Dr. Gregory Jantz

Problem Solving After Emotional Abuse

August 31, 2020

Are you working through emotional abuse and looking for ways to solve problems moving forward? I’ve developed a list of characteristics of healthy problem-solvers. This middle ground approach takes time to accomplish, but it has the best chance of allowing both parties to remain standing in the end. 

Characteristics of Healthy Problem-Solvers

Below are 10 action steps: 

1. Resolve to solve the problem, not to win. If you only want to “win,” you may find that you’ve won the battle but lost the war. Problems and how they are handled have short- term and long-term consequences. Be aware of both. Consider a strategy, not a battle plan. 

2. Face the problem. Plan a specific time for a conversation to identify the areas of concern and be prepared to offer options for solution. Some problems won’t go away on their own. For those that won’t, I suggest facing them instead of avoiding them. As soon as possible, find a way to deal with the problem. Those left unattended can balloon out of control and are harder to address later. 

3. Be open to unique solutions. Usually, when I perceive a problem, I have an initial idea of how to solve it. Sometimes, though, once I hear different opinions, I change my mind on how to deal with the problem. I may have a good solution, but I may not have the best solution. 

4. Be clear on your boundaries. People can become emotionally heated when working through problems. Know your limits. Know what behaviors you are not willing to accept from others, or from yourself. 

5. Forgive yourself and others. When the boundaries are breached, repair them with forgiveness. 

6. Accept that life is not always fair. Problems, and the way people handle them, do not always seem fair. What is fair to one person may appear unfair to another.

7. Deal with one problem at a time. There may be other problems swirling around, but you can realistically only handle one at a time. Don’t try to take on the problems of the world all at once. 

8. Anticipate a positive outcome. When you enter problem- solving mode, be optimistic. This attitude may seem simplistic, but it is enormously helpful. If you begin to tackle a problem thinking there is no good answer, how motivated are you to solve it? 

9. Believe in your ability to solve the problem. This concept goes together with the one above but is a bit different. There is a difference between believing there is no answer and believing you have no answer. Trust yourself to be able to find a solution. 

10. When working through problems, be aware of how you’re communicating to yourself and to others. Problems are stressful, so avoid autopilot problem-solving. Keep your head in the game and be aware of how everyone involved is dealing with the problem.

How Do You Know When You’re Getting Better?

Moving beyond the past and recapturing the present takes time and requires being intentional about the journey. 

So, how do you know you’re getting better? If you were healing from a physical injury, you could see the wound scab over and start to fill in. You could feel the itch of new tissue forming. Similarly, there are markers to healing from emotional abuse. I like to call these baby steps.  

If you’re not so angry anymore, finding more joy in your life, trying new things, and learning to forgive yourself, those are good signs that you are becoming stronger.

Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE in Edmonds, Washington, voted a Top Ten Center For Depression Treatment in the United States. Dr. Jantz pioneered Whole Person Care in the 1980’s and is a world-renowned expert on eating disorders, depression, anxiety, technology addiction, and abuse. He is a leading voice and innovator in Mental Health utilizing a variety of therapies including nutrition, sleep therapy, spiritual counseling, and advanced DBT techniques. Dr. Jantz is a best-selling author of 40 books and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN.

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, or other mental health challenges, call The Center at 888.771.5166 today.