Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘confrontation’

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.

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.

Self-Sabotage. . . Continued

Recognizing self-defeating thoughts and behavior is the first step to change. Many experts agree that to change the behavior, people must change their thinking. Therefore, the first step is to observe ourselves and our thoughts.

The next step is to take full responsibility for our thoughts and behavior-so that we control them and they stop controlling us. If we accept that we are doing this to ourselves, we can also understand that we have the power to change.

Self-observation is a powerful tool against the behaviors that defeat us. For example, Stan could take his son fishing and be careful to be positive and to stay silent when he feels a
criticism rising in his throat. To do this, he would first have to decide that a good relationship with his son was more important that being “right.”

Setting a goal is the next step. Without blame or shame, choose one behavior to change. For example, Patricia could decide not to be late anymore. To do this, she would have to decide that something was more important than being late-a job she loves, for example. One tactic might be to write a positive affirmation each night in a journal, or set her clock an hour early, or enlist a friend to call her for a week, reminding her to walk out the door. After a while, the rewards of being on time could become greater than the self-defeating cycle of being late.

It’s not easy to change patterns of self-sabotage, but with time and practice-and a good dose of self-love-it is possible to end a self-defeating cycle and live the life we truly want. (AFC 2012)

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

7 Tips to Fighting Fairly

Many of us don’t like having conflict with our partners. It can be uncomfortable. However, it’s a very normal and even healthy part of a relationship, that is, as long as it’s done fairly. Bottom line: it’s about respect. You can be really angry and express those feelings in a respectful manner. Below are 7 tips that will help you keep the argument at a healthy level:

1)      Your partner is not your enemy. Without realizing it, when you begin to argue with your partner, you may be seeing them as a foe rather than a friend.

2)      Use “I” statements to say what is bothering you. Own your thoughts and feelings. Use a variation of the following phrase: “I felt_____ when you said/did ______.”

3)      Stick with one point at a time. If you tell your partner about all the things that are bothering you, your partner will feel overwhelmed, become defensive, and attack or shut down.

4)      Focus on behaviors, not the person. Avoid attacking the person. Focus on specific things he or she says or does that bother you.

5)      Avoid exaggerations. Using words like “never” and “always” are extreme and unrealistic. None of us is “always” or “never” doing this or that. Stick to your take on what has specifically happened.

6)      Leave the past in the past. If past mistakes are frequently brought into the present, it makes it very difficult for the relationship to heal. It’s like picking a scab over and over until a nasty scar forms.

7)      You can always call a truce. When an argument is getting to an atomic level, it’s time to call a truce. Usually people who want space will need to provide some reassurance to their partner so that they can walk away.

If you follow these 7 tips, you’ll find that arguments can be more easily kept at a respectful level. Maybe the outcome of the argument won’t be what you wanted (like an immediate resolution), but if you can keep the conflict at a healthy level, you won’t be experiencing the shame or guilt of handling the argument in an unhealthy way.

Bryan Norman 2011

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