Therapy That Works...

Deion Sanders' Public Divorce - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on CBS 11 discuss Deion Sanders' divorce and the media's role in public court battles - click here.

Why do celebrity divorces play out in the media?

Dual Relationship: Celebrities have a dual relationship with the media. They insist on having the media work on their own terms, and they also need the media to stay top of mind with the public. However, they are also subject to media scrutiny when things are difficult or ambiguous. That puts a lot of stress on top of an already terrible situation.

Publicity Makes Things Worse: As the conflict is played out in the media, the publicity can only make things worse. The spouses become highly polarized in the glare of public opinion. They hear exaggerated versions of their spouse’s conversations and they can become even more enraged. Divorces that could have been handled effectively explode into battles that are waged in the public spotlight.

Why do divorces like this get so heated?

Fusion Delusion: Many powerful people tend to idealize and then fuse with their partner. The line between each individual partner ceases to exist in this kind of relationship. They only feel good when they are attached at the hip.

Idealization & Devaluation: Strong personalities love intensely and hate intensely. With some people, you will inevitably disappoint them and when you do, there is a sudden fall in affection. The idealized become the devalued. The partner becomes a walking injury to them.

Control At Any Cost: Control is how they lessen their injuries. Anger is a direct result of anxiety and a feeling of vulnerability. Control is the central issue in divorces that are highly conflicted. Each partner wants to win and that means that the other partner has to lose - it's a zero sum game. The partners struggle to remain in control by bullying and intimidating the other person. There is a rush in being the one who calls the shots and who humiliates the person they once pledged to love forever.

Is being married to a celebrity a harder road?

Unrealistic Expectations: Celebrities are usually driven by relentless ambition and vision. Expecting one another to be emotionally present all the time is unrealistic, especially with the demands of celebrity life. The challenge is to remain grounded, stable, and realistic in the marriage.

Strong Opinions and Big Personalities: Being a celebrity usually demands a big personality that often comes with strong opinions and a lack of compromise. People of influence are often stubborn and they want their way.

Failure to Listen: They fail to understand what the other person is saying to them. They talk but they do not listen. Therefore, if there is a disagreement, things can get heated quickly. Partners are bound to clash when inevitable disappointment occurs.

Many of us have very strong personalities in our lives. Any advice for coping with difficult people we love?

Here are a few tips:

1.) Remain aware of your own tendency to buy into the idealizations and devaluations of charismatic people. Guard your own self interest in a healthy way—owning what is true but keeping things in perspective. We are all imperfect and must be forgiven for our shortcomings.

2.) On the other hand, if you are chronically feeling unhappy, devalued and criticized, ask two sets of questions. Are you accurately understanding what they are saying? If you are, then ask if you are with someone you can never please.

3.) Strong personalities often insist on taking their unhappiness out on you, even when you have nothing to do with their unhappiness. You cannot reason with someone who will not listen to your point of view and strive to work it out with you.

4.) Stay away from people who overly idealize you. There is always a price to pay if you are on a pedestal. The higher you sit in their opinion, the farther you will fall when things don't go perfectly.

5.) Remind yourself that the unkindness is not personal in any way. The person striking out at you does not really understand the damage they are doing.

SOURCE:

"Why Is It Always About You?" by Sandy Hotchkiss

Valentine's Day Surprises: Love Gone Bad - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on CBS 11 discuss how Valentine's Day could actually be the end of your relationship - click here.

According to a recent report, filings for divorce increase by up to 40% around Valentine’s Day. Why would partners think about calling it quits around the biggest romance holiday of the year?

The bill comes due on Valentine’s because many of us begin to think a little harder about our relationships—what we do have compared to what we wish we had in the relationship. As we consider those differences, that’s when trouble often begins.

To make matters worse, it often seems like everyone else has it better—flowers are being delivered, reservations are being made, and we are alone in what now looks to us like a loveless relationship. If your relationship is already in a rough patch, then you are more likely to focus on this day as a last ditch effort to pull it out of the fire. He either “gets it” or he doesn’t and many of us make large decisions based on what happens around this holiday.

In addition, people like to have simple stories or narratives to explain relationship endings. Valentine’s Day can be a perfect example of the serious failures in the relationship. Often what did happen—or didn’t—is played out in the social network of each partner.

So what happens when people talk about breaking up?

Certain conversations can redefine the relationship. Often times, people will fight and say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. However, even talking about breaking up can leave a permanent mark. It can actually be traumatizing for one or both of you.

When you talk about breaking up, you are rehearsing the death of the relationship. While your partner may move past the moment and forgive what you said, he will always remember your threat to leave even if you didn’t actually walk out the door. The bottom line is if say anything about breaking up, you need to be very sure that it is something you are serious about. You can’t take back the words once they are said.

So what are the basic questions you should ask yourself if you are considering breaking up?

Have you exerted every effort to repair the relationship? Have you talked to friends and family? Have you worked with a psychologist? This self inventory includes taking a hard look at what you may have done to your partner. Don’t sweep past that point since many of us don’t realize how we also have failed in the relationship.

Is your marital misery insurmountable? Are you really able to live without him forever and will you be less miserable as a single person?

Do you believe that your partner is incapable of being your ultimate partner? Have you lost your belief in the relationship but most of all in her basic personality fitting with yours?

Are you making an emotional decision? Are you so angry or so disillusioned that you are inaccurate about the potential of the relationship? Remain balanced and look at some of the positives that exist even if negatives are pronounced.

Are you making a decision using both your rational mind and your emotional mind? Research shows that the best decisions are made using both parts of your mind to weigh the pros and cons.

Are you ready for the aftermath of the divorce or break up? All the financial, logistical and social consequences? Are you willing to share your children on the weekends and holidays? Are you willing to win your freedom by making vast changes in your life? Make sure that the consequences are worth it.

Emotional Detachment: How emotionally detached have you become? Do you fundamentally not care anymore and do you define yourself as separate and on your own? Research shows that emotional detachment is the number one predictor of divorce.

But don’t you worry – there is hope if you are thinking of breaking up around Valentine’s Day.

I believe almost any relationship is fixable if the following factors are present:

First, Early Warning: You have the best shot at fixing your relationship if you catch serious problems early and address them head on. Most people wait an average of six years before they seek help for a struggling marriage. By the time they make it into the counselor's office, one or both partners has already left the relationship either physically or emotionally.

Accountability Is Key: Remain personally accountable even if the truth is painful. Relationships are our greatest teachers because our greatest faults are always in play. If you have difficult parts of your personality, don’t blame your relationship for your own personal problems. Face the challenges and overcome them with the help of your partner.

Meet In The Middle: Problems have solutions if both parties can compromise and commit to working as a team. You won’t always get your own way, but you can strike a balance between the needs of both parties if both of you will give a little bit.

Never Give Up: Resilient couples push through even when things get tough. If you truly love your partner, remain committed to them and keep trying to get your relationship back on track.

Sources:

Avvo.com

Huffington Post

The Work of Dr John Gottman

The New Foreplay - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube share the secrets to the new kind of foreplay - click here.

Wine and candles may no longer be necessary to help get her in the mood, fellas.

A new study found that intimate conversations about the relationship and commitment made women crave physical intimacy. In fact, women said that pillow talk was far more important before sex than after, and they felt closer and more attracted to their partners.

So if you’re hoping to improve your chances for tonight, make sure to have a conversation before you make a move.

Source:

Men’s Health, Nov 2011

The Cuddling Connection - By Chris Gearing

Monday, January 30, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing share how cuddling is important to both men and women in relationships - click here.

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, millions of Americans will be snuggling up with their partners in front of the fire. We all know that cuddling is important in any relationship to build intimacy between partners, but most people think that men are just putting up with what their women want.

However, new research has found that frequent kissing and cuddling were found to have the largest effects on how men felt about their relationship! Men were happier with their partner when they had more cuddle time. In fact, they may even crave more non-sexual contact than women! But don’t think women aren’t happy with cuddle time – it was found to have a large effect on their ratings of sexual and relationship satisfaction.

So go ahead and snuggle up in front of the fire. It should make your nights a little brighter.

Source:

Men’s Health Nov 2011 edition

How To Protect Yourself From Domestic Violence - By Chris Gearing

Friday, January 27, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube explain how you can protect yourself and the ones you love from domestic violence - click here.

A recent study released by the CDC found that one in four American women have been severely beaten or assaulted by a romantic partner.

Here’s how you can protect yourself from a violent partner:

Denial Is Your Biggest Liability: Most women underestimate the threat and do not recognize the warning signs such as a history of possessiveness, intimidation, and overly jealous behavior. These are psychological "red flags" warning you of potential danger. Pay attention.

Intuition Is Your Best Defense: Thirty one thousand women die each year in America and the majority die at the hands of a romantic partner. Respect your own intuition about your partner and don't talk yourself down or normalize violent behavior. Stop debating and prosecuting your own observations. Your brain is hardwired to protect you, pick up on signs of danger, and tell you to run.

Speed Is Your Best Strategy: If you are threatened, respond quickly. Do not hesitate and remain frozen. Experts estimate that you have approximately five seconds to make a difference in your own self-defense and potentially save your own life. Move quickly and get out of the dangerous situation.

If you fear your partner, you must surrender your life to getting away from him and remaining safe. Remember that you cannot reason with him, convince him, or change him since he is intent upon reclaiming you as a possession. He only wants to regain control.

Make sure to not take this step on your own – please contact a local group, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or visit TheHotline.org. These organizations can help you find a safe place to live, set up new jobs and bank accounts, and can help you take care of your kids. They all have the strategies and knowledge to help you leave safely and successfully.

Source:

“1 in 4 US women victims of severe violence” by Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

The Work of Gavin De Becker

Why Abusive Men Move To Violence - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia Gearing on YouTube describe why abusive men move to violence against their romantic partners - click here.

There are two broad categories of men who become violent in relationships:

The first is the man who controls at all costs:

- They usually have controlling and contemptuous personalities – they seem like leaders and social people, but they always want to be in control.

- They regard their wife or girlfriend as a possession, not a person.

- They show the classic signs of anger management issues – flashes of anger for no reason, violent behavior such as punching the wall, and regularly overreacting to innocent comments.

- Finally, they are unable to take responsibility for their behavior - the other person made them do it or it was someone else’s fault.

The second type is the overly emotionally dependent man. He needs constant attention and adoration from his partner to feel worthy:

- When his partner disagrees or attempts to individuate with friends or family outside the relationship, he is devastated.

- He seeks to isolate her and establish control by becoming all she’s got.

- If he cannot assume or resume control or connection, his obsession will lead him to a total self-destruction or maybe even a psychotic episode that could include dangerous or life threatening behavior.

Watch out for these signs and protect yourself from abusive men. It’s much easier to get out early in the relationship than later on.

Check back tomorrow the learn to spot a potentially abusive partner and the warning signs for when a relationship could become violent.

Source:

“1 in 4 US women victims of severe violence” by Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

The Work of Gavin De Becker

High Rates of Domestic Violence In America - By Chris Gearing

Monday, January 23, 2012

Watch Dr Sylvia on Viddler discuss why domestic violence rates are so high in America - click here.

A recent study released by the CDC found that one in four women have been severely beaten by their intimate partners while in a relationship. With the rates of violence so high, many women are concerned about their safety.

But first, why are relationship violence rates so high?

We’ve known for years that women are more often the victims of domestic violence, but these numbers speak to a deepening problem in American couples. Too many modern couples replace words and negotiation with intimidation and bullying.

Bullies believe that if they don’t get their way, that they can threaten or intimidate others to control the outcome. Such behaviors in general society have translated into how we act in our marriages. These violent habits now thrive in intimate relationships where there are no witnesses and very sadly, no accountability.

Check back tomorrow to find out how relationship violence develops in relationships and how it can get out of control.

Source:

“1 in 4 US women victims of severe violence” by Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

The Work of Gavin De Becker

The New Trend of "Comfort Sex" - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have you ever just had one of those days? Maybe your presentation at work didn’t go according to plan or your mother-in-law got on your case about how unclean your house is. Whatever the case may be, you need something to pick you up.

Many people are now engaging in what is informally called “Comfort Sex” where they are intimate with their spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to get a much needed shot of endorphins and dopamine to help take the edge off the day.

I recommend it to my patients because its benefits are numerous:

1.) You can enhance your relationship with the other person just by having sex regularly

2.) This is a much healthier and natural way to make yourself feel better without drinking or eating anything

3.) Sex can be a great work out, and has been shown to burn somewhere around 500 calories per hour

So if you’re having a particularly tough day, consider calling up your partner and trying comfort sex instead of going out to the bar or indulging in “retail therapy.”

Sources:

"Comfort Sex: Is It A Bad Thing?" by Jill Di Donato, HuffingtonPost.com

"I Love Female Orgasms" by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller, Illustrated by Shirley Chiang

The Shave That Turns Her On - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Most guys think that women want them to be clean-shaven, especially since they already have to shave for work. But new research shows that women may disagree.

When presented with a range of men with different degrees of facial hair, women universally rated men with light stubble as sexier than men who were clean-shaven.

But don’t take it too far – they also ranked men with full beards as the least sexy. The attraction to stubble was found to be even higher when the women were ovulating.

So gentlemen if you are hoping to heat things up, try giving your razor a break.

Source:

MensHealth.com

Domestic Violence In Relationships - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why are relationship violence rates so high?

These numbers speak to a deepening problem in American couples. Too many modern couples replace words and negotiation with intimidation and bullying. Relationship violence can easily get out of control. We are more exhausted, less affluent and less conscientious about doing the right thing even when no one is watching. We live in a society now that rewards the intimidation of others. Bullis believe that if they don’t get their way, that they can threaten or intimidate others to control the outcome. Such behaviors in general society have transferred to our marriages. These violent habits now thrive in intimate relationships where there is no witness and very sadly, no accountability.

How does this kind of relationship violence get started?

Malignant Trend: We already knew that about 70% to 80% of distressed couples could resort to occasional pushing and shoving when there is chronic tension. But this survey speaks to a more malignant trend in relationships. Relationship violence usually starts suddenly with a slap or a shove. There is shock at the beginning as the intensity and the frequency progressively increase.

Violence Becomes the Norm: The woman is intensely harmed—hit hard, kicked, violently attacked, choked, beaten, shot or slammed against a hard surface by her partner. Her denial kicks in and she pretends that this is either her fault or a normal part of life.

Witnesses to Violence in Family of Origin: Many women of the current generations have witnessed domestic violence in their parents’ relationships. When they grow up with violence, they are twice as likely to accept or normalize violence in their own relationships.

Overwhelming Trauma: The emotional damage is exponentially worse when you are traumatized at the hands of your partner. The person who is supposed to protect and honor you is now torturing you with bullying and intimidation. Twenty nine million women say that they have suffered this type of severe and frightening physical violence from their boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner.

Why do men move to violence against their wives?

There are two broad categories of men who become violent in relationships:

Men Who Control at All Costs:

  • Controlling and contemptuous personalities.
  • Regards the wife as a possession, not a person.
  • Anger issues
  • An inability to take responsibility for his behavior.

Emotional Dependence on the Wife/Girlfriend:

  • When she elects to reject him or disagree, he is devastated.
  • He becomes psychologically disorganized and seeks to isolate her and reestablish control.
  • If he cannot resume control and/or connection, his obsession will lead him to a total self-destruction that can include dangerous behaviors.

What are the warning signs of potential violence?

Physical Violence: Once he crosses the line, you have changed the relationship forever.

Symbolic Violence: This behavior includes the destruction of objects dear to the partner. The intention is to intimidate the other person. Wedding pictures, personal items like perfume or lingerie or even violence against a beloved pet are all efforts to symbolically intimate.

Fast Paced Relationships: When the pace is accelerated at the beginning, this is a control strategy.

Persistence: Anyone who will not hear “no” as an answer is trying to control you. Too often, when men say “no” that is the end of the conversation. When the woman says “no” in a potentially violent relationship, this marks the beginning of the negotiation.

What can women do to protect themselves?

Unavailability at All Costs: If you fear your partner, you must surrender your daily life to separating from him. Remember that you cannot reason with him, convince him or soothe him since he is intent upon reclaiming you as a possession. He only wants to regain control.

Worst Safety Threat is Your Own Denial: Women underestimate threat and do not recognize the warning signs such as a history of possessiveness, intimidation and sexual jealousy. These are the psychological "signposts" warning you of potential danger. Pay attention.

Intuition is Best Defense: Respect your own intuition and don't talk yourself down. Stop debating and prosecuting your own observations. Thirty one thousand women die each year in America and the majority die at the hands of an intimate partner.

Speed is Your Best Protection: If you are threatened, respond quickly. Do not hesitate and remain frozen. Experts estimate that you have approximately five seconds to make a difference in your own self defense. A failure to act may cost you your life.


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