how to say no to family conversation

Setting Boundaries: How to Say No to Your Family, Friends, and Others

3 Signs You’re Letting Your Boundaries Slide. Learn how to say no to family.   Three warning signs to watch for when examining your boundaries. Sign #1: Seething beneath a calm exterior When it comes to teaching patients about boundaries, the most common warning sign I see is in patients who choose to tolerate the behavior; they are not actually in a healthy position to accept. Examples of this: “My wife is a nag, but I just let it slide.” “My boss is under a lot of stress. I don’t take his comments personally.” “What are you going to do? I can’t change her.” These may be the sentiments my patients want me to hear, but what I really see are men seething beneath the surface of their cool facades. Their emotional distress is palpable, and they genuinely don’t have any idea why. Saying things such as: Let it slide. Don’t take it personally. What are you going to do? It’s just the way she is. This is the language we use to justify not protecting our personal boundaries. We tell ourselves these events aren’t a big deal, but that’s really just a tactic to avoid the guilt of how to say no to family or to confront our loved ones. Under the surface, the issue we try to cast aside actually churn and build. They disrupt our lives, emotional health, and confidence. They hurt our feelings. They chip away and eventually destroy our most important relationships. They are a big deal.   Sign #2: Blaming things instead of people Setting and protecting is difficult. It elicits feelings of guilt and fear because we don’t want to “hurt” the people in our lives. To keep our boundaries intact, we have to learn how to say no to family, even when our loved ones want us to say “yes.” To mitigate guilt, I find that my patients often blame their anger and frustration on objects, rather than people. For example: A husband who dislikes spending every holiday at his in-law’s house will blame the weather or the traffic. He’ll tell me, “Just getting there is a total nightmare!” A man who doesn’t agree politically with his extended family blames his discomfort on a difference in cultures, saying, “Southerners just get me, you know?” A father whose adult son is still on his “payroll” will blame the economy by asking me, “How is anyone …

3 Ways to be Intimate Without Being Physical

3 Ways to be Intimate Without Being Physical   Intimacy inside of the bedroom is important. When most people come to see me about relationship problems, it’s because they have not mastered ways to be intimate without being physical. I want to share three tips that I give most people in couples counseling or if they come alone and have relationship problems. Don’t forget; you can go alone if your significant other doesn’t want to participate. I’m sharing three essential tips that work hand in hand with increasing sexual intimacy. If you can nail ways to be intimate without being physical, it gives a great launching pad to a good sex life. Tip 1. Watching the patterns to see where you can break them. One thing that I find surprising when people come in to talk about their relationship problems is that they have some trouble getting stuck in the facts of who is right and wrong, the proof, and all the details. The first thing I do is encourage people to step up and out and look at the dynamics going on because you can get a lot of information by doing that. When I encourage people to do that, what I’m looking for is patterns. If there is a pattern going on, you need to disrupt part of the pattern (your part), and the whole pattern changes. Typically, if you look at an argument and you examine many of your arguments, you’ll find the same pattern. Example: I had a patient who was very frustrated at the pattern happening in his relationship. When he would talk about something difficult, his wife would shut down. She would stop talking or give in. She would agree with him, agree to do things his way, and he took that at face value. But then, she would talk under her breath, and he would get distraught. He would ask his wife what she said, and she would respond by saying, “nothing.” So this turned into an argument of whether she said something or not. His question to me was, “how do I stop her from doing that? I’ve asked, I’ve begged. I’ve demanded she won’t change.” Shockingly, people don’t change because we want them to. What I did was, encourage him to change. We started back to the beginning of the pattern. Which is where he said, “what did you say?” I …

Ted’s Story About Overcoming Infidelity with Therapy

An Incalculable Return on Investment: Ted’s Story About Overcoming Infidelity with Therapy “Ted” was nearing his sixties, and life was big—he was successful, he had a list of accomplishments; people even knew his name. One thing they didn’t know is: Ted had a severe infidelity problem. His behavior in those days, he says, was, “Terrible, horrible. A nasty thing.” And it needed to change. He needed help with overcoming infidelity. He turned to Dr. Dabney for help, but even that decision came with serious doubts. For starters, he’d never been a proponent of therapy. “I thought you should be able to deal with your problems on your own,” he says. “Men are funny like that. [They’re] less amenable to discussing problems that they created.” Even more, he knew that treatment would demand a significant investment of his time—over three hours every week. Dr. Dabney’s office was nearly an hour away. “I’m busy,” he says. “That was an expensive amount of my time.” Ted kept his commitment to therapy for three years. The work, he could tell, was paying off. Plus, he adds, “I quite enjoyed it.” She was as forthcoming as I was expected to be forthcoming. It made the entire process unduly pleasant, to be quite honest.” It was Dr. Dabney’s demeanor that helped keep him going. Ted remains reserved  to discuss his problems with other people, but he was surprised to find that during their sessions, “Laura made it easy.” Ted’s Results With Overcoming Infidelity: Today, Ted is emotionally healthy independent of therapy and describes himself as “Pleasanter. Calmer. I’m a better person.” His work with Dr. Dabney taught him that he isn’t the only person to have ever made mistakes. And the mistakes that he did make, he learned, “Those mistakes can be rectified … and can be overcome.” Curious to learn more about how Dr. Laura Dabney can help you? If so, schedule a free 15-min consultation here, or call (757)340-8800. For more topics, go to www.drldabney.com or www.lauradabney.com.

Is your teens behavior normal teenage behavior?

What is normal teenage behavior? Parents: Let’s talk about YOU and your emotional well-being. Some parents are overly concerned or continue to be worried about their teenager not being perfect. Despite being told by others that their teen has normal teenage behavior. Or despite being told by a therapist that their teenager is normal; they continue being worried. We call this a defense. Sometimes, people get wrapped up in other people’s problems or concerns as a way to avoid what’s going on within themselves. Typically, this is an emotional issue. Some examples: If you are having trouble grieving the loss of your baby (teen), which is what a teenager highlights for you- the child that you had that is no longer around, it does set up grief within us. Some parents may become overly concerned about their child’s normal teenage behavior. Grief involves sadness and anger. A lot of people have trouble with these emotions. If you’re one of them, then you will be delaying going through that grief. You’ll delay it by getting overly wrapped up in the details of your child. Of course, this isn’t good with the relationship for your child and can set your child up to have emotional or relational problems. That typically happens in people who are raised in families who did not deal with grief well. If your primary relationship with your spouse is damaged, it’s possible you are unconsciously avoiding that by getting wrapped up in what your child is doing while not realizing your child’s behavior is normal teenage behavior. Typically, I see this when there was a problem in the relationship before the children. The children became this great distraction. Especially if you are on the same page as your spouse on how to raise the children, it’s like a shared experience. When that ends, the relationship falls apart or hasn’t gotten any better so, it may be that you are having problems with your spouse that you need to address. If you’re using your kids to fix something between you, that’s certainly not going to work. Turning emotions on yourself. Turning emotions on yourself is another way for people who cannot express emotions well. An example of this include: chronic worrying or being overly concerned about their child’s normal teenage behavior. We’re all concerned about our kids but, if it goes on to the point where you aren’t doing …

How to Recognize Good Emotional Boundaries

How to Recognize a Good Boundary When You See It Maintaining good personal emotional boundaries is a very important element of positive mental health. Emotional boundaries protect us from manipulation and from being taken advantage of. They help minimize hurt and frustration. They build our self-confidence and even help improve our relationships. But what are they, and why are they so tricky? In my experience, most patients believe they have better personal boundaries than they do. They say, “I’d never tolerate [x]” or “I’ll never put up with [y] again.” But when it comes time to exercise those boundaries, they don’t. They loan them money or swallow the insults or ignore the behavior they swore they’d never overlook again. And the cycle continues to repeats itself. Since this is such a common cycle, I’d like to examine the basic elements of healthy emotional boundaries. To illustrate, let me tell you about the story of my patient, Gary. Gary couldn’t say no. Gary was a successful real estate broker who couldn’t say no to his adult daughter. Every time she needed money — whether two hundred dollars or two thousand dollars — he gave it to her. Then when she spent it on expensive clothes or indulgent nights out, he’d despair that she’d essentially thrown his money away. He made comments about her being irresponsible. He told her he wasn’t going to give her any money unless he knew precisely how she was going to spend it. Then they’d argue, and she’d cry, and he’d feel terrible and he’d end up writing his daughter a check. I asked him why he couldn’t say no to his daughter’s requests. He explained that he and his wife divorced when his daughter was young. “It was so hard on her,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt her any more than I already have.” Then he added, “Plus, I have the money. I’ve done well for myself. Why wouldn’t I share it with my daughter?” The answer to that question is where Gary and I began our work together. Emotional Boundaries are rarely black and white Gary had a partial understanding of personal boundaries. He saw them as absolutes, as lines in the sand. “I would never give her money for drugs,” for example. Boundaries, however, are rarely so black and white. Instead, they’re more effectively viewed as limits, as the threshold between when …