13Apr

‘We’re perpetuating our own suffering’: Why some people can’t let go of family grudges – National

by BBG Hub


Holding a grudge is one thing, but it can feel even more personal when it involves someone in the family.

Psychotherapist and author Nancy Colier of The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World, told Global News when it comes to family, it’s often impossible to just walk away.

We have a sense that we should be able to figure this out with family because of that blood bond,” she said. “Also because family can be incredibly involved in many areas of our life,” adding when we get into a complex situation, it can get tricky to work around it.

READ MORE: ‘I have no regrets’: What it’s like to be estranged from family

A grudge is a form of grievance she added, something that often causes pain. And when you hold one against a family member, it can root back to experiences in the past, ones you live over and over again if you continue seeing this family member.

“You’ve been treated wrong,” she explained, adding that people who hold grudges feel disrespected and humiliated.

Imagine seeing the same person at a wedding, anniversary or over the holidays. While you may not be estranged, it’s the repetitiveness of that person in your life that makes it more difficult to have a healthy relationship.

“With that [the idea] that I have not received empathy or an apology or the sense that the other person feels sorry having hurt me, that’s the piece that’s almost always missing in a grudge, ‘how could they have done this to me?’”

Common grudge holders

When it comes to holding grudges within the family, Colier said it’s not that one group of people hold more grudges than the other. It often depends on the situation, but in her work, she has seen more people holding grudges against their parents. She said in this scenario, it becomes a cycle of “what ifs.”

“‘If only I had a parent that respected me or supported my interest in guitar and what have you, then I can be this,’” she explained. “And we can waste our whole lives with this thinking.”

READ MORE: Choosing your own family members can be life-saving. Here’s why these Canadians did it.

When you hold onto this type of grudge, it can interfere with how you live your own life.

“Sometimes grudges can be used in a very unhealthy way to keep people from taking responsibility of their own lives.”

But is it ever OK to hold on to a grudge forever? Colier said with grudges, in particular, people love using words like “let go” or “hold on” or “forgive and forget” without actually understanding what these words mean.

“People believe that it means, ‘it didn’t hurt me anymore,’” she said. “What we’re saying is we’re going to keep our energy and focus off the one who wronged us.”

On the other end of the drama

On the flip-side, if someone is holding a grudge against you, as New York City-based psychotherapist F. Diane Barth previously wrote, start by apologizing.

“If you actually did something wrong, take responsibility, acknowledge that you made a mistake, and do what you can to rectify it,” she wrote.

“If you do not think that you did anything wrong, but you know that the other person believes that you did, let them know that you understand that they have a different perspective than you do and that you had no intention of creating the problem that you and they are now facing.”

How to let go of a grudge

Colier said if you are working on letting go of grudges within your family, the approach and outcome isn’t always guaranteed.

When we keep holding onto a grudge within the family, what we’re really doing is “perpetuating our own suffering,” Colier said.

To me, to let go of a grudge means that we’re going to actually connect with, ‘what got hurt by that other person?’” she explained. “We cling to that hurt and that wound in a way that the other person was not going through.” It starts with communicating the issue at hand.

Have you actually approached that person and explained your side of the story? Does this family member even know why you are holding a grudge? These are things to consider looking outside the box, she added, and sometimes this means letting go of your ego.

READ MORE: Woman opens Christmas gift she gave to boyfriend when she dumped him in 1971

Next, practice mindfulness — you may not get the answer or understanding that you want. When you are in the company of that person, you need to be mindful of your own actions and behaviours around other family members.

“Pay attention to what is wounded here and what happened with that other person,” she said. “And then we ask different kinds of questions like, ‘who would I be if I let go of that grudge?’… we’re so entrenched [in the problem].”

The next thing is to ask yourself what would happen if you drop the grudge altogether.

“What am I really risking if I drop it?… because that is a choice,” she said. “Who would I be if I didn’t have this in my identity? Every time the thought comes up to the retell grudge, we just say ‘no.’ I’m not going to feed that toxicity in my own mind.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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13Apr

Why some people have sex even when they aren’t in the mood – National

by BBG Hub

In the beginning of a relationship, sex is often a frequent, exciting and passionate act. Five, 10 or 20 years into a partnership, well, not so much.

“For most people, it was a mutual sexual attraction that got them together in the first place, and ironically, it’s often the first thing that drops away,” said Sally Baker, a London, U.K.-based licensed therapist and author.

“It’s easy not to have time and energy for sex unless it’s prioritized to some degree and time and effort is invested in making it happen.”

So what’s the solution for a dwindling sex life? For some couples, it’s maintenance sex.

What is maintenance sex?

Maintenance sex is when couples have sex even when one partner — or both — are not necessarily in the mood. For some, this means scheduling weekly sex sessions. For others, it means saying “yes” to their partner when they’d rather be watching Game of Thrones.

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“Maintenance sex can tend to be more perfunctory and less elaborate than the bells-and-whistles-sex people often wish they were having,” Baker explained. “But that’s OK if it’s part of a bigger picture… that will include opportunities for greater and more exotic intimacy together.”

So how does maintenance sex differ from regular sex?

Terry Humphreys, a professor of psychology at Trent University and the editor of the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, says that there is a difference between consenting — a cognitive decision-making process — to sexual behaviour, and wanting it, which is a feeling or emotional experience.

“These are two different concepts and important to think about separately,” he said.

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“Most often they overlap — hopefully, we are consenting to sex we want, and wanting the sex we consent to — however, there are situations in which we consent to sex that we may not particularly desire, i.e. maintenance sex, but this is still completely consensual.”

Humphreys points to other behaviours outside of sex that partners consent to do that they don’t necessarily feel like, such as visiting in-laws or cleaning the house.

“We do them anyway,” he said. “Why? To maintain a smooth functioning relationship.”

READ MORE: Sex after 50: How to have intimacy again later in life

Heather Hensman Kettrey, an assistant professor of sociology at Clemson University, echoes this, and says people can consent to sex that they personally may not be craving.

“Maintenance sex is the perfect example of where you’re fine, you don’t protest that you’re fine and say, ‘Yeah I’ll do this,’ but you’re not necessarily into it yourself,” she explained.

“[People can] consent to something that they don’t really desire for themselves… but they’re OK doing it.”

Why people have maintenance sex

Humphreys says there are a variety of reasons why people have sex when they don’t necessarily desire it.

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“Many of the motivations likely have to do with feelings of interdependence as a couple in a relationship,” he explained.

“[For example]: ‘I wanted my partner to feel good about him/herself,’ ‘I didn’t want to disappoint my partner,’ ‘I thought it would be good for our relationship,’ [and] ‘I thought I might get ‘in the mood’ as we proceeded.’”

Kettrey added that people may also engage in maintenance sex as a way to compromise with a partner. “It may be, ‘Well, I’ll do this for you today because I know next week, you might do something for me,’” she said.

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Experts note maintenance sex happens across all genders, and can happen at any point in a relationship.

Benefits of scheduled sex

While it may seem unromantic at first, experts say that maintenance sex can be a positive thing for a relationship, if done correctly.

While there’s no “right” amount of sex a couple should have, research shows that couples who have sex once a week report greater well-being than those who do it less often.

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Baker says that “the side effects” of sexual activity in a relationship include increased intimacy and even humour.

“People in sexually active relationships cut each other more slack and are more supportive of each other both verbally and in the actions they take,” she said.

Kettrey says that for consenting partners in a trusting relationship, maintenance sex can have positive consequences. “Sex is an important part of a healthy relationship,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘The migraines stopped’: Why more women have gone off birth control pills

Maintenance sex vs. unwanted sex

Experts say it’s important to highlight the difference between non-consensual sex and maintenance sex.

Maintenance sex is something that both parties consent to, and choose to participate in. Forcing someone to engage in sexual activities against their will is sexual assault.

In Canada, sexual activity is only legal when both parties consent, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund points out.

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Emily Thomas, a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at Ryerson University and researcher at the institute’s SHiFT Lab, says that there are also times when a woman may consent to sex out of fear.

Thomas’ research on how women navigate sex and why women fake orgasms revealed insight as to why some engage in sex they don’t actually want to have. These reasons include wanting to please their partner and avoiding negative consequences like anger and violence.

“In some cases, women said that they would blame themselves if they did not say yes to sex with a partner because they would feel like they were being selfish and would feel bad,” she explained.

READ MORE: Love and work: The ins and outs of dating a co-worker

“In other cases, women stated that refusing sex would be uncomfortable and at times not possible, meaning that their partner would not stop even when asked.”

Listening to each other

While sex is an important part of a relationship, Baker says it’s vital that both partners do not pressure each other to do anything they don’t want to do — even if they previously agreed to sex.

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“If either partner doesn’t want to have sex for any reason, their ability to refuse must be respected 100 per cent,” she said.

“If you begin with a partner who is not so mutually keen, be willing to stop immediately with no bad grace if they don’t come around to the idea of sex.”

Baker says that meaningful intimacy and good sex come when partners listen and respect each other — in and out of the bedroom.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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