1. Anxiety and the Anxiety Spectrum of Disorders – Anxiety takes a toll on the body. Being on guard tires the system. Chronic anxiety has been related to high blood pressure, muscle spasms and pain, headaches, immune system weakening, gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers of the stomach, skin rashes and hives. Anxiety has a healthy place in our lives in order to protect us, but a little goes a long way. We are best served by getting it under control and using it only to our advantage, rather than letting it run rampant with us. Anxiety is a natural even but needs to be used as it was designed as a protective mechanism by the brain.

2. Depression – Depression has the power to rob us of all possible joy, and those suffering from any form of depression know that it can affect all areas of life. Our family life, productivity, career and social relationships become caught up in the downward spiral of mood and energy and render us feeling helpless. Not surprisingly, depression is one of the most common symptoms of adults who come from abusive or dysfunctional homes. Who wouldn’t be sad if they had been physically or emotionally abused, made to feel like they didn’t matter, or if they had never laughed and played as a child? Of course, a child who has been abandoned or lives with the threat of abandonment develops a depression and grief response. Depression is a natural reaction if you are never validated as an individual, are ridiculed regularly for what you’re thinking, are called names, or live through endless put-downs or tirades of negativity. Feelings of helplessness actually translate into depression.

3. Attachment and Relationship Problems – Attachment is defined as a special emotional relationship that invokes an exchange of comfort, care and pleasure. These early experiences have an important influence on the development of relationships and our relationship behavior in later life.

4. Chronic Anger – This is somewhat self-explanatory, and typically individuals know if they are angry. However, there are some who do not. Road rage, sarcasm, put-downs and scoffing at others or at the world in general are usually anger-based. So can be spouting off continually about politics or what is wrong with the world. Masked as citizenship, the person may not even be in touch with where their anger is coming from or even that they are angry. When someone is self-righteous about how they are right and the world is wrong, they’re hard to be around. Anger has also been shown in studies to be the unhealthiest emotion. The resulting problems can include heart disease or stroke.

5. Poor Coping Strategies – Poor coping strategies are those that we engage in to make ourselves feel better or to buffer ourselves from the outside world of stressors that are bothering us. They make us feel good for the moment but typically create bigger problems the longer we indulge in them. These can develop in relation to all dysfunctional parenting styles as we seek to alleviate our emotional distress.

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