A Child Within Us Wants to Talk

Many of us have an ”inner child” or an “inner younger part” who has not been heard, seen, or treated in a healthy nurturing way. As a result, whether it is an inner child, adolescent, or younger adult, feelings of being ignored, abandoned, or not loved may be retained. The memories of these unresolved feelings are carried into our adult life and often become buried in the subconscious.

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Escape From an Emotionally and Verbally Abusive Father

This article depicts the interview and story of Dianna, who grew up in the Middle East and escaped her emotionally and verbally abusive father when she was a young adult by emigrating to the United States. Because her father never acknowledged her pain, and most of her relatives never believed such abuse was possible from her father…

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Fear of Success

"Why are some people afraid to succeed but not to fail? Why are some more afraid of failure? How can one learn to embrace these two fears? What is the difference between them?" A young Canadian woman wrote to me recently with these inquiries. I thought they were excellent questions, and decided to share my thoughts and findings here.

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Trust in Yourself

Merriam Webster dictionary defines trust as the "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something" and "one in which confidence is placed."

But unfortunately, trust can be broken in many ways. We may have been betrayed, mistreated, lied to or hurt by someone such as a partner, family, friend or colleague.

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What makes one person a bystander and another a hero?

Why is everyone looking the other way while a woman is harassed on the bus, a child is abused by a parent in the parking lot of a grocery store, or a stranger on the street is being attacked? Why isn’t anyone doing or saying anything? We all know that there are true heroes among us who will risk their own lives to help others. But what makes one person a bystander and another a hero?

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Rejection Hangover: Abandonment Anxiety

Stephanie met a man for their first date together, and it went very well. They talked for three hours, exchanged eye contact, laughed together, and had great chemistry. At the end of the evening, they agreed, “This was fun! Let’s meet again!”

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Why Apologizing Can Be So Good (for You)

It was 11:05 a.m., and my new client, Margaret, was five minutes late for her first therapy appointment. Just as I was about to call to check in with her, I could hear her footsteps coming up the stairs. Her facial expression showed disorientation. In an irritated tone, she explained that she had gone up and down the street looking in vain for my office, because there was no sign with my name on it.

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Was I Molested Even Though My Clothes Never Came Off?

After I posted my last article about childhood sexual abuse for the Psychology Today blog, many of my readers e-mailed me various questions. Rebecca (not her real name) was a reader who was confused about her experience and trying to put the puzzle pieces together. She asked the following:

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Trauma: Childhood Sexual Abuse

There are various types of traumatic events that can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sexual abuse is a particularly sinister type of trauma because of the shame it instills in the victim. With childhood sexual abuse, victims are often too young to know how to express what is happening and seek out help. When not properly treated, this can result in a lifetime of PTSD, depression and anxiety.

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The Power of Being You

Giving too much of yourself and saying yes too often is something many people are accustomed to doing to avoid conflicts and feelings of guilt. A sincere desire to give is wonderful, however, there’s a distinction between giving of yourself and giving up yourself. Ignoring your own desires and views may not only deny “who you are” but, over time, may lead to resenting others, feeling fatigued or anxious, and experiencing stress induced physical symptoms.

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Students with PTSD

On a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) forum, a college student cries out for help: “Hey, everyone, I’m having a really hard time with course work right now.” He elaborates, “I’m dissociating a lot right now, and it’s making me pretty dysfunctional some days. For those of you who are, or have been, in college, do you have any suggestions that might help me deal with dissociation and concentration problems?”

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Compassion Fatigue

Medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, psychotherapists, and emergency workers who help traumatized patients may develop their own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms as an indirect response to their patient’s suffering. This phenomenon has been referred to as compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatic stress.

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Escape Paralysis

Many people wonder, “Why don’t kidnapping victims like Jacee Dugard try to escape when they have the chance? Why do they bond with their perpetrator?” Research shows that these behavioral patterns are typically experienced by sexually assaulted people; abuse, domestic violence, and incest victims; cult members; and those who survive kidnapping and hostage situations.

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The Foster Care System and Its Victims: Part 4

It would only be fair to mention that in my work with the foster care system, I met many wonderful foster agencies and foster families who sometimes went on to permanently adopt their foster children. Yet overall, it seems obvious that the foster care system does not work well, and the statistics of abusive foster families are too high.

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