8 Ways to Be Your Therapist’s Favorite Patient

So you’re in therapy and secretly or not-so secretly, you have taken your therapist on as a second mom or dad. Your therapist’s advice is peppered throughout your conversations with friends like,
“Well my therapist said this…” or “Well my therapist really feels…” or “I asked my therapist about that and he/she…”

Suddenly, you and your therapist are one. Well, you’re just slightly obsessed with his or her advice and kind of use this person as your mental life jacket, but the most important thing in all of this is:

Does your therapist like you? Does he/she like you more than the other patients?

No one likes to be number 2!

Here are 8 ways to be your therapist’s favorite patient. That’s right, number 1 baby!

Read More: 8 Ways to Be Your Therapist’s Favorite Patient

Number 1,

Laura

Advertisements

She’s Got Daddy (Issues)

Men will often say, “Oh she’s got Daddy issues,” as if every problem a woman has stems from the first man she met: her father.

And while I think the phrase is taken too lightly,let’s face it: the first experience a woman has with a man (her father or fathers as it may be) will create a blueprint for future men she chooses.

Consider this powerful thought: the conversations a husband has with his wife…the way he fights with her. Talks to her. Loves or not loves her, is how his daughter/s will approach men, at least, until a girl grows up and recognizes this.

This could be great. If a man is a loving father and attentive to his daughter’s needs, not focusing on her looks or beauty but rather her smarts or basic values, that daughter will choose the same.

But this could be disastrous: if a father is negligent, cruel, or distant, the girl could grow to pick the same until she realizes that she shouldn’t try to fix her father metaphorically through her relationship with another man.

Here are some ways a guy can cope with a woman who has legitimate Daddy issues:

Continue reading

Why I Tell My Daughter Girls Are Smarter Than Boys

The other day I took my daughter with me to the dry cleaners. As we were talking, ( I was getting pants tailored) I told her, “Girls are smarter than boys. Remember that.”

A woman in the dry cleaners looked appalled. She said to me, “Well we women need strong men. It’s important to have strong men.”

I looked at my daughter again, right in those impressionable toddler eyes and said, “Girls are smarter than boys honey.”

The woman repeated her diatribe, and I placated her with, “Of course, of course”, and then the conversation ended.

Look, I’m not anti-boy. I know there are plenty of smart men in the world, but that’s not what this is all about.

Continue reading

(Too) Great of Expectations: Do we expect too much from marriage?

Image

Ah Marriage. The divorce rate is up. The institution of marriage as we know it, has been troubled for quite some time. This isn’t shocking news, but I have been doing thinking and talking to folks about marriages–both good and bad, and I can’t help but wonder to myself, “Maybe we simply expect too much.”

We grow up thinking about marriage–I didn’t but most of my friends did–and to some extent, I feel we have all bought into this idea that marriage is love and romance. That it’s passion and joy. Marriage is supposed to be love at its peak performance: the ultimate love and devotion to the one person you’re absolutely sure you know is the one for you.

Then, 50% or so figure out that hey, maybe this person isn’t for me.

Maybe it’s because we are thinking about this marriage thing all wrong.

This guy thinks we are.

I feel that to some extent, I am guilty as charged. I’m a very passionate and sprightly person. I like romance and surprises maybe a little more than the rest of the population. Yet marriage is rarely romance or surprise. It can be utterly monotonous and predictable. If it’s not to at least some extent, you might just be married to someone with bi-polar disorder, and in that case, I hope you are incredibly patient and understanding. Or a psychiatrist.

Note: I know folks who are bi-polar and just fine, but an unmedicated bipolar person might just ruin you.

Just my two cents.

Maybe our expectations when walking down that aisle of dreams is paved with a bunch of shit that simply lowers our real resistance to what every day marriage is really like. We expect romance, love, commitment, and unwavering devotion, but the fact is many marriages will be tested in every single one of those aspects. If your marriage has always been awesome from the get-go, either you are delusional or incredibly lucky and deserve a talk-show explaining said phenomena.

This isn’t to say that marriage is a mistake, although it can be.

Image

This is to say that marriage is not what we were sold. That story is unlike the one you will be facing each day as a married person. You can ask yourself every deep question in the book pre-marriage like, “Can I tolerate his nose hairs?” “Can we agree on religious practices?” ‘Is it okay if we still have threesomes?” “Will her mother always hate me?” “What is the meaning of life and can I find out for just 9.99?”

Even if you get all the right answers. Yes, you guys can pick up 18 year-old chicks at bars still and No, her mother will like you, (such lies) it will be unlike what you had really expected. This is what I feel is a huge factor in divorce. We look through the lens of marriage at the beginning in a rose-colored shade that doesn’t help us for when we put on the glasses and find out, damn, things don’t always look so sexy.

So in response to this disconnect between real-life marriage and the fantasy bullshit your religion/family/friends/media told you so you would stay monogamous and not be a male whore, I have a great suggestion.

Want to get married? Are you thinking of popping the question?

Well, then I suggest you hunker down for one married couple for a year. This can’t be a newly-wed couple though. They’re still looking through pink shades. You need a couple post 5 years, with at least one kid. Spend a year with them. Sit in their bedroom closet. Go into their master bathroom. Listen to their conversations and fights. Watch their bank accounts. Watch the sex.

Does this look like what you imagined it to be? Did you expect fights over a purchase of Starbucks? Did you expect 1950’s-esque arguments over women and men’s roles in the kitchen? Did you expect the sex could be at times, boring?

Now, can you sign yourself up for the possibility that five years after walking down that aisle of clouds, you will be arguing over money, parenting, sex, household chores, and that time you told your father-in-law to fuck off?

Does marriage look so wonderful now?

Sure, you will see all the good things. The comfort of knowing one person. Family life. (Not to say that all marrieds need kids–that’s a personal choice and I respect all!) Having someone fold your hole-y sweaters and buy you new socks when the old ones become extremely ghetto.

There are good things too, but can you as a whole, encompass it all with that one person?

If you’re a method actor, a genius, person of incredible mental strength, etc, try chaining yourself to the one half of the married couple for 1/2 of the year, and the other person for the other 1/2. Really experience the fights! The orgasms (hopefully!) Feel the love during heated arguments when the nastiest shit ever is spewed that you wouldn’t even say to Hitler.

Get the full monty of marriage. And then ask yourself: are my expectations appropriate? Do I know what it takes to really be married?

If you answer yes, then good luck my friend! Remember, it does work out too. The other 50% are happily married…or at least happily masturbating while claiming joint taxes.

-Toodles and Kisses

Signs You Have Lowered Your Standards: The Low Self-Esteem Meter

Have you recently suffered a negative interaction with someone?

Have you recently stuck your head into an oven because you couldn’t stand one more minute dealing with people who suck?

Have you considered becoming a meth dealer and taking over the world, a la Walter White?

Are you unsure if you are settling for the same old BS that you swore you wouldn’t settle for anymore?

If you answered yes to any of these questions or you just simply want to amuse yourself or are incredibly bored, read on.

If someone is nice to you and you think, “Wow, this person is nice to me today. this is awesome,” 

You may have lowered your standards.

Severely.

Unless the person is your boss, no one should be that negative and mean to you so that when the person actually smiles or acts like a decent human being you feel the need to rejoice.

Sometimes it is hard to separate oneself from another person’s toxicity or moods, but if someone makes you feel bad or like you want to eat a box of nails when you are around her or him, it is time to say “au revoir douchebag.”

If you find yourself making excuses for someone all the time…

You are either a parent in public with your child…or putting up with too much bullshit from a jerk who needs to be kicked to the curb or taken out of your life.

People make excuses because they’re either too ashamed to tell the truth or they’re not ready to admit it…and when we make excuses for others, it’s for the same reasons. If you find yourself excusing someone constantly for his or her shit behavior, then it is time to evaluate if you really need someone in your life or not.

if you feel dirty after an interaction with someone…

You either just rolled in mud, are a pervert, or really need to cut that person out of your life. You should never roll around with pigs or hang out with people that don’t share the same morals and values as you because you don’t want to be in jail bending over for the rest of your life, do you?

if you feel insecure around someone..

You either need to work on yourself, or get away from that person. No one should make you feel so flawed that you can’t formulate a sentence or feel so fragile around them that you panic.

We aren’t made to be alone. We are pack creatures, but if you keep choosing jerk-offs to join your pack then like weak animals, you too will croak. Life is too short to be around people who don’t value us, and as much as we are all flawed and bad people at times, no one should be around someone that makes them feel worthless.

This therapy session brought to you by chocolate.

Turn Off the Voices: the static of trauma

I don’t like to make you all depressed, but sometimes I have to be plainly real and not funny.

Or at least funny, but very freaking honest.

I have had a very hard time lately shutting off the voices. I don’t mean schizophrenic voices or hallucinations. I haven’t had those since I last dropped acid in High School–did you ever see a Siamese cat turn into a pig?

I did. I got that distinct pleasure as a young blip of estrogen and other hormones with a few other amoeba-aged friends of mine.

I am talking about the voices from the past. The static of memories that run through your mind, like radio frequency. When I talk about trauma, I talk about sexual, physical, or mental traumas from the past. It could be a rape. The loss of a child or parent. Being beaten. Mugged. The trauma of war.

When people experience this–at least in my case, ( I’m not a psychologist so if you are reading this to get therapy, then we should both get some help pretty fast) the static of the event tends to be very loud in the brain. It is hard to separate the event from the rest of the day’s events: the pain or recurring memories just refuse to go away.

I had an event happen over the summer, and a few months post-event, it felt like everything I did or said was colored or tinged with the heartbreak, anger, and depression from what had happened. A happy day could be disrupted by a smell, word, or sight that reminded me of what happened. It felt like a monumental roadblock was put in front of me, and yet somehow, I had to find a way around it in order to function.

I had to stay chipper and upbeat for my daughter, as I didn’t want my feelings to start pouring onto her psyche, so to speak. Toddlers are very susceptible to the moods of their parents, as are all children, however, they lack the sophistication to express their sensitivity to their parents’ moods. It was a tough act. I did fairly well, and I can say that for the most part, I managed.

No one was hospitalized, and I didn’t require a white coat or padded room, although having intercourse in a padded room might be really fun, and easy on the knees, but that’s just a thought.

My issue is there are quite a few traumas that happen to be linked as they are either similar, or dealing with the same issue. For the most part, they are all in the very far past, so the “frequency” is quiet. I am not bogged down by the stress, pain, or various emotions those experiences had once made me feel. Most of these situations I have been able to write about in my memoir, and some of these chapters were published. Life has moved on, and so have I.

However, the past few months I have undergone a good deal of personal stress, and so I am finding the static of those experiences rearing their vicious heads.

It irritates me when people say, the past is the past. While this is certainly true–we all grow and move past the person we are even from yesterday–to me, this cliché doesn’t account for the fact that the past shapes who we are–and while it’s not impossible, it is rather hard to ditch like a filthy friend on the side of the road.

I’m not having flashbacks really…the pretty colorful or ugly ones, but the voices of self-doubt, fear, and anger have become louder than I would like them to be. It sometimes feels as if I have regressed to those sad places when I am alone and away from others.

I have worked hard to turn down the frequency, and the static is barely audible, but I hear it.

I think I wrote this to really just share that while the past is the past, and we can move on from bad experiences, traumas, and heartaches and be a happy person, sometimes when our lives present stress, these past traumas come back because the associations are so strong, that it’s hard to disconnect from them.

It’s a process, and one that takes work. If anyone is going through the motions of trying to move forward from such an experience, I say, keep doing the work. It gets better. The static subsides, and while it may present itself during difficult times, you can move past it. This is not forever.

Go Eat Worms: Surefire Signs You have Low Self-Esteem

Sometimes in life, you need a few people to knock you down, otherwise you wouldn’t realize how worthless you are, right?

if you answered yes, you are the owner of Low Self-Esteem.

If you answered no, you are awesome, amazing, and probably really annoying.

Okay, I kid, but I want to help out the public, my friends, myself, and my readers decipher when they may be having a period or lifetime, or moment of Low Self-Esteem.

Clearly, there are real clinical signs I am sure, but reading that stuff is a drag and boring.

You’d rather hear from me and my expertise, no?

The First Sign you may have the self-esteem of a Gnat:

Sure, there may be some incredibly cocky and self-important Gnats, but usually, Gnats feel like little pests no one likes.

Hanging Out with Douchebags

Do you occasionally hang out or know someone close to you who is a real prick? Does this person constantly point out your flaws? Is this person certain that he or she is some bigshot everyone should worship? Does this person have access to numerous mirrors, clothes, sex, money, or any of the above? Does this person note your flaws casually, seriously, frequently, or empathetically?

If you answered yes, this cocky individual is trying to bring you down because he or she has decided that he’s the best, and knows best, so basically, be grateful for this person’s input.

If you tolerate this individual in most forms, you probably have low self-esteem. You probably fear that this person is right, and that yes, you are a screw up, no-good, filthy old bastard. People like this have a way of finding the Low Self-Esteem Individual– here after known as LSEI (sounds like some shitty boy band formed of 3 pubic hairs, and one acne mark)–incredibly easily. LSEI’s make Cocky people feel good about themselves because LSEI’s don’t object to being put down, and therefore, Cocky person feels awesome and can live another day admiring how “rad” he or she is, and polishing the mirror to reflect his or herself just a little better.

A sign you may feel you are less important than poo.

What did I do wrong?

Are you constantly wondering what you did wrong when a situation in your life goes awry? Do you wonder when you’re dumped, divorced, singled out, or treated poorly what you did to make this happen? Of course, there’s probably some legitimate reasons why you may have brought on or dealt with a tough situation that has to do with your own blame, but it’s not always your fault LSEI! Sometimes, the other person was a real jerk. Sometimes, you both were. It’s more productive to ask yourself how you contributed, and what you can gain from the situation. It’s helpful to consider what the situation did for you, as well as how to move on past it. Taking all the blame is not only a sign that you feel less than a piece of gum on a sneaker, but also keeps you from fully seeing a situation.

You’re not all that bad, kid.

Walking Away Silently

Do you find yourself coming away from a situation wishing you had said something, but didn’t?

Do you find yourself reenacting that moment when some little jerk said the rudest thing to you, and you just sat there and cried like you lost your puppy?

Are you unable to concentrate on anything else but that time in which you let someone treat you badly, without you saying a word?

It’s Low- Self Esteem.

In case anyone cares, I don’t charge much for my advice, and sometimes, I’ve lived and learned from an experience I talk about. I’m not an LSEI, or a pube or acne mark, however, I do doubt myself more than I should. I do walk away sometimes thinking, “Shit, why did I let that person get away with that?” “What could I have done differently?” I do sometimes let Douchebag people get away with crap.

It’s important to recognize when you’ve let someone get the best of you in life. Some jerks just rob people of worth, dignity, and happiness, and you have let them. You have let someone take away a bit of your sunshine, and it’s not easy to gain back. Don’t let them! Don’t let just anyone eat from your dish. It’s okay to act like a dog, and guard your dinner bowl.

Not everyone deserves to take a drink from your being.

Bad Guys Get all the Luck

So this is going to be a short rant, but I would like to know why it seems that people who are total jerks end up happy?

I know that happiness is subjective, and what may look like happiness to me may not truly be happiness, but it just seems as if some of the biggest turds in life are successful and happy. I wonder what the correlation coefficient is for general “asshole-ness” and life success?

I know that everyone talks about karma, and that wanting bad things to happen to bad people is a big waste of time and resources when in fact, you could be working on your own success, but just every now and again,  I would like to see a bad person fall to his or her knees in misery.

I recognize this is probably a sign of jerkiness on my behalf, but just once I would like to see someone that deserves it, gets it.

Like, why can’t a rapist be stoned in public just once? Or watch an abusive man or woman get ejected from a large rocket type object onto a bed of sharp nails?

I know this is just a little of my own anger speaking, but I felt like putting it out there. I have watched so many bad people hurt good people in the past year, that I am feeling incredibly skeptical of everything, and I really dislike that. One of my most endearing traits is my ability to keep “bouncing” and smiling despite the obstacles ahead of me.

I think when I get this fired up, I should just channel my energy outwards and try to focus on something creatively.

In fact, if any of you out there in cyberspace ever feel so pissed off that someone truly evil is getting by and getting high on life…take a run, write a poem, bake a cake, or whatever floats your boat. The only way to really spur anger like that is to channel it into something productive. There is nothing to gain by being mad, except for headaches, extra weight (some people emotionally eat), and stress.

Let it go and try to hope in a more silent voice, that the jerk who let you down gets his…

He or She may never, but you can’t spend the time or money worrying…you’ve got a life you’re supposed to be living of your own. Don’t let someone rob you of that!

Lemons

I have  a lemon. It’s not what I wanted. I wanted a shiny new peach. Or a beautiful ripe plum.

Instead, I have a lemon. I can throw it, smash it, cut it, or instead squeeze the juice and drink a rather bitter lemonade.

I only have this lemon, but something will come from it eventually. The juicing will teach me something. I will make something good come from this lemon.

It is so hard to remember when things are so damn bleak to find anything remotely good about the situation. As people, it’s natural for us to get caught up in emotions….and fear. I am weak to this just as any other human is, but I need to remember that I will get something from this experience, possibly even more than I did from the happy ones, despite the pain I am enduring now.

I have a lemon, and this half-assed lemonade.

It’s a bitter juice, but at least I’m not thirsty anymore.

Turn on your (love) light

I have been thinking a lot about happiness and how my relationships with people–whether romantic, family, or friendship–affect me. I have been thinking about other people and how they relate and share friendships, love, and life with others. This is probably because I’m writing a monthly love column and have to think about this stuff. Maybe it’s because I have also had a crappy year and need to make some changes, some refinements in how I conduct my life.

One of the biggest lessons I have had to learn in my life is not to let others dim my light, and I am still not very good at it at times.

We all have an energy or glow about ourselves that radiate who we are, and what we want from the world around us.When we let other people into our inner circle whether it be a love partner, family member, or a friend, we allow them to partake in our light, or our energy.

If this person starts to dim that light or suppress your energy, you can damn well bet that you will suffer.

This is all basic psychology. Nothing new to what I am saying here, but maybe it’s time we reflected on how the people in our lives contribute to our energy. Are they adding to who we are, or subtracting from our original “stack”? Do they make you feel important and cared for, or do they make you very aware of every flaw and insecurity you have?

When you have low self-esteem, it’s pretty easy to let someone else take away from your energy, or extinguish your flame so to speak. It’s almost too easy for you to start tearing away at yourself until all that is left is nothing but self-hatred and pain.

We make excuses and validate this individual’s behavior because we have bought into the story that he or she has sold us. Sure we are worthless, because person X has reminded me that I am Y, and this is bad, and it truly is bad, so why am I so bad?

It could be your mother, your wife, your friend, or your boss.

We just kind of start to assume that he or she wouldn’t say those things if they weren’t true Sure we must be X, Y, or Z because that person said it, and so it is truth.

When you start to feel like you don’t even know how to feel anymore, then you know you’ve been dimmed or drained.

A lot of us self-haters have learned that we are no good because of our early family or love relationships. It takes enormous strength to reteach ourselves that yes indeedy, we are good, we are okay, and we are lovable. It’s almost impossible to reach across that early broken border of abuse or neglect to buy into the fact that while we may indeed be a pain in the ass, we are actually okay. We might even be pretty wonderful.

Sometimes I forget this. I start to buy into what some person or the other told me. I start to panic thinking that maybe indeed, I will never be okay or feel alright, until something clicks in me that says, “Wait? Are any of these self-hating truths real?” “What is truth and what is fiction?”

If you feel as if you have come to a point in which you feel so terrible about yourself when you deal with a certain person, ask yourself if maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s the other person.

You have your own energy and light. If you let others suck that from you, you are left with nothing.

Don’t walk around empty. It is the worst feeling I have ever known.