In my practice, I have seen on several occasions instances in which an older sister will try to undermine her younger brother’s romantic relationships . Sometimes this can show itself by rudeness whenever the girlfriend or wife is around. Or it can begin when there are family events planned and the wife or girlfriend is not included.
This often happens in families in which the sister at some time in the brother’s childhood was made to take a maternal role due to the mother’s death or illness or even neglect. In this family dynamic the younger brother is never seen as grown up whether he is 19 or 49, the sister assumes she knows best. She has taken on the role as her brother’s protector even when he has long outgrown the need of a protector.
Often the brother feels torn between his girlfriend and his sister and family members. Even though he know that he should stand up for her and let his family know that his romantic choices are his alone to make, this may not be behavior that he is used to. However it is important for the family to be told that they must be cordial and polite and inclusive of the brother’s wife or girlfriend. Once they know that he is going to stand up to them, most often they will back down and start the acceptance process. In the mean time, its important the the wife/girlfriend understand that the behavior was not meant to be malicious but simply was a way to protect the “little brother” of the family.
Contact Jeannette York, LMFT for premarital counseling. (818.200.9513) Topics included are money, parenting, traditions, religion, sex, families, finances, Facebook, and other topics that the couple determines are important.
The word Co-Dependent gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Often we hear about parents and Adult children in co-dependent relationships. The definition of co-dependence is excessive emotional dependence on another person. The part of the word that is “Co” is that the excessive dependence goes both ways but shows itself in different forms but really two sides of the same coin.
For example, a husband is dictated to by his wife. She demands to know where he is going at all times and where he is at all times. The wife controls the husbands where bouts and controls the money in the relationship. Sounds sad for the husband, right? The Co dependency comes in when the husband begins to ask the wife when and if he can go certain places or he “sneaks out” like a little boy. This couple has entered into a relationship in which the husband on some level is dependent on the wife to manage his life and the wife is emotionally dependent on the husband to behave like a son (child) and not a grown man. In healthy adult relationships, adults do not tell adults what to do.
A good couple’s counselor helps couples navigate the emotional minefields that are part of relationships. These emotional minefields represent the predictable, yet often painful experiences that many couples go through as they learn to adjust to life together.
When a couple does not understand the other, each member will often tell themselves stories or make up meaning to fill the void of not knowing what is really going on. A good couple’s counselor will challenge those stories and help to uncover the real meaning behind words and behaviors.
Sometimes a couple is at the “end of their rope” and believe that the relationship stands little chance of surviving. However a good marriage and family therapist will help rebuild that hope and provide the couple with the tools they need. Once a couple has started to build defenses, they may need help to bring down those defenses so that they can hear what their partner needs to say. Marriage and Couple’s therapy can help that communication happen in safe environment.
To make an appointment call 818.669.8066, there are some evening and afternoon appointments available. The sessions are on a weekly basis for 50 minutes at a time. Cost is $135.00 per session.
The term “gaslight effect” comes from the a 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman. In the film, Bergman’s character is made to feel that she is going crazy by her husband. He does this by creating situations in which Bergman begins to doubt her own ability to recognize what is real and what is not.
Today the term refers to psychological and emotional abuse inflicted on one partner by another partner. If you are in a relationship in which you feel that you constantly need to prove yourself or your feelings are invalidated then it may be that you are being gaslighted. Gaslighted can be hard to pinpoint because the attacker is hiding behind a mask of good will or “being right”. Some traits to look for in this type of unhealthy relationship are a partner who often says to you that you are “too sensitive”, right after he insults you or calls you a name or puts you down in front of others. Other traits are when you know something is right and the person you are with insist that you are wrong, causing you to doubt yourself and your own truth.
Eventually this type of relationship will cause the victim to experience a loss of joy in life. They become so focused on making their partner see that they really are smart, caring, good people or whatever traits are being attacked that their ability to enjoy life vanishes.
There are some tools to help the partner who makes the decision that they want to stay in the relationship. It is not easy and requires the ability to learn to speak up for oneself in healthy ways and to not engage in trying to win an argument. Gaslighters have more experience and skill at “winning” than their victims.
*Learn to “agree to disagree” even if you gaslighter partner wants to continue the argument.
* Learn to practice not responding to every insult or veiled criticism that your gaslighter partner says to you.
*Let your partner know what your boundaries are, and when they cross the line. A good time to have a discussion about boundaries is before an argument.
* Guard against constantly seeking your partner’s approval or begging them for reassurance. Sometimes they will not approve. Practice the emotional muscle it takes to not constantly seek approval.