3 Types of Pain You Deal With and How to Heal

Uncategorized Jun 24, 2018

For those growing and for those who help them, the call is threefold. First, do not refer to pain and suffering caused by character patterns as “growth pain” Unless you can use this pain as a wake-up call. It is worthless. It is not legitimate suffering. It is the fruit of a lack of growth.

Not long ago I ran into a friend of mine, who caught me up on someone I hadn’t seen for ten years. His was a sad story. He basically was stuck in the career misfires he was in the last time I had seen him. What stood out for me was a particular character pattern. Literally every conversation I had ever had with him was dominated by his talking about how someone else was to blame for whatever was going on in his life. It was never him. Never. I never once heard him say that any of his problems had anything to do with his performance, his procrastination, his lack of initiative, or his lack of action. It saddened me that he had not learned his lesson, and it did not surprise...

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Boundaries Are Not Something you ’Set On’ Someone

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2018

There is a lot of misunderstanding about boundaries, especially in the context of marriage. Some people are against boundaries because they see them as selfish. Other people actually use boundaries to be selfish. Both are wrong. Boundaries in marriage are basically about self-control.

A client once said, “I set some boundaries on my husband. I told him that he could not talk to me that way anymore. And it did not work. What do I do now?”

“What you have done is not boundaries at all,” I replied.

“What do you mean?”

“It was your feeble attempt at controlling your husband, and that never works.” I went on to explain that boundaries are not something you “set on” another person. Boundaries are about yourself.

My client could not say to her husband, “You can’t speak to me that way.” This demand is unenforceable. But she could say what she would or would not do if he spoke to her that way again. She could set a...

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Children Need Two Important Things from You: Gratification and Frustration

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2018

When children come into the world, they are confused about the nature of their relationships. They do not think they are dealing with one person. In their minds, there are two mommies, not one. Or, two daddies, not one. There is the “good” mommy and the “bad” one.

The good one is the one who gratifies them. When they are hungry or needy, they protest, and the good mommy comes and relieves their stress. When they are gratified, they see this mommy as “good.” But if something they want is not forthcoming and Mommy frustrates their wish, she is seen as the “bad” mommy. You may even remember this literally happening. It is not unusual for a child to hear “no” and say, “Bad Mommy.” This split is universal.

Some adults have still not resolved this problem. If you do what they want, they are very loving and see you as a good person. But if you say “no” to them, they see you as bad for not giving them what...

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How Freedom is Essential to Any Relationship

Uncategorized Jun 08, 2018

Telling other people what you want is key to feeling alive in a relationship and keeping things vibrant for both people. If only one person is getting his or her desires met, the relationship suffers. Unfortunately, many people do not get what they want in a relationship. But, they could if they knew how to communicate their desires.

For example, Aaron began dating Nichole. At first, he was in absolute heaven. She was so “easy to get along with,” he said. About five months later, though, something happened. “I broke up with Nichole,” he said. “It just wasn’t working out.”

”What happened?” I asked.

“In the beginning, she was like a breath of fresh air,” Aaron replied. But as time went on, I noticed a couple of things. First, I could never figure out what she wanted. I would ask her what she wanted to do, or where she wanted to go, or how she felt about something, and she would always defer to me. Even though that felt...

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‘Hate’ Doesn’t Have to Be A Bad Thing

Uncategorized May 25, 2018

One evening as I was doing a seminar, I asked people in the audience to list what comes to mind when they thought of the word hate. The response I got was a list of bad things:

  • You should not feel it.
  • I do it too easily.
  • I feel guilty for feeling it.
  • It comes from fear.
  • I feel uncomfortable with hate.
  • I am afraid to show it.

Such answers were pretty much what I expected, and they are probably typical of those most of us have when we think of hate. When we think of “hating well,” it seems like an oxymoron to most of us. We try to get over hatred because we have seen the destruction that it causes. We usually think of hate as a problem to be solved.

In reality, though, hate is one of the most important aspects of being human. It is one of the most crucial ingredients of a good person’s character. What we hate says a lot about who we are, what we value, what we care about. And how we hate says much about how we will succeed in love and life.

What We Hate Defines Us

...
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How Abuse Violates Our Boundaries

Uncategorized May 23, 2018

Our most basic boundary is our body. When we possess our bodies, we know they belong to us. We can feel them, we can own the pleasure they bring us through our senses, and we are in touch with them.

To invade another person’s body, to cross over this person’s boundaries, is the most basic act of abuse. The first effect of a crossover in body boundaries is that the person whose boundaries are crossed feels more like a thing than a person. Forcibly using a girl’s body against her will, for example, does away with that girl’s basic feeling of owning her own life. This can happen in several ways.

Sexual abuse is one of the most blatant examples of crossing boundaries, for someone takes what is not theirs. Ours sexual functioning was meant to be freely shared with a partner of our choice, not stolen against our will. People who have been sexually abused may disown their bodies. They may feel that their bodies do not belong to them: they belong to their abusers....

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The Fastest Way to Make Yourself Miserable

Uncategorized May 18, 2018

You’re scrolling through Facebook, and what do you see?

That guy from high school you haven’t talked to in years posted a photo of his family in matching outfits and adorable smiles.

That couple you knew in college is doing a food tour in Taipei.

That girl you used to work with is posting another selfie at the gym after losing 15 pounds.

That guy you met at a conference just bought a bigger home in a school district you’ve always wanted to be in.

And what are YOU doing?

You’re sitting in the car rider line at your oldest child’s school while your toddler screams from her car seat behind you because the movie on the iPad quit playing, and you’re hoping your son will be able to fix it for her before you have to drop him off at soccer practice, which happens to end right before you have to be at your women’s group. And by the way, it’s your turn to bring refreshments. You forgot, didn’t you? ... 
Now your husband just...

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Taking Steps to Evict the Critical Voices in Your Head

Uncategorized May 15, 2018

Many people go through life with an internal critic, a “voice” inside their head that’s always telling them fearful, negative, or critical things that make them afraid. Sometimes that voice says things such as: 

See, you’re a loser. No one is going to like you if you screw this up. 
• If that deal does not go through, your career is over, and you will never get another job. 
• You’ll never be forgiven for that. 
• Did you feel that? You’re losing it. You’ll go crazy. They will have to lock you up, and everyone will know. You are out of control. 
• That is the worst thing you could ever do. You’re such scum. 
• If this happens, it will be terrible, awful, horrible, and your life will be over. 
• If this person rejects you, it proves you are worthless and that no one will ever want you. 

If you are constantly hearing these kinds of critical messages in your head,...

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How to do an Honest Audit to Evaluate Potentially Toxic Relationships

Uncategorized May 12, 2018

In my book, Power of the Other, I talk about how relationships exist in four corners, and in this post, I’m going to help you examine Corner #2, bad connection. 

A “bad connection” leaves you feeling like you are “bad” in some way. These relationships leave you feeling like, no matter what, you are not good enough. While this kind of connection might be overtly abusive, that’s not always the case. A bad connection might simply be someone who is highly critical. A boss with demanding expectations that can never be met. A friend who only points out the bad. A partner who is shaming or guilt-inducing. A co-worker who leaves you feeling, “I am not good enough.”

Trying to live and perform from this corner works against all of our internal systems of thriving…both personally and professionally. We were not designed to do well when we’re feeling bad. And the symptoms are debilitating.

Clinical...

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How to Break the Patterns that Make Us Miserable

Uncategorized May 01, 2018

In human development, structure is internalized from the outside and becomes internal. Teach a child that if he chooses A then B is coming, he begins to think in a linear path. Therefore, he makes choices that are going to give him the B that he desires. In other words, before the misery comes, he learns to make a choice that is going to prevent it. That is the move to maturity.

Sometimes, we do not know the structure of life or certain situations or certain relationships until we are in them. So, we do not anticipate the ways that those jobs, projects, contexts, or relationships need to be structured. We don’t know what causes misery until we are there.

But, once we are there, an the misery becomes a pattern, we need to realize that this is not a one-time occurrence. It is a pattern. And we need to take ownership of the reality that whatever internal structure we are depending on to not have this happen is not working. If it were, we would not be having the problem on an...

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