La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


November, 2011 - Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at La Coop, PA!


I have the fortunate job of caring for patients through tough times. While we are in the office, we do a significant amount of work, but what about at home?

One of my fabulous patients emailed me and asked a question, "It's those moments we all experience when we are going about our day, our life, trying to follow your guidance, and out of the blue we are hit with an unexpected, unforeseen "Zinger". These are moments that hit you from left field, they hurt, they sting and for a split second they take your breath away... and some even temporally knock you out! What are some steps, actions we can take to quickly overcome the moment, think clearly/logically, not allow these "zingers" to place us back 5 steps that we just worked so hard to get to....?"

This newsletter is about dealing with Zingers, Dr. L style!

Hope you all are well and if you'd like me to write about something in a newsletter - email me!

Be Good!

Dr. L

Zinger Shield, Dr. L style

Now I'm going to start off by stating that this isn't a one size fits all problem because each person, each situation, each personality style is different. But, there are some basics that everyone can keep in mind so that the zingers are still present, but you can shield yourself from the hurt.

THINK in your brain

  • Who is the person that threw out the zinger? This is important because the closeness of the person matters. If they are a person that isn't significant the zinger shouldn't even bother you because the person doesn't know you and the problem is them, not you. Now if they are close to you (which is more likely the case because people that are close to us really hurt us) this is tough.
  • Why did they throw it at you? What is the scenario that prompted this zinger? Are you guys in a custody battle and some news came in from the attorney? Did the person find out some bad news about something? Is the person ill and they wanted someone else to feel some of the pain that they are experiencing? Think before you act. Understand where this zinger may be coming from. Now, this person could just be a mean jerk and want to hurt you - that's also a possibility that can't be ruled out. But if this is someone that you care about - there may be more behind what is said than the surface content.
  • Is the zinger actually true? This is a big one because if it's true it's really gonna hurt. Typically, if the person that threw it is someone that you care about - they know where to hit you to hurt you. If it's true then you have to look at it honestly and take an inventory. If it's not and they are just being mean - blow it off!
  • What is the situation where the zinger was thrown out? This is important because this will determine how you respond. If it's in a public place and you are going through a custody battle - is your child really worth it? If this is at work - do you really want to lose your job if you act inappropriately? If it's at a family gathering and everyone's around - do you really want to make a scene? Is the risk worth the reward ultimately?

FEEL the hurt

  • Everything happens for a reason. Just sit there with the feeling and try to put things together in your mind. Maybe this was the right thing to be said, you just weren't emotionally able to take it?
  • You just took a major blow - let yourself be sad for a minute. Then, compose yourself.

What do you DO?

  • Distance yourself from the issue for a little while. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but it does give you time to compose yourself and think about what the next step is that is best for you.
  • Continue to think about why the zinger actually hurt you. This is a really important step which is why I bring it up twice. Was what was said actually true and that is why it hurt? Are you hurting because you are wounded and you have little emotional reserve and you just can't take it anymore? Are you upset because you don't feel like you can do anything about it?
  • Decide if this person can continue to be someone in your life. If this person continually hurts you with words you have to ask yourself why you allow this person to continue to be in a sphere where you are in the line of fire. Is this person a parent and you feel that you have to take it? Is this person a spouse with other problems and you feel that if they got help - maybe it would get better? Can you let this person go and still live your life at your present function or could you be even better with this noose off of your neck? Only you can make that decision, but then you need to act on it.

Ultimately, in treatment we deal with these issues on a deeper level, but hopefully with this shield you will feel that you have some control over the situation as it happens and then we can discuss it later in session. This is the first step to bringing you a sense of agency, which is the sense that you have control over your person. Don't feel that this only happens to you. I have zingers hurled at me on a regular basis and some do hurt, but it's a fact of life that this will happen. I choose to learn and be empowered by the situation rather than be destroyed by it. I hope with this shield - you can learn to do that too!!

Until next time...


Dr. L

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