Couple Relationship

[Relationship] Expectations & Fairness

ExpectationsYou might have already guessed that I am a mediator and practice yogaregularly as my self-care routine (and running, too). Meditation helps me calm down my inner voices. Meditation shuts down my inner voices so that I can listen to my clients to the best I can empathetically. It also helps me to set my emotions back to 0 at the end of the day so that I can be as clear as I can for every client the following day.

I like to go to the meditation retreat once in a while. You might wonder why I attend the retreat and sit quietly with a group of people without talking to each other would be something fun. The exciting thing is, when I sit with a group of people without speaking, I actually feel at my most peaceful time and very connected with human beings (in spite of them all being strangers to me), without being judged by anyone’s words.

During those quiet moments in the meditation, when no one but me peeking inside my head, I see my “judgment” coming and going, judgment about people, about the world, and about myself. Being able to see these judgments in my head helps me to maintain a sense of compassion in my life, especially in my line of work.

So, you might not be surprised at all when I also realized that not only do I have “judgment” about human beings in my head, I also have “expectations” about human beings in my head too.

Before I go into the length of the wisdom of the “expectation” and the impact on the relationship with others and self, let me fill you in with the background story. Continue reading “[Relationship] Expectations & Fairness”

Couple Relationship

Surviving Holiday Stress with In-Laws (II)

woman and man sitting on brown wooden bench
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No matter it’s Chinese, American, or Hispanics, etc.. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the partner by marriage saying: “You made me feel like an outsider;” while the partner who is biologically related to the extended family saying: “I am stuck in the middle between my spouse/partner and my parents.”

 

So, how do you unstuck from this situation? The key is to make your relationship and your spousal relationship as a priority and see your partner’s feelings is yours no matter you agree with him/her.

(The Part I of Surviving the Holiday In-Law Stress is here.)

Continue reading “Surviving Holiday Stress with In-Laws (II)”

Couple Relationship

Surviving Holiday Stress with In-Laws (I)

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I grew up in a big Taiwanese family. My dad has four siblings and my mom has five siblings. I often joked with my friends that the craziness of my family drama trains me to be a good couple’s therapist. Taiwanese is the culture with traditions during holidays. Holidays are the time when all the in-law issues played out. I often saw the fights between my parents because of the in-law dramas.

Continue reading “Surviving Holiday Stress with In-Laws (I)”

Couple Relationship

How Do You Give Love?

heart shaped pink and purple flower garden
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According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five different love languages, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of services, and physical touch.

The person whose love language is “words of affirmation” knows how to compliment others with words. He/she uses words to show the love to his/her partner.

When your love language is “quality time,” you enjoy sharing common interests and doing things that connected the two of you.

When your love language is “receiving gifts,” the token that symbolizes the love and special occasion are essential.

The person whose love language is “acts of services” shows love by acting on it. They do everything for their partner, and they do it for the love of their partner.

When your love language is “physical touch,” you use a hug, a kiss, and touch to feel and to show your partner your presence, care, and love.

One of the languages might be the strongest, and there might be a couple of them are equally strong. You can take the test to determine your love language.

So, what happens when the partners have a different love language?

Continue reading “How Do You Give Love?”

Couple Relationship

How Do You Ask for Support

two person holding hands while sitting on grey cushion
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The idea of this post started with an innocent conversation with a friend on Facebook. My friend lives in a tiny apartment in a big city. He posted something on Facebook like this: “Why would anyone fry fish at midnight?”

I responded with: “maybe your neighbor is hungry?” 

The messages exchange on his facebook wall went on for 5-6 times when I realized that his original post was not a question but a complaint. 

I burst into a big laugh as I experience this scene in my couples’ counseling session. Continue reading “How Do You Ask for Support”

Couple Relationship, Depression/Anxiety

Which role do you play, victim, persecutor, or rescuer? — Drama Triangle “I am OK. You are OK.”

drama triangle

In the interpersonal relationships, we all shift in different roles in different relationships. As I mentioned above, we even play these roles with ourselves at times. However, if we regularly locked in specific roles in our lives, we lose the flexibility to live our lives here and now. That is, we lose the flexibility to behave based on the situation and people involved. We become to live the life to fulfill the expectation of that particular role. No one wants to continually rescue other people. No one likes to be frustrated and critical of other people’s behaviors all the time. No one wants to feel like a victim and powerless in his/her own life all the time. When we are fixed at a certain role, we lose the joy to live our lives to the fullest potential. We also start to accumulate resentment and dissatisfaction.  Continue reading “Which role do you play, victim, persecutor, or rescuer? — Drama Triangle “I am OK. You are OK.””

Couple Relationship, Depression/Anxiety

Which role do you play, victim, persecutor, or rescuer?—Drama Triangle for Personal Insight/Awareness

drama triangle

I find thess three roles, victim, persecutor, and rescuer, straightforward to understand in the clinical settings. Often, when a client comes into my office, they are often locked into one of these roles and feels dissatisfied and resentful in his/her life.

One can shift in these three roles. For example, in a particular relationship, I might be the rescuer but a victim in another relationship. For example, in the family of origin, a person might be the rescue to his/her mother but a victim to his/her father. 

One can also shift among these roles in one issue with oneself. For example, a conflict happened at work or with a significant other, and these three roles might play out like this in one’s mind:

Victim: how could he/she say that? It’s so unfair to say that to me considering everything I have done for him/her.

Persecutor: He/she was so ungrateful. He/she behaved like…… and didn’t hold his/her end of the deal…….. He/she has no right to ask for anything. 

Rescuer: Still, how could I let this happen? It is my job to make sure everything goes the way it should be, and everyone gets the best out of the situation. I failed to do so.  Continue reading “Which role do you play, victim, persecutor, or rescuer?—Drama Triangle for Personal Insight/Awareness”

Couple Relationship, Depression/Anxiety

Which role do you play, victim, persecutor, or rescuer?—Drama Triangle Introduction

drama triangle

In the interpersonal relationship…..(family, couple, work, friendship, etc….)

Have you ever felt that like a victim and being taken advantage all the time?

Have you ever felt like a firefighter and continuously putting out other people’s fire and rescue people around you all the time?

Have you ever felt so angry and frustrated that you want to criticize the other people’s behaviors all the time?

If you do, you might be falling into the drama triangle without knowing it.  Continue reading “Which role do you play, victim, persecutor, or rescuer?—Drama Triangle Introduction”

Couple Relationship

Change is Harder for the Couples — How Do We Change it?

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If we enter the intimate relationships to be accepted as who we are as a person, to feel loved, worthy, and valued, and to see our partners as a whole, and the majority of the mistakes in the relationship are made unintentionally, what do we do when we stuck in the relationship?

The answer is: holding space for each other. The fact is that we are all different. No matter how similar you are as a couple, you still have your differences. No matter which family life cycle stages they are in, communication is the key to resolve the disputes.

Knowing that we all walk into the marriage hoping to be accepted and loved the way we are,  knowing that how we respond to our partners is how they assess their value and self-worth in the relationship, and knowing that I don’t do anything intentionally to hurt my partner and my partner is hurt because of the way I think, I experiences, and my values, now what?

How? Here are some takeaway points: Continue reading “Change is Harder for the Couples — How Do We Change it?”

Couple Relationship

Change is Harder for the Couples— Why?

 

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The process of change is uneasy for one person and even more complicated for a couple.

Why is change much more complicated for the couples? Try to think about those reasons that make it hard for everyone one of us to change first. Now, add in two people who go through the same struggle. Finally, add in the following reasons.

Continue reading “Change is Harder for the Couples— Why?”