Family

Strengthen Your Relationships This Holiday…

This year on Christmas day and New Year's day, try turning off your phones, tablets, and computers for the day. Be in the present with those closest to you and try to disconnect from mental escape routes, such as texts, emails, social media, etc. It may be a challenge at first, but it will help open connection with your loved ones. People tend to feel quite liberated when spending a day...
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Divorce

How to Change a Struggling Relationship Into a Healthy Relationship

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.

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Divorce

10 Signs You May Be in an Unhealthy Relationship

Technically, a relationship needs to only be defined by the people who are in the relationship. What is a "good (or healthy) relationship" for two people may be completely different than a "good (or healthy) relationship" for two other people.

However, there is a difference between a relationship having its own shape and character, and a relationship that is either harmful or generally unhealthy for one or both partners. These relationships can be difficult to spot from the inside because one or both partners grow accustomed to the life of the relationship. Denial can also be a factor due to fears of change, failure, or otherwise. So while it may seem like it should be obvious when you're in an unhealthy relationship, it isn't always so simple.

Here are some signs of concern within relationships. Note, the presence of one or more of the following signs doesn't necessarily mean you should end your relationship. These are things to keep an eye on, and if they persist, may need further attention in order to improve the state of your relationship.

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Divorce

Surviving The Great Holiday Depression

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.

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General

Self-Relationship: 10 Ways to Create a Happy Moment

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.

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Divorce

Relationships and Social Anxiety: Who Are We Really Hiding From?

People often prefer to believe that it's possible to hide pieces of ourselves that we don't want people to see, often exaggerating certain qualities in order to conceal others:

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.

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Divorce

Relationship Killer: “You should have known what I want…”

Mind-reading. It's one of the easiest ways to cause ruptures in friendships or in relationships. It's not the people who try to read minds that cause the problem, it's the ones who hope or expect that the other person will read their mind that becomes problematic.

This is a very common phenomenon. It usually comes out as, "get a clue", "you should just know what I want", "can't you take a hint?", etc.

The hope is that someone will do something nice without being asked, or it can be used in the negative -- hoping that someone will know when to give space or not do something. But it usually doesn't turn out as hoped.

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General

Depression: Unrealistic Expectations for Happiness?

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.

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Divorce

Personality Disorders: Life In a Bubble

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).

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Divorce

Why Relationships Break Up

There are many perspectives on why relationships don't always last, and more than one theory has validity to it. I'm going to present a theory I call the "broken mirror" theory.

Attraction has many levels to it, as well as a deep psychology underlying what draws us to certain people. But one general concept seems to have more influence in attraction than others: the people we are attracted to are mirrors of ourselves and our histories.

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