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6 posts from March 2011

March 31, 2011

What’s Up With The Sex? Are The Days Of Monogamy Gone?

IStock_0lyingllI recently was reading an article from today.com about a dating site for cheaters (http://tinyurl.com/4gp944u) and was struck by how sickened I felt reading it.  What was so sad, to me, were the stories about the people who are newly married, recently engaged or married for years with adoring children.  Apparently, people sign up on the site for the sole purpose of cheating.  The author went undercover to discern what type of person would be on this site.

A common excuse given for being on this site is either boredom or simply wanting sex.  There were men who had only been married two years, others who were engaged and another who said his wife was perfect, but he would cheat on anyone he was with. 

All I can say to this is:  If you have to lie, cheat and pretend you’re someone else in order to enjoy life—you have deeper issues than you may realize.  Constantly looking for your next “hit” is a losing game.  Regardless of whether or not that hit is alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or the allure of sneaking around—your need to constantly have something distracting or exciting you is a problem.  When someone isn’t able to just be, they end up like a rat on a wheel -- constantly moving, yet going nowhere. 

Continue reading "What’s Up With The Sex? Are The Days Of Monogamy Gone?" »

March 28, 2011

The Balance of Work and Home

IStock_00distractdcouplell People often ask me how to balance family and work.  There are so many individuals who are self-proclaimed workaholics that they and their families are struggling to find the balance.  We need to pay our bills, want to advance in our careers and want to have a stable family.  Is it possible to have it all?

I truly believe it is possible to find balance in work and family.  A successful balance, however, is not easy to create.  A healthy balance starts with setting our priorities right -- family and relationships first, work second.  Choose any other order and you are unlikely to have that stable family you had hoped for. 

For all the workaholics in the world, though, making this shift in priorities and then aligning your life with that shift, is a smaller change than you might think.  The hardest change is being deliberate about your choices and your actions.  The concrete action steps are surprisingly easy to implement once your mind is on board with your purpose.  Below are several tips for creating balance between home and work.

1.    Listen: When you’re home, listen to your children and spouse as though you care about what they are telling you.  This is true regarding their sharing the story of their day as well as their complaining about what you’re doing.  The best way to know if your work is out of balance is through your family.  They will say: “You’re always on the phone/computer.”  “You always work.”  “You never play with us.”  If you’re hearing these phrases, you are out of balance.  Listen before you lose your family.
2.    Be conscious: Pay attention to all the ways you tune out and -- stop it.  Do you shake your head to pretend you’re listening while you’re checking your texts or e-mail?  Do you say hello when you enter your home or just unconsciously enter and go about your business.  Do your loved ones greet you or not even notice you?  Take a moment to demarcate the shift from work to home—actively greet your family.

Continue reading "The Balance of Work and Home" »

March 23, 2011

How Do I Intervene in Other People’s Behaviors? Part II

IStock_0angryparentlBelow are a few more tips on how to intervene in the bad behavior of others:
•    Your father is emotionally abusive to your mother and has been for years.  Every time you visit, he’s putting your mother down, ordering her around and snapping at her.  You find yourself not wanting to go over.  You also noticed that it takes you a couple of days to “detox” from that environment.  What are your options?
o    Hold a figurative mirror up to your dad: “Wow, Dad, that was mean.  Do you hear how you talk to Mom?” (Low risk).
o    Another low risk response would be: “Dad, did you mean to ask her if she would please bring you a drink of water?”
o    A higher risk response would be to directly set a limit: “Dad, it’s not okay to tell Mom she’s stupid.  And Mom, I hate watching you just take Dad’s treatment. As much as I love both of you, I’m realizing that I don’t like staying at your home because it’s too hard to watch you two interact for a prolonged period of time.”  The next time I come to visit, I’m going to stay in a hotel. (Moderate risk)
o    Finally, you can refuse to visit them together until your father can be respectful.  “Mom and Dad, I love you both very much and want to see you both.  However, I’m finding it difficult to be in the same room with the two of you together due to how you both are with each other.  Dad, you treat Mom terribly and Mom you just sit there and take it.  I realize this is your marriage and there’s nothing I can do about it, however, I don’t want to watch it anymore.  From now on, I will no longer be coming over to visit the two of you together.  I’m happy to have lunch with either one of you alone or to have one of you visit me at a time, but I’m no longer willing to just sit back and watch you two interact.  If things change, I will be happy to revisit this decision.” (High risk)

Continue reading "How Do I Intervene in Other People’s Behaviors? Part II" »

March 17, 2011

How Do I Intervene On Other People’s Behaviors? Part I

IStock_0womanandangrybossall
 In response to my last post “It’s None Of My Business—Or Is It,” How Do I Intervene in Other People’s Behaviors? Part I many people have asked for examples of how to intervene in the various scenarios I wrote about, as well as in other similar scenarios.  Below is Part I of possible responses to use when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

In any given situation, there are several possible levels – ranging from low to high -- of intervention.  Often the level you choose is determined by your relationship with the person in question, your goal and the level of risk you’re willing to take.  Be aware of these factors when choosing your move.

Let’s look at the examples I wrote about in the first post:
•    You catch your best friend’s husband kissing another woman.  Your goal is to protect your friend and not have an affair go on behind her back.  What could you do?  In this scenario, your allegiance is to your best friend and you feel you should have your best friend’s back.  There are several options you could choose from, including:
    ♣    Speaking to the husband directly and telling him what you saw.  Tell him that you’ll be taking some time to think about what you want to do about this information and you will get back to him as soon as you decide. (Low risk)
    ♣    Tell the husband what you saw and be clear that, either he must tell his wife or you will.  Tell him you will give him two weeks to have the conversation. (Higher risk)
    ♣    Speak to your friend directly and let her know what you saw.  (High risk)
    ♣    Call your friend right then and tell her what you’re seeing. (High risk)
    NOTE: Saying nothing should not be an option since it puts your friendship at risk and is not supporting     your friend. 

Continue reading "How Do I Intervene On Other People’s Behaviors? Part I" »

March 10, 2011

It’s None of My Business…Or Is It?

IStock_0ducking For as long as I can remember, there has seemed to be a pull for people to stay out of other people’s business.  I hear, “That’s none of my/your business” all the time.  For example:
•    One client comes into my office and says she saw her friend’s husband kissing another woman.  When I ask if she told her friend, she quickly says, “No. I don’t want to get mixed up in that.  Besides, it’s none of my business.”
•    Another client comes in and tells a story about her family on vacation in Florida.  Apparently her brother’s family was constantly yelling, fighting and snapping at one another in public and in the home they were all sharing.  When I asked if she tried to talk with her brother about the intensity in his family, she said, “No.  It’s not really my business.”
•    A friend was talking with me about her father-in-law’s emotionally abusive treatment of his wife (her mother-in-law).  It’s so bad that she has a hard time staying very long when she visits.  I asked if she ever says anything and of course she responds by saying, ”No.  It’s their marriage and none of my business.”

I could go on and on with countless stories of people staying out of other people’s business, but I think you get the gist.  When it comes to what is and is not your business, I have a very different take from most people.  I also feel very strongly about my take -- so be forewarned.

When poor behavior happens in front of me, I believe it becomes my business.  If I’m out with my family at a restaurant, or the like, and another family begins to make a scene, yell and scream at each other, etc. their business has crossed into my business.  They are now impacting my space, at which point I have the right to step in, should I so choose.  I do not believe that silencing myself and hoping they will settle down quickly is serving me -- or anyone else --  in that restaurant.  I also believe that my silence would send a clear message that the yelling is okay, warranted and acceptable.  But the yelling is not acceptable.

If I catch my best friend’s husband cheating on her, his behavior has now become my business.  It has become my business because it affects me.  I now have to either hold a secret, which will greatly impact my relationship with my friend, or address the issue directly in some way (speak to my friend’s husband or to my friend).  The idea that what he’s doing is none of my business is a crazy idea.  If it were none of my business, then it wouldn’t be affecting my life...but it is affecting my life.  When someone’s behavior impacts your life or your space, that behavior is open for authentic communication.

A behavior is also open for authentic communication even if it is not happening in your space, per se, but is impacting the life of a loved one.  For example, if your sibling seems highly depressed, is struggling to take care of the children and is starting to use alcohol to self-medicate—your love for your sibling makes their struggle your business.  If they died, you would be left to pick up the pieces.  Why in the world would you not try to discuss this with him/her? 
I realize my thinking is very different from that of many people, however I encourage you to start thinking about how the behavior of others impacts you.  Taking care of yourself is always your business...and sometimes taking care of yourself requires that you step into other people’s business or that you take care of the business they have brought into your life.

When you do step in, however, do so with respect and compassion.  Always remember that poor behavior is not a green light for poor behavior of your own.  Step in with a clean energy and stay centered.

Challenge: Begin to pay attention to the concept of “It’s not my business” and how it plays out in your life.  How do you feel when you abide by it – might you be taking the easy way out?  How might you feel if you stepped in with authenticity and compassion (for yourself and others)?

March 03, 2011

Are You Being Controlled?

When it comes to control, many people feel they have no say in whether others control them or not.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  The truth is that no one can be controlled without them allowing others to control him/her.  People can be controlling, they can try to force their choices on you and they can threaten, intimidate and even demand that you do what they ask.  They cannot, however, force you to do anything.

Take that in for a minute.

Do you believe that no one can control you unless you allow him/her to control you? What if they have a gun to your head? Would that gun make you do what they want you to do?  You may think the gunman would “make” you do something, however the reality is the gun only makes things harder for you, but it does not force you into doing what the person wants. One person may respond to a gun in their face by trying to fight to get the gun. Another person may respond by doing whatever the person said.  A third person may respond by talking the gunman down. These are three different responses to the same form of control.

I realize this is an extreme example and hopefully none of you will ever have to face this scenario.  I used this scenario though because it’s extreme.  If a gun can’t control you then your spouse, colleague, boss or friend certainly can’t control you either—unless you allow it.  They may make it difficult for you, however ultimately you’re the decider of your own fate and moment-to-moment actions.  If you’re parent is paying all your bills and demands that in turn you let them run your life—you have to decide if that’s okay for you.  If it is—take the money; if it’s not—stop allowing their money to hold you captive.

Once we are legal adults, there are very few situations in life where we truly have no choices.  Some of these choices may be difficult, some may be hard and some may seem like a lose-lose, however, we still have a choice.  Refuse to allow anyone in your life to control you.  Think through the situation, weigh your options and choose.  Do not allow fear to be the driver of your choice.

Challenge: Where in your life are you allowing people or circumstances to control you? Take an honest look at these areas and brainstorm all your options—then-- choose.


 

 

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