Top blogs of 2018 on Conexus Counselling blog

Top 10 viewed Conexus articles of 2018

I looked at the analytics for the blog this year and noticed the top 10 most viewed articles on the Conexus website, and I thought I would share them with you.  Some were written in years past, but continue to be widely read. Some were written this year.

I write articles that help the things that my clients are talking about in session come alive. Because I never talk about what clients say in session, I find ways to write about the ideas and challenges in other ways.

Sometimes I use experiences in my own life. The way from a person’s head to their heart is through their hands…and so my fingers use a keyboard to embed the learning. When the beauty of what I learn in my head has a chance to sink into the soil of my heart through the tapping out of the ideas, I become a better person.

It is my hope that reading these articles has, in some small way, influenced you as well.

Grab a cuppa and settle in for some year end reading…

1.Visiting my husband’s wife’s grave

From the article:

loving someone is an engraved invitation to grief on blog about visiting my husband's wife's graveBut he said something really powerful to me that I hold as wisdom for myself:

“My missing her doesn’t diminish the love I have for you.
These don’t compete in my brain…I miss her a lot and I love you a lot.  I wish my sons had her as their mother still, and I’m so grateful they have you in their life now. I will always love and miss her…and I will always love and cherish you.”

I love J for a lot of reasons.  One of those reasons is his ability to feel big feelings as they are–he accepts them. He doesn’t try to fix, or judge, or shush one feeling in favour of another.  It doesn’t torture him to both grieve his past wife while he loves life with his current wife. He doesn’t have to let his grief go to love me, or put aside his love for me to grieve his love for her.

2. Betrayal of disengagement

From the article:

Disengagement is the most dangerous way to break trust; to erode connection.

I don’t know of anyone who has entered a marriage thinking, “When it gets hard or busy or risky, I’m gonna pull away without acknowledging it.” or “When I am not heard, I’ll give up trying” or “If my spouse doesn’t hear me when I express a concern, I’ll just pull away and put my interests elsewhere.”3

Nobody does that.

Not intentionally, anyway.


3. Composting heartbreak

From the article:

Going through painful life experiences hurts like heck.

Why wouldn’t we want to use every opportunity to turn the painful crap of our lives Composting Heartbreak: Turning the pain of loss from ugly and soul destroying to something life giving and redemptive on Conexus Counselling bloginto something resembling rich compost? Compost provides a nutrient rich medium that enhances growth.

We can’t undo the hurt. We can’t stop painful and unfair experiences in lives.

We can compost the heartbreak. We can make it into something that doesn’t have to stay ugly and soul destroying–it becomes life giving and redemptive.

Turning the pain into something life-giving just seems redemptive


4. Letter to Groom-son

From the article:

Dear Son,

Your mom is a marriage therapist…and so, not surprisingly, I have a few things to say. How could I miss the chance? Let me share some pearls of wisdom that come out of years of watching and working with dewy eyed engaged couples preparing for marriage, and bleary eyed couples exhausted from the endless fights and the burden of raising children, and the empty eyes of couples that have long only had the shell of a marriage.


5. It’s important to hurt his feelings

From the article:

It's important to hurt his feelings on background of a couple holding handsIt’s probably strange to hear a therapist tell you that it is important to hurt another person’s feelings.

It’s strange for me to write it.

To be frank, one of the reasons that us therapists have as many clients as we do is that in the effort to avoid hurting another person’s feelings, many important conversations never happen.

When important conversations remain unspoken, when the content of those conversations is never uttered or processed. And, well, something that isn’t working stays not working.

If it just stayed not working, that would be problem enough.

But actually, that unspoken conversation is like a snowball at the top of a hill. The longer that conversation remains unspoken, the more the unspoken conversation affects the relationship.


6. Does your wife impact your life?

From the article:

Dear husbands-whose-wives-are lonely-for-you,

Does your wife know you are really there for her? Quote on picture of woman with fading man on beach.I’m writing this letter to you because I want you to spend the rest of your days with the love of your life. Truly I do. Some of these words may sound harsh, but they are deliberately bold and blunt because the message is so important.

Some of you may recognize yourselves in this letter…show your wife and ask her if this letter applies to you? She may want to read this one.

Some of you may have been given a copy of this letter, or it was left on the front seat of your car, or slipped into your laptop case to find.  If you are reading this because your wife gave it to you…do me a favor?

Thank her.

7. Controlled separation: Marriage Coma

From the article:

Have you tried controlled separation before you take off the ring? Have you tried everything to save your marriage? Blog at Conexus CounsellingThere are times in some marriages where the relationship is so raw that even attempts to save it create further damage.

Sometimes, the raw reaction to a relationship crisis catches one or both spouses off guard. Yelling, throwing things, saying nasty things that are out of character, waking a spouse up in the middle of the night to ask questions for which there are no good answers. A person may feel powerless to stop, even though it’s clear that this isn’t helpful. The collateral damage creates another whole level of crap to have to work through.

8. After the Championship Loss: A letter to my Son

From the article:

Teammates by chance, best friends by choice

I like how you say, “Teammates by chance, best friends by choice.” The whole team was there for each other.  Hugs, consolation, quiet sharing of the very disappointing space. No cheering each up. No finger pointing. Long, consoling embraces in the center of the court by men with each other in a world that often ridicules masculine displays of affection. Many of your team wept openly at the end of the season, at saying farewell to a well-loved  teammate, perhaps because of the immense pressure, and of course, at the loss that was so disappointing.

They didn’t hide their tears…they owned them.

Tears because it meant something. No shame in sadness. No need to hide the pain of huge loss.

9. The Bonsai G’bye

From the article:

Bonsai: The growth is all tree all the time, the grower delights in shaping and witnessingI notice that the celebration of the joint project between the bonsai and the grower is solely the beauty of the bonsai. The grower, while playing a key role in the shaping/growth of the tree, is nowhere to be found when enjoying the beauty of the tree.

The beauty of the bonsai tree is fundamentally the result of the growth of the tree.  The grower has a hand in the shaping of the bonsai…but the growth–all tree, all the time.

And given the beauty of the bonsai tree–the intricate, delicate beauty–the beauty of the knobby bends and quirky angles–you gotta know that the grower just gazes at the beauty of the tree endlessly. The grower kept the tree’s natural curves and instincts in mind during the process.

The bonsai continues to grow–even when it is presented as art, it doesn’t stay static. The bonsai is a dynamic organic creation that continues to grow and develop over time, changing it’s beauty.

Natalie and I were reflecting today on the honour and privilege of being a therapist. It is humbling to be invited into a person’s life and hear the heart cry for healing and growth. To be entrusted to participate in shaping the growth of something be beautiful is a gift in therapy that will never grow old for me.

We talked about the profound gratitude that we feel, as therapists, when we are allowed to witness growth and beauty in our clients’ tears, stories, and courageous steps and missteps towards healing.

10. Snickers and Love Maps

From the article:

Couples who have detailed love maps of each other's world are far better prepared to cope with stressful events and conflict. Quote by Ellie Lititsia on blog about love mapsKnowing Husband’s favourite chocolate bar is hardly essential to the wellbeing of our marriage. But it did feel like a warning shot across the bow.

What am I missing? Where haven’t I stopped to pay attention? When do I need to ask more questions? What do I need to work harder to remember?

Husband told me that when he wakes up every morning, one of the questions he asks himself is, “What can I do to make Carolyn’s life better today?”

And then he makes it his project to do so.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Thanx for your kind support, for your encouraging words through the year.

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