Category Archives: Mental Health

Finding ‘Fine’ Again

 

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I saw an old friend yesterday. We met for a drink at a bar in Korea town where we always liked to frequent.

“How are you doing?” she asked with that slightly condescending tone stinking just enough of pity.

“I’m fine,” I replied casually, tossing back a shot of soju—Korean rice whiskey. It’s smooth, so very dangerous.

“You’re so strong.” She shook her head in wonder. Eyes wide with what I suppose was sympathy.

“I can’t even imagine what it must have been like…”

I had no response. All the words I’d planned to say had dried on my tongue.

I’m fine.

I’m fine.

Don’t worry. I’m fine

And yet—on the inside, nothing was “fine.” Sometimes it felt like it never would be ever again.

In November of 2015, three days before my 28th birthday, while on my way home from that same Korean bar, stumbling from too many shots of soju, I was intercepted by a group of men, taken to the basement of a house a few blocks from my Crown Heights apartment and violently raped by one, and then another, and then another…

“Girl, you’re so fine—” They’d said to me on the street trying to get my attention.

But everything that was, died in that basement bedroom… or so it seemed.

Everyone said it was a miracle, a blessing that I survived and got out of that situation alive. How did I do it, you ask? I’m about to get real. (Trigger warning)

I got out by pretending—by getting aggressive. For a brief moment I took my power back, pure survival instinct kicked in. Because looking back on it—I can’t really believe I did what I did.

“So is anyone else going to fuck me?” I snapped, challenging them, throwing them off their guards. “Because if not, I’m going home.”

As steadily as I could, I stood from the mattress, adjusting my clothes and grabbing my bag.

“I’m going home.” I stated, and moved past the men who had been tormenting me the past hour.

It was like they didn’t even know what to do—my behavior had completely confused them. Were they expecting tears? Was I supposed to beg? I will never know why it happened the way it did, but I walked out of that basement of nightmares on my own two feet.

It wasn’t until I was out on the street, walking at a fast pace through the crisp November night, that shock and terror set it. I was intensively frightened and disoriented, and I just took off, not even paying attention to where I was going. I remember walking and walking, and feeling like I’d never get home.

This all took place within a three-block radius of where I’d lived for three years, mind you. That’s how out of my head I was—I was lost in my own neighborhood, the place I thought I knew like the back of my hand. It was at this time I also discovered they had taken my phone, my wallet and my keys (including my car key, which led to my adorable VW Beetle getting stolen and burnt to a crisp after a high speed chase through Long Island—but that’s a story for another day).

I didn’t know how I was going to get home. When I momentarily came out of my shock, I realized I’d wandered so far in the wrong direction, I was on a street I’d never even heard of. I saw a cab and begged him to help me out. Luckily he got me back to my place and with incessant buzzing I was able to wake my roommate from the downstairs lobby.

“Hello? Who is it?” A groggy voice came over the speaker—at this point it was past 3am.

“Kelly let me in, let me in! Let me in! Please!”

A savior. A blessing. I’d never wanted a roommate in my 1 bedroom apartment (necessity had led to that) but at this moment I’d never been happier. If she hadn’t been there, I would have been in a lot more trouble.

Inside I was able to call the police and my mom who lives in Dallas Fort Worth, and that set off a whirlwind of gritty, miserable events and experiences.

The attack itself had been surreal; it was like I’d stepped outside myself. But now harsh reality had hit and I was dealing with the fallout under the biting neon lights of the emergency room and the SVU detective’s office. The whole experience left me reeling, shaken to the core—in shock and struggling with the early signs of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

I was not fine. I couldn’t event fathom feeling stable or normal again; like the person I’d been before was completely and utterly lost to me.

But I suppose… somehow, through all of it there was something guiding me—some positive energy or “bigger reason” why this had happened. I’m not a particularly religious person, but I had to believe it was more than just chaos. It also helped that I have wonderful friends and family who supported me and showed their love in many ways, from helping out with expenses, to just making me laugh, to even tweeting out about my cause when I was fighting with the banks (another story for another day that involved checks getting re-cashed and money stolen).

Anyway—through this intense darkness, there was this thin ray of light, almost invisible at first but getting slightly bigger week to week. As corny as it probably is, I literally visualized it as a light at the end of a tunnel, and I just moved towards it step by step, sometimes even less then that, sometimes tiny centimeter by centimeter. Sometimes I even moved backwards, but that light was always there. In the distance.

I cocooned myself, leaving the cruel city to stay with my mom in Texas for a few months. I was surrounded by family, but mostly I just liked being by myself. When I was with others I had to put on a mask and pretend like I was ok. Not that they all expected me to be ok, but I’m the type who doesn’t express her more intense emotions very well. And my family, though very supportive, are not of the “lovey-dovey, talk about feelings” variety.

Still, this break was good for me—the demons seemed farther behind me than before, and at last I felt that I had come to the end of the tunnel, ready to step out into the sun. I decided it was time to come back to New York.

I was returning to a better situation, many friends who were eager to see me, and a new apartment far enough from my old place that I’d never have to return to that area—never have to walk down those streets littered with bad memories ever again.

But I can’t say it’s been easy.

After the whirlwind of moving, my mom flew back to Fort Worth and again I was on my own, for the first time since the night I had been attacked. Every day is a struggle and the Post Traumatic Stress has reared its ugly head more intensely than before. I get scared and startled easily—something I’d never experienced before—and my anxiety is off the charts. I have intrusive thoughts, visual flashbacks, every day.

But the nightmares have stopped. And I do feel like I stepped out into the daylight. That darkness is still right behind me, just over my shoulder, and sometimes (more often than I’d like) it reaches out a slippery tendril and coils its way around me.

Regardless…it is behind me. And every breath I take, every waking moment, propels me away from it and into that light.

Since this trauma happened, I’ve been determined to make something of it, to turn it around, to find a way to channel it and maybe—possibly—help others who have experienced something similar.

For a long time I wasn’t ready. I still may not be; I don’t really know. But I’m a big believer of “Fake it till you make it.” So for now, I’m going to keep pretending I’m Fine, and wait for the day I finally am.

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Confucianism, Parenting and Abuse

I am not familiar with the term “child abuse”. When I think about my childhood, my parents did spank me, yell at me, criticized my actions, and other behaviors that hurt me. Do these actions count as abuse? Maybe.

Confucius

Confucianism had been the moral standard in China for more than two thousands years. Although contemporary Chinese people no longer emphasize and treat Confucius ethics and philosophy as the only standard, his teaching and ideologies have been rooted deeply in Chinese society. Confucianism highly values the importance of filial piety, and believes obedience is the way to show filial piety to parents. In terms of family hierarchy and roles, parents are in more superior positions than their children. Based on such family construction, parents and children are not very close to each other. On one hand, children love and rely on their parents, and on the other hand, since parents are more superior, children must respect and obey them. Disobedience was traditionally viewed unethical and un-filial.

Filial Piety

I barely remembered why my parents beat me, yelled at me or criticized me, but I just remembered they did. When I talked to my friends about childhood abuse, we shared about the same experience. We remembered the tools that parents used to beat us, but we all forgot the reason why the conflicts started. And usually, the fights between my parent and I ended up with either seeking for help from my grandparents, and the other parent if my father and my mother were not at the same battle line, or I apologizing for whatever I did, though I did not admit in my heart. December 29th, 2007, it was my 17th birthday. I went back to my hometown and planned to celebrate with relatives and friends (I was in Christmas holiday, but my cousin wasn’t). My cousin came back from school during lunchtime, and my grandparents insisted him to take a nap, but my cousin wanted to play computer games with me. My grandparents were angry with him. To resolve the problem, my father slapped my face, blamed me for distracting my cousin’s nap and disobeying my grandparents. I felt humiliated and ran away from home for couple hours. In the end, my mother and aunt pacified me on the phone and asked me to come back to the party to protect everyone’s face, and my father never apologized to me. That was the worst birthday I’ve ever had. I wasn’t in the mood for party at all. Every time I think about this moment, I still felt angry with my father and hurtful. My father owed me an apology, but I cannot ask it back.

When I was little, every time my parents criticized me or beat me, I thought it might be my fault. When I grew up, I realized that my parents were not always right; it was just they were afraid to lose face in front of me. Most of conflicts between my parents and I ended up in silence, and we both chose to not mention them. This is usually how Chinese parenting looks like. Confucianism filial piety rooted in the culture so deeply, so individuals hardly change. I believe my parents were raised in the same way, or even worse. Right now, I do communicate with my parents often and we sometimes talked about my childhood, starting to understand each other. However, from my observation, my parents barely communicated with their parents. I think that’s how society evolves from generation to generation. Individual’s abilities are limited, but through education and acquiring more new information, deeply rooted ideologies can change.

Most of my friends and I are the first generation of one-child since the One Child Policy has been implemented in early 80s. We attracted the full attention from family. As the only child of my family, I know my parents love me and I was born in the right family. However, their behaviors in my childhood were still considered abusive. I shared the story of Look At Us Now, Mother! with my friends, the story ensembles ours. As Sigmund Freud says, “unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” All conflicts must be resolved, otherwise accumulating the unpleasant emotions inside will lead to explosion in the future. I like the way that Gayle Kirschenbaum chooses in the movie to remember and examine the past, and then forgives her mother. However, for me, the situation is different and more complicated. It is the culture. I experienced my parents’ love and criticism at the same time. Therefore, I choose to forget and forgive. Comparing to the love that they gave me, the abuse and harm are negligible. I don’t attempt to change the culture, but one day if I were parent, I would not treat my children in the same way as my parents did.

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Watch What You Say

This morning, as I was looking through my Facebook newsfeed, I stumbled upon a Huffington Post article titled The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up.’  I was more intrigued by the title of the article than anything else, so I clicked it and began reading.  This article was not what I was expecting, and it fits in perfectly with what LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER! is trying to shine a light on: parental abuse towards children.

This mother, in short, talks about how she likes to stick to a schedule and be timely.  Her young daughter, however, is not like that at all.  She likes to take her time, and never seems to be in a rush.  Time was never of the essence for this little girl, who was trying to enjoy the simplicity of what we like to call life.

So the beginning of the article is going through how the mother was living her life vs. how the daughter was.  She then brings up the day that she stopped saying “hurry up.”  She was picking her daughters up from school, and all of a sudden, she saw a reflection of herself in her older daughter…and realized that she had been bullying the younger daughter into rushing through life so that she could keep to her schedules.  In the article, this was a powerful moment to read.  After the incident, the mother ultimately realized that this was no way to raise her daughters, and changed her outlook on life.  Readers, I highly encourage that you read the article.

So, what’s the lesson behind all of this?  Watch what you say to your kids and how you say it.  Even though you think your approach is the logical one, you won’t know how your child is reacting to it, unless it’s evident.  Luckily for this mother, she was able to see a reflection of herself in her older daughter and was able to fix the solution.  Kids are impressionable, and rely on their parents to be their role models.  Parents, set good examples for your kids, and treat them the way that you would like to be treated in return.

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Learn, Forgive, and Let Go

Learn, forgive, and let go… such short words, yet so powerful at the same time.  While working for Gayle and promoting LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!, I’ve been able to learn the true strength behind these words.  Everyone has overcome certain obstacles in life, and these words hold true to helping someone move forward in their lives.

For example, Gayle’s relationship with her mother, which Gayle has highlighted in LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!, did not start off on the right foot at first.  When Gayle was younger, her mother treated her poorly, along with her siblings.  Over the years, Gayle and her mother Mildred have worked hard to rekindle the failed relationship.  Although they are still working out issues, they’re best friends.  Learn, forgive, and now let go. In my opinion, this is exactly what Gayle and her mother went through.

While working for Gayle and managing her social media platforms, I’ve done my fair share of research about various topics, which Gayle covers in her new documentary.  I previously wrote a blog about sibling bullying and different types of relationships.  Tying everything together now, I realize that when we are kids, emotional traumas will always be something that we will hold close to us.  If we don’t heal properly, we will have a burden on our shoulders for the rest of our lives.  It’s best to cope with whatever pain we have as soon as we are ready, that way we can understand what happened and know what to do to make it better. Although series of unfortunate events will still occurred in life, we can view them as a learning experience and let them travel further into the past.  This is what Gayle and her mother did through therapy and healing, and their relationship is now stronger than ever.

Back to learn, forgive, and let go.  Situations, incidences, etc. will happen to us throughout life, it’s not meant to be simple.  The best thing to do is cope with what life throws our way, find inner peace with yourself, find it in your heart to forgive, and let go of the poison that caused the incident in the first place.  Imagine if we hung onto every little or big bad thing that has happened to us…where would we be and what would happen?  Learn from events, forgive whoever inflicted the pain, and let go.  Simply move on.  It will be hard at first, that’s expected.  Life isn’t easy, and we must accept that.  Everything, in the end, will be alright and you’ll feel like this guy, below.

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Yelling!

yelling2When your children do something wrong, what do you do? You yell at them, right? Then they know they did wrong and won’t do it again. Well some researchers say that yelling can be a form of emotional abuse. Children may even suffer from depression or a decrease in self-esteem when parents frequently raise their voices or mix yelling with criticism, insult, ridicule, or humiliation.

A parent educator from New Hampshire, Bonnie Harris, said that it is not good to yell if blaming is involved, however, parents have every right to vent and let go of emotions.

A study found that emotional abuse is the most significant indicator of mental illness, more so than sexual and physical abuse.

Dr. Murray A. Straus, director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, said that yelling can set a bad example for children and how they handle social situations later on. On the other hand, Dr. Bennett Leventhal, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Chicago, said that children have to understand that parents and people in general are not perfect and sometimes lose it and it’s better that they learn that at home than from someone else.

Dr. Myrna B. Shure, professor of psychology at Drexel University, said that children can become immune to screaming and tune it out and it no longer becomes effective.

In a study of 991 families, 88 percent have reported screaming at their children in the previous year.

There seems to be gray area of whether or not yelling can be labeled as abuse since screaming can take many forms such as ridicule, humiliation, or blaming. However, now it may make you wonder whether or not yelling is effective or healthy.

Reference

Morris, Bonnie R. “Scream at Your Own Risk (and Your Children’s).” The New York Times. N.p., 9 Nov. 2004. Web. 1 July 2013. <www.nytimes.com/2004/11/09/health/09yell.html?_r=1&>.

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Happiness

Happiness is something everyone desires to achieve, but many have trouble finding it. People can go on for years trying to be happy, believing that they were maybe not meant to be happy or that people in their lives or certain misfortunes prevent them from being happy.  However, according to an article in the Huffington Post, “Happiness Tips: 13 Experts Weigh In On The Pursuit Of Joy,” you don’t have to look too far to find it. There is no specific key to happiness, but there are a few attitudes and mindsets we can have that will lead us there.  Several experts contributed their ideas, secrets, and beliefs to obtaining this desire.

Many of these experts believe that acceptance, forgiveness, and trusting in yourself and others are a large part of reaching happiness.

‘”Trust yourself. If you don’t learn to trust yourself, you will never be happy. You’ll always be deferring your authority to someone or something outside of you.” -Paul Selig, author of I Am the Word: A Guide to the Consciousness of Man’s Self in a Transitioning Time’

Basically, happiness starts internally. You can’t let certain outside situations or people affect how you want to feel. This can tie into another idea that several of these experts believe: happiness is our choice.

‘”My one piece of advice to anyone who is on the pursuit of happiness is to know that you have a choice -we can always choose to be happy. No, I am not talking about some saccharine, superficial ignoring of what is hurting attitude. In every situation we can decide how we regard the circumstances and our perspective then determines how we move forward or not.” – Marilyn Tam, author of The Happiness Choice: The Five Decisions That Will Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be’

Happiness is not about merely ignoring negative situations or people that are hurting us; it’s about not allowing them to hurt you in the first place. How you react to certain situations is completely up to you, and as Marilyn Tam stated, these reactions can help us move forward.

‘”Count your blessings … pray every day … honor God by taking care of your body and mind … remove all negative people from your life … learn to forgive yourself and others … watch as many sun rises and sunsets as you can.” -Richard Simmons, American fitness personality and motivator’

I think that we should take a minute every day and think about how fortunate and blessed we are. There are so many people in this world that are suffering, and we complain when our cellphone breaks or our internet goes out for a day, or our favorite television show gets cancelled. Think about how some people lose their homes in natural disasters, some don’t even have homes or these luxuries that we have to begin with.

We can also prevent these negative situations from happening by removing the negative people, taking care of ourselves physically, and taking a breath to enjoy the smaller and beautiful things around us. We should not dwell on the bad, but we shouldn’t simply ignore it. We should remove it entirely. If we used the energy we used focusing on the bad things, to trusting ourselves, forgiving others, choosing to react to things in a more positive and powerful way, making others happy, and appreciating what we have, we will realize how much happier we can be.

 

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/happiness-tips-pursuit-of-happiness_n_2759073.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living#slide=2158008

 

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Forgiveness Is More Than Saying Sorry

A major theme that Gayle focuses on in her seminars and her upcoming feature length documentary, Look At Us Now, Mother, is forgiveness.

Being able to forgive is an extremely important skill to have and a great message to promote.  Why you ask?  Well, did you know, holding a grudge can cause an enormous amount of physical stress on the body.  That’s right, not only can it cause mental symptoms such as anxiety and depression, but symptoms can manifest themselves physically as a serious detriment to your overall health as well.  Being able to let go of those negative emotions and forgiving is one of the healthiest things a person can do after being wronged.  For more information, check out The Healing Power of Forgiveness

There are a ton of theories on how to forgive, but according to Br. Ryan Howes article Four Elements of Forgiveness, there are four commonalities in the multiple theories of Forgiveness that make up his four elements and must occur in order for someone to fully forgive.

At some point, the person must express their emotions.  Releasing the negativity and venting that hurt are extremely important and that person must deal with those emotions in a constructive way.  The person must also find some way to come to and understanding of why they were wronged, not agree with the reason, just understand its existence.  It is also important for said person to come up with a reasonable way to ensure themselves that they wont be wronged again.  This could include creating distance or building up a stronger defense.  Once all three are achieved, only then can the person truly complete their final step and let go.

Many people say that they have forgiven someone, but more often than not, it is just denial of the full situation.  Saying sorry is sometimes not enough, if the person is still angered at times by the incident (or incidents) or silently holding their grudge or experiencing any sort of stress from it, they haven’t fully let go and therefore have not fully forgiven.  This also means they are still suffering!

When someone wrongs us, it hurts, absolutely, but there is no reason to let yourself hurt longer.  You can regain control by forgiving and you can end your own suffering.  That’s why it is important to spread this message; learn to forgive fully and let go.  And that is what you will see in Gayle’s work and her upcoming film.

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Thanksgiving: A Time to Focus on the Positive

With Thanksgiving only 2 days away, I felt it was only appropriate to do a post about focusing on the positive, and being thankful for the good in your life.

Positive thinking has an insanely large amount of health benefits.  Studies show not only the positive short-term effects (such as lower stress levels and higher resistance to the common cold), but long-term effects as well.  Positive thinkers and optimists have lower rates of depression, less risk of cardio-vascular disease and even reduced frailty during old age! (For more information on Positive Thinking, check out Kendra Cherry’s articles on about.com)

With all of these benefits considered, I think its fair to ask everyone to drop their worries & their troubles and focus on positives, at least for this weekend.  After all it’s Thanksgiving and that is what this holiday is all about!  As amazing as turkey & stuffing & mashed potatoes & pumpkin pie & … (oh boy, now I’m getting hungry… you get the point) all are, there is something more to this holiday.  Its about taking the time to appreciate what you do have, and looking at your glass half full.  The more you do that, the more your glass will fill up.

When I was younger, my mother (a teacher) always made all of the kids at our table for Thanksgiving dinner go around and say what we were thankful for.  I’m not saying you have to be as open and elementary school as that, but for me it definitely formed a habit of taking a moment to reflect on the things in my life that made me happy.  That is what I am asking you to do.  Take a moment and focus on the positives; what is going your way right now, who makes you happy, even look for the good in your loved ones who get on your nerves.  Find the good and focus on it.  If you do, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have an amazing holiday.

Thanksgiving is also the perfect time to strengthen your relationships.  In an article by Dr. Susan Heitler on psychologytoday.com, she provides 10 ways to strengthen the bonds between you and your family/friends.  The perfect time to implement these strategies is this weekend!  Dr. Heitler mentions expressing appreciation, cooking together, eating together, laughing together, and many other simple activities that all occur (or can occur if you let them) on Thanksgiving.  Even cleaning up together would do the trick!

So from all of us at Kirschenbaum Productions, we wish you a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!!  And we hope you take the time to reflect positively on your life and appreciate all the good in it.  I know I am thankful for growing up in a big loving family whom I can still surround myself with whenever I’m feeling down & for good friends who have stuck with me through some of the most difficult times and some of the best.  What are you thankful for?

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How Much Can A Running Routine Really Do?

While experienced runners from all around the country are preparing for the upcoming New York City marathon, **SPOILER ALERT**: the staff here at Kirschenbaum Productions took it upon themselves to get in shape for all the work we have going on, and documented it for our upcoming behind-the-scenes video!

Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself, Why are they making a workout video? Don’t they just do office work? It must be a joke and well, you’re right.  We may not be running a marathon, or even a 5k any time soon, but the question I have for you is this: Can running regularly still help your performance in an office?

This topic is personal to me for a variety of reasons, but I’ll try to stick to only the relevant ones.  Over the past year and a half, I have been pushing myself to run as often as I can, and surprisingly to myself most of all, I have been pretty successful.  Believe it or not I’ve suffered from my own assortment of self-image and self-confidence issues so getting in shape had been on my to do list for quite some time, specifically going beyond lifting some weights at the gym every so often.

After moving back home from college, I decided it was time to finally start running.  I wanted to do this for myself. I wanted to take control of something during a time where everything else was changing all around me.  So long story short, I would say I’ve been pretty successful.  I’ve had my on and off periods but overall, I have watched myself get into better shape, and run longer, faster, and harder as I go on.  Most importantly, I feel healthier.  I FEEL BETTER about myself from running.  I’m not a marathon runner, I can still barely complete a 5k, but I can run a few days a week, and I feel great about it when I do.

So if you’re still with me, you’re probably wondering how this ties into my question.  Well, I’ve lost count of the days where I’ve been stressed or upset or in some form of a terrible mood, then gone for a run and turned my whole day around.  Running is actually an amazing medication for improving mental health.  You can clear your head, release the stress of your day, and uplift whatever negative mentality had been nagging at you. Runners can experience something called the runners high.  While running, the body releases endorphins, a natural chemical that enhances your mood.  When going at optimal speed and power, you can get a physical sensation of happiness that carries over after the run!

According to an article on imnotfittorun.com, running can be a great natural way to lift your spirits and release negative energy associated with feelings of sadness should you suffer from depression or stress.  In Jesslyn Cummings article, The Mental Benefits of Jogging on running.about.com, she mentions how long distance runs can be great for clearing your head, should you have a problem that has been nagging at you, whereas short, speed runs are great for tearing through aggression or anger.  Running can also help with fatigue!  When the body releases endorphins, adrenaline and other natural chemicals, it increases energy! (For more information you should of course check out the actual articles linked above).

At Kirschenbaum Productions, we are all about promoting positive mental health.  Look At Us Now Mother! is meant to inspire people to overcome emotional abuse and take steps in the right direction to improving their mental health.  Do something that is positive and healthy for you.  Go for a run!  And hey, wouldn’t someone who runs regularly and has a positive attitude and higher energy levels perform better around the office?

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Not Just For Women

Now don’t get me wrong, I love working at Kirschenbaum Productions, it’s just with Look At Us Now, Mother! underway, there is a LOT of focus on the Mother/Daughter relationship in our work.  This relationship is of course deep, intricate, complex, interesting, and lets be honest, feminine.  As one of Gayle’s male interns, its clearly hard for me to relate to the Mother/Daughter Complex at times; which is why I found coming across Graham Stoney’s work so refreshing.

Graham Stoney is an author, blogger, and confidence coach. His website entitled The Confident Man Project serves as an online community for men to talk about their self confidence issues and to learn by example from other men what it really takes to be a man.  His articles cover a variety of topics and can help many different types of people, but the primary target here are under-confident men.  His website is a great resource if you are looking for a confidence boost.

While going through his story, the reader learns about Graham growing up with a controlling mother.  She was emotionally stoic and her negativity affected his whole family.  In his article, How to Recover from a Controlling Mother, Graham goes into detail about his relationship with his mother, the negative effects it had on him and how he overcame them.  He provides many steps to take on the path of recover for his readers including: ‘Expressing Your Feelings,’ ‘Take Some Time Out,’ and ‘Forgive Your Mother.’

These steps are very similar to Gayle’s 7 Healing Tools that she uses in her seminar.  I’ve had the pleasure recently of spending a lot of time working with Gayle on her seminars.  Gayle uses her story about growing up with her mother and overcoming their difficult relationship to inspire others to take control of the difficult relationships in their lives.  She teaches about creating distance, sharing, and forgiving among other tools to recovery.

It has been interesting for me to learn about how anyone can still be affected by a critical mother.  Gender doesn’t come into play.  Maybe the Mother/Daughter Complex specifically is feminine, but the message of overcoming the difficult relationship within it is universal.  No matter what you situation is, no matter which relationship in your life is troubling you, you can overcome it.

And did I mention Gayle has a seminar coming up? Check it out!

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