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Laura Giles, LCSW

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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honoring your shadow

Honoring Your Shadow

The longer I am a trauma therapist, the more deeply I believe in honoring your Shadow. So much pain comes from wanting to not face reality. It's like we will do anything to avoid guilt, shame, and pain. We push those things into Shadow and unconsciously act from that place when we can simply Be. It may sound like I am speaking as if I am outside of that cycle, but I do it too. We all do. Just some of us do it more than others. Some of us do it more unconsciously than others. The first step to healing the Shadow is to make it conscious. Accept that we all have a Shadow. It's the part of us that we don't want to see. The second step is to choose...

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self-love quotes

35 Self Love Quotes to Pick You Up

Who doesn't love quotes? Quotes encapsulate an inspiring thought that can motivate you, remind you of your purpose, remind you who you are, and keep you going. Self love has to be cultivated. It comes from your thoughts and your habits. If you need some help getting there, enjoy these 35 self love quotes often. Revisit them when you're beating yourself up, feeling down, or you're feeling good and want to keep riding that wave. When you find the one that really speaks to you, make it your mantra. "Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept." ~Anna Taylor “Act as if what you do makes a difference....

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betraying myself

Why Am I Betraying Myself?

If you think about it, there are two main reasons why people betray themselves. 1) for approval and 2) to belong or fit in. It can make you feel like you walk around wearing a mask. Neither feeling is generally worth the loss of self that it costs you. Acting for Approval Everybody enjoys approval. We all want to feel that we are good, competent, kind, and valued. However, when we need it, it becomes problematic because the power over our happiness always lies in someone else's hands. The person wielding the power can feel manipulated or obligated to care for you. That can feel like a burden. And you can feel slighted when you don't get approval when and how you want it. Both people can end up resenting the other. What you...

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pandemic induced depression

7 Tips for Dealing With Pandemic Induced Depression

Sheltering in place for months is taking a toll on mental health. We're not engaging in many of the things that create stability and happiness. We don't have clear facts about when it will end or what life will look like a month from now so we can't plan. It can feel like an endless Groundhog Day where nothing changes. So how can we deal with or avoid pandemic induced depression? Here are some tips. Maintain a Routine By far the most common thing I am encountering among clients is a lack of routine. There's no reason to get up at a certain time and no reason to go to bed. So why bother? Unfortunately, our bodies need routine. When we start sleeping when we want to, eating when we want to,...

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emotional safety

Want to Connect? Do This.

A really common statement that I hear in my office when dealing with couples is, "When things get tough, all I need is for you to hold me." That's a request for emotional safety. So why is it so hard for our partners to do this? It's about safety. When you're in an argument with someone and you don't feel safe, the last thing you want to do is move into that discomfort. It's like violating your own feelings. This is true in non-romantic relationships too: parent/child, co-workers, friends, and communities. Remember being a kid and fighting with your brother? Your parents made you hug and say you're sorry? What about your anger? Your feelings? Don't they mean anything? When you are ignored, it's invalidating. When you're feeling like you're not...

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raised by wolves

The Hidden Pain of Not Having a Healthy Mother

Okay, I am not literally talking about being an orphan. What I mean by "not having a mother" is when your parents are physically or emotionally absent. Maybe you were a latchkey kid. Maybe you had a helicopter mom. This can happen if your mom was preoccupied with a sick child, parent, or spouse. If your parents were mentally ill, had substance abuse issues, were workaholics, or were children of dysfunctional families and just didn't know how to be healthy adults or parents, that could also qualify. I am surprised at how dismissive mainstream society is about the value of healthy parenting. I see so many people who were neglected who don't know they were neglected so they don't see how harmful that was. Some don't see their...

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