Have you ever noticed how much we label each other? Particularly as women, we tend to put each other in boxes: there’s the Pinterest mom, the Amazon-Prime mom, the athlete mom, the working mom, the stay-at-home mom, and the list goes on. In life, we need to organize things to make sense of them in our brains, but it can be problematic when we try to categorize people as well. Human beings are multi-dimensional, and labels, even positive ones (“the pretty one,” or “the smart one”), can be limiting. Here are some strategies to move beyond this and see each other as really people:
I sat down with John and Margi Dehlin for a Mormon Stories/Mormon Transitions podcast to discuss Mormon culture and my article 30 Questions Nobody Asks My Husband at Church…
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 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:
Whether or not we admit it, everyone has problems in their marriages. Everyone. So many times, it seems that we think we’re the only ones struggling in our relationship with our spouse, and this can cause intense feelings of shame and inadequacy.
A mid-life Mormon Mom, Elizabeth, thought life would turn out a certain way if she did the right things: marry, stay home with her children. Her husband is struggling with a porn problem and now, she facing the possibility of divorce. She asks me for help in knowing how to find herself and prepare for her next steps.
Listen to Dr. Julie Hanks’ Sunstone presentation. Early relationship patterns lay the framework for our identity development, social interactions, and assumptions about others. If gender equality is to be achieved within Mormon culture and theology, it must first be modeled in family relationships. Cultural Transformation Theory provides a framework for moving from a domination model that values “masculine” over “feminine” to a partnership model where relationships are based on connection and equality.
A little known symptom of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders are intrusive or scary thoughts – an unwanted, often vivid thought usually centered around harm to yourself or baby, sometimes at your own hand. They can bombard you out of no where and cause a spiral affect of shame and guilt, which can also add to postpartum depression symptoms. Host Lindsay Aerts shares her experience of intrusive thoughts with Dr. Julie Hanks of Wasatch Family Therapy and they discuss how to reduce the distress that scary thoughts can cause. Learn more about The Mom Show.
Sometimes women experiencing a postpartum mood or anxiety disorder don’t know they’re suffering because they don’t have the typical depressive symptoms, yet they know they struggling and need help. Host Lindsay Aerts shares her experience of postpartum anxiety with Dr. Julie Hanks of Wasatch Family Therapy and they break down the many forms a maternal mental health disorder can take. Learn more about The Mom Show.
Listen to part 2 of this interview
Based on both clinical wisdom from working with women and from her own experiences, Dr. de Azevedo Hanks invites women to embark on a journey to create a stronger sense of clarity, confidence, connection, and compassion by increasing their assertiveness in the areas of their lives that matter most. This book is useful to any woman who desires to increase her assertiveness and is a good tool for clinicians to use when addressing issues of connection, gender, attachment, and assertiveness. This wonderful guide is highly recommended for anyone who wants to be more assertive.
Reviewed by Beth Russell, Ph.D., LCSW, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work, The College at Brockport for New Social Worker