Anger

Six Tips for Dealing with Family Drama During the Holidays

The holidays are some people’s favorite time of year. Cozy nights in, creating new memories, and lots of time spent with immediate and extended family members.

For some, this time is wonderful. But for others, dealing with family members and in-laws can make the holiday season extremely stressful; even dreadful.

If you have difficult family members who just seem to ruin your holidays, here are six ways to deal with them this season.
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Addiction

Staying Sober During the Holidays

The holidays can be an emotional time for many people, but for those who have recently stopped drinking, navigating the holidays can be especially challenging.

What makes the holidays so appealing to people -- catching up with the same relatives and friends and doing the same traditions year after year -- is exactly what can make it tough for newly sober people to stay sober.
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Children and Teens

How Does Birth Order Affect a Child?

Does being a firstborn, middle child, last-born or only child have an effect on your personality, behavior, or even your intelligence? While the possibility has been challenged, our birth order is believed by many to have an enduring impact on our psychological development and adult relationships.

Firstborns are often described as being high achievers who seek approval. They’re also described as cautious, controlling, and reliable. Firstborns and only children are the only siblings who are allowed to bask in their parents’ undivided attention (for better or worse) with no distractions from siblings. Studies have confirmed that without question, firstborn children are offered more individual and uninterrupted hours of their parents’ attention, which may, in fact, allow for relatively greater gains in intelligence.
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Family

How Far Can Our Empathy Go?

I read this quote today and I had three thoughts almost simultaneously:
“Now, with regard to the people who have done things we call "terrorism," I'm confident they have been expressing their pain in many different ways for thirty years or more. Instead of our empathically receiving it when they expressed it in much gentler ways -- they were trying to tell us how hurt they felt that some...
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Anger

What a Real Apology Looks Like

To be human is to hurt people sometimes. Yet it’s not always easy to offer a genuine apology when we’ve injured or offended someone.

We need robust inner resources and an open heart to keep from descending into denial -- or slipping into a shame-freeze -- when we realize that we’ve violated someone’s sensibilities. It takes courage to downsize our ego and accept our human limitations with humility and grace.
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Depression

True Story: One Father’s Struggle with Postpartum Depression


Dads get the “baby blues” too.

People might not realize this, but, after the birth of a child, both women and men can encounter symptoms of postpartum depression. I’m speaking from experience here.

After the birth of my daughter, which endures as one of the happiest moments of my life, I found myself struggling with unexpected waves of anxiety, fear, and depression.

It was horrible, and what made it worse, was that I was very uncomfortable talking about it.

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Children and Teens

How Can Childhood Emotional Neglect Make You a Stronger Adult?


All it takes is growing up in a household where your feelings don't matter enough.

With their heads held high but their spirits lower than should be, they walk among us.

"I don't need any help," they say with a smile. But "what do you need?" they ask others with genuine interest.

Loved and respected by all who know them, they struggle to love and respect themselves. These are the people of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN).

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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 22, 2016


Once again, my friends, I come to you from behind a computer screen with a box of tissues on one side and a trash can on the other. Tears are running down my cheeks, I can't stop sneezing, and even though I can't breathe my nostrils aren't too stopped up to -- well, I won't get gross.

Wasn't it just a few months ago I was suffering from allergies? Can you even get allergies in the fall? According to WebMD, you sure can, and thanks to a myriad of potential culprits (mold spores and pollen hiding out in fallen leaves and dust mites triggered from turning the heat on for the first time), I am once again down for the count.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from bringing you this week's latest in mental health news! Keep reading for healthy tips for how to break off a friendship, Instagram's new mental health "flagging" feature, ways you can beat election stress, and more.

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Family

Marriage Meetings: Not for Everyone?

“I’ve been married 38 years. Are you saying my husband and I need to hold a formal meeting when we’re doing fine?” a radio talk show host challenged me.

Up until this point her tone had been contentious while I focused on practicing active listening (1) and on staying composed. I couldn’t blame her for being contentious. Her job is to inform and entertain listeners. Who doesn’t enjoy hearing a little skirmish now and then along with some good sound bites?

“Are you saying there’s no room for growth in your relationship?” I asked, in a puzzled tone.
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Bipolar

Helping Children Cope When a Loved One Suffers from Mental Illness

I have a loved one that suffers with severe mental illness. He's a brilliant, beautiful, creative person who told spellbinding, captivating stories of far away places and taught me to not be afraid of the dark. But just as quick and easy as flicking a light switch on and off, our lives changed from moment to moment.

As a child I didn't understand. I remember thinking everyone's home was just like mine... a place where the stairs turned into an escalator only for the person who knew the magic word and where the cupboards were locked at night to keep out the mischief-making fairies.
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Books

A Box Full of Darkness: Growing Up in the Shadow of BPD

Someone I loved once gave me
A box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
That this, too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver

I can’t remember now how I ran across this poem by Mary Oliver. I saved it, because the box-full-of-darkness metaphor seemed genius. As time went by, its relevance to my experience became clearer. The poem eventually served as an epigraph for my book Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother.

First, here’s what I won’t be saying about these lines. I won’t say that all dark boxes become gifts. The loss of a child or debilitating pain or one’s own mental illness? Starvation? Violence? Are these gifts, or can they become gifts? It feels presumptuous to say so. I can speak only to my own experience, and a largely blessed and lucky experience it has been.
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Books

3 Tips for Helping Your Kids Develop Empathy

Every child is already empathic. We all are (with a few exceptions). We are wired for empathy. We are wired to connect, communicate and collaborate with others.

Empathy develops in infancy. “A child first learns to tune in to his or her mother’s emotions and moods, and later on to other people’s,” write Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl in their new book The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids.

They further explain, “What the mother feels, the child will feel and mirror. This is why things such as eye contact, facial expressions, and tone of voice are so important in the beginning of life. It is the first way we feel trust and attachment and begin to learn empathy.”
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