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The Blog

Filtering by Tag: emotional needs

Emotional Wounds

Emily Porta

I've been thinking a lot lately about our need as humans to feel seen and truly understood by our partners, as well as, getting the courage to admit when we don't feel visible to our partners.  

 
 

The event that really triggered this is something that happened last week and I really want to illustrate this for you.  

So picture this:  I was driving into the office last week and I saw a little dog running around in the neighborhood all by itself.  I pulled over and I just watched it for a minute, looking around for it’s owner nearby.  I didn't see any humans in the area, but the dog looked happy.  It looked joyful and adventurous and was running around and just seemed overall good-to-go… other than it was unsupervised, missing its human.  

So by now, as curious puppies do, it's running into the street. You may already know I am a huge dog lover.  So, I get out of my car and I walk over to the dog and the dog just comes running to me.  I mean just so happy!  This was like a little shitzu, maybe 4 pounds— teeny tiny!  And he seemed so happy to see me, so I squat down and I pick him up and again, no collar, no identification or phone number to return to its owner.  Then, I notice there are some burrs and really sharp stickers in his paws and his back legs, so I gently start to remove them as gently and slowly as I can.  I'm soothing the dog and I can tell the dog is uncomfortable.  It's wincing and pulling away and trying to wiggle free, but I held on tight and I created this little space in my arms for this tiny little dog so I could remove as many of these burrs as I could.  

Then I go door-to-door, knocking, trying to find the owner.  Finally, I give the dog some water, and long story short- I get the dog to a shelter and fill out all the paperwork and hope that his family can come find that dog. 

But, as I was driving back to the office, I really started thinking about all of you!  Those of you who tune in every week, who receive the newsletter, who have probably listened to a few of these videos and really resonated.  Or maybe this is your first time watching one of these videos (WELCOME!) and maybe some part of this is sounding familiar.  

Either way, I just wanted to share this with you guys because I thought about all the people that I know that reach out to me, that talk about everyone around them thinks they're doing great; nobody knows how much they are in pain, how lonely they are, how disconnected they feel from their partners/families/friends, how they just feel like they want to get home.  And I just wonder if any of this resonates with you?  

I wonder if there a part of you that is nodding your head or saying “Yes!" or even tearing up?  Saying, "Yeah, I'm tired of wandering around and looking perfectly happy and healthy and in love to everyone outside and yet, I have these emotional stickers and burrs that are just agonizing every time I move.  And I'm ready!  I'm ready to do something about this."  Is that you?  Do you- Are you feeling this right now?  If it is, I just wanted to say to you, and I need you to hear this: "I see you.  I see you and not only do I see you, I know how to support you in this.  I know how to scoop you up, make room for you and you're partner and gently tend to those emotional wounds that no one else can see."  

I can help you do that if you're ready.  If you're ready to start tending to those wounds and if you're ready to find your way back to your partner-- I want to help you!  I can help you!  It just goes back to that idea of courage that I talked about in the beginning of this video and the courage that it will take for you to reach out and get that support.  Because the moment you do that, that's the day that you decide that you're ready to go home and I want to help you do that.  

So, reach out.  I'd love to hear from you.  You can call me directly.  And if I can't be the one that can help you, I can help you find someone who will, because you do not have to wander the streets like everything is ok, secretly hoping and waiting for someone to come along, scoop you up, tend to your wounds, and set you on your way.  Today is the day— make that choice.  Alright, I hope this has been helpful and I will talk to you all next week.  Buh-bye!

Getting Your Needs Met

Emily Porta

 
 

Have you ever attempted to tell your partner what you need and gotten a response that was really lackluster or just really wasn't helpful at all when asking for something that you needed?  It's hard to talk to our partners about our needs and it doesn’t get easier when you get a response like this.  

Maybe, even saying 'Hey, I need this' is tough for you to do.  Maybe, because you have a history of your partner not being able to accommodate your needs or not understanding them or simply not caring when you asked for something you needed.  Well, today I want to give you a simple exercise for you and your partner to do to hopefully change thing conversation, to enhance this conversation, and to connect the two of you.  

I recently rediscovered a book that I’ve had on my bookshelf called, "His Needs, Her Needs."  It's a classic.  And there's something in there that really stood out to me.  It’s these 10 basic emotional needs that most of us have within relationships.  This is all based on research and surveys taken by the author.  

What I would love for you to do, is for you and your partner to sit down and write out these 10 emotional needs.  I'll go over those in a minute.  But then, just take some time to separate, go on your own, take a look at them and prioritize them.  You know, 1 through 10-- what's top priority?  And then pick your top 5.   And then have a conversation about this.  

Let me go through those 10 for you so you know what I'm talking about:  so there's affection, there's admiration, conversation, there's domestic support, family commitment, there is financial support, there is honesty and openness, there’s physical attractiveness, recreational companionship and sexual fulfillment.  

So these are the 10 basic needs in most couples relationships.  So, when you take the time to prioritize these and you find your top 5, I want you to come back together and talk about what your top 5 are and what they mean to you because when someone says, 'Financial Support'  that can mean something to one person that is completely different to what it means to you.  

Start this conversation.  Start talking about how you can accommodate some of your partners needs-- things that maybe you're not comfortable with, which then leads us to boundary setting, which will be another video in the future.  But, just talking about and identifying 'What are my needs and what are my partner's basic needs?’

I can guarantee you this will be an eye opening conversation for the two of you especially if you've never done it in such an open and honest and loving way.  

So, try that out.  If you have any questions or you want some more support through that please reach out.  You can, you know, contact me directly or leave a message below-- leave a comment.  

What was this like to sit down and prioritize your needs and talk to your partner about this?  

Alright you guys, good luck!  I will see you next week! Take care!

Responsibility

Emily Porta

You are responsible for only you. You are responsible for how you respond to your thoughts, how you choose to see the world, how you makes sense of pain and how you handle your emotions. No one is going to rescue you from this responsibility. If they try, it could be called co-dependency. 

Being responsible means to operate from a place of being an adult. When you don't want to take care of yourself, you really are more child like. We all have these states of mind. Somedays, you might feel 5 years old, wanting the ice cream that you know will make you sick to your stomach, raise your blood sugar or push the scales over the edge. Other days you might feel like a teenager, wanting attention so you act out. Or you might feel like a baby, just wanting to be comforted and have all of your needs met by others. 

Being an adult means doing all of those things for yourself. Parent the child within, comfort them, set boundaries with them, and love them. This is not easy but it is necessary if you want to overcome your pain, your repeating patterns or your anxiety about the world. 

Lessons from Infancy: Cry Baby, Cry

Emily Porta

From time to time, people sit in my office and cry. But then, they apologize for it, feel embarrassed, overwhelmed and insecure by the tears streaming down their face. Tears have a voice. They are saying something too. Infants have no troubles crying. It is how they communicate. There are different cries for different needs or emotions. And just like infants, we cry differently depending on the emotion. Have you ever laughed with a friend until you cried. Oh! What a wonderful feeling! Or have you ever been so overwhelmed that words could not express and so you cried, relieving so much tension. That is a good feeling as well. 

The other day I heard a little boy say to his father, "you know you are tough if you don't cry. I am tough." His father kinda blew him of. What an opportunity to teach! Actually, it is brave to cry as an adult. We feel childlike often when we cry, but it is a primal thing to do. This comes back to being comfortable in our own skin with our own feelings. 

If you ever come to my counseling office, I have 3 boxes of tissues, because I am comfortable with the tears. Being a therapist means listening to them, as they each fall and understanding what they are trying to convey. So next time you need to cry, do it. Don't apologize. Feelings are feelings, they don't need an apology, they need to be expressed.

Lessons from Infancy: Everyone needs a mother

Emily Porta

Ok, so it's Mother's Day weekend and of course I am blogging about it. But really, it is a part of my series on what we can learn from infants. Everyone needs a momma. Mother symbolizes nutrition, nurturing, comfort and safety. As the mother provides this for the infant, the infant grows, forms attachments and makes meaning out of the world. But then what happens if you didn't get this? What happens if your mother was neglectful, self absorbed, or disengaged? 

How we are attached to our mother from infancy affects who we are as adults. But as adults, we can recognize what happened to us. We see the "misses" that happened between us and our mothers. This is why I talk a lot with clients about parenting within. Each of us into adulthood must now parent ourselves. We must nurture ourselves, respond to our needs, and provide a safe comfortable place for ourselves to grow. Often times in couples therapy, the couple ends up in the dynamic where they don't ask for what they need. "They should know!" But, no...your spouse isn't your mother. Your spouse can't anticipate your emotional needs like a mother does with an infant. Your spouse needs you to communicate like an adult.

Looking for mother in all the wrong places will lead to relationships that aren't fulfilling. But if you learn to mother yourself, take care of you, then you are free to be you in whatever relationship you choose. Therapy helps you find that inner parent so you don't look for it in others. 

So maybe Mother's Day is fantastic for you! Great! Celebrate your mom! Thank her for all she has provided. And if it is a tough day, believe it or not, you can now be the best mom to yourself. So be kind to yourself this weekend. Pamper yourself because if you aren't connected with your mom, you can be connected with the mom inside you. Mothering is can be tough but also rewarding. Find a mother to be thankful for, even if it is you. 

​​​​​​​Lessons from Infancy: Emotions are meant to be shared!

Emily Porta

How many times do you stuff down what you are feeling? Or maybe you don't even know what you feel sometimes. I can't tell you how often I hear (and sometimes from my own mouth) people excusing their feelings and rationalizing their way out of embracing themselves and their truth. Ever heard "well it could be a lot worse," or "it wasn't THAT bad, at least I am not as bad off as this other person"? Those are red flags that we aren't just accepting of our simple emotions. I say often: they are just emotions, they won't kill you. 

Babies get this...to the core. If they are sad, they cry. If they are happy, they coo or giggle. If they are scared, they show it. These are feelings, simple feelings and they understand the importance of sharing them. If they don't share them, then their parents won't know how to respond to them. A healthy parent and child relationship looks something like this: Mommy tickles baby, baby laughs so mommy continues to tickle baby as long as baby shows enjoyment. There is an expression and a response. With unhealthy attachment, their is a lack of expression OR a lack of response. While as adults, we know we cannot anticipate the response of others or have control over it, we can choose our own behaviors and expressions of emotions. We also can choose who is safe to express our feelings to. When baby cries, Daddy holds the baby, comforts the baby and listens for why the baby is crying. If you are a parent you know that not every cry means sadness. Sometimes babies cry out of tiredness, boredom, fear, or hunger. 

That brings me to another point, the shades of emotions are important. How often do we cry and say we are sad. In reality we might be WAY more than sad. There can be layers of emotions and they are nuanced. The more we express them, the more we understand ourselves. If you don't give a voice to your emotions, your body will speak for you - which is why we get upset stomachs, random pains, headaches, increased blood pressure or nightmares. Babies don't want any of that. They know the importance of expressing emotions. 

The reason I started this series is because I want you to know, we all used to be babies and we were born with a lot of wisdom and greatness. Sometimes therapy is a way to awaken us back to what we were originally born with. So the next time you want to dismiss your feelings, STOP and really think - what is the harm in saying "I am angry, lonely, scared or frustrated?" These are your emotions, that need to be shared and heard and typically when they are...they lose their power over us and we find ourselves, valuing who we are and what we feel. 

Anger Management

Emily Porta

I use the term “anger management” because it is a familiar phrase used in our culture. Secretly, I don’t really care for this term. Managing anything reminds me of trying to herd cats – um, truly frustrating. When I work with people that have anger issues, it really is about understanding the anger. (cue the “getting to know you” tune from Sound of Music) Often, people that come to me seeking anger management are truly filled with many feelings other than anger that they don’t know how to express. Anger has been the easiest or quickest way to alleviate the inside tension. But anger is complex and needs more than management. It needs attention, care, nurturing, healthy expression and healing. Anger when addressed properly can be a pathway into a better understanding of ones self.  Here are some signs that you may need help with addressing your anger:

• Your work is being impacted – others at work may have told you that you are “hot headed” and you need to keep your cool. Maybe you have been fired or walked away from a job in the heat of the moment.  Some find it hard to focus and are consumed with their frustration at their job, to the point that they don’t get their work done, alienate themselves or others, and even resort to intimidating those around them.

• Your relationships are chaotic – maybe you get into fights with your partner – this can be verbal (yelling, intimidation, cursing), physical (hitting, pushing, slapping) or emotional (put downs, hurtful sarcasm) Either way, you take your frustrations out on your partner.

• You get physical – now this isn’t everyone but some people do physically express their anger in an unhealthy way – hitting others, hurting themselves (burning, scarring) or lashing out towards things (punching holes in walls).

• You feel out of control – even if people don’t notice your anger, if you feel like you are on edge and just about to “lose it” then that is something that deserves attention.

Don’t wait until things are so out of control – get help now! You don’t have to struggle and try to control your anger alone. Counseling can bring understanding and growth.