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7 posts from September 2009

September 28, 2009

RELATIONSHIPS AND SETTLING: IS FEAR KEEPING YOU FROM HAVING THE RELATIONSHIP YOU DESIRE AND DESERVE?

Men and women everywhere are settling:

 

  • Sarah has been with Lou for two years.  He’s successful, handsome, kind and an all-around great guy.  Unfortunately, her feelings toward him are more like that of a brother than a lover.  She feels bad – as if something’s wrong with her.  She’s afraid to leave him because there aren’t a lot of great guys out there.
  • Sally’s been with Scott for six years.  Their relationship has been difficult from the start.  He’s cheated on her twice, talks down to her and dismisses her complaints constantly.  Sally’s torn because they have a long history together, they have a great sexual attraction to one another and she’s getting older.  Scott wants to marry her and is pressuring her to say yes.
  • Frank loves his wife very much, but her anger and control is hard to live with.  She yells at him, the kids and even neighbors if she doesn’t like something they do.  Frank wishes she would be a little calmer.  He’s too afraid to say anything to her because he knows it will just escalate things. 

 

I could give numerous examples of people settling out of fear and I’m sure you have a few of your own.  It seems when it comes to relationships, many people live by the premise the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.  This, however, is a lie we tell ourselves.  The devil is the devil no matter how you look at it.  Staying around and wishing things would change is wasting your life…and your partner’s.

 

Continue reading "RELATIONSHIPS AND SETTLING: IS FEAR KEEPING YOU FROM HAVING THE RELATIONSHIP YOU DESIRE AND DESERVE?" »

September 25, 2009

ARGUING THE FACTS CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who constantly corrects you or argues their case?  For example, you're talking to your partner about how hurt you were when he called you "needy" and he says, "I didn't call you needy, I said you can be needy sometimes."  When you try to move past the point by saying that either way it didn't feel good, he won't let it go. He goes on to explain what truly happened:  "I think it's an important distinction.  I would never call you needy.  I think if you realized what I REALLY said that you would see that you're getting upset is silly."  (As I'm sure you readers are aware of--this would drive Gandhi crazy--in fact, it's driving me crazy just writing about it).

This "innocent" correcting is what Terry Real terms the losing strategy of "being right".  Being right may sound harmless, but make no mistake, it's not. In fact, being right can be treacherous in a relationship.  When a person is forever arguing the facts, they fail to listen to the message. Instead of being a loving partner, they become a trial attorney.  Here's a real-life example of this at play:

    Sarah:  Honey, I really don't like the way you treat me.  You talk down to me, you call me stupid,         you tell me I don't know what I'm doing.  I just don't feel like you respect me or like me.
    Scott:  When did I call you stupid?  You tell me one time when I called you stupid?  I may have         said you were acting stupid but I never called you stupid.
    Sarah: You may not have said it directly but you and I know that's what you meant.
    Scott:  But did I call you that? No.  Let's be clear that I did not call you that.
    Sarah:  Okay Scott, you didn't explicitly call me stupid.  I just get the sense that's how you see me.  I feel you talk down to me.
    Scott:  We both agree I never called you stupid.  See this is what you do.  You make a big issue out     of something that didn't even happen.

Continue reading "ARGUING THE FACTS CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP" »

September 21, 2009

STOP ZONING OUT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND START BEING PRESENT—TRULY PRESENT

In times of stress and overwhelm, I have an enormously difficult time being truly present…and my family feels it.  I often believe I’m hiding my distracted mind by nodding my head at the appropriate time, saying yes/uh huh in a timely way or looking the speaker in the eye at just the right moment.  The only person I’m fooling, however, is me. 

I’m betting that many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.  You’ve either done what I’m talking about or have been on the receiving end of someone zoning out on you.  Either way, it’s not a good position to be in.  Because we are only human, there are going to be times when we are not present.  The occasional zone-out is not a problem.  The frequent zone-out, however, is.  In the spirit of helping couples and families, I’m posting a list of tips to help you be truly present for your loved ones. 

Continue reading "STOP ZONING OUT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND START BEING PRESENT—TRULY PRESENT" »

September 17, 2009

IS OUR ANGER GETTING OUT OF CONTROL OR IS IT JUST BECOMING AN ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE TO UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIORS? What the actions of Serena Williams, Kanye West, Congressman Wilson and even President Obama say about our culture.

Serena Williams berates a line judge for a bad call, saying, "I'm going to shove this ball down your f------ throat" (among other things).  Kanye West jumps on stage and grabs the microphone out of Taylor Swift’s hands, claiming the award should’ve gone to Beyonce.  Congressman Joe Wilson breaches congressional protocol by shouting, “You lie,” directly to President Obama on the floor of the House of Representatives.  President Obama calls Kanye West a jackass because of his obnoxious behavior at the VMA awards.  What is going on?  Since when is it okay to do, say or act any way we want because we don’t like a situation, person or behavior? 

What is prevalent in the media is rampant in relationships.  Our culture seems to be sending a loud and dangerous message that retaliation is okay.  It’s as though the mean, obnoxious, unfair behaviors of others are a green light for our own.  What happened to civility, grace, respect and self-control?   

Serena was abusive, threatening and toxic to every person in that stadium that day.  She totally lost it.  At one point she started to walk back to the service line, changed her mind…and went back to continue her rant.  The justification for this rant (in her eyes) was a bad call at the US Open.  While I understand that is terribly frustrating and can affect the match, threatening a line judge because of a perceived bad call is not justified—it’s offensive.

Continue reading "IS OUR ANGER GETTING OUT OF CONTROL OR IS IT JUST BECOMING AN ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE TO UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIORS? What the actions of Serena Williams, Kanye West, Congressman Wilson and even President Obama say about our culture." »

September 14, 2009

CONTROL AND CRITICISM—A DEADLY COMBINATION IN RELATIONSHIPS…AND FAMILIES

Being critical and controlling is a tough combination for an individual to have.  It’s a deadly combination in relationships and families.  Often underlying this combination are issues related to perfectionism.  Perfectionism is an impossible weight to carry—for you and for those around you.

The hardest hit by criticism and control, I believe, are children.  When a parent is constantly correcting a child, the underlying message to that child is, “You’re not good enough.”  The parent ends up repeatedly fine tuning the child’s behavior:

•    Why did you color the girl’s hair purple?  Girls don’t have purple hair.
•    You should change those shoes—they don’t match.
•    That’s a nice story you wrote, but you didn’t have enough adjectives in it.
•    Those pants don’t fit you right.  They’re not very flattering.

Continue reading "CONTROL AND CRITICISM—A DEADLY COMBINATION IN RELATIONSHIPS…AND FAMILIES" »

September 11, 2009

BUILDING UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP RESERVES: STOP USING LACK OF TIME AS AN EXCUSE FOR LACK OF CONNECTION

Many couples today are stressed.  Between their careers, children and errands, there’s hardly any time left for connecting.  Often couples are so busy, that they’re like two ships passing in the night.  Not only are they not taking the time to connect, but just the thought of taking time feels like too much.  They’re constantly on the go and as a result many of their interactions are curt, matter-of-fact or business-like interactions.  Although some matter-of-fact interactions are fine (and unavoidable), they are not enough to sustain a relationship.

Romantic relationships need to be softer than business relationships.  They need to have more filler.  Where many of us get caught up, however, is in thinking the “filler” takes time.  This is not the case.  The “filler” is all the extra touches that tell our partners that they are different than anyone else in our lives.  It’s the stuff that tells them we like spending our lives with them.  I call these extra touches “tender sprinkles”.  It does not take endless amounts of time to add these touches; it does take consciousness.  Below are five quick ways to add tender touches to your relationship.

Continue reading "BUILDING UP YOUR RELATIONSHIP RESERVES: STOP USING LACK OF TIME AS AN EXCUSE FOR LACK OF CONNECTION" »

September 08, 2009

KEEP YOUR FINGER ON THE PULSE: EVEN GREAT RELATIONSHIPS NEED ATTENTION

This past summer has been a whirlwind for me.  I’ve been going non-stop from the moment my children got out of school until the moment they went back last week.  My lack of planning left me running ragged.  As a result, I wasn’t truly present anywhere.  

I’m sure many of you can relate to having to be everywhere, yet truly present nowhere.  We often over-schedule, over-promise and run ourselves into the ground trying to balance six different hats.  Eventually, we come up for air.  When we do, we have to deal with the collateral damage from our absence – such as distance in our relationships.

My daughter was my first clue.  She was having little to do with me.  I tried joking, telling her I loved her, trying to snuggle, etc.  Nothing worked.  All these attempts, in spare moments, were not what she wanted.  She wanted me to be present beyond a fleeting moment.  Not just in the house, but really present—you know, the kind of present that requires attention.  When both my children were regularly telling me to get off the computer, my daughter was avoiding me and my son was informing me I’m always working -- I finally listened.  

Continue reading "KEEP YOUR FINGER ON THE PULSE: EVEN GREAT RELATIONSHIPS NEED ATTENTION" »

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