4 Signs You’re Giving Too Much

Helping Until it Hurts-4 Signs You’re Giving Too Much “Angel” had always been praised for her generosity. Little did she know she was giving too much. She was active in her church and a dedicated volunteer. Funerals, craft sales, committees—Angel was a Good Samaritan. One fall, a young woman at work revealed that she was about to lose the lease on her apartment. The two women worked closely together and Angel knew that her colleague was in trouble; she had survived a traumatic childhood and no longer had ties to her family. It broke Angel’s heart. She offered the woman her spare bedroom until she was back on her feet. Today, Angel says, she can’t look back on the experience without feeling embarrassed and angry. What she believed to be a well-intentioned gesture ended up straining her marriage, her relationship with her own kids, and even her health; she was giving too much. Helping becomes pathological when it hurts more than it helps. As extreme as it may sound, Angel’s story isn’t uncommon. In fact, it is symptomatic of Pathological Altruism. Unlike healthy altruism, pathological altruism is giving too much and is performed with little or no consideration of the harm it may cause to the giver or the recipient. In other words, helping becomes pathological when it hurts more than it helps. Here’s what Pathological Altruism often looks like, as demonstrated by Angel. The tendency to deny one’s own needs for the needs of others. Angel spent so much time helping her friend with her everyday needs that she ate poorly, gained weight, woke exhausted, and felt increasingly depressed. It’s a predictable cycle that flight attendants have advised us about for decades: you must put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Supreme confidence in one’s skills or ability to help. Let’s face it: Angel was not a trained therapist. She raised successful children, but it was unreasonable and dangerous for her to expect that she could soothe her friend’s serious emotional wounds. Like a novice mechanic working on a finely tuned engine, when our desire to help exceeds our skills, we are likely to do more damage than good. Inability to see the harmful consequences of your helping behaviors. As in physics, we cannot exert one force without expecting an equal or greater force in response. So it is with our relationships. By the time Angel had …

The Top 4 Red Flags in a Relationship

4 Red Flags in a Relationship to be Aware of A disheartening number of my male patients have either gotten divorced or suffered through long and painful relationships because of a single, core issue: They failed to act on Red Flags in a relationship before it was too late. A red flag is an issue that causes significant disruption to a relationship; they are serious problems that require professional help. The mistake I’ve seen hundreds of men make is that they believe, without foundation, that they have either the skills or the commitment to help a woman overcome her serious challenges. He thinks he can be her savior, her knight in shining armor, that he can love her enough to overcome anything. There is a much more bitter truth: When you spot a red flag, it’s best to get out. The most serious red flags in a relationship fall into 4 main categories: 1. Lack of empathy 2. Boundary crossing 3. Addiction or severe psychological issues 4. Legal or financial trouble Let’s take a look at why each one is so damaging. Lack of Empathy This flag is so red it ought to be on fire. I can’t tell you how many men tell me stories about women who expect emotional and financial and practical support from them, but who offer virtually nothing in return. Happy, lasting relationships are built on a foundation of intimacy, and that requires an ongoing give and take by both individuals. Relationships that are built on anything less are headed for heartache. Don’t settle for anyone who gives less to the emotional health of the relationship than you. You deserve to be fully supported and cared for. If you experience anything less, let her go without further ado. Boundary crossing As a society, we don’t pay much attention to men who suffer physically or emotionally at the hands of their wives or girlfriends, but it is more prevalent than you may imagine. I have worked with men who tell me they were raised to “never strike a woman,” but who have been slapped, bitten, hit with heavy objects, and generally attacked by their significant other. Being attacked is much different than being the attacker, but those differences are not assigned by gender. Abuse can be verbal, as easily as it can be physical. Verbal abuse is characterized by any attempt to make another person feel weak or …

What if YOU are the Toxic Person in your Relationships

    What if you are the toxic person in your relationships? Some people who come to me with the chief complaint that a lot of their relationships are unfulfilled, unhappy and/or stressful.. have enough insight to say, “I’m the common denominator.”  It’s always a very moving point because to help yourself, that insight is invaluable and it’s also rare. If you are able to see that something’s not right even if you don’t know what it is, you’re halfway there. How can I tell? How do I tell if someone may have trouble relating to people? Everybody has relationships that don’t go well and this is all sort of a gray or fine line area. But if the majority of your relationships are not fulfilling, or end up with a lot of acting out or abandonment, then it’s certainly worth checking out. Red flags There are red flags that let me know that the ability to handle relationships are off and they may be the toxic person in the relationship. What are those red flags? Do you have arguments with anybody more than once a month? It’s not the norm for people to have arguments erupting a lot. That may be a sign. Similarly, if you never have arguments, especially with your partner.  So arguing a lot or not arguing at all. When there’s a problem in your relationship and you have no idea what to do, ever. That’s a sign as well. Parents who have children who never rebelled. That sounds odd, but it’s not right. That means that you aren’t able to handle give-and-take and some friction. If I hear a parent say their 22-year-old child never gave them a moment’s trouble. That’s a sign that you may have difficulty with relationships. This is a sensitive topic. But the same thing with kids, if you have let a child go, for example, you let your ex take full custody and it doesn’t bother you all that much, that’s a bad sign. I’m not talking about the people who have certain circumstances and had to let a child go and it’s heartache in you. That’s different than the person who doesn’t have that heartache. These are people who say things like, “well I had the child too young and I’m going to live my life now. The people who rather party than getting part custody or full custody …

Hidden Toxic Relationship Patterns

   Toxic Relationship Patterns Hidden! Yes, HIDDEN toxic relationship patterns. There are toxic patterns that people don’t see, or it’s hard for them to see when you point it out. With toxic people in your life, you have to get a little distance with putting up a boundary or leaving if they’re really toxic. You can make a change in the toxic relationship patterns yourself. That way things will improve, you don’t have to change or put distance for the other person you can make a change, which will bring you closer to that person because the toxic pattern is in the way. There are at least three categories. We’ll talk about one per week. Let’s talk about the obvious. The obvious one is the screaming, the yelling, the swearing, and the name-calling. Most people- even if they can’t control that, they know that’s not the best way.  They may need help overcoming it. If someone does that in your life, you have to put up a boundary. Let them know this is not going to work for you, and you’re not going to listen to them. Or if you do it yourself and you can’t stop, you can’t control yourself; then you need some help with that. Other Aggressive Toxic Relationship Patterns There are some other aggressive, toxic relationship patterns that people don’t realize, and the first one that comes to mind for me is my very favorite, “but I was just helping the person, I was giving advice.” And then they get even madder when I say that they should be able to handle criticism or get help. There are two different versions of this. One is criticism, where you’re saying something is bothering you, and you say, “It’s rude to be late all of the time, you should know it drives people away”  Criticism is aggressive and nasty, whether you sugarcoat it or not and it’s tough for people to see that.  We’re all adults. No Rule Book There is no real rule book, there’s the law, that’s one thing, but there’s no other rule book out there. So you are opening up the page and saying, “It’s rude not to put your napkin in your lap.” Or whatever the situation is, is condescending and judgmental and it’s not effective. You’re going to irritate the person, so you’ve lost an ally. If you’re doing that to …