Linda Price, Ph.D., LMFT | Blog
It's Easter Weekend. . . .
It's Easter Sunday this weekend, and as a Christian, I will be celebrating. It is a time of rebirth and reflection for me. As Jesus died to save me and remove my sins, I pause to think how remarkable a gift given to me. My sins are plenty in my life. They're not pretty and many events, I can honestly say I can't believe I really did them, but I did. I think my Mother was right -- "You need to learn the hard way, don't you Linda?" Yes, I guess I did. I must have caused her many sleepless nights.

I don't dwell on what I did wrong, but rather I make a mental list of what I learned from my mistakes. I believe when life's setbacks come our way, the moments of suffering remain just that "suffering" -- unless we are ready to gather information and learn from those moments. If left unchallenged with consequences and accepting responsibility, we run the risk of becoming highly self-centered, callous, and feeling entitled. We may spend our lives only seeking pleasure, approval, acceptance and rewards, and denying anything unpleasant or unkind that we may have done. What an injustice to the development of a fully-functioning individual.

It is easy for me to accept what I've done wrong, and it is easy for me to give forgiveness. I had the benefit of kind, loving parents. I grew up in Virginia and my parents were "Southern Baptist" strict, but there was always plenty of love dished out as well. I could express my feelings, my disappointments and my anger at my parents. They did not always agree with my delivery and time outs were part of my life, but they were not cruel. That is not true of many of my clients whose parents ruled through intimidation and punishment. They had to accept consequences and responsibility for events that were actually caused by the behaviors of their parents. How can someone show empathy and understanding for others, when it was never modeled to them as a child? How can someone be joyful in life, when joy is not what was encouraged? They had to endure so much as a child, that as an adult, any type of criticism is just to much for them to handle. They are seen and labeled as "cold", "angry" and "mean". Yet, behind all of the "meanness" there lies the heart of a child that needs nurturing and kindness. When the walls of injustice are gently removed, and they learn how to stop seeking the approval of disapproving parents and completely love themselves just the way they are, a transformation takes place -- their eyes softened, their hearts are no longer broken and their whole body learns how to relax. Their "fear" guard no longer has to work overtime, and they can breathe!

It is Easter, and with it emerges a season of new beginnings filled with hope and love. At least that is my belief. I think everyday about the wonderful gift God gave us with this huge playground called the "world". He would like you to enjoy it. He would like you to know you are truly loved and cherished by Him. If you suffered by the injustices of very damaged parents, I hope this weekend you reach out to find a place where you can feel "at peace" with your life. The first step is right there for you to take, and I just know you can do it.

Take Care and May God Bless You All
Linda M. Price, Ph.D., LMFT
I'm Sick and I Want My Partner to Take Care of Me
I'm sitting here today trying to overcome a bad case of food poisoning. I look freighting, I have no energy and I cannot even begin to pretend interest in anything my partner might have to say. I am truly on mending mode and that's it. It began Friday night which was terrible, Saturday I did not crawl out of bed until 2 in the afternoon, and by nightfall, I only began to feel a little better. Today, I’m feeling much better and I'm almost myself. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I will be back to "normal".

I'm fortunate that I have a wonderful and loving partner. He is kind and considerate and wants to take care of me, especially when I'm feeling poorly. But in my life, I've been with partners who were not so sensitive to my needs, and felt I did not have the privilege of feeling "bad" or "sick" or "tired" or "exhausted". Lying in bed for hours and having someone concerned enough to just check in on you does make you feel better. At least I think so.

We need to know our partner is willing to sacrifice part of a day or two or three or whatever it takes in order to help us get better. We need to be reassured that we are not a burden, that we are precious to our partner, and that when we need nurturing and comforting the most, we will get it.

Sometimes relationships are so very toxic, that even the most human of kindnesses cannot be made. Angry, bitter and "entitled" individuals feel victimized themselves being around a partner who now must be "taken care of". There was even an article recently about when cancer strikes a relationship, many times the "well" person cannot handle the added responsibility and decides to leave. I cannot even imagine the incredible heartbreak that must be felt by the person struggling to just feel a little better, or having to endure cancer treatments so severe that the treatment itself might kill the person. I shake my head and wonder how people can be so cruel.

If you are in need of comfort, I truly hope you have the perfect person in your life who will provide that for you. If that is not what is happening for you today, then I send you my own comforting words that you are cared about. I may not know you personally, but I know what you are going through. You will get better and feel stronger, and when you are better and stronger, just maybe it is time to reevaluate your relationship.

Take Care and May God Bless You All
Linda M. Price, Ph.D., LMFT
Pets Who Die
I have a very dear friend who had to put his beloved Golden Retriever down the other day, and this big, tough guy was devastated with the loss. He never thought it would be so hard. His buddy was gone. His dog had a very long life with lots of love and plenty of affection, so it was humane to bring his suffering to an end. For days, he couldn't get up to go outside or even to eat. It was the only choice, and my friend knew it. He called a wonderful woman to come to the house to administer the injections and his beloved dog was able to die in his arms, all the time looking into my friends eyes with complete trust and love until he took his very last breath.

I know there are others who experience this type of deep loss when a pet leaves them, either through sudden death or because it's the humane thing to do. There is something so deeply profound in this type of loss that I venture to believe it is a stronger bond than any other relationship we have. It seems unconditional love is at its best in an animal-human relationship.

If there is anyone who is experiencing this type of loss, I send you my deepest sympathy. You were given a gift that is beyond a mere description in words -- it is felt deeply and you will need time to mourn this terrible loss. People think getting over the loss of a pet should be easy -- but it is not. The stages of grief must still be completed before inner peace and this terrible loss are healed.

I just wanted to share this today for those who are deeply grieving the loss of their best friend. Your heart was blessed the day your pet walked into your life with the ultimate gift of unconditional love. That gift will always be a part of you even on days when you feel the most beaten up because your devoted friend remains alive and well in your heart.

Take care and may God bless you all.
Linda M. Price, Ph.D.
Can our Best Friend Relationship Cause Harm to Our Primary Relationship?
Friends are important, aren't they? They are there through our good times and bad things and they offer us a needed "sounding board" with our deepest fears and insecurities. I think my friends are the best, and I know my life would be missing something terribly important without them around me.

But -- what happens when our good female friend or male buddy friend becomes our source of deep, personal emotional support? When our child receives a good report, who is called first -- our friend or our wife, husband or partner? When there is a fear or insecurity that riddles us with self-doubt, who do we confide in for support and comfort -- our best friend or our loving partner? When work is overwhelming or exciting and our family is out of control or actually doing very well, who do we turn to for sharing and receiving advice and wisdom -- again, our best friend or our loving partner? When our wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend is causing us a lot of embarrassment or humiliation and we begin to lose self-respect for our partner, who do we talk to about our problems? If your best girlfriend or your male buddy has become your ally, then you may be "turning away" from your relationship rather than "turning toward" the relationship for your "soft place to fall".

I see far too many couples who have replaced their primary relationship with their "best friend" as the person they rely on most when joy or conflict arises in their lives. The wedge this creates in the primary relationship is subtle at first, but as time goes by, the wedge becomes huge and the problems in the relationship become more and more hostile and damaging. One person blames the other for not "listening" and the other person repeats "you don't talk to me, you just tell me". One door closes to an open, cherishing relationship, and another door opens to a relationship that uses trashing the other person as a way to interact. It is all so very sad.

There are a number of reasons this type of unhealthy and stagnant relationship begins to develop. John Gottman, who is a renowned psychologist, states the stages to this type of interaction evolve out of four types of styles of communication. They are called the "Four Horsemen" and they are: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. Let me explain each a little for you:

Criticism -- There are always complaints in a relationship. These only address the specific action at which your partner failed. A criticism is more global — it adds on some negative words about your mate’s character or personality. "Please take out the trash" turns into "You can't do anything around the house, you just don't care".

Contempt - Sarcasm and cynicism are types of contempt. So are name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. In whatever form, contempt — the worst of the four horsemen — is poisonous to a relationship because it conveys disgust.

Defensiveness - When conversations become so negative, critical, and attacking, it should come as no surprise that you will defend yourself. Although this is understandable, research shows that this approach rarely has the desired effect. The attacking partner does not back down or apologize. This is because defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner.

Stonewalling -- In marriages and relationships where discussions begin harshly, criticism and contempt lead to defensiveness, which leads to more contempt and more defensiveness, and eventually, and understandably, one partner tunes out.

If you believe your relationship has entered into this type of interaction, and you're turning to your best friend more and more for emotional support, then I would encourage you to seek some professional help. The relationship can change, the interaction between the two of you can become more satisfying and nurturing. I've witnessed it happen.

Take care and may God bless you all.
Linda M. Price, Ph.D.
Emotional or Physical -- It's Still An Affair
My private practice specializes in helping marriages and relationships rebuild and thrive after suffering an affair. However, there seems to be a misconception out there that an emotional affair is "not really an affair because no sex occurred". This is not true and is actually a cruel attitude to comprehend for the person who must endure an emotional affair. Phrases like "you're too jealous", "you're overreacting", "your imagining things", "you need to work on yourself and get over this", and a host of other insensitive comments make the person witnessing this happening begin to question their own self-worth. They try harder only to find it doesn't stop the emotional ties between their partner and the other person.

What is an emotional affair? The term "friend" is used often. But this type of "friend" crosses over the emotional line between you and your partner and the "friend" becomes the sounding board and confidant for sharing intimate, personal information. Hopes, dreams, insecurities, joy, expectations become the talk of the day with the "friend" and there is an excitement to see the other person and share information with that individual. The "friend" now takes on a very personal, intimate role in the person's life, and a drastic shift in the relationship emerges. The energy and excitement once shared with your partner now becomes reserved for the "friend" and your relationship at that very moment becomes stagnant. It no longer thrives and grows and is relegated to casual, forced conversations about superficial and routine daily matters. How was your day, what do the kids need, what's for dinner, what's on TV. . . .there becomes less and less intimate, personal talk and a silent cancer begins to grow in the relationship.

There is a simple piece of advice I give to my clients -- No matter what you are doing or saying, imagine if your partner were standing right beside you -- if what you are doing or saying would offend, disrespect or in any way cause your partner to feel uncomfortable, then you're doing something that is harmful to your partner and to the relationship.

This situation can be turned around by consistently making a conscious decision to "turn toward" your partner for support, inspiration and sharing. Creating a ritual at the end of the day by reconnecting is essential and my couples find when they begin doing this, their relationship becomes more meaningful. There is an expectation of sharing "alone" time together and it becomes their own "precious moments". This can be done even if you have children....but it takes a commitment from both partners to invest time in the relationship for the future benefit of its survival.

I am here to help couples when emotional or physical affairs occur in their marriage or relationship. If you need help sorting this out and finding a new way to rebuild and reconnect, call or text me anytime at . I would welcome the opportunity to share in your journey to healing and recovery.

Look for my next blog which will concern emotional connections between girlfriends and guys with close friends and how these friendships can sometimes interfere with the emotional connection in their own relationship.

Take care and may God bless you all.
Linda M. Price, Ph.D., LMFT