7 posts from January 2008

January 31, 2008


I've received this e-mail before and have been touched everytime I read it. Taking the time to spread some kindness can have a greater impact than you know. How many "Shay Days" have you created? If you can't think of any it's never to late to start.

Below is an e-mail I was sent. I do not know who the original author is of this story and I thank him/her for reminding us of the importance of our humanity.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled
children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never
be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated
staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences,
everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn
things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.
Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, physically
and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true
human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that

Then he told the following story:


January 30, 2008


Have you ever started dating someone only to find that you left you outside the door? If so, you’re not alone. People often pretend to be someone they’re not in the early stages of a relationship. They pretend because they want to make a good impression, want to give the relationship a chance to get started before they let their hair down (so to speak), or they want to avoid conflict. For some reason or other, people think being themselves just isn’t good enough.

So people act nice, pretend to have similar interests as their partner, seldom disagree, wear clothes that are actually painful, laugh at jokes they don’t think are funny, and act as though they are quite the gentleman/lady. The problem with this is at some time, somewhere down the road, you get tired of pretending; at some point the real you creeps in.

Now, all of a sudden your partner is wondering what the heck happened to you. You didn’t use to be this vocal, out-going, opinionated, strong willed etc. What happened to the kind, quiet, polite person who used to be on these dates??? Your partner begins to feel like the rug got pulled out from under him/her…and rightly so.

Acting like you think someone wants you to act in order for him/her to like you is deceptive. The person ends up liking the façade. Eventually that façade has to come down and the only person left is the real you. If you have any hope of having an honest, healthy relationship, you have to be honest and healthy from the start. It’s best for both of you to know the real person so you can make a good decision about whether or not you’re right for each other.

If it’s not a fit, so be it. If it is a fit--you know it’s real.

Challenge: Whenever you’re starting a new relationship, be authentically you from the start. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not for any reason. Be comfortable in your skin and bring you to the table. This will save you years of relationship problems down the line.

January 23, 2008


Too often people accept poor treatment from their loved ones without realizing how toxic that is to the relationship and to families. When we accept poor treatment, we become resentful, we teach our children to either accept poor treatment themselves, or be the perpetrators of poor treatment, we begin to feel unworthy, and we teach others that we’re not important enough to treat well.

You can’t stop your loved ones from doing what they’re going to do; however, you can choose to stop taking it.

Here are some foundational behaviors that everyone in a relationship has the right to expect:
1. To be greeted daily. It is common courtesy to acknowledge someone’s existence and for others to acknowledge yours. When you or your partner comes home, it’s respectful to say hello. It’s cherishing to go the extra step and give your partner a hello kiss and ask how his/her day went. Minimal, however, is the greeting.

2. To be treated respectfully. The Encarta Dictionary defines respect as “a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward somebody or something.” If you are in an intimate relationship, you deserve to be thought of and treated with high regard…as does your partner. Yes, there will be times when you both will be upset with one another; however, that should not shake the foundation of admiration, high regard, and mutual respect.

This also means that you and your partner hold one another in high regard in and out of one another’s presence. You each deserve to know that if your partner is talking about you to anyone, that s/he is doing so from a sacred place.


January 18, 2008

TAKING THE REACTIVITY OUT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS… a key step toward positive change

On any given day any one of us can react in a split second to annoying events, our partner’s foibles, life circumstances, etc. In fact, many of us have a black belt in reactivity which leads into all sorts of trouble, regrets, and negative consequences.

Reacting is a knee-jerk response to events that trigger us. When we are reacting to something or someone, we are on autopilot with an irrational person at the wheel. We are in no way consciously thinking about the next best move. In fact there is little thinking going on.

This morning, for example, I was driving my children to school and couldn’t pull out of my street due to the traffic. The traffic on the main street I was trying to turn onto was moving steady and slow. No cars would pause to let me enter, and even worse, cars would turn down my street without letting me go before they turned. UGH! After several minutes of this, I let out a sigh of exasperation and said something about how rude these people were. I was definitely having a reaction.

Continue reading "TAKING THE REACTIVITY OUT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS… a key step toward positive change" »

January 12, 2008


In response to my last post a couple people have written to me regarding the ideal degree of disclosure in affairs. I want to thank those voices for reminding me to clarify my message.

My last post was regarding a very specific aspect of affairs and disclosure: your partner finds out there is someone else you are interested in, knows something is going on, and asks if you and this other person have been sexual. I believe in honesty when asked this question.

What I’ve found is many people answer this question by lying. They deny that there was any sex yet they admit to having feelings for the person. Some people become so adamant they didn’t have sex that they begin to turn it on their partner and accuse them of not trusting them. This is off.

If you are trying to heal your relationship, I don’t believe you can do that starting with a lie. Your partner will begin to feel crazy, s/he will be plagued with doubt because her/his gut is saying one thing yet you’re saying something else, and you will feel forced to keep up this lie for the remainder of your marriage. If it comes out later, you often will have a much more difficult time healing from it than if you were just honest from the beginning.

That said… Frank wrote:
“I think it totally depends on the level of detail. I have had three affairs in my twenty plus years of marriage. When my wife learned of this, she obsessed over every little detail. It made little difference in telling her, it didn't resolve the pain she felt. Nor did it help us to move forward. In fact, I think hearing the tiny bits of where we met, what we discussed, what we did, etc only made it worse. I advise both of you to decide early on if you wish to work through this to pick an appropriate level of detail.”

Continue reading "AFFAIRS AND HONESTY…to a point " »

January 07, 2008


I’ve worked with many couples over the years impacted by affairs. Inevitably the partner who was cheated on wants to know all the details; in particular, they want to know if their partner had sex with this person.

So what’s the right answer? Do you tell your partner you did and run the risk of him/her ending the relationship or do you lie and hope like hell you never get caught? First, let me just say this is not an easy decision to make; I understand the fear surrounding telling the truth. And…I believe telling the truth is the best avenue. Pulling a Bill Clinton, as history has shown, can often back fire and lead to a much rougher road in the end.

If you had an affair, and you truly want to work things out with your spouse/significant other, then I believe honesty is the best policy. Being honest about what really went on allows you to focus on repairing the relationship without having to keep up a lie. It allows you to start fresh with integrity.


January 02, 2008


This past summer four of us, including myself and Terry Real, sat in a room together for several days and created an incredibly powerful workshop for parents. We then piloted the workshop in various cities, listened to feedback from participants, and subsequently fine tuned an already spectacular workshop.

The Legacy Workshop has been launched and I couldn’t recommend it enough for all parents. I wish I had this workshop ten years ago. This workshop has been changing families…

Below are unsolicited testimonials from participants:

“This workshop was a true blessing to our family. We have been faithfully using the tools we learned and it has made an amazing difference in our children as well as ourselves. We treat each other in a much healthier way and it has helped us establish a happier, more content home. What a difference it has made in our lives!” Kim C - Atlanta

This was some of the most profound work I have ever done—and I have done some pretty profound things! For the first time in my life, I left your workshop feeling like a healthy, happy, fully-functioning adult. Giving back to my parents the legacy they left me was deeply liberating work. I feel that I can now create whatever life I want to live without the weight of my past. Everyone should experience this workshop if they want to change their world! Mary R - Los Angeles

“I am no stranger to ‘recovery’ and ‘self-improvement’ therapy work. I have been fortunate enough to have associated with some excellent mental health professionals who have helped me improve the quality of my life and the life of those in contact with me. While the improvements I’ve made have certainly made a positive difference to my family, I still wanted more. I want my children to grow up without the emotional shackles and chains that I and my progenitors carried, either intentionally or unknowingly. Terry’s work with the ‘legacy’ and the specific format of this workshop were a tool of liberation for me…taking me to a new, higher level of recovery and understanding of who I am, who I want to be, and how to be that person. It’s no magic ‘pill’, and it’s not easy, but Terry and his colleagues are as good as it gets in facilitating a learning experience that has helped change my life for the better. Now my children don’t have to carry the same emotional burdens I have. I can end the vicious cycle of a negative legacy and pass on to them a better, happier life. If you struggle with having the type of relationship you want with your wife and children, I can’t urge you enough to experience this for yourself….it’s never to late to be a better father, husband, and person.”Joe. C - Atlanta

Below is the flier for the next Legacy Workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The workshop will also be coming soon to Los Angeles and New York. For more information please visit

The Relational Life Institute Presents:Best Selling Author & Nationally Renowned Therapist, Terry Real’s
Legacy Workshop™
January 28-29, 2008 • 38 Cameron • Cambridge, Massachusetts

Workshop Overview

Parents traditionally do their best to “learn on the job,” but end up repeating losing strategies they learned from their own families.
The Legacy Workshop™ is designed to provide parents of all ages with both an intellectual understanding and also a profound emotional experience of:
• The emotional and relational legacy that was handed to you as a child in your family growing up,
• The positive and negative aspects of that legacy and the ways in which you may be passing negative aspects of the legacy on to your children,
• How to put into practice specific changes in the way you treat your children, your co-parent, and yourself – changes powerful enough to immediately and permanently transform your family, and
• How to manage your legitimate differences and “hot buttons” to become a highly functioning co-parenting team with your partner and anyone else in a parental role.

“Terry and his colleagues are as good as it gets. If you struggle with having the type of relationship you want with your wife and children, I can’t urge you enough to experience this for yourself. It’s never too late to be a better father, husband, and person.” Joe. C – Atlanta

About Terry Real
Terry Real is the bestselling author of I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, How Can I Get Through to You?: Reconnecting Men and Women, and most recently, The New Rules of Marriage: a Breakthrough Program for 21st Century Relationships. Real developed Relational Life Therapy™, which is practiced globally by thousands of therapists and coaches, and founded The Relational Life Institute, which offers workshops and products aimed at helping people live connected, satisfying lives. His work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, 20/20, Today, Good Morning America, and Oprah, as well as in The New York Times, Psychology Today, Esquire, Real Simple, and numerous academic publications.

$800 per person; $1500 per couple
DAY ONE, 8:30 – 6:30; DAY TWO 8:30 - 5:00

To Register or Learn More
Visit or contact Lisa Sullivan at 617-763-7797 or at
754 Massachusetts Ave. • Arlington MA, 02474

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