Archive: Psychotherapy

On Being a Kickass Woman

Below is a video about a group of indigenous women who decided to don climbing equipment, wearing their traditional clothes, and climb the Andes. Their children, their husbands, their friends all thought they were crazy. That they needed protecting. That their safety needed to come before excitement or challenge.

These women did it anyway. Their way. And they’re pretty good at it.

That’s what it takes to be a kickass woman. Following your own way. No matter what!

Mountain Climbers

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!

Quote of the Week

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” - Golda Meir

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? At times we need more  - we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

The freedom of not anticipating

I was preparing for a talk on a difficult subject, and because I was nervous, began coming up with a bunch of worst-case what-ifs; so much so that I began to believe those were the only alternatives.

You can guess how that talk went: I was defensive, and worried – anticipating the worst. A great example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’ve also experienced the other side of that same coin: preparing for a talk, assuming that my audience will know all the basics and I sail right into details.  Nope. They knew nothing!
That switcheroo was easier, but honestly, my delivery took a while to ramp up.

Anticipation – leads to distress, pain, disappointment, worry and rumination. Not to mention distraction. Keeping myself open to working with whatever happens, on the other hand, leaves me free to connect with my audience in a genuine way.

Dan Gilbert – You are always changing

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!

Quote of the Week

Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? At times we need more  - we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Been gaslighted lately?

If you don’t think so, think again. They only way you couldn’t have is if you never read the papers or listen to the news.

Gaslighting happens when someone deliberately manipulates a situation in order to make another person question themselves. That person may or may not realize what they’re doing. The impact of their action is the same regardless.  I’m witnessing it happening on the political arena increasingly, and so it’s become something we all need to understand and combat successfully.

The first thing to know is that gaslighting only works with your collaboration. That is, if you refuse to go along with it, it loses all it’s power.

My mother was a successful gaslighter. I don’t think she ever knew it. But I ended up with years of having to work through it, undo the damage it caused, and learn how to trust myself again. I used to tell people that her reality was in a perpetual altered state, which helped me retain some stability through it all. (She’s now passed, and I’m happy to say we had many good years together.)

How does a gaslighter do it (from Psychology Today)?

  • By telling a deliberate lie that you know is a lie, in order to set a tone of never knowing if what they say is true or not. This effectively keeps you, in this situation, off-balance.
  • By denying they said something you know they did say, with the effect that you begin to question yourself instead of them.  This becomes more and more the case the more it happens.
  • By using what is important to you against you, attacking the foundation of your being. For instance, the person might question your technical abilities when they know that’s meaningful to you; or your value as a mother if that’s how you’ve defined yourself.
  • By not walking their talk – saying one thing and doing another.  The key is to attend to what they do, not to what they say.
  • By occasionally praising you, so that even if you had managed to figure them out, you find yourself questioning that.
  • By aligning others against you. This may be done through gossip and deliberate misrepresentation, or simply by getting you to believe that there are others who already knew something they maintain about you.
  • By projecting what is really going on inside them that they don’t like onto you.
  • By telling others that you’re the crazy one, not them.

If you find yourself faced with this kind of situation, here’s what you can do:

  • Become aware. First, gain an understanding of what’s going on. The only way gaslighting can work is if you let it.  By understanding the dynamics, you gain clarity, which makes gaslighting unworkable.
  • Trust your own gutOne the most insidious things about the situation is the denial of your reality. And this leads to self-denial of what your body is telling you.  Therefore, it’s important to re-connect with that inner knowing, and trusting it, no matter what.
  • Be defiant. Stand your ground, and don’t give in. You won’t be thanked for it; the person gaslighting you will not acknowledge your right to do so. It’s no good doing it for recognition and visibility – that will not happen! Do it for your own well-being.
  • Develop a healthy detachment. The emotional back and forth between praise and blame can be unhinging, unless you become the observer. It’s tempting to simply disappear emotionally – and you might, but there is a cost to disappearing. Developing a healthy detachment means remaining in the space emotionally, doing so by also understanding thoroughly that what is going on is not about you, but about the other person.
  • Find some way to tell your story – so that you develop your own means of remaining visible to yourself and others.

What to do about gaslighting

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!

Quote of the Week

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.
Need more? At times we need more  - we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

You have impact!

impact

You’re feeling  crappy – not so crappy that you have to go to bed, but just off.  You’ve been working all day. You’re tired. You just want to go home and hide in a book.  But, you’ve made plans. You promised to be at your friend’s inauguration – or birthday party, or opening.

Then you find yourself in self-talk. It goes something like: “You know, there are thousands of people who are going to be there. Who am I anyway?. She won’t miss me.”

So you stay home.  Next week when you see her, she seems distant. She says she understands but you can see in her face and gestures that she’s hurt.

What does that tell you? You have more impact than you ever imagined.

You count! Just like your friend does.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Show off!

show off

Rather than telling people how great we are, we show them how great we are. – Renee Ballard

Renee is a woman I’m currently getting to know. She’s a fellow Martha Beck Coach, and also a Social Media maven.  I honestly can’t remember what we were talking about, but I do remember what she concluded.

For some people, showing their own greatness can be a lot harder than simply talking about it. For others, both are hard.  I’m reminded of one of my favorite childhood heroes – the introverted cowboy “greenhorn” hero of the classic western who, instead of coming in with both guns blazing, shows up and does the right thing when it’s needed.  Nice and elegant.

Learning to be comfortable showing off my greatness only happened when I finally got it. I ”got” that, as long as I hid that greatness, those who needed what I have to offer couldn’t get it.

You and I have something to show off that’s unique, wanted, and needed. Just like that greenhorn hero from the movies.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

What I really know

really know

I was at my partner’s place last week. He was talking about what it would take to start a new business – he’s never had to do that, so it seemed like a black hole to him.  I knew exactly what he needed to do: the steps, the order … it was so clear, and I knew that if he followed these steps in that order, he’d be fine.

I didn’t know I knew so much because I can’t look at my own business the same way. I get stuck on things that seems so clear when I apply it to others. I don’t know what I was more dumbstruck from: that I knew so much, or that I didn’t know I knew so much.

After taking a few days to get used to this new discovery, I wondered why that happens and how I could use it to get unstuck.

That we can’t easily be impartial and objective toward our own passions isn’t something new.  But the thing is – I’m not impartial to what matters to my partner. I care deeply and want to help. It’s just that speaking for another person brings with it a responsibility for me to give my best. Is it that I don’t treat my own needs with that same sense?

Really, it’s more than that: when I give advice, I know it’s value because I know the expected outcome.  But when I try different approaches to running my own business, I don’t know the outcome. It’s this uncertainty that stops me. And scares me so much that I get stuck.

I tell myself that my situation isn’t exactly like his; that it’s unique; and that it therefore doesn’t follow the same principles.  Well, no situation anywhere is exactly like any other situation, and yet the vast majority of them do follow the same principles…

What I really know is this: I’m passionate about my business; and this means I’m afraid of doing something that will hurt my business. So I dither. But deep down, I also know that if I follow the same steps I gave my partner, in that order, I’ll be fine.

Just like him.

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Roots, Wings and Energy

This week, I got almost nothing done that was on my priority list. That’s unusual for me: it wasn’t because I slacked off, or because I was incapacitated, or because I had friends over, or any reason like that. I was busy and productive all week. So what happened?

What happened was that I discovered that what I thought I needed to do isn’t what I actually needed to do. So this week, I spent my time planning and dreaming. Looking inside myself, challenging everything I’d thought and assumed once again.

I took a good look at what I’ve done so far that I like, and where it is I want to end up, and on what inspires me to get there every day.

Phillip Zimbardo, from his research, has discovered that those of us who consistently make the best use of our time are the ones who use positive past experiences to root them in the present, future visions and dreams to give us wings, and present desires to energize us.

As a result, this week I’ve been assessing and dreaming – using vision boards and quiet meditation; reviewing what I’ve done so far – what worked, what didn’t, and what I might alter. I might have to do this next week as well.

Then I’ll have a new to do list and a new direction. With Roots, Wings, and Energy.

The Psychology of Time – Phillip Zimbardo

energy

Quote of the Week
You can’t save up time. You can’t refuse to spend it. You can’t set it aside.
Either you’re spending your time.
Or your time is spending you.
-Seth Godin

Announcements
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Confronting Mirrors

confronting

Have you ever been so committed to an idea or issue or movement that you have a hard time seeing any point of view but your own? I have, and am right now.  I want a particular person to be included at a big event next week because I believe he has something important to contribute. I believe this so much that I’m finding it almost impossible to hear the view of any nay sayers.

How could these people not see what I see? …  It’s so obvious! … I say to myself.

Then at some point I realize that I’ve done nothing but talk to myself, even if I talked to the others who I’m convinced won’t agree with me. Why? Because I’ve filtered what they’re saying and hear only what agrees with my foregone conclusions.

I miss the chance to really hear what they’re saying. It might be that they believe there’s simply no room for an extra person; or that if this person comes then so should their friend. It might even be that they  agree with me. Or that I caught them on a day their dog got lost.

Not missing what is on their minds means I can allow their concerns to register, mirroring back to them what they’re saying, and offering them a chance, in turn, to mirror my concerns back to me.

Confrontation can happen in one of two ways: either to win over the other person, or to take the conversation to a new level. The first is like a one-way mirror; the secnd like a window into each other’s soul.

From Martha Beck: Don’t be the light. Be the window.

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Who do you feed?

If you haven’t heard the story about the 2 wolves, here it is: It’s an ancient Cherokee legend.

A boy comes to his grandfather for advice because he’s raging inside over a fight he had with his friend.  His grandfather tells him there are two wolves inside him. One is good and is joy, peace, love, hope, kindness, generosity, truth, compassion – all the things that give our lives joy; the other is evil and is anger, envy, regret, greed, guilt, resentment, doubt, false pride – all the things that make us miserable.

The boy thought for a minute, and then asks his grandfather which wolf would win.

Grandfather replies: The one you feed.

Which is good and which is evil isn’t always so easy to figure out. Here’s another, more modern, story (you may be familiar with some version of it):

A woman – Jane, let’s say – is faced with a choice, and can’t decide which is the better one. She’s just been offered the promotion she’s coveted for over a year, but it would mean relocating.  That’s OK for her, but not so OK for her son and husband, who like where they are and friends, colleagues and great prospects that they’d lose if they moved.  She would feel great. They would feel terrible. What should she do?

She might talk herself into one choice or the other, without ever really being clear about what motivated her. After all, if I were to be offered the job of my dreams, I’d be pretty hard-pressed to turn it down, and might rationalize my way into going, only to discover my mistake when it was too late. Or, she might avoid that mistake by imagining that it had already happened – both alternatives.

Alternative 1 – moving with her husband and son.  Imagine a typical day living in her new place – being honest with herself, how she’d feel getting up, how it would be between herself and her family walking through the whole day like that.

Alternative 2 – turning the job down and staying put. Imagine this typical day in the same way as she’s imagined the first alternative.

Which feels good? Which doesn’t feel good?  Which choice gives her peace and joy, and which doesn’t? Martha Beck refers to something like this in her book Steering by Starlight. She calls it “Find the Feeling”.

Sometimes knowing which wolf we’re feeding takes some effort, but the pay-off is worth it.

Peace of mind.

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

The Psychopath Character Structure

psychopath

In the first part of the 20th century, Austrian Psychoanalist Wilhelm Reich developed a theory explaining how we respond both physically and emotionally to the challenges we meet in life, especially in early life.   For the past few weeks, I’ve introduced you, in broad terms, to Character Structures in general, and to the Masochist, or Endurer, the Oral, the Schizoid, and the Rigid.  This week I’ll introduce you to the Psychopath body and character type, the 5th and fnal main type.

The Psychopath, or Challenger, structure is most often triangular – broad shoulders, puffed out chest, narrow hips. Like Superman, or even Wonder Woman.

The main issue with the Challenger is trust: where their self-expression as a child was either not enough or too much, resulting in being put down or idealized. As with the other character types, parents do this unintentionally for the most part, but done during a given developmental period, it will likely result in the child armoring themselves in a particular way – in this case, by way of the Challenger. This child learns quickly to produce a false self that is designed to please others and manipulate them, and never or rarely reveal their true self.  The Challenger is the one with his back to wall, in a position to survey all who enter.

At his worst, he truly is a characature, puffed up in self-protection and self-importance. At his best, he is a natural leader, and if he is able to learn how to trust and reveal his true self, is a positive influence on any group he belongs to.

For the past few weeks, I’ve introduced Character Structures very briefly. If you find this series interesting, and want to know more, I along with my friend and colleague Jane Mactinger will be holding a workshop on Character Structures in the near future.  Stay tuned for a date and time.

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .