Cedric Centre for Counselling Inc.


Archive for April, 2011


Relapse is a very common phenomenon in addictive behaviours. It takes time to develop the familiarity and trust required to implement new methods of coping. In a pressure situation, you will learn to use your new tool rather than reverting to your old coping strategy. Until you have the strength and trust in yourself to cope effectively in the new way, you will often utilize the coping strategy which has worked best for you in the past, even if you have a strong desire to behave differently.

What is most important is that you appreciate that relapse is a part of the healing process and not a failure or sign of inability to change. Relapse is to be expected and welcomed, because it provides you with clear information about the situation at hand. The goal, when you experience relapse, is to use it as a tool for identifying stressors that are still challenging and for which you need to reinforce new, more healthful ways of coping.

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Doubting Your Deservedness

Doubting Your Deservedness

It’s not necessary for me to meet you to know, in my soul, that there is nothing about you (even that worst-ever thing that you keep beating yourself up with) that is so horrible or so lacking that you deserve to be treated with disrespect and harmed by others’ words or actions. You just think you do, but it’s not true at all. You do not need to go on doubting your deservedness.

However, because you have told yourself that it is true, you believe you are deserving of crap or that this is the best you can hope for: you are settling for mistreatment and lack of security in your life in some key relationships, whether they are with your partner, your boss, your children, your friends or relatives. No one on earth has the right to disrespect you, and you always have the right to leave a relationship or take a break if that person is harming you, mentally, verbally, or physically and not willing to acknowledge and change their behaviour.

What will make this a no-brainer for you is to learn how to know when your perception of a person and/or a situation is accurate. When you trust that you are seeing things clearly it becomes impossible for you to doubt yourself and what is right, and it becomes impossible for others to manipulate or threaten you into compromising yourself.

Trusting your perception of things and thus your deservedness has 3 key pieces. All of which can be explored in tandem and fairly quickly. To learn to stop doubting your deservedness you must:

1. Establish your own set of values and principles: These are your Beliefs and the Mores of society that you feel have merit and that you seek to exemplify in your relationship with yourself and others. This one piece alone makes life so much simpler and will make you feel so much stronger and clearer in your dealings with anyone else. 

2. Learn how to trust that your assessment of yourself and your actions and intentions and capabilities is accurate.

3. And learn how to know what is reasonable for someone to ask of you and what is not – and therefore what you have a  right to say no to.

When you have confidence in your ability to assess for the 3 aspects of relationship you will find it much easier to feel truly confident in yourself and in your relationships with others. You’ll also notice an amazing side-effect which is that your stressful coping behaviours like binging, eating disorders, dieting, weight loss struggles, drinking, isolating, procrastinating etc. will fall away.

You’ll feel much more peaceful in every area of your life.

If you’d like to learn how to make these 3 steps happen for you and start feeling deserving of care and consideration and all the things everyone else deserves, email and let me know. I am here to help you with a simple and speedy set of tools that will change everything for the better.

Love Michelle

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Natural Eating 101 Week 4: The True Culprit: Learned Helplessness

learned helplessnessIt’s funny how much correspondence I will get about a general discussion topic but how little I will get from an email article that has anything whatsoever to do with topics like goal setting or learned helplessness. You know what I mean. It’s great to read and get ideas and to feel like someone else knows where you’re at and that there is hope for you to heal and be completely free of food and body image stress; the coping strategies of emotional eating, restriction (anorexia), or binging (binge eating disorder), or purging (bulimia) and the underlying co-dependent training and all-or-nothing thinking that trigger you to feel the need to do those things. That’s what we all want: a life that is free from self-harm and self-loathing and chronic anxiety and insecurity. And that’s what you can get from The CEDRIC Method and from working through these articles.

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Someone who is exercising for self-esteem needs and self-care (more than anything else) would be able to say that exercise does not feel like work or a hardship because it is pleasurable. They would also be able to say they are flexible with themselves about when they go and what they do. This is because they know that they want to feel pleasure and enjoyment and not punishment or pressure.

Someone who exercises from a place of positive self-regard does only as much as is reasonable for their current state of health and trusts that, as their health and endurance improves, they will naturally choose to do more because they want to feel as strong and healthy as they can in their body. There is no need to pressure, cajole, threaten or berate themselves before, during or after exercising to ensure they “keep it up”. This is all old Drill Sgt. stuff. This is all coming from the belief that you cannot be trusted to do what is best for you, so you must be beaten into submission – for your own good, of course!

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Why you assume it’s about you

The term co-dependency means that you perceive yourself as responsible for the feelings and needs of others. Those of us who use food to cope have an abundance of co-dependent training, and that is why we need to use food to cope. It is overwhelming being so responsible, so at fault. Our food focus gives us something else to concentrate on, however harmful, and momentarily decreases our state of anxiety. It is exhausting to be consistently inundated with the belief that whatever other people are thinking, feeling, doing, and needing, it’s all about us. Somehow, we did or didn’t do something which created this thought, feeling, behaviour, or need in the other, and sooner or later, we are going to be held responsible for this thing – whatever it is.

You  may perceive yourself as being responsible for the feelings and needs of others, but this is just downright untrue. You are not responsible for what someone else thinks, feels and needs, or for their behaviour. You are not responsible for how someone else chooses to interpret their world or for how they choose to respond to their interpretations. No, you are not. Even if they say you are, this is only an indication of their own co-dependent belief system.

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Co-dependency is not where real safety is

If co-dependency is one of the coping strategies we learned as children, we must begin to change this as soon as we become conscious that we are being undermined by this harmful pattern. If we do not challenge it as adults, our co-dependency will keep us stuck on the level of needs for love, acceptance and belongingness, and it will undermine our sense of security in the world. In other words, we will likely find ourselves somewhat dependent and insecure in our relationships, and this leads to the use of food as a coping strategy when our needs for security, acceptance, esteem and self-actualization are unmet.

As children, the sense of feeling secure in our world, particularly in our home environment, is fundamental to our being able to focus on our relationship needs, and subsequently, our esteem needs. If we feel safe and secure, and we know that we are loved and accepted just as we are, we will be free to focus on developing an authentic relationship with ourselves. Coming to a clear understanding of who we are and what we require to feel strong and peaceful in our environment is our primary goal as children, yet it is surprising how few children actually reach adulthood with a strong sense of self-esteem.

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Sad is a great feeling. No, I’m not crazy. And if we were to meet, I’d bet you would say I was one of the happiest people you ever met. So my love of the feeling of sadness does not imply that I live there. I like sad as a feeling because it is true. Anger has a story attached to it that is often murky and more focused on others than yourself. Sad can have a story which isn’t all true, but it is far more about you. Sad is the feeling which brings you to your true self more than any other. I believe that is why so many people who use food to cope do pretty much anything they can to avoid feeling it.

We believe we are protecting ourselves with anger. Well, sometimes that’s true, but most of the time, it actually harms you. It is the way of being in an uncomfortable situation without being aware of how uncomfortable you are. That’s not so great. Not if your intention is to heal the past and take charge of your life.

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Core beliefs from childhood aren’t the truth

Let’s take a good look at that old story of yours and what you are still telling yourself on a daily basis.

1. What does your Drill Sgt. say about you when you are being self-critical?
2. What names does the Drill Sgt. call you when you are angry and frustrated?
3. What were the words people in your life used to describe you when they were angry or disappointed in you?
4. What messages about yourself did you receive from your parents, other family members, and/or peers (these can be verbal and non-verbal)?

Consider the above information. If you could capture the essence of your doubts about yourself in a single sentence: I am ____________________, what would it be?

You may actually come up with a few sentences. Some common and very debilitating old beliefs which you may be carrying are: I am ugly. I am fat. I am stupid. I am worthless. I am undeserving. I am not good enough. I am not enough. I am unacceptable. I am unlovable. I am a burden.

Allow yourself to be completely honest right now about what you truly believe at your core. Those old beliefs are only a child’s confused interpretation of the events going on around them. They were not true then, and they aren’t true now.

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Are your goals actually doable for you?

Invite yourself to fully receive this next statement. Any goal that you ask of yourself that is not established from a place of self-respect and dignity and an acknowledgement of what is truly doable for you at that time is doomed to fail. It cannot succeed. Not for long anyway. Sooner or later you will feel overwhelmed by the pressure of those expectations and will begin to procrastinate and ultimately use food to cope yet again.

Keep in mind this vicious cycle is of your own creation. It is only your Drill Sgt. and his all-or-nothing thinking that keeps you stuck in this cycle of self-harm, constantly diminishing your self-esteem. There is no legitimate reason for you to be forced to do what the Drill Sgt. says you must do, in the way he says it, and in the time frame which he has created.

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If we were to label feelings as good or bad, everyone would say that “glad” is a good one, right? Well, sort of. Yes, on any given day we would rather feel glad than sad. But glad has its issues, also. Many of us have been taught that “you shouldn’t be too happy.” The expectations which many of us picked up from our society, peers, and caregivers are confusing at best: you are supposed to be light and joyful; you are not supposed to have any problems or needs; you are not supposed to be proud of yourself; you are not supposed to be more successful or happier than those around you, and on and on it goes.

So we are meant to be light and happy, but not too happy and not too light. By whose standards? Where is the “happy scale” which tells us how happy we can be and where and with whom? And how do we know when it is okay to not be quite as happy? Is it okay to be less happy sometimes? My goodness, the fears and doubts surrounding the simple act of feeling joyful are overwhelming.

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