Relationships hurt sometimes. People always seem to provoke emotional pain in the ones they love. Unfortunately, as the importance of the relationship rises, so do their defenses against getting hurt or being abandoned, betrayed, misunderstood or unappreciated. For example, when you feel that your partner has mistreated you in some way, you often lash out in anger. This reaction is common-but unwise and potentially stupid. Let’s look at why people tend to respond with such anger, the dangers and what can help reign in hot-headedness.Anger and HurtAnger and hurt are opposite sides of the same coin. If your past relationships and life with your parents and caregivers were emotionally harmful, then you might be more vulnerable to both deep feelings of hurt and anger when your partner upsets you by actions such as lying, withdrawing, yelling, ignoring, misinterpreting, cheating or being insensitive.You might also be more susceptible to what is called the “fight or flight” response-your brain and body’s reaction to perceived threats such as loss of your partner’s love and the negative behaviors mentioned above. This “fight or flight” response occurs in the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary glands, which contribute to a dramatic increase in the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Your breathing and heart rate increase, you panic or feel sick to your stomach, and your anger becomes stronger than your ability to reason. If your family or caregivers used anger and abuse to express their emotions, then you might also have learned that these reactions are acceptable and expected.The Dangers of the “Fight or Flight” Response:Stress Triggers and Stupid and Dangerous Thoughts, Feelings and ActionsStress Triggers. Many couples experience similar situations and stress triggers that provoke feelings of anger and revenge. The top relationship triggers include finding out your partner has cheated, lied, took off with your money or used money irresponsibly, got into trouble with the law, became addicted to pornography, criticized you, embarrassed you, hit you or the children, forgot your birthday or anniversary, was not supportive during your illness, got high or drunk too or was insensitive in general.Many couples can survive these reactions, but sexual affairs seem to cut the deepest. They rob your feelings of trust, being loved and cared for, and they replace these important feelings with the gut-wrenching emotion of being abandoned. At least a third of couples do not recover from affairs-so they are also highly dangerous to the life of the marriage or relationship.Stupid and Dangerous Thoughts, Feelings and Actions. All biological drives-sex, aggression, hunger, pleasure-have powerful grips on humans. When your partner cheats, the force of those biological urges can get the better of you-and one of the things that cheating provokes is a feeling of wanting to get even and punish the other spouse. It’s a bad case of “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” It’s an immature and hurtful act in response to being hurt.Some partners run out and have affair “to get even.” Others, rather than have “revenge sex,” have “revenge spending.” For example, a man might run out and buy that boat he’s been wanting or a woman might go on an expensive shopping spree. One women marched into her husband’s closet and cut the sleeves off all his expensive suits when he complained about his wife’s clothing expenditures. He told her he didn’t know why a stay at home mother needed high-priced designer outfits.These seemingly fun reactions serve the dual purpose of getting back at the other partner and also “filling that deep hole of hurt” in the partner who is hurt. But the satisfaction from these revenge acts is short-lived. Soon, the wronged person has opened an “emotional can of worms” in the relationship. The real danger occurs when these worms crawl so far away that they can’t be put back and forgotten. Now the couple is trapped in a domino affect of “You hurt me-I hurt you.” For instance, the woman who cut the sleeves off her husband’s suits was really reacting to feeling unimportant. She had temporarily suspended her career to raise the two children and no longer felt vital. Since she accompanied her husband to charity events, she felt she needed to “wow” the other people with her appearance.Tips to Stop Anger ReactionsThe first step is to make a list of all the reactions that you want to change about YOURSELF. Show it to your partner and ask him or her to make one about his/her reactions.The second step is for each of you to tell the other what reaction you would prefer. Be very detailed. Imagine you are giving precise directions to actors on a stage. For example, if your partner was not supportive when you went to the hospital, don’t just say, “You weren’t there for me.” Your partner is likely to say, “What do you mean? I drove you there and sat right next to you.” Instead, say to your partner, “I need you to hold my hand and tell the nurse that you want to come in immediately to the recovery room.” Script the scene with actions and words.The third step is to make a list of those totally unacceptable behaviors such as hitting. Tell your partner in advance that if these reactions occur, you will remove yourself quietly but quickly from the area. You might even need to develop a more elaborate “Protection Plan” such as have a safe place to go, keep 911 on your speed dial and have cash at a friend’s house.The fourth step is to review your lists and rehearse them in your minds. The brain often does not know the difference between an imagined event and a real one. So, by rehearsing, imagining and saying your lines out loud, you begin to “train your brain” to develop new brain wiring that, over time, become stronger than your anger reactions.The fifth step is to become more aware of your body reactions, thoughts and feelings when you do get angry. If you are experiencing a desire to “get even,” have “revenge sex,” harm your partner or say words that cannot easily be taken back, then try to catch yourself before you complete the dangerous behavior.Develop “signals” to each other. For example, tell your partner to breathe or count to ten. Agree ahead of time which signals will not make the situation worse. When you are in company, for example, you might just nod your head at your head.The last step is to examine yourself to find out the root of the reactions. The woman who cut off her husband’s suit sleeves realized that she needed adult company and adult accomplishments. She felt “cabin fever” from being at home with the children. She decided to become more active in charities. She also discussed a clothing budget with her husband-for his clothing as well as hers!Remember that you can help reduce the domino affect of anger, revenge and hurt, but you cannot ultimately be responsible for your partner’s reactions. If you feel you are in danger, get professional help.
Many couples struggle with sex after the birth of a baby. In fact, it is so common a problem that most people just accept that sex is off the table with a new baby in the house.There’s just not enough sleep, time, or energy to go around. Midnight feedings, diaper changes, walks in the stroller, and well-meaning visitors stopping in to see the newest family member are simply draining. It’s no wonder that one in four couples have problems with sex after baby.Plus there is no way to explain unless you’ve been there how a little 7 lb. being can turn your life completely upside down. You say good-bye to midnight ice cream runs, impromptu Sunday matinees, and sleeping in late on Saturday morning before heading out for a run. In fact, for awhile you may say good-bye to runs, too!Even though the doctor may give two thumbs up to start having sex after 6 weeks, not every woman, nor man, is ready to restart their sex life. The 6 week mark simply means that a woman’s body has returned enough to its pre-baby state. It doesn’t mean that she is ready to have intercourse. She may still find that she feels fragile from the experience of labor and delivery. She may also have “baby blues,” the period of sadness that some women feel after they no longer have the attention from a pregnancy. Her body may still be secreting moisture that can make intercourse messy. If she is breast feeding, she may have trouble sharing her body sexually.Besides it’s difficult for some to adapt to the role of being a parent, putting aside one’s own needs for the needs of an infant. Other people need time to get into the idea of playing two roles-parent and lover. Often one person is a little ahead of the other; patience is needed so that both partners are ready to resume their sex life.By five or six months, though, the majority of couples are having sex again, even if it isn’t as frequent as either one would like. Moms sometimes complain of feeling “touched out” from holding onto an infant all the time. Dads complain of exhaustion from all the work an infant requires.What can couples do about sex after having a baby?
Talk with each other about what you are experiencing in terms of being a parent, a spouse, and a lover. Are you finding it a challenge to balance your roles, or do you find it fulfilling? Is there one role that is more of a challenge than another? Why? What role do you need to give attention to? How can you make time for each role so that you are or stay in balance?
What do you need from your partner now to feel wanted and sexy, even if you’re not ready to have sex? What can you do for yourself to feel desirable, to remind yourself that you are more than a parent?
Are there things the two of you can do to remind yourselves that you are lovers that aren’t all about intercourse? Can you put on some music and slow dance? Sit in the backyard and watch the moon rise together? Give one another a foot massage? Bring your partner their favorite snack?
Is there anything uncomfortable going on in either person’s body that would keep you from having sex? Even caring for a baby can cause aches and pains as you twist and bend to feed, diaper, and carry an infant. If so, what do you need to feel more comfortable? Do you need a break? A table at the right height?
Identify trustworthy adults who will give you respite from caring for a baby, even if it’s only for an hour while the two of you get a cup of coffee together. Just getting some fresh air and having a little alone time can make a big difference in reminding you that you are still lovers.
What if your sex life stays in the doldrums for more than five or six months? It may be a sign that one or both of you is struggling with some aspect of life with baby. If you cannot figure it out on your own, or if you find yourselves fighting about sex or intimacy, then seeing a therapist who specializes in sex and couples therapy could be very helpful. Don’t wait for the problem to go away. Many couples get pregnant with a second child before they have resolved the problems that they had after the first baby was born. That might be a mistake, because problems can get bigger with each child that comes along. There’s no reason to be in a sexless marriage because there is an infant or toddler in the house; someone in your community or nearby will be able to help.
Autism is a disorder that now affects one out of every 166 children born. It is a disorder that is permanent and negatively affects social development and thought processes. The transition into adulthood generally occurs at the age of fourteen, where preparation for adulthood starts. Now is a good time to consider job possibilities, if applicable, and what training will be needed to help an autistic child get ready for adulthood.There are generally two types of autistics: high functioning and low functioning. Low functioning autistic adults need constant care. They generally live at home with their parents or in residential facilities where their needs can be constantly addressed. For most of these individuals, the world is a far away place that they cannot reach. Group homes and residential facilities are rare and highly expensive so many low functioning autistic adults are taken care of by their families.On the other hand, high functioning autistic adults can be highly successful and lead relatively normal lives. They can work, support and care for themselves, and live on their own. This is not to say they do not face any problems. In fact, many high functioning autistic adults see their main problem as the way others perceive them. The ability of adults with autism to take care of themselves is often directly related to the need-based education they received as children. If properly taught social responses and accepted behaviors, autistic adults can function as contributing members of society. They can have families, careers, and social lives. However, the majority of even high-functioning autistic adults live at home or in residential facilities.In terms of employment, autistic adults usually are best suited to jobs that address their particular strengths. According to research, autistic adults generally have limited short-term memory, but excellent long-term memory compared to most people. In addition, there are support groups and services that help autistic adults take care of themselves.It is difficult to offer general advice for adults with autism because autism is a spectrum disorder. Some may need constant care, while others are brilliant and innovative thinkers. Each person with autism is profoundly different and requires different levels of help.Organizations like the Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children (CSAAC) provide employment opportunities for autistic adults. In addition, they conduct various job training programs based on the areas of strength for that particular candidate.The ability of an autistic adult to manage a job, home, and taking care of financial obligations comes from education, training, and the severity of their disorder. There are autistic adults that have college degrees and are extremely innovative and there are others that require fairly simple jobs in order to succeed. Paying bills, cooking, and other independent behaviors can sometimes be taught. Other times, special services may be required to help independent autistic adults stay independent.If you ask some, autism is a difficult disorder to live with. Many people with autism face social nightmares on a daily basis. Being unable to adequately mediate responses and situations is not a choice – it is part of who they are. However, with the right amount of support and training, many autistic adults can function in society. Many autistic adults indicate that the reactions of other people to their “bizarre” behaviors is often troubling. It is important that mainstream society becomes familiar with autism, especially since the number of autistic children being born is climbing at an alarming rate. Just like people with other disabilities, autistic people require special understanding. They are different from the majority of people, but this difference does not mean they are worthless, nor that they should not be given chances to succeed.