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Red and Green Flags You Must Watch when Dating Someone?

Watch Out for the Red and Green Flags of Dating – Shares Couples Therapist Shivani Sadhoo

Getting to know someone actually you really like is a wonderful experience. You feel as if you will conquer the whole world. You stay up the entire night getting to know that special person and daydreaming about when you may see them again. And there is a nice reason for this.

Human beings are designed to bond with other humans. When you date, oxytocin is released into your brain. This helps you to bond. Dopamine releases to make you feel happy and elated when in the presence of your special person.

Due to this, you are not necessarily seeing clearly. You seem to minimize or completely ignore the bad and maximize the good. When you opt for something that does not feel right or a characteristic you do not like, you perhaps justify it or explain it away. This is the reason it is hard to recognize red flags at the initial stages of your relationship. Your body form does not want you to.

Fortunately, there is certainly research on what makes certain couples the “masters” and others the “disasters” of relationships. Relationship counselor Shivani believes you can use it as early as the first date to begin paying attention to whether or not you wish to continue with the other person.

Read on this blog by eminent couples therapist in India Shivani Misri Sadhoo that shares clues that you need to watch out for while you are dating someone.

couples counselling shivani misri sadhoo

Red flags

So what actually makes a couple a “disaster”? One of the top predictors of that is the utilization of something according to Dr. John Gottman who called “The Four Horsemen,” which is a play about the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” coming to indicate the end of times.

The Four Horsemen basically are:

  • Criticism – Describing flaws in character within your partner
  • Defensiveness – Not taking responsibility for your part
  • Contempt – Belittling and taking a superior position
  • Stonewalling – Shutting out your partner or shutting down

You can begin to notice whether or not these are visible in your relationship even in the initial phases. What may look like?

Criticism

If a person that you are dating, often criticizes you or other people, you may notice them saying words such as “always” or “never.” For instance, “you are always very late” or “you never think about me at night!”

Defensiveness

Defensiveness seems like counter-criticizing, over-explaining, or justifying actions, or playing the victim. If you are dating and bring up an issue that you have and the other individual responds defensively, that could be something to watch out for. It might look like them saying, “I know I keep showing up late but I truly have a very busy job. Why do not you get that?”

Stonewalling

Stonewalling is mostly the outcome of physiological overwhelm. This means the individual that is stonewalling perhaps has a racing heart and a rush of stress hormones. If you are with someone who is stonewalling, it will appear as if the other individual is zoned out or could not care less about what you are saying. You may experience this during the starting conflict. Probably the other person goes disappeared or is offline and becomes unresponsive.

Contempt

This one is quite important to watch out for. Contemptuous is the most damaging of the horsemen. Contempt seems when someone holds on a position of superiority. It could sound like put-downs or mean-spirited sarcasm.

Other instances of contempt are laughing at you (not with you), putting down your own interests or profession, or taking on a position of being better than you in a certain capacity. If someone shows contempt in the initial stages of dating, this is one big red flag. So now that you have looked at what you need to avoid, let us look at what you need to look for.

Green flags

Fortunately, it did not just stop with studying the disasters of relationships. There was an attempt to know what it was the masters did differently. In the research, Dr. Gottman found the antidotes to the Four Horsemen, which are counteractive behaviors for each of the above.

When you are in the process to know someone, look for them. It is a good sign they can manage conflict and show you respect, even while you differ.

Gentle Start-up

Instead of becoming critical, the masters of relationships discuss their problems and complaints by initiating the conversation gently. They also look to follow a formula of “I noticed this, I feel that, I need this” when discussing what is troubling them, instead of being accusatory “You always do this, you need to do that, why don’t you…

Responsibility taking

Rather than being defensiveness, you want to take proper responsibility for your part. It means that you own even the tiniest piece of the problem when it is there. Individuals who take responsibility listen to their partner when they have a problem, validate the issues, and take pause prior to responding.

This could sound like one partner saying, “Hey, I have noticed that when we go out with your friends, I am left all alone in the corner. I feel truly awkward in those moments. I require you to stay by my side a bit more until I get to know them” (a gentle start-up). In turn, the other individual responds non-defensively by saying, “You are correct. I should not walk away from you like that. I can imagine it is uneasy when you don’t know everyone yet.”

Self-soothing 

Everyone gets upset. It is human to have overwhelming emotions momentarily. However, those that do well in relationships seem to take responsibility for soothing themselves and they have partners who are willing to let them take the time they want to self-soothe. It means that when someone needs a break, they take it and the other individual provides them space.

Contempt

To overcome contempt, the individual expressing it requires to lean into recognizing and expressing their own feelings. They perhaps also need to explore their earlier experiences that are leading them to feel anger or hostility toward their partner. Rather than showing contempt and saying “I cannot believe you are late. You disgust me,” a partner who can properly express themselves may say, “When you are late, I feel so upset.”

The conclusion

The initiation of the relationship is full of happy hormones that want you to bond (and mate) with your newfound significant other. Learning to identify the signs of a healthy partner can assist you to override some of those hormones and see a little more clearly.

Watch out for people who are critical, defensive, withdrawn, and contemptuous. The use of these conducts doesn’t imply that you should not be in a relationship with them, but it actually means you need to get curious regarding how they respond when you set boundaries around those sorts of behaviors.

Eventually, you want a partner who is gentle with you (even when you are upset), able to take responsibility for his or her actions (even when it’s difficult), works with you to soothe your emotional systems, and own your past pain and resentment so that he or she don’t inflict it upon you.

Shivani Misri Sadhoo is a Gottman Certified Therapist. Every day several couples and individuals seek her professional advice. Be it about their relationships or psychological or behavioral issues.

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Intimacy in a Relationship, what it is All About?

Reveals Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo what defines intimacy between couples

According to The Oxford English Dictionary intimacy has been defined as the “inmost thoughts or feelings; proceeding from, concerning, or impacting one’s inmost self: closely personal.”

While couples therapist Shivani Sadhoo says, from a psychological or relationship’s view intimacy generally, denotes mutual vulnerability, openness, and sharing. It is mostly present in close, loving relationships like in marriages and friendships. The word is also at times used to refer to sexual interactions, but intimacy does not have to be restricted to be sexual only.

Though intimacy could undoubtedly exist beyond romantic relationships, it most usually pertains to dating and marriage. The word intimacy has been derived from Latin word “intimus,” which means ‘inner’ or ‘innermost. In the majority of romance languages, the word intimate refers to an individual’s innermost qualities.

Intimacy lets people bond with each other on multiple levels. Therefore, it is a mandatory component of healthy relationships.

couples counseling shivani misri sadhoo

Through this blog, India’s eminent marriage counselor Shivani Sadhoo covers the different forms of intimacy and how you can make more of it in your relationship.

Types of intimacy that exists in a relationship

Upon hearing the word, most of you perhaps instantly jumped to thinking about physical intimacy, but other forms of intimacy are simply as important, particularly when it comes to romantic relationships. Let’s have a look at some different kinds of intimacy.

Physical intimacy

While holding a hand or hugging are both examples of physical intimacy, this form is most commonly used in reference to sex. And while sex is integral in relationships, you can also showcase physical intimacy through kissing, holding hands, cuddling, and skin-to-skin contact.

While these minor physical displays of affection might seem mundane, they can actually help you and your partner cultivate a feeling of bonding and closeness.

With reference to sex, a part of intimacy is also about feeling safe enough with your partner to share your likes and dislikes. Make certain that you are asking for the same piece of information from your partner. In this manner, you can facilitate a safe haven where both of you will feel comfortable sharing your deepest thoughts, needs, and desires.

Emotional

Emotional intimacy can also be one of the most vital aspects of a relationship. One specific journal defined emotional intimacy as involving “a perception of closeness to another that lets sharing of personal feelings, accompanied through expectations of understanding, affirmation, and demonstrations of caring.

To harvest emotional intimacy, take the proper time to listen to and share with your partner every day. Also, make notes of special moments or things that remind you of your special one so that you can let them know you are also thinking about them.

Studies have suggested that self-disclosure helps build feelings of intimacy inside marriages, which will make your bond even stronger. A big part of it is sharing your thoughts and feelings with transparency, honesty, and listening to your loved ones when they do the same.

marriage counseling blog by shivani sadhoo

Experiential

While couples do not have to be joined at the hip, shared experiences are essential in healthy relationships. They are also mostly the way that relationships start, so experiences could even add an aspect of nostalgia for long-term partners.

If you are looking to deepen your experiential intimacy, this is an excellent moment to book a trip or try out a fun new date spot or activity in your city. Try to learn something new with regard to your partner.

Intellectual

See, you do not have to watch a specific TV show together every single night, but it could be fun to have intellectual conversations with your significant other, mainly if you work in different fields. Find new topics to discuss; simple website searches pull up tons of conversation starters.

If you put good effort into having conversations beyond the everyday monotony, it will keep things fresh within your relationship.

Spiritual

While this could be referring to religious ideas and beliefs, it also means something way more profound, such as sharing actual beliefs and values. Your values and beliefs could align with religion or even general health and wellness. Regardless, it is necessary to share these vital aspects of your life with your partner.

This could also be an opportunity for you and your partner to talk about what role you exactly want spirituality to play in your lives if you have a family.

Methods to form intimacy

Not an issue of how long you two have been together, it is always important to develop your intimacy levels. Here are certain simple, practical methods to enhance and expand your levels of intimacy in your relationship:

  • If you are not in the mood or are extremely exhausted from having sex or even talking, cuddle on the couch.
  • Plan for a trip to a place neither of you has earlier been to. It is fun to experience new things for the first time.
  • Keep aside the gadgets even if it is only during a meal or while you and your partner watch a show together. Rather, make certain to do this if your partner is talking to you about their day or a specific experience.
  • While listening to your partner, make yourself completely emotionally present to them. If you at all cannot manage to do this when they are talking to you, calmly explain your case why and then set aside a specific time in the future to listen to what they have to say.
  • Send each other articles so that both of you can have fun and something new to discuss. This also assists in building intellectual intimacy, and it could provide you a much-required mental break if you have kids, or a caregiver to another loved one in the extended family.

Related Blog Post on Intimacy and Relationship

different kind of infidelity - marriage counseling

5 Different Kinds of Infidelity – Shares Couples Therapist Shivani Sadhoo

If you have ever been the victim of infidelity, the first thing you probably asked was, “why?” The outcomes of infidelity are numerous, and it is just natural to seek to know why your partner opts to cheat, even if knowing why does not bring you any relief. There might be any number of reasons, and there are several kinds of infidelity and cheating that could shed some light on those reasons, opines Shivani.

Infidelity, or cheating, is an act of being unfaithful to your partner. It usually, means engaging in sexual or romantic relations with another person other than his or her significant other, damaging a commitment or promise in the act.

Each instance of infidelity is different and fulfills a distinct need. Even though knowing why a partner cheated probably would not lessen any pain or anger you feel, being capable to rationalize the behavior and define it will allay some confusion. It could also help you feel more confident in terms of how to move forward from the situation, whether that means working on healing your relationship or moving on or should you decide to split up.

Learn more through this blog by India’s eminent marriage counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo where she explains five forms of cheating and things to do if you find yourself the victim of infidelity. Here are the types:

Opportunistic Infidelity

Opportunistic infidelity happens when one person is in love and attached to their partner, but succumbs to their sexual urge and desire for someone else. Generally, this sort of cheating is driven through situational circumstances or opportunity, risk-taking conduct. Shivani says not every act of infidelity is premeditated and forced by dissatisfaction with a current relationship. Perhaps, two individuals were drinking or in some other manner thrown into an opportunity they never anticipated.

Post the fact, the more in love a person is with their significant other, the more guilt they will feel as a result of their physical encounter. However, feelings of guilt seem to fade as the fear of being caught abates.

Obligatory infidelity

This sort of infidelity is formed on the fear that resisting someone’s sexual advances will have an outcome in rejection. People might have feelings of sexual longing, love, and attachment for a partner, but still, end up cheating since they have a strong requirement for approval. Also, their need for approval could cause them to act in a manner that is at odds compared to their other feelings. In simple words, some people cheat, not due to the fact they want to cheat, but because they require the approval that comes besides having the attention of others.

Commemorative Infidelity

This kind of infidelity happens when a person is in a committed relationship but has no feelings for their other half. There is no sexual desire, love, or attachment, just a sense of obligation to keep the couple together. Lacking love and lacking commitment to a present romantic partner are both linked to general feelings of relationship dissatisfaction.

These kinds of people justify cheating by telling themselves they have every right to look for what they are not availing of in their present relationship. Unfulfilled sexual needs could easily come into play here. Perhaps, in their established relationship, individuals are not engaging in the frequency of sex, the pattern of sex, or certain sexual behaviors that they aspire to. This could contribute to their logic to cheat.

Romantic Infidelity

At times (but not always) a deficit in a present relationship leads people to have extradyadic affairs. This sort of infidelity happens when the cheater has a small emotional attachment to their partner. They might be committed to their marriage and making it work, but they desire an intimate, loving connection with someone else.

More than possibly, their commitment to the marriage will stop them from ever leaving their spouse. Romantic infidelity means agony for the other man or woman and the cheating partner, rarely does it go into a long-term, committed relationship. Marital issues have to be quite severe prior to a spouse will leave the marriage for another individual.

Conflicted Romantic Infidelity

This happens when people experience true love and sexual desire for more than one individual at a time. Despite the idealistic notion of having just one true love, it is possible to feel intense romantic love for several people at the same time. While such scenarios are emotionally possible, they are quite complicated and seem to create plenty of anxiety and stress. In this scenario, cheating partners, in their effort not to cause anyone harm, mostly end up hurting everyone.

What to do after being cheated on

Now that whatever confusion you have hopefully been assuaged, it is up to you to decide what kind of steps to take next. Several marriages and relationships can survive infidelity, but whether or not yours will survive depends on what sort of infidelity took place and how much work you are both willing to put in. It is simply common sense to know that an opportunistic or a habitual cheater will cheat irrespective of how many times their cheating has been discovered and forgiven. Having said that any other reasons why your partner cheated do not mean they would not cheat again, so bear that in mind while deciding what steps to take next.

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Do You Need to Heal, Before Starting a New Relationship?

Avantika’s Story (Not real name)

Hardly a couple of years went into their marriage when Avantika and Rohan (not real names) were thinking about getting a divorce. Avantika was pondering where she went wrong. She analysed back the last couple of years of her marital life and the destruction of her first marriage and then how she met another man named Vishal (name changed) after some time post her divorce. Like Avantika, Vishal too was divorced and they found comfort and distraction both in each other’s company, which eventually turned into likeliness for each other.

Then, suddenly Avantika was feeling as if she had moved on too quickly, and more importantly, has she been able to completely heal from her last broken relationship prior to jumping into the next.

She posed a question to her and also to me when she came for the counseling, says Shivani Sadhoo. The question was “does she completely need to heal before initiating a new relationship”?

The process of grief and healing

Shivani says first, one needs to delve deeper into the question. What do you mean by healing? Does anyone ever “fully” heal? How can one know when they are ready to begin again?

Grief is a cluster of emotions one experiences when one loses someone with whom they had emotional attachments. The feelings one has when grieving is usual, but the majority of the time, they are unpleasant. People look to want them to go away. What requires to be understood though is that these feelings have a reason. Sadness assists you to step away from others and see inward. It presents you with time to analyze yourself and come to realities with your own responsibilities and mistakes. It lends you time to think about the future you wish for and to gradually take steps forward.

There are other feelings while you grieve. Anger is a potent emotion that helps one make changes, but it mostly becomes a source of bonding that could cause problems. Grieving people could join with one another in a relationship formed on their anger at their ex-partners and rapidly bond over that commonality. These relationships may grow fast and feel very powerful, but they require much more than simply shared anger as a basis.

William Worden in his book “Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy” talks of recovery as a four-step First, you should accept the reality of the loss and start to see the opportunities for a new future. Secondly, one needs to feel the feelings of loss. This is the step majorly avoided but it is necessary. Third, you should adjust to the facts of life without the other. The fourth process is letting go of the lost partner and searching for a new, meaningful relationship. These new relationships may be romantic or they could be something else.

Last thought

How much time does it take? People attempt to put a time frame on this procedure, but it’s difficult to measure things in that manner. You might never feel “totally healed.” If you wait for that, you might never move ahead. How do you get to know you are healed enough? When are you actually ready? When the feelings of sadness and loss start to lift when one is alone with their thoughts, and their imagination begins accepting thoughts of a brighter future… one is starting to get there.

This blog is written by top relationship and marriage counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo.

Healthy Family Habits are Key to Happiness in Your Life

Healthy Family Habits are Key to Happiness in Your Life

Family habits are a lot more than just an activity practiced at home to create a healthy family. It is a manner of life that brings the complete family together and boosts the eternal bond of love and support shared by every member of the clan.

Shivani says early childhood is the perfect time to instill healthy family habits in your child because they are more likely to grow into it and stay in the pink of health in their later years.

India’s leading Family counselor and couples therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo discusses in more detail insights about healthy family habits and characteristics of a Healthy Family.

Let us take a look at the healthy habits that promote a healthy family and support shaping the future of the child.

Have at least one meal together

Sitting together as a family and having a meal is one of the major healthy habits practiced by a healthy family that has a remarkable impact on children. It presents them a sense of belonging when every family member shares stories of what is happening in their lives over small conversations filled with laughter and smiles.

For example, talking to your children about what is happening at your workplace or the list of things you require to do prior to their grandparents’ visit tomorrow provides them an insight into how healthy households function and molds them for the future. It is also a good way to get to know more about what is happening at school and look out for any signs of bullying or child abuse.

Allocate a minimum of 30 minutes toward fitness

This is another part of a healthy family habit to encourage your kids to spend time playing outdoors to make sure they are fit and active since daily exercise and healthy families are synchronized with each other. It also adds up as quality time to bond with your kid.

You can either go for a fitness activity such as yoga and aerobics or go in for a sporty thing like running in the park and swimming. You can also think of going for cricket coaching classes or taking basketball lessons together, to learn sports and stay fit at the same time.

Set a schedule apart to play

Kids love playtime. Whether it is a fun board game with your teens or something as simple as building blocks with your tiny ones, playtime is great to forget your worries and pay attention to what really matters – your kids and also a part of a healthy family habit. No matter how frequently you shower your little ones with toys, clothes, gifts, and other materialistic things, the sole thing that matters to them is your time.

You can also think out of the box and indulge in other fun activities such as gardening and connecting with nature. This healthy family habit also acts backward, as children are teachers too, this is a brilliant way to disconnect from your monotonous routine and connect with your child.

Have a no gadget zone

In the present day’s digital age, it is not an uncommon sight to see a screen between a parent and a child. Kids have become so accustomed to digital gadgets that they mostly find solace in watching a cartoon online or playing a game, which is not a good sign. To end this habit, and transform it into a healthy habit, consider having a no-gadget zone in your home. For instance, you can make your dining room a no-phone, no laptop zone so your family is able to enjoy uninterrupted meals together. However, this rule applies to parents too, as actions speak louder than words.

Maintain a bedtime routine

Reading a story to your child each night is one of the finest practices regarding healthy habits, and it can be more advantageous than you can imagine. Not just will it encourage them to read, open up a whole world of imagination, trigger their writing talent and form their listening skills, but it will also assist them to find comfort in the tone of your voice and the warmth of your hug. Furthermore, the healthy family habit of reading to your child will bring in a consistent bedtime routine, and help them fall asleep faster and have better sleep.

Plan your weekends in advance

Weekends and family time have always walked hand-in-hand. Let your family be aware of your plans or begin a discussion on what can be done, so your kids will look forward to every weekend with excitement. It is a manner of showing your commitment to a healthy family and sends out the message that even you are equally excited to spend your free time with them.

The plans are not needed to be too extravagant. You can go for simple and fun activities for kids like going to the beach and indulging in some delicious street food or taking them to the latest animated movies of their choice. However, give your best to stick to the plans made, as a broken promise might lead to a broken heart.

Have a look at their nutrition

No list of healthy family habits is fulfilled without the benefits of nutritious food. Encouraging your kids to have a nutritious diet is one of the cornerstones of good parenting. Rather than forcing your kids to eat their vegetables, make them aware of the nutritional benefits they offer. For instance, ask them to eat more carrots for a healthy vision or drink milk for stronger bones.

In this manner, they will know why they are asked to do it and will make it a part of life, rather than something to do simply because you said so. You can also encourage your kids to help out in the kitchen and cook up a storm with simple recipes, so they come to know the nutritional value of what they eat.

Eventually, it all comes down to you being the role model for your kids. Forming healthy lifestyle habits to encourage an active lifestyle for kids involves you altering your way of life too. Thus, it is essential to practice what you preach and be the one you want your child to become.

Marriage counselling by Shivani Misri Sadhoo

If Your Marriage Going Through Bad Phase, Do These Things

Says Couples Therapist Shivani Sadhoo

The majority of people underestimate the amount of work it requires to retain a marriage. It is not merely companionship and love but fights, arguments, blame games, and misunderstandings. Couples often fail to realize and act on these negative traits of their marriage, says Shivani Sadhoo thus stumbling into the deep and dark trenches of marital problems. To stop your marriage from struggling further, you and your partner could cater by doing some of the few things that’ll enhance the intimacy between you both, says India’s eminent couples therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo.

Think of your spouse’s happiness

When you start prioritizing your partner’s happiness first, you will witness the wonders it does to your marriage. This would initiate trust, better understanding, and happiness in the marriage. Love, attention, and care completely transform a person.

Surround yourself with healthy relationships

When you are continuously surrounded by negativity i.e. others’ relationships that just include bitterness, fights, and heated arguments, you and your partner are probably to reflect that same energy into your own marriage too. So, it is very essential to surround yourself with couples who have a healthy marriage and are also able to support you likewise.

Repetitive way

When analyzed, you both observe and find a pattern that reflects negative conduct. If you always fight over your partner’s decisions, then look to doing things according to their perspective too. It might be a welcoming change. You could guide your spouse to do the same as well. Once you both come out of a stagnant pattern, you’ll realize there is a lot more to disagreements, arguments, and fights.

A new beginning is not that bad

Never hesitate to begin afresh. If you and your spouse have reached a standstill where things are not working out anymore, you both could start from scratch. Act in a way the teenagers do, who met each other for the first time and took each other on hour-long dates and to the movies. This could be a big change for the both of you, that will result positively.

Professional support

When things simply cannot work out anymore, professional couples therapists or marriage counselors step in to guide you through your struggles. They have a better understanding and neutral approach and intake of your issues as a couple and they will suggest solutions that if implemented, adequately could impact your marriage to a greater degree.

Understand the Power Dynamics in Relationship: Shivani Sadhoo

The role of power plays a crucial role in any relationship. When one specific partner enjoys too much power it often creates disharmony, imbalance and often becomes the sole cause of the relationship to crumble. Shivani says, in any marital relationship maintaining the balance in power dynamics helps it to navigate smoothly.

No relationship can blossom when one partner enjoys the power and the other one has little or no say virtually.

India’s top marriage counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo says times are changing and so do the dynamics of power in your relationship. One who better understands this aspect of balancing power in a relationship stands a higher probability to reap the goods from their relationship.

Here are the things that may help you.

Share power

It is pre-eminent to realize that real empowerment of both partners makes for a happier, healthier family. Learn to balance and divide the power and distribute duties amongst yourselves so that none of you feel stressed or burdened. This needs a mindset shift.

Balance goals both individual and family

Both the partners in a marriage need to honor common goals related to the family and respect individual dreams as well. This lessens the major portion of the load on the husband for the finances and a major portion of the load on the wife for caregiving or in other cases, or vice versa.

Try to influence not impose

Imposing your will and views and one-way communication never help in any relationship. It often leads to a deadlock and damaged egos. The skill of positive impact using listening and questioning is more vital than merely demanding or imposing your views. Honest open communication will assist in solutions when both parties feel empowered and respected.

There may always be a soft balance of power in a husband-wife relationship but to make a long-lasting relationship work, both partners require to feel empowered enough to share their power.

For any relationship to last long, the balancing act of power amongst the partners often decides which way the relationship will march on. If you feel that maintaining the balance in power often creates a rift in your relationship. It is better to introspect that and try to include the above-said things to see the positive changes in your relationship.

Reasons Love Is Not Enough

What Does It Mean To Be Emotionally Safe In A Relationship, Says Shivani Sadhoo?

We all have seen in movies, or read love stories, where the protagonists say that love is everything to survive with their lover. Is it actually, everything? Is it truly possible to love someone but not feel emotionally connected? Do you have a desire to connect? But your (deep yearnings keep making you frustrated without knowing the reason).

Wistfully, there is mostly a gap between the love you feel in your heart and the emotional intimacy you experience with someone. Shivani Sadhoo says the connection one desires may seem so close, so they keep trying, yet it might remain sadly elusive. It is maddening when you love a person but do not experience the trust and safety that is paramount for the relationship to thrive. This emotional safety is a vital foundation for an intimate relationship.

This blog by Couples Therapist and Relationship Counsellor Shivani Misri Sadhoo sheds some light on reasons when love is not enough for your relationship to thrive. Read on to know why?

Components of an Emotional Safety

When you feel emotionally safe, you feel internally relaxed with a person. Your guard is down and your shields do not go up when you interact. You feel truly free to be authentic, which includes expressing your hurts, dissatisfactions, and desires without worrying or fearing that you will be criticized or shamed.

As per John Gottman’s research on marital success, one out of the four factors that lead to disturbed relationships is defensiveness (besides criticism, contempt, and stonewalling). You defend yourself against the painful feelings that may pierce your heart if you are blamed, judged, shamed, and even rejected. Maintaining this invisible wall turns into a barrier that does not let your heart remain soft and open.

There are multiple possible manners to protect yourself when you do not feel safe. You may shield yourself by shutting down and remaining distant; you may minimize contact with your partner or friend. Or you might become critical of others before they have an opportunity to criticize you. Or you defensively turn the tables on them when they show any dissatisfaction with you. (For instance, “well you are not a good listener either” or “you are the one who always forgets not me”).

When you feel safe with a person, you do not have to be defensive since there is little to defend against. When you feel constantly treated with respect and kindness, you can relax internally with a partner. As you trust that your partner or even a friend has the intention and ability to see who you truly are—to hear and understand you, even if they might fall short a few times—you relax more and more with them, which boosts the trust and forms intimacy.

Forming a trusting, non-defensive relationship needs that you provide to another what you desire. Love demands reciprocal sharing—extending yourself toward another’s world in a manner that lets the other one feel emotionally safe with you. Enjoying the wonderful dance of intimacy—the aisle of “undefended love,” the way Jett Paris and Marlena Lyon say it: requires two self-aware, undefended individuals who are emotionally honest with themselves and each other.

Being Yourself and Being Truthful

One of the blessings of forming safety in a relationship is that you feel free to be yourself. If you have been hurt in the past, you may have vowed to never be so trusting and open again. Your heart might flash the signal: “not available for love and to be loved.”

Life is richer when you find a partner with whom to enjoy the special bond that comes from being yourself and feeling accepted as you are. As two people feel secure to be vulnerable with each other—showing tender feelings and desires without the worrying of criticism or rejection—the connection enhances.

Emotional safety also needs telling the truth and keeping agreements. You cannot feel safe with an individual who is deceiving you or when their actions are not in line with their words. Authentic, open, trustworthy communication is the life energy of an intimate relationship.

Certainly, nobody is perfect, and it is much simple to perceive others’ imperfections than to see your own. It is inevitable that sometimes trust will be broken, even in the best of relationships. But emotional safety is something that can be restored if two individuals can find the courage and is determined to address the breach through open, non-defensive communication.

borderline personality

Borderline Personality Disorder, Is More Common Than One Thinks

BPD or borderline personality disorder is relatively common. Actually, it is estimated that one in 100 people live with this condition. Or, to put it in a different way, 1.4%of the adult population has been diagnosed with BPD — the majority of them women.  And yet, in spite of its prevalence, this illness remains quite stigmatized. Most individuals do not know what borderline personality disorder is. Their only information of the condition comes from the media, and from shows and cinemas such as Fatal Attraction or Tamasha But the actual condition differs quite a bit from the movie portrayals. There are still several misconceptions about BPD.

Shivani Sadhoo says borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that is usually misunderstood by the general population and even certain healthcare professionals. It is also a disorder that has the ability to negatively affect the lives of others. Because of the two issues, there are several misconceptions about BPD. But if you or someone you know has BPD, it is important to understand the facts about the illness in order to start recovery. There is both help and hope.

So this article, by Psychologist Shivani Misri Sadhoo talks about what is a borderline personality disorder? The signs and symptoms, and how it is treated? Here is everything one needs to know about borderline personality disorder.

What is BPD?

A borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder or illness marked by an ongoing pattern of differing moods, self-image, and behaviour.

People having BPD might experience mood swings and/or perceive things in extremes, i.e. everything is excellent or worst. Life is black or white. People having borderline personality disorder struggle with their sense of self-worth. Their self-image is usually distorted and/or unstable, as are their relationships. They might swing from being extremely close to the friends and loved ones in their life to being completely angry and/or distant.

The Signs and Symptoms

While everyone will experience BPD in different ways, but those who live with borderline personality disorder seem to have difficulties with:

  •        Impulsivity
  •        Feeling bad about themselves
  •        Controlling their emotions
  •        Self-harm
  •        Suicidal thoughts
  •        Dissociation
  •        Feeling ’empty’ or numb
  •        Identity confusion
  •        Depression
  •        Paranoia
  •        Maintaining stable relationships

The Causes

The actual reason for borderline personality disorder is not known; however, some research suggests that genetics, environmental, cultural, and social factors might play a role. There is no sole reason why certain people develop a borderline personality disorder. Also, professionals cannot use things such as blood tests or brain scans to help diagnose who are suffering.

That said, you might be more vulnerable to BPD if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling also has BPD.  Experiencing abuse and/or long-term distress in your childhood may also increase your chances of being diagnosed with BPD, as can your brain’s development.

Studies indicate that people having borderline personality disorder might have structural and functional changes in the brain specifically, in the areas that control impulses and emotional regulation. However, is it not certain whether these changes are risk factors for the disorder, or done by the disorder.

Ways it is Diagnosed

There are no medical tests that can confirm or deny the presence of BPD. In fact, BPD is diagnosed based on a sequence of assessments, including a medical examination, a psychological evaluation, and a discussion of your signs and symptoms.

A qualified and professional mental health professional like a psychiatrist, psychologist, experienced in diagnosing and treating mental disorders is able to diagnose borderline personality disorder by completing a thorough screening, interview, including a discussion related symptoms; performing a careful and complete medical bases evaluation, which will help rule out other possible causes of symptoms and by asking about family medical histories, including any history of mental illness.

The manner it is Treated

BPD is historically quite hard to treat, but saying that there is assistance and hope for those having this condition.

Choices that will Help to Improve any Marriage

There are specific issues in your marriage that cannot be changed today. No matter how well you try, some marriage improvements take time.  But the given choices shared in this blog by India’s eminent marriage counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo with you today will immediately improve your marriage.

Couples Therapist Shivani says it has been seen these four things change your marriage for the good and the absence of these things could change your marriage for the bad. It would be wise to choose all of them, if possible. But even opting for trying for just one could be a game-changer.

Presume the Best for your Partner

Several couples often spend years being defensive with one another. One of the partners would ask a question and the other one would be defensive. And, vice versa. Being defensive is never going to build intimacy. When you presume the worst of your spouse, you automatically place them in defense mode. In defense mode, responsibility is not taken, grace is never shown, patience runs dry and arguments are frequent. When you presume the best of your wife or your husband, there is a confidence that even while you disagree, you know in your heart deeply that your spouse is for you. When you have confidence that your partner is for you, intense discussions help build intimacy instead of shredding it. Presume the best and be proven wrong.

Speak Less and Listen More

Some individuals are control freaks. Control freaks have to be correct and have to have the last word. Because one always trying to prove he/she was right and always trying to have the last word, one would listen but just to have a response or counterpoint. Sounds similar? Do you interrupt your partner when he/she is talking? Do you find yourself thinking of a response in your mind as your spouse is speaking? Do you not even acknowledge what has been said prior to you proving how right you are? Your marriage will change today if you listened to your loved one in order to understand, rather than to be understood. Scripture says it like this, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slower to become angry.

Stop Attempting to Change your Spouse

Many times couples often wish if they could have back the amount of time, energy, and emotions that they spent believing that we could change the other. One often thought if they yelled loud enough, made their point strong enough, were right enough, slammed the door hard enough, they would change. It never works. When one assumes the responsibility to change the heart of their spouse, they assume the role of God or nature in their marriage.  One may say can I just set you releases from something. Understand you do not have the power to change a human heart; only nature does. The best advice that can be given is, that will transform your marriage is to pray simply for your spouse and ask if it can change you.

Do Not Put Your Partner Down in Public

Some partners have this habit. They did not even realize how often they did this until the separation. One such instance could be making fun of your partner in front of other people. It could be horrible for your partner. When you make fun of your spouse or insult your spouse in front of others what you convey is how insecure you are with yourself. Do you encourage your spouse up in front of others or simply rip them apart?  There is nothing that will destroy intimacy faster than putting your spouse down in front of others. On the contrary, there is nothing more fulfilling than having your spouse compliment you in front of your friends or your family. It could be a huge factor.

Your Counselor Is Now Just Skype/Video Call Away

During the current challenging time, it’s common to experience anxietydepressionsleeplessness, and relationship challenges at home. While you are under lockdown and maintaining social distancing norms to help the country to control the pandemic’s spread, your very own counsellor Shivani is now just a call and Skype video call away from you.

However, in this age of coronavirus, we hope to offer our therapeutic help. Change is difficult for all of us and changing the way you meet with your therapist is no exception.  But try it before you disregard this option.  This is a challenging moment in time, and fears and anxieties are running high.

You may find, telepsychology isn’t a second-rate option. Instead, it’s an effective and efficient upgrade to a valuable service!

Feel free to call Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo at +91-8860875040 for telephonic or video support and to book an online counselling session to address any relationship issues, emotional and psychological challenges.