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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How Consequences Enforce Your Boundaries

Uncategorized May 01, 2020

Wouldn’t it be nice if confrontation ended positively every time? Would it be nice if every time you confronted a hurtful person, he or she repented and you could go on? Of course it would. In fact, your Creator would like for that to be true also. Yet, that’s not the case. What then?

If the person doesn’t respond to the initial confrontation, we need to take a stronger stand by giving him or her some consequences. Consequences work at times when talking does not. For example, if your spouse gets argumentative when you bring up an issue, and continues to do so despite your requests otherwise, you can tell your spouse, “I would love to talk about this. But as I have told you, I don’t like the angry attacks. So I will talk to you about the issue only when a counselor is there. I will make an appointment, and if you want to talk to me about it, I will talk there.” Consequences should not be punitive, just something that naturally follows the...

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What Makes Triangulation a Toxic Behavior

Uncategorized Apr 29, 2020

I have something I call the Deadly Triad, and it refers to a concept called triangulation. We've got 3 people: A, B and C.

Problems always seem to arise when we're dealing with A, B and C. Sometimes these three people are friends, sometimes they're colleagues. They all have relationships with each other and apart.

For instance, we could be talking about a situation in which A should be talking to B but is talking to C about B instead. This combination of people plays out lots of different ways. How do we approach it?

First, name the problem. Start by talking about the disease of triangulation with the people that it might be affecting. Sometimes people’s intent isn’t nefarious, but they’ve found in previous relationships that talking to someone directly hasn’t worked. Now they fear it for some reason. Sometimes A and C will talk to each other about C, because where they have come from, speaking directly could have been dangerous.

So tell them you’ve...

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Can You Say No to Codependent Habits?

Uncategorized Apr 29, 2020

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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When Can You Trust Someone Again?

Uncategorized Apr 26, 2020

Just wanted to leave a quick note about trust. Specifically, If someone said they wanted to be more “trustworthy” in their life, what my advice for them would be...

-Get clear on what trust means to not only you but to those you serve. One of my favorite definitions of “trust” is the “ability to be careless.” Meaning, if we trust someone, we do not have to be looking out for what we have entrusted to them. You put your money in the bank and sleep at night, carelessly not obsessing about whether or not someone is stealing it. They have your back.

Likewise, people who depend upon your performance in some area, should be able to be “careless” and not worry about your performance letting them down. You spouse should be “careless” about worrying where you are and what you are doing. Your boss or board should feel “careless” about the assets they have entrusted to you. Your partners should feel “careless”...

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What Happens When Someone Invalidates Your Feelings

Uncategorized Apr 26, 2020

What is the number one thing that destroys connection and trust? Trust emerges when we can enter someone's reality, validate their experiences, and have ours validated by them as well.

Connection and trust happen when one heart meets another. What destroys connection and trust like nothing else? Invalidation. Invalidation occurs when a person’s experience is all that exists to him or her. And he or she then moves to negate the other person’s experience, treating it as somehow not real or non-existent.

Have you ever had this happen? It feels terrible. Especially when it comes from someone you care about or someone you need.

Think of the contexts of life that change when a person has the ability to connect with the other:

In business, deals are won and sales are made. Medical malpractice lawsuits are avoided when a doctor listens and understands what the patient or family has experienced as a result of an error. In personal relationships, marriages are healed when a...

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Unsafe People Will Apologize Without Changing Their Behavior

Uncategorized Apr 25, 2020

"But he's really sorry this time," she said. "When I confronted him with what I knew, he cried and said he was so heartbroken about what he had done. I could tell he was really torn up about it."

My counselee was referring to her husband, whom she had discovered had been seeing another woman. She was being taken in by his "true pain" over what he had done and his promise never to do it again. However, he had made similar "confessions" countless times before. Each time, he was "so sorry." He cried and made very short-lived 180-degree turnarounds. This was the fourth time that he had been involved with another woman. And each previous time, he had been "sorry."

The truth is, however, that sorry is as sorry does. A synonym to sorry is repentance, and it means a true turnaround. But unlike the "spins" that this man had made, a true turnaround is one that lasts. That does not mean that there is perfect behavior after that point, but that the change is real and bears fruit over time.

To...

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Help Your Adult Children Without Enabling Them

Uncategorized Apr 23, 2020

Being a parent doesn't stop just because our kids reach a certain age. Many of us find that our love for our children is wrapped up in our desire to protect our kids and make sure their basic needs are taken care of, and that can go on well past any given age for a lot of parents. Helping our kids feels really good in the right situation, and sometimes we're the only place they can turn to when they're trying to make positive change in their lives. But we're also the place they're most likely to turn when the going gets tough, and sometimes struggling is necessary for our development.

When do you think it's a good idea to support your adult child directly? Not just moral support or love, but financially?

Every parent-child situation is different, but let's say that all parties agree that you've found a fair way to provide support for your adult child and that you have the means to be able to help them while they work toward a goal.

When you help your adult children, you're a...

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