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True Beauty

The Next Sexual Revolution

The Next Sexual Revolution

Does the male desire for sex trigger you? Make you squirm, angry, uncomfortable, frustrated, confused? Even full of rage? Esther Perel says, “it’s not that women don’t like sex, they just don’t like the sex they’re having.” I concur.

How to Know Whether or Not to Break-Up

How to Know Whether or Not to Break-Up

Whew. Now that's a million dollar question. But I'm going to help you answer it because I'm going to guide you towards your inner wisdom--that thing called intuition--which, if you can be brave enough to listen, will help you separate the wheat from the chafe. 

First, I see a lot of people breaking up that don't need to break up. They are usually projecting all kinds of malarky from old relationships onto this new person and then breaking up with those ghosts. This is why you probably need therapy. Because you're breaking up with someone who isn't even real. You're likely delusional. Relational trauma will do that. It's an over-active fight/flight/freeze/fawn response. That's why getting calm is the number one relationship skill. 

I read a lot of articles and Instagram-quotes about moving on from people who don't treat you like a queen. If you need to be treated like a king or a queen in order to feel loved, your love tank probably has a hole in it that no human being can ever fill. So keep searching for those loyal subjects and move on from them when they act human or imperfect or have the gall to have needs.

But. Maybe you're on the other side of that equation. Maybe you're the partner who keeps on trying to make your partner feel special, loved and valued--and it's just. never. enough. They act insensitive, cheat on you, aren't available, and generally aren't interested in adult conversations about emotions. 

So how do you know when it's time to walk away and time to just hang in there and do your own work? I apologize, that's a bit of a trick question: because the answer is always in doing your own work FIRST. 

When you do your own work, you won't actually have to do anything except speak how you feel.

An awesome partner will welcome you speaking your emotional truth because they are interested in knowing more of you. They want to be intimate. But a partner who isn't interested in a relationship will be unable to tolerate you doing anything but agreeing with them and/or doing what they want. They will also be unable to tolerate that they might have failed you in some way. They don't know how to live in their humanity.

"Narcissists are very good at finding their 'victims' - the people who don't feel worthy enough of a healthy, happy relationship, and who will play second fiddle just for the sake of being in a relationship. When you've learned to truly love yourself, a narcissist simply cannot operate in your orbit. You will not be able to feed his or her need for adulation and acquiescence at all costs. And you will trust yourself to know when to walk away. That's why, for anyone struggling in a difficult relationship, the fastest path to answer the question, 'Should I stay or should I go?' is always to learn to love yourself. " --Gay Hendricks

That all being said, often, talking and talking and talking will actually drive a quality man away. When I say, "speak your truth," I mean open your posture and your heart space--and tell him what you ache for. Don't tell him what he's doing wrong, tell him how when he wraps his arms around you you feel like nothing in the world can harm you.  When I was in graduate school we had a saying: “speak the truth in love,” that comes from the book of Ephesians. Before you speak, always, as much as you can, ask yourself, “am I going to say this truth in the spirit of love and growth? Or fear and destruction?” The tone you use has the potential to either increase the conflict or help you grow closer together.

"Woman is Life"--Joseph Campbell

"Woman is Life"--Joseph Campbell

Heal yourself woman. Find your heart and dance towards your bliss. As you heal your feminine spirit, men around you will change: you will no longer have ANY tolerance for abuse, mis-treatment or boundary crossings--but the men who are craving a healthy relationship with the feminine will be drawn to you like honey. 

"To The Bone" Review

"To The Bone" Review

“To The Bone”   

 

There is nothing new about the depiction of mental illness through film or television.  “Mental illness” is a part of the human condition.  The history of any person’s individual struggle with mental illness is as varied and complex as our fingerprints.

 

Anorexia, a subset of eating disorders, is no exception.

 

The film “To The Bone” featuring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, depicts one young woman’s struggle with anorexia and one doctor’s unconventional approach to treatment.

 

First, let me play amateur film critic: I was disappointed in the lack of depth and artistry.  The content provides any writer or artist a rich palette of emotions, relationships, Self, and healing practices to draw from—but it fell flat for me—surface level. In many ways, the film felt anorexic—starved of deep feeling. I was hungry for more.

 

Other people’s critique of the film is that it re-enforces dangerous stereotypes of what an anorexic “looks like.” I concur.  There is a popular image of the bony, attractive, and sullen Caucasian female that most people imagine when they think of an “anorexic.” Most clients I have treated, even the ones who are entering into ketosis (when the kidneys begin failing) or brady-chardia (dangerously low heart rate), wouldn’t be recognizable by any of these outward measures. Sometimes, they are the “most attractive” person in the room. This is especially true here in Orange County, CA—where the practices of “eating clean” and exercise are part of the rituals of the new religious paradigm—the Religion of Thinness (Michelle Lelwica). I saw anex-client of mine the other day at a concert—she is stunning and does not appear “bony”—she often models for high fashion photography spreads.  Her struggle in therapy was her fear that if she began to eat what her body wanted, her body would likely change. She was in quite a catch-22 when it came to letting go of her eating disorder.  It’s never about food.

 

One thing the film gets right: it is very educational.  It demonstrates the basics of eating disorder behaviors—from rituals at the table, eating strange foods, exercise compulsion, and the absolute terror of eating.  Most family members that I have worked with are genuinely confused about what is going on and often overlook behaviors simply because they don’t know what to look for. They are lost.

 

The doctor’s approach to treatment was beneficial—he did not use the conventional “meal plan” approach. He gave patients total control over their food intake but gave consequences for not reaching weight goals. A critique I have of most eating disorder treatment centers is that they feel very controlling.  Unwittingly, most centers re-create a negative interaction between client and food by “punishing” certain behaviors and rewarding others—specifically at the table.  Most centers are not psycho-dynamically oriented; they do not see that their approach re-enforces the problematic schema in the patient’s mind.  Conversely, I have found that a warm, connected, attachment oriented approach to most ED clients is highly beneficial.  A calm, non-judgmental attitude does wonders for the highly anxious client.  When the treatment provider stops being anxious about the client’s eating disorder, the client can begin to get curious about their behaviors and sometimes symptoms abate spontaneously. The trouble is that this process happens on the clients’ timeline—not the therapists’ or the family’s. I have had many a family member terminate treatment or demand treatment to be different because it’s not “happening fast enough” so therefore, something must be wrong. But as we saw in the film, Ellen only got better when she decided to get better.  This is usually because at the heart of an eating disorder is the assertion that “my body is mine.”

 

I would have loved to have this theme explored more in the film—it was touched on briefly by Luke, when he asked Ellen if she was ever “touched wrong.” In my experience, even if a client was never sexually abused, most of my female clients have internalized the patriarchal attitude towards the feminine—which is to diminish its existence—to control it—to subdue it—to minimize its wildness—and, her sexuality.  The “mother/whore” complex is thriving. I see it everyday in my practice.

 

The history of Western civilization for the past two thousand years has been vicious towards the female body because of its association with sex, blood, and childbirth. It is connected to nature and Her ways and cannot be thwarted or controlled.  The female body changes with every week, every month, every year—it has many moods and seasons—and is constantly in flux. The female body has been maligned for its ever-changing ways. The body—both male and female—has been subject to Hellenistic dualism and has suffered the consequences of elevating the “mind” over the body.

 

Fortunately, thanks to science and an evolving theological landscape, Western thought is moving towards a synchrony of mind and body—those of us that study the body and mind are now saying it is more accurate to say we have a body/mind—because the neural networks that extend throughout the body, transmit messages to the brain. Most of our neurotransmitters are made in the gut—which is why when we are “emotional.” our ability to eat normally is impaired.

 

There was a scene that brought me to tears. The scene captured the complex and at times uncomfortable aspects of treatment: the scene where Ellen’s mother asks if she would like to be bottle fed. Initially, Ellen bristles—but then softens at her mother’s offering. Her mother cradles her twenty year old daughter like an infant and begins to feed her. And Ellen receives nourishment from her mother.  After this scene, Ellen decides to return to treatment. Although the movie depicted this important psychological move too swiftly for reality, it demonstrated a key principle: which is that we learn how to care for ourselves by the way others care for us.  Ellen decided to begin feeding herself after being fed. It really is that simple.

Losing Jewelry and Becoming Beautiful

Losing Jewelry and Becoming Beautiful

I became more beautiful as I began to honor the truth of who I was. As I settled into the tenderness of my grief, the fierceness of my rage, the excitement of my hope, the audacity of my courage, and the preciousness of my love, my heart could more clearly be seen by those around me--and hearts--both yours and mine--are INHERENTLY beautiful and magnetic.