Practical psychology for everyday life.

You need to trust yourself more than you trust your partner.

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Photo by Timo Stern on Unsplash

“I’ve got trust issues” is a common phrase in therapy.

It makes sense: when you’ve been cheated on, or hurt, or let down in life, it can be hard to know who to trust. For some people, it tracks all the way back to the cradle, to parents who weren’t emotionally equipped to raise them. Who also had parents who weren’t emotionally equipped to raise them. (Ah, the circle of dysfunctional life.)

While normal in the wake of hurt, trust issues can have wider implications for your…

The relationship that’s not quite a relationship.

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Photo by Maria Luísa Queiroz on Unsplash

A woman who’d been dating for a few months wanted more.

It had been going well between them but she wasn’t sure of their status. “We have a ‘thing’ but I wouldn’t exactly call him my boyfriend.”

When I asked if they were dating exclusively, she shrugged. “That’s just it,” she said. “I really don’t know.”

Her friends had told her it was a “situationship” — and she wasn’t sure she liked the label. “It’s not what I signed on for — but I don’t know how to change it.”

What is a situationship?

What happens when the lights go out.

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Image by On the Couch

You’re not a narcissist.

I know this because you’re reading this post. Narcissists don’t read about narcissism. Not for the right reasons, anyway.

Clinically speaking, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition, characterised by an extreme self-focus coupled with the inability to consider, and relate to, the thoughts and feelings of others.

NPD, like any personality disorder, is not black and white so there are risks in rushing to a diagnosis. But, when someone exhibits a cluster of NPD traits, it can have serious implications for relationships.

I’ve heard a lot of stories from people who’ve been —…

Harsh life advice has had its day.

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Photo by jcob nasyr on Unsplash

Life advice shouldn’t yell at you — it should whisper.

It should gently land on you in a way that makes — no, allows — you to think, to absorb it in your own time, in your own way.

Especially now, especially in a world that’s been tipped upside down by a pandemic.

Life advice given in a SHOUTY!!! voice makes me smile. Because it seems like the person giving it has life sorted; they know what they’re doing. When I’m not sure anyone does — ever.

Life Won’t Do What You Tell It To

The trouble with all life advice is that it tries to impose law…

How to break the pattern.

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Are you an enabler in your relationship?

Honestly, it’s a tough question to ask. It’s an even tougher one to put your hand up and confess to. No-one wants to think they are a key player in another’s dysfunction.

But it’s a good one to think about — by yourself, with no-one around to cast judgment. Because enabling will not only not help them — it will set you up for misery in love.

Enabling: What does it mean?

The term enabling is usually used in the context of alcohol, drugs and addiction. The most common…

Could it be useful in your daily routine?

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Should you meditate?

I’ve practised meditation for over 40 years and was surprised by a recent article from former mentor, Michael Neil questioning meditation’s value. This article offers a simple exercise for you to try ‘meditation’, and my own reflections on its value.

What is meditation?

The term ‘meditation’ can mean different things. One kind of meditation, Mindfulness, has become almost mainstream, finding its way into boardrooms, schools and healthcare settings. The evidence base is growing, even in such difficult areas as traumatic stress.

But meditation is a personal choice — and people tend to…

Bravery is freedom.

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Image by analogicus from Pixabay

They’re not the loudest.

They’re not the strongest.

They don’t live privileged lives.

They don’t (necessarily) take the biggest risks.

Some people just seem to have the internal strength — the guts — to act on their own terms, do push through their fears, to do what they believe is right and true.

How do they do it?

What makes people courageous?

Courage is simply the ability to do what you fear. We’re not born with it. We can’t learn it in a classroom. Sometimes we don’t even know we have it until we’re tested — until we absolutely have no choice.

Courage can’t…

Does your partner put up a wall? Or is it you?

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Image by donterase from Pixabay

“He’s emotionally unavailable,” a woman said of her partner.

“I can’t seem to break through and figure out what he’s thinking. I can’t get close to him. It’s like he doesn’t trust me with his feelings.”

She’d been dating this man for six months and it didn’t seem to get any easier. She wanted to know if emotional unavailability was an actual “condition”; was it something that could be changed?

It’s a good question. “Emotional unavailability” is a term commonly used by people who…

Is there a difference?

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Photo by Josh Post on Unsplash

A man I was working with wanted to break up with his partner.

When I asked him why he said he would always love her. But he was not “in love” with her anymore.

The first time I heard this from a client I was puzzled: How does anyone know when they’ve crossed the line, when they’re officially “out” of love?

But it didn’t take long to figure it out. It’s code for “I want to have sex with someone else.” And that someone else is almost always already hovering in the wings.

Over the years I’ve heard this pitch…

How to live on your own terms.

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Photo by Ryan Jvr from Pexels

Do you struggle to keep your green-eyed monster in its cage?

That’s okay. Some degree of envy is normal. Especially when social media gives us a 24/7 window to the lives of others. When we’re constantly seeing what-they-have and what-they’re-doing and how-incredible-they-look, it’s hard not to benchmark ourselves against them.

But we have to be careful. Envy is a rat trap. It turns us into victims. …

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