What a Relief! Learning How to Apologize

I'll admit I'm a newcomer to the whole "apologizing" movement. For many years, it would be almost physically painful to admit I was wrong - even now, I can't really explain why. Now, I see that same trait in my middle child - when it's clear an apology is in order, I can see her cringe, fidget, and generally fuss about doing it. And, when it DOES happen, it's usually comes out sarcastically (she's a work in progress). I can completely relate to her. Sometimes, it's hard to say those two little words - "I'm sorry." As easily as they come to others, for some, they can be intimidating, shaming, and embarrassing. All that brings me to the relief I felt when I finally learned how to apologize - a

Who Comes First? It Matters...

When I counsel couples in my practice, I always try and get a "feel" for who gets what priority in the family. Are spouses each other's priority? Or do the kids come first? Most importantly, what is the family structure, and are things a bit wonky? For families with small children, I'll ask the question, "who comes first," and nine out of ten times, each parent will say "the children." It's not surprising, since we've been taught that children's needs should always come first. So, you can imagine the look of suprise and horror when I ask couples to consider making the marriage the primary relationship, before their relationships with the children! In common terms, I'm asking them to meet eac

Do You Trust Your Own Judgement?

Anyone out there remember the weird cults of the '80's and '90's? I do - and I REALLY remember wondering: Why would all these seemingly normal people follow someone preaching such a bizarre doctrine? After a while, I figured out the followers weren't your usual run-of-the-mill folks - oftentimes, they were former drug addicts, formerly incarcerated folks, and generally misguided souls. So, why were these particular types of people so attracted to what we most of us consider a "whack job"? The more I learn about psychology, the more I understand this concept: Turns out, when some of us start to lose faith in our OWN judgement (after we seriously mess up, for example), we often long to "be tol

Facebook-You VS. the Real-You

We write a lot about conflict on our blog (it's a conflict resolution blog, after all!). But, I fear we don't pay enough attention to our inner conflicts - those that we fight in our heads and hearts. One of the most common inner conflicts is how we present ourselves to others vs. how we really feel about ourselves. The conversation is appropriate, after all, considering how many people have a "Facebook-self" or "Instagram-Self" that's far different from their "real" selves. Sure, we all like to present ourselves to others in a way that puts our best face forward. But, what happens when that "face" is so different from the one we actually see in the mirror? When I have children in session, I

Is Role Confusion Ruining Your Relationships?

These days, the word "role" can garner a pretty negative reaction - few of us like being defined by anything, much less a "role" we're supposed to play in our relationships. But, the mental health community agrees - roles can actually be pretty useful, as long as they're healthy. What I often find, however, is that role confusion contributes to quite a bit of distress and conflict, especially in relationships. Take a woman who is a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. Which role takes priority? In non-blended families, most people would agree that the role of "wife" is the priority role. After all, you were a couple before you had children! However, some women feel pressured to be "mother" fi

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