How To Get What You Need In Relationships

How To Get What You Need In Relationships

Relationships are not like cactuses that never need watering. They require tending and care. The closer we are to someone, the more work it needs; the closer the relationship is, the more challenging it tends to be, but when both people are invested, it is often worth the work.

You are not guaranteed in every moment to get what you need from a relationship, but increasing your interpersonal effectiveness skills and implementing these skills in healthy, mutually respectful and supportive relationships can significantly increase the likelihood that these needs will be considered and regarded on a consistent basis.

How To Increase Your Relationship Effectiveness Skills…

1. Identify what your needs are

Be mindful; pay attention to your thoughts, emotions, physical feelings, desires, opinions and needs

2. Take responsibility for yourself

Ultimately no one is responsible for your needs but you

Identify what is yours to meet and where you want or need to request help or care from someone else

Doing this consistently builds a sense of mastery and self-respect and transforms the way you feel about yourself and the way in which you interact with yourself and others

3. Communicate: ask in a mindful, self-respecting way without demanding or manipulating

Step one: pause and think

Step two: consider your ultimate goal

Step three: balance what you want, how you go about getting it and how it is going to make you feel about yourself (for further steps on how to do this, download a guide HERE)

4. Practice acceptance

Be willing to see reality as it is, not as you want it to be; take off your blinders to parts of reality that are unpleasant, knowing that one of the leading causes of psychological suffering is the refusal to accept reality as it is

If you are in a relationship and you continue to experience the relationship as unsatisfying, but you continue to expect something different, this is not accepting the present reality and will likely lead to passivity, anger, powerlessness or other stuck experiences

Accepting the full reality of what currently is brings about the empowerment to choose one of the following:

“this is what he/she is capable of, and I still want to be in a relationship”

“this isn’t going to work for me”

If you find yourself in a place where you could use additional help navigating a relational issue, call or email me today, and I will be happy to help you along!

Do You Have Toxic Relationships?

In many cases the degree of health or toxicity in a relationship is not as clear-cut as you might want it to be, and it can be difficult to determine if a particular relationship should be accepted as it is, worked on or ended altogether. One place to begin is to consider if the relationship was ever different than it is now? If there is something stressful occurring that could be impacting the way you and your friend, family member or partner interact, there could be hope for improvement and greater health. If this is always the way it has been, chances are higher that this relationship is inherently toxic.

In any relationship, it can help to consider what you would like to see changed. Talk this through with the other person and see how it goes. This conversation and the other person’s response and subsequent actions may also give you a strong indication of whether or not the relationship has hope of changing and improving. Continue reading “Do You Have Toxic Relationships?”

Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship

Respect + Honesty + Trust + Communication

All healthy relationships, whether it is a friendship, family or a romantic relationship possesses these characteristics along with similar others. While some qualities may be more relevant to certain types of relationships than others, all of these qualities may be considered when gauging the level of health in your relationship.

Qualities In A Healthy Relationship:

Everyone must decide for him or herself what values are most important and what boundaries are needed in relationships, but qualities that tend to develop healthy patterns of relating include: Continue reading “Characteristics of a Healthy Relationship”

Unconditional Acceptance & Love: What It’s Going To Take From You To Have It

What is the last thing you remember hiding?

Was it something you didn’t want your child to see? Was it money? Your last bar of chocolate that you didn’t want someone else to eat? What about tears or a thought or a feeling that did not feel comfortable or safe to share?

We all hide something every day. Makeup hides spots or other imperfections; safes hide our valuables; drapes hide the private parts of our home lives; clothes hide parts of our bodies. Whether on a surface or a deeply personal level, we all know how to hide. Hiding serves to protect, and some things need to be protected, but over time many people have learned to hide things they desperately long to have seen. Sometimes little is at stake, like losing out on chocolate, but in many cases, there is a great deal on the line, and for many, the possible cost of exposure seems to be too high a risk. Continue reading “Unconditional Acceptance & Love: What It’s Going To Take From You To Have It”

Why Can I Not Stop When I Am Trying So Hard?

Why Do I Keep Doing What I Do Or Feeling What I Feel? I Want To Stop!

Often people enter therapy frustrated that despite their best efforts and most intelligent reasoning, they cannot seem to change certain patterns of behavior, thinking, feeling or relating. Depending on how deep-seated the source of these patterns is, the harder you try to stop these patterns the more they may fight back to survive.

Have you ever promised yourself that you are not going to do something again, and then you do? Do you ever hear yourself promising that this is going to be the “last time” and then it’s not? Continue reading “Why Can I Not Stop When I Am Trying So Hard?”

Emotions 101

Often when people come into my office, they want to “stop being so emotional” and deal with an issue “more logically”. Through the work that we do, what people find over time is that the emotions themselves are not the issue; it is their relationship to the emotions (including judgments, interpretations and ability to regulate) that causes the majority of the suffering.

To effectively address any issue, both emotion and logic are needed, and what I enjoy reminding people is that both are mechanisms of the brain. You don’t actually use your brain for one and your “heart” for the other! Continue reading “Emotions 101”

The Secret Relationship Destroyer: And How to Argue Well

Source: Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Researchers are improving literature and awareness regarding the harmful patterns and behaviors that couples say that often lead to relationship strife and destruction. For example, we now know from the work of Dr. John Gottman that there are four communication patterns which predict whether a couple will stay together or break up: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

Despite all this progress, there is one marriage killer which does not receive as much attention and is just as damaging. It has the potential to slowly erode the foundation of love and trust over the course of a relationship. When one or another individual in a relationship resorts to punishing silence, this behavior has the ability to be emotionally, psychologically and relationally ruinous.

Silence is destructive…

Read Full Article

The Science Behind Yoga and Stress

By Dr. M. Storoni MD, PhD

What does bending your body into yoga poses do to your brain chemistry and nerve connections?

There are two functional parts of the brain that play a key role in stress. These serve the functions of emotion and cognitive function. So I am calling them the ’emotional’ brain (amygdala and its connections and medial forebrain structures including the medial prefrontal cortex) and the ‘logical’ brain (the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, other parts of the prefrontal cortex, parts of the cingulate cortex and parts of the hippocampus).
The emotional brain is able to initiate a ‘stress response’ via the sympathetic nervous system which culminates in adrenaline and cortisol racing through our circulation.The logical brain is always trying to ‘turn-off’ this stress response and it is also trying to restrain the emotional brain.

How To Set Adult Boundaries With Self Focused Parents


A lot of my work in practice focuses on adults who cannot figure out why their behavior and/or relationships are consistently disappointing, dysfunctional or otherwise repeatedly distressing in some way. Many come to find out that these patterns have a root in what they learned about themselves and the world and what they subconsciously learned to expect in and from relationship from their caretakers and throughout life experiences. While understandable, these beliefs and patterns are no longer serving them, and often deep healing must take place in order to experience the desired change in the present.
One of the deep rooted patterns that I work with often is the pattern that arises in children of self-focused or narcissistic parents. In her article “How To Set Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents” Christine Hammond discusses the journey required to move toward health should an individual choose to break free from the impact of this legacy and the boundaries necessary if the individual is going to be able to maintain the acquired health and not fall back into old habits.