Archives for Couples Communication

Addictive Relating

The Root Causes of Codependency and Narcissism?


There's an elephant in the room of our conversations on codependency and narcissism, and pretending the elephant is not there has proven costly to the health and wellbeing of couple and family relationships, our communities and society at large.

While the dance of codependency and narcissism may be as unique as fingerprints to each couple, for the most part, these two patterns can be best understood as rooted in socially approved gender norms -- fear-based beliefs and...
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Addictive Relating

Codependency and Narcissism: 10 Similar-Yet-Distinct Patterns

On the surface the dance of narcissism and codependency seems to be between two complete opposites; and, in many ways, they are. To see what's really happening in a couple relationship with these dynamics, however, it helps to look at 10 similar yet distinct patterns in their dance steps.

An awareness of these patterns gives us a glimpse of what is really going on to keep both addicted, and stuck repeating the same old dance...
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Addictive Relating

What Draws Partners to a Dance of Codependency and Narcissism?


The dance of codependency and narcissism begins when two opposite, distinctly off-balance behavior patterns, attract one another.

At first, it seems a perfect union.

When they pair up, initially, there is an illusion of a dance team that would put Fred and Ginger on the sidelines. Each feels they’ve found a suitable dance partner that most promises to help them realize the fulfillment they each seek from the relationship, that is: to feel worthy and alive.

While these innermost yearnings are realistic and healthy, their expectations...
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The Neuroscience of Divisive Labels: One Poet’s Protest — “I’m NOT Black, You are NOT White”


Really moved by this video clip (on Oprah's network OWN) of a poem, I Am NOT Black, You Are NOT White by Prince Ea (a spoken word artist who is drawing millions of visitors, with his rap on topics of  social relationships, politics, environment, and life in general).

While an invitation to "not see race" is typically a position associated with the group promoting status quo (hierarchical) relations, in this spoken masterpiece, Prince Ea brings us a fresh perspective on labels, reflecting on their intentional use to install limiting "we versus them" beliefs.

It has "worked perfectly," he notes,...
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Addictive Relating

20 Situations in Which a Man Tends to “Gaslight” a Woman (To Get Her to Think She’s Crazy)


It's not usual for a woman to hear the words "you're crazy" from the man in her life.

Don't believe it for a moment, says Bashar Ali in a recent article, A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy."

Of course most women know it's not “crazy" to want closeness or to express hurt feelings, at least deep down; it's refreshing however to read an article written by a member of the male sex talking about his own...
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Addictive Relating

Tactics of Stonewalling and Gas Lighting, What Are They? How Do They Differ? 1 of 2

As defensive approaches to communication, stonewalling and gas lighting share a few common traits.

They both: (1) block healthy communication between two persons; (2) are indirect attempts to gain the love or cooperation or attention of the other; and (3) erode or prevent the couple from deepening their connection to one another.

They are distinctly different, however, although one may use stonewalling without gas lighting, gas lighting often includes stonewalling elements.

What distinguishes one from the other is their...
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Conscious Lifestyle

7 Tips to Become a Highly Effective Listener

Do you want to enhance or repair a relationship with someone you love? Be known as a good leader at work? Listening is the key.

Here are 7 tips to cultivate your listening ability, and become highly effective in building rapport:
1. Breathe
Concentrate on your breath; this connects your mind and body and helps you listen mindfully with your senses, more fully engaged, therefore taking in more information, such as the other person's...
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Addictive Relating

Restoring Safety: A Letter in Response to the Unfaithful Partner, 2 of 2

In Part 1 a letter template was included for one partner to write to the loved one they betrayed with infidelity. This post presents a letter for the betrayed partner to write in response.

While only one of many critical, the letter serves as an acknowledgement that the betrayed partner must also play an active role in opening their heart to essential processes for healing themselves, their relationship ... and yes, even the partner who betrayed them. The last part is...
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Addictive Relating

Rebuilding Trust: A Letter to Help Heal Your Relationship After Infidelity, 1 of 2

Informed by clinical research, as well as examples from the author's practice and personal experience, in the book After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, Dr. Janis Abrahms Spring, , an expert on issues of trust, fidelity, and forgiveness, outlines specific steps partners can take to heal their relationship, and rather than give in to despair, grow and thrive as individuals and partners from the shattering crisis of infidelity.

One...
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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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