For better or worse. Those words seem easy to say at the time, but when worse gets really bad, many couples are ready to throw in the towel. Here are some things to consider that might indicate that your relationship is ready for a tune-up.
The Stigma of Counseling
It can be hard to make the decision to go to couples counseling because it means you have to face your problems and admit you and your partner are on shaky ground. That can be incredibly scary to admit. It’s not dissimilar to thinking something may be wrong with your health, but you’re too scared to face the music and so you ignore the issue until it gets way too big.
Beyond having to admit you and your partner have problems, there’s also the discomfort of not being familiar with therapy. It can definitely feel a bit mysterious and scary sitting down with a total stranger and sharing personal information about your relationship.
For these reasons, far too many couples let their marriage issues sit on the back burner, percolating. But the better option is to nip an issue in the bud as soon as it rears its ugly head.
To save you some confusion, here are some of the most common relationship issues that typically require some time in couples counseling.
Whenever there is a major breach of trust, such as an extramarital affair, there is usually a need for couples counseling. A therapist can help you both rebuild the foundation of trust.
More Frequent Arguments
To each relationship, a little rain must fall. But when you start having frequent torrential downpours, it’s time to ask for help. An increase in fighting and intensity of fighting often means significant problems under the surface.
If you and your partner aren’t talking at all about important matters, this too can erode a relationship. Feelings of resentment can build up and be difficult to address if left to fester for too long.
You’ve Experienced a Devastating Event
Life throws us events in our lives that are hard to rebound from. Whether it’s a financial loss or the loss of a loved one, as in the loss of a child, the trauma can change the way you and your partner relate to one another.
These are just a few of the reasons you and your partner should consider exploring couples counseling. It’s always better to seek help than try and go it alone.
If you are interested in treatment options, please be in touch with us. We have a licensed marriage and family therapist now accepting new clients.
According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, over 47,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2017. In the same year, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts.
Knowing the signs of suicide is the primary step in preventing someone you know and love from successfully taking their own life.
The Warning Signs of Suicide
Many individuals who are contemplating ending their own life experience and express feelings of hopelessness.
Other Strong Emotions
Suicidal people may also experience and express excessive anger and rage and talk about seeking some kind of revenge.
People who are thinking about ending their own life start showing signs of risky behavior. Since their lives are not valuable in their own eyes, they may engage in certain behaviors, not caring about the consequences. This can be drinking and driving, experimenting with hard drug use, and spending time in unsafe parts of town.
Have you noticed your loved one withdrawing from friends and family and isolating themselves more?
Suicidal individuals often experience great anxiety that causes them to suffer from insomnia. Has your loved one been complaining of not sleeping? Are they taking medication for sleep issues?
The above are warning signs that your loved one may be experiencing a deep depression that needs attention.
The following are three signs that your loved one needs some help IMMEDIATELY:
They’ve Come Right Out and Said It
Your loved one has actually verbalized a desire to harm themselves or kill themselves.
You’ve Discovered A Plan
You have somehow come to know that your loved one is actively planning their suicide by stocking pills or getting their hands on a weapon.
They Have Become Obsessed with Death
Many suicidal people, especially teenagers, begin talking or writing more and more about death or suicide in a positive light.
How You Can Help
Talking to someone you love about suicide can feel uncomfortable. You may be worried that by merely talking about it, you will somehow inspire the act. This just isn’t so. Just opening up to someone who is supportive and non-judgmental can assist them in recognizing their need to get some help from a trained therapist.
Offer to help them make a call to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
For immediate help, please call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential. The Clark County Crisis line is also available 24/7: 1-800-626-8137.
From a young age, most of us are taught how to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others. But rarely are we told to show the same consideration to ourselves. This becomes even more true for individuals brought up in hyper-critical or neglectful homes.
What is Self-Compassion?
Self-compassion refers to how we can relate to the self with kindness. Self-compassion or self-love is NOT to be confused with arrogance or selfishness. In actuality, arrogance and selfishness stem from the absence of self-love.
But what does it really mean to be kind with ourselves?
- Self-compassion is a discipline (especially if it doesn’t come naturally). It requires daily efforts to mindfully notice moments when we are being overly judgmental or harsh and saying “STOP!”
- It requires showing the self the same amount of courteous respect that we might give other people. For example, you wouldn’t call other people “a failure;” it might be too harsh to use that language on yourself.
- Self-compassion requires the use of empathy skills. This assumes you can 1) Name what you are feeling; and 2) Describe the good and valid reason this feeling is happening.
Why is this important? Because self-compassion helps us see ourselves more clearly and neutrally. It allows us to maintain a healthy self-esteem, recognizing that though we may sometimes make bad decisions, we’re not bad people.
Research, over the past decade, has shown the parallel between self-care and psychological well-being. Those who practice self-compassion also tend to have better connections with others, are happier with their own lives, and have a higher satisfaction with life overall. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety and depression.
Now that you know the what and why of self-compassion, let’s look at the how.
How to Practice Self-Compassion
Treat Yourself as You Would a Small Child
You would never harshly judge or belittle a small child the way you do yourself. You would only want to help and love that child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a small child, you begin to show yourself the same love, gentleness and kindness.
Every minute your mind is handling millions of bits of information, though you consciously are only aware of a few of them. This is to say we all have scripts or programs running in our minds 24/7. These scripts and programs are running our lives, insisting we have certain behaviors and make certain decisions.
Some of these scripts are the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are. They’ve been running since we were kids. The way to quiet these scripts is to become more mindful of your own mind.
When you begin to have a feeling or reaction to something, stop and ask yourself WHO is feeling that? Is it the compassionate self or the program running? If it’s the program, thank the program for what it has done and release it.
Good Will vs Good Feelings
Self-compassion is a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves; it’s not a way to alleviate emotional pain. Life happens, and we can’t always avoid negative or sad feelings. Never mistake self-compassion as a tool to ignore your deep and rich emotional life.
These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you’d like to explore more options or talk to someone about your feelings of self-rejection and judgement, please get in touch with us. We have therapists on our team that might be able to help.
Every Halloween, little girls all over the country choose costumes that reflect what they want to be when they grow up. And each year we see many girls choosing to dress as princesses and fairies, kitty cats and maybe the odd super hero. Rarely do we see young girls dressing as executives, scientists, or world leaders.
It can seem benign enough, but it does beg the question: are young girls still under the impression their choices in life are limited? And what can parents, particularly mothers, do to set a good example?
The Importance of Role Models
If you are a runner, you probably know that for most of human history no one was able to run the 4-minute mile. In 1940, someone actually got to 4:01, and for nine years that is where the record stayed, with not one runner in the entire world being able to break it.
It seemed to everyone that the human body, no matter how fit and trained, would never be able to break that record. But then on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute barrier, running the distance in 3:59.4.
And then a very interesting thing happened: barely a year after this feat, someone else ran a mile under 4 minutes, and then more runners did it, and then even more. Now it’s common practice for runners to run the mile in under 4 minutes.
Role models show others what is possible, and that’s powerful. Humans tend to not attempt things unless we believe it can be accomplished.
Our children learn from watching us. They learn how to think, act, and feel about themselves and the world around them. Here are some ways mothers can set a strong female role model for their daughters:
It’s important for mothers to encourage their daughters to be healthy and strong, but not to obsess over beauty. It’s not enough to talk the talk. The brain has mirror neurons that facilitate social learning. That means you do not need to explicitly shame your daughter about their body to impact their body image adversely. No, a child’s brain sees how their mom looks at their love handles in the mirror and learns in that moment that “my fat must be bad too.” Moms have to model positive thoughts, behavior, and love for their bodies.
Unless they are shown otherwise, young girls may grow up assuming they must constantly please others and never say no. Moms, it’s important to show your daughters that setting boundaries is healthy and necessary.
Confidence comes from a mindset that failure and mistakes are merely chances to learn. It also comes from knowing strengths and abilities as well as limitations. In other words, confidence is a byproduct of knowing and accepting our authentic selves.
Are you having a hard time being the role model you’d like to be? Maybe you’re a stressed-out single parent who could use some coping strategies. If you’d like to speak with someone, please be in touch. We have a counselor on our team that may be able to help.
“Ahh, the good ol’ days.” How often have we heard or uttered this familiar phrase? It can be a source of great pleasure and amusement to reminisce on a time when we were younger, remembering a special event or activity.
We tend to look at our past experiences through a filter that magnifies the positive while diminishing the negative. While there’s no harm in basking in a memory, it can be harmful if you spend so much time looking at your past, that you neglect your present and future.
If you’re someone who spends too much time thinking about the “glory days” of your youth, you might think it’s because your life has become dull and monotonous. With the carefree days of your youth behind you, you might long to be back in that time period to escape your present. But if you take a closer look and examine your life, you may be surprised to notice that you look back not because your past was so great, but rather because your present is not.
The more time you spend reminiscing, the worse your current life becomes, neglected by daydreaming of the past instead of imagining new heights to which you can aspire.
Get Rid of Unneeded Memorabilia
Sometimes a memento is a special memory of a special time, and sometimes it’s just an object that’s imprisoning you in your past. Getting rid of an excess of items associated with the past will help you stop living in days gone by, and free you to live in and enjoy the present.
Fully Appreciate Each Day
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” One way to stop living in the past is to enjoy and appreciate each day. Start keeping a journal and jot down three things you’re grateful for each day. Take a walk, or cook a special meal. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of every day.
Make Future Plans
Nothing can keep you from looking to the past quite like looking to the future. Plan a vacation or create a goal you want to reach in the near and distant future. Maybe you want to learn a new language, start playing the piano, or read all the classic novels. There’s a lot of life waiting to be lived, so make the most of it.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a moment of nostalgia, it’s important to live in the present, and spend your time enjoying your life as you live it. If you make the effort to create a better life for yourself today and in the future, you’ll not only bring yourself great happiness and satisfaction, but you’ll create many more memories to relish in the days to come.
If you’re struggling and looking for support and guidance to create a better, more satisfying life, a licensed professional can help. Call our office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.