Just as you have choices about how to interpret an event, you also have options about how to express those feelings you experience. Often we limit the range of our expressive options by erroneously believing that there are only two options: either directly expressing them to someone else (e.g., in a personal confrontation), or “swallowing” the feelings and keeping them to ourselves. In actuality, there are many ways to respond to your feelings and express yourself. To some extent, you express a feeling any time your behavior is influenced by that feeling, but the way you express that feeling, and the intensity of that expression can vary widely. This is where decision-making comes in. First, consider what your options are. For example, if a close friend is planning to move away, you may feel very sad about that. You have numerous options here. For example, you can tell your friend how much you will miss him/her. Also, you can make a special effort to spend more time with him/her. These options may be painful at the time, but they give you the opportunity to express your feelings to your friend. On the other hand, you can avoid the friend until he/she leaves town so you won’t have to say good-bye. Or you can stay busy making other friends so you won’t miss this particular friend as much after he/she leaves. These choices may allow you to postpone or avoid painful feelings at the time, but they do not provide the opportunity for closure with your friend. The point is that you have options, and it’s your decision. Here are some useful questions to consider when deciding how to respond to your feelings:
- Does the intensity of my feelings match the situation?
- Do I have several feelings that I need to pay attention to?
- What interpretations or judgments am I making about this event?
- What are my options for expressing my feelings?
- What are the consequences of each option for me?
- What are the consequences of each option for others?
- What result am I hoping for?
- What do I want to do?
- What if I do nothing?
Even doing something like taking a deep breath or going for a walk to think about it can be a way of responding to your feelings. Remember that you have many options when it comes to expressing emotions. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.
When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter. Tom Robbins
Humility is not
of yourself less.
C. S. Lewis
Treating Codependency is not something a doctor does to or for a ‘patient’. It is more like having diabetes. The patient has to learn how to take care of themselves every day for the rest of their lives. Recovery starts when a Codependent understands and has insight into their condition. It takes hold when they understand that they have never been victimized in their marriage. They arranged the right marriage for themselves in order to work on their unresolved childhood issues of not having enough power, not being heard, not being good enough, not being taken seriously, not getting enough attention, not being nurtured, etc. I always recommend that my new Codependent client read Melody Beattie’s classic book on the subject Codependent No More. Then I almost always strongly encourage them to join one of our Codependency Recovery groups. Group is like the gym. It is where a Codependent goes to lift weights and get stronger. I will talk more about group in a later chapter, but Group therapy rocks – it is inexpensive, weekly, powerful, fun, insight building and affirming. In my practice the wife is many times the Codependent person and she comes with her husband for couples sessions as well as attending the group sessions without him. In the couple work with a husband who is perhaps not in as much pain or in a place of having much enlightenment about his own issues the Codependent needs to come prepared to work hard at naming the issues that hurt her in the marriage. Actually bringing in a written list is a very good idea. It is a safe environment because the therapist won’t allow reactivity, control, manipulation, defensiveness, blaming, rage, massive denial or shaming to happen without it being named and quickly stopped. From an article by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time, the mind, protecting its sanity,
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessens.
But it is never gone.
The annual epidemic of those with the “holiday blues” is setting in. While the number of those leading lives of “quiet desperation” over the holidays isn’t accurately understood … they don’t call it an epidemic for nothing. Those depressed aren’t just the usual suspects … teenagers, singles or widows who live alone … holiday depression strikes married men and women, those in relationships, introverts or extroverts. You can be a 13-year-old boy or a 48-year-old married mother of three. Those depressed often don’t disclose their condition because they themselves can’t articulate what they’re feeling … sometimes vague but very, very real … and hard to describe. Many of those affected don’t think others will understand (they may be right) and don’t want to be seen as “whiners” during a time when everyone around them is being upbeat. In effect, you can’t tell who may be or not be depressed in your circle. But not being able to tell doesn’t mean they aren’t there. When someone is depressed, their quality of life is significantly (and could be severely) degraded and those around them can be impacted. Since most of us can’t tell who may be affected by depression during the holidays, the best advice may be to engage in some personal outreach with all those close to you.
• Inquire — A friend of mine regularly comes up and asks how I’m doing … seriously and in a way that communicates he genuinely wants to know. I have to actually think what the answer is and I feel better he cared enough to really ask.
• Invite — Whether single or married with kids … anyone can be depressed and might enjoy a lunch, after work drink or evening out with a friend. All of us feel better when we feel included and desired as social partners.
• Empathize — The capacity of understanding emotions in another person is a powerful force. Being depressed often involves a huge sense of isolation … the sense that someone significant in your life empathizes with you can be uplifting.
• Encourage — Making the suggestion to see a therapist or other trained professional can give a depressed person the “permission” they may need to seek help without feeling guilty. The stigma of mental health treatment is still strong in our society and affirmation of the value of mental health treatment from a trusted friend or family member is important. From an article by Bill Schroer http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20131221/OPINION02/312210010/Bill-Schroer-Don-t-let-depression-win-out-over-holidays
A human being can survive almost anything,
as long as she (he) sees the end in sight.
But depression is so insidious,
and it compounds daily,
that it’s impossible
to ever see the end.
A good marriage is best friends with passion. Without the passion, you just have a friendship. For some, being companions is sufficient. But for most, it is not. One of the major casualties of the harried pace of modern marriage is the loss of sexual intimacy. It is too steep a price to pay. While communication is the most frequently mentioned issue in troubled marriages… a diminished sexual relationship at the center of most troubled marriages. Men and women are different. While these differences get debated in some circles, when it comes to sex, they are real and very clear. Unfortunately many couples fail to reflect on these differences and integrate them into an understanding of how to be successful partners. Start with arousal patterns. Men are quick to be aroused and relatively quick to achieve orgasm. The “spike” rises sharply and drops off just as sharply. Men are especially aroused visually; brain research documents this. So looking at other women, at magazines, videos, and online pornography play a much bigger role in the sexual life of men. Women are aroused more slowly and after achieving orgasm, tend to remain at a high plateau of arousal before dropping off. These are very different physiological patterns. No wonder it is a challenge for couples to really experience mutual satisfaction. These differences must not be ignored; instead they must be incorporated into the lovemaking process. It is also important to understand the psychological implications of the different genital anatomies. For men, sexual intercourse is an external act. This has evolutionary implications about the need for prehistoric men to “seed” many partners in order to insure survival of the species. It is part of what allows men to more easily separate sex from love. But, for a woman, to have intercourse means allowing a man to enter her body. That is a deeply personal act and men need to appreciate this. It is why women complain about the need for emotional intimacy before they can be sexually active. Combine this with the difference in arousal patterns and it becomes much easier to understand why it is so important for women to experience meaningful foreplay.
Chains do not hold a marriage together.
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads
which sew people together through the years.
“We used to talk all night, but since we’ve talked so much, we have nothing else to talk about.” Well, this is a crossroad that every couple has to go through. You have been together so long, you have spent so much time together, you have run out of things to talk about. This is very simple to get over. But first, we must look at why you have run out of things to talk about. Ultimately, if you don’t have anything to talk about, you are becoming numb to the individual. If you truly love them, you will always have something to say to them. Even it is just “I love you.” Your conversations might not be as dynamic and powerful as they were in the beginning of the relationship. And this is simply because you know each other very well, and before you didn’t. So it was automatically exciting and intriguing. But you must realize this, and rest in the fact that you are with this person. Though you might not have deep thoughts to divulge to this person anymore, because they know them all, you still have things in common. You still have things to discuss. Some couples can sit in a room and not say a word to each other for three hours – and that’s fine with them. This is because they are grounded in the foundation of their love, and they know that though they aren’t saying anything, they are both thinking about one another. But if you feel that the lack of constant conversation is hurting your relationship, take the initiative. Make a point to talk with your partner – even if the conversation starts out light and frivolous, it will end on a good note – hopefully. And this will keep you both in each other’s mind. Remember, don’t wait for them to talk to you – talk to THEM!! The most vital and important reasons that relationships fail is because they communication that is happening is because people aren’t following “The Golden Rule.” I know you all know what I’m talking about; we learned it in kindergarten – “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” If you follow this statement, your love life as well as every other part will benefit greatly. But the sad truth is, people aren’t honest. They cheat themselves as well as others. They are self-centered jealous feigns. So no wonder none of us have a satisfactory relationship. We must stop and think – how do you want to be treated in a relationship? If you apply your standards of what you want to your partner, they will ultimately reapply them to you. You are in control of how your relationship will be. By Prior Aphter http://voices.yahoo.com/why-relationships-fail-due-lack-communication-10023.html?cat=41
the termites of
Many people seem to have a misunderstanding about what it really means to forgive someone for a wrong done to them. The first thing I want to point out is… forgiveness is NOT a gift you give to another, but rather something you do inside of yourself, for yourself. The other person need never know. You can choose to extend forgiveness to the other person, if that is your choice, but it is not necessary in order to forgive inside of yourself and heal the pain you carry for a wrong another has done to you or that has affected you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation – nor does it mean you have to allow a behavior that can hurt you to continue to hurt you. Forgiveness is, in essence, the acknowledgment inside of yourself that the person who has wronged you in some way is a fallible human being – and that, like a human being, they made a mistake worthy of your forgiveness. …everyone deserves forgiveness inside of themselves, because to hold on to old wounds defeats you as a person. It closes off a part of your heart and self that you cannot give to anyone else as long as you hang on to the anger and bitterness that remains in you when you do not forgive. From “Forgiveness – the Gift You Give Yourself” http://voices.yahoo.com/forgiveness-gift-give-yourself-84466.html?cat=5
The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute
of the strong.
“Big boys don’t cry.” “No pain no gain. Tough it out.” “Only sissies get hurt feelings.” “It’s a sign of weakness to let people know you’re hurting.” Men are cautioned to not discuss their feelings, to avoid feelings altogether and to not discuss love, sorrow or pain. Men will often make a joke out of a difficult situation rather than face it directly. Men are taught to be checked out toward the emotions of others, and keep their true feelings inside. All this is not to say that men are incapable of intimacy, dependency or vulnerability. They are quite able but our culture does not support it. One of the main reasons for drug and alcohol use is for medicating pain and that would include emotional pain. Men, who feel bottled up, sad, angry and depressed will often become workaholics, drink or do drugs to avoid feelings. For men to understand how to be intimate they must first learn more about who they are, what they want and what is truly important to them. Feelings tell us what we want and what we need so without them we are like a ship without a rudder. So many men lead lives of quiet desperation, never letting anyone in or themselves out. For men to take a look at who they really are and allow their essence to be known are actually far stronger than the burly silent types who live their lives in utter isolation. Taken from an on-line article by Bill Cloke http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/the-good-life-why-men-have-trouble-with-intimacy/
will never die.
They are buried alive
and will come forth later
in uglier ways.
Through focusing on solving issues and problems together, through honest and open communication, you can learn to achieve a balance. That is, you can work together to make sure both of you get your needs and wants met, and you can both care equally about your mutual satisfaction, health and happiness. Any other definition of love tends to degenerate into dysfunction and codependency, and will become toxic to you and your lover. Finding out if solutions are mutually satisfactory is easy– you ask each other how it feels and whether it’s working. Beginning your relationship with this idea in mind, or renewing an existing relationship on this basis, is much easier and more pleasant than you may believe. I invite you to consciously move your focus from who’s at fault to what will fix the problem, and to increase the mutuality and communication in your relationship, and watch whatever dysfunctional interaction you have, whether mild or severe, be significantly reduced. You can do this with relationships at home, with your parents, your children, your siblings, and even with friends and co-workers. Adapted from “Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage” by Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. http://www.tinatessina.com/dysfunctional_relationship.html
What people need to accept is
that it is their responsibility
to communicate what they need
and what they feel, and to realize
that they cannot expect someone else
magically to make them happy.