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The Impact of Loneliness

May 8, 2019

Scientists and researchers are discovering mounting evidence about the negative impact of loneliness and social isolation. One study found that 1 in 5 people suffer from persistent loneliness signifying this is no small problem. Loneliness affects people mentally, emotionally, and even physically.

The medical and physical effects of loneliness can be quite sweeping. Studies have found loneliness can be a contributing factor to heart disease, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, and can compromise immunity. They also found that lonely people are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Being lonely and isolated can increase stress hormones, disrupt sleep, impact energy level, and impair cognitive abilities. All this makes people more susceptible to developing depression and anxiety disorders.

People of all ages can struggle with loneliness, however some age groups are at higher risk. Surprisingly many young people are at risk. Despite having plenty of Facebook friends and Instagram connections, many young people feel lonely. Social media messaging is not a replacement for face to face human contact and/or touch. Having a few close personal friends is probably healthier than hundreds of online social contacts. That said, most studies find that social

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April 10, 2019

With a divorce rate around 50%, there are millions of people looking to form new relationships that have children of their own, or are dating someone with children from a previous relationship or marriage. The statistics show that 16% of children grow up in a blended family, which is has been pretty stable for the past 30 years. Prior to moving in and/or getting married there are some things to be mindful of that can help facilitate greater success down the road.

One thing that is crucial is to take the time for everyone to get acquainted and spend time together. There is no need to rush down the wedding isle, especially when blending families. It is upsetting for a child to feel like their new step parent is a complete stranger. Taking the time to build a relationship with kids can payoff greatly later on. During the stages of getting to know each other and even into marriage, the parenting approach is important. Most conventional wisdom suggests that the biological parent should be the one to perform any discipline that is needed, at least in the early stages. As the step parent your primary task to build a friendship and relationship with your partner’s children, and taking an authoritarian role often undermines these efforts, especially when it’s met with, “You’re not my mom/dad, you can

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April 1, 2019

Four Pitfalls in Relationship Communication

Noted researcher and expert in marital therapy, Dr. John Gottman, has worked for years with couples who rate their marriages as happy and satisfying, and those who are unhappy and dissatisfied. In his quest to figure out what differentiates these groups, he found that it primarily boiled down to communication. Quality and effective communication is the foundation of any solid relationship.

Dr. Gottman found four communication styles and attributes that were particularly common, and also at the root of derailing conversation and spinning things into an escalation or utter collapse. These are four pitfalls that you want to be aware of in your own communication with your significant other, or anyone for that matter. These may be easy for you to see in others, but it is critical that you watch for them in yourself since you can only control your side of the communication.


This can take the form of any statement that suggests that there is something globally wrong with your partner, or is a lasting part of their character. It often starts with “you always

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March 13, 2019

The impact of divorce on children is well documented and discouraging, but there is hope and skillful ways to minimize the impact of divorce on children. On the concerning side, here are some startling facts. Adult children of divorced parents experience mental health problems significantly more often than do the adult children of intact families. The college attendance rate is about 60 percent lower among children of divorced parents compared with children of intact families. Divorce has been found to be associated with a higher incidence of depression, withdrawal from friends and family; aggressive, impulsive, or hyperactive behavior; and either withdrawing from participation in the classroom or becoming disruptive. Daughters of divorced parents tend to divorce more frequently than do the sons of divorced parents, with the risk as much as 87 percent higher during the earlier years of marriage.

The facts presented above are not intended to discourage the thousands of men and women, who through no fault of their own are divorced or planning to divorce. Instead, these facts are shared as a reminder to those who are married or are considering getting married that divorce carries with it many potentially harmful and life changing consequences for everyone involved. The impact on children is not to be take

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February 25, 2019

One of the great stressors in life is dealing with difficult people. By definition a difficult person is anyone whose words or action evoke unwanted and unpleasant feelings in you. Before you start making a laundry list of the people you know, remember that we all have a difficult side. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we are only a couple steps away from becoming a case study in an article like this about difficult people. One thing to remember is that most difficult people are temporarily working from a negative side of their personality and are not consciously trying to be difficult. These people are often swept up in their own emotions and are unaware of their tone of voice, body language and behaviors towards others.

Knowing the type of difficult person you are dealing with can be helpful in situations and determines the steps you might take. Steam blowers are people who are upset with a particular outcome or situation and are generally not difficult people on a regular basis. Bullies routinely use aggression to get what they want. Pot stirrers enjoy instigating discord and use passive aggressive methods of expressing their dislikes and upsets. Attention seekers routinely interrupt or may come off as a know it all. Moaners and blamers tend to be negative, find the shortcomings in things and su

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March 13, 2018

The fine art of mastering emotions does not come easily or naturally, as you can see at your local grocery store where you can routinely find a two year kicking and screaming on the floor because they can’t get some gum at the checkout line. We certainly feel for the parents and thank god it’s not our kid, but quickly overlook how difficult it was for all of us at one time to manage and regulate our feelings. If you are still doubting, just ask your parents and I’m sure they will be delighted to recount the time you cried for 3 days when your goldfish died, how you were so mad at your brother when he won monopoly that you took a swing at him, or how you refused to sleep in your bed for a week because you were terrified of the boogeyman. If all goes well over the first 15-20 years of our life, you had good role models, and supportive family and friends; you slowly learned to regulate and manage your emotions, despite the gasoline that puberty dumps on our emotional fires. Unfortunately, for many of us, we may not have weathered the storm unscathed and continue to find ourselves wrestling to manage our feelings. When it comes to emotional regulation, it’s important to be able to both experience feelings internally as well as express them outwardly in a healthy controlled manner. This represents a nice healthy middle ground, however we certainly see people on both ends of read more

February 14, 2018

    The concept of content and process is probably one of the single most important concepts in mastering communication in your relationship.  

  • Content: The content, when we are talking about couples and their communication problems, refers to what they are talking or arguing about. Some common content issues include: sex, money, kids, in-laws, or whose turn it is to take out the garbage. It’s the “what” we are discussing.


  • Process: The process refers to how a couple is talking to each other. Some common process pitfalls include: making assumptions, being critical, stonewalling, or switching topics to name just a few. The process is how our conversations break down, or goes smoothly.


  • A to B: There are many little steps in getting from point A (the problem) to point B (the solution). All these little steps make up the process.


  • Most couples are great at identifying and bringing up the problem (point A) but rarely seem to make it to any solution or resolution (point B). Things break down in the process and it gets swept under th

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January 31, 2018

Addiction is a disease that does not just affect the person who is engaging in addictive behaviors, it also affects those loved one around them. The impact can be so sweeping that many people become obsessed with the person’s addiction and trying to do something about it. Below are attributes common to those with codependency.  

  • Collusion: Many people help support their partner’s addiction by covering up for them in some way. Social rules about family image and social perceptions pull many people into the addictive process and they become a party to the secrecy. Collusion can also take the form of participating in the addictive behavior. Some become drinking or using “buddies” or gambling partners. Rationalization is also a big part of collusion. Partners tell themselves such things as; “At least he’s not at the strip club, he’s only online”, or “At least she’s not shooting up”.
  • Obsessive Preoccupation: Codependents obsess about their partner’s behavior and their lives. They think constantly about their partner’s addiction. They find themselves checking emails, texts, computer history, hiding spots, connections, dealers, checking and credit card statements. These efforts may provide temporary relief of anxiety and create the illusion of control, but in the end they simply help peopl

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December 19, 2017

Ensuring that you have a network of supportive people in your life is critically important. There are mountains of research confirming the value and benefits of having a strong support network. Many people utilize their support network as a way to manage stress, as a means of self-care, and a venue to process and regulate their emotions. A good support system can also be a sounding board to vent to, as well as check our thinking and conclusions.   Beyond simply having a network of people, it is also important to make sure you have carefully vetted them out over time to ensure that they are safe and trustworthy. High quality people in your support network are mentally and emotionally safe; meaning they are kind, caring, supportive, and non-judgmental. You can share things and be vulnerable knowing you will not be ridiculed, judged, or belittled by them. You also want to choose to surround yourself with trustworthy people who have proven to be honest, dependable, and reliable. You don’t have to be a social butterfly or an extravert to create a solid support system. Having 3-6 really close people is often adequate for most people.   Support networks also require on-going maintenance. Relationships that are not nurtured tend to fade and be less accessible when we need them. In today’s global economy it is more common that people will move away for work or travel seaso read more

September 27, 2017
  1. Don’t let things build up: The emotional energy intensifies the longer we wait to bring up an issue. Your ability to address the issue calmly after days or weeks of dwelling on it is not likely to go well.
  2. Express appreciation: When people receive reinforcement for an action, they are likely to repeat it again in the future. Everyone likes to know their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
  3. Pick the right time to bring up an issue: Five minutes before you have to leave; when you’re tired and getting ready for bed; when you’re really hungry; these are not good times to bring up an issue. Make sure you will be free of distraction before asking to discuss things and find solutions.
  4. If you stick your foot in your mouth, admit it and start again: Emotions run high in conflicts and sometimes we say things wrong that can make things worse. If you catch yourself in this moment, just admit it and try to get back on track. “I really blew that one, let me try again.”
  5. Show you care: This is best accomplished without presents and gifts, but by showing interest. When your partner takes the time to tell you about something that affected them in their day, make sure they know you care and hear them. Turn the TV off, put the paper down, look them in the eye, listen to what they say, ask some questions, demonstrate that you understand.

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Posted in General, Relationships by IPC Staff | Tags: