4 posts from January 2013

January 29, 2013

Women: Listen to and Be Kind to…YOU

IStock_0NOThere are times when I can feel myself get incredibly frustrated with the choices so many women make about what they accept in their lives.  Although I realize that many women (myself included) are raised from an early age to be nice, look good, not make waves, listen to other people (parents, fathers, men, those in authority) and on and on, there comes a time when women have to learn to stop doing what we’re told. At some point women have to stop listening to others, placating others and being “nice” to others to the detriment of ourselves.

Women will benefit when we slow down and think for ourselves. We are stronger, wiser, happier and in better jobs and relationships when we ask ourselves if what’s going on feels okay to us. Too many women, instead, ask if what’s going on is a problem for the other person. Too many of us think that if our boss, boyfriend, spouse or friend is yelling at us, maybe it’s because we really did do something wrong and deserve it. Instead of trusting the voice in our head that says it’s not okay to be yelled at for any possible mistake, we start asking our friends and family if they think it was okay that the person yelled, made fun of or lied to us. We wonder if our expectations are too stringent and we begin to gradually and steadily train ourselves to doubt ourselves.

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January 23, 2013

Is The Least Emotionally Healthy Person in Your Home Running The Show?

IStock_0angry manllOver the years I have seen families, friendships, marriages and even work groups be pulled down by one emotionally unhealthy person after another. I’ve seen:
•    Four-year-olds control an entire family with their tantrums.
•    Wives cater to the intimidation, defensiveness and bullying of their husbands.
•    Husbands tip-toeing around the volatility and emotional reactivity of their wives.
•    Children forced to cower to their emotionally-unhealthy parent because their other parent is doing the same thing and won’t stand up to protect the children.
•    Women cut off from their friends and family due to pressure, intimidation, anger or threats from their boyfriend/spouse.
•    Fathers not attend their daughter’s weddings because their new wives felt threatened by their relationships with the daughter.

Below are several faulty beliefs that lead to the above scenarios:
•    Faulty Belief: If s/he does everything the unhealthy person wants, things will somehow work out and the unhealthy person will become calm and happy.

Reality: When someone is emotionally unhealthy, seldom will your behaviors calm him/her down in any long-lasting sense. S/he will be calm or rational only until the next thing sets them off.

Continue reading "Is The Least Emotionally Healthy Person in Your Home Running The Show? " »

January 15, 2013

Managing Feedback: Assume There’s Truth in the Message

IStock_0feedbackllOver the years I have worked with hundreds of couples and individuals struggling to take in feedback from the people in their lives. Often one person will get caught up in trying to point out all the ways the other person is off. Seldom do I see people slow the message down to try and hear the truth in the feedback.

What we all seem to forget is that we all make mistakes. We all do stupid things, even when we may have the best of intentions. We each have our own personal fingerprint of the way we, specifically, tend to be relationally dysfunctional. And, yes, we are all relationally dysfunctional at times. We tend to have blinders on when it comes to our own personal foibles and “edges” (those places where we are the most relationally off). And we all seem to forget that those closest to us often know what that dysfunctional move is better than anyone else in our lives—even ourselves. No matter how much we think we’re hiding it, they know. They know because they see us do it, they feel us do it and they experience the impact of our anti-relational reactions the hardest. Those closest to us, know us the best—warts and all.

So...if we’re all imperfect, why is it that we fight like hell to not listen to negative feedback from the people in our lives? Why is it that a majority of people seem to think that our partners, bosses, friends, etc., are crazy, vindictive, blind, absurd and on and on in terms of the feedback they have for us? And, why is it that so many of us seem to think we have 20/20 vision in terms of our feedback for others, but others have 20/200 vision in terms of their feedback about us? It just doesn’t add up. It does not make sense that we would be so brilliant about the faults of those closest to us, yet they would be so ignorant about our own faults. 

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January 07, 2013

Steubenville High School Alleged Rape: We Have to do Better

IStock_0fearllAs I watched the cell phone video of a boy laughing about a 16-year-old girl allegedly being raped by two 16-year-old football players in a nearby room, I could feel my anger rising.  I’m sickened that a girl could allegedly be raped while people in another room knew about it and made appalling comments, vulgarly laughing and -- horrifically -- doing nothing while a young girl’s life was being tragically changed.

This young girl wasn’t alone in an alley.  She wasn’t alone in a car.  She was in a place with a lot of people.  Isn’t there supposed to be “safety in numbers?”  I can only imagine that the 16-year-old girl thought she was safe going to a party with many other attendees.

When I was younger, I was repeatedly told that there was safety in numbers.  I was told not to go any place alone.  I was told to always bring a friend, never let your friends walk home alone, park where there are lights and on and on.  Looking back now, I’m saddened that most girls have to be told this.  I wonder how often boys are told: don’t walk alone, don’t leave your drink or someone might drug it, don’t dress provocatively, be careful not to lead a boy on, don’t jog alone, don’t go out by yourself after dark, always be aware of your surroundings.  I’m sickened that we are still warning our daughters to be careful in 2013.  I’m angry that the people we have to warn our daughters about are boys and men.  I’m horrified that the boys and men we have to warn them about aren’t just the creepy men in some side alley, but their friends, dates, fellow students, uncles, coaches, athletes, priests, ministers and those they trust the most and fear the least.

Continue reading "Steubenville High School Alleged Rape: We Have to do Better" »

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