LATEST ARTICLES

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Wait, I’m not Crazy?! Adults Who Grew Up in Dysfunctional Families

Growing up in an unhealthy or dysfunctional family can drastically and permanently alter the course of your life. It is absolutely vital to understand how, specifically, this has affected you so that you stand a chance in changing the patterns of unhealthy choices and behavior that plague your adult life. In talking about your childhood, it's important to realize that you are not crazy. Rather, it is growing up in a crazy or "dysfunctional" environment which causes us to develop unhealthy survival habits. The good news is that it is possible to recover fully....
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Feeling Discouraged, Lost, and Depressed

When we become discouraged, feel lost, are confused, and feel overwhelmed, it is easy to feel like we want all the pain and sadness to stop.  We want to run, to feel no more, and to have our upset, anger, and sadness removed quickly.  Understanding a few issues might be of help at these difficult times. Discouragement of Depression When we experience depressive feelings, it is easy to feel discouraged and to feel hopeless. Depression is many times anger turned inside because of things that has happened to us in life. At other times, depression is the result of a chemical imbalance. No matter...
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How to Choose a Good Psychiatrist

At some point, you may find yourself in need of a good psychiatrist. There are three critical rules in doing this. Understanding the terminology in distinguishing between a psychiatrist, psychologist, and psychiatric mental nurse practitioner is the most important step. Know the Rules Setting your expectations appropriately and not sabotaging your approach is second. Third is the rule of not forgetting your ultimate goal. Rule 1: Know the Terminology If you are in need of general mental health medications, approaching your primary care physician (PCP) is a good first step. These tend to be general practitioners or family practice doctors. The advantage is one...
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How to Swim with the “Difficult Sharks” in our Lives

No one WANTS to swim with sharks. However, difficult people are, by their very nature, sharks: Aggressive, territorial, and tribal. When we unexpectedly find ourselves dealing with a difficult person, we assume that they will "play fair". In our desire to "get along with others", we often make the situation worse. In reality, we have no choice but to learn how to identify and respond assertively without being "eaten alive". Swimming with sharks is like any other skill: It cannot be learned from books alone; the novice must practice in order to develop the skills. The RULES, if followed, will...
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Why Does My Marriage Feel Like a Trap?

The Freedom of Choice is the most valued factor in our lives. Human beings will do most anything to insure that they can have choice in all of their decisions. Much of what counselors, therapists and psychologists hear in therapy is related to a sense that the individual does not have a sense of choice in their lives. When we feel an obligation to do something, being forced to do what others want, we resist. This is made worse when there is a sense of betrayal in the relationship in some manner. This causes a worry about trust and how...
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How Do I Know if My Partner is Cheating on Me?

Relationships go through many stages, ups and downs, good times and bad. Most of the time we get through these difficult periods. At times, our intuition tells us that the relationship is in the midst of a crisis. Affairs can threaten your trust in the relationship. Understanding the critical clues to an affair can help keep things calm in difficult times. Clues to Unfaithfulness There is a sudden, and new, interest in one's physical appearance.New friends and acquaintances are developed outside of the marital relationship that...
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Why Does it Hurt So Much When We Fight?

The process of "becoming a couple" is filled with many emotions, feelings, attitudes, risking and identification with another person. Relationship problems happen when these same emotions are injured in any way.  When one "sees and hears" much blaming and emotions between a couple, it is clear that there has been an "attachment bond injury" that has to be healed before the relationship can continue and be healed. Attachment-Bonding We know that an infant and parent need to develop a close bond of trust if the child is...
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Growing Up with Emotional Abuse

When children's development of self-esteem, social skills or capacity for intimacy is jeopardized by their parents' behavior or neglect, they may be the victim of emotional abuse. Whether it is alcohol or other drugs, mental illness, compulsive behavior (eating, working, religion, etc.), or any one of a thousand other things that deplete a family's emotional life, the results are the same. Children are left to their own devices to make sense of the pain and loneliness in their life. In the end, they are the victims of emotional abuse: A...
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Crisis Points of Relationships and Marriage

Marriage is most open to crisis when it is rigid and inflexible. Whatever won't bend will break, or push others away. Rigid people, who expect specific roles in relationships only create more crises at different relationship developmental points. When the relationship demands that there be isolation from outside supports, such as family, the focus becomes one of control and fear. Problems can also develop when the relationship is seen as needing to be on the high of a romance. Romance seduces people into expecting too much. Romance after courtship can...
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Midlife Crisis – What Are the Signs?

We all have heard about someone having a midlife crisis. Yet we rarely recognize it when it happens to us. Early in our life, we have many hopes and desires about how we want our lives to turn out. We sometimes plan, or just live, expecting that someday we will arrive and have it. Unfortunately, we often live our life as such a fast pace that we end up in crisis. Midlife Crisis in Action By the time we arrive at adulthood, we desire to experience it...