Helpful hints and discussion about mental health and mental health issues as it relates to
news, popular culture and day-to-day life.


Monday 29 December 2014

Have a Wee bit of inspiration for the New Year!

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Dear Friends,

I have been quite busy (unexpectedly) during this Christmas -- Yes, I am saying the "C" word, just as if I would be saying Hannukah -- the "H" word or Ramadan -- the "R" word.

Quite possibly if more religious traditions were respected and understood, one could go back to saying such things, rather than saying: "Seasons Greetings", which regrettably means very little and doesn't convey much of a concept of good will towards your fellow human beings other the winter season greets you with an arctic kiss.

However, I shall be putting out another video very soon on a mental health topic and of course I will return with more information on mental health articles very soon. But for now, here are three "inspirational" videos from three very different women: Lizzie Velasquez, a Texan Woman with a rare disease that does not allow her to gain weight and also a devout (gasp!) Roman Catholic, Maysoon Zayid, an American-Palestinian Muslim woman with Cerebral Palsy and Stella Young, a disabled atheist Australian woman who died recently.

Sunday 30 November 2014

Video post on Hoarders and Hoarding -- Just in Time for the Holidays!

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Hello Friends,
Just finished a new video post on Hoarding and Hoarders. Check it out on youtube.
If you have more questions related to this topic, again please check out the website: or the blog: or leave a comment on the youtube channel.

Take Care,

Video clip begins below:

I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

If you are interested in this or other posts, why not click on the Google + button or submit your email, either way, and follow this blog?

Thursday 27 November 2014

New Video post on Hoarders, soon


Within the next few days I will be uploading another video to Youtube.

This time the topic will be hoarding and hoarders. Check out my video on youtube then.
Regards and Take Care,


Monday 24 November 2014

Objectification: Using people as objects. A lesson from the antics of Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Bill Cosby
What with what has happened in the last few days and weeks in the media with first of all Jian Ghomeshi and then later with Bill Cosby, I thought I would talk a bit about objectification and abuses of power. Now, it must be stated that these things are not as simple as they seem from the outside observer. Anything that is risqué or scandalous sells in the general media. This we know.

But quite apart from wanting to follow the dirt on any particular celebrity, there are indeed a couple of interpersonal dynamics that are happening here with the Jian Ghomeshi incident (here in Canada) and then the Bill Cosby case in the United States.

And when it involves powerful people, especially in the media, sometimes it is more about the media scandal than it is about the people (both victim and perpetrator) in the scandal who were hurt.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Tove Lo tells it like it is: Addictions, Emotions and Substance Abuse

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.
Tove Lo

I recently watched Tove Lo's new video "Habits" also called "High all the Time" and I was struck by how startingly honest both the lyrics to the song and its accompanying video were. I'll leave the video for the end of the post, but for those who might currently be in recovery, you may or may not want to watch the video as it may be triggering and may (or may not) cause the viewer to want to use, especially if the viewer is in their early stages of recovery and their recovery is still rather fragile.

But suffice it to say that substances, whether alcohol or drugs or food or sex or gambling are really a means to self-soothe. Addictions and addictive behaviours are a way to self-medicate and assist an individual to manage their emotional states.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Radicalization: Rebel With (or without) a Cause, Any Cause.

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.
Patty Hearst

So, Dear Friends,

It has been a while since I last posted, being very occupied with many other concerns. However I have been asked by a follower to elaborate a bit on the phenomenon of radicalization. Especially since we have of late been witnessing it so much in the media in the last number of months, what with the ISIS beheadings and of course, here in Canada, what has happened recently with Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo.

The way I view the radicalization of young people seems to be not just one single answer, like: "they're brain-washed" but rather a combination of factors. Anybody remember Patty Hearst?

Or for that matter the Baader-Meinhof Group or "Rote Armee Fraktion"?

Or the "Moonies" as members of the Unification Church were once called?

Radicalization is perhaps then just the same type of phenomenon exhibited in other forms and in other times and eras.

Looking from the Outside In

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Often when you`re stuck in the middle of a problem, especially an emotional problem, conflict or crisis it can be extremely difficult, if not next to impossible, to get any kind of perspective on your own personal situation and what you youself might be grappling with.

Self-questioning, self-doubt can come up and the "gift" or "benefit" of having some empathy for yourself or self-forgiveness or just  "cutting yourself some slack" becomes crucial to healthy, psychological functioning.

In fact, this post could well have been called: D.I.Y. "How to cut yourself some slack"!

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Check Out My YouTube Channel!

Hi Friends,

Just in time for Halloween, I've posted a new video on Halloween and the psychological meaning(s) behind the wearing of masks and costumes in different cultures.

Monday 27 October 2014

Videos on Mental Health Topics

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Hello, Dear Friends,

In the next day or two, I shall hopefully be coming out with a series of videos on mental health and mental health-related topics. My intention is to bring out about one video a month, depending upon how busy I am.

For this first video, I shall be talking about Hallowe'een. Don't worry -- It's not a scary topic!
I shall give/post the link in a day or two and it should be available either on youtube or through a link either on this blog or on my website.

Take Care,


I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

If you are interested in this or other posts, why not click on the Google + button or submit your email, either way, and follow this blog?

Wednesday 22 October 2014

War Memorial Shooting in Ottawa: Dealing with the after-effects

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo
Today in Ottawa, with the event of the shooting of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Corporal Nathan Cirillo at the War Memorial, which follows almost two days after 2 other CAF members were rundown by a recently radicalized Canadian, the bubble on Canada's mythical belief of a land of peace and tranquility has been burst.

As a Canadian myself, I think most Canadians would like to think that we, as a middle power, could rest on a point of pride that we "negotiate" in our country. We would like to believe in the myth that we are a relatively safe, peace-loving society and that we have no need for ramped up security. We pose no threat to anyone. 

However, now with what has happened, we will have to deal with the trade-off between security or safety and privacy restrictions or freedom. Moreover, Canada will now begin to feel for the first time, as a nation and society, what other, more war-ravaged countries have felt for a while, since the advent of global terrorism: paranoia, anxiety and group post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, we can get through this.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

The Blame Game

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

A Follow up from the Identified Patient

So dear friends, in my last post I talked about the "identified patient" or "I.P." and how the identified patient is the one member of a family who usually comes in or is sometimes dragged in to therapy. This is because, rightly or wrongly, the "I.P" is the "one with the problem", who has, or is causing, or even IS the problem (in the opinion/estimation of the family).
This sets up the fiction that the rest of the family HAS no problems..... other than of course the identified patient.

Now the other piece that comes out of this story and follows naturally from it is that if and/or when the I.P. goes into therapy and starts to get better it presents other unique problems for both the IP and the family.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

PTSD, Corporal Ron Francis and Institutional Aggression

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Dear Friends,

I wanted to continue on from my last post on "The Identified Patient" with the part two, which is The Blame Game, however as of today, October 7th, 2014, it was reported, at least in Canadian national news, that Corporal Ron Francis, who was a member of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) had in fact committed suicide.

RCMP Corporal Ron Francis returning his uniform, in tears.
This poor man, had made national headlines last year as he had been found smoking marijuana while in uniform. And while, yes, smoking marijuana while in uniform, is probably not becoming of an officer of the law, Francis stated that this was due to his PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which had had a cumulative effect upon his mental health.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Addressing the "I.P.", The I.P. Address or Dealing with The Identified Patient

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

In common computer lingo, an "I.P." or "I.P." address is a term used to describe your "internet protocol" address, so I am told. For anybody with a computer it identifies and pinpoints where you personally  are within the world and on the web or internet.  This quirky series of numbers basically identifies you and your location geographically on the globe.
Moreover, information that you send out or receive can be identified or traced back to that spot or that computer from where or to where the information was transmitted.
"I.P.'s" for counsellors or psychotherapist though have a totally different meaning but curiously, a metaphor for one can be seen for the other. I.P.'s  are the "identified patient". Now, you're probably asking yourself: "What does that mean?" or even "Wow, that sounds a bit clinical and maybe even a bit scary!"  -- Don't worry. It's not.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Survivor's Guilt: Overcoming Remorse

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Survivor guilt is typical in persons who have experienced a major (traumatic usually) event wherein they were the sole survivor or one of the few survivors. The after-effects mostly involve reviewing or going over the event(s) and while most survivors of the event consider themselves grateful  and fortunate to have survived, they are also often left with feelings of guilt, (over)concern about the the fate of the victims and the victims' families and like other survivors of truama, needing to understand why and how to put the event into perspective.

And this phenomenon applies whether it is a major catastrophe  or even it is just simply an organizational reshuffle or downsizing within a business, where an entire staff is let go and only 2 or 3 people are left.

In these situations, the survivors look to find meaning for their survival, sometimes to "justify" it in their own minds, to make an existential rationale for their survival and often to memorialize those who did not survive.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Oscar Pistorius, Janay Rice and Doug Guyatt: The complicated nature of Domestic Violence

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Reeva Steenkamp & Oscar Pistorius (The Blade Runner)
With the announcement today of Oscar Pistorius' verdict in South Africa, (on September 11th, no less! )which is for the most part not guilty, however the courts are awaiting a hearing on "culpability",  many are reeling with the decision. It comes on the heels of no more than a week where Janay Rice, wife of yet another athlete, this time in America who "stood by her man" and yet has been criticized soundly and she in her turn has struck back.

Here in Canada, specifically, Victoria, in the province of British Columbia, The Victoria Colonist newspaper wrote today that a man by the name of Doug Guyatt, who murdered his wife by beheading years ago has finally died in jail.

It makes one wonder why some women "put up with this abuse" (almost) to the point of death. What is behind it? In a nutshell, "connection, relationship and history" and those who look from the outside cannot understand why the abusee does not simply leave. It is complicated. It is not black and white. And without minimizing, excusing, or condoning the violence, it is also useful to understand how sometimes it is hard to leave such relationships even when the individual KNOWS it is dysfunctional.

Sunday 7 September 2014

The Isis Beheadings:James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Joan Rivers -- Laughing at Tragedy

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

James Foley
This last week, dear friends, has been rather an unfortunate mix of misery in the news. There have been of course the beheading of James Foley
and then Steven Sotloff.
Steven Sotloff

 And of course there has been the ongoing concern of the situation in the Middle East.

I would like to address why perhaps for some people, when thinking about the beheadings of Foley and Sotloff, that it strikes us as particularly savage. First of all.... it is meant to!

But the question is why? If we can examine it for a moment, we can see why the beheadings are so very shocking to the public and if we can examine it and (hopefully) understand it, then we might be able to weather it.

And why should we try to weather it? In order to understand it, but more importantly in order not to "terrorized" by the act and left immobilized by this horrid action.

If we are then not paralyzed by the situation, we can act intelligently -- while simultaneously understanding our emotional reaction to it without being drawn into the misery, it can help us to act in a manner that will be the most logical, sane and humane.

Monday 1 September 2014

Our Lips Are Sealed: Why counsellors and psychotherapists maintain (or try to maintain) Confidentiality

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Of course I would have to start off this post with the classic Gogo’s song and a video insert from the same. However, I think I will leave that towards the end of the post.  This is kind of, sort of, a heavy “intellectual” post so it might be nice to finish off with something light and silly or carefree.

Okay, the other day someone mentioned to me that they had read on another blog somewhere that counsellors and psychotherapists/psychiatrists/psychologists/psychoanalysts are generally considered to be (gasp!) a bit aloof and ridiculous. And mainly this is because they are perceived as being very secretive, in other words they don’t reveal (or shouldn’t) very much about themselves when clients come in for therapy sessions. As a result, there is a belief within the larger (non-mental health) world that counsellors are a bit buffoonish. So ultra-concerned about confidentiality. They have reason to be. And there is reason for it.

Sunday 24 August 2014

Bullying as a social phenomenon: Amanda Todd,Ukraine and Russia, Israel/Gaza, and ISIS

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.

Likely that most people in Canada, and likely the States, know of Amanda Todd,
the young teenager who was bullied and harassed on line to such an extent that she was coerced into revealing herself on-line and then later was stalked by the same individual.

As a result of her distress, you can read her full biography at wikipedia here:, this poor teen committed suicide due to the distress.

So, you might ask, what exactly has the very sad, very disturbing suicide death of a young teenage girl got to do with bullying and moreover, the grander politics of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine (with Russia), Israel and Gaza and ISIS?

What I would respond is that virtually all of these involve bullying. And where all of these situations may not necessarily end in suicide, the act of bullying, which is aggressive and somewhat psychopathic/sociopathic of nature, is reflective of a larger topic which I touched upon in another post on envy, see link:

At first one may think, that well, "bullying is normal" and "when I went to school, everyone was teased". And it is true.... somewhat. Everyone in the world probably is teased at some point or other in their life, personally, on a personal level. But is bullying normal?

I don't think so.

It is said that teasing is a sign of affection. And I personally believe this to be true. One can tease someone as a sign of affection. However, taken too far or teasing done too long or to excess or when the object of the teasing is perhaps undergoing other stressors, then the teasing is no longer fun and funny, it becomes at best, annoying and at worst, destructive.

So, we as adults in this world, must help those "young people" to do what is morally right and ethically right. And cyber-bullying, where teenagers post nasty things about other people in order to sway opinion of others and to "defriend" people on social media is exactly what happened to this poor little child, Amanda Todd. And yes, she was just a little child. Teenager she may have been, but helpless and innocent from her attackers.

Now, I am sure that there are persons out there who are psychologically made of teflon or have the sensitivity of linoleum. They can drink and swear say offensive things and take drugs in public and make complete fools of themselves, and nonetheless have the courage to hold their head up regardless of how they have behaved. Example is Rob Ford.

For those outside Canada, who do not know who Rob Ford is, he is the infamous mayor of Toronto, who has had a rather embarrassing public persona. For those interested, his bio from Wikipedia,including some of his more colourful exploits is here:

However, poor Amanda Todd was not Rob Ford. If she had been, she might have survived. Rob Ford may not be a bully. Or he may. But it would seem, by his actions, that his insensitivity to what he says and does and his perhaps cavalier approach, may unlie a supreme arrogance, that may, just perhaps border on psychopathy. In other words, to put it in simple terms:

"I can do what I want, and I don't care a fig, if what I do affects anyone else.... Oh! And I am not guilty and never wrong".

This kind of thinking is absolutely and completely selfish and also completely anti-social. It is a first-class way to alienate people. Kind of like an ANTI- Dale Carnegie.

Not, How to win Friends and Influence People,

 but rather, How to Lose Acquaintances (you no longer have Friends left) and Alienate Potential Contacts.

Something like Toby Young's
Book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

But getting back to the question of bullying, what exactly is a bully? A bully is usually someone or some thing (like an organization or body), which uses force, threats, coercion or intimidation to force another party (usually weaker in some way) to do something.

Unfortunately, we adults -- and I may an overgeneralization here, as there may be some or even many exceptions, somehow believe that bullying is something that only occurs in grade school or highschool and then stops. WRONG!

Bullying occurs in all areas of life. It occurs at work: with management and the unions and employees. It occurs in interpersonal relations: with elderly parents and adult children (or vice-versa). It occurs interpersonally as well in intimate relationships between men and women and also amongst queer couples.

And yes, bullying even occurs at the national and international level with "corporate takeovers" and "bidding wars" and so on.

And further, bullying occurs at a more sinister level when you view situations such as what has happened in Eastern Ukraine and Russia, what is happening in Gaza with Israel and what is happening with ISIS in the middle Eastern countries. For another view of the personal and psychological expanded to the national and international level see my post on identification at the national level, link here:

You see, when people in power have perhaps a certain perspective or outlook on the world which then influences their decisions for a population, well, the entire population gets taken along on the psychological/emotional ride that the person in power takes when they, say, going invading another country. The rest of the population may (or may not) agree with the powers that make the decisions, but the rest the world perceives the entire nation as personifying the traits of the dictator or person in power.

But what motivates a bully?

What causes a bully to bully?

Again, you could have a look at my other post on envy, see link here:
But essentially, bullying results from some desire on the part of the bully to take something from the victim, whatever that thing may be or to split off the undesirable part of oneself, whatever it may be and cast it onto (or project it) onto someone or something else.

So, let me give a concrete example:

Beautiful, young teenage girl. She is talented. She is intelligent. She gets good grades. She is artistic. She maybe plays several instruments well or perhaps sings well. Or perhaps she can draw, sketch and paint really well. However, her weakness is, she is still somewhat insecure. She is internally sensitive and takes jibes or teasing or criticisms about her looks to heart.

Another (teenage) girl..... completely unaware of her raging envy has it out for her.For those who may have read my entry on envy, envy can rear its ugly head as seething, (even murderous) rage and so lead people wanting to annihilate and destroy the object of their envy.

So, this other teenage girl... completely unaware of her envy of the first girl and perhaps also unable to appreciate and value her own gifts..... or morely likely has been taught (and told)  by her parents not to appreciate and value her own gifts, begins to attack the beautiful, young teenage girl. This other teenage girl mounts a campaign (with other willing, equally envious girls) to alienate and socially destroy the reputation of this other girl -- the beautiful, intelligent, talented one. So the gaggle of girls begins to spread rumours, drop hints, say things in passing. Nothing that is overtly offensive or aggressive, but in subtle little ways, like Chinese water torture, one drop at a time. They slowly, bit by bit, begin to wear and chip away at the other girl's self-esteem until she becomes a blithering, blubbery mess. This, my friends is evil.  And all simply because the other girls and their ring-leader cannot recognize what is beautiful and good within themselves. This is envy.


How do we see this manifested on a national level?

How do simple, girlish tactics manifest at an international level?

Example: Ukraine and Russia and the "information war", read: Propaganda.

And if we dig further, it could be speculated that resources, i.e. the "beauty" or "talent" or "grades" of a country are "envied" by another nation. They are envied so much, that if the other girl, read: "Nation" cannot take them (by force, read: bullying) then they will murderously destroy them. According to some media sources, a certain slavic nation is destroying infrastructure of another certain slavic nation as the aforementioned slavic nation retreats from another certain slavic nation's occupied area.

I wonder if this sounds familiar in other conflict areas of the world????

Okay --- enough, sarcastic tongue in cheek.

We know that sometimes bullies occur due to envy of what the victim has or possesses. But what if the victim of the bullying does not have anything that the bully wants? And so the bully can't appropriate it or even destroy it.

What I am talking about is another scenario: scapegoating.

So let me give you another concrete example:

A young man works perhaps say in a bank, or for an insurance company or a law office or even for a software company. He comes to work. He perhaps is dressed somewhat like a geek. He has some odd mannerisms. However, he is also dedicated to the company, firm or organization he works for. He appears to get on well with his co-workers and his boss. He bends over backwards. He stays late at night. He goes the extra mile on projects to demonstrate his enthusiasm and dedication to the company/firm/organization.

However, after some time, he feels comfortable enough to reveal to his co-workers that either he is gay, or has a mental illness, like bi-polar disorder or that his politics are left-wing or right-wing, or that he doesn't like to go to the after work "drink-your-face-off" Friday night parties or that he is a regular church-goer or that he is  "fill-in-the-blank".

Now, being gay or having bipolar disorder or left/right/centre politics or "fill-in-the-blank" attribute runs counter to the (unspoken) culture at the workplace where he makes his living. So slowly, bit by bit, once again, like the scenario of the teenage girl just mentioned, he gets picked apart, likely by management but it could also be his co-workers until he is either fired or forced to leave.

Clearly, this scenario has nothing to do with envy. His superiors and/or his coworkers have no envy of him, on the contrary. What they cannot contain is their contempt. And this contempt becomes a means of scapegoating. Unconsciously he is counter-culture -- whatever the current culture is -- hence he is hated.

And what the dominant culture hates -- whether he is gay, bipolar, left/centre/right, heavy drinker, tee-totaller or church-goer, is that he threatens the dominant, current status quo of the dominant culture. Moreover, the dominant culture feel threatened because he, with his attribute -- whatever it may be -- is reflecting back EXACTLY what the dominant culture DOES NOT WANT. It is a classic: Mirror, mirror on the wall scenario. The mirror reflects back the ugliness of what you cannot hold within yourself.

Now, dear friends, you do not have to go too far back in history to see this example played out on a national level. See my most recent post on Michael Brown Jr., the young man who was shot in Ferguson, Missouri:

Moreover, apart from the race situation in Missouri, Hitler`s National Socialists blamed the Jews for the situation, particularly of unemployment in Germany. And then of course there were the witch-hunts of the McCarthy era in the States, not to mention the witch hunts in the Middle Ages. And of course, there are several recent examples of closet homosexual politicians in the States who have railed against the moral decay of homosexuals and gay marriage only to be found (surprise, surprise) having clandestine "same-sex" encounters in public bathroom stalls and other places! Indeed, in the words of Shakespeare from Hamlet, act III, scene II: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

And then, most recently ISIS and other extremist factions appear to wish to blame the United States and the West for many of the social problems that exist within their own countries. Death to the West!

However, is it not ironic that the act of scapegoating --  a typically Judeo-Christian tradition, exemplified most profoundly by Christ, who, whether one believes in the story or not, was the ultimate scapegoat, is being used by extremist groups, who are, rather ironically not Judeo-Christian!
Talk about lack of awareness!

However, I digress.

Suffice it to say that bullying seems to appear at a local, personal and at the national and international level, either due to envy -- a desire to have what the other has (or destroy it or the person/entity if you cannot have it) or scapegoating, to cut off, what is abhorrent in oneself and project it outwards to someone else or some thing else, blame them for it and then kill them in order to get rid of uncomfortable feelings within yourself. Interesting, no?

So how to help those who are bullied? Of course there are now laws that are being enacted and/or will be enacted to protect children and teenagers in school. And this is a good thing. As it teaches children, both the victim and the bully that the victim has resources and that the bully will need to be accountable. Regrettably, it is also a sociological problem, for if a bully "learns" that it is okay to "get away" with coercion, it wears away his (or her) moral fibre. Effectively, it becomes okay, because there is no punishment.
But what if the current environment does not protect the child, the teenager or even adult, from bullying? What if all measures produce no satisfactory response? What then?

Indeed, what then? The answer is simple, but rather cliché and might appear to some to be trite: Love.

For the young girl in the scenario, I described, to the young girl, now gone, Amanda Todd, to other young girls (or boys) who may experience bullying. This is the answer. Love and support. The bullying is an attempt to annihilate the person (or country). By loving and supporting at the personal level -- by telling the person you love them, this shores up their worn-away self-image, whether it is a teenager or someone who has suffered workplace harassment and bullying.

And analyzing or doing a "post-mortem" of the situation is often helpful in order to figure out -- at least for the victim -- whether it was envy at the root of the bullying problem or scapegoating or a combination. However, it must be borne in mind that one has to be careful not to "blame the victim" in the analysis. In other words, if the individual is: beautiful, young, gets good grades, is artistically talented, or is gay, bipolar, left/centre/right in politics or is a drinker, teetotaller or church-goer, it is no reason to unintentionally blame the individual for the way they are or somehow try to make them change if they are currently happy being the way they are. Because if the victim does try to "accommodate", i.e. not look too pretty, or get bad grades, or "appear too gay" or drink their face off, they will also, ironically, end up not being their true, happy, authentic selves and thus will be unhappy (again).

I regret, friends that this entry was so long, but, I hope it helps,

Take care,


I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

If you are interested in this or other posts, why not click on the Google + button or submit your email, either way, and follow this blog?

Monday 18 August 2014

Michael Brown: Prejudice, race relations and tensions -- How to handle?

With what has recently happened in Ferguson, Missouri in the United States it is no wonder that there are now protests in that city following the death of Michael Brown, a young black youth, who was unarmed, yet was shot.

When I thought about this the other day, I could only think that this is nothing else but a "hot mess", as the expression goes. There is no elegant way out of this mess. Not for Darren Wilson, the man who shot Michael Brown, not for the city of Ferguson, nor the state, nor the protesters, nor the lawyers who will be involved, nor the governor of that state and most certainly not for Michael Brown's family.

So this post, today is to help address perhaps some of the complicated issues -- or at least try to understand them. I claim no authority on sociological issues, nor race relations in the United States. I am not an American citizen. I am not a "person of colour", unless of course "white" is -- from a point of view of physics --- a combination of all the colours of the rainbow when put through a prism, but I do understand some of the difficulties of prejudice. And I understand something (I think) about human nature and psychology.

So, perhaps it might be useful to take this scenario apart and examine its parts and from there maybe see what we little people -- meaning people who are ordinary people going about our daily business can do to help prevent prejudice and racial tensions in little ways, everyday?

To begin with, what exactly happened? Michael Brown, a young black teen was shot multiple times in Ferguson, Missouri. And he was stopped apparently by the police officer, Darren Wilson for jaywalking. There was also some news information that seemed to suggest that Brown and his friend who was with him at the time, Dorian Johnson, and who witnessed the event that Brown (and Johnson) may have robbed a convenience prior to the shooting death of Brown. Apart from Johnson, a bystander -- a woman by the name of Piaget Crenshaw -- witnessed and took photos of the event, stating that she saw Brown run from the police car with his hands in the air.

 Now, suppose Brown and Johnson had just robbed a convenience store (which they apparently they hadn't) and suppose Brown struggled with the police officer (which apparently he hadn't). One wonders if this is justification for having been shot? I suppose it would depend upon whether or not the officer was in need to defend himself from being attacked by Brown.

I won't get into the details, because one can go back and forth on who said what and who saw what and who did what, where, when, etc. etc. This is for the courts to decide.

However, judging by the human outcry by what has since happened Ferguson, it is likely unjust that Brown was shot to death.

Given that the community of Ferguson is mostly (from what I have read) black and that the police department (from what I have read) is mostly white, it would seem that this might be a racial concern/issue.

Now, for most police officers, policing is a stressful situation: one has to rely on quick-thinking, split-second decisions. They have to put their lives on the line to save people, even people who are on drugs and intoxicated, from themselves and others. Moreover, the officer is sometimes not aware if the individual he or she has to confront is armed or concealing arms, etc., etc. Police work is stressful and dangerous.

However, sometimes these types of situations are exacerbated by anxiety, hyperarousal, and acting before thinking. Moreover, if one is of a different colour or race it puts a literal, visual barrier between one individual and an ordinary citizen who may look  suspicious, but is actually doing nothing harmful.

It is a recipe for paranoia. And anxiety.  If you feel like the police may be after you, because you are black and therefore "put upon" and followed around on the street or in a department store or wherever you may go, then likely you will act paranoid. You will naturally be looking over your shoulder!

Now think about it.

If I am feeling distrustful of someone or something, I will look over my shoulder. I will be hypervigilant. If then, someone else sees me -- looking over my shoulder, what exactly will he (or she) think. To put it in simple terms:

Your mother knows you like to sneak cake out of the fridge. You get punished for it when you do.

Now she sees you "sneaking" but for what, she doesn't know. What do you think she is going to think.

AHA! You are sneaking cake out of that fridge again!

.....But maybe you weren't.

But if your mother is so... and here is another fancy word "PUNITIVE", you may just want to hide from her the fact that you are sneaking something else. Maybe in fact you are sneaking money out of the fridge or freezer (what you call "COLD HARD CASH") to buy your mom a mother's day gift or birthday present.

But what is she going to think????

Exactly. She will think you are sneaking cake again.

Now, I wish dear friends that it could be this simple and innocuous, that poor Michael Brown's situation was all just a silly confusion over stolen cake out of a fridge -- but it's not.

It has more to do with assumptions and prejudice.

What people assume about white people. What people assume about black people. What people assume about anyone who is different from themselves.

Now one can say, well and good. And one can take the time to examine prejudices and see that most people are just like everyone else. We all want the same thing (mostly). However, when one has certain ingrained ideas about other people hammered into you constantly, day-in and day-out, again and again. Even if you consciously try not to believe clichés or stereotypes about other people, they will invariably seep into your consciousness.

So it seems that race and racial prejudices still rear their ugly heads in the United States, especially in the south.

Now! Hold on just a second there!

Do not think for even a moment, that racial (or other) prejudice does not exist in other areas of the world. I regret dear friends, that up here in Canada, for example, that we Canadians have the view that we all live in one great big jolly non-racial, non-judgmental, non-homophobic, non-prejudicial paradise. Ha! I wish.

Prejudice exists EVERYWHERE. Let me say that again.

Prejudice exists EVERYWHERE.

Though laws might be enacted to stop racism and homophobia, and "fill-in-the-blank"-phobia, it unfortunately exists. And probably always will.

So, most areas of Canada for example do not have a preponderence of black people to white people as in the United States, however, there are other visible minorities that nonetheless, take abuse from the "dominant culture": Chinese, East Indian, First Nations (or Native Indian), and even French-Canadian or Québecois., etc. etc.

And yes, prejudice can go two ways.

And Canada (and the U.S.) are not the only countries where there is prejudice. In Great Britain, they have problems with race too, with Jamaicans and immigrants from the African countries and former colonies of Great Britain, like India and Pakistan and more lately, Eastern Europeans. In Ireland: well, it's a Protestant/Catholic thing. In France, it's about the Muslims from Algeria and the muslimification of France. In Italy, again immigrants from the African countries. And in Germany, that country where Hitler once reigned?

Ask the Germans about "Wessies" and "Ossies". A Wessie is someone from West Germany who stereotypically works hard so that lazy "Ossies" can freeload off the German state welfare system. And then of course, Germany also has the difficulty with nationalized, German-speaking, fully socially integrated Turks. These Turks were once "Gästarbeiter" or Guest workers who came to Germany to help build up the Germany economy and business, yet these same people sometimes have difficulty with integration into the society they helped to build!

What I am saying, friends, is that prejudice and problems of prejudice exist EVERYWHERE.

Now the funny thing is....

Sometimes these prejudices will manifest in the most bizarre ways. For example, during the Second World War, some German Nazi Officers would take Jewish mistresses in secret. In the deep south of the United States, as I am sure is common knowledge, white slave owners would also have black slave mistresses. It has been known that there is also some degree of attraction of Germans towards naturalized Turkish citizens of either gender. And of course there is also the common obsession with some Caucasian men taking Asian girlfriends as they are so "exotic".  Clearly, in this instance, the "prejudice" get subverted and taken inwards. Whereas some of these men may abhor other men who are "the wrong kind", i.e. different, etc., they certainly place on a pedastal of the same. Obviously they are making these women into a fetish of sorts. The women are turned into objects of lust. They are truly objectified. Just as their male brothers are also objectified. They are turned into something other than full human beings with emotions and feelings and... everything else.

But the other side of prejudice is.... wait for it.

Prejudices can actually be a good thing.

(I can hear the stunned silence!) Gasp! Shock!

Okay, so what do I mean by this?

What I mean is that prejudices are "prejudgements" or assumptions that we have about people or places or situations.  And sometimes this can, in fact be a good thing.

What I mean by this is, all of us and I mean absolutely all of us, prejudge ANY situation, based upon what we have been told or experienced in the past.

Now the ONLY thing, as far as I can think of where prejudices come in as useful, are in situations or dealing with people who send up our warning signals to beware.

So, one time, a very astute young man, railing about the aversion to "prejudices" rightly pointed out that:

        "Like, supposing you see, like some Charles Manson-like dude, coming up your driveway with a limp and covered in blood and with a bloody axe in his hand. Sure in hell no way, you're gonna stick around to see if the guy is "a nice guy" and maybe you just, like, have some prejudices about him!"

So sort of somewhat like the image from the film The Shining with Jack Nicholson. Note: I will NOT add in an image here. It's rather too gruesome. But for those of you who wish you can watch the film.

So, then I wonder? I just wonder, is it in fact perhaps possible that, without excusing anyone's actions, that heightened anxiety, hyperarousal of fear and the presence of prejudice and a firearm all "neatly" combined to produce the tragedy of poor Michael Brown and his death?

I would hazard to guess.

So, finally what to do?

Do we abandon all prejudices?

Quite clearly from the Jack Nicholson/The Shining Character example -- the answer is no. Clearly no.
But with race, we are not talking about monsters. Monsters and psychopaths exist in every race. However, perhaps the objectification of people, when they come with monstrous prejudices attached does turn them into being viewed by others as a Jack Nicholson character???

So then, again what do we do.

Perhaps, if indeed you are a person who has prejudices.... and we all do.
Test them.
That's right. Test them out. See if they are indeed valid in all cases. And then if they are not....., which they probably aren't, then you need to discard your old way of thinking and throw them out.

And if you are someone who is struggling with (racial) prejudice towards a particular group... process your feelings and concerns. If you have a black friend, talk to them -- CAREFULLY -- mind you, but talk to them. Express what you feel and what you struggle with. Of course you have to be careful what you express, it may get you in hot water.

And the same would go for someone who was struggling with Asians, or Muslims or Jews or Queer people or "fill-in-the-blank" type person. See them as real.  See them as individuals.See them with their flaws and see their humanity. Do not see them as a cliché or stereotype.

If you are troubled by what you have seen in Ferguson, process it with a friend. Talk it over. The best way that you personally, on a small, individual level can defend against the tragedy -- and this kind of prejudice happens EVERYWHERE in the world, is to connect and join in solidarity with someone from the other side of the so-called fence.

Take care,


I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

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Thursday 14 August 2014

Robin Williams: Suicide and tips for persons struggling with suicide


So I need to start this post entry by saying it was not my intention to write a post on suicide, suicidality, prevention, warning signs and helping those struggling with suicide and/or people supporting those struggling with suicide. In my past work experience, I did a lot of crisis counselling for people who were feeling suicidal, but I was concerned about "capitalizing" upon this poor man's death.
In view of the death of actor Robin Williams, it may be timely to visit the topic as it has brought the subject of mental health and in particular, suicide, to the fore. Moreover, dealing with living in the limelight may have had a huge toll on the man that we may never fully understand, see post on Envy, Narcissism and the Cult of Celebrity, link here:

Robin Williams' struggle with depression and his eventual suicide brings to light an issue that many people who are depressed wrestle with: taking your own life. Now, for most persons, in the most simple way to view the situation, the desire to suicide, or thoughts about suicide, even fleeting thoughts are usually in response to feelings of utter hopelessness.

Most people who are full of hope (or faith,.... and yes, I mean that religious thing too!), usually don't succumb to taking their lives.  It is when things appear to the individual that there is no way out or no solution, that they begin to entertain the idea of suicide or what is called "suicidal ideation" --- again another fancy expression, that psychotherapists/counsellors like me use!

So people who are facing chronic pain or who have had multiple losses and have begun to lose hope are most at risk.

So, many of us have experienced times of desperation where we felt hopeless and may have even voiced or said aloud "I wish I were dead". This is like an ideation. Fleeting, brief and it goes away as the situation changes. However, if the situation intensifies and continues, for an ongoing period of time, then the fleeting thoughts appear more and more often. Now they become a continuous daily theme. At some point the "theme" may then evolve into something more sinister.

This is when the individual starts fantasizing about taking their own life. This is an amber/red alert type of situation. However, if the individual then moves from fantasies to actual, concrete planning of their suicide, now you have an emergency.

The following are some red flags -- warning signs that you or someone you know is at very serious risk. Indeed if someone only even says, even just in passing, even just jokingly "I feel like killing myself" Then your red flag needs to go up. 
Red Flags:
  1. Saying "good bye", literally and figuratively. Having meetings with people. Having lunch or dinner with people. This is usually a "goodbye" dinner for the suicide victim, saying good bye to loved ones before they "go". Tidying things up. Wrapping things up.Giving away prized possessions.
  2. History of depression in the individual.
  3. History of past suicide attempts in the individual.
  4. History of suicides or past suicide attempts within a family.
  5. History of drug/alcohol abuse.
  6. A very sudden shift from regular "down" mood to a feeling of elation. (Usually due to "seeing a final solution" to their pain, i.e. "suicide".
  7. Suicidal thoughts.
  8. Firm suicide plans.
  9. Access to weapons: guns, ammunition, knives, ropes, cords, belts, medications, poison.
And then the following are some protective factors which buffer against suicide, suicidal ideation and suicidal gestures:

Protective Factors:

  1. Family members close by. Someone living with the individual. Even a family pet.
  2.  A sense of "purpose" or mission for the individual.
  3. A belief in some kind of faith/religion.
  4. Someone/anyone to talk to, who will listen without judging.
Note also that in general men tend to use more lethal, permanent means for suicide, whereas generally, women use less lethal, less immediate means for suicide. Women of course are socialized more to reach out for help, whereas men unfortunately are not. Hence women may have more suicide attempts (in a bid either for attention or help) whereas men will not, but when planning for a suicide, men will use more irreversible means. So men will tend to use firearms more often, whereas women will use poison or cut their wrists.

So, for the average individual, even thinking or discussing the possibility of suicide with someone else may be scary whether you are the suicidee or the person who is trying to help.

If you are the person who is trying to help:

1. Don't freak out. As long as the person in front of you is in one piece and not harming themselves, you and they are okay. The most important thing: KEEP THEM TALKING. While they are talking, they can't be harming (usually).

2. Don't think that by asking if the person has a suicide plan, that it will make them act on it. On the contrary, for most suicidal people the fact that a person is even interested in what they are experiencing and wants to help.... this can often alleviate their pain and pull them back from suiciding. Don't be afraid to ask them if they feel like killing themselves or if they have a plan.

3. Ask the person to go to hospital. And accompany them. And call an emergency first-responder.

If you are the person who is feeling suicidal:

1. Call someone, preferably a mental health professional, or crisis line or even a friend and tell them you are in immediate crisis and are feeling like you are actively wanting to kill yourself.

All of this is very brief information and what I would call  a guideline. Suicide is much more complicated than this, especially if there are other factors involved. However some of the above is pretty basic.

For more information see the following websites (including the one attached to this blog,

1. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention:

2. In the U.S.: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

3. In the U.K., Russia, Ukraine and Poland and most of Europe:

Be aware that this is not a comprehensive list, but to be used as a starting point, especially if you or someone else is suffering from severe longterm depression.
Please also have a look at two other earlier posts: When Talking to Friends isn't enough, link here:

and Tips and Strategies for dealing with Anxiety and Depression, link

Most important of all, dear friends, KEEP TALKING!!!
The best way to avoid suicide for yourself and preventing it in others, is genuine concern and connection.
As I was thinking about this post I thought of a Stevie Nicks' song. Some may think it dated or even hokey, however, the lyrics point out something sincere -- to keep talking to your friends when you are feeling like you are sinking into that hole of depression. And if that doesn't work to talk to a professional. In fact, one comment on this video stated that a teenager remembered this song, especially when he was down and it was the ONLY thing that kept him from suiciding.
I post the lyrics with it, because Ms. Nicks, by her own admission, said this song was difficult to sing and the lyrics are what make the song so poignant.
Lyrics follow the video.

Enjoy, and keep talking and
Take Care,


I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

If you are interested in this or other posts, why not click on the Google + button or submit your email, either way, and follow this blog?

I can see we're thinkin' bout the same things
And I can see your expression when the phone rings
We both know there's something happening here
Well, there's no sense in dancing round the subject
A wound gets worse when it's treated with neglect
Don't turn around there's nothing here to fear

You can talk to me
Talk to me
You can talk to me
You can set your secrets free, baby

Dusty words lying under carpets
Seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
Locked inside hidden safe from view
Well, is it all that hard?
Is it all that tough?
Well, I've shown you all my cards now isn't that enough?
You can hide your hurt
But, there's something you can do:

You can talk to me
Talk to me... talk to me
I can set your secrets free, baby

Though we lay face to face and cheek to cheek
Our voices stray from the common ground where they
Could meet
The walls run high, to veil a swelling tear
Oh, let the walls burn down, set your secrets free
You can break their bounds, cause you're safe with me
You can lose your doubt, cause you'll find no danger
Not here

You can talk to me
Talk to me
You can talk to me
You can set your secrets free, baby

Oh, I can see you running... I can see you running
I can see you running all the way back home
I can see your expression when the phone rings
And I can see that you're thinkin' bout the same things
Is it all that hard?
Is it all that tough?
Well, you've taken all there is now baby
Isn't that enough?
Well, I can see you runnin'... I can see you runnin'
All the way back

Sunday 10 August 2014

Justin Bieber: Narcissism, Envy and The Cult of Celebrity

by Stephen B.Chadwick, MA Counselling Psychology.
So, dear friends it has been a number of days since I have been able to post. And I have wanted to post about a number subjects, for example:

1. Bullying, on the small scale and the large, national scale

2. Confidentiality, especially as it pertains to psychotherapy and counselling.

3. And Self-respect, especially for young females, but really for anyone,

so stay tuned. There are other posts to come. But for now, I simply wanted to post another entry and not leave you“abandoned, out in the middle of the emotional ocean”, so to speak!

So this entry is going to be about the Biebs! – Justin Bieber.
 Our collective fascination with celebrity and stardom and tabloids and “costume malfunctions” and envy is perfectly normal and part of human nature .

Monday 4 August 2014

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices

 So, in order to take a bit of a break from all the doom and gloom of what is going on in Gaza and Eastern Ukraine that is in the media right now, I thought I might make an entry on healthy lifestyle choices.

Coincidentally, a local food retailer called Country Grocer which services the area in which I live, is now following on the twitter account attached to this blog, so this week’s topic is a natural fit.

Now, before I begin talking about “making healthy lifestyle choices”, I should preface this by saying that, one has to be very careful about talking about this area of life.


Monday 28 July 2014

Letting go of the Life-ring: Trust and Change

Trust and Change: Learning how to let go of the life-ring


So, dear friends an individual wrote in requesting some follow-up on the blog posting about clinging to the emotional life-ring (see the entry on “Just GetOver it! (Already) – NOT!).

Specifically the question was how to change patterns of the past. As you can see from the image in the posting “Just Get Over it!”, people who are abandoned, alone, out in the emotional ocean of life will desperately cling to that life-ring and when a rescuer comes along... well, they will switch from the life-ring to that person.



I won’t get into the phrases: “clingy” and “needy”, because EVERYONE is clingy and needy. Let me repeat that again, because it bears repeating:


EVERYONE is clingy and needy.


And as I mentioned in my post on “Just Get Over it!”, when well-meaning people criticize you (or worse) you criticize yourself with your internal critic by saying this.  Do you think it helps you or hinders? What do you think? – This is a test question, friends.


What do you think? When someone tells you, or you tell yourself – “You are clingy and needy!” Do you think it empowers you to go right out there and tackle the world? Does it make you feel like this:

Statue of Liberty

Monument to the Motherland, Kyiv

Or this:

Liberty Leading the People -- Eugène Delacroix



Or rather, do you feel rather more like this:


 even more small and less able to tackle the world? And then perhaps you feel that it is maybe even your own fault that you are... CLINGY and NEEDY?


What do you think is the correct answer?


For all those who chose the second answer: Full Marks.

For all those who wanted to choose the first answer, please refer to second answer.


Anyway, enough silliness.


The point is, when you are feeling abandoned by past relationships and/or desperate and wanting to regain what you have lost, it makes no sense whatsoever to BLAME yourself for what you no longer have or what you have lost. You have lost something and you feel a need (not neediness) until it is replaced. It is that simple. Blaming yourself by calling yourself down (or having others call you down) by saying you are needy or clingy helps not a bit.


So, embrace your clinginess and your neediness. It is there for a reason.


Hunh? Embrace your neediness?


Emotions, you see, are our sensors. When you are feeling neediness or clinginess, it is an internal message from yourself to yourself that you wish to be more emotionally connected. Listen to that message and listen to that voice. It is there for a reason.


So, well and good, Steve, I hear you say.

So I acknowledge my neediness and my loneliness and my clinginess. So what? What am I supposed to do about this now?


Okay, so part of the problem with getting into relationships is, it involves two elements:


1.      Process

2.      And Trust.


Now, psychotherapists and counsellors are forever going on about “process” and no, we are not talking about this:

 processed cheese, although the word “process” is such a cliché with counsellors, you could say it is “cheesy”.


But, seriously, “process” is an expression we use to understand that CHANGE and the change process and the evolution of a person’s life and personality, does not happen instantaneously overnight. On the contrary it is..... a process.


And similarly changing ANYTHING in our lives is a process.  I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But at least you now know realistically HOW to change whatever you would like to in your life (within reason).




Want to lose weight? – It’s a process.

Want to get out of that bad relationship? – It’s a process.

Want to have a fabulous, buff body or look like Arnold? – It’s a process.

Want to be wealthy? – It’s a process.

Want to get into that super relationship with the person of (most) of your dreams? – It’s a process.

Want to quit drinking/smoking/drugging (fill-in-the-blank) bad habit? – It’s a process.


Want to speak a foreign language? – It’s a process.

Want to get out of that job or change your career or go back to school? – It’s a process.

Want a sparkling clean, decluttered house and tidy garden? – It’s a process.


Just how many infomercials have there been where people can strike it rich with some super-duper fabulous get-rich-quick investment scheme or lose weight or put on muscles in no time at all? Unfortunately, they don’t tell you the other side of it: that it takes a lot of persistence and encouragement to get to that goal.


These infomercials are designed to appeal to all of us at a very basic level because they focus on basic human drives and basic human needs and goals. A man named Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow

talked about this and I may come back to this in the future on another post.


However, what you need to keep in mind, for whatever change you would like to bring about is that it is a process. Ten steps forward, 3 steps back. But a net gain of seven steps.


Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian journalist,

Malcolm Gladwell

in his book entitled “Outliers”

talks about the “10,000 hour effect”, referring to a study by K. Anders Ericsson,

 a Swedish psychologist. According to Ericsson’s  research, which was written about in Gladwell’s book,  the bulk of most successful people in the world have put in about 10,000 hours into their field in order to be at the top of their field.
K. Anders Ericcson


There are no overnight success stories.


So, once again.   It is a process.


Secondly, and this is a little bit more difficult, apart from changing habits and routines, relationships, if one is talking about changing relationships, also involves trust. And trust again, is..... A process.


So the question might be: Okay, Steve. I hear that changing my life (or my relationship) might be a process – 10, 000 hours or 10 steps forward, 3 steps back until I reach my destination.


However, how do I trust if I have been burned?


Simple.    You don’t trust, if you have been burned.




You don’t trust if you have been burned. You are feeling fearful and frightened. You don’t trust.... until you feel safe.

Think again of the image of the drowning person with the life ring.  The person is fearful and frightened of drowning.  How useful would it be to the drowning person to snatch away their life ring and say:

                        “Now there you go! SWIM”

So the exact same thing applies to you. You feel bruised perhaps from a past relationship. You are distrustful. So you don’t trust. You have to go with what you feel.


However, you also know, logically that if you never let go of that life ring you will never swim.


So, you have to trust that you will swim and not drown.


I realize that this may be a little too abstract and metaphoric, so I will illustrate with a concrete example, where the names and information has been changed.



Once upon a time, I knew a middle-man who had had 3 kids and who had lost his wife due to cancer.  Very nice man, but unfortunately when he lost his wife, he started drinking like crazy and almost lost his job. Fortunately his elder sister came to the rescue and he went into rehab and got cleaned up.


Now, remember what I said about change? Well, change for this man was a process. Everyday he had to struggle to deal with his wife’s death and then his abstinence and like in Alcoholics Anonymous or AA, every day was one step at a time. So it was a daily process for him.


Now after about 3 years, the man who was still young enough, wanted to have a relationship. However, he felt a strong obligation whenever he met a new woman in his life to “be honest and tell her upfront that he was “an alcoholic”.


Well and good, I thought, except here’s the problem and I told him so.

When you get into a relationship it is ...... A PROCESS.

It is a process of getting to know someone and you don’t and shouldn’t spill your entire life story in the first five minutes you meet someone, especially not that which you might think would be   upsetting for the other person to know.


You do not need to tell them for example that:

1.      You used to be an addict.

2.      You were sexually abused as a child

3.      You have been bankrupt.

4.      You had a criminal record, which has now been removed.

5.      Anything else that someone else might be scared of.


Why? But shouldn’t I be honest and upfront with the person?

Absolutely. But do they need to know absolutely everything and every little transgression or fault about you within the first five minutes? No.


Everyone has faults. And trust and the process of trust will slowly start to bring out these admissions AS YOU GET TO KNOW THE PERSON. Look at it this way, the person you are getting to know, will likely have just as many faults and heartaches in their past as you, all you need to do is wait for the story.

And if you were to hear in the first five minutes about someone else’s failed relationships, what would you think?

Probably, you wouldn’t want to get involved with this person.

Which is exactly what this middle-aged man was struggling with.

He felt a compunction to be upfront and honest in the first meeting with anyone new and subsequently turned all potential partners off.


SO, relationships and trust are a process. It requires courage and time.

And be good to yourself. If you are feeling needy or clingy, it is because you are feeling a basic human need that we all need from birth: to be held, touched, loved, wanted and desired.

People who do not have this, dear friends can become very, very seriously dysfunctional.


So, keep at it and trust the process. Because as you do begin to trust the process, you will find yourself less and less like the clingy little child and more and more like the ideal of liberty.

Take care,


I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

If you are interested in this or other posts, why not click on the Google + button or submit your email, either way, and follow this blog?