Relationships

Am I a Bad Person if I Say “No” and Hurt Someone?

By Alison Cook | January 28, 2021

Many of us, if we’re honest, tend to base the criteria for whether we feel good about ourselves on how other people respond to us. Without realizing it, we operate a little like this: I am a good person if I make other people happy. I am a bad person if I hurt other people....

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how-to-set-boundaries-with-your-mom

Are You Supposed to Meet Your Mother’s Needs?

By Alison Cook | January 13, 2021

I see you. I’m proud of you. I’m grateful for who you are. Imagine these words being spoken directly to you by your mom, with no ulterior motive or hidden agenda. What is that like for you? What emotions does it stir up? Is it hard for you to imagine your mom speaking words of...

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how-do-i-find-safe-people

How Do I Find Safe Relationships?

By Alison Cook | January 7, 2021

If you’ve been hurt by a destructive relationship, you are not alone. I am constantly amazed by how often I hear stories such as these: A wife who faces the fact that her husband is emotionally abusive A loyal person who discovers that her best friend has been manipulating her A daughter who finally understands...

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healthy-relationships

The Benefits of Self Awareness: A Tool Every Couple Needs

By Alison Cook | October 29, 2020

“Why can’t he just pick up his clothes for once?” you mutter under your breath. You’re not sure why, but you feel annoyed today for some reason. You continue to go through the motions of your day. The work gets done somehow, and you hold it together. Over dinner, when your husband  strikes up a...

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Church hurt

Church Hurt and 4 Steps for Healing

By Alison Cook | May 20, 2020

Have you ever experienced “church hurt”? As a counselor, I’ve seen the various wounds that people experience from unhealthy leaders while attending church. Here are some examples of church hurt: • A single mom whose church promised to stand by her, then disappeared after she got a divorce from her abusive husband • A kind-hearted...

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Signs of Bad Church Leadership

3 Signs of Bad Church Leadership

By Alison Cook | May 6, 2020

What are the signs of bad church leadership versus church leaders who are healthy? A church is like any family. It’s comprised of wounded people. The presence of wounds does not make or break a church or a family. It’s what we do with them that makes the difference. In healthy families, each member manages...

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effects of toxic parents

The Effects of Toxic Parents and 5 Steps to Healing

By Alison Cook | April 29, 2020

The effects of toxic parents take root in childhood. But, the problems aren’t always identified until well into adulthood. Toxic parents can create situations where a child is overly criticized, devoid of affirmation, explicitly controlled, or put in an unfair role of caring for the adults. You were hardwired to love the people who raised...

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Enmeshed Family

The Enmeshed Family and 6 Signs of Toxic Behavior

By Alison Cook | April 22, 2020

Were you raised in an enmeshed family? Here are some telltale signs. For example, were you taught that it was your job to keep mom or dad happy? Did you feel guilty if you weren’t constantly tuned to a parent’s needs? To this day, do you still feel pressure to do what other family members...

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setting boundaries with friends

Setting Boundaries with Friends

By Alison Cook | April 15, 2020

Question: “Alison, can you give some tips for setting boundaries with friends after a painful experience? My best friend replaced me with someone else she likes better and has started talking behind my back.” (Brandy D.) Answer: Setting boundaries with friends can feel confusing. I empathize with your situation. It’s painful to feel “replaced” by...

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examples healthy boundaries in marriage

Healthy Boundaries in Marriage and How to Tell the Difference

By Alison Cook | April 8, 2020

Question: What are examples of healthy boundaries in marriage? How do I love my spouse, but still express my own voice and needs? (Barbara G.) Examples of healthy boundaries in marriage can be hard to identify. When things are working—whether in your marriage or in someone else’s—it just seems natural. On the other hand, examples...

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how-to-forgive-and-move-on-in-a-relationship

How to Forgive and Move On in a Relationship

By Alison Cook | March 4, 2020

Question: People keep telling me that I need to forgive and move on in my relationship. I want to forgive, but does that mean I have to pretend like nothing happened? (Julie W.) Answer: I’m so glad you asked this question. How to forgive and move on in a relationship is often misunderstood. The short...

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Ask Alison: Will Setting Boundaries Make Me Seem Like a B**ch?

By Alison Cook | February 26, 2020

Question: I’m nervous that setting boundaries with other people will make me seem like a b**ch. What do I do? (Samantha W.) Answer: I hear this question often and it reveals a double standard that women face when it comes to setting boundaries. For example, when a man says, “No, thanks. I’m not interested.” His...

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While Dr. Cook is a counselor, the content of this website and any of the products provided by Dr. Cook are not specific counseling advice nor are they a substitute for individual counseling. The content and products provided on this website are for informational purposes only.

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