What an Intimate, Loving Relationship Looks Like vs. Love Bombing

With closeness, respect, and consideration, healthy couples can be vulnerable, trust and care for each other. Those who have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, according to the Cleveland Clinic, lack empathy.2 They’re self-centered and demand admiration. They also have an outsized sense of entitlement.


Dr. Keller notes, “In a loving partnership, one is allowed to have discussions about changing their mind, ask for time, and confide in their partner their fears and concerns. Then hopefully, they can subsequently come up with solutions together.”

What to Do After You’ve Been Love Bombed 

Know that you’re not alone. A study3on living with pathological narcissism found difficulties within the context of their close relationships.


Researchers found that not only was the grandiosity detrimental to partners and relatives, but the vulnerable aspect of pathological narcissism which includes instability, insecurity, and rage affected their partners in an insidious way.


If you’ve expressed discomfort and were unable to draw boundaries with this love bomber, connect with friends and loved ones. It’s never too early to seek out help from a mental health counselor to guide you. Remember to give yourself kindness and forgiveness, too.

Continue reading

Can Love Bombing Ever Be a Good Thing?

Can Love Bombing Ever Be a Good Thing?

In fewer cases, love bombing can be a positive experience. Someone eager to find the right person might be elated when they find that special one and shower the other in lots of gifts.


While overly generous, it occurs over time. It feels natural compared to the controlling ways of a typical love bomber.

Depending on the culture and family background, extensive gift-giving and being expressive through compliments and such might also be an inherited way for your significant other to express closeness and love.


What to Do If You Realize You're Smothering Someone With Too Much Affection?

In other cases, you might be love bombing and not even know it. If you're feeling insecure or have a desperate need to shower someone with attention and gifts, it's important to figure out why:

  • Are your smothering actions due to clinging to the relationship?
  • Are you compensating for poor treatment of your partner in the past?
  • Do you fear your partner will break up with you?
  • Do you fear abandonment?
  • Do you want to be viewed as a hero?

Take some time to assess your behavior. After you figure out what is driving you to act this way, consider your goal and how this is impacting the person you love.

Continue reading

What Is Love Bombing?

Love bombing occurs when someone “bombs” you with extreme displays of attention and affection.

Although it can be a positive aspect at the beginning of a romantic relationship, it can lead to gaslighting and abuse. Psychologists caution it might be a manipulative tactic by a narcissist or sociopath in an attempt to control you.

Why Love Bombing May Become Dangerous

Love bombing often takes place at the onset of a relationship. At the beginning of getting to know each other, you might view this person as charming and especially attentive. This person will praise you effusively, tell you they adore you, and often seem to emotionally attach way too quickly.

If you find yourself telling your friends your partner seems too good to be true, they just might be.

Love bombing also happens with couples after they have a big fight or break up. There’s nothing wrong with giving someone a second chance, but if someone belittles you, then begs for forgiveness, promises it will never happen again and offers overly-grand gestures, like sending you five dozen roses to show how sorry they are, be cautious.

Continue reading

How to Know If Your Relationship Is Worth Saving

Relationships can be tricky. One moment you can be on the highest euphoria cloud, and the next second it can feel like you're alone in the relationship. However, when you're in a relationship and questioning staying, there are some key things to consider before calling it quits.


Does this person add value to your life? How long have you been together? Have you been through hard times and made it out together? These types of things will factor into your decision.


In this article, you'll learn what you should consider before breaking up with your current partner. It also provides some questions you should ask yourself during the decision-making process and urges you to reflect on how your actions may have affected the relationship. Additionally, you'll learn what makes a relationship worth saving and ways to rekindle the spark that once was.


Questions to Ask Yourself

Before you decide to end your relationship completely, it's a good idea to take a step back to reflect on what's working and what is hindering the relationship. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help determine if you're going to stay on the boat or swim to shore.

  • Why did you get into the relationship to begin with?
  • How does this person make you feel? How did they make you feel in the past?
  • What's changed to even make you question if the relationship is worth saving?
  • What are your deal breakers?
  • What aren't you doing enough of?
  • Are you worth saving or fighting for?
  • Are both you and your partner making sincere and sustainable efforts to hear and understand the other's needs and feelings, repair from disconnect and conflict, and do your best to meet each other's needs?

You and your partner need to be able to honestly answer these questions separately. Though relationships are about being a pair, true fulfillment and happiness start with oneself. Therefore, taking a look at your own actions and facing your contribution to the relationship will help you both get closer to a final decision.

Continue reading

10 Red Flags in Relationships

If your partner displays any of the following red flags, it’s time to have a conversation with yourself, and them, about the future of your relationship. While all scenarios are different and there’s always room for nuance, a red flag indicates a deep problem that the other person must address to have a healthy relationship with you, themselves, and anyone else.

Alcoholism & Drug Addiction

“Drinking daily or drinking until inebriation a few times a week can be a red flag for a drinking problem," says Amber Trueblood, LMFT. Reliance on drugs to get through the day, the week, or through tough spots in life is also concerning.

If alcohol or drugs are impacting your partner’s life in a negative way—be it their work, health, or relationships—that is a sign of addiction. Similarly, if your partner relies on substances to get through the day, week, or a tough situation then that's indicative of addiction and signifies they haven't yet figured out how to cope without altering their mental state.

 Lastly, if substance use ever leads your partner to harm you physically or emotionally, that is a clear sign to walk away.

Violent Displays

Someone who demonstrates violence toward you, loved ones, strangers, and even animals is a serious red flag. It indicates they haven’t developed a healthy way to properly channel their emotions. In some cases, it could also be indicative they lack empathy for others.


If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.

Continue reading


What Is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that often occurs in abusive relationships. It is a covert type of emotional abuse where the bully or abuser misleads the target, creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality.1 Ultimately, the victim of gaslighting starts to feel unsure about their perceptions of the world and even wonder if they are losing their sanity.


Gaslighting primarily occurs in romantic relationships, but it's not uncommon for it to occur in controlling friendships or among family members as well. People who gaslight others may have mental health disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or borderline personality disorder (BPD). They use this type of emotional abuse to exert power over others in order to manipulate friends, family members, or even co-workers.

Understanding Body Language and Facial Expressions PART TWO


Gestures can be some of the most direct and obvious body language signals. Waving, pointing, and using the fingers to indicate numerical amounts are all very common and easy to understand gestures.

Some gestures may be cultural, however, so giving a thumbs-up or a peace sign in another country might have a completely different meaning than it does in the United States.

The following examples are just a few common gestures and their possible meanings:

  • A clenched fist can indicate anger in some situations or solidarity in others.
  • A thumbs up and thumbs down are often used as gestures of approval and disapproval.10
  • The "okay" gesture, made by touching together the thumb and index finger in a circle while extending the other three fingers can be used to mean "okay" or "all right."10 In some parts of Europe, however, the same signal is used to imply you are nothing. In some South American countries, the symbol is actually a vulgar gesture.
  • The V sign, created by lifting the index and middle finger and separating them to create a V-shape, means peace or victory in some countries. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the symbol takes on an offensive meaning when the back of the hand is facing outward.

The Arms and Legs

The arms and legs can also be useful in conveying nonverbal information. Crossing the arms can indicate defensiveness. Crossing legs away from another person may indicate dislike or discomfort with that individual.

Continue reading

Understanding Body Language and Facial Expressions PART ONE

Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. According to experts, these nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication.

From our facial expressions to our body movements, the things we don't say can still convey volumes of information.1

It has been suggested that body language may account for between 60 to 65% of all communication.2

Understanding body language is important, but it is also essential to pay attention to other cues such as context. In many cases, you should look at signals as a group rather than focusing on a single action.

Here's what to look for when you're trying to interpret body languag

Continue reading



Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don't get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both. 


Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Depression symptoms in children and teens

Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.

Continue reading

How to Cope With Dating Anxiety

If you’re single and looking for love, you’re likely familiar with the usual anxieties of dating. Most of us feel at least a little nervous when starting a new relationship. This is perfectly normal. But, if you have panic disorder or another anxiety disorder, the anxiety can be overwhelming.1 This leaves some people avoiding the dating scene altogether.

For those who muster up the courage to venture into a new relationship, the experience can be tainted by worry or panic attacks to such a degree that the encounter is hardly enjoyable.2

Here are some dating tips to help you relax and have fun.

Participate in the Pre-Date Planning

Not knowing the details of an upcoming dating event will likely lead to more anxiety. Don’t be afraid to voice your wishes and participate in making the dating plans. If you’re nervous about going too far from home, you can suggest having a date nearby.

If you're really nervous about having your date pick you up and being without your own transportation, suggest taking separate cars. Even suggesting a “double date” with another couple you know may put your mind at ease.

Continue reading

How to Look More Approachable

How to Be More Approachable

If you struggle to meet new people or join in the conversation at social gatherings, it might be that your body language is sending the message for others to stay away. How then can you improve your body language to appear more approachable? Below are ten tips to get you started.2

    1. Smile. Although it is possible to overdo smiling, generally it is better to smile versus frown. Try to find things that genuinely make you happy or laugh and your smile will come across as natural rather than forced.
    2. Be Accessible. If you are constantly on your smartphone or buried in a newspaper, people will feel like they are interrupting you. Make sure that you are accessible and open to communication from others.
    3. Avoid Blocks. In the same vein, make sure that you aren't using objects to shield yourself from others. At a party, hold your drink at your side instead of close to your chest. Keeping objects between you and others makes you appear guarded and closed.
    4. Keep Your Head Up. It is hard for others to know to approach you if your head is constantly down; they need to see your face to feel like you want to get to know them. Keep your head level when walking, meeting people, and during social situations.
    5. Use Eye Contact. When you do end up talking with someone, be sure to maintain eye contact. A good rule is about 60% of the time you should be looking in the other person's eyes. Avoiding eye contact makes you appear untrustworthy or disinterested. If direct eye contact feels hard, try looking at only one eye at a time, or at a spot between a person's eyes. They won't be able to tell the difference.
  1. Angle Towards. Watch your feet, your legs, and your body; you should be angling toward the person you are talking to, not away. Any body language that makes you look like you are ready to "bolt for the door" means the other person will feel like you are just not interested.
  2. Avoid Nervous Habits. Even though you might be nervous, avoid the habits that go along with the feeling. Stop touching your face or playing with your hair. Don't fidget with your pen or the change in your pocket. Keep your hands relaxed at your sides or use them to gesture when making conversation.
  3. Mirror the Other Person. Use this technique sparingly when appropriate. If you are in conversation with another person, mirror his body language to make him feel more comfortable; make some of the same movements that he does. Don't overdo this strategy or it will become obvious what you are doing.
  4. Nod During Conversation. When listening to someone, nod to show that you are paying attention and interested. Doing so reinforces for the other person that you want to be involved in the conversation. One way to take the focus off yourself during a conversation is to plan to share what you've heard with someone else afterward. This will cause you to stay focused, ask questions, and summarize to make sure you understand.
  5. Be Positive. Beyond body language, always be positive. Say nice things about other people instead of mean things. Approach others and include those who seem to be left out. Be a positive person and you will attract other positive people to you.

Small Talk: The Best and Worst Things to Talk About

Small talk topics are good conversation starters between people who don't know each other well. But if you live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), making small talk can be anxiety-provoking. It can also be difficult if you tend to be more introverted.

Learning to make small talk can help build the confidence needed to start conversations and make connections while developing your social skills.1 Even if you are uncomfortable, overcoming your urge to avoid it all together only serves to worsen anxiety in the long run. 

Rather than being scared of small talk, make a point of overcoming your fear of it. One good way to alleviate anxiety is to know what things are best to talk about and which topics are better when avoided. 

Best Topics
  • Weather

  • Arts and entertainment

Continue reading

The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety


A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.


Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you've had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.

Although panic attacks themselves aren't life-threatening, they can be frightening and significantly affect your quality of life. But treatment can be very effective.

Muscle Tension

The muscle tension associated with normal anxiety might involve a brief tensing of the back and neck that relaxes when a threat passes.2 The muscle tension described by people with GAD, on the other hand, may include unrelenting aches and pains in overly active shoulder, back, neck, and jaw muscles. The tension might also include restless fidgeting of tense legs or grinding of the teeth.

Continue reading

Situations That Can Trigger Social Anxiety How to Identify and Manage Anxiety Triggers

If you live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), it is likely that a variety of different situations trigger feelings of anxiety. A trigger can be internal or external, including smells, sights, sounds, and emotions. For people with social anxiety disorder, anxiety is often triggered by specific social situations, such as speaking in public or even meeting new people at a party.

If you live with social anxiety disorder (SAD), it is likely that a variety of different situations trigger feelings of anxiety. A trigger can be internal or external, including smells, sights, sounds, and emotions. For people with social anxiety disorder, anxiety is often triggered by specific social situations, such as speaking in public or even meeting new people at a party.

The first step in managing your anxiety triggers is to identify them so you can learn ways to cope with them.


Common Anxiety Triggers

While any social or performance situation has the potential to elicit social fears, there are some common triggers among people with social anxiety. You may have one or multiple triggers, which is why learning to identify your personal triggers can help you avoid or better cope with your social anxiety disorder.


Performances may include athletic competitionsmusical performances, or public speaking. People with SAD who fear these types of situations often find that they have trouble performing up to their ability because of their anxiety. Fears about public speaking can also get in the way of career advancement.

Continue reading

Ways to Make Your “Thank You” Meaningful

If you’re thinking about what to say when you extend a “thank you” to your colleagues, here are some sample messages from common workplace scenarios:

1) Your colleague stepped in when you needed to take some time off.

Hey Kevin, 

I just got back from spending some much-needed time away with my family. I wanted to thank you for stepping up and covering for me when I was gone. I know you already have a lot on your plate and the fact that you took on my workload as well means a lot to me. I just want you to know I really appreciate what you did. 

Thank you!

2) Someone did something really kind for you. (Sent you a care package, threw you a birthday party, made you notes from a meeting that wasn’t recorded, or reached out to check in when you were not feeling well.) 

Hi Maria, 

Continue reading

How to Write a Meaningful Thank You Note


Many of us fear expressing our thanks to others. We might worry that our efforts will be misinterpreted or make the person on the receiving end uncomfortable. Or we might struggle to find the right words to express how we feel. Here’s how to do it right.

  • Keep it genuine: The goal of expressing appreciation should be to let someone know how their actions have impacted you and/or others. If you have any other agenda, your message will not be authentic.
  • Share what you appreciate and why: Focus on the impact their actions had on you and explain both what you appreciate and why. This will help the other person understand the reason you feel the way you do.
  • Send it: E-mails get lost and handwritten cards get saved. Write your message on a piece of paper, post-it note, or card and give it directly to the person. If you are at work, you can also leave it on their desk or in their “mailbox.”

Rules for Crafting a Meaningful Thank-You Note

Keep it genuine.

The goal of expressing appreciation is to let someone know how their actions have impacted you and/or others. If you have any other agenda, your message will not be authentic. Still, you need to be thoughtful with your words if you want to come across as genuine.

Set the context.

If you’ve ever been surprised by a compliment, then you know that it can feel good — and simultaneously jarring. This is because you are trying to take in the other person’s words while also interpreting their intentions, especially if the compliment arrives late or catches you off guard.

As the person giving thanks, you can put the recipient at ease by sharing the context of your message (or what prompted you to approach them) first.

Continue reading

Controlling Narcissists and Proactive Non-Control

A defining feature of narcissism is the need to be in control over others. Being self-absorbed, entitled, manipulative, and in search for superiority, narcissists have rationalized that it is reasonable, even necessary, to sustain the upper hand over those in their close circles. Of course, most narcissists would deny this truth, but evidence shows otherwise.

As part of their need to control, most narcissists argue easily, hold unbending opinions, respond stubbornly, feel no need to receive input, and press rigid expectations onto others. It comes with the turf.

Now, think carefully about your response to the narcissist’s attempts to control you.

Do you ever become pulled into a counter-flow of control? In other words, when they are stubborn, do you respond with your own stubbornness? When they are argumentative, do give it right back? When they speak with insistence, do you insist in reverse? As they are defensive, do you find yourself being defensive too?

Throughout my counseling career, I learned that this control, counter-control pattern was one of the most common, problematic patterns of interactions that inevitably brings out the worst in all involved. Simply put, it is abundantly clear that the more people try to control others, the more out of control each participant becomes.

So, let’s examine a much cleaner reaction. When you engage with a controlling narcissist, the best way to find control is to practice proactive non-control. Does that seem counter intuitive? Narcissists are the consummate competitors in the sense that they must win, they must convince, they must prevail. But what if you concluded: “I truly have no need to win, convince, or prevail”? What if you decided to opt out of their neurotic games altogether?

Continue reading

7 Tricks Narcissists Use to Make You Look Like the Problem

Have you ever known a narcissist who voluntarily says, “I know I’ve been difficult, and I’d like to take responsibility for my actions”?

I didn’t think so!

The narcissistic pattern of life is built upon multiple ingredients that are ultimately unsustainable in any thriving relationship. Narcissists want to control you. They feel entitled to special treatment, which means they routinely dismiss your feelings and needs. They are self-impressed, constantly vying for the position of superiority, and that compels them to become manipulative and exploitative. Emotionally, they are driven by hidden fears that emerge as anger. And as you seek accord with them, they are defensive and close-minded.

But despite their negative contributions to relationships, their lack of insight compels them to look outwardly to affix blame whenever problems predictably emerge. And that’s where you come in. Narcissists need you as a prop, someone who exists to take the pressure off them in the midst of conflicts. To that end, they have all sorts of tricks they like to use to exonerate themselves while making you appear problematic.

But knowledge is power and as you become keenly aware of their tactics, you can stay out of their manipulative webs. Let’s identify seven of the most common tricks narcissists use to make you look like the trouble-maker.

Continue reading

Practice a Virtue - Courage

Have a Brave Conversation

Speaking our truth when it’s needed can be tough. Someone’s feelings can get hurt. We may fear consequences. Vulnerability strikes us. To say what is true for us takes great courage. Of course, many things are better left unsaid. But when it’s something that bothers us, or we witness an injustice or someone is hurting.  


Do What Scares You

Doing what we fear is scary. But any time we step out of our comfort zone, moving away from the place where we feel most at home, we gain so much. Sometimes we grow exponentially. We may not even recognize ourselves because we’ve grown so much from our courage. Try this: Make a list of . . .

The Healing Power of Music

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

George Moran, 39, a music teacher in Long Valley, N.J. had his heart stopped for 90 minutes, placing him on a heart-lung machine. He was having a cardiac valve repair at Morristown Memorial Hospital. When he came out of surgery, the tubes in him made it difficult to breathe.

While in the recovery room, Moran heard a woman playing a beautiful harp. The harpist’s gentle arpeggios, according to researchers studying music’s effects in recovery, may have helped regulate his heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. He reported that the music had calmed his body and stopped him from thinking about what was going on. He felt more relaxed and rested.

Healing Music Therapy

Hospitals around the country are using music therapy to ease a patient’s pain, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and depression. Music also helps patients heal faster. A 2007 survey of U.S. health facilities by the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, along with the Joint Commission and Americans for the Arts, found that of 1,923 healthcare facilities, 35 percent offered music, of some type, to patients. Hospitals are becoming more aware of the healing benefits of music therapy, as outlined in a USA Today 2008 article:

  • Severe stroke patients admitted to a hospital in Helsinki, Finland listened to recorded music for at least an hour a day. They recovered their verbal memory faster and experienced less depression. This compared to those who listened to audiobooks or nothing (Journal Brain, March 2008).
  • Premature babies who listened to two hours of Mozart each week had a lower heart rate and slept better, according to researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.
  • Terminally ill patients in Australia had less anxiety, pain, and drowsiness after having a single music therapy session compared to those who did not listen to music (Journal of Palliative Medicine, May 2008).

Other studies have shown music therapy beneficial for autism, learning disabilities, dementia, and pain management during labor and birth.

Continue reading

We do not offer, recommend or refer for abortions or abortifacients, but are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks.