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5 posts from August 2009

August 26, 2009

WHEN IT SEEMS LIKE THE ENTIRE WORLD DISAGREES, DO YOU QUESTION YOURSELF? TRUSTING AND STANDING BY YOUR INSTINCTS IN RELATIONSHIPS

In terms of parenting, I often feel as if I’m up against the world…and the world is winning.  Whether it’s about PG-13/R movies, “T” or “M” video games, paintball guns, air-soft guns, texting, cell phones or whatever, there are always ten other kids who are allowed to do more than my children.  It’s a constant battle—with everybody.  Even the parents who I’d bet would have the same values as I, don’t.  Inevitably I end up questioning my own values:  am I too old fashioned?  Too strict?  Too…(fill in the blank)?

Unfortunately this questioning does not help my parenting.  Nor, by the way, does it help in life.  Throughout the years, I’ve found that women are particularly prone to this type of self-questioning—everywhere in our lives.  We may start out feeling strongly about an issue, concept or incident, however we often cave when challenged.  Not only do we cave, we cave by turning things on ourselves.  We begin to think that our thinking is wrong.  We start to talk ourselves into believing the alternate view and then try to get comfortable with what we know to our core doesn’t feel right. 

Continue reading "WHEN IT SEEMS LIKE THE ENTIRE WORLD DISAGREES, DO YOU QUESTION YOURSELF? TRUSTING AND STANDING BY YOUR INSTINCTS IN RELATIONSHIPS" »

August 19, 2009

ARE YOU COVERING FOR YOUR PARTNER’S RELATIONAL MALICE? IF SO, STOP IT AND ALLOW THEM TO FEEL THE BRUNT OF THEIR ACTIONS

I’ve heard so many stories through the years of people covering up for their partner’s rude, violent, insensitive, arrogant and general mean-spirited behaviors that I’m a bit shell-shocked from them.  Below are several real life examples I’ve heard, seen or experienced over the years.  Although names and identifiable details have been changed, the stories are true.

•    Karen and Fred are at a party when their son runs up crying because his brother just hit him.  Fred becomes furious.  His face turns red and he demands that his other son come over to him, “RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, DAMN YOU!!!”  When his son comes over, Fred grabs him by the arm and yanks him away from the guests, yelling at him the entire time.  Karen looks at her friends and says, “His bark truly is worse than his bite.”  She then moves on to tell a comical story to lighten the tension.  When her husband returns she acts as if nothing happened and tells him she’s glad to see him.
•    Barbara and Stan are at a large family gathering, engaging in a large scale discussion with everyone at the table.  Barbara offers an opinion that differs from Stan’s.  Before she knows what happened, Stan throws his drink all over her.  Barbara makes light of it and pretends Stan was being playful.  She later acts as if nothing happened and the incident is never discussed again.
•    Betsy and John are out to dinner with friends.  John is ferociously flirting with Betsy’s friend, who is starting to feel uncomfortable.  When Betsy’s friend tells her that John is hitting on her, Betsy tries to brush it off by saying that’s just how John is.  She swears that John doesn’t mean anything by it.  When her friend tries to stress how disrespectful it is to Betsy, Betsy laughs it off and says it’s just a game she and John play with one another.  After all, she points out, she’s the one John will be going home with. 
•    Greg and Brenda are browsing through stores one afternoon, looking for clothes for Brenda.  When a salesperson doesn’t respond in the way Brenda wants, Brenda becomes enraged.  She begins to yell at the store clerk, call her names and become very intimidating.  Greg does the best he can to calm Brenda down and is finally able to coax her out of the store by joining in Brenda’s story that the sales clerk was rude.  He tells Brenda they should go spend their money in a store that will treat her better.  He never once addresses Brenda’s behavior.  He is just relieved that he got her to settle down.

Continue reading "ARE YOU COVERING FOR YOUR PARTNER’S RELATIONAL MALICE? IF SO, STOP IT AND ALLOW THEM TO FEEL THE BRUNT OF THEIR ACTIONS" »

August 14, 2009

RELATIONSHIPS AND THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES—AND OUR FRIENDS: SOMETIMES THE TRUTH IS THAT HE REALLY ISN’T THAT INTO YOU

I just watched the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” and thought so many of the messages were incredibly accurate.  It was funny to hear all the excuses women give each other to explain men’s behavior.  It was also sad to see and hear what we do and say to one another in an effort to save our friends’ feelings.

Women have a need to not hurt another’s feelings.  We also often have a need to be liked.  These two needs can be deadly in dating relationships.  Our need to be liked keeps us clinging to men who have no interest in a serious relationship.  We ignore all the signs that tell us he’s not interested and then our friends encourage us to ignore them as well (we do the same to our friends by the way).

Common lies we tell each other:

  • Maybe he lost your number.
  • I’m sure he’s just busy; he really works hard and doesn’t go out much.
  • He’s probably just shy.  Why don’t you just call him?

What are we doing?  This is NOT helping women.  We need to stop worrying about hurting each other’s feelings and start being determined to help each other.  Sometimes the best gift we can give our friends is the truth.  We can speak the truth with love AND we have to speak it. 

Continue reading "RELATIONSHIPS AND THE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES—AND OUR FRIENDS: SOMETIMES THE TRUTH IS THAT HE REALLY ISN’T THAT INTO YOU" »

August 11, 2009

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE…AND A GIFT IN ANY RELATIONSHIP

Have you ever had one of those weeks in which it just seemed the world was holding up a mirror to you?  Well, this has been one of those weeks for me.  I’m learning a lot about my “edges” and realizing that working on them seems to be an endless journey. 

If you’re wondering to what I owe this wonderful magnification of my edges, I owe it to my mother’s arrival last Wednesday.  Yes, I’m not sure what it is about our family of origin that seems to rocket us back to our old childhood selves, but, it can be a powerful pull.  I must say, during the first two days I was convinced my struggle was about my mother’s issues.  Since then, I’ve begun to grow up again and see the reflection of me in our interactions.   

What I’ve learned is that patience is a virtue...and one I need more of.  I found myself being quickly irritated by innocent questions, critical feedback, well-meaning suggestions and on and on.  When I would show my irritation, my mother would become frustrated with my frustration or would look hurt and deflated. 

Continue reading "PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE…AND A GIFT IN ANY RELATIONSHIP" »

August 04, 2009

RELATIONSHIP SILENCE: DOES SILENCE HELP YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND PROTECT YOUR PARTNER FROM PAIN?

I continue to see more and more female clients who’ve been unhappy in their relationships for years, yet have said little or nothing about it.  They’ve tried to do what their partners wanted, be sexual if their partners asked, not complain when they didn’t like something and be supportive of their partners at all costs.

After years of bottling everything up, the couples typically come into my office either because the women have threatened to leave the relationship or the men are unhappy with their sex life.  As I ask more questions, it’s evident that the women have been unhappy for years and the men had no idea.  Many of the women complained very little throughout the years, “hoping” they would feel more love for their partners.  When this didn’t happen, they lost all sexual desire for their partners and subsequently stopped having sex with them.

Often these women blamed their lack of sexual desire on themselves and continued saying nothing about their unhappiness in the relationship.  The men believed they were content.

Continue reading "RELATIONSHIP SILENCE: DOES SILENCE HELP YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND PROTECT YOUR PARTNER FROM PAIN?" »

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