Therapy Q&A: Understanding Those Around You (Sept.-Nov. 2012)

Avatar photo
Written by Catherine Bridwell

Do you know any signs that my partner is lying to me? I catch him lying all the time to others. Little things and holding back information. I feel as if I can trust him, but what if I am being lied to?

Therapy Online: 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 Provides You with Your Therapy Online

QUESTION: Do you know any signs that my partner is lying to me?   I catch him lying all the time to others.   Little things and holding back information.   I feel as if I can trust him, but what if I am being lied to?

ANSWER: Chances are superior that a person who “lies all the time to others” does not make exceptions.   Lying is about different issues:   low self-esteem, behaving in a way known to be against societal norms and not being willing to be responsible for it, and at its worst, it’s about criminality and sociopathy (acting without a conscience and experiencing no guilt).   The signs you ask about can be found in the manner your partner deals with you bringing up the subject for discussion.   Talk to him — say you are worried about him and the effect lying may have on the relationship.   If he is dismissive or minimizes your concerns explain why you wonder about lying.   If he does not lie to you, only to others, he should be sorry about your worry and be willing to explain his lying.     The only lies in healthy, committed relationships are ones similar to:   “Why of course I’m not planning a surprise birthday party for you.”

QUESTION: My friend is overly sensitive and is extremely thorough about everything we discuss.   Sometimes I just want her to listen and not give her deep thought and advice.   How do I go about telling her that?

ANSWER: Being sensitive and analytical is an asset…but not necessarily in all situations.   Try telling your friend (whose traits may serve you well sometimes) that in a particular situation you just want and need to say something out loud and have her listen.   She may not know when you want her insight/advice and when you want just her as a shoulder-to-lean-on.

QUESTION: I’m depressed with my career, but feel I need to keep this job in order to support my family.   I deserve to be happy, but my husband is not being supportive with me looking for a new job right now.   He thinks I should just stay put.   What’s the harm in getting my resume ready and applying to jobs that I may enjoy better?

ANSWER: Can there possibly be a good reason not to keep your resume updated and ready per chance an opportunity pops up?   Perhaps an underlying concern is why would your husband not be supportive?   What are his specific worries:   not earning your current salary, moving to a job that requires travel so childcare would be effected, becoming more involved in your career than in the family?   Assuredly a long discussion is merited.   One’s career choices are a marital matter, not a solo one.   If sacrificing your career benefits the family and marriage and that is acknowledged as a wise decision by both of you, bite the bullet.   Otherwise figure out what is behind your husband’s withholding support.

QUESTION: Do you have any resource suggestions that can help with depression?

ANSWER: Depression is common and its spectrum of severity is long.   There are scads of information about it.   Depending on the circumstances your first resource may be the internet for therapy online or the self-help section of a bookstore. If the situation indicates your first resource should be seeking help, talk to your primary care physician, call a counseling service, ask a hotline.

In a simplistic nutshell:   depression is either situational or genetic/physiological.   The first is caused by a series of stressful events in close succession or an accumulation of unresolved matters over time.   The second is part of one’s biological makeup and cannot be explained by current circumstances.

A layman’s definition and an easy way to think about the cause of a slump is:   depression is anger turned inward.     If your request for a resource is about current depression, your first resource should be in accord with the severity currently experienced.


HAVE A QUESTION FOR CATHY and would like to receiving some therapy online? Please fill out the form below and your question will be answered in the order it’s received. Please continue to check back for your question to be answered. Note: we do not use last names


About the author

Avatar photo

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

Leave a Comment