Couples Counseling Articles

Love

Love, Loneliness and Connection

My attorney married his college sweetheart after she finished medical school.

They were married only a short time, which he describes as the loneliest three years of his life.

To this day, he has never remarried.

In 2018, loneliness emerged as a silent epidemic in North America.

In today’s almost-post-quarantine-world, we have a national health crisis on our hands.

Oddly, loneliness is not defined by our surroundings nor does it have a direct relationship to distance or geography.

We can feel lonely and emotionally alone even in beautiful space with people we love.

It’s an internal sense or comfort level and is distinct from solitude.

Solitude is an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation. It’s voluntary and tends to enhance our personal growth, creativity and well-being. It brings up emotions…but in a good way.

Loneliness feels heavy and is burdened with shame. Stigma surrounds it and creates an unconscious desire to escape. The brain says, “Anywhere but here.”

In research circles, there is an evolution in thinking about loneliness and its link to depression, anxiety and addiction.

Meanwhile, most people have become experts at suppressing loneliness with magical thinking and….let’s admit it….our over use of electronic devices.

When that doesn’t work, we withdraw, stay busy or self-medicate with something or someone.

As unrelenting as the state of loneliness may seem, it is reversible.

First, we can lift the burden of shame by recognizing and acknowledging that we all need human connection as much as we need food and water.

Then we can de-stigmatize loneliness by talking about our experiences and understanding it for what it is:

a near-universal human condition we can do something about.

Working From Bed

After binge watching The Crown a while back, I read that Winston Churchill frequently ran Britain from bed.

He’d stay there till 1pm with his typewriter and Scotch, reading and firing off memos to his ministers.

I’ve always loved that idea and considering where we are these days…..I can tell you…..it’s …awesome!

It’s also luxurious and feels REALLY GOOD. (Minus the Scotch – ONLY because I can’t consume alcohol and work at the same time!)

Where is she going with this?…. you ask.

Well…..I want to remind you, that love and connection feel REALLY GOOD too!

If that feel-good sensation is missing in your relationship, consider this…..

It’s always confusing when partners experience emotional pain AND profess to love each other.

Look a little closer and you’ll notice a sense of unsafe-ness or lack of trust. It happens when we feel

  • Judged
  • Invisible
  • Unappreciated
  • Unheard
  • Rejected
  • Overwhelmed
  • Not-good enough or
  • Shamed.

It’s also there when we feel

  • Hurt
  • Abandoned
  • Unimportant
  • Unwanted
  • Isolated
  • Alone
  • Disconnected or
  • Desperate.

ALL of these emotions are real and reflect a lack of emotional safety and trust.

This is when our hearts hurt, our brains light up like Christmas trees and our central nervous system goes into overdrive.

This is a UNIVERSAL human experience….and happens automatically when we feel unsafe.

Our bodies (and our brains) respond with the Fight, Flight or Freeze response.

No matter who we are, what we do for a living or where we come from…. our brains and hearts ALWAYS want to know:

  • Are you there for me?
  • Am I safe with you?
  • How are we doing?
  • What’s next? and
  • Where do we go from here?

If the answer to any of these questions is ambiguous or a flat out ’No’…… bad things start to happen….from the inside out.

This year, more than any other, our emotions and reactions have been on steroids.

So give yourself – and those around you – a break.

Do whatever you need to do and make mental Wellness YOUR top priority for 2021.

That means committing to self-care by…

  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Eating clean food.
  • Hydrating often.
  • Moving your body.
  • Tapping into wisdom.
  • Having a spiritual connection and…. above all else
  • Cultivating relationships.

If you can’t do them all – then simply pick ONE and start.

This crazy, crisis-filled year has been a challenge for everyone – including the entire Wellness Team!

  • We’ve learned a lot and Self-Care is one of the things we’re keenly aware of – now more than ever.
  • That’s why I want to share a few important details with you before taking my own, personal long-awaited and well-deserved time off.

Our offices will have very limited coverage beginning Monday December 21 thru Friday, January 1 inclusive. We will be back at our desks Monday January 4. We will check email and return calls during that time – but on a very limited basis.

Because what we do is so important to our clients and their families, it’s a priority for the Wellness team to take some solid time to rest and celebrate with our own families.

Please plan accordingly.

We appreciate YOU more than words can say and want only the BEST for you.

We wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and encourage you to take good care of your (PRECIOUS) self and the people you care about!

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Only For You

The story you tell yourself is true, but only for you.

We see and hear everything through our own eyes and ears.

Our brain compares what we see and hear to what we expect. Then, our brain creates stories around every interaction we have.

We form an opinion, make judgments and the story we tell ourself becomes our truth. It’s our understanding of the world. Those stories become our belief… about a person, place or situation. It’s how we make sense of things.

Continue Reading Only For You

Hold Me Tight® Workshop for Couples – Charlotte, NC – September 28 & 29

How do you want to feel in your relationship?

Safe? Warm? Respected? Understood? Cherished?

Whatever it is for YOU…. if you’re trying hard to make things better – you’re not alone.

We’re all pretty good about attending to our children, homes and careers. Yet when it comes to our primary relationship, most of us wing it and hope for the best. STOP!

What YOU want for your relationship is more important today than ever before.

It’s time to dig deep and think about the ONE thing that’s likely to make everything better.

You know what I’m talking about….connection.

It creates the kind of closeness you experience when you have important conversations…. without slipping into that dreaded negative spin.

Connection is a must-have for 21st century relationships and exactly what you’ll experience in our couples workshops.

Hold Me Tight® Workshop for Couples

2 Days – 7 Conversations

Join us on September 28 and 29!

The Wellness Center Counseling Hold Me Tight workshop

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Continue Reading Hold Me Tight® Workshop for Couples – Charlotte, NC – September 28 & 29

We Got The Wrong Message!

Somehow, we got the message that love is mystical and magical. That it appears, then disappears. Motivates us. Confuses us. And, of course, we have no control over it.

Not true!

Over the past 10 years or so we’ve learned a lot about love. Brain science has completely changed our understanding of what’s possible when it comes to shaping a loving relationship.

So much so that our whole culture is shifting and personal expectations are growing. Have you noticed? While we used to settle for good enough, today we want connection.

We want to be cherished, accepted, respected and understood. We want more from our partners and while it doesn’t have to be perfect… we believe we deserve better.

Continue Reading We Got The Wrong Message!

Some Thoughts On Relating

To relate:

  1. To bring into or establish association, connection or relation.
  2. To establish a social or sympathetic relationship with a person or thing.

Relating is for people who want to matter. In intimate partnerships it’s about protecting and supporting each other and is the essential ingredient for a fulfilling relationship.

When it’s missing, we’re disconnected and our relationships feel stuck. The stuck-ness is real. It’s undeniable truth, not just a metaphor. Stuck-ness triggers us and shows up in ways that will spin you around, take you down and drop you off in the middle of nowhere – lonely and confused.

That’s the power of emotional disconnection.

That peaceful, loving state we all strive for vanishes.

Continue Reading Some Thoughts On Relating

Love and Loneliness

Creating emotional balance and safety in a topsy-turvy world seems impossible some days.

Intuitively, we know love, attention and connection are are key; everywhere present and scarce at the same time.

So we seek it. Crave it. Demand it.

While the essence of it all might just be about mastering how to give and receive it.

What we believe matters… now more than ever.

Moment by Moment / Grace and Gratitude

Just a simple reminder on how well you’re doing.

Those anxious moments you had a year ago are gone.

The problem was either resolved or it faded into the background. Something you live with but no longer think of as urgent.

Today there are other issues – for sure!

And, knowing you can get through every single overwhelming moment makes it easier to see what’s real.

When we give our attention to the important stuff instead of the panic within, we learn to build a cycle of goodness.

Continue Reading Moment by Moment / Grace and Gratitude

When Conversations Go Off The Rails – Bad Things Happen

Can you relate? It happens to all of us.

It’s that moment in your relationship when things are great and suddenly someone gets triggered.

The conversation goes off the rails and your partner makes NO sense.

Communication goes in circles and you both feel frustrated, hurt and confused.

Intuitively you know it’s a negative loop – one that’s almost impossible to stop.

You’ve been here 100 times before and you want to stop it………. but you can’t

You’d love to get your point across. But, what you want MOST is to be heard and understood.

Sometimes you’re left wondering what the heck the argument was even about.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

These negative cycles are UNIVERSAL and every couple has them.

Continue Reading When Conversations Go Off The Rails – Bad Things Happen

Registration is open and I’m super excited!

I’m thrilled to announce that Early Bird Registration (big savings!) is open for our 2019 Hold Me Tight® Workshops here in Charlotte, NC.

We have four 2-day weekends to choose from!

 

Yep. I’m that excited.

Most of us value our primary relationship and truly want to make it better – we read books and spend hours scouring the internet wondering how to make that special connection happen.

We carefully and regularly attend to our…

  • children
  • careers
  • cars
  • yards
  • mortgages and
  • home improvement projects

with LOTS of success.

But if you work your tail off and can’t figure out why things aren’t getting better between you and your partner — you are not alone.

(HINT: this is not something we’re taught in school. And people rarely recognize emotional closeness as a skill worth building and cultivating. Turns out, it’s as essential as oxygen!)

Make no mistake – the ability for a couple to have enough closeness and trust to have an important conversation (or any conversation for that matter!) without slipping into a negative spin – is a must-have for 21st century relationships.

And that’s exactly what you’ll learn in our Hold Me Tight® Workshop for Couples.

After 2 days and 7 conversations, you’ll walk away with concrete ways to communicate and pull your partner closer.

Talking, listening and being heard for the first time in a loooooong time is exactly what you’ll experience.

Click here and select the date that works for you……

Continue Reading Registration is open and I’m super excited!