Don't Let Someone Project Guilt to Influence Your Decisions

Uncategorized Nov 04, 2019

When it comes to making decisions, one of the things we experience is guilt. When you choose to do something for yourself, or make any kind of decision based on your conviction that it is the right thing to do, you may sometimes feel as if you have done something bad because of people’s adverse reactions.

[RELATED: Stand up against emotional manipulation.]

I had one experience along these lines when a friend put his elderly mother in an assisted care facility. His family had been helping her in many ways as she got up in years. Although she was relatively healthy, the burden was getting to be too much for any of them. The situation had reached the point where their family life could not continue intact if she were not where she could get the kind of help they could not provide.

When my friend told his mother of their decision, she ranted at him with enough guilt messages to weigh down several families. “After all I’ve done for you.” She began, and it went on...

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Life Isn’t Less Messy Because the Holidays are Here

Uncategorized Nov 02, 2019

The holidays can be a tough time for people that are feeling down. If you're not feeling holiday cheer, many people think you're a grinch.

But not everyone wants to “deck the halls” and sing “fa-la-la-la-la.”

[RELATED: YOUR FREE BOUNDARIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS SURVIVAL COURSE IS HERE! GET ACCESS NOW.]

Some people get the holiday blues every year, whether because of some bad memories or past experiences that they haven't dealt with, or simply because of the stress. Others have experienced misfortune recently: a bad breakup or the loss of a job. Likewise, people dealing with serious depression don't get a break from their demons just because Santa is coming to town.

It's important to remember that life doesn't stop happening to people just because there are Christmas lights out. Life can be messy and real, and we have to make room in our hearts to understand that some people are dealing with a lot this season.

One of the worst things we can do to people is to tell...

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What a Car Accident Taught Me About Responsibility

Uncategorized Oct 31, 2019

My father was awesome. I loved him with all my heart. He was my mentor, coach, fuel, and supporter in so many ways. He was also big on responsibility and accountability.

As far back as I can remember, my father always told me that I was going to go to college if I wanted to. He would say, “Son, don’t worry about college. It is already paid for. That’s my job. But your job is to study hard so you can get in. I can’t do that for you. But then, after you go, I’m done. You’ll be on your own.” Then with a smile he would add, “You can drop by for a sandwich if you want, but don’t expect much more than that.”

[RELATED: Learn about what you're responsible to and what you're responsible for.]

I will never forget one time when this responsibility arrangement felt like the last thing I needed or wanted. I felt I needed help—big-time help—not responsibility.

It was the summer of my freshman year in college, and I was at...

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When You Rescue An Angry Person ... You'll Only Have to Do It Again

Uncategorized Oct 28, 2019

I was on a financial radio show taking calls about setting boundaries in families with financial issues. A woman called about her forty-year-old sister to whom she and her husband had been giving money for several years. It seemed that the sister had a lot of problems and “needed their help,” as she put it. But the caller was beginning to wonder if helping was really helping. In other words, in spite of all the “help” they had given her sister, she was not getting any more self-sufficient. 

[RELATED: 3 Tools to Stop Habits of Enabling Toxic Behavior in Others]

“Does she work?” I asked. 

“No, she lives off my father’s Social Security,” she said. “But that, along with some other family money, does not seem to be enough. Or, more accurately, she always seems to overspend what she has coming in. So we always help her out in the crunch. My husband and I are getting tired of it.” 

“Has she had mental...

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Stop the Negative Thinking Patterns from Spiraling in Your Mind

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2019

The minds of some people seem to work negatively all the time on just about everything. Whatever the event, problem or opportunity, they cast a dark light on it which discourages them and keeps them from the moves they need to make. For them, the glass is always half-empty, and the light at the end of the tunnel is always a train.

[RELATED: STAND UP TO SHAME, AND GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR REALITY.]

Research indicates that negative thinkers will key in on three basic areas of life: themselves, the world and the future. They see themselves as unlucky, even as losers who never get a break. They look at the world as unfriendly to them, oppressing their chances, and giving others more opportunity. They don’t see their future as positive and hopeful. It seems bleak and dark, with no hope to brighten up.

You may have tendencies toward negative thinking and not even be aware of them. You may think you are simply being realistic. You may even think, “Those positive thinkers are out...

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The Structure Your Child Needs Comes Down to Love

Uncategorized Sep 21, 2019

In today’s environment, we often question how much of a child’s time needs to be on a schedule. We don’t want to over-schedule a child so that they never have a childhood, so where do we find that balance? I get concerned, more so at older ages, that kids have way more activities than they can metabolize. Plus, I mourn for all of the “childhood” experiences that they are missing on their way to the Olympics. It is scary.

[RELATED: STAND UP TO MOMMY SHAMING.]

Having said that, the first thing we have to remember is that there is a difference between “scheduled” or “programmed” vs. “structured.” Let’s get that one straight first. To my mind, what scheduled or programmed means is that the tasks or activities that are going to be happened are decided and defined for the child. They are in dance, or art, or some activity that is set for them. These are very good for a few reasons.

First of all, they build skills in...

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Setting Boundaries with Toxic People at Work

Uncategorized Sep 20, 2019

When you’re dealing with difficult people, be prepared to encounter resistance, arguments, justifications, excuses, attacks and the like. Just learn to accept that as part of the territory and do not try to fix it. That’s not your job, and the less you get caught up in rabbit trails, the clearer things will be for you.

[RELATED: HOW TO STAND UP TO A SOMEONE WHO GASLIGHTS YOU.]

But when you’re confronting someone at work, especially a boss, what you know about addressing personal issues may not be to your benefit in a professional setting. Whenever I teach on this, I get questions about the workplace, because people often do not feel free to say anything out of fear of losing their jobs.

And I appreciate those questions, as there is a hierarchy of needs in life. It’s more critical that you have food and clothing than a boss who is kind to you. However, that doesn’t do away with the need to be treated in humane ways either. If you are in a toxic work...

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When You Set Boundaries, Your Consequences Will Maintain Them

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2019

Danielle had a problem with tardiness. She believed time was like an accordion; the more events you packed into it, the more it would simply stretch to accommodate the activities. As a result, she always planned too many things for a particular time period, thinking she had time to do them, and then ended up half an hour late for the last one. This not only kept her rushed and unable to relax and enjoy life but also inconvenienced her friends who had set aside time to be with her. 

[RELATED: THREE FREE TOOLS TO HELP YOU BREAK CODEPENDENT HABITS]

When she joined a support group, she immediately became an active and involved member. She was a caring person and so well liked that when her lateness trait emerged, the group quickly forgave it. In fact, they would wait until she rushed in before they'd start discussing issues. They finally saw that the problem wasn't getting better, so they told her, "Danielle, we care about you, but we're concerned about your tardiness. It's bad...

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The Hardest Boundaries You'll Set in Your Life

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2019

In each of our lives, there's one person who's always tearing us down, who recklessly spends our money and makes inexplicable decisions that cost us valuable time, and sometimes that person can let us down like no one else. Yep, I'm talking about myself. And you. And everyone who struggles to place boundaries that they can adhere to in their own lives.

Being mature about the boundaries we set for ourselves is tough.

[RELATED: THREE FREE TOOLS TO HELP YOU BREAK CODEPENDENT HABITS]

How to begin:

Address your real need!

Out-of-control patterns often disguise themselves as something else. You need to address the underlying need before you can deal with the out-of-control behavior. For example, impulsive eaters may discover that food is a way to separate and stay safe from romantic and sexual intimacy. Their fear of being faced with those kinds of emotionally laden situations may cause them to use food as a boundary. As their internal boundaries with the opposite sex become firmer, they...

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Having Difficult Conversations about Boundary Violations

Uncategorized Sep 16, 2019

Amanda had issues with her in-laws and wasn't sure how to address the boundary violations that had occurred since she and her husband had gotten married.

"They like to tell us how things should be," she said. "I think his mom comes from a good place sometimes, but she comes across as overly critical."

I explained to her that a good place to start is being emotionally present and connected while confronting her mother-in-law, and this is something that will require quite a bit of grace.

When you're present with someone, it means you're in touch and in tune with your own feelings as well as those of the other person. This is so important because when we are there, meaning, emotionally present, we make ourselves available to the other person. Amanda's mother-in-law won't be shut off from her while she's telling her a difficult reality about the relationship. Confrontation is not easy to absorb for anyone, but presence and connection help make that tolerable.

Also, when you are present...

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