letting go of control

Case Study: Letting Go of Control

A Lesson in Letting Go of Control “Sometimes, you walk out of there, and you have been beaten up.” “J” used to consider Dr. Dabney—and therapists of every variety—the last resort.   Self-Described “Type-A” Personality A self-described “Type-A” personality, he was a person in pursuit of perfection. Mental instability was not acceptable. Period. Though, neither was the level of anxiety, he’d begun to experience regularly. “It was almost debilitating,” he recalls. “Eventually, it got to a point where I could barely function.” He decided that he had no choice but to seek help. “For a guy [with] my characteristics, it took nearly self-destruction.” But he didn’t find therapy to be the rapid cure he’d hoped for. When Dr. Dabney told him that he should expect to feel some level of relief within a few months, he said he was “flabbergasted.” He needed his life fixed—fast. There, too, was the doctor’s scrutiny. “ “I hated Dr. Dabney at first because everything she said was a criticism… She kept saying, “‘I’m not yelling at you, but I have to tell you these things.’” It took him years to accept her insights as observations, rather than personal attacks. “Literally,” he explains, “you have to crawl out of an emotional hole.” Deep down, he knew to keep going to keep working on letting go of control. Today, he sees the payoff. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without what I went through.” His experience left him with plenty of advice for those considering therapy. First, he tells people, forget your expectations about a timeline, control, all of it. He calls therapy a “journey more than a destination.” And, he wants others seeking help to know, “You’re not a freak.” Then he adds, “It’s tough to have a flashlight put on you for 45 minutes and not take it personally. But on the other hand, that’s what we pay her for—to uncover all this stuff.” Therapy is necessary for struggling in letting go of control. Are you struggling with letting go of control or anxiety? If so, we can help you! Schedule a call today or call 757-340-8800 for a free 15-minute consultation. For more topics, go to www.drldabney.com and www.lauradabney.com.

Nurturing the Parent Teen Relationship

Focus on your parent teen relationship and less on the teen. Tip: Focus on your parent teen relationship and less on the teen. What does that mean? If you develop a good parent teen relationship (not perfect) but a good relationship with your teen then there’s a high chance they will use that as a template for all their relationships going forward. In other words, if you have a healthy parent teen relationship, they’ll end up having healthy relationships. It’s easy, in theory, just not so easy in practice. What do I mean by focusing on your parent teen relationship?  One: Acting out behavior. I think we all know that acting out behavior is damaging to your relationships. So when your teen does acting out behavior, the key for you is going to put words to your emotions so they can learn how to do that. Instead of shouting at them for the acting out behavior, and making it into a big argument, say, “Excuse me for a second but it sounds like you’re angry about something if you can tell me what you’re angry about without shouting, I might be able to help you.” Kindly and calmly put the words to it.  Same with you, relationships are two-way. If you act out at some point, it’s going to be imperative that you go back to your teen and use the words. We all make mistakes. Go back and say, “Hey, I’m sorry that I yelled at you, what I wanted to say and wish I said is I’m angry that you continue to leave a mess in the kitchen.” Talk through your emotions. Two: Autonomy. You have to respect each other’s autonomy. We can all agree that in a healthy relationship, we respect each other’s autonomy. What does that mean? That means when your child makes a decision, instead of undermining it or taking over, you want to let them have it! There are only two exceptions at this stage: Loss of life or limb, or legal problems. Anything else you let them make the decision, you let them fail at it or succeed, but you let it be theirs. That’s autonomy.  You also have to be autonomous, if you’re the parent who does whatever your child wants, whenever they want, think again. You’re just teaching them how to be someone’s puppet. You have to be honest with your …

Worried About Your Teenagers’ Disrespectful Behavior?

What do you do with your teenagers’ disrespectful behavior? This disrespectful behavior may not be a sign of sociopath or narcissist behavior because it’s a way of separating, and it’s normal teenage behavior. But, you may be wondering how do you keep the behavior from spinning out of control; that way, they don’t become a narcissist or sociopath. The answer is: YOU HAVE TO CHANGE. My patients who are parents often make the same mistake, which is they try to change their child. “You can’t talk that way; you’re being nasty, you can’t be rude.” The problem with this is, it’s just telling them how to behave. How do we all respond to that? We don’t like to be told what to do, and neither does your teenager, it’s not going to work. Remember, the emotional goal for your teenager to not be a sociopath or narcissist is to be able to express their emotions well — especially anger, sadness, and neediness. What I mean by changing yourself is you have to express anger, sadness, and neediness and be a role model, instead of telling your child what to do. Examples: Let’s say your child is name-calling. Stop them immediately and say, “It’s hurtful when you use name-calling when you’re talking to me, I can’t even hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the garage, if you can tell me this later without the name-calling, I’d be glad to listen.” Let’s say your child is shouting. You can say, “It really irritates me when you’re shouting at me. It makes it very hard for me to hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the kitchen if you can say this without shouting I’d be glad to listen.” I was talking to a parent, and he was doing a favor by picking up his child from the bus that way, his child did not have to take the dreaded bus. His child was using provocative language, and he felt like the child was trying to get under his skin by saying things that were personally offensive to him. So, the next time he could say, “I’m not going to pick you up from school anymore because it is very upsetting to me. I need to have a car ride home that does not involve this provocative language, So I will not be picking you up from school …

Cheating Dreams and What They Mean

  Cheating Dreams, What do they mean?   Let’s discuss Dreams where you’re actually cheating on your significant other. Just like the attraction dreams, it’s not that you want to cheat, but there are a few reasons why you could be dreaming about this. We have to look beyond the superficial such as, “If I cheated in my dream that means I must want to do that, I’m a terrible person.” We have to look at the symbolism behind the dream. What I mean is that cheating can symbolize, an escape. When I say that it’s not really about cheating, it could be about your significant other, for example, let’s say your S.O, for the last couple of months has been irritable or just messy, and it’s annoying you. But instead of talking to him or her about the annoying behavior, you make excuses and clean up his mess. Then you go to bed, and you have a dream that you’re cheating on him. In your subconscious, a lot of times that could be the fact that you are trying to punish him by cheating on him in your dreams. Since you feel as though you can’t speak about the negative behaviors that he’s doing, instead you dream about it and hope that by dreaming this and being mad at him or getting back at him in your dreams that you’ll fix the problem. Negative Behavior Another way to look at it is sometimes it’s not your S.O. that has negative behavior; it could be yourself. So if you have been extra irritable or sloppier than usual, there is a possibility that the way to think about it is you have to punish yourself somehow. You may have a cheating dream and if that’s the case you are putting the negative behavior on to your S.O. So you’re having a cheating dream, where you’re cheating on him, which is punishing him. But the dream leaves you having thoughts such as, “I’m such a bad person.” In a roundabout way, you’ve punished yourself. Dreams are Symbolic We need to remember a cheating dream is symbolic. If you have a cheating dream, what you can do is sit with that dream. Think about what’s been going on in your relationship. Are there any negative things going on, that you’re scared to talk about or to bring up? Just thinking about those negative …

Sex Dreams and The Meaning Behind Them

Intimacy dreams (sex dreams) is a very popular topic with my patients and anybody who finds out that I’m a psychiatrist. Intimacy dreams or sex dreams, and what do they say about us and our relationships? Well, they say quite a lot. However, what they say is not literal. All studies have shown that you are not so much in control of your environment and what you do as your unconscious is. Your unconscious is playing a more significant role in your life than you know or maybe care to admit. It’s there, and it’s very active, and that’s what comes out in our dreams. Your dreams are your unconscious talking to you. It’s a wonderful source to get to know yourself better if you can listen in a certain way. That’s why us Shrinks love dreams and not just night dreams but daydreams too, they are also really informative. Your unconscious is very important; it’s telling you about you, it’s typically a side of you that you don’t want to admit. Usually, it’s stuff that’s been shoved down, and it wants attention or to be recognized. And for some reason, your conscious has either thought it not important or has some problem with it; so it gets relegated. My patients know I call it the basement, it gets shoved in the basement where it causes lots of issues. Dreams are symbolic, not literal. People come to me worried that they had sex dreams about somebody else and wonder if that means they’re a cheater. No, it’s not that simple, it’s not be taken as real and literally, necessarily. There’s one exception, there’s something we call a residue dream, where you dream about something that happened during your day. That does happen, but typically, dreams are symbolic, and they are wish-fulfillment. So again, if you dream about cheating on somebody, does that mean you wish to cheat? Not necessarily, again, not literally. But we have to realize there’s probably a wish under there that we haven’t recognized or haven’t given attention to. How do we figure that out? If it’s not literal, how do we figure it out? Let me give you some examples. Let’s say you have a dream about being sexually attracted to someone who you consciously have no sexual attraction to whatsoever. Dreams don’t forecast the future you’re not predicting the future in your dreams. If you …