Breaking Connection and Making the Repair

I just returned to Panamá from a three-week stint in the United States — two weeks in Oakland and a week in San Diego. International travel with three hundred pounds of luggage (don’t ask) on the worst airline ever. Pandemic. Holidays. Birthdays. Wedding anniversary. Family. Gross consumerism. Violent homeless people. General overstimulation of the Bay Area. AnContinue reading Breaking Connection and Making the Repair

Triggered People Trigger People

Everyone experiences some kind of fear, pain, or adversity as a child. Hell, just being birthed is pretty traumatic shit. And because our first order of business on earth is to determine just how safe it is around here, babies pay close attention and take note of suspicious activity. The hippocampus, which records explicit memoriesContinue reading “Triggered People Trigger People”

Do You Even Know What Your Needs Are?

If a newborn baby was somehow given only its physical needs — food, warmth, shelter — but no human interaction or emotional connection, it would grow up as little more than a wild animal. I know, it’s repulsive to even think about. My point, however, is that most people live in the space between getting none of their needs met andContinue reading “Do You Even Know What Your Needs Are?”

Why “Dating Up” Doesn’t Work

We can learn, heal, and grow while we’re single, and we can also evolve in relationships. Yet, as a rule, we attract and are attracted to people at our own level of emotional development. Dating up — partnering with someone who is healthier and more emotionally mature than ourselves — actually doesn’t serve us. Nor is it likely toContinue reading “Why “Dating Up” Doesn’t Work”

Everything You Need to Know About Conflict in Relationships

Some people assume that healthy relationships are without disagreement, argument, conflict, or confrontation. Happily for us all, this is simply not the case. I was a victim of that delusion for oh, say thirty years or so. But eventually, I had to consider the possibility that avoiding conflict in relationships was at least partially responsibleContinue reading “Everything You Need to Know About Conflict in Relationships”

Setting Boundaries 101

Life is all about relationships — with yourself, family, friends, employers, partners, pets, etc. You have a relationship with food, money, sexuality, and other things. Every single one of these relationships is governed by boundaries or a lack thereof. Therefore, learning the fine art of setting boundaries is more of a necessity than you may realize. “Boundary”Continue reading Setting Boundaries 101

Dissociation: When Nothing Else Feels Safe

Dissociation is a physiological response to not feeling safe. It’s not a personality defect or mental illness. If anything, it’s a sign of mental health. It’s the psyche’s last-ditch effort to create some semblance of safety in your world by any means necessary. If your brain preferred helpless, hopeless, powerless, unendurable pain and suffering overContinue reading “Dissociation: When Nothing Else Feels Safe”

Pickles Can’t Read Their Own Label

A client shared this gem with me yesterday about pickles not being able to read their label. I love metaphors, and this one describes the impossibility of objectively analyzing oneself and so much more. Sure, there are many things we can discover on our own. Life, after all, is simply a long journey of self-discovery.Continue reading “Pickles Can’t Read Their Own Label”

Self-Care: Priority or Necessity?

When you’re the only thing on your to-do list, being the lowest priority puts you in the top spot. This is why your self-care might be fantastic when you’re single, then fall apart like a leper on a treadmill the moment you start a new relationship. Self-care is a necessity when you’re single… but thatContinue reading “Self-Care: Priority or Necessity?”

“Why Do You Wanna Put a Label on It?”

Welcome to the Gaslighting Academy. Today, we’ll be discussing an extremely effective way to subvert a perfectly reasonable request to discuss your relationship status. If you want to make emotional immaturity and noncommittal aloofness sound special and romantic, drop this gem as soon as the topic comes up, “Why do you wanna put a labelContinue reading ““Why Do You Wanna Put a Label on It?””