Carol Boulware, MFT, Ph.D.

Los Angeles - Santa Monica & Redondo Beach, California


  • Do you fight and make up regularly?
  • Does your partner put you down, ridicule you, criticize you? Or are you doing that to your partner?
  • Are you "hanging in" because you can see the potential -- only the potential never gets realized?
  • Is your partner never home or "tuned out" when he or she is at home? Or are you?
  • Are you relieved when your partner isn't around?
  • Are you uneasy when your partner is away?
  • Does your partner hit you or threaten to hit you? Or are you doing it to him or her?
  • Is your sex life gone?
  • Is your or your partners use of drugs or alcohol creating problems?
  • Is living alone or independently unthinkable?

If you answer "Yes" to one or more of these questions and still can't figure out how to fix it and you can't leave either, then read on. Your problem is not unusual.

What causes the problem?

The core of the problem is usually a subtle or not-so-subtle belief that, "I am not lovable. Therefore, if I lose this relationship, I'll never have another and I'll be lonely for the rest of my life." Or another, more pernicious belief, "I deserve to be treated badly, because I'm bad and unlovable." Those core beliefs allow people to tolerate being abused, neglected, and/or shamed in on-going relationships and even to seek them out -- choose them over more nurturing and satisfying relationships.

Where do these beliefs come from?

The origin of these beliefs about the self are in early childhood. The experience of intimacy, love and nurturing that we have as babies and small children form our beliefs about our selves and what love and intimacy are. Everyone is abused and neglected to some degree as small children, either through parental ignorance or life circumstances, either by accident or on purpose. Even the wisest and most well intentioned parents can't meet a child's every need. However, the more the abuse or neglect and the less the child's needs are met, the more likely the child will feel unlovable and believe that love and nurturing in intimacy are not possible.

I feel so stuck. Can I get out of this situation?

The good news is that you can heal. You can learn to believe that you are lovable and to surround yourself with and make loving connections with people who love you.

You make it sound so simple. How can I learn to love myself and have more satisfying love in my life?

The principles are simple. Doing it is not easy. Here are some of the requirements to healing your relationships:

  1. The work must be the first priority. It takes a strong commitment and a conscious effort to succeed.
  2. Redefine "selfish." Learn to love yourself and to take care of your needs effectively. You can get your needs met and still have love in your life.
  3. Commit to introspection and seeing the real truth about yourself and your behavior.
  4. Take responsibility for your life and your well-being and STOP taking responsibility for other people's lives and their well-being. It's great to help people, but they are still responsible for their own outcomes.
  5. Learn to set and enforce personal boundaries: "I will do this." "I will not do that." "You may not do that because it hurts me." "This is my body or my house or my space and you can only come in if I invite you."
  6. Develop your spiritual nature. Discover a practice that brings you peace and serenity and commit yourself to a daily routine.
  7. Find a support system of people who understand what you are doing. People you can talk to when the going is tough. People that you can support in a give-and-take, non-addictive relationship.

Sounds like a tall order, I don't even know how to start.

Get help. This work is not easy. So much of the problem is out of awareness that it usually takes a trained professional to help people be clear and objective about their beliefs and behavior patterns. It also takes a trained professional to help people find and heal the core of their self defeating beliefs and behaviors.

Dr. Boulware has over 20 years experience helping people who are in the same dilemma that you are.

You will have your own path to healthy relationships, yet Dr. Boulware has identified some steps in the process that seem to be helpful for everyone.

  1. Feeling affirmed and supported in sessions helps pave the way to begin to build a trusting relationship so that the hurt, scared inner child can begin to trust enough to reveal itself in the sessions.
  2. Understanding the influence of your family history and childhood experiences is necessary for understanding and healing your present relationship problems.
  3. Developing a treatment plan helps you and Dr. Boulware know where you're heading, where you are in the process and whether what you are doing is working.

My childhood is past and I can't stand the thought of digging up that old pain.

Is it absolutely necessary? EMDR (Eye Movement Desentization and Reprocessing) is a new method to help work through the memories and painful incidents from your past.

For information about making an In-Office Consultation Appointment or
if you are interested in a Free Phone Consultation CLICK HERE FIRST

CALL (310) 395-3351

Day & Evening/Weekend Appointments


Carol Boulware, MFT, Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist - #MFT11632
ABS Certified Sex Therapist #1466
Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress
EMDR Certified Therapist- Level II- 1994
EMDRIA Approved Consultant
Somatic Experiencing Practitioner
3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550
Los Angeles, California 90403
(310) 395-3351
Additional offices in Santa Monica & Redondo Beach

Copyright ©1998 - 2006 Carol Boulware, Ph.D.