Entering a Relationship After Being Hurt

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

You were created to long for attachment, to desire to matter to someone and to “hunger and thirst” for relationship. You were made that way so you could know when to seek comfort and connect. Just like your car’s gas gauge, your needs tell you when you’re on “empty.”

However, your needs for relationship may have been buried. They may be so far underground that you’ve despaired of ever finding them again. If so, this second task, “learning to need,” is vital for you.

You can regain your experience of neediness. You had it once: almost all babies are born with the desire to be protected, connected, and comforted.

  1. Confess you inability to need. Tell the truth to your safe relationships about how hard it is to rely on others, depend on others, and actually want others close. This lets your friends know that you truly need to need. As they draw closer to you, instead of shrinking back, you slowly learn to trust again. What is...
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God Created us to Bond with Safe People

Uncategorized Jun 16, 2020

Bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person. It’s the ability to relate to another on the deepest lever. When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams, and feelings with each other with no fear that the other person will reject them.

Bonding is one of the most basic and foundational ideas in life and the universe. It is a basic human need. God created us with a hunger for relationship—for relationship with him and with our fellow people. At our very core we are relational beings.

Without a solid, bonded relationship, the human soul will become mired in psychological and emotional problems. The soul cannot prosper without being connected to others. No matter what characteristics we possess, or what accomplishments we amass, without solid emotional connectedness, without bonding to God and other humans, we will suffer sickness of the soul.

Why is our need for bonding so strong, and why is our...

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6 Leadership Principles to Take Home to Your Family

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2020

Believe it or not, there’s not a huge difference between leading at work and leading at home.

In fact, if we asked some of our colleagues who actually liked their statistics courses about the predictive validity of certain leadership traits in creating healthy families, my guess is that the number would be pretty high. And the good thing is that these are actual skills and abilities that people have and do every day at work. Our task is to get them to take those skills home!

So, if we think about it that way, what do leaders do that can be applied to creating healthy families? Here are just a few thoughts:

1. Cast a vision. One of the best fathers I know also leads an organization of thousands of people, and he takes this skill home. He gets out the white board and asks, “Ok, team, so what do we want this year to look like? At the end of the year, what do we want to have done that would make it a great year?” Or, “What does everyone want it to feel like to...

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Why You Can't Change Someone

Uncategorized Jun 12, 2020

Are you in some type of relationship (it could be personal or work-related) where you are trying to get someone to be or do something different? But that person isn’t listening, or doesn’t desire to change, or doesn’t want what you want for him or her?

If so ... it’s time to wake up and realize that you cannot change another person. YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANOTHER PERSON!

You cannot get someone to do something they don’t choose to do, or to be someone they don’t choose to be ... either because they can’t or because they don’t desire to.

Why? Because you can never take over another person’s freedom to choose. People are not robots. They are free to choose what they want, what they will do, and what they won’t do.

Once you realize this, you will stop trying to do what will never work, which is trying to change people into something they do not want to be or convince them to do something they do not want to do. It never works. While...

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Understanding the Pain that Comes From Your Family of Origin

Uncategorized Jun 12, 2020

Amanda had a problem that I had seen countless times before. This thirty-year-old woman would return from a visit to her parents’ home and suffer a deep depression. When she described her problem to me, I asked her if she noticed that every time she went home to visit, she came back extremely depressed. 

“Why that’s ridiculous,” she said. “I don’t live there anymore. How could the trip affect me this way?” 

When I asked her to describe the trip, Amanda told of social gatherings with old friends and family times around the dinner table. These were fun, she said, especially when it was only family. 

“What do you mean ‘only family’?” I asked. 

“Well, other times my parents would invite some of my friends over, and I didn’t like those dinners as well.” 

“Why was that?” Amanda thought for a minute and then replied, “I guess I start to feel guilty.” She...

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Understanding What Addicts Lack in Their Lives

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2020

An addiction is a compulsive physiological need for something, in other words, something that someone needs to survive. People are usually addicted to a specific substance, such as alcohol, cocaine, speed, or food. But people can also feel addicted to activities, such as sex, gambling, work, destructive, relationships, religiosity, achievement, and materialism. These substances and activities never satisfy, however, because they don’t deal with the real problem. We don’t really need alcohol, street drugs, or sex. We can live very well without these things.

However, we really do need relationship, and we cannot live very well without it. We are aware of what happens when it’s absent.

Curing addictions requires a return to sensitivity and humility. Addicted people must admit their powerlessness to others, as well as soften their heart toward those they have injured and realize their deceitful desires. Addictions are not real desires. They are substitutes for some...

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Setting Boundaries with a Hostile Spouse

Uncategorized Jun 10, 2020

Amy and Blake had been married for eight years, and they loved each other. However, when he was angry or upset, Blake became moody and would withdraw from Amy and the kids, except for occasional outbursts of anger. When his manufacturing business was struggling, he would sit silently through dinner. Once, during this period, the children were arguing at the dinner table. Out of the blue, Blake said, “Amy, can’t you keep control of the kids? I can’t even have a quiet meal in my own home!” And with that, he stormed out of the kitchen into his home office, turned on the computer, and stayed there until the kids went to bed.

Amy was hurt and confused. But she had a pattern of “handling” Blake’s moods. She would try to cheer him up by being positive, encouraging, and compliant. “He has a hard job,” Amy would think. “Nurturance is what he needs.” And for the next few hours, and sometimes days, she would center the...

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Why We Pick the Wrong People and How to Change That

Uncategorized Jun 10, 2020

Note: This was written in the context of why we pick generally unsafe people to have in our lives and is not meant to place blame on victims of abuse. Abuse is never your fault. 


When we choose the wrong relationships, romantic or otherwise, many people just see it as a problem in the “other person.” They never get to where the real issue is and where the power to change lies.

Having said that, let’s talk about it more. First, you can see your hurt in the past two relationships has brought you some pain. It is important you get with some good people to help you process all of that hurt, so you can deal with it fully and put it in the past. Cry it out, express the hurt and anger, forgive and then, let it go. But that is not all. The next step involves the great lesson of hurt — learning.

Look at the past relationships and find the themes in the relationship that say something about you. What were the qualities you were drawn to? Were they good...

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What to Do When You've Been Burned Too Many Times

Uncategorized Jun 09, 2020

I worked with someone who once told me they were “done” with people. Their sentiment was understood. After being hurt multiple times in different capacities, I could see why they came to that conclusion. I just didn’t agree with it.

But before you believe you’re “done” with people and all relationships, allow me to elaborate on something here.

People who avoid relationships have problems not with functional self-sufficiency but with relational self-sufficiency. The problem with the relationally self-sufficient person is that he operates in his own relational world. He runs his emotional affairs like a one-man business. His emotional philosophy is the following:

  • I take care of my problems.
  • I don’t burden others with my problems.
  • I can handle my problems myself, thank you.
  • I’m fine, really.
  • No, really, I’m fine.

What’s wrong here? We were not created to be relationally self-sufficient. We need each other. Our needs teach us...

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The Difference Between Toxic and Imperfect People

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2020

Twenty five years ago, John Townsend and I wrote a book called Boundaries. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

In talking with some people who have read the book, we’ve realized that a few have selfishly misused the point, which is to make relationships better. Instead, these people have tried to use boundaries to control other people or to make a big deal out of very small issues. So understand what we mean when we say you are to avoid toxic people: Imperfect behavior is not the same as toxic behavior. It’s important to learn the difference between problems that we should expect in relationships because people are imperfect, and problems that are toxic and need to be worked through or else avoided.

Not all things or people are toxic. There is no reason to start a war over someone’s immaturity or perfections that rub us the wrong way. That is the time for us to grow in patience and longsuffering, the ability to wait on people as they grow and mature.

Wisdom tells us...

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