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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Nagging Could be Key to A Healthy Relationship & Life: Six tips for nagging with love.

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Nobody likes to be nagged, but there could be benefits to it, found a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study showed that cancer patients who are nagged by a partner may fare better.

In fact, research revealed that married people are 53 percent more likely to get the recommended or appropriate treatment for their cancer. Spouses often push patients to be treated aggressively rather than take a “watch-and-wait” approach.

With this evidence that nagging is beneficial, should couples nag each other more often?

“Absolutely not. Nagging should only be a last resort when one partner needs to communicate an important issue and wants to make sure they are being heard, such as financial or health concerns. Men oftentimes put things off when they shouldn’t, while women help men to realize that it’s not okay to ignore their health,” said Mindy Fox,  a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Santa Monica and member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. “It’s important to know when to stop nagging or it will become destructive to the relationship. When the outcome is achieved, stop nagging.”

Do men also nag their partners? “You bet they do,” added Mindy. “Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to deliver your message with love and still show you care while you’re nagging.”

She offers these tips for nagging with love:

1.            Maintain mutual Respect:  it’s ok to express yourself with a strong emmphasis and assertiveness. Remind your partner why you are repeating yourself and be clear on your intention. Help your partner understand that you’re repeating yourself because you love him/her and want what is best, or you need something because it helps you feel valued and appreciated.

2.            Absolutely no name calling like, “you are a lazy slug” or “you are a controlling witch.”  Keep your nagging in the first person and on the point you want to convey such as “I get so frustrated when you won’t take care of yourself, please make that appointment,” or “I wish you would lower your voice so I can better understand what you want.”

3.            Nagging can mean you care enough to risk upset. The results of nagging are felt long afterword. Partners get to know each other and will anticipate being nagged, so they’ll adjust behavior to avoid nagging and keep the peace.

4.            Nagging also means you have a level of expecation in the relationship, are willing to make yourself clear and insist on follow through. Make sure the issue you are nagging about is worth it and that your partner understands how important it is to you. Don’t nag over little things.

5.            Stop the nagging when you have repeated yourself twice. It won’t sound any better the third time. Ask for either a time frame to accomplish the task or put your partner on notice that you will be bringing this up again soon if it is not completed.

6.            If you are receiving the nagging, you have a choice of how you react. Remind yourself this person loves you and get to the bottom line with your response, “I get what you are saying and how important it is to you, it isn’t that important to me, but you are, so I’ll take care of it.” Or, respond with “You’ve already told me this and I still don’t agree, please let it go.”

Be sure to ask Mindy about Neurofeedback, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing.

Five Relationship Patterns That Rule Your Dating Life

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

What are the pervasive relationship patterns that we repeat over and over?

It’s important to know that often the relationship patterns we are entrenched in are largely unconscious to us.  Suddenly, we find ourselves entangled in something and not sure how we got there, or how we didn’t recognize it sooner.  We are unaware that these patterns exist, so we can’t extricate ourselves from them.  We have been observing other people in our lives doing them since childhood.  They become the normal background of our lives; never questioning the veracity of these assumptions.  We come to assume that everyone is like that.

So, these relationship patterns are especially sneaky because they rule our lives without us knowing it, like a subliminal message under a television show telling you to eat chocolate.  You know something is amiss, but you can’t put your finger on it.  You feel powerless over your inability to find a healthy relationship.  If you want to change how your life is ruled by your subconscious thinking, you first must get to know your pitfalls!

Here are 5 examples of relationship patterns that rule your dating life:

Relationship Pattern #1:  “I must be polite no matter what.”

Maybe you’ve watched nasty behavior being accepted or going unchallenged.  Everyone sort of tiptoes around that behavior, so it appears that it is okay to behave in a rude manner.  You now ignore bad behavior.  However, it can be deadly if we ignore bad behavior in someone we are dating.  Instead of it being a warning sign, we view it as normal.  Suddenly, you wake up after years and realize that you are with someone who has been abusing you for years.

Sometimes we think it’s okay to treat people poorly.  Occasionally, couples come to me and are shocked that they are not allowed to be mean to each other.  They get into this habit because over years, their trust and love have eroded by daily doses of meanness.  The other problem with this pattern is, if you are always being nice, you never say what you really think.  If you do that in a relationship, your spouse will never really know who you are.  In reality, you will remain strangers living in the same house.  If you got the message that it was never okay to be angry, then you could wind up being in an unfulfilling relationship with no true connection to your deeper self.

Relationship Pattern #2:  “I don’t talk about myself.”

If you are a very private person, or you feel that what you have to say is unimportant or might be ridiculed, you may have decided to keep quiet.  This sets you up to be the perfect person for a very narcissistic mate!  Narcissistic people are more than happy to talk about themselves and dominate the conversation.  You think this is great, because you don’t really like to talk.  You feel uncomfortable opening up, and they can be very entertaining!  Then, oops, you realize later, sometimes much later, that the person you are with really only cares about themselves.  This makes for a lonely life, one where your needs are ignored.

Relationship Pattern #3: “I must rescue and fix others.”

One example of this is if your father was an alcoholic who always got himself and the family into trouble.  Now, you try to head off any problems at the pass.  You always try to predict what could go wrong, then try to fix it before it happens.  You pick people who need lots of help.  They become your project, like someone who likes to purchase fixer-upper houses.  In the end, you wind up feeling unappreciated and exhausted.

The hope is that one day these people in your life will be finally fixed and then you’ll get your needs met.  However, no matter what you do, it backfires because you can’t fix them. People who need that kind of help need to work with a professional to get beyond most of their issues.  Your assistance in many cases enables their behavior because you bail them out and unknowingly allow them to continue in their pattern of doing the same things.  Only they can resolve their issues and only in their own time. Your work is to realize that the only person on the planet that you can fix, is yourself.

Relationship Pattern #4: “I choose people who put me on a pedestal.”

This can start off wonderfully, because you feel like you are a million dollars when they are with you; all the attention feels so great.  It’s seductive to be worshipped, especially for people who never received approval from their family growing up.  Perhaps you came from a huge family or a single parent family where you didn’t get a lot of attention from mom or dad. You may feel like you need someone who pays lots of attention to you, shares regularly how they feel about you and has lots of time for the relationship.

Problems arise when this loving attention turns into treating you like a possession.  Your partner can become extremely jealous of anything you do.  They seek to control your time and keep you locked away for themselves.  As this pattern evolves, any attempts you make to pull away cause your partner to become more possessive and controlling. Resentment builds as your world shrinks down to the four walls of your home and often people become secretive and afraid.  The worry that your partner will explode with envy at the mention of friends, coworkers or any activities that don’t include them, keep you pushed down and alone.  When this happens, it’s common for your self esteem to plummet, often causing increased depression and anxiety.

Relationship Pattern #5: “I could be betrayed, hurt or abandoned, so why bother getting  close to anyone at all?”

The thinking here is that if you never get close to anyone, you won’t get hurt.  The problem is that this tactic, which is really an attempt to avoid being abandoned, causes you to actually abandon yourself making it impossible to get your needs met.  No matter how right a person is, you always find a reason to dump them before they dump you.  Your dating becomes a series of preemptive strikes against the opposite sex.  You really don’t trust anyone to be there for you, and you don’t trust your own ability to pick a good mate.

For whatever reason, as soon as you feel like you are getting too close, an overwhelming feeling comes up that you must run away, or that you are trapped.  Maybe the other person suddenly becomes unattractive, or has some negative quality that you decide is a deal breaker.  The most important thing becomes: I must get free!

This situation is a double-bind because when your fear comes up, your impulse is to run away to avoid the possible pain of a broken heart.  But, if you force yourself to stay, your fear is always in the forefront of your mind and it can feel impossible to relax and be happy in your relationship.  The only way out of this is to dig into the real fears you have and this is often work you need to do with a professional therapist who has some experience helping clients deal with abandonment.

If you’re someone who has been in a relationship or two like the ones listed, that’s not necessarily indicative of a true pattern.  But, if you’ve been in multiple, repeated relationships that match these descriptions, perhaps it’s time to seek out the help of a professional who can help you dissect what’s really going on.  I can use tools such as Neurofeedback, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR to help manage the anxiety that often arises when dating.

If you’re curious about your relationship patterns, I may be able to help you determine why your relationships are not working out and what to do about it.  You’re welcome to send me an email mfoxmft@yahoo.com or call my office for a free phone consultation.  You can reach me directly at 310-314-6933.

How Cannabis Use Damages Your Brain

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Marijuana has a serious effect on marriage and relationships.  In order to have a close, connected relationship, your spouse will most likely want you to be tuned in to their feelings, and to be able to discuss important matters affecting your life together.  Having a family pulls adults in several directions at once, so you need to focus and be able to juggle the many demands of life.  Since using marijuana daily negatively affects attention, learning, motivation, the ability to form new memories and to shift focus.  These limitations make it difficult to develop a life plan and even harder to carry out your plan.

Functioning at a high level is crucial in today’s world.  Someone who smokes marijuana daily may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level most or all of the time.  Cannabis use is associated with reduced educational attainment.  As a result, fewer heavy use smokers completed college, and most had lower household incomes.  Marijuana affected their cognitive abilities, career achievements, social lives, and physical and mental health.  Heavy smokers also have more accidents and injuries than those who do not smoke.  “Amotivational syndrome”, associated with marijuana use, causes diminished or absent drive to engage in typically rewarding activities.  All these effects detrimentally affect relationships and marriages.

When you smoke marijuana, THC binds to the receptors in the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, sensory perception, and time perception.  THC artificially stimulates the brain areas.  It also disrupts the function of the natural chemicals found in the brain. The overstimulation of the brain through THC use can alter the function of these natural chemicals.  This can lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms when the drug use stops.  Reported effects of marijuana include euphoria, relaxation, heightened sensory perception, laughter, altered perception of time, and increased appetite.  After a while, you may feel sleepy or depressed.  Sometimes, marijuana use may produce anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic.  If you take large doses, you might experience an acute psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and loss of the sense of personal identity.  Higher incidences of schizophrenia-like disorders have been associated with the use of cannabis in vulnerable individuals.  The problem with this is that most people don’t know if they are vulnerable, so smoking heavily can potentially have life-altering long-term effects.

If you want to stop using cannabis, there are several methods.  Marijuana Anonymous is an excellent 12-step program and has helped many become abstinent.  Neurofeedback can help with cravings, while simultaneously reducing anxiety and stress.  Some have said that they no longer feel a need to smoke after having 20 to 40 neurofeedback sessions.  Talk therapy can help to determine which treatments are best for you.

Legal marijuana distribution for medicinal purposes and the most recent legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in Colorado and Washington, make this drug more readily available than ever.  Fear of legal repercussions might have kept some individuals from imbibing in the past, but no longer.  Now, just like alcohol, it will be more vital that individuals who become addicted to marijuana recognize that they must take personal responsibility if they want to steer clear of serious brain disorders that might be caused or exacerbated by long-term use.

Results of a recent study (Zalesky et al, 2012) suggest that long-term cannabis use is hazardous to white matter in the developing brain.  Disturbed brain connectivity in cannabis users may underlie cognitive impairment and vulnerability to psychosis, depression and anxiety disorders (Lim et al., 2002).  The brain is like a big electric circuit, and connectivity is the fundamental way that the brain works.  Cannabis appears to detrimentally affect this connectivity, which means that it seriously harms your brain!

This is also the first study to demonstrate that the age at which regular cannabis use begins is a key factor determining the severity of any white matter alteration.  The studies’ findings also support mounting evidence suggesting a link between adolescent cannabis use and schizophrenia in later life (Rais et al., 2008; Peters et al., 2009; Dekker et al., 2010; Ho et al., 2011; James et al., 2011) as well as with evidence for greater adverse cognitive effects in adolescent cannabis users (Solowij et al., 2011a, 2012).  The results of this study may explain what underlies the memory impairment and other cognitive deficits that are observed in long-term, heavy cannabis users (Solowij et al., 2011b; Solowij and Pesa, 2012).  It is possible that the white matter abnormalities associated with cannabis use could be reversed given a sufficient period of abstinence or functional adaptation.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.

Effect of Long-term Cannabis Use on Axonal Fibre Connectivity

“Effect of Long-term Cannabis Use on Axonal Fibre Connectivity.” Andrew Zalesky, Nadia Solowij, Murat Yücel, Dan I. Lubman, Michael Takagi, Ian H. Harding, Valentina Lorenzetti, Ruopeng Wang, Karissa Searle, Christos Pantelis, Marc Se Jul 12, 2012 Brain. 2012;135(7):2245-2255.

Dating & Career: Not As Different as You Might Think

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Think of what you did to get where you are in your career.  You spent years perfecting the basics of learning during your primary education.  Then you went to college, which today not only eats up 4-10 years in the prime of your physical life, but can cost upwards of five hundred thousand dollars!  Then, you got your first position and started from the ground up learning the actual work that you trained and spent your parent’s or your own hard earned money to obtain.  You got paid an entry level salary, got yelled at by your boss for not doing everyone else’s job, and you were required to get on-the-job training.  In many professions, you must earn continuing education credits to stay current in your field.  Whew!

 

When it comes to relationships, we feel differently.  We believe that it should be like a bolt of lightning from the sky that hits you square between your eyes as you stare at the one true love of your life.  The world suddenly quiets, as all doubts topple like buildings in a tsunami.  Unfortunately, many stories, movies, and songs enhance the myth that love should be easy and instant.  In reality, personal relationships, like professional ability, must be cultivated, studied, and chosen with utmost care.  Often you will have to learn through trial and error.

 

You must study your own emotional needs and desires.  Who are you attracted to and why?  Then, ask if the people you are attracted to produce healthy or harmful relationships.  If you find that you are constantly getting involved with people who take advantage of you or do not give you what you want, explore why you keep picking damaging partners.  In many cases, your tendencies relate to your upbringing.  Whatever the reason, ferret it out, identify, and acknowledge it.  Then, try to recognize when you are making unwise decisions and change course before making a commitment.  Exploring your choices and why you make them will give you more say in where you end up in your personal relationships, just like getting an education will give you a say in your career choices.

 

You do not want to have to take any job that comes along because you have no training.  That’s when you wind up working in a dead end job just to pay rent and eat.  You cannot start a family or help others in your life because you need their assistance to survive.

 

The same is true of relationships you just fall into because you have no one else and you are lonely, one of the worst emotional states from which to select a mate.  Much like the dead end job, the dead end relationship puts you in a situation where a healthy, happy family is impossible.  Even if you and your partner can physically have children and have a wedding, that does not mean you will have a family in the fullest sense.  The family is predicated on your relationship as matriarch and patriarch of the household.  If the rotted roots lay hidden under the soil, eventually, the tree will topple when strong winds blow as they always eventually do.

 

Make sure that you train and study yourself so that when Mr. or Mrs. Fantastic comes along, you will recognize that they have the traits you need to create a strong foundation for a life of sustained growth both personally and together.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.

Finances, Marriage and Neurofeedback

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by admin No Comments

Making Good Financial Decisions:

Neurofeedback Therapy Can Help

Believe it or not, neurofeedback therapy has positive by-products to specific treatments.  Neurofeedback is great for treating anxiety issues.  When anxiety or stress is reduced, one of the most prevalent effects is better critical thinking when it really counts.  In no situation is this more important than in our financial health.

According to a New York Times article entitled, “Money Fights Predict Divorce Rates,” Professor Jeffrey Dew tracked 2,800 couples surveyed in 1987 by the National Survey of Families and Households and found that those who argued about money once a week were 30 percent more likely to get divorced than those who only disagreed a few times per month.  The message here is:  money decisions go directly to the heart of any marital relationship.  If a couple can make more informed and less impulsive financial decisions, then they can maintain a healthier and happier household.

Talk therapy and neurofeedback therapy can assist on two fronts when it comes to making monetary decisions.

First, it can reduce worry and anxiety about making the decisions, allowing clearer thinking under pressure.  For example, it can help couples keep a clear head when choosing investment strategies.  By slowing down and thinking instead of acting rashly because they are an emotional mess, they can choose stocks more wisely based on sound financial principles rather than because they got a hot tip from a guy on the subway.

Second, the therapy gives the client the ability to let go of anxiety more easily when decisions have been made and it is out of their hands.  Let’s face it, worrying for the most part does no good.  It keeps people up at night and has no positive effect on their choices.  By treating their anxiety with neurofeedback therapy, clients can sleep better and relax more easily.  This makes them easier to be around and consequently makes their relationships less stressful and more likely to withstand the rigors of financial swings in fortune.

Neurofeedback might even make it so that you can resist the impulse to stop and buy that mocha latte at Starbucks, which over the long haul could save you thousands of dollars and help put your kids through college.

If you’re dealing with an issue like this, I would be happy to help.  Please reach out by calling my office at 310-314-6933 or sending me a private email.