When Does Family Drama Become Toxic?

Family on the grass making funny faces

Almost everyone has experienced family drama at one time or another. For some people, there is sibling rivalry that continues into adulthood. For others, it is a dramatic parent who expresses their disapproval in very obvious ways. Nobody feels good about family conflict, but, in some families, it is bearable and fairly infrequent. However, in other families, drama becomes a constant source of unhappiness and even toxicity.

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Is Living With a Partner After a Breakup Bad for Your Mental Health?

Couple with wall between them

After a breakup, many people desire time and space to heal, and choose not to interact much with their ex-partner. However, more people nowadays continue living with their partner after a breakup. There are multiple reasons, including financial issues, the desire to remain friends, or being joint “parents” to a pet.

Other people simply don’t like change, and want to remain in their homes.They assume that if their breakup wasn’t contentious, they will be able to continue to live amicably with their ex.

There are some situations where this arrangement can work out well, but it can be risky for both partners. There are important variables that impact whether or not this will work for you and for your ex-partner. Here are a few to consider.

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Is Relationship Jealousy Damaging Your Mental Health?

Couple standing by lake with man's back turned

A little bit of jealousy is healthy for a relationship. If you didn’t care at all about your partner leaving you for someone else, this would generally be considered a bad sign for your relationship. In fact, in evolutionary psychology, there is a phenomenon known as “mate guarding,” which is when an animal guards their mate more closely around potential rivals.

Humans do the same thing when they become more aware or vigilant about their partner’s behavior around other attractive people. And people often respond positively to minor signs of jealousy in their partners. They assume that it means that their partners value them, consider them attractive to others, and don’t want to lose them.

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7 Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Woman pouring a drink in the kitchen

Many people drink socially and feel that their drinking habits are normal and healthy. There are other individuals who acknowledge that they are addicted to alcohol.

But in between these two categories is a subset of social drinkers who are secretly worried that their drinking behaviors may indicate alcohol abuse. These people may not share their concerns with family, friends, or significant others, but in the back of their minds, they are anxious that their drinking is out of hand.

If you’re always wondering what exactly distinguishes social drinking from alcohol abuse, or if you worry about the drinking of a loved one, these seven points may help you figure out whether your drinking is something you may want to cut back on.

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Fear of Change: Why Life Adjustments are Difficult for You

Woman in subway watching fast train go by

The fear of change is one of the most common fears that people face. I see it frequently among my therapy clients, and just as frequently among friends.

Change is difficult for everyone; there are few people that don’t feel somewhat anxious at the prospect of a major upheaval in their lives. The problem comes when fear of change keeps people paralyzed in situations that are not healthy or fulfilling, or when their fear of change isn’t confined to significant changes, but encompasses relatively minor, daily changes in routine.

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6 Traits of Highly Toxic People

Man with hooded sweatshirt in a mask

Everyone knows people who are very difficult to deal with, but when does “difficult” cross into “toxic”? While toxic is not an official diagnosis, there are some individuals that cause endless interpersonal conflict, and tend to make others feel bad about themselves on a regular basis.

Some individuals with Narcissistic, Histrionic, or Borderline Personality Disorder can fit these descriptions, but just having one of those disorders doesn’t necessarily mean that someone acts “toxic” to everyone or to anyone. Do you recognize anyone you know in the following descriptions of habits of toxic people?

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What Does It Mean to Be a Sensation Seeker?

Man swinging from rope by waterfall

When spring arrives, many people can feel like they are glad to be alive, a feeling that can manifest in wanting to feel and do many new things. They chafe at the restrictions imposed by office jobs or any indoor activity, and want to get out in the world and feel the excitement of the season.

For some people, though, this feeling isn’t tied to the beginning of warm weather, or falling in love, or any discrete event. There are some people, called “sensation seekers,” that are always looking to increase their levels of stimulation, and feel bored and constricted on a regular basis.

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When Weekend Drinking Turns Into a Problem

Binge drinking during the weekend

In my practice, I work with many young adults, and some older adults, who insist that they don’t have an alcohol problem despite binge drinking every weekend. There is a myth that in order to have a true issue with drinking, someone needs to drink alone, or in the morning, or every day.

It is true that for most people who are physically dependent on alcohol, drinking is far more frequent than on weekends. But there is a large group of individuals who drink so heavily on weekends that they certainly meet criteria for alcohol abuse, or problem drinking.

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Don’t Get Along with Your Parents? A Therapist’s Tips for How to Manage

Young woman and man drinking coffee in cabin

There is a time in many healthy families where a child grows into adult and their relationship with their parents transforms into a more friendly, equal, relaxed relationship. However, this doesn’t happen for everyone. There are certain people who need to come to terms with the fact that their parents will never be able to be their friends, or to interact with them in a friendly, casual way. Some reasons for this include:

  • Differences in values, e.g. different religions or political views, which preclude one or both parties from being able to get along as friends.
  • Parents who have personality disorders and are mean to their children; this includes parents with narcissism or Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Children who have experienced emotional, verbal, or physical abuse by their parent have severed or severely reduced contact.
  • Parents who dislike a child’s partner enough to not want to see the child/couple or who make comments that are hard to ignore.
  • Parents who come from a culture or ethnicity where it is not acceptable for children and parents to ever interact in a more casual, peer-like way.

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When You’re Trapped in the Shame Spiral, Try This

Frustrated person writing unsuccessfully

It happens to everyone: something makes you feel so terrible, so embarrassed and ashamed — and you feel you will never be able to live it down. Sometimes you may not even have done anything, but someone condescended to you, wrote a clipped email or called you out on your behavior in a way that led to your feeling hopeless or wanting to hide.

Often it feels like no matter what you do in the midst of shame, you can’t move past that feeling, and you start thinking about other ways that you have disappointed or embarrassed yourself or others. This is called a shame spiral.

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