The Link Between Narcissism and Financial Abuse. 

The Link Between Narcissism and Financial Abuse. 

Source: Unsplash.com | By: Mathieu Stern | Rights: Free to Use

Although it’s not always the case, there is a strong correlation between narcissism and domestic violence. When a narcissist is abusive, it is most commonly referred to as narcissistic abuse. Many people may think that narcissists just use emotional or physical means to control their victims. However, there is another method used in narcissistic abuse that can be even more damaging. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important to shed light on one of the most common but unspoken forms of domestic violence, financial abuse. 

Narcissism. 

Narcissism, or narcissistic personality disorder, is a condition in which a person has an inflated sense of oneself. This is often paired with a lack of empathy and a need for an excessive amount of attention and admiration. Narcissists tend to be motivated by extrinsic factors such as money, power, and status. Because of this, narcissists struggle immensely with intimate relationships.

Narcissistic Abuse.

Often, dating a narcissistic person can be a troubling experience. Narcissists go after people that are the opposite of them because they are easier to control. Those people are usually more empathetic and value personal fulfillment, fairness, and friendships. Since narcissists demand special attention and to be treated as superior, they are more likely to use abuse as a means to get what they want. Common tactics used in narcissistic abuse include gaslighting, manipulation, and verbal attacks. But what is just as common, and not as visible, is the use of financial abuse. 

Financial Abuse. 

Financial abuse involves controlling a victim’s ability to make, access, or use any of their own money. Money is one of the most powerful ways to trap a victim. The Center for Financial Security found that 99% of domestic abuse victims experience some form of financial abuse. Narcissists use money as a way to make their partners feel dependent and inferior. By restricting their partner’s access to money, the victim is forced to become reliant on their abuser, since they have no resources to leave. Financial abuse is also the most common reason people return to their abuser, yet, many don’t notice financial abuse in their lives. 

Money as a Weapon. 

Many narcissists associate money and status with power. Because of this, money is often used as a weapon to gain control over the relationship. Some common ways narcissistic abusers control their victims are by withholding their finances, stealing their money, sabotaging their credit, or preventing them from getting a job. Doing this causes the victim to be reliant on their abuser and prevents them from obtaining any financial or personal freedom. 

What to Do if You Suspect Financial Abuse.

Some narcissistic abusers don’t make financial abuse obvious. Many narcissists will even lie about their financial situation, or take control over your money without you knowing. One way to check if you are being financially abused is by looking at a credit score report or bank statement. 

Unfortunately, credit scores play a huge factor in financial freedom. Purchases that allow you to be safe and independent, such as buying a home, require specific credit score ranges. Abusers know this and will try to damage your score by opening lines of credit with your name and creating massive debt on your account. You can get a free credit report to see if there are any discrepancies in your credit. Likewise, if you notice big withdrawals from your bank account or purchases made without your consent, it could be a good indicator that you are being financially abused. 

Leaving Abuse. 

Narcissistic financial abuse is a serious matter. It can cause many to go into severe poverty and prevent victims from escaping their situations. Your safety is more important than anything. If you are a victim of financial abuse, do not call out your abuser, as this can make it even more dangerous for you. Instead, talk with a trusted friend, family member, or the Domestic Violence Support Hotline about your situation to help plan your escape. No matter how bad the financial damage is, recovery is possible. There are many resources available to help guide you through this process and get you back on your feet. 

Final Thoughts. 

Many people still don’t know about narcissistic financial abuse and the long-term effects it has. Knowledge is power. To help prevent others from falling victim to financial abuse, we must first talk about it. That is why it is important, especially this coming month, that we spread awareness around this topic to help put an end to financial abuse. 

Surviving the relationship breakup blues.

Couple not talking

Relationship Break up Blues
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

How do you cope with Break–up sadness?

Whatever a relationship ends, there’s bound to be sadness. Even in those unhealthy relationships that have been bad from the beginning breaking up can be a mixture of relief that you’ve gotten out of the relationship and sadness that the relationship you wanted wasn’t what you got. The longer the relationship, the more difficult this can be. In this post, I’m going to talk mainly about relationships that break up during the dating or living together stage. Once two people have gotten married or had a child together, there’s likely to be a whole lot of additional wreckage that needs to be cleaned up. These are some of the things you need to do to recover from the emotional part of the relationship.

It’s okay to grieve.

Whenever a relationship ends, it’s normal to experience sadness. Even the relationships we know will end, like four years of college, are often followed by a period of emotional letdown and sadness. Ending a relationship you thought would be forever can be catastrophic. Don’t think you should be over it in a day or two. Allow yourself the time to process the changes. Humans change when we are in relationships. When you’re newly single, you’re going to have to shift back. It’s okay to experience a period of sadness as long as that feeling does not turn into depression which interferes with the rest of your life.

Try not to lose the good parts just because the relationship has ended.

You went to someplace new with the person who is now your ex, and you had a good time. That doesn’t mean you will have to avoid that place forever. Initially, going back to that “our favorite restaurant” can be difficult. It can be a reminder of your loss. After waiting a time, try revisiting that restaurant with a friend. Let yourself remember the good parts.

Don’t start assessing blame.

It’s easy to blame your former romantic partner. You can probably think of dozens of reasons why this breakup was their fault. You may also want to blame yourself. Just because it didn’t work out doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. If you did have ongoing problems within the relationship, consider getting some counseling. If you have had more than one failed relationship, don’t automatically look for what’s wrong with you. But do consider why you keep picking potential relationship partners who are not a good match for you.

Try something new.

Vary your routine. Don’t do a geographic and think that moving to a different city will solve your problem. Don’t think that rushing into another relationship with a new partner will make you happy. Do try out some new activities, hobbies and visiting some new places. Consider taking a class just for the fun of it. The time between relationships is an excellent opportunity to develop new interests.

Don’t torture yourself.

Avoid staying connected to your old partner on social media. Stop asking your friends what your ex has been doing. Some people find it helpful to remove their former partner’s phone numbers and emails from their contact lists. Don’t be tempted to reach out and try to reconnect when you’re feeling down or even a little tipsy.

Stay busy.

You don’t have to be frantically active, but you do need to use the time you would have spent with your former partner to good advantage. Reconnect with old friends. Pick up a book you’ve always wanted to read. Do some of those things you had been putting off because your partner didn’t like them, or you didn’t think you had the time.

Learn the life lessons this experience taught you.

Not learning a life lesson when it’s presented dooms you to repeat the lesson. The lessons we don’t learn when we are young continued to repeat themselves. This is especially true of feelings and relationships. If you have been in a relationship of any kind that has ended, there are sure to be critical life lessons you need to learn. Be careful about jumping to the easy conclusions. Failed relationships are rarely the fault of only one person. Look at your contribution to making the relationship succeed or fail. Also, examined the reasons you chose to enter a relationship with this person and whether you would want to do the same thing again.

Show yourself some Self-Compassion.

Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made and resolve to do better in the future. There’s no evidence that being hard on yourself or wallowing in self-pity will reduce the suffering or prevent this from happening again. Treat yourself with kindness and take good care of yourself. Healing from a breakup is going to require all the Self-Compassion you can muster.

Stay single for a while.

Rushing into a new relationship, whether it’s a committed one or just casual sex, can create even more wreckage. The most important relationship you will ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself. People fresh out of a relationship are encouraged to stay single and work on themselves for a while. People in early recovery from substance use disorder realize they had fallen in love with their drug of choice. We encourage them to stay single for at least two years to avoid substituting a romance or sexual activity as another way to make themselves feel good.

Don’t expect anything from your ex.

Some people hope to still maintain a friendship with their ex. Just because you try to do this, don’t expect your former partner to be willing to stay friends. For some people, it’s simply too painful to be in contact with a former partner.

Also, don’t keep hoping for some form of closure. Don’t expect them to tell you why they made that decision or to apologize for things they did while you were together. It’s also not a good idea to apologize to your former partner for the things you did wrong. Offering an apology and getting it rejected can create more wreckage that’s even harder to recover from.

Don’t think you have to be self-sufficient.

Just because you’re out of a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t reach out for support and help. While your romantic partner may be the closest person to you, they shouldn’t be the only person you connect with. It’s recommended that everyone have at least five people in their support system. That might be friends, parents, siblings, other relatives, or even professionals. Don’t be ashamed if you must ask other people to help you with some of the things that your ex used to do.

What do you think?

Have you recently gone through a relationship breakup? What did you find most helpful? Consider leaving a comment to share your experiences with others. If you’d like to contact me directly, please use the contact me feature on this blog.

I’m looking forward to hearing what worked and what didn’t for each of you.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel 

Is Your Relationship Toxic?

Toxic Relationships – photo courtesy of Pixabay

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What is a toxic relationship?

Relationships we might describe as toxic lie on the extreme end of unhealthy relationships. The term toxic relationship is commonly used to describe a lot of unhappy and unhealthy relationships. One way of defining a toxic relationship is any relationship that lacks emotional safety. These relationships are characterized by chronic disrespect and frequent personal attacks.

People in these relationships often report that they experience gaslighting, their words are being twisted, and every conversation ends in an argument. If your relationship makes you feel bad about yourself and you are always on edge when you’re around this person, it’s likely that you’re in an unhealthy or toxic relationship.

Toxicity can range from high to low.

Like most aspects of personality, there’s a range for how toxic someone might be. For example, the trait of narcissism ranges from so low that the person has little self-esteem to so high that they’re unable to empathize or see others’ points of view. Some people can handle being around a severe narcissist and not be damaged, but most people can’t.

The same thing is true of many of the personality characteristics associated with toxic relationships. What you may be able to tolerate in a partner might be harmful to some of your other family members. What someone else may be able to put up with in a relationship might damage your self-esteem and ability to have a well-functioning life.

Being in a relationship that you find toxic can leave you chronically unhappy and even depressed. It makes your life feel unstable and unpredictable. Here are some signs you may be in an unhealthy or toxic relationship.

They are dream destroyers.

If your partner constantly belittles you and makes fun of your dreams, this will turn destructive over time. There’s something wrong with a partner who needs to pull you down in order to feel good about themselves. If your partner can’t support you in pursuing your dreams, you better reevaluate that relationship.

Their lives are full of drama that has nothing to do with you.

Some people live in the eye of the hurricane. Their life is always full of drama. If nothing is going wrong, they create more drama. You are constantly being dragged into their drama.

Whatever they want is more important than your wants and needs.

In toxic relationships, one partner will disregard the other wants and needs. Everything becomes about them. A healthy relationship is characterized by give-and-take. If you’ve come to expect that what you want will be disregarded and that your needs don’t matter, you’re in a very unhealthy relationship.

They belittle your accomplishments.

Healthy relationship partners are delighted when the partner accomplishes something. If your partner needs to minimize your accomplishments, this is a sign that your partner is insecure and only able to think about themselves. Having your partner constantly minimize your contribution to the relationship and your individual accomplishments will chip away at your self-esteem. Eventually, this kind of relationship will turn toxic.

You would avoid this person if you could.

Are you ever tempted to stay at work a little longer just to avoid having to go home? But then, when you get home, do you try to busy yourself with something that avoids the person you live with? If you find you would just as soon avoid this person if you could, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

When you’re around them, you can’t be yourself.

You feel that the person is constantly evaluating you and judging you negatively and that it’s not a healthy relationship. If you have to hide your true self when you’re around someone, it’s not a healthy relationship. If you have to change who you are to please this person, it’s not a healthy relationship.

Being around them makes you physically ill.

There’s a lot of truth to that old saying that someone makes you sick to your stomach. The body reacts to unhealthy or dangerous situations by motivating our defenses to freeze, flee, or fight. If when you’re around someone you chronically have headaches, an upset stomach, or other unpleasant body sensations, and you’re not having those problems when you’re alone or with supportive people, your body is trying to tell you there’s something wrong with this relationship.

Do they avoid hearing about your feelings?

In a healthy relationship, you should feel free to express feelings about things without your partner getting defensive. If your feelings are a taboo subject, it’s an unhealthy relationship. Does your partner get angry whenever you tell them how you feel about something? Not wanting to hear about your feelings, or worse yet, not wanting you to have feelings, is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Do they blame you for all the problems in the relationship?

Having a good work relationship requires two people, each caring about the other. Most relationship problems can only be solved by work on both parties’ parts. If your partner won’t look at how they contribute to the issues between you and tell you everything would be fine if you would just change, your relationship is not very healthy.

Relationships in which one person has a significant problem, an addiction, a severe untreated mental illness, or uncontrolled anger issues can’t be made healthy by their partner no matter how hard that partner tries. But if you’ve done your best to be a healthy partner, their problems aren’t all your fault.

Have you become totally dependent on your partner?

A characteristic of unhealthy relationships, particularly abusive relationships, is when your partner insists that you rely solely on them. If your partner doesn’t like your friends and family and doesn’t want you talking to them, it’s an unhealthy relationship. If they don’t want you going anywhere without them, they control all the money; your relationship has become unhealthy.

You disagree on your goals and values.

The things that tear couples apart are often the things that they hadn’t discussed when they got together. Does one of you want to have children, and the other wants to put it off maybe forever? Do you disagree on whether to spend or save? Have you discussed where you want to live and what you want to do when retirement arrives?

Think about all these factors, particularly in your primary intimate relationship. Beware if you see signs of an unhealthy relationship. Recognizing toxic relationships early on can save you years of unhappiness.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Mothers day

Happy Mother’s Day

To all the mothers out there who have given their unconditional love regardless of what your children look like or do here is wishing you a happy mother’s day.

If you didn’t have a mother like that, then work on giving yourself that love on this day devoted to the way a caring mother can make us all happy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Love.

Valentine’s Day love. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

“The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine’s Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine’s Day on February’s shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.”

― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

“Do what you do. This Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Twelfth Night, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Paddy’s Day, and every day henceforth. Just do what you do. Live out your life and your traditions on your own terms.

If it offends others, so be it. That’s their problem.”

― Chris Rose

“Valentine’s Day is the poet’s holiday.”

― Ted Kooser

“Let’s forgive someone for Valentines day, it’s a great way to show love, and forgive yourself too for the hurt you held onto.”

― Jay Woodman

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. There are an estimated 100,000 words in the English language that are feelings related. Some emotions are pleasant, and some are unpleasant, but all feelings can provide useful information. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Surviving a relationship breakup.

Woman sitting alone

Alone after a breakup.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Breaking up is difficult.

Breakups can be extremely painful. Sometimes they are catalysts for growth, and for other people, they can have a destructive result. As a professional therapist, I encourage people to do all they can to fix a relationship before calling it quits.

If you’ve had several breakups or failed relationships, you may need to do some work on yourself before getting into another relationship. You may also want to look at why you picked this person in the first place. But once the breakup has happened, it’s time to take stock and move on. Here are some suggestions to help you survive that breakup experience.

Grieving your loss is the first step in recovering from a relationship that ended.

At the start of a relationship, people have high hopes and expectations. The breakup destroys those hopes. Even a lousy relationship requires grieving. Not necessarily for the partner you have left, but for the hopes and dreams that have perished. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself plenty of time for grieving.

Avoid assessing blame for the relationship failure.

Going on a blame trip can take you to a terrible place. It’s much more productive to accept that what happened has happened. Now is not the time to decide whose fault it was. Later, you may want to look at how you contributed to the relationship breakup and what you will do differently in the future. Avoid dwelling on all the negative emotions of blaming yourself or becoming angry with your ex.

To recover, try on some new people, places, and things.

People change when they enter relationships, and they change when they leave them. Many people who come to counseling after a breakup tell me they are trying to “find themselves.” One way to find yourself is to do some exploring. Have some new experiences. Don’t hang out with the people who will remind you of your ex. Spend some time with new people. Rather than going to the same restaurants and stores you and your ex went to, explore some new options. Now may be an excellent time to develop some new hobbies and interests.

Cut the cord, or you will go bouncing back.

Avoid the bungee cord approach to breakups. It’s tempting to call them just to see how they’re doing or to tell them about something you forgot to say. Don’t keep reinitiating contact. You might want to examine the reasons for the breakup. Frequent breakups and getting back together are characteristics of an extremely unhealthy relationship.

To get over an ex, stay busy with your own life.

After the breakup is no time to sit around moping, get back into life. Create an individual life and enjoy the process of being a single person again. Work on your self-improvement plan. Learn a new skill. Read that book or watch that movie you never had time for.

Make this a learning experience.

Learn from your experiences. For some people, this is a good time to see a counselor. Do you keep picking the same kinds of people only to have the relationships not work out? Were there things about your ex you should have spotted before he got into a committed relationship? Do you get into relationships overlooking your partner’s faults or expecting them to change?

Don’t use sex, drugs, or alcohol to numb the pain.

Avoid using things to change the way you feel. Drugs and alcohol may seem like a quick way to numb the pain, but they come with severe consequences. If you have ended a relationship, you don’t want to destroy yourself over it. Behavioral addictions like sex and gambling may also be tempting, but they all provide short-term boosts but long-term letdowns.

Don’t expect apologies or closure from your former partner.

Once you’ve broken up with someone, you are way past the apologies stage, hoping for or expecting an apology from your ex will only set you up for more pain. You won’t get closure by calling or writing your ex. Any closure you will get will come from you doing your own work and finding a new meaning and purpose for your life.

Engage your support system during the transition.

Everyone should have a support system. And it shouldn’t be restricted to just your significant other. Expecting one person to be your total support system requires more than that one person might be able to provide. After a breakup is a good time to re-examine your support system; who are the people that you can go to when you face challenges? Your support system should be a two-way connection. Your supporters are not just people you rely on. They should also be able to depend on you. After a breakup is a good time to renew contacts with family, friends, and professionals such as counselors and therapists.

Ask for the help you need.

Don’t try to do everything all by yourself. Reach out for the help you need. Help can come in all kinds of forms. You may need to take some time off from work. You may need some emotional support. Let your friends and support system know what it is that you need.

Have you had to survive a breakup? Please leave a comment and let us know if you used any of these tips or found anything else that helped you cope with the breakup.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

The benefits of asking more questions.

Counseling questions

Asking questions.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

Many people don’t like to ask questions for fear; it will make them seem dumb. There’s an old saying that the dumbest question is the one you don’t ask. Research on asking questions shows that you can receive a lot of benefits from asking more questions. Learning to ask thoughtful questions can improve your knowledge and your career. Asking questions can show that you’re interested in what others have to say. Here are some ways in which asking more questions might benefit you.

Asking questions improves emotional intelligence.

High emotional intelligence can be a beneficial skill, particularly if you’re in a job or a situation that requires a lot of interaction with other people. People with high emotional intelligence are better at recognizing what their friends and partners are feeling, and it improves their interpersonal relationships.

Very few people announce what they’re feeling. Many people have trouble identifying their own feelings. Learning to understand what those around you are feeling can prevent a lot of problems. Asking people how they feel about things helps you learn to recognize other’s feelings and your own.

If you don’t ask, you won’t know.

A lot of errors and misunderstandings could be eliminated if only people would ask more questions. The people you’re talking with generally won’t know how much you know about the topic. Too much explanation may come across as demeaning and insulting. Too little explanation creates misunderstandings. By asking informed questions, you tell your conversation partner what things they need to explain better.

Good questions build relationships.

Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the other person and help build good relationships. By asking questions about the other person, you give them the opening to tell you more about themselves and their thinking. Allowing others to open up and talk about themselves deepens your connection.

Asking questions increase learning.

One way to consolidate learning is to ask questions about the material you have just been presented. If you’re reading something, pause periodically to ask yourself questions about the material. If you find it difficult to answer those questions, you need to reread or study the material more. Asking and answering these questions helps you to reinforce that learning. Asking questions of someone who is knowledgeable about a subject may reveal information you would not have learned otherwise.

Use open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions, ones that can’t be answered with a yes or no, increase communication. Closed-ended questions of the yes or no variety reduce communication. Too many closed-ended questions can shut down communication entirely and may come across as interrogation. Try asking people to tell you more about the topic. Encourage your conversation partner to expand on what they’ve already said.

You need to balance asking and answering questions.

Most people like being asked questions, but if you only ask them and never answer them, they find it hard to trust you. Good communication flows in both directions. If you want people to trust you and you expect them to answer your questions, you need to be trustworthy, and you need to answer their questions.

For more on the value of the skill of asking more and better questions, see the article in the Harvard Business Review titled The Surprising Power of Questions.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Is your relationship healthy?

Couple not talking

Unhappy relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What should you look for in a healthy relationship?

It’s easy to spot an unhealthy relationship. The couple never gets along. They fight about everything, and there’s a lot of collateral damage when they fight. When there is an unhappy relationship, family, friends, and even the children wish this couple would call it quits. But just because there are no outside signs of conflict doesn’t mean that this is a healthy relationship.

The notion that in healthy relationships, there are never any conflicts is a myth. The idea that people in a good relationship are soulmates who need to be together continually isn’t accurate either. To have a healthy relationship, there needs to be a balance of togetherness and individuality. People in a healthy relationship do have disagreements and conflicts, but they can solve them without harming each other or the relationship. Here are some of the signs of a healthy relationship.

There are no topics you can’t talk about.

Are you able to talk about what’s on your mind? In a good relationship, there are no topics that are taboo. You shouldn’t have to censor what you say to your partner. That doesn’t mean that rude or hurtful comments are okay. In healthy relationships, you can talk to your partner about anything, you don’t have to feel like you’re walking on eggshells, but you need to say things respectfully.

You can still be you while being a part of an “us.”

Being in a couple-relationship involves a balancing of the individual and the couple. In the early stages of getting together, couples typically go through a period during which they can’t get enough of each other. In the early stages, they want to spend every minute together. But for the relationship to develop, the two people need to reach a point where each of them can be a separate “me” while still being a part of “us.”

Not being able to transition from creating an “us” to balancing your individual needs and interests with the things you do together as a couple can result in an unhealthy relationship. If your partner is pathologically jealous and doesn’t want you to do anything or go anywhere without them, that’s not love. Not allowing your partner to have separate feelings and interests creates severe problems in a relationship.

You can disagree without hurting each other.

In a healthy relationship, you can disagree. You don’t feel the need to force your partner to change their thinking. If disagreement threatens you or your partner, it’s a good indication that this is an unhealthy relationship.

You look for solutions, not who’s right.

“Right fighting” continuing arguments to prove that you’re right and your partner is wrong, is both a sign of and a cause of unhealthy relationships. In healthy relationships, you can look for “win-win” solutions. If you feel the need to fight to the bitter end and approach every conflict thinking that one of you must be right and the other is wrong, you’re not in a healthy relationship.

You don’t have to change each other.

Getting into a relationship, expecting your partner to change leads to incredible conflict. If either one of you feels that your partner needs to change for this to be a good relationship, you’re headed in a terrible direction. Certainly, people do change both when they get into relationships and when they lead them. There’s plenty of room for both personal growth and growth as a couple. But if you’ve convinced yourself that your partner needs to change for you to be happy, you need to take another look at yourself.

You don’t need something to happen to be happy.

The belief that something must happen and then the two of you can be happy together is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. If you’re not satisfied and not getting along, thinking that having a child, moving to a different city, or getting a new job will fix this are likely signs that this is not a healthy relationship. If you don’t enjoy the process of where you are going, you’re very likely to be disappointed when you get to your destination.

You make decisions together.

Every couple evolves how they handled decision-making. If your relationship is characterized by one person having all the power and control, and they make all the decisions regardless of what you think, this is an unhealthy relationship.

Your relationship creates more joy than pain.

Every relationship has some problematic patches. But if the bulk of your time with your partner is painful and you struggle to hold on to small patches of joy, you’re in an unhealthy relationship. The joyous times should far outweigh the pain.

You’re able to divide up the duties fairly.

There are myriad ways in which couples divide up duties. I read somewhere that 50-50 marriages do not work. Generally, each person in a relationship feels they are doing more than half the work. But when you step back and look at it, both of you need to agree that there’s a fair distribution of the duties.

You appreciate your partner and feel appreciated.

If you don’t appreciate your partner and they never show you appreciation, this is not a healthy relationship. Knowing that each of you cares about the other helps the health of the relationship. Couples who expressed their appreciation for each other build their relationship. Taking each other for granted is a sign your relationship suffers from ill-health.

In a healthy relationship, you trust each other.

In healthy relationships, people trust each other. If you don’t trust your partner, it can feel like you’re living with the enemy. Sometimes something has happened in the relationship to make one partner distrusts the other. If that’s happened, you need to be working on rebuilding that trust. If you came into the relationship with “trust issues,” this is your issue, and you need to be working on it. People with trust issues may need to seek individual counseling. Healthy relationships are characterized by high levels of trust and acceptance for each other.

Neither of you holds on to resentments.

Resentments poison relationships. The resentments you harbor that you haven’t been able to release prevents you from being happy. Both people in a relationship need to be working on getting rid of their resentments. Unhealthy relationships are characterized by high levels of resentment on both party’s parts.

The two of you are emotionally intimate.

In romantic relationships, physical intimacy helps build the couple’s relationship. But physical intimacy by itself is not enough. Healthy relationships need to include emotional closeness. If you don’t feel you can share your feelings with your partner, this is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

You feel safe when you’re with your partner.

Your partner should make you feel safe, and you should make them feel secure. Any relationship where someone feels unsafe is inherently unhealthy.

You can talk to each other about anything.

Open communication is essential for a healthy relationship. You should be able to talk with your partner about anything. That doesn’t mean your partner needs to agree with either your thinking or your feelings, but they should be open to hearing what you need to say. If there are things your partner wants to talk about that you don’t want to hear, you probably have work to do on yourself.

You both make repair efforts.

In healthy relationships, whenever there are problems, both parties need to make repair efforts. If you or your partner are holding onto grudges, unwilling to give in or even to discuss possible solutions, these are all signs that this is an unhealthy relationship.

You appreciate them and know they appreciate you.

Being appreciated and giving appreciation are not just nice things to have. High levels of appreciation flowing in both directions are essential for a healthy relationship.

While none of these characteristics are inherently all or nothing, each of the things I’ve described above is a good indicator of the health of your relationship. If your relationship is unhealthy, or simply not as healthy as you would like, you’ll need to decide if you are willing to work on yourself and work on your relationship with your partner. If you’ve discovered you’re in an unhealthy relationship, consider getting professional help either for the two of you or for each of you individually. Please don’t spend the rest of your life in an unhealthy relationship wishing that it would somehow miraculously change. Professional help is available for relationships and individual emotional problems.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Loneliness is a disease that changes the brain.

Person alone

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Loneliness doesn’t just feel bad; it makes you sick.

According to the British Psychological Society, researchers have concluded that loneliness, rather than being the result of physical and mental health problems, may be a direct cause. Higher than normal levels of loneliness have been connected with a number of physical diseases. Loneliness not only changes the way you think about things and your feelings but eventually, over time, it can change the very structure and chemistry of your brain. Here are some of the ways that loneliness affects your physical and mental health.

Loneliness is bad for your physical health.

Loneliness, living alone, and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010) Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)

Loneliness impairs your sleep.

One study in Health Psychology found that loneliness impairs the quality of sleep and leaves you feeling more tired the next day, even if you get the same number of hours of sleep that night.

This connection works in both directions. Being lonely impairs the quality of your sleep. Poor sleep quality impairs your daytime functioning, making you more likely to avoid others and increases your loneliness.

Lonely people have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

Being lonely increases sleep latency, meaning it takes you longer to fall asleep and may result in difficulty staying asleep. Both of these lead to daytime drowsiness and impaired health and functioning.

Lonely people have higher blood pressure.

Loneliness can increase your blood pressure as much is thirty points. Loneliness increases the blood pressure just about as much as losing weight decreases it. People with the highest blood pressure also are likely to score highest on measures of loneliness.

Being lonely decreases your resistance to diseases.

Loneliness leads to chronic stress and inflammation, which can weaken your immune system. It’s the feeling of being lonely rather than the objective measure of social isolation, which leads to reduced resistance to diseases. Even when you have plenty of relationships, you can feel lonely if the quality of those relationships is poor

Lonely people have impaired cognitive function.

While being lonely affects sleep and lack of sleep impairs cognitive function, the relationship goes even deeper. When you’re using up a lot of your cognitive abilities being under constant stress and feeling lonely, you don’t have much capacity left to focus your thinking.

Lonely people have an increased risk of developing dementia.

Considering all the other things loneliness does to your nervous system, it’s not surprising that being lonely puts you at an increased risk of developing dementia. Of course, that probably runs in the other direction also, people with dementia are more likely to experience loneliness. Lonely people are more likely to suffer from dementia, heart disease, and depression. (Valtorta et al, 2016) (James et al, 2011) (Cacioppo et al, 2006)

Loneliness causes depression.

Feelings of loneliness are a major factor in depression. Not feeling loved or supported is depressing. People with depression tend to avoid other people and often have negative thinking patterns. If you believe you’re being rejected, you are likely to develop depression.

You won’t live as long if you’re lonely.

Chronic loneliness shortens the lifespan. Other mental illnesses reduce lifespan also. Having a mental or emotional problem that goes untreated puts you at risk for early death. Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)

Health risk information from The Campaign to End Loneliness.

For more on this topic, look at the materials on The Campaign to End Loneliness website.

Have you been feeling more or less lonely lately? What have you done to cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story BureauStory Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty Baldwin takes a job in the capital city working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel