How We Find Safe Relationships with Others

Uncategorized May 17, 2020

After 30 years in the profession of helping people, I have come to understand something: we cause much of our pain by the people we choose. In every kind of clinical issue that psychologists deal with, relationships are a big part of the picture in some way.

Consider these questions:

• Are you experiencing the same problems or feelings that you’ve experienced in previous relationships?
• Do you find that you continually pick people to fall in love with or become close friends with who hurt you in some way?
• Do you find yourself wondering if there are any “good ones” out there?
• Do you often go through periods of emotional turmoil as a result of choosing someone who wasn’t good for you?
• Is “How did I get myself into this?” a frequent question you ask yourself?

A lot of people can relate to these feelings. Their relationships leave them lacking in some way, leaving them to wonder why they end up in the situations they do....

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Why You Shouldn't Even Try to Please Everyone

Uncategorized May 16, 2020

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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Setting Boundaries at Work After COVID-19

Uncategorized May 15, 2020

What do boundaries for leaders look like at work? They are made up of two essential things: what you create and what you allow. A “boundary” is a property line. It defines where your property begins and ends. If you think about your home, on your property, you can define what is going to happen there, and what is not.

As a leader in the workplace, you are in charge of the vision, the people you invite in, what the goals and purposes are going to be, what behavior is going to be allowed and what isn’t. Leaders build and allow the culture. You set the agenda, and you make the rules. And what you find there, you own. It is your creation or your allowances that have made it be. Simply stated, the leaders’ boundaries define and shape what is going to be and what isn’t. In the end, as a leader, you are always going to get a combination of two things: what you create and what you allow.

I  was leading an offsite for a health care company,...

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When Someone Tries to Blame You, Respond Like This

Uncategorized May 10, 2020

You may have heard me talk about this before — blame is the parking brake for improvement. So what happens when someone tries to place blame on you? The reality is, you need to embrace the idea of staying separate when someone is defensive or in denial. This is very important. Their strategy is to not have to take ownership of whatever it is that you are trying to get them to own. So, they will deflect, excuse, minimize, blame or throw out a whole host of responses to keep from being responsible. When they do, staying separate from all of that noise is important. Staying separate from all of their attempts to avoid responsibility means that you will not get sidetracked and lose the focus of what you are trying to communicate.

Stay in touch with what you want and what you think. Do not lose that and get talked out of it, unless you are truly being shown the light. And with a defensive blamer, that is unlikely. So, hold on to yourself and remember this formula: ...

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Moving Forward After Your Spouse Has an Affair

Uncategorized May 08, 2020

When we take responsibility for ourselves, we’re saying that we no longer want to feel “stuck” or burdened by the people and situations that have caused hurt in our lives. As I talk to individuals in different capacities, I’ve found that many people don’t want to take responsibility for their lives. People often remain stuck because they want other people to change. They want others to make it better, and often those people won’t. As a result, they are in bondage to others. I had a client who had four small children. Her husband left her abruptly for another woman. What he did to her was horrible; she had every reason in the world to feel betrayed, angry, abandoned, depressed and over-whelmed. And as long as she expressed those feelings of “look what he’s done to me,” there was no movement. These are natural feelings to have when someone has been done wrong, but they should gradually lead to a sense of ownership of the...

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6 Ways to Have a Better Relationship with Your Adult Children

Uncategorized May 06, 2020

Very few parent-child relationships make it out of the teenage and young adult years without some battle scars. We all have them! This being said, there's often some work that can be done to strengthen and/or repair even the strongest relationships between grown-up kids and their parents. Other than giving love, moral support and being an ally, one of the best things parents can do is to allow their adult kids to set up their own boundaries within the relationship. This is a time of profound emotional, spiritual and overall life development for young people, and finding your 'sea-legs' in the rocky waters of adulthood can mean temporarily pushing away from those closest to you. I've mentioned it before, as a parent you can say the same things to your kids over and over yet they never listen, but the minute an aunt, uncle or family friend mentions it to them all of a sudden they think it's genius advice.

We just have to be there, waiting, respectful of our adult child's autonomy,...

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Boundaries Teach Your Teens to Become Responsible Adults

Uncategorized May 05, 2020

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 into 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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Are You Owning Your Adult Child's Problems?

Uncategorized May 04, 2020

Do your kids have problems? Whose problems are they, really?

A lot of parents tell me all about how their adult children have this problem or that problem. Sometimes you'll find a parent who will come to you and say something like, “My 23 year old son has a failing out of school problem, he's got a drug problem and he has a can't get a job problem.'

I'll ask, 'Well, where is your son now?'

Sometimes the answer is, “Oh, well, he's on the couch right now. He wouldn't come with us today because he doesn't think he has any problems.” Other times, the answer is something like, 'Oh, well, he's skiing in Vail, Colorado right now.'

I have to tell these parents something that surprises them. Every. Single. Time.

I say, “Oh I see. Well, I can only help people with problems. I don't think I can help your son. It doesn't sound like he's got any problems.”

The parent gets flustered. “What do you mean? I just told you about all of these problems. Of course he's...

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The Rules You Can Apply When Dealing With Toxic People

Uncategorized May 02, 2020

I want to tell you about a business relationship I had with a person who was very, very difficult to talk to. This person could turn a simple conversation into a Supreme Court Case. He just had a way of making it a lot harder than it needed to be. So, I had a rule: I never called this person if I had anything following the call that required a clear head and concentration. I know that I would need a cold-water head dunk afterward, so I just did not want to be in the position of talking to such a downer right before something important.

I know other people who have extended family members who are so toxic, they don’t allow themselves to visit them alone. They make a rule: I will visit them only if I can take a friend with me. They find that to not be alone with act person is the only way that they can keep from being hurt by them.

Here’s another example: Several years ago, I was accosted by a drunk neighbor who didn’t like the way I had parked my car on the street....

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What Keeps Some People in Bad Relationships

Uncategorized May 01, 2020

"Understanding fear and how you tend to back off may be the step of awareness that help you make better choices."

Alicia feared losing Daniel. She was so afraid of being alone that she could not say no to him. Blinding herself to the problem, she would take any chance of staying with him. She was controlled by fear.

Have you thought about why you are afraid of confronting another person? If you haven’t, your fears will probably hold you back, and you won’t get the outcome you desire.

Here are some common fears. Do you relate to any of these?

  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of disapproval
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of the other person’s anger
  • Fear of requiring another person to take responsibility
  • Fear of depriving someone
  • Fear of conflict
  • Fear of being mean
  • Fear of being seen as the “bad guy.”
  • Fear of not knowing how to confront
  • Fear of a lack of closure in a relationship or conflict
  • Fear of one’s own imperfection and the feeling of...
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