Archive for ‘Past relationships’

November 26, 2017

Picking up pieces

by Rod Smith

The Mercury / Tuesday

I’ve seen women and men painstakingly pick up pieces of their lives after a broken marriage.

This is necessary, natural, and understandable. Deep love, when it ends, at least for one party, is scarily disorientating.

Some never recover. A broken heart can really cause a slow (or a quick) death.

Perhaps you are you tripping over evidence of a terminated relationship. Letters, photographs, or books seem to appear from nowhere and evoke fresh pains or salt for the wounds.

A purge may be necessary, but it’s not for all.

The loot may be all you have. It can become a crucial stepping-stone to greater health. Or it can be a debilitating anchor.

I’ve been confused about why some friendships have ended. I examine memories for clues to what, how, and why things went wrong.

There are times this is unnecessary.

My damaging role is painfully clear.

The pain I caused is deep for others and obvious to me. And, my own and deserved pain is utterly near.

What do we do with our pain – deserved or not?

Options are unlimited once confession occurs.

Confession, of course, does not mean mutual forgiveness is inevitable. It’s not.

Options broaden with confession and commitment to learn from the past.

November 16, 2017

Lessons: what is life teaching you?

by Rod Smith

What is the year teaching you? Please, reflect and let me know. Here are a few things I am learning afresh and re-learning:

  • Trust broken is hard to restore. My experience is that forgiveness can restore broken trust but the ability to trust again can take a long time to restore. This is especially so with close friendships and infidelity in marriage.
  • No one is more important than anyone else. To be intimidated by another is a waste of opportunity and energy. Yes, we all have different roles. We are afforded a variety of degrees of power and responsibility that come with our varying roles, but using that power to lord it over another is the surest indication that the power is in the wrong hands.
  • Some individuals are so significantly hurt that the real person has disappeared behind shame, regret, and pretense. The defense has become the identity. The vulnerable person inside died a very long time ago and, sadly, will probably never be known.
  • Ignored conflicts and family issues that are unaddressed will remain and usually grow. The issues may change shape, may go into hiding, may remain latent for decades – but they will surface and get necessary attention.
October 17, 2017

Will you be my friend?

by Rod Smith

I am very aware that people don’t analyze their connections in the manner I’ve described below. We’d have healthier communities and families if we did!

  • Will you search with me when I am searching, stand with me when I am standing, and drop to your knees with me in prayer if and when I need it? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you stand up to me with firmness and kindness when my many blind spots are blocking my thinking? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you join me and examine our connection (as casual acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors, partners, or spouses) so that we remain mutual and equal and respectful no matter the degree or significance of our connection?
  • Will you take time to listen to me? I will try to take time to listen to you?
  • Will you allow me my quirks and eccentricities and try to regard them as interesting rather than regard them as things you wish were different about me?
  • Will you seek my highest good as far as you are able given the knowledge we have about each other? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you try to be as unafraid of me as I try to be unafraid of you?
October 5, 2017

Weekend superhero

by Rod Smith

The world is disturbed by threats of nuclear war. There have been horrific mass shootings, race riots, and re-emergences of violent extremes.

Entire regions of the world have been destroyed by hurricanes and earthquakes. Millions are homeless because of severe weather and millions more live as refugees fleeing oppressive political circumstances.

May we (you and I) deploy our most powerful individual forces. As limited as we each may be, the world needs a few superheroes and we can each in our own way be one:

  • Design and commit specific, routine acts of kindness and generosity. Make them pointed, uniquely tailored for someone in need. If possible, make your target an enemy and make your act anonymous. The “routine” will help us form healing habits. The “enemy” element will transform us into fine-tuned agents of grace

  • Extend your immediate community by embracing the stranger, the sojourner, the person on the fringe. Resist the urge to create him or her into your own image by expecting your guest to conform to your ways or to convert to your ways. Superhero hospitality accepts people exactly as they are.

  • In the spirit of St. Francis, indeed a superhero, may we seek to console and to serve rather than to be consoled and to be served. I know, I know – it wasn’t supposed to be a direct quotation.

July 14, 2012

Indications of becoming healthier in an intimate relationship

by Rod Smith

1. You experience greater OBJECTIVITY and can “see” your most important relationships as if looking at them through someone else’s eyes.
2. Despite any pain, any trauma, any uncertainty, you can see some HUMOUR in what you are experiencing even if it is short lived.
3. You are progressively gathering a small community of friends who know everything (or almost everything) about you and their SUPPORT is becoming easier to trust.
4. You are seeing with greater and greater CLARITY what are and what are not your responsibilities within your most important relationships.
5.”No” comes easier and it is not accompanied by guilt. “Yes” is your response when you really want what you agree to. You begin to BELIEVE the words you say. Your words reflect you, your desires, and are not said from guilt or the impulse to keep the peace or make others happy.

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.

June 28, 2011

My wife had an affair and I am finding it hard to trust her……

by Rod Smith

The following theme comes to my attention at least several times a month: My wife had an affair. I am finding it hard to trust. Please help.

I can't MAKE you trust me

Trusting a spouse has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with you.

Each person determines his or her levels of trust with all other people – spouse included. If you hadn’t noticed, you trust people in different ways all the time.

I am not suggesting a wayward partner be fully trusted. This is exactly the point. Trust according to your levels of ability to trust, given the history and the circumstances you face.

“Prove I can trust you,” is unfair. If you are one given to suspicion nothing anyone can do will meet your standards. It is likely you will find holes given the most innocent of scenarios. This is the very nature of suspicion. It eats into everything, nothing ultimately satisfies.

A couple shipwrecked by an affair can survive. I have seen it many times. But the couple will face many challenges while the offended partner constantly seeks assurance or repeatedly brings up the past or plays the hurt puppy.

It takes two to tangle – affairs occur in a context.

It takes ONE to be unfaithful – don’t blame your partner for your actions.

It takes two to find reconciliation.

Trust can be fully restored, little by little over an extended period of time.

June 22, 2011

Do you live in relationship or “intimacy” hell?

by Rod Smith

Mr. or Ms. Unpredictable

You walk on eggshells.

You fear a massive fallout – yet you also wish for it.

You say something honest – then, almost immediately you wish you hadn’t.

You know that no matter how innocent or insignificant or benign a conflict – it will get magnified out of all proportion.

Innocent statements, even vulnerable reflections on your part, will be misinterpreted, misquoted, and repeated incorrectly and used against you forever.

You feel trapped by what is supposed to be love but have second thoughts (actually a million thoughts!) about how love is supposed to feel.

You are usually wrong and you are told you are stupid.

When you admit fault, or even stupidity, you are at fault and stupid for admitting it.

When you are right you are wrong for saying so or you think you are perfect and trying to show others up.

If you are silent you are avoiding conflict and if you speak out you are “looking for trouble.”

In your intimate whirlpool (more like an emotional tornado) white is black, black is white and the water is very murky.

Innocence is guilt.

Pointing out obvious error is entrapment.

You are exhausted with the load of meeting the emotional needs of someone who cannot, or will not, take responsibility for his or her own needs.

You “share” (it’s better described as emotional wrestling) life with an emotional piranha and yet, for some unfathomable reason, you stay, feeling unable to escape.

June 19, 2011

Take my test, get my feedback……

by Rod Smith

I will assess your committed relationship and give it a grade: A+ through to a B-.

A “C” is for cut and run if it is at all possible.

You will receive a GRADE, my written response (NOTHING AUTOMATED), a list of challenges, and a list of suggestions (again, nothing automated).

All you need:

(1) To be is in a committed relationship that is in some turmoil

(2) Have an hour to spend WRITING about it in response to a set of questions I will send you

(3) Be willing to receive a GRADE with an assessment of strengths / weaknesses.

BE WARNED — the questions lead to much soul searching. You may be anonymous (of course) but you must be willing to write quite a lot in order to get the best out of the experience. I will not use anything you write in any column.

Privacy insured. Send me a message and we’ll take it from there.

There is a cost of $29.95 (USD) for this service. You will have my complete and undivided attention for 1 hour as I read and respond to all you have written. You will be billed via PAYPLAY via your email address.

I am you offering my opinion regarding the sustainability of your primary and committed relationship based on the information you send to me.

I’d suggest you consult with a face-to-face professional before you take any radical action based on the advice or guidance I give you in response to your submission.

I look forward to hearing from you.

June 17, 2011

Take my test, get my feedback……

by Rod Smith

I will assess your committed relationship and give it a grade: A+ through to a B-.

A “C” is for cut and run if it is at all possible.

You will receive a GRADE, my written response (NOTHING AUTOMATED), a list of challenges, and a list of suggestions (again, nothing automated).

All you need:

(1) To be is in a committed relationship that is in some turmoil

(2) Have an hour to spend WRITING about it in response to a set of questions I will send you

(3) Be willing to receive a GRADE with an assessment of strengths / weaknesses.

BE WARNED — the questions lead to much soul searching. You may be anonymous (of course) but you must be willing to write quite a lot in order to get the best out of the experience. I will not use anything you write in any column.

Privacy insured. Send me a message and we’ll take it from there.

There is a cost of $49.95 (USD) for this service. You will have my complete and undivided attention for 1 hour as I read and respond to all you have written. You will be billed via PAYPLAY and via your email address.

I am you offering my opinion regarding the sustainability of your primary and committed relationship based on the information you send to me.

I’d suggest you consult with a face-to-face professional before you take any radical action based on the advice or guidance I give you in response to your submission.

I look forward to hearing from you.