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What with July 4th so recently behind us, I've been thinking a lot about what freedom means. From a therapeutic perspective, it involves personal agency--to have the space to figure out what you really think and feel, and for the process to be respected. You don't need to always know; you need to be surrounded by people who want you to find out, and support you in that. Does that describe your partner? If not, read on.
Do you ever feel like you've become just a spouse or a parent or a worker? Or maybe you're a combination of all those but you've lost sight of everything else that came before. Here's a reminder of how (and why) you need to get your mojo back. And it's easier than you think.
There are a lot of ways to be an enabler; they don't all involve a substance abuser. But they do all involve making yourself far too responsible for the well-being of another person. As regular readers to this blog know, I believe that identifying a problem is crucial to its solution. It can even be a solution in itself. So here are some questions that can help you recognize your enabling tendencies.
Back in August, I wrote the blog post When Did Narcissism Become Presidential? At that time, I thought Trump's candidacy was something of a joke (a troubling one, but a joke nonetheless.) It's hard to laugh at this point when he's poised to become the Republican nominee. This is not a political blog post. It is not about Trump's qualities as a potential leader. It's about what he's displayed as a human being. More importantly, it's about what he hasn't displayed: kindness, compassion, humility, empathy, concern for the welfare of others...I could go on. What does it say about our national mental health that he's amassed the support he has, and where do we go from here? I've some thoughts.
I'm no fan of New Year's resolutions. Either they make people feel pressured to create a fresh start, or excited for that fresh start, only to be discouraged fairly soon after. They're about turning a critical eye on yourself, rather than an appreciative one. The truth is, change can be overrated. Maybe what you really need to do this year is a better job at accepting yourself and the life you already have. Here's how to start.
As a therapist, I'm here to tell you: Sometimes it's them, and not you. And sometimes they're great therapists, but not for you. So I'm also here to tell you: When it's not a match, give yourself permission to end the relationship (just like you'd do with any other relationship that's not working.) But how do you know if it's just not working, or if you're not working hard enough to improve your own life?
None of us get perfect parents. None of us got our emotional needs met all the time. But as Father's Day approaches, it's a time to reflect on the positives. How did your particular father do the best he could? How can you stop feeling what you didn't get, and recognize what you did?