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Does Your Partner Have Difficulty Expressing Emotions?

When partners aren’t able to express their emotions, it can unfortunately cause stress and tension in the relationship. The key to understanding our partner’s feelings, needs, and desires are emotions. Having a strong emotional connection means enhanced trust, security, and intimacy in a relationship.

If a partner isn’t communicating when their partner upsets them, this usually means they tend to avoid conflict. This can lead to resentment overtime and unexpected outbursts or explosions in the future as a buildup. We need to remember that individuals displaying emotions or expressing our feelings is not a sign of weakness or submission. In fact, we gain more self-control and balance in a relationship by doing so.

When someone isn’t used to showing their feelings, and they finally do, it can be overwhelming. You may worry about being vulnerable and exposing aspects of yourself that you do not normally share. Your partner is the person you should feel most comfortable with and with whom you should not feel ashamed. It is important to deal with emotions as they come, and not to suppress feelings or concerns. Emotions are meant to be experienced in waves, not to be obstructed or built up and then released all at once. It is much more harmful to the relationship to have this explosion of harnessed emotions than to deal with them one by one.

Understanding and communicating emotions in a straightforward manner is difficult for most people, especially at times of major anger or sadness. Emotions provide valuable information and lead to that desire we all have for our partner to just ‘get’ us.

So what can you do to help your partner express their emotions? The only way that your partner will want to share their emotions with you is if you create a nonjudgmental and supportive space for them to feel comfortable doing so. If it is difficult for your partner to initiate conversations like this, then it may be helpful for you to ask them how they are feeling. Part of creating a welcoming space for partners is not judging their feelings when they finally express them. Avoid making statements like “How could you be sad about that?” or “You shouldn’t feel that way!” Judging your partner’s emotions will only make them defensive and on guard.

Finally, pay attention to your reactions to your partner’s attempts to share their feelings with you. Like judging your partner’s emotions, your other reactions may shut down the conversation. If you find yourself getting defensive, angry or upset, acknowledging it to your partner can help.

Think about situations in which you have expressed your emotions and the gains you made in the interaction. Although many emotions may rise from initiating a discussion like this, you will only learn more about you partner and build a stronger connection.

Some couples may find it difficult to communicate emotions on their own. For more information on relationship counselling or couples counselling, please view: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/relationship-counselling-etobicoke/ , email carlyclifton@gmail.com, or call 647-961-9669.

How can I fix my relationship?

By the time most couples look to repair their relationship and go to couples counselling, it is usually so far in and the last stop on their list of ‘things to do’. Even though unhelpful patterns in communication and lifestyle have enveloped the relationship, it is not too late to work on improving and reinventing it. Read below for some important ways to recreate life and love in your relationship.

It is important to restore and revive your connection. Get rid of boredom in your relationship by being aware of when you get caught in daily stresses and distractions like technology. It is the simple things in life that make us happy and bring us closer together. Go back to those deep conversations you used to have. Just because you feel you know each other so well, it doesn’t mean that opinions and perspectives have stayed the same all these years. We grow and change, and it is important to do this together.

You must also acknowledge unhelpful patterns in your relationship, and then attend to them. The most common situation is when one partner demands and critiques their partner, and the other pulls back in return. The constant demands turn into a feeling of nagging, and this becomes a negative cycle. It is important to recognize it and work at stopping it, most importantly, when both partners are in a calm frame of mind.

If you find you are constantly arguing or nagging at each other, it is important to learn how to constructively communicate.  Be mature and be the one who puts an end to arguments that go back and forth like a ping pong match. Why not stop while you’re ahead? If you see a fight coming, take note to step back and think about what you say before you say it. Express your feelings to your partner. Let them know when they do something to upset you, and how it made you feel. As well as your partner may know you, you cannot expect them to always read your mind and predict your emotions.

Physical connection is also important to reconnect and repair your relationship. Placing a hand on your partner’s shoulder, for example, is a simple way to show compassion and care for your partner. Gestures like these may have been so commonplace in your relationship in the past. Check in and search to see if you are mindful of physical connection and its importance in your relationship. Physical touch only helps to reaffirm and strengthen your bond. Since the really destructive forms of interaction or communication in relationships include defensive and/ or hurtful behaviors, touch is one way of re-establishing connection.

Another step in repairing your relationship is taking time to talk about your differences, in a way that reaffirms the way they make your relationship and your bond stronger. Talking about these differences can help you understand why you may argue or have different viewpoints. For example, if you find it it hard to express emotions to your partner, let them know that. You may be with someone who speaks their mind on how they feel, and they may find it frustrating that you do not. Unless these differences are talked about, we cannot understand each other or know why it is harder for our partner to do things the same way we do. Talk about struggles you face and challenges you see in your relationship – it can only provide insight and opportunities to discuss solutions.

Finally, ask yourself if you are thankful and grateful for your partner and your relationship, and express it. Make your partner aware of your love and connection, and your willingness to repair the relationship. Make your partner feel appreciated, and good things will come. As the old saying goes, do unto others as they unto you. If you want your partner to treat you better and put more effort into the relationship, chances are you can do the same.

Fore more information on relationship counselling or couples counselling, please visit: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/relationship-counselling-etobicoke/

To book an appointment, please call 647-961-9669 or email carly_clifton@gmail.com

What is Social Anxiety? Learn more for you or someone you know

Social anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders that is affecting more people than we may realize. It is important to be aware of you or people around you who may be showing variations of these symptoms. Extreme shyness is one way to think of social anxiety. Social anxiety exists along a continuum, ranging from normal shyness to high degrees of social anxiety. Social anxiety can be characterized by an intense fear of specific or all social settings. This usually also involves a heightened self-focus, and avoidance or escaping social situations. Sound familiar? This could be finding excuses not to attend a certain party or to socialize with certain people that make you feel uncomfortable. And if you do go to an uncomfortable event or surround yourself with people who make you feel this way, you may often leave early.

People who experience this social anxiety are extremely attentive to other people’s feelings, but they misread them, over-interpreting anything that could be taken as a negative reaction. They are oversensitive to criticism or negative comments. As a result, people who are highly sensitive tend to be overly aware of one’s behavior and how they think they should act in certain situations. They are so caught up in how they may appear to others that they often do not enjoy many simple experiences, for fear of negative evaluation by others.

This anxious feeling and desire to avoid an event manifests in physical ways, even before they encounter the social situation. This could be shortness of breath, faster heart rates, sweating, and stomach pains. Of course, then one would worry that people around them notice these physical signs of what they are thinking and feeling. After the encounter, they replay the situation over and over in their mind. They are so hard on themselves, and falsely accuse themselves of being ineffective or appearing insecure compared to others. Consequently, these individuals want to avoid situations with people and in places that these situations have occurred in the past.

Social anxiety is highly linked to eating disorders as well. This comes from the fear of people negatively evaluating them as overweight or unattractive, leading to dietary restriction and purging behaviours. (Please see https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/eating-disorder-counselling-etobicoke/ for more information on eating disorders).

There are many basic techniques that you can work on to feel more confident and worry less about what others think of you. Please be aware if you or someone around you seems to be displaying signs of anxiety or social anxiety. Start enjoying, be comfortable with, and stop avoiding social events and people where you want to be yourself!

 

How Social Comparison is Related to Anxiety and Depression

Technology provides various forms of social comparison that can be taxing on our mental health and wellbeing, such as anxiety. It’s no wonder that youth today are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The platforms provide so many ways for us to compare ourselves to the people around us. And of course, most want to publicize and upload visions and notes on their most positive experiences and moments. These sources are constantly updated by the second, providing no escape from viewing others’ happiness. We are continually dissatisfied, as we are comparing ourselves to someone we think is or who has something better. But hey, who says the numbers of ‘happy’ pictures and notifications we send out determines our happiness?
Social comparison is part of human nature, and social media and technology have made this inescapable. We tend to rank ourselves according to social groups or classes, which can be determined by behaviours or hobbies (constantly posted on social media). Trends and fads can be picked up from following different sites or people online, and we choose to follow specific ones. This means that sometimes we are selecting unrealistic forms of social comparison (such as celebrities), which can cause great stress and anxiety. At times of unemployment or stress, some people may feel hopeless when they see large amounts of success. This feeling of being overwhelmed can lead to a downward spiral into depression. As a result of constant social comparison, we aren’t happy with ourselves and have low self-esteem.
If you haven’t thought of this, take note that people who post excessive happy notes and pictures sometimes do this as a form of insecurity. Even if this is not an insecurity, chances are, they aren’t always as happy as they appear in social media. It’s doubtful they would post a picture of a moment where they felt depressed.
It is important for us to learn to gain a healthier perspective on how we do compare ourselves to others. We must remember our strengths, and ask ourselves if our desires and goals are realistic. We need to be more accepting of what we have and who we are. We need eliminate feelings of anxiety, by creating goals for the future based on our strengths and abilities.

You determine your success, which should not be measured by social comparison. You determine your happiness – not anyone else.

For more information on anxiety counselling or anxiety psychotherapy, click here: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/anxiety-counselling-etobicoke/

For more information on relationship counselling or relationship therapy, click here: https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/relationship-counselling-etobicoke/

Immediate Gratification and Addiction

Immediate gratification is the need to have, do, or ingest something in the moment, and is a component of addiction and people who suffer with addictions. People with substance abuse are in continual conflict with themselves and their decision-making. Immediate gratification is also seen as indulgence for the immediate self, and prudence or guilt for the future self.

Our behavior seems to be controlled by the need for immediate gratification and the need to be concerned with the long-term satisfaction. Individuals suffering from an addiction do have both these needs, and also have a hard time balancing them. Having just a plan or goal is not enough. We are at battle with two sets of interests or ideals, and the interests of these two selves do not always coincide. Many psychologists like to view it as the mind consisting of multiple-states that may to varying degree be in conflict with one another. In this case, there is no one executive decision maker in the mind, and every decision is a cooperation of different self-states. Those with addictive personalities tend to suffer in this cooperation of self-states phase.

This problem with self-control and immediate gratification explains why we are conflicted and inconsistent in our decisions and actions. The inconsistencies of self-control is mainly about conflict between two selves (ex: the one who wants to be sober and the other who wants a drink right now). This conflict is ultimately between a person who is both motivated to act in some particular way and who is also motivated to restrain that action. The conflict in decision is there as a matter of timing, which may be impacted by a current physical or emotional state. The decision to drink, or give into another addiction, may be exacerbated by a vulnerable point in time, such as an emotional crises or a time of personal stress.

The best way to handle this self-conflict or inability to avoid immediate gratification is to increase self-awareness. It is about being aware of this change in desire before it happens, and understanding what vulnerabilities we may have to making choices we may later regret. Ultimately, we must win the battle of the good and evil, and not give into temptation. People with addictions must make conscious choices to prevent themselves from making the wrong choice if given an opportunity later. If it is going to bars that create the ultimate temptation for immediate gratification for alcohol, then it is time to avoid bars until you feel confident in your self-control. Stop yourself and think about the longterm consequences before running to what is best right now.

Please go to https://www.etobicokepsychotherapy.com/addiction-counselling-etobicoke/ for more information or to speak to someone regarding yourself or someone you may be concerned about with an addiction or substance abuse problem.