Relationships Answers

Is it possible to make a marriage better if just one partner is in therapy?

Hi there,   Thanks for reaching out with this question.   First, I’d like to commend you on 40 plus years of marriage!  That is no easy feat. I can understand how tiring that must feel, after so many years of feeling responsible for all the things, as if you were his parent and not his wife.  Can things change?  Yes, I believe it is possible to change.  Of course, it isn't an easy task... as you say, you like to be in control at times.  ;)   That said, I believe that you are capable of making changes... as for your spouse?  Well, you can't make someone else change... we are only responsible for our own behaviors.  What we can hope is that when we make changes, those around us will choose to adapt, as well.   More than anything, I wonder how freeing it might be for you to find a way out from under feeling like his parent?  And what would it mean to let go of the control (or perceived control, perhaps)?  Can you imagine what that would look like or how it would feel?   But yes, more than anything, I believe people can change (otherwise, I’m in the wrong profession!)... however, what that will look like, well, only time will tell.  And for as difficult as change might be (and for letting up some of the control), I suspect it might be far less burdensome or challenging to change than just learning to accept it!   While I don’t know you, I can say that knowing you have been married for 40+ years, I have little reason to believe that you also couldn’t withstand change.  As I said, 40+ years is no easy feat… you have shown your strength!   I wish you the best of luck on this journey, wherever it may take you.  I hope you find the answers and peace you are seeking.   Warmly, ~Keri Keri M. Zwerner, MA, LCPC   ps/ I hear they do make ‘less smart phones’ akin to the early generations of phones… text and calls.  That’s one way to eliminate those calls from him!   
(MA, LCPC, LMFT)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Severe anxiety/ depression

Thank you for reaching out, I know it is not easy to ask for help, so you can pat yourself on the back for taking this step :) I am very sorry to read about your situation with your spouse. It seems like things might have turned out for the worse. The best thing to do while going through something like this is to focus on getting yourself in a better mindset, and also performing self0care/ this will increase your chances of getting through your divorce without excessive suffering. and perhaps even with a new mindset. Here are a few ways in which you can naturally start the healing process: Physical techniques   These techniques use your five senses or tangible objects — things you can touch — to help you move through distress.   1. Put your hands in water   Focus on the water’s temperature and how it feels on your fingertips, palms, and the backs of your hands. Does it feel the same in each part of your hand?   Use warm water first, then cold. Next, try cold water first, then warm. Does it feel different to switch from cold to warm water versus warm to cold?   2. Pick up or touch items near you   Are the things you touch soft or hard? Heavy or light? Warm or cool? Focus on the texture and color of each item. Challenge yourself to think of specific colors, such as crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise, instead of simply red or blue.   3. Breathe deeply   Slowly inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath. Feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out.   4. Savor a food or drink   Take small bites or sips of a food or beverage you enjoy, letting yourself fully taste each bite. Think about how it tastes and smells and the flavors that linger on your tongue.   5. Take a short walk   Concentrate on your steps — you can even count them. Notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again.   6. Hold a piece of ice   What does it feel like at first? How long does it take to start melting? How does the sensation change when the ice begins to melt?   7. Savor a scent   Is there a fragrance that appeals to you? This might be a cup of tea, an herb or spice, a favorite soap, or a scented candle. Inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply and try to note its qualities (sweet, spicy, sharp, citrusy, and so on).   8. Move your body   Do a few exercises or stretches. You could try jumping jacks, jumping up and down, jumping rope, jogging in place, or stretching different muscle groups one by one.   Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement and when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. How does the floor feel against your feet and hands? If you jump rope, listen to the sound of the rope in the air and when it hits the ground.   9. Listen to your surroundings   Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Do you hear birds? Dogs barking? Machinery or traffic? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Do you recognize the language? Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.   10. Feel your body   You can do this sitting or standing. Focus on how your body feels from head to toe, noticing each part.   Can you feel your hair on your shoulders or forehead? Glasses on your ears or nose? The weight of your shirt on your shoulders? Do your arms feel loose or stiff at your sides? Can you feel your heartbeat? Is it rapid or steady? Does your stomach feel full, or are you hungry? Are your legs crossed, or are your feet resting on the floor? Is your back straight?   Curl your fingers and wiggle your toes. Are you barefoot or in shoes? How does the floor feel against your feet?   11. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method   Working backward from 5, use your senses to list things you notice around you. For example, you might start by listing five things you hear, then four things you see, then three things you can touch from where you’re sitting, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.   Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, such as the color of the flecks in the carpet or the hum of your computer.     Mental techniques   These grounding exercises use mental distractions to help redirect your thoughts away from distressing feelings and back to the present.   12. Play a memory game   Look at a detailed photograph or picture (like a cityscape or other “busy” scene) for 5 to 10 seconds. Then, turn the photograph face-down and recreate the photograph in your mind, in as much detail as possible. Or, you can mentally list all the things you remember from the picture.   13. Think in categories   Choose one or two broad categories, such as “musical instruments,” “ice cream flavors,” “mammals,” or “baseball teams.” Take a minute or two to mentally list as many things from each category as you can.   14. Use math and numbers   Even if you aren’t a math person, numbers can help center you.   Try: running through a times table in your head. counting backward from 100 choosing a number and thinking of five ways you could make the number (6 + 11 = 17, 20 – 3 = 17, 8 × 2 + 1 = 17, etc.)   15. Recite something   Think of a poem, song, or book passage you know by heart. Recite it quietly to yourself or in your head. If you say the words aloud, focus on the shape of each word on your lips and in your mouth. If you say the words in your head, visualize each word as you’d see it on a page.   16. Make yourself laugh   Make up a silly joke — the kind you’d find on a candy wrapper or popsicle stick.   You might also make yourself laugh by watching your favorite funny animal video, a clip from a comedian or TV show you enjoy, or anything else you know will make you laugh.   17. Use an anchoring phrase   This might be something like, “I’m Full Name. I’m X years old. I live in City, State. Today is Friday, June 3. It’s 10:04 in the morning. I’m sitting at my desk at work. There’s no one else in the room.”   You can expand on the phrase by adding details until you feel calm, such as, “It’s raining lightly, but I can still see the sun. It’s my break time. I’m thirsty, so I’m going to make a cup of tea.”   18. Visualize a daily task you enjoy or don’t mind doing   If you like doing laundry, for example, think about how you’d put away a finished load.   “The clothes feel warm coming out of the dryer. They’re soft and a little stiff at the same time. They feel light in the basket, even though they spill over the top. I’m spreading them out over the bed so they won’t wrinkle. I’m folding the towels first, shaking them out before folding them into halves, then thirds,” and so on.   19. Describe a common task   Think of an activity you do often or can do very well, such as making coffee, locking up your office, or tuning a guitar. Go through the process step-by-step, as if you’re giving someone else instructions on how to do it.   20. Imagine yourself leaving the painful feelings behind   Picture yourself:   gathering the emotions, balling them up, and putting them into a box walking, swimming, biking, or jogging away from painful feelings Imagine your thoughts as a song or TV show you dislike, changing the channel or turning down the volume — they’re still there, but you don’t have to listen to them.   21. Describe what’s around you   Spend a few minutes taking in your surroundings and noting what you see. Use all five senses to provide as much detail as possible. “This bench is red, but the bench over there is green. It’s warm under my jeans since I’m sitting in the sun. It feels rough, but there aren’t any splinters. The grass is yellow and dry. The air smells like smoke. I hear kids having fun and two dogs barking.”   Soothing techniques   You can use these techniques to comfort yourself in times of emotional distress. These exercises can help promote good feelings that may help the negative feelings fade or seem less overwhelming.   22. Picture the voice or face of someone you love   If you feel upset or distressed, visualize someone positive in your life. Imagine their face or think of what their voice sounds like. Imagine them telling you that the moment is tough, but that you’ll get through it.   23. Practice self-kindness   Repeat kind, compassionate phrases to yourself:   “You’re having a rough time, but you’ll make it through.” “You’re strong, and you can move through this pain.” “You’re trying hard, and you’re doing your best.” Say it, either aloud or in your head, as many times as you need.   24. Sit with your pet   If you’re at home and have a pet, spend a few moments just sitting with them. If they’re of the furry variety, pet them, focusing on how their fur feels. Focus on their markings or unique characteristics. If you have a smaller pet you can hold, concentrate on how they feel in your hand.   Not at home? Think of your favorite things about your pet or how they would comfort you if they were there.   25. List favorites   List three favorite things in several different categories, such as foods, trees, songs, movies, books, places, and so on.   26. Visualize your favorite place   Think of your favorite place, whether it’s the home of a loved one or a foreign country. Use all of your senses to create a mental image. Think of the colors you see, sounds you hear, and sensations you feel on your skin.   Remember the last time you were there. Who were you with, if anyone? What did you do there? How did you feel?   27. Plan an activity   This might be something you do alone or with a friend or loved one. Think of what you’ll do and when. Maybe you’ll go to dinner, take a walk on the beach, see a movie you’ve been looking forward to, or visit a museum.   Focus on the details, such as what you’ll wear, when you’ll go, and how you’ll get there.   28. Touch something comforting   This could be your favorite blanket, a much-loved T-shirt, a smooth stone, a soft carpet, or anything that feels good to touch. Think about how it feels under your fingers or in your hand.   If you have a favorite sweater, scarf, or pair of socks, put them on and spend a moment thinking about the sensation of the fabric on your skin.   29. List positive things   Write or mentally list four or five things in your life that bring you joy, visualizing each of them briefly.   30. Listen to music   Put on your favorite song, but pretend you’re listening to it for the first time. Focus on the melody and lyrics (if there are any). Does the song give you chills or create any other physical sensations? Pay attention to the parts that stand out most to you.   Another thing to keep in mind during this process that you are going through is the fact that something such as Seasonal Affective Disorder could also affect you in addition to everything else that you are experiencing.   Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of recurrent major depressive disorder in which episodes of depression occur during the same season each year. This condition is sometimes called the "winter blues," because the most common seasonal pattern is for depressive episodes to appear in the fall or winter and remit in the spring. Less commonly, SAD occurs as summer depression, typically beginning in the late spring or early summer and remitting in the fall. SAD may be related to changes in the amount of daylight a person receives.   To be diagnosed with SAD, an individual must meet the criteria for major depression coinciding with specific seasons for at least two years. The individual must experience seasonal depressions much more frequently than any non-seasonal depressions.   Symptoms   Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms, but, according to the DSM-5, symptoms commonly associated with the winter blues include the following:       • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness     • Thoughts of suicide     • Hypersomnia or a tendency to oversleep     • A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods     • Weight gain     • A heavy feeling in the arms or legs     • A drop in energy level     • Decreased physical activity     • Fatigue     • Difficulty concentrating     • Irritability     • Increased sensitivity to social rejection     • Avoidance of social situations   Symptoms of summer SAD are:       • Poor appetite     • Weight loss     • Insomnia     • Agitation and anxiety     • Either type of SAD may also include some of the symptoms that occur in major depression, such as feelings of guilt, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, ongoing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, or physical problems such as headaches and stomach aches.   Symptoms of SAD tend to recur at about the same time every year. To be diagnosed with SAD, the mood changes should not be a direct result of obvious seasonal stressors (like being regularly unemployed during the winter). Usually, this form of depression is mild or moderate. However, some people experience severe symptoms that leave them unable to function in their daily lives. Seasonal Affective disorder can be misdiagnosed as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, or a viral infection such as mononucleosis.   The cause for SAD is unknown. There is some evidence that it is related to the body's level of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, preparing the body for sleep. As the winter days get shorter and darker, melatonin production in the body increases, and people tend to feel sleepier and more lethargic.   Alternatively, people with SAD may have trouble regulating their levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood. Finally, research has suggested that people with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D in response to sunlight; vitamin D is believed to play a role in serotonin activity. Insufficiency of vitamin D is associated with clinically significant depression symptoms.   There are several factors known to increase an individual's chance of developing SAD. For example, SAD is more frequent in people who live far north or south of the equator. Additionally, people with a family history of other types of depression are more likely to develop SAD than people who do not have such a family history.   Treatment   Treatment to alleviate the symptoms of SAD typically includes some combination of light therapy, vitamin D supplementation, antidepressant medication, and counseling. Because winter depression may be a reaction to lack of sunlight, broad-band light therapy is frequently used as a treatment option. This therapy involves exposure to bright artificial light that mimics outdoor light for some time in the morning. It requires the use of a lightbox or a light visor worn on the head like a cap. The individual either sits in front of the lightbox or wears a light visor for a certain length of time each day. Generally, light therapy takes between 30 and 60 minutes each day throughout the fall and winter. The exact amount of time varies with each individual. When light therapy is sufficient to reduce symptoms and to increase energy level, the individual continues to use it until enough daylight is available, typically in the springtime. Stopping light therapy too soon can result in a return of symptoms.   When used properly, light therapy has few side effects. The side effects that do arise include eyestrain, headache, fatigue, and irritability. Inability to sleep can occur if light therapy is administered too late in the day. People with bipolar disorder, skin that is sensitive to light, or medical conditions that make their eyes vulnerable to light damage may not be good candidates for light therapy. When light therapy does not improve symptoms within a few days, then medication and behavioral therapies such as CBT may be introduced. In some cases, light therapy can be used in combination with one or all of these therapies.   Self-care is an important part of treatment. For those with SAD, it is important to:       • Monitor mood and energy level     • Take advantage of available sunlight     • Plan pleasurable activities for the winter season     • Plan physical activities     • Approach the winter season with a positive attitude     • When symptoms develop seek help sooner rather than later.   People with SAD experience mood changes and symptoms similar to depression. The symptoms usually occur during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight and usually improve with the arrival of spring. The most difficult months for people with SAD in the United States tend to be January and February. While it is much less common, some people experience SAD in the summer. SAD is more than just “winter blues.” The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning. However, it can be treated. About 5 percent of adults in the world reportedly experience SAD and it typically lasts about 40 percent of the year. It is more common among women than men.   SAD has been linked to a biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter. As seasons change, people experience a shift in their biological internal clock or a circadian rhythm that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule. SAD is more common in people living far from the equator where there are fewer daylight hours in the winter. Common symptoms of SAD include fatigue, even with too much sleep, and weight gain associated with overeating and carbohydrate cravings. SAD symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include many symptoms similar to major depression. SAD can be effectively treated in several ways, including light therapy, antidepressant medications, talk therapy, or some combination of these. While symptoms will generally improve on their own with the change of season, symptoms can improve more quickly with treatment.   Light therapy involves sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits a very bright light (and filters out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays). It usually requires 20 minutes or more per day, typically first thing in the morning, during the winter months. Most people see some improvements from light therapy within one or two weeks of beginning treatment. To maintain the benefits and prevent relapse, treatment is usually continued through the winter. Because of the anticipated return of symptoms in late fall, some people may begin light therapy in early fall to prevent symptoms. Talk therapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), can effectively treat SAD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the type of antidepressant most commonly used to treat SAD.   For some people, increased exposure to sunlight can help improve symptoms of SAD. For example, spending time outside or arranging your home or office so that you are exposed to a window during the day. (However, exposure to UV light from the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer, and you should talk with your doctor about risks and benefits.) Taking care of your general health and wellness can also help—regular exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and staying active and connected (such as volunteering, participating in group activities, and getting together with friends and family) can help.   If you feel you have symptoms of SAD, seek the help of a trained medical professional. Just as with other forms of depression, it is important to make sure there is no other medical condition causing symptoms. SAD can be misdiagnosed in the presence of hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral infections, so proper evaluation is key. A mental health professional can diagnose the condition and discuss therapy options. With the right treatment, SAD can be a manageable condition.     As the days get shorter during the winter months some people find that their mood worsens along with the weather. These “winter blues” leave many feeling gloomy, lacking energy and motivation in the days that lack sunshine, and feeling better on the brighter days. Some, however, are intensely affected by the seasonal changes and may experience a more severe form of the winter blues. For them, the winter months bring on a clinical depression called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. Those who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder find themselves feeling sad, anxious, and hopeless. They may be easily irritated, feel restless and have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. SAD often causes a decreased level of energy along with a loss of interest and joy from the activities that were previously enjoyed. Changes in weight, difficulty concentrating, decision making, and remembering details are also common symptoms of SAD.   People suffering from SAD experience the same symptoms as the traditional Depression, but throughout the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. SAD affects people in northern latitude climates, where the winters are usually long and dark, with a greater percentage of those affected being young women. Seasonal Affective Disorder is commonly treated with light therapy, in which the affected person is exposed to bright light in the morning to make up for the lack of natural sunlight. Natural sunlight causes the brain to establish a normal day/night cycle; the lack of natural sunlight in the winter months causes a shift in this cycle that is thought to cause SAD. Light therapy works to readjust the body’s sleep/wake cycle in hopes to reverse the depression.   In addition to light therapy, more evidence is showing that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), effective treatment for depression, is also effective in treating SAD. Research by Dr.  CBT for SAD involves a structured approach throughout the winter. The therapist helps teach the client techniques and strategies to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and implement healthy behaviors to counteract the symptoms of SAD. A lot of current events might be taking a toll on your mood these days: a global pandemic, reoccurring lock-downs, time away from your loved ones, an array of contextual events, you name it. The abundance of sullen causation makes it hard to pinpoint the actual root of your gloomy mood.   But if you’re experiencing recurrent mood swings during the darker winter months each year, it’s likely that you suffer from the seasonal affective disorder, or also known as SAD. As Mind explains: It’s like having your portable black cloud.’ A form of depression, SAD is mainly associated with the winter months, and no one is immune to it. SAD can affect not only your personal life but also your relationship. If you find yourself struggling to maintain a steady relationship flow, SAD might be the one to blame.   Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. Usually, SAD occurs during the winter months when the bad weather, shorter days, and lack of vibrant social life can affect you. Nevertheless, SAD can also happen in spring and summer when the seasons change. The most common symptoms include persistent low mood, apathy, low energy, irritation, feelings of sadness or guilt, cravings for carbs, and weight gain. So, what can cause seasonal affective disorder? Of course, several factors play a role in your dismal mood, but the primary ones include insufficient daylight, disrupted body clock, and high levels of melatonin.   Lack of sufficient daylight   Light influences a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. This part controls your sleep, mood, and sex drive, and when the light is insufficient, these functions start to slow down and eventually stop. Some people need more daylight to perform these functions, while others are the opposite. The latter can experience disruption of these functions when it’s too bright, causing SAD in the spring and summer.   Disrupted body clock   Your body has its internal clock, which is in sync with the daylight and the times of the day. Daylight guides your body when to perform certain functions, primarily sleep. When your sleep pattern is disrupted, it can cause SAD.   High levels of melatonin   When it gets dark, your body produces a hormone called melatonin, responsible for getting your body ready to sleep. But when the darkness is more prevalent than the light, people with SAD are likely to produce higher melatonin levels during the winter, which can make them more lethargic.   The seasonal affective disorder can not only impact your mood and personal life, but it can also affect your relationship. Think about it, when you’re feeling blue and don’t have the energy even to brush your teeth, the last thing you want to do is be proactive in your relationship. Going on dates, communicating your feelings, and being in the throes of passion all seem like a lot of hard work you’re not ready to complete. Here are a few of the reasons why your relationship might be put on the side bench while you deal with SAD.   Turbulent communication   Communication is key to sustaining a connection. But when SAD strikes, your willingness to communicate with your partner can be minimal, if not non-existent. You’re naturally drawn to isolating yourself and snuggling up in a cozy blanket where your negative thought patterns can prevail. When you attempt to communicate with your significant other, you might find it difficult to articulate your feelings and keep your attention, which is counterproductive to active listening. Not only that, but you’re also prone to irritation during this time, so verbal disputes are not to be ruled out.   Lack of sex drive   Licensed clinical marriage and family therapists says:’If you’re experiencing loss of pleasure or loss of interest in activities that can make date nights or the sexual side of the relationship difficult to keep up with as well.’ Because of the never-ending spree of negative thoughts, your body finds it hard to relax, get aroused, and indulge in pleasurable experiences. Not having sex can strain your bond a little bit. Even if you have sex, you might still find it hard to orgasm because your mind is constantly wandering. This can make your partner insecure or guilty. Moreover, due to genetics, a person is more likely to have SAD if a close relative is affected, including your partner. Your unmotivated daily habits can become contagious to your significant other. The sofa life for couples can seem way too appealing, but it’s also dangerous for your mental health, so make sure you uplift each other’s spirits to avoid going into a deep depression.   I hope this was helpful, and please do not hesitate to reach out for more help, and have a wonderful day :)
(MA, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do you interact/deal with a chronically ill/in pain spouse?

Hi, thanks for reaching out! It does sound like you are in a challenging situation.  You want to be a supportive, empathetic partner because you don't know how bad they feel or how much their illness really takes a toll on them.  Yet it is easy to find frustration with a person when they put forth minimal effort to seek their own help and when their own pain and unwellness starts to be projected on those around them. It sounds almost hurtful when you say it out loud, but it is important for you to remember that you have feelings to protect, and of your children as well.  If your partners speech and actions are starting to become harmful to you emotionally, its time to take action. Your partner should seek help from a professional.  They can learn to manage their mental health just as they would learn from medical doctors to manage their physical health conditions.  This is hard for most people to buy in to, but the more common it becomes in language in our homes and communities, it becomes more accepted and known to be resourceful.  You could also consider seeing a therapist together as a family, so you can all learn how to respond to one another when your partner feels bad and so you can all feel safe expressing your needs at the same time. It is important for you to continue to be open and honest in expressing how you feel.  Just because one partner has a medical condition and doesn't feel well, doesn't mean you have to tiptoe around them to protect their feelings or that you should feel like you should have to carry their weight of both your feelings and all of their health concerns.  Be assertive in your communication; make your needs and feelinsg known while doing so in a controlled, respecting manner.  Whether it causes conflict or not, you need to be heard and feel like you can equally express your needs as your partner can.  Also, find ways to express how you are feeling.  Have a support network around you, journal, engage in an activity like yoga or exercise where you can let go of how you feel physically, or consider talking to a therapist on your own to have a safe place to share. Best of luck to you and your family, and feel free to reach out if you need anything in the future.
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to heal from a painful heartbreak and betrayal from a friend

Hello Mimee, Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear you've experienced such a betrayal from those closest to you. Without you explicitly saying what occurred between your boyfriend and your friend, I am imagining that you were referring to your friend getting between you and him.  That is incredibly painful, and I'm sorry you experienced that.  Knowing that you can't respond to me I want to pose this reflective question: why do you want to hear from your friend? Is it to try and make sense of things? I wonder if any explanation your friend can give will truly help you understand what happened.  Is it to express how upset and angry you are with your friend? Ask yourself whether that will make you feel better. It is certainly okay to confront your friend, but know that won't necessarily give you any sense of closure if that's what you are desiring. You also don’t want to make an impulsive decision out of anger and hurt that you may regret later on.  So how do you move on then; I know this is ultimately the question you have. Remember to give yourself time. Being hurt on an interpersonal level can be very painful and it is all right to not be "okay" right away. Please try to do the following: Let yourself rest for awhile.  If you have been blaming yourself for what happened in the relationship know that's it is not your fault; you do not have to take on the responsibility for your boyfriend and friend's actions. Turn to your support group. Lean on other friends ss and family at this time. If you don't have a very strong support system consider getting professional help by seeing a therapist here on BetterHelp or out in a more traditional setting.  And lastly, remember not to overgeneralize. It can be hard to move on and trust someone else after such a betrayal. Try to remember that just because your boyfriend hurt you in this way it does not mean that everyone will hurt you. Try to give it some time. I have confidence that you will be able to successfully move on and live a fulfilling life. I greatly appreciate that you reached out and wish you the best. Take care. 
(MSW, LCSW, CADC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Need to learn how to cope and eventually come out of an abusive relationship

Hello Samantha,   Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp Platform with your query: Need to learn how to cope and eventually come out of an abusive relationship   I am glad you reached out for some support and guidance with what you are struggling with in your life.  I am so sorry to hear that you have had to go through such difficult times in your relationship.  I think the best way to answer your question is to share some information about problematic relationships and how to deal with this and how to get help. Are You In An Abusive Relationship? You can easily tell if you're in an abusive relationship, right? Maybe, maybe not. You have to have two bodies of knowledge before you can see whether your relationship is really abusive. First, you have to know what abuse looks like and how it shows up in relationships. Second, you need to be able to stand back from your situation so you can evaluate it objectively. When you combine these two factors to assess your relationship, you might be surprised to find that your partner is indeed being abusive towards you. When the Abuse Isn't Physical Physical abuse is fairly easy to spot. Your significant other may punch, kick, or grab you forcefully. They may break your bones or cut you. You may end up in the ER or doctor's office often. However, not all abuse is physical. An emotionally abusive relationship won't put you in the hospital, but it can certainly ruin your mental health. Who Is the Abuser? The signs of an abusive relationship stem from the characteristics of abusers. When your partner is abusive with you, it's likely that they display any or all of these traits and behaviors: They see others as their private property. Using my, mine a lot, such as my friend over there opposed to using his/her name They're intensely jealous. They're cruel to animals and/or children physically/verbally They're unpredictable.You feel on guard much of the time They have a hot temper.Anger easily at almost anything They like to control the behavior of others.Do as I say or else They have old-fashioned notions about the roles of men and women. It's interesting to note that what often happens in an abusive relationship is that one person says they're being abused and then the other follows by saying that no, they are the one being abused. This situation played out recently online with the Markiplier abusive relationship story. Markiplier, a video comedian of sorts, mentioned that his girlfriend had abused him. Then he created a video about abusive relationships. Later, his ex-girlfriend countered with stories about how Markiplier had abused her. Some relationships are abusive on both sides. Another possibility is that the abuser is just being defensive and trying to generate sympathy for themselves. If you're being abused, then it's important to be aware that you could also be accused of abuse. Be ready to stand up for yourself, whatever comes. One way to prepare yourself is to talk to a counselor before you end the emotionally or verbally abusive relationship. Signs within the Relationship Abusive relationship signs in the context of the relationship include all the unhealthy ways your abuser interacts with you. Rather than respecting your feelings and rights as an individual, they turn you into a possession that they can manipulate and control to get what they want. Noticing the following signs of abusive relationship can help you see that you aren't being treated fairly. They force you to have sex when you don't want to. They blame you when something bad happens. They sabotage you at work or school. They control your joint finances. They accuse you of coming on to others or having an affair. They don't let you choose your own clothes or other possessions. They completely control where you go and who you see. They put you down in public or when you're alone together. They purposely embarrass you in front of other people. They lie to you and then get you to doubt your own sanity. Signs within Yourself You might also see the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship within your own feelings, thoughts, words, and behaviors. Ask yourself the following questions and then consider whether your reactions were prompted by the way the abuser has treated you. Am I a worthwhile person? Am I intelligent? Am I sane? Am I trustworthy? Do others like me? Am I as good as others? While negative answers to the above questions might come from ideas you picked up in your childhood, they could also be coming from the way your current abuser is talking to you and behaving towards you. Ask yourself if you always had these opinions of yourself or if they just started when you got into the relationship. Also, ask yourself how you would feel if someone said or did the same things to make someone else feel bad about themselves. If you wouldn't allow your friend, your child, or your parent to be treated that way, don't allow yourself to be treated in those ways either. In addition to your negative thoughts about yourself when you're in an abusive relationship, your behaviors might reflect the signs you're in the verbally abusive relationship, too. For instance, you might look down instead of look at people in the eye. You might feel like you're walking on eggshells, so you become very quiet, trying to avoid saying the wrong words. You might stop trying new things, because the abuser has made you feel like you're too inadequate to succeed at anything. Getting a Quick Answer Sometimes it's hard to decipher all the words and behaviors that make up an abusive relationship. To get a quick answer about whether there are any signs that you're in an abusive relationship, you can take an abusive relationship quiz. You can find such a test online and take it on your own. To get a more complete answer about how much and what type of abuse you're suffering, a counselor can give you any of these several tests. They'll also conduct an interview with you to find out the unique problems within your relationship. The counselor will help you answer the question of 'Am I in an emotional abusive relationship?' Getting Information and Support A professional counselor can give you abundant information about abusive relationships. If you come to a point where you can answer the question 'Am I in an abusive relationship' with confidence, they can help you learn more about what to expect and what you need to do from there. They can share abusive relationship stories that help you see how unfair abuse is and why you need to remove yourself from the relationship immediately. They can share abusive relationship quotes to inspire you to leave the relationship and start fresh. Also, they support you by validating your feelings, explaining that you have every right and reason to feel the way you do about the abuse. They can point you to support resources within your own community as well. How to Leave an Abusive Relationship In many cases an abusive relationship can't be made healthy. The abuser isn't likely to put in the effort to change their beliefs and their behaviors. In fact, they probably won't even see that there's anything wrong with the way they treat you, or at least, they won't admit it. When you need to know the best answer on how to leave an abusive relationship, your best first source of help is a licensed therapist. They can help you understand the need to move on with your life and teach you how to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship. Solving Problems While Learning How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship Several types of problems can arise as you work on learning how to get out of an abusive relationship. If you have become dependent, as many people who have been abused become, you will have to develop your survival skills and work on your self-confidence. Another problem is that once you've been abused, you might find yourself drawn to new abusers. The same qualities that impressed you with your first abuser can seem appealing again, especially if you aren't yet aware of the way they will treat you once you're in a relationship. This is where a therapist can assist you with recognizing those qualities that impressed you with the abuser. Solving these problems will help you become stronger and more independent so you can make it on your own as long as you need to and as long as that's what makes you happy. These are usually quite complex problems, though, and can be difficult to solve on your own. Getting Help for Leaving an Abusive Relationship As soon as you begin to question whether you're in an abusive relationship or any time after that, you can start the process of leaving your abuser. It is a difficult task, especially if the relationship has gone on for a long time. Because you're faced with such a major challenge, getting help can increase your chances of successfully ending the abuse and living the life you want to live. The first step will be to recognize the abuse. A counselor can help you sort out the words and behaviors that might be innocent from those that are abusive and damaging. They can give you a fresh and objective perspective on the relationship and help you determine if it's actually abusive. If you're being abused in a relationship, the next step is to get stronger within yourself so you can leave the relationship. You'll need support from someone who knows how to show compassion and caring while giving you tools and guidance for getting out of the relationship. Licensed counselors are always available at BetterHelp for online counseling at your convenience. It only takes a moment to get started. You can get the help you need without waiting for weeks or even months as you might have to with a local counselor. The road to freedom from abuse is not always smooth, but with the right help, you can find your way. There is hope and there is help for you.  I hope you consider seeking professional support with this. I wish you much luck for you having a happier and healthier life!   In Kindness, Gaynor 
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

What can I do to get some inner peace? Please give me some advice

First of all, I am sorry your dad is sick, and your friend committed suicide; just those two things alone are difficult to deal with and would sadden anyone. I would love to help you work through the grief of your friend's suicide. When we suddenly lose someone close to us, we need closure, so maybe write her a letter about how much you miss her or a goodbye letter. I have some worksheets that would help you walk through this process. Telling your best friend that you have fallen for him was very brave if he chose to respond in a hurtful way that was on him. You made a brave move, and if it does not work out as you wanted, at least you know the truth. I am a firm believer in being honest with how you feel. As far as the school, I think almost all students are struggling this year and last. I have a lot of college-age students, and they are struggling too. You are not alone in that. I also am sorry you are going through all this and feel like you are all alone. I would encourage you to tell your parents that you think you need some help with your mental health. I am sure your parents would not want you feeling like you are all alone and struggling. If my child were struggling, I would want to know whether their dad was sick or not. I want to encourage you to ask for help at school as well. I know you feel like no one cares, but I do and am sure others do as well. I am not sure how old you are, but you have experienced a lot of hurts and need someone to help you sort out your feelings and share your feelings of shame and guilt. There is a hotline you can text or call Teen Lifeline; they are also on most social media. It is teens helping teens; call them at 1-800-852-8336. You can text them at 1-602-248-8336. Please reach out to them if you cannot afford help, so you will know that you are not alone.  They also have an app you can download. They are a free and 24/7 service. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

Can u come back from 15 years of infidelity?

Hello and thank you for your question. Ultimately, infidelity is a terrible experience. I could imagine making most decisions around this time is very difficult because of the emotions around this time. I will try to provide most information based on my own experience in working with couples and research. I answer based on the information provided so I apologize if I am making too many assumptions. It is hard to argue that you will not need a strong sense of trust to maintain the relationship. Trust is a major foundational piece of romantic relationships. If you decide to go into the path of continuing the relationship, it is important to recognize that recovering from this will likely be a stressful experience. However, people feel that the stress is worth it for the relationship. Thus, the answer that a relationship can be saved after so much infidelity is possible. I recognize that this may seem incredibly difficult because of the 15 years of infidelity. Despite that painful experience, it is possible to recover over a long time. Therefore, it is unlikely that trust will be rebuilt within the first year. Based on the Gottman approach, the first step is beginning to understand how come your partner cheated. Also, do you both agree to working on the relationship and working towards making sure to avoid future infidelity. It’s important to note that not all relationships should be saved following an affair. If your partner does not think they can stay faithful in the future, then it is probably not worth fighting for.  Here are some of the questions from the Gottman approach for you and your husband to ask each other separately and then come together to discuss them. Are you interested in making amends? Or are you willing to leave your partner? Will you be able to let go of their anger and resentment towards your partner and move forward? Can you imagine being happy with your partner despite what they did?  I believe this is a really good first step to take because you both are asking yourself if the relationship is worth saving before jumping into working on it. The next step is seeking out help from a therapist with experience in working with couples. I typically use the Gottman approach when working with couples, so I recommend asking the therapist you decide to work with if they have some experience using this approach. The therapist will be a good mediator so you can be begin to have deeper conversations about the issue. It is going to be important to determine if your husband will be able to be faithful in order to continue the relationship. This is devastating right now but could become worse if he continues to unfaithful in the future. These are some of the warning signs to look out for based on the Gottman approach. Does not view cheating as wrong, immoral, or unethical Has a casual, dismissive perspective on the cheating Does not take responsibility for what happened Has a long history of lies and deception Cannot communicate openly and is very secretive Refuses or cannot empathize with the pain and distrust caused by cheating There is no way to predict with a 100% certainty whether or not he will cheat again. However, this at least gives you some idea of whether or not to continue the relationship if you see many of these warning signs. Keep in mind that if he was able to be with you for 15 years and cheat on you the entire 15 years then that would be considered a huge warning sign.  As you can see this is complex issue. I strongly recommend still seeking out a therapist for further emotional support for yourself in this process. Again, I am not aware of other factors such as children, finances, etc. Thank you again for your question and I encourage you to continue to seek out support. 
(MA, LPC, Doctoral, Candidate)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I talk to dad about how he hurt me as a kid, & how do I process why I am the way I am now.

Growing up in a dysfunctional home can lead to the members (esp. children) in the home suffering from mental health disorders or other self-defeating challenges. The word, "dysfunctional" can refer to any family lacking the homeostasis of two fully functioning parents (adults) in the home to provide a nurturing and healthy environment for proper development of the individuals in the home. The healthy homeostasis of the family can be disrupted when there is a family member requiring more attention and care than normal. This can occur when a parent (or child) suffers for a mental health, substance abuse, or medical condition, which inhibits the parents from performing their needed parental duties fully (due to a family member needing more care and attention than normal), which tends to disrupt the homeostasis and shift more responsibility on the fully functioning parent and also an older child or older children to attempt to maintain some healthy functioning of the family unit. This stress or tension due to this imbalance is distributed throughout the family unit, even to the children, who may have to grow up faster to function in certain roles placed upon them. This can, in turn, lead to anxiety, depression, or other cognitive challenges over time due the additional amount of tension or stress produced in the home. This added stress can condition the members in the family to be in fight-or-flight response as a result due to fear of the unknown or future due to the family members (usually children) taking on roles that they are not mentally and emotional capable of performing effectively. Emotional and psychological (manipulation) abuse can cause additional cognitive and other developmental challenges due to these being childhood scars that get overlooked, because they cannot be seen like the scars or wounds from physical abuse. As a result, boundaries in the family are very unhealthy (being to restraining and controlling allowing no room for growth and independence or lacking to the extent there is little or no supervision and too much independence and freedom). Without healthy boundaries in place, children lack a sense of security, guidance, and nurturing. This is why most children in dysfunctional homes grow up as codependent individuals with poor emotional, physical, and other boundaries. They have no idea where they end and other begin. They lose their identities in relationships due to fears of abandonment, rejection, or being alone, which results in intense people-pleasing behaviors (such as adopting the interests, likes, and desires of others, although they may feel uncomfortable or uninterested). They tend to feel responsible for and tending to others, while neglecting their own needs or wants. Emotional abuse damages feelings of confidence and self-worth causing a person to never feel good enough, like a failure, and leading them to try too hard to prove their self-worth by overachieving aimlessly to be affirmed by others. Manipulation and other forms of psychological abuse can leave those affected feeling confused about what they want, feel, or think; indecisive in their decision-making abilities; and more dependent upon others. Emotional management can be a challenge due to not being taught how to properly identify and express your emotions. Sometimes in dysfunctional homes, expressing one's emotions were viewed as weak or not encouraged. This usually encourages the suppressing of emotions or unhealthy coping to deal with emotions (such as eating disorders, self-harm, codependency, fighting, bullying, substance abuse, or other types of addictive or self-defeating behaviors).    Unforgiveness with family members is common when growing up in a dysfunctional home, due to frequent disappointments that lead to anger, which later festers into unresolved resentments. Resentments can be worked through effectively in counseling, whether the person you resent is still living or deceased. A licensed therapist can work with you by use of letter writing, roleplaying, the empty chair technique, or other therapeutic interventions and modalities to help you heal from these invisible wounds of your childhood. 
(M.Ed., LCMHC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I take care of my S/O emotionally and make them feel valued more

Thank you for your question. I will give you some general advice here, and I encourage you to potential seek the support of a therapist for specific support thereafter. It can be difficult when there is a long-distance element to the relationship. I think you can have a discussion with her to realize what type of support she would like, given the distance and what is feasible at this time. Everyone is different as to how they feel like a priority. You might consider what her love language is. If you have not heard of the love languages, they refer to how people respond best to care and love based upon their preferences. The five love languages include physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and quality time. Some of these may not be possible given the distance, but there may be ways to give love through acts of service perhaps taking care of things she is worried about, words of expression of your care for her, quality time in making time daily to speak with her and ask her how she is doing, and gifts if that is her love language. Your efforts are going to be best-received if it speaks to how she most feels supported. Then you can consider ways of expressing love in that way despite the location difference. I think when we are involved in our own lives apart, we may not remember to make time just like we would if we lived near one another. Perhaps you can schedule FaceTime or phone sessions for added accountability, so you do not forget to reach out and remain connected. When throughout the day your mind does go to thinking about her, you can send a short text just saying that you are thinking about her. Perhaps you might even want to write her a written letter that she will receive in the mail communicating that you miss her and cannot wait to re-unite. We rarely send letters through the mail and this would be something she could keep to remind her how much you care, so she is not impacted when you have less time and availability to consistently reach out. Letters are such a personal sentiment that she would probably appreciate. The other thing I would encourage you to consider is how you were connected when you lived closer. Are the arguments just about the distance or were they a frequent occurrence when you were together? Try to  implement some of the strategies if any worked to result in you feeling closer when you lived in close proximity. Distance can deter closeness, but it does not have to in every way. Try to consider regular practices you might have engaged in when you lived closer. For example, maybe every morning you both said I love you. Perhaps that is a practice you can continue to implement via text, voice message, or a phone call every morning. If you did not previously do something like this perhaps every morning you reach out to one another and identify one thing you appreciate about one another and share your love for each other. I think when arguments are happening a lot of times not enough time is spent reminding one another what you appreciate and what brings you closer emotionally despite physical distance. When you consider your actions while you are away, I encourage you to consider if it will create greater closeness or distance and try to adapt and find ways that create closeness. Try to end each conversation with some sort of closure and affection for one another, so you are not leaving the conversation and bringing into the rest of your day the feeling of disconnection. If she is expressing her feelings, try to acknowledge and validate her and ask questions as to what you can do to strengthen your efforts in supporting one another because the majority of conflict is based upon misperception, so the goal in conflict resolution is to clarify any misunderstandings and to find ways to move from resentment to gratitude, as the opposite of resentment is appreciation and gratitude. These are just a few ideas without knowing your specific difficulties, so hopefully this helps in steering you in the right direction as you start to focus more on how to increase emotional connection despite physical distance in her interactions with her. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

I need help relationship

Thank you for reaching out and being so brave to get extra help and support.  My name is Sarah Cho and I am a licensed therapist and happy to give you some thoughts.  Sometimes, after being in a relationship for many years, it can be difficult to get the motivation to make a change.  Especially if your relationships has a history of abuse, whether physical or emotional.  It is important to remember not to blame yourself for anything that occurred.  You are not to blame for being mistreated or abused.  You are not to blame for the way that your partnered behaved.  You deserve to be safe and well.  You deserve to be happy and to move forward without fear or anxiety. When you decide that it is time to leave keep in mind when facing consequences, he might plead you for another chance, beg for forgiveness, and promise to change. He might mean it in the moment, but his true goal is to stay in control and keep you from leaving. He can at anytime engage in the past behavior which can be very scary and dangerous for you.   If you are ready to leave, I encourage you to reach out to me or someone here at BetterHelp or someone you know to help you outline a plan for leaving that ensures your safety and wellbeing.  Having a plan will make you feel more in control and will help increase your motivation to follow through with the plan.  A plan should include things like where you will go, what you will do for work (if there is a change), how and when you will leave, as well as planning logistics like changing any shared accounts, devices, etc.   You will also need to consider taking time to heal after you have made this change.  The hurts and scars from years of abuse can take their toll.  The actual trauma of what you have been through can stay with you after you have left.  You may struggle with negative emotions, flashbacks and other feelings that are common in individuals who have been in abusive relationships.  Getting therapy or support from friends will be critical during this time.   You are in a place to move forward and this is excited and scary at the same time.  I hope that this response has given you some reassurance that you can do this!  If you need more thoughts and/or support, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or anyone else here at BetterHelp for assistance. Warm regards, Sarah Cho, LCSW, BCBA   
(LCSW, BCBA)
Answered on 01/21/2022

I need assistance with emotional support as a betrayed spouse and proper boundary enforcement

Thank you for reaching out and for being so transparent and authentic with your question. I first have to comment on your willingness to take responsibility and to tackle your part in strained relationships. Many cannot unpack what part their actions may have contributed to the relationship and remain stuck in previous patterns. I see your issue as a two-step process. 1. Understanding your emotional needs and where you are in control, and 2. Communicating that awareness to others while staying true to your "lane" (where you are in control) and your boundaries. When you say, "To prevent going to others for emotional support," it sounds like you don't want to appear to others in certain ways, like maybe needy. I have found that when we really are aware of what we need emotionally but also that we are WORTHY of seeking those needs, we start giving ourselves what we think only others can provide. It's exceptionally tough to ask others for respect, worthiness, and love when we don't give ourselves those qualities. Ironically, once we gift ourselves with more self-confidence, more value, and more kindness, we naturally gravitate to others that enhance those qualities. Boundaries help us to remember that we are worth proper treatment from others. When you know you have a right to happiness, you see your external world very differently. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Once you are clear what you want emotionally AND that you are worthy of having happiness, you see your part in life very clearly. I tell my clients that once they allow themselves to be a guest at the table of life, they can enjoy the journey. It sounds like you have been hurt and maybe then you hurt back. Focus on what that pain has taught you because I believe our pain is where the true lessons reside. Our pain takes us to areas we never would have explored without the pain. We certainly don't need to be grateful for the pain, but our pain teaches us resiliency and self-forgiveness. One of the best antidotes to resentment is acknowledging the lessons from pain. It sounds like you are ready to start learning more and more about yourself!  
(LCSW, CPA)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How does one differ between a trauma bond and love?

Thank you for your question. It is a broad question you are asking, so I may not be able to offer specifics. What I would say is that you need to uncover if there are fears you have that keep you in the relationship. For example, fear of being alone or losing this person forever. If fear is keeping you together, then it may not be for the right reasons that you stay together. As some of the trauma research suggests, being alone is better than being in a bad relationship. I think the next piece is you recognizing what makes for a healthy relationship. For example, are your emotional needs getting met at all in the relationship? If not, sometimes we stay in a situation because it is familiar and we remain stagnant and in disbelief that getting out of the relationship will prove more beneficial than staying in the relationship. You need to consider whether you feel emotionally safe or can trust your partner since there is a traumatic past. Sometimes if the wounds are so deep, repair cannot be made. As to your question about differentiating trauma bond from love, you might consider what love is to you and for you verses what it is not. If you have a distorted belief that mistreatment is a part of what love entails, you will stay in the relationship despite the unhealthy nature of it. I think you need to consider what your rules are in relationships. For example, if you do not know any better than how you are being treated in this relationship, you will stay longer than you feel you should. If you believe that a relationship should work regardless of how you are treated and value loyalty above all else, it will be much harder for you to leave, even if it is in fact in your best interest to break away from the relationship. You need to allow yourself to have less rigid rules that you live by in relationships in order to reduce fear of shame or regret about leaving the relationship. You might also want to consider what will be better about your life outside of the relationship than in it. Often it will be difficult to break away from the relationship, if you feel you will be missing more than you will be gaining from leaving. One of the biggest gains I encourage you to recognize is that you will be taking a stand for your own self-respect. You need to work on building your self-confidence through actions you take. When you know you deserve better, you seek out more fulfilling connections. Starting by improving your self-esteem can prove beneficial in having the strength to end the relationship if you feel it is more detrimental to your well-being than beneficial to remain in the relationship. Attending therapy where you can begin to process this loss and gradually transition to life on your own may be beneficial, so you feel supported throughout this transition as well. 
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to deal with trust issues

Hello and thank you so much for reaching out. It certainly sounds like there are many pieces to the puzzle. I definitely suggest your own individual counseling. That will give you the opportunity to talk through all pieces with someone at your own pace. There are a myriad of wonderful professional with a great amount of experience and expertise on the platform. There is also a great variety of availability during the daytime, evening and the weekend.First of all, to begin with, I encourage you to practice self-care. Self-care is never selfish. Rather, it gives us the opportunity to fully be present for others in our lives as well as to be in the moment. This may begin through utilizing mindfulness. mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment. So often it is easy to find ourselves in many different thoughts all at once. A way to begin practicing mindfulness is to utilize a technique that I call two, two, two. This includes noticing to things that you can hear in your environment, two things that you can touch, and two things that you can see. You may also want to include the temperature of the room or outdoor space that you are in. This helps to ground a person in the moment and to be aware of what is around them. Again, mindfulness of being in the moment can help you to cope with the very many  questions and feelings that you are experiencing. I hear you name that you are experiencing a lot of doubt. When you experience doubt, it may help you to journal. You may want to write about the intensity of the feeling, how rational this might feel  to you, and what you can do to cope with the feeling or question. A benefit is that you might find that this helps you to identify patterns in your thinking. You may also want to write down the feelings that you experienced during the day as well as things that you feel gratitude for. again, I wish you the very best on your journey. Thank you for asking this question in order to begin getting a possible ways to cope with what you are experiencing. Lastly, I really encourage you to speak with someone weekly. Peace to you.  
(LMHC, LPC)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How does one manage family and societal pressure

Hello Aspien,   Thank you for reaching out on The Better Help Platform with your question:   How does one manage family and societal pressure?   I think the best way I can answer your question is to share some information about the impact of social pressure and how you can manage the stress and pressure whilst remaining respectful to all those around you including your parents. I would encourage you to consider reaching out for support from a professional counselor to further dive into what might be going on for you with your relationships.   A counselor who is skilled and neutral who can help you understand the formation of attachment to others. For better or for worse, our choices as human beings are primarily impacted by social pressures. An article  Psychology Today refers to social pressure as powerful enough to alter humans’ perception of reality. While each of us bears responsibility for our own choices, understanding the role that social pressure can play in choice-making is profoundly imperative. As indicated by the research, social pressure can come in positive or negative forms. Put simply, this form of pressure is merely the influence that surrounding collective groups have on individuals. In and of itself, social pressure is a very real reason to carefully choose who you associate with. The people you surround yourself with can easily pull you up or drag you down. While social pressure, in and of itself, is part of living in human society, human beings are not totally helpless. In no way does social pressure mean that individuals are incapable of thinking for themselves or making independent decisions. With that in mind, understanding the leading ways that social pressure impacts our choices is still necessary. Top Five Ways Social Pressure Impacts Our Choices According to the National Institute of Health social pressure does share links to the performance of human behavior. Many people have a tendency to pick up on the habits of those who are around them or in their social circles; habits become choices, and the choices we make determine our outcomes in life. Also, it’s important to note that various factors on individual levels can impact one’s susceptibility to social pressure. Only you can decide whether or not social pressure is impacting you positively or negatively. With that being said, mindfulness of the following ways that social pressure impacts our choices can only help you. Creates the Desire to Fit In By its very nature, social pressure encourages people to fit in with those around them. Sometimes, fitting in comes naturally, but in other cases, one may feel the need to change their views, choices, and outlooks to avoid being the odd one out. In situations like this, social pressure comes with a very high propensity to be problematic. In some ways, social pressure is viewed negatively, and, in many regards, this view is justified. Although each person is responsible for their own choices, social pressure can encourage us to behave in ways that are unbecoming, out of character, or even immoral. Of course, there is a flip side to this also. If we are surrounded by people who are doing well and engaging in constructive behavior patterns, social pressure can also push us towards bettering ourselves and fitting in with the crowd. Teaches Us What Not to Do Social pressure impacts not only you but also the people around you. The story of someone getting in with the wrong crowd and making poor choices is sadly all too familiar; this ultimately boils down to social pressure, though. Observing other people make decisions that aren’t good for them can sometimes serve as a warning to us as individuals by teaching us what not to do. As a general rule, learning from the mistakes of others is advisable to only learning things the hard way. This is not to say that you’ll never make mistakes or feel the impacts of social pressure; these are inevitable parts of life. Still, there is as much value in being taught what not to do as there is in learning what we should do. Helps Us Grow As previously stated, social pressure is not always negative, harmful, or toxic. In many cases, social pressure from the right groups of people can help us grow as individuals. Being around others who are doing the right things, engaging in productive behaviors, etc. can encourage us to follow suit. In doing so, we can often break negative habits, push ourselves outside of comfort zones, and grow as individuals. On the flip side, mistakes can also help us grow as individuals.  American Psychological Association points out the positive and negative aspects of social pressure. As such, it goes without saying that human beings grow from both positive and negative experiences. Even when we make mistakes along the way because of social pressure, we can still learn from the experience and become more familiar with what to avoid in the future. Creates a Sense of Support Despite the often-negative connotations linked to social pressure, it can create a feeling of support. Whether or not this support turns out to be positive or negative depends upon specific circumstances at hand. Nevertheless, engaging in certain behaviors due to social pressure often causes us to feel supported and connected to those in our social groups. A sense of support is a double-edged sword. Just about everyone wants to feel as though they belong, but who we are supported by makes the difference. When we find ourselves around people who encourage us to make good choices, the outcomes are likely to have more positive effects than they would in a group of bad influences. Takes Us Outside Our Comfort Zone In many social groups, people are encouraged to try new things that they haven’t or wouldn’t ordinarily do. Similarly, to other choices impacted by social pressure, going outside of our comfort zones can work in our favor or against us. Barring extreme behaviors or circumstances, going outside of our comfort zone allows us to learn more about ourselves, life, and what we do and don’t want. Sometimes, leaving your comfort zone because of social pressure can make you reconsider your group of friends. In other cases, being taken outside of our comfort zone helps us realize that we’ve found the right group of people, after all. Making Independent Choices There is certainly worth and value in making independent choices without adhering to the pressure from others. Nevertheless, this is often easier said than done. Depending on our environment, how we were raised, and a plethora of other factors, social pressure can be immensely hard to resist. While no one person is entirely immune to social pressure, maintaining the ability to make independent choices is essential. It’s OK to listen to our peers and those in our social groups; however, we should avoid merely going along with things that don’t feel right simply because others around us are doing so. On another note, it’s important to remember the influence and value that you carry as an individual. Being comfortable enough to be yourself (even if this means differing from the crowd) is a great skill to have. You, as an individual, are also part of the social circle, and you never know who you could be inspiring. Ideally, each and every one of us should seek to find a healthy balance between social pressure and independent choices. There is value in the community, a sense of belonging, and support; however, of equal importance is the ability to stand on your own two feet and make choices that are worthwhile to you. When Social Pressure Feels Too Hard to Resist If you are someone who severely struggles with social pressure, you should know that you’re not alone. This is a problem that many people face, and the very first step is recognizing the presence of an issue. While social pressure does impact our choices in various ways, it should never feel impossible to resist or at least think about. Despite the natural influence that our surroundings have on us as human beings, our own will and freedom as individuals should still be present. In many cases, people struggle to resist social pressure because they fear disapproval from those around them. This is natural to some extent; although, no one should ever feel completely paralyzed in this way. If you have concerns that the people around you will desert you for not going along with what they want, reconsidering your presence in that social group might be a good idea. Resources for Support and Guidance If you find yourself regularly struggling with social pressure or other issues, speaking with a counselor could be of value to you. Learning more about your situation, gaining new perspectives, and finding solutions are only a fraction of the benefits linked to working with a mental health specialist. No matter what your situation is like or what you may be going through, support and guidance will always be available at  When you choose BetterHelp. se to get professional care from BetterHelp, you will be paired with a licensed and empathic counselor. Online counseling comes with many opportunities for you to not only overcome challenges but also learn more about yourself and develop new skills. Online counseling is not an overnight fix, and it won’t make life’s challenges vanish into thin air. What BetterHelp can do, however, is be there for you every step of the way. We can also commit to working with you on a schedule that is workable and convenient for you. Regardless of who you are, what you may be up against, or how tough things may seem, there’s always hope. If you put your mind to it, you can overcome whatever stands in your way. BetterHelp looks forward to offering support and guidance on your journey.   There is hope and there is help available to you! I wish you much luck with your next step in reaching happiness and resolution for you.   In Kindness, Gaynor
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How to get back to my ex safely in a intercultural relationship?

How to get back to my ex safely in an intercultural relationship? Based on your question, I would highly recommend that you seek help from a licensed professional counselor and or licensed mental health professional therapist to discuss your thoughts and feelings regarding what all you experienced in your past relationship. A licensed professional counselor and or licensed mental health professional therapist can help you discuss and process how to get back to your ex boyfriend safely in an intercultural relationship. I would highly suggest that you first start with seeking mental health therapy from a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist to discuss your thoughts and feeling in regards to any emotional trauma that you experienced while being in a relationship with your ex boyfriend along with discussing the emotional trauma that you are currently experiencing at the moment due to cultural differences and the relationship that you have with your mother. A licensed professional therapist and or licensed mental health therapist can help your process the best decision that is best for you. Again, the decision is yours and yours alone. Once you make the decision or as you process your decision a licensed professional therapist and or licensed mental health therapist will be there to guide you along the way as you process your decision. The therapeutic relationship is very important and having a licensed professional therapist and or licensed mental health therapist during this time would benefit you greatly as you find someone to help you through the decision making process at this time. Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in treating individuals who have struggled with emotional distress due issues, concerns, and or problems with past relationships. A licensed professional counselor and or a licensed mental health therapist can provide you counseling in a safe and confidential setting without feeling judged or ridiculed. A licensed professional counselor and or a licensed mental health therapist can also introduce you to deep breathing techniques, stress relaxation techniques, calming techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, grounding techniques, positive interpersonal social skills and imagery as a means of decreasing your thoughts of emotional distress due to your feeling emotionally distressed at this time. In an effort to decrease your thoughts of emotional distress, you can also try to commit to changing the way you think. It will take a lot of practice, dedication and determination to alleviate increased thoughts of feeling about your past relationship. However, trying to do this will help you feel better and it can lead to your feeling much better and becoming more productive. You can recognize when it is happening and when you find it happening you can choose to think about something more productive. You can also look for solutions by committing to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can productively move forward, set aside time to think when you notice you are not feeling emotionally distressed outside of that scheduled time, remind yourself that you will think about it later, distract yourself with a self-care activity and you can practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the key to living in the "here and now." When you become mindful, you will be completely present in the moment. It can be like a form of meditation that takes a lot of practice, but over time and with consistency, it can be very beneficial in decreasing thoughts of not being productive in an effort to help you experience an overall healthier mental well-being at this time. Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a licensed professional counselor and or a licensed mental health therapist to properly assess your current thoughts and feelings about your past relationship that causes you emotional distress at this time. Having a relationship with someone that you have not communicated with is difficult and when cultural difference arise it becomes even more difficult and it can way very heavy on an individual mentally and emotionally. Emotional and mental distress can look different for everyone because mental health is not a one size fits all. Therefore, it is very important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs in regards to if you decide to stay in a relationship with your girlfriend or if you decide to leave the relationship with your girlfriend at this time.  I highly recommend that you contact the Betterhelp team to discuss what specific payment options and payment plans are available for you to access counseling services at this time. Betterhelp does offer financial aid and various other options for individuals who are seeking counseling for their personal and or emotional well-being through the use of affordable therapy sessions. The Betterhelp Platform is designed to be able to assist you better if you contact them directly. Contacting Betterhelp directly is the best way for them to verify your identity and securely help you with your specific account information and needs. When it comes to questions, issues or concerns in regards to the cost of using the Betterhelp platform please contact the Betterhelp team. You can reach out to the Betterhelp team for issues including but not limited to the following: billing issues, account questions and or concerns, and or subscription questions and or concerns. The Betterhelp members are there to help answer your questions, concerns and or issues, so if you have a question in regards to what the cost would be to begin using the Bettehelp platform you can contact the Beterhelp team members directly to gain accurate information in regards to what payment options are available for you if you decide to join the Betterhelp platform in regards to possibly talking to a licensed professional counselor and or licensed professional mental health therapist. Please feel free to reach out to the Member Success Team directly by emailing contact@betterhelp.com to discuss what payment options are available for you to use the Betterhelp platform for you counseling needs and or therapy needs at this time. Best regards to you!       
(EdS, LPC-S, NCC, BC-TMH)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How do I deal with overthinking in a long distance relationship?

Long distance relationships always come with a period of adjustment. It is very normal to feel some anxiety as you adapt to a new way of communicating with one another and new sets of expectations. It can help to create some ground rules for when and how you will communicate so that both people feel like they are still getting what they need. It can also help to have an idea of what the long term plan is, how long will you be apart, how often will you try to visit.  If you can't make nay of those plans, then sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a deep breath and go one day at a time. Remind yourself that this relationship has only been going on for 6 months so things are still new overall. Be patient with yourself and your feelings, but also with his.  You mention that communication has slowed down. It's ok to ask him about this directly, so then you won't have to keep wondering, but would know if he has just been busy or if his feelings have changed. But also remember that it is normal for communication levels to fluctuate sometimes. When a relationship is new all things are exciting and you talk a whole lot, typically. But it's normal for this to slow down a bit the longer you have been together.  When you have a lot of feelings for someone that you aren't able to act on, either because you can't be with them, or because you don't want to overwhelm them it can help to channel your engery into something else. Many people feel a lot of intense feelings earlier on in a relationship, especially when you really want it to work out. Directing that energy into a hobby or into creating something for that person can be a good way not to let it just turn into anxiety.  In the end, if the relationship is going to work out, it will. But over thinking things ususally doesn't help. It's better just to talk about your feelings with the other person. If they respond well, then you know it is a good relationship. If they don't, it might just be better to move on. 
(LCSW-C)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Hello! In your question you very astutely recognize that "previous situations" (the past) can affect the present.  When I do counseling with couples, often times I will do a few sessions with each individual partner.  This is to assess what they learned from the parents (their original models of what it means to be a partner, a parent, etc.), as well as what their parents' relationship was like with each other and with them as a child.  When both of the partners recognize what they "learned" they can then bring that back in to the couples session and work through it.  Often times perspectives that served a useful purpose in prior relationships (ie. not trusting a cheating partner) are not adaptive in the present situation (ie. being overly suspicious of a faithful partner).  That needs to be recognized and worked through.  Additionally, you mentioned the phenomena of "fearing that you are going to lose your partner at the slightest argument."  This is often referred to as "feeling like you are walking on eggshells."  If a partner is threatening to leave or end the relationship whenever an argument ensues, that can be very destructive and will likely lead the other partner to stop bringing their concerns and not try to improve the relationship.  If, on the other hand, the fear of  partner abandonement is not based on any of the partner's actions or statements; then it likely has its roots in the parental or other past relationships.   There is little doubt that there is a tendency for people to get into certain relationship patterns and repeat these over and over again.  Object Relations Theory would state that we have a tendency to ascribe attributes from and try to work throughs issues from (gain mastery over) our previous relationships in our present one.  Again, this needs to be recognized and worked through as stated above. There are basic communication skills in couples counseling (using I statements, the Love Languages, etc) that can be helpful.  However, if there are longstanding issues that each partner is bringing into the relationship those need to be recognized and worked through first.    Hope that helps!  Thanks, Jim 
(LCSW-R)
Answered on 01/21/2022

Never been in a relationship

Hello, Thank you for being open enough to share what you would like to see happen in your life. First I would like to say, that you are not alone. There are plenty of people that feel the same way that you do. It's really common for people to want to be in further along in their life than they are currently.  Since you didn't really ask a question, I can only assume that you would like to know whether you are doing something 'wrong' that is keeping you from finding a guy to be in a relationship with. For you to answer this question, you would have to become honest with yourself and take a look at your thoughts and beliefs that could be contributing to the results you're getting. This is not to say that it's your fault that guys don't approach you, but we tend to get what we think about most.    This would be something you talk with your therapist about but, my questions to you would sound something like: What thoughts do you have about yourself? Do you see yourself as worthy of finding the right guy for you? (You don't have to a be perfect person to be worthy of a healthy relationship with someone, but the way you view yourself influences how you act in relationships. Both romantic and platonic)   Have you addressed any unhealed trauma or hurt from past relationships or from your childhood that could influence the way you think about and interact in relationships? (Old habits and patterns that we have from those things, can really hinder us in our adult relationships if we don't pay attention to and deal with them)   Do you practice the type of love, attention, and happiness towards yourself that you are seeking from a guy? (No one can give us the happiness and validation that we seek. They can only add to it. So it's important for us to give those things to ourselves first, in and outside of relationships.)   Have you truly opened yourself up to meeting a good guy or are you operating out of a 'list' of what you want in a guy? (I ask this because you mentioned that you think you find a nice guy, but then they take advanage of you. Sometimes we only look for the things we want in a partner, and completely miss out on great people because they don't fit our 'list'. Or we may ignore the RED Flags that a person isn't for us, because they do fit some of the criteria we want most.)    I would definelty look more in to these questions and process them with your therapist. But most importantly, know that you are the prize. And you are worthy of having an amazing relationship with a guy that adds to you. Start showing up as the confident and 10x bolder version of yourself. And be open to finding the right type of relationship for you. Get outside of your comfrot zone, but listen to your intution.  And lastly, work on changing how you think. Where focus goes, energy flows. Keep thoughts on what you want to see happen, versus what you don't want to happen. Take care of yourself.   Wishing you all the best on your journey!  
Answered on 01/21/2022

Is there a method to increase communication with your partner on tough or sensitive topics ?

Hello M,   Thank you for reaching out on The BetterHelp with your question: Is there a method to increase communication with your partner on tough or sensitive topics ? I am glad you reached out for some support with your situation.  I think the best way for me to answer your question is to share some information about effective relationship communication skills and suggest you consider reached out to a professional relationship counselor for further assistance with increasing your communication interactions. Communication, whether it be with your significant other or just someone important in your life, is something key for the development or maintenance of any relationship. Without communication, things could get lost in the mix or forgotten about altogether. Communication is sometimes entirely looked over or taken for granted. Communicating effectively is something that rarely happens naturally for a lot of people. It is often something that people have to work at in their relationship. Despite being difficult, communicating effectively with your partner is possible and well worth it. Establishing this healthy communication in relationships is incredibly important for many different reasons. Why Communication In A Relationship Is Important To Reduce Conflict And Resolve It Quickly Conflict in a relationship is something that every couple will deal with at some point. Truthfully, not all conflict is bad. However, it should be resolved healthily and quickly. When conflict cannot be resolved, and one or both partners are intentionally hurting each other, it becomes unhealthy. As Anne Grady from Entrepreneur puts it, “With aggressive communication, you’re forcing your anger on the other person.” Clearly, this is not a healthy approach when communicating with the person you love most. The most important thing to resolve conflict is to communicate healthily. Telling your partner clearly what they did to hurt you and how you would have preferred them to go about it will help your relationship tremendously. When you have great communication skills, you and your partner will be able to resolve conflict quickly and healthily. When You Are Doing Long Distance Good communication skills are incredibly important when a relationship has to be long-distance for whatever reason it may be. You may be having to work in different cities or be spending long periods with family away from your partner. Whatever the reason for doing long distances, it can cause strain on your relationship. If there is a lack of good communication, couples can become distant and feel disconnected from each other. Communication is very important when you cannot see the other person daily, weekly, or even longer. This is because you have to choose to communicate with the person consciously. Whereas when you are with them in person, it is much easier to communicate effectively. When doing long distance with your partner, you must put in additional effort into your relationship. As cheesy as it may sound, good communication, through whatever medium, is the only way you can healthily maintain your relationship. A relationship is not something you can just check in on every once in a while and assume everything will be fine. The development of a relationship, whether it is a new relationship or an old relationship, can depend on the intention and thoroughness to which the people communicate. They Are Your Best Friend Investing in a relationship and figuring out your best communication in a relationship can reap so many benefits in your life. The person that you are in a relationship with is probably your best friend, your partner, and your go-to person. Many people consider their partner their best friend. In fact, according to Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute, friendship is the foundation for a healthy relationship. In other words, a great friendship is necessary for a great relationship. But, the term “best friend” only means something if the relationship is developing as time goes on. Your partner can be your best friend, but if you do not communicate with them properly, you can fall out of touch, and your communication link can get lost. It is important to communicate with your partner, so you two can develop your friendship, which also improves your relationship. Getting Deeper Than Surface Level Some healthy communication is typically better than none at all. However, small talk can sometimes be nothing more than some entertainment or filling silence. Communication is a great tool to dive deep into someone and who they truly are. It can help you understand why they are the way that they are. You may have several surface-level friendships, but you should be on a deeper level with your significant other. At the end of the day, a surface-level relationship will not satisfy you. However, communication will help you have a more meaningful relationship. It might be hard to open up about something that you keep locked up inside. Common barriers to opening up to people are caused by childhood trauma, previous unhealthy relationships, and more. However, you never know if your partner has gone through something similar and can help you with your journey. So, doing your best to open up about these things can be beneficial. This can improve your relationship overall and help you explore new sides of each other that you would not have found otherwise. If you feel that you have something blocking your ability to connect with others deeply, it is highly recommended you seek out counseling. A professional counselor, such as one from BetterHelp can help you knock down any internal barriers you have so you can have a deep and meaningful relationship. How To Better Communicate With Your Partner Learning how to communicate with your partner better can take your relationship to a whole new level. It is important to note that every person communicates very differently. So, keep this in mind when exploring new methods of communication with your partner. Learn Their Love Language It may be beneficial to ask the person that you are in a relationship with what their love language is. Love languages could be an important factor to consider because it is directly correlated with communication. Someone’s love language could be words of affirmation. So, how you communicate plays a role in how you affirm someone. In this case, it would be verbally. Another method of communication is physical touch. If you act standoffish or distant, how will the other person feel? Learning how your partner likes to receive love and give love will help your relationship tremendously. Form A Friendship With Your Partner As mentioned above, friendship is the foundation of a satisfying romantic relationship. So, communicating and intentionally forming a relationship with your partner will be very beneficial. To form a relationship in the first place, feelings are generally processed and then communicated to ensure that both parties are on the same page. It could be difficult and confusing to navigate through a brand-new relationship if the other person cannot communicate where they are at. You cannot form a firm foundation on something unclear. It is important for both people, in the beginning, stages of a relationship, to define their goals, needs, and vision for their relationship. Even if everything is not written in stone, a general conversation could ensure that everything is heading in a good direction and flowing smoothly. Remind Them That You Still Care When in a relationship, it can be highly important to communicate that you still care about your significant other. This sounds like something that would be assumed; however, when life is going and going, expressing feelings and emotions can just get forgotten about or lost in the mix. It is of value to take a second to remind your significant other that you care for them and care about what happened during their day. Providing support is even more important if your partner is struggling with something such as joblessness, an eating disorder, or family problems. Even if you do not explicitly tell each other your feelings every single day, love or fondness could be shown through little acts of kindness. It is possible to “communicate” through the little things. This could include things like cooking their favorite meal for them, writing them a card, folding a load of laundry, or even buying their favorite snack for them at the grocery store. Keep Up With Their Lives To stay up to date with the happenings in your partner’s lives, both ends need to communicate things like how their day went, what events are coming up, or even what they had for lunch. These things do not sound pivotal at first glance. However, the little occurrences in someone’s life can add up and be a big deal. If the details get lost in the mix, your significant other might find it difficult to understand exactly how you feel. At the end of the day, the little things in life can make you who you are. Would you want your significant other to miss out on the little things that make you unique? Learn Their Preferred Communication Methods Preferred communication methods for different people can differ across the board. Mediums of communication could include in-person verbal speaking, texting, video calling, emailing, or even snail mail. Whichever method you enjoy should be expressed so that your significant other can communicate with you in a way that is pleasant for you. There are pros and cons to each method for sure. The communication link could be broken or be flowing at a slow speed if someone is distracted in their minds by other dilemmas, if they do not check their mail or phone, or if they just are not making a conscious effort to stay in the loop. Verbal and nonverbal communication can play a large role in a relationship. Sure, your voice might be saying one thing, but if your body language indicates something else, mixed signals can be sent. It is important to be aware of the nonverbal types of communication. This could include things like the level of eye contact, facial expressions, posture, hand gestures, proxemics, and tone of voice. Sometimes you may unintentionally make a weird facial expression or keep your distance. Your partner could pick up on your out of the ordinary behavior or mixed messages. Be A Good Listener When communicating with your partner, try practicing active listening. Active listening is a soft skill in which you put all of your focus on your partner. Active Listening can improve mutual understanding between people. This is very important in every relationship. Maybe you are communicating effectively and to the best of your ability, but your partner needs to work on their active listening skills. Communication is a two-way street with winding roads and potholes. When just one person is practicing active listening, conflict can be resolved much more slowly and less effectively. This is why both partners need to practice active listening in a relationship. If you take a step back and think about yourself lately, are you listening to what others are saying to you? Are you just going through motions and getting from point A to point B? Asking your partner if you could improve on your communication could potentially be beneficial to your relationship. If you do get feedback from your partner or anyone else in your life that you are not an active listener, try to make improvements. As crazy and fast as life can feel, it is important to slow down and be present in your conversations. Venting To Help Release Stress And Avoid Tension Do you ever have a bad day and feel the need to pour your heart out to someone to help get it off your chest? Trusting the person that you are in a relationship with enough to pour out your stress to them shows them how much you trust them. Honest communications build higher levels of trust because they know what is going on in your life. Additionally, when you let them in on what is frustrating you in your life, they can feel secure that you are not upset with them. When people are in a bad mood or are sad about something, it is easy for their partners to worry. They are upset with them. Letting them in on how you are feeling can help them feel more secure in your relationship. Additionally, when you release your stress to someone, it can help you feel less bottled up inside and provide you with an avenue of relief. Be Respectful To Your Partner If there is ever something that you need to get off your chest, it could be a good idea to go about it calmly and respectfully. Being respectful while communicating can help the other person be more susceptible to hearing what you have to say. Even just acting respectfully in general communicates and shows that you do have some kind of level of feelings for that person. This could be romantically or just on a friendship level. Avoid Sending Mixed Messages Are you saying what you mean? It is important to relay exactly what you mean when you are in a relationship. Mixed messages are unclear communication and can cause a lot of confusion between people. Transparency helps mend tension or conflict because people can get down to the deeper levels of conversation and help them get to the point. When communicating with your partner, try to be as transparent as possible and avoid sending mixed messages. Being intentional about communicating clearly can improve your relationship greatly. Communication In A Relationship Hopefully, this article has helped give you some ideas on how to communicate effectively in your relationship and has shown you how important communication in a relationship can be. At the end of the day, when both people in a relationship are being intentional about communicating effectively, your relationship will likely see great benefits. Remember to be patient about improving communication, as it is a learned skill. Communicating effectively does not happen overnight. So, be patient with yourself and your partner during this process. There is hope and there is support available for you.   I wish you much luck in reaching a healthier and happier life together by increasing your communication patterns.   In Kindness, Gaynor
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 01/21/2022

How best can I deal with daddy issues?

Laura, Thank you for sharing information about yourself. I'm so happy that you reached out for help. I am Maggen (Preferably Meg) Daunce, a licensed therapist and credentialed substance abuse counselor. You can read more about my background, education, experience, and counseling approach by clicking on my name on this page. I really look forward to working with you and hope to become part of your support system.Its tough coming from the non traditional home setting. Connection to parents or lack there of can cause a great deal of trauma in our adult lives and greatly impact present relationships. It sounds like youre looking for reassurance and feeling affirmed in your current relationship despite there not being any real evidence stating you need to be doing so. Together we can talk about building your confidence and esteem in yourself so you dont always need validation from others or your significant other and how to make this a healthier relationship for both of you. It may also be helpful to work through your early childhood in relation to issues with your father and how that has impacted you. Everybody's attachment styles are different and its easy to fall in to patterns and behaviors from childhood, but that doesnt mean they are always the best for us. Realizing that family doesnt always have to be blood and building a new support system of chosen family may help bring you love,  support, and connection you crave from your family that you never got. I would be happy to connect, learn more about you, and see if we can figure this out together.I use a variety of approaches that include CBT, DBT, strengths based, person centered, and motivational interviewing to get to the root of the problem. From there we will set short and longterm goals to help you make progress on changing things between you and your significant other as well as dealing with you past and concerns you have about your father. Overall the hope is to make you feel like the best version of you possible through open communication in whatever form you prefer. 
(LMHC, CASAC2)
Answered on 01/21/2022