Ahhhh. We do love a quiz that promises to reveal ourselves to our, well, ourselves. And big business loves to to see how well you might fit into their organizational team. That we love personality tests is the why that drives their proliferation. But I wonder if you might like to understand why many of them are junk, clickbait, and rather useless. And how to pick one that gives useful information about your personality. I am going to help you do that!
Couples can be cruel to each other in many different ways. Couples betray each other in many different ways. Beyond the obvious betrayal of affairs, cruelty is is far more common that we think within our most valued relationship. Just about every couple practices this, at least occasionally.
This cruelty is physical, emotional , psychological, and spiritual. We knowingly and deliberately hurt our partner. Many times it can be what I think of as a micro-cruelty. This is something small, like hurtful sarcasm or the “forgotten” task or obligation. We do this perhaps out of selfishness, or more often, to make ourselves hurt less in a relationship that is already aching. And we do this to punish them for something they did or didn’t do, but most often, we do this instead of looking inside of ourselves to grow up.
Being in a committed relationship always makes for friction and problems. Your relationship is a crucible for experiencing friction and uncertainty. It is fuel for growth and transformation. The right question to ask is “Can I be who I strive to be and remain connected to this person who means the most to me?”
Your relationship is a crucible for experiencing friction and uncertainty.
The logical conclusion to this is that you must reduce the cruelty within the relationship, not eliminate the friction. The friction is your compass point signaling the need for growth and change. If you pay attention to it, it can lead you to make the changes needed for your own growth. This requires that you be brave enough to voice what is happening for you to your partner in a way that can be heard by them. That doesn’t mean you are responsible for their (possibly) emotional response.
When you feel stuck, and don’t know what to do to make it better, sometimes living with the uncertainty you feel is best. Things can appear quite black and white at the highest point of anger, confusion and mistrust. You do not see clearly, even though it feels like you do. Even with the most blatant trust breaches.
Stay in it while taking care of yourself. When you can, reach out to your partner from the best parts of yourself.
If you need help with this, contact me here. It may not be “the answer” you want, but know that the process of being in relationship with another is exactly that. There is no one answer. The relationship you are in is your opportunity for growth. How you choose to use it will determine the outcome.
In addition to my degree in clinical social work, I have a masters degree in public health. One important goal of public health is to prevent disease from spreading. I want to help you see the costs to you of broken (or non-existent) boundaries by using the analogy of vaccines. First you need to understand that prevention is often invisible unless you look at the prevented costs. Here’s an example of that.
This isn’t the typical advice column, so you are duly warned. It’s a two minute read, so no excuses, to learn five ways to boost your relationship happiness. Read more
Have you ever wondered why your partner triggers such an immediate response in you? Would you like to get curious not furious? Understanding your attachment style, or the way you related growing up to your primary caregiver, can provide a clue to the immediate, visceral reactions you have at times in your current relationships. Instead of getting furious, you can get curious!
Connection or protection? How are you wired? Did you know that love wires us for connection but trauma wires us for protection? Sometimes over-protection. Sometimes under-protection. Here’s how.
What is the secret sauce to a long and happy marriage? I recently had my own personal physician ask me this. She said she asks every patient this. I have to assume she meant every long-time married patient!
Sexual health problems within a relationship are very complex to sort out. It helps to have a sort of matrix or template you can overlay on any particular issue. This may help you pinpoint the real issue of concern more accurately. The six principles of a healthy sexual relationships I offer here are meant to serve in that capacity. They are taken from Doug Braun-Harvey’s work from the Harvey Institute in San Diego, California (see resources below).
“I hate confrontation.”
That is what I hear at least once a day in my therapy practice. And it is usually from women. I wish I could give every woman who thinks this a short lesson on assertiveness, which is often what they mistake for confrontation or conflict. It does not mean you must alter a quiet demeanor, become bold and brassy, or the even worse expression— “a real ball breaker.” Why is assertiveness important? First you have to understand what assertiveness actually means.
Do you like cheeseburgers? Boy I do, but I also like a lot of other foods. I don’t want to eat the same thing everyday. The same idea applies when you end up with a therapist who relies on just one approach to help you. Some forms of therapy demand a sort of “workbook-stick-with-the-program” pre-packaged approach that can leave a client feeling oddly out of sync with the therapist. It feels forced. Or the person doesn’t feel like the therapist “gets it” even when they are kind and supportive. This can actually worsen your situation by making you feel as if you did something wrong. Don’t give up. There are actions you can take that will help.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Couples Counseling
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office