Happy (Chinese) New year!

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new year

The Chinese Zodiac - Goat

Having spent many years in Chinese cultures (and presently having visitors from China) these celebrations are still very special to me. Why not have some fun and look up your birth year to see which animal you come under. (I’m a rabbit!)

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50 shades of abuse? (Copy paste from face book)

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A Psychiatrist’s Letter to Young People about Fifty Shades of Grey

fiftyshadesArticle taken from Miriam Grossman MD
February 11, 2015

There’s nothing gray about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s all black.

Let me explain.

I help people who are broken inside. Unlike doctors who use x-rays or blood tests to determine why someone’s in pain, the wounds that interest me are hidden. I ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. That’s how I discover why the person in front of me is “bleeding”.

Years of careful listening have taught me a lot. One thing I’ve learned is that young people are utterly confused about love – finding it and keeping it. They make poor choices, and end up in lots of pain.

I don’t want you to suffer like the people I see in my office, so I’m warning you about a new movie called Fifty Shades of Grey. Even if you don’t see the film, its toxic message is seeping into our culture, and could plant dangerous ideas in your head.

Fifty Shades of Grey is being released for Valentine’s Day, so you’ll think it’s a romance, but don’t fall for it. The movie is actually about a sick, dangerous relationship filled with physical and emotional abuse. It seems glamorous, because the actors are gorgeous, have expensive cars and planes, and Beyonce is singing. You might conclude that Christian and Ana are cool, and that their relationship is acceptable.

Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated! The people behind the movie just want your money; they have no concern whatsoever about you and your dreams.

Abuse is not glamorous or cool.  It is never OK, under any circumstances.

This is what you need to know about Fifty Shades of Grey: as a child, Christian Grey was terribly neglected. He is confused about love because he never experienced the real thing. In his mind, love is tangled up with bad feelings like pain and embarrassment.  Christian enjoys hurting women in bizarre ways. Anastasia is an immature girl who falls for Christian’s looks and wealth, and foolishly goes along with his desires.

In the real world, this story would end badly, with Christian in jail, and Ana in a shelter – or morgue. Or Christian would continue beating Ana, and she’d stay and suffer. Either way, their lives would most definitely not be a fairy tale. Trust me on this one.

As a doctor, I’m urging you: DON’T see Fifty Shades of Grey. Get informed, learn the facts, and explain to your friends why they shouldn’t see it either.

Here are a few of the dangerous ideas promoted by Fifty Shades of Grey:

1. Girls want guys like Christian who order them around and get rough.

No! A psychologically healthy woman avoids pain. She wants to feel safe, respected and cared for by a man she can trust. She dreams about wedding gowns, not handcuffs.

2. Guys want a girl like Anastasia who is meek and insecure.

Wrong. A psychologically healthy man wants a woman who can stand up for herself.  If he is out of line, he wants her to set him straight.

3. Anastasia exercises free choice when she consents to being hurt, so no one can judge her decision.

Flawed logic. Sure, Anastasia had free choice – and she chose poorly. A self-destructive decision is a bad decision.

4. Anastasia makes choices about Christian in a thoughtful and detached manner.

Doubtful. Christian constantly supplies Anastasia with alcohol, impairing her judgment.  Also, Anastasia becomes sexually active with Christian – her first experience ever – soon after meeting him. Neuroscience suggests their intimacy could jump start her feelings of attachment and trust, before she’s certain he deserved them.  Sex is a powerful experience – particularly the first time.
Finally, Christian manipulates Anastasia into signing an agreement prohibiting her from telling anyone that he is a long time abuser.

Alcohol, sex, manipulation – hardly the ingredients of a thoughtful, detached decision.

5.   Christian’s emotional problems are cured by Anastasia’s love.

Only in a movie. In the real world, Christian wouldn’t change to any significant degree. If Anastasia was fulfilled by helping emotionally disturbed people, she should have become a psychiatrist or social worker.

6. It’s good to experiment with sexuality.

Maybe for adults in a healthy, long term, committed, monogomous relationship, AKA “marriage”.  Otherwise, you’re at high risk for STDs, pregnancy, and sexual assault. It’s wise to be very careful who you allow to get close to you, physically and emotionally, because just one encounter can throw you off track and change your life forever.

The bottom line: the ideas of Fifty Shades of Grey  are dangerous, and can lead to confusion and poor decisions about love. There are vast differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships, but the movie blurs those differences, so you begin to wonder: what’s healthy in a relationship? What’s sick? There are so many shades of grey…I’m not sure.

Listen, it’s your safety and future we’re talking about here. There’s no room for doubt: an intimate relationship that includes violence, consensual or not, is completely unacceptable.

This is black and white. There are no shades of grey here. Not even one.

drgrossman-aboutMiriam Grossman, MD is a medical doctor with training in pediatrics and in the specialty of child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. She is also the author of Unprotected and You’re Teaching My Child WHAT?

Blog Forcast.

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A warning of severe blog delays and disruptions for the next two weeks has been issued due to forecast family visitations (my daughter and grand-kids). This current of warm and loving air, arising in the Far East is due to hit London in the early hours of tomorrow.

Imminent precipitation of get-togethers, dinners and wine drinking, followed by long chats and deep conversations, preceded by heavy showers of love and affection are predicted.

A heavy fall of good times may temporarily prevent communications and blog updates.

(Wishing you all a similarly great time with your loved ones near or far.)

Love comes in all shapes and sizes.

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I was pleasantly  surprised when a beautiful floral arrangement with a box of chocolates attached came to my door this morning! Noting the card I strongly suspected my daughter (I wasn’t seeing anyone and any would be suitors – should there be any- wouldn’t know my address).

I was wrong. Written in the card was a note from my grandson thanking me for taking care of him and ending with “love you!” Sooo sweet!

Of course I’m sure this had a great deal to do with the afore mentioned daughter (and maybe her PA) but none the less it was a good feeling. Being single is always a little lonesome on Valentines day, but this was a nice reminder that love takes many forms.

First Snow.

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light snow

I look out my window and the world has been transformed so silently I did not notice, tiny snowflakes, each so unsubstantial, fall gently from heaven repainting the landscape in purest white. Soon footsteps will mar the perfection, cars will leave their ugly tracks, but now in this moment all has been transmuted to beauty. Even so life’s changes can sometimes sneak silently upon us, not in blizzard or cloud burst, but in tiny gentle drops burying past ugliness.

(Sadly the photos i took when I wrote this didn’t come out but this downloaded one is appropriate).