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Focusing on Your Family's Mental Health

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
March 24, 2022 6:00 am

Focusing on Your Family's Mental Health

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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March 24, 2022 6:00 am

Counselor Debra Fileta answers some general questions on mental and emotional health, covering topics like toxic people, codependency, anxiety and depression, and getting professional help. This insightful conversation will encourage you as you assess your own health and relationships.

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We had Focus on the Family looking to fill positions in marketing IT and marriage counseling work with other talented believers enjoy meaningful Christ centered work environment and use the skills God gave you to encourage others and help families thrive. To learn more visit that's Focus on the and healing of heart, soul, mind and strength is always part of God. And just like we rely on things like physical therapy are going to attend physically healthy okay to rely on account medication to get emotionally healthy, and I think we have to give Christians permission to realize number one not immune to the struggles number two there is nothing wrong acknowledging that they're not okay and getting that stepper for later and she's with us today on Focus on the Family your hostess focus Pres. and Arthur Jim Daly and on John John the last couple years really highlighted the importance of health all aspects of it, including physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual and in the face of covert hopefully were were looking in the rearview mirror of the we all scrambled to be as healthy as possible but there's a lot of underlying stress, worry, sorrow, anguish, woven into the mix, and we hear from families every day who were broken and hurting and that's one of the great things that the focus provides. You can contact us for anything and we will try to respond with help and to equip you.

That's our goal. That's what we want to do so as you listen along today with one of the best of the best guess we've had this past year. I think she will stir in your heart. Some questions you may need some help answering and that guest is Deborah for later. Her content always hits the mark with their audience and she's a licensed professional counselor, national speaker, a relationship expert in wife and mom to four and she's written a great book addresses some of the topics that will be discussing today is called are you really okay.

Getting real about who you are, how you're doing and why it matters, and we got copies of that here the ministry. Just click the link in the episode notes or call 800 the letter a in the word family. Deborah welcome back to focus think it's good to be here yet is good to be here. You knowing you.

You have four children fairly recent arrival.

Yeah, your hands are full. Yes, Mary, and a bit of a chaotic time for all that your kids are like from 11 to 1 writer to have the one that is so awesome, so you're living the dream. I love that somebody gave me graded by saying you know every stage of parenting has been great and this was an empty Nestor so I tried to hold to that. Just every stage. Enjoy it and remember the highlights from it is absolutely coming to today's topic.

The MI okay, question. There are some big issues out there in the culture right now and as a counselor you aim to help people get back on track. What are some of the general things that you're seeing with your clients and I'll tell you that's the main thing is that were not as healthy as we think we are and we just talked about parenting and I think sometimes we have a tendency to focus so much on our children our marriage I ministry and neglect how healthy we are. Lack of my lack of how they did a study and they took a bunch of people and ask them to rate themselves on a scale how good you think you drive how kinder you and the majority of people rated themselves better-than-average better than I do that and they took that same study, even to the present and the prisoners rated themselves as better than average silk pastors to prisoners. We all have a tendency to think that were doing better than we really are to this question and certainly not down. I'm not trying to persuade you that could that be a mechanism to get through the day that God provides this may be overly optimistic opinion of herself so we can cope or is that you know at some point. That's not a healthy thing you know, I think there's a level of optimism that's healthy, but I think when we go through life never acknowledging the hard things, avoiding them, repressing them pretending like they're not there. There's going to be a point when they hit us there's gonna be a point where they start to bring us down, and I think a lot of people have seen that happen over the past two years since cultivated in all of the things we've been going to all of the hard things that were not dealing with are starting to come to the surface and there's some crazy things.

I think the post on this whole pandemic thing is going to be quite brutal.

I think everybody who was engaged in trying to manage it for the country. I don't think it's going to be pretty. Because we've been in survival mode for so long and in survival mode.

You just trying to get through, but once he gets the other side. That's when it starts to hate you and that's when you have to really face some of those high things. Let me ask you the just the big why the general why question we as Christians you know we we believe were made up of body soul and spirit, so in that context, we look at our well-being. I think generally we don't pay enough attention to our physical health.

You know some people really are good at. I think Colorado hears one of the fittest states in the United States but again it's an outlier and then you moving right through that to emotional health, mental health and spiritual health. Describe those you know when Jesus was asked what's the greatest commandment. He said love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and he could've just said love the Lord. But he broke those up into four quadrants because they represent different parts of our healthy emotional health, spiritual health, mental health and physical health and so I think it's really important that we can focus on all of those thing that which is good but understanding. It is part of the battle because we lay people. You are a counselor, so you get it, but a lot of us don't know how to assess or even be mindful of an unhealthy state.

Let's move to a topic that we get here often, a Focus on the Family dealing with toxic people. That's one of things that we we might have an optimistic view are of ourselves. But you know dealing with toxic people is such a hard thing. So first I guess is what's the definition of a toxic person and hat were some good tools spiritually and mentally to use in those kinds of relationships. I think it's important that we started the conversation talking about our personal health because when you become healthy. You recognize toxic people more than you would have if you weren't healthy and so once you start working on yourself and taking ownership for what you need to work on.

Then you kind a look around you and you can see when there's people in your life that aren't living in a healthy way. They're tearing you down, that are manipulative that are constantly negative that are critical all the time and we talk about toxicity were not talking about a one time event.

We all have a little bit of toxicity en masse because were sinful human beings that were talking about is a pattern of behavior that is constantly bringing you down and constantly bringing the people around you down as well. It's important I don't know if we are educated enough or aware enough of knowing that toxic personality can you give us a little more in terms of adjectives. What is that relationship look like when the one person's assume it's you the listener you're in a pretty healthy place and then you have this girlfriend does name those*toxic person is always going to be using manipulative means there selfish their spiteful they like to bring others down with their words with her actions and they don't take responsibility. It's always everybody else's fault and so there's a lot of things that you are looking for in that pattern of behavior.

Yeah, yeah, we think in today's culture, to mean the hyper notice of toxicity is right there in front of a summit on social media interest wherever it's in others just like anonymous attacks on each other seemingly anonymous.

We know your handle. You might say but to go after people the way the culture goes after people today is somewhat healthy, absolutely. And I think we let our guard down. You know we started doing what we do on social media behind the safety of a computer and now it's starting to affect the rest of our life and in our real life interactions in that regard Deborah so let's you have a coworker. This is hypothetical because everybody a Focus on the Family is wonderful to work with to save a coworker and there really I can't avoid them with their always negative for just pulling me down. Even though want to be positive how to handle that when it's a coworker at somebody that's not in close proximity, not a family member. For example, it makes it a little bit easier because you can take responsibility for your interactions.

I think we talked about the term boundaries. What were really looking at is what can I do here when I responsible for versus what can I force them to do. Because really, you can't make someone do anything but what you can do is begin to pull away what you can do is set boundaries around your life and how you going to respond or choose not to respond to the amount of time that you get to spend with someone, or lack thereof, and you start taking ownership of the things that you can change and that's what begins to change the relationship, you know, one of things I've observed in the morning to move on to some other topics, but I think even watching Jean my wife when we were younger. Certainly her stories of being in high school. She's very kind person. That's her trait to knowing people can take advantage of that and I know people listening fit that category were you want to say yes so often and Jean was like that, let me know if I remember one of the things she told me about this. I think two boys asked her to the prom and she said yes to both, because she couldn't had to unwind that right and you can apply that later in the 20s and 30s, and I think a lot of people can connect with that especially I think women tend to want to do the right thing. Be there for people help people. They nurture minutes). So in that context for the listener that maybe is in the 30s and 40s and has a built sufficient boundaries.

What can they do to be aware of it and what how to manage the guilt feelings.

Yeah saying no. Let me put it this way. One of my favorite analogies with a healthy relationship is seeing it like a plant. If you give a plant too much water like in this case that you're talking on being too nice.

I'm giving too much. I'm not expecting anything in return, the plant will die if you give it to little water. It will also die and I think sometimes we need to see relationships in the context of a plant realizing that when were giving too much without expecting anything in return were actually doing our part to kill, destroy and harm their relationship. While that's good, but there is there a transaction emotionally for that person that's in that spot that they think by saying yes too much to lose their earning brownie points for something where they have to get get that right to say wait a minute.

This is costing my family, my husband, my relationship for many of us we give too much because it's raising guilt feel guilty of or we don't feel like were valuable enough to receive or we feel like God wants us to keep giving at the expense of ourselves.

So a lot of it stems from unhealthy beliefs about ourselves more about the world around us, or even about God and we have to get to the root of why we say yes too much why we give too much in order to be able to start changing the pattern of our behavior that is so good.

Let's move to codependency. It's a term that a lot of people may not understand. So maybe defining it would be the way to go.

You have a story affect about a young woman you counseled what what did codependency look like for her. Now when you think about codependency. I want you to imagine 2 cups that are half-full and and think about it this way. I counseled a woman who thought that marriage would fill up her cup.

She thought it would give her the security and the safety and the purpose and the value and she gets in the marriage and within weeks, months, years, you name it, you realize that this relationship can't fill you up if you're not already felt. Your relationship is only going to be as full and healthy as you are standing alone and I think there's too many people that going to relationships, thinking it's going to fill the map. It's going to give them security or purpose, and we talked about codependency were talking about going into relationships out of the highway need versus out of what we have to give effect to use that term need love versus real love to describe those two need love drives you towards somebody based on what they can give to you because you're feeling insecure you're feeling like you're not enough standing alone, you're feeling like you don't have the value you looking for what they can give you that real love doesn't look like that when we look at Corinthians 1st Corinthians 13.

It's all about the actions of love. It's all about what we give in the relationship and so I think we really have to come to terms with the relationships around us. Whether were talking about friendships or romantic relationships or marriage like come to the table with a need to receive or my coming to the table with a need to give those those gaps that we recognize in our lives can be formed in a variety ways.

Many of them come from our childhood. These triggers and you get in the marriage. And oh boy do we get to really become professional pushing each other's triggers.

In these things in some other person. It's knocking to be a big deal but when if I say something to Jean a certain way.

Boy gets a different response and so speak to the childhood issue and then you know the capability to recognize these things and then to begin to relax yet so I called them emotional sore spots and whether they drive us to codependent relationships or whether there will cause conflict in our relationships in the present. If you think about like a sore spot a black and blue spot the other day of leaving the house and accidentally bumps my arm on the side of the door.

It caused a black and blue mark on the later my husband came over to give me a side hug as we were, you know, talking, which was very sweet of him and he tight black and blue mark. Yes, it wasn't because of what he did, it was because there was a wound already there and simply think about that in the context of our emotional relationships. Sometimes the wound is already there from childhood.

Maybe I didn't feel validated and childhood are out. I was neglected or abandoned or there was divorce in my family that made me feel a lack of value later on in life when somebody gets near those wounds that trigger it and we hurt all over again and what we don't realize is that many times it's rooted in those past unhealed hurt in it that seems like a daunting task to be that aware of yourself. I don't mean to it.studying it. It's an uphill thing yet to really know yourself well enough to know what Wise is triggering me what do I have to do what work do I have to do in order to not let it penetrate or let that bruise hurt so much that that's the real worker asked the real world is that look like one of my favorite passages in Scripture says the purposes of a person's heart are like deep waters but one who has insight draws in the now anything about drawing out waters. In ancient times, they didn't just turn on a faucet in the water came out you had to do the work you had to go to the well you had to bring up that water. It was blood sweat and tears work and that's the work of becoming emotionally healthy share its work and sure it's difficult but if if we want to have insight if we want to have understanding of our own hearts. We've got a do the work and draw it out and I really believe were not doing it alone because God is with us. The Holy Spirit guides us as we look back and not only that, there's the help of professional counselors that we can rely on Deborah 2020 with covert lot of the research is indicating right now the spikes in depression and anxiety and I guess in that context, what are some of the signs so people can notice.

I would really encourage parents to be on the lookout with your children because I was so getting a haircut the other day and in the waiting area. There was about an eight-year-old boy and his dad.

He was pretending to be a doctor was saying daddy let me give you a covert shot was swabbing the arm with the tissue you know an invisible syringe.

I thought while the impact of that here. The sacral boy, that's his playtime with his dad's pretending to give him vaccine that shows you how in tune.

Children are with the world around them. So how how do we notice depression and anxiety. What does it look like we talked earlier about how when we don't deal with certain things they inevitably make their way to the surface and I call that an emotional explosion like a volcano. The pressure just dealt and we see a lot of emotional explosions this year and we talk about depression and anxiety. It's not just feelings of worry or sadness. Many times the emotional struggle starts to manifest in physical things. So all of a sudden you're not hungry or you're eating too much. Maybe you have insomnia and you can't sleep. Or maybe you're sleeping too much. You can't get out of bed. Maybe you're having a hard time concentrating. Maybe you feel fatigue and lack of energy before you even get out of the bed and all of these things point to something going on underneath the surface emotionally. I think sometimes we write it off because we don't always understand the body mind connection but when you start feeling hopelessness and then you start seeing all these things begin to manifest in your body. It's time to take a pause and check in and really ask yourself what's going on on the inside you.

So much of what deal with and what we talk about with great just like you is this note informed your counselor, you're an informed professional, you have gone through the rigors of learning, training, practicing the art of counseling, it is a Christian thing to do. Ironically, in my you don't need a state license to say it's good to help somebody right and up but now combining those two things you know some people in the Christian community put the stiff arm to counseling and psychology because it sounds too worldly, but the realness of that is combining both a great theological foundation with practical scientific applications.

The two kinda run together, they don't run apart and that's the point. I guess the Christian community. It's okay to get help with the counselor healing of heart, soul, mind and strength is always part of God's plan for our life.

And just like we rely on things like physical therapy or going to the gym to get physically healthy. It's okay to rely on counseling or even medication for us to get emotionally and mentally healthy, and I think we have to give Christians permission to realize number one are not immune to the struggles number two there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that they're not okay, and then getting the help that they need.

I think back to the idea of working toward a good goal with emotional well-being.

God want you in the place because you're more effective for him is not a selfish thing but a healthy Christian is a magnificent tool in the hands of a mighty God rights absolutely in the opposite is also an unhealthy Christian is a magnificent tool that the enemy can use because all of that on health and struggle and conflict begins to overflow into all of our relationships and family and our ministry, oftentimes and again, I don't mean to sound insensitive, but people that I encountered the most rigorous against counseling and additional help, medical help, even or sometimes the most toxic people if I could say it that way because there they're unwilling to open themselves up to some additional help just let you know if I just pray God will take care of me and then they tear people apart around them yet. There's two types of people. When you hear that the title of the book are you really okay. The ones that wary me the most are the ones who answer too quickly and say yeah good fun fine fine. No time to really sit with that question and dig deep endeavor in that regard on the pressure little bit you. You dealt with anxiety.

Personally, it impacted you defected. You describe what happened in your own life and how you got through the forest of the questions are not immune, and neither are licensed professional counselor right. None of us are me to the struggles of this world and you know the trauma from my past paired with the stress in my present because we haven't emotional explosion at one point in my life and I dealt with different things from depression to anxiety to panic attacks that came to the surface, and a stressful season of life, and I had to learn to recognize the symptoms and get myself in to help get myself the support that I needed. I'm not just talking the talk here. This is something that I have lived out I've been there has been a point in my life where I wasn't okay and I needed to take the steps to get it. I think in the book even relate that to your childhood where you were fearful about things and describe some of that so we as parents. And even if were experiencing some of that can relate to the roots of our past have so much impact on who we are today and I think sometimes we look on a superficial level in the present without going back but when I look back I see glimpses of who I am today in my child I was an overly sensitive child and there is beauty and that that's why my therapist today, but on the other end of the spectrum of sensitivity is anxiety. We are taking too much upon yourself get too aware of things and so I think it's important for parents to be able to look for those traits and their children. Early signs of anxiety. Early signs of depression and even realize that it's our role to help our children acknowledge our emotions and understand what's going on underneath the surface. Let me ask you this is a really delicate example, but oftentimes her focus of were talking about marital strife. One of the things the producers are always reminding John and I to mention that if you're in an abusive relationship. You need to get yourself into safety. There's been some examples in the culture.

Recently were people that should've known better, did not give that advice to people who were in an abusive situation and that's that's such a poor choice not to help them in that moment, and sometimes I can end in death. Right. Death of a spouse, were you have a husband who's out of control and just cannot manage it and a lot of Christian people may give the wrong advice you stick with the marriage.

I know you got to get yourself to safety. Then work on the issues but that's one of those examples of where you don't know if you're really singing, but as a counselor, how would you encourage people to not only be observant, but when they need to speak to speak yeah and just because something is familiar to you and you have seen it happen in your childhood or in your marriage again and again doesn't mean it's healthy. Sometimes we are so comfortable with unhealthy things that we don't call them out that we don't recognize them that we don't put some accountability there. If you are seeing signs of abuse in your relationship. If there's manipulation and selfishness and and you feel like you not safe in your relationship. The first thing you need to do is get yourself to safety. Set those boundaries around yourself and then get yourself healthy work on your self before you begin working on the relationship. This is been so good you're so quick and capable of giving a pithy answer in getting right to the kind of the gym that people need to hear. I so appreciate the so good. And this is the second time we've come back to your wonderful book.

Are you really okay. Getting real about who you are, how you doing and why it matters, and I'm sure will have you back again and again and again, the listeners just really love how you approach things so thank you for being with us all. Thank you in the main reminder here is just because you're Christian doesn't mean you're healthy and we can work alongside of the Holy Spirit to get to a healthy place.

That's it then your focus job. We are built to help you. That's what we been doing for over 40 years now, and Dr. Dobson set the great foundation in place and were continuing that tradition of having a state licensed counselors, Christian counselors available for you all will probably have to pick your name though. Get back with you to help you and guide you and pray with you and give you some ideas on next steps and take advantage of it. I don't think you're going to surprises after 40+ years we've heard a lot and I think will be able to participate with guests like Deborah with her great book and with other resources to help you move in a better direction and as you get in touch if you're in a good spot. Remember that our donor community makes these counseling services available and other great resources to help people with her at their point of need. So donate as you can either monthly pledge or one-time gift and to support the ministry of Focus on the Family. You can contribute to the work here when you stop by the episode notes or call one 800 K in the word family. And when you donate to focus, we be happy to say thank you for joining the support team by sending a copy of Deborah's book. Are you really okay just request that when you make that and join us tomorrow American Idol contestant Phil Stacy will encourage you with reminder about God's love and work in your life. What God is doing through your life is bigger than you see here but this life is just a moment and one day will open our eyes and forever forms of joy forever. Fill fullness of peace in our faith and our hope is that God is orchestrating the best part of heaven with us God's presence on behalf of Jim Daly. The entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back, or help you and your family thrive in Christ

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