Posts tagged ‘Love’

June 25, 2011

Women, and jealous men…

by Rod Smith

Jealousy serves no useful purpose. Jealous men (It’s men in my experience) try and tell me it comes with love. Nonsense.

Ugliness is never a symptom of love.

Placated? Appeased? Entertained? Jealousy won’t dissipate. It will grow. And grow. Become increasingly demanding.

The sympathetic, those allowing jealousy to do its ugly work, will discover the virus to be insatiable. It will only becomes more restrictive and ridiculous.

“I stopped talking to men at work, I stopped dressing in pink, I stopped calling my sister, I stopped smiling – these behaviors of mine made him jealous,” she says, “now he doesn’t want me talking anyone, or wearing clothes he didn’t pick out for me, or talking to anyone in my entire family!”

Rings of pure love, doesn’t it?

It is common for a woman to believe she causes a man’s jealousy.

“I make him jealous,” she says.

“No you do not. You are not that powerful,” I say, “his jealousy predates you, and now you are the unlucky victim of the virus.”

Don’t mess (negotiate) with it. Stand up to it. Or it will get you every time. It will contaminate your every move, your every thought. (This is the nature of a virus.)

Address him with: “This is your issue, not mine. I love my life too much to allow your jealousy to manipulate or dominate me. If you want me, you have to accept that I will not allow your issues to have any power over me. It’s sad enough that your issues control you, I am certainly not going to let them control me. I’m interested to see what YOU will decide to do with YOUR problem.”

June 21, 2011

Three poisons for love: Manipulation, Intimidation, and Domination

by Rod Smith

When people have to use intimidation, manipulation or domination, the relationship is already spoiled or poisoned. It has become a power play of control. Redeeming such a relationship is possible with the implementation of a wise plan, strongly re-defined boundaries, enduring commitment, and the possibility of a time of separation in order that a modified perspective might be gained.

Willingness and desire to be together, equality between people and complete mutuality are the hallmarks of healthy relationships. Where any form of strong-arm tactics are used, the relationship has already taken a turn to become something harmful to both the parties.

Each of these relationship-poisons (manipulation, domination and intimidation) can be very subtle, coming in different shapes, sizes, and intensities.

Here are some of the evidences of manipulation, intimidation, and domination in a relationship:

1. The relationship has been kept on an unequal footing in order that one person might keep power over another. In a severely controlling relationship, both persons might have forgotten there are choices at all.

2. One person tries to get what he or she wants without declaring what is wanted. In attempting to get what the one person wants, both persons are in some way diminished.

3. One person does not see the other as totally free.

Confused boundaries4. One person tries to get what he or she wants through threats or withdrawal.

5. It is expected that every move, thought, and feeling will be reported at least from the less-dominant person to the other. If one person is unwilling to tell all, it is assumed there is something to hide.

6. One person is not free to make plans without consulting or getting permission from the other.

7. One person in the relationship continually evaluates and examines the commitment and love of the other.

8. The dominant person tells the other how they should feel and usually re-scripts any division or disagreement into the appearance of unity.

9. One person feels at liberty to speak for both people and then, is offended when the partner wants to express his or her own views.

10. Desire for self-expression or a distinct voice (by one) is considered betrayal or a lack of trust (by the other).

11. One person expects unilateral support for his or her opinions, choices and desires, declaring somewhat of an attitude which says: If you say you love me then you have to love everything about me, under all conditions, and all of the time.

12. Difference in opinion or having different interests is considered a lack of love, or a lack of respect and commitment.

Simple definitions and a metaphor which might be helpful in considering the three “cancers” of relationships:

Manipulation: playing chess with another person or with people. Maneuvering as if life were an attempt to checkmate others into loving us or doing what we want.Explosive

Domination: playing chess with another person or with people as in manipulation. The difference is the dominator has removed the opponent’s pieces without declaring so in the first place.

Intimidation: playing chess with another person or with people where winning and losing comes with either the threat of punishment or actual punishment.

Healthy Relationship: There is no element of either winning or losing; it is not a game. It is free of tactics, ploys, moves, and agendas.

February 2, 2008

Getting ready for Valentines Day…… going beyond romance…

by Rod Smith

“There are two potential tragedies in life and dying isn’t one of them,” wrote Ronald Rolheiser, the Catholic theologian. “What’s tragic is to go through life without loving and without expressing love and affection toward those whom we do love.”

What great thoughts to ponder and then motivate us to action beyond romance on Valentine’s Day.

Let’s not fall victim to either of the tragedies — not today, tomorrow, not forever.

One of the great things about life for most of us is that we get more than a few chances at most things, even things we fouled up in the past. Failing at love yesterday doesn’t mean we have to fail again.

While the holiday is Hallmark-driven and its history buried in 5th century Rome, it’s up to us to push love to the limits, to go beyond Valentine, beyond Hallmark, beyond Cupid, beyond Eros, red balloons and red sweaters and candy. It’s up to us to take Rolheiser’s caution to heart.

Let’s express love in tangible ways to all those whom we love.

Loving is more than breakfast in bed. Say what you want to say without leaving it to another day. Don’t wait, don’t avoid it, and don’t run from it. Act upon the love you feel in measurable ways, express it in ways that are new and unique for you.

Love your family by encouraging the expression of the unique voice of every person. Enlarge their freedom, oust all jealousy.

Listen, and wait to speak. Try to hear even the things you’d rather not hear. Learn things about members of your family even if it has been so long that it is hard to remember a time when you did not share life.

Loving people celebrate strength, encourage freedom and admire the talent of others.

Then, in loving and being loved, compromise yourself, your talents and skills for no one.

True love will never steal your voice, your brain, your heart or your body.

Minimizing who you are in the name of love will not make you more lovable or make your family a happier or healthier place. It is never worth it. It is never loving. It is those with dark motives, who seek for you to be less, minimized, diminished or silenced. Reject such small-mindedness, such evil, even if doing so is very costly.

In your loving, deal a deadly blow to love’s bitter enemies of resentment, anger and bitterness. These close cousins, if permitted, will hold hands within your psychology and dance a woeful dance. They will make you blind to all things beautiful. Angry, bitter and resentful people, no matter what their justification, become increasingly unreasonable and difficult to live with.

Bitterness will have a soul for breakfast. It’ll chew you up, spit you out, and then get you some more. That’s its nature. It has no regard for you, except in your destruction.

Make the most powerful decision a person can make and forgive everyone, everything. Forgiving others completely for everything real or imagined done against you, will give you a degree of personal liberation heretofore unknown. Such forgiveness, offered from and within our human frailty, releases the spirit beyond comprehension.

When people forgive each other, they wear divine clothing, and the prison doors of their own hearts become unlocked and the miserable trio of anger, bitterness and resentment are set free to do their work elsewhere.

“There are two potential tragedies in life,” wrote Rolheiser, and today we each decide the extent of their power in each of our lives. Happy Valentine’s Day.

January 21, 2008

Because I am your friend I will…

by Rod Smith

1. Be aware of the unique, honored position I have in your life, and regard it with the respect it deserves.
2. Hear you, even if you are telling me things I’d rather you not say.
3. Be willing to disagree with you, when, in my estimation, you are wrong, off target, or unfair in your actions or thinking.
4. Forgive you when you hurt me, even though I will sometimes make it very clear to you how the hurt occurred.
5. Expect the very best of you and applaud your use of all of your skills and talents.
6. Tell you the truth as I see it, as kindly, efficiently, and succinctly as possible.
7. Live my life as purposefully as possible in my daily journey toward fulfilling the deepest, most powerful yearnings of my head and heart.
8. Be generous to you (without giving you money) and be kind to you (without trying to solve your problems).
9. Not inflict my anxiety upon you.
10. Stand on my own two feet without pushing you over.
11. Engage you in necessary conflict that I may love you more powerfully.
12. Speak well of you in every circumstance.

December 26, 2007

He needs sex to maintain any kind of decent mood…

by Rod Smith

“I love my husband but he is sending me into an abyss. He’s become more and more jealous, insecure, and needy. He requires sex to maintain any sort of decent mood. I pay the emotional price if I don’t have sex every two or three days. He never admits to being controlling and I don’t think he believes he is. I have lost most of my sex drive. I am constantly fearful of crossing his moods. He says his mood cannot improve without sex. I feel it’s abusive to submit to something sexual when I am feeling hurt, sad, and exhausted. Are we in a catch-22? Is it unusual to have one’s libido destroyed by a requirement to provide sex?” (Edited)

Until you, not your husband, govern your internal (emotional, sexual, spiritual) life, things won’t improve. Control and love cannot co-exist within the same relationship.

Your husband’s belief that he needs sex (from you), more than you need kindness (from him), demonstrates his distorted, immature understanding of sex. It is this very misunderstanding which reduces sex into something cruel, divorcing the act from anything resembling love.

Of course your libido is diminished: you’re in an abusive cycle that won’t improve until you find and use your voice. I don’t doubt you THINK you love him (you believe you love him and cannot, at this point, conceive of NOT loving him) – but can you love him enough to stand up to him? His controlling behavior (and your submission to it) does neither of you any good.

December 18, 2007

First year of fourth marriage has been “down”…

by Rod Smith

“I have been married a year and it has been so down. My husband prefers drinking with his loser buddies than being around any positive people. I hardly see him. I feel like we are in a very early stage of a relationship. I have been married four times, and I think I am crazy! First, I was a teenage bride and my husband abused me, then the next had an affair. My new husband spends his days drinking after work and I get left out. He wants a mother. I am very intelligent except when it comes to love. I forgive and then I get shafted. I need some friends.” (Letter edited)

Intelligent is, as intelligent does. I’d suggest you get some individual, personalized, help about how to find out who you are and what you want. Clearly you are searching for something and are possibly looking for it in a few unwise places. While it is easy to place blame on all the “loser” men in your life, you are the one, common, factor.

December 12, 2007

Brief notes to improve your relational environment:

by Rod Smith
  1. Deliver your own news – good or bad. Don’t use others as carrier pigeons.
  2. Try not to keep people waiting. While it is sometimes unavoidable, effort on your part to be punctual will speak volumes about you.
  3. Find a way to remember people’s names. You’ll be surprised how much it will do for you.
  4. Spend less than you earn, and save some money every month. Nothing kills enduring happiness as efficiently as debt.
  5. Get out of the middle of other people’s relationships. Avoid being triangled. Remember Piggy in the Middle is not much fun for Piggy.
  6. Tell the truth as kindly and as efficiently as possible.
  7. Do something dangerous or scary every day.
  8. Say yes more than you say no.
  9. Write. There’s a novel within you awaiting an escape.
  10. Read.
  11. Err on the side of trusting too much than on the side of trusting too little.
  12. Say please and thank you as often as possible.
December 6, 2007

You advise women to stand up to jealous husbands, but The Bible says submit….

by Rod Smith

You advise women to stand up to their jealous or controlling husbands. Don’t you know the Bible says wives must submit to husbands?

Please write, I'm reading...

Please write, I'm reading...

I do. Paul says, “wives submit to your husbands,” and one can safely assume Paul is addressing all of his writings to both men and women. A husband who loves according to Paul’s descriptions of love is both safe and worthy of submission! Such a man will indeed not be going out of his way to secure the obedience of others. Beware of any man whose knowledge of Scripture begins, and ends, with “wives submit to your husbands.” Loving men (leaders, bosses, teachers) have no desire (or craving) for the submission (obedience) of others. “Love seeks no power, and therefore has it,” says Alan Paton.

Submitting (“giving in”) to jealousy or controlling or abusive behavior is certainly not very helpful to the marriage, the husband or wife. The Bible doesn’t require anyone to submit (accept, obey) anyone’s pathological behavior, whether it is from a spouse, pastor, or any leader. To resist (stand up to) pathological behavior, however (wherever, whenever) it rears its ugly head, is to do the perpetrator (spouse, pastor, leader) a loving service.

Submitting to damaging behavior can hardly result in helpful long-term outcomes.

Sadly, I have seen many a woman hang onto the hope that the husband will eventually change (stop drinking, beating, swearing, and go to church!) if she could just learn to really “submit.” I know women who believe their husband’s abuse is deserved – a “reward” for the failure to really submit. If abusive men (yes jealousy and control are forms of abuse) were as interested in Paul’s injunction to men: “love your wife as Christ loved the Church,” we’d be pleasantly engaged in a completely different discussion.

No. The monster (jealousy) will not go away if continually fed. It only gets more controlling, more demanding, and more viscous when it is not appeased.

December 3, 2007

Toxic Binds: Is he dangerous?

by Rod Smith

Are you dating or married to a man who could physically harm or kill you, or harm or kill someone you love?

Dangerous relationships are easier to endure than to address, so it is not surprising that the murder of a wife, an ex-wife or lover usually takes everyone by surprise.

Secrecy, cover-up and denial are the hallmarks of toxic binds.

Some women could use a set of criteria to evaluate whether they are involved with a man capable of committing a violent crime against them. Accurate or not, the list could help a woman escape a potentially abusive relationship, or at least eradicate the virus in the relationship before it destroys her.

Men capable of killing a “loved” one often leave a trail of early indicators, like rose petals around an open grave, before they commit a horrible crime. Perhaps someone’s life will be saved because this list, incomplete as it might be, will assist someone toward getting appropriate help:

  1. He tells you how to dress and insists you obey his wishes in this regard. If you resist he becomes irrationally hurt or angry. You are beyond choosing what you wear because your dress is his domain.
  2. When you resist (voice your opinion, appear combative) his “loving” control he goes from calm to very angry to irrational and crazy faster than a speeding bullet. In the “early days” you’d think, “Woah! Where did THAT come from,” but now you’ve become conditioned to see it as just him.
  3. He checks up on you for “your own good.” He wants to know where you are, what you are doing and whom you are with. Time unaccounted becomes an accusation. You find yourself explaining or hiding everything, to avoid the laborious conflicts that inevitably ensue.
  4. Any move toward independence on your part is rewritten as betrayal.
  5. He tells you when you are happy, and rewrites what you feel if you are unhappy.
  6. He tries to keep you from your family, suggesting they are not good for you.
  7. He tells you when you are hungry and what you like to eat.
  8. He says he knows you better than you know yourself.
  9. He is jealous of your friendships, even those that predate him and those that are over.
  10. Keeping peace is second nature to you. Ironically, the peace seldom lasts because he jumps on the smallest issues, magnifying them into major breaches of trust.
  11. His highs are very high and his lows very low.
  12. It seems as if your response to him is inordinately powerful in changing or determining his mood.
  13. He pouts easily. He manipulates truth so you are taken by surprise.
  14. He plays “hurt puppy” if you’re not happy, thereby making your emotions his business.
  15. He expects you to always be glad to see him and to drop whatever you are doing to focus on him.
  16. He demands his own way and has an inordinate perception of his own importance. He shows off his “power” by threatening to “talk to the manager,” when he is not given the service he thinks he deserves.
  17. He becomes irrationally angry at the smallest of inconveniences.
  18. He accuses you of “taking sides” if you suggest he is being unreasonable.
  19. He lives on the edge of “white hot” anger, becoming very angry with children, animals and anyone or anything that doesn’t obey him.
  20. He hides this anger from people outside the “inner circle” and his mood quickly changes if an “outsider” appears so that his anger is kept secret.
  21. He removes your car keys or your purse to restrict your movements and then denies doing so.
  22. In the early days of the relationship you felt like you were on a fast ride on an unpredictable roller coaster. Everything was too much, too soon, but you did not know how to say it. Any comment about wanting to “slow down” on your part was ignored. You felt invisible, as if you were just along for his ride.

For such men, winning is everything — losing control is not an option, even for those whom they proclaim to love the most.

December 1, 2007

Christians and sex…

by Rod Smith

Christians ought to be the most free, most fun loving, joyful people of all, and, when married, ought to be having the very best “wall-socket” (a David Schnarch term) sex on the planet.

Surely, knowing a creative God, being engaged in a dynamic relationship with the very Giver of life, the very source of joy – ought to translate every Christian marriage into a powerhouse of sexual joy and fulfillment?

It seems to me that “sexless” and “Christian marriage” – apart from very unusual circumstances, ought to be next to impossible to find – and an oxymoron if there was ever one. While, as a therapist I know this is not the case (for sexuality has become so very soiled for so very many people) it is not unreasonable to expect that people who claim to know and serve the Living God ought to enjoy and know the best sex and most powerful relationships God and life can offer.

Since equal, mutual, and respectful sex between a husband and wife is one physical representation of the love of God, sex between married Christians is in itself one of many acts of worship – at least with as much importance as reading the Bible or attending church, feeding the poor, or having a “Quiet Time.” Good, mutual, and respectful sex is one way to get closer to God and improve the spiritual dynamic of everyday living.