Therapy Q&A: Understanding Those Around You (Mar. – Jun. 2012)

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Written by Catherine Bridwell

Getting through just one day stress-free is a rare occasion for many. However, by understanding those around you, in the home, the workplace, or even a personal relationship, you can overcome part of what causes that stress in the first place. Catherine Bridwell answers your questions about everyday problems that can easily be solved through communication and the help of Identity, of course.

catherine-bridwell Catherine Bridwell


My sisters do not get along.  They will be civil, but they don’t get along. They’ve never had a falling out and they never put me in the middle, but I hate the fact that they both judge one another and compete. Is there anything I can say or is it simply none of my business?


Since your sisters’ competing and judging each other is neither about you nor involves you, your input can only be about the sadness it causes. Knowing that how they treat each other affects you (and probably others) may be motivation to monitor and manage their actions. Perhaps your sisters are not themselves bothered by   their relationship’s negative tone. If they are though, a couple  of sessions of counseling could straighten it out.   It’s too bad; sibling relationships are our longest lived ones and can be close through life.


My pregnant sister is extremely whiney. It’s the early stages too, but I believe it’s her attitude, as well. She is Mrs. Drama for sure and it’s really frustrating.  Do I let it be for nine months or let her know that she sounds annoying? It’s annoying!


Hormones are often high early in a pregnancy and cause wild mood swings that dissipate as the weeks go on. That being said, mood swings do not mean whiney behavior is acceptable. If whiney is out of character for your sister, you could make light of it: “Whew, you are so not yourself – I hope this doesn’t last nine months.”   Remember;   it’s how a message is delivered just as much as its content. If there is no change, a little distance while she  works her way through the mood swings will serve you well without offending the mother-to-be.


Are there some key signs in a relationship that “my partner” may or may not be the “one?”


The key signs that a relationship does not have the potential to be significant come from your own emotional state when you are thinking about and with the “one.”  If you are often calculating what, how and when you address difficult subjects you are working too hard.   You want to be comfortable being spontaneous most of the time.


I’ve been with my boyfriend for over five years now. We have discussed marriage for a while and and he knows I am ready.  Unfortunately, he is not.  We are in our early thirties, but I am so ready.  Do I wait or move on?


Is your boyfriend insightful and forthcoming about why he is not ready for the commitment of marriage?   That is the beginning point for deciding what to do.   If he can’t or won’t address this at the moment, ask him when will be a good time.   You might suggest seeing a couples counselor to get clear about the potential for your future.   His reaction to your wanting and needing  more insight may be helpful in making your decision if it is left to you alone.

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About the author

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Catherine Bridwell

Catherine D. Bridwell is in private practice in Morristown, NJ. She is a psychotherapist and counselor to families, couples, and individuals. She is a Certified Divorce Mediator and a Parenting Coordinator for divorced couples. In addition she lectures and has authored workshop presentations on family related and emotion management topics.


Feel free to e-mail Catherine at

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