Ways to build trust.

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

Word trust

Trust.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

How do you build trust in a relationship?

Some relationships, particularly romantic relationships, start out full of trust and then something happens to damage that trust. If your relationship has been damaged by an affair, substance abuse, or other bad behavior, the first order of business is to repair that damage. In this situation, the reserve of good feelings has been overdrawn, and it may take some work to get the balance in your love account back to positive. For more about affairs and recovery from them from see – affairs.

Other couples may have started their relationship low on the good feelings, towards themselves and towards their partner. If you are low in self-esteem, you may not have positive feelings to give your partner. If the trust issues are issues you brought with you into the relationship working on yourself is the first step.

For couples who would like to build more connection and intimacy here are some suggestions for reducing barriers and increasing trust.

Discussing goals and values increases trust.

Spend some time talking about your values, the things that matter to you. Do this in a non-judging way. Couples can disagree about many things and still have an emotionally close relationship. Deep discussions require time and understanding. Emphasize hearing and understanding what your partner is saying rather than trying to convince them of your point of view.

If you want them to trust, you keep their secrets.

Don’t blab the things that people you are close to have told you. If you want to be trusted, your partner must know that it is safe to share their secrets with you. It may be tempting to confide those secrets to your family or your best friend. Once a secret is shared, it stops being a secret. Passing on that information will destroy trust.

Don’t keep them in the dark if you want their trust.

If things are going on in your life, keep your partner aware of them. Not knowing what’s going on and what you are doing reduces trust. Secrets hide in the dark. If you want a trusting relationship turn on the light of openness.

Keep your word. Say it, do it, and trust will grow.

To increase trust, your partner needs to know that you will keep your word. Don’t promise things you can’t or won’t do. Don’t say you will do something because that is what you would like to do. When you are not sure, tell them about your uncertainty. Don’t promise things that you can’t make come true.

Admitting that you don’t know increases trust.

If you want to be trusted, you can’t pretend to know things that you don’t. Be honest enough to admit that you don’t know. Making up an answer may seem reassuring at the time, but if that answer turns out to not be true, you have destroyed trust.

Admit when you’re wrong if you want more trust.

When you are wrong, admit it right away. Trying to hide your mistakes creates doubt and makes it harder to trust you in the future. You don’t have to always be right. It’s easier to believe someone who promptly admits it when they are wrong.

Build trust by looking for win-win solutions.

People build trust by making others feel like you’re on the same team. Couples often get caught in the vicious cycle of win or lose arguments. It’s hard to trust someone when you believe that they care more about getting what they want than about making you happy. Look for solutions where both of you benefit.

Agreeing to disagree builds trust.

Endless arguments about who’s right, destroy trust in a relationship. If you can accept that others have the right to their opinion without you feeling insecure, you can come to trust the other person even if they don’t agree with you about everything.

Having appropriate boundaries makes it easier to trust.

Good boundaries help you establish where you end, and others begin. It’s hard to trust others when you don’t feel that your wishes will be respected. Once you feel confident that others know and recognize your limits, you can be more vulnerable and trusting.

Grow your relationship in many situations to grow trust.

The more experiences you had with someone, the more you come to know them. Adding to your inventory of shared experiences helps you understand how that person will act in various situations and help you expand your mutual trust.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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Ways to destroy your relationship.

By David Joel Miller.

Couple not talking

Unhappy relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Easy ways to destroy any relationship.

Every day, everywhere you go, you’re likely to meet someone who is starting a new relationship. Trouble is a lot of those relationships are destined to fail. Making a relationship succeed is hard work. Creating a troubled relationship, one that is doomed to fail, is more natural than maintaining your relationship. Here are some things you may be doing that are destined to sabotage your relationships.

Expecting perfection sabotages relationships.

If you expect people in your life, particularly your romantic partner to never let you down you’re asking for perfection. Since no one is perfect, that expectation guarantees that your partner will disappoint you. People in healthy relationships accept each other’s imperfections and don’t expect more out of their partner than they expect out of themselves.

Never trusting anyone will sabotage your relationship.

It’s hard to have a close relationship with someone you don’t trust. Continually checking up on your partner is a way to sabotage that relationship. Lack of trust in relationships usually stems from unresolved issues we have before we ever enter those relationships. Trust is something that develops over time in a relationship.

Being disrespectful harms relationships.

Treating your partner disrespectfully drives them away. Contempt, harsh words and criticism are the poisons which destroyed relationships.

Insist they change to be like you.

Healthy relationships create room for people to grow. Constant criticism and the insistence that your partner needs to change conveys the message that the way they are is not okay. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t think they are satisfactory.

Focusing on anything but your relationship starves that relationship.

Many couples have so many outside interests that they never have time to spend together. Relationships require maintenance and to do that maintenance you need to put in the time.

Minimize your time together, and your relationship is out of time.

What couples first get together they want to be together every minute of every day. Troubled relationships are characterized by a lack of shared experiences. If you go out of your way to avoid your partner your relationship is doomed.

Avoid communicating, and your relationship becomes distant.

Stonewalling, avoiding talking about problems, creates distance between the two of you. Two kinds of communication destroy relationships, not communicating about things that require discussion and excessively communicating all the negative thoughts and feelings you have about your partner.

Keeping as many secrets as possible leaves your relationship in the dark.

Relationships are like being on a team. Well-functioning teams communicate. When you are keeping secrets from each other trust, and the good feelings erode. We are not talking about the kind of secrets that come with Christmas and birthdays. Those are secrets that you plan to reveal at the proper time. The harmful secrets, the things you keep from your partner which you know they would not approve of, if they found out will damage the relationship.

Hide your spending, lie about finances and the relationship will go broke.

Your partner’s future depends on both the emotional and financial health of your relationship. Hiding your spending or misleading your partner about the state of your finances put you on opposing sides in life struggle. Eventually, your partner will find out about your spending or the state of your finances. If your withholding information jeopardizes their financial security, your behavior has put the relationship in jeopardy. Dishonesty is not only the things you tell people which are false but also includes the things you had a duty to tell them but didn’t.

Don’t plan for a future together and your relationship won’t have a future.

Couples with healthy relationships have planned a future together. Those plans may change over time when couples revise them jointly. But if you are planning for a future after your relationship, you are already planning for the end of your relationship.

Thinking your love is so solid you will not have problems.

The things you don’t talk about at the beginning of a relationship go on to become the major problems later. Believing that you don’t have to discuss things because you’re in love sets up significant misunderstandings. Relationships require maintenance. That initial amount of love you have for each other will not take you very far if you don’t continue to communicate and resolve issues.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

What loneliness is trying to tell you?

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

Lonely person

Loneliness.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There is more than one type of loneliness.

As many as one in five people may be experiencing harmful Loneliness. Like other emotions, loneliness can sometimes be a good thing and other times be a significant emotional disturbance. Recently researchers examined harmful loneliness, its impact on psychological health and its connection with early childhood trauma.

Loneliness is not one of those disorders for which we have a test. The only way to measure loneliness is by personal report. While loneliness can cause significant mental health issues, the way the professional knows the client is lonely is when the client says they are lonely.

People who are low in loneliness.

Some people report little or no Loneliness. These people are generally satisfied with both the quality of their relationships and the quantitative of relationships they have. In a survey of the general population, close to 60% of people reported that they rarely felt lonely.

Social loneliness is a result of not enough personal contact.

Approximately 8% of people report having social loneliness. They are satisfied with the quality of the relationships they do have but feel they don’t have enough close relationships. Social loneliness is sometimes seen as a helpful thing. It tells you that you don’t have enough contact with other people and you need to expand your social circle.

Emotional loneliness is the result of poor-quality relationships.

Approximately 25% of people report being emotionally lonely.  They have enough friendships and other social relationships but are frequently dissatisfied with the quality of their close relationships. How supportive your close relationships are, determines whether feelings of loneliness may result in emotional issues.

Some people are both socially and emotionally lonely.

About one in eight people report that they are unhappy with their close relationships and that they also do not have enough friendships and other social relations. People with both types of loneliness are also more likely to have been the victims of trauma and to report Trust issues.

Who suffers the most from loneliness?

A little more than half the people in one survey reported that they were rarely lonely. They were neither socially nor emotionally isolated and lonely. Loneliness had the least impact on these people.

People who had good close relationships, but not enough social contact were slightly bothered by their loneliness. People who had social relationships but were unhappy with their close personal friendship were more likely to suffer from the ill effects of loneliness. Those people who were most likely to report suffering because of their loneliness were those who are both socially and emotionally lonely.

People who were either emotionally lonely or both socially and emotionally lonely are much more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and were more likely to have another emotional disorder. People who had been the victim of an early childhood trauma were far more likely to report poor quality personal relationships and resulting emotional loneliness.

Having high quality close emotional relationships is most likely to buffer someone from the ill effects of loneliness. Not feeling close to your romantic partner or your family is most likely to create the kind of negative loneliness that is harmful to your mental health.

If you are bothered by loneliness, ask yourself whether it is the result of too few friendships or not feeling close to your partner or family. Improving the quality of the relationships you do have is most likely to reduce your loneliness. If loneliness is dragging you down, consider getting professional help. Professional counseling can help you improve your part of the relationship and couples, or family counseling may help improve your close relationships.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Are you having an Emotional Affair?

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

Emotional Affair

Emotional Affair.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Emotional affairs may be more common than we realized.

Many couples who come for relationship or marriage counseling have been arguing about the nature of one of the partner’s interactions with another person. Almost every client I’ve worked with who was in a relationship would agree that engaging in sex with someone other than their partner qualifies as an affair. What they don’t always agree about is whether a relationship with a third party has crossed the line and become an emotional affair.

It’s probably more common for women to become concerned that their partner’s friendship with another woman has become an emotional affair. Men are likely to dismiss these relationships as simply friendships and not having been an affair, so long as actual intercourse has not taken place.

Developing an overly close friendship with someone other than your romantic partner can damage a relationship. Here are some of the signs that your friendship has turned into an emotional affair.

Do you sometimes think about the “other” when talking to your spouse?

Having become so close to another person that during conversations with your spouse you are imagining what that other person would say or feel. This is a strong indication that they have him become more important to you and your spouse.

Do you, even a bit, wish your mate was more like someone else?

If you come to idealize the “other.” If you are thinking they are preferable to your mate or that they would be a better partner, this is likely to damage your relationship with your mate. Comparing your partner to others and wishing they were more like someone else is an early sign of an emotional affair in the making.

Do you imagine what you’d do if free to pursue someone else?

Daydreaming about what it would be like to be with that “other” suggests you’re already establishing an emotional relationship with them. The more you fantasize about being with the other, romanticize the possibility of starting a new relationship, the more you’re likely to withdraw from your current relationship. Even if you don’t leave your partner, imagining being with somebody else distances you from your partner.

Does your present lover know the stranger exists?

One key characteristic of emotional affairs is the need to hide your relationship with this other person from your primary partner. If you must keep secrets, those secrets are reducing your emotional closeness with your current partner.

What do you imagine your mate would think if he/she overheard you talking with this special person or read your email?

Having secrets that you share with the “other” and then being concerned about what your partner would think if they knew about this conversation suggest your relationship with this other person is inappropriate. Having to keep secrets from your partner is damaging to a relationship.

Does the arrival of a new message give you a rush?

You remember the rush of excitement you used to feel when you were first starting your relationship with your current partner? If messages from your “friend” start to give you that same rush of excitement, you are moving dangerously close to turning that friendship into an affair.

Can you sense the “sex of things” even if you haven’t acted on it?

Have you ever felt a craving for something? Remember how hard it is to say no to that temptation? If you are starting to feel those sexual attractions when you’re around your friend you’ve moved into a high-risk area. Even if you never actually engage in physical sex your friendship has become a source of mental and sexual stimulation and is becoming an emotional affair.

Do you lie to disguise any aspect of the new relationship?

If you have to tell your partner lies to facilitate or maintain your relationship with the “other,” this is a clear sign that relationship is turning into an emotional affair.

Is the mental and emotional space devoted to the stranger enlarging?

The larger a role this stranger plays in your life, the riskier the relationship is becoming. When the mental and emotional space the “other” occupies begins to exceed the space in your life taken up by your current partner, you’ve arrived at an emotional affair.

Do you engage in secret phone calls with the other?

Engaging in secret communications, phone calls, texts or emails, which you don’t want your partner to find out about, says this is an affair.

Have you arranged meetings in a park, coffee shop, restaurant or the like?

Do you and this “friend” have to arrange secret meetings away from other people? Do you have to be dishonest with your partner about when and where you’re meeting this other? It sounds like your friend has become more than a friend.

Do you share confidences not offered to your spouse?

One of the most damaging aspects of an emotional affair is when you begin to share confidences with your friend which should have been reserved only for your partner. Lack of loyalty to your spouse or making your friend your primary loyalty, are incredibly damaging to your current relationship.

Is your sexual desire for your mate now smaller than before you became preoccupied?

If your relationship with your friend has resulted in less sexual desire for your mate, it’s damaging the relationship. If your new friend reduces your desire to be emotionally close to your partner, or if your interest in spending time with your partner has declined, then your friend is taking on an increasingly more significant role in your life.

Are photo exchanges part of your new, hidden life?

Exchanging photos, particularly those which make you look attractive, or sexually explicit photos is often the last stop on the trail which turns an emotional affair into an actual physical one.

So, what do you think? How many of the signs of an emotional affair do you see in your friendship? How many of these signs of an emotional affair do you see, or suspect, are part of your spouse’s relationship with a “friend?”

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

When should you stop trusting?

By David Joel Miller MS Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Trust sign.

Trust.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Have you continued to trust when you shouldn’t?

Trust issues commonly are of two types, being afraid to trust anyone when you really need to or continuing to trust people even when you shouldn’t. Not being able to trust when you should, can damage your relationships and leave you isolated and lonely. Trusting the wrong people, trusting too much, or continuing to trust someone who has harmed you in the past can cause you a lot of pain and suffering.

Every relationship whether it’s romantic, work related, or a casual social interaction begins with an initial level of trust. How high your trust is, initially depends on your personality and your past experiences. Based on your experiences with a person you begin to either trust them more or less.

Many people with trust issues confuse trust with power and control. It’s not trust if you control what they do or if you watch them constantly. If you must check up on them, that’s not trust.

What are the warning signs that you are trusting too much? When are the times you should stop trusting?

When the risks are high, you should trust less.

Lending someone a pen, is probably no big deal. If they don’t return it, you can buy another one pretty inexpensive. Lending that same person $20 is a little riskier. When them a thousand dollars and it could destroy your friendship. When a friend owes you something and can’t repay it, you lose not only the money but a friend, who is now embarrassed to see you and have to say they can’t afford to pay you back.

When your gut tells you, something is wrong.

Feelings are valuable sources of information. If you have this uneasy feeling, you shouldn’t trust some listen to your intuition. Feelings are not always right. Just because something scares you does not make it dangerous. When something doesn’t feel right, you need to proceed cautiously.

Trust weakens when their behavior changes.

Trust usually develops over time in a relationship. You trust someone you know more than you should trust someone you have just met. Someone you have known for a while begins to act differently pay attention.

Trust less when they are hiding something.

Whether it’s a romantic relationship or friendship when you discover a person is hiding things from you, be cautious about trusting them. People who are behaving honestly, don’t need to hide anything.

When they are unreliable at the small things, do not trust them with big things.

If someone is habitually late, says they will do something but doesn’t, be very careful trusting them. It’s easy to make excuses for people who let you down in small ways. Don’t make the mistake of trusting someone who is unreliable in small things with something that is important to you in a big way.

When they have been untrustworthy before, trust less.

People commonly behave consistently. When someone has hurt you before, anticipate they are likely to do it again.

When they are evasive and withhold information do not trust them.

Being evasive suggests this person doesn’t trust you or that they have something to hide. If they are leaving out part of the story, you should not trust them.

You ask for something they can’t or won’t do.

When you ask someone to do something for you, think for a minute about the nature of your request. If you’ve asked for something they can’t do, and you expect them to do it, that unreasonable request is creating your trust issues. When someone has told you no, pay attention.

The longer you have known someone, the more you expect from them.

To increase trust, you need to know more about them. It’s unreasonable to put a lot of trust in someone you have just met.

When they have mixed motives, trust less. It’s easier to trust in win-win situations. You should be more careful about trusting when their interests and yours do not coincide.

When their main goal is to get something from you, trust sparingly.

You should reduce your level of trust for someone if you find out that their main interest is in selling you something. In romantic relationships, it is important to identify when that other person is only interested in sex or wants you to pay for something, after which they don’t show interest in continuing to see you.

Look here more on the topic of trust.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Sasquatch.

Wandering through a hole in time they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time but the Sasquatch wants to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is trust?

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

Word trust

Trust.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Do you have trust issues?

Many people report they have trust issues.

It is a common complaint among people who come for counseling.

Some people are shy or anxious, others have been hurt. It’s tempting to believe that not trusting protects you from pain.

Not trusting can also cause you loneliness and isolation. The challenge is learning when to trust and when to be wary and cautious.

The definition of trust.

The dictionary, or denotative meaning, of trust as a noun is a firm belief in the truth, reliability, ability, or strength of someone or something. Synonyms for trust include your faith, confidence, certainty, and belief. This definition puts trust into the realm of your opinion or feelings about how much you are willing, or able to put aside your doubts and accept something is true because you want it to be true. This subjective quality of truth leads to differences in trust between people.

The many kinds of trust.

There is more than one kind of trust, depending on the nature of the relationship. The qualities you look for in a trustworthy car will be different from what you look for in deciding to trust a person. Learning who to trust, when to trust, and how much to trust is a valuable life skill. Here are some of the varieties of trust.

Competence-based trust.

Sometimes you must rely on the skills of others. You want a doctor can trust. You look for a medical professional who went to a good school, has a good reputation, or is a specialist. If your car needs fixing you should be looking for a good mechanic. The trust you have in professional people is primarily a belief that they can do what you want them to and that they will do their job correctly.

Situational trust.

When you go into a bank, you trust the teller and hand them your money. You would not trust a stranger on the street with your money. You are more likely to trust people you have just met at work man people you’ve recently met socially. Students initially trust a teacher who tells them to go somewhere or do something far more than they would trust a stranger standing outside the building. Situational trust is based on the role the other person fills rather than any other information you have about the individual.

Caring trust, trusting that they won’t try to hurt you.

Most people grow up believing that their families care about them. The universal expectation is that parents should care about their children and that siblings should care about each other. As parents grow older, there is an expectation that their children will care about them. Extended family members are likely to care more about you than strangers.

Throughout life, most people develop friendships which are based on mutual caring and trust. These early life experiences create a mental blueprint for how we should trust others and expect to be trusted. Having an early life caregiver who was not consistent and reliable can result in trust issues in adulthood. Learning inappropriate relationships because early caregivers were abusive or neglectful are called attachment disorders and are a major source of adult trust issues.

Having a friend who trusted violate the principle of caring trust makes it more difficult to form adult friendships.

Character-based trust.

Some people are easier to trust than others. Everything they do seems appropriate and consistent with what they say. People who are described as being of “good character” seem to be easier to trust. People we say have a good character I described as honest, loyal, and trustworthy. Many youth development programs are built on the idea that it is possible to teach children character values and that those who were good and well-behaved as children are likely to grow up to be trustworthy adults.

Character-based trust has become suspect in recent years. We hear on the news after someone has been arrested for a serious crime that the neighbors were surprised because “he always seemed like such a nice guy.” Despite adult skepticism that many people who appear honest and trustworthy just haven’t gotten caught yet, some people, because of their appearance and demeanor, give the outward appearance of warranting character based trust.

More information on this topic appears in the category – trust.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Politeness in close, romantic relationships.

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

Polite.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Is politeness in short supply?

Polite child

Polite.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You don’t have to look far to notice a decline in politeness. Rude behavior seems to be the order of the day. We might be able to blame this decline in politeness on the media. Reality TV, politicians, and talk shows set an extremely poor example. It would be easier to forgive these public displays of incivility if the rude behaviors were spilling over into our close relationships.

Family counselors, particularly those who do couples counseling see a severe lack of politeness within the family. Research tells us that most people are far more polite to strangers than they are to those described as their “loved ones.”

Distressed families, couples headed for a breakup, are the ones who have run out of positive feelings for each other. One way to keep your close relationships positive is to practice your politeness closer to home. Here are some tips for improving politeness with your family and friends.

Give genuine compliments, not backhanded ones.

Say you did a great job, not “well you finally did something right.” Make it a point to notice when those close to you do something praiseworthy. Commenting on the accomplishments of your loved ones should be a time to build them up not an opportunity to try to make yourself feel better by putting them down.

Say what you can or will do.

Avoid focusing on what you can’t or won’t do. Constant negative expressions poison relationships. Rather than always being on the defensive, look for ways to express things positively. If someone asks you to help them today, avoid the temptation to assert yourself by setting boundaries in a negative manner. Rather than complaining that they are always expecting you to do things, consider a polite reply. Instead of saying “no, I can’t do everything for you,” say “I can help you with that this weekend.”

Be considerate.

Avoid self-centeredness. Before responding think first about their needs and their feelings. Avoid defensiveness and try to see things from others point of view. Look for ways to create positive interactions.

Focus on the new.

Let go of the resentments of the past. Continuing to rehash the resentments of the past damages relationships in the present. The way to get over past hurts is to create pleasant experiences in the present. Look for ways to strengthen relationships rather than ways to get even. Think of your relationship as being part of the team. The team doesn’t win by fighting each other. It’s a hollow victory if you win by hurting your partner in destroying your relationship.

Notice the positive in people and situations.

Be careful to avoid putting those close to you down. Whatever you pay attention to, you will get more of. Always picking on the faults of those close to you, turns the relationship negative. When people conclude there’s no way to please you, that everything they do is wrong, they learn to be helpless and give up trying. Focusing on the positive creates a happier relationship.

Show appreciation whenever possible.

Do not complain, nag or berate others. Avoid the attitude of expecting everyone to always do what you want. Show them some appreciation. Make it a point to notice all the helpful things others do for you every day. When you show appreciation, you make it easier for others to appreciate you.

Let them finish talking.

Do not interrupt. Especially when you think you’ve heard this before, practice patience. When you hear people out, you may be surprised at the things they say you were not expecting. Being willing to hear someone out is a sign of respect. If you want to be respected, you need to respect others.

Listen to them. Do not monopolize the conversation.

It is more important to understand other’s points of view than to sell yours. Do not monopolize the conversation. It’s not a conversation if one person does all the talking. Listening involves more than hearing the words. Pay attention to the feelings behind the words they are saying.

Evaluate ideas, not people.

Do not put yourself or others down. Lots of ideas look good on paper. It’s natural for people to think their ideas have merit. When you disagree, stay focused on the idea. Avoid calling people stupid or ignorant. Trying to win arguments by attacking others damages relationships.

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

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