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Twelve Rules for productive couples counseling

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.

Your OCD Thoughts Are False

Your OCD thoughts (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) are false alarms, and you have to treat them as such. What research from Dr. Jeffrey M. Schwartz, UCLA School of Medicine shows: Bio-behavioral treatment works for retraining the brain that is stuck in OCD thought patterns. It’s not easy, but it is longer lasting and more permanently effective than relying on what he calls the “water wings” approach to treatment—that is meds only. There is no medication on the planet that will retrain your brain. Schwartz describes doing this training in the four steps below.

There is no medication on the planet that will retrain your brain.

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Dump your spam

How often do you dump your spam? If I asked you how often you get spam, I bet there would be a different answer. I could go to my spam folder daily and see dozens of useless offers, from site SEO “experts” to weirdo names like “instrut” or “esiff”, and many foreign language offers to do who knows what. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I never look at the content.

Not looking at the content is a normal behavior for those who receive a lot of spam emails. But what about those of you who receive lots of unwanted spammy thoughts, intrusive thoughts that make you cringe, or ones where you genuinely fear that you might carry out some heinous deed? Frequent, frightening, obsessive, or disturbing thoughts are the hallmark of obsessive compulsive disorder of the thought variety, aka OCD. I’m going to name some frequent fliers that occur for people with OCD, and give examples, because so much shame permeates this disorder. It needs to be said out loud to remove the stigma. You are not alone. Good, kind people have these tormenting thoughts, and I want to help them, possibly you.

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I don't feel like it!

Sooo many times, we need to complete a task, and the first thought is “I don’t feel like it!” Thinking in opposites is a strategy I want to offer you to challenge this thought. Here’s why.

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curious not furious

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!

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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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sticky thoughts

If you have anxiety sensitivity, here are 10 factors that contribute to “Sticky Thoughts.” Sticky thoughts are the ones you just can’t shake loose. Sticky thoughts predispose your mind to anxiety and hyper-vigilance. They tend to keep you stuck in your own personal anxiety loop that is both unproductive and self-shaming. That is why learning to identify and talk back to them is critical to your good mental well being.

sticky thoughts

Feeling stuck?

The 10 Sticky Thoughts Factors

  1. Sleep deprivation/insomnia
  2. Drinking alcohol
  3. [Some] OTC medications
  4. Steroids of any type, asthma meds
  5. Your genetic inheritance is a factor
  6. Any illness, a cold, for example
  7. Caffeine or sugar intake—notice what affects your body
  8. A natural cycle upon wakening that many feel as a sort of dread of the day, which lessens over the course of the day
  9. Hormone fluctuations
  10. Hyper-vigilance, or monitoring of the content of the mind is the most prevalent factor of all.

BONUS ROUND!!! Social Media! Devices! They are the trigger for so many of our sticky thoughts.

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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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Resilience

Isn’t it interesting that some of life’s most paradoxical challenges have simple solutions that are tough to execute? The takeaway? You are far more resilient than you think.

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woman without anxiety self-calming

Here’s what micro self-care is not: Work out 4-5 times a week. Get a massage. Book a spa day. Take more vacations. Meditate. Garden. Take up a new hobby: paint, draw, crochet. Get out into nature. Get more sleep. Practice gratitude. Arrrrrggggghhhh! Yes, all of these are effective self-care ideas, but what can you do RIGHT NOW that does not take up big blocks of time, money, and that don’t require a substantial commitment from you? And that also help you to get through a stressful day at the office? Micro self-care, that’s what. So here’s a short post for some quick ideas.

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