Don't Get Caught in the Triangulation Trap

Uncategorized Aug 20, 2020

You’re probably familiar with the term “triangulation” as it relates to issues in communication. Let’s break down what it really does and how it affects our relationships.

Triangulation sets up something called the “Victim-Persecutor-Rescuer Triad.” It works like this. Let’s say you have some issue with me, maybe even for a good reason. So, you give me some feedback, or disagree with me, or do something that I either don’t like or don’t want to hear. In any case, I feel like an innocent “Victim” and feel like you are somehow hurting me unfairly, in my mind seeing you as the “Persecutor.” Then, instead of talking through the slight, or the issue, directly with you, I take my hurt feelings and go to a sympathetic third person, and I gripe about you. I do not say to them, “He mentioned this to me, I am sure to help me, and I would like to get your perspective on it as well to see what you think ......

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Immature People Ask Life to Meet Their Demands

Uncategorized Aug 19, 2020

I know a man who runs the a big telecommunications company. He is a transcendent character, and a transcendent leader. To him, life, leadership, and business are all about the “bigger things.” One day, I asked him how he practices his values in his company.

“Well,” he said, “I just believe that businesses succeed when the people are becoming the best that they can be and learn how to come together to be the best that they can be together. So, at the beginning of the year, I always take my team of direct reports on a retreat and we begin with a few questions. The first is ‘What would we like to see happen in the next year?’ That gets us to our vision, and the goals. And we came up with a major one. We said we wanted to do so well that the whole company would stop and want to knowhow we did it. Pretty audacious, to say the least, that kind of goal.

“But, everyone has goals. It is the next steps that count. We then ask ourselves these...

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The 4 Connections That Influence Your Life The Most

Uncategorized Aug 19, 2020

Have you ever gone into a restaurant to meet a friend, sat down and had them say, “So, where are you?”

Funny question if you think about it. “I am sitting right here, you idiot. Where do you think I am?”

But you don’t respond that way because you know that is not what they are really asking. They are asking something say much more profound: “Where are you, the real you? Your heart, mind and soul? The internal you?” They are asking, “How are you doing? How is your existence?”

Interesting that they use the word “where.” As if inside of you, you are in a “place," a space. But, the reality is that is true. You are somewhere inside, just like your phone is located somewhere at all times, and as we have seen, that “somewhere” is in relation to its network. It’s connection.

So here is the inescapable reality: our heart, mind and soul is always somewhere. You exist. You can’t get around it. And...

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When Suffering Helps and When Suffering Hurts

Uncategorized Aug 18, 2020

Suffering can be good. It can take us to places where one more season of “comfort” cannot. But suffering can also be terrible.

Destructive suffering inflicts evil on a person’s heart and soul and is totally outside God’s desire. Although God can bring good out of the experience, the experience itself is no good at all. But there is also therapeutic suffering or “growth suffering.”

So the first thing to do is to distinguish between the destructive and the “growth” sufferings.

Good Pain

Some suffering does have value and produces growth. I call this good pain. We all have coping mechanisms that cover up pain, help us deal with fear, cope with relational inabilities and help us hold it all together. Trials and suffering push those mechanisms past the breaking point so we find out where we need to grow. Then true spiritual growth begins at deeper levels and we are healed. Righteousness and character take the place of coping.

This kind of...

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7 Reasons You Feel Stuck and Hopeless

Uncategorized Aug 17, 2020

Consciously or unconsciously, we are all driven to grow. We see a future that we want to live in, and we are either able to intentionally get there, or we cannot. A major determinant of whether you will get there or not is simply that you actually believe that you can.

We carry around a huge amount of personal baggage from our past experiences that informs our attitudes about the future. In many cases we develop a sense of learned helplessness that causes us to believe that we will never be able to get the future we want. This self-defeating logic is reinforced by our own inaction toward overcoming this baggage from our past. It becomes a pattern.

We get used to not getting what we want. We come to believe that it’s normal. That it’s simply the way things are.

Before we can overcome these issues, we have to understand what they are. This is by no means an all encompassing list of issues that characterize bad past experiences that can prevent you from realizing your own...

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How to Teach Your Teen to Take Responsibility

Uncategorized Aug 17, 2020

My daughters and I recall with laughter the game that we began years ago to combat blaming and excusing in our house. It did not begin with a case of “The dog hate my homework,” but with a dad (me) who was about ready to catch his hair on fire if he heard one more “But she ...” as an excuse by one of them when corrected.

If I would say, “Don’t do that to your sister,” I could pretty much depend on immediately hearing, “But Daddy, she kicked me,” or “She called me ____.” It was driving me crazy, partly because I hate blame and excuses, but more so because as a psychologist, I know that not accepting responsibility is the quickest way to a miserable and unproductive life. I was determined to stamp it out.

So, I did three things. First, the game. We initiated a sign that would let anyone immediately know that someone was sensing an excuse or an attempt to blame someone else. I am not sure where it comes from, but we used...

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Why Your Relationship Isn't Working

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2020

When I have talked to individuals who are not finding what they want, or who are settling for what they don’t want, there is a common theme: they are trying to fill something inside them with that relationship. There is some sort of loneliness or a need to find validation of themselves—or even meaning—in a relationship with a guy. Many women give men way too much power to prove to themselves that they are lovable and desirable and even to make life worth living. They feel as if life is somehow not complete if they are not in a relationship with a guy.

When this happens, it makes letting go of someone, or not getting involved with someone, more difficult. The mantra seems to be that a notso-good relationship is better than no relationship at all. But are those the only options?

The answer is that people who attract the best partners, and who pick the best partners, are those whose lives are complete without being in a serious relationship. “Aw, come on,”...

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Establish Clear Boundaries with Kids, Teens this School Year

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2020

Terri was having problems with her thirteen-year-old son Josh not doing his homework. I helped her come up with a plan that would require Josh to set aside a certain time each night to do homework. During this hour Josh had to be in his study place with nothing else but his work, and he was not to do anything else but study. Terri had no control over whether or not Josh actually chose to study during that time. What she could control was that he do nothing else during that time but sit with his homework.

When I saw her the next time, Terri looked sheepish. She had not lived up to her end of the plan. “What happened?” I asked. “Well, we were all set, and then he got invited to go to a baseball game with his friend. I said no, that his hour was not up yet. But he got so upset, I could not talk him out of it. He seemed so mad and sad.”

“So,” I said, “that’s what he’s supposed to do, remember? He hates discipline. So what did you do...

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How to Develop Trust After You've Been Betrayed

Uncategorized Aug 16, 2020

We trust someone that we know “understands” us, our context, our situation, our needs, what makes it work for us, and what makes it break down. When they truly understand, and we experience that with that understanding, they care, the connection of empathy opens us up to trust them.

Have you ever experienced a situation where you tried to tell someone something you were going through, or tell a boss or a team member about a difficulty you were facing in the work, and you got no understanding? Where the response was something like, “It’s not that bad. You just need to go do such and such.” What happens? You walk out of there thinking, “he just doesn’t get it.” There is no connection, and you are not going to trust them to help. Further, you are not going to be as open to investing more of yourself with someone who doesn’t “get it.”

The highest performing teams are ones that each person around the table understands what...

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Three Mistakes People Make That Will Never Resolve Conflict

Uncategorized Aug 15, 2020

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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