Friday, September 21, 2012

"The Identified Patient" & A Manipulators "Image"

The "Identified Patient"

 The "Identified Patient" is a term describing an individual, in a dysfunctional family who:

1) Gets scapegoated and blamed for a family's problems

2) Has emotional problems that are not a mental illness, but a normal response to the stress of dealing with an unhealthy family in denial.

3) Blows the whistle on a dysfunctional family's problems

The phrase originated because family therapists recognized that the person "identified" as the patient is not necessarily the one who is sick.


Does this sound like you? This is a quite common occurrence. I was this person, at one point in my marriage. I believed what the people around me were saying, when I tried to speak up about how I felt about the way I was being treated. Instead of hearing anyone validating my feelings or concerns, the focus was put back on me that there must be something wrong because "How could I feel that way about them, they are not doing anything wrong?" and because these were people who were supposed to love and care about me, I believed them. I actually allowed doctors to put me on medication for what they "suspected" I may have, which it turns out I had nothing "wrong" with me. My feelings were being used to cover up for how many problems there were with the people around me. I wan't stupid or naive, it was all I knew from how I had grown up.

I finally became aware of what was going on and made some dramatic changes. I no longer trusted what the people around me said about me. I trusted only how I felt and what I knew to be true because it was true. It was them, not me. I was raised not to trust myself by parents who did not trust themselves either but put the blame on everyone else to cover it up. That was the one crucial thing I had to learn. The people I thought cared about me in the right ways, were so similar to my family of origin, that I was putting trust in the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, people can and do try to say you sound paranoid or delusional. At the nastiest points, I was told that quite a bit, when I was becoming quite confident that it wasn't me, but the person who was supposed to love me.  It's not paranoia if it is really happening. Remember that. Don't fall into the trap that if someone denies it long and hard enough, that it could really be you.

Does this sound like what happens with long interrogations? That's what happens, it breaks you down. So when people ask, "How could you admit it was you?" It happens! Especially when you're under stress and there are people around you that you are supposed to be able to trust. After all, why would they lie to you? Lots of reasons, actually. Believe me, people can lie and deny what you just heard with your own ears, just minutes ago. It's called "crazy making" behavior and you have to stop questioning them, to get validation of what they just said or did. Believe you. Believe your own ears. I've grown up around some very good liars and have learned to be very accountable for my own behavior because of that. It disgusts me when I realized that my own family and those who claimed to care about me later on in life (except for my sister), were not really concerned about me, as much as using me to cover up their own bad behavior.

People who really have the best intentions for you will listen to you and take what you say into consideration, if they are respecting how you wish to live and to be treated. Anyone who is so willing to let everything fall onto you, even when you have protested, does not have your best interests at heart. They may outwardly say, "Oh I'm just concerned for their well being." but they're happy to turn the light on you, in order to take negative light off of themselves. It is very serious to encourage someone to get help for something, when it is more for their benefit than their loved one's own benefit and believe me, they'll not admit it but with manipulative people, they'll do anything to retain an image and tarnish yours. Even if it hurts them in the end. I've seen manipulators in my own family, hurt themselves financially, if it meant that someone else would be hindered. It makes no sense.  The sad part is, many doctors and therapists don't know because the "patient" comes in with "support" from those closest to them. It seems to be honest concern but if the doctor had listened to me and had taken me aside and asked some probing questions, it would have been fairly easy to see what was going on. Sadly, many just don't have the time or concern. I wasn't asked about what was going on with the people around me

As a Life Coach in this area, I ask a lot of questions but I listen for over-accountability on the part of my clients and what is going on with those closest to them. I'm for the client, not against anyone. Who the client chooses to associate with is their business. One goal, among others, is to live honestly with yourself.

*It's about the truth within your value system. It's about the truth as you choose to live it.*

Monday, September 17, 2012

*My Other Blog*

Just a reminder for those who aren't aware, I have another blog, about my childhood:

It's emotional but I wanted to get it out there for others to relate. Please feel free to share and comment.

Erin Grace

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pleasing vs. Helping

Article created with content from

When someone turns to us, as a source of help or support, it can help to distinguish whether you wish to make that person happy with what they hear from you, or whether you want to truly help them (another issue that comes up is whether you really want to help them or get them to believe your values are what they should think about).

                   Pleasing may not be Helping

You can please someone by assisting them in satisfying an impulse but you may be indulging them rather than helping them.

To help someone, you have to assist them in acting consistently with their *values. That may be much more difficult. This takes deep listening and reminding yourself it isn't about you and your values. If something arises that seems to go against what they believe, you can ask non-judgmental questions to enlighten the person on where they may be acting counter to their values. This is the distinction between short-term pleasure and long-term gratification.

Values are:
What is important to you?
What is not so important?
What are your priorities?
What really ticks you off?
What is worth defending and protecting?

Answering these questions begins to identify your/their values—enduring beliefs of what is most important to you/them.

As a coach, I am not hired to please someone, with what they hear from me (unless they aren't getting enough support, then they need to feel uplifted and encouraged), as much as, getting them to their goals while remaining consistent with their values. To do this, I have to ask a lot of questions to understand the clients values. When people ask you questions, try to determine whether they are asking in order to help, be nosy or simply give you what you want to hear.

                                                                      © LifeSights 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Two Excellent Websites About Emotional Competence and Emotional Intelligence

Hello Everyone,

My sister recently discovered a couple of in depth websites about emotional well being that I feel are excellent references. I'll be concentrating some blog posts around concepts from these sites, which I find particularly interesting (and how I have experienced them in the context of my own life).

Keep in mind that as with anything, you have to consider what is said on these sites, in the context of your own life and circumstances...if you are in an abusive environment, one which you cannot express yourself openly without fear of repercussions, etc., your behavior under those circumstances may not match what is considered "acceptable, healthy, emotionally intelligent, etc." according to those sites. Always keep context in mind (as site #1 points out)!

I hope you find them as interesting and informative as I have!

With Respect & Kindness,

Site #1-

Site #2-

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Change In My Focus

Just a heads up to those who may not be aware, I am in the process of changing my focus from marriages to relationships of any kind involving emotional and verbal abuse and the manipulation that accompanies these issues.

My website will be the last to change over but understand I will always be available to coach anyone with almost any issue. However, if I feel you would be better suited for another coach, I will help you find one! I'm not one who tries to be a hero! If I believe someone could help you better than myself, then I believe in having the humility to say so.

Thank you all for your support!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Things To Be Aware Of In Relationships: For Husbands AND Wives

Things Men Do To Strain Or Ruin A Marriage (this is not to say women don't do things as well but I am relating to men here):

Leaving her alone, either when she's upset or not including her in plans.

Not showing appreciation: I have learned that the words "I appreciate [action]." are very important, as well as the actions.

Not letting her "in" when you're depressed or feeling angry, resentful, bitter.

Not getting close, or giving affection unless you want sex.

Trying to fix her or constant criticism.

Not addressing her insecurities seriously.

Not saying "I'm sorry".

Not realizing who you are, the patterns you tend to get into with people, women in particular.

Not being accountable/responsible for your actions.

To Be The Best Husband You Can Be In Your Marriage:

Be responsible

Have leadership ability

Have decision making ability

Be strongly disciplined

Courageous, even though you are fearful

All together, men feel these show "manliness"

What Do Men Ultimately Want In A Relationship? 

Men want someone who makes them feel good about themselves, to feel needed & respected. They want someone who gives them attention and makes them feel special, intelligent, attractive & confident.

What Do Men Worry About?

Losing a job affects a mans sense of worth and his ability to provide; men worry about money and finances.

Losing looks


Being intelligent enough

Being a good father

©LifeSights 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Physical and Emotional Things Men Can Give Their Wives

*Men, keep in mind these are things I have learned from male friends, both married and unmarried (but in long-term relationships) what I know that helps me and other female friends I have, when it comes to relationships and marriage*

Touch (and compassion) make a difference to women, some men are afraid to reach out when their wife is upset, when actually the best thing to do is to touch her hand or put an arm around her. What you say is important, as well, but it doesn't have to be much. Unless she tells you to leave, don't walk away without saying anything, thinking that she needs to be left alone. As I've said before, I have heard from men that when women are upset, men have a tough time knowing what to do, just as much as what to say.

Sometimes people just want to vent their frustrations with their situation. Resist the urge to give her solutions when you'd be much better off listening. Many times men want to help by fixing or solving things for their partners. Men are very accustomed to problem solving, let me reassure you that this may very well not be one of those times. Listen for cues in the conversation that tells you she is just frustrated and obviously if she's upset with you, then it changes things! You know her better than anyone (I hope!)

 Women want someone who will listen and appear to 
understand (if you don't "get it", it's okay). Women don't 
need someone who has all of the answers to what they are 
venting about, they just want someone who will say
 (sincerely), "Wow, I can't believe that happened!", "That's great!" or "That's terrible!" Don't be preoccupied with something else. People can tell when they don't have your full attention. Listen and make eye contact.

Women want someone to
*mirror back what they are concerned, frustrated, sad, happy or angry about, that's why we turn to girlfriends so much because women are good at "mirroring". Women, of course, are very verbal (surprise, surprise), so we talk things out and it helps, even when we do most of the talking while the other person just listens. Most of us don't expect anyone to solve or fix our problems, we just want to know that you get where we're coming from, even if most times, you have a difficult time understanding all of it. Just make a genuine effort.

*Mirroring is common in conversation. The listeners will typically smile or frown along with the speaker. If one person throws in a certain topic, the other will likely contribute similar ideas. Since people usually accept their mirror image with ease, mirroring the person with whom one is speaking generally makes them feel more relaxed and encourages them to open up.

Keep these things in mind, when you think it matters the most and it can go a long way in improving communication.

As a coach, I have to really work on not assuming anything and not being judgmental. It's not as easy as you think. Generally, how we are raised, feeds our perspective on things. We all have our perspectives and our points of view and to not let them interfere with helping someone is sometimes quite difficult. In relationships, try very hard not to be judgmental and critical. In fact, bable to take criticism, even if you very much disagree. In the long run, it may not be anything you feel is important to change but try to listen, as you would expect her to, if you had a criticism of her. As with anyone/anything else, say that you will consider it...remember, it's not easy for her to say those things to someone she cares about, especially when she's risking making you angry or hurting you.

Don't be a know it all. Keep your mind open to new things and new ideas, it can make her feel important and you may actually learn something. Resist the urge to say that you already know that or share what you know about that subject and thank her for expanding your knowledge of it. Learn what humility really means and practice it often. Humility is not a sign of weakness, it's actually sign of strength to not have to show your perspective or opinion all of the time. Just let someone BE. When you understand humility, it shows that you know your weaknesses and you're okay with them. You're comfortable in your own skin.

Be open and honest about yourself. Be authentic, be vulnerable, try to look her in the eyes or at least be near her. Tell her how you feel about something. Show your emotions without being overly needy and if it brings up strong emotions, reassure her that's okay, it's good for you, or you've got it under control. Don't be the judge of what she can handle and what she can't, she shouldn't need you to protect her from feelings.

We show vulnerability in many of the things we do, when we make a connection with someone as a friend, lover, or otherwise. Many of the mistakes we make when communicating with others, come down to the inability to show vulnerability but then there are some who show so much, so frequently and inappropriately, that they appear needy. In today's world, many people are becoming more and more emotionally shut off, as a society,we are very disconnected, closed off from our own and others feelings and emotions. Some vulnerability is good, we are not indestructible or robots but our society seems to be valuing disconnect from feeling, more than ever before. I think it is downright scary. 

If you really having trouble talking to your wife, tell her. Most of us are compassionate and understanding. Most women do understand that we're different than men. We know that we're the more verbal ones, so please tell us if you're not sure what to say. Sit your wife down and tell her, OR,  (my shameless plug but it's free for you, a valuable gift). Sign up on my website for "Husbands! Three Simple Ways To Meaningful Communication With Your Wife-Now!"  Show your vulnerability. Any worthwhile woman will understand it's because you love her.Tell her if you're afraid of saying the wrong thing. I know a lot of men say that they're afraid of saying the wrong thing and upsetting someone they love, that's why a lot of times they tell me that they don't say anything at all.

Express your needs in relationships but don't be needy. Don't expect someone to fix things. Don't feel entitled or play the victim. Keep your expectations realistic. Remember to consider the context with her feelings and with your own feelings. Don't jump to conclusions and above all else, give her the benefit of the doubt. Try not to be defensive and offended over everything. Pick your battles!!

Be reliable. Treat her with care and respect. Do for her what you want to be done for yourself (and you should be getting the same, in return), it's really that simple. Reciprocate.

**Keep in mind, as much joking as there is about women being the "boss" in the relationship and nagging you to death, if you really do feel that your wife is that much in control and truly disrespectful of your relationship, then these suggestions are probably not going to work. Try it, but you know your marriage, so trust your instincts. 

You may need more help communicating with her or a different approach to how you want to deal with your relationship. Hiring a relationship coach or counselor could help, depending on whether you want to set goals and get to them i.e. asking yourself the "what" and "how". Whether you prefer coaching, as it looks at what you want now and your goals/moving forward,  or whether you want to look at things from a different perspective, as counseling does, by looking at the past, as it relates to "now" and delve into the "why" of things.

Copyright 2012 LifeSights