It can be so painful being with someone who seems to have a wall up, and just won’t let you in.
Often there’s one partner in a relationship who tends to propel it forward emotionally, and this is usually the person who contacts me when things get difficult.
Sometimes they tell me the painful story of being with someone they just can’t seem to reach emotionally.
Larry is one such client of mine and I listen as he describes a deep, deep loneliness and a longing to connect with his wife, whom he loves so greatly that it makes him ache at the very core of his being.
My heart goes out to Larry, he’s in a role I know well, having played it in so many of my own relationships.
After bearing witness to his pain, I turn to Darlene, to get her take on the whole thing. She flashes a gorgeous smile, rolls her eyes dramatically and says to Larry “Oh come on Darling it’s really not that bad!” She turns to me and says “You know, Larry is just so...
Two years ago I was in a wheelchair and I thought I was dying. Now I’m fully mobile thanks to two successful hip replacement operations. While I’ve completely changed my diet and purged my body of toxins, my symptoms still haven’t totally gone away.
I think it’s an autoimmune problem, but I digress because I’m sharing all this to illustrate a point, and to ask the question: where is your tipping point and how much does your stress impact your relationship?
Most of us probably recognize at some level, that for our relationships to thrive we need to bring ‘our best self’ to them. That’s just another way of saying we need to contain our level of emotional reactivity, so that it doesn’t spill out onto our partner when we feel stressed.
This is what we need to know. According to research, relationships between loving yet resilient people are the ones that fair best.
We’ve all met people who are highly reactive and moan about...
Last week we talked about boundaries but it’s not enough just to put them down. As with everything in life, it’s all about balance. Today we’ll talk about the difference between healthy and unhealthy boundaries.
“A boundary is the place where two people meet, you can think of a boundary like a cell wall.
Energy flows inside the cell but it also flows between cells just as it flows between people”.
If we share too much, our boundaries become porous, we don’t know where we end and the other begins.
So, either we take on board too much of what our partner thinks about us, and we become pleasers and placaters- losing ourselves in the process. Or the more dominant of us may become dictatorial and controlling, thinking we know what’s best for the other person.
Porous or Enmeshed boundaries make us ‘Co-Dependent’ on our partner, they allow us to feel connected but not self-directed.
If we share too little it’s because our...
We feel hard-done-by and resentful when we don’t put down boundaries and hold others accountable. That leaves us feeling entitled to be even meaner to them than we would have been if we’d respectfully addressed the behaviour that bothered us, or politely refused to be roped into something we didn’t want to do. But why is it so hard to say no?
Boundaries mark the place when ‘you’ end, and ‘other’ begins. An easy way to understand our boundaries is to see them as the line between what’s acceptable and unacceptable to us.
We have physical boundaries, such as how close we stand to strangers, and whether we kiss new acquaintances hello. We also have emotional boundaries that dictate the type of behaviour we encourage, tolerate, or reject from other people. In our relationships, boundaries are complex and ever-changing.
I love this quote by Brené Brown: “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used...
Our stories about our past define us. How we make sense of the things that have happened to us, both in the way we think about it ourselves, and also how we retell it to others, has the power to trap or transform us.
Today I want to have a look at what impact our stories might have on us, especially if they are fractured and unexamined.
I love this quote by Elie Wiesel - ‘God made man because He loves stories.’
Whether we realize it or not we are all natural storytellers, because that’s how we make sense of what’s happened in our lives. It’s also how we communicate it to others.
It’s really helpful to understand that our personality is basically our life story and the best way to know someone is to listen to how they tell the story of their life.
Bearing witness to story has served me well over the years both as a therapist and in my own self-development because instead of looking for pathology or what’s wrong with my clients,...
It always amazes me that there are no relationship classes on the curriculum of most schools, when without a doubt the fastest way to totally ruin your life, is to get into a relationship with the wrong person.
You don’t need to have masochistic tendencies or an adrenaline junkie mind-set, in fact you don’t need to do much more than just be yourself!
For many of us, sometimes even as early as when the dopamine high of the ‘honeymoon period’ wears off, we find ourselves faced with the prospect of financial ruin, shattered self-esteem and even homelessness or suicide, as the result of having married the wrong person!!
Sure it all looks like fun when you see the couple in their bridal finery, their eyes bright with hope and good intentions. Everyone is wishing them well, with the exception of the jaded divorcés, who pragmatically, yet accurately predict that there’s more than 40% chance of this not working out.
Probably an even larger number...
Now those wild optimists out there who read ‘How to find the perfect partner’, may be thinking “yes finally, someone understands what I’m looking for and is going to tell me how to get it!”.
You more realistic folk might think “well that’s impossible because there’s no such thing!”… and of course, you guys would be right.
However, while we may cognitively realize that it’s impossible, probably because we’ve heard or read it somewhere, it still doesn’t stop us, especially us women, from secretly expecting out partners to be perfect, and to also have those wild expectations of ourselves.
Turning ourselves into over-functioning harridans, hell-bent on proving perfection is possible and deeply bitter that our men don’t rise to the occasion, literally and metaphorically! as we feminize them when we let our masculine personas rule the roost!
“Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the...
These days so many women get caught up in the duel demands of work and running a house that they forget how to do something that’s so fundamental in helping them get support from the man by their side.
How can something so obvious be so easy to forget!?!
This short video will tell you
· exactly what it is
· the ways it affects us that we’re not even aware of
· and what to do about it.
Don't beat yourself up : -) It's human nature, we’re so quick to forget what we most need to remember.
If you want more information on the 5 positives to every negative that I breifly mention in this video (which is vital to the success of any relationship) it's what I'm going to make my next vlog about so please stay tuned or sign up for my newsletter and you'll receive it automatically.
Until next time; keep it real.
With light and love,
One of the worst things we as women do to our men is something I call ‘defining their reality’. We don't even know we're doing it and it gets us in so much trouble.
It looks something like this “because you did X it must mean Y”.
Here’s an example; Gina and Rob were in my office, they’d had a better week but Gina quickly started to get upset “you didn’t even give me a card yesterday for Valentine’s day, that’s how much you care for me!” Rob didn’t say anything, he just looked at Gina but by the look on his face I could tell he was angry. After a long silence I asked “What’s going on for you right now Rob?”. “Last year we had a horrible Valentine’s day, I’d upset her by not writing enough in the card I got for her and the meal we paid way too much for was awful. Gina was so upset, said she’d rather just forget about Valentine’s day as it was often such a set up for...
Lack of libido or female sexual arousal disorder (FSAD) as it’s technically known, is a common reason women consult with me. This can happen at any age and for a variety of different reasons.
While anthropologically it is suggested that men have higher libidos than women, in my practice I am consistently seeing the ravages of stress, ill-health and relationship problems, on men’s libidos too.
However today's vlic is about women and there are so many reasons why women of any age can be affected by female sexual arousal disorder.
Many women didn’t come from families who were comfortable with helping them create healthy sexual identities and as a result haven’t really learned how to enjoy their own sexuality, especially independently. If you don’t become aware of how your body works and what turns you on most, it’s more difficult to then guide your partner towards truly satisfying sex in the long-term. As a result, many women...