Codependent Relationships


Are you in a codependent relationship?

  • Are you paying all of the bills?
  • Does your partner refuse to get a job?
  • Are you being emotionally mistreated?
  • Does your partner makes you feel “crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you just cannot live without your partner?
  • Are you constantly bending over backwards or walking on egg shells?

You might be in a codependent relationship.

Codependency is no fun

  • You are constantly shoving down negative emotions.
  • You are prone to headaches.
  • You feel like there is no right answer.
  • You feel like you are the only one struggling to make the relationship work.

So, you may have just realized you’re in a codependent relationship.


Do you have to end your codependent relationship?

This is up to you. You may want to improve your boundaries and self esteem in an effort to leave this relationship, but no, you do not HAVE to leave. But, you do need to learn some boundaries.

What are the minimum things your partner needs to do in order to stay in a relationship with you?

  • Get a job?
  • Go to couples counseling?
  • Clean the house?
  • See a psychiatrist?
  • Contribute financially?
  • Stop using substances?

Develop a your minimum list of what they need to and attach a timeline for when each expectation needs to be accomplished.

Be willing to walk away if your needs are not met. It is necessary to walk away, even temporarily to show your partner that you are serious. If you are not willing to leave then your partner will never change.

Give them an opportunity to prove to you that you are worth it (that’s the timeline), but if they are not willing to meet your minimum needs, leave.

How will you know that they are not willing to meet your minimum needs?

It will be through phrases like:

  • I’m working on it (but no progress is ever evident)
  • Don’t worry about it
  • I’ll get around to it.
  • Don’t you love me?
  • Why do you have to be like that?

Being alone may be better than a bad relationship

Learn to enjoy your own company so that you do not feel like a bad relationship is better than no relationship.

Spend some time with yourself. Go on hikes, go to the beach, enjoy bubble baths, do some yoga, practice meditating.

It may be uncomfortable at first because you have stuffing done so many negative emotions, but allow those feelings to come up and express themselves. This is how we gain mental clarity.

Make a list of what you enjoy or appreciate about yourself. Then look for opportunities to use those skills or qualities. This will improve your self esteem and improve your ability to spend time with yourself and maintain your boundaries.

And remember,

What you allow is what will continue.


Suicide Leaves Nothing Behind, Ctd


Beautifully written

The Dish

A reader merges the Leelah Alcorn thread with another popular one:

You’re no doubt unsurprised that I disagree with your reader who characterized Leelah’s suicide as “the worst and most selfish way to get satisfaction.” I can imagine far worse and more selfish ways of receiving satisfaction over grievances. In fact, I don’t have to imagine them, because we’ve seen them at Sandy Hook and earlier this month in Arlington, Texas, when Veronica Dunnachie killed her estranged husband and his daughter. Leelah didn’t shoot up her church or kill her parents – two choices that would have been far worse and more selfish than stepping in front of a truck.

I’m doing more than just objecting to the hyperbole. This loops us back to your “Suicide Leaves Nothing Behind” thread. People who have calmly, rationally decided that death is their best option should have better, more dignified, less violent options…

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Postpartum Psychosis and filicide


Most people I know cannot even imagine what would drive a person to kill their own child(ren).

The idea just seems so horrific that we have use expressions like, “The mother is evil” “That father is crazy” “I hope they lock them away forever because they do not deserve to live” “They are bad” or “She is nuts”.

It seems impossible for us to put ourselves in the parents’ shoes. Heck, we are not even capable of empathy or sympathy for these people. The only emotions that come up for us are disgust, rejection, hate, and revenge.

50-70% of all mothers will experience the “Baby Blues” which, generally speaking lasts about 5 days. (U.S. National Library of Medicine. Postpartum Depression. Available at htm. Last accessed March 18, 2014). (S, Contag SA. Postpartum Depression. Available at Last accessed March 18, 2014).

Postpartum Depression affects women of all ages, economic status and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Any woman who is pregnant or has given birth can develop Postpartum Depression.


Infanticide (murdering your infant) is rare but does occur in 1 of 250,000 women who develop a more severe depression known as Postpartum Psychosis. An estimated 5% of patients with Postpartum Psychosis will attempt infanticide or suicide. (Postpartum Support International. Postpartum Psychosis. Available at Psychosis.aspx. Last accessed March 18, 2014).

What is it like to experience psychosis? Well, there are two main types: Manic psychosis and depressive psychosis.

Manic psychosis includes (but is not limited to):

  • feeling over the moon
  • feeling like you have far, far, too much energy
  • suddenly you feel like you no longer need to sleep
  • you can see things that other people cannot see
  • you can hear things that other people cannot hear
  • you believe things that just cannot be true despite other people trying to reason with you
  • you can’t keep your thoughts straight
  • you become very irritable or cranky and you cannot control it
  • a feeling of being possessed


Depressive psychosis includes (but is not limited to):

  • the strong belief that nothing will ever be right again
  • a deep sadness like you have never felt before (hopefully)
  • walking around unresponsive and in a daze
  • confusion
  • wishing for death
  • feeling worthless
  • hearing things other cannot hear
  • seeing things others cannot see
  • total loss of happiness and joy


Brown University completed a 32 year study of filicide (the murder of one’s own child) and found that annual rates in the United States are consistently around 500 filicides (

Of all filicides, 50% of them were done for “altruistic” reasons such as:

  • the parent kills their child(ren) because they think it is in the child’s best interest
  • the parent sees the world as too evil for their child
  • the child may be sickly or disabled
  • if the parent is suicidal they may worry that their child will not be cared for after they are gone

There are many factors that contribute to filicide including a history of mental illness, no social support, a lack of education, substance abuse, no job, no partner, and a history of domestic violence. It is hard to determine who will turn to filicide in these circumstances and who will be able to cope.

But there is hope. There are treatments that can work:


  • family education
  • anti-psychotic medication
  • family support programs
  • talking to a trusted therapist
  • anti-depressant medication
  • parenting coach
  • part-time or full-time nanny or sitter


If you or if anyone you know is struggling with any postpartum symptoms, PLEASE seek immediate treatment. Recovery IS possible!

The Strangeness Of Our Love Of Our Pets


The Dish

Virginia Hughes looks at the science on why people have pets:

If pet-keeping were a purely (or even largely) biologically driven trait, it would be difficult to explain why its popularity has spiked in the last 200 years, and particularly since World War II — bowie-lapa tiny blip on the timeline of human evolution. As a rough marker of this change [psychology professor Harold] Herzog turns to Google Ngram, a tool that tracks the frequency of words published in books. If you put the word “pet” into Google Ngram, you’ll see a sharp rise since about 1960.

Similarly, if pet-keeping were biological you’d expect all human cultures to do it. While it’s true that most human cultures have pets in their home, the way they interact with them is remarkably variable. Herzog cites a study published in 2011 comparing pet-keeping practices in 60 societies around the world. The study found…

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The first step to understanding conflict


The first step to understanding conflict is that you have certain rights… but the person you are in disagreeing with also has those same rights. For example:

I have the right to make mistakes. Other people have the right to make mistakes.

I have the right to be myself. Other people have the right to be themselves.

I have the right to be treated respect. Other people have the right to be treated with respect.

I have the right to have and express my feelings, thoughts, and opinions. Other people have the right to have and express their feelings, thoughts, and opinions.

I have the right to say no and not feel guilty. Other people have the right to say no and not feel guilty.

I have the right to change my mind. Other people have the right to change their mind.

I have the right to say I don’t know. Other people have the right to say they don’t know.

I have the right to feel and express my anger. Other people have the right to feel and express their anger.

I have the right to have my needs be as important as the needs of others. Other people have the right to have their needs be just as important as my needs.

I have the right to do things other people do not approve of. Other people have the right to do things that I do not approve of. 

I have the right to ask why or why not. Other people have the right to ask why or why not.

I have the right to ask for help. Other people have the right to ask for help.

I have the right to say I don’t understand. Other people have the right to say they do not understand.

I have the right to be responsible for my own actions. I am not responsible for the actions of others.

The day Jennifer Lawrence broke twitter


If it is possible I am even more bothered today than yesterday over the leaked photos of Jennifer Lawrence. A crime was committed people’s personal information was hacked, and no one seems to care about that because Jennifer’s nipples broke twitter. I know that photos of other people besides Ms. Lawrence were leaked, but most of the hubbub I personally saw was related to Ms. Lawrence.

I am disgusted at the misogyny of the act. I am angry at the total lack of respect for women in general that society seems to possess. People are treating this gross violation of privacy as a joke. The memes that I have seen are shameful. I am disappointed in the blatant objectification of women. I am sickened at the fact that the hacker is being celebrated.

It is entirely irrelevant that those women chose to record an image of themselves of a deeply private and intimate nature. It is not on the victim to take “enough” measures to protect herself, to dress a certain way, travel in groups, wear special nail polish, or what-have-you to in hind-sight to protect one’s self.

What is missing here is a little thing called consent. When actors or models are photographed or videotaped for work (I am thinking nudity in film) there is consent. And these actors are made to feel safe on sets. If someone really wants to see nudity, browse or purchase nudity which has been created with consent. 

We all should have a reasonable expectation to privacy. I am trying to think how I personally would feel if I had nude photos of myself posted to a revenge porn site. Even if they are not nude photographs, we all have items on our smart phones that we would not want not want leaked to the world.

Celebrities don’t sign away their private rights for a movie deal or recording contract. Celebrities are human beings and should not be treated as commodities in their non-working moments.

I know that pictures of say, Brad Pitt or Niall Horan from One Direction would also generate publicity, but I don’t think it would have been the same in volume or tactlessness.

I am angry, but I am also resigned, disgusted, and saddened. As a human, these people deserve basic dignity and I cannot believe how many people are laughing and making jokes at these women’s total violation of privacy. Celebrities are humans, too. Give them some damn respect.

Top Immigration Court Hands Huge Win to Battered Women Seeking Asylum.


In First for Court, Woman Is Ruled Eligible for Asylum in U.S. on Basis of Domestic Abuse.

The nation’s highest immigration court has found for the first time that women who are victims of severe domestic violence in their home countries can be eligible for asylum in the United States. The nine-page decision helps clarify the interpretation of broad and vague language in the legal definition of a refugee. Foreigners may qualify for asylum if they have a “well-founded fear of persecution” based on race, nationality, religion, political opinion or “membership in a particular social group.” Women’s rights advocates have argued that victims of domestic violence fit into the social group category, but immigration judges have been skeptical.

It’s the first time that this court has recognized a protected group that primarily includes women. The ruling offers a glimmer of hope to asylum-seekers who have fled horrific abuse. Before Tuesday’s decision, immigration judges routinely denied asylum to domestic violence victims because US asylum law does not protect people who are persecuted on account of their gender.

Some critics predicted the numbers of foreign women seeking asylum could soon overwhelm the system. “A lot of these cases are undeniably horrific, but do we want to destroy our refugee system to make these ultimately political statements about domestic violence?” asked Michael M. Hethmon, a lawyer who argued in the case for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that seeks reduced immigration.


I am able to assess, diagnose, and treat mental and emotional disorders, including the I-751 psychiatric evaluation needed to pursue asylum. 

Graduating from an accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Program ensures the quality of my training to professionally approved standards. This rigorous education with specialized training in mood disorders, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse enables me to help clients overcome adversity and become healthy and productive citizens.

Through counseling individuals, couples, and families, performing assessments, utilizing risk instruments, assessing diagnosis, and developing and implementing treatment plans, my work assists clients in making the most of the resources offered to them and to successfully succeed on their own once services have terminated.

Mental Health for individuals, couples, and teens.

I work with women, men, children and teens from a variety of cultures who find that they use avoidance, anger and emotional distancing to protect themselves from uncertainty, outdated scripts, or fear of being who they truly are. With a little bit of inquiry, we find that people take simple ideas and turn them into beliefs, and these narratives turn their worlds upside down; leading to depression, anxiety, fear or grief. Together, you and I can help you to discover what you need, and uncover ways that allow you to take responsibility for your own fulfillment. 
It begins with two basic ideas: The first, is that needs are necessities and these are nothing to feel shame about. The second, is the idea that true satisfaction and forgiveness are each a gradual process.

No matter what culture, gender, or sexuality- partners struggle with three areas, most often: sex, intimacy, and money. These challenges tend to be present when we as lovers and partners, aren’t emotionally available. Our discontent shows up when we fail to learn the ‘signals’ in ourselves and in the ones we love, and then we neglect to show we care. Frustration is a frequent complaint with partners in primary relationships, and it can be misconstrued as anger, hostility, or rage. Ask yourself what the function of your feelings might be? Perhaps those same feelings convey one meaning to your partner but mean something, altogether, different for you. When you’re with your significant other do you become angry when you’re actually disappointed or sad? On the other hand, do you become embarrassed if you’re actually feeling vulnerable? If you answered yes, (self) cohesion is one of the areas that we can explore together and develop through the therapeutic process. I am a culturally sensitive couple’s therapist and work extensively with multicultural partners, blended families, and racially diverse coupling and their children.

Adolescents and Teens
Adolescents and teens operate in an adult’s world. More often than not they must run on adult time; fit into adult’s schedules and, paradoxically, find themselves challenged when they want adult things. An adolescent’s life is similar to a root system, where thinking and feeling are entwined feeding one another. All the while maturity is in the making. For a variety of reasons, kids can genuinely articulate what they want (for instance, a phone) and at other times they are unable articulate what they need like, a hug. As a parent, are you feeling misunderstood by your teen? Are you a single mother or father who is so exhausted that your tone might sound less than nurturing? Or, are you a divorcee who shows your young children love through money? I work with kids, building a rapport to get behind them in ways they can genuinely be who they are, and also show up in the ways that relate to both of you. We work on areas of empathy, self esteem, and the importance of support.Who are you in your life, right now?  Let’s talk.

We don’t live in one world, we live in many


With 12 million people living in Southern California we make our way through lines, maneuver around loud and narrow parking structures, race to claim our seat on a crowded bus, or inch along on-ramps to get on the freeway. We are constantly negotiating and being informed and affected by each of these various environments; all the while our lives are happening.

And everyday we experience a multitude of places, people, energies, attitudes and behaviors with hundreds of strangers who go through the same thing in their own lives, as well. By day’s end, something as simple as picking up dinner can cause our already frayed senses to go into overdrive.


  • How well did you sleep last night?
  • Was yesterday so busy that you were too overwhelmed to get anything done at work, much less eat correctly?
  • Do you ever become so frustrated in overcrowded spaces or on the road, that words pass between you and a stranger?
  • Do your feelings of sadness or anxiousness cause misunderstanding with you and your significant other?
  • Are you beginning to isolate more because of all the hustle and bustle, or finding that the cost of gas and other commodities these days has you withdrawing from your social life more than you used to?
  • Are you staying at home because you’re sad or unable to regulate your feelings? 


I’m here to listen and to support you with ideas that can help reduce stress. As you learn to relate better with yourself, you begin to relate to others more effectively, as well. Boundary setting, grounding techniques, empathy, and self-care are tools that you develop and the good news is that you already possess these.

With therapy, your clarity improves about your ongoing emotional needs, wishes, and desires  Through weekly exploration and discussion, you are invited to create and choose alternatives that help you to better manage environmental stressors with greater success and, in turn, you not only feel better; but you develop new coping skills that enable you to feel good about yourself.

Problems, misunderstandings, interruptions, and unforeseen changes are always going to be present. It’s how you deal with them that makes them what they are. You deserve to be well.

Back-to-School, Back-to-Bullying


Back-to-School, Back-to-Bullying

Cyberbullying is electronic communication via the Internet and other digital technologies to frighten, intimidate, and/or threaten another individual causing emotional distress.

Cyberbullying includes:

  • Obtaining information on the Internet about the victim in order to harass or intimidate online or offline
  • Sending or posting false information or messages about the victim
  • Impersonating someone online
  • Posting personal information about the victim online
  • Sending computer viruses to the victim

Cyberbullying occurs via:

  • Chat Rooms
  • E-Mail
  • Instant Messaging / Texting
  • Blogs
  • Social Networking sites

There are many different forms of cyberbullying, but seven are commonly encountered:

  1. Flaming: Sending messages that are rude or vulgar in nature about a person via an online group, e-mail, or instant/text message
  2. Outing: Posting or sending content about a person that is sensitive and/or private
  3. Exclusion: Deliberately and cruelly excluding someone from an online group
  4. Cyberstalking: Harassment via the Internet involving threats and intimidation
  5. Online harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive messages online
  6. Denigrating: Sending or posting untrue and cruel statements about a particular person. This can include e-mail or text insults about another peer’s physical characteristics, such as looks or weight. Girls are the more frequent target of insults than boys, and the insults often focused on weight (e.g., calling someone a “whale” or “ugly pig”) and promiscuity or sexuality (e.g., calling someone a “whore” or “slut”).
  7. Masquerade: Posing as someone else for the purpose of sending information via the Internet that makes that individual look bad. Some perpetrators manage to steal victims’ passwords in order to access computers or cell phones and pretend to be that person. Adolescents report that it is not difficult to obtain a password, and exchanging password information is often a sign of friendship.

Online sexual solicitation is another form of cyberbullying, whereby perpetrators identify victims online and entice them to perform sexual acts on or offline.

Boys have been found more likely to be perpetrators  and the peak frequency occurs between 13 and 15 years of age while girls and women tend to be the victims.

A full 50% of our youth are bullied online!

Cyberbully victims also tend to be victims in other areas of their lives, such as traditional bullying. Not surprisingly, victims of cyberbullying tend to use the Internet more than non-victims.

Although this can have devastating effects on victims, many are reluctant to seek help. Adolescents have stated they would not necessarily seek help from school staff due to:

  • Fear of being stigmatized as an informant
  • Fear of retaliation from the perpetrator
  • Concern of getting friends into trouble
  • Belief that it is not a school problem
  • Concern that parents would restrict their Internet activities

Youth feel that their parents, and adults in general, are unable to understand the cyberworld and cyberbullying.


Signs that youths may be victims or perpetrators of bullying on the Internet have been identified. Parents should be aware of:Signs of depression or anxiety, particularly when the Internet is not available or is inaccessible for periods of time

  • Signs of depression or anxiety when e-mails or instant/text messages arrive
  • Academic difficulties or behavioral problems offline (e.g., not being on time at school, dropping grades, relationships suffering)
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Viewing pornographic material on the computer
  • Sacrificing normally enjoyed offline activities to participate in Internet activities
  • Attempting to maintain level of secrecy about online activities (e.g., quickly turning computer off when parent is walking by, deleting browsing history, turning monitor screen off when someone walks by)

Effects of Cyberbullying

Youths who experience bullying of any kind often face academic problems, perhaps in part because they are distressed and preoccupied. Teachers will often report that victims’ grades drop, and some will have other academic problems, such as cutting classes, increased detentions, and carrying weapons to school.

The most significant psychological effects appear to be depression and anxiety with victims also reporting increased anger.

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the Internet and technology, parents, educators, practitioners, and youths will require continual education regarding cyberbullying including how it occurs, and its impact.

In cases of identified cyberbullying, victims may benefit from crisis intervention and counseling.