Posts

communication

Ha! Bet you’re saying well that’s easy, since they act like one sometimes! But why you should treat your partner like a child has serious implications for building a better relationship with them. Sometimes communication patterns start that become detrimental. We forget how we came to be in a relationship with this person as we fall into our daily routines. By this, I mean we forget what drew us together in the first place. We go to work, schlep the kids around (if they are present), grocery shop, mop up the spills, do the laundry, take the dog to the vet, get the car inspected, pay the taxes, etc.  The requirements of daily life can feel like such a slog at times!

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mild or hot love

If you could order up your love the way you order up your favorite Thai dish, would you specify mild, medium or spicy-set-my-tongue-on-fire hot? Mild or hot love, spicy or not, movies, news, social media, literature and pop culture imbue the idea of love with extremes. The easy example is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where a couple of puppy love-sick kids are lead to die because of some warped parental loyalty values. Read more

self deception

Coming clean on the couch isn’t easy. And what do I mean by that? This is a post about self deception and how it stops you cold from achieving your best self. Self deception exists in many forms. We tell ourselves it won’t matter if we just have this extra helping of mashed potatoes or purchase this designer handbag on sale. The credit card bill is already high–what the hell. But how about self deception as a form of [false] protection?

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how do you trust

Most people don’t know the answer to “How do you trust?” Last week’s post offered the definitions of betrayal and trust, and many ideas about the ways we betray others. It goes beyond simply having affairs. If you missed it you can read it here. It is a nice basis for this week’s Part II discussion.

There are times when we get to a place in a relationship when we really start seriously asking the question “Should I stay or should I go?”

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betrayal

How do you go about evaluating betrayal? First you might want to understand what it really means. 

It is a major betrayal when someone does something that breaks a fundamental promise or violates a fundamental expectation and does so in a way that significantly hurts your peace of mind.–Mira Kirshenbaum*

And, an affair is not the only way we betray others.

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can't think clearly

Hello everyone! This post is a Part II to last week’s, which you can read here if you missed it.

What happens when you are fighting with your lover and you get either so hurt, or so angry, that you can’t think clearly?

Research by Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University demonstrates that mammals develop a special pathway in the amygdala that lights up when they perceive their mate is unavailable. Panksepp is convinced this special pathway exists in all mammals. So what happens when you feel, most likely without even realizing it, that your connection with your partner is under threat? You are plunged into what he terms “primal panic.” The primal part is due to the absolute need,  a primal need, for connection to others–especially our significant others.

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Anxiety and love

Anxiety and love are connected. Logic, as we think of it in the Western sense, is often prized above love, when love is thought of as an emotion that lacks intellect. Yet love, which is comprised of all six innate identified emotions (recognized and verified via social science the world over): fear, anger, happiness, sadness, surprise, and shame, is exquisite in its logic of self protection. We are designed by evolution to seek connection for survival and much research on attachment theory has verified this. So what happens when our sense of attachment with our partner feels threatened and we start to feel anxious?

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therapeutic relationship

Wow. What matters most in therapy? There are so many schools of thought on that question it boggles the brain. Between the problem approach and the list of disorders published in the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fifth Edition), identifying what makes therapy successful has about as many answers as there are economists predicting the stock market. When I scroll through other therapists’ listings on Psychology Today to see how many different disorders they treat, I start feeling a little queasy. Should I be treating all those? Listing all those specialties? Does that matter? Or should I maybe sound more warm and fuzzy like many sites do? Should I declare that my undying passion is to help others?
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Drifting apart

Ever have the feeling that you and your partner are drifting apart like icebergs, and you don’t even know how it happened? This cold sense of drift is one that mounts very slowly over time, and then one day you just know that the relationship is in danger of being irretrievably  lost, yet you experience the shame and sadness of not knowing how this happened. You begin to wonder if there is anything that can be done to save it.

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conflict management

One thing that bothers me about therapy and self-help books is their focus on nice, tidy stories and methods that neatly tie up experiences and outcomes. Cue music! Cue lights! It is as if the authors are saying, if you follow my step by step program, you will be cured! They might as well put a cherry on top.

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