How Can Families Reunite After Trump’s Victory Split Them Apart?

Before the 2016 election, writer Michael Noker was “incredibly close” with his mother. He saw her as a role model because of her strength, feminism and history of overcoming abuse. Before he came out as gay, his mother was already teaching him the importance of respecting members of the LGBT community.

Then he learned she was voting for Donald Trump. Because of Hillary Clinton’s persecution of her husband’s accusers during his sex scandal, his mother didn’t perceive Clinton as a more feminist choice than Trump. She was also disappointed with Obamacare and seemed to want a new leader who would change it.

When Noker told her about Trump’s comments on the infamous tape with Billy Bush, she dismissed them as “probably taken out of context.” He also informed her of the many sexual assault allegations Trump faced. She dismissed them as well, saying it was suspicious that women were coming forward so many years after the purported incidents. Continue reading How Can Families Reunite After Trump’s Victory Split Them Apart?

6 Ways to NOT Let Your Family Stress You Out Over the Holidays

Gilmore Girls family fighting

Are you dreading the holidays? Chances are it’s because every year your family stresses you out when all you’re trying to do is take a break from the stress of work. It’s especially bad if seeing your family evokes painful memories and dredges issues you would rather save for a therapist.

To help you manage this stress, here are six tips for staying calm and dealing with the most challenging members of your family. They might reduce that holiday dread.

1. Set Boundaries

Sometimes family members upset us frequently to the point where we have a rough idea of how long it takes for them to stress us out. Do you know what your limit us? If so, make sure you can say goodbye to your family before approaching that limit. Tell them your time frame ahead of the reunion so they can manage their expectations. This will also help you avoid hurting their feelings.
If you don’t know what your limit is, try to be careful and figure it out for next time. For now air on the conservative side.

You can also set limits on what you’re going to do when you’re with family. If they have a holiday habit of goading or guilting you into something you hate, tell them ahead of time that you’re not going to put up with that. Continue reading 6 Ways to NOT Let Your Family Stress You Out Over the Holidays

When Your Family Brings Up Post-Election Politics During Thanksgiving

thanksgiving family turkey politics

It’s going to happen. You’re praying it doesn’t, but it’s inevitable.

During Thanksgiving, one of your relatives is going to bring up post-election politics. If your family members have opposing political views, this could be the beginning of a terrible evening. Your annoying uncle might say Trump isn’t so bad, which spurs your equally annoying aunt into going on a rant about how your uncle hates women.

A few minutes later everyone is shouting and arguing about issues and people you are sick of hearing about: Trump, his cabinet, Hillary, her emails, the electoral college, Bernie Sanders, Obamacare, 2020 and much more. There’s a chance someone will rope you in and pressure you to take a stance in front of the whole family.

What do you do? How do you handle the situation and the stress? Continue reading When Your Family Brings Up Post-Election Politics During Thanksgiving

Social Media and Moms: Feeling Inadequate in a “Fakebook” World

baby stroller smartphone

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from clients, “Other mom’s don’t seem to have this problem.” This statement could be about depression, anxiety, panic, marital issues, kid issues, trouble balancing or a myriad of other topics. When I ask why they think no one else struggles, social media is inevitably part of the answer. Continue reading Social Media and Moms: Feeling Inadequate in a “Fakebook” World

Miscarriage: You Are Not Alone

child gravestone rose feet

“Why do I still feel so sad,” my client said. She was crying in my office after losing her baby when she was 16 weeks pregnant.

“I shouldn’t still feel this sad.”

It had been many weeks since her miscarriage, but the emotional scars and pain were still poignant. My client had a hard time feeling like she had permission to have her feelings of grief and loss.

Miscarriage didn’t feel like a legitimate loss for her. There was no funeral. Many people didn’t know she was pregnant. She was walking around with a loss she felt she couldn’t tell others about. Continue reading Miscarriage: You Are Not Alone

The Harm Orphanages Can Have on a Child’s Mental Health

orphan dirty hands cardboard house

When Monique Prince and her former husband had trouble conceiving, they decided to adopt children from a Ukrainian orphanage. Because adoption laws are different in the Ukraine, adopting children from this orphanage did not risk a potential custody battle with the biological parents.

“We didn’t want the children to be taken from us after we adopted,” Prince told Talkspace during a phone conversation.

These children desperately needed the kind of home Prince wanted to provide. The temperature in the orphanage was barely above the freezing point, Prince said. No one held the babies or gave them any sort of affection. The staff did not have the training or energy to properly address basic needs such as diaper changing and bottle feeding. Continue reading The Harm Orphanages Can Have on a Child’s Mental Health

Survive Your Dysfunctional Family This Holiday Season

dysfunctional sad gingerbread family holiday

“No family is perfect… we argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times. But in the end, family is family…The love will always be there.” – unknown author.

For those who grew up in dysfunctional families, even this quote might seem too optimistic. After painful childhood experiences, there are only idealized images of loving families in your mind.

We all have an idea of what family should be: we should unite, make up and love one another like that Hollywood family does at the end of each episode. Then you look at your own family and realize just how far you are from that ideal image.

Each year, the holidays can be a difficult reminder of this truth, and maybe you use the natural human defense of denial to cope. Here are few tips and ideas for you to begin healing. It starts with finding new ways to cope with family at the holiday time, with acceptance instead of denial. Continue reading Survive Your Dysfunctional Family This Holiday Season

The Thanksgiving Dichotomy: Gratitude vs. Stress [Infographic]

family thanksgiving dinner

At Thanksgiving, there are things you are incredibly grateful for: an excuse to gorge yourself on delicious treats; time off from work; reuniting with the friends and family members you love.

And then there are the things you need to pretend to be thankful for: that relative who always asks why you’re still single or when you’ll have children; that dry, flavorless stuffing you’re expected to eat and praise every. single. year; perhaps driving to multiple celebrations in the same day.

Thanksgiving presents a challenge: feeling gratitude has proven mental health benefits, but certain parts of this holiday can be so taxing. Read on to find a middle ground. Continue reading The Thanksgiving Dichotomy: Gratitude vs. Stress [Infographic]

5 Ways to Support the Family and Friends of a Loved One With Cancer: Keep Hope Alive When The Path Is Uncertain

5 Ways to Support the Family and Friends of a Loved One With Cancer: Keep Hope Alive When The Path Is Uncertain

Imagine someone you love dearly – your child, parent, sibling, or another relative – being diagnosed with cancer. It’s hard to place yourself in that position, and to think about what you would do if it were to happen. What support would we need in place? What would we do if that were our family member?

– by Carrie Miller, LCSW / Talkspace Therapist

Childhood cancer is a topic that is close to my heart, as my now 6 year old nephew is a survivor of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. He was diagnosed at the age of 2. The moment that my sister and her husband got the news that “something isn’t right”, their hearts sank. They were terrified and had questions that the doctors could not yet answer for them; they were stuck in a hospital two hours away from home and had to leave another child with the grandparents to be there. The worst part was they were not sure about what came next. Calls went out to other family members, friends, and anyone else who could send support and offer a helping hand. Continue reading 5 Ways to Support the Family and Friends of a Loved One With Cancer: Keep Hope Alive When The Path Is Uncertain

4 Unexpected Lessons In Personal Growth, On Vacation

4 Unexpected Lesson In Personal Growth, On Vacation

Sometimes, personal growth happens when you least expect it.

While on vacation, most of us are excited about the adventures we’re having; we’re not always looking to learn life lessons while we travel. In recent years, my husband and I took up hiking as an outdoor hobby. We are not “avid” hikers, but we enjoy it and tend to plan our vacations around opportunities to hike where we can encounter natural breath-taking views. However, one trip in particular stands out because it taught me 4 lessons about personal growth, and I want to share them with you. Continue reading 4 Unexpected Lessons In Personal Growth, On Vacation