Making amends

Time heals all wounds, photo by Tim Ambler, Chattanooga, USAFriendships can be lifelong, providing the parties involved eliminate the resentments which can occur naturally. It is well known that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ and moods become problematic between close relationships even friends. When a resentment festers it is easily settled by making amends. In this way the relationship is made the priority and restored. Otherwise grudges develop and power games are fostered with sad endings.

it was fascinating that although Geoff was
such a difficult person to get on with
he had such longlasting friendships
years and years with the same friends
this was a skill, indeed!
when examined closely, it became apparent
that he had the ability of making amends
and much easier than most people
therefore any disagreements were
easily swept away and the
friendship made longlasting

Time heals all wounds, photo by Tim Ambler, Chattanooga, USA

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Magic of fantasy

829135_magic_lamp.jpgWeddings come about at the moment when lovers reach a peak in the love they have for each other and want to celebrate that feeling. It’s the magic of fantasy that results in being with the one you love and planning the celebration of a lifetime which when done efficiently remains a beautiful memory. It is important when planning this event that your every consideration is given to how you will feel when you remember the occasion later, so avoid arguments and holding grudges. Then when you look back on that memorable day it will maintain the magic of fantasy.

Valerie and Robert wanted their marriage ceremony
to be something as special as the feeling they
have for each other
so they chose a lovely park which had
several different gardens where
performances took place
Japanese musicians in one garden
children reading poetry in another
whilst a choir sang in a third
finally I conducted the official ceremony
in the last garden as the guests held
small burning candles
it was indeed the magic of fantasy

Magic lamp, photo by Asif Akbar, Mumbai, India, www.commonsenseindia.com

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Fear of rejection

Midnight BooWe pretend to be strong and yet fear of rejection can keep us apart. So many people recoil when they face a criticism. This can be because as a child their parents and or teachers impacted on them in a negative way, whether real or perceived the damage was done. As an adult they are left with scars from those experiences which affect their relationships badly. Others behave in the opposite way – they enjoy the challenge when they are rejected and keeping coming back. Both reactions can be perceived as attractive or unattractive depending on how your needs are met. Nevertheless, we can choose to deal with rejection in a way that makes our lives fulfilled or doomed, it’s all a choice.

Alison had been screaming at her daughter Suzie
for at least half an hour and it felt no better
Suzie quietly got up and said to her mother
that as she was middle aged she chose not to
feel this distress anymore, so she was leaving
Alison screamed out “stay and fight you coward”
and Suzie replied “yes I am a coward and am going”
leaving her mother with her own dysfunctional state
which meant that Alison had to take responsibility
for the insane behaviour she had shown because
there was no one there to blame anything on

(So Sorry after 7yrs and although he had been thanked then, I had to remove the great photo now because the owner asked it be removed so my adorable fear ridden 14 yr Bombay cat Midnight is the replacement photo…Affie 25/9/14)

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Response to soulmate notion

Friendship, photo by Paulo Oliveira Santos, Rotterdam, Netherlands, soulmate searchBill Dueease in the U.S. made a helpful comment regarding my post on soulmate. So I am showing it here to respond to it and to draw attention to his website too. As you can see this is a tried and true method of relationship building and finding the person most suited to our needs and therefore making life less of a struggle.

Your point about making a list of all aspects of your ideal mate and your story example ring very true. We have found that people will not know who their ideal mate would be, even if they met them, until they search themselves to discover all of the aspects of their potential ideal mate first. These clearly include the potential negative aspects they want to avoid.

Keep up the good work and spread the word that people can find their ideal mate, if they take the time and energy to look within themselves to discover whom that might be first.

Making a list of the things you like and dislike about a loving relationship is not a new discovery and it has been proven to work. Have fun doing it and benefiting from the outcome.

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Nothing is as it appears

Jaguar, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, feline fancyThe jaguar is popular and as people admire its beauty they forget how dangerous it can be. Nothing is as it appears. Within seconds it’s capable of ripping its prey apart, as many animals can do. To a certain degree the same can be said of the human animal. Usually humans try to present a persona which is attractive, lovable, and successful so that they can get what they want. Some though are dangerous because they can easily become violent, either emotionally or physically or both. Prevention is best – we need to go gently into a new relationship until we are sure of the other person’s temperament. We also need to be prepared to get out of the relationship fast if it proves inappropriate and not wait until it’s so dangerous that we can get hurt.

they came to see me and by the end of the session
it became apparent that he was not willing to change
even though he had violent tendencies
and she was not ready to leave him
when they came back to see me I made it clear
that I could not see them together any more
because it was as though I was holding her hand
while he continued to be violent with her
I recommended that she contact the Helpline
for this type of dangerous behaviour and
stressed that her life depended on
her taking urgent action, my words annoyed him
she came back months later and wanted
to undergo therapy on her own as
she had legally removed him from her life
she had a pattern of attracting similar types
and she wanted to stop, so we began the work
today she lives the life she’s always wanted

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Maintain vigilance

Owl eyes, photo by Kristof Degreef, Nieuwerkerken, Belgium, nothing missedOne human weakness is the need to stop doing what works when things are going well. Usually people who have found their sanity by taking the relevant medication will, against medical advice, stop taking the medication when they feel well, with horrendous consequences. Others will find solutions to their problems through counselling and once the situation improves they stop doing what was necessary to achieve the results, again with horrendous consequences. We need to keep vigilant about unacceptable changes in our wellbeing and once we find solutions then also maintain vigilance to ensure that improvements are not lost.

the last time I saw them they had after a few sessions
resolved their difficulties and made a checklist of what
they had done to sort things out so that they could
continue what worked and maintain the improvement
intelligent, successful, people meant commitment to
the system for success, or so you’d think
why should they be any different to the rest of us
a human frailty is becoming overconfident
and stopping what works
it can happen to me too if I don’t maintain
the vigilance and even then I am prone!
a year later they were back almost ready to divorce and
full of resentment, anger, defensiveness and vengeance
they had time to each tell their version of the problem
having expressed themselves we looked at their checklist
maybe one or two items had been maintained
but the rest had been grossly neglected
although it seemed hopeless we began again
and bit by bit things got turned around
after a few sessions they were back on track
back to basics always works yet we have
a tendency to complicate things

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Practise to make perfect

A helping hand 2, photo by Melodi T, Waiuku,  New Zealand, not alone Human beings have an innate need to be united with another. That is why we keep going back for more even if it is unpleasant. Avoiding being attracted to dysfunctional relationships means developing the art of being clear about what is acceptable to us and what’s not. From when we are children we need help to learn about new things from others who are experienced, especially those we can trust. Then practise to make perfect, as the saying goes.

he said that he had been a proactive person
successful in his endeavours and happy too
then he met her and after the initial bliss
it all went downhill because she wanted him
to change just to please her
as he did it just got worse – he felt like a doormat for her
but she was still not happy, his self esteem plummeted
then he walked away from the breakup
and in an attempt to pick up the pieces
he asked me what to do? I reminded him that
once he was strong and capable as well as happy
so he could start again because he had done everything
to save that dysfunctional relationship
also it was now time to note what he didn’t want in
the next relationship and get on with his life
I saw him again and he was confident, refreshed and
optimistic about life

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Codependence and pets

My dogs 1, photo by Debbie Miller, Monroe United  States,  love a petWhen we want to live functional lives, a solution is to get a pet. A codependent flips between manipulation, attempts at controlling, and becoming an enabler causing the victim to remain dependent. Codependence and pets means that the need to overwhelm someone with love is then directed to a creature who thrives on such devotion. So the behaviour is diverted to a healthier end. When a mother wishes to avoid being over-protective towards her growing children, I as a therapist recommend that they get a pet. This way the pet will not suffer from too much affection and it will keep her busy looking after and training the pet.

my children were 11 and 12
it was time to let go in order to avoid
too much mothering, or so I thought
so I got a German Shepherd called Kara
who at 6 months couldn’t even walk,
due to an overwhelming fear,
so I taught her to walk and I
loved her and called her my baby
she just bloomed and so did
my kids who were learning
how to be confident and independent
childrearing was a success thanks to
Kara, who I still miss a lot
but now that I’m alone I have a cat, Midnight,
who’s my baby to coo over
much to my adult children’s relief
no doubt!

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Wedding car

Wedding 1, photo by apa matushowie, rtyreyrety,  Algeria, dream come  trueWhether it is an extravagant wedding or one on a low budget, having a wedding car for the event can be dreamlike. Sometimes the car that you know you will not ever be able to own can make such a difference to have for that special day. It is also not as expensive as it may sound. Search around and you’ll see that it’s possible to get the wedding car of your dreams.

she had that sparkle in her eyes as
they spoke about their wedding plans
it was so exciting and she hesitated
as we discussed the transport
then he clarified the situation by
mentioning that they both had
wished for the wedding car to
be something elegant
but they were afraid of the cost
I mentioned that there’s not
much difference in the price
but rather it depends on finding
the company that uses the
wedding car that they like
so they went away to search
for their heart’s desire

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Family of origin

Family, photo by Jean Scheijen, Maastricht, Netherlands, unconditional loveWhen someone comes into recovery from addiction, dependency, emotional illness, or a loss of some kind, an important step is to share about their family of origin story. This is vital to recovery because some issues get buried unknowingly and can fester, affecting the person’s behaviour for years. On the other hand, also remembering the positive things about their family of origin can contribute to their recovery. This process can help a person improve the relationship with their family of origin, if appropriate to do so.

she used to hate going home for
important times such as Christmas
and as we spoke it became apparent that
the angst she felt was valid
but at other times unwarranted
nevertheless because she had
not dealt with these issues
resentments had be debilitating
both to her and her family
so she made a plan to
approach her family of origin
and be honest about how she felt
regarding certain past events
not forgetting to make amends too
when it was appropriate to do so
I reminded her not to be
attached to the outcome and
then the process could set her free

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