Relationships

What Does it Mean to “Let Go”? Part 3

What Does it Mean to “Let Go”? Part 3

Some of us are better at letting go than others. We all struggle with this concept at some point during our lives. The sensation of holding on gives us this false sense of control, security, and drains us of our energy. Sometimes, we hold on anyway because we do not know how to let go. I hope this week gives you some hints as to how to make that happen.

What Does It Mean to "Let Go"? Part 1

What Does It Mean to "Let Go"? Part 1

Day after day we hear people talk about the difficulty they have with letting things go. Sometimes it's related to codependency and the trouble they have with not controlling others. Sometimes it's when a person has trouble with an addict in their life. Others just have trouble letting go of old wounds and resentments. So we thought we would help our readers see what "letting go" actually means, and clear up any misconceptions about it.

    Essential Ingredients to a Healthy Relationship Part 1

    Essential Ingredients to a Healthy Relationship Part 1

    Everyone has good intentions to find a healthy relationship, but do they have what it takes to make it happen? Enmeshment is the initial love stuck feeling people typically experience at the beginning. This extreme is a short lived fantasy land where people tend to lose themselves. This is not a healthy relationship.

    Strengthening Adult Relationships with Our Fathers-Part 1

    Strengthening Adult Relationships with Our Fathers-Part 1

    Our relationships with our fathers change as we get older.  Sometimes this transition can be difficult, depending on the relationship, personalities, past hurts, and other challenges.  If you realize your relationship with your father is not what you want it to be, check back daily as we provide tips:

    Failing into Healthy Communication Habits

    Recently we did a webinar with our friends over at Fishhook.us. They are an amazing business in our community that we love to collaborate with. Please visit their website to find our more about them. In the meantime, enjoy this post written for us by them. Thank you, Fishhook! Failing into Healthy Habits - The Importance of Good Communication

    Fails happen. Cooking fails, laundry fails, walking down stairs fails … parenting fails, spouse fails, friend and co-worker fails. The latter set, of course, feel more important. It’s hard when we fail, or are failed by people we care for and respect. These kinds of fails can be hard to even talk about. Putting salt instead of sugar into your chocolate chip cookies is one thing, but having to sit down and face a hard conversation with your spouse or your child about what went wrong and how to fix it is a very different kind of experience.

    Recently, we presented on the importance of having healthy conversations after an event fail in the workplace. We gave our audience a “Healthy Conversations Quiz” in order to help them assess how well they were communicating within their staff. And while this was specifically designed to use in a workplace situation, we’ve adapted some of the material to help provide a few key ways you can begin having intentional, healthy conversations with those around you, whether you’re at work or at home.

    Stay on Task

    If you’re having a conversation about a specific situation or topic, make sure your conversation sticks with that situation or topic. Sometimes, it can be tempting to vent and veer off into different territory. Unless there is a very clearly connected series of actions or events that should be included, stick to the subject at hand.

    Skip unproductive complaining

    If your ultimate goal is to assess a problem and seek a solution, complaining just gets in the way. Often complaining happens because we feel hurt or defensive and want to make that known, but the truth is that it usually hinders clear and honest communication.

    Have the courage to say hard things when necessary.

    As the saying goes, “the truth hurts.” Sometimes saying the hard thing is the only way to really convey the truth of a situation. But, always make sure there is purpose and pure intention behind it. The key words here are “when necessary.” Saying hard things can be a part of developing  deeper relationships and better communication. Avoid using hard truth as a weapon for winning a fight.

    Celebrate the wins!

    Always make sure to acknowledge the things that went right! Healthy conversations are not always hard conversations. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying, “Wow, this was a win! Great job!” and then asking, “How can we carry the things that went right in that situation into other areas?”

    Operate in a healthy cycle of addressing challenges and making improvements.

    Change-related conversations should be followed by actions. Make sure you follow up later on … talk about the wins and then address the next steps or remaining challenges.

    Good communications skills are so valuable in all of our relationships - with friends, co-workers, spouses, children and extended family members. Beyond just “communicating” with one another, it’s important that we make sure we are having healthy conversations in all of these settings. These conversations can serve to strengthen the foundation of our relationships so they become places of mutual trust and personal growth.

    To learn more about fishhook and how they can help your business or church visit  https://www.fishhook.us To listen to the webinar Worship Where You Work visit https://www.fishhook.us/september-2015-webinar

    Roadblocks to a Healthy Sex Life- 1

    Every relationship deserves to have a healthy sex life. Unfortunately it is hard for many couples to achieve and maintain what they might consider a healthy sex life. Things block them from reaching the ideal closeness that connects a couples emotional intimacy into physical intimacy. This week Imagine Hope is talking about some of the issues that we see as road blocks to reaching a healthy sex life. Low Emotional Intimacy and High Emotional Walls When a couple struggles with connection outside of the bedroom, they will have trouble reaching a healthy sex life. Being emotionally disconnected and having high emotional walls means there is something in the realtionship that doesn't feel safe. A relationship may not feel safe due to a past with infidelity, lack of trust, fighting, feeling more like roommates than a couple, or surface interactions without revealing emotional depth. Make sure you are lowering those emotional walls and building a safe relationship; this will transfer into the bedroom.

    Too Busy and Tired When you are out of balance, it is hard to prioritize even the most important things. When people get too busy, they tend to loose the ability to juggle things they enjoy. Being too tired will suck the energy and motivation out of a person's desire for sex. Working towards balance in all areas of your life- like time management and getting enough sleep- will help you prioritize sex in your relationship. It's all about good self care.

    Body Image Feeling insecure and embarrassed about your body will surely affect a person's ability to feel comfortable with sex. When you struggle with embracing your body's positives it is hard for people to give themselves an opportunity to enjoy something related to their body. Try doing things that help you feel more comfortable in your own skin and take charge of your body's image instead of allowing it to control your sex life.

    Keep reading this week as we explore various other issues which keep a relationship from a healthy sex life.

    Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

    Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed virtual therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding  areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.

    Codependency

    You might be codependent if……. You might be codependent if you feel exhausted from helping others and spend little time taking care of yourself.

    You might be codependent if you feel resentful or angry for not getting your needs met from your partner or family but haven’t ever really communicated those needs to them.

    You might be a codependent if you feel angry a lot and don’t know why.

    You might be a codependent if you feel taken advantage of in your relationship but you stay anyway.

    You might be codependent if you feel you cannot be alone.

    You might be codependent if because you are afraid of being alone you go from one relationship to the next.

    You might be codependent if you stay in an unhealthy relationship because you are afraid of being alone.

    You might be codependent if you stay in a relationship because you think you can change that person.

    You might be codependent if you feel responsible for other people’s feelings.

    You might be a codependent if you stuff your feelings because you want people to like you and keep everything “happy”.

    You might be a codependent if you show your feelings of anger through sadness or pouting instead of stating them.

    You might be codependent if you have a hard time setting boundaries and an even harder time keeping the boundaries.

    You might be a codependent if……you are reading this and saying, “Oh! I do that!”

    Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.

    Relationships: Intimate vs Addictive- 3

    In an intimate relationship you know that you begin your feelings with yourself.  You know your feelings come from within.  In an addictive relationship, your feelings are due to someone else’s choices or behaviors. In healthy relationships, we own our feelings.  We know that no one else can make us feel any way.  In healthy relationships we communicate our needs and wants with “I feel…” and “I need…”  In healthy relationships we have our own sense of self and independence to feel our feelings regardless of what our partner does.  In addictive relationships, we blame our partner for our feelings.  We use phrases that begin with, “you make me feel…” or “if you would not ____, then I would not be sad all the time”.    Being in an addictive relationship only gives room for you to respond to your partner’s feelings and behaviors.  There is no room for you to have your own independent feelings.

    In an intimate relationship you can take care of yourself.  Both partners understand you are solely responsible for figuring out what you need and communicate those needs to others.  In addictive relationships, you assume your partner will know what is right for you and fix the problem.

    In healthy relationships we know we are responsible for our own happiness and we want happiness for our partners.  We support our partner’s journey to achieve happiness and join in the journey when we both want the same thing.  When healthy lovers communicate well, they can achieve support and receive support.  Healthy lovers can ask for help or communicate wants and desires as well as dislikes.  Addictive relationships create double binds where no one can win.  A partner may believe that if they tell you what they want, and you do it, it does not count because they had to ask for them.  If they do not tell you what they want and you don’t do it or if you don’t do it the way they ask, it does not count.  In the end they feel unloved. In addictive relationships, we demand the partner take care of our needs.

    In intimate relationships, partners deal with reality.  Addictive relationships are based on delusions.

    Lovers who are in intimate relationship live in the real world.  They are able to be together while meeting the needs and overcoming the challenges of daily life.  They are able to make time for each other and come back to each other and reconnect when they have been separated by life’s events.  Addictive relationships are usually based on fantasy.  Many affairs are this way.  In this situation, perhaps a couple is only having rendezvous and not dealing with the day to day tasks of family life.  This relationship is an escape, or a high.  It is not based in reality.

    Please continue to check in this week as Natalie talks about more examples of Intimate vs. Addictive Relationships.

    Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

    Source: Leaving the Enchanted Forest: The Path from Relationship Addiction to Intimacy by Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett

    Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield

    Relationships: Intimate vs Addictive - 2

    In an intimate relationship you have a sense of freedom vs. in an addictive relationship there is a sense of compulsion. In healthy relationships, there's a sense of emotional and physical freedom that you can say what's on your mind, ask for help, make suggestions and choices that won't result in ridicule or abandonment. In addictive relationships however, a person may feel as though there's certain things they have to do, feel an emotional drive to do, in order to avoid being made fun of, or to avoid arguments. Or, a person may do things to make sure a person feels happy, stays around the house more, or to get approval.

    In intimate relationships you feel the desire to share needs and feelings vs in an addictive relationship there are "no talk" rules, especially if things are not working out.

    When you're in a healthy relationship, you are encouraged to share your needs and feelings, and are rewarded for sharing (by thank you's and that person sharing with you as well). This is how we get to know each other on a deeper level and create stronger bonds. In addictive relationships, deep conversations are avoided, mainly becuase one or both people are uncomfortable with strong emotion. If things aren't working out, one or both people believe ignoring the situation may make it go away, only to find it blows up later down the road.

    Intimate relationships are always changing, vs addictive relationships which always stay the same.

    Healthy relationships grow together, mature together and evolve. The couple finds things to do that emotionaly, or mentally stimulate themselves and stretch them beyond their comfort zone. Addictive relationships are like pond-water. Not much changes with them, they don't really have anything to report in terms of updates, and sometimes they report low life-satisfaction when it comes to happiness.

    Intimate relationships want to be present vs addictive relationships feel as though they have to be there.

    In healthy relationships, the couple feels as though they are choosing to be with their significant other. They want to be in the relationship because of love, validation, respect, and gratitude. If the relationship were to end, each person would know and believe they'd be alright. They know they would grieve the loss, but they know deep down their worth and value is not because of the other person.  In addictive relationships, the individuals believe they have to be there. They worry how their significant other will get along in life if they're not there. Or, they worry about how they will get along in life if they don't have the relationship. They're dependent on the unhealthy relationship to provide them a sense of value and worth.

    We hope this week's topic is educational and helping you develop a positive start in your relationships, or change some unhealthy patterns in your current relationships. We have several more to share with you, so please return!

    Source: Leaving the Enchanted Forest: The Path from Relationship Addiction to Intimacy by Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett

     

    Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC

    *Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.

    Do You Have a Healthy Love Relationship?

      Picture two people standing side by side, each reaching for the other's hand:  This is a healthy love relationship.

    A healthy love relationship is where two people are whole and complete.  They have internal happiness within themselves.  They live their own lives, with their partner complimenting their wholeness, and they have an abundance of life to share with the other person.

    Healthy love relationships aren't tangled up with the other person like the A-frame, Smothering, Pedestal, Master/Slave,  Boarding House, or Martyr relationships we described earlier in this week's blog. They don't try to control the other person because of their own insecurities, and they don't blame the other for their own problems and unhappiness.  These relationships choose to stay with each other because they are free to be two people living their lives and sharing their lives together.

    They can come closer together and be like the smothering position, they can walk hand in hand as they might do in parenting their children, they can move apart and have their own careers and their own lives and their own friends.  But they choose to stay together because of their love for each other rather than having or needing to stay together because of some unmet emotional needs

    The healthy love relationship is one that gives both people the space to be their own person and to grow as an individual.

    Do you have a healthy love relationship? 

    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.

    What To Do If You Are Loving Too Much 3-5

    Do Teri and Tamara have you wondering, "Do I love too much"?  As we continue to talk about loving too much, think about when you first began to have romantic love.  Most likely it was a time in adolescence when everything you felt was "big time".  You felt passionately about many things, and love is commonly one of them.  Often times teen aged romance is clingy, larger than life, or desperate. (see any movie from  the Twilight Saga to refresh your memory).  As we grow wiser and more experienced in acknowledging and controlling our emotions we learn to monitor ourselves and our feelings.  As you monitor yours, do you feel like you love too much?  One way to think about it is, does my love feel healthy and fulfilling?  Or does it feel anxious, overwhelming, or exhausting? If you have already looked at steps 1 and 2, please evaluate the next three steps to help you if you love too much:

    3.  Be in touch with your feelings and attitudes about every aspect of your life, including your sexuality.  Make sure you are not diving into dramatic relationships to escape any feelings you may have.  While loving relationships do take work and effort to maintain, they do not require forcing.

    4.  Cherish every aspect of yourself:  your personality, your appearance, your values and beliefs, your body, your interests, and your accomplishments.  If you can validate yourself, you will not need to search for a relationship to give yourself a sense of self worth.  You will be aware of your own value.  You will not need a partner to tell you how awesome you are.  You will know it in your soul.

    5.  Work on developing a high self esteem so you can enjoy being with others, especially others of the opposite sex, who are fine just the way they are.  That means stop looking for others who need "fixing".  We see many relationships begin where one partner is trying to "save" the other from various issues, i.e.: addictions, low self worth, unhealthy family connections.  Do not choose friendships or partners where you need to be needed to feel a sense of self worth.

    I am sure you have heard that you cannot be right in a relationship until you are right with yourself.  Please continue to check in tomorrow as Natalie writes more "how to's".  As always, thank you for reading.

     

    Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

    Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT  is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield

     

     

    Characteristics of Dysfunctional Couples 14-18

    This week's blog is focusing on the different characteristics of a dysfunctional couple.  Today we will finish up with the final characteristics: 14.  It is easier to blame our partners than it is to accept our own responsibility.

    15.  We deal with conflict by getting totally out of control or not arguing at all.

    16.  We experience ourselves as inadequate parents.

    17.  We are ashamed of ourselves as a couple.

    18.  We repeat patterns of dysfunction from our families of origin.

    Did you recognize any of the characteristics in your relationship?  This could be a great tool for gaining better understanding of areas to improve in relationships!  Thank you so much for joining us this week.

    References:  Recovering Couples Anonymous  http://www.recovering-couples.org/

    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.

    Pia Melody's Relationship Maxim's 13-18

    I am so excited we are teaching you Pia's Relationship Maxim's this week. They are so relevant to what we do. Hopefully you are finding them helpful. Here are more from her book: 13. When you resist my control, I feel abandoned. I love how she puts it in her book, "When I want you to be a certain way and you won't agree to do that, what I make up about that is that you don't love me, because if you did love me, you would do what I want you to do." So this person feels if they can't control you, you don't love them. Yikes!

    14. Conditional love is immature love and never feels satisfactory to a child. If your child only feels loved when they are busy doing what you want them to do, they feel they aren't loved when they are not busy doing what you want them to do.

    15. A relationship with an unconscious person is impossible. People are unconscious when they are either being addictive or not aware of how their dysfunctional personality or behaviors is effected by their pasts. It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with either.

    16. A new relationship cannot begin until you have grieved the last relationship. Pia says, "Grieving only stops when it is over." If you start another relationship before you are finished grieving the first, you will carry your emotions and thoughts into the new relationship.

    17. It's easier dealing with the drunk you know than the sober human being you don't. A person can get so wrapped up in taking care of an addict that they lose themselves. When the addict gets sober, the caretaker doesn't know what to do with themselves!

    18. Love is about knowing someone matters. That way you can't love them too much. You love someone so much that you want them to still be themselves and not feel controlled and manipulated by you. You give love in an appropriate way rather than smothering.

    Thank you for reading! Check in tomorrow and Joleen will share the remaining Maxim's.

    * the above are adapted or directly quoted from “The Intimacy Factor” by Pia Mellody pages 138-140.

    Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.

    When have you felt most loved?

    Tamara and I were invited to present 2 workshops a few weeks ago at the National Alpha Sigma Alpha Convention. We were honored to present on Positive Parenting and Understanding Others through the Five Love Languages. At the beginning of the Five Love Languages workshop we had attendees fill out a slip of paper with the question "When was a time you felt most loved?" We collected them, explained the concept of the Five Love Languages, and at the end we "quizzed" them by reading their responses to the question and had them guess what that person's love language could be. Tamara and I received great feedback from the group that this exercise really reinforced the concept. This week we want you to guess! In each blog this week we will share with you a situation where one of our therapists has felt loved and you can guess the love language! Remember the five love languages are: Acts of Service, Gifts, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Quality Time.You can refer back to our blogs from November 9-13, 2009 for the detailed descriptions.

    Teri's Response to "When have you felt most loved?" Even though I talk for a living, having a long, deep talk with my husband or best friend fills me up. Sitting with my husband over coffee, relaxed, totally focused on each other without distractions, and engrossed in a conversation is a picture perfect moment for me. I feel loved when he gives me undivided attention, and I feel like the most important person to him at that time. I feel loved when he truly listens and asks questions and he genuinely cares what I am saying even if he disagrees. It is important for me to make sure I slow down enough in my busy schedule to do this, otherwise a distance can start and we can feel disconnected. Remember it's important to prioritize moments for you and your partner to speak each others love languages. Not doing so can result in your loved one not feeling loved.

    Can you guess what this love language is??? The answer is: Quality Time Keep reading this week to see other examples of love languages!

    Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW

    Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope          Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual          counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does   family        counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.    Imagine    Hope     serves the Indianapolis area, including the   surrounding  areas   of   Carmel,   Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville,   and Westfield.