Relationships are complicated. We all have a few flaws, faults and quirks - nobody is perfect. So it makes sense that some things need to be ignored, overlooked, or lovingly accepted. However, some signs are actually bright red flags flapping violently in the wind that simply must be acknowledged. Whether that means working together on a compromise or accepting that a person is just all wrong for you, here are some neon warning signs to be on the look out for.
1. They can't stop telling you how perfect you are. AKA love bombing. A classic sign of a narcissist. At first you feel like the most amazing person on the planet, but when you’ve been put on a pedestal there’s only one way to go. It’s hard to live up to such ridiculous expectations. It’s important that your partner sees you as you are - a normal, flawed, breathing human being - not some imaginary projection in their head. We all need to be loved and accepted for who we are, not how someone imagines us to be.
2. They rush a new relationship forward too quickly. They profess their love for you, plan a vacation together, talk about how many kids you’ll have, etc very early in the relationship. They’re either on the rebound, trying to sync up with where they thought they’d be relationally by now, incapable of being alone, or a malignant narcissist. Either way, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE & NOPE!
Ever heard of 'frog in the pot syndrome' (sometimes called 'boiling frog effect')? In a bizarre experiment in the 19th century, scientists found that if they put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump straight out - surprise, surprise! However, if they put a frog into a pot of cold water and set the water to boil slowly, the frog would stay in the pot and boil to death. These researchers hypothesised that the frog was able to adjust to each slow incremental change in temperature without realising that the situation had become dire. Although this experiment is questionable on SO many levels, it’s a great metaphor for life.
How would you respond if you were suddenly thrust into the pot that is your life as it is currently: this relationship, this job, this house, this body, with these friends, etc. - would you quickly jump straight out?
Are you genuinely happy and satisfied with your life, or are you slowing boiling to death (metaphorically of course)?
Most of us are too busy, or too afraid, to take the time to really look at our lives in a systematic way. Often we just keep adjusting to each incremental change and don’t realise how far off track have become. Chaos, boredom, and disappointment all become “normal” and we forget that life doesn’t have to be that way. We begin to just accept life as it comes. Grasp the ‘accidental joys’ along the way and continue living unconsciously, waiting for the next one to show up…but imagine being able to create moments, rather than waiting and hoping for them to happen. Successful people do just that, they live their lives on purpose - with intention.
Here are a few journal prompts to help you get more present and notice where some small intentional changes might make a big impact:
People, places or things that energise me...(how often do you spend time here?)
People, places or things that drain/deplete me... (how could you spend less time to here?)
Are your current habits taking you closer to achieving your goals or further away?"
A habit I will focus on cultivating/breaking this week is...(pick just one). Why is this one important?
Things I'd like to learn more about...Places I'd like to explore...
Friends/family I've been meaning to catch up with...
An accomplishment I'm proud of...
An opportunity or experience I'm grateful for...
Awareness is the first step...action is the next. Small actions build on each other.
Take some time to work out your next small step :)
Hint: It's me :) I wish I could say that was definitely true but in reality the right psychologist for you might actually be someone else. Like all good relationships, it's about finding a match. Choosing a psychologist is an important decision, and with the myriad of amazing mental health professionals in Melbourne it can seem quite daunting. To help demystify the process I've outlined the different types of mental health professionals and various therapies you might find appealing. By understanding specifically what you are looking for, you'll be able to consider each psychologist, or other mental health professional based on criteria specifically relevant to your needs. Hopefully, the process will then become a quick, tick the boxes exercise. The psychologists with the most ticks will form your short-list and a brief chat with each of them will help you get an idea for whether you would be comfortable working with them. Try not to get stuck going from website to website. In the end, it might just come down to your gut feeling. Start somewhere. Read more...
I'm working from home today and originally planned to write first thing this morning (on a completely different topic) but when it came time to start, I suddenly noticed innumerable other things that needed to be done. I told myself it would be better to get them 'out of the way', but who am I kidding. I just didn't feel like writing. So, it's now 11.00am and I'm just starting. My house is clean, the shopping is done, and I've even answered some emails, checked social media and played with the dog. I don't know about you, but I get surprisingly productive and somewhat side-tracked when there's something I don't feel like doing especially if I have to (oh and I accepted an invitation to lunch with a friend I haven't seen for a while).
It got me thinking, and it makes sense really. Some tasks just make us feel bad. Cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine send us into fight, flight or freeze mode. So what do we do? Well, in fight mode, we get cranky and stubbornly refuse to do the task, denouncing it as stupid, useless, or a waste of time, etc. Sometimes our instinct is to flee - escape physically or mentally - spend time with friends, eat, check social media, surf the net, play games, or do anything other than the ‘odious’ task - even ones that seem less odious at the time like cleaning or shopping. Other times we freeze - literally do nothing, just stare blankly at the computer screen. Why? They all stop the bad feelings by giving us a sense of control. Unfortunately, they're only temporary solutions to our pain. The task still needs to be done (and often gets harder) and so begins the vicious cycle.
DEBORAH FARRELL (MCounPsych)