A Moment in My Marriage

There are moments in my marriage that take my breath away.

Last Sunday on Mother’s Day, the four of us spent several hours working on my garden. My garden is one of my sanctuaries, but every year the grass from the lawn finds its way into my vegetable beds and by mid-summer they’re overrun with weeds. Last autumn we realized that we needed to make a border around the garden to prevent the grass from crawling over, so my request for Mother’s Day was my family’s help to create this barrier. This required renting a heavy piece of equipment to cut the sod then transporting twenty, sixty-pound bags of rock from the store into my garden. I’m all for women’s empowerment but I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage this one on my own. My husband was more than happy to help.

We worked all day together. While my … Click here to continue reading...

The Scariest Thing We Do

Every day that I work with clients struggling with relationship anxiety I find myself saying some version of, “Of course you’re scared. Loving is the scariest thing we do.” As I’ve written about several times on this blog, fear doesn’t always present as fear but instead shows up as irritation, annoyance, numbness, ambivalence, lack of attraction, and doubt. It’s a convoluted defense mechanism, the ego’s attempt to circumvent being left or rejected by convincing you that you don’t love or even like your partner anyway, but in the end these are all manifestations of fear.

And the client almost invariably asks, “But why is love so scary?” It’s scary because we’ve been hurt by love. It’s scary because underneath the projections (“He’s not intellectual enough”, “She’s not attractive enough”) lives the belief that you’re not enough in some way. It’s scary because when we love another person we’re handing them … Click here to continue reading...

Positive Projection

The topic of projection arises frequently on this blog and in my counseling work with clients struggling through the wedding transition. The truth is that any time you’re in a intimate relationship with a real person (as opposed to infatuated with someone who’s not available), you’ll find yourself irritated with your partner. Some of this irritation is a natural by-product of intimacy and will occur with anyone with whom you’re close (parents, siblings, friends). And if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person, the irritation will increase tenfold.  Let’s face it, people are sometimes annoying: They don’t do things as quickly or efficiently as you would like, they leave the toilet seat up, they call too often or not enough, they laugh loudly, they tell the same story multiple times. It’s okay to feel irritated, but when you find that the irritation has crossed the line into obsession, you know you’re … Click here to continue reading...