Archive for June, 2010

June 30, 2010

If you lead anything at all – take note……

by Rod Smith

Get involved in planning the future YOU want....1. Get your focus off those whom you lead and onto your own increased level of functioning. Your own level of functioning must become your primary focus. While you constantly monitor or micro-manage others, your anxieties and not your vision, will drive and shape your organization.
2. Articulate the vision of your organization as frequently, clearly, succinctly, and efficiently as possible. Perhaps the most essential part of what you do remains the repeated articulation of your vision.
3. Resist your inner urge or the outside pressure to grow in empathy or understanding, patience, or tolerance at the expense of presenting your people and organization with necessary challenges. Those who consistently call for more understanding, empathy, and more tolerance are usually trying to shift the focus off their own refusal to be responsible for themselves. It is the “kind people” (those who call for more understanding and empathy) who will do your organization more harm than those who willingly face and meet the challenges that come with every group of people who come together for a common purpose.
4. Leaders who really make a significant difference, bring the most helpful change to their organizations, seldom do so without significant resistance – usually from the most unexpected sources.

June 28, 2010

Heart attack anniversary is almost here…

by Rod Smith

Thirteen years, thanks be to God....

The decision to fully live can arise out of a serious illness, a dramatic event, a close encounter with ones mortality. While it was not readily observable to me then, it has become clear to me in retrospect. In 1997 (July 1st) I had a massive heart attack followed by stent surgery. I actually died briefly during the surgery and, after what I can only recall as time when I felt enveloped in love and warmth and beauty, I came round with the thumping of the surgeon on my chest and all the drama of revival.

Over the years, perhaps as a result of my strong opinions, many men and women have asked me how it is that I am apparently unfazed by the opinions of others. Well, at 55, having suffered one very dramatic and close call with death I can say this: I care a whole lot about what my family and my children think of me, but I do give very little care to what the world at large thinks. I decided a long time ago that that was really none of my business.

Of course I want to be liked, enjoyed, embraced, accepted, but I am unlikely to shift my thinking and my views based on the need or the desire to be popular. Being loved by my children is very important to me. Being embraced by friends and readers is a bonus, but changing who I am for the simple desire to be liked is indeed a wild goose chase.

June 28, 2010

Deciding to live fully or to fully live….

by Rod Smith

Take UP your life....

Deciding to fully live, even if having to decide anything seems overwhelming, must come if you want emotional and psychological wellness. This means, among other things, seizing opportunities. It means living with an attitude of forgiveness. It’s deciding that the worst that has ever occurred to us is only given greater or less power by the response we choose to have to whatever has been our awful fate. Living fully exorcises passivity. It gets you into the game of your own life. It’s deciding to decide how things will turn out for you rather than leaving matters to fate or to the whims of others.

I am constantly aware of the readers who are experts in the behavior of a controlling spouse – and yet, who have become so pre-occupied with the behaviour of the spouse that he or she fails to see how his or her own behavior (often passive behaviour) allows the pathological-other so much power, rendering the reader a victim, a victim who is apparently willing to yield his or her future to an incompetent other.

I say it is time to engage, it is time to call the shots in your own life, it is time to fully live, to be fully responsible for yourself rather than place your life into the hands of one who can barely care for him or herself, let alone also care for you.

June 23, 2010

He’s too interested in her…..

by Rod Smith

The past three weeks my wife has become overly friendly with a family down the street who have reached out to her. My wife is a woman who has to be busy helping others. Anyway, I am a little afraid of the way the man treats her. He seems very interested in her and she “shines” when he talks to her. Do you think I should put a stop to this?

It seems you are interested in playing a very heavy hand when greater investment and involvement from you would be more in order. Reaching out as neighbors, finding each other as helpers is not the issue (most places could do with more of this). Become part of the circle before you consider it with suspicion.

June 21, 2010

Child-focused family….. are you living in one?

by Rod Smith

1. The needs, wants, whims of the children are routinely placed ahead of those of the adults.
2. Every adult conversation ultimately ends up being about the children and the conversations often become conflicted.
3. The whereabouts of the children determines what the adults may and may not talk about. Conversations content is monitored by what the children may or may not overhear.
4. The whereabouts of the children determines the activities of the adults – well-established adult plans be altered in a flash depending upon what does or does not occur with the children.
5. One parent feels as if the home, adult careers, adult choices of how to spend free time are choreographed around the expanding demands of self-obsessed or entitled children.
6. At least some close friends have become distant or have moved their friendship to the periphery of your life because you appeared to have become consumed by your children and the needs of your children.
7. You cannot remember very much about your life before you had children.

June 17, 2010

Adult son demands money

by Rod Smith

“My son (31) insists that his ‘terrible childhood’ has resulted in his many failures. His father and I have bailed him out several times with large amounts of money which he never talks of repaying, and, to cap it all, he says it is nothing compared to what we ‘owe’ him for the trauma of his early years. Granted, we were not perfect parents, but are we expected to put up with this?”

The child (currently residing in a man’s body) will never become a man while he blames others for his condition. While mommy and daddy are waiting in the wings to deliver him from all hardships, mommy and daddy are restricting his growth into a fulfilling adulthood.

I’d suggest you immediately sever all cash flow in your son’s direction no matter how urgent his need or how serious the consequences. I’d suggest you offer no more apologies or guilt money – and that you talk about what he owes you and about how be plans to pay his debts.

June 15, 2010

Free passage…..

by Rod Smith

Every person deserves free passage – to be unhindered in daily life. To be free of bullying of all kinds, free of abusive behaviors, free of controlling behaviors, free of intimidation, manipulation, and domination – to live as victim to none.

If this is not your experience, it is time to muster the courage to do something about it. It is time to speak up.

Begin small: choose a few selected and trusted friends and tell them the truth. Ask them to listen without offering you advice, without attempting to rewrite or to reframe your experience. Essential to finding freedom, to finding your voice, to gaining the self-respect required to escape the destructive web that comes with toxic relationships is the willingness to articulate your experience and name it as accurately as possible.

Once named – the trap is easier to identify and an escape plan is easier to devise. While there is no one-plan-fits-all to rise above unhealthy patterns in relationships, silence is never the answer. Speak up. It’s the first step to freedom.

June 13, 2010

Pro athletes and personal relationships…..

by Rod Smith


Observations regarding professional athletes, especially those whose rise to stardom is rapid:

1. Getting their own way becomes a way of life, which often leads to troubled personal relationships. What works (determination, quick-thinking, force, charisma) on the field is not usually appealing in intimate relationships. The skills, useful to the athlete in action, can cause athletes to use force or passive/aggressive, or aggressive forms of punishment in personal relationships. This, of course, results in pain for those who are intimately associated with the athletes. Perhaps saddest of all, is that those closest to the athlete are seldom positioned to get help for fear of exposing the athlete to “hurtful” publicity.

2. Men (this is World Cup season) who have not necessarily been accustomed to fortunes are prone to mismanage their quickly acquired wealth and goodwill, and are therefore prone to live reckless lives in the heat of their newfound celebrity status.

The “wise” celebrity enjoys the applause without believing it (adoration can turn to crucifixion in a moment – just ask Tiger!), employs a reputable agents and financial advisors, seeks wise and regular personal counsel, pursues authentic humility, and is deliberate about understanding the separation between adoring, faceless crowds, and the true love born of blood and deep commitment.

June 10, 2010

A woman is delighted at acting on her desire to travel….

by Rod Smith

Dear Sir,

Towards the end of 2004/ beginning of 2005 I wrote to ask your opinion and advice on my decision to leave my son with my parents to travel to London from Durban and work there for the duration of last year.

You encouraged me to go, stating that if I did not do so I would regret it and that, as long as I knew my son was in a safe environment, I should not allow my life to stand still for him. You even called me from your home to speak to me in this regard (when we spoke you informed me that you were related to Lynette who worked in my building at the time for Advocate John Pammenter).

I wanted to say a HUGE HUGE THANK YOU for all your encouragement. I did work in London for the duration of last year, recently arrived back, and am intending on returning again towards the end of March. My son was indeed no worse off by my decision, in fact my working there allowed me to pay for him to fly to London to visit me, a fantastic and exciting event for a child of 12! I have realised by my decision that I am no longer afraid to travel, that the world may be a huge place, but that I have many many more options available to me now, that I am not afraid to apply to work in other countries, that I would like to try and live abroad (with my son) and work and enjoy another country and their cultures.

I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for your advice and encouragement in this regard. I am overwhelmed.

I wish you and your family all the best. Take care, and once again many many thanks!

Kind regards,


June 9, 2010

There is something to the perpetrator / victim relationship….

by Rod Smith

“For thirty six years of marriage I endured a wide range of control issues. On looking back I find that there is something to the victim / perpetrator relationships. I don’t think people ask to be abused or controlled by others, but there are personalities that have the traits that (seem to push) the buttons which encourage the roles in which we fill. I think those who have a greater network of family and friends are less likely to get involved in a relationship that reveal early on the red flags for control and abuse, which to me are really the same.” (Lifted from a longer letter)

While, of course, I too would not blame a victim of control and abuse for initiating these destructive behaviors, it does take two to tangle (I did not mean “tango”). Some cooperation is necessary for the behavior to continue and to grow. Your observation is excellent. Living in a strong, healthy community (family, circle of friends) means and offers protection.