• How we learn to love and hate…what to do about it.

    When understanding how people relate to each other and identifying the specific influences of their beliefs, thoughts and behaviors, the family we were born into or the “family of origin” has a major impact into how we learn to understand ourselves, others and the world around us.  Let’s look at a few examples of how family, for better or worse, impacts and influences our decisions in life. Growing up my best friend, Sarah and I would talk about boys and who we had a crush on and of course, dreamed about our wedding day. One day after school Sarah’s mom said, “By the time you’re ready to get married, all the…

  • The Number One Killer of Relationships

      What is the biggest killer of healthy happy relationships? The answer may surprise you. As a divorce mediator, I can tell you the biggest problem is the lack of self-awareness? Let’s explore this topic a little closer.  Recently, I posted a meme on my Facebook page that read, “If you desire to have a healthy, loving relationship, you must first be loving and accepting of yourself. To my surprise, more than a few readers found this meme negative and even selfish.  So, if you will allow me, I’d like to take this time to clarify my sentiments behind this meme. So, what do we mean when we say “It’s important…

  • Manipulation and Your Family

    Sadly, family is where we also learn about control and manipulation. When we are children, we want and need the approval of our parents and close relatives, for survival. If we worked really hard and finally received praise and approval from our parents, we were likely to associate hard work with gaining praise and approval. This can put us on a lifetime cycle of thinking we are only worthy of love, praise and approval if we become workaholics.  Now, I am not saying not to do your best or not to have a passion in life, I am only saying that a healthy balanced life doesn’t equate your worthiness of…

  • How Gender Roles Impact Relationships

    The interactions of our parents set an example for who handles which responsibilities in order to make the family system run smoothly, but over time, how a family looks and operates has undergone a major makeover. While gender roles have changed drastically in the past 100 years in the United States, everyone hasn’t adjusted simultaneously, which has led to a tremendous amount of frustration and resentment in marriages. Spoken or unspoken, there are usually tasks and behaviors that one partner will expect on another, simply based on whether they’re male or female. However, the everyday operations of today’s family life often involve partners of equal education and professional potential, which…

  • Are you just like your mother?

    Have you ever had someone say “You’re just like your mother?”  How did that make you feel?  Would you take her characteristics as a complement or a slam? Research into family relationship dynamics have been able to better understand and explain how we can end up just like our parents.  Sometimes, we pick up on the wonderful traits like a great sense of humor or love of science fiction. unfortunately, no one is perfect and we can also begin to model and mimic the darker sides of our parents in terms of how they deal with stress and confrontation. A study conducted by Dr. Dinero found that teens attach to…