Addressing the Fear of Confronting a Toxic Person

Uncategorized May 25, 2020

The following was written to address general unsafe behavior and may not be applicable for situations where abuse is/was present. If you have been in a relationship where abuse was present, please seek the help of a counselor and/or law enforcement.

As any psychologist will tell you, fear is stronger when we fear becoming afraid. This is called fear of fear. Suppose you need to confront a toxic person about their attitude, but you’re afraid they might retaliate. So you stay happy and positive on the outside but remain dissatisfied on the inside.

The longer you ignore the fear, the more you will activate it. And since the fear is associated with an uncomfortable outcome, having it burrow around in your mind naturally gives you an uncomfortable feeling. Eventually you learn to avoid thinking about the fearful situation so you won’t have to keep feeling the fear. And the more you avoid feeling that fear, the more afraid of it you become. It’s a vicious cycle, and it...

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Toxic People Can't Help You With This

Uncategorized May 24, 2020

One of the most valuable things you can do with your safe people, ranking up there with asking for help, needing, and melting resistance, is simply to invite the truth about yourself. We have so many blind spots and areas where we aren’t aware of our self-destructiveness. 

There are lots of ways to implement this step. You can ask for feedback in a hundred different ways. However, it could be summarized into two questions. If you will regularly ask these two questions to your safe people, and use the answers, your life can flourish. They are:

1. What do I do that pushes you away from me?
2. What do I do that draws you toward me?

There are few more difficult words to ask a person, yet nothing more helpful. When you ask these questions, you’re saying several important things to your safe people. You’re telling them:

• I value how you feel about me.
• I want you to be a very important part of my life.
• I respect what you observe in me.
• I...

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How to Tell if Your Relationship is a Waste of Time

Uncategorized May 23, 2020

Laura had been in a relationship with Jason for about four years. Her biggest complaint was that he took her for granted and did not make her a priority. He was a nice guy, but too self-centered to make a relationship work. Over and over again, he would leave her feeling ignored and unimportant. She had broken up with him several times, missed him, reunited, and nothing had changed. She would break up with him again and then a few months later would run into him and, with the pain gone, begin to enjoy all the good things about him and want to try again.

They would both talk about how they had been foolish to break up with so much good in their relationship, how they really loved each other, and how they truly should be together. “I was wrong to leave. I miss you and want to be with you again,” would be their mutual feeling. So they would get back together and do it again.

So what’s wrong with that? Everything. But please understand something: I am not saying that...

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How to Set Boundaries with a Difficult Mom

Uncategorized May 22, 2020

“My mother is a narcissist.”

I hear it a lot. I can understand why some people feel that way about their parents or others in their life who have left them hurt.

I’m going to keep using “mom” as an example here, but these are guidelines you can use with anyone in your life when you’re making rules and setting boundaries. Let’s take a further look. …

If you’re new to setting boundaries, or setting them with a new person, it can be tough and a little scary. But let’s think about how we approach that. You might say something like, “I’m in a process of personal growth, and I’ve made some changes. Our relationships is important to me, so I want to share them with you.” Then explain what you’ve discovered about your character traits, attributes, likes and dislikes.

“But my mom will just say I’m just being selfish, that I don’t love her …”

You can still set the...

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Why You Struggle With Dating

Uncategorized May 22, 2020

After more than 20 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. And just to note here, I'm not talking about situations of abuse. Abuse is never, ever your fault. 

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...

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Take Power Away from Unsafe Family Members

Uncategorized May 22, 2020

Becoming an adult is a process of taking on more and more power and responsibility as we become old enough to handle them. Adults identify with the adult role enough to be able to do grown-up things without conflict, including developing a career, engaging in sexuality, establishing mutual friendships, treating other adults as peers, and having opinions. Adults establish a sense of competence over their lives.

This process of starting as little people and becoming equal with big people begins with bonding, having boundaries and separateness, and resolving good and bad, but ultimately has to do with coming out from under the one-down relationship that a child has to parents and other adults and coming into equal standing as an adult on his or her own. This is the final step of development so that one can exercise their gifts and responsibilities. It is a big leap into adulthood, but we are supposed to become equal with other adults.

Adults make decisions, have opinions, establish...

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How to Find the Courage to Love Yourself

Uncategorized May 22, 2020
 

Negative thoughts have power. Everyone has them, but you don’t have to grab them and treat them like reality when they come into your mind. One of the most researched and proven techniques of changing moods is to dispute your negative thinking with the truth, and in this call from The Dr. Cloud Show, I talk about how this caller can take steps towards loving herself.

There are two things I tell this caller.

1. Observe what we're saying to ourselves. What are the thoughts I'm saying to myself? Am I respecting my needs when they come up, or how do I talk myself out of them? Get above the negative thoughts and take charge of what you're telling yourself.

2. Get around people who can reinforce positive messages. The word "encourage" literally means to put COURAGE into someone. Who are you going to make part of your good vibe tribe?

If you'd like me to coach you through this, we can work on it together right here. 

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The #1 Reason Why People Hate Change

Uncategorized May 21, 2020

One of the most important boundaries that people have to establish is against the tendency to put off changes that they know need to be made. If you think about it, much “waiting” and putting off changes has nothing to do with “getting more information,” or “waiting until we get finished with a, b, or c.” Obviously, it’s essential to gather data and do analysis, but many people allow too much lag time between knowing and doing.

I remember once when I had a decision to make regarding a significant investment. I had been reluctant to green light the deal because it was in an area that I was less familiar with than I wanted to be. The truth, however, was that my advisers were experts in this arena, and I really did trust their opinions. Still, I was putting it off. Finally one of them, the lead investor, called me.

“We have to go forward now or it is not going to happen,” he said. “What are you going to do?”

“I...

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Don’t Let Toxic Family Members Shame You into Compliance

Uncategorized May 20, 2020

Holly was one of the angriest women I had ever seen in my office. She was angry at her family’s excessive expectations of her. Her mother expected her to call her every week and to accompany her on shopping trips. If there was a family function, Holly had to be there. Her father expected her to come home for Sunday dinner. Her brother expected her to come to all of his sporting events.

And if she didn’t, Holly’s family shamed her into submission.

I agreed with Holly that her family’s expectations were extreme, but when I suggested that her family wasn’t going to change and that she had to free herself from their expectations by changing her attitude, she became angry with me. She felt that if I didn’t see her as a victim, I didn’t care. I assured her that while she had indeed been victimized growing up, she had to stop allowing herself to be victimized by freeing herself from both her family’s expectations and her expectations of them....

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How to Find the Courage To Trust After Being Hurt

Uncategorized May 20, 2020
 

In Episode 24 of The Dr. Cloud Show, we had a caller who wanted to discuss some of the betrayal she's experienced in previous relationships, and how it was affecting her current relationship with her boyfriend.

According to the caller, she said that her boyfriend had not done anything to hurt or betray her a year into their relationship, but she was living with anxiety about the possibility of it happening.

This is something that comes up a lot ... Someone was hurt in a former relationship, and they carry those hurtful experiences into new relationships. They see patterns of a previous mate and the think that those patterns automatically translate into red flags in a new relationship. While that might be true in some instances, I'm going to give you a 5-step checklist to work towards trust in your future relationships.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Does your partner understand your needs?

2. Do you feel like their motives and intentions are for you?

3. Do they have the...

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