Where Relationships Can Fail...

Relationships can be one of the most rewarding aspects of life, providing love, companionship, and support. However, relationships can also be challenging, and many of them fail for a variety of reasons. Here are some common reasons why relationships fail:

  1. Lack of communication

Effective communication is crucial for the success of any relationship. When communication breaks down, misunderstandings can occur, and conflicts can arise. A lack of communication can also lead to feelings of resentment, which can erode the foundation of a relationship over time.

  1. Unresolved conflicts

Conflicts are a natural part of any relationship, but they can become problematic if they are not resolved effectively. When conflicts go unresolved, they can lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration, which can damage the relationship.

  1. Different values and goals

If two people in a relationship have different values and goals, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy and happy relationship. It's important to be clear about your values and goals and to discuss them openly with your partner to ensure that you are on the same page.

  1. Lack of trust

Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. When trust is broken, it can be difficult to repair the relationship. Lack of trust can manifest in many ways, including infidelity, dishonesty, or lack of support.

  1. Different communication styles

People have different communication styles, and if they are not compatible, it can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. It's important to understand your partner's communication style and to work together to find a way to communicate effectively.

  1. Lack of emotional intimacy

Emotional intimacy is the foundation of a healthy relationship, providing a sense of connection, support, and understanding. When emotional intimacy is lacking, the relationship can feel distant and unfulfilling.

In conclusion, relationships can be challenging, and many of them fail for a variety of reasons. Lack of communication, unresolved conflicts, different values and goals, lack of trust, different communication styles, and lack of emotional intimacy are all common reasons why relationships fail. By understanding these issues, we can work towards building healthy and fulfilling relationships that stand the test of time.

Infertility

Infertility is a common medical condition that affects many couples trying to conceive. It can have a significant impact on a person's mental health, leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and frustration. Dealing with infertility can be a complex and emotional process, but therapy can play a crucial role in helping individuals cope and find ways to move forward. Here are some ways therapy can help individuals dealing with infertility:

  1. Provides a safe space to discuss feelings and emotions

Dealing with infertility can be a highly emotional experience, often leading to feelings of sadness, anger, and disappointment. Therapy provides a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss these feelings and emotions, allowing individuals to process and work through their experiences.

  1. Helps individuals navigate complex medical decisions

Infertility treatment can involve complex medical decisions, such as choosing between different treatment options or deciding when to stop treatment. Therapy can help individuals navigate these decisions by providing support, guidance, and resources.

  1. Teaches healthy coping strategies

Therapy can help individuals develop healthy coping strategies to manage the stress and emotions associated with infertility. This can include techniques such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

  1. Offers ongoing support and guidance

Therapy offers ongoing support and guidance as individuals navigate the complex emotional and medical aspects of infertility. This can include regular sessions with a therapist, as well as access to additional resources and support groups.

  1. Improves communication and relationships

Infertility can place a significant strain on relationships, leading to communication problems and tension. Therapy can help individuals and couples improve their communication skills and develop healthy coping strategies, strengthening their relationships and helping them move forward together.

In conclusion, dealing with infertility can be a complex and emotional process. Therapy can play a crucial role in helping individuals cope and find ways to move forward by providing a safe space to discuss feelings and emotions, helping navigate complex medical decisions, teaching healthy coping strategies, offering ongoing support and guidance, and improving communication and relationships. If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support.

Boundaries In Relationships

Matthew Fray is a popular author and relationship coach known for his work on boundaries in relationships. He has written extensively on the topic, emphasizing the importance of boundaries in maintaining healthy relationships. Here's what you need to know about the magic of boundaries with Matthew Fray:

  1. What are boundaries?

Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves and others in our lives. They define what we are and are not comfortable with, and they help us establish and maintain healthy relationships.

  1. Why are boundaries important?

Boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships. They help us establish trust, respect, and mutual understanding with our partners. They also help us avoid unhealthy patterns of behavior, such as people-pleasing or codependency.

  1. How to set boundaries?

Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially if you are not used to doing so. Matthew Fray recommends being clear and direct about your needs and desires, and communicating them in a way that is respectful and non-judgmental. It's also important to be consistent in enforcing your boundaries, even if it means saying no to others.

  1. What are the benefits of setting boundaries?

Setting boundaries can have many benefits, including increased self-esteem, improved communication, and stronger relationships. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve overall mental health and well-being.

  1. What are some common boundary issues in relationships?

Common boundary issues in relationships include not respecting each other's privacy, not being clear about expectations and needs, and not respecting each other's time and energy. These issues can lead to resentment and conflict, which can damage the relationship over time.

Basically, boundaries are essential for maintaining healthy relationships. By setting clear boundaries and enforcing them consistently, we can establish trust, respect, and mutual understanding with our partners. Matthew Fray emphasizes the importance of boundaries in his work, and his insights can be invaluable for anyone looking to build stronger, healthier relationships.

Emotional Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a form of couples therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s. The therapy is based on the premise that attachment is a fundamental human need and that individuals have an innate drive to form and maintain intimate connections with others. EFT is grounded in attachment theory and focuses on helping couples to identify and express their underlying emotions and needs in order to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Dr. Sue Johnson is a leading expert in the field of couples therapy and is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on the science of love and relationships. She is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Ottawa in Canada and has authored numerous books and articles on the topic of relationships and attachment. Her most well-known book, "Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love," has been translated into over 20 languages and has helped countless couples to improve their relationships.

EFT is a short-term therapy that typically consists of 8-20 sessions. The therapy focuses on three main stages:

  1. De-escalation: The first stage of EFT involves helping the couple to identify and de-escalate the negative patterns that are causing distress in their relationship. This involves identifying the negative cycles of interaction that the couple is caught in and helping them to understand how these cycles are perpetuated.
  2. Restructuring: The second stage of EFT involves helping the couple to restructure their interactions in a more positive way. This involves helping them to express their underlying emotions and needs more effectively and to develop new ways of interacting that promote connection and closeness.
  3. Consolidation: The final stage of EFT involves consolidating the gains made in therapy and helping the couple to maintain the positive changes in their relationship over time. This involves helping them to continue to communicate effectively and to stay connected emotionally.

EFT has been shown to be highly effective in improving relationships and reducing distress. Research studies have found that EFT is effective in treating a variety of relationship issues, including communication problems, infidelity, and attachment injuries. EFT has also been found to be effective in treating couples with a history of trauma or abuse.

Dr. Sue Johnson's contributions to the field of couples therapy have been immense. Her research and clinical work have helped to transform our understanding of the importance of emotional connection in relationships. Her approach to therapy has helped countless couples to develop stronger, more secure bonds with one another, leading to more fulfilling and satisfying relationships.

In conclusion, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a powerful and effective form of couples therapy that helps couples to develop deeper emotional connections and to overcome the negative patterns that are causing distress in their relationship. Dr. Sue Johnson's contributions to the field of couples therapy have been immense, and her approach to therapy has helped countless couples to develop more meaningful and satisfying relationships. If you are struggling in your relationship, EFT may be a powerful tool to help you and your partner find your way back to each other.

Gaslighting...Victim or Bully?

One of the great things about having easy access to so much information right at your fingertips is that it can shine a bright light on certain forms of covert and abusive relationship issues that were not previously well-known or discussed in our society. A newer “buzz” word that seems to be talked about a lot these days is gaslighting. What exactly is gaslighting and how does it affect the victim? More importantly, how do you know when you’re caught in the proverbial spider web and what, if anything, can you do to free yourself?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological warfare that causes the victim to question their own judgment and reality. It is an extreme and very specialized form of brainwashing. And, gaslighting commonly goes hand in hand with narcissism, which is yet another form of psychological abuse- has its own sliding scale, and depending on the severity, it may even be associated with certain types of personality disorders. But that’s a can of worms for another time. For now, let’s dive into gaslighting.

Make no mistake, when used in a consistent and pervasive manner, gaslighting is a form of masterful manipulation and abuse and it is crippling for the victim. For example, say you have befriended someone and you find yourself on the phone with this person and they are telling you how depressed they feel, how they can’t sleep, and how terrible everything in their life is. They bring up their past experience with attempted suicide. Naturally, the context of all of this leaves you feeling frightened, helpless, and unsure of what to say or do. Suddenly, they abruptly tell you that they have to go because they have something they need to do. You try to text them, but they don’t respond. You call, but they don’t respond. You leave a voice message, but again, they don’t respond. Hours later, after you have worked yourself up to the point of being physically sick with worry, they text you and tell you that they had to go because they needed to get a birthday gift for a friend. When you express how they steered your perception and how upset you are, they act as though you overreacted, are too sensitive, or treat you like you’re crazy and imagined the whole thing.

Or, say you are dating a man who has a history of lying and twisting things so that you always feel like the crazy one or the one in the wrong. He feels like you are slipping away from him so he begins to insist that you must be cheating on him. There is no truth to it and you tell him so, but he continues to accuse you of cheating and questions everything you do. He even goes so far as to set up cameras, without your knowledge, so he can “catch” you in the act. After weeks of this behavior, he gains enough evidence to realize that you are not cheating and never were. Instead of apologizing or showing remorse, and doing all he can to make it right, he behaves as though you somehow brought all of this on yourself, that you made him feel like he had to resort to such extreme measures. Clearly, It’s not his fault, it’s yours.

As a final example, imagine that you are having a conversation with someone and they are telling you a story. You listen intently. The following day, the story comes up again in conversation but this time, the details are different. You question it and immediately the other person goes on the defensive. They tell you that you weren’t listening to them, that you’re trying to make it seem that they are dishonest and then they tell you how hurt they are that you don’t trust them. They go on and on about it and you can feel yourself shrinking, second-guessing yourself, and you find yourself apologizing over and over again for not believing or trusting in them. And, so it goes. The lies and manipulation get worse and worse and you become less and less of who you once were before this person entered your life.

In the end, you are left feeling like nothing you do is ever good enough, you’re always wrong, and you always seem to be apologizing for something. As the victim, you no longer feel like yourself, you’ve lost confidence, and typically feel confused, anxious, and/or unable to trust yourself. You might even wonder if you are too sensitive and blame yourself.

According to Preston Ni, a writer for Psychology Today, there are 7 core traits to the insidious practice of gaslighting.

Ultimately when you challenge them (which you will, especially in the beginning), they will refute the evidence (no matter how concrete), deny, blame, misdirect, create confusion and doubt, and manipulate you into submission. They want complete power over you mentally and emotionally so that you feel like you need them for acceptance, approval, respect, safety, and security. You will be full of fear, vulnerable, and marginalized so that they can exploit you at will for their own power and personal gain. If you do receive some small kindness or a glimpse of remorse, it will be fleeting, fake, and superficial- its only purpose is to keep you dancing on the puppet strings.

By now, you might be wondering what, if anything, can you do to get out? In order to start the process of freeing yourself, it is necessary to recognize that you are in the gaslighting spider web in the first place. Once you do, talk to someone you trust about what you are going through, compile some examples, do your research, write things down, and then seek help from a therapist. Make a plan and take steps to get out of the relationship as soon as you can by lining up someplace to live, finding a job, or setting money aside whenever possible, so that you can rebuild your life. It will not be easy, but it can be done. Don’t give up and remember, you are not alone. 

Divorce...

Divorce sucks. Plain and simple. Whether you initiated, your partner did, or you both agreed together, it is a crap-shoot. 

Six months ago, my husband and I quietly separated. I needed my own space so that I could deal with my resentment towards him. I was incredibly unhappy and had been for years. I felt completely unseen, unloved, and unwanted. We had almost no intimacy, sexual or otherwise, we rarely talked, and I always felt like the “heavy” in our relationship- the one who made the tough decisions, disciplined the kids, handled the finances, and took care of any and all planning for appointments and such. Now, in all fairness, my husband works hard- really hard! He works 10+ hour days through the week and then puts in another 6-8 on Saturdays. Sometimes, he even worked half-days on Sunday. He always took care of grocery shopping 1-2 times a month and cooked dinner most nights. He took care of oil changes, brake jobs, and yard work. And when he had free time, he spent with our kids outside playing soccer or basketball or playing on the trampoline. He and my son get along great- they have gaming in common and my husband is super patient with him. All in all, he’s not a bad guy and he certainly isn’t a bad dad, but as a husband, well, let’s just say, I was never really his priority. 

The 7 Pillars of Grief: An Introverts Perspective 
The experience of loss can come in many forms. Most of us readily recognize the finality of death as an obvious catalyst for grief. The process for working through these other types of loss is more or less identical to that of death.

We are going to explore some of these other forms of loss, how they shape us, how we heal from them, and most importantly, how we, as introverts, define and handle the stepping stones of this particularly hard, but necessary journey. First, allow me to tell you a little bit about one of my biggest battles with grief. 

In August 2017, my father passed away. My relationship with him had been complicated for almost all of my adult years. He had diabetes and ultimately succumbed to the toll that the disease took on his body. He was an alcoholic during my growing-up years, he could be hugely warm and funny, but he could also be cruel and cutting. He was an avid history buff and loved to read. He genuinely liked kids and enjoyed teaching them card games and board games. He was far from perfect and we struggled to understand each other. But, I know he loved me and I loved him. My journey through grieving was a life-altering experience from the inside out. 

The 7 Pillars (stages) of Grief are a vital part of the healing process. If you were to work through them in order, it would look like this:

• Shock and Denial
• Pain and Guilt
• Anger and Bargaining
• Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness 
• The Upward Turn
• Reconstruction and Working Through
• Acceptance and Hope

Now, here is something I want you to keep in mind- every single person is different. We all grieve in our own way and in our own time. If you find yourself skipping or vacillating between one or more of these pillar stages, that’s okay. If you feel like you are all over the place, that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with you. 

Grief is messy. It’s chaotic and crazy and deeply painful. It shows up in ways that you never thought possible. You will have days of deep despair- where you won’t want to get out of bed. You’ll feel weak and defeated and lost. You’ll have days where seemingly nothing of significance will make you cry or completely alter your mood from one extreme to another. There will be days when you’ll feel strong and alive and like you can FINALLY breathe. And yes, there will be days- even moments, when you’ll experience both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. And, you know what? It’s okay. You are okay. I repeat, there is NOTHING wrong with you. Keep moving forward because the only way out is through. It takes what it takes to heal.

What Is "Peter Pan Syndrome"?

Peter Pan Syndrome, also known as “the eternal child” or “the perpetual adolescent,” is a condition in which a person refuses to grow up emotionally and psychologically. It is named after the character Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up and spends his life in a magical fantasy world.

This syndrome is not a clinical diagnosis, but rather a cultural phenomenon that has gained widespread recognition. It affects both men and women and can manifest in various ways, such as a reluctance to take on adult responsibilities, a fear of commitment, and a tendency to avoid serious relationships.

One of the defining features of Peter Pan Syndrome is a deep-seated desire to remain free and independent. Individuals with this condition may avoid long-term commitments, such as marriage, children, or a steady job. They often feel trapped by the responsibilities of adult life and long for the carefree days of childhood.

Another common symptom of Peter Pan Syndrome is a lack of emotional maturity. Individuals with this condition may struggle to regulate their emotions and may react impulsively to stressful situations. They may also have a tendency to avoid difficult conversations or confrontations, preferring instead to retreat into their own world.

The causes of Peter Pan Syndrome are not well understood, but some experts believe that it may be related to childhood trauma or neglect. Others suggest that it may be a cultural phenomenon, resulting from a society that values youthfulness and independence over responsibility and maturity.

While Peter Pan Syndrome can be problematic, it is not necessarily a negative condition. In fact, many individuals with this syndrome are creative, imaginative, and fun-loving. They often have a zest for life that can be infectious and inspiring.

However, it is important to recognize that there can be negative consequences associated with Peter Pan Syndrome. Individuals who refuse to take on adult responsibilities may struggle to maintain stable relationships, financial stability, and overall well-being. Additionally, those with this condition may miss out on the joys of adulthood, such as building a family and experiencing personal growth and fulfillment.

If you or someone you know exhibits symptoms of Peter Pan Syndrome, it may be helpful to seek professional help. Therapy can provide a safe space to explore underlying issues and develop strategies for emotional growth and maturity.

In conclusion, Peter Pan Syndrome is a complex condition that affects individuals in various ways. While it can be seen as a positive attribute, it is important to recognize the potential negative consequences and seek help if necessary. By understanding and addressing the underlying issues, individuals with Peter Pan Syndrome can learn to embrace adulthood and enjoy all that life has to offer.

Healing From Divorce

Divorce can be a traumatic and difficult experience, and it is common for people to feel a range of emotions including sadness, anger, grief, and confusion. These emotions are natural and normal, and it is important to allow yourself time to process and heal from the trauma of divorce.

Here are some steps you can take to heal from the trauma of divorce:

  1. Allow yourself to feel your emotions: It is important to allow yourself to feel and express your emotions after a divorce. This can be challenging, as society often expects us to put on a brave face and move on quickly. However, it is important to give yourself permission to feel and process your emotions. This may mean crying, talking to a friend or therapist, or writing in a journal.
  2. Seek support: Divorce can be a lonely experience, and it is important to have a support system in place to help you through this difficult time. This might include friends and family, a therapist, or a support group. It can also be helpful to connect with others who have gone through a divorce and can understand what you are going through.
  3. Take care of yourself: It is important to prioritize your physical and emotional well-being during this time. This may mean getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
  4. Reflect on the past and move forward: It can be helpful to take some time to reflect on what led to the end of your marriage and what you might have done differently. However, it is important to avoid getting stuck in the past and to focus on moving forward. This may mean setting new goals, finding new hobbies, or creating a new vision for your future.
  5. Learn from the experience: Divorce can be a difficult and painful experience, but it can also be an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Take some time to reflect on what you have learned from your marriage and divorce, and how you can use these lessons to grow and improve in the future.
  6. Seek professional help: If you are struggling to cope with the trauma of divorce, it may be helpful to seek the support of a therapist or other mental health professional. A therapist can provide a safe and supportive space to process your emotions and work through any underlying issues that may have contributed to the end of your marriage.

It is important to remember that healing from the trauma of divorce takes time, and it is okay to take things one day at a time. It may be helpful to set small goals for yourself and to celebrate your progress along the way. It is also important to be kind to yourself and to recognize that it is okay to have good days and bad days.

The Importance of Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is an important aspect of many committed relationships, as it can provide a sense of closeness and connection between partners. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which sexual intimacy can be important in a committed relationship, and we will discuss some ways in which couples can work to maintain and improve their sexual intimacy.

One of the most obvious ways in which sexual intimacy is important in a committed relationship is that it can provide a sense of physical pleasure and enjoyment. Sex can be an enjoyable and pleasurable activity in its own right, and it can also release feel-good chemicals in the brain that can help to improve mood and reduce stress. Sexual intimacy can also be an important way for couples to show their affection and love for each other.

Sexual intimacy can also be an important way for couples to communicate and connect with each other. It can provide an opportunity for partners to express their needs and desires, and it can also be a way for couples to learn more about each other's bodies and what brings each other pleasure. In this way, sexual intimacy can help to strengthen the emotional bond between partners.

In addition to the personal benefits of sexual intimacy, it can also have a number of positive effects on the relationship as a whole. For example, research has shown that couples who have a healthy and satisfying sex life tend to have higher levels of relationship satisfaction and are more likely to stay together. Sexual intimacy can also help to reduce conflict and increase feelings of intimacy and closeness between partners.

However, it is important to recognize that sexual intimacy is not the only factor that determines the success or happiness of a relationship. There are many other important aspects of a relationship, such as trust, communication, and shared values and goals. However, sexual intimacy can be an important component of a committed relationship, and it is worth making an effort to maintain and improve it.

So, what can couples do to maintain and improve their sexual intimacy? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Communicate openly and honestly: It is important for couples to communicate openly and honestly about their sexual desires and needs. This can help to ensure that both partners feel satisfied and fulfilled, and it can also help to prevent misunderstandings or resentment.
  2. Experiment and try new things: It can be easy for couples to fall into a sexual routine, but it is important to remember that variety is the spice of life. Experimenting with new positions, locations, or activities can help to keep things exciting and can help to keep the spark alive in a relationship.
  3. Prioritize intimacy: It is important for couples to make time for sexual intimacy and to prioritize it in their relationship. This might mean setting aside time for date nights or making an effort to create a romantic atmosphere at home.
  4. Seek help if needed: If a couple is experiencing difficulties with their sexual intimacy, it can be helpful to seek the advice of a therapist or other mental health professional. A professional can provide guidance and support to help couples overcome any challenges they may be facing.

In conclusion, sexual intimacy is an important aspect of many committed relationships. It can provide physical pleasure and enjoyment, help couples to connect and communicate, and have a number of positive effects on the relationship as a whole. By making an effort to maintain and improve their sexual intimacy, couples can strengthen their bond and deepen their connection with each other.

Dealing With A Narcissistic Partner

Dealing with a narcissistic partner can be challenging and emotionally draining. Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration. Here are some tips for coping with a narcissistic partner:

  1. Set boundaries: It is important to establish clear boundaries with a narcissistic partner and to communicate them clearly. This may mean setting limits on how much time you spend with them or setting limits on what you are willing to tolerate in terms of behavior.
  2. Seek support: Coping with a narcissistic partner can be emotionally draining, and it is important to have a support system in place to help you through this challenging time. This might include friends, family, a therapist, or a support group.
  3. Focus on self-care: It is important to prioritize your own well-being when dealing with a narcissistic partner. This may mean making time for activities that bring you joy, taking care of your physical health, and seeking support when you need it.
  4. Communicate openly and honestly: It is important to communicate openly and honestly with a narcissistic partner, but it is also important to be aware of their tendency to manipulate or gaslight. It may be helpful to practice active listening and to use "I" statements to express your thoughts and feelings.
  5. Seek professional help: If you are struggling to cope with a narcissistic partner, it may be helpful to seek the support of a therapist or other mental health professional. A therapist can provide a safe and supportive space to process your emotions and work on strategies for coping with a narcissistic partner.

It is important to remember that dealing with a narcissistic partner can be difficult and emotionally draining. It is okay to take breaks and to set boundaries to protect your own well-being. It is also important to recognize that you are not alone and that there is help available.