Get Your Love Right!
Blog by: Tyra Berger, MSMFT, LGPC, NCC
I work with many couples who come in with communication and conflict resolution issues. As I begin to understand the history of the couple and hearing how they communicate daily, arguments they have, one partner feeling defeated, the other dominating the conversation, unwilling to compromise and feeling accomplished as their partner gives in repeatedly, I start to see a theme. Narcissism. While narcissist or 75% men, women can also be narcissistic. A narcissist has an air that they are superior to others, lack empathy, controlling, aggressive, over-react to criticism, and feels they are always right, as indicated by 5 of these 9 characteristics:
1. Grandiose logic of self-importance
2. Dreams of power, success brilliance or beauty
3. Lacks empathy for others
4. Needing excessive admiration
5. Sense of entitlement
6. Expects special treatment or compliance with their wishes
7. Takes advantage of other people
8. Envies others or believes others are envious of them
9. Egotistical or conceited behavior.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist is often difficult and can often turn into a form of abuse. Narcissistic abuse. In many cases the narcissist looks for a partner that is empathetic in an effort to assert their power and control that eventually turns into an abuser/victim relationship. There are many signs of narcissistic abuse that you may or may not be aware of but are important to recognize so that you will know if you are in a relationship like this. They are:
If you are with a narcissistic person, it is so important to make sure you have a support system or seek therapy to help strengthen yourself and to try to keep your self-esteem intact. I try to bring it to the attention to couple’s I feel like this may apply to in hopes to help the victim find their support system and to bring it to the attention of the abuser in hopes they will want to change their behavior, even though it’s not likely. For the victim getting support and sharing the experiences will help them not feel like they are losing themselves, their self-esteem or self-worth.
If you are in a relationship and feel like you are with a person who is narcissistic or experiencing narcissistic abuse, get support. I am here to support you, or you can also seek therapy on psychologytoday.com or research books on narcissism and narcissism abuse.
I enjoy working with the LGBTQ community. For years, even before I became a therapist, I empathized with the struggles and discrimination that the LGBTQ community has had to face. I have had so many lesbian or gay individuals and couples contact me with so many questions to make sure they are accepted. It has puzzled me at times, but I have come to realize that most all of them have so many awful stories of reaching out to therapist or seeing a therapist who are not accepting of them as gay or lesbian. Many have said therapists have told them “I don’t work with gays” or “I’m not sure what to do with you” …referring to their sexuality. This is so disappointing to me, as a professional who finds this unethical, and as a person. Not only do they have to come out to family and friends and learn to accept themselves and work through others accepting them, now when they need help in working through these issues and everyday life issues, they have to worry about being accepted.
As a gay or lesbian individual or couple seeking counseling, please know and understand that just like us all you have the right to humane care and treatment, with respect and consideration. Period.
While there are many gay or lesbian therapist that will likely relate directly to your life experiences, there are also many gay-affirmative or gay-friendly therapist like myself that enjoy working with members of the LGBTQ community. Either way it is important that you ask the right questions to find a therapist who is open and comfortable with discussing issues you may be facing or dealing with as LGBTQ person. Some of these questions are:
As a licensed therapist and LGBTQ affirmative therapist, I believe in acceptance and empathy and that everyone deserves to the right to have an amazing experience working through issues and getting the help they need. Making sure to find the right therapist is big part of making that happen.
It’s February the month of Valentines Day and Love! While everyday is a good day to express love to your partner, if you haven’t been, you can start today! I challenge you to do something loving for your partner everyday of this month!
Some ideas are:
Just like that your life is turned upside down. You are in shock, you are angry, you are hurt, you want to react; you may pack your spouse’s clothes to put him out, or you may choose to leave. You talk to your friends and they are just as angry as you, telling you to leave, you deserve better. You have found out your spouse has been unfaithful. A few days go by and you both have a conversation. You feel blamed because they may be telling you this happened due to lack of something you should have been providing more of. You may have mixed feelings because while you have been betrayed in one of the worst ways, you still love your spouse, you may have kids. You love your family… but the deep pain, the insurmountable hurt, the ultimate betrayal of spending years giving, loving, doing, and simply being for the person you vowed to love and be loyal to forever, has shattered your world. This is trauma.
When I see couple’s that are trying to work through infidelity and tell them about the trauma that the betrayed spouse is experiencing, I often get, even from the victim “oh I never thought of it like that”. Well it is a fact. The betrayed spouse in an infidelity situation most times experiences the same type of symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder or even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms like: intrusive thoughts, being emotionally unstable, feeling broken and powerless, anxiety, irritability, insomnia etc. In my experience, once this information is shared with a couple, the betrayed spouse feels relieved to know what they have been feeling is valid, and the betraying spouse most times expresses empathy and has a deeper understanding of what they have put their spouse through. This is just the beginning. At the end of therapy working through infidelity isn’t always a positive result. While some couples work through it and come out stronger and continuing in their marriage, some work to find out that the marriage is over. That’s a reality.
In trying to work through infidelity some important issues to deal with are the tasks of dealing with the traumatic memories using exposure to relive those hurtful moments, and to help the betrayed spouse learn to cope with those memories over time. Also, transparency and identifying what the betrayed spouse needs from her spouse to help her feel more secure in the relationship. Over time, the consistent actions of the betraying spouse can help rebuild trust and security. Couples have to discuss needs, expectations, and deeply explore emotions to rebuild trust and develop a new closeness so that they can begin life after infidelity. Your relationship may never be the same again for the good or the bad, but understand that coming to therapy will help you have an open discussion about this issue. Studies have shown that 70% of couples that have gone to therapy after an infidelity stayed together. This is probably the best chance to save your marriage if that’s the goal.
For more information on working through infidelity or to schedule an appointment visit my website: www.tyraberger.com.
You meet the love of your life, you date, you fall in love, you are infatuated with each other, spending most of your time together, not wanting to ever be apart. Dinners, sweet gestures and so much PDA you make others around you gag! Love. Then, after a year or so, after the honeymoon phase has eased a bit, you start to really begin to know each other, your disagreements may become less easy to resolve, some of the things you loved about your love now get on your last nerve; pet peeves! You begin to notice differences in your personality that you may not be that fond of, but you are still in love! You get through another year of growing in love all while still discovering your differences, and you might even decide to move in together. With that step you learn even more! He leaves the toilet seat up, she is messy, he doesn’t pick up after himself, she leaves the cap off the toothpaste, he snores, she’s a cover hog….oh the horror of it all! Ha! All annoying….but! You’re still in Love. In love enough to want to move on to the next step! Becoming engaged to be married! Love. It was a lovely proposal. Candles and flower petals, she was surprised and excited, she said yes, he shed a tear…now you have a wedding to plan! Venues have to be booked, caterers, florist, the cake, the dress, etc. All to celebrate the love and the coming together of two people who will spend the rest of their lives together…marriage. Let me say that again.. THE REST OF THEIR LIVES TOGETHER…MARRIAGE! I don’t point that out to scare, but to accentuate the magnitude of what that means. Love. Marriage. In all the preparation you do for a wedding and to be together forever, there is another HUGE part of preparing for a wedding, a marriage, and helping to ensure that your marriage will last….Pre-Marital Counseling.
I recommend Pre-Marital Counseling 100%. Pre-Marital Counseling helps set your marriage up for success. If you are preparing to get married and have not considered Pre-Marital Counseling, I beg you, please reconsider!
Here’s 5 reasons why:
For more information or to schedule an appointment for Pre-Marital Counseling visit my website: www.tyraberger.com