Addiction is a Family Thing

Day in and day out we are looking at the opiod crisis that is spreading like wild fire. It reminds of the crack epidemic that also spreaded like wild fire in the 80s and 90s. I remember being a little girl and seeing how this new lust was calling people’s names and calling them to do things that they would have never imagined doing. It was addiction. It was the ugly face of addiction.

Fast forward and as I look all around me addiction has grown increasingly among our youth; our adults, our families. Addiction comes in many forms. You have the typical drug and alcohol addiction. Then we have food, sex, gambling, social media, shopping, relationship/love, gaming, etc. They may not seem as harmful as drugs and alcohol however addiction is addiction and it affects one all the same.

I grew up around addiction. I grew up where there were alcoholics, drug addicts, gambling addicts, perhaps even food, sex, and relationships addicts. I saw how the addiction affected the souls of the individual. I even saw how addiction affected the family; the community.

Addiction doesn’t just affect the individual. Addiction affects the family. Each individual in the family takes on a role to either enable or disable the addict. These roles occur as a way to provide what most believe as support, tough love, or avoidance of the the addict. These roles include the following:

The Addict- the one with the addiction; the center of the dysfunction; where the world revolves the addict making them the center of attention.

The Hero– the one who is always to the resuce of the addict, the dysfunction, the family in the home; they work hard to make the addict, the family, and themselves look good. They are the perfectionist of the family.

The Mascot– the one that is the comedian of the family; to make light of the dysfunction; sometimes the jokes are not funny at all

The Lost Child– the one that gets lost in the dysfunction; they stay out of the way of the addict and the dysfunction.

The Scapegoat– the one that is the rebel and tries to bring attention to them and not the addict or the dysfunction

The Caretaker– this is the one that is the enabler; they take care of the addict and the dysfunction; they enable the addict to be the addict and the dysfunction to remain as dysfunction; the roles to remain the roles; they are the people pleasers trying to keep everyone and everything happy

When there is addiction in the home each family member will step into their role or roles…yes you can actually be in more than one role. The family members step into their roles and play the scenes of a movie that is not easy to watch and also not easy to live. After owning these roles it becomes “normal” and the addict continues to be the addict and the family also become addicts…codpendent (that’s another blog). Whenever someone in the family steps into recovery and decide that this is not the role they want to play any more and that this movie has to end is the moment that a change has to take place. A disruption has occurred in the family and either the family will stand with the dysfunction or take a stand and work on recovery as well. If you’ve ever seen Intervention on A&E you will know exactly what I mean.

Walking into recovery isn’t easy for the addict or the family. However it is not possible with just one person. The family unit will need to stand with addict or the person that interrupted the dysfunction and go through recovery together. Recovery begans with admitting that there is dysfunction; a problem and then seeking professional help. Family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, support groups, etc.  will be professional help that the family and the individuals can attend to work on walking out of patholgy to recovery and healing.

The road to recovery isn’t easy. It is tough. It is not pretty. It is not that movie with rainbows and unicorns. It will take work; committment, and consistency from the addict AND the family. It can be done. Hope is there!

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or in one of the family of addiction roles and would like help you can contact me at tahiyyamartin@gmail.com or check out my website at http://www.tahiyyamartin.com.

Tahiyya xo

 

Tahiyya is a licensed professional counselor associate and licensed clinical addiction specialsit associate that works with adults and teens who struggle with addiction, codependency, disordered eating, and relational challenges. Her private practice is in Matthews, North Carolina. In addition to therapy she is also a life coach for women for emotional wellness and recovery as well as a mom and wife. 

 

My baby not allowing me to be great!

So for those of you who don’t know me don’t know that I’d given birth again to a little girl about 15 months ago. She’s my fourth child, first with my new husband. She’s the baby of six, were a blended family. The older kids are ages 22 to 11. So yes I definitely started over.

I’m starting over I had to make some sacrifices that at the time we’re ok. However as the baby turned into a toddler and I grew restless I became more aware of the sacrifices and later became frustrated.

Frustrated?

Yes. Frustrated!

My frustration grew because a part of me was restless and ready to get back to building my dream. The other part couldn’t move because I had a toddler attached to my hip. I felt trapped by responsibilities as a mother and wife and abandoned by my hopes and dreams. Then one day it hit me.

My dreams or even the fire for my passion doesn’t have to burn out. Instead I have to accept that today is my reality of being a repeat mom and that my dream is either on hold or my passion has to be modified.

This means that you can balance your life and the roles you have and still pursue your dreams or passion.

How?

  1. Radical acceptance. Accept your reality. Embrace your role and know that it can’t be changed. It’s a blessing to be a mom, wife, employee or employer, a friend, daughter, etc. This role is something out of your control so let go of the emotional reaction towards it.
  2. Ask yourself what can I do now that will keep my dream alive without losing hope? This is where you look at avenues that will allow you to pursue your dream or perhaps just plan out your dream until the time comes that you can make some things happen. For me I attend trainings, I write out my dreams as a reminder. I do vision boards. I participate in groups that allows me to connect with those who have similar dreams. I may not be able to go full force but the slow and steady is where I’ve come to accept.
  3. Boundaries. Set boundaries in your life that allows you time and space to balance your work- life schedule. When you’re so busy in one role over the other it leaves no time to put up those hats and enjoy yourself. Thus you become stressed, frustrated, and resentful towards your love ones. This is where you say no work calls after 6pm, dinner time is at the table for connecting, kids in bed by 8 so you can have some time with your yourself and then your partner before you end the night. You set the rules. Take care of you.
  4. Communication is always the key. Talk to your spouse/partner about your feelings. Don’t hold it in because again you’ll start to develop resentment. Instead discuss the importance of the dream or passion and how support is viable so that you can achieve your dreams even if you have to modify how to achieve them or move at a slower pace while you finish out your role as a mom to young kids.

So the next time you think your kid isn’t allowing you to be great reframe that and say my kid is allowing me to be a great parent in this moment. My dreams and passion isn’t gone. I just have to change the way I achieve them or my timeline to achieve them has changed and that’s ok.

You’re all great

Xo

Tahiyya

If you need help with your frustration in parenting and want to learn how to balance your needs with the needs of others please contact me to schedule you a FREE 15 minute consultation.

My Vision

Last night I attended an experiential group and was introduced to this little exercise that I want to share with you the results.

But first let me explain what experiential therapy is. Experiential therapy is the concept of how I came up with the name No Couch Needed. When you are working with an experiential therapist like myself and many others you will find that you are spending less time on the couch talking and more time moving around in your session either physically, mentally, and/or spiritually. Experiential is about movement so that you can re-experience and reenact your emotional experiences, uncover hidden or unresolved issues all by using activities such as role play, empty chair, guided imagery, use of props, music, art,  and other active experiences. So as you can see No Couch is Needed in most cases.

No on to the exercise.

I give myself permission to trust the process.

In 2018 I see myself growing into my role as a wife, mother, therapist, and business owner. I see myself starting new habits and letting old ones go such as doubt, inconsistency and obsessive worry. I see myself trusting myself more to be authentic, to be me, and to trust that where I am going is my journey and not me imitating the journey of someone els.e’s journey. Authentic. Imperfect. Me!

In the work, being a part of the therapist training group, I’m learning to be confident and move past my imposter syndrome, to belive in my passion and not the position. It rings me joy to take what I’ve learned and apply to practice. It brings me joy to be with others who are learning just like me and not shaming or judging but loving

I am done with comparing myself, doubting myself and I’m learning to make all my roles my own.

I want to vacation with my family in a cabin, in the woods, in the Fall, sitting by a burning fire enjoying nature and laughter. TOGETHER!!!

I live inside my mind, my soul, my spirit. I live in a house away from others surrounded by nature.

I need to be reminded that…it is ok to be you, ok to not be perfect, ok to grow, ok to trust your instinct, ok to be scared, but most importantly know that you are good enough!

My vision for me for 2018.

What’s your vision for you for 2018?

Want to know the prompts to create your own vision?

Interested in experiential therapy?

Contact me at tahiyyamartin@gmail.com.

 

Tahiyya

xo

http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

 

 

Establishing a healthy mother-daughter relationship 

Having a daughter is such a joy. You have someone to go shopping with, share popcorn with while bonding over your favorite shows, or even play dress up and have tea parties. It’s just great to have that little girl to do the mother-daughter bonding with. Right?

Absolutely! 
So how do we keep the relationship healthy with our daughters?

How do we keep the relationship with our daughters that is full of love and not with conditions to love?

How do we keep the relationship with our daughters that allows us to still have fun but keep you as the parent.

SET BOUNDARIES!!!

1. Be okay with saying no.  Parent guilt is real. However there are just too many Lifetime movies where the mom’s have difficulities with setting boundaries with their daughters and the storyline goes dark. We may even know some moms that have anxiety and have difficulty with setting boundaries including saying no. I will admit as a mom myself it is hard especially when your daughter turns on the guilt trip or when the defiance steps in. However it is very important to set boundaries and be okay with saying no. It is not the end of the world…trust me.

2. Encourage communication without appearing like a friend. Instead appear like the caring mother that you are. Communication is very important when it comes to a relationship between a mother and daughter. The way we communicate with our daughters can establish a healthy foundation for the relationship. We want to focus on the positive. I like the sandwich concept. If there is something that needs to be discussed that is not so good try to cushion it with two positives. I have women come in all the time that says that they never heard anything positive from their mother. This turns into negative self thoughts or self critical thinking if this is not addressed. This opens up your daughter to some challenges as a grown woman. I asked a teenage girl about her communication with her mother and she stated that although she and her mom speaks regularly and have a good relationship the thing she remembers the most that she can be doubtful which leads her to feel doubtful about her own abilities. So the moral of the story is that people will remember the negatives most if that is all they hear is negative, criticizing, and discouraging words verses constructive criticism that also shines on the postive.

3. Don’t get overly involved in your daughter’s social life…you’re not her peer. Having a daughter can be so much fun especially when you are able to go shopping together and hang out. Hang out as mother and daughter and not friends. Yes know who your daughter’s friends are but you do not become one of her friends. In other words you do not need to hang out at the mall with your daughter and her friends and speak like they do and be up on every girl gossip. This creates some muddy waters and the boundaries begin to disappear quickly when you have to step in parent role. If this is about spending time with your daughter than by all means find something you and your daughter like to do that still provides room for you to be a mother and for her to be a daughter…not equals.

4. You don’t have to be your mother! Many of us had mothers that had their own challenges and as their daughter we may have had to experience the effects of their challenges. This can lead you to take on some of the same characteristics (controlling, lack of boundaries, critical, anxious, perfectionism, etc. ). Often times because this has been the norm you may not be aware of how your actions and words can affect the relationship you have with your daughter and yourself. Therefore it is very important to do some self check and some self reflection to evaluate the relationship you had with your own mother and explore where there were challenges. Assess to see if these same challenges occur with you and your daughter and seek out therapy to make some changes. You don’t have to be your mother. You don’t have to repeat the same cycles that lead you to be anxious, critical, controlling, or over compensating. Instead you can create an environment that is loving, nurturing, motivating, encouraging, fun, and leaves room for your daughter to have autonomy and growth.

The best thing about building a healthy mother daughter relationship is that you get to see your daughter blossom into a wonderful young lady who will look back on her relationship with her mother as a guide for how relationships with other women should be.

Resources

http://www.themother-daughterproject.com/welcome.htm

 

If you and your daughter are struggling to have a healthy relationship I can help. Contact me at tahiyyamartin@gmail.com for therapy or relationship coaching.

Tahiyya xo

STOP

This week I believe everyone’s anxiety has been through the roof. I have really put my DBT training to use and I have been teaching the STOP skill. Not only have I used it with clients, I have actually had to use it for myself. Often we become so quick to react to our feelings and thoughts instead of mindfully responding. STOP is a skill that will help you respond and not react.

So let’s look at exactly what STOP is.

Stop

STOP is a distress tolerance skill that is taught by DBT trained therapists. A distress tolerance skill is a skill that helps an individual that is heading into an emotional crisis and they need help to tolerate the emotional pain. The STOP skill allows one to become mindfully aware of what is going on and to take a different course of action if possible. In other words I like to say it stops you in your track so that you can step outside yourself in order to bring awareness to the situation that is causing distress and bring awareness to yourself.

S= Stop. Freeze in your tracks. Don’t react to the situation just because your emotions is driving you to do so. 

T= Take a step back. It is time to step away from the siutation. Take a break by breathing in through your nose; out through your mouth. Deep calming breaths. Don’t react. 

O= Observe. Take notice of what is going on with you inside and out. What are you feeling? What are your thoughts? What exactly is the situation? What are others doing and saying that are around you. 

P= Proceed mindfully. You should act mindfully; with awareness. Consider your thoughts and feelings when making a decision. You should also take note of the feelings and thoughts of others and the situation before responding. Ask yourself “Which actions will make matters better or worse?”

This skill can be applied to any situation that you believe is distressing such as relationship conflict, urges to self harm or use substances, urges to participate in an addictive behavior, fear provoking situations, anger provoking situations; or any feelings or thoughts that makes you uncomfortable.

As a therapist I help clients put this skill to practice by practicing in session how to use the skill to respond to situations and not react. Reaction is on impulse and usually driven by our thoughts and feelings. Response is with awareness and driven by being mindful and being informed.

If you find yourself struck with an event that is distressing and need to get yourself in check, try the STOP skill. If you find yourself needing some help, hey I am available by phone or teleconference. I provide skills training, coaching, and DBT therapy.  I’m just an email away so schedule today!

 

Tahiyya xo

Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets by M. Linehan.

http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

 

If you like what you are reading and want more; hey follow the blog. I love helping others by teaching new skills, educating and bringing awareness, and just being me…Tahiyya:)

The black woman and depression: It’s not always sadness

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Growing up in the black community crying was not an option. Many families did not know how to embrace emotions because for generations we were not allowed to show emotions. For hundreds of years emotions were a sign of weakness (crying) or short lived (happiness). Over time the one emotion that we were good at showing was anger. Anger showed on our faces even if we were not aware of it. Anger seeped in our conversations even when we tried to be friendly. Anger even showed up in our work as we used it for energy to be productive in the fields. Anger was the go to anger for protection against all the sadness and pain we were feeling in our generational past and even today.

So let’s fast forward to today. In my own personal experience I remember saying “I don’t have time to cry”. That was my go to saying when I was feeling sad, hurt, embarassed, frustrated, or even happy. Crying took time. Crying meant that my sadness was real. So I would quickly resort to being withdrawn and always irritable (another form of anger). I see this a lot not just in clients but also in family, friends, media, characters on television, and on social media posts. Again anger was a way to be protetive of yourself against the vulnerability that came with being sad. However behind that anger was a deeper rooted issue. Depression.

Depression does not always show up as not wanting to get out of bed. It is not always crying for hours or days. It is not always feeling blue. It is not always skipping out on family and friends or things that you love to do. It is not always feeling and admitiing to feeling suicidal (that’s another upcoming post). In the black community depression can show up in those above mention ways but it also shows up as anger. It shows up in spending time with family and friends and feeding your pain with drama to make you more irritable. It shows up as the attitude. It shows up at the dinner table as  we take in more food than we normally would on a good day. It shows up as pretending to have it together. It shows up as emotional suicide as we cope with the red wine every night. It shows up as smoking a blunt or doing a line or two in order to make it through your day. It shows up in yelling  at our kids for simple things. It shows up as being withdrawn from our kids or other love ones. It shows up as the mask that we wear and call it being independent; strong or “that bitch”.

I like to tell people that no matter how we internalize our thoughts and feelings it will show up. Crying makes it obvious and with the stigma behind tears in the black community we dare not cry; not even over spilled milk.  We better get angry! 

We better get help. There are different ways to getting help for your depression instead of getting or feeling angry.

First seek professional help to assess for depression or depressed mood. Talk about what you’re feeling and thinking and how it has affected your day to day living. Sometimes this may include getting a formal diagnosis and medication if the medical professional recommends it (I’m not a doctor so I can’t talk much on medicaiton).

Second find a therapist that specializes in working with depression disorders. There are different types of therapy that can help such as talk therapy, DBT therapy, CBT therapy, and experiential therapy (these are the modalities I use). Your therapist will assist you in developing a course of treatment to help address the underlying issues and develop skills to cope in a healthier manner.

Third utilize your support system. In the black community we also have the stigma surrounding going to therapy and keeping our flaws to ourselves. Let’s end that stigma. It’s time to  connect to those love ones that will be there to help you get through your tough times; make you laugh, and hold you accountable for your treatment. Healthy relationships and connections can lead to healthier recovery.

Fourth develop a routine of getting outside and getting some exercise. This can be something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day. Exercise helps with the whole body; mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Fifth and lastly know that you are not alone. It is okay to not be okay but what’s most important is that you acknowledge what you are feeling and seek the appropriate care.

Ladies we don’t always have to be strong and independent. It is okay to take care of ourselves and get our mental health in check. Sending lots of love and hugs xoxo

 

Tahiyya xo

 

If you or someone you know is depressed and feeling suicidal please get help and call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Other resources

Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting: Terrie M. Williams …

Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America: Charisse …

If you live in the Matthews and Concord area and need a therapist please contact me at www.tahiyyamartin.com/contact

 

 

Trauma is my name 

“No one knows the troubles I’ve been through. They don’t see the scars hidden beneath my spirit. They don’t understand the…

💥Hypervigilance 

💥Anxiousness 

💥Running thoughts 

💥Sleepless nights

💥Emotional roller coaster 

💥Irritability 

💥Feeling trapped in my own body

💥Reoccurring nightmare

💥Don’t feel safe

💥Boundaries broken

💥Withdrawn 

💥Walking on eggshells 

💥Loud voices are frightening 

💥Shame 

Instead they see the smile that hides the pain. They see the loving and kind me. The always on top of things me. The beautiful on the outside me. I can’t tell my story. I can’t share my pain. I can’t show my shame. Trauma is my name”

Are you hiding behind the pain of trauma? It’s time to get help. 

Here’s some resources just for you!

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/

http://www.mntraumaproject.org/resources-for-clients

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

https://www.amazon.com/Courage-Heal-Survivors-Sexual-Anniversary/dp/0061284335

It starts young…

Originally published in June 2015 on victoriouswomen.com

It starts young

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It was my thirteenth birthday and he slammed my head up against a car. No adults were around just other children. No one said anything. It was another incident I kept to myself.  No bruises.

I was about fourteen when he pushed me up against a metal fence. I got upset and pulled off his chain he gave me and threw it over the fence and went home. No one was around. I didn’t say anything. I kept it to myself. No bruises.

It was the summer of my fifteenth year and I found out I was pregnant.

As time went on the physical abuse got worse. I was slammed in bushes, slapped in the face, choked but no bruises. I had yet to reach my 18th birthday.

My 18th year and I’m almost an adult. I have a two year old son and a secret. The abuse continued throughout the years. I never questioned why. I knew why. Well at least I thought I did. He was jealous. He was insecure. He wanted to control me. He was just mean. I stayed. I became used to being mistreated but I knew one day it will all end in due time.

A second child later and in our own place things was getting worse. There was hair pulling, hitting me with a baby in my arm, snatching my children from my arms, yelling at the children, threatening both me and the children, and still the slapping, choking, and slamming against property. My first bruise. I remember trying to explain to my father that my busted lip was a result of me biting my lip. He didn’t believe me because he knew all too well. He abused women so trust me he knew. I lied to protect him from my father however at the same time I wanted my father to kill him.

Time goes on and it doesn’t end. At this point I am tired. It has gone on now for fourteen years. I began to fight back. It made things worse but I wanted to fight back. The inner strength in me fought back.

Three children later, almost 15 years later, the last time occurred. Infidelity became a huge issue and I was done. No more praying to God for him to die or I die. No more running away to other states and he find me. No more. He slammed me on the concrete and lifted his leg to stomp me. We fought in front of his friends and our children. No one stopped him, well only one tried but to no avail. The look on my children faces and the screams that were coming out of their mouth was my final NO MORE.

I prayed that night to end it all, to remove him from my life. I told him we were done and I wasn’t going to do this again. He went to jail the next month, not because of me. That was my answer to my prayer. I got out. I got out. I got out after fourteen and half years.

Many asked why I didn’t leave. Sometimes I ask myself why I didn’t leave even after 8 years. Well I was afraid. I had children. My esteem was knocked to the ground because of emotional abuse. I was ashamed because I couldn’t believe I allowed this to happen to me. I felt trapped. All of these thoughts played a huge part of me not leaving. It plays a huge part of many women not leaving. There are many reasons why women don’t leave.

But the purpose of this blog is to say it starts young. There are too many young girls that are in the situation I was in. It is our secret. Many times these young girls go on to marry these same abusive men. It is our secret. Please speak to your daughters about self love, abuse, and telling someone. It can save their lives.

My story

Tahiyya xo