4 Destructive Forces of Any Marriage (Part 2)

The more I work with couples and learn about them, the harder it gets for me to agree with the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” To be sure, some experts believe that only 10% of our communication is done verbally, whereas 90% is through nonverbal ways such as the body language, facial expression, and tone of voice. Without undermining the power of nonverbal communication, I want to call your attention to the what part of communication. Oftentimes, when a couple is arguing, words alone can cut and hurt each other. If such a negative pattern of communication is allowed to fester, it may soon chip away the marriage and threaten to destroy the very foundation of the relationship. Continue reading

Couples Communication: 4 Destructive Forces of Any Marriage (Part 1)

So, you disagree with your partner from time to time. You may even fight. Big deal. It always blows over, and you make up. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, it really depends on what you say in the heat of the argument. According to marriage researcher John Gottman, who spent decades studying the behavior of thousands of couples as they interact with each other in his laboratory, there are four destructive forces that often surface in any negative interaction. They don’t necessarily spell doom for the marriage (despite their ominous name, the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse), but their repeated appearances can rapidly erode the relationship. What are they? What can you do to prevent them from wearing you and your partner down? Read on. Continue reading

7 Signs Your Teen May Be Bullied – in Cyberspace

You know the telltale signs if your child is the target of bullying in school – the torn clothing, missing or broken stationery or toys, the unexplained bruises and scratches. But how do you know your teen is safe when he or she is interacting with others in cyberspace or via text messages? Here are some red flags: Continue reading

Go to Bed Angry!

You’ve heard of the old adage, “Never go to bed angry.” For generations this has been the golden rule of marriage. To be sure, this is a helpful reminder for us to keep our communication lines open with our spouse to clear up the air instead of sweeping our problems under the carpet in the vain hope that things will be better tomorrow. Because, as we know, if we let our anger fester inside us overnight, it builds up resentment and gradually eats away at our marriage, right?

Well, not always. Continue reading

Talking to Your Family about Mental Illness

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it. Sometimes we are fairly able to cope with life’s ups and downs. We eventually get back on our feet with help from our families and friends. But other times, we take a longer time to recover from setbacks. We may find ourselves spinning or paralyzed by the demands of our day-to-day life. In such situations, feelings of “going crazy” are not uncommon.

What can you do if you think you may have a mental illness? How do you bring this up to your family? Continue reading

Getting Help for a Loved One

In my previous article I talked about some reasons Asian Americans underuse mental health services. Most Asian Americans turn to their family for support in times of emotional difficulties instead of going to a mental health professional. How then can you get help for someone in your family if their difficulties are serious? Here are some suggestions:

1. Express Your Concerns

Find a time and place conducive to bringing up the subject. Understand that what you are about to share with this person may not be easy to accept and may even be shocking to them. Ask yourself this: would they respond better when alone or when in the company of their most trusted person, such as their favorite sibling?

Continue reading

Mental Illness: Myths and Facts

Researchers estimate that 25% to 50% of American adults develop at least one mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Yet Asian Americans are the least likely to use mental health services when compared with other ethnic populations. This is despite the fact that Asian Americans do not differ from the general population in the prevalence of mental illness.

Why is this so? Continue reading