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Improve Your Relationship with This Essential Skill
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
Relationships can be complicated; and the skills that make them successful are, likewise, sometimes complicated. An extremely important skill that illustrates this is mentalizing. This psychological term refers to the ability of people to understand how people's minds work, apply this knowledge to their own situations, and relate to these insights in an emotionally engaged way. As a result, they are good at communicating their struggles to their partners; and they are also good at understanding their partner's experiences.


People with a strong ability to mentalize have the often difficult-to-attain perspective of understanding themselves from the outside and others from the inside. So, for example, you understand your recent outburst with your partner is despite your anger toward him for a problem in the moment due to mounting anger from problems with him over time; or due to misplaced anger from problems at work. And you might see his angry response as defensiveness. By recognizing this, you can work with your partner to more effectively address the situation and move on.


Can you relate to this idea? Can you see how your understanding of your own or your partner's experiences and motivations help keep your relationship on track?

If you would like to read more in detail about this topic in my The Art of Relationships blog, click here .






Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.
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dfromspencer responded:
Hiya, Dr. Becker-Phelps

You know, its amazing how we do that in our relationships without even realizing we are doing it? I have always tried to get where they are comming from, is she really mad about this particular thing, or is it something from work, or something i did earlier? This is a good way to solve conflicts. Even if your S.O. doesn't understand this, you can still use it very effectively to calm the situation.

This is so cool!!! Thank you, Dr. Becker-Phelps, for bringing this up!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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dfromspencer replied to dfromspencer's response:
P.S. I had my fusion surgery done on the 31st of Dec. and let me tell you, I am in pain! The first time was easy, only had one done, this time, it was 4-5, 6-7 and a three inch scar. I had one pain pill when i first woke up, then i had none. I cannot stand taking all this pain medication, i already take seven hundred milligrams of morphine each day. I certainly don't want more. So, the script for percoset went un-filled, and i am proud of that.

Each day gets better, thats good enough for me.
Just wanted to let you know.

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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wolkowski responded:
The whole key is to first have a partner willing to talk. That is, one who will also reason and examine themselves and tell you what they came up with so the dialog can continue. This ability to talk, so to speak, starts with sex, and all the activities involved. If one cannot tell the other what is pleasing the talk is low. We must learn how to have sex and then capitalize on the incentives involved to keep the talk flowing.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to dfromspencer's response:
I'm glad you enjoyed this. (If you haven't read the whole blog related to this, check it out .)

Also, I'm sorry to hear you are in pain -- I just hope it is all for a good purpose in the end. Take care.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to wolkowski's response:
While starting with sex may work for you, it's important to understand that many people (especially women) don't work this way. They begin with being able to share intimate thoughts and feelings in general and about the relationship. Then, if they feel safe, they are more comfortable talking about sex.
 
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dfromspencer replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Thank you, Dr. Becker-Phelps

I did read the whole article, i found it facinating! Do you have any further recomendations? I am always willing to learn more!

Thank you, for the concern! Its been two weeks now, and getting much better. I don't feel as if i was beaten with a baseball bat, anymore. This surgery, can only improve my pain level. Before this, i could hardly move my neck, without passing out. This is a huge improvement for me!

Thanks again!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to dfromspencer's response:
Again, I'm glad you are feeling improvement.

You might find some of my blogs on PsychologyToday helpful. They tend to be related to developing self-awareness and self-compassion.
 
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dfromspencer replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Thank you, thank you for that link!!! I read two immediately, Learning your attachment style, and Change your attachment style, both excellent!!! On the left, there was a link to "Is it ever too soon to recover from grief", by a Dr. Friedman. (I am still having a problem getting over Joe, woke up this morning and started bawling) So, i read that story, and two more on crying. Unfortunately, that has left me with more questions, than answers. Its been two months since Joe passed, will i ever stop crying so hard? This seems so rediculous to me? Shouldn't it be easier by now? Is there something wrong with me? Am i over emotional? Will i ever get past this stage? Is this all in my head? And if it is, why does my heart hurt so much? Can i do anything to make this easier/faster? Am i doomed to this hurt forever?

If you have any answers, I would love to hear them!!!!!!!!

Thanks again, Dr. Becker-Phelps, you're the best!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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dfromspencer replied to orangeleaf's response:
Thank you, Orangeleaf

Yes, i am a little better. I had cervical fusion surgery on the 31st of Dec. for L-4-5 & 6-7. For the last two weeks, i felt as if someone had beaten me with a baseball bat. Now, its not too bad. Healing slowly.

No, i don't have close enough family, nor do i have friends that would bother to help me. I do have one great friend that would if she could. But she lives in Ca., and i live in Iowa. No help there.

I was barred from driving for two weeks. However, without any help, i was forced to drive myself to another town to see my P.C.P., and another time, to get some groceries. Both times i was racked with fear of passing out while driving. Thank goodness, i made it alright!!!

Things are progressing nicely, so no complaints on my side. The doctor did a nice job, and i thank him profusely! The nurses were wonderful, and i thank them profusely, also!!!

I thank you profusely also, for your concern!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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An_248487 replied to dfromspencer's response:
My suggestion is I want you settle down as a family, find your partner and marry, enjoy your time and please don't suffer yourself alone, if something wrong i am sorry, but it is up to you. I have great support being in family with my husband, he helps me a lot, keeping me like a child, he loves me a lot.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to dfromspencer's response:
Of course, your grief is not all in your head... it's in your heart, too! Grief is different for everyone. It is truly a process and can hit you in waves.It's also important to have meaning, keep busy, and connect with others -- not to mention the basics of exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep. These things help to balance grief with other important aspects of life.

I hope you are sticking with therapy and that you connect with your therapist.

Take care.
 
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dfromspencer replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Hi, Dr. Becker-Phelps

I found myself busy with other things, then suffered through a serious bout of depression. This morning, i forced myself out of bed. So many things caught up to me at once. The slow healing from surgery, Joe, money, or lack thereof, and i lost one of my babies, Bobo, fell off my flower stand, and killed himself. That was the final straw, i guess? My baby Bobo is a pet rat. I still have Bubba, but he seems so depressed himself. It was hard, but i spent all my time, (all the time i could) with him. Trying to make him feel better.

I don't ever want to feel like that, again!!! Still no confirmed date to see my therapist, either. I have no idea as to what the hold up is? I called them this morn., no answer as usual, but left another message. Hopefully, soon?

Thanks for everything!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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love2lol2 replied to dfromspencer's response:
Hang in there D! You can always call me if you're feeling the slightest bit down! Send me a text or something? I will be here night or day.... I have been in your position before and have seen others through their best and worst times. Just remember, you won't always feel this bad. Times will get better! Put yourself in your happy place and stay there until you feel stronger. Visualize your walk through those Redwoods! And most of all, remember you are loved dearly by many!

Love, Hugs, and lots of Spoons,
Vicki


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