Tag Archives: Sam and Beth

Screwed Up But Healthy

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I just had to laugh when Beth—referring to her progress—said this in a recent session:

“I’m still screwed up, but in a healthy way.”

To say the least, I was puzzled by that comment, so I asked, “What do you mean?”

“I’m the product of a dysfunctional household,” she said.  “But I’m in a much healthier place now.  I can handle my mom’s rude and critical comments better. I’m less apt to take them personally.”

That’s all good—I’m happy for her.

What does “screwed up but healthy” mean in your world?

To read more posts about Beth, click on the tag ‘Sam and Beth’ below.

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Filed under Client of the Week, General Interest

Guilt is a Cruel Dictator

domineering mother cropped

Beth feels guilty because she doesn’t want her mother to watch her 2-year-old son. She would prefer to use her mother-in-law, her husband Sam’s mom. Why? Because Beth doesn’t want her son to be exposed to the same belittling treatment she experienced as a child.

Beth feels strongly about her position, but teeters at times. She’s weakened by her mom’s guilt tactics.

“Maybe I should let her,” Beth said.

I told her this:

 “Guilt should never be the basis for our decisions. It’s a poor judge of what’s right.”

“Your priority is your son, not your mother and not your guilt. Can you imagine the amount of guilt you would feel if your son experienced even a portion of the emotional abuse you experienced?”

Wiping away tears, she nodded. “You’re right.”

By the end of the session, Beth was relieved. She learned several things that gave her a new way of seeing things. For one, she learned it was okay to set a boundary—even right to do so!

Moving forward, Beth and Sam will avoid mentioning babysitting, period. Instead, they’ll arrange times for their son to visit grandma when either Sam or Beth can be present. And if Beth’s mom starts using guilt tactics, Beth will change the subject.

We don’t have to be held hostage to guilt or to those who wield it like a weapon.

To read more about Sam and Beth, click on their tag below.

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Client of the Week, General Interest, Get Free, Parenting

Call It a Relationship Virus

Bacteria 1 under microscope

I’ve written about Beth and Sam before (on 2/7/13 and 3/21/13). After divorcing Sam, Beth decided she didn’t really want to leave him after all. Within a few months they were back together. When I asked her what changed her mind, she said, “I’ve discovered that anger fades a lot faster than love.”

Today, they’re still doing well. “It’s because we talk things through,” Sam said. They don’t let things fester or go unsaid. They use a technique I taught them called “Checking-In.” In a calm conversational tone—the kind that doesn’t invite defensiveness—one partner asks: “What are you thinking right now?”

“We use it when we want to know if everything’s okay,” Amy said. She readily admits that she needs this more than Sam. “I’m guilty of making assumptions,” she said, “and then I react poorly.”

A book that keeps her on track—one she swears by—is called The Four Agreements by Don Ruiz. In a delightful, simple and oftentimes humorous way, he illuminates how we sabotage our relationships and inner peace. Making assumptions is one of the pot holes.

As I pointed out in my post, “It All Took Place in a Sunny Cafe,”  studies show that 90% of the assumptions we make are untrue.

In terms of well running relationships, instead of making assumptions or jumping to conclusions, we need to stay open-minded and seek clarification—get the other person’s story.

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Client of the Week, Couples, General Interest

The Latest Wow: The Power of Love

Remember Beth? I mentioned her in an earlier post.  She and Sam got a divorce several months ago but then decided to give it another go. In that post I asked her, “What made you change your mind?” She said, “I’ve discovered that anger fades a lot faster than love.”

They’re living together now to discover whether the love that joined them initially is stronger than the issues that separated them.

In our last session, Beth talked about a recent ah-ha moment:

“It used to irritate me when Sam would leave lights on. Now, it makes me smile. I just see it as a quirk. Besides, I can find him anywhere in the house. All I have to do is follow the lights.”

Hmmm. Same issue, just a different way of seeing it. Nothing is changed, but everything is changed. Now that love is a dominant force in their relationship, the colors in their world are brighter.

Happy for them!

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Couples, General Interest, The Latest Wow!

Introducing ‘The Latest Wow!’

I’m setting up a new category of posts called, “The Latest Wow.”   Sometimes when I’m meeting with a client, I’m utterly moved by something they say.  That’s when I interrupt them with, “Don’t say another word, I’ve gotta write that down!”   So, without further ado, here’s the first ‘Wow”:

After getting divorced, Beth and her ex decided to give their relationship another try. I asked her, “What made you change your mind?” She said, “I’ve discovered that anger fades a lot faster than love.”

 

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Couples, The Latest Wow!