At Rekindle, we’ve been running expat support group meetings for a good part of 2016. It’s the only expat support group of its kind that I know exists in Malaysia. What’s interesting is that it has mostly been attended by trailing expat wives, and typically those who have younger children.
[UPDATE: Rekindle’s Expat Support Group’s first meeting was a success, and from participant feedback, we will be running meetings twice a month. Click here for the latest brochure information.]
Most people think of the expat life as easy and filled with perks and benefits. What is not seen are the INVISIBLE STRESSORS of expat living:
– Difficulty adjusting to cultures and languages
– Inability to get the right foods for your family’s diet
– Concerns about physical safety
– Changes in lifestyle (e.g. “my husband is hardly ever home now”)
– Grief and loss of relationships with family and friends
…and the list goes on.
Want to give your marital blahs a little lift? Try this online dating profile activity for married couples.
My wife and I have been married for more than 15 years. In fact, next month will mark our 16th anniversary together. We have gone through our fair share of ups and downs, and like many couples, after a while of doing regular life, things can get dull.
Over the years, I have worked with many couples presenting with infidelity or extramarital affairs. Although every couple’s experience is uniquely challenging, there are some similar patterns.
For couples where the affair with the third-party has ended, the marriage can begin to heal. But it is easier said than done. Often, the acted spouse (the one who committed the infidelity) believes that since he (often male, but not always) has ended the relationship with the third party, his wife ought to relax and have things go back to normal. But for the injured party, nothing feels normal anymore. Distrust, insecurity, sleeplessness, even flashbacks can take place despite her best intentions not to be bothered by them.
In helping couples to heal post-infidelity, I have heard similar metaphors being used again and again by my past clients. More recently, I started to offer these metaphors right at the beginning of therapy to my new clients. To my delight, I discovered that clients have appreciated having these pictures to hang on to—almost as if the metaphors help them to feel more normal more quickly, and enable them to be more understanding of each other’s experience going through the difficult process of recovery. It is my hope that by sharing these metaphors here, many couples can be helped in trying to salvage their marriage post-infidelity. Continue reading “Metaphors for Healing, Post-Infidelity”
There is nothing so precious to me as a retreat to a remote location on my own for a time of quiet reflection. With my journal in hand and nature all around me, I enter into my soul, look for my core self, and as if meeting an old friend, we get comfortable, sit down, and have long, deep conversations. Work stresses and family difficulties melt into the background.
I have been journaling since I was eleven. For years, I thought everyone journaled. So it still surprises me every now and then when I ask clients to spend some time journaling, and they look back strangely at me.
“Journaling? What do you mean?” some would ask.
Journaling is one of the best self-care activities you can do for yourself. When you are troubled and have no one to talk to, your journal can become your best friend and personal therapist. In this post, I would like to teach you a simple and effective way to engage in expressive journaling. The exercise itself will only take 10 minutes. Continue reading “Troubled? Try Journaling”
When clients come to see me for the first time, I explain to them what therapy is all about. I say something like this:
As I see it, therapy is about change. People come in to see me because they want to move from their current circumstance to a preferred situation. It could be a lack of life-clarity, or an inability to stop an addictive behaviour, or difficulties communicating well with a partner. They want to get better, but somehow find themselves stuck again and again.
I go on to explain how a professional can help them and emphasise that, for change to happen in a sustainable way, clients themselves have to be the ones to enact that change. I will give them an illustration. Something like this: Continue reading “An Apple A Day: Therapy and Change [with Podcast]”
Update (3/4/2018): The support group discussed below is no longer available.
Update (21/5/2014): Listen to my radio show on the topic at BFM 89.9 with Dr. Alvin Ng and Sudha Kudva here – link.
Asperger syndrome (AS) is “one of a distinct group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” (1). It is one of several autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and considered to the mildest form, sometimes also referred to as high-functioning autism (HFA).
In January 2014, I started a new support group with my colleague Sudha Kudva for wives whose husbands struggle with AS or HFA. This may well be the first AS/HFA marriage support group in Malaysia.
Here is how it began. Continue reading “Asperger Syndrome & Marriage – Support in Kuala Lumpur”
I admit it. I have neglected my online presence for far too long. My last post was more than 3 months ago, and I had promised myself to make at least one post a month after I launched Rekindle Community.
Worse, I had even promised Meera that I would blog about our topics before we went on air so that we can delve more deeply into them when we go on air. Both January and February exposed me as a promise-reneger. Continue reading “Johnben Loy is back online! Really!”