Category Archives: Educational Blog

Educational Post: Surviving Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the attempt by one person to control another person by psychological methods as opposed to physical violence.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Examples of emotional abuse are demeaning and belittling another person, questioning their faithfulness, and threatening to harm oneself if the other person does not comply with the will of the abuser.

Emotional abuse is not just limited to intimate relationships. It can be found in the workplace, and at school, and in social situations. Any situation in which one person can seek to establish an improper degree of control over another person can be a situation in which there is emotional abuse.


What Happens To Survivors of Emotional Abuse?

Persons who suffer emotional abuse may suffer problems of low self-esteem. They are more likely to report eating disorders. They may become withdrawn. They may doubt their ability to obtain better treatment in a properly supportive relationship.

Surviving emotional abuse takes self-awareness and self-respect. The first step is not denying the existence of the emotional abuse. It is real and can affect your quality of life. Anyone can rationalize away abusive behavior, but it ought to be confronted.

~Christopher Andrew Balsz~

Surviving Emotional Abuse

The next step is to recognize that the survivor is not the problem. The abuser is deliberately using abuse to attempt to control the behavior of the person in the relationship.


whereas the survivor, often ends up covering the abuser’s own poor social skills. You are not to blame for this, and deserves so much better.


A survivor of emotional abuse should evaluate the relationship and whether it is better to sever the relationship altogether.

This will depend on the circumstances of the abuse. Take the workplace as an example, it is hard to avoid the abuser all together and you might be in a situation where you don’t know where to go. One thing to do is to try to distance yourself as much as possible, and not go into a direct conflict with the abuser but rather set firm boundaries and strictly communicate about work-related business. Write down all instances abuse occurs, in that way you can silently build up a case. The abuse might think they are superior but the truth is, you are being smart about the situation. Using the abusers’ inability to behave properly against him/her. It is possible to report the abuser whereas he/she can be made to leave. Otherwise, the survivor may have to sever ties with the abuser and end the relationship altogether. The key is to educate yourself on the subject on how to deal with an abuser. You can read a bit about it here

If you will not sever the relationship with the abuser, in a social or workplace setting, it is important to confront the abuser directly and firmly with appropriate boundaries for their behavior. It is important not to suffer the abuse because you wish to avoid being difficult. You are entitled to respect and dignity and the absence of abuse. The key, on the other hand, is how to approach the abuser. It is easy to get triggered, it is what they want. Don’t allow them that control. But take the time to read and find a plan for how to deal with the situation. Don’t feel bad for setting boundaries, it is your right to decided what is ok and not ok.

It may be helpful to seek professional guidance and counseling as to how to proceed in your exact situation. Again, you are not the problem, and you are entitled to stand up for yourself. A professional can provide situational advice that is relevant and useful to your circumstances.

Find a healthy relationship, in that we mean someone you can trust and take advice from. It may be necessary to sever the relationship with the abuser and find a workplace,

pexels-photo-722939romantic or social setting where you are treated with dignity and respect.  It is important to remember that fact and act on it. Move forward from your abusive situation into a lifestyle full of respect and caring relationships. Nothing is worth being scrutinised for. In a work relationship if you are afraid of the financial situation to try the tips stated above, while looking for a new job at the side, use that new outlet as a positive reinforcement being able to stay calm.

What If I See Emotional Abuse Happening to Someone Else?

If you witness someone else being the subject of emotional abuse, you have a powerful opportunity to become a support to them in their hour of crisis. Your caring and respect can help check the damage to self-respect and tendency to isolate that emotional abuse can create. It’s important to recognize your own limits, however, and perhaps the best thing you can do for your friend and yourself is recommend strongly that they seek professional guidance and counseling regarding their abusive situation. You cannot replace professional help and will find it very taxing to be asked to fill that role.

Now that you’re aware of emotional abuse and some ways to counter it, let’s get motivated to act on our self-awareness of our own objective value and promise!

You Are Beautiful

Christopher Andrew Balsz Jr
PLQ Motivator

Monday Educational Article — What is a Good Relationship?


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We’ve talked a little about warning signs of a bad relationship. What are the signs of a positive relationship?

Let’s begin by restating that you have a worth and beauty as yourself, alone. You should not become anxious or depressed over your relationship status. If and when you feel confident in yourself to take on the role of a relationship partner, you will find it easier to engage others. This is true of more than just romantic relationships. Your work and friendship relationships will become more meaningful as you practice mindfulness and self-appreciation of your worth.


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As an outgrowth of respect for yourself, a positive relationship is built on mutual respect for each other. The partners are important to each other. You should be glad to give your time to your partner. You should be able to forgive each other’s shortcomings as less important than the continued relationship. Outside concerns should be relegated to their proper place in your priorities, which means distractions should be eliminated.


A positive relationship should be built on trust in each other. You should recognize that each of you are different with your own personality and outlook. This will be complimentary instead of disturbing. Your independent qualities should be identified and celebrated. A positive relationship allows each partner enough time alone to recharge their energies on their own preferred recreations, although, again, the respect for the partner means being glad to focus appropriate time on them and on the relationship.


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People in a positive relationship are eager to develop their communication skills. Learning to listen quietly and affirmatively is important. It gives the partner proper attention and helps develop awareness of your partner’s unique personality and needs, and prepares you to look to provide for those needs. Likewise, having a partner who listens means your own views will be validated and your needs fulfilled. People in positive relationships take the time to stay connected during the day and respond to each other. This goes again to our discussion of respect in a relationship.


People in a positive relationship look to develop empathy for each other. They show each other frequent affection. They look to surprise and delight their partner. They find humor in the challenges of everyday living. They are willing to identify goals, and work together on goals.


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See a pattern here? A positive partner respects your independent self-worth. A positive partner is ready to commit time to get to know you as a special person. They allow you your own space, and viewpoints. They are ready to develop the communication skills to identify and respond to your needs. They look to connect emotionally with you and become an functional help to your own pursuits.

I am glad we had an opportunity to discuss something positive this time of year! Again, don’t be anxious or depressed if you do not yet feel you are in a positive relationship. We believe you are strong and capable enough to develop these bonds of empathy, trust, and respect in their own good time. It’s important to focus on your own self-development as needed, whether you have what you consider to be a fulfilling relationship or without one.

And remember,

You are Beautiful

Christopher Andrew Balsz Jr.
PLQ Contributor and Mentor

Monday Weekly Education — Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

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Part of having self-love is valuing our own worth independent of our role in a relationship. Yes it can be nourishing to be in a healthy relationship. But it could also be harmful to continue an abusive relationship through a lack of appreciation for self worth.

You deserve to be appreciated by a relationship partner. You deserve to hear affirming, caring and nurturing things from your partner. You deserve to have your partner respect the relationship itself.


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What are some warning signs of an abusive relationship?

A partner who flirts openly with other persons is not respecting the relationship. Much more so if there is outright infidelity.

A partner who keeps making conditional statements such as “I love you but” or “If you don’t ____ I’ll ____” is not respecting you.

A partner who is constantly hypercritical, humiliating, embarrassing, sarcastic and hurtful is not helping you build yourself up.

A partner who is excessively moody, withdraws affection, refuses to communicate, gives guilt trips, and tries to make everything your fault, is not respecting you or the relationship with you.

Extreme behavior like unreasonable jealousy, isolating you from friends and family, threatening suicide if you don’t show attention, or using money to control you, are forms of abuse.

These are the warning signs of an abusive relationship. We’ll discuss in detail what a healthy relationship looks like in an upcoming article, but please recognize that an abusive relationship is not likely to be repaired and is better ended sooner.


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But I know I am loved because of the good times!

Abuse in relationships is often interposed with periods of affection and attention as the abuser tries to manipulate the survivor into staying in the relationship. These “good times” do not outweigh the reality of abuse!

Let’s recover our positive focus for a minute…

You are capable and deserving of forming a good relationship. You are capable and competent to determine whether your relationship is not healthy. You have a value that is absolute and cannot be relative to your ability to remain in any relationship with another person.

If you have been reading along with us about the skills of self-love and self-awareness, you know that a pause to reconsider your emotions and attitudes is healthy and helpful. Let such a pause occur while you review your treatment of yourself in your relationship. Have you been deliberately smothering your emotions and self-worth to justify continuing the relationship? That is a warning sign of a bad relationship.


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What can be done about a bad relationship?

If these warning signs are present in your relationship you may want to consider a counseling session to help you identify your options and guide you towards liberating yourself from your abusive relationship. We have every confidence that you can take self-improving steps in the right direction! That is one of our founding principles here at PLQ.

And remember that as you take on the real stress of adjusting your relationship situation, you are capable of handling this stress and emerging with greater depth of character and strengths because of enduring this stress. It is change for the better.

And please remember

You are Beautiful

Christopher Andrew Balsz
PLQ Motivator and Contributor

Monday Weekly Education – Self-Love

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. We treat ourselves more harshly and unreasonably than any other person, and are our own worst critic. This behavior can deprive us of enjoyment of any achievement and lead us to an anxious or depressed life.


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It’s time for some self-love!

What is self-love? It’s appreciation of our efforts and achievements. It is tolerating our human mistakes and criticizing ourselves constructively instead of ruminating on them as absolute failures.

It is setting appropriate boundaries in dealing with others. It is treating ourselves with the due respect and compassion that every human being deserves.


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If we show ourselves this respect and compassion, we will be able to seek out concrete improvements in our lives in response to setbacks. We will develop appropriate relationships with others. We will be ready to project tolerance and compassion and respect outward to other people.

A key practice in developing self-nurturing attitudes is mindfulness. Take time to pause in the moment and examine your feelings. Your feelings are real and should be respected. Recognize how you are feeling before acting on your feelings.

Probe the cause of your feelings.

Is there some need or cause creating these feelings in you? Why is it present? Examine the source of the feeling. Is it something positive or negative? If it is negative, what could you change about your situation to ease the feelings?


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Sometimes we cannot readily find a cause for our intense feelings. Then is the time for a serious effort at detachment from our feelings, to refrain from acting out on the emotions. Just accept that this is a time of intense emotions, and if they do not seem to have a definite cause, they will ease with the passage of time. Be safe in your emotions.

Looking Critically At Ourselves
It is important not to feel guilty. We are all human, and we all can develop situations beyond our best intentions or plans. Mistakes will happen, and it is a measure of our worth and value that we can admit that something needs to change, and take a pause in our lives to seek that positive change.

It may be that positive change will be a gradual process, over time. For example, I’m seriously out of shape and sometimes that makes me upset to realize my limits. I can admit to the source of these feelings, and I need to commit to a long-term solution. There’s no point feeling guilty or angry at myself about it. I need to stay positive and focused on the long term.


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When we can approach our failings with that positive, constructive, and tolerant mindset, we are seriously better prepared to interact with others in a positive, constructive and tolerant way. We are prepared to create work, social, and romantic relationships on a sound footing based on self-respect and mutual caring.

Is Self-Love Narcissistic?
Some people think that too much self-love is destructive. Possibly so; I doubt anybody reading this is in danger of being too self-centered and preoccupied with approving themselves! Probably the reverse is true: that we are inclined to double down on bad feelings and negative thoughts and attack ourselves for having bad feelings and negative thoughts. Please, please be aware that our capacity to question ourselves and our feelings is the beginning of progress towards a better self!

You can do it! You deserve it and are worth the small effort needed!

You are beautiful!

Christopher Andrew Balsz
PLQ Contributor and Motivator

Weekly Monday Education – Combatting Loneliness


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Each of us at some time has felt a lack of company or friendship. Whether it is because we isolated ourselves geographically or through single-minded pursuit of our own agendas, we notice that nobody is there with us. And this is a sad-making feeling to have.

For some of us, it is a crippling sensation. We tend to think that it is due to our own faults, and that we are not worthy of companionship, and that it will be a permanent condition. And these things are not true. All of us have the ability to affirm another person’s interests and likes, just by sharing in activities. You have the power to like others and be liked in turn! And you may know a few tricks to pass on, which is always welcome and gives a good feeling.

Other people are able to quickly act on their feelings of loneliness. It should be stressed here that even the most outgoing and extroverted people can feel alone and adrift. For some people, the remedies to loneliness are almost instinctual. For the rest of us, they can become learned behaviors. So let’s examine the ways to combat loneliness!


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The best first step is self-examination.

What are my own interests and abilities? What do I enjoy doing? What do I find myself doing in my free time? Don’t scratch it off the list just because it seems like something you do alone, like reading or solo hiking. The goal here is to find out what enthusiasms you have that you can discuss with other people without feeling awkward about it. I say it is best to examine your own interests first because there is any number of people meeting for all sorts of topics. You will be more likely to keep coming back if you really enjoy what they’re talking about.


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How do you find these groups?

The quickest way is an internet search for things like Meetup or Facebook. If you’re near a college campus, there are probably clubs organized around your interests that will allow you to attend even if you’re not a student– there may be restrictions on using campus facilities such as a gym or a pool, but if you’re not using anything but a room, you should be welcome. Remember what I said about isolating yourself geographically or by the single-minded pursuit of your own interests? College students tend to have done both and want to meet you.

If your interests involve special supplies, like sewing, a supply store is a good reference for hobbyists in your area. Ask the clerk if anybody is meeting in your area to practice your hobby.


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Embracing the Awkwardness

It will be hard to walk into that room the first time. But if you’ve prepared yourself by finding something you like to do, you will be surprised how well you fit in with your stories and habits. People meeting to discuss a shared interest are usually too busy to feel self-conscious…and enjoy themselves too much!

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Special Advice for Teens

If you’ve been reading and notice that much of what I’m saying seems to require mobility and a disposable income, I’m sorry. It’s still possible to reach out to others and stave off the feelings of loneliness. I’ll give you teens some advice I didn’t give adults in the doldrums.

Experiment with your Interests

Now is the time to figure out what you could really get into. Don’t just list what you actually do all day, experiment with what you haven’t tried in the past. It’s okay to spend some time finding out that rock climbing or bug collecting is not for you. The odds are better in your situation that you’ll meet somebody your age looking for some interests to pursue, too, which can be its own bonding experience.

Take the Initiative

Sometimes the last thing an adult wants is more work. So I didn’t stress founding your own group as an option. You teens in school have an infrastructure for founding clubs at hand. If you have a clean, healthy, positive, definite interest at heart and don’t spot a club on campus for you, ask about starting one! The absolute worst that could happen is that you meet other people who organize clubs on campus, which you will find is a shared interest in itself. But you’re more likely to find that others share your particular interests. A pro tip – keep it positive, focused on the subject matter, and be tolerant of other people looking to participate.


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And remember, you are beautiful!


Christopher Andrew Balsz Jr
PLQ Contributor and Motivator

How do I Increase Self-Awareness?

22690634_10159341100065265_683356544_oA consequence of abuse is deeply painful reactions and emotions.  Survivors of abuse will find it helpful to apply self-awareness to help them develop a healing sense of control.

Self-awareness can be described as our ability to observe ourselves and our own behavior.  Most probably you have said one time or another, “I shouldn’t have done that.”  This judging of our actual behavior against our unspoken standards can be a helpful step towards improvement.


As with all conscious thought exercises, self-awareness improves with practice.

In the beginning of acquiring self-awareness, you will be critical of behavior you have done.  You will apply self-awareness after experiencing some sharp emotion or wild reaction.  You will actually be saying “I shouldn’t have done that.  I could have done better.”  Embrace these as the first steps towards better self-control.  You are becoming more self-aware than somebody who just feels intensely without thinking about it.

When we consider how we have behaved in the past, we are able to create a separation or a pause between our conscious thought and our feelings.  This is very important growth!  


Be positive.

Your feelings are not wrong; but consider how you express them, and what behaviors flow from your reactions.  Are you behaving in a way you like?  Would you prefer to express yourself differently?  


Imagine the best outcome.  

Like an artist shaping a bonsai tree, we have to have some goal in mind for our questioning of ourselves.  

With practice, you can learn to apply self-awareness during your intense emotions and reactions.  You will be able to choose your behavior and avoid conduct you have decided is not worth doing!

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Sometimes I get very very sad.  I have learned to question my intense sadness, is there really a cause to this sadness? Am I frustrated in some way or anxious about some outcome?  What positive steps can I take to ease my frustration or anxiety?  If there’s really nothing I can do, isn’t it time to employ a little patience, and wait for the outcome to resolve itself?  And if I’m still too sad to feel able to do anything concrete to change my mood, then I give myself a pause to be sad.

I have learned to detach my conscious thinking from my intense emotions, and during the emotional turbulence, think about the causes of my emotion, and the way in which I express it to others.  I don’t have wrong emotions; I have feelings that I want to control.

I have come to find this pause, this detachment, very helpful to me in dealing with my emotions.   There are times, when using self-awareness and examination of my feelings, that I am able to ease myself out of an intense mood and focus my attention on some project or chore outside myself.  There are many times, however, when I need to take time out to experience my feelings, and I still find taking a step back and thinking about my emotions and my reactions is somewhat comforting.  

I’m able to consider my emotions as a temporary state among a greater continuum of existence.  I feel, but I can orient my expression of my feelings along a pattern of personality.  There is me, and I try to act a certain way and avoid some behaviors.

I hope my personal experience persuades you to practice critical thinking about how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way.  This thinking will help you choose to express your feelings in ways that you find nourishing and helpful.


You Are Beautiful

Remember that we at PLQ believe you are strong enough to grow beyond the abuse dealt to you.  You are a person with unique perspectives and experiences, and you can develop yourself into the person you imagine you want to be!


Christopher A. Balsz

PLQ Member

Life goes in Waves: How Do I Form A Crisis Plan?(With Template)


Trigger Warning: Reading this article may remind us of extreme emotional situations. It is presented to be helpful, but you should be warned about potential triggers contained within. (Free Template at the bottom of this article)

Sometimes our feelings can overwhelm us and we require the assistance of others in our lives. We can anticipate this development by preparing what is called a crisis plan. A crisis plan provides necessary information to others who want to assist us. In preparing a crisis plan, we become more self-aware of our feelings and outlook regarding our own situation.

Not everyone will make use of a crisis plan. However, reviewing what is required for a complete crisis plan is a good exercise for everyone experiencing regular stressors in their lives.

Take a breath and read over this proposed crisis plan before working to fill out the answers. It may seem overwhelming at first.


Emergency Contact Information
Who should be contacted if you have a crisis and need an intervention? It is important to know at least one reliable person to be reached if you are incapacitated for whatever reason, so as you see, the exercise of creating a crisis plan is useful to everyone.

Emotional Signs of Distress
What behaviors do you notice are signs you are not feeling well? Often we have indicators of a bad time coming on if we think about our feelings.  Can you note them down so that you can act early before a severe crisis?

ProvidersPLQ Crisis Plan
Who are the medical professionals who should be contacted if you are in difficulty? What are their names and telephone numbers?


Prescriptions and Allergies
What medications, if any, are you taking? Are there medications to be avoided? What other health needs should be addressed?

If you have children, and will be away from home, what arrangements have you made for their care?

Comforting Supporters
What persons would you like to be with you as you experience your early warning behaviors? It is good to prepare these contacts in advance so that you can act early to avoid the onset of a sharp crisis.


If you have pets, what arrangements should be made while you are away from home?

Crisis Identification
What makes you feel that you are in a bad situation compared to your good days? It can be helpful to others to know what you are feeling. It can also help us to be self-aware of our own feelings when we have crises.

Past Supports
What behavior by support providers helped you feel better in the past? Are there things you want others to avoid doing when you are in a crisis?


Informing Others
Who should be informed if you are having a crisis? Do you have instructions regarding sharing information that you want relaying to others?

Other Information
Any cultural practices you want to be respected during a crisis? Any special instructions you want to share with others? A crisis plan is an opportunity to express ourselves!


OK, have you finished reading it over first? It’s going to take some focused effort and objective thinking about ourselves to fill this out. But it will be very helpful if we ever find ourselves in a crisis situation. And we believe you can do it!

You are Beautiful!


Christopher Andrew Balsz
PLQ Contributing Member

Template For a Crisis Plan: PLQ Crisis Plan

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Photographer: Ahmad Torabi
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