Archive for June, 2008

June 30, 2008

Helping yourself recover from a romantic break-up…

by Rod Smith

1.    Even though you do not feel like it, “force” yourself into a loving and supportive community. Go out with old friends, join a club or a church, find a new interest that is shared with “new” people.
2.    Tell one person everything. Don’t choose someone too close to the situation, or someone who has also recently faced a break-up, or someone who already has an ax to grind with the ex. Avoid turning these discussions into “pity parties” or “beat-up” sessions – neither will serve your greater mental health.
3.    If it is at all possible, get with supportive members of your family, especially your parents. Re-visiting your roots will be surprisingly refreshing even if difficult.
4.    Don’t beg or bargain for reconciliation no matter how much pain you are in.
5.    Learn as much as you are able from the breakup and see what elements of the relationship you will determine not to repeat in the future.
6.    Focus on your behavior and not on the behavior of you ex.
7.    Avoid waiting for a phone call, an email, a text message, in the hopes he or she will make contact. Find your freedom apart from him or her even if you have to fake it for a while.

June 29, 2008

A simple truth that will lead you to greater health and freedom…

by Rod Smith

“Horse and carriage” drives within you: deny either at your own peril…

A is for Autonomy*: a powerful instinctual longing within you. It’s the desire to be self-directed and separate. It is the “you” who wants to be free of all responsibilities. It is the “you” that fears absorption; the “you” who wants to let your hair blow in the wind, feel the sun on your back and go! It’s the lone-ranger and pioneer spirit within you. This desire is God-breathed, God-inspired and a necessary part of your growth. This need can be met, not by irresponsibly severing ties, but through regularly finding time to be alone.

I is for Intimacy: a powerful instinctual longing within you. It is the desire to nest. It is the “you” who wants to belong, be known, to be part of a family. It is the “you” who fears abandonment and longs for a shared journey. This is the part of you that longs for the sounds, symbols and reality of a shared life. This desire is God-breathed, God-inspired and a necessary part of your survival and growth. This need is met through regularly spending time in a loving family or community.

A with I = Emotional Health / A without I = Selfish Avoidance / I without A = Selfish Indulgence

*A is for Autonomy is the title of my new, up-and-coming book!

June 26, 2008

Reader seeks help……

by Rod Smith

(ORIGINAL POSTER: send me an email and I will talk to you on the phone. Rod Smith)

I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this but I hope to get some feedback….

[I trust many readers will let you know what they think — you will find my comments inserted preceded by my initials, RES)

I am involved with a married man, we have been together 1yr & 8mths. We have known each other about 4yrs.

We started out as friends and kinda “ended up”….

[RES: You clearly both avoided many “warning”signs which would have alerted you to the fact that each of you was engaged in something that was going nowhere worth going.]

…something more… Now we have a 5-month-old daughter together. He told his wife everything a few weeks before I had our daughter, she called and had a whole lot of obviously nasty things to say.

[RES: This is quite a place to “end up.” Of course his wife had a lot to say. Did you expect anything less?]

Her mother called me also…

Anyway I live with my family still, and the phone calls have affected them all.

[RES: And your ‘mutual’ behavior has affected them all, too.]

His in-laws threaten to go to church to tell them of what is going on.

The man … I’ll call him R, left the apartment he and his wife were living in, however he just moved upstairs by his parents. His wife wants to work things out but he says that he does not want to be with her anymore. He says things got too bad and does not think they can salvage anything. He says that they had lots of problems before I came into the picture and that they would have ended in divorce any which way. [RES: waiting for this to be the case might have been a healthier response from you.] I am not the first person he has had an affair with but when everything blew up he said that I was the first…. I am the first he has been “serious” with however, the first he has had strong feelings for (these are his words).

[RES: I’d suggest this is rather “serious” but the man is clearly not very “grown up” or responsible.]

They do not have any kids together. What should I do here? I know I cannot change the wrong I have already done, but I want to do right.

[RES: It is pleasing that you finally want to do “right” although there is a lot to try and correct].

Do I leave him?

[RES: You do not HAVE him!!! — he has you, but you do not have him.]

I want the phone calls to stop harassing my family. He is looking for somewhere else to live but has not found anywhere yet. We have a baby together this really complicates the situation. I do not want my daughter to be put in the middle of all of this because she is innocent.

[RES: you can want all you want, but she IS in the middle of all this and she IS innocent]

I do love him in spite of all this.

I am really confused!

[RES: I agree.]

My dad was murdered 2 years and 2 months ago,

[RES: I am very sorry]

I am still trying to deal with that, which I know I have not. Could all this have started because I was looking for a distraction from dealing with my dad’s untimely death… R does remind me of my father, he is hardworking and has a lot of similarities ……

[RES: your father’s death is a horrible event but I’d suggest you not try to place any blame upon this for YOUR behavior.]

Please give me some advise, I feel as though I am losing it.

[RES: in many ways I’d suggest you have “lost it” but there is ALWAYS hope — both for you and your daughter and for the man and his wife.]

RES SUGGESTIONS: just a few for starters….

1. Get face-to-face help for YOURSELF and not for the “relationship,”

2. Become involved in a loving and open community so your daughter is able to find her feet within a loving a supportive community (quite apart from whatever her father may choose to do).

3. Be sure to secure the legal financial support the father is expected to pay so the child may make the best of a tough beginning.

June 25, 2008

To spank or not to spank…

by Rod Smith

There is much debate about the disciplining of children. Here are two readers expressing contrary views. What do you think? How does it work (or not work) in your family? I welcome your responses:

“I have four kids and if one of them gets out of line I will spank their bottoms. Kids nowadays get away with too much stuff. If you tell your child to stop doing something and there are no consequences then he will just turn around and do it again. Putting your child in time-out only works at that time. When they get out of time-out they will do it again but if they get a spanking it’s going to hurt and they won’t do it again. We got spanking when we were children, and I learned right from wrong. In my opinion if you don’t spank your children and let them know who is the boss then they will run all over you.”

“I think spanking is barbaric. The last thing I want to do is hurt my children by hitting them. Parents who hit their children don’t deserve children and just teach children that the solution to all problems lies in violence.”

June 19, 2008

Is your relationship abusive?

by Rod Smith

None of the conditions has to be ever-present to count. Even abusive relationships are sometimes trauma and pain-free. Believing the “good times” excuses the “bad times” is an error.  The presence of ONE of the following means you could benefit from immediate help.

1.    Are you secretive about your relationship so no one really knows what you are enduring?
2.    Do you feel as if you have no room to move? You do not want to get any closer but you have no idea how to get out.
3.    Are you afraid? Your life is unpredictable, oscillating between extremes.
4.    Are you hiding, avoiding friends and family? It feels as if this person has control of your life and destiny.
5.    Do you feel that love hardly resembles love, trust does not feel like trust, and truth is not truth? You’ve lost your relationship compass.
6.    Are you subjected to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional activity you do not want?
7.    He/She says he/she loves you yet restricts you from talking to others.
8.    He/she hides or steals your car or house keys, takes or withholds money, refuses to let you use the telephone, or reads your mail without your permission?

June 18, 2008

The power of Human Sexuality….

by Rod Smith

Sexual behaviors can provide powerful insight into a person’s life. While it is tempting to label people and behavior, it is seldom helpful when solutions to damaging or addictive behaviors are sought. It is helpful to note that:

1. Sexuality, and sexual problems, cannot be divorced from a person’s “whole.” To say “this is just a sexual problem” is a hopeful myth. Such compartmentalizing of a person’s inner-workings reflects misunderstanding of the power of human sexuality.
2. Sexuality is profoundly human, a robust indicator of who we are as humans. It is essential to our core; deeply rooted within our personalities, and expressed in everything we do. All behavior is in some sense sexual.
3. Sexual problems are unique to an individual against the individual’s backdrop of background, history, and experience. It is seldom possible to hear only a little from a person, and then understand a lot. Like all things human, it is more complex than it appears.
4. Perverse, or antisocial sexual activities are more often about the illusion of power afforded the perpetrator than about the sexual act itself.
5. People tend to attract people who are equally functional, or equally confused, or similarly hurt. It is as if covert (hidden) sexual “issues” have magnetic power (to both attract and cause repulsion) between similarly unsettled psyches.

Rod Smith is a family therapist. Contact him at

June 17, 2008

I had an affair with a married man…..

by Rod Smith


Thanks for writing...

Thanks for writing...

“I’ve just ended a 6 year affair with a married man. I lost my husband tragically the year before I met ‘V’. He befriended me and made me feel ‘whole’ again and about 6 months down the line, the affair started. I’m very angry because he lied to me all these years – there were signs of his infidelity towards me but I was so in love with him that I saw past the lies. In the beginning we had such fun, had so much to talk about, the sex was unbelievable and after a while, we became soul-mates.

“The world couldn’t have been a better place. I was so in love with him and seemingly he was with me. He told me he never slept with his wife, that she was not ‘interested’ and in the last year, he told me that they had separated when he bought her a home at the coast. This was a good sign, I thought, and he would be on his way to divorce his wife finally.

“My pain and hurt of being betrayed and used all these years. I’m very angry with him because when it came to the crunch, when I kept on confronting him about the divorce, he kept on telling me he was on the verge of doing it. I finally ended it last week – I’m devastated but I know I did the right thing. All those years of waiting for a text message or a phone call or a visit from him – all those Saturday nights, Christmases and special holidays sitting at home tormenting myself because he was at home with his wife and family. He was a good liar – convinced me of so many things, made promises every day, told me he loved me every day of the 6 years I was in the relationship with him.

“I phoned his wife eventually and told her – she was shocked to hear that her hubby would even be capable of having an affair and then I realised that all he had told me was in fact a huge lie. If I could give anyone any advice, is stay away from married men – it only leads to huge pain for everyone involved. Whilst you are in the middle of the affair, it’s seems too good to be true, and that’s because it is! I’m very sad about the loss of a love that I had – I was in love with someone who turned out to be a charlatan, a deceitful, compulsive liar. I’m going to get back on my feet and start to live my life, stop wasting my precious hours and days crying over a man who has hurt me so much.”

June 16, 2008

I am not sleeping or eating….

by Rod Smith

“In January my husband changed. I thought it was work stress. I noticed a text saved but not sent, ‘by the way you looked good today.’ I was crying all the time and could not let things go. He was away over Easter with work. I noticed on his bank statement a small amount of money being taken out. He confessed she (a colleague) had stayed in the same hotel for 4 days as the trains in London we unreliable. I can’t sleep. I don’t trust him. I ask him to leave then I back track. He is getting angry that he made a mistake by not telling me she was staying over to protect me. He admitted they had ‘business lunches.’ I picked him up from the airport and I could smell perfume. It turns out they had hugged. It has been weeks now and still I am not sleeping, eating and am always looking and digging. I not know what direction to turn.” (Edited)

You have to get yourself in better shape to handle this. His actions have put you out of action since January. Rise up! Gather your internal resources. Stop searching, smelling, and playing detective. However this ends (or is reborn) it will go nowhere while his behavior so cripples you!

June 12, 2008

In response to “just friends”…

by Rod Smith

“I am married and have a situation at work. A colleague, who works directly for me, is friendly with me and she keeps saying that does not want to be intimate but shows me many signs like allowing me to see the color of her underwear. She says she needs a hug and frequently and lets me put my hands in her pants in the back only. She is also married. Please help.”

As you are in a supervisory position, you carry the greater responsibility. If this ridiculously immature and hurtful behavior is exposed, she will likely cry victim. You, as the one higher up the company hierarchy, will be held responsible, even if it is behavior initiated by the woman.

Work aside, you stand to lose all you have with your wife and your children in exchange for something so shallow and meaningless.

June 12, 2008

A reader writes, having heard the dreaded words…

by Rod Smith

“My husband of 28 years retired in 2003. After a trip to help my parents I got back to a vacant eyed alien who wouldn’t let me sleep in my own bed. ‘I love you but I am not in love with you,’ he said. We attended ‘his’ mediation sessions because he didn’t like ‘my’ counselors. He set me up masterfully. Making me think he was working on the relationship while seeing lawyers. Asking me on dates while arranging with his ‘friend’ to move in. Telling me he would always take care of me when he could care less about my health. I gave up my career to follow him around the world. We had 15 moves in 25 years. My son attended 8 different schools. I am used up. I have back problems and bad knees because of course he was never around when it was time to move. I’m 55, too old to sing and dance and he throws me away. He’s a big-shot pundit on TV now but he is just like every other unimaginative man when it comes to dumping his wife. ‘I love you, I’m just not in love with you anymore.’” (Edited to 200 words)