Relationship Success

For Relationship Success, Escape the Anguish of Wanting Emotional Acknowledgement that Never Comes

Release the Phantasy if You Expect to Ever Enjoy the Real Thing

I use the word “phantasy” with clients, to describe their made-up vision of what life would’ve been like if only… Their vision of that alternative reality isn’t simply a fiction or daydream. It’s a vivid and compelling image resonating deep within.

Secrets to Having a Successful Relationship

A person’s phantasy represents such a tangible desire, that nothing else satisfies their craving for precisely that. What they received instead pales by comparison. They’re often left in a never-satisfied state of longing for acknowledgement. In many cases it’s carried since early childhood – well into adulthood.

Quit Setting Yourself up for Disappointment

All of us feel a need to be loved in a way that feels “just right.” And what that means is totally unique for everyone. Moving beyond the insatiable hunger for affirmation from particular people permits focusing on more positive and realistic goals.

Improve your Self-Esteem

The need is indeed real. But it is not realistic. The harder we try to pull the desired response from another person, the more they resist. This sets us up for a continuous cycle of failure – which replays itself in a hundred little ways. The original problem grows despite our determined efforts to solve it.

A future article will be, “The Apparent Problem Isn’t the Problem.” Every “problem” results from our previous efforts to resolve it.
An Insight that Unblocked the Impasse

Keys to a Good Relationship

My client, Linda, has spent her 34 years trying to get her mother to recognize her value. When her mother bitterly criticizes her (as she’s always done), Linda goes the spectrum, from pleading with her to see her value, to scolding her mother for being mean and critical. However, none brings the response she wants.

I told her about another client, (Kathy) who also struggled to get her mother’s approval. Kathy received a letter saying she’d passed the Psychology Licensing Exam. Kathy called her mother in the heat of her excitement. The response she got was devoid of interest, or the desired validation.

“Oh, that’s nice. I knew you would. I’m on the other line; I’ll call you back.” Her mother never called back, and didn’t mention her accomplishment when they next spoke.

As Linda listened, she said, “That’s good that her mother said, ‘I knew you would.'”

I demonstrated the mother’s flat tone.

Linda responded, “I see what you mean. We need to be acknowledged exactly how we want it. Even though this was good, (more than I’d get from my mom) it still didn’t provide what she wanted. What did Kathy want to hear?”

“That’s a good question. I asked her just that. Kathy told me, ‘I wanted to hear, I’m so proud of you, Kathy. You’re so smart, and you’ve worked so hard. You completely deserve this.'”

Linda’s face registered a deep understanding, “Wow, that’s so powerful!”

During her next session, Linda brought up the story again. “Even though Kathy’s mother wasn’t hateful, like mine, Kathy still needed to hear something specific from her mother. This keeps her continuously yearning, like me.”

Linda learned from Kathy’s story. Her comments revealed a shift in perception, which will change her behavior, little by little. She’s moving from her phantasy, toward more attainable goals that serve her better.

Developing Habits for Relationship Success

The work is to focus on your own authentic goals for YOURSELF. If the goals you set for yourself are in line with your core values, you’ll get motivation and inspiration from within. That feels completely awesome.
Hitting Your Emotional Bulls Eye Follows Changing Your Expectations

My definition Emotional Maturity – Releasing that phantasy… that we’ll be loved exactly the way we want (need) to be loved.” An appropriate desire – yes. A realistic one – no. But relief is possible, even if people you’ve relied on to provide it don’t change at all.

Trying to get people to correspond to our phantasy expectations seldom brings the desired results. Once you stop expecting a particular response, people actually want to do it. It’s paradoxical. In fact, they’re responding (albeit unconsciously) to a new dynamic that you brought into the relationship. The needy striving is absent.

Acknowledge Your Worth

To the extent we’ve sacrificed our self-satisfaction to other people’s approval, we each need to develop within ourselves the parental approval we want so badly. That’s another reward from releasing the phantasy.

Since lack of acknowledgement is a familiar type of frustration, future articles will show how to reclaim your power and self-respect. For example, Kathy’s treatment by her husband is similar to her mother’s. (Not a coincidence.) Understanding this relationship with her mother in a new way reveals the dynamics that caused her to select him as a husband.

Releasing a phantasy changes yourself – along with the situations you feared would never change. That’s a tangible shift of perspective that changes your future possibilities.

Learn More: Turn to therapy and break free from impossible relationships with EFT


borderline personality, borderline personality disorder, relationship, personality disorder, emotional abuse

Emma Roberts Arrested for Domestic Dispute BPD and relationships

“Niece of Julia Roberts and budding actress Emma Roberts is on her way to fame. She’s set to appear in the new movie “Meet the Millers” alongside Jennifer Anniston this month and stars in the popular television series “American Horror Story”.

But even though 22-year-old Emma’s career is successful, her personal life may not be so wonderful.

On July 7th, Roberts was arrested in a Montreal hotel after police responded to calls about a domestic dispute between her and her boyfriend, actor Evan Peters. Peters was bloody and Roberts was reportedly arrested on the spot.

Often, people understand domestic violence as a male physically attacking or harassing a female, but domestic violence can be between any two people and is often traumatic and difficult to walk away from.

Roberts may even be suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, where she can be sweet and head-over-heels for Peters one day, and violent the next. (See my post on BPD here)

Roberts and Peters need to work through their issues without violence to reach a healthy mental state. If you have had an experience with domestic violence, or you’re in a relationship with someone who seems to have BPD, there is help.

Get the help you need. Talk to a trusted loved one or friend, read about BPD and/or domestic violence, and break free. You can even call me for a free consultation.

Hopefully, Roberts and her boyfriend will seek help to establish a more healthy relationship.


AVOIDING CONFLICT,abusive relationships, anger, couples communication, couples counseling, Life Coach Los Angeles, Therapist Los Angeles, troubled relationships

To Cure Anger in your Relationship, Stop Avoiding Conflict!

Avoiding Conflict is the Biggest Cause of Rage and Anger in a Relationship.

As strange as this may sound,I have found working with my clients for the last 25 years that the number one cause of anger in a relationship is…. AVOIDING CONFLICT.

This is so paradoxical because men and women in a relationship often tell me that they are not wanting to “make waves” so they don’t address really important issues with their partner. From working with hundreds of couples in therapy and couples coaching for the past 25 years I can guarantee you that “not making waves” will cause the largest explosion because the more you ingore something the larger it looms, insisting to be noticed and dealt with.

Avoiding Sexual Conflict is a Big Mistake in a Relationship, causing anger to develop.

Sex is an important source of conflict among couples because one person often feels slighted in getting his/her needs to be honored met. A good relationship thrives because each person is devoted to meeting the needs of their partner. This is a win/win because it enhances intimacy and trust.

The biggest problem couples have: Not Sincerely Listening to your partner’s sexual needs.>

Anger is often the result of not getting your needs acknowledged and met.

Here is the biggest problem that I see couples who are trying to bond and create a lasting relationship have: not listening to what their partner’s sexual needs. Often times couples will ask about their partner’s needs but then wont’ follow through to see that they are met. This can be devastating and cause anger, bringing a lot of couples into therapy.

You have to do more than ask; you have to follow up with your partner and see if they got what they wanted and if not you have to refine the process , always moving in the direction of what your partner wants. If you don’t know how to meet those needs , don’t worry because you can seek and get effective help for this with a therapist or relationship coach who specializes in these issues with couples.

Sex is a communication between two people which can bring them incredibly closer and more intimate in their relationship or can alienate them from each other if it is not handled with open communication and follow through. Since sex is so charged with vulnerable feelings it must be discussed in a way that both people feel heard and valued in what they need from their partner.

Sex talk, more than any other part of sex is the key to intimacy. After the talking however, the most important thing is that each person’s needs and desires are not only heard and acknowledged but followed up with ongoing action.

In therapy and couples coaching I train couples to have constructive sex talk so that their intimacy and trust in each other can deepen and then how to follow through in meeting those needs.

emotional affairs in the workplace,Coaching, Couples Therapy, EFT Therapy, Infidelity, Infidelity page, Relationship Therapy, Self-esteem

Emotional Affairs in the work place

Emotional Affairs in the Workplace

I am having a large increase of couples coming into couples therapy to deal with an emotional affair.  I am seeing quite a few middle aged couples in which one of the spouses ends up starting emotional affairs in the workplace.

Secret Emotional Affair

The way an emotional affair can develop is that the two people start emailing more and more often.  When their conversation gets personal and they start talking about their marriage and complaining about their spouse, this is the beginning of an emotional affair.  Soon this develops into a  place to share greivances and get validation.

Emotional Affair Signs

Often when this happens the couple want to go farther and often will start meeting even though they may live thousands of miles apart.  When this happens the emotional affair usually develops into a full-blown affair.

If you are having an emotional affair or know someone who is, please warn them that this is dangerous if they want to keep their marriage.

An emotional affair is even more seductive than a sexual affair because of the freedom that most people feel compelled to communicate on the internet.  Conversing back and forth has a sense of immediacy and intimacy when it is done continually for a period of time.  Texting is intimate and immediate.  This causes connection.  A relationship is built on connection, interest and validaton.  Emailing and texting provide the context for a relationship to develop with a special kind of intimacy.

Surviving  An Emotional Affair

Don’t take an  emotional affair casually because this kind of communication provides the basis for a strong attraction to develop.  If you are doing this know that you are cheating even though sex is not envolved.   Cheating is simply a sign something is missing in the relationship.  Most people who cheat don’t want their marriage to end, they just want the excitement of  something new.  The truth is that you can create something new in your marriage if you use the threat of an emotional affair to  start to explore and find out what is missing in your own marriage and create a new closeness and intimacy there with the help of a good therapist.

Emotionally Abusive Relationships,relationship

Emotionally Abusive Relationships

How can you tell if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship?

These are some of the signs of an Emotionally Abusive Relationships:

  • Your partner tries to cut you down or humiliate you in front of others, eroding your self esteem.
  • Your partner is very jealous to the exetent that she/he tries to cut you off from your friends and family. This is because of an underlying fear of abandonment and she sees others as comprtition for your attention.
  • She/he makes every problem in the relationship “ your fault”.
  • She/he threatens to hurt her/himself or you or your children, etc if you ever try to leave.

If you find these things are happening you must get help to get out of this toxic relationship because these types of relationships become more and more dangerous the longer they last.

You also must get help exploring and understanding why you have attracted and remained in this relationship.

Unconsciously, we are drawn to people like the people who raised us. So if one of your parents had any of these qualities you could be drawn to this type of person in hopes that you will be “loved” in a way that the parent couldn’t love you. Some people continuously try to get love from partners who can’t love them in the ways they want to be loved, so they will meet with the same rejection they had as a child. This leads to an unding cycle of failed relationships.

The good news is that you can heal from this tendency to get into one after another abusive relatonship if you get professinal help.

Addictive Relationship,abusive relationships

Do you find yourself clinging to an addictive relationship? Should you leave or should you stay?

Are you in an Addictive Relationship?

Are deeply unhappy in your relationship but yet you remain clinging to it? How can you tell whether your failure to leave the relationship is based on preference, commitment or if you are in a addictive relationship.

To check if you are in an addictive relationship, ask yourself these questions:

Even though your objective judgment and the judgment of others clearly tells you that this relationship is a dead end and has no chance of getting better, you stay in the relationship anyway. When you think of ending the relationship you feel frozen terror and aloneness and then you cling to it even harder. Have you asked yourself you you’re engaging in an addictive relationship When you try to leave, you feel such withdrawal anxiety and physical pain that can only be relieved by re-establishing contact. You have a strong body-emotional reaction which takes over (when you try to leave) that is so powerful that many times it erases your memory of all the reasons why you had decided to leave the relationship. If these signs are there you can be sure that you have lost the ability to direct your own life. You must admit to yourself that you are in an addictive relationship and are powerless to direct your life. You will have the choice to stay in the relationship as it is or to get the help to understand what you are dealing with in yourself and get the support and insight to leave it. Hungry for a connection? Longing to feel connected to someone or something?

The main reason people get hooked into an addictive relationship has to do with Dependency needs developed in childhood.

borderline personality, borderline personality disorder, relationship, personality disorder, emotional abuse

Why people find it almost impossible to leave a partner with Borderline Personality.

People often come into therapy heartbroken because of the breakup they have had with a BP (Borderline Personality).  The flattery, attention and obsessiveness with which the BP treats their partner at first is exhilarating to the ego.  People get addicted to the feeling of exhilaration and power they feel at being so important to another person.

Then, when the BP strikes out at the partner often devaluing them with rage , attacking and threatening them with the same force that they had previously idealized them, the partner becomes confused.  The partner often will deny these violent outbursts to themselves telling themselves that soon the loving exhilaration will return if they can just hang in there long enough.  Just when the BP sees that the partner has had enough she/he will switch back to the obsessiveness and flattery.

This is called intermittent reinforcement…reinforcement that comes when you least expect it.  It causes the addictive feeling of playing a slot machine.  If you just put in one more coin, you could win the jackpot.  When behavior is intermittently reinforced it is hard to extinguish the behavior.

So, what keeps people stuck in these relationships?

  • Living with this emotional abuse and unpredictability throws a person off balance and undermines a person’s confidence.  This leads to low self esteem and sometimes even feeling worthless..
  • Fear of retaliation  or violence from the BP, and fear that the BP will commit suicide as they often threaten to do.
  • The need to rescue and keep the peace or lack of assertiveness.  Some partners of BP’s have even tolerated extra marital affairs and sexually transmitted diseases  in their spouses because they were afraid that if they expressed any  needs  themselves they would be accused of being controlling or needy.

To leave this drama a person needs to ask him/her self , “What would I be doing with my life if I weren’t trying to manage and cope with the BP?”. Addressing this question can be the beginning of a journey leading to self empowerment.

emotionally abusive relationship,borderline personality disorder,emotionally abusive relationship,emotional abuse

Emotionally Abusive Relationship…Are you in a Relationship with an emotionally abusive person with Borderline Personality Disorder…Does your partner seem like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Recovering From Emotionally  abusive relationship often involves a person with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Emotionally Abusive Relationships often are with a person who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  The main characteristic of this kind of personality disorder is  that the person  becomes very controlling in an attempt to avoid being rejected.  Rejection is the greatest fear of someone with BPD.

Emotional Abuse Relationships have these characteristics:

  • In the beginning the person thinks you are perfect and professes love for you that they have “never felt before for anyone” They alternate between this state and rage at you.  When they are in the rage state you rationalize their behavior by telling yourself how loving and adoring they can be and your longing for that keeps you in the relationship.  They will give you just enough of that to keep you around.  That adoring behavior is very powerful and addictive because they have an uncanny ability to read you and therefore can make you feel “seen” maybe for the first time in your life.  As good as this feels, it is a sign that you are with a person with BPD.
  • The other person demands that you to put aside your needs to tend to their needs and no matter how much you give, it’s never enough. Then they criticize you for not doing enough to fulfill their needs using verbal assaults belittling, screaming, threatening, humiliating you.  They use fear to control you threatening to end the relationship .  You start to feel helpless and trapped.
  • Being constantly put down and accused of doing things you never did, yet when you try to leave the relationship they will try to keep you there by declaring love or threatening you.
  • You can never plan or count on social engagements because the person will change the plan or refuse to go at the last minute.
  • The other person reacts differently at different times to the same behavior that you exhibit.

The one thing that a BPD (border personality disorder) person needs the most is for their partner to set clear and definite limits. When a partner enforces these boundaries, it helps the partner to become more confident and the BPD person to feel safer, by knowing how far they can go. The limits actually help people feel safe because it teaches them how to behave so that they aren’t rejected.  An abusive relationship cannot continue when the partner maintains clear and strong limits as to what is acceptable behavior.

In order to know if you are in an abusive relationship, one must first be aware of these warning signs.

 Stages of an Abusive Relationship

1)  The honeymoon stage- you experience limerence which lasts 3 months to a few years.  In this stage you are obsessed and infatuated by your partner.

2)  The obsessively controlling stage- the BPD will cut you off from family, friends and hobbies (anything you enjoy on your own).  This is because the BPD’s biggest fear is being left.  She/he will see all your friends and interests as competition for your attention and love.

3) The BPD will become more desperate to control you and will make threats, both to commit suicide or to harm you or your family members, if you threaten to leave.

Abusive Relationship Recovery for the partner

Treatment for partner recovery is best initiated by trauma work.  I use EMDR  which is very effective to get the victim connected to their resources again.

The partner of a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is  traumatized from living with the behavior and manipulation techniques used to attempt to control them and keep them form leaving.

Emotional abuse is like brainwashing- it systematically wears away the victim’s sense of self worth, and trust in their perceptions.  If  this feels like your relationship, please get the help of a therapist or life coach who is experienced in dealing with an abusive relationship.

There is Hope for moving forward

Many people rind themselves involved with a BPD because they are very charming and make you feel very desired and loved …at first.  It is natural and healthy to want to be loved.   They have an acute ability to tune in on the very things a person is most vulnerable about.  They use this in the beginning to get close to you and then later to threaten and control you.

In the Meantime the best thing to do:

In order to protect yourself from abuse you  must set and maintain clear boundaries.  Tell your BPD partner that you will not tolerate a particular behavior and that the next time they try it you will leave the house . The leaves the BPD with 2 choices,  either loose you or get help.  If you are afraid of inciting violence when you do this, then you need to have a heart to heart talk with yourself asking yourself why you are there.

Another effective approach is DBT…

There is  now a therapy modality that is very effective in helping a person heal from BPD.  It is called DBT and I work with several therapists who get excellent results in healing a person with BPD if the person is willing to make a commitment and do the work in therapy that is involved.

If a person is willing to make a sincere commitment to therapy and stick with it for at least a year, there is a very good chance that healing can happen.  I have a colleague who specializes in DBT and has had much success working with BPD.  Let me know if I can help in this way.

Common questions people ask me are:

Am I crazy or sick to be with a BPD?  The answer is NO.  You are probably just a nice and trusting person (maybe co dependent).  BPD’s are drawn to trusting people because they know that they can be more easily manipulated.
Although you are not the sick one you do need to learn to nurture your inner child self so that you are not so vulnerable to flattery.  When you have a strong inner self you can more easily see and resist manipulation and flattery.  You are also able to be objective about other people because  you don’t need them to be a certain way.  You will start to notice when people lie or have no empathy for other human beings.  These are the major signs of a BPD.

As part of your recovery you will discover why you attracted this type of person. You will then be able to start to heal yourself fo that you can have the  healthy relationships that you deserve.

fastereft,EFT, EFT Tapping, Neurolinguistic Programming,Emotional freedom Techniques,NLP

2 Ways EFT tapping can help you remove relationship obstacles

If you think back over all the relationships you have had what stops you from creating a good relationship, one that you really want?

I think that the biggest obstacle to having a good relationship is the fears and hurts that got imprinted on us in childhood. Those hurts simply don’t go away on their own.

Because we are so vulnerable in childhood the pain of hurtful experiences becomes a template for how we choose adult partners. What this looks like is that if you had a parent who was critical of you and couldn’t acknowledge your value you will likely pick partners who are critical and you will be continually trying in vain to please them and get their approval.

The worst part of this is that until you heal that part of you that was hurt by this you will probably keep picking people who cant appreciate or love you.

Another example of this is the person who grew up in a family where a parent leaned on the child and expected him/her to take care of him/her.  When this child grows up he/she will keep being attracted to people who “need” them or takers.  People who are extreme takers can never be satisfied with what you give them.  We call them “never enough-ers”

If you can understand the dynamic that damaged you in childhood, and you heal the hurt that was inflicted on you, you won’t be continually hooking up with people who are unable to give you love.

2 ways eft removes this negative pattern:

  1. EFT tapping therapy can remove this hurt.  Tapping moves painful emotions through the body.  When the painful emotion from a childhood event where you were hurt, scared or humiliated is eliminated the belief that you are defective is no longer there.
  2. When we are hurt in childhood a part gets frozen. the part that holds that pain.  Because this part is frozen in the past it keeps itself from getting love and healing. EFT tapping can  be used to enhance inner child work in a way that we can give the part what is so desperately needed.  This changes a persons self concept t and enhances self esteem.  Without the hurt and the belief of being defective a person can attract people who can love.
Life Coach, EFT, EMDR

Therapist Or Life Coach: Which Do I Need?

A therapist deals with the treatment of mental and emotional disorders to help a person understand his psychological conflicts and emotional problems leading to personality growth and changes in behavior and attitudes.

Coaching deals with adjusting to life transitions, career changes, enhancing leadership and communication skills, and accountability for taking action.

Psychotherapy is performed by licensed mental health therapist.

Since Psychotherapy deals with a mental or emotional disorder it must be performed by a licensed Mental Health Provider, licensed by the state in which he/she practices. There are various licenses to do psychotherapy such as Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Licensed Professional Counselor.

Psychotherapy consists of consulting with one of these Mental Health providers on an ongoing basis to remove whatever obstacles or problems a person is having. It often deals with habitual patterns of behavior such as withdrawal or submissiveness due to low self esteem, or aggression.

Coaching, also deals with improving a person’s life but it does not focus on deficits or diagnoses or mental/emotional illness, since a coach is not a mental health professional Instead it focuses on identifying the person’s strengths and helping to enhance them.

A Life Coach Focuses on Skills.

Generally coaching can help someone move ahead with goals by focusing on certain skills that the client is wanting to attain or improve. By using assessment tools to measure where the client is now, the coach and client develop a plan to reach the goal through small steps that the client will master.

I am a coach as well as a therapist and I often use assessment questionnaires that the client sends to people he interacts with at work and socially, to get objective feedback as to what skills need improvement. This assessment also indicates which leadership skills need developing.

Action steps are an important part of coaching

Once clear goals are established,each session sets forth action steps the client commits to perform. A session will consist of checking in the action steps from the past session to see if they were accomplished , or if they need to be refined, and the next logical step is set to be done the following week. A person is coached through these steps until he has accomplished his goals.

The coach acts as a mentor and will often send the client out to do research to gain information. For example if the client is trying to find his right career, the coach will have him interview 6 people who are involved in that career. He may also take “strengths assessments” as well as values clarification, and personality type indicators.

If the client can succeed in accomplishing the coaching goals then the process ends, or he may keep the coach for ongoing support.

Therapy may be needed.

There are situations when the coaching client is not able to succeed with coaching. Some examples would be that he is too depressed or anxious to carry out the action steps, or that he has an underlying fear of succeeding which is unconscious. A very common obstacle to success is the unconscious fear of achieving more than a parent. If these psychological issues are present the client will need to deal with and resolve them in therapy, or psychotherapy, as it is commonly called.

A good coach will be able to tell whether the client needs therapy and therefore to refer him out to a therapist.

Both therapy and coaching can be extremely helpful and can be used at different times in a person’s life.