May 31, 2009
People who love each other
Take up your life....
fight with three goals in mind:
1. To be able to love each other more.
2. To be able to better understand each other.
3. To be able to resolve conflicts or accept conflicts that cannot be resolved.
Here are eight guidelines to foster healthy conflict:
a. Stay with the presenting issue – under stress people tend to go off on hurtful, unrelated tangents.
b. Don’t recruit the “Big Guns” like your in-laws, your parents, The Bible, or God to back up your point of view. (“My dad says…”)
c. Avoid sentiments like “now I understand why your ex left you” or “now I know why your children don’t like you.”
d. Resist retrieving past issues to embolden your position.
e. Don’t sneer, sigh, or roll your eyes, or give the “I’ve-heard-this-all-before” look.
f. Don’t call upon anonymous sources like “they” saw you or “someone” told me.
g. Listen more than you talk – this will help you remain engaged and validate your commitment.
h. Don’t compromise your voice – your relationship needs you to be more who you, not less who you are.
The military fight to kill and destroy. Lovers and family members fight to increase love and understanding.
May 30, 2009
“I am at a complete loss to understand people’s motivation for intentionally hurting others. I had been dating a most gentle, kind, generous, considerate, available, loving person for 4 years. We did have a few off-days but those were few and far between. Then out of the blue he declared he did not see me in his future. No signs, no warning but sudden withdrawal and the dreaded words. In an attempt to find an answer since none was offered I went through his phone memory and was devastated to find out that he was ‘playing’ about 20 other woman this past year. Some in long standing distance relationships, others in role playing, and others on an ‘as and when needed’ basis, ‘meet and greet,’ and travel partners. The break-up is recent. I haven’t spoken to him since his announcement. Prior to my discovery I told him respected his decision. What motivates this type of behavior?”
These indulgent patterns probably did not occur overnight.
Take up your life....
I’d suggest the perpetrator, while aware of the deceit, probably felt he could handle the accumulation of multiple facades and keep his various worlds apart. The “dreaded words” come when the entanglements escalate and something has to crash!
May 27, 2009
Your “platonic” or non-sexual relationship
Mercury / Friday
is an emotional affair if:
1. You cannot be open with everyone all the time about the relationship.
2. You cannot welcome your spouse into every encounter.
3. You give this person more attention than you give your spouse.
4. You hide what you spend (money, time, energy) on this person.
5. You know his or her schedule in your head.
6. Time together is like filling up at an emotional gas station.
7. You become nervous (frustrated, unsettled, suspicious) when contact is unexpectedly lost and you do not know the reason.
8. You are more interested (preoccupied) in his or her life than you are in your own.
9. You know more about each other day-to-day than your respective spouses know.
10. You have “emergency” cell phone numbers only for each other.
11. You have a code or language between you that no one else understands.
12. You feel completely alive when you are together but totally lifeless, worthless, aimless, when you are out of “sync” with each other.
13. Thinking of losing this relationship feels like you’d be losing your life.
14. You have to delete Emails and text messages in case someone finds them.
15. You regret (perhaps only momentarily) important parts of your life (like being married or even having children) because these aspects seem “in the way” of this friendship.
May 27, 2009
“I am in a relationship with a man who has two children. His younger daughter is making my life hell. She lies to her mother about how I treat her and refuses to speak to me. She is hostile and rude and I am often too uncomfortable to attend family events. She has recently started to not visit her father. I have tried time and time again to get her to like me but nothing has worked. I feel like it is going to come down to her or me. He says he will not allow her to drive me away. How can I stay knowing that she will stop seeing her father if I am around?”
Spend no time or effort trying to get her to like you. Don’t bargain, appease, or allow her to determine your whereabouts. “De-triangle” by openly addressing her accusations. I’d suggest a face-to-face meeting with the mother and child (without dad) would be a good idea. This sabotage must be resisted or she will become a bitter, life-long manipulator. Refusing to visit her father is a ploy. Don’t fall for it. It is dad, not you, who is in the hot seat. I hope he is careful not to give the child more power then she can handle.
May 26, 2009
“I am dealing with a controlling man. He is four years younger than me and has yet to figure out his job situation. He is still confused about what he really wants to do in life. I’m assuming his controlling ways have roots in these circumstances. I believe his dad is controlling. If a controlling guy eventually reaches a point in his life where he is professionally successful and feels more in control of his life, will he ever ease up on woman? When I put my foot down he changes his positions slightly so part of me thinks that he may be open to change.”
Love and control cannot exist in the same relationship.
I am trying to hear you...
While it will be very hard work, if this relationship is to survive, you must stay out of all control all the time
. It is never a sign of love or commitment and it is not good for either of you.
Always resist it and always point it out. Regard it – the behavior and not the man – as a dangerous virus. This means it has no brakes, and it has no boundaries and therefore it will not self-regulate!
Controlling men and women do so no matter what the circumstances – it is just a matter of degrees. I’d suggest “changes his positions slightly” is a move to keep you, not a symptom of growth. If you feed the virus, or ignore the virus, or give it a momentary bow, it will grow. In fact, it will grow anyway despite your behavior – this is the reason it must always be resisted.
Be careful of becoming so aware of his controlling behavior that you get the virus! But that is material for another column.
May 25, 2009
This is a cop-out term
I am trying to hear you...
(euphemism) to make a romantic attachment appear acceptable because there is allegedly no sexual activity. One or both persons in the so-called emotional affair is married or committed to someone else.
Here are behaviors common in an emotional affair portrayed through what one or the other person will typically say:
“I have finally found a friend without the complications of being sexually involved. It is so pure and you wouldn’t believe how good the friendship is for me.”
“He/she makes me into a better wife/husband and mother/father.”
“How can you be upset? You always wanted me to have close friends? What’s the difference if she is a woman when there’s nothing physical about it?”
“It is easier to talk since there’s no physical thing going on as there is with you and me.”
“He/she doesn’t judge me or expect anything from me. It’s like being with a therapist who is actually not charging anything.”
“Of course we talk and text a lot. That’s what friends do.”
“I don’t lie to you. It’s just that you wouldn’t understand how close we are and how much my relationship with her/him is really helping my relationship with you.”
May 25, 2009
Mercury / Tuesday
Personal growth is not only the product of an act of will, or a series of determined acts to move ones life in a particular direction. It is also the result of getting ones relationships aligned. Here is a brief and incomplete list of the manifestations of emotional health. When you see these ten pointers surfacing in your life you will know you are becoming very well:
1. You are generous – you give, not out of guilt or pity, but from the joy of being able to give.
2. You are open to change, challenge, and diversity.
3. You allow others, even immediate family, to be different from what is generally expected without making judgments.
4. You are committed to personal values and you set clear personal goals.
5. You forgive and forget when it is wise to do so, and you forgive and remember when it is necessary.
6. You have several committed relationships besides your primary family relationships.
7. You honor and respect the elderly and you enjoy the young.
8. You do not take sides when friends disagree.
9. You do not chase others for anything.
10. You avoid rescuing behaviors.
May 24, 2009
“My husband (48) came in told me ‘I want to separate. I want sex with other women, to be free, be myself.’ I was devastated. We have been married for 20 years. He left and bought a house across the street. He met up with at woman (22) and says now he is ‘so in love.’ He’s taking her on our trips. I am devastated. She is fat. I was fat but he wanted me to change. She is literally the same size as me and after years of emotional abuse about my being fat and then says, ‘See it wasn’t ever about your weight. See how big she is.’ Talk about a slap in the face. She has already cheated on him. He would have killed me if I had done that. I am confused. I did everything for him and he leaves me for someone half my age. He is madly in love and wants to get married and start a family. We have two children together. I don’t even recognize him anymore.” (Edited)
Try and focus upon what you and your children need
I am trying to hear you...
to bring meaningful futures out of this apparently narcissistic chaos. Would you believe me if I said you have no future worth having with him? I doubt you will believe me. It appears you are yet too caught up in him.
While you are so focused on his comings and goings, noticing what he is doing or not doing, you will be unable to find enough space for you to see that you have to begin to build an existence where he is not the center-piece. While his tasteless move to a house across the street doesn’t make this any easier for you, such emotional distance and space is essential. I’d suggest (although it is not stated) that his move into a home so near to you may well have been part of his continued attempt to keep some kind of an eye on you. This is not out side the realm of possibilities when it comes to persons who are so amazingly unaware or uncaring about the impact their moves and actions have on others. While they often appear indifferent to how their lives impact others, they remain steadfast in their belief that important others need to remain somewhat within their control.
May 22, 2009
“I am getting married in a few months for the second time. I have two sons (8 and 10) and she has a daughter. My children do not live with us but she has her daughter who pays irregular visits to the child’s father. I want her ex to be more consistent or to not be in the picture at all. We sit around waiting for him to decide what he wants to do before we can make any plans. My fiancé cannot seem to see how selfish this is. Please help.”
The child’s father
You will face much bigger hurdles....
is not “in the picture” for you and nor should he be “out” of the picture simply to make your life easier. Get used to the idea that your soon-to-be wife’s ex-husband is an integral part of his daughter’s life. Until a court of law decides the man is unfit to fill his role as the child’s father I’d suggest you do all you can to make the child’s relationship with her father as uncomplicated as possible.
Yes. Of course you and your fiancé, together, ought to have a conversation with him about how he may assist in making all of your lives less complicated. Be assured your upcoming marriage will confront you with far more complex situations than this one.
May 19, 2009
Being human is complex business.
It’s the petty jealousies, I’ve noticed, are often the heart of the gravest discord. A venture fails, a woman cuts off from her family, a teacher walks out of a school never to return; a business office is plagued with inter-personal struggles. Examine it. Get to the heart of the matter. I bet you it started with someone being overlooked.
Another got the praise. A name was omitted. Thanks went to the “wrong” people. The office with a view – the larger company car, the newest computer, the high-back desk chair – went to a more junior employee. It’s these matters, not graver concerns that are usually at the heart of discontent.
I am sure the White House and other centers of power are similarly contaminated with petty jealousies. The “I’ve-known-the-president-longer-than-you” kind of talk probably occurs as frequently in those hallowed halls as parallel themes surface (or fail to surface) in your boardroom, staff room, or at your breakfast table.
To desire recognition is human. To ruin relationships when it is not forthcoming is a sad commentary on one of the many complexities that come with the package of being human.