THE MOTHER OF OUR ISSUES
by Terrence Shulman (updated
Mother's Day upon us, this holiday brings up some of the strongest
emotions and often triggers relapses into addiction. So be prepared
and on guard!
relationship between mother and child--no matter how old we are--is
likely the most important, primal and fundamental relationship we'll
have. I can't tell you how often in my counseling practice that
clients' "mother issues" are at the very root of their
addictions and relationship problems. This is not to blame mothers,
per se, as no mother is perfect. But it is important for us to
acknowledge, understand, and do our best to heal old (or newer)
wounds and to develop a healthier relationship with our mothers
whether they are actively in our lives or not.
of the most common reasons both men and women have mother issues
include the following:
a mother died early in a child's life or committed suicide;
a mother was addicted and/or mentally ill and was not able to be
physically and/or emotionally present and attuned to her child;
a mother was overtly/covertly seductive/sexual with her child;
a mother appeared to favor one of her children over another;
a mother needed rescue, help, or companionship and her child played
the role of partner or parent;
a mother held unrealistically high expectations of her child and the
child became inauthentic to receive mother's love/approval;
a mother was physically, emotionally, and/or verbally abusive toward
a mother had little natural or cultivated interest in being a mother
to her child;
a mother betrayed her child's confidence in some way;
a mother was "perfect" and modeled this in a way her child
felt unable to compete with;
a mother was overly critical of her child;
a mother was overly "smothering," domineering or
a mother committed infidelity in her marriage & her child knew;
a mother encouraged her child to tell or keep secrets;
a mother broke the law and/or modeled dishonesty.
core effects of the situations described above often result in
persistent feelings of neglect, abandonment, trust issues, low
self-esteem/self-worth, codependency/care-taking others, as well as
unresolved emptiness, depression, anxiety, and anger. Which of the
above issues seems to resonate with you? There may be many other
ways to express the wounds or conflicts that develop around our
relationship with our mothers than are listed above. Have you worked
through any of these issues or does it feel like you still need to?
my father died 21 years ago at age 53 (I was about 28 at the time) I
had just begun therapy to finally deal with my "father
issues." These also included deep anger, shame, and feelings of
abandonment due to his alcoholism, my parent's divorce which left me
as the man of the house at age 10, and the way he lived much of his
life--overweight, overspending, drinking and, finally, getting sick
and dying young. I remember going to grief and loss support groups
for two years after his death and feeling like I was the only one
stuck in the anger phase of grief while others mostly expressed
their sorrow. One member even asked me: how can you be angry with a
I didn't have the best role model for a father, I found myself
feeling ashamed to be a man, not trusting men or authority, and
quite confused about both women and what I wanted to do with my
life. Fortunately, I had a great therapist who encouraged me to read
books about men's issues and to participate in men's support groups
and retreats where I found I was not alone, began to trust men
again, and to see the positive aspects of men and authentic
interestingly, we rarely talked about or looked into our
relationships with our mothers. It's even been theorized that part
of the reason the "men's movement" of the 1990's petered
out was that we didn't know how to individually and collectively
deal with our mother issues and, so, we kind of hit a wall. At least
for most men, regardless of sexual orientation, our issues with
mother often are more subtle yet also more scary and dangerous.
Compared to my father's more obvious failings, my mother was a
in the past few years, events had led me to come to the conclusion
that I had to deal with my mother issues, too. For me, part of this
arose in the context of my 10 year marriage to my wife. It's not
uncommon for men to have issues with their wives that are, at the
core, issues with mother or "the feminine." How many men,
when asked to do something by their wives or face a perceived
criticism, feel like a five year old being ordered or scolded by
mother and just won't take it this time around?
also realized that I was continuing, at some level, to play the good
son role I'd adopted early on despite having made some earlier
progress. I had to learn to speak up more, share my feelings and
truth and risk my mother's love. I think we both needed to be
knocked off our pedestals a bit. It's been hard to confront my
mother, stand up to her--I've been so used to being her protector,
her biggest fan. I had to come to terms with my mother's (and my
own) limitations in our relationship. I'm learning to let go of that
primal desire to have "mommy" be there for me as I
continue in adulthood and it's my judgment that my mother has had to
learn that I won't always be there for her as I was in the past.
It's been painful for both of us but necessary, too.
also am slowly coming to realize, as my mother ages, that she won't
always be around: Mom is mortal. She just turned 75 this year and is
dealing with both some physical and cognitive changes. The question
arises: what do I/we need to say to my/our mother or feel in my/our
heart so /weI can be as complete as possible when she passes?
done some reading about mother issues, talked to my wife and
numerous friends (who assured me they all had mother issues, too)
and have listened to how so many clients of mine struggle to heal or
transform their relationships to their mothers. Some of my clients
were sexually abused by their mothers. Some were literally abandoned
on the street. Some were criticized beyond measure (as I believe my
father's mother was to him). Some were deemed the problem child, the
hero, or some role they couldn't seem to shake.
client, a doctor, kicked and screamed throughout our therapy to deny
his relationship with his mother had much impact on his stealing and
repressed anger yet avoided talking to his mother who telephoned him
constantly. Finally, he conceded a bit and learned the Herculean
task of stopping avoiding his mother's calls and simply set limits
with her on the phone. Now, she hardly calls and their relationship
feels more at ease to him.
client has a very "religious" mother who holds judgments
against her from the past and even testified in court against her in
a dispute with her ex-husband over childcare.
all long for the perfect mother... and the perfect father. We all
know that no parent is perfect and even those of us who are parents
ourselves get to realized life's cruel joke: we often become like
our parents or at least learn to appreciate how hard it must have
been to them to raise us!
we grow up (and, hopefully, we do) we learn to differentiate from
our parents, need them less (emotionally, financially, etc) and
develop compassion for them (they did the best they knew how to do
given how they likely were raised). But this doesn't mean it's easy.
We are taught to honor thy parents but that doesn't mean we don't
speak our minds our share our hearts.
we often look to Mom (or Dad) to be a safe space to share our pain
and our opinions (even if it hurts them). It doesn't mean they don't
share their own pain and opinions back but, I believe, a primary
role of a parent is to be strong and mature enough to absorb their
child's expressions, to model this even, and to be secure enough
even in their imperfections to listen, try to understand, and try to
see the gift in their child's courageous, if imprecise, offering of
their pain, their perspective. This is the ideal and, of course,
it's painful when we don't get this from parents.
can only say that when my wife and my friends are able to hear each
others' grievances and concerns without attacking back or defending
(and when I can hear them), it creates safety and trust and deepens
our relationships. I can't think of a better way to honor each
other. In this context, wouldn't it be great if--this Mother's
Day--instead of cards and flowers, we could give the gift of
honesty, our mother could receive it lovingly, and we would return
$1MILLION MAY NOT BE ENOUGH FOR RETIREMENT
by Rodney Brooks USA Today
been saving like a miser to get ready for retirement. You've pinched
pennies, kept that last car for what seems like an eternity. And now
you've banked a cool $1 million for your retirement years.
you very well might be. Then again, you still might be short.
good news is there are more millionaires," says Richard G.
Dragotta, at LPL Financial in Paramus, N.J. "Over 9 million
people in the U.S. have $1 million or more." But, Dragotta
says, $1 million might not mean you're wealthy: The new $1 million
may be $2 million.
years ago, $1 million was a huge amount of money," says Haitham
"Hutch" Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, in Walnut
Creek, Calif. "Today, given today's lifestyles and costs, it
isn't so much money."
not? "It translates into $40,000 to $50,000 (annually) in
sustainable revenue," says Joe Heider, regional managing
principal for Rehmann Financial Group in Westlake, Ohio. "That
is not that much money on an annual basis."
says that 10 to 12 years ago, when people earned a lot more on their
investments, $1 million could generate $70,000 to $80,000 a year in
retirement income. But with interest rates as low as they are,
that's not really feasible.
that's not to say that no one could live on savings of $1 million.
Not everyone will need that kind of cash in their retirement kitty,
financial planners say. It all depends on your lifestyle - the one
you're living now, and the one you want to live in retirement. It
also depends on your investment returns, taxes and inflation.
think it depends on how much money you're going to spend," says
Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors
in Oklahoma City. "A million is not like $1 million 20 years
ago or 30 years ago. If you're wanting to spend $50,000 a year or
less from your investment portfolio, $1 million will probably get it
done for you.
you want more than that, $1 million is not going to provide that for
you," he says. Otherwise, you run the risk of depleting your
savings before you die.
is relative," says Clarence Kehoe, executive partner in the
accounting firm Anchin, Block & Anchin in New York City.
"For some people, I would think $1 million would be more than
enough. For other people, I can tell you some of these clients spend
more than $1 million in a year. It depends on the person, their
lifestyle and what they are used to."
says hopefully, most of your bigger expenses are done with in
retirement - children's college tuition and your mortgage, for
you contained those bigger expense, things are a little bit
easier," he says. "But you have to realize there are new
types of expenses. You have increased medical expenses, and you have
all this free time. There's the cost of hobbies, the cost of
traveling. That could be very expensive."
Wealth Management's Ashoo says even if you have $3 million to $10
million, but you want to jet all over the world, you haven't saved
enough. "If a jet is not what you're after, if all you are
looking for is a motor home to travel, then that's doable. It's
about you and what you are trying to achieve. Do you have the right
mistake that people often make is that they assume that they will
spend less in retirement, says Heider. "The reality is when
someone retires in good health, they are more likely than not to
spend more money," he says.
the rest of the article at: Retirement
THE SHULMAN CENTER & 3rd MILLENIUM CLASSROOMS
LAUNCH ONLINE SHOPLIFTING PREVENTION PROGRAM
was grateful to recently escape the Michigan cold and visit our new
partners at 3rd Millennium Classrooms in San Antonio, Texas. Founded
about 10 years ago by Gary Moorman, 3rd Millennium specializes in
developing online education programs from high schooler, college
students, and court-ordered probationers on topics of alcohol
awareness, marijuana awareness, and shoplifting
awareness/prevention, as well as other topics like better parenting.
was an honor and privilege to be contacted by 3rd Millennium 6
months ago to partner and consult with them on improving their
online shoplifting awareness/prevention course called STOPLifting.
couldn't have asked to work with more kind, dedicated and creative
people than Gary Moorman and his staff, including Katie Church and
look forward to the launch of the STOPLifting program on May 1,
2014. See 3rd Millennium's site: www.3rdmilclassrooms.com
ANXIETY: THE BURDEN OF THE UBER-RICH
May 2014 Vanity Fair Article by A.A. Gill
spending $19 million on their wedding, and $85 million on an L.A.
mansion, James Stunt and Petra Ecclestone have purchased one of
Britain's great cultural treasures, a 17th-century, $20 million Van
Dyck. So, what's it like to have too much money? Very stressful.
the super-rich, perfection can be a chore.
catches your eye with a sideways glance and an enigmatic expression.
Indicating what? Curiosity? Trepidation? A little insecure arrogance?
Anthony Van Dyck's final self-portrait is a work of mesmerizing
depth and dexterity. Within a year he would be dead. Is there a
whisper of premonition? Van Dyck is the godfather of British
portraiture, the artist who put a face to the 17th century and the
birth of the new-model middle class. And that, perhaps, is what's on
this face. It is the first glimpse of upwardly mobile anxiety.
painting is considered one of Britain's greatest cultural treasures,
and it was recently sold for $20 million to a buyer who wants to
take it to Los Angeles. The National Portrait Gallery in London
badly wants to keep the Van Dyck in the country and is attempting to
raise matching funds to prevent it from going abroad. Sandy Nairne,
the director of the gallery, says he is determined to save it for
the nation. The export has been delayed until summer.
expectant owners are Petra Ecclestone, the 25-year-old daughter of
Formula One mogul Bernie, and her husband, James Stunt, who sounds,
unfortunately, like a character from a Martin Amis novel, and who
looks, even more unfortunately, like a character from a Martin Amis
novel. The couple had a $19 million wedding, where she wore a
$130,000 Vera Wang dress. Six-thousand-dollar bottles of Château
Pétrus were served. He collects Pétrus, too, of course, and keeps it
in a special cabinet made by David Linley, the Queen's nephew.
also collects cars: Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces. And 17th-century
portraits. Petra bought them one of the most expensive homes in Los
Angeles County, for $85 million, where one assumes the Van Dyck will
hang. It's Aaron Spelling's old place in Holmby Hills, which,
famously, contains Candy Spelling's gift-wrapping room. It goes with
Petra's London house, in Chelsea, which is worth $90 million.
this point, we should all take a deep breath and step back from the
frothing goblet of sparkling snobbery that we are quaffing and that
is so marvelously intoxicating. Oh, the pleasurable indignation of
smirking at the young and tastelessly rich. But, really, why
shouldn't a Van Dyck spend a few years in an L.A. party palace,
along with the Pétrus and the Rolls? Who's to say what new money
should or shouldn't accumulate?
this question around and try to see it, as Joel Grey might put it,
through their eyes. There is a terrible dichotomy in extreme wealth.
After a bit, the money stops working. There are a statistically
minute but quantitatively considerable number of people who now have
more money than they know what to do with. And that money accounts
for quite a lot of the world's wealth, so we all have a passing
interest in what becomes of it.
do I, as a frugally paid journeyman hack, know it stops working?
Well, I've been asking folks who service the overly minted. There is
a name for their panicked ennui: Perfection Anxiety.
you have 15 houses, yachts in three oceans, planes, cellars, mistresses,
surgery, a library, and a personal charity, new purchases become
just a matter of upgrading. And this is where the Perfection Anxiety
kicks in. What you need is to have not just the most but the very,
very best. The super-rich watch each other like envious owls, to see
who's got a slightly better loafer, a pullover made from some even
more absurdly endangered fur. They will go to any lengths to find
the best tailors. I know of a man who gets his suit pants made in
Italy and the jackets on Savile Row. In his underwear, he's short,
fat, furry, and stooped.
the fathomlessly rich suffer from Perfection Anxiety. There is no
relativity to wealth. It's all absolutes. It's either impeccable,
the best, the rarest, or it might as well be Walmart. The stress of
value for money is magnified exponentially when it gets into the
billions. The myth of King Midas, who was cursed to have everything
he touched turn to gold, would be worse if everything he touched
turned out to be gold leaf. And it's not just the suspicion that all
your stuff isn't utterly perfect. It's also the anxiety of
maintaining perfection once it's achieved, and, as a result,
constant discontent. A crooked Picasso, an unplumped scatter
cushion, a faint mark on the handwoven silk wallpaper can drive them
to a frothing distraction.
when you've got the best of everything, when you have your tea flown
in from a micro-garden in Darjeeling and it still tastes rather like
tea, when you've designed your own scent made from the squeezed
glands of civets and the petals of rare orchids and that fails to
give you the high-"When Alexander saw the breadth of his
domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer"-then
you're reduced to collecting art. Art is good for those with Perfection
Anxiety because you never get to the end of it. And the competition
is fierce, and the prices are absurd.
picture bought for more than $50 million has ever made a profit, a
contemporary auction expert tells me authoritatively, but it doesn't
stop people from buying them. There have been lots of papers written
on collecting and collectors, and they turn out to be mostly men.
And while they imagine their collections begin as random or
serendipitous interests, they are invariably revealed to be
emblematic of some deeper loss, some attempt to fill an unbridgeable
gap, to repair a childhood wound.
rest of article at: Perfection Anxiety
ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN... BUT TELL THAT TO THE JUDGE!
Man gets warning instead of $525 citation for $.89
COUNTY, SC (WCSC)-Officials with the VA Medical Center in downtown
Charleston say a North Charleston man who was initially federally
charged with a $525 fine for an $.89 drink refill will instead be
given a warning.
reviewing the case, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center has
determined a warning in lieu of a citation is sufficient in this
case," a statement released by the VA stated on Thursday.
Lewis, an on-site construction worker, said he didn't know refills
at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston came at a price, and
Wednesday, during his lunch hour, he was originally slapped with
federal charges. The ticket was issued by the Federal Police Force
at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston after Lewis refilled
his soda without paying the $0.89. A hospital spokesperson on
Wednesday called it a "theft of government property."
time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me," Lewis said
on Wednesday. "I can't fathom the fact that I made a $0.89
mistake that cost me $525."
is now out of a job. According to a hospital spokesperson, signs are
posted in the cafeteria informing patrons that refills aren't free.
Lewis says he never noticed the signs and admits he had refilled his
drink without paying on other occasions. He says after he went back
for seconds on Wednesday, a man who identified himself as the chief
of police, stopped him.
I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me
by the arm and asked me was I going to pay for that, and I told him
I wasn't aware that I had to pay for that."
says he tried to pay the $0.89 right there, but wasn't allowed to.
He says he wasn't given the chance to pay the cashier either.
never had an option to make right what I had done wrong."
says he was taken to a room, given the $525 ticket for shoplifting
and told not to return to the property.
done there, at the VA hospital. I'm not allowed to go on the
premises anymore. I asked him can I still work on the job site and
just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he
wanted me off the premises."
hospital spokesperson says it was her understanding that Lewis was
aggressive during the confrontation.
medical center originally released the following statement on
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is fortunate to have a highly
trained Federal police force to ensure the safety of our patients,
visitors and employees. As Federal police they are responsible for
enforcing the law. Today a Federal citation was issued for
shoplifting in the VA cafeteria to an individual who stated to VA
police he had not paid for refills of beverages on multiple
occasions, even though signs are posted in the cafeteria informing
patrons refills are not free. Shoplifting is a crime. The dollar
amount of the ticket is not determined by VA as it is a Federal
citation. The citation may be paid or the recipient may choose to
appear in Federal court to contest it.
and his fiancé have contacted the Internal Affairs Office in
Columbia. He says he will contest the fine in federal court.
about pretty much I guess you would say getting your face back. I
want everybody to know that I made a simple mistake, that I'm not a
thief, that I'm not dishonest. I'm trying to do the right
"In Recovery" Magazine
a wonderful relatively new quarterly recovery magazine I want to let
you know about. It's called "In Recovery." Founded 2 years
ago by Kim Welsh, a recovering person herself, in Prescott,
Arizona--home to many treatment centers and half-way houses, this
magazine has something for everyone. I visited Kim in October 2013
and was honored to be invited to write a regular column about
process/behavioral addictions--starting Spring 2014.
magazine is available in hard copy as well as online at:
Millenium STOPLifting Online Education Course!
Millenium Classrooms out of San Antonio, TX has been offering high-quality
online education courses for alcohol, marijuana and shoplifting
issues for many years now. I've been honored to help them fine-tune
and update their shoplifting course which many are court-ordered to
complete after an arrest.
3rd Millennium Classroom's STOPLifting is an online intervention
course designed to assist shoplifters in examining and altering
their attitudes and behaviors towards shoplifting. The course
incorporates evidential examples and related follow-up questions to
discover the student's motives behind shoplifting, reveal possible
patterns in his or her behaviors, and identify potential triggers
and ways to cope. Through STOPLifting's unique motivational
interviewing style, students are encouraged to evaluate the personal
consequences of shoplifting and how they affect the individual, his
or her family and those around him or her. See: www.3rdmiclassrooms.com
National Clean-Up Services
is its own reward.--Anonymous