How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

“If I accept that I can never have a real relationship with my father, it feels like I don’t have a father. If I accept that, am I still a son?”

Jack’s Story:

Jack is a 45-year-old architect, recently married for the first time. He came to therapy to deal with long-standing feelings of depression. His wife, ten years younger than Jack, wanted to start a family. Jack had spent years keeping a cool and cordial distance from his critical father. Now, as his wife pressed him to become a father himself, he felt flooded by sadness and insecurity. Could he be a good father? What if he messed it up?
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Children and Teens

Maintaining Your Sense of Self as a Stay-At-Home Mom

I don’t know who I am other than mom. Even when I have the time and can do whatever I want, I don’t know what I like to do anymore. I feel invisible. I only feel valued for the things I do for others. I have nothing to talk about aside from my kids. I wonder if they’ll think I’m boring.

Clinical psychologist Jessica Michaelson, PsyD, often hears these statements from her clients. It’s not that being a stay-at-home mom is inherently bad or damaging to our sense of self. In fact, if it aligns with your core values, it can absolutely strengthen it, said Michaelson, who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety, stress management and parent coaching.
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Children and Teens

5 More Strategies for Helping Your Teen Strengthen Their Self-Worth

It’s important for teens to have a solid self-worth. It’s important for them to know that they matter and are already lovable and worthy. Because when kids have a shaky sense of worth, they may latch onto toxic people and make poor decisions. They may let people walk all over them. They may try to earn their worth.

Adolescence is already a tricky, tumultuous time. Teens are trying to figure out who they are, what they like, what they stand for, what they need. Having a solid self-worth helps them navigate these questions more effectively.
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Anxiety and Panic

Mothering with OCD: You Can Call Me Crazy if You Want To

Day One: They say my soul is troubled and I imagine it stumbling through an alley somewhere, barefoot and drunk with no idea how to get home. “But beautiful,” they add, and I imagine it with lipstick. Maybe eyeliner too -- something bold and daring. Something that really accentuates.

It used to chase me in my dreams, my mental illness. It still does, if I’m being honest. Me in a red-hooded cape running through a forest as fast as I can (which isn’t very fast at all, if I’m being honest). It laughing maniacally behind the trees, always behind me, no matter which way I turn: The Big Bad Wolf, strong and powerful. Branches break underneath my feet as I run them over; they slow me down and give me pause. I know the monster from my nightmares will catch up with me. It’s only a matter of time.
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Children and Teens

5 Tips for Cultivating Your Teen’s Self-Worth

One of the most powerful things parents can do for their teens is to help them cultivate a strong and solid self-worth. According to Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a therapist who specializes in working with children, teens and families, self-worth is “the value you place on yourself and love for self.”

“It tells us who we are and that we matter,” said Rosy Saenz-Sierzega, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in working with teens. “[W]e know we deserve to be loved, respected, regarded and forgiven; we believe we matter enough to have our needs and desires met.”
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5 Indispensable Parenting Practices

Being a parent is anything but simple or straightforward. Every day is essentially a new adventure. A beautiful, winding, topsy-turvy adventure. What can be a great help along the ride is your approach.

Sometimes, we assume that parenting is about striving for perfection. Or we think we need to be privy to some significant secret. Or we assume that parenting requires natural talents or natural instincts that we don’t have.

But really, parenting is a skill. It’s about learning and practicing.
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What Did Your Parents Teach You?

What teachings did your parents offer you in your childhood and teen years? Be mindful as you answer that question of the spoken and unspoken teachings and messages that were given to you and what you received.

Let us first consider the spoken teachings from your parents or primary caregivers. The elements necessary to parent a child well are multi-faceted and require consistent love and effort on the parents' part. The parents' attitude and energy level also must be considered. The parents' history and background are factors in how well or effectively they teach by word and example.

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Child Sexual Abuse: Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand

Right as the Summer Olympic Games started in Rio, the IndyStar reported that USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, ignored sexual abuse allegations filed against coaches. Complaints were reportedly filed against more than 50 gymnastics coaches, but authorities were not contacted about the complaints if they did not come directly from a victim or her parents. Three of those coaches have since been convicted, while a fourth killed himself in jail.

Before I mention any details, I have to give a trigger warning to trauma survivors. This news brought up a lot of poignant, ugly feelings for me.
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What to Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Support Your Career Dreams

Does the idea of selling something to someone you love sound sleazy or conjure up images of a salesman with a greasy mustache and bad suit promising low, low prices on used cars?

We tend to confine our thinking about sales to business contexts – and more often than not it’s something we seek to avoid or shy away from.

But think back to the last time you put your best influencer skills to work, whether that...
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