“I must convince the world to like me” – Moving Towards People

Do you feel fundamentally unlikeable unless you are doing something for others?  Perhaps you counteract this feeling by acting in ways that generate positive responses from others.  Termed “moving towards people”, this can mean attuning to and meeting others’ emotional needs, and/or finding it necessary to be helpful to others.  In isolation these kinds of behaviors are worthy character traits. …

self destructive behavior

Understanding “self-destructive” behavior from within

It can be head-scratching when someone is being harmed but does not flee to safety or otherwise protect themselves. We often assume that everyone wants to feel safe and protected and label other kinds of behavior as “self-destructive”. If there’s a thorn in the lion’s paw, he wants it taken out. If someone’s partner is physically or emotionally abusive then …

bad childhood

So you had a bad childhood…

To know whether you experienced a bad childhood, take this short assessment.   The majority of adults in the United States had parents who were ‘good-enough’. This does not mean that everything was perfect in these families. Rather there was enough consistency, support, and flexibility for children to develop.   There is a sizable minority in the population whose parents …

people pleaser

Why being a “people pleaser” means you are a survivor

by Jay Reid Case illustration: John* was a successful 28-year-old software engineer.  He explained that he lives his life through the eyes of others instead of his own.  He was acutely aware of how other people might perceive him and adjusted his behavior, speech, everything to try to please them. In his life, John had learned to funnel his understanding of …

addiction

The illusion of control in addiction

by Jay Reid Drugs and alcohol can be fun to consume.  If they weren’t, then a lot less people would find themselves struggling with addiction.  How does recreational use of drugs or alcohol transition to full-blown addiction? Addiction means believing you can control your use despite all the evidence that you cannot. What does the illusion of control over addictive behavior look like? …

self-sacrifice

Therapy for habitual self-sacrifice

by Jay Reid This blog post is the second in a series about how some people must sacrifice some part of themselves in order to keep important relationships going.   In the last blog, I talked about Joan who believed she must sacrifice her needs, talents, and strengths for someone else to care about her.   This post will focus on how therapy …