Tag Archives: couples

5 Signs You’re Dating a Psychopath

Dating a psychopath is more likely than you think!

About 1% of the population suffers from psychopathy, meaning in a town of about 100,000 people, 1000 are psychopaths. It is important to mention that psychopathy is a personality disorder made up of specific characteristics and can only be diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist. But even if you’re not dating a psychopath per se, these are some traits to be weary about in a partner.

Extremely Charming and Over the Top

A Psychopath will shower you with gifts and compliments, and make you like you’re the only one in the world. Being extremely charming is good way of getting people to fall in love with you, and this characteristic is also what enable a psychopath to control or manipulate you.

Manipulative

Psychopaths tend to be able to get their way. They turn their ideas into your ideas in such a subtle way that you have no idea that it has happened. Ever confronted your partner about something they did to upset you, but you end up being the one apologizing? This may be a sign you’re dating a psychopath.

No Sense of Responsibility

Pyschopaths tend to deny responsibility for their actions. They end up blaming you, saying that your actions lead to them to acting they way they did. And they honestly believe that they did nothing wrong due to lack of remorse.

Risky Behaviour

Psychopaths can’t grasp the idea of punishment and this will lead to doing things that puts them and you at risk. This can be dangerous behaviour, promiscuity, cheating, drugs, and so on. Definitely behaviours you should avoid!

Big Ego

Most psychopaths have a sense of grandeur. Your needs come second because actually believe that you are less important. You are there to serve their needs. As long as you are doing that, why would the person put any effort into helping you grow as an individual?

All of these are some tell tale signs that you could be dating a psychopath. But don’t take my work for it! Listen to Kim!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz9LaOJAghI

Panic Attacks 101: How To Cope

sun-set-maldivesPanic attacks are tremendously exhausting and frightening experiences. Some people experience these rarely, while others may experience frequent and persistent panic attacks. Whatever your situation, here are some keys to working through panic both during an attack and before another one occurs.

 

1. Know what’s happening in your body when you panic. Get familiar with your physiological markers and symptoms for panic and know what happens for you. For example, some people might hyperventilate and feel tightness in their chest while others might feel nauseous and experience tunnel vision.

2. Remind yourself that your symptoms are not dangerous (read my other blog post here for more information). Once you know what it feels like in your body when you panic, you can remind yourself that you are having a panic attack and the symptoms you are experiencing are uncomfortable, but not threatening.

3. Identify your triggers for panic. Here is where a therapist can really help you to slow down the process and figure out what started the path to panic. When they happen again, you can take a step back and notice it.

4. Take steps to refocus your attention. If you’re feeling like you’re about to panic, or you’re in the midst of a panic attack, engage in activities that are soothing and that refocus your attention away from your body. Some examples: sing your favourite song, have a cold glass of water, start naming things you see and hear around you.

5. Use self-talk to help cope and calm down. A coping phrase might be: “This is just my body feeling anxious”, or  “I can get through this”. A therapist can help you make coping phrases specific to your panic and in your own words. Repeating your coping phrase is going to help intercept some of the cognitive triggers that lead to panic like “my heart is beating so fast I think I’m going to have a heart attack”. Once your coping phrase has helped to stop the other cognitive triggers, the anxiety cycle will begin to slow down.

You will notice that relaxation (such as deep breathing) is not included in this list. The reason behind this is that panic often stems from too much focus on your body and feared thoughts related to the sensations in your body. In other words, panic can occur when we panic about panicking. For example, if you try to do deep breathing during a panic attack, chances are this is what will happen in your head: “Okay I’m going to breathe slow and steady … My breathing isn’t slowing, I can’t get control of my breathing, what if I hyperventilate?” Notice how the thoughts became more anxious, which will perpetuate panic. In light of this, the best antidote to panic is learning not to fear it through greater understanding and self-talk. If you struggle with panic, try these strategies out and find a therapist who can help you further.

By: Beth Moore

Beth Moore Counselling & Psychotherapy

3 Ways To Communicate In A More Meaningful Way

Speech-Bublé2We are all constantly told that communication is key when it comes to any type of relationship or human interaction. And that’s true! How can we better communicate in our daily lives and make our words genuine? Sometimes it just means taking a few extra steps with respect to how we express ourselves.

1. Elaborate on your thankfulness

Instead of just saying thank you, say:

“Thank you, that means a lot to me”

“Thank you, I really appreciate help..”

“I am very thankful that you are doing ___”

Gives your thank you a bit of an extra punch and helps communicate that you are really thankful and why you are really thankful.

2. Express how you feel in the moment even if it seems obvious

It’s important to express how you feel when speaking to others because even though your feelings might be clear to you they may not be clear to others. We can’t assume that others know what we are feeling and thinking if we do not express ourselves clearly. People can be very intuitive but they are not mind readers. This is especially true in romantic relationships where there might be some differences in how men and women choose to express their emotions.

3. Learn what not to say

To make your words more meaningful and important, examine what you say. We express what we value in our words and if our speech is frequently full of nonconstructive negativity, criticism, insensitivity and empty or trivial words we will probably push friends away and maybe attract “like-spoken” people. Try to keep your thoughts balanced so that your words will be positive, genuine and important.

By: Danielle Taylor

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Psychotherapist Discusses Fifty Shades Of Grey Concerns On CityNews

Our own Carol Anne Austin was interviewed on City News about the concerns surrounding the movie 50 Shades of Grey. One concern is that it may normalize abuse in relationships. Carol Anne explained that this movie may be perpetuating some cultural scripts around some traditional gender roles and that different standards for what might be appropriate sexually for men and women can lead to harmful outcomes.

In addition, the dominance theme is one of the concerns, especially given that some young women viewing this movie may not be sexually experienced. Carol Anne spoke about the importance of having these discussions with our family, with youth and with our children. She explained that the pairing of sex and violence in media is very rampant and that it is important to have discussions around this to make sure we are watching media with a critical eye.

It can be uncomfortable for parents to have these sexual discussions with their teens and Carol Anne discussed that it’s okay for parents to share that sentiment with their teens. Also, parents can seek the help of a teacher, guidance counselor, sex educator or sex therapist if they feel it is outside their comfort zone.

Another concern about 50 Shades of Grey is that this movie may blur the lines of consent. Carol Anne explained that this film is depicting BDSM and it can be great to play around with power in our sexual relationships but we need to make sure to establish explicit consent about this ahead of time. Yes needs to mean yes. Just because we consent to one sexual act doesn’t mean that we consent to other acts down the line. Especially when we want to play with power or pain in our sexual acts we need to make sure everything is explicitly discussed ahead of time and that no one is surprised.

 

3 Ways To Lessen Your Anxiety About Your New Relationship

Toronto Psychologist Healthy RelaitonshipsYou are in a new relationship. It’s magical yet unpredictable. Things seem to be going great but you may not always know what tomorrow might bring. You may have some concerning thoughts. Is trust a problem? Will the spark fizzle out in a few more months? Will your partner commit to you forever? Do you want to marry this person?

There are countless reasons why a person might be feeling anxiety in his/her relationship. However, anxiety early in a relationship often stems from issues such as commitment and trust.

It will probably be helpful to have a meeting with yourself to examine the source of your anxiety and think about the meaning of your nervousness.

It is very normal to experience some anxiety and worry during the early part of your romantic relationship. In a way, it’s a good sign. It means that your relationship is meaningful to you and that you are allowing yourself to experience some vulnerability. However, it can be uncomfortable and unhealthy to experience too much anxiety so here are three ways to bring more calm to your exciting romantic experience:

1. Examine your partner’s actions

You might feel as if you want your relationship verbally validated very regularly. However, depending on the person, this may not happen as often as you would like. Instead, look at other ways your partner tells you that he/she wants to be in the relationship. There are many ways of expressing affection other than through words and these ways can be even more powerful. Recognize the small things your partner does for you. Basically, if a person wants to be in your life, he/she will make the effort to stay there.

2. Communicate

If a relationship is starting to feel too all over the place and causing you stress, it might be time to sit down with your partner to discuss your relationship. Gently inquire where your partner’s thoughts and feelings are at and check to see if you are both on the same page. This type of conversation might be best down in a private and relaxed setting when it is an appropriate time for both of you.

3. Try to develop balanced thoughts about your relationship

The harsh reality is that many relationships end. Therefore, it might be important to value your relationship for what it is now and recognize its importance even if it will end one day. Try to remember that even if you feel a relationship ended in failure it is still a valuable lesson for the future. Remind yourself that even though you might be very sad if your relationship does not work out, you will be able to recover and move on. Empowering yourself with balanced thinking allows you to have more control over your thoughts and emotions. When you have more control over your thoughts and emotions it may help you feel more control over your anxiety about your relationship.

In the end, it is always a leap of faith!

Best of luck with your relationship! 🙂

By: Danielle Taylor

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Emotional Sunburns

purple-beach-sun-setWhat is an emotional sunburn?

Think about your last trip to sunny Miami!

There, you are soaking in the sun, partying and having the time of your life.

Then, you arrive back to cold Toronto with a painful and blistering sunburn only to have to cover up in layers, long pants, turtlenecks, extra sweaters, boots and long down filled coats.

Your friend greets you at the airport and in his excitement to greet you after your trip, he gives you a big bear hug. Ouch!!!

Not realizing that you have a sunburn on every part of your body, you scream and push him away.

What did he do? How does he feel? How do you feel?

He had no intention of hurting you and did not realize what was covered up underneath your bulky winter clothing. Yet his hug still caused you to scream and pushed him away.

Most people are walking around weighed down with their emotional sunburns. These are individual areas of sensitivity. They are our bruises from our past. They come from past negative experiences; experiences with our family, friends, and lovers.

Many people do a great job of covering their bruises up. Often, no one can see them on the outside and no one knows about them except for you. Sometimes you may not even realize how the past is affecting you in the present.

Your partner doesn’t know about all your emotional sunburns and how they are affecting you today. Next time you have a strong emotional reaction of anger, sadness, anxiety or any powerful feeling to a situation that doesn’t seem to warrant it, take some time to question your reaction and determine if your response is triggered by the present situation or perhaps if it is triggered by a past experience or relationship. Stop and think of the reasons pushing your reactions and identify your emotional sunburns.

If your current relationship is healthy, strong and safe, start sharing your experiences with your partner and work together to help to see how your past is affecting your current relationship. Your partner can become more sensitive to your reactions and you will begin to realize that what happened in the past in not reoccurring again in the present and slowly you will be able to let it go.

Keep in mind emotional sunburns are more painful than your bad burn at the beach last summer!

If you are experiencing an emotional sunburn, especially one that isn’t healing, you may want to invest in working with a therapist to help identify and work though these past hurts. This might enable you to live with renewed emotional equilibrium, without being pulled back into the past.

By: Ilana Brown

IB

7 Things He Wants You to Know About Dating

keep-an-open-mind-101-happy-quotes-and-tipsDating can be fun, frustrating, exciting, and miserable all at the same time.  After failed attempts to
make it to relationship status, we often ask ourselves, “What are they thinking?!” Ladies, fret no more, here is what he wants you to know about dating.

1. “Playing hard to get is a turn off to a mature man and like a crack addiction for boys.”

My dad always told me, “Men value what they earn.” Although true, it sounds like we need to make sure we give them the opportunity to earn it.  One man explained “We like the chase but don’t forget you agreed to meet. Don’t be afraid to show some interest.”

2.  “Give your honest opinion about date ideas.”

Many of the men I asked shared their frustration with women either not helping to provide date ideas, not having opinions on their date ideas, or giving too many date ideas. One fellow reported, “If a guy asks a gal’s opinion on date options, be honest.  It’s hard enough to guess what she likes, let alone what she could be allergic/scared of”.

3. “It’s just a date.  Lighten up.”

This seems like something we all know but with so much pressure to “find the one”, all your friends walking down the aisle, and the goal to not hit geriatric pregnancy age by the time we are ready to have kids, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to hook the guy.  One man wanted to remind us, “We already like you (thus the date).  We’re asking questions because we are interested in more than your looks.”

4. “Don’t talk about your ex.”

One man explained “On the first date, only bring up history if we ask.  We don’t really care at this point about your ex or dating history.”

5. “Less is more”

Trends tell us we look best with long flowing hair (hair extensions), thick bushy lashes (lash extensions), tan skin (fake tan), and perfect skin (foundation).  But keep in mind that trends that women enjoy are different than what guys necessarily find attractive.  I guess he isn’t just sweet
talking you when he says you are beautiful when you wake up.

6. “Ask us questions”

Guys said they know the importance of asking questions on a date, especially to keep
conversation flowing, but that it can be a turn off if ladies spend the date only sharing about
themselves.  In fact, some men reported a ladies’ interest and ability to ask questions is a turn
on.  So ladies, try to make that convo 50/50.

7. “An offer to pay goes a long way”

Men agreed that women should offer to pay, but also that you should only let them pay if you
are interested.  They also recognized that more women are practicing “casual dating” than in
the past and if that’s the case, more power to you, but transparency is appreciated prior to
letting them fork up the cash.

By: Ashley Callahan

A.C

3 Ways To Get Into A Positive Dating Mindset

a-purple_tulips_cup_of_coffee-1514218After being stuck in the dating scene for a while and probably experiencing some rejection, many people become jaded about the dating process. While dating is definitely not always an easy or pleasant experience, there are a few ways to develop a positive attitude and make dating a bit more enjoyable.

1. Focus on you before the date

Do what you need to do to feel great about yourself. Participating in some self care is a great way to relax and pamper yourself. Try to keep your mind off the date so that you can avoid becoming too anxious. Tell yourself that anyone would be lucky to go on a date with you and take the time to prepare to present the best version of yourself. Get pumped to some invigorating music while you are getting ready and celebrate you.

2. Decide that you are going to have a great time

Having a positive attitude about yourself and the potential of the date is beneficial for you and attractive to your date. Being engaging is key. Ask your date lots of questions, smile and act at ease as much as you can. We might feel like giving up when a date does not meet our expectations, however, you are still spending time with another human being so make the most of that time. Treat even a person you know you will reject with lots of respect and kindness. Have a great time because you are great company even if your date is not.

3. Share with your friends after the date

Talking about a date afterwards can be cathartic and free some of the tension that built up. If the date went horribly, seek the support of your friends and try to think that you now have a new bad date story to add to your list as most people do.

By: Danielle Taylor

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10 Relationship Issues That Can Benefit From Professional Counselling

toronto-couples-relationship-counselling.jpgHave you been having relationship problems with your partner, family, friends or someone important in your life lately? In life, complications between the people we love arise and there are ways to solve those complications through many different ways. There are healthy and appropriate ways to solve those complications and two of the options are through counselling or psychotherapy.

Sometimes we ask ourselves, “Am I the only one having problems with the people around me?” Everyone has different circumstances throughout life, and its common for most people to go through rough patches as well as periods of joy throughout their life. It is important for us to recognize that no healthy relationship can avoid conflicts! Issues are created while having interaction with people but that shouldn’t stop us from having relationships with others.

There are many different reasons to why we may not be getting along with the people around us. Have you gone through any of the following lately?

1. Trust Issues
2. Difficulty Communicating
3. Personality Differences
4. Money Problems
5. Life Transitions (Minor or Major)
6. Overcoming Grief and Loss
7. Dating/Lack of Intimacy/Ending of a Relationship
8. Parenting/Controlling or Needy Partners
9. Coping with Each Other’s Extended Family/Blended Family
10. Household Responsibilities/Toxic or Judgemental Household Climate

Sometimes, all we need is to chat things over with a friend or family member, or even have some time to think on our own about the issue. Other times, therapy is a great option to explore why we’re having relationship issues and work out skills and coping strategies so we don’t end up in the situation again.

In Counselling and Therapy, we learn to:
1. Recognize the problem, treat it and become stable (emotionally and mentally)
2. Develop skills to work out obstacles in a lively and appropriate way
3. Learn to listen, process, and understand others
4. Establish skills to say what you want in a assertive way without being disoriented by emotions such as anger or resentment
5. Develop full capability to realize how the other person feels and what they want

At KMA Therapy we offer different types of services for Relationship Issues, such as:

– Counselling for Relationships
– Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
– Relationship Therapy
– Relationship Management Counselling

If you’re interested in any of these services, please contact us and we’ll be thrilled to help. Have a great day!

By: Kimberly Moffit

Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Mental Health Professional

Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Mental Health Professional

 

6 Things to Keep in Mind During a Breakup

heart-broken-purple-loveBreakups can be a terribly painful experience. If you are currently going through one, my heart goes out to you. It’s the worst. Our thoughts and feelings can often turn into a chaotic mess of negativity and ice cream doesn’t always help us feel better.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re breaking up:

1. We need to accept our feelings

After feeling sadness, anger and other negative emotions for longer than we feel we should, it can sometimes be easy to turn the negative feelings towards ourselves. Try to accept that your feelings are normal and try not to beat yourself up for feeling a certain way. Give yourself credit for investing yourself in someone else and giving enough that the feelings of loss are painful. It means that you truly tried and know how to give a relationship a real effort. This is good news for your future relationship(s).

2. Sometimes we never completely get over a person

Each person we have a relationship has unique qualities that may be impossible to find in someone else. If you didn’t have a reason to dislike a feature in a person anymore those feelings may not change so easily. This isn’t saying to not try to let go of the failed relationship. We must learn to cope without it. However, we may need to learn to live without it rather than getting over it to the point that it no longer is meaningful. Sometimes relationships are so impactful that they leave a mark on our hearts forever. This is okay to accept and it is important to realize that these types of significant events become part of who we are.

3. It is okay to lean on others during grieving

Breakups are time when it is completely normal and healthy to lean on our friends and family. As much as it feels at time to shut the world out, try to allow in the people who want to be there for you. It can be very cathartic to talk about your breakup to your friends and family if you need to process what happened.

4. We do not have to listen to people telling you to “get over it”

While you are in a vulnerable state it is important to choose who you want support from. Occasionally, there are people will not be able to relate to your pain. They may not understand where you are coming from and tell you things like “just get over it” and “try to stop thinking about him/her”. It isn’t helpful when others tell you how you should feel and what you should do. Finding friends and family who accept your fragile state and can offer proper empathy, sensitivity and relatedness is key. Sometimes finding support from a therapist can provide hugely beneficial guidance as well.

5. There is only so much we can expect from others (our strength will ultimately come from within)

While we can definitely lean on others, it’s important to keep in mind that as much as they can listen and empathize, they cannot ultimately take the pain away. Our strength to be able to cope comes from within even it takes a while to show up. Try to remind yourself of your positive qualities everyday and tell yourself that you do not need others to validate those qualities.

6. Be a friend to yourself

After you have given too much love to someone else it’s possible to feel so empty that you feel as though you lost yourself. Remind yourself that you still have you. When you feel yourself fading from someone’s memory it can start to feel like you are disappearing. Remind yourself that you are still here and take care of yourself. Do things that you like and that make you happy. Find yourself again be there to comfort yourself during this time of grieving. It can also be therapeutic to channel our negative energy into something productive and or creative.

Grieving after a breakup is a normal process and it is not always a straightforward path. Temporary relapses may occur but time and space will dull the pain. If it seems as though there is no end in sight for your tears, the guidance of a therapist may help you process your situation and bring you back to feeling more like yourself again.

By: Danielle Taylor

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