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Laura Giles, LCSW

creating a truce

Creating a Truce for Stormy Relationships

If you are in a stormy relationship that you want to grow into a healthy one, it may be useful to call a truce. Here are some ground rules that you can consider adopting while in your truce so that you can function together while working things out. The guidelines are meant to create a space of safety and willingness to negotiate. If there is a little peace, perhaps all parties will be motivated to sustain it. So the goals are to refrain from creating more problems, don't stir up old problems, and build on the love that is the foundation of the relationship. The Don't List No blaming. Blaming is destructive and has no benefits. When you blame, you give all your power away and become a victim. Someone else...

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are you the one for me

Are You the One for Me?

When we meet someone new, we can ask ourselves, "Are you the one for me?" If you don't have a track record of happy relationships, it can be hard to know. Is there a checklist? Everyone has their own wish list for what they would like in a partner, but here are some things everyone can look at to rule someone in or out. I Feel Safe With You Safety is the most important emotional need that we all have. It's linked with survival. If we are not safe, we cannot thrive. Any situation that puts us in physical, emotional, or sexual danger is not healthy. Examples of physical safety are: are you in danger of being thrown out? Is your food restricted? Is your movement watched or restricted? Do you have...

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stuck

Five Reasons You’re Stuck (And What To Do About It)

Are you spinning your wheels? Can't get any traction to move on? Here are five reasons why that can help you get going again. Did You Feel Your Feelings? Sometimes people hit a rough patch and do the stiff upper lip thing. They pretend it didn't matter, it didn't hurt, and stuff it all inside. Maybe they even convince themselves that they have no feelings about it. Feelings want to move. They have to be expressed. When they are bottled up, it prevents us from feeling the hurt, but it also prevents us from feeling everything else. The only way to keep moving is to let yourself go through it. Feel it. Take your time. It will last as long as it lasts, but it does end. You may think you can't...

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how to express anger

How To Express Anger in Healthy Ways

Let's face it. Everybody gets angry sometimes. It's not a "bad" thing. It's a natural thing that alerts us when we feel our boundaries are being violated, we're not being seen or heard, or we sense that things are not fair. It's the juice that spurs us to action so we can make things right. When we express anger in healthy ways, it helps us to reach that goal. The problem is, anger has a bad rap. So many of us think that being angry is a sign that we're "bad" or out of control. Or maybe we're afraid to be angry because it will make other people not like us. Anger isn't the problem. Emotions are normal. However, the way that we express anger could be problematic. If our parents...

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hurts that never heal

Hope For Hurts That Never Heal

"I'll always feel this pain" are words I hate to hear. They feel like the person is resigned to live with pain - like there is no hope. Guess what? There is hope for hurts that "never heal." When I see people who tell me they will never heal, there is one of two things going on: either they don't want to heal or they don't know how. I Don't Want to Heal Everybody is not ready to heal. Healing can feel like a scary place. If the emotional hurt came from a betrayal or death, healing might represent accepting life without that person. That can be too much to bear. If the pain came from a rape or domestic violence, healing could feel like giving the perpetrator a pass. Healing from the impact...

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how to tell if you're projecting

How to Tell If You’re Projecting Your Stuff Onto Someone Else

Projection is putting our thoughts, feelings, or fears on to someone else. It's what we do when we are in Shadow. We do it because we're uncomfortable with something within us. We want to get rid of that thing, so we give it to something outside of ourselves. If we want to be healthier people, it's good to know how to tell if you're projecting yourself onto someone else. Before I talk about that though, let's look at some examples of projecting so that we can spot it. Examples of Projections I am attracted to someone I think it out of my league so I talk badly about him. (I'm projecting my fear of not being good enough).I am attracted to someone who doesn't appear to be attracted to me, so I...

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how to nurture and sustain love

How to Nurture and Sustain Love

Everybody wants and needs love, but if you didn't grow up with healthy examples of it, you may not know how to nurture and sustain love. Even if you did, you may be puzzled as to why the one you love doesn't love you back. Keep reading for insight into how it all works. The Love Bank To understand how to nurture and sustain love, you first need to grasp the concept of the Love Bank. I first heard about this from Dr. Willard Harley. Everything we do is either making deposits or withdrawals from our partner's love bank. When we do things that make him feel closer to us, more at ease, more happy, we create a deposit. When we do things that create distance, anger, inconvenience, sadness, doubt, and things...

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feeling frail

What to Do When You’re Feeling Fragile

Everybody hits a wall sometimes. It's that feeling you get when you need something or someone to hold on to. You feel that you're out of gas and don't have one more smile, conversation, or "atta girl" left in you. Maybe you don't know what to do. Maybe you do, but you just don't have the energy to do it. Before we talk about what to do when you're feeling fragile, let's first look at what might cause this. What Leads to Feeling Fragile? Here are some common things that can lead to feeling fragile. death breakups of friendships or relationships or fear of lossmoving away from what's known, comfortable, and connectedsocial distancing or isolationhealing from traumaspiritual breakthroughsfeelings of loneliness, fear, guilt, jealousy, or shamejudgments of being unworthy, bad, unlovable, being sick, physically...

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ways to lose trust

Top 3 Ways to Lose Trust

Healthy relationships thrive in an environment of trust. Whether we're talking about parent/child, teacher/student, neighbors or lovers, we all feel better and more connected where there is trust. Unfortunately, we may have learned behaviors that destroy love and don't even know it. Or maybe we were hurt in the past and adopted coping strategies to keep us safe. That safety comes at a cost of weak boundaries or weak trust. Could this be you? Keep reading the Top 3 Ways to Lose Trust and see! Be Inconsistent Have you ever met someone who does what he says he will only sometimes? Or he is playful and fun sometimes, then is grouchy and unapproachable the next day? Or maybe he is all in favor of a "great idea" one day and then second...

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when abuse looks like love

Seven Abusive Behaviors That Look Like Love

I am surprised by how many people are in abusive relationships and don't know it. If you grew up in a household where the line between love and abuse was blurry, you might learn that that is what love looks like. So you either love that way or accept love that is offered in that way. Want a healthier relationship? Then you have to be able to spot abusive behaviors that look like love. Here are a six abusive behaviors that look like love. Unwanted Sexual Contact Some partners think that sex is a way to show how much you love each other. They can feel entitled to sex when, where, and how they want it. Any type of touching that is not consensual is abuse. Healthy boundaries means that all touch...

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