3 Types of Pain That Affect You and What You Can Do About It

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 Teach Your Teens to Become Responsible Adults

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2018

It was a normal day, but one that would forever change my friend’s parenting. We had finished dinner, and I was visiting with my friend, Allison, and her husband, Bruce, when she left the dinner table to do some chores. Bruce and I continued to talk until a phone call took him away as well, so I went to see if I could lend Allison a hand.

I could hear her in their 14-year-old son Cameron’s room. I walked in to a scene that jolted me. She was cheerfully putting away clothes and sports equipment and making the bed. She struck up a conversation as if things were normal: “I can’t wait for you to see the pictures from our trip. It was so much—” “What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m cleaning up Cameron’s room,” she said. “What does it look like I’m doing?” “You are what?” “I told you. I’m cleaning up his room. Why are you looking at me like that?” All I could do was to...

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Seven Ways to Disrespect Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Jun 11, 2018

Building boundaries in dating situations means that a couple needs to know that their feelings, needs, and freedom are respected. When someone is uncomfortable in a sexual situation, or is hurt by a sarcastic remark, or becomes angry with a broken promise, that is a signal that something is going on. The other person needs to take those feelings seriously. The couple needs to talk about what triggered this, and solve the problem.

Disrespect may come out in several ways, and it usually involves some violation of freedom in one of seven ways:

1. Dominating: The other person won’t hear “no” from her date. When he disagrees, she intimidates, threatens, or rages. She is offended by her date’s freedom to choose. For example, a woman may want her boyfriend to spend lots of time with her. When he tells her he’d prefer to do other things, she may disrespect his freedom by becoming angry and telling him their relationship will be jeopardized.

2. Withdrawal: One...

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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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Three Ways to Fail at Handling Conflict — And One That Works

Uncategorized Jun 07, 2018

Have you ever had a relationship where you thought everything was going okay, and then you didn’t call home when you were going to be late, and your partner treated you like you had leprosy?

Or, have you thought you were doing well in a sport, and then played a rotten game, and felt enormous hatred for yourself? It felt as if you were a total failure, all bad.

Or, have you ever prepared a special meal for friends, planning the perfect evening together, then the cake falls and the whole evening is ruined?

The world around us is good and bad. The people around us are good and bad. We are good and bad.

Our natural tendency is to try and resolve the problem of good and evil by keeping the good and the bad separated. We want, by nature, to experience the “good me,” the “good other,” and the “good world” as all good. To do this, we see the “bad me,” the “bad other,” and the “bad world” as all bad. This creates a...

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Why you shouldn't even try to please everyone

Uncategorized May 31, 2018

To some extent, we’re all guilty of people-pleasing, some more than others. But there are so many reasons not to please everyone that it would be difficult to list them all here. Seeking others’ approval steals time, energy and focus, and even if you did make everyone happy, you’d be worse off.

If you are making everyone happy, you are also making some of the wrong people happy! You’re trying to please people who are judgmental, controlling or arrogant, people who require others to do what they want them to do before they extend approval. So, to keep hurtful people happy, you must do some things that are not good in the long run. You have to make some bad choices to keep these people smiling.

So, here’s what you do — You make decisions based on what is best, not on who is going to like it. Here are a few examples:

  • Choosing a profession that is right for you, even if your friends or family would like for you to do something different.
  • Standing up...
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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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People Who Try to Control You with Their Feelings Are Immature

Uncategorized May 25, 2018

Jim came into therapy because of his inability to get things done at home. He said, “I am irresponsible, and my wife is very displeased with me. I can’t seem to follow through on anything.”

“What sorts of things don’t you follow through on?” I asked.

“Well, Jean wants me to rake the yard, plant a flower garden, fix the patio, remodel the kitchen, take the kids to the movies, make more money ... .”

The list went on and on. “Did you promise to do all those things?”

I asked, when Jim paused to take a breath.

“Yes.”

“Do you want to do all those things?” I asked.

“Not really, but I have to,” he replied.

“What do you mean, ‘You have to?’” I asked further.

“Well, if I don’t, Jean will get mad and say that I don’t love her.”

I was beginning to get the picture. “You mean that you promise to do anything Jean wants? How in the world can you make...

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