Resolving Internal Boundary Conflicts Start With Us

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2019

Kellie had been working on major boundaries issues in her therapy for a while now. She was seeing progress in resolving responsibility conflicts with her parents, her husband, and her kids. Yet today she introduced a new issue. “I haven’t told you about this relationship before, though I guess I should have. I have tremendous boundary problems with this woman. She eats too much, and has an attacking tongue. She’s undependable — lets me down all the time. And she’s spent money of mine and hasn’t paid me back in years.”

“Why haven’t you mentioned her before?” I asked.

“Because she’s me,” Kellie replied.

Kellie was echoing the conflict most of us have. We begin setting limits on others. We begin moving from taking too much responsibility to taking just enough. But how do we begin to set limits on ourselves?

Instead of looking at the control and manipulation of others, we also need to be looking at our...

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Why We Pick the Wrong Relationships and How to Change That

Uncategorized Mar 16, 2019

Please keep in mind that this was written in the context of general relationship conflicts and is not placing blame on victims of abuse.

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way. Consider these questions:

  • Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
  • Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
  • Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
  • Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
  • Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their...

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The 7 Warning Signs of a Bad Relationship

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2019

We don’t always see warning signs of a bad relationship. The “do not cross” sign is flashing, and yet we remain oblivious to the oncoming train that will mess up our emotional world.

But I’ll tell you what you can do. Be engaged in what’s going on in the interpersonal dynamics of your relationships. Regularly take the temperature of your relationship and learn to recognize the problems before they become catastrophes, and you won’t have to worry about being caught off guard.

1. First and foremost, more than anything...you should feel safe. Safe expressing who you truly are, your mistakes and your triumphs. Every little thing that you have experienced has made you the person you are today and while some of this may not always be pretty to discuss, it made you, and the person you’re with will embrace your ups and not shame you for your downs.

2. It should never feel like a game. When someone is truly into you, and wants to pursue you and make...

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The Two Ways We Truly Find What Makes Us Happy

Uncategorized Mar 11, 2019

There's so much research that tells us material things do not bring us happiness. When I look at all of the scientific research on happiness and thriving, and I looked at what all the studies have found in the last decade or more, it's amazing. There are ways of living that make you happy whether you're rich, poor or healthy or sick, or have the job you have or don't, or the car you want or don't, the salary you want or don't.

That all of that external stuff, research shows, only counts for 10 percent of our happiness. Then there are some biological things like temperament. But the rest of happiness comes from basically some life practices. There are things like staying connected and being grateful, and forgiving and having a purpose and utilizing your talents and sharing, and a bunch of things that our brains are wired to release -- positive states of joy and happiness and chemistry and all of this, when we have certain things built into our lives.

Yet, what we do is we don't...

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The 4 Things We Need to Create Healthy Lives for Ourselves

Uncategorized Mar 08, 2019

A few months ago at Dave Ramsey's Smart Conference, I got to sit down with Rachel Cruze and talk about the four key components that give us healthy, fulfilling lives.

We were all designed in a certain way. If you take a house, for example, it was designed for a specific purpose — to give us shelter, to provide protection. Every house is different, but they all have the same basic components.

1. The Foundation: You try to build a house without a foundation, it’s going to fall. The foundation for humans is connection. When a baby is born, you don’t teach it algebra. In the first year of a baby’s life, it establishes the ability to connect and bond with other people and have that secure attachment. Connections are our fuel. If you try to go through life without the fuel of connection, you’re going to feel empty.

2. The Frame: The frame establishes the boundaries and the structure of the house, and that frame does a few things for us. Most importantly, it...

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How to Pick the Right People

Uncategorized Mar 04, 2019

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way. Consider these questions:

  • Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
  • Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
  • Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
  • Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
  • Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their relationships leave them lacking in some way, leaving them to wonder why they end up in the situations they do. They wonder what they are...

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I Know Why Your Significant Others Hides Their Feelings

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2019

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she said, referring to the grim financial realities he had been hiding.

“You never told me you were feeling alone,” he said, referring to her reason for getting involved with someone at work.

“I didn’t know you didn’t want to go,“ she said, referring to his resentment at going to her parents’ for the holidays.

“You always seemed happy,” he said, referring to her complaint in counseling that her marriage felt dead.

Sound like things you have heard before? Sound like things you have said before? You know the experience of being surprised that someone close to you felt a certain way, and you had no clue. It happens in a marriage! Sometimes one partner doesn’t hear when the other is trying to communicate something important. But at other times the communication is not so clear after all. And often when the hidden feelings are uncovered, it is too late.

Why People Hide Their Feelings

...

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How to Take the Steps to Get Unstuck

Uncategorized Feb 18, 2019

Do you ever feel like you're stuck on a path that's not leading you where you feel you ought to be going? Sometimes we can get stuck in these comfortable grooves, which because they are familiar, feel safe, but maybe aren't actually all that good for us.

Change is hard. Often, change carries a fair amount of risk, and risk is something many of us avoid like the plague. However, it's important to consider when taking a risk might be worth it. Likewise, ponder whether what you need to gain a fresh perspective on your life, goals or relationships is just the right kind of change.

Part of recognizing this opportunity to improve your circumstances is just seeing the needs you have. You have to regularly undertake a self-evaluation and question whether your needs are being met, and whether you're going the direction you want to be going. If you're not, it may be time for a change.

Be vulnerable, be open. Other people often cannot see that you need emotional support, or that you're...

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Face the Threats that Don’t Put You in Danger

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2019

You’ve heard this before: Every day, do something that scares you.

So, why is that a good idea? Well, first of all, let's make sure we are talking about the right kind of scared. Basically, your brain has no idea whether or not your feeling of scared is good or bad, accurate or inaccurate, helpful or life-limiting. All it knows is that there is a "perceived danger" and it alerts your body to react. Your heart rate goes up, your breathing changes, and you are motivated to fight, flight, or freeze.

But, are those the best options? If a train is coming at you and you are stuck on the railroad track, by all means, choose one of those options quickly. If you are Superman, you can either fight or flight —punch out the train, or fly out of the way. Freezing is probably not a good idea. If you are a mere mortal, then flight (diving off the track....quickly) is your best option, And in this instance, being scared was good, accurate, helpful and life enhancing. Thank God for...

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Is Valentine's Day an Amateur, Hallmark Holiday?

Uncategorized Feb 08, 2019

When I first became a Christian, I remember a wise older man told me he wasn’t going to church on Easter. I was surprised, especially in my newfound excitement about the faith.

“What? Why not?” I asked.

“It’s amateur day,” he said. “People go who never go any other day of the year and really aren’t serious about it. So, it is too crowded and I just stay home with God.”

I walked away thinking, “weird.” But there was a point to it ... sometimes “special days” take on a meaning to people as if they are the essence of what they are meant to symbolize and commemorate. Easter should be a day that symbolizes what we realized each and every 365 days: we have a risen Savior. He is alive every day. And then on that day, we celebrate the reality that we have all the year long.

Now, about Valentine’s day ...

Apart from being a windfall for Hallmark, what is it for us? Hopefully, it is also a symbol for what...

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