Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Maintaining Healthy Couple Relationships

March 1, 2016

Relationships are work; good or bad, they all take work. Establishing and building a relationship is hard enough, why not make it a good one that lasts? The following are a few things to consider in maintaining a healthy romantic relationship.

Embrace change – Your relations will undoubtedly evolve with life events, unexpected things, and family changes. Consider change as an opportunity to make your relationship stronger.

Check-ins – Talk with your partner about their expectations for the relationship and their personal goals. Checking-in with one another through regular, daily dialogue establishes a good routine, rather than just crisis management.

Know the family – Families are unique, and so are their ways of coping with stress and anxiety. While your family might tend to be emotionally distant, your partner’s might like to engage in conflict and confrontation. Consider what coping style you and your partner inherited from your families. Then, look for ways to work together to resolve conflict.

Right time – Dealing with a problem in the heat of the moment may not be the best time to “hear” one another. Take a few minutes to cool off and gather your thoughts. This opportunity allows you to listen to your partner’s perspective.

Stay current – A conflict is typically not the time to bring up previous unresolved issues. Attempting to solve multiple items typically leads to greater stress and little results.

Be responsible – Everyone has needs and wants in a relationship, but it’s important to remember some expectations may be unrealistic or unfair for your partner to meet. Consider what things you are able to do for yourself and take care of them.

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Reclaim Your Family’s Health from Substance Abuse

February 5, 2016

The family of someone with a substance abuse disorder is in great danger of emotional damage. If someone you love has an addiction problem, following the pointers below will help you to initiate the healing process, both for you and for the ones you love.

Start the Healing Process Now

If someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, they need immediate help. Any delay allows the problem to worsen, so step in now before things deteriorate even further. Have a thoughtful talk with your loved one and let them know how their choices are hurting you and the rest of your family.

Keep Yourself Safe

Talking to your loved one is a healthy first step, but you have to remember to protect your own emotional health. Don’t become so focused and emotionally invested in fixing the issue that you forget to take care of yourself. Surround yourself with support, either from family members or close friends. Also, in your attempts to help your family member, don’t put yourself in physical danger either.

Remember It’s Not Your Fault

Your loved one made the choices that led to substance abuse on their own. You are not to blame. Additionally, if you are unable to help your loved one change, that’s not your fault either. Encourage your loved one in any way you can, but accept the fact that, in the end, you are not responsible for the change, rather they are the one who must make the decision to change.

Tactics to Avoid

Stay away from resorting to threats and bribes. Don’t shield your loved one from the consequences of their substance abuse problem. They need to face reality in order to move towards healing. Don’t use subversive schemes such as hiding or throwing out drugs.

Moving Forward

The most important step for you and your loved one is to see professional help. Don’t let the situation get any worse before you take action to restore the health of your family.

Healthy Relationships – Keys to Success

September 24, 2015

Whether it’s a relationship with a spouse, significant other, friend or colleague, it’s important that the relationships you have are healthy ones. We’re often good at spotting unhealthy relationships, but what exactly makes a relationship a healthy one? Bestselling author and relationship expert, Margaret Paul, Ph.D., has some fundamentals to healthy relationships:

Emotional Responsibility – Paul posits this is the most important ingredient for creating a healthy relationship. It involves taking responsibility for your own feelings, rather than trying to make your partner responsible for your own happiness, emotional safety and self-worth. These feelings have to come from valuing yourself and not abandoning how you feel.

Enjoying Time Together and Apart – In a healthy relationship, partners enjoy being together but their well-being is not dependent on the other person. When your happiness depends on someone else; it’s called emotional dependency and is the opposite of emotional responsibility. Ideally, both people should feel supported when they pursue separate interests or spend time with their own friends.

Learning Through Conflict – Partners are able to learn and grow through conflict when they’re in a healthy relationship. Conflicts are not about who’s right or who won, it’s about listening to each other’s viewpoints and using conflict as a way to evolve.

Trust and Support – People in healthy relationships trust that the other person has their best interest in mind and will not intentionally hurt them. They support each other and feel joy in seeing their partner happy. They’re not threatened by their partner’s joy or success, but rather are proud and delighted by it.

Exploring Eldercare

August 14, 2015

It’s always too difficult to come to the realization that your parent or other aged loved one suddenly needs help taking care of themselves. After all, our older relatives typically spent their lives taking care of us. The time comes, however, when we realize that our elderly loved ones are no longer able to take care of themselves. Roles are reversed, and suddenly, we are forced to make important life decisions for them.

It may be difficult to determine whether or not your loved one is ready for eldercare services, especially if you do not live nearby or you do not see them that frequently. Additionally, though some elderly people do need help, they might be hesitant to ask for it; some may directly refuse.

So how do you know when a loved one is in need of care? It is essential that you visit their home and spend some good, quality time to determine whether or not they do need eldercare. In order to determine whether they need care, consider the following.

Signs That An Aging Loved One Might Need Care

  • Increasing Forgetfulness: Does the person forget to pay bills, or forget common household duties? Have they left the oven or stove on? Do they remember the date or year? Do they have trouble remembering family members?
  • Weight Loss: Has the person lost a great deal of weight? Do they seem more frail than the last time you saw them?
  • Messy Home/Lack of Cleanliness: Does the home seem to lack order? Does it have an odor? Is the garbage taken out, are the newspapers put away? Does the person bathe on a regular basis?
  • Low Food Supply: Does the person have enough food to eat? Are the supplies spoiled?
  • Low Medicine Supply or Misuse of Medicine: Does the person know how and what medicines to self administer? Are all of their medicines up to date? Have thy been to the doctor recently?
  • Diagnosis of Serious Medical Problem: Has your loved one been diagnosed with a disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or cancer? Do they require regular, professional medical attention? If they live with a loved one (such as a spouse) can the spouse take care of them adequately?
  • Loneliness/Depression: Does the person have regular visitors? Do they see family or friends? Have they recently been widowed?
  • Loss of Mobility: Can the person move adequately enough to get to the restroom or into the shower? Does the person get any regular activity?
  • Confusion: Does the person know who you are? Do they know who they are?
  • Inability to Drive/Transportation Issues: Is the person still driving? Is it safe? Are they able to run errands such as shopping or going to the doctor safely?

If your loved one is having difficulty with any of these issues, it may be time to consider some form of eldercare for your loved one.

Once you and your loved one agree that they do need care, you must investigate the options for eldercare in your area. There are a variety of different possibilities, but based on their needs as well as financial considerations you may decide upon one of the following: care by family member, in-home care by a bonded and insured company, or care at a senior living complex or in a nursing home. Based on your loved one’s financial constraints, you can help them decide which choice is best for them. If possible, take your loved one on a tour of the facilities you are considering together. Let them meet the staff and meet the other residents. Empower your loved one to be a part of the decision-making process.

All About Assertiveness

July 16, 2015

Do you have a difficult time saying “no” even when you know you should? Are you frustrated because you are so busy attending to the wants, needs and desires of others that your own go unfulfilled? Have you ever walked away from a situation and wished you had handled it differently? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may feel challenged in the area of assertiveness.

What is assertiveness? What is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive? Will people think that I’m being pushy? These are common questions and concerns. Here are some pointers to help clarify what assertiveness is really all about.

Assertiveness is…

Assertiveness is expressing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way. It means that we have respect both for ourselves and for others. We are consciously working toward a “win-win” solution to problems. A win-win solution means that we are trying to make sure that both parties end up with their needs met to the best degree possible. An assertive person effectively influences, listens and negotiates so that others choose to cooperate willingly (or feel safe to assert their own point of view).

Assertiveness is not…

Assertiveness is very different from aggressiveness. Aggressiveness involves expressing our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a way that is inappropriate and violates the rights of others. It can be either active or passive, but no matter which, it communicates an impression of disrespect. By being aggressive, we put our wants, needs and rights above those of others. We attempt to get our way by not allowing others a choice.

Becoming assertive is a lifetime project. As you begin to practice some basic assertiveness skills, you will develop confidence in yourself. Some situations are more difficult than others, so you may want to begin practicing assertiveness skills in easier situations. It may be easier to assert yourself with strangers than with your supervisor at work or with your family. For example, while waiting in line and someone cuts in front of you, you can assertively say, “I believe I was next.” Keep practicing these skills and you will become a more confident, happier person.

Get Along With Your Parents

June 23, 2015

All relationships experience ups and downs, and families are no different. Navigating a healthy adult relationship with your parents can sometimes be difficult. They are unique, and so are you. Healthy adult relationships can appreciate both the similarities and differences. However, there are still areas for potential disagreement, such as raising your children, achieving financial independence, arguing about future medical care, and having unresolved issues from childhood.

Having a healthy adult relationship with your parents is possible and a worthwhile investment. The following tips demonstrate how to work toward a mutually beneficial relationship.

Don’t try to change them. It’s acceptable to tell your parents what you do and don’t tolerate in your home and with your children. Setting boundaries is also important and necessary. Be mindful though, that your parents are who they are. Accept them for who they are, without trying to change them.

Respect parental freedom. Making assumptions about your parents’ lives is never helpful. They may not want to always babysit your children or fix every appliance, so take responsibility for your own life. Respect that they are adults who value independence.

Be honest. Your parents can’t read your mind. Be honest about who you are, what you want, and what’s important to you. It’s unfair to expect them to know unless you tell them.

Be careful with advice. Unless you’re seeking your parents’ insight, don’t ask for advice. Often times, we ask for counsel when we’ve already made our decision. This can be problematic if they disagree with your choice.

The most effective way to handle conflict with our parents is like you would with any other adult that you respect. Good communication is vital. Problems, especially with family members, are simply disguised opportunities for growth and change.

Coworker Woes – Dealing with Unprofessional Colleagues

June 8, 2015

In many office environments, employees have less than collegial relationships, a new survey shows. Over twenty percent of respondents recently surveyed said they work with someone who is rude or unprofessional on the job. Of those, 68% felt coworkers frequently behave badly – and not just to the people who report to them. More than half (59%) of all workers surveyed said their boorish colleagues are equal-opportunity offenders, upsetting subordinates, peers and superior alike.

OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, developed the survey. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 532 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

“Most employees will encounter an unpleasant colleague at some point, and how they interact with these coworkers can affect their careers,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Tactfully handling challenging personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can help someone stand out for all the right reasons.”

Coping With Unpleasant Colleagues

Although nobody likes working with someone who is inconsiderate or unkind, the survey suggests those who have been in the workforce the longest may have built up immunity to bad behavior. Among respondents, 35% of those age 65 and older said inconsiderate coworkers should be tolerated as long as they are good at their jobs.

The Belittler – Belittlers routinely tear others down in order to build themselves up. Put downs, demeaning remarks and disparaging comments are common trademarks of this person.

Coping strategy: Your confidence is the belittler’s weakness, and he or she will back off if you stand up for yourself. Try refuting a belittler’s criticism by asserting yourself, using facts where possible. For example, if he or she puts down one of your ideas, say “it’s something that’s worked for X, Y and Z, and it’s also more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.”

The Credit Thief – Insecure about their status, credit thieves boldly steal your ideas and grab the glory when a project is successful. Curiously, they are nowhere to be found when things go wrong.

Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects you are working on, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions (for example, “Actually, I did the research; John helped input the data”).

The Saboteur – Saboteurs have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Similar to the belittler, they like to make others look bad. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you are working with a saboteur until a critical deadline arrives. Then, you find you are unable to complete your part of the project because the saboteur has withheld important information.

Coping strategy: Be sure your supervisor or project manager knows the roles and responsibilities of each team member, and insist on regular progress reports so that saboteurs can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.

The Rumormonger – Rumormongers like drama and often spread half-truths or lies by talking behind others’ backs. This is an especially dangerous type of coworker because he or she has the ability to tarnish your reputation.

Coping strategy: The best defense is to avoid engaging in any kind of gossip – remember that anything you say can be held against you. If the rumormonger starts swapping stories with you, say only good things about your colleagues and excuse yourself as quickly as possible.

The Slacker – This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff members. The slacker often claims he or she is “too busy” to help out yet will make time for water cooler chats and web surfing during office hours.

Coping Strategy: Be sure this person carries his or her weight on project teams by documenting the responsibilities of each member of the group and making for regular status reports. Hold everyone accountable for his or her portion of the project, and be firm with deadlines.

Looking Inward

May 21, 2015

Often when we find ourselves unhappy in a relationship, we look at the other person as the problem. Psychologist and author Dr. Sherrie Campbell cautions us to look to ourselves before we look outwardly. She says you should first examine your own role, as you may be contributing to the problem more than you think. Dr. Campbell shares a few tips to help you look inward.

Resist complaining. Instead of resorting to the childlike behavior, have a serious discussion with the other person. Start with how you want things to be rather than expressing dissatisfaction or starting a conversation from a negative place.

Stop defending. Listen to the other person without interrupting and correcting them. If you’re too busy defending yourself without listening, you’ll be closing yourself off to the information the other person is trying to tell you. This makes it hard to connect and understand the other person.

Understand and state your needs. Think about what you really need from the other person in the situation. This is different from what you may want. What is it that’s keeping things from moving forward in a positive direction?

Know your weaknesses. Perhaps you are quick to judge, or maybe you have a short temper. Knowing the areas you need to work on within yourself can help when you run into problems in a relationship. Think about how these weaknesses may be interfering in your relationship, and what you can do to work on them.

Bad Bets

March 23, 2015

The Signs of Compulsive Gambling

The number of gaming establishments has climbed in recent years, and so have the number of people with gambling problems.

An estimated 85% of all people gamble in some form or another, whether it’s visiting a casino or race track or playing a lottery. Five percent of these people develop a type of addiction referred to as an “impulse control disorder,” according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The question that follow were developed by the self-help group Gamblers Anonymous to help determine whether someone should seek help for a gambling problem. The more “yes” answers, the more likely that help is needed. (Remember, be honest with your answers. To be anything but honest on a self-test is a form of denial, and denial is another sign that gambling has become a problem.)

Do You Have A Gambling Problem?

  • Have you ever lost time from work or school due to gambling?
  • Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  • Has gambling ever affected your reputation?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  • Have you ever gambled to get money with which to pay debts or to solve financial difficulties?
  • Has gambling caused a decrease to your ambition or efficiency?
  • After losing, have you ever felt that you had to gamble as soon as possible to recover your losses?
  • After a win, have you had a strong urge to return and win more?
  • Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  • Have you ever borrowed money to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
  • Have you ever felt reluctant to use “gambling money” for the things you need?
  • Have you ever gambled longer than you planned?
  • Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  • Has gambling ever caused you to have difficulty sleeping?
  • Have you ever considered suicide as a result of your gambling?

If this self-test has offered you insight into the negative effects of gambling on your life, get help. Gambling’s influence can be destructive.

Caring for the Caregiver

February 23, 2015

Many people are responsible for ailing parents or loved ones. Many are serving as caretakers in addition to working full- or part-time. This can lead to burn out, depression and physical illness for the caretaker. Now two people need help!

To avoid the double whammy of trying to nurse yourself while taking care of another, consider the following pointers for self-care from the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeast Michigan.

  • Prioritize your time.
  • Set realistic goals for your time. There’s always tomorrow.
  • Identify the main stressors in your caregiving role and find ways to cope with them.
  • Treat yourself to a therapeutic massage.
  • Eat and rest properly and exercise daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • Hire a teen or older adult for daily breaks.
  • Spend time with people who make you laugh.
  • Don’t take the ill person’s negative moods personally.
  • Ask for and accept help.
  • Develop a support system for yourself – and remember that you can feel supported and in touch with others on the phone and via email if your time is restricted.
  • Allow yourself to be less than perfect.
  • Take one day at a time.