How to Help Someone Without Becoming Codependent

Uncategorized Nov 02, 2017

Amy called Tina late one night needing a friend.

“He’s gone,” Amy said between sobs. “Dad passed an hour ago.”

Tina was heartbroken for her friend. Though offering condolences and prayers seemed appropriate, Tina wanted to do more for Amy. She couldn’t take away the pain Amy was experiencing, and she was busy with work and family obligations, yet she felt as though she needed to do more. This was one of her best friends.

Simply said, the way to comfort someone who is enduring a loss, going through a hard time or is recovering from addiction is to give them the support and structure they need to go through the process that is unavoidable.

Each of these instances requires a letting-go experience, a letting-go of defenses, control, the things that have been lost, emotions, niceties and the like. But to let go, someone has to be held up. The facilitator is the person who is the life support and the one who holds up the other person while they let go...

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Having No Boundaries with Family can have Negative Effects on Marriage

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2017

Our families of origin are a place of familiarity to us. It’s where we form our habits and patterns, and what we grew up knowing is how we make decisions about our future. However, when we’re not able to separate ourselves from our families of origins, we often run into boundary problems in outside relationships.

Let’s look at some common signs of a lack of boundaries with the family we grew up in.

Catching the Virus
A common scenario is this: one spouse doesn’t have good emotional boundaries with the family he grew up in — his family of origin. Then when he has contact with them by phone or in person, he becomes depressed, argumentative, self-critical, perfectionistic, angry, combative, or withdrawn. It is as though he “catches” something from his family of origin and passes it on to his immediate family.

His family of origin has the power to affect his new family in a trickle-down effect. One sure sign of boundary problems is when your...

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Someone Else's Feelings Aren't Yours to Own

Uncategorized Nov 01, 2017

Our feelings, whether good or bad, are our property. They fall within our boundaries. Our feelings are our responsibility; others’ feelings are their responsibility. If other people feel sad, it is their sadness. This does not mean that they do not need someone else to be with them in their sadness and to empathize with them. It does mean the person who is feeling sad must take responsibility for that feeling.

Sandy was confused about her boundaries because she felt responsible for her mother’s feelings. She felt like she had to change her mother’s anger to happiness by changing her own behavior. This puts Sandy’s mother’s anger in control of Sandy’s life.

If we feel responsible for other people’s feelings, we can no longer make decisions based on what is right; we will make decisions based on how others feel about our choices. If we are always trying to keep everyone happy, then we cannot make the choices required to live correctly and...

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You Were Created to Thrive – Not Be a Victim

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

There is a big difference between a victim and a winner. Victims see things the way they are and think they will always be that way, because uncontrollable forces are acting upon them. But winners have a different attitude, especially about failure and trying something new to see if it works better. They know one of the most important things we can ever know: they know that they can learn.

If your hope lies in your abilities, then you are on precarious ground. If your dream works out because you are able to accomplish it successfully, then all is well. But if you put everything you have into your dream, and it doesn’t turn out well, where is your hope then? You have come to the end of your ability, and there is nothing there but failure.

But if you have in your toolkit another instrument of hope – your ability to learn – then nothing seems hopeless. If you can’t accomplish your dream now, you can learn how to do it. Winners think this way every day, and it is...

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Saying No is Enough — You Don’t Have to Justify It

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

Psychologists spend an enormous amount of energy building psychological tests, assessments and the like, and then administering them to people to help them understand themselves. This practice is very helpful in many settings, from work, to education, to couples and individuals. Insight into ourselves and others is really helpful for a number of reasons. I believe in good, validated testing.

But one of the best tests for our psychological well being, the tenor of the family or work culture we live in, and the health of our relationships, is free and can be self-administered. All you have to do is monitor the internal response you have when you want to say the word “no.”

Let’s start with ourselves. What happens when someone you love, someone you want to please or maybe even someone whose anger or frustration you fear, wants you to do something that you do not want to do? I do not mean the kind of need or desire that will call for sacrifice, effort or even discomfort...

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Expose your past, learn, and move forward

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

Have you ever had someone tell you, “The past is in the past. It shouldn’t have any power over you”?

That’s not entirely true. The things we would say are “in our past” are really part of our present.

People have hurt us, and we have hurt people. We have suffered wrong, and we have done wrong. We would say, “All those things happened in the past and can’t be changed.” But have your past experiences been addressed? Have you forgiven? Have you given yourself a chance to grieve and let go?

Address the past so you can be healed and open to change. Don’t let the shame of the past keep you from moving forward.

These directives reveal why dealing with the past is so important:

1. Acknowledge your past to establish a starting point. Your past is part of your history. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened; what matters is that you’ve exposed it. You can’t make the right changes in your life if...

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The characteristics to look for in good people to have in your life

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

New and unfamiliar situations tend to make us feel anxious. The tense part of a business deal just before the pens come out. The exposed vulnerability of doing something for the first time, or doing something that could easily go sideways unless all the pieces fall exactly the right way. Anxiety is the brain’s natural reaction to these experiences. It activates a fear response that’s meant to shield us from risking our well being.

The first thing most of us do is look to others to confirm or disaffirm our perception of the facts. Is anyone else sweating this like I am? What we expect to find is that everyone else is as hesitant and unsure as we are, but what we’re really looking for is that person who will make us feel like everything is going to be OK.

I don’t mean OK in the sense that everything will turn out perfectly, or even good. I mean OK in the sense that a person gives you a feeling that everything that can be done has been done. You’re...

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Let Go of the Toxic Friendships and Feel Good About It

Uncategorized Oct 30, 2017

Michelle and Kristin were partners in an online craft business they launched over social media. Though the two had seen a great deal of success, personal issues were starting to come between the two friends.

One day Michelle confronted Kristin on a behavior that had been bothering her.

"You always interrupt me when we are meeting with vendors,” she said. "It makes me feel inferior."

"Well, that’s because I think you’re too soft and undersell our brand!” Kristin shot back.

Michelle stared at her, stunned. "How can you say that?" she asked. "I've always worked just as hard as you, and I care about building relationships with our vendors!"

But Kristin could not take the implication that she was flawed, and when she heard about it, her immediate response was to insult Michelle. When Michelle tried to resolve the conflict, their friendship and the joint business venture eventually fizzled.

Michelle was devastated. But as she thought back over the years with...

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10 Things to Help You Take Steps to Address Trauma

Uncategorized Oct 29, 2017

War. Terrorism. Abuse. In today’s world, feeling secure is an elusive goal. It seems that, at least of late, there is a new reason for fear almost daily. And with all the information that is available to us so quickly, if we want more scary things, we can all too easily find them on the television or the internet. The unsettling realities seem to be much easier to find these days than the free and easy existence we knew before terrorism hit America.

So, at least for now, fear has become part of the American tapestry. And with some of these realities, some fear is an appropriate response. Fear is not always a bad thing, for it can motivate us to protect ourselves. It is the fact that we fear another attack that has moved the nation to make airports more secure, speed up investigations of terrorist networks, and protect our vital interests. If we were not afraid, we would not take those steps and would be much more vulnerable. So, fear that protects us is very important and very...

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It's Not Selfish to Set Boundaries

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2017

I get this a lot from different people I talk to: Why do I need boundaries, and aren’t they selfish?

You were created to be free and act responsibility with the freedom you were given. You’re meant to have control of yourself and your decisions, and to have a good existence. But as we all know, we have formed habits to misuse our freedom, and as a result, have lost it. With the loss of freedom came the loss of self-control, and the results of losing self-control have been experienced in a wide variety of miseries, such as:

Controlling relationships where people try to control each other.
Faith that is practiced out of guilt and drudgery instead of freedom and love.
Being motivated by guilt, anger and fear instead of love.
The inability to gain control of our own behavior and solve problems in our lives.
The loss of control to addictive processes.

These are to name just a few. It is no wonder why the need for Boundaries is felt so deeply.

So aren’t boundaries selfish?

...

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