Relationships Articles

Cultivating Gratitude: Beyond Narcissism and Toward Connection

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

gratitudeNo doubt, our parents worked tirelessly to get us to say “thank you” when someone offered a gift or did us a favor. Most likely, they succeeded in getting us to mouth these words. But while we internalized proper etiquette, did we understand the purpose behind uttering thanks? To what extent did we develop an inner sense of feeling and conveying genuine gratitude?

Gratitude is a corrective to our sense of entitlement. One aspect of narcissism is the belief that we deserve to get without having to give. We feel that we’re entitled to fulfill our needs without being troubled by perceiving another’s world and responding to others’ needs. Our attention is fully absorbed within a limited and narrow sense of self.

A Very Public Suicide and Those of Us Left Behind

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

A Very Public Suicide and Those of Us Left BehindI saw the news Monday morning that there was a jumper on the Williamsburg Bridge. In a city of eight million people it’s not uncommon news. The report said: black male in his early 30s, no name, a note was found in his briefcase.

They emphasized how he had snarled early-morning traffic.

A person commented on one news site: “This city will chew you up and spit you out.”

Four days later I would learn that man was my long-time friend Don. He had stopped traffic. What may have appeared to be an inconvenient commute was actually a lot of joy and light leaving the world.

Delusions of the Codependent

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Delusions of the CodependentOne of the most painful moments for a codependent is when he or she realizes that a relationship is not going to work out as imagined. Facing the end of a relationship is stressful for most people, and it is normal and natural to do whatever we can to keep a relationship going. But a codependent (and particularly one who is also a love addict) will typically go above and beyond what most people will do to help a relationship succeed, giving far more effort, time, energy, attention, and other resources than their partner does.

They often end up feeling angry, resentful, exhausted, lonely, and bitter. Sometimes they become martyrs, complaining about how much they’ve done and how little they are loved, appreciated, or getting in return. And every now and then they will do really desperate things to try to control the outcome.

9 Ways to Help a Friend or Family Member With Depression

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

essentialbaby.com.auAll of a sudden your best friend stops calling. She no longer wants to join you for yoga on Saturday mornings. The last time you saw her she looked fragile and sad, like someone else was living in her body. Her husband doesn’t know what to do so he solicits your help in cheering her up.

Or maybe it’s your sister. She has been struggling with depression for a few months now. She’s been to a psychiatrist and is on an antidepressant, but she doesn’t seem to be making much progress.

What do you do?

Not the Man I Used to Know

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Not the Man I Used to KnowEarly in my sobriety, I became friendly with a university professor who regularly attended my home group meeting. This person taught political science, and I enjoyed our conversations about current events, especially discussions around the Middle East, as Israeli and Palestinian tensions were peaking during this period. He was a supportive friend, and encouraged me to mentor another newcomer who later became one of my very best friends.

A short time into our friendship, the professor showed up late to our meeting and was disruptive throughout the hour. He stood up several times in the middle of other people sharing, washed his face in the small kitchenette sink, and had several coughing fits. It was odd, but I didn’t know enough to confront him or suggest he leave the meeting.

How Connecting with Our Authentic Self Creates a Foundation for Intimacy

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

We long for love, connection, and understanding, but oftentimes we don’t know how to create it.

Growing up in a goal-oriented society, we may develop a mindset that helps us succeed in business, but doesn’t do much to create safe and satisfying relationships. Pushing ourselves to work harder and promoting our viewpoints may increase sales figures or professional triumphs, but too much focus on success can be antithetical to love and intimacy.

It’s OK to Have Anxiety

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

It's OK to Have AnxietyAnxiety is a fickle beast. It can come on at any point during your day and completely wreck you until you’re able to find a place to unwind.

A major point of contention in my struggle with mental illness has been the anxiety I feel in social situations.

It goes like this: You’re about to enter a new situation and deal with people who don’t know you. You wonder what they’re going to think of you.

How to Ask for Help in a Crisis

Friday, July 11th, 2014

How to Ask for Help in a CrisisI have lived with schizophrenia for eight years. In those eight years I have gone through cycles of wellness. While it primarily gets better with each passing day, there are still periods here and there where life becomes too overwhelming or where I push myself too hard. Then I feel the intense crushing weight of existence on my shoulders.

In those times I tend to retreat, not only to my apartment but into myself. I lie there on my couch staring at the TV, emotions flowing through my spine. It’s all I can do to keep myself from crying.

Sometimes the feeling lasts for only a day or two. Other times it builds until there’s a tipping point where I make some declaration of exasperation and throw my family into a tizzy of worry.

Don’t Fail Marriage: 3 Homework Assignments to Earn an A in Nuptials!

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

marriage in trouble

Ready for a divorce? Try doing these things first.

School may be over for most kids, but for some parents in Oklahoma, it’s only beginning.

Oklahoma lawmakers signed a bill this month requiring divorcing couples with children under the age of 18 to complete a mandatory educational program. We guess parents are not going to be thrilled about this forced enlightenment and yet compatibility with your spouse is a critical subject. And it’s one you can pass with flying colors without government intervention if you complete these three homework assignments:

Can Romantic Comedies Improve Your Marriage? Recent Research Says Yes

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Enamoured couple at cinema

New research gives you an excuse to lure your partner into seeing that rom-com with you.

Fall 2014 brings the release of yet another Nicholas Sparks novel-turned movie The Best Of Me. While chick flick lovers are rejoicing, rom-com haters are simultaneously sighing. I’ve heard complaints many times from my girl and guy friends alike. ”These movies are so unrealistic; they skew our idea of love.”

It is easy to think that romance movies create false expectations in relationships. As much as we may envy or despise the characters and storylines of romance movies, do they really have a negative effect on our relationships?

When Someone You Love is Unhappy

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

When Someone You Love is UnhappyLove is what connects us to others. It provides us with fond memories of those around us. The truth about love, though, is that it often links our own happiness with the happiness of others. We feel compelled to make those we love who are unhappy, happy.

It is because of our own discomfort in seeing those we love unhappy that we seek out ways to change the situation, justifying our behaviors on the idea that we are helping them. Or, we begin to see our own happiness fade in the presence of an unhappy friend or family member.

Busting Summertime Depression

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The Four Horsemen of the ApocalpyseThe mark of summer is upon us. The kids are out of school, it’s hot, and it’s the season in which everyone expects to feel good. Except you don’t.

Let’s take a look at some of the causes of summertime depression.

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