Tag Archives: sarcasm

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

love-prison

 

Since this is the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d dust off one of my favorites from several years ago that seemed to resonate with many people. Even if you’ve been following me from the beginning, this one’s worth a second look:

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! 

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

— Anonymous

(c) Salee Reese 2017

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The Golden Rule in Reverse

resepct two way

“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 Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

The Latest Wow: “Get over it!” Really?

chasm

According to the late theologian Paul Tillich, “The first duty of love is to listen.”

I rank listening right up there at the top of requirements for a well-running relationship. This includes love partnerships, parent-child relationships, friendships … you name it.

Listening is a lot bigger than the mere act of hearing with our ears. It entails reining in our straying thoughts, our knee jerk assumptions, judgments and impatience. It entails listening from a heart-space, not solely from an intellectual space.

It’s hard to master. I find that true both personally and professionally. One couple comes to mind—Ross and Sara. Ross expressed … no, he wowed me with a complaint common among many of my female clients:

“Just because someone says, ‘Get over it,’ doesn’t mean it stops hurting.”

He directed that comment to Sara after she discounted his feelings in our counseling session. He was sharing a painful incident, and instead of taking his pain seriously, she trivialized it.

Another client, Mindy, feels exactly like Ross. Her husband, Sam, not only discounts her feelings, he’s frequently sarcastic and has an explosive temper. In one of their marital sessions he said, “She cries over anything. I’m convinced she’s incapable of controlling her feelings.” I challenged him: “You accuse Mindy of being too emotional and incapable of controlling her feelings. Isn’t anger an emotion?”   Read their stories here.

Whether the one we love is our partner, our child, a friend, relative or acquaintance, statements like “Get over it,” “Why let that bother you?” and “You’re too sensitive” fail to relieve the hurting heart. Not only that, they can create a chasm between two people—a chasm that, if allowed to continue, may not be bridged.

I welcome your thoughts!

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Filed under Client of the Week, Couples, General Interest, The Latest Wow!

You Always Hurt the One You Love

walled heart

Walls go up around the heart when we’re treated harshly. Eventually, bitterness replaces the tender love that was once there. 

Claire was starting to feel that way toward her husband, Joe, when she sought my help.

“He’s constantly critical and demeaning to me!” she said. “It has to change! I’m too miserable to have it go on like this.”

Claire is the type of person who holds it in. She doesn’t speak up, so whenever he’s unkind, she just takes it. Not good.

Resentment and hurt don’t just go away. They pile up and fester.

This is such a common problem, it brought to mind an anonymous couple I observed in the grocery store one day. Unbeknownst to them, they became fodder for a column I wrote a few years ago. 😉 (click here to read the column)

Back to Claire … at an early age she learned the art of peace-making and walking on egg-shells. I explained how counterproductive that behavior is. Not only does it corrode a healthy relationship, it has a negative impact on our health—physically and psychologically. It puts a damper on our well-being and overall life satisfaction and joy.

We may assume that the keep-it-to-ourselves-don’t-complain approach is best, but studies prove otherwise.

“Why don’t you object or complain?” I asked.

“Because he has health problems,” she explained, “and I know that has a lot to do with his temperament.” She made it clear that she didn’t want to hurt him or add to his problems.

“Joe’s health doesn’t justify treating you poorly,” I said. “Your feelings matter just as much as his.” I emphasized that her relationship was actually suffering—not thriving—by her remaining tight-lipped. “I’m sure he’d prefer a little honesty from you,” I said, “even if it does prick, as opposed to you feeling greater and greater contempt for him.”

“What do I do?” she asked.

“Tell him exactly how you feel,” I said.

Claire went home and did just that, and I was amazed with how well she did. I was so amazed, in fact, I asked her if I could share her story with others. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Do you ever notice how critical you are of me?”

“I guess you’re right,” Joe said reflectively. He then listed off the many troubling issues he deals with on a daily basis, including his poor health. “I guess I take it out on you.”

“And I can’t deal with it anymore,” she said. “You’re killing me.”

“But I don’t beat you or anything like that,” Joe said in defense of himself.

“But you’re hurting my heart,” she said. “I’m here to make you happy and to share my life with you. You don’t mistreat other people. I’m the one dedicated to staying with you, so why are you treating me like this? I don’t understand it.”

They continued to talk about it. The conversation went well because neither attacked and neither became defensive.

Since that discussion, she says he’s trying. “I can tell when he catches himself,” she said. He may start to say something, then stop mid-sentence and rephrase it. And if he doesn’t catch himself, she does. “I’m staying on it,” she said. “If he starts to go back to his old ways when he talks to me, I’ll ask:

‘What did you say?’”

Joe cares enough about Claire and his relationship to take these words as a gentle prompt. His response touches her heart, along with something else he began doing. He randomly breaks out in song: You Always Hurt the One You Love by the Mills Brothers. (click here to listen)

Yay, tenderness is making a comeback!

Names have been changed to honor client confidentiality.

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Filed under Client of the Week, Couples, General Interest

The Cookie War

stack of cookies

It’s not about the power another person wields or takes; it’s about the power we surrender.

That is what I conveyed to Amy in our counseling session. She needed an answer for  dealing with her demeaning husband, and it didn’t entail placating  him or being little around him.  It entailed boldly standing up for herself.   Read Any’s story here . . .

We must speak our truth, I told her, in part  because it might change the other person, but mostly because it changes us.

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Filed under Couples, General Interest, Get Free

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!

1 Comment

Filed under Couples, General Interest

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 . . . .

1 Comment

Filed under Client of the Week, Get Free