13 Danger signs in relationships

 

danger signs relationships

13 Danger signs in relationships

Separate bedrooms

If you are sleeping in separate bedrooms, make sure it is temporary. Long term this spells trouble for any relationship.

Lack of sex

If both partners are happy with a lack of sex, there isn’t a problem. If one partner feels frustrated about not getting enough, this will need to be addressed sooner or later. Don’t sweep it under the carpet and hope the issue goes away – talk about it!

Lack of communication

This is the number one reason for relationships breaking down. As soon as communication is sub par, resentment starts to build, assumptions are made and rot sets in. Make sure you put in the effort to talk to your partner as often as possible. Check in with them and make sure you clear the air regularly. Small issues become big issues if they are ignored.

Living separate lives

It’s healthy to have your own interests and makes the relationship more interesting when you can reunite and discuss your different experiences. The problems begin when you seem to be doing most things separately – seeing your own group of friends, doing your own thing and doing less and less together.

Functioning only a practical level – not connecting emotionally

I see this often in the couples who come to see me seeking help with their failing relationships. They work well together in terms of running the house, paying the bills, getting the kids to school etc but when it comes to their closeness and intimacy as a couple, it can be pretty non existent.

The fun has gone out of the relationship

Do you no longer have any fun together? Make sure you have fun some times otherwise the relationship will become associated with tension and stress and this will most likely lead to the demise of the relationship.

Constant bickering with no resolution

At times, couples get stuck in a rut and they keep repeating the same destructive patterns with each other. No resolution is achieved and communication lessens as both partners begin to feel they are not being heard. Make sure that you listen properly when your partner tries to tell you what is wrong. Do some problem solving around the problem and figure out ways to compromise and restore peace and contentment.

Resentment has built up

Resentment kills love over time. Never sit with resentment for too long. Find ways to talk to your partner and reduce the resentment.This is vital for a happy relationship going forward.

You rarely think of your partner when you aren’t together

Out of sight, out of mind? It may just be that you aren’t a very sentimental person but it could also mean that you no longer have any emotional attachment to your partner. This is a sad state of affairs and needs to be addresses if you want to have the best possible relationship. A good balanced relationship includes emotional, mental and physical intimacy.

You feel relief when your partner goes away

Worse than not missing your partner when they are not around is feeling relief when they are absent. This is a major warning that something is seriously wrong in your relationship. It might even be time for relationship counselling if you want to save your relationship. Don’t put your head in the sand. Deal with the problem – the sooner the better.

You feel alone in the relationship

This is another sign that something is seriously amiss in the relationship. Figure out what is missing and what your partner would need to do (and what you would need to do) to feel connected again.

You feel misunderstood in the relationship

This is easier to resolve than feeling alone in a relationship. It may just be that you are communicating at odds and need to find different ways to get your point across. Don’t give up – be resourceful and creative. Counselling can also help with this one.

Your emotional needs are not being met

When needs aren’t being met, resentment can set in and people will eventually find other ways to meet their needs. If your partner struggles to meet your emotional needs (some people really struggle as their emotional intelligence is low) you can find other ways to meet these needs. Find good friends you can talk to or a therapist. There are ways to work around this one if you love your partner and want to stay in the relationship irrespective of your poorly met emotional needs.

Relationships take work. Think of a relationship as a garden. If you don’t tend to it, weeds will grow. You get out what you put in.

Mandy X

 

 

Are you approachable?

 

friendly photo

Are you approachable?

Do you ever think about how you are coming across to others? There can be times when we are giving off negative body language to others but are not aware of this. Often, negative body language comes from what we are thinking about. If we are self conscious and self focused, we may feel stressed and this will show in our body language.

Cognitive behavioural therapy deals with many issues and among those is social anxiety, also known as social phobia. When we suffer from social anxiety, we are often plagued by self doubt and worry too much about what others think of us. We focus on how we are coming across and this self focus ends up making us feel even more anxious. Ironically, when we care too much about being liked and/or being popular, we can end up making the situation worse for ourselves by placing too much pressure on our behaviour.

An analogy that helps my clients is to ask them to think about a row of shops. If you are walking down a street full of shops, you will be unlikely to enter into a shop that looks as if it is closed, has the door closed or has the shutters down etc

On the other hand, a shop that has the door open and looks inviting is more likely to get interest from passers by. I call this “shop open” and “shop shut” body language. Regularly monitor yourself to see whether you are giving off approachable “shop open” body language or unfriendly “shop closed” body language. Shop open body language consists of:

smiling, making eye contact, shoulders back etc

Sadly, when we are shy or feel anxious socially, our thoughts tend to be anxious in nature and this affects our body language negatively. What ends up happening is known as a self fulfilling prophecy – the very thing we fear comes true. If you feel anxious, try focusing on something external instead of  focusing on yourself. This is a great trick to lessen anxiety  in social situations. Focus on others, find out more about them…

In the future, remind yourself to give off “shop open” body language and you will immediately see a change in how people treat you and communicate with you.

Mandy X

Sink or swim

 

sink or swim

Sink or swim

No one gets through life without experiencing a tough event of some kind. Whether that’s betrayal, loss, humiliation, rejection or failure on some level, we all face situations where we either sink or swim.

Anxiety and stress comes from our belief that we will not cope and where we see the threat in front of us as insurmountable.  There have been many times in my life when I have felt that I will not cope with the situation and have found managing my emotions incredibly difficult. The more you confront your fears the easier life gets and the more your confidence grows. Whether you sink or swim depends on the story you tell yourself about what has happened. If you focus on all the negatives and can’t see any other way to look at the situation, it is obvious that you will be more likely to sink. If however, you put some effort into looking at the situation in a  more creative way (the more difficult the situation the more creative you need to be), you will be more likely to swim and cope. What I mean by the ‘story’ you tell yourself is the way you choose to interpret the events. Psychological flexibility is key to happiness and minimising anxiety.

Example: You could say to yourself, “This is awful and I will never be happy again. I am such a loser etc” or you could choose to say to yourself, “This is a horrid situation but I have coped with hard times before, and I can do so again”.  The first story will make you feel worse, the second one might make you feel slightly better. Do what works.

I monitor my thinking constantly and remind myself that my thoughts are not facts, they do not always represent reality accurately. I imagine my thoughts as leaves floating by on a stream. I notice all the thoughts but I only focus on the ones that are positive and serve me well. Well – it’s a work in progress but that’s the theory. Negative and positive thoughts will constantly be entering your mind so it is a good idea to practise dismissing some of the ‘nonsense’ thoughts’.

Watch your interpretations of life around you. There is one reality but many different interpretations of that reality. Optimists have learned to focus more on thoughts that are helpful rather than unhelpful. This is the key difference and will determine whether you sink or swim.

Mandy X

Change is inevitable

 

 

change photo

Change is inevitable

An indisputable fact of life is that change is a continuous process that we all have to adapt to. Life moves on and we get older. The seasons come and go and people come and go from our lives too. Sometimes change is positive  such as the arrival of a new baby or moving into a bigger house but it can also be negative like a relationship that ends or someone passing away.

Change is inevitable and our attitude to change is what makes the situation easier when the change is negative.

Tips for dealing with change

Focus on what you can control

When we focus on what we can’t control we create unnecessary anxiety and stress in our lives. We cannot control the thoughts and actions of others, all we can control is our own thoughts and actions. This is where your power lies, bring your focus back to yourself. Always ask yourself whether what you are worrying about is within your control. If it isn’t, learn to let it go.

Practice ‘non-attachment’

Everything in life is temporary – your possessions and even the people in your life. This idea provokes anxiety for a lot of people but use this to your advantage. Learn to really appreciate what you have now as it won’t be there forever. Practicing a certain amount of non-attachment is a good thing as it is a worldly reminder that life is transient and that we should never take for granted the people in our lives. The less attachment we have to physical possessions, the happier we are. Being too attached to material possessions brings with it anxiety and a desire to exert control. This control is something many people chase but it is a waste of energy in the long run.

Live in the moment as much as possible

We all scare ourselves unnecessarily with fearful thoughts about the future. “What if this happens or what if that becomes a reality?”. More often than not the fearful thoughts are far worse than the reality would be and it is our inability to cope with uncertainty that leads many of us to feel anxious. Practising mindfulness is a great way to allay fears and to enjoy the moment more. When we are living inside our heads and worrying about the future, we are losing precious moments to feel happy and content. Try to focus your attention on what is going on around you. Practise focusing your attention in the present moment. If you catch your mind wandering to the future, refocus on your environment – what can you see, hear, touch…? This does take practise but keep at it!

Goals and purpose

Committing to a purpose that is greater than ourselves is a wonderful way to bring meaning into life. What are your long term and short term goals? Create a visualisation board with images of where you would like to be in a year or two years…what do you see?

Having something to work towards can help you to feel stronger when you are experiencing moments of self doubt. A bigger picture can help you to stay on track.

Change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be something we fear. Instead of resisting it, learn to work with it as if you have chosen that change on purpose. There is a lesson in every life experience and change we go through.

Mandy X

 

 

Tell yourself every day

 

mantra photo

Tell yourself every day

What you tell yourself has an enormous impact on your happiness and on the course of your life. Get into the habit of ‘feeding’ yourself a positive story. The more you hear it the more it sinks in and operates automatically in your daily life. I promise this is true as I have tried this and it worked for me. I used to be full of negative self talk and initially when I tried to talk to myself in a more positive way, it felt so fake and awkward. Tell yourself every day how unique and lovely you are

After a childhood filled with negative messages, that I wouldn’t amount to much and that I was just a useless liability, I had begun to believe all that nonsense and it seemed true. Actually, none of it was true – it came from an unhealthy parent who also had their own problems. I had taken on what they said and made it part of my identity. Therapy helped me to reject this ‘old programming’ and replace it with more balanced thoughts.

Tell yourself every day

I am a fantastic person, Unique in my ways with loads to offer others. I am great company, funny and clever. Who wouldn’t want to be around someone like me? I am kind and generous and deserve love and care. I won’t allow others to criticise and abuse me as I deserve much better than that. This is my life to live and although others can offer me advice, I do not have to feel pressure to do as they say. They do not live my life, I do. I have the right to make mistakes and change my mind. I have the right to express my emotions and opinions as I am just as important as everyone else.  I have the right to lead the best life possible, to find my own way and do things the way I want to. No one else can make me feel inferior without my consent.

The above paragraph is just an example – you can create your own one or use some of the sentences above – whatever works for you.

Just remember to tell yourself positive helpful things every day. When you build this positive foundation for yourself about how you see yourself, you will attract different dynamics into your life. Without realising it, our thinking alters the way we do things and our body language and this sends subtly different signals to others. Research has proven this to be true!

A positive mental diet is what I call it. Obviously negative thoughts will still come but pay no attention to them and be aware of the messages you are giving to yourself. Tell yourself every day how amazing you are.

It can make a HUGE difference and it has worked for me.

Mandy X

Just go crazy

 

be silly

Just go crazy

I don’t ever swear on this blog (although I do swear a lot in my daily life…tut tut) but I just need to say this – FUCK IT. Sometimes you just have to go crazy! It’s good to break out from all the rules and rigidity placed upon us and let rip. Go skinny dipping or run naked through the rain (as long as it’s warm enough)..or spend all day in doors watching moves and pigging out on your favourite food. YUM.

Seriously, there is so much pressure on us to exercise, be good, do the right thing, eat the right stuff blah blah..it gets so boring!! I don’t know about you but I get tired of all the formality and protocols forced upon us. The more people there are on this planet, the more rules there will be and the more personal freedoms will be curtailed. Something more positive now…

This post is about giving yourself permission to just go crazy. Live a little and stop suppressing your urges – just as long as you don’t plan on doing anything illegal! Thought I’d better just add that bit in – don’t want to be misconstrued.

Be brave – tell that person you think they are cute. Pinch a strangers bum…just go crazy. Why not I say?

Some ideas if you’re lacking your own:

Fart in a packed elevator (sorry I know that’s a bit naughty but funny)

Give a stranger a hug

Tell someone how much you like them

Buy flowers for a stranger

Pay for a stranger’s cup of tea/coffee

Run around your garden naked

Spend a day under the duvet with your favourite films and food

Throw a ‘sickie’ and take the day off from work – go do something fun instead

Buy yourself a kid’s toy – like a remote car, hovercraft etc…

Wear that crazy cardigan/jumper that no one else likes but that you love

Book that round-the-world trip..just do it!

Apply for that job that you don’t think you’re qualified for..what have you go to lose?

Say something outrageous (and possibly out of character) and then leave the room

Go on a roller coaster, bungi jump etc  try something new

You get the idea – just have some fun. Break out of those ‘shackles’ and be a little outrageous..be daring. I give you permission!

I’m off for a run around my garden now …

Mandy X

PS. be kind though and do no harm :)

 

Image: courtesy of Abundant Mama

 

Smart tips for life

 

advice photo

Smart tips for life

Success and happiness aren’t the same thing

Being successful, as in having money, power and status doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be happy. Often we chase the wrong things and mistakenly believe that once we have more money, a bigger house or that person we long for that we will automatically be happy. Happiness is an inside job and people take their negative thinking with them. Possessions rarely make a person happy although they can offer choice which is always a good thing. Look at your values and see whether your life is in line with these important priorities and you will get closer to happiness.

The thoughts you focus on can make life heaven or hell

We all have a mind but we are NOT our minds. Imagine your mind as an internal computer. You can read off it’s screen and see what it is thinking but you don’t have to obey every thought that appears. See your mind as separate to you. Thoughts are not facts – be more selective about the ones you choose to focus on and pay attention to. They will create the quality of your life.

Self belief will get your further than qualifications will

A lack of self belief will create so many barriers to fantastic opportunities. When we don’t have self belief we tend to drown in self limiting beliefs and not even try things in life. You owe it to yourself to believe in your abilities and go for it. See failure as a learning curve – that’s all it is.

Never settle

Fear forces us to settle for less than we deserve. Watch those fearful thoughts and doubts. Believe that you deserve love and attention and respect and if someone doesn’t give it to you, don’t stay out of fear of never finding someone else. Sometimes we have to risk it and be alone in order to find the real prize. It takes guts though to leave something that we could accept on many levels.

You can enjoy life now instead of thinking “When I have….”

Make a conscious choice to enjoy life now instead of putting your happiness on hold until you have obtained something in the future. For example – I will be happy when I have lost weight or I will happy when I have more money. Don’t delay your happiness and try to find happiness and joy in the small things in life. Practice gratitude….

Being true to yourself will bring your closer to contentment

When we behave in line with who we really are instead of putting on a mask to please others and be accepted, we feel a lot more content and at peace with ourselves. Try it! You will be amazed and how people like the real you and if you don’t try it you will never know the joy of living as your authentic self. Say what you want to say, behave the way you wish and don’t change yourself to keep others happy.

Most people think they aren’t good enough

We all have self doubt and we tend to think everyone else is supremely confident. The truth is that I have never met a client who hasn’t wanted more confidence. We all have our fears and imperfections….every single one of us. Embrace your quirky bits and remind yourself that you are wonderful as you are. Never compare yourself unfavourably to others – we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Mandy X