Category Archives: Intimacy

Parenting: Raising the Blind or Creating Blindness


Identity, ego, super ego, love and fear – are they keeping your child from growing?

Love vs. fear and the interference of both.

Does love get in the way of giving your children the freedom to grow, mature, fail, build a full, rich and solid sense of self, or is love the answer? Perhaps we need to redefine love. A love that is not necessarily knowing of outcome, a particular kind of blindness, that requires ingredients rather then a finished product. 

Psychological or emotional blindness however is a concept I envision as a skewed perception of oneself in relation to others in the world. In this way blindness makes it difficult to navigate relationships and be a self-relient contributing adult. 

To avoid this blindness we need wide open arms that create space for joy and disappointment, as well as the arms offering boundaries, that come from knowing, well meaning and thoughtful parenting.
Fear is not necessarily the evil poison to love, but rather fear lives as a shadow in all of us. It can inform us of our need to know more about ourselves, honor our historical primary wounds (see previous blog post), the courage to loosen our grip on control, and give voice to the unspeakable in the pursuit of freedom. Fear, however, without the passenger of love darkens the world of our children. I think of it as truth accompanied by being held. This informs resiliency. I can know, tolerate and learn from the truth so long as I carry your hugs.

 The dance between love and fear, in their purist form, and our courage and vulnerability to embrace both, allows for us to embrace the goodness of being blind without creating blindness. It is often a difficult and tricky balance for me as a parent, often losing its equilibrium. When the dance falls apart and where either “too” much love or “too” much fear inhabits the space, I find it an opportunity to say, “I am sorry” and for the lesson of being fallible.

I would much rather tip and fall in this dance between love and fear than create blindness in a child who does not know either fully. I just pray to the goddesses that I am somewhere in the ball park.

A Collection of Stories – Part 2

Group Therapy and Its Power

Group therapy is like a collection of short stories creating a collective multi-layered novel, whereby the characters of the book and their stories, individually and in composite, create a broad and varied landscape where they live together – a family, a community and a place of home. This home, in that therapy room, provides a safe place to be caringly challenged and to ultimately know oneself more in relation to and with others – to grow. This capacity to create a richly woven tapestry with others and thus be an integral part of a unit and of healing and knowing becomes yours – a tool that is now yours to take into the world.

As addressed in Part 1 of this two part post, revisiting the wounds of the past impacts the stories of the now. Group therapy is a wonderful way to hear, hold and help heal these historical wounds and to know the stories of your past. To have your peers, your created community and the assembled “family” be able refer and remind you of these past pains helps you, caringly challenges you, to tell your more pure stories of the now and therefore create more of a life that you want for yourself.

I have been blessed to witness and help guide such groups. The work they do is something I marvel at each day.

A Collection Of Stories – Part 1

As a therapist I often say, as it relates to a patient sharing information, “The story in my head is…”

A big part of intimacy, I believe, is in the realization that our narrative, our stories, are solely our own. They are meaningful and dear to us as they should be. For us to be seen, heard and honored in and about our stories we need to learn to value them. We also need to develop the capacity to see beyond our own narrative long enough to see and hear the stories of those that are important to us to complete the intimacy equation.

Our narratives, our stories, are not Truth. They are a collection of richly woven experiences digested through the entity that is you. They are yours. Truth holds less value here. Facts matter, but they hold less importance in the interchange with another in the journey of courage, intimacy and connectedness.

I encourage you to separate Intimacy from Truth, your story from the need to be “right,” and connectedness from ego. When we are fighting to be right, it is not about the journey of intimacy in the now. It, might however, be the well worn historical path of not having been seen and heard. That path, that history, matters because it intrudes upon the now, it holds wounds to be healed and revisited, and it potentially skews the stories you are telling in the now. Attend to these ancient and not so ancient wounds, so that you and the dear person, whose eyes are looking at yours in the now, can hear the story you intend.

It is of great importance and can transport us from aloneness to intimacy to tell our stories – to live in them and with another. It is therapeutic and therapy, it is friendship and love, it is family…

The story in my head is…

Sitting on the Edge of the Cliff

Sitting on the edge of the cliff is when the individuals of a couple, or the couple itself, is in significant pain, profound conflict and on the verge of jumping. While sitting on this precarious ledge there is a meaningful opportunity for the individuals and the couple to grow – the hope of a growth edge, rather then the demise of a relationship.

These experiences are inevitable. It speaks to the viability, survival and resilience of the couple. The other day my husband and I were in the midst of a difficult, hard and painful conversation (if not argument) and I felt profoundly grateful for all the times that we had historically, individually and collectively, sat on the edge of the cliff. I’d been there before, I’d learned from this painful and scary place. We have learned a great deal about one another and our capacity to be resilient – we can and will do it again.

Stay on Your Side of the Fence

My feelings are mine. My experiences are mine. My journey is mine. Few people like to be told what they are thinking or feeling. Be curious and live in the land of not knowing. In your relationships help to create a safe place, an invitation for further sharing and revealing, and a reduction in defensiveness, by staying on your side of the fence.

As a couples therapist I often find myself saying, “Please stay on your side of the fence, it will help you to be seen and heard more clearly, it will help your mate to feel seen and heard and it will be fundamentally important to the growth of your relationship.” The process and journey of staying on your side of the fence will better enhance Empathy and Respect – two of the major cornerstones to any intimate relationship.

Self-Caring Ownership Will Set You Free

The capacity to take ownership is one of those magical moments in time where you can gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of yourself. When you are less invested in how others think of you, when your ego is less involved in being right, when your intention is to know more about yourself, when you earnestly care about your well being, and when you live in the land of healthy entitlement you provide yourself the opportunity to take ownership that informs growth.

When I am lovingly challenged about how I hurt, angered, frustrated, or possibly saddened someone, it is an opportunity to hear and see that person. It is also an opportunity to know more about myself – what can I come to know about the origins of my actions, the feelings that informed my choices and the potential healing of old internal wounds. By taking self-caring ownership three significant things happen: 1). I hear and see the other person, 2). I learn more about myself and 3). The process and journey between us informs a deepening of intimacy.

In contrast, self-deprecating ownership only entraps you. It is basically asking the other person to take care of you, to sooth your wounded ego, shame and/or guilt – that is your work to lovingly do, not theirs. Even if the challenge that is coming your way is incorrect, your ownership of your own truth can be a place of underscoring what you know and inform greater intimacy with the other.

Choose Curiosity

To actively see and hear others is to presume that you don’t know the answers – instead to be curious. Questions, a hallmark of curiosity, are an essential step in the process of seeing and hearing. The flower wants to be experienced, witnessed and observed, not talked to.

When you join in the relational experience of being curious, and relinquish being correct, you will not only know more about that person, but you will have more with that person. The more can be rich and nuanced, it can be informative and revealing, it can be bold and scary, and it can inform meaningful intimacy.

The process of being curious is also important in self-discovery. “I wonder what that was about?” “I wonder why I was just defensive?” “I wonder why I’m scared, sad, lonely, threatened, joyful, at peace, etc?”

To be curious, rather than correct, is to give up control and enter into a journey with oneself, and with others along the path.