Archives for Couples Communication

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...
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

Conscious Lifestyle

Genuine Love: Four Elements of Love (Practices for Awakening the Heart), 2 of 2

Whether you and your partner are just getting started in building your love relationship, or struggling to get back the love and connection that once came naturally, the wise and mindful reflections of Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh offer couples amazing insights, a breath of fresh air, inviting you and your partner to take the reins of your love and adapt practices focused on awakening both of your hearts.

In this post, we will look at the four key elements of genuine...
Continue Reading

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:
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading

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.
Continue Reading