Remember that in relationships 'fixers' attract 'sleepers' - 9/14/2016
The self has very little patience, and can be unforgiving if you try to ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist.- 9/1/2016
One of the exercises I do with my clients is ask them to create a 'Circle of People'. I have the client draw a small circle with multiple rings around it, and the nucleus has the client's initial. On each ring the client is supposed to write down the names of people that are closest to them. Each ring symbolizes the closeness of the relationship. The person closest to the nucleus has the strongest relationship, and the degree becomes less as the rings go on. More often than not, it's parents on the first ring along with spouse and children, the second ring will have best friends and grandparents, and so on and so forth. The outer most ring has acquaintances or neighbors. During the course of therapy the more we talk about the specific relationships, the more I find out that some f the people that are closest to the nucleus are also the most toxic people for the client. For example, the judgmental parent, the codependent spouse, the depressing sibling, or the unhealthy friend. Therefore, the frustration that the client feels over the repeated patterns in their relationships starts making sense. "Why does my mom get on my nerve so much. I know she isn't accepting of what I'm doing, but I really thought she would be happy for me", "How hard is it for my father to acknowledge my effort?", or "I have always been the problem child in the family" are statements I hear all the time.
It's important to be very careful about who and what we surround ourselves with, just because I love someone very much it doesn't mean they need to have that proximity to my nucleus. The only people on the first ring around the nucleus should be the people that are emotionally safe/healthy for you. People who lift you, see beyond your mistakes or trials, wish the best for you as an individual and not in comparison to their life, understand that you are doing your best with what you know, and hold you accountable when they see you cheating yourself. These positions are earned by the people in our life. Mind you, this has nothing to do with love. You can love someone who isn't necessarily the best fit for you, or love parents that are a constant emotional drag in your life. The point is how do I create a safe cushion around me that prevents me from repeating patterns and behaviors, and instead adopt a mindful, loving, and supportive exterior. The healthiest people, the ones you can learn from and admire belong on the innermost ring, because they are the ones that are going to have the most influence on you. This circle is fluid and changes with time, or as you change and grow. But it is a helpful tool to guide you in who you let in, and how close you want them to get to you.- 11/13/2015
Here's a little tip for building a strong healthy relationship: Don't use your first date as a confession stand. Build trust with the person before you share everything about you. Trust is earned. People often mistake love and trust. One can easily exist without the other. And it often does especially in cases where you love someone who is fighting an addiction. You can love that person very much but you may not trust them with things that are important to you, or for that matter, your safety. 10/15/2015
I find that many people fear pain and sadness, and try to find an immediate cure for it. Be it a distraction in the form of a relationship, stuff, or substances. I often tell my clients to sit with the pain, to allow it to flow thru them so that they are able to study it and understand it. They know it will happen, they know it will end. But sometimes there is little trust in being able to handle the 'in between' phase. Pain is a must, you can't visit this world and leave without experiencing it. With that acceptance comes an inner curiosity to see it, feel it, and sit with it. Through this process you are likely to change the course and effects of that pain for you. You will find growth and understanding, build empathy, and know how to be of service to those around you. You will find that you have less blame for others, less judgment, and anger. Ride it out calmly and with full acceptance. And you will see that you have found a new technique of swimming thru life with ease. 11/14/2015