8 Healthy Ways to Deal with Jealousy

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

0e435eee76029fa7bb620417d316ba0eJealousy isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s human nature. It’s natural to feel jealous from time to time.

Jealousy becomes problematic “when we act out in jealousy or we wallow in it,” said Christina Hibbert, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Flagstaff, Ariz.

It becomes problematic when it starts to consume you and “creeps into every aspect of your life,” said Kathy Morelli, LPC, a psychotherapist with a marriage and family counseling practice in Wayne, N.J. And you find yourself feeling bitter and angry often, she said.

One of the most common types of jealousy is romantic jealousy, she said. We also tend to feel jealous about others’ successes, strengths, lifestyles and relationships, Hibbert said.

For instance, we might believe someone’s life is much easier or more comfortable than ours. “We see only the good in their life and only the ‘bad’ in ours.” Or we might believe our best friend has a better relationship with another friend.

Social networking sites – such as Facebook – also can trigger jealousy. “[T]oday our online and offline worlds overlap, so there’s a lot more confusion and complexity in relationships and more ways to compare ourselves to others,” Morelli said.

Insecurity often underlies jealousy. “We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough,” Hibbert said. “[W]e fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.”

(Jealously also may be the result of your earlier experiences)

Below, you’ll find general tips for dealing with jealousy, along with specific suggestions for jealousy in romantic relationships.

Tips for Romantic Relationships

d67916daa3d95b5696b905834071b61dAssess your relationship.

“The best way to overcome jealousy is to first take a look at your romantic relationship,” Morelli said. For instance, consider if your relationship is built on trust, respect and love, and if your partner’s behavior reflects their words, she said.

Are they honest with you? If they’re not, naturally, this can trigger or perpetuate your insecurities, said Morelli, also author of the books BirthTouch® for Pregnant and Postpartum Couples, Perinatal Mental Illness for Childbirth Professionals, and Healing for Parents in the NICU.

“If you are in an insecure relationship, expect to have your jealousy buttons pushed. But no one can tell you what to do. If you stay, most likely you’ll feel bad and jealous sometimes.”

Assess yourself.

If you’re in a secure and solid relationship, and you’re still feeling jealous, look at yourself and explore your own experiences.

“Research on the subject of jealousy in a romantic relationship indicates that a person’s basic attachment style underlies their tendencies towards jealous reactions,” Morelli said.

People who developed secure attachments in their early years – between themselves and their caregivers – tend to be less jealous and dependent, have higher self-esteem and have less feelings of inadequacy than people with an insecure attachment style, she said.

Morelli suggested asking yourself these questions:

“Do you have a pervasive feeling of emptiness or lack of self-worth?
How was your relationship with your early caregivers?
Was the atmosphere in your home warm and loving sometimes, but also critical?
Were you raised in a repressive atmosphere?
Were your early caregivers unreliable?”
Attachment style is malleable, she said. Later experiences and circumstances can influence your style. For instance, a skilled therapist can help you build self-esteem and work through your concerns.

Seek out other support.

Have interests outside your relationship, Morelli said. Talk to a friend about your jealous feelings, “but don’t do this to the exclusion of talking to your partner.”

General Tips

Recognize your jealousy.

“When we name the jealousy, it loses its power, because we are no longer letting it shame us,” Hibbert said. Acknowledging that you’re jealous opens the door to learning, she said.

Learn from your jealousy.

We can use feelings of jealousy as inspiration to grow, said Hibbert, also author of the book This is How We Grow. For instance, you realize that the reason you get jealous every time your friend plays her guitar is because that’s also something you’d like to do. Rather than wallowing in that jealousy, you sign up for guitar lessons, she said.

Let it go.

Tell yourself that you don’t need this emotion in your life, and you’re relinquishing it, Hibbert said. Then “breathe deeply, and imagine it flowing through you like the wind. Repeat as often as it takes to truly let it go.”

Manage your emotions healthfully.  

“Practice mindfulness to calm your runaway emotions,” Morelli said. For instance, she suggested readers tune into your body to identify how you’re feeling, take several deep breaths and try to detach from the intensity of those emotions.

If your jealousy involves your romantic relationship, share your feelings with your partner after you calm down, she said.

To process your emotions, she also suggested journaling, dancing to your favorite music and taking a walk.

Remind yourself of your positive traits.

Hibbert gave this example: “She is really good at playing with her kids, and I’m not so good. But I’m great at reading to them, and they love that about me.” This reminds us that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, she said.

Again, jealousy is a normal reaction. It becomes problematic when it becomes persistent. When you find yourself feeling jealous, recognize what’s happening and delve deeper into your relationships and yourself.

8 Healthy Ways to Deal with Jealousy

Overcoming Jealousy, and Control in Relationships

The most powerful and profound aspect of relationship is emotion.
If we learn to shift emotions we can change all of our relationships.

Overcoming jealousy is like changing any emotional reaction or behavior. It begins with awareness. Awareness allows you to see that the projected stories in your mind are not true. When you have this clarity you no longer react to the scenarios that your mind imagines.  Jealousy and anger are emotional reactions to believing scenarios in your mind that are not true. By changing what you believe you change what your imagination is projecting and you can eliminate these destructive emotional reactions.  Even when there is justification for the reaction, jealousy and anger are not beneficial ways to deal with the situation and get what we want.

Trying to change anger or jealousy once you are in the emotion is like trying to control a car skidding on ice. Your ability to handle the situation is greatly improved if you can steer clear of the hazard before we get there.  This means addressing the beliefs that trigger jealousy instead of attempting to control your emotions.

To permanently dissolve the emotions such as anger and jealousy in relationships means changing the core beliefs of insecurity and mental projections of what your partner is doing.

The steps to permanently end jealous reactions are:
1) Recovering personal power so that you can get control of your emotions and refrain from the reactive behavior.
2) Shift your point of view so that you can step back from the story in your mind. This will give you a gap of time in which to refrain from a jealous or angry reaction and do something else.
3) Identify the core beliefs that trigger the emotional reaction.
4) Become aware that the beliefs in your mind are not true. This is different than “knowing” intellectually that the stories are not true.
5) Develop control over your attention so you can consciously choose what story plays in your mind and what emotions you feel.

There are a number of elements that create the dynamic of jealousy.   As such, effective solutions will have to address multiple elements of beliefs, point of view, emotions, and personal will power.  If you miss one or more of these elements you leave the door open for those destructive emotions and behaviors to return.

By practicing a few simple exercises you can step back from the story your mind is projecting and refrain from the emotional reaction. If you really have the desire to change your emotions and behavior you can do it. It just takes the willingness to learn effective skills.

Principle triggers of jealousy are beliefs that create feelings of insecurity.
Feelings of low self esteem are based in beliefs we have in a mental image of who we are. In order to eliminate the insecurity and low self esteem we don’t have to change, we just have to change our belief in the false self image. While some people assume this may be hard, it is only challenging because most people have not learned the skills necessary to change a belief. Once you practice the skills you find that changing a belief takes very little effort. You just stop believing the story in your mind. It takes more effort to believe something than it does to not believe it.

Self Judgment can amplify the feeling of insecurity
It is not enough to “know” intellectually that we are creating the emotion. With only this information the Inner Judge is likely to abuse us with criticism for what we are doing. The Inner Judge might use this information to take us on an emotional downward spiral to further insecurity. For real lasting change you will need develop skills to dissolve the beliefs and false self images and gain control of what your mind projects. The practices and skills are available in the audio sessions. Session 1 and 2 are free sessions and should lend insight into how the mind works to create emotions. Session 1 and 2 also give you excellent exercises to recover some personal power and begin shifting your emotions.

One of the steps to changing a behavior is to see how we actually create the emotion of anger or jealousy from the images, beliefs, and assumptions, in our mind. This step not only allows us to take responsibility, but taking responsibility for our emotions also puts us in a position of power to change them.

If you are in a relationship with a jealous partner, and they want you to change your behavior to prevent the jealousy then they are not taking responsibility. If they say things like “If you wouldn’t _____ then I wouldn’t react this way.” That type of language flags an attitude of powerlessness and an attempt to control your behavior with a deal.

How the mind creates the emotions of jealousy and anger
I’ve outlined the dynamics of jealousy and anger in the explanation below. If you are seeking to overcome jealousy it is likely that you already know the dynamics that I describe. This description may help fill in some gaps of how the mind twists knowledge into self judgment and reinforces low self esteem and insecurity. This intellectual understanding can help develop awareness to see these dynamics in the moment you are doing them. But to really make effective changes you will need a different skill set.  Knowing how you create your emotional reactions doesn’t give you enough information about how to change them.  Just like knowing you got a flat tire because you ran over a nail doesn’t mean you know how to patch the tire.

For the illustration I’ll use a man as the jealous partner. I refer to various images in the mind and you can use the diagram below for reference, or see the Relationship Matrix page for a more detailed description of these images.

It starts with a man feeling insecure about himself. Insecurity comes from his False Hidden Image of being “not good enough”. With the belief that this false image is him, rather than an image in his mind, the man creates self rejection in his mind. The emotional result of self rejection is a feeling of unworthiness, insecurity, fear, and unhappiness.

Compensating for Insecurity
In order to overcome the emotion generated from his Hidden False Image, he focuses on his perceived positive qualities. From these qualities the man creates a more positive False Image of himself. I call this the Projected Image because this is how he wants to be seen. The emotional result of a positive self image is no self rejection and no feeling of unworthiness. There is greater acceptance for himself, therefore he creates more love and happiness. Notice that he has not changed, he is just holding on to a different image in his mind depending on the moment.

The Hidden Image beliefs become the triggers of unhappiness while the Projected Image triggers more pleasant emotions. It is important to note that both images are false. Both images are in the man’s mind and neither one is really him. He is the one that is creating and reacting to the images in his imagination. He is not an image in his imagination.

The man’s mind associates the Projected Image with qualities women are attracted to. Often the qualities are considered positive as a result of the assumption that women are attracted to them. When the man gets attention from a woman he associates himself with the Projected Image rather than the “Not Good Enough” image. The strengthened belief in the Projected Image results in more self acceptance, love, and happiness in his emotional state.

It is the man’s action of acceptance and love that changes his emotional state. It is not the image, or the woman’s attention that change his emotion. These are only triggers that activate the man’s mind towards certain beliefs, self acceptance, and love.

The man’s mind often makes the false assumption that “she makes him happy” or that he “needs” her to be happy. It only appears this way because he is noticing the woman’s relationship to his emotional state. Often the man doesn’t realize that she is just an emotional trigger for his mind to express love. He may not have formed other triggers for expressing his own acceptance and love so he is dependent on a woman for a trigger. When the man recognizes that she is only a trigger and his role of expressing acceptance and love is what changes his emotional state, then the man doesn’t “need” his partner in order to be happy.

Controlling Behavior
The man is operating from the false belief that he is happier because of a woman’s attention and love. When he imagines that her attention is on someone or something other than himself, he reacts with fear. The majority of the fear is not about losing the woman as he might falsely believe. The majority of the fear is about avoiding the emotional pain he creates in his mind with the Hidden Image.

Without her attention, his Hidden Image beliefs become active. His point of view about himself also moves into perceiving from this “not good enough” state. His emotion of unworthiness and unhappiness follows his paradigm of beliefs and point of view.

The man attempts to get and control the woman’s attention so that the Projected Image beliefs are active. He works to “activate” her “trigger” to support his Projected Image beliefs. It is the mechanism he knows for avoiding his emotionally unpleasant Hidden Image beliefs. He is not aware that it is the expression of love and acceptance that is the means to change his emotional state.

Anger and punishment to control behavior
One of the mechanisms we learn early in life is to control other people’s attention and behavior through the emotion of anger. When we were punished as children, anger often accompanied that punishment. Sometimes just harsh words were enough to get us to change a behavior. At a very minimum when someone was angry at us, it got our attention. In this way we learned early in life to use anger as a means to control other people’s attention, and as a punishment to control behavior. As we got older we didn’t necessarily unlearn this pattern.

The jealous man uses anger towards his partner in order to get and control her attention. Anger also works as a punishment with the result of inflicting emotional pain on the woman. By punishing the woman with anger the woman may change her behavior in order to avoid emotional punishment in the future.

The man’s use of anger may not be his preferred choice. But his behavior of anger is the result of a false belief paradigm. The man may “know” differently at the level of his intellect, but his behavior is based in the false beliefs and Hidden Image that push his emotions.

The actual result of Controlling Anger
With his anger the man gets the opposite result that he was conditioned to get as a child. An adult generally has more power to resist the punishment of anger than does a child. The woman will withdraw from him because of her tendency to avoid the emotionally unpleasant. Her withdrawal will then activate his Hidden Image beliefs that he was working to avoid. The man’s belief-emotion cycle returns to the beginning. This is emotionally painful.

The Analysis after the Incident
After a jealousy and anger incident, there is an opportunity to look at and analyze the events. For the jealous man, this time can often be more painful emotionally. This is when his self judgment can be at its worst.

The man plays over in his mind the behavior of anger and control. However, now it is reviewed from the view point of the Inner Judge in his mind. The Inner Judge does the analysis and condemns him. The Inner Judge specifically holds up the Projected Image and then points out that “he failed” to live up to that standard. Based on the Projected Image standard he can only conclude he is a failure and not good enough. .

The anger incident, when viewed by the Inner Judge is “evidence” that he is actually the person that fits the Hidden Image description. Accepting and believing this judgment, results in the man feeling unworthy, guilt, and shame. The belief, emotion, and point of view of the Hidden Image character is reinforced

The Inner Judge does not give the man a fair trial. It is a hanging Judge. The Inner judge does not assess the role of the Belief System, False Images, or the Point of View. The man is at the mercy of forces in his mind that he has not been trained to see and deal with. With awareness of these forces and some specific practice he can begin to get control over his emotional state.

This chain reaction happens very fast
The man has gone through an array of emotions and self images in his mind, usually very quickly. Often the process happens so fast that he is not aware of what the mind and belief system has done. Also, the denial system pushes his mind toward not acknowledging the Hidden Image as that would be too painful emotionally. Because of the multiple elements of the reaction it is easy to miss critical elements such as point of view and assumptions of how emotion is created. Missing these critical elements distorts our conclusions and makes our efforts to change ineffective.

Efforts to change behavior don’t seem to work
The principle problem in the analysis is that the man studies the events from the point of view of judgment. Judgment adds to the rejection. It also operates to reinforce the belief in the standard of Perfection. This point of view reinforces the Hidden Image, and the Projected Image beliefs which are part of the core cause. The very part of our mind that is doing the analysis is actually reinforcing the core causes.

The man is looking for a solution, and in this paradigm of unworthiness, the solution looks like he should become the “Projected Image.” If he can become the confident, strong, kind, and loving person he “knows” he is, then he will like himself and the woman will love him and everything will be fine. He does not see that the Projected Image is formed in his imagination.

There are other problems with this approach.
1. The man’s belief that he is the Projected Image is undermined by his belief that he is not “good enough.” The Hidden Image beliefs create the feeling of unworthiness. Being perfect may compensate at times, but the feeling of unworthiness will seep through until the Hidden image is dealt with.

2. Even when the man pulls off being the perfect Projected Image, the Hidden Image beliefs will have part of him feeling like a fraud. According to the Hidden image beliefs he is not really “Perfect” and he is not “Worthy.” He will feel inauthentic because of these conflicting beliefs. The feeling of being a fraud often happens when his successes are being praised by others. The more success and recognition he receives that fits the Projected Image, the more pronounced the Hidden Image push up doubts in his mind.

He can not be in Emotional Integrity as long as he associates his identity with one or more conflicting images in his mind.

3. The man’s efforts at controlling his emotion will have him continually on guard against an outburst of jealousy and anger. This “on guard” feeling is born out of fear that at any moment he may fall and emotion will overtake his attention. This feeling of fear not only wears on a person, but represses emotion and doesn’t allow for feeling authentic Love and Happiness.

4. Building strong positive beliefs and a positive self image can help to diminish the reaction side, but to a limited extent. It is a patch that can help for some but still bases identity in a false image and not in authenticity and integrity. It does not do anything to address the emotions that come from the Hidden Images or beliefs of unworthiness that are at the core of the behavior. These often become buried in the sub-conscious and resurface later during times of stress when they are most destructive, and we are least able to deal with them.

Emotion and False Beliefs Drive the Behavior
When one looks at the behavior of jealousy and anger as a means to control and keep someone, the behavior doesn’t make sense. Anger and jealousy will not endear someone to be closer to us. The man in the situation can often look at his own behavior and see that it doesn’t make sense. He can see the woman withdraw from him as a result of his behavior. Yet seeing the result and knowing this intellectually does not change the dynamics of his behavior. Why?

His behavior is not driven by thinking, logic or intellectual knowing. Therefore it can not be changed by these modalities. It is driven by Beliefs, False Images, Point of View, and Emotion. If we are to change our behavior, we must address these fundamental elements in a manner different than plain intellect and logic. Why use an approach different than intellect and logic? The Inner Judge will use intellect and logic to create judgments and reinforce the existing false beliefs.

A Path with Results
Changing beliefs, emotional reactions, and destructive behaviors is through mastering your point of view, attention, and dissolving the false beliefs in your mind. When you learn to shift your Point of View you can literally move your self out of a Belief and out of an emotion.   From a new point of view you will have the awareness to see the faulty logic of the beliefs behind the behavior.  With the awareness of the false beliefs behind your actions you will be able to refrain from destructive behavior.   Eliminating the false beliefs eliminates the triggers of your emotions. It is the elimination of the false beliefs that will dissolve the fear.

If you have enough desire to change a jealous and angry behavior you will eventually have to do more than study the problem. You will have to take action.

http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/relationship_jealousy.html

What Smart Women Do After Divorce

03/09/2012 12:57 pm

By Alison Patton
Family lawyer and mediator, lecturer and writer, author of the blog Lemonade Divorce
“Why do some women do well after divorce, while others get stuck?” a divorcing client asked me, confronting her worries head on. “I want to be happy again. I want to rely on myself and not be afraid of the future. I can’t make it without his support, but it’s tough being tied together for so many years through the kids and the money.”

fd259590261ed52a3c19295d92d05498Indeed, financial entanglement is a double-edged sword. Moving on is much harder for women (and men) who remain connected via a custody share, child support or alimony. How do you get closure when the contact and financial dependency continue? What’s the key to regaining your independence and confidence?

My answer is something most people already know, but nonetheless is the greatest challenge of divorce: You commit to being happy or commit to being right. The smartest women I know choose happiness, and this has been the key to rebuilding their life. I’ve observed five actions and attitudes these women adopted that made the difference in their recovery process. It’s never too late to start.

#1: No More “Woe Is Me” (ideally after the first year)

Smart women make that mental shift from victim to survivor, and they take the necessary steps to get there fully.

By far the most important (and most difficult) step is to impose a statute of limitations on feeling sorry for yourself, even if the conflict is ongoing. The first year, it’s normal to dwell on the loss, to cry, grieve, vent to your family and friends about every last detail. But after that, even though you’re still raw, it’s important you make a deliberate mind shift from seeing yourself as a victim. Regardless of what your husband did or is still doing, you don’t want to make the pain of your divorce your identity and your calling card.

Your negative feelings won’t disappear miraculously, and of course this isn’t a one-time mind shift. Sadness and despair roll in when you least expect it. You’re not unusual (nor should you be embarrassed) if you need antidepressants for some period of time to get unstuck. Many women also find it beneficial to examine their feelings in a therapeutic setting, such as private therapy, a divorce support group, or counseling services from their church/synagogue.

Friends can be a great resource, but don’t use them only as a sounding board for self-pity. If you’re hanging around a friend — divorced or otherwise — who spends her time man-bashing and telling you how you’ve been screwed, that friendship is keeping you stuck. Spend time (and connect online) with women who are upbeat and can be role models for moving forward with strength and optimism. Two blogs I like, created by women who did something constructive to deal with their divorce, are Chick Chain Walking Club and One Mom’s Battle.

One client summed up her recovery process: “I developed the strength and discipline to give my victim feelings a shelf life … I’d say to myself, ‘I get tonight to feel sad and then tomorrow it’s back to business.’”

An added benefit of taking this step is you’ll be a role model for your children, especially a daughter, about how to recover from a life crisis.

#2: Accept the Economic Reality of Divorce

The smartest women come to terms with the reduced lifestyle they have after divorce. They reaffirm their priorities or commit to changing their lifestyle. They do not rely on their ex-husband as their long-term financial solution, nor do they see “finding another man” as the solution.

Unless you’re wealthy or a movie star, your economic level will decrease as a result of divorce. The same income that used to run one household is now running two. Women often don’t get paid the same as men for comparable work, and women’s careers are impacted by choosing to raise children — but these are facts, but not obstacles to happiness. Smart women deal with these realities in one of two ways:

• They accept this reduction in lifestyle. Their joy comes from other things, like their children and the opportunity to be an involved parent or appreciation of their job and the flexibility it affords them even if it doesn’t pay as well as a high-paying career.

• If/when the timing is right, they make the decision to increase their earnings through their own means, such as a better job, increased hours, or additional education and training.

Either of these choices leads to greater peace and self-confidence.

#3: Develop a 10-Year Financial Plan

Smart women take charge of their finances during and after divorce. They hire a financial planner or an accountant to review and organize their finances and map out spending and goals for the next decade. Although daunting at first, this step is immensely empowering.

Divorce may be the first time you’ve managed the family finances and planned for the future. Although it feels overwhelming, don’t stick your head in the sand with the naive hope that you’ll be able to make it forever on what you’re getting in support and assets (or that you’ll meet someone who will take care of you).

First, educate yourself about financial planning through a book, seminar, or online resource. Second, find an expert (an accountant or financial planner) with whom you can review your finances and spending. (I strongly suggest you choose an expert who charges by the hour instead of on a commission basis.)

Looking at the economic reality is a wake-up call for most women. One client said after her meeting, “I quickly saw that I need to be much more thoughtful about how I use my assets and how I spend what I am getting in support. I’m now focused on my short-term goals — reducing my spending and finding ways to supplement my income — and my long-term goals of getting the kids through college and saving enough to have a dignified life in later years. I feel more in charge of my future and less anxious as a result.”

# 4: Repeat After Me: “I Cannot Change My Ex”

Smart women recognize they can’t change their ex-husband. They pick their battles, they let go of issues that don’t really matter or can’t be changed, and they accept with grace and maturity the general unpleasantness of an ongoing custody share — knowing this is just the reality of divorce.

It’s normal to want to have a say in how your ex behaves — particularly related to the kids. But save yourself the struggle. In a strange way, this step is about taking control of your inner life by letting go of outside control.

Sharing custody involves a lot of frustrations. The most common ones I hear from women are: he cancels or is late; he feeds the kids junk food; there are no limits at his house on TV, video games or computer; he buys them toys/electronics you said no to, instead of buying the shoes and school clothes they need; he gripes about expenditures for the kids’ extracurricular; he lets them stay up past their bedtime; he doesn’t return their clothing or returns everything dirty; he doesn’t make the kids do chores, so they complain when you enforce this rule at your house; he has joint custody but you still have to take the lead on doctor and dentist appointments, school, homework, extracurricular activities and sports.

Is this behavior fair or considerate? No. Is it worth getting upset over? No. Unless he is abusing the kids or repeatedly not showing up, you can’t generally control these kinds of actions. It’s a costly endeavor to try.

I’m not saying smart women allow themselves to be doormats — they definitely don’t. Sometimes you have to put on the business hat and confront an issue with your ex. Sometimes legal action is required. Be sure the issue warrants it and has a good probability of resulting in change. And work to let go of the rest.

#5: Focus on the Future, Commit to Growth and Introspection, And
Build a Relationship with Yourself

Smart women channel their energies post-divorce into examining their life, their goals, their mistakes and how they can learn from the past. Instead of jumping into another serious relationship (or spending their time complaining about their ex), they focus on their own life issues. They redefine their priorities and discover what’s meaningful to them. They mature fully into themselves as women whose identity is not tied to the role of mother or wife.

0f6103406b41e0ec64d50e7111ceed5bWe’ve seen this or been there ourselves — how men and women “lose themselves” in marriage. For many women, their identity becomes tied to their husband or children early on, and so when the marriage ends and these roles are lost or diminished, the woman feels unsure of who she is. This is one reason divorce can be a real moment of crisis.

The smartest women I’ve observed use their divorce as an opportunity for growth and maturity. They take inventory of their life, mistakes and all, and devote time and energy to discovering who they are and what they want for their future. This process takes time, patience and dedication, but in the end, these women are able to put their divorce behind them. They go on to be centered, stable, self-assured, capable women who find the happiness they felt they had lost. In fact, when I asked these women if they could turn back the clock and stay married, the answer was overwhelmingly a heartfelt “no” — they would never go back, even with all of the known challenges.

What would be on your list for recovery?

Follow Alison Patton on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LemonadeDivorce

12 behaviours that we all need to fight against to achieve a better life

21440935350e5ccfdf4128dec42aaa7dPractising psychologist Mark Chernoff and his wife, over many years of helping thousands of different clients, have learned one thing above all: each and every one of us is capable of hurting and upsetting those around us who we care about. Here, they set out 12 ’toxic’ behaviours which they argue push people away from us.
However, if you see yourself in any of these, never despair — if you’ve been warned, you can now act. It’s never too late for self-improvement, and when we achieve it our lives and those of our loved ones will be so much better.

1. Being envious of everyone else

Don’t let envy (or jealously) get the best of you. Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. There is nothing attractive or admirable about this behaviour. So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition. You are in competition with one person and one person only — yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

2. Taking everything too personally

People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them. The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you. People’s reactions to you are about their perspectives, wounds and experiences. Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, is more about them. I’m not suggesting we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback. I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally. In most cases it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of other people’s good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.

3. Acting like you’re always a victim

Another toxic behaviour is persistent complaining that fuels your sense of victimization. Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck. Working as a life coach with people who have suffered major trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know we all have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe. When you stop complaining, and refuse to see yourself as a helpless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.

4. Hoarding pain and loss

One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go — whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy — you fight to hold on and you fight to let go. But oftentimes letting go is the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts from the past. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you. Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus your thoughts, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster.

5. Obsessive negative thinking

It’s very hard to be around people who refuse to let go of negativity — when they ruminate and speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the scorns they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life. These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s happening. Pessimism is one thing — but remaining perpetually locked in a negative mindset is another. Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a twisted way of thinking and living, and you can change that.

6. Lack of emotional self-control

An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you. We all know these people — those who explode in anger and tears over the smallest hiccup or problem. Yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made, or losing it with your daughter for spilling juice on the floor. If you find that you’re overly emotional, losing your cool at every turn, you may need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your inner angst. There’s more to it than what appears on the surface. An independent perspective — and a new kind of support — can work wonders.

7. Making superficial judgements about others

Don’t always judge a person by what they show you. Remember, what you’ve seen is oftentimes only what that person has chosen to show you, or what they were driven to show based on their inner stress and pain. Alas, when another person tries to make you suffer in some small way, it is usually because they suffer deep within themselves. Their suffering is simply spilling over. They do not need punishment or ridicule, they need help. If you can’t help them, let them be.

8. Cruelty (or lacking empathy and compassion)

One of the most toxic behaviours — cruelty — stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media — people being devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because they can. They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a shield. Cruelty, backstabbing, and hurting others for any reason is toxic, and it hurts you as well. If you find yourself backstabbing and tearing someone else down, stop in your tracks. Dig deep and find compassion in your heart, and realize that we’re all in this together.

9. Cheating and cutting moral corners simply because you can

Cheating is a choice, not a mistake, and not an excuse! If you decide to cheat, and you succeed in cheating someone out of something, don’t think that this person is a fool. Realize that this person trusted you much more than you ever deserved. Be bigger than that. Don’t do immoral things simply because you can. Don’t cheat. Be honest with yourself and everyone else. Do the right thing. Integrity is the essence of everything successful.

10. Hiding your truth

People cannot connect with you if you’re constantly trying to hide from yourself. And this becomes a truly toxic situation the minute they become attached to your false persona. So remember, no matter what age, race, sex, or sexuality you are, underneath all your external decorations you are a pure, beautiful being — each and every one of us are. We each have light to shine, and missions to accomplish. Celebrate being different, off the beaten path, a little on the weird side, your own special creation. If you find yourself feeling like a fish out of water, by all means find a new river to swim in. But DO NOT change who you are; BE who you are. Don’t deny yourself, improve yourself.

11. Needing constant validation

People who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around. Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over and over, and constantly want to win over everyone around them, are unintentionally toxic and draining. Know this. Over-attaching to how things have to look to others can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down. There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses. It’s about the journey, the process, the path — what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.

12. Being a stubborn perfectionist

As human beings, we often chase hypothetical, static states of perfection. We do so when we are searching for the perfect house, job, friend or lover. The problem, of course, is that perfection doesn’t exist in a static state. Because life is a continual journey, constantly evolving and changing. What is here today is not exactly the same tomorrow — that perfect house, job, friend or lover will eventually fade to a state of imperfection. But with a little patience and an open mind, over time, that imperfect house evolves into a comfortable home. That imperfect job evolves into a rewarding career. That imperfect friend evolves into a steady shoulder to lean on. And that imperfect lover evolves into a reliable lifelong companion. It’s just a matter of letting perfectionism GO.

f97bb2d007110cfe129fc3425274d14fThe floor is yours…
If you can relate to any of these toxic behaviours, remember, you are not alone. We all have unhealthy personalities buried deep within us that have the potential to sneak up on us sometimes. As stated above, the key is awareness — recognizing these behaviors and stopping them in their tracks.

Source: Marc and Angel Hack Life

Cervical cancer vaccine: Who needs it, how it works

Who needs the cervical cancer vaccine? How many doses? What about side effects? Get answers to these questions and more.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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Most cervical cancers are caused by the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV). Widespread HPV immunization, however, could reduce the impact of cervical cancer worldwide. Here, Bobbie S. Gostout, M.D., an HPV infection expert and gynecologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., discusses the cervical cancer vaccine.

What does the cervical cancer vaccine do?

Various strains of HPV, which spread through sexual contact, cause most cases of cervical cancer. Two cervical cancer vaccines have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S. — Gardasil, for girls and boys, and Cervarix, for girls only. Both vaccines can prevent most cases of cervical cancer if given before a girl or woman is exposed to the virus.

In addition, both can prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in women, and Gardasil can prevent genital warts and anal cancer in women and men. In theory, vaccinating boys against HPV might also help protect girls from the virus by possibly decreasing transmission.

Who is the cervical cancer vaccine for and when should it be given?

The cervical cancer vaccine is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 to 12, although it can be given as early as age 9. It’s important for girls and boys to receive the vaccine before they have sexual contact and are exposed to HPV. Once infected with HPV, the vaccine might not be as effective or might not work at all. Also, response to the vaccine is better at younger ages than it is at older ages.

If the three-dose series of vaccines isn’t completed by ages 11 to 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that girls and women through age 26 and boys and men through age 21 receive the vaccine. However, men can receive the HPV vaccine through age 26 if desired.

Both vaccines are given as a series of three injections over a six-month period. The second dose is given one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose is given six months after the first dose.

Who should not get the cervical cancer vaccine?

The cervical cancer vaccine isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people who are moderately or severely ill. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies, including an allergy to yeast or latex. Also, if you’ve had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of the vaccine, you shouldn’t get the vaccine.

Does the cervical cancer vaccine offer benefits if you’re already sexually active?

Yes. It’s possible that, even if you already have HPV, you could still benefit from the vaccine. However, Gardasil and Cervarix don’t treat HPV infection and only protect you from specific strains of HPV to which you haven’t been exposed.

Does the cervical cancer vaccine carry any health risks or side effects?

Overall, the effects are usually mild. The most common side effects of both HPV vaccines include soreness at the injection site (the arm), headaches and low-grade fever. Sometimes dizziness or fainting occurs after the injection. Remaining seated for 15 minutes after the injection can reduce the risk of fainting. In addition, Cervarix might also cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain.

The CDC and the FDA continue to monitor the vaccines for unusual or severe problems.

Is the cervical cancer vaccine required for school enrollment?

The cervical cancer vaccine — either Gardasil or Cervarix — is part of the routine childhood vaccines schedule. Whether or not a vaccine becomes a school enrollment requirement is decided on a state-by-state basis.

Do women who’ve received the cervical cancer vaccine still need to have Pap tests?

Yes. The cervical cancer vaccine isn’t intended to replace Pap tests. Routine screening for cervical cancer through regular Pap tests remains an essential part of a woman’s preventive health care.

What can you do to protect yourself from cervical cancer if you’re not in the recommended vaccine age group?

HPV spreads through sexual contact. To protect yourself from HPV, use a condom every time you have sex. In addition, don’t smoke. Smoking doubles the risk of cervical cancer.

To detect cervical cancer in the earliest stages, see your health care provider for regular Pap tests. Seek prompt medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of cervical cancer — vaginal bleeding after sex, between periods or after menopause, pelvic pain, or pain during sex.

Menstrual Cramps

Posted under Health Guides. Updated 5 March 2014.
Key Facts
Menstrual periods can be light and easy for some teens and young women, but for others, they can be heavy and/or accompanied by painful cramps. Cramps can be a big reason why girls are absent from school, why they miss sport practices, and why they may avoid social events with their friends.

e2adc619eaee06fe3a65c9e38df2dde5What is Dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhea (pronounced: dis-men-o-ree-a) is a medical term that means “difficult or painful periods.” There are two types of dysmenorrhea, primary and secondary.

Primary dysmenorrhea is the most common kind of dysmenorrhea. Cramps (pain in the lower belly area and/or lower back) can start 1-2 days before your period comes and can last 2-4 days.

Secondary dysmenorrhea is when cramps and, for some, lower back pain are a result of a medical problem such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.

What causes menstrual cramps?

Menstrual cramps are caused by uterine contractions (when your uterus tightens and relaxes allowing blood to leave your uterus). The lining of your uterus releases special chemicals called “prostaglandins.” These substances can increase the intensity of the contractions, especially if the levels rise. High levels of prostaglandins may also cause nausea and lightheadedness.

*Some or all of these problems may start a day or two before your period and can last for part or all of your period. These signs could be caused by other medical conditions and therefore it is important to discuss your symptoms to your health care provider.
Is it normal to have some mild cramps during your period?

Yes, it is normal to have mild cramps during your period because of uterine contractions. The uterus is a muscle that tightens and relaxes which can cause jabbing or cramp-like pain. However, if the discomfort is not relieved with over-the-counter medications and causes you to miss school or other daily activities, it could mean that there is another reason for your symptoms.

When you first get your period, it is common for you to be irregular, and you may not ovulate for a few months, or even for a few years. So you may not have menstrual cramps when you first begin your period. After one, two, or three years, when your hormonal system is more mature, you might have more severe menstrual cramps.

If your cramps are severe and interfere with your daily activities, don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider, because there may be other reasons for your pain.
What other symptoms do girls have during their periods?

In addition to cramping during their periods, some girls may have other symptoms.

Symptoms may be mild to moderate and can include:

Nausea (feeling like you want to throw up)
Vomiting (throwing up)
Loose bowel movements/diarrhea
Constipation
Bloating in your belly area
Headaches
Lightheadedness (feeling faint)
Are menstrual cramps the same as PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)?

Menstrual cramps are not the same as PMS. Symptoms of PMS such as bloating, weight gain, and moodiness happen before a woman’s period begins, and get a lot better when her period starts. On the other hand, with dysmenorrhea, cramps usually get worse the first day or two of a woman’s period and have a different cause and treatment.

What medications can I take for my menstrual cramps?

If you are having menstrual cramps, talk with your parents or healthcare provider about your options. If your menstrual cramps are painful, you may think about taking some type of the over-the-counter medication for one to two days. These medications are “anti-prostaglandins.” They help relieve the discomfort, make your flow lighter, and cause your uterus to cramp less. Look for over-the-counter medications that contain ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Take this medicine when you first start to feel uncomfortable, and continue taking it every 4-6 hours or as recommended by your healthcare provider. Since this kind of medicine can upset your stomach, you should take it with food. Make sure you read the label to see how much and how often you should take the medication. You should not take these products if you are allergic to aspirin-like medicine or have stomach problems. It is important not to take more medicine than is recommended or prescribed.

Is there anything else I can do to help my menstrual cramps?

Natural remedies such as a microwavable warm pack or a heating pad placed on your abdomen (lower belly) may help. Soaking in a warm bath may also relieve uncomfortable cramps. Some teens find that increasing their physical activity helps; others find that resting quietly for short periods of time helps.

Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that is sometimes recommended to treat dysmenorrhea. You should also eat healthy foods, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest. You can try different treatments to find out what works best for you.

What if nothing helps my menstrual cramps?

If your menstrual cramps are not relieved by over-the-counter medicine, make an appointment to see your health care provider. Use a period and symptom tracker for 2-3 months and then bring it to your next medical appointment. A record of your symptoms can help your healthcare provider figure out the best treatment choices for you.

My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker

My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker is an easy way to keep track of your menstrual flow, and it’s also a way to keep track of cramps, and/or PMS and period symptoms (if you have them) each month.

Review the sample Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker.
Print out copies of My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker.
Simply make a check mark in the appropriate box (or boxes) for each day of the month. If you don’t have any flow or any symptoms on any given day, leave the box empty. Refer to the Blood Flow Key at the bottom for “Flow” definitions.
The dates at the top are the same as the dates in one month. Some months have 28 days, others have 30 or 31.
Remember to bring My Monthly Period & Symptom Tracker with you to your medical appointments.
Is it okay to exercise when I have my period?

Exercising is a good way to stay fit and healthy. Some girls like to exercise when they have their period because it helps lessen their cramps. Other girls are uncomfortable exercising when they have their period. You should find what works best for you. Talk to your coach or gym teacher if exercising is uncomfortable during your period.

Remember, if cramps or other symptoms cause you to miss school or other activities and over-the-counter medicine and other comfort measures don’t help, you should make an appointment with your health care provider.

 

7 Ways To Know If Your Man Truly Loves You

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By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz

Every woman wants to know if her man’s love is the real thing. Knowing the answer is critical to making any future decisions about the relationship. It turns out, it’s actually pretty simple to know if his love is true or not. Here are the Seven Tests of True Love; see how your relationship measures up:

Does he ALWAYS treat you with respect?
If his respect for you is inconsistent or only occurs sparingly, your relationship cannot flourish. In love, you cannot pick and choose the time and place to be kind, considerate, and respectful. Being considerate and respectful one day and rude and inconsiderate the next is not an option. Your partner either is all of these things or he is not. It’s really that simple.

Do his actions match his words?
We all know the axiom “actions speak louder than words”. To know if he really loves you, you only need to observe his behavior. Does he talk to you with affection, care, and respect, but then bumps you out of the way when you order lunch or dinner? Does he tell you how much he loves you, but ignores you completely when you tell him what you would like to do that day?
The truth is, actions really do speak louder than words! Never fool yourself into thinking that his actions don’t matter. Put simply—he IS what he does! Ignore this notion at your peril, because it is actually the best test of whether he is capable of really loving you.

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Are you an equal partner?
When someone really loves you, they treat you as an equal partner—as a person with an equal voice (and equal value) in your relationship. If he makes all of the significant decisions in your relationship and expects you to follow his directives as a second-class citizen, then he does NOT really love you. In asuccessful marriage both partners share equally in the relationship.

Can you trust him with your life and sacred honor?
Can you honestly say, “I trust him more that life itself?” Is your trust in him unequivocal and honestly without hesitation? Bottom line—one of the underlying qualities of a great marriage is complete trust in each other. If you don’t trust your man without question, then you really need to reconsider any long-term relationship with him.

Does he tell you he loves you?
Does he do declare his love and adoration for you often and without prodding? Does his love for you come naturally and consistently? When you love someone, you tell them. And don’t fall for that old line that goes like this, “I don’t need to tell her I love her because she knows.” This notion is just plain wrong! You need to hear it (we all do). If he doesn’t tell you that he loves you, then your relationship has a problem.

Can he imagine life without you?
When you are in love, you cannot imagine life without the one you love! So try this question on him, “Honey, do you love me more than life itself? Can you imagine life without me?” If his answers make you wonder about the depth of his commitment to you, he doesn’t truly love you.
After over 32 years of researching love and marriage throughout the world, one thing we know for sure is that someone in love cannot envision a life without their someone special. If your guy suggests otherwise, he is not the man you should commit your life to.

Is he ALWAYS there for you?
In the end, a man who really loves you will always be there for you through the good times and the bad, through thick and thin. Love has no conditions. A man deeply in love with a woman want her when she is at her best or her worst. And being there for you is something he does in a way that makes you feel good (versus feeling guilty). He makes you excited about where your relationship is going. He raises you higher than you could ever be without him.

7 Ways To Know If Your Man Truly Loves You