Man sitting in front of Christmas tree

Christmas Stress and Holiday Have-To’s

3 Things to Know About Christmas Stress and Holiday Have-To’s (and How to Avoid Them) The holidays can be full of Christmas stress and “have to’s.” No matter what our personality is— extrovert or introvert, party-person, or home-body. I have to go to the company party. It would be rude if I didn’t show up. We have to go to my mother’s house for Christmas Eve. She expects us. I have to make everyone’s favorite type of cookie. I’ve always done that. We have to invite cranky Uncle Ted to Christmas. He’s family. Does any of that sound familiar? If you’re like most of us, you could probably add a dozen more have-to’s of your own to the list. Here’s the thing with obligation guilt; however: We do it to ourselves. Don’t believe me yet? Here are the only three things you need to know about minimizing your holiday obligations this year. One: Obligations are never imposed on us without consent. This may not feel true yet, but the fact is that obligations are never thrust on us. Obligations are, in fact, choices we make ourselves based on information we believe to be true. Take Tom, for example. He believed that if he didn’t spend Christmas with his family, he’d let everyone down. He didn’t want to spend Christmas at his parent’s house, but he assumed that not showing up would, in some way, be worse. In effect, it was easier to “suck it up and go” and deal with the Christmas stress than it was to confront his parents with a change in plans. This lack of choice may feel very real to us, particularly when it comes to our closest relationships. We hate to disappoint, hate confrontation, hate to cause confusion, or pain. But here’s the truth: We always have a choice in how we respond to a person or situation. Even though our choices may disappoint others, they are still our choices to make. Two: Obligations are internally imposed. To understand this second fact, you first must understand the psychological process of obligation. It goes like this: 1. We receive an invitation. 2. Our inviting host expresses their hopes or expectations for the event. 3. We internalize their hopes and expectations as our own. Did you catch that? We have an uncanny ability to take on the expectations of other people. The reason we do that is …

How to Set Boundaries With Family Over the Holidays

Three Ways to Set Your Boundaries Over the Holidays I’ve had several male patients in my office who let the people in their life walk all over them. And they all do it in the name of keeping their reputation as a “Nice Guy.” My first questions are always the same. I say, Where is it written that Nice Guys can’t say no? Is there a law that to be a Nice Guy, you have to put up with abusive comments and invasive questions? Does the dictionary define Nice Guy as, “A man who allows others to take advantage of him”? The answers? No. No. And No.  The critical factor here is they need to learn how to set boundaries with family. I’ve had so many Nice Guys in my office and heard so many stories about the pain they’re feeling. My message for Nice Guys everywhere: It is possible to set and maintain your boundaries with friends and family without turning into a jerk. Three tactics on How to Set Boundaries with Family and Friends this Holiday Seasons While it’s impossible to control what people say to or expect of us during the holidays, there is a lot we can do to manage our behavior while we’re with them. I tell my patients to practice three boundary setting tactics: Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks Preemptively set boundaries Change the subject when faced with inappropriate comments One: Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks Finally, one of the most anxiety-producing holiday situations my patients experience is the feeling of being “stuck” with people whose behavior makes them uncomfortable. This can be physical, such as relatives who don’t share the same boundaries around hugging or kissing, etc., or it can also be environmental, such as the relative who loves to bring up touchy subjects like politics. No matter what form the inappropriate behavior takes, you don’t have to spend the holidays “stuck” in its net. For example, one of my patients doesn’t enjoy copious amounts of physical contact with anyone except his wife. His wife’s family, however, is very physical, and he used to dread spending time with them because they had no inhibitions about snuggling up to him on the couch or touching his arms or legs while in conversation. Now, instead of feeling uncomfortable and “stuck,” he promptly moves his hand or foot, etc. out of physical contact and …

Is my Child a Sociopath?

 Do you ever ask yourself, “Is my child a sociopath?” Or wonder how someone becomes a sociopath? How to know or get an idea of whether your child is on the path toward a personality disorder. First, we must understand that emotional health is about being able to express our emotions. We must especially be able to express the negative emotions; anger, neediness, and sadness. The ultimate emotional wellbeing is someone who can express their emotions. This is very important for relationship purposes because that is how we relate to people. By talking about our emotions, not acting out on them- that’s a younger child thing, not a teenager, young adult, or adult. People need to talk about their emotions in relationships and dissipate emotions. Emotions dissipate by talking about them. Relationships and Emotions If you take those two factors to find out if your child is on the wrong path in terms of developing their relationships, you’ll want to look at their relationships. You’ll want to look outside of their family relationships because how they treat the family can be very different and often is because they’re trying to separate from you. You can go to the teachers and ask how your child is relating to peers and other teachers. Ask your child’s friend’s parents how your child is doing with their family, as well as their pets. You can learn a lot about a child’s empathy by how they deal with pets. Also, you can go to the child’s coaches and ask how the child is dealing with other coaches and teammates. Asking the people outside of your family about how your child is doing, is a way to see how your child’s relationships are forming in general. If those are all pretty good, then your child is on the right track. If your child is having trouble with expressing their emotions, those are most likely damaged or not very healthy. Expressing Emotions If your child is not able to express their emotions and their emotions are not dissipating correctly, you’ll often see the child turning the emotions inward. In this case, you’ll want to look for any on-going self-harm. Such as cutting, chronic overeating or obesity, or addiction. Of course, kids experiment, but if you find something such as a fifth of vodka under their bed, that is a long-standing form of hurting themselves.  These are …

Men and Emotions

There’s still a stigma in our society that makes it hard for men to show their emotions and keep their masculinity. Women have come a long way with their ability to emote; emoting has always been more acceptable for women. In the past, women had trouble with aggression. Now women can be in the workforce, go for gold medals, and be on sports teams. Women have bridged the gap in aggression & passivity and emoting & action better than men. Men have not caught up in terms of their ability to show their emotions and feel masculine intact. We have devoted our attention to executive men with relationship problems because they have a history, where they’re encouraged to be aggressive, and are rewarded for being aggressive in the workplace. At home or in an intimate relationship- men act aggressive, and they get “in trouble,” or they get passive and get “in trouble.” They aren’t able to say what they really want or what they really need, which causes the relationship to go south. How men and women deal with certain emotions differently An example of an emotional difference between men and women is anger and how they express it. Women struggle with anger by having the thoughts that anger is not okay, or it’s wrong. Whereas when men get angry, they are terrified that the anger is going to lead to becoming physical and that they will actually hurt somebody. Men fear that if they admit they are angry, then their next step is to hurt someone. How to properly handle anger The way to correctly handle anger is to think about the anger, emote, and deal with the anger; as a result, the anger will not build and blow. Would you like to learn more about men and their emotional health? Head over to https://drldabney.com/free-relationship-advice-articles/ to find dozens of free self-help articles.

Anxiety and Phobias the Down and Dirty

Phobias, anxiety, disorders, and the unconscious. hello happy Tuesday!  It is a good Tuesday because I got a visit from Lola.     Just so everyone knows, Lola is my mom she was lives locally around here. Lolo is my dad.  They stopped by after Mass today to drop off some snacks to Dr. Dabney and my dad also wanted to check on her plant.   Also another perfect surprise was Ava just running through the office she’s adorable.   That’s why we couldn’t finish our talk last time about anxiety. I panicked because Joelle was anxious to get her kids so o we had to cut it short.   So we’re not going to do that today.  we’re gonna continue our talk on panic and anxiety good with that so   that’s a good point to point out if you have an anxiety about something then it’s not a mental disorder.   yeah so if you know what the reason is then it’s, actually a normal reaction. a normal reaction that you’re anxious about, like picking up the little munchkins on time.     people come in and anxiety they don’t   know why and that’s when it becomes   interesting or they think they know why   and it might not be the real why right   exactly   so that’s what we dig in and do our work   because that’s really that’s what’s most   exciting it’s like being a detective   because you have to find out what it is   because it’s unconscious right and why is it unconscious because it hurts it hurts right right there’s some pain there there’s something I’m septa below yeah which is painful that you know your brain is smart most people’s brains are sparse it wants to cover up pain it doesn’t want to feel pain so it’s like this jujitsu you’re doing with yourself you like I want to know why they don’t wanna know why I don’t know why but I don’t wanna know so our job is to get glimpses of that as it comes to the surface and pull it out help them understand in a safe place where they know that yes it’s gonna hurt but supposed to get and it’s   brief and it’s not you’re never Burghley and it never hurts as much as they imagined or you imagine that it’s like a it’s like a it’s like …