As a therapist, one of my favorite things to observe and write about is the intersection of religious beliefs and mental/emotional health. That’s why I was so excited to sit down with Gina Colvin of “A Thoughtful Faith” podcast and discuss Mormon culture in terms of assertiveness, specifically challenges LDS women may experience when it comes to being assertive. Here are some of the main themes from our conversation:
I recently sat down with the hosts of “Good Things Utah” to discuss a concern in family life that many, many women seem to experience: the division of household labor.
Manipulation is an extremely broad topic, and it can be difficult to even know where to begin the conversation. To start, a manipulative relationship is one in which an individual seeks to control or use another person; to get him/her to do something or think a certain way by being controlling and dominating.
I recently sat down with Baya Voce, host of The Art of connection, to talk about narcissism, sociopathy, pathological lying, gaslighting and so much more. The biggest take-home message is that anyone can find themselves in a manipulative relationship, and you can heal.
I was pleased to have the recent opportunity to speak with Emma Bell of “The Inside Shift” podcast about my latest book, “The Assertiveness Guide For Women: How To Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries, and Transform Your Relationships.” Although we talked about many different facets of and ideas found within the book, I was especially excited to share my personal experience with developing and practicing assertiveness, which has largely guided my career, my relationships, and of course, my journey in crafting this creative work. Here are some highlights from my discussion with Emma:
How is differentiation of self related to assertiveness? When a woman asserts herself, she is differentiating her needs, thoughts, feelings, or wants from another person. She is essentially saying, “I’m think something different than you. I have other feelings than you do. I’m not you.” True assertiveness, as I define it, means that this is done in a way that’s not alienating or rude but still clearly makes those differences known.
Kelly asks, “How do I take care of myself and fulfill my own dreams when my family makes things all about them?” She grew up in a family with a narcissistic mother and Kelly felt she needed to take care of and focus on her mother at her own expense. This created guilt for Kelly whenever she invested in her own development. Listen to what I have to say
There is nothing wrong with teaching ideals and one could argue that that is the primary job of religious institutions. However, in real life, holding up ideals often leaves members never feeling “good enough” because they have not achieved the ideal righteous Mormon life. Chronic feelings of “never good enough” because your life doesn’t look like an Ensign magazine cover, your child has left the Church, your spouse isn’t committed to church callings, you’re struggling with the word of wisdom, you’re having difficulty forgiving someone, you’re not a good provider, or you’re not an attentive mother or father, can erode our whole sense of self.
By exploring your self-doubt, challenging your thoughts, and taking action, you can manage insecurities so they don’t sabotage your confidence and happiness….
Confidence is something we all aspire to have, but the truth is that insecurity is something we all experience. Insecurities were huge for most people in high school (think acne, frizzy hair, not making the sports team, etc.), and although we’ve hopefully gotten over some of these things, we still are fragile and imperfect human beings who sometimes doubt ourselves.
Preparing to be a “good mother” is emphasized in Primary, Young Women’s, and continues as a central thread woven throughout Relief Society lessons and discussions. Unfortunately, it turns out that many of our beliefs about “good mothering” are correlated with poor maternal mental health. When I first read findings from a study published in The Journal of Child and Family Studies that suggest that five specific beliefs about mothering–essentialism, fulfillment, stimulation, challenging, and child-centered–are correlated with poorer mental health among mothers with young children, I thought to myself, “These beliefs align with how we, in America, and in LDS culture define good mothering!”