Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Although made popular in the 1960’s, compliments of Neil Sedaka, these words that “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” continue to hold weight today.

If you’ve ever experienced a treacherous breakup, you know the subsequent pain can surge over you in many and varying forms.

Frequently, you and your partner may not even be on the same page, one of you perhaps hoping and believing there is something to salvage. It can be tough to let go of one another, made doubly complicated by our tendency, as humans, to seek connection.

Often, breaking up with someone we love can manifest as feelings of loss.

This loss may not even be related to losing your partner but can also pertain to the loss of future dreams and plans associated with the relationship.

Sometimes these feelings of loss can be hard to recognize.

Within this chaos, it can become so easy to turn on ourselves; to place blame; to wonder why we weren’t good enough to make it work.

We punish ourselves for loving, for being committed, for putting our best efforts into something that seemingly fizzled before our eyes.

Wading through these emotions can make one feel like they are at sea, the loss washing over us in tremendous, crashing waves.

Resultantly, it can become so trying to have faith in ourselves, our own inner strength, and the resources we innately possess to prevail and, to somehow, allow ourselves to again be vulnerable and to love.

The healing process becomes clouded, hidden under the murkiness created out of this mix of feelings, often complicated by a magnification of symptoms we have been managing to deal with our entire lives: anxiety, depression, negative self-image, or any number of things.

I implore you not to lose faith, to have empathy for yourself and the pain you are feeling. If you are struggling to find direction amidst the overwhelm, don’t be afraid to lean on your support system; family, friends, co-workers.

If it is further support you seek, an advocate to help you illuminate the path towards healing and growth, I suggest reaching out to a mental health professional.

You will find an individual who can offer you another perspective, which isn’t clouded with bias.

This individual will provide you agency in choosing the best path forward.

How To Stay Calm During A Marital Fight: Visual Guide

How To Stay Calm During A Marital Fight: Visual Guide

One of the major problems that many couples face is lacking the ability to fight well.

The idea that couples fighting well might sound strange at first. There tends to be a false narrative in our culture that happy couples do not fight.

We imagine this couple that is always sensitive to each other needs, never gets annoyed or upset, and even if they do, they both forgive each other as quickly as the offense happens.

However, this view of marriage and relationships is simply an illusion.

Indeed, some couples do not scream and yell at each other, but this does not automatically mean they are a great couple. They could be withdrawing from each other and ignoring the underlying issues that keep them from connecting deeply.
The bottom line is all couples will face disagreements. All couples will find times when one or both of the spouses are annoyed or upset.

But what separates the champions of relationship from those domed to struggle or breakup or divorce is the way in which they are fighting or how they handle the aftermath of the fight.

Sadly, many couples repeatedly galvanize each other into cycles of defense, criticism, contempt, and stonewall, which researcher John Gottman has shown to be some of the most significant signs of divorce.

So what are you supposed to do if you find yourself in this type of situation?

Part of the problem many of us have is once our emotions flood us, we have a tough time communicating in a way that invites the other person to think about solutions and be open to any repair attempts.
Being flooded and continuing the discussion is a terrible idea.

When I’m working with couples in therapy, I have trained myself to notice when someone is being flooded. Once I observe it happening, I intervene to get that person or the couple time to calm down.

I know nothing can happen until the person or the couple is calmed down.

Being able to calm down is essential for effective communication.

To help you and your spouse achieve effective communcation, I made this visual guide giving you five things you need to do to help stay calm during a fight.

This guide will be especially essential to men, for as Gottman points out,

“Men are more likely to feel physiologically overwhelmed sooner than women during a heated exchange. And it takes less intense negativity for men to get physiologically overwhelmed. [Furthermore,] men are more likely to rehearse destructive, innocent-victim, or vengeful thoughts once they feel flooded.”

Of course, women will benefit from the guide because regardless of gender, they usually do and say things they later regret once a person is flooded.

How to Keep Anxiety & Stress From Flipping Your Lid

How to Keep Anxiety & Stress From Flipping Your Lid

Anxiety and stress are some of the most common problems that enter through my therapy doors. This year has been no exception.

Between adjusting to life in a pandemic to natural disasters, stress and anxiety are very present. The “best” part of these two problems is that they affect everyone differently, making it tricky to combat them at times.

Throughout this year, I have noticed that parents and children/adolescents are particularly vulnerable to stress and anxiety. So what can you do when it seems inevitable at this point?

Gain Understanding

I think it is essential to understand what anxiety and stress can do to your body. Drs. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson lay this out nicely in their book “The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind.” They note that increased stress and anxiety can increase heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. It also affects our abilities to think and make judgments.

In their book, they state that having these problems is like “flipping your lid,” meaning that instead of thinking with the parts of the brain that control rational thinking, you are left with the more primitive parts that are in charge of making you feel big emotions and act on instinct.

Strategies To Overcome Anxiety

Now that we have a better understanding of it, what can you do to decrease these two issues?

  1. Know that these are normal things that people face every day.
  2. Make sure that you understand your limits (knowing when to take a break); burnout is real for both parents and children/adolescents.
  3. Self-care!! I cannot express this concept enough. Make sure that you are doing things that increase your overall life satisfaction and well-being levels. It doesn’t have to be anything too much, but merely taking the time to listen to your body can be extremely helpful. Below, I have included some great apps that can be utilized to help!
  4. Talk to someone! My job as a therapist is to listen and understand. If anxiety and stress are being persistent and driving you up a wall, talk with a mental health professional. We are here as a resource for you!

Anxiety and Stress Apps free

  • Brain.Fm- free
  • Pacifica- free
  • Worry Watch- $2.99
  • Mood Path- free
  • Talklife- free
  • What’s Up- free
  • SuperBetter- free
  • Rootd- free
  • Sleeptime- free
  • Relax & Rest Guided Meditations- $1.99
  • Calm- free