Dealing with attacks from family members on social media

Dealing with attacks from family members on social media

If you have experienced childhood trauma (or some may say a difficult upbringing), dealing with family members around the “what happened or didn’t happen” or “he/she is not like that” arguments is a common struggle. It is also likely that you were/are not supported by siblings or aunt/uncles or cousins as they are either in denial or see things differently and obviously did not have the same experience you. Managing these conflicting beliefs and stories can be difficult, especially in the age of social media where is seems easier for people to bombard you with their views and perceptions on your personal experiences.

For some reason a lot of people are quick to say things like, “well that wasn’t abuse” or “it wasn’t that bad” or “that’s not what really happened” or even, “well, you were a difficult child” or some other victim blaming statement. I could go on and on. This is just a continuation of the invalidation and lack of support that you received growing up. The abuse culture just continues.

It’s hard enough navigating these problem at holiday gathering (if you still go to them), but I’ve noticed a rise in conflicts in the age of social media.

The availability of new ways to communicate behind a screen often allows people to say things they might not say face to face giving rise to some of these problems,. Another reasons is because if you are sharing blogs/articles or memes or just saying things on social media that you believe in/support/don’t support you are sharing your views on things, that these family members, likely do not agree with. Basically just sharing almost anything, could spark a conflict.

What do you do if a family member attacks you on social media?

Well, there are a lot of options here. If they comment in a public way for others to see I would recommend deleting the comment and blocking them so that it does not cause a war, because you will likely get a war because people will jump in with their two cents. Even if people want to support you and you may want that, it’s probably better to seek their support privately because this will just pour salt on wounds and make the situation worse.

Worried about backlash of blocking family members?

This is when it gets a little tricky and will really depend on what kind of relationship you want to have with someone. If a family member is saying, I’m not going to talk to you anymore because you blocked so-and-so then I would question the value that person brings to your life. If they say something like “it’s too bad you and so and so can’t get along” then I would validate this person and say, “yea it is too bad, but I hope you can honor my decision to do what is best for me.” If they’re worth having around, they’ll honor your decision, even if it makes life more difficult for them and they can explore their own feelings about it.

Should I respond to a private message?

Again, up to you. You can not respond and block, or you can respond in a nice way. I wouldn’t recommend telling them off. Just remember what you say can be shown to others things can be screenshot and used against you. So I wouldn’t say anything you wouldn’t want this person sharing with others. (I know it’s sad to think about this but necessary). So if they send you a PM invalidating your feelings or whatnot and you want to try to keep things civil I would recommend something like, “I appreciate your concern about my perception/my feelings on things but this is where I am at in my process and this is my experience and I am entitled to my feelings. So thank you for your concern, but it will not be changing my feelings/my opinion on the matter.” Or something like that in your own words. First share that you heard the other person, then stand your ground. If they get all upset, they can always block you too. Or you can even tell the person: I really don’t appreciate you continuing to bring this up, if we can’t move on to another topic I will block you. And then follow through – if they bring it up again, then go ahead and block the person.

Depending on how you approach any situation will be dependent on the relationship you want with the person but the important aspects are to 1. Be nice and 2. Be firm with your boundary.

OK, I followed through and now I’m exhausted

Dealing with issues like these are likely triggering because it’s opening up old wounds and they can affect you differently depending on where you are in your healing journey. It is important to honor your triggers and reactions and validate yourself and your feelings in the process. See support from those that validate and support you and be kind to yourself as you recover from an event. Telling yourself to suck it up, is no better than the invalidating and attacking family member that you just had to deal with.

If you googled this and found this article, I’m sorry you are struggling and hope you found value in this article. I invite you to comment below if desired.

How do I know then I'm done with therapy?

How do I know when I’m done with Therapy?

I have a love/hate relationship with ending the therapeutic relationship with my clients. I love the fact that I see my clients reach their goals that once felt impossible when they began therapy and am so grateful to have been a part of their journey. I also become saddened by the ending/loss of the relationship. I love my clients so much, that I truly miss them when they go, even when the reason is positive! So this topic is as difficult for me as it is for my clients!

I work very much on a weekly to biweekly to monthly and maintenance visits with my clients. Usually people come in starting weekly or biweekly (whatever works best for need, scheduling, finances, etc) and then when my clients are feeling better I bring it up in session.

I’ve been known before to say something like, “you know, you don’t NEED to come in every week anymore.” But I’m not always a jackass. Often there is a mutual feeling between me and my client that “things are going well” and I recognize that I’m doing more work on “instilling treatment gains” than I am helping my clients navigate problems. So I usually bring up their progress and may ask, “so what do you need from therapy at this point?” or even, “what do you need from me at this point?” This usually opens up a discussion into my client’s progress, goals completed, and if they have more goals to work on we can get refocused, and if it’s just maintaining then I usually recommend monthly visits so that there is more to cover between sessions and we can see how things go with less frequent visits (do you find you’re falling apart? or managing well without so much support).

What if my therapist doesn’t bring up reducing our sessions or ending? Will I hurt his/her feelings if I do?!

Although I do believe scheduling aimlessly with clients week after week to not be of highest ethical standards, I have been told by my colleagues that they think I bring it up too much. Then again, I suppose it is my goal to work myself out of a job, that I know will never happen, but rather I just get to serve more and more people. But anyways, if your therapist hasn’t brought it up yet, he/she may think that you are still wanting/needing the ongoing support and is just following your lead (because it is your treatment after all!) So it’s important to let your therapist know where you’re at because we can’t read minds! :)

A great way to bring this up to your therapist might be saying something like: “You know, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my therapy goals and how I was feeling when I first came in, and I realized I feel so much better and I think I completed my goals!”

Your therapist will likely be very pleased and ask you how that makes you feel…… It will likely turn into a discussion on where you’re at in therapy and where you need to/want to go.

Do I want maintenance therapy visits? Or do I want to end all together?

Again, you’ll likely figure this out with your therapist, but for my clients usually if they’re feeling they completed their goals, but are afraid of going backwards, or not wanting to dive fully into the deep end, but step comfortably down into the cold water, maintenance visits make a lot of sense. The frequency of maintenance visits can look different from person to person depending on how often you were going previous but usually they are monthly visits. I even have clients who come in every 2-3 months, just having me around and an appointment on their calendar feels better for them.

Other clients I have are sometimes comfortable with completely ending. Life is going well and it seems silly to pay money for what otherwise feels like a discussion over coffee and if that’s how maintenance visits are looking, then ending usually is the most logical sense. My clients know that even when ending, they are always welcome to return. And although my goal is for them to not struggle with the same problems in the future, I do know that more problems arise in life and glad they know they have someone they can turn to if support is needed again in the future.

If you’re currently navigating this issue, I hope this article served you well. And if you’ve googled such a problem and landed on this page then CONGRATS! I’m glad you’re feeling better. I hope bringing this accomplishment up in therapy either depends your therapy goals, or helps move you to new beginnings into life after therapy, or life in between therapy :)

Thinking about ending therapy but not because of positive reasons and moreso because you’re feeling worse? Read this article first, which has seemed to be helpful for people to understand more about the therapy process and next steps to take.

Sleep like you give a fuck

Sleep like you give a fuck

Society practically shames people who value their sleep and sees them as lazy, unproductive, and a budren on the economy… well that was a bit of an exaggeration… maybe.

Anyways, the push for less sleep, more “awesomeness” has resulted in a society that is horrible when it comes to sleep. And if you go to your doctor for any physical or mental ailment, I’m guessing that a prescription of sleep, or rest, is probably given (in addition to other things). It’s like the panacea of all panaceas. Yet we still scoff at people who sleep a “normal” amount. 8 hours?! pft, I only need 5…

For the record I’m going to state, that I like sleeping. In fact, it is one of my TOP priorities in my day to day life. Judge me. Go ahead. I don’t care anymore. Very rarely do I say “fuck it” to sleep. (and don’t call me old!)

Anyways I’m going to give you some of my favorite tips to better sleep! I talk about this all the time with clients, so I figured I should probably write a blog about it. Save me some time ;)

First, I ask my clients this question:

“What is your bed-time routine?”

Sometimes my clients probably think that I think they are 5 years old. But the truth of the matter is, bedtime routines are just as important as adults as they are for kids. I joke around with anyone who is a parent and say something like, yes, you know how important it is for your kid to have a good routine, why not give yourself the same awesome treatment?

What should my bedtime routine look like?

Well, only YOU can answer this question but I’ll give you some hints.

It should not involve screens. (yep, that’s right, I’m shoulding on you).

It should be relaxing (NOT NUMBING – RELAXING – THERE IS A DIFFERENCE).

Actually, that’s it really. It isn’t rocket science. And I’m not gonna give you 10, 20, 50, things to do at night to sleep better because often times (for me anyways) I’m like wtf, really? who does that? Or, I thought this was suppose to be relaxing, not anxiety provoking. Is bedtime suppose to make me feel like a failure at life? NO, it’s suppose to be RELAXING (and not numbing).

What are numbing activities?

Well those usually involve a screen… Are you tell me I can’t watch my shows?!?! No go ahead and watch your shows, but leave like 20-30 minutes or so of no screen time after to tell your brain it’s time for sleep.

The other point I want to make is Alcohol…. So yea, wanted to point out that whole alcohol thing. If you have some alcohol, keep it to a minimum.

WHY?

Well first ask yourself WHY you are having the alcohol, if you’re numbing, then well I don’t have time for that in this blog post, but I suggest exploring that. If you’re having it with dinner or whatever, then that’s cool. So one drink should be plenty.

BUT if you have lots of drinks, not only are you numbing your emotions BUT you are also setting yourself up for some HOIRRIBLE sleep. When intoxicated you actually SKIP REM sleep and we need that good REM in order to wake up and feel rested, not feeling like you were hit by a truck. Don’t ask the scientific details, go look them up on some medical site. I’m a therapist.

What TIME should I go to bed?

I don’t care what time you go to bed. Go to bed when you’re tired. You’re never tired? I don’t believe you.

How the FUCK do I get my mind to stop racing at night?!

Oh man, this might need it’s own blog post. But this is why having a RELAXING nighttime routine is SO important! This is when you get to work on training your brain to be mindful and shit and ignore the stupid thoughts rushing through your head. This takes time, so don’t expect to be an expert at once. Even experts get distracted. So play around with whatever it is that relaxes your body and your mind at night so that it’s warmed up for sleep. If that doesn’t work, you likely need to practice relaxation starting from the moment you wake up, to when you go to sleep. It’s OK, a lot of people need to do that. It gets better.

Is reading OK?

I’m not one to say not to read. But if you’re struggling with sleep and you read at night, I’d look at things like 1. WHY are you reading? Are you using it to emotionally shut down? Then stop reading and work on those emotions. 2. Are you reading thrillers in bed then having weird ass dreams? Well, you might want to stop that. Also bring up another point.

DON’T DO STRESSFUL STUFF IN YOUR BED.

Memory and location are best friends. Thoughts and emotional states had in the bed, will be remembered in the bed. So keep work out of bed, keep arguments out of bed, keep weird ass stories out of bed. Just be mindful of what “energy” you’re bringing into your bed with you. Yup, I’m getting all weird on you. No I’m not. It’s science.

I think I hit on the important stuff. I could probably write a book on this, so I’ll end here for now. If you have questions, post below or e-mail me. If I get enough I’ll write another post on the matter!