Archive for May, 2011

May 18, 2011

I know he’s still attracted to me…..

by Rod Smith

“My partner and I split after 3 years. We have a 17-month-old we adore. He told me he didn’t love me anymore. I have moved out and I am heartbroken. Everyday I dwell on what could have been. I cry all day. I isolate myself. He has let me down with money but he comes to my home to see our son. We have sex, then leaves and that’s that. There isn’t someone else. He says he’s not ready to sleep with another woman. I have tried to do and say as much as I can to make him come home and let me fix our family. I know he is still attracted to me. I wish there was something I could do. It kills me knowing that’s it.”

This must be faced.....

While I want to understand your devastation I have to encourage you to step up and become the mother your child deserves. He or she needs adult, committed parents – and right now you both sound like high-maintenance, wayward teenagers.

I’d suggest you stop all sexual activity with this man despite his attraction to you. More sex never solves or heals a toxic relationship.

Apply your “fix our family” energy to getting child support from the father as you let him go on his merry way.

May 17, 2011

He says it is just a friendship…..

by Rod Smith

“I discovered my husband is involved with another woman. He says it is just a friendship. He speaks to her on the phone at least 4 or 5 times a day and texts her a few times a day including in the evenings before we go to bed. All the calls and texts are done secretly. He promised to stop these but he hasn’t. She says she loves him and doesn’t want to lose him. He says that he loves me and does not want to hurt me or break up our marriage. He does not want anything to change but has said he would be happier if things were more open. He refuses to stop the relationship or even cut down on the contact.”

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Take UP your life as an act of LOVE

If this is “just a friendship” it would require no secrecy and you could be part of every encounter at every level.

Your husband is making powerful choices that are apparently dismissive of your long-term place in his life. It is time for you to make your own set of choices about whether you are willing to share your husband or not.

Gather your community or trusted friends, let them in at every level, and then act on your own behalf – whatever you determine that to be.

May 15, 2011

A word to daughters……

by Rod Smith

Four things to chat about over tea

Parents please teach your daughters:

1. You never have to shrink, soft-pedal, or sell yourself short, in order to secure a loving, lasting relationship. Any potential partner that is threatened by the power of your personality or the breadth of your talent is not worth your time or investment. Move on.

2. You do not have to give up your dreams, talents, desires, and skills in exchange for a loving relationship. The potential partner who is man enough to love you will amplify your dreams, talents, and skills. He will do nothing at all to try and silence you. This is to be especially noted in religious circles – flee communities that silence women.

3. You do not have to hide your imperfections or pretend they do not exist. The person who is man enough to respect and love you will not expect you to be perfect and will seldom notice your shortcomings. A loving man will regard your imperfections as assets.

4. You will benefit from having Zero Tolerance for people with less than perfect manners. If a potential partner swears at people, if he’s short-tempered, if he’s unkind to strangers – move on. There are myriads of men who are pure-mouthed, patient, and kind. Why would you spend a minute longer with one who is not?

May 15, 2011

Therapy (counseling, family therapy, individual therapy) works best when…..

by Rod Smith

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Take UP your life - it is an act of LOVE

1. It is self-initiated and no one is “sending” you to therapy.

2. You are motivated to see change in your life and understand that it could mean an increase in your discomfort and some disruption to your relationships.

3. You are willing to recognize your sacred cows even if you are initially unwilling to lead them to the slaughterhouse.

4. You read widely about ordinary people who have done extraordinary things with their lives.

5. You are willing to see the fruitlessness of blaming others (parents, boss, your ex, the economy, and politicians) for what you are facing.

6. You are willing to shift your focus off the behavior of others and be fully responsible for your own behavior.

7. You are willing to understand that others can only entangle (trap, manipulate, bother) you to the degree you allow.

8. You understand your therapist is a person just like you – but for his or her training. Elevating your therapist will prove to be unhelpful to you and it will obstruct the very process you wish to assist you.

9. You understand that all desired and healthy growth requires some loss, pain, and grief.

10. Your goal is to grow up and to fully live your own life – no matter what your age.

May 12, 2011

Workplace emotional climate – helping it improve

by Rod Smith

Attraction is only enduringly poss

I'd love to speak at you Leadership Event

The Emotional Climate of anywhere people work, play, serve, or worship will be enhanced when….

1. Room (space, freedom) is offered for the expression of creativity.
2. Use of good humor (good humor has no victims) is encouraged and enjoyed.
3. Individuals remain focused upon their unique, specific roles without bleeding, leaking into the roles of others by over or under functioning.
4. People refuse to initiate or ferry gossip, participate in unhelpful innuendo, or promote any form of interpersonal sabotage be it subtle or gross.
5. Problems, or perceived problems, are addressed first at the apparent source, then with those who are empowered to act to alleviate or solve the problem.
6. Self-definition at all levels is encouraged. In other words everyone is encouraged to Show up, Stand up, Speak up for him or herself.
7. Rocking the boat is welcomed (by the leaders) when the boat needs rocking.
8. Leadership and leadership styles are open to legitimate assessment and challenge.
9. Dialogue, negotiation is authentic. It is not offered so people can “feel” as if they have a say or to promote so-called “buy in.” Dialogue, negotiation are either legitimate (can influence an organization) or they are a manipulative sham.
10. The leaders are unafraid to reprimand, to fire, and to cleanse the group of toxic elements in the organization – despite the tenacity of toxic personnel to invade, diminish and destroy the functioning of others. This is most difficult in volunteer organizations such as churches, clubs, and not-for-profits but it is no less necessary.

May 11, 2011

I want to build something that is all mine……

by Rod Smith

“Do you think that I am negating my duties if, after 6 years of being at home bringing up a child, I have begun to establish a career? Is it wrong to want to build something that is all mine? My husband is jumpy at the idea. He is a very successful businessman. I need to have something for me.”

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Go for it.....

I’d suggest you go for it. Do not allow a “jumpy” husband stand in your way. Do what you can to placate his fears and gain his support, but do not allow his hesitancy to stifle your desire to create an endeavor that captures your imagination.

I believe the fine art of parenting is enhanced when both parents are high achievers. It is enhanced when both parents demonstrate that individual success is possible without the success compromising his or her time with a child.

Getting your hands into something exciting, trying, demanding, and therefore also rewarding, will boost your abilities as an all-round human and add vitality to you as a wife and a mother.

If you wish to see a fine example of empowered and successful women – contact http://www.momsmatter.co.za – and you will see something great and meaningful taking place – right on your doorstep.

May 10, 2011

Denial zingers

by Rod Smith

Denial comes in many forms. Here are a few zingers I have heard or read in the past few weeks….

1. “If we get married she will feel more secure.”
2. “Children will hold us together.”
3. “Nothing like a new baby to help you fall in love with each other.”
4. “We are building a new house as a fresh start in our troubled marriage.”
5. “She wants me to have no contact with my family because she believes they won’t like her.”
6. “His drinking is stress related and once this is over I am sure he’ll stop.”
7. “He says is if I love him I won’t want to work outside the house.”
8. “She gets so jealous she can hardly see but it is a sign of her love.”
9. “Age is just a number. He’s half my age but twice as mature. We are a perfect match.”
10. “Her kids are no problem now, why should they be when we get married?”

May 9, 2011

He ignores Mothers Day

by Rod Smith

“My husband routinely ignores Mothers Day. I make a big deal out of Fathers Day and you’d think he would reciprocate. He does not. This has been going on for 21 years and my sons are following in his footsteps. I am tempted to ignore Fathers Day this year just to see if he notices.”

Are you a believer or not?

Show up, stand up, speak up....

Playing guessing games and playing hide and seek is for children – it is not for adults.

If you want attention shown to you at Mothers Day let your husband and your sons know.

Tell them ahead of time so that you are not left waiting to see what he or your sons will do for you.

If you have let this go on for 21 years I have to wonder what else you have left up to chance.

If you want your relationships to grow then lose the temptation to stand back and watch how others respond to you.

Show up. Stand up. Speak up. Leave as little to guesswork as possible. This done, at least you will have made your expectations clear and others can choose to deliver on your wishes or not.

May 8, 2011

I feel guilty but he won’t let me go…..

by Rod Smith

“I’m in love with a man out of my caste. If my family finds out I will be disowned. He loves me and I do the same. His family doesn’t want him to be with me either. He’s going through a separation with his wife. They have twin girls who are 2 and boy who is 8. His wife still loves him tremendously but he has no love for her and has clearly told her. I feel so guilty that I’m the cause of everything but he won’t let me go. He says I’m the reason for his living and that his marriage was long over before I came into the picture. We are planning on marriage. I have a 5 year-old son who will have to leave along with my entire family. My fear is if I’m making a right future path for my self and my boyfriend. I desperately need advice.”

Attraction is only enduringly poss

This is a disaster waiting to happen

Run a mile. A man who can abandon a wife and three children will do the same, and worse, to you and your son. This “relationship” could only work if you immediately sever all ties while he gets divorced, pays child support, and is a cordial ex-husband for 5 years at least – before he BEGINS a caring, mutual relationship with you.

May 6, 2011

An army of unseen mothers at Mothers Day

by Rod Smith

Mothers who have chosen adoption for their babies are often ignored on Mothers Day.

How their hearts must ache.

This weekend an unseen army of brave women will quietly witness families rightfully celebrating Mothers Day – and find no place at the tables with the children whom they generously offered to families eager to rear their babies.

I admit, my awareness of birth mothers is acute.

These women, women who are often shamed, labeled as irresponsible, hard, or uncaring, have radically shifted my life. Each of my boys’ mothers fought untold difficulties while carrying her child to full term, in full knowledge that other options existed.

Despite abandonment, derision from family members, financial difficulties, and who knows what other social pressures, each delivered a beautiful baby and made the hard choice to forever enrich my life by allowing me, a single man, to adopt her infant son.

I know you are not forgotten – not on Mothers Day weekend or any other day.

You are so deeply etched into their individual psyches and into our family experience that you are regularly part of our awareness and conversation.

So deep is their desire for you, so deep is the urge for a mother that my boys call me “mom” sometimes.

I have never stopped them.

I let it go because I think I know what it’s about. It’s a primal urge. It expresses a heartfelt longing.

To stop them, when each was first learning to talk, seemed unwise, as if I were stopping something deep, powerful within each.

I knew each boy was boy looking for the mother he had never known.

Of course it has gotten us a few strange glances at times. A five-year-old yelling, “Mom, zip me up,” at the urinal in an international airport can turn heads when it’s (of course) the men’s room. When my older boy, now 13, expresses his frustration while standing at his locker at school over something we’ve both mislaid, his loud, “But Mom, it must be here,” addressed at me can get some quizzical stares from his peers.

“Mama” or “mom” and even “mother” seemed to come as easily as rolling over, as cooing, as first steps, and as all those things that come with early development – and so I let it go.

It seemed as if “mother” and all forms of Her names were buried within to emerge and be attached to the nearest, warmest person no matter what his or her gender.

Yes, the woman waiting your table at your Mothers Day lunch, the teacher whom your child adores, the woman co-worker who goes silent for no identifiable reason or who appears to be sometimes lost in another world when the conversation turns to babies or showers or Mother’s Day, just may be a member of that unseen army of birth-mothers.

She may be one of the gracious, brave women who have made Mother’s Day complete for countless women around the world and given a man like me the unique pleasure of sometimes being called “mom.”