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Relationships and ADHD: Obstacles and Solutions


By Jane Collingwood

Although people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be very successful in life, the symptoms of adult ADHD can put a real strain on relationships.


In the early stages of a relationship, people with ADHD may talk too much or find themselves unable to follow the conversation. They may also misread social cues. A person with attention deficit disorder may have shifts in energy, making it hard for their partner to keep up with. Those with poor impulse control may come on too strong, and it can be particularly difficult to manage a relationship at times of stress.


In a relationship, the non-ADHD partner can find that they have to carry out all the planning, cleaning, organizing, bill paying and other responsibilities such as family commitments and arriving on time, as well as diffusing awkward situations caused by blunt comments or actions. One’s partner may struggle to help the person with ADHD find the most suitable treatment, and to deal with side effects and the cost of regular medication.


The major symptoms of attention deficit disorder — forgetfulness, inattentiveness, difficulty completing tasks and impulsivity — can all cause issues in a relationship. These can become even more complicated if children are involved. Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to remain attentive during conversations. They may be forgetful, failing to pay bills or keep the home safe for children, and miss important birthdays or anniversaries. The partner can feel hurt as a result, even if they realize it’s due to the ADHD.


Impulsive behavior can lead to reckless, irresponsible actions and overreaction to small problems. This can cause major misunderstandings and arguments that quickly spiral out of control. Adults with ADHD may also have built up emotional defenses resulting from years of not being understood, believed or trusted. When these defenses are not recognized or resolved, they can trigger anxiety and anger.


A study by Dr. Klaus Minde of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, looked at the family relationships of 33 adults with attention deficit disorder. His team found that married adults with ADHD had “poorer overall marital adjustment and more family dysfunction.” The researchers say, “The findings in this study underscore the need for assessments and treatments to address marital and family functioning of adults with ADHD.”


The same team also looked at the impact on the children of these ADHD adults. They report, “Family and marital functions were impaired in ADHD families regardless of the gender of the affected parent. Children without attention deficit disorder from families with one psychiatrically healthy parent did well, while the behavior of children with ADHD was always poor and not associated with parental mental health.” They highlight the important influence of the non-ADHD parent.


To help manage the obstacles that will arise and maintain a workable relationship, both partners need to understand the differences in their perception and communication styles. Acknowledging and accepting differences helps the adult with ADHD to feel respected, then the process of successfully negotiating those issues or behaviors becomes easier.


Expressing negative feelings like resentment or anger is important, yet it’s often difficult when one or both partners have a hard time listening without interrupting. One approach sometimes recommended is for each partner to write down how they feel, what’s bothering them or what’s working well. Since this is not done face-to-face, neither partner can interrupt, be distracted, or make impulsive judgments.


Another tool which can help gain clarity is making a list of each partner’s top priorities, both day-to-day and long-term. This can reveal possible causes of tension. Working together to overcome such obstacles helps build mutual trust and clarity.


Some other practical strategies that may help include: shopping lists and lists of daily responsibilities, a calendar of important dates, routines to simplify housework as much as possible, planning projects and outings in advance. If repeated financial or legal problems occur, the non-ADHD partner may choose to take responsibility, as long as resentment does not arise. Computers and cell phones can be used to set reminders for tasks that need doing.


Research shows that relationship problems are less likely if the person with ADHD has the condition under contrhttp://psychcentral.com/lib/wp-admin/post-new.phpol. Several medications are available and their pros and cons are widely discussed on the many ADHD websites. But drugs alone might prove insufficient. There is only so much medication can do so it may be a good idea to speak to a psychologist experienced in attention deficit disorder. Counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy are useful for some sufferers.


Other approaches are group therapy, family therapy, coaching, tutoring, physical exercise, proper rest, and adequate nutrition. ADHD and partner-focused peer support groups can also help. Marriage or couples counseling could also resolve problems that have arisen in the relationship as a result of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


References


Eakin, L. et al. The marital and family functioning of adults with ADHD and their spouses. Journal of Attention Disorders, Vol. 8, 2004. pp. 1-10.


Minde, K. et al. The psychosocial functioning of children and spouses of adults with ADHD. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 44, May 2003, pp. 637-46.


Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Attention Deficit Disorder Resources

ADHD/ADD Online Resources (UK-based)

Source:  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/relationships-and-adhd-obstacles-and-solutions/


Family Reunion

Family Tree Research Can Open a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of Secrets That May Cause Rifts, Research Says


ScienceDaily (Apr. 9, 2010) — People researching their ancestors can open a “Pandora’s Box” of secrets that may cause conflict and widen rifts in the family, new research says.


While most people derive pleasure and satisfaction from researching their ancestry, for some it brings to light “secrets and skeletons,” the study says.


Dr Anne-Marie Kramer, of the University of Warwick, told the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Glasgow (April 9) that of 224 people who gave her details of family history research, around 30 mentioned conflict.


The main causes were: uncovering unwelcome information, wanting information from relatives who didn’t wish to give it, giving relatives inaccurate information, spending more time researching than with loved ones, and coming into contact with hostile relatives. [see below for examples]


Dr Kramer analysed responses to questions about family history research put to people taking part in the Mass Observation Project, based at the University of Sussex, in which people volunteer to write about their lives as a record of everyday life.


Of the 224 replies, 140 were from women and 83 from men (and one gender unknown), aged between 16 and 95 and based across the UK. The accounts are from people researching their family history or from the relatives and friends of those carrying out the research.


Dr Kramer noted that in most cases people wrote positively about researching their family’s history. People found pleasure in making discoveries, investigating family myths and mysteries and making their ancestors real by finding out more about their lives. In some cases, the research could help mend rifts in families. However, not all experiences were entirely positive.


Dr Kramer told the conference: “Along with the USA, Canada and Australia, contemporary British society is immersed in a seemingly unprecedented boom in the family heritage industry.


“The public is enjoying unparalleled public access to historical records in archives both material and digital, while social networking genealogy websites such as Genes Reunited facilitate the publication of virtual family trees alongside the ‘rediscovery’ of long-lost ‘cousins’.


“Meanwhile, the media has been flooded with celebrity genealogy stories, with the BBC TV flagship programme, Who Do You Think You Are? reaching audiences of over five million.


“But in investigating their family history, researchers could open up a Pandora’s Box of secrets and skeletons, such as finding there are family issues around paternity, illegitimacy or marriage close to birth of children, criminality, health and mental health and previously unknown humble origins.


“The rifts are not confined to the historic past — bitterness and resentment towards siblings or parents can result where information is not disclosed.”


Dr Kramer gave some examples:


Bringing hostile relatives into contact:


One 56-year-old woman wrote: “After my father died in 1999, my brother actually fought me over the [family] tree, despite his previous total lack of interest. He insisted my grandfather’s WWI medals be split between us, and took photocopies of all my letters to Dad that Dad had kept.”


Forgetting the living:


A 31-year-old man wrote: “It is something of an annoyance to my mother that her own sister can travel to [places abroad] to speak to a distant cousin she never knew existed but cannot get on a train to come and see her own sister as it is deemed too far. Such is family life: spoonfuls of love but bubbling beneath lots of grudges, bruised feelings and massive chips on shoulders — none of which are ever discussed with the offending party!”


Uncovering unwelcome information:


A 72-year-old woman wrote: “I have a friend, who, when his mother died, found information to the effect that his sister was adopted. He has not given the information to his sister and is very uncomfortable about holding the knowledge. “


One 70-year-old woman wrote: “The fact that my grandmother was pregnant when she was married and that my parents were also in the same situation before I was born were matters that some felt were better not revealed. For some this information was unwelcome and an elderly cousin accused me of uncovering secrets that were best left hidden.”


A 64-year-old woman wrote: “Family history research can stir up a nest of hornets. For example, it emerged that my mother-in-law ‘had’ to get married. She had always been very dismissive about their [wedding] anniversary, but when we looked into the records, it was rather too close to my elder brother’s birthday! Of course, nobody minds about that these days, but she feels deeply ashamed.”


A 40-year-old woman wrote: “I was very interested in family history research but then decided I didn’t like most of the people I’m related to, so have partially abandoned the research. Sometimes you reveal more about your ancestors than you bargain for, and not all of it is nice to know.”


A 68-year-old woman wrote: “My mother and her sister didn’t know they had had an older sister who had died when she was three.”


One 45-year-old woman wrote that they found that a relative was not a naval officer, as had been thought: “When we announced that fact — oooh what an outcry. It took a lot of persuading, and they still resist to this day. We are more careful now, about what we say to the older aunties and grandparents. They have their cherished ideas about the family and there is no point to our upsetting them.”


The same woman wrote about the shock and anger experienced by her mother-in-law on discovering that her grandparents had been less ‘respectable’ than outward appearances suggested: “My mother-in-law had always known that her grandfather had married the woman who had been a maid in his fathers house… when we revealed that her grandmother… had given birth to a child, who had died within a few weeks at most, before they married — she denied it completely, at first. Later, when convinced, she was absolutely furious. It transpired that she had suffered much at the hands of the ‘respectable’ grandparents with their rigid Edwardian morality and preaching about respect and ‘the right way to do things’. To discover such a degree of hypocrisy was a great shock.”


Passing judgment on the living:


One 67-year-old woman without children who had been married several times wrote of a family tree sent to her by a cousin: “I also hated the fact that there was a line following each marriage with the words ‘No issue’.”


Creating tensions in the family:


A 40-year -old woman wrote: “My father talks at length about his background (whether you want to hear it or not!) and it’s very much his interpretation of events, very biased. Fortunately we met his parents ourselves and were able to form our own opinions (quite different to his). As I said, he holds most of the information on our family history and is unwilling to part with anything of real interest, which is a shame.”


One 70-year-old woman said that the invitation to write about family history research had: .” ..raised a wry smile because my husband is into family history research in a big way. It is his constant topic of conversation and it is driving us up the wall.”


Wanting information they have no right to:


A 67-year-old woman (mentioned above) wrote: “About 40 years ago a male cousin on my mother’s side, whom I had never met, got in touch having been given my address by the cousin I’m friendly with. He was, it seems, compiling a family tree. My cousin had given him details of myself and my three marriages and he wanted further details of my husbands and former husbands. What cheek, I thought and how intrusive.”


Positive aspects of family tree research:


One 56-year-old woman wrote: “It’s great to be able to pass on memories of family members no longer with us, and to learn more about the life they would have had. I think it helps you to feel connected — and also to do honour to people who are no longer with us.”


A 56-year-old man wrote: “My parents and grandparents all died before I was 25 and as many youngsters suddenly find it was too late to ask the questions that now seem most important. So when I had the chance I gathered little bits of information when I could. When my daughter’s mother died when my daughter was three I thought it would be good to have some information about her family roots if ever she needed it.”


Dr Kramer said the growing popularity was under-researched, and further work was needed to understand the role of family history in people’s everyday individual and family lives, as well as why so many felt it was important to explore their family history.


Source:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408194131.htm


Why affairs in the head are as bad as in bed: Even though you’re not having sex, you still could be cheating…


By Hazel Davis


Thirty- four-year-old curator Tamsin has a special new friend. His name is David, he is 12 years older and he works in a nearby gallery. They meet for coffee and spend many of their lunchtimes together.


‘Since I met David, he’s pretty much all I think about,’ says Tamsin, like a lovestruck teenager.


‘We like the same music, he laughs at my jokes and he compliments me on my clothes. We get on and I always can’t wait to see him.’


They sound like the perfect match, don’t they? And yet. . . David is married with a young daughter.


Tamsin, too, has been in a relationship with Guy for ten years and they have lived together for five.


‘I do love him,’ she says. ‘He’s my best friend and we have a lovely house and a nice life. I would never cheat on him.’


But at the weekend when she’s shopping with her partner, Tamsin says she chooses her outfits on the off-chance that she and David will meet for lunch or that he will come into the building for a work meeting.


‘When I buy underwear now, I am starting to buy it with David in mind, despite the fact that I haven’t slept with him and have no intention of doing so. Not that I haven’t thought about it, a lot.’


And her attentions appear to be reciprocated. ‘He emails me all the time when we’re not together,’ she says.


‘Sometimes we have to email for work, but other times we just chat online. We often chat online in the evenings when my partner is out playing tennis or with his friends.’


The couple’s discussions cover everything from politics to music. ‘We have loads in common,’ she says, ‘and if we weren’t both otherwise spoken for I am sure we would be a great match.’


Like Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter, who had one of the most famous non-affairs in cinematic history, David and Tamsin haven’t slept together or even shared a kiss. So they’re not doing anything wrong, are they?


Phillip Hodson, fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and author of How ‘Perfect’ Is Your Partner?, thinks otherwise. ‘I don’t think it matters what you call it, but she has switched her intimate allegiance,’ he says.


Hodson thinks that the marriage laws do nothing to help this moral double standard that Tamsin finds herself embracing.


‘We have a difficulty with the fact that the law concerning marriage is a medieval one, and modern relationships are constructed in a different way,’ he says.


‘We used to see sex as a conjugal right and that no marriage was lawful in the full sense unless there has been sexual intercourse. However, what really keeps modern relationships going is quality of intimacy.’


The internet has played a great role in Tamsin and David’s friendship and encouraging this new intimacy. ‘We email a lot and send each other funny things. It’s obvious we are trying our best lines on each other,’ says Tamsin.


She justifies her actions, she says, by the fact that she has never slept with David. ‘I would like to and it’s clear we find each other attractive, but it would kill Guy and I don’t want to break up with him or hurt him,’ she says.


As Hodson says: ‘It’s easy to think that everything’s all right because of these sexual boundaries. You’re relying on that legal technicality. But you have broken the moral and emotional rule. I believe that committing adultery in your heart is committing adultery.’


Despite the fact that Tamsin has plenty of other male friends, tellingly, she hasn’t mentioned this new one to her partner.


‘We even tend to email when we know each other’s partner is out,’ she says. ‘Unlike my other male friends, I am careful not to text at certain times when I know he will be at home or with his wife.’


‘We used to see sex as a conjugal right and that no marriage was lawful in the full sense unless there has been sexual intercourse. However, what really keeps modern relationships going is quality of intimacy.’


The internet has played a great role in Tamsin and David’s friendship and encouraging this new intimacy. ‘We email a lot and send each other funny things. It’s obvious we are trying our best lines on each other,’ says Tamsin.


She justifies her actions, she says, by the fact that she has never slept with David. ‘I would like to and it’s clear we find each other attractive, but it would kill Guy and I don’t want to break up with him or hurt him,’ she says.


As Hodson says: ‘It’s easy to think that everything’s all right because of these sexual boundaries. You’re relying on that legal technicality. But you have broken the moral and emotional rule. I believe that committing adultery in your heart is committing adultery.’


Despite the fact that Tamsin has plenty of other male friends, tellingly, she hasn’t mentioned this new one to her partner.


‘We even tend to email when we know each other’s partner is out,’ she says. ‘Unlike my other male friends, I am careful not to text at certain times when I know he will be at home or with his wife.’


YOURS UNFAITHFULLY: 24 per cent of those aged 18-34 have been unfaithful compared with 28 per cent of the over 55’s says a survey by Saga


Ed, a writer from Lincoln, is married with a five-year-old son. He has a close female friend, Susan, herself in a relationship. ‘We both work for ourselves and so it’s very easy to while away the hours chatting online,’ he says.


Unlike Tamsin, Ed does feel he’s doing something wrong, but can’t extricate himself from the relationship.


‘I do feel like I am having an affair,’ he admits. ‘Despite the fact that I would never cheat on my wife, I feel like my attention is elsewhere. I find myself fantasising about what it would be like to be with Susan.’


Ed’s wife knows about his friendship with Susan and has even met her once. He tells her when they meet for coffee and she asks after her.


‘But sometimes it’s like having an affair with all the negative trappings – the guilt, the sleeplessness, the lack of concentration, the wasted hours talking rubbish to get her attention,’ says Ed.


At times I wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to sleep with her and end the anticipation.’


Is it adultery? The law might say not. As far as divorce law is concerned in the UK, there has to be proof that a sexual relationship is taking place for it to be classed as adultery. But put yourself in Ed’s wife’s position and how would you feel?


‘If we operated our businesses the way we run our marriages, most people would be bankrupt,’ says M. Gary Neuman in his book Emotional Infidelity.


Neuman believes that by sharing things with other people who aren’t your spouse, you’re draining your partnership of the energy it needs to be great.


Neuman’s book also suggests developing more emotional intimacy with one’s spouse to avoid seeking input from elsewhere.


Sheila, a 60-year old chiropodist, who was happily married for nearly 40 years, agrees..


‘Many years ago I met a man at work who I got on very well with,’ she says. ‘Despite being completely devoted to my late husband, my heart would thrill when I saw this man. We shared many of the same interests and we laughed at the same things.’


This was enough for Sheila to believe that she shouldn’t really have contact with him.


‘Things were different then,’ she says. ‘We couldn’t have had a normal friendship in the way a man and woman could now.


‘The fact that we both recognised a kindred spirit in each other meant that it was already potentially dangerous.’


Partly as a result of that and partly down to a change in work circumstances, Sheila moved clinics and did not maintain contact with her friend. ‘It already felt wrong before anything had happened or was allowed to happen,’ she says.


Tamsin’s and Ed’s situations aren’t uncommon these days. It’s now completely socially acceptable for married men and women to be friends and to socialise away from their partners, and technological advancements have meant that friendships can be intensified quicker and intimacies shared easily and secretly.


Hodson says: ‘The internet is the largest sex organ on the planet. It enables us to seek out micro-levels of compatibility with other people which were very difficult to satisfy before.


‘If I am interested in Moorcroft and Verdi operas and also like cheese, I can probably find someone similar.


‘You can also communicate with someone 15 times an hour if you want to, so you get the reinforcing process.’


Ed agrees. ‘Most of my “cheating” is done by email,’ he says. ‘The times when I am most intimate with Susan are when we’re chatting online and talking about our innermost thoughts.’


This means, he says, that when they do meet, they already know a bit more about each other, so the attraction is intensified.


Affairs, whether sexual or emotional, usually spring from an unfulfilled need in an existing relationship. For Ed, it’s the newness. ‘I love that there’s someone I don’t know everything about,’ he says.


‘With my wife, I feel like I know it all, which is obviously great and one of the joys of being in a long-term relationship, but when you meet someone new you have the whole discovery process again.


‘I can’t surprise my wife with anything about me. She knows it all and she can even predict my responses half the time.


‘With Susan, I can impress her with stories about my youth, with my (I think) fantastic theories on life and love and she hasn’t heard it all before.’


For Tamsin, it’s not necessarily sexual, but certainly a validation of her attractiveness to the opposite sex


‘Guy doesn’t need to compliment me on what I’m wearing,’ she says. ‘Sure, he tells me he loves me, and I know deep in my heart that he adores me, come what may, but the thrill of having someone look at my clothes with new eyes, of having someone admire my legs in a skirt, of demonstrating to me that I am still attractive is very pleasing.’


Ed admits: ‘If I look down my sent items box at the number of emails I have sent to Susan, they far outnumber the ones exchanged between me and my wife. We’ve said it all. I can’t impress my wife with words any more.’


Despite how he feels, Ed insists he will never sleep with Susan. He also feels that by maintaining the emotional ‘cyber’ affair, he is preventing himself from going one step further:


‘I wonder sometimes whether if our situation had occurred 20 years ago we wouldn’t have got as close as fast as we have.


‘But, on the other hand, perhaps the tension would have resulted in a sexual affair and that still feels more wrong than what is happening now.’


Source:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1226176/Why-affairs-head-bad-bed-Even-youre-having-sex-new-book-says-cheating.html


Heart breaker:


It seems you’re more likely to die from a heart attack when having sex while having an affair, than during sex with your regular partner, although this seems largely to apply to men.


A case report in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine reports on the death of a woman who had a heart attack during extra-marital sex, something unusual in women. This is not conclusive evidence for the link between heart attacks and affairs in itself, of course, but the article reviews some suggestive evidence about sex, risk of death, physical and psychological stress.


Recent studies dispute early popular belief that sexual activity necessitates extraordinary physical effort, by showing that in normal settings, healthy adults show only mild to moderate increases in heart rate and blood pressure. However, this is not the case in individuals suffering from cardiovascular pathologies [heart problems], in which the relative risk of myocardial infarction [heart attack] in the two hours following sex increases 2.5-fold over the baseline. Furthermore, all reported cardiac deaths surrounding sexual conducts involved extramarital sex, suggesting psychological stress as an added factor.


However, as there is no data about behaviour, it’s not clear that psychological stress is the primary thing that increases risk, or whether people are just doing more strenuous things in their extramarital trysts.


The paper does mention one study from Israel, however, that sets the scene, and largely rules out the fact that this may be due to taking Viagra, which can put a strain on the heart


Between the years 1999 and 2008, the National Center of Forensic Medicine in Israel (population of 7.4 millions) investigated at least one case annually of sudden death of a male engaged in sexual activity. All these events took place with substantially younger women, in extramarital settings… In only one instance the toxicological examination revealed traces of sildenafil [Viagra] in the blood.


In all of the cases in this study, the cause was sudden heart failure in men with coronary heart disease.



Link to case report on PubMed.


Vaughan.


http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2010/04/heart_breaker.html


Jealousy Distracts


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on April 14, 2010


A new study suggests jealousy really is “blinding” as University of Delaware researchers discovered women distracted by unpleasant emotional images were unable to recognize familiar images.


The researchers believe their results reveal something profound about social relationships and perception: It has long been known that the emotions involved in social relationships affect mental and physical health, but now it appears that social emotions can literally affect what we see.


The research appears in the April issue of the journal Emotion published by the American Psychological Association.


UD psychology professors Steven Most and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau and their colleagues tested heterosexual romantic couples in a lab experiment. The romantic partners sat near each other at separate computers.


The woman was asked to detect targets (pictures of landscapes) amid rapid streams of images, while trying to ignore occasional emotionally unpleasant (gruesome or graphic) images.


The man was asked to rate the attractiveness of landscapes that appeared on his screen. Partway through the experiment, the experimenter announced the male partner would now rate the attractiveness of other single women.


At the end, the females were asked how uneasy they felt about their partner rating other women’s attractiveness.


The finding?


The more jealous the women felt, the more they were so distracted by unpleasant images that they could not see the targets.


This relationship between jealousy and “emotion-induced blindness” emerged only during the time that the male partner was rating other women, helping rule out baseline differences in performance among the women.


The researchers don’t yet know what will happen when the roles are reversed; in these experiments, it was always the women who searched for a target.


Future research might reveal whether men tend to be less or more blinded by jealousy.


Source: University of Delaware


http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/14/jealousy-distracts/12825.html


What is Forgiveness?


By Lynn Ponton, MD

Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment. If you are a parent, you can provide a wonderful model for your children by forgiving. If they observe your reconciliation with friends or family members who have wronged you, perhaps they will learn not to harbor resentment over the ways in which you may have disappointed them. If you are not a parent, forgiveness is still an extremely valuable skill to have.


In the movie “Avalon,” the uncle stopped talking to his family members for the rest of his life because they started Thanksgiving dinner without him after he was excessively late for the zillionth time. What a waste of energy it is to stay angry for decades.


Forgiveness can be a gift that we give to ourselves. Here are some easy steps towards forgiveness:


  • *Acknowledge your own inner pain.
  • *Express those emotions in non-hurtful ways without yelling or attacking.
  • *Protect yourself from further victimization.
  • *Try to understand the point of view and motivations of the person to be forgiven; replace anger with compassion.
  • *Forgive yourself for your role in the relationship.
  • *Decide whether to remain in the relationship.
  • *Perform the overt act of forgiveness verbally or in writing. If the person is dead or unreachable, you can still write down your feelings in letter form.

What Forgiveness Is Not…


  • *Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen. It did happen, and we need to retain the lesson learned without holding onto the pain.
  • *Forgiveness is not excusing. We excuse a person who is not to blame. We forgive because a wrong was committed.
  • *Forgiveness is not giving permission to continue hurtful behaviors; nor is it condoning the behavior in the past or in the future.
  • *Forgiveness is not reconciliation. We have to make a separate decision about whether to reconcile with the person we are forgiving or whether to maintain our distance.

Forgiving and letting go can be very difficult challenges, but it’s even more stressful to hold on to grudges. There are several symbolic letting-go rituals that can help with the process. If you are having trouble forgiving someone else, write them a letter expressing all of your feelings and explaining why you need to let go. You don’t need to mail that letter — it is cathartic just to write it all down. You can also write down all of your excess “baggage” on a piece of paper and burn it or cast it into the sea in a bottle when you are ready to really let go.


Source:  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/what-is-forgiveness/


Healing Your Relationship


By Iris Martin

Did you ever stop to think that some of the most important things in life are not taught in school? Nobody teaches us, for example, about relationships: how to choose a partner, how to stay together despite differences, and how to know when it is really right to separate. For most people, it seems, learning about relationships is a matter of trial and error, often with a lot of pain and heartache mixed in.


Why Are Loving Relationships So Difficult To Maintain?


To begin with, we come into relationships from different families, different backgrounds, and with different experiences from childhood. How we experience love as a child provides us with the series of love lessons we carry into adulthood. Perhaps, as a child, Earl saw constant fighting, screaming, or crying in his family. What he learned is that love is all about suffering and unhappiness. Roberta might have seen one parent who dominated and controlled the other. The lesson, she thought, was that, to maintain a relationship, you always have to give in to your partner. Perhaps there was a divorce in the family or a parent died; the child who lives through such a loss comes to believe that people will hurt and abandon you, so it’s a good idea not to trust or get too close.


Sometimes, people develop negative thoughts about themselves related to their earlier childhood experiences. Often, they are not fully aware of these negative beliefs. Some people, for example, secretly feel that they are not worthy of an intimate relationship. “if that person really knew me,” the thinking goes, “he or she wouldn’t stick around.” People with these feelings are afraid to be truly authentic, to be themselves. Still others are afraid that their partner won’t be faithful; feeling insecure, they are not open to receiving love.


The problem is that these lessons from childhood don’t apply to intimate relationships in adulthood. For one thing, they are outdated, as they are rooted in the past. While these thoughts were understandable in the context of earlier relationships, they now have become obstacles or blocks to the achievement of fulfilling relationships in adult life.


Once you understand the blocks you bring to your relationship, as well as those your partner brings, you can begin to do some work to heal your relationship.


Some Guidelines for Healing Your Relationship


  • *Start by communicating. Some couples fight by yelling, others by not talking at all (“the silent treatment”). Whatever your technique, allow for a “cooling off” period, and then express your feelings. Simply take responsibility for letting your partner know what you want, and try not to judge the wants expressed by your partner. Communication of feelings is necessary in all important relationships. Contrary to what many believe, nobody can reasonably be expected to read your mind, no matter how long you have been together.
  • *Approach with empathy. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, understanding that he or she has emotional wounds and is hurting as well.
  • *Learn to listen, especially to the other person’s feelings. Take turns talking (you may each need time limits) and listen without interrupting often.
  • *Seek compromise. The goal is to resolve your differences by reaching an understanding that allows for both people to come out ahead.
  • *Work on forgiveness. This does not mean excusing abusive behavior or staying with an abuser. Forgiving means letting go of a need to hurt back. Anger only accumulates and harms us, emotionally and physically. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself as well as to your relationship. Remember, too, that you may forgive people in your past without taking them back.

Relationships, like all good things, require effort. Be patient and allow for mistakes. Know that a change in one person can have an impact on the relationship. And seek help, if you need it.


References


Beck, Aaron T. (1989). Love Is Never Enough: How Couples Can Overcome Misunderstandings, Resolve Conflicts, and Solve Relationship Problems Through Cognitive Therapy. New York: HarperCollins.


Hay, Louise L. (1990). Love Yourself, Heal Your Life Workbook. Santa Monica: Hay House.


Source:  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/healing-your-relationship/


Coping with the Loss of a Spouse


By Ben Martin, Psy.D.

Dealing with the loss of a spouse can be one of the most traumatic and stressful events in a person’s life. This loss often occurs during a stage when many other changes are occurring. Children are grown and have moved away, the couple has retired and has experienced a significant change in routine, financial status may be up or down, contacts with friends and acquaintances may have been curtailed and the widow or widower’s own health may be declining.


During this time of dramatic upheaval where physical, psychological and spiritual boundaries are challenged, accepting that the grieving process will not be brief makes the whole process even more difficult. In going through this mourning period with many individuals, I have found that a period of one to two years is often necessary. The grieving process, given its length is not too extreme, is one of the most essential elements in the healing process.


Reconstructing a daily pattern of life, during the early months of grieving, can be very difficult. Many individuals find themselves alone for the first time since early adulthood. Loneliness seems intolerable and it may feel as if your only confidants are those who have experienced type of loss. Women who have lost their mates are often overwhelmed by activities they were not responsible for in the past, such as mechanical repairs and financial details.


Following are some suggestions that those suffering from the loss of a spouse might find helpful:


  • *Let family provide nurturance and support. Additionally, professionals such as mental health specialists, clergy and doctors can be of assistance.
  • *Grief and loss support groups are also extremely helpful. The opportunity to process and share feelings with others experiencing similar difficulties can be invaluable in the healing process.
  • *Don’t rely on your children to pave the way for you during this transition. Most children will be supportive, but will be proud and be grateful if you allow them to lead their lives while you begin to reconstruct yours.

Through pain, time and love, healing and adjustment can occur allowing the survivor to move on and into the future.


Source:  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/coping-with-the-loss-of-a-spouse/


Coping With Loneliness: Tips for Seniors


By Lynn Ponton, MD

On the old television show “The Golden Girls,” four, over-60 widows live together, providing each other companionship, friendship and emotional support. Many seniors, however, lack this kind of social network. In fact, loneliness is a serious problem among elderly people. Fortunately, loneliness can be overcome, although doing so takes some initiative. You might find the following strategies and tips helpful.

Make friends


Make the effort to meet new people. At first, you may simply enjoy the companionship of a casual acquaintance. But over time, some of these relationships will grow into close friendships, the kind you can turn to for emotional support.


Your local senior center and area agency on aging are great resources, often organizing classes, outings and social functions for people who want to enjoy life with other seniors. Churches, health clubs, civic and service organizations, educational classes, travel clubs, and special interest groups are good places to meet people of all ages.


When you see an opportunity to introduce yourself, do so! Ask others about themselves and let people know something about you. Most people are happy to include newcomers, but growing new friendships requires ongoing contact.


Meanwhile, don’t forget old friends and neighbors. Invite a friend with whom you’ve lost touch for lunch or organize a neighborhood get-together. Someone always has to take the initiative-it might as well be you.


Volunteer


Volunteering your time and talents can help to put your own situation in perspective, bringing to light the positives and the things you can be thankful for. Check your local phone book under “volunteering” for organizations such as RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). You also can check with your local senior center, area agency on aging and hospital for volunteer opportunities.


Take up a hobby


Hobbies can keep you motivated and forward-thinking. Through hobbies, you can set goals, like finding that rare stamp to add to your collection or knitting a stocking for your grandson’s first Christmas. Plus, many hobbies are possible if your mobility is challenged. Here are some ideas:


  • *gardening
  • *model trains
  • *arts and crafts
  • *needlepoint
  • *playing an instrument
  • *reading
  • *writing
  • *puzzles
  • *pen pals
Adopt a pet


Most people don’t feel so alone in the company of a pet. Why? Pets love unconditionally, they are accepting, they don’t criticize, they don’t judge, they forgive and they give pleasure. Plus, caring for a pet can renew meaning and purpose in your life.


Reminisce


Life review will help you recall the aspects of life and living that matter to you. Research shows that people who reminisce have enhanced emotional health and are less likely to be lonely or withdrawn.


If you are homebound


Meeting people can be particularly difficult if you are homebound. Call your area agency on aging or place of worship to inquire about home-visitation services as well as community transportation for elderly people. You also can contact Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly, which serves lonely and isolated elderly in eight U.S. cities.


Look out for depression


Loneliness can indicate depression, a disease causing mental and physical deterioration. Feelings of sadness and despair, loss of appetite, apathy, reluctance to make decisions, suicidal thoughts, and trouble sleeping are signs of depression and should be discussed with your health-care provider.


Source:  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/coping-with-loneliness-tips-for-seniors/


MU Researcher Compiles Evidence In Support Of Darwin’s Theory Of Sexual Selection


Article Date: 15 Apr 2010 – 1:00 PDT


In 1871, Charles Darwin sparked debate that continues today when he proposed that human sex differences evolved based on sexual selection. Sexual selection is Darwin’s theory that certain physical, mental or psychological traits evolved because they aid in competition among individuals for access to preferred mates or because they are enhancements of traits that help to attract mates. Now, in a much expanded update of his book, Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, a University of Missouri researcher has compiled research that shows how Darwin’s sexual selection is the best explanation of the differences between women and men including from infancy, relationships with friends, mate choices, to brain and cognition. The MU researcher also explains how the expression of these differences can vary across cultures and historical periods.


“Choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions made in one’s lifetime and one of Darwin’s core components of sexual selection,” said David Geary, author and Curators’ professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. “Sex and reproduction complicate our lives in many ways, the most fundamental of which involve the demands of finding a mate. These choices are important because they echo through subsequent generations. The social dynamics that emerge as a result of sexual reproduction usually involve competition with members of the same sex for access to mates or control of the resources that will attract mates.”


In his book, Geary documents how sex differences found in humans and many other species can be explained by Darwin’s sexual selection. One of these sex differences is the level of parental involvement by males. Male parenting is found in less than 5 percent of mammal species. Because the males in many species do not provide any parental investment, females in many species do not compete for mates. In humans, however, men have a significant role in parenting, compelling women to compete for mates.


“The more men have to offer, the more valuable they become to women as a reproductive resource,” Geary said. “For this reason, men in all cultures are highly motivated to attain social status and control of culturally significant resources. The resources can vary from land to herds of cattle to large paychecks. Male-male competition is about making themselves attractive to women but the competition also can lead men to compete in lethal ways to gain control of social resources.”


Female competition may include how they dress or adorn themselves in ways that enhance their traits that men find attractive. Women may degrade these same traits in potential competitors and manipulate social information and relationships to drive competitors away from potential romantic partners. Male-male competition may explain factors, such as greater male mortality, risk-taking and rough-and-tumble play. Female-female competition may account for greater female emotional sensitivity and greater language proficiency, Geary said.


In 1998, Geary wrote the first edition of Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, which compiled the research to that point on sex differences and synthesized it based on Darwin’s theory.

“Since then, research on human sex differences has exploded with the emergences of new technologies, such as brain imaging techniques that allow us to understand men and women and boys and girls in ways that Darwin could have only dreamed of,” Geary said.


As a result of this new research, Geary’s second edition of Male, Female, includes references to nearly 2,500 studies across biology, psychology, anthropology, genetics and neuroscience.


Geary integrates sexual selection with what is known about the evolution of lifespan, primate behavior, the evolution of fatherhood, and the evolution and development of the human mind, sex differences in human infancy, human social development, folk psychology, folk biology and folk physics.


The second edition of Geary’s book, Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Differences, was published in 2010 by the American Psychological Association.


Source:
Kelsey Jackson
University of Missouri-Columbia


http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/185442.php




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