In any given year, 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental illness of some kind (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.). Clearly, this is an issue that affects a great deal of us, particularly the loved ones of those suffering. And mental illness is more than just an individual problem; it is a family concern. Here are some ways to support a spouse or partner with mental illness:
Sometimes Mormon culture seems to perpetuate the idea that women exist solely as a helpmeet or support person for others (namely their husband and children). We often define ourselves in relation to other people, and while it’s wonderful to be focused on relationships, we may unintentionally begin to lose sight of own selves. When it comes
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:
We all want to raise emotionally strong daughters, but sometimes we have to pause and do a little work on ourselves. If you are raising or mentoring a young woman, it’s important for you yourself to identify and own your insecurities, any past issues, and acknowledge any relationship hang-ups you might have. For example, maybe you don’t feel good about your body because of comments your mother made to you when you were a teenager.
In order to understand what assertiveness is, I find that it’s helpful to first identify what it isn’t, as there are many misconceptions about it: it’s not being pushy, aggressive, or demanding. It also doesn’t just mean speaking your mind or telling people what you think. Instead, assertiveness refers to reflecting on your emotional history, understanding and managing your feeling, then expressing yourself in a way that will strengthen your relationships. It’s a way of articulating what you believe while also allowing room for differences. Overall, assertiveness is a way of being your true self while also becoming closer to others.
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 Lindsay Aerts of KSL’s “The Mom Show” to discuss some ideas from my book “The Assertiveness Guide for Women,” specifically assertiveness in parenting. We talked about how difficult it is can be to express ourselves to our children is ways that are effective and firm but still kind; no one wants to be a nag, a “momster,” but sometimes it’s a real challenge to keep our patience.
There are three stances we can take when communicating in difficult circumstances. The lantern is the goal for all communication. A lantern values her own feelings and thoughts but is also mindful of and sensitive toward those of others. Individuals with a doormat stance often allow their own needs and feelings to be trampled on. Those with a sword stance are perhaps too vocal, even pushy, about their views, as they express them in ways that are harsh and alienating to others.
I’ve done a lot of interviews over the past decade, but honestly, this is one of my favorites! Sometimes things just flow. How to be heard without being harsh in parenting. They talk about her book, The Assertiveness Guide for Women, how to practice a Gottman technique called the soft start, and how to recognize and tame a “Mom-ster” moment. If you want some tips for more peaceful mothering…this is your episode!
Thank you for the invitation to share my work on your podcast Lauri’s Lemonade Stand Positivity Podcast with host Lauri Mackey. We break down a real-life situation from Lauri’s life and apply assertiveness skills.
- How to hold up the lantern in difficult conversation
- How to get past intense reactions
- Ask them what they think, feel, want, and need?