Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Latest Wow: Stay Out of the Mud!

Sometimes, we have to make the same mistake a bazillion times before we wake up.  It’s downright humiliating! One of  my clients knows this experience all too well. His mistake was assuming responsibility for the happiness of others. Since this just can’t work, he was continually banging his head against the wall.

In time he woke up!  I knew it when he wowed me with something he had learned while growing up on the farm:

“You can’t get a pig out of the mud if it doesn’t want out. More often than not, you end up in the mud yourself–you get muddy. Pigs like to soak in the mud. Why try to get that other person out of the mud when they want to be there?”

Any thoughts?

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Filed under Get Free, The Latest Wow!

Get in Touch with Your Inner Teenager

Let’s face it, there’s something  about our teenage spirit we miss. Yes, back then we were reckless–even stupid at times, but there was something horrendously precious about it, too. Call  it our free spirit, our drive, our passion.

How  do we recover  that spirit? Maybe the answer lies in recovering that which we abandoned amid life’s  assortment of manifold compromises, expectations, and superficial  preoccupations. I surmise we abandoned what deeply gratifies us.

In 2009, I  wrote a column about this. This is how it starts out:

Get in touch with your inner teenager and rebel against mindless  conformity! How much joy is sacrificed because we  walk  around on auto-pilot,  enduring a boring existence? Instead of steering our own course, many of us tend to follow the herd–sometimes right over  the cliff.

That’s what happened to Drake’s brother Clay … continue reading

How have you gotten in touch with your inner teenager lately?

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Filed under General Interest, Get Free

The Latest Wow: Teenage Daughters Trigger Psychosis in Their Mothers

I know this is true, not because I had daughters–I had sons–but because I had a mother, and I know what I did to her.  She vented about it regularly.

Well, now that I’m a therapist, I hear other mothers vent.  Just like my mother, I’m certain they can’t help themselves.  They must vent.  Maybe it slows down the looming psychosis . . . who knows?

What I do is listen, give advice, and soooooo understand.  One particular mother comes to mind. I’ll call her Tina.  She wasn’t concerned about impending psychosis.  No, her worry was about aging.  “See these gray hairs?” she said. “My daughter is making this happen to me!  She’s not aging . . . I am!”

I was already rolling on the floor, but she wowed me with this one:

Salee, I want to stay young enough to enjoy old age.

So, how do you avoid getting gray hairs from your kids?

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Filed under General Interest, Parenting, The Latest Wow!

How to Get Hippos to Eat Their Veggies (Not Easy)

According to Newton’s Laws, any force we exert will result an equal amount of force in the opposite direction. Somehow this principle escapes us when our child refuses to do something.

My clients, Sara and Mark, are keen examples.  Force hasn’t worked–their efforts are backfiring when it comes to their seven-year-old son, Brendon.  “He just doesn’t listen!” Sara said in a state of full exasperation.

This monster, in a cute-little-boy costume, connives daily to bring misery to his parents’ lives.  He refuses to pick up his toys, pretends to brush his teeth, jumps on the bed, and takes an immense amount of time to get dressed.

Is Brendon a monster?  Not really. He’s just guilty of trying to be in charge of himself at a very early age. No one can fault him for that, but he’s not the wise one here–his parents are.  I first told them about Newton and then advised them in ways I do all parents with young children.

Click here to read about Abby and Bryan with a similar problem.

By our next session Sara and Mark had some successes to report. Brendon was asked, “Do you want your snack tonight, or do you want to keep throwing your fit?” He decided against the fit-throwing, and when given the choice of putting his shoes on at home or in the car, he balked–refusing to make a choice.  So his dad made it for him.  Without a single word spoken, Brendon and his shoes were quickly ushered out to the car. Driving down the road, Mark broke the silence, “Are you going to walk into your school with shoes on or off?” Brendon cooperated.

Giving children appropriate choices empowers them.  Parenting then becomes about teaching your child to use their power wisely, instead of him or her fighting you to obtain power.

Names used in this post are changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Client of the Week, Parenting

Love Shouldn’t be a Prison, and True Love Isn’t

I like this quote:         

“Making marriage work is like operating a farm. You have to start all over again each morning.”

— Anonymous

One thing that assures a long-lasting relationship is kindness—each partner treating the other with the same respect, courtesy and gentleness that characterized their mode of relating in the beginning.

Unfortunately, our human tendency after settling in is to relax those standards. We drop those nicer habits. Not good. A relationship should be a place where flowers grow … not a place where we’re constantly encountering prickly nettles.

Another crucial element is freedom. Love shouldn’t be a prison, and true love isn’t.

Go to my column titled “The Grander Version of Love” where you can read about Carl and Lynn. I go into more depth about kindness, freedom and two other components that comprise a healthy relationship.

I welcome your views!

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Filed under Couples, General Interest

The Latest Wow: What a smart man knows

Here’s another nugget from a male client that I just had to share with you. At first I couldn’t believe my ears, but that’s what he really said!

“A smart man knows when to allow himself to be manipulated by a woman. This is quite apart from giving in. Whereas, the weak man doesn’t have any choice but to be manipulated.”

I’d love your thoughts on this—both men and women!

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Filed under Couples, The Latest Wow!

The Golden Rule in Reverse

“Don’t let other people treat you the way you wouldn’t treat them.”

This is what I recently said to Stanley, who never objects to disrespectful treatment from key people in his life. He swallows it … and suffers for it.

Kind-hearted by nature, he’s respectful in all his dealings with others. He wouldn’t, COULDN’T, hurt a flea if forced to. But there are those in his life who don’t mirror that characteristic. When I asked him why he doesn’t stand up for himself, he said, “It’s what I’ve come to know.”

Said so well! Stanley’s succinct comment speaks to all of us. Programmed from early childhood, we tend to behave and react in ways that echo what we’ve come to know. To step outside that box takes us out of our comfort zone, and as we all know, leaving our comfort zone isn’t one of things we crave in life—we resist it like the plague.

For the remainder of our session, Stanley and I explored the ways his comfort zone existence has hurt and hindered him. I knew we were getting somewhere when he said, “I can see that I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s the only way I’ll dig myself out of this hole.”

Click here to read about Deanna with a similar problem and the advice I gave her . . . .

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Filed under Client of the Week, Get Free