Posts Tagged: partner

Crazy Making Relationships

You know something isn’t right. Maybe it’s the baffling mood swings. Or maybe it’s the way your partner is cruel one day, then sweet and loving the next without explanation. Or maybe it’s the lack of self-awareness your partner has when it comes to how they affect those around them.

Last week, we talked about how sane people living in crazy family systems, end up feeling crazy themselves. Click here if you missed it. If you think you may be in a dysfunctional relationship with a dysfunctional person, reading it will help you feel less out-of-control and more grounded in reality.

What is a Personality Disorder? For our purposes, I’m going to condense a BIG and COMPLICATED topic with diagnostic considerations into a tiny little definition.

A Personality Disorder is a pattern of lifelong maladaptive behaviors.

Want to read that again?

A pattern of lifelong maladaptive behaviors. Basically, ineffective behaviors practiced over and over again for the span of life.

Personality disordered people are sometimes tricky to recognize. They may look, act and talk the same as everyone else you know, but at second glance, have some glaring problems. Maybe its the string of failed jobs, wrecked relationships, run-ins with the law, sporadic and unpredictable behavior, or addictions. These things are red flags to the casual observer, but if you’re in a relationship with a Personality Disordered person, you’ve heard 100 excuses for each one.




My hope is that after reading this, you will be able to feel less guilty, less self-doubt, and less blame for the craziness in your relationship. By recognizing common traits of personality disordered people, you can  get the support you need to make changes in your relationship. Here are common traits among all the Personality Disorders (For the folks who like the deets, here ya go! All Personality Disorders like Narcissistic, Borderline, Obsessive Compulsive, Antisocial, and Histrionic, but except Avoidant or Schizoid Personality Disorders- those are different.)


  • Self-Awareness Deficit: don’t recognize how their dysfunctional behavior may be negatively impacting others.
  • Self-Absorption: Consumed with their own pain or needs, they don’t value the importance of other’s pain or needs.
  • Unwillingness to Admit They May be Wrong: Defending, excusing and justifying themselves are constant mechanisms to keep avoid personal accountability.
  • Entitlement: feel entitled to and vehemently demand preferential treatment.
  • Compete Instead of Cooperate: there always seems to be a win/lose or one up/one down scenario. They use power plays with others to show dominance in intelligence, wealth, beauty, popularity, or power. They are unwilling to collaborate or cooperate.
  • Disinterested in Reality: Creating their own, unchecked and often self-righteous world view, unwilling to see things from other’s perspectives.
  • Emotionally Dysregulated: unpredictable mood swings, outbursts, cold silence or agitated anxiety keeps others walking on egg shells.
  • Lacking in Empathy: this trait goes hand in hand with superiority. Having empathy is the ability to metaphorically walk in another’s shoes and relate to how another is feeling. Empathy is beneath them.

With this line up, you can see how maintaining relationship with a Personality Disordered person can take quite a toll on partners and family members.

Partners and family will often feel exhausted being their constant source, anxious trying to keep the peace, and crazy with the mixed signals.

So what should you do?

The first step is to get some professional help. A counselor or coach who is knowledgeable about personality disorders will be able to help you set boundaries, communicate your needs, and follow through. Read the difference between counseling and coaching here, and sign up for an appointment here.

Next week, we will talk about the specifics steps needed in order to change the dynamics in the relationship. Stay tuned! (But if you need more help FAST, click here for more help on living with personality disordered peeps.)

How To Feel Closer Part I

Good morning Moms, Dads, Girlfriends and Lumber Jacks (that’s for all my hairy-faced friends.) Have you ever felt closed off from someone you love? Have you felt lonely in your marriage? I think one of the hardest places to be in life, is living in a house with someone you don’t feel close to. Don’t you agree?

Marriage can sometimes feel more like two roommates coming and going than two people in love. Or maybe marriage feels like co-parenting, where raising the kids is the only thing really keeping you together. 

Why do I feel locked out?

Where did the closeness go?

What about the friendship and romance and cute little gifts and loving words?

It seems like all  that’s left are the responsibilities.

You and your partner more than likely respect and value each other a great deal. You have been through a lot together, and don’t want to give up on the good that you have. But the feelings of loneliness, depression and boredom are hard to fight off. You’re afraid that any topic of significance might land you in a fight. Or that you’ll strike up a conversation, and you’ll get a one-word response. Or that a date night meant to bring you together will end up making you feel even further apart.

You are what I call… Losers. Don’t get offended just yet! Let me explain. Being a loser has nothing to do with how much time you sit on the couch, or how many bags of potato chips you consume or how many hours of Netflix you can binge in one setting. 

NO! Being a Loser just means that you are losing out on truly KNOWING one another. You are losing out on the INNER life of the other person because busy-ness, child-raising, job stressors, and pressures get in the way. You lose out on sharing deep, meaningful experiences together because life’s demands keep you distant and headed in separate directions. Relationship Losers lose out on each other. 

Relationship Losers feel like an invisible wall separates them from their partner and neither can see into one another’s heart. They are afraid to be vulnerable with each other. They are afraid to tell the other what they really feel or really want. They are afraid that if they really share their deepest selves, they will feel weak or be rejected.

If these things describe how you feel currently in your marriage, don’t worry. You’re not alone, and you don’t have to feel this way forever.

Many marriage go through times like this. It doesn’t mean that there are major issues, or that the marriage is broken, or that the coldness can’t be warmed up.

It DOES mean that the marriage needs some time and attention. Couples who find themselves Losing Out on each other are in the PRIME POSITION for their next INTIMACY BREAKTHROUGH. These couples long to not only get back the closeness they used to have, but they want something even deeper. They just don’t know how to get it.

Next week, I’m going to talk about three simple ways to rekindle some intimacy through:

1. Having “THE” Conversation

2. Breaking Down Walls, and

3. Getting back some US time.

For now, spend some time looking inward about the fears you may have about getting closer. Usually people fear one of two things in relationships: 1) Being Abandoned, or 2) Being Controlled. Explore the fears you have regarding getting closer to your partner. Maybe you wonder if he’s capable of loving you the way you need. Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing your partner. Maybe you’re afraid of exposing your vulnerabilities because of potential judgment. Whatever your fears may be, they are difficult to admit, but common to all of us.

Next week, we will look at practical steps to help turn your Loser relationship into a Lover relationship.



Intimacy: The Thing You Wanted but Didn’t Get

Are you tired of feeling distant from the people you love- closed off and shut out? Do you desire closer connection but find that time, stress and negative emotions get in the way?

Well, good morning to all my favorite people in the world! I’m glad you clicked. Today I’m starting a four part series on Intimacy: Intimacy with ourselves, and with the people we love. Over the next month we will cover 1)What is True Intimacy and How to Get It, 2) The Key Ingredients You Need to Spark Intimacy in Your Relationships, 3)The Enemies of Intimacy and How to Avoid Them, and 4) How to Be Your Own Best Friend When Loneliness is Knocking.

Intimacy is something we all want and need. We need to be seen as valuable, known deeply, and loved unconditionally. We need these things in order to become the best versions of ourselves, but we sometimes get in our own way of getting the intimacy we want.

True Intimacy between friend or spouse is: sharing your experience with him/her without fearing judgement or rejection, and sharing his/her experience without judging or trying to change/fix him/her. You are able to accept your friend fully even if she is very different with a very different experience of your relationship. You are able to share deeply with your spouse without fear of being judged for your feelings. You are able to listen to your spouse’s feelings and experience without trying to change him. You feel seen, known and unconditionally accepted

What does it take to have this kind of intimacy with others? It takes Sacred Ground Living.

First, offer this kind of love to yourself. You won’t be able to love someone intimately until you’ve offered intimate love to yourself. For me, this means coming to God and accepting his unconditional love in the face of mistakes, failures and shortcomings. At the time I want to most deny, lie about or hide from my mistake, I try to turn to God instead. When I know that I am accepted and loved no matter what, I am able to offer myself this same kind of love and forgiveness. God’s love changes me. This is intimacy with the self- seeing myself as valuable, knowing the truth about myself, and loving myself unconditionally. You know- just the way God does.

Second, Show Up to Your Relationships. Intimacy requires vulnerability. It requires that we show up fully, exposed and real, to the people in our lives. It means instead of using sarcasm, criticism or nagging, we use wholehearted language with our friends or spouse telling them exactly what we want. Instead of, “Oh look who finally decided to come home,” we say, “I missed you today, I want to spend time with you.” Instead of passive-aggressively running the other way in an argument, we get to the heart of the matter and resolve it with compassion. Instead of picking fights and criticizing our spouse’s faults, we share our feelings with vulnerability and strength.

I call this Sacred Ground Living.

Thirdly, Take A Risk Even When There’s No Guarantee It Will Pay Off. Being vulnerable is risky business. Seeking intimacy with others is risky, too. It truly is Walking by Faith. You don’t know if your partner will return your vulnerability. You don’t know if showing up to your life will bring criticism or judgement. You don’t know if your efforts toward greater intimacy will backfire. That is the Faith Walk- going where Love calls you to go, even when there is no guarantee that it will work. Your friend or spouse may abandon you still. She may not join you in this level of intimacy and may choose a different direction. That hurts, but it’s ok, because you’re going to be ok. When you are abandoned or feeling rejected, God doesn’t abandon you, and you won’t abandon yourself.

Sacred Ground Living is being able to accept yourself just as you are, and pursue others with love. It is receiving God’s love for yourself so deeply that you can sacrificially love others. It is the hard choice to act in truth instead of avoiding difficult conversations. Sacred Ground Living is the kind of living where you can look at yourself in the mirror with conviction and grace to say, “I can go to bed with YOU every night.”

My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.

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