Dr. Julie's Blog

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Does He* Know He’s Hurting Me?

I hear this question a lot from clients and on social media and my answer is not what you’d expect. Here’s how I think about it.

The questioner is in a relationship with someone who repeatedly violates boundaries and treats her in highly disrespectful ways. Treatment could be anything from name-calling to hitting, blaming to criticizing, threatening to trivializing. Whatever the behavior, it is repeated and it hurts the questioner. 

Invariably the questioner has told the partner that the behavior is hurtful and not okay. 

The question, “Does he know he’s hurting me” is a reasonable question if one assumes that people who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other. 

So, what is going on?

Reasoning through this we will see something like this:

Assumption: 

People who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other.

Facts: 

He tells me he loves me.

I love him.

He’s hurting me.  

I’ve...

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The one thing that can break the ice after a fight

Have you ever been arguing with your partner or family member and realized you didn’t want to be fighting? You wanted to stop but you didn’t know how to get your point across without continuing the fight?

We’ve all be there and it feels like being caught in quicksand. The more you talk, the worse it gets.

Instead of talking, find the right moment and give your partner or family member a hug.*

 First, find the right moment.

This is important because if the argument is currently happening, your partner isn’t going to be receptive to a hug. But later, after things have cooled off, go up to your partner and ask for a hug. No reference to the early disagreement, no explanation. Just ask for a hug.

As a matter of fact, I recommend hugging your partner (and other family members) multiple times per day.

The magic of a hug lies in the neurochemistry that happens when you hug someone. Both people in a hug release oxytocin, a neurochemical responsible for bonding....

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Four Life Lessons From My Dog

Meet my German Shepherd, Echo. He’s loyal and bonded to me. He is also protective and shows good judgment about other people. His favorite activity is to catch or fetch balls I throw for him. He does it like it’s his job — with intensity and passion. Echo sets a good example for us all. Here are just a few good things he demonstrates daily.

1. He likes to work and does his job with passion. Even the little jobs, such as catching balls, “hunting” flies, and encouraging me to take a break. Are you doing your jobs with passion? Do you appreciate the meaning of those small everyday, annoying tasks? These small tasks are often the result of abundance in our lives. For example, if you own a car, there is maintenance involved. The annoyance of having to change the oil in the car wouldn’t be there if you didn’t have the resources to own the car in the first place. Appreciate the small, annoying things in your life and do them with passion (or...

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