Friday, October 30, 2009

Housekeeping

I just cleaned the refrigerator because Michelle (not her real name) from Blue Cross Blue Shield called to inform me that because I am a "high volume" provider; they're coming over to audit my charts.

That will be the start 0f one of my upcoming posts.

And you want to know why I don't blog more often. You know I want to talk to you, and it kills me that there's not enough time. I'm not even responding to comments and am late in posting them, too, intend to do it, still plan to get back to them, for sure. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, or something like that, and all I can say is that there's a lot of stuff on the proverbial plate, it's spinning madly, and
I'm sorry.
That said, please know that I read every comment and appreciate every one of them, and believe me, I learn more from you from this process than you could possibly realize. Indeed, one reason some therapists last in this field, don't totally burn out, get infected from so much pathology, is that we learn from every person we see, from everything we hear, everywhere. We might complain on occasion, but everyone does, you know.

It's been said before, this job is interesting, challenging. You have to stay on top of new knowledge, although you might rely on a foundation. Professionals have to keep learning, that's what differentiates them. Our WOW! really is a wow. It isn't placating, it isn't fake; there's no agenda. When the learning comes from others, it's illuminating. And a lot more fun.

So we're grateful that people share their lives with us, feel privileged. The first thing we tell patients as they button up their jackets to leave, maybe after the first visit, the second, third, fourth or fifth, etc.
Thank you for sharing all of that. It can't be easy, I know that it isn't. Thanks for trusting me.
When I started this blog, honestly, I did not know what to do with comments. They freaked me out.

Oh, no! This person thinks I'm her therapist! What will I do with this comment/email? What if she takes something the wrong way, uses it as personal advice, isn't seeing someone else, a real flesh and blood human being who can intervene and go,
Call 911! You need to be in a hospital!
Meaning, I could be responsible for something bad!

This blew me away, more-so than an occasional stalker threatening me and my family, or a BCBS auditor.

Which is why there are all those caveats in the margins that say,
I ain't your therapist, get one somehow, please, please, please. This is for your edification, is all, and it's fun for me, okay?
And you know I mean it, get therapy if you can, hence the title of the blog.

And yet, by all means, we can talk, we can share information. There's no one shutting us down, and why would there be? It's a mutual admiration society. So what I'm saying is No, to those of you who have asked if I'm giving it up.

And one day, no promises, I'll blog about it, tell you everything. You did sign that HIPAA form on the sidebar, right?

therapydoc

Being Right Part Two

I thought there might be a Part Two when I posted Part One of Being Right. Sometimes there has to be a Part Two.

In Part One we find me hopeful about people changing. It takes time, but even people who have to be right all of the time can change, can yield the point with or without therapy, if you play them right. A family systems approach works better than CBT, a cognitive behavioral therapy that falls with defensiveness on deaf ears, as in, What do you know?

Part Two, I'm sorry, is more depressing. I find that I can't change some people, not without medication to chill them down. They'll never yield the point, never be wrong. They're simply too afraid. And they have a disorder, probably.

If it's Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type, an Axis I disorder, you can't blame a person for being quite sure that there are enemies out there, that people are persecuting him. He's right about this, absolutely sure; they're listening through the telephone, the computer. Voices and imagined events are real, no convincing otherwise.

These are delusions. Even with help, without medication delusions can be hard to dislodge. Try and convince people who suffer from them that they're wrong. Good luck.

Being right is also a feature of Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD), an Axis II, and we can't blame people for personality, either.

Nowhere does the word "delusion" appear among the diagnostic indicators of PPD (listed below) but the features imply that sufferers are delusional by virtue of their unfounded distrust. Because they hear no voices they're not technically delusional. It is their faulty construction of reality that makes them suspicious of others, not voices in their heads.

You can have both, an Axis I disorder like depression, addiction, or anxiety, and an Axis II, a dysfunctional personality. The latter can cause the former. People can get depressed because others don't like them; they can't look in the mirror to see how difficult they are to love. Hospitalized for the whole gestalt, even CEO's billionaires, people ostensibly doing just fine, functioning at the top of their game, get mentally sick.

Personality develops in childhood as our genetic predispositions are slapped with reality, the world out there. Some traits lie dormant until challenged by the hand we get, our families, friends, teachers, our luck. Yes, you actually can blame the family, and you can blame others (try that boarding school, orphanage, the Nazis, or a father who liked your little brother better) for bringing out the worst in you.

The problem is there's no pointing any one finger at any one person. Everyone's a product of someone else's stress in transgenerational theory, people who victimize have probably been victims themselves. If you go genetic, you have to start with Adam and Eve and all those other mamas and papas.

Surely some features of personality, especially the cute ones, the positive ones, aren't snuffed out with negativity, and they're genetic, for sure, our cadence, how we talk, joke around. We see our mannerisms in our children and grandchildren, we know they haven't copied us intentionally. There's wiring in there. Yet we all talk like Seinfeld. Would I lie?

The environment gives the nod, the go-ahead to both the good and the bad.

In Part One we discussed how when childhood stress is bad, as it is under the roof of abuse and neglect, unconscious decisions to cope with it aren't always good. Without parental coaching, how's a kid supposed to know what to do? So children make decisions, as in, T
Trust no one.
Don't tell me, I'm wrong. You're clearly wrong, and you're scary, and
You're not the boss of me now.
We call attributing, or casting unwarranted negative aspersions to people paranoia, and we're not talking the pot smoking kind. You can change that by getting straight, you know.

When paranoia rules in an otherwise normal personality, as in Paranoid Personality Disorder, there's no yielding the point, no being wrong about people and their intentions. The person suffering from paranoia is sure, 100% sure that. . .

He stole that money!

She cheated me out of the property!

She has my ring and won't give it back.

He thinks I'm stupid. I'll show him!

Very difficult to convince people like this that they are wrong about this, no matter how much cajoling, flattering, affirming, validating, you do.

Okay. Maybe with a lot of sex. But even with physical affection, I don't know, the odds are that the paranoia will come back again under stressful conditions.

This is why, by the way, medications are helpful, they help people buffer stress. It is also why some people don't want to take them. They don't want to be left vulnerable to exploitation and harm, psychologically "buffered" from the pain.

Here are the features of this intractable disorder.

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder:

A. A pervasive distrust and suspicion of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by 4 or more of the following:
(1) suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her

(2) is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trust-worthiness of friends or associates

(3) is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her

(4) reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanins into benign remarks or events

(5) persistently bears grudges, is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights

(6) perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack

(7) has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.
B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia, a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, or another Psychotic Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.

No fun. Partners, spouses and children are often accused of cheating, lying, having affairs, manipulation. Friends and children of friends, housekeepers, baby sitters, business associates, deliberately plotting behind their backs. People look at them the wrong way, people wrong them, think they're oblivious, stupid.

These are angry people. Suspicious. Not obviously, sometimes, they won't always tell you their suspicious, but surely. Telling you might give you an edge.

There is a strong association with child abuse, and you can see why. If you can't trust your own parents to take care of you and protect you, to show you that they love you, that they believe in you, who can you trust? Or if you lived in a concentration camp, and every authority was a killing authority, every uniform or bunk mate a possible snitch, you learn to read aggression in people, even when there isn't any. You misinterpret facial signals, body language, tone of voice.

You learn to trust only yourself. You become impenetrable, are perceived by others as tough. Deep down you want others to adore you, to tell you that you're wonderful, and you may behave as if you believe you really are, but you're really not sure. This thread of insecurity runs through most personality disorders, you know.

People who suffer from Paranoid Personality Disorder are often afraid to put themselves in situations that are intimate, it makes them feel vulnerable, weak. They won't initiate an intimate conversation, and have buried their issues deeply, don't participate, necessarily, or appear disconnected, laugh when they shouldn't. Makes sense, right? How can you let a potential enemy get close? That's just plain dumb.

You don't make yourself vulnerable, tell people your true feelings, your fears, your sadness, if there's a chance of being punished.

That's another reason you have to be right, too. So you don't get punished.

therapydoc

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On Being Right

You wonder, don't you, why it is that some people can never be wrong? Even caught, busted, backed into a corner, they'll lie to your face, tell you they didn't understand the question, or that you're interpreting what they said incorrectly. Never wrong, can't be.

It is everything to them, everything to be right. I'm sorry isn't in the vernacular. Nothing to be sorry for if you're always right.

If it's an acquaintance, you can let it go, maybe laugh it off privately, placate your friend. You intuit that this person needs validating, an emotional lift, an ego boost. Applause. So you give it. It's cheap.

If it's a colleague, someone on the team at work, or a fellow committeeman in an organization, a herd of industrial psychologists can't budge this person, will throw arms up in despair, slap together an agreement nobody likes. You just can't negotiate with some people.

When it's the boss, and it often is, well, you know who is right, and it isn't you.

Ditto, maybe, if it's family. History proves resistance futile, so you coach the kids,
Don't bother arguing with ___(Dad, Mom, Uncle Herb, etc.).
It's a waste of time.
Those of you coping with this emotional system come to therapy, usually, because someone else can't cope with this person. And the someone else won't let it go, insists upon arguing with the one who has to be right. Maybe it's a child or a teenager in charge of the revolution, or maybe it's you, finally fed up, sick of letting the baby have his bottle. Everyone in the family feels this negative emotion; it's palpable. Family and/or marital therapy is an attractive option.

Mainly because there's no sex in the marital relationship anymore, so changing this is an incentive for therapy. Anger's just not sexy. Or one of the kids is off "doing his own thing."

The ones stuck being wrong all the time are the ones who volunteer for individual therapy. The therapist is empathetic, knowing how difficult difficult people can be. It's not easy always yielding, always being wrong, for if you live with someone who is always right, and you disagree with that person, then you're always wrong.

Which feels bad. You might even come to believe it, too, that you really are more wrong than right, especially if you start out in the relationship a quart or three low in the self-esteem department. If you start out full, you'll find it runs out easily if you're always wrong. (This is systems thinking.) Like the Dementors in the Harry Potter books who whoosh down and sap happiness from others, steal it, make it theirs; you get sapped of self-esteem, happiness, no matter how well defended.

Generally we think you get this valuable commodity, self-esteem, maintain it or lose it, too, in a social process: direct communication or meta-messages, messages embedded in messages, body language, tone of voice, spacial positioning. These all communicate one's value, good or bad. Very little gray in most messages like these.

Such a humbling experience, too, being on the receiving end. Our partners, our parents, are supposed to be the home team. They are supposed to value us, validate us, tell us we're smart, we're good. People are supposed to be pleasant to one another in caring, intimate relationships.

Like FD will tell me, "You're not so bad."

It helps to have positive feedback, and the running hypothesis here, surprise surprise, is that people who have to be right all of the time didn't get positive feedback when they needed it most, during childhood. Those critical years, the formative years, really are critical, they are formative. And they can be wonderful, full of awe and wonder, or not.

The have-to-be rights never experienced wonder years. No happiness or wonder for them.

Those of us who adore our children, who praise and encourage them, who use reason when they're out of line, as opposed to beating on them in one way or another, believe children should stay in wonder for as long as possible. We know that the world is full of let-downs, disrespect, wallops, lumps. Nobody knows us out there, few care, really, how we feel. If we have three good friends, we are very, very lucky.

By and large, life's about taking the punches, coping with rejection. And our friends and family, people who care about us, buffer that.

You apply for a job and there's not so much as a rejection letter for non-candidates. We used to get these, Thank you for applying. . . but. . . letters. Now we know that if there's no call back, there's no job. No communication is communication.

Thus the Rodney Dangerfields are everywhere, getting NO respect. No "I value your opinion, your thoughts, your skills." That's why parents have to do it first, get a quart of three into us when we're little, hope it keeps. Value, validate. The words sound alike. A giving thing, this expression of someone's worth. We don't have to agree with our kids, with anyone necessarily, to say, Wow, now that you've explained it, I see why you feel the way you feel.

That's validation.

In the Chicago Public Schools there's a new program, the WOW program. Teachers are supposed to say WOW, no matter what a kid does.
"You didn't do your homework? WOW, I imagine you just didn't have time!"
Implicit respect. Wow, I see why you feel the way you feel.

No need to add the but; it's not a compound sentence. Validation means no qualifiers necessary. If I didn't ask for an alternative opinion, why give it to me? I may still be glowing in the Wow. The but can come later. And if there isn't any communicated respect, no validation, which takes some time, actually, in discussion, it's likely there's no interest in alternative thoughts and opinions.

This is the rationale behind the intervention you read on this blog relatively often, validating without regard for receiving validation in return, or unconditional validation in communication. Here the one who is always wrong (according to the one who is always right) patiently validates the one who clearly needs to be right.

To do this and not lose your mind, you actually need to know your subject, why he or she needs to be right, which can be very personal, very intimate information. But if it's a parent, or a partner, you have the right to know.*

So you snoop around and find, in all probability, that there's abuse in this person's background, shame and abuse, verbal, physical, emotional, psychological. This person has been labeled
stupid, retarded, fat, a wimp, a loser, maybe a fool.
Something. He or she may have been slapped silly for being so dumb. Stupid and dumb are operative words. Children should be seen, not heard, you can assume this, in families like these.
A child learns to stay invisible, is afraid to venture an opinion, knowing that the opinion isn't wanted, commands no respect.

You would think parents would naturally know, would simply have the empathy necessary to know that kids need to be asked an opinion now and again, that they need to feel important, to have a say in their lives, that this is how they emerge from the Petree dish of family with some self-esteem, a modicum of self-worth. We all need the You are important message. You are someone very capable. Without this type of messaging a person suffers a hunger, a growling in the tummy that won't quiet down.

Although I like to think that a corrective relationship feeds the beast.

Childhood abuse and emotional neglect is transgenerational, zips right past go, starts somewhere in the lower branches of the family tree and grows, like ivy, up. Subsequent generations might copy the behaviors of aggressive parents, identify with the aggressor. But it is not so simple as this. More likely, if one has been muted, called stupid often enough, shut down, there is still a thinking brain, a healthy vector of self that whispers, mouths silently to the aggressor, on more than one occasion during childhood,
"Actually, I'm not always stupid. You're stupid. You know?"
This voice grows louder inside, this shoot of a child's budding identity, this personality in progress, and grows very rebellious, even, over time.

I call it the Survivor Ego. Maybe others have other names for it. I've never read this in a book, to be quite honest.

The silent scream volleys hard,
"I am not always wrong, I am not always stupid, and damn it, one day, you'll all have to listen to me because I am not going away. You will contend with me when I am older. I live!"
The beginning of the oppositional personality.

Having been shut down for so long, the Survivor Ego lives to revel in expression, thrives in the countering of opinions, thrills with the power of final say.
"I live, okay? They didn't kill me. Won't somebody please notice?"
It is a micro-decision of youth, to respond this way, rather than cower every time, yield every point. It is the black/white of borderline. And the decision is unconscious by adulthood, that decision that turned the key, for evermore, the one that cheers the adult child on. "I'm right!" It's like a drug.

So you see why there has to be some psychotherapy, some good old fashioned psychodynamic therapy, to end the reign of terror, and the one who needs it is in no hurry, feels no need to get it. But when it happens, a person can change.

The change, albeit unstable at first, maybe forever, yields the point, many points, to significant others. The changed individual feels compassion for others, even empathy. This is possible for the memory of his history empowers him, substitutes for the other drug, having to be right all of the time. They believe me. They get it. They know I'm not stupid.

And when being right feels irresistible, when Mr/Ms Has-to-be-Right slips?

A raised eyebrow is enough, assuming you've agreed on that signal. In family therapy we're big on such things, signals.

therapydoc

*
Just my opinion here, as usual, what you pay for when you read this blog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Human/Animal Rights

National Network to End Domestic Violence Hands down, one of the best resources on the web.

A personal fave, the chocolate Labrador retirever.


Short story:

A patient, someone who is weighing whether or not to leave an abusive spouse, a spouse who will not get help, tells me, "No human being has the right to hurt another."

Uh, huh. Go on.

Then she asks, "Don't you agree? Does anyone have the right to hurt anyone else?"

Probably not, probably not. And yet, it happens. And you have to get out of that when it does, even if it means abandoning, hurting the one who hurts you. Hurting that someone else, the one who has been hurting you, has to happen, it's a part of the process, and most people would agree that even if it's going to hurt, even if there's risk, you might have to go anyway.

You're not punishing, you're just going, I like to say. Nobody's punishing anyone.

And there are risks, safety risks, which is why support is so, so important. So many qualifiers when it comes to these things.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The month is really brought to you by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and if we reach way back, the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act of 1984. But when I searched "domestic violence awareness", surprise surprise, the NNEDV didn't show at all.

Somebody did their SEO* homework, that's for sure, and a collaboration between PAWS and the American Humane Association grabbed the top spot with a feature on the Pets and Women's Shelters Program. Social service providers are matching up pets and abused women to alleviate stress for both, kill two birds with one stone. Not the best metaphor, admittedly.

At first I was confused. The whole idea, really, throwing women and pets into the same sentence. But pets are vulnerable, and women and children are vulnerable, too. Almost anyone, male or female, can find himself at the end of someone's boot now and again.

This is really pet therapy, using pets as therapeutic agents. Animals have healing powers, provide comfort to humans. There's even a genre of specially trained Therapy Dogs that pad into nursing homes and residential treatment centers. These uncomplicated creatures are only in the biz to give and to take love. They haven't much else to do, really, and they're furry. So why wouldn't victims of violence love to love them?

Some might prefer to have the rent paid, or a fur coat, maybe, but then the PETA people would be on them about that. There you are, recovering from an abusive relationship, hugging your fur coat, and someone throws paint on it.

The PAWS idea makes sense to me, however. PAWS stands for Progressive Animal Welfare Society, by the way. I've suggested to parents, on occasion, referring to an occasional very, very sad kid,
"This kid needs a dog."
Or maybe a cat. Or a bird. Or a fish tank. But the dog, well, a dog is (wo)man's best friend, proof positive, everyone knows. You've seen Lassie, Rin Tin Tin. I'll take that chocolate lab, if you don't mind.

It's amazing how fickle we can be, some of us, after burying a faithful pet. You would think that replacing him is the next step. But service complete, we sometimes let them go, decide that taking care of a dog is too much work, too big a commitment, come to think of it. And have you seen the price of heart worm medication lately? I hope the Pets and Women's Shelter Program is going to pick up the tab.

Let's move on. There's so much to know about domestic violence, like one out of four of us will fall victim in our lifetimes. Check out what the President of the United States says.

And the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

and the US Department of Justice.

Don't miss the Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP)

I like their mission statement a lot:

The Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) supports the rights of all women and girls to live in peace and dignity. Violence and all other forms of oppression against all communities of women and their children must be eliminated. To change belief systems and practices that support violence against all women, the DVAP recognizes and promotes the participation of the entire community in building social intolerance towards domestic violence.


And they have resources, things a person with heart could do to work towards eradicating domestic violence, give it a shove out the door, make it one of those zero tolerance things.

The idea that we should work toward eliminating violence and all other forms of oppression against all communities of women and children, fantastic. I would add, toward men and pets, too.

It's all very much like, "No human being has the right to hurt another."

No?

therapydoc

SEO, as in search engine optimization, the science of getting a website to the top of a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search. See my sidebar.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Mamas and the Papas Indeed


California Dreaming?

I'm not feeling sorry for myself, but it's been four months since I've seen my West Coast kids and grandkids and that's a little long, even with Google-vid and chat, texting and email. Even with those pictures that pop up everywhere. Nothing helps when I get like this.

Although talking, especially about things that are intimate, helps tremendously.

Over the phone my daughter tells the story about my five year-old grandson,

"Mommy! I put a birthmark in my book!"

Undoubtedly, the stuff of the Mommy Blogs, and you can laugh at the telling, but I would have loved to have been there. I understand his Mommy had a hard time keeping a straight face.

We can talk about our marvelous virtual world, how we keep in touch and all that, but there's nothing like the real thing, the real humans. The touch of your children, the smiles of their spouses, the hugs of your grandchildren.

We'll get to Papa John in a minute.

It cost me a few bucks in gifts, not bad at all, especially since Southwest takes the bite out of baggage, doesn't charge. They're so funny at Southwest, so laid back. None of the attitude:
You're dirt, why should we even let you stand-by.
It's all:
Chill out. We'll get you there.
And there are plenty of places to plug in devices.

So I filled a nylon duffel with various throwing things cuz the kids like to play catch with me, and real kid toys-- puzzles, Disney-Rummy, nothing too expensive. September, birthday month, passed uneventfully so there had to be a few cards, too. Cards are a big deal in our family. You can forget the present, but it's unforgivable to forget a card. I didn't forget, just didn't get to it.

I always freeze, too, when it comes to what to write in them. Maybe everyone does. My solution is to edit the Hallmark text, flip it to get it right.

A favorite pen in hand, I went at it at the airport, two hours to kill. My chauffeur had to make it to a class.

I wanted to buy a magazine, too.

When I told my chauffeur that this was the plan, a latte and a New Yorker, he asked me why we canceled the magazine subscription.
"I couldn't get a good waiting room rate. One thing about The New Yorker. It's going to cost you."
But the cover, all about Iran and the economy, did nothing for me. Not the story about the gangs of Rio, either. Must be a plot to ensure that Chicago gets the Olympics. Chicago and Rio are the top two contenders. And the winner is. . .

We find out tomorrow. Apparently the city that hosts the games will suffer from a plethora of special, but empty new warehouses and big buildings when it's all over.

I picked a different magazine altogether, US, all about fashion and celebrity gossip. Wouldn't you rather look at models and movie stars? The boasting front page:
Mackenzie Phillips' Horrifying Confession.
Who could resist such a thing? And a buck cheaper.

If you haven't been paying attention, Mackenzie Phillips, born to John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas and socialite Susan Adams (one of John's many marriages), tells all in a memoir of her wild and crazy days behind the set of One Day at a Time.

For most of us, starring in a hit television show would be wild enough, but Mackenzie's drug addled, depraved father seduced her, made things even wilder for his daughter. He made her his lover and the affair lasted ten years. I've heard it several times,
I'll teach you how to love someone.
This is the family child molester's favorite line.

I haven't read the book, but Ms. Phillips was all of 17 at the beginning of the sexual relationship, so we can say he seduced her. Even if she was head over heels in love with her father, that she was a minor is reason enough to rule out informed consent. That alone makes the act criminal. Minors can't consent to sex, not legally.

The Mamas and the Papas. California Dreaming. I Saw Her Again. Be careful who you worship when it comes to rock stars.

Mackenzie confesses to cocaine and heroin addiction, and we know that under the influence informed consent isn't possible either.

But let's get real. This is incest, internationally taboo.

John Phillips isn't around to talk about it, so for all we know the book is a pack of lies. If I hadn't heard more than a few handfuls of these stories first hand, I might think so, too. Ultimately Mr. Phillips passed away a victim of his own vices, heart failure at 65, eight years ago. Gave Mckenzie some time to write a book.

Now the question is,
Is this a good thing, to write a memoir? Maybe it hurts innocent people.
And the answer is,
Maybe yes, maybe no.
I read that her sister Chynna wasn't thrilled when she heard about the publication of the book and that it came as a surprise, not that she doubted the veracity of her sister's work. Chynna uses one of my favorite phrases, These things affect other people to explain her feelings. She has kids. Mr. Phillips had grandchildren.

Publicizing secrets comes at a cost, usually. It has to hurt innocent people, airing the dirty family laundry. In family therapy we talk about this as a process, especially when it comes to exposing incest, and suggest discretion.

Timing is everything when telling the kids, especially. They want the people they love to be infallible, perfect. (Who wants a predator for a grandfather?) This is why these confessions are frequently limited to a best friend, a trusted clergyman, surely a therapist. Therapists generally will work up a plan, make it thoughtful, considerate of everyone.

It has to be hard to break it to youngsters when a previously trustworthy family member can't be trusted anymore. So we might suggest tabling the discussion until they can understand what it's all about, if at all possible. Of course, if your aunt writes a book, it's hard not to hear about it.

Some secrets can be toxic, is the truth, they hurt people who hold them in. We have to talk about what has happened to us in life. We have to talk to someone. And exposing them ultimately might protect others from making the same mistakes. Awareness of danger is a good thing. We can learn from others and we like the details. Those of us in this business are traumatized hearing them first hand, but for others, the juice quenches a certain prurient curiosity.

The US interview goes on to say that Mr. Phillips also did time in a penitentiary for dealing drugs, and one of his sons calls him things I won't publish.

Living perpetrators of sexual crimes can get better. No one has to stay a creep forever. We have them on their knees in therapy, some of us, have them beg forgiveness. That helps a lot.

Hopefully Mackenzie did some healing writing her book. We wish her well. Sister Chynna's apparently a popular vocalist (I'm not always up on this stuff). I'm going to check out her work, see if it will help me get over the thought that I won't be listening to the Mamas and the Papas anytime soon.

Thanks to all of you who commented below, who recommended songs, movies, books and websites about this topic. It's clear that many of you already know that when we talk about sexual abuse, we're talking emotional scars, social isolation, and psychological/physical reminders of this kind of "love".

The whole thing makes me, personally, want to avoid the 'zines, the expose's, the memoirs. I'll stick to chick lit, maybe.

therapydoc