Relationships

These articles focus on relationship issues and communication.

How to Validate Someone

The need for validation, whether conscious or not, is universal. We all want to feel acceptable, worthy, and not-kooky in other people’s eyes. But what is validation, anyway? Most of us are a little fuzzy on this concept, and for good reason: Validation can be hard to come by in everyday life. Let’s talk first …

8 Things to Absolutely Expect in Relationships

Even though there’s a lot of talk about how entitled young people are these days, I see a lack of entitlement among all age groups in my practice as a therapist. I see people putting up with pretty poor behavior from people they love, without uttering a word of protest. Or, if they do protest, …

Conflict Avoidant? Here’s What It’s Costing You

I’m bad at confronting people  — I don’t always choose the right words because I’m so nervous about having the conversation in the first place —  but I’m even worse at suffering in silence. So when something’s up between me and someone else I just have to say something, even though it’s guaranteed to be …

Why You’re Attracted to the Wrong People

Last week, I was giving a presentation to other mental health professionals when the talk turned to unmet emotional needs. This is the kind of thing we therapists tend to discuss when we get together. That, and reality TV shows. Or maybe that’s just me. Unmet emotional needs are often unconscious, and they cause all …

What Scares You in Relationships?

Some of us barrel into relationships as if the very fact of being alone could cause severe itching. Others are skittish, shying away from promising new people or finding ways to engage while subtly keep them at a distance. Ultimately, the skittishness takes a toll (barreling into relationships can wreak havoc too, but that’s for …

Do Toxic People Even Exist?

Whenever I hear the term “toxic person,” I picture a glow-in-the-dark green zombie covered in radioactive waste. Personally, I consider this to be the proper definition of a toxic person. I don’t think too many people agree with me, though. There are tons of blog posts out there, not to mention comments on Facebook and …

Why Our Relationships Hold the Key to Personal Growth

This week I’ve got an article I really want to share with you because it gets right to the heart of one of the most important truths about our relationships. We tend to be attracted to partners who help us recreate the same troublesome dynamics we were hurt by earlier in life. For example, a …

7 Ways to Spring Clean Your Relationships

Now that spring is here, I thought I’d offer a few tips for some “relationship spring cleaning.” Try these with your partner, friends, family, or even coworkers. 1. Listen more. Even if the other person already does most of the talking, how carefully do you typically listen? Challenge yourself to tune in to what they’re …

“I’m Sorry You Feel That Way”

If your mail carrier complains to you about your mailbox being so far from the curb, it’s perfectly appropriate to respond by saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Here’s what that statement really means: “Your feelings are your problem.” “How you feel has nothing to do with me.” “I don’t care.” “You’re on your …

How to Break Up for Good

It’s pretty normal to get back together with an ex. Heck, it’s almost a national pastime. If you haven’t felt the pull of an old relationship … well, I think we might have to check your pulse. Ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends can have a strong magnetic influence, especially immediately after a breakup. No matter how painful …

The Secret Ingredient in Healthy Relationships

Alice’s husband, Bob, does something that hurts her feelings. So what does she do? Alice tells Bob he’s insensitive and inconsiderate. This hurts Bob’s feelings. So what does he do? Bob responds by telling Alice she’s too demanding. An argument ensues, of course. And it never really gets resolved. Bob and Alice get into it …

Two Parenting Styles, One Clear Winner

This isn’t a parenting blog, but parenting affects all of us, parents and non-parents alike. We were all kids once, and it’s instructive to reflect on our experiences so that we can both empathize with kids, understand ourselves better and even deal with employees more effectively. Yes, that’s right. What’s good for kids is good …