Can You Say No to Codependent Habits?

Uncategorized Jul 08, 2018

Codependency is something that often that needs to be addressed because it can be a huge obstacle in your life, and learning to say no is crucial to removing this obstacle.

Codependency is most simply defined as a tendency to take too much responsibility for the problems of others. While it’s good to care for, help and support people, the codependent crosses a line in the relationship – the line of responsibility. Instead of being responsible to others, the codependent becomes responsible for them. And, unless the other person is your child or someone whose care is entrusted to you, the line of responsibility between the to and the for can become quite blurred. The result is that instead of caring and helping, you begin enabling and rescuing. Enabling and rescuing do not empower anybody. They only increase dependency, entitlement, and irresponsibility. Love builds up strength and character, whereas codependency breaks them down.

Codependency unchecked can take you right...

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The Difference Between Toxic and Imperfect People

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2018

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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Why You Can't Change Your Partner

Uncategorized Jul 07, 2018

Stephanie was in love with Kyle. They were great together. They problem was that they had very different definitions of what “together” meant. For Stephanie, it meant being firmly committed and moving toward marriage. For Kyle, it meant being together when he was around, yet his being free to pursue his sports hobbies whenever he wanted — which took him away on lots of fun trips he wasn’t willing to give up. He loved her, loved being with her, but at this point in his life, he was not the kind of guy to make their relationship as big a priority as sports.

So they were in a battle. They would be together, and it would be great. But then she would want more, he would pull away, she would not like it, and she would begin to exert the pressure. She would say, “I can’t see why he can’t see how great it would be for us to settle down. We could have it all. Why can’t he see that?”

We could have talked for a long time about the reasons...

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How to Deal with Critical People in Your Life

Uncategorized Jul 06, 2018

Several years ago I had spoken at a leadership conference, and I was walking down the hall backstage with a friend of mine, who happened to be the event host. We were talking about the incredible growth and reach of her organization and all the great work it was doing, but something else also came up.

Her organization had its fair share of very vocal critics.

Right before I arrived to speak at this conference, I had read an article about my friend’s organization in a magazine article, and I asked her what she thought of it. Her answer caught be by surprise.

“Can’t say that I’ve seen it. I’ve got other stuff to do and think about.”

Really?” I thought. “You just got blasted by a popular magazine, and it didn’t register?” So, I asked her.

“Really? You just let it go?”

“Overall, yes. I have to do things that my organization depends on me to do. People are going to say what they want, and I have no...

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7 Ways You Can Communicate Better with Your Significant Other

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2018

When we’re having communication problems with someone we care about, it can be frustrating, it can hurt, and it can have us feeling defensive. I’m going to tell you give all of that up, including your pride, and learn to listen to your partner to get to the root of the issue. Here are a few tips.

Focus. Look your partner in the eyes and give all of your attention. Observe your tendency to get out of the connection.

Monitor your thought. As your partner speaks, are you listening or thinking of your response? Are you evaluating what he is saying? Stop that and just allow what your partner is feeling to sink in—to become your experience. Try to get inside his experience and feel what it is like to be him at that moment. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were in his shoes.

Respond nonverbally. Are you nodding or saying “hmm,” or something to let her know you are tracking? Let her know you are with her and truly listening.

Watch your defensiveness. If...

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Staying in Control When You Confront Someone

Uncategorized Jul 05, 2018

If you are the one doing the confronting, and you believe you’ve prepared well for it, then you likely have the self-control to evaluate and speak to another’s behavior. Remember, you’re doing this from a stance of love for the person and the relationship.

Although you’ve prepared well, we all know that it doesn’t turn you into a robot that has no feelings or reactions.

Difficult people often have a strategy to get you upset and out of control. Just as a toddler infuriates his parent until he is in control of the out-of-control parent, some difficult people can arouse your emotions until they are in control of you. In fact, people with their behavior problems and toddlers have many developmental similarities. The key is to not regress into a toddler yourself!

Stay in charge of the only person you can control: yourself. Do not get hooked into saying something you will regret; if you feel that happening, take a breath or a timeout before you say anything....

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This is What Your "No" Muscle Can do for You

Uncategorized Jul 02, 2018

"Your safe people need to point out to you that you aren’t really 'present' when you can’t bring your differences to a relationship."

In most adult children of controlling upbringings, the will be self-directed and separated is undeveloped. We all need the ability to decide what we love and don’t love, like and don’t like, want and don’t want. However, the children of controlling upbringings often can’t separate their feelings and values from those of the significant people in their lives: mom, spouse, or friends, for example. They aren’t able to be distinct in their relationships.

The process begins by first owning a “no muscle.” We can’t really know who we are until we know who we aren’t. That’s why babies go through the “no” stage first. They must first become aware of their differences from their parents before they can explore their own traits and characteristics. In the same way, you need to...

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The One Thing We All Have in Common? We All Struggle, and It's OK!

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2018

I once led a retreat in a secluded setting for a few days. Eight people from all over the country had gathered together to support each other and go through the material I was presenting. The first night I had them all talk about where they were in their lives and what they desired to get from our few days together.

We went around the circle and each story was different. The first person had gone through an ugly split. The second one was having significant marriage problems. The third was dealing with the betrayal of a life long business partner. The fourth was doing very well and asking how to deal with success. The fifth was burned out. And then the sixth said something I will never forget.

He was the youngest of the bunch, new in his field of work. The other members of the group were older and further along the path, some with very significant careers. In his mind, they were the models of what he was supposed to be like.

When it was his turn, I asked him what the would like to...

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When Suffering Leads to Pain and When Suffering Leads to Growth

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2018

I hate exercise, but I do it. I hate lifting weights and riding my exercise bike, but I do it. I do it because, if I do, I will be healthier, will live longer, and will feel better.

So, why bring up exercise when we're talking about suffering and grief? Well, first of all, it shows you that I am naturally lazy. But seriously, I bring it up because physical exercise and suffering is analogous to personal growth and suffering. Pain can bring health. As we go through the pain of exercising our bodies, we gain strength and good things happen. But there is something else at work.

Physiologists tell us there is a reason I am sore after I lift weights: in fact, as I write this, I am really sore, as I just resumed weight lifting after several months off. I am sore because I have worked my muscles past their ability. I have stretched their capacity. After my workout they re-create and rejuvenate and grow back to a higher level of development than before. I tear down to rebuild. And through...

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Here's What You Do With Feelings of Anger

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2018

Aspects of the self can be paired with guilt messages, and certainly, anger is one of those. Some people feel guilty whenever they feel themselves getting angry. But there is another problem with anger.

Anger is a state of protest and fight. We are wired with this emotion inside of ourselves to be “against” something. We use anger to fight injustice, unrighteousness, evil, and other bad things. Anger is a problem-solving emotion designed to protect what is good and what is valuable.

But sometimes people have not expressed anger toward bad things that have happened to them because they have happened in a context in which expressing anger would have been dangerous. So these people deny their anger.

The problem is that anger is directional. It has to be aimed at something. It is supposed to be aimed at injustice or the person who is being unfair. But if this is not possible - for example, in cases of child abuse - people will aim the anger at themselves instead. Abused...

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