Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

To my dismay, I feel like I have written some version of this blog too many times. I fear if won’t be the last time.

Whenever there is a mass shooting, we try to understand what happened in order to prevent this again. In terms of the mental health, this may be helpful:

A compilation of signs to look for in order to prevent include:

1) The gunman is usually on some search for significance and recognition. He may fantasize being the star of his movie, going down with guns a blazing and ending in suicide.

2) Usually these are intelligent, high-performing males who are viewed by others as weaker or a loser in some way.

3) Rejection seems to play a factor and that rejection is fixed upon and takes on a great importance because of the symptoms of mental illness also present.

4) Rather than being loners, these males appear more like failed joiners.

5) Daily living is filled with friction and being unsettled.

6) Signs of mental illness can include sleep changes, mood and appetite changes with mood swings and explosive behavior.

7) Young adulthood is also the time of the onset of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and other mental disorders as the person is on his own, trying to negotiate life with poor coping skills.

Why don’t we prevent more of these attacks? 

1) People deal with these men a few hours of the day and often don’t see the pattern of their lives.

2) Infractions may not be documented so they don’t register as questionable.

3) Even though these males often telegraph their intentions, peers don’t report for fear of getting them in trouble or it doesn’t register as being a real threat. It isn’t until later that the signs make sense.

Prevention tips from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office: 

1) Report suspicious behavior. The shooter told someone in most of the cases.

2) Notice if violence is used as a way to solve problems

3) Notice if the person changes into an angry person.

Tomorrow’s Blog: 5 Stages of a Shooting Identified by Law Enforcement and How to Respond

s child sleep“Please, can I just stay up a little longer?”

“Mom, I need a drink. Can you read to me? How about a snack?”

We’ve all heard our children’s pleas to stay up longer at night. They beg, distract, tell is loving things and want to talk when bedtime is looming. But not giving in to those adorable requests could be a boost to their brains!

In fact, consistent bedtime raised the scores on cognitive tests for 7-year-olds who were put to bed on time when they were age 3 (University College London). Overall, when kids don’t get enough sleep, it hurts their academic performance and overall health. The important finding of the study wasn’t whether or not the bedtime was early or late, but that it was CONSISTENT. Regular bedtime was the key.

Inconsistent bedtime has to do with circadian disruption, which may affect brain plasticity at this critical age of development. So sleep specialists are right when they tell us to shoot for a regular bedtime.

That means, 15 minutes before bedtime, get all the drinks, snacks and potty time out of the way in order to have a pre-bedtime routine to help transition children to sleep. On weekends and in the summer, maybe an hour later is OK, but keep the time the same. Apparently, our internal clocks like consistency.

 

embarrassmentYou are at a party, turn around and your spouse has a lamp shade on his head and is doing an impression. Or maybe, you are visiting friends and he tells an off color joke. How about the time she revealed something intimate about your sex life to your boss?

Embarrassing?

Yes it is and one of the ways conflict can come about in a relationship. Usually the person who feels embarrassed will try to repair his or her image as if he or she is the one who did the embarrassing.

Why?

Social psychologist, Mark Leary, at Duke University says that when our spouse embarrasses us, it feels like a reflection of who we are–afterall. we picked this person! And we wonder, how far will he or she go. This feels out of control!

In fact, there are four categories of ways to embarrass your partner:

1) Empathetic embarrassment where your partner unintentionally embarrasses you. This happened to me the other night at an event. My plate of food slid to one side while I was holding it, and landed on my white pants. It caused a stir as I tried to clean it up. My husband was kind, but it was embarrassing. This type of embarrassment is the mildest but happens the least.

2) Reflective embarrassment is when your partner does something humiliating. You know the type, yelling in a restaurant, telling people awful jokes, etc. We worry that people will pity us for being with this type of person.

3) One-sided embarrassment is when you feel horrified by what your partner did, but he or she doesn’t. For example, he drinks too much at the family get together but doesn’t think it is an issue. This one usually leads to conflict because the person usually denies there is an issue.

4) Targeted embarrassment is when your partner intentionally or directly embarrasses you. Think about the times you have heard stories from people and think, she really should not have said that. Or the wife who tells her neighbors what a bully you are, etc. At the time, the other person may remain cool but when the couple leaves the social situation, problems erupt.

So when you are embarrassed in one of the four ways, how can you respond?

1) Try telling yourself that the behavior may not be that bad and that everyone does something embarrassing once in awhile. This is easier to do when the embarrassment is the empathetic type.

2) If the embarrassment happens once in awhile, let it go and ask yourself if this is part of the person’s personality. You can talk it through later, but trying to change another person does not usually work. Instead, talk about the impact of the behavior on those around him or her.

3) If this is a pattern, wait for a neutral time and bring up the issue. Focus on how other people will react, not your reaction, and discuss whether that is something your partner wants to happen. What triggers this type of behavior –is it social anxiety, the need for attention, etc. Then talk about whether or not the embarrassing behavior is effective.

4) If the problem continues despite your discussions, you may need couple therapy to get at the root of why this continues in the face of the social consequences and the impact it has on your relationship. Being sensitive to the needs of your partner is important. If your partner is telling you that a certain behavior is embarrassing, that is reason to stop or it will wear at your respect for each other.

5) Think twice before you reveal private things about each other to others. Have a conversation about what is appropriate and what is not in terms of violating privacy boundaries. Keep your relationship safe in order to to keep the bond strong.

2 abused teenWould you be surprised to learn that more than a third of teens say they have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused while dating?  This was the finding of a new survey presented this past July at a meeting of the American Psychological Association in Hawaii. The largest group who reported some type of abuse was teens between the ages of 13 and 16! Teens, ages 17-19, were a close second. While this data has yet to be scrutinized by review, it speaks to a serious problem facing many young people.

And this may not surprise you, those teen abusers were often middle school bullies!

One thought as to why this link between bullying and dating violence exists is because both behaviors involve establishing dominance. Perhaps bullies carry into their dating relationships this propensity to dominate through the use of violence and abusive behavior. If so, then bullying and dating violence are part of an escalating pattern that needs to be addressed early on in a teen’s development.

The website loveisrespect.org publishes these warning signs to help teens determine if their dating relationships are abusive, problematic or healthy. Share these with your teens so they can be more aware of signs that point to trouble:

–Does the person check your email or cell phone without your permission?

–Does the person constantly put you down?

–Is he/she extremely jealous or insecure?

–Does he/she have an explosive temper?

–Does he/she isolate you from friends and family?

–Does he/she make false accusations?

–Does he/she physically hurt you in any way?

–Does he/she tell you what to do?

–Does he/she repeatedly pressure you to have sex?

If you see these signs in your dating relationship, these are warning signs of possible abuse and violence.

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