Archive for January 3rd, 2021

January 3, 2021

Is this you? How do you cope?

by Rod Smith

Four scenarios – let me know how you thrive in tough circumstances….

It’s one thing to be single and lonely – there’s at least some expectation that if someone is alone he or she might occasionally feel it. But to be married and be lonely must surely come with unimaginable pain. If this is you, please let me know your coping strategies. 

Place “loneliness” in the email heading.

Feeling caught or trapped in the middle of any relationship triangle can grind a person down. If it’s you, your children, and their other parent, or you, your parents and your spouse, or your boss and the other employees, whatever the trap, let me know how you nonetheless cope. 

Please place “feeling trapped” in the heading.

If you are the sober party in a relationship dominated by addictions, let me know how you cope. What specific strategies do you have to keep yourself functioning in a place of stress and pain? 

Please put “living with addictions” in your heading.

Some people always think they love others more than others love them. They initiate everything and end up feeling that if they did not initiate things there’d be no relationship. If this is you, please let me know how you cope. 

Place “initiator” in the heading.


January 3, 2021

Cajoling and remaining neutral

by Rod Smith

Most people know every action will get an equal and opposite reaction 

This knowledge does not seem to stop the parent of an adult son or daughter from trying to “push” and “pull” an adult son or daughter out of a relationship the parent may think is unfit or unhealthy. Pushing, pulling, coercing, will result in resistance. Accepting, embracing the relationship paves the way for open conversations. Coercing closes dialogue. 

Loyalties are invisible, often confusing

The loyalties which connect people will often make “no sense” to outsiders or even insiders. Thus, if anyone “messes” with a pre-existing relationship, even if invited, he or she will pay the price. This is one reason healthy stepparenting is so extraordinarily difficult. The stepparent will always in some ways be an “outsider.” Attempts at “getting between” parent and child, or child and parent, will carry a price tag, even if intervention is invited. As tough as remaining neutral – staying out of the middle –  maybe it is your best call if you are a stepparent, even if you are recruited, begged, to intervene. 

There are always anecdotes to prove me wrong. I get them a lot. 

These are general family systems observations. 

Stepdad’s interventions may work when Johnny is 3, but it is when Johnny is 13, 23, and 33, that “staying out of it” right from the start will pay rich dividends.