narcissism label

Narcissism: Why Labeling People Is a Dangerous Thing – Part 3

Society is fond of labeling people. Ists and phobes abound. Driven largely by the media, these labels relegate individuals and groups of people to the realm of unimportance. If, for example, you’ve been assigned the narcissism label, you are usually perceived as having no redeeming qualities. You’re someone others should avoid at all costs. Your opinion matters very little. You are perceived as dangerous.

Dr. Linda Miles, a marriage and family therapist and psychotherapist for 30+ years, discusses the problems associated with labeling people with terms like narcissist, gas-lighter, verbal abuser, and other stereotypes. We all have our lights and shadows. Are all the people who have been labeled “narcissists” really narcissists?

Learn more about Dr. Linda Miles and contact her for interviews through her web site www.DrLindaMiles.com. Be sure to check out her book “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

Featured Image Copyright: PathDoc / BigStockPhoto.com

healthy narcissism

Narcissism: Healthy Narcissism Vs Narcissistic Disorder – Part 2

“I was married to a narcissist,” a woman says of her ex. “The President is a narcissist,” the pundit proclaims. What is a narcissist and why do we hear that term tossed around so loosely today when it is technically a psychiatric diagnosis?

First, let’s look at where the term came from. Narcissus was a character in Greek mythology who was very beautiful and fell in love with his own reflection in a spring. He sat there, pining away until he died. The flower that sprung up where he sat was named after him – the narcissus.

Eventually, the term began to be used to describe someone who loved only themselves. Actually, it is a psychiatric diagnosis to describe a disorder. Yet, few people actually undergo a psychiatric evaluation before their ex-wife, daughter, neighbor or pundit proclaims them a narcissist.

Narcissist Label

In our society, narcissist has become a label thrown around quite loosely by the media and average folk who read something about it in a book. If the label is slapped on you, you are now the villain. You can do nothing right, and you are instantly marginalized by anyone who buys into assigning you that label.

Did you know that psychologists actually say (and have books written about the fact) that there is such a thing as healthy narcissism? These traits are actually needed if you want to have healthy self-esteem and the confidence necessary to do great things. For example, you need a healthy level of self-confidence to tackle big visions and big dreams. World changers, who impact the world for good, usually believe there is something special and unique about them that qualifies them for the work.

In this segment of my interview with Dr. Linda Miles (a multi-published author and psychotherapist for over 30 years) shares the difference between a narcissist disorder diagnosis and healthy narcissism.

Learn more about Dr. Linda Miles at her web site www.DrLindaMiles.com and check out her book “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

narcissist

Narcissism Vs. Narcissistic Traits – Part 1

We hear the term narcissist thrown around a lot these days. You hear your neighbor say her mother-in-law is a narcissistic. You hear your best friend say her ex-spouse is a narcissist. Perhaps you’ve heard your family member call his boss a narcissist. Rarely are any of these people given a professional diagnosis. It’s usually that someone read a book or an article online about narcissism and has deduced this person who is causing them problems is a narcissist.

I see this so much, that I decided to interview psychotherapist, Dr. Linda Miles about the difference between narcissism and narcissistic traits.  In this segment of our interview, Dr. Miles talks about the difference between a diagnosis of narcissism versus narcissistic traits. Are people being mis-labeled and “diagnosed” as narcissists by amateurs? Is there such a thing as healthy narcissism?

Learn more about Dr. Linda Miles at her web site www.DrLindaMiles.com and check out her book “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

 

Featured Image Copyright: iridi / BigStockPhoto.com

 

relationship advice time out

Marriage Advice: Time Out For Better Relationships

Marriage advice: This simple piece of advice could save your relationship

Sticks and Stones

I once did a talk in a bookstore and noted that the phrase “Sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us” was inaccurate—thoughtless and cruel words can cause lasting damage, leaving emotional scars that fester long after broken bones have been healed.

There was a songwriter in the audience named Sarah Malcom; she subsequently wrote a song entitled: “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Can Break My Soul.” Time outs are important in relationships because they give time to gather thought and make words PROACTIVE INSTEAD OF REACTIVE.

anger management, happy marriage, couples. marriage advice, marriage quotes strugglingHolding On To Anger Is Like Drinking Poison and Expecting the Other Person to Die

Instead of holding on to this negativity, you can consciously choose to behave differently. Let’s visualize it together. Picture yourself in that heated moment when you are flooded with anger, resentment, and judgement. What if you were able to feel and acknowledge those emotions without reacting destructively toward yourself or your partner? Remember that you don’t need to be physically or even verbally abusive to be violent.

Even thoughts can be destructive, especially because they are inadvertently reflected in our attitudes and behaviors. For instance, you will become withdrawn and critical during an argument when you’re thinking toxic thoughts. The other person’s negativity feeds off yours, and vice versa, and before you know it you’ve probably both said or done regrettable things. You focus on what is WRONG with your partner and forget what is RIGHT.

Practice observing your brewing emotions and thoughts without getting caught up in them. Instead why not strike when the iron is cold? Let yourself cool down and cool off, and share your feelings and thoughts when you are ready and are capable of clarity and compassion.

You won’t regret it.

Time Outs

Research has shown that time-outs are important for couples. I have worked with several couple who have a code word or sentence. For example, you can say, “We know where this kind of talk ends.” Take a break, take a walk, visit a neighbor. Make agreements that you will return to the subject when cooler heads prevail.

Practice Inner Peace

 You never do anything to your partner that you are not doing to yourself. Let toxic feelings blow through you and then pass. Ride out your mental storm. It’s just a cascade of chemicals based on fear. These are waves that wash over you. Haven’t you noticed that it’s much easier to stay afloat when you relax your body rather than when you tense up and panic in the water?

  • Storms always pass. There is no need to panic or fear.
  • Ride out the storm. Feelings blow through me… feelings blow out of me…
  • Later I will analyze the storm. Now I need only observe it. Now I will hang on and pull through.

Later, you will have the clarity of mind to sit down and better analyze the storm, and to understand what caused it. You can also discover the lessons you learned by observing the storm: what feelings and resistance did you notice? What helped you pull through? How could you make this transition easier in the future?

Use the storm as an opportunity to gain new skills to temper your emotional upheavals. Above all, remember that storms are a part of life. You have the power to navigate your way through them. YOU can return to calm clear skies. 

 “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer.” camus

To learn more about mindfulness, read an excerpt of “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

Featured Image Copyright: Wavebreak Media Ltd / BigStockPhoto.com

loss and grief

Where Do You Put The Pain?

Dr. Linda Miles reviews the children’s book, Cry Heart, But Never Break and discusses what it teaches us about death, loss and grief.

  • Do you feel numbed or overwhelmed with pain?
  • Are you wondering how to deal with loss or grief?
  • Are you afraid of facing your pain or grief, for fear of being swallowed by your suffering?

An Empathetic Death

Much of the best self-help is found in great literature. As a former English teacher and psychotherapist
for over 30 years, I have collected stories. There are many stories, as quiet and as brilliant as
gemstones peeking from the ground, that deal with the momentous theme of mortality, the meaning of
life, and the meaning of death. Some of the most powerful and poignant of these are children’s
books. One such riveting tale was written by Danish author Glenn Ringtved. It is stirringly entitled: Cry,
Heart, But Never Break.

The story tells of Death’s house call to four small children who live with their grandmother, whom they
love very much and who is dying. In the story, Death is portrayed as a remarkably tender and
empathetic character, who leaves his scythe at the door so as not frighten the children, who
compassionately accepts their invitation for coffee because the children believe that this will delay and
deter him from his mission, and who seems genuinely heartbroken by the duty he must do.

To brace them for the reality of their grandmother’s impending departure, Death shares a story with the four
children, giving them hope by revealing a different way of seeing things. Death’s story is about two
brothers—named Sorrow and Grief—who lived in a dark valley and “never saw through the shadows on
the tops of the hills”… until they met and fell in love with two sisters, aptly named Joy and Delight.

Perfectly balanced, with the boys and girls completing each other, these two couples reenact the theme
of essential balance in the universe: day and night, health and sickness, sun and rain, life and death, and
so forth. This narrative is Death’s way of gently reminding the children that death itself—helps us
appreciate and enjoy life. When the children head upstairs and realize their Grandmother has died,
Death whispers: “Cry, heart, but never break. Let your tears of grief and sadness help begin new life.”

Apart from depicting the balance of life and death, Cry, Heart, But Never Break subtly illustrates the
power of human perception in dealing with and overcoming loss and grief. This can also be described by
the idea of sacred spaciousness.

Sacred Spaciousness

Sacred spaciousness means that you make room for the pain—as well as for the other emotions that will
similarly flood in once you open the floodgates of your heart. You do not deny the pain. You create
space within yourself for all emotions, and choose to include those which bring you joy and peace. You
drink in all the goodness of all the blessings: giving thanks for the humans who are alive, for the sun, for
the rain, for the traits of bravery and integrity and generosity that exist in the world.

You can sit with the pain, to let it wash over you before it ebbs away, coming and going as naturally as a wave.

Practice

Mindfulness is an awareness practice that trains the brain to notice feelings as they ebb and flow without judgement. You can practice sacred spaciousness by imagining that feelings of pain and loss can float in your mind while making room for blessings that surround you. This practice allows you to remain open to new life.

Cry heart, but never break.

To learn more about mindfulness, read an excerpt of “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

Change Your Story, Change Your Brain

Enter to Win a Copy of Change Your Story, Change Your Brain

Do you feel as if someone else is writing the story of your life? Learn to program your brain to live with purpose. Change Your Story: Change Your Brain is a guide to living more fully in the present moment. As you live with greater intention, you can literally change the structure of your brain.

“Even a few daily moments of mindfulness can retrain the nervous system to secrete wellness-promoting chemicals and revel in the positive aspects of our relationships. With practice, of course, the brain becomes even more efficient at accomplishing this.” Dr. Linda Miles,  Change Your Story: Change Your Brain

What people are saying about the book…

“Bravo! Dr. Linda Miles provides great insights and strategies to deal with loss and pain through the practice of mindfulness. Anyone who is struggling in life or dealing with a major life transition will benefit from her book. I am a doctor and certified divorce coach, this book will be one of my resources I use for my clients. The title ‘Change Your Story, Change Your Brain’ says it all and this book can help anyone recover and move on to a healthier happier life. Thank you Dr. Linda Miles!” – Dr. Amy Botwinick

Congrats to Our Random Winner of a copy of Change Your Story, Change Your Brain: Lena Mattice!

holiday stress

How Couples Can Support Each Other During the Holidays

Are you dreading family get-togethers this holiday season? Are you bracing yourself for holiday stress? Strained relationships or family dysfunction can suck the joy out of your holidays.

In this video segment, Dr Linda Miles talks about how couples can support each other during the hectic holidays. Family dynamics during the holidays can be taxing. Here are some ideas for how you can help each other through them.

Read an excerpt of “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

dysfunctional families

Coping with Dysfunctional Families During the Holidays

Do you have one of those dysfunctional families? Do holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas easily turn contentious when certain family members get together? Does this make you dread the holidays?

In this video, Dr. Linda Miles shares insights on how to cope with bad behavior from family  members during the holidays. The behaviors that are a problem are often automatic. If a family is dysfunctional, it’s easy to get swept up in these behaviors. If you feel like freezing or fighting in bad family situations during the holidays, here are a few things you can do.

Read an excerpt of “Change Your Story: Change Your Brain” on Amazon.

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

thanksgiving

Peace and Joy at Thanksgiving

Peace, joy, and gratitude – feelings we all wish for, but ones that can be hard to come by in our stressful world. When we’re bombarded with our own negative thoughts, it can make us feel as though we’re in a self-made prison of blame and judgments, making it feel impossible to relish the good in our lives.

During holidays with family (like Thanksgiving) old hurts and negative patterns can be triggered. A practice of mindful awareness can help to retain inner peace in the midst of old reminders. It is important to keep personal boundaries and retain inner light in the midst of triggers fro suffering.

Happiness has a biological basis, and research shows that we can take steps toward creating a positive and healthy mental space, despite the stresses of living in a demanding, technology-driven existence.

By actively exercising kindness and appreciation, we can promote the brain’s natural production of oxytocin and dopamine- two chemicals that help us feel pleasure and well-being, while decreasing the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol, which make us feel agitation and stress. By focusing on simple pleasures and practicing a mindfulness of the present moment, we can get out of our own heads and into the world around us, allowing for an increased awareness and connectivity to the blessings and positivism in our lives.

If you find yourself in a negative dance from the past, take time to regroup, take a walk, write or find other ways to take time out until you can feel centered again.After you calm down choose to celebrate the moment in constructive ways…help in a food kitchen, visit elderly relatives or old friends. Refuse to repeat the old family dramas that are hurtful to you.

It’s encouraging to know that learning mindfulness is possible. Ups and downs, joys and stresses, and hopes and expectations can all guide us to learn to take better care of ourselves and redefine the way we think about ourselves and others, which in turn changes our perception of the world around us. As neuroscientist Dr. Wayne Drevets attests, “In the brain, practice makes permanent.” If you would like to try some practices to foster your own peace of mind, here are some suggestions:

1. Focus on your breathing. When breathing in, think, “be.” When breathing out, think, “calm.” Breathe in and out slowly and purposefully.

2. Spend 30 seconds (or more) allowing your attention and senses to be fully in the present. Focus on simple, tactile pleasures; the scent of pine needles on a tree, a fabric’s texture against your fingers, or the taste and aroma of homemade bread.

3. Label your negative thoughts.  Categorize them as “judgment,” “fear,” or “reliving the past,” as they pass through your mind.  Then, redirect your attention back to the here and now.

4. Understand that you may have been programmed to engage in a negative way of thinking, and with this understanding, recognize that you have the choice to turn toward positivity instead. Many of us come to realize negativity has somehow become our “default” way of thinking, and we had been moving through life on autopilot.

Work on generating those positive chemicals: oxytocin and dopamine. Repeat in your mind:

  • May I be at peace
  • May I be healed
  • May I send out loving kindness to others
  • May you be at peace
  • May you be healed
  • May you be filled with loving kindness

5. Notice when you feel moments of joy, and focus on what brought you that joy.

6. Notice when you feel jealous or resentful and ask yourself why that happened. If a negative thought finds its way through, simply notice and acknowledge that thought, then return to the moment.

8.   Forgive yourself.  Say, “For the ways I was jealous or resentful, may I forgive myself.”

9.   Give appreciation to yourself.  Appreciate when you have offered kindness and love to others.

10. Notice the many blessing around you.  Consider writing down these blessings as the day ends.

11. Intend to look for joy, love, and miracles around you.  If you have trouble noticing such things, ask yourself why.

12. Set “mindfulness alerts” as reminders to stop during the day and experience the moment.

Dr. Linda MilesDr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.DrLindaMiles.com or followed on Twitter.

 

Copyright: Rawpixel.com / BigStockPhoto.com

rebounding

How to Tell If The Person You’re Dating Is Rebounding

Rebounding often has a negative connotation, but rebounding is not necessarily negative. Relationships may end making us better or bitter. Over three decades as a licensed and marriage and family therapist, I have watched many people end relationships and move on to make healthier choices. The definition of rebound refers to an object hitting a hard surface and bouncing back. There can be healthy rebounds.

How can you tell if someone is rebounding in an unhealthy way into a new relationship?

What Is Their Attitude Toward the Last Relationship?

Since the opposite of love is not hate but indifference, a rebounding partner who still maintains a significant degree of anger is probably not ready to begin anew. Such people will need some time and space to understand the part they played in the former destructive relational dance that should not be repeated. When there remains inordinate shame and blame it is unlikely that a person is ready to move on.

Are You Trying to Rescue Them?

Another red flag is when the potential new partner continues to feel a need to rescue the person from the former relationship. If stuck in roles as rescuer, victim or a persecutor in relation to former partner it is unlikely he/she is ready to begin with someone new.

I will give you a couple examples of healthy and unhealthy and rebounds:

Jerry was a 50-year-old who initially came in for marriage counseling with his wife. In the process they made a decision to divorce. He remained in therapy for another six months and examined the part that he had played in behaviors that led to divorce. He had been critical and at times contemptuous of her and she responded by being defensive and building an emotional wall. He was determined to change those patterns in future relationships and met and married someone else the next year. He has gone on to create an extraordinarily strong marriage.

On the other hand, an example of an unhealthy rebound was a 35-year-old woman with two children who caustically blamed her husband for all their problems. She remained unwilling to look at her choices and part that she played in the destructive patterns. She rebounded quickly into another marriage after her divorce. In the beginning things went well because she ranted about her ex-husband and her new husband saw himself as of white knight who came to the rescue. Within two years, she began to blame her new husband for their problems and demonized him in her mind. Despite his willingness to work on the marriage, she separated and rebounded quickly into yet another relationship.

Rebounding is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. It depends upon one’s attitude and whether the person becomes bitter or better.

About Dr. Linda Miles

Dr. Linda Miles has worked in the field of mental health for over thirty years as psychotherapist, consultant, educator and writer.

She has appeared on national television, radio and in magazines such as Woman’s World, Parents and Entrepreneur. She wrote the award-winning book The New Marriage, Transcending the Happily Ever After Myth with her husband, Dr. Robert Miles. Recently she has published:

Dr. Miles has also served the mental health community through public service, including on the National Advisory Board of Access Technologies Social Simentor Model for Intervention with Autism and the Florida Commission on Support Initiatives for Marriage and Family. She has received several professional awards for her service, such as the “Outstanding Educator in Business and Industry” award from Florida State University and the “Outstanding Contributions to Knowledge in the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy” award from the Tallahassee Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Dr. Miles has a continued passion for creating a better world through loving relationships. Visit her online at www.DrLindaMiles.com

Featured Image Copyright: luckybusiness / BigStockPhoto.com