Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘christian counseling orlando’

Depression or feeling down and blue can often be countered with some everyday techniques that can lift the mood. The way we think about our lives and what we experience often has a tremendous impact on how we view the world around us. When this processing of information is put into a negative frame of mind then the world itself begins to look negative leading to negative emotions such as anxiety and depression.

So how does a person stop from being exposed to too much negativity? An effective was is to stop supplying the negative stimulus. When a person takes an active approach to stop negative input into the mind then the mind is no longer feeding itself with negativity. Sounds simple right? Here are some everyday changes that a person can do to reduce negative input leading to depressive symptoms.

1. Stop watching the news. Often nothing can be accomplished sitting in your living room listening to a clanging reporter dramatizing death, destruction and political discord. Much of our culture is based on news reporting and wanting the next fix on current events. Sometimes watching news can even turn into an addiction. Turn it off for a few days and stop feeding the mind with information that is rarely, if ever, good. Having trouble not watching the news? Next time you watch the news, sit down with pen and paper and make a list of the things that were reported. Look at the list and see what the topics were about. Chances are there are no shiny happy stories.

2. Stop worrying and take action. Sitting around and worrying about things beyond our control gets us nowhere. Worry is about trying to make something that is uncertain a certainty. This falls under the 90/10 rule where 90% of the things we worry about are beyond our control, therefore worry about the 10% that are within our control and do something about it. Practice self acceptance, if there is something that you want to change then change it.

3. Practice gratitude. Coming from a place of thanks instead of thinking about what you don’t have creates positive feelings. Take a look around and think of 3 things you have to be thankful for. Do this everyday picking 3 new things each day. Practice being thankful for doing your best instead of focusing on perfection or trying to achieve unrealistic goals. Sometimes practicing positive affirmations are difficult in the beginning when caught in a web of negative thinking, but with practice it gets better and easier with time.

 

Read Full Post »

Anxiety-2Fear is a common problem for many people and it can be difficult for most to overcome. Fear is deeply rooted and linked with negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and depression. This is not the healthy type of fear where it makes sense to be afraid of something that threatens the loss of life, but the type of fear that creates an internal disturbance toward a perceived threat. This is usually found in the form of worry. Worry can be debilitating and is the result of fear of the unknown. Here is the breakdown of how this works causing 3 common negative emotions leading to an uneasiness in our lives.

 

Anxiety

Anxiety in a nutshell is a fight or flight response to a perceived threat. Internally the body is reacting to something that signals danger and hasn’t yet fully comprehended the extent of the threat, it’s unknown. Many times unresolved anxiety is difficult because the reality of the threat is not real, it’s manufactured, and it’s offspring is worry.

Worry is about the unknown and it is full of “mights and maybes.” The body responds to protect itself, an autonomic reaction, and the result is anxiety. Internally the body cannot recognize whether or not the threat is real, it just has to prepare itself just in case. So, if the mind is producing the perceived threat then the mind is the one that can fix the perceived threat by changing it. Most people who suffer this type of anxiety are experiencing generalized anxiety which is associated with expecting the worst in most situations. Counter challenge expecting the worst by being more realistic about daily outcomes.

Anger

Anger’s internal language says “I am in imminent danger and I must fight.” Remember the fight or flight response in anxiety? Anxious people typically want to avoid, angry people often want to confront. Anger is about taking an uncertain situation and making it certain. If a person is angry with you then chances are they want to control you to get certainty of the outcome of the situation. Anger is a natural emotion and comes in handy when life is being threatened. However, unchecked and for it’s survival value anger can become destructive.

Healthy anger is possible and takes a justice approach. To get angry with someone at the right place and right time is paramount for it to be effective. For example, you feel someone disrespects you at work in front of coworkers then call them on it, either right away or later one on one. While it is difficult to not become explosive, the manner in which something is being expressed is important, it’s a response instead of a reaction. This is often difficult as most people are afraid to make waves at work or in family relationships. This isn’t about making friends with people who bully others, this is about personal dignity and protecting it, and anger is designed to protect.

Depression

Depression’s internal language is lost hope. Depression is typically anger that turned inward and creating weight in the center of a person’s soul. This is where a person’s life can become self destructive by neglecting health, addiction issues, missing work or often being late. Other signs of depression are frequent crying, feeling blue all the time, excess or lack of sleep, appetite changes and a general sense of wanting to isolate and not engage with others. We all feel blue from time to time but this is more about a chronic state of feeling depressed for about 2 weeks or longer.

Depression can also be one of the most difficult moods to treat since it may take a while for the person suffering to come out of it as it typically doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes anti-depressants from a doctor may be necessary for a period of time combined with talk therapy with a qualified counselor. Self help strategies for depression are very effective in treating it. For example, waking up at the same time every day and make the bed. Get in a routine, eat breakfast and get some exercise early in the day. This gets the body moving and puts energy forward building momentum. Journal thoughts and feelings that are causing problems. Numerous studies have shown that written expression of emotions is highly effective at relieving them. Get outdoors, some fresh air and sunshine does wonders for the serotonin in the brain that helps lift mood. Depression is highly affected by negative thinking. One of the best challenges to negative thinking is to ask “what evidence do I have that makes my thoughts true?”

My hope and desire is this article helped someone in some way. If needed, share it with a friend or a community.

God’s Peace and Love,
Brian

Luke 12: 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

pararescue impFamous author and inspirational leader John Eldredge takes a minute to talk to the nature of a man’s heart. John often writes demonstrating the overlooked masculine side of Christ that men so fondly resonate with. While Eldredge is famous for his book Wild at Heart, this excerpt is taken from another one of his books “Waking the Dead.” John asks a very important question and the expectation of where someone might think of where they should be in life. Where is yours, do you quest to fulfill unmet expectations or are you sleepwalking through life?-BM

From Waking the Dead

John Spillane is a para-rescue jumper sent into the North Atlantic, into the worst storm of the twentieth century, the perfect storm, as the book and film called it, to rescue a fisherman lost at sea. When his helicopter goes down, he is forced to jump into pitch blackness from an unknown height, and when he hits the water, he’s going so fast it’s like hitting the pavement from eighty feet above. He is dazed and confused—just as we are when it comes to the story of our lives. It’s the perfect analogy. We have no idea who we really are, why we’re here, what’s happened to us, or why. Honestly, most days we are alert and oriented times zero. Dazed. Sleepwalking through life.

Has God abandoned us? Did we not pray enough? Is this just something we accept as “part of life,” suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts? After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not like and do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set. I know, I know—we’ve been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that he means us well. I mean, if that’s true, then why didn’t he _______? Fill in the blank. Heal your mom. Save your marriage. Get you married. Help you out more.

Either (a) we’re blowing it, or (b) God is holding out on us. Or some combination of both, which is where most people land. Think about it. Isn’t this where you land, with all the things that haven’t gone the way you’d hoped and wanted?

An excerpt from

Read Full Post »

decisional balance

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” ― Steve Maraboli

Deciding to take that first step to call a mental health professional to discuss personal problems can be an intimidating experience. It is normal to feel anxious or afraid when a person begins the process of opening up to discuss their issues especially if the pain has been stuffed or packed away for years. So, if going to therapy is about healing then what makes it so difficult? What causes people to avoid it? Why is it so hard to sort out problems and getting to the bottom of depression, relieving anxiety, or finally grieving the loss of something or someone held dearly? Or, perhaps what is going to take to finally kick that addiction habit that has become a routine part of life?

Often the answer to these questions are multifaceted for many reasons. A famous quote attributed to many famous people goes something like this, “people will only seek changing their situation in life when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than going through the pain of changing it.” Like this quote suggests, when does enough become enough? Emotions are strong and powerful motivators and often people seek counseling when they can no longer tolerate the pain. Emotions are there for a good reason, they say something about what a person is experiencing. Too often people become familiar with their pain, they don’t want to deal with it and results in a dysfunctional comfort zone or a type of distorted truth .

There is only so much emotional stuffing and distorting thinking the mind can hold. It has limitations. Like our dear old psychology friend Sigmund Freud once said “our bodies betray our minds.” In other words, the psychological suffering manifests itself somewhere else in the body. The worry wears holes in the stomach, leads to loss of sleep, stress creates body aches, anxiety can increase heart rate, blood pressure and sweating and in severe cases it can manifest into a panic attack.

A metaphoric way of looking at this is like that drawer at home that has been stuffed so full of junk it comes off the tracks because it won’t open. The drawer is opened and another miscellaneous object is tossed in there never to be seen or thought about again. Out of sight out of mind, right? But it is still there. Over time the junk drawer gets to be too much, it’s overwhelming, it needs to get cleaned out, organized and put back together. Following this is a sense of accomplishment , feeling better about the situation and it becomes more easily managed and maintained.

Where to Begin?

Recognizing that there is unwanted or unmerited pain in life is the first step. While this is good awareness, how does it lead to healing? Therapy now becomes a question of motivation and it might begin to get a little personal. A common reason for the uneasiness has to do with not wanting to roll out of the dysfunctional comfort zone and start breaking it all down. In assessing motivation this is referred to as being either ambivalent or contemplative. It is not action yet. The language of being ambivalent or contemplative says, “I don’t have/or want a problem, I’m okay right where I am” and all the while the person knows deep down inside the problem is there and unsure whether to take action.

A useful tool to help muster up the courage to go to counseling is something called a decisional balance. This process looks at, and weighs the balance of the benefits versus costs of counseling, and the benefits and costs of not going to counseling. For example:

Counseling Benefits:

  • Increased control over life
  • Better marriage/relationships
  • Better work performance
  • Improved health

Counseling Costs:

  • Experiencing emotional pain
  • Increased anxiety
  • Financial commitment

Not Counseling Benefits:

  • Don’t have to deal with problems
  • Easier to keep stuffing emotions
  • Don’t have to think about it

Not Counseling Costs:

  • Job loss
  • Relationship/Marriage loss
  • Increased health risk

These are only examples of how to measure and weight out the decision of whether or not counseling is needed. What side is the balance tipping toward, going or not going? In the long run, seeking out therapy is often a question of motivation. If still contemplating therapy ask and evaluate the answers to these very simple questions; what would be achieved as a result of going, what is the worst that could happen, what is the best that could happen?

Hebrews 12:11 New International Version (NIV) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Read Full Post »

teen drug use

A nightmare scenario for a parent can be the day they discover their teenager is using drugs. Upon this discovery the parent will often question themselves as to how this happened and may even begin to question their parenting skills. One of the best things a parent can do is to equip themselves with knowledge of what teen drug use looks like.

If a teen is caught using drugs know that there are several factors involved with them using. Teenage years are often a place of exploration, hormonal changes and what psychologist Erik Erikson in his psychosocial stages of development is identity versus role confusion. They are trying to figure out the world, who they are and their place in it. Drug use is often best resolved if it is treated like an open wound. Find out what they are medicating. What kind of life situational issues are they trying to resolve through the use of drugs? Sometimes it is simply a choice. Like any adult who suffers from addiction or dependency they often like the way it makes them feel or they may believe it gives them a favorable impression among peers.

Teens are often prone to sarcasm and negativity when being questioned or confronted on their behavior. This behavior is an attempt to protect what they are doing or to control their environment. It is usually associated with not wanting to give up what feels good to them like drugs. Sometimes it can be hard for a parent to refrain from taking discipline to an extreme. It takes a little forethought to know that as a parent it is okay to respond to the teen without giving up ground. When dealing with drug problems resistance is common. This isn’t about getting into a power struggle; this is about getting to the root of the problem.

Below are some warning signs a parent can look out for if they suspect their teen might be using drugs. This list serves as a guideline that can warrant further investigation of the teen’s behavior.

Signs of Teen Drug Use

  • Sudden change of friends. Questionable character and integrity of new friends. Contacting parents of new friends is always helpful.
  • School grades dropping off or failing.
  • Isolation or avoidance of family
  • Keeps doors locked and being very secretive
  • Lack of motivation, wants to sleep all the time, lethargy
  • Quick temper where there wasn’t one before
  • Unexplained nervousness, paranoid ideation
  • Changes hair color. Black or dark dyes are a common choice. Hair dyes throw off home drug tests that use hair samples.
  • Poor or avoidant eye contact, glassy eyes, dilated pupils, red and squinted appearance
  • Slurred or slow speech, delayed motor movements
  • Smell of substances, smoke or weird perfumes or incense smells in hair, auto or clothing
  • Unusual marks on arms, legs or other body parts referred to as needle tracks or pin sticks

Common Hiding Places

  • Electrical outlets, air vents, musical instruments & amps, hollowed out tampons
  • Buried in clothing in backs of drawers, socks etc., taped to backs of drawers
  • Under corners of carpets, mattresses, look for holes that have been cut out
  • Under the parents nose i.e. the master bedroom or other common areas such as kitchen
  • Pens or other writing instruments, lipstick/gloss, behind wall posters/pictures
  • Pet bedding, under the back of toilet tanks, game consoles, stuffed in candy/gum
  • False bottom containers that have screw bottoms that look like soda or hairspray/hairbrush
  • Anywhere in their car including under the hood. Anywhere in the garage.

This list can seem extensive and it is just the beginning. Watch the teen’s behavior where they frequent in the house and be vigilant for certain patterns such as suddenly going in and out of the house through the garage, back door etc. The bottom line is drugs can be hidden anywhere and exhausting to look for. On top of this a teenagers room can be a catastrophic mess and trying to comb through everything may seem almost impossible. However, it doesn’t take much to go into a teen’s room and start cleaning up a few things and at the same time make a few checks around the room.

Almost all teens are protective guardians of their rooms and may get defensive when the parent walks in, especially with a cleaning motive. Teen’s often feel that their room is their only safe place in the house and the only area they can claim some real estate. A protective teen doesn’t necessarily indicate drug use. Finding drugs in a stash after suspected behavior is what indicates drug use. In other words, get the evidence that the teen is using drugs before calling them out on it.

More about Brian M. Murray

http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/Page.brian.html

 

Read Full Post »

To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity- Søren Kierkegaard

forgivenessForgiveness of past hurts, pains and the injustice of past events in our lives can be difficult to process through. This can be especially true if we are feeling guilty or perhaps shameful of something we did in our past where we recognize the pain and suffering we inflicted on others.

One of the most difficult parts of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. It is typically much easier for people to forgive others for past offenses. They let it go and move on.  When it comes to self forgiveness it has to be approached from a different mindset. For comparison sake, when we forgive others we can let the problem remain with the other person. When it comes to ourselves we carry it with us everywhere we go, that is until we choose to let it go.

Letting go as a choice is easy in theory, actually doing it is another story. If the guilt of not letting go is carried long term it can manifest and turn into resentment, depression and anger. Finding the right tool to facilitate letting go is the key. Adopting a different mindset is a good technique. Adopting this technique is to challenge yourself by saying something such as “what am I benefiting from by hanging on to this?” Or, “What purpose does it serve to keep beating myself up with this guilt?”

The idea is to stop beating ourselves up. Give ourselves some slack and drop the resentment and guilt of past deeds. One last thing to try, if you were the one who was wronged by another person, what would you say to that person if they asked you for forgiveness? Would you grant it? If the answer is yes then ask yourself the same question of you. Grant yourself forgiveness, let it go, leave it in the past and move on. When we practice self forgiveness the end result is often peace, freedom and learning some self love and appreciation.

Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.

More about Brian M. Murray

http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/Page.brian.html

 

Read Full Post »

arguing coupleArguing, who likes it? Some people might say that they like to argue and will do so over some of the most trivial things. I suppose this could be a maturity issue if the topic of argumentation is somewhat meaningless. But that is all subjective and based on interpretation of the content being argued. At the beginning of an argument is can be difficult to stop for a second and weigh the purpose and possible outcome of entering an argument to begin with. Arguing with some people can be like trying to deal with a 3 year old who is whining and screaming to get their way. Other times the argument is valid and calls for us to do a little self examination before more damage occurs. Sometimes it is best to walk away and let them work it out on their own.

Being approached by argumentative others can elicit defensive emotions primarily anger. This can cause a person to want to say a few things back in defense, but hold on a minute. Before striking back there are a few things a person can do to self dialogue their way out of an argument. The idea is to respond to other person and not react.

This is about self control and anger management. Anger is often the culprit when two people are arguing and each person feels they have to defend themselves. It is like each person’s ego has entered into a wrestling match with the other. There is a way out and a way to defeat the other person’s attacks when their ego is attempting a hostile takeover of a conversation. Simply put it is about self management and here are 5 ways to do that.

  1. Stay Objective! This is the hard part by taking a step back and listening and not letting the emotions take charge. Emotions can be good counsel and provide information about what we are experiencing but they make poor leaders. Letting feelings take charge of us can lead to a highly volatile situation. Understanding this about others can go a long way toward de-escalating a situation by remaining calm.
  2. Take Ownership of Thyself! Often arguments are grounded in fear of something and so there is an element of control and power involved. The first person to get control of is thyself. This can be accomplished by knowing that the thoughts and feelings being experienced in the moment belong to the one who is experiencing them. Others are not responsible for how we feel any more than they are responsible for what we say. This is not an excuse to go around kicking others and then saying “it’s your pain, deal with it.” If you have made hurtful comments to others take appropriate ownership of them. Statements such as “you make me etc…” are projecting the displeasure being experienced onto others. Feelings and thoughts are property, manage them.
  3. Eliminate the use of “You”! The use of the word “you” in an argument creates a defensive posture in the other person. The underlying message insinuates that the other person is the cause or fault for what is happening. Self empowerment is through the use of “I” statements. Stating something un-pleasurable or an injustice from a personal position is about communication and not verbal assaults. A word of caution when learning how to use “I” statements, many people start by saying “I don’t like it when you…” and begin to use “you” again and enter right back into the power and control paradigm. Something more helpful might sound like “I don’t like it when I am criticized, belittled or yelled at.”
  4. Walk Away! Having a sound internal dialogue helps by drawing a boundary with someone who is angry or being argumentative over something trivial and has absolutely nothing to do with you. Whatever the other person is experiencing let them own it and simply walk on. Remember, it’s their property to manage. Helpful internal dialogue may sound something like “It’s their anger, it’s their stuff, and they own it.”
  5. The Kill Shot! The kill shot (not physically) is about not letting the argument go anywhere with you in the first place, period! It kills the argument. Let the other person say what they have to say and respond in an unemotional way by saying something along the lines of “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “wow, I had no idea you felt that way” and say nothing else. If the person persists then go back to item #4. Sometimes a person looking to argue or pick a fight tries to throw out, in a metaphorical sense, a baited hook. It draws another person into the argument and if the other person goes for it then they got hooked. In a sense it validates the angry person’s anger by giving it worth or value when it is responded to. Responding to the person’s comment, or baited hook, but not buying into it leaves it squarely with the other person. They own it, let them manage it.

Read Full Post »

Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) is a mental health condition that involves a person who believes they are special and are entitled to violate the rights of others. They typically have a long term pattern lacking boundaries resulting in manipulation and exploitation of family, friends, co-workers and complete strangers alike. This disorder is commonly misunderstood to be the same as social phobia or social anxiety which is a fear of being around other people or out in public places.  APD is not the same as social phobia/anxiety. APD is about a person who thinks highly of themselves and is deserving of special recognition from others to the point of even being criminal about it.

Like most other personality disorders, they believe they do not have a problem but it is others who have the problem. They very seldom if ever exhibit empathy or compassion for others unless it is to achieve an end result such as getting money or favorable treatment. This is the manipulation. They may come across as charming in an almost narcissistic way engaging with others until they get what they want and then they go back to being themselves. When they don’t get their way they often scheme to find a way to exploit what they want out of others for personal profit and pleasure. Once they have what they want they go right back into a disrespectful and disregarding way of being.

The DSM-IV-TR, the clinical reference used by mental health clinicians for diagnosing clients, list other traits (this is not an exhaustive list) as being deceitful, repeated lying, conning others, impulsivity, irritability, aggressiveness, physical fights or assaults, reckless disregard and safety of others , failure to plan ahead in life, lack of remorse and rationalizing the pain they have inflicted on others. Rationalizing the pain inflicted on others is a defense mechanism utilized to cast blame because of somebody else, and not themselves, that caused them to behave this way. For someone to be diagnosed with this disorder they must be at least 18 years old, have had this pattern since they were 15 years of age and there is evidence of Conduct Disorder occurring before the 15 years of age marker.

A person, who has APD, or any personality disorder, can go for psychotherapy and healing can occur. The prognosis for treatment of APD is long term and often requires years of committed therapy in order to get favorable results. Because this disorder is a core identity issue the person must relearn their identity and how to overcome early life imprinting that signals to them about who they have leaned to be as a person. Strong defense mechanisms are often in place surrounding this core and require a skilled therapist to reach the inner core to address the wound that is found there. There is no single marker that points to how personality disorders develop whether it is environmental, family system or genetic. It appears that some combination of all of them contribute to the equation.

Sources:

DSM-IV-TR (American Psychological Association),

National Library of Medicine

Read Full Post »

There is a type of addiction that exists that is commonly, and affectionately, referred to as a “shop-a-holic.” While it may sound like a term of endearment on the surface there are some people who strongly identify with it and have serious problems struggling to stop spending money. So what is behind this behavior, is it the love of money, does it feel good to spend money?

The real culprit behind spending money just like any other addiction is it makes the person feel good. When we medicate something painful in life it makes us feel better and reinforcing the desire to indulge in the activity. So what is the big deal about going out and spending money?” Spending money is okay, but just like drinking a little wine every once in a while doesn’t impair most people there are some who can’t touch the stuff as it will lead them down a path of destruction. But when spending money is put into the context of what constitutes addiction then it becomes a problem.

Addiction is the compulsive habit of turning to a substance or behavior that leads to dysfunction in multiple areas of a person’s life mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Often the underlying question is how come this is happening? The answer is typically that the compulsion is being used as a coping mechanism for some undesirable feeling such as sadness or unresolved anger. The rush of spending money sends a chemical to the brain that involves feeling good resulting in the perception of happiness. It feels good at the time but when the activity is over so is the elation. The reality of sadness and undesired feelings creep back in and the person returns to the thing that makes them feel good.

This turns into a vicious cycle of addiction where a person is avoiding their unresolved pain and instead learns to live in a world that makes them feel good. This forms a kind of love bond with the behavior and become attached to it. The only problem with the method is like any addiction it takes more and more to get the same result. The reason it takes more and more is the coping mechanism is faulty, it’s not true healing. The checking account runs low, savings accounts disappear, retirement funds get cashed out, second loans on the home and then foreclosure, lost relationships and marriages, cars get repossessed and the list goes on. It is not usually until a person who has an addiction issue hits rock bottom that they finally admit they have a problem and reach out for help. They have no more resources left to mask the problem. They have exhausted their friends and family and they have a debt they cannot repay.

So what does a person who has a spending addiction do? First is to know that any addiction is a symptom of an underlying issue. Seek professional help to help identify the root cause of the problem. One of the main issues regarding behavioral addictions is low self esteem and depression. When mood is lifted it is because it was lifted from a low place into one of elation. Developing healthy coping mechanisms that do not lead to destruction is a good place to start. This involves doing things that are enjoyable and require little if any funding to pursue. Taking walks in the park, visiting with friends or going and helping the less fortunate as a volunteer can be great places to start. To help with undesired feelings journaling thoughts through hand written expression, art, woodworking or other methods that involve the use of hands can be great for providing distractions to return to old addiction coping mechanisms. These therapeutic tools are also useful to relieve everyday stress, anxiety and depression which are common relapse triggers.

 

Read Full Post »

Controlling Behavior in Relationships

Controlling Behavior in Relationships

Being in a relationship with someone who is healthy creates good feelings of wanting to move forward with that person. In the process of relationship maturity there are certain characteristics to look out for that will help identify how things will play out in the long run. Sometimes unhealthy behavior can begin to raise little red flags in the mind that maybe something is not quite right. This is usually indicated by feelings of reluctance to spend time with the other person leading to avoidance issues. Wanting to isolate or getting away from the other person can be an indication of wanting to sort out thoughts and feelings about the relationship.

When sorting out these thoughts and feelings there are certain behaviors that signal there may be something to further evaluate. Whether married, engaged, dating or single; here are a few suggestions for self evaluation in a relationship.

  1. I can express my emotions, thoughts and feelings freely without judgment or criticism. Nurturing a relationship built on safety and trust goes a long way. Someone who is always criticizing or being judgmental about thoughts and feelings discourages growth and maturity and eventually other areas of the relationship, for example intimacy may begin to suffer. Healthy people respect each other, not criticize, even if they agree to disagree on certain subjects.
  2. Watch how the other person treats their close family members such as their parents and siblings. Are they being treated with respect or are they being negative and sarcastic? Often how these people are being treated can be a clue as to how people in a relationship will eventually be treated as well. When a relationship is new it can be exciting and most people want to present their best. As time goes on the real person begins to emerge and expose their true character. Conduct an early check by watching how they treat family.
  3. Be on the lookout for controlling behavior. Areas that are frequently used to control others are by getting aggressive regarding money, sex, anger and time spent with others. With money it is usually an issue by criticizing how you are spending money, making frequent suggestions on how to get more and then using manipulation to get it from you. In the case of marriage, money is controlled by restricting access to it and using intensive questioning about how it will be used. With sex, it is often withheld or the opposite occurs by being abusive and forceful when it is non-consensual. Anger is used to control the behavior response from others and is very highly prevalent with addictive behavior. Using anger to control is all about the controlling person which implies that “if you don’t do what I want then you will have to deal with me being unpleasant.” Finally, time with others, if a person questions or gets upset that time is being spent with others often presents an issue with jealousy. Jealousy can be an inroad leading to more complicated issues later in the relationship.

While this is not a comprehensive list of things to look out for in a relationship it can be a starting point or way to evaluate a few areas that may be of concern. Relationships can be complicated and involve many moving parts that go into the overall equation. Healthy relationships involve feeling comfortable with safety and trust with the other person. Safety and trust are foundational and allow for other areas of the relationship to grow such as maturity and intimacy. This is a kind of intimacy that goes beyond sex in the form of a deep knowing of the other person. Intimacy and maturity are lifelong endeavors in any relationship and really never stop growing. It takes time to get to really know someone.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: