Category Archives: Relationships

Tips on understanding & strengthening your relationships

Holiday Love

A Christmas/Kwanzaa holiday note

Style: "Agfa"

Walking through the mall this afternoon, there were alot of men wandering around, looking a little glassy-eyed.  Most of them looked  to be between 32 and 48 years old and they looked tired. Some of them were in work clothes. They looked lost. One man approached me holding a very tall pair of women’s boots in his hands. “Will these work? Do you think my wife might like these? They look pretty good, huh?” The man was short. I asked him, “Does she have really long legs? Because if she doesn’t, those might not work.” “Oh”, he said, “This is too hard. I’ll just give her the money and she’ll have to pick her own boots.” (How easily we are discouraged.)

Christmas is supposed to be fun

Love is a gift you can give for free. We shouldn’t feel that love will be rejected or deemed false if it is not accompanied by an adequate gift. After all, most men hate shopping. It seems to be a little overwhelming for them, if not in the decision-making, then in the range of prices and sizes. Some folks make up a very specific gift list (not a bad idea, except it seems like you’re putting in an order).  The really detailed folks send a text or email with  mistake-free links to accomplish the ordering and shipping. Some folks want it fancy wrapped. Some folks just want your clearly spoken words of love. And that’s a good thing because I think what I saw in some men’s eyes reminded me of what I see when folks start talking about their student loan debt: Fear.  Remember, unless you’ve been skipping out on the basics despite having the ability to provide, no gift can replace real love. If that’s all you really have, give that. Be open and honest and if your partner is worthy of you, that’s what they will give back. But if you have a few bucks, most will probably appreciate a gift card.

No She Di’nt!!!

bl woman cartoon pulling hair outWhat happened that made Solange let loose?
It seems that alot of what makes the news everyday is really about mental health – poor mental health – that is to say: people losing it!

On May 5 th, Solange Knowles, sister of Beyonce Knowles, seems to have lost it. Unfortunately for her, everybody gets to see what happened, but only a few people know what happened. So most of us are sitting around, (like little kids do when they see another kid crying), asking “What happened? Why was she so upset?” Why did she lose it? What happened that caused her to risk her beautiful gown, her relationship with her brother-in-law Jay Z, and (maybe not) her relationship with her sister enough to start whaling on him?

From the YouTube video it looks like she left her inhibitions on the previous floor in the Boom Boom Room of Manhattan’s Standard Hotel and let her feelings take control. She delivered some serious kicks & those heels were weapon-high. Jay Z looked stunned as he exited the elevator.

Why it matters
Why is it important? Because so many folks assume that if you have fame (maybe not enough) and fortune (maybe not enough) then you will be so happy that you’ll never lose your cool. Some folks cannot imagine letting their anger rip like that and they worry if whatever made Solange lose it, might make them lose it.

Who would you side with?
Did you find yourself siding with Jay-Z, Beyonce or Solange? Our initial casual survey gave Jay Z support.  Rumors have been flying for the last few days.  Just a few hours ago, the New York Daily News reported that the incident was the result of Solange’s feeling that Rachel Roy, former wife of hip-hop artist Damon Dash, had gotten a little too friendly with Jay Z. Whew! All that over some flirting? Maybe not.

What happens in the Boom Boom Room stays in the Boom Boom Room?
What would make a sister lose control like that?
We in the mental health field would be asking several questions, such as:

  1. What’s the history here? Are Solange and Beyonce constantly fighting off the women? Are there other issues that have been building up?
  2. Why so intense? Would a simple aside to the sister have served the purpose? Like we tell kids: “Use your words to express your feelings.” (Not your feet.) Were hormones stoking the emotions? Hormones can turn a disappointment into an appointment for war.

Well, soon we’ll know the real story, but in the meantime, this, like so much of the daily news about our peers and our idols, will provide lessons for us.
The big lesson here: We all are just human beings trying to handle our feelings and get through life gracefully and joyfully. Sometimes we’re not graceful. Sometimes we’re not taking in the joy.
Little lesson here: there are cameras everywhere. Clearly, Beyonce kept that in mind.

Chris Brown and Bipolar Disorder

The news is full of conjecture about Chris Brown and Bipolar Disorder. We have all been wondering about reported domestic abuse against ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Why would she have tolerated being hit? Did she have warning? Was she caught off guard? Had it been going on all along? So many questions that the public has. The issue of Bipolar Disorder, a disorder of mood control and probably also of perception, is one that affects more and more families. Chris Brown and Rihanna just bring it to the attention of the public. One might think they are alone in  dealing with bipolar blues but the media attention on Chris Brown’s difficulties lets  us know that’s hardly the case.

Actually, Lindsey Lohan, Justin Beiber,  Lamar Odom, Miley Cyrus and many more who we would think have great lives have put alcoholism, depression, bolar disorder, domestic abuse and other frequent mind health problems in the spotlight, where we can all learn.

Is Bipolar Disorder overly or inaccurately diagnosed?

In a September, 2013 article in The Mail Online, Bipolar Disorder was referred to as in “vogue”, a “fashionable mental health diagnosis”. A top UK psychiatrist, Dr. Joanna Moncrieff, wrote about the exponential increase in the range of symptoms described as “Bipolar symptoms ” and the liberal diagnosis of moderate mood swings as constituting this disorder. Years ago there would have been a great distinction made between moderate hormonal mood swings and the previously rarely diagnosed disorder called Bipolar Disorder. It is also noted that with the huge uptick in diagnosis there has been a record breaking surge in the prescription and sales of  antipsychotic drugs. Drugs that have very serious and in some cases, permanent negative effects are being prescribed as if they are aspirin.

What’s the root cause of the problem?

Since the source of these mood swings is not actually known in most cases and since the drugs do not cure these unknown causes, why are so many people being prescribed these drugs and why are so many people taking them without asking questions about the side effects, whether there are less harmful alternatives and whether their problems might not be treated by psychotherapy?

Crucial Factors in Mother Driving her Children into the Ocean

What would make a young mother want to kill her children? That was the big question when this near tragic event first occurred. There were rumors that there had been domestic violence, that for some reasons she didn’t want her husband near her children. More recent reports from CNN state that Ebony Wilkerson had suffered a number of traumatic events, and all at the time that she was going through the major emotional and physical changes that pregnancy causes many women.

#1. Ms. Wilkerson had reportedly been raped prior to becoming suicidal, while she was pregnant.

#2. Ms.  Wilkerson had been the victim of domestic abuse. Her sister reported that the violent husband had held a knife to her throat when she attempted to help her sister whom he had attempted to strangle.

Black women who had their partners arrested for domestic violence were 98% more likely to die early from other causes

March 2, 2014
University of Cambridge
Researchers followed up on a landmark domestic violence arrest experiment and found that African-American victims who had partners arrested rather than warned were twice as likely to die young.

University of Cambridge

Mandatory arrest in domestic violence calls is associated with early death in victims

New, and seemingly surprising, research from a major ‘randomised’ arrest experiment 23 years ago finds that domestic violence victims whose partners were arrested on misdemeanor charges – mostly without causing injury – were 64% more likely to have died early, from other causes, compared to victims whose partners were warned but not removed by police.

Among African-American victims, arrest increased early mortality by a staggering 98% – as opposed to white victims, whose mortality was increased from arrest by just 9%. The research also found that employed victims suffered the worst effects of their partners’ arrests. Black women with jobs whose partners were arrested  suffered a death rate over four times higher than those whose partner received a warning at the scene. No such link was found in white victims.

The study’s authors say that causes are currently unknown but such health impacts are consistent with chronic stress that could have been amplified by partner arrest. They call for a “robust review” of US and UK mandatory arrest policies in domestic violence cases.

“It remains to be seen whether democracies can accept these facts as they are, rather than as we might wish them to be,” said Professor Lawrence Sherman from Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology, who authored the study with his colleague Heather M. Harris from University of Maryland.

The findings were announced in the US on Monday 3rd March in Milwaukee and College Park, Maryland, and presented on Wednesday in London at the winter meeting of the Society of Evidence-Based Policing. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, who supported the follow-up study, will join in the presentation and discussion of the results. The study will be published in a forthcoming edition of the Journal of Experimental Criminology.