Time to Take Off the Mask

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When it comes to looking for jobs, many of us are familiar with the importance of power.  When applying for a job, who has the power?  The employer.  They are the ones who decide whether or not they will look at our application, if they will interview us, and ultimately if they want to hire us. For those of us applying, we can only hope that something about our application stands out.

Because of this, we may often feel the need to hide who we really are on our application.  Maybe we try to anticipate what the employer is looking for and word our answers to questions accordingly. Maybe we try to put a positive spin on previous jobs to match the job we are applying for.

In relationships, we may experience something similar.  If we think our partner has all the power for making decisions in our relationship, is it possible we pretend to be something we’re not because we want our partner to choose us?  If so, will this help or hurt our relationship?

Clifton Oyamot of San Jose State, ... Read more »

What You’re Still Missing About Empathy

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Today’s post is inspired by Dr. Brene Brown’s work on empathy.  Empathy, as she states in the video above, is feeling with people.   Sympathy, on the other hand, is feeling sorry for people.  Empathy connects.  Sympathy disconnects.  Empathy says, “I know what that feels like, or at least I’m glad you told me what it feels like because I want you to know you’re not alone.  I’m here.”, whereas sympathy says, “Wow, that sounds terrible, sorry you have to deal with that!” (and then slowly backs away to the comfortable sphere where it doesn’t have to feel your pain with you).


Okay, so empathy is great and wonderful, but why do we care?  Because empathy requires vulnerability, and vulnerability is what connects us most to each other in this world.  We all have a need to feel connected, loved, and accepted because we’re human beings–we’re wired that way.  We’re starving for connection, and we live in a world where it’s harder and harder to connect because we’re busy hiding behind our screens.


So why does empathy require vulnerability?  After all, how hard is it to be there with ... Read more »

What You Don’t Understand About Your “Emotionally Unavailable” Partner

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Disengaged Partner

I was at a conference this weekend where it was once again reiterated to me how impactful our attachment in our early relationships is on our current relationships.  When we talk about “attachment”, we usually mean how safe and connected we feel to our partner (or friend, or parent, etc.).  What the research has shown over the years is that our attachment style is mostly dictated by our relationship we had with our parents when we were little, but it can change as we have new relationship experiences throughout our life.  There are a few main attachment styles that I want to unpack today because I think they’re often misunderstood and this misunderstanding can cause major problems in relationships.


Secure Attachment

When you meet someone with a secure attachment style, they probably grew up with a steady flow of comfort, validation, empathy, and love from their parents and family.  These are the people who aren’t too anxious, but aren’t scared of relationships either.


Insecure Anxious Attachment

When someone has an insecure attachment style, they either exhibit avoidant or anxious behaviors to cope with this ... Read more »

Video Games and Disengagement.

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Woman frustrated with man exhibiting disengagement and playing video games
Regardless of how secure someone is in their attachment style, everyone employs at least three different attachment behaviors in their relationships: accessibility, responsiveness, and engagement.  

Accessibility: whether or not someone is reachable, or–like it sounds–accessible.  For example, someone who’s across the country and doesn’t have cell service is pretty inaccessible.  Someone who’s always at work and can’t take calls during the day is also inaccessible.  Someone who’s just a phone call away is mildly accessible.  And someone intentionally standing in the same room as you is very accessible.  On a deeper level, however, accessibility can also mean how easy it is if your partner is distressed for them to get your attention and have you respond to their needs.  Accessibility is important in relationships, but simply being accessible can fall flat if we don’t follow through with the next two attachment behaviors.


Responsiveness: how you respond to someone.  Someone can answer their phone when you call (making them accessible), but if they just “yeah” or “uh-huh” you throughout the whole conversation instead of actually listening and answering, they’re not being responsive.  Similarly, someone ... Read more »