5 posts from July 2011

July 25, 2011

Steps to Stop Being Co-dependant

IStock_0changell Below is a post from my new blog Enjoy!

My last post talked about what Co-dependence is and how it shows up in people’s lives.  Although it’s great to have insight into what codependence looks like, it’s even more important to be able to stop codependent behaviors. Below are several tips to stop codependency.  Keep in mind that it is often helpful to seek out professional help to assist you on this journey of healing from codependency.
Tips to jumpstart your journey away from codependency:
1.    Control your own behavior and stop trying to control the actions and behaviors of others. Don’t tell others what to do and how to do it or tweak what they’ve done because they didn’t do it as you would do it.
2.    Pay attention to your anxiety and manage your anxiety rather than trying to manage the world.
3.    Get conscious of your critical lens and how that plays out in your life and in the lives of those around you.  Stop the critiques, analyzing and “fixing” of others.
4.    Work on your self-esteem.  Do not look to others to make you feel as though you are okay.  Healthy self-esteem comes from the inside out NOT the outside in.  Things outside yourself such as romantic attention, material things or performance may feel good, make your life easier or be enjoyable but they do NOT make you worthy.  You’re already worthy—even when someone is angry with you, has an affair on you or tells you you’re a terrible person.

Continue reading "Steps to Stop Being Co-dependant" »

July 19, 2011

Part I: What is Co-dependency?

IStock_0caretaking womanll Below is a post from my new blog Enjoy!

Countless women I see are struggling with issues of codependency and it’s killing their relationships (men can also be codependent).  The tip off for me of codependence is desperation to make a relationship work despite countless signs that it’s not a healthy relationship.  The person may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship yet stay for years because they “love” the abuser for example.  This desperation often leads the codependent into twisting themselves into a pretzel to try to make the other person happy and the relationship to work.  Below are several red flags for codependency:

1.    An unhealthy reliance on others to make you happy.
2.    Putting the needs of others above your own needs and wants.
3.    Going out of your way to get someone’s love, acceptance or attention even at your own expense.
4.    A belief that the attention and love of another is what will make you happy.
5.    A strong desire to care-take another despite their constant attempts to push you away or get you to stop.
6.    Frequent attempts to control the other person’s actions, behaviors, choices etc.
7.     Excessive analyzing or preoccupation of another person’s actions, thoughts, deep-seated issues as you see them or feelings.
8.    The grandiose belief that you know what’s best for the other person, what they need and/or what they’re emotionally hiding.

In general, codependence is almost an obsession about gaining the attention, love and affection of another person and being willing to do anything to make that happen.  Often this need clouds a person’s judgment to such a degree that they fail to see the countless signs right in front of them telling them this relationship is unhealthy.  If they do know the relationship is unhealthy, they often are at a loss as to how to change it or unhook from it because they can’t bear to be at odds with the person or relationship. 

If codependents aren’t trying to twist themselves into a pretzel to try to satisfy the other person, then they’re often trying to twist the other person into a pretzel to try to change for the codependent. The person who struggles with codependency will often try to get the other person to see the error of their ways and to change.  Codependents often think, “If s/he would just do… (Fill in the blank), everything would be fine.”  They then spend much of their time trying to get the other person to just do…--so things will be okay.  Of course, neither twisting himself or herself into a pretzel nor twisting the other person into a pretzel works.

If you believe you struggle with codependency your first step towards change is to get your eyes on you and off of the other person.  Remember that contrary to Tom Cruise’s line in Jerry Maguire, only YOU complete you.  Stop looking for someone else to do that for you.

Challenge: If you think you struggle with codependency, look at some of the signs above, read about it, get curious and be open to looking at yourself.  Stop tying to figure out what’s wrong with the other person and start looking at where you’re off. 
Stay tuned for Part II of Codependency: How to Stop Being Codependent

July 13, 2011

Do Your Friends/Coworkers/Partners Act Mean? How To Handle Mean Behavior

IStock_00contemptll There are countless examples in our world of courageous people doing extremely caring acts.  These people help our world be a better place and for that I thank them immensely.  Unfortunately though, there are also people in our world who just plain act mean.  These people tend to tear others down, make fun of people, do cruel things, and in general have little insight or in some cases, concern about how they hurt others. 

There are a thousand reasons why someone may turn into a mean person including family trauma, upbringing, poor self-esteem, nature etc.  Regardless of why, below are a few things to note about people who have a tendency to be mean:

1.    They have often been either treated poorly themselves or been falsely empowered to behave however they’d like with little if any consequences.
2.    They often don’t like themselves anymore than they like others.
3.    They elevate themselves by putting others down.
4.    They will continue to be meaning to those who allow it.
5.    They surround themselves with like-minded people or with followers who will do their bidding.  They also grow meaner when they have an audience who laughs or encourages their hurtful comments, jokes etc.
6.    They are often oblivious of the impact their behavior has on others or simply don’t care about the impact.

The points above are only for you to be able to not take their offensive behaviors personally.  Their behavior is about them and not about you although I realize their actions may impact you.  Regardless of whether you are on the receiving end of their nastiness or a witness to it, know it’s not about the person being attacked—it’s about the person doing the attacking.  Below are several tips for stopping meanness and/or minimally not encouraging it or helping it to grow:

1.    Don’t egg them on by laughing at mean-spirited comments, tasteless jokes or heartless teasing.
2.    Know that your silence to their meanness sends them the message that you’re okay with them being mean.

Continue reading "Do Your Friends/Coworkers/Partners Act Mean? How To Handle Mean Behavior " »

July 06, 2011

A Note to Men: Want more Sex? 5 Things You Should NOT Do

IStock_00handsall In my work with couples, I often hear the men complain that there’s not enough sex and the women complain that the men always want more.  What’s up?  Besides the likely differences in sexual appetites, there are a lot of things men are doing that’s shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to increased physical intimacy with their wives/partners.

If you’d like to increase the amount of sexual intimacy in your relationship, below are 5 things NOT to do:
1.    Don’t turn every kiss, hug or handholding into a sign that you might get lucky.  Women complain all the time that they can’t even hug their partners without them turning it into a sexual move.  Really men?  Aren’t we past the adolescent days of even the wind blowing getting you excited? The more you turn the slightest act of affection into a sexual come on, the less affection your partner will show you.  Don’t be desperate—it’s a huge turn off.
2.    Don’t have sex be the only time you show any affection.  As Dr. Phil often says, “Foreplay should start 24 hours in advance of being sexual.”  It takes more for women to get into the mood than men and men need to know that.  Be loving, playful and affectionate long before you actually do the act.  Give her compliments, hold her hand, tell her you love her and act like you actually like spending time with her.
3.    Don’t be a jerk 90% of the time and then expect that your wife will want to be sexual with you.  Your wife/partner does not “owe” you sex.  This is crazy thinking that I hear from men all the time.  If you’re generally a pill to be around then don’t be surprised that your partner isn’t feeling intimate.  Stop the anger, harsh tones and meanness.  Similarly, don’t barely speak to her day-to-day and then wonder why she’s not feeling close.  Be engaged and respectful and act as though you love her if you want her to act as though she loves you.

Continue reading "A Note to Men: Want more Sex? 5 Things You Should NOT Do" »

July 03, 2011

Happy 4th of July! Creating a Great Memory

IStock_0fireworksmall Most of us love a fun celebration especially when there are good friends, good food and fun times.  This July 4th, remember to keep it fun and be moderate and smart with your celebration.

Things to remember:
1.    Drink responsibly.  There’s nothing like alcohol to throw things into a tail-spin.  Don’t over due a good thing or you risk things going bad fast.  Don’t drink and drive, be moderate with the amount you drink and don’t go out planning to get wasted.
2.    Keep things light.  Celebrations are not the time to have a serious conversation or to talk about serious upsets. Give yourself the day/night to relax, enjoy and have fun. You can always talk about serious issues the next day.
3.    Avoid working.  Be with your family and friends fully. Don’t constantly look at your phone, read your e-mails or check out your computer.  Give yourself and your family a green light to just enjoy—guilt free.
4.    Be positive.  Refuse to make fun of other people or talk about those distant cousins, strange neighbors or messed up friends.  Too many family fights occur after a mean-spirited statement or gossip.  Take the high road and enjoy them--don’t judge them.
5.    Create a positive memory.  Families are so often so busy that they have few opportunities to spend down time together.  Take the holiday weekend to make the time.  Give your children the gift of your time and attention.  Run, play and laugh with them.  Let this holiday be a great memory for them…and you. You and your family deserve it.

The 4th of July is a great time for family barbeques, parties, and gatherings.  Make this year’s celebration be one full of fun not drama.  Keep things light; laugh and enjoy one another and the holiday.

Challenge: Have fun this 4th of July, be safe and create a great memory!

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