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7 posts from May 2007

May 29, 2007

“NOT NOW, HONEY, I HAVE A HEADACHE”: Is it okay to just say you’re tired and not in the mood?

Chances are you’ve heard the rumor that women have been faking orgasms since the beginning of time—to please their man. They don’t want him to feel inept or unsatisfied or… Not surprisingly women are also agreeing to be sexual, even when they don’t want to be—just to get it over with? Why? …so the man doesn’t get upset, pout, or get angry if she says no.

As I’m writing this, I’m aware of what a crazy message we have about men. It’s as though women have been trained to view men as fragile little boys—and unfortunately, some men have acted as such. What is up that we fear men can’t take a “No”? Why is it that when some men are told no, they believe they have the right to make their partners pay? This is crazy thinking, and neither women nor men are doing each other any favors in this arena.

First off, to the women: If you are having sex with your partner out of obligation not choice, you are behaving, as Terry Real says, a “sex slave.” If the way you determine whether or not you are going to be sexual is by the reaction you believe you will get from your partner, then you are in dangerous waters. This is not helpful to you or to him. Behaving as a sex slave eventually leads to resentment and is the fast track to lack of sexual desire. It is also playing into your partner’s warped sense of entitlement.

You are a human being, not an object. Stop acting like an object and take care of yourself by setting healthy limits for you and your partner. Being sexual is an act of intimacy--it’s not something to use to calm your partner down. It’s a cool way to connect--for the both of you.

Continue reading "“NOT NOW, HONEY, I HAVE A HEADACHE”: Is it okay to just say you’re tired and not in the mood?" »

May 23, 2007

HEALTHY PARENTING: Are you giving your children what they need?

As I hear stories of raging fathers, cold mothers, and emotionally shut down families, I find myself wondering if we, as parents, have any idea how precious our children are? It's so easy to allow the every day stressors of life to get in the way of treating our children as precious.

Our own histories also get in the way.

We deserved to be treated as precious by our parents. We deserved to be loved unconditionally, cherished with all our imperfections, and guided with moderate, healthy limits. If we didn't get this, chances are we will struggle to give it to our own children...and they deserve this just as we did.

We owe it to ourselves and our families to be healthy enough to love, nurture, and cherish our children--even if we never recieved this kind of parenting ourselves. Children are curious, authentic, precious gifts; it's our job to treat them as such.

Challenge: Take a moment to assess your parenting. Children need love, nurturing and guidance; how are you doing in these areas? If you struggle with cherishing your children, then give them the biggest gift possible--seek help and get healthier yourself. You will feel better and so will your family.

May 17, 2007

COUPLE’S TALK: “DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR…”

People often ask me if they have the right to ask anything of their partner. Is it okay if they ask their partner to: stay home, go with them to visit a sick friend, stop eating unhealthy food, start exercising etc. In essence, they want to know if any request is fair game or if there are some questions that are off limits.

When asked if any request is fair game, my reflex answer is: Yes. You have the right to ask anyone anything…and s/he has the right to say no…to anything. As long as you’re clear that just because you ask for something, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it—or that your partner has to give it to you--there are no requests that are off limits.

It’s important to note that although you can ask anything, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some questions that are not in your best interest to ask, or that are down right obnoxious. For example, asking your partner if you could sleep with his/her best friend is obnoxious and not exactly in your relational, long term best interest to ask. It would be wise to steer clear of these questions if you have any interest at all in your relationship surviving and being healthy.

Continue reading "COUPLE’S TALK: “DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR…”" »

May 14, 2007

THE OTHER SIDE OF RELATIONSHIP WITHDRAWAL: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PARTNER WITHDRAWS

A few posts ago I wrote about withdrawal in relationships and received a comment asking me what to do when you are on the receiving end of withdrawal. In other words, what is a healthy response to a partner’s unhealthy choice to withdraw?

Let me be clear that the type of withdrawal I’ll be talking about is the kind that goes on for more than an hour, is done with an air of contempt, and is done provocatively, meaning they just check out without explaining why or promising to talk about things later. This is different from taking a time out to re-group and get centered.

Unhealthy withdrawal often has a cold shoulder effect to it; the person on the receiving end feels shut out and often shut down. Subsequently, that person will try a number of things to re-engage his/her partner including: begging, pleading, retaliating, giving in to, yelling, shunning them back, and on and on. Because their partner is in withdrawal and behind a wall, these efforts have little, if any, impact. If any of the above does have an impact, it’s usually the giving in that may weaken the walls—not without a price though.

Although giving in or apologizing (even when you know you did nothing wrong) may weaken the walls, it will often lead to resentment. At some point you’ll get annoyed that you’re always the one apologizing. Eventually you get angry that you’re the only one in the relationship who’s willing to be accountable. Ultimately, you get tired.


Continue reading "THE OTHER SIDE OF RELATIONSHIP WITHDRAWAL: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PARTNER WITHDRAWS" »

May 10, 2007

THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OF CREATING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

Pia Mellody and Terry Real often state that creating healthy relationships is a spiritual practice. Pia says that love is about living more in truth than in lies. Terry will say that being relational is about living a non-violent life in your actions and in between your ears. Put them both together and it’s truly a difficult walk.

It’s also life altering when you begin to not only embrace this, but live it.

If I’m living more in truth than in lies, I’m sharing what is true for me—even when I know it may not be what my partner wants to hear. If I’m also practicing the spiritual aspect of being relational, then I’m sharing my truth in a loving, relational way. My truth is not a weapon, it’s a gift. I share it because it’s my truth; I don’t censor myself out of fear of conflict, not feeling worthy enough, or because I want to be nice. When I share it from a centered place, it is an opportunity for growth for both me and my partner.

Living a non-violent life in my actions and between my ears is a moment to moment practice that requires extreme relational muscles. It’s also an amazing relational gift to my partner, friends, children, and the world at large. This requires that I stop judging, retaliating, and being contemptuous towards others—at all times. Wow, what a feat that is. Talk about a spiritual practice! Even when someone is acting in a way that I believe deserves contempt, judgment and/or retaliation, I simply choose to turn the other cheek, so to speak.

Continue reading "THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OF CREATING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS" »

May 07, 2007

IS IT TIME YOU GOT OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY? Why fortresses are detrimental to healthy relationships

Relationships are hard even for the healthiest of individuals; for those who don’t dare to look at their own faults, edges, or dysfunctions, they’re near impossible. Getting out of your own way requires that you know where you go awry. In order to know where you go awry, you have to be willing to have the humility to acknowledge your weaknesses.

I run across many people who have built up such a strong system of protection around themselves that it’s like they’re in a fortress. They are very clear about what is wrong with their partner however they are blind to what their own issues are. When their partner or someone else tries to tell them what their piece may be, they dismiss the feedback. This may sound like:

* “I only do that because of how you act.”
* “You’re just trying to turn things on me because you don’t want to look at your stuff.”
* “I hear what you’re saying, however I disagree with it. I think you see me as your mother (or your father) and it’s your stuff not mine.”
* They may even say to their couple’s therapist, “I think he’s manipulating you which is what he does with all therapists.” Note: People have said this even when the previous three to five therapists have given the same feedback.

Often people who struggle in this area are too defensive to take in feedback others are giving them. It’s as though they surround themselves with a fortress of steel walls that let’s nothing remotely critical in. This fortress shows up as defensiveness, being right, being judgmental, and overall self protection.

Continue reading "IS IT TIME YOU GOT OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY? Why fortresses are detrimental to healthy relationships" »

May 03, 2007

PARENTING THROUGH ANGER: IS IT NORMAL FOR PARENTS TO LOSE THEIR TEMPER WITH CHILDREN…AND BE VERBALLY ABUSIVE AS A RESULT? (The Alec Baldwin debate)

I just had someone send me a link to an open forum regarding the Alec Balwin/Kim Bassinger fiasco. For those interested, the link is:
http://www.convinceme.net/viewOpenDebate.php?dib=1245
After reading many of the comments I thought I’d weigh in from the standpoint of a relationship expert. So here it goes…

My belief is that relationally, Alec’s behavior was out of line, abusive, and irresponsible—regardless of his reasoning. As parents we are responsible for teaching our children how to be in this world. It’s our job to teach our children how to handle their: emotions (including anger), disagreements, everyday pressures of life, etc. We provide them with love, guidance, and limits, and we do that, not only through our words, but also through our actions. We are here to teach them how to create healthy relationships, including how to stand up for themselves--without stomping on others. We can’t do that if we are stomping on them.

The moment Alec said he didn’t care if his daughter was eleven years old and then went on to verbally abuse her, he made the choice to put the best interest of his daughter aside so he could carelessly vent and let off steam. He went further by calling her a pig, and in the end used intimidation and threats to try to get her to do what he wanted her to do. It seems to me the parent and child roles got mixed up, to say the least, in this call.

If we as parents cannot control ourselves, our children are not going to want to be around us (along with many other consequences). In addition, if we cannot control our own emotions then we have no right to even begin to expect our children to control theirs. Children live what they know; they know what they SEE.

Continue reading "PARENTING THROUGH ANGER: IS IT NORMAL FOR PARENTS TO LOSE THEIR TEMPER WITH CHILDREN…AND BE VERBALLY ABUSIVE AS A RESULT? (The Alec Baldwin debate)" »

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