What My Assistant Taught Me About Communication - Personal

What My Assistant Taught Me About Communication - Personal

I don’t expect professional relationships to work effortlessly – particularly when they’re mine.

I say that because, as a relationship expert, I encourage the people I work with to check in with me about how our relationship is going. And I remind them to do it pretty often.

The result, not surprisingly, is that every couple of months, I find myself on the receiving end of ‘feedback.’ 

I place ‘feedback’ in proverbial air quotes since it generally makes me cringe - because although my fantasy involves my phone blowing up with declarations of how amazing I am to work with, the reality of those conversations generally plays out differently.  Click here to see how my ‘feedback’ generally goes.

Read More

When Your Relationship Loses its "New"

When Your Relationship Loses its "New"

Q:

Dear Dr. Darcy:

Lately, my girlfriend and I fight constantly. I don’t know how this happened because we used to get along so well but suddenly like within the last couple of months, everything she says pisses me off and judging from the way she snaps at me, I’m guessing I evoke the same feeling in her.  She’s constantly criticizing what I do and then complains when I don’t want to touch her at night. How am I supposed to forget what a bitch she is during the day and have sex at night?

Now she’s saying that if we don’t start having sex daily, she’s going to break up because she didn’t sign up for a sexless relationship and we’ve only been dating 7 months. She’s totally threatening to abandon me at this point. I’m not sure this can be fixed but I’m paralyzed with fear over losing her. And did I mention she refuses to go to couples counseling?  Is this hopeless?

Read More

“Toughen up,” they told me…

 “Toughen up,” they told me…

Ever since I can remember, I was told I was too sensitive.

As a teenager, I wanted to avoid things that seemed unnecessarily negative, so I refused to watch the 11:00 p.m. news. It just didn’t seem like a good idea for my last thoughts of the day to be about crime, gossip, and political corruption. 

“You’ll get to the point where you can’t see or hear anything about real life, Darcy!” was my mother’s fear.

Which is funny, given that I’m a therapist who tolerates more emotion in a day than most people do in months.

You’re too sensitive comes in lots of varieties:

“You need to toughen up.”
“Grow some thicker skin.”
“Why are you being a weirdo?”

 It’s always an insult – at best veiled, and at worst openly hostile. Actually, I’m not sure I shouldn’t reverse that because I prefer open hostility to the kind I have to analyze. But I digress.

Sensitivity and logic are often pitted against each other as mutually exclusive.

Telling someone they’re too sensitive invalidates their feelings, tells them they’re being irrational and labels them dramatic.

It’s also a no-win situation because if one responds by pushing back, the point is proven. And if one responds by accepting the criticism, well, you get it.

The result is silencing.

So, in support of my fellow cohorts who’ve been criticized as being too sensitive, today’s post takes some jabs at the messenger of that affront.

Read More