Attraction Answers

how to have control over my feelings

Dear Ellie,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear what you have experienced in the past year in your relationships. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Peer Pressure

Peer PressureHi, you shared that you are suffering from mental illness where you shared that you walk normal, breath normal, sit with people and keep quiet to listen to them. However, you also shared that your mind is telling you that you are not well! You shared that you tried to define your state of well being but you cannot and you shared that you really want to create a moment of love to a person that you really have feelings for. However, you also shared that you cannot because you are somehow not liking her health status! You shared that you are dealing with peer pressure at this time.Based on your statement of peer pressure, I would highly suggest that you try to seek help from a licensed professional counselor and or a licensed professional mental health therapist to discuss and process why your options if regards to if you should to continue to talk to your significant other due to her health status. A licensed professional counselor and or a licensed professional mental health therapist can help you process your thoughts and feelings in a safe and confidential environment of your choice. After processing your thoughts and feelings, a licensed professional counselor and or a licensed professional mental health therapist can help you come to term and process whatever decision you decide to make because the choice is ultimately your choice and your choice alone at this time. Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in helping individuals make a long-term decision in regards to peer pressure and relationship issues.  A licensed professional counselor and or a licensed professional mental health therapist can assist you in learning how to effectively process what decision will ultimately be best for you. While you are trying to make a sound decision, a licensed professional counselor and or a licensed professional mental health therapist can also introduce you to deep breathing techniques, calming techniques, stress management techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, grounding techniques, positive interpersonal relationship skills and imagery as a means helping you process if you chose to continue with significant other or not due to peer pressure at this time.Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a licensed professional counselor and or a licensed professional mental health therapist to properly assess how you feel and whether you would like to continue on with your significant other due to her health status and peer pressure. Please remember that mental health is not a one size fits all, so it is very important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs at this time. Best regards to you!
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 10/18/2021

how can I break this obsession?

Dear Lavieenrose,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear about your break up. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can I feel connected to my life partner that I love?

Hello ZZZ,   I had two thoughts that came to mind when I read your question: it seems that you struggle to be in the moment and you are comparing your current relationship to previous ones. I really appreciate how much information you provided because it will make it easy for me to give you a tailored answer. You describe your current partner like a real catch and he seems to be checking all the boxes however you struggle projecting yourself long-term with him. My advice is don't. I understand the need to have life goals but it is not helpful to spend too much time in the future because it can lead to feeling anxiety. Indeed, many people tend to project too much into the future.  As if they were too impatient to be content with the present.  A romantic encounter and, immediately, they see themselves married with this almost unknown partner.  Or, even without going that far, they can't help but wonder prematurely about the future of the relationship.  They try to detect in advance the sum of the emotional, practical problems that may arise.  Pessimistic alternately prepare for the worst: "It won't work" in the hope of not being caught off guard.  The permanent projection towards the future is a very frequent psychological attitude.  It is used (illustriously) to deal with events.  It is an anxiety-driven defense that is generally inadequate for its intended purpose of reducing anxiety.  Because, in the end, this process almost always leads to the opposite result.  By drowning the projector in dark thoughts and false hopes, it increases anxiety and the reasons for being depressed.  In this game, optimists who prefer to imagine a positive outcome to their adventures of all kinds are better off than pessimists on an emotional level.  But they can also err on the side of optimism and fail to hear the signals that should prompt them to act differently, to transform their behavior.  However, on the psychological level, occasionally projecting oneself into the future, when that does not prevent us from living in the present, is a sign of good mental health.  Indeed, the ability to fantasize, to imagine the next day is proof of our inner creative power.  It is strongly recommended to know how to live in the present, to be able to taste the charms of the moment.  However, we still need to agree on the definition of a life "in the present".  If it consists of functioning, without qualms, dreams, or desires, then we speak of an "operational" thought.  The impossibility of seeing oneself in the future, of hoping, is a sign of a breakdown in the imaginative process, the causes of which are always personal.  Very often people, in this case, suffer from psychosomatic problems.  Incapable of working out, of "digesting" painful events, thanks to fantasies, dreams, remedial thoughts, they take them head-on.  Without being able to protect themselves internally, since they are deprived of mental images that could give them a symbolic shell.  Also, the traces of their unsuccessful problems are left in their bodies. "Living in the present moment means accepting your past and calmly preparing for your future.” Everything we have done, or not done, in our past has consequences for our present.  This is also why we are not satisfied with our life at times. Holding many regrets can lead to feeling depressed.  Comparison is the robber of joy. The more you compare yourself, your relationships to others, the more you will feel dissatisfied with your life. My final advice is to be in the present and enjoy yourself. I hope that my answer will help you.
Answered on 10/18/2021

What on Earth do I do?

This is exceptionally difficult! I would like to first discuss reality acceptance. There are things in life that we cannot control, actually most of life is not within our control to change, fix, or mold. And we especially cannot do this with people. We can never control another person. BUT! The very cool thing is we have complete 100% control over ourselves - we get to choose how to express our emotions, how to behave, and express our thoughts. So, back to reality acceptance....reality is not always in our favor or easy. This is what is happening to you right now. A large dose of reality has been dumped on your doorstep, and it is not easy at all to make a choice. If 'A' does not want a polyamorous, then if you choose to be with 'A' then you have to be monogamous with her - which in turn leaves 'D' out of this choice. If you choose 'D' there is waiting that takes place, as him being in the military leaves you waiting to discuss anything with him. However, part of choosing 'D' is already given, there will be no 'A' in that scenario either because again 'A' does not want to share you. So, polyamorous is not something that is an option with 'A', so I ask you "Are you willing to be in a monogamous relationship with one female?" The reality in this scenario is that you need to make some sort of choice: 1) A or 2) D or 3) neither of them. Let's look further into this scenario. What is each of these individuals looking for? Are they wanting a sexual fun partner? Are they wanting to build a relationship? Are they just exploring feelings to see what happens? These answers are important to know, as this will ultimately help you decide which one is the right choice for you. You also need to ask yourself these questions. What do YOU want? Do you want sexual fun with no commitment? Do you want to build a relationship that will last years to come or maybe even forever? What will each of these individuals offer to a relationship? This last question is another layer, because if you are looking for a relationship, then you need to pick a partner who is your type of relationship material. Are you wanting a family? Are you wanting to travel the world in a camper with no attachments? Are you wanting someone who can take care of you both in love and financially? Are you simply looking for that deep chemistry connection and everything else will fall into place? Ever hear the saying "you cannot love another until you love yourself"? I will twist that a bit to say "you cannot choose a life when you don't know the life you want". Close your eyes and visualize in your mind's eye the life you want.......who is the person standing next to you in this life? That is your choice. Know YOU, and what YOU want, then your choice will be much easier. 
Answered on 10/18/2021

To my husband, I am cute, pretty but he rarely says beautiful. Why ?

Why my husband thinks I am cute and rarely compliments me with the adjective 'beautiful.' I think there are several areas of focus that could be incorporated in this answer, since there is not a lot of background information and just what is provided in the question. Let's see if any of the following resonate with your experience. First, the focus on semantics could be warranted. Does your husband ever use more elaborate ways to describe things or does he use more simple language most of the time? For example, "Yeah, that siding for the house looks good." Or, is it more like the following, "Yeah, that siding for the house looks sophisticated and colorful. It would be beautiful on our home." You can see that there is quite a difference between the way things are described. So, my first thought is how is your husband's typical language use? Does he often ascribe "beautiful" to other things in the world? Or, does he typically just say things like, "That does not look good." Second, I am wondering why he was defensive and unwilling to discuss with you how you seemed hurt? Is it because this has been brought up in the past (assuming) and he knows what you were already thinking and feeling? I am not saying that is okay. I am just wondering what the history of this conversation topic has been in the past and how it is influencing the discussion today. Third, I am sorry that you are not feeling beautiful and worthy right now because you recently shaved your head due to hair damage. Have you shared these thoughts and feelings with your husband? Does he know that you are feeling more down on yourself? Sometimes, we do expect our partners to read our minds! Opening up with him regarding how you are feeling may lead to a more intimate discussion of how both of you are thinking and feeling in terms of being attracted to one another. Fourth, I am wondering why you have such negative self-talk occurring regarding how attractive you are at this time. You can work with a therapist to challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself such as, "I am not attractive any longer. No one thinks I am beautiful. Therefore, I cannot stand how I look." You can easily challenge your thoughts and turn them around. For example, "I am attractive," "I am beautiful." "I do not need anyone to compliment my looks. It would be nice if my husband noticed my beauty, but I cannot make him be more attentive to my needs."  In summary, I hope these ideas help reduce the negative feelings of self-worth and improve your perspective on how you are perceiving and internalizing your beauty.  
(PhD, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Why don’t I deserve the right guy

First, let's start by reframing your question.  It should read, "I haven't found the right guy that deserves me". You will find what you need and will get what you want. The biggest thing is that you are working on bettering yourself so when you better yourself, that doesn't always mean that everyone else is working on themselves. Therefore, their energy can be toxic and it is nothing you should settle for. I think the biggest question you need to ask yourself is do you love yourself? Are you able to recognize and appreciate the love you have around you or are you always comparing yourself to others? Because comparison is the death of joy. Can you just enjoy exploring who you are and the people that you meet? What type of guy are you hoping to attract? Also, why do you feel alone? Often we feel alone, undervalued, and not loved because we aren't happy with who we are. I would explore more about you, who are you outside of roles and titles. The other thing to consider is where are you looking to attract the person that you want to be with. Energy is important. If you are thinking and feeling negative then negative things will come. However, the more optimistic you are about your situation the better your outcomes. You have to change your mindset and have patience with yourself and with the universe. Your person is out there, you two just haven't discovered each other yet.  So please don't harbor any anger, jealously, or envy because that blocks people from seeing the true you. Lastly, wait! Sometimes we get so consumed in looking that we don't enjoy the time of just sitting still and loving ourselves.  The more you love you the better you will be able to tell the other person how to love you. Show yourself some grace! People come into our lives for reasons and seasons.  Start to outline what you have learned from these past relationships. Do you have a dating pattern? With each one what did you learn about yourself? Also, ask yourself why are you so uncomfortable with rejection? 
Answered on 10/18/2021

Am I an unforgiving person?

Dear Moringa,   Thank you for your message and for sharing with me the struggles you're experiencing in your relationship, resulting in not being able to trust.   Trust is a word we hear a lot. Recently I heard a story on the radio about investment fraud In which one of the victims of the fraud said, "I'll never trust anyone again." A strong statement about trust and one worth exploring.   What is trust anyway? The definitions of trust indicate that trust in another person imposes upon him a duty of care that asks him to be someone we can rely upon to do what we have asked of him. It seems straightforward to understand when we read it, but what happens when we examine the way trust works? Trust requires a relationship between two people, and all relationships are complex.   As we experience relationships, we come to realize that in a relationship, two people never fully know one another or can expect that the other person will do exactly what we want to have done. This is particularly true if we ourselves are not certain what we want and need or how to ask for it.   Where do we learn to know what to expect of our relationships? To know how to relate to another person we start with knowing the only person we can really know, ourselves. If we want to trust someone else, we begin with first learning who we are, what we want, and what we know about ourselves as we grow and change. We explore our strengths, boundaries, and limitations. Knowing who we are and what we are capable of, we learn how to trust ourselves.   One of the key approaches in our work here is to help folks who are sensitive to go from feeling vulnerable in their sensitivity to feeling powerful in their sensitivity. We may not be able to change how easily we feel sensitive about things due to our past experiences and traumas, however, we can continue to practice making choices that would empower ourselves even when we feel sensitive.   When we are able to create this "inner peace" within us and feel grounded, we will see ourselves being more capable to take care of others, because we have taken care of ourselves. We'll go through this process together. :)   One of the keys to making that transition is to start feeling safe & comfortable in your body and to create that safety for yourself wherever you go.   Situations that can trigger a feeling of unsafety   When we are sensitive, many situations can trigger a feeling of unsafety. For example, we can feel unsafe when:   We feel judged and/or rejected   Our finances are unstable   We feel a conflict between people (even when it’s not about us)   A situation reminds you of an earlier situation that felt unpleasant or unsafe   We get ‘triggered’ and our old wounds/hurts to come to the surface   We feel threatened by our surroundings/environments that remind us of our past   You can even run your life in a default setting of feeling ‘unsafe’ just because of all the energies you feel around you.   The result is that you leave your grounding and that you feel unstable, worried, uncomfortable, and out of balance. You move from your heart back into your head.   How can we feel safer?   Feeling safe is partly an inside job and partly an outside job. If you are in an environment that just isn’t right for you, where you don’t fit in and don’t feel a connection with people, it will be hard to feel safe and comfortable there.   This is not as easy as it looks.   In the context of our everyday activities and familiar circumstances, we may assume we have done this and already know ourselves. We may apply labels to ourselves and say we are “fierce” or “shy” or “lazy”, but labels do not invite knowing. They make categories. Do we actually know ourselves? Unfortunately not much may challenge our assumptions about ourselves until a major shift in our lives comes along. Then in the face of a significant change, we may understand we have not looked as closely as we might.   If the change is physical, we may begin to look deeply at our physical patterns of expression for the first time. We may have been unconscious of the ways in which our movement patterns, strengths, and weaknesses are unique. Now we ask: How do I get things done? What are my strengths and limitations? How do my strengths work with my unique movement patterns? How will I negotiate around my limitations?   If we don't know what to expect of ourselves, it can be very hard to trust the people helping us. After a sudden change in our physical abilities, we may feel deeply invaded. We all have boundaries - places where we feel vulnerable and want to keep ourselves separate from someone else. Where are our boundaries, and how do we protect ourselves if we cannot walk away? This is vital to discover at a time when we may need assistance in ways we have never needed it before and would prefer not to admit this need.   If we have a financial problem we may look at the decisions that led to the problem and judge ourselves harshly for making a mistake - not remembering that hindsight is 20/20. We may not realize that there were things we assumed and didn’t challenge or examine or learn that we had better learn now. Being critical of ourselves, we may be reluctant to look at our actions clearly and learn from them.   Building trust in ourselves requires us first to look closely at ourselves, being honest about what we discover. Then we must practice compassion for and acceptance of the person we are discovering ourselves to be. Being willing to know is not the same as harshly judging. Harsh judgments close us off to ourselves. Compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance open us up and allow us to learn.   If we know and accept our limitations without fighting that knowledge, we can learn to communicate what we know and don't know about what we can and cannot do. We come to understand that everybody has limitations. We see that we and our relationships are always transforming - never remaining static – giving us endless opportunities to keep on learning.   Building a relationship with another person is done a step at a time as we explore the ways we can interact and care for one another. When we know ourselves, we do not expect that simply because someone is an expert, she knows what is best for us. She will know many things we do not know and will have much to teach us, but she doesn’t know us. We are the only ones who can have that specialized knowledge. In a relationship, each person can regularly communicate what he knows to the other and both can learn where to trust the other. Perhaps that also goes with building relationships with ourselves and our inner being?   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can I earn my trust in people back?

Dear Eru,   Thank you for your message.   Like what you've said, what you have witnessed and experienced in the past most likely conditioned you to avoid all emotions and to disassociate from those situations so that you could function and survive, by doing so perhaps we have learned to suppress most if not all unpleasant emotions. We have done the opposite from what we should be doing, to understand and accept all emotions without judgment. Yet you're not the one to be blamed for that, your brain did what she thought was the right thing to do to keep you alive, by protecting you from these unpleasant emotions because she thought they would harm you.   After all, we are all humans, and sometimes I say to myself that since I'm a human I might as well learn to live as a human, which means not to force myself against my feelings, rather learn to float and accept all of the experiences as I go through in life.   According to recent psychological researches, one of the main causes of many psychological problems is the habit of emotional avoidance. This may seem surprising because the attempt to avoid negative emotions appears to be a reasonable thing. After all, negative emotions don't feel good, and they are often linked in our minds to negative events that we want to avoid or forget. Moreover, we are all familiar with the momentary relief that avoidance can provide. If the thought of speaking up upsets me, then I can make myself feel better by deciding not to speak. Indeed, avoidance is an effective solution in the short term. Long term, however, it becomes a bigger problem than whatever was being avoided in the first place. And life, if you're at all lucky, is a long-term proposition.   Avoiding a negative emotion buys you short-term gain at the price of long-term pain. When we avoid the short-term discomfort of negative emotion, we resemble the person who under stress decides to drink. It ‘works,' and the next day, when bad feelings come, he drinks again. So far so good, short-term. In the long run, however, that person will develop a bigger problem (addiction), in addition to the unresolved issues he had avoided by drinking.   However, there are several reasons why emotional avoidance could be harmful.   First, as we all know and experience, important goals, and pursuits in your life may inherently involve going through some challenging times and situations, and an unwillingness to ‘pay the toll' for the trip may narrow your life horizons needlessly. Over time, avoidance becomes a prison, because after a while you begin to feel the need to avoid many situations, people, experiences, and places that may bring the negative emotion to mind, stir it, or remind you of it. And the more you avoid, the weaker you feel, the more your coping skills diminish, and the less of life you can experience.   Meanwhile, attempts at avoiding negative emotions are usually futile. Telling yourself that a certain emotion is intolerable or dangerous traps you in constant vigilance regarding the very thing you're trying to avoid. You become hyper-vigilant about any possibility of this feeling arising. The fear of the impending negative experience becomes a negative experience in itself.   Plus, emotional avoidance often involves denying the truth--not a good foundation for a healthy life. It's like someone who looks out the window, sees snow falling, and then tells himself: "it can't be snowing." Clearly, it can, and it is. Granted, you may not like snow. But denying the fact that it's snowing is unlikely to solve the problems posed by snow.   Also, avoidance lengthens the period of anticipation, and anticipatory anxiety is usually a much more noxious condition than the actual situation being anticipated. This is mainly because when you anticipate, your imagination is unbounded by actual situational demands. You can go anywhere in your head regarding something that hasn't happened yet, and so you'll often go wild with negative, catastrophic scenarios. In contrast, once actually in the feared situation, your mind becomes bounded by the parameters of what is happening around you. And what is actually happening is usually less than spectacular or catastrophic. Real catastrophes are, after all, really rare. Reality generates many fewer extreme situations than the unbounded imagination.   Now, before we discuss a more healthy way to handle negative emotions, we need to understand the function of emotions in general. You can think of your emotions as a source of information. Your emotions tell you something about what's going on with you and around you. Emotions, however, are not the only source of information available to you. You also have your rational thoughts, your stored knowledge, and experience, your values, and your goals. Information provided by emotions needs to be appraised and evaluated in light of these other sources in order for you to decide how to behave in the situation.   Regardless of our emotions, we always have choices of action. Our decision will depend on synthesizing knowledge from many sources. For example, if you and your child are approached by a wild dog while on a nature hike, you may feel fear, and with it a desire to flee, but decide to stay and fight the dog to protect your child. In this case, your values ("I have a duty to protect my child") dictated that you ‘disobey' your fear. Emotions, when viewed as part of a spectrum of available sources of information, are a bit like the weather report. They are important to know, consider, and understand, but they are not necessarily the overriding factor in your life plans.    When the weather is bad (not to your liking), it doesn't mean you have to deny it, focus all your attention on it, or cancel your plans because of it. What you need to do is accept the weather and adjust your plans accordingly. If my goal today is to pick my son up from daycare at 4:00, and it's suddenly snowing, and I don't like snow, I will not waste my energy raging at the sky, nor will I leave my son stranded. I will put on a parka, leave home 15 minutes earlier and drive carefully to get him.   As a human being, we are going to have all kinds of emotions, just like there are all kinds of weather. These emotions are, more than anything else, just a part of being a living human being. By accepting your emotional life, we are affirming our full humanity. Emotional acceptance is thus a far better strategy than avoidance.   Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. First, by accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation (it is snowing). This acceptance means that you don't have to spend your energy pushing the emotion away. Instead, once the emotion is acknowledged, you can then turn to pursue the behaviors that are aligned with your goals and values.   Second, when you accept the emotion, you are giving yourself a chance to learn about it, become familiar with it, become skilled in its management, and integrate it into your life. Avoidance doesn't teach you that, because you can't learn to do something by not doing it.   Third, acceptance is implicitly akin to saying, "This is not that bad." Which is the truth--negative emotions may not be fun, but they won't kill you; experiencing them as they are--annoying but not dangerous--is eventually much less of a drag than the ongoing (failing) attempt to avoid them.   Finally, when you accept a negative emotion, it tends to lose its destructive power. This is surprising and counterintuitive to many people, but if you think about it for a while, you will see the logic of this approach.    Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Any advice on the description? I'm gay, I love my straight best friend, I can't say im gay to anyone

Hello Chris2000,  Your question has many components that need to be addressed: being closeted (understanding why one is gay),  fear of being found out,  falling for a friend, and making sense of your feelings.  I will try to do my best in answering your question and I hope that you will be satisfied with my answer.  It seems to me that your religious upbringing is impacting your ability to be authentic regarding your homosexuality.  To admit that you are gay in a heteronormative world is a very daunting task when everyone will assume that you are straight until you tell them otherwise. Another question that people often ask: Is homosexuality genetic? No study concludes that there is a gene that defines sexual orientation, whether homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. And in particular, studies on twins, which have the same genetic capital, show that one of the two can become homosexual and the other heterosexual. So there is no genetic truth and there is no hormonal explanation either.  There were some people who claimed that modern gay men lacked male hormones (testosterone). However according to scientists, in terms of hormone levels, there are no differences. Human sexuality is much more complicated than simply resuming it to genetic or hormonal levels. When People love someone or physically desire someone, well it brings into play billions of neurons and connections between the zone of reasoning, the neocortex, the zone of the emotions the limbic system, the motor behavior to have an erotic behavior, and the sensory zones, the smell, the hearing, which will be more or less stimulated by certain aspects of the person that we are going to desire. It would be too simplistic to reduce someone to a gene or low testosterone.  In all honesty,  I wonder about the need to understand where homosexuality comes from.  Why question homosexuality?  And why do some people like bananas while others prefer apples? Because they have an "apple" gene? Because their parents love this fruit?  Why do people need to understand why people are gay and other people are not. It does not matter.  I want to establish with you what this concept of heteronormativity is, or the social norm that naturally all humans are heterosexual and that those who are not are, therefore " extraordinary ". Just because there are more individuals who are heterosexual, it does not mean that being someone who is not heterosexual has an inappropriate sexual orientation.  It appears that your religious values are impacting your ability to come out and own your sexuality.  It is normal to have fears around coming out and asking questions about your sexuality. Just as it's understandable to be upset. Even very anxious, at the idea of ​​not being liked by everyone else. In the same vein, it is understandable to be disturbed by the desire that one feels for a person of the same sex.  People being overwhelmed by desires relating to homosexuality are vulnerable. They feel particularly painful shame and guilt.  Many strongly reject the possibility of being gay for various reasons but the main one is the fear of not being accepted and liked.  You fell for your friend because you like him and share many similar values and likes with him. Doesn't the problem lie more in the limits that you put in your relationships with him?  Could you have a conversation with him about how he feels about your friendship? I understand the fear of being found out as a gay person because you are afraid that your world will crumble if you do come out.  There is no miracle answer to what you are experiencing because your friend might or might not understand you or feel the same way as you.  I realize that you are limited by the experience that you are in however I want to encourage you to seek out help in the community to help you accept yourself.   Here are some resources:  LGBT National  ​Hotline 888-843-4564 https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ LGBT National Youth Hotline Free and Confidential peer support for the LGBTQ and questioning community ages 25 and younger. Opened Mondays to Fridays from 1 pm – 9 pm PST and Saturday from 9 am – 2 pm PST  800-246-7743. The LGBT National Hotline is for all ages. They provide a safe space that is anonymous and confidential where callers can speak on many different issues and concerns including, but limited to, coming out issues, gender and/or sexuality identities, relationship concerns, bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety, safer sex information, suicide, and much more. Available Monday thru Friday from 1 PM to 9 PM PST and on Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm PST 888-843-4564. Finally, homosexuality is not a choice. It is not. something that we can decide, as we cannot decide to fall in love with someone, we do not decide the physical pleasure that we are going to feel in contact with such and such a person. It is beyond us. Sexual orientation is a sexual behavior more or less associated with feelings because we humans associate the two.  Individual's identity is rather frozen in time, sexual orientation is something that can evolve, but it is not an identity. There are as many different personalities in homosexuals as heterosexuals have as many different physical aspects in homosexuals as in heterosexuals. There are many more points in common between homosexual and heterosexual than there are differences. But that should not be considered as an identity.  I sensed in your question desperation and sadness. You mentioned not being able to pay for therapy right now. I would encourage you to find a trusted friend with whom you can share your journey. I sense that you are feeling isolated and that you don't know where to turn to.  Please call the numbers that I have provided to you and know that you are not the only person out there who is experiencing same-sex attraction. The LGBTQ+ community is wide and varied. It does get better. 
Answered on 10/18/2021

My Relationship patterns keep repeating itself

Dear Tiff,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more about the dynamics in your relationship.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggles is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

My boyfriend asked for space a day after saying he loves me

Dear brokenhearted girl,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear about your breakup. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   The closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had loved it before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course, we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

¿ Am I suffering psychological and financial abuse from my husband?

Dear Dina,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more about the dynamics between you and your husband. I do share your concerns regarding some of his behaviors.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggles is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Who am I and how can I help my partner understand?

Figuring out one's identity can be a lifelong journey, one that comes with many ups and downs.  A good first question to ask here is where do you see this relationship going?  Another could be how do you see yourself fitting within that relationship?  If gender fluid is where you feel most comfortable right now, is that something your partner can/will accept?  While your partner's wants and needs are important, so are yours.  You want to find a partner who accepts you for who you are, despite how complicated it may be for them to have to explain to others.   While a big part of this is your journey to explore how you identify and express yourself, it is helpful to feel supported by your partner.  Even though he may not deliberately be putting pressure on you to explore this, it seems as though you are feeling this way for one reason or another.  If you have not been able to express your feelings or concerns with him to this point, it may be beneficial for both of you to have that discussion.  He may not even know how you are feeling or have any idea the pressure you are feeling.  By initiating this conversation, it may also open the door for the two of you to start exploring this further.   In terms of working towards ensuring "neither of you has to bend too far" that part isn't necessarily so clear cut.  You have to start with having a clear understanding of your own boundaries, him having a clear understanding of his boundaries, and both of you being able to hear and respect each other's boundaries.  It will be difficult to gauge what is "too far" if you don't have a baseline for what you both want/need.     In the end, having clear communication is key.  You should strive to find a partner that can listen respectfully, respond rather than react, and be willing to negotiate when appropriate.  In turn, you also need to be willing to do the same. Not all interactions will be perfect, the point is to ensure you are both making an effort, owning up to any mistakes you may make, and being willing to compromise as needed.
(LMHC, LCPC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How can I control my stress and anger caused by my husband's multiple cheatings on me

Dear Seema,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more about the dynamics in your relationship with your husband.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggles is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do I maintain my true self in different relationships

Dear New Bird,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more about the dynamics in your relationships.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggles is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

why do i act like this..? is it jealousy?

This is a great inquiry and one that people struggle with, A LOT. The first thing to know is that you are not alone in this experience, especially with everything over the past year. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to what you are going through, and you will probably hear several answers from different people you speak to. A good way to start is to think about what needs are being met (or at least you are attempting to have met) in this situation. Do you feel like you are looking to restart the relationship, or is it something else? Sometimes we find ourselves in these situations because we want companionship or have unprocessed feelings about the relationship that we never got to work through.   Jealousy may be involved, but there are probably other emotions, but we often jump to jealousy because that's the standard in situations like this.  Jealousy implies some kind of envy or desire, and it may just be a way of identifying those needs that are not being met.    Having continued intimate relationships with an ex is often challenging because there can be many unprocessed feelings. Usually, relationships end a little messy, and even the best-intentioned endings often have some hard feelings.  I see that you've said that sharing that you're upset makes him mad. Do you feel like you've had another opportunity to share your feelings with this experience with him?  One thing that could be helpful is to write out how you are feeling. Some good questions to help this process would be:   - If I could be in a new relationship right now, what would it look like? - what do I feel like during the day before we sleep together? - how do I feel after we sleep together?  After writing all of this out as a next step writing a letter to your younger self, don't forget this activity is not a blame or shame letter. Use it as an opportunity to write out words of wisdom and thoughts about what you would like to have known. I believe that we often have a good idea of what we need and want, and our feelings are windows into that. It's often just hard to figure that out.    You've already made a great step in seeking answers and support, and I would continue to process your feelings around what is happening here.  
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

Is it normal to enjoy sex with a stepfather and not feel bad about ever?

Good morning, I want to first let you know that this is a response that comes with the utmost empathy and respect. It sounds like you are having some questions about the interaction with your stepfather. A counselor's role is to not judge, make decisions, or even questions a client's choices. However, if we were in session together I would work on having you explore the thoughts you have regarding the interaction with your stepfather. I am aware that society has placed a specific label and belief about these forms of relationships, but I am also aware that it happens more often than discussed. I also want you to know that there is no shame in the emotions you have towards this interaction nor does it mean you are in the wrong. I also would like to explore the dynamics of the relationship (courting, positive words from stepfather, and other things that were present during this time). I hope that this answers some of the questions in a different format than giving you the answer you are looking for. I believe thru therapy one can search for answers to questions thru talking things out and learning insightful ways about oneself.  I think also it is important for us if in therapy to explore our own feelings towards the dynamics of the relationship. I would probably have you do some "empty chair" techniques which would allow you time to express your emotions to a blank chair and vision it is your stepfather. I think this would allow you to say things that you feel are important and or it could be anyone even your mother in the chair for you to state things that you may be confused, contemplating, or even holding in. Relationship dynamics can be complicated but also simple. Often times we search for significance in relationships related to intimacy. Love languages are also a concept to explore within yourself that makes you feel loved and what ways did your stepfather meet those needs. I hope that this has offered you some insight into how therapy might be of benefit but I also hope you feel a sense of empathy and regard and are non-judgemental.  Kaye E. Davis, LPC
Answered on 10/18/2021

How do you get out of a narcissistic relationship and as well to get him out of your head as well?

Dear Sally,   Thank you for your message and for allowing me to understand more about perhaps how you have been feeling in your relationship.   Through your words, I understand that in the past (maybe even in present) on one hand you care about others around you and you are constantly giving/helping, on the other hand through this process you might have been compromising or even sacrificing a lot on how you feel in order to keep this relationship going / please others. I can understand how tired you are with this pattern and how you would want things to change so that you can also feel more comfortable in your relationships.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor, I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggles is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021

I need to get over a man..tell me or show me how?

Dear Lola ,   Thank you for your message and for sharing with me your recent breakup. We all do want closures in our relationships, let's talk about it for a bit.   “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Why won’t they call? Can’t they just have the conversation? What’s wrong with them? What did I do to deserve this treatment? Did I mean nothing?   Have you asked yourself these questions at the end of a relationship? I know I have. What do you do at the end of a relationship when it doesn’t really feel over or you aren’t ready for it to be done?   First, there is the breakup. It doesn’t really matter who ended it, but it ended. Despite the ending, you are still bonded to this person. You were used to having them around, hearing their voice, getting their texts, cuddling on the couch. Then, suddenly, it’s all gone.   Sometimes you know why it ended, and sometimes not. Often, you wish you could talk to that person to obtain some closure and some sort of validation that the relationship truly existed and that you meant something…anything.   Why They Avoid You   What if they won’t talk to you? What if you follow all the experts’ advice on what to do after a breakup, and they completely ignore you anyway? I’ve had this happen.   The closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   Try This   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had loved it before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   Think About It   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course, we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/18/2021