Why Is the “Rule of Law” Important to My Mental Health?

what is the rule of law and why does it matter?  The rule of law is: “a situation in which the laws of a country are obeyed by everyone The courts uphold the rule of law.” In a country that follows the rule of law, the laws and penalties are the same for everyone. Under that definition, there isn’t a country in the world that is entirely following the rule of law. A lot of countries, maybe even most, believe in it and work towards it, however, and that is important. When people are able to go around the law if they are rich …

Ousting the Secret-Teller: Why the Person Who Reports the Abuse Gets Banished

On how the secret-teller who reveals abuse gets pushed or urged out of a group, and how to protect yourself as this happens.  Ousting the Secret-Teller: Why the Person Who Reports the Abuse Gets Banished If you have been abused by a family member, a friend in your close friendship group, a leader or member in your religious group, or a boss or co-worker in a workplace, you have probably experienced the pain of attempting tell or warn others in the group about the behavior of your abuser, only to have the group ice you out, tell you confidently that …

What Happens When You’re Hotlined For Child Abuse?

What Happens When You’re Hotlined for Child Abuse? This article applies to the United States, as I don’t know the laws and procedures in other countries.  Hotlines for child abuse or neglect feel horrible and terrifying. I know this as a therapist and as a mother. My oldest son “failed to thrive” so his doctor hotlined a couple of times thinking I wasn’t feeding him. Further, his father thought it was great fun to hotline me every time we had a disagreement over parenting. Before long I knew the routine in my sleep. “Yes, come right in.” “Sure, look in …

WHAT Skills Core Mindfulness from DBT: Observe, Describe, Participate

From DBT: “What” Mindfulness Skills? This article includes information from DBT Skills Training Manual 2nd Edition pages 153-154 by Marsha Linehan, PhD. The “what” mindfulness skills are the three core mindfulness skills from DBT that help you with what to do when your mind is out of control. They help you to be skillful enough to be productive or to stop being destructive. Do You Mind? Tackling the Thing.

How the “Wellness” Industry Promotes Eating Disorders

I’m about to tell you a personal story about eating disorders I woke up this morning to this headline from the New York Times: “Smash the Wellness Industry: Why are so many smart women falling for its harmful, pseudoscientific claims?” , which discusses the author’s own struggle with eating disorders. Because the Times is behind a paywall, I’ll summarize. The author, a novelist named Jessica Knoll,  spent most of her adult life going on one diet after another, following the advice of dieticians,  doctors, and whatever fad of the week diet was being promoted. It wasn’t until she found a …

Microfiction: Enthusiastic Consent

In case you were wondering what “enthusiastic consent” looks like. What enthusiastic consent looks like: Ready? In a minute. Yet? Not quite. Yet? Yes! Like this? Or this? Both, and neither. Like this. Like this? Oh yes? And is this the way, or this? Oh, this. Oh, THIS! More? or Less? More! oh, oh. Oops. I meant less. My turn? Please? Of course. Mouth or hands? I like both. Mouth first, I think. Yes. Mmmmph? (Giggles) Yes. And back at you. Mmmmph! Mmmmph! Phew! A break? Sure. Cuddle? Sleep? Or something else. Ice cream. Ice cream? For eat or play? …

On Boundaries: Scripts for Setting Your Material Boundaries

Boundaries: Four Levels and Four Circumstances In the article I published earlier this week on physical boundaries, I went into great detail about the four levels (avoid, ask, tell, and demand) and four circumstances (public, work, and school, friends and family, and intimate relationships) in which we set boundaries. You can read that post here.  What Are Material Boundaries? Material boundaries are the boundaries you set when you invest in other people. Breaking that down a bit further, material boundaries are set when you decide whether or not to lend or give something to someone. The primary currencies involve time, …

Four By Four: Protecting Your Physical Boundaries

Four “Levels” of Boundary Setting Behavior: Today I’m going to be providing scripts for setting physical boundaries. Before I start, I’ll go over the four different levels of boundary setting behaviors, and four common sorts of social situations where people will be expected to set boundaries. This information will also be used when we talk about material, mental, and emotional boundaries. We all have to set boundaries in multiple places in our lives, and depending on our circumstances, we might set them in one of four ways:  Softest: Avoiding to set the boundary: Avoiding is when we set the boundary …

On Boundaries: 13 Ways Gaslighting Crosses Boundaries

What is Gaslighting? Gaslighting describes a set of behaviors by people and organizations that cause someone who interacts with them to question their own information, feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. It is usually part of a pattern of abuse. Gaslighting helps abusive people and organizations control their victims by causing them to question their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. in a way that makes them feel “crazy”. The term comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the movie, Boyer’s character attempted to make Bergman’s character think she was “crazy” by turning the gas lights …

On Boundaries: Defining Boundaries

Let’s Start By Defining Boundaries:  Prentis Hemphill defines boundaries like this: “Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.”  Of all the definitions of interpersonal boundaries I’ve seen, I love this one best.  Wikipedia provides an expanded definition that covers much what I’m covering here. “Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits”. I will add that boundaries work both ways. If we are defining boundaries that others …