Toxic Family Members, Now What?

    We’ve previously discussed how to tell toxic behavior from annoying behavior or mistakes.   Let’s say you do one of the tests previously discussed, and you find that the person IS toxic. The pink flag is indeed a red flag. Maybe, they weren’t able to apologize for their behavior, or they continued to engage in annoying or upsetting behavior despite you telling them or letting them know otherwise. This is red flag behavior, now what? Keep in mind; someone can only be toxic to you if you allow it. What are the ways you can not allow this? Boundaries Verbal Boundaries A verbal boundary would be saying something along the lines of, “No, as I said that topic is off-limits,” or “This doesn’t work for me.” Something quick and simple, I always recommend putting up a hand and keeping it personal.  Physical Boundaries A physical boundary would be spending less time with the person. This one may seem obvious, but so many people feel guilty about it. It is socially acceptable not to accept all invitations from toxic people, do not invite them to your home or events, especially if they’re long. Keep the visits short and sweet. The Setting What is the setting where you are seeing these people? A lot of toxic people do better in public settings because they know on some level that their behavior is toxic, and if other people are watching, they’re going to behave themselves better.  The third way of keeping the toxicity at bay is to choose a public setting. Maybe that’s the only place you’ll see them, such as at restaurants, parks, other people’s homes, large parties and gatherings where other people (especially non-family members) are. Communicate Beforehand Remember, have the discussion with your significant other about limits and what kind of boundaries you are going to set with the toxic family member’s beforehand. It helps if you have someone on board previously. A lot of people will set boundaries and be furious that the significant other didn’t know what was going on. When the significant other could not know whats going on, it doesn’t mean they don’t approve of whats going on. If you need a way out or need to say no to the toxic family members, and you’ve had the discussion and an agreed-upon saying on how to stop the toxic behavior with your significant other, …

medicating problems

The Problem with Medicating our Problems

Medicating Problems Psychiatric drugs have, for decades, benefitted the severely mentally ill and eased the suffering of millions. And psychopharmacology, the study of these drugs’ effects on the brain, has enabled numerous life-changing treatment options. Despite these advances in the field of psychiatry as a whole, the idea of medicating our problems has been proven ineffective. Psychiatric medications come in several forms, though among the most commonly prescribed are antidepressants, stimulants, and mood stabilizers. They are so regularly prescribed; in fact, that one of the questions most often asked of me by new patients is how long I need to talk to them before writing a prescription. They expect the same experience in my office that so many have had with other doctors in the past—they feel unsettled, they seek help, they get pills. And while prescriptions may offer temporary relief of symptoms, patients are not always aware that they also come with severe risks.   Patients need to know that psychiatric medications may cause: Alarming side effects, including sexual dysfunction Other medications to malfunction Dangerous health problems, such as difficulty breathing and diabetes Disturbing withdrawal symptoms, including seizers Decreasing efficacy As a medical doctor and therapist, I have seen first-hand the harmful effects of our dependence on medications for resolving emotional issues. Counter to current treatment trends, the use of medication alone increases the duration, and sometimes the intensity, of common emotional problems. Often, medication masks the symptoms, a course of treatment that would be deemed unacceptable in any other field of medicine. For example, few people would be satisfied to treat the headaches caused by a brain tumor with ibuprofen alone. Instead, we would seek to eradicate the problem at its source. The same should be no less accurate for our emotional health issues because, unlike acute mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and some bipolar disorders, common complaints such as anxiety and depression are often not based on biology. And yet, most patients seeking help for these conditions are being treated with biology-altering pharmaceuticals. The condition clearly does not warrant the intervention.   Effective Treatment The most effective course of treatment is what I have used with patients in my practice for nearly twenty years: psychodynamic therapy. To treat the real source of emotional problems, we must discover its source, a process to which therapy is expertly suited. With the right guide, a patient can be led …