“Ask a Therapist”: You Ask, We Answer

Friends,

Foundation Counseling is excited to share that beginning this month of May, we are starting our “Ask a Therapist” Open Online Forum.

What does this mean?  It means that you have an opportunity to ask our team of therapists here at Foundation Counseling any question you may have about therapy, the therapy process, or about any topic commonly addressed in counseling.  Perhaps, for instance, you have a question about parenting, social media for your teens, depression, anxiety, or issues related to friendships, dating, and marriage.  We would love the opportunity to hear from the community and provide our insight into such important issues.

How can I ask? There are three ways in which you can ask a question:

  1. Here on the Foundation Counseling Blog, by leaving a comment below in the “Leave a Reply” section of this blog post.
  2. On our Foundation Counseling Facebook page, by leaving a comment on our page, below the “Ask a Therapist” post or by messaging our team on the FC Facebook page.
  3.  Anonymously via emailing Director Phil Zaffos at foundationcounseling@gmail.com – you can email your question with the subject line “Ask a Therapist”. If you choose to ask anonymously, we will keep your identity private.

How do you answer? If we feel able to answer your question, a therapist from Foundation Counseling will respond here on the Blog, which will be shared on our FC Facebook page as well. So be on the look out!

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

The Foundation Counseling Team

Questions for My Therapist…

by Kelly Cave, LAPC


Things I’ve always wanted to ask my therapist…

  1. questionDo you think about me when I’m not here?

I love this question so much because I believe that it speaks to the heart of us all. We all want to be remembered, to be important, to be meaningful. No one wants to be forgotten. The answer to this is simply, yes. Do we think about you daily? No, probably not. But the moment you open your heart to us and share your story, you become a part of us. We take seriously the role of holding your story and we carry it with us. Because of that, it’s hard to not think of you.

  1. Do you win every argument with your spouse?

Let this be a resounding NO! Although I am not married I have witnessed many of my married counselor friends lose plenty of fights with their spouses and I personally have lost fights with my loved ones. Why? Because so many emotions are involved in our own personal relationships. It’s easy to see the problems that other people have when you are not the one experiencing all of the feelings that they are.

  1. Do therapists struggle with their own things and do they go to counselors too?

Sure! Being a therapist may allow us to understand emotions better or identify our emotions more easily but it certainly does not make us immune to life’s problems. Similarly, we are not immune to issues such as depression and anxiety. Often times, therapists get into this line of work because of their own personal experiences with mental health issues or other problems in their lives and have overcome them with the help of counseling or through other avenues. I would hope that most counselors have been or are currently in counseling themselves. The reason I think this is important is twofold; one being that we should understand what it is like on the other side of the couch. We should know and experience what we are asking for when asking you to disclose such vulnerable and personal information. The second reason is that no matter how “healthy” you are, there is always room for more self-growth and self-exploration.

  1. How do you not get emotionally attached to your clients?

This is a difficult question because it implies that we shouldn’t get emotionally attached to our clients. Does my emotional health depend on yours? No. Does my sense of self depend on your getting better? No. But of course we develop emotional attachments and care about you. You bare yourselves to us. You take a risk with being vulnerable with us and we walk through your journey with you. It’s hard to not care about someone who is willing to let you in like that. There have been plenty of times that I’ve gone home feeling extremely happy because one of my client’s made a huge stride in treatment and there are times that I go home feeling sad for my clients. I couldn’t imagine not feeling for my clients.  

  1. Do you ever like a client so much that you “break up” your therapeutic relationship to be friends with them?

Unfortunately, no.  There are different ethical regulations for every profession (Professional Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy) that dictate the length of time that has to lapse in order to enter into a relationship of any kind with a client. So, even if I did terminate a client in order to be friends with them we would have to wait two years, at the minimum, before being able to have a friendship. But even then it would be difficult because the relationship is built on one person taking care of the other and it would be hard to change the dynamic. This doesn’t mean that we have never wanted to. There have been plenty of times that I’ve thought, “Gosh, what a cool person! Too bad we met here.” But then I remember what an honor it is to enter into their story in this way and I feel grateful that I get to have the therapeutic relationship.

 

Kelly is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor at Foundation Counseling. She enjoys working with individuals and families in the Marietta & Kennesaw area. Learn more about her and other therapists at Foundation Counseling here.

Contempt: A Band-Aid for the Soul

by Phil Zaffos, LPC

The power and complexity of contempt reaches far and wide in our world. It can be found hidden beneath a subtle and seemingly humble remark that deflects a compliment. More egregiously, it can be a flagrant banner of hatred used to justify heinous crimes. The cruel irony of such a destructive force is that we often use it to protect.

imageProtect who? How? Well, anyone. Everyone. We arm ourselves with contempt when we want to take the easy way out. Think about it; why do you feel contempt for others or yourself in your own life? Just because? Or is it because someone has hurt you? Someone has misled you? Taken advantage of you? It is through the afflictions we endure, whether through a face of disappointment, a crushing comment, being ignored or treated less than the worth you have, being violated, that offers us the tempting choice of contempt for others and ourselves.

So what am I protecting from? In these moments of pain that come in many forms, we are faced with the realization that all is not well. We are being treated less than what is fair and beneath our inherent human value. Our needs are infringed upon and the discrepancy between the treatment we deserve and the treatment we receive creates a deep sense of loss, from which we can choose to adopt as our new value as ‘less than’ or build a wall that keeps others out. Yet, if we allow ourselves to move beneath contempt, we will find a hurt and shame, which desperately needs nurturing.

When our value is wounded, shame often settles in. The messages sent, whether the pain delivered is intentional or not, speak to our value and disrupts our sense of self. What we do in these moments, and so often how we have been taught to respond, is ever so crucial. Do you turn on others when you feel shame? Do you turn on yourself? Or do you have the capacity to offer kindness and soothing, validation and understanding to yourself in order to salve your wound, giving space for the sadness and grief and offering repair in that hurt to insulate and protect who you are?

This is a powerful shift from an often deeply rooted pattern of allegiance to contempt and therefore, self-abandonment. To begin to step into a position of advocating for yourself allows for this contempt to dissipate and to finally reveal a deeper truth beneath it. When we work through our shame, we re-discover a space within us that is often suffocated by the world’s whims. We find a life that dares to feel, dares to desire and dares to live again.

 

Phil is a Licensed Professional Counselor and founding director at Foundation Counseling. He enjoys working with groups, individuals and families in the Marietta & Kennesaw area. Learn more about him and other therapists at Foundation Counseling here.

On Feeling Stuck & How Therapy Helps

by Lydia Minear, MA, LPC 

In my time meeting with new clients, I often hear some variation of this shared: “I don’t know…I just feel stuck.” This experience of feeling stuck leads many people to consider and potentially try therapy.  I have a hunch that at some point most people find themselves in such a place…

But what does it mean? This stuck-ness, what is it? And is it as vague as it sounds?

imageSometimes, yes it is. Unlike other times when a very clear obstacle or event causes pain, feeling stuck can mean finding oneself in a more general, emotionally undesired and familiar place. This place may involve a mixture of feelings – of frustration, anxiety, loneliness, envy, and sadness. Like wandering through a forest, hoping to find a clearing, yet winding back to the same ‘ole stump, it may feel like you have traveled in circles.
Perhaps you and the stump look a bit different now and the surrounding landscape has changed some too. However, the underlying ground and root issues remain, bringing forth similar tension each time.

If we dig a bit deeper and put names to these often-vague yet familiar places of being stuck, the following may serve as examples:

• Stunted…restrained by self-doubt, fear, and lack of confidence
• Lack of closeness and authenticity in relationships
• General boredom & apathy
• Unclear boundaries with others & people-pleasing behaviors
• Avoidance of emotions (i.e. “pushing down feelings”)
• Unsatisfied and frustrated by school, career, or overall life direction

…just to name a few.

How Therapy Helps:

In response to feeling stuck, I find that it is important to seek understanding. We need to understand what keeps us coming back to our familiar places in order to ultimately head in a new direction…

Therapy invites you to take intentional time for this. It involves a commitment to self – a decision to pause amidst the chaos and choose awareness. In doing so, we can begin to gain insight into the patterns and tendencies which continue to re-emerge. By taking this step we also learn more about how heartache, rejection, and how other painful parts of our individual stories have impacted us. Due to this, therapy includes a leaning-in to the discomfort of our vulnerable feelings to know what our emotions are telling us. It also entails asking important questions such as who am I, what causes me pain, and what do I hope for?

Finally, therapy is a brave step in the journey of healing. In the presence of a caring and focused counselor, therapy offers us a chance to go – at our own pace – into the hurting places of our hearts with purposes of being understood, seeking clarity, and finding new possibility. Along the way…perhaps we discover why we tend to return to “the stump” and with greater knowledge and comfort, find that we can move forward in a new way.

As a helping professional, I feel grateful for the chance to walk with people as they set aside the time to invest in their wellbeing and explore the depth of themselves in the hopes of growth.

 

Lydia is a Licensed Professional Counselor who enjoys working with individuals and families in the Marietta & Kennesaw area. Learn more about her and other therapists at Foundation Counseling here.

Introducing New ‘Mens Transformation Group’

time

Foundation Counseling is excited to announce the launching of the ‘Mens Transformation Counseling Group’!

Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC has always been passionate about seeing men transformed. In reflecting on the current state of “manhood” in our society and it’s evolution over the past century through events, wars, economics, social and cultural norms, technology and our fathers and fathers before them, it appears quite evident that a change must be made. Here are just a few concerns:

-A quick conversation with a man can often reveal an emotional ineptitude.

-The rise in the number of divorces, intimate partner violence and teen-dating violence with men as the perpetrators.

-The prevalence of ‘absent fathers’, both physically and emotionally.

-The seeming inability to have deep and meaningful connections with other men, let alone women.

-The rate at which pornography is viewed/purchased by men and the perpetuation of the unrealistic (and often times with technology, inauthentic) standard of beauty placed on women and objectification.

-And worst of all, the intentional/unintentional lack of recognition of how badly a change is needed manifesting in a large epidemic of complacency.

Phil has been working over the past 5 years with men, in all phases of life, individually and in groups seeking to re-awaken who we are as men and to challenge what has become the norm in our current time.

To further step into this need, Foundation Counseling is now offering a ‘Mens Transformation Group.   People who would benefit from this group would be men who:

-Are struggling with anxiety or depression.

-Have frustrations that often lead to anger outbursts.

-Are having marriage or relationship difficulties.

-Are unsure of how to communicate well, especially feelings.

-Lack direction or passion in life.

-Are desiring to have authentic, meaningful relationships with other men.

-Are seeking to grow more in self-awareness and to enhance the quality of your life and those around you.

The vision is this: in understanding more about who we are, how we think and feel and why, we can cast a more clear and precise vision of where and who we want to be and how to get there. With this new self-awareness and vision, you will also learn and develop skills and strategies to empower you in all areas and relationships in your life. Alongside other men for support, encouragement and accountability, we journey together and experience transformation.

The group is designed to illicit meaningful and lasting change. Research is beginning to more and more suggest that lasting change on the level in which this group is designed to create can take potentially up to a year at a weekly rate to take root. The Mens Transformation group we are launching is going to be a 24 week process, which is definitely an investment of time. And yet the research suggests, and the men I have worked with for years have almost always agreed, that 24 weeks is just the beginning.

I want to challenge you, men. Take an honest look at the state of your being; your family, your relationships, your communication, your temper, your self-awareness, your happiness, your career, and your priorities and ask yourself:

“Are you truly creating the legacy that you desire on the deepest level and that the world desperately needs?”

Come and join us. This weekly group is beginning on Sunday, April 19th at 2:00 pm at Foundation Counseling.

Fore more information, contact Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC.

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Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LPC and Foundation Counseling .

In Hope

sunrise

Without hope, what will become of man? 

It’s the reason we can get up out of bed in the morning, the leverage for motivation and the drive for improvement. Without hope, what is the reason to live? If we do not believe that we can make a difference, that we can have a better life, a better marriage and family, a better living, a better world, then what could we possibly muster to try to even care?

Without hope, despair settles in. It’s oppressive hand tunnels our world, pressing in the darkness all around and squeezes the vitality from our soul. Despair is dry and empty. Despair is shambles and brokenness. It is as close to death as one can be while still living.

It drills through us until breaching our core and breaks through attempting to destroy anything left.

And then there is silence.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to break. It takes humility to accept what is often beyond our control; to be unraveled in the world around us, to continue to exist and nothing more because all our strength is simply gone.

Hope. It’s in it’s complete absence we gain a new depth and yearning for such a thing. Just an ember is a lightning strike, shocking our systems back to life. Hope is the power that keeps us alive. Hope is the heart that keeps us strong. Hope is the richness that keeps us loving. Hope is home for our souls.

Take hope.

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Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LPC and Foundation Counseling .

The “M” Word

Letter M

In a recent session of couples counseling, we went back to the basics and asked a simple yet pivotal question: “Why marriage?” Another way of asking, ‘what are we really fighting for/toward here?’

I was a little surprised to be met with blank stares and after a short silence, “I don’t know…”

“Ok, well why relationship at all? Including friendships, family etc.”

“Well, for support, someone to help you get through things, someone to talk to and encourage you…”

“So essentially a friendship is composed of selfless acts and doing life together in this way”.

“Yes”.

“And now how about mar…a long term committed relationship.”

“The same thing but even closer than a friendship”.

Spot on. Marriage or a long term committed relationship is comprised of a simple formula that is doing life together with persistent, selfless acts and trusting that the other is inclined to do the same. Of course there is so much more that is involved in marriage; the relationship by nature amps up the level of vulnerability and therefore expectations, defenses and fears. Sometimes navigating these countless other things over the years can make our disposition murky and confusing to say the least.

However, shelving some of the details for just a moment, I found a simplicity and beauty in this minimalist definition of marriage that seems to begin diminishing our seemingly innate tendency toward selfishness: that marriage is a relationship composed of selfless acts while doing life together.

Its brevity makes it an easy standard to remember and hold our intentions up against. Is what I am about to say or do or not say or do to serve my own needs or are they intended to serve my partners?

Sometimes going back to the basics for a while helps challenge us to (re)establish and (re)create the foundation we need to take care of the rest. Find a selfless act that you can do for your significant other today and see how it can change your relationship

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Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LPC and Foundation Counseling .

The Problem of Pain

despair hope

 

The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite books and yet, so far in my lifetime, has been one of my most challenging and worst experiences.

Pain in this world is an undeniable and inevitable reality. We all, at one time or another, will have our share of pain be it physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Knowing this, the question quickly becomes not ‘will I ever experience pain?’, but ‘what do I do when I experience pain?’

 Pain lends itself to an un-ideal, uncomfortable, tense experience. Pain is vulnerable. Pain hurts. Pain robs and steals. Pain destroys. Pain is unfortunate, miserable, tragic and even unjust at times. But one thing I also believe about pain is that it can and will make us stronger if it does not take us. I believe pain can become a sacred experience when the proper conditions are present.

When people come to counseling to work through their pain, the band-aids begin to rip off. That discomfort, uneasiness and hurt begins to throb. In safety though, we find comfort. In understanding, we grow more peaceful. With hope, we gain the motivation to go on. In healing, the hurt turns to strength. I myself have experienced and have watched many people turn their hurt into the propelling force that grounds and carries their confidence and worth. I have witnessed suffering become remarkable character. I have seen brokenness morph into wholeness. I have seen pain redeemed.

This is the belief we cling to. For anyone in pain, let me be the first to be honest and say sometimes the end just never feels in sight. In my experiences of past emotional pain and present chronic physical pain, disheartened falls steeply short of an accurate descriptor. Better words might be: Suffocated. Enraged. Devastated. Crippled. Anguish. Misery. Broken.

And yet, I truly believe there is hope. I have to. Without it, it’s all meaningless and nothing is worse for our hearts than to suffer for nothing. I promise you, no suffering is meaningless. Though you may not see it now, there is purpose.

This is the sacred experience that we partake in with others in pain and as sufferers ourselves. And as we allow the dust from another’s footsteps to cover us and as we walk and journey into the pain…oh, what a beautiful thing.

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Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LPC and Foundation Counseling .

Inside the World of Domestic Violence: Part III

No DV

What makes a person become abusive? Most people would agree that people aren’t born abusive, but that they become that way. How does the path turn an innocent child into someone who abuses?

[A quick disclaimer: during this segment, I will be using masculine pronouns. I will be doing this for ease of writing. Also, while there are some women who are abusers out there, statistics show an overwhelming majority of abusers are men and therefore another reason while I will be writing this way]

How can you spot an abuser? It’s quite difficult. These men are typically very reputable in the community and charming to boot. They are smart, funny, successful and tend to be quite romantic. On the surface, it looks like a solid deal and it’s really no wonder why so many women are duped.

But as people get closer to these men, they begin to see some of the warning signs. What we find are some key characteristics. These men are:

  • Manipulative, having a keen ability to twist words for his benefit, confuse you, guilt you, use emotions for his benefit and keep you on eggshells.
  • Controlling, feeling he has the right to tell you what you can/can’t do, has a right to all the authority, limits you’re your personal freedoms, and makes all the decisions.
  • Entitled, believing he truly is of more value than you. He expects all of his emotional, physical and sexual needs to be met whenever he wants, is deserving of respect and is immune to accountability. If he was a compass, you would be the needle always pointing north.
  • Superior. In his eyes, you are inferior. It makes you into an object. You are less intelligent, competent and logical and more sensitive. He will depersonalize your humanity making it easier to chastise you as needed.
  • Confused because they really do believe love and abuse are synonymous. He sees his role as one of controlling and fixing you and if he must use abuse as a means to correct your poor behavior, it’s only because he loves you.
  • Reputable. These men are enraged at home and calm and serene in public. Selfish at home and generous elsewhere. Domineering at home while compromising with friends and colleagues. It helps him feel good about himself and to isolate the victim.
  • Justified, truly excusing his abuse because you made him act that way. If you wouldn’t act so out of line and pushed me beyond what any man could handle, then this would not have happened.
  • Minimizing, and sometimes outright denying of his abuse. His distorted thinking serves to protect his self-esteem and make the victim feel like she is losing her mind.
  • Possessive, believing he owns his woman. This can sometimes manifest in extreme jealousy and isolating behavior, viewing other relationships for the victim as a threat to his domain. He will try to keep her away from sources of strength and under his rule.

All these traits considered, it’s quite easy to see how these relationships evolve through the cycle of violence and how these men are destroying women, relationships and themselves all over the world. It would be even easier then to paint a picture of these men as monsters, but I must interject that to do so will only exacerbate the problem. We must understand how and why these men have gotten to this point if we are to ever truly stand up for the cause of ending abuse.

These men are not monsters. Do not misunderstand me-what they do and the abuse they deliver is absolutely monstrous, but the individual himself is most definitely not a monster. Yet society puts such a strong stigma on an abuser, it actually causes more of a deterrent to the recovery process. If we can for a moment step into his world, we may get just enough empathy to know how to discerningly cause the proper change in our fight for non-violence and an end to abuse and healing for these men.

I am in my 5th year in working with abusive men and have come to understand more about how they develop into an abuser. I will attempt to provide just a short, generalized synopsis to increase understanding and empathy.

As children, these boys are typically in home environments that are toxic. A child is dependent on his caretaker to meet his needs as he is dependent in almost every sense of the word through much of his development. The parents are there to teach the children about the world, about relationships and about themselves. However, these young boys are typically exposed to parents who do not meet their needs and bring relief from stress, but are actually are the sources of the child’s stress. It causes a dilemma that is nothing short of chaos: “I need this parent to survive and they are an unsafe person”.

These boys very quickly learn that relationships are dangerous and destructive. The parent tends to have a very high need for control and a low tolerance for noncompliance due to poor emotional maturity, very low stress tolerance and few healthy coping skills. This often results in an exposure to physical, verbal and sexual abuse. For this child, connection is often unavailable or sporadic and very dangerous. This really just scratches the surface.

Now imagine being a tiny and somewhat helpless child in this environment and imagine how you might feel. Likely they would be constantly anxious at the least, that all familiar eggshells feeling some of us have grown to know. Knowing that relationships are something we learn from modeling, think about all the confusing messages you would learn about what a relationship is. Think about all the emotional damage the child would carry with him and how they would have very little access to any healthy coping skills as again, they were never taught any.

And now fast forward 20 and 30 and 40 and so on years and what do we see? We see adult boys who are still hurting and who feel helpless and are trying to find empowerment in the only way they ever learned.

As a reminder, I am in no way trying to excuse or stick up for these men who are abusive-the abuse is absolutely an atrocity. But we must, must, must as a society learn to find and understand the balance between something I always tell these men as they enter my Domestic Violence counseling program:

Your wounds from childhood are NOT your fault, but is most DEFINITELY your responsibility”.

Can you see the fine line in there? We are not excusing the behavior-they must begin to accept responsibility for all that they have done and all of who they are, but if we right them off as a bad or stained person and attach the scarlet letter appropriately, it is only further worsening all of the wounds that they gained as innocent children and perpetuating all that they have experienced and believed, further entrenching them into a world of the abusive mindset.

I have seen the weight of shame these men carry around, screaming to be heard and understood as if they are still yelling at the caretakers who wounded them in the first place. I’ve seen grown men in my office weeping about how much they are hurting and how they carry around the voice of their father, continually taunting them all day wherever they go and whatever they do. These men need certain ingredients in order to make the healing transition from an abuser to a healthy and secure connector. Some of the most potent changes I have seen come from these men derive from an atmosphere of receiving validation, affirmation, significance, support, respect, safety and security. Inject that atmosphere with knowledge of what a healthy relationship is, proper coping skills such as emotion regulation, communication skills, self-control, boundaries and conflict resolution and we begin to see hopeful healing in these adult boys to grow into the men we always knew that they could be.

My hope is that we all can become more aware of domestic violence and how to avoid the cycle of violence and discern who is an abuser. But more than anything, if we can grow in understanding and empathy, I believe we will gain the necessary compassion and wisdom to truly step into a revolution to end domestic violence as spouses, as parents, as friends and as fellow humans and continue in the quest of redeeming true relationship.

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Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LPC and Foundation Counseling .

Inside The World of Domestic Violence: Part II

No DV

The Cycle of Violence

The cycle of violence is the term used to describe the pattern of chaos that is involved in domestic violence. It puts a name and words to what so many victims experience, but have no idea how to comprehend so often.

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This cycle of violence is all about power and control in a relationship. Power and control in and of itself is neither good nor bad and so we must understand what power and control means to a person (we will spend more time on the depth of that aspect in the next part of the series). For the time being, understand that the utilization of power and control is a vehicle for an abuser to feel good about him or herself and is pivotal to his or her self-worth and identity formation.

With that basic concept in mind, the natural tension that occurs in any relationship begins to create an environment that can become hostile quickly. Whereas in a healthy relationship, each party feels free to assertively share his or her opinion without risk of abuse or harm, in the cycle of violence, if I don’t say or do things the way the abuser wants, I put myself at risk and might begin to walk on eggshells trying to keep the peace. I don’t want to rock the boat and upset the balance because if I do, things may escalate. And sure enough, things eventually do escalate.

When tension grows and a fight occurs, the abuse takes place. This can be seen as several types of abuse: physical, emotional, verbal, spiritual, financial/economic, sexual etc. Someone putting their hands on you, someone calling you a name or belittling you, someone punching a hole in the wall or breaking things, someone manipulating you, someone withholding or forcing sexual acts, someone who isolates you, intimidates you or taking away money/resources is absolutely, without a doubt acting in an abusive manner. I emphasize this point because some people are unsure what is abuse thinking it has to be physical. It does not.

After the abuse takes place, the abuser soon after appears often remorseful or apologetic, making attempts to re-create peace. He may bring her flowers, apologize and say things like “I’ll never do it again-I’m so sorry I did that”. The victim can tend to buy into this gesture and remain in the cycle and pattern of the relationship, all the while feeling more and more confused and helpless about what is going on and what to do.

But like clockwork, the inevitable tension grows and the eggshells feeling comes back, abuse happens again and then the honeymoon. Research suggests that this pattern tends to only intensify the longer it goes on with shorter honeymoon periods (and eventually the extinction of a honeymoon period with just tension and abuse) and greater tension and more violent abusive episodes.

There are few worse things than being in this cycle of violence-becoming more and more isolated, afraid and helpless. So often victims wonder how they’ve gotten in so deep and how to get out or how they might have missed the warning signs and red flags along the way. The abuser seemed so loving and charming at first and had a great reputation in social settings and work. They pursued so well and with great romance and caring. How could this have happened?

Stay tuned to understand the mind of an abuser and how to begin to see the warning signs in the next part of the series-The Inner World of An Abuser.

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Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LPC and Foundation Counseling .