How Healthy Trust is Developed

Uncategorized Dec 15, 2018

We trust someone that we know “understands” us, our context, our situation, our needs, what makes it work for us, and what makes it break down. When they truly understand, and we experience that with that understanding, they care, the connection of empathy opens us up to trust them.

Have you ever experienced a situation where you tried to tell someone something you were going through, or tell a boss or a team member about a difficulty you were facing in the work, and you got no understanding? Where the response was something like, “It’s not that bad. You just need to go do such and such.” What happens? You walk out of there thinking, “he just doesn’t get it.” There is no connection, and you are not going to trust them to help. Further, you are not going to be as open to investing more of yourself with someone who doesn’t “get it.”

The highest performing teams are ones that each person around the table understands what...

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Don't Get Caught in the Triangulation Trap

Uncategorized Dec 14, 2018

You’re probably familiar with the term “triangulation” as it relates to issues in communication. Let’s break down what it really does and how it affects our relationships.

Triangulation sets up something called the “Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer Triad.” It works like this. Let’s say you have some issue with me, maybe even for a good reason. So, you give me some feedback, or disagree with me, or do something that I either don’t like or don’t want to hear. In any case, I feel like an innocent “Victim” and feel like you are somehow hurting me unfairly, in my mind seeing you as the “Persecutor.” Then, instead of talking through the slight, or the issue, directly with you, I take my hurt feelings and go to a sympathetic third person, and I gripe about you. I do not say to them, “He mentioned this to me, I am sure to help me, and I would like to get your perspective on it as well to see what you think ......

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The Power of Healthy Connections in Your Life

Uncategorized Dec 13, 2018

Your flight lands, and the flight attendant says “It is now safe to use your mobile phones.” You turn yours on, and what is the first thing that happens? There is a little message at the top that says “Searching ...” Or “Searching for connection ...” Or “Searching for network ...”

Until the phone connects with the network, nothing happens. But, when it connects, miracles occur, in the invisible world. The phones capabilities are now empowered to be all they were created to be. Not only that, they can even get better. They can download updates to make them better than they were, or fix bugs in the software. Or they can download apps to be able to do things they couldn’t do before. And beyond that, they can connect to the entire world, all of its information and knowledge, help and skill, to enable better performance. And from this connection, it goes on and on.

But ... without that connection to the right network, they will never...

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What to do When Someone Gets Defensive

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

Let’s talk about people who are defensive instead of open to feedback...

I was organizing a conference with a colleague I'll call Jay. We each had different responsibilities. Jay was responsible for securing the site, making sure an overhead projector and flip chart were available and shipping books to the workshop.

The night before the event, Jay called me. "Do you have any extra copies of your books you can bring along?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I thought it would be good to sell your books at the workshop."

"But you were supposed to take care of that!" I replied.

"I had too many things to do," he said.

Trying with all my might to hang on to my patience, I said, "But we agreed that shipping books to the conference was your responsibility."

"You always concentrate on things that go wrong," he said angrily. "You never tell me about the things that I do right. Who are you to say that you always do things right?"

Jay is an example of an unsafe person. When I confronted him...

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Unsafe People Will Not Give You Freedom, So Here’s What You Do

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

I remember one woman came into therapy with extreme anger toward her family and all of their "expectations." I agreed with her that her family's expectations were wrong and that I understood her anger. She was very comforted that I agreed with her on that point. But when I suggested that they were not going to change and that she had to free herself from them by changing her attitudes toward them, she would get angry with me, saying, "You're just like them. You don't understand, either." She felt if I did not agree with her victim stance, I didn't care.

I assured her that she had indeed been victimized growing up, but now she had to stop victimizing herself by freeing herself from her expectations of them.

She couldn't understand that and said, "I don't have any expectations of them; they are the ones with the 'shoulds.'"

"On the contrary," I said, "you're just like them. They say that you should be a certain way. And you say that they should be a certain way, or you will feel...

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The Effects of Being Disconnected from Others

Uncategorized Dec 10, 2018

If you want to find out if you’re disconnected from others, just ask the ones who depend on you. Ask them if they feel needed, valued, listened to, taken into your confidence. If so, that is not you.

But, while you might be someone who is not totally cut off from your own connection chip, it is possible that you are disconnected from others from your own needs. This is very common for high performers, leaders, and people who accomplish things. Circumstances or life for whatever reason has taught you that you have to do life or leadership on your own. You, in very practical ways, do not allow yourself to need anyone. And although you care about others and give to them, you are doing that from a disconnected place in relation to your own needs. You are giving out, but not taking much in.

Sometimes this is the natural path by which someone even gets into leadership: A kid is a doer. He or she might even be the sibling who is the family hero or star. The one that kind of takes...

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How to Guard Yourself Against Unsafe Family Members

Uncategorized Dec 09, 2018

When I was still doing my radio show, a woman called into our program and said that she was going to visit her family for Christmas. She was depressed because she knew her grandfather would make things miserable, just as he always did. She dreaded hearing his criticism of her and her lifestyle. We asked her why she had to listen to that, and she responded, “I just have to, that’s all. I have no choice. That is what he does.” 

This woman lost her freedom the minute she walked in the door of that family gathering. She didn’t realize that no one can take away your freedom: she chose to give it up. She was letting her grandfather have power over her, but what she didn’t realize is that she didn’t have to give him permission. She felt that the pressure from her family to just “take it” was so strong, that this is the place where she lost her choices.

As we kept talking, we quickly thought of several choices she could make: 

She...

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Take Power Away from Unsafe Family Members

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2018

Becoming an adult is a process of taking on more and more power and responsibility as we become old enough to handle them. Adults identify with the adult role enough to be able to do grown-up things without conflict, including developing a career, engaging in sexuality, establishing mutual friendships, treating other adults as peers, and having opinions. Adults establish a sense of competency over their lives.

This process of starting as little people and becoming equal with big people begins with bonding, having boundaries and separateness, and resolving good and bad, but ultimately has to do with coming out from under the one-down relationship that a child has to parents and other adults and coming into equal standing as an adult on his or her own. This is final step of development so that one can exercise their gifts and responsibilities. It is a big leap into adulthood, but we are supposed to become equal with other adults.

Adults make decisions, have opinions, establish values...

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This is How to Respond to a Passive-Aggressive Narcissist

Uncategorized Dec 02, 2018

For many of us, family get-togethers can be a real pain in the you-know-what. How wonderful it would be to have a perfect, happy family with no issues. But human beings live messy lives, and we do so many things the wrong way before we have sufficient wisdom to know the best approach. 

Not long ago a friend of mine asked me for advice on how to deal with a passive aggressive, frankly narcissistic text she received from her father about her upcoming visit. It was obviously coming from a place of hurt, and yet there was a lot of care in there, and also aggression and manipulation. It was clear that there were some deeper issues. This was a family in need of boundaries.

I didn't tell my friend exactly what to do, but I did give her a basic framework to think about the problem. I suggested she should wait a bit before she responded, because we always want to make sure that we are responding rather than reacting.

1. Gratitude.  The busy and messy state of so many of our lives...

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Boundaries: What You Prefer vs. What is Wrong

Uncategorized Dec 02, 2018

When setting boundaries with someone, it’s important to differentiate between what you prefer and what’s actually wrong. Before you talk to someone about changing his behavior, figure out if what he is doing is really a “bad” thing or just something you don’t like.

I refer to this distinction as a test I like to call “Would God and the Beverly Hillbillies Agree?” Here’s what I mean: Some things are just things you don’t like and want someone to change, but that person is not really doing anything wrong. Depending on where you come from, it may be acceptable or not.

For example, what is fine to Jed Clampett, the funny patriarch on the old Beverly Hillbillies television show, might be very distasteful to you. He was the kind of person who would keep a raccoon inside his house and stock his swimming pool with catfish. If your spouse did that, it would really bug you. It is all a matter of taste.

In contrast, mistreating people or...

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