Category Archives: Coping Skills

POV: How to Deal with Toxic People


As a psychologist I deal with “toxic” people. “Toxic” people can be due to addiction, depression, grief and loss, and loneliness. The difficulty for family and friends is how to deal with “toxic” people. First is to realize we need to help those with depression receive the treatment they need and having friends and family acknowledge their concerns will help.

As a relative, it is important to recognize your family members and friends that need to be directed to seek psychological, medical or counseling care.

Today, we are finding an increase in depression due to chronic stress, loss of jobs, importance of two income families, isolation due to loneliness, lack of face-to-face interaction and the reliance no social media, texting, sexting and the increased use of video games.

There are healthy ways to deal with your depression and addictions by learning how to use coping skills to deal with your issues to become happier, healthier and more confidence in yourself.

How do you deal with a toxic relationship?

  • When friends and/or family become toxic to you it may cause exhaustion of you mentally. Friends that are toxic may become unhealthy to you and your life.

Here are some points to recognize when this occurs:

  • Do you give more to them then they give to you?
    • If so then, there may be a lack of balance.
    • Balance is never 100% it is never 50-50. Yet, it has to over time result in 100%. It has to be with a person that enhances your life as you enhance theirs. It may be 20-80, 70-30, 100-0 yet, it always has to be a loving and caring relationship. In summary, both in a relationship have to give.

A major area of knowing the person is toxic is asking yourself are they a “Giver or Taker”?

  • When there is a lack of balance in a relationship between giving and taking it does not work.
  • For a giver, who takes nothing in a relationship, this lack of balance can result in feelings of isolation, alienation, emptiness and loneliness.
  • If you are a “giver” you have control over, whom you seek as friends and as lovers. You get to decide which people will be your friends and reject others.
  • Takers have no power without a giver.
  • We choose those with whom we want to have a relationship.
  • We can choose whether to have relationships that consist of too much taking and not enough giving. At any point, if we are unhappy or unfilled, we can decide to severe the relationship.

In a toxic relationship how do you fix it and when to you decide when to end it?

  • First you need to make sure you have made the effort to be caring and supportive in the relationship. Sometimes “toxic” is the lack of communication and ability to focus on building the relationship. This can be accomplished by recognizing your differences and seeking ways to be together that are healthy, try to plan activities that both of you enjoy. Get out and experience a new adventure. Take yourself out of your “normal” routine and do something fun and spontaneous.
  • Often, I find relationships feed on negativity and it affects the confidence of both individuals. One person whom you spend an enormous time can affect your confidence in yourself. When this occurs, then you need to end the relationship. This is difficult, a person in a toxic relationship may be unable to severe the relationship due to the belief they deserve no better and continue in a cycle of negative and destructive relationships.
  • The good news is the cycle can be broken if you learn to be aware of what you do and what you want and need from a relationship.

“Nearly 1/3 of recent U.S. military Veterans have considered committing suicide”

America and the Federal government have a responsibility to provide for our mentally ill Veterans.  It is appalling that we are failing to provide the counseling and mental healthcare for our military, often due to bureaucracy.  They have honorably served our country!

First returning Vets may be unaware of the mental health services available to them.

Second, there are a high percentage of returning Vets suffering with PTSD. The definition of PTSD is “…painful guilt feelings about surviving when others did not survive or about the things they had to do to survive…resulting in psychic numbing or emotional anesthesia after a traumatic event…Avoidance patterns may interfere with interpersonal relationships and lead to marital conflict, divorce, or loss of job”.  Therefore, the very support system of family, they need, to reduce emotional feelings leads to diminished responsiveness to the external world.

Third, the increase in suicide is not surprising given the fact that there is a high percentage of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that when untreated may result in depression and suicide without counseling or psychological help.

Another evidence-based treatment for PTSD is via Telemental health and is indicated to be as effective as face-to-face-therapy (National Center for PTSD).

Life Consultants Tele-health system offers access of healthcare professions to work with individuals or groups of up to eight online through their home computer, laptop or IPad who share similar situations in mental heath disorders. This offers the patient the benefit of accessing a psychologist or mental health professional at the time they are experiencing depression or anxiety in the privacy of their home without having to make an office appointment.  It is particularly convenient for those living in rural areas.

The advantage of group therapy is the ability to talk to people, who also have been through trauma and PTSD.  Sharing your story with others may help the individual feel more comfortable talking about their trauma. This can help them cope with their symptoms, memories, and other parts of their life. “You learn to deal with emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, rage, and fear. Sharing with the group also can help you build self-confidence and trust. You’ll learn to focus on your present life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the past.”


Dr. Wendy Coping with Fear and Tragedy in an Over-connected World with Fear and Tragedy in an Over-connected World

by Sonie Guseh
http://adayinthelifeskg.blogspot.comSeptember 11. Superstorm Sandy. The Boston Marathon bombings. The shooting in Aurora. The massacre in Sandy Hook. In the midst of so many tragic, harrowing events around us, it can be difficult to stay positive and optimistic in life.For each event, you may be able to recall a series of looped images and messages displayed across your television screen for hours on end—perhaps it’s the repeated video of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center in 2001, or the image of bloodied runners barely crossing the finish line just two months ago.There’s an addictive danger in replaying those looped images repeatedly, according to Dr. Wendy James, a psychologist. It’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms to combat what could turn into more severe illness down the line. Now, with a world so interconnected through the Internet, television, and other media, local tragedies have turned into shared emotional turmoil across the country and, in many cases, worldwide.According Dr. James, it’s important to distinguish between a legitimate fear and an irrational one. “If, indeed, the explosions at the Boston Marathon were the result of either domestic or foreign terrorists, their goals are the same,” she wrote. “Those goals are to attempt to translate irrational fears into false, rational fears by the example of a single event.

This is not unlike the fear and panic generated by the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter of innocents. Both are rare occurrences, which, due to national media coverage, bring these events into the homes of all Americans.”
These days, we’re all impacted by a tragedy that happens regardless of where we are located, as long as we can see the images on our screens or hear about the events. Watching coverage of sad events can become an addictive behavior, leading to widespread fear.

Some communities seemed to have a legitimate immediate danger, such as potential threats on New York—but the general public? “It’s not going to happen to you 300 hundred miles away. People are afraid and they don’t need to be,” she continued.

Still, in a digitally connected world, mass fear does happen. Following such tragic events, it’s important to be available for loved ones, offer support to family and friends who may have trouble coping, and to recognize warning signs of someone having trouble dealing with loss, stress, anxiety, or fear.

Key warning signs to look out for in loved ones include any change in behavior, not functioning as they normally would, and a decrease in activities they normally engage in, said Dr. James. It’s important to lend an ear and offer advice, but many times, professional help is needed.

“It’s easier for women to seek counseling than for men to,” offered Dr. James. She suggests the following script for women trying to help a friend, brother, husband, boyfriend, or other loved one: “Please. For our relationship, for our family, I really would like you to get help. I know you’re coping as best as you can.”

She also recommends seeing a physician to run blood work. Because depression is caused by a drop in the hormone serotonin, a visit to the family doctor (instead of to the psychologist or social worker) can also be a productive first step.
Moreover, be careful not to project your fear onto others, especially children. Instead, “talk to your children and explain it to them,” Dr. James said.

In a world that is so digitally connected, it is important to extend that connection to those physically in our midst, and to be more vigilant and aware of our surroundings.