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Emotional Addiction

We can bring unresolved issues into our awareness so that we can heal.

Do you notice having a fear, such as a fear of abandonment, that repeatedly shows up in many different kinds of relationships?

Our fears show us places were we can gain more knowledge and understanding about ourselves.

 

What is Emotional Addiction?

Emotional addiction involves becoming attached to certain feeling sensations to cope with or to confirm our fears or insecurities. 

Is emotional addiction like other addictions?

Emotional addiction is like other addictions in that it involves a pattern of behavior used to react or respond to challenges or life's difficulties. Like many addictions, emotional addiction may be a coping strategy or behavior that is triggered by wanting to feel a certain way. Emotional addiction can lose it's adaptive qualities and become an unhealthy strategy for dealing with our lives and our inner and outer worlds.

What is an example of emotional addiction?

As children,...

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You Have the Right to Feel What You Feel

Did you grow up believing that anger is wrong?

Maybe your parents told you, "we don’t do anger in this house.” Maybe expressing that you were upset led to orders to calm down, stop being so dramatic or to cheer up. Or maybe you were ignored whenever you were acting in a way that suggested you were unhappy or frustrated. Maybe it is your partner who responds toward you in this way today.

Whether it’s explicitly stated or implied, inhibiting anger prevents us from having a healthy relationship with our emotions.

Growing up in an environment where certain emotions were not welcome limits our willingness to authentically experience all of our emotions. It creates feelings of shame that cause us to miss essential messages from our minds and bodies. 

It is critical to cultivate an understanding within yourself that all feelings are okay. There’s nothing wrong with worry, jealousy, or anger. To the contrary, the ability to experience all of our emotions is a...

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Agreeing to Never Disagree and Other Relationship Killers

Withdrawal, Blaming, and Agreeing to Never Disagree

Conflict with a partner or someone we care about can feel intensely uncomfortable. To avoid the discomfort, we may engage defense mechanisms such as withdrawal, blaming, and agreeing to never disagree.

Withdrawal

One way we protect ourselves from the discomfort of conflict is to withdraw from the person with whom we are experiencing conflict.

Withdrawal is a defense mechanism that is enacted in different ways.  For some, withdrawal from conflict looks like checking out or acting distracted. For others, withdrawal looks like shutting down emotionally and/or sometimes physically.  Stonewalling is another common form of withdrawal. However, of all the ways to enact withdrawal from conflict, the one seen most frequently is pretending we don't care.

Mindy shared that she cultivated a cool girl persona when she was in her at twenties.

"I pretended I didn't care about anything. If whoever was my partner at the time wanted to do...

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Emotional Maturity as a Foundation for Honesty and Intimacy

Kaileen shared,

"I am a fighter. I'm an only child. My room was always very quiet. Leaving my room, I did a lot of watching and observing. I observed my parents either arguing or ignoring. My father was consistently the parent with the power. I wanted to defuse their fiery and alternately icy cold encounters.  I wanted their conflict to stop so I did all that I could to please my parents and be the perfect daughter."

As children, we lack the power to influence our environment.

We want the bad things taking place around us to stop. We want to make things better. Kaileen's power stopped at the border of what she could draw attention to or draw attention away from.

Marvin shared that as a teenager he fought with his parents at every turn. His way of protecting himself was to fight for what he believed was right or to prove that he was right and that his parents were wrong.

Marvin's mother was emotionally manipulative and engaged in gaslighting. Gaslighting is to manipulate...

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Practice Dying For A Life Fully Lived

The Dalai Lama says that we should gain familiarity with the process and practices of death so that when we are physically weak our mind will continue to function in a way that serves us and others. 

Lately, the whoosh of everything fleeting has haunted me, chilling my skin. I remember being 17 and knowing the exact number of days until I could leave my mother and stepfather’s home; in that forever, my life would begin. Each day until my departure moved like a giant Galapagos tortoise. All of my counting blinded me to the beauty around me.

A trite mantra rings in my mind, “Like a flower, take in and grow from both sun and rain.” The knowing that all events are grist for the mill and that nothing is permanent is not enough. One must live in a way that reflects one’s knowledge of life’s impermanence. To do so, we must cultivate patience with pain, discomfort, and loss so that each encounter becomes part of the practice of dying and a piece in the...

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The Recipe for Wholeness

Therapist, "Do you feel whole?"

Patient, "Well what does that even mean, 'feel whole'? I mean I am one whole piece of person."

Let's start there.   What does it mean to embody wholeness?

In describing the process of identity formation, Erik Erikson described the goal of identity formation as the achievement of a sense of wholeness. In Erikson's theory of development, wholeness refers to having a meaningful self-concept in which past, present, and future are brought together to form a belief and understanding of one's self as an entire person.

Wholeness has been described in the research literature as the belief and understanding of one's self as an entire person, a state that is said to be necessary for maximal functioning in daily life.

In Ashley Patterson's writings on identity and race, she cites the way wholeness is described in the research literature concerning identity.

Wholeness is the ability to feel comfortable in your skin, regardless of your surroundings,...

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The Nine Rules of Shame

Shame typically involves being observed disapprovingly by others. Shame can hold us hostage to the unrealistic and hurtful standards of others.

Shame in a family, organization, or group involves the leaders openly criticizing another for a failure to live up to accepted norms or values.  Shame tells the one shamed that they are deserving of criticism and disapproval.

Shame is painful and terribly uncomfortable. It is a loud booming voice shouting to the world that the shamed person is inadequate, deficient, embarrassing, or unworthy. The powerful feeling of shame involves being drastically diminished, made smaller, and  lacking in dignity. Shame hits square in the face and unexpectedly.

While guilt focuses on the performance of an action, shame focuses on the self as a whole.

 Guilt refers to what I have done while shame refers to who I am.

A shame based person, family, organization, or relationship is necessarily rigid in order to self-perpetuate it's own rules.

The...

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7 Quick Things You Can do Today to Build Momentum to Achieve Your Goals

You’re on the way!

You have a goal in mind.

You’re working hard to reach it.

You may seek to achieve something personal.

You might be, with full focus, concentrating solely on your career.

Whatever it is you want, you’re hungry for it.

You can’t wait to see the culmination of all this hard work.

…only everything seems to be moving so slow…

7 Quick Things You Can do Today to Build Momentum

You’re lacking momentum.

Momentum is what pushes you into action.

It speeds you up as you work the steps and keeps you going.

 

 So, what do you do when momentum is lagging?

A question that sounds like a sonata to my psychologist ears.

Easy peasy my friend.

You find ways to build it.

Try these 7 quick tips guaranteed to make s**t happen:

 

Visualize the Future

Ask yourself, "Where do I want to be in 6 months? What about next year or the next five years?"

Seeing yourself in the future is a powerful and positive way to maintain momentum....

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Everyone loves a good origin story!

Everyone loves a good origin story, right?
Peter Parker’s spider bite,  VH1“Before They Were Stars”.
 

Those stories make us believe that anything is possible—and it IS!

 
Would you believe that before I had success as a psychologist, I practiced law?
 
And..... in between practicing law and psychology, I was a yoga teacher.
 
I was a single mom of 3 and thought it would be a great idea to open a yoga studio.
 
I was determined to keep the days (and stress) of bringing my kids to my law office happily behind me.
 
I thought the laid back vibe of the yoga studio would be perfect for them.
 
Well,
I forgot just how quiet a yoga studio needs to be!
 
Half the time, when I taught yoga in my classes after 3 PM, my littlest one, Francesca Giovanna, rode piggyback or on my shoulders. My son, Logan, was the noisiest super hero.
True story.
 
But my heart was in being a psychologist and that...
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How About A Toxic Thinking Wipe Out?

It's the New Year.  I know, we have been hearing it and saying if for almost two weeks, but I can't stop saying it but if you let me get away with it just one more time here, I promise I will stop saying it. 

 

I have to be honest. Many of the changes in 2021 will come from external factors, i.e. a vaccine, weather conditions, the economy  etc.. 

 

However,and this is a BIG however, the most potent changes will come from changes in our thinking.  

 

So amazing right?  Right!  A thing that you can work with totally on your own will make extraordinary, awesome, and welcome change in your life. 

Guess what? It will also influence positive change in the lives of others. Efficient positive change spreading. Like the smoothest peanut butter. Gotta love that. Love it on what? A bagel, 28 grain bread, fluffy white? 

 

Our parents, grandparents, teachers, talk show hosts, they all say the same thing: 

PREPARE FOR THE...

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