Time Doesn't Heal All Things, but Here's What You Can Do

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

Somehow this idea that time heals all wounds has become a very popular one, and yet that kind of thinking can be a big source of pain for a lot of people (especially those with an infected tooth!). Time passing by itself doesn't do much for us at all. It's all of the things that we do that changes us, for better and worse, as we accumulate experiences. For those of us that accept the passage of time but resist making any changes, we shouldn't expect to see much difference.

If someone breaks your heart, and you don't do anything to address the emotional trauma that person has created within you, sure, over time, you might not think about it as much. But it will never be too far from the surface. Those emotional wounds will be ready to rip right open again at the slightest suggestion of any kind of similar trouble.

If someone at work violates your trust in a way that compromises your standing with your boss, do you think those changes are going to heal with time? No, you're going to...

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The Devastating Results of Spiritual Abuse, Shaming

Uncategorized Jun 19, 2020

Laurel’s father had insisted his 22-year-old daughter come see me. Laurel, a college student, was suffering from depression. She had no appetite and had trouble sleeping and studying. Her father accompanied her to the appointment.

“What’s the problem?” I asked Laurel, after we had chatted for a few minutes. But it was her father who responded.

“Well, it’s pretty obvious,” he said, folding his arms across his chest. “She’s not living like she should.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“She’s doing drugs and sleeping around,” he said with disgust. “She’s failing out of college, and she has no idea what she wants to do with her life.” Before I could ask another question, he continued, “If she would open her Bible, go back to church and find Jesus, she wouldn’t be so depressed! All she cares to do is hang around her loser friends.”

“What would happen if she...

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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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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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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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This is How to Respond to a Passive-Aggressive Narcissist

Uncategorized Jun 06, 2020

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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