Overcoming Trust Issues in a Relationship

Trust issues put a wall between you and your loved one.

Trust issues pervade relationships everywhere, but they can be overcome.

It almost sounds funny to talk about how we have to learn to trust our special person, our partner, our mate. But we do. We have to learn that the one we are in relationship with does love us, even when we can’t feel the love. And that is one of the hardest parts of staying together.

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My Husband Ignores Me. What Do I Do?

My Husband Ignores Me. What Do I Do About It?

All of us in relationships want to feel accepted and received by the person we love. It’s a longing we all share and impossible not to feel. We crave our person to see us and to remind us that we matter. We need to feel valued by the one we love and we hunger for these reassuring moments.

So the idea that we may NOT feel loved, necessary, or that we matter to our mate is, in my opinion, one of the worst things we can feel.

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Love Advice: When You’re Feeling Unloved in a Relationship

how do you know when you are loved?

I saw this young couple walking down the street. The woman reached up and kissed her man on the mouth while continuing their pace. He joined her in the quick kiss and when he pulled his head back he wore the biggest smile. That looked like love. And they probably both felt it in that moment.

It’s easy for most of us to know when we feel love, but how do you tell and how do you know when you are loved? I was thinking about this concept the other day. I wondered because in my own experience sometimes I don’t feel very lovable.

Feeling unloved is tough. I have some good news and some bad news about it. First, the bad news: it’s incredibly common. The good news is that even if you feel unlovable, there’s lots of hope, and signs of being loved might just be right under your nose.

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Looking Underneath

There are many reasons why people seek counseling.  One of the most common is that they are unhappy in their lives.  They know something doesn’t feel right, and they long for a time, place, and feeling of something better.  They can’t really describe this place but they know they want it.

These clients I’m describing are all successful.  They’ve built something with their lives; careers, relationships, families.  They are rooted in what they do and their responsibilities. They may be proud of their accomplishments too. Yet sometimes they say they feel like a fraud because of a hollow place inside.

I know, having changed careers to become a therapist, I’ve gone through my own challenges trying to find that better, more peaceful place that many of my clients seek.  I know it’s hard to look underneath everything you have constructed and you know to be true and have lived for the last 20, 30, or 40 years.

But unhappiness is a terrific motivator.  When people are unhappy in their lives they will do what they do best, look for a way out of the unhappiness.  Often this search leads to counseling and that path leads to understanding the self.

What does the person want out of life?  What makes the person happy?  What would the person like to change?  These are simple questions.  Yet the answers are sometimes very hard to know, because most people are too busy with their lives to really look. 

So look now at your life.  Are you in a place that feels right?  Are you content?  Notice I’m not asking if you are happy.  I know that this feeling is fleeting.  It’s great to be happy.  Finding what makes you happy is what I am interested in and that journey takes practice.  It starts with you saying yes to you.

If you live in a place where you say to yourself “I should” before everything you do, I’ll bet you feel tired and overworked.  If your way of being consists of saying “no” a lot it’s possible you experience anxiety and stress.  In both these cases “self care” is probably on the back burner.  Self care; I talk about this a lot.  You may be saying to yourself “I don’t have time to be selfish.”

Sometimes we don’t know how to honor ourselves with self care.  We may be experts at helping others, and we may be accustomed to putting our needs last.  By the time we get around to taking care of ourselves we are exhausted, and we might even get mad. 

I like to help people learn to attend to their needs, wants and desires.  That doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything you already do in your life.  It just means you make you a priority to you.  You learn how to take care of yourself in a way that feels good to you.  This is where you grow, like developing a new muscle.  And you know that unhappiness I talked about earlier?  When people find a way to take care of themselves they feel less unhappiness. 

Feeling content, grounded and peaceful, I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t long for it.

Send your comments to linda@lindanusbaum.com

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Saying What Needs to be Said

It happens to all of us.
We hold on to our thoughts and don’t say them because we are afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings. We
stuff them down inside and just stay silent. We may grouse about them later with someone else, but most of the time
we don’t ever say what we intended to the person who we wanted to say it to.

If this sounds like you, you are not alone.  This is one of the most common themes I come across while helping people in counseling. Most people are aware they do this, and they are not sure how to change it because it’s something they have always done…put their feelings away and take care of the other person first.

This isn’t a bad way to be, unless you are the person who isn’t saying what needs to be said and you are not getting what you need out of life. Then there might be some resentment building up because others are not realizing you haven’t had your say. When you find yourself in this condition for a long time you may be getting angry at the people who don’t seem to understand you.  Then we have some work to do, and you can do it in three steps.

The first step in changing this dynamic is to REALIZE that you are not saying things when you feel them. I know there’s a real fear of something or you would already be speaking your mind. We will get to that later. The first step is to just become aware that you hold in your thoughts and feelings inside yourself and stay silent.

Once you can understand that you do this often we can move on. But to really get this you need to be in a situation where you don’t speak your mind and can then actually say to someone, “Wow, I thought… and I didn’t say anything.”

Once you can actually utter what it is that you aren’t doing, then we can look at what’s holding you back from doing it.  It’s likely there is a fear about something.  I believe it’s something from long ago in your past.  You might have grown up being told that you don’t share your thoughts and feelings; maybe you had people in your life that yelled at you if you spoke your mind, or it could be that you were not taught to speak up about your needs and wants.  What ever the reason, you probably got good training and now you are an expert at not speaking what you feel and think.

As an adult you might now worry how other people will react to you if you speak out.  The second step is to gain an understanding of what you believe will happen if you do speak your mind. Will people leave? Will people hit? Will people yell?  Think about what you are worried about.  Try and imagine the worst reaction someone would make and then consider if you can handle it.  If the answer is yes we move on to step three.

Next time you feel and think something, instead of stuffing it you are going to take a risk, try a new behavior and just SAY IT!  You will survive the person’s reaction because you have already considered it. 

That’s how we get rid of fear and make changes.

No one said it would be easy.  I know it’s hard because you haven’t done it before.  I also know it’s worth it.  You will feel heard, perhaps for the first time, and that’s a new feeling you can’t afford not to experience.

Send your comments to linda@lindanusbaum.com

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Feeling Small

Feeling small.  It’s a condition everyone experiences now and then.  It can occur out of nowhere.  Maybe you are in a conversation and someone talks about something you don’t know anything about.  You might feel small.  Or what about times when someone forgets to include you in something you wanted to be a part of.  You might feel small here too.  Feeling small, it happens.  It happens to all of us.

I think what we’re really feeling though is disconnected from others, disconnected from someone, something or an event.  I think it’s a feeling we get when we are alone and we don’t want to be.  I also think it’s very, very common.  We all feel this “small” feeling at times.

So what do you do about it?  The first thing to do is recognize that it happens and then discover what happens to you.  Get familiar with the feelings inside yourself and start to put words around it.  Maybe it feels like isolation, maybe it feels lonely, perhaps it is sadness, and whatever it is, begin to label it.  What you will be doing is learning about yourself, and your inner world.  These are essential steps to describing what is going on inside yourself.

So why is it important to understand and label what’s happening inside?  First it helps us identify what’s happening with us, so we just don’t feel so terrible.  Second, when we understand what’s going on inside us we can explain it to others. 

So why would you want to describe feelings of loneliness and sadness to anyone, because all these feelings get evoked because you are alone.  You feel disconnected from other people.  If you talk about the feelings, no matter what they are, you will be connecting, which is really what the soul is missing.

I know it’s hard to let people know when you feel these feelings.  These are the kinds of feelings most of us were taught to keep hidden from others.  Many of us were taught to just show happy feelings and hide the hard ones; discomfort, anger, frustration, fear, worry, sadness, guilt, shame.  Few people are taught that these feelings are O.K. to reveal.  Few people feel comfortable saying things like, “I feel angry at you right now,” or “I am full of sadness,” and “I feel guilty about that.”  These are not things that come naturally, but when we can reveal them to others we get rid of the “small” feeling.

When we know what’s happening inside us, when we can identify our feelings, we can then learn how to express them to others.  Usually when we are at this stage we are not yelling, we are calmly explaining what is going on with us.  When others hear what’s happening inside us almost every time they will want to come closer.  A person’s natural instinct is to move toward another when they are describing something vulnerable.  That is what makes us human, our ability to move toward and help others.

So when you experience those times where you just feel left out or “small”, try and remember to turn toward another.  It will lead you toward the connectedness we all crave.

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