Narcissism and Emotional Abuse: Paying Attention to Your Path

Many of our blogs identify the narcissist as “him” and the victim as “her.” While most of our content leans that way, and most of the couples who seek our help lean that way, the reality is, not all narcissists are men, nor are women the only victims. We are all, male and female, quite capable of being absolutely arrogant, carelessly emotionally destructive, and acrimoniously self-protective. And the outcome is the same: relationships marred by trauma, brokenness, and deep pain. We end up in relationships that are shallow, void of connection, and wracked with fear and confusion.
Continue Reading

Letting Your Spouse Have Their Process

Over decades of working with people in many capacities and from all walks of life, I have seen that people need time and space to struggle with and learn from their old habits and patterns and to integrate newer, healthier ideas into their lives. The key words here are space and struggle—concepts that often make a person’s spouse quite uncomfortable. So, why does someone need space from their partner in order to grow?
Continue Reading

How Emotional Maturity Affects Your Relationships

Cut a tree open and count the rings—that’ll tell you how old the tree is. Each ring represents the amount of new wood produced during the growing season. Occasionally a tree will go a year without any new growth; sometimes it’ll produce two rings in one year. But, more or less, a ring equals a year. Chronologically, we humans work kind of the same way. Our outside changes—like graying hair or wrinkled and sagging skin—are all common signs of our age. Someone who is 60 years old usually looks around 60 years old.
Continue Reading

Navigating Stress and Depression Around the Holidays

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. As I write this, Thanksgiving is coming up and, this year, my mother and daughter will join my wife and me, as well as an aunt who I rarely see. Others have also been or will soon be invited so we can fill the home with loved ones and enjoy time together for at least a few hours. Holidays can be a wonderful time to bring together the family that you don’t get to see every day. But, for some people, the holidays also bring stress, loneliness, or depression. To-do lists pile up this time
Continue Reading

You Reap What You Sow

I learned long ago the rule “garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, you usually get out what you put in. It is the idea of sowing and reaping. If all I plant is corn then that is all I will get. This concept can be applied to marriage as well. What do you want to reap in your relationship? Do you want a relationship that is meaningful, helpful, loving, caring and affectionate? Are you sowing what’s necessary to meet that goal? If not, perhaps you need to sow something else. In other words, change what you’re doing.
Continue Reading

Why Is Self-Care So Important?

Leaving Yourself Empty Many of us spend much of our lives pouring ourselves out for others. As a daughter, a son, a mother, a husband, a wife, a friend—you’ve given significant amounts of your time and energy to love, serve, care for, and bless the people around you. You’ve lived as if your love could heal them and your vision for them would empower and sustain them.
Continue Reading

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.
Continue Reading

Being Present: The Story of Two Monks

The Story of Two Monks One of my favorite parables that teaches us to be in the present moment is the story of the two monks and the woman. It goes something like this: two monks, one old and one quite young, are walking down a wooded path, preparing to cross a river, when they come upon a woman crying by the riverside. The older monk approaches the woman and asks her what’s wrong. She tells him that a few days back she crossed this river to visit relatives in a nearby town. But now that she’s returned, and the
Continue Reading