The Value of Patience and Self-Empathy in Therapy

Many of those who start therapy know or soon realize that it’s a long, slow, and difficult process. Even knowing that, people still sometimes feel frustrated. This is understandable: we all want for our problems to end as soon as possible, especially if those problems are so heavy, blurry, draining, and have been present for decades.
Therapeutic Expectations and Challenges A unique thing about therapy is that there is no clear end point. To a degree, self-work involves healing from trauma, growing, and maintaining your mental health, and your well-being in general. And this, naturally, last all our lives. Self-work is an ongoing process.

However, therapy can—and need to—have goals. In my work with clients, in the first session I ask what their expectations are and how they will know that we have made progress, so that the person would have some sort of point of reference, even if it’s very broad.

It is interesting to note that a person’s expectations sometimes are a part of the probl…

Deciphering a Comment That Justifies Child Abuse and Dehumanization

Recently on the Self-Archeology Facebook page, I posted a flowchart explaining why physical punishment is not a good method for childrearing. You can find it HERE. To summarize, if the child is old enough to understand reason, use reason; if they are not, they won't understand why you're initiating violence against them. Conclusion: don't initiate violence against children. It seems simple, right?

And although most reactions to posts like this are positive, there are always people who get upset and start justifying child abuse. Of course, they don't see nor present it as child abuse, but it doesn't change the fact that it is. So let's look at it...
Comment [I hid it on the page because justifying abuse is despicable and not allowed, and I'll keep the author's name anonymous]:  Idiotic. Abuse is intolerable but a short sharp shock stays in a child's memory and it will learn to stay safe and learn to be a member of acceptable society. An action with …

Healing Trauma: To Forget or to Remember?

The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, and conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday our body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child, who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth. — Alice MillerThere are two main approaches to healing psychological and emotional trauma.
Forgetting The first approach to trauma is forgetting it. Fundamentally, this means denying and ignoring the cause of your inner pain and the root of your fundamental problems. This is something that is frequently advocated by most people, including many professional helpers like psychotherapists, coaches, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and so on.

Since trauma and its consequences are complex and complicated, most people don’t…

After Childhood: From False Beliefs to Wholeness

Many people who have been actively or passively hurt as children often ponder the perpetrator’s motives and reasons behind it.

“Why did you hit me when I was so helpless and vulnerable?”

“Why didn’t you want to spend more time with me?”

“Why didn’t you treat me like a person?”

“Why did you demean and belittle me instead of encouraging and helping me?”

“Why did you yell at me so much?”

“Why didn’t you care that I was hurt?”

“Why did you leave me alone with my troubles when I felt so overwhelmed and lonely?”

“Why weren’t you a decent role model for me?”

“Why did you disregard my feelings, wants, and preferences?”

“Why didn’t you care more?”

“Why didn’t you love me?”

Children look for explanations of these things in order to make sense of it. Since putting responsibility on one’s caregivers is usually not allowed, the child internalizes it. Moreover, children are often explicitly blamed for being abused. And so “the explanation” involves self-blame, and results in a shattered self-este…

Passive Parental Abuse and Its Effects: Two Examples

People who strive to live a more fulfilling life eventually realize that in order for them to get better, they need to connect what went wrong in the past with why they have the problems that they have.

For most people, it’s not that difficult to eventually identify physical or sexual abuse as abuse, yet when it comes to more covert forms of trauma, they may feel confused and either stay in denial or make justifications for the people who hurt them—which eventually paralyzes them in self-blame, self-doubt, confusion, and other unrealistic and unproductive mental states and irrational behaviors.

Here are two common, hypothetical examples.

Example #1

“I would say my father was really bad and my mother was the good one. My father routinely beat me, and I feel really angry at him because of it.

My mother wasn’t violent, though. She was constantly anxious about everything. I remember as a child sitting in my room alone for hours and feeling pity for her. I felt worried about her and arou…

On Feeling Disconnected and Lost after Entering Adulthood

Over the years, I have encountered, observed, and professionally worked with many people who come from difficult childhood environments. One common feature that these people, and the vast majority of people, have after becoming adults is feeling empty, lacking, and lost.

Many of us enter adulthood hurt, deprived, misled, lonely, anxious, tired, angry, numb, bored, or terrified. When a person grows up, leaves their childhood home, and “becomes an adult,” it is common for them to feel totally lost and disconnected. They don’t know who they are, what they like, how they feel, where to go, and what to do about it.

Now why do so many people feel this way?

If, as a child, it is forbidden to be yourself, and if your true self is met with violence, rejection, scorn, or invalidation, then you learn to hide it. This is necessary to your survival in an otherwise problematic or dangerous environment. And so you repress your feelings, you hide your thoughts, you abandon your interests, and yo…

Narcissism (Part 3): How Narcissists Act When Feeling Upset or Threatened

To understand this article better, it is highly recommended to read the previous two titled Narcissism: What It Is and Isn’tand Narcissism and Self-Esteem.

Narcissistic Phases and Tactics: Two Examples

1. Close relationships (romantic, familial, friendship, acquaintanceship)

If you are unwilling or unable to provide narcissistic supply anymore, the narcissistic individual will feel wronged because, for them, you only exist to give them what they want. And since they feel entitled to what they want, they believe that your refusal is an act of aggression against them. Often this formula disregards reality, but to them, it is real. To deal with this and all the emotions that come with it, then, the narcissistic person will behave a certain way.

The mechanism narcissists use is sometimes described as the Drama Triangle, which consists of three roles: the Victim, the Persecutor, and the Rescuer. Now, there are two versions of the triangle: the objective one and the narcissist’s perception o…