Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 4 – Issue 11 – November, 2005
Check out Psychodrama – I will be assisting the exceptionally talented Marcie Edmonds in a Psychodrama Workshop on Saturday, December 3rd at her Ahwatukee Office. The workshop is open to clients or professionals who would like a nice introduction to psychodrama in a beautiful setting. Call Marcie at (602) 460-8270 now to reserve your spot or to enroll in our next workshop, which will probably be in February. I just got back from a 5-day training with the internationally recognized team of Dorothy and Mort Satten and am really fired up about this powerful action method.
Debunking Myths – You Can Never Go Home
Myth: With the holidays coming, many of our readers are getting anxious about going home. Often a trip to our birthplace can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, and sometimes it worries us physically sick as the trip approaches. A Nebraska reader, Peter J., asked if it was really true that “you can never go home.” Fact: Yes, it’s true, you can never go home. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. First, you can never go home because home is always changing and it can never be exactly the same as it was, and, at the same time, you can also never really get completely away from home because you incorporate so much of home into yourself that when you leave, you take it with you.
To examine the first notion, the idea that home is always changing, that is just a simple fact of nature. The oldest generation begins to disappear. The next generation takes over the responsibilities for the family, the following generation is out in search of itself, and the youngest generations play and frolic with very little awareness of how time is marching on. However, within an extended family, the sense of the family remains fairly constant over time. If it is an abusive family, chances are good that that won’t have changed much. The generations just pass on that responsibility like any other. If it a warm, loving caring family, the younger generations carry that forward as well.
To look at the second notion, the idea that you can’t ever really get completely away from home, no matter how far you might move geographically away, we need to look only at how family patterns of behavior reconstitute themselves within the first hour or two of the family gathering. Our patterns of behavior begin forming as soon as we become aware of our environment and that is probably slightly before birth. Children under 3 years of age are incredible little sponges and they soak up volumes of information non-verbally and have already learned many of the family’s unspoken rules by simply observing their environment. That learning that takes place before you even learn how to speak is really, really, really, hard to overcome because we generally don’t even know it’s there unless we’re consciously trying to learn about ourselves and our early development.
Now, what about the fact that we can never go home? Is that automatically something we should be very sad about? Not necessarily. Some people really don’t ever want to go home because it was so awful and they are quite happy when home changes over the years and, perhaps, becomes less dysfunctional. And, if one had a happy, pleasant home life, you do get the luxury of carrying that with you, so even when you become that disappearing oldest generation, you still have your home with you, always, and all the people you’ve loved throughout your life.
So, spend some time “at home” for the holidays, whatever that means to you!
October Discussion Question: If your house was on fire and all the people and pets were safe, and there was time to get one object, what would you retrieve and why?
Kathleen, from Arizona, replied:
I would take the family Bible. It has my notes of spiritual battle won, the family genealogy, poetry written during rough times and precious pictures of my family.
Thanks Cathleen! Your special Down To Earth prizes are on their way!
November Discussion Question: What is it about being alone that makes many people avoid it like the plague?
E-mail answers to: email@example.com and answers will appear next month. Your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used unless you tell us not to use them. Anyone who responds and also includes a mailing address will receive Down To Earth temporary tattoos until supplies are exhausted.
Thought For The Day: Hurt people hurt people.
FEATURED ARTICLE – The Trail of Breadcrumbs Has to Lead to You
In the story of Hansel & Gretel, at one point, Hansel leaves a trail of breadcrumbs so they can find their way back home from the woods. Often, in real life, we subconsciously leave a trail of emotional breadcrumbs so that we can get back to various emotional states when we feel like we have strayed too far from our own emotional home.
For example, as a teenager begins to hang out with his friends more and more, he starts to leave good old Mom and Dad at home and he ventures out into the woods of independence. Every once in a while, though, he’ll screw up and get himself grounded. Why? Perhaps it’s a trail of breadcrumbs so he can find his way back home for a while and remember his roots and his origin. Hmm, what do we call that when people get back in touch with themselves? Actually, we call it “getting grounded,” don’t we? A little ironic, don’t you think?
A young woman beginning a relationship with a young man may be fearful to completely lose herself into the relationship and she may leave herself a trail of breadcrumbs in the form of refusing to give up her “Girls’ Night Out.” She may have a strong desire to stay tethered to her female friends, the women with whom she’s grown up, the women she most trusts to help her sort out this crazy new world of dating and romance.
A newly-promoted executive may not quite feel fully confident in his own abilities and he may call an esteemed college professor for advice before a difficult board meeting. That might be his trail of breadcrumbs, his safety net, his security blanket, if you will.
Now, it is all well and good to have others to help you when you are in difficult situations and I strongly encourage people to use others as resources, but sometimes people go too far. They don’t just look to others for support, they look to others to give them their entire sense of self-worth. When things go to that extreme, you might see a woman afraid to make any decisions without checking with her husband first, a young mother afraid to discipline her children because her mother-in-law doesn’t approve, or an elderly man who lets his middle-aged son make all his financial decisions despite that he is in no way incapable of making his own choices.
When the trail of breadcrumbs becomes a tether, an anchor, a ball and chain that locks you to another person, place, or time, it ceases to be a useful device. It becomes crippling. Instead, the trail of breadcrumbs has to lead back to you. You’ve got to trust yourself that you will operate in your own best interest, that you will take care of yourself, that you will not allow yourself to be abused or taken advantage of, and that you will love yourself no matter who else does or doesn’t.
Make sure that when you leave a trail of breadcrumbs, it always leads back to you. Don’t ever leave yourself stranded out in the emotional wilderness.
The Psychology Session – Internet Radio Show – Host Devin Jones and Dr. Marlo were interviewed for the December, 2005 issue of the APA Monitor about this show that broadcasts live every Monday from 11:30a-12:30p at www.drmarlo.com/radio. We welcome suggestions for topics or guests we should have on the show. You can also advertise your psych-friendly business on our show for $5 per 15-second spot (e.g., no ads for alcohol, topless bars, gun shops, etc.) E-mail suggestions or inquiries to PsychologySession@drmarlo.com.
Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness – Entertainment & Education – Join us on the Third Thursday of each month for a free movie with a mental health theme. Interested parties can stay after the movie for a discussion about the movie. One credit informal CE awarded for a $10 fee. Upcoming Features: December 15 – K-Pax, January 19 – Monster, February 9 (NOTE: Second Thursday) – King of Hearts, March 16 – Mine Own Executioner, April 20 – Pay it Forward. Networking at 7:15pm, Movie at 7:30pm, Discussion until 10:00pm. Sign up for Movie Madness updates by sending a blank e-mail with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line to MovieMadness@drmarlo.com.
Not sure if face-to-face therapy is for you? Don’t have time to drive across town to appointments? Just have a quick question or two? E-Therapy is for you! Dr. Marlo provides e-mail consultation and phone sessions. Go to www.drmarlo.com/EasyPay.html to select a 30 or 60-minute phone or live chat session or e-mail consultations. Perfect for people outside of Arizona, people too busy to come into the office, or people who want to investigate therapy a little bit before coming in for face-to-face sessions. Give it a try!
Publish Your Work – Promote your Practice – Two ways to publish – for free as a semi-anonymous author (your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used), or, for $10, as a professional promoting a mental health practice (your full name, with credentials, address, phone number, and e-mail address will be included). We reserve the right to decline to publish any submissions. Send creative contributions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Marlo in the Media – Check out Shel Berman’s article, “Stepping on Kids,” in the November issue of Raising Arizona Kids Magazine and then watch the Raising Arizona’s Kids’ weekly segment on the Channel 12 news on Friday the 25th or Saturday the 26th to see an interview based on the article.
How did I get on this Mailing List? – This mailing list started with all of my family and friends and colleagues, about 5 years ago. Since then, I have added just about any e-mail address I come across as well as people who request to join the mailing list. If you do not want to be on this list, you can unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe link below. I continue to subscribe people upon receiving their e-mail addresses because I get positive feedback for doing so from many of those I subscribe. My apologies if you are not one of them.
I wish you and your families and friends safe and happy holidays! –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.