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Relationship difficulties

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     " That's an Ugly Shirt. I'm Just Saying..."

Lately the annoying expression “I’m just saying” keeps coming up in everyday conversation. The remark preceded by “I’m just saying” is unsolicited and provocative. “I’m just saying” creates a confusing interpersonal dynamic. The speaker unconsciously attempts to trick the listener into believing an altered reality in which he or she is blameless, and the listener is implicitly accused of having an unfounded reaction...(Click for full article)

     A Good Sex Life is Not Just About Chemistry

Feelings that are unconscious or unresolved make themselves known through actions and symptoms. Persevering to uncover the true and often underlying meaning of symptoms and behaviors may not only save your relationship, but also open you up to a deeper awareness of yourself and your partner...(Click for full article)

     A Surprising Cause of Conflicts in Relationships (and Easy Remedy)

A common but often undetected source of conflict in relationships is harboring an inaccurate belief about your partner’s (or teenager’s) intentions. Our perception of why the other person did or didn’t do something, and what we believe that means...(Click for full article)

     A Surprising Trick for You (and Teens) to Resist Temptation

There are two states of mind we can be in when it comes to temptation: zooming in and fantasizing about the rush, or zooming out and seeing the broader picture of how things will play out if we act on our impulses. Knowing where our actions will lead before a tempting situation takes hold gives us a chance to make an informed decision...(Click for full article)

     Barriers to True Forgiveness

Well, forgiveness is not so simple. We cannot just decide to forgive and command ourselves to make it happen through sheer force of will...(Click for full article)

     Competing Family Loyalties

As the child becomes an adult, a mother with an anxious, insecure attachment style may refuse to let go, secretly needing to remain the primary love attachment. This may not become apparent until her son find a romantic love partner and devotes himself to her, allowing a competitor to enter the scene. The situation is then often enacted in full drama around family events and holidays when the mother’s explicit demands, and (unspoken) expectation of “loyalty” (e.g. exclusive love) from her son, conflicts with his role as a husband...(Click for full article)

     Competition Among Women: Myth and Reality

Women seem to have a reputation for being “catty” and competitive with other women, unlike how men behave with other men. This is a curious notion, especially since women are actually less competitive than men out in the world and less comfortable being competitive...(Click for full article)

     Couples Therapy

Marital/couples therapy is a form of therapy which involves working with both partners of a couple to improve their relationship and/or help them make important decisions about the relationship...(Click for full article)

     Daughters Growing Up, Mothers Growing Scared

Difficulties with separation often are activated during developmental transitions such as the first day of kindergarten, adolescence, high school graduation, leaving home and finally, marriage. At these junctures, mothers need to step back and let go, allowing their children to mature and transition to the next level...(Click for full article)

     Dear John (or Jane) Emails: Closing the Door After an Affair

An affair that is suddenly exposed or suddenly ends poses a particular risk situation for the vulnerable marriage with an unfaithful spouse. In the aftermath of an affair, feelings of loss, conflict and pressure can make it difficult to let go of the illicit relationship, compounding the lure that led to the affair in the first place...(Click for full article)

     Easy Steps to Reconnect: A Guide for Emotionally Avoidant Dads

Empathic ability, or “mind reading,” is an aspect of brain development that occurs as parents are able to read their children’s reactions and respond emotionally in a way that helps kids regulate their emotional states. This process also involves the parent helping the child understand what is happening interpersonally and emotionally. The child digests and internalizes such experiences, building the capacity to make sense of themselves and relationships, and to manage emotions in interpersonal situations...(Click for full article)

Is Shame Good or Bad? The Effects of Shame and Guilt

     Good News if You Often Feel Rejected

We all experience rejection as painful. The need to fit in and be accepted is hard-wired into us - affecting adult relationships, parents and their kids, and kids in peer relationships...(Click for full article)

     High Speed Parenting with Teens - A Common Cause of Broken Connections

Without knowing how to decode teens behavior, and/or when emotional factors interfere with perspective, parents are vulnerable to misinterpreting difficult situations based on their own feelings and the literal, often misleading message they perceive from teens...(Click for full article)

     How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (Affairs-Part 2)

Crisis forces us to mobilize - or face even greater pain, and thereby offers newfound opportunity for growth. When marriages approach destruction, the painstaking work of self-evaluation and behavior change seems worth it...(Click for full article)

     How Parents Can Help Teens Under Academic Pressure (and 5 Common Traps)

When grades are slipping and teens don’t seem to be taking action, it’s easy to react from frustration and helplessness. Under pressure, parents can fall into common traps without realizing it. Doing so unintentionally adds to kids’ anxiety and discouragement, which saps motivation and destabilizes them...(Click for full article)

     How to Get People to Make Good Decisions (and Not Cause Them to Do the Opposite)

When we witness people in our lives headed down the wrong path - it’s a natural instinct to correct them, educate them about what’s wrong with what they’re doing, and argue the merits of our position. But this approach, rather than helping people change their ways, can rope us into a frustrating and exhausting struggle...(Click for full article)

     How to Overcome Obstacles to Change

We all are faced at times with trying to persuade others to make behavioral changes, or needing to do so ourselves. These efforts can leave us feeling frustrated and helpless; our good intentions seem to be in vain. Why is it that we don’t act to change patterns, even when we promise to do so and it is obviously in our best interest?...(Click for full article)

     How to Set Boundaries With Difficult People

Boundary setting is challenging. Most people have difficulty and, without a strategy, resort to repeating the same tactic when unsuccessful, trying harder, or giving in. Boundaries protect relationships...(Click for full article)

     How to Succeed at Influencing People in Difficult Conversations

Thoughtful preparation when it comes to conversations involving strong feelings is worth the effort in order to maximize success and effect damage control. Fast forwarding in our minds to predict how communications will likely play out can make it quickly obvious whether, with whom, how, and in what situations we want to engage around loaded topics...(Click for full article)

     How to Tell If It's Time to Cut Your Losses: 6 Signs

Decision making is often skewed by personality dynamics and psychological issues that unconsciously limit choice and bias people towards staying or going... (Click for full article)

     In The Doghouse... Again: Male and Misunderstood

Why do men so often find themselves in the doghouse with women? They try to please. They try to say the “right” thing. They do favors, buy gifts, work hard, and aim to live up to their responsibilities as a man...(Click for full article)

     Midlife Crises Affecting Men and Families

Midlife crises can occur in both men and women but take a particular form in men facing identity crises, often spilling into family life. Men in midlife crises feel hopelessly trapped in an identity or lifestyle they experience as constraining, fueled by an acute awareness of time passing. Finding themselves in a life that feels empty and inauthentic, they feel pressure to break out, and may desperately grasp at a chance for vitality and pleasure...(Click for full article)

     Outlawed by Your In-laws

Failure to set appropriate boundaries in mother-son relationships often results in persistent in-law tensions, and divisions and factions in marriages. Numerous marital problems fall into this category and can be traced to habitual boundary difficulties between mothers and sons which spill over into the man’s relationship with his spouse...(Click for full article)

     Power Plays Between Brothers & Families

Authoritarian parenting and parental aggression, requiring submission and obedience, can backfire. Forcing obedience breeds aggression, resentment, and the need to escape through disobedience or becoming submerged. Also, children internalize blueprints from the family. Experiences in the family become imprinted in the brain, serving as templates for future relationships...(Click for full article)

     PSYCHOLOGY NEWS - Improve your Relationship with your Teen: 10 Easy Tips for Parents


Relationships and the ending of relationships are one of the most common reasons for talking to a psychologist. When relationships end, many people find themselves overtaken by powerful feelings...(Click for full article)

     Selfishness in Couples: Narcissism, Lack of Interpersonal Skills, or Something Else?

Selfish behavior or lack of empathy frequently is caused by hidden hurt and resentment tied to longstanding unresolved marital issues...(Click for full article)

     Serving Up Guilt This Holiday Season

Guilt can be used unconsciously to get loved ones to do what we want. Even though this method doesn't always produce the intended effects, we may resort to it when feeling helpless in the face of longing and disappointment...(Click for full article)

     Stressed Out Teens - Empathic Parents: What to Do When It's Contagious?

Approaching - rather than avoiding - problems using a confident, matter-of-fact, respectful demeanor and time-limited, planned approach helps desensitize teens to their fear of anxiety (the cause of panic). The accumulated experience of doing this expands teens’ capacity to tolerate feelings rather than have meltdowns...(Click for full article)

     Surefire Ways to Alienate Your Adult Children (and Other People)

This article discusses confusing patterns that occur with narcissistic and controlling parents and other people...(Click for full article)

     Transforming Struggles with Kids into Parenting that Works

The challenge of getting distracted, strong-willed and many other kids to follow routines and guidelines can test any parent’s patience. The flavor of the struggle varies with age and topic, but begins when toddlers first discover autonomy and revel in saying “no,” persisting throughout adolescence...(Click for full article)

     Weddings, Graduations and Other Chapter Endings

Milestones such as weddings and graduations are complicated and not always filled with bliss...(Click for full article)

     What Men Say About Their Wives Behind Closed Doors

Underlying each of these vignettes, though not stated explicitly, is a feeling that many men share that their wives are not really their friend. For men, a “friend” means someone who likes you, is happy for you when you make it, and who encourages you in your career and personal goals because in spite of all else, they really do want you to be happy. Research on marriage has found that celebrating your partner’s success is an essential ingredient of a good marriage, and actually more predictive of a good marriage than being supportive when your partner is unhappy...(Click for full article)

     When Fantasy Crosses the Line

Fantasizing about another person may seem like a harmless indulgence, but it actually draws us closer to temptation and can increase the risk of being unfaithful...(Click for full article)

     When Teens (or 20 somethings) Think You're Bugging Them - But Really They're Bugging You

This article is about a common dynamic in families in which parents feel controlled by their teen's anger, irritability, and/or fragility and, as a result, avoid approaching certain topics or setting needed limits - with unintended consequences for kids and parents. It discusses this dynamic, common obstacles to giving truthful feedback and setting boundaries, and gives practical tips for how to overcome them...(Click for full article)

     Who Said It's Not Your Affair? - Part 1

The truth is that any marriage can be vulnerable to an affair. There are different types of affairs. They may be motivated by the need for: excitement, sex, escape, feeling desirable, emotional connection, or a vehicle to leave a legitimately flawed marriage...(Click for full article)

     Women's Issues

Some struggles that women experience are common to many women, and can therefore be attributed or understood in this larger context of what it means, biologically and socially to be female...(Click for full article)


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Dr. Lynn Margolies * 53 Langley Rd., Suite 210 * Newton, MA 02459 * 617.244.2444
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