Psych Central

5 Facts About Domestic Violence Every Woman Should Know

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

11388261396_1a3722e08bWashington D.C., 1994

I remember hearing hits, screams, and crying coming from an apartment below me when I was a graduate student living in Washington, D.C. I called the police and ran to the apartment I had been hearing the screams from.

A man opened the door in a white, sleeveless undershirt that I have heard jokingly referred to as a wife beater shirt (would you believe it?). He was sweating heavily and breathing hard, as if in the middle of a workout.  Except, he had on dirty khakis and the punching bag was clearly human.

Being a naive, idealistic, young social worker, I accused him of hurting someone and I demanded for him to show me his family members so I could see if they were alright.  He laughed in my face.  Despite calling the cops several times, nobody showed up.  I am sure his family got the message loud and clear that they were on their own with that monster. That sucks.

Important Statistics to Know:

  1. Domestic violence is a leading cause of death for women (more than car accidents, muggings, rape, etc. combined)
  2. More than 3 women a day are murdered by husbands or boyfriends.
  3. 1 in 5 teenagers are threatened with physical violence when dating.
  4. 63% of teens imprisoned between 11-30 are there for killing mother’s boyfriend/partner who was assaulting her.  These children will probably go on to assault their partners due to violence they have seen.
  5. Battering occurs in all racial and socioeconomic groups.  Men are victims too. It is definitely happening in your neighborhood or to someone you know.

Got It Girls Girls: Victims of domestic violence are all around us.  Contact your local domestic violence agency for more information if it’s happening with someone you know.

If you know an adult who is being abused, do not tell them to “break it off”or “just leave him/her!” Victims have been brainwashed and this kind of pressure will have them pull the other direction. Instead, help them put together a safety plan and tell them that you are there to support them with whatever they decide to do. Give them options, support, encouragement and don’t let them be isolated from you.

(When teenagers are in this type of relationship, or if there are kids involved, that is a whole different matter! Any time children are involved, safety is a priority even if it means calling the child abuse hotline in your area.)

Call the police immediately if you are aware of it happening. It was dumb of me to get involved so quickly without support and back-up.  Get involved but don’t sacrifice your own safety too.  That helps nobody!

I just did a post on the Oscar Pistorius/domestic violence murder trial. Check it out and sign up: Why Oscar Pistorius Will Not Be Found Guilty

Take care,


Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love

Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support!

And don’t forget Google Plus.
Picture by Compfight

pictures by Send me adrift. via Compfight cc” target=”_blank”>comp fight

Are You A Martyr? 6 Questions To Ask

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Women Can Be Great Martyrs


Salem Witch Trial. That chick is in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

And why wouldn’t we be? We have suffered alot. (Think Salem Witch Trials, the whole 1-in-every-4-women-will-be-beaten thing. The list could get very long here…)

For women historically, we have experienced much suffering  and have had limited power. Therefore, it makes sense that helplessness and martyrdom are a natural outgrowth.

In addition, the women of generations past have  been taught to sacrifice for the good of others. I remember telling my grandmother I was writing a book about women and self sacrifice. Grammy said, “but that is what we are supposed to do.”

Well, sacrificing one’s self may be the right thing to do in extreme circumstances. However, self-sacrificing for no good reason other than to fulfill one’s personal need for self sacrifice? Not very useful.

Thankfully, few of us nowadays have to make a Sophie’s Choice on a regular basis. Are you martyring away your life anyway? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you unhappy in your current relationship? Are you doing anything about it? Or are you just feeling victimized and feeling taken advantage of?
  2. Do you often do things yourself even though you may have asked others to help? Just so it will get done.
  3. Or maybe you don’t even ask. After all, if they really “cared “about you they would “just know” you could use some help. 
  4. Do you ever sigh loudly after taking a deep breath in for full effect? I know a “Mary” who is well known for her deep and loud sighs of victimization. She does this whenever she wants people to do something to help her, like clearing the dinner table. Mary does this instead of asking for help.
  5. Do you try and make people feel guilty at all? Guilt as a means of control is a very tempting option for women. After all, if you have to be nice all the time and you can’t ask for what you need, what options are left to get your needs met? Moms do this with their kids sometimes.
  6. Do you sometimes do too much or stay too busy? Uh oh. Doing too much for others is a one way to ticket on the train to feeling victimized.

Takeaway: Feeling victimized or sorry for yourself is absolutely okay! However, making repeated choices to stay victimized because of a deep-seated need to be a victim is not. No matter what your life circumstances or situation, there are always choices. The choices may be very limited and things could suck very badly for a while, but choices are always there. For those who find themselves victimized repeatedly, or if you are having trouble getting out of the martyrdom hole, seek the support of a therapist or a 12-step program. It could be extremely helpful.

Take care,


Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love

Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support!

And don’t forget Google Plus.

Picture compliments of Wikipedia.


How To Deal With Guilt When Setting Boundaries

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Ouch! Healthy boundaries can hurt at first.

No boundary setting article for women would be AT ALL effective without including a How-To for dealing with guilt.

There are tons of great books and articles on boundary setting, but rarely is there an emphasis on how to manage the guilt. The No. 1 factor that causes women to not set good boundaries is the emotional pain — the guilt and shame — they feel when they set them.

What are boundaries? Why are they important?

Continue reading… »

5 Ways You May Change When You Are In A Relationship With An Alcoholic or Addict

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

4104954991_96580eb06bAlcoholism and drug addiction is so prevalent in our society.
Statistically, it is almost impossible to not be in some kind of a relationship with a substance-abusing person. This disease changes you. It affects you, even if you are not the one doing the substance abusing. It affects your family.

Many people don’t know what addiction is.
Many think others are addicted only if the abuse involves illegal drugs. Or, they believe that alcoholics are only the ones who lose their jobs from drinking. Not true. People who abuse substances to the point of having any negative impact on their lives or the lives of their families can be considered alcoholics or addicts.

The words alcoholic and addict are used interchangeably because whether the substance is legal or illegal drugs, or alcohol, the disease is the same in everyone.

Five Major Ways Addictions Can Affect Your Life, Even If You Are Not The Addict

If you are in a relationship with a problem drinker or problem substance abuser, or if you have a family member who is an addict, there are five major ways that this disease may affect you.

1. You can become more controlling.
It is normal for this disease to make a person feel anxious or overwhelmed. Because of this, the family member usually becomes more controlling of their environment. For example, if you are a boss at a company, and your spouse has a drinking problem, you might over-manage your employees. You could channel that control need into making  more and more rules and restrictions for your employees. If you are a parent, you may do this with your kids, managing their relationships or being overly restrictive.

2. You can become anxious and more easily overwhelmed.
You will worry more in general about everyone you care about. If you are a mom or a dad, you may be overly-focused on your child. You want to make them happy at all costs, and you become overly worried if something goes wrong for them at school. Work is more difficult. Everything gets harder.

3. You might think you can help when you can’t.
People who are in relationships with substance abusers will often try harder and harder to “make” the addict/alcoholic happy. They will work hard to do whatever it takes to “make them OK” so the drinker or user won’t need to drink. Sadly, this will not help. Addiction has nothing to do with someone’s environment. Even if a substance abuser likes to blame their difficult work or the messy house, these are just excuses.

4. You can become fixated on the other person’s behavior.
Wondering and worrying about things like, “Will ____ drink tonight?” or “What if they drive?” or “How will it be at home if ____happens?” These worries can become a fixation in your mind, leading to self-neglect. This cycle repeats over and over.

5. You can get blinded by denial.
If your loved one is a substance abuser, it is normal to go into denial. Remember the woman who killed her children and several other people after driving with 10 drinks in her system? Her family says they knew nothing about it. Denial is a powerful partner to the disease of substance abuse. Even loving parents will turn a blind eye. I see it all the time.

The takeaway: Even if you are just the friend of an addict, or you grew up with an addict who is in recovery, alcoholism and drug addiction have tentacles with deep impact.

Anyone in any kind of a relationship with someone who is addicted has to be touched by this disease. Contact a counselor or a 12-step program such as Al-Anon if you are in this situation. Learn about codependency. Help is out there.

Take care,cherilynnvelandSM

Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love

Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support!

And don’t forget Google Plus.

Picture by Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc” target=”_blank”>Compfight

6 Reasons Women Are Too Busy

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 12.15.55 PMI once gave a “Balancing Work and Home” program to a room of 200 working women — and one man who was a leader in the company. He stood up in the middle of the program and said, “I have no idea what you are talking about. My wife does everything for our family so I can just work. She never complains. She just does it.” (Thanks, wifey. For the women in that company, you didn’t do any favors with all of your enabling!)

Just why are we women so busy?
See if you’re falling into any of the traps.

1. Too Much To Do/Not Enough Help

Much research shows that working mothers put in a full month more work per year than their husbands because of all that is entailed in taking care of a family and a household. The females are putting in more mental and physical energy than their male counterparts. Read the Second Shift, or put it by your bed for a 5-minute perusal before passing out from your exhaustion.

And for some, there is really not enough help.

After all, many women are working too much for too little because they have no other choice. Millions of women live in poverty in the United States. I see them all around. Just down the street there is a low income day care where I see women stumbling out of city buses with strollers in snowstorms just to drop their kids off. They are on street corners in waitress uniforms or fast food outfits holding their kids hands at 6:00am. Nobody can live on minimum wage in this country and 70% of the workers who are trying to do it are women.

For those that aren’t struggling to just make ends meet, there are different challenges…

2. Control
It can be hard to recognize a need for control, but a lot of women are stuck on “their” ways. We have high expectations for ourselves and anything affiliated with us. I have met more than my share of women kicking themselves in the butt to make sure what’s done is done their way, “the right way.”

3. Think Self-Value Comes From Productivity
My 5-year-old told me that he shouldn’t have to clean his room because “My God values me for who I am and not what I do.” OK. I still made him clean his room. He does have a point though.

We Americans come from a culture of immigrants. The idea that hard work equals success is ingrained in us. However, somehow we psychologically translate this to mean hard work equals we are good and valuable people. The truth is, our value is intrinsic, and there’s no need to prove our value, assembly-line style. Yet, that is our culture and it influences us greatly.

4. Over Responsibility
Women feel responsible for too much. This sense of over responsibility helps us say “yes” and to be the first to jump in and get things done. A lot of women churn away when they could delegate some of their responsibilities to others. I have heard copious stay-at-home moms report that they feel like they have to earn their right “not to work,” so they take on too much, feeling guilty that they don’t get a paycheck from an employer. Whether you are a career mom, stay-at-home mom, or a single career gal, I bet this sense of over responsibility affects you and the scope-creep of your workload.

5. People Pleasing
Women are raised to be caretakers and pleasers. Doing stuff for others can fall into this. Sometimes, one needs to do for others. However, if women are raised to believe that this is their primary purpose, they will take more on than is necessary. It just makes sense.

6. Shame and Guilt
Brene Brown has done research on women and how gender effects our feelings of shame and guilt. She says that women feel an overwhelming sense of shame about not overdoing and accomplishing. They feel they must Do it all, do it perfectly, and never let them see you struggle.”

Don’t buy into the hype and social pressure that “being busy” is of such valuable worth.

Really reevaluate what you may be participating in in your busy life. Can some of it be shifted or reorganized? Think about the categories. Can you relate?

If you are reading this and sighing deeply with the idea that you are just too busy and none of this applies to you, please re-read.(LOL!)

I would love to hear your feedback. Do you or does anyone you know fall into any of the traps? What are other reasons you have seen, that keep women so busy? What can we do for ourselves? What can companies do? I would love to hear your suggestions.

Take care,cherilynnvelandSM

Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love

Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support!

And don’t forget Google Plus.

Giving Up On Things Getting Better: Why Debbie Doesn’t Leave The House

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

78993259_93503b4e45-2I just ran into Debbie.

Me: “Hey did you go to the  ______ get together?”

Debbie: “No Cherilynn, I can’t even leave the house anymore. Whenever I go out and do something in the evening, my husband leaves the house in such a pigsty it takes me an hour to put everything away. He doesn’t get the kids to bed and they don’t get their baths. I have to work extra hard just to shut down the house and by the time I get to bed, I’m in a really bad mood. I regret I ever left the house. I’d rather spare myself this. So, I just don’t leave the house anymore. That’s my best option.”

Hmmm … Is this a good plan? What do you think?

(For the record, Debbie told me I could write about this…)

Sometimes it can sure feel like giving up is the right thing to do. I understand. Debbie felt like she paid too big a price for taking care of herself. Often, it feels that way. Taking care of ones self can take planning, time, energy, and leaning on someone else. For some women, especially if you were raised in any kind of addiction or dysfunction, self-care can even feel kind of wrong.

Life can be extremely frustrating.
However, we usually have options and choices. Our resentment can feel like we are helpless when we are not. We women can stay stuck when we are really upset, believing that others have the power to keep us limited or to keep us from doing what we want. That isn’t true.

The good news?
We live in a world where Debbie has options. Sure, she can ignore her needs (which isn’t advised). Or, in a quiet moment, she could ask her husband to kindly help her, and she could put together a reasonable honey-do list for him (a lot of guys like lists so they’ll know what they need to do). She could keep soup handy for nights when she comes home to a messy house (less kitchen cleanup). She could let the mess go until Saturday and then get some fun music going and get the kids to help clean up (there’s no reason why kids can’t help out around the house).

When all else fails, Debbie could insist that her husband go with her to see a couples therapist. If he says no, she can stop making him his dinners, move his &*i# into the garage and go about her merry way (I’m laughing).

What do you think Debbie could do? Have you ever been in a situation like this? Did you see your choices through the anger and resentment? 


Take care,cherilynnvelandSM

Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love

Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support!

And don’t forget Google Plus.




Photo byansik via Compfight cc“> Compfight

There Is Ideal Love and Then There Is Real Life

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

4164759025_da547a9341“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs….” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Rrrright!!! Excuse me while I bust out laughing.

We’ve all seen or heard this biblical verse. I think I may have even had it in my wedding. But then again, I was in my twenties when I got married. Since that time, I have put 23 years into a relationship, had children in the middle of it, and done thousands of couple’s counseling sessions.

Continue reading… »

Having Relationship Problems: Zero Effort Is A Powerful Rebooting Tool

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW
Zero Effort

Zero Effort

Most of the time, communicating your concerns is the most effective way to resolve differences in a relationship. Sometimes that doesn’t work, though. The other person isn’t interested in changing his or her behavior or doesn’t have the skills to do so.

When this happens over and over again, it can lead to frustration and resentment, especially  in situations where you’re expected to get along with others regardless of their behavior — think co-workers, in-laws, relatives and friends.

Continue reading… »

Do You Put Others’ Needs First? You Might Be A Detrimental Caretaker

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

boxAre You A Woman? Than You Are Probably A Detrimental Caretaker

Detrimental Caretaking is when someone puts others needs in front of their own and inadvertently cause harm. Women do this a lot. It describes the overworked office assistant that always volunteers to man the desk for lunch because no one else will. It describes the woman who downplays her accomplishments because she “doesn’t want anybody else to feel bad.” Or, it describes the mom who hasn’t exercised or eaten well since having her baby. She feels terrible about herself but feels too guilty to leave the baby in the childcare area. It could even by the woman who doesn’t want to tell her boyfriend that _____ is making her upset because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Sometimes women do this in big, harmful ways that are obvious . Or, it is in the subtle decisions we make or don’t make (Did you take time to eat lunch?!) every day.

The word “detrimental” means “to cause damage or harm; to be injurious.” And that’s just it: When women take care of others before themselves—when they caretake in an unhealthy way—it causes harm. It causes harm to them, and it causes harm to the people they are trying to “help” too. It really isn’t helping her co-workers when she does what they should be doing. It doesn’t help the baby to have a mom who hates how she feels inside her body, does it?

Detrimental caretaking comes from a great place, of course—from a desire to do something for someone else. But it’s overkill. It’s self-sacrifice at its extreme. And when one takes the inherent desire to nurture and be kind past the limits of what is okay, it creates a dangerous imbalance that affects everyone involved.

Important note: You have to be a kind, caring person to qualify under any of this. If you are a bitch, or a selfish narcissist, you need a different blog. Putting others’ needs first is DEFINITELY not your problem.  

Detrimental Caretaking

Detrimental caretaking occurs when you give up any of the following to someone else, or something else, to your own personal damage or impairment:

  • Your needs
  • Your energy
  • Your power
  • Your ideas
  • Your time
  • Your contributions
  • Your wishes
  • Your dreams or desires
  • Your comfort
  • Your accolades

Women In Our Culture..

Women are taught from a very early age that they are morally and ethically responsible to give up their needs, time, energies, ideas, goals, wants and desires for the good of others. And sometimes, that is the right decision. However, when women detrimentally caretake they will feel depression, anxiety, added stress, and all the negative repercussions of  putting a big “Hold!” sign on your soul and the desires of your heart.

There are plenty of men out there who suffer with this issue too. It is just that women are culturally indoctrinated into this role much more overtly.

Maybe you are someone who gives  too much to others and then feels taken advantage of or used? Maybe you know someone who is the first to give of themself and the last to take care of their own needs? Throw some comments out there. We can all learn from each other.

Take care,cherilynnvelandSM

Cherilynn Veland is a therapist living in Chicago.
She also blogs about home, work, life and love

Could you take the time to kindly follow me/Cherilynn on Twitter? Connect on Facebook too? I would really appreciate the support!

And don’t forget Google Plus.

Woman in a box image available from Shutterstock.

Trust and Emotional Manipulation: Are You A Trusting Teresa?

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Are you a Trusting Teresa?


Are you a Trusting Teresa?

In any relationship, there is sometimes emotional manipulation that comes out. I mean, we are all humans just trying to get our needs met. When we are acting healthy, we are honest and direct.  When we aren’t, we emotionally manipulate.

There are a lot of women out there who are trusting, caring, and giving individuals. Therein lies the problem!

Continue reading… »


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