Are You Setting Boundaries or Just Complaining?

One of the key issues I see in my work with clients is the inability to use boundaries and boundary-setting in a way that is healthy and productive for relationships. Boundaries are key! Why are they so important? Because if you don’t figure out how to set healthy boundaries, one or both of you will probably often be triggered, flooded, and unable to function well in your relationship. Without boundaries, you could (without realizing it) actually be feeding your relationship dysfunction instead of standing up for what’s best or right for you and the relationship.
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Counseling for Highly Conflicted Couples

Everyone longs to live in peace. We can have money, opportunity, a lovely home, and children, and yet we’re not happy if we don’t have peace in our marriage. I consider myself a seasoned marriage counselor. And, while I feel excited at the prospect of helping each new couple and working through the challenge ahead, high-conflict couples can sometimes strain my capabilities.
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Can I Make You Change?

I frequently hear people say that we can’t make other people change. Objectively speaking, when push comes to shove, we certainly cannot force another person to change. If we could, we would have everything we wanted and that would probably not be good for us or the other person in the long run. It is within the individual to decide to change. But, do we sometimes use this concept as an excuse not to do everything in our power to help facilitate change in another person?
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Narcissistic Traits or Malignant Narcissism?

No one deserves to be mistreated by another. No one! To be insulated from mistreatment, however, we must always be on the alert for those who would mistreat us. First, let me be clear: any form of narcissism is destructive. Yet, it is one thing to experience abuse at the hands of someone with narcissistic traits and something altogether more debilitating if the abuse has been perpetrated by a malignant narcissist.
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Sex and the Broken Relationship

How does sex fit into the picture when the relationship is broken and hurting? What about during separation or divorce? On one hand, we’re taught that sex is a very private, personal matter where you can decide what works for you; what you do in the privacy of your own home is up to you. Our culture certainly promotes detaching sex from relationships, claiming it’s not hurting anybody, especially if it’s consensual.
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Letting Go of Snooping

I need the truth to get back to normal. The first thing we tend to do when our spouse does something to cause suspicion is go digging, scrounging up any and every possible detail and angle we can find to help us “know” what is really going on. Suddenly, we have a desperation to fit pieces together that we didn’t even realize were missing or to find evidence to disprove what we now “know” so we can “go back to normal.”
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Is emotional abuse contagious?

“I can’t believe the way I act toward my husband,” a client told me recently. “I speak in ways I never used to. I call him names, just like he does to me. I respond to him in the same angry tone he uses. I’m not proud of it, but it happens.” I often share with couples that “emotions are contagious.” Think about the last time someone spoke harshly to you. Did you speak harshly back or at least consider doing so? It is tempting to react to provocative behavior by acting in a similar manner. We’ve all done it.
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Can Separation Be Healthy?

Recently a client came to me and shared that his wife asked for a separation because of the ongoing conflict between the two of them. He was reluctant to go along with it and threatened, “If you go forward with this separation, you might as well just file for divorce!” He continued to share, “Now that we are separated, all of my fears have come true. She is making friends with both men and women and doesn’t want to go to counseling with the pastor. She wants her “space” and wants to be left alone to think about things.
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