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Radio talk show host, The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Program, 20 million listeners 30,000 – 50,000 attempted calls to her daily show
Heard on over 400 radio stations in 98% of the U.S.
Appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, A&E Biography, Larry King Live, Lifetime’s Intimate Portrait, 20/20, etc.
PhD Physiology, Columbia University
Licensed Marriage, Family & Child Counselor, USC
Resides in Southern California with her husband Dr. Lewis G. Bishop
TO BE OR NOT TO BE A VICTIM
Dr. Laura asks, "What makes some people hold onto being a victim and others choose to improve their lives?" The answer is control.
According to Dr. Laura, when you are a perpetual victim, the past is in control of your present. When you are a conqueror, the present is controlled by your choices, in spite of the pain and pull of your past. Inspiring, isn’t it? Yet it is so difficult for some people to make up their minds and follow through, to become conquerors. Why? There are at least nine reasons, all having to do with an emotional attachment to certain kinds of crutches:
7) Avoid Challenges
8) Center of the Universe
9) Change is Scary/Hard
When someone has been seriously hurt in their childhood, the defense mechanisms and manipulative patterns, the warped perceptions, the out-of-control emotions, and the hopelessness that results in depression/anxiety are tough to completely shed. The truth is that there is always a battle between history and the present. It takes patience, courage, and perseverance to stay with the healthier and more positive program. It is a lifelong battle. Some people sadly hug the security of the familiar and rue change. Fear of change is a bad habit. But Dr. Laura says, change you must, if you hope to have a life with meaning, pleasure, peace and joy.
I’M THE PROBLEM?
According to Dr. Laura, a bad childhood is easy to come by, and you don’t have any control over that. A good life after a bad childhood is not easy to create, but you do have control over that. In a bad childhood you struggle against forces external to yourself. To come to a good life, the struggle is against forces internal – they are yourself. Dr. Laura offers ten qualities that make it possible to liberate yourself from victimhood, and change your life from victim to victor.
1) A look in the mirror means facing the truth and deciding not to be a victim any longer.
2) Enduring the pain means stop waiting for the pain of your past to go away – it never will. Eventually the pain will have so many wonderful interruptions that it will become more readily tolerated and a less powerful force in your life.
3) Acceptance doesn’t mean you embrace your bad experiences or that you like it or agree with it. It is now your turn to decide what you’re going to do with it – or in spite of it.
4) Letting go means not allowing your bad thoughts, memories, and feelings from your bad childhood to squeeze out any joy you could enjoy in a good life.
5) Replacing bad habits like negativity or always being suspicious of the motives of others. You cannot treat the world as though it was an instant replay of your childhood.
6) Reaching out means “filling up” the empty spots in your life with healthy, kind, encouraging, and supportive people. Although risky and sometimes scary, it is important and necessary.
7) Spirituality means opening outward. Living for something or someone outside of yourself is the primary means by which you find purpose and value in your life.
8) Perspective means getting the focus off yourself. Get involved in volunteer work, charitable causes, etc.
9) Hobbies are a good distraction to move your mind away from somber issues into a positive area for growth and change.
10) A positive Attitude always makes your circumstances look better. (MORE
DR. LAURA'S CHILDHOOD
Dr. Laura admits she could not of written this book earlier in her life because she too had to be well down the road of her own "good journey" before advising others. Yes, she too had a bad childhood.
According to Dr. Laura, her father was "petty, insensitive, mean, thoughtless, demeaning, and downright unloving.” Once in college over spring break she actually stayed in her dorm room surviving on a bag of Oreo cookies rather than come home to his browbeatings. When her father died she did not mourn. There was no loving, emotional bond with either parent.
When her parents divorced Dr. Laura felt responsible for her mother. She helped support her financially (even though her mother had significant resources) and gave her a job as a receptionist in her counseling clinic. Her mother never remarried and constantly expressed disdain for men, sex, and love.
One day Dr. Laura asked her mother to take a typing course to assist with some paperwork in the office. Her mother said "no", picked up her stuff from the office and refused to see or talk to her daughter ever again. Dr. Laura received word of her mother's death from the Beverly Hills police. Her mother was found dead lying on the floor of her condo. She had been dead for about four months.
Dr. Laura says she was aware of the incredible impact her parents had on her life, as "I had difficulties being happy, building trusting friendships, being open, even relaxing. I didn't want to end up like either one of my parents, virtually alone and unloved." She chose instead to build her life on the principle of helping others.
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