In some cases, when the mind has been affected by a noxious entity, depression maybe a consequence as the child/adult is subjected by an attack of negative language about their character.and feelings of inadequacy manifests as a result. In the case of corruption, this is essentially the destruction of someone's honesty or integrity about oneself, causing self perception to become distorted and the result could develop into toxic shame, which I shall write about at a later date. Fundamentally, a person who is noxious, primarily attacks or hurts another individual's core being and self perception. 

A toxic parent can contaminate in two ways. Firstly, they contaminate the environment around the child; by displaying unhealthy anger, drinking too much (being a drunk daily), being promiscuous, playing the victim or martyr, etc. As a result of a contaminated environment, the child may feel scared, confused, ashamed, insecure and anxious. Secondly, they place the child in a state of being contaminated as a result of the condition of the mind becoming impure and altered by the influence of a toxic parent through, unclear boundaries, lack of support or encouragement, unacceptable social etiquette, taunting, patronising, teasing, and illegal behaviour.

The phrase Toxic Parent, was devised through the obvious and apparent negative behaviour of a parent who grossly inflicts emotional damage to their child (whether young or old). Toxic parenting can continue throughout a child's life and way into adulthood. It is therefore my aim to illuminate others about the possible affect a toxic parent may still have on their life. 

In my next post, I will write about what a toxic parent does. In the meantime, if you feel affected by what I've written or feel you might need some professional help, please visit

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Adult Temper Tantrums

Do you know why toddlers have temper tantrums? It's fundamentally because they are unable to speak properly and find it hard to tell you what it is they want or need. Most adults know what their toddler wants or needs and are able to provide it for them before the toddler realises they want or need it themselves. However, as the toddler starts to grow and become more aware of the world around them, their wants and needs become different to what the adult assumes what their wants and needs are. 

So when the adult doesn't provide the toddler with the toddler's own set of wants and needs, the toddler who may or may not be able to speak properly, can't verbalise the name of the want or need. Toddlers, are also not emotionally mature enough to understand their thoughts and feelings exactly, they are only able to rely on their instincts for 'survival'. When their wants or needs are not met, their fight system (anger) kicks in and their survival instinct tells them something isn't quite right and so their body gets ready to fight, and throws itself into a temper tantrum. They don't actually know why they're angry or even name it as that.

Adults too can experience a temper tantrum. Although adults can speak properly, most are unable to verbalise their thoughts and feelings accurately, this is primarily because they don't quite know or possibly understand exactly what their wants or needs actually are. This may be due to suppressed feelings based on an incident that happened long ago, or because they never had the opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings when they were younger and never actually learned what their own wants and needs are. An adult maybe emotionally mature, but if they're not emotionally intelligent, and their anger has been triggered, a 'tantrum' manifests, causing the adult to behave in an unhealthy or inappropriate manner. 

The diagram above displays how someone can increase their emotional intelligence starting with 'Perceiving Emotions'; becoming aware, conscious, realising what you're feeling. Once perception has been established, the adult will then begin to 'Understand Emotions'; comprehend, familiarise, and grasp the meaning of their emotions. With perception and understanding the adult is able to 'Use' their emotions to achieve their wants and needs. This is only successful if the adult 'Manages' their emotions in a positive and productive manner. It is then that 'Emotional Intelligence' is established. Having emotional intelligence, is having the comprehension of what an individual is thinking and feeling and being able to verbalise them. 

The key to helping an adult with temper tantrums, is to start with asking them to think about what their wants or needs are and how they or others could help to meet those wants and needs.