It has been a pleasure sharing my professional relationship thoughts with you throughout the life of this blog. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing and creating Relationships in Balance, I feel the time is right to move forward. I hope that this blog has provided insight, education, and useful information regarding the dynamics of various relationships. I welcome emails from anyone who would like to share how Relationships in Balance has helped you.
Lastly, I’ve been asked on several occasions about my availability for therapy. I have a full-time private psychotherapy practice in New York City, which accepts new intakes. Availability varies, so please contact me, if this interests you (info below).
I want to publicly thank John Grohol and Psych Central for bringing me aboard to share this blog, and I want to thank all of you for reading and for your comments along the way. I wish everyone health, love, and continued curiosity within yourself, and in your relationships.
Nathan Feiles, LCSW
People love to make fun of the stereotyped therapy party line: “How does that make you feel?” Yes, it’s one of the biggest cliches in the therapy field, however what this question stands for still remains an important piece of psychotherapy.
When people come in for therapy, it’s generally because they aren’t happy with the way they are feeling, in one way or another. Whether it’s about relationships, depression, anxiety, stress, jobs, career, or any other areas of life, the reasons people start therapy is both to help the concrete, external situations, but overall it’s how these situations makes someone feel that matters most. Basically, if you’re feeling good about something, then you probably wouldn’t seek emotional help with it.
It can be difficult to appreciate who we are. There’s so much each of us has to offer to each other, and so much to offer the world. It would be nice if everyone could look at themselves and realize the power they possess within themselves.
Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy. We feel the pain, hurt, and rejection more than we feel the happiness, satisfaction, achievements, general positives, and so on. As a result, we end up with depression, anxiety, addiction, repeated unhealthy relationships, and more.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just let the negatives roll off of our backs, rather than holding onto them to the point of emotional injury? Obviously, it’s not a conscious decision. We don’t desire to hold onto the negatives, but when the hits are painful and repeated, eventually we’re going to get hurt. I imagine it more along the lines of rug burn. At first, it’s not such a big deal, but if you experience it repeatedly, it becomes raw and painful.
Sex can be difficult to sustain in relationships. While there are some who are able to do it, there are generally factors that can counter sexual excitement in relationships. For example, part of what makes sex exciting is risk and unknown. Think of the difference between the first time you had sex with someone and the 50th. Repetition and familiarity with a long-term partner removes the element of risk and unknown, which can also remove some of the excitement of sex.
Also, shame becomes an issue in relationships, which can inhibit sex. The more partners become known to each other as people with vulnerabilities, flaws, etc., the more shame increases. The fear of rejection, judgment, and ego annihilation increases, and can therefore shut down uninhibited sex.
This is the “part 2″ to the article “10 Signs You May Be in an Unhealthy Relationship“.
It was brought to my attention that in the first article I made points of the things to keep an eye on, however I made few suggestions of how to handle those ten points. So this article is to address how to handle the ten signs of an unhealthy relationship that were listed in the previous article.
As we well know, while the holidays can be a source of joy for many people, the holidays are also a source of sadness for many others. If you’re someone who finds it generally depressing to check your Facebook wall and see all of the images of happiness, then imagine all the television shows and commercials, the decorations in stores and on people’s homes, the grocery stores, and shopping malls all reflecting the enthusiasm of your Facebook wall, with a joint holiday theme. It may sound nice if we’re living in your favorite holiday movies, but not if you’re someone who struggles just to get through the holidays each year without breaking down.
No, this isn’t meant to be a cure for depression, but we all deserve a good moment. A happy moment can both break a string of negative moods, and it can also pave the way for more positive moments. Here are ten suggestions for putting ourselves in a good mood:
1) Listen to, or watch something funny. Laughter has a way of completely wiping out a negative mood.
2) Compliment people you don’t know. It’s amazing how a bit of genuine positive energy towards others can in turn make us feels good, too.
Some may try to act in an overly nice manner in order to avoid being seen with anger or hostility; some may try to speak with perfect grammar and vocabulary, so they aren’t seen as uneducated or immature; some may act more aggressively and tough in order to hide perceived weaknesses, such as caring, empathic, and loving qualities; some may be overly accommodating in order to cover up tendencies toward rigidity; some may try to appear more “businesslike” in an attempt to conceal a less organized and less adult version of themselves; some may show excessive happiness and heightened energy level while trying to prevent people from seeing internal feelings of sadness and emptiness; etc.
In working with people who struggle with depression, there has been a noticeable pattern of how people tend to approach the idea of happiness. The fantasized expectation is that a person becomes happy, and then stays this way…forever. If, at any point, the happiness goes away, then it means they’ve become depressed again and have failed in their quest to maintain happiness, and are therefore “not happy.”
Sound reasonable? It isn’t. It’s a perfectionistic belief that is bound to cause defeat — which is what generally happens with fantasies of perfection. Though depression isn’t as simple as a product of a distorted perception of happiness, the mindset that people “become happy” and fully leave sadness behind can make it tougher to fight against depression.
We could call it “Life in a Bubble”, or just as appropriately, “Life Inside-Out.” Either way, being in a relationship with someone who deals with a personality disorder is likely to be difficult. This also holds true for relationships with family members and friends who struggle with personality disorders.
While there are several types of personality disorders, the ones that get the most attention these days are Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorders (closely linked with these are Antisocial, Paranoid, and Histrionic Personality Disorders).
Reality to a pathological borderline or narcissist can be similar to living life in a bubble, or inside out. Rather seeking stability, there is a subconscious pull to create chaos. Therefore, the person surrounds his/herself in a bubble of chaos. All who enter this bubble will most likely experience the chaos (usually the people closest to the person).