243 posts categorized "MISCELLANEOUS"

March 06, 2013

A Note to Men: Don’t Ignore The Complaints…Even When They’re Not Spoken Directly

IStock_00silencemallI have to say that I have mixed feelings about what I’m about to say. You see, on the one hand it really is important to be tuning into the complaints that are made under a person’s breath or through their cold actions. On the other hand, though, it’s also important for people to truly speak what’s going on for them—clearly, respectfully and DIRECTLY. But, that’s a different post I suppose…

So...let’s focus on this post to help those of you who think everything’s fine when it really isn’t. I’m largely speaking to the men about this (although there are always exceptions) because in my experience women are often the ones who are complaining indirectly, while the men are often the ones ignoring those subtle (and not so subtle) complaints.

Women’s complaints often center around the men not being home, working too much, not talking, being too explosive, drinking too much, not playing with the kids and on and on. The men hear these complaints as proof that they can’t do anything right. More often than not, the men respond by either blowing up or blowing off the complaints, believing the women will “get over it.” And the truth is, the women do get over it…for a while. If the men get angry at their complaints, the women will often shut down. If the men ignore the complaints, the women often feel resigned and pull away or go underground with their resentments.

Continue reading "A Note to Men: Don’t Ignore The Complaints…Even When They’re Not Spoken Directly" »

February 26, 2013

Dealing with Relationship Stress: Break it Down

IStock_00disgustmallRecently I’ve been working on the first five of ten questions from the TED MED Greatest Challenges project. My questions happen to be on Coping with the Impact of Stress. Because so many of us grapple with stress, I thought it would be a valuable topic for a post. Be sure to check out the TED MED site for more information from experts on a wide variety of interesting topics. My topic will be up sometime next week (http://www.tedmed.com/greatchallenges/challenge/302?ref=the-team). 

Most of us feel stress from time to time and many people feel chronic stress much of the time. As many of us are well aware, stress can greatly impact your body, mind and overall life. And stress from a relationship, can really throw your life into a tailspin. Relationship stress can be long-term and chronic or can be a sudden jolt that rocks your world. The chronic form often is the result of long-term poor treatment, high conflict, addiction or distancing and lack of warmth or affection. Sudden jolt stress often is the result of an affair, a sudden change such as loss of a job, a health crisis, etc. Regardless of what the source of your relationship stress is, the strategies for managing it are the same.

Below are several tips on how to handle high levels of stress resulting from your relationship:
1.    Pause and take a step back. The first thing you want to do is to simply pause and don’t do anything. Put some space between you and the problem, your feelings and your reactions to the problem. Slow yourself down and breathe. Take a few slow, deep breaths and calm your heart rate down before making any decisions or reacting in any way.
2.    Don’t go into all-or-nothing/black-or-white thinking. Keep your thoughts on the present and avoid thinking about how this incident or this relationship is going to play out or impact you in the future. The truth is you don’t know. Simply stay focused on today, this issue and this moment in time.  If it is a chronic issue, stay focused on the issue that is creating the stress/problem and don’t expand it beyond the relationship or issue.

Continue reading "Dealing with Relationship Stress: Break it Down" »

February 06, 2013

Find The Courage... and Believe in Yourself

IStock_00strong womanToo many people don’t believe. We don’t believe we’re smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough, fun enough or…simply…enough. We doubt our strength, we doubt our abilities and we doubt ourselves. When others make fun of us, treat us poorly or take advantage, we assume it’s because somewhere inside we’re defective and so we don’t challenge the integrity and character of the other person.

It’s time to start challenging.

Too many of us have no idea what we’re truly capable of. Too many of us sell ourselves short. Teenagers allow bullies to decide their fate, women allow men to determine their worth and employees allow bosses to take advantage. As long as this continues, bullies will continue to bully, men will decide which women are worthy and bosses will continue to take advantage. This doesn’t happen because they’re stronger, brighter or more worthy. It happens because too many of us think we are not.  This lack of faith in one’s self is killing far too many men, women and children. It’s harming our communities and it’s sucking the life out of too many amazing human beings.

It’s time to find the courage

Continue reading "Find The Courage... and Believe in Yourself" »

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.

Continue reading "Women: Listen to and Be Kind to…YOU" »

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. 

Continue reading "Managing Feedback: Assume There’s Truth in the Message" »

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" »

December 18, 2012

What I Know…The Sandy Hook Tragedy

IStock_0babywithtearllI know that 26 families just had their world ripped apart because of the violent act of one 20-year-old young man.
I know that twenty children, -- none older than seven years of age -- had their lives taken in the blink of an eye.
I know that six brave adults were killed trying to save the lives of many.
I know that we cannot always rely on others to protect us.

I know that people are looking for answers and there are no simple answers.
I know that in our search for solutions to these senseless killings that there are many problems to solve: gun control, bullying, mental health care options, better and more thorough mental health care coverage with insurance companies, cultural violence, gaming violence, family issues, various types of abuse and on and on.
I also know that it will take a very long time to solve or even make a big dent in any of these issues.

And I know we have to start somewhere.

I know that change starts with the individual…with you, with me and with every single man, woman and child in our world.
I know that kindness starts with a smile.
I know that inclusion helps others feel a sense of belonging.
And I know it takes a lot of courage to go against the masses.
I know anything short of that, won’t be enough.

Continue reading " What I Know…The Sandy Hook Tragedy" »

December 11, 2012

Stop Being Dismissive in Your Relationships…NOW

IStock_0eyerollingallDismissiveness seems to be a common problem in relationships, although if you were to ask people if they see themselves as dismissive, many would say no. When people minimize, ignore or defend against someone else’s feelings, upsets or concerns, they are being dismissive. The underlying message with dismissiveness is, “That’s a silly thing to think/worry/be upset about—move on.” Some people will directly say this, while others are a bit savvier with how they send this message. Regardless of whether a person directly or covertly dismisses someone, dismissiveness is toxic to relationships.

Below are 10 statements and behaviors that are red flags for dismissiveness. Read all of these carefully and avoid using them in your relationships.
1.    “You’re too sensitive.”
2.    “Stop making such a big deal out of things.”
3.    “Just relax.”
4.     “You’re/we’re/things are just fine.”
5.    “There are more important things than this...really.”
6.    “So what? You have your health don’t you?”
7.    “I don’t see what the problem is—would you just let it go?”
8.    Rolling your eyes.
9.    Ignoring or shutting down the conversation.
10.    Getting defensive about complaints about you.

Continue reading "Stop Being Dismissive in Your Relationships…NOW" »

December 04, 2012

Assumptions and How They Hurt Relationships

IStock_0pensivewomanllPeople make assumptions about other people all the time.  We assume we know what others are really thinking, why they’re doing the things they’re doing and what they really mean, rather than what they say they mean.  The problem with making assumptions is that we almost always assume the negative.

Too often we jump to a conclusion that is not only wrong, but also often hurtful.  For example, if our children are not responding to us, we quickly assume that they’re rude and disrespectful.  If our partner is quiet and sullen, we assume they’re mad at us, relationally inept or impossible to talk with.  If a parent gives us feedback, we assume it’s because all they see in us is the negative.  Seldom do we assume positive intentions.

In everyday life we make assumptions all the time about other people.  Although there may be times when our assumptions are correct, the reality is that, more often than not, they are incorrect…and strongly negatively slanted.  For example, my friend Steve told me about a time when his child was gushing blood from his head and needed to get to the hospital fast.  Steve got his son in the car and went as fast as he could to the hospital.  On the way, he had to pass a car going incredibly slowly.  The driver of the other car proceeded to honk, give my friend the finger and yell a few choice words at him.  Steve felt bad that the guy was so mad and wished he could tell him why he had to get in front of him.  I remember thinking at the time about all the cars I’ve been annoyed with that I assumed were just obnoxious people driving selfishly…hmmm.  While I’m sure not all of them were driving a loved one to the hospital, I don’t know how many people were caught in a bad day, were afraid of losing their jobs, just found out their partner had an affair and on and on.

Continue reading "Assumptions and How They Hurt Relationships" »

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