How to Set Boundaries With Family Over the Holidays

Three Ways to Set Your Boundaries Over the Holidays I’ve had several male patients in my office who let the people in their life walk all over them. And they all do it in the name of keeping their reputation as a “Nice Guy.” My first questions are always the same. I say, Where is it written that Nice Guys can’t say no? Is there a law that to be a Nice Guy, you have to put up with abusive comments and invasive questions? Does the dictionary define Nice Guy as, “A man who allows others to take advantage of him”? The answers? No. No. And No.  The critical factor here is they need to learn how to set boundaries with family. I’ve had so many Nice Guys in my office and heard so many stories about the pain they’re feeling. My message for Nice Guys everywhere: It is possible to set and maintain your boundaries with friends and family without turning into a jerk. Three tactics on How to Set Boundaries with Family and Friends this Holiday Seasons While it’s impossible to control what people say to or expect of us during the holidays, there is a lot we can do to manage our behavior while we’re with them. I tell my patients to practice three boundary setting tactics: Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks Preemptively set boundaries Change the subject when faced with inappropriate comments One: Stop inappropriate behavior in its tracks Finally, one of the most anxiety-producing holiday situations my patients experience is the feeling of being “stuck” with people whose behavior makes them uncomfortable. This can be physical, such as relatives who don’t share the same boundaries around hugging or kissing, etc., or it can also be environmental, such as the relative who loves to bring up touchy subjects like politics. No matter what form the inappropriate behavior takes, you don’t have to spend the holidays “stuck” in its net. For example, one of my patients doesn’t enjoy copious amounts of physical contact with anyone except his wife. His wife’s family, however, is very physical, and he used to dread spending time with them because they had no inhibitions about snuggling up to him on the couch or touching his arms or legs while in conversation. Now, instead of feeling uncomfortable and “stuck,” he promptly moves his hand or foot, etc. out of physical contact and …

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 …

Worried About Your Teenagers’ Disrespectful Behavior?

What do you do with your teenagers’ disrespectful behavior? This disrespectful behavior may not be a sign of sociopath or narcissist behavior because it’s a way of separating, and it’s normal teenage behavior. But, you may be wondering how do you keep the behavior from spinning out of control; that way, they don’t become a narcissist or sociopath. The answer is: YOU HAVE TO CHANGE. My patients who are parents often make the same mistake, which is they try to change their child. “You can’t talk that way; you’re being nasty, you can’t be rude.” The problem with this is, it’s just telling them how to behave. How do we all respond to that? We don’t like to be told what to do, and neither does your teenager, it’s not going to work. Remember, the emotional goal for your teenager to not be a sociopath or narcissist is to be able to express their emotions well — especially anger, sadness, and neediness. What I mean by changing yourself is you have to express anger, sadness, and neediness and be a role model, instead of telling your child what to do. Examples: Let’s say your child is name-calling. Stop them immediately and say, “It’s hurtful when you use name-calling when you’re talking to me, I can’t even hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the garage, if you can tell me this later without the name-calling, I’d be glad to listen.” Let’s say your child is shouting. You can say, “It really irritates me when you’re shouting at me. It makes it very hard for me to hear what you are saying. I’m going off to the kitchen if you can say this without shouting I’d be glad to listen.” I was talking to a parent, and he was doing a favor by picking up his child from the bus that way, his child did not have to take the dreaded bus. His child was using provocative language, and he felt like the child was trying to get under his skin by saying things that were personally offensive to him. So, the next time he could say, “I’m not going to pick you up from school anymore because it is very upsetting to me. I need to have a car ride home that does not involve this provocative language, So I will not be picking you up from school …

How Not to Raise a Child Sociopath or Narcissist

 How Not to Raise a Child Sociopath or Narcissist This is a question I get all of the time. How not to raise a child sociopath or narcissist. Because teenagers can look like they’re sociopaths or narcissists, but they’re healthy teens. So what’s the difference? To start, we need to understand what a sociopath and narcissist are. If we don’t fully understand this, we’re not going to be able to avoid it or avoid raising a child sociopath or narcissist. These terms have been in the news a lot, and we in psychology have them under the umbrella of personality disorder. It’s a terrible phrase, I know, but that’s the phrase we use. Personality disorders have many different forms, 2 of them which are sociopaths and narcissist. So what’s at the heart of that? People with personality disorders can’t do relationships. Some people actually can’t tolerate relationships, but they want them terribly. It’s an awful dilemma for them, and most of this is unconscious. What you’ll see is they can’t tolerate closeness, and they can’t tolerate distance. And those two things are kind of at the poles of all healthy relationships. What do I mean by that? If you’re healthy and in a healthy relationship, what that means is you’re getting close, and you’re getting distant, you’re getting close, and you’re getting distant. Let’s say you have a girlfriend, you see her, and you have a great time, and then you don’t see her, and you do other things, all healthy relationships are like that.  They Can’t Tolerate Closeness or Distance for Very Long What happens with a narcissist or sociopath, is they can’t tolerate closeness for very long because it feels like being taken over. So to them, closeness starts feeling like being invaded, being taken over, being eliminated; it becomes a terrible feeling for them. Just like distancing becomes an awful feeling for them because it feels like abandonment, a terrible loss.  Both of these feel like extremes to the personality disorder patients, so they avoid them. And how they avoid them is by wiggling around in the middle; instead of doing close and distancing they’re getting close and then doing something to break the closeness such as arguing, cheating, lying, attacking- whatever it is, they got to get away, and they do, but they can’t stay away. After they’re apart, it starts to feel like a …

Men and Emotions

There’s still a stigma in our society that makes it hard for men to show their emotions and keep their masculinity. Women have come a long way with their ability to emote; emoting has always been more acceptable for women. In the past, women had trouble with aggression. Now women can be in the workforce, go for gold medals, and be on sports teams. Women have bridged the gap in aggression & passivity and emoting & action better than men. Men have not caught up in terms of their ability to show their emotions and feel masculine intact. We have devoted our attention to executive men with relationship problems because they have a history, where they’re encouraged to be aggressive, and are rewarded for being aggressive in the workplace. At home or in an intimate relationship- men act aggressive, and they get “in trouble,” or they get passive and get “in trouble.” They aren’t able to say what they really want or what they really need, which causes the relationship to go south. How men and women deal with certain emotions differently An example of an emotional difference between men and women is anger and how they express it. Women struggle with anger by having the thoughts that anger is not okay, or it’s wrong. Whereas when men get angry, they are terrified that the anger is going to lead to becoming physical and that they will actually hurt somebody. Men fear that if they admit they are angry, then their next step is to hurt someone. How to properly handle anger The way to correctly handle anger is to think about the anger, emote, and deal with the anger; as a result, the anger will not build and blow. Would you like to learn more about men and their emotional health? Head over to https://drldabney.com/free-relationship-advice-articles/ to find dozens of free self-help articles.