Autumn! Happy Birthday to my brother Jordy--39! Happy Halloween!
Check out our new 1-hour
employee theft online course. Learn why people commit
employee theft, how to deter/prevent it, what to do when confronted.http://theshulmancenter.360training.com
out our newest short
videos on shoplifting addiction, shopping addiction, &
out our new websites for
therapy for hoarding & cluttering at www.hoardingtherapy.com
See our web-videos now on YouTube!
Search under "Terrence Shulman" or
"The Shulman Center". See www.youtube.com
3rd International Conference
on Compulsive Theft & Spending tentatively set for October 1,
2011--details to be announced!
I've been thinking about boundaries a lot lately. I've done a lot of work
on boundaries and thought I'd already "semi-mastered" them. But
as the saying goes: "the more you know, the more you learn you don't
know." What, exactly, are boundaries? Where do we learn
about them? When are boundaries too soft? When are they too
rigid? What are the boundaries of good taste and appropriateness, in
politics and in our personal lives?
One simple definition of boundaries is "where you end and
I begin." Boundaries are limits we can set to let other people know:
"This is how far I am willing to go," "This is what I will
or won't do for you," and "This is what I will or will not
tolerate from you." (Esther Kane, MSW)
It should come as no surprise that most addicts--even most recovering
addicts--have fuzzy notions about boundaries and what they are and when
they are needed. In essence, addictive behaviors are characterized by a
loss of boundaries: too much drinking, drugging, gambling, spending,
stealing, sex, work, eating, lying, etc. And most addicts end up
violating not only their own boundaries but the boundaries of others and
even the boundaries of the law.
Learning what boundaries are and how to set them is no small task. In
addition, many or most of us tend to get upset if others set boundaries
upon us--especially if we feel they are unfair. Learning how to hear
"no" is also an important growth step.
Most of us learn (or don't learn) about boundaries from our parents and
family system--and they typically learned about (or didn't learn about)
boundaries from their parents and family system. Boundaries can be too
loose--such as when there's physical, sexual or emotional abuse; or they
can be too rigid--such as when there's physical or emotional neglect or
abandonment. Boundaries can also be fuzzy or confusing such as with enmeshment
or when there are family secrets. And, of course, many of us grew up
with addicted parents.
The first movement toward establishing healthy boundaries in our lives is
to learn we have a right to boundaries--even as children... especially as
children! Of course, as children, we find ourselves in a fairly dependent
state and, over time, our task is to individuate and establish autonomy
and a degree of interdependence or even independence. Co-dependence often
results as a kind of purgatory or no-man's land, a limbo in between where
we don't know where we stop and others begin. In essence, we lose
ourselves--is it any wonder, addictions often follow?
Even just speaking our mind, our opinion, our truth is a way of
announcing who we are and what we stand for. In both our speaking and in
our action, we must learn to be assertive rather than passive,
aggressive, or passive-aggressive.
Life never stops giving us opportunities to learn about and set new about
boundaries. In the last 2 years, I feel like I've been enrolled in a
graduate course. When I was being sued in 2009 and felt somebody was
trying to take something valuable away from me I felt strongly I needed
to say "no" you can't have this and fought the lawsuit. Along
the way, I reached out for help in various forms, financial and
emotional. In one instance, I felt very hurt when I didn't receive the
level of support I hoped and expected to receive. I had a hard time
hearing and accepting boundaries myself. I did my best to express my hurt
rather than hide it but it resulted in hurt on both sides. As a result,
I've had to re-evaluate the limitations of others as well as myself. New
rules and new boundaries have developed which often feel awkward but seem
to me necessary.
In another instance, I had two close friends who were involved in a
domestic dispute which resulted in police charges. I was asked by one
friend for help and I did my best to help without getting too
involved. This friend appeared disappointed by my limits but I had a
number of reasons not to go further. While I believe the circumstances
are different in some important ways from my lawsuit crisis last year, I
got to experience the other side of asking for help--being asked for
help. It's not easy to ask for help and it's not easy to set limits.
Even more recently, I was petitioned to mediate and resolve some
interpersonal conflicts between two parties. I honestly struggled with
how involved to get in this dispute with one party urging great
involvement and the other party telling me, essentially, to stay out of
it. I did my best to play the middle and ruffled feathers on both sides
before finding what I felt was an adequate balance and an appropriate
resolution--neither too harsh nor too lenient.
Boundaries are a necessity to success in recovery and in life. Without
them, we are lost. We are all practicing the art of balancing between too
many boundaries and too loose boundaries. What a good feeling when we get
it right--even if it hurts.
What boundaries are you working on lately? What boundaries are you not
setting? What boundaries are you violating? What boundaries have others
set which you have trouble honoring and respecting?
The following are some good points about boundaries from Esther Kane, MSW
* * *
From Esther Kane, MSW
10 Signs of
- Talking at
an intimate level at the first meeting.
- Falling in
love with a new acquaintance.
against personal values or rights to please others.
- Touching a
person without asking.
someone to take as much as they can from you.
others direct your life.
apart so someone will take care of you.
food, gifts, touch, or sex that you don't want.
overwhelmed by a person- preoccupied with thoughts of them.
others describe your reality and/or define who you are.
5 Tips for
Setting Boundaries with Others
- When you
identify you need to set a limit with someone, do it clearly,
preferably without anger, and in as few words as possible. Avoid justifying,
rationalizing, or apologizing. Offer a brief explanation, if it
makes sense to do that. We cannot maintain intimate relationships
until we can tell others what hurts us and what feels good.
- You cannot
simultaneously set a boundary and take care of another person's
The two acts are mutually exclusive.
- You will
probably feel ashamed and afraid when you set boundaries. Do it
anyway. People may not know that they are trespassing. Also, people
don't respect others whom they can use. People use those they can
use, and respect people they cannot use. Healthy limits benefit
everyone. Children and adults will feel more comfortable around you
if you have strong boundaries.
rage, complaining, and whining are clues to boundaries we need to
The things we say we can't stand, don't like, feel angry about, and
hate may be areas crying out for boundaries. When we feel those
strong feelings, they are indicators of problems, like a flashing
red light on the car dashboard. As well, shame and fear may be the
barrier we need to break through to take care of ourselves. Other
clues that we may need to set a boundary are feeling threatened,
"suffocated," or victimized by someone. We may need to get
angry to set a boundary, but we don't need to stay resentful to
- We'll be
tested when we set boundaries. Plan on it. It doesn't do
any good to set a boundary until we're ready to enforce it. Often,
the key to boundaries isn't convincing other people we have limits
-- it's convincing ourselves! Once we really know what our limits
are, it won't be difficult to convince others. In fact, people often
sense when we've reached our limit. We'll stop attracting so many
boundary invaders. Things will change when we decide to change.
CELEBRATES 18th ANNIVERSARY
C.A.S.A.--(Cleptomaniacs And Shoplifters Anonymous) celebrated
its 18 year birthday in metro-Detroit last month. We had 15 members
attend. The mood was positive and also pensive about how group membership
has dwindled a bit of late. C.A.S.A. is the oldest current support group
of its kind in the U.S. If anyone, is interested in starting a C.A.S.A.
group, please contact us. We have about 15 similar groups
throughout the U.S. as well as an online group and phone conference
Our vision is that one day there will be a C.A.S.A.-like group in every
major city in the U.S. and beyond.
I recently attended NAADAC's "Conference on Addictive
Disorders" in Washington, DC September 8-11. It was a great
conference. Nearly 1,000 people attended from across the U.S. and Canada,
mostly fellow mental health professionals. I was privileged to present a
90-minute seminar on compulsive shopping and spending which roughly 60
people attended. I was encouraged by the level of interest and the honest
sharing in the group. Many therapists admitted they have problems with
shopping and spending, too! It is gratifying to see this topic gaining
respect and validity. Our hope is that more mental health professionals
learn about this disorder and how to assess and treat it effectively.
WOMAN KILLS TO
FEED SHOPPING ADDICTION
We know many addictions lead to tragedy and even death but I recently
came across an article with the above headline. I went online and read
about the 1994 case of Dana Sue Gray who, among other issues, had a
terrible obsession with shopping which, in part, led her to desperate
measures: murder to get money to shop with! This tragedy reminded me
of the time about 2 years ago where a Wal-Mart employee in New York was
trampled to death on Black Friday as shoppers stormed through the doors
to get day-after-Thanksgiving bargains. Makes you think.
See full article on Dana Sue Gray at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Sue_Gray
HILTON/LINDSAY LOHAN BACK IN TROUBLE with THE LAW
Well, what can be said? We note the recent arrest this past month
of Paris Hilton in Las Vegas on a cocaine possession charge (which she
later pled guilty to and avoided jail) and the positive drug test of
Lindsay Lohan while on probation which sent her back to jail.
These cases highlight the power of addiction and its denial process. They
are also troubling because so many young people--girls especially--look
up to these two women and even aspire to be just like them:
beautiful, desired, popular, care-free, seemingly invincible.
It is easy to laugh about the plights of these two celebrities but, in
truth, drug addiction--any addiction--is a sad, desperate situation which
could lead to death.
See full articles at:
DANGEROUS NEW TREND?
Recently, a new shopping trend has sprung up which has become
especially popular with young girls and teenagers called "haul
videos." They are popping up all over YouTube. Shoppers go to their
favorite stores and load up, buying as much as they can afford, and then
haul home the booty and turn on their video camera and share about the
fruits of their shopping sprees and upload it to the Web. It's apparently
great advertising for the stores--some of which are producing their own
haul videos or hiring people to do so. In this age of troubled economy
and with increasing awareness about the dangers of addictive shopping, it
is sad to see such young people bragging and boasting and encouraging
such behavior. Where are the parents and what do they think about this?
GETTING OUT OF CREDIT CARD DEBT
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, a former shopaholic and debtor
herself, outlines 10 tips on how to best get out of credit card
debt. Ms.Khalfani-Cox is a guest expert on many cable TV financial
ON FLASH SALES
recently highlighted the growing trend of "flash sales" in
stores and online--sales which pop up very quickly and end very quickly,
especially for high-end items at reduced prices. The three most popular
online sites--Rue La La, Gilt Group, and HauteLook--are quickly gaining
popularity and are the "crack cocaine" of the shopping world.
The New York Times recently ran an article by a journalist who confessed
even to her own "addiction."
Here just northeast of the heart of my city, Detroit, the trendy
and exclusive 5-cities of "The Pointes" were featured in a
recent Time magazine article. With the local and national economy shaken,
the article highlights the changes in consumers' shopping attitudes and
behaviors by interviewing members of a neighborhood "Moms'
Club." The article also explores the competitive nature of keeping
up with the Joneses and how the falling real estate market has forced out
many neighbors while bringing in new faces at bargain basement prices and
some of the resentment that follows. It's a good read about our changing
world and how people are adapting to it.
See article at: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2019759_2190536,00.html
THE SHULMAN CENTER COMES TO YOU!
A reminder: The Shulman Center offers counseling services here in the
metro-Detroit area, by phone and/or SKYPE, or--in certain
circumstances--we may be able to come to you. Please feel free to contact
us to explore what option works best for you
MONEY COACHING AND SEMINARS
It is with great excitement and confidence that I share about the free
"Intimacy with Money" telephone seminars conducted by my
long-time friend Tom Lietaert and my more recent friend Andrew Hogan who
currently work out of Boulder/Denver, Colorado.
learn more and to register, please go to: http://www.sacredodyssey.com/iwmhome.html
New Website of Interest: www.financiallysmitten.com
run by Lora Sasiela. Check it out!
BOOK(S) of THE
are many great books on boundaries. Please read anything by Henry Cloud
and John Townsend, Charles Whitfield, Anne Katherine, or Anne Linden.
Another good recent book is David Hawkins' "Dealing with The Crazy
Makers in Your Life" (2007).
COMPULSIVE THEFT & SPENDING IN THE
NEWS: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010
September 8-11--Mr. Shulman was a guest presenter on compulsive shopping
and spending at NAADAC's National Conference on Addiction Disorders near
September 28--Mr. Shulman was interviewed live on the radio on
shopping/spending addiction on www.yourtimewithkim.com --
broadcast out of Austin, Texas and throughout several states.
September: Mr. Shulman authored a chapter on
employee theft for a U.K. book entitled "Risky Business:
Psychological, Physical and Financial Costs of High-Risk Behaviors in
Organizations" (Gower Press) which was released September 1,
September: Mr. Shulman contributed a paragraph to Wikipedia's online
article on kleptomania at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptomania
October 12/13--Mr. Shulman will be a featured presenter on employee theft
at the Annual Radio Shack Loss Prevention Conference in Dallas, Texas.
October 15--Mr. Shulman will be presenting a one hour seminar/discussion
on business ethics and loss prevention to a class of business school
students at University of Detroit-Mercy.
October 29--Mr. Shulman will be a featured presenter on compulsive
shopping/spending and hoarding at a metro-Detroit all-day addiction
conference for mental health professionals.
October--Mr. Shulman will have an article on compulsive theft and
spending featured in the Fall edition of Addiction Professional magazine.
October--Mr. Shulman will have an article and ad featured on http://www.wcgcreative.com/
October--Mr. Shulman will be featured in a Milwaukee Magazine article on
employee theft and shopping addiction. See http://www.milwaukeemagazine.com/
Mr. Shulman was featured in Real Simple magazine about compulsive
shopping/spending. See http://www.realsimple.com/
Mr. Shulman was featured in articles in The Toronto Star newspaper
and in Canada's Chatelaine magazine on shoplifting addiction.
Mr. Shulman's online education course called "Creating an Honest and
Theft-Free Workplace" based on his book and Power Point presentation
through 360 Training Services will be available. CEs are available.
December 1-4--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on employee theft detection
and prevention at The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds
Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
January/February 2011: Mr. Shulman will have an article on financial
reocvery in Renew magazine at http://www.reneweveryday.com/
February 4, 2011--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on employee theft at
Washtenaw County Community College.
Mr. Shulman created an online continuing education course on compulsive
shopping and spending called "Bought Out and $pent!" based
on his book and Power Point presentation. The course, offered through The
American Psychotherapy Association, is available for purchase by APA
members and non-members. CEs are available. He's working on a
therapist certification program in compulsive theft/spending for the APA.
Mr. Shulman is assisting the Baton Rouge, Louisiana
court system a court-ordered three hour facilitated educational
program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from
his book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery"
Mr. Shulman is consulting on a major motion picture tentatively called
"The Rush" in which the lead character is addicted to
shoplifting and stealing.
Mr. Shulman continues to assist the Kingman,
Arizona court system with his court-ordered home-study program for
retail fraud offenders. The program is based on material from his
book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and
Mr. Shulman is consulting with an author who is writing a novel about two
kleptomaniacs who fall in love with each other.
TO CONTACT THE SHULMAN CENTER:
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025
Call (248) 358-8508 for free consultation!
Related sites by Terrence Shulman:
The Hand That Feeds
Out and $pent
Purchase--ON SALE through 2009!
Mr. Shulman's three books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction &
Recovery" and "Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft
Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions," and "Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive
$hopping and $pending" are available for $25.00 each (includes
Click here to purchase
E-mail Mr. Shulman: