Rejection Answers

How do I open myself up for a fulfilled single life?

Hi Tori! Thank you for reaching out and asking this valuable question on the topic of making improvements in your relationships. Welcome to the BetterHelp platform! I can tell that you have been looking for ideas on how to prepare for your next relationship as well as improve and build upon your current friendships. What are some of your relationship goals? I hope that my response to your question will assist you in making changes in your current and future relationships. Sometimes advice and guidance is all we need in order to take the next steps! I can tell that you have been feeling motivated for change based on what you had written in your question. It is a really good sign that you have been reaching out for support. Who else is in your support system? What institutions would you consider to be supportive for you? Are you familiar with the cycle of change? What are some things that you can realistically do as you prepare for change? Here is a link to more information on the cycle of change: https://ououd.casn.ca/media/documents/the-cycle-of-change.pdf Also, here is a link to the circle of support work sheet in which you can continue to identify your natural supports: https://www.citn.org.uk/resources/circle-of-support/ In addition to reaching out for support and preparing to make change, I can see that you are trying to focus on your needs. Have you taken some time to focus on your feelings, as well? First and foremost, I recommend that you take some time to focus on recognizing your feelings and assessing how your emotions may have changed over time. I will share with you the link to the feelings wheel in order for you to practice feeling identification strategies: https://ytp.uoregon.edu/sites/ytp2.uoregon.edu/files/Feelings%20Wheel%20in%20PDF.pdf It appears that you have already begun the process of setting some really good goals for yourself! I realize that you would like to learn how to live a fulfilling, single life. That sounds really great! What are some of the things that would make life fulfilling for you? Perhaps you can make a list of your hobbies, talents and interests in order to have a better understanding on how to answer this question. What are some of your personality traits that you would consider to be your greatest strengths? Take some time to assess your own personal favorite qualities that you recognize within yourself. In addition, you mentioned in your question that you had moved to London for love. It sounds like that plan did not work out in the way that you initially expected it to. I realize that this experience could come with some feelings of disappointment or perhaps even feelings of devastation. Those are just some of my first thoughts. I am wondering if you are familiar with the four types of Greek love- stergo, phileo, agape and eros. I understand that you had moved to London searching for love and did not find the type of love you had anticipated. Perhaps you can still find love but maybe a love that comes in a different form!Below is the link to an article that explains the four types of Greek love for your review: https://annointing.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/love-types.pdf On another note, I understand that you were able to recognize some of warning signs of codependency in your last relationship. Have you noticed codependency signs in your past relationships, as well? Take some time to clarify some of the signs of codependency. I would like to encourage you to look into more information on the topic of codependency. Below are the titles of two books that you could read in order to explore more on this topic: "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie "Understanding and Treating Co dependnce" by James A. Kitchens Also, check out this web link for a quick synopsis about understanding co dependency: https://www.mhankyswoh.org/Uploads/files/pdfs/CoDependency-UnderstandTreat_20130813.pdf In responding to your question, I would be interested in hearing more about what you have been doing to live a fulfilling life so far. What can you do to take action in order to live a more fulfilling life? Would you be able to envision yourself feeling fulfilled in other ways? I recommend that you try to visualize your life feeling fulfilled. Would you be willing to prioritize yourself over other people? It sounds like you could benefit from self care skills. Essentially, from my perspective, self care skills mean practicing any activity that brings you joy and fosters a sense of self love. It is okay to be selfish. Not in a bad, rude and "no one matters but me" way but rather in an "I love you" (yourself) type of way! I hope that you can carve out twenty minutes or so in your day to practice self care. Here is a link to some more ideas for self care skills: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c154cf9372b964a03cbccdb/t/5c488d65352f534aa63aa58a/1548258661324/100+Coping+Skills.pdf I recommend that you begin the process of journaling or creating art on a regular basis. Would you be willing to participate in creative writing or therapeutic drawing interventions? You could keep a daily journal as a means to record and keep track of your thoughts and feelings. At this time, I would like to recommend that you you begin attending individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It sounds like you could find meeting with a therapist one on one will be helpful for you overall. In individual therapy, you can have the chance to address your concerns with attachment. Ask your therapist about the attachment theory! You may also want to consider attending a group therapy session or a groupinar. The group therapy process has very unique benefits that you may find to be helpful for you! Lastly, I want to thank you again for your time asking this important question. Also, I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/17/2022

Why do I care so much that someone who adds no value to my life at all doesn't like me?

Human beings are generally social which often drives us to build and maintain relationships with others. We are taught to "treat others as you would like to be treated" and are taught interpersonal effectiveness skills as we grow up to assist us with building healthy relationships. Even though we "know" not everyone in life likes one another and sometimes someone can not like you for no apparent reason, it is a natural response to be bothered by it. If you feel generally liked by others, being unliked by someone with no explanation feels strange and uncomfortable. A way to cope and reduce feeling bothered would be to shift your focus from "why am I so bothered" to "I accept how they feel and realize it does not determine my day". The uncertainty of why they are behaving the way that they are may actually be the bothersome factor opposed to being bothered that they do not like you. Their behavior does not make sense to you so it presents itself as a problem to be solved. When you accept that it is not a problem to be solved since it is out of your control and a situation to accept and move forward in a way that makes you more comfortable the bothersome feeling will reduce. Taking inventory on if their behaviors actually impact your day or if it is your reaction to their behaviors that impacts your day is a great place to start. Using the rule of 5 when you notice that you are getting upset can help reduce the emotional charge. For the rule of 5 you would start by asking yourself: "Will this matter in 5 minutes? In 5 hours? In 5 days? In 5 weeks? In 5 Months? In 5 years?" As you go down the list you can better determine if your emotional charge matches how long the situation will actually impact you.  Reminding yourself that they are a colleague, who you only see at work which is a determined window of time limiting their influence over your life, is another way to keep the situation in perspective. Distress tolerance skills can be useful as well, especially with reducing the emotional charge from any tense interactions before going home so that you have boundaries with what is going on and it does not seep into other areas of your life. 
Answered on 11/16/2022

How do I cope with deteriorating friendships?

Hello, First, it sounds painful when you notice there is a lack of give and take in your friendships. It sounds like it creates a lot of hurt, pain, loneliness and resentment- I'm just assuming and correct me if I'm off on this. I'll give you a few ways to cope with all of this with a few set ways and clarification on some ideas. The first area I would focus on is what is forgiveness and what is not. I think forgiveness is often no longer holding onto the "poison" we may be drinking. It sounds like you're at a boundary breaking point with your friends over feeling betrayed for being there for them and that not being reciprocated- it's incredibly painful. I think often we have to understand that forgiveness doesn't mean they get to walk all over us. Forgiveness is seeing what they've done and see that as the truth and deciding how you want to participate. It's not forgetting, yet it's 'I have different boundaries with them unless things change.' It often also allows you to listen to yourself and nurture your own self and asking what you need vs. blaming or holding onto grudges, ill will, etc.- we all do that at times here.  To do this I'm breaking down these steps which can be stepping stones for your path to forgiveness Identity what you possibly want to forgive (this can be a way to cope with deterioriating relationship). I would write down something like, "Tom didn't text me back when I was at my lowest of lows." Next to each thing you may be trying to forgive is you put a number 0-5. 0 means I am not willing to forgive no matter what! to a 5 means I've let it go and maybe have some strong emotions and want to decide how I participate with this transgression that has happened. Next would be deciding what your commitment is to forgiving? Is it to start to connect to a relationship? Reminding yourself that forgiveness doesn't equal being walked on? Etc. There are a lot of health benefits and social/mental benefits to forgiving.  Now outside of forgiving. I might do a script for communicating my disappointment / asking for wants/needs from them. They might not know what they don't know. I usually use a script like this when expressing or saying no to something... Describe- I notice that... when I reached out for help I didn't hear a follow up Express- I feel disappointed by the response Assert- I  would like clarity if something was missed on my end? Reinforce- I've really enjoyed our relationship and don't want to sit in disappointment because you all are important to me, etc. The goal is to assert yourself clearly on this. It can be a very helpful tool and can be looked up online with DEAR MAN script. I hope this helps giving two ideas a start.  I wish you the best, Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC
(MA, LPCC)
Answered on 11/16/2022

How do I commit myself in to a relationship?

Hello Lisa, Thank you for reaching out for your question. I will try my best to answer this as best as possible on the limited information.First of all, it is very hard to find good men these days.  Society has taken a modern turn and communication and steps to build a relationship don't seem to really exist.  People are wanting to "rush order" dating and relationships and they usually end up with someone who has a personality disorder or co-dependency issues, especially on a dating application where that platform is really attractive for someone who quickly wants their ego fed.With that said, if you are wanting to find someone of quality, I strongly recommend that you do things that you do and love and then someone who is also interested in the same things will find you there. For example, if you love to kayak, play tennis, etc. then gravitate to those type of activities.  In addition, volunteering for community service especially during the holidays is a nice way to help out.Lastly, when you do meet someone, the key is to take your time.  Take one step at a time and really get to know someone instead of rushing in a physical relationship.  This way, you can study their personality, see if they are a good fit and you have things in common, and develop a sense of trust.  It takes time to build trust and most people rush into things and then end up getting hurt.  It also might be good for you to seek professional counseling with a licensed therapist to see if you keep gravitating towards the same type of toxic guy. Perhaps, there is a pattern where you are drawn to more toxic men and this is why you continue to get hurt.  A licensed therapist can help you under why you are drawn to certain men and help you shift out of old patterns and perhaps help your "picker" find more trustworthy fellas.Hope this helps and I wish you the best on your journey of love.  Remember, do things that you love, learn to love yourself, and in return... you will attract love to you.
Answered on 11/15/2022

Why am I always the odd one out ..it's like no one cares about me, not even my family and relatives..

Hello Lewie, Thank you for reaching out with your statement.  I'm not really sure what you are trying to ask here, so I will do my best in trying to provide you some answers to your pressing situation.First, is this how you feel or is this reality?  Sometimes, when we think the worst about ourselves, it is not necessarily the truth.  As humans, we have a tendency to think negative self loathing comments when we don't feel good about ourselves, but that doesn't necessary mean that is what is happening.  It is just our negative perception, since we are thinking and feeling negatively.  However, if you feel this way, it may be good for you to talk to a licensed professional therapist to help you understand your family system and dynamics.  Yet, you had mentioned that you have more enemies, than friends.  If this truly is the case, then a therapist can also help you sort out why this is the case for you.  What type of behaviors do you do that set people off?  What kind of things do you say, to make people walk away from you?  Or, is this just your perception and not really reality?  A therapist can help you overcome these feelings or help navigate you into understanding people better and how you are relating to them.If you feel people are going against you all the time, then maybe you are acting or doing something to turn people off from you?  Can you recall times you said or did something and they reacted or responded by withdrawing?  Maybe you need to learn some positive ways to interact with others so they want to engage with you.  It may be good to sit with one of your friends or family members that you trust and ask for feedback to help you gain insight on how you can be a better person, friend, or family member.I hope this helps and I wish you nothing but the best on trying to resolve this within yourself and I hope you are able to gain insight into yourself and into your relationships with others.
Answered on 11/15/2022

Should I wait?

Hi there, Sorry your heart aches!  I have the same question you do, why now?  Did you ever ask him that?  Did something happen that you are aware of or was it out of nowhere that one day he changed? Do you believe him about his reasons for stopping to see you?  Why does he still call every day?  I know you might not know why either. It sounds kind of unusual but could it be true that he is in therapy and trying to fix the situation in some way?  If he still calls, it could be that he is trying to stay connected to you despite being unable or willing to be in a relationship.  I would suggest the next time you talk, be aware of how the conversation makes you feel, both during and after.  Do you feel uplifted and expanded or sad and upset after talking to him? I guess to be honest I hear some "red flags", but I get that if he seemed wonderful you might not want to completely give up on him and the relationship.  However, if he is clearly telling you he doesn't want to be in a relationship now, then I would suggest starting to try to accept that.  If someone else is interesting to you (to date)...be safe about it but I say go for it!  Stay busy if you can! It doesn't sound like you are in a committed relationship and you are worthy of one if you want that. There's nothing wrong with a dating break and some time being single either. Maybe you could kind of leave the door open for the future but if "Mr Right" won't even see you it might NOT be right for now.  I get that you might be hurt, confused and frustrated.  But so much in life is timing.  For some (kind of odd) reason the timing isn't right for him, then yes if you can, move on! Those are my thoughts without knowing more. Also try not to take it personally, as is sounds like whatever issues he has are his. Thanks for your question!  Good luck! 
Answered on 11/14/2022

Why do I feel like I'm going to be alone forever?

Thank you for taking the time to reach out and for posing such a courageous question.  I can certainly feel the pain contained within your question and can only hope to provide more clarity toward your experience with my answer.   Loneliness is a deeply existential experience that contains a unique and profound paradox within its overall presentation.  Often, loneliness is produced by underlying sub-feelings, experiences, and perceptions of being abandoned, rejected, alone, stuck, ostracized, or isolated.  Yet, we do not realize that when we experience these difficult sub-feelings, we are very much connected to other human beings.  Truly, loneliness is a common experience shared by many individuals on a cross-cultural level.  Naturally, when we have multiple experiences that foster a deep sense of loneliness, the fear can easily become: "Is this awful experience going to last forever?  Am I destined to remain alone for eternity?"  Often, when we meet these anxiety invoking thoughts with facts, hope can be salvaged.  Although I do not know the full extent of your circumstances, I invite for you to consider the facts pertaining directly to your experiences.  Allow yourself to separate what is actually known from what is being imagined or dictated by the emotion of fear.  As human beings, we become easily prone to living in the imagined future.  Unfortunately, as much as we would like to predict the trajectory of our lives, we can never be absolute certain about anything.  All of this is to say, that even if you have had profound experiences of loneliness in the past, the future remains poised with opportunity.   Strength and growth can also be elicited whenever we can begin to recognize behavioral patterns that we tend to easily fall into, follow, or employ within our lives.  Perhaps, the question of, "What personality characteristics am I most attracted to within people?," can serve as a preliminary platform that further motivates future insight and direction.  Awareness, Boundary Formation, and Commitment tend to prove as being useful within our navigation of friendships and relationship dynamics.  When searching for love, we must be mindful to practice self-compassion, empathy, and true self-love.  As an early Pre-Socratic Philosopher once stated, "How can we give what we do not have?"   Becoming comfortable with entering into and exploring the love in which we have for ourselves, may prove as being a guiding light that is meaningful in our quest toward self-discovery.   While the pain of the past requires renegotiation in order to derive meaning and incorporation into our lives, we can be empowered from the lessons in which we have learned and applied.  Success is in the trying.  Returning to the safety of ourselves and allowing the love in which we have for ourself to be sufficient, may assist in remedying any hurt that still lingers or remains.  Similarly, once we have a stable foundation that is rooted firm in self-love, future encounters of abandonment or isolation will prove as being less painful. 
Answered on 11/13/2022

How to handle difficult in-laws

Hello Clara, It seems that you and your husband are feeling dismissed by your brother-in-law and his wife. This may make it an uncomfortable dynamic to be around the family for you and your husband. It is important that you and your husband set clear boundaries of respect between your in-laws. If they were willing to sit with you and your husband privately to have a genuine conversation about how their behavior toward you affects your relationship with them. Be objective and consider their feelings too in relation to the strain in the dynamic. If your mother-in-law is behaving in the same manner the son may be more drawn to think that is acceptable; therefore his wife could be pulled in without much awareness of how it is affecting you and your husband.  Also, do you think that your mother in law would be willing to sit with you and your husband to have an open conversation about how certain areas may be sensitive and are keeping you up at night worrying and unsettled? It may have no impact on them making a change; therefore, it is imperative that you and your husband develop cohesion and boundaries when allowing others to impact your relationship and self-esteem. To do this you have to be aware of not only your physical boundaries but your emotional and psychological boundaries. You can do this by learning effective communication styles and skills of what you will and won't accept from others regardless of family or not. You have a right to feel secure and not subject to feeling less than anyone. Do not allow this type of unhealthy behavior and let them know you will not be subjected to it and have an outlet with your husband if this could occur. You and your husband would benefit from learning communication styles that are healthy and cohesive in your relationship dynamic allowing for an alliance between you that will make it clear about acceptance in your relationship and how you will correspond in social settings with the family members. Writing down your triggers with them will help you become more resilient, objective, and tolerant of others' behaviors and responses in conversations. Remember this is not your behavior. Practicing some grounding techniques before approaching may be effective too. Mindfulness skills would be added to help you with emotional regulation and be able to express your thoughts and emotions more clearly when setting these boundaries. Using a wise-mind approach will allow you to not take their behavior personally. I encourage building solid self-confidence knowing who you are, your beliefs, values, and your own identity, and where you stand in what you will accept in your relationships. Taking this approach leaves little tolerance for any unhealthy unwanted behaviors or mindsets. You and your husband can learn to separate yourself from ridicule or hostile judgment. Each week we can work on skills that enhance your cognitive awareness and ways to express your feelings appropriately. You can start to develop goals and objectives such as learning effective communication or interpersonal skills, learning three methods of coping skills to decrease any anxiety you may feel, and working through feelings of intensity and thought disruptions. I recommend journaling daily to enhance thought processes and gain clarity on the presenting issues that brought you to counseling. It's a process that takes patience with yourself and gaining a sense of self-care and soothing when you feel unsettled. By being clear you will gain the tools to validate your feelings and desires of how you want to be treated by others. You and your husband can also work together with some worksheets I will send you and practice boundaries and communication styles. Once these boundaries are established you can then meet with them to share these changes and what is acceptable and what isn't. These will not change how they respond which is out of your control; however, you get to say what is allowed in your life. It is taking your energy and time when we have no control over how they will respond to your emotional needs. Use these tools effectively and continue to practice on a consistent basis therefore you will see and be able to measure your results in an effective manner. I hope that this brings you some insight and hope for results. Take your time on learning these methods and skills to enrich all your relationships throughout the course of your life. Relationships are rich and desirable as long as they do no harm. You have to be mindful and keep your emotions safe by setting boundaries with others that you allow in your life. Keep an open mind that others may not be able to see objectively as you and will remain stuck in a negative judgmental mindset. This is not our energy to control anything that others do. Challenge yourself to work through your triggers and anxiety related to all these thoughts that you may be ruminating at night about. Try to rest and eat healthily, exercise is very beneficial for mood regulation too. Use coping strategies when feeling triggered or anxious around social situations with your in-laws. I hope to see you next week and look forward to helping you reach your therapeutic goals in relationship building and such. Remember that therapy is a process of deep rich connection with yourself and your goals and desires. We will explore your strengths further but also any limitations that you feel you may have. I hope that you will build on your confidence and confide in a support group if needed. This will only enhance your knowledge and outlets. Hope that you have some coping skills and feel confident approaching this very delicate situation. I will send more material and assessment screenings to rule out any other adjustments that could be present. You will find this in your platform with direction and guidance in application and skillset. Take care and let me know if you need anything between our sessions. 
Answered on 11/13/2022

My husband wants to separate after a fight and doesn't even want to give this marriage a 2nd chance

Hello. I want to first say that I am sorry that you are going through such a challenging time with your husband. I don't see so much a question here, but a narrative that describes what you are going through. To respond to this, I will do my best to share some observations that maybe useful for reflection. You and your husband were friends for 12 years before marrying a year and a half ago. You previously lived in different states. It sounds like you knew each other and perhaps had expectations based on knowing one another from a distance.  The two of you moved in with his parents and then you went to see your father due to a medical emergency. While you were away, he talked to his family about your relationship and now they don't like you and have encouraged him to leave you. I read your description of his family and their involvement and it sounds like you believe this is their doing. I can see why you think that but in the end it doesn't change what his position is. If he wanted to stay with you he would stay with you. It is possible that he felt this way for longer than you realize and did not feel that he could tell you for any number of reasons such as being afraid to fight or hurt you. Being with his family has perhaps given him the support he needs to be true to himself and to let you know he is unhappy and does not want to stay in the marriage. You have begged for a second chance and he refuses to give you one. While it's reasonable that you want to stay in your marriage, he is within his rights to also want to leave the marriage. You said that you "have done everything for him and his family" and so you now feel a sense of betrayal. If his commitment and feelings are not there for you, no amount of favors for his family are likely to change that. It is reasonable that you feel some hurt and resentment toward his family and him but this is a very transactional perspective. Doing favors for someone does not oblige someone to stay married to another person.  You are well with your rights to feel frustrated and confused. Based on what you shared, it sounds like you did not expect him to leave you and that you did not see this coming. You said that you are "not even trying to feel better" because that will mean you are trying to forget him and then there will be no hope. As a reader of your troubles, this to me, is maybe the most important part of this narrative. Trying to feel better is about just taking care of yourself and has nothing to do with trying to forget him or losing hope. Your perspective suggests that you believe he has some type of duty to stay with you. Relationships and love flourish when everyone is choosing to be in them. Even if he gave things another chance, after all of this, what would you do with the hurt and resentment that has crescendoed to involve family in this way? Back to the idea of "feeling better," you are likely to feel a lot of hurt feelings throughout this separation. This is normal. Feeling better is a normal part of working through grief. I read this as you potentially hanging on to resentment and this will not serve you. Working toward accepting his decision is the only thing you can do at this point. You can't make someone be in a relationship with you. Provide yourself comfort, seek support from your own family and unless you hear something different from this guy, start doing what you need to do to let him go.
(MA, LMFT)
Answered on 11/13/2022

How do you deal with rejection from your family?

Family rejection is very hard to go through, especially after your family discovering qualities that define parts of who you are. Healing from family rejection takes time, allowing yourself to truly accept yourself as you, being who you want to be without guilt, and reminding yourself you would be doing more damage by being the person they may want you to be. As a person, you have to reflect and remind yourself that you are being who YOU want to be. You have control and every right to be who you want to be and who you want to be with. Sadly, we cannot control the reactions or approvals from others - even our family. Family does not always have to be blood. Reach out to any individuals in your family that do accept who you are. Set boundaries with those who do not so you aren't continuing to hurt because of something you cannot control. It's never easy possibly losing someone or family because their rejection of who we are. Would you rather live for others (not yourself) for their approval - or be who you are and be around the support team that accepts you truly? Healing is reminding yourself that being who you are is nothing to be ashamed/ guilty about. Sometimes healing is accepting the difficult truth that family may never come around - but that is not a reflection towards you. It is a reflection towards them that they are making their bias mindset hinder a familial relationship. Reach out to others that can relate to you, find a community that can help/assist you with empowering who you are to reduce the feeling of being rejected. Embrace your qualities that you love about yourself, try and work on your self esteem to remove the rejection feeling. The most important thing to remind yourself is at the end of the day, you have your brain and yourself. Live the days being yourself and doing things to remind your brain you did nothing wrong. Sometimes family comes around years later after education or removing bias. But don't hold onto relationships that hurt you more holding on than letting go. 
Answered on 11/11/2022

I don't understand why no one is ever attracted to me or shows interest in me

Hi PS! Thank you for taking the time to reach out for support on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum! I appreciate you sharing many details about your question related to loneliness, isolation and establishing meaningful relationship connections. I can tell by the information that you have provided that you are looking to further your relationships and address your challenges with intimacy, dating, attraction and romantic relationships. Based on your question, I can tell that you are a very likable person and that you have a strong support system. As I am sure that you already know, having close relationships with family and friends can be an integral part of anyone's social experience. A strong social support system can be vital in managing the challenges of every day life. It is a really great sign that you have close friends, supportive parents and feel good about these connections. I would like to encourage you to continue to build upon these supports. In addition, I can see why you are still feeling alone if you are coping with rejection. Self confidence can be an attractive quality for many individuals. Perhaps you can start the relationship building process by working on improving your self esteem and rebuilding your self confidence. If you are looking to assess your own self concept, I recommend utilizing the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES) as a means to measure self esteem over time. Here is the link to this free, validated and reliable assessment: https://wwnorton.com/college/psych/psychsci/media/rosenberg.htm I would be curious to know more about your thoughts on dating. What would a satisfactory relationship look like for you? What are some aspects in a relationship and qualities of significant other that you are searching for? What are your current positive traits, qualities and strengths that you could bring to a relationship? It is true that dating isn't always easy and that there are many challenges that come with the process of establishing a romantic connection. What have your strategies for dating been like thus far? Would you consider the prospect of online dating? Some people meet their partner through a mutual friend, a friend of a friend or by being connected to someone who knows them both. Have you tried reaching out to your friends and expressing your dating concerns? Do you think that one of them could connect you to another single person who is looking for similar things? It would be good for you to leave your comfort zone behind and meet new people when the opportunity arises to do so. Maybe you can ask some couples how they met in order to give you some ideas for your own future love story. One aspect of dating entails having a set of shared interests with another individual. How would you describe your hobbies and interests? If you are willing, you may want to consider creating a running list on the topic of your strengths, talents, interests, etc. Having an interesting hobby maybe helpful for you to nurture your self confidence, as well. Perhaps you could meet someone special doing one of the activities on your list of interests! Keep track of what you like to do and the things that are of interest to you. When it comes time for a first date, you will be super prepared and be ready to express your hobbies to the person who is getting to know you! I would like to encourage you to begin writing in a therapeutic journal about your strengths as well as explore some barriers to having a fulfilling relationship. Emotional expression can be an incredibly powerful tool when reflected through the journaling and writing process. As a provisionally licensed art therapist, I always recommend making art as a means to communicate, express and process any thought, feeling or experience. The holistic interventions of art therapy may be beneficial for you to incorporate into your therapeutic journey. Did you know that there are many added benefits to art making which includes self esteem building? An art therapy related activity that could work for you is to draw a picture of a potential first date. Take some time to imagine, create and allow yourself to discover a sensory experience. Where would your ideal first date be located? What sounds might you hear? What things would you see around you and surrounding you and your date? What might your date look like? Would there be any tactile sensations, tastes or smells that stand out for you? By creating this guided visualized imagery, you are giving yourself a chance to better understand the things that you are looking for. Perhaps there will be an opportunity for this experience to manifest itself into your life if you would like it to. Aside from recognizing your talents and strengths through writing, creating therapeutic drawings and utilizing sensory visualization exercises, I would like to recommend that you begin individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Having a safe space for you to share your thoughts, express your concerns and come up with a plan for change would likely assist you in building self esteem and attaining your goals. Going to group therapy sessions or a groupinar may be beneficial for you, as well. Essentially, it is up to you what you decide to do regarding your therapy. Lastly, I would like to share an inspirational quote with you written by an anonymous individual, who is full of dating wisdom: "Poor self esteem- everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. Everyone is capable of giving love and deserves to receive love. Everyone." Thank you again, PS, for asking this valuable question on the BetterHelp platform. I truly hope that my response was helpful for you in some way. Take good care, be optimistic and stay positive. Try to have some faith that things will work out in the right time and in the right way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey! Have a wonderful day.
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/08/2022

How not to overthink everything especially when it comes to relationships and future?

Hi Gem, Anyone can overthink anything, and with relationships being one of the most important things in our lives, most people will over think relationships.  The good news is that you are overthinking the relationship instead of under thinking it.  In our modern society, and as far as I know, there has always been a group of people who under think relationships, and they are very dangerous to be around.  People, who under think a relationship, don’t ever have any self-examination, and as I said previously, they are very dangerous to be around.  While under thinking a relationship is bad and dangerous, overthinking a relationship is just more of a habit that needs to be corrected like exercising each day.    When people overthink a relationship, they start to get into the what if I had done this, or what if I had not done this.  Truth of the matter is that no one really knows what any end result will bring.  Take the example of someone hitting a cue ball in billiards.  Even the best of the professionals will sometimes miss shoot.  Even if a person had handled a situation completely different, there is no guarantee that the situation would have gotten better or worse.  Therefore the what if questions and the what not questions often slow a person down who is truly trying to have some introspection in their lives.  If a person should not ask the what if questions, then the question becomes what should the person be looking at.  The most important thing about relationships is not events but patterns and the process.  If someone is a good friend, they will overlook a small problem.  If someone is not a good friend, then they will not overlook a small problem.  All of us are human, and all of us make mistakes.  The difference between a good friend and a bad friend is that a good friend will overlook our humanness because he or she will understand that we all are human.  How good of a person could somebody be if he or she can’t overlook even a small problem?  The only question starts to become is that small problems can keep repeating themselves into patterns.    When small patterns keep repeating themselves into patterns then that is something that you need to look at.  If friends keep dropping out of your life for the same reason then that is something that you will want to look it.  Of course, you will need to make the determination are these so called friends pointing out your assets or liabilities.  If friends are objecting to your assets, then maybe you are better off without them.  A good friend will want you to succeed in life; therefore, a good friend will not be objecting to your assets.  If a friend stops a relationship in your life due to a liability, and other friends have also stopped relationships in your life due to liabilities, then that is something that you will want to take a look at.  Repeating liabilities are something that you would want to personally change.  The easiest way to change a repeating liability is to determine why you are doing that or what is your motivation for having this repeating liability.  Many people have a good motivation in the past for using that liability, but the current situation is different than the problems of the past.  Many people develop dysfunctional repeating liabilities due to having to overcome monumental problems in their lives that they lack coping skills and the resources necessary to overcome them with assets.  The most important thing for a person to focus in on in a relationship is the person applying good assets to the relationship.  While there are many good assets, the best small group of them is honesty, acceptance, willingness, humility, and gratitude.  A famous psychiatrist once said that she has never known a person to have bad relationships for long when the person applies this group of assets.  The difficulty is not in learning the small group of assets, but in learning to use them in a typical day.  It is easy to be honest during the good times, but it is hard to be honest in the bad times.  Many people tell me that they would never steal, but I ask them would they steal to no starve to death. They say of course not, so then I ask them would they steal if they will hungry, and they say maybe.  Eventually, the people start to develop a boundary, but people will often cross their boundaries just as much as other people will.  It is easy to accept life when life is giving you all of the good things.  It is tough to accept life during the bad things.  To accept life during the bad things, it becomes necessary to do the next two assets of willingness and humility.  Few people ever truly develop humility, but that is not to say that most people don’t try.  The problem is that true humility is giving up our self-righteousness.  Most people can give up some self-righteousness but not all of it.  The last good asset is gratitude, and like many of the previous good assets most people don’t have any trouble with the good times, but they have lots of problems with the bad times.  The ironic thing is that anything worth having is worth putting forth some effort for it, and gratitude is no different.  When people look back on their lives, the happiest people are those who are grateful not only the good times but also the bad times.  Paul Teska, LPC + LCDC
Answered on 11/06/2022

How can I stop overthinking and causing arguments?

I think it would be important to look more closely about when and why these negative ruminating thoughts regarding your relationship and marriage started.  Some of the questions I would want to explore with you would include the following. Do you have insecurities in your other relationships or just with your husband? Is this an ongoing issue that you have struggled with during previous romantic relationships with other people?  Did these insecurities in your marriage start in the beginning of your relationship or have they evolved over time? Has your husband done anything in the past to cause you to feel like you can not trust him or question his committment to you?  Is self esteem a struggle for you and do you feel like it has impacted your relationship with your husband?    Have there been any major changes in your relationship recently that has caused some strain on your marriage?  How do you feel like you communicate your feelings of insecurity with your husband and how does he receive what you are communicating?  How do you feel like as a couple you prioritize quality time with each other?  After you answer these questions, I think it might give you some clarity about how you are feeling and thinking.  Are you needing to work on self esteem, improving communication with your husband, going through growing pains during a new season of your marriage, making quality with each other more of a priority or are there past hurts that you are still struggling with?  I think trying to get to the root of the insecurity or the way you are thinking and reacting is key.  Different things you can do to explore these insecurities include sitting down and evaluating the feelings you are feeling and exploring them more deeply, making self care and finding things that replenish your energy and self esteem, determining if there are things that are triggering these feelings and communicating to your husband what he can do to support you as you are making changes in your life to be happier, more secure and more fulfilled. I think finding a counselor who can help you on your journey of self improvement both personally and in your relationship with others (most importantly) with your husband can help you find the security and happiness that you are yearning to have.
Answered on 11/06/2022

How do I tell my mother I do not want to go to her wedding without her cutting me out of her life?

Hi Lore, thank you for the question and I'm sorry you're in that hard situation. Let me start by simply stating that relationships are hard, no two ways about it, especially in the close relationships like parents and siblings and spouses. They bring us some of the best feelings and loveliest moments of life, and they can cause some of the greatest heartbreak with the bitterest of feelings. Probably at least half of the situations I deal with as a mental health provider involve relationship issues as a central problem. So, if it brings you any comfort, which it might not, just know that you're not alone in your struggle. Well, to begin examining your specific question, I'd want to know more about the reasons why you don't want to attend the wedding. Is it your own unresolved hurt or resentment from your parents divorcing? It is your genuine worry or concern about the relationship not being good for your mom? Or is it some other reason? You have told her you don't support the union "for several reasons" so maybe it is all of the above and more. Did you express those concerns to her early in their relationship or was it just when they announced their intent to marry? How did she respond to you when you expressed your concerns? Sorry for all the questions, that's just how my counselor brain works. You obviously won't be able to answer my inquiries, unless you decide to engage in ongoing counseling with me, but maybe you’ll let those questions help you reflect on the situation and gain some additional insight from them. So, without enough information to give you very specific answers, I'd like to share some of my general thoughts with you at least. It seems like this problem really comes down to boundaries and how firm you are willing to make them with your mother in this instance. Communication of boundaries can fall on a spectrum from aggressive to passive, with assertive and passive-aggressive falling somewhere in between. Assertive communication is usually the goal we strive for in relationships we want to maintain, but for a variety of reasons even in those relationships, we sometimes find ourselves being aggressive or passive or both. An example of aggressive communication in this situation might look like, "I hate your fiancé and I hate that you're marrying him, and I never want to see either of you again." That might not go well toward any future relationship with your mother, if that's what you want. A passive example might be, "I'm so selfish for not supporting my mom in this, I just need to bury my thoughts and feelings about it so I can be there for my mom." Passive-aggression might look like, "I'll go to the wedding but I won't like it and I'll act miserable the whole time so my mom and that idiot fiancé of hers can see how much I disapprove." And there might be a lot of different assertive examples we could think of, but they'd all look basically like this; "mom, I understand that you love this man and probably have your own good reasons for wanting to marry him. My concerns are (insert your reasons in simplest most straightforward terms possible), and for those reasons I can't genuinely support you marrying him. I respect and love you, so I want to be honest and clear with you to prevent this from becoming a wedge in our relationship going forward." Then, you've maturely and authentically put the ball in her court. However, a word of caution here, you get to choose your boundaries and actions, and you can even ask someone else to respond to you with certain thoughts and feelings and actions, but when the rubber hits the road you don't get to choose their reactions. You have to give others the same freedom to choose that you’ve taken for yourself. But, that's no reason to just throw your hands up and ignore or go against what you genuinely want in order to control or diffuse another person's thoughts, feelings, or actions. If you ponder the questions I asked above about the reasons you don't support the union and don't want to go to the wedding, and if you assertively express thoughts and feelings to your mother with the boundary that you will not attend, and she still cuts you out of her life, then the problems are deeper than you just not supporting this marriage, and I'd recommend a course of family counseling. But I trust that with these ideas you'll be able to get through this rough spot with your mom and come out the other side still loving each other even with your differences and boundaries. Best wishes!
Answered on 11/05/2022

Why is it that the people around me hide things in an attempt to protect me?

It sounds like this is a pattern? Has it happened before for you? Where you feel 'everyone knows except you' kind of thing? What have you tried in order to express or explain your own need for autonomy in family and friends dynamics? Are you able to tell the people closest to you how you feel about being excluded from a sense of authority in your own life? Have you ever been able to clearly state that it generates a sense of mistrust when you are not informed about significant situations? How do you choose relationships to begin with? What do you consider a good friend? What does a healthy relationship look like to you? Often times people treat us as we have taught them to treat us. When we struggle to assert our own needs, and clear expectations and boundaries, other people will not observe them either.  We have to teach people what is ok and what is not ok and while it is critical to "assume the best" of people we love, we have to hold them to the standards you have set. It might be useful to decide what is most important to you in your closest relationships. It sounds like you desire things like transparency, and direct authenticity. However are you upholding your own boundary space for those characteristics in your friends and families? The fact that you suggest it has happened before would lead me to guess you do not hold that boundary. If someone feels they can not tell me something, then I look at our level or trust and connection. I will invest time and effort to improve trust and connection if the person is important to me. However, if the health of the relationship does not shift in a fashion that lines up with my own needs and priorities then I will minimize investment in that relationship, often times cutting it out altogether. How are you with boundaries around your priorities? Do you clearly recognize your own non negotiables and priorities?  When you look at your the scope of your relationships is there a proclivity for people to treat you as fragile?  Are you the youngest? Were you ever quite sick? Sometime people develop and settle into patterns that are truly not beneficial due to some extraneous factor such as these and it can be helpful to interject a NEW pattern of behavioral expectation in those relationships most close to you.  Do you present your self as frail and uncertain? Perhaps there are areas of strength you want to develop. Maybe you want to work on preparedness. If you feel prepared, you might feel less uncertain. If you feel less uncertain you may seem more confident. If you feel more confident, people may take more risk in sharing chaotic information with you.  Deciding what a "good relationship" looks like can go a long way to creating the kind of safe spaces with people. Sharing that with people we find most valuable takes practice and consistency. Don't give up.
(MA, LCMHC)
Answered on 11/02/2022

How can my girlfriend and I reignite the spark? And how can we better improve our communication?

I would suggest for you both to remember the first time you both got together or met. Also, remember when and how you fell in love. Talk about those times with one another to rekindle the relationship. When it comes to communication, I suggest learning how to fight or learning how to have conversations. This is a must. Using "I feel" statements, are quite powerful. For example, "I feel ________ when ______." Be mindful of tone of voice when having discussions. Remember to speak to each other with love and respect. Taking a 5-minute break, if you feel the conversation is getting heavy, might also be helpful. Do mindful breathing exercises during the 5-minute break, then revisit the conversation. Couples therapy is also very helpful. Having fruitful conversations about the positives of the relationship is key. If it is a long-distance relationship, evaluate if it would be better to move closer together or keeping it like it is. Perhaps each of you taking accountability for actions can also help. When there is ownership of something that went wrong, you or your partner may feel heard, understood and cared for. This also shows that there is an awareness of what struggles are happening in the relationship. Making a list of values that you both share and don't share can also help bond you both. Therefore, you can see each other's differences and learn to embrace the various characteristics of your relationship. This can help you both grow with one another. Deciphering the struggles in the relationship, which led to the break-up, can also illustrate what not to do next time you both give the relationship a go again. Decide to show up for yourselves in the relationship and making communication a priority is also a great way to set the standard for your relationship. Compromise and trust is key. Spending time with one another in person can also be powerful. Hugs and looking into each other's eyes stimulate the bonding and love hormones in your brain. It can bring you both closer to one another. Making a conscious choice to write love notes and send them to one another, will also further help with communication. 
(PsyD, MA, LMFT)
Answered on 11/01/2022

How do I become a better, more self-reliant and more secure person?

Thank you for reaching out. Breakups are not easy and can be very daunting. It doesn't matter how long the relationship was or how involved you were. Breaking up with a partner or a friend is losing someone.  Sounds like you are in a very difficult, quite conflicting position emotionally. On one hand, there is a lot of blame that you put on yourself for your relationship and some friendships ending and on the other hand, I hear a lot of hurt. Rejection is a very deep emotion and to avoid feeling it (to protect ourselves from being hurt) we sometimes act in certain ways that may push people away instead.  We learn those ways or you can also call them unhealthy coping mechanisms in our childhood and our subconscious is also programmed by our parents or carers and the environment around us.  The Subconscious is like a prism through which we view the world and every human will have a unique subconscious. Sounds like there may be some events that have been imprinted in your subconscious that make you fear rejection.  We then view the world through all that we have learned and react to it in ways that were maybe useful in the past but are not useful anymore. Those unhealthy coping mechanisms are no longer protecting us and helping with survival, but they put us in unhealthy cycles.  To summarize, you are not the problem, maybe some things that happened to you are causing you to do things that then make you feel like you are the problem which can really affect your self-confidence. I believe that the best way to figure out how to cope with your feelings is to talk to the therapist and open up about your past and make connections with the present to have a better understanding of your patterns, your coping mechanisms that are not helpful, your past and present ability to communicate your feelings, and your emotional connection to events that are affecting you now.  I hope this fully answers your question and gives you some food for thought.  Warmest Regards  Maya
(Level, 4, Diploma, in, Therapeutic, Counselling)
Answered on 11/01/2022

How can you get over an ex in your life that you still love so much but need to let go of?

Hello AJ, Thank you for taking the time to reach out. You ask a wonderful question. It is understandable that you feel sad and hurt by the breakup. You really loved him. Some things I would encourage you to focus on if we were working together in therapy would be grieving and letting go of what was. From what you describe, it sounds like you are now the one pushing for the relationship and chasing him? One important thing to remember is that each one of us only has control over one thing - ourselves. We do not and cannot control anyone or anything else.  I would want to explore more with you about how you first learned that he had another life that you were not aware of. That must have been incredibly painful to find this out. How did you react when you found out? You say that you loved your life together. Are you referring to the life prior to finding out about the woman? As much as you loved the life before, you are now aware of something that you can not forget about. I would encourage you to think about what you are currently getting out of this relationship with him right now.  Your question about ways to get over someone and know that you need to let them go. I know that this is a very difficult thing to go through, but remind yourself of the reasons it is better for you to not be with him. He betrayed you in a deep way and this would make it difficult to ever completely trust him again in the future. Tell yourself that you deserve better, you deserve honesty and respect from the person that you love.  Keep busy and active in the world. Seek out hobbies/interests that you enjoy and that make you feel good. Surround yourself with your support system - friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Know your worth and your value. Working with a therapist would also be something to consider to help you get through this right now. I hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you all the best moving forward on this journey. 
Answered on 10/31/2022

How do I cope with a breakup?

Hi NaeNae! I am so glad that you reached out for some help! This sounds like a hurtful situation that is difficult to navigate on your own. Sometimes our emotions get in the way of us figure out and decide what is best for us. Try looking at it from a perspective that does not include your strong emotions-just the facts! What is it that is making you unhappy? Maybe the feelings of not being appreciated enough? Or possibly him not showing emotions? Is this something the two of you can work through together? It's okay if that is not what you want, moving on is okay too! Either decision is a difficult one to make, but always keep in mind that each decision will lead you down a different path. There is no right or wrong path in this situation, just two different ones that can both have beautiful outcomes.  Focus on what will make you happy. When coping with a break up it is important that we focus on what is happening in the moment, not in the past. What is wonderful about your life in this moment? For the next five minutes focus on, where can you find joy, peace or whatever else you need to be content. Then do that again until you get through an entire day of being in the moment. Some moments won't be so easy and that's okay too. Let yourself feel those feelings and then let them pass and go back to taking baby steps at staying in the moment.  It's also okay to look to the future. What are your goals and dreams? What are you doing in this moment to accomplish them? If you aren't working on anything specific right now, that's okay too. It sounds like one of your goals is getting through this break-up. What do you see yourself doing when you are feeling like yourself again? Once your emotions have calmed down a little bit, start thinking about your next steps. Not before you are ready though! It's okay to take as much time as you need to get through this challenge!  When you lose someone you love in any manner, whether through a break-up or death or something else, it is normal to grieve that. Grief is not only for death. Any loss can be grieved. The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. These stages are not linear, one day you might feel like you have reached the acceptance stage and then all of the sudden you are back to anger and denial. This is normal and okay. Over time you will find that you are in the acceptance stage for longer and longer. Sometimes, a break-up can be even more challenging to grieve than death because there is not always the finality that comes with death. The possibility and hope of being with that person again can come back up. This is where your boundaries come in! Set boundaries that let you think about this person in the same manner all the time and this process will go more smoothly.  Good Luck NaeNae! I wish you and your daughter the best! 
Answered on 10/31/2022

Should I be starting a relationship so soon after ending one?

Hi Jacie! Thank you so much for asking this valuable question! I can tell that you are wondering about a plan to proceed with your next relationship. It sounds like you are debating whether or not you should be starting a relationship soon after ending your last relationship. Essentially, the answer to your question will have to come from you. I will do my best to provide you with some insight and guidance to help you make the best decision for yourself as possible! I know that you mentioned that you and your ex were together for sixteen years until you had separated due to his recent deployment. I would say that sixteen years is a long time to be in a relationship with someone. What were some of the highlights or important memories of this relationship? Did you make the decision to separate due to the physical separation of his deployment? Was this a mutual agreement for you both? Was there a time in which you two had considered getting back together after the deployment had ended? I can certainly imagine that staying with someone who is at risk of deployment at any given point would be a significant challenge for a relationship. It seems like you made the best decision for yourself at the time and chose to end the relationship. In addition, it sounds like since you have separated from your ex, you have started seeing someone else. Now that you have begun a new relationship, are you questioning whether or not you are ready to continue with the relationship with that individual? In what ways are your comparing your current boyfriend with your ex? How would you say that these two individuals are similar? What are some of their major differences? Take some time to contemplate some of these questions. I would like to encourage you to make a list of the qualities that you like to have in a partner. If you are comfortable with making a pros and cons list about each of these relationship experiences, that may be beneficial for you, as well. Perhaps you may also benefit from constructing a timeline of your relationship history. If you truly feel like it is simply too soon to start a new relationship, then it is okay to take a step back, take it slow, take a break and spend time focusing on yourself. Your needs are incredibly important and it is vital to take some time for yourself, especially in between ending a relationship and starting a new one. I realize that sometimes relationships are back to back or even overlap. It is ultimately up to you to decide if it is too soon for you to be with someone new or if you are ready to start fresh with someone else once again. I know that you mentioned that you have been trying to feel happy for some time now. What are some of the things that allow you to feel a sense of happiness? How would you describe your hobbies, interests and values? Perhaps you can begin the process of identifying your thoughts on happiness  and create a brainstorm, write a bullet point running list or start a word splash of your ideals for happiness. I think it makes sense why you would seek happiness for yourself. Maybe you can come up with a flow chart or a step by step list on how you can achieve happiness now and in the future. The fact that you would like to curl up into a ball may indicate that you are searching for a sense of comfort and security. I would like to recommend two different EMDR resourcing activities for you to try. The first one is the Butterfly Hug. The butterfly hug may bring you a sense of security. For this exercise, you cross your arms across your chest and envision your hands as butterfly wings. Gently tap your hands on your shoulders, arms or elbows and envision the flapping wings of a butterfly. This method is thought to bring physiological sense of calmness to individuals who are willing to try this tapping method. Here is a link to the an article of the butterfly hug directive and a YouTube video on this technique : https://emdrfoundation.org/toolkit/butterfly-hug.pdf https://youtu.be/iGGJrqscvtU I also think that it would be a good idea for you to try the inner peaceful place guided visualization activity. In this directive, you can imagine a personalized place of peace. What do you imagine seeing in your peaceful place? What sounds might you hear? What smells would there be? Take your time to imagine any tactile sensations or tastes that you would experience in this place of peace. No matter what you envision, remember that you can trust yourself to return to this place of inner peace at any time. Here is the link to the script for the inner peaceful place strategic: https://emdrtherapyvolusia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Calm_Safe_Place.pdf In addition to trying out some of these techniques, I recommend creating some art work that depicts your vision for yourself and the future of your relationship. One idea could be to draw an image using lines, shapes and colors to represent the feelings, hopes and dreams of your current relationship. Perhaps you might be willing to color in the shapes of a coloring page, such as a mandala. You can also create a small sculpture using clay or Model magic. Contemplate what symbols you might choose to represent your feelings and experiences in your relationship. Lastly, I recommend that you begin attending individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There is an option for you to attend a group or a groupinar on the BetterHelp platform. Trust in the healing nature of the therapeutic process. Thank you again, Jacie, for taking the time to ask this important question on the BetterHelp platform. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/30/2022