HSP stands for Highly Sensitive Person. Jason Esswein, M.S., LMFT, is dedicated to helping HSPs, both children and adults, by equipping them with various tools, strategies, and techniques to help them stay grounded, centered and effective in their daily lives.
World Wide Web – March 12, 2013 Jason Esswein, of Jason Esswein Counseling Services, is now offering services to Highly Sensitive People (HSPs). The focus of these services is on building skills to more effectively center oneself in a world filled with distractions, thereby obtaining more peace, joy and an overall positive sense of well being .
The term HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) refers to people who process information differently than most in that they tend to perceive events more intensely than others and reflect more deeply on issues and experiences than the general population. Unfortunately, although HSPs comprise roughly 15 to 20% of the population, they are often misunderstood. The highly sensitive person can be more aware of others, which at times can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. This, in turn, often has lasting consequences in terms of these individuals’ self-esteem and sense of self-worth as well as lead to anxiety and depression.
Jason Esswein Counseling Services offers customized services to meet the needs of the HSP population, a population that faces especially difficult challenges given much of Western culture tends to devalue issues such as sensitivity, boundaries, and consciousness.
Jason’s counseling and psychotherapy services help individual adults, children and couples increase their self-awareness. Jason has worked extensively with clients to help them overcome anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other conditions with the goal of fostering insight so they can resolve unhelpful feelings and improve relationships with increased self-confidence and self-esteem. He also offers parent counseling and individual life coaching services.
Jason Esswein, M.S., LMFT, received his B.A. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from San Jose State University. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with an M.S. in Clinical Psychology from San Jose State University in 1999. He launched his private counseling and psychotherapy practice in San Jose, California, in 2005, in order to provide a confidential setting in which clients feel safe, valued, and supported.
Jason helps HSPs learn the tools and skills necessary to not only cope and survive, but thrive. This is accomplished through a variety of techniques, including talk therapy, relaxation and mindfulness-based exercises, as well as “homework” assignments that help HSPs learn to stay grounded and centered in what often feel like overwhelming circumstances. For example, many HSPs experience significant anxiety around large groups or crowds.
This is often because they are absorbing OPE (other peoples’ energy) without being aware of it, which can cause them to feel bombarded with excessive stimulation and emotions that are not their own. Fortunately, with training and practice, HSPs can learn to monitor their sensitivity and awareness, set healthier boundaries, and remain calm and centered in these and similar situations so they can move forward and have fun experiencing all of the variety life has to offer.
Jason Esswein is dedicated to informing the public about the special challenges faced by HSPs as well as helping individuals embrace what being an HSP means for them. The website for Jason Esswein, M.S., LMFT, is an information rich hub that is a current display of Jason’s commitment to raising awareness and helping individuals manage their gifts to function optimally in the world. The website provides resources that clients can draw upon as well as the ability to easily schedule consultations and appointments through an online booking system.
Learn more by visiting: http://jasonesswein.com/
Jason Esswein, M.S., LMFT
Jason Esswein Counseling and Psychotherapy Services
1936 Camden Avenue, Suite 9
San Jose, CA 95124
Phone: (408) 975-2982
Many people often wonder how psychotherapists can sit with the heavy burdens and pain expressed by their clients. I want to take a moment to give my perspective on how this is possible for anyone to accomplish, if not do and feel they’ve had a rewarding, meaningful experience.
We’ve all been to some kind of party or gathering when we weren’t feeling our best. Given that it’s not always socially acceptable to let our true feelings show, participating at a social event in this state of mind, (especially with those we don’t know well) can be exhausting at best, excruciating at worst.
Then, when the Universe allows, or we’re open enough to see the opportunity, someone in the party appears to be genuine. There, in that moment, you might feel that it’s okay to be more fully yourself, to relax a bit, to not feel as compelled to participate in the “social dance” in which you find yourself surrounded.
We feel we can take at least one deep breath, possibly even realize we may not have been breathing fully at all. If we’re lucky, that person may talk about how they’re actually feeling or what they’re thinking (i.e., “I’m a little nervous at social gatherings” or “I’m annoyed with my boss.”) This then gives us permission to be authentic as well. I will never forget my colleague’s quote, “Nobody real is boring.”
This experience can be easily compared to therapy. While no type of suffering is enjoyable, there is a meaningful interaction created when one shares themselves vulnerably and authentically. Every time I witness a client taking a risk (no matter how small) there is a sense of communion and presence that is palpable. Think of those times when a friend, coworker, or family member finally revealed to you a glimpse of their inner world and you felt that sense of connection. Feelings and thoughts simply are. Its what we do with feelings that is most important. If nothing else, an instant sense of respect and reverence is established. I, like other psychotherapists, believe it is a privilege to be part of peoples’ personal and spiritual growth process.
Jason Esswein is a licensed marriage and family therapist in south San Jose, CA. He works in private practice with individual adults, couples, and children.
Do you find yourself asking the following questions: Why does this keep happening to me? Why do I keep dating the same people? Why do I always end up in these situations? If so, I would encourage you to take a serious, courageous look at what you might be “broadcasting”.
Despite our best efforts to hide our true feelings or fears, we always communicate in one way or another. Communication researcher James Borg asserts that 93 percent of communications is nonverbal: “…the way you say something – using behavioral cues like facial expressions, pace, pitch, tone and posture – can say a lot more than the actual words you select.” So, with that in mind, it is important to uncover what we are “broadcasting” through our non-verbal cues. Once we have discovered what we are truly “saying,” is this something we’re genuinely willing to change?
Creating the same unhealthy situations and patterns in relationships is often the result of things we’re broadcasting without any awareness. This can be seen in many obvious, as well as subtle, ways. For example, driving behavior can reveal the driver’s emotional state so clear it might as well be written on a neon sign. How fast do they accelerate? Brake? Weaving? The tone and volume of voice is also very telling. Do people speak loudly, or so softly that they are practically inaudible? How do people put things down or close cabinets and doors? With an unnecessary amount of force or only what is required? Also, what about their breathing? Do they often sigh as if their time is being wasted when another speaks or do they frequently cut people off?
Whether we want to or not, we cannot not communicate. Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth, 2005) often describes the energy fields we emanate. According to Tolle, “regardless of what you say or do, or what face you show to the world, your mental-emotional state cannot be concealed. Every human being emanates an energy field that corresponds to his or her inner state. Most people can sense it, although they may feel someone else’s energy emanation only subliminally, that is to say, they don’t know that they sense it, yet it determines to a large extent how they feel about and react to that person. Some people are most clearly aware of it when they first meet someone, even before any words are exchanged. A little later however, words take over the relationship and with words come the roles that most people play. Attention then moves to the realm of mind, and the ability to sense the other person’s energy field becomes greatly diminished. Nevertheless, it is still felt on an unconscious level.”
Although “energy field” can sound a little strange to some, we all usually refer to it when asking questions, such as “What was your vibe on that guy”, or “what’s your sense of that church” or “did you get a read on her?” These are all examples of people describing their experience of someone’s energy field. Remember, just because we cannot see something does not mean it does not exist (i.e., microwaves, radiation, radio and cell phone signals). Energy fields are just as real as physical matter. In fact, Albert Einstein discussed how matter is energy, only it is energy vibrating at a slower speed. The implications of this are enormous. It could be argued that our energy field or “broadcast” actually creates our physical reality!
A more obvious broadcast can often be easily observed when hearing the music being played on someone’s car stereo when stopped at a traffic light. People often choose the type of music that mirrors their current emotional landscape (i.e., songs involving joy/connection, violence/anger, breakups/sadness). For example, a woman who just met the man of her dreams may be listening to “At Last” by Etta James or a man who just filed for divorce may listen to “Outside” by Staind.
In order to be more aware of and influence our “broadcast” to others, it takes a willingness to get in touch with (and pay conscious attention to) what we’re thinking and feeling on a regular basis. Are we angry, sad, frustrated, and worried, or are we feeling relatively calm, hopeful, and happy? The more we become conscious of our thoughts and feelings, we will have more choices available to us. More specifically, when we are triggered (when we become upset by a thought, word, or event) we will have far more choices and impulse control at our disposal when responding — versus reacting.
An important question to ask is “How do we want someone to experience us when we’re communicating or simply in another’s presence? There is a saying that “some people bring joy to a room when they enter, others when they leave.” We have all felt lighter when someone has entered our space, as well as better when they left. We undoubtedly have experienced the reverse without even being aware of it; our presence has either added to or taken away from the well-being of others, particularly when we were in a negative state. I’d like to suggest that we all give someone an experience of the world as safe and benevolent rather than hostile and cold. Remember that everything we say and do does one of two things: it creates closeness or distance (rarely anything in between). So, how do we go about even knowing what “station” we’re transmitting?
There are several practical ways we can become more in tune with what we’re giving off energetically. A helpful exercise is to look in the mirror before starting your day. Relax your face and look back at yourself with a “soft gaze.” If someone was looking into your eyes, how do you think they would feel? What might they think? Now, it’s time to set your intention for the day. How do you want others to experience you: present, kind, impatient, or angry?
Remember to pay attention to your breathing. Medical professionals know and emphasize the importance of deep, full, and controlled breathing for self-soothing, calming ourselves down enough to be able to think clearly, and overall improvement in health. Take time to yourself daily (at least 5 minutes 3 times throughout the day) to slow your breathing and allow yourself to feel the various sensations/energies that run through your body. This aids in centering and clarity. Allow those sensations (even the negative, heavy, fearful/panicky ones) to just be, without fighting or resisting them. Resisting what is your current emotional-mental experience only magnifies it, adding further upset (i.e., panicking about feeling fear) to an only temporary uncomfortable experience. This is part of the process of becoming present. The more we give our conscious attention/awareness to these feelings, what Eckhart Tolle calls “pain bodies,” the more they dissolve.
Awareness of how we’re really doing is crucial if we want to have more choice. Whether that choice is how we project ourselves throughout the day, who we select as a life partner, or how we shape our relationships with our families and colleagues, our “broadcast” will always play a central role. Our thoughts and feelings, particularly those that remain unexamined and/or out of our conscious awareness, readily trigger emotional responses and a corresponding broadcast via emotional energy.
Psychotherapy is an ideal environment to explore these thoughts and feelings within the context of a safe and trusting relationship with a competent therapist. Make sure that your potential therapist is open to an “interview” before formally beginning counseling as an appropriate match is crucial. If the right connection does not exist between you and your therapist, effective therapy may not be possible. Above all else, you need to feel comfortable, safe, and free from judgment before it’s possible to trust someone with thoughts, feelings, and actions that you may not even feel comfortable repeating to yourself when alone. Therapy can also help with general communication strategies that can greatly improve our relationships through insight and self-awareness.
Jason Esswein is a licensed marriage and family therapist in south San Jose, CA. He works in private practice with individual adults, couples, and children.
Guest Blog Post by Louann Hillesland, MA, LPC 4/6/12
The article title caught my eye so I read on, ‘Women Who Want their Husbands to Cheat.’ “What?” Some women apparently wish their husbands would cheat allowing them justification to get out of their marriage.
All claim that their husbands are ‘good guys.” They have no reason to divorce. Still, they are dissatisfied, or bored, or somehow unhappy. Perhaps they reason, if only their partner wasn’t ‘in the way,’ a happy, satisfying, fulfilling future will follow.
The likelihood is that they are making a major life mistake. Their marriage will likely fall apart as they wish their husbands to cheat. Dreaming of getting out of the marriage, lack of focus and lack of interest may destroy it.
Perhaps they were charmed by the myth that a new man will be an answer to their problems. What happens after that? He will be titillating for a time, just as the now ex-husband seemed at one time.
The new relationship brain chemicals will wear off much like a drug high and so will the newness and excitement of the relationship. Then it’s likely to be back at square one or less then square one. Feelings of boredom, unhappiness and dissatisfaction will once again come to the surface. Why? No one else can make us feel happy, satisfied or fulfilled.
These feelings come from within us. Making changes within ourselves is the only long term solution. A better way to deal with these feelings would be to get to know yourself better, learning a new skill, taking on a new challenge, paying attention to a spiritual yearning, or going back to school.
Revitalizing the marriage may be where the answer lies. Every relationship, including marriages, go through cycles of ups and downs. Working together through the tough or tedious times will create a stronger bond of intimacy. Take the lead yourself; do not wait for your partner to begin the course of action.
Taking part in new activities and challenges or breathing new life into your marriage does not require a divorce from an understanding ‘good guy’ husband. He may welcome and appreciate the new you. The answer to a fulfilling, satisfying, happy future is waiting within you. Get to know yourself better.
Louann Hillesland is amarriage counselorserving Denver Colorado. She assists married couples create greater bonds and intimacy by working on the issues at hand as well as the deeper issues that can dissolve marriages. She is one of the many talentedmarriage counselorsyou can find on MarriageCounselorsHub.com.
Guest Blog Post by Anne Parkford
Being a marriage counselor, it can be challenging to work with couples who are trying to navigate over the choppy waters of broken trust and betrayal. How to improve the depth and quality of their communication with each other is what I teach in counseling, and this can be one of the most challenging aspects of repairing and rebuilding a relationship. When in counseling, for many couples it is as if they are having their patterns of relating to their partner and communication skills rewired. In order to feel emotionally safer and closer in their interactions with their partner, they must get over the feelings of awkwardness and practice these new ways of talking and listening.
A couple having marital difficulty will be angry, miserable, fighting-even ready to throw in the towel when the come to counseling. Slowing the reactive process down to take measure of their situation, and allowing them to pause before making hasty and possible regretful decisions is my first task. This will help them not be so quick to react to their emotions and better allow them to make clearer, wiser decisions in regards to their future as a couple. We just want it to STOP when we are in emotional pain, even if that means divorce or separation. When we are in crisis, it is a bad idea to make major life decisions. For those in a relationship crisis, it can take years to heal wounds; the pain may not stop or even abate for awhile, and in many cases, the relationship may not be able to survive because the wounds are too raw and deep. Regardless of the outcome, the tool that will help a couple work through this process is communication.
The foremost goals of marriage counseling are to help a couple learn some basic niceties, recognition of where they are right now and knowledge that this process takes a lot of hard work and time on both parts; next, teach them the protocol for communicating and some basic speaking and listening tools that can be practiced at home and in sessions that include aspects of good communication! Helping the couple know that no matter whom or what the crisis was triggered by, together, they are on this journey of healing and both need to buy into the process of recovery and repair the damage. The first step of this is clear, compassionate communication.
The first sessions of couples’ counseling typically focus on providing a safe and secure place they can express their hurt, anger, frustration and grief, in a structured and respectful way. Both parties need to be heard and to learn how to listen to the other, especially when clear listening may be impeded by defensiveness and accusations. In this initial stage of treatment I give them tools for communicating that are basic and make for the foundation of their repair and recover process. We go over the “rules of engagement”, and represent imperative ground-level communication skills for both.
Most therapists teach couples such basics as using “I” statements, no interrupting, and no name-calling. These are the cornerstones of basic speaking/listening skill-building. Over my years as a couple’s therapist, I have compiled a list of 28 “don’ts” for couples’ communication. I have the couple go over the list, choose 5 that they engage in the most, and then we discuss openly which one they will work on during the week until the next session. Talking openly about their specific communication challenges, the couple learns to accept and normalize the fact that all humans engage in these “dirty fighting” techniques at some point in time, and that these are all things that can be worked on and improved upon, step by step.
Anne Parkford is a marriage counselor serving Santa Barbara activein assisting couples through tough times, and equipping them with tools to enhance their communication and enhance their intimacy. She is one of the many talented marriage counselors you can find on MarriageCounselorsHub.com.
Guest Blog Post by Andrea Mathews, LPC, NCC
The problem with most marriages is not the fighting about money or parenting. The problem with most marriages or primary relationships is that they aren’t authentic relationships. Now, I’m not saying that you don’t really love him or he doesn’t really love you. What I’m saying is that all too often neither he nor you are operating from the authentic self-and cannot, therefore, have an authentic relationship.
In fact, most of us were not taught to live from authenticity, though we may have heard, “Just be yourself” quite a bit. Most of us were taught to be who our primary caregivers wanted and maybe even needed us to be. Because from infancy through preadolescence we are all looking for mirrors that reflect who we are, we are quite susceptible to internalizing images that are but reflections of what our parents need us to be. And we put on that mask and costume and live out that role in order to belong in our families.
This role playing carries over as we grow into adults and look for potential partners. Very often, we are attracted to those people who will be our supporting actor in the roles we have been playing since childhood. For example, if your role is little lost child like Peter Pan, you will be attracted to someone who is willing to and wants to take care of you. If you grew up rescuing others, you will find someone who plays the victim very attractive. These type of relationships will make you feel comfortable, because you won’t be asked to be something different than the role you’ve been playing your whole life. There are many other examples I could give, but the point I would like to make is that this unconscious behavior doesn’t result in us being attracted to others through authenticity, but rather through the roles that people will play that will support us in our own roles.
Now jump forward in time to a married relationship or long term commitment. We have now added additional roles that we need to play, which could make things even more difficult. For example, now a woman doesn’t have to be just “superwoman”, but also a wife; a man must be a husband as well as superman. And the definition of “husband” and “wife” will vary, based on the perception we had of what that role meant when we were growing up. That role, as we see it, whether or not it carries some negative or sensitive issues with it, becomes a part of who we are.
It could be much too complicated to try to sort out every strand of the mess that has resulted from the years of acting in this way. The good news is that we don’t have to do that. Our goal should be to look under the costumes and masks to what lies beneath the roles we have been playing. There are many ways to accomplish that, but one excellent method is to listen closely to what our emotions are telling us. For example, someone who has taken on the “scapegoat” role will always feel guilty for and take on the responsibility for other people’s emotions. This could build up feelings of resentment toward others, but since our role of scapegoat doesn’t support resentment, they push it away. In reality, if they listen to that emotion of resentment, it may lead them to act more authentically and come up with a different solution.
It is crucial that two partners are aware of the roles they play, and speak and act from a place that is more real than the roles have previously allowed in order to support an authentic relationship. Intimacy is the goal for every relationship, and you cannot achieve it when playing roles and wearing masks. The only experience that will bind a couple through real authenticity is the intimate understanding between two people who have agreed to remove their masks.
Andrea Mathews is a marriage counselor who has provided marriage counseling in Birmingham, Alabama and surrounding areas for 20 years. She is the host of a radio show called “Authentic Living” on VoiceAmerica and is one of the many talented marriage counselors you will find on MarriageCounselorsHub.com.
Guest Blog Post by Marc Engram, LICSW
In my 20 years as a marriage counselor, I have talked to a lot of potential clients who are concerned over a negative experience with a previous marriage counselor. It is a sad reality that not all marriage counselors are equal, and when you are attempting to restore your marriage, it it crucial to find one that can best make that a reality. In order to increase the chances of a positive experience, here are four questions you can ask potential marriage counselors.
Have you had any training specific solely to marriage counseling. Although many counselors will accept marriage counseling clients, they might have not taken even one course that is unique to marriage counseling. Because of it’s specialized nature, general counseling training is not adequate to qualify a counselor to be an effective marriage counselor.
How many couples do you see in a week? Steer clear of counselors who do marriage counseling as a side line. You wouldn’t go to a primary care physician to get a heart bypass, nor should you see a counselor who sees only an occasional couple.
What is your success rate? Most marriage counselors do not conduct rigorous scientific research studies as to their effectiveness but they should be able to speak to how they have helped marriages. Counselors who hedge on this question should be avoided.
What are the methods or models of marriage counseling that you prefer to use? It has been proven that some methods work better than others in the area of marriage counseling. Those proven most effective over time are the ones that help couples to build an emotional bond, such as Emotionally Focused Couple’s Thereapy (EFT).
It is critical to the success of your marriage counseling to ask the right questions before agreeing to a first visit. It could mean the difference between successfully creating a secure and happy marriage or not. When your marriage is the one on the line, you deserve to find a marriage counselor that gives you the best chances of achieving that success.
Marc Engram is a marriage counselor based in Northampton, MA who specializes in turning around relationships that are stuck in a negative or destructive cycle so that couples can experience more joy, freedom and affection. He is one of the many talented marriage counselors you can find on MarriageCounselorsHub.com.
On the road to your marriage’s recovery, pre-selecting a marriage counselor that’s right for you is a crucial first step. It has become easy in today’s society to buy something with the thought that we can return it for something else if we don’t like it. That process isn’t as simple with a marriage counselor.
Jonathan Goodman-Herrick, a marriage counselor who practices in San Francisco, California, advises that you choose carefully from the beginning. An error can possibly result in the loss of your marriage. Out of all types of therapy, Herrick cautions that marriage counseling is the most difficult kind. It takes a lot of experience, ability and character in the marriage counselor to make the process work.
Jeff Cohen, a marriage counselor from Berkeley, California agrees with Herrick. While Cohen states that while the most important thing you need to make your marriage counseling work is a strong commitment from both you and your spouse, the affinity you feel with your marriage counselor plays another major role. For this reason, it is critical that you and your partner are convinced that your have chosen the right one. You also want to feel completely at ease with your marriage counselor.
It isn’t always easy to know the answers to every question before you have experienced a few counseling sessions, but there are many things you can ask yourself in the pre-screening process that can help you choose, suggests Cohen. As you are talking with potential marriage counselors, consider whether they appear attentive to your concerns. Are they good listeners? Do they give you the impression that they “get” you and your situation? Are their styles and mannerisms such that you feel comfortable spending time with them? Are they and you both completely engaged in the conversation and do they inspire you to make positive changes in your life? And finally, does the marriage counselor’s style suit your partner as well?
And lastly, Herrick cautions that although tempting, price should not be the first thing you consider when going through the pre-screening process. Good marriage counselors, says Herrick, can often achieve more in just a few sessions even though they charge more per session than another marriage counselor may accomplish in a dozen. It is the chemistry between the marriage counselor, you and your spouse more than the cost that is important to your success. Good chemistry sets the tone to make positive progress to repairing your marriage.
No matter what you expected out of the marriage counseling experience, Cohen advises t hat you know that the marriage counselor you select is the right fit if you are surprised with your eagerness to begin. It helps a lot to ensure success and safeguards your investment in marriage counseling to go through a thorough pre-selection process.
Marty Dickinson is married to his first and only wife for twenty-two years and believes so completely in the relevance of marriage that he founded a website to help married couples and marriage counselors connect at MarriageCounselorsHub.com.
Guest Blog Post by Joan Miller, Ph.D. 2/21/12
It’s not uncommon to feel resentment when you have been hurt by another person. That resentment may last for years. You may be waiting for the other person to say they are sorry. Maybe you hope that some other event will happen that somehow corrects the wrong that was done to you. Being able to forgive may seem next to impossible – it may even feel like you are being untrue to yourself if you forgive someone who hurt you so much.
Time may only make you more upset, offended, cynical, or detached. You might direct your resentment onto other people who don’t deserve it. As fair as it is to feel hurt over the incident, it may seem as though you are mired in the misery and resentment of the situation without relief.
Eventually, as you notice how toxic and damaging resentment is, you might want some relief. Although it is harder, fortunately you can forgive people without receiving an apology. You may begin to realize that forgiveness does not mean that what had happened is all right; but rather, that, as you are forgiving, you can move on from hurtful events.
First, you must stop blaming yourself for other people’s inappropriate behavior, and acknowledge that they really hurt you. Begin to abandon the experience of acting like a victim and acknowledge that you didn’t deserve their disrespectful behavior. Forgive yourself for any role you played in the incident, and recognize that you did indeed survive the experience.
Finally, the most difficult step is to recognize that hurtful people, ironically, act in the best way they can, given who they are and what experiences they have had in their lives. It’s helpful to realize that they probably would have acted differently had they had more nurturing experiences in their lives, and had they developed more wisdom and empathy. You can begin to make sense out of how the hurtful experiences fit into your life, and appreciate anything you can learn from the situations.
The benefit to completing the healing process is that you will be able to finally understand the amazing gift that forgiveness is. As you are able to let your resentment go, you will be relieved to have the capacity to make space in your life for the powerful attributes of consideration and compassion. I would like to recommend the book by Suzanne and Sidney Simon called “Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get On With Your Life” for more information on the power of forgiveness.
Joan Miller, Ph.D. is an Atlanta Georgia marriage counselor who assists clients develop helpful strategies to improve their relationships. She is one of the many talented marriage counselors you will find on MarriageCounselorsHub.com.
Guest Blog Post by Ruth Gordon 2/18/12
Do you fear losing your personal identity for the sake of your relationship? Do you feel overpowered by your partner’s personality? Are you fearful of his or her fury? If your partner batters you, you shouldn’t be in the relationship anyway. YOU are the person in the relationship who has the authority to overcome the balance of power quickly and simply.
Keep in mind that before your true love came along you were fully able to function as an individual. You were able to operate on many levels independently. The fact that you had self-confidence was most likely one of the traits that attracted your partner in the first place. By applying a small amount of compassion and lightness to your relationship, you can find middle ground with your mate without losing your loyalty to yourself.
It is probable that your spouse is not a barbarian. More likely, they are just a confident person completely oblivious to the oxygen in the relationship they are stealing from you.
I happen to be married to such a creature. His name is Harry. He was amazed to learn that I LIKED the way I roasted a turkey, hung a picture and knew which movies I wanted to see. I simply had to teach him to share. An appeal to fairness can go a long way.
You can’t rein yourself in forever. A parent/child relationship gets dull and is definitely not romantic. And it’s okay to argue, as long as you don’t go in for the kill. Learn to laugh at how obstinate you can be. In the long run, most arguments are about silly stuff.
Diffuse uncomfortable situations with lightheartedness. When you talk about sensitive issues, make sure to keep blame and complaint from your tone. If you must, just do things your way. Don’t apologize. Smile and assert yourself. The goal is not defiance, but rather allowing each partner to assert their individual qualities in the partnership.
In the best marriages spouses are interdependent. It’s foolish to vie for power. “Winning” can mean “losing” in the long run. Work as a team, not as competitors. Differences of opinion are healthy. You merged your lives, not your brains. Show your mettle with a smile. No one wins if you lose you.
Ruth Gordon is a marriage counselor serving Naples Florida and surrounding cities with personal compassion, humor, and understanding. She is one of the many talented marriage counselors you will find on MarriageCounselorsHub.com.