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Author: lindalochridge

Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg is a licensed therapist in private practice. She is a published author and speaker. She lives with her husband their their Goldendoodle Emma in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. She is mother and stepmother to five children, grandmother to ten, and great-grandmother to two (so far). You can also find Linda blogging in "Out of Her Mind," at www.lindahoenigsberg.com.
Where I’ve Been for the Last Two Years

Where I’ve Been for the Last Two Years

I help people using DBT and other therapies via a HIPAA compliant video/audio app from the convenience of your home. This saves time and money. I also supervise therapists in training. I trained for my Clinical Supervision certification in March 2015. I am licensed in both Montana and Wyoming. Feel free to call to chat and set up an appointment.

You haven’t heard from me in awhile. Back in October of 2014, I was diagnosed with a recurring brain tumor that had been removed in 2006. I needed to have the surgery all over again in February of 2017. The surgery saved my life but left me without the ability to work as hard as I had been in private practice.  But I am not letting this stop me from my mission in life! My passion is Dialectical Behavior Therapy and how it can help you regulate your emotions and have a life you love!

I feel passionate about helping others as long as I can. We can feel extreme pain because of toxic relationships but what a lot of people do not realize is that we can also heal through healthy ones. Yes…other people can help us to heal. Our relationships…our marriages…our friendships, can provide us with a sense of joy. But sometimes, there’s a lot to learn about ourselves, our upbringing, and other people before that can happen. I’ll be writing a lot more about this subject in the days and weeks to come.

Take good care of you,

Linda (Hoenigsberg) Lochridge

 

 

Have You Ever Felt Like Running Away From Home?

Have You Ever Felt Like Running Away From Home?

Have you ever felt like life is just too tough? You just want to run away…to anywhere just as long as you don’t stay where you are. But deep down you know that won’t help anything. Your problems will just pack themselves into whatever suitcase you pull off the shelf and jump out at you the first time you unlatch the lid and flip it open.

But that urge to flee remains. Your stomach is in knots. You’re tired. You don’t feel you have the strength to get through One. More. Crisis. You’re feel like you’re coming unglued.

Then, after awhile, after you’ve stomped around a bit, cried, complained, and threw yourself across the bed, you realize that running away would be fruitless (“Fruitless: failure to achieve the desired results; unproductive and useless.”)

So now what do you do?

The DBT skill of Radical Acceptance can really help here. Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do about this? If yes, problem-solving skills come into play. Figure it out. What would be a next “wise” step for you to take. If the answer is no, then you need to survive the crisis. Radically accepting that this thing has happened and that we can skillfully move through the crisis will insure we don’t turn our pain into long-term suffering. Reminding myself that I only have to get through this one day helps me tremendously. Staying present, living my life one day at a time, I find beauty and comfort in the life I have been given. I practice gratitude, and focus on the good, on the blessings I have received. And I have another trick…I call it Time Machine.

This trick is adapted from “My Anxious Mind,” A Teens Guide to Managing Panic and Anxiety,” by Tompkins and Martinez. In many ways, I’m still a teenager at heart so this one works for me:

Ask yourself, in the scheme of things, with 100 being intolerable, how will I feel about this thing that has happened by the end of the day. Write it down. It could be that you believe you will still feel like this is the worst thing that has ever happened. OK…so 100. Then ask yourself, how will I feel about this is one week. Write it down. It could be that you think you will still be at 100 or maybe 90 or 80. That’s ok. Then ask yourself, how will I feel about this in one month…then six months…then one year…then five years. Chances are you will gain perspective and realize that this crisis will not even be on your radar in the pretty near future. You may see numbers like 80…50…25…2…now not thinking about this at all. This can help you move through it, knowing your pain is temporary and your life will move on.

Right now I am staring down the barrel of brain surgery. I feel like I have a ticking time bomb in my head. I too have felt like running away. I picture myself in Maui at Christmas. Then I realize that I would be laying on the beach worrying about my brain. But I do have a lot of peace. I am taking it one day at a time, living my life and enjoying the things that are most important to me…practicing Time Machine. And writing. I will never stop writing. A Journal is a great place to gather your thoughts…like putting them in a basket and leaving them on the shelf.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what helps you through crises. Let’s have a conversation. And please share this post. It may help someone in a way you would not know. I read things every day that help me with whatever it is I am going through.

 

Hold That Thought!

Hold That Thought!

We all hate the thought of one human being bullying another. There are entire campaigns dedicated to eradicating bullying on campuses. We’ve read stories about young people actually ending their lives because they were bullied on a social networking site. There are also stories of teenagers who were so tortured by bullies that they snapped. They took guns to school and killed students and teachers. Unfortunately, these stories are beginning to lose their shock value. Would it shock you to discover that we can all be bullies? We literally bully one who is very near and dear to our hearts. We bully ourselves! Thoughts such as, “Nothing will ever work out for me,” or “I am so stupid,” or “I am ugly,” are common things we tell ourselves. This keeps us mired in the mud of negative emotions and increases our suffering. Sometimes the thoughts come fast and furious, and we feel as if we cannot shut them off. I’ve learned a new mindfulness exercise I want to teach you. You can print it out and add it to The Anywhere Any Time Mindfulness Toolbox: 10 Quick Ways to Reboot Your Brain on the Fly (pick up your free pdf copy of that by clicking here).

The Space In Between

  1. First, identify a negative thought you use to bully yourself.
  2. Change that thought to a more positive, truthful thought (an affirmation). For instance, let’s use the thought “Nothing ever works out for me.” Let’s change that to, “Things work out for me much of the time.
  3. Close your eyes and picture the first word of that affirmation in front of your eyes. Think of the word “Things.”
  4. Next, imagine you have moved the word “Things” over to the left. Now imagine the word “work” right in front of your eyes.
  5. Now move the word “work” over to the right. You now have both words, “Things work” sitting on either side of your head. There is a blank space in between, right in front of your eyes.
  6. Be in the empty space that is in front of your eyes. Breathe.
  7. Bring the word “work,” which is to the right, over to the left with the words “Things.” You now have “Things work” to the left and an empty space in front of your eyes.
  8. Now bring the word “out” and imagine it is right in front of your eyes. When you have a strong image of it, move it over to the right. You now have an empty space in front of your eyes again. Be in the space. Breathe.
  9. Next move the word “out” to the left. You now have “Things work out” to the left. Imagine the word “for” hanging right in front of your eyes. Repeat the above until you have imagined and moved all the words of your affirmation to the left. Sit with the empty space left in front of your eyes.

This may seem a funny thing to do but according to my clients it is so helpful in two ways. First, it gives them something positive to say to themselves instead of the negative message their “bully” has taunted them with. Secondly, it slows down their thinking and calms and soothes their spirits.

If you try this mindfulness exercise for yourself, go over to the blog at http://lindahoenigsberg.com and leave me a comment. I have a book giveaway for one lucky person (I will have my husband randomly pick a number). This is a book I just read and loved, loved loved! It’s called Finding Spiritual Whitespace, by Bonnie Gray. It is a memoir/guidebook. I’ll contact you for an address and send it right off! And remember, sharing is caring. Please share this post on the social media site of your choice. Who knows whose bullying you stopped dead in its tracks!

Help! I Think I’m a Codependent!

Help! I Think I’m a Codependent!

The terms codependency and dysfunctional have morphed somewhat in the last couple of decades. Grasping the true meaning of these words can be harder than turning a doorknob once you have slathered your hands with lotion (I cannot be the only one who has tried this!).

When more information became known about how family dynamics play into recidivism rates of alcoholics, the term co-alcoholic was used to talk and write about the partner in a relationship with an alcoholic. In the mid eighties, researchers realized that there were more similarities than differences in those addicted to drugs and those addicted to alcohol. The terminology changed and those addicted to either one or both were given the term chemically l dependent. The powers that be then changed the term co-alcoholic to codependent. There you have it. Your history lesson for the day.

The longer I work with clients in private practice, the more I see codependency to be a very important issue to work on. I had suffered from codependency much of my own life. I knew what it caused me to do, the bad choices I made in relationships, and the anxiety I experienced when the guy I liked didn’t seem to be as interested. I knew I had dated and even married men who were narcissistic and even abusive because I was afraid to be alone. Ross Rosenberg, an expert on codependency, calls this “the human magnet syndrome.” I had overcome codependency so I knew I could help others do the same. But there is so much to learn about codependency that experience alone doesn’t teach. I decided to research this subject myself so I could better serve my clients.

The subject of codependency is fascinating and has a rich history. In fact, when the first book of its kind came out in 1986, it sold 8 million copies. People from all over the world wanted help for codependency, and Melody Beattie’s book, Codependent No More, was just what they were waiting for.

Various books on the subject will have different lists of the symptoms that will help a person know if they may be codependent, but there are some core factors to help you spot the signs in yourself.

 7 Symptoms You Are A Codependent

 

1. You have low self-esteem. In fact, you may have almost no self-esteem. Or you may have “other” esteem, which is, according to Pia Mellody, author of Facing Codependency, someone who gets their self-esteem from the things they own. A fancy car, a designer bag, a huge house, kids who do well in sports or dance, etc.

2. You are a people pleaser. You will sacrifice your own needs and desires for the other person, time and time again. You have a hard time saying “no.”

3. You have poor boundaries. You do not recognize when you have crossed someone else’s boundary. You are unaware that people’s boundaries may be different.  You feel responsible for other people’s feelings. You attempt to care-take when you are not asked for help.

4. You are a caretaker. You have a need to control those around you. It may seem like you are helping or taking care of others but what you are really looking for is for that person to do things that make you feel safe. Do you find yourself asking your spouse or partner to put on their seatbelt? Are you a backseat driver? Do you want the last say in conversations about politics or religion? Do you do for others without ever needing the relationship to be reciprocal?

5.  Obsessions. Do you find yourself constantly thinking about others, needing to know where they are or what they are doing? Do you text over and over when someone doesn’t return your text message right away? Do you cancel plans rather than miss “that” call?

6. Dependency. Do you believe you cannot make it in life without a partner? Have you gotten into a bad relationship because to you it’s better than being alone?

7. Denial. Do you stay in unhealthy relationships because you think you can change the other person? Have you taken abuse from someone and stayed when they told you, for the 10th time, that they are going to change?

Earlier I said that I had been codependent for much of my life. I was raised in an alcoholic family. Many codependents are adult children of alcoholics, but that is not the only way this happens. Subconsciously I began to try to get a redo of my relationship with my father, who was very emotionally unavailable. The men I met all seemed very different from each other, and I was immediately completely smitten with them. I felt very comfortable. They reminded me of something. My childhood! They were all emotionally unavailable, like my dad. I didn’t figure this out for many years.

There is hope for healing from codependency. There are great self-help books. Working with a therapist can facilitate the process. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has a module called Interpersonal Effectiveness. The skills taught in this module are well-researched, not just for codependency, but for those who consistently get caught up in chaotic relationships.

 

Do you have a questions or comments? Please respond below and I will answer you back.  Do you know anyone who you think fits these categories? Sharing is caring! Click the social sharing button of your choice below.

 

 

 

Flap Your Wings

Flap Your Wings

Stopping the Cycle of Generational Alcoholism

I was disgusted with my parents’ alcoholism. So this is how I handled it; I took drugs instead. It made total sense to me at the time. Drugs were clean. I could hide them more easily than my mother’s 5th of Vodka. I could take certain types and instead of getting sloppy and mean I could laugh and have fun. And of course, I could stop whenever I wanted. As long as I never stayed with one class of drugs for too long, I would never get addicted.

Of course we all know the folly of that kind of thinking. Drugs just about destroyed me. It clouded my judgement so that I allowed hurtful people to have access to my life. It kept me numb to pain so that instead of dealing with each hurt as it came, I stuffed it all until it exploded into serious mental illness. It took years to recover.

And with all the care I took to keep from getting addicted, the chickens came home to roost many years later when I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my neck. With my brain primed for addiction through the use of drugs in my teens and early twenties, it was no time at all before I became seriously addicted to the opiate pain killers prescribed by my family physician. I soon found out what the hell of withdrawal was like.

Being an adult child of an alcoholic means having to learn new ways of living. It’s not easy, but there are many who have traveled the road before and shine the light so we can follow their path. The video below is a wonderful example.

Did you recognize yourself in her words? If so, reach out to someone for help. Stop the cycle of alcoholism in your own family line. I like to say, “Be a butterfly.” One small flap of your wings can change generations of your family. Do this for yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, and your great-great grandchildren. You get the idea.

Can you relate? In what ways have generational alcoholism touched your life? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

And please share the love with your friends by clicking a button or two below. Thanks!

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3 Ways to Using Imagery to Calm Your Emotions

3 Ways to Using Imagery to Calm Your Emotions

Have you ever felt like going to bed because your emotions were “off the charts?” I have, and I found myself lying there thinking about what I was so angry about. Turns out, that’s not very helpful. Then I learned a DBT Skill that helped me not only calm down but also helped to turn those negative emotions towards more positive ones as well.

I headed off to the beach.

Well…sort of. You see, I live in Montana. Not much in the way of ocean breezes around here. I grew up near the beaches of Southern California and to say I miss the beach is an understatement. But I can give myself a taste of that experience whenever I want. Here’s how.

1. Think of a place (either real or imaginary) that you would like to be right now.

For me, that’s always the ocean. I love everything about it; even the smell of rotting seaweed.

2. If you can, gather things that will help you experience it with your 5 senses.

When I was a teenager I went to the beach with my friends as often as we could afford the 33 cents for bus fare. We slathered on the suntan lotion and put lemon juice in our hair to lighten it. We listened to The Beach Boys on the radio and let the sound of the waves massage our souls. I have suntan lotion in my bathroom cabinet and lemon juice in the fridge. I also own a CD of ocean waves (you can also listen to waves on Youtube). And of course I own several Beach Boys CD’s. When California Girl comes through the speakers in my room, I am 14-years-old again! These smells and sounds help me remember what it was like to actually be at the beach. One time I even clicked on a small electric heater to simulate the heat of the sun!

3. Sit or lie down and allow yourself to be carried away to the place of your dreams.Your emotions will calm as you soothe yourself with a free, 10-minute vacation.

Try this exercise and let me know where you went in the comments below. I am giving away Christy Matta’s book, The Stress Response, to one lucky winner (randomly picked from the comments).

 

Juggling Act ~ How to Get What You Need From Others

Juggling Act ~ How to Get What You Need From Others

Hi there! I was thinking about something today that I thought might interest you. In my practice I get a lot of questions about relationship issues. It makes sense. Those of us who have experienced problems handling emotions have learned early on various methods of getting our needs met. Sometimes this works in the short term. It may even work with certain people in our lives for quite a while. But sometimes we may begin to lose friends or feel like we are irritating to people. When it’s really bad, our siblings may even start screening our calls!

That’s sounds funny, but it happens, and it’s hurtful. There is a concept that is part of Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills that I teach to my clients that really helps. I ask them to keep three balls in the air at once.

Objective

What is my objective in this conversation? Is it to ask someone to do something for me or say no to him or her about something they want from me? Knowing my objective ahead of time will help me stay on track in the conversation. You know as well as I do how people can take us on rabbit trails. They can say something like, “Well, three weeks ago you did something similar,” and off we go. Soon we forget what it was that we wanted or needed to say.

Relationship

What do I want this relationship to look like after this conversation? Is this person important to me? Do I want them to continue to like/respect/love/want to hang out with me?  Sometimes we are dealing with someone we don’t even like. We may not care if we ever see them again. If that’s the case, we don’t need to be as careful.

Self-respect

We may not need to be as careful if we don’t care as much about the relationship, but we still need to be respectful and think about how we want to view ourselves after the conversation ends. Heaping guilt onto ourselves is not going to help anything or anybody. We want to treat others as we wish to be treated.

Then we can walk with our head held high.

What is the hardest part about relationships for you? Do you have trouble in romantic relationships? Is it boundary issues? Do you feel misunderstood? Do you feel you may have social anxiety? Email me and I’ll write more about your topic.

Mindfulness can also help. We begin to slow down the reaction time and think about what we are doing in the moment. For some quick mindfulness tips you can use anywhere, click here to download your free copy of my latest e-book, The Mindfulness Toolkit: 10 Quick Tips to Reboot Your Brain on the Fly. And for more tips, sign up for my free newsletter.

 

 

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

The other day I pulled out of my driveway and onto the main thoroughfare leading downtown in Helena, Montana. It had lightly snowed a few days before and then warmed up considerably, so the streets were slushy and slippery. Luckily, I only have about a three minute commute to my office.

A half a block later, I glanced into my rear-view mirror and saw that there was someone right behind me. I mean right behind me. I couldn’t tell how close he actually was, but I felt my hackles go up. Hey! Get off my butt!

As he continued to tail me I felt that adrenaline that comes right before anger begins to flow through my veins. As I passed through the neighborhood, I felt my temper climb. I began to imagine myself doing all sorts of things…tapping my breaks…slowing down to 10 miles an hour to make him late…pulling over,  rolling down my window and giving him that old universal sign language for…well…you know.

I turned left at the street where my office is located and looked to see if he was still behind me. He wasn’t. A couple of expletives entered my mind.

I began to reflect on the thoughts that had gone through my mind while we were both tooling down the street. A main one was, I can’t get hurt again! I broke my neck by falling down the stairs at my house in the year 2000 and I have an issue with chronic pain. Early on in the process healing, I was in so much pain that I seriously did not want to live much longer. Thank God I found a wonderful chiropractor who put me back together enough that I now enjoy my life very much.

Well, I knew that I always feel fear when I get into situations like this. I am worried I will get injured again somehow; get a whiplash if someone hits me from behind. But I also knew my anger level was over the top for the situation, so I kept thinking about it. Another block went by…and then it came to me.

I had been very worried about my dog. I have a golden doodle named Emma. She one of the great blessings of my life. She is smart and hilarious and affectionate…a mass of joyful auburn curls. A few years ago she was diagnosed with diabetes and we give her two shots of insulin a day to keep her pancreas working. The day before we had gotten a call from our vet and she was worried Emma now had Cushings disease. I had read about this early on in her treatment and although I couldn’t remember exactly what it was, I knew it wasn’t good.

The vet was still testing, so I purposefully didn’t go back online and look it up. I told myself not to feed my fears that way, and we didn’t know yet if she actually had it or not (she didn’t, thank God).

But in the middle of the night, and again that morning, I had been really worried about her. I hadn’t been in a great frame of mind when I said goodbye to her and got into my car.

I then I realized that my quick rocket flight into anger stemmed from my fear that I was going to lose Emma.

Just realizing that didn’t take my anger down to zero as fast as it had climbed to sixty, but by the time I got to my office, I had forgotten all about it. And all that in less than 3 minutes.

Mindfulness Skill ~ The Body Scan

Have you ever taken a moment to notice if your anger is actually stemming from something other than what is presented to you in that moment? A DBT Skill called Body Scan can help. The next time you feel your anger go up in a flash, stop and do the scan. Ask yourself, what is happening in my body? What is happening in my thoughts? What is happening in my environment? Am I feeling “over the top?” Does the situation really warrant it? Give yourself some moments to reflect on what is going on before you react. You will calm down much quicker and not do something that may ruin your own day.

Have you ever gotten really angry and then realized your emotions went way beyond what triggered them? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s talk about it! There’s a lot we can do about the problem of too much anger.

4 (highly researched) New Years Resolutions for 2014

4 (highly researched) New Years Resolutions for 2014

New Years List2If you are a fan of Facebook, then it may seem to you as if everyone starts out the new year with one or two resolutions. A lot of folks seem to be talking about what they want to do differently starting January 1. But, according to time management firm Franklin Covey, statistics show that most people do not carry out their resolutions. In fact, one third of those who start out strong will have stopped this new activity by February.

One reason for this is that most people are not explicit about their goals. They haven’t verbalized them to family or friends, and they have not written them down. It’s just too easy to forget. I’m wondering too if the goal just wasn’t the kind that would make any real change in their life, so they gave up.

My own resolutions for 2014 didn’t include adding something; they included letting go of some things. You see I had been pushing myself so hard (and if you read my last post, you know exactly what I mean by that), that I had to resolve to stop some of my activities, or at least slow them down.

But that’s all right. I am still moving forward. I accept where I am at while continuing to move towards change (that’s called a dialectic). No judgment allowed.

All this talk about resolutions got me thinking about you, and whether or not you have added any New Years resolutions to what may already be a full plate.

If not, I’ve got a suggestion for you. I am going to offer four resolutions that, according to decades of research, will help you build a life worth living. That’s certainly more intriguing than just having a better year in 2014 than you did in 2013! Here they are:

  •  1. Gaining more control over your thought life.
  • 2. Not being as impulsive when you are feeling like you’re having a crisis.
  • 3. Gaining more control over your emotions.
  • 4. Developing healthier relationships with others.

Wow…those seem like very overwhelming resolutions, don’t they? How would one even start working on any of that?

That’s where I come in. These goals are part of a system of skills called Dialectical Behavior Skills (DBT Skills). They have been highly researched and are effective for those of us unfortunate enough to be a) born with a highly reactive brain b) suffered trauma and neglect in childhood c) both a and b and maybe much more.

The skills are simple, but they need to be exercised as if you are building up your muscles at the gym. The more you work out, the better you get. The better you get, the brighter your life becomes.

I am going to be writing about these skills here on the blog in all of 2014 and beyond. Check back often, or better yet, sign up for automatic updates. An online course that helps you systematically learn the skills as well as interact with others in a private Facebook group page is coming soon (hey, we’re all in this together). I’ll let you know as soon as that’s available. I’m working hard to make it very special and fun.

Marsha Linehan, researcher and developer of dialectical behavior therapy, would say these skills help you “build a life worth living.” I happen to agree, and again, if you’ve read my last blog post, you know why (wink).

In the meantime, take good care of you!

Linda

Did you make any New Years resolutions? Let me know in the comments below. Let’s be part of the conversation!