Intimacy

How Fear Affects Your Family Life

How Fear Affects Your Family Life

This week, Imagine Hope is honoring Halloween by discussing the different ways that (real) fear can have a negative impact on our lives.  

How does fear potentially impact our family system?

How to Forgive: Symbolism

How to Forgive: Symbolism

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?

What Does it Mean When You Have Abandonment Issues? Part 2

What Does it Mean When You Have Abandonment Issues? Part 2

Have you heard someone say they suffer from abandonment issues? Most people think about adoption or being left on a door step as a child, but abandonment issues can be caused by many more life experiences.

What Does it Mean When You Have Abandonment Issues? Part 1

What Does it Mean When You Have Abandonment Issues? Part 1

Many times, our clients feel confusion when the term “abandonment issues” comes up in therapy. After all, don’t we most commonly think of the literal term, “abandonment”, as being physically abandoned (like an infant who is left on a door step for someone to find) ?

So, what exactly are abandonment issues? 

Why is Your Wife Not Attracted To You? Part 4

Why is Your Wife Not Attracted To You? Part 4

This week, Imagine Hope is finishing up with the last two reasons why your wife might be unhappy in your marriage. As we shared in last weeks blog series (the counterpart to this week-- Why is Your Husband Not Attracted To You?), unhappiness can look a lot like your spouse is not attracted to you.

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.

Why Are You REALLY Angry? Part 5

Why Are You REALLY Angry? Part 5

his week, Imagine Hope Counseling Group wraps up our blog series on anger.  As we have discussed earlier in the week, anger can often times be what we call a "secondary" emotion.  This means that what looks like anger is really secondary to another feeling that is underneath the angry reaction.  If you haven't read the earlier blog parts from this week, I encourage you to check out part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.  So, read on if you want to learn about why you or someone you love might REALLY be angry.

Stages of Relationships- Emotional Safety and Intimacy

Stages of Relationships- Emotional Safety and Intimacy

Gathering & Learning, Conflict, and Creating Norms, as the Imagine Hope therapists have discussed, are the first three important stages in relationships that help us move towards intimacy.  As Natalie shared in Wednesday's blog, Creating Norms is where you have gotten through the healthy conflict stage and know each others perspectives, expectations and where you "fit in" to the relationship.  The fourth stage of relationships following this is Emotional Safety and Intimacy. 

How to Create Fireworks In Your Marriage-Date Each Other

It's 4th of July week, so fireworks are Imagine Hope's focus!

The beginning of relationships can feel like fireworks. The passion, the desire to see them and talk to them, and the drug like euphoria are all common parts of the enmeshment phase of a relationship.

But how do you keep it going? We get asked this question daily at Imagine Hope. Of course life gets comfortable, conflict changes things, and the euphoria dies down a bit. This week we will share some simple ways to help your relationship have some of that spark again. Remember if you don’t put the effort in, nothing will change!

Don’t Stop Dating Each Other

Time together is vital to feeling close and connected. Remember the days when you would take the time to look nice, put on some good clothes, and go out together.

Just because you have been together for a long time and feel comfortable doesn’t mean you should stop showing your partner your best and not go out together. Sit down and slow down your busy lives over a fun activity or nice meal. Having a date night several times a month will give you more opportunity to connect.

Make sure you both have a say so about what you do on your dates. Maybe take turns planning them. It’s important that both of you feel fulfilled and you have a balance of fun and connection time.

Also come ready to SHARE more than just information exchange. Yes, the details of day to day life are important- but think about the deeper experiences that affect you in life (good and bad) and dig into some good conversation.

If money is a stressor, there are many free or low cost options. Get creative! Many younger people date on a tight budget and have fun- you can too! Don’t make excuses here.

If you want fireworks, you have to put the time in to help create them. Date nights are an easy way to make that happen.

Check in tomorrow for more ideas to help your marriage regain that spark!

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC 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.

30 Questions To Ask About Your Relationship 13-18

13.  How do you feel when your partner arrives home after being away?  This is a good barometer for how you feel about your partner.  Do you look forward or dread seeing them after time apart.  Absence should make the heart grow fonder, not resentful. 14.  Is your partner your best friend?  Friendship, playfulness and respect are all healthy and essential components of a healthy loving relationship.  Is your partner the first one you want to tell when you have exciting news, or when you need encouragement?  Are you a good friend to your partner?

15.  Is there a secret you are keeping that if your partner knew, you would feel you would lose them?  This question speaks to trust, vulnerability, and shame.  Secrets foster shame and make vulnerability seem bigger than it is. Secrets destroy trust which is essential to a lasting relationship.  If you are keeping secrets, it is important to ask yourself what that means.

16.  Do you feel that your partner accepts you?  Authentic love knows who you are.  Are you the real deal with your partner?  Does your partner accept that you are imperfectly beautiful in your own right?  Do you have to put on a show or wear a mask to keep your partner or do you allow yourself to be the true you around them?

17.  When did you realize you had fallen in love and how do you feel when you think about it?  Falling in love is often an exciting time!  You have lots of feel good hormones flowing enabling you to get  close to your partner.  Sometimes people feel scared, or apprehensive, or angry, or vulnerable, or elated, or excited, or relieved!  How did you feel?

18.  Have you seen each other at your best and worst?  Now, we don't all need to catch a nasty stomach bug and do all that in plain view of our partner.  However, we can wake up without the need to be completely dressed and presentable before she wakes up.  Can you imagine him showing up early for your date while you are still in yoga pants and sweaty from your Zumba class?  What would be the reaction?

These are all good questions to ponder. Tomorrow Natalie will help us with identifying more helpful ways to look at our relationships.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

*Source: 30 Questions To Help If You Have Doubts About Your Relationship by Terez Williamson by tinybudda.com

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.

30 Questions to Ask About Your Relationship 1-6

Everyone questions themselves...did I make the right or wrong choice? Should or shouldn't I? Why do I do that? etc. Questions are a normal part of the human experience. Asking them and looking for answers can give you insight and clarity into your life and the path to walk down. Walking blindly without asking yourself key questions could end in some avoidable pain.

The questions we are sharing this week can help you sort through your relationship and help you evaluate how healthy it is. We hope they challenge you to work towards a healthier relationship!

#1- Do you completely trust each other?- Trust is an important part of partnership. If trust gets broken, the relationship could fall apart quickly.

#2- Do you believe in soul mates, and if so do you believe you are each others?- Some people believe that you are meant to be with someone specific in this world. Many think of it in a romanticized "fate-like" way, but I believe a soul mate is more someone who is able to touch and connect with you in your soul. It requires trust, connection, and a lot of vulnerability.

#3- When was the last time you said, "I love you?" If it's been a while, why?- Affirming your love for your partner is important. We shouldn't just assume that they "know"... we need to let our partner know that we love them by showing it and saying it!

#4- Are you satisfied with the intimacy you share?- This doesn't just mean sexually, but also emotionally. Does your relationship meet your emotional needs? Is there depth to the connection you share? The more emotionally vulnerable you are  with your partner, the more satisfying the intimacy will be.

#5- How often do you laugh together?- Having fun in a relationship is vital to longevity. Being playful and laughing together can create a powerful connection.

#6- Do you feel you have made personal sacrifices for your relationship, and have they been reciprocated?- Give and take is part of a healthy relationship. It can't be all your way or your partner's way. Compromise is necessary for both members of the relationship.

Keep reading tomorrow for more important questions to ask about your relationship!

Source: "30 Questions to Help If You Have Doubts About Your Relationship" by Terez Williamson on tinybuddah.com

Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC 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.

What Kind of Unglued Are You? The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks

The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks What do you do with your feelings about small (and not-so-small) situations that happen in your marriage?  Do you share them with your spouse and get clarification with them?  Do you let them see who you really are?  Or do you keep them stuffed away (as Natalie wrote about in yesterday's post)?

When feeling "unglued", sometimes we will collect what is termed "Retaliation Rocks".  These are things we use as a weapon for future disagreements.  For example:  Your spouse doesn't help with housework, but you don't say anything to he/she about how this feels.  You stuff the feelings away in a corner of your heart.  Later on (sometimes years later), your spouse doesn't initiate a date night and "A-HA!"... You just KNEW it!  They don't love you and don't feel you are important (not true), so you explode on them, using one incident (or many) about just how "unimportant" you must really be to them!  The problem with this is.... it's not true!  You never shared with them how you felt in the first place, but instead kept this information and all of these feelings from your spouse's knowledge, only to bombard them with feelings later on in a deadly fashion.

Retaliation rocks are things that we keep tucked away and don't let our spouse see about us and our feelings.  These cause bitterness that we keep inside over time, where we might feel annoyed at our spouse and then later on we allow these small things to erupt each time we feel upset about something completely unrelated.

Don't allow these rocks to sit on your soul.  And don't pull out these "rocks" in moments of retaliation towards your spouse.  They will only feel confused and unsafe with you.

Do you collect "retaliation rocks", only to use them as ammunition towards your spouse later on?

*Source: Unglued: Making Wise Choices  In The Midst Of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

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 Kind of Unglued Are You? The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers

The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers So what do you do when you have a friend who has said or did something that really hurt you? What about your spouse- do you share with them when they aren't paying attention to you and your feelings are hurt by their actions? What if you have a parent who still criticizes you for every little detail of your life? Do you let them know it bothers you?

If you answered, "I don't do anything or tell anyone when they hurt me or when I feel frustrated", then you might be a stuffer.

A stuffer who builds barriers is just basically someone who does not share their feelings of hurt, anger, sadness, or frustration with the person they are in a relationship with. Additionally, they build walls up when they are around this person. Many times they don't realize they are building the walls. But after awhile, a wall is there, the relationship has changed, or sometimes even disintegrated.

Sound familiar?

Stuffers usually not only struggle in their relationships because of the walls, but they often are angry and irritable, struggle with depression, and some people have health problems from holding so much in. Many issues can come from being a stuffer, not just walls.

If you realize you are a stuffer and see the walls you have built, it's important to start speaking up to others. Let someone know if they have hurt you or if you feel angry. It doesn't have to be confrontational. It can be a simple conversation like "The other day I felt hurt when you said my idea was ridiculous". Simple. Many times this may start a conversation that can lead to greater intimacy. And isn't that what we desire in our relationships?

Tomorrow Joleen will help us identify another way of stuffing. Don't miss out! Thank you for reading and we hope you have a great week!

*Source: Unglued: Making Wise Choices  In The Midst Of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

Written by 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

The Five Levels of Intimacy #4- My Feelings and Experiences

You've learned safe communication, are comfortable hearing other's opinions and beliefs, and have shared your own. The next level is deeper- sharing your feelings and experiences. At this level, we share things that have brought us joy and what has brought us great pain. We share what have succeeded at but mostly some of our mistakes. We share about what we want and don't want for the future and even share some of our goals.

This level truly makes us more vulnerable because we don't want to be judged by our past or even our current feelings. When the person hears more of who we are on this level, we are more at risk for being abandoned.

But this is a very important stage in intimacy. If no one can get this close and find out what we truly feel and what we really want, they can't make an informed decision whether you are someone they want to be with. And the same goes for you. If someone won't share these thoughts/feelings with you, then you  can't make an informed decision whether to go further in the relationship.

Although it is a risky stage, it is an important one. And once you experience it, you will see the benefits and importance of this level of intimacy.

Tomorrow Joleen will share about needs, emotions, and desires. A very important level of intimacy as well.

Thank you for reading!

*Material Adapted from: powertochange.com “The Five Levels of Intimacy” by Barbara Wilson

Written by Natalie Chandler

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

5 Levels of Intimacy- #3 Personal Opinions and Beliefs

This level of intimacy is about taking small risks, while still allowing some protective barriers to exist.  This stage is often where we start to share opinions, thoughts, and beliefs. We may start to share our opinions on more controversial things, such as “You don’t spend enough time with me.”  However, if we start to feel too vulnerable with someone, we can pull back in order to try to avoid an argument.

This level is a little more intimate because we put down some walls in order to express our thoughts and opinions.  However, it still isn’t deep because we can say we have changed our minds or switched our opinions if things start to feel uncomfortable or painful.  This allows us to protect ourselves from rejection, criticism, and arguments we may not be ready to have.

Continue to read this week as we cover the remaining stages of the 5 Levels of Intimacy.  Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!  ♥

*Material Adapted from: powertochange.com “The Five Levels of Intimacy” by Barbara Wilson

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group.  Christy enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling.  Christy also provides family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling.

Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.