What “Infantilizing” Does

When 27-year-old Pamela left overseas, she felt crippled. She’s unable to run a washer and dryer, iron her clothes, cook simple foods, or reconcile her budget. Back home, she never learned to do chores around the house or other basic practical stuffs. Her Mom did all for her and she got used to it.

“Infantilize” is a psychological term which means what you may be thinking now. In less technical terms, it refers to a parent’s act to “baby” his or her child even past an appropriate age.

Parents, mostly mothers, who overprotect their children have been found to produce fearful, dysfunctional kids.

As Dr. Sylvia Rimm, author of “Smart Parenting: How to Parent so Children Will Learn,” wrote of the power wielded by children who are too dependent as a result of overprotection. She writes:

“Because they are kind and caring and the children’s symptoms of power (tears and requests for pity) are very persuasive, parents … continue to protect them, unintentionally stealing from them their opportunities to cope with challenge.”

Of course, parents often mean well. They certainly don’t intend to harm their children. But despite good intentions, their “infantilizing” paralyzes the children. It robs them of the joys of struggle and achievement.

Struggle is psychologically and emotionally good. Resistance, delaying of gratification, and challenges are good. When our children don’t have to struggle or experience obstacles, they don’t grow up. A child crippled with such will find life cruel and depressing.

It’s not our children’s fault! They were not brought into the world to raise Mom and Dad! We parents influenced them first. We made the family rules while they’re growing up. We may say our “infantilized” children didn’t do anything wrong. We did.

Next step? We parents begin with courage, honor, determination. Resolute spirit. Bountiful wisdom and faith to take corrective action before it’s too late. Let our children learn to tie their own shoes. Don’t bail them out every time.

Are your kids (still) running the show? Are they truly growing up or regressing?
Posted by Dr. Angelo Subida at 8:20 PM No comments: Links to this post

A Secret to Survive Trauma

Surviving any trauma or crisis involves the ability to “withstand painful feelings.” I know it can be so difficult to do.

That holds true especially when you’re going through deep, wounding emotional experiences, such as betrayal, infidelity, rejection, or abandonment.

Yet if you’re to survive, you do need to be a person of this essential ability within you.

I’m reminded of lawyer Wendy, an excellent example of such a person. When she saw me, she was in much pain and humiliation because of her husband’s infidelity and lack of remorse.

Yet she endured these painful, uncomfortable feelings. She sought help and counsel, took vacation breaks, enlarged her circle of support, and was able to resume her responsibilities as a working mother to her children.

The ability to “withstand painful feelings” means learning to live with such feelings without being overwhelmed ot immobilized by rage, depression, or anxiety.

That involves objectively understanding what happened, facing issues raised, and integrating the event in your life. A survivor puts the trauma or crisis into perspective, think the issues through, and learn to charge neutral or be less emotionally reactive so he can get to the “other side.”

Therapy is usually geared towards helping you through the process of integrating the trauma, crisis, or event in your life. Knowing and developing cognitive skills will lessen the toxicity of emotions produced by thinking distortions.

Such is crucial so you can be detached enough to problem solve.


Are you a cheating husband or wife?

If you are and you want to heal yourself and your marriage/relationship, here’s a sneak preview of some therapy steps generally prescribed by clinicians and therapists:

* Abstinence 100% from all contacts and communications with the OP (other person) or adultery partner;

* Take responsibility for your behaviors and misbehaviors;

* Show sincere evidences of remorse and repentance, relationally and spiritually;

* Realize that there is never an excuse for adultery;

* Be sensitive and patient when your spouse/partners suffers from triggers out of the infidelity wound;

* Check your anger and resentment at the door;

* Acknowledge the depth of the pain and wounding that your affair brought to the marriage and family;

* Admit mistake committed and avoid all excuses and rationalizations to deflect attention to the adultery;

* Stop blaming your spouse/partner for your affair;

* Repent of and stop recruiting the children to be “partners in crime” in the adultery;

* Be truthful from here on – no secrets any more;

* Get your personal healing of emotional wounds with a professional therapist;

* Get marital healing with your spouse/partner only through increased structure of professional psychotherapy and counseling sessions, especially in the beginning stages;

* Stop being defensive;

* Be trustworthy;

* Renew your mind and stop thinking that the grass is greener somewhere else;

* Figure out the “roots” of your unfaithfulness to your spouse/partner;

* Check what your spouse/partner needs on a regular basis;

* Expand your circle of support – safe friends, therapist, community etc.;

* Educate your self about affairs and infidelity treatment;

* Listen – really listen;

* Seek help from God as your best source of strength, healing, and life recovery.

Adultery is treason to marriage, family, and society. In the Philippines and in some places, adultery is a legal crime punishable by imprisonment. In the time of the Old Testament of the Jews, adulterers were stoned to death.

For those who persist in adultery or cheating, the costs are so high — psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Marriage and children are casualties. Mental illness or addictions can develop. For true Christians, the Bible says that God may choose to discipline them or take them away from earthly life. Indeed, cheaters can choose what they want to do but they cannot choose their consequences.

Adultery or cheating is not an unforgivable crime or sin. It can be healed. With the right heart and actions, one can be whole again – and even the best person one can be in this life and beyond.

Common Cold of the Mind

Hear this young man as depicted by Oscar Wilde in one of his poetical works:

“And when He had passed out of the city
He saw seated by the roadside a young
man who was weeping,
And He went forward and touched the long
locks of his hair and said to him,
‘Why are you weeping?’
And the young man looked up and recognized
Him and made answer, ‘But I was dead once
and you raised me from the dead.
What else should I do but weep?’ ”

Depression is a “common cold of the mind.” Depression-producing situations can assail us and leave us confused. Perhaps you sympathize with this young man above where death seems like peace and life is not. All he wants to do is weep.

No one is exempt from moments of depression. Each of us can identify sources of disappointment that can knot up our lives in ways that block peace of mind. Events such as family problems, a financial setback, retirement, loss or separation from a loved one, terminal illness etc. can all provoke normal, expected reactions of sadness and grief. And that’s fine for a time.

However, when there are uncontrollable and lingering feelings of sadness, helplessness, and despair, depression becomes unhealthy. It turns from “normal” into incapacitating illness. Some obvious symptoms or manifestations of depression as a disease “beyond normal” period of time are:

* Physically: overwhelming lethargy, tiredness, energy-sapping; insomnia, loss of appetite, headaches, bodily comforts
* Mentally/Emotionally: lack of interest in usual activities and relationships, negative thoughts, self-blame; paralyzing
inability even to make simple everyday decisions
* Spiritually: burdened by feelings of guilt and sinfulness, cut off from God and experiencing His goodness.

“I am wearied with groaning; all night long my pillow is wet with tears, I soak my bed with weeping. Grief dims my eyes; they are worn out with all my woes” (Psalm 6)

The Life of Fischer

When I was much younger, I used to play chess a lot. My eventually becoming a youth champion chess player was due to the inspiration of one man and his games on the artistic side of my mind.

He was brilliant. Clearly a child prodigy … the pride of Brooklyn … considered the greatest world chess champion who ever lived. His official name was Robert James Fischer.

He was 64 when he passed on. He was then living in isolation in Iceland and in exile from his home country, the USA. He carried a lot of unresolved personal issues, unprocessed pains, that affected him deeply. He died with a psychotherapist by his bedside, holding his hand.

By the time everyone in the world bothered to inquire, the location of his grave was already set in an obscure place. No grand flowers or candles to burn. No funeral service, no tourists to gather.

Fischer has joined the ages of eternity – forever absent from our eyes. He is gone.

Life is brief. Incredibly brief. Okay, you and I are still alive. What are we to do with the limited supply of time we have – no matter how short or how long the years appear to be? Should we spend and invest it in something good or in something bad? … in something life-giving or in something life-damaging?

As the Psalmist put it, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (90:12).

Healing The Inner Parent

As a psychotherapist, I have heard countless times bitter conflicts between wounded persons and their parents. There is always resentment and anger present. During childhood, for whatever reasons, persons experienced a parent who belittled, ignored, abandoned, manipulated, or psychologically attacked them.

Unfortunately, anger or resentment towards parents is never safely left tucked away in the past. Most of the time, the mind and heart stores poisonous emotions that don’t disappear or heal on their own. They remain stored in the subconscious with its accompanying toxic feelings when left untreated.

So along the way, the process of “repression” that Freud described breaks down. Your past, unprocessed parental wounds can subconsciously exert total command over your present feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This can be in the form of addictions, alcoholism, infidelity, rage, mental illness, materialism, criminal behavior, among others. The psychological truth then is, holding on to your past resentments toward your father and/or mother robs you of present-day peace of mind, happiness, and health.

Therapy from your parental wounds first involves healing your “inner parents” before you can heal with your real-life parents. Making peace with your real life parents requires enough internal rehabilitation and stability. That involves learning to give up your resentments, your anger, your annoyance, your desire to punish, and your need to blame your father/mother. After that is done enough, you can become a more loving and nurturing person for the healing of your self and the process of healing your relationship with your parents.

Curing Death Anxiety

“Death is no paper tiger,” once wrote psychologist Dr. Carl Gustav Jung. Beyond age 35, according to him, death is a common universal source of anxiety or preoccupation in our lives. It’s also a revealer of one’s actual state of Self, mental health, and overall wellbeing.

In the process of getting older, death anxiety usually looms progressively larger. People show a variety of responses to this inevitable, heavy reality of eventual physical self-obliteration. Generally, one’s response can either be helpful or harmful to one’s self-integration and wellness.

I’m reminded of a 65-year-old millionaire mother of one of my addiction clients. Based on my client’s recount, she inflicted much verbal and emotional abuse on him since childhood. Yet she didn’t think, “Since my final years are getting so brief, how can I use my final years to heal my deeply wounded relationship with my children, correct my mistakes, and make up?”

Rather, she’s constantly thinking of leisure and self indulgence, speeding up her expenses to travel to as many countries as possible. It drove her to frenzy to hurry and enjoy seeing sights, grab all the gusto she can to enjoy further luxuries and comfort in life before she dies.

On the opposite side, other people cope with their death anxiety by turning to God and/or serving others. Not to hedonism or self-indulgence, but to producing a lasting legacy behind for others’ greater good. They’re able to discern the delusion of transitory leisure, possessions, and comfort before they die.

Examples of this abound. The aging Bill Gates, the world’s wealthiest man, donated millions of dollars to global health causes. Mother Teresa served the poorest of the poor in India for many years and built a worldwide organization. Dr. Albert Schweitzer famously served in Africa as a medical missionary as well as countless others like him from missions and churches. Plus much more!

If you’re a Christian, death and its accompanying anxiety is vanquished. For Jesus proclaimed: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in Me and will never perish” (John 11:25, 26).

I ask, have you found true lasting remedy for death anxiety yourself?