The Smiths 2010

Smiths 2017

The Smiths (2017)

“I just wanted to say how much I get from your site. I’m a therapist in private practice and I also supervise therapists in training for licensure. Your writing has helped me reconnect with my Family System Theory roots. I share your writings with clients and supervisees. It’s also really helped me in my own “self work” – an important part of the process! Keep up the good work.” Anne Ferrell Leggett

“Have I ever told you, you are one of the most incredible people I have ever met? I am so fortunate that you (and your family) have had a part of my son’s life.” Lauren Ryan Cislak

“Anyway we don’t need you to fix things, we need you to fix us! Stick to giving us advice on our loves, hates, bossy husbands and cranky wives. I am an avid fan of yours living in Durban…….so is my 85 year old mother Thora, she is still taking advice from your column on how to live her life. You rock!!!” Elaine De Fonseca, Durban


26 Comments to “Feedback”

  1. My husband and my parents just do not get along. They seem to be fighting about everything and anything. My husband says he’s not at fault and my parents say they are not at fault. But I feel trapped in the middle. How do I deal with both without hurting or betraying the other.

  2. my husband says that he never love me and that hes in love with my doughter . how to handle?

  3. I am looking for my father Kevin Joseph Burden approx 66 years old last known address somewhere in Glenwood Durban South Africa please tell him me and my brother Mark are looking for him

    many thanks

  4. I wish you would also address that men can be abused by their wives as well. I have two brothers who are in very problematic marriages and to see the spirits dimished to nothing is heart-breaking. Their wives manipulate them and their chilren, shower them with guilt, forbid them to see thier families, and feign contant illness, while my brothers slave away their jobs and have to take care of the entire home as well. Please remember that it is not only women who suffer abuse, often they perpetrate it themselves and also direct it at other women.

  5. Dear Josi:

    Thanks for the reminder. Of course you are correct! I have counseled with many woman and only a handful of men who have been victims of the abuses you mention – and thus, I believe, my focus on women.

    It remains true for men and women that, as difficult as it is, all victims have to reach a point of taking a stand, of finding a smidgen of internal strength to begin the process of ending the vicious cycle.

    I certainly do not want to blame your brothers or any victim for being victimized, but a perpetrator is most unlikely to reach any point of insight or change while the abusive behavior is rewarded.

    Thanks for taking the time to write….


  6. The website, perhaps outdated. We talked briefly on the phone the other day and I felt compelled when I got home to check this website out furthur.
    I admire your work I have to admit, I too have had my share of difficulties, trama, abuse, tragedy and heartache. Heartache eems the worse of all ailmaints however I find they seem to be part of the larger picture as well deeply entertwined with past relationships good and bad with several people I have met in my life.
    I have discovered that on this road I have decided to stay, to continue to travel forward despite the obstacles. I figured out I had choices, that my fate had not yet been written. I discovered the role I had played in past decisions and hurt feelings as well as the tragedies. Live has so uch to give, but if I am not participating, I can only blame myself.
    My heart still aches for the one who does not know I am even alive, I wonder at times if he even thinks of me, It has been over for a year now. Is there such a thing as loving too much? I choose no, but wow, thanks for the insight today, and get the kid an Ipod it is easier on the computer!!! And South Africans Rock!!!
    Wendi from the telephone

  7. I know you deal will relationships most of the time but my problem is way out of the line but will like you to help me handle my daughter who will turn 15 this year and she has became a different person, disrespecting ,moody at all times and sometimes Im scared she’ll kill her self because she doesn’t like to be disciplined please help me find the solution to my problem sometimes she thinks that i dnt love while I love her to death.

  8. I have asthma. I was diagnosed last year.. but I also have anxiety issues that have led to depression… My parents took my inhaler away from me because they didn’t think I needed it, but when they took it almost right after a friend snitched on me telling a counselor who told my parents that I had taken the entire inhaler at once; and I did.. I had overheard that doing that could put you in a medical coma…and I was hoping that would be a wake up call to my mom and my dad who have caused a lot of the pains and stresses I have had if not all of them. So now, they have an ACTUAL reason for keeping my inhaler, when it was initially because they just didn’t believe the doctor. I have troubles without it sometimes, I don’t have severe asthma; just exercise induced, but simple things such as skipping down the side walk or rollerblading are difficult and painful. I want to go to my doctor, tell her the whole situation, and get a new inhaler and medication for my anxiety. I found out that it runs strong in my family on both sides to have an anxiety disorder, and I think that’s the source of my depression problems. Thing is…even if I am diagnosed for asthma (AGAIN) and anxiety, my parents will deny it. they deny a lot of things. I figure you don’t know what to do about it…no one would. I just thought I could give it a shot; asking someone for advice that is. I need help with my anxiety…often controls me, makes it hard to function around people, to work on school stuff, to deal with conflict. I don’t know what to do. I feel alone…without a helping hand I guess. thanks for listening,


  9. Hi Rod:

    Praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit working in you and through you! I hope we can stay in touch via emai! If you get a chance, go to

    In Him,

    Bob Hutt

  10. We have been married for 20 years, very seldom argue, have a happy family life (or so I thought) have been on overseas holidays, have 2 boys aged 17 and 13. My husband has a successful business, I work part time from home. My husband doesn’t drink or abuse me and is a good father and provider.
    Well, my husband told me 4 weeks ago that I am the perfect wife, mother, kind and generous BUT he loves me like a sister, feels disconnected from me and doesn’t want to spend the next 20 years feeling unhappy. WHAT!! I feel so gut wrenchingly betrayed. He says he has been unhappy for as long as he can remember. I cannot believe what I am hearing. I thought we were happy. We are the shining example to all our friends of a good marriage.
    Our sex life has never been great as he has never been highly sexed, so it has been the same old same old, I felt as long as we had the foundation, respect and happy family we were fine. I have never stopped him from doing what he wants, so I sit at home while he golfs or is away for business. I feel like a fool. I noticed his irritability over the past 6 months and repeatedly asked what the matter was, I did not get any answers, so I put it down to business stress. We are seeing a phsychologist who has put us both on medication for depression. The medication has helped my emotions in the sense that I dont cry all the time, I have this pit of fear 24/7 that wont go away. I am trying to hide this from my children. We are still together, acting normal but I feel the situation is out of my control as he simply doesn’t love me that way anymore. I know other men admire me, so why doesn’t he.
    After 23 years together I am afraid of being on my own both financially and emotionally, afraid of what this will do to my children. I am trying to get through each day hour by hour. I have thoughts about taking an overdose but I am scared to do this to my children.
    I have pulled out all the stops and having been loving (sex) and caring but it has made no difference. I sense so much tension in him and am now afraid to ask him how he is feeling as when I do I am told the same thing that he is feeling empty and disconnected which just brings me down even further.

  11. hi rod
    congrats on touching a chord with many and finding a way to be accessible to many. i remember sitting in a psych group visiting westridge school durban with you as students. I now am principal at Browns special , pinetown. Who would have dreamed it ? Have enduring friendship with brian alborough who consistently falls off his mountain bike providing a poor role model for the next generation. Relational understanding is a wreck out here – your column is needed and timely. Good to see. DS

  12. Are you familiar with BPD? Any tips for someone married to a textbook case?

    • Rod, I check back here regularly, still hoping for a reply….

      • Dear Anonymous—

        Since your comment was identifiable only though your computer id number it was difficult for me to know which was your initial question. But I did a search and your BPD question was clear for me to see.

        SInce the spectrum of BPD is large it is tough for anyone to offer anything but general guidelines: meds are important and ought to be carefully monitored, the patient usually has quite a good take on his/her own patterns and can often begin to self-monitor, family members ought, in my opinion, to err on the side of challenge rathe than lean toward empathy.

        Write more — I need some more details, as will any reader who wants to chime into the conversation.

  13. Hi Rod,
    My husband and I have been married two years and it has been kinda rocky. Both of us are head strong, but I’m normally the one to give in. I show love a lot more than he does. Two weeks ago he left and said he didn’t know how he felt about me. He loves me but don’t know if he is in love with me. I found out he has been talking to another female for about two months. He said it was just phone conversation and texting, but they do it very often and conversations last atleast 40 minutes to 1 hr at each time. I have left him alone to give him time to think, but I’m ready to atleast know where he is. I feel like in two weeks he should have some idea of which direction he is leaning in. We talked today and the conversation was nice, no arguing. I took the opportunity to ask that question about where he was so far with his feelings. He still responds with he doesn’t know. He admits he hasn’t thought about it much. Wow! Talk about a dagger through my heart! Then he said he was going to start travling in his job and would be out of town about 8 months out of the year and that would not be good for a marriage. Then he says maybe we ought to just throw in the towel. I told him that was not what I wanted but if he did then I would respect what ever his decision was. I am devistated! I love him so much and don’t want a divorce!! Do you think there is any help for my situation? If so, can you give me some advice on what to do next? If not, then tell me what you think about that too. Thanks so much!

  14. Hi Rod,

    I liked your blog really and i think you are a very intelligent and sensitive person. Can you share your ideas on Infidelity Issues… and maybe you can write why women choose to stay with a philandering this a manifestation of weakness or there is some psychological roots behind it…

    thanks and more power..

  15. What are parents of adult children supposed to do. We have found out that our 35 yr old son has been abusing 3 relationships. 1st was a marriage that produced a wonderful daughter. Our Son has now lost his business, ruined his credit, cannot get a decent job and is currently going through his 3rd arrest. We have paid out tons of money. We do not feel we can “throw him away” but how do you make him take responsibility for his own actions?

  16. Hi Rod. I am a 35 yr old south african muslim woman. i am an ardent follower of your inspiring columns. I find your solutions to problems to be family oriented and unselfish. you promote self growth and maturity and your approach is non judgemental. you hate the action not the perpertrator. It is in this spirit that I would humbly recommend that you read a biography of the prophet Mohamed(peace be upon him). He won the follwing of millions of people soley based on his exemplary character. he tamed the most uncouth.. A famous saying of the prophet” the best amongst you(men/women)are those who are best to his spouse and family and I am the best to my family” attests to his fine character. One learns more of his character through the eyes of his wife and close friends-he was an open book. Which leaders can boast such openness at any point in history? I think it would be an asset to your vast knowledge to make his acquaintance!

    thank you for your daily inspiration

  17. Hi, Mr. Smith, this is Jeremy Klotz from St. Richards, I am always so impressed when I see your website. Keep up the good work. I will never get over its ‘awesomeness’. I hope you post more stuff about your cool students.


  18. Jeremy —

    I thank you for your comment. I had no idea you were a regular reader of my work in the “other” part of my life. I hope to see you before you begin at your new school. You might change schools but I will be your teacher (among many) forever.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for writing,

    Mr. Smith

  19. Rod, I find that the more you write, the better your writings are. Thank you for sharing your wealth of wisdom with the world. I forward your articles to so many people – family and friends and counsellees and fellow-counsellors – and share on facebook often. This is a rich legacy you’re passing on. Bless you and the boys. (I like the way you bring humour into your writings too!)

  20. Dear Rod,

    I find your blog to be very practical. What a service you perform to give hurting, confused people a place to process their problems and perhaps find solutions. Here’s my situation…. I recently turned 50. I am single, childless and gay. I struggle to earn a living and age is yet another point of discrimination in employment. Even if I land a job soon, I fear it will be in a role I won’t be good at or enjoy. Maybe others get to do what they love, but it hasn’t applied to me these past few years. There is little hope of retiring and being able to support myself. Being gay and having faith has been a very difficult journey. Gay equals rejection and mistrust by many, mostly undeserved. I was ousted from a religious group many years ago for it and that is a pain that never quite goes away. So, I sometimes find myself thinking I may as well quit this life. Other times I think that if I were diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, I probably wouldn’t fight it. It would be my ticket out of this life.

    On the other hand, I am physically healthy – albeit uninsured, currently looking for work – but shelter, food and transportation needs are met. I have friends and support in a 12 Step program, am active in volunteer work. I garden and work out regularly, have a couple of dogs and some extended family, especially a sister with whom I am close.

    Am I depressed? I try positive thinking every day… say mantras, pray etc… and so much of this life just seem futile. Is it really so bad that I think death would be a relief? I must think there’s a problem or I wouldn’t be writing to you.



  21. Dear Mr. Smith, This is Cheri Walton from St. Richard’s School. George’s mom.
    Every now and then someone will mention their regrets or ask what do I regret about my own life. Or what would I do differently if I could live my life over again. I am not really the sort of person to worry about the past very much but I do have significant sad feelings of regret that I never adopted a child. So my question to you is, am I too old to adopt now? I will be 57 this summer but I am very healthy and happy and still busy parenting George who is 12.
    Perhaps there is a book or a resource you could refer me to, that would be great. Maybe the answer is, “You’re really too old”. Either way, I await your thoughts.
    Thanks, Cheri

  22. Hi Rod, I read your column in The Mercury this morning (as I do most mornings). I was struck by your comment re homeostasis. Of course, this hits the nail on the head and happems to me every time I determine to eat less, drink less and exercise more. I understand the concept but wonder if you have some advice regarding how to withstand this natural internal drive towards homeostasis? regards Penny

  23. Hi Rod,

    Thank you! I was in the open week of the DTS in Amsterdam where you taught a few years ago. And that week of teaching from you has changed my life and all my relationships. You have taught and shown me so much about how to be a healthy and fully functioning adult and how to have healthy relationships. Of course I always keep learning, and that’s fun and I’m loving the process. But your teaching has allowed me to take an absolutely massive step! I see the direct effects of it and I am a much happier and relaxed person, and I am able to enjoy my life and the people around me a lot more! My marriage has also become more beautiful and easier, you have given me some tips over coffee as well, if you remember, and it has greatly improved my relationship with, and love for my husband. It also works through in my family and friend relationships.
    I never actually thanked you or told you just how big a difference it made, so today I wanted to do so.
    Thank you!


  24. Dear Rod Smith(SA)
    Thanks for your daily inspiration especially in my troubled South Africa.
    Thanks also for your visit to St Thomas church in Musgrave Rd and to St Aidans Church in the city of Durban many years ago.
    As a result of declining numbers and other reasons including Covid both churches are starting to cluster/twin to survive . Therefore 1 priest will look after 2 churches.
    About time especially after Aparteid

    Wonder how other models work elsewhere with declining numbers.

    Once again thank you for your daily inspiration and love to your boys

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