How to Become Someone Who “Matters”
While “codependent” is not a clinical diagnosis or recognized personality disorder, it remains a widely-used term for someone who’s self-sacrificing, a caregiver who gives at the expense of her own well-being, and who enables her partner’s addictive or self-destructive behavior. Breaking behavior that could be described as codependent starts with greater self-awareness. Notice when you’re ignoring your own […]
How to Be Independent in Your Relationship: A New Model for Love
In Part 1 of this series, I examined what it feels like to need your partner’s approval in order to feel okay about yourself. Here, I’ll address some of the many complicated conditions that lead to this dynamic and some guidance for outgrowing this draining and disempowering relational paradigm. As I stated in the previous post, […]
When You Keep Getting Triggered by the Same Person (Part 1)
Dealing with a relationship that brings you back to old—and unwelcome—feelings and behaviors Jane, a client, was heading out to see her stepfather. She had described him as someone who talked incessantly about his importance and the remarkable things he’d accomplished (a lot of which weren’t true). At the same time, he’d never expressed curiosity […]
Can You Be Okay When Your Partner Is Not Okay?
While “codependent” is not a clinical diagnosis or recognized personality disorder, it remains a widely- used term for someone who’s self-sacrificing, a caregiver who gives at the expense of her own well-being, and who enables her partner’s addictive or self-destructive behavior. These tendencies show up in many forms, and are about much more than self-sacrifice and enabling addiction. In […]
A User’s Guide for Adding ‘No’ to Your Vocabulary
This post is Part 2 of a series. I ended Part 1 of this series on learning to say “no” by asking the question, How do we give ourselves permission to start incorporating ‘no’ into our life, and indeed into our very identity? How do we start living differently—with boundaries? The very uncomplicated answer is that we just do it; we […]
The Likability Cage: Are Women Still Trapped?
Thirty-five years ago, my sorority sister was raped at a fraternity party. She didn’t report it for reasons we can guess, having heard this story a thousand times by now. Indeed, it was the clichéd story: the popular, handsome fraternity boy from a powerful family who happened to be a big donor to the university […]
Do You Feel Like A Hostage to Your Partner’s Anger?
This is the third in a series of posts. Read part 1 and part 2. In this series, I’ve been looking at the experience of living with a partner with anger issues, as well as ways to shift your thinking so as to maintain peace of mind, regardless of your partner’s state of mind. Now I want to offer some […]
Your Partner’s Anger Issues Don’t Have to Be Yours – Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, “How to Live (Peacefully) With An Anger Bully,” I looked at the experience of living with someone with anger issues, what it’s actually like and what happens to you internally when your partner’s anger is unmanaged and problematic. Here, in Part 2, I want to go further and consider how you can respond […]
How to Live (Peacefully) With An Anger Bully
Gillian asked her husband to hang the curtains; she had been asking him for weeks. Each time, he had promised to do it, but it didn’t happen. When she asked for the fourth time, he angrily responded, “For Christ’s sake, how many times are you going to ask me? I heard you the first 10 […]
It’s Time to Get Off Our Screens and Back to Real Community
Human beings harbor a deep need to belong. The well-known psychologist Abraham Maslow established a hierarchy of human needs in which he placed the need to belong just above food, water, and physical safety. At the most basic level, belonging is survival and safety: if we’re not part of the herd, we’ll be left behind and unprotected, […]