Sulking is such a waste

677811_beyond_the_sea.jpgMany people resort to sulking when they are not pleased with someone’s behaviour. It is aimed at getting attention in the hope that the other person asks “what’s up” and then the sulker says “nothing”. The dance goes on until finally the sulker is convinced to share their hurt. Surely it is far healthier to learn how to be up front and honest about how you feel than doing this attention dance which can be such a waste and it causes resentments in relationships. We need to teach our children too how to communicate their needs openly to spare them resorting to sulking to get their way which in the end costs them.

the little girl was 8 and her mother had deserted them
so the father compensated by taking his daughter
to the movies 3 times a week for a while
it was an escape and took his mind off the pain
then he decided to stop overdosing on movies
but his daughter had her heart set on going that night
so she stood at the window looking out and sulking
after about one hour he asked her what was the matter?
in a good sulking pose she said “nothing”
so he went about cooking for the next day
another hour passed and she got tired of the act
and jumped at the opportunity to stop sulking when
he told her it was late and to get ready for bed!
it was a lesson not easily forgotten because
it served her no purpose

Beyond the sea, photo by Tolga KOSTAK, Izmir, Turkey, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/677811

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Dysfunctional behaviour in the media

Girl 3, photo by ophelia cherry, Soresina,ItalyHow many times have we seen inappropriate behaviour in the media. Which comes first dysfunctional behaviour in real life and then depicted in the media, or behaviour role modelled in the media which we copy in real life? It is commonly thought that what happens in real life comes first. But how many times have we seen adult friends slapping each other around in real life as has been on TV? I haven’t once seen any such behaviour in real life that has not caused major emotional and physical hurt. I remember the Dynasty arch enemies, Linda Evans and Joan Collins, wrestling in their diamonds and designer clothes whilst falling into the swimming pool, making people laugh. Surely we must be more responsible for what behaviour examples we support in the media because ‘monkey see, monkey do’ and people can repeat dysfunctionality just because it appears popular in the media.

a client came to see me about her violent partner
she had a black eye and it was not the first time
I asked her what was she going to do about it
and she laughed nervously saying that he was
really sorry and promised not to do it again
and she would trust him once more
because he professed his love for her
eventually she realised how dangerous it got
and started a new life without him
just in time, I thought

Girl 3, photo by ophelia cherry, Soresina,Italy, http://www.nelshael.com/ophelia

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How to attract a functional relationship

726974_in_love.jpgTo attract a functional relationship we need to know how to avoid attracting dysfunctional ones. I agree with the school of thought that we attract dysfunctional relationships because we unconsciously want a partner who will do a particular relationship dance with us. Why we choose such a dysfunctional dance has possibly three reasons:

(1) because this dysfunctional relationship dance is familiar and we know how to handle it;
(2) because it resembles a dysfunctional relationship we have experienced before (perhaps parents’ relationship) and we want to end it the way it should have been ended before;
(3) because it resembles a dysfunctional relationship we have experienced before and we want to make it functional – through therapy or other means.

In order to attract a functional relationship we need to be clear about what we are looking for, and why? In other words expose any hidden agendas. We need to be clear that the aim of being in a relationship is to have companionship and intimacy based on harmonious negotiations. This means the ability to resolve conflict productively and sometimes it may mean respectfully agreeing to disagree. Any fool can be abusive but it takes a smart person to be sensitive about a sticky situation. Then the outcome can satisfy both parties.

In Love, photo by Meliha Gojak, Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina

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Setting limits with children

53523_hotel.jpgAn important part of childrearing is setting limits, especially when children are very young. The hard part is making sure that setting limits is done through education – letting the child know why we are saying “no” to something, not just refusing. Another vital part of this education process is that we keep our voices factual rather than critical or shaming, otherwise the lesson is lost and the child just feels oppressed. It is hard for us to remember this when children are young, because usually the pace of living is stressful for everybody and being relaxed and calm seems impossible. Also we are in denial at that time about our behaviour and how uptight we are. Children feel the full brunt of harsh, unexplained limit-setting and it affects their self esteem badly. This can result in serious rebellious behaviour in childhood and all the way through to adult relationships.

at four years of age she is the cutest
and she is very aware of ‘living the good life’
as I babysat my granddaughter in the hotel suite
she declared that she wanted stuff from the mini bar
I had to be very careful how I refused her
tonight we were going to eat
in the restaurant downstairs which
my nine year old grandson had been
given the honour to escort us to
I began with “no, darling”
the disappointment in her eyes showed
that there was anger bubbling deep inside
so I sat down near her and pointed out that
using the mini bar costs too much
her eyes mellowed and this showed that
the information made sense, so she seemed at peace
after the delicious meal downstairs
we enjoyed watching the movie Happy Feet, in the suite

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Forgiveness

652974_yellow_rose.jpg In adulthood we learn that forgiveness is a powerful tool for freeing us of resentments. In most cases as we discover the healing power of forgiveness it becomes easier to do. Forgiving does not mean allowing people to do the same to us again. Some abuse feels impossible to forgive and as long as it does not rule our lives it can wait until we are ready to do so. Although forgiveness for a lesser hurt can feel just as impossible, it is vital to master the art of forgiveness. That’s how to gain emotional maturity and freedom from self pity.

hearing the words of the song
“I’m sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn’t do”
made it possible to forgive my mother for the hurt I felt
that doesn’t mean that I condone her abusive behaviour
but rather that I can let go of the resentment that
has been festering inside all my life
I don’t fool myself into thinking that
we can ever have a loving relationship
because I’ve tried that before and
it has been “moth to flame” as they say
but now I can feel sorry for what
she has gone through in life rather than
being hard-hearted as I had done in the past
more importantly forgiving her means
releasing the pain from my inner child

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Love and trust

Holding hands, photo by Herman Hooyschuur, Amsterdam, Netherlands,  loving relationshipThis comment was made by Vickie Turley and it supported my post on ‘Trust is vital’

Without trust we cannot be authentic with one another. And trust is built over time – which is why relationships take time to grow. Too many times we want to rush the relationship but the trust isn’t there yet. We must be patient and let it come.

What Vickie says is believed by many and it works for them.

I believe in another school of thought which is that trust is not earned, it already exists to begin with, just as love does. The ability to trust is abundant and in setting such an expectation the people we love live up to that expectation. However, if we slip and make a mistake then we need to make amends and build that trust up as we would a plant that has been damaged, gently. This notion feels easier to achieve than one that takes time and we need to work hard at to achieve. When the trust is not there in the beginning of a relationship I would ask “what is going on?” – does one or both of the partners have intimacy issues or have experienced damaged trust in the past and are bringing it into the relationship as baggage? In which case they would do well to process that baggage or see a therapist to assist in that process.

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Trust is vital

Lovers, photo by Ovlachi György, Budapest, Hungary, intimacy, loveFor a relationship to grow, trust is vital. Whether the relationship is one between you and your lover, parents, children, colleagues, and/or your friends, without trust you have major problems. Trust creates closeness, otherwise known as intimacy and this fuels a relationship. So when you have relationship difficulties, look at what has happened to the trust between you and rescue the relationship by building the trust once more. Sometimes you need the assistance of a therapist for this.

he kept telling her that she needed
to lift her game for him to trust her again!
and then he was surprised that she
didn’t want to have sex or that
she wanted to leave him
we spoke about the impact his
criticisms had on her self esteem
and that she couldn’t trust him now
because his remarks had hurt her so much
in time as they spent more quality time
their friendship strengthened and
they were able to express their needs
much more appropriately than
attacking each other or expecting
that the trust be earned before
love could be rekindled between them
now they are enjoying their relationship
as the trust grows stronger

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Romantic trade-off

You&Me, photo by Valentina Jori, Roma, Italy, intimacy How many times have you been frustrated with your partner because you feel that you give and cannot get the same in return? Whether it has to do with the type of movie you want to see or what hobbies to share. This can affect your sex life too because the partner who feels less powerful in the relationship can lose their sex drive and can appear to be with-holding that pleasure. Of course, communicating your innermost concerns is a tricky task for some. An effective way to right this imbalance is to use a romantic trade-off. The couple can sit and work out what each one feels is missing in their relationship and then agree to trade-off one requirement for another. In that way there is a fairness to the process which results in greater intimacy. Sometimes this is done with the help of a therapist.

Susie was a sexy, sensual woman when
they first got together
that’s one of the characteristics that
attracted Bob to her
then after awhile that changed drastically
Bob had wondered what had caused that
was she no longer attracted to him?
when they came to see me we looked at
what worked and what didn’t and
some of their needs and wants were negotiated
for a romantic trade-off which satisfied both
not all requirements were resolved but at least
they agreed to disagree, for now

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Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day, photo by Michal Koralewski, Gniezno, Poland, day of loveToday is the day of love. Some people criticise the practise because they believe it is too commercialised. Other people enjoy the romantic and sensual mood of the day. It was once the role of the male to send flowers, chocolates and poetry to the female, often it was an anonymous gesture, creating intrigue. Nowadays it is something both men and women do for each other. It is a ritual that enhances relationships. Unless both partners dislike celebrating the day of love, then it is worthwhile to participate in the celebration.

Bruce felt that it was ridiculous to
celebrate Valentine’s Day
Vicki was looking forward to
receiving some show of affection
on the day of love from her new partner
somehow he had managed to avoid it
on previous occasions but she had
made it clear that it was important to her
Bruce ordered the works
flowers, perfume, choice words in the card
and dinner for two at a romantic restaurant
why? because he is a smart bloke and
values the relationship enough to
do the right thing when he is made aware
just as Vicki has done with his wishes
such as fishing with the mates on the
first Sunday of the month and the
regular card night at their place
with her playing the hostess
this exchange of favours to satisfy
each others desires is what makes
their relationship special

Happy Valentine’s Day, photo by Michal Koralewski, Gniezno, Poland, day of love

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Flirting and seduction

Flirting Swans, photo by Jenny W., Honolulu, Hawaii, nature's loveWhen people first meet, they spend all their time involved with flirting and seduction. That’s what keeps their passion alive. It’s understandable that in time the passion will cool and usually a truer love will grow because nothing stays the same. Nevertheless, it’s so important for the relationship when the flirting is maintained as a ritual, because it keeps love alive, stopping people from becoming too serious.

they noticed that it had been awhile since they
had chuckled, teased, flirted and joked a little
then it became apparent that they hadn’t had
such a great time in a long time, so
they made an agreement to include flirting in
a part of each day to develop the art
rightfully so, not only did they get better at it
but it was such a boost for their relationship
something so simple yet so effective.

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