Thanksgiving, which is celebrated in this country across cultures, religions, ethnicity, geography and socio-economic levels, is an emotional mile marker. It brings to the table and to the mind and heart, those we love, those we will call to exchange loving sentiments, and those we love but who we have lost this year or many years ago.
Saturday November 22, 2014 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
In the United States, the latest evidence reports that 40,600 people died of suicide in 2012 and the number has been increasing. More Americans die from suicide than from car accidents. It is the second leading cause of death in college students, and the third leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults.
In the military the rate is even higher. In 2012 more soldiers died from suicide than in combat and as of 2014, the numbers were again on the rise.
“Suicide is a Personal and Interpersonal Disaster”
What people do not see and may not understand is that the homecoming of a veteran is both a treasured event and a complex process.
In a recent article by Eric Asimov, wine reviewer for the New York Times, he discusses how wine is used as a character prop on TV shows and may reflect a changing cultural perception of wine. In this article, Asimov points out that “ On TV Powerful Women Gulp Red” and references what many have observed about their favorite fictional characters.
Whether we consider that fiction reflects our behavior, influences what we do or both, the reality is that women are drinking more than they ever and their drink of choice seems to be wine. In her book, Her Best Kept Secret: Why Women Drink and How They Can Regain Control, Gabrielle Glaser notes that women love wine and the wine industry loves their biggest consumers. Given its branding as a “ healthy choice,” it is consumed in public or private, while making dinner, with dinner and after dinner.
On one hand, wine is a healthy choice. Experts report that that a glass of wine a day is heart healthy and a study in The New England Journal of medicine evaluating 12,000 women aged 70-81 found the moderate drinkers had 23% reduced mental decline compared with nondrinkers.
The Problem …
An important article by psychologist and author, Gabriele Oettingen appeared in the New York Times with a misleading title,“ The Problem with Positive Thinking.”
Actually what Dr. Oettingen offers is an important fine-tuning of positive thinking. What she suggests based on her research is not that positive thinking is problematic, but that positive thinking about a goal without a plan—be it about losing weight, passing the test, or finding a job- leaves you likely to fail. She suggests that positive thinking alone may “fool our minds into perceiving” that we have attained the goal.
When a natural disaster hits, there is anxiety, and traumatic loss but such events have a clear beginning and end. Natural disasters are devastating but there are few unknowns. With the collective loss, there is often collective care and support. In the aftermath of a hurricane that destroys and our neighbor’s home, we run to help him rebuild.
In the face of epidemics we lock our doors. Threatened by contagion, terrified by unknown risks, we move into fear-based survival mode. We isolate. We ruminate. We become saturated with media warnings and shaken by shards of frightening information and even conspiracy theories.
The recent media attention to domestic Violence in the NFL epitomized by the September 8th video of Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice knocking out his fiancée in an elevator and Commissioner Goddell’s delayed reaction, bring to the forefront the reality of domestic violence and the factors that fuel it.
Football players are not the only men who succumb to domestic violence and they are not the only ones whose behavior is covered and condoned by silence.
Well beyond the financial benefits accrued by video games producers, manufactures and event planners which have outstripped the music industry and are closing in behind the movie industry, video games and applications of game thinking offer unexpected benefits for people of every age.
It is distressing for most partners to find evidence of their partner’s cybersex use.
Cybersex can include viewing sexual images or content online, talking about the material with others online, or engaging in two-way conversations about sex acts. It can also include the use of Web cameras to engage in sexual acts with another partner online.
While almost everyone working with couples and every self-help book underscores communication as central to any good relationship, there are times when the last thing that brings a couple together is “ talking.”
If you have ever said or heard someone say “ We Need to Talk,” you know that those words rarely invite closeness, valuable communication or good memories!
The reality is that communication between couples is complex and involves much more than talking–particularly when talking is on demand, without attention to the cues of the other and without the on-going life experiences that tell partners about each other in spoken and unspoken ways.
There is often more mutual understanding that comes from spontaneous sharing in the midst of living—than rehashing issues in the well caricatured “ Woody Allen Style.”
Here are some suggestions for those times when alternatives to talking may be worth considering:
After a Cease-Fire–Re-set the Relationship
The period of time in which there is a cease-fire after an argument is not the best time to talk.
Yes, there may be more to say…
Yes, You may feel you have the ability to just clarify…
But, the most effective thing you can do is to re-set the relationship with an experience of your positive connection as a platform for going forward.
“Do you want to get something to eat?”
“Do you want to see the next episode of that series?”
When Sharing Time Together–Use Affection
I have often had partners complain to me that when sharing time with their spouse or partner the other “ doesn’t talk.”
They, of course, are tired of making conversation and often complain to the other “ You never talk.” This …