With our new series and competition in full swing, it’s time to meet another expert and add another prize to the bundle. We talk with Kamalyn Kaur a Psychotherapsit and author of How to Take Control of a Controlling Relationship. We’re even adding a copy of Kamalyn’s insightful book to the collection, with over £1800 worth of prizes, how can you resist?
There is a trigger warning here, as we discuss abusive relationships and how to get help. So, please be midful if this topic could be difficult for you.
Please can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a Psychotherapist and Anxiety expert who specialises in providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and anxiety management programmes to individuals and organisations.
What is your experience within the mental health field?
I am a fully registered and accredited member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and BABCP (British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies). I have over 10 years’ experience of providing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Anxiety Management Programmes for individuals and organisations. Over the years, I have worked with a lot of individuals helping them with a diverse range of psychological issues they are facing.
Your book ‘How to Take Control of a Controlling Relationship’ was extremely thought provoking. Making you think about the relationship you are currently in or even past relationships. Why did you feel it was beneficial to release this book?
In 2019, I wrote and self-published my first book titled “How To Take Control Of A Controlling Relationship” as a self-help guide for anyone wanting clarity on how to identify toxic and unhealthy traits within their own relationships.
This book was written after I noticed that women were attending therapy sessions with anxiety symptoms, but unsure where the anxiety was coming from. They would identify reasons for their anxiety to be work; home life balance; excessive workloads but after a few sessions it would become very apparent that all these factors were not the cause of anxiety. They were just triggering an anxiety that was already there, an anxiety that was underlying due to issues within their personal relationship. The relationship issues they were facing were mental; psychological; and emotional abuse which is more difficult to identify.
This book was written to help individuals identify the red (and pink) flags of controlling; toxic; and unhealthy relationships which can often be difficult to spot.
You’ve included lists of questions to ask the reader throughout. How do you think this helps the reader engage with the material, as opposed to just reading the information?
When we are in a difficult situation, it is natural for the body to go into shock; denial; or autopilot. It is the body’s defence mechanism for protecting us and keeping us safe when we are feeling overwhelmed. If we are reading information whilst we are in this particular state of mind, then it can present a number of issues such as:
- Convince ourselves that the information doesn’t apply to us
- Feel overwhelmed by what we are reading, making it difficult to understand so we may just stop reading
- We can feel triggered by information thus making it difficult to continue reading the information.
- Finally, sometimes it can feel that there is too much information to receive. When we are in stressful situations, our fight and flight is activated which makes it difficult to focus and concentrate. During times like this, reading paragraphs of information is not practical nor possible for someone who is feeling on edge and looking for quick answers.
The question format therefore is a good way to make people stop and think about their situation at a pace that they are ready and comfortable with.
In the section Fight or Flight you talk about noticing the process that contributes to deciding whether to stay in the relationship. This is a pivotal moment in any relationship. However, it is not always easy to recognise this. What advice do you have for our readers surrounding this topic?
Learn about the red flags associated to unhealthy situations and watch out for them. How often do they appear in your relationship? Start paying attention to your feelings? What feelings come up for you when you are around your partner? What is your partner saying or doing for these feelings to come up for you?
The more you educate yourself on these red flags the more confident you will begin to feel about taking action. You will also become aware of certain negative or unhealthy patterns in your relationship.
Finally ask yourself, if that was your friend, family member, your daughter, your son, that were in the situation that you are currently in – what advice would you give to them?
More often than not, we tolerate situations that we wouldn’t dream of putting others through!
Do you think, going back to the question lists, that this helps the reader to recognise and evaluate, enabling them to come to their own conclusion?
Yes, the questions list helps the reader to recognise and evaluate their own situation which can help them to draw their own conclusions. However even if they don’t come to their own conclusion, it will initiate a thought process that will get them to think outside of their head and start questioning what is happening in their own relationship situation.
The first step of any change is to recognise that what is currently happening, isn’t right or acceptable! This is exactly what this book was intended for – it was written to make you stop; think; and question what was currently happening in your relationship.
You talk about Breaking the Cycle, going into depth about it. A fundamental tool for readers to recognise and understand how to break the cycle of controlling relationships themselves. What happens if you are unable to do this, or perhaps are unsure where to start? Do you have advice on what help people can seek in a professional capacity?
If you are unsure about where to start then my advice would be to focus on two things:
(1) Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling and the fact that you are unhappy in your current situation. Sharing your feelings will help you to offload; feel supported; and acknowledge your present situation. In most cases, when we talk out loud about something, it helps gives us a different perspective on the situation.
(2) I would say, if possible, physically remove yourself from the situation for a little bit of time whether that’s a few days, a week, or however long you can. Physically removing yourself from the situation will give you physical space; breathing space; time to process; and clarity. During this time, focus on what changes you notice in your body e.g. do you feel relaxed? Less on edge? Less agitated? Reduced anxiety?
You cannot heal in the same environment that made you unwell. Removing yourself physically from the situation will give you clarity as it will help you to see the “wood from the trees”.
Finally, speaking to a professional therapist is always helpful as it gives you a confidential space to talk about what is going on; how you are feeling; and explore what you want, all in a space that is safe and non-judgemental.
You discuss regulating emotions through the use of logic. This is an intriguing topic. Do you think more people need to control their emotions with the logical side of the brain? How would go about beginning this?
Our mind is the most powerful tool we have. If we can learn to train the brain to focus on what is true; what is happening; and look at logic during times of emotional distress, then we can become so much more resilient. This applies specifically to situations in which there is emotional and psychological abuse because the only way these forms of abuse can continue is by twisting your reality; gas lighting you; lying to you; manipulating the truth; manipulating your emotions; making you feel guilty; making you feel that you aren’t good enough; and making you question yourself as a person.
During times like this, if you start to think and lead with emotion, you will get sucked into a cycle that is very difficult to break free from. During times like this, what will DEFINITELY help you is using logic – focus on the facts; look for evidence; and look for the proof.
For example, anytime, you have a negative thought or someone makes a negative statement towards you, ask yourself “How do I know this is not true?”
One of the most common things that an abuser will do is make statements around how useless or worthless you are. They will also make out that no one will want to be with you. IF that is the case, and if you are such an awful person to be around then why are they with you? That doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
If you look at the facts of the situations, they will often be that the abuser themselves won’t be able to find someone; they are ones who are useless; they are the ones who are worthless individuals – they are just projecting their fears onto you and consequently holding you captive in the prison of negative thoughts.
Logic involves thinking using facts; evidence; and proof. Start thinking like a lawyer!
Self-awareness is a huge part of having good mental health. How can people begin to gain greater self-awareness? Do you have any exercises or skills you could recommend people may use for this?
1. Start paying attention to your feelings and get curious about what you are feeling and why that feeling is being triggered.
2. Take out a few minutes in the day to focus on your breathing. During this time, pay attention to what is going on inside your body and where you may be holding any tension. Meditation is also very good for helping align your breathing and body!
3. For some, journaling every day is a helpful way of capturing their feelings and reflections.
Communication is a key fundamental skill within any relationship. You discuss this in detail throughout your book. If your partner struggles to communicate the issues and challenges they face, what suggestions are you able to make to help in this situation?
1. You can encourage them to write down how they are feeling and share what they have written with you. This can prove to be a good starting point for anyone that struggles to verbalise their emotions.
2. A lot of us find it intimidating and confronting to talk about our feelings in a one-to-one setting. To help overcome this, it can be a little bit easier to talk about feelings and emotions when doing an activity together which involves both people being side by side rather than face to face. This could be walking; going for a drive; cooking; painting; or anything that doesn’t involve a face-to-face setting.
3. Finally, using mediation or couples counselling where there is a third person steering the conversation can be helpful for those who struggle to communicate.
At the end of the book you talk about healing. One of the areas you explore is increasing the heart rate. What exercises or breathing would you recommend and how do they impact the healing process?
Any kind of deep breathing is good for helping to relax the mind and body. Breathing is one of the best self-regulation tools that our body has because it reduces the heart rate; deepens the breathing; and relaxes the muscles. When these 3 things happen together, the body’s alarm system that makes us anxious is deactivated.
Physical exercises that increase the heart rate are important because they help to burn adrenaline and any other stress hormones within the body. Some examples of physical exercises are:
- Workout classes
To be honest, any physical exercise is great for the body because it will reduce anxiety; burn adrenaline; and bring down cortisol levels (stress hormones) in the body. Physical exercise also produces serotonin and endorphins which are essential for feeling happy and reducing pain in the body.
The Wonder Collection
The Wonder Self-Care Journal! We believe self-care is vital to great mental health. What is your go to self-care activity and why?
For me it is definitely exercise and music. Exercise is a great way of releasing any extra energy from the body, helping me to feel relaxed and reenergized!
As for music, for me, that is one of the quickest ways to change how I feel. In just a few moments I can feel uplifted; motivated; relaxed; or happy, just by picking the right playlist. Music is one of the most powerful mood boosters – it can help us visualize; transport us into a different world; and help us heal. The recent rise in sound baths as healing is proof of this!
The Wonder Mix Tape! What song/artist do you find uplifting and listening to it/them boosts your mood?
I don’t have particular artists; it will all be dependent on how I feel and what is going on in my life at that moment in time. When I come back from holiday, I will continuously listen to music that belongs to the country that I have just visited because it reminds me of my holiday. If I am chilling at home, I will most likely listen to instrumental music. If I am wanting to relax or release emotion, then it will definitely be binaural beats.
The Wonder Bookshelf! Can you recommend a book to our readers. Fiction, non-fiction, feel good or advice giving. Why did you choose this book?
“Heal Your Body” by Louise Hays and “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. Both of these books are phenomenal at helping you realise just HOW POWERFUL your mind actually is!
Not only do you have the chance to win all of the prizes we have featured so far, but today we are adding two more! You will get a copy of How to Take Control of a Controlling Relationship, by Kamalyn with your winnings. However, there is also a fantastic program that Kamalyn offers called “Mind Over Matter” – A Step By Step Guide To Overcome Anxious and Negative Thoughts!
Mind Over Matter is all about helping your mental health by tackling anxiety. In this online course, usually priced at £495, you will be empowered to break free of those negative and anxious thoughts. Your prize will be in the form of a voucher.
Through carefully crafted material, “Mind Over Matter” equips you with practical techniques and strategies to dismantle the barriers that anxiety and negativity have created in your life. Expertly curated by Kamalyn Kaur, an experienced Psychotherapist and Anxiety Expert, this online course delves into the main unhelpful thinking patterns that create psychological barriers, unveiling the keys to unlocking a confident and resilient mindset.
Discover practical tools and exercises that enable you to challenge self-doubt head-on, replacing it with an unbreakable belief in yourself. Gain a profound understanding of the underlying causes of anxiety and negative thinking, empowering you to rewire your thoughts and reclaim control over your mind (and emotions).
You can find out more about Kamalyn and the course on her website www.kamalynkaur.com. Don’t forget to check the Competitions page for the other WTHM? What The Mental Health articles. You’ll find lots of wonderful information and advice, as well as more chance to enter this incredible giveaway!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Remember to listen to WTMH? What The Mental Health? Our brand new podcast available over on Apple. Our first Episode ‘Introductions’ is available now and we will have new episodes each week!