Archives for Addictive Relating

Addictive Relating

3 Basics of Working (Mindfully) with a Narcissist in Therapy: A Balancing Act, 1 of 5

In response to a recent post, How to Identify a Narcissist in Therapy, several readers requested a follow up post that outlines a few essentials of working with a client who presents with narcissistic "tendencies" or npd (narcissistic personality disorder) in couples or family therapy, so as to disarm or minimize the potentially destabilizing effects of these problematic behaviors both in the sessions themselves -- and on therapeutic processes and outcomes in general. Other readers also wanted to know...
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Addictive Relating

How to Identify a Narcissist In Family or Couples Counseling

How does a therapist identify a narcissist in therapy? In general, a therapist "knows" because of how much time and energy it takes to manage simple therapy processes. They come dictating the terms; letting you know they need to be in control, and want things done "their" way. 

And, if you're in family or couples counseling, how does a family member recognize them? How about you? Do you display narcissistic tendencies in a therapy session?

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Addictive Relating

Three Reasons to Cultivate a Consciousness of Optimal Thinking-Feeling

Thoughts are more than airy pieces of information that enter our minds and then disappear. The words we think or speak are energy. They produce emotions and feeling sensations. Feelings are energy. Together, they energize action, or immobilize. They have the power to activate neurochemical changes inside, and thus can have a profound effect on our ability to achieve the goals that we’ve set.

We always have a choice to shift to an optimal thinking-feeling state at any moment. Why...
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Addictive Relating

Sex and Love Addiction: Five Ways the Dominance Factor Erodes or Blocks Couple Intimacy

Though dominance as a value may make sense on the battlefield, in love relationships, tactics of war are the problem. Dominance and tactics to enforce hierarchical relations are guaranteed to produce needless suffering in the form of win-lose competitions, pursue-withdraw dynamics, illusions of power, and toxic relating patterns.

Whereas dominance is a socially approved behavior for males (considered "norm" in many cases), the opposite is true for women. Regardless who starts the...
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Addictive Relating

3 Strategies for Controlling (or Being Controlled By) Your Body’s Reactive Patterns

Reactivity and defensiveness is deceptively destructive. It throws off the energy (emotions and heart) of the body -- and when your heart is off balance, so are you, logically speaking. You may think you're being "logical," however, in survival mode, fear rules the body, and the higher-thinking capacity of your brain switches to offline mode, a shift that literally turns on the "protective" (defenses) mode, and turns off "real" learning mode, thus, no longer open to influence...
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Addictive Relating

5 Steps to Break a Habit of Arguing With Your Child, 2 of 3

Part 1 outlined five reasons why "arguing" with your children as a parent is a lose-lose proposition. Nobody wins, and you instead risk losing serious ground in terms of the effects on the relationship between you and your child. In human terms, it's safe to say that, based on the latest findings on the brain, attachment and neuroscience, key relationships intimately impact every aspect of human health and ongoing development, to include other relationships (, spouse, self, children that are siblings, etc.) in...
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Addictive Relating

Authentic Versus Romanticized Love, 1 of 3: What Love Is Not

What is authentic love in a couple relationship, and how is it different from romanticized love?

For one, by nature's design, authentic love is not supposed to be "easy" to realize. It is a challenging life experience in which nature stretches us out of our comfort zones, in this case, inviting two individuals to stay engaged, and be transformed, by a process that grows the individual capacity of each to love and be loved, to give and contribute to own and others growth and wellbeing,  bring the love and energy they aspire to realize. In contrast, if anything, romanticized love is easy.

Before looking more closely at the characteristics of authentic versus romanticized love, this post outlines what authentic love is not:
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Addictive Relating

Pornography: Ways It Blocks Healthy Sexual Relations, 2 of 3


A key block to healthy sexual relations, as discussed in Part 1, is that porn depicts sexual relations devoid of emotional intimacy as "the" norm.

Whereas intimacy is an emotional sense of safety and love, a felt state of mind and body that occurs when the love and safety chemical oxytocin is released into the blood stream, and that forms an essential foundation for healthy sexual relations, pornography makes...
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Addictive Relating

15 Statements of Commitment That Couples In Therapy Can Make to Heal and Strengthen Their Relationship  

Commitment is a foundation that nourishes a sense of safety, trust, and security, among other key ingredients that form a healthy, vibrant couple relationship. The same neurochemicals that make partners feel loved and loving are the same ones that make them feel safe and secure. That is an unalterable aspect of human life and relationships. We yearn to love and feel loved, to matter in life in relation to self and another, and when we perceive a treat or obstacle to this, we lose our sense of balance, safety and trust. It is in moments when we are at our worst that our defense strategies and desperate actions get activated, alas, to make things worse.
And, in a couple relationship it begins with a commitment each partner makes to self and the other to disallow difficult emotions, and defense strategies these activate, from controlling and blocking the level of emotional connection they're wired to aspire and realize.  The shared drives for security and love is worth every ounce of effort into fulfilling.
Learning to navigate the emotional storms of a couple relationship, however, without getting overwhelmed, going into attack-mode or retreating to a pretend-everything-is-fine bubble, takes a lot of determination and know-how. The influences of past experiences imprinted in memory, in combination with a growing trend in the last few decades to mainstream junk values, mostly via TV, porn and entertainment, make this a nearly impossible task for many couples to do on their own.
Thanks to the latest findings in neuroscience, much of the guesswork is now science. Couples therapy can help partners identify and steer clear of toxic patterns, and focus instead on learning actions, specifically, to improve the quality of energy each partner brings to their relationship at any given moment -- and how to energize heart to heart communications, in place of old toxic defensive patterns.
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Addictive Relating

Sexual Reintegration Therapy: Healing Solutions for Sex and Porn Addiction

Couples dealing with the impact of a partner with sex and porn addiction, according to Drs. Bill and Ginger Bercaw, face considerably greater obstacles than those facing other addictions, such as substance abuse. Because of the trauma caused by repeated acts of betrayal, healing and rebuilding a relationship will require extensive efforts.

Authors of “The Couple’s Guide to Intimacy: How Sexual Reintegration Therapy Can Help Your Relationship Heal,” the Bercaws are psychologists who specialize in sex...
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