Tag Archive | society

Mental Health and Gun Control – 19 Years

This past month has been a terrible time for those of us in Columbus, Ohio. First, we lost a juvenile who was in court and, because of his violent behaviors, was subsequently shot outside of court by a deputy sheriff. Then we lost two respected police officers in the very small town of Westerville. Both involved mental health issues of the victim in one case and the perpetrator in another. In the past week, our country lost a total of 5 police officers, including Westerville. We lost a total of 17 teens and school staff in one high school in Florida.

High school shootings have been going on since 1999. Now we are hearing the media say FL was worse than Columbine. This isn’t a competition to see whomever shoots the most kids wins. All school shootings are traumatic, are equal and should never have happened. It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.

We need to stop blaming and start taking action. Political activists want to blame and act as if it is the Republicans fault that high school shootings exist; when in fact we have had both Democrat and Republican presidents since 1999. Over the years, both sides have made statements about offering love and prayers, obviously they are going to say that because it would be heartless not to. What is worse though is that both sides have said “This will never happen in our country again.” Unfortunately we have now seen 19 years of this happening again in our country. We have seen this happen at the college level, high schools and an elementary school. It is time to stop blaming one side or the other and get to the table and have discussions. To start with, this does not belong on a lobbyist table, it needs to be a discussion of professionals in the mental health industry, police officers, forensic specialists as well as the leaders in the NRA and they need to listen to one another. Listening is the key ingredient in making change, not trying to get votes.

I have been in the mental health profession since high school shootings began. I was trained in holistic thought processes so I am not prone to listening to one side; I try to hear the whole story. You can’t understand anything unless you are looking at the big picture and the long term effects. I have lots of prejudices, believe me, yet I work with people from all different backgrounds, including those I have opinions about. However, because I believe people have a right to be heard and it is hard for me not to have empathy when I hear them and have taken them into my fold as a therapist, I am able to set my opinions aside for this client or clients and provide them the support that they need. After all, working with someone in therapy, I believe, is helping them to become a better person. This is what it means to be a professional.

America has become a Roe v. Wade in the sense that everything is a Pro-Life v. Pro-Choice extreme thinking conversation. No one ever listens to the other side. It is idiotic and stupid when one side is incapable of listening to what the other side has to say. It is ridiculous to hold an opinion that you are right and they are wrong. Sure we all joke and say, “but I am right,” but to actually believe this to the point that you can’t possibly sit down with your opposing view neighbor and have a cup of coffee and hear what each other has to say is beyond sad. It is disturbing and this is what our country has to offer right now.

All these people who get on bandwagons and say they are “tolerant” or “celebrate diversity,” are online yelling at the other side and giving their biases about race, religion or culture. When we are behaving in such a hostile environment as we are on social media, how can we expect that a mentally unwell person is not going to take advantage of this? If Kathy Griffin isn’t capable of understanding that there is a line you don’t cross when it comes to shouting your hatred toward the president of the United States, how in the world can you expect a mentally unwell person to understand and intellectualize what is happening online?

It has become common place to hear about shootings and we have become immune to this. We get an endorphin rush when it happens and a week later we forget. What do we expect is going to happen to someone who has mental health problems and is paying attention to all of this online. We get to be voyeurs but they internalize it and fantasize about it and feel empowered by this.

Madeline Albright (the first female Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton) spoke in San Jose, CA sometime in the early 2000’s and I went to listen to her talk. She spoke about the split in politics and how it has become so damaging to the D.C. atmosphere. When she began her journey in politics, it was normal for Republicans and Democrats to eat together, party together even walk down the street together. Our country being divided to the point of not being able to say who you voted for without getting spit on, means we do not live in a safe place and we cannot expect things to change; as long as we behave in this manner. If our politicians can’t behave like professionals and respect their own colleagues, how can we citizens be expected to behave like decent people? Right now the Democrats are just being sore losers and this is what we teach our children across the country not to do when they are on a team. Republicans were sore losers during Obama; worrying about a birth certificate. Each politician who wins the presidency has 4-8 years in which they can be elected to serve. Be patient and it will be your turn. The winners go in cycles; it is just the way we vote. There has not been one president that has been perfect and not one who has not been narcissistic.

There has been 19 years of school shootings though, with both Democrats and Republicans serving our country. We do need gun control – obviously – no one needs an assault weapon. We should be grown up and mature enough to understand that no one is saying you can’t carry a gun. It is one thing to carry a gun in your holster, on your belt that you are legally allowed to carry or a hunter with a rifle in the back of their truck on a rack. It is one thing to have a gun legally and one illegally. The topic of Mental Health needs to be brought in and we need to be more strict about mental health assessments when carrying a gun. Perhaps everyone needs to have a mental health assessment in order to legally purchase a gun. It wouldn’t be a bad idea. I have family that all carry guns, they would not like to be inconvenienced. However, I am sure all the families who are victims of the 19 years of school shootings, did not like to be inconvenienced either. When the “right to keep and bear arms” amendment was signed into the constitution, we were a different world. Back then it was cowboys and Indians and revolutions that made a positive difference in this country. School shootings make a negative difference in this country, it harms our psyche and destroys our families.

I am listening to children tell me they are afraid to go to school. They are having panic attacks whenever there are noises at school. Instead of just a tornado drill or an earthquake drill, they are having to learn how to hide from a school shooter. I am hearing parents who want to put their kids in private education or home school them. Is this what we are going to come to because adult professionals are not capable of coming to the table and reach an agreement?

Then of course you have the criminal world. No matter what we do, criminals and mentally unwell people can get access to a gun out on the streets. It is not too hard to  go into a bad neighborhood and within a few minutes find someone walking down the street who knows someone who has one to sell. Having worked in bad neighborhoods and spent many conversations talking to people who lived there, I am aware of how easy this is. Having spoken to people who have been drug addicts or alcoholics, I have heard many stories of how easy it is to get what you want if you need a fix. This means we need to have tighter laws about what happens to people who are caught selling guns illegally. The guy who sold the gun to the perpetrator of the two police officers in Westerville was found and brought in. I have no idea at this point what will happen to him or what the laws are currently. I do know that in California, where I used to work on the streets, a crime carries a stiffer penalty if it is gang related. Do we have strict enough laws for the people selling guns illegally, nationwide? Shouldn’t they get the same attention as the perpetrator, since they knew the reason for buying was not for something good? Wouldn’t they be an accessory to the crime?

These are the questions we need to be asking. We need to have discussions about this within our communities and amongst our professionals and come to some answers that we then present to Washington. But it is time for us to behave like grown-ups and professionals and listen with the purpose of coming up with a solution. I am tired of hearing that the NRA has control over Congress. What does this mean? It means that they have control over the lives of our children and grandchildren. Again, if they have had control over Congress they have had it for at least the 19 years we have been concerned and this has been over terms of both Republican and Democrat presidents.

What is a solution that is workable? What is a solution that is going to be tougher on crime, stricter on mental health awareness and reporting and one that makes sense and will protect our children, our families and our country? Stop blaming and start forming community discussion groups, in person because we aren’t capable of having talks online. Bring all the professionals involved to a table and have a discussion that is going to create positive change in our country. We don’t need an assault weapon to go hunting in the woods or to protect our family. A simple gun or rifle will work fine. Let’s show our children that we are capable of making this world a safer place.

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Signs of Collective Narcissism

This is a really good article about collective narcissism and something we all need to be conscious of – that it exists. I believe this is the reason a lot of young women (and older women) are turned off by the term feminists. It is why so many people feel it is difficult to stand behind any party. It is very funny because you have to be careful who you are calling a “Narcissist.”

MakeItUltra™

By Eric C., MA., PhD-c | Clinical Psychology

Audio version available | Click here


“In the final analysis I believe in man in spite of men.” ~Elie Wiesel

I recall as a young boy thinking of girls as alien beings inhabiting the same planet but playing by a whole different set of rules. They were seen as the enemy and I was convinced that boys were superior to girls. I recall my sister arguing that boys had cooties and that girls rule. I believe she won that argument. Without awareness, we were taking part in collective narcissism. Collective narcissism, also known as group narcissism, is a type of narcissism where an individual has an inflated self-love for their in-group. The individual will see his or her group as superior to all other groups and it may function as a narcissistic entity. At that point of my young life, my sister…

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Why do Pre-Marital Counseling?

Watching this video is the most compelling reason for adding a psychotherapist to your wedding budget. Women are still being raised with their mothers speeding them down the aisle with visions of white dresses and doves flying through the air. We play with Barbies before we have hit puberty, already merging the dolls with Ken or GI Joe. We are focused on boys in high school, which often causes young girls (and boys) to do poorly in their subjects. Marriage is an investment not a fashion show and if you don’t want to be one of the 40-50% who goes through a divorce, then you need to treat this contract as an investment not a day to play Cinderella. The woman and man who plan consciously and patiently on the big day have better chances for success then the one’s who are only focused on looking good. Wouldn’t you rather be the couple who people gush over rather than taking bets to see how long you’ll last? Your family and friends will respect you more when they see the respect you have for each other. I highly recommend a psychotherapist trained in the Gottman method as they are teaching you communication skills and this includes how to argue without tearing each other apart.

A wedding day is meant to be a beautiful time in your life. Not the day you rue in the years to come. It is not his fault nor is it her fault; when you are a couple, you both have a responsibility to your self, your marriage, your future children and to your family as a whole.

Analyze This!

This is a really great video from “The Psych Show” host Dr. Ali Mattu. All therapists dread this question but he does an exceptional job of explaining what is really going on. I agree with him completely. It also says a lot about co-dependent behavior. Wanting to know whether or not a person is okay with you, feeling threatened by a therapist because you don’t know how to act around them. It is also a way of saying “I have low self-esteem,” out loud or “I know I have a zit on my nose,” to attack before you are attacked. A defense mechanism designed to protect ones self, which is in essence saying “En garde.”

Usually when I am asked this question I will say, I am here to have a good time and I get paid to do these things. I might also say “What do you do for a living,” then I will ask them if when they go to people’s houses do they question people about these things that they do. For example, CPA – do you go to a house and question people about whether or not they expensed the boat they have out on the dock and then discuss the legality of this? Or a carpenter – do you go to a house and think about all the mistakes in the way it was built (actually they do – then they can drum up business). When therapists go to a party, we are dressed in our normal non-professional outfit, might have a drink in our hand or took a bite on a cheese puff and are wondering about the books on the shelf or the cute guy in the corner, just like you are.

Libs vs. Cons and Social Media

Our society has continued to go on a downward spiral as a result of Social Media. For all it is worth, it is mainly used to take advantage and destroy others. This is because anyone and everyone can make their opinions known and you can’t do anything about it. As a result of this groups of people are gaining more and more power and are using it to destroy rather than to help other people. Both the Liberals and Conservatives take this to mean that they can use Social Media as they wish. Whoever gets the most likes wins!

Sadly this has destroyed our country and no doubt has destroyed other countries as well. Instead of having intellectual discussions on the Internet, which it could certainly be used for one can be attacked for saying the nicest of things. Steve Martin, a comedian, known for making people laugh was destroyed by Social Media because he made a nice comment in regards to the memory of Carrie Fisher. When comedian Robin Williams died, his family was attacked because of their outrage over his choice of exit.

The Liberals are now on the attack, because a Republican is in the White House and this makes people feel threatened from all walks of life. If you don’t think like they think you are bad and should be shunned. Recently the Mexican-Americans decided to do a standoff, to show their outrage to President Trump in regard to his views about illegal immigration and the “Wall” on their border. Naturally they have a right to be scared and concerned about some of their fellow people. However they forced other Mexicans to close their restaurants whether they wanted to or not and this is gang mentality (I have also heard of this tactic used in communist countries). It is not an encouraging or empowering way to think. It certainly does not have anything to do with Freedom of Speech or living in a democracy and having the right to your opinion. Having been a patron to several local establishments, I learned that restaurants were being attacked on Facebook. The attackers went in search of establishments, taking photos of those who chose to remain open and then blacklisting them online and telling people not to eat at their restaurants. The people I spoke to said they felt afraid as did some of their compadres locally that they spoke to. They closed because they were forced to, not because they wanted to.

The fashion industry mavens now think they have a right to pull Trump clothing lines and avoid his daughter at a fashion show. Who listens to the fashion industry for political advice? When I look at Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, I am looking at clothing and how to wear my scarf or part my hair. I am certainly not buying these magazines to challenge any philosophical views as they are about dressing women and men, that is all. The fashion industry has never really been about politics. They use the current events to determine fashion trends and how they will design clothing but not to tell people how to think outside of buttoning your coat. As my first degree is from FIDM, (aka The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) I never once studied anything about politics during my term there in Los Angeles. I did study current events though and how this effected change in fashion over the years.

I also read both of Stanley Marcus’s memoirs, the son of the founder of Neiman-Marcus and went on to head this elegant family business before selling out to Carter-Hawley Hale in the 80’s. Mr. Marcus (A Jewish businessman), was a huge fan of Coco Chanel because he knew that her clothing lines were going to be legendary and he had an eye for quality and taste. Perhaps he was disturbed to hear that she was known to collaborate with the Nazis, during WWII. I am sure he was also disturbed to hear that she underbid a Jewish businessman trying to flee the country, who had to take what he got for his building and store. Yet Mr. Marcus did not get his political feelings in the way of selling products in his store. He knew this was not good business sense. Just like you have separation of church and country, you also have to separate personal feelings from running a business. Otherwise, open a non-profit that is based on making change in the country. Unfortunately, Nordstrom and Burlington have decided that they should share their political views with the world and have pulled the Ivanka Trump lines. This shows that they are not about business; they have decided to put their own political views as the headliner to their store. Who made this decision? Did all executives and employees agree with this? It is a corporation not a one man show. Will they next tell employees how they should vote in an election or they will be fired?

My stepfather lived in a communist country and it is the reason he left in 1956. You can read many historical novels that talk about life in these countries and how people are treated. I saw a documentary about China once where there were “grandmothers” assigned to report people who had a second pregnancy (in their one child only policy), they were then forced to have abortions. My cousin fled Hungary in 1987 (via Germany) because he was tired of dealing with the communist regime and fighting for his rights to have a home and other essentials. He told me that life in a communist country means you have to hide behind closed doors to talk to one another and be very, very, careful whom you talk with. In Russia, people go to Siberia for speaking out openly, or they disappear. 

This is what we are turning into.

What is rather strange to me, more than anything is all this talk of moving to Canada, the same bark that was heard when President George W. Bush won the election in 2001. Moving to Canada is hardly the easiest place to “move to.” I myself looked into this years ago because I thought about living there. I was fascinated with the idea of living in another country and chose Canada or England. Both were extremely difficult places to just get up and move to and friends talked me out of it for various reasons. Yet, this seems to be the liberal motto whenever a Republican wins as president. It is hard to take it seriously when I have heard this before and they are still here. However, young people are ignorant of the past and become scared when they hear people say they are fleeing the country.

It is also very strange to hear that President Trump is a “narcissist” as if this is unusual for a CEO or a President or anyone in power at whatever type of organization or government agency. Someone asked me on Twitter if I was afraid of this. I asked him if he was afraid of people with Asperger’s. I explained that the boy who killed children at an elementary school in Newtown, CT had Asperger’s. People who have clinical depression are known to be more apt to do a death by suicide but this does not mean we should lock everyone up with this diagnosis because they might harm themselves.

Actually, if President  Trump were a narcissist than I ask myself why are they pandering to his ego by behaving so violently and antagonistically? This only makes a narcissist feel that they are justified in their beliefs and creates more self-righteousness. Narcissists never do anything wrong, it is always someone elses fault, so why have liberals decided to be the scapegoat? If I were wanting to get the attention of a narcissist, I would placate them and allow them to respect me first so that I could sit down to the table with them and talk. Having received this respect, I would then talk to them in a diplomatic way about my ideas and help them to see it is their idea too. This would be the clever tactic to choose. But this also takes a level of maturity and dignity. I can see that this is the way most political dignitaries are choosing to behave on their visits to the White House. It appears they are succeeding to create a partnership with our country, based on whatever it is they are coming here for. Of course who really is the narcissist here; the president or the liberals out on the streets? He actually has the power to run the country. He is doing exactly what he said he was going to do. Like it or not, he is in charge. The people on the streets are being disrespectful Americans and are pushing the limits of what is legal and ethical. They are expecting people to think like them or you are wrong and this is the definition of a narcissist. Should we all just sign a waiver saying the liberals are right and I pledge to follow behind whatever they say or do? It is calling a spade a spade, or the phrase “It takes one to no one.”

Some conservatives have gone against their own political ally publically and this is very interesting too. I firmly believe this has a lot to do with the fact that President Trump won and this destroyed the political system. It means that it is possible for anyone in this country to be a government official and this creates a challenge for the “career politician.” This has never been President Trump’s career. So even though what President Trump is saying would have been favored by many Republicans in our history because he is speaking like a conservative, their egos have been bruised. It is no different than hiring a manager from outside of the company and then employees hate this person because he/she has no experience and because they didn’t get the job.

The media has fallen by the wayside for many decades now. They have chosen to compete with the National Enquirers and People magazine types and have sensationalized their stories that are being eaten up by the masses of liberals. They pander to the liberals which is causing this faction to believe they have more power and pushes them to be more and more aggressive. I find it extremely difficult to find out what is going on at the White House because instead of behaving like Walter Cronkite and reporting the facts on national television, they are stating their opinions which often seem to be aggressive hateful headlines. I have been following Ivanka Trump on Twitter and have been impressed with how she handles herself publically by not talking about the negative publicity from Nordstrom and Burlington, instead focusing on the positive. She is continuing to work toward being an advocate of women and children and is highlighting women business owners, attending meetings with Canada in regard to women in the workplace and raising children at the same time.

The way I was raised is that you should have respect for your country. Even when Presidents have won that I have not liked, I had respect for them anyway. I do not vote Republican or Democrat, I vote for whom I think is the right choice for right now.  Locally, I have had concerns about term limits for mayors in this state but my plan is to go forward and talk to people about this and will be doing so very soon at the state level. This is a more intelligent way to get people to listen. Will I change the state? I have no idea because I don’t know if anyone else cares about this. I am standing up for my beliefs in a tactful way and realizing if I don’t “win” than I must accept this and keep trying again when I have the opportunity. I would never distance myself from my friends because they think differently than I do – unless I find them to be rude and disrespectful to me. It would never be because they are one political side or another or one religion or another. I have had friends who have distanced themselves from me for my political views because they apparently only liked me because I was thinking along the same lines as them. It showed me that they were never my friend in the first place because they were judging me for my thoughts, not loving me for my kindness and concern for them.

The buzzword of the day is to be “Mindful” of… This does not support antagonism, violence, or disturbing the peace. It is about being mindful of your actions and the effect they have on self and others. Whatever your political opinion, you have a right to this thought process because we live in a free country. Freedom of Speech does not mean forcing someone to think like you do. Our ancestors created this amendment to separate us from other countries that did not allow people the right to an opinion. The reason that we have liberals and conservatives is so that we may have a balanced system in politics. As we have two different ways of thinking; this gives way to ideas that are sometimes challenging our own thought processes. Whatever a president chooses to sign or whichever change he wishes to invoke, this cannot happen by him alone. It is the reason we have the House of Representatives and The Senate. We live in a democracy not a dictatorship and no President can become a dictator unless this is approved by the House and Senate.

For those wishing to make change in the world, this is wonderful. But first learn how politics work and educate yourself on getting laws passed and speaking in front of Congress, etc… Then get out there and become a politician on the local level so that you can impact the government in some way. Or, start a non-profit or get involved in a position with a company that will enable your vision. Getting on Social Media and forcing others to be like you is not creating healthy change in this world. It is actually making our country a very dangerous place to live. Take responsibility for your actions instead of placing the blame on someone else.