Isolating, Toxic, Fake and True – 4 Relationships You Encounter in Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2017

You are always in one of four places of connection. No matter what life circumstances you are going through on the outside – victory or defeat, or somewhere in between – there are only four possibilities of connection that you can be in at any given time. This is the premise of The Power of the Other, and science and experience agree, that figuring out where you are is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

While there are four different kinds of connectedness – four possible corners of our relational space – only one of them will help you thrive. The other three corners will always diminish your performance and your well being. They can even destroy your vision, your relationships, your performance and your health. The key is to get out of any of the other three and into the only one that works. Think of this dynamic as the geography of relationships, a map with four corners:

Corner 1: Disconnected, No Connection

Corner 2: The Bad...

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Get Past the Distortions That Keep You From Setting Boundaries

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

A woman came to see me once for help in her marriage. She described her husband as so “powerful” and “intimidating” she just could not find it in herself to talk to him about things bothering her.

“Why don’t you just talk to him about these things?” I asked.

“Oh, I just couldn’t do that,” she would reply. “He’s too strong. He’s so intimidating. I just don’t know what to do.”

After seeing I wasn’t getting anywhere by suggesting she talk to her husband, I asked her if her husband would come in to see me. She said she would tell him I would like to talk to him. I had no idea what I was in for.

On the day of her next appointment, I went into the waiting room to find the woman sitting there with a small, frail-looking man. He stood and said, in one of the least intimidating, squirrelly little voices I had ever heard, “Hi, Dr. Cloud. It is so nice to meet you!” I remember describing...

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4 Reasons Why Boundaries and Discipline are Good for Your Child

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

As you begin setting limits and consequences with your child, she will almost certainly test, protest and express hatred. However, stick with your boundaries, be fair but consistent, and empathize with your child’s emotional reactions. She will begin accepting the reality that Mom and Dad are bigger than she is, and that unacceptable behavior is costly and painful to her.

Nevertheless, children will avoid reality as long as possible. One time at a baseball game recently, I watched a six-year-old boy talk loudly and incessantly about everything on his mind, buggy all those around him. Mom and Dad, afraid of hurting his feelings, would periodically ask him to please talk more softly. Apparently this was an old scenario for the boy; however, he knew that if he ignored them, his parents would soon give up.

Finally, a fan a couple rows back walked up to him and said, “Son, you really need to be quiet.” Shocked by this firm adult stranger, the child became much more...

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5 Things You Can Do to for a Panic Attack

Uncategorized Nov 27, 2017

The following was written by a member of Dr. Henry Cloud's team. 

7:20 a.m.

The feeling struck while I was driving down the interstate to an appointment. My muscles tightened and encapsulated me. My breath became short and my head started spinning. The cadence of my heartbeat increased while my hands clinched the leather on my steering wheel.

“This is it,” I told myself. “I’m really dying this time.”

This time, right? This wasn’t just the result of some fabricated paranoia. These symptoms were real.

I could feel my throat start to close, and I was convinced I was going to suffocate and pass out. The feeling intensified as I realized I could seriously injure myself or another person if it happened while I was driving, so I pulled over at the nearest exit.

The mystery of a panic attack can create enough anxiety to actually trigger one. The phenomenon has been studied for decades and has been loosely explained through theories of evolution,...

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Perfectionism is Ruining Your Life

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to become preoccupied with perfection. That’s different from envisioning perfection as a goal. It’s about whether perfection is a goal, or something that you demand. Believing that you can realistically attain perfection is no different than wandering through the desert, ever-thirsty, toward a mirage that only recedes toward the horizon. A lot of people obsess over perfection. This obsession is a massive waste of time and energy.

Perfectionism is a distraction, a justification for procrastination, an excuse for never getting anything done. When perfectionism is about one’s own striving, it is hostility aimed inward. When it is aimed at others, it is a cold and compassionless hostility toward the world. Perfectionism is a refusal to accept reality, and it is rooted in fear. To the perfectionist, nothing will ever be good enough.

For many people, perfectionism originates in childhood, with parental pressure to achieve....

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The Two Things You Need for Healthy Intimacy

Uncategorized Nov 18, 2017

A healthy sex life begins with love. Love brings a couple together and allows sex to flourish. Love encompasses sex; it’s larger than sex. Love can create the desire for sex, but when the passion of sex is over, love remains. It continues and is present with the couple, holding them close to each other and to the Author of love himself.

A large part of sexual love is knowing, and sexual love is about knowing your spouse, personally and intimately. That means you should know your partner’s feelings, fears, secrets, hurts, and dreams, and care about them – and likewise, your partner should know and care about yours.

The vulnerability of sex increases that base of knowing, as husband and wife reveal their innermost souls to each other through sexual love. By its unveiling and exposed nature, sex demands that sort of openness. In sexual intimacy two people show each other the privacy of their bodies as well as the privacy of their hearts and feelings.

Love involves the...

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When Someone Can’t Respect Your Boundaries, Do They Love You?

Uncategorized Nov 12, 2017

Eric sat in my office, despondent. His wife, Jennifer, whom he loved deeply, had just moved out because he had lost another job. A very talented person, Eric seemed to have everything he needed for success. But he had lost several good jobs because of his irresponsibility and inability to follow through. Bosses loved the talent but hated the performance. And after several family disruptions because of his failures, Jennifer had had enough.

“I love her so much,” Eric said to me. “Doesn’t she see that?”

“I believe that you love her,” I said. “But in reality, I don’t think that she does see your love. All she sees is the effect your behavior has had on her and the children, and she asks herself, ‘How can he love us and treat us this way?’ You cannot just love someone and not deliver. Love without the fruits of love is really not love in the end. She feels very unloved because of what you have put her through.”

If...

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Set Boundaries with You Teen Without the Anxiety

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

One parent once described adolescence as the terrible twos all over again, but this time in a bigger body. We personally don’t see either time period as “terrible,” but each one can be a time full of difficulty if you don’t recognize the important stage of independence, separateness and autonomy that a child is going through. In the “twos,” toddlers are moving away from the early dependency of infancy. In the teens, children are moving away from their lifelong dependency of learning on parents for a lot of functioning.

They are looking to…

  • Think for themselves and have their own opinions
  • Question, evaluate and choose values
  • Follow their own desires and goals
  • Build skills and abilities
  • Develop their own spirituality
  • Find their own ways of making money
  • Have parents available to them while they are working all of this out

These are all good things. Participate in your adolescent’s emerging autonomy by being proactive. Many parents just...

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How to Address Boundaries Conflicts in Friendship

Uncategorized Nov 05, 2017

When we think of friendship, it conjures up images of intimacy, fondness and mutual drawing together of two people. Was this what friendship was supposed to be about? Friends are symbols of how meaningful our lives have been.

But friendship can be a broad category; but for our purposes, let’s define friendship as a nonromantic relationship that is attachment-based rather than function-based. Let’s see friendship as comprising people we want to be around just for their own sake.

When we practice mindfulness in a friendship, we can’t assume we always understand the wants and needs of the other person, and at the same time, we can’t hold someone accountable if they don’t understand what we need. No one is a mind reader.

Let’s take the friendship between Sean and Tim as an example. They enjoyed the same sports, activities and recreation. They had their favorite hangout spots and kept similar schedules. But there was a problem – they had a...

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Why You May be the Enemy of Your Own Happiness

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to become preoccupied with perfection. That’s different from envisioning perfection as a goal. It’s about whether perfection is a goal, or something that you demand. Believing that you can realistically attain perfection is no different than wandering through the desert, ever-thirsty, toward a mirage that only recedes toward the horizon. A lot of people obsess over perfection. This obsession is a massive waste of time and energy.

Perfectionism is a distraction, a justification for procrastination, an excuse for never getting anything done. When perfectionism is about one’s own striving, it is hostility aimed inward. When it is aimed at others, it is a cold and compassionless hostility toward the world. Perfectionism is a refusal to accept reality, and it is rooted in fear. To the perfectionist, nothing will ever be good enough.

For many people, perfectionism originates in childhood, with parental pressure to achieve....

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