Archive for ‘Affairs’

July 24, 2017

Respect the blood

by Rod Smith

When relating to a family – be it to one or many members of a family – ignoring or discounting blood-ties or invisible loyalties is done at peril, even if it is at the family’s invitation and if the family is experiencing considerable turmoil.

If a relationship is professional (helper, counselor, coach, teacher, head of school, pastor, or health-care worker), or if it involves befriending or dating a member of a family, blood is and almost always will be thicker that non-blood, and any insertion by an outsider into the family that violates the invisible loyalties (even when invited) will not occur without retaliation.

Ignoring, discounting, or dismissing invisible loyalties is the emotional equivalent of swinging from live power-lines.

While invisible loyalties often defy logic and can be thoroughly irrational, while they can appear to switch without notice and can be denied even while their enforcement may be glaringly obvious to an outsider, messing with blood loyalties will be rewarded in ways the intruder will regret.

The wise “outsider” – a paid professional, an educator, or a person who is invited into the family as an intimate, the wise outsider respects the blood, the pre-existing bonds, even if they appear to be unhelpful or destructive binds.

[This phenomenon is tough to identify but it explains something of how and why some people really never become “part of the family”, why step-parenting is so very difficult for many families, and why family business is so hard to do well.]

April 22, 2017

Monday meditation / Nine simple truths

by Rod Smith

Nine simple truths –

May they be your first thoughts every morning and may they infiltrate your every move and every relationship:

I am….

  • To be respected and treasured and able to respect and treasure all other people.
  • Capable of expressing my opinions and will do so with growing and greater confidence.
  • Uniquely gifted and my gifts are useful to my immediate and broader community.
  • As unique as the proverbial snowflake and yet part of the human family, tainted with its vulnerabilities, failures, and frailties.
  • Capable of forgiving the worst of offenses I have endured, and capable of seeking forgiveness for the worst offenses I have committed.
  • Able to encourage the discouraged and offer hope to the hopeless.
  • Unafraid of the talents of others and able and willing to help others find their greatness.
  • Capable of becoming the most generous person I know.
  • My own best friend so that I may be a friend to others.
April 17, 2017

No matter how highly functional or not, here are some family challenges worthy of pursuit:

by Rod Smith

Talk about what you would like to do more as a family and what would we prefer to do less as a family. The list may include monumental challenges that take years to address. The list may include things that can be changed in an instant.

Talk about what you would each like to do more, and less, as individuals in the family. As above, some may be really easy and some may take seemingly forever.

Plan something meaningful and unusual (“off the charts”) that the family agrees to work toward. This may be a trip, a building project, or entering as a family into a race.

Discuss (according to age, ability, and appropriateness) topics that are usually taboo like death, sex, finances, and family secrets. Discuss why they are taboo in the first place. When and why and how did the secret become a secret. Who decides what is and what is not a secret?

Consult a professional who is able to construct a Genogram with your family. Request that it span three generations. This will (potentially) alert family members to troublesome trends and urges that pre-exist within the family system and therefore (potentially) equip members to face them if and when they emerge again. Nothing in families is new!

March 8, 2017

Next time you fall in love

by Rod Smith

1. His or her solvency (credit score) is more important than if he sends you flowers or she showers you with gifts and compliments.
2. The state of his or her relationship with his or her parents is more important than how he or she dresses or what he or she drives.
3. How he or she treats and respects a former spouse (and children) will tell you exactly how he or she will one day treat you.
4. How he or she handles truth and matters of integrity are unlikely to change. If he or she is lying around you he or she will also lie to you.
5. How he or she behaves in heavy traffic, in a restaurant with poor service, how he or she handles credit, alcohol, and illegal substances, are windows that give glimpses into the “real” person.

October 16, 2016

More about rebound relationships

by Rod Smith

“I read about rebound relationships – please explain.”

The term is used to describe a relationship that is in reaction to a breakup or a loss where one or both parties enters a relationship before finding “closure” on the immediate-past relationship:

  • Falling in love (or into a relationship) to fill a vacuum rather than because of who the new person is.
  • Falling in love (or into a relationship) because the grieving or abandoned person has apparently nowhere else to go.
  • Falling in love (or into a relationship) out of anger, revenge, or to prove a point, in the wake of a troubled breakup.
  • Falling in love (or into a relationship) out of a sense of novelty rather than because of who the new person is.
  • Experimenting with someone and dating as a sense of loss dissipates without being honest about intentions.
  • Entering a relationship because being alone is too frightening or shameful to contemplate.
  • Falling into a new relationship thoughtlessly and therefore showing little or no respect oneself or for the new person.
  • Entering a new relationship when the past relationship has not fully ended.
September 16, 2012

Why do men do this?

by Rod Smith

“I am recently divorced and had a relationship with an athlete for 4 months. He was very keen in the beginning. I had to put on the brakes as I don’t rush into matters. He was just three weeks out of a relationship himself and I could not understand why he was in such a hurry! He lives about 45 minutes away but would never visit me. I had to go to his place. Then he mistreated me, and said I had a bad attitude and was far too sensitive! Before this he called less frequently and the invitations were less frequent. I discovered he was seeing someone else. Why do men do this? I really feel used and abused!”

Four things:

  1. Not all men do this. While you are willing to spend another minute with one who has already mistreated you, you will keep meeting such men.
  2. The first red flags waved when he expected you to do all the driving. If it is not mutual, respectful, and equal it is not worth having.
  3. Forget trying to understand him. It is no longer your business. Try to understand healthy men – study strength, not pathology.
  4. Forgive yourself. You blew it. Learn and move on.
July 13, 2012

Love AND Control

by Rod Smith

Love and control cannot co-exist in the same relationship anymore than light and dark can exist together in the same space at the same time.

July 12, 2012

Draw the line…..

by Rod Smith

There is no good reason ever why any person ought tolerate poor treatment from another.

You teach people how to treat you.

I know you may feel trapped and without an escape route or a friend in the world, but you must get help if this post is reaching deeply into you.

June 7, 2012

He’s rubbing your nose in his lies…..

by Rod Smith

“My husband had an emotional and physical affair with a woman with whom he still maintains contact. He assures me that it ended years ago and has no feelings for her. I still suffer the post-traumatic effects every time I see that she has called or texted him. I have told him how disrespectful it is that he has not cut complete ties with her; how counterproductive it is to have this third party in his life while we are still trying to heal from the pain and betrayal yet remain a couple, parent our children and rebuild our lives. I am frustrated that he values that ‘professional connection’ more than he values our marriage and family. I know I cannot control his actions or change his thinking. How can I find a way to cope with this feeling of utter disrespect and lack of compassion?”

He’s lied to you before and during the affair. He’s rubbing your nose in his lies every time he relates to the other woman, whether “it” is over or not. It might be “over” for them but it is not for you. Show up whenever and wherever you know they are together. Insist on being with him. Become impossible. Call her. Text her. Become “out of control.”

June 6, 2012

My husband left me for my best friend

by Rod Smith

“My husband left me for my best friend. This not only devastated me but caused my children (and her husband and children) a lot of confusion. I don’t want things back how they were but I do want some peace of mind. Her husband has gone off the rails with anger and I have bordered on depression. How am I supposed to forgive two people who have been so close to me and who have done this bitter thing to people, including children, whom they profess to love?”

My response will focus on you and the double blow you have received.

You have lost two best friends and you have lost them to each other. They have together all of what you once enjoyed and you have none of it.

I do not write this to rub salt into the wound or to tell you what you do not already know – I write it so you may see that your loss is real and at least partially understood.

Your anger and depression is justified. Grieve, wail. Express it in any helpful way over the coming years.

At the same time (in sane, healthy moments) begin to rebuild your life.

It is possible to do both: grieve, build, grieve, and build – just not at the same moments.