<span class="s5_h3_first">Thompson </span>

Relationships, communication, difficulties, rolesWhich Role are You most comfortable in?

Are you a rescuer, persecutor or victim in your relationship?

The persecutor, rescuer and victim are all roles that people in relationships can play. These relationship roles interact with each other, so there is always someone in a more powerful position and someone with less power.

Many couples that run into problems find themselves on this ‘drama triangle’. This is a model that maps the unhelpful behaviour patterns couples can find themselves in. It was developed by psychiatrist Stephen Karpman in the 1968.

Relationship Roles

While individuals may shift between the different roles, they usually feel more comfortable in one of the roles, due to their personality and the behaviour patterns in their family growing up.

 

Defining the Roles

A rescuer put others first to feel they are valued, irreplaceable or respected, will often have grown up in a family where the child’s needs were not acknowledged and so he or she grew up looking after others’ needs in order to feel loved. The rescuer was the good, responsible child who avoids confrontation.

The victim feels overwhelmed with helplessness, hopelessness, powerlessness, or shame. They got the message from their family that they were not able to handle their own problems and so grew up expecting others to step in and make things okay. They can often feel anxious about things.

The persecutor is the person who criticizes their partner, acts as the instigator. Makes others feel unworthy or unsure about themselves, and/or blames others for what’s wrong in their life. But it is important to realise that underneath the persecutor is a victim – someone who, as a child, did not have their needs met and often feels powerless. Putting their partner down helps them escape their inner self of low self-worth and makes them feel powerful.

 

Maintaining the Vicious Cycle

The person in the Rescurer role in the relationship is essentially has the “nice guy” control. He hooks into the Victim. The person in that role feels overwhelmed at times. She feels that problems are falling down on her head. The rescuer steps in and says, “I can help you out. Just do what I say, everything will be fine.”

Often times couples will begin their relationship in some form of this. They psychologically cut a deal: The rescuer says that I will agree to be big, strong, good and nice; the victim says I will agree to be overwhelmed and unable
to manage. Everyone is happy. The rescuer feels needed, important and in charge. The victim has someone to take care of him.

And it works fine, except every once in a while one of two things happens. Sometimes the rescuer gets tired of doing it all. He feels like he is shouldering all the responsibilities and that the other is not pulling his weight, not giving anything back, not appreciating what the rescuer is doing. The rescuer gets fed up, angry, resentful. He shifts over to the Persecutor role. He suddenly blows up – usually about something minor – laundry, who didn’t take out the trash – or acts out – go out a spends a lot of money, goes on a drinking binge, has an affair. He feels he deserves it, look, after all, he says to himself, at what I’ve been putting up with. The message underneath the behavior and anger that usually does not come out very clearly is: “Why don’t you grow up! Why don’t you take some responsibility! Why do I have to do everything around here! Why don’t you appreciate what I am doing for you! This is unfair!” The feeling of unfair is a strong one.

At that point the Victim gets scared and moves up to the Rescurer position, tries to make up and calm the waters. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I didn’t realize. I really do appreciate what you do. I’ll do better.” Then the persecutor feels bad about whatever he did or said and goes down to the Victim position and gets depressed. Then they both stabilize and go back to their original positions.

The other thing that happens sometimes is the Victim gets tired of being the victim. She gets tired of the other one always running the show, always telling her what to do. She gets tired of being looked down on because the Rescurer is basically saying, “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t make it.” Everyone once in a while the victim gets fed up and moves to the Persecutor role. Like the Rescurer, the victim in this role blows up and gets angry usually about something small, or acts out.

The message underneath that doesn’t get said is Why don’t you get off my back! Leave me alone, stop controlling my life! Back off, I can do things myself! The Rescurer hears this and moves to the Victim position. He says to himself, “Poor me, every time I try to help, look what I get.” The Persecutor then feels bad about whatever he did or said and goes to the Rescurer position and says something like, “I was stressed out, off my meds, tired from the kids. I’m sorry.” And then they make up and go back to where they originally were.

While everyone gets to move among all the roles, often one will fit more comfortably in one role more than another. This has to do with personality, upbringing, and learned ways of coping.

 

Getting off the Cycle

There is no simple solution to getting yourself off the triangle. Continue reading for a  few suggestions to start, but working with a therapist trained in CBT/DBT can help you learn new skills that allow you to step away, be assertive, and learn when it is necessary to leave the situation.

Stopping the cycle is dependent upon:

  • Seeing, accepting, and releasing the underlying needs the drama triangle fills within your family.
  • Changing your role in the dynamic.
    Becoming accountable and own all thoughts, feelings and behaviors that keep you in the drama roles.
  • Your ability to forgive yourself and accept that other’s behavior is not your fault.

Counselling and psychotherapy

Thinking, Feeling and Getting Better is Possible.

www.thompsontherapyservices.com

647-236-3305

 

 

 

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Written by patricia  

Self Esteem
&
Confidence Builder
Workshop
For Women

⦁ Do you feel lack of Self Worth?
⦁ Do you feel not good enough to accomplish what you want?
⦁ Do you feel you are Stuck and lack the confidence it takes to succeed?

If the answer is Yes, then this two session workshop is for you.

ScreenshotSE

This workshop is aimed at WOMEN OF ALL AGES that want to improve their self-esteem.
It is suitable for anyone that wishes to increase their self-awareness and self-development with the aim to achieve a fulfilled and happier life.

When: Session 1: May 10  6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Session 2: May 17 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Transense Healing Arts
Contact: Patricia at thompsontherapy@hotmail.ca (for further information and registration)
www.thompsontherapyservices.com

Self-Esteem-and-Confidence-Builder-for-Women321

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by patricia  

Screenshot_2015-07-05-11-47-20~2

Bipolar disorder is characterized by episodes of depression and mania (or hypomania, if symptoms are less severe).

More definitively there is the high state called mania, the low state called depression, and the well state during which the person feels normal and functions well.

 

Fortunately, the disordered high and low states can be successfully treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Here are the specifics on effectively managing bipolar disorder.

 

Accepting Your Diagnosis

Bipolar Disorder itself can be a devastating and destructive illness. For many people, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is distressing, especially when they learn that they’ll have to take medication their entire life. Getting a diagnosis means that you can seek the right treatment and feel better.  However, proper treatment is essential for living a healthy, productive and happy life.

 

Medication

Medication is an important part of bipolar disorder treatment. These medications fall into two broad categories – mood stabilizers to treat mania and adjunct medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and antipsychotics for debilitating depressive symptoms. However,antidepressants are not always indicated because they may trigger manic symptoms. It’s very important to be honest with your therapist about symptoms of both depression and mania so you can get proper treatment.

It’s common for individuals with bipolar disorder not to take medication. They may stop because of unpleasant side effects or because they’re feeling better. However, it’s vital that you take your medication as prescribed. Not taking medication only makes symptoms return and puts you at greater risk for a setback.

Before starting your medication, talk to your doctor about potential side effects — each medication comes with its own — and when you can expect to feel better, along with what symptoms should improve. Remember that you and your doctor are a team, so be open and honest with your physician and share your progress. It can be helpful to keep a journal of your daily symptoms (like your sleep and mood) and side effects. This is a good way to tell if your medication is working.

Psychotherapy

Various psychotherapies are effective for bipolar disorder, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, family-focused therapy and self-help support groups. With CBT, individuals identify unrealistic and negative thoughts that fuel their symptoms. For instance, people often have a tough time seeing mania as destructive or even negative. CBT helps you question these thoughts and make better decisions.

Interpersonal therapy helps individuals manage relationships — which can suffer because of bipolar symptoms — and to develop regular routines of sleeping and waking, eating and doing other daily activities. Researchers believe that daily routines can help a person’s biological rhythms. This is important because research has shown that malfunctioning circadian rhythms are associated with bipolar disorder. In some studies, just adjusting a person’s sleep schedule can improve severe mood changes.

Family-focused therapy

educates both the family and individual about bipolar disorder and teaches everyone effective communication and problem-solving skills.

 

Self-help support groups can play a key role in treatment. These groups consist of people with common experiences. Group members share ideas for coping with their illness.

Knowing Your Signs and Triggers

Some of the best ways to reduce the intensity of episodes include watching out for warning signs and minimizing triggers. You and your therapist will figure out the signs to anticipate, such as feeling incredibly energized or euphoric or getting easily irritated.

To find out your triggers, consider what life changes seem to contribute to your mood changes. Pulling all-nighters, for example, is a huge trigger for an episode, as are stress and traveling between different time zones. Every person also has unique triggers, which you and your therapist will explore, as well. For instance, your triggers might be fights with family members and criticism on work performance. Learning how to cope with these situations and your emotions is key.

Leading a Healthy Life

Again, healthy routines are key in improving bipolar symptoms because disruptions in your circadian clock play a big role. So it’s vital to get enough rest, eat healthfully, participate in physical activity and build a strong social network. Also, avoid drugs and alcohol. Drugs and even a few drinks can exacerbate symptoms — particularly your mood — and make medication less effective. A healthy routine also includes practicing relaxation techniques and coping well with stress.

Bipolar disorder can be triggered by stress. The following measures can help you cope with stress better.

 

Get regular exerciseScreenshot_2015-07-05-02-46-05~2

Get enough sleepScreenshot_2015-07-05-02-51-11~2

Eat healthy foodScreenshot_2015-07-05-02-57-21~2

Build a strong social network Screenshot_2015-07-05-03-09-39

 

Resources:

www.camh.ca

www.ulifeline.org

  Continue reading

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Tips to Improve or Maintain Parenting Gains

imageWith summer on the horizon, it’s a good time to assess how the family relationships are doing. As with all families there are ups and downs. To encourage the ups, here are a few Tips to get you started or maintain the gains you’ve already made.

 

1. Don’t abandon your parenting approach to please an onlooker. Respond to your child’s behavior in a respectful and caring manner, without letting the judgment of others sway you.

 

2. If you’re feeling stressed and overworked, quit the role you’ve created for yourself in the family and write a new job description that allows for contribution from others. Hold a family meeting and share a list of household responsibilities – let everyone choose what they’d like to be in charge of this week.

 

3. Start the daily habit of 3 Greetings with a Hug. A warm, loving greeting and hug first thing in the morning; when you reconnect after school or work; and as they head off to bed at night.

 

4. Active Listen, and be empathetic when their choices don’t turn out so well. Resist the urge to ‘save them’ when they struggle. It’s a vital part of their learning and helps them develop even better judgment.

 

5.Create a child-friendly home where making mistakes is okay. Have a “best blooper of the day” contest at dinner time.

 

6. Communicate with your partner about parenting issues in private. Remember that your partnership is the primary relationship and provides the foundation for the family. Get the support you need to keep it healthy.

 

Tips Excepted from  http://parentingnetwork.ca/

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“Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad.”

Most men have somewhat tumultuous relationships with their fathers. We love them, admire them, hate them, rebel against them, and ideally end up with a great friend where a parent used to be. Making that transition can be challenging, though. Regardless of your age, it’s hard to treat your father as just another person.

I know what you’re thinking — you don’t want to sit down with your father, hugging pillows and crying about old times. Don’t worry, nobody’s asking you to do that.

Getting to know your father can be a tremendous and fulfilling experience, even if there are a few hiccups along the way. Here are some tips to help you approach your father on a man-to-man level.

First of all, you don’t have to get too emotional. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of baring your emotions, chances are pretty good that your dad feels the same way. You simply need to take the right approach, one that allows you to talk with your father and learn about him, but without making everything feel like a TV drama.

Hobbies are a good place to start. If your dad taught you any of the pastimes that you currently enjoy, dive right back into them and show him what you’ve learned. Your hobby will serve as a good launching pad to help you develop a healthy friendship. Don’t immediately jump into time intensive activities such as camping or fishing trips; try just taking in a game of billiards or poker or watching a few football games. Try to set up a regular time to just hang out. Let’s say you don’t have any hobbies in common with your father. Many guys are in this position. This is where beer comes in. Just meet your dad at a bar to throw one or two back, or if you don’t drink, get a casual dinner somewhere.

Don’t act like a kid.
Remember that if you want your dad to treat you like the adult you are, you’ve got to show him that you’ve grown up. This sounds simple and obvious but many guys will shy away from adult subjects or real conversation just because their fathers are in the room. Be willing to talk about things such as money,

sex and other taboo subjects that you regularly discuss with your friends. Your dad can take it. He’s been doing this whole “life” thing longer than you have. Just be frank and honest, and make it clear that you’re not out for advice or help. You just want to talk. Most fathers will respect that.

To build a relationship with your father as an adult, you need to show him respect and invest some time. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s important. There are thousands of guys out there who’d love to be able to talk to their fathers; make ‘em jealous. Take the first step.

In building a new relationship with your father, you are trying to recapture the original design for fathers and sons, but not as a child. You’re a man now, a competent adult, acting on what is true now, not what should have been true when you were six or sixteen.

Just relax and let the relationship re-define itself. Persevere through difficulties; share new experiences; learn to express love to your dad.

But at the very least, I urge you, build that connection while you have the chance. Finish that unfinished business. (excerpt from
Phil Dotree 2010)

Children learn to smile from their parents.


Research shows that fathers are very influential in their daughters’ eyes, especially when it comes to self-esteem and decision making. Whether you feel abandoned by your dad or just don’t know how to be closer to him, here are some tips for improving your relationship.

 

Ask for what you want.
There always comes a point in time where you have to say, ‘I’m going to stop complaining. I’m going to stop living in the past, and I’m going to ask for what I want.'”

Find the courage to confront your father, and be honest about telling him how you want the relationship to move forward. Remember, he can’t read your mind.

 

Ask only for what you are willing to give.
If you are holding on to anger because you do not t think that your father respects you, ask yourself this: “Do I respect him?” You want something you haven’t given. You as an adult living in the here and now have to be willing to step up and take care of your end of the relationship. Don’t ask your father to give you something that you can’t give in return.

 

Take care of unfinished emotional business.
Oftentimes anger and resentment toward your father may indicate that you need to get emotional closure. You may be struggling with abandonment issues because your father left when you were 5. Those same issues may be currently affecting your current relationships. You have these unresolved raw feelings just below the surface and as long as you have that raw wound, then it hurts every day. Figure out your Minimal Effective Response — the least you could do in the relationship with your father that would allow you to get emotional closure. Maybe it’s to forgive him. Maybe it’s to write him a letter … Maybe it’s 10 different things. You have to find that, and you have to do it, so you can say, ‘OK, I have stood up for myself. I have expressed myself. I have unburdened myself.’

Give yourself what you wish others could give you.
Some relationships can’t be reconciled, either because the father is deceased or the daughter is uncomfortable about approaching her dad. Perhaps, write a letter to yourself mentioning all of your positive qualities. Maybe you need to say, ‘Look, I am OK. I’m a loving and caring and giving person. I’m intelligent. I’m attractive. I’m a good mom.’ Sometimes we have to give ourselves what we wish we could get from others. If your father has left you feeling inadequate, you need to deal with the feelings and change how you feel.

Change your Automatic Thoughts.
Automatic Thoughts are like taped messages we repeat so much until they become automatic. First, you need to recognize what your tapes (automatic thoughts) are, and then you may need to change them.

You may have these tapes about men based on your experience with your dad: ‘They’re no good. They can’t be trusted. They will abandon you.’ These automatic thoughts or tapes are likely ruining your relationships, because you may be viewing your partner through your father’s filter. If you’ve had problems with your dad, don’t base your opinions of men on that relationship.

Consider his point of view.
Your dad has a point of view and he looks at things through a certain filter. Your father may think that he’s done a good job of raising you, even though you may look at the same history and think that it was horrible. Your perception is only how you see things. He sees it differently.

Rediscover each other.
Chances are, you don’t know everything about your father. Take the time to explore things that you’ve always wanted to ask him — such as what makes him laugh or how he was raised. Once you get to know your father better, you will have no unfinished emotional business, because you will start to view each other in a different way.

(excerpt from Dr Phil McGraw)

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Maintain a Healthy Relationship With Mom

 


Of course you love your Mom — that’s a given. But at times, maintaining the bond between Mom and yourself as an adult can be as challenging as that between parent and teenager.

These days, both of you are confronting new challenges — retirement or career changes, health issues, concerns about the future. It’s to be expected these issues will affect your relationship, but as you change, so, too, must your relationship with Mom.

Part of that evolution requires forging a new relationship, one between mature adults rather than “parent” and “child.” You already have the basic underpinnings — love and shared memories. Add mutual respect and common interests and you may find a more fulfilling relationship with your mother than any you’ve had since childhood.

Of course, some things never change — Mom might still offer her unsolicited opinions on your weight and wardrobe, even your choice of a mate. The key is to love the best parts of her and learn to accept the rest. Here are 14 Gentle but Healthy ways to forge an adult relationship with your Mom and enhance what might not always have been the strongest of bonds.

 

1. Think of her as a fellow adult, rather than as your parent. 

If your mom still treats you like a kid, despite the fact that you have kids of your own, you may have to help her let you “grow up.” “Feeling and acting like an adult around your parents is the cornerstone of having an adult relationship with them,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist in Long Beach, California, and author of It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction and The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make Before 40. “If you treat them [parents] as fellow adults, they’re more likely to treat you like one.” A simple way to do this is to ask your self a question before each interaction with them: “How would I act in this situation if Mom was a friend or an acquaintance?” Then behave accordingly.

 

 

2. Talk to your Mom as you would a friend. 

If your mother still treats you like you’re 6 or 16, it may feel funny to give up your role as the child. A good start is to model your conversations with her on those you have with friends, says Dr. Tessina. “Don’t limit your conversations strictly to family memories, or gossip about family members, or your personal life,” she advises. There’s a whole wide world out there — why not explore it with her as you would with a friend? Current events, sports, work, local neighbourhood issues, or national politics (if you happen to share the same views) are all fair game.

 

 

 

3. Keep your sense of humour. 

When you’re dealing with a parent, laughter can be a lifesaver — both to help you handle the stress of dealing with sometimes crotchety individuals and to help you bond together. Tell a few jokes you know she’ll enjoy, share some comics from the paper or e-mail with her, watch the Letterman or Leno show together (if that’s your thing). If you can laugh together, you’re doing okay.

 

 

4. Tell your Mom what bothers you. 

If you love your mom but she drives you nuts, your resentment can eat away at your relationship. So don’t seethe silently. Communicate, with gentleness and respect. For instance, if your mom keeps calling you at work, tell her that your boss is starting to notice and, while you love talking to her during the day, it’s beginning to affect your job performance. Arrange a call you can both count on at a mutually convenient time.

 

 

5. Don’t ask her advice or opinion unless you really want it.

Sometimes, asking for a parent’s advice is really a way of asking for their approval. If that’s the case, remember that you’re an adult now, perfectly capable of choosing a living room carpet or a car on your own. If your mom is bent on offering you advice whether asked or not, smile, nod, and take it in (who knows — it may actually be helpful!). Focus on the fact that she has your best interest at heart. Then make your own choice — without guilt.

 

Discover and Rediscover

 

6. Don’t ask your Mom to help straighten out your latest personal or financial crisis. 

While you may depend on her emotional support, relying too much upon her resources, rather than your own, can lead to mutual resentment. So get used to solving your problems, big or small, on your own. You’ll be amazed how good doing it all by yourself can make you feel — and what a positive effect it can have on your relationship with Mom.

 

7. Create opportunities for exploring and uncovering memories. 

If Mom is older, look through old scrapbooks with her, asking her for stories about the people in the photos. “We help our parents discover the meaning in their lives by encouraging them to talk about their accomplishments, the high points in their lives, and the joys and sorrows they have experienced,” says Tom Swanson, Ph.D., director of support services education at VistaCare, a hospice care provider in Scottsdale, Arizona.

 

8. Help your Mom preserve her memories on video, audiocassette, or in a scrapbook. 

The finished product will not only be a testament to a renewed closeness between you, but also provides a wonderful legacy.

 

9. Express your appreciation for all your Mom has done for you. 

Yes, Mom may be a buttinsky, but she always makes your favourite Christmas cookies. Or she can be a bit stuffy – but just the other day she jumped in to help drop the kids to school when your car died – no hesitation. The point is, your Mom still does things for you that deserve your notice — and gratitude.

 

10. Rediscover and share mutual interests. 

When you were a kid, did you and your Mom share a passion for a particular soap opera? Did you and your mother spend time each summer canning tomatoes? Make these happy memories the foundation for new, shared activities.

 

11. Be honest about who you are and what you want. 

Maybe there are things about your growing up that your mom regrets. But as long as you don’t regret it, she has to adjust. Be clear about who you want to be and help her accept you on your terms.

 

12. Look for common activities.

Baking, shopping, hiking, skiing, carpentry, etc. At any age, sharing a common task or activity, and the stories it engenders, is a great way to build closeness.

 

13. Do not allow her to channel guilt at you. 

If your Mom is the type to complain about you never calling, never visiting, forgetting an uncle’s birthday, not sending enough pictures, or whatever irks her that day, don’t take the bait and feel guilty — unless you honestly regret the oversight. In which case, apologize immediately and seek a way to make amends. Otherwise, let it roll off your back. You have no obligation to play parent-child guilt games. You are a mature, independent adult, and act on your own volition.

 

14. Grant Mom her independence too. 

Sometimes it’s the grown-up kid who doesn’t want to cut the nurturing relationship off. If you are past 25 and still find it necessary to talk to Mom every night, or immediately turn to your dad for a house repair rather than your spouse, or automatically assume your parents will baby-sit the children whenever you need to be out, then you may be the problem, not your folks. They deserve freedom too.

 

It takes courage to interact in a new way with Mom. Talking to a therapist or counsellor to help learn new skills for communication and additional support may be helpful.

 

 

 

Resource:

http://www.rd.com/

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Written by patricia  

 

Assertiveness Quiz

Answer the questions below honestly. They will help you gain some insights about your current level of assertiveness. 

Assign a number to each item using this scale:
Always 
            3            Never 

_____ I ask others to do things without feeling guilty or anxious.
_____ When someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do, I say “no” without feeling guilty or anxious.
_____ I am comfortable when speaking to a large group of people.
_____ I confidently express my honest opinions to authority figures.
_____ When I experience powerful feelings (anger, frustration, disappointment, etc.), I verbalize them easily.
_____ When I express anger, I do so without blaming others for “making me mad.”
_____ I am comfortable speaking up in a group situation.
_____ If I disagree with the majority opinion in a meeting, I can “stick to my guns” without feeling uncomfortable or being abrasive.
_____ When I make a mistake, I acknowledge it.
_____ I can tell others when their behavior creates a problem for me.
_____ Meeting new people in social situations is something I do with ease and comfort.
_____ When discussing my beliefs, I do so without labeling the opinions of others as “crazy,” “stupid,” “ridiculous,” or irrational.”
_____ I assume that most people are competent and trustworthy and do not have difficulty delegating tasks to others.
_____ When considering doing something I have never done, I feel confident I can learn to do it.
_____ I believe my needs are as important as those of others and I am entitled to have my needs satisfied
_____ Total Score

HOW ASSERTIVE ARE YOU? 

If your total is 60 or higher, you have a consistently assertive philosophy and probably handle most situations well. 

If your total is 45-60, you have a fairly assertive outlook. There are some situations in which you may be naturally assertive, but you should be able to increase your assertiveness through practice. 

If you total is 30-45, you seem to be assertive in some situations but your natural response is either non-assertive or aggressive. You may want to change some perceptions and practice new behaviours in order to handle things much more assertively in the future. 

If your total is 15-30, you have considerable difficulty being assertive. You need to practice and allow yourself time to grow and change. You can become much more comfortable in situations where asserting yourself is important.

You may want to speak to a therapist to help you learn, practice and build new assertiveness skills to be more effective in your life.

This exercise was copied from “Developing Positive Assertiveness – Practical Techniques for Personal Success,”by Sam R. Lloyd

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Love, A Many Splendored Thing

  Tips for the Long Haul! Love and intimacy

  Are you “in love” with your partner?

Are you infatuated?

Hooked on Romance? Feeling a deep sense of love?

There are two distinct stages of a romantic relationship. The first is the “falling in   love,” or the     infatuation phase… that intense euphoria of attraction. The second phase is the “attachment”        phase that is often less intense emotionally but much more comfortable and satisfying.

Each phase is important and has it’s purpose in human mating and long term relationships.

The infatuation, or “falling in love,” stage is intense. We’ve all been there. We know what it feels like to be obsessed with someone. We can’t stop thinking about him, we daydream, we can’t sleep, we take risks, we laugh, we talk, “love is a many splendored thing”.

What is really going on in our brains when we “fall in love”?

The common symptoms of love, including sweaty palms, shaky knees and general restlessness, are caused by a natural chemical, Phenylethylamine (commonly dubbed the `love molecule’). Its release from the brain can be triggered from deceptively simple actions like the meeting of the eyes or touching of the hands. Heady emotions, racing pulses and heavy breathing results, and all these are (unfortunately) clinically explained as an overdose of this chemical. A very interesting thing is that chocolate is known to have very high level of this chemical…perhaps that’s the reason why it is considered a perfect gift for valentine. Or for your sweetheart.
This feeling of being in love, or infatuation is powerful, pleasurable, and has evolved to keep our species procreating. It is that magnetic sense of needing to be with another, nature developed to make sure offspring would exist and our species would continue.

However, something happens… our physical bodies cannot sustain that intense emotion and onslaught of neuro-chemicals for long periods of time. Research suggests this feeling of intense romance in humans usually lasts between eighteen months and three years.

“Many people believe that romantic love is the same as passionate love,” said psychology researcher Bianca P. Acevedo, PhD, then at Stony Brook University (currently at University of California, Santa Barbara). “It isn’t. Romantic love has the intensity, engagement and sexual chemistry that passionate love has, minus the obsessive component. Passionate or obsessive love includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. This kind of love helps drive the shorter relationships but not the longer ones.”

The next phase of love is the attachment. This sense of deep love feels peaceful, comfortable, soothing, secure, and warm. As infatuation fades, attachment grows. New chemicals saturate the brain; endorphins similar to an opiate. These chemicals calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and provide a sense of peace.

Scientists suggest these chemicals provide in each partner a sense of safety, stability, and tranquility.

This is a very important  for our species. Unlike most animals, in humans, offspring survive best with care and support from two parents.  Attachment, or deep love, is an amazing evolutionary invention to keep partners together because our species needs the bonding and concern for one another that comes with the attachment of love.

While the infatuation stage is very clear with a beginning and an end, the attachment phase can last a lifetime. It potentially grows stronger and deeper over the years. Deep love when nurtured, often brings humans a sense of joy, peace, and care unlike any other emotion.

Long-term love can progress into a healthy, companionship/friendship type of love, which will last for the long term. This type of romantic love in marriage can extend for a lifetime of “happily ever after”!

Here are 7 Tips for the long haul.

  1. Focus on the things you can control: your attitude, your behaviour, your words, and your energy. If you want something to change in any stage of a loving relationship, make it your own traits or actions – not your partner‘s.
  2.   Learn healthy ways to express your disappointment, anger, or frustration. Be honest and authentic, and kind and loving in all stages of relationships.
  3. Remember the first stage of love! Recall your feelings of lust, attraction, and desire for your partner. Think about the traits that you were attracted to, and let those old feelings come to life again.
  4. Appreciate your partner‘s good qualities; be grateful for the life you share. Gratitude can enhance all stages of relationships.
  5. Focus on emotional intimacy in all three stages of love. Be vulnerable to have a healthy love life.
  6. Own your feelings. Your partner can’t “make” you feel stupid or worthless. If you feel unfulfilled or sad about your life, look at your own dreams and goals. Are you pursuing the life you were meant to live? Are you following your heart? Develop your personality, mind, and spirit. Figure out what will make you happy in this stage of love, and start creating the life you were meant to live.
  7. Consider counselling in any stage of love. If you’ve lost that loving feeling, it could be an individual thing that you need to deal with or a couples’ issue that you should tackle together. An objective point of view, from a therapist, pastor, or friend you trust, is incredibly helpful in all stages of relationships.

 

 

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DepressionWell, you’ve decided to begin treating your depression. Pretty exciting, isn’t it? Except for the fact that there is so much information and that you have no clue where to start. Don’t be afraid, tips on treating depression are here! Listed below are some tips that will help you start feeling better mentally.

A great way to deal with chronic depression is to keep positive. Negative thinking plays an important role in depression, so combat this a with strategy of positive thinking. Depressed people minimize positive qualities, talents, and accomplishments, whereas happy people focus on a majority of the good in life. Continue reading

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Patricia Thompson

Counsellor Psychotherapist healthy mental health

Psychology today

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