Friday, November 30, 2012

Recovering ME, and Recovering US

It's a story all too common.  She's at the end of her long-suffering patience, and has fled to freedom in the home of a safe friend or family member.  She's been a good troop for too long.  "Whatever you want, honey" she's said so many times that she no longer knows what she wants.

"I've lost me, and I've got to have some space to find myself.  For way too long I've given in to keep the peace, but I can't go another day like this."

Lost ones present for counseling because their mind has taken over the body to produce symptoms that can't be ignored.  Panic disorder is common.  The symptoms resemble those of a heart attack; tightness and heaviness in the chest, shortness of breath, tingling or numbness in fingers and arms and an impending sense of doom, that something bad is going to happen.

The really tough ones, and most of them are, buck it up for a long time . . . so long that by the time we see them they're in pretty bad shape and we're astounded how they've survived with such painful symptoms.  "I thought there was something wrong with me that I was feeling this way."  No, Mam.  It's normal to feel like you do when you are absorbed into the life of another for their good but not yours.  Your symptoms is your mind's way of telling you that the dynamic of your relationship is unhealthy, and its high time to do something about it.  You probably aren't going to be able to tough your way out of this one.  It's going to require real change in you, and in him for the symptoms to subside."

And so we embark on a journey on which she will rediscover herself; her honest thoughts, feelings and desires.  And she will begin to say No as often as she said yes in the past, setting healthy boundaries regarding where he stops and where she begins.

There is so much more that could be said, but let's end with a short answer.  LOVE.

I Corinthians 13 makes clear that healthy love, the highest form of love is sacrificial in the best interest of another.  Whereas self-love doesn't consider or honor the needs of others.

How's the balance of selfless love in your relationship?  Is it all about him (or her)?  Or is there sharing and reciprocity?

Biblical marriage is about sacrificial love and sharing, not domination and submission as has too oft been misquoted and misappropriated.  If that's your story, or someone you care about, get them some good counsel that tells the truth to men and women alike; that its about both of them and not just one of them.



*Jeff Williams is a Supervising Professional Clinical Counselor who also coaches and trains marriages with his wife Jill.  Grace & Truth Counseling and Coaching

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tears That Heal

"I'm not going to cry today" said my tough minded client.  "Okay" I replied as I watched them toss the Kleenex box to the other side of the couch.  "I'm tired of crying."   A few minutes later they reached for the box.  "Guess I'm not done being sad . . . ".  "It's okay.  In fact, I'm encouraged that you are able to grieve and that you are letting yourself.  To a therapist tears are healthy.  See the tears in my eyes?  I feel compassion for what you're going through, and its good that you are letting yourself feel the magnitude of the loss and change in your life.  Keep the tears in and you've got a pretty good recipe for depression and anger.  Let them out . . . even though you're tired  of how it feels and you'll get through this time to a 'new normal'.

It's hard to think of a case that turned out well without some tears.  Whether it was grief about tragic death, remorse for infidelity, harsh and unkind treatment of a spouse, anger and sadness at self for wasted time and opportunities due to selfish pursuits or the damage done by addictions . . . clients need to cry.

I know that folks we serve are cooperating with the process when they look for the Kleenex box and put it beside them at the beginning of a session, "Just in case" they say.  They we often cry together.

At Grace & Truth we regularly see God turn mourning into dancing, but not before tears have soaked the dance floor.  Healing and growth isn't necessarily comfortable or easy, but its worth it.

Are you holding back tears? Tired of crying?  Who are you comfortable to cry with?

Joy comes in the morning because joy is restored through mourning.



*Jeff Williams is a Supervising Professional Clinical Counselor, Founder and Director of Grace & Truth Counseling which provided clinical counseling and life, leadership and relationship coaching globally,