As many of us have experienced, even burning love can cool down. By understanding what empathy is and how to demonstrate it in your love relationships, you can heal wounds and create closer bonds.
February is all about L-O-V-E. We all know the excitement of falling in love, of being completely and totally enamored with someone else. Who doesn’t love roses, chocolates, and candlelit dinners for two? But the truth is that when February is done, when the honeymoon phase of a relationship is over, real love is a lot of work. It can be challenging, painful even, but it can ultimately help us learn and mature, both individually and together. Here are a few ways that love is a growth process:
Q: I am madly in love with my ex-therapist. This is not transference; I truly love her! I never had the chance to tell her, and now we no longer talk to one another. This has and is still bothering me. I can’t stop thinking about her, and it is killing me inside everyday! I wanted to tell her back then during sessions, but was afraid to, and now I will never have the opportunity to ever tell her. This is not healthy…what should I do? (28 year old female)
Q: I need help on this issue. I feel myself getting jealous all the time with my husband, and I don’t want to be like that. My last relationships were a disaster. My kids’ father cheated on me our whole 15-year relationship; I didn’t know he was cheating until towards the end. Then my next relationship, he went to Florida and brought someone back with him and they started living together right away. That was a 3-year relationship I had with him. I always think my husband is cheating on me or talking to someone. It’s like I don’t want him going anywhere without me. I love him, and I don’t want to be like that with him. He’s never given me a reason to think this. Please help me.
A: While it’s common for unresolved hurt from past betrayal to bring out insecurities in a current relationship, ironically, it may end up pushing your husband away if you don’t resolve your past hurts. When you bring up your jealousy with your husband, make sure that you own that it is your past, not him, that is the problem. Please meet with a therapist to address the underlying emotions that are feeding your jealousy and lack of trust. Thanks so much for writing in. Watch the video to hear my complete answer.
Take good care of yourself and your relationship!
Q: I saw my grandfather die when I was young, and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me. Ever since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been having trouble maintaining my relationship with others, whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again. I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be, and I feel guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life, and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather die. Whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing. This is ruining my life, and I think I seriously need help.
I was with my ex for only a few months, but as far as I was concerned it was a serious relationship. Towards the beginning of our relationship we discussed various issues which we both had – he had been sexually abused as a young child, and I had been sexually assaulted only a year before I met him. We discussed these issues and how they affected us in terms of our relationships with other people. I realise it sounds naive, but I fell in love with him and would have done anything to help him. He confided in me that he was in a substantial amount of debt and was constantly worried that his house and possessions would be repossessed etc., and despite the fact that I am a student and have very little money to myself, I had a part-time job (while he was unable to find a job) and lent him around £1000. He always swore that he would pay this money back, but after splitting up with me he decided that he wouldn’t. Legally, I can’t do anything about this because neither of us signed any kind of contract.
Q What does it mean when my best friend tells me he has hallucinations, when he hangs out with his ex girlfriend, where she literally turns into me for a few minutes, and then turns back into herself? I’m starting to worry about his sanity. And at the same time, am curious as to why it’s ME his
Pick up Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal and check out the “Bonds” column by Elizabeth Bernstein, or read it online: Are We All Braggarts Now?
I’ve been invited to participate in a live chat because…well…not to brag or anything, but I’m quoted in the article (said with utmost humility). I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. How do you distinguish sharing good news with bragging? Why do some people come off as braggarts while others don’t?
DATE: Tuesday 8/14/12
TIME: 11:30AM ET / 10:30AM CT / 9:30 AM MT / 8 :30AM PT
PLACE: Here’s the chat link Bragging in the Facebook Age.
Q: How can I explain to an ex-boyfriend who left state and returned that he needs help for is DID? My current psychologist couldn’t answer this question, but flipped it off as insignificant. I fell in love in Jan. 2010 with a foreign worker who was here to repair damage in the condo after carpet removal and air scrubbing. I texted him I was interested and we had a first date. He ran out unexpectedly, with no excuse and did not return. Gone then for 3 months to his “country”, back once, ran out with no reason, gone another month, “for a funeral”; back, ran away, then back after another 3 months saying he was emotionally sick and went back to his home country, and was sorry he didn’t call. During all this strange interims, I hired a detective, then, found out in July he ran to another state… Read more
Get to know New York City licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Diane Spear, LCSW-R.
Tell us a little about your practice…
I’m a licensed clinical social worker in private practice over sixteen years. I treat people from older adolescents to senior citizens, in individual and couples sessions. My practice approach can be described as psychodynamic, interactive, and reality-based, so I’m dealing with how a patient’s formative years affect his/her current conscious and unconscious attitudes about love, work, and play, so that they can build on what works and rethink what doesn’t in order to have a more satisfying life going forward.