Confront That Toxic Person About Your Boundaries

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2019

Being emotionally present and connected while we are confronting another person is the first essential of a good conversation. It truly requires a work of grace in us.

[Related: How to Defend Yourself Against Someone Who Gaslights You During a Confrontation]

Being present refers to being in touch and in tune with our own feelings as well as those of the other person. This is an important skill, because when we are “there” – that is, emotionally present – we are available to the other person. He is not shut off from us while we are telling him a difficult reality about himself and the relationship. It is hard for anyone to absorb a confrontation. Presence and connection help to make that tolerable.

A boundary conversation is very difficult because it feels unnatural – and it is unnatural, in that the natural person within us does not think this way. On our own, we seek to protect ourselves from discomfort. We don’t want to be vulnerable and...

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I Never Thought I'd Learn This From My Daughter

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2019

It was a holiday weekend, and I was at a celebration that included a memorial “paddle out” on surfboards in the Pacific Ocean to honor and remember my brother-in-law, Mark. He was a Navy SEAL, a great American, husband, father, hero, brother, and a friend. Mark died on a mission in Iraq in 2008.

My daughter, Olivia, was 10 at the time, and she wanted to participate in the paddle-out to honor her uncle. So, we borrowed a surfboard and began to walk out to the beach where the surfers were gathering, with me carrying the board. I was excited for her to take part in honoring her uncle Mark and was inspired by her fearlessness in wanting to paddle way out into the ocean with all the adults. She did just great and when we came back to the beach we hugged.

She was very proud and thankful for her uncle Mark, and we spent a moment talking about all of it before everyone gathered their things to make the long walk back up the hillside to the main event. Everyone, that is, except...

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3 Ways to Practice Saying No – And They All Work!

Uncategorized Aug 13, 2019

Jenna used to believe that she would never learn how to say no and make it stick. But, as she sat at her kitchen table with a teacup in hand, she felt amazed. It was an unfamiliar sensation, but a pleasant one. Her mind wandered back to the events of the morning. Her eight-year-old son, Bryan, had begun the day with his usual waking-up shenanigans. He sulked and pouted his way to the breakfast table, announcing, “I’m not going to school — and no one’s going to make me!”

Normally Jenna would have either tried to talk Bryan into attending school, or blown up at him in frustration. However, this morning was different. Jenna simply said, “You’re right, Honey. No one can make you go to school. That has to be something you choose to do. However, if you don’t choose to go to school, you are choosing to stay in your room all day with no TV. But that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, like you did last week.”...

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Fewer Fights and Better Boundaries: 3 Steps to Seeing Improved Behavior in Your Child

Uncategorized Aug 11, 2019

Children need more than a parent who will talk about boundaries. They need a parent who will be boundaries. This means that in whatever situation arises, you respond to your child with empathy, firmness, freedom, and consequences. But, sometimes parents contribute to the problem by trying to justify their kid’s behavior, rather than addressing the issue.

Setting boundaries with kids isn’t about “making” your child do anything. It is much more about structuring your child’s existence so that he experiences the consequences of his behavior, thus leading him to be more responsible and caring. Use the following three key steps to help begin the process with your kids:

Step 1: Acknowledge that your child is not perfect.
All kids are immature sinners; this is our human condition. Some parents have difficulty with this first step. They deny their child’s behavior. They rationalize genuine problems. For example, smarting off becomes a cute sense of humor....

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How to Teach Your Kids to Connect with Others

Uncategorized Aug 10, 2019

One of the coolest things we ever see is children playing together, having fun and laughing with joy. It’s a pleasant feeling when we see children playing together in unity. It warms our hearts.

But as a parent, as wonderful as it is to see my kids playing with their friends, I also see it as a psychologist. And the psychologist in me knows that it is not just a nice thing to see our children having friends. It is crucial for their future, as the ability to create and maintain good relationships is one of the most important skills that anyone can have. Research has shown that it is related to our happiness, goal achievement, success in almost every area of life, physical and spiritual health, financial well-being, stress resilience, and on and on. So, I want my kids to have fun with their friends, but I want it more than for today. I want it to be a part of learning an ability that they are going to need for the rest of their lives.

And that brings us to a question, “How...

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Wise, Foolish or Evil: How to Know Who You're Dealing With

Uncategorized Aug 08, 2019

If you believe that you’re a responsible and loving person, it’s easy to assume that other people think like you. You think that they care about other people and how their actions affect those people. Since you have a concern about how what you do affects others, then it makes sense that everyone else is just like you, right? The truth is that not many people take responsibility for themselves or care about how their actions are affecting other people or the mission. Moreover, some are even worse than that, and they’re actually out to do you harm. If you don’t want to accept this reality, then you’re going to waste time, money, energy, and resources on people who will either squander or destroy it.

There are three types of people in the world, or rather, three styles of behavior that a person can exhibit in a particular time or context. Depending on whether you’re a psychiatrist, employer, a spouse or a judge, there are different ways of...

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How You Can Understand the Toxic Habits of Unsafe People

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2019

I wanted to tell you about something I see all too often, and it really bums me out. I find it incredibly discouraging when people gossip instead of keeping secrets.   We all know those people who you can't trust with sensitive information. (In fact, some of us may be those people.) The second they hear something, they're already thinking of who they can tell. And most of the time, it's after they've just agreed to not say anything! 

We all have experiences, thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that we don't feel safe telling the world. We need someone in whom to confide. Some of us have secret past actions that plague us. Others have been victimized of abused. Still others simply need a person to tell our private stories to. 

Few things are more bruising than having your secrets betrayed. If you have ever entrusted part of yourself to another, and then heard about it from a third party, you have been triangulated.

Triangulation occurs when person A...

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How to Get Rid of Toxic Relationships and Codependent Behaviors

Uncategorized Aug 06, 2019

You’ve heard it said many times before that people are “stuck in their ways,” and maybe you’ve said it as well. Depending on the person and the situation, it’s often said with confidence and satisfaction. That’s because there is a comfort to being resistant to change because it puts a stop to pain or helps you avoid it.

So getting the brain to create an ending, and getting the people around you to do the same, is going to take both the fear of the negative and the draw of the positive. Your brain really needs to get that if you don’t move, something bad is going to happen, and also that if you do, you will get what you desire. You have to break through the comfort level that you’re in because you were not designed to cope, but thrive.

So, what needs to happen to create the urgency needed to pursue what needs to happen for progress?

Your brain will get you moving toward anything that it agrees with, and avoiding pain is on top of its...

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The Most Frustrating Part About Any Relationship

Uncategorized Aug 05, 2019

Are you in some type of relationship (it could be personal or work-related) where you are trying to get someone to be or do something different? But that person isn’t listening, or doesn’t desire to change, or doesn’t want what you want for him or her?

If so ... it’s time to wake up and realize that you cannot change another person. YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANOTHER PERSON!

You cannot get someone to do something they don’t choose to do, or to be someone they don’t choose to be ... either because they can’t or because they don’t desire to.

Why? Because you can never take over another person’s freedom to choose. People are not robots. They are free to choose what they want, what they will do, and what they won’t do.

Once you realize this, you will stop trying to do what will never work, which is trying to change people into something they do not want to be or convince them to do something they do not want to do. It never works. While...

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Connect with Others to Find Safe Relationships

Uncategorized Aug 02, 2019

I opened up this discussion in my boundaries group on facebook not long ago, and I said that bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person. It’s the ability to relate to another on the deepest level. When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams, and feelings with each other with no fear that the other person will reject them.

Without a solid, bonded relationship, the human soul will become mired in psychological and emotional problems. We cannot prosper without being connected to others. We sometimes think, however, that we can supply all our needs without other people. We think that, in a state of emotional isolation, we can still grow. This grave violation of the basic nature of the universe can cause serious problems.

Learning to bond won’t happen overnight. Making human connections takes a good dose of grace, truth and time. Here are some skills that will start you on the long road to making...

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