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Narcissists. Don’t Be a Pawn in Their Game.

The average person may see some posts or hear someone talking about having to live with a narcissist.

Without the experience though, it is difficult to truly appreciate.

You see, these people are chameleons, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They can appear remarkably charming, which by the way, is actually a risk indicator that someone may be a narcissist.

Narcissists need to have things their own way. It feeds their ego and sense of importance.

When thwarted, it is not just that they think something didn’t go their way, no, to them the experience is like they are caused to feel worthless. That to them is unacceptable.

As such the narcissist must not only re-right the balance, but feels they must also crush those who they perceive to have thwarted them.

However, some of these folks although emotionally shallow may still be highly intelligent, making them dangerous.

The dangerousness is their capacity to extract revenge while looking good in the process. Their charm masks the insidious and manipulative strategic thumping they bring to their target of blame.

Next time someone tells you they are dealing with a narcissist, just know that person needs you to appreciate they are struggling with someone out to undermine their wellbeing.

These people, the ones dealing with the narcissist aren’t paranoid, it’s just that the narcissist is better at manipulation, lying and charming than most people are good at telling the truth. That is the expertise of the narcissist.

Next time you meet with someone who seems charming, seems to be weaving a tale that makes another look bad at times more by insinuation than accusation, just be careful. You may be coming under their spell to act in their interest insidiously against their target.

Sure listen, but don’t necessarily act on their behalf. Don’t be a pawn in their game.

For more posts on relationships, parenting and family life, follow me on Facebook!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

 

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Does Giving Away Free Information Work for Facebook Marketing?

I asked my Facebook followers their view of providing free information. I was curious if they thought it hurt or helped business. They responded!

Below is my original post surveying their views and every comment they provided..

See for yourself!

My view – being of service is always good for business. Give freely.

————————————-

Tomorrow (May 2) I am driving to Ottawa to present at a peacemaking conference. I will be presenting on how to use social media to facilitate marketing.

When most people use social media for marketing, they are so self-promoting, that no one wants to follow.

I keep explaining to my colleagues to share real information, information that is actually of service to those whom they would like to help.

Most of my colleagues worry they are giving help away for free.

I keep explaining, there are plenty of folks who need help and those who also can’t afford it. By being of service, you can get yourself known so if someone truly wants your help, they can then give you a call.

Anyways, my view is to just be of service, help others, work to make the world a better place, and with that, business takes care of itself.

If you comment with your views on this, I will share them with my colleagues during my workshop.

I hope I am making sense!

 

Comments:

  • I truly value that you share so much of your insight, points of view and suggestions for how to cope so freely with visitors to your page/website. Choosing a counselor can be overwhelming, and I would vastly prefer to work with someone whose competence, style and approach are somewhat familiar and known to choosing someone random whom I know nothing about based on a google search. Counseling is an investment of both time and money, and you want to find a good fit the first time. I have booked appointments with you because you have shared so freely and allowed me to get to know your approach and point of view, and I have referred a number of my friends to your page and expect they too will use your services at some point. You are absolutely right that the business will take care of itself. I find that in my business as well. Self-promotion all the time turns people away rather than drawing them in.

 

  • I enjoy your posts and regularly share them. The last one was about taking your teens out and connecting with them. I was thanked for sharing it because it touched people- when you spread goodness, people appreciate it. People appreciate your insight. It earns their trust in you and in your competency as a professional. In my opinion, this removes barriers for someone feeling intimidated about taking the first step towards counseling, as now it feels like they know you. I would undoubtedly seek counsel with you over others if you were in my area as you have made yourself known by sharing yourself freely with the public. Thank you for your time! It is appreciated 😊

 

  • I am grateful for your willingness to share good, useful, concise advice. I look forward to your posts and share them with others. Thank you for caring.

 

  • I love how real and down to earth your posts are… they’ve definitely helped me reflect on topics and situations that are ‘real life / current topics’. I don’t see it as giving away advice for free, as much as being of good quality service to your community. It also has helped your followers to feel trustworthy in your approach and professionalism.

    Keep it up – I wish more of the ‘helpers’ that I know in my local life would post in ways that you do!

 

  • I actually started following you earlier today and it was this exact reason I did so. A friend shared your video from early March about stopping at Tim’s with your teenager and the difference slowing down and enjoying their presence can make to the relationship. It really resonated with me as I am soon to head into those years with my children. I thought, ‘wow, I want to hear more like this’, looked up your page and followed! Glad I did. And thank you for it.

 

  • Sometimes it’s just a good reminder to be reflective rather than reactionary, and to do the kind thing. For me your posts are both affirming and guiding. I appreciate your sense of calm, your expertise and your connection to real people in real situations.

 

  • Most of us do not know a social worker or counselor. When we need one, we may not be in the best frame of mind to sort out or make a decision to find someone. I like Gary’s talks and insights because it is a help to make the decision to call someone. The talks and insights also make one feel as if they know them a little and feel a little more comfortable when making the decision to call them. I wish more professionals were on social media giving short educational lessons. You could also say, that reading these online lessons from a real counselor and seeing other people’s problems helps us all connect a little more to each other. Also, many of us were raised in an atmosphere where it wasn’t OK to discuss problems. Seeing that other people also have problems and some of the same problems brings us all a little closer and more understanding of each other in a very disconnected world.
    • Yes, it is remarkable how common some human issues are. Meeting with others helps break isolation. I am pleased my Facebook page offers a sense of community. Thanks.

 

  • I definitely would go to you before anyone else because you are sharing sincere advice online. You are building your credibility and integrity with your viewers, as well as a level of trust. So, if someone needed more of what you are offering online, they will search YOU out, not some other random therapist.

 

  • You’re making all the sense and for sure contributing to your community. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and opinions, you’re impacting me as a person, mom, wife, coworker… human being. Gracias!!!! God bless you

 

  • I think too, that the sharing of information helps with reducing stigma- such that once people have viewed one of your videos or read one of your articles it normalizes if they also have a similar situation in their life. With that normalization, they are more likely to recognize and act when they require help for their own mental health. I haven’t looked into specific studies but this is one way I feel these posts can benefit the collective mental health of readers/viewers.

    As a health professional in primary care, I appreciate the evidence based discussions which I find informative for people I see who may experience things I have not myself/I have not been trained to receive despite being often the first step of mental health disclosure. The posts are helpful to my practice and the people I interact with.

 

  • This reminds me of Christmas on 34th Street. The real Santa tells the customers where the best price is available. At first management doesn’t like the idea. Then they see how many customers are coming to their store. I know it’s long winded and a little obscure but that’s how I see what you do. You will tell us about people (real people) who might have similar problems or situations that we ourselves are going through. When you give your advice or opinion, we might find it helpful. If we need further help, we all know how to find you. Thank you for the service you provide free or otherwise ❤️
    • I appreciate the analogy. Even when people call for service, I speak with each person to make sure I may be helpful. If I don’t think I am the right person, I do what I can to make an appropriate referral. I have never lost anything by doing so. I find people are truly grateful for that.
    • We know who the REAL Santas are!! I knew I recognized that white beard from somewhere!! 🙂
    • That’s funny… When I meet with parents and then set an appointment to get together with their child, I tell the parents to say to their child that I am a nice man, very happy, wise and with a white beard. I want the parents to create the image of Santa without saying so. If the child has that image in their mind before seeing me, it helps alleviate any anxiety about meeting me.

 

  • You are making perfect sense. I am so grateful for your kind advice, suggestions and insightful comments. They prompt me to think and that is always a good thing
    • Your kind feedback is appreciated.

 

  • I like your approach of sharing some of your expertise. I do it all the time with my art-making; I don’t worry that I am giving away my tips n tricks for free or if someone tries to copy my technique; no one can replicate my creative touch. Same for you folks; generalized info is great to share but the specifics of a case is best done in person with one-on-one counselling 😉

 

  • I agree with you completely. I was previously a mental health nurse, so I tend to pick and choose those I “follow” on social media with respect to “helping” others. One of the things that I think is important in using social media is the need for respect and caring. A practitioner who displays that is definitely more likely to draw clients. While social media helps for identifying “interests” and finding someone who seems to connect with you, for in depth and long-term resolution of issues, actual sessions are the most effective. I think that offering the opportunity to share information on social media allows for others in the “community” to chime in with their experiences and knowledge thereby broadening the available “I am not alone” support, or even, “gee, I never thought of it that way”. I am really enjoying your posts 🙂

 

  • I have appreciated the support and resources offered by others in response to my posts. I find it encouraging when others contribute in a helping way.

 

  • We have always used social media on our Habitude pages to inform, educate and create a sense of community with some belly laughs on days when someone could use one.

 

  • To understand the power of giving, you must first learn to be a Go-Giver. Serve as many people as possible and watch the rewards of your contributions naturally return and enjoy the good feeling this gives you along the way.

 

  • By sharing real information here, you are demonstrating that you understand the key issues for these families. Your posts are also empathetic to the struggle —it leaves readers with the sense that you might just “get” what these families go through and therefore be in a position to help. The challenges for many families can be so complex and distressing at times that a post here or there online is not going to replace direct contact with a service provider when needed. When someone is ready for help your name will be top of mind as highly qualified for the job.
    • I do care about folks… I know I haven’t been helpful to all I have served, but hopefully they appreciate that I am coming from a good place.

 

  • In my opinion, I would be more inclined to seek help from someone who genuinely seems to care about the well-being of others then from just a “sponsored post”, Google search, etc. that just screams “I want your money”. I’ve only been following you for a month or so and I did so because of one of your many posts about children and anxiety – an issue we are currently experiencing. These posts have helped us and because you shared this, for free, from the goodness of your heart, I would absolutely choose you when/if we ever needed more personalized, one-on-one help ❤
    • same girl
    • I am pleased the posts have helped. That is my intention. I never really know who I reach and what my posts do for them. Occasionally people private message me telling me. I do appreciate receiving the feedback.

 

  • I agree, and I love your posts. see you in Ottawa!

 

  • Had I known I’d come and listen!

 

  • Good luck 👍and be safe

 

  • See you soon!!
    • Arlene is joining me for the dinner. Looking forward to getting together.

 

  • I 💯 agree and it may sound hokey, but I believe that what you put out there, you get back. And if I lived in your area, I’d be paying to come to see you so fast! Everyone can benefit from talking to a professional!
    • FYI these days I am seeing almost as many people through video conferencing over the Internet, as I am in person in my office. It has been a very positive experience in that I can work with people all over the world and with multiple people in multiple locations at the same time. I recently met with several adult siblings, each in different parts of Canada. A while back I met with a part of a family in my office and included the other part of their family in the Caribbean using video conferencing. Both experiences worked well.

 

Hopefully this inspires other professionals to share their information freely too!

Follow me on Facebook!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

 

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

 

Trouble at School and The Need For “We”

There is no doubt there is trouble at school. Virtually all educators and clinicians are talking about the rise of childhood anxiety being seen in greater numbers and in kids younger and younger. We are also seeing Educational Assistants leading the way of public sector workers with the highest rate of “long term injuries”. The school and student of today is unlike their parent’s generation. But why?

The seeds of why go back 50 years with the beginning of the deinstitutionalization movement. At the time it was all about getting “mental patients” out of hospital and into the community. There was a push away from the expense and stigma of institutionalization. To follow was the deinstitutionalization of institutionalized children. They were those who presented with “mental retardation” typically an outcome of Down Syndrome. There were also those with cerebral palsy and similar issues. The goals of deinstitutionalization were laudable: destigmatize, normalize, integrate. Over the years, we have also changed our language with reference to children with developmental differences.

However, with the push to deinstitutionalize, services did not keep pace. The answer of the day come the 1970’s and 1980’s, was case management. Case management was to be the panacea to help those displaced from institutions navigate the unwieldy and fragmented service delivery system in the general community. Still however, services did not keep pace.

Also occurring in the 1970’s and 1980’s was the impact of the women’s movement, changes to divorce laws and ups and downs of the economy. Together those differences collided to in effect make parents less available to children and thus the term “latch key kid” came about. These were the children whose both parents (separated or together) must each be employed simply to make ends meet. Concern was expressed that these kids may suffer emotionally/psychologically the result of less adult supervision having to run home at the end of their school day to empty houses left to their own and unable to play outside.

Come the 1990’s and 2000’s it was technology driving the wedge and connection between parents and children even wider. Computers in bedrooms, followed by parents on their iPhone and next kids on their android smartphones enlarged the schism and parental availability and influence. Additionally, with the faster rise and falls of the economy and less good paying jobs available, more and more parents must be in the low pay economy and have multiple jobs to just barley stay afloat. Throughout has been the inclusion movement, meaning all children, regardless of special needs would be served within the mainstream education system.

This perfect storm has created more kids with attachment disorders owing to the lack of parental availability, no fault of the parents but an outcome of economic, social and technological change. The impact of attachment disorder is anxiety and other behavioral issues. These kids don’t have the same kind or quality of relationship with their parents in this day and age as their parents had with theirs years ago. This is not an issue of love or caring. This is simply an outcome of the time and attention available for the expression of that love and caring. Parents are stressed out and as such, so are the kids.

Add to the above the fact that services for children with mental health, behavioral or academic problems still have not kept pace and we have more and more children whose behavior is bursting at the seams.

Without an appreciation of these historic events producing this current situation, groups are pitted against each other hurling blame and shame. Parents are vilified by some education workers and education workers are vilified by some parents.

Under duress people hunker down into positional thinking and argue in either or fashion the merits of policy. Parents argue over the merits of inclusion, versus mainstreaming versus least restrictive environment as if one is best for all. With the all or none thinking, the fight is on to argue positionally about the merits of one’s preferred approach to meeting all student needs.

In the meantime, the student still goes without proper supports, violence in the educational workplace escalates as do injuries and children’s mental health goes untreated.

The solution is in “we”.

Parents and education workers must come together. Parents and education workers need demand more resources to meet the needs of today’s student.

Also needed as has always been needed, is a continuum of flexible services. The answer does not lay in one approach or the other but an ability to offer an array of services attuned to the student’s needs at any particular time. Flexible services.

This message couldn’t be timelier given we are at a time when the current conservative government is limiting and withdrawing services, supports and needed curriculum from education.

It can always be argued to seek efficiencies, however, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, “efficiency” is often code for cuts.

This is not a time for cuts. It is a time for all stakeholders, parents, students, educators, researchers and politicians to come together to review and renew educational policy.

We need parents asking their children, not how was their day, but what was your experience in school today. What did you see? How are your friends and other students? Were there any times you felt afraid today or in the past? What do you do when you don’t understand the work? Is there someone you can ask for help?

As all parents become more attuned to their child’s experience of school, more parents will come to learn the state of today’s classroom. This is not to create shame or blame. This is to create greater awareness so that more parents come to “we” and work along side education workers to create a better educational system.

Parental goals and educational worker goals are aligned.

We all want what is best for the student, the children. We all want a safe work environment where students can learn and flourish and reach their best potential.

With that, we must all work together.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

 

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

I Brought My Calm to a Knife Fight and Won with These 5 Steps

I have professionally always advocated for bringing one’s calm to situations or persons in distress. In bringing our calm we are less likely to escalate a situation or person and more likely to generate more and better solutions for resolution.

I think though, in my private life, I have mostly been this way too.

I remember in high school being approached in an empty hallway by a known thug. He was brandishing a knife. The kind of knife he was holding is called a flick-knife. It is called a flick-knife because with flick of the wrist, the blade is exposed and with another flick, the blade returns to the sheath. This guy was approaching me flicking the blade in and out in a threatening manner, his eyes fixed on me.

I remained calm, although intimidated.

Before he could draw near to me and knowing that I could not outrun him. I called to him, “Wow, nice knife. How do you do that?”

With that, I walked briskly towards him, my eyes focused on his knife whilst I carried an inquisitive and admiring look for his expertise in managing the knife.

When by his side and still gazing at the knife, I said, “That’s amazing,” and added, “Can you show me how to do that?”

He proudly handed me the knife and explained how to expose and retract the blade.

I tried unsuccessfully and awkwardly, intentionally, and handed him back the blade saying, “Wow, I guess it really takes practice and you’re good at it. Thanks for letting me try.”

The fellow thanked me for my praise, pocketed his knife and walked on.

I too walked on, although I felt like I needed to change my pants. However, I reflected upon my choice of action and was pleased with myself. I felt I had won.

With my calm, I changed a threatening situation around and got past it.

That experience has served me well in my professional work with dangerous youth, high conflict parents and even in my private life with kin who can be challenging.

Here are the steps to surviving a knife fight and winning:

  1. Recognize when you are threatened (the trigger);
  2. Remain calm;
  3. Generate a number of alternative responses in your mind and think them through considering likely outcomes;
  4. Implement the response considered most likely to contain and resolve the situation peacefully;
  5. Afterwards, reflect on the entirety of the situation to either learn some lessons or reinforce your good response.

Managing and winning a knife fight doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. I sure was. Terrified in fact. Winning is about managing oneself to minimize risk of escalation, harm or other bad outcomes.

We do this by bringing our calm.

Next knife fight, bring your calm.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

 

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Feeling Provoked?

We all get provoked.

The provocation can be by an intimate partner, our child, a parent, a colleague, our boss or an employee. The issue though isn’t about being provoked; the real issue is about managing ourselves in the midst of provocation.

In the midst of provocation the human response is to go into fight or flight mode. We seek to avoid the situation altogether or alternately, we may seek to take it on and perhaps give as good as we get. We’ve been triggered and the provocation gets the better of us.

How we handle provocation though says more about us that the provocateur.

Bill Eddy, a US lawyer/social worker talks about three elements when it comes to us being triggered. Those elements are:

  1. All or none thinking;
  2. Unmanaged emotions;
  3. Extreme behavior.

The challenge, according to Mr. Eddy is to develop flexible thinking, manage our emotions and moderate our behavior.

So much begins with self awareness – the ability to monitor oneself and recognize one’s emotional states. Only by first recognizing one’s emotional state can one then begin to regulate one’s emotions.

One regulates their emotions by first recognizing the emotional state and then putting thinking between the emotion and behavior.

By inserting thinking between feeling and doing, the person then gets to generate a number of alternative actions which is the hallmark of flexible thinking.

On the basis of the alternative actions generated the person can then determine the likely outcomes of the various alternatives if taken and then choose the course of action on the basis of the desired outcome. That lends itself to moderate behavior.

It looks like this:

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Manage yourself and you master your response and better manage the situation and provocation. This de-escalates situations and lends itself to better outcomes.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

 

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

 

Educational Assistants: First Responders with Violent Students

Parents have seen me post about Educational Assistants.

I don’t think the general public and mostly parents whose kids don’t need an EA understand how important their role is.

You see, in the past five to ten years kids have been getting more challenging to manage. This is the result of the shifting economy causing more parents to have to work and work longer hours with sometimes more than one job. It is also the result of technological change where even though more connected, we are increasingly disconnected, parents from kids and kids from play and nature.

You see, we all need connections to feel secure, without which we experience anxiety, the chief disturbance seen in kids today.

It is the EA in your child’s school who seek to be the social glue, keeping some kids together and others from freaking out. However when that child freaks out, happening more often than parents know, then it is the EA who acts as the behavioral and emotional fireman, seeking to contain explosions.

So parents, appreciate that without EAs, all students would be at risk of being caught up in the explosions and aftermath of behavioral outbursts. And the EA does their job, now, in this day and age, with no to limited prior knowledge of the very students who are explosive. They at times do their job with more protective gear than the police riot squad. EAs are the first responders in the schools keeping things safe when students act out. Their job has the record for lost time injuries, greater than any other service profession including police.

So parents, if you want your children to have a good day at school, start at home finding time to spend with them, limit theirs and your online activity, and inform yourself about and support the role of the Educational Assistants.

When you see your kid after school today, give them a big hug, enjoy a snack or activity which can include making the meal together and ask if any other kid lost it at school today. Then think of the EA, working on behalf of all kids trying to keep a safe and supportive environment for all students.

If you support the role of the EA and if you want more parents to read this, then please share this post.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

When You Yell at Your Partner or a Child

Bubbles_over_blades
.

You are angry with your partner. You kinda lose it. Not terribly, but you at least raise your voice, perhaps point a finger, admonish.

Your partner reacts poorly and raises their voice, perhaps telling you that you cannot talk to them that way.

You try to return to your issue, but in a louder voice and maybe that finger is wagging more or is more pointed in your partner’s face.

Does this remind you of anything?

Think back to your own childhood and if you were scolded as a child. Assuming so, think back to how you may have felt as that child being scolded. Consider if your partner may have been scolded.

People often don’t remember what they were being scolded for, but typically do remember the scolding (or worse).

Many folks say they were yelled at, scolded, hit as a child and they turned out all right.

No. It’s not true.

If it were true you wouldn’t be repeating this pattern now in your intimate relationship. This is not turning out all right. This is repeating a pattern that hurts and does not resolve issues but rather makes things worse.

Of course your partner cannot hear the issue when scolded. Your partner is busy reacting to the shame felt in childhood for the same experience and now as an adult is revolting against it.

Rather than scolding either a child or your partner, seek to maintain your calm and explain your upset; explain how you feel; explain your love; explain your hurt; all in a calm voice that does not seek to shame or blame, but merely explain – about the impact of the other’s behavior upon yourself. Then, and most importantly, leave either the child or the partner time to let it sink in.

Do not expect or require an immediate response. Don’t even worry about a response as odd as that may sound.

Leave the child or leave your partner thinking about what you had to say, the impact of their behavior upon you, rather than a delivery that creates for the child or catapults your partner back to the pain of an early childhood experience.

Go about your business after that. Continue to be reasonable. See what happen over time. Be patient, Manage yourself.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Trouble in Adult Life – Here is the Key to Change….

I don’t know that people really appreciate how influential their upbringing is on their adult life. I don’t know that people understand that you cannot escape your past, that it shapes the person you are as a grown up.

Jennifer Lopez refers to herself as Jenny from the block. No matter how high she climbs, she recognizes her roots, roots that continue to be influential and propel her.

I cannot escape my roots. I am Gary from the Jewish part of Toronto (Bathurst/Wilson). Even though non-practicing of my faith, I am Jewish to the core, the result of having grown up in a Jewish home in the heart of the Jewish part of the city.

Similarly, not only are we affected by the culture of our community, we are affected by the goings on in our homes. Our home is the kitchen through which our views of the world, sense of self, ways of relating are baked with the ingredients of parental and sibling role models.

While we cannot escape our past, for some, their past propels them to great heights, others to lead quiet average lives and for some, lives of desperation. Interestingly one’s own kitchen, even if with poor ingredients can produce outstanding results. Maybe less because of and maybe more in spite of. Nonetheless – it is one’s own kitchen, their family, their upbringing that remains influential – one way or another… or both. We cannot escape it.

If, however, there are issues from our past that undermine our present, while we cannot escape, we can become aware and with awareness comes choice.

Choice is magical.

Having choices is what opens us to a world of possibilities.

Choice begins with self-reflection, appreciating one’s history, one’s kitchen giving rise to the person of today.

Therapy is about unpacking the ingredients of your kitchen. Those influences unrealized that created the person you are – good, bad, in-between.

Are there issues in your adult life? Would you like to alter the trajectory of your adult life?

Be open to self-examination. Seek a therapist who can take you back in order to make better choices going forward. Learn the ways of change. Seek therapy.

You can’t change or escape your past. You can come to view it more clearly such that new choices and opportunities emerge.

I am Gary from the Jewish part of Toronto. Since my upbringing, I have maintained much of what I learned in my kitchen growing up. I have also made changes. So too can you.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

Help For the Person Tied to a Narcissist

In my experience, most therapists see folks who come to them voluntarily for depression or anxiety. Underlying the distress is often unrecognized trauma, usually from childhood. As a result, they are seeing otherwise decent folks who appreciate help sorting out their difficulties. This so fits with most therapists’ training and disposition as therapists see themselves as helpers and see clients as otherwise nice people. Hence you get a paradigm of nice therapists helping nice people.

This is far removed from the client who comes to them whose distress is tied to living with a narcissist.

The therapist is now meeting with a desperate person who is currently shell-shocked and likely in the throes of PTSD. The therapist will hear stories of gas-lighting, manipulation, lies and deceit from a person who is also described as charming in the company of others. In this situation, the client is either seeking help to change their partner, escape their partner or survive as co-parents. This represents a shift for the therapist as the therapist must accept the description of the unseen partner in horrid terms.

The person described by the client is not often seen in therapy as those persons never have an issue with themselves. They are rarely in distress and if they are it is for feeling thwarted by someone with whom they lost power and control. While this will drive such a person into rage, because they do not see themselves as the problem, they see no need for therapy. Their need is to restore their control in the relationship or otherwise wreak havoc through vengeance which they see as reasonable. Many therapists have not dealt with narcissists directly and when they do, with limited experience and exposure, they come to be tied up in knots too.

It is a challenging paradigm shift for therapists to accept that their compassion and empathy will not facilitate insight and healing in many narcissists and that while one can appreciate the terrible formative experiences such a person may have endured, they remain a current threat and danger to their targets – those whom they believe should meet their needs. If, by the way, a narcissist is seen in therapy, it is likely to help them restore control over their partner and if the therapist is not helpful to that goal, then the therapist is seen as thwarting their needs and thus may be a target of vengeance too.

Hence, many therapists are ill-equipped to meet the needs of this therapy client. This leaves this therapy client feeling more scared and alone and often invalidated for their experience, which only adds to their crazy-making situation and distress.

The required paradigm, from my perspective in working with someone living with a person described as a narcissist is validation and support. The therapist within this paradigm must come to appreciate, there are some folks aptly described as evil. This is so different as well from working with persons whose abuse is physical as often, the narcissists’ tools are not physical, but emotional and psychological.

Help for the client managing life tied to a person described as a narcissist must go beyond support and validation though. It must include survival strategies. Those strategies may be to manage in the relationship, extricate the relationship or co-parent as separated parents – depending on the needs and desire of the client.

The therapist must help the client build boundaries and develop reference points to reality that are not structured or determined by the narcissist. The client must be helped to strategically use empathy and respect in dealing with the narcissist even though this is counter-intuitive. It must be understood that strategies of empathy and respect does not include acquiescing to inappropriate demands or expectations or agreeing with the views or opinions of the narcissist. It just means leaving the narcissist feeling heard as that is actually soothing to such a person and can limit escalation of narcissistic exploitation. Help is also required to set a reasonable appreciation for what may be expected from the narcissist and help should also include self-care strategies.

To the person seeking therapeutic support, do ask your intended therapist is they have any knowledge, training and experience in supporting people managing a narcissist in their life.

To the therapist either supporting a person in relationship with a narcissist or working directly with a narcissist, if your knowledge or training or experience is limited, either seek supervision or refer the person to someone with greater skill. The real challenge in these cases is the paradigm shift. These people can be truly evil and their charm and niceness veils danger. The therapist’s own niceness and can make them ripe for exploitation by the narcissist. So sure, be nice, but at least not naïve. Our help must be helpful and include skill development.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

4 Parenting Tips for This Millennium:

Parenting for this millennium:

  1. Time over stuff: As for our guilt, no longer can we assuage it by giving our children stuff. Giving stuff suggests to kids that stuff is more important than relationships and we the parent will only be valued for the stuff we provide. No stuff, no value. Of course kids who are constantly given stuff don’t otherwise listen to parents. Rather than stuff, give 10 minutes of special attention to engage in a quick activity or admire something of the child.
  2. Disconnect to reconnect: As much as parents all complain about their kid’s use of tablets, smart phones and social media, truth was, so too do parents preoccupy themselves with such things, even when purportedly talking or being with their kids. Turn the devices off – at least certain times of the day, such as at meals and at bedtime. Be truly present and undistracted when with your child. That you turn off your device (actually off, not on vibrate) is a huge signal to your child that they are of value to you over and above anything else. Then you are in a position to truly reconnect.
  3. Reconnect through normal activities: Have time together as a family, typically through shared mealtime. Shared mealtime can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Statistically, the more shared mealtime together, the better children’s behavior and the more likely you can transfer your values and morals to your kids directly as opposed to their picking up whatever by surfing the Internet.
  4. Parent with intention: Lastly be in charge benevolently. Not all expectations are a discussion. Just like in school, when the teacher says, take out your books, this is a demand, not a question. So too parents need to act with reasonable authority and a tone of voice that demonstrates not anger, hostility or fear, but a clarity that what is being sought, is actually required.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by Skype.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

facebook-logo   linked-in-logo   twitter-logo

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.