Category Archives: Emotional Health

Our health is intertwined with Emotion Regulation and Education.

Easily Offended Syndrom

2012-12-27 13.03.56

A new mental health issue in our super sensitive world: Easily Offended Syndrome

Have you not met those people who get offended by all and anything you say? If not, have a look around and you will find those people easily.

Angry husbands, nagging wives, high maintenance family members, or anxious friends are those individuals who possibly will be easily offended by anything you do or say. However, if these easily offended individuals are in power positions, then those who “offend” will get serious consequences. Worst comes to worst, as soon as these easily offended individuals manage to silence others simply by using various excuses such as a belief systems to their assistance. This latest, putting the belief systems in pedestal and rising flags for it to make a point, is a dangerous – manipulative game that easily lead to wars and conflicts.

Individuals who get easily offended tell you: Do not talk to me, obey my rules, and shut down, or else. Easily offended syndrome has numerous symptoms that should be explored: Acting defensive, using violence, anger and rage, playing victim role, using guilt trips, blaming, and controlling is what these easily offended individuals do to get attention.

If there is no other way to quiet you, then these easily offended persons would blame you for acting against them, religions, profits, or / and god. Basically, it does not matter what you say nor do, these people can judge you quickly, get offended easily, scare you, violate you, and rule over you since they need to be in control. Easily offended individuals know best.

But who get easily offended?
• individuals with low self-esteem, low self-worth, and low self-confidence,
• individuals who would not take responsibilities for the short comings or wrongdoings,
• individuals who were raised to be god and not less than, perhaps suffering from some narcissistic personality characteristics,
• individuals who are delusional, in-congruent, irrational, and super sensitive,
• And individuals who are neurotics, in fury, and hateful towards others.
What is the treatment for this illness? The real treatment would be promotion of respect for diversity and communication.
Hopefully justice and respect for human rights can be the governing forces in our world, consequently the easily offended individuals would not be able to lead, rule, or demand silence. Open dialogues without fearing these easily offended individuals are the real answer.

Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC


Mass Shooting in Colorado

Mass shootings are occurring here and there. Once in a while, we see those painful images with the shocking news that someone has opened fire on random victims. These stories are being repeated too often while most attention goes to the immediate response to a chaotic situation. Innocent people lose their life because the offender acts on his (seems like mostly men) anger. What was he this angry about so he could kill people for? Why this much hate?

All the profiling of the offenders can be interesting to watch on the documentaries, however how could that knowledge help authorities to prevent such tragedies? Surely, we cannot know what is going on in people’s head. Now in the case of mass shooting in Colorado Theater, the mother of this young suspect shooter James Holmes reportedly said something like” You came for the right person.” What did the mother know and how would she have been able to prevent this from happening? What was going on in his head to be able to do such a horrible crime? I guess the major question is “why, “whereas even knowing the motive for such crime does not help the pain and suffering that families of these victims are going through.
The scary news of shootings in schools and public places, freezes us for a while thinking where are we going to be safe. If people can be killed in shopping malls, schools, universities, and theaters, then where is safe? Main question is why these shootings happen? I guess there is no real and easy answer. May the victims and their families find some peace soon.


Despite Traumas; Seek the light

There are hopes and dreams while the level of uncertainty and ambiguity is high in the Middle East. The oppressive forces inflict more pain, as much as they are capable of, in order to stay in their blood draining hunt for power. Ordinary people are hurting due to loss of jobs, bad economy, careless actions by their governments, and internal conflicts.
Looking at Iran only, there are endless stories of trauma, tragedies, and suffering almost everywhere we turn to. A friend just coming back from a month visit in Iran is talking about how many stories of suicide she heard, how many young people she or someone she knew who had committed suicide. Young people scream for freedom while this scream is being suppressed badly and harshly. Obviously helplessness, hopelessness, and frustration are issues that many of us Iranians are now dealing with, more than ever before. What are the options really?
Daily and extensive human rights violations in Iran do influence us Iranians around the world; however people living in that big prison called Iran, are the one who are paying the price. The danger of war that the regime of Iran would love to have just adds to the pouring rain of tragedies on our people’s head. On the other hand, the request for freedom and the need for free voices have never been this noticeable.
For us, outside, although we are reading the news in the comfort of our homes, still frustration, disappointment, and fear are the real emotions we experience all the time or most of the times. On the other hand we read research results clarifying the relationship about stress/ depression/ abuse on people’s life. It is unfortunate that none of those researches can even touch one inch of the reality that our people are dealing with. In the west we talk about the relationship between our physical and emotional and psychological health. How about the psychological health of a nation who are kept hostile in the hands of most brutal men for 32 years?
Now what is the solution really? Listening to the daily stories of unfathomable implicit and explicit traumas is the salt on an open wound. However, we need to listen to one another in order for offer the other support, who else is supposed to do that if not us?
Would Prayers and positive energy help then? What would help?
I guess seeking support helps while we have to know where we come across that support. Most importantly is that we keep finding networks and groups that are helping us breath fresh air. We need to belong and we need to feel we can do something, even in the smallest scale. Get into groups and break the cycle of isolation maybe that is the first step. Despite all the odds, we have to survive, we have to seek the light that is inside us, the light of hope and the light of resiliency.


Democracy An Integral Part of Our Mental Health

Our basic human rights are defined as the right to live, to grow, and to develop. Besides food and shelter we have the right to feel safe and secure. Our psychological health is the main part of our basic rights as a human beings.

However this definition does not match our reality, our Iranian reality.

We Iranians live our lives with an overwhelming emotional suffering that has surrounded us one way or another. We are heartbroken now more than ever.

The chaos, brutality, dehumanization and repression in Iran in current times and the past thirty years have left us with a feeling of constant pain, anxiety, fear, and stress.

From one day to another we are not sure what else can be happening.

In our minds we cannot picture more brutality, yet we know what the repressive regime of Iran is capable of doing more. We know it with our flesh and blood.

The ongoing suppression and crack down of every voice, the demonstrated hatred towards Iranian nation, and name calling of our people are only some of those weapons the oppressive hardliners in Iran’s government keep using.

Before the stolen election of our people, millions of us were hoping that we could leave the past behind and move forward under the current accepted laws.

Yet we were wrong. We had not prepared for what an election coup would take us too.

Millions of us Iranians feel our votes, our voices; our choices are stolen from us.

This was the biggest disrespect that has inflicted a great deal of pain and anger.

The horror scenes that we watch on our T.V. screens are only one fragment of the horrible situation our people are enduring.

We watch and we feel our people’s pain. We take their pain into our hearts while we feel we are powerless to help them.

The flashbacks of the thirty years of physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental damages on our nation are too many to bear with, particularly in this time of history.

Our mental health, our family peace, our social life, and our whole well-being are at risk. A national grief and sadness are what we are experiencing right now in the month of June 2009. Never before despite all viciousness that the Islamic regime of Iran has always used, have we felt this level of pain.

We are part of the whole world that deplores the brutality in Iran, yet we fear worse. Our families, our dignity, our integrity, and our national identity are under attack by those who managed this election coup.

We suppress our feelings to be able to protest, yet our voices are being shut down. All means of communication with our home country is cut off and we witness human suffering imposed upon us, whether we live outside Iran and for sure inside Iran.

Our grief and sorrow is beyond imagination.

The denials of basic human rights in Iran are now compounded by the physical violence, torture, and organized crimes towards our people. We Iranians are sufferings on a national level, something that makes us more united.

While democracy opens the door to creation, participation, and belonging, dictatorship increases our emotional pain leading to mental health problems.

We Iranians have for thirty years fought to keep our minds intact by getting connected to the world.

Still, the hardliners of the government of our home country mobilizes every means to alienate us from ourselves and from others.

The power of resistance, dreams, solidarity, and hope for a peaceful life however are what we have got after all.

Democracy and peace are integral part of health; on all levels.

Note: This article was originally published in EzineArticles June 27, 2009 by this author.


About Being Too Sensitive

I had the privilege of attending a two days training on the subject of Narrative Therapy with Dr Steven Madigan here in Vancouver. “The Craft of Narrative Therapy Questions” was an excellent opportunity for me to reconsider how I am listening to the stories that I hear each and every day.

I came to think of how the stories that we witness shaping and reshaping are the accounts of how people see themselves being part of the problem and not part of the solution. This view and perception of the self being “the problem” is pertinent to the cultural beliefs that have been written about us about who we are and how we are supposed to be.
Internalization of the problems is what we therapists mostly hear about.

On that note I understand that problems exist because there are always audiences who keep them alive by watching them or not questioning them.

If are a bystander audience, then we are part of the problem for sure.
What am i talking about?

In our Iranian upbringing, we have constantly been told that: “You are too sensitive.”
Every and each time we have tried to raise our voice, we heard this expression.

As a child, as a female, as a male, as a senior, as a mother, or as a human being, every time we have felt anything, we have been silenced by hearing that “ we are too sensitive” meaning you are making a big deal of nothing; Therefore it is us being the problem.

In highlighting the concept of internalization, we keep hearing people say: “I am very sensitive”, meaning that I have no tolerance whatsoever. Why we are blamed for “sensitivity” when we complain?

“Being sensitive “is a misconception about us females, about our children, abut anyone who wants to have a voice. Being sensitive means that it is us having problem if we are unhappy about anything, not the problem being a problem that has to be solved.

This is how our people have been silenced to misery and disbelief.

This is how our females have to come to believe they are weak because they have been told they are “sensitive.”

The message is that if you are not sensitive and tolerate anything that others do, and then you have no problem, so if you are sensitive, and then it is you having the problem.
Why are we accepting to be blamed for what others do to us?
Why we are having problem to see the problem outside of us and not inside? Well, these are the issues I help people in my therapy sessions.

Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC.


A Traumatized Nation

According to DSM-IV-TR,  trauma is a direct experience of an actual or felt threat to death or serious injury.  Past 30 years we Iranians have actually been threatened, lost family members, lost friends, and seen other people lost loved ones in the jails, streets, war front zones, and in multiple ways.  Having witnessed, felt, sensed, heard, seen, and read about all the killings of our people in Iran, are not only a national trauma but a trauma in global scale.

If we just view the current severe experiences of harm and violent death back home, now we Iranian people are re-traumatized and left in intense fear more than ever in our history.   For those of us viewing the news in the safety of our homes in democratic countries away from Iran, we still feel deep sadness and trauma.  Our nightmares have all changed.  We fear constantly about our relatives and our home country that is burning in the glows of hate caused by a group of most dangerous men in the world. Own experiences of violence are now a small part of a reality back home that is beyond conceptualization.   People are not only fighting a regime of oppression and violent suppression, but also they are fighting own feelings of hopelessness and inner fear.  In a time when improvements of human rights for Iranians seem to be prolonged and farfetched, we have to utilize all help we can get.  Questions remain where the support and source of hope are for millions of us having left in the hands of a violent government.   I guess we have to wait and see; meanwhile hoping for the best is the only way to keep calm.

August 5, 2009


Search For A Clue

A long and interesting question led one or more readers to the middlepeace website:

“How can two people who have been abused have a healthy relationship?”

If the two partners in a relationship have been abused we can only imagine how hard it is for each one of them to help the relationship working. Why is that? Certainly each person is busy dealing with own pain and trauma.  The unresolved issues of abuse occupy the person’s mind to the degree that no energy is left for his / her partner.  Sometimes we are more or less resilient people, sometimes we have good support system in place, and sometimes we are just left out by ourselves.  In any case if you have been abused, neglected, abandoned, threatened, scared, and isolated, these are all reasons for seeking professional help.  You will not be able deal with these issues alone and not without help.

March 18, 2009
Poran Poregbal


Search for Ideas About Healthy Relationship

1. One reader searched for an answer or a response for this dilemma: “how to make jokes at someone with an accent?”   This is the exact searched words. From this question or searched statement, we can only imagine or assume that the reader most probably wanted to know whether it is okay to make jokes of someone with an accent. Well, my question is why we need to make joke of someone with an accent, if we have done this and we feel bad about it that is another story. If we want to find a polite way of making jokes of someone with an accent, well, do we really want to risk offending someone? There is no polite way to make jokes of someone with an accent. We all have what accent we have, we cannot change it as we learn a certain language based on our caregivers accent.  I just encourage this reader to respect people with any accent and any difference. This is the safest we can be.

2. One question that led to Middlepeace website is this: “How to build a healthy relationship between mothers and daughters.”
Well to build any healthy relationship we need healthy attitudes, skills, and plenty of cooperation. This is certainly one huge area that human being in large need to learn about and no books in the world is enough to assist people in this area.  This is an ongoing process and needs sacrifices while willingness to listen to one another.  This rule works for any type of relationship. Particularly between mothers and daughters: remember all research shows that mothers need to be mothers and not friends. I hope that my reader will seek professional help to really build this healthy relationship.

3. Word by word verbatim of searched question: “do mothers of teenagers have rights if they are not listening to the rules?”
What I hear from this question is that a mother tries to understand her role and her rights as being a parent to a teenager.  Do we have any rights to be the parents we are supposed to be? Yes, we are the parents and we are right to be parent, a responsible and nurturing one.  I am not sure what this mother or this reader refers to when using the word “rights.”  It is not even clear whether the intention of knowing about this right is to figure out how to use this right or whether it is okay to punish a teenager who is not following the mother’s rules.  Another way to interpret this question is that the dilemma is about parent’s right to do anything if the teenager is not following the rules.  In any case, this reader or mother may have a difficulty in communicating with this young person.  I hope that this reader will seek professional help to create a healthy atmosphere in talking to this teenager and also listening to this young child.

March 11, 2009

Poran Poregbal


What People Search for to get to Middlepeace website

Everyday I wake up to think of how my website is doing. I am checking all the searched words or phrases that have lead readers to the Middlepeace website.

Past two years, I have regularly made notes of all those clues that has been helpful for Google to lead readers to visit Middlepeace website.  In summary I can say people are mostly looking for ideas for healthy relationships.

Some one tried to find out “how to help abused daughter.” knowing that someone is trying to help her or his abused daughter made me concern.  I wish that person will find proper help.

I have many search ideas for the “Persian Gang” and I believe they look for one article I have on this website about this serious concern.  I hope that I can make this website more useful to everyone looking for any idea that may concern our Iranian being.

What else people search for?  I see certain keywords, questions, and or sentences that people type in when they search for something.
Sometimes I have long phrases such as” Domestic abuse what happen until the problem is solved.”  Whatever people search for has a meaning for me as a blogger and as a clinical counsellor.

I believe internet has become a private resource for some individuals who do not share their problems with others.  It is obvious that there are many issues in our daily life that we do not know how to handle.  We Iranian as a collective have little confidence in psychology as a tool for building or repairing relationships.  I am sure that this filed as many others have been mishandled and abused in our home country and in our communities.

Once I saw this phrase “psychological problems of housewives who are harassing from their husband’s house.” This verbatim of the typed in question makes me wonder.

This way of searching for solution to very intimate problems reassures me that we Iranian as a group of people do need psycho-educational help. I can count down 300-400 of small words to big phrases which people have goggled for resulting to reach the Middlepeace website. This number may not mean anything, however it gives me ideas that information I am trying to share with my community are important. I will try to respond to most of those inquiries although they are being done anonymously. I will be happy to help if my writing could do that.
All the best
Poran Poregbal



The word Delshoreh in Farsi has an appealing meaning in itself since the word explains what is happening when you have delshoreh. Simply you’re Del or stomach is being excited, upset, or stimulated, then you know or feel that something is wrong. The verb Shoridan means having extreme or unusual emotions about something or in some situations. So having delshoreh means that your stomach is being attacked by a feeling that almost washes your calm away.
During those moments of feeling the pain of anxiety or delshoreh, person does not have any sense of what is going on. In Persian we say: I am having delshoreh, meaning I am suffering from something vague. This is the similar explanation in English, having anxiety is due to a fuzzy feeling about something that is not right. Delshoreh is culturally known as a sign for something bad happening, a blurred idea of a threat to one’s integrity. This feeling might get confused with the burden of shame and guilt. As we Iranians have never been encouraged to understand our own feelings, we mix and mingle feelings in a cycle of superstitious beliefs.
The bodily response to this deep level of pain causing by Delshoreh is usually not explained in words. What do I mean by this vague definition of a vague feeling? It is our cultural understanding that delshoreh is the same as fear, while psychology says something else.
Anxiety and fear are two constant problems in huge number of mental health issues everywhere and surely in our daily Iranian life. There is of course no research supporting this idea, however, we all have experienced horrible situations that are indeed anxiety provoking itself. For all the level of insecurity that we Iranian face every day in our lives having delshoreh or fear is a comprehensible response to our tough reality. This is a normal response to what is not normal undeniably.
It is significant to identify how to deal with our feelings as they are always with us.
Anxiety is an alerting signal; it warns us of impending danger and enables a person to take measures to deal with a threat.
However the definition of anxiety for people who are living in constant terror may or may not be an altering signal. In horrible life circumstances that many people struggle with in Iran and Middle East, all those warning signals something get confused with many physical conditions.
Sometimes those external circumstances create reason for having anxiety and fear. What are those circumstances?
Any time we have endured the pain of having been forced to live a certain lifestyle; we know that anxiety has been there to tell us what we do not like.
All those years when bombs were falling on our people’s head, we were dealing with the anxiety and fear of not knowing what would happen to us next hour.
All those people whose children, whose family members were killed, disappeared, tortured, left to exile, and are victimized one way or another, they know how painful and devastating anxiety is.
Many of our Iranian citizens have been victimized one way or another due to the level of unstable situation back home. We have all experienced the severe pain of anxiety as an alerting signal that something is going to happen or is happening right now. The anxiety of having lost a loved one or not being able to return to homeland could be devastating and it has been for many of our fellow Iranians.
What is the definition of Fear and anxiety then?
Fear is a response to a known, external, definite, and real threat, while anxiety is a response to an unknown, internal, vague, and a conflictive threat. The feeling of anxiety/ delshoreh is unknown: When our child is leaving that door, we may fear his/ her safety due to possible harm outside. We fear about the possible dangers out there, yet we can never know for sure what can happen in our future. If you need help to understand your anxiety and fear contact mental health professionals.

March 31, 2008