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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Happy Mother’s Day: Building Intimate Connections

posted by Linda Mintle

I love my motherThis weekend lots of flowers and cards will be sent to moms who raise daughters and sons. Usually this weekend causes us to reflect on our mother-daughter relationship. It doesn’t seem to matter if our relationship is great, terrible or somewhere in between, all daughters have issues with their moms that need to be worked through in order to develop intimacy or a more meaningful relationship.

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Because our relationship with our mothers affects all our other relationships, the more we work on making peace and finding a meaningful connection, the more skilled we will be at all other relationships. Our relationship with mom is one of the closest bonds two people can share. That kind of intimacy requires us to define ourselves apart from her and still be emotionally engaged. This is the work we must do in all healthy relationships–be separate but still attached. The better we work it out with our moms, the better moms we will be to our own children.

 

Sometimes women ask me, “Why do I still feel 10 years old when I’m with my mom and then like a competent women when I’m not?” The reason is you haven’t worked through the issues with your mom. You are still that child trying to win her approval and get something from her she is unable to give. Instead of waiting to be approved or validated, you may have to grieve those childhood losses and move on. Then get realistic about what she can give you and see if she is willing to work on your relationship issues and grow the relationship.

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You may also have to work on your emotional reactions to her and learn to take your position on any issue without becoming highly defensive or overly emotional. And there are times when you must learn to “drop the rope”, to let go of tension and not make every difference an issue.

 

When she doesn’t do what you think she should, do you become angry? We want our moms to be what we want them to be rather than understanding them for who they really are. And when we have an intimate relationship, we take liberties with our emotions. In other words, we let loose because we know she’ll love us anyway and won’t leave or give up on us in most cases. So in some ways, she’s safe.

 

So this Mother’s Day, work on this important intimate relationship that sets the stage for all others. See if you can strengthen the bond, work through your issues and make it a day you look forward to celebrating each year.

 

For more help building this intimate connection, click on the book cover, I Love My Mother But…

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Abercrombie Doesn’t Want Your Business If You Are This…

posted by Linda Mintle

teen shoppingHere we go again. More insanity from CEO MIke Jeffries of Abercrombie &Fitch.

Jeffries is like the school bully who says mean things and somehow gets away with it.

He is no stranger to offending people. And seems rather pleased with his discriminatory and elite views about people.

His latest has to do with who he wants shopping in his stores. Not you, if you are overweight!

According to Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail, Jeffies wants thin and beautiful people advertising his brand. If your not hot, don’t bother coming into the store. You are not the customer Jeffries wants.

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In a 2006 Salon interview, Jefrries confirmed his highly discriminating stance. He explained that he only hires good looking people to attract other good looking people. Good looking, hot, thin people are who he wants. If you aren’t one of the “cool”people, he doesn’t want you wearing his clothes. You just can’t belong to his little club!

This really sounds like high school to me.

My response to this:

Way to encourage eating disorders and more body obsession

Way to focus on things that don’t matter

Way to discriminate against people because of their weight.

If he was a politician saying this, he would be in real trouble.

So the only way to respond is to not shop at his “COOL” store.

P.S. I hope the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance has something to say to Mr. Jeffries!

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The Psychological Side of Weight Loss Surgery

posted by Linda Mintle

Lose it for lifeWhen Governor Chris Christie announced this week that he had weight loss surgery this past February, he made headlines. Christie has often talked about his weight, has been the brunt of late night jokes and seemed to roll with the punches. But Christie, like 220,000 other Americans decided to take action on his personal war on obesity. He had gastric banding surgery, a type of weight loss surgery in which a small band (ring) is placed over the top of the stomach and tightened in order to reduce food intake .

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When I read Christie’s reasons for the surgery, I was assured, having conduced pre-surgical psychological evaluations for weight loss surgery patients. The most important thing in terms of mental health is to have the surgery for the right reasons.

Surgical treatment for obesity is often recommended for patients whose obesity is refractory obesity or obesity-related medical conditions that pose serious health consequences. Surgical intervention is reserved for those with a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or greater, or a BMI between 30 and 40 with obesity related health conditions.

The two most used procedures are gastric bypass and gastric restriction. Surgery related death is less than 1% for low-risk patients, and less than 2% for high-risk patients for either procedure. The goal of surgery is to reduce the stomach reservoir so that a sense of fullness is gained from a smaller volume of food. Obviously with less food intake, weight loss occurs.

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Surgery can achieve maintainable losses of 40% to 60% of pre-surgery weight. But weight loss is a complicated psychological as well as physical feat. Unfortunately, the psychological state of a patient is not always considered when recommending this option. Increasingly, more surgeons are interested in psychological screenings for medically qualified patients.  Unfortunately, far too many surgeries are still performed without taking this necessary step.

Positive personality changes can accompany weight loss (Stunkard et al., 1986). Patients often report feeling less helpless, more stable, improved mood, etc. Other patients experience negative psychological post-operative changes (Loewig,1993).  It is unsound practice not to screen for possible negative effects.

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We know that those who have surgery for medical reasons do better than those who undergo surgery for psychosocial reasons. So we need to ask: What does weight loss mean to a patient? What are his/her expectations? Are there serious pre-operative psychological problems? Will weight loss negatively affect the person’s psychological functioning?

For example, those with severe psychological disturbance may see surgery as the end-all to their problems. When post surgery weight loss occurs and psychological disturbances remain, patients can dive into depression and other psychological disorders.

Some patients have used obesity to cover traumatic events such as sexual abuse. When pounds are dropped, they feel vulnerable and scared. If fear and anxiety were channeled through food and food is no longer available as a coping mechanism, problems can arise.

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Obese people who spend years fighting social discrimination, attacks on self-esteem, and rejection may view surgery as a way to gain an acceptable body.  When the physical body conforms to social expectation, the attention can be overwhelming and difficult to handle.

Furthermore, many obese patients do not know how to determine their internal emotional states. They often see all needs as hunger needs. Emotional based eating does not go away with surgical weight loss.

The key, then, is to screen patients for psychological issues prior to surgery and address those issues in an attempt to avoid negative long-term effects. It appears that those who do best with weight reduction via surgical treatment are those who are psychologically healthy.

 

 

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One Thing Tweens and Teens Want, But Should They?

posted by Linda Mintle

teen singingThey look at Justin Bieber and all his success and think, “I can do that. I can be discovered on You Tube too!”

So they post, upload, pin and tumblr– all in the hope of one thing–becoming famous!

That’s right, a third of teens and tweens surveyed say it is important for them to be famous.

And those kids who want to be famous use social networks. Social networks allow them to create their own image, manage and control it.

According to Temple University psychologist, Laurence Steinberg, social media allows teens to imitate what is like to be famous. He also thinks that adults play into this by posting videos and pictures of their kids on Facebook and You Tube.

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Add society, especially reality TV, where the goal is to be discovered and kids think, this is worthy to pursue.

But is this desire to be famous and self-promoting a good thing?

Generally speaking, NO.

First, how many kids will actually make it and are spending valuable time investing in possible fame? Remember those American Idol contestants who actually thought they had the talent to win? Their families and friends were right there encouraging them when they clearly had no talent for singing. Reality check! They were wasting their time on something that would never happen. So if talent and practice are involved in becoming famous, you have to have and do both.But so many teens think it just happens or overestimate their talent.

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The pathway to fame now includes:

1) Being arrested. How many shooters and bombers have had this goal in mind?

2) Being born in a wealthy family. Fame is based on entitlement, a problem we see among teens today.

3) Having outstanding physical beauty. Beauty eventually fades, and an emphasis leads to eating disorders and body image problems, both on the rise among teens.

4) Have an affair with someone famous. This is just wrong to begin with, much less getting famous for it.

5) Release a sex tape. I don’t have to explain!

6) Become a reality TV star like Teen Mom or Kate Gosselin who think this is a way of life.

Come on teens, how about goals like serving others, making a difference in the world, being a person of integrity, etc.?

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Fame is fleeting and self-serving. And have you noticed how few people handle fame well. Most self-destruct.

Time for a reality check on what is important. Fame doesn’t make the list!

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Yalda Uhis, researcher at UCLA’s Children’s Digital Media Center presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development (April, 21013)

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