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“Insightful, practical, heartfully and psychologically sound, The Pathway to Love provides the steppingstones to creating genuine love in your life.  It is a must-read for those who value honesty, authentic commitment to self and other, and appreciate relationship as a vehicle to self-actualization.”

—Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of Spiritual Liberation~Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential

 

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You will wonder at times how she knew about you and a particular significant other because she seems to describe you and the relationship to a T. And, when you read the last page you will wish you had read it years and a number of relationships earlier.

Irene Conlan

I have read other books on this topic which spoke to me... This book, which I got in the Kindle version, pulled it all together for me--the biology, personal values, self identity, the human quest for belonging and intimacy. The book... brought to me great understanding. I wish I had ordered the paper version with the workbook. I ended up going back and ordering it.

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Entries in marital therapy (13)

Saturday
May022015

5 Ways to Get Your Power Back and End Emotional Abuse

If you've ever been in a controlling relationship, you know how easy it is to get caught in its web.

It usually starts out with a simple suggestion like, "Do you think that outfit is the best you can do for the banquet tonight?" or "I think you're better off ordering the salad," or "You should get a real job and stop all that nonsense about making it as an artist."

At first, you take the suggestions as a reflection of love and concern. After all, the comments are not that far off base, and you certainly don't want to appear unappreciative or defensive.

At this stage of the relationship, you want to please your mate, not alienate him or her. It's more important to appear receptive and understanding of your partner's opinions than to challenge them. You don't consider what he's doing emotional abuse.

Some time goes by. You now notice that your significant other's opinions of you continue to be critical. Only now, there is an emotional undertone that suggests if you don't abide by his opinion, he will be angry, punitive and emotionally manipulative. The scariest times come when you believe the threats of rejection and abandonment.

The cycle has repeated itself in such a way that somehow, you've become sucked in and are believing the rhetoric. Or, at the very least, you've been trying to manage the critical outbursts.

You're now so consumed with keeping your partner's emotional judgments at bay that you have trouble considering if the demands have crossed over into an abusive and inappropriate arena. Your judgment is clouded.

You continue to ask yourself, Is it me or him? You feel anxious around him, believing that somehow you can make things right again; you want to feel the love you did when the two of you first got together.

Deep down, your biggest fear is that his opinions of you are right ... that there really is something wrong with you, and you just may not be lovable the way you are.

The bad news? You are now caught in the web. The good news? There is a way out. It is so important to understand what control is really all about. Let me show you the way.

Here's what controlling behaviors are really all about:

  • His own sense of helplessness and powerlessness.
  • Getting someone else (like you) to make him feel OK.
  • Wanting to hand-off his own anxieties so he doesn't have to deal with them himself.
  • Ensuring that you will never abandon or reject him/
  • Projecting his deepest fears of being inadequate and unlovable.

Note: His controlling behaviors are never about you.

Here are five steps to getting out from under his control:

1. Get your power back.
The quickest way to do this is to be willing to walk away from the relationship if need be. This enables you to move forward with the next steps from a place of power, not a place of fear.

2. Set limits on his criticism and emotional outbursts. 
Let your partner know that you are open to hearing his concerns about your actions and how they affect him, but will no longer engage in conversations that attack who you are as a person.

3. Consider your partner's concerns.
What are you willing to do for him? What is completely off the table? Make sure you align these requests with your personal well-being and integrity. Don't agree to do things simply in order to keep the peace or save the relationship, especially if deep down you know it isn't right for you.

4. Be clear and honest with yourself first, then your partner.
Consider your values, goals and needs. Make sure your decisions are in alignment with your highest self, needs and all. Let him know what you can and can't do for him. Whatever you do, do not be intimidated. Have a powerful "no" and make it clear that he will need to accept the "no." If he can't, then it may be best for the two of you to part ways.

5. Find people and experiences that celebrate who you are.
Find ways to reconnect with the powerful person you truly are, i.e. someone that would never tolerate being treated in such a manner. Engage and connect with other people that support and love you for exactly who you are.

At the end of the day, only you can decide if his controlling behavior is something you are willing to live with or not. Relationships should be something that supports your growth, not something that diminishes it.

Love celebrates who you are; it does not put you down. You deserve to have a powerful and loving relationship. So start with yourself. Love yourself enough to take the first step in reclaiming you.

If you or someone you know struggles with emotional abuse in their relationships, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

Be well,

Julie

Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at www.julieorlov.com/quiz

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Sunday
Jan252015

What Do You Do When Your Spouse Can't Keep a Job? Julie Orlov's Q&A Video Response Awaits!

Given that the economy is still on the mend, I thought it would be helpful to do an encore presentation of my video Q&A "Help, My Wife Can't Keep a Job!"  This video explores how to deal with a spouse who doesn't keep her word in securing and maintaining employment. In today’s economy, it is not uncommon for couples to fight about money and employment. People are having more difficulty securing and maintaining employment and this results in a lot of fear, anxiety, and conflict. Learn how to approach this sensitive topic and ways that help resolve this and similar issues in your relationship.

Remember, things are rarely black and white. There are typically multiple factors affecting and at the effect of relationship issues. This video offers you a process from which to explore and uncover what is taking place and why, and what you can do to move forward toward a satisfactory resolution.

To watch this and other Julie Orlov videos on YouTube, click http://youtu.be/060YWDhN4WQ

To watch this video and access other articles on relationships, click Read in Browser and enjoy all the resources offered at JulieOrlov.com.

Enjoy!

Julie

P.S. If you or someone you know struggles with on-going conflict in their relationships, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at www.julieorlov.com/quiz

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct112014

Why Those Same Old Issues Never Seem to Go Away

Every couple has their core issues. Some are relatively minor, some are quite serious. Some issues can be handled easily and resolved quickly. For example, a couple may have different needs when it comes to spending time together. One person may require a lot of time on their own, while their partner needs more together time. In this case, couples may find a middle ground that works for both of them. With love and understanding, this couple can find the compromise that works. They may need to tweak their agreement from time to time, but overall, this issues does not wreak a lot of havoc—they understand and handle the differences without taking it personally.

Other issues are more complicated. There are deeper wounds attached and behavioral change is not so simple. These issues create a domino effect as one partner's behavior creates a reaction in the other that triggers more acting out in one’s partner that then creates even more distress for the other and so on and so on. I'm sure you can relate to having this kind of issue in your current or past relationship. It may involve an addiction, a destructive way of handling feelings, or other preferences and coping skills that cause negative consequences for the relationship.

We all have developed coping skills. Some work well for us but not for others. Some are overall healthier than others. Regardless, deeply ingrained coping strategies are hard to change. Thus, these issues tend to come up again and again in relationships. They have to. It takes time and repetition for someone to release a maladaptive way of coping and create a replacement strategy. This involves a lot of self-awareness, commitment and discipline in making a change. In all honesty, some people can do this and some cannot. Even with the best of intentions, the results aren't guaranteed.

So if you are experiencing an issue in your relationship that continues to come up again and again, understand that this is normal. Both you and your partner need to know that change occurs slowly over time and a commitment to see this through is required from both of you. Even under the best of circumstances, breakdowns will occur.

For example, let's say your husband (or wife) has a temper. He deals with his frustration and anger in ways that you find hurtful and unacceptable. He yells and demonstrates contempt for you when he's angry. He personally attacks you and finds ways to make sure you know that you are the problem, not him. This causes you to feel utterly belittled, hopeless and resigned. Eventually things calm down, you do what it takes to reassure your husband, point out what doesn't work for you, work towards normalizing the relationship again. Sometimes he will apologize and sometimes not. He understands he has a temper but has difficulty controlling it and reining it in once he's "lost it."  You have gone to counseling for this and continue to work on the issue as a couple. Progress has been made. Your husband understands why he gets angry and is working on calming down before saying anything. However, he still loses his temper every now and then in ways you find hurtful and damaging.

You wonder if your husband will ever change. You wonder if you can live with this for the rest of your life. Every time he slips you forget all the times he has been successful in managing his anger in more constructive ways. You feel hopeless instead of remembering that both you and he committed to dealing with this issue, understanding it will take a long time for him to truly integrate a new way of being. You forget that even under the best of circumstances, people are human and under stress, primitive ways of coping can take over.

So what can you do to deal with the same issue that still haunts the relationship? Here are things to remember when those same old issues come up again.

  • Remember, as long as you are both committed to making things better and take action to do so, progress is being made.
  • Expect breakdowns. They are a part of life and no one is perfect. As long as they are occurring less and less, you can relax and know things are moving in the right direction.
  • Always make sure that you are attending your end of things. Even if your partner's issues have nothing to do with you, you are responsible for how you deal with them. Make sure you work on you.
  • Focus on what your partner does right and how he pleases you. Give your partner credit for his intentions, efforts and progress made. It's the best reinforcement for continued change.
  • Lastly, know that dealing with each other's imperfections and woundedness is part of the deal. Relationships provide fertile ground for healing. In doing so, this requires ongoing patience, forgiveness and love. It also takes a willingness to take responsibility at all times for one's actions and continuous recommitment to do better next time.

So you decide if there are reasons enough to hang in there for the entire ride. Know there will be up hill climbs, steep vertical falls and lots of thrilling curves along the way. Buckle up. No one said relationships were straight and level roads--but that's the very thing that makes them so worthwhile.

If you or someone you know needs help in dealing with your relationship challenges, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

As always, I’m here to support you in creating strong and intimate relationships. 

Be well,

Julie

Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at www.julieorlov.com/quiz

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun062014

5 Things To Do When The Rug has Been Pulled Out From Under You

You think you know your significant other. You feel secure in this relationship and believe that all is well. That is until one day, you get the rug pulled out from under you. You discover your significant other has a sexually transmitted disease, you discover your spouse is addicted to porn, you discover your partner was really married twice, not once before you met.

You feel like you've been hit in the stomach--not only because of what you've learned but also because your ability to trust has been shattered--not only the ability to trust your loved one, but your ability to trust yourself.

These kinds of upsets happen and they happen when you least expect it. Last week, I described all the reasons why people may not disclose everything about themselves to their partner. One of the reasons is they feel shame around the issue. Another reason is they know the relationship would be at risk. So when their worst fears are met and the secret is revealed, you must deal with the painful truth about who your partner is and what he or she has done.

Dealing with these kinds of surprises is complicated. There are many feelings and issues to address and work through. So while I am giving you an abbreviated version of what those things are, I encourage you to seek support if and when you find yourself on the floor with the rug pulled out.

Here are 5 things to help you get back on your feet.

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Monday
Mar242014

5 Signs Your Marriage is At Risk 

You and your spouse just had another fight about money. You have argued about money for years, never agreeing on spending and saving habits. This time, the fight turned uglier than usual. There was a lot of name calling and threats of divorce. You both have had it. You just don't believe you will ever see eye to eye and are burned out. At this point, you aren't sure you want to stay married. And although you have had these kinds of arguments many times over the past 12 years, this time you believe the marriage is at risk.  But is it??

Arguing is normal. Conflict is inevitable. Ups and downs are part of a long-term marriage. So when does an ebb run the risk of becoming the beginning of the end or the end itself?  Here are five signs that indicate your marriage is at risk. Click Read in Browser to access the full article now!

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