Toxic Mother-in-Laws and Other Boundary Busters

Toxic Mother-in-Laws and Other Boundary Busters

One of the pain points I hear most often as a therapist are from women who have experienced or are currently experiencing mother-in-law wounds. My clients who struggle with this toxic family dynamic share feelings of hurt, anger and confusion as a result of being ostracized, ignored,  criticized or emotionally abused by their mother-in-law...

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Welcome to Our Counseling Blog...

Welcome to Our Counseling Blog...

We are glad you are here! Our inspiration for this blog is to provide helpful information and healing resources to support individuals and couples in creating authentic and joyful lives and relationships that are honest, connected and loving. As Growth Counseling therapists, we believe that every single human being deserves to have trusted support during challenging seasons of life.  We believe that you have the capacity to create a life that feels rewarding and fulfilling, and relationships you can be proud of.

Keep calm, read on...and..enjoy!

Mari and the Growth Counseling Services Team

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Not Every Daughter Celebrates Mother's Day

Not Every Daughter Celebrates Mother's Day

I realize that this is a tough topic for many people. We are socialized to revere and respect our mothers. For those of us who had hurtful or traumatic relationships with our mothers, we are often told to "forgive and forget", or reminded that, "she did her best." However, there are a great many of us who did not have this gift. We stuffed our voices as children. We learned to hide the abuse. We did this as a matter of survival. Abused children are the family secret keepers and the symptom bearers of those secrets...

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Givers and Takers: Which one are you?

Givers and Takers: Which one are you?

Here are some thoughts on moving out of self-absorption and expressing appreciation through word and deed to those who give to us.

We all have someone in our life who falls into the self-absorbed category. These people typically fall on the spectrum of selfishness.

On one end of the spectrum, they appear to be involved and interested, but at their core they are fair weather friends going where the fun and action is, or taking what they need and moving on.

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Put down that phone and tune into life!

Put down that phone and tune into life!

A pet peeve in my personal life is when folks are attached at the wrist to their phones. You know the ones...you can't have a relaxed, focused, mindful, connected conversation with them because they are not fully present. Rather, they are attempting to exist in two places at once, checking text messages while trying to carry on a conversation with you.

This is beyond disrespectful and sends a message that you are not as important as what is happening on their phone.

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The Secret to Successful Therapy

The Secret to Successful Therapy

I share with clients all the time that therapy is a two way street, my clients bring their courage to change, and I bring my expertise and tools of support. As much as I love helping hurting people heal, grow and thrive, and though I have focused tools and a solid treatment plan to support the individuals and couples I work with, I do not have a magic wand in my tool box. 

My clients who are most successful in their work do three things:

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20 Healthy Choices to Change Your Passive Aggressive Behavior

20 Healthy Choices to Change Your Passive Aggressive Behavior

Have you been called Passive Aggressive by people close to you? Have you ever wondered if you are passive aggressive? Or is someone you know using PA words and behaviors with you? If so, the following information is written as a non-shaming support for individuals who express their rage, fear and upset through passive aggressive words and actions (and for those impacted by your PA choices).

To begin, it is important to remember that passive aggression is a form of anger wrapped up in a smile, a "witty" remark designed to sting, a below the belt dig, or an expressed irritation as humor, or gossip and rumors. It leaves the receiver feeling gas lit, manipulated, drained, offended, bullied and wounded. And often leaves the PA offender feeling activated, anxious, angry, vindictive and ashamed. It is a wound that is worth healing - for your sake and for the sake of people who would like to be a part of your life, but flee due to your PA choices.

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Do I look Fat: Body Strengthening vs. Body Shaming

Do I look Fat: Body Strengthening vs. Body Shaming

I adore this sketch and I wish I knew who the artist was/is (thank you whoever you are). I am sharing with all of you lovelies who are blossoming into embracing your beautiful selves as well. And for those who beat up on yourself for every inch or pound, may you begin to heal. 

It reminded me of a visit I had with a rail thin female friend who said no less than 6 times in 24 hours "I need to lose weight", "Only 5 more pounds to go", "It's really unhealthy to be even 10 pounds over weight", "I was so fat a few months ago", "How are you doing on your diet?", "You know Mari, Americans are the fattest people" "europeans know how to stay healthy and slim", and so on. And so on. And so on. She cooks up a storm but can't enjoy a single bite without shaming herself.

So heartbreaking....

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20 Supportive & Healthy Ways to Handle Passive Aggressive People

20 Supportive & Healthy Ways to Handle Passive Aggressive People

"I'm nothing if not honest!"; "I'm not responsible for your feelings!"; "You're too sensitive!"; "I was kidding around, geez!"

Perhaps you have heard a remark like this directly after being stung by passive aggressive words or behaviors. If so, you have likely experienced the very real emotional "ouch" one feels in an interaction like this. You may have even doubted your own reality, wondering if perhaps you are too sensitive. 

If you are nodding your head right now, unfortunately, you are not alone, as most everyone will fall under the confusing and troubling spell of a toxic PA person at some point in their personal life, professional career, or on social media.

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Ashley Madison Hack: First Steps in Healing your Relationship

Ashley Madison Hack: First Steps in Healing your Relationship

In the aftermath of the Ashley Madison hack, my therapy center has been blowing up with calls and emails from individuals and couples who are afraid, ashamed, and angry. These hurting people are asking for help in moving through the painful discovery or disclosure that their marriage or relationship has been impacted by deceptive sexual choices, including infidelity on the Ashley Madison website. 

If you are reading this and you are the person who has "cheated" on a loved one, and you have been losing sleep this week terrified that your secret sexual life will soon be revealed, you have likely been scanning the Internet looking for ways to support yourself and salvage your relationship. 

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Help! The Ashley Madison Hack Will Ruin My Life...

Help! The Ashley Madison Hack Will Ruin My Life...

By now most of the world has heard about the Ashley Madison website hack.  Ashley Madison’s website slogan is, “Life is short, have an affair.” AM is not a traditional dating website, instead it caters to married people and people in relationships interested in having a secret affair. With over 37 million members, the company prides themselves on keeping their client’s identity and information confidential through top notch data security.

However, this may be changing soon as the hackers are now threatening to release all of Ashley Madison's customer records and make the names of their customers public if the website isn't shut down.

The hackers called themselves the "Impact Team," and the potential release includes "profiles with all the customers' secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails."

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How to Deal with People Who Use Passive Aggressive Anger

How to Deal with People Who Use Passive Aggressive Anger

A good friend called me last weekend trying to kill some time while waiting on her chronically late sister, "We live exactly the same distance from this café, a place we meet each month, and 9 out of 10 times she is 30-40 minutes late, it never fails!” My friend went on to share other “flakey” aspects of her sister’s behavior in their relationship such as forgetting dates, not following though on tasks, and so forth.

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The Importance of Mindfullness and Nature

The Importance of Mindfullness and Nature

This is what I saw ...

by Mari A. Lee

As I walked the blocks to the park where I stretch each morning I saw a man with a waist length white beard, round black glasses, and a walking stick. As we passed one another he said, “’Mornin’” like he does whenever I see him. I get a peaceful feeling from this man.

As I stretched at the park warming up for the road ahead, I saw a man playing catch with a black scotty dog in the dry grass of the baseball field. The dog looked happy to be out. As I bent over to stretch, I saw the man ogle me. 

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How Holding onto Resentment Makes YOU Suffer

How Holding onto Resentment Makes YOU Suffer

Part One of a Three Part Series

Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT-S

www.growthcounselingservices.com

An important component of healthy human growth is learning how to move forward in life and love when one has been hurt, ignored, insulted, slighted, rebuffed, gossiped about, lied to, cheated on, dumped, criticized, betrayed, abandoned, humiliated, or laughed at. This can feel especially hurtful when these actions are delivered by a person you have loved and trusted. 

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Using Kindness to Heal

Using Kindness to Heal

This week the focus is on intentional acts of kindness. Where can you intentionally extend kindness today? Remember: Even in this small moment, taking a few seconds to close your eyes, breathing deeply, and say a prayer, affirmation, or meditation for someone you love [or someone you don't!] is an act of kindness that supports healing on a cellular level. 

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Adult Time Outs

Adult Time Outs

This week happens to be an extraordinarily busy week ahead for me. It can be challenging for many of us to weave in self care when the tapestry of our day is filled with people, places and things. A good reminder that I give myself is to fill my cup first in order to give from a place of abundance to others vs. a place of depletion. Depletion leads to burn out, resentment, accidents, and a myriad of other negative consequences. 

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