4 posts from May 2013

May 29, 2013

A Cheat Sheet for Women Who Are Ready to “Step Up”

  IStock_00strong woman

  1. Learn to love yourself. It all starts here. If you don’t love yourself, you will not be able to stand up for yourself in any real way. Quit the negative self-talk, stop trying to be perfect, let go of micromanaging, and refuse to put yourself down. If you want to work on yourself, great…just do that without beating yourself up in the process.
  2. If you want to be treated as an equal, act as an equal. Know that you deserve to be treated as an equal rather than complaining that you’re not or wishing you were. When you really know it, you will step into situations differently and others will know it as well.
  3. Stop allowing the most dysfunctional person in the room to run the show. Ducking, pleading, begging, silencing or even yelling doesn’t stop bad behavior. Refuse to allow fear to keep you imprisoned by the crazy behaviors of others. Take action.
  4. Clean it up. Clean up your side of the fence. Find your Grounded Powerful Strength (GPS) and don’t ever excuse, justify or rationalize an aggressive strength. Be calm, grounded, strong and respectful…even in the face of disrespect.
  5. Don’t look to others for answers you have within yourself. No one is more of an expert on your life than you. Trust yourself, listen to your instincts and dare to make your own decisions or share your opinions when warranted. 
  6. Tune in and make things happen. Pay attention to what you want, what’s not working and what’s missing from your life and start to take the steps necessary to create the changes your soul knows you need to make. Don’t waste another three years hoping things will change or playing victim to your life.
  7. Refuse to put others and the world ahead of you. Find the balance of self-care and other care. If you’re a mother, don’t neglect your children or yourself. Spiritually, emotionally and physically feed both. Don’t work so hard that there’s nothing left for you, your family or life. Find moderation in all things and be humble enough to know when you’ve tipped the scales and be courageous enough to recalibrate.
  8. Don’t give up your dreams for the dreams of others—find room for both. If you have a dream, find a way to make it happen. Partner with others who will hold that dream with you...not squash it on their way to reach their own.
  9. Stop the desperation!!! Do not lose your soul for the sake of romance. Walk in your romantic relationships with the same GPS with which you have to walk in life. Don’t accept crumbs because you don’t want to be alone. Don’t have sex in order to get someone and don’t become a female “player” because you have somehow justified that sleeping around is your sexual right. Please. Cut the crap and have more self-respect than that. If you don’t respect you, don’t expect anyone else to.
  10. Stand up and step in. Don’t silently accept the unacceptable and then be hurt, wounded or resentful that the behavior continues. Learn to find your voice and have your back at work, at home and in life. If you don’t have your own back, don’t be upset when no one else does, either.

Women, you have the power to create change on a very grand scale if you dare to step up and step in. Know you are equal to every other human being on this planet and walk in the world as an equal. Don’t duck, placate, yell, scream, beg or plead. Simply use your voice, set your limits, surround yourself with a healthy, supportive “tribe” and confidently step in. We are making leaps and bounds entrepreneurially, it’s time to make leaps and bounds interpersonally. 

Challenge: Look over the list above and choose two points on which you know you have to work...and work them. Be deliberate, consistent and focused. When you have these down, move to the next two.


May 20, 2013

A Graduate Student Could Use Your Help

A graduate student asked if I was willing to help him with his study of couples by posting this on my blog. I agreed to do so in the service of helping us to gain more understanding on how to help couples. It would be great if anyone who is eligible to complete the survey below would help CJ out. Thanks so much in advance for doing your part to help!



Dear Readers of Straight Talk 4 Women,

            My name is CJ and I am a graduate student working towards my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I am currently working on my dissertation research, which focuses on a partner's role in a person's decision to seek help for alcohol use issues. I am passionate about understanding the pathways to seeking help for alcohol use problems given that alcohol can be a major risk factor for suicide, domestic violence, and other serious issues with family and employment. I have always been interested in work with couples in both clinical settings and in my research, and so it is my natural inclination to try to understand this issue from a family perspective.

        Broadly, I am interested in knowing if and how a person's partner plays a major role in his/her decision to seek help for alcohol problems. Is it often a person's spouse who convinces him/her to speak to someone about alcohol problems, or are other factors more important? Does a spouse's own drinking behavior or help-seeking behavior play a role in a drinker's decision about his/her own behavior? Considering the important role of the family in our overall mental and physical health, I expect that a person's partner plays a major role in many of his/her decisions, but I hope to understand this phenomena better, to find ways to bridge the gap between those who may need to make a change and the services available to them.

            To participate in my research project, please see the information below. The study is intended for married couples and is entirely anonymous. The study is completed entirely online, and should take each partner about 20 minutes. Please click on the link below to get started. 


Thanks and best wishes! CJ



Participate in a survey on couples and alcohol use and enter to win a raffle!


Are you and your spouse legally married (or in a civil union) and at least 18 years of age?

Do you or your partner currently consume alcoholic beverages at least once a month?

Is alcohol use an area of disagreement in your marriage?


If you answered yes to the above questions, you and your spouse are eligible to participate in a research survey regarding the relationship between your marriage and your alcohol-related help seeking behaviors. When you complete the survey, you will each be entered into a raffle for one of four $50 Amazon gift cards!

The survey will take each participant approximately 20 minutes, and survey responses will be anonymous.


Please start here:


This study has been approved by the Clark Committee for the Rights of Human Participants in Research and Training Programs (IRB). The study is being conducted by C.J. Fleming, M.A. and James Cordova, Ph.D. in the Psychology Department at Clark University. Please feel free to contact the researcher ( ) or the research supervisor ( ) with any questions or concerns. 

May 16, 2013

Want Great Relationships? Nurture Them From the Start

IStock_000014629447XSmallAs human beings, we all crave love and belonging. Deep down we want to feel loved, be treated well and we want someone to think we totally rock.  We want to feel as if we matter. Few things fulfill this need more than beginnings: new friendships, new romances and new births. In the beginning, we’re often excited, enthralled and filled with love and adoration for our newfound connections. In fact, these times feel so good, we often term them “the honeymoon period.” During the honeymoon period we can mostly see only the good in the other person. For this moment in time, the other person truly does “rock” in our eyes. 

During this time period…

Unfortunately though, as time goes on, the honeymoon period comes to an end and real life settles in. As time passes, stresses increase, relationships hit bumps, arguments begin to surface and, if we’re not careful, people begin to grow apart.  Cherishing can turn to complaint, love can turn to frustration and connection can turn into what feels like an eternal distance. That original sense of love and connection becomes lost in the abyss. The connection gets lost, not because we’re not meant to be together (although that may be the case for some), but because we forgot to nourish what we had.

Just as a car needs oil to run, relationships need cherishing to stay strong. 

Continue reading "Want Great Relationships? Nurture Them From the Start" »

May 07, 2013

Relationship Game Changers: Characteristics That Burn Out Relationships (Part II)

IStock_000010066559XSmallThere are a handful of characteristics that can, will and do make relationships extremely difficult. Last week I wrote about six of them and this week here are the remaining six. If these issues are present within you or within your relationships, chances are there are struggles in your relationships that are beyond the norm. Tackle these issues with a determination (not aggression) to get them under control.

  • Control. Constantly telling others how to do something, what to do and when to do it, is annoying at best. If you struggle with wanting things done a certain way (your way), then learn to let go of your grip; people don’t like to be controlled. If someone is controlling you, stop going along and take a stand using a grounded, powerful strength (GPS). Stay calm and matter of fact and tackle this issue.
  • Lack of accountability. “Love is never having to say you’re sorry” is a crazy saying. When people refuse to be accountable for their mistakes it becomes a chore being in relationship with them. We are all human, which means we are imperfect and will make mistakes. Making mistakes is not the problem; not owning them is.
  • Blame. Blaming often happens when a person is feeling shame and they want to get out of that feeling. It’s thinking, “If you didn’t do __________(fill in the blank), then I wouldn’t have had to do _______________(fill in the blank).” This type of thinking gets really old to be around. If someone is constantly blaming their behavior on someone else, they’re unlikely to ever change their behavior. Justifying your behavior because of someone else’s will burn out your relationships. Someone else’s poor behavior is not a green light for yours. Period. If someone uses this type of thinking, don’t buy into it and if you think this way, you’re fooling yourself. We all do what we do because we choose to do it.

Continue reading "Relationship Game Changers: Characteristics That Burn Out Relationships (Part II)" »

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