Monthly Archives: January 2011

Surviving A Seriously Toxic Relationship – Part One

I honestly think people meet for a reason. My thoughts here are, it is to learn and create together or learn and create apart. Our relationships with our intimate lovers, friends and acquaintances can in some ways be defined by what we both learn and go on to accomplish, share and go on to help others through our own experiences.

If you have ever been in an unnecessarily argumentative, emotional, mentally or even physically abusive relationship that can be categorised with frequent breakups and passionate get back together’s then this may be of help and interest to you in both getting some kind of understanding of what’s happening and finding ways to live healthily together or move apart sooner.

It is my intention that these articles will provide examples you may relate to and to provide means to make the right changes for you in terms of your relationship.

If you choose to get out of this kind of toxic relationship the rest of this articles will offer some suggestions as to how as a survivor you can let go of the past, feel better and move forward with a sense of forgiveness and compassion. My reparation took me over six weeks to fully heal my heart and head, to let go of many unhelpful emotions and memories and feel whole again.

I most often find labelling people is not helpful. What I want to show here is a collection of coping mechanisms people with so called Borderline Personality Disorder ( BPD ) have for coping in their world and specifically coping in an intimate personal relationship.

It is honestly NOT their fault they have these modes of behaviour or coping mechanisms to be interacting with intimate partners but unless you are their therapist or their partner you will most likely never see this side of their personality. It can be like a real life Jekyll and Hyde. Relationships with this kind of characteristic can look like the Somme Battlefield from the outside. From the inside it is honestly much, much worse for both people.

Please read the following article for an insight into a BPD relationship. Click on the hyperlink below.

How a Borderline Personality Disorder Love Relationship Evolves

An Article by Roger Melton MA

The article above describes very well my perceptions of my own experience in a relationship with an ex partner who displayed all of the coping mechanisms that I will describe below. As such I have no intention of relating specific personal examples. This is for two reasons. Sometimes I feel ‘our story’ has an element of ‘the victim’ attached to it and so creates unhelpful gossip and agony aunt style, problem focused awareness and also this is really about recognising the signs and making a choice as to how best to move forward.

Having been in a toxic and mutually unhealthy relationship with a partner who exhibited these coping strategies for BPD with various intensities and frequencies; I have to say, at that time I simply didn’t understand what was happening or why they behaved that way. I did not understand many of our interaction. They often made little sense, more often than not no sense at all.

Arguments would frequently erupt from nowhere. My then partner would shout, make fists become verbally aggressive and abusive. In short a kind of totally unpredictable angry temper tantrum. Their raging arguments were paradoxical with what I perceived as frequent double standards that simply could not be reasoned out. I had no real idea how or why these would start arguments, but now I know, it is just one way of coping:

When you get to understand what childhood circumstances created these coping mechanisms or behavioural imprints ( DSM-IV-TR, The Angry Heart ) it is actually very easy to forgive and feel real compassion for an ex partner or even a current one; It is also very easy to forgive yourself. But when you don’t know, it is all too easy to feel hurt, used, manipulated, cheated and abused. This is the victim role. You can lose your sense of self value and self respect; Because you love them so you keep going back … for more of the same and so the cycle continues.

BPD Criteria and Coping Mechanisms

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects and markedly impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five ( or more ) of the following :

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self.
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self damaging ( spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
5. Recurrent suicidal behaviours, gestures or threats of self-mutilating behaviour.
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood ( intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger ( frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights ).
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or sever dissociative symptoms.

DSM – IV -TR

Part Two of this article will go on to explore the issue of blame and responsibility. Part Three will offer suggestions and ways, that as a survivor of specifically this kind of toxic relationship you can heal your emotional past and then move forward in life with a genuine sense of forgiveness and compassion.

Spirituality In Coaching and Therapy – Nigel Hetherington & Paula McCormack

The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.

Norman Vincent Peale

Spirituality In Coaching and Therapy – Newcastle NLP and Hypnosis Cafe Monday 7th February 7-9pm : Gosforth Library Newcastle NE3 3HD : £10 Including Biscuits. Book online below.

When we come direct from heart space we create an energetic connection that surpasses the concept of empathy or our multi-sensory capacity. In doing so we create the neutral void that two souls can share to explore, discover, test, challenge and shift. For us, this is our recipe for lasting and generative change.

So in this café Paula and Nigel will facilitate your unpacking of the deeper and more connecting ways in which yours and our therapeutic alliances work. How they are formed, how they grow and the effect and impact they have on our and the world.

We will open and share our thoughts and processes of how to develop co-created alliances by exploring the concepts of projections and reflections prior to, during and after a dynamic interaction. We will also consider projection and reflection in terms of attracting clients into your life for mutual healing and purposeful learnings.

Every person we meet has something to teach us, and every person has something to say that only they can say. We both believe we attract the clients that will help and be beneficial to our ongoing development. This may also include ‘healing’ your past. viz a vie we meet together to co-create something that is more than mutually beneficial …

From this place we’ll look at working from heart space that dynamically co-creates a change process as being fundamental in effective change and evolution work. We will show you how this offers a place that goes way beyond our understanding of rapport. Indeed it transcends the thoughts that if we shared some common value, belief, outcomes, goals and even purpose we can go anywhere in the relationship.

Newcastle NLP and Hypnosis Cafe

Monday 7th February 7-9pm :

Gosforth Library Newcastle NE3 3HD : £10 Including Biscuits.

Book online now.





Can You Make A Living From Coaching or Therapy?

I run regular trainings in Newcastle for people to become certified Clinical Hypnotherapists and NLP Practitioners. Two days ago I received a call from a perspective participant regarding Hypnotherapy Training. One of their really good questions was “Can I make a living as a Hypnotherapist”.

The answer is a very BIG no and yes!

There are many, many training courses where you can become a qualified therapist, coach or hypnotherapist. Currently there is no legislation in the UK to stop anyone stating they are a ‘hypnotherapist’ or ‘coach’ any reader can do it right now. Some will get a ‘qualification’ yet if you want to make a good living as a professional people helper YOU NEED CLIENTS, no matter how good you think you are or the training you have received.

I strongly recommend Andy Austin’s Brass Bollocks [ if you will follow the process ] and then be prepared to commit to the time it takes to generate lots of clients AND build a reputation and successful practice!

Andy is someone I have done a great deal of training with, who I regard as a truly consummate professional, Andy Austin has stated …

A little humility will save you a lot of humiliation“.

There are so many products out in the market promising you can make £x,xxx,xxx in a year. This is a big sham! One of the biggest deceptions going in my opinion. There are no get rich quick schemes and if this is what you want you may well be in the wrong profession! Yet, the strategies are generally good BUT it takes time to build a good reputation, referrals and a professional practice.

My personal experience, never bothering to follow any of these get rich schemes was it took me five years to build a profitable practice in therapy. I am an ex-software engineer and have some savi regarding how to build an internet presence that works for you.

I was teaching hypnosis and NLP by 2005 and it is now 2011. This is five years in time and five years in reputations and referrals. Unless you have a massive number of contacts do not expect to make a living as soon as you are qualified. I think this applies to any professional practice, therapy or other …

One of the most important pieces of experience I can offer is you can do it. It usually wont happen over night. It takes practice, time and a real commitment to helping people transform their lives – as well as your own! If you are currently working I suggest you create what I call a ‘parachute fund’ to help you on your way, to transition between a job and a true calling. Don’t do what I did and sell your house to create you business, it is way too risky!

So, I sold my home and quite my job as a full time software developer and programmer to pursue my dream. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone because it was very hard and was a one way ticket to survive and  flourish or go bust. I followed my dream …

Anything and everything to do what I love, my family and friends said I was mad to give up a lucrative job … YET … my heart was elsewhere in the future … and eventually … this came true … It was not easy! It is really hard work!!

Follow your heart … … … and at the same time, realise you do need to make a living in the process ….

Some hints and tips on what not to to … Basically don’t lie about yourself.

In therapeutic practice, there are so many people advertising skills they simply haven’t got.  For instance …

Do not advertise what you are not or make somewhat ridiculous claims on what you can do for clients. This includes ridiculous fees that simply do not attract clients.  The [ ] are examples of what I personally know has failed for certain people who try to present themselves as therapists or coaches.

  • £125 coaching by skype [ 4 clients in 18 months, two non paying ]
  • Child behaviour Specialist . [ Physically abusing their children by smacking then in the face and mouth ]
  • Saying you have 100% client success [ everyone knows this is not so ]
  • Divorced mother specialisation [ still married and ongoing incredibly troublesome divorce ]
  • Relationship expert [ 20 years of infidelity and non resolved personal issues ]
  • Get your magic job [ no income from therapy, dependent on the state for financial support ]
  • You can make a living doing what you love [ no income except state / partner dependent ]

Make you fees plainly accessible to one and all

The most well known and successful UK therapists are from £125 – per hour or session. These are the people who have 10 to 15 years plus of experience and practice to charge this. Get real. You will not compete with these people right away. These are well developed and recognised professionals. Better to charge £45 per hour and get some clients while building a real reputation.

The real trick here is to build up a practice

  • Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to up your prices especially when they have no clients of their own.
  • Get your Internet Site presence up and for the world to see.
  • Make presentations to your local therapy and counselling associations.
  • Do free work until you have people that will recommend you.
  • Be true to what you believe is right and set out to make a difference.
  • Patience and the rest will come with dedication.

Follow your dreams while you study and practice hard!

Love & Light

Nigel