Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘conflict’

The Power of the Tongue.

Comments to one anotherPhilosopher Alan Watts considered words to be like living organisms, spreading like a virus—helping or harming as they go on their way. The impact of the words you choose directly affects your partner, friends and family. To be mindful of speech means to notice your intention before you speak and to use words that accurately reflect what you are trying to say.

In the busyness of our daily lives we often forget this aspect of mindfulness, yet communication is the centerpiece of social interactions—whether in speech, twitter or email. We’ve all said things that we regret, and once the words are out there, they can’t be returned. Words possess incredible power: the power to wound or the power to heal, the power to destroy or the power to build up.

I remember an interview that I heard once with the famous comedian Jonathan Winters where he spoke openly about his abusive childhood.  He recalled how his father had beaten him severely, in addition to other forms of abuse. Winters said that he would gladly take a physical beating over a verbal one anytime. The scars of verbal abuse he suffered from his father were much worse than the physical scars.

You will find that the words you speak can help you control the world around you. Your relationships can be happier and more fulfilling when your speech is intentional and carefully chosen. Thought becomes deed through language. Speech acts are powerful because most of the actions that people engage in — in business, in marriage, in parenting — are carried out through conversation. But most people speak without intention; they simply say whatever comes to mind. Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose.

Check back next week for more info on words you speak to your partner…are they giving life or death to your relationship?

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Book of the Month

Sex, Love, and Mental Illness: A Couple’s Guide to Staying Connected

– Stephanie Buehler

Both parties need to understand the effects of mental illness-and of the medications used to treat it-on sexual desire and performance. The author  provide ways to maintain both physical and emotional intimacy in a relationship.

The first section of the book centers on common sexual concerns and loving someone with a mental disorder. The second addresses a wide range of mental disorders, their effects on relationships, and ways couples can work together to overcome those effects. Among the conditions covered are mood disorders; anxiety disorders; chronic pain; eating disorders; substance-related disorders; post traumatic stress; ADD; Asperger’s Syndrome; and even severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia. The emphasis throughout is on each partner developing empathy and communication skills to enhance the sexual experience and preserve a healthy relationship.

Coping with Mental Illness. . . Continued

How to Help Yourself. When you’re in the middle of a chaotic or confusing situation, taking care of yourself can be the last thing you think of, yet, it is crucial.

According to NAMI, the National Association for the Mentally Ill, here are a few ways to do that:

Educate yourself about mental illness. Read everything you can about your loved one’s condition, its treatment options, as well as tools and strategies for coping with the illness and minimizing relapses. NAMI has a wealth of written and audio material, as well as 1,200 local U.S chapters.

Seek support. You do not have to suffer in silence. NAMI offers free support groups for loved ones as well as a HelpLine: 1-800-950-6264. You can find enormous relief from sharing your thoughts and feelings in a supportive environment among those who understand.

 Accept the reality of the situation. While you can offer valuable support and love, you cannot cure your loved one’s mental disorder. His or her symptoms may get better or they may get worse. Hospitalization may be necessary. Medication can restore stability and functionality, but may not heal the condition. You may have to lower your expectations of what your loved one can do. For instance, he or she may only be able to work part-time or, in some cases, not at all.

Set boundaries and clear limits. If you feel strong resentment, you are giving too much. If you need a break from the situation, find a way to get it. Don’t tolerate violent behavior. As hard as it is, consider if you need to leave the situation or make other arrangements for care.

Don’t lose hope. Advances in our understanding and treatment of severe and chronic mental illness occur every day. People get better and learn effective ways to cope. Relapses can become less common and shorter in duration.

While your loved one may never completely heal, and coping with the situation may challenge you like nothing else, it is possible to learn how to manage the stress of the situation as you care for your loved one as well as yourself.

AFC 2012

A Tribute To Our Military

AFC is promoting Veteran’s Day by providing 10 Military and Veteran’s Couples with No Cost counseling to help improve  their marriages!

If you or anyone that you know are in the military (active or retired) help us share the news!

Our entire staff is really excited to be able to offer this to our military community.

Saving Yourself From Self-Sabotage

When he was a boy, Stan vowed he’d never be a father like his own father-aloof, critical and emotionally unavailable. Yet, 30 years later, he catches himself treating his son harshly and constantly judging him for not measuring up.

Patricia loves her job and her boss. The only thorn is that her boss prizes punctuality and Patricia just can’t seem to be on time for anything, whether it’s a team meeting or that project that was due last week. What Stan and Patricia have in common is the all-too-common disease called self- sabotage. It eats away inside, creating a cycle of self-destruction with the result that we aren’t really living the

life we want for ourselves. Self-sabotage “hides inside us and toils against our best interest. If we don’t succeed in identifying and owning this sinister part, we can never be free,” says Stanley Rosner, author of The Self-Sabotage Cycle: Why We Repeat Behaviors That Create Hardships and Ruin Relationships.

Recognizing Self-Sabotaging Behavior

Numerous studies show that women are more prone to lower self-esteem and self-doubting thoughts. This leads to self-sabotaging behavior, according to author Nancy Good. In her book Slay Your Own Dragons: How Women Can Overcome Self-Sabotage in Love and Work, she lists several signs of self-defeating behavior that women (and men) can recognize:

  • Being overly passive, fearful, listless or indecisive, so that chances pass us by.
  • Having a chronically chaotic financial situation.
  • Being controlled by depression and anxiety.
  • Being controlled by compulsive behaviors to abuse alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, physical exercise, etc. Being compulsively late. Expressing anger inappropriately.
  • Being mistreated by partners and spouses. Being stuck in an unhappy relationship but doing nothing to change the situation. Having a series of unsatisfying relationships.

Read next week for steps towards change on overcoming self-sabotage. . .

(AFC 2012)

Book of The Month

The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide  – Esther and Jerry Hicks

This book will help you understand the emotions that you’ve been experiencing all of your life. Instead of the out-of-control, knee-jerk reactions that most people have to their ever-changing life experience, this work will put those responses into a broader context. You’ll come to understand what emotions are, what each of them means, and how to effectively utilize your new awareness of them.

As you read, you’ll come to appreciate, and make peace with, where you are right now, even though there is so much more that you may desire. Every thought you absorb will bring you to a greater understanding of your own personal value and will show you how to open your own doors to whatever you may wish to be, do, or have. And as you turn the last page of this book, you will very likely find yourself thinking, I have always known this, but now, I know this!

 

Pack your Bags

Doctors often use the word trauma to describe the effects of serious injury to the physical body, and the bruising that is left behind from the sudden impact. We can also experience emotional trauma in the same way, and the bruising can be just as severe as with a physical wound. Just like a wound to our physical bodies, emotional trauma requires care and attention so that it may heal.

If the trauma is left unresolved, it may affect our sense of self and wholeness as a person. This in turn affects our relationships, by bringing a piece of “baggage” into our present. Emotional trauma can result from any experience in which a person feels that their life or well being is endangered. These experiences can be a divorce, and affair, or other life changing events. Our natural instinct is to protect ourselves, and may manifest as avoidance, denial or repression of the event. Symptoms of unresolved trauma may include addictive behaviors, anxiety and depression.

The impact on relationships is severe- wounds that continue to fester, low self esteem, and a complete unawareness of the intensity of negative emotions that are present. Triggers are common, and may unintentionally reopen the wound.

When trying to heal a trauma from your past, what can you do to resolve the unresolvable?

If you have had a traumatic event that is affecting your relationship, here are some ways to begin the healing process.

1. Understand trauma and its affects- read books, talk with a therapist, and get some outside help. Trauma is very difficult to deal with alone.

2. Develop emotional resilience- as hard as it is, you need  to experience your feelings, not push them away. This can also be accomplished through the help of a therapist.

3. Learn new ways of self soothing- develop self caring behaviors that give you positive feelings. These positive feelings will also spill over into your other relationships.

4. Make sure that you give yourself time- and lots of it. Healing does not take place overnight, and everyone heals at their own pace.

Healing of trauma is like the healing of any other broken body part, and essential to a whole, healthy life. Making efforts to heal brings us more into the present, making room for connection and intimacy with our loved ones. If you have suffered a trauma, don’t wait any longer to begin the healing process. You’ll be glad that you did.

Kelly Chicas 2012

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