Is your husband a looker?

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Does your husband look at other women?  Are you not sure what to say or even if you should say anything at all?
I get this question a lot.  It goes something like this:
“I notice my husband checking out other women. When I confront him about it, he says that there’s nothing wrong with looking, and he has no intention to do anything more.  Am I right to be concerned, or am I overreacting?”
Here are some thoughts on this issue and a simple TWO STEP protocol I frequently offer my clients.
First, we are all unique and there is no right or wrong answer. Each person has their own path towards figuring out the best way to handle their particular situation.
Step One: I encourage you to WRITE.
It may help to write down the emotions you experience when you notice your partner doing this, so you can sort through it and decide what to share with your husband. And, do your best to go beyond your “surface feelings” in order to see the deeper issues.
Some questions to ask yourself while journaling that may help you:
  • Is this my own insecurity that is coming up?
  • What am I feeling uncertain about?
  • Am I fearful of losing him?
  • What am I questioning when I see his behavior?
  • What might HE be going through? {i.e. work change, aging parents etc.}
More often than not, you will need to work through your own issues, even as your husband deals with his.
Step Two:  I encourage you to TALK.
Speak up and let him know you’re feelings… once they are clear, of course!   Let your partner see how this is affecting you. Rather than REACTING quickly in fear, which could push him away and put him into defensive mode- attempt to come from your heart and tell him how it makes you feel when you see him looking at other women.  This is best done after writing out your thought on paper, which is why Step One is essential!
Some things to keep in mind when talking to your husband about your feelings that may help you:
  • Speak to him when you are in a calm, rational state of mind. {mornings are best, as the mind is most clear}
  • Make sure the environment your speaking to him in is appropriate.  i.e.) children free, not in the middle of a busy restaurant, and please be sober.  {morning coffee dates while the kids are still sleeping = a great time for relationship discussions}
  • Use “I” statements, as opposed to harsh blaming statements.
  • Take turns talking and listen patiently when he responds.
  • Communicate your feelings thoughtfully and do your best to articulate how his behavior makes you feel.
happy-couple-holding-hands_400x295_43Hopefully, the above 2 steps will give you some insight and guidance if you continue to notice your husband looking at other women.  However, if this is an issue in your relationship that continues to go unresolved and you constantly feel unheard, it may be time to seek professional help.  If you’re looking for relationship advice or support, working with a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist may be beneficial to you AND your relationship. 
Are you or someone you know looking for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationship issues? 
Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.
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Shelby Castile is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, currently working with adults, adolescents & couples at her psychotherapy practice in Newport Beach. She has worked in the therapy field, teaching relationship and communication skills to couples for over 16 years, sharing the journey of hundreds of individuals and couples. With deep roots in mindfulness-based approaches, her therapeutic style is richly eclectic, integrating several Research-based approaches.  Aside from couples therapy, she also has specialized experience in working with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, chronic stress, addictions, and eating disorders.
Shelby has participated in numerous speaking engagements in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties on the topics of how chronic stress and trauma can manifest in the body and on the benefits of combining Psychotherapy with Yoga. In addition to being a classically trained and skilled Psychotherapist, Shelby is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500), training with Cloud Nine Studio. She began practicing yoga over 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the benefits of the practice. Her approach to yoga is gentle and heart centered, concentrating on using the breath to cultivate mindfulness. 
In Shelby’s words, “I help to guide, support and empower my students to build strength, balance, and flexibility from the inside out. My aim is to meet each client’s individual needs and respect their unique way of being in the world.”
Shelby is currently accepting new patients, accepts all major health insurance and is also available for online psychotherapy sessions for people not residing in Orange County.
Photo Credits: michellegardella.com & iStock 
 

Staying Married for the Kids?

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I have had a lot of therapy sessions with spouses (usually wives) that have disclosed to me that they are “only staying married for the sake of the children.” These wives often admit that they are fairly unhappy and they worry that their lack of passion for life is going to negatively affect their children. Many times too, they also wonder if their children would be better off with a divorced ‘but happy’ parent, rather than one who remains married only for their sake, but who is ‘unhappy’ most of the time.
I also frequently hear from spouses (usually husbands) who tell me that they’ve “fallen out of love” or have simply “grown apart” from their partner.  Sometimes, people tell me that they don’t have anything in common with their spouse anymore or “feel nothing” or even “disgusted” (eeeek!) when they look at their partner.  No one said relationships were easy- but this does not sound like a fun time!  
marriagemistakes_sizedWe all know children are like sponges.  They are masterminds at picking up on and reflecting their parents’ unhappiness. And, they learn how to live their own lives, and form their own relationships, from YOU- their parents. Basically, your children are going to base their beliefs about what to expect and accept from a marriage by watching your own. That’s a lot of pressure!  It only makes sense then- that you’ll want to model the most healthy example as is possible because, ultimately, every parent’s focus is their child’s happiness and well being Agree?  
Interesting to note as well, very few of the people who contact me rarely entertain the fact that things in their marriage can improve or that things may in fact change for the better.  It’s almost as if they are counting on the fact that they are going to remain unhappily married and that there is not much that they can do about it.  This is frustrating to see, because I know first hand and with a great degree of certainty that the most marriages can be changed and improved. Yes, it takes a lot of work and some conscious choices and actions.  And yes, it will feel strange and vulnerable at first…. But, the pay off to this is huge for you, your spouse, and for your children.  
SO, I ask you this-Why settle for “living in a loveless marriage” or for “only going through the motions” –when it’s quite possible that you don’t have to? What if you could stay married AND could change the marriage so that it was more fulfilling for you?
Many people ‘assume’ that by choosing to stay together for the children’s sake, this also means being unhappy with their spouse. It does not have to be this way, people! I cannot tell you how many couples I’ve seen who were completely convinced that they’d “fallen out of love” and then did a complete 180*  turnaround. {Yes, they too, we also very surprised by this!}
Of course- Every situation different.  Every couple is unique.  
However, in my experience, I’ve seen that it is quite possible to stay together for the sake of your family, but to also restore your marriage to a place where it makes you happy as well.
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Are you or a loved one looking for a Psychotherapist who specializes in Marriage and Family relationships? Do you or a friend need help with a sticky social situation?  

Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face Psychotherapy sessions in Orange County, as well as online through eTherapi

 Photo Credits: iStock

Exhausted with Expectations?

Couple FightingExpectations.  We all have them.  
Have you ever found yourself feeling sad or disappointed and not known why? With a little reflection, you may realize you had an expectation about something or someone and didn’t even know it.
To help bring awareness to your expectations, take some time to explore what your expectations are and how you acquired them. Often times, we pick-up messages about what relationships are suppose to be like and how we should be treated from movies, TV, family, and friends. If we don’t take time to consider our expectations, then we may adopt other people’s expectations that are not relevant or appropriate for us.
Because of this, expectations can be detrimental to relationships.  Expectations can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable to the organic flow of our relationships. If we have expectations of others and are really attached to the outcome, then we can engage in power struggles by using manipulation or control tactics to get our way. This strategy often leads to conflict and unhealthy dynamics where partners do not feel free, authentic, and most importantly- honest.

Coming to the realization that your partner cannot live up to your expectations or ideals can be devastating. Couples can feel disappointed, frustrated, betrayed, or resentful and move to end the relationship because of unmet desires and unfulfilled expectations. Frustration can also be a signal that a boundary of yours is being crossed.

SO… What can you do?

1.  Own it. 
That’s right- Take ownership for your needs and desires!  The truth of the matter is – we know what we need better than anyone else. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to get our own needs met. If we give ownership to someone else for getting our needs met, than we can feel dependent, powerless, and misunderstood. Taking ownership also inspires action. We realize we have the power to create change. Also, we have the opportunity to nurture ourselves in the ways that we need it most. This is a difficult practice, but it can be very empowering.
2. Express. 
Yep.  Communication is KEY.  Express your needs, desires and expectations to your partner.  Have you ever consciously expected something from someone, but didn’t voice it? Usually, this is a recipe for disappointment and disaster. How is someone suppose to know what you want if you don’t tell them? Even if they get it right once in a while, it sets up a dynamic were two people are operating on assumptions, which leads to miscommunication and frustration.  Trust me, I see this ALL THE TIME!
We often hide our expectations, needs, and desires because we fear that we will be rejected or that our partner will not be able to meet our needs. But how do we experience resolution if we cut ourselves off before we even try?  This may seem scary and vulnerable because it requires you to open yourself up and acknowledge that you have needs to your partner. But imagine being able to ask for what you need in a clear and clean way (to own it, without making it someone else’s responsibility) and then to receive it from someone who genuinely wants to give it to you. This can truly be a transformational experience.  By taking ownership of our needs, desires, and expectations, we can work with our partners. We can help teach them what works and doesn’t work for us, and then we have the opportunity to learn and grow together.
3.  Empathize.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Usually, people are doing the best the can. And your partner is probably loving you in the best way he/she knows how. This is important to remember when you are holding your partner up to an expectation or an ideal of yours. It may be helpful to consider, the question “How would I respond to the situation if the roles were reversed?”  This is often easier said than done, especially when one feels hurt and protective. Trusting someone and giving them the benefit of the doubt can be extremely difficult if you have experienced a lot of hurt and betrayal. It is important to keep track of your boundaries and needs. If you are taking responsibility for your needs, then you will be more likely to take care of yourself. 
4. Seek. 
Reach out for support if you need it.  Expressing your needs and giving someone the benefit of the doubt can be tricky, especially if you didn’t get your needs met when you were young. It is a natural  process to attempt to fulfill these unmet needs. However, you may not know that you are doing this. If you feel a strong reaction, feel threatened, or really protective- than this may be a good indication that there is an underlying hurt. There are many opportunities to heal and grow, through self-help books, articles, groups, and psychotherapy. It’s never too late to learn new skills and to start practicing them.
5. Allow.
Allow for some S P A C E. Without a ton of expectations, you can allow yourself to be more in the moment, receive, and be pleasantly surprised. You can receive your loved one’s expressions and gestures as genuine and authentic gifts. You can start to appreciate them with a sense of newness.  Allowing space for people to meet you in the best way they know how is truly a beautiful and powerful experience.

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Are you or someone you know looking for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationship issues?  

Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.

Got Guilt?

Does your family guilt trip you? Or are you the lucky 1% of the population that has never experienced guilt from a family member or loved one?!? {insert tiny slice of psychotherapy humor} :)
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Guilt.  Family.  Obligation. Pressure.  
Guilt trips are actually a form of manipulation in which one person attempts to make the other feel guilty in order to achieve an agenda.  The agenda may be to make you feel bad, to transfer blame, or to make you do something you don’t want to do  (i.e. spend a holiday with family, go on an outing/errand, or do some sort of chore around the house).
We all know, you cannot force someone to change their manipulative behavior- However, you can do something to prevent guilt trips from causing you emotional stress.
Handling guilt trips with ease, will also reduce their effectiveness, which may reduce others’ attempts to submit you to guilt trips.  BINGO!  
Below I will offer 3 tips on how to handle a situation the next time it presents itself.
First, let me say that it isn’t easy to step back and be mindful when you feel criticized, triggered and guilty, especially when it comes from a loved one. Understanding what is going on inside of this person and what’s behind the guilt trip can help you shift gears and regain your power.
1.  The Competition: This person wants to pull you down a notch so that they feel better about their self.  Perhaps, daughters of narcissist or borderline parents can relate to this.  In this case, the parent wants you to feel as badly as they do… How do you not succumb to their unmet emotional needs?  Remember- The need behind this parents judging is to feel better about their self and to feel reassured that they are “enough”. It may be helpful to explain to them that this isn’t a competition and that he/she is fine just the way he/she is.  In other words, YOU may have to momentarily switch roles and be the parent.
2. Over Protection: This person wants you to be safe and perhaps not have the painful experiences he/she has had or has been avoiding in their own life. He/she is afraid that you will get into trouble, hurt yourself or not fit in. Essentially, this person is treating you like a child.  Remember- it’s okay to explain that YOU are in charge of your own life.  And, if it feels ok for you, it may be helpful to reassure them that you love them.  
3. Unmet Emotional Needs: This persons own needs are not being met in their own relationships and/or life. In turn, they may feel insecure, unappreciated, lonely, or no longer useful.  For example, say you are getting pressure to stay for dinner… How to deal? Remember- It’s OK to say that you have another engagement and can’t stay. You have your own life and yes, you still love them. Encourage this person/your parent to have their own life too. Most likely, this person is feeling out of control, fearful or anxious about their own self/life situation.  

freedom from guiltDealing with a family member, parent or friend who needs to feel in control can be really tough. Rather than reacting to being controlled, step back and switch gears in order to think about what the other person really needs.  It is helpful to stick with the facts and never hurts to reassure the person that you love them. If need be, set boundaries so they know not to step over the same line next time.

 

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Are you or someone you know looking for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in all Relationship issues?  
Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.

 

Self-Soothing Techniques

self soothing compassionate postureOne of my favorite therapeutic modalities to pull from is called DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  As a Psychotherapist who specializes in all sorts of individual and couple issues, I find that it is the one that most of my clients resonate with.  Below I will explain why it may be beneficial for YOU, your children; or simply a friend in need.  I will also outline it’s basic principles in an easy to understand and relatable way.  I hope you find this helpful!

SELF-SOOTHING has to do with comforting, nurturing and being kind to yourself. 

Self-soothing techniques often involve changing the moment of distress by focusing on this heightening awareness of your senses and fixing your attention on something pleasurable. Each of the five senses offer their own unique ways of transitioning us from distress to calm.
  • Vision: Take a walk through a garden, quietly observe in nature, or visit an art gallery/museum.
  • Hearing: Listen to soft, beautiful sounding music— with your full attention.
  • Smell: Burn a scented candle, or visit the beach and smell the ocean.
  • Taste: Eat something delicious— giving full attention to each morsel and truly appreciating the flavors.
  • Touch: Take a warm bath or play with an animal. Sink into a really comfortable bed.  Float or swim in a pool, and feel the water against your body.  Focus your attention on pleasurable physical sensations.

Incorporating the self-soothing techniques takes time and practice.  Forming new habits is not an easy task for anyone, but with patience and continued effort, people will find relief through the self-soothing methods taught in DBT.

shelby castileSome of you may recognize these techniques as things that you already put to use. But many people have never learned how to self-soothe, or how to do these often simple things that make us all feel better. These are mostly very physical techniques, that use different body senses. I urge you to experiment with these techniques until you find some that are comfortable and helpful for you. And when you find something that works, and makes you feel GOOD— practice it. Use them when you are feeling distressed; when emotions feel overwhelming; when situations feel like you can’t stand them any more. Instead of doing something harmful OR that simply doesn’t work for you (like reaching for food, alcohol, TV, shopping – whatever your vice may be)—- try something that gives you pleasure and comfort, such as an example from above.
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 Are you or a loved one looking for a Psychotherapist who specializes in Marriage and Family relationships?  Do you or a friend need help with a sticky social situation?  
Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face Psychotherapy sessions in Orange County, as well as, online through eTherapi.  I am also offering FREE online sessions for first time clients @ Google Helpouts.
 Photo Credits: iStock

Texter? Read this.

TEXTING.  We all do it. But there are a lot of assumptions being made along the way.  This can lead to confusion for many people and a lot of interpreting and misunderstanding.  Not good stuff.  And more-so, challenging stuff- especially for people who have a tendency to overthink.

insightful-guy-textingIt is obviously is a very popular form of communication in both the business and personal communication arenas.  However, it can often lead to major problems if the underlying tone of the message is misinterpreted on one end.  If the parties involved are in different emotional states of mind, the slightest disagreement via text can quickly spiral out of control leading from a semi-disagreement to a full blown argument.  The texting communication breakdown occurs because… Let’s face it- we all aren’t poets.  Seasoned poets can clearly exhibit brilliant emotion in their text writing, but the average texters intended written emotion, very often, gets lost in translation.

       The source of the problem with texting communication deals directly with emotion.  Emotion portrayed in a text can be interpreted differently when being read by different people, in much of the same way that song lyrics can be interpretated by different people.

 

How can we solve texting communication issues?  There isn’t one correct answer, but here are 4 bullet points that may help you out:
Be Brief.  Write short text messages only —-with a crystal clear point.
Be Clear. Do not write long winded confusing paragraphs that leave room for misinterpretation.  Save these for conversations…  in person or on the phone!
Proofread. Proofread your message.  If you’re in a rush, don’t send it! This can give you added perspective on how well it will be received by the intended recipient.
Pick up the phone! While texting can be a convenient communication channel, certain discussions need to be handled over the phone, or if possible, in person.  If you notice that the situation or relationship is starting to deteriorate, don’t send another text.  Instead, pick up the phone or arrange a face to face meeting.
phoneI cannot emphasize enough— How often I see clients become frustrated, confused, and even enraged when sending and receiving texts. Don’t get me wrong, the text message is a super versatile medium with which the possibilities are endless.  It just seems important to note, that texting is most definitely not a replacement for a good old fashioned face-to-face encounter.  If you notice yourself ruminating or wondering what/how etc. to reply to a text… PICK UP THE PHONE!
IMG_2748Need help with a sticky social situation or relationship issue?  Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions Psychotherapy in Orange County, as well as, online through eTherapi.
 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Overwhelmed with Life?

Do you have so much on your plate right now that you’re left feeling overwhelmed and stressed out most of the time?  Having too much going on can leave you feeling overworked, frustrated and underappreciated.  

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What can you do to get back to a place of mental clarity and relaxation?

In an age of fast paced lifestyles and heightened commercialism, everywhere we turn is a demand for our attention. On top of the information overload, we are working longer, and taking less time off.  The result?  More stress and less time to ourselves.  Juggling between work, children, family and our personal needs, it’s easy to get sucked into the never-ending list of to-dos.  Trust me, I get it!  
This blog will look at 5 simple stress management techniques to overcome this sense of overwhelming anxiety in order to live a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle.
|| 5 Ways to Overcome the Overwhelm ||

1. Step AWAY

Sounds simple, I know.  But sometimes, we can become so engrossed in what we are doing and trying to make things just right that it becomes hard to step away.  However, you can’t get away from feeling overwhelmed from a place of overwhelming confusion. You have to step away to be able to view your circumstances from a fresh perspective.

Suggestion— Move to a different room, get up from your desk, go out for a walk/yoga class or go sit in a café. Stepping out from the current situation and changing your environment will help you gain clarity, and shift you away from your overwhelming state of mind.

2. IDENTIFY

When we are feeling overwhelmed, our mind becomes clouded by the task at hand, and by the thoughts that cause us to feel stressed in the first place.  Many times, we get so caught up in the doing, that we forget why we are doing it. Instead of being busy and simply hoping it will lead us to where we want to go.

Suggestion — Start with asking, “How do I want to feel?” And then focus on feeling that way. Set your intention! You might ask yourself, “What is truly important to me?” And then focus on doing things that are important to you, instead of the multitude of tasks that are overwhelming.

3. JOURNAL

Whenever we are feeling overwhelmed, there is likely a lot going on inside our head. Ideas and thoughts swimming in our minds, cluttering up our mental space. The best thing to do is to get these thoughts out on paper.  I cannot emphasize this step enough- it is by far the number one suggestion I give to most of my clients.

Suggestion — Grab a pen and a piece of paper, a notebook, scratch paper —  whatever!  Start jotting down everything on your mind. Write without editing and write out every thought. If you have a bunch of to-dos running in your head — list them out. If you have an idea —brain storm on paper.  And remember not to worry about keeping things looking neat and perfect. This will only limit your freedom to get whatever it is out — the stuff that’s keeping you feeling overwhelmed in the first place!

4. Ask

People are amazing.  Often, we are the problem that is disallowing help from happening through our limited thinking.  We think family or friends will say no, and so we don’t ask.

Give it a try. Ask for help, and be prepared to be amazed at the generosity that others are willing to provide.  The key is to be open to receiving what others are willing to provide. Just imagine the worst case scenario—They say no. Not a biggie.

5. Boundaries 

Time is our most precious commodity. So be mindful.  Spend it wisely and consciously.  Suggestions — Start with asking yourself what is most important to you and identifying how you want to feel. Then figure out what activities will support those feelings and things of importance. How much alone time do you need to re-charge? How much time do you want to spend with the kids, family, community etc? How much do you want to engage in creative endeavors/spiritual evolvement?  Once you’ve decided what’s important and how long you want to allot, create boundaries around important activities and do not budge with any incoming distractions. Do not allow unimportant noise and activities to creep in.  Because both email and Facebook can be such a time suck, set boundaries such as only checking it once a day for 30 minutes. In other words, do only what’s absolutely necessary, and anything that doesn’t get done during this time will just go on the list for a future time.

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Remember, you simply cannot answer every email that comes in, or get to every chore on your list. And that is okayYou are not obligated to do everything.  You have the ability to design the life you want and the freedom to create the rules.  
Another suggestion — Everyday, make sure to do at least one thing for yourself by yourself. Alone time is of utmost importance and not enough people realize this.  Take a hot bath with candles, or sit with a cup of chamomile tea while reading a few pages of something inspirational. 

Are you or someone you know looking for a Psychotherapist who specializes in Marital & Family Relationships?  Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.

Photo credit(s):  iStock 

 

Calm the &*%$ down!

o-CALM-IN-CHAOS-facebookYeah right. If only it was that easy.

Chaos.  Overloaded with stress.  Busyness. Over-scheduled lives.  Trying to do all, be all. People don’t talk about it much (at least outside the therapy room).  Because everyone is very good at figuring things out.  We are self-reliant and resourceful.  Everyone is always networking.  With the innovation of technology and digital power, everyone is superb at multi-tasking, getting things done and simplifying for the purpose of productivity.  Below I will outline 3 fairly basic steps to calming the &*%$ down in a chaotic world ~ AND (most importantly) finding your peace in the midst of this chaos.

The following 3 steps will help you stop focusing on your problems and make room in your life for your true purpose to reveal itself.  These ideas may seem silly at first glance~ but give them a try and see how you feel and if anything shifts or opens up in your life.

1. Give.

Clear your mind for a moment by finding someone or some organization that needs a skill you have, and offer it for free, even if it’s just for an hour.  This may sound like you are being irresponsible~ I mean, shouldn’t you be spending all your free time finding a solution to your life ~ a job perhaps? No. Take a break and step away from the spinning mind; it will be there when you get back. I promise.  Result? Volunteering makes you feel grateful for what you do have what you can offer.  Plus, you may even gain some new perspective about life, purpose and/or current troubled situation. Perhaps you will network, or be inspired for something you have not thought about before.

2. Move.

People get immobile when going through a crisis.  Choose an easy workout ritual to follow daily and force yourself to stick to it.  Move through the uncomfortable or painful feelings and get into your body.  Yoga is generally my recommendation~ but if a yoga class isn’t an option for you, do a few pushups or jumping jacks.  Even a simple walk will do… Heck, turn on some music and dance! No excuses and no equipment needed.  Result? The energy in your body gets shaken and shifted, and endorphins start to flow. You may begin to crave healthy food & think positive thoughts~ which in turn, all helps lead you to a clearer mind.

3. Listen.

Go to a place where you can sit in solitude and connect with yourself. Your soul is your partner forever and it needs attention; it will give you back as much as you give it.  I promise.  Sit on your couch with some calm music, or under a tree if you are outside.  Breathe. Deeply.  Result? You are allowing your soul to guide you to the answers that your mind cannot seem to find about where this chaos is leading you.

getty imageWhenever I find myself stressed, anxious and feeling lonely among the chaos of life in our digital, fast-paced world of wonderful technology~I know I need a shot of some serious rest and radical self-care.  This is also by far the number one suggestion I give to most of my clients.  Slowing down is learning to say “yes” to new priorities.  

Enjoy the process!

 

936123600_wje5b-MAre you or someone you know looking for a Psychotherapist who specializes in Marriage & Family Relationships?  

Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.

 

 

 

Photo credit(s):  Getty Images / Shutterstock / Mario Covic Photography 

Relationship in a Rut?

Do you really think your relationship conflict is about chores, hygiene, or dirty socks on the bedroom floor?  It’s not. Trust me.

relationship difficultiesSure~~~ Wanting to strangle your husband from time to time is perfectly normal. But if you’re constantly coming up against the same relationship problem- and experts say most couples do- then you’ll have to get to the root of the conflict if you want to move forward as a happier, healthier, more connected couple.  No partnership is exempt from these patterns, but they can most definitely corrode perfectly loving bonds over time.  

 

A healthy relationship~ just like everything else in life, needs care and attention.

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Figuring out how to fix a relationship is the challenging part and where my expertise comes in.  There are so many different dynamics involved and it’s really difficult to know where exactly the balance went off.  It can often be helpful to get a third party involved to help couples see the deeper issues and begin to untangle their unhealthy web. But nevertheless, arriving at couples therapy really doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship. Even the unhappiest of relationships can be fixed with a bit of understanding and love.
If you are still very much in love with your partner and willing to work on your relationship~ it may be helpful to read these four simple pointers on how to nurture your relationship that may feel off balance from time to time. 

1.  Communicate.

Ask yourself honestly- How did I deal with the situation the last time I disagreed with my partner?  Most couples I see, prefer to just end an argument with silent evenings rather than face the situation.  There’s also the option of giving each other some space for a a few days and wait for the issue to get sorted out by itself.  But- by avoiding a confrontation, you would end the fight but you really can’t understand each other or help each other.  Problems that are brushed under the carpet always have a way of creeping back up.  

My suggestion? The next time you’re feeling frustrated, irritated or lonely- talk about it with your partner and try to get over the issue in that moment. 

2.  Forgive.

We’re all human- and all of us make mistakes, even the most perfect of people. If you want to know how to nurture a relationship and be successful at it, you must learn to forgive one another. If you feel something’s wrong in the relationship or if your partner’s done something unacceptable, talk to your partner without accusing or shouting at them. Help your partner understand how you feel about the situation.  And, unless an inexcusable mistake is repeated, learn to forgive and move forward.

3.  Compromise.

Learn to give in. It’s as simple as that. It’s surprising to see that so many individuals struggle in a relationship because of this one thing alone.  Over 10 years of working with couples in private practice, I’ve noticed both men and women becoming more and more stubborn with one another. It’s really difficult for people to give in.  Here’s what I like to point out when I see this… If you truly love your partner~ seeing them smile or have a good time would make you happy too, wouldn’t it?

4.  Grow.

Relationships need to grow constantly, similar to how individuals need to grow. When a relationship stagnates, you start to lose interest in it and soon, you stop caring about it. Learn to improve a relationship, by learning from each other and giving each other enough space to grow as individuals. Only by becoming better individuals can both of you become better lovers.
These 4 fixes on how to nurture a relationship can seem trivial and easy- But that’s the whole point. Sometimes, the most complicated of knots need only a small tug where it matters.
936123600_wje5b-MAre you or someone you know looking for a Couples Therapist who specializes in Relationships?  Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.
Photo Credit(s): Mario Covic Photography and Shutterstock.com

 

 

 

Sigh. The Toxic Friend.

toxic friend

There are many different characteristics of toxic friendships. Some are overly-competitive to the point of being hurtful. Some make snide remarks about your looks, weight, relationships, while acting like your friend. Some only want to talk about themselves and their problems without ever asking about your life or offering support. Whatever the type, maintaining a toxic friendship is an unhealthy situation.

 
I’ve listed 7 questions below to help you identify if you’re in a toxic friendship.  
  • How do I feel after being with this friend? (Do I get anxious or overwhelmed after spending time with this person or do I leave our interaction with a sense of peace and contentment?)
  • Would my friend talk about me in a negative way to others?
  • Does my friend criticize and/or belittle me?
  • Do I hesitate to share my good news because of how it might make them feel?
  • Does my friend abuse the friendship and/or take advantage of me?
  • Is there give and take in our relationship?
  • Do I even like this person?  
 Even friendships that have lasted decades can have rough spotsso if your relationship with a friend is deep-rooted into your life, it might be better to address the behaviors that are irritating you to see if the relationship can be salvaged rather than just ending the relationship. However, if the friend is an acquaintance- or is hostile and makes you feel bad about yourself, then the healthiest decision might be to move on. It’s all about what’s doing right for you.

friendship-girlfriends-changes-after-marriage

My advice? Focus on the friendships that sustain you and help you be the best, happiest person you can be–and move on from the rest.  Remind yourself that friends are supposed to be a source of support and kindness, and that you are supposed to leave social interactions feeling happy and grateful for the loved ones in your life.

 
 

Need help with a sticky social situation or relationship issue?  Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions Psychotherapy in Orange County, as well as, online through eTherapi.

Photo credits- Shutterstock.