What do you choose, “Love or Fear”?

Love has inspired more songs, poems and stories than any other feeling, yet it is one of the most complex emotions to understand. In fact, it’s so complex that at least once in our lives we all have asked to ourselves this question: What is Love?

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From a pure biological point of view, we could say that love is a survival mechanism of the species, in which dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, oxytocin and many other hormones and neurotransmitters, play a role in bonding.

From a psychological point of view, it is the balance between intimacy, passion and compromise – according to the Triangular Theory of Love by Sternberg.

Our brain reacts according to its past experiences, the environmental circumstances of the moment, and its own chemistry, leading to an infinity of ways to love, however… what happens when fear takes place in our lives when we try to love and to be loved by someone?

First of all, it is necessary to clarify that no feeling is a bad feeling; fear is not a negative thing, it actually is a defense mechanism that helps us to prevent accidents, such as being burnt by a candle for example. Fear is necessary; therefore what we need to do is to control it.

The limbic system is the one in charge of regulating emotions, avoidance of pain and in general, all functions of conservation of the individual and species. It’s the one in charge of fear and love, altogether.

Being afraid is natural, fearing a little bit is ok; the problem lays when fear is constant in a relationship, altering not just our environment, but also our health since it is a direct impact to our limbic system and it affects not just our emotions or our relationship, it affects our bodies too. Fearing your husband may be having an affair because he came half an hour late, fearing your wife will ask for divorce because you don’t feel attractive enough, fearing your boyfriend may leave you after you decide to take that job is nothing but a lack of trust and it blocks you from your natural state of feeling love.

NEAT.jpg  People tend to have a utopian point of view when it comes to love thanks to the media constantly sending wrong ideas of what love truly is to our brain. These wrong ideas lead to insecurities and false idealizations that make us fear, while in reality there is nothing to be afraid of. Maybe your husband came late because there was a lot of traffic, maybe your wife likes your belly, and maybe your boyfriend will find a way to stay in touch with you no matter the distance. In the end, not every time we fear something means that there is a problem, and if there is a problem there probably is a solution; also, if there is no solution to the problem, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, it could be the beginning of a brand new adventure.

Relationships are always going to have ups and downs since no relationship is perfect and this is something we must understand. Perfection is not a synonym of happiness as well as imperfection is not a synonym of sadness.

Fear stops you from loving entirely, from enjoying your food, your favorite TV show; in fact, it stops you from enjoying life itself. Human beings are rational. To overcome your fears in the relationship it’s necessary to talk. If you feel there is a problem, if you feel insecure or if you just feel something isn’t right, talk about it with your partner in a calm manner when the two of you can talk about the issue alone.

Always keep in mind that you and your partner are an entire person each, and that you deserve to be entirely loved, that includes your flaws also; try to understand his/her concerns and insecurities, since your partner must have them too.

Don’t let fear take over your relationship or your life, be assertive and find ways to clarify things and keep alive the flame of love. Overcoming fears and problems could make your bond stronger and deeper, making you experience love in a healthier way.h_1478853182_5895853_d41d8cd98f.png

How does Marijuana affect your Relationship?

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How Marijuana Can Affect Relationships

The impact marijuana can have on relationships remains to be a very controversial topic. Some hold the view that the two can never go hand in hand. Instead, they mix as well as dynamite and match; very explosive with widespread and far-reaching effects. While others believe that marijuana has no negative effects on relationships. In their view, it spices things up. This article, though not intended to hit at any side in favor of another, has captured nothing but the truth on how marijuana affects relationships from both schools of thought.

Success in any relationship calls for love, trust and compromise. In addition, it also requires the couple to be free of substance abuse and addiction in all of its forms.  In this context we are discussing marijuana ABUSE. I invite you to be open minded in this topic and not stay in the category of black and white thinking. Not everyone who smokes pot will abuse it or become addicted to it.

Pot smoking, like any substance, may seem innocent, harmless and even fun for some at the very outset. Though the habit initially kicks off as a way of establishing identity or possibly freedom of expression, it can eventually lead users down the path to ruin and destruction in any love relationship. It can set one’s life in a downward spiral that ultimately robs them of everything they value as far as love and relationship are concerned. Unfortunately, marijuana has become widely accepted and debatably legalized in many modern societies.

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How does marijuana affect your love life?

Having counseled many couples on relationship matters over the years, I hold as true the opinion that the abuse of pot can actually minimize progress and growth in relationships. Marijuana abuse can directly impact:

  • Personal life and friendship
  • Intimacy and commitments
  • family life and responsibilities
  • emotions

Personal life and friendship

If pot smoking ultimately turns habitual and addictive, the victim ceases to be himself or herself. The drug moves in and completely takes over such an unsuspecting soul. In no time, such an individual becomes consumed by social anxiety and paranoia.

At this stage, the pot addict is more likely to be introverted and neglected, even by close friends and confidants. Of course being high kind of redefines their brand of friends; they associate more with a clique of other addicts trapped in the same habit of pot smoking. These are the kind of friends that only sink them deeper in their abyss of frustrations. Essentially, the addict loses touch with reality and reason.

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Intimacy and commitments

In love life, intimacy is very critical. In fact, according to some studies, it is the glue that holds the relationship together longer. By its very nature, intimacy is about partners being able to see into each other. Precisely, intimacy guarantees a clear perception of an individual’s feelings as well as their partner’s.

Marijuana in a relationship acts contrary to this feeling. Though critics suggest it heightens intimacy, this substance is in fact insidious and dangerous in your relationship. The “sacred herb,” as some erroneously call it, is a mood-killer when abused and only detaches you from your own as well as your partner’s feelings. Besides, weed shortens memory and makes honoring commitments in a relationship quite the nightmare.

Family life and responsibilities

Whenever a recreational drug like marijuana turns addictive, cravings for the same makes one forget everything else but the pot. Abdication of duties and responsibilities in the family typically sets in at this stage. Real addicts are never worried about the welfare of their children or spouse. Not in the slightest. They live in denial, isolation and over time becomes overtly defensive of their actions. It is no surprise that such individuals resort to verbal attacks if questioned about any of their unbecoming behaviors.

The drug-free partner in a relationship that is bedeviled by marijuana suffers more psychological traumas than the addict. Such partners may at times feel betrayed, tricked or even short changed in the relationship. This often develops into self-blame; taking unnecessary responsibility for the addicted partner’s way of life. This might then degenerate into jealousy, rage and self judgement, the real ingredients of depression.

Ironically, if asked if they still love their spouse in the relationship, the addict is often quick to respond in the affirmative. Their continued use of pot is evidence to the contrary though.

Marijuana and emotions

Emotionally, pot smokers are not themselves. Research findings indicate that as one uses drugs time and again, likely the case with marijuana addicts, their emotional tone plummets lower and lower. Unless they are high, such individuals know not much happiness and pleasures in life. Such a twisted perspective ends up draining life in any relationship. In some cases the couple may call it quits and part ways, just like that. In some rare cases though, the pot-free partner may have the nerve and patience to wait and just hope for the best – a day when the love of their life will finally stop the bad habit. Success rate for such cases is often very slim because the addiction often turns chronic over time. Most of the patient pot-free partners end-up depressed and frustrated without the intervention of specialists like psychotherapists and psychologists.

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How to recover from marijuana addiction

Clearly, marijuana and relationships are immiscible. The good news however is that marijuana addiction as a condition can be reversed. Various effective recovery programs are in place for the same. These programs remake the addict anew so that they once again come into the light. With well-thought-out alternatives, these programs helps clients regain a brighter outlook on life as a whole, integrity and self-respect. This way, they can once again love and be loved back.

To the drug free partner in the relationship, patience is of the essence. Give your partner time to shed off the bad habit. If the addict remains defiant and unappreciative of your patience then consider exploring other options like:

  • seeking help from a psychotherapist
  • divorce

The second option should come last; only upon exploring all available options and all concerted efforts rendered futile. Though this therapy is known to shock drug users into reality, it is likely to impact negatively on kids, if there are any. So, settle for divorce only if your partner’s marijuana addiction condition deteriorates and becomes so much over the top or is clearly on the brink of spinning out of control.

Communication Breakdown: Why do we listen to reply and not listen to understand?

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Why We Tend to Listen to Reply and not Listen to Understand

As a skill, listening is very critical in communication. It is the best way to pass across information and, more importantly, knowledge between individuals. Even so, studies suggest that over the years, our listening ability has only deteriorated. We no longer listen to understand. Instead, we listen to reply.

Studies show that we spend close to 60 per cent of everyday listening to others, but only retain a quarter of what we hear. Part of the reason for this could be that the world around us has become louder over time. A careful scrutiny and analysis of issues reveal the real suspects in play; a delicate combination of a pair of aspects within the human brain. These aspects include:

  • The lag time concept
  • The confirmation bias aspect

The lag time concept

Charles Gross, in his study at Princeton University in 2010, discovered what he called lag time in communication. It is the time duration between what you hear and what you understand. Now, according to Gross, lag time is in the range of a few seconds up to a minute. Of course this varies among individuals.

According to Charles Gross, lag time is the reason people listen more to reply than to understand. In fact, this is where real trouble begins. During lag time we shift attention to ourselves. We stop listening to the others. Instead, we listen to ourselves, a perfect recipe for communication breakdown. During the same phase, we tend to figure out a quick response rather than let the message sink in. The whole conversation then ends up into a fierce contest.

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What causes lag time in communication?

The exact cause of lag time is still unclear, though psychotherapists and psychologists believe human emotions holds a center stage and are very critical to it. Thoughts, beliefs, values, perceptions and opinions are also other very vital ingredients of an individual’s lag time.

The confirmation bias aspect

In the words of Grand Eklund, “You are only listening to what you want to hear.” I can’t agree with Eklund more. In all most every communication setting, people tend to pick out facts and other figures they deem fit; what affirms their pre-existing perspectives, values and beliefs. In so doing, they listen with more intent to reply than to understand – a real communication disaster. That is in fact how the confirmation bias concept operates.

Healthy conversation should involve listening to every detail of what is spoken. Confirmation bias however contradicts this. It makes it quite the challenge to listen and acquire knowledge.

How does confirmation bias come about?

Psychologists hint that confirmation bias has some level of connection and link with how slow individuals speaks in comparison to how fast they listen. Studies show that the human brain has the ability to process words at an optimum rate of between 600 and 1000 words per minute. When we speak, individuals communicate roughly 175 to 200 words a minute. Clearly, we aren’t utilizing our brain’s full capacity, especially when listening. Because of this underutilization of potential, the human brain tends to drift off into other aspects that would make up for that deficit; the onset of competitive listening.

Competitive listening is best explained using George Miller’s Law. In order to understand what someone else is saying, one has to first assume that the other person’s position is true and then try to find out what is actually true in it. A negation of Miller’s concept bears what is known as competitive listening; hearing something then reacting negatively to it, in part because of a belief that the other person’s position is false. In this spirit, listening grinds to a halt and communication breaks down.

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Way forward to effective listening

Many years of exploring listening as an art points me in a common direction; that effectiveness in listening can only be achieved through awareness and concentration. Yes, simply allowing yourself to listen better without coercion.

In order to “listen to understand and not just to reply”, we need to concentrate more voluntarily. This way, we acquire more knowledge and also make our conversations more effective.

Daddy Issues and their Impact on Relationships

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Wondering what this possibly means?  Well, read on for the actual truth and other shocking revelations on daddy issues and how it impacts relationships……

Daddy issues is a general term that describes a woman’s self-destructive behaviour often typified by a desperate ache for male attention. Now, that much suffices the definition of this whole aspect.

Women in this condition let themselves be misused by men. Unfortunately, some of us are or have been these kind of women. If not, then we probably know of friends who very well fit in the above descriptions. This problem is real and needs to be fixed sooner than later, lest it spill over into relationships and ruin everything.

May be you still don’t get the details of it. Or maybe this whole narrative on daddy issues doesn’t seem to hold much sense to you. Well, then these leading questions may just be all you need to drive the point home:

  • Do you find yourself attracted to older men, either married or unmarried?
  • In terms of emotional support, would you say your father was always there for you or you felt abandoned by him at some point in your tender ages?
  • Can you single-out instances of abuse by your father? It could be emotional, physical or even sexual.
  • Are you attracted to emotionally unavailable men and often wonder why?

If you said yes to any of the above, you are not alone. This article will help you identify unconscious patterns and conditioning with “daddy issues” thereby helping you create a happier and healthier relationship for you and your partner.

Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the concerns surrounding individual women caught-up in daddy issues.

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  1. Abandonment

Abandonment is very deep rooted with attachment and detachment issues. Your father is the first male figure in your life. If you were emotionally abandoned by your father or he was emotionally unavailable for you during your younger days, this may cause a deep need to feel loved and cherished in your adult life. You will continuously look for this in other men to substitute the love you did not get from your father. Unfortunately our relationships cannot provide that deep fatherly affection enough to fill this void. Until we are aware of this, we cannot work to understand ourselves better and give ourselves the love we need.

Older men, as I always refer to them because they are often older then the women they are dating, are in most cases more confident and financially stable. They always appear very much in control of the relationship since as always is the case, it is not their first rodeo at dating or romancing a woman. It is little wonder then that younger women fall for such men exhibiting high levels of confidence and poise.

Older men, or men in general, instinctively notice if their partner is troubled by daddy issues in the relationship. This often happen naturally. So the men do not put in much effort in noticing this helplessness. This power imbalance marked by the woman’s vulnerability often lets the man run the show. He can make her feel adored, protected and safe; all the things her father could not provide to satisfy her emotions.

A woman in this state of mind may crave all the love and affection she had been starved of as a little girl. Her new found love is all she might require to fill up that father-daughter relationship gap. This way she might feel her needs are being met and in some way his as well.

  1. Engaging in risky sexual behavior

This is one other significant and definitive feature for women with daddy issues. They crave lots of sex. In most relationships such women associate love and confidence to the number of times they are laid by the men they are supposedly in love with.

Recent studies and surveys have shown that in most women, having sex often tricks the subconscious mind into thinking they are loved and adored. This is terribly wrong and is but a false sense of security. It will only end up ruining your relationship in the longer term. True love exudes intimacy that is founded on companionship and mutual respect.

  1. Fear of being alone

Any lady who’s been through this murky side of relationships will certainly conquer that it is very scary to be single. She’d rather be in a dysfunctional relationship all her life than be alone.

Daddy issues can make one unstable in relationships. Such individuals rush into engagements without sparing time to check out for compatibility aspect in the whole deal. In so doing, they scare away the real men of their dreams. This way, they throw all their respect and dignity down the drain. Such women lack in everything that defines identity and healthy self-esteem.

  1. Nagging reassurance of affection and love

A sense of insecurity defines women with daddy issues. They are always comparing themselves to their supposedly “ideal women”. In doing this, they often worry on whether they are still their partner’s “one and only”. Well, this is often very exhausting to their partners. That very needy aspect exhibited in a woman often pushes men out of relationships. It’s is very counterproductive in the long run and only serves to confirm your greatest fear; you are not lovable.

How to go about resolving this nightmare

The first proactive step in tackling this problem is to understand and acknowledge that daddy issues are real. Denying this fact is ignorant and only sinks one deeper into the abyss of frustration in relationships. You certainly don’t want to continue down the path of rebound dating and relationships, do you?

In the event that this has been an ongoing problem, it is advisable that you seek advice from a qualified therapist or relationship counsellor. These experts have just about all it takes to provide you the right support, advice and encouragement on matters relationship whenever needed.

The bottom line

It is impossible to change your past, but you have a future. Keep your thoughts positive and pick on the right path for your future. This will guarantee you a relationship full of real romance and of course not much troubles related to daddy issues and guess what? You will also be able to attract the right men in your life, a real dream come true in your love life.

Making a Strong Support System

Having a support system when you are in recovery from addiction is so important. With a support system you are much more likely to be successful in recovery, and work towards other goals that you have set for yourself. Your support network can be made up of professionals, family members, friends, as well as mentors from places like AA or NA. A good support person is so much more than just helping you maintain a positive attitude. Listed below are some of the other qualities that a good support person should have:

 Stability. People in your support system should also be stable themselves. Your addiction may have had a serious effect on them as well, so it is important that they are seeking out the help that they need. It is also important that they are not currently abusing drugs, and are sure in their own recovery (if they are recovering from their own addiction). Part of stability is also helping you maintain a safe space to live and stay. This means that there should be no drugs and as few triggers as possible while you are working through your recovery.

 Understanding of recovery and relapse prevention. It is very difficult to be supportive of a process that they don’t understand, so it is important that the people in your support network are educated about addiction, recovery, and relapse prevention. The best person to educate them about your needs and triggers is you. It is critical that you explain what sorts of situations/things are triggering for your cravings and what they can do during difficult times in order to help get you through. It is also important that they understand their role in your relapse prevention. It is important that you communicate what you need from them and they need to be comfortable in the role that they are taking on so that they can remain an asset to you and a good support when you need it the most.

 Ability to be part of a team. Supporting someone through recovery takes much more than just one person. It is often times a team of people that are supporting and providing different types of support to the person in recovery. The people that you choose to be part of your support system need to be able to work together and be trusted to keep their personal issues out of the way. You may need everyone to come together at one time or another, which is why making sure they can get along and work together is so important. If two or more people in your chosen support system just don’t get along, you personally need to decide whether or not it is worth it having that as a part of your recovery. Needless disagreements and arguing can really take the focus off of you and your recovery, and put that attention on things that are really not worth it. 

People so often forget just how important it is to have a strong support system throughout the recovery process. The individuals that you choose to be part of this support system can make or break you during the very first stages of your recovery, and this is why it is imperative that you think long and hard about what you need and who you think would be able to provide that need to you. A good support person will always be there when you need them, and help keep you on track when you cannot do it yourself

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is characterized by a loss of touch with reality, trouble maintaining daily schedules/motivation/personal hygiene, as well as trouble understanding information they are given to make decisions with. Schizophrenia is a very serious illness that is still not completely understood. We still aren’t 100% certain what causes it, whether it is a combination of genes and environment, or possibly just a chemical imbalance. What we do know for sure is just how devastating it can be when left untreated. Joblessness, homelessness, and even addiction are common among those who have untreated schizophrenia. It is so important that it is caught early and managed as it does not take very long for someone to lose control.

Although each and every case is different, there are some symptoms that are common between cases. Common symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations: Hallucinations are anything that no one else can see, hear, smell, or touch that the person with schizophrenia is experiencing. These hallucinations vary from person to person, but the more common type of hallucination is voices. These voices will talk about the person, or warn them about danger, or tell them to do things to themselves/others (that are often times harmful). It can be quite some time before the hallucinations are noticed as the person having them will respond internally to them. Until they either talk about the hallucinations or outwardly respond to them, they are undetectable.
  • Delusions: Delusions are beliefs that are untrue about people/places/events. These delusions can vary greatly, but more common delusions are that someone is hurting them (i.e. through poisoning, controlling their mind/body, plotting against them in some way, etc.) or that they are someone they are not (i.e. someone famous/well-known).
  • Disorganized appearance: Those who are suffering from schizophrenia have a hard time taking care of themselves because they either forget or are focusing more on the things that are going on in their heads. They may have poor personal hygiene, live in less than healthy conditions, or they may even appear to be homeless. They can become very sickly looking if they are refusing to eat because they think they are being poisoned, and they can also look very tired/stressed if they are losing sleep due to their hallucinations/delusions.
  • Catatonic/Movement disorders: If a person is repeating movements and/or making unnecessary movements, they are dealing with a movement disorder. Someone with schizophrenia may also not move or respond to others around them (catatonic behaviour).
  • Unusual/Dysfunctional thoughts and disorganized speech/behaviour: The person cannot get their thoughts to make sense or get them organised before they start to speak. This may present as a very confusing loop of explanation of incomplete thoughts and ideas. They may also make up words/places/people in an attempt to make the connections fit in their heads. This can make it very difficult to tell reality from their hallucinations and delusions.
  • Emotional flatness/apathy: This is a particularly troubling symptom as it can present very much like depression. A flat affect (i.e. no change in expression or tone of voice) is also common with those who are struggling with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is something that can be very difficult to treat. It largely depends on the severity of the case, as well as their support system. Schizophrenia is treated with a combination of medications and therapy, but the most important thing is that they are consistent with their medication and housing. This helps to keep them on track and in check with the symptoms. If your loved one is struggling with schizophrenia, the best thing you can do is be supportive of their recovery and their hard work. It is also important to remember that they will have good and bad days, but it is important to know the difference between a bad day and crisis. That is why it is also important to educate yourself about the illness and ask the questions that you need to. It is also important that you seek help of your own. Being the caregiver of someone who is chronically mentally ill can put a huge strain on your emotionally and mentally. Having a safe place (i.e. a support group or therapist) is great for keeping yourself in check and helping you be the best support that you can be for your loved one.

Internet Dating

wmp__1299247966_iStock_000010264931XSmallInternet dating has become increasingly popular for people of all ages. There seems to be a site for just about any type of relationship or partner you might be looking for, and it is not uncommon for some to be subscribed to more than one. The effectiveness of each site can vary widely from user to user, but more often than not there are several horror stories associated with internet dating. From people not being what they claim to be, or horrible matches in general, dating via the internet can be very hit or miss. The experience is really what you make it, and internet dating can be a great experience.

Internet dating has changed how many people view dating in general. Many sites try and take the guess work out of meeting people, matching you with people that are best suited for you based on their parameters. How well do these parameters work? It varies because it largely depends on people being completely honest with the answers to their questions. Deception is a big part of internet dating for some people. It may be the excitement of getting away with the lies, or perhaps they are just not confident enough in their own personality to attract others. Sorting out the lies from the truth can be a difficult task, but it is usually best to go with your gut if you get a bad feeling about someone.

Safety is so important when it comes to internet dating. You never know who you could run into on the internet, and you certainly don’t know how honest they are being with you. Here are just a few tips to keep you stock-footage-online-dating-computer-screen-conceptsafe.

Get to know them before you agree to meet. Too many times people rush into meeting someone they just met online. Ask the potential date questions past what their interests are. Asking them what they are passionate about and what their goals are can be a great way to give you an idea as to what type of partner they would be for you, and how their goals would mesh with yours.

Go with your gut feeling. Our instincts will very rarely lead us astray. If in your heart you do not think that this person is safe, a good match, or there is something “off” about them, go with your gut. Don’t put yourself in a situation that you do not trust.

Make your boundaries clear. This includes both physical and emotional boundaries. Not everyone is going to be comfortable or have the same boundaries as you. It is so important that you know that your date knows your limits and will not push things that you are firm on.

Meet somewhere public for a first date. This is just a suggestion, but it is the easiest way to keep yourself safe. Meeting someone for the first time can be extremely nerve racking but meeting in a neutral place around other people can put you both at ease. It will help keep you out of any unsavoury situations that could pop up.

Dating can be tricky. Finding someone that you connect with on all levels is not an easy feat. Internet dating has made connecting to new people much easier, but it is so important to protect yourself. Trust in your gut, and know that at the end of the day that each and every encounter is a chance to learn, grow, and prosper.