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Dr. Zoe Shaw, A Year of Self-Care
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Welcome to Ask Dr. Zoe, where you ask the questions, and Dr. Zoe gives the answers!

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Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist, educated at UCLA and Pepperdine University. She has a private practice in sunny California and a virtual practice working with people all over the world! She is a motivational speaker, podcast host, life coach, and fitness fanatic.

Dr. Zoe is also a busy wife and mama of five, which fuels her desire to help women attain the elusive balance between work, life, self, and relationships through cultivating healthy minds and bodies. Her passion is to help women find their strength, embrace it, and share it with the world. But sometimes, you just have to laugh at yourself along the way!

Do you have a burning question about yourself, your relationships, or your parenting? Send it in, and Dr. Zoe will give you spot-on advice as a life and relationship expert. But don’t worry, she’ll balance her honest answers with grit and grace.

Read other articles written by Dr. Zoe or to learn more visit drzoeshaw.com

Asked & Answered

'Sandytoes' Asked: My husband and I have been together since ‘83—married for 30+. He’s been retired for four years at 55—I’ve been a stay at home mom-wife for more than 20. I’m lonely in my marriage. He climbed the corporate ladder—after more than 12 moves across the country, for many years

'Paige' Asked: Hi Dr. Zoe! I wanted to ask you as I’ve been pondering for years and it’s a deep desire of mine to be able to find and understand how to navigate the road to discover my purpose. Do you have any tips to bring to light individual purpose? And

'Chatty in Nooga' Asked: I’m pretty sure my husband is struggling with bipolar disorder/depression. My dad has it, so I’m aware of what it can look like. My husband knows when he’s in a dark place. He’s openly admitted that it’s been very dark recently and we’ve had discussions about him

'Weary Traveler' Asked: Six months ago, I quit my management job. Since then, I have been doing travel contracts outside of my home state. I have applied for several jobs and had a few promising interviews. I have not been offered any of the jobs though. I want to get back

'Michelle79' Asked: My husband and I are separated. He had severe addiction issues and went to rehab multiple times. It finally "stuck" in California. He lives there now. I live in NJ with our 6 year old son. My son was super close to him and misses him terribly. I have

'Praying Paralegal' Asked: I recently reconnected with my estranged father after 16 years by accepting his friend request on Facebook and traveling across the world to see him and. I still feel conflicted when I see his posts and question why I feel the need for his approval even after all

‘Motivated Mama’ Asked: School is just about to start here in our neck of the woods. My anxiety level is slowly growing each day because I am a motivated mama who likes the kids to be prepared for the transition. We have four school-aged children (ages 5, 9, 12 and 16)

'Trying to help' Asked: How do you help a spouse identify an issue with their addiction? Meaning, how do you help them see there is a problem that needs addressed because it affects you, your spouse, and your child? I'm normally very direct and that is not well received- to the

'Frosty in Fort Worth' Asked: Hi Dr. Zoe, I have a cousin who is just over a year younger than me whom I have been close with since childhood. She was the person I would tell everything to, and I thought I was the same for her. Looking back now maybe

'Pregnant in Purgatory' Asked: My boyfriend had been subtly talking about proposing for several weeks, he hinted that he had a ring and would talk about when he felt it was the "right" time, which seemed to align with our anniversary. But you can guess what happened

'Talenkynic Dromdfrevc' Asked: Hi there, I don’t think I react to crises the same way as others; I become detached and unemotional. I think I may have suffered multiple traumas before I was able to process. I now pastorally care for many people and think I need to work through it

'Ready to Date Again' Asked: After a 20 year marriage failed, almost 10 years of counseling and working on myself, I’m ready to date again. But how do I trust again? How do I get out there to find the “right” guy? I thought it would happen naturally, but it hasn’t. Dr.

'Liz' Asked: How do you find the right therapist? I know I need one, and I also know the value of a good therapist. I’ve tried faith-based counseling in my area- found it to be very surface level and frankly kind of sexist. I’ve tried finding one through my healthcare network

'Texas Tangled' Asked: This might end up sounding like a terrible romance movie

'Still Not Graduated' Asked: I have been very blessed that my parents have been able to financially support me as I seek higher education. The problem is I don't know what I want from this education. I recently realized that I am extremely unhappy pursuing my current degree, but I do

'Paranoid and anxious' Asked: Dr. Zoe, HELP ME! I know that this question, not even a question really, may seem bizarre and a no-brainier, but to me, it’s my life and I hate it! I’m such a people pleaser, always wanting to help someone out even if it means spreading myself

'Judith Ann' Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe, I am heartbroken because I recently learned my husband of 22 years has been engaged in an emotional affair (with some physical closeness but claiming not sex) with a woman client (he's a contractor) I introduced him to. The woman's marriage was bad when they

'Jen. B' Asked: Hi Dr. Zoe, I hope this email finds you well! Last year [

'Leaving the Past Behind' Asked: Last year was emotionally draining, and I’m afraid I will "carry all the stress, anxiety and tension" into this year. Is there anything I can do to leave the past behind me and start fresh? Dr. Zoe Answered: Whenever someone says to me that they are worried, fearful

‘Dating Diva’ Asked: I'm a single mom with a young son. What's the best way to introduce my child to someone I'm dating? When do I do it? And how? What are some things to avoid him getting hurt? Dating Diva Dr. Zoe Answered: With so much conflicting information out there, it’s easy to

As a momma, maybe you haven't been too pleased watching your husband's relationship with your kids. He doesn't strive to be as intentionally involved with them as you'd like him to be, and you don't want your kids growing up without fond memories or respect for him. Although it may seem

Any toxic relationship will be emotionally and mentally trying, but the pressure is compounded when the person on the other end is a family member, or someone that you want to trust. A reader asked about finding clarity amid a toxic relationship with her father and the guilt she felt toward

A relationship can get frustrating when you're expecting a proposal or deciding on a wedding date, but your man doesn't appear to be in any hurry to move to the next step. Although this often exposes the man's fear of commitment, you may have also played a role by prematurely

If you've ever criticized yourself about the things you've done, or the things that others have done to you, then you are rooting yourself in a destructive habit, my friend! Would you tell a dear friend that they are ugly or stupid? Of course not! Because you recognize their innate value.

Dealing with a narcissist isn't always as simple as being around someone who thinks highly of themself. True narcissism is a mental health disorder that makes any relationship difficult and often toxic. If a family member or coworker is a narcissistic person, then maintaining healthy boundaries is extremely important for you

This is a tough situation. You and the person you had once believed would be a part of your forever are no longer on good terms—they're toxic, selfish and manipulative. And to make the situation more difficult, you share a child (or children) together. So how do you successfully co-parent

Being a stepmom is an extremely important, yet difficult, job. There are little ones to care for, but this often involves maintaining some sort of relationship with the children's mother—and this can be trying in itself. Maybe there's baby mama drama, or the children's mother resents you for the new role

Have you been dating your boyfriend for years, with no sign of a ring in sight? Then you already stayed too long, according to psychotherapist Dr. Zoe Shaw. In this video, Dr. Zoe explains why your boyfriend gets upset at the prospect of an engagement, and how your actions might

It's worrisome when your husband seems to have checked out—without an interest in explaining what's on his mind. As a wife, you immediately want to know how to help without pushing him further away. Psychotherapist and relationship coach Dr. Zoe Shaw explains that allowing him the distance to process on his

A codependent person is just like it sounds: someone who needs others. The fear of abandonment drives them to control their relationships by taking care of the other person and attending to all their needs, but denying their own. It's a harmful situation for both parties. Dr. Zoe Shaw explains how

If you've been hurt in a previous relationship or by someone you trust, it becomes much harder to place confidence in those you encounter after the betrayal. However, licensed psychotherapist Dr. Zoe warns that the issue is not with others, but with you. Here she explains how you can challenge

Maybe you've been hurt by someone you loved, whether that was through betrayal, adultery or lies. Whether we see it or not, these hurtful situations don't just rock our reality, but they can also leave major emotional wounds. So how are we supposed to come back from that? How can

'Ms Highly Favored' Asked: My boyfriend of 5 years is an introvert. We live together. Going in this he knew I wanted to be married within 3 years. I have not met his children, he doesn't take me around his family, and he gets upset when I want to talk about

'Kim' Asked: How can I parent with positivity? My kids drive me crazy. They refuse to help me or are mean to each other way too often. I find myself complaining to them and about them. Dr. Zoe Answered: You and every other mother who cares about her parenting have asked a question

'Krista' Asked: How do you change self talk. How do you train the voice that is constantly speaking to you to SPEAK POSITIVE. Is there a way to retrain that voice? Dr. Zoe Answered: 100 times yes! This is my absolute favorite area to work on with clients. Your self-talk is not who

'Just Kris' Asked: I have a sister in law that I believe according to the definition of narcissism has narcissistic tendencies. We don't spend much time together, but our relationship (along with all of my in-laws that feel they need to tiptoe around her) is strained because it feels like she

'Paulette' Asked: How do you coparent with a toxic ex? Someone who is manipulative, a compulsive liar even to the courts and doesn't put the kids' best interests first. Dr. Zoe Answered: You can’t! It’s that simple, but let me explain. The concept of co-parenting is a wonderful one and parents who have picked

'Beijing_Mom' Asked: My husband and I are in the process of a divorce after being married 20 yrs. I found out he was a porn addict and also that he had given me a STD from other sexual adventures. Lucky for me antibiotics could get rid of this one. The biggest

'Confused Fiance' Asked: How do I go about repairing the relationship with the mother of my fiance’s children? I don’t like her, I think she is a very childish and spiteful person, but there should be some sort of casual friendship between us, for the sake of the children. She doesn’t

'Dealing With My Disconnected Husband' Asked: How do you approach your husband when he seems completely disconnected and like he has checked out? I have tried bringing it up in casual conversation with him so it doesn’t seem as though I am accusing or nagging, but he literally just ignores talking

'Hoping to get Healthy' Asked: Lately, I've come to terms with the fact that I struggle with codependency. I still have some shame associated with that title but I'm ready to embrace it so I can overcome it! I had a very difficult childhood, and I don't know my Dad and

'A Mom Trying to Figure It Out' Asked: Blended Family Rules I seem to have a mess of questions lately. Most all revolve around my blended family where children are raised in two households. I would like to know how to thrive not only survive (surviving seems to be the best I

'Needing Girl Time' Asked: I want to make more time for friendships this year but I feel guilty leaving my husband and kids to do so—is it wrong to make regular girl time happen? How can I explain that I need it to my family without making them feel neglected? Dr. Zoe

'Cray in Carolinas' Asked: My son died at 21 years and I struggle with memories of times I was not the mom I wished I was at times

'Fed up in Maryland' Asked: Hi, Do you have any suggestions on how to get my husband more involved with our boys? He is great at playing video games with them and taking them to the latest movie but he does not do anything else with them without me initiating or suggesting

'Ashley' Asked: I have dealt with years of mental abuse, lack of presence and once I allow him back into my life more mental abuse from my biological father. He is an addict and has been my whole life and drugs and alcohol have always been more important to him then

'Nurse Lauren' Asked: Hello, I found the article you wrote about wanting a proposal and not getting it and how you shouldn’t feel bad about it just because you want to be married was really wonderful. There’s so much out there about [how] oh you can’t make someone do something and

'Annie' Asked: Hi Dr. Zoe, In the process of healing from my childhood trauma, I’m learning how disordered my actions were and how unhealthy my attachments were when I was in my late teens/early 20’s. I can see now more clearly where my behaviors came from but I can’t help but feel

'CCinSAV' Asked: How do I learn to trust more in my current relationship after being betrayed or abandoned in past relationships? Backstory: I’m married to a wonderful, loving man now

'Liz' Asked: Dr. Zoe, My husband and I are infertile. People ask us a lot when we are going to have kids. While this question is often asked with good intentions, it’s a painful question for me, as I wanted kids, so I always struggle with how to answer. I’m a little

'Matel' Asked: Hi Zoe, my question to you is as follows. I get frustrated when my girl 3.5 years old does not act the way I want her too. She is very hyper, fearless and very wild 🙂 i end up shouting, being upset and being in bad mood quite often than

'Yolanda' Asked: Do you have any tips on how to break gender roles. My husband and I both work yet he literally expects me to prepare 3 meals a day for him. If I don’t have dinner ready he is annoyed rude and disappointed. Although I am just as busy as

'Desiring Friendship and Ministry Partnership' Asked: I'm in my mid-60s and have been widowed for five years. I recently met a single Christian man who is a difference-maker. I have a deep respect for him, and admire his humility and work ethic. I'm not attracted to him but I'd love to

'Nikki' Asked: We moved to a new city 3 years ago for my fiancé’s career and I am not happy with the area. We are not near family or friends

'Pawan' Asked: Hi Dr. Zoe I am having trouble with connecting with my 12yr old step daughter. I have 3 step kids. I don't have any kids of my own. Me and my husband are full time custodians and they see their mom every other weekend. I don't see we her respecting

'Wench' Asked: I have been married for 11 years to a man that appears to have narcissistic behavior. 5 years ago because my son was smoking pot, not at the house but away from the house my husband told me I had to choose between my son or him, I was

'Tat2nurse13' Asked: Why does being a strong independent woman scare off men? Dr. Zoe Answered: Oh, I love this question! But, your statement isn't completely true. Historically, it has been proven that the more successful and independent a woman is, the less likely it is that she will find a life partner, but

'Alisandra' Asked: How do you recover from divorce, breast cancer, loss of a job, and not seeing your child every day? Dr. Zoe Answered: My immediate visual after reading your experience is a warrior woman, still standing in the midst of the haze of battle. You may not visualize yourself in this way,

'Johanna' Asked: How do I work on my marriage when your husband tells you everything in his life is in the air right now OR tells you "I'm sorry I've been living your life. You wanted kids and to get married, not me!" We've been together for 17 years now. How

'Ginny Girl' Asked: My fiance told me a few things that hurt me really bad a few days after the engagement. I gave him a few weeks time, patiently tried to convince him in my way, even went on a day's trip to make him feel more relaxed thinking he's probably

'Tired of the Holiday Expectations' Asked: My parents put a lot of pressure on my siblings and my family to spend time together for the holidays, Christmas specifically. I love my parents and enjoy spending time with them, but their expectations of what they want Christmas to look and feel like

'Pregnancy Loss' Asked: I am currently dealing with a pregnancy loss. It is a blighted ovum and my body is just not catching up to what is happening. I am going back to the doctor to make final decisions at the end of the week. The problem is I still have

'Toxic Triangle' Asked: I often feel like my partner is not giving me my place in this toxic triangle of a relationship. I love him very much. I feel like he’s put up with his ex (mother of his children) for so long that he’s become accustomed to her BS and

'NotDaddysGirl' Asked: I grew up never knowing my biological dad and over the last few years, I've started to let myself feel the hurt and sadness that it caused me. I am now a single mom dating again and I want to be aware of the pitfalls that this absence might

'Jill' Asked: I have recently quit a job that I was very good at but I was working 90+ hours per week and living away from my husband. I have always wanted to start a business, so I figured now is the time. I am 53 years old and time is

"My Husband Wants a Divorce" Asked: My husband asked me for a divorce. I don't want one. I left the home, but I feel like I should fight for my marriage. What should I do? Dr. Zoe Answered: I am so very sorry. You must feel like you’ve been punched in the gut.

'Stepmom Wanting to Do the Best for Her Crew' Asked: I find, like most siblings, that in a family that has children from two households, there is a love-hate between them. However, I have noticed jealousy in the child that is not with us full time. I am sympathetic to the

'Deb' Asked: As I listened to Julie Graham’s story, I look back at how I prayed for her as she walked through Paul’s death. Little did I know that a week later, I would be walking through my own shock and grief when my 36-year-old daughter died suddenly. Then less than

'Sleepless Beauty' Asked: I have suffered from fear at night my whole life. I love sleeping, but falling asleep is the worst part for me. I’m always nervous that there is someone in my house, or will break in when I am sleeping. This has never actually happened to me in

'Balancing Busy Mama' Asked: I'm a single mom who works nearly full-time. I love my son, and I love my work, but sometimes it feels impossible to do it all. I find it hard to admit this to friends who don't work because they often want to answer it by saying

'Carol' Asked: I burned out and am changing careers mid-life. How can I assess my personality and joys to find a fulfilling new path? Dr. Zoe Answered: Carol, Good for you! You are doing what so many women dream of and regret not doing when they are older. It’s great that you are looking

'Faith Over Fear' Asked: I have been asked by several of my girlfriends who have watched me struggle, and somehow survive, “How do you deal with disappointment?” I don’t have the answers. And if I did, I would be selling it online in mass quantities for all my fellow stressed out warrior

'Potential Worry-Wart' Asked: What is "normal" anxiety, and what crosses over into clinical? In my mid-20s, I experienced panic attacks and a couple years of moderate to severe anxiety and depression. Before then, I did not experience any of those things and believe I had “normal” mental health. There were life circumstances

'Mama Llama' Asked: My 12-year-old male middle child gets very angry. He is belligerent and moody and verbally unkind to his immediate family. What are some ways to handle this aggressive behavior? Dr. Zoe Answered: I have been a mama of a 12-year-old three times so far, and I know how very difficult

‘Rudderless After A Relationship’ Asked: I have been in a long term relationship with my fiance'. He proved himself unable to commit and now I am trying to move on. I want him to realize how he much he hurt me and cost me but he refuses to. He thinks saying

‘Troubled Wife’ Asked: I continue to have heated exchanges with my spouse. I am finally realizing that it’s about a lack of trust. Dr. Zoe, when the trust is gone from a relationship, is it truly over or is there any way to salvage it? Dr. Zoe Answered: Not necessarily. Trust can be

'Curious' Asked: I grew up as a missionary kid and was abused by my missionary father. Emotional, spiritual, physical. Every girl friend of mine had been sexually or physically abused. I've heard it all. Seen it all. I was depressed for years. I dealt with my pain. I've healed and forgiven.

‘Stuck in the Middle’ Asked: I have four children from a previous marriage and I recently got married to a wonderful man with no children. He’s very strict with my kids. They liked him at first, but now that we’re married and have been living together for 4 months, they don’t

'Alissa' Asked: After 5 years of staying home with my babies (now 5 and 2), I find myself constantly struggling between continuing to stay home and going back to work. I feel selfish that I miss my career so much but I am so afraid I won't be able to give

'Alexis' Asked: How do you love your foster child’s parents well even when you feel like they aren’t trying? Dr. Zoe Answered: When I am struggling with my feelings about someone’s behavior, I often remind myself that all behavior makes sense in its context. Just because I don’t understand why someone is behaving

'Running Turtle' Asked: My marriage broke up about 7 months ago. In the last few days, we’ve been seriously discussing divorce. I’ve been grieving the last 7 months, but these conversations have brought on new, almost overwhelming waves of grief, how do I cope? Dr. Zoe Answered: Dear Running Turtle, I'm glad you used

'Frazzled Florida Friend' Asked: Friends come and go and we all know that, but, how do I know when it's time for me to let a friend go? What are my signs that this may be a toxic friendship that I need to let go of? Should I just let us

'Mom of Three Boys' Asked: As a mom with three boys (12-year-old twins, 9-year-old), how do I deal with the tween separation that boys do without taking it personally? And allow them their space after being super close with them. They used to be so chatty and fun and now they

'Dawn' Asked: After my boyfriend and I had been together a year, one night while we were spending alone time together he looked at me and asked: "Will you marry me"? There was no ring, just the question. I asked "Are you really proposing?" and he said "Just answer the question

'Exhausted Juggler' Asked: I have frequent days that I feel as if I'm center stage juggling family, work, home life, the needs of every human in my life all dependent upon my next move with the entire audience waiting for me to drop the ball. I want to prove them wrong,

'Nicole' Asked: I have a 10-year-old daughter and my mother lives next door. My mom has stated that she feels her current purpose in life is to help me with my family. When I make a decision for my child or family, it is sometimes overrun by mom. For instance, if

'Dreading This Scary Conversation' Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe, I recently found out that I have an STI, and I am devastated. I made decisions in the past that I am not proud of, but over the past couple of years, I’ve changed my lifestyle dramatically. Unfortunately, there have been some lingering effects

'Caregiver' Asked: I have an older relative who is becoming more and more forgetful. She'll misplace items, forget what she was doing, forget conversations. Added to this there may be a hearing decline because the TV is getting louder and "What?" is a common question. How should I handle the situation

'Coping With Anxiety' Asked: I recently realized the extent to which I have struggled with anxiety all my life. What are some healthy, Biblical coping mechanisms I can use when anxiety and panic set in? Dr. Zoe Answered: Dear Coping With Anxiety, [caption id="attachment_30523" align="alignleft" width="333"] Follow us on Instagram![/caption] What I love about Cognitive

'Florida Girl' Asked: My husband and I are temporarily living with my mother-in-law, in her house, and at her request. We often ask her if we can help, to do our part, and she will assign us a task (cooking, cleaning, whatever) and give instructions for the job. Even if we

'Tired Friend' Asked: How do you deal with a friend with a mental illness? I have a friend with anxiety who really grinds my gears. At this point, I just want to walk away from the friendship. It just takes too much work. Too much biting of my tongue and I'm

'Confused' Asked: I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for a long time now, and every time we fight I never get angry with him. I only blame myself and put all of our issues on me. I never get angry or upset with him, just with myself. I just

'Sammi' Asked: How do I help my child wean themselves away from screens? It’s only a few hours a day but she feels entitled to it and gets hostile once I ask for it back or tell her to turn it off. Dr. Zoe Answered: The problem isn't the screen time (although the

'Samantha' Asked: I don’t feel like I’m living the life I want to be. I work during the week (and I love my job so I’m not trying to find an alternative to a 9-5) but on my days off (weekends) I end up running errands and doing household chores. How

'Jan' Asked: As a stepmom to a 15-year-old, how do I even begin to connect with her? She is disrespectful to her mom and me

'Loving Wife' Asked: How do you get past a betrayal in your marriage? Dr. Zoe Answered: You didn’t specify what type of betrayal this is, so I’m going to guess that it's probably one of the big ones—otherwise, you wouldn't have asked the question. When the trust in your marriage has been destroyed, when

'Honestly Unable' Asked: Dear Dr. Zoe: I fell in love with someone as a very young girl. Truly in love. My mother interfered and separated us keeping me in the dark. I cannot seem to stop thinking of how it could have been especially because my marriage has been difficult and

'In Waiting' Asked: As my husband and I dive deep into our 6th year of infertility we continue to struggle with an insensitive, narcissistic mother/mother-in-law. Going forward how do we not only manage our heartbreak, but our broken relationship with her as well? Dr. Zoe Answered: These are two very big issues! Your

'Meg' Asked: There has been a mixture of all kinds of hurt in a long term dating relationship and trying to extend grace and to have true forgiveness after the hurt. What are some good ways to do that in a healthy way without being walked all over? Dr. Zoe Answered: You may

'Just Thinking' Asked: How do you analyze past relationships in which you’ve been hurt a lot, but analyze them to see if you actually had a part or caused some of the issues? It’s hard to get past your personal bias, how can you do that? Dr. Zoe Answered: Most people never do

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