Posts

Estrangement is heartbreaking.

I’m sorry. Estrangement is truly heartbreaking. The stories I hear on this topic are always heartbreaking, and include much ongoing, unresolved loss. The stories hold such longing for what could have been rich, healthy, and loving relationships. It happens between siblings, parents and children, and in-laws. 

These are always stories about wretched boundaries and differing belief systems, from political parties to substance abuse, and to mental health disorders that disrupt even the possibility of “normal.”

The issues will often be generational as well, passed down in a chain that is among the hardest to break. I often tell clients that the very difficult work they are embarking on is heroic. It requires So. Much. Courage.

I’ll offer some examples of what this can look like. 

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over-explaining

Have you ever thought about this? Do you over-explain something when you are saying no to a request, or to an intrusive question? Did you know that you do not have to explain your thoughts to someone simply because they asked? And that the tendency to do this typically occurs with someone we care about, or someone that has power over us? Learning this is crucial to your ability to set a clear and healthy boundary.

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guilty

Why so guilty? Or maybe I should ask ‘Why are you so afraid of being yourself?’

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connection or protection

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.

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happy marriage

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! 

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mental exhaustion

I am a member of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), and they often publish articles of value that I like to share with you. The following “Ten Tips For Dealing With Mental Exhaustion” is one such article.

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male depression

Consider this quote from Men’s Health magazine about male depression:

The bro culture that dictates limited ways of interacting: fist bumping, shoulder punching, sports banter, and shrinking from talk that gets too real is hurting men. Being too sensitive with other males invites talk of “manning up”, or worse, causes others to shrink away from you as if you have a raging contagious case of the flu.

Would you agree that your mental health is inseparable from your physical health? That your mind and body cannot be divided? If so, why are there so many men stigmatized if they even breathe a hint of trouble on the mental health front?

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panic attack therapy anxiety

I work with people who just can’t stop worrying. They tell me about the awful panic attacks they have, which can feel devastating. Many show up in the emergency room, only to be told there is nothing wrong. Being stuck in the panic loop stinks, but you can learn how to manage it so it doesn’t take over your life. The body doesn’t lie; when it shouts, you have to listen—but maybe in a whole new way.

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the gift of resentment

What on earth would I mean by the gift of resentment? What are the signals that your boundaries are being tested, crossed or outright ignored? What feelings or emotions might you notice when this is occurring? How might you consistently and accurately judge when you need to clarify, remind, or set a firmer boundary?

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confabulation

Is it narcissism or confabulation? It can be a difficult to tell these two apart as distinguishing sarcasm and “humorously delivered” criticism. Is a person deliberately lying when they confabulate? Here’s a quick definition of confabulate.

In the formal version, confabulate means to talk, with roots found in the words ‘fable’ and ‘fabulous.’ In the world of psychiatry, it means to fabricate imaginary experiences as compensation for loss of memory. This is common in alcohol induced dementias aka Korsakoff syndrome (a type of dementia often associated with alcohol abuse), but it also has been observed in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.

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