Archive for October, 2015

“Born To Be A Mom”? Your Destiny?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

A woman said these words to me the other day, “I was born to be a Mom!” She was describing her desire and hoped for destiny. The words came from deep in her being. She has been a Nanny and now is hoping to find the right man, get married, and fulfill her dream life of being a Mom.

Another woman in my practice said the same thing recently. She was thirty and hoping that her current relationship is the one that leads into marriage and parenthood. She, too, feels that she was “born to be a Mom”.

Our daughter, Brittany, is a SAHM (stay at home Mom) and loves it – most days. She also has a “cottage business” income stream from her consulting and blogging in the areas of nutrition, exercise, and overall wellness, including family life tips. Being a Mom is her “calling”.

The young Nanny got me to thinking. She was the Nanny for three kids for five years. The parents proclaimed that their life’s satisfaction came from their work. The Nanny wondered why they chose to have these kids if they were not going to be around them to nurture and mentor them, and give them that security that only a present loving parent can give.

The question I raise to women is this, were you “born to be a Mom”? Is this your primary purpose in life or ancillary to what you were really meant to be? Or, perhaps you have a limited maternal instinct and motherhood is not your desire? Or, perhaps a combination or motherhood and career bring the most satisfaction?

These questions of clarification are not meant to critique, judge, or prescribe what any woman should do, or be. What I am asking is what is your primary purpose in life? Where does having children fit into your picture? Or not?

As for you men, I also suggest you know who and what you want in your mate. Do you want to be a Father? If so, make sure that you do your “due diligence” in choosing a mate. And if Fatherhood is not your desire, make sure that you are clear about that with any potential marriage partner.

When I wrote my desired list of qualities that I wanted in a wife, being a “good and devoted Mother” was in the top three. And I got her – and more! My wife Sherry has been a terrific Mother, as has our daughter, Brittany. And our son, Kris, did his due diligence well. He married Cara who is a terrific Mom to their daughter. Our family is fortunate that these three women knew who they were and in this case each was “born to be a Mom”!

P.S. I wonder if there are some genetics involved here as both my Mother, Sherry’s Mother, and Cara’s Mother were stay home Moms who did a terrific job!

May you, Respected Reader, know what is right for you and be able fulfill  your destiny.

Want To Be Healthier, And Lower Stress? Have A “Good Cry!

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Is there a health benefit to having a “good cry”? Apparently there is. So what is a “good cry” as compared to another type of cry?  A “good cry” is an emotional cry as opposed to irritating cry.

Scientists have studied tears related to wellness since the seventies and have found some interesting results from their research. They have discovered that there are three types of tears.

  1. Basal tears are what keep our eyes from drying out completely. The human body produces an average of 5 to 10 ounces of basal tears daily.
  2. Reflex tears serve to protect the human eye from irritants such as smoke, onions, poked in the etc… . To accomplish this the sensory nerves in your cornea communicate this irritation to your brain stem, which in turns sends hormones to the glands of the eyelids. These hormones cause the eyes to produce tears, effectively ridding them of the irritating substance.
  3. Emotional tears start in the cerebrum. The endocrine is triggered to release hormones to the ocular area which then causes tears to form.

It is these emotional tears that lower stress.  Chemicals build up in the body during times of elevated stress. They are toxic. Researchers are saying that emotional crying is the body’s way of ridding itself of these toxins and waste products. Emotional tears have a different chemical make-up from Basal and Reflex tears. One of these is a protein called prolactin. Another is adrenocorticotropic hormone which indicates high stress levels. And another chemical found is leucineo-enkephalin, and endorphin that reduces pain and works to improve mood. Postassium and manganese are also present in emotional tears but not in the other types.

According to one study, women cry on average between 30 and 64 times a year, and men cry on average between 6 and 17 times a year. Although there is little difference between boys and girls until puberty.  I guess the motto of “big boys don’t cry” is quite persuasive and pervasive! False macho or faux bravado detract from well being. Culture seems to be important here as men in Western cultures cry less than other cultures where the male-female ratio is closer.

Crying makes us feel better! Enjoy a “good cry”!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

Couples Communication Problem: A “Chicken – Egg” Problem!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

 

Couples Communication is not easy for many couples for multiple reasons. I would like to share a typical scenario that I hear very often in my office. I call it the “chicken or egg” communication problem. You know the quandary question, do you not?  See if you know the answer. “Which came first, the chicken or the egg”?  Well, what is the answer?

Let me personalize this “chicken-egg” question with this familiar dialogue that I come across so frequently.

Billy Bob says to Sally Sue in an angry tone, “Why didn’t you talk to me about this?”

Sally Sue’s answer  is, “I was afraid of your response!”

Billy Bob: “It upsets me that you feel you couldn’t talk to me. I don’t like being left out”

Sally Sue: “You get mad at me when I tell you anything that you don’t like or agree with.”

Billy Bob: “I’m not mad, I’m hurt.”

Sally Sue: “Feels like mad to me. I’m scared of your temper”

Typically, Billy Bob starts sulking, goes silent. Sally Sue dare not approach him. The communication gap is wide. Sometimes that icy gap lasts a short time, sometimes it becomes a way of life. This couple needs to find a way for angry Billy Bob to be less angry and Sally Sue to be less fearful. The Assertiveness model of communication is the “answer” here.

Another type of “chicken-egg” communication goes like this:

Sally Sue: “I told you about that yesterday”

Billy Bob: “No you didn’t”

Sally Sue: “Yes I did!”

Billy Bob: “No you didn’t!”

This can go on forever. Usually it escalates to a heated pitch with both believing and arguing that s/he is right.  They do not allow “wiggle room”.  A better way to handle this perceptual problem would be:

Sally Sue: “I told you that yesterday”

Billy Bob: “No you didn’t”

Sally Sue: “I thought I did, perhaps I did not”

Billy Bob: “Maybe you did and I missed it”

In this case there is no power struggle. Nobody has to “win”. They allow “wiggle room”. When this happens in my office, I cut off the escalating anger by saying, “Unless either of you has brought the video of this communication exchange, we are going to stop this discussion right now. It is going nowhere.” I then teach them about “wiggle room” and focusing on how communication can improve so that they can stay emotionally connected.

The two issues emphasized here are:

  1. How one person’s anger and the other person’s fear stop quality communication.
  2. How each person needing to be right leads to an angry power struggle with no one winning or feeling good about the communication.

Can any of you, Respected Readers, identify with either of these communication problems? If you say “no” you are living in la la land and have very low emotional intelligence. Hope this has been helpful!

9 Biggest Myths About “Happy” Couples

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Ubiquitous Dr. Phil fills the airwaves and the bookstores with his perspectives on mental health and relationships. Personally I think most of his stuff is pretty solid. I’m not big on some of his TV dramas but his advice is sound. Recently I came across a blog he wrote which has the above mentioned title. I would like to share these “myths” with you and add my commentary.

  1. Happy couples can see things through each other’s eyes. Definitely a myth. Each person is unique in every sense of the word, especially in gender. So, this is not possible. However, “happy” couples have learned to listen well, empathize, try to understand the other person’s perspective, and be open to dialogue and compromise.
  2. Happy couples have lots of romance. This one is fuzzier. If “romance” is infatuation, PEA infused, with all the newness that first blush brings, then no it does not continue. However, a deeper sense of romance that involved loving words, actions, surprises, etc… this can continue to flourish and nurture the relationship long term.
  3. Happy couples can resolve all their disagreements. Definitely a myth. The key to happy couples is that they can agree to disagree. No one has to “win” and the other “lose”. Compromise is a developed asset in their marriage.
  4. Happy couples need to have common interests. I think this is another fuzzy one. Couples do not need to be “joined at the hip” with overlapping interests, but I do thinks they need certain connecting points of interest or each will live in his or her own world, making ongoing shared life a challenge. Each person is an individual and has a right and need to pursue an interesting endeavor but these should not interfere with the higher priority of the relationship.
  5. Happy couples don’t fight. I guess this depends on your interpretation of “fight”. As stated in number one, couples do not agree on everything. Such disagreement can lead to varying degrees of expression, from polite to vicious. The goal is polite and having as much restraint as possible for the ugly.
  6. Happy couples vent all their feelings to each other. This is dangerous territory. Words cannot be taken back. Restraint is warranted. What really needs to be shared? In what manner?  What will be the probable outcome of such a sharing? Everything a person thinks and feels does not need to come out the mouth!
  7. Being a happy couple has nothing to do with sex. A good sex life needs to be embedded in a good overall relationship. Sexual sharing is important because it can make you feel closer, more relaxed, more accepted, and more involved with your partner. That being said, sexual expression will vary based on age and capability at a given time in the relationship.
  8. Happy couples are always in sync sexually. Not true. If they ever were it soon changed. This is where communication, perhaps negotiation, and compromise need to be a part of this ongoing loving relationship. Often this is one of the toughest challenges.
  9. Happy couples know the right and wrong way to make their relationships great. So not true. Each relationship is unique bringing together two very differently “wired” individuals who must find a way to jointly “wire” together in a way that heals the wounds of the past  and maximizes the best potential of each person. Often a competent therapist early on in the relationship can help a couple understand this and facilitate a “game plan” that leads to a “win-win” relationship.

Respected Reader, did the reading of the myths and explanations offered speak to you? Do you have other myths in your brain as to what “happy” couples enjoy. Are you happy in your relationship?  Hope so!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

“I Love You BUT Sometimes I Don’t Like You”! A Phrase Not To Be Said

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

 

Ever heard or uttered such a phrase? If someone dressed you down by saying this, how did it feel? Still feel loved?  I doubt it. It is probably a phrase that should be retired from usage.

Do you sometimes have dislike feelings toward someone? Of course. But every feeling or thought does not need to come out of your mouth. To like someone is a prerequisite to love someone. When you are disliking you sure aren’t feeling loving toward another.

When you say “I love you but sometimes I don’t like you” you are pulling a power play. You are talking down to the person from a pseudo exalted position that you placed yourself upon. You judge the other person rather than expressing a differing opinion on an action. Can you see the difference?

Surely there are times when you are irritated, frustrated, angry at someone for what s/he did. The better statement, if you feel the need to express this feeling, would be to say that you did not like the BEHAVIOR, not to say I don’t like YOU. The focus should be on the action taken, not the person. There is a difference.

Such a distinction is important in communication at every level of human interaction. Saying “I don’t like you” hurt or angers the other person. A significant gap in that relationship develops and or deepens. Nobody wants to hear “I don’t like you”, even when it is nonsensically tied on to “I love you”.

From another perspective, on the positive side, it is a wonderful compliment to give and receive the “I like you “message.  To be liked makes a person feel good, warm and fuzzy. It can be even a better verbal exchange if the person receiving the “I like you” can genuinely respond with “I like you too!” This exchange can begin well a new relationship or deepen an existing one. Try it!

On a closing note, I LIKE that you are reading this. And, I probably would LIKE you as a person if I knew you.  Don’t you feel warm and fuzzy hearing that! Hope you LIKED this article and may even LIKE me! If not, it was worth a try!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”  Socrates