There’s nothing better than a great relationship.
And nothing harder than a bad one.
And nothing harder than a bad one.
Does your relationship make you feel bad about yourself?
Do you feel you can’t ever do anything right?
And your partner agrees with you?
Do you pay more attention to your partner’s happiness than your own?
And it doesn’t work anyway?
Do you sometimes feel you are losing yourself in your relationship?
hatever you call them, difficult relationships can hijack our lives, our hopes, and our futures. They can make us feel like hostages because we feel we need to do everything we can to keep our partner, friend, or family member happy at the expense of our own lives.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
For over twenty years I have helped people who feel trapped in toxic relationships to get stronger, take control of their lives again, and if they choose, to break free of the prison of emotional and verbal abuse.
If you are in a difficult, toxic, or emotionally abusive relationship it can be hard to imagine breaking free. You know the fear that grips you when think you have done something that makes your partner unhappy or angry, so the thought of getting help and support for yourself feels impossible.
It’s not only possible, once you make that first call you will know that you have an ally in your corner. Someone who understands these relationships and knows how hard you have tried every single day to make things better. And someone who also knows that it doesn’t work; that whatever you do, however you act, whatever you say or how gently and carefully you say it, they still get angry. And anger turns to blame, and shame, and you end up apologizing for something you didn’t even do, or say, or mean, just to calm the waters.
I get it. You aren’t alone. Or at least you don’t have to be. Let me help you to find yourself again. You’re still in there, I promise.
have been working with people who are in difficult relationships for over 20 years now, and I’ve been in a few myself. Whether it is a partner or spouse, an in-law or parent, a sibling or a friend, I can help you navigate through rough waters to a place where you feel free of that feeling of pain, fear, angst, and oppressive obligation toward someone who is making your life miserable.
When I meet you, I let you know that you are in charge. I won’t ever tell you what to do, but I will absolutely always be completely honest with you about what I see. I trust my clients to know what is best for themselves, even if they’ve temporarily forgotten how to put that into action, and so I will walk alongside you and let you know what is possible, and where I see pitfalls. My therapy sessions are judgment and pressure free zones.
Relationships are messy, even the good ones, but sometimes they are hurtful and damaging. Sometimes we just need a little help to figure out if we are in the ‘garden variety messy’ category and just need some help figuring out how to take better care of our part of the mess, but sometimes we might need to give ourselves permission to step out of the mess, brush ourselves off, and start living our own lives again.
Along with helping people who are in difficult or abusive relationships, I help people heal from the impact of trauma so that they can live free and unencumbered by shame and pain from the past.
Although most of my expertise in relationships didn’t necessarily come from ‘book learning,’ I did pick up a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling (2000) and an advanced Educational Specialist Degree in Couples and Family Therapy (2002) along the way, both from The College of New Jersey.
ere’s an interesting thing about trauma. Many people who have had difficult events in their lives, and suffer from their impacts, don’t even know that they’ve been traumatized. Trauma is a tricky word. When we hear “trauma” we think of 9/11, we think of being a victim of a violent crime, or suffering physical or sexual abuse, and yes, those are certainly traumatic.
But so is being bullied on the schoolyard in 6th grade. So is being told by a boyfriend or girlfriend that we aren’t attractive enough, or smart enough, or enough period. So is having a parent come home night after night angry and stressed and unavailable. So is living with a loved one who is so wrapped up in themselves that we feel unimportant, unheard, and unloved.
Trauma comes in all sizes and shapes.
It is less about how big or small the trauma was, than how it is impacting your life now.
- Do you struggle to feel you have a voice?
- Do you often feel self-conscious and “not good enough” around others?
- Do you put others wants before your own needs, and then wonder why you can’t achieve what you want in life?
Little t traumas don’t have the same gravitas in many people’s minds, but they are no less damaging. Little t traumas, especially those that start or happen in childhood, can get woven into our identify.
When our overstressed parent has no time for us, or our parents divorce gets ugly, we can end up believing that we are the cause of their trouble. It’s our fault.
When our partner has an emotional affair, we think we aren’t desirable or interesting enough.
When our 3rd grade teacher tells us all the other kids can do something we can’t, we believe we are stupid.
When we have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for any length of time, we believe we are ugly, lazy, or generally ‘not good enough.’
If you have harsh or negative beliefs about yourself and can’t figure out why you feel this way, and you can’t seem to “positive affirmation” your way out of it, it may be that there are some hidden little t traumas in your past that are driving your low self-esteem.
I work with people who have experienced all kinds of trauma, including relationship trauma, and know the healing power of looking at what hurts you and how it keeps hurting you, within the context of a safe and accepting therapeutic relationship. I also know that doing this work can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Schedule a free phone chat and let’s get past the past so you can be present in your present.
Emotionally abusive relationships
erbally and emotionally abusive relationships erode our sense of who we are, our ability to trust not only others, but ourselves. Emotionally abusive relationships tell us that we are wrong, no matter how hard we try. They tell us that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, loving enough even though we work day and night to prove ourselves and our love.
Verbally and emotionally abusive relationships tell us that control is actually love, and that jealousy and anger are just a sign of how deep that love is. They tell us that we have to show our love by being with them all of the time, and accounting for our whereabouts when we aren’t. Abusive relationships demand that they are the only relationship we focus on, and that our friends and family are a threat that must be avoided.
Emotionally and verbally abusive relationships destroy us over time.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is help and there is hope.
If you are in a difficult, toxic, or abusive relationship, or just feel you don’t ever do anything right with a partner, a friend, a family member, or even a work colleague, I can help.
I meet people exactly where they are in these relationships; whether you want to stay but get stronger, leave safely, or spend some time figuring out what you want. I can help you set boundaries with a difficult family member or friend who may be making you feel like you are a hostage to their moods or emotions.
By the time people reach out for help in these relationships, they’ve likely already been told enough times what they ‘should’ do, how to do it, and when.
My therapy space is a judgment free and pressure free zone. You are in charge of where we go and how fast we get there. I will work with your agenda, but I will always be honest with you about what I see and what might be helpful to you.
I believe that we are each experts in our own lives, but that difficult relationships can make us feel like we don’t even know who we are anymore. I have walked alongside many clients in my career who have gone from paralyzing fear and self-doubt to soaring free into a new life; a life truly of their own.
I have done relationships well, and I have done them badly. I know how painful a difficult relationship is, and I know the absolute joy of a garden variety, messy, regular old damn-near-great relationship. I also know that sometimes being alone is a lot less lonely that being in a hurtful relationship.
For the past twenty years I have been helping clients free themselves from the pain of difficult, toxic, or abusive relationships. I am here to help you find your self again, and maybe even a little joy, whenever you are ready.
Anywhere that you, a computer, or a phone are. In response to COVID-19 I have gone ‘telehealth’ in order to be able to provide therapy to anyone who needs it in a manner that does not pose a risk to your or your loved ones. Here are a few extra advantages:
- You can do therapy in the safety and comfort of your own home.
- If your home isn’t safe, you can do therapy in your car, a park, an office, or a trusted friends house.
- You don’t have to drive to my office. You just have to live somewhere in the state of Colorado and have internet access.
- You can do therapy in your jammy bottoms, comfy socks, and fuzzy slippers.
- You don’t have to iron the back of your shirt. And actually, as far as I’m concerned, the front is optional, too.
- You don’t have to drink “therapist office herbal hippie tea” if you don’t want. Grab your own cuppa Joe, sit down at your screen, and let’s get started.
Fees: My fee is $165 per session. In a perfect world, I would take insurance, but the world isn’t a perfect place. Insurance companies want me to give you a diagnosis, but not everyone has one, and certainly not everyone wants other people to know even if they do. I like to keep those decisions between you and me. If you have insurance and want to submit a bill for any out-of-network reimbursement your carrier might provide, I am happy to provide a Superbill for that purpose.
I accept credit cards and HSA cards.
I do reserve a number of spaces in my caseload in which, if available, I can reduce fees for those who need help but can’t afford my full fee. If this rings a bell for you, please call and ask me about that. No shame, no discomfort, no awkwardness. We all need a little help sometime.