To Control or Not to Control?

Control is the most common source of anguish in our lives. Most of us secretly would like to control the actions and choices of those who impact us the most—our spouses, parents, children, ex-spouses, bosses, co-workers, etc. If we could just convince them that our way is the best way, our lives would be so much easier. If we could just get others to behave in ways that make sense to us, our problems would diminish. If we could live in a world where people accommodated our needs, life would be great. And then, there’s reality. I know you’re thinking, “I don’t want to control everything and everyone. I know that’s not possible.” I know you think you are the reasonable one. The one that understands what you have control over and what you don’t. I know you believe that it is those other people who are so controlling. But guess what? You are that person. We all are. Whether you are conscious of this or not, you spend a lot of time and energy trying to control people and things that are completely outside of your control. You leave notes for your husband in hopes that he will remember to complete your “to do” list today. You lie to your wife to avoid her anger. You threaten your kids so they will complete their chores and stay out of trouble. You spread gossip at the office about your co-worker so you will get more recognition and she will get less. And so on and so on. We are all busy squiring about trying to control our world. Sometimes we win but most of the time our strategies lack integrity and end in conflict, disappointment, frustration, or outright war. So what can we do instead? I’m certainly not suggesting you live your life in a way that relies on chance alone. You don’t want to be a victim of circumstance or someone who does not act to achieve your goals and create your life. You do have power. While you will never have control over what others think and do, you do can influence others and take actions that impact situations and interactions. Here are five golden rules to help you manage your need for control. Identify what is most important to you. What do you want to create or impact and why? Understand where you have control and where you do not. Be honest with yourself. Get your emotions under control first. While you are entitled to feel frustrated, worried or angry, good decisions always come from a place of balance. Remember, you do not live on an island. You will always need to consider and work with other people’s agendas and needs. Avoid power struggles whenever possible. Take time to consider your options. Look at the short-term and long-term risks, rewards, and unintended consequences. See what actions are in alignment with your intentions and goals. Make sure your personal integrity is intact. Consider where your motivations lie and course correct as needed. Focus on where you do have control and influence, and act accordingly. This may take the form of communicating with others, decision-making, accommodating, withdrawing, compromising, motivating, inspiring, and taking actions that move your life forward. So, the next time you struggle with wanting control, taking control and losing control, follow the five golden rules. In doing so, you will retain your personal power, be more effective in achieving your goals, and build positive relationships with those around you. If you or someone you know is struggling with the issue of control, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Contact me at 310-379-5855 or email me to schedule an appointment and start creating the life you choose today. Be well, Julie The Pathway to Love at-home program: Get your Free Relationship Assessment Quiz at

The Secret to a Good Relationship is to Know Thyself

You may be asking yourself, “What is the secret to a good relationship?” Well, it all starts with you. The secret to a great relationship is knowing who you are and making new discoveries into how you interact with the world and those around you. And while I’m sure some of you are thinking you know who you are already, I am here to tell you that you don’t know yourself as well as you think. I’m referring to a phenomenon known as our blind spots. The more you become aware of your blind spots, the more you can take responsibility for your actions and reactions. In doing so, you create less destructive conflict with others and create the space for understanding, connection and problem-solving. Here are some tips to help you expand your self-awareness and shrink your blind spots. 1. Notice when you have a strong emotional reaction. Stop and reflect before you react. Take the time to assess if you need to set a limit and/or understand your emotional vulnerabilities. 2. Test out your assumptions. You may discover that you jump to similar conclusions that reflect more of your past and less of what is happening in the here and now. Practice making these distinctions. 3. Pay attention to what the world is showing you. Do your friends become defensive around you? Do you have trouble sustaining long-term relationships? Do you have financial problems? Before you choose to be the victim in these circumstances, first look at yourself and see how you might be creating or at least contributing to your life events and circumstances. 4. Be willing to consider what others tell you about how they experience you. If they say they find you angry, be willing to look at your anger. If they say you party too much, be willing to look at your lifestyle. If they say you don’t speak up enough or tolerate too much bad behavior from others, be willing to search for the “why this may be so.” 5. If you feel like you are stuck in one or more areas of your life, own what is stopping you—fear, lethargy, lack of knowledge, insecurities, ambivalence, etc. The most important aspect of creating strong and intimate relationships lies in knowing thyself. The more you understand who you are, the more you can manage your emotional reactions, share yourself authentically, and develop meaningful relationships. If you are someone you know is struggling around relationships, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Contact me at 310-379-5855 or email me to schedule an appointment and start creating the life you choose today. Be well, Julie

The Gift of Depression

Most people see depression as something painful, something to avoid. What we often miss, is the gift that depression offers us. Depression is a manifestation [...]

The Number One Myth My Clients Believe

I have worked with all kinds of clients with all kinds of issues over the years. The number one myth that people believe is that once you have an “ah ha” moment and “let it go” then the issue will be gone forever. Never will you have to feel the pain associated with the past; never will you have those disturbing thoughts that stem from outdated beliefs about what happened and what you made it mean.

Here‘s the truth. You can have an insight; you can understand what makes you tick and why;you can release the feelings and beliefs associated with the past. And, it is quite probable that those automatic reactions, beliefs and feelings will surface once again. You can forgive someone for deeds done and understand that it is quite possible, even probable that you will need to forgive that same person for the same deed again and again.

It takes a long time—some would say a lifetime—to truly let something go. It’s like building a muscle. You need to continually work on developing the skills to recognize when something from the past has been triggered again, engage in a reality check, remind yourself that the old way of reacting no longer serves you and your relationships, and let go, once again.

It is through the practice of letting go that true letting go occurs. A wise person knows that the body and mind have a powerful memory. It takes time and repetition before the body and mind will release their grip on what they thought was so. It takes time and repetition to reassure the body and mind that it is safe to let go and adopt a new way of thinking and being. And, it takes time and repetition to acquire mastery in this process.

So the next time you say, “I thought I was past this already; what is wrong with me?“

Simply respond by saying “Nothing is wrong; I simply need to let go… again.” 

And one day you just might discover that old issue has lost its grip and a new perspective is alive and well.

If you or someone you know is struggling with letting go of old issues, feelings and beliefs, don’t hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today.

Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

Be well,


Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at


Why Those Same Old Issues Never Seem to Go Away

Every couple has their core issues. Some are relatively minor, some are quite serious. Some issues can be handled easily and resolved quickly. For example, a couple may have different needs when it comes to spending time together. One person may require a lot of time on their own, while their partner needs more together time. In this case, couples may find a middle ground that works for both of them. With love and understanding, this couple can find the compromise that works. They may need to tweak their agreement from time to time, but overall, this issues does not wreak a lot of havoc—they understand and handle the differences without taking it personally.

Other issues are more complicated. There are deeper wounds attached and behavioral change is not so simple. These issues create a domino effect as one partner's behavior creates a reaction in the other that triggers more acting out in one’s partner that then creates even more distress for the other and so on and so on. I'm sure you can relate to having this kind of issue in your current or past relationship. It may involve an addiction, a destructive way of handling feelings, or other preferences and coping skills that cause negative consequences for the relationship.

We all have developed coping skills. Some work well for us but not for others. Some are overall healthier than others. Regardless, deeply ingrained coping strategies are hard to change. Thus, these issues tend to come up again and again in relationships. They have to. It takes time and repetition for someone to release a maladaptive way of coping and create a replacement strategy. This involves a lot of self-awareness, commitment and discipline in making a change. In all honesty, some people can do this and some cannot. Even with the best of intentions, the results aren't guaranteed.

So if you are experiencing an issue in your relationship that continues to come up again and again, understand that this is normal. Both you and your partner need to know that change occurs slowly over time and a commitment to see this through is required from both of you. Even under the best of circumstances, breakdowns will occur.

For example, let's say your husband (or wife) has a temper. He deals with his frustration and anger in ways that you find hurtful and unacceptable. He yells and demonstrates contempt for you when he's angry. He personally attacks you and finds ways to make sure you know that you are the problem, not him. This causes you to feel utterly belittled, hopeless and resigned. Eventually things calm down, you do what it takes to reassure your husband, point out what doesn't work for you, work towards normalizing the relationship again. Sometimes he will apologize and sometimes not. He understands he has a temper but has difficulty controlling it and reining it in once he's "lost it."  You have gone to counseling for this and continue to work on the issue as a couple. Progress has been made. Your husband understands why he gets angry and is working on calming down before saying anything. However, he still loses his temper every now and then in ways you find hurtful and damaging.

You wonder if your husband will ever change. You wonder if you can live with this for the rest of your life. Every time he slips you forget all the times he has been successful in managing his anger in more constructive ways. You feel hopeless instead of remembering that both you and he committed to dealing with this issue, understanding it will take a long time for him to truly integrate a new way of being. You forget that even under the best of circumstances, people are human and under stress, primitive ways of coping can take over.

So what can you do to deal with the same issue that still haunts the relationship? Here are things to remember when those same old issues come up again.

  • Remember, as long as you are both committed to making things better and take action to do so, progress is being made.
  • Expect breakdowns. They are a part of life and no one is perfect. As long as they are occurring less and less, you can relax and know things are moving in the right direction.
  • Always make sure that you are attending your end of things. Even if your partner's issues have nothing to do with you, you are responsible for how you deal with them. Make sure you work on you.
  • Focus on what your partner does right and how he pleases you. Give your partner credit for his intentions, efforts and progress made. It's the best reinforcement for continued change.
  • Lastly, know that dealing with each other's imperfections and woundedness is part of the deal. Relationships provide fertile ground for healing. In doing so, this requires ongoing patience, forgiveness and love. It also takes a willingness to take responsibility at all times for one's actions and continuous recommitment to do better next time.

So you decide if there are reasons enough to hang in there for the entire ride. Know there will be up hill climbs, steep vertical falls and lots of thrilling curves along the way. Buckle up. No one said relationships were straight and level roads--but that's the very thing that makes them so worthwhile.

If you or someone you know needs help in dealing with your relationship challenges, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

As always, I’m here to support you in creating strong and intimate relationships. 

Be well,


Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at