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
The secret to having the best relationships is self differentiation. This is a fifty-cent term for knowing who you are, what you like, and having the ability to express this clearly, without hesitation, to another person. It requires insight, emotional intelligence, authenticity, transparency and assertiveness. It is a BIG concept that we can and should strive for throughout life in different circumstances with different people. It is essential for healthy relationships.
I will break it down for you in three simple parts.
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!
Why so guilty? Or maybe I should ask ‘Why are you so afraid of being yourself?’
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!
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?
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.
As therapist, here are six things I want you to know. Some could be considered general life truisms, but they are also things that will help you progress more quickly if you choose to enter therapy.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office