Mon, 3 May 2021
What to do when your partner shuts down.
Are you trying to have a relationship with a partner who avoids, defends or worse... won't talk at all? Few things are as frustrating, or as hurtful. It's hard NOT to get upset and angry when you're feeling rejected, unloved, or uncared for. The problem is that many people who clam up as a defensive strategy when things get tense don't understand how destructive their behaviors can be to your relationship.
But there is help, and there is hope. Because these types of communication problems are so common, I thought it might be helpful to you if I put together a "Communication Problems" podcast-mini series.
"Communication Issues" are the single most common presenting issue that brings couples to marriage counseling. The first thing to know about communication problems: Absolutely ALL couples struggle to communicate with each other from time to time. Just because it's happening in your relationship does not spell doom. Truthfully, by making a few positive changes in the way you interact with each other, you can avoid many communication problems -- and start enjoying each other again.
In episode 1, "Communication Problems and How To Fix Them" we discussed the most important and empowering things you can remain mindful of if you want to improve the communication in your relationship: Systems theory, and your own empowerment to affect positive change.
In episode 2, "Dealing With an Angry Partner" we addressed the oh-so-common "pursue / withdraw" dynamic that so many couples can fall in to. This idea is at the core of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy -- one of the most well researched and scientifically supported approaches to couples counseling. (And what we practice here at Growing Self!)
Specifically in episode 2, we looked at this communication pattern from the perspective of the "withdrawer" (i.e. the person in the relationship who might be perceiving their "pursuing partner" as angry or even hostile. In that episode I gave you some tips to help get back into the ring with your partner, some insight into why they may be so angry, and things that you can do to help soothe their anger and bring the peace back into your home.
In the third and final episode of our "Communication Problems" series, "Dealing With a Withdrawn Partner" we'll be looking at this from the perspective of the partner who pursues -- the one who is attempting to engage with a partner who seems emotionally distant, avoidant, and unresponsive.
If you've been feeling frustrated or angry because your partner refuses to talk to you, this one is for you. In this episode, I'm talking about what may be leading your partner to seem emotionally withdrawn, as well as things that you can do to help your partner come closer to you emotionally, and start opening up again.
I sincerely hope that this series helps you understand what may be happening at the root of your communication problems, as well as some real-world tips for things that can help you improve your relationship.
Direct download: Communication_Problems_and_How_To_Fix_Them_Part_3-_When_Your_Partner_Wont_Talk_to_You_-_41717_4.15_PM.mp3
Category:relationships, self help -- posted at: 10:00am MST
Mon, 6 May 2019
In my role as a therapist, life coach and breakup recovery coach here at Growing Self, I have had the honor and privilege to walk along side many people as they make agonizing decisions about whether or not to stay in a relationship.
They often have deep ambivalence about the relationship: They love their person, and they acknowledge that the relationship has many good aspects, and yet they simply feel in their heart that it is not the right relationship for them.
So they stay. Sometimes, for years.
If this is familiar to you (or someone you know) this podcast is for you. In this episode I'm addressing:
I hope this perspective helps!
Direct download: How_to_Break_Up_With_Someone_You_Love_-_5619_3.41_PM.mp3
Category:relationships, self help -- posted at: 4:28pm MST
Mon, 18 March 2019
How do you know if you're with the right person? If your relationship is good but not perfect, is that okay? How do you know if you're settling? When do you invest in a relationship, and when should you bail?
So. Many. Questions.
This angst was captured perfectly by a recent question that someone asked on our Growing Self Facebook page:
"How do you know if you should marry the guy? I’m in my mid twenties and loads of my friends are facing this question, as am I. You’ve been with them a couple years, it’s good but not perfect ... Do you break up and look for more or is he the one?"
On this episode, we're discussing how to figure out if you're compatible, how good is good enough, what things in a relationship can change (and what can't) and the surprising shift in thinking that will help you see the potential of your relationship a different way — for better or for worse.
xo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
Mon, 19 November 2018
Your Holidays Will Be Good When Your Boundaries Are.
In case you hadn't noticed the towering pumpkin displays in the grocery store, the catalogues and coupons clogging your mailbox, or the tinsel-spangled interiors of every store you dare step foot in... the holidays are upon us.
The holidays can be so amazing: Its the time to expand our souls, embrace generosity and good will, enjoy the warmth of our families and friends, and be grateful for the wonderful relationships in our lives. And... as you well know, holidays can also be fraught with stress, overwhelm, overspending, and tense moments with family members.
In my experience as both a marriage counselor and therapist (as well as personally) the "dark side" of the holiday experience often happens when people struggle to hold healthy boundaries.
The Usual Suspects:
Because these kinds of boundary problems are so common (and so darn avoidable, with advance planning) I thought I'd put together some holiday-specific boundary advice on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.
I'm sharing some tools to help you get your boundaries "just right," and enjoy yourself this year.
I sincerely hope that it helps you avoid the pitfalls and enhance all the wonderful moments that the month ahead has to offer.
From me to you,
Lisa Marie Bobby
Mon, 18 December 2017
It's Time To Stretch Your Soul
This is a sacred time of year, no matter what your beliefs. Spiritual traditions of every flavor honor this special season. Even if you have no spiritual belief system it's still a time for reflection, generosity and new resolutions. It's a time of year for gratitude, showing others how much you love them, and thinking about who you want to grow into as the next year spins into focus -- for everyone.
It's also the perfect time to cultivate the practice of unconditional love.
In the near future, you will likely have fork-in-the-road moments with friends, family, your kids, siblings, and your partner, in all their disappointing, annoying, frustrating, and hurtful humanity. At these moments you can choose judgment or empathy; contempt or compassion; anger or acceptance; grudge-holding or forgiveness.
Its easy to love when your ego is stroked, when you feel gratified, and when you're awash in pleasurable "loving" feelings. But the heart of every religion teaches us that our purpose here is something else: To love when it’s hard.
It can be challenging to stay compassionate and understanding with people who behave badly. The grand, beautiful paradox of this time of year is that -- with all it's unique stressors -- you will have many opportunities to practice staying soft and loving in the face of challenging relational moments.
Accept the Challenge of Unconditional Love
Choosing love even when it's hard feels selfless, but truthfully, you're the one who wins. Choosing love expands your soul, softens your spirit, and makes you a happier person. In giving love, you receive it -- whether or not anyone else participates.
Learning how to do this will not only help others, make you feel good, improve your relationships, and contribute to world peace... it will help you grow into the self-actualized, "best self" that you were meant to be.
With love to you,
The Season For Unconditional Love: Listen Now
Music Credits: The Kronos Quartet, Black Angels: "Spem in Alium"
P.S. Are you on the Love, Happiness and Success Express? Sign up on my website and I'll send you a monthly roundup with the latest from the blog.
Tue, 16 May 2017
Do you have issues with your parents?
If so, you're normal. As a therapist, family therapist, and life coach I know that many, if not most, people in their twenties, thirties, and forties are still working through different aspects of their relationships with their parents. This doesn't mean rehashing the past, but rather letting go of old baggage so that you can move forward into the life you design.
Though this work can be challenging, it can also be absolutely necessary for you to re-define your relationships with your family of origin as you grow into your happiest, healthiest, "best self." Understanding how you relate/d to your family can also be profoundly important to understanding how you relate to your spouse and children.
Sometimes, this work involves healing, and forgiving your parents for things that happened in the past. You may need to learn how to establish healthy adult relationships with your parents, as you create your own family. Or, you might need to set new boundaries with your parents, and release the responsibility and guilt your're carrying.
It's a lot, and for many this type of work can feel very "big" and overwhelming. So on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I'm going to be talking you through some really common "parent problems" that adults face, and give you some tips for how to resolve them successfully. This episode might be helpful to you if you have:
Yes, these are deep topics, but ones I know that so many of you can relate to. I hope that the advice I share here can help you to not just create healthier and happier relationships with your parents, but can launch you on your own empowering journey of healing and growth.
May peace be with you,
Direct download: How_to_Deal_With_Difficult_Parents_-_51617_6.19_AM.mp3
Category:relationships, self help -- posted at: 7:07am MST