As Natalie discussed yesterday in Part 4 of our blog series on forgiveness, it's important to try and hang onto forgiveness, once you have gone through the steps of the process. While she discussed some different ways you can make the commitment to forgiveness, what happens if you are struggling with this, and the memories continue to come back?
Virginia Satir was a pioneer in the therapy world in bringing amazing concepts to life to help individuals, families, and couples. She looked at the importance of the "experience" of life and how to make it a positive one. She connected the importance of our 5 senses and what impact they have on our experiences.
By now, you are aware of what "enmeshment" is and how to know if you are in an enmeshed relationship (see earlier blog posts this week). What are the dangers of being in an enmeshed relationship?
Loss of self. When you are in an enmeshed relationship, you lose your identity. You ultimately lose the parts of your "self" that made the other person fall in love with you to begin with!
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common thing we see in our offices starting this time of year. Keep reading this week to see if you are a sufferer or know someone who is. We found this information so important to our readers that we are re-posting this blog series from last year. Information will help you and give you hope!
This week we have been walking you through the stages of Grief and Loss. The next stage is very difficult but very important. Denial, anger, and bargaining have all come and gone and you are left with....sadness and depression. This is the 4th stage in the grieving process and can be the hardest stage to move through.
As Teri discussed yesterday, Denial is the first stage in the grief process. What happens once denial is removed? After you realize your loved one is gone or you're really losing your job, or you don't have the marriage you once thought? Anger & Bargaining set in. Today we'll talk about Anger, tomorrow we'll address Bargaining.
If you are experiencing infertility currently, please know our hearts go out to you. There are many different emotions that will be experienced throughout an infertility process. Infertility can trigger depression and anxiety when you may have never experienced these emotions before. This can begin to affect your marriage in hurtful ways.
This week, we are discussing the acronym HALT- Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. As you've read, all of these can be triggers to both addictions, as well as a host of other struggles in life, such as depression, anxiety, and physical illness.
H.A.L.T. is such a great acronym to use for recovery. We have been talking about recovery of addictions but we also use this for our clients who struggle with Depression and Anxiety. This is a MUST for their recovery: to not ever let themselves get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When people use this as a guide they are saying "I should never get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired". If they do, they could be susceptible to relapsing and/or finding themselves in a situation that they may look back and regret later.
So now you know what toxic and healthy secrets look like and how they impact your relationships... How do you know the difference between the two? Here are some questions to ask yourself that might help you determine the difference: 1. What is the intention? If the intention is to restore or promote passion and intimacy (e.g., not telling a spouse about a surprise date or party on their behalf), chances are that it's a healthy secret. If the intention is to try and keep someone from feeling "hurt" (e.g., keeping someone from feeling angry that you have done something hurtful), the chances are that it's toxic.
2. Is the secret effecting the relationship? For example, if you feel that your partners behavior or appearance (e.g., their physical appearance or weight, their emotional outbursts) are causing you difficulty with intimacy, sharing your feelings about this "secret" can have a positive impact on the relationship (even though it might be painful for your partner to hear this). If certain issues aren't impacting intimacy or other aspects of the relationship, but you are sharing a lot of critical and judgemental things with your partner, it may not be necessary and only push them further away and cause them to feel inadequate.
3. Does someone get hurt as a result of keeping the secret? Secrets like physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can cause someone t0 get hurt as a result of keeping the secret, and are therefore toxic. Even if it's someone you don't know, having the knowledge that someone is (0r has been) abusive and keeping it a secret can keep the abusive person protected, which allows the abuse to continue with others. If you are keeping a secret about an addiction or an affair, it can cause feelings of betrayal in the relationship when the truth finally comes out (which it will!). If no one will get hurt as a result of the secret, it most likely is a healthy secret.
4. Do YOU get hurt as a result of keeping the secret? Secrets such as spending money and acquiring debt, having an affair, withholding information about previous abuse or neglect, can cause so much shame over not allowing your partner to know who you really are and what you struggle with in your internal world. This not only hurts the relationship, but hurts YOU. It doesn't allow others to know who you really are. If a secret is hurting you, it is most likely toxic.
These are just a few of the questions to ask when trying to determine whether a secret is toxic or healthy. Thank you for reading!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.