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.

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

Is It a Normal Fight or Verbal Abuse? Here’s How to Tell

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Even the most dynamic of duos has the occasional fight. Whether it begins with “Who forgot to take the dog out?” or “Do I really have to go to your brother’s birthday party?”, having arguments is a common — and healthy — part of any relationship.

But in some cases, what we call an “argument” is actually something worse. Ever had a partner who criticizes everything you do? Who shouts and uses cruel language when they get angry (and they may fly off the handle a lot)? Who makes you feel like you’re wrong or “too sensitive” when you try to speak up?

Continue reading Is It a Normal Fight or Verbal Abuse? Here’s How to Tell

What Is Second-Hand Anxiety?

Anxious young woman being comforted by a friend

Your friend comes over after a bad day. Huffing and puffing, he brings it all to you: His boss was a jerk, he accidentally deleted his presentation, and spilled coffee on a new white shirt. Suddenly, you find yourself tense, even though you were having a relaxed day.

What gives?

There’s a name for the phenomenon of stress spreading: second-hand anxiety. Second-hand anxiety, or second-hand stress, is not a psychological diagnosis, illness, or disorder. It is, rather, a neurological phenomenon that refers to the way emotions spread.

Understanding how second-hand anxiety works not only teaches us more about the social nature of emotions, but can also help us keep our cool when other people’s negative emotions overwhelm us.

Continue reading What Is Second-Hand Anxiety?

How Successful People Handle 3 Types of Toxic Coworkers

Young African-American woman works at desk in airy office space

How Successful People Handle 3 Types of Toxic Coworkers” originally appeared on Fairygodboss, an online career community for women, by women. 

Every workplace is filled interesting personalities —including frustrating ones.

If you feel like you’re surrounded by difficult people at the office — perhaps people who talk too much or a micromanaging boss — take heart, because you’re not alone. Studies have found that one in eight people leave a job due to problems with co-workers.

Since we spend more time at work than at home (and quitting tomorrow isn’t an option for most people), it’s worthwhile to figure out ways to get along.

Continue reading How Successful People Handle 3 Types of Toxic Coworkers

7 Truths About Love to Remember This Valentine’s Day

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If we were to ask pop culture what the ideal relationship looked like, most of us would expect an image of fireworks in the sky with that one and only person who completes us. Romantic comedies may be uplifting, and love songs beautiful, but much of what we learn about relationships early on sets us up for unrealistic expectations.

The result? We never feel like our relationships are good enough, and may doubt if we’re deserving of love.

Holidays like Valentine’s Day can exacerbate these worries. Social media often makes it seem like everyone else is coupled and in an ecstatic state of love. If we’re partnered, we may wonder if our relationship is as good as everyone else’s seems to be. And if we’re single, we may feel even more inadequate.

Continue reading 7 Truths About Love to Remember This Valentine’s Day

Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship (+ How to Get Out of It)

Fashionable man looking sad

Online, our relationship was great. We had a lot in common. We couldn’t get enough of each other’s “texting company.” It may seem crazy to you, but it seemed like a good idea at the time: I invited a person I’d never met to fly halfway across the world — not only to meet me in person, but also to stay in my apartment for the two weeks she was visiting. I hoped the relationship would turn into something rich and real, distance be damned. Bad decision.

Just two days into her stay, the red flags started going up. She manipulated me, created a hostile atmosphere in my home, initiated never-ending drama, made ridiculous demands of me, criticized me often, talked poorly about me behind my back, forbade me from talking to friends about our relationship. Can you say toxic? I can, and thankfully, I got this person out of my life. But it wasn’t easy.

How To Tell If You’re In A Toxic Relationship

While there are plenty of signs you may be in a toxic relationship, it’s not always clear when you’re deep in the dynamic itself. Often times, a toxic partnership starts out well enough, but then slowly (and subtly) starts to erode your sense of self. One of the first warning signs of a potential toxic relationship is that the other person is consistently violating your boundaries.

Continue reading Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship (+ How to Get Out of It)

A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Palm of hand extended outward signaling stop

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This quote encapsulates what most healthy relationships really look like — two individuals who support each other on their distinct journeys, rather than two people who become lost in one another. Much of this comes down to having and maintaining clear boundaries, even within a romantic relationship.

It may seem obvious, but what are boundaries, really?

Continue reading A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

Use Boundaries to Keep Your Individuality When You Fall in Love

love has boundaries

Falling in love and building a relationship is wonderful, but it can destroy individuality if you’re not careful. Expressing boundaries will help you maintain your individuality and a healthy relationship.

A relationship can create an all-encompassing, overwhelmingly positive feeling. During the initial stages people often call an “infatuation phase,” boundaries melt and dissolve. We merge together. Our life becomes theirs, theirs ours. We lose ourselves. Continue reading Use Boundaries to Keep Your Individuality When You Fall in Love

Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Sharing thoughts and feelings with my therapist is one thing – acting on the advice being given to me is an entirely different beast.

– by Anonymous Talkspace User

This is my current dilemma: It’s been a few weeks since I jumped into this therapy thing full throttle, and my therapist now knows more about me than many of my friends and family members. And even though I think sharing my emotions is a good thing, what I really want is an effective action plan to keep them from doing exactly what they always do – interfere with my otherwise blissful existence.  Continue reading Dear Therapist: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry