Why Toxic People Can't Give You the Truth

Uncategorized Dec 23, 2020

One of the most valuable things you can do with your safe people, ranking up there with asking for help, needing, and melting resistance, is simply to invite the truth about yourself. We have so many blind spots and areas where we aren’t aware of our self-destructiveness. 

There are lots of ways to implement this step. You can ask for feedback in a hundred different ways. However, it could be summarized into two questions. If you will regularly ask these two questions to your safe people, and use the answers, your life can flourish. They are:

1. What do I do that pushes you away from me?
2. What do I do that draws you toward me?

There are few more difficult words to ask a person, yet nothing more helpful. When you ask these questions, you’re saying several important things to your safe people. You’re telling them:

• I value how you feel about me.
• I want you to be a very important part of my life.
• I respect what you observe in me.
• I...

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What it Means to be Independent from Your Mom

Uncategorized Dec 22, 2020

If you had a controlling mom, you’ve most likely experienced problems in separation, autonomy, and individualization — becoming your own person. We’ll go through the necessary steps to repair yourself, but first, let’s clarify the real problem.

A controlling mom may be the hardest mother type to perceive accurately and realistically. The bottom-line issues and dynamics are often difficult to identify. This is because of the following two tendencies:

1.) To see mom as the solution. While the controlling mom may be controlling and enmeshing, she can also be loving and supportive. Her care and concern are often genuine. She can be very involved in her child’s life in positive ways. Because of this, the symptoms — depression, relational conflicts, and independence failures — don’t necessarily lead you to wonder about mom issues. In fact, you may even return to mother over and over again for support in the very problems that began with her....

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Empathize with Others Hurting This Holiday Season

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2020

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.”

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 them how they should feel. That's a one-way communication and it invalidates that person's...

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The Three-Stage Process for Facing Your Fears

Uncategorized Dec 17, 2020

I want to share a story with you on how NOT to be ruled by fear.  
 
"I know that I hold on to people too long, way past when I know I have to make a change," a CEO told me. "I have always done that, and it costs me." 
 
"What are you afraid of?" I asked. 
 
"I don't think I'm afraid," he said. "I just don't want to hurt them, and I always try to protect them." 
 
"What's the fear?" I asked again. 
 
It took him a while to get to it, but underneath it all, he was afraid for others to have to go through a struggle. 

The problem is that the brain is wired to avoid pain and anxiety. Over time, when you continue to avoid things that cause you fear or anxiety, such as this CEO's fear of letting someone struggle, a pattern builds up, causing you to respond almost automatically to any situations that would cause you anxiety. But you cannot allow a pattern of fear and avoidance rule you. If you are afraid of making a mistake, you will...

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There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Angry

Uncategorized Dec 17, 2020

Many people conceal their negative feelings of anger, sadness, and fear. These people are unable to cope with good and bad because they have never processed these negative feelings, and they suffer from many problems, such as fear of relationships, depressions, and anxiety as a result. Negative feelings are valid, and they must be dealt with so they won't cause problems.

Anger, our most basic negative emotion, tell us that something is wrong. We tend to protect the good we don't want to lose. Anger is a signal that we are in danger of losing something that matters to us. When people are taught to suppress their anger, they are taught to be out of touch with what matters to them. It is good to feel angry because anger warns us of danger and shows us what needs protecting. But, we are not to be mean or abusive in our attempt to solve a problem. This would mean to resolve it in some unloving way and would ultimately hurt us as well as each other.

Major consequences for denying our...

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The Difference Between Toxic and Imperfect People

Uncategorized Dec 16, 2020

Twenty five years ago, John Townsend and I wrote a book called Boundaries. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

In talking with some people who have read the book, we’ve realized that a few have selfishly misused the point, which is to make relationships better. Instead, these people have tried to use boundaries to control other people or to make a big deal out of very small issues. So understand what we mean when we say you are to avoid toxic people: Imperfect behavior is not the same as toxic behavior. It’s important to learn the difference between problems that we should expect in relationships because people are imperfect, and problems that are toxic and need to be worked through or else avoided.

Not all things or people are toxic. There is no reason to start a war over someone’s immaturity or perfections that rub us the wrong way. That is the time for us to grow in patience and longsuffering, the ability to wait on people as they grow and mature.

Wisdom tells us...

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Don't Let Someone's Guilt Influence Your Decisions

Uncategorized Dec 15, 2020

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.

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 from there. “Just send me away to die!”...

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Tis’ the Season to Set Some Boundaries with Family

Uncategorized Dec 14, 2020

When you were born, you were placed into a family for a season of time to help you grow into a mature adult. At some point this season ends, and your relationship with your parents changes from child-to-parent to adult-to-adult. The roles change from dependency and authority to mutuality. While you are to respect and care for your mother and father, you are no longer under their protection and tutelage. Children are to obey parents, while adult children are to love and honor them. Therefore, situations will occur where you need to make decisions and set boundaries with family with which they may not agree.

For example, you might decide to spend some traditional holiday time apart from your family. This can often be a cause for a confrontational talk:

You: “Mom, I wanted to let you know as soon as I could that I’ve made plans to go to the mountains with some friends this Christmas. I know this will be the first Christmas I won’t be with you and Dad, so I wanted to...

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Is it the Blues, or is it Depression?

Uncategorized Dec 11, 2020

A few years ago someone asked me the difference between being in a funk and experiencing depression. It’s important to know when you have the “blues” and when you are truly depressed and need help. Let’s look at the dynamics of each.

If you have the “blues” about something specific, you can pinpoint why you feel the way you do and then take the appropriate action – talking the problem over with a friend, working through the relationship issues that are causing the feelings, moving on to a new relationship, developing spiritual disciplines, expressing your feelings more, starting an exercise routine, and so forth. There’s a reason, there’s an answer, and you implement it – with the support of people who care about you, you will feel better with a little time and a great deal of effort.

Overcoming a breakup, for example, is something you can recognize and deal with. It takes time, support, effort, and some changes, but you...

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Simple Tricks for Confronting Fear and Anxiety

Uncategorized Dec 05, 2020

Fears, like bad dreams, are best disposed of in the light of day. Expose your fears to yourself and others you trust. Identify them and where they came from. They are much less powerful when you can look at them in the light. Say to yourself, “I have not taken a risk in an important area of my life because I’m afraid that:

  • I will lose a relationship. Are you sure? Or will that person just get mad and withdraw for a while?
  • Someone will get mad at me. The anger of others is unpleasant, but you must be able to tolerate people being mad at you to be successful.
  • I might hurt somebody’s feelings. Certainly, you could. But hurt and harm are two different things. You don’t want to harm, but discomfort can be a help to someone.
  • I might lose my job. Check out the reality of that fear with someone who is balanced. Is the situation truly that fragile?
  • I might fail. You might. You might not. And failure is often a blessing.
  • I might be disappointed. That is possible. When...
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