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‘Recovery’ Is Understanding Your Issues Then Working Hard on Them
Written By: Mark Smith

Healing Toxic Shame Through Recovery
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Managing Abandonment  Issues Through Recovery
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Recovery’ is at the very heart and soul of the work that I do. In fact, if I had to boil my work down to one single word it would definitely be the word ‘Recovery’. Recovery is knowing the cold hard truth about ourselves and whatever issues that we might have and then committing your self whole heartedly to work an effective program for relieving, reducing and resolving that condition

Very few people are truly healthy emotionally. We have had a sexually addicted president, a bulimic princess, and a whole host of successful people brought up with either an alcoholic father or a father who abandoned them altogether. How many truly great marriages lasting 10 years plus are you personally aware of? In this article I will try to offer you a mental health check-up of sorts. It is not for the squeamish of heart. Do not read on if you aren’t open to some psychological surgery.

What was your childhood like? What was the most painful thing that touched you in your family as you were growing up? Think about it – what memories are coming up for you? What was the unvarnished truth about your father and your mother as you were growing up? It is a very rare person indeed who was not hurt in significant ways during childhood. Many people were hurt, but they don’t allow themselves to really know about it. They cling to a somewhat childish blind loyalty to their parents. They don’t want to know the truth – the myths are much less painful. It hurts too much really examine painful childhood experiences. Many times folks who are in denial about their childhood experiences were in fact hurt more than they know in indirect and at times subtle ways by parents who were controlling, overly close, critical, uncommunicative, self centered or just not present emotionally. Childhood issues are far from being over or irrelevant. They will come up and haunt your life. They affect us every day of our lives. The down side of our defenses is that strong defense mechanisms also blind us to who we really are. They cause us to try to function in the world from behind thick psychological walls by either being rigid, controlling, oblivious, overly confident, and overly independent or by being passive, insecure, too other centered, too dependent, and too willing to compromise ourselves or an unhealthy combination of the two. For many people, a time comes somewhere between the ages of 30 and 50 where they get so worn down by the consequences of their issues (especially on the battlefield of relationships) that they do a Google search for a therapist they give therapy a whirl. The purpose of this article is to nudge you towards therapy-land a few years earlier than you might have started.

Having addictive or compulsive behavior is much more common than the common cold. What do you do to not feel your pain? What are your favorite self nurturing, addictive or compulsive behaviors – alcohol, pornography, gambling, rage, work, food, TV, relationships? What does your spouse say about you? They might know you better than you know yourself. Are there patterns that continue to occur in your relationships? Are you overly sensitive or do you feel abandoned when people back up from you? Are you overly critical? Are you able to apologize quickly, openly and sincerely? Or are you overly sensitive to criticism? Do you carry anxiety around with you? Do you have trouble sleeping? How good do you feel about yourself?

What is the truth about you? Do you know? You are far from crazy if you have many of the issues that I have discussed. You are quite normal in fact. If you say that you don’t have any of the before mentioned issues you have never been married. Marriage is the great unmasker of our unsightly issues. Without awareness of our issues and some progress in resolving them, relationships, careers and lives can get damaged severely.

Recovery begins with a wake up call, the proverbial brick wall that is run into, or a psychological two by four to applied to a deserving head. Something that hurts has to pierce the psychological armor. For most people it is a painfully distant or highly conflictual marriage. Insight is next. Insight is coming to know the truth about ourselves. It is not just a clean look into our faults, but also a shame reducing impactful understanding of exactly why we have the issues that we have.

Recovery is a powerful and a fulfilling journey – an adventure in the truest sense of the word. It means getting to know yourself deeper than you ever have before. It means flushing a lot of old psychological sludge out of your system for good. It will change you so that you will be vulnerable and intimate in relationships. It will give you the tools to engage in healthy conflict. It will resolve many of your issues with depression and anxiety. It won’t make you any where near perfectly healthy but it WILL make your life and your relationship significantly better.

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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