relationships

Why Polar thinking is a gift

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I can feel it coming with my clients and myself. When clarity begins to emerge from pain, suddenly energy will begin to cycle. This is inevitably when thoughts race around and around in circles and can’t quite take an alternative path forward through the next threshold of awakening – or aha moment. As pain subsides, polar thoughts and emotions emerge regarding the meaning of the experiences.

As painful as this stagnate process is for clients, it is an indication a the proximity of their next big forward leap in healing or growth. Often their are some very limiting behaviors that are reactions to this stickiness. Once the polarization is resolved, poof, limitations are history!

I look for these polarities in sessions with clients. We identify and name them and then explore them. Our brains struggle to allow two polar thoughts or emotions to coexist in our meaning making categorizations of events. When you can allow for both polars to exist – co-exist, then you can move on. Hold them together, love them both, they are both truth. Give yourself the gift of polarized meaning and you will notice limitations begin to release.

One the clearest examples of polar thinking is around fault and blame. I should premise this example by saying that releasing the concept of fault and blame altogether is important to emotional and relational health. Our example will be a woman who would like to be free of obsessions around a recent break-up in a relationship. Her partner was not very nice to her, called her names and blamed her for the issues in the relationship. He was unwilling to get help to resolve the issues as he felt she was manipulative and she needed to be more secure in herself in order for their relationship to succeed. She would become emotional and reactive when he was not willing to work out conflicts. She would cry for his attention to their ailing relationship.

She is stuck following the break-up. She wonders, “was I right, did he lack empathy and interest in an equal relationship, or was he right, am I insecure and manipulative?” She fluctuates between these polars constantly, trying to pick one as the truth. She needs meaning in order to move on and feel sure she is not repeating the same mistakes. And her brain cannot accept both of these at the same time as they are opposite truths. She earnestly pleas with her friends to get an objective view of the fault in the relationship and friends and family are defensive of her, condemning him for his behavior. She is left feeling lost and confused, her sense of reality and truth is shaken.

What then if she holds these polars together, he cares though is limited (for whatever reasons) empathetically and emotionally, AND she can improve her sense of security and self-esteem to keep from caring to control those she is in relationship with. Often when a partner is not responding to an emotional need, the individual will begin to use passive aggressive approaches to try to get the need met in another fashion, unconsciously attempting to manipulate the partner into meeting that need. These patterns are established much earlier in our lives with our caretakers and are repeated unconsciously because they are familiar relational dynamics – they feel like the norm and we know what to do with the norm. When the truth is clear around both polars being truth, she can begin to see that she cannot and will no longer try to control a relationship with someone that is not fully invested in the relationship’s growth – an unavailable partner. She can than be free to focus on her own well-being and accept relationships only with those that can show her emotional respect through their actions.

Voila! – she softens into truth and the energy is free flowing once again. Thank you polar thinking!

To polar thinking,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, EMDR, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to guide you through polar thinking 

in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

YOUR PERSONAL EVOLUTION

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This week I decided to speak to the energetics present during the past month of May and this month of June. It seems May rushed in with a bang, the strong vibrations still reverberating at the start of this month of June. All around me and in my own life, people are in the tumults of big transitions. Everyone seems to be in the midst of upheaval. And everyone seems to be inching towards their truths. Each of us are in the midst of SHEDDING OUR SKIN to reach our next state of evolution, closer to our authentic selfs and CORE TRUTH.

Often when we tune into our intuition, our gut, we feel the pull towards our truths. In my own life and in many of those around me, the start of this month of June has brought about a direct line to our core truths and a need to follow our instinctual drive towards truth. This gravitational pull seems unshakable and the path to truth can be complicated, confusing, and difficult to navigate. Many souls are feeling the pain of taking necessary steps towards living authentically in their personal truth. That may mean relationship break-ups, marriage separations, and in some cases infidelity. Some are experiencing major career transitions and considering overhauling careers. Some are beginning investigations into long standing health issues, finally taking steps towards healthier living.

The one common thread in this energetic is the compounding feeling of isolation. As we move through these difficult, possibly painful yet fruitful times and necessary steps towards our truths, many of us are feeling alone, isolated in our pain. And while we may be feeling isolated or struggling to find support, we are not alone. This energy is resonating with a great many of us now, you are not alone. We are evolving together. 

If you find yourself being magnetized towards a path of action that just feels RIGHT, you are not alone. Follow your gut. Trust that you are on the path towards your truth. Soon you will shed this layer of life and step into your next higher self, the EVOLVED YOU.

To breaking free and tuning in to your CORE TRUTH,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows what it takes to follow core truths and experience personal evolution in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

 

Why Badass Women Come to Therapy

In our private practice, we see some of the brightest and most ambitious women in Washington. They are well read, highly accomplished, and typically have checked off most items on their bucket lists. Outside of a deep wanderlust, what is missing in the lives of these women who know how to fully live? If you’re their friend, colleague, acquaintance, it looks like they have it all. These women would agree that most of the time, their lives feel amazing.

One might wonder why are badass women coming to therapy? Relationships.

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Whether they are single, dating, partnered, or divorced, these women don’t feel like themselves in intimate relationships.   They feel anything but badass.

Exhausted, Frustrated, and at times Heartbroken by a Never Ending Dating Process

Many single women have no problem dating, but they have not found the one despite many dates or relationships. A number of these women date the same partner twice, for 3 weeks, or things end by month 4.

Each time they meet a new someone, they continue to walk on what feels like the tight rope of dating. Should I be excited on the first date even though it probably won’t lead to anything? Maybe I should take a break from dating because it all feels like too much? They have no idea why they continue to get the same results.

They can’t understand why so many women around them are happily dating or partnered. They feel that something is innately wrong with them.

Women Dating Unavailable People

This often starts with dating the most charming, passionate, or promise-you-everything man or woman. The initial dating process is mind-blowing on many levels.

Then a shift happens. The women see that their man or woman is unavailable in one or more ways. The partners live in different countries and won’t move or meet in the middle. They may be workaholics and prioritize work over the relationship.   They may be in the pull me close, push me away dance with touch, play, interest, and intimacy on many levels.

Where there previously was all passion, spark, and play, there can be equal amounts of disappearing, confusion, passive aggressiveness, or anger. These women find that most of their partners are not just emotionally unavailable but are not wanting to make any promises or commitments.

They don’t understand why the continually find themselves with the same unavailable partners and burned at the end of the short lived relationships. When they dig deeper, parts of them don’t feel that they know how to be close to a healthy partner.

Women Who Struggle to Believe that Their Partners Love Them

For many partnered women in our practice, they cannot believe that their partner could love them as much as they do. Their partners continually show up, believe in them, and love them even in some of the most challenging situations.

These clients struggle with receiving love from their partners.

No matter what they read or how hard they try, they don’t know how to let love in. They don’t know how to feel the love that their partners are consistently giving them.   They are blocked for many reasons from trusting themselves and the person that wants to be close to them.   Fear, longing, anger, and grief along with chatter laced everyday worthlessness can be some things that take these women down emotionally.

 

Partnered Women: Who Want More

These women are in relationships that aren’t working anymore. Often the relationship was what they needed for months, years or even decades.

In recent months or years, these women have experienced a deeper sense of self awareness about their needs and desires or may have even had a spiritual awakening. Their partners have struggled to pace with them or grow in their own ways.

These women are wanting more for themselves, their relationships, and lives. It is often complex because families, friends and even children are intertwined. Some of the women are torn between taking care of someone who isn’t fully able to emotionally care for themselves. The dance of overfunctioning and underfunctioning resentment is released with forgiveness and compassion with the work.

Other women are able to finally take a stand for themselves. They have learned that taking up space in a relationship is a brave and healthy decision.

Moving from the Fight to Being ALL IN

None of the decisions or paths is easy, but these women have walked through the one or more dark nights of the soul in their relationships and dating experiences. In our work together, they learn the meaning and purpose of suffering. They connect with themselves as not to recreate that path or dance as means of waking themselves into consciousness. They have taken their learning and stepped into deeper connection with life, themselves and the people they care most. This process of transformation is radical and subtle at the same time. Badass women might fight this quest at the beginning, but are all in by the end.

If you are wanting to be ALL IN in your relationships, connect with Kim@yoursoultherapy.com or Amy@yoursoultherapy.com

9.25.14 National Psychotherapy Day

Today, 9.25.14 is National Psychotherapy Day.  Many efforts are underway to spread the word the therapy helps.  I’m a proud communicator of this message along with many amazing colleagues.  

The Team at http://www.nationalpsychotherapyday.com/
Jodie Gale of Australia : http://jodiegale.com/creative-spaces-inside-25-counselling-psychotherapy-rooms/
Margarita Tartakovsky of psychcentral.com http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/09/25/national-psychotherapy-day-therapists-reveal-what-therapy-can-do-for-you/
Goodtherapy.org http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/national-psychotherapy-day-september-0918124


The poem, Everything is Waiting for You, speaks to the possibility that feels just out of reach for so many people. Psychotherapy, counseling, art therapy, and sandplay 
can help you ease into the conversation of your loneliness, suffering, pain, fears, failures, shame, messiness, or stuckness. I accompany clients in their journey of the their humanness. I am here to be the sherpa on this path give me a call to step further into courage, hopefulness, and everything that this world has to offer 202.540.0796.

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

Should We Share Our Relationship Stories?

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Whether you are single in the city, dating, partnered, married, or divorced, you most likely are an expert storyteller about your relationship(s)or lack their of. With friends, some family members, and even choice colleagues, your relationship stories may be sprinkled with a mix of humor, sarcasm, and disbelief. While the laughter or shock factor keeps things light, this level of storytelling doesn’t reveal any fears about relationships, intimacy or you. Part of us holds onto the idea that “this (experience) will make a good story.” This notion protects one from feeling or thinking about why your relationship isn’t working or why you’ve been on endless OKCupid,match.com, Tinder, JDate.com, eHarmony, or speed dates without finding any lasting connections.

At some point during the ups and downs of being single, dating, or partnered, most of us will have had our fears about life, others, or ourselves exposed. Our inner dialogues, banter and stories about our relationships are most likely too painful to share.

Many people tell the story that all of the data points in their life reveal a singular – capitol “T” – TRUTH. The data points show that they are (the only one) not worthy of a being in or having a real relationship. Our inner stories are often not shared because we believe that everyone else around us has it figured out or is doing it better than we are.

When we want to reach out for real support, sometimes we are at a loss. What we are wanting is be met with empathy to be seen for our humanness. However sometimes, we are judged, blamed or shamed for our struggle or story.

Learning who has the right to hear our story is an invaluable skill. Below, I share a few tips of when to share or not share your story.

When Should I Share My Story?

Consider friends or family in your life. Out of this group, who takes you as you are, accepting or loving you for all of your strengths or struggles. Often, there may be 1-2 people in our lives, who fit this description. You trust them. These are the people, who are able to hear your story or your struggle and respond with empathy. When you do choose to reach out to them to check in about the inner story you are telling, you feel more connected because they meet you where you are. They may not know your specific relationship struggle, but they connect with you from a deeper place of knowing a painful struggle in their own life but they don’t make the conversation about themselves. The offer feedback when you request it. Their feedback is nonjudgmental. They are willing to sit with you in your struggle knowing they can’t take the pain away, but they share that they will there for you. Practicing reaching out to this type of person can be helpful to manage the pain and disappointment that comes with relationships. This takes both vulnerability and courage.

When Shouldn’t I Share My Story?

Think about the people in your life you have been sharing either the internal version or external version of your story. If after sharing either version of your story, you were met with unsolicited: feedback, solutions, advice, sympathy, sarcasm, judgement, blame, or shame, you may want to consider not sharing with them in the future. Those responses are disconnecting on many levels. We feel disconnected from the responder, from ourselves and even at times from our sense of worthiness. It often time unsolicited feedback and responses further fuels the data points that detail our inner story, tapping into our worst fears around feeling unlovable or that we will never belong. Learning to set clear and healthy boundaries is essential. This will support you in not sharing your story or struggle with people who judge, blame or shame you.

Between the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we tell others, navigating relationships can be challenging. I highly recommend the following books to support you on your relationship journey.

Beattie, M. (1987). Codependent no more: How to stop controlling others and start caring for yourself.

Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York: Gotham Books.

Chödrön, P. (2000). When things fall apart: Heart advice for difficult times. Boston: Shambhala.

Johnson, S. M. (2008). Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. New York: Little, Brown & Co.

If you are ready to create a new story around relationships or need help navigating them, call Amy at 202.540.076 or email her at amy@amytatsumi.com for a psychotherapy free 20 minute consultation today.