I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on a recent episode of the “Mormon Matters” podcast; I joined other LDS therapists to talk about ways that we can ensure ourselves and our families are protected in ecclesiastical situations. With the #MeToo movement and other instances of high-profiled men abusing their position of power to take advantage of vulnerable people, it’s time we take a look at the dynamics of how all of this applies to Mormonism. The purpose of our discussion was not to instill paranoia or fear that dominates our thoughts, but instead to empower Mormon families to be smart and safe in how they approach ecclesiastical settings.
In the fallout of the news that former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter was physically violent to both his ex-wives, some have begun to question the wisdom of LDS Bishops counseling women in abusive relationships (reports indicate both women were encouraged to stay with their husbands). Working with women in private practice, I’ve heard of this kind of thing happening. It’s embarrassing, it’s infuriating, and it’s my hope that this cultural moment of awareness and the #MeToo movement can spark social change. I shared some of my thoughts on this subject with KUER news.
I provided commentary on the life of Marvin Gaye for “Celebrity Legacies” on ReelzChannel. His life is unfortunately a sad reminder of the devastating long-reaching effects of child abuse.
Airing Aug. 19 10pm Eastern, 8PM Mountain on Reelz
Human beings are prone to mistakes, and we all have the experience of doing or saying something that has hurt another person (even someone we value and love). In order to repair those precious relationships, it is often necessary to apologize. But simply saying, “I’m sorry” is rarely enough. Here are 5 steps to giving a powerful, sincere apology:
1) Own Your Part
To truly mean that you are sorry, you need to own up to the specific thing you said or did that contributed to the other person’s pain. Take full responsibility for the part you played. Avoid general statements (“I’m sorry for whatever I did to hurt you“) or making reservations about the mistake you made. Have the courage to own up to your fault.
Q: I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.
I was with my ex for only a few months, but as far as I was concerned it was a serious relationship. Towards the beginning of our relationship we discussed various issues which we both had – he had been sexually abused as a young child, and I had been sexually assaulted only a year before I met him. We discussed these issues and how they affected us in terms of our relationships with other people. I realise it sounds naive, but I fell in love with him and would have done anything to help him. He confided in me that he was in a substantial amount of debt and was constantly worried that his house and possessions would be repossessed etc., and despite the fact that I am a student and have very little money to myself, I had a part-time job (while he was unable to find a job) and lent him around £1000. He always swore that he would pay this money back, but after splitting up with me he decided that he wouldn’t. Legally, I can’t do anything about this because neither of us signed any kind of contract.
In this episode of The Julie Hanks Show:
- Parenting tweens: How do I help my 12 year old girl’s self-esteem and help her to become more feminine?
- Transition to parenthood: I’ve worked full-time until having my first baby. How do I redefine myself now that I am a new stay-at-home mom?
- Forgiving mom about childhood abuse: How do I build a healthy relationship with my mom as an adult?
My guest post published yesterday on PsychCentral.com’s World Of Psychology blog. It seems it hit close to home for many people. It’s been shared nearly 1000 times on Facebook since yesterday! See if any of these ring true for your experience…(click the title above to go to the article)
Q: I have just recently dealt with the trauma of being molested by a friend’s father. I thought all of my erratic behavior resulted from this, but now I’m hearing that I am Bipolar. I am confused and scared. I have been given lithium, but the doctor has not spoken to my family and only spoke with me once for about 20 minutes. His assistants did separate interviews with me as well. I don’t have insurance so I am paying a lot and don’t if I can afford to get a second opinion.
Q: I have a question. I’m 21 and I was dating this guy and well, I lost my virginity to him and I loved him. I felt like he used me. I was so hurt when we broke up and I then slept with his best friend and then another guy 6 times. I drink a lot and I have low self esteem please I need some advice. I’m so lost.
A: It is incredibly painful to feel so deeply for your boyfriend that you would share your heart and your body with him only to have the relationship end. I’m so sorry that your boyfriend didn’t value the gift that you gave him, your first full expression of your sexuality. While it’s incredibly difficult to feel used, there are many healthier options for dealing with your hurt than by doing things that cause more pain for you and others. Drinking and sexually acting out may temporarily make your feel powerful and numb your emotions but won’t lead to a healthy emotional place and will likely create more pain and hurt.
Please turn toward healthy relationships. Who have you gone to in the past for emotional support? Have you reached out to friends and family during this difficult time? If not, please share your pain with people you trust so you can receive comfort and strength. Also, please consider seeking a therapist to sort through the loss of your relationship, understand the root of your unhealthy behavior, and to develop healthier coping skills. Click here if you need help to find a therapist in your area. You can feel good about yourself again. You can develop healthy love relationships. Remember, you deserve to be with a man who wants to be with you and who cherishes you, body and soul.
Take good care of yourself!