All posts by velvetmp

I am a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and live in the Washington DC area. I like to write and I think love has seriously underestimated superpowers. *Unless otherwise specified, all thoughts and content belong to thepurplecouchblog ® Any unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to thepurplecouchblog ® or Theresa M. Perfetto. LCSW, P.C. with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rough Edges

When it happens, there is never a pill strong enough, a sleep deep enough, or a distraction long enough to take away the pain and ache of loss. 
There is no completion to grief. After a while we learn to love it and embrace it because after awhile, it becomes part of who we are. 

Grief is a part of love, it is loves underbelly. It’s the jagged edges of our day and the dark part of town we are afraid to walk through at night. The deeper we love the more pain of loss. It is truly a testimonial to our own legacy that we have truly loved, and loved deeply. 

Do One Thing.

The world around us is unraveling. People are unraveling. We don’t feel safe anymore. Protests, senseless mass murders, terrorism, the ongoing turbulence and mistrust of our law enforcement, the increase in gun sales, workplace violence, and corruption in many of our religious
and spiritual communities. And even our places of worship have become targets for deranged and misdirected violence.
Our leaders have become weaker, our economy has become overburdened and our dollar has become worth less and less. Which forces us to work even harder and longer. Will we ever get relief or change?  Or will it only become worse.

Have we been so busy observing mankind loose his mind that we have lost site of our enormous sense of responsibility and power as individuals? The small things that we can do that become ripples into large change? It’s time for us as people, as community members, as employees, as students, as young adults, as families, worshipers, as non believers, and as humankind to create a change. WE are the world. WE are what determines whether we choose anger and isolation from one another or to choose love and kindness in our actions or reactions. Only we can stop the madness. WE are the answer.

I believe in us.
Try this. Do one kind thing today for another person. If everyone would do just one nice thing for another person once a day or even once a week imagine the impact.

To do nothing is to decide to relinquish  control to all of the evil and chaos around us to the haters.
Hold a door open for someone, buy the persons coffee behind you in line, say hello and make eye contact with someone who looks distressed, let that person in your lane when your driving instead of pretending you dont see them. If you see someone standing in the rain, offer them an umbrella. As a nation being kind to another came naturally after 9-1-1 thats just who we are, and no amount of terriorism will ever disrupt the soul of this country.

Love can change everything. Believe it.

Signs your dating an unstable person.

She/He has no history of long term or significant lasting relationships. Most emotionally healthy individuals have a dating history of at least a few relationships that demonstrate some stability or consistency.  When they describe why things didn’t work out there is a sense of balance for both parties. If the person your dating seems to carry immense hostility with ALL their  X’s or if they refer to themselves as always being the “victim” of  prior relationship failures, it’s a big red flag. This is a sign that there is no or little insight into their own prior mistakes or failures. They are quick to blame everyone else for circumstances not working in their favor.

Her/His job history is unstable. And it’s never their fault. You may hear things like: “They don’t like me”, or “I had a horrible boss”. If someone has personality problems they rarely own their mistakes and are quick to blame everyone else. Healthy individuals are able to see areas of themselves that need improvement and they accept responsibility for their part of a problem, and hopefully learn from the experience.

She/He fights or is often rude to authority figures, friends, co-workers, or service staff. Of course everyone experiences a bump in the road now and then with other people. Yet his or her life seem to be filled with excessive drama including frequent interpersonal conflicts that seem petty. Chances are this person has a lot of trouble getting along with people.  They may lack social skills and view others in extremes. More specifically, they will vacillate between highly regarding a person one minute then devaluing them the next. If the person your dating  is struggling to get along with lots of other people then eventually, they are going to have trouble getting along with you. 

She/He irresponsible with money or has excessive debt. Enough said.

She/He has few or poor boundaries. Going through your personal things, checking your phone, going through your wallet or purse, frequently creeping your social media and overly questioning you about pictures or people. Emotionally healthy individuals are respectful of you, your time and your belongings. Your allowed to go at your pace with how, when, how much and if you share. Healthy individuals have enough self esteem and clear perspective to know that kind of behavior is inappropriate. If you feel your personal space is being infringed upon don’t second guess yourself. It’s happening. 

 She/He becomes overly attached too quickly. Emotionally healthy individuals  will remain consistent with seeing their own friends and continue to attend activities even after you begin to date. Their life doesn’t stop. That’s not to say that you aren’t excited to spend time together, or that adjustments aren’t made, by you mutually; there’s a difference. When dating begins a grounded person will maintain a balance between living their own life, maintaining their own interests and activities and sharing time with you. It’s all about balance. If the urge to merge happens too fast it’s a red flag. Remember decisions made together is one thing, being held to an expectation when your not ready is another. 

Nothing takes the place of using your own instincts and following your gut. When you begin dating someone and there are things that bother you, listen. Usually break ups occur over things you probably noticed early on but choose to ignore. It is a lot easier to start a relationship then to get out of one. 

5 Signs your relationship is in trouble.

  1. You find yourself feeling “indifferent” about things. It seems that the things that used to upset you, or that you put emotional energy thinking about has declined. If your the jealous type, maybe you find your much less concerned. Perhaps you aren’t as invested in “fighting” for the time you spent together before. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you spend more time alone or with other people then with your person. Did your birthday or anniversary go by and you didn’t get a card or a hug? This is the beginning of big problem. Feeling indifferent is not a good thing.
  2. Sex has gone down the drain.    Whether it be the frequency, the quality or maybe your overall interest. You just don’t find yourself caring about whether it happens or not. The looks you once gave one another, the flirtatious cute comments, maybe your attention to detail about how you look when you go to bed. 
  3. There is less “coupling”. You don’t do things together as a couple. Think of it like this: if you find you are spending more time alone or with friends then you do together, it’s a red flag. The time that you both carved out to go out to dinner alone, or go on a trip alone together (even a simple day trips), or spending time as a couple to enjoy one another’s company doesn’t happen often if at all. 
  4. Intimacy has become non existent. Don’t confuse intimacy with sex. Intimacy is emotional closeness and connectedness. Your discussions with one another rarely include words like ” I love you” or “I miss you”. There is a lack of emotional vulnerability and openess between you. A distance. When this happens over time; refer back to number one. You stop communicating with one another. Don’t confuse talking with communicating. Communication involves active listening, eye contact, being emotionally present (not folding clothes or staring at a phone while your interacting).
  5. You spend more time unhappy in the relationship then you do feeling happy. This doesn’t mean of course you should feel “happy” all the time. Life throws things at us that we have to manage. Our jobs, our families, money issues, issues with the kids, the washer & dryer on are the fritz. When I say happy, I mean do you feel a sense of being “emotionally fed” in your relationship. Are you receiving the emotional things you need? Are you getting something/anything positive from the relationship for you? Is there a sense of emotional reciprocity? It’s surprising when I ask this question to individuals who are part of a couple how often I receive a blank look. Do you feel loved? Do you feel valued & respected? Do you feel pretty or handsome to by him/her?  Do you feel understood?                     
  6. Do you find yourself frequently fantasizing about living a different life without your spouse? how much time? day dreaming one day or has it become the  secret place you go in your head to feel it’s possible? 

 Intimacy and emotional safety is the cornerstone of predicting longevity in any relationship. If you have intimacy that’s a good thing. if you don’t it may be time to get couples counseling to discuss why one or each of you is not feeling safe and why. This is how emotional and physical affairs happen. 

Marriage can be a precarious place for women in their 40’s…

When a married woman reaches 40, and often older, her life begins to change. The children she longed to have are growing older, her education has begun to pay off as she has developed her own career. She is earning her own money and is contributing to the household income, often significantly. She has developed a broad and strong support network of other women and co-workers who she trusts, and who provide her with emotional support in addition to social outlets. She has matured. She has developed a “net” for herself. She has reached a different place in her life, emotionally.

The decent, loving, stable, nice man she met 15 or 20 years ago, now her husband, is a good father and provider, and yet she discovers that she does not need him in the same ways that she once did.  So why are so many women at this life stage finding themselves questioning their own feelings and asking themselves “Am I crazy for thinking about leaving?” He doesn’t drink heavily, he’s loyal, he is smart, he loves me, he doesn’t run around at night, and we get along. Slowly, her life which use to feel very fullfiling suddenly feels vanilla. When she speaks to her family and friends about her feelings she hears “What is wrong with vanilla?” or “are you crazy? he’s such a good guy and father you should feel lucky! I think there something is wrong with YOU!” So, she tells herself that she just can’t leave. She can’t justify it. And she can’t hurt him. Her feelings are suddenly not as important as these things in the face of logic. She tells herself that she really has no good reason to leave. She just can’t get out. Marriage is a commitment and it has its ups and downs right? And besides things can’t always be exciting that’s unrealistic. There are dips in all relationships. So she waits, hoping things might feel better. She may ask her husband to go to counseling but he’s not really doing anything wrong. It’s her own emerging feelings that are driving her ambivalence. She says to herself “If I can only hang in there another few years until the kids are done with high school”. The safety, consistency, and love, she once felt, the children they have together  shouldn’t it all be enough? These things once gave her great joy. Yet SHE has changed inside. Her emotional needs have changed, she has grown, she finds herself feeling lonely in the marriage. These are some conditions that often create a dangerous and vulnerable environment and for an affair to be set in motion. Women having affairs isn’t talked about much in social media, but it happens quite frequently. Women simply aren’t as comfortable revealing or owning such behavior.

Many of the reasons that woman marry when they are younger are fulfilled by their 40’s. By that time they are much more comfortable in their own skin and more emotionally mature. Later in life they can  provide for themselves, and the emotional needs they had in their 20’s have been realized. They have also become more comfortable and secure with themselves and the world. Emotionally, they have a built a network of friends and support, financially, they have begun to make their own money, martial sex has become flat as the emotional connectedness has diminished. Conversations have become dry and routine. It is often described to me as an ” unexplained emptiness” never felt before. The desire remains to have a partner yet she doesn’t NEED to be with anyone. She is filled with guilt, angst and confusion.

Of course all relationships go through ups and downs. Especially those that span a decade or more. The stress of raising children, financial changes, job changes, experiencing loss through death, and tragedy that is just life. Couples therapy can significantly help with recapturing the intimacy and connectedness lost over time. It cannot however, change an individual’s  sense of who they have become or how they feel. If one person in the marriage is not “all in”, no matter how wonderful their husband or wife may be, it might be time to change direction. Feelings are feelings, needs change, what you have to offer now may not necessarily be enough 15 years from now for your spouse.  Women are emotionally dynamic and organic creatures. Sometimes it may be about the relationship. Sometimes though it may just be about us. 

Listen.

What is really good for me? What is really good for you? Is it what makes us happy or does most of our contentment come from within if we work hard at it and all the other good stuff is just extra?
Go into your heart, pull out the weeds, clear the brush, break down the walls and look at what’s in there what is it?
Is it love? Is it fear? Is it shame or maybe there a gaping hole that’s always being filled by things that we think gratify us. Maybe those things we put in the hole, if we have one, are the things that keep us apart from at least some of the joy and happiness we desire for ourselves.

What is it that makes us feel fulfilled?
Is our work? Does it come from being a good parent or spouse? Is it having a sense of mastery over something important and gives us feelings that just maybe we are making a dent in some small or significant way in our world?
Go into your head clear the chatter,
Stop the thinking, don’t try to hear, just wait and listen.
Listen to you. Your talking by the way, your dreams your aspirations, the flashes of happiness or even sadness we might see before we fall asleep at night. Our thoughts when we hear a song that swells our heart, or when the sun warms our face.
Just listen you will know.
Listen to your feelings, your images,
your dreams, the things you doodle when your not thinking, heed to your senses, does something move you inside,?
What exactly is the expression of our own authenticity?
That is our power source. Not money or position, or status. It is you.
It is me.
What is really good for us? What makes us truly happy?
You know.

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Can you handle the truth?

Getting honest with yourself is hard.
Staying honest even harder. It’s so much easier to avoid, ignore, compartmentalize, and just turn our heads the other way. We can. We do. Doesn’t everyone? Well, eventually we pay for that detour. It hits us over the head one day and forces us to look at that old and familiar ugly mug of reality. What we have refused to acknowledge, what we minimized, sneaks back to visit us through the back door. Lying to ourselves can be so much more comfortable then honesty and vulnerability. Whether it be avoiding looking at something inside of ourselves or doing emotional reconnaissance on someone we love.
Is living in denial a bad thing if we are enjoying the ride? Or does acceptance of the obvious eventually give us a longer ride at the end?
Insight is cheap unless we are willing to do what’s hard.
Making honest choices based on truth. A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.

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Depression is a flaw in chemistry….

not in character.

“Sadness is what you feel when something in your life goes wrong.
Depression is something you feel when everything in your life goes right”

http://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/01/22/madison-holleran-suicide-note-dispel-myth-selfish-suicide/

IF YOU ARE IN SUICIDAL CRISIS,
CALL 800-273-TALK (8255)

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