Afraid of Divorce? 15 Reasons Not To Be

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 4 min read

Are you afraid of getting divorced? I understand. Society places so much value on staying married. There is Girlfriends-Guide-to-Divorce-Large-Ad-1pressure there.

Some of that pressure is good, it keeps people from taking marriage too lightly. (Except for Kim Kardashian. )

However, there are those on the other end of the spectrum who need to get divorced but don’t, because they are too scared. I understand that side too.

Divorce is stressful. Facing the unknown and facing fears head-on is tough. However, there are upsides to divorce.

As a relationship therapist with 20+ years experience, I have gone through this with many clients and friends. Here are some benefits and upsides to divorce that I have seen and learned:

1. Divorce pain is temporary. It will pass. Staying married in an unhealthy relationship will last longer than the temporary pain of a divorce. Sometimes it is good to pull the old bandage off so that you can heal and move on with your life.

2. Just because society tells you that something is “bad” doesn’t mean it is. After all, caffeine was considered dangerous at one time. Now they are saying if you drink enough of it, you won’t get cancer. Slaves used to be considered okay. The list of societally endorsed mistakes is long.

3. The same people judging you negatively for getting a divorce are probably part of the Miserable & Married crowd. There are plenty of those. Happy, contented and healthy people don’t go around judging and condemning other people.

Continue reading… »

Controlling Men. Why Are They Like That?

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 3 min read
Patricia Evans' book Controlling People

Patricia Evans’ book “Controlling People”

  • Are you involved with a controlling person or know what it’s like, dealing with a controlling person?
  • Do you want to know how to handle a controlling person?
  • Are you confused and wondering why are people so controlling?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Patricia Evans has written a book that will help.

Controlling People is the first book to show what is really wrong with “controllers.” These are the people who define their partner, make unilateral decisions, give orders, try to silence their partner, and who treat their partner more harshly and with more anger than anyone else. Patricia Evans presents a new paradigm that explains what is wrong with the abuser.

People are looking for help for how to handle controllers. 

Continue reading… »

Are You Struggling? Support Changes Everything

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 3 min read

supportMy friend, let’s call her Tara, recently got diagnosed with cancer. Her friends hooked her up with the MealTrain. While she heals, Tara can have warm, healthy and nutritious meals delivered to her door. Tara told me she was surprised at how good it felt to get this support, love and care, without even asking.

I used to be an anti-support person. Somehow, I felt like I wanted to handle everything myself. It seemed easier. Ask for help from others? Why? They might say “no.” Support wasn’t something we talked about at my house anyway. I knew it was healthy for other people to get support. But me? Nah.

Where does that come from? This discomfort about asking others for support?
I know from working with clients and seeing my friends’ relationships that seeking support and accepting it is hard for many people. Why is that? I think it is a conglomeration of factors. First, our culture is one of self-sufficiency. The whole idea of capitalism is based on a model of survival of the fittest, top dog wins.

Continue reading… »

Let Me Go, I Don’t Want To Be Your Hero! Men And Societal Expectations

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 3 min read

I love this video and song. I see the faces of my two boys and all the men I have cared about in it. Please listen and watch.

Here are some lyrics  from it:

Let me go, I don’t want to be your hero…

Everyone deserves a chance, to walk like everyone else.

Baby needs some protection…

Men are supposed to be our heroes. We women think we don’t think that way anymore. But, we often do. It probably started with all those fairy tales. Here are just a few:

  1. The prince who kisses Aurora and wakes her up after 100+ years…
  2. The prince who saves Rapunzel and Cinderella…
  3. How about this one? Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater. Had a wife and couldn’t keep her. Put her in a pumpkin shell, and there he kept her very well.

Continue reading… »

What Do Good Men Have in Common?

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 1 min read

Good MenDoes the ideal man exist?

I think that looking for the perfect guy is like looking for the perfect home—doesn’t exist. Men and women alike have their good and not-so-good attributes. Even the best have bad days once in a while. However, the good men I know show the following characteristics:

  1. Good men are loving, caring, and compassionate.
  2. Good men don’t need to control you or anything else.
  3. Good men express themselves respectfully.
  4. Good men are good listeners.
  5. Good men admire and respect their partner.
  6. Good men keep their word and follow through.
  7. Good men take care of themselves while balancing the needs of those around them.
  8. Good men share responsibilities with their partner.
  9. Good men spend time with their kids.
  10. Good men have insight into their emotional life, and they work on this to continue learning and
  11. growing.
  12. Good men make decisions based on the principles of their highest self.
  13. Good men they have challenges, they work through them.
  14. Good men wrong, they admit it, make amends and try to do it differently next time.
  15. Good men are open-hearted, supportive, encouraging and positive.

Continue reading… »

Psych 101: Did You Grow Up In A Home With An Alcohol Abuser? Find Out Which Role You Took…

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 3 min read

ROLESWhen I was a teenager, my friend, let’s call her Gina, was placed in a psychiatric hospital for a short time because she was having thoughts of harming her mother.

People saw Gina as troubled. Yet, I had been over to her house many times and her drunk, wasted mom would yell at her, demean her, treat her like crap, and torture her with a cackling laugh when her daughter asked to do things like go with me to McDonald’s. Her father did nothing to help. I am guessing this went on for years before Gina reached her breaking point. She was promiscuous and got in loads of trouble.

Gina was coping with a severely dysfunctional family situation.

When a parent has an addiction, the people around that person adapt. Roles commonly develop in response to or as a way of coping with the frustration, tension, insecurity and instability created by the substance abuser. These same roles can develop with any other severe family trauma too—if a parent suffers from a mental illness, for example.

If you have dealt with the substance abuse, addiction or mental illness of a loved one or friend, see if you recognize any of these roles:

1. The Scapegoats. These are the family members who, in response to distress, choose to pursue self-destructive activities themselves. Rather than addressing the real problem (the parent’s addiction or illness), the family punishes this person, “the problem child,” and unfairly blames him or her for all the bad things going on. Gina was The Scapegoat.

Continue reading… »

I Still Hate My Husband: What’s Going On?

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 4 min read

Poor Anne lost her head to her ornery husband. I hear he was a TOTAL narcissist.

I hate my husband.

The response to these four little (or big) words has been huge. This means there are a lot of women out there who are hating their hubbies. (I am sure the guys are feeling some bad vibes too … If Dateline is any indication).

First, let me say that it is normal for many people to go through periods of extreme tension in their marriages/partnerships. Hate is a strong word, and some couples never get to that point. However, extreme anger is part of the human condition. We do tend to show not only our best parts but also our darkest parts to those we are paired up with, especially if we are with them over a long period of time.

Here are some examples of really “hatey couples” in history and in more recent pop culture:

1. Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

2. Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen

3. Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger

4. Newt Gingrich and ex-wife Jackie

5. Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in The War of the Roses.

Continue reading… »

What’s the New in Your New Year?

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 2 min read

NewYearWhat’s the New you want to see this New Year? Sometimes people feel too afraid to make changes. It can seem be easier to hide behind a bad relationship, a bad job, or a bad lifestyle than it is to make new choices.

In my forthcoming book, Stop Giving It Away (Spring 2015), I introduce what’s called Detrimental Caretaking. Most women fall into the category of moderate detrimental caretaking, and it goes something like this. They …

  1. Complain that “there aren’t enough hours in the day.”

  2. Avoid conflict or saying “no” to others or demands placed on them.

  3. Avoid saying “yes” to things that are good for them or things they want, if it means sacrificing others needs for themselves.

  4. Draw unclear or no boundaries between their own needs and the needs of others.

  5. Have no one to delegate to, or don’t know how to delegate. Their motto is, “I’ll do it myself,” but it stems more from helplessness or frustration than empowerment.

  6. Have learned to skimp on or skip their basic needs — for well-being, nutrition, exercise and rest.

  7. Base their identity and worth on their giving to their spouse, possessions, friends, jobs, or the causes they lend their time to.

Detrimental Caretaking is about giving it away to the point that we lose ourselves. Once we’ve lost so much, we’re really not good to ourselves or to the people around us because we walk around feeling tired, sad, mad and resentful.

What are we giving away? Our energy, power, ideas, time, wishes, dreams, desires, comfort and accolades—any one or more make up most of every person. The “IT” in Stop Giving It Away is different for everyone. “It” could mean the freedom to do things you enjoy, honoring and exploring your true talents, or feeling comfortable being uniquely you. Sometimes “it” means your voice or your self-respect. Sometimes “it” refers to sex—but really, sex only falls into giving it away territory when you lose your self-esteem or self-respect in the process.

All women give it away. In the course of my work, I’ve discovered a pervasive, troubling pattern: that women, so prone to be the caretakers in any relationship and any interaction, often don’t know how to set personal boundaries or say no to their spouses, their bosses, or anyone else. Working to the point of depletion they “give it away.”

Why do we do this? Staying stuck in past patterns can feel comfortable, like an old sweatshirt you put on when it’s cold—no need to change, face fears or get out there and challenge yourself. Just stay stuck.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face … we must do that which we think we cannot.”

What kind of changes do you want for your life in the New Year?

Take care,

cherilynnvelandSMAbout the author: Cherilynn M. Veland, LCSW, MSW, leads a new self-advocacy movement intended to help women reach out, speak up, and take action steps for what’s best for them. Please support this effort by liking the Facebook pageand/or subscribing for updates. You can also connect on Twitter and Google Plus.

I am PMSing! What P-M-S really stands for…

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 2 min read

“What? Are you having your period or something?” “She must be on the rag.” Hmmm…

A 2005 Medical News Today article detailed the results of the Men’s Attitude of PMS survey – in which one finding511361871_86b4e89f78 was that 12% of men believe PMS is not real and that “it’s all in a woman’s head.”

I don’t think so. However, there has been little research to find out what is causing women to feel this way.

For your average women who isn’t suffering from more severe symptoms, getting your period simply sucks. It is usually accompanied by the following:

1. agitation, moodiness

2. sadness and depression

3. cramping

4. chocolate cravings

5. weight gain and bloat

Yuck, this is no fun for anyone.  However, depending on the woman and her PMS experience, I like to reframe the acronym PMS to the following:

Continue reading… »

Saying No! The Secret To Getting Over The Guilt

By Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW • 2 min read

guiltWomen often ask me what the secret is to setting a boundary or saying “no” to someone and not feeling guilty and bad about it—as if this was a really big secret. Perhaps they are thinking, If I say it like this, maybe she won’t get mad, or If I phrase it just like this, maybe they won’t think I am being mean.

Evidently, a lot of guilt has been going around. Here’s a little of what I heard recently:

  • “Cherilynn, how do I tell my step-siblings that I don’t want to drive to Naperville (an hour away) on Christmas? We don’t talk. We don’t even like each other, and I feel resentful that I am the one who always has to drive out there! I am getting too old for this.”
  • “I was in traffic for two hours with screaming kids, so I turned around. I told my sister we would not be there for the family dinner. She isn’t speaking to me and now I feel terrible!”
  • “I can’t say ‘no’ because I feel so stressed and anxious afterward. What is the trick to avoid feeling bad when I disappoint other people?”

Continue reading… »


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