Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

There's More Than Meets the Eye

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Apr 8, 2015 6:59 PM

Whatever the symptom or presenting behavior which greets the psychologist right off and whatever the triggering event, believe me, it's more complicated than that. For example, a child self-abuses after being bullied at school. Understandable but not typical. It takes a lot to make someone hurt herself. The chances are good that the peer abuse touched an extra sensitive nerve because she experienced other abuse at the hands of people closer to her, also. She has not developed the strength to withstand and combat abuse in school because she's been beaten down by her circumstances in the world.

Or, take the widow who can hardly function, as opposed to the widow who grieves but courageously starts a new life. The former woman had a history of dependence, abandonment, insecurity or the like. She came by her vulnerability honestly and the death was the last straw. The strong widow had reserves of love and support in her past and present. She knew how to cope.

The angry man who over-reacts to slight mistakes which family makes normally has a history of criticism from his father and feels terrible about himself, so he projects his problems on others, so he can believe that he's better than they are. Nitpicking becomes his false superiority. It's not just a matter of personality, or "just the way I am." It's the results of years of conditioning.

Anxiety provoked by an event leads to a tense reaction which is workable or severe panic, depending on the sum of experiences and conditioning which preceded it. So, someone might say that losing a job triggered anxiety, but the reaction may really be about remembering every failure along the way, rather than crediting the economy and real factors which influenced the situation. So, someone would really be remiss in treating the person for "job loss." That's what  some counselors do. The job loss can be addressed but the whole person needs work because the over-reaction in his case stems from many problems along the way, such as failures in school and socially which haunt him.

By now, you get the idea. The problem isn't just the problem. It's what's on the surface. The problem has roots and depth. People have histories and are an accumulation of developed strengths and weaknesses from their innate tendencies, but especially from their life experiences.

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  • lukashik img 2016-05-05 13:13

    Fear is a natural protective reaction, without which few of us have stayed in this life for a long time. Intensity of fear varies from fear and doubt to overwhelming terror. Showbox

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