Friday, December 20, 2013

My Boyfriend Keeps Lying To Me

 In the past 30 years, I have asked on about a weekly basis how to handle a boyfriend that keeps getting caught in lies.  Let’s start with what constitutes the basic foundation of a good relationship.  In a healthy relationship both people bring with them trust, honesty, integrity, kindness, generosity, the ability to share and compromise, and a positive intent.  If you want to be happy, you have to also want your partner to be happy.  If your partner is lying to you, you need to ask yourself why.  Are they afraid to tell you the truth?  If they are afraid to tell you the truth, have you contributed to that in any way or are they just putting themselves first before the relationship?  Are they lying about money, where they have been and who they have been with, or why they cancelled their date with you or just didn’t show up?  Are they lying about work, school, drugs?  Bottom line, if your partner is lying to you, they are not bringing honesty and integrity into the relationship.  They are not being kind or generous and their intent toward you is not positive.  The first lie you catch, you need to sit down with your partner and find out what was happening and what their reasoning was.  You need to then let them know that lying will not work for you and will be a deal breaker.  It is important that you mean this.  If after this communication and hopefully agreement to be honest, you catch them in another lie, you need to end the relationship and move on.  This may seem drastic to you, but do you really want to spend your life with someone that you can’t trust?  Do you really want to always be watching and questioning?  It is an awful way to live and erodes confidence and self-esteem.  Wish them well and move on and enhance your potential for a happy life.  What we are discussing is a form of boundary setting.  The boundary is not allowing malignant people into your life to suck the energy out of you.  Put your energy into the people that will add to your life as you add to their life. 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holidays and Children

It is that time of year.  Holidays and family and friends and food and shopping and celebrating and trying to decide what is all right to give to children and what is over the top.  This topic actually comes up a lot in therapy.  I think there are many ways to make the holidays about appreciation and giving and sharing, not just receiving.  If your child (children) are like many children in our culture, they have so many toys they don’t even know what to play with.  It is hard for them to even have a favorite.  In our times of electronics, our children are also missing out on basic toys that are still a lot of fun.  If your children make a wish list, explain to them that it is a wish list and not a guaranteed list.  Also explain to them that even Santa will not give them things on their list that are not age appropriate or logistically reasonable, such as a water side in your patio.  Have your children write out some of the holiday cards and even help with holiday baking.  Go through all their toys and any that are kindly used that they no longer want, wrap up and donate.  There are many shelters and foster homes that can really use those toys.  Have your child earn a few dollars and buy a new gift to donate.  If your child receives any duplicates or items they do not really want, request that they do not open them, they can be donated as well, even if it is after the holidays.  

This also makes room for their new items.  Teach your child to write thank you notes; a lost art, but one that is still very much appreciated by the recipient.  If old enough, have your child go with you to a food pantry or shelter to help feed the homeless.  It is so important that children who have a lot grow up appreciating what they have and grow up with a sense of sharing versus a sense of entitlement.  The question I am asked the most is about electronics.  Does your child need the newest version of everything?  I think not.  If your child has an I-phone 4, they really do not need an I-phone 5.  I’m not sure they really needed the I-phone 4 to begin with.  Remember, if you give your child everything now, what do they have to look forward to or work toward?  Also, if they are not as monetarily as successful as you, life may be bitter for them.  If you want to buy them the new model of something, great, but maybe not the new model of everything they own.  And by the way, when they get that new board game and don’t have any idea how to play it because it does not have an on button, play it with them.  Happy Holidays and a safe New Year to all.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Don't Eat Your Feelings

We eat for so many reasons.  We eat because we are hungry, bored, happy, sad, lonely, and as a celebration.  Our associations with food start very early in life; developed within our culture and our family.  The holidays can be a wonderful time of sharing and celebration.  Unfortunately, for some people, it can also be a time of renewed grieving for those lost to us.  Holidays can be a time of connection, but also a time of disconnection.  Whether it is dealing with the holidays or any other time of year, think about why you are eating.  Keep an emotional food journal for a month and when you eat something, also write down your thoughts and feelings.  Did you eat for hunger or were you expected to eat?  Did you eat to fill an emotional gap of some type?  Was eating just something to do or something you do out of habit?  Do you even know when you are hungry?  Describe what hunger feels like to you.  How do we change a life time of emotional eating?  That answer is different for everyone.  The first intervention is to change what food is available in your environment.  You are less likely to eat unhealthy food if it is not readily available.  Most people who eat emotionally want a quick fix.  However, if you are one of those people who will drive to the grocery store or the fast food place by your house, decide on healthy designated food you can get while you are working on changing actual habits. Have activities planned that do not allow you to eat.  For example, if you are giving yourself a manicure, you can’t very well be eating a bag of chips.  Any type of craft can be a good alternative to eating.  Try not to eat while reading or watching TV.  Eat at your kitchen table only so you don’t associate eating with other places.  Most importantly, talk to yourself about why you want to eat and trying to come up with an alternative to problem solving.  If you are bored, do something fun or interesting.  If you are sad, what is causing that void and what can you do to fill the void that does not involve eating.  Can you celebrate with something other than food and if food is involved, plan ahead the foods you will eat, including the treats you will have.  To make food part of your life and not the center of your life, you need to fill your life with activities and people that bring meaning and positive feelings into your life.  As the saying goes, eat to live and don’t live to eat.

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